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Nations of Vaniae

by John Calvin

Ok, here is a second pass at defining some of the nations of Vaniae. It's still not complete (or even polished) by any stretch. There is still plenty of room on the map so any other ideas are welcome.

Location: One possible location would be Chryse Planitia (Viking landing sites should coincide with either Galactic or Blackmoorian landings).
Races: X% Aut (Warforged/sentient constructs)
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 3100 with original Blackmoorian colonists.

The sentient constructs of Aut disdain biological life forms and few such creatures are welcomed within their borders. Once integrated into Blackmoorian society, the Aut toiled tirelessly to maintain their master's outposts. After the immortals purged Blackmoor from the sphere, the Aut rebelled from their masters and gained their freedom.

Aut is located in the northern hemisphere near the pole, around the original Blackmoorian landing sites and their subsequent outposts. Most mines in the area have long since played out, but the warforged refuse to leave since their creation forges, irreplaceable artifacts of a bygone era, are located there. In order to repair themselves and replenish their numbers, the warforged of Aut must raid their neighbors for raw materials.

Warforged troops of Aut make up a significant portion of the Imperial forces on Vaniae. Some conjecture that Rabdriss may exert control over the warforged's creation forges.

Location: Cerberus
Races: X% Hutaaka
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 1000, fleeing the destruction of Traladara on Mystara.

A nation of jackal headed humanoids said to guard the passages to the underworld of Vaniae, Cerberian warriors are feared across the planet. Some say that the Cerberians hold back the nightmares of Vaniae, while others swear that they appease the creatures of the dark by bringing them sacrifices from across the lands.

Cerberian lands are covered in dense fungal forests that permeate up from the depths of the planet itself. Many of these produce toxins and alchemical agents that are sought after by all the races of Vaniae, and the Cerberians put them to good use themselves.

Though they pay lip service to Emperor Rabdriss, it is clear that the Cerberians worship some darker force secreted within their lands. Though few ever meet their king, he is said to have three heads.

Location: Dotted all across Vaniae in small pockets - now mostly inhabiting underground complexes.
Races: X% Planar Spiders, X% other spider folk, X% Gren
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 7000 or before.

The planar spiders of Chak are one of the oldest inhabitants of the planet, although they did not originate here. Many of their ancient architectural works have withstood the tests of time, even after the spiders abandoned them, and later colonists to Vaniae often built their settlements around them. The Chak that first colonized Vaniae were warlike hunters. Many journeyed to the planet for the mere sport of conquering it and subjugating the native populace. This the Chak did over the course of several dozen centuries.

As other non-native races found their way to the planet, the Chak mentality changed. Having already conquered the planet, the spiders begin a new campaign - one to conquer the very hearts and souls of the races now flocking to Vaniae. They give each of these races succor and help them to colonize portions of the hostile planet... and secretly they begin to change each of these races, making them into the ultimate examples of warriors for their species.

Now the spiders are rarely seen by any on the surface of Vaniae. They have not left however. Invisible, they sit in their refuges deep in the earth pulling the silken puppet strings that they have attached to their creations... strings that remain unseen by all.

Location: Dao Vallis
Races: X% Dao, X% Jann
Arrival on Vaniae: Natives, Prehistory

Long ago the dao were the undisputed rulers of Vaniae, but that status has changed over the past several millennium. Though the dao kings still claim rightful rule of the planet, they have gone into exile on the southern hemisphere, and not of their own choosing. Despite having been defeated by Rabdriss, the dao are still rich and powerful... and treacherous. From the relative safety of their jeweled palaces, they lure would be heroes to their cause and use them in their struggles with the emperor. One must always be wary when dealing with the dao however, for their promises rarely benefit anyone but themselves.

Many of the older races of Vaniae, earth elementals in particular, see the dao as noble liberators - freedom fighters battling an oppressive foe. The truth is the rule under the dao was just as oppressive.

Location: One possible location would be in the Cydonia area.
Races: X% Nithian (humans), X% Giff, X% Aranea
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 1200

The Pharaoh of Deshret rules over a desolate and forbidding red land. His slaves work tirelessly in the cinnabryl mines, and his warriors constantly do battle against their neighbors.

Deshret is the center of the Red Curse on Vaniae, and its cinnabryl mines are some of the richest on the planet. The area is poor in most other resources, including water and agricultural products. The warforged to the west often raid their lands in order to acquire the precious Red Steel used in their own reproduction. The Deshri's most needed resource is water and they often launch brutal raids to the west and the north in order to acquire the precious substance.

Proportionally Deshri warriors carry more weapons and armor made of Red Steel than any other nation on Vaniae, other than the Emperor's own troops.

Earth Elementals
Location: Any territory not claimed by others
Races: X% Earth Elementals
Arrival on Vaniae: Natives, Prehistory

Long before any other sentient creatures populated Vaniae, the planet was the sole domain of the earth elementals. Steadily pushed to the desolate fringes of the planet throughout the eons as other creatures claimed territory on Vaniae, nonetheless the elementals remain a prolific culture. Many now suffer twisted maladies and deformities - a side effect from the afflictions that are slowly killing their world.

The elemental nations do not pay homage to Emperor Rabdriss. They are considered to be less than vermin and are hunted by imperial troops whenever the chance arises. In kind, they hunt the imperials, and any other life forms that have the bad misfortune of wandering into their territory, for the elementals make little distinction when it comes to the humanoid populace of Vaniae.

Extraterrestrial Galactic Gatherer
Location: Viking I Landing Site?
Races: Single entity. E.G.G. of Vaniae
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 4000, deposited by the Beagle on its initial visit.

The intelligent device left here by the crew of the Beagle had a single purpose - to collect and catalog as many of the species of Vaniae as was possible before it was picked up on it's starship's return voyage. That return never came however, and since then the Egg has grown and evolved, and has given itself new purposes and goals over the eons. The Egg has also changed physically, warped by the emmanations of magic from this world, so that it is no longer an inanimate being. Now it pulses with new found life.

Currently the Egg is under the control of Emperor Rabdriss who uses its awesome powers to control the many diverse kingdoms that make up his empire.

Location: Unknown?
Races: X% Gren
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 4000, stranded on Vaniae when the Beagle failed to return and collect them.

A small Gren research station was established on Vaniae when the Beagle passed by on the way to Mystara. Those manning the station were supposed to be picked up on the return journey, however the found themselves stranded on the planet when their starship never returned. 5000 years later, Gren populations have spread across the planet. The majority can be found in two regions, around the complex of the Egg, and within the underground strongholds of the Chak. In both cases the Gren act as servants and laborers.

Gren on the surface fare little better, as they are the preferred target of Pyrhian depredations. Many seek direct employ in service of the Emperor as a means of protection, and still others brave the wild lands of the southern hemisphere.

Location: ???
Races: X% Gyerian
Arrival on Vaniae: Unknown

Flightless bird like humanoids.
Mystara Monstrous Compendium (pg 57)

Location: Hephaestos Fossae
Races: X% Hephaestons, X% other giant races
Arrival on Vaniae: Natives, Prehistory

These giants are renowned for their metal work and weapons smithing. They pay reluctant homage to the emperor, and act as his imperial weapon smiths, forging some of the most masterful pieces on the planet. When Rabdriss drove off the sirens oppressing them, the giants gladly joined his cause. Over the years they have come to see the emperor for what he really is, however now it is too late. The emperor regularly takes important hostages in order to keep the giants compliant.

The forges here are constantly in operating as races from across Vaniae bring the raw materials and gold in exchange for finished goods of all kinds. Only the forges of Aut can even hold a candle flame to those of the Hephaestons, but Aut is an unfriendly place to visit, closed to most.

Mystara Monstrous Compendium (pg 50)

Location: Near Deshret? Along the Valley Marinaris
Races: X% Giff
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 6000, part of elven fleet lured here by the Chak

Originally soldiers and mercenaries working aboard ships of the EIN Fleet in the Mystaraspace Cluster, the giff fled to Mystaraspace after their armada was attacked and destroyed by Carnifex agressors in nearby spheres. While the elves in the fleet wanted nothing more than to settle down to a peaceful life, the giff, who were still warriors at heart, were sought out by the Chak spiders of Vaniae and made an offer. The spiders granted them a portion of the planet to rule over in return for providing their services as warriors in the constant battles against the planet's native races. The giff readily agreed.

The ensuing centuries have seen the giff evolving from mercenary soldiers into warriors in their own rights - intent on conquest and in carving an empire for themselves. Since Rabdriss proclaimed himself Emperor of Vaniae, Hipannia's dreams of conquest have been shattered. Slowly they are building up their forces in secret in the hopes of overthrowing their current overlord.

Since it is built around many ancient Chak ruins, Hipannia is one of the few moist, and nearly tropical, areas on Vaniae. Artifacts left there by the spider folk maintain the country's desirable climate, and are jealously guarded by their giff caretakers. Despite being adamant imperialists, the giff still have a mercenary side, and will sell (inferior) weapons (most notable fire arms) to any who can pay their price.

Imperial Lands
Location: Vastitas Borealis
Races: X% Alphatian (humans)
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 600

These cold, desolate lands are controlled by the Emperor Rabdriss and his elite imperial forces. The population consists mainly of slaves and a small group of pure blooded Alphatians, descendants of Brissard's colonization centuries ago.

Moorian Savages
Location: Elysium
Races: X% Blackmoorian (humans)
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 3100

Once people from a proud and advanced civilization that walked across the stars themselves, the Moorians have sank far beneath their one time grandeur. When the immortals purged the Blackmoorians from the sphere, some few managed to escape their wrath by fleeing into the moors and swamps of Vaniae. In the centuries since, the Moorians have degenerated into violent savages.

Location: ??
Races: X% Aranea
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 1200

Mygalla is composed of Aranea who originally migrated to Vaniae with the Nithians in BC 1200. Treated as long lost children who finally came home by the Chak when they first arrived, the Mygalla have been largely left to their own devices in the ensuing centuries. Although Mygallan nobility has the ability to shape shift into humanoid form, most spiderfolk commoners do not.

Mygallan architecture is composed of gigantic sticky silken tents that are covered in layers of sand and silt, a mixture that creates structures harder than most stone. In fact Mygallan silk is much desired across Vaniae, and many nations will try to acquire it either through trade or by force.

Location: Noctis Labyrinthus
Races: X% Vampiric Minotaurs, X% Minotaurs
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 2000 - BC 1800 in several successive waves

Noctaurus is ruled by the fearsome vampiric minotaur kings, heirs of the dark powers of a long ago destroyed Taymora. More bestial in appearance than humanoid vampires, the dark rulers of Noctaurus sport large leathery bat wings and fly through their canyon homes in the dead of night searching for prey. Normal

The labyrinth in which they dwell has a physical connection to a similar feature on Mystara, though now its counterpart lies buried beneath hundreds of feet of water. Before Taymora sank beneath the sea several successive waves of minotaur immigrants made it through the portal from their home world to Vaniae. Since that time the minotaurs have become the undisputed masters of secrets and ancient lore on the planet, and races across the world travel to the Labyrinthus to find answers to their questions. Not all who seek answers in Noctaurus return.

Location: Amazonis Planitia
Races: X% Gren (females), X% other humanoid males (all slaves)
Arrival on Vaniae: BC 2500?

Cursed long ago on their home world to never again bear sons, the Pyrhians found succor on Vaniae, but not peace. In order for their culture to survive they must infuse their numbers with males from other nations. These struggles have honed the Pyrhians into a society of elite warrior women, and their raids are feared across the planet.

Pyrhian lands are some of the few left on Vaniae that still support large forests. Wood is a major export of Pyrhia and a major component of their economy. Other nations will often try to take a portion of the forests by force, but are always pushed back by the green skinned warrior women within.

Rock Man
Location: Scattered across mountains in the southern hemisphere
Races: X% Rock Man
Arrival on Vaniae: Natives, Prehistory

Descended from earth elementals who made Vaniae their permanent home, the rockmen have existed here for countless eons. Before the coming of the Alphatians, they lived secure in their mountainous homes and traded with the Chak, and later with the Nithians and their ilk. Brissard and his Alphatian nobles hunted the rockmen for sport, and for the precious magical rubies that make up their "hearts". Now only pockets of the creatures exist.

The mountainous highlands of the southern hemisphere are wild and dangerous, even by Vaniaen standards, and civilized folk avoid them with the exception of huntsmen and trappers. Rockmen have no love of these civilized peoples, and attack them when they can. Most know the dangers associated with these newcomers to Vaniae however, and Imperial troops are avoided unless their numbers are particularly weak.

Cone shaped rock men with giant rubies for hearts. Possibly a native race?
Mystara Monstrous Compendium (pg 97)

Location: Hellas Planitia
Races: X% Sandfolk
Arrival on Vaniae: Natives, Prehistory

Natives of Vaniae long before the Galactic Federation, or even the Chak spiders, visited this world, the sandfolk are now a dying species relegated to the confines of Hellas Planitia.

Wailing Wilds
Location: Terra Sirenum
Races: X% Sirens
Arrival on Vaniae: Natives, Prehistory?

The sirens of the Wailing WIlds once covered a much larger portion of Vaniae, including territory that expanded all the way across Hephaeston lands. These creatures are little more than brutal savages, who prey upon the unwary, or the unlucky. During his consolidation of power, Emperor Rabdriss drove the creatures out of the northern hemisphere, freeing the giants and making them one of his first willing allies.