Table of Contents
According to legend, the first Atlanteans were little more than savages when the god Poseidon came to their island continent, took a wife named Cleito, and by her had ten sons. Poseidon gave each of his sons a kingdom on the continent and instructed them to have many sons and daughters, that they might begin a new race of men. To settle disputes, Poseidon made his eldest son, Atlas, overlord over all the others.
Following the decree of their creator, the ten sons of Poseidon were fruitful, and the new people soon prospered. Unlike their savage ancestors, these new men were tall and had strong features, copper-brown skin and black hair. They built great cities of stone and developed an advanced culture based on the sciences of alchemy and sorcery. They built great ships and brought their prosperity and knowledge to the savage peoples of other lands. For centuries they have ruled in this way.
There is concern, however, that the descendants of the First Kings have proven lacking in the wisdom of their forefathers. They fight amongst each other and use their might to enslave the weaker peoples of other lands. Atlantean sorcerors, blinded by their lust for power, tamper with the creations of the old gods. With their magics they have created such abominations as the chimera, the manticore, the gryphon; to fight their wars they have bred foul Nethermen (half-Orcs) and bestial Andamen (animal-human crossbreeds). Some even dare to utter blasphemies against the old gods. Many are those in the world who fear that the hubris of the Atlanteans may turn Poseidon's favor to anger…
For because of the greatness of their empire many things were brought to them from foreign countries, and the island itself provided most of what was required by them for the uses of life. In the first place, they dug out of the earth whatever was to be found there, solid as well as able to be smelted, and that which is now only a name and was then something more than a name, orichalcum, was dug out of the earth in many parts of the island, being more precious in those days than anything except gold.
- Plato, Critias
Atlantis is a roughly diamond-shaped island, lying just over 600 miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar. It is just over 1,000 miles long north to south, and about 800 miles at its widest from east to west. Its geology is complex and irregular, with several mountain ranges, some of them with active volcanoes, but also some fertile lowlands, including the broad central plain where the capital city, also called Atlantis but sometimes referred to as Poseidonis, is located. There are also several areas of marshland. The mountain ranges run right down to the sea in many places, creating rocky, inhospitable coasts; Atlantis's few ports, especially the capital, are highly valued, and making a secret landing here could be difficult. The climate is broadly Mediterranean, with enough rain to keep the land fertile.
The heart of the Empire of Atlantis is, of course, its great capital city (and the surrounding farmlands which support it). There are bridges over the zones of the sea which surround the ancient metropolis, making a road to and from the royal palace. A canal runs from the sea to the city, forming a harbor and leaving an opening large enough for the largest vessels to find ingress. The city is a series of concentric rings of land separated by rings of seawater. The center of the city contains a fantastic temple to Poseidon which is covered in silver and gold. The outer rings hold further wonders: temples, gardens, baths, a racecourse, and so on. The buildings of the city are decorated primarily in white, red, and black, the colors of the stone which was quarried in the area.
The great wall surrounding the outer city, over a dozen miles in diameter and around 40 in circumference, is a fairly low structure, mostly intended to mark the limits of building; the Atlanteans expect no attacks on their homeland. The metal-plated walls of the inner ring-cities, however, were built to impress, by demigods: the outermost is coated with brass, the next with tin, and the third, which encompasses the citadel, flashes with the red light of orichalcum.
Atlantis can raise a vast army of citizen-soldiers; the capital city alone can provide 10,000 chariots, plus numerous supporting infantry, and 1,200 ships. Each of the ten kings has absolute power in his own province, while their mutual relations are governed by rules laid down by Poseidon.
Atlantis is an empire with a strong central ruler, subdivided into 10 principalities, including the capital and its surrounding region which are controlled directly by the Emperor. The nine subsidiary principalities are as follows:
This is a region of hill country adjacent to the central plain. It is a fairly fertile region, mostly given over to the herding of sheep and cattle.
The far northern coastal region. Chilly and wind-blown by Atlantean standards, it is inhabited by a quiet but poetic people who mostly make their living as fishermen. There are rumored to be strange creatures and witch-cults dwelling in these mountains.
A semi-desert region south of Mestoron. Its princes have to work hard to maintain their power and prestige in the councils of Atlantis; some do so by pursuing overseas adventures, others act as brokers in the debates between their colleagues, and a few pursue strange magics or darker secrets. Several herds of elephants dwell in Azaeton's more fertile areas, and it traditionally provides much of the Atlantean elephant corps.
Mostly consists of rocky, hot southern coastlands of the island. Lacking decent harbors, it is not as good a source of ships and sailors as Eumelia or Elasippusia; most of the population are mountain-dwelling shepherds. However, clever princes have exploited their land's perceived weakness, persuading jealous or cautious emperors to grant control of islands in the ocean to them rather than their stronger colleagues. As a result, the prince of Diaprepesia controls a fair amount of trade, and is said to have a vast espionage network.
Another coastal principality, occupying much of the western seaboard. It has perhaps the wildest variety of scenery of any of the nine, with plains, mountains, and marshes; its inhabitants are often good sailors, and some of them have dealings with the strange beings in lands beyond the western Atlantean Ocean.
The region closest to the Mediterranean. Its prince has traditionally been closely involved in military campaigns in that direction, and controls large territories in Gades (Spain); this has led him to promote the building of ports and harbors in his territory, and to encourage the development of shipbuilding and sailing skills.
Consists primarily of the mountain regions behind Ampheresia. It is a large but sparsely populated land which produces hardy men; iron, copper, and orichalcum mines generate a fair amount of wealth.
South of the capital, consisting of a mixture of mountains and hills. It is fertile enough to field a large army and harsh enough for them to make especially good troops. Traditionally, the Emperor cultivates the Prince of Mestoron as a personal ally.
In the north of the island, mostly consisting of a secondary fertile plain, fairly populous and wealthy, but overshadowed by the capital.
This continent lies to the east of Atlantis and Hesperia, south of Mediterranea. Though it is referred to by Atlantean scholars and explorers as the Dark Continent, due to its wild, impenetrable jungles and imposing mountains, Gondwana is home to a number of relatively advanced civilizations. It also boasts a large inner sea, the Sahara Sea, where Amazon colonies have made Atlantean trade profitable and frequent. See Hesperia, below, for more on the Amazonian colonies here.
The islands of Gorgos lie within the Sahara Sea. There are four major islands, Bogador, Mogador, Ogol, and Ogaril, plus a number of smaller islands and rocky islets. These isles are jungle-clad, tropical paradises as lovely as Hesperia itself. Nonetheless, the name of Gorgos is a synonym for fear, for these islands are dominated by one of the most dreaded cultures in the known world.
The Gorgons were said to have once been Amazons who rebelled against the Queen of Hesperia long ago in a terrible civil war. The Gorgons' hatred of Amazons knows no bounds, and the Amazons return their animosity in full. They are said to worship blasphemous spirits and nameless, ancient serpent gods - their shields always bear the image of a snake-headed woman. They wear helmets into battle that conceal their faces, but for two long slits where their eyes should be.
It is of debate amongst scholars whether the Gorgons are even human any more. Sea captains dismiss these theories: there can be no doubt that the Gorgons abandoned humanity long ago.
Ophir lies on the continent's western shore, along the Atlantean Ocean. The jungles that dominate Ophir are haunts of many wild beasts, uninhabited by humans. It is along Ophir's coast that the major centers of population are located.
The inhabitants of these rich trade centers are black-skinned people, nearly as tall as the eastern Nubians. They wear loose-fitting white kaftans and elaborate burnooses. Most citizens also wear a great deal of jewelry (especially gold and copper) on their arms, ankles, and necks.
Ophir is a fabulously wealthy land, with extensive mines where gold, diamonds, and lead are unearthed in vast quantities - enough to make Ophir the leading exporter of all three commodities. Trade brings in large quantities of Atlantean weapons and armor which are used by the Ophirian military. Bronze is also worked to round out the arsenals of Ophir.
In addition to Ophir's growing power through alliances with Atlantis, Okalo, and Marhashi (and through them to distant Sheba) is the development of magical studies in the realm. Proximity to the culture of Atlantis has helped the growth of sophisticated alchemical and astrological research. In Ophir's capital, Khaffir, a school has been established which enjoys the respect of sages, alchemists, and astrologers from Atlantis to Sheba.
In the northeast of Gondwana, the capital of Qaddan, Acheron, is a well-known trading port. It lies at the entrance to the Great River Styx on the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the country's wealth is based on the trade which passes through the Great River.
The Qaddani themselves are typically of medium stature with dark brown skin and black hair and eyes. The city dwellers are commonly seen in fine apparel, and both men and women use facial and eye makeup. The priests of the state shave all body hair and dress in long robes. Most of the common folk dress in light cloaks, short tunics or kaftans and sandals.
Qaddan has long been at war with the barbaric peoples of the east, Turan and the nomadic tribes of Zin. The nation of Hesperia has a limited allegiance with Qaddan against Gorgos, whose aggressive policies have caused problems for both peoples.
The king (or Pharaoh) is the absolute ruler and the most important symbol in the culture of Qaddan. In essence, he is considered the physical manifestation of the gods Ra and Horus; a perfect being in mortal form. The Pharaoh is also the central figure in the state religion and must prove his divinity at certain festivals, where tests of strength and endurance are performed for the populace.
The island of Hesperia lies in the great River Oceanus, which flows between the continents of Gondwana (Africa) and Atlantis. It is a warm and sunny isle, blessed with an abundance of edible plants, fruiting trees and clear streams. It is a virtual paradise, with its well-tended groves, vineyards and fields. In the jungles of the Hesperian interior, hundreds of colorful avian species make their home, filling the air with song. Nymphs haunt the crystal pools and waterfalls, surrounded by a dazzling display of tropical flora. Rising high above the jungles are Hesperia's twin volcanoes, Electra and Mena, both inactive. Lions and other fierce predators prowl this region, but rarely venture forth into the coastal areas.
It is along the coasts that most of the population of Hesperia dwell, in homes and pavillions of grey and white marble. Gardens and fountains dot the landscape, and many of the roads are paved with rough stone and gravel. Though many of the settlements are quite small, the capital city of Themyscira is said to be quite splendid. Like all Hesperian settlements, however, only Amazons are allowed to live there; foreigners of any sort must report to the local guard and state the reason for their visit.
The coastal territories of Hesperia are five in number, in the northern part of Gondwana. Each colony is ruled by a military governor, often referred to as a Princess, who commands a small garrison contingent of ground troops numbering 100-200 elite colonial troops plus a fleet of two to eight ships. Each colony contains a walled stronghold on the coast, usually with sophisticated stone walls and buildings. These forts serve as a base of operations for the governor and her troops, and are considered the "capitals" of their respective colonies.
Located on the coast of the Sahara Sea, this colony is largely covered by jungle. Taygea lies to the northwest, Halcya to the east, the sea to the north, and Awalawa to the south. It is only a narrow coastal strip, as none dare venture too far into the dread jungles of Awalawa. The Amazons here have enslaved a native race of albinos.
A very strategic colony - and Hesperia's oldest - which guards the Saharan Straits from the River Oceanus to the Saharan Sea. It has southern landward borders with Maia and Taygea, but is otherwise surrounded by sea. Five naval squadrons are based at the port capital of Ea to contain the Gorgons within the Sahara, though there are times when Gorgon ships manage to sneak through or fight their way past the Amazons to raid the Oceanus and Mediterranean sea-lanes. The natives are well-incorporated into Amazon culture; the city of Ea has a large Foreigners' Quarter, primarily for foreign merchants and their dependents.
Located between Asterea and Qaddan, Halcya is primarily remembered as the palce where the Amazons were stopped in their attack against Qaddan while attempting to establish their empire sometime after the Gorgon wars. The defeat led to a forced truce between Hesperia and Qaddan, and is remembered with bitterness to this day. Halcya is considered the least important colonial post, and is sometimes looked upon almost as a place of dishonor. The Amazons of Halcya tend to be less haughty than those in other domains, partly because of this lack of pride, and partly because the Lotus Cult, which is prevalent here, saps the strength of the warrior people to a degree not generally admitted by anyone in power. The capital, Halcyon, is primarily a military post.
The continent of Europa contains a great range of terrains, climates and peoples, from the arid deserts of the Turanian subcontinent to the forested river valleys of Vir, the rugged hills and wooded groves of Hellas and Saturnia, and the great plateau of Gades. It is a land of wilderness and, for the most part, of barbarism; only at the fringes of the continent, such as Sheba, Tartessos and Ys are sophisticated cultures found.
Well east of the Pillars of Herakles, south of Hellas and north of Qaddan lies the island of Minoa. The Minoans dominate trade in the eastern Mediterranean, and their king, the Minos, is a staunch ally of Atlantis (though some would whisper that he pays tribute to the Atlantean Emperor in order to maintain his control of the East, fearing the greater power). In turn, all the peoples of the eastern coasts - save Qaddan - pay tribute to the Minos. The Minos rules from a sprawling palace, Knossos, beneath which is said to be a labyrinth inescapable for any who are thrown into it. Consignment to the Labyrinth is a regular sacrificial offering that the Minos makes to the gods, and it is one of the more feared punishments in the eastern lands.
The islands and peninsulas collectively known as Hellas are largely idyllic, pastoral lands of sun-baked coasts and dramatic rocky cliffs. Nymphs, satyrs, and centaurs dwell in the wilder parts of Hellas, and more savage beasts beside. The people who inhabit these lands are of two strains: the native olive-skinned, dark-haired Palasgeans, and the lighter-complected Mycaneans, who have gradually migrated from the north; aside from tensions between these peoples, the Hellenes are fiercely independent, and villages refuse to cooperate even with other Hellenes. The most populated of these territories are southern Peloponnesus, where the town of Athens can be found, and Oguges in the north. Other regions include peaceful Arcadia, swampy Argos, and Nemea, which is eerily silent but for the roars of the feared Nemean Lion. The Hellenes pay a heavy tribute to the Minos for protection from the few corsairs who attempt to extend their influence into the region. Hellas is a backwater area removed from the Great Powers of the world. Their only other significant contact is with the hunters of Vir, and the Hellenes generally prefer things that way.
Located south of Gades, Tartessos is among the most advanced and sophisticated regions of Europa. It borders Gades and a narrow strip of Aragana to the north; west is the River Oceanus, and east, the Mediterranean Sea. The Straits of Tartessos between those two seas lie to the south.
Tartessos was originally the site of a major trading settlement, once called Tharshesh (and still referred to as such by many native Tharshi). It is now a haven for the Mediterranean Sea trade and a port to provide access to the silver mines of the southern highlands. Tartessos is not a large realm, but its coastline is a long one. It is the oldest city and capital of the realm; it is also the most crowded, decadent, corrupt, best-known city in Europa. As much as two -thirds of the population of Tartessos are made up of people from other lands. Shebans, Turanians, Kushites, Rom, Ophiri, Nubians, and many others live here. The streets throng with a colorful mix of people, in costumes of all cultures and speaking in a hundred diverse dialects and tongues.
Outside the city and towns, the population of Tartessos live in relative poverty. Most inhabitants are poor fishermen, goatherds and so forth. Away from the coast, much of Tartessos is wilderness. Forests teem with wild game including a rare species of Mediterranean ape. Human barbarians live in these regions, uncivilized relatives of the Tharshi who never adopted city ways.
The dominant cultures of the Orichalcum Age are those of the Atlanteans and the Amazons of Hesperia. To a lesser extent, the cultures of the Qaddani and the Ophirites also influence the known lands.
Atlanteans are almost always Humans. Literacy is virtually universal, and Atlanteans enjoy a technological advantage over the other peoples of the world, thanks to superior materials (orichalcum), magical expertise (sorcery), and inventions that made their conquest of the known world an easier task (clocks, vril-powered airships). Atlantean citizens are brought up to be congenial, but because of the prevailing sense of cultural superiority, intolerance of other cultures and practices is quite common. In the old days, alcoholism and gluttony were disdained, but decadence is making them widespread.
Atlanteans are commonly trained in the use of shields, shortswords and spears; bows and slings are also quite widespread. Wrestling is known, and chariot warfare is usually taught to the aristocracy. The Emperor and princes are required to learn the religious rites of Poseidon for use in their royal ceremonies.
Atlantis has its own language, and only those with specific reasons usually bother learning "outlander" tongues.
The Emperor holds the highest status in the land; the nine princes are just below him. Senior members of the royal family rank below them, while their lesser cousins and members of the aristocracy follow. Wealthy merchants, sea captains, soldiers risen through skill to trusted posts, and minor landowners fill a niche, but beneath them are the vast mass of Atlanteans, toiling away for their lords. Slavery is common in Atlantis, as it is in most countries, though it is said in critical tones that the nobles of Atlantis have grown more fond of the institution, to the point that they may soon be unable to dress themselves. Supporters of the practice argue that it is a necessary side-effect of Atlantis's domination of the lesser nations; in order to maintain peace, something must be done with war captives, and slavery is far better for all involved than execution.
Women have a remarkable degree of freedom in Atlantean society, almost most are expected to stay at home, providing their brothers and husbands with intelligent conversation and the state with well-brought up citizens. Tales of women disguising themselves as men or otherwise putting themselves in the way of adventure are met with amused respect rather than disdain, and some temples (though not that of Poseidon) have numerous priestesses. Still, the society is essentially patriarchal, and only men can inherit landholdings or titles.
Atlantean names are the most commonly heard names in the Orichalcum Age; most civilized ports have long known Atlantean influence, so even if one is not a native of Atlantis, they will often have an Atlantean name that they will use in place of their own when in "mainstream" society.
Atlantean names have a Greek sound to them for the most part, though naming traditions in Elasippusea have lately begun to incorporate Tamoanchan influences. Usually only a single name is given, and when further identification is needed, "son of/daughter of" the father is added, or the land of their birth. Nicknames are sometimes given, though these are not considered proper in Atlantean society - one is meant to be proud of their name, not hide behind another not given to them at birth.
Male Names: Admenes, Adropolos, Aegenes, Alcinus, Alcmenes, Anaxima, Anthemos, Argeus, Ascalepas, Creus, Deideus, Demnophes, Demos, Echeus, Eleus, Ereon, Eumedio, Euristhos, Euryales, Euryon, Gorgenes, Herasto, Heristu, Hermas, Hypsilas, Iolus, Laodares, Leus, Menesthes, Mideus, Ninesto, Oedipelus, Peleus, Permagos, Philotu, Phymos, Phylome, Polytis, Protagos, Pytus, Telaus, Thucydes, Thylas, Tynesichus, Xandaros, Zeneus, Zenoros.
Female Names: Actane, Aegia, Aegiant, Aethyia, Aglates, Amphino, Astynome, Canaea, Chlomed, Creusa, Daphyll, Deia, Dira, Dynamena, Euryno, Eria, Gallia, Halea, Haleion, Helaia, Ianara, Leda, Maeana, Melanope, Meleia, Melithi, Metania, Oria, Paneia, Penassa, Pentea, Perusa, Phea, Polyphya, Polytea, Polyxen, Siboea, Tecmele, Thalana, Thallat, Xantical, Xeneia.
Atlantean Background Packages
Ability Adjustments: +2 CHA, -1 STR. Unlike their predecessors, Atlantean nobles focus more on magic and political maneuvering than on warfare.
Preferred Feat(s): Combat Casting; Ride; Spell Focus (Abjuration or Evocation).
Recommended Skill(s): Knowledge (Atlantean nobility), Knowledge (Olympic religion).
Regional Feats Available: Artist, Cosmopolitan, Courteous Magocracy, Education.
- Ampheresian: Unsophisticated, hardy and enduring
- Atlantean (Urban): Enterprising, cosmopolitan, mercantile-minded
- Autochthean: Quiet, rustic, poetic
- Azaetonian: Hard-working, industrious, secretive
- Diaprepesian: Ambitious, untrustworthy, sly
- Elasippusean: Adventurous, self-reliant, open-minded
- Eumelian: Bold, militaristic, expansionist
- Evaemonic: Rural, uncultured, tough
- Mestoronic: Proud, athletic, disciplined
- Mneseusan: Aristocratic, decadent, artistic.
The Hesperians were once the rulers of a mighty empire which nearly rivaled that of Atlantis. Natural disasters, wars with neighboring Gorgos, and internal strife have caused the collapse of the Hesperian empire. Despite its setbacks, the Hesperian empire still wields a fair share of power. The Amazon navy is highly regarded, and keeps a constant watch over the River Oceanus. The Hesperian army is also well respected. Amazon archers, heavy cavalry, and the elite honor guard are considered amongst the most effective fighting units in the region. All are well-trained, and morale is consistently high. The Amazon elite cavalry, mounted on unicorns and armed with lances, is arguably among the best light cavalry in the known world.
Amazon society is rigid and strict in its ways. The Amazon queen is the absolute ruler of her people, designating only such power as she feels is warranted to a select group of female advisors. The queen also holds the position of high priestess of Athena. Along with her advisors, the queen functions as both the military and spiritual leader of the Hesperians. No other religious beliefs are tolerated on the island, an edict which is punishable by death.
The Amazons are a handsome people, tall and bronze-skinned with long, dark hair. Few of the women are less than six feet in height; elite troops must by law stand at least six and a half feet tall. Because of the island's balmy climate, clothing is generally limited to light cotton shifts, flowing capes, and sandals.
Amazon Background Packages
Ability Adjustments: CON +1, INT -2. Amazons put less emphasis on education than on martial training.
Preferred Feat(s): Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Endurance, Improved Initiative.
Recommended Skill(s): Knowledge (Hesperian religion).
Regional Feats Available: Blooded, Bullheaded, Discipline, Militia.
- Asterean: Primitive and uncultured, close to nature.
- Electite: Cosmopolitan, vigilant.
- Halcyan: Thoughtful, bitter, lovers of pleasure and relaxation.
- Hesperian: Believers in "nothing in excess," proud.
- Taygean: Hard, uncivilized, brutal and fierce.
The Hesperians revere Athena as their patron goddess. The Amazon Queen is the high priestess of Athena, and she makes sacrifices to that goddess on behalf of her people, though it is common for individual warriors to make offerings and prayers of their own, maintaining their own private shrines.
Amazons also give respect to Artemis, Demeter, Hestia and Aphrodite. It is said that these goddesses gifted the Amazons with Hesperia and the gifts of hunting skills (Artemis), warm homes (Hestia), plentiful harvests (Demeter), and beauty inside and out (Aphrodite). Other goddesses are only rarely given devotion, and the male side of the Olympian pantheon is utterly ignored. A few are concerned that this attitude may earn them the enmity of the male Olympians, but most Amazons scoff at this notion.
Aphrodite: Goddess of Love and Beauty. (CG (CG, CN, NG) Intermediate Deity; Domains: Chaos, Charm, Good; Favored Weapon: Dagger)
Artemis: Artemis of the Golden Shafts, Friend of Youth, Lady of the Lake, the Huntress. Goddess of Hunting, Wild Beasts, Childbirth and Dance. (NG (CG, LG, NG) Intermediate Deity; Domains: Animal, Good, Plant, Sun; Favored Weapon: Shortsword)
Athena: Goddess of Wisdom, Crafts, Civilization and War. (LG (LG, LN, NG) Greater God; Domains: Artifice, Community, Good, Knowledge, Law, War; Favored Weapon: Shortspear)
Demeter: The Gift-Giver, Lovely-Haired Demeter, Demeter of the Splendid Fruit. Goddess of Agriculture. (N (CN, LN, N, NG, NE) Lesser Deity; Domains: Earth, Plant, Protection; Favored Weapon: Shortspear or Halfspear)
Hestia: Goddess of Home, Hearth, and Family. (NG (CG, LG, NG) Lesser Deity; Domains: Community, Good, Protection; Favored Weapon: Dagger)
The Ten Princes, sons of Cleito and Poseidon, had the blood of gods in their veins and have passed this on to their numerous progeny, endowing them with the island of Atlantis and the ability to use sorcery. Because of this, Poseidon is the patron god of the Atlanteans, and they always make certain to give him tribute above and beyond that of the other Olympians. Having said that, the Atlanteans also give respect and tribute to the others on their respective holidays and when a favor is desired of one of them. Numerous cults and temples exist in Atlantis, not only of the Olympians but also of foreign mystery cults and obtuse philosophies. Indeed, the priesthood of Atlantis is fearful that these "barbarian religions" are becoming too numerous in Atlantis and may offend Poseidon if they are left unchecked.
Oracles are also highly-respected in Atlantis, as they are abroad in such colonies as Knossos and Delphi. The Atlanteans, for all their sophistication, tend to be a superstitious lot, and are very careful to watch for omens in everyday life.
(As Amazons, above, but including:)
Apollo: The Musician of the Gods, The Archer God, The Farshooter, The Healer, The God of Light, The God of Truth. God of Light, Prophecy, Music and Healing. (CG (CG, CN, NG) Intermediate Deity; Domains: Good, Healing, Knowledge, Magic, Sun; Favored Weapon: Composite Longbow)
Dionysos: Women-Maddener, Ivy-Wreathed Dionysos, Loud-Roaring Dionysos. God of Mirth, Madness, Wine, Fertility, Theater. (CN (CE, CG, CN) Intermediate Deity; Domains: Chaos, Destruction, Madness; Favored Weapon: Quarterstaff)
Hephaestus: Workman of the Immortals, God of the Forge. God of Smithing and Crafts. (NG (LG, LN, NG) Intermediate Deity; Domains: Artifice, Community, Earth, Fire, Good; Favored Weapon: Warhammer)
Hera: Protectress, Bride, Flowery Hera. Goddess of Marriage, Women and Intrigue. (N (CN, LN, N, NE, NG) Greater Deity; Domains: Community, Nobility, Protection, Trickery; Favored Weapon: Light Mace)
Poseidon: Earth-Shaker, Savior of Ships, Poseidon of the Dashing Wave. God of Sea, Rivers, Horses and Earthquakes. (CN (CE, CG, CN) Greater Deity; Domains: Chaos, Earth, Water; Favored Weapon: Trident)
Tyche: Goddess of Luck. (N (CN, LN, N, NE, NG) Lesser Deity; Domains: Luck, Protection, Travel; Favored Weapon: Short sword)
Zeus: Father of Gods and Mortals. God of Sky, Air, Storms, Fate, and Nobility. (CG (CG, CN, NG) Greater Deity; Domains: Air, Chaos, Good, Nobility, Strength, Weather; Favored Weapon: Shortspear or Halfspear)
The Minos is said to have the secret of immortality, though the Amazons deny that he stole it from them. The god Zeus fell in love with a mortal woman, a beautiful princess named Europa. He assumed the shape of a white bull and swam to Minoa with her on his back. One of her sons was the Minos. In Minoa, the people revere their demi-god king, who acts as high priest in the rites to his father Zeus. The Minoans also show respect to the other Olympians, primarily Poseidon, Dionysos, and Demeter. The Minoan religion is enforced among the peoples of Hellas.
Pharaoh is the god-king of Qaddan, the incarnation of Ra and Horus; when he dies, he will become the incarnation of Osiris. The Qaddani worship Horus in his heavenly and earthly manifestations, but also worship the many deities of minor cults and aspects of life. Though all the cults are based upon necromantic rituals (particularly mummification), most are not evil in nature. Evil necromantic cults do exist, however, despite strict state restrictions prohibiting the worship of deities other than the accepted pantheon. The followers of the evil god Set, whose hidden temples are said to be located throughout Qaddan, are one such group.
The holy center of Heru-Seti, which lies to the southwest of the city of Acheron, is the true home of Pharaoh and high priesthood of Qaddan. It is a religious center of beautifully constructed pyramids and gardens. It is said that the priests who guard Pharaoh are avowed fanatics who would sacrifice their lives for their ruler without question.
Magic is seen in many forms in the known world.
Amongst the barbaric peoples of the world, shamans seek out spirits in the rocks, trees, and animals of the wilderness, communing with them, asking favors of them, and utilizing the power that they possess. Some tales speak of those who may assume the forms of beasts, or call animals to do their bidding, but these are rarely seen anywhere near cities, so they remain legends only.
Astrology and Alchemy
These are the most oft-practiced sciences in those lands where civilization allows for the intricate study of the stars and elemental properties of substances. Divination and Transmutation are the schools practiced by these specialists. Ophir and Sheba are famous for these sages.
The most prominent form of magic known is that of Atlantean sorcery. A gift of the god Poseidon, sorcery is generally only usable by Atlantean nobles. While many specialize in those areas of magic which concern the things of Poseidon - water, weather, and horses - Atlantean sorcerers are known to cast a wide repertoire of spells. Being nobles, they are also taught martial skills, and so Atlantean sorcerers are often a true terror to face on the battlefield.
The mysterious and beautiful Sidhe ("SHEE") people of the Tin Isles and Broceliande in Mediterranea, who call themselves the Tuatha de Danaan (TOO-uh day DAN-ann; "People of Danu"), are masters of the arts of Illusion, which they call Glamour. Those who encounter the Sidhe are warned to be on their guard, for nothing can be trusted when they are near. The Sidhe are known as much for their wicked sense of humor as for their keen sense of vengeance, and these vain people are easily offended. Sidhe have been known to pay for goods in what seems like gold but later turns to stones or leaves; to bring lost travelers into their magnificent palaces which, once exited, appear only to be mounds of grass-covered earth. It is said that their mastery extends even to the mind and body - there are tales of those who have feasted and danced with Sidhe ladies for what seemed like a night, but awoke years later to find astonished friends who thought them dead or lost at sea.
In the remotest places of the world, in the dark forests or the inhospitable rocky bluffs of the mountains, there are said to be places where a devoted student may find a master who will instruct him in the secret arts of the magi. What must be traded for knowledge of this lore is unspoken, though it is said that the bartering of one's soul is the most commonly demanded price. Two such academies are known to exist - the Grey Brotherhood of Dardanos and the Black School. The former is located upon rocky bluffs in the Mediterranean Sea, in a forgotten temple that is said to be larger on the inside than on the outside. The latter has never been found by any who lived to tell the tale, so it is presumed that those who have found it are sworn to secrecy on pain of death…or worse.
The arts of life and death are studied and practiced with the greatest of reverence (and no small amount of fear) by the priests of Heru-Seti in Qaddan. Though there are others who know of such things - whispers speak of barbarian Ku and Tharshi vermin-cults who dabble with these dark arts - the Qaddani pride themselves on their skill and discipline with the art. Their pyramids and necropoli are said to be guarded by the walking dead, warriors of renown who have pledged their eternal souls to the protection of their ancient kings. Indeed, to be raised from the dead into this unliving form is said to be a great honor among the Qaddani…though some say these arts are also used to curse those who transgress their laws. The greatest library of necromantic lore, if such a thing exists on this earth, is in Heru-Seti, separate from the renowned Great Library of Acheron.
The darker side of sorcery is said to be the gift of women. Whatever the truth of the matter, sorcerers found outside of Atlantis are almost invariably women of no small skill or men who have made dark pacts to obtain their powers. The women most often devote themselves to the goddess Hekate, who is said to have power over magic.
Most of the known world is in the Stone Age [SA] or Bronze Age [BA] in terms of the weapons and technology available to them. Only the Atlanteans and their allies have access to higher technology, most of which is essentially Dark Age [DA] (i.e. Ancient Rome to Charlemagne) thanks to orichalcum and Atlantean innovation.
Stone, Bronze, and Orichalcum
Different weapons, armors, and tools are made from different materials, depending upon where they were made.
Stone or Bone weapons have a -2 attack and damage penalty (with a minimum damage of 1). Bone has a hardness of 6 and 10 hit points per inch of thickness. Stone has a hardness of 8 and 15 hit points per inch of thickness.
Bronze weapons, while clearly inferior to orichalcum items, are not nearly as bad as stone or bone weapons. Their attack and damage penalty is only -1. Bronze has a hardness of 9 and 20 hit points per inch of thickness.
Orichalcum is a coppery-reddish metal mined exclusively in Atlantis. When forged into a weapon, it gives the wielder a +1 bonus on the confirmation roll for a critical hit. The market price modifier for such a weapon is +1,000 Gold Drachma. Orichalcum has a hardness of 11 and 30 hit points per inch of thickness.
|Weapon||Example||Bone hp (hardness 6)||Stone hp (hardness 8)||Bronze hp (hardness 9)|
|Small Blade||Short Sword||1||1||1|
|Small Metal-hafted Weapon||Light Mace||-||-||7|
|Medium-size Metal-hafted Weapon||Heavy Mace||-||-||16|
SA = Found in Stone Age Cultures; BA = Found in Bronze Age Cultures; DA = Found in Dark Age Cultures.
Axe, Throwing (BA, DA)
Battleaxe (BA, DA)
Club (SA, BA, DA)
Crossbow, Light (Khitai only)
Dagger (SA, BA, DA)
Dagger, Punching (DA)
Dart (SA, BA, DA)
Falchion (Qaddan only)
Flail, Light or Heavy (BA, DA)
Gauntlet (BA, DA)
Gauntlet, Spiked (BA, DA)
Great Axe (BA, DA)
Greatclub (BA. DA)
Hammer, Light (DA)
Handaxe (SA, BA, DA)
Javelin (SA, BA, DA)
Kama (Khitai only)
Lance, Light (BA, DA)
Longbow (BA, DA)
Longspear (BA, DA)
Longsword (BA, DA)
Mace, Light or Heavy (BA, DA)
Net (BA, DA)
Nunchaku (Khitai only)
Quarterstaff (SA, BA, DA)
Scimitar (Turan and Sheba only)
Shortbow (SA, BA, DA)
Shortbow, Composite (BA, DA)
Shortspear (SA, BA, DA)
Siangham (Vedda and Khitai only)
Sickle (BA, DA)
Sling (SA, BA, DA)
Sword, Short (BA, DA)
Trident (BA, DA)
Warhammer (BA, DA)
Whip (SA, BA, DA)
Breastplate (BA, DA)
Lamellar (Khitai only)
Leather (SA, BA, DA)
Leather Scale (SA, BA, DA)
Padded (BA, DA)
Scale Mail (Atlantis only)
Studded Leather (BA, DA)
*Druids can wear this armor without losing access to their spells or class features.
|Armor||Cost||Armor Bonus||Max Dex Bonus||Armor Check Penalty||Arcane Spell Fail||Speed (30 ft / 20 ft)||Weight|
|Bark||5 gp||+2||+5||-2||15%||30 ft / 20 ft||15 lbs|
|Bone||20 gp||+3||+4||-3||15%||30 ft / 20 ft||2 lbs|
|Cord||15 gp||+2||+5||-1||5%||30 ft / 20 ft||15 lbs|
|Leather Scale||35 gp||+3||+6||-2||15%||30 ft / 20 ft||20 lbs|
|Wicker||1 gp||+1||+5||+0||10%||30 ft / 20 ft||5 lbs|
|Wood||15 gp||+3||+4||-3||15%||30 ft / 20 ft||15 lbs|
|Lamellar||150 gp||+5||+3||-4||30%||20 ft / 15 ft||35 lbs|
|Shell||25 gp||+3||+3||-2||20%||20 ft / 15 ft||20 lbs|
There are other, more exotic armor types available in the world, but this covers what can most commonly be expected.
From Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era, pg. 68
In most of the known world, trade is carried out through barter, the trade of one commodity for another estimated to be of equal value. In a barter economy, the price of everything is negotiable. Without fixed prices, a person's skill as a trader is almost as important as the goods themselves when it comes to cementing a deal.
While trivial purchases can be handled by a simple exchange of valuables at list prices, large, urgent, or uncommon purchases pit the Appraise skill of the buyer against the Bluff skill of the seller. Checks of both skills are made by the DM in secret, with the result of the Bluff check used as a modifier on the Appraise roll.
The scarcity of the items being haggled over determines the Difficulty Class of the seller's Bluff check.
If the seller's Bluff check is successful, the amount by which her roll exceeds the target is applied as a penalty to the Appraise skill of the buyer.
If the buyer's Appraise check is successful (abundant DC 12, plentiful DC 14, reasonably common DC 16, hard to find DC 18, almost impossible to find DC 20), she appraises the item within 91% to 110% (90%+1d20) of its actual value, and is able to close a deal at that price - the actual haggling to arrive at that final price can be skipped in the interest of speeding play.
If the buyer's Appraise check is failed, she estimates the item's value at 50% to 140% (40% + 1d10x10) its actual worth. The seller, of course, accepts any sale at more than the actual value, and refuses any offer of less than par. But that doesn't mean that the buyer can't waste her time trying to force a deal, though.
If the buyer is paying with goods instead of gold or silver, the process then has to be reversed to determine the value of whatever the buyer is offering in trade. Once both parties are satisfied as to the value of the items under consideration, then deciding whether to make an exchange is straightforward.
Buyers and sellers may get bonuses or penalties to their checks depending upon outside factors, such as regional events like earthquakes, war, raiders, vermin infestations, plague, shortages, and so on.
One way to improve barter deals is to know where goods are common (and therefore cheaper to buy) or rare (and therefore more profitable to sell). This is accomplished by a Knowledge (Trade) check.
Money and Coin
The Atlanteans have popularized - if not invented - the use of coins for the purposes of trade. Atlantean coins are considered the most reliable form of currency where such things are used, followed by that of Ophir, Sheba, and Khitai.
The following coins are commonly used:
|Copper Piece||Chalkoi||Shell (Actual shells)*||Kissi (wire bracelets)||Copper Bit|
|Silver Piece||Obol||Peng (Bronze)||Ar'hairk (Rings)||Mina|
|Gold Piece||Drachma||Koku||Au'hairk (Bracelets)||Talent|
|Trade Piece**||Stater (Orichalcum)||(Jade)||Trade Bar (Platinum)||-|
*Multiply by two to find the equivalent value.
**Fills the role of Platinum Pieces. These are generally only used for major transactions only, between Atlantean nobility and foreign kings.
The Emperor Poseidophilios
The current Lord of Atlantis is seen by some traditionalists in his court as a virtuous throwback to the best of the old Atlantean traditions; a skilled warrior, no fool, concerned for his people and determined that his nation should be the greatest in the world. He has proven himself among the princes in the periodic bull-ceremonies, and his legal judgments are thought wise.
Ruler of Qaddan. Before he ascended to the throne of Qaddan, he was a mighty warrior named Ghirtab, a name meaning "Scorpion." Though he is properly referred to only as "Pharaoh" - a word which is formally followed by the blessing "Life! Prosperity! Health!" - he is still known by many of his faithful veterans by his old name. His fame is largely due to leading Qaddani armies to conquer the southern lands of Khemit, uniting them into his kingdom.
Daughter of Ares, God of War, Hippolyta is Queen of the Amazons of Hesperia. A woman of surpassing beauty and renowned boldness, Hippolyta is the absolute ruler of her people, designating only such power as she feels is warranted to a select group of female advisors. She also holds the position of high priestess of Athena. Along with her advisors, she functions as the military and spiritual leader of the Hesperians. She is renowned for the girdle (belt) she wears, an enchanted gift of her father that is said to make her immortal and undefeatable in combat.