The Colonies of Meridia
The Colonies of Meridia
In 1607, the first Meridian colony was founded by the Pretannic Empire in what is now known as Banport, Carlotia. Upon arriving in the new world, the Pretannic settlers discovered a tribe of native Gnomes living in the area that attacked the settlement, killing two men and wounding eleven others. The settlers struggled throughout the winter facing attacks from Gnomes and a shortage of food, and by the end of the year, over half of the original settlers had died.
In 1609, a fort was erected around Banport providing protection for the colonists and allowing the small settlement to grow and flourish. Over the next one hundred and fifty years, new settlers would arrive in Meridian and the population of the colonists would skyrocket. In the present day, six colonies exist along the coast with settlements that stretch as far west as the Tuskaheny Mountains.
The colonies and their colonists have always generally considered themselves citizens of the Pretannic Empire and colonial government is modeled on the Pretannic method. Each colony has a governor who is selected by the King and is viewed as the King’s representative. Similar to the Pretannic House of Commons, each colony also has an elected colonial legislature or assembly representing the interests of the colonists.
The Templar Order
The Templar Order is a military order of the Pretannic government that maintains adherence to the Mage Code and hunts down those who abuse arcane power. While templars are officially deemed a force of defenders by the Crown, established to protect the communities of the faithful from magical threats, they are in fact an army unto themselves; well-equipped, highly disciplined and devoted to their duties.
The Templar order is made up of paladins, clerics, eldritch knights, monks, bladesingers, and arcane tricksters.
The order is based in Wymouth but they have several regional garrisons scattered throughout the colonies.
The Native Meridians
Before the arrival of the Colonists in Meridia, several Native races called Merian home and traced their history on the continent back through numerous generations.
While some natives, like the Halflings and the Goblins maintain friendly relations with the colonists, the majority of the Colonists do not understand the Elves and view them as uneducated and quaint. The Elves, on the other hand, view the colonists as brutish, disrespectful, and devoid of reason. Both groups work to undermine each other, and often seek to take advantage of the other’s perceived naiveté.
Relations with the Gnomes are another story entirely of course. The Gnomes in Meridia are savage, and all attempts to make peace with them have failed. Many in the colonies believe the Meridian Gnomes to be inherently different from the Gnomes in other parts of the world but this is of course unproven.
Magic in the Colonies
Though much progress has been made, and scientific discoveries abound, Magic is still a part of the world. The secret truth is that whatever the Crowns of Espanya, Faranca and Pretania may say openly in condemnation of the abuse of magic, they know that it is a powerful tool that must be mastered and used against their enemies. Without Magic, there would be no way for the spies and assassins to ply their trade in secret. Without Magic, the armies of these powers would not have the support and ability needed to effectively fight their enemies who also have spellcasters working on their behalf. All the world powers, despite their public proclamations, are using Magic to some extent to expand their own empires.
Magic is, ultimately, a rare and mysterious thing but it is a force of nature and heavily linked to the natural world. Even so, it is something that not everyone comes into contact with, and it is a force few understand. There are two main types of magic: arcane, which is thought to come from the world and universe around the caster, and divine, which is linked to the realms of nature and the gods. Clerics, druids, rangers, and paladins cast divine spells, which draw their power from a deity, from nature, or simply the caster's inner faith while wizards, sorcerers, and bards tap into arcane sources of magic.
The Dwarves hail from the country of Espanya, and more than any other race, dwarves have acquired a reputation as dour and humorless artisans of the earth. Most Dwarves make their homes in great cities carved from the hearts of great mountains. It could be said that their history shapes the dark disposition of many dwarves, for they reside in high mountains and dangerous realms below the earth, constantly at war with giants, goblins, and other such horrors.
Dwarves are lovers of history and tradition, and their long lifespan leads to far less in the way of generational shifts in attitudes, styles, fashions, and trends than shorter-lived races exhibit. If a thing is not broken, they do not fix it or change it; and if it is broken, they fix it rather than replace it.
Physically, Dwarves are a short and stocky race, and stand about a foot shorter than most humans, with wide, compact bodies that account for their burly appearance. Male and female dwarves pride themselves on the long length of their hair, and men often decorate their beards with a variety of clasps and intricate braids. Clean-shavenness on a male dwarf is a sure sign of madness, or worse—no one familiar with their race trusts a beardless dwarven man.
In Meridia, the Dwarves have a settlement known as Grimham that has become part of the Pretannic Empire.
The Elves and Half Elves
The long-lived Elves are children of the natural world and native to the continent of Meridian. Physically, Elves are generally taller than humans and they possess a graceful, slender physique that is accentuated by their long, pointed ears.
Elves feel a bond with nature and strive to live in harmony with the natural world. Although, like most, elves prefer bountiful lands where resources are plentiful, when driven to live in harsher climates, they work hard to protect and shepherd the region's bounty, and learn how to maximize the benefit they receive from what little can be harvested.
Elves have an innate gift for craftsmanship and artistry, especially when working in wood, bone, ivory, or leather. They also have an appreciation for the storytelling and magic. The Elves of the native tribes in Meridian tend to be hunters, bards, monks, and druids.
Elves are prone to dismissing other races, writing them off as rash and impulsive, yet on an individual level, they are excellent judges of character. In many cases an elf will come to value a specific member of another race, seeing that individual as deserving and respectable, while still dismissing the race as a whole. If called on this behavior, the elf often doesn't understand why his “special friend” is upset the elf has noticed the friend is “so much better than the rest of his kind.” Even elves who see such prejudice for what it is must constantly watch themselves to prevent such views from coloring their thinking.
The Elves have settlements in the Neechock Forest, Peesawchock Forest, Pawachee Gap, Ogalachee Highlands, Crab Isle, and the Ogahala Wetlands.
Half-Elves, the result of cross-breeding between elves and humans are not uncommon in the colonies.
The Gnomes are sometimes referred to as Native Meridians, especially in the colonies, but that’s not entirely accurate. The Meridian Gnomes were originally slaves to the Farancan Orcs and in the year 1105, fifteen ships each carrying hundreds of Gnomes escaped from Faranca and crash landed in North Meridian.
The Gnomes in North Meridian are known to be savage and violent, this is attributed to hundreds of years of war and struggle on the new continent, but it is a testament to the Gnomish spirit that not only were they able to survive, they also formed large colonies and managed to survive into the present day.
The language of the Meridian Gnomes is a combination of Orcish, Elven, Common, and Gnomish, making them difficult to speak and reason with. Each tribe also seems to have its own regional dialect and slang complicating matter further.
Most Gnomes live in isolated tribes in the Savage Wilderness. They are wary of outsiders entering their territory and quickly resort to violence in the event of a dispute. They tend to be sorcerers, barbarians, hunters, or warriors.
In other parts of the world, Gnomes are more civilized. In 1505, the Farancan Orcs ended the practice of slavery and granted all Farancan Gnomes equal protection under the law and are seen as valuable contributors to Farancan society. Some Gnomes even live in present day Pretania, although they make up a very small minority of the population.
The Warforged, originally thought of only as weapons of war, were created by the Farancan Gnomes when, in 1650, Gnomish tinkerers discovered a way to bind souls to metallic humanoid constructs. These beings have much in common with Organic creatures including complex emotions and social bonds.
The warforged are completely sexless and genderless, though their bodies may have been designed with masculine or feminine features, these are considered by the warforged to be little more than aesthetic aspects. The warforged are able to be repaired and modified by those with the know-how, which can give an endless array of possibilities to their appearances. On average, a Warforged stands somewhere between 6'0" - 6'6" tall and they weigh somewhere in the range of 270 - 300 lbs.
All warforged naturally seem reserved, stoic, and pensive, hiding an array of emotions behind their inexpressive metallic faces. Their faces were not designed to display facial expressions, so it can seem like they are distant to the conversation. Despite their lack of physical facial expressions, they're not completely without them, as their eyes tend to brighten when experiencing strong or specific emotions. Some warforged have their faces modified to be more expressive for their companion's comfort, but these expressions are learned rather than natural and often appear stilted and awkward. In addition, they contain no memories of their former lives, though they often feel a drive to discover who they were and what type of life they led.
Most Warforged become warriors, rangers, monks, or warlocks.
In the year 1700, the process of creating the Warforged was banned and the remaining Warforged were granted complete freedom and autonomy within the Farancan Empire.
Goliaths are actually humans who live in the mountains of Meridia and have evolved over time to be better suited for life in extreme conditions. Goliaths are tribal by nature and their bodies look as if they were carved from stone. Their spirits take after the wandering wind, making them nomads who wander from peak to peak, never settling in a single place for more than a season.
Every day brings a new challenge for the goliaths. Food, water, and shelter are rare in the uppermost mountain reaches and a single mistake can bring doom to the entire tribe while a single individual’s heroic effort can ensure the entire tribe’s survival. Goliaths place a premium on self-sufficiency and individual skill. They have a compulsion to keep score, counting their deeds and tallying their accomplishments to compare with others and they love to win.
For goliaths, competition exists only when it is supported by a level playing field. Competition measures talent, dedication, and effort. Those factors determine survival in their home territory, not reliance on magic items, money, or other elements that can tip the balance one way or the other. Goliaths happily rely on such benefits, but they are careful to remember that such an advantage can always be lost. A goliath who relies too much on them can grow complacent, a recipe for disaster in the mountains.
This trait manifests most strongly when goliaths interact with other folk. The relationship between peasants and nobles puzzles goliaths. If a king lacks the intelligence or leadership to lead, then clearly the most talented person in the kingdom should take his place. Goliaths rarely keep such opinions to themselves, and mock folk who rely on society’s structures or rules to maintain power.
Goliaths are typically barbarians, fighters, or hunters.
Halflings, known by some in the colonies as the Good Folk, are similar to humans but only about half of their size. They are native to the land of Meridian and they get along well with most of the other races on the continent. They are known for their curiosity and tendency to collect things and said to be quick and dexterous with fast reflexes and an ability to recover easily from sudden danger.
In the early days of the colonies, Halflings taught the colonists to fish, hunt, farm, and generally be self-sufficient. They are optimistic and cheerful by nature, blessed with uncanny luck, and driven by a powerful wanderlust. They disdain war and are peaceful by nature and even in the jaws of catastrophe, Halflings almost never lose their sense of humor.
Physically, Halflings rise to a humble height of 3 feet and they prefer to walk barefoot, leading the bottoms of their feet becoming rough and calloused. Tufts of thick, curly hair warm the tops of their broad, tanned feet. A Halfling's ears are pointed, but proportionately, they are not much larger than those of a human.
Halflings rely on customs and traditions to maintain their own culture. They have an extensive oral history filled with important stories about folk heroes who exemplify particular Halfling virtues, but otherwise see little purpose in studying history in and of itself. Given a choice between a pointless truth and a useful fable, Halflings almost always opt for the fable. This tendency helps to explain at least something of the famous Halfling adaptability. Halflings look to the future and find it very easy to cast off the weight of ancient grudges or obligations that drag down so many other races.
The Halflings have a major settlements in Meridian in the Pawachee Gap and in the Peesawchok Forest. In recent years there has been some talk of the Halflings swearing loyalty to the crown and joining the Pretannic Empire, but because of the recent tension between the colonists and the Pretanic, plans for assimilation have been put on hold.
Halflings tend to be bards, rogues, and rangers.
Most Goblins originally lived around the area that is now Londinium. In 1833, the fledgling colony of Londinium was attacked by a group of Goblins, killing nearly 50 Colonists. In 1834 an armed Militia was formed in Londinium to attack the villages of Goblins along the coast in retaliation. The goblins, to their credit, realized they were outmatched, and surrendered to the colonists. In 1835, the Treaty of Goblins was signed granting Goblins equal protection under the law and integrating them into the city. They make up a large part of Londinium’s population.
Physically, goblins stand 3 to 3½ feet tall and weigh somewhere between 40 to 45 pounds. Their eyes varying in color from red to yellow and their skin is typically green or yellow.
Goblins tend to be wizards, sorcerers, monks, rangers, barbarians, and fighters.
Dragonborn hail from the ruined country of Yamoto, a country that long ago contended for worldwide dominion and failed. In the present time, only a few Dragonborn remain still remain.
Physically, Dragonborn resemble humanoid dragons. They are covered in scaly hide and stand close to six feet tall. Their hands and feet are strong, and have talon like claws with four fingers and a thumb on each hand.
Most Dragonborn are fighters, barbarians, rogues, or sorcerers.
Simultaneously more and less than mortal, Tieflings are the offspring of humans and fiends. With otherworldly blood and traits to match, Tieflings are often shunned and despised out of reactionary fear. Most Tieflings never know their fiendish sire, as the coupling that produced their curse occurred generations earlier. The taint is long-lasting and persistent, often manifesting at birth or sometimes later in life, as a powerful, though often unwanted, boon. Despite their fiendish appearance and netherworld origins, Tieflings have a human's capacity of choosing their fate, and while many embrace their dark heritage and side with fiendish powers, others reject their darker predilections. Though the power of their blood calls nearly every Tiefling to fury, destruction, and wrath, even the spawn of a succubus can become a saint and the grandchild of a pit fiend an unsuspecting hero.
Physically, no two Tieflings look alike; the fiendish blood running through their veins manifests inconsistently, granting them an array of fiendish traits. One Tiefling might appear as a human with small horns, a barbed tail, and oddly colored eyes, while another might manifest a mouth of fangs, tiny wings, and claws. Typically, these qualities hearken back in some way to the manner of fiend that spawned the Tiefling's bloodline, but even then the admixture of human and fiendish blood is rarely ruled by sane, mortal laws.
Tieflings rarely create their own settlements and holdings. Instead, they live on the fringes of the land where they were born or choose to settle. Most societies view Tieflings as aberrations or curses. No matter where they live, one thing is certain, Tieflings face a significant amount of prejudice from other races, who view them as fiend-spawn, seeds of evil, monsters, and lingering curses placed upon the world. Far too often, civilized races shun or marginalize them, while more monstrous ones simply fear and reject them unless forced or cowed into acceptance. But Elves Half-elves, tend to view them as kindred spirits who are too often rejected by virtue of their birth.
Tieflings tend to be warlocks, bards, hunters, sorcerers, or wizards.