Overview: High Kortenka (core-ten-ka) is the most technologically advanced continent in the whole of Argethen. Seemingly endless mineral wealth from the ore-rich mountains covering a good portion of the continent, and ample plains throughout the southern regions produce a self-sustaining geopolitical system. Trade between nations is essential for the area’s success, and over generations, the Syro-Kai treaty between the region’s dominant superpowers has sustained this balance. Ranosyrd, the technological master inventors, and the Kaian Empire, the who have perfected the art of tactical war, keep the peace only as long as it suits them. The north is sustained by massive mining ventures and industrial facilities which refine the raw materials. The Syrdan mercenary racket also boosts the Sovereignty’s global influence. The Empire focuses on imperialistic expansionism. They control several large areas of Mendralia and Kerchetzna (cur-chet-z-na), and use their ripe farmlands to supply their citizens and their trade. This allocation of resources breeds vicious resentment in the occupied regions, where revolt is commonly put down by sheer militant strength. Ordaros (or-dare-ose), while separated from this turmoil, is dangerously cut off from the rest of High Kortenka. Druidic mages, called “arkin sages,” produce anything and everything the relatively small population requires, but also serve as the only barrier between the Oasis people and monstrous arcane mishaps from Ordaros’s past mistakes.
Syrdan structures are typically built for thermal insulation and protection against many sorts of structural collapse, including siege. The Syrdan Peninsula’s environment is treacherous, but the people who live there have adapted well. In Grand Ilthace, gaudy extravagance often comes before integrity, and the large apartment complexes that tower over the people and wind through their cities is a testament to the idea that more is better. The Kaian’s elegant style contrasts the Ilthacan clutter, and leaves their settlements slightly open to attack. The fluidity inherent in Kaian culture helps to overcome this inconvenience; they have perfected structural mobilization, and entire sections of their cities can shift and alter during wartime situations. The Kers keep airy, comfortable homes to keep the hot sea breezes in check, and the Mendrals’ cities are covered with religious statues, columns and pediments depicting the Descendants. Oasis Ordaros protects itself from the Ordaran wilds with concentric ringed walls, each one imbued with arcane magicks to ward off the terrors beyond.
Originally, natives of the Syrdan Peninsula were seafaring pillagers who wreaked havoc along High Kortenka’s coast. When the Sovereignty was established, these random attacks became regular economic activities. After the Kaian Empire began to retaliate, and invaded the northern reaches of High Kortenka, these coastal raids turned to trading envoys, albeit scandalous and untrustworthy ones at first. Both nations (Kaian and Ranosyrd) flourished. Grand Ilthace tried to cash in on the heightened flow of merchandise, but perpetually poor relations with Ranosyrd kept them from reaching a dominant position in Kortenkan economics. Kerchetzna and Mendralia, forfeiting large quantities of their goods and harvests to the Empire, were left with many impoverished slums and a lower standard of living altogether. Luckily for Ordaros, the geopolitical turmoil of High Kortenka can scarcely reach the Oasis. Ordarans have more pressing matters to tend to, and are not generally seen in the surrounding countries
- Grand Ilthace: “They who would be deified, welcome!” The river of all things audacious and extravagant begins in this predominately gnomish city-state, and Ilthacans’ reputation often precedes them.
- The Kaian Empire: Aggressive imperialism defines the Kaian, who continue to seek ways to conquer lands without breaking peace with Ranosyrd. They are cunning, and swift to take advantage of weakness.
- The Kerchetznan Commonwealth: Scrappers by nature and by necessity, the Commonwealth continues to fight back against the occupying Kaian by whatever means necessary.
- Mendralia: Reluctantly accepting the Kaian influx of cultural mandates, Mendrals are a predominately elven society who favor adaptive fluidity and artistic twisting of words in lieu of direct conflict.
- The Oasis Ordaros: Arcane mages who tapped into natural energies have twisted the lands surrounding their city into a nightmarish barricade which keeps them trapped within their own walls.
- The Sovereignty of Ranosyrd: A former raiding culture turned masters of invention, Ranosyrd boasts some of the hardiest people in the world, next only to Gathkans from Vremoar’s tundras.
Major Geographical Regions: Emperor’s Way, Gilded Byways, Mendral Forest, Syrdan Mountains, Syrdan Peninsula, Syro Bay, Syro Isles, Valley of Foreign Specters,
The Emperor’s Way: A large river runs the course of High Kortenka, from the Syrdan Mountains’ foothills down to the Middle Sea. While Syrdans still call the Emperor’s Way “Syro River,” most of the river does flow through Kaian lands. It is a wide, slow-running river with only a few rough portions along its enormous course.
The Darkest Woods: Surrounding Oasis Ordaros is an overgrown forest filled with nightmares of Ordaran creation. While Ordarans have identified particular sections of the forest, to most Kortenkans, the whole unpleasant mess goes by only one name. These “Darkest Woods” are home to ancient Ordaran magicks gone wild. Lethal toxins, both injected and airborne, carnivorous vegetation, and silent, predatory horrors have furthered Ordaran isolation. The few who have seen the Oasis and returned typically traverse the foothills either north or south, and cross where the woods are thinnest.
The Gilded Byways: Mountains surround the small country, Grand Ilthace. Rather than admit their less-than gorgeous splendor, Ilthacans call the many small, primitive trails leading to and from their lands “The Gilded Byways.” Plenty of stories are passed by locals, of the many ore-rich veins hidden within the rocky passes, but most locals know these are merely ploys to send fools into bandits’ waiting traps. While Grand Ilthace has certainly amassed an impressive wealth for such a small country, that wealth has been hoarded by its ruling elite. No merchants travel the Byways without a carefully selected, well-trained guard.
The Mendral Forest: A
The Syrdan Mountains: A
The Syro Bay: A
The Syro Isles: A
The Valley of Foreign Specters: A