“Great deeds are eternal.”
Few lands espouse the heroic ideal in quite the same way the Dawnish do. When people think of the Dawn they imagine her favoured sons and daughters, the nobility arrayed in armour, weapons drawn, eagerly seeking battle. Before them stand the minstrels, singing the epic lays of past heroes. And behind them, the war wizards, giving their strength to the battle.
Knights-errant travel the land, seeking an opportunity to prove themselves and achieve glory. Their nobility give battle in the tourney to judge who is fit to rule. The people turn their eyes on the enemies of the Empire, seeking victory and renown.
Alone amongst the nations of the Empire, the Dawn has never given up land to the barbarians. But the aspiration to achieve great things is not just found on the battlefield. Every Dawnish feels that same urge, this is a nation that eats and drinks glory.
Great men and women may be forgotten. Great deeds are eternal.
Dawn is the land of valour; the classical images of gleaming plate, of brightly coloured banners and traditional heraldic devices provide the imagery for the nation.
“A street map? You need much more than a map of the streets to navigate this city my friend. There are rules to this city, break them and the Camorra will break you.”
Tales of the Catazarri cities have been made famous by balladeers – rival theatre houses and rival gangs, savage duels across rooftops, strange secrets in the depths of canals and sunken streets that only the Merrow boatmen have mapped. Grand cons; high politics; Free Companies and the bitter clash of powerful Camorra. The Church of the Little Mother, feeding the orphans of countless border wars – children who might themselves become the Merchant Princes and Princesses of tomorrow.
This is the League of Catazarria; and if the four great rivers that run down to the Bay of Catazar are the veins of this nation, carrying the lifeblood of coin and trade, then its cities are the beating hearts – Catazarri are city-folk through and through. Do not think them soft, however! The Catazarri are a driven people, carving a realm from the floodplains that now begins to span the Empire. From the wealthiest moneylender to the loudest street bravo, they are sharp as steel, quick-witted and ready to seize the moment.
The League of Catazarria is rich. Fine fabrics showing the wealth and style of merchant-princes. Rich silks in the south and fur trim for the northern cities of Temeswar and Holberg. It is opulent not ostentatious, a purposeful show of wealth and power.
“Pride in small things, loyalty to great ones”
The Marches: Hearth and home; loyalty and land. Rivalry, pride and a nation of traditions. Sentinel hills, silent marshes, and standing stones that mark the roads to Elsewhere. Generation to generation tilling the good, dark earth as their forebears did and reaping the harvests that feed all the Empire.
For centuries the Marcher Households have marched with the Empire’s armies, reliant not so much on magic or shining faith, but on the strength of their arms, the courage of their hearts, and the knowledge that they fought for the green fields of home.
Old folk tell of glorious conquest in their grandsires’ time, of defeat in their own, and hope for victory in years to come. Lanes once clogged with refugees in unfamiliar colours see change come to the Marches, change born in fire and darkness. The woodsman and the smith turn their hands to things of war. The merchant’s clerk lists supplies for the baggage train. Those granted stewardship remember wicker men. Those who choose to follow know the power of sacrifice. Those versed in lore, revisit darker magics. The ceremonies of the harvest are marked with blood.
The Marches is the sleeping giant of the Empire. Enemy boots churn up the rich soil, as the dog days of Summer give way to the cold dawn of Autumn – and to war.
The nation draws strongly on English history from the 12th century through to the War of the Roses for costume, weaponry and armour.
“Life is short — let it never be dull!”
The Sirroc are travellers, traders, lovers and poets. They are exotic and flamboyant; when they laugh their humour is infectious and without spite, when they love they do so with a passion that is without guile and when they’re angry, their wrath is like a summer storm – terrible to behold but swift in passing. To be Sirroc is to be driven by a hunger for life, to see the world, to taste every delicacy, sample every wine and tell every tale. Success is measured in wealth, family and influence, not out of greed, but for the joy success brings.
Their wagons and ships cross the world bringing exotic spices, exquisite fabrics and cut gems that command the finest prices. While others see them as brazen and mercurial, their honesty is without arrogance, for to aggrandise the self is vulgar, while to praise the deeds of another is an art. Their tales are bawdy enough for a common tavern and grand enough for a lordly court alike and can fill a room with laughter, tears or gasps of horror.
The Sirroc prize individual freedom and responsibility, although they are capable of serving a cause, they have little respect for authority. Pompous or self-important individuals, especially those who think that titles and positions have made them important are ridiculed in Sirroc. Respect is earned; it cannot be bought or appointed.
They are infamous for their corsairs who operate throughout the bay of Catazar. These daring privateers risk everything ensuring that the Empire’s enemies are unable to threaten her shores and earning a fortune in gold in the process. It is a dangerous life but one that perfectly suits the Sirroc passion for high adventure.
They are the Sirroc and they believe that while life may be short, it should never be dull!
The Sirroc look is one of bright colours, silks, jewels and sumptuousness. They admire
ornate or bejewelled items.
“The storms can never break us.”
The Winterfolk live in the most inhospitable terrain the empire has to offer – they stare death in the face every day without blinking. The Winterfolk are implacable foes, who stand unshakable in the face of the Empire’s enemies. For the people of the Wintermark, strength in battle is a joy and a good death is is the best one can hope for.
The Winterfolk consist of three peoples, the Suaq, the Steinr and the Kallavesi, bound together by an ancient oath.
The Suaq homeland is in the extreme north on shifting ice floes and permanent bergs.
They are consummate survivors who use every part of the kill and take nothing for granted. Most are hunters, scouts or guides, who spend much of their time travelling the icy wastes, ever watchful against the creatures out there in the cold.
The Kallavesi are mystics whose traditional homeland lies in and around a great cold marsh. They provide the nation’s spiritual backbone, acting as prophets, sages and guardians of the dead.
The Steinr are warriors, smiths and artisans, equally at home facing down invading hordes or creating things of beauty and purpose. They are the strength of the Winterfolk.
In Wintermark you are judged on every deed. It is a land of ancient mysteries and obscure riddles. It is a land where men and women stand steadfast against the cold and know that sometimes there is no-one to rely on but yourself. This is a nation where a warrior faces down an enemy chieftain, knowing she’ll be outflanked in the process, but knowing that her courage will turn the tide of the battle. In Wintermark there’s a firm belief that if only the other nations followed their example, the Empire would rule the world.