Callen is a rugged, temperate land or sprawling steppes, open savannahs
and rocky coastline. Chordin and the Ashed Lands border it to the
east and northeast, Te’raan and Calderia do the same to the
south, beyond the Rame Mountain Range. Though rain is plentiful,
streams and rivers are not, making lakes and seasonal streams from
mountain runoff the primary sources of lasting water.
The City of the Gods, also called Spinar, was the capitol of the
Vishnari Empire for centuries before the War of Ascension. By the
end of the war, Spinar and its outlying lands had been inundated
by tens of thousands of refugees fleeing their homes to the east
in order to be as far from the hailene threat as possible. As it
happened, the stress of so many refugees, coupled with many of those
being Vishnari nobility now attempting to grab more control in their
new lands finally triggered the collapse of the Empire and the beginning
of the Western Wars.
Over the next
few centuries, warlords rose up, both from the nobility and the
ranks of the commoners, and did battle with one another. Much like
present day Novrom, warring states came into being and fell or combined
into confederations in spans of years rather than decades. The death
tolls rivaled the War of Ascension.
All that changed
when Calderia attacked. Zealous and wielding divine magic with wild
abandon, a splinter faction of the Denaiian Church had seized control
of the fast region of salt marshes and coastlines and from there
carried out ferocious war against the regions of Callen, Te’raan,
galvanized the various warrior cultures that had sprung up in Callen.
Mustering under the expert command of Agor Henit, who at the time
was the chieftain of the largest tribe on the steppes, they drove
the invading Calderian army back across the Hal-Yan defile and established
military outposts to keep them back.
For his part,
Henit became a hero of the entire region and it’s first (and
currently only) ruler, called simply the Over-Chieftain.
Callenis are a proud and individualistic people, concerned more
for their families and immediate communities than nationalism, though
they all recognize that the fate of Callen is a fate they share
and so serve their country willingly.
has a strong military tradition with a warrior’s code of honor
that is instilled in children from birth. Personal honor is part
of this code and a Calleni is expected to guard his honor with his
or her life, never hesitating to challenge a transgressor to a non-lethal
duel if need be. Major slights may require a duel to the death.
communities are nomadic, following game animals across the landscape
to earn their coin. The variable path of these herds makes tribal
warfare frequent, increasing the value of martially capable individuals
a hundred fold (the Calleni Warrior code strictly forbids the use
of magic in tribal warfare).
an accept most non-combat forms of magic, but tend to scoff as a
culture at offensive spells as ‘cowardly’. They are
not, however, opposed to enhancing spells such as bull’s strength.
They do not, however, have the same feeling toward the emergent
sciences, such as alchemy and mechanics, as they see these as still
requiring martial skill to use effectively.
Calleni Warrior Code
Shortly after Callen became a nation, it was already readily apparent
that there needed to be a uniform set of strictures concerning duels
and battles in order to maintain some semblance of peace in a kingdom
of warriors. Thus was the Warrior Code instituted.
code is several pages; outlining the rules for different kinds of
duels, the conventions for treatment of prisoners of war and the
conduct of soldiers. Any Calleni with any formal martial training
is able to quote select passages from the Warrior Code from memory.
Callen holds sway over a great many trade goods, thanks to the strategic
position that made it the ideal spot for establishing the first
demi-human nation. Iron from the Rame Range, wheat, grain and hides
from the plains all add coin to Callen’s coffers.
aren’t as free flowing in Callen as in other nations, but
skill and ability enhancers are still readily available, as are
magical weapons. Alchemy and engineering, both highly respected
in Callen have experienced a renaissance in the south of Callen,
where the spirit beast threat is greater. Alchemical items and firearms
are found here in the greatest quantities. Southern Callen is, in
fact, the number one source in the world for quality firearms.
Each individual village has its own system of local government,
ranging from councils of elders or tribal shaman, to pure democracies.
Regardless of governmental system, they all control the land they
live and farm on, but have sworn allegiance to the Over Chieftain
in the city of Spinar.
this fluid nature to politics in Callen, border disputes, often
involving force of arms, are frequent, particularly along the western
coast were even fewer roads and cities exist to define boundaries.
To add to complications, many communities in the west and in the
southern mountains are nomadic while others, particularly transplant
communities of hailene and minotaurs are trying to carve out permanent
settlements, resulting in many battles over land. Most such battles
are fought with a level of honor and civility and those who do not
fight with such grace may face repercussions from their other neighbors.
everything are the abundant spirit beasts roaming the plains and
mountains, some lead by powerful greater beasts that attack any
and all settlements within their self proclaimed territory on a
that are tinted by constant conflict with neighbors, Callenis are
easily united by the Over Chieftain’s call from Spinar to
the defense of one another, particularly against raiders from Calderia.
and Individuals of Note
School of Swordsmanship
Callen is a land of warriors, protected and nurtured by a strict
code of honor among those who favor force of arms to subterfuge
or magic. It should come as no surprise that it is home to some
of the most prestigious martial arts schools on the continent.
are many such schools, each with fine traditions that span hundreds
of years, the Namano’jin School of Swordsmanship stands head
and shoulders above all the rest. Every year, hundreds seek entrance,
but only six are chosen to learn the ancient way of the sword taught
by Master Thorn-burgh Haruula, a minotaur native to the area, and
of the Namano’jin School are counted among the best combatants
favoring bladed weapons – including the exotic kari’dakai;
said to be the highest sword a person can master. Namano’jin
Sword-masters are awarded magical weapons of along with their title
if they can best the current Master of the school in single combat.
City of Temples (Large City)
The one time capitol of the continent spanning Vishnari government,
Spinar is still a powerful and prosperous city. Its moniker, city
of temples, comes from the Temples of Seven, seven huge temples
to the Greater Pantheon, situated in a ring around the central portions
of the city. Prior to the Ashing of the Green, these temples floated
above the city, but they crashed to earth on that faithful day.
on the plain, Spinar (its name ancient for Web of Life) is known
for its monthly tournaments and its many training schools and martial
arts dojos. Pilgrims from all over Ere come to Spinar to visit its
temples or to seek training.
architecture is unique to Ere now, its broad, flat buildings, none
higher than five stories, having been originally build prior to
the advances in mystic architecture that make the towers of Chordin
or Te’raan possible.
It is not uncommon
to witness sparring matches or even real fights for honor in the
streets. The guards are under a standing order to allow fair fights
to continue wherever they occur.
Viewed by many as Spinar’s moral opposite, Bri-sean is a large
city on the northern edge of Lake Nivia with its own northern border
less than five miles from the horrid Ashed Lands. Founded shortly
after the Ashing of the Green, Bri-sean was originally a military
outpost for the Vishnari Empire, but quickly grew into a stopping
point for both expeditions into the Ashed Lands and a major stronghold
of organized criminal endeavors.
a decade ago, Agor Henit, sent in a force of soldiers to attempt
to restore law and order to Bri-sean, but they were repelled.
is a large, heavily fortified city, built into the hill it once
stood on until there is no hill supporting the upper reaches, only
more city. It appears to be a massive ziggurat to those approaching
it from a distance. People clamor all over the city, taking ladders
or ramps from one tier of the city to the other. In some places,
people have even dug back into the sunken sections of the city to
set up shop in the cramped city.
It is run by
a constantly changing number of rival crime families who each control
a ‘layer’ of the city. Order, as it exists in Bri-sean
is maintained by thugs hired by these families.