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Hesperia - the Dungeon masterís Guideby Giulio Caroletti from Threshold Magazine issue 13
Hesperia, Land of the Setting Sun
A Gazetteer of the Thyatian Region, 250 BC
By Giulio Caroletti
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 is the second part of the Mini-Gaz, whose Player’s Guide was introduced in Threshold #12.
There are two main sections in this Dungeon Master’s Guide: the first one is the History (as the Immortals know it, to use a terminology introduced in the Gazetteers); the second one is a Secrets of Hesperia chapter, which introduces new NPCs, describes those found in the Player’s Guide, explains many of the rumours and suggestions mentioned in the Player’s geographical section, and gives you adventure hooks and ideas.
Last but not least, a third Appendix, to be used in conjunction with the previous two found in the Player’s Guide, will discuss briefly the insignia commonly used in Hesperia, many of which are also illustrated in the text.
Acknowledgments by the Author
The History part owes a lot to James Ruhland’s work. He wrote a major, extensive history of the Empire, developed well before fans started working on Mystaran ethnography on the MML, on the Italian Mystara board and on the Piazza boards. It has been heavily changed to adapt it to the introduction of the cultures of Hesperia, but still it was an invaluable starting point for much of this work.
A long list of acknowledgments was also included in the first part of this article on the previous Threshold Issue. I want to thank again especially Francesco Defferrari, who was a major contributor to the ideas for Hesperia, and to Giampaolo Agosta, my longest-lasting collaborator on Mystara material, and a great friend.
Last but not least, the coats of arms at the end of the article were created using the Uplink Heraldry Generator (http://rpg.uplink.fi/heraldry/). It is nice although not customizable by the user; but for a person so unskilled in drawing like me, it was a very useful resource, and very simple to use.
THE DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE
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.
Map of people and regions of Hesperia in 250 BC
The area now known as Mainland Thyatis was settled for a long time by Neathar tribes. Most of these spoke languages belonging to what has been called by scholars and ethnolinguists the “Thantalian” language family, although probably no tribe with that name existed, nor did the tribes, at that time, consider themselves part of a linguistic or cultural unicuum.
Ancient “Thantalian” languages have been classified in this way to associate them with the Antalian language supergroup1. The Antalian linguistic family includes:
true Antalian languages (equivalent to RW German languages);
Thyatian-Antalian or Thantalian languages (equivalent to RW Italic languages and all their derived languages, including Romance languages);
Traldar-Antalian or Trantalian languages (equivalent to RW Greek languages).
Among the ancestors of the Thyatian people were Thantalian tribes brought to Davania by the Nithians, in an unsuccessful attempt at colonizing the southern continent around 1000 BC. After disposing of their Nithian masters, the tribes lived in northern Davania until they faced the Milenian Empire, and had to choose between being absorbed or fleeing. Those who chose the latter and reached Hesperia around 600 BC were the so-called original “Three Tribes”, whose names are lost in time and only in later times called Thyatians, Kerendans and Hattians, as they took the name of the populations that descended from them. It might even be that the tribes weren’t three, but the name fit the three-part division that had happened later on in Thyatian history.
The southern newcomers and the locals, that called themselves collectively Hesperians, from Hesperia, the Traldar-Doulakki-Milenian name for Brun (“sunset land”, in contrast with Hemeria, “dawn land”, their name for the Isle of Dawn) intermingled easily2, until they emerged into modern history as Thyatians, Kerendans and Hattians by the time the Empire of Thyatis was born in AC 0. Before looking into details of this, let’s look at two possible hypothesis to explain this fact:
“The Voyage of Aeneas” scenario. The southern tribes belonged to a different ethnolinguistic group than the Thantalian-speaking populations of Hesperia, but were absorbed by the local tribes, although their leaders might have become part of the aristocracy of the new population. This is, for instance, what happened in the legends of ancient Italy that tell that the Trojans led by Aeneas, fleeing from the Greeks after the fall of Troy, came to Latium and mingled with the local populations. Romulus, mythical founder of Rome, was a descendant of Aeneas and of Lavinia, wife of the most important local king.
“The Return to Homeland” scenario. In this scenario, the southern tribes deported by the Nithians around 1000 BC spoke Thantalian languages, so when they moved back to Hesperia they found local populations that were close in culture and language. This helped them to mix, and to make common cause against other populations of Hesperia.
Whatever the truth, and whatever they called themselves, when the Southerners arrived on Hesperia, they found several populations there. The Hesperians included first of all, the many Thantalian-speaking clans with which they mixed, that were the majority in what is now eastern Mainland Thyatis; secondarily, the Etrusna population, of unknown origin, who dominated western Mainland Thyatis; then the Doulakki, relatives of Traldar and Milenians, who had built colonies and city-states which dotted the coast of Hesperia and also hosted Traldar refugees; a human population which considered itself descendant of the lost lords of Taymora, and that held on to a few coastal cities; several tribes and clans of humanoids and lupins; and, last but not least, the Vyalia elves to the west of the humans.
All these populations had formerly been subject to the Nithian Empire’s authority. Nominally, the Empire still ruled the area, but in fact the cities and tribes all over the area were mostly independent, although a few local Nithian priests, wizards or governors ruled a city and its surrounding area. Occasionally, a pharaoh sent fresh troops to deal with a city or a clan who acted too boldly, posing a threat through piracy or territorial annexations not ‘endorsed’ by the Empire; but the more the Empire slid into Entropic corruption and internal strife, the more the cities and tribes were left to themselves.
And like all too often in human history, human clans left to themselves started warring among one another.
Before the Deluge
Legends date 600 BC as the time when the Three Tribes settled in Brun, as it is the year the city of Thyatis was founded. This starts Thyatis' first calendar, which dates time from the founding of The City (AUC Calendar).
The city is built by Thyatians, one of the Southerner clans, in the middle of a wide channel separating the island of Hattias from the mainland, alongside the Mesonian river, that makes the surrounding lands particularly productive. The city's first structures are built on one of the largest of these hills in what will become the Zendrolium region, up against a bay, and fortified against the Etrusnans and the Hesperian tribes. Over time this bay will be gradually developed into the Greater and Lesser Harbours as the city grows.
The region, then known as Mesonia, is settled by local Hesperian tribes; on the west side of the Mesonian river, there are the easternmost Etrusna cities. At this time each Thyatian and Hesperian clan is ruled by a strong Rex (‘king’), and organized into warbands. As sharp battles are fought against the Hesperians and Etrusnans, with the Thyatians gradually expanding their colonisation northwards and eastwards, the area becomes known as Old Thyatium.
The Three Tribes arrived on Hesperia at a dramatic moment of Brun’s history. Under the influence of Thanatos and Ranivorus, the Nithian Empire had degenerated into an Entropy-worshipping land which dabbled in insane, twisted magic. The Immortals were appalled and turned their back to the Empire, while Thothia, the greatest Nithian colony, on the Isle of Dawn, and Minrothad, the southernmost colony of the Empire, had severed their ties with the mainland.
Nithian defiling magic destroyed the land at a dramatically increasing pace, altering climate, and slowly killing the River Nithia. This played along the hands of the Elves who used the climate changing effects to influence the atmospheric patterns and divert most of the precipitation over Nithia to Alfheim, to sustain the creation of the Canolbarth forest. The Immortals took their vengeance on the Entropic Immortals by promoting social unrest, denying magical powers to their clerics, and taking other actions which caused the Empire to collapse catastrophically.
All this had a tremendous impact on Hesperia. As mentioned above, the occasional Nithian army, often composed of Aseni, humanoids and undead, entered the southern lands on several occasions to subjugate a particularly obnoxious city-state or tribe. A common hostility against the former lords of Brun favoured the cooperation of the newcomers with the aboriginal populations. Later on, these epic struggles would form the core of legends of wars between the Hesperian-Thyatian populations and the Aseni-savages-humanoids coalition.
The erasure of most of the memory of Nithia led to these struggles being considered just defensive wars against mostly barbarous and unsophisticated tribes of the north. Nithians and Aseni were considered degenerate descendants of the main Thothian Empire of the east (reversing the historical truth!). This fed the hatred between Aseni and Hesperians first, that would continue after the Alpathian conquest in the form of the rivalry between their Alasiyan and Thyatian descendants many centuries later.
597 BC: The city of Hattias is founded.
596 BC: The city of Vipsl is conquered by an alliance of Southerners and Hesperian horse riders of the west. The alliance occupies the portal town of Kerendas, and takes it as their new capital. Kerendas will give its name to the new population born of the mixing of Hesperians and Southerners. They become a nation of skilled horsemen, embracing the traditional important role of horses in the Etrusna culture. The Kerendans organise their nation on very militaristic lines as they fight to retain control of the region, as well as large numbers of monstrous hordes that periodically issue forth from the Traladara forests (probably stirred by Albai and Vyalia).
581 BC: Doulakki found Tameronikas, the northernmost Doulakki trading port into Nithian lands. Formally they obtain the permission from the corrupted Nithian governor of the area, and plead submission to the Nithian Empire, but they act independently from the start, enraging the central government by engaging in piracy as far as the northern shores of Nithia.
566 BC: Kerendans ally with Thyatians against the Etrusna. Their combined force defeats the army of the Dodecapolis, displacing their Hesperian proxies. The tribes begin to assimilate the Hesperians.
562 BC: Doulakki found Alalia on Borydos, in order to disturb the insular Taymorans of Kartanya, Mosya and Sakhla-Rhas.
561 BC: Nithian Pharaoh sends a fleet on a punitive expedition against the "southern barbarians" (Etrusna, Doulakki, Thyatians, Kerendans, and Hattians), hoping to restore Nithian sovereignty over the area. The Nithian fleet is destroyed off the coast of Hattias at the eastern entrance to Vanya's Girdle.
545 BC: The Nithian governor in south-eastern Nithia occupies the Doulakki colonies of Tameronikas and Sarausa and threatens all of Cania. A new Pan-Hesperian alliance is founded against the Nithians.
544 BC: Tauri lupins cross the pass at what will become Biazzan and raid Nithia briefly, but the Nithians are still strong in this area and the Taurian raiding force is ultimately repulsed.
543 BC: The Pan-Hesperian alliance lays siege to Sarausa. The siege is long and hard fought, going on intermittently for a decade as Nithians receive magical support from their Entropic clerics.
540 BC: Spna is founded by the Etrusna.
535 BC: Taymorans, Etrusna and Borydan Kartana conquer Alalia and drive away the Doulakki from Borydos. The Borydans allow the Etrusna to occupy Alalia.
533 BC: The tribes begin to despair of succeeding in the siege, but the Thyatians come up with an ingenious way of tricking the Nithians into opening the gates. The Nithians finally fall, and Sarausa and Cania are freed of all Nithian influence. The Thyatians begin to honour the strategy of gaining victory through guile and subterfuge.
530 BC: Hatria is founded by the Etrusna.
524 BC: First war between the Doulakki of Kyme and the Etrusna of Nuvkrinum. The Kymans repel the assault of a Nuvkrinum-Vitalians coalition.
510 BC: The rich city of Sybaris is destroyed after a short war against Kroton.
506 BC: Nithians defeat a large Hattian raiding force using Entropic magics, putting an end to the most serious raids. Doulakki pirate force destroyed off the shore of Nithia proper by similar magics.
505 BC: Nithian Pharaoh begins to gather the resources of Nithia for a strong offensive against Hesperia, planning to make widespread use of Entropic magics to subdue and enslave them. He plans to then use the conquered population (or undead created from those he slays) to re-assert complete control over Nithia.
The Sand Deluge
In 500 BC, the Nithian Empire, having incurred Immortal dislike, abruptly ends.
The Immortals used magic to ensure that almost all trace of the Empire is wiped from the face of the Known World. The colonies are systematically destroyed - except for those which had already turned away from the Entropic faith which led to the destruction of Nithia; the Immortals also permanently altered the climate and appearance of the region, diverting the headwaters of the River Nithia and transforming what remained of the region into sand deserts.
Nithia is destroyed by the Immortals in the course of less than a year, vanishing almost completely, as if it never existed, mostly disappearing in the sands. Alphatians, Assinians, Hesperians, Thothians, even the few remaining Nithians of Brun remember this event in quite altered form, and their whole previous history becomes confused due to the Spell of Oblivion, resulting in a variety of discrepancies and inaccuracies. The Sand Deluge is remembered as the culmination of a process that they called the Great Drought and that affected also Hesperia and the Hesperian islands, with a major shift in climate in Assinia (their new name for Nithia) and several years of drought and famine also south of the Nithian mainland (now remembered as the main stronghold of the Thothians on Brun, and not the other way round).
Seafaring peoples from Hesperia and Milenia encounter the Alphatians as they expand into the vacuum left by the vanished Nithians. The populations of Cania and Assinia raid each other along the Sea of Dawn.
The fall of the Nithian Empire - and its consequences
The Thyatian alphabet, which is the standard alphabet of the Known World, descends from modifications of the Traldar/Doulakki alphabet (which was also the Milenian alphabet) and of the late Taymoran age alphabet.
Traladarans, Doulakki, Etrusna and post-Taymorans were involuntarily dealt a strong blow by the end of the Nithian Empire and the Spell of Oblivion, as much of their former knowledge was tied to the Nithian technology and magics, and was lost or crippled in the process, putting them back on an equal footing with the struggling Southerner-Hesperian coalitions. As they were always fewer than the Thantalian populations, but were much more advanced technologically and magically, now they have lost the means to exert their domination, and they find themselves fighting a defensive war against a much more numerous population, instead of fighting for domination of Hesperia. In the end they will end up progressively conquered by the Thantalian-Southerner clans.
According to Doulakki, this marks the end of the Silver Age of humanity. For them, the Golden Age ended in 1000 BC with the Beastmen invasion of the Traldar lands, signaling the end of the Traldar power, and of a time when Immortals walked on the earth and even directly ruled humankind (a confused memory of Taymoran necromancer-kings, Nithian pharaohs, Hutaakan high priests). The Sand Deluge and the Great Drought of 500 BC signaled the end to any form of Immortal portents and appearance in Hesperia. Although Immortals still provide spells and power to their priesthood, this belief reflects the change in rules and attitude of Immortal intervention on the planet after the shock of the Nithian demise.
Between 500 BC and 200 BC, when the Alphatian Empire decided to move into Thyatis and conquer the whole region, a common language and ethnic identity formed in the area among the Southerners and aboriginal Thantalian tribes. The Alphatian conquest and the two centuries of domination lead to the extinction of the Doulakki and post-Taymoran cultures in Hesperia. A few Doulakki fled to their kin in Traladara after the Alphatian invasion, some were brought to the Hollow World, but the others were all but assimilated into the Thyatian subjects of the Alphatian Empire. The presence of the historical Doulakki and Etrusna remains in many family names, toponyms, and in the technical jargon of the Thyatian language.
498 BC: Tarlin, seventh King of Thyatis, is overthrown after almost a decade of brutal and corrupt rule. A group of prominent men (warband leaders and wealthy Thyatians) form an aristocratic council to govern the tribe. They call themselves Senators and their government is known as the Senate.
492 BC: Battle of Sardal Pass in Rockhome. Goblinoids and humanoids are pushed outside of the borders of Dengar. Dwarven civilization will start colonizing parties; humanoids move over to other lands with dire consequences felt all over the Known World, including Thyatis.
474 BC: Second war between Nuvkrinum and Kyme. The Doulakki of Kyme ally with the Vitalians and conquer Nuvkrinum, also thanks to an important naval victory in which a supporting fleet from Sarausa plays a big role.
458 BC: A horde of gnolls and other monsters swarm out of the forests of Traldar and lay siege to Stalia. Etrusna and Kerendan forces, primarily cavalry, ride to Machetos' relief. Monster horde is crushed; the fleeing survivors are cut down and slaughtered. "Kerendan Days of the Hoof" celebration evolves out of a holiday created to commemorate this victory, which took place in Klarmont.
453 BC: War starts between Kerendan/Hattian alliance and Thyatis City. Most of the war is fought on the mainland, and even neutral Hesperian and Etrusna cities suffer because of this, especially as the Kerendan troops use them to feed their army, or use other excuses to try to occupy them. This ends up being a poor strategy, as most of the cities end up fighting on the side of Thyatis, out of hate or fear for the Kerendan troops.
451 BC: The Kerendan and Hattian fleets sail towards Thyatis City in late spring, while the Kerendan army marches overland into Thyatis, having managed to root out most opposition from the main cities on the road to Thyatis. Polytius, one of the two consuls, sends the Thyatian fleet against them, ordering them to concentrate on the less experienced Kerendan squadrons. They are soon put to flight, disordering the Hattian flotilla. The Thyatian forces inflict heavy casualties on the enemy fleet. Polytius then leads his legion against the Kerendans. Their tactics break up the Kerendan cavalry formations with javelins, and shatter the Kerendan supporting phalanx of footmen. The Kerendan army is routed and almost destroyed. The Kerendan-Thyatian war ends with the Kerendans and Hattians opting for peace.
450 BC: Polytius adopts the surname Tarastienus, as a tribute to his Immortal patron Tarastia. Thyatis City's population reaches 20,000. This will be remembered as the early Golden Age of Thyatis.
445 BC: Polytius proposes the construction of a new wall around The City - this follows roughly the same line as the current city wall. Much of the area included is still fields and orchards, however. But Thyatis City is none the less the largest in western Hesperia.
442 BC: Polytius' wife Augusta, who advised Polytius and fought alongside him in the Kerendan-Thyatian war, dies giving birth to twins.
440 BC: Polytius sends envoys to other cities in the region, many of whom suffered during the last war, inviting them to send representatives to Thyatis City to discuss mutual relations. They agree, and as a result of the discussions a League is formed, for the settlement of disputes and mutual assistance against common enemies. The League is headquartered in Thyatis City and becomes known as the Thyatian League as a result. The Footman's Games are initiated as a League-wide event.
430 - 400 BC: Pirates from western Hesperia plunder the fading Traladara settlements as that nation's dark age deepens. Raids from eastern Hesperia are directed eastward and northward, against the Alaysians and (especially) the Alphatian shipping in the Sea of Dawn.
425 BC: The Etrusna city of Kapwa is conquered by the Vitalians.
421 BC: The Doulakki city of Kyme is conquered by the Vitalians.
420 BC: Polytius Tarastienus, the most important figure in Thyatian history in the V century BC, dies.
401 BC: In Clevsin, Raunthu Zertnai, a Matriarch of Nyx, is embraced and becomes a nosferatu.
397 BC: Sarausa defeats the Taymorans of Motye. The population of Motye is allowed to found Lilithei on the coast opposite the island as part of the peace treaty with Sarausa, while the Doulakki sack and destroy their island-city.
396 BC: Veii, one of the original Dodecapolis members, is destroyed in 396 BC at the end of a war with the Thyatians. Rusle replaces it in the Dodecapolis.
390 BC: Verona and the League of Thyatis establish an alliance on equal standing.
387 BC: Exiles from Sarausa found Agkon. Sarausa conquers Rhegion.
385 BC: Exiles from Sarausa reach Hatria and are welcomed by its population.
383 BC: Kroton, at the time the most powerful city in Vitalia, loses a major war with Sarausa and Rhegion, and its importance is greatly diminished thereafter.
380-360 BC: Albai and Vyalia Elves fight goblins and gnolls, clearing the Dymrak woods around Stalia of humanoids who had grown in number in the last years3. By this time Albai and Vyalia have improved their collaboration into true coordinated efforts. For the first time Albai families are allowed to settle on Vyalia land.
356 BC: Constantia is founded as the new capital of the Brutii lupins, to establish a central, unitary stronghold to defend themselves better from the other populations of Vitalia.
338 BC: Kapwa joins the League of Thyatis.
334 BC: Kyme becomes part of the League of Thyatis.
326 BC: Parthenope joins the League of Thyatis.
307 BC: Nuvkrinum joins the League of Thyatis.
Into the Alphatian Era
300 BC: Hesperian and Dunael colonies and bases on the Isle of Dawn are by now de-facto independent as the Alphatians slide into decadence. Some Hesperian and Dunael raiders penetrate far across the Isle of Dawn, even sacking settlements on its eastern coasts.
Alphatian reprisals against these raids are particularly bloody and indiscriminate, when they occur, harshly targeting especially those cities that are nominally their subjects, accusing them of harboring pirate ships or supporting pirates from the west (Hesperians and Northmen in particular). About half the time the Alphatians are too absorbed in their decadence to respond at all.
295 BC: Picenum allies itself to the League of Thyatis, officially on an equal standing - in fact, it becomes a protectorate of the League.
295-294 BC: The Thyatian-Kerendan alliance defeats the Etrusna. Most Etrusna city-states join the League of Thyatis (Tarchna, Clevsin) or become subjects or protectorates of Kerendas (Velch, Rusle, Kurtun, Aritim, Vatluna).
292 BC: Hirpines lupines are defeated by the League of Thyatis and forced to join in. The League looks now at the Brutii lupines farther east, whose submission seems necessary to stabilise their position on the mountains of Vitalia.
277 BC: Kroton joins the League of Thyatis after a second defeat in a major war against Sarausa and Rhegion, which threatens not only its independence but even its whole existence.
274 BC: The Etrusna city of Caisra withdraws from its allegiance to Zyz and joins the League of Thyatis.
273 BC: Duke Hamlet von Grauenberg grants the lupin lords of Divodurum and Durocortorum the title of Barons in exchange for their acknowledgment of his fiefdom over them.
270 BC: Thyatian League subjugates the Brutii lupines. The Etrusna city of Tusena joins the League of Thyatis. Ieron II is elected tyrant of Sarausa.
268 BC: Doulakki pirates from Sarausa capture a particularly rich Alphatian merchant convoy, resulting in a large haul of Spider Silk, gems, gold, and other booty.
264 BC: The Etrusna city of Velzna is destroyed by the Thyatians, and its surviving population is divided among the surrounding League cities. Hattians start a war on the seas against the Taymorans. The League of Thyatis allies itself to Hattias, promising infantry support for island operations in the war.
260 BC: Thyatian League defeats first the Doulakki of Taras and then the Iapyges lupins, taking advantage of the long and debilitating series of conflicts between the two populations to subjugate them both.
259 BC: Thyatians and Hattians raid Alalia (allied to Mosya) on Borydos as part of the operations against Taymorans in the Sea of Dawn.
256 BC: Thyatian and Hattian troops attempt an invasion of Mosya but are repelled. The Thyatian League general Attinius is taken prisoner. Although no peace is officially declared, this signals the end of military operations by Hattias and Thyatis in the Sea of Dawn for the time being.
252 BC: A daring group of pirates, led by a former Thyatian naval officer, decides to launch a strike against the Alphatian continent itself. Eagret and Aasla are both sacked as a result, with the raiding fleet returning to port the following year, laden with booty.
During this time, Korotiku decides to transport some of the Thyatian and Hesperian pirates to the Hollow World.
Around this time, the tale of the victory at Sarausa in 533, which had been the subject matter of epic songs for nearly two centuries with drastically changed events (due to the removal of memories of Nithian culture and the disruption of historical knowledge that resulted from the Spell of Oblivion), is collected in the form of an epic poem by the poet and prophet Tiresias.
250 BC: A new expedition from Thyatis and Hesperia is directed against Alphatia, sailing forth from Thyatis City. It is never heard of again. The Hesperians assume the Alphatians used their magic to destroy the fleet in vengeance over the plundering of Aasla and Eagret.
The truth is that Korotiku transported them to the Hollow World, along with several of the Hesperian pirate-settlements on the Isle of Dawn, as part of his project to create a piratical culture. He has come to the conclusion that eventually the Alphatians will be stirred to action against Hesperia and he wants to preserve their pirate-culture before it is too late. Korotiku believes the raid against Eagret and Aasla will spur the Alphatians and possibly even reverse their decline into decadence, and that the Thyatians will likely not survive as a result.
In Alphatia, as a result of the "Great Raid", Eagret is rebuilt as a major naval base, and measures for the security of the waters between Dawn and Alphatia are undertaken. Just like Korotiku thought, Alphatia has finally decided to look at Brun, and to teach a lesson to those arrogant, savage barbarians who inhabit it.
Secrets of Hesperia
This section will provide some useful insights for the DM who wants to play his games in Hesperia, answering some of the questions and explaining the truths behind some of the rumors presented in the Player’s Handbook. The DM is free to come up with his own explanations and alternatives, obviously. Important NPCs of Hesperia are also introduced in this chapter.
City of Thyatis
Consules are elected in the City of Thyatis every year, but the elections are not exactly democratic. All males of age 17+ are grouped into seven income classes, and the first six are in turn divided into constituencies, for a total of 77. The seventh income class citizens do not have the right to vote, nor do women. The citizens of the first six classes have one vote in their class-constituency; first above the post candidate to consul in every constituency gets 1 vote from that constituency. Altogether, first and second classes have 39 constituencies (and thus votes), third-to-sixth have 38 votes. According to the law, both aristocrats and non-aristocrats can become consules, but while aristocrats must be 40 years old in order to do so, non-aristocrats must be 42. A consul cannot be re-elected until 10 years have passed.
The two Tribuni, on the other hand, are elected by 35 constituencies in which all citizens are equally represented. Every constituency will contribute with one vote for one of the candidates. The two candidates that win most constituencies will become Tribuni for one year. Only non-aristocrats can stand to be elected as Tribunus.
Marcus Fabius (age 50, F11, NG) is the head of the Fabii family, one of the most important aristocratic families of the City of Thyatis. He has been consul once at 40, and he is readying himself to run for the position during next year’s elections. The surname Fabius comes from “fabae” (fava beans); the family descends from one of the original Thyatian families who arrived from the southern continent. They are especially devoted to Lupercuus (Faunus), and they are one of the two families that guide the 15th of Vatermont celebration dedicated to that Immortal to invoke fertility upon the Thyatian women (the other family is Quinctii).
Velzna is said to host the ghosts of the leaders who challenged the powers of Thyatis and led to the ultimate demise of the city, that was destroyed in 264 BC. Others say only brigands live in the ruins. In fact, a bit of both things is true: brigands occupy the hills around the ruins, occupying them from time to time, if and when they need shelter closer to the main roads. The brigands, however, led by Attinie Kluvin (age 28, T6, NE), are allied with Flezni (age 47, W13, CN), an Etrusna necromancer who has carved a realm in the catacombs of the city, and is working on spells to resurrect bodies as living creatures under his full control. Flezni uses the brigands to scout the territory, provide new bodies for his experiments, and to keep people out of Velzna. He pays them well and they are too in awe of his powers to be so stupid to attack him.
Eos (W9/C12, of Ixion, LG) is a sundead, an experiment conducted by Ixion with counseling from Nyx. Eos does not age, she is unaffected by sleep, charm, and hold spells; she can only be hit by magical weapons; she can take the form of a golden wolf, a golden-and-red sparrowhawk, and a small golden cumulus cloud at will. Like a Nosferatu (see Gaz1), Eos retained her character class skills, powers, and restrictions.
Eos regenerates 1 point of damage per round. If she is reduced to 0 hit points, she does not regenerate, but becomes a cloud and flees to her sanctuary. In cloud form, she cannot attack, but can fly at 180' (60') and is immune to all weapon attacks.
The gaze of Eos can charm just like the vampire's (see TSR1012 Expert Rules, page 57), i.e., any victim who meets the gaze may make a saving throw vs. spells to avoid the charm, but with a -2 penalty to the roll. She can summon any one of the following creatures, which will come to her aid if they are within 300 feet (300 yards outdoors): 10-100 hares, 10-100 birds, 5-20 foxes, 3-18 hawks, 3-18 wolves, 2-8 dire wolves; she also has the power to change at will, three times a day, any liquid into a potion that will metamorph those who drink it into a charmed animal of medium or small size (pigs, tigers, boars, wolves, foxes, hawks, etc., etc.).
Eos has the power to restore one level with her touch. If the levels are already restored, for every round of contact with Eos, a player will gain 1d6 hit points, but if the total reaches twice his or her original, they will consume themselves in the form of emitted light as the overabundance destroys them from within. If the contact is stopped before this point, the additional hit points remain for 2d10 turns.
If Eos kills a victim in any form (with this power or with spells or other means), it may return from the dead three days later, in its previous mortal form or in the form of a sundead, but only if the sundead intends for it to do so. Eos has resurrected some of her victims, but never as a sundead, so she is currently the only sundead in Hesperia.
The sundead has some weaknesses: for instance, she will not come within 10' of a strongly presented evil holy symbol. During the night, Eos has no restrictions, but failure to rest at least one or two hours every day in her sanctuary will result in a loss of 3d4 hit points that cannot be regained in any other way than by resting there (at the rate of 3d4 for every night of rest). Eos casts no shadow; a spell of continual darkness will partially blind her (-4 penalty on all physical related rolls). If her sanctuary is destroyed, Eos will slowly wither away and die.
A sundead cannot have children, and this is Eos's biggest source of personal grief. She didn't think she would miss this when she accepted becoming a sundead (and she was only 27), but after centuries of eternal life she feels lost and lonely; moreover, she can only have limited, occasional physical contact with mortal men and women, as a few minutes in her arms will lead to the inevitable death of most common people; on the other hand, mingling with powerful adventurers could lead them to discover her secret and hunt, kill or imprison her for their own motives (something more than one man or woman has tried in the last 250 years). This, and orders from Ixion (since the fall of Nithia) to refrain from any prophetic divination to mortals that is not explicitly approved beforehand by her patron, has made her a sad and beautiful creature of light. Eos bears her suffering with countenance and takes pleasure and strength to live on from her total love and devotion to Ixion.
Lars Clavtie ("the Cripple", age 54, T16, TN), tyrant-king of Tusena. Lars is an intelligent man in his mid-fifties and has been for many years the ruler of Tusena. Thought to be a leper, he has in fact been heavily cursed by the Immortals for his early life as an impious brigand - he led for many years the sacking of shrines and temples under the alias of the Magnus Malus Lupus ("Big Bad Wolf"), stealing, selling and destroying precious magical weapons and relics.
In the end he was cursed by a priest of Khoronus with a slow magical disease that started consuming him and stopped not when he started performing the acts of repentance that the priest asked of him, but when he began to be sincere about them (he changed alignment in time from CE to TN). By then, he had already taken the rule of the city from the previous king, Plavtie II, a distant relative, with a coup.
Lars steered the city of Tusena away from the Etrusna-Thyatian wars, and has been a good ruler, but his disease has never reversed, just stopped. He limps on his left foot, his left hand is unusable, and he has a partial paralysis to his facial muscles, giving him difficulties in eating and speaking (although he is perfectly able to cast spells through parchments or magical items). He possesses an amulet of telepathy that he uses to help him in communicating, but dislikes making public appearances.
Despite his disabilities, Lars is a fearful opponent, especially given that he has several magical items to help him: a ring of invisibility, a staff of wizardry, a displacer cloak, and a girdle of giant strength, plus several spell parchments and potions.
It is true that he still goes to a sacred cave near the sea to pray for repentance. He does not ask himself anymore whether the curse will advance his ailments or not if he stops doing them - he just believes it is right to repent. However, he takes this as a personal relationship with the Immortals and the people he hurt - this will not soften his hard (but just) grasp on the kingdom of Tusena.
Lars has several illegitimate sons in Hesperia, but none in Tusena, and he hasn't decided yet what to do about succession. He is playing with the idea of preparing a democratic reform and to abdicate in favour of a democratic regime when he feels too old and/or bored to rule.
Vitalia and Iapygia
Sybaris was a major Doulakki centre in eastern Vitalia, destroyed in 510 BC by Kroton after a major war. The ruins are still visible in the coastal plains, although nobody has resettled the area. The closest settlements are small farming communities, none of which are too close to the area, which is said to be unlucky.
Actually, someone is living in Sybaris: the Nictuli, a tiefling clan of some 70 people which was planted there by Nyx. Their blood is part human, part Vyalia elf and part Masauwu’s spawn. Their ancestor was Lynfinnel, an evil Vyalia demonologist who nurtured a long-term plans to infiltrate her people with worshipers of Masauwu. The plan, however, was discovered and Lynfinnel was put to death with her human and elvish followers. However, a few young, still untainted by the moral corruption of Masauwu, some tieflings, some half-elves, some full-blooded human or elves, posed a more difficult problem. The Vyalia sought assistance from the Immortals, and Nyx promised to deal with them. This happened around 700 BC, and at the time Immortals still roamed the lands of Hesperia while the conflict on Nithia was escalating. In the end, Nyx hid them in the depth of the Traladaran forests and taught the young, who took the name of Nictuli (“the little ones of the night”) in tribute to her.
The Nictuli then moved east back into Hesperia, finally settling in the ruins of Sybaris, a convenient place where it was easy to get in touch with the Taymorans without drawing too much suspicion upon themselves. The goal of the Nictuli is to establish a new enclave of Nyx followers in the region, but they still do not know whether and how they can join their strengths with the Taymorans.
However, as even their direct contacts with Nyx and their knowledge of past lore have waned after 500 BC, they have been left on their own and have been very slow and careful in their studies of Taymoran culture and magic.
The patriarchs and matriarchs of the sanctuary of Djaea Lacinia in Kroton are aware of the presence of the Nictuli and sympathetic to them, so they are doing their best to keep people out of the city without arousing suspicions. Tanithea Nictulinnien (age 56, P9 (of Nyx), TN) is one of the Nictuli leaders and resides full-time in the sanctuary.
Retia and Halatia
In the last few years, Vyalia elves have been seen visiting the goblinoid stronghold in the east, something that has puzzled most. In fact, there is nothing mysterious behind these visits: philosophers, scholars and followers of Ilsundal have decided to tie links with the goblins and hobgoblins as their acceptance of a civilized and non-evil way of life seems to be a major cultural development which greatly interests the pacific (and pacifist-inclined) elves. The Vyalia would like to do whatever is in their power to assist and guide the goblins of Karntika in this process.
Elibaal Marqot (age 44, F14, LN) is one of the two sufets of Zyz, and has been elected many times to this position. He is a strong-willed man of ancient aristocratic blood, and claims to descend from the sorcerer kings of the old Empire. He has a burning hate for the Doulakki, but an even greater one for the Thyatians, whom he considers little more than dogs that need beating.
Elibaal is obsessed by the small, regional scala of his nation's power. He sees Hesperia as the rightful fief of the Taymorans, but knows that the situation will not change for his people and that they cannot do more than cling to the current situation.
He is more and more inclined to involve Alphatia in the power struggles on Brun, as he thinks that to be rulers of a kingdom that is part of the Alphatian confederated Empire could be better than remaining a minor power in a small region. Then, who knows, with the help of Alphatian sorcerers, Taymorans could tap into the lost resources of their past...
Elibaal is a man of medium height, with olive skin, black, very short curly hair and coal black eyes. He has an ancient sword +3 that is part of his family treasure, and a chainmail +3 bought at great expense from the Vyalia smiths.
Eshmunazar Motyez (age 61, W18, NE) is the most important politician in Zyz. He is a powerful archmage and a great expert of Taymoran magic. The Motyez clan were the de-facto rulers of Motye, before its destruction by Sarausa in 397 BC forced them to flee the island city; while most people from Motye moved to the newly-founded Lilithei, the Motyez considered it necessary to move to the much more important Zyz, and soon became one of the major players of local politics thanks to their money and magic, through which they could exert pressure through corruption and power.
Eshmunazar is a selfish man whose political activities are all set on the goal of keeping Zyz safe and out of the wars in the region, so that he can concentrate on the only thing he really cares about: studying the magics and monsters of Motye. He pushes for the city to finance exploring of the catacombs and dungeons under the city, claiming that they will be able to find powerful items that can help them fight and win against their neighbors. For all he knows, this might or might not be true - he does not care, as he is using this argument just to convince the military leaders and aristocrats to fund his research.
Eshmunazar is a short, bald, roly-poly man with an amiable smile and a joke always ready at his lips, but in fact he does not care about anything and anyone else other than himself and his own quest for ancient lore.
The ruined island-city holds a huge catacomb and dungeon system. Most of the stairways and roads to get to the deeper levels collapsed after the fall of Nithia; many of the remaining secrets from the Taymoran age were buried or corrupted and rendered useless as a side-effect of the Spell of Oblivion and the destruction of Nithian artifacts, as some of the dark magics of Nithia had Taymoran origin.
Albinos related to the Albarendi inhabit some low levels of the city (pop. 850); some werewolf clans (pop.300) control the surface area where the main cemetery of the island lies, plus some lower levels, and they occasionally prey on the albinos; they also have a small dock from which they can travel to the mainland or go fishing in the rich waters of Cania. About 50 werewolves from Motye are secretly living in Lilithei. They are planning to slowly but steadily expand in the region.
The Taymorans are aware of the presence of Albarendi and werewolves, and try to interact with, trade and bribe both groups to gain passage to some parts of the dungeons, and to have scouts or guards accompany their adventurers and scholars. Some scholars and wizards from all over the Taymoran domains have estates in the city proper, above the surface.
Sarausa is ruled by the brilliant and devious Ieron II (age 58, F12/W3, CN), a military leader who was elected tyrant in 270 BC, and is considered one of the most influential personalities in all Hesperia. He was the main general in the victorious war against Kroton (277 BC). He is a just ruler, loved by his fellow citizens. Ieron is a blonde man with olive skin and green-blue eyes. He is ageing with grace and is still a good match in combat, although not as formidable as a few years ago.
Ieron II is working secretly to build ties with several Tauri Lupin clans in the west in order to be ready for what he fears might be a final showdown against Thyatians and Zygians, in a three-fold war that could rage, burn and destroy all of Hesperia. Surprisingly, he himself has spread rumors about collaboration of Sarausa with the Tauri as a deterrent, as he would much prefer things to stay the way they are until he can be sure of his standing in a possible major conflict.
The most ancient city of Cania takes its name from 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. Doulakki priests are right in believing the nymphs are still there, but they have much reduced contact with mortals after the Sand Deluge, the fall of Nithia and the disappearance of Immortals from Hesperia.
The Messapian lupins are aware of the presence of werewolf clans in Motye; they dislike Taymorans from their old legends, and they believe Taymorans are somewhat connected to werecreatures, so they are wary of possible spillovers into the coastal Canian lands. Lupins believe that werewolves were created by Taymorans as the product of corrupted lupin blood, so they want to "purify" their bloodlines by wiping out the lycanthropes. Whatever the truth is, this hatred and these legends are about 2’000 years old (stemming back from 2500-2300 BC), so it will not die out easily.
Western Altan Tepes
Giants from the ancient kingdom of Fomoria still live in the westernmost parts of the Altan Tepes. The occasional giant has been met even in the recent past, but they have destroyed, sealed and abandoned several of their ancient strongholds as their numbers greatly dwindled since the time of the Great Drought (which canceled even more of their old culture and knowledge, because of the ties between Taymor and Nithia) and the arrival of the humanoids. Giant clans live there in total isolation from the rest of the world.
There are currently five major giant strongholds in the region (for a total of about 600 giants) plus a few small families (another 120 giants) live in eleven smaller fortresses. About 90% of these giants are stone giants, the rest are mostly frost giants and hill giants. The giants’ main patron is Sethlans (Wayland; known as Setlanni to Taymorans), but there are also worshippers of De (Djaea), patroness of forested lands; Terra, patroness of stone giants; and Cadjalis (Kagyar), patron of artisans.
On the other side of the mountains, in the lands of Traladara, several frost giants live in the old Fomorian capital city of Tursh. The frost giants of Tursh have become much more savage and are outright hostile to humans. The Hesperian giants greatly dislike their devoluted brethren and avoid contact with them exactly as they do with all other races. If ever a giant is seen by orcs living in the area, it is easy for them to make them believe it is actually an isolated traveller coming from Traladara.
The Vyalia elves are divided in six major clans (and several minor). The major ones are: the Blueleaf, jewellers, painters and sculptors; Diamarak, forest-wardens and rangers; Etheredyl, philosophers and mystics; Greenheight, outgoing and boisterous friends of humans and lupins; Hierydyl, scholars, genealogists and naturalists; and Treeshield, soldiers and adventurers.
Mayaddina Greenheight (age 188, W7/F4, CG) is the Clan leader of the Greenheight. She is still a young elf who has adventured much and loves the non-elven cultures of Hesperia. She is encouraging humans and lupins to settle among the elves and has planned the ‘cultural exchange’ project with the Karn goblins.
Mayaddina has two sons from her husband, former adventurer Demian Hieryalf (age 232, W9, LG) of the Hierydyl clan: a boy, Marcus (age 44, F1, NG); and a girl, Neariel (age 17, NW, NG).
Mayaddina also has a half-elven daughter, Zuana Taggia (age 68, F8/T4, CN), whose father was Cristian, an Albai adventurer from Stalia, killed during a battle with Traladaran monsters in the Dymrak forest.
Zuana is an adventuress too. She left the Vyalia lands as soon as she came of age, as she felt extremely distraught at observing the difference of speed in ageing between herself and her elven friends - not to mention her mother. She has lived mostly in eastern Hesperia, and has not seen her mother and her home for about a dozen years, something that pains Mayaddina very much.
The prophet Tiresias (age 48, W19 (Diviner), NG) hails from a small village bordering the Vyalia forests. As a young man, he adventured in Traladara and discovered to possess divinatory powers when he dreamt of a dragon killing his compatriots with fierce fire, and later the magic user of the company, who they had nicknamed Draco (“the dragon”) attacked them, killing all their friends with fire magic before Tiresias managed to take him down. After the event, Tiresias started paying more attention to his dreams, and discovered disturbing similarities between them and events that happened later.
Tiresias sought the help of the Vyalia elves, spent several years in the western forests, learning to control his abilities, and at the same time becoming a skilful bard. He became an especially good friend of Mayaddina Greenheight and her husband Demian.
Two years ago, Tiresias moved to the City of Thyatis, where he finalized the marvellous epic poem known as “Sarusiad”. This work commemorates the assault of the united Hesperians against the northern populations in the conquest of Sarausa of BC 533, unifying and giving an organic format to a lot of small ballads that had celebrated single episodes of the war long after the destruction of the city (and that were made incoherent and full of holes because of the Spell of Oblivion).
Politics in Kerendas is firmly in the hands of the aristocratic families. The Senate is made up of the 50 elder members of the aristocratic families (roughly, 30 are of Southerner or Southerner-Hesperian ancestry, about a dozen are of mainly aboriginal Hesperian ancestry, and the remaining are almost purely Etrusna); it does not hold any formal power, but acts as a counseling organ whose opinions are generally taken into great account by the elected functionaries (often members of the Senate, or related to them).
The political positions are elected every two years, by all males above 17 years old who own and can afford a horse and a full compliment of military equipment. Requirements to being elected are being at least 25 years old (40 years for some of the major positions), owning and affording a horse and full military equipment, and full citizenship (both parents must be Kerendan citizens, and not slaves; although the male son of a Kerendan citizen and a foreigner or slave is a citizen that votes, and his or her sons will be eligible to election).
By now most families are actually tied by intermarriage or by membership in religious or professional guilds. Although political parties in the modern sense did not exist at the time (nor would they exist at later stages of Thyatis’ history), most of the families, guilds, associations, and their supporters, can be grouped into three main informal parties:
The bellatori (“warmongers”) is the most aggressive party in Kerendas. Led by the major Kerendan aristocratic Curiatii and Albani families (both of mixed Southerner-Hesperian origin), it comprises the young but aggressive priesthood of Vanya, most of the army and the most ambitious families belonging to the lesser aristocracy. The bellatori push for a major confrontation with Thyatis in order to establish a full republic over all southern and western Hesperia, with Kerendas as its capital, and to end the farce of the ‘Etrusna dodecapolis’ and ‘Etrusna independence’ once and for all. The Etrusna culture is a thing of the past, and the Etrusna have incurred the disfavour of Immortals - clinging to an ancient language and an ancient theology is ridiculous and unfruitful. it is not strange that the bellatori faction is the one which has the most problems in dealing with representatives from other Etrusna cities. However, their power and money have allowed them to build a good spy network over all Hesperia. After the League of Thyatis, the bellatori consider the Ceicna their main enemies in the region - the Ceicna are an Etrusna family with excellent ties all over Hesperia, and they have a major saying in the direct rule of three important (and independent) Etrusna cities - Velathri, Spna and Felzna (see below, in the entry for Velathri, for more information on the Ceicna family).
The conciliatorii (“friendly ones”) are the progressive party of Kerendas, supported by the most powerful Southerner and Hesperian aristocratic families, by three of the Etrusna aristocratic families, by the priesthoods of Tinia, Tarastia and Asterius, by moderate members of the army, by the merchantile class and by almost half of the commoners in Kerendas. Their goal is to slowly influence and subjugate the other Etrusna cities through money and soft power, not direct conquest. War creates damage to land and people, hard feelings, political instability, and it is bad for the populations and the economy, so it must be avoided except for quenching individual rebellions and for defence against the dangerous Thyatians. The conciliatorii generally hold about half the seats in the Senate. The conciliatorii-senatorii alliance generally hold two thirds of elected political positions in the city, and it has steered Kerendas away from conflicts for the last 40 years. The bloody wars of Hattias and Thyatis against the Taymorans in recent years have increased the power and wealth of Kerendas and of several other Etrusna cities in Kerendium, reinforcing the old alliance and its stance in the city.
The senatorii (“older ones”) are the most inward-looking, ideologically conservative and politically pacifistic of the three groups. They are supported by a few of the Southerner aristocratic families, by five of the aristocratic Etrusna families, by some of the pure Hesperian ones, and by the numerically small, scholarly-minded clergies of Khoronus, Nox (Nyx), Horta (Ordana), and Terra. About one third of the commoners in Kerendas support the senatorii, as do most fishermen and farmers of the areas around the city proper (many of these, unfortunately for them, cannot afford to vote). The senatorii are often allied with the conciliatorii, given their penchant for peaceful solutions; moreover, they would prefer a more theocratic approach to ruling, that could profit from listening more to the Etrusna Immortals’ clergy. They insist on keeping good relationship with the aristocracies ruling the other Etrusna cities; their long-term goal is a unified confederated Etrusna republic with an emphasis on Etrusna culture - not a centralized and Southernized one like in the dreams of the bellatorii.
The major dungeon under Clevsin hosts a labyrinthine necropolis, at the center of which is a sanctuary to Nyx, the most widely revered deity in Clevsin. The dungeon continues far into the interior of the hillside, where a cabal of nosferatu sorcerer-priests of Nyx should oversee the rule of the city.
These three nosferatu, city elders that were raised to undead immortality over time because of their merits towards Nyx and towards Clevsin, are rarely disturbed for the minor necessities of rule, and keep a distant eye on the city and on Hesperian politics, preferring to live their undead lives pursuing their own academic and religious interests.
Only a few of the aristocrats, priests and elders of the city know their true identities. Most people in Clevsin just think that the necropolis hosts the higher clergy of Nyx, but not that such ancient and powerful creatures lead the faithful and look after the city in the name of their mistress.
The oldest of the three nosferatu is Velthur Matunna (age 352, W11/P11 (of Nyx), TN); such is his age and power that he is able to withstand sunlight, and he secretly has a small house inside the city and a cottage on the nearby hills, connected to his lair in the dungeon. He looks like a thin man in his mid-fifties, almost bald, with a grey-blonde beard and green-gray eyes.
Raunthu Zertnai (age 180, P12 (of Nyx), TN) was the first nosferatu embraced by Velthur Matunna. She is the most active of the three nosferatu, and is able to withstand with some difficulty the sunrise and sunset light. She is using this power often, impatiently waiting for it to grow, as she would very much like the freedom of dwelling on the surface. She has long ago bought a small house in Clevsin, where she goes to spend the night from time to time. She looks about forty years of age, has long, dark brown hair kept in a braid, coal black eyes, light olive skin; of medium height and slender build, she likes to dress in grays, whites and light greens.
The last of the nosferatu is Nerinai Ancarui (age 85, F9/P9 (of Nyx), LN), who was embraced by Raunthu in 294 BC, after the defeat of Clevsin and the other Etrusna cities against the Kerendan-Thyatian coalition. Raunthu thought that the existence of the city was directly threatened by the Thyatians, so that the addition of a powerful fighting priest like Nerinai, one of the battle strategists of Clevsin, would ensure that her skills and competencies could be relied upon in 20 or 30 or 100 years, whenever a new possible war of the Etrusna against their western and eastern rivals might start. Nerinai accepted her duty like she had done in her life as a military priest. She is still a young nosferatu and has yet to reconcile with her new nature. She can often be met strolling through the city at night. Nerinai dresses in bright colours; she is a lean woman, all nerves and muscles, with a stern, uncompromising but not unpleasant face. She has sad, amber eyes and long, jet-black hair with just a hint of grey, which she usually keeps in a long tail.
Tlamon hosts a sanctuary and a sect of holy warriors, disciples of Otinia. In the VI century BC two sieges, one conducted by a coalition of hostile Etrusna, and one by Kerendans, ended very badly when both times an unknown warrior leader arrived to guide the Tlamonians in battle. The warrior then disappeared. Rumours abound about this warrior, although it is not even known whether it was the same person in both occasions. Many say that Otinia himself assumed mortal form to help the city, and, since then, Hesperians have been in awe of Tlamon. The truth, however, is that a powerful construct is located in the basements of the main sanctuary of Otinia. The intelligent construct apparently stopped working after the Sand Deluge and the Fall of Nithia.
The leader of the Chimaera, an adventurer’s guild nominally devoted to Laran (Ixion), is Larthia Kurvenas (age 30, W12, CG). A former adventurer since her coming of age at 17, she quit adventuring a few years ago to concentrate fully on her scholarly studies and on running the Chimaera.
Larthia uses her contacts in the Chimaera to effectively run a spy network that she hopes one day to turn into a resistance movement against the intrusion of Kerendans and Thyatians into Etrusna politics. She knows it will be a slow enterprise, first of all because she has to convince the populations of the Etrusna cities, who, disappointingly to her, are acquiescing to the foreigners’ rule and are happy to carry on their trades in a peaceful political situation since their 294 BC defeat. She also knows that she needs a full alliance to back her plan, or individual cities will never be able to stand up to Thyatis and/or Kerendas, just like Velzna, who ended up being wiped away from the face of the earth.
Larthia is a short, busty woman (1,53 m) with a beautiful, oval face, golden-brown hair and green-blue eyes. She likes to wear elaborate earrings and necklaces, but has a distaste for rings. She forged for herself several magical items: a pair of earrings of protection +2, a pair of earrings of invisibility, a medallion of ESP, and a staff of spell storing.
The most important political figure in Velathri is Marce Ceicna (age 57, NM, TN), head of an ancient and influential aristocratic family which has branches in Felzna and Spna too. The Ceicnas’ main goal is to keep all the remaining independent Etrusna cities out of the hands of Thyatians, Kerendans and Sarausans.
Marce has found out through his own net of spies about some underground activity connected with the Chimaera and he is worried by some of the rumours his spies have uncovered: he thinks that the best way to remain independent is to keep out of all the present and future wars for supremacy with a careful exercise of political balancing, and he doubts the skills of Larthia and her young and overexcited adventurer-spies in mastering those skills. He does not think the political situation will allow for any major reversal of fortune for the Etrusna. Marce believes that Immortals never walked on Hesperia and that all the stories are just fictional. There was no major upheaval after the Sand Deluge, the Etrusna and Doulakki have just invented an excuse for their own inefficiency at fighting the Hesperians and their Southerner allies.
Although he dislikes the devious Ieron II of Sarausa for his war campaigns, treacherous nature and aggressive stance, he respects him, seeing him as the man who managed to put the Doulakki on the counterattack, reversing their decadence. Sometimes he pities himself, as there was no large Etrusna city like Sarausa that he could lead in a similar way, but when he looks back on his life he is sincerely convinced he couldn’t do much more for his people - and he’s probably right.
Marce is married to Peci Malamenas (age 50, NW, NG), a renowned sculptress of religious images and of sarcophagi. Peci is especially devout to Uni (Djaea). The couple have five children, the oldest of whom, Arathia (age 29, P3 (of Uni), NG), is a priestess. After her apprentice years in Velathri, she moved to Aritim to marry a junior military officer, Thucer Alethnas (age 29, F6, CG), with whom she has one son, Marce (age 6) and one daughter, Uni (age 3).
Thucer was born and raised in Aritim, but his father Vulca (who died two years ago in a shipwreck while travelling from Tlamon to Teria) was a distant cousin of Marce and an agent of the Ceicna in the city.
Having followed in his father’s footsteps, Thucer fell in love with Arathia while traveling to Velathri to report on activities in Aritim. Marce encouraged Thucer to court her, thinking that it would have been an excellent cover for their plots.
Marce never suspected that Thucer was really in love with his daughter; he considers him only a devout and reliable man in his service, who believes in their common cause. Actually, Thucer feels quite tormented because of the conflict between his personal loyalty to his city on one side, and his loyalty to his dead father, his father-in-law and their pan-Etrusna ideals on the other. He also feels guilty to have pretended with Marce to marry Arathia only for politics. Arathia does not know any of this, but Thucer’s fears are misplaced: the easy-going, pragmatic woman already suspects it, and she thinks it was an intelligent, useful and romantic move on the part of her beloved husband.
The Taymorans of Kartanya have about 40 Fomorian giants at their service. While the humans of Kartanya think that there must be about 20 free giants on the mountains, in fact there are more than 100. The rumors about a secret place of worship to Setlanni in the remote areas of the central massif are also true.
The Fomorians live alone or in small family groups, and they meet four times a year to worship Setlanni (Wayland), at equinoxes and solstices. The Fomorians in service of the Taymorans know about their kin and they have developed elaborate methods to communicate with each other, mainly through some Kartanya priests and through Gavinus Franco (age 39, D10, TN), the Druid of Kartanya, and his animal and humanoid servants.
The depths of the main volcano of Mosya (AC 1000 Mositius; see Dawn of the Emperors) has not yet released the censer of the mists, which is still trapped in a sealed cavern in a pocket inside the volcano. It is an artifact that later on in Thyatian history will start pouring huge clouds of mists out of the volcano, influencing people to kill each other and to perform other ominous acts. This, along with the Alphatian conquest, will effectively end the Taymoran civilization on the island, making it barely inhabitable, and then only to a few poor fishermen and farmers, for many centuries.
In supplements (canon and fanon alike) which depicts the island, it is written that Sir Actius founded the town that takes its name from him, and that Count Geraldan, ruler in AC 1000, is his descendant. Since we deem it highly unlikely that an island in the Sea of Dawn could remain almost uninhabited for such a long time, we prefer to alter this. One possibility that we did not explore is to have Actius called an entirely different name, and then refounded as Actius by his new lord in Imperial era. A second possibility is to have the Actavii re-founding the dominion after the Alphatians left, re-founding the city and the island. In this case, Sir Actius will have actually taken his name from the city and island, and not vice versa. People who are not well versed in Thyatian Islands lore will usually make the mistake of confusing this very minor snippet of historical knowledge.
Rumours run aplenty about Sakhla-Rhas, the sacred island of the Taymorans. The island hosts sacred grounds with temples where priests live. The main temples here are dedicated to Tanit (Nyx), Melq-Ashtir (Asterius), and Qorun (Khoronus). There are also minor shrines to Eshmun (Chardastes), Adon (Ixion), Minroth, and Ashtart (Valerias).
In the major temple to Tanit, a subterranean crypt holds the mortal remains of a few old kings of Taymor. While most are in fact empty, or contain dust and half-crumbled skeletons whose origin is at best dubious, one of the sarcophagi is the refuge of one extremely ancient nosferatu sorcerer-queen. Ishtar II of Sarroch was one of the last rulers of the Taymoran age. She was saved by her followers and fled to the lands that would become Hesperia around 1740 BC.
Since then, almost one thousand and five hundred years have passed, making Ishtar II one of the most ancient undead of the world. However, time has left its mark on the ancient queen, who spends years at a time slumbering in her tomb. Only the leading priests of the seven cults present on the island (and a few other major followers of Tanit) know about this.
Ishtar II is so powerful that she can contact telepathically the high priests of Tanit, Melq-Ashtir and Qorun to inform them she is going to wake up, several weeks in advance. When she wakes up, she will usually drink blood from the collected priests, and spend from a few days to a few weeks on the island, performing rites to Tanit, counseling them and enjoying her life (or, more precisely, her undeath).
Ishtar II is, all in all, a happy creature. She is sad because she has survived the fall of her civilization, and moreover she has forgotten much as a consequence of the Spell of Oblivion and the Fall of Nithia (although she attributes her partial amnesia and fragmentary memories mostly to her old age), but she is still powerful and much-knowing, and she has never become tired of her condition. She would like to spend more time actually living, instead of spending long and dark years dreaming confused and blurred visions in her undeathly slumber. But, after all, even undead flesh is flesh, and she knows this is the consequence of old age. Ishtar II is aware of the destruction of Motye in 397 BC and would love to find a way to travel there to investigate the catacombs and its treasures herself.
Ishtar II has the appearance of a short, lean woman in her mid-thirties, with black, curly hair kept long at her shoulder or in a long tail. She is extremely pale, with dark purple-blue eyes and a beautiful face with classical High Taymoran features.
Duchy of Hattias
The most powerful ruler on the island is Duke Georg von Hattias (age 81, F9, TN), a thin, tall, wizened old man in his early eighties. Duke Georg has taught his children to strive for the unification of all the island under one kingdom. In order to do so he has allied himself with Thyatis in the war against the Taymorans, as he thought that a major success for an alliance of all Hattian fiefs could create an unitary spirit. However, the war has not gone like he wanted, and he wonders whether his last days will be spent in bitterness. He despises the useless Duke of Sudenfeld and hates with a passion the madmen Grauenberg family.
Georg Filip (age 60, F9, NE), his eldest son, is the heir appointed, and is eagerly waiting for his chance to lead Hattians. He loved his father but in the last years he tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him from attacking Taymorans, and has since started listening to the treacherous whispers of his much younger second wife, Gabrielle Giannakopoulos (age 36, C9 (of Valerias), CN) a Vinton noblewoman of mixed Hattian and Doulakki blood who married him six years ago. Gabrielle became a cleric of Valerias in secret quite young, while her father was a diplomatic functionary (but a de-facto exile) in Sarausa, sent there by the old Duke to atone for some minor mistake while in office. Gabrielle has convinced Georg Filip to start poisoning his father in order to ascend to the throne. She despises the Hattian rulers and her plan is to kill the merciless Duke Georg and then control the weak Georg Filip. She does not exactly know what to do with Georg Filip once he will become Duke, but she will think about that after the old, cruel fool is dead. Gabrielle and Georg Filip have one son, Albrecht (age 4), and one daughter, Helena (age 2).
Georg Filip has two daughters from his first marriage to Kristine Schneider (300 BC + 270 BC), a Hattian noblewoman and second cousin to his father. His first daughter, Althea (age 40, W9, LG) is a small, thin woman with a secret passion for magic. She married Lucius von Richter (age 70, W13, LG), her mother's much older cousin and magic teacher, and Baron of Vinton. Lucius, a homosexual man, tall, with long white hair with traces of blonde still, and a short, grey-and-white beard, discovered the potential for magic in his nephew and pushed to become her tutor and teacher. After several years of studying and work together, they both saw the advantage of a formal marriage in order to escape the pressure and control of their families. Since their marriage eleven years ago they live in Vinton, and they do not know about the plot of Georg Filip and Gabrielle to assassinate Duke Georg. They have one son, Horst (age 9).
Georg Filip's second daughter, Martina (age 37, NW, LG), is a loyal but dull woman who dutifully married a Knecth (Knight) she does not love in order to secure his loyalty to the House von Hattias. She lives far from her family and is not involved in plots and politics, but would go to any length for her father and grandfather.
Hans Theodor (age 57, F14, LG), the second son of Duke George, is a Knecht (Knight) and has been raised by the Duke to become the right hand of his brother. He is loyal and enthusiastic, and an excellent fighter, although he is a bit dull about politics, and his loyalty to his family has always made him blind to the mistakes and misgivings of family members, wars of aggression included. He has always liked to look more dull than he in fact is. He has suffered much because of the unnecessary, aggressive war against Taymorans, and his conscience is torn since he provided informations to the enemy before the final battle that sealed the war on Mosya itself in favour of the Taymorans (256 BC). He personally liked the Thyatian General Attinius, whom he had convinced to abandon the despicable scorched earth and piracy strategies against Taymoran settlements (and that had led to the horrible sack of Alalia on Borydos in 259 BC), and he is desperately trying to find a way to get the man free without exposing himself - Hattians do not know about the treachery, while Taymorans do not know who the person who provided the precious informations was, as Hans Theodor's contact among the Taymorans, Danel Urumelqashtir, disappeared mysteriously a few weeks after the war ended, while travelling on a ship from Mosya to Zyz.
Duchy of Graustein
Dietrich von Grauenberg (age 34, F8, NG) is the Duke of Graustein. He kept his subjects out of the Hattian-Thyatian-Taymoran war and has consolidated his control over the area. Dietrich is not an ambitious man: he would just like to rule justly humans and lupins alike, and would not like to not give a damn about what happens in the rest of the world. Unfortunately he knows the von Hattias will not let him, so he has to spend a lot of revenues and energies on reinforcing his army and working on defensive tactics. He is wondering whether the best solution to the problem would ultimately be to engage with the Hattians and turn the island in a bloody battlefield, or to submit to the old Duke and avoid a bloodbath. He would take the latter course, were it not for fear of what the von Hattias could do to his non-Hattian and non-human subjects. Dietrich is a man with sound, deep-rooted morals, and that makes him an excellent ruler but a very tormented person.
He is married to Dionysa von Trier (age 30, NW, LG), a distant relative of the Baron of Trier. Dionysa is a passionate, strong-willed woman of mixed Doulakki, Tallian (native Hesperian) and Hattian ethnicity, who loves Dietrich and would like to change the island for the better, also working on the condition of women in Hattian society. They have one son, Andros (age 6), and one daughter, Maria (age 4).
Baron Crix von Divodur (age 30, T9, TN) is the Lupin ruler of Divodurum. He is the son of Brennan von Divodur, the first Baron, who pledged allegiance to Dietrich's father Hamlet in 273 BC. He was a small whelp then, and he grew up in a peaceful city, where the lupins lived happily side-by-side with the humans, and prospered. He is giving for granted that this is the natural state of things, and is more puzzled than enraged at how the von Hattias rule the northern part of the island. In his early twenties, he adventured around Hattias and did some piracy on the Sea of Dawn with his younger sister, Magila (age 28, T9, CG), who is now a pirate ship commander based in Alalia on Borydos.
Baron Viridovix von Durkurt (age 34, F7, LG) is the Lupin ruler of Durocortorum. He is the son of the first Baron, Virix von Durkurt (age 70, F17, LG), previous warlord and major resistance fighter on the island. Virix abdicated in favour of his son six years ago, as he felt he was not physically fit to fight anymore, and as he believes a Lupin ruler must be able to defend his people by going into combat himself if needed. Viridovix is still learning from his father and, in fact, he co-rules with his twin sister Viridovixen (age 34, F7, LG). Virix is a close friend of the ruling family of Noviodunum.
Noviodunum and Iniectum
Elicrisia (age 39, F13, CN) is the current Queen of Noviodunum, and leader of the lupins who would still like to throw out Hattians of their island. Since Hamlet von Grauenberg's strategy of co-opting lupins in ruling started, Noviodunum's stance became more difficult to defend. It is clear that after over three centuries of occupation, Hattians won't leave, and it is not possible to raid and attack the soldiers of Graustein, as many are now lupins themselves; just the most ferocious and uncompromising lupin war bands are still doing that. Although Elicrisia and the other free lupins have not stepped in to stop them yet, it is clear to them that Noviodunum's stance is untenable - sooner or later there will be the need to acknowledge the presence of the Duke, although she hopes to be recognized as a Duke herself, maybe with the help of the Brinnisril gnomes.
She has started to discuss these ideas with Makram Siriklis (age 92, T4/F4, CG), an adventurer, thief, and informal representative of the gnomish clan in Noviodunum, and he hasn't established whether the Queen is deluding herself or if the plan can be worked out somehow, to the advantage of everyone on the island.
Klint Brinnis (age 137, F8, LN), the King of the Brinnisril, is also thinking to suggest to his Clan to break the traditional isolation and sending an envoy to Graustein to meet with Duke Dietrich. The King understands that the new relationship of lupins with humans presents a new challenge - but also an opportunity - for the future of the gnomes.
Appendix 3: Flags and Insignia
Although every city, state and organization has its own symbols and every symbol has a unique origin and history, a few common themes on which most flags and banners are based can be recognized.
White is the colour of the aboriginal Hesperians (eg., Nora on Kartanya, Stalia in Alba, Corfinium in Magnum Thyatium); blue is the colour of the Doulakki and green that of the Vyalia elves; purple is the colour of the Three Tribes in general and of the Kerendans in particular; golden is the colour of the Thyatians; red or carmine are the colours of the Etrusna (eg., Aritim and Vatluna); black is the colour of the Taymorans (eg., Lilithei, Zyz and Mosya).
The Etrusna are especially keen on displaying the horse on their banners, and the Kerendans have adopted this custom; the Hattians use the eagle; Karn goblins have the trout; Tauri lupins have the bull, while Vitalians have the wolf. The use of the wolf totem animal in Vitalia has been borrowed by the Thyatians and Mastini lupins, whose cultures were heavily influenced by the Vitalian one. The Doulakki use as symbol the dolphin, an augural animal for sea travel; Taymorans use the fox; the Albai tribes have the stag, and the Kartana use the boar.
League of Thyatis
1The Antalian supergroup is part of the “Aharian” languages, another scientific term to indicate a group of related languages descended from the Neathar, which include the equivalent of the RW Indo-Europeans.
2Once again, the author refuses the notion that a recognizable “Neathar” tribe like the Toralai could have survived from 3500 BC (when the Hollow World boxed set mentions that “independent Neathar tribes no longer recognise a kinship or a common origin among themselves”) to 600 BC unchanged, through the Great Rain of Fire, the Taymoran and Glantrian cataclysms, and the Nithian and Traldar expansion policies.
3This is one of the consequences of a war between hobgoblins and bugbears in the Dymrak area in 396 BC. See http://pandius.com/tralhist.html