If you recognize the map above, you may just pay more attention to my posts than I do. I posted it once before (sans political notations) in an October update about methods for generating maps randomly without using a computer. As the sloppy handwriting in the upper right indicates, this is the continent of Negune, location of my Ascendant Crusade campaign. Normally when I start a new game, I start a new game world, and its geography and locals are developed as the players travel further and further abroad from where they start. But Negune is special.
You see, several years back I had no job, no close friends living nearby, and most importantly, no Internet. My TV was broken as well, so I couldn’t play any of my console games. From September through to December of 2009 I did two things: Watch Star Trek The Next Generation over and over again, and work on developing the world of the Ascendant Crusade. It may sound very sad–and truthfully it wasn’t a pleasant time in my life–but I must confess I miss the absolute focus my isolation provided me. It’s remarkable what one can get done without the Internet.
So where am I going with this? Well you see, I miss working on Negune. I had a lot of ideas which I never had a chance to develop beyond concepts. I want to write about this place. Hell, it’s already started seeping into my recent writing. Even while I wrote the Gravewhisper’s Claw post, I knew that the dozen made-up ‘fantasy words’ I was dropping were going to be gibberish to my readers. So from here on I’ll occasionally be doing posts which develop my Negune campaign setting. Maybe we’ll even learn something about creating a living breathing world along the way. Who the fuck knows.
History of Negune
Many thousands of years ago, the god, Valor, looked upon the world of Tyrgaren and saw that it had no heroes to rival those of other worlds. “This will not do!” he bellowed, and struck the oceans with his hammer. Opposite his blow, a new continent rose from the sea. “Here will heroes worthy of me be born! Let any who seek my favor come to Negune, and prove themselves!” To this, Valor’s brother Strife replied “If heroes are to be made here, there must be challenges to test them!” With this, Strife sowed across the land challenges unlike those seen before on the face of Tyrgaren. Hearing her brothers, Abundance approached. “You fools.” she chided “Who will fight for this land? Who will struggle so hard against challenges so great simply for the favor of a distant god?” And Abundance caressed the land of Negune, bestowing it with a fertility and richness seen nowhere else on Tyrgaren. The three gods embraced, proud of their work, and turned their attention away from their creation. It was then that Evil approached, and blew his dark breath over the land of Negune. “And now,” he whispered, careful not to be heard by the three creator gods “my darkness shall always guide this land’s fate.”
–Creation myth, found scribed on an obsidian tablet in the central Arganian forests.
The earliest civilizations of Negune organized themselves into city-states. Not much is known about this period or what came before it. What is clear is that these city states had a variety of cultures, some quite different from each other. During this civilization’s peak, there were several hundred of these city states, frequently warring with one another and vying for land and resources.
It was during this peak that a woman named Eganaptyc arrived in the city state of Oriac. History is unclear on precisely where she came from, and many recovered texts from this period suggest a supernatural origin. However, the people of Negune at this time had not yet managed to construct ships capable of crossing oceans, therefore it is more likely that Eganaptyc arrived on Negune from one of the other continents, which were much more technologically advanced during this period. No effort has yet been made to search the ancient libraries of other lands to discover her origins.
Eganaptyc was a Wizard of not insignificant skill, if tales of her magical demonstrations are to be believed. Though, given that the people of Negune at this time had very limited experience with magic, their accounts are highly suspect. None the less, Eganaptyc’s magical prowess and apparent benevolence quickly elevated her within Oriac, and she was made an adviser to the city’s king. The king had no children, and upon his death the people demanded that Eganaptyc take the throne.
Under her rule, Oriac began to aggressively expand its boarders. First by securing powerful alliances with other city states in the East, then by conquering the city states to the West. Once her control there was established, Eganaptyc turned on her Eastern allies and conquered them. So did Eganaptyc’s wars of conquest continue for many years. Wars which were continued by her son when she became too old to devote her full attention to matters of state. Eganaptyc lived just long enough for all of Negune to be brought under the rule of Oriac during her granddaughter’s reign.
With no enemies left to fight, Eganaptyc’s granddaughter, Retyac the Benevolent, turned her attention to strengthening her empire by spreading education to its furthest reaches. This is the beginning of Negune’s golden age. It was marked by unprecedented prosperity in every corner of the Eganaptyc Empire. Technological advancement and learning accelerated, and within ten generations the once primitive Negune had become one of the most advanced societies in the world. The capital city of Oriac came to be widely known as the greatest city in all the world, stretching out to cover the entire island of Argania.
For three thousand years this unprecedented prosperity continued, and the Eganaptyc Empire flourished. But as Eganaptyc’s descendents became more and more removed from the teachings and philosophies which had made their ancestors great, they began to lose touch with their people. When the people questioned them, these rulers resorted to oppression. And almost suddenly, within twenty years, millennia of good was undone. Oriac was sacked, anyone who had represented law and order was subjected to the rule of the mob, and civilization was lost.
Alternative governments were tried, but the incessant squabbling and vying for power in these governments led to constant wars, which invariably resulted in groups that were even more fractured, and required even smaller forms of government. Within a few centuries, Negune had descended from a continent-spanning empire, to a loose confederation of states, eventually returning to city states, and then descending even further into tribalism, and finally to barbarism. And there it remained for an eon.
Two thousand years after the fall of Oriac, five adventurers came to Negune. Many adventurers had come before them, but all had either returned home or perished. But these seven would prove different. Their names have become legendary: Korrik Anribo, the mighty elven wizard; Shorn Ironteeth, the dwarven axemaster; Horatiana, the human whose songs could soften even a titan’s heart; Grephar, the human paladin; Norak the wild man; Bronsond the elven ranger; and Carrifeist, the half elven rogue.
For over thirty years, these seven traveled to every land of Negune. They slew monsters, saved villages, and bred good will throughout the land. Then, while exploring the Cold Iron Mountains in central Negune, something happened. Not a one of them would ever speak of it during their lifetimes, but when they descended from the mountain Bronsond was not with them, and they immediately parted ways.
Korrik settled in the far North, on a small island which he named Ribanko. He never spoke with any of his compatriots again. Shorn united many disparate and primitive dwarven clans, and settled in the ore-rich mountains in the North, founding the dwarven city he called Shornholm. Grephar traveled far to the West, to the most defensible position in the party had found in all of their travels. He united the people there, and called his nation Stekett. Carrifest settled near the sea. When people came and built a city around her, and begged her to rule it, she named it for her fallen comrade: Bronsond. Horatiana, the party’s public face, had gained the most good will during their travels, and people flocked to her banner when she chose to settle down. So many swore allegiance to her that she had to break her nation, Regalia, into seven provinces: Tonshire, Shield Haven, Garvain, Centralia, Volpan, Sextent, and Pyensal. One for each of her former comrades. Before the group parted ways, Norak asked only that his friends never civilize all the land, and that they leave plenty of space for him to run free.
Eight hundred years have now passed since the Seven Heroes parted company. All have long since died–save Korrik, who still broods on his isle to the North.