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Ochalea (Kingdom of)

Location: Known World, Sea of Dawn, southwest of the Isle of Dawn.
Area: 190,054 sq. mi.
Population: 125,000, including the capital city of Beitung (pop. 50,000).
Languages: Alphatian, Thyatian.
Coinage: King (a.k.a. Teng, 5 gp), one (gp), tenth (sp), hundredth (cp) (Ochalean coins are octagonal with square holes in the middle).
Taxes: Income tax of 15%, inheritance tax of 10%
Government Type: Monarchy.
Industries: Agriculture (wheat and rice), textiles (silk production).
Important Figures: King Teng Lin-Dieu (human, male, Pr20 of Koryis).
Flora and Fauna: Ochalea is mostly free of monsters. Dangerous creatures encountered include ghouls, weretigers, tigers, panthers and the rare purple worm. Also common are sheep, goats, and snakes.

Description: by Favonius Viator

In the blue waters of the Sea of Dread lies a large island that is home to the Ochaleans. Once part of the great Thyatian Empire, King Teng Lin-Dieu has managed to successfully rebel and keep his island to himself. The Ochaleans have yet to produce anything useful since that fateful day back in AC 1007, and one wonders why they even wanted to leave all the benefits associated with the Empire. Am I letting my national pride get in the way of an impartial observation? Perhaps, but then, who can ever give a completely unbiased answer to anything. Still, I am now here as a foreign merchant to work out a trade agreement, and it is from this journey that the description of Ochalea will be available to the readers.

The Land

The large island is a rocky crag sticking out of the Sea of Dread. The vast majority of the land is too rocky or hilly to be of any agricultural use.

Once a volcanic island, the remains of volcanoes dot the islands, but these mountains, although still rather big, are too small to be considered true mountains. Hence, most official Thyatian maps will mark the kingdom as filled with hills. Still, one must be in good shape to hike these hills, as they are far from gentle and rolling.

There are exceptions to this, however. First of all, between the hills, the valleys are well protected from the elements and the water runoffs create fertile land. The largest of these valleys houses the Shino-gawa River. This huge river crosses almost the entire nation, starting from the hills around the town of Wongzhao Tsuhao, then moves down to the lake around the town of Chungklang. From this lake, the largest one in Ochalea, the Shino-gawa then pours into the Sea of Dread another 70 or so miles away. Various areas along the shores of this river are forested and very productive for agriculture; productive enough to feed the entire population as well as leave some for export.

Also, two huge grasslands steppes cover a certain amount of the island. One, on the western shore, is also the location of Beitung, the capital. The second grassland, called the Grasslands of Chi, covers the southern shore of Ochalea. The most southern portion of the flat terrain is actually a tropical jungle thanks to the southerly ocean currents that warm the shores.

The People

The Ochaleans are a strange lot indeed. Of course, that should be obvious to anyone since they wilfully wanted to separate from the Empire of Thyatis.

Ochaleans are a reserved and religious people who place great importance on manners and proper behaviour. The long-standing following of the traditions of the Immortal Koryis has also made them very quiet, polite, and peaceful. Normal recreational activities in the rest of the Known World, such as drinking and gambling, are illegal here. They do not like violence and prefer to solve all their problems through negotiation. How they will survive as a nation without the Thyatian military is beyond me.

One of the greatest mysteries of the Ochaleans, however, is their very own traditions. Because of their peaceful ways, Ochaleans believe in the equality of all men. There is no distinction between the respect shown to members of different social classes. But as mentioned above, it is in the equality of MEN that is followed.

By Ochalean tradition, the woman has a lesser role in society, placing her just above that of a convicted slave back in Thyatis. Admittedly, some places in Thyatis are not much better, but at least that is just the behaviour of certain citizens and not an actual law, as it is here in Ochalea. Females are therefore required to stay at home and perform family duties and household chores. There are more arranged marriages in Ochalea than in the entire Empire. A woman has very little choice regarding anything.

The one thing I can admire of these people is that their peaceful nature has made them rather scholarly. The large number of priests, whom are held in high regard here, has helped turned this nation into one of the most educated on the Known World, ranking third behind Glantri and Darokin.

Don't Miss

There is not much to see specifically in Ochalea, but lots to see in general.

The entire architecture of the kingdom is exotic compared to the standard Thyatian structure. The wooden buildings are tiered and sloped-roofed, with a small bamboo fence surrounding them. Stepping stones lead around the houses to a little garden with a few trees and perhaps a shrubbery or two. Their gardens are designed to give a feeling of quiet and peace. The most beautiful of these buildings, are of course the temples and shrines dedicated to Koryis.

Besides the beauty of the place, Ochalea is, well, rather dull. And that's just how the Ochaleans like it.

Of interest to any readers who might also be scholars, it seems that the historians of Ochalea have found some interesting scrolls to debate over the original inhabitants of the island. Up until now, it was believed that Alphatians without any magical talents colonised the island and developed the clerical worshipping culture now present. Recent evidence seems to indicate that the Empire of Alphatia actually used the island to drop off undesirables, including non-mage Alphatians as well as another group of colonists that the Alphatians found on "their" continent. These two groups lived together peacefully, where the Alphatian coppery skin coloration soon dominated over that of the second culture (whatever appearance they had). It would seem that the architecture of the Ochaleans comes from this other mysterious culture, which is apparently a colony from somewhere on the continent of Skothar. Whether these new-found scrolls are accurate or not remains to be seen, and is sure to be the cause for debate for the next decade.