Arald

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Countries of Arald

This page has details on the major countries of Arald. Below are short descriptions of these regions.

Western Continent

  • Arinoa: The kingdom of Arinoa is renowned for its quality iron, warrior culture, and dragonslayers.
  • Garm: The Empire of Garm was once known for being warlike, but it became peaceful a century ago after its evil emperor was overthrown. Garm is renowned for its high technology and for inventing trains.
  • Valonne: The kingdom of Valonne is a close ally to the Garm Empire, and also the birthplace of the airship. It has the strongest navy and air force in the world.
  • Bolla’s Domain: The lizardfolk of the dragon Bolla live in the desert to the south. They are an isolated but peaceful people.
  • Erud: The high-tech esper nation of Erud thrives in and under the northern mountains. It is where the printing press was created.
  • Earth Temple: Located near Valonne, the Crystal of Earth was discovered in ruins built into a long, deep canyon. The ruins were restored and a temple was built there to house the Crystalists who worship and study there.

Southern Islands

  • Medon: The esper republic of Medon is renowned for both its magical and non-magical healing arts, and for its skilled sailors.
  • Apalala’s Domain: The lizardfolk of Apalala’s Domain are the friendliest of all lizardfolk, and they are close allies with the espers of Medon.
  • Fire Temple: Just to the north of Medon and Apalala’s Domain, located in a string of islands, the temple that holds the Fire Crystal was discovered built into an active volcano. Likely due to the crystal’s power, the temple itself is protected from the heat and seems to prevent the volcano from erupting, despite its steady flow of lava.

Eastern Continent

  • Gou Empire: The Empire of Gou covers most of the Eastern Continent and is made up of dozens of warring clans. It rivals the Garm Empire in size and might.
  • Oni Valley: The small but bustling valley where the oni people are from. It is avoided by most because of fear they’ll transform into oni, too.
  • Canto: The peaceful esper kingdom of Canto is known for its art, music, poetry, and theater.
  • Amaru’s Domain: The lizardfolk of Amaru’s domain live in an enormous canyon where they dig deep mines and smelt the ore, producing metals that rival Arinoa’s in quality.
  • Water Temple: In the central Gou Empire, on an island in the largest freshwater lake in the world, sits the temple of the Crystal of Water.
  • Wind Temple: On a vast and densely-forested plateau on the borderlands between Canto and Amaru’s Domain is the temple that houses the Crystal of Wind.

Religions of Arald

This page has information on the major religions of Arald.

Magic

On Arald, magic is divided into two types that roughly coincide with traditional D&D arcane and divine magic. Arcane magic is called black magic, and practitioners of it are called black mages, while divine magic is called white magic, and practitioners are called white mages. Unlike in most D&D worlds, members of the cleric class don’t necessarily need to worship a god, and white magic can be learned in academies or from mentors just like black magic, provided a person possesses the aptitude for it. Members of a formal priesthood can call themselves priests or clerics instead, while those with the nature domain are usually called shamans, much like druids. People who practice both black and white magic sometimes call themselves sages, while those who combine black and white magic with conventional combat skills are called red mages.

The Crystals

Arald is host to four crystals that have existed since time immemorial. They were discovered by the various races, not created, and worship of the crystals is the oldest religion on Arald. The crystals were discovered inside ancient ruins, which were restored and added to over time in order to house the Crystalists who worship and study. In many cultures, visiting a crystal is considered a rite of adulthood. During this pilgrimage, people often retrace the paths that ancient heroes and other historical figures followed on their own pilgrimages, stopping at important sites along the way. Once the crystal is reached, the pilgrim must commune with the crystal, which involves meditation in the crystal chamber; this results in vague visions that the clergy helps to interpret. Most visions are interpreted as being of the future, but some are visions of important events in the pilgrim’s past.

The Crystalist Church are an organized religion devoted to worship of the crystals and to interpreting the visions shown to them. Some crystalists have become more skilled at communing with the crystals than others, and these take on the mantle of oracle, even exerting some control over which visions they are shown.

The Crystal Marks

When someone communes with a crystal, for reasons unknown, sometimes a mark appears on the body of the communed. This mark usually appears on the forehead or back of the hand, but has also appeared on the face, upper arm, back, or chest, and is always the same mark, even from different crystals. This mark’s purpose is unknown, but it seems to grant immunity to mind control and possession by Voidsent creatures.

Those marked by the crystals are seen by many cultures as being the bearers of great destinies and are often elevated to positions of authority. Whether they already had these capabilities or their potential was unlocked by the crystals is unknown, but there are records of crystalmarked individuals who fell to evil, were slain in battle, or simply failed the tasks put before them.

Temples

Each crystal is themed after a force of nature that it governs, as well as the location of its temple. The Air Crystal is found in a vast forested plateau where the winds never cease to blow, the Fire Crystal is found on a string of volcanic islands in an archipelago, the Earth Crystal is found in a vast, deep canyon, and the Water Crystal is found in a temple on the world’s largest freshwater lake. Each of these temples has settlements built around and near it to house the Crystalists and pilgrims, and the crystals located in more hospitable environments — such as the Air Crystal and the Water Crystal — have large cities built around them.

Dragons

Arald is also home to dragons, powerful primeval forces of nature that claim to be the world’s guardians against outside threats. Rather than being a race, each dragon is a unique individual and they share few characteristics aside from size and power. Some dragons are benign and aloof and don’t care about the affairs of mortals, some dragons see mortals as no better than other beasts, and some dragons are benevolent and take active roles in the lives of mortals. The latter are worshiped as gods among the lizardfolk, who claim to be descendants of these great dragons.

Dragons do not reproduce by mating. Instead, they must divide their own lifeforce to create offspring, thereby weakening themselves in order to spread their influence. Each child of a dragon is but a fraction of their progenitor, a small piece of their power. The greatest and mightiest dragons have never reproduced, while some have been prolific in creating spawn; there are tales of vengeful dragons sending their spawn to attack mortals, which has resulted in grand traditions of dragonslayers in some warrior cultures.

The three most well-known dragons are the patron gods of the lizardfolk: Apalala the water dragon, Amaru the stone dragon, and Bolla the fire dragon. These dragons are compassionate and protective of their followers.

Monsters

While Arald teems with wildlife, there are also strange creatures that defy nature or were warped by aether, usually from the Void. There are many legends in every culture across Arald about a time in the distant past, nearly two millennia ago, when the world teemed with hostile monsters that threatened to destroy civilization. While the world has known an era of relative peace and steadily declining monster numbers for the past 2000 years, monster attacks have been on the rise for the past few years.

Voidsent

The only unifying theme for Voidsent is that they come from the Void itself, rather than simply being creatures warped by the Void’s twisted aether. The only commonalities between them are a violent nature, a hunger for flesh and blood, and unnatural or impossible anatomies. When a Voidsent is slain its body begins to crumble away to ash and dust, but magic can preserve their remains for use as powerful components in rituals or the crafting of magic items. It is unknown if Voidsent have a language of their own, and while some show alarmingly high levels of intelligence and skill, others are mindlessly destructive.

Arald

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