Lands of Aegylas
There are too many Lands to be numbered. One of these is the Land you call home; perhaps another is a Land where you performed a great deed. Perhaps you have a lover in a third, or a rival, or a brother. Perhaps a fourth is your birth-place. But one Land is your home. Choose carefully.
If you don’t find a suitable Land here, check out the Stranger Lands of Aegylas.
The Lands of Men
Palindrome, the City of Words
Palindrome is a city-state, where words are sacred and the poets are priests. In Palindrome, eloquence and elegance of speech is seen as the utmost virtue, and riddles, wordplay, rhyming and anagrams are commonplace. The gods of Palindrome are storytellers, record-keepers, liars and tricksters. In Palindrome, each weapon comes inscribed with a poem, every armor outfitted with calligraphy. The serpents there can speak, and are seen as messengers of the gods, thought their words are enigmatic and require much interpretation.
Human spellcasters from Palindrome receive the Scribe Scroll feat for free. Nonspellcasters instead gain a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Linguistics, to reflect their eloquence. This bonus increases to +4 with 10 ranks. In addition, humans from Palindrome can cast Comprehend Languages once per day.
BESM: Citizens of Palindrome typically have high social Skills, as well as Writing. Their sorcerers and sages can inscribe magical poems and verses, equivalent to Power Flux: Creation.
Garranthal, the Empire of Ice
Garranthal is a vast Empire spanning a cold and snowy climate. Its sorcerers have learned to tame the ice, and use it to sculpt beautiful palaces and bridges spanning their icy waters. Common-folk labor in the valleys, where the climate is milder, while the nobility and the wizards live on the mountains and on the glaciers, studying the secrets of frost. Garranthal ice can be enchanted to never melt, and be used for beautiful and deadly weapons and armor. Garranthal has never been invaded – the winter itself obeys its Emperor of Eternal Winter, and kills those who would try. Perhaps one day, the Empire will spread to cover all the world in snow.
Humans from Garranthal receive Skill Focus (Survival) as a bonus feat. They furthermore gain cold resistance 5.
BESM: Those who hail from Garranthal often have high Wilderness Survival skills. They furthermore often have Items made of Garranthal ice, which are extraordinarily well-made. Those trained in Garranthal’s ice-sculpting arts have Power Flux: Ice.
Enjudon, the Land of the Death-Fruit
Enjudon is a still and quiet country, with humble rice-farmers and long-robed officials serving its many petty kings, who have kept peace between them for more than a hundred years. Enjudon is a pleasant and fragrant place, where war is seldom thought of and monsters are scarce. Enjudon owes it all to the poisonous death-fruit. Death-fruit is delicious, almost impossible to resist, and in larger doses, instantly fatal. In smaller doses, however, it is a potent narcotic, a luxury afforded by everyone, who learn from birth how to carefully dose it. Death from death-fruit is pleasant and serene; the people of Enjudon never die a natural death, but eat a whole fruit when old age becomes too much to bear.
Humans from Enjudon never risk poisoning themselves when applying poison to weapons, and furthermore receive a +2 bonus to Craft (poisons). Having eaten the Death-Fruit has hardened their bodies, and they receive Great Fortitude as a bonus feat.
BESM: Those who hail from Enjudon have high Poisons skills. They enjoy high Resistance and many have Special Defense: Poisons.
Oudar, the Golem City
Oudar knows the secret of golem-crafting. Its streets are patrolled by stone men, its churches manned by clay bell-ringers, its King protected by a retinue of iron – so well that he has never been seen. If Oudar is your home, you are one who knows its true secret: The King is long dead, mummified on his throne. The iron men do not recognize this. They continue to carry out his orders, to run the city on his authority. Who actually commands them? Nobody can say. They simply obey. If Oudar is your home, perhaps you destroyed it. Perhaps you learned the truth. Or perhaps you simply left, your family still enslaved by the stone men, who make sure everything is run according to protocol.
A human who’s escaped Oudar has learned to keep his head down around the construct-men, and gains Skill Focus (Stealth). Furthermore, he has learned some of the animator’s art, and can cast Prestidigitation 3/day.
BESM: Those who have escaped Oudar are often stealthy and have Skills in Stealth and Street Sense. None today know the art of making new Golems, but their Items nevertheless often have a semblance of life of their own.
Puissance, the Land of Strength
Puissance is a kingdom devoted to physical perfection. Every seven years, the King or Queen is elected by a tournament of sports, from archery to horseback riding to climbing tall towers. Strength is valued by all, as is endurance, flexibility, and skill. Clerical work and scholarly scribing is done by the crippled and the lame, who are seen as worthless by the people of Puissance. In practice, this council of cripples runs the kingdom, and hold the true power – but must endure the derision of their healthier peers. In Puissance, dogs and horses are regarded as sacred – true companions for any skilled sportsman.
A human from Puissance receives a +2 to Climb and Acrobatics (if from the healthy caste) or +2 to two Knowledge skills of his choosing (if from the crippled caste). These bonuses increase to +4 with 10 ranks. Furthermore, when a Puissance human is affected by Bull’s Strength, Cat’s Grace, or Bear’s Endurance, the duration of the spell doubles.
BESM: Those who hail from Puissance have a plethora of physical Skills, most importantly Sports and Acrobatics. They also tend to have very high Body or Mind scores, depending on their caste. Puissance warriors are often martial artists.
Willowblossom, the Immortal Empire
Willowblossom is properly named the Realm of Empress Willowblossom, the Eternal. Empress Willowblossom is immortal, blessed by the gods for her great kindness and her good rule, hundreds and hundreds of years ago. The Empress was given a greater boon still; the ability to grant the same longevity to one other person, every ten years. Over time, her retinue of immortal courtiers and knights came to grow. The gods eventually must amend their rule; they decreed there may never be more than seventy-seven immortals in her Empire. The seventy-six courtiers now scheme and plot against each other, seeking to kill off their rivals to present a child or lover to the Empress, taking their place among the ranks of the deathless.
A mortal human from Willowblossom receives the Persuasive feat for free, reflecting their ability to navigate the complex politics. An immortal human from Willowblossom gains an extra +2 to one mental ability score instead of the human bonus feat, representing an older, more experienced mind. All humans from Willowblossom also receive a +2 to Knowledge (History), since they have such good access to primary sources
_BESM: Immortals from Willowblossom have several lifetimes of training, and tend towards very high Skill ratings in their fields of interest. Those who hail from Willowblossom typically also have great Wealth, reflective of their homelands’ prosperity._
Aurazol, the Philosophers’ Mountain
Aurazol is a mountain rising high above any others, reaching for the clouds and, indeed, the stars. Scholars and astronomers flocked to Aurazol, and over time, a land sprung up around it. Its leaders are wealthy men, trying to discern the secrets of the ever-changing stars, indeed, trying to discern the secrets of all Aegylas. They hire the wisest scholars to study the skies, and the bravest adventurers to obtain bits of lore from distant lands, and they all eventually go mad staring into the unspeaking heavens. Nobody lasts very long in Aurazol. But every master has a student, and for every astronomer who flings himself off the tallest peak, madly babbling about dying gods burning in the heavens, there is soon another to take his place.
A human from Aurazol has deep insight into the secrets of the universe, and are learned to resist insanity. Humans from Aurazol gain Iron Will as a bonus feat, and receive the ability to cast Detect Magic 3/day.
BESM: Those who hail from Aurazol often have Mind Shield, to protect themselves from insanity. The mountain has also keened their affinity for magic and the strange, and they typically have some kind of Sixth Sense.
The other Lands
Alabaster is home to the White Elves. They are a peculiar race, of tall stature, elegant features, and a milky-white complexion. The White Elves value purity and beauty above all other things, and consider themselves untouched by the fallen world. In Alabaster, purity is the highest virtue, and dirt is strictly forbidden. Humans are treated as ape-like brutes and barbarians, forbidden from walking the snow-white streets of their precious city. Lights burn everywhere, to make impurities apparent, and powerful magic is used to scour the air from particles of dust. The White Elves hate their Red and Black kin with a burning passion, however, and often employ human pawns to act against them. Alabaster is ruled by the White Queen, whose clothes and skin are blindingly white. To bring anything impure in her sight is punishable by death.
White Elves are potent spellcasters, and treat their caster levels as two levels higher. However, their obsession with purity makes them frail and vulnerable; they suffer a -4 penalty to Fortitude saves. A White Elf who mingles with humans is impure, and never allowed back into Alabaster.
BESM: White Elves are frail and have various Defects reflecting this. Impurity is a Bane to them; humans, animals, and other things only White Elves consider dirty are merely unpleasant, but very filthy things (corpses, rot, larvae, et cetera) deal damage to White Elves at the briefest exposure. White Elves are sophisticated mages however, and possess Power Flux (Universal) with the Activation restriction – a White Elf ritual takes an hour or so to complete, but can confer almost any boon.
Half-elves are not permitted in Alabaster; if you are a half-elf, you grew up elsewhere. Select a human background.
Obsidian is home to the Black Elves. These are a race of deception and subtlety, preferring to speak obliquely and never reveal anything about themselves. The Black Elves are always veiled, male and female alike, and refuse to speak their real names to strangers, using long and complex monikers instead. They view all other races as shockingly brazen, their faces naked, their names displayed in public. Particularly the White and Red Elves draw their ire, as they betray so much about the elven race. The Black Elves believe all truly valuable things must be kept secret – once out in the open, the thing becomes worthless. They often travel abroad, gathering information for their Spider Court, a substitute for their true leader – King? Queen? High Priest? Nobody seems to know.
Black Elves are consummate spies. They receive a +4 bonus to Stealth and Bluff, and always treat those skills as class skills. With 10 ranks, these bonuses increase to +6. They also gain a +4 to Will saves made against divination, as well as any effect that would make them divulge a secret. They may even re-roll their Will save if under the effect of a mind-affecting spell if commanded to reveal something. Unfortunately, their secrecy makes them difficult to target with spells; a Black Elf must make a saving throw against all spell effects cast by another, friendly or otherwise. There is a way to circumvent this drawback, and Black Elves often do amongst each other, but it requires unparalleled amounts of trust.
Half-elves from Obsidian usually hide this embarrassing fact about their heritage. They gain a +2 bonus to Stealth and Bluff, and treat those skills as class skills. Upon reaching 10 ranks, those bonuses increase to +4. They gain a +2 bonus to Will saves against divination, but do not suffer the Black Elves’ drawback.
BESM: Black Elves have very high Stealth skills and often advanced Skill Techniques in Stealth and Deceit. They also have high ranks of Mind Shield. They suffer from a Code of Honor to never reveal secrets, however, and they also have severe phobias of being revealed.
Blood is home to the Red Elves. The Red Elves see themselves as animalistic predators, and view all functions of life as sacred; rage, lust, animal passions are to them the highest virtues. They fashion their weapons out of bone and wood, and their clothes out of the skin of beasts defeated – if indeed they go dressed at all, for many prefer to be nude. They despise stone and things that were never alive, and see domestication of animals as a gross offense against nature, akin to slavery. They are ruled by a couple – a King and a Queen – whose carnality is legendary, and who arrange tremendous orgies of gluttony, sex, and killing. They hate the White and Black elves alike, with a burning passion.
Red Elves are fury and desire incarnate, and their bodies are predator-temples. Rather than the usual elven ability score modifiers, Red Elves receive +2 to all physical ability scores, and a -2 to Intelligence. Unfortunately, their atavistic natures makes them easy to deceive and control, and they suffer a -4 penalty to Will saves.
Half-elves are common in Blood, as the Red Elves have no compunction about breeding with humans. A Half-elf from Blood enjoys a +2 to one physical ability score, on top of their regular traits, but also a -2 to Intelligence.
BESM: Red Elves have very high Body scores, supernaturally so from a humans’ point of view, with perfect health and physical performance. They often have Features reflecting this as well. They are all Easily Distracted however, and many suffer from Berserk Rage.
The Monument is the Great Dwarven Work. While there are other dwarven lands, all dwarves know of the Monument, and speak of it in reverence. Many go there as pilgrims. Once, the Monument was a mountain, the greatest mountain in Aegylas, dwarfing even Aurazol in the human lands. Now, it is the Monument. Over generations, the dwarves have carved and whittled a face into the mountain’s peak, a pair of shoulders beneath it. Its foot have become literal feet, and the dwarves are still working on the knees. Nobody remembers who the Monument depicts – perhaps a god? Perhaps a King of old? Each dwarf has his particular task handed down from the ancestors – nobody knows the complete design. The dwarves who labor at it don’t know its purpose. They only know it is the Monument, and it will someday be finished.
Monument-dwarves have seen the destiny of their race, and although they do not understand it, it gives a strange kind of clarity. A dwarf who has seen the Monument gains either Skill Focus (Perception) or Spell Focus (Divination), foresight constantly lurking at the edge of their vision.
BESM: Monument-dwarves have various kinds of Sixth Senses to reflect their strange and eerie insight into the future. Being dwarves, they are also often Tough and possess some kind of Tunneling attribute, usually with an Equipment restriction.
The Carnival of Bones
The Carnival of Bones is a vast and sprawling throng of orcs, moving across Aegylas like a colossus. It is the merchant-fleet of the orcs, borne on palanquins carried by ogre slaves. The homeland of the orcs is unknown, even to most of those born to the Carnival. It is somewhere far away, and perhaps it has already been lost. The Carnival sweeps across Aegylas like a plague of locusts, stripping the countryside of food, for the orcish merchants trade in peculiar fashions. They move into a land, enslave the locals, then open up their shops to the surroundings. When they are done, they move on. Some lands they pass by without touching; others, they trade with; others, they burn to the ground. Nobody can predict the Carnival’s next move; but they are too profitable for most merchants to ignore, carrying strange treasures from faraway lands, and with wonderful sights to see in the goblin circuses.
An orc or half-orc from the Carnival of Bones gets a 10% discount on all magical items – the Carnival is generous towards its own.
BESM: The Carnival of Bones offers a plethora of Items, and all manner of strange possessions come into the hands of those who dwell there.
Obschylliasis is not the homeland of the gnomes. It is not where they gather to spin lies and dissolve truths. It is not a land of perpetual illusion, and it is perfectly safe to trust your senses there. True things do not melt; lies do not become tangible. Those who enter Obschylliasis do not leave as inversions of their true selves; and it definitely isn’t the case that only liars survive Obschylliasis untouched. It is perfectly safe to tell truths in Obschylliasis. Doing so will definitely, definitely not warp your soul into something unrecognizable.
There are no gnomes in Obschylliasis. They do not get any particular bonuses. Why do you ask?