Asmythe is a world of danger and survival, conflict and conquest. The dreams of the ancient sleeping dagapesh made the world, give magic to mortal creatures, and shape their destiny. Myriad mystical monsters inhabit the wilds, created by the ancient ilthura to destroy magic. Delvers in their mountain strongholds and sylvani in their forest villages have survived since the ilthura abandoned Asmythe while Humans and Goblins appeared recently when the stars exploded. Can you survive and become a hero?
In the beginning the world was chaos. The dagapesh took form and gave form to Asmythe. They gave the creatures of Asmythe life and will. The dagapesh saw that their work was done and slept. It is said that their forms can still be seen in the great islands and mountains of the world.
The First Era - The Age Of Power
When the dagapesh slept the ilthura rose. For an eternity the ilthura inhabited the surface of the world and nurtured it. The ilthura were creatures of great intellect, immense magical power, and endless hubris. They built great spires on every land and in every sea. They created the githxa and the fae and many other creatures as servants and thralls.
The ilthura split into factions and created monstrous beasts to destroy each other. In the end the ilthura just disappeared leaving all of their creations behind. The creatures of Asmythe were left without leaders, without direction, and without protection from each other.
The Second Era - The Age Of Anarchy
When the ilthura vanished the creatures of Asmythe were left to fend for themselves. Some fared better than others and among all of them the githxa and the fae fared best, for a while.
The githxa built empires of their own and took the fae as slaves. But the githxa were not as powerful or wise as the ilthura and their subjects rebelled, throwing down the githxa empires and destroying them.
The fae fractured into tribes and forsook all the craft and trappings of the elder races. These tribes eventually became the sylvani, delvers, kobolds, and the many other races of Asmythe. Of all these the sylvani and delvers were the most prosperous.
The sylvani moved into the forests, plains, deserts, and swamps of the world. These lands are overrun by beasts. The sylvani learned how to avoid the beasts and to harness the dreams of the dagapesh to heal and protect themselves.
The delvers retreated under the mountains where they built cities in the stone so they could defend themselves from invading beasts. They learned to work stone and metal and how to summon and control elementals to create motive devices.
The Third Era - The Current Era
One day a great cataclysm erupted in the skies over Asmythe. The flares and lightning in the sky persisted for many days and nights. When it was over humans and goblins appeared and were already at war with each other. Each thrived on Asmythe, allying or dominating the native creatures and civilizations.
This is the current age. Human and goblin civilizations strive against each other to claim Asmythe while sylvani and delvers hide from the conflict and nurture Asmythe in their own way. Ilthid and githxa ruins and beasts are ubiquitous while mysterious elementals alter the nature of what is real and predictable. Asmythe is steeped in myth and danger.
The humans appeared on the isle of Altazar, and made it the seat of the Armada Empire.
The goblins appeared on the isle of Cozak and rampaged across the world dominating all they encountered.
The sylvani have refuges in all the lands of Asmythe, though they prefer forest and other lands where they can hide and shepherd the world in relative peace.
The delvers have strongholds in all the lands of Asmythe, though they prefer mountains and other lands inaccessible from the surface and where the minerals are rich.
The Fourth Era - The Future
In the fourth era ilthura return to Asmythe, the veil to the shadow realm falls, and all the races of Asmythe come together in cooperation. This era develops advanced technology powered by arcane and primal energy, reaching super power levels. But outsiders continue to invade and rampage across Asmythe, destroying all life in their path. At the end of this era the dagapesh wake again, resetting the world back to #Pre-History.
Circling Asmyth are three moons. The largest, Cylene, marks the seasons with its four cycles each year. Slightly smaller and much redder, Samlene, cycles every fourteen days; normal weeks are seven days. The third moon, a small dark body named Rolene, hard to see even when in full aspect, cycles every 17 days. Rolene first appeared near the end of the first era and is sometimes referred to as the "dark moon" or "blue moon".
By the empire calendar there are four weeks in a month, three months in a season, and four seasons in a year, for a total of 336 normal days per year. The spring months are Seeds, Clouds, and Flowers; following are the summer months of Stars, Golden, and Contest. The autumn months are Bells, Harvest, and Crowns; finally the winter months of Shields, Storms, and Silver. The new year is on the first day of Seeds. The weeks are Squire, Knight, Prince, and King progressing from the first week of the month to the end of the month. The first day of each week is set aside for worship and is generally a day of friendship and renewal.
Every ninety-eight years is the Time of Passing, alternating between midsummer and midwinter. This is when a great darkness falls on Asmyth. In the skies a great dark body growing ever bigger heralds the coming of these baneful times; it is called The Destroyer.
Astrologers also mark the passing of three great lights that streak the sky at regular intervals over the years. There is one seen every 27 years that brings with it the passing of a great leader, one every 42 years that marks the birth of a great hero, and one seen only by a few every 150 years foretells the coming of the avatar of evil who will try to claim all of creation for itself. There are many other lights that pass through our skies that cannot be predicted; all bring with them an event of great significance.
The world of Asmythe exists in the dreams of the dagapesh and although it is similar to our world it is not the same. The most obvious difference is the existence of magic and elementals. Elementals, being manifestations of energy, are attracted to any mechanism that harnesses or modifies energy, often with disastrous results. The more complex the mechanism, the more likely it is to attract an elemental. A simple wheel may function for weeks without attracting an elemental, but a clockwork device is likely to get infested within seconds.
This presents a limit to industrial technology and effectively limits it to a pre-industrial level. Without cogs, pullies, and other mechanisms to harness natural energy all work must be done by humans and animals.
There are aspects of technology on Asmythe that are more advanced than the medieval era, especially in medicine and engineering. Doctors have a good understanding of biology and are able to create medicine and cure diseases effectively. Engineers can design castles, bridges, and vehicles that are larger and more stable than medieval equivalents.
Chemistry is not well developed in the third age. Explosives, acids, and other chemical compounds are more complex, less powerful, and less predictable than elemental energy, so they aren't researched. Stainless steel and other advanced alloys are a secret of the delvers.
Delvers have their own technology that uses ilthura magic. They are able to create complex mechanical systems that are not prone to elemental infestations. Delver culture is analogous to Steam Punk and they guard the secrets of this technology more fiercely than their own lives. Delver alchemists know the secret of stainless steel, bronze, and other alloys. Delver armor and tools are very valuable and very rare in the Armada Empire.
During the first era the ilthura commanded through mental force. Their language was the only language and they did not share it with their thralls.
When the ilthura disappeared they left behind writing but no language to give it meaning. The githxa, sylvani, and delvers eventually learned to adopt the symbols of the ilthura and adapt them to create their own languages, as befit their culture.
Literacy is not common in most places, especially among the sylvani and delvers. Human and goblin language is taught in their respective schools but most people don't go to school and/or don't use writing in their daily lives. Generally only aristocrats, merchants, and scholars know how to read and write.
These are the most common languages of Asmythe during the third era.
These languages can be written, read, and understood without magical assistance. Although the sylvani and delver languages share an ancient root, they evolved over time and, in the modern era, are distinct and unrecognizable from each other.
- Empire Common, "Codrix" - The standard language of the Armada Empire. (Similar to Gaelic)
- Goblin Common, "Harazod" - The standard language of the Goblin Hoards. (Similar to Korean)
- Sylvani, "Jaunloul" - The sylvani language of life and nature. (Similar to Beringin)
- Delver, "Kathesh" - The delver language of science and mechanisms. (Similar to Evhmelish)
The ilthura had written language but never taught it to their thralls; the language itself is so strange that it is incomprehensible to any of the living races of Asmythe.
Although the ilthura language is impossible to fully comprehend without deep understanding of its grammar and structure a rudimentary understanding is possible and used by arcane wizards to summoning and control elementals. (The script looks similar to Uriovakiro but is functionally a form of Shorthand.)
As with most pre-industrial civilizations, food production is most important and the most common occupation. The method of food production varies by region and resources with farming and fishing the most common. Farmers typically live within fortified towns and cities and travel outside the fortifications to work the land during the day. Farms are owned and managed by the local lord with farmers assigned to work plots of land, in a very feudal way. But laborers are not boud to a specific lord, by law they are "free" to petition a new lord if they feel mistreated.
Crafts are practiced through guilds, associations of experts who band together to teach and regulate their craft. Guild masters are expert craftsmen who own and manage a craft hall. The guild masters regulate the craft in the local economy; they determine who is accepted for training, who is allowed to practice the craft, the cost of products, etc. The local ruler exercises authority and sets laws governing guilds.
Travel and Trade
In the third era most of the lands between cities is inhabited by hostile beasts and travel is very dangerous. Fortified cities and town are rarely more than a days travel apart and people live within the fortifications of a town or city.
Trade guilds travel between cities buying goods in one place and selling them in another. Purchasing a travel pass with one of these trade guilds is the safest way to travel. The guilds hire warriors and guards to protect caravans during their journies.
Sea travel is the safest and most common form of travel, where it is possible. Beasts of the sea are less common than on land but also tend to be much larger and more aggressive. Ships usually travel alone to minimize the loss of an attack, because it is nearly impossible to win a fight against a sea monster.
Wizards are able to power and control dirigibles, making air travel possible. Travel by air is very fast, very dangerous, and very expensive. Dragons and manticore packs are rare, but they are fast and can shred a dirigible before the crew realizes they are under attack.
Nearly all large transactions are conducted with bank notes, usually issued and backed by the House of Hugo or other local trading company. Coins are only useful for small day-to-day transactions such as purchasing goods or getting a pint at the local tavern. The most common coins are delver coins and the coins of the Armada Empire.
Counterfeit coins are rare because it generally costs more to produce a counterfeit than it is worth and the penalties for dealing in forgeries are harsh.
Delver coins are of extremely high quality; they are ornate and composed of complex alloys. The art of making these coins is a delver secret, making them much more valuable than their base metal and impossible to forge. Although technically illegal, in some parts of the empire these coins are used for large purchases because they are of high value and can't be traced.
Sylvani do not use currency, they share and barter among each other and with outsiders.