Kryphaneos
Kryphaneos
Capital The City of Pain
Population 980,000 (85% Human, 7% Dwarven, 6% ???, 2% other)
Exports Technological advancements, weaponry, spices, alcohol, gold.
Languages Common, Draconic, Infernal, Abyssal

Kryphaneos is an ancient land, owned by undead rulers and protected by an otherworldly mists. Kept from its own ocean borders by huge, stark cliff faces, its only bordering nations are Corrindale and the Symeiran Earldom of Castleton.

Somehow, it seems, the mists of Kryphaneos want to keep its country contained. Almost as if they have a will of their own, the mists grip its citizens like a tightly clenched fist. The man that attempts to flee with his family will find himself turned around when he attempts to cross the mists. The second time he attempts to flee the country, one of his children is lost, and never returns. The third time, nobody returns.

With this supernatural influence, the people of Kryphaneos are born living in fear. The nobility and rulers care nothing for the common people, some of whom are harvested in farm-like arrangements for their blood, and some who are given a measure of independence, their lords viewing free-range game more of a challenge.

Government And Politics

The government of Kryphaneos is a mockery of feudalism. Divided into provinces, known as Demesnes, the land of Krpyhaneos is riddled with petty, squabbling nobles. While all the rulers - called Boyars - of the Demesnes have, supposedly, equal authority, there is a relatively clear power structure leading to the central Demesne of the nation - the Demesne of Paine.

The Grand Boyar of Kryphaneos, Boyar Tarrar Dan Paine (LE Male Human Vampire Ex-Paladin 4/Blackguard 10) is an insular, brooding individual, who seems to hold some deep-seated resentment towards the country he rules. However, any and all attempts to depose him are met with swift, and brutal justice - even as all attempts on his part to end his reign have been met with contrary circumstance. Tarrar seems to be doomed to rule this country until the day some benighted hero finally ends his miserable life.

The political situation in Kryphaneos seems to be slow, and the political motions of different Demesnes seem to not have a significant affect beyond their immediate surroundings; for this reason, it takes a long time for changes in technology and cultures to filter through Kryphaneos - indeed, many parts of the nation hold views that are considered downright backward.

Power Groups

Kryphaneos' politics move slowly. Each Demesne is almost a kingdom unto itself, and some of the many Boyars treat them as such, ignoring other Demesne entirely - even their immediate neighbours - using the mists to ensure their insularity. Therefore, political powers that span the country are actually rare, with only two basic elements being involved.

The Vampire Clans

While many Boyars in Kryphaneos are Vampires, not every one of them is alone in his state. Many are in fact members of long lines of Vampire Nobility, who in-fight on a daily basis. While there may be infighting in the Clans, the actions of those outside of the Vampiric Clans against the Clans are met with swift and brutal vampiric justice.

Right now, Tarrar Don Paine is the head of the Vampire Clans, and has been for some time. While there's an element of jockeying for power amongst his younger siblings in different Demesnes, there seems to be a consensus that they bid for second place - Tarrar's position is basically unassailable.

The Gypsy Clans

In Kryphaneos, Gypsy is synonymous with 'lycanthrope'. A people of wild, surging emotions, and a tendency towards good, the gypsies of Kryphaneos are one of the few races whose natural talents give them enough clout to fight the Vampires on equal footing in a world where magic is smothered.

The Gypsies are divided into various numbers and types, but the general rule of thumb is that while they are insular and suspicious of strangers, the people of the Caravans are strong, good-hearted people who revel in the life the world has given them.

The Gypsies lack for a particular leader or clan head. Each family tends itself, usually numbering about fifty to a hundred people, travelling in caravan. Husbands and wives are either taken from unrelated members of the same caravan, or from those non-gypsies who become interested in the life of the wild rogue.

Industries

First and foremost, the production of Krpyhaneos is stilted at best. Yearly harvests from the towns are taxed by the Boyars, which usually is to no particular end. Agriculture is low, and there is a distinct lack of iron in the country. Iron has to be imported, and this means that for many common uses of iron, instead, copper, Durpsine Wood, or other magically-treated substances.

Also, magic's unreliable nature within the borders of Kryphaneos has led to the refinement of mundane crafts. While technology has not progressed to the same degree as it has in other parts of the world (magical influence helping shape the path of science), Kryphaneos still produces some of the finest types of technological advancements around, and the Boyar Paine has seen to it that these influences are becoming more common.

Kryphaneos exports some of the best quality long rifles and firearms, and while Kryphaneos does not produce much iron, its weaponry is still to be admired.

Rural Life

Rural life is harsh in Kryphaneos, depending on where your particular area lies. Most Demesnes are criss-crossed with swamps, making large amounts of arable land rare. Further, the days are long in the summer months, which make them the best time for working; just after sunset, and just before sunrise, the Mists of Kryphaneos roll in, and those are dangerous times to be abroad. At night, the horrors come out, and danger strides the forests.

Most rural areas are centralised around a town, and few individuals live in farmsteads outside of these communities. Most every such town in Kryphaneos has some kind of religious totem, mark of faith, or holy relic that helps keep the borders of the town itself sacrosanct - but at the same time, most areas in Kryphaneos have high walls of stout stone.

Kryphaneon towns tend to be small, with limited populations who almost all know each other. Growth is slow, by the standards of other countries, but it is nonetheless present. Within a Demesne, sometimes people move towns, based on edicts from the Boyar or some financial draw in the other territory.

Law enforcement in rural areas is usually the responsibility of a town's Burgomeister, who is usually an individual working on a government salary. The position of Burgomeister commands much respect, as those that hold it become targets for unpleasant influences.

Magic in Kryphaneos

Magic in Kryphaneos is a stifled, suffused force, kept in check by the supernatural influence of the mists. Divine spellcasters who cast spells within the borders of Kryphaneos suffer a -2 penalty to their caster level.

Arcane magic is also stifled, but differently. Arcane magic within Kryphaneos' borders tends to be suffused with erratic spurts of power. Arcane casters suffer a -3 penalty to their caster levels, but whenever a character casts an arcane spell, he then rolls 1d6 and adds the result to his caster level. Significantly, bards do not suffer this penalty, nor do they receive this bonus.

City Life

Cities are few in Kryphaneos - no more than one city lies in each Demesne. These cities tend to be in the image of the Boyar of the Demesne; in some areas, they are airy and cosmopolitan, with festering darkness beneath, and in others, they are dark, oppressive places, where peasants and slaves are beaten in the streets for impudence and incompetence.

Those who live in the cities of Kryphaneos tend to be more technologically adept than elsewhere, and it is the cities that generate most of Kryphaneos' exports. With the larger cities comes guards and patrols, which help the populace feel safer. Less time and energy is devoted to personal defence and protection, which helps increase the production of the people who live within these city walls.

The most significant note is that, depending on the Demesne in which one lives, the cities of Kryphaneos are usually no better or no worse than elsewhere; the supernatural air that clings to the rural areas and borders of Demesnes rarely influences the cities themself.

Economic Means

Thanks to its similar design and overall structure, Kryphaneos' economic bands are generally the same as Kyngdom's, with a slight bias towards the wealthier in the cities, and a slight bias towards the poor in rural territories.

Education

Education is unfortunately poor in rural Kryphaneos, and not much better within the cities. As much as the country has taken technical advancement to the next level, the effect it has had on magical understanding in the nation has been dire. Some Demesnes believe, thanks to the influence of the Mists, that there are multiple rules of magic, or that the gods cannot interfere with life in the world. Whatever the reasoning, this has unfortunately compounded the problem of the Mists; while Kryphaneos does not commonly produce spellcasters because of the mists' stifling influence, they have even fewer because few relish the notion of indulging in a useless art.

Worse still, there are Kryphaneons who don't believe magic exists at all. Atheism is also common in the nation's borders, and most people are enlightened agnostics or worshippers of the Lord.

Language

Kryphaneon Common is a brutal, guttural tongue that emphasises rhyme and rhythm in its meter. This is tied to the tradition of uttering rhyming curses, which can, at times, even come true.

It is said that Kryphaneos has mastered the art of swearing. This is to some extent true - most of the swear words in Common are derivatives of Kryphaneon curse words.

Religion

The most common religion in Kryphaneos, unsettling as it is, is atheism. Many of the Boyars wield mystic powers viewed as the works of gods, and the divine magic of travellers to the nation suffers when within the borders - which hurts the attempts of other faiths to proselytise within Kryphaneos' borders.

Religions that offer immediate, seductive power are the most commonly revered, if only in secret. There are churches hidden in towns and cities that openly revere the Faith of the Lord, and more darkly, hold house to cultists of some dark, fell being whose presence should never be invited.

Major Settlements

While there aren't many cities in Kryphaneos, those that exist tend to be disparate and remote to one another. The cities of Kryphaneos are sometimes only relayed by expatriates, who speak of those cities within the deeper parts of the country in the hushed tones of dark horrors. Those places that are known are spoken of in folklore and myth, and don't necessarily even exist in Kryphaneos any more… or yet.

The City of Pain (Metropolis, 26,000)

The heart of Kryphaneos, the City of Pain is in the largest Demesne - the Tarrar Valley. The Demesne itself is constantly circled by mists, with a single opening available at a number of passes - but only once per month; it moves in a cycle, denying access on all but one day of the month to each potential pass into the Tarrar Valley.

The City itself is huge, vaulted, and a sick monument to the belief of gods and men. Dedicated to some unknown, forsaken god, the City of Pain is somewhere between a necropolis and a dead palace; peopled with a working class composed of barely-intelligent undead and dominated by a cruel and malevolent ruling class of Vampires, the City of Pain has earned its title through championing and pioneering more and bloodier wars than anywhere else.

Here resides Tarrar Dan Pain, who, it is said, breathes the mists and by whose will they are shaped. If this is true, then it puts in his hand greater power than in any other realm, and even if it isn't, he's still revered by the other Boyars as if it were true.

Shadarfan (Large City, 14,000)

Known as the Dragon's Demesne, Shadarfan is ruled by the Boyar Rhiannon Terrathrus, (LE Male Very Old Half Fiendish Black Dragon). The Demesne of Shadarfan is one whose most defining trait are those who live within its borders; most people from Shadarfan have a trace of draconic blood them, passed through them by the Boyar's otherworldly influences. The city reflects their Boyar's tastes; there is much decoration, architecture is beautiful, and the streets and parks are all kept clean. The city stands proud and firm, despite residing in the heart of a deep, black swamp.

Within the city of Shadarfan, divine magic is illegal, punishable by life imprisonment for second offense. This is thanks to the influence of the Shadarfan Sigil, a cult of clerics who worship the Boyar as a demigod unto himself. Terrifyingly, it appears to have some merit to it.

As with all Demesnes, the Boyar grants the land of Shadarfan definition, a definition highlighted in its cities. The people of Shadarfan are arrogant, haughty, and extremely slow to act. However, the Demesne of the Dragons does not contain only one Dragon - Terrathrus has ired many a member of his families, and while they are imprisoned by the mists in their own dens and swamps, that is not to say they will always remain so.

Dulgarerean (Small City, 11,000)

More of a large estate than a city, Dulgarerean is the home of the noble Boyar Christos von Alschwitz (CE Male Human Wizard 7). Nestled to the east of the Gorkov province, it's a large, open area, where the mists tend to ring around in the morning; travel around Dulgarerean is largely free and simple during the day. During the night, however, the open, flat land of the Demesne becomes a grand labyrinth of mist.

Dozens upon dozens of servants staff the Dulgarerean estate. Its scale is truly boggling compared to other estates, and seems to be overflowing in its bounty. However, every six months, cold, sharp winds blow through the Demesne, and the food stores are somehow diminished. During these harsh times, lasting up to three or four months, the best servants are given - meager - food rations, while the remaining are left to die and starve. Further, while Alschwitz likes to portray himself as a bounteous lord of a great land, his charity is notoriously mean; he does not offer food to travellers, making excuses (particularly when the winds draw near). Often, those adventurers who are unable to navigate the plains are required to take up service at the Estate to fill their stomachs…

Across the entire plain, every night, the bodies of those servants, left to starve and rot in the fields, rise, shambling through the labyrinth of mist with their only defining trait being overwhelming, tragic hunger.

Important Sites

Kryphaneos is like unto a kingdom subdivided into many disparate kingdoms. Boyars, unable to leave their domains, have their Demesnes rendered in their own images, bringing relics from their pasts into sharp importance.

The Body of Tchenoborg

There have been many unsuccessful attempts in Kryphaneos' past to employ the thin planar barriers that define the nation to some foul end. The most memorable of those - to the historians of Dark Tongues - is the creation of Tchenoborg's Body, a great and lasting evil that blighted the land around it in a way that has yet to be purged.

In the middling years of the Second Age, the cult of Tchenoborg in the Demesne of Prior sought to bring their god - a being of the Far Realm, - into the Prime, broaching barriers normally best left unbroached. A dark ritual was enacted, but was foiled by a number of heroes, who gave of their lives and their powers to contain and forbid the entrance of Tchenoborg.

However, Tchenoborg's existance does not follow the mortal edicts of the Prime; while dead and banished, his body remains, an enormous, leviathanic work that lies under a mountain in the valley of Prior. It taints the water, infests the air, and the swamps of Prior are renowned for their potent, deadly quickfalls.

Tomb of Allfathers

The many lizardfolk clans that are spread across the surface of Kryphaneos speak to one another of Our Fathers - a term given to the totemic dragon that shepherds and protects the members of these clans. However, it is said that somewhere in Kryphaneos, there lies the Tomb of All Fathers - the body of a dragon whose death marked the birth of all Dragonkind, and therefore, is revered by all the Lizardfolk of Krpyhaneos as they one day wish to take to the sky.

Adventuring in Kryphaneos

The most distinct difficulty in adventuring in Kryphaneos is the Mists. Every morning and every evening, the mists roll in, and traversing them becomes impossible. An adventurer can attempt to struggle through them - but when they pass into the mists, the find themself disturbingly turned around. This makes travelling in Kryphaneos best done during the middle of the day; the night is too dangerous and too densely populated with dark horrors to risk one's life and limb.

The other hazard is that each Demesne has its own special laws and orders - and these are not just laws of the land. Sometimes, the particular mind of the Boyar exerts an innate magical influence on the land, enforcing some rule that may well further impede travellers.

Adventurers of Kryphaneos

Kryphaneos, it has been noted by philosophers, is a land bound by karma. Power within its realms is rewarded, in its own way; the strong of Kryphaneos who become tyrants are rewarded by the nation itself, with more power - and with suffering. No Boyar, it seems, is happy with his lot in life - they either chafe at their stifled ambition, or despair at their entrapment within the walls of a gilded cage. However, those whose strength is used to protect and defend - they are rewarded thousandfold in lives of joy and peace, despite the turmoil of Kryphaneos. There are isolated towns in Kryphaneos, ruled over by a good, even-handed Burgomeister, who only pay heed to the nation's laws in the most perfunctionary ways… and these places are free of the incursions of others.

This karmic debt in action is often strongly in the mind of the Kryphaneon adventurers. Without magic to guide them, most Kryphaneons get by on the works of their own hands; some, however, are twisted by their life in the dark lands, forever corrupted to a mindset of paranoia and suspicion, while others can't help but fight the war that rages within the nation's borders. Suffice to say, the most significant reflection on the mind of a Kryphaneon is the way he or she has seen power wielded in the past…

Common Classes

Fighters, Rogues, and Monks are all common in Kryphaneos. With the reduced importance of spellcasters to influence them, the best measure of one's ability is in martial prowess, untainted by the arcane or divine.


Copyright: Original content in this article is copyright © Talen Lee 2006-2008. -

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