Rizen lies on the southwestern tip of the continent, less than seventy
miles north of the Kimeian Isles. It is separated from its northern
neighbor; Calderia by the Delgus mountain range and from Te’raan
by the Vah’ni River. The Strait of Nivia lies to the east
and beyond that is Novrom.
Most central Rizen is
flat and fertile, giving way to forested foothills and small deserts
along the Calderian border. The southern edge is made up of hills,
sharply terminating into bluffs at the coast. The east coast is
dotted with salt marshes and lakes.
The plains of the southwest were a refuge of the abstaining Dragon
Nations during Draconic Control. Here, they were allowed to maintain
small communities of demi-human servants here as a token of good
faith that they would not interfere with the other Nations’
war. The abstaining nations protected the human and half elven communities
from spirit beasts as well as taking humanoid form and teaching
the children in an attempt to ensure that at least some of demi-humanity
still learned and progressed.
By the end of Draconic
control, not only were the people of the region a thriving agrarian
society, but they were the most educated people on the continent.
It was they who sewed the first seeds of the Vishnari Empire, teaching
democracy to the rest of the continent as well as lost arts and
Though mostly spared
the brunt of hailene oppression, the fall of the Vishnari Empire
was a crippling blow to the people now called Rizeni (‘Teachers’
in the Ancient language). Where once dragons or Imperial troops
once kept spirit beasts a minor, if even noticeable nuisance, now
nothing stood between the educated farmers and not only spirit beasts,
but the rogue nations of Mon Sulus Kime and Calderia.
In desperation, the Rizeni
turned to the only ones not in the process of nation building in
the post-war era – the races others knew as monsters. With
promises of not only lucrative trade, but actual and full citizenship
in the new Rizeni state, the savage races of the region with half
the wits needed to sign a treaty did so on the side of the Rizeni.
Soon, squads of ogres
were escorting produce caravans, troll berserkers awaited Calderian
slavers in mountain passes and dragon turtle pods capsized Kimeian
slave ships en route to raid Rizeni villages. So began a tradition
of diversity and diplomacy that marks Rizen even today.
Rizeni citizens pride themselves on three things above all others;
family, diversity in all matters and simplicity of life.
When a Rizeni speaks
of family, he doesn’t mean just blood relations, but of the
farming village (or enclave) he comes from. Within the walls of
these agricultural compounds, between ten and fifteen households
quickly become as a single family unit to those who live there.
They work together, defend their home together and eat together;
normally from birth to marriage. The accomplishments and failures
of anyone from a given enclave is shared by the entire enclave,
making success mean that much more to a young Rizeni.
A given enclave is usually
a mix of many different races, from normal humans, half-elves and
halflings to ogres, minotaurs and trolls. None of these surprise
other Rizeni, who only comment on how fortunate that village is
to have such a strong son or daughter to help out.
Marriages within an enclave
are rare as all children in a given generation regard each other
as brothers and sisters. Thus, enclaves hold large festivals, called
Matching Gathers, where young people of marrying age are invited
from all around to socialize with that village’s sons and
daughters. Between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, it is not uncommon
for a young Rizeni to have traveled from one end of the nation to
the other visiting Matching Gathers to find a significant other.
Education remains a serious
matter to the Rizeni and nearly every enclave keeps at least one
full time teacher employed. Lessons are taught after the evening
meal in the growing season and all day during the winter months
so the children can still help work the fields. Particularly rich
enclaves may have full blown schools or hired loremen in residence.
Most other life among
the Rizeni revolve around their crops, which are grown almost year
round in rotations. Everyone capable of helping grow said crops
does so unless they have more pressing duties, such as a village
alchemist, spellcaster, or trained warriors. The Rizeni take pride
in the variety of crops their home enclave produces and often use
it as a topic of conversation. Some larger enclaves also have facilities
to produce wine, cheese or other fine goods as well as grow what
is needed for them.
Rizen is the agricultural powerhouse of Ere. Most of the food in
the Southern Lands (the region that includes Te’raan and Rizen
as well as the Novromi colonies on the eastern shore of the Strait
of Nivia) is grown here. Wheat, oats, and corn are staple crops
as well as all manner of vegetables and fruits. The most famous
plant grown in Rizen however is wheyweed. This leafy green vegetable,
similar to a cabbage contains a core of milky white liquid. The
liquid can be distilled into an intoxicating drink called Rizeni
Brandy or fermented into Cylla Wine. and the leaves can be dried
to create a smooth, tobacco like smokable.
Recently, flowers have
become big business among Ere’s wealthy and Rizen has responded
by cultivating many rare Tresolmi species to fill demand, as well
as some species native to Rizen, such as the color-shifting rose
of the Cliffreach Coast.
Rizen still operates on the representative democracy model of the
old Vishnari Empire. Each enclave elects a representative (called
a Holder) who in turn casts a vote in the Council of Enclaves to
elect a national leader called the Holder of Rizen. Holders serve
for five years and cannot be Holder two consecutive terms. Holders
of Rizen serve two years and cannot serve as Holder of Holder of
Rizen two consecutive terms.
The current Holder of
Rizen is the half elven Hessan cleric, Thade of Enclave Materon,
whose primary issues are bolstering Rizen’s standing army
and improving communications between enclaves. Currently he is seeking
advice in the implementation of magic in both of these matters.
Every enclave, no matter how large or small has a Holder on the
Council. The actual size of an enclave determines the powers a given
Holder wields, but all things come down to a majority vote in the
end. The enclave still follows the Writ of Vishnari, which outlines
a number of basic rights all citizens are extended that the government
Clan Coldcreek is a mercenary group on the run from Big May of Novrom
after botching an assignment from her. They settled in Rizen and
offer their services temporarily to whatever enclave offers the
most coin. They are a fairly tight band of ogres, trolls, kobolds,
hobgoblins, and inborns led by Meminon Coldcreek, the dragonsired
elven child of one of Big May’s on again off again allies.
She often employs the troll leader’s tactics of threats and
near constant bodily harm to keep her own ‘clan’ in
The Coldcreeks aren’t
a malevolent force, but they really don’t care where their
money comes from and always complete their jobs to the letter, no
matter how benevolent or evil those may be. This has led to a practice
of the clan carrying Meminon’s banner when approaching a village
while not on the job.
The Rizeni people, for
their part have grown to expect this behavior and gladly trade with
and hire the clan under the banner, but are ready to fight them
to the death should they not bear the banner with them.
The so called favorite daughter of the Thistledale enclave, Imadora
is, by all appearances, a perfectly normal twenty year old young
lady, albeit unmarried. She stands just under five feet, seven inches
with light brown hair and brilliant blue eyes.
What appearances will
not tell the casual observer is that Imadora is an sorcerous necromancer.
She manifested her powers during a particularly deadly raid by Kimeians,
raising a number of Kimeian dead as skeletons to rise up and destroy
their former fellows in defense of her family.
Since that day, Thistledale has come to depend on Imadora and her
so called ‘pale arts’. Dead work animals and even volunteers
among the citizens have been given to Imadora to transform into
undead guardians of the enclave as other worthy defenders are in
The greatest current
defender of Thistledale is the Huge skeleton of a wolfherder that
Imadora and the people of Thistledale were able to pull down two
years ago, now residing in a shallow grave just beyond the main
Imadora is one of the
most powerful spellcasters in the region and one of the very few
necromancers to operate in public. Both of these make here privately
influential in the arcane community.
Rinmoth is the hub for the southern enclaves of Rizen. All products
south of the To’Rizen are brought to Rinmoth to be loaded
on ships and taken up the Strait of Nivia and along the southern
coast for sale.
Tesma (Medium City)
Built by the dragons that once controlled the region as a sort of
emergency shelter for their human servants in case the dragon armies
one day decided to revoke their token of good will.
Over the centuries, the
shelter was built up into a vast fortress, cut into the side of
Mount Tesma. Within this fortress, the Vishnari Empire established
a military academy to train its elite soldiers. That academy still
exists, though it now trains soldiers strictly for the Rizeni army.