All of the names are placeholders, as I'm not good at naming things. I think they're useful as they are, since they're good for keeping track of what's what, so I'm not in a rush to change them immediately. What I've got is mostly setting and a few hooks, but the story hasn't had much work done on it yet. I'm open to suggestions in the mean time. This is all fluff stuff; game mechanics will be discussed later.
This story takes place on the world of Anemoi in a region called Cape Heron, separated from the continent of Notos by the impassable Sage Mountains and the Mighty River to the south and Emperor Bay to the east, with the Infinite Ocean to the west and north. Most of the inland south is rugged with few settlements and long winters, with most of the villages on the broad coastal plains of the bay. The northern part of the peninsula is more lush and populated, with the exception of the uninhabitable wetlands. The Falling River runs along the coastal western ridge of the peninsula from about the north-south halfway point to the crocodile-infested Leviathan Delta in the far north. The Crab Isles near the northern tip are considered inhospitable to civilization, and serve as dwellings for monsters and exiles.
The continent of Notos is divided amongst the Dawn Republic, the Steppe Federation, numerous smaller nations, and indepedent or unsettled regions. Cape Heron is a contested area. It is nominally part of the Dawn Republic, but it is separated from the rest of the republic by Emperor Bay and the independent Sintu territories, which themselves pay tribute to the Steppe Federation. Additionally, much of the population of the cape is still loyal to the deposed Eagle Dynasty, and some would prefer independence from the republic's rule. The cape is vulnerable to invasion and is also ripe for a good rebellion any day now.
The Sage Mountains are a (mostly dormant) volcanic range in the south, separating Cape Heron from the mainland. Farther south, they are the source of the Mighty River, which feeds into Emperor Bay. They are mostly uninhabited due to their cold climate and difficult passage, so most commerce to the peninsula happens by boat. The few humans in the area are mostly herders of the native takin, a common mount and beast of burden in mountainous climes where horses would lose their footing.
The Emperor Coast runs the length of Cape Heron, from the foothills of the Sage Mountains to the Leviathan Delta. A center of fishing and trade, it is by far the most populated and prosperous region on the peninsula.
The Western Ridge forms the oceanic coastline of Cape Heron. Some fishing and whaling takes place here, but the settlements are considered quite isolated and strategically unimportant. The natives may be considered a little backward.
The Leviathan Delta is formed by the Falling River pouring into the Infinite Ocean and is named for the dangerous crocodiles that inhabit the area. It is primarily a cypress swamp.
The Crab Isles off the coast of Cape Heron are a small chain of barrier islands named for the horseshoe crabs that are sometimes harvested there. These islands are somewhat inhospitable, so they make a good hideout for smugglers and pirates.
The Dawn Republic was formed quite recently with the overthrow of the Golden Empire's Eagle Dynasty at the hands of the enslaved Ang. The republic is a highly-organized oligarchy. Life in the republic is regimented and ceremonial, and there is an emphasis on propriety, honor, and piety. By default, you are considered a citizen of the Dawn Republic, whether you want to be or not. They believe themselves to have the official support of the Divine Council.
The Divine Council are a group of god-like beings who control the world of Anemoi. Like their mortal counterparts, the Divine each have their own goals and motivations, and it is not uncommon for them to undermine or manipulate one another. Lately, the council has taken an interest in the Dawn Republic, and are believed to have orchestrated the rebellion in order to get rid of the hated Grik. Whether by their own internal agreement or by lack of power, they are somewhat limited in how much they can directly affect the world, so most of their intervention is by proxy. The highest members of the council, called Archons, are the most powerful in Heaven but the most limited in Anemoi, so they each employ lesser angelic beings, spirits, and empowered mortals to carrying out their bidding. Their curent goal is to rid Anemoi of the Grik.
The Golden Empire was ruled by a series of dynasties of Grik rulers, most recently the Eagle Dynasty, named for prophetic visions accompanying each ascendency. The oppressed Ang eventually rebelled and killed or drove out their rulers, both human and Grik alike, and instituted the Dawn Republic. Many residents of the republic are secretly Imperial Loyalists who swear allegiance to the hidden heir of the Eagle Dynasty.
The Steppe Federation is a cosmopolitan union of numerous kingdoms and clans that make up a vast but largely empty expanse of plains, steppes, tundra, and taiga.
You, the player, will be able to choose to help either the Dawn Republic and serve their Divine Council, to rebel against them and ally with the Imperial Loyalists, or take matters into your own hands and break humanity's bonds.
The Ang are the dominant race not only on Cape Heron but also in the rest of the Dawn Republic. They are of medium stature with almond-shaped eyes and dark hair. They are considered highly civilized, and they have proven themselves to be equally skilled at commerce and conquest.
The Grik are a race of intelligent beings from another world. They are so unlike the races of humanity that their motives are often inscrutable. Grik can become very powerful sorcerers and their magical gateways once linked Notos to their mysterious home. They are not necessarily a malicious race by nature, but they are best known for their draconian rulership of the Golden Empire, and their unsettling appearance only adds to the distrust. Most Grik fled when the Eagle Dynasty was deposed. They are usually killed on sight in the Dawn Republic, so they are mostly found in caves and remote areas of dense forest. Grik continue growing throughout their lives, so they can become truly monstrous with age. A Grik's life span is limited by the bodies' ability to support its own weight as it grows.
OOC: Probably not a playable race, but important for the setting.
The Sintuil (sing: Sintu) hail from the mountains and taiga of Notos and make their living as herders and hunter-gatherers. They live in primitive huts and chums made of animal hide and birch bark. Their culture is deeply spiritual and most Sintuil practice some form of shamanism, but the gods of the Dawn Republic are starting to gain a following as well. Their metalworking is somewhat crude and limited by the climate and elevation in which they dwell, so many of their tools are made of bone and horn. Sintuil are easily distinguished from Ang by their distinct clothing of leather, fur, and wool. Facial tattoos are also a common signifier. Their shamans are known for wearing masks and symbols of important totems like the bear, the wolf, and the leopard.
OOC: The Sintuil resemble the Evenk people with Tibetan influences.
The Yargozhu (sing: Yargozh) are a round-eyed people from the southern steppes of Notos. They are the main ethnic group of the Steppe Federation, and thus they are the primary rivals of the Ang. While much of their expansion has happened relatively peacefully, the Yargozhu have a reputation for being strong-willed and fierce warriors, skilled with horses, lances, and archery.
OOC: Think Tatars or Scythians.
Cape Heron is primarily Ang, so most of the architecture, furniture, clothing, weaponry, etc., should reflect a Korean or Chinese Three-Kingdoms-Era aesthetic. However, given that the cape is a major trading center, there's a lot of freedom in what kind of props end up lying around as they could be imported from elsewhere. Much of the armor will likely end up looking as much European as Chinese, as it's so much easier to find reliable historical references for European armor. Assets licensed as CC0, OGA-BY, CC-BY, and CC-BY-SA will work, as they all will allow the entire game archive to be released as CC-BY-SA. Anything licensed as NC or ND cannot be used.
You don't know what you're doing on Cape Heron. After discussing a particularly vivid daydream with a trusted friend, shaman, priest, or other associate, you decided to heed the call. Whether it was an ancestral spirit, a deity, or even a demon, you figured you'd take the chance. You would have been more reluctant if circumstances were different, but you had good reasons to leave home anyway. Maybe you were in trouble, or you brought shame to your family. Maybe you're leaving behind a jilted lover or escaping some responsibilities. Maybe you just needed to get away and see the world to satisfy your wanderlust. Whatever the reasons, you're here now. You don't know what awaits you or what exactly your supernatural employer wants from you. All you know is where you need to be to get started. You are the Penitent, or at least that's what the voice called you. You don't really know what it entails, but you're going to find out.
The spoilery part of the story and characters:
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