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Hesperia, Land of the Setting Sunby Giulio Caroletti from Threshold Magazine issue 12
Hesperia, Land of the Setting Sun
A Gazetteer of the Thyatian Region, 250 BC
By Giulio Caroletti
Maps and additional ideas by Francesco Defferrari
In 250 BC, Thyatis was the most important city state of the region of Hesperia, the land that today is known as Mainland Thyatis. This Mini-Gaz will shed a light on the people and city states of the area and the conflicts between the peoples of Hesperia with the rising Aseni north, the declining Traladarans west, the imperialistic Milenians south and the alien Alphatians east.
Welcome to Thyatis and Hesperia, the year is 250 BC!
Foreword by the Author
Dear readers, it is a pleasure for me to write once again about Thyatis and its regions and cultures. This time I will delve into the mythical past of the Empire, at a time when the Empire did not even exist and the area was the playground of many small city-states fighting for supremacy on land and on the Seas of Dawn and Dread, where their trading vessels roamed and pirate ships set sail to plunder the riches of the Alphatian Empire. The piracy ultimately brought the Thyatians and their neighbours and rivals down, in 192 BC, when the south-eastern corner of the Known World fell under the Alphatians’ rule.
This campaign setting describes the area later to be known as Thyatis in 250 BC, about sixty years before the Alphatian conquest, and about 250 years after the fall of Nithia, an event that had a major impact on the populations of the Known World.
If you have read some of my other works for Threshold Magazine, you know the premises on which I base my campaign-supplements writing, but I will summarize them shortly here: I prefer to add as much depth as possible both in the “horizontal” (or spatial) scale, and in the “vertical” (or temporal) scale. One of the most common errors in fantasy and science-fiction writing is to build immense empires whose extension in space and time often drowns any attempt to detail and characterize cultures and nations in the manner they deserve.
This is certainly not the case for Hesperia, the name I chose for the Thyatian region at this point in Mystara’s past. Remnants of ancient, dwindling cultures (like the Traldar-related Doulakki, the Neathar-descended Etrusna, Albai and Kartana, and the scattered, decadent remains of the Taymorans) mix with the new blood brought by the Three Tribes (Thyatians, Kerendans and Hattians) around 600 BC, just before the fall of what will be remembered in Mystaran history as the Thothian (but was actually the Nithian) Empire.
Maybe it will give headaches to readers - players, DMs and/or Mystaran ‘scholars’ alike - to find a full assortment of new cultures, and so many new names for old regions and cities as they were known in the past. I can only hope that one day some players and a DM might be so inspired by this work, to actually play an adventure or two during the ancient history of the Empire of Thyatis.
This work takes most of its inspiration from the ancient history of Italy, from the VIII to III century BC, and the rise of Rome as the main power in the Mediterranean region. However, as is so often the case, many excellent ideas are lifted directly from the works and thoughts of many fellow Mystaran writers: first and foremost I have to thank my usual partner-in-crime of so many years, Giampaolo “Agathokles” Agosta; then the ‘furious historians’ Simone “Zendrolion” Neri, Francesco “Sturm” Defferrari (who also provided maps and added a lot of further ideas to the work) and Michele “Lo Zompatore” Carpita, that have described past and present demography, history and migrations of Mystara; Atila Pires dos Santos for the information on lupins. I have also to thank John Calvin for his work on Taymora and the Known World in 2300 BC; John and Geoff Gander (among the authors who developed the Doulakki on Mystara) are surely those who have given me the desire and inspiration to write a ‘historical’ setting for Mystara; last and not least, James Ruhland, who wrote the first-ever ultra-detailed history of early Thyatis - I have used much of his work although in heavily modified forms. Several descriptions of the geography and land are indebted to the fan-made Mystaran Almanacs. And I am sure I am forgetting many others, among whom I must include all the setting’s ‘official’ writers, especially Aaron Allston, Bruce Heard and Ken Rolston, given the region and cultures we are describing in this article. Some more credits are found in the next paragraph.
For those curious about the real world equivalents of Hesperia (mostly are populations who were living in Italy in early Roman times, from VIII to III century BC), here is a list:
Thyatians and Kerendans are obviously modelled on Latins and Romans;
Kartana, introduced in my previous Carytion Gazetteer as the ancestors of the Carytians, are the equivalent of the Sardinian nuragic culture (sometimes called Shardana);
Etrusna, invented by Francesco Defferrari, are modelled on Etruscans;
Albai, originally created by Francesco in discussions with John Calvin as subjects of the 2300 BC Taymorans, are based on Ligurians, an Indoeuropean tribe occupying north-western Italy;
Canians, introduced by Francesco, are the equivalent of Sicani and Elimi, two Latin-related populations who inhabited the inland regions of Sicily during the wars for the control of Sicily between Greeks and Phoenicians;
Retians, introduced by Francesco, are the equivalent of Veneti: culturally and linguistically close to the Latins and Romans, they were living in north-eastern Italy;
Sabelli and Vitalians are based on the Osco-Umbrian tribes living in central and southern Italy (which included Sannites, for example); they were the other big ethnic group of Italy after the Roman-Latin-Venetic-Sicanian one, to which they were related through intermingling and common Indoeuropean origin; numerically the Osco-Umbrian was the major group of tribes in Italy;
the Tauri lupins are based on the north-western Italian Celts of the Taurini, Insubri, Boii, Cenomani and Senoni tribes;
the Karn hobgoblins are based on the north-eastern Italian Celts of the Carni tribes;
Taymorans, introduced in PC3, whose Phoenician cultural traits were devised by Giampaolo Agosta, are based on the late-period Phoenicians and Carthaginians; Zyz in particular is a cross between Palermo and Carthage; and Mosya is an island-variant of Carthage;
Doulakki, often used as an umbrella term for all the Traldar-related people outside of Traladara, are clearly based on the Greek colonists in southern Italy; Sarausa in particular is based on Siracusa, the most powerful Greek city in Italy in the IV and III centuries BC; but Italians and lovers of ancient history will easily recognize many other city names;
Brutii, Hirpines, Iapyges and Messapians lupins are based on the similar-named Italian tribes who lived in southern Italy.
The Hattians are totally different from the others, as I modelled them on early feudal Franks and Germans.
The Aseni have not much to do with early Italian history either; they are the ancestors of AC1000-Alasiyans. They were introduced in various ethnography/demography articles on Pandius. Like the Minrothians, ancestors to the Minrothadders, they were too close to the region (and too involved in warfare and trading with the Thyatians, respectively) to be left out. They make a cool addition to the area and prevent it from becoming too much a carbon copy of ancient Italian history.
And if that’s not enough, I added a short compendium of what various areas of Mystara were like, from the Known World to the Alphatian Sea, so that you can introduce with ease Nuari sailors, Alphatian wizards, Milenian fighters and Thothian philosophers to the game.
It was a long, hard work to write this supplement. I hope that you will enjoy it at least half as much as I enjoyed writing it.
THE PLAYER’S GUIDE
What everyone knows
“Once upon a time there was an Empire, an Empire controlled by a distant king called the Pharaoh, from a land known as Thothia. The Empire sent colonists and troops to Brun. It brought there a people of vicious fighters, the Aseni, and subjugated goblinoids and orcs and gnolls to use them as shock troops against the peoples of the south, the peoples of Hesperia.
They subjugated some and asked tributes from most. But with time things changed. The Etrusna civilization bloomed. The Doulakki colonies prospered and we, the descendants of old Taymora, grew stronger in our strongholds on mainland and islands alike. While the main possessions of the Thothians in the West faltered, as the land suffered a climatic shift towards inhospitable, arid steppes and deserts, and became more of a burden to control, than an asset to keep, in the eyes of the distant Pharaoh.
So the Empire left Brun, uninterested in regions they had depleted of all resources, leaving its former Aseni and humanoid slaves to themselves or to the whim of ambitious masters who thought to carve their own domains on Brun.
Then the Three Tribes arrived from the south: they mixed with some of the native cultures - and clashed with others; new cities like Kerendas and Thyatis were built, others were conquered or destroyed.
And then the Sand Deluge came: a Great Drought ravaged from the Northern Reaches to the island of Hattias; and it is known that it rained sand all over the region for weeks, and rivers in Assinia shifted their course, drying up most of what remained of the once fertile central lands.
It is said among the Doulakki that the Immortals wanted to cleanse the land and to punish humankind. That the Immortals who once had walked among the mortals, had left the company of humankind forever; and that many powerful spells and unthinkable magicks were forever lost since then.”
Melkiot, Taymoran schoolteacher, to his class in Lilithei
“Our Empire left the west several centuries ago. Only a few remained: the Land of Sunset, the Land of the Night, the Land of the Dead attracted them and corrupted them. There is nothing that a pious Follower of the Fire can find on Brun, especially after the Great Drought stroke the only barely tolerable place there - Nithia, our colony in Assinia. I have been to Hesperia and to the desert lands, and I have seen what remains of our Empire there: brutes with little comprehension of science and magic, who spend their lives in petty wars - brother against brother, sister against sister. The descendants of our proud race, and the remains of the once proud Traldar and Etrusna, are a sorry thing to look at; the descendants of our subjects in Hesperia are even worse: they beat their women, their laws follow the whims of their squalid kings and petty aristocracies, and they share the same pathetic racial deficits of the scum who lives on Dawn, beyond the Thothian Escarpment - there is nothing redeemable about them. They can only be used as slaves - or mercenaries, if we hadn’t given up war long ago to spend our lives concentrating in more useful activities.”
-- Mekrat, Patriarch of Rathanos in Edairo
“Hesperia? I’d never go there for all the spell components in the world. It’s just savages, a mess of barbarous villages that are called cities, witchdoctors who call themselves wizards and useless pirates. Brun is such an uninteresting place, and Hesperia is the worst of it all. An Alphatian noble should stay in her homeland, practicing the fine arts and concentrating on the most delightful pleasures. If you need to have a look at those brutes, send some adventurers to kidnap a few specimens, that’s all you need to do.”
-- Lofara the Conjuress, Alphatian wizard, to her niece and apprentice Kyla
“Oooh, those Hesperian guys brew trouble. Sooner or later the pirate princes and the petty kings, the decadent heroes and the upstart warriors, will find a true leader who will unite them, build an army, and conquer the world. You don’t need a prophet to make this prophecy. You just have to take a good look at them.”
-- Sigmalline, Meditor Diviner from Alfeisle
“Hesperia is a young land, and we arrived here just in time to exploit the consequences of the Great Drought. Our folk grew stronger; we watched our elders and we learned from them. That is our greatest skill: adaptation. Seafaring we learned from the Doulakki, architecture we learned from the Etrusnans, the art of intrigue from the Taymorans, and how to fight from Orcs and Goblins. And we still have much to learn. And learn we will, by conquering them all, one after the other.”
-- Tiberius Merula, Pontifex (Patriarch) of Vanya in Thyatis
“The Great Drought and the armies of the northern barbarians crippled our country; the Immortals left our lands, and now we are almost strangers in our own homes. The young upstarts are more numerous than us and stronger, their blood untainted by the dark powers of Taymora and by the morbid influence of Alphatia and Thothia. We traveled around the world and caught too many diseases. But we are passing them on to the Three Tribes, and we might still find a way to resist to their domination.”
-- Ieron II, King of Sarausa
“Hesperia is a tormented area, it really is. We pulled off all that a long time ago, when we fled Assinia and the Thothian colonies. We found freedom on the sea. They can’t control the sea, that’s why we got our freedom with our ships, and bonded with the elves. Hesperians they just keep fighting each other all the time. They look for power over the land, but what do they know? There is in fact more sea than land.”
-- Innifer Paisios, Minrothian merchantess
Map of people and regions of Hesperia in 250 BC
Hesperia is the name given to the south-easternmost area of Brun. Originally the name was the Traldar name for the whole western continent, and through Milenians and Doulakki it passed respectively to Alphatians and Thothians. Traldar and Milenians called Brun “Hesperia” and Dawn “Hemeria” - the first term meaning “Sunset land” and the second “Sunrise land”. Later on, between 1000 and 800 BC, Hesperia became the name only of this part of the western continent; and the elven term Brun became the one used for the whole continent.
While the Sea of Dread and Sea of Dawn limit Hesperia respectively to the south and the east, and the northern border of Hesperia is set at the Altan Tepes mountains, the western limit is not precisely determined, although it is conventionally considered to be the border between the human communities and the elven clans to their west.
Hesperia is a fertile land, made up of rich, often hilly farmlands, with higher hills and mountains filled with mineral wealth to the north. All along the southern and eastern coast, from the terraced hills of the Albai to the easternmost shores of Vitalia, from the islands of Hattias and Kartanya to the shores of Cania, olive plants and vineyards are a common sight.
The native vegetation of Hesperia reflects the diversity of the physical environment and climate. The coastal areas and islands have mild and rainy winters, and very warm and dry summers; the closer to the Altan Tepes, the lower winter temperatures are, and the rainfall distribution is more uniform during the summer. There is also an increase in temperature along the mainland from west to east, with Cania and Vitelia being the warmer areas of the mainland.
The inland areas have marked differences between summer and winter temperatures, and the main natural vegetation consists of forests of broad-leaved deciduous plants (oaks, beeches, chestnuts), substituted by coniferous evergreens (larches, pines, firs) on the higher mountains; the coastal areas, especially on the warmer, eastern parts and on the islands have mixed woods of evergreens (eg., maritime pines, laurels), deciduous species (eg., cork oaks), and maquis shrubland (eg., myrtles, sage).
The western region of the mainland is known as the Kerendan Plains: rich flatlands used for horse-breeding, tillage, pasturage, that gradually give way to a more hilly region (central Thyatium), dotted with small farms, olive trees and small woods.
In the areas toward the north of Kerendium and central Hesperia, but more removed from the coast, crops of grain are grown, along with vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, sugar beet and fruit trees like plums, cherries, peaches, apricots and pears. Around the Trevanion and Mesonian rivers it is possible to find mixed forests of oak and hornbeam, with flood-plain vegetation (poplar, ash, willow, elm). West of Kerendium lies the woodland domain of Vyalia, where elves live following their own rules close to nature.
To the southeast is Vitalia: from the west, where the fertile, volcanic soil is grown into orchards and market gardens that produce tomatoes, squash, broccoli, artichokes, lemons, pears, figs, the land to the east gradually gives way to grazing hills for sheep and goats, where lemons, oranges, tomatoes and grapes are the most common products. The Sea of Dawn here is excellent fishing water.
In the Altan Tepes, there are mountainous and hilly regions, rich in minerals, where humans struggle for control of the area against hostile humanoids; apples are grown successfully in the mountain valleys; while in the river plains of the north-west rice is the most common cultivation.
To the northeast lies the peninsula of Cania, one of the most fertile areas of the region, also called ‘the grainland of Hesperia’; its warm climate, mitigated by the sea, allows for great yields in crops and fruits of many kinds.
Last but not least, the seas close to Hesperia are dotted by islands who are culturally and geographically linked to the mainland. The biggest one is Hattias, a somewhat infertile island, with vineyards and orchards in the north and sheep herding practiced further south. The western shores of the island are given to barley crops, and ale and beer are produced instead of wine.
Among the domestic animals found in the region are dogs, cats, sheep, goats, cattle, hares, pigs, hen. On Mosya, the Taymorans have small elephants originally brought from Sind. Hunting is popular all over Hesperia, boar hunting being the most dangerous and respected game among hunters. Wild mammals found on the mainland are: fox, wolf, jackal; lynx; mouse, rat, mole, porcupine; boar, wild pig; bat; marmot, red squirrel; weasel, stoat, marten, otter, pine marten, ferret, mink, wolverine, badger; chamois, ibex, moufflon (on Kartanya and Borydos); roe, red and fallow deer. Wolves and bears are not found on the eastern islands.
Sea mammals include dolphins and whales; the bigger whale species live in the Sea of Dawn.
Birds include: blackbird, nightingale, robin, thrush, skylark, chaffinch, goldfinch, song thrush (winter only), bluethroat (winter only), blackcap, turtledove, rock dove, swallow (summer only), cuckoo (summer only), hoopoe (summer only); various species of woodpecker; pheasant, quail, ptarmigan (on the Altan Tepes), reg-legged partridge (Albai, Kerendium, Teria); moorhen, sultana bird, avocet, stilt, woodcock (winter); kingfisher; greylag goose, mallard, swan; heron, stork (summer); seagull; raven, crow, magpie, chough, jay, spotted nutcracker (on the Altan Tepes); various species of owl; eagle, falcon, black kite, buzzard, sparrowhawk, osprey; griffon vulture (in Cania and on the islands), bearded vulture (on the Altan Tepes); ibis (in Cania), flamingo (on Kartanya).
Reptiles include many species of lizards and gekks; snakes; vipers (not found on the eastern islands); turtles and tortoise; while amphibians include several species of frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and the small, cave-dwelling proteus.
Saltwater fish include: sharks, rajiforms (like the stingray), seahorse, angler, seabass, mullets, mackerel, tuna, dentex, seabreams, swordfish, flatfishes, scorpionfish, eels, moray, pilchard, anchovy. Freshwater fish include: lamprey, tench, pike, marble trout, Hesperian trout, arctic char, sturgeon, eels, Hesperian chub.
Humans of Hesperia belong to several ethnic groups; the biggest one is known as Southerner-Hesperian, and it includes the two main groups of Thyatians and Kerendans, descendants of the intermingling of the Southerners (members of the Three Tribes that crossed the Sea of Dread to reach Hesperia from Davania around 600 BC) with many of the aboriginal Hesperian tribes who lived in the region before their arrival.
The two ethnicities spoke similar languages to begin with, and they believed they had the same origin. The Southerners brought new blood and strength to the Hesperians in their resistance against the other powers of the region. Now, more than three hundred years later, the result of the mixing are the Thyatians, in the east of Hesperia, and the Kerendans, in the west.
Thyatian and Kerendan languages are mutually intelligible, and they constitute a de facto language continuum. In the areas of eastern Kerendium and western Thyatium, the difference between the two groups are so blurred, both on ethnic composition and linguistic account, that they are on the point of being undistinguishable.
Hattians, although Southerners, seem to belong to a drastically different language group than their Thyatian and Kerendan kin; some speculate that they retained much more of the original Antalian culture from which the Three Tribes and Southerners alike belonged many centuries ago. The matter is hotly debated by sages and scholars.
The biggest aboriginal population that did not mix with the Southerners are the Etrusna, whose origin is shrouded in mystery, and who have a completely separate culture and a language unrelated to all the other aboriginal Hesperian cultures. The Etrusna occupied the coastline of central Hesperia and the interior from the lands of the Albai to the Mesonian river, but have lost much ground under the pressure of the Thyatians and the Kerendans,and they are struggling to retain control over their remaining lands. Fierce descendants of the Etrusna called Halatians, struggle to retain the mountain regions north of Thyatium against humanoids attacks.
Two other aboriginal populations did not intermingle with the Southerner tribes. On the Mainland, there are the Albai, an aggressive and barbaric tribal population; on the island of Kartanya there are the Kartana, a small population of shepherds, stonecutters and smiths.
Another major human group of Hesperia are the Doulakki: related to Traladarans and Milenians, Doulakki came to Hesperia by sea from the west, the north and the south, in different migration waves now lost to pre-Thothian history. A seafaring population, they were never interested in occupying the interior of the region, remaining content to trade with the locals and to establish their walled cities and market towns near the coastline.
Last but not least, there are the Taymorans. Descendants of a long-lost Empire, they considered themselves the most erudite and civilized population of Hesperia. However, most of their lore has become superstition, and they are very removed from the ancient power they were. They are now reduced to a minor sea trading population with a few strongholds in the eastern part of Hesperia, but cling almost desperately to the memory of what they were (or - to what they think they remember they were).
Apart from these, there are other human races that are strong players in the region: the most important of these are the fierce Aseni who roam the deserts north of Hesperia, and the seafaring Minrothians who inhabit most of the islands south of the region. They are distantly related to each other, as both are populations who were formerly subjects of the Thothian Empire.
Technologically speaking, humans of Hesperia are in the Iron age1.
The Albai2 live in the westernmost region of coastal Hesperia, and are one of the aboriginal people of Hesperia. The Albai are the fiercest human population of the area; of medium height and strong, powerful build, they have light skin, mostly light brown hair, with blonde and brown not uncommon - a few have red hair. Although most of them have dark eyes, about one in four have green or blue eyes.
The Albai used to living in many small villages and towns, and to war amongst one another. This made them especially vulnerable to invasion and colonization; in the past they probably occupied a bigger part of Hesperia, but they are now reduced to a small area in the west, where they are friends of the Vyalia Elves. The most important Albai city is Stalia, the capital of the Genuati tribe.
The Albai have a strong spiritual side: they build menhir stones which represent gods, clan heroes and ancestors; and most of the druids of Hesperia are of Albai ethnicity. Albai worship Immortal protectors in three pairs of consorts: Beg (Djaea) and Penn (Odin), the Sky Lords, whose temples are on the highest mountain peaks; Belenus (Asterius) and Cicne (Diulanna), the River Lords, whose shrines are in the forests, close to rivers or lakes; and the Great Mother (Terra) and Byll (the Bull Father; Ixion), the Earth Lords, whose temples are built at the beginning of farmlands outside the Albai towns and villages. They also honour Ordana, that they call Breig, in her role of mother of their elven allies.
Albai cities are major trading points between Traladarans, Vyalia, Callarii Elves, and Highforge Gnomes and Dwarves (from the west) with Doulakki, Etrusnans, Kerendans and Thyatians (from the east). Albai who live by the sea are mostly fishermen; those of the interior raise crops and olives on the terraced hills of the region. Albai women share the same social position of the men, and, probably because of the elven influence and the widespread worship of Cicne, they can be warriors and sometime even clan leaders or city rulers.
Last but not least, Albai are also fierce pirates; they sail with small boats and conduct hit-and-run piracy on smaller cargo ships, or kidnap rich passengers for ransom.
The Aseni are a desert population which lives in the Assinian desert north of Hesperia. They are one of the main enemies of the Hesperians, although, as they say, “Nobody can be as fierce an enemy of Hesperians than Hesperians themselves”. Aseni are tall, lean, with light olive skin and black hair; most have black and brown eyes, but hazel, honey and green are not uncommon, while blue eyes are extremely rare.
The Aseni culture is mainly nomadic; a few farmers live in the east of Assinia and some live sedentary lives in the oases of the interior or as olive farmers on the northern side of the Altan Tepes. Aseni with Thothian or Doulakki blood, generally found in the coastal and mountainous areas, are often shorter and of darker complexion, looking very much like Minrothians.
The Aseni have lived in Assinia for many centuries, although they originally came from the Isle of Dawn following their eponymous hero Assan. In Assinia, they were subjects of the Thothian Empire, living in the arid zones of the region. As the arid zones increased and the central Empire abandoned the region, the Aseni occupied more and more of the land. Aseni have fought the populations of Hesperia for as long as they can remember, either as subjects of the Thothians, as mercenaries (for Thothians or Alphatians), as raiders or to defend themselves from Hesperian raids.
Aseni can easily be found in Hesperia as mercenaries, adventurers and merchants, especially in coastal cities; a few might even be found as pirates on Hesperian ships.
Among the most important Aseni Immortals, there is a group known as the Guardian Immortals: Qeb (Terra), Zephyr (Asterius), Farath (Protius), Orisis (Ixion), Horon (Ixion), Maat, Amon (Odin) and Balsam (Chardastes); another popular Immortal in Assinia is Sinbad, a patron of adventurers, pirates and travellers.
The Doulakki of Hesperia are the remnants of a wave of colonists and invaders that settled the southern coasts from the north in times lost to history, and that included the Traldar, ancestors of the Traladarans west of Hesperia, and of the Milenians of the southern continent. Over time, Doulakki in Hesperia mixed with their fellow descendants of the Traldar in the Sea of Dread region and with Milenian migrants and adventurers from the south who hoped to find freedom in the old city-state system when Milenia became a centralized Empire.
The Doulakki have fair to olive skin complexion; generally they have brown hair, but blonde, red and black can be found. Brown or light brown eyes are the most common, with blue and green being present in about one-out-of-ten persons. Their faces have bony features with sharp noses, which tend to be straight from top to bottom. Doulakki are of medium height and average built, if anything tipping more towards a lean and resistant body than the sturdier appearance of Kerendans and Thyatians.
Many Traldar and Doulakki colonies dot southeastern Brun; at the height of Doulakki and Traldar expansion, there were about a 1,000 city-states in Brun, in the Sea of Dread and in the Sea of Dawn. In Hesperia, they have founded many colonies; the most important are Parthenope, Taras, and especially Sarausa. Outside of Hesperia, the most important Doulakki-Traldar colonies are Athenos (in Malpheggi), Akorros (near lake Amsorak), Cynidicea, Salonikos (on the other side of the Altan Tepes, west of Hesperia and north of Traladara) and Tameronikas (in Assinia3).
The Doulakki belong to an aggressive city-state culture with a complex mythology, philosophical interests and a tradition of seafaring trade and colonization. However, their political fragmentation and warlike attitude is also the reason of their decadence. Doulakki are currently an ethnic minority in the area and retaining control of only a handful of walled cities. Much of their magical and scholarly knowledge was lost about 250 years ago, during the Great Drought.
The main Immortal of Doulakki is Fos (Φως, “light” in Doulakki; Ixion). Just but colleric, Fos is said in legends to have taken mortal forms and mingled with the Traldar and the Doulakki, often having affairs with mortal women who then gave birth to heroes and demigods. After the Beastmen invaded the Traldar lands in 1000 BC, the so-called Age of Heroes ended: the gods left Brun, and the Traldar decline began, while the ‘new generation’ of Doulakki and Milenians prospered.
Doulakki males keep women in disdain. Women are mostly confined home, except for shopping, and are allowed only housekeeping activities and raising children; on the other hand, male homosexuality is considered completely normal, and is especially spread among the upper and intellectual classes. Doulakki cities are also known to host a caste of upper class prostitutes known as hetairai (ἑταίραι, sing. hetaira), are free women who renounce all family ties. Whereas all over Hesperia prostitutes working for brothels or pimps are often poor, uneducated, foreigners, slaves, or sold by a poor family, hetairai are companions only to a few men at a time (or even to a single one), often of their own choice. Hetairai provide intellectual conversation, and accompany politicians, generals and intellectuals in private social events like banquets, dinners and parties. Hetairai can become very wealthy, and control their own finances. However, their careers can be short, and if they do not earn enough to support themselves, for instance to buy farms or other commercial activities, they might be forced to work in brothels, or as pimps, as they become older. The life of a hetaira is dangerous; and the slide from hetaira to common prostitute is a major professional risk.
The most important aboriginal population of Hesperia are the Etrusna4, a sophisticated culture who benefitted from the many contacts with Taymorans, Thothians, Doulakki, and Milenians, becoming the dominant power in the region until the Great Drought. Like the Doulakki, the Etrusna are a race in decline, crippled by the effects of that cataclysm.
The Etrusna are of medium height and slightly leaner than the Thyatians in built. Most have brown or hazel eyes, but about one in four have green or, more rarely, blue eyes. Their hair ranges from bronze or blonde to black, and their skin has generally a light olive complexion.
The Etrusna are great architects and craftsmen; they are known to build vast underground tombs (necropolises); the richest sarcophagi are decorated with marvelously painted statues. They are credited with the invention of the modern arch (from which the word “architecture” comes) and were powerful diviners before they lost almost all their prophetic powers after the Sand Deluge and the years of the Great Drought, something that the superstitious Etrusna attribute to the loss of favour from the Immortals. The most important animal in the Etrusna culture is the horse, that is also their symbol.
The main Etrusna Immortal is Otinia (Odin). Their pantheon includes twelve gods, and twelve is a sacred number, often found in their culture, from the number of city-states of the Dodecapolis (their main political structure) to the number of representatives in assemblies, military or administrative subdivisions. An Etrusna city-state king is known by the title of lucumon. However, most cities have now switched from the old monarchical regimes to aristocratic ones.
One of the peculiarities of Etrusna is that their women are almost on equal standing with men, something that differentiates them from most other human cultures of the area. Etrusna women can own land and commercial activities; they can become traders, adventurers, and even pirates, although they are not allowed to join the military, and cannot rule, but can be entitled to some minor political and governmental role in some cities. Etrusna have a free sexuality, and women choose their own companions and husbands. Sexuality and the role of women is a major factor of contempt and dislike between Doulakki and Etrusna; on the other hand, that ideology has also favoured contacts, intermingling and political alliances with the Albai.
A sub-group of the Etrusna, the Halatians, live around the city of Antenora, located on the road between Thyatium and the central Altan Tepes. They speak their own dialect of Etrusna and are a stern population because of their constant struggle with the nearby humanoids of the mountains, but their culture is Etrusna at heart.
Sidebar: THE ETRUSNA DODECAPOLIS
Since before the arrival of the Three Tribes, the Etrusna have been organized in a loose confederation whose elected leader is known as the zilath mech rasnal. For religious reasons, there must always be twelve cities in the confederation, that is called the Dodecapolis (although minor cities and towns might be part of the Dodecapolis by putting themselves under the protection or control of one of the twelve). Over time, the fact that several of the main Etrusna cities have been conquered by Thyatians and Kerendans have led to the promotion of minor cities to the position.
The Etrusna Dodecapolis alliance was decisively beaten by a Kerendan-Thyatian alliance in 295 BC. After the battle, many Etrusnan cities passed under the political influence of Kerendas or of the League of Thyatis, although enough of them have remained formally independent to maintain the Dodecapolis at least in name.
The original Dodecapolis was made of: Vipsl; Veii (replaced by Rusle and then by Tlamon); Clevsin, Perusna (replaced by Kurtun); Aritim; Caisra; Velzna (replaced by Tusena); Tarchna; Velch (replaced by Faleroi); Vatluna; Fofluna; Velathri.
One of the Three Southerner Tribes who arrived on Brun before the Great Drought, Hattians seem to belong to a different culture than Kerendans and Thyatians. They are taller and of more powerful built than their fellow newcomers, tend to have jet black or blonde hair (while red and brown are quite uncommon), and either blue or dark eyes. Some speculate these traits might show two different ancestries of the original Hattian tribe.
Hattians are among the most aggressive of the populations of the area. Luckily, this attitude results in their extreme fragmentation in small clans and families that spend most of their time fighting against each other. Hattian leaders are violent and war-dedicated, and their society is strongly hierarchical. Hattian nobility is organized in a patriarchal feudal system where a local king, called Herzog5, rules over vassals known respectively - in decreasing order of importance - as Grafs6, Barons and Knights.
Baron, Graf (Comte) and Herzog (Duke) titles are passed to the eldest son, while property of the land is traditionally partitioned among all sons, in decreasing proportion, something that has led to bloody family feuds and to the habit of forcing sons to renounce their part to become free Knights, mercenaries, colonists, or priests, in order to avoid partitioning too much of the family land. Knighthood is not an hereditary title, and only a Duke, Comte or Baron can appoint a new Knight, although most Knights will try to help their male offspring to enter the service of their feudal lord.
Below the Knights are freemen, who don’t own any land, but can own houses in towns and are generally craftsmen or shopkeepers; a few might be merchants and pirates (and often both). These freemen can be called upon as footsoldiers for the petty local wars of the Dukes. The rest of the population is mainly made up of peasant serfs bound to the lands owned by the nobility. Ethnically, the serfs descend from a mix of lower-class Hattians with Hesperian or Doulakki humans who lived here before the arrival of the Three Tribes; or, they are humanoids (mostly lupins).
Hattian women are not entitled to own activities, to own land or to rule; they are thus second-class citizens in all respects. Daughters of feudal lords and knights are often married away for political reasons, to settle a feud, to unify adjoining fiefs, or to make an alliance.
The fierce Kartana are another aboriginal population of Hesperia who speaks a language unrelated to that of other cultures of the region (although some scholars have suggested a possible common ancestry between Kartana and Etrusna languages). They occupy about half of Kartanya, the island which takes its name from them east of Hesperia, and most of Borydos.
Kartana, of light olive complexion, black-haired and dark- or green-eyed, with often wavy or curly hair, are the shortest and leanest of the populations of Hesperia: expert mountaineers and stonebuilders, good fishermen but better shepherds, they worship first and foremost Setlanni (Wayland), an Immortal enemy of both Taymorans and Thothians.
Kerendans are the offspring of the intermingling of western Hesperian aboriginal populations (Etrusnan citizens, Albai clans, and members of other minor populations) with members of the Three Tribes from the southern continent.
The mix of the original Hesperians with Southerners was favoured by the significant language proximity of the Southerners’ speech with many of the minor languages of the tribes. The western Hesperian tribes found kinship with the invaders and took the chance to ally with them against the Etrusnans and Albai, that speak languages which are unrelated or much farther removed from their own. This has been the starting point of the legend that says that most of the Hesperian tribes descend from members of the same Antalian-related tribes who originated the Southerners, and that were able to escape from the Nithian enslavement.
Kerendans are of average height and medium-to-stocky built, with light olive to fair skin; they tend to have brown or black hair, with blonde not uncommon, and brown eyes, with about one-to-three in ten green- or blue-eyed, the proportion depending on the city, clan or tribe of origin (those closer to Albai tend to be fairer in hair and eye colour).
Kerendans, more influenced by Etrusnans and Albai than by Doulakki, have more relaxed customs towards women than the Thyatians and Hattians. Although their women cannot join the military, and adventurers and pirates are looked down upon, they can own commercial activities and even divorce their husbands in case a court finds a married man guilty of misgivings, beatings or cheating upon his wife.
Related to the Thothians and the Aseni, the Minrothians are the descendants of Thothians who left Assinia many centuries ago as the ruling class deteriorated and the land progressively desertified. Their seat is the Shode (“trader”, in Minrothian) Island.
Minrothians are of medium-to-short height and lean built. They have wavy brown or black hair and brown eyes, although one in five has green eyes, and they have a fair-to-dark olive complexion.
Minrothians were influenced by the seafaring Meditor elves and Taymoran humans of the region, and have become expert seamen themselves. However, their peaceful religious philosophy, created by their former ruler and namesake, the Immortal Minroth, has led them to resort to piracy much less than the other human races of the Sea of Dread and the Sea of Dawn.
The few descendants of the ancient Taymorans live on the eastern Hesperian islands, especially Carytion and Borydos, and in the mainland area known as Cania.
Taymorans are of medium height and lean built, with black or dark brown hair, and generally black or brown eyes, although green are not uncommon and blue eyed Taymorans can be found. Curly hair and aquiline noses are not uncommon either; they are distantly related to the Aseni, and Taymoran scholars have proven that the Aseni and Taymoran languages belong in fact to the same language family.
Taymorans descend from the original Taymorans of 2500-1700 BC; since almost two millennia have passed from that era, they are very different from their ancestors. They do not dabble in dark or necromantic magic: although Nyx remains one of the main deities of their pantheon, the main Taymoran deity is now Melq-Ashtir (Asterius); the Taymoran language is a distant relative of original Taymoran; and most of their ideas about their mythical past are mere legends or speculations.
Today Taymorans are mostly sailing merchants; their small communities and cities used to dot the Sea of Dread and Sea of Dawn around 800-600 BC, before their decline became almost irreversible due to Thothian and Milenian aggressive policies that led to their absorption or vanquishing. Thanks to the Great Drought, Taymorans managed to keep the control of Zyz in Hesperia, their only resisting major settlement on Brun, but they feel they are increasingly on the defensive - pressured by the Thyatian newcomers, as well as still fighting a war they cannot win against the Doulakki, their traditional rivals on Brun; moreover, the pressure from the Alphatians in the east and Hattians to the west puts at risk the control of their island strongholds on Kartanya and Mosya.
Taymorans are a dreamy, self-absorbed and decadent lot, the most fatalistic of the Hesperian peoples, and ready for the demise of their millennial culture, whether it will come from the Aseni to their north, from the Alphatians in the east or from the wars with Doulakki and Thyatians in the west. Their only fast allies in the region are the Minrothians, another mercantile culture with whom they recognize a distant form for kinship.
Thyatians are the result of the intermingling of eastern Hesperian aboriginal tribes (from the regions of the Mesonian river, and the areas known as Retia and Halatia) with members of the Thyatian tribe from the southern continent, and as thus are strongly related to the Kerendans.
The mix of the original Hesperians with Southerners was favoured by the significant language proximity of the Southerners’ speech with many of the minor languages of the tribes. The eastern Hesperian tribes found kinship with the invaders and took the chance to ally with them against the Goblinoids of the Altan Tepes and the Orcs of Halatia. This, along with the analogue of Kerendans in the west, has been the starting point of the legend that says that most of the Hesperian tribes descend from members of the same Antalian-related tribes who originated the Southerners, and that were able to escape from the Thothian enslavement.
Thyatians are of slightly less-than-average height and medium-to-stocky build, with light olive to olive skin; they tend to have brown or black hair, with blonde not uncommon, and brown eyes, with about one-to-two in ten green- or blue-eyed, the proportion depending on the city, clan or tribe of origin (those closer to the Altan Tepes mountains tend to be fairer in hair and eye colour, while the coastal Thyatians of the east have traces of Doulakki and Taymoran blood).
The name ‘Thyatians’ is now an umbrella name for a big number of Southerner-Hesperian sub-populations. These include Thyatians proper in Old Thyatium; Vitalians in New Thyatium and east of Thyatis; Retians north of Thyatium; Canians, in the interior regions of Cania; and Tallians, less of a mixed between aboriginals and newcomers, as they constitute the conquered serf class to the Hattian conquerors of the island of Hattias.
The cultural influence of Milenians and Doulakki is felt more towards the south-eastern coast; the more you move farther from the Etrusna homelands, the role and freedom of women decrease. However, women who are subjects of the League of Thyatis have several legal rights: they are citizens, although they have no right to vote and to be elected to office; and they can conduct commercial activities, own land, write their own wills, appear in court even acting as defendants, and divorce. No domestic abuse is allowed by a husband to his wife. Marriage is allowed between all citizens of cities belonging to the League of Thyatis, but not with citizens of cities outside of the League, or with people belonging to other foreign tribes or states.
Elves of Hesperia belong mainly to the Vyalia clans, whose lands signal the north-western border of geographical Hesperia. Meditor elves (and, to a lesser extent, Verdier) are a common sight of harbour towns and islands of the area. The Verdier and Meditor elves’ seat of power is the island of Alfeisle, but they control parts of Teria and Actius.
Vyalia elves (sometimes called silver elves to differentiate them from the Verdier and from other clans living westwards in Alfheim and Traladara) have fair or pale skin, and can have hair ranging from white and silvery to golden blonde to black, with red not uncommon; they have generally deep green or black eyes.
The Vyalia are mainly followers of the Immortal Ilsundal.
Verdier elves, often called wood elves, are 5 to 5½ tall, have fair skin which tends to tan under the sun, hair ranging in colour from silver, white and blond to brown, with green or hazel eyes. Their features bear a distant resemblance to the elves of Alfheim.
The Verdier are more serious-minded than their mainland cousins, more inclined to stick with long-term projects and tirelessly pursuing them until complete, for months or years; equally renowned is the long vacation they take after these projects, when they can spend months or years travelling or relaxing while they wait for a new project to absorb them.
The Verdier elves are chiefly followers of the dainrouw (“the forest way”), the philosophy taught by the Immortal Ordana.
Meditor elves, often called water elves by humans, are slightly taller than wood elves, have pale skin, and pale blond hair that bleaches almost white in the sun. Their eyes are blue-grey and their complexions are pale in spite of constant exposure to weather and sun.
A Meditor’s first love is the sea: water elves are fascinated by its ever-chaning moods and love to travel on the ocean. The Meditors’ system of beliefs is called elendaen (“the ocean path”). Created by their patron Immortal Calitha Starbrow, it holds that water is the cradle of life.
Humanoids are found in many areas of Traladara and in the Altan Tepes range - as well as in the northern half of Hesperia and in many parts of Assinia. This includes trolls, ogres, gnolls, and kobolds, which are already firmly in possession of the Hardanger range. The most common humanoids of Hesperia, and the only ones which possess a tribal or clan organization, are goblins, hobgoblins and orcs. Most of the members of the other races (especially ogres) can be found in small warbands, or as parts of tribes or clans of goblinoids and orcs.
Hesperian Goblins belong to the Goblinus Goblinus subrace; they have chalky tan skin and rusty-brown hair. Hobgolins are of the Goblinus Grandis subrace; they are of light tan skin, very short rusty-brown or black hair, toad-faced, with grey or black lips and protruding eyes.
Goblins and hobgoblins live mostly together on the slopes of the Altan Tepes, on the border between the region of Hesperia and that of Assinia, north-east to the Tauri lupins and north-west of the Halatian humans. Many of them arrived in the region circa 492-490 BC, after the Battle of Sardal Pass which drove them away from the dwarven lands of Dengar: some were remnants of the Queen Ubdala’s armies, while others came from the plains of Assinia, as the Great Drought that hit the region forced them to retreat to the mountains. Now many goblinoid tribes live on both sides of the Altan Tepes mountains. In a few instances, goblins and hobgoblins have been employed as mercenaries by Aseni, Taymorans and Doulakki, especially in the ongoing wars for the control of Cania.
The goblinoids of Hesperia speak a crude, broken language which seems related to the language of some human clans on Hemeria, and to the lupin clans of the Tauri subspecies. Many also speak Thyatian or Assinian, depending on which side of the mountains they live on.
Apart from the savage goblinoids of the mountains, there is also a civilized goblinoid population, the Karns, hobgoblins that control the city of Karntica. They act as the aristocratic government and military of the city, and are loosely allied to the Doulakki city-state of Sarausa.
Belonging mostly to the Orcus Porcus subrace, with porcine features, pink, brown, black or gray-greenish skin, sometimes with spots, orcs of Hesperia are violent savages who have their bases in the northwestern part of the Altan Tepes and spend the time fighting against each other and raiding lupins, elves and humans alike.
Some clans are known to practice human sacrifices and ritual cannibalism; others are less aggressive and have even been known to be friendly towards the lupins and to help them against the more brutal members of their race.
The orcs speak their own brutish variants of the local languages, and use as their own pidgin language made up of Taurian lupin, Altenian goblinoid, Albai human and Elvish. The proportions of the different languages in the pidgin varies from clan to clan depending on the geographical position and of the frequency of contacts with the other cultures of the area.
Lupins of Hesperia belong to the Mastinus Rex7 and Taurus Foveae8 subraces.
Generally of great strength and dignity, the Mastini are powerful mastiff-headed lupins of great resilience, and medium to big height and size. Mastini are renowned because they are naturally immune to any form for fear.
The Mastini are divided in four main clans: two in central Vitalia, the Hirpini (whose main capital is Valeria, dedicated to their patron Immortal Valerias) and the Brutii (whose capital is Constantia), who have traded and lived close to the Hesperian tribes for so long that they have adopted the Thyatian language; and two in northern Vitalia (the Iapyges, devoted to the Immortal Terra) and Cania (Messapians, whose capital is Lupiae), who speak their own related languages. These breeds share similar facial features and are generally of black or fawn color.
The Tauri are a little shorter and leaner than the powerful Mastini. Excessively aggressive, proud, impatient, and unpredictable by nature, their fighters are known to be often prone to a fighting rage similar to that of the Northerner berserkers. They have pitbull heads and can be of any colour.
The Tauri live mainly in the plains and hills close to the Altan Tepes mountains, from the Trevanion river to the lands of the Vyalia elves and the Albai humans; they have settled these areas since the times before the Sand Deluge in Assinia. Once, many Tauri lived on the northern slopes of the Altan Tepes, but after the Battle of Sardal Pass in 492 BC, most of them fled to their cousins on the southern side. This move was seen with favour and encouraged by the Hesperians, in order to have a buffer between the orcs and goblinoids and their lands.
Another big Taurian clan, the Belgi, live in Hattias. Many have been subjugated by the Hattians, but a certain number continue to oppose the intruders with a fierce guerilla force in the central hills of the island.
The Tauri lupins speak yet another language, related to a number of other Neathar languages of uncertain origin, like the language of the Karn goblins of Halatia and the language of the Dunael tribes of northern Hemeria. Scholars suggest that these populations might have lived closely together in the past, with this resulting in having some similar cultural traits - language among them.
An Atlas of Hesperia
Detailed map of Hesperia in 250 BC
We have seen the land at a glance, and described its flora, fauna, agriculture and people. Now we will look in detail at the regions of Hesperia, its cities and its political entities.
Our trip will start from the mainland, from the region known as Thyatium9, where the city of Thyatis lies; then to the areas under the control of the League of Thyatis; to the peninsula of Cania, the northeastern corner of Hesperia, where Doulakki and Taymorans have long fought for power.
From there we will take a look at the humanoid populations of the Altan Tepes, lupins, orcs and goblins, then move south to the lands of the Vyalia elves and the Albai tribes. Last but not least we will move back east along the coast to watch the conflict between Etrusna and Kerendans for the control of the fertile plains and hills of the western Hesperian coast.
Then we will embark on a voyage by sea to all the islands under the control of the Hesperian populations: starting from Teria in the Sea of Dread, to Hattias and thence to the many islands in the Sea of Dawn - Kartanya, Mosia, Borydos, Actius and Sakhla-Rhas.
Languages: Thyatian (Thyatian dialect, Vitalian dialect); Etrusna; Doulakki.
The main power of Hesperia is now the League of Thyatis, controlled by Thyatis, the most important of the Southerner-Hesperian cities. The whole area is now collectively known as Magnum Thyatium, but there are three main sub-regions - Tuska, Thyatium Vetus, and Sabellia.
Thyatis is located in the region known as Thyatium Vetus (“Old Thyatium”), comprised between the city and the port of Eea, so-called from Eos, a powerful prophetess-witch who was said to be a daughter of Solarios (Ixion), and who supposedly lived - and still lives - in the area, although there is no confirmed sighting of her since the time of the Great Drought. It is a relatively fertile area, with wheat-cultivated valleys and plains, surrounded by hills where olives and grapes are the main cultivation, sheep are a common sight and boar hunts and fighting sports are the favoured pastimes respectively of villagers and city-dwellers.
Thyatis (pop. 167,000) is the city in control of the League, and all other members are basically subject cities at various levels. The city has two military leaders, called consules, but it is ruled by an aristocratic Senate. The population elects two tribuni, magistrates who have some legislative powers and can apply some form of control over consules and Senate. No representatives in the City of Thyatis come from outside the city itself.
Thyatis is considered the first city built by the Southerners on Hesperia, and the Thyatian Calendar counts the years from the establishment of the city in 600 BC. Currently we are in 350 AUC10 (Ab Urbe Condita, “since the foundation of the city”). It was ruled by a king until 498 BC, when the last, corrupt king Tarlin was exiled and replaced by the aristocratic regime.
Tibur (pop. 5,600), located at the foot of the Thyatian hills on the banks of the Mesonian river, is the second city in Old Thyatium. It is considered the first place on Brun where members of the Three Tribes forged an alliance with aboriginal Hesperians in order to fight the Etrusna Dodecapolis.
Old Thyatium is dotted with many towns, great and small, all either subject to the direct control of Thyatis, or part of the Thyatian League. Among the most important are Lavinia, Tusculum, and Antium. Politically, these cities and towns follow the blueprint of Thyatian politics, with aristocratic families as main rulers but with a few minor political magistrates reserved for election to the urban and rural population.
North of Old Thyatium, lies Sabellia, a region settled by the Sabelli clans, belonging to the Thyatian subgroup known as Vitalians. In the inland areas, hills and low mountains allow for good pastures for sheep and cows, and a moderate yield of wheat and olives, complemented by specialized cultures like sunflower, farro and lentils. Towards the Sea of Dawn, red grapes are cultivated for wine, and the sea is rich in fish. Higher hills and mountains south separate Thyatium from Vitalia proper.
The many Vitalian communities living in Magnum Thyatium are grouped together in several territories, each one ruled by an elected meddix (‘magistrate’ in Vitalian Thyatian), a yearly-elected sheriff who is responsible for upholding law. Each territory ruled by a meddix is called touto (‘state’ in Vitalian Thyatian). The sheriff administers justice and is responsible for the safety of the touto by fighting brigands, or pirates if it is a coastal touto.
Vitalian cities in Thyatium are not so much dominating territories as considered part of them, so villagers, farmers, hunters and shepherds of a touto are entitled to vote and even be elected as meddix. For military purposes, each touto has local troops and reserves that are subject to the Thyatian Leagues’ military hierarchy. The main settlements in the region include:
Perusna11 (pop. 8,000), formerly an Etusna city, was conquered and occupied by Vitalians. It controls an area famous for its black truffles and its hams and sausages of pork.
Agkon (Ἀγκών, in Doulakki; pop. 4,500), a Doulakki city founded by Sarausan exiles in 387 BC, is the most important fish market on the Sea of Dawn. It is the only city in Magnum Thyatium not directly or indirectly controlled by Thyatis.
Corfinium (pop. 3,600), the biggest city of Magnum Thyatium on the southern hills, home to a sanctuary dedicated to Djaea, in her role as healer and serpent-queen. Here, a small but important hospital and a medical school consecrated to Chardastes have been established.
Picenum (pop. 2,500) allied itself to the Thyatians in 295, officially on an equal standing, although it is in practical terms a protectorate of the League. Picenum, a Vitalian city, asked for protection from the army of Sena, a Tauri lupin city that was located on the coast north of Agkon. The intervention of the League led to the defeat of the Tauri of Sena, who were mostly killed, enslaved or deported. The League plans to build a colony on the ruins of the city. Not far from Picenum, there is an important sanctuary, Kypra, dedicated to Valerias, its patron deity. The symbol of Picenum is the green woodpecker, whose Thyatian name (“picus viridis”) gives name to the town.
Before the arrival of the Three Tribes, the Mesonian river was the border between the Etrusna-controlled coast and the lands of the Hesperian tribes. This eastern Etrusna territory, known as Tuska, was the first area of expansion of the Southerner-Hesperian alliance, and is now under Thyatian or Kerendan control. Its main centers are:
Tarchna12 (pop. 4,300), part of the League of Thyatis since 294 BC, has always been in close relationship with Thyatis: the family of Tarlin, the last king of Thyatis, was originally from Tarchna. The city is the major port of the League on the Sea of Dread. At least one olive treant is known to live in the olive fields outside the city, and to act as an ambassador of treelife to the citizens. Every two or three years he will take a couple of weeks travelling through the countryside and then ask for parley at the aristocratic council which rules Tarchna. He will hide among the olives otherwise, sleeping most of the time, but he is rather friendly and is known to entertain human and elven visitors sometimes.
Velch13 (pop. 3,900), an important market town, is nominally independent, but subject to Kerendas since 294 BC. It is the usual meeting point for Kerendan and Thyatian representatives to discuss treaties, peace, war, and the political situation of Hesperia.
Caisra (pop. 5,100) is the easternmost coastal city of the Etrusna Dodecapolis. It was once allied with Zyz in order to have an external naval support against the Doulakki of Vitalia, but as the Thyatians ate into the Doulakki possessions there, it switched allegiance to Thyatis in 274 BC.
Tusena (pop. 3,500), a member of the Thyatian League since 270 BC, never fought against Thyatis, judging it better to opt out of the Etrusna-Thyatian wars until the winner could be determined. The treaty with the League was signed by the current tyrant-king, Lars the Cripple, a strict but just ruler who is loved by his people. Seldom seen in public, in his mid-fifties, he is said to be a leper, cursed by the Immortals for an unknown crime. Sometimes he travels with a chart to a sacred cave near the sea to pray for repentance, and people passing by during the nights have sworn they could hear the king wailing in pain. The rumors of his ailings have led to two attempts at ending his rule, one by some opposing aristocratic families, and one by a band of cold-blooded adventurers, but both failed - in part given the popular support that Lars has.
Veii, one of the original Dodecapolis members, was destroyed in 396 BC by the Thyatians; in its place now there are only farmlands and pastures. The ruins of Velzna can be seen on the road from Perusia to Caisra; the Etrusna city was completely destroyed by the Thyatians in 264 BC, and its surviving population has been divided among the surrounding League cities.
Velzna is a dangerous place for travellers, as it is said that ghosts of the leaders who challenged the power of Thyatis and risked the life of their fellow citizens haunt the ruins. Others say it is only brigands. In any case, the aristocratic councils ruling Perusna and Caisra have had several disturbing reports (missing persons, dead crops, persons gone insane after passing through Velzna) and are considering the possibility of summoning the League for an expedition in the ruins.
Future geographical reference: Duchy of Thyatis (Old Thyatium, Tuska and Sabellia).
Vitalia and Iapygia
Population: 120,000 (90,000 humans, 30,000 lupins)
Languages: Thyatian (Vitalian dialect); Doulakki; Lupin (Iapygis dialect).
Along the southern Hesperian shore, east of Eea, lies a region that was called Vitalia (“Land of Calves”) by the Doulakki, because of the abundance of cattle they found when they first arrived there. The Doulakki founded several cities and towns on the coast but, as was their custom, they left the control of the hills and mountains of the interior to the aboriginal Hesperians. With the arrival of the Three Tribes of the Southerners, the Vitalians mingled with the newcomers to form a new population that is now part of the Thyatian stock.
Here the Vitalians of the big cities have an aristocratic, oligarchic ruling class, while those of the smaller towns and rural areas share the ruling system of the populations of Magnum Thyatium, with a meddox elected by the whole population of a territory. These minor cities and towns are all either directly subject to the League of Thyatis or to the major cities of the region.
The most fertile and strategically important area of Vitalia is on the west side to the Vitalian hills, where the volcanic soil favours the growth of wheat, and many types of fruits and vegetables. Cattle is the most common farm animal; famous are the Vitalian buffalos, used to produce the famous mozzarella cheese. In this area are no less than four major settlements:
Nuvkrinum (pop. 9,000) was founded by Etrusna in 603 BC as their easternmost colony in the south, with the explicit intent to stop Doulakki colonization in the west. It was defeated by a Doulakki-Vitalian coalition in 474 BC, and occupied by the Vitalians. It has been a member of the League of Thyatis since 307 BC.
Kyme (Κύμη, pop. 15,000) was founded in 740 BC by the Doulakki, who had in Kyme their westernmost settlement on the southern shore of Hesperia. Kyme was conquered and occupied by Vitalians in 421 BC, and became part of the League of Thyatis in 334 BC. The sanctuary of the Sybil, a few miles out of Kyme, is one of the most important shrines in Hesperia. Dedicated to Nyx, it is presided over by a single virgin priestess at the time, who is known to prophesize in divinatory trance, although her prophecies are rare and obscure. According to Doulakki lore, the Sybils were able to divine much more often and more clearly before the Sand Deluge. Doulakki and Etrusna interpret this as a clear sign of the newfound disfavour of Immortals towards humankind.
Kapwa (pop. 12,000) founded by Etrusna, was occupied by Vitalians in 425 BC and has been a member of the League of Thyatis since 338 BC. An artistic, sprawling cultural city, it is one of the most liberal places in Hesperia, with advanced civil rights and freedoms, including total gender equality. It is a haven for the persecuted, the exiles and the losers at the political game from all of Hesperia: a land of peace and freedom or a place of dissolution and indecent sexual customs, depending on your take on the matter. Despite its membership in the League, it has managed to uphold its values and traditions even when this put it at odds with other cities of the League, including the major partner.
Parthenope14 (Παρθενωπη, pop. 16,500) was founded by Doulakki from Kyme, and had a boost in population and importance after Kyme was conquered by the Vitalians. It joined the League of Thyatis in 326 BC.
To the east of the hills, in south-eastern Vitalia, there are two major Traldar-Doulakki colonies:
Rhegion15 (Ρήγιoν, pop. 7,800), was founded in 730 BC, and have been subject to Sarausa since 387 BC. Sarausa took control of the city because of its strategic position, which controls access both to Vanya’s Girdle and to the Gulf of Karn.
Kroton (Κρότων, pop. 12,000) was founded in 718 BC. One of the most powerful cities of the region, it lost much of its political importance after being defeated by Sarausa in 383 BC. Its ambitions curtailed, it developed as an important center for the study of philosophy, mathematics and medicine. It joined the League of Thyatis in 277 BC, after another military defeat. Kroton also hosts one of the biggest religious units in Hesperia, the Sanctuary of Djae Lacinia, made up of a holy forest, pastures for holy animals used for sacrifices and divination, several temples and a lighthouse. The Sanctuary is managed by the priesthood of Djaea, although there are other priests living and performing religious duties in the minor temples of the area.
In this part of Vitalia there are also the ruins of Sybaris, once one of the mightiest Doulakki cities in Hesperia (founded in 720 BC and destroyed by Kroton in 510 BC).
In the hilly areas between Kroton and Parthenope, there are also two clans of Mastini lupins. Their main cities are:
Valeria (pop. 5,200), located in an alluvial basin at the foot of the hills, is the capital of the Hirpines lupins, who were defeated in 292 BC by the League of Thyatis and forced to join it. The area is very green and the main cultivations are nuts and chestnuts, traded with the coastal cities of the south. It is not so much a city as a group of close villages and farms, who meet as a town council for rule, and in the Temple of Valerias, the patron of the Hirpines, for religious rites (hence the name of the “city”). The anarchical and communal organization of the Hirpines has much to do with the worship of that chaotic, free-spirited Immortal.
Constantia (pop. 7,000) is the capital of the Brutii lupins, founded in 356 BC to establish a central, unitary stronghold to defend themselves better from the other populations of Vitalia. Constantia was conquered in 270 BC by the League of Thyatis and it was annexed into the League. The heavily fortified city sprawls over hills of around 200-250 m asl of height, and is characterized by close houses with narrow and tortuous roads. Its position, very close to high mountains, gives it a somewhat unpleasant climate, with hot, dry summers with little to no wind nor precipitation, and cold, snowy winters. The main cultivations of the area are olives, figs, red and white grapes.
North of the hills, to the north-east of Vitalia, lies the region known as Iapygia, from the name of the Iapyges, the lupin tribes that are its oldest settlers; their capital is Hyria (pop. 6,000).
The Iapyges lupins and the main city-state of the area, the Doulakki city of Taras16 (pop. 9,000, founded 706 BC), fought a long series of wars against each other. This led to both of their demise: divided and enfeebled, they were finally subdued by the League of Thyatis ten years ago (in 260 BC).
Future geographical reference: County of Lucinius.
Retia and Halatia
Languages: Thyatian (Retian dialect); Etrusna (Common Etrusna; Halatian dialect); Doulakki; Lupin (Iapigian dialect); Karnic.
[Image: Retia and Halatia]
North of Thyatium, the land is known as Retia, from the name of the Retians, the Thyatian-Hesperian clans living here. Retia was one of the first areas of expansion of the Thyatian tribes, who joined the locals in trying to repel the goblinoids from the hills of the region. The Etrusna also have several strongholds in the area. The main cities of the region are:
Verona (pop. 17,000), capital of the Retians, is one of the most ancient Hesperian cities of Brun. It has been allied to Thyatis (but as an equal partner, and not as part of the League) since 390 BC. Built on the Polythius river, the city is famous for its mills, bridges and canals.
Spna17 (pop. 15,000), founded by the Etrusna in 540 BC, survived a major goblinoid invasion after the Sand Deluge and remains independent to this day, being the only mainland Etrusna port on the Sea of Dawn.
Felzna (pop. 14,700), is the main settlement in the region between the Trevanion and Mesonian rivers, in a valley that connects Kerendium with Retia. Felzna clings to its independence thanks to its strategic position, although it is under constant threat of goblinoids from the Altan Tepes. It is closely allied to Spna. In the plains between the two cities, many types of ham, cheese and sparkling red wines are produced, making the area one of the most renowned in Hesperia for food.
Hatria (pop. 13,000), originally an Etrusna city founded in 530 BC; many Sarausan exiles found refuge here in 385 BC; the unlikely Etrusna-Doulakki alliance prospered, and Hatria expanded its port and emporium, becoming the most important city of the region; however, Hatria was then conquered by a Sarausan expedition which employed a vast army of goblinoid and Aseni mercenaries. Since then, the city has belonged to the Sarausan kingdom.
Karntika18 (pop. 14,500, 60% hobgoblins, 30% humans, 10% goblins), stronghold of the civilized goblinoids known as Karns, the only goblinoid enclave of the region. The Karn hobgoblins constitute the aristocracy and military of the city, while Hesperians and Doulakki make up the merchantile class of the city and goblins are used as slaves and cheap labour force. The city has a loose alliance with Sarausa and is used as a sort of enforcer towards Hatria. In recent years, elves from Vyalia have visited Karntika and have been seen to act as advisers to the hobgoblin leaders, something that has puzzled most.
North, towards the mountains, is a region known as Halatia, where the Halatians, hardened frontiermen of Etrusna ethnicity, strive to keep goblinoids away from the Thyatian lands to the south. Halatia is mostly occupied near the Altan Tepes. In the northern part there are impressive carbonate rock dolomite mountains, with eighteen peaks that rise above 3,050 m (10,000 feet) of height above sea level.
The main city of the Halatia is Antenora (pop. 11,000), a trading city where the Halatians trade with the Retians and Etrusna. According to legends it should be one of the most ancient settlements of Hesperia, as its foundation date is given as 1132 BC.
Future geographical reference: Duchies of Retebius and of Kantrium (Retia), and County of Halathius (Halatia).
Languages: Taymoran (Zygian dialect); Doulakki; Thyatian (Canian dialect); Lupin (Messapian dialect).
Cania is the northeastern peninsula of Hesperia, and the most fertile area of southeastern Brun, insofar it is sometimes called ‘the grainland of Hesperia’: Cania produces all types of grains, fruits and vegetables. It is a rich and varied land, with plains, hills, mountains, so that almost any possible type of cultivation is produced here. Cania even has an active volcano on the eastern slope of the Altan Tepes towards the sea: the Setla, located about halfway between Tameronikas and Karntika, was considered by the Doulakki to be once the seat of the Immortal Setlannis on Mystara, before the Immortals shunned forever the company of humankind. On the extraordinarily fertile slopes of the volcano, pistachios, lemons and oranges are cultivated with exceptional yields. The important agricultural center of Katane (pop. 4,000), a Doulakki colony founded in 729 BC, is located at the feet of the volcano. Given its strategic position, Katane has had a troubled history, having been invaded and occupied alternately by Sarausa and Zyz. Currently it has tried to improve its standing by applying to join the League of Thyatis in 263 BC. The Thyatians occupied the city with a garrison and imposed a tax, while pretending to still be ‘considering’ the application. In fact, the League is thinking to use Katane as a staging point for a possible expansion to the east.
Cania has been a major area of strife between Doulakki and Taymorans for centuries, since the Thothian Empire left Assinia and they started warring against each other. In the interior, as is often the case where Doulakki and Taymoran cities control the coasts, there are aboriginal Hesperians called Canians, now heavily mixed with Southerners from the Three Tribes. The northern part of Cania, where Tameronikas lies, is a major battlefield between Doulakki and Taymorans, and between people of Hesperia and hostile goblins and Assinians from the north. In one instance, a major Assinian invasion managed to take for some time Sarausa before one of the earliest coalition of all Hesperian peoples managed to take the city back.
The city of Zyz19 (pop. 83,600) is the strongest Taymoran outpost in Hesperia. It is a cosmopolitan trading centre, the passageway between Hesperia and Hemeria, and the biggest center of Taymoran lore in the world. Zyz is ruled by an aristocratic council, presided over by two sufets, democratically elected for one year by the citizens’ assembly. Military leaders are elected separately and raise mercenary armies with public funds. Most of the mercenary forces of Zyz are made up of Aseni warriors. Zyz was founded by Taymorans coming from Mosya, and is still strongly linked to the Taymoran island-state in the western Sea of Dawn. Zyz and the Taymorans are the main rivals of Thyatis, Kerendas and Sarausa as the major regional power. Tension between Zyz and Thyatis has built up much in later years, and since 264 BC the two cities are de facto in a state of cold (and sometimes even real) war.
Lilithei (pop. 6,800) was founded in 397 BC by refugees from the island-city of Motye, whose ruins remain outside the coast in front of Lilithei. Motye was an ancient Taymoran city, later destroyed by the Doulakki of Sarausa. The people of Lilithei have since put themselves under the protection of Zyz.
It is said that in the underground of Motye, in some caves of the island, there are still ancient Taymoran horrors, like werecreatures, giants, albinos used for experiments, and secret temples to beings much older than the Immortals. The Taymorans sneer at these rumours, waving them off as Doulakki propaganda. However, it is true that a few Taymorans visit the city from time to time, and some scholars, priests and wizards from Zyz and Lilithei hold estates in Motye.
East of Zyz lies the Doulakki city of Sarausa20 (Σαραύσα, pop. 100,000), which has been the major rival of Zyz since before the Great Drought, and is the second biggest city of Hesperia. Sarausa, founded in 734 BC, is by now the most important Doulakki city of eastern Brun; a major center for science and arts, with several theaters, a philosophical school, a technology college and a mathematics and astronomy school that even Alphatians and Thothians don’t dare look down upon.
Sarausa is the major agricultural center of Hesperia; the Sea of Dawn is especially rich with fish here, and the Sarausan tuna is renown to the point that Alphatian vessels risk the pirate-ridden seas to buy tuna fish for their gourmet masters.
Sarausa is ruled by the brilliant and devious Ieron II, a 58-year old military leader who was elected tyrant in 270 BC, and is considered one of the most influential personalities in all Hesperia.
Segesta (pop. 5,300) is a Canian-Doulakki town allied to Zyz. Founded by Canians around the VIII century, it moved under Doulakki influence as the Thothian control over the region dwindled. Rivals of Sarausa, the Segestans put themselves under the protection of the Zygians since 409 BC. The history of Segesta is filled with tragic episodes, like the sack of the city in 307 BC by the Sarausan tyrant Agathokles, who killed or sold as slaves half of its population.
Hybla (pop. 6,000) is a Canian center that is subject to Sarausa since 664 BC. It was historically the capital of a major kingdom which controlled all the central part of Cania; nowadays it is settled by descendants of the original population of the city and of colonists sent by Sarausa. Contrary to the nearby Mene (pop. 2,000), who led a rebellion against the Doulakki of the region in a long war (460-440 BC), Hybla never rebelled to Sarausa, and prospered because of this. Although two centuries have passed, and Mene is now firmly under the control of Sarausa, the rivalry between Meneans and Hybleians is still very strong. Many Meneans fled to the Taymoran-controlled part of Cania, and several have established mercenary dynasties based in Zyz, Segesta and Lilithei.
Nisa (pop. 5,500) is the most ancient city of Cania: historical documents say that the town already existed as a major settlement when Thothians started exacting tributes from the Hesperian tribes around 1000 BC. Founded by aboriginal populations related to the Albai, it is now mostly of mixed Canian (i.e., Thyatian) and Doulakki ethnicity, although blondes, gingers and light-eyed people are more common than in other areas of Cania, betraying the blood of the ancient founders of the city. Another connection with the Albai lies in the fact that the main patron of Nisa is Byll (Ixion). Nisa is the name of one of seven stars in the constellation of the Bull, so named from the names of seven nymphs who, according to Canian legends, lived in the woods around the hills of Nisa itself. Some Doulakki priests say they are still there, although they have cut out any contact with common mortals after the Sand Deluge and the departure of the Immortals from Hesperia.
Culturally, another city geographically located in Assinia is also part of the Doulakki Cania: Tameronikas (Ταμερόνικας, pop. 20,000), founded by Doulakki colonists in 581 BC. It was almost destroyed in 406 BC by Zyz, and its population and power in the region was much diminished, until it was subjected to the power of Sarausa as a protectorate in 339 BC. The Sarausan tyrants enlarged the city and sent many colonists to Tameronikas, but the city’s aristocracy tried to wrest themselves away from their neighbours’ influence. This led to a new war with Sarausa, after which Tameronikas lost and was put directly under Sarausan rule in 280 BC.
In the western part of Cania, at the border with Retia, is a buffer state controlled by the Messapians, a major clan of Mastini lupins, whose main settlement is the stronghold of Lupiae (pop. 5,000), founded according to lupin legends as far back as 1200 BC. The Messapians speak their own language, related only to the lupin language of the Iapygian lupin tribes that live in Vitalia.
Future geographical reference: Duchy of Tel Akbir, Emirate of Nicostenia.
Western Altan Tepes
Government type: Lupins are organized into confederated tribes, sometimes led by a powerful city-state king. Goblins live in communities most often led by hobgoblin kings.
Population: 54,000 (32,000 lupins, 12,000 goblinoids, 7,000 orcs, 3,000 humans)
Languages: Taurian; Altenian (a goblinoid variant of the Taurian language); Albai; Etrusna
The region comprised between the Trevanion river and the lands of the Vyalia and the Albai is the fighting ground of goblinoids and lupins. The Tauri lupins of the area have managed to repel the orcs and goblinoids, who have been a major problem in the region since 492-490 BC, and to contain their activities.
Most of the area is wilderness and mountains; however, there are fertile lands cultivated by the lupins, and there are several important settlements: from east to west, the main cities are Brixia, Biania and Taurasia, located on the Kerenda river, which prospers from the control of the pass to the Traldar trading post of Salonikos on the western side of the Altan Tepes. This area is often called simply Tauria.
A few humans of Albai or Etrusna ancestry have farms or villages in the areas closer to the southern plains, and live free and dangerous lives near the lupin clans or among them.
The Altenian goblinoid clans live mostly on the mountain areas, in caves and dungeons, and often have strongholds that are only partly on the surface, extending further underground. Smaller or less powerful tribes live on the surface in small villages made of huts or underground in big natural caves.
In the westernmost part of the northern Altan Tepes, orcish clans dominate the region. These orcs occupy lands that, according to Taymoran scholars, were once under the control of a declining giant race. Even though the occasional giant has been seen in the Altan Tepes, no trace of giant strongholds have been recorded since the time of the Great Drought and the arrival of the humanoids. As it is extremely difficult to venture in the orc-controlled mountains, it is not known whether the giant clans live there in total isolation from the rest of the world, if they have migrated, or if they are extinct.
The buffer states of the lupins were a major factor of growth for the coastal cities, mostly untouched by the goblinoids’ activities. However, the game went terribly sour for them in 394-390 BC, when lupin clans led by Brennan, a particularly skilled war leader (counseled by Sarausan tacticians), descended on the unsuspecting central cities: they lay siege to Verona and sacked Clevsin and Thyatis before retiring north undefeated.
After that, the lupins dedicated themselves mostly to fight the goblins and consolidate their grip on the fertile areas. However, in recent years a flurry of messengers and caravans to and from Sarausa and Karntica have made the Thyatians and Etrusna wary. It might be that the Tauri will become a problem again soon.
Future geographical reference: Barony of Biazzan, Barony of Buhrohur, northwestern Imperial Territories, central Imperial Territories.
Government type: Several independent clans, ruled by a clan master presiding over a clan council.
Population: 10,000 (99% elves)
Languages: Elven (Vyalia dialect)
The western forests between Traladara and Hesperia are the home of the elven clan of the Vyalia. The Vyalia are the most powerful wizards of the region: Doulakki, Taymoran and Etrusna mages have noticed that the elven powers have increased after the Sand Deluge and Great Drought, contrary to their own. Some scholars have pointed towards the increasing power of the Alfheim elves further west in Brun, but if there is a relationship it must be indirect, as the Vyalia are no more than on mildly friendly terms with their distant brethren. On the other hand, Vyalia have very close relations with the Meditor and Verdier elves of Teria and Minrothad.
The Vyalia’s stronger allies in the region are the Albai: the Vyalia have representatives in all the coastal Albai ports, in order to ease the trade and other common activities with the Meditor and Verdier. The Albai respect for forests and nature have greatly smoothed the relations with the Vyalia, contrary to those with the Traladarans more west, who have a superstitious, fearful and often aggressive behaviour against forest creatures and elves alike.
The Vyalia elves also keep friendly relations with the Tauri lupins at their north. Contrary to the coastal human cities, the Vyalia know that they must provide something back for the role the Tauri play in the political balance of Hesperia: they send scouts, magic-users and even elven weapons and armour to the lupins to help them secure their lands and keep off the goblins.
Although most of the elves live in small communities in the forest, there are a few major centers, mostly trading posts where the most open-minded and friendly Vyalia live, sometimes used for important clan meetings. These are Ryania in the far west, bordering with the lands of Traladara; Vyalia, the outermost post of the elves where humans and lupins trade; Calentaen (“green heights” in the Vyalia dialect), the main meeting point for the clans, also used for all political and diplomatic meetings with the Albai and Tauri; and Taurost (“forest town”), the main place of contact between the Vyalia elves and Albai. An important market takes place in town once a month, when Albai from Stalia and Tauri from Taurasia bring their goods to town and stay for three days. A couple of human-owned taverns and a lupin guesthouse can be found in Taurost, and a few families of Albai have settled in town permanently.
Future geographical reference: County of Vyalia, Vyalia lands in Karameikos
Government type: Free tribes, scattered in villages and cities that can have a tribal council, or a king, or both; some of the tribes and/or cities are loosely allied against the Kerendans.
Languages: Albai, a language distantly related to Antalian and Thyatian.
A heavily forested region, Alba, the land of the Albai Tribes, is comprised between the Sea of Dread and a long series of low hills to the north. It borders the lands of the Traladarans to the west and of the Vyalia elves to the north, making it one of the most exposed to dangerous monsters coming from the forest of Dymrak. However, Albai and Vyalia have managed to dodge most of the dangers coming from the forests and to exploit them for defensive reasons against menaces to their independence whether they came from orcs and goblinoids further north, or from Kerendans and Etrusna east.
Where Alba is washed by the Sea of Dread, the climate is typically coastal, with warm but pleasant summers and mild winters; more in the hinterlands, it can be much colder during winter. Alba is one of the most rainy areas of Hesperia, especially from late autumn to early winter. On the terraced farmlands of Alba, olives, grapes, lemons, chestnuts are produced. Most Alba living on the shores are fishermen or pirates (many are actually both).
The most important settlement of the area is Stalia21 (pop. 7,000); the gatewest to the western interior, it has an important fluvial port, well-connected to Velathri. Its strong fortified walls and perfect position makes it well-capable to halt any aggressive Etrusna or Kerendan activity towards the Albai. Kainua (pop. 1,600) is the main naval port, connected to Stalia by a paved road patrolled regularly by Albai warriors. Albinga (pop. 1,200) is the westernmost settlement of the Albai, on the coast far into the Dymrak forest, and a trading outpost with the Traladara.
Future geographical reference: Duchy of Machetos
Government type: The city-state of Kerendas controls directly several cities in the area; others are city-states, nominally independent but in fact under Kerendan control; still others are truly independent city-states.
Population: 200,000 (99% humans)
Languages: Etrusna, Thyatian (Kerendan dialect)
Kerendium is the name given to the area of influence of the Kerendans, in western Hesperia, and takes the name from the major city of the region, mirroring the ‘Old Thyatium’ name given to the area controlled by the Thyatian populations in the east. The old name of the region is Etrusna, although with the increase of power of the Kerendans and the decline of the Etrusna civilization, it is used less and less to indicate the region.
Kerendas (pop. 75,000) was the Doulakki name of an Etrusna port close to a city known as Vipsl (pop. 3,300), built on the hills behind the current Kerendas. The area was conquered by an alliance between the Three Tribes and local Hesperians of central Thyatis; after the conquest they expanded the port into a whole city from which they started the expansion into the area. Vipsl still exists as a formally independent Etrusna-Kerendan settlement close to the main capital of the Kerendans, and is still a member of the Etrusna Dodecapolis.
Kerendas is ruled by an aristocratic council, whose members are the leaders of the families which descend from tribe and warband leaders who conquered Kerendas and Vipsl in 596 BC in the first place, including a good number of families of aboriginal Hesperian or even Etrusna origin.
The second most important Kerendan city is Ad Pisas22 (pop., 5,000). Formerly an Etrusna portal town, its harbour is built at about 4 km (2,5 miles) from the city proper. The Kerendan shipbuilding facilities are all located in Ad Pisas.
Rusle (pop. 3,400) is a portal city which trades mainly in timber and grain from the interior. The port is associated with a temple dedicated to Ordana, set on a rocky promontory to the south, which acts as a marker for the coastal trade in the area. The city was founded in the VII century, and its cyclopean walls were built by a giant clan recruited from the Altan Tepes (one of the last times giants were ever seen in coastal Hesperia). Rusle was a member of the Etrusna Dodecapolis from 396 BC (when it replaced Veii) until it was conquered by the Kerendans in 294.
Tlamon (pop. 8,000) is a fully independent city which holds one of the most important Etrusna religious sanctuaries, dedicated to the head of the Etrusna pantheon, Otinia (Odin), and is especially holy to all Etrusna. The presence of the sanctuary and of holy warriors, disciples of Otinia, has been associated to two VI century sieges that ended very badly for the aggressors (Etrusna once, Kerendans the second time): it is said that Otinia himself assumed mortal form to fight for the city on those two occasions. This myth has contributed to Tlamon keeping its independence. The city is built close to long, beautiful sandy beaches, lined by pine trees, and is walled only on the sides towards the interior, to allow more easily for sea traffic and supplying in case of siege.
Clevsin (pop. 19,000), located at about 400 m of height on the north-eastern hills of Kerendium, was the major Etrusna city from the VI to the IV century BC, before the rising star of Kerendans and Thyatians shadowed its prestige and power. Like most other Etrusna cities, it lost its independence but in name, becoming a member of the League of Thyatis since 294. Clevsin has the most advanced drainage-sewer system in Hesperia. The system, located under the city, is part of a major dungeon, which hosts among other things a labyrinthine necropolis, at the center of which is a sanctuary to Nyx. The dungeon continues far into the interior of the hillside. It is said that the aristocratic families who rule Clevsin deal here with dark creatures from the underground - a demon, an undead lord, or some other strange creatures of the abyss.
Kurtun (pop. 5,000) is located on the north-eastern hillside of Kerendium, at about 500 m of height asl; a trading center of the interior, it hosts a big market where Tauri lupins and Etrusna from Faleroi and Felzna meet to trade; the city is under Kerendan control since 294 BC, but nominally independent; it is famous because it is allied with a sphinx lineage which has lived nearby for centuries.
Aritim23 (pop. 13,000), is also under Kerendas rule since 294 BC, but still nominally independent; it is the seat of the Chimaera, an organization of monster hunters and adventurers devoted to Laran (Ixion) that takes its name from the fact that its founders killed an enormous chimaera which harassed the people travelling to Aritim; the horses bred in Aritim are known to be of exceptional quality.
Faleroi (pop. 17,600) is an independent city of mixed Etrusna-Hesperian ethnicity, which has risen in importance since 294 BC, taking the role previously held by Clevsin. Although mostly aboriginal Hesperian, the population sided with the Etrusna after the arrival of the Three Tribes, and is now a major member of the Etrusna Dodecapolis. The city is extremely well-defended, as it is located on a plateau, about 1100 m by 400, not higher than the surrounding country (140 m) but separated from it by gorges over 60 m in depth, and only connected with it on the western side, which is strongly fortified with a mound and ditch. The rest of the city is defended by walls constructed of rectangular blocks of tuff. Numerous tombs hewn in the rock are visible on all sides of the town.
Vatluna24 (pop. 4,100), under Kerendas since 294 BC, but nominally independent, is located at about 300 m above sea level, at 16 km (10 miles) from the Sea of Dread. It is a rich city, known for its goldsmiths and metalworkers.
Fofluna25 (pop. 9,300) has managed to retain full independence up to now. It is the portal city that controls the iron trade with the island of Teria, and a haven for Etrusna and Albai pirates; thanks to its ties with the island and its alliance with the Albai and with the city-state of Velathri, it is very difficult to conquer. Besides the iron trade, it hosts the main stores for Minrothian and Meditor merchants that wish to trade with the interior; merchants pay hefty sums for the Foflunian protection from pirates, something that the powerful navy can insure all over the northern Sea of Dread - not least because many pirate ships are from the city itself, or are its allies.
Velathri (pop. 24,000) is the most important westernmost Etrusna city, and maybe the most important Etrusna city in Hesperia. Velathri, a powerful ally of Fofluna, controls the area from the border with the Albai, on the road from Kerendas to Stalia, to the port town of Vada (pop. 2,200), which lies across Kerendas on the other bank of the river Kerenda. Fully independent, the city has signed a treaty with the League of Thyatis - but on an equal basis, in anti-Kerendan function. Velathri is ruled by an aristocratic regime, and its most important family are the Ceicna, who say they descend from Cicne (a mortal form of the Immortal Diulanna, worshipped by the Albai with that name). The Ceicna family have branches in Felzna and Spna, where they still have a major say in the local politics.
From the cultural point of view, Velathri is famous for the mining of alabaster, silver and copper, and for its artisans. It is known that the Doulakki desert city of Cynidicea, in southern Assinia, has a pyramid completely covered in Velathrian white alabaster, in order to reflect the moonlight.
Future geographical reference: Duchy of Kerendas
Government type: Elven families rule themselves; Etrusna villages and strongholds are under the authority of the city of Arge, ruled by a council made up of representatives of Velathri, Fofluna, of the population of Teria and of iron miners.
Population: 12,000 (60% elves, 40% humans)
Teria is an island southwest of Kerendas, controlled partly by Etrusna and partly by Verdier Elves. Originally it was settled by a small clan of Albai, but these have long since been absorbed by the Etrusna colonists. The discovery of iron on the island was one of the factors that led to the rise of the Etrusna society during the time of the Thothian Empire.
The isle itself is very beautiful, with wide beaches of white sand. Bluffs rise up from these coasts, and much of these uplands are densely forested. The hills and low mountains of the island reach a height of about 1000 m asl. Like most coastal islands of the Sea of Dread, its climate is mild in winter and not exceedingly hot in the summer; however, during the summer, humid sirocco winds blow often from southeast, making the weather uncomfortable. Waterspouts on the sea close to the coast are not infrequent. Much of the island is ringed with coral reefs, home to a multiplicity of fish.
The biggest settlement of the island, Ilva (pop. 3,000), sits in a sheltered cove on the northern coast of the island, facing away from major storms that occasionally sweep through this part of the Sea of Dread. The Etrusna have built small forts in strategic positions on Teria, in order to be able to prepare defenses in case of northern invasions. The Verdier who live on the forested slopes of the south and west are allied to the Etrusna and their ties with Alfeisle and the Minrohians makes it difficult to expect invasions to the south.
The strategic position of Teria, both for the iron trade and for military naval operations, have favoured the rise of Velathri and Fofluna, probably the two most important independent city-states of the southern Hesperian coast.
Future geographical reference: Terentias
Government type: The land is divided in a patriarchal feudal system, with dukes at the top. Counties and baronies are all formally tied to a duchy, but every noble strong enough to defend his land on his own is de facto independent.
Population: 130,000+ (110,000 humans - 43,000 Hattians, 67,000 mixed Hattian-Tallians; 20,000 Tauri lupins; plus an unknown number of gnomes)
Languages: Hattian; Thyatian (Tallian dialect)
A hilly, somewhat infertile island, Hattias is the biggest Hesperian island. Vineyards and cherry and lemon orchards dominate the northern shore, closer to Vitalia and more fertile. The west is mostly barley crops, as Hattians, contrary to the other Hesperian peoples, prefer beer and ale to wine; pears and peaches are also grown here. The more south, the less land is cultivated; the main product here are potatoes, and sheep and goat grazing becomes a common sight. Forestry and hunting are practiced especially in the eastern hills, and Hattians sell timber for shipbuilding to the Taymorans of Mosya and Actius.
The island is ruled by Hattians, one of the Southerner Three Tribes, who renamed the island formerly known as Tallia after themselves. Hattians occupied the area and conquered the pre-existing populations: most of these are now serfs in the feudal structure of the island. Among the subjects, the local Tallians were co-opted into the Hattian serf class, that is now mostly the result of a mix of Hattian serfs and aboriginal Hesperians.
There is also a significant number of Tauri lupins, who call themselves the Belgi (singular Belg). A significant number is part of the serf class, but in the Arduenna, the eastern and southern forested hills, most Lupins live free, although all of their territories are claimed by this or that Hattian feudal lord. The Lupins have also been joined by a few Tallian refugees; however, most humans who escaped from the hands of the Hattian rulers have long since left Hattias for the Doulakki and Thyatian lands, where a few still harbor the dream of building an army to reclaim their ancestral lands.
On the southern coasts of Hattias, there were several Doulakki colonies, but they too were conquered and the population enslaved, driven away, or killed. Contrary to Kerendans and Thyatians, the Hattians are not interested in co-opting the cultured, aristocratic Doulakki into their possessions. The Hattians fear them, considering them a potential challenge to their dominating role, and a possible source of backstabbers in the (mostly undeclared) naval war between Hattians, Doulakki and Taymorans in the Sea of Dawn.
The island is divided into a number of independent feudal kingdoms, ruled by kings called Herzogs, translated as ‘Dukes’ in the Thyatian language. The most important of these is the Duchy of Hattias. The Duchy’s capital Hattias (pop. 23,900) is located inland, in order to be better defended in case of attacks from the sea. The Duchy controls also the Baronies of Port Hatti (pop. 8,300) and Vinton (pop. 4,360), and the County of Pilion (pop. 9,700), formerly a Doulakki colony.
The second most important fief on the island is the Duchy of Graustein, with its capital Grau Bucht (pop. 15,580), which also controls the former lupin city of Trier (pop. 4,400). The previous Duke of Graustein, Hamlet von Grauenberg, has enraged his peers and many of his subjects by trying to co-opt the Belgi lupins in his kingdom: he has granted the Lupin lords of Divodurum (pop. 3,200) and Durocortorum (pop. 3,300) the title of Barons about twentyfive years ago, in the hope of calming down the lupin guerrilla. However, the lupins of Noviodunum (pop. 4,000) refused the same offer, and have since taken the lead in the guerilla operations. Admittedly, the lupin guerillas have turned their attention to the duchies of Hattias and Sudenfeld, and been reluctant to attack Graustein, whose troops now often have lupins with the status of freemen on its side.
Close to the lupin city of Noviodunum is a major gnomish dungeon, known as Iniectum (“inserted”, referring to its underground location) to the aboriginal populations since before Hattians arrived on the island. The dungeon hosts an unknown number of gnomes belonging to the Brinnisril (‘shining jewel’) clan. The Brinnisril shun every contact with the Hattians and continue the tradition of a long-time isolationist policy towards humans, but it remains on friendly terms with the surrounding lupins. The Belgi consider them the progeny of the Immortal Toutatis (Wayland) - something that the gnomes have always found amusing, and tried countless times to explain the lupins it is not so - and so the lupins have always had a special respect for their privacy and their underground territory, to the point that they consider their duty to protect the little people from enemies. In exchange for this, the gnomes provide the Belgi with fine weapons, shields, jewelry, and the occasional help with civil engineering (wells, mills, roads - and even a few war machines, like catapults and ballistas).
The third major fief of the island is the Duchy of Sudenfeld (with its capital town of the same name, pop. 5,330), in the south, which has the ambition to control the traffic between the Sea of Dread and the Sea of Dawn. However, the Sudenfeldan navy is not strong or big enough to prevent the Taymoran and Meditor vessels from circling around cape Hattias; while the Doulakki prefer to sail through Vanya’s Girdle.
The Barons and Comtes who rule the interior and the eastern coast are de facto independent, and often at war against one another even when they are vassals to the same ruler. This is seen as especially inconvenient to the rulers of Graustein and Hattias, who would want to concentrate their efforts on attacking the eastern islands instead.
Government type: Thirteen independent “city-states” (often little more than small towns) rule over most of the island. Smaller villages on the mountains are de facto independent, although they might be claimed by one of the city-states.
Languages: Kartanya, Taymoran (Karalis dialect), Doulakki
The northernmost of the eastern Hesperian islands, Kartanya is ancient from a geological point of view, seismically stable and not earthquake-prone. Its highlands average at between 300 to 1,000 metres (984 to 3,281 feet), with the highest peak being 1,834 m (6,017 ft) high. The coasts are mostly high rocks, but several large, shallow, salt-water lagoons can be found on the western and northern shores.
Kartanya is literally the feminine adjective for “Kartanian”, as the island takes its name from the aboriginal Kartana people who rule over approximately two thirds of the island. The other third is settled by a mixed population resulting from the mingling of Taymoran refugees and the Kartana who were subject to their rules for centuries.
Kartanya is a turbulent island where an uncertain truce between Taymorans and Kartana dominates the regional affairs. The city-states trade and war with one another periodically; pirates from the island often raid the coasts of Cania or of the Isle of Dawn.
The Kartana city-states are Turralva (pop. 3,000), Nora (pop. 6,400), Selene26 (pop. 700), S’Orcu (pop. 520), Nurr (pop. 560), Izzana e Maiori (pop. 2,000), Palmavera (pop. 700), Andreolu (pop. 1,240); the Taymoran cities are Karal27 (pop. 5,480), Sulcis (pop. 2,500), Sulcis Medusae (pop. 1,200), Othoca (pop. 1,060).
Karal, the Taymoran capital on the island, is allied to Zyz on Cania, as are all the Taymoran communities on the island, something that doesn’t prevent them from warring against one another if some issue arises. The Taymoran refugees that arrived here many centuries ago brought with them some Fomorian giants when they arrived; a few fled to the mountains, where their descendants carve out a solitary existence and shun all humans; others are still in service to the Taymorans. There are probably about 60 giants left on Kartanya all in all.
Villages of the Kartana are built of round thatched stone huts around cylindrical tower-fortresses called nuraghi (singular nuraghe), often reinforced and enlarged with battlements. Smaller nuraghi are used as lookout fortresses and indicate the approximate territorial extension of a community, as crop fields and pasture land is generally found between the lookout nuraghi and the central village. Nowadays, over 1,000 nuraghi dot Kartanya.
Although Turralva is the most important economic center of the Kartana, Nora is their political and cultural capital. According to Kartana traditions, it was founded by the eponymous hero Norax, who fled the cost of Brun and the evil monsters of a land called Mogreth around 2000 BC. Nora has a big harbour, as it is on the trade routes between Thyatis and Dawn; an amphitheatre and a theatre; public baths; and the major religious complex of the island, with two shrines dedicated to Eshmun (Chardastes) and Tanit; originally established for the Taymorans living in Kartana lands, now it is also a place of worship for many Kartana. The temple, the baths and the amphitheatre are all located on an island connected to the mainland through two isthmuses.
The major temple of Setlanni, the patron of the Kartana, is not in Nora, but at Izzana e Maiori, in the eastern part of the island. It is said that the free giants of the island also have a secret place of worship in the remote areas of the central massif.
L’Asinara (pop. 90) is a small island close to the north-eastern corner of Kartanya. It is sacred to Melq-Ashtir (Asterius), the main Taymoran deity. The name Asinara comes from the Thyatian name for donkeys (“asini”): white donkeys sacred to Melq-Ashtir live freely on the island, tended by the small population made up of the Taymoran high priests and their attendants. The priests of Melq-Ashtir live humble lives out of the products of the land, and welcome visitors of any race that want to seek shelter or ask for their advice or spells. Among the animals there is an amber golem shaped like a donkey, a gift from Asterius to the priests, to help them protect the island.
Future geographical reference: Judicates of Carytion Gazetteer, Threshold Issue #11, replaces the original entry for Carytion as source for 250 BC Kartanya.
Government type: Independent clans living in villages and towns. Adiaciu and Alalia are ruled by people assemblies.
Languages: Kartanya (Borydan dialect), Etrusna, Taymoran
Borydos is, with Kartanya, the easternmost Hesperian island, and is likewise populated by humans of Kartana ethnicity and language. The island rises from the Sea of Dawn as a chain of ragged mountains, with rocky cliffs overlooking dangerous, rock-strewn shores, with only a few plains and sandy beaches, and surrounded by jagged reefs and shoals28. Several peaks rise above 2,000 m of height, and are snow-laden during the winter; the mean height of the island is above 500 m. The highest mountain is Monte Cintu (2700 m asl).
Borydos has warm dry summers and wet winters, cold on the interior’s mountains while mitigated by the sea on the coasts. Precipitation is concentrated in autumn and winter - Eirmont is the wettest month -, while the months from Klarmont to Sviftmont see little to no rain. The Kartana of Borydos are fishermen, herdsmen and pirates, who live in small mountain villages or seaside coves, often with no more than 25-50 people each, although the bigger ones reach a few hundred inhabitants. The main Borydan settlement is Adiaciu (pop. 1,500), while descendants of Etrusna and Taymoran colonists live mainly in Alalia (pop. 2,000).
The harsh, uninviting island remained outside the games of conquests and colonization played in the area, until the Doulakki established Alalia in 562 BC, in order to disturb the insular Taymorans of Kartanya, Mosya and Sakhla-Rhas. A violent reaction from Taymorans, who created a strange coalition with the Etrusna and the Borydan Kartana, drove the Doulakki away in 535 BC.
After the victory, the Borydans decided to forge an alliance with the Etrusna, who were allowed to occupy Alalia. The Borydans didn’t trust the Taymorans, who were too close and had an ongoing conflict with their Kartana brothers on Kartanya. The Etrusna cities were more distant, and thus less dangerous to the Borydans’ independence, and the Etrusna were happy to have an ally on the outskirts of the Hesperian Sea of Dawn, in order to use Borydan ports to increase their trade to the east and south.
As the Kerendans and Thyatians ate into the Etrusna power and land, and the Hattians became more and more dangerous, the Borydans allowed also Taymorans to trade and settle on the island. After the victory in 295 BC of the Thyatian-Kerendan alliance that brought most of the Etrusna cities under control of the Kerendans and Thyatians, this turned into a full-scale collaboration.
During the ongoing naval wars between the Thyatian-Hattian alliance and the islander Taymorans, Alalia was sacked violently in 259 BC, something that has enraged more than ever the Borydans, and reinforced the alliance between Taymorans and Borydans.
Future geographical reference: Protecorate of Borydos
Government type: Taymoran island-state aristocracy
Population: 50,000 (95% humans, 5% giants)
Mosya is a Taymoran-controlled island, one of the last strongholds of the Taymorans in the western Sea of Dawn; it was wrested from Traldar or Doulakki control around the VIII century BC. It is a long, gently curved island with beautiful beaches and exceptionally good weather. The island is good vine-growing country, and is known for its wineries. The northern head of the island is hilly, leading up to a semi-active volcano that sits at the centre of the island.
The rest of the island consists of beaches surrounding verdant plains, given over to vineyards and orchards. The main city of the island, Qart-ḥadašt (pop. 35,000), is built at the foot of the volcano, and is magnificent, a rich, luxurious, slightly decadent center of trade and pleasures, with a sprawling night life: there are many taverns, where gambling is a favourite pastime, and any possible sexual pleasure can be found in the discrete brothels. On the north side of the island is a major naval base, where the powerful Mosyan fleet is at anchor. This provides security for the island from attacks from the north, while the naval base in the island of Actius protects the island from dangers coming from west and south.
[Image: Mosyan Elephant]
Mosyans breed elephants for use in hard work and for military support. It seems they first brought them to Hesperia from Sind. Elephants are tended by the giants, as they prove a tough species to control, especially the adult males, that can be very aggressive during the mating season.
Mosyan politics are dominated by the obsession for the decadence of Taymoran culture and hopes for a new era. Relegated to the side by the Thothian dominance, the Taymorans’ ambition to gain control of Hesperia after the Thothians left was thwarted by the presence of the powerful Doulakki and Etrusna first, and then by the arrival of the Three Tribes. Although they founded Zyz, a powerful colony on the mainland, the Taymorans have not gained much power or stability since the times of the Thothian Empire. The Taymorans of Mosya do not see themselves as conquerors: they just fear for their survival, and desire a political stability in which they can prosper and recover.
That is very far from the current situation in Hesperia, as has been proved since 264 BC, as the hostilities between Thyatis and Zyz reached a new scale. In 256 BC, a Hattian-Thyatian alliance even staged an invasion attempt of the Taymoran islands, but their army was crushed close to Qart-ḥadašt after several months of war. The Thyatian League general Attinius has since been prisoner of the Taymorans.
Future geographical reference: Duchy of Mositius
Government type: Actius is directly administered by Mosya
Population: 3,000 (60% humans, 30% Meditor elves)
Languages: Taymoran; Elven
A hilly and infertile island, Actius is suitable only for grazing by goats and growing hearty vines. Actius has an unusually good harbour, around which lays the town of Actius. The harbour also hosts a naval base which controls the waters that lead to Mosya.
The town of Actius was once an early Traldar colony, founded around 900 BC, but Taymorans took over many centuries ago, after they had also conquered Mosya from them. The vast majority of Actians are fishermen, naval personnel or shipbuilders. The town of Actius contains most of the population. The rest are farmers and herdsmen living in the hills around the town.
A community of Meditor elves lives on the island. They keep an official delegation in Actius, although most live in small homes by the sea. The elves take care of Alfeisle’s interests in this part of the Sea of Dawn, travelling as envoys if needed to Mosya, Borydos or even Karytion.
Actius was briefly occupied in 256 BC during the failed invasion of the Taymoran islands by a Hattian-Thyatian alliance.
Future geographical reference: County of Actius
Government type: Unknown, but it is controlled and protected by Taymorans of Mosya
This small island consists of rolling forested hills perched atop high cliffs that ring its coasts. The island is controlled by the Taymorans of Mosya, and is used for religious and magical functions only.
Rumours run aplenty about the island: that Taymorans perform human sacrifices here (especially virgins or infants), that they raise werewolves on the island, that they change slaves into werewolves, that they evoke demons, that they host unimaginable herds of gold, that they serve a huge dragon living on the island. More reasonably, it is thought that the island hosts sacred grounds with temples where priests live and perform important rituals to the Taymoran pantheon.
Future geographical reference: Protectorate of Sclaras
Neighbouring nations and players
The western continent of Mystara is known as Brun. Between the Alphatian Landfall (1000 BC) and their expansion into Hemeria (500 BC), Brun was mostly known as Hesperia, from the name given to the region in the Traldar, Doulakki and Milenian language, but by now the elven name Brun has become commonplace, while Hesperia indicates the south-eastern tip of the continent.
Elves from the far west of Brun arrived in the region around 800 BC. Their first king Mealiden abdicated in 350 BC in favour of Alevar of the Grunalf clan, who has ruled peacefully since. The elves have little contact with races beside their own, although they are carefully reaching out to the Eastwind human clan to see if there is some potential for an anti-orc collaboration.
The Empire of Alphatia is firmly established on the Alphatian continent, where the alien magocratic population made their landfall from another world in 1000 BC.
The Pearl Islands and Ochalea are in Alphatian possession, and so is most of Hemeria (the Isle of Dawn), including the former Empire of Thothia, and of Bellissaria.
The main conflict of the Alphatian Empire is with the Milenians, whose colonies on Hemeria and Bellissaria are being systematically conquered one after the other by the Alphatians. Milenians try to disturb Alphatians also by paying Doulakki and Thyatian pirates to focus on the Alphatian ships and to attack Alphatian coastal cities, something that is slowly attracting the attention of the Alphatian rulers to Brun29.
It is known that an ancient Doulakki or Traldar colony was established in Akorros. Given the presence of the Orclands in between the Lake and the lands of the Durrankin, it is difficult to tell whether the Lake and its shores are still in the control of civilized people or not. Rumours from merchants who have travelled to Sind say that they trade in the north with elves and humans that might actually be living in the region; but it might also be they refer to people from a different mountain region north of Sind and of the western deserts.
Assinia is mostly occupied by the Aseni, whose desert culture has been described in the first chapter. Most live in desert basins as nomads, while others live as farmers in the oases or as farmers and merchants along the coast30. Another population known as Nithians, Thothians who remained in the northern strongholds of Assinia, carve out a sustenance existence, as shadows of their former selves.
In a southern oasis, the Traldar-Doulakki colony of Cynidicea has been ruled by King Diomenesius since 26231.
The borders of Rockhome (or Dengar, as the dwarves call their land) were finally secured after the Battle of Sardal Pass in 492 BC (the Year 0 in the dwarven calendar). Dwarves started their trading and colonizing program around 475 BC and the first people they met and befriended were the Aseni (GAZ6).
The first dwarven colony outside of Dengar was established as junior partners of a coalition with gnomes in Highforge (Traladara), founded around 450 BC.
Dwarves of Dengar are divided into five clans: Everast, Skarrad, Syrklist, Torkrest and Buhrodar, the latter established just recently (287 BC)32.
The Durrankin humans living south of the Orclands and of Alfheim live mainly in small villages and raise good crops in the excellent farmland. The best organized of the human groups is a clan called Eastwind, which inhabits the area between the Streel River and Alfheim. There are some cautious relations between the Eastwinds and the Alfheim elves.
In the southwest, the Doulakki port of Athenos is an important gateway for any trade towards the western coasts of Brun33.
Most of the steppes north of Rockhome are home to a major war for their control between nomadic orcs and humans, that mostly share a similar language and culture34. Orcs have the upper hand at the moment, and are in control of most of the land35.
The land of the Hin is in the midst of its Golden Years after Gunzuth the Clanless liberated their land and became their ruler in 609 BC. After his death in 572 BC the Five Shires were established, ruled by a Council of five Sheriffs. The hin are starting timid attempts at naval trade and exploration36.
Hemeria (Isle of Dawn)
Hemeria (the Doulakki name for the Isle of Dawn) is mostly in Alphatian hands. The Empire of Thothia has been subjugated. Some Thothian colonies, Doulakki-Milenian city-states, and barbarian clans of Antalian or Dunharian ethnicity have managed to retain their independence, but their demise seems to be only a question of time. As a retaliatory measure against the invaders, piracy is at an all-time high in the Sea of Dawn and Alphatian Sea, and the Hemerians gladly welcome Hesperian merchants and pirate ships into their waters. The Milenian Empire also sponsors the Hesperian and Hemerian pirates in the area as part of their undeclared war against Alphatia.
The Makai aboriginal people are the main settlers of the islands, although there are also albino humans37 of Taymoran origin. The Makai are engaged in a major feud against goblins brought to the islands centuries ago by Thothian colonists38. The wars for control of the islands started at the time of the Sand Deluge, when the last Thothian goblin masters fled Ierendi. This has left the seafaring Makai little time to leave their islands for colonization or trade, although their ports welcome Minrothian, Hin, Doulakki and even Zygian vessels.
The Milenian Empire is in full bloom on the southern continent. Alphatians and Milenians have an undeclared war at this time, with the Milenians angry at the Alphatian interference on their colonies in the Isle of Dawn and Bellisaria. The Milenians sponsor piracy against the Alphatians: such pirates are normally Traladarans, Thyatians and Doulakki from Hesperia and from the few surviving independent city-states on the Isle of Dawn. The Milenians trade with all the Hesperian races, although they favour the Doulakki, given their common ancestry.
Minrothad & Alfeisle
Verdier and Meditor elves have lived on Alfeisle and Teria for over a millennium now. They have befriended Minrothians, Thothian-descended human followers of the Immortal Minroth39, who live on most of the other islands of the region, to which they have given the name of Minrothad. Elves and humans alike have become trader-colonists. They can easily be found in the coastal cities and in the seas of Hesperia and beyond.
The Northern Reaches are a wild and untamed area where human life is especially difficult. Humans live on the coast and along the fjords of the region, living a sustenance agricultural life and occasionally raiding the southern coasts and the northern part of Hemeria with their underdeveloped longships. The rest of the area is mostly under the control of giants, although the south-western mountains host an important kobold population. The kobolds, fleeing Rockhome after the Battle of Sardal Pass, overran and exterminated the gnomes of these subterranean areas around 490 BC40.
A significant halfling community existed in the southern parts of the country before it migrated to Norwold around 350 BC, led by the hero Usamigaras41.
Ochalea is an island in the southern Sea of Dawn and a “protectorate” of Alphatia, which invaded and defeated the ruling Wang dynasty about 50 years ago.
The Ochalean culture is an original mix of Alphatian Cypric, Rakastan and Lupin cultures. Their language is based on the old Rakasta and Ogre Mage tongue. A resistance movement, mainly composed of warlike Shar-Pei and Chow-Chow lupin clans, keeps the Alphatians out of the badlands.
At the same time, the Alphatians are beginning the colonization of southern Ochalea, which was previously a wilderness inhabited by few Pardasta rakasta tribes.
Orcs are firmly in control in a region that goes north and west of the Streel River and the city of Corun’s Glen until the Doulakki city of Akorros42. These large orc holdings are divided among 17 different orc tribes.
Most of the Cruth Mountains and of the Altan Tepes are under their control after the dwarves kicked them out of Rockhome once and for all (492 BC)43.
Orcs also control all of the ragged Broken Lands, and the mountains between Ethengar and Alfheim. Yellow orcs and hobgoblins fight for the control of the steppes of Ethengar with the Ethengarians44. The Highlands north of the Broken Lands were once an icy waste, but by now the ice has receded far north. The land remains mostly uninhabited45, except for its southern parts, where tribes of orcs fight among each other for the control of the land46. Rumours have it that elven and human clans live beyond the mountains, or even in milder, secluded valleys in the north, but these rumours are impossible to confirm.
The Pearl Islands are an archipelago in Alphatian possession, settled a long time ago by the Nuari, a peaceful population of black-skinned explorers, sailors and artisans. The Nuari dislike the Hesperians, whom they see as inherently violent and brutal. Many Nuari board Alphatian anti-pirate patrolling ships; even though they don’t have any particular love towards their masters, they don’t condone the misanthropic and destructive behaviour of Hesperian pirates. The Nuari are mostly followers of the Immortal Korotiku, with whom they share a playful, romantic and generous love for life.
An important trading center located in a strategic position between Hesperia, Assinia, Dengar and the lands of the Alfheim elves and the Durrankin humans, this city was founded by the common ancestors of Traldar, Doulakki and Milenians. It is a cosmopolitan city which prospers given its favourable location, although it lives always under the threat of hostile humanoids living on the borders of civilization south and east in the Altan Tepes and north at the border with Rockhome.
To the west of Hesperia and the Vyalia elven lands, lies Traladara. Traladara is the name of the land of the Traladarans, descended from the Traldar. Their legends talk of an ancient crusade against the beast-men, who destroyed the ancient Traldar kingdom about 750 years ago. Communication between the communities is difficult and local dialects vary much47. Many Traladaran clans have mixed with an immigration population from the north known as Vandari, which arrived in the area around 700 BC48.
Traladara is also home to a number of non-human races. Callarii elves arrived in the central forests around 800 BC. Many humanoids fleeing Rockhome after the Battle of Sardal Pass (492 BC), led by the monstrous Leptar, found shelter in the woods and wilderness. They were also responsible for the destruction of the ancient city of Krakatos, which still lies in ruins49. Tordal dwarves and Highforge gnomes founded the gnome-controlled city of Highforge in 450 BC.
One of the most common customs of Hesperia is slave possession. All rich and powerful families have slaves, especially those who own land. Most of the agricultural production in big landowners’ estates close to the cities is performed by slaves, totally dependant on the whims of their owners and often abused and exploited in order to increase production; free men and women generally have small farms further away from the centres of power.
In the countryside, about 5% of the Hesperian population is made up of slaves, but this proportion rises in big cities like Thyatis, Sarausa and Zyz, where they can make up to 15% of the population. Urban slaves are generally well-treated, and work as butlers, valets, house cleaners, gardeners, cooks, wet nurses, private tutors etc., in rich families.
Slaves are generally prisoners of war or their descendants, and about 99% are ethnically natives of Hesperia (including Doulakki, Taymorans, Lupins, etc.). A certain proportion of exotic slaves is bought in slave markets of the east, especially in Doulakki, Milenian and Taymoran controlled cities.
Slaves have a few rights, however. They cannot be put to death without a trial (although they can be physically punished by their masters). They can own properties (although not directly - their properties are considered as belonging to their masters) and many of the urban ones also have a salary, if their master allows them; sometimes they save enough money to buy their own freedom.
It is possible to free a slave with a public ceremony, called manumission, performed before some sort of public official, usually a judge (in the City of Thyatis, for example, the owner touches the slave on the head with a staff and he or she becomes a free citizen; and a felt cap called the Pileus, symbol of the Immortal Saturnus, is given to the former slave as symbol of the newfound freedom).
Although the free slave will not be entitled to vote (if he is a man), he will have all other rights of citizenship, and his or her children (born after becoming free) will have full citizens’ rights. Children of a free woman are always full citizens, even if their father is a slave; children of a slave woman are always slaves.
Hesperia is a polytheist region. Many cults are present and very little is organized beyond the level of a city patron; there are no set pantheons and precise boundaries to the Immortals worshipped. The Thyatians generally worship Tarastia, the patroness of justice, and Vanya, a young goddess of war who encouraged the Three Tribes to flee north. Kerendans also worship Tinia, the major Etrusna Immortal. Most of the populations of Hesperia worship in a form or another Asterius, Ixion, Khoronus, Nyx, Odin, Ordana and Terra. Asterius and Nyx are the main Taymoran deities, while Valerias is especially popular among the Vitalian Thyatian tribes.
There are several calendars used in Hesperia. Thyatians, Kerendans and Hattians use the Thyatian calendar, which starts from 600 BC. Taymorans count the time from the mythical ascension to demigod status of the sacred king of the city of Tamoraz under the patronage of the Immortal Tanit; the Taymoran calendar starts from 2350 BC. Albai, Aseni, Doulakki, Etrusnans and Minrothians use the Alphatian calendar, which starts from their Landfall in year 1000 BC.
Appendix 1: ethnic classification chart
Serfs (mixed with Southerner-Hesperians)
Insular Tauri (Belgi)
Appendix 2: cities and political affiliation
Since it can be very confusing to sort out the mess of alliances and control of the city-states of Hesperia, here is a nice resume for use of players and DMs alike. The cities highlighted in pink are the cities which currently make up the Etrusna Dodecapolis.
League of Thyatis
Duchy of Hattias
Duchy of Graustein
Hattians, Lupins (Belgi)
Duchy of Sudenfeld
1Probably the second Iron age, after the Blackmoor-era Iron age.
2Albai were introduced by Francesco Defferrari as the Mystaran equivalent of the RW Ligurians, an ancient Italian population. They are described in Threshold #2 and Threshold #11.
3Cubis and Fabia are Thyatian-sounding names for two more cities in modern-era Ylaruam. The author leaves it to the individual DM to decide whether they already existed as Doulakki colonies in 250 BC, or if they were founded later on, during the era of Imperial control over southern Ylaruam (AC 200-800).
4See also Threshold issue #9.
5In Thyatian the word is usually translated as “dux” (pl. “dukes”), a word which means ‘leader’; Doulakki and Taymorans, who derived the use of the word from Thyatians, use “duke” (pl. “dukes”).
6In Thyatian the word is translated as “comes” (“companion”), but “comte”, the Belgi lupin distortion of the Thyatian word, has become the most widespread in Hesperia by the time we are writing of.
9Mesonia around 1000 BC. See Threshold #11, page 135.
10It corresponds to BC 250 in the New Thyatian Calendar used in the Gazetteer-era Known World.
11Hillfork in AC 1000.
12Aes in AC 1000.
13Julinius in AC 1000.
14Close to the site of ancient Parthenope, the Imperial Thyatians will found the city of Lucinius. Parthenope is now the name of the quarter of the new city that corresponds to the site of the old city.
15Lucinius Outpost in AC 1000.
16Hillcape in AC 1000.
17Retebius in AC 1000.
18Kantridae in AC 1000.
19Tel Akbir in AC 1000.
20Punta Aurorae (Dawnpoint) in AC 1000.
21Machetos in AC 1000.
22Bridleton in AC 1000.
23Acestes in AC 1000.
24Bayville in AC 1000.
25In AC 1000 Fofluna, known as Popluna, is a small town located near the fortress of Kerendas Outpost.
26In AC1000 these cities are respectively: Turralva, Nora, Lanuse, Jersu, Nugoro, Tempiu, L’Alguer and Torres (see Carytion Gazetteer, Threshold Issue #11).
27In AC 1000 these cities are Casteddu, Sulcis, Tortuelie, and a minor town in Arborea (see Carytion Gazetteer, Threshold Issue #11).
28In DotE, Borydos is such an uninteresting place that it is merely a plain island with a penal colony, without even a full description.
29See TSR #1037, Dawn of the Emperors.
30See Gazetteer #2, The Emirates of Ylaruam.
31See Gazetteer of Cynidicea.
32Annals of the Dwarves.
33See Demografia Mystarana.
34See Gaz #12, The Golden Khan of Ethengar.
35See Gaz #11, The Republic of Darokin.
36See Gaz #8, The Five Shires.
37See Gaz #4, The Kingdom of Ierendi.
38See Demografia Mystarana.
39See Gaz #9, The Guilds of Minrothad.
40See Gazetteer #7, The Northern Reaches.
41See Demografia Mystarana.
42See Gazetteer #11, The Republic of Darokin.
43See Gazetteer #10, The Orcs of Thar.
44See Gazetteer #12, The Golden Khan of Ethengar.
45See Gaz #3, The Principalities of Glantri.
46See Gaz #11, The Republic of Darokin.
47See Gazetteer #1, The Grand-Duchy of Karameikos.
48See Demografia Mystarana.
49See Demografia Mystarana.