The Empires of Blood
Aduria, the original home of the Five Tribes who fled the shadow to Cerilia. In the centuries since Deismaar much has changed in this ancient land. The great Adurian Empire, which once dominated the continent, and whose soldiers numbered close to a million men has now fallen into decay and corruption. The lands it subjugated have once more regained their freedom and now fight among each other for land, power and gold.
It is a time of change for Aduria. Although weakened greatly the Adurian Empire still exists and maintains its hold on the far east of the continent. The empire's new ruler, Augustus II, plots for war with his rivals in the west and south while he battles the priests of Azrai for control over his own lands. In the West the Nehalim empires has expanded north, far beyond its original borders. Its explorers settle new lands each day, coming ever closer to Cerilia. The Ghanim Empire, dominating the great desert of the south has fallen to one of Azrai's spawn, a powerful sorcerer known only as Karish. The evil wizard has plans of his own, and already his army of Gnolls and other monsters have raided the southern principalities. With the entire continent poised for war it is a dangerous place for the smaller realms, especially those close to one of the main empires.
PCs in Aduria:
The size of the NPC empires, and their relative strength make Aduria a dangerous place for the smaller kingdoms. However in the far north and south exist many realms, ranging in size from a single province up to ten or more, that are suitable as PC domains. Aduria is also perfect for a standard AD&D campaign. The large number of old ruins of cities and fortresses that dominate the landscape mean a wealth of adventuring exists.
In the southern lands on the shore of the C'rae T'lor'hirm (Sea of Singing Spirits) are many small principalities and city states. The jungles that cover much of this land are also home to many dangerous monsters and the ruins of ancient Dra'Kar'Zoon (The Ancients) temples and cities. With the powerful Ghanim Empire looming over the region these states must band together to fight off the threat, or perish. It is a time for heroes and the south desperately needs them to act now.
In ancient times, some two thousand years ago the lands of the north were home to the Rjurik, Vos and Andu tribes. They were driven from these lands though, and across the mountains into Cerilia. Their lost lands were then claimed by the Adurian Empire, although their hold on this land has now gone and much of the region has fallen into chaos. Where before there were once great kingdoms there are now just a few sparsely populated lands, and vast areas of desert and barren plains. The toll that the ancient wars have taken on this land was harsh indeed.
Mieres, the Anuirean colony is the northern most of these lands, and several others follow it down the coast line until finally you reach the Protectorate of Solontara, a land that has fallen under the control of the Adurian Empire once more. Inland there is a vast desert known as the Adurian Wastes where it is said that an ancient race of Snakemen dwell, ready to take any who enter their lands. Much of the Northlands in uninhabitable, and only in a small strip along the east coast do any large numbers of people live.
The Subriyan Peninsula:
Dominating eastern Aduria is this region which contains the most powerful of the three empires. Long ago the Masetians and Andu people shared the eastern reaches of the continent. That was before the rise of the Adurians though. This new race soon dominated the Peninsula and drove away or conquered all other races. With the exception of the very tip of the peninsula the Adurians have dominated these lands for over three thousand years. The Republic of Subriya and the tiny realm of Bu'Zian are the only other domains in the east of the continent.
The most civilised region of the whole continent it is also home to around a quarter of the population, despite only taking up about a tenth of the land mass. From the city of Aduria in the south to Udine in the north these lands are heavily populated and cultivated. Little in the way of wild areas now remain, with only a few small forests surviving the years of human settlement. In the far east the Valsenio mountain range separates the Empire from the tiny nations of Bu'Zian and Subriya. Roads cross the empire making both travel and trade extremely quick. Unlike the Cerilian nations these roads are constructed from stone, laid on a sand base, making them much easier to travel along that the rough Cerilian dirt tracks. The Imperial Engineering Corps maintains these roads regularly to ensure that none of the stone blocks are missing. It is not uncommon to see large groups of slaves working along there roads ensuring that travel is not restricted. Further information about this region can be found in the Empire of Aduria section.
The lands of the Neha:
Nehalim is the dominant empire in the west, stretching from the Straits of Aerele all the way down to the principality of Chorbrag on the shores of the C'rae T'lor'hirm in the far south. In fact the only provinces that are not part of Nehalim and its related states make up the tiny nation of Halwan north of Neha city. Most of these lands are however not suited for habitation, being made up of mainly savanna and barren, rocky deserts. Along the coast there are however areas of habitable land and most of the people of Nehalim live in these regions. The exception of this is the principalities north of Halwan. These allied realms occupy the lands once controlled by the Rjurik peoples and are much cooler, with the hot winds that usually blow from the east being blocked by the tall Azure Peaks. Forests are common in this region, although many trees have been chopped down for export to Neha city for use in building.
Religion is a major part of Neha life and it was they who first began the worship of the gods that are now venerated throughout Aduria and Cerilia. In the city of Neha is the great temple of the gods, a massive structure where all the gods of Nehalim and other realms are worshipped. The Neha are one of the few Adurian nations to recognise the new Cerilian gods and worship them as lesser aspects of the original gods. The only god who worship is not permitted is Azrai, although Kriesha and Belinik are permitted, if not widely followed. The Neha also follow gods not worshipped in the other realms, and these are worshipped along with the mainstream religions. Further information about the Neha religions and the people can be found in the Empire of Neha section.
The lands of central Aduria range from barren grassland in the east to the great desert which fills the western region. Central Aduria stretches from the borders of the Adurian Empire all the way to the jungles of the Asla in the south. Most of this land is barren, and uninhabited, with only a few isolated oases where small cities and towns rise from the deserts. The Juh grasslands to the east are relatively barren but large herds of antelope and other animals roam the plains and hills. The largest cities in the region are Ghanim, the capital of the Ghanim Empire, and the Juh port of Hongor.
Many different peoples live in central Aduria. In the east and north dwell the Juh, wild nomadic tribes that travel the grasslands in search of antelopes, elephants and other animals for food and their hides. They do not build cities, preferring to roam their lands, in fact their capital city, Hongor, is populated more by other races, such as Adurian and Subriyans than the natives. The Juh however occasionally enter the city to sell furs, hides, and other goods that they have collected and to buy weapons. Once every five years Hongor hosts a great meeting of all the heads of the tribes and during that time it has been known for its population to triple. The tribes of Juh are renowned as the best horsemen in all of Aduria and even the great Adurian Empire does not threaten their hold on their lands, preferring only to pass through and leave the horsemen well alone. There are many stories of entire armies being slaughtered by Juh horse archers after threatened one tribe or another. Normally the tribes are fairly isolated from each other, but tribal alliances, some hundreds of years of old bring them together in times of strife and war.
Ghanim, which rules the great desert, is the third of the great empires. Ghanim, although sparsely populated by humans is home to a wide variety of other races who serve the wizard Karish. Karish is one of the Lost, ancient necromancers who served Azrai in the centuries before Deismaar. Not much is known about him as he does not appear much in public, preferring to remain hidden. He rules from the great city of Ghanim, largest of the inland cities. Ghanim is a place of violence and death with the humanoids of the Great Desert mixing with the human population. The wizard encourages open warfare on the streets to remove the weaker elements of his armies and leave only the strong. Needless to say most of Ghanim's leaders do not live long as their ambitious aids usually assassinating them in the hope of taking their privileged positions. Slavery is even more common here than in the rest of Aduria with almost two thirds of the population enslaved. The rest make up the soldier, noble and merchant castes, and are the only people of Ghanim that are permitted to own property. Although it has always been a threat to its neighbours in recent years Ghanim has expanded south and taken control of several of the small jungle kingdoms to the south. More about these nation can be found in their respective descriptions.
The C'rae T'lor'hirm:
In the far south of the continent is the C'rae T'lor'hirm, or the Sea of the Singing Spirits. This island filled sea is home to nearly fifty city states, both on the mainland, and scattered across the islands. Jungle covers much of the mainland and the cities are usually along the coast, although several can be found further inland on the major rivers. Water is the only common form of transport and thousands of ships ply the sea, trading between the major cites and towns. In the jungles live the Asla, the race of cat people who have over the years become civilised and now trade with the southern cities, rather that raid them. Asla can also be found in the Human cities along the coast, although they prefer the jungle to the urban landscape. The great sea is named after a mysterious race known as the T'lor'hirm. The T'lor'hirm are people of the sea, thought to be beautiful fish woman who occasionally rise to the surface to sing to the sailors who work on these seas. No-one alive can report seeing one of these creatures though, but the legends live on in the city states.
Once, long ago the jungles of the south were home to a race called the Dra'kha'zoon, otherwise known as the Ancients. It is thought thousands of years before the founding of the Adurian Empire they had a vibrant and powerful civilisation in the jungles. Even today the ruins of this ancient empire can be found, massive stone pyramids and other structures, now overgrown but often still filled with the treasures of the past. What bought about the death of this empire is not known but it is though that perhaps a war with the Asla led to their end. Following the fall of this empire it people fled the jungles, some heading north into the deserts to become the Ghan people, while the rest moved south to the sea and built new civilisations in this region. Today the sailors of the great southern sea are a very different people from their northern kin in Ghanim, with their own culture and way of life.
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