Jipangu

Jipangu

Jipangu is a large city of 110,000 people in the middle of Zeus’s Canvas. Most of the people in the city have some relation to one noble family or another even if they are several hundred steps away from being leader of their family. All this nobility confuses outsiders, but for those who grow up with it, the whole hierarchy makes perfect sense. In fact, the natives find societies without this level of nobility difficult to understand.

Jipangu is built on Zeus’s Canvas, a place in which great storms rage year round. The city is atop a large, dirt-covered, rock plateau. The constant deluges do not have disastrous effects for the citizens when they are inside the city. Irrigation canals reroute the large amount of rain from the plateau into the rice patty fields that feed the large population of Jipangu. An ancient orchard also exists close to the city. It has many different types of fruit that are eaten by the Jipanguese and the birds that flock around it. Sounders of pigs are kept around the city for the disposal of waste and to provide fresh meat for the citizens.

Honor is very important to the Jipanguese. The slightest offense or indignity is settled with a duel or immediate compensation; thus, there are many duel shrines in every section of the city. These places look like large square gazebos with benches on the outside for spectators to watch the duels if they wish. Within the shrine a weapons bracket holds a variety of wooden weapons. Most duels are decided by the first hit landed with a wooden weapon. Serious offenses will proceed until one combatant is rendered unconscious. Only in extremely dire circumstances are duels to the death. Duels to the death are scheduled in advance to allow both sides to make arrangements should they die. Such duels attract large crowds.

Because of all these duels the average citizen in Jipangu can act to carry out his own justice. The high sense of honor prevents most of the citizenry from abusing their skills. Jipangu has neither police force nor the need for it because of all the trained swordsmen. Secret crimes, like burglary, are still committed in Jipangu. Such crimes are investigated by the government detective agency, Tarot De’Longshare. The army handles riots and revolts when they do occur. The system works well and crime in the city is swiftly punished.

Jipangu has a militaristic culture. A strong man is respected and gains honor with every fight he wins. Weak men lose their political power without repeated reinforcement from their other traits. The high value on physical strength makes surrender an unacceptable and cowardly option. The Jipanguese army does not retreat from battle. Politicians do not change their positions when the situation changes. This adamancy in one’s decisions once they are made means very few things are said with uncertainty in Jipangu. An unofficial law has sprung up that if one breaks their word, they will be exiled.

Jipangu has a traditional style of clothes that is worn at all times by people in the city-state. Anyone not doing so is socially ridiculed and outcast. The traditional garb is a long, colored vest worn over a white shirt. The color of the vest indicates the wearer’s honor and position in the hierarchy of Jipangu. A headband is also worn that signifies special achievements by the symbols upon it. The pants of the outfit are extremely baggy below the knee, but no other special significance is applied to them. Silk is of course better than cotton or wool. Pants are worn by both sexes except at special ceremonies. There are no special shoes worn with the outfit. Armor is not worn within the city except by soldiers.

The official Jipanguese army of 7,000 is one of the best equipped and trained in Cimmeria, but it lacks unity. The soldiers fight for themselves and their own honor. Tactics are often simply choosing where the troops will charge from. The army does contain infantry, cavalry, archery, clerical, and magical units. Each unit has its general and each general has his centurions. They meet before each battle to discuss where they will fight, but since honor is obtained through killing with your own sword, instead of the overall victory, they will work on their on.

Jipangu has a First Family that rules over the whole city and decides disputes between the other families. The most honorable family holds this position and only loses it in a challenge by another family or through a major dishonorable event for the First Family. In the case of a dishonored First Family a council of all the families is called to decide which of them will take the place of the First Family in the new order.

The art of the city is some of the best in the world and it is present throughout the whole city. Almost every object, piece of furniture, and wall is decorated in some way. Vines, flowers, and all things natural and beautiful are usually the subject of art. If Jipanguese art was a representation of the real world then there would be no people, actions, or conflict in it. These things are always absent from the walls, paintings, and sculptures of Jipangu. Their focus is on still-life pictures.

Jipangu joined the Second Alliance against Xoria. Arendil, the current head of the First Family, leads the Alliance as well. Jipangu is currently hosting thousands of refugees that escaped from Phoenix when the city was conquered by the Xorians. The influx of people puts a strain on Jipangu’s resources, but imports from the rest of the Alliance have alleviated some of that burden.

The refugees of Phoenix along with many people from Dalleer, Dorrowsan, and Shalerton have all gathered outside of Jipangu for military training. Gradorian and Junai, the previous leaders of the Mercenaries Guild of Phoenix, are in charge of this vast training program. Kig Yupington assists the two generals as he can with the Dorrowsan Scepter. The training is further accelerated by rituals read from the Tome of Agamemnon. These rituals purify water teleported to the city from the Geyser of Talos. Any who drink this water are transformed into a terrifying warrior for a day. This transformation allows the trainees at Jipangu to learn techniques and strategies that would normally be beyond their abilities.

Geyser of Talos
Where ye Geyser of Talos is for reference

-GoCorral

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Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 20

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 19

And the new world begins taking shape. Hykma becomes a commercial center, the Najar Empire officially disintegrates, and the Dwarven Curse on the Bwarlor wears out. The Bwalor are finally able to start a civilization that could rival other nations in power. This is symbolized by the expansion of the previously small city of Balkus into a large port stop in The Maw.

We also see the Hykman League forming which will become similar to the Delian League of ancient Greek history. Cities will join, but then be forcibly prevented from leaving.

652 NA: The Twins, Alixria and Alrdia, the wiliest of the old Najaran Quintet, saw their chance for prosperity alongside Cynelle. In the days of old Najar they had been shining jewels reduced to a dull glean by long centuries of toil, war, and occupation. Now, they too renounced Navillus and declared themselves free of the old ways.

664 NA: The flame of Najar had been extinguished but many of her people yearned for the days of comfort beneath an imperial banner. An exodus from the great valley and the cities of Old Najar began, traveling east, then south down the Lower Maw towards the majestic city of Hykma, untouched by war and turmoil. With her help, refugees settled in the fork north of the Tonsil and build a new city, The Hearth, to house the culture and history of old Najar. Battered by centuries of turmoil, they too embraced peace and extended an olive branch to the mixed city of Farpoint where, removed from the turmoil of the great valley, Najaran and Dwarven kind had melded into a peaceful order.

666 NA: The Rana, almost overwhelmed by the influx of battered and tired refugees into their region, rose to the occasion. First, they constructed a place to house their great sages and the great spawning pools from whence all Rana come. On their great lake they built Pulchrito, an amphibious city of immense beauty, peace, and serenity. With their own affairs in order and under the guidance of the Monks of the Gossamer Waves, the Rana built another city, Domicilius, to the northeast, where the river splits. It was a good place, a bastion for all folk fleeing the horrors of the north and the monsters of the southern jungles.

679 NA: The city of Hykma, a refuge for the princes of old Najar and those that could sail to her shore, swollen by an influx of wealth, history, knowledge, and culture, expanded in extravagant majesty. Long friends with the Rana and happy to welcome their neighbors, both Elven and Najaran, she became a radiant gem on the coast of the Lower Maw, and in time, the capital of a new alliance between her, The Hearth, Pulchrito, and Domicilius. The new alliance was bestowed with the name, The Hykman League. Invitations were extended to Rotandean and Farpoint as well.

691 NA: The Dwarven Curse upon the Bwarlor finally ended. Only a few Bwarlor still gave birth to Dwarven children. The Bwarlor rejoiced. With trade revived on the Maw and an end to much of the turmoil of the previous wars, the Bwarlor looked to their own isle. New wealth began to congeal and soon a new city grew up from the towns. Balkus was born, a mighty port and a safe haven for those crossing the treacherous Maw.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 21

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 3

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 2

This update is marked by sections I may not consider useful, but may become useful later on.

Is it really necessary that the timeline list when a forest expanded? Maybe not.

But what if we ever run a campaign where it becomes important how old a tree is?

The timeline shows that the oldest trees in a certain section of the world can only have been around for a finite number of years.

This update also shows off another thing that Dawn of Worlds encourages, technological and cultural advancements!

The Dwarves got architecture. The Merfolk got aquatic animal domestication and Avian slaying. The Avians got blood rituals. The Humans got nothing this time, but more will come.

3488 BE: The Merfolk domesticated aquatic animals. The people of the sea became experts at dolphin, shark, and whale riding. The cetaceans were used to pull underwater carts along with trout and bass. Whales were used to haul larger vehicles. Rare visits above water were achieved via riding in tortoise or turtle palanquins.

3322 BE: The fertile ash from the primal volcano promoted the growth of forests in an outward crescent from the igneous mountain.

3167 BE: The Metal Tiers rumbled out of the earth as the world matured and ripened.

3039 BE: A great bird was born among the Avians, the immortal wing-prophet, Trebor Ydorg. He founded the cliff city of Zener’hro on the side of Cui-Xoloc and brought the Avians out of their preliterate society and into the light. Trebor organized his people with rituals. Blood sacrifices were absorbed by the great sacred altar at the top of Cui-Xoloc.

2864 BE: Up from the depths of the Maw rose Selcatnet the Eight Armed. Selcatnet was a gift sent by Drolfo to his industrious children, the Merfolk. Selcatnet became the guardian and protector of Drolfo’s Cove.

2777 BE: The great Dwarven city of Golden Mach was founded in the west. It reigned for centuries as the greatest architectural achievement of the land.

2600 BE: Humanity grew increasingly barbaric as the forest spread around them.

2492 BE: The Avians’ knowledge of blood magic grew with each passing year. Hrududu’s shade expanded west.

2330 BE: The northern forest continued to expand, now touching both the Maw and the Northern Sea.

2294 BE: The industrious Merfolk along with their faithful servant, Selcatnet, began to dig a channel through the Lower Maw, allowing easy access to the Neck.

2276 BE: The Great Canal is completed.

2269 BE: The trading post, Tortuga, is established in the Fluren Bay.

2244 BE: The Avians viewed the Merfolk traders as only a new form of prey for their blood rituals. The Merfolk soon learned not to trust the Avians. Tortuga’s trading post design was abandoned in favor of that of a fortress. The city became a repository for the best Avian-slaying techniques.

2131 BE: The eastern side of the Metal Tiers turned to sand.

2076 BE: The Hrududu Jungle crossed the Groshan Sea and established a new jungle on Hearthland. The new jungle was known as Turashtegal.

2046 BE: Drolfo gave his people a gift. He created a new race of Merfolk that no longer feared the world above without water. These Merfolk were referred to as Landwalkers.

1988 BE: The Landers clear-cut the Fluren Peninsula.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 4

Cartoon History

20140401-175524.jpg
I said in a previous post that I’m reading the Cartoon History of the Universe Part 3. Here’s the page I’m on now about Japanese civilization.

The Cartoon History series is now complete with five books. The first three are called Cartoon History of the Universe Parts 1-3 and the second two are called Cartoon History of the Modern World Parts 1-2.

The author’s name is Larry Gonick. He does a bunch of other cartoon non-fiction books as well.

I own Larry Gonick’s Cartoon Guide to Physics, Cartoon Guide to Chemistry, and his Cartoon History of the United States.

All his books are funny, informative, and quick to read. You can check out more of them at his simple website, www.larrygonick.com

I started reading the series in third grade when I was homeschooled by my parents.

Only the first two books existed then. I’ve read them cover to cover dozens of times since. This repeated reading is probably why I know so much about ancient history, but a lot less about anything after the fall of Rome.

I showed the books to my father-in-law recently because he was interested in the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empires.

His reaction upon flipping through them was surprise at the vast amount of sex in them.

Gonick doesn’t shy away from portraying the sexual scandals in his books. If sex between two people influenced their actions and their actions affected history, then he includes the sex.

I read the books when I was eight if that matters to anyone.

Gonick also writes a comic feature for the children’s science magazine, Muse. The magazine is written for ages 10-14.

The feature is a page comic of archetypal philosophers from different cultures talking with each other.

The philosophers also fool around and crack jokes in the margins of other articles throughout the magazine.

I’m rereading the later three Cartoon History books now so that I can fill the gaps in my natural recall of different historical periods.

I’ll probably need to reread it another dozen times before my recall of anything past 500AD is perfect, but I’m hoping that I’ll get there!

That’s all for tonight!

-Mister Ed

An Overview of Gurutama Part 1

The map I made of Gurutama using Campaign Cartographer.
The map I made of Gurutama using Campaign Cartographer.

Starting off the posts on Gurutama will contain information my D&D group has already written.

After we’ve covered that background information I plan to post more indepth descriptions of places or cultural aspects. Religion, art, holidays, monuments, military, civil administration, all these things were touched on but not explicitly described in our Dawn of Worlds game. I’ll do what I can to get those ideas fleshed out here.

So first up, what are these continents we’re looking at on the map? There are four continents on Gurutama, Glacierstone, Hearthland, Rontu-Aru, and the Maw.

The Maw is split up into four sub continents, the Upper Maw, the Eastern Maw, the Lower Maw, and the central islands (islands aren’t really a continent, but inner oceans are still defined by tectonic plates).

Rontu-Aru, the southern continent, is inhabited mostly by bird people called Avians.

Avian culture is loosely based off of Aztec, Mayan, and Inca cultures. Avians build ziggurats like the Aztecs and Mayans did. They live high in the mountains like the Inca did. They sacrifice intelligent beings like the Aztecs and Mayans did. I avoided the term human sacrifice, because in there are more races than humans in our fantasy world.

The Avians came into contact with the Merfolk early in our world’s history. The Merfolk are fish people that live around the islands in the central sea of the Maw.

This map shows the Avian continent of Rontu-Aru and the central islands of the Merfolk.
This map shows the Avian continent of Rontu-Aru and the central islands of the Merfolk.

The Merfolk wished to make trade easier with the southern sea, The Neck. They prayed to their god, Drolfo, to open up a quick path to the Neck.

Drolfo summoned a giant octopus named Selcatnet which dug a trench through the mountain range on the northern edge of the Lower Maw. This trench became the Great Canal that separates the Lower Maw from the Eastern Maw.

The Merfolk came down to Rontu-Aru and set up trading outposts with the Avians.

The Avians were resistant to the outsiders. Eventually a prophet rose up and formed an army to attack the Merfolk.

War raged for many years and eventually the Merfolk won. The fish people enslaved the bird people. Now intelligent beings are exported along with goods from the jungles and marshes of Rontu-Aru.

The Merfolk are in an excellent position for trade at the physical center of Gurutama. They trade with all the civilized races of our world, humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, and the Rana. Rana are frog people that live in the Eastern Maw.

There’s more to get into, but that feels like enough for one blog post. That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed

Next: An Overview of Gurutama Part 2