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Right now this page will have my graphics, writing for Encyclopaedia Ermariana, and a some other Ermarian history. Hopefully it will expand later on.
- New Aranea
- Baby Alien Beast
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- Earth Demolisk (adapted from Tim Farland)
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- Glaahk (Geneforge)
- Gremlin Mage
- Cloaked Mage
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- Cyan Slimes
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- Paved Roadset (winner of best edited terrain, Omega Contest)
- More Hill Terrain
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The Empire as we know it originated on Aizo. The humans developed a civilization, cities, and more. There they fought against the giants, nephilim, and troglodytes and wiped them out. They developed boats and sailed in search of other continents. They discovered Pralgrad and Vantanas. Vantanas was just a jungle to them, but Pralgrad was much more hospitable.
South of Pralgrad was Valorim, a land ruled by the vicious Ratbane clan of Nephilim. The Empire constructed Blackcrag Fortress at the southern end of the isthmus connecting Pralgrad and Valorim and began to mount attacks. After about 50-75 years, the Nephilim were overwhelmed and the cities of Gale and Lorelei were established.
At this point, Hawthorne I was the Emperor. His court mages discovered the system of caves beneath the surface, and he sent an expedition. The expedition was led by Thralni, and some of the other members were Scrioth, Karzoth, and Korthax. This expedition was slaughtered, "to a man and a woman."
After Hawthorne I's death his son, Hawthorne II, came to power. He began to send down violent and dangerous criminals of the foulest sort, instead of executing them. At this point, there was a power struggle among the mages, and Garzahd and his cronies won and appointed him the advisor to Hawthorne II. Hawthorne II sent these mages down to Exile, including Erika, Rone, Solberg, Aimee, and Patrick.
When Hawthorne II died and Hawthorne III came to power, Garzahd remained his advisor. Hawthorne III saw the portal to Exile as the answers to all of society's troubles. All the misfits, antisocials, petty lawbreakers, and more were sent down to Exile. And this proved to be his undoing.
After the first few people were sent down, they established a city and began to fight the demons and sliths that threatened them. When the mages were sent down, they were able to help stage an assault on Grah-Hoth, and they captured him in a bottle and stored him in Akhronath, with the lich-ified Prince Hrothar, who had fallen in the battle, to watch over him.
When Micah was sent down, he worked closely with the archmages to establish a society. They created glowing mushrooms, built more cities, learned to fight, and they took over the caves.
On the Eradication of Non-Humans on Pralgrad:
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On the Eradication of Non-Humans on Pralgrad
by Eli Karad, junior chancellor for Ironclad VI, 401 IE
Edited by Imperial Librarian Bethel, 926 IE
In 259 IE, the total population of all humans on Pralgrad was greater than 45 million and steadily increasing due to the advent of the new metropolis. However, beyond the vision of man lay the beasts of Pralgrad, who numbered themselves more than 12 million. The new expansion of the Empire united directly clashed with the hermetic nature of Pralgrad's non-humans. Ironclad II had contented himself with the reunification of the Empire and keeping the peace, but his son, Ironclad III, foresaw the great potential of expansion, and thus he began the slow process of asserting human expansion on the far recesses of the continent.
The first non-humans that were encountered were the warring tribes of the Giants. Hill Giants were terrible men, 13 feet high on average and weighing more than 35 stone. They carried huge clubs made of tree trunks and boulders pried from mountainsides in a pouch made of mountain lion skin. They inhabited the hills and mountains of northeastern Pralgrad, and they were clan creatures. Among the clans were the leading Snakeye Clan, Lionskin Clan, and Rockback Clan, all of whom were engaged in brutal and bloody civil wars. It was during the middle of one of these civil wars that Ironclad III and the Imperial Army decided to strike.
The Imperial Army moved from Blackstone out to the northern mountains late in the year 261 of the Imperial Era. Attempting to catch the Hill Giants in disarray, they launched a brave and foolhardy offensive against the Rockback Clan. The army was repelled as all of the nearby clans rushed to their aid, and the army began to know true meaning of pain as 10 stone boulders were tossed among them and towering shamen created walls of fire to block their retreat. They did eventually make it out, but at only 40% of their original strength, their spirit broken and their bones crushed.
Early the next year, the full might of the Imperial Army, augmented by many new battlemages, launched an attack against the giants that succeeded only because of its brashness and forcefulness. Imperial tactics proved to be more than adequate to stymie the giants, who were confused and frightened as their realized their impending doom. The Rockback and Lionskin Clans were eradicated, along with smaller clans around them. Still, the Snakeye Clan, one full of ingenious shamen, continued to mount resistance against the Imperial Army. In time, however, harrying army raids led by Ylai Ironclad, a nephew of the Emperor, broke their resolve over the next ten years.
For the next five years, Colonel Ylai Ironclad continued his raids, which kept the giants penned up within the mountains, never able to threaten the citizens of the Empire. In 277 IE, he received a deluge of troops from command in Imperius, and he was able to break the deadlock completely in favor of the Empire. Breaking down stone walls and scattering wooden fences, the Empire swept into the last fortresses of the Snakeye Clan and eradicated all of the Hill Giants forever. The last months of the year were spent painstakingly searching through the mountains, looking for any giants that may have survived. Any that were found were put to the sword, and the final tallies put the giant casualties at more than seven million. [Ed Note: This is an exaggeration - recent counts have put the giant population at 2.75 million.]
The mountains proved to be receptive to both terrace farming and the cultivation of crops that only survived in the harsh and rocky soil of this mountain region. Later mining expeditions found vast quantities of iron in deep strains that run to the center of the chain.
The next Imperial foray into the realm of nonhuman extermination came with the feline Nephilim during the reign of Ironclad V. The previous emperor, Ironclad IV, had deemed the success against the giants enough, and he facilitated the establishment of permanent trade routes with the Aizoan continent. However, Ironclad V saw the merit in adapting the wetlands for settlement and farming of spices and fruits. But in the Swamps of Dralgath lay an enormous settlement of fierce Nephilim who were resisting any attempts at human settlement and slaughtering all settlers that were sent to the wetlands. And this meant that Ironclad V had to authorize the beginning of war with the Nephilim. And he did so with vigor, in year 322 of the Imperial Era.
Wary of just plunging into war with the Nephilim as his grandfather did with the giants, he began with the small raiding parties that Ylai Ironclad had popularized. Unfortunately, the Nephilim did not take well to having their homes burned and their crops torched. And unlike the giants, who tried to strike back against the raiding parties, the Nephilim assembled their own raiding parties and took them to nearby Cautheron and Dubridge [Ed Note: Now Cauthington and Sarkagrad]. The towns were quite surprised by the voracity of the Nephilim attackers, and the guards were often too slow to chase away the Nephilim before they burned houses, ran off with women and children, or ran through crop fields.
It was then that brigades were dispatched to these two towns and all villages nearby, as General Hector Sol, leader of the Imperial Army, rounded up enough troops to begin a large-scale assault on the Nephilim. Still, it was eight years since the beginning of raids on the Nephilim when the Empire fully realized the threat and assembled this army. To their credit, the Nephilim did not meet them on the field of battle. Instead, they hid in trees and shot arrows at the army, led them into quicksand, and surrounded them deep in the marshes. But it was here that the training and discipline of the Imperial Army came into play, and it overcame the natural savvy and drive of the Nephilim. Surrounded and demoralized in the swamps, Hector Sol rallied his troops and drove them to victory against the Nephilim, scattering them to the winds.
It was then, in 333 IE, that the fight against the Nephilim became intense. Many quickly jumped into sailors' organizations and left Pralgrad for better pastures. Many more still hid in the swamps and mountains of eastern Pralgrad. And more disappeared to the south, navigating the harsh Ndovlu Mountains to make their way to a place yet unknown. [Ed Note: These are likely the ancestors of the Ratbane Clan that populated Valorim in the 600's.] It was not until 343 IE that all of the Nephilim had either been hunted down or banished for Pralgrad, and the agrarian experiments of Ironclad V could continue.
When Ironclad VI, our glorious emperor, first began to excavate the Jsoulza mountain passes joining western and eastern Pralgrad, there were no pressing concerns. But after they kept unearthing artifacts - earthen bowls, clay pots, and more - Ironclad VI called a halt to the excavations. Whether they were evidence of the pre-Empirical human inhabitants of Pralgrad or another humanoid species was not yet certain. But Ironclad VI had a sage's insatiable thirst for knowledge along with the human superiority mindset of his father and great-grandfather, which led to a long investigation by the Saxton School of Magic and its old sages spent many weeks arguing the merits of both cases. In the end, Ironclad VI continued the excavation to find more information, and the diggers came across maps and scrolls in a foreign language that was definitely no human tongue.
When the map was interpreted, it led to the mines near Solaria. Miners were ordered to leave the mines, and soldiers and mages investigated the caverns beyond the rich veins of iron, silver, and gold. Nobody had ever gone that far deep in the caves - nobody had ever seen the need to, except for Ironclad VI the Wise. They found the passages littered with the same type of writing on the map and scrolls, and the passages led to a completely new area of land, which was inhabited by these hideous humanoids. Dubbed troglodytes, these men were twisted and scarred from birth, like a form of intensely mutated human. Short and squat, they were well-armed and not happy about the invasion. Armored troglodytes quickly seized the Solaran mines and began to create iron weapons and armor, effectively using the Empire's own resources against them.
These troglodytes were no fools, unlike the giants. In fact, they were more intelligent than the Nephilim, and their mages had perfected vicious and devastating combat spells, that they used without prejudice against all humans that they saw. The army was quickly rushed to Easton and Solaria, where they coordinated attacks on the troglodytes. However, all attacks at the beginning were unsuccessful and horribly bloody. Years of infighting [Ed Note: and fighting the giants - the reason there were so few giants for Ironclad III was because of the troglodytes' own extermination campaign] had honed their combat skills and their cunning. They took control of the nearby villages and took over the farming operations and began to expand their base of operations.
Commander Nepald Londar was not going to allow these troglodytes to take control of the Empire, however. A tactical genius, he began a long series of staged battles that weakened the troglodytes' tenuous hold on the land. But they were not going to go down without a fight. They struck fast and hard and with magic, and Londar had no answer for the spells. But one night in 384 IE, Londar's men constructed catapults and readied for a complete assault against the Solaran mines. Crashing down came the barricades and defenses that the troglodytes had erected, and infantry secured the inner passageways of the mines. Sealing off the troglodytes from their original base of operations took away their reinforcements and supplies, and they fell quickly. Two years later, the soldiers bloody from their defense of the mines, burst through into troglodyte territory and razed several villages to the ground. With more troops pouring through every day, Londar oversaw the systematic hunting down and eradication of the last of Pralgrad's intelligent non-human species.
Today, the population of the Empire is estimated at 125 million, including the Aizoan Dominion, and we continue to push out. There cannot only be two continents on Ermarian, and no doubt future Emperors will lead us into the seas and beyond, to an unparalleled glory.
The Anama War:
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Of the Anama War (406-437 IE)
Compiled by Imperial Librarian Bethel, 928 IE
For as long as there has been magic, there have been mages. And for as long as most of us can remember, there have been the Anama - a persistent church believing that all use of magic is evil. But the Anama have not always been based on the Isle of Bigail, off the coast of Valorim. In fact, the Anama were only recently resurrected, roughly 150 years ago, by the bold young priest Ahonar.
The original Anama were established in 379 IE, by a group of disillusioned young priests who had been forced into service during the Troglodyte Wars. They were led by Segrin Bilal, who had been madly scarred by friendly fire during a panicked defense of Fort Keaziz against a troglodyte raid. These men founded the Anama on the basis of the hypocrisy of magic and the true healing power of the gods, and they quickly gathered a large following.
In 400 IE, the Imperial Census counted more than 180,000 Anama, which was remarkable, considering that today's Anama, spanning four continents, number less than 30,000. They coexisted peacefully with all of the priestly religions, and there was only a slight animosity towards the mages and the Empire who employed them. The Empire and the priests viewed the Anama as harmless idealists, but the mages lobbied extensively against them, but to no avail.
Until, that is, Ironclad VII succeeded his ailing father in 405 IE. He came into power with two things on his agenda - the exploration of Ermarian and the extermination of the Anama. His first decree against the Anama said, "Any man styling himself as a member of the Anama Church is hereby forfeit to the rights of Imperial Citizens." This decree struck terror into the hearts of the Anama and forced many of them to abandon their faith - or at least practice in secret.
When word got around to Ironclad VII that the number of Anama had dropped dramatically, but the sales of Anama faith books and prayer-books had risen, he knew that his law was being skirted. At the end of 406 IE, he declared war on the Anama Church and all of its members. The declaration had completely surprised the Anama, and by the end of the week more than 75,000 Anama had been rounded up and jailed.
Still, that left 100,000 Anama on Pralgrad and Aizo, and they were not going to go down easily. Ship logs show that 60,000 refugees bought passage to Aizo on Sailor's Association ships at inflated prices. The Anama remaining on Pralgrad - only about 7,000 - armed themselves and vowed to deflect the brunt of the Imperial Army's assaults onto themselves, rather than the 93,000 Anama on Aizo.
This small group of Anama, led by Segrin Bilal himself, made themselves seem much larger in number and ferocity than they actually were. Army records show that regiments of 50,000 troops were beaten away by "tens of thousands of Anama." They organized a ferocious guerrilla resistance and always attacked the Imperial Army at their weakest points. They led raids against the Imperius School of Magic, smaller Mage Consortiums, and Ironclad VII's home city of Blackstone.
Seeming hopelessly outnumbered and overpowered, the Anama did not give up, and their constant harrying of the Imperial Army delayed their passage to Aizo, buying precious time for the Anama of Aizo to gather up arms and train for war. The people of Aizo were more receptive to the Anama, and Ironclad VII's arm did not extend much beyond the major cities. And the Aizoan Anama were able to live in relative obscurity, preparing for the time when they would be forced to defend themselves from the Empire, which they all knew was not far away.
One small band of men kept detailed accounts of their raids and attacks, and the life that they led. Led by Erion Hale, who kept an informative and passionate diary, they were among the 638 Anama who survived the harrowing attacks on Pralgrad and managed to flee to Aizo. One of Hale's diary entries describes the living conditions of the guerrillas and how they managed to go on.
"My heart pounds in my chest seemingly two hundred times a minute. We just passed by an Empire watchpost, creeping softly to avoid the stone gaze of the guards searching for us. After a three hour trek through the underbrush, we found a thicket where we could rest for two hours. I couldn't bring myself to sleep, but I forced everyone else to. I can't go on, not knowing whether I'll live to see the sun rise tomorrow or whether my head will adorn some soldier's pike in Imperius. But I have to keep going. Their magic just reinforces everything that the Anama stand for. We've seen them burning forests down to smoke us out, shooting lightning that kills everything in its path, and destroying life wherever they go. And that makes me go. - Outside of Turin, 13 Remembrance 422 IE."
It was not until several years later that the Empire finally managed to cut down the resistance's numbers to less than 1000, which prompted the flight of the remaining survivors to Aizo. Over 900 set out for Aizo, but the Imperial Navy intercepted more than 275 of the fleeing Anama. Their interrogations have never been released, nor have they ever been acknowledged. Still, 638 survivors made their way to Aizo, avoiding Naval blockades and searches, oftentimes by hiding in cargo bays and smuggling compartments.
When they finally met with the Aizoan Anama, they recounted their experiences and the sadness of the deaths of their brethren. But more than anything, they imbued a passion in the Anama - a hatred of the Empire and its hypocrisy; of the destruction of the mages. The image that they conveyed to these 90,000 Anama on Aizo stirred the revolutionary feelings that lurked behind every injustice of the Old Empire. And these 638 combat veterans - only a few of whom had ever received military training - began the training of these hungry idealists into lean fighting machines.
In 432 IE, the Imperial Army set sail for the shores of Aizo. More than 400,000 soldiers landed at Petragrad and met up with the Aizoan Imperial Army. Six hundred and ten thousand soldiers marched on the Anama, who continued their guerrilla attacks and their small raids on the flanks of the army. It was four years until the Anama, buoyed by their success that their tactics were having, finally met the Imperial Army in a pitched battle. It was then, in the year 437, that the Anama were defeated. They were dealt a crushing blow in the Battle of Cagno Plains, and ten days later the survivors were routed and set scattering to the far corners of the Empire.
These scattered Anama either practiced in secret, hardening their hatred and passing it onto future generations, or they abandoned their faith in search of a new start and a better life. The discovery of Vantanas and Valorim, lands yet untainted by the magic of the Empire beckoned to the former, and it was not long after that the Anama were resurrected in earnest and began to appeal to people tired of wars and Avernum and plagues. Upon the ascension of Empress Prazac, religious freedom was granted to citizens of the Empire, and the Anama began to reach out and search for converts again. And it was then that the Anama began to thrive for a second time, despite the disease of the cockroaches which plagued the Isle of Bigail for a short time.
Bestiary Entry - Hydras:
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The hydra is a creature that was unknown to men before the expeditions to the lower caverns of Avernum where the Vahnatai live. After that, several have been spotted on the surface. They are easily identifiable from their many heads on long necks and fierce, snapping jaws.
All types of hydra share certain characteristics that help identify them. They typically have muscular bodies, topped by five swerving heads on long, maneuverable necks.
There are three main varieties of hydra. The green hydra is the most common, and its sharp teeth and thick hide protect a body that Vahnatai treasure as a delicacy when roasted. Its hide can be used for shields and armor. However, hydras are extremely cunning beasts, and they will often lure humans or Vahnatai into traps.
The red hydra, or pyrohydra, is extremely dangerous, although far less bright. Two of the pyrohydra's heads can breathe fire, making them a threat from both long range and up close. They are the slow-witted cousins to the regular hydra, and they are more likely to be led into a trap than any other hydra. Their hides are prized for armor and shields because of their innate fire-resistance.
The blue hydra, or cryohydra, is the most dangerous variety of hydra. In hydra dens, the cryohydra is typically the leader. They breathe ice through mechanisms not fully understood, and their hide is the thickest to provide protection in extremely cold environments. Cryohydras are the most intelligent of the hydras, and they are seldom found alone.
Hydras are considered native to the lower caverns of Avernum where the Vahnatai reside. However, they have been spotted in isolation on the surface. Whether they escaped or were brought is debatable, but the fact that they were there is confirmed.
They typically nest together in large families. They are very protective of their young, and a child never strays far from its parents. Hydra dens often have several areas for different families to nest.
The cool climate of the caves seems ideal for the hydras. They nest close to a water source, and it is not believed that they can swim. On the surface, they have only been spotted in caves in the hills, rarely venturing down except to hunt.
All attempts at domesticating hydras have resulted in either a dead trainer or a dead hydra. A few undocumented cases of human parents raising a baby hydra are said to exist, but cannot be proven.
Many historians and researchers believe that hydras, along with chitraches, were originally domesticated by the Vahnatai and taken into the caves with them. But when the Vahnatai were Resting, their bestial instincts kicked in, and the hydras had to fend for themselves. When the Vahnatai were awakened, they found that the hydras and chitraches had carved out part of their land for themselves, and a lot of Vahnatai energy was spent securing safe areas for rebuilding their cities.
Ermarian Continent Statistics:
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In the year 860 IE:
(Note: magic users generally live longer than normal, and are not factored into life expectancy calculations)
55 million people.
2 million square miles.
Literacy rate 63%
Temperate climate, very cold and snowy winters
Deciduous forests and savannas, several large mountain ranges.
Capital - Solaria (also capital of the Empire)
Life expectancy: 57 (f), 53 (m)
36 million people.
1.9 million square miles.
Literacy rate 56%
Thick forests and hills - large mountain range down the center of the continent.
Capital - Stonehurst.
Life expectancy: 49 (f), 50 (m)
Languages: Pralgradian, Native Aizoan
2 million people.
500,000 square miles.
Literacy rate 41%
Jungle, swamp, and misty mountains abound. Also attached archipelagos.
Capital - Woodsmuir.
Life expectancy: 36 (f), 38 (m)
Languages: Pralgradian, various tribal dialects
15 million people.
1.5 million square miles.
Literacy rate 54%
Temperate climate, mild winters
Mainly plains, but some forests in the center of continent and some mountain chains.
Capital - Tinraya.
Life expectancy: 41 (f), 44 (m)