All of the major races are native to Gant, with the exception of Gnomes, Minotaurs, Kayden, and Orcs. Gnomes and Minotaurs are rarely if ever seen on the continent and as such are more the stuff of myth and legend. Meanwhile the very existence of Kayden is completely unknown to anyone currently living on Gant. While the Orcs at one time flourished on Gant, they were largely driven off. Small pockets of Orc civilization can be found however in the wilder parts of the continent. With an insatiable lust for combat and bloodshed they spend most of their time killing each other. It is said however that their cousins from across the sea are always in search of new lands to conquer and new wars to wage.
- National and Political Divisions
- The Spiritual Powers of Magic
National and Political Divisions
The vast majority of the continent known as Gant is under the control of the Republic of Gant. In the North East, located on a peninsula formed by the Bay of Stillness, there is the small Kingdom of Ghallant, somewhat isolated from the rest of the continent. There are also several independent City-States that have control of small pockets throughout the continent.
Republic of Gant
The Republic of Gant was formed many years ago (by human reckoning, but still young in the eyes of the elves) when the continent was largely organized into a vast number of small City-States. Petty wars were commonplace and vast orcish hordes roamed the land freely. There were those among the various rulers that saw the wisdom in uniting together for mutual defense and prosperity. Out of these early alliances was born the Republic of Gant. Communities all across the continent were offered the opportunity to join the Republic, which was founded on democracy and freedom. Most of the City-States eventually joined. Some monarchs stepped down willingly, recognizing the changing times and the prosperity and safety the Republic fostered for their people. Other rulers were overthrown by the people they cruelly lorded over. While still a very select few decided that a Republic was a fine idea but they would rather retain their sovereignty and their kings and queens and nobility. With most of the continent joining the Republic the new Republican Army was able to finally repel the orc invaders and force them off the continent almost completely. In the years since the formation of the republic peace has largely been the norm. Though it would seem that the Greenskin hordes from across the seas have forgotten the terrible defeat of their cousins and as of late orcish raids have been increasing in intensity along the Southern and Western coastlines.
The capital of the republic is Telestra, where the Council of the Republic meets. Members of the council are elected from all across the republic as representatives of their region. One among the council is voted by the other Councillors to stand, for a set term of 2 years, as Speaker of the Republic. The Speaker holds little extra power above and beyond his/her peers but mostly acts as a moderator for Council meetings.
The population of the Republic is predominately human, however it encompasses large communities of Centaurs, Halfings, and Dwarves as well. Interspersed among the populace, high elves and half elves can also be found. There are many tribes of wild elves, large and small, living in the vast forests of Gant and while technically they come under the jurisdiction of the Republic they are reclusive by nature and are generally left to govern themselves.
Current Ruler: The Council of the Republic
City-State of Ralgor
Ralgor is a city state that rules over not only the city of Ralgor but also two nearby villages, Ruun and Keth. Ralgor itself is known as the City of Dwarves, built beneath the towering West Gantinor Mountains. This has been the ancestral home of the Dwarven clans of Gant for countless generations. With love and care they shaped the vast sprawling galleries and intricate network of tunnels, out of the solid stone of the mountains roots. The wealth of minerals and precious stones made the city sparkle with a beauty that would bring a tear to the eye of any dwarf. As a people the Dwarves of Ralgor are gruff and practical but also generous and loyal. They came very close to joining the Republic of Gant when it was first formed, however such was the love of the Dwarven people for their noble and enigmatic High-King, in the end they decided to retain their sovereignty. However, they remain on good terms and have always supported the Republic of Gant as a staunch ally in all the years since its creation.
Current Ruler: High-King Ungerban
City State of Vesticar
The population of Vesticar was almost exclusively human, and its rule extended beyond the City walls to encompass three small villages as well. The people and government of Vesticar we long at odds with the Republic, refusing any offer to join them, and remaining fiercely independent. However their isolation became their downfall. In the earlier days of the War of the Twin Terrors, Vesticar was besieged by the undead forces of the Sceptre of Necrodark. During the Siege the last King of Vesticar, Dannorath, fell prey to a shape shifting assassin named Mardis of the Black Hand. Despite the efforts of many heroes, the city was over run by armies of undead under the command of Deathlord Archibald.
In the wake of the defeat of the Sceptre of Necrodark, many exiles and refugees returned to their ruined home. A provisional government was put in place as the city attempted to rebuild from the ashes, however it was not long before a criminal element effectively wrested control. They now rule undisputed, hampering the reconstruction effort due to high levels of corruption in their government, but at the same time generating a great deal of wealth as an open black market port city.
Current Ruler: The Valean Cartel
City State of Cailhast
The vast majority of high elves on the continent live in Cailhast, and most of the rest were at least born there. It is a massive city that remains self governed and indifferent to the goings on of the Republic and the rest of the continent. In their eyes the Republic is still an infant and has yet to earn it significance. Only the passing of many years will tell if the high elves of Cailhast will one day join the Republic.
For more information see: A Brief History of Cailhast
Current Ruler: King Aeranth’ilar
The Kingdom of Ghallant
Ghallant is multicultural Kingdom formed from a prosperous City-State that refused the offer of the Republic. Its population dramatically increased after the formation of the Republic. For various reasons, there were those of all race and creed that did not wish to be a part of the Republic of Gant. This small minority gradually migrated, making the journey to Ghallant mostly by boat, amid rumours of prosperity and riches in the wild North-east. The King and Queen of Gallant welcomed all with open arms. As a result of this influx of people the City State expanded it borders farther West along the largely uninhabited Peninsula, several new towns and villages sprang up along the coast and within the fertile Northwood forest. Thus the Kingdom of Ghallant was formed. While they are innately distrustful of the Republic, by virtue of the political ideals of their forefathers who migrated there, they maintain somewhat friendly relations. There is no practical over land route connecting Ghallant to the rest of the continent and as such they remain fairly isolated.
Current Ruler: King Lyonel III
The Tribes of the Athelnon Forest
The Athelnon Forest is a vast, though relatively young forest (in Elven terms) which grows ever denser the farther you travel into its heart. It is believed that once a powerful Human kingdom occupied most of the lands now covered by the forest, but that careless harvesting of once fertile lands turned it into a lifeless desert, sending their civilization into a dramatic decline. Their King, seeking to forestall the doom of his dynasty, turned to the foul art of Necromancy. As more and more of his citizens perished from famine and drought so grew his legions of undead. Many great wars were fought in those ancient times, though few records remain. When the evil King was finally defeated it is said that a group of powerful Elven mages, the last wild mages ever seen in Gant, transformed themselves into trees in the heart of the desert, in an attempt to erase the damage caused by the human king and his destructive ambitions. From these first trees, it is said that the entire Athelnon forest grew, slowly nurturing the land back to health with the aid of Elves who took up residence in the young forest and who would eventually become known as Wild Elves.
Whether this is fact or myth, the deepest places within the Athelnon forest certainly carry a quality of deep magic to them. But even the oldest tribes cannot trace their oral histories back more than a few thousand years (again young in Elven terms), so none of the ancient legends about the forest can truly be confirmed. Since that time however, many tribes of Wild Elves both large and small, have lived, flourished, fought, and been extinguished beneath the shadow of the Athelnon Forest. Such is the cycle of life. Despite the countless conflicts and tribal feuds that have played out throughout their history, some wild elves seem to be able to put aside their differences and unite to defend the forest when required. Drawn from the ranks of all tribes, groups such as the Rangers Guild called the Guardians of Athelnon and the druidic Conclave known simply as the Druids of Athelnon, exist to ensure that the delicate balance of the cycle of life within the Athelnon forest is maintained.
While the majority of the Athelnon Forest now officially sits in territory under the control of the Republic of Gant, most Wild Elf tribes are left to their own tribal governance, either accepting the broad jurisdiction of the Republic or remaining oblivious to its supposed authority.
The Sablewood Tribe
Of all the tribes making their home in the Athelnon Forest, one in particular has continued to resist interference by the Republic. The Sablewood Tribe is believed to live somewhere in the heart of the Northern expanse of the forest, in relative isolation from the other tribes. They are distinguishable from other Wild Elves by their raven black hair and skin made deathly pale from living in the constant shadow of the darkest parts of the forest. It is said that the Sablewood Tribe captures anyone that intrudes into their lands, eating their flesh or sacrificing them to appease ancient gods, however most of this is only rumor or conjecture. As one of the largest and oldest Wild Elf tribes, they are feared by the other tribes who give them a wide berth. They remain fiercely independent and little is known of the internal workings of their tribes as any envoy or missionary that has attempted to make contact has never been seen again. Some among the Council of the Republic believe that the Sablewood elves represent a great evil within the Republic and have attempted to garner support for a military campaign against the Sablewood Tribe, but such a campaign has so far been wisely overlooked, for fighting Wild Elves in their own forest is a costly and nearly futile effort.
Current Ruler: Unknown
The Church of the One God
While culturally there are many differences between the various belief systems of the denizens of the continent of Gant, broadly they all fall under the Church of the One God. With the inception of the Republic of Gant, the Church became far more organized and the heads of the Church from various regions met together to establish a priestly order for all of Gant. From among them was elected a Patriarch to lead and serve the Church all across the continent. In the years that followed the role and organization of this order changed greatly, evolving to meet the needs of a diverse and flourishing faith in the One God.
As it stands in modern times, the Patriarch and the Head of the Church of the One reside in Telestra. It is here that the Patriarch meets with the six Cardinals. There is one Cardinal from each of the City-states, as well as the Cardinal representing the Kingdom of Ghallant. Due to its size the Republic is granted rights to two Cardinals, One representing Eastern Gant and the other representing Western Gant. Each of the six Cardinals arrives at their position differently depending on the particular organizational structure of the group they represent. But regardless of the means, their position is one of high authority. Some Cardinals spend a great deal of time in Telestra meeting with the Patriarch regularly and leaving more local matters to the Arch Bishops and Bishops beneath them (such as in the case of the Cardinals of Eastern and Western Gant). While others such as the Cardinal of distant Ghallant rarely make the long trek to Telestra and communicate through other means. As such, while the Patriarch is one of the most powerful men on the continent his reach does have its limits.
The Religions of the Wild Elves
Not all fall under the jurisdiction of the Church of the One God however. The Wild Elves have followed a myriad of gods over the long millennia they have lived and prospered in the vast forests of Athelnon. Some serve a singular creator God know in their tongue as “the Life Father”. Some missionaries claim this is simply another representation of the One God. Others claim it is a darker and more savage ancient god. Undoubtedly there are many wild elves that claim allegiance to ancestral gods of the forest and rumors among even the wild elves themselves make reference to a cruel and evil tribe of wild elves, more ancient and powerful than all the other tribes. It is said these savage elves of the deep forest serve powers far older than the world itself. Due to the wide variety of beliefs among the wild elves, most tribes have priestly orders of their own, although the Druids of Athelnon are widely supported by most tribes.
The light chases away the darkness, forcing it to flee to the most remote corners of society where it can hide. But in the shadows evil men serving evil gods can sometimes bring the weak of faith under their sway. While the vast majority of the continent of Gant serves and believes in the One God, cults spring up from time to time that set themselves against the light. Often these dangerous and malicious cults are hunted down and destroyed. Much to the churches disappointment, for every cult that is destroyed another seems to eventually rise in its place. As such the Church of the One God is ever vigilant to discover and attempt to redeem practitioners of the demonic powers and servants of the evil gods, when redemption fails however their evil influence can not be allowed to corrupt others. At these times it is left to the various Paladin orders and roaming zealots throughout the lands to bring about swift justice.
Gant is home to variety of Monastic Orders, where men (and in some cases women) who choose to live apart from the rest of society can serve the One God in their own way. Most famous of the monastic orders are the Assilian Monks of Cloudspire Abbey, aptly named for its location perched high up on a mountain peak in the West Gantinor mountains. These reclusive monks are collectors and writers of history and it is said their library is the most concise and complete history of Gant, accumulated since man first learned to write. Their agents can often be found wandering Gant carrying large tomes with which they record the goings on of the world. However despite being present at so many key historical events, they are pacifists at heart and rarely get involved. Theirs is a solemn duty, to observe, to record, and to return back to Cloudspire Abbey so that the scripts can add their knowledge to their great library.
For more examples of Religions and Faith in Gant see: Systems of Faith (Gant)
The Spiritual Powers of Magic
The continent of Gant is a land where the Spiritual powers flow freely. There are many who have learned the arts and rituals to tap into this powerful force that manifests itself in what is generally referred to as magic. The source of these Spiritual powers is a highly debated subject. The druidic conclaves hold that the spiritual powers are just an extension of the divine powers of the gods. However the Colleges of Magic, the domain of Mages, Battle-mages, and Wizards, claim that it is a physical property of the planet itself, invisible much like the wind, but with effects clearly evident in the world around it. These practitioners of the Spiritual arts spent long hours in study learning how to manipulate and control these forces. The wild tribal Shamans have also learned to tap into the Spiritual force known as magic, claiming it to be a primal energy in existence since the beginning of time. There are also those who believe that it is more the art of focusing inward towards one’s own innate spirituality, and then channeling that Spirituality outwards. Runeweavers and Assassins are the followers of this belief, often spending a great deal of time in mediation to focus and strengthen their spirituality. Regardless of the source, magic has been used for both great evil and great good over the course of history, but because it deals with forces that the common person cannot comprehend it is almost always viewed with some measure of distrust or skepticism.
Mages and the Schools of Spiritual Powers
Mages are generally considered to be the true masters of the Spiritual powers of magic. They devote their entire lives to its study, and with the exception of renegade mages they, focus all of their efforts on mastering a single form of magic, also known as a School of Spiritual powers. On the continent of Gant only seven of the nine Schools of Spiritual Powers are represented among the Mages. The Mages of Gant view the Common or Mana Spiritual Powers as a magic for novices only and as such do not consider it a true school of Spiritual Power, but rather a stepping stone to becoming a master at one of the other eight schools: Light, Shadow, Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Nature, Celestial. There are no mages alive today in Gant that possess the knowledge to advance in the Spiritual Power of Nature and as such while they recognize it, there are no Wild Mages. Despite this there are other types of practitioners of the Spiritual Arts that do wield Natural Magic, especially among the Wild Elf druids of the Athelnon Forest.
The mages construct wondrous towers and keeps, called Mage Colleges, to act as centers of learning where the vast majority of them live, study, and congregate. According to their laws and regulations a Mage College may only represent a single School of Magic. However there are several Colleges representing the same School of Spiritual Power on the continent, where each College is run by a Headmaster. Above the headmasters are seven, extremely powerful, Arch-mages. One Arch-mage governs each of the seven schools of Spiritual Powers present on the continent; though rumour has it that other Arch-mages exist in distant lands beyond the seas. The wildest rumours even claim that the Arch-mages of Gant have discovered the means to communicate with these distant colleagues, though this is entirely conjectured.
Each of the schools is largely independent of the others, though sometimes they work together to deal with threats to the strict regulations regarding their powers. The Mage Colleges see themselves as the guardians and enforcers of the laws of magic, even extending their influence towards other self governing practitioners of the Spiritual arts such as the druidic Conclaves of the Colleges of Wizardry. This is mostly facilitated by the Battle-mages, a subset of Mages who also live and study in Colleges, where they learn the art of physical combat alongside their magic to allow them to deal with a multitude of threats. Battle-mages often serve as bodyguards for high ranking Mages or as a sort of living artillery piece in armies, however most Battle-mages ultimately aspire to become part of the Mage Wardens. The Mage Wardens are the watch dogs of all who possess the ability to tap into the Spiritual Powers. They are lead by a High Curator, who acts as Supreme commander of the Mage Wardens. Like the Arch-Mages they is only one for each of the seven Schools. While their power generally does not exceed that of an Arch-Mage there authority does.
On the continent of Gant there are currently ten Colleges of Magic (click link for more details)
The Colleges of Wizardry
Wizards also spend a great deal of their lives in study however they believe that the mastery of the spiritual arts should be undertaken for the betterment of society as a whole. Wizards often serve as advisers and councilors to various governments, monarchies, and other organizations. While a mage pulls away from the world around them in order to remove all distractions a wizard embraces the world around him. As a result, Wizards will never truly match the raw spiritual powers of the mages however their true strength lays within their nobility and honour. They are generally the most well respected of all the magic wielding classes. Wizards also maintain centers of study called colleges; however, a College of Wizardry does not offer only a single school of spiritual powers. Housed within the same college Wizards of any school live and interact together. However even the enigmatic wizards must maintain the laws and orders of the spiritual powers, lest they incur the wrath of the Mage Wardens. As such the colleges are internally divided between the particular schools of spiritual powers, referred to as Orders by the Wizards.
In the early stages, young apprentice Wizards study together as they learn the most basic of Spiritual Truths. As they progress in their abilities they then select an Order of their choice from those provided at their particular college. Entrance into an order is a very serious matter and is a permanent decision. While students of Wizardry learn and grow in the spiritual arts they are also taught the value of honour, and are encouraged to find ways to serve the world beyond the walls of the College. Over the years there have been those Wizards who have turned away from the teachings of their tutors and forged their own path. Whether through a lust for personal power or a misguided sense of honour to a cause other than those promoted by the Wizards, these students choose to walk the path of the Sorceror and are destined to be outcasts. It is a hard life, constantly hunted by the Mage Wardens, and rejected by the finer elements of society, but it can still have it rewards for those willing to take the risk.
On the continent of Gant there are six Wizard Orders. At the pinnacle of each Order stands a powerful Wizard Lord, who retains this position until death. Theoretically their jurisdiction extends to any college were their Order is present, whether this extends beyond the borders of the continent is a secret known only to the Wizard Lords themselves. It is speculated that this may be the case as the Wizard Lord are often absent for great spans of time. But where they go during this time is largely a mystery. In their absence however the Wizards are governed by the Grand Savants. One Grand Savant provides leadership over a particular Order present within a college. Therefore there can be more than one Grand Savant for a Wizard Order, provided they serve at separate colleges (such as in the case of the Grey Wizards of Gant, see below). When a new Grand Savant must be selected the other Grand Savants serving at that College select the new Grand Savant from among the ranks of lesser Savants. Failing this a Wizard Lord may appoint a Grand Savant within his own order.
While the individual beliefs of the various druidic faiths vary they all hold one thing in common, a recognition that the divine forces present in the world are spiritual beings. As such, druids do not make a distinction between the powers of Faith and Spirit. Where the priests focus entirely on the power of Faith and mages entirely on the power of Spirit, druids wield both with fantastic results. They are often misunderstood or even shunned by both sides and as such those select few that have discovered the connection between the spiritual natures of the divine band together to form Conclaves. An oft reclusive bunch, the Druidic Conclaves align themselves with a particular spiritual aspect of the divine power they serve, and as such there is a wide variety of Conclaves in existence throughout the Continent of Gant. Each Conclave governs itself through a series of rites that are under taken by members of the conclave. A single Chief Druid presides over the Conclave both in ceremonies and in an administrative capacity.
Some who have come to understand the connection between Spirit and Faith choose to disregard the confining practices and rituals of the conclaves and open themselves up to a vast assortment of spiritual natures. This grants a great deal of power but has the unfortunate side effect of causing mental instability at best and complete insanity at worst. Typically these Witch Doctors as they are commonly referred to give themselves over wholly to demonic forces further setting them at odds with the world around them and making them ripe targets for Zealots.
The Rites of the Shaman
(More to Follow)
Runeweavers and the Art of Meditation
(More to Follow)
Assassin Guilds and the Uses of Spiritual Powers
(More to Follow)