The Campaign Builders' Guild

Campaign Creation => Campaign Elements and Design => Topic started by: grovelwine on January 06, 2018, 02:33:03 PM

Title: Island of Izmir (starting smaller)
Post by: grovelwine on January 06, 2018, 02:33:03 PM
So, this is the same setting I was referring to in my thread "Non-Racist Interesting Boring Fantasy Races etc", so for a preface on what I'm trying to do with this setting as a whole I'd suggest you see that. Basically its a detailed but just for fun generic medieval worldbuilding fantasy kind of deal.


   Izmir is a small island among the countless larger and smaller islands and archipelagos of the Ohridian Sea that lies between the northern and southern continents. Though Izmir is small, it is located along vital trade routes granting access to the great cities of Ankara, so several powerful factions vie for control. Ankara, just to the west across a channel, is the largest island in the Ohridian Sea and the homeland of the Parthigian Empire that fell an era ago but reshaped much of the world. Ankara is now a complicated landscape of nations and city-states, bustling commerce, bitter wars, and political intrigue amongst the aqueducts and amphitheatres of the Parthigians and the chaparral crags and parched pine forests that have thwarted civilizing before even them.
In this way Izmir is like a microcosm of Ankara. It is a dry island with craggy mountains and cliffs dominating the sparsely populated north and south ends, the southwest and northeast portions both pleasant and cultivated lowland plains divided by a highland wilderness forested with dry spruce and scrub oak. Politically, the imperial ambitions are those of Karaman, which lies to Izmir's east across the channel on the western coast of Ankara, and those of Sune, which lies farther to the south on the southern continent. Karaman controls much of Izmir's east coast and Sune controls much of the west coast.

The Free City of Naxos

   Naxos is an independent city-state by virtue of its infrastructure, which has been maintained (and updated) from Pharthigian times, its location atop several silver and marble mines, and from being only a few hundred miles south down the Prespas Channel trade route to the Sana'a Cities, the unrivaled metropoli oases along the northwest coast of Karaman. It is, much like the other countless city-states scattered across the islands of the Ohridian Sea, proudly cosmopolitan, with all sorts of goods and peoples flowing through and often settling, and also viciously independent, with a high level of civil involvement (though certainly not equality). A heavy tax on the city's considerable commerce and a policy requiring military training for all male citizens has historically served as a deterrent for any foreign powers that may have otherwise claimed it as their own. Though Naxos is formally a Republic, it is very much an oligarchy in practice, and a few major factions compete every five years for public offices as district administrators or Senators. The nobility claim to be descended both from the Pharthigian royalty and the native chieftains of the island, the mercantile faction is made up of Guildmasters and renowned merchants, and the military faction is made up of high ranking officers and occasionally war heros or respected admirals. Naxian families feud frequently and have a reputation for being as hot-blooded as they are cultured. Feuds can last for generations and often result in deaths, and those who have lost family to a feud are legally considered Feudbound —  they are legally permitted (and socially all but required) to engage any military age men of the opposing family in lethal combat, so long as it is open combat and there are witnesses representing either side of the feuding families. The Guilds are known for their mockery of this rule, and have passed legislation that allows one to legally change their binding from that of a blood family to that of a guild family —  and socially this is more or less accepted, or at any rate far less dishonorable than a refusal of a Feudbound duel. These sort of internal cultural battles occupy most of Naxian interest, and they are loathe to address the problems of the "wilderness", which includes all of the island outside of the Free City of Naxos. But the inheritance of the lands bordering them by the powerful Karamiites and the strange new presence of the Venedian Hordes have spurred an increased interest for politics beyond the city, and a concern for the future of the city's independence.

Sunese Izmir

Sune has been present on Izmir for hundreds of years, the island colonies representing the northernmost extent of Sunese control. But recently they have been trying to utilize its climate and soil (not present in their mainland provinces) to push their way into production of the extremely valuable Capsiuum pepper and the Capsiuum spice made from it, whereas before the Sunese Izmiran holdings were not used for much more than the assertion of a place in the markets of the Sana'a Cities on the northwest coast of Ankara, which, though an important trade route, was only supplementary to trade with the other kingdoms of the southern continent. But now, if Sune maintains a degree of control over the Izmiran trade routes while managing to cultivate its own spice fields, it will be able to sell spice cheaper and compete with the Kinshasan Confederacy's near monopoly on spice. Sune is threatened by the ravaging Venedian Hordes that have been sacking their southern provinces, and if they can't undercut the growing influence of Kinshasa they could find themselves with powerful enemies to the north as well —  maintaining a hold on tiny Izmir, with its pepper appropriate climate, is a key to the Sunese Empire maintain its power. They now control the southwestern coastline and the river floodplains just inald from it. Their old city of Dialafara is an impressively defensible stronghold of stone and marble that was repurposed from the ruined Patrian temples that once stood there. Dialafara is home to a centuries old royal family and Sunese community for whom Izmir and the Dialafara Province encompassing the Sunese controlled areas of Izmir is the only home they've ever known.

Kinshasa in Izmir

Kinshasa is a dozen or so mostly independent mercantile city states along the coast of the southern continent's northernmost peninsula, to the north of Sune and isolated (as well as protected) from the rest of the southern continent by a great mountain range. They have long been economic competitors with Sune, but the extent of their ambitions has been checked by Sune's military might, a might now threatened or at the least distracted by the Venedian Hordes sacking settlements across Sune's southern provinces. Kinshasa, far from united, thrives economically from its inter-competition and lack of centralized authority, but politically there is only a loose alliances of navies. Some figures seek to establish a Kinshasan Empire, and if the fleets of the independent city-states were combined they would be a formidable naval force indeed. But the cities of Kinshasa enjoy only an uneasy peace amongst themselves, and one that is often only a formal peace, as privateer raiding and pirate guilds are an integral part of the cities' economics. Many factions are skeptical that a true empire would serve them better at all, and would prefer they retain the dynamism of an influential mercantile confederation. But as long as Kinshasa's city-states and trade companies continue to independently provoke the Sunese and formalize their control of Ohridian Sea trade routes, they will find themselves in a position where it may be necessary to join together or perish separately.

Karamiite Izmir

The Karamiites, hailing from Karaman on the great island of Ankara across the channel, inherited the east coast and farmlands of Izmir along with the rest of the minor kingdom of Dyah that a century ago sat landlocked  beside Karaman on the mainland of Ankara. The Dyah Emirate had come to possess land in Izmir through ambitious, expansionist diplomacy that recognized the petty noble natives of the island that ruled over only olive groves and shrubland, married into their nobility and inherited arable land alongside the Prespas Channel. The Dyah Emirate was overambitious, and through a careless series of royal marriages with the far more powerful Karamiites found their homelands and their piece of Izmir absorbed into Karaman. The Dyah managed to make their mark on history, however, as Karaman is now utilizing the east coast of Izmir that had previously been informally under the domain of Naxos who did not want any mainland powers establishing themselves on the island. The pine forests to the northwest of Naxos provide a direct source of lumber much needed for the desert kingdom of the Karamiites, and the marble mines provided additional income to be shipped off up the Prespas Channel. Karaman is a cautious power, but a significant one. It commands an army not much smaller than Sune's, and commands a kingdom less rich but more stable. The Karamiites hold fast to the traditions of their great-grandfathers, living in a pious martial society in which a monastic educated class oversees commerce as well as public relations under the command of a Sultan with a mandate from the war god. They do not necessarily seek expansion or to grow in power, but certainly seek to ensure their place as a stable power for the coming ages. With the rivalry between Sune and Kinshasa on the horizon, and the unprecedented cross-sea movement of the Venedian Hordes that have begun to establish themself south of Karamiite Izmir, Karaman must ensure that their acquisition of Izmiran clay was not a mistake —  and if they do decide it was a mistake, they must proceed carefully in transferring or abandoning it.

The Venedian Hordes in Izmir

The Venedian Hordes are a nomadic horse rearing people from the vast savannas and steppes of the southern continent. For reasons unknown they have recently imposed themselves more and more on the southern Sunese provinces that are situated well to the north of what had been for centuries the established Venedian territories, but now Venedians are pillaging the countryside and raiding even well defended settlements. Though the Sunese forces have pushed the hordes back, they still mount raids and continue to grow in number. Considered a barbaric people by most of the other southern continent civilizations, the challenge they suddenly pose to the formidable Sunese Empire is for the Sunese a bad omen, for the Venedians destiny, and for other powers on the southern continent a sign of opportunity in the weakening of the Sunese as well as a new threat to be reckoned with. The Venedian Hordes, though far from unified, owe their success to a new policy established by their elders in which clans are now forbidden from fighting amongst one another. This was established in a time of great drought when one clan held the only watered land —  and that was also the clan that called a meeting of all clan elders and all prophets and found that the Gods had established a new edict in which the clans could not fight amongst themselves. Though this temporarily assuaged the hostility in the old Venedian territories, it soon became clear that this drought did not have an end, and the remaining oases dried up and the rivers became streams. There was a civil war of clans that held to the new edict of the Gods and those who wanted to honor the old ways of warlike competition, and the alliance of clans in favor of mutual respect won after a long and bloody affair. The veterans of this war were moved north across the savannas to more fertile lands, but also lands where they will have to vie with a great empire that they would not have dare challenged before. But with a newfound cooperation between chieftains, and a population in which man, woman, and child have been baptised in a bloody war, they may yet have a chance to wrest control of greener lands from the Sunese.
Stranger than this, however, is the now unmistakably established presence of Venedian horsemen on the southern coast of Izmir. The Venedians are not known as a seafaring people —  in fact, they are known as a people without significant transportation infrastructure aside from the boots, the horse, and the elephant. They do not use wagons or trade caravans or even pack animals, but have suddenly climbed upon the southern crags of Izmir out of the sea in unfamiliar longboats. Many suspect that they are mercenaries, but no one knows for whom, and everyone suspects one another —  meanwhile they establish camps and raid local towns, growing in numbers and eagerness for battle.

(Below: Venedian Clan Wars)

Title: Re: Island of Izmir (starting smaller)
Post by: grovelwine on January 06, 2018, 02:36:15 PM
Naxians: Citizens of the free city of Naxos, they generally value civil responsibility and honor. Familial obligations, even those to the extended family, are highly important. Equally important is a citizens' loyalty to their city. As is the case in many other Ohridian Sea city-states, the Naxian identity is more cultural than ethnic —  not all those born in Naxos are citizens, and plenty of citizens were born far from Naxos. Those foreigners who are willing to be bound in duty to Naxos are able to become fully incorporated. Much of the peasant class and laboring class of Naxos are in fact non-Naxian natives of Izmir from the surrounding farmlands, towns, and villages. Naxian laborers and peasants are required to enter into some of the several guilds representing them and as such have a considerably higher quality of life than the non-citizen peasantry who reside in workers' barracks while Naxian citizen peasants usually have their own (humble) residences, are guaranteed their weekly ration of bread, and receive better pay and treatment through their guild. For this reason even the poorer of the Naxians have a significant cultural life, and many are even literate. From the Naxian guild-peasants to the nobility and merchant-lords, there is a consistency of colorful dress and the attendance of plays and parades among all the citizenry.

(Below: Feudbound Naxian, a Citizen-Soldier preparing for a fatal battle.)

   Naxos is a city of mosaics and gardens amongst ancient stone aqueducts and amphitheatres. Though carrying arms is banned for foreigners without explicit diplomatic approval, citizens of Naxos are not only permitted but encouraged to carry arms —  a Naxian citizen is hard to miss, as they will be dressed in bright purples and rich reds, wearing fine hats and holding ornate swords at their hips.  Though passionate in their loyalties and obligations, Naxians are generally quite humble and welcoming in their daily interactions, and tend to give strangers the benefit of the doubt. Once you are no longer a stranger, they will commit to either a warm but reserved friendship or a cold, formal, and deadly rivalry.
Because the category of Naxian is determined through legality and not blood, there is no overall appearance to the Naxians. On average they have those features most common on the Ohridian Isles: most have skin of a naturally tawny or olive shade, though they tan to a bronze if often in the sun. They have dark curly hair that they will often grown out, beards likewise. The salt-air and sea breezes keep any un-hatted hair windswept, and well fitted hats and hoods are very fashionable and common. Their eyes are usually some shades of dark or light brown, but amber and green are also common.

Naxians share much of their pantheon with the other Ohridian peoples. There is the supreme Panno, the blind God of justice carried on the winds. Iona, the wife of Panno, the Goddess of wisdom carried in the waters. Their only child, the son Ohrid, was lost at sea and rendered in two upon a great rock —  the rock was shattered into countless pieces that became all the islands of the Ohridian Sea. Panno and Iona each took half of Ohrid's body. Panno imbued his half with the power of justice and created the sun, Iona filled her half with the power of wisdom and created the moon. As with the other Ohridian peoples, the rest of their pantheon is more localized, with a war god for each city-state and a kitchen god for each household. The war God of Naxos is also the namesake of the island —  Izmir being the legendary warrior of native Izmiran folklore who had long ago thrown off Pharthigian rule and become deified. The Pharthigians would come to once again possess the Island of Izmir, but they found themselves ruling over an always rebellious people who would sabotage them at any chance. The Patrian temples across the island are particularly fortified for this reason, and often doubled as impromptu shelters from native raids. The War God Izmir is to this day revered by the Naxians, who hold martial festivals in his honor, and build shrines to him in their barracks. To give an offering to Izmir you must prick yourself and draw blood and then cast an olive branch into fire, then sprinkle water onto the fire.