The Campaign Builders' Guild

Campaign Creation => Homebrews => Topic started by: Ghostman on November 30, 2009, 05:41:44 PM



Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on November 30, 2009, 05:41:44 PM
Thread Index
  • Primer (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg75348.html#msg75348)
  • Bathing (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg75678.html#msg75678)
  • Transportation and Communications (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg75929.html#msg75929)
  • Weapons (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg75950.html#msg75950)
  • Armour (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76022.html#msg76022)
  • Warriors (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76228.html#msg76228)
  • Athletics (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76922.html#msg76922)
  • Slavery (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg77771.html#msg77771)
  • Funeral (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg78534.html#msg78534)
  • Wedding (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg78690.html#msg78690)
  • Literacy (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg78878.html#msg78878)
  • Hair (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg78916.html#msg78916)
  • Dance (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg78940.html#msg78940)
  • Calendar (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg79186.html#msg79186)
  • Social Order (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg79307.html#msg79307)
  • Currency (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg80069.html#msg80069)
  • Mythology: Tales about Argyros (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg80399.html#msg80399)
  • Oracles (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg81040.html#msg81040)
  • Dress (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg81531.html#msg81531)
  • Clientage (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg81736.html#msg81736)
  • Ritual Sacrifice (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg81884.html#msg81884)
  • Factions and Organizations: Overview (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg82333.html#msg82333)
  • Lands of the Empire (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg102761.html#msg102761)
  • Law and Justice (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg145363.html#msg145363)
  • Education (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg181248.html#msg181248)
  • Philosophy: The Mountain of Wisdom (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg189848.html#msg189848)
  • Government (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg209813.html#msg209813)
  • Philosophy: Areté (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg212787.html#msg212787)
  • A Legendary Item: The Gray Savant (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg214461.html#msg214461)
  • The Great Houses (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg215282.html#msg215282)
  • Greetings (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg216458.html#msg216458)
  • The 7 Ages of the Calendar (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg216983.html#msg216983)
  • Mythology: Furies and Tritons (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg223069.html#msg223069)
  • Theatre (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224278.html#msg224278)
  • Wrestling, Boxing and Pankration (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224735.html#msg224735)
  • On Dueling (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg226567.html#msg226567)
  • The Underworld (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg228196.html#msg228196)

Out of Character

What this is about:

As I have come to view the Savage Age as more of a master setting or a framework that encloses several subsettings, I've chosen to focus on a particular part of the world for the time being. In this way I can hopefully bring some much-needed cohesion and direction to my work. Thus I am starting this thread to compile information on the Argyrian Empire. It is large and complex enough to effectively work as a full-fledged setting on it's own, so it makes for a good choice to focus on.

In developing Argyrian culture I have taken copious inspiration from the mythologies and history of ancient Mediterranean peoples: Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, Etruscans etc. Other significant sources of influence are found in sword & sorcery fiction, adventure movies and TV series (notably the HBO/BBC production "Rome").


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on November 30, 2009, 05:42:44 PM
Primer to the Argyrian Empire

In Character

"The great empire of the Sons of Argyros is an empire many times fallen. No matter how devastatingly should it crumble, it always seems to appear anew... like a persistent plague."
- Kebrios of Erytania
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/a/af/Argyrian_Standard.png)

In the far and half-forgotten past, when Mankind was young and the very stars shone brighter on the face of the eternal sky, the sun-baked shores of the Helikian Sea witnessed the birth of a race of heroes and thinkers and artists, a race with the very essence of thunder instilled in it's spirits - that unquenchable drive to conquer and dominate, to build and prosper. This is the race of Man known as the Argyrians, whose Empire has throughout ages been famed for it's fabulous wealth and it's many delights and wonders, and infamed for it's corruption, decadence, and brutal tyranny. Though they have been brought low by many a foe (rather often by themselves), never have the Sons of Argyros lost their determination. Time and again their Empire has gone down in flames, only to rise up like a phoenix from the fires of history, to stand tall like a towering behemoth amidst the kingdoms of Man.

Ancient Civilization
Proud and confident, the Argyrians are bearers of an old and sophisticated culture steeped in a thousand years of tradition. Through centuries of refinement they have mastered such arts as music, poetry, architecture, theatre, gardening, sculpture and philosophy. They have achieved outstanding feats of engineering, erected cyclopean monuments of bronze and stone, and established a complex civic bureaucracy to pacify their subjects.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/a/ab/Harp_Player.png)

Colossal Cities
Argyrian cities are old and imposing, standing strong and fast as monuments to careful planning and skilled construction. Yet they are affected by the rotting touch of venerable decay - that subtle weight of countless cycles which is wont to slowly crumble all the works of Man.

The cities are filled with many wonders and delights, from lavish palaces of polished marble with their lush gardens and ornate pavillions, to the enormous colonnades of stately public buildings, and opulent temples roofed with gilded domes. Streets are paved with ground stones, hiding underneath them a network of vaulted sewage tunnels which drain away filth and rainwater, while aqueducts course through the surface providing fresh water to the citizenry via public fountains. On the other side of the coin one finds the overcrowded slums and ghettoes, where multitudes of the poor live crammed in many-storied tenement buildings of questionable construction; miserable shanties riddled with crime and discord, neglected by corrupt bureaucrats.

Despite their faults, cities are the very heart and soul of Argyrian culture, the places that gather the people and businesses, places where all the important events and political machinations take place. They are places teeming with life and activity: from bustling markets filled with the cacophony of incessant haggling and the fragrant odours of perfumes and spices, to crowded avenues lined with myriad shops and wine-houses, and great open plazas adorned with statues and monuments that overlook the eloquent speeches of philosophers and demagogues.

Wild Frontiers
Though life in a city may be dangerous, their stone-faced walls nevertheless offer protection from the greater perils of the outside world. Beyond the city limits lies rustic farmland and pastures, and beyond them the untamed wilderness. Where the Emperor's law does not reach, all manner of dangerous beasts, marauding brigands and savage tribes are still free to roam. Past the Empire's borders are found foreign kingdoms and barbarians - peoples yet to be properly subjugated.

While the cradle of Argyrian civilization is found within cities, it is on the cruel and unforgiving frontier that the strength of that civilization is frequently put to the test. Whether the Empire will triumph over it's foes and extend the Emperor's law ever further or falter before the onslaught of the barbaric foreigners, is often decided far from the comfort and luxuries of the cities. The cold and rugged highlands of the North, the sun-scorched deserts of the South, the wicked and ancient mountains of the East, and the dreaded uncharted waters of the West have all known the steel and blood of the Sons of Argyros, as the Empire's armies have marched and warfleets sailed to push the borders out to all directions. The frontiers are where great heroes are made, whether through fame and fortune or a tragic end, whose names will be remembered in songs and legend long after their passing away.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/6/68/Argyrian_Spearman.png)

Political Intrigue
The world of Argyrian politics is a world of intrigue, abound with paranoia, poison and treachery. Noble houses and mercantile collegiums control the lucrative trade that generates the wealth of the Empire. These factions are perpetually engaged in intricate games of subterfuge and shifting alliances, vying for ever more power. Secretive cabals and occult societies silently steer events to serve their enigmatic goals, while corrupt judges turn the blind eye to illicit operations of organized crime, closely tied to prominent aristocratic families. Above all this the Emperor reigns as an absolute tyrant, content to let his subjects dabble in these lesser plots, while he busies himself with the more essential machinations of high politics: The grand game of thrones where kingdoms rise and fall, and mighty heroes and proud noblemen are but pieces on a chessboard. In Argyria, hardly anyone can rise to an important position without owing allegiance to anyone and working for the benefit of some faction or another - knowingly or not.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/6/6c/Palanquin.png)

Trade and Exploration
Argyrians are very accomplished merchants and seafarers. Their ships are a familiar sight in ports of distant and exotic lands, their cargo-holds laden with precious metals and jewels, pearls, silks, sandalwood, spices, ivory and incense. Armed with their knowledge of astronomy and navigation by stars, their well-tuned water clocks and mechanical instruments, Argyrians have become capable of exploring and charting coastal waters and chains of islands far from the shores of their homelands. Although the open sea remains a frightening and impassable obstacle, maritime trade is nevertheless flourishing, promising untold riches to the captains and crews brave enough to face the perils of piracy, storms and dread monstrosities which lurk in the lightless depths.

Overland trade routes, though less lucrative, have also been long tread under Argyrian sandals. Caravans haul goods from town to town, connecting ports between seas and reaching areas deeper inland where ships cannot moor. They dare ancient forests, parched deserts and desolate mountain passes on their journeys. Bandits are the bane of the caravaneer, to the point of making most overland routes more dangerous even than the pirate-infested waters. The Empire makes a point of patrolling it's major roads, providing way-stations and watchtowers to protect travelers, but these measures provide only partial relief.

Interests of politics and commerce encourage ever more daring expeditions to open faster trade routes and discover heretofore unknown lands. Such a climate provides excellent opportunities for aspiring heroes - though these may very easily turn into good opportunities to die a gruesome death.

Athletics and Games
Though patrons of arts and philosophy, Argyrians have not ignored pursuits of the body in their appreciation of the pursuits of the mind. Athletics is considered an essential part of a proper life and included in the education of every aristocrat. Strength and skill of young men is honed in gymnasiums, where traditional forms of athletics - often intimately tied to the martial training of warriors - are passed from each generation to the next. Athletic games, which are considered religious festivals, are held in major cities on regular basis. They gather ambitious athletes from the region with the promise of honour and Glory (for there are no material prizes for the victors), though some will inevitably suffer the shame and dishonour of failure.

By far the most popular form of competition is that of chariot racing. More than just a seasonal sport, the races have become common entertainment that appeals to the masses of ordinary citizens, though it's popularity is quite universal, extending up to the highest tiers of society. Chariot races take place on lofty circuits known as hippodromes, found in every major city. They are hosted several times every year, sponsored by prominent aristocrats. The races are grandiose spectacles where brave drivers make laps around the sand-covered tracks on ornate chariots, defiant of the danger of terrible death or injury which often result from the collisions and accidents, a commonplace phenomenon in these events.

Note

There can be no better way to communicate the intended feel of Argyrian chariot races than refering to the chariot sequence from Ben-Hur (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aVJFZgk2IE). Besides capturing almost perfectly the aesthetic and athmosphere I'm after, it is also one of the most awesome cinematic action scenes ever filmed.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/b/be/Chariot.png)

Martial Heroes
Argyrians would never have become such a feared and influential people without possessing the power to enforce their will upon others. In the cruel world of Savage Age, wealth and civilization are fleeting things, like delicate flowers in the midst of a raging fire, and can only be preserved through the strength of steel and vigilance. A very essential feature of Argyrian culture is the concept of a Hero, an exemplary model of a warrior.

A hero can take many forms, but always possesses certain defining qualities. Of these the foremost is martial prowess; the skill and ability to make battle, and the necessary will and intelligence to face the hardest of challenges. Heroes need not always succeed or survive. Indeed, great many are the famed songs and theatrical plays which recite the tragic stories of fallen heroes. Though they may seek fortune and power, Glory remains the only true measure of heroes' worth - for it alone transcends death, immortalizing the hero's name. Those who seek long and comfortable lives at the cost of Glory are doomed to be forgotten, while those who are willing to sacrifice ease and longevity to achieve greater Glory will be remembered forever.

To be considered a hero a warrior ought to be highly skilled, accomplished, persevering and dignified. But not morally upright. Heroes are not a force of "good" (not that such a concept even holds much of a relevance in Argyrian philosophy). They can be self-serving, ambitious, greedy and cruel. A hero is just as likely to lead the sacking and burning of a town as one is to defend it against such an attack.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/7/7b/Facemask_Helmet.png)


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on November 30, 2009, 05:44:44 PM

Out of Character

Feel free to reply to this thread with any feedback, comments or questions you may have!


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on November 30, 2009, 09:18:20 PM
Well laid out, BTW.

I am enjoying reading this.  I think (and comprehend) your idea of using SAvage Age as a MAster setting, within which you can create many sub systems.

What is the relationship with other empirs and civilizations?  How do the Argyrian's compare?  Greece had her Persia, and before that Troy, the Romans their CArthage, what ar the rivals for this crew?


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 01, 2009, 06:24:05 AM

LordVreeg


What is the relationship with other empirs and civilizations?  How do the Argyrian's compare?  Greece had her Persia, and before that Troy, the Romans their CArthage, what ar the rivals for this crew?


In the "present" age, Argyrians are springing back from their latest downfall and are, so it appears, on the verge of a new wave of aggressive expansionism. They currently have no direct neighbours that could rival them in power, which is prompting their foes to look for alliances, whereas Argyrian diplomacy focus on countering this reaction. Among their traditional enemies are the Praeconians (name might be changing) with whom they have fought many hard wars, the South-Eastern kingdom of Erytania, which in past times has been part of the Empire but is quite a powerful state, and the warlike Minarians.

Major naval wars have been fought in the past with the mighty Daliristan to the West, but that land is too far away to be relevant for the time being, and is in a state of chaos after being invaded by nomadic tribes from the Endless Plains.

There are at least two other empires in the world currently that are larger and stronger than the Argyrians, but both are far too distant to be direct rivals.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 10, 2009, 01:55:54 PM
Bathing

Bathing is a very important part of Argyrian culture. It is much more than just a means of improving one's hygiene and cleanliness; it is a time to meet with old friends and make new acquiantices, to relax and socialize. Proper bathing isn't simply jumping into a pool or tub and scrubbing hastily. One must take time to observe and appreciate the serene atmosphere and aesthetic of a pleasant bath, and follow etiquette to show respect to one's peers. How people conduct themselves at bathing is considered an important measure of their civilization.

Volcanic Springs

Argyrians love bathing in springs. Natural springs, particularly those heated by volcanic activity, are believed to be magical places wherein dwell benevolent nature-spirits. Bathing in such springs is thought to have invigorating and curative effects. Some of the more famous springs have come to attract so many people from near and far that flourishing spa-towns have sprung about them. The leisurely upper classes of society often head to these springs when they feel the need to escape the hectic life in cities.

Bathhouses

When lacking the opportunity to slip into a natural spring, an Argyrian will turn to the next best thing available: public bathhouses, known as thermae. Such places are found in every town and city in Argyrian lands, and are accessible to every free citizen. Men, women and eunuchs do not bathe together; they may only visit the bathhouses at times designated for their gender.

Commonly these baths contain three types of pools: for cool, mild and hot water. Access to the bathing pools is free of charge, as the places are run by public funds, but other services usually cost some money. Thermae can be quite large and sophisticated, where enough economic support is available. Small towns lacking wealthy patrons tend to have only modest baths, while the burgeoning metropoleis can have multiple large bathhouses of elaborate construction. The greatest of baths have been sponsored by Emperors themselves and are architectural marvels, built of veined marble and decorated with bas-reliefs, mosaics and frescoes, with sculptures and statues placed in corners and niches.

Water is constantly fed into the bathhouses from public supply systems, heated with furnaces before being directed into the bathing pools, and finally drained into the sewer network. The water flows nonstop through the baths in this manner, keeping them fresh and preventing the accumulation of filth. The most advanced thermae have expertly engineered hidden pipes coursing through the walls and floors so that the structures remain pleasantly warm to the touch even through the coldest months of winter. Water can be made to stream out of the mouths of statues leaning by the pools, providing the bathers with luxurious showers.

Besides actual bathing chambers, thermae often include other facilities such as gymnasiums, heated sweating rooms, enclosed fields for outdoors athletics, massage rooms, libraries and reading rooms. The bathers can dress and undress in changing rooms, where they leave their belongings under the watch of a slave. Some bathhouses also host prostitution, which is conducted in the privacy of backrooms, although it isn't uncommon to see harlots making rounds through the baths to attract customers.

Out of Character

Many scenes of social interaction will take place in the baths. Politics and business matters are often discussed whilst bathing and being massaged, leading to good opportunities for eavesdropping. Thieves can get there hands on some great loot if they manage to distract the slaves guarding their rich masters' belongings. A quiet hour at the baths devoid of witnesses could provide opportunities for assassins to frame a "natural" death of a VIP.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 17, 2009, 01:54:47 PM
Transportation and Communications


Maritime

Common forms of maritime transport are boats, sailing ships and galleys. These vessels are rigged either with triangular lateen sails, or with a combination of lateen and square-rigged sails. Civilian boats and ships favour sails over oars, but merchant galleys are still common in areas where the winds are unpredictable.

Urban

Most cities within the Empire have paved streets, but place restrictions on their use: Only men of noble status are allowed to ride on the streets (with exception to mounted messengers, and soldiers during parades), and the transportation of heavy loads is only allowed to take place between a city gate (or harbour) and the nearest warehouse block. Animal-pulled carts can only traffic the streets during certain hours of the day, and caravans of pack animals must keep to a special caravan district.

The majority of citizens go about their business on foot. Most wear sandals, but the poorest must make do barefooted. The aristocracy displays it's lofty station by riding a horse, driving an ornate chariot, or being carried in an opulent palanquin by slaves.

Overland

People travel overland by walking, riding, or being pulled on a wheeled vehicle. Common mounts are horses (for the rich) and asses (for citizens wealthy enough to own one). Nobles may drive chariots. Trade goods and other materials are transported either on the backs of pack animals such as asses and mules (and in southerly regions, camels), or on carts pulled by heavy draft animals such as oxen or mules.

Navigable rivers provide alternative methods of transportation. Boats, barges and rafts can carry passengers and cargo with ease, though they can only take you to other places along the river.

Roads and Bridges

The Empire actively maintains an extensive road network. The most important routes are of rather good quality: elevated from the ground level and paved with stone tiles. Depending on their importance to the state, roads are built and maintained either by the central government or by regional administration, and conform (at least in theory) to minimum standards enforced by Imperial edicts. These roads have milestones at regular intervals to inform travelers of their location. The rest of the road network consists of dirt paths and some paved roads of lower quality, built and maintained at the expense and initiative of the local populace.

Where roads must cross rivers, they either do so at shallow fords, or have a bridge built across the obstacle. The quality of the bridge usually matches the quality of the road; the better-made bridges are wide, endurable and rest on strong masonry arches erected on stone piers.

As with most other expensive and complex infrastructure, many roads have tended to fall in disrepair when ever the Empire has been experiencing periods of decline, only to be rebuilt once again during times of prosperity.

Roadside Housing

There are buildings along the roads that allow people to stop and spend the night under a roof, sheltered from the elements and protected from wild animals and bandits. The most common of these are simple huts, providing small rooms for travelers and perhaps a fencing or a shed for their animals. Larger and more luxurious establishments exist, often containing a cozy hostel, a full-fledged taberna, stables and a cartwright's shop.

Imperial Messenger Service

There is no postal service in the modern sense of the word to be found anywhere in Savage Age, but some of the more advanced civilizations have made attempts to bring some order and efficiency into communications. The Imperial Messenger Service is one such attempt. One of the most expensive and burdensome creations of Argyrian bureaucracy, it is nevertheless a vital tool for maintaining a centralized state that spans over such large stretches of land and water.

The Messenger Service is a vast network of way stations established along the major roads connecting cities, each offering a secure resting place, free provisions and fresh horses for the mounted couriers who deliver scrolls and minor packages. Due to the ability to switch to a fresh horse at necessary intervals, the couriers are capable of moving at remarkable speeds. It is common for them to travel some 35 Argyrian Leagues (about 79 kilometers, or 50 miles) per day, although critical messages can be delivered much faster. Letters of less critical nature are transported on carts, and delivered much slower. The network also serves the needs of diplomats and other officials traveling as part of their work.

The service was created to enable fast and reliable transportation of information between the central and regional governments, and generals commanding armies on the field. It is meant to be used only for official communications; hence only high-ranking bureaucrats and officers have the privilege of dispatching couriers. They frequently abuse the system to relay private letters, items and passengers.

Civilian Post

Civilians cannot use the Imperial Messenger Service, but wealthy nobles have special runner-slaves to deliver letters as needed. Ordinary citizens can pay traveling merchants to deliver messages (written or oral), with the usual arrangement being that the receiver is responsible for covering half the cost.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 18, 2009, 10:47:16 AM
Weapons

The following is a list of weapons used by Argyrian warriors. There is significant regional variation in the commonness and availability of these weapons. Even the actual style of the equipment may vary between different parts of the Empire.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/4/41/Argyrian_Weapons.png)


Dory (Spear)

The basic one-handed infantry spear is by far the most common primary weapon among Argyrian soldiers. A Dory has a flat sharp-edged spearhead and a stout buttspike attached on the ends of some 2½-3 meters of shaft.

Contos (Two-Handed Lance)

The weapon primarily employed in a mounted charge. The Contos is widely popular among warriors of nomadic tribes, and has been copied by virtually all the peoples that live within a raiding distance from the Endless Plains. It is one of the most powerful weapons invented by Man, capable of penetrating through the bodies of multiple armoured warriors in a single thrust, pinning them together. The great length (4-5 meters) of the weapon and the superior accuracy of attacks enabled by the two-handed grip place Contos-armed horsemen at an advantage over one-handed lancers.

Xyston (One-Handed Lance)

An older type of lance used with one-handed grip. Largely superseded by the Contos; used primarily by poorer horsemen who need the additional protection of a shield to make up for inadequate armour.

Xiphos (Sword)

A short-bladed sword, useful in a pitched close quarters melee but disadvantaged against longer weapons in other situations.

Spathion (Arming Sword)

The common arming sword, 85-95 cm in length. Double-edged and one-handed, equally capable at delivering cuts and thrusts. Spathions used by horsemen have slightly longer blades than those used by footmen.

Stileto (Dagger)

The basic dagger has an overall length of 25-30 cm. Relegated to a status of secondary or tertiary weapon, but carried by practically every warrior.

Pelecus (Axe)

Eurian axes meant to be used as weapons are balanced for one-handed use. They have long and narrow axe-heads that penetrate armour well.

Paramerion (Sabre)

The sabre was brought to Euria by nomadic tribes some 200 years ago. It has since been adopted by the native peoples of the region, primarily by mounted warriors. Paramerions have gently curving blades, with some length of false edge on the back of the tip to enable effective thrusts with the weapon, although like all sabres they are primarily cutting swords.

Ropalon (Mace)

The common mace with a wooden handle and an iron head, measuring 60-80 cm overall.

Bardoukion (Flanged Mace)

The Bardoukion is a heavy flanged mace primarily used by horsemen. The triangular flanges are arranged in 6 or 8 rows protruding radially from the cylindrical metal head.

Rhomphaia (Scythe-Bladed Sword)

The concave-curved two-handed sword of the Acherians and the Minarians. This weapon is famed for it's ability to cut through weaker armours and cleave off limbs with frightening ease. The Rhomphaia is very long for a sword, it's 60-80 cm long blade mounted on 50 cm of handle making it almost polearm-like. It requires both hands to wield effectively.

Acontion (Javelin)

A 1.8-2 meter long spear designed for throwing.

Plumbata (Dart)

The Plumbata is a weighted military dart, featuring a heavy barbed spearhead and flights.

Toxon (Bow)

A variety of bows are used throughout the Empire. They can be divided in three types by their construction:
    * Simple
Self-Bows are peasantly weapons, primarily used for hunting and protecting livestock from predators. Their cheap construction costs and relative ease of use make them a feasible choise for poor mercenaries, conscripts and the like. Their short range and lack of armour-piercing power make them somewhat unuseful as weapons of war, however.
* Composite Bows of the early, symmetric form are the favoured weapon of professional archers. Assembled from components of wood, bone and sinew held together with fish glue, composite bows require plenty of time, specialized materials and skilled craftmanship to construct. They are truly powerful weapons with high draw weights, often requiring considerable strength to use.
* The latest and most powerful design on the market is the Asymmetric Composite Bow, a common weapon on the Endless Plains but only recently introduced to Argyrians. The upper limb of the bow is made longer than the lower one, increasing the power of the bow while keeping it practical for use on horseback.
[/list]
Other Weapons

There are of course more unusual weapons than the ones described above. Clubs, staves and various farm implements might be wielded by slaves, peasants, muggers and the like. Slings, though cheap and potentially powerful, are difficult to use. Slingers are never formally trained warriors, but people (such as shepherds) that learned to use the weapon on their own.

There are no crossbows, halberds, pikes, longswords or flails (other than the agricultural tool) found in this region.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on December 18, 2009, 02:00:57 PM
I don't want to be a dick (even though this is a dick move), but your rhomphaia is actually a falx. rhomphaias are straight or ever-so-slightly curved.

Otherwise nice weapons selection. I also thought that arms and weapons and armor and junk got over looked in settings and everyone ended having the same DnD roster. very nice *thumbs up* Any chance of an armor roster?

also, will each weapons pertain to the Savage Age variant of the general culture types they were used in historically? (Spatha = Rome/Med, rhomphaias - Balkan barbarians, etc.) or will they be wide spread?


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 18, 2009, 04:43:25 PM

Leetz


I don't want to be a dick (even though this is a dick move), but your rhomphaia is actually a falx. rhomphaias are straight or ever-so-slightly curved.

I wanted to have only one forward-curved sword in the selection, so I pretty much rolled these two into one. I imagine the actual degree of curvature of Savage Age rhomphaias to be varying a lot - the illustration shows just one possible instance of the weapon.

Leetz

Otherwise nice weapons selection. I also thought that arms and weapons and armor and junk got over looked in settings and everyone ended having the same DnD roster. very nice *thumbs up* Any chance of an armor roster?

Thanks! I'm hoping to get armours set up next, followed by some warrior archetypes.

Leetz

also, will each weapons pertain to the Savage Age variant of the general culture types they were used in historically? (Spatha = Rome/Med, rhomphaias - Balkan barbarians, etc.) or will they be wide spread?

While Savage Age cultures take a lot of influence from historical cultures, there is some deliberate mixing and matching, as well as anachronisms. Not to mention cultural exchanges between neighbouring kingdoms. Most of the weapons presented here will be found (not necessarily common) throughout the Eurian region.

I also decided to leave out many weapons (no pilums and kopises/falcatas, for example) that would have been included if I were following real history closer.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 20, 2009, 06:19:11 PM
Armour and Shields

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/4/4f/Argyrian_Armour.png)

Shields
Shields are widespread and count among the most important pieces of equipment for non-elite warriors. Only those who can afford good bodyarmour or whose role in the battlefield keeps them out of harm's way can expect to survive long without a shield.

Shield designs vary a good deal, but most Argyrian shields can be placed in one of four classes:
  • The Clipeus, a small round shield that usually features a metal boss.
  • The Aspis, a large round shield.
  • The Thureos, an oval-shaped shield of medium to long size, features a metal boss and a vertical spine.
  • The Pelte, a light crescent-shaped shield.

Bodyarmour
Argyrian bodyarmour either takes the form of a cuirass, or closely imitates it. A cuirass covers the torso from the waist to the chest and shoulders. This type of armour is often completed by the addition of pteryges, strips of fabric or leather (possibly reinforced with small plates of metal) hanging from the bottom rim to protect the hips and thighs. Shorter pteryges may also be hung from the shoulders to protect the upper arms.

Linen Cuirass
The lightest type of armour available, the linen cuirass is made from several layers of linen glued together, shaped like a tube to wrap around the wearer's torso and featuring flaps that bend over the shoulders. Linen provides good protection against cutting weapons but is much weaker at stopping spear thrusts and arrows.

Leather Cuirass
An alternative to linen, constructed in similar form but instead of layers of linen, hard-boiled leather is used. Leather armour is primarily found in northerly regions of the Empire; linen is prevalent in the south.

Scale Cuirass
Scale armouring consists of small pieces of bronze or iron sewn on a fabric backing (often a thin layering of linen). This is the easiest and cheapest way of constructing metal armours. A scale cuirass offers fairly good protection against both cuts and most thrusts, but due to the way the scales are attached to the backing it has a major vulnerability: An upward-angled thrust, such as might be delivered with a short sword or a dagger, can slide between the scales and puncture the armour with ease.

Maille Shirt
Maille is a mesh of tiny iron rings, usually connected together in a 4-in-1 pattern. Due to the flexibility of the mesh, many kinds of armour can be constructed from it. The most typical form found in Argyrian lands is the Maille Shirt, resembling a short-sleeved tunic that extends down to the thighs. A padded cloth is worn under it to protect the wearer from direct contact with the rings. An extra layer of maille is usually added to protect the shoulders, giving the armour an appearance similar to the cuirasses.

Maille resists both cuts and thrusts well, but it's flexibility makes it less useful against bludgeoning than the more rigid armours. It is also the worst kind of armour in terms of weight vs effectiveness: it's mass is great and poorly distributed, hanging mostly on the wearer's shoulders.

Maille can be used as a component in improving other kinds of armours. It's flexibility makes it ideal for covering openings in joints.

Lamellar Cuirass
Lamellar is the best type of armour available in the world. It consists of small plates of metal known as lames, similar to the scales of a scale armour. Instead of being sewn to a backing like scales are, the lames are riveted directly to each other. Argyrians commonly assemble lamellar into the common cuirass form, with extra shoulder guards. Some lamellar armours also include additional thigh protectors to guard against attacks from the sides; these of course are most practical to a mounted warrior. A layer of padded cloth is worn under the cuirass.

Arm and Leg Armouring
Since the cuirass mostly covers the torso, separate pieces of armour are needed to protect other bodyparts.

Greaves
Greaves are leg-protectors made from bronze or steel. They wrap tightly around the legs, crafted in their shape, and can be quite ornate. On the front side they extend upwards to cover the knees.

Laminated Cheires
The Cheires consists of overlapping strips of bent metal, extending from the shoulder down the outer side of the arm, all the way to the wrist. It is typically used in combination with lamellar cuirass, especially in the context of heavy cavalry. The inside of the arm can be covered with maille for greater protection.

Bracers
Bracers are tube-shaped pieces of armour that cover the upper arm from wrist to elbow. They can be made from leather or metal. Archers often use bracers to protect their bow-arms against snapping of the bow string.

Helmets
Argyrian helmets are either made from a single piece of metal or assembled together from multiple pieces. They can be conical or bowl-shaped, depending on where they were crafted. Most include attached cheekguards and some kind of neck protection; typically an aventail of felt or maille. They never include nasal guards or visors. Most helmets are open-faced, but the more heavily armoured warriors might cover their faces with either a "veil" of maille or a solid mask of metal. Such battle-masks can be highly ornate, shaped in a resemblance of a stylized human face. Many Argyrian helmets can be decorated with plumes and horsehair crests.

What is not available
Kite shields, visored or "full" helmets, and plate armour of any kind are not found in Argyria.



Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on December 20, 2009, 08:37:43 PM
very nice. I don't want to steal your thunder here, but that's what I'm aiming for (kinda-ish) for Arga. (especially the shields)

but seriously, visuals are key to a setting, and yours work great. I still have to read a bit more into savage age, but if i have one criticism, it would be it's over-adherence to history. a little strangeness would be interesting to see

but once again, great armor/arms. I especially like the emblems on the shields.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Drizztrocks on December 20, 2009, 11:59:45 PM
Do do those drawing yourself? Their very good.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 21, 2009, 07:40:09 AM

Leetz


very nice. I don't want to steal your thunder here, but that's what I'm aiming for (kinda-ish) for Arga. (especially the shields)

That would be expected, since we're both drawing inspiration from same sources. I don't see any problem with this though. There's no shortage of settings that conform to a medievalesque aesthetic, and they manage to coexist just fine.

Leetz


but seriously, visuals are key to a setting, and yours work great. I still have to read a bit more into savage age, but if i have one criticism, it would be it's over-adherence to history. a little strangeness would be interesting to see

I agree that this is a weak point. I'm hesitant to mix strong elements of strangeness into the setting out of fear that it might break the feel I'm aiming for. It's also partly because SA is a "low fantasy" world where magic and other supernatural stuff is supposed to be limited.

Survivorman


Do do those drawing yourself? Their very good.

Thank you! I draw using a tablet, taking advantage of a rather large collection of reference material. The snake on the pelte shield, for example, is based on the animated graffiti in the intro of the 'Rome' TV series (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1Q-PSWYwls).


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on December 21, 2009, 09:03:05 AM
"I agree that this is a weak point. I'm hesitant to mix strong elements of strangeness into the setting out of fear that it might break the feel I'm aiming for. It's also partly because SA is a "low fantasy" world where magic and other supernatural stuff is supposed to be limited."

There are still lots of things to take inspiritation from that have little to no magic. Conan the Barbarian is an obvious source that I'm sure you've looked into. But all manner of strange cults, traditions, organizations, and other stuff have existed in our real history that seem like they were made up. Romans bathing in cattle blood is one thing that comes to mind (as you menitoned Rome earlier. A governing council of eunichs, people that wear iron maskes seared to the faces, or fervent beleif in a god-emporer all can happen without a drop of magic.

you could also blur the line between magic and belief in the SA, make the reader wonder if it is actully magic, or just strange superstition.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 28, 2009, 03:36:31 PM
Argyrian Warriors
Being the ambitious and warlike people that they are, Argyrians can boast of long and glorious martial traditions. Over the course of history their ways of fighting have evolved significantly, absorbing many influences from foreign peoples.

The heroic early days of Argyrian warfare, before and after the founding of the Empire, were dominated by chariots. By now these ancient instruments of war have become largely obsolete, but such was the mark they left upon the psyche of the people that to this day they remain the very symbol of warriorhood and martial glory. Though no longer seen on the battlefield, chariots are still used in ceremonial purposes, as well as sports.

As the charioteer passed from the forefront of military might, his place was taken by the footman and the horseman. A rivalry between infantry and cavalry formed, lasting for a time, and ended in the triumph of the horseman. In the present era, mounted soldiers form the pinnacle of Argyrian warriorhood, both in terms of battlefield prowess and prestige.

Primary Warrior Archetypes
  • The Lancer (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76229.html#msg76229)
  • The Skirmisher (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76251.html#msg76251)
  • The Scout (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76261.html#msg76261)
  • The Cataphract (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76282.html#msg76282)
  • The Retainer (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76308.html#msg76308)
(Other Warriors) (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg76309.html#msg76309)


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 28, 2009, 03:39:45 PM
The Lancer

There can hardly be more iconic image of an Argyrian warrior than that of the Lancer. Riding a swift and agile warhorse that gallops like the wind across the field of battle, clad in steel and grasping the sturdy shaft of a Contos lance, the Argyrian Lancer runs his foes through with a spirited charge.

The contemporary form of the Lancer is a blend of native Argyrian traditions and barbarian influences. After the Empire expanded to engulf the northern land of Andauria, it became increasingly in contact with marauding nomadic tribesmen from the Endless Plains. Fighting against (and alongside) these fierce horse people instilled many changes in the equipment and fighting techniques of mounted Argyrian warriors - most importantly the adaptation of the long Contos lance and the two-handed grip needed to wield it.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/3/3e/Argyrian_Lancer.png)

There is a good deal of variation among the tactics and armaments of Lancers. While all use the Contos as the primary weapon for the charge, the choices with side arms come down to regional traditions and personal preferences. Many fight with the common arming sword (Spathion) or a sabre. Some make use of a heavier weapon, such as a battle axe or a mace.

The favoured forms of Lancer armour are maille and lamellar, sometimes scale. A quality helmet is a given, but the arms and legs may be less heavily protected. Lancers generally do not carry shields, as they need both of their hands to wield the Contos. The horse might have some armouring too, but never a full barding: a "three-quarters" type armour that protects the front of the mount is the heaviest end of the spectrum. Most Lancers armour themselves as effectively as their wealth permits, but those who serve on the southern frontiers often opt for lighter armouring to better withstand the scorching heat of the subtropical climate.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 29, 2009, 06:08:24 AM
The Skirmisher

Where the strength of the Lancer is concentrated in the singular shock and power of a charge, the strength of the Skirmisher springs gradually from the steady attrition of successive hit-and-run attacks. More lightly armoured, the Argyrian Mounted Skirmisher excels in harassing and pursuing his foes, avoiding melee contact until the time is right. He thins their numbers with ranged weapons - javelins or a bow and arrows - and sows confusion in their ranks by circling around, closing in to shoot or throw, wheeling and turning to retreat before they can catch him.

Skirmishers are often stationed on the wild frontiers, where the need to respond quickly to lightning raids by rowing bandits poses a great challenge. Few soldiers are as suited to this task as mounted Skirmishers, supported by some lightly armoured Lancers.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/5/5b/Argyrian_Skirmisher.png)

The art of mounted skirmishing requires a great deal of skill and stamina, as well as a horse that is both nimble and enduring. The rider cannot afford to weight his mount down with heavy equipment, a fact that inevitably decreases his chances of survival in prolonged melee. A Skirmisher only enters melee once his enemies have been sufficiently weakened, and strives to defeat them quickly.

Weapons of choice include either bow & quiver or a bundle of javelins, with at least one suitable melee weapon as a sidearm. Lances are rarely used due the difficulty of carrying them, but some some horsemen do train in dual tactics, prepared to perform either role by adjusting their equipment. Shields are common gear among mounted javelineers, a useful way to make up for lighter armour. Oval-shaped shields have been found to be the most practical. Armour generally includes only a cuirass and a helmet.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 29, 2009, 02:20:49 PM
The Scout

Reconnaissance is one of the most important military tasks, though also one of the less glorious. Still, every warlord worth his station recognizes the value of perseverant men able to negotiate difficult terrain, follow the tracks of enemy parties, and make keen observations on the defenses and activities of an enemy camp - all the while remaining undetected. Besides military, Scouts are found in the employ of caravan masters and mercantile organizations looking to protect their goods from raiding bandits. Some even take up the profession of the bounty hunter, using their skills to track down thieves, spies and escaped slaves.

Scouts favour light equipment and diverse, flexible tactics. They are usually trained to fight equally well with ranged and melee weapons, mounted and dismounted. They are skilled trackers, pathfinders and explorers, well able to survive on their own in wilderness conditions. They employ stealth techniques to stay unnoticed, but are also prepared to make a swift escape and lose any pursuers via speed, endurance and guile.

There is plenty of variation to Scout weapons, reflecting adaptation to local terrain and tactics. The Argyrian military equips it's Scouts with arming swords and light shields. Many Scouts favour the axe due to it's usefulness as a tool. Armour tends to be leather or linen, facilitating stealth and quickness. Metal helmets are worn, but usually lighter and less impairing of vision and hearing than typical combat helmets.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 30, 2009, 10:53:18 AM
The Cataphract

Mounted on a fierce warhorse of Aspidian breed, armed to the teeth and lavishly decorated, the Cataphract represents the pinnacle of Argyrian military might. Cataphracts are recruited from the sons of noble families. They are provided with the finest of training in horsemanship and mounted combat techniques, and meticulously drilled in manouvre and tactics. Being noblemen by birth, they are intrinsically tied to political machinations and courtly intrigues.

Although the weight of their equipment makes them slower moving than any other horsemen, Cataphracts are the most powerful force on the battlefield, famed for their professionalism and iron discipline. They ride in a dense formation, moving like a solid mass of steel, always striving to maintain perfect order and unity of motion throughout complicated manouvres. Their charge, though relatively slow, is like an avalanche sliding down a mountainside: terrifying to behold and nearly impossible to withstand.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/c/c9/Argyrian_Catafract.png)

Both the horsemen and their mounts are protected with high-quality armouring of steel lamellar, almost impervious to all but the heaviest of weapons. They wear helmets with metal face-masks or 'veils' or maille, cover their arms with laminated defenses known as Cheires and their legs with greaves, leaving no part of the body unprotected. So complete is their armouring that shields are deemed redundant.

Though Cataphracts make use of many different weapons, such as arming swords, axes, sabres and bows, there is a particular iconic weapon that nearly every one of them carries: the heavy flanged mace known as the Bardoukion. The reason for this is their role on the battlefield, which often sets them up against similarly heavily armoured foes. The devastating blows of their signatory weapon are capable of penetrating or denting most any armour, making it the ideal choice for such encounters. Lighter and faster-swinging weapons are preferred for disposing of 'softer' foes, however. Contos lances are used for charging, but quickly discarded when the melee begins.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 31, 2009, 10:32:00 AM
The Retainer

Many men of high station in the Empire employ a retinue of highly trained professional warriors. Noble families maintain large household guard units every bit as organized as a military company. Temples and shrines require dedicated guardians to protect the often remarkable cult-treasures stored within them. Some holders of public office have armed servants at their beck and call, and merchant princes know well the value of protecting their business interests with force of arms.

The Retainer is a dedicated warrior serving a specific master or organization. He may be a bodyguard, an enforcer, a ceremonial sword-bearer, a palace watchman, or even a thug who is sent to roughen up troublesome rivals. Sometimes a Retainer may be sent away on missions: solving problems on outlying estates, acquiring valuable items or information, investigating suspicious activities, escorting important personages - anything that his master's interests may require. What ever his role may be, he is expected to serve with loyalty and diligence.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/7/7f/Imperial_Guard.png)

Although Retainers are primarily footmen, they may still enjoy a high degree of prestige if belonging to a particularly prominent faction. The Imperial Guard, which oversees the safety of the Emperor himself, is of course the most prestigious unit of retainers within the Empire. Household guards of the most influential nobility also command a good deal of respect. A Retainer who is part of the official retinue of a bureaucrat may even hold some degree of legal authority when carrying out his orders.

As Retainers mostly stay near their wards, they tend to specialize on weapons and tactics suitable to urban and indoors environments. Missile weapons and long spears, for example, might be too unpractical and cumbersome to lug around. Neither is there much need to overcome armour. Swords and daggers are the most common weapons of Retainers, and many of them (especially bodyguards) also train intensely in unarmed combat techniques.

Armouring among Retainers varies a lot more. Many are unarmoured save for simple defenses such as bracers. Those who do wear bodyarmour favour a light panoply, one that is comfortable enough for long shifts and suitably elegant to be worn within a noble's palace or villa. Heavier kits are worn by the personal guard units of warlords and officials who partake in military campaigns or travel across unpeaceful regions of the Empire.

Retainers are generally men born ordinary citizens, having found employ after earning a reputation through successful military career or some other avenue. They typically receive most of their equipment from their master or faction, in addition to housing and food. They become very closely associated with their ward's household or organization, a tie that grows more firm with each passing year. Loyal and competent service may be rewarded with a grant of land at retirement, or some other arrangement that secures the livelihood of the Retainer and his family. Sons of Retainers often take up their father's mantle. A Retainer who fails in his duties may be discharged from service dishonorably. Having thus sullied his reputation, he is unlikely to ever find employ under a new master, and may be forced into a life of a mercenary, bandit or beggar.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 31, 2009, 10:33:27 AM
Other Warriors

Only a small number of Argyrian warriors actually fall into the presented archetypes. The vast majority are simple commoners who took up a career in the Empire's armies to make a living, or who were pushed into service in times of war.
    *
Spearmen are the most numerous footsloggers in any army, and also the mainstay of militia that maintain public order in towns and villages. They excel in prolonged close-order melee with a spear and a large round shield, supporting each other in a shieldwall formation.
* Swordsmen are the tactical opposite of spearmen: fast-moving, loose-order troops that pepper their foes with javelins or darts before charging into the fray. They fight with an arming sword and an oval shield, relying more on individual prowess than the strength of a formation.
* Shock Troopers are crack infantry specialized in daring assaults. They favour heavy melee weapons such as axes and maces, paired with a round shield. Their armour is of high quality but flexible, typically shirts of maille. Exceptionally well trained, Shock Troopers charge fearlessly into pitched melees, striving to tear their opponents apart quickly and brutally.
* Archers are drilled to let loose their arrows in unison, creating raining volleys that kill by the sheer volume of projectiles rather than individual accuracy. Their effectiveness depends a great deal upon the quality of their equipment; unarmoured hunters and herdsmen with self-bows are but a minor asset to an army, while professional bowmen with composite bows and scale armour are a force to be reckoned with.
* Marines are the soldiers who serve aboard the Empire's fleets of war galleys. Equipped with short swords, axes, javelins and bows, they are trained to fight on the rocking deck of a ship.
[/list]
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/8/88/Argyrian_Spearman_%28Medium%29.png)

Few of these people ever make a name for themselves by acts of derring-do, or become involved in games of politics and power - their lowly station denies them the opportunity, barring strokes of fortune. Most are doomed to live insignificant lives and be forgotten.

Even so, some extraordinary individuals do rise from time to time from the masses of rank and file, arrogantly defying their lot in life and paving their way to gold and glory. Perhaps they manage to win the favour of a prominent patron and are taken in as Retainers, or are rewarded with title and land for heroic labours in service to the Empire. Or perhaps they turn against the proper world order and forge their own destiny as wandering philosopher-warriors, legendary bandits, notorious pirates, tomb robbers and rebels...


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on January 16, 2010, 02:21:17 PM
Athletics
Many Argyrian cities host biannual games that gather athletes from the immediate region and lands further off. The games are held at fields cleared outside the cities and surrounded by elevated banks for spectators. Games always begin and end with religious ceremony.

Only men are allowed to participate in the games, with two exceptions: Amazonids are allowed to participate in armoured sprint, as that is the only competition where the athletes are not naked, while other women are allowed to "participate" in chariot sports, because it is the owner of the chariot that is considered to bear the glory of victory or the shame of defeat - not the actual drivers. Three divisions based on age exist for all the games: Youths, Men and Elders.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/f/f4/Discus_Thrower.png)

Competitions are held in several different forms of athletics, such as:
  • Sprint
  • Armoured Sprint (wearing full military panoply: weapons, armour and shield)
  • Discus Throwing (maximum distance)
  • Archery (shooting at targets at fixed distance)
  • Javelin Throwing (distance and accuracy)
  • Horseback Riding (always performed without saddle and stirrups, for a more challenging test of the rider's horsemanship)
  • Chariot Racing (two horse team and four horse team variations)
  • *Chariot Running (two men take turns riding a chariot while the other one must run along it; they switch places at intervals)
  • Chariot Archery (drive past a two-sided target and loose an arrow on each side)
  • Chariot Javelin Throwing (as with Chariot Archery, but using javelins)
  • Weight Lifting
  • Boulder Pushing (a large boulder must be rolled uphill, reaching the top as fast as possible. Different sized mounds and boulders are used in different games)
  • Pankration (unarmed one-on-one combat with very few rules and no point scoring - a competitor wins the match when his opponent either yields, is knocked out, or dies)
  • Wrestling (unlike the almost rules-free pankration, wrestling is very restricted in form and techniques, and considerably less dangerous)
  • Climbing (either ropes or a wall up to a high tower, distance varies)
Most games do not feature all of these forms; the program varies from region to region. The date when the games commence is likewise unique to each region, as is the exact procedure of the religious ceremonies. Regional games typically last from three to five days.

There are no monetary prizes for victors, only a symbolic wreath and a palm leaf. A great deal of glory can be won, although suspicions of cheating can taint it, whether justified or not.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on January 16, 2010, 02:28:27 PM
no distance events?


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on January 16, 2010, 02:58:29 PM

Leetz


no distance events?

Not on most games. (The list only contains the most common sports, so there's always room for the regional oddity.)

I didn't want to just straight out copy the ancient Olympic games, hence there's stuff like pushing boulders and climbing. Not to mention a strong emphasis on chariotry.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on February 12, 2010, 09:05:52 AM
Slavery

Slavery is an intrinsic part of the Argyrian civilization; few could imagine a world without it. Slaves perform a wide variety of tasks, ranging from simple manual labour to sophisticated professions, oftentimes alongside free workers. They can be found in almost any occupation other than holding public office. Their treatment and living conditions are no less diverse: Slaves with valuable specialized skills, such as scribes, teachers and chefs, may easily enjoy a better quality of life than most of the poorer free citizens. On the other hand, there are slaves forced to toil ceaselessly under the scorching rays of the Suns, hauling massive blocks of stone to some colossal monument, or waste away chained to the hull of a galley, pulling oars to the tune of the drum and the the whip. The most miserable fate of all however awaits those who are condemned to the Empire's lead mines. Notorious as veritable death traps, these pits require a constant input of new slaves to replace those who perish in their lightless depths.

Regardless of their lot, all slaves ultimately have the same rights in the eyes of society and law: none whatsoever. They are seen as property rather than persons, animate tools to be used and abused as their owners see fit. Familial and marital ties among slaves are not recognized, though owners generally do not discourage couplings between their slaves.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/6/64/Slave_Trail.png)


How Slaves Are Made

The common ways of acquiring slaves are by enslavement, trade, and breeding. Although Argyrians are generally hostile to the notion of enslaving their own people, and Imperial laws forbid the enslavement of those endowed with citizenship, it is a mistake to assume that this never happens. It is a fact that under the right circumstances, almost anyone could be made a slave. Wars are by far the most important source of fresh slaves: it is customary for the victor to seize all surrendered enemies and a larger quantity of civilians and turn them over to the slave traders, whose caravans follow in the trail of marching armies like a flight of vultures. Piracy, though never officially sanctioned, is another major source. Finally, certain crimes are punishable by permanent or temporal enslavement of the perpetrator. Slavery is inherited matrilineally - any children born of a slave woman automatically become slaves themselves, regardless of the status of their father.

Manumission

Slaves can be set free via a process known as manumission. It is usually motivated by greed: Many slave owners allow their serviles to engage in some private business on the side, as long as they continue to perform all of their normal duties. A slave who manages to accumulate enough savings in this manner may then use that money to purchase his freedom. Of course, there is no obligation for a master to comply with this, but it is probably in his interest. It provides a convenient way of replacing an old slave (who might at this point be less valuable due to aging) with a new one, the buying of which can be funded by the fee paid by the old slave.

To be legally effective, manumission requires a bit more than just the owner telling his slaves to go away. He must take the matter to a public notary, have records made and sealed. Slaves "freed" without this procedure are considered masterless slaves by the law, and may be legally captured and re-enslaved by anyone. Freed slaves do not gain Argyrian citizenship.

Slave Revolts

Not all slaves are so fortuneous as to have any prospect of manumission. There are millions of slaves within the Empire, and quite many of them are habitually mistreated, even outright worked to death. Not surprisingly, they are wont to attempt escape. Most are caught, but some manage to flee and lose their pursuers. Such runaways tend to find that they have no place to go, and must turn to theft and banditry to avoid starvation.

Sometimes, however, greater menace may be spawned from the despair and determination of these former serviles. Throughout it's history, the Argyrian Empire has experienced some large-scale slave revolts, the most severe of which even threatened it's very existence. Such uprisings are rarely as idealistic as one might expect. Rather than seeking to abolish slavery, these rebels are more likely to want to turn the tables on their former masters.

The biggest spot of trouble has always been the land of Carantia, where particularly large concentrations of chattel-slaves can be found toiling on the enormous agricultural estates belonging to wealthy noblemen. These fertile farmlands form the breadbasket of the Empire, providing food for the massive population of the capital city. Revolts there tend to disrupt grain shipments, causing famines that stir up unrest among the common people.



Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 14, 2010, 05:22:43 PM
Funeral

Far from a somber and morbid affair, Argyrian funeral is an elaborate and quite noisy set of rituals. Even the poorest families tend to honour their dead with as lavish ceremonies as they can afford; in cities the poor neighbourhoods often pool their resources to ensure that funerary expenses of any member can be covered as needed.

The Preparations

Funerary rites begin soon after death has been confirmed. A wreath of vine-leaves is wound around the head of the deceased Argyrian, while his body is washed with perfumed water and oils, before being wrapped in red cloth. The corpse is lain on a couch on the courtyard in front of his house (or inside near the doorway). An earthen vase containing water is placed by the entrance, so that friends and relatives who come to visit and mourn will be able to purify themselves when they leave. For how long the corpse remains on display in this manner depends on their status and wealth. Men of common rank are typically sent on the journey to the next life after just one day and night of mourning, while prominent aristocrats and statesmen may be kept this state for as long as a week.

The Procession

The actual funeral begins with an exuberant procession, which takes off on sunrise. The corpse is laid on a litter and carried, usually by the strongest male relatives, although a wealthier family may employ a lavish funerary chariot instead. Many gifts and funerary offerings, such as jars containing wine, honey and spices, are arranged around the cadaver, along with several personal items of his. The decorated urn which will contain his remains is carried behind the bier.

At the head of the procession march the hired flute and harp players, dancers and professional wailing-women, their music and cries loudly announcing the passage of the cortege. In the wake of the litter follow the relatives and others taking part in the procession. Immediate kin (parents, brothers, widows, sisters and children) are the ones that walk closest to the bier, then cousins, in-laws, grandchildren, and after them everyone else.

All participants are dressed in red; preferably in fully-red funerary robes, or at the very least displaying some piece of red clothing on their person (the poor likely cannot afford better than red headbands or sashes). In the case of nobility, some of the relatives cover their faces with the death-masks of their ancestors - thus invoking the symbolic scene of the deceased being accompanied on his last journey by the the spectres of his progenitors. Torches and oil lamps are born by the mourners (or more likely, by their slaves) as they proceed through the still-dim streets.

The Pyre

The procession ends at an outdoors crematorium, usually by a grove or a garden, where the funeral pyre has been prepared: a wooden platform erected for the corpse to be laid upon, with a heap of logs treated with aromatic oils gathered underneath it. The deceased is lifted atop this platform, his head set pointing toward the East (the direction of Life) and his feet toward the West (the direction of Death). Any and all further offerings are brought forth and added to the pyre. The mourners are then arranged to stand in a circle around the pyre, while one of them (usually the closest kinsman) receives the honour of setting the fire with a torch. As the flames raise up to consume the deceased, an oration in the form of eulogy is given.

The Feast

After the fires have died, ashes and bones are collected into the urn, which is then returned to the house in a less formal procession, now under the rays of the risen Suns. The attendants part and must now bathe in order to purify themselves of the pollution caused by proximity to the cadaver. A sumptuous feast celebrating the memory of the departed will be held the coming night. A vacant place at the table will be set for the deceased, with an empty bowl and cup. Each guest is expected to contribute to the filling of these by donating a portion of their food and drink. This "ghost meal" will be spared, to be offered as a sacrifice the following day. Later on, the urn will be taken to it's final place: a family crypt or mausoleum - or should that be too expensive, a niche within a large communal catacomb.

Men of particularly high profile (Emperors, leaders of noble Houses, world-famed heroes and the like) may be further honoured by funerary games, an athletic contest held usually on the day following their cremation.

The Fears

A proper funeral is seen as a necessity in order to aid the dead on their journey to the next life (or alternatively, an afterlife on a gray island). Negligence in this matter is believed to risk the creation of an angry ghost, wont to attack the living (and not necessarily those who are responsible for it's predicament). Because the prospect of such haunts poses danger to people in general, Argyrian society looks down on those who fail their duties to their dead kin. If a funeral is for some reason impossible - such as when people die on foreign lands, in war or drowned at seas, making it impossible to retrieve the corpse - the relatives can do little more than appeal to the deities (through diligent prayer and sacrifice), engage in substitute rituals (such as burning a figure on the pyre) and hope that it will be enough.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Tangential on March 15, 2010, 04:00:48 AM
What is the significance of the colour red to the Argyrians?

How does one come into the profession of being a wailing women?

Why is west the direction of Death?

Are pyres allowed anywhere and everywhere? Are there especially preferred groves or Imperial gardens for example?

Are you familiar with the Hindu practice of Kapal Kriya?


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 15, 2010, 04:59:46 AM

Jaerc


What is the significance of the colour red to the Argyrians?

Argyrians view Life and Death as the two sides of the same coin, therefore they don't have different colors to symbolize each, but a single colour is the symbol for both. Red seemed to be the best choise for this, since it is the colour of blood, and blood can easily be associated with both life and death. Red is thus the funerary colour, but it's also appropriate for fertility and childbirth-related matters, medicine etc.

Jaerc


How does one come into the profession of being a wailing women?

I don't know x. Could be they're just poor women who needed a job? They probably work for the undertaker business that organizes the funerals.

Jaerc


Why is west the direction of Death?

Some real-world cultures (eg. Egyptians) have associated west with death, probably because the Sun setting there seems like it's sinking into the underworld, and heralds the coming of night.

In the case of Argyrians, the reasons need not be known or explained, since the people themselves would not think to ask such questions about the origins of their mythology, and they might be long forgotten anyway.

Jaerc


Are pyres allowed anywhere and everywhere? Are there especially preferred groves or Imperial gardens for example?

There are dedicated crematoriums, mostly outside the cities and towns, maintained by the undertakers. Some of them are "high class" sites that serve the upper classes.

Jaerc


Are you familiar with the Hindu practice of Kapal Kriya?

Not really. I recall that Hindus prefer to cremate their dead outdoors, though.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 21, 2010, 10:39:30 AM
Wedding

The Argyrian wedding is a major event, gathering a vast crowd from the relatives and friends of the couple to be wedded, including even barely-known acquaintances and hanger-ons. In the case of prominent aristocracy, the opulent reception festivities may assemble hundreds of guests. The protocol is not set in stone, and regional traditions differ somewhat, but weddings throughout the Empire do proceed roughly along the lines of the example given here.

The Arrangements

The road to marriage begins with the groom-to-be's family hiring a middleman - often a professional matchmaker - to look for suitable candidates, unless they already have one in mind. Once a desirable spouse has been identified, this middleman is sent to negotiate with her family for the arrangement of a marriage. If the bride's family is found agreeable to the union, the terms (dowry) will be negotiated directly between the families. Only after this will the groom's family come forth with a formal proposal, along with presenting a gift to the bride. To determine an auspicious date for the eventual wedding day, the families contact astrologers.

The Wedding Ceremony

Note

As observant readers may notice, at no point is any kind of priest or state official involved, nor is there any need to visit places other than the two families' respective households. The signed marriage contract will be presented to the local notary, post-wedding, but other than that the two families involved are responsible for every step along the way.
The wedding ceremony takes place at the bride's home. At morning the bride is bathed, then dressed, by the women of her family. The water for the bridal bath must be carried from a freshwater spring by children, as it is meant to purify the bride and bless her with fertility. Once cleansed, beautified and perfumed, she will be dressed in yellows and greens and wearing a veil that covers her head. One of her dedicated assistants will be bearing a floral wreath (preferably of Amaracus, and hand-picked by the bride herself) to be used in the ceremony.

The groom and his family, accompanied by a host of guests, arrive before midday. The groom will be dressed in his finest outfit, and wearing a wreath of oak-leaves on his head. They will be asked to wait outside or in the vestibule or atrium until everything is ready, then led to the main room or hall where the bride waits, seated on a dais or a divan. At this point, a short speech may be held by the bride's father. The dowry is presented for all to see and inspected and verified by the groom's father. Provided that nothing is found lacking, the groom is seated next to the bride, and the marriage contract signed by their fathers. Now comes the most important part of the ceremony, the ritual unveiling of the bride: her veil is lifted and the floral wreath is placed on her head. Guests may now offer their compliments to the newlyweds. Music may be played while the wedding gifts are laid on the couple's feet. The ceremony concludes with a libation on the household shrine, performed by the bride and groom, in an appeal to the deities of marriage, fertility and virility.

The Transition

After the ceremony everyone gathers on the courtyard or the street outside the house. A sorrowful ritual of departing, signifying the bride's leaving of her old family, is enacted: the bride and her female relatives and friends weep and lament soundly as she is taken to the cart or palanquin that is to carry her. A pompous wedding procession then heads off to the groom's home.

The Reception and the Consummation

The procession ends at the house of the groom's family, the entrance to which has been adorned with many clay figurines and/or tapestries depicting pregnant women and erect penises; auspicious talismans of fertility. Once everyone has arrived, the offering of libation at the household shrine is repeated. Then begins the reception party, as the tables are set for a great feast and musicians fill the air with boisterous tones. Copious drinking, singing and dancing continue through the night all the way to the dawn. Amidst all the revelry, the bride and the groom are taken to the nuptial chamber, which has been prepared for them; the bed decorated with flowers and the air sweetened with incense. A close friend of the groom will stand by the entrance keeping guard while the guests come to beat on the closed door to drive away any malevolent spirits, and bestow good fortunes upon the couple by singing lewd songs.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 27, 2010, 12:47:16 PM

Out of Character

Some boring stuff about literacy, the means of writing, and libraries.


Literacy

The ability to read and write is remarkably widespread within the Argyrian Empire. The number of nominally literate people might be as much as 10% of the entire population - most of these people concentrated in cities and towns, of course. Literacy is particularly common within the traditional heartlands of the Argyrian civilization, being noticeably sparser in many of the underdeveloped frontier regions.

Writing Mediums

Early Argyrian records were written on clay tablets. That ancient medium is now obsolete, replaced by more advanced technologies. Paper is not known to Argyrians.Papyrus - thin sheet made from the pith of the papyrus plant - is a popular choice for short-term recordings. It is too susceptible to decay to be useful for long-term record keeping however. A solution is found in a material calledvellum (a type of parchment), made from the stretched skin of animals. Though more expensive than papyrus, vellum is much more easily preserved. Which ever material is used, it always takes the form of a scroll - either simply rolled up and bound with a string, or rolled around rods with handles on their ends.Books have not been invented and therefore not in use.

Writing on papyrus and vellum alike is done with either a quill or a reed-pen, by dipping the instrument in an inkstand. The ink commonly used can be made either from soot, or from the natural ink of cephalopods. Besides black ink, other colours such as reds, greens and browns, are available to scribes. Some techniques of invisible writing are known amongst those skilled in the art of espionage...

Besides such permanent mediums, Argyrians often make use of wooden or ivory tablets covered with a layer of beeswax. Such a tablet can be written on by scraping it with a stylus, and erased for reuse by heating and sweeping the surface. Secret messages may be passed by inking them on a clean surface of the tablet before adding the wax covering, upon which a fake message may be scraped to mislead those who mustn't learn of the real communication...

Libraries

One reason for the high rate of literacy among Argyrians is their system of public libraries. Via the patronage of cities and noblemen, small libraries containing literary and poetry classics can be found throughout the civilized parts of the Empire. Such libraries are often attached to other public facilities, such as baths, gymnasiums, tabernae and temples. They contain a small collection of scrolls, a dedicated reading room and often a garden. Any free citizen may peruse a public library at no cost, but cannot loan any works.

Larger and more prominent libraries exist as collections of Academies and the Imperial bureaucracy. Many noble houses also maintain their own collections. These private archives are not open to general citizenry. The most important library of the Argyrian world is the Great Library of Helike Archaia, a colossal facility of vaulted halls reputedly containing close to a million individual works.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on March 27, 2010, 12:58:00 PM
Dude, boring?  
Are you kidding?  This is great!!!  Literacy rates, and their antecedents is fantatic info.  Love the ivory tablets, BTW.  

You have CERTAINLY inspired a whole host of thoughts here.  I have libraries and sage guilds, but I LOVE THIS!


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 27, 2010, 01:30:07 PM
Well I'm glad to see that someone likes it at least. :)

I wrote it because it's the sort of information one might need to know when using the setting, if not quite so exciting to read about... but I guess I misjudged there a bit. The writing tablets are based on real history BTW, stylus & beeswax-on-tablet was like a portable chalkboard of the ancient world. One made from ivory would be a very expensive status symbol though, and probably very ornate.

P.S. there's more to the write-up than the first glance might show :ninja:


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 29, 2010, 03:59:38 PM
Hair

Treating one's hair properly is important to Argyrians. It is the mark of a civilized people to keep their hair clean and kempt; the mark of barbarism to let it grow wild, tangled and dirty. Curly hair is considered ideal - those who lack natural curls might go as far as adding them with curling tongs. Wealthier people employ trained slave hairdressers to ensure their haircuts are up to high standards, treated with oils, setting solutions or even dyes.

Among Women

Due in part to regional differences, and the fact that fashions on women's hair style change almost weekly in the larger metropoleis, it is impossible to make detailed generalizations on how Argyrian women wear their hair. However, a useful rule of thumb is that unmarried women and young girls grow their hair long and either let it hang loose or use a style that allows it to fall down the neck/back, whereas married women tie their hair in buns or more elaborate arrangements. Headbands are often worn to restrain the hair.

Among Men

Men generally keep their hair short. As a part of a rite of passage, boys coming of age have their heads shaved.

Beards
Beardedness among Argyrian men is more of a rule than an exception, as it is seen as a symbol of wisdom and virility. The most common style is a short-trimmed full beard - truly long beards are typically only worn by philosophers and elder men. Growing a moustache without a beard is considered vulgar, fitting only for slaves and barbarians. Sideburns are also considered ugly if they fail to connect with the beard. Braiding of the facial hair is unheard of, and would probably be reviled as crass.

Among Eunuchs

It is customary for eunuchs to be shaved bald.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 30, 2010, 02:32:23 PM
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/9/91/Dancer_%28small%29.png) (http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/4/41/Dancer.png)
Dance

The art or dancing is regarded highly in Argyrian culture. However, it needs to be stressed that the word "dance" in this context takes on a very different aesthetic and meaning than what many modern people are accustomed to thinking of as dancing. Foremost, there is no such thing as ballroom-style paired dancing in Argyrian culture. All dancing is performed either by a large group formation, or by a single dancer.

There are two major categories of Argyrian dance: ceremonial dances and wild frenetic dances.

Ceremonial Dances

Dances of this type emphasize elegant and controlled motions and stances. They can be either slow and solemn or rapid and striking, but are always carefully choreographed. These dances are traditionally associated with ceremonial functions and many public festivals.

Frenetic Dances

Dances of the second type are the complete opposite: they emphasize the expression of primal emotions. They consist of vibrant, passionate moves as the dancers surrender themselves to their natural impulses. Frenetic dances are not necessarily improvised, though they tend to be. They are traditionally associated with primaeval cults and orgiastic revelries. Certain "exotic" dances used for seduction also fall into this category.

Events

Although Argyrians value highly the aesthetics of dance, entertainment is far from it's only function. Dances are performed as part of many religious, social and military rituals. Weddings, funerals and seasonal festivals frequently feature dance performances. Priests and priestesses may be taught the mystic arts of cult-dancing as part of their initiation.

Dances may be performed either by professional dancers or by laymen, depending on the context of the situation. Most dancing flows to the pace set by musical instruments, commonly flutes, tambourines and kitharas. Castanets are often used by female dancers.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 12, 2010, 03:06:36 PM
Imperial Argyrian Calendar
This calendar is a very important one, for while it was invented by and is primarily used by the Argyrians, it has become the de facto reference system used by merchants, diplomats and other such people that travel or correspond across borders. Further, the calendars used by most nearby kingdoms, while separate, are ultimately just modifications of the Argyrian system.

This calendar is lunisolar, with years based on the solar year, divided into smaller time units based on the moons' phases. Two such units exist: tertiaries and months. Dates are usually recorded by refering to the month and the year only. The tertiaries, although they are actually the base from which the months are derived, are themselves rather unimportant outside scholarly and astrological circles.

The Suns and the Moons
Since there's more than one sun and moon, they of course need to be named. Different languages will naturally have different names for these celestial objects. In the Argyrian tongue they are called thusly:
  • Yellow Sun: ''Megalos''
  • Orange Sun: ''Magna''
  • The Moons: ''Clea'', ''Cordis'' and ''Serena''

Years are based on the orbit of the two suns (which appear to move as a pair), a length of almost 381 days. By dropping one day every 13 years, the calendar stays synchronized. The Argyrian New Year takes place on the summer solstice.

Tertiaries are a special time unit based on a curious quality of the three moons Clea, Cordis and Serena: the moons have the exact same length of orbit, while their phases differ, yet are in synch with each other and the solar year. A tertiary is 1/3 of the duration of each moon's phase cycle.

Months are based on the *full* phase cycle of the three moons - that is, 1 month = 3 tertiaries, or 52 days. However, there is a small dilemma: the solar year cannot be divided into months neatly. Because of this, there are 7 full months, and after them an 8th "mini-month" that consists of a single tertiary (17 days). The months are named Phoenix, Fortis, Gaia, Nautilus, Silva, Tempestas, Aethereus and Hyperia.

This picture will hopefully lessen any confusion:
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/9/9b/Argyrian_Calendar.png)
As can be seen, the months are divided into tertiaries, each 17 or 18 days long. The last month, Hyperia, is basically 1/3 the length of the others.

The count of years
Argyrians do not count years from a single event. Instead they divide the timeline into named ages, recording dates in history as happening in a given year of a given age. The ages have no fixed length; the beginning of a new age is based on proclamations of the Supreme Oracle who resides on the sacred Mt. Helix on the island of Helikia. The Oracle is also responsible for naming these eras. The passing from an ending age to the next one always happens on the first solstice (Argyrian New Year) following the proclamation of the Supreme Oracle. This day resets the counting of years, with the first year of the newest era recorded as year 1.

(The Seven Ages of the Calendar) (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg216983.html#msg216983)


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 17, 2010, 02:04:06 PM
Social Order
In Argyrian society there are 5-6 social classes, depending on whether one counts the slaves as a class:

Note

In the hellenistic era it became common for the Greek rulers that inherited Alexander's empire to fashion themselves as divine kings, by claiming descendance from the gods and through apotheosis -  much like the many heroes of their myths were the offspring of prolific deities. The Romans were wont to mimic this with their state religion of Emperor-worship.

In the context of a fantasy setting, such divine lineage could be reality. The Great Houses of the Argyrians might indeed be the spawn of deities. However, I prefer to leave the matter somewhat open, for the sake of added doubt. And besides, when claims of descendance go back to a semi-mythical figure who supposedly lived hundreds of years ago, how could one be certain of their validity?
  • The Imperial House
  • The Great Houses (high nobility)
  • Lesser nobility
  • Citizens
  • Non-citizens
  • Slaves

The great houses are ancient lineages that trace their ancestry back to mythical heroes sired by the gods themselves. Their members are, therefore, considered to be people of divine blood. A house usually comprises several related families.

The lesser nobility are families of mortal descend, yet elevated to the status of military aristocracy by the virtue of property (typically estates granted by the Emperor for services to the Empire). They make up the majority of the nobility and control a great deal of mercantile business.

Citizens enjoy greater freedoms and legal protection than non-citizens. The latter group includes all foreigners and freed slaves, but also many common people that have yet to be granted citizenship.

Slaves are usually not considered to be even people, so they technically aren't part of the society.

There are no separate social classes for clergy or merchants. Priests of the native Argyrian religions generally come from the ranks of the nobility. The classes are not rigid, although it is much easier for one to fall to lower rank than it is to climb higher up the ladder.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on May 22, 2010, 09:27:37 AM
Currency
Due to the wealth and far-reaching influence of Argyrian mercantilism, the currency of the Empire is known, exchanged, and imitated in ports and bazaars throughout much of the known world. Within Euria it is accepted as the de facto reference for negotiating contracts between merchants from different kingdoms.

Coinage
Argyrians mint metal coins, but these are a bit unusual; each coin has a round hole through the center. Thus they resemble rings rather than full discs, and can be easily managed by stacking them on thin rods or a length of string. The coins feature no profiles of rulers, for obvious reasons, but they do have circling inscriptions and reliefs on both faces. On the observe of all coins is found the Ouroboros symbol, while on the reverse is found text and small symbolic images. As the value of each coin is equivalent to it's precious metal content, denominations are based on the relative sizes of the coins. Called "singles", "doubles" and "halves", they indicate both the weight and the worth.
Argyrian Coinage
CoinMaterialWeightRelative value (in Coronae)Reverse-side symbols
Double SolGold10.0 grams100Laurel Wreath
Single SolGold5.0 grams50Svastikas
Double AsterSilver12.0 grams10Stars
Single AsterSilver6.0 grams5Meander (Greek Keys)
Double CoronaSilver2.4 grams2Enneagram
Single CoronaSilver1.2 grams1Wave Pattern
Half CoronaSilver0.6 grams½Sinusoid
Single DecatoBillon1.2 grams (0.12 grams silver content)1/10Dots


The last coin, Decato, is made of billon, an alloy of ~90% copper and ~10% silver. It's value is based on the silver content. All the other coins are made close to 100% purity of their respective material.

A poor farm worker earns ~2 Coronae per day. Depending on prices, it costs from ¼ to ½ Coronae to buy a loaf of bread (about 3/8 of a kilogram, or 4/5 of a pound).

Bars
When it comes to large transactions or hoarding wealth, even gold coins can be inpractical. Such business is more easily conducted by using standard-sized bars of silver or gold. These bars are weighted exactly to 1 Talent (30 kg, or ~66 lbs) each, and generally bear inscriptions of the date and location of their casting.
Standard 1-Talent Bars
BarMaterialSilver EquivalenceValue
Silver TalentSilver30,000 grams25,000 Coronae, or 500 Soles
Gold TalentGold360,000 grams300,000 Coronae, or 6,000 Soles

Out of Character

Currency is one of those things that aren't particularly interesting, yet ought to be defined. When it comes the time to bribe a judge, con a merchant, or buy some information from a snitch, you better know well the money you're handling and what it's worth. Fortunately the Argyrian currency is so widespread and dominant that once I've nailed it down, many other systems will be easily added - they probably use mostly the same materials and weights (and thus, values) even if their coins may come in different shapes and bear different names.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 06, 2010, 02:28:58 PM
Tales about Argyros
In the myths, legends and histories of the Argyrians, no other figure commands as much respect and attention as the eponymous arch-Hero and demigod, Argyros himself. That an entire civilization came to name itself after one man tells something of his cultural importance.

In Character

Argyros was as tall as a mountain and possessed the strength of a thousand men. His booming voice was like the din of a hundred elephant-bulls, the gust of his breath could fell trees, and frost would cover the earth where ever his mighty shadow fell. The very Suns would pass closer to the ground just to delight in his beauty, and no woman nor youth could resist his amorous advances.

He sailed to the edges of the world, trod across impassable deserts and mountains, matched wits with kings and sorcerers and daemones, and with nameless things older than Mankind. He wrestled with giants and fabled monsters, commanded great armies, sacked ancient cities and erected new ones. He sang and danced and drank wine with hundred-faced princes on the golden shores of the Twilight Lands where the Suns never set. He descended into the Underworld to steal the secret of alphabets from the degenerate Cyclopses, contemplated the ineffable riddles of The Dragon, and slept with queens and nymphs and goddesses. With fire and steel and trickery he brought low mighty kingdoms, conquered foes mortal and spiritual alike, and unified all the tribes of the Helikian Sea under his crimson banner.

It is said that Argyros never died. One day he simply left for the seas, never to be seen again. Mariners whisper that he still sails the cerulean haze of the horizon, where the heavenly dome touches the bottomless ocean - perhaps to one day return, to once again conquer and rule as he did so long ago.

More Tales:
  • The Eye of Skotys (http://www.thecbg.org/PLUGIN_DIR/forum/forum_viewtopic.php?75347.58)

The Weapons of Argyros
The legendary weapons once wielded by Argyros are among the most coveted items in the world. His favourite weapon was his bow, which he won in a gamble from a mountain-Daemon. This bow was so powerful that no other man could even string it. He also had a deadly spear, allegedly made entirely from metal, which was such that when thrown it would never miss it's target. His shield was a gift from the Cecropians, painted with eldritch symbols that warded off bad luck; unfortunately, it was destroyed. In the final battle against his brother Colosseus, Argyros shot three golden arrows, crafted by the demigod smith Memnon in the fires of Mt. Helix. The first arrow split the army of Colosseus, the second one shattered the shield he was covering himself with, and the final one pierced his savage heart.

Most of these items have been lost, some are presumed to be destroyed. Rumours regarding the full-metal spear surface from time to time, but no reliable evidence of it's whereabouts have been gathered. Of the three golden arrows, the first two were recovered and are kept in the treasury of the Imperial palace, while the third one remains stuck in Colosseus' chest. Argyrian Emperors consider all the items of their legendary forefather to be sacred ancestral relics, and have searched for the missing items for centuries. Anyone caught possessing such an artifact would be hunted to the end of the world by the Emperor's agents.

Out of Character

While characters living in the "contemporary" era of Savage Age aren't going to run to Argyros, the mythology revolving around the character can still be quite relevant. The most likely influence of the hero-cult is religious: there are entire temples dedicated to Argyros, and other temples (especially those of Thalas) may feature shrines honoring him. Characters seeking advice from an oracle or a holy man might be instructed to perform religious service to Argyros. Knowledge regarding the history and legends of the Empire is also regarded as an important social skill. Since tales about Argyros are extremely well-known, those who display ignorance on the subject matter might be rediculed as simpleton barbarians, and suffer considerable loss of face. And finally, it is certainly possible that characters may stumble upon an ancient artifact that could be interpreted as one of the missing Imperial relics.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 02, 2010, 01:24:32 PM

The Oracle


The air within the sanctuary felt eerily chilly to Pheidias, a strange change from the oppressive heat that reigned outdoors that day, cast by the Suns flaming hot on a cloudless sky. The darkness of the ancient building's interior was pierced by beams of sunlight emanating from small windows just below the ceiling. What sparse light there was, scattered off colonnades of supporting pillars of veined marble, casting an intricate play of shadows across the faded floor mosaics and the aged plastering of limestone walls. He stood within a small antechamber just before the main hall - the furthest point he had been allowed into the sanctum. An arched doorway yawned open in front of him, revealing a view of the great, spacious room, it's lofty ceiling of cedar beams held up over the heads of colossal caryatids, whose eloquently sculpted features had been vividly colored with paints and whose eyes shone with the mystical glimmer of inset gemstones. A vicked scent of myrrh and incense was in the air.

As the nervous feeling of anticipation set upon him like a wet blanket, Pheidias struggled to maintain his posture of reverent quiescence. In the dimness of the hall he observed the silent movement of solemn figures marching in from some entrance hidden to his view. A handful of rotund shapes, clad in ceremonial robes and wearing ornate masks, arranged themselves in a row by the back end. Pheidias knew these to be mute eunuch attendants, some of whom he had met on his way to this lonely hilltop sanctuary. An altogether different kind of figure, that of a lithe young woman wrapped in fine cloth of translucent silk, had crept into the center of the hall and was now standing there, frozen still like a statue in a ritual position, her delicate arms raised high. For a while everything set into the macabre state of unmoving silence, and Pheidias found himself holding his breath. The very time itself seemed to have stopped.

In a sudden shock the spell was broken, as one masked eunuch standing in the middle of their formation swung a brass mallet, striking the leathern skin of a great drum fixed in an apse on the back-end wall. The loud boom signaled the start of the ceremony, and the other robed attendants, bearing syrinxes and cymbals and sistrums and tambourines, let out a concert of haunting rhythms. At the very same moment the young woman - whom Pheidias knew to be the oracle of the rocky hill - broke her statuesque posture. With the subtle grace of a she-panther she moved, replicating the twisting moves and gestures of a primal dance. The marble hall resonated with the enchanted rhythms of occult music recalling the very ancient tribal days, the wild drumming and piping around night bonfires; bewitched, shamanic music older than civilization.

As the esoteric spectacle unfolded, the centermost eunuch put away his mallet and yanked a silvered chain which hung suspended next to the ceremonial drum. With a sharp click some hidden mechanism was activated, causing small vents on the floor by the feet of the caryatids to swing open. Faint smokelike fumes begun to pour out of these openings, their oily tendrils rendered visible in the beams of light slashing across the hall. Even from his remote vantage by the doorway Pheidias caught a stinging scent of these subterranean vapours - cthonic gases from the hideous depths of the earth, emanating from nameless chasms of primordial darkness never grazed by the slightest hint of sunlight.

By each clamoring note, by each step and gesture, the pace of the music and of the dancing grew wilder, accelerating in a savage crescendo. Perhaps from the intoxicating fumes, perhaps from some eldritch influence at work, the oracle fell in an ecstatic trance; her eyes rolled back and her head cocked upwards, even as she continued to bend and whirl and spin, dancing with wild abandon. Though Pheidias could hardly trust in his senses now, dulled and confused as they were by the occult play taking place before his eyes, he could not put aside the troubling impression that the shadows in the hall had taken substantial forms, and were dancing queerly around the oracle.

The spectacle ended abruptly, just after reaching it's climax. The music ceased and the oracle fell still, fainting. The directing eunuch yanked the chain a second time, shutting the smoke-pouring trap doors. Two of the masked attendants lifted the oracle on their arms, carrying her away, while the rest of them followed in silent procession.

Whether it was minutes or hours that passed while he waited in cold solitude in the antechamber, Pheidias could not tell. Finally, one of the mute attendants came to him, no longer hiding his face behind a mask but still clad in that ceremonial robe of thick sanguine-colored cloth. The obese eunuch gestured for him to follow, and quietly led Pheidias along a narrow corridor into a reception room. That windowless chamber was lighted only by flickering candles and a lazily burning brazier standing in a corner. It's walls were covered in painted bas-reliefs and the vaulted ceiling adorned by an ancient fresco depicting fantastic animals and strange daemoniac figures. Raised at the back of the room was an alabaster daïs, upon which stood a tripod seat with legs of lacquered ebony carved in the likeness of a lion's paws. On that seat rested the oracle, now awoken but still delirious, with a wreath of laurel leaves placed on her head. A pair of masked attendants stood on either side of her.

Pheidias kneeled and bowed low before her, awed and shaken by a strange feeling of dread majesty which haunted this room. Despite his unease he was anxious to hear his fortunes told. Then, with her glazed gaze fixed on some faraway place, the oracle spoke, not appointing her words to anyone in particular: "Beware, O Pheidias of Granike, when driving a bull, the goring horns in the black of night. Friend or foe, the stranger in your house - follow the trail of silver, you shall know. The mistress of lies must fall, or so shall you." Her honeyed voice echoed with strange power and authority that defied her tender age and fragile form. Having thus spoken, she fell silent, still apparently lost in some unthinkable realm not visible to the eyes of Men. Her ominous words rang mockingly in Pheidias' ears as he was ushered away by a mute eunuch.

Sunlight burned blindingly in his eyes as he stepped out of the sanctuary on the rugged, barren summit. Taking pains to maintain his balance, he descended a flight of crumbling stone steps to the ledge where his slaves and servants awaited him, tending to the grazing mules with which they had ascended a perilous trail up the desolate slope. While his serviles hurried to prepare the animals for the return trip, Pheidias was greeted by Timaeus, his trusted bodyguard. For the first time in years, it seems, he took notice of the peculiarly decorated hilt of his retainer's shortsword. It was elaborate bronzework, shaped in the likeness of a bull's head, little horns curving up along the base of the blade...


Oracles

Oracles are mystical seers found throughout the kingdoms of Euria. Though fewer in number than other kinds of diviners, the oracles are considered particularly powerful and prominent. They are the major, world-famous figures whose advice kings and princes seek in times of crisis, and whose proclamations carry much weight and influence. The one most famed and respected among them is the Supreme Oracle, who resides on Mt. Helix on the island of Helikia. Oracles speak with the voice of gods and spirits, which makes them sacrosanct and beyond reproach in the eyes of Eurian peoples.

Since oracles always reside in remote, sacred places, consulting one always begins with a journey to the sanctuary. This journey is itself considered a spiritual undertaking likened to a pilgrimage, laden with symbolism. One must not embark empty-handed, but bring along sacrificial animals and generous gifts. Upon reaching the sanctuary, visitors will be greeted by the staff tending to the needs of the oracle, interviewed for the nature of the wisdom they seek, and instructed to conduct ritual sacrifice at an altar on the consecrated ground of the sanctuary. Once an admission has been given, the visitors may present their question, worded in a formulaic manner, to the oracle.

The utterings of an oracle are always ambiguous to some degree, ranging from the seemingly clear to the totally ineffable. They tend to be obscured by symbolism in language and metaphor, requiring careful interpretation. When they predict the future, they usually allow multiple ways in which they might come true.

The Role of Oracles

When characters find themselves hopelessly stuck trying to solve a mystery or up against an antagonist they cannot overcome, a visit to an oracle could provide invaluable aid - or just as easily, lead them headlong to perilous danger should they misinterpret the statements. Besides providing answers to specific questions, an oracle's words might also overshadow other, unrelated events, or hint at potential fortunes and dooms that could start new plotlines.

Oracles might also interfere with characters' lives indirectly, as there are many other people willing to seek their council. A cunning antagonist seeking to ensnare the characters in a plot might benefit greatly from information revealed by an oracle. A king foretold of his coming downfall might be driven to madness in his obsession to prevent the prophesied destiny, bringing ruin to an entire country. Should characters be indicated as key agents to the ruler's predicament, they may suddenly find a hefty price placed on their heads.

Playing it Out

Any visit to an oracle should require some preparation and effort. From finding the way to the remote sanctuary, to purchasing sacrificial animals of appropriate type, to the actual journey (which should present some danger and hardship, even if relatively short), down to the diplomacy and ceremony on the site. Oracles are highly respected, even feared through all levels of society. They have no time for obnoxious strangers that ignore ancient traditions of courtesy and demand to hear the voice of gods as if they were worthy of it by default. Those who fail to pay appropriate respect should be sent off, perhaps with a curse on their heads to teach them humility.

Those who prove themselves sincere and deserving in their quest will be granted the boon of asking a single question each at a time. An oracle will need some rest after each time she communes with the divine, so a large party of characters may have to stay a while. Actual audiences with an oracle should be brief, mystical, and preferably a bit creepy. Oracular statements, particularly those predicting the future, should be ambiguous and confusing, and never something that could be easily invalidated by actions of the characters receiving them.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Steerpike on July 02, 2010, 03:49:30 PM
Cool addition.  I can imagine a group of heroes/adventurers trekking up to the top of an oracle's hill with albino rams or whatever the requisite sacrifice would be before every adventure.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 15, 2010, 10:42:13 AM
A tentative price list, to give some idea of what things cost. Showing selected items from the much larger table in the wiki.

(1 Sol = 10 Asteres = 50 Coronae)

ProductMarket Price
Foodstuffs
A loaf (~373.75 grams or ~0.82 lbs) of bread¼ - ½ Coronae
1 Amphora (30 litres or 7.9 gallons) of wine, poor5 - 17 Asteres
1 Amphora (30 litres or 7.9 gallons) of wine, average17 - 50 Asteres
1 Amphora (30 litres or 7.9 gallons) of wine, fine50 - 150 Asteres
1 kg of lamb, pork or goat~3 Coronae
12 eggs1 Corona
100 grams of salt2 - 2½ Coronae
1 Amphora (30 l) of honey12 - 50 Asteres
Arms & Armor
Dagger/knife9 - 10 Coronae
Dory (spear)2½ Asteres
Xyston (1-handed lance)3 - 3½ Asteres
Contos (2-handed lance)5 - 6 Asteres
Xiphos (short sword)5 - 6 Asteres
Spathion (arming sword)35 - 40 Asteres
Bardoukion (flanged mace)22 - 28 Asteres
Pelecus (battle axe)13 - 14 Asteres
Aspis or Thureos shield22 - 28 Asteres
Light helmet5 - 8 Soles
Heavy helmet10 - 16 Soles
Linen cuirass22 - 25 Asteres
Maille bodyarmour22 - 25 Soles
Lamellar cuirass28 - 35 Soles
Toxon (bow)7 - 9 Asteres
Gorytos (quiver)6 - 7 Asteres
Slaves
A common slave, male15 - 45 Soles
A common slave, female30 - 145 Soles
A skilled slave50 - 215 Soles
Mounts and Draft Animals
A donkey4½ - 5 Soles
A draft horse28 - 30 Soles
A mule35 - 37 Soles
A riding horse65 - 70 Soles
A light warhorse230 - 500 Soles
A heavy warhorse650 - 1,000 Soles
A heavy warhorse, Aspidian breed1,250 - 1,500 Soles
A prized parade horseup to 10,000 Soles(!)
Miscellaneous
An oil lamp~1 Corona
A woodcutting axe4 Asteres
Clothing
A fine quality tunika35 Asteres
An average quality tunika5 Asteres
A low quality tunika12 Coronae
An average quality long tunika6 Asteres
An average quality sagum cloak2 Soles
An average quality chlamys cloak3 Soles
Braccae pants4 Asteres
A pair of sandals4 - 4½ Coronae
A pair of heavy boots9 Coronae
Services
River ferry, 1 crossing, for 1 person4 Coronae
River ferry, 1 crossing, for rider & mount5 Coronae
Stabling for a horse, per day5 - 6 Asteres


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on July 15, 2010, 04:08:49 PM
Prices and the consistency that come from them are important factors for a living settting.

How much are poisons?

Who makes wine and where does it come from?


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 16, 2010, 05:39:28 AM

LordVreeg


How much are poisons?

That is a good question. I don't think there exists a stable market for poisons - one looking to buy such substances would need to turn to the criminal underworld, and the price there would depend greatly on many factors. A buyer who is not "in" on those circles should expect to be ripped off if he's not careful. The dealer would try to estimate how wealthy is the buyer, and just how badly does he need this deal. A character with connections to, knowledge of, favours, blackmail, etc. with the appropriate circles should be able to get a better deal, depending on how well he takes advantage of these assets. Of corse there would be some low end cap to the prices, determined by the cost of producing the poison in the first place.

Anyway, the sort of characters that would make use of poison with any regularity would more likely have the skills to gather/create the stuff on their own.

LordVreeg


Who makes wine and where does it come from?

Ah, wine; the nectar of Gods. I am planning to write a list of famous wines, produced in the various regions of the Empire, with their respective prices. Wine is a very important trade item, with a lot of money changing hands in that business. I imagine old feuds and rivalries - perhaps going back centuries - between high profile wineries. A good source for conflicts and intrigue.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 21, 2010, 01:40:37 PM

Note

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/b/ba/Clothes_-_Long_Tunika.png)
A woman wearing the long tunika.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/4/45/Clothes_-_Tunika_Himation.png)
A man wearing the tunika, the himation, and a pair of sandals.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/4/49/Clothes_-_Himation.png)
An elderly man wearing the himation.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/1/1f/Clothes_-_Peplos.png)
A maiden wearing the peplos dress.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/8/85/Clothes_-_Dalmatika.png)
A woman wearing the dalmatika robe.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/5/57/Clothes_-_Dalmatika_Kausia.png)
A nobleman wearing the dalmatika robe and the kausia hat.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/7/74/Clothes_-_Tunika_Petasos.png)
A peasant wearing a cheap tunika and the wide-brimmed petasos hat.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/f/f5/Clothes_-_Tunika_Chlamys.png)
A man wearing the chlamys cloak over his tunika. On his feet he wears a pair of boots.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/e/ec/Clothes_-_Sagum.png)
A soldier wearing the sagum cloak over his armor.
DRESS
Argyrian dress tends to be loose and airy, rather than form-fitting. Though simple in design, it can be surprisingly elegant, with emphasis on the aesthetic of hanging folds of cloth. Outfits of the rich and the poor, of the powerful and the humble, differ not so much by their shapes but by the quality of their fabric and artisanship, and by the richness of their decorations.

Similar garments are worn year round; when the weather gets cooler, Argyrians simply add more layers of clothes, and wrap themselves in warm winter capes. Common materials are linen and wool, while more luxurious garments are available woven from silk.

Tunika
By far the most common form of clothing is the tunika, a knee-length shirt made from two rectangular sheets sewn together at the sides and top, leaving openings for the head and the arms. The garment is secured at the waist by the means of a belt or a girdle. Variants of tunika are differentiated by the sleeves: the simplest (and cheapest) form lacks sleeves entirely, but may be wide enough at the shoulders that the excess cloth falling down the upper arms creates an illusion of short, wide sleeves. Other forms of tunika are cut in a 'T'-shape, resulting in actual sleeves, which may vary greatly in terms of their length and width.

Women wear the long tunika, similar to the men's tunika but long enough for the hem to fall all the way down to the ankles. Long tunikas are mostly sleeveless.

Tunika is the primary garment for commoners, and might even constitute one's sole piece of clothing. For the upper classes, a light tunika made from thin fabric is worn under other clothes.

Himation
A distinguishing outfit of the upper classes. No other piece of clothing so successfully expresses the Argyrian desire to create elegance out of simplicity as does the himation. It is nothing more than a large sheet of fabric - though possibly very elaborately brimmed and embroidered - wrapped around the body of it's wearer.

There are innumerable different "styles" of wearing a himation, by ways of arranging the cloth, ranging from the relatively simple to the very complex. Most commonly the cloth is draped over the left shoulder to fall down the back, round under the right arm to the front side, and then over the left shoulder again.

Depending on the style, the cloth may be secured by clasps or pins, or arranged so as to hang securely without such aids. It is socially acceptable especially for elderly noblemen to discard other forms of clothing entirely and wear only the himation.

Women may wear the himation, but generally drape it in different styles than men do.

Peplos
The peplos is a traditional (if now rare) outfit for women. It consists of a large rectangular cloth, wrapped into a tube and vertically folded halfway down.

The front and back of the folded top are lifted to the shoulders and secured with pins or brooches.

Underwear
Although Argyrians are familiar with some forms of underwear, actually wearing any is considered entirely optional. Men might wear a simple loincloth called the perizoma. Women might bind their breasts with an apodesmos, a band of cloth tied around under the bust.

Dalmatika
Evolved from the tunika, the dalmatika is a long robe with an ankle-length hem and long, wide sleeves. It is most often seen worn by nobles, scholars and priests and the like, and is usually worn over a tunika. It can be worn by any gender.

Dalmatikas are often richly embroidered.

Headgear
Wearing of hats is not very common amongst Argyrians. Most go bareheaded, or cover their heads with hooded cloaks in bad weather. Women might wear shawls.

Peasants and farming slaves working the fields are often seen wearing the petasos, a wide-brimmed sun-hat made from felt or straw, to protect themselves from the heat of the Suns.

Another form of hat, popular amongst shepherds, hunters, travelers and the like, is the charonian cap, a tall, brimless felt cap slightly conical in shape, with the top turning forward and possibly with side-pieces hanging down.

Bureaucrats and dignitaries moving outdoors (such as during hunting trips) sometimes wear the kausia, a low conical cap.

Footwear
Much of the Empire enjoys a climate mild enough that many among the underclasses walk barefoot. Footwear of one kind or another is worn by those who can afford the cost. The most common items are sandals, which come in myriad styles, laced high or slow. Shoes and boots are made from leather or hide and tied with thongs.

Capes and Cloaks
Many kinds of capes, cloaks and mantles are worn, both as practical, protective clothing and for aesthetic purposes. Some of the common types are the chlamys, the sagum and the paenula.

  • The chlamys is a rectangular cloak fastened by a brooch over the right shoulder.
  • The sagum is a thick traveling cloak favoured by soldiers, and can double as a sleeping blanket when camping. It is very warm and keeps water well, protecting the wearer from rain and snow. The cloth may be fastened in various ways, and pulled over the head to form an impromptu hood when needed.
  • The paenula is a heavy cloak with a central hole, similar to a poncho. It is a very simple and cheap piece of clothing, worn by pulling one's head through the opening. A paenula might include an attached hood.

Braccae
The custom of wearing pants (a form of breeches, called braccae) is a foreign import to Argyrian culture. For a long time it was shunned as barbaric, but has over centuries won acceptance. Still, to this day most Argyrian men go without pants, which given the mild climate is comfortable through most of the year. Braccae are a much more common sight in the northerly provinces, where the climate is colder and winters can be biting indeed. Soldiers are more likely to be wearing braccae than are other men, and amongst horsemen in particular trousers have become very popular. For that reason they are associated with military and martial ways, and a man seen wearing them might be assumed to be a skilled warrior. Braccae can be short or long, varying in length from the knees to the ankles. They may be worn in combination with a tunika and/or dalmatika, but never with the himation.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 26, 2010, 03:00:33 PM
The Argyrian society is riddled with intricate webs of loyalties and dependencies, from binding familial ties to formal positions within bureaucratic orders. Practically no none can live for long within the Empire without coming to owe allegiances and favours to some faction or another. Save for the Emperor himself, everyone looks up to some form of superior to serve with honor and obedience - or treachery.

Clientage

A practice that permeates all layers of Argyrian society, clientage is a relationship between a patron and a number of clients. The exact nature of the relationship varies, but in most cases the latter are sworn to be loyal and respectful to their patron, and to assist him to the best of their abilities when ever he so requests. In return, the patron (who is always someone of greater social standing and wealth) must tend to the well-being of his clients, aiding them in any troubles that might befall them - such as hiring a jurist to defend their rights in a law court, helping them back on their feet if their house burns down, providing food during a famine, or protecting them and their businesses against extortion or slander.

The ties between a patron and his clients can become quite close and familiar, and it is not at all uncommon for these ties to take on rather mafia-esque undertones, especially in cases where illegal or dubious business is involved. According to Argyrian laws, a client cannot be compelled to testify against his patron in a court...

How to Become a Client or a Patron

There are two ways to become a client: by formally swearing allegiance (in front of witnesses) to a patron who is willing to take you under his protection, or via inheritance. Once a clientage has been legally established, it cannot be ended without the consent of the patron, unless the client can provide a valid case against him on the grounds of either abuse, or neglect of his duties as a patron. Both the roles of patronage and clientage are inherited patrilineally.

Many people are both a patron and a client simultaneously, owing clientage to someone of higher station while in turn having some clients of their own. Thus a person high up in the social pyramid might indirectly command a much larger number of clients than those he formally acknowledges. Clientage does not necessarily involve only individuals. Families or entire communities might collectively act as a client (or less commonly, a patron) in such a relationship. Men of great political power have sometimes established patronage over towns, tribes and even cities.

Clientage for Common People

In rural areas, the most common form of clientage is between smallholders and a "local" nobleman, who owns a country villa  in the area. The smallholders agree to either pay tribute in form of a small portion of their crops annually, or to work on the nobleman's fields without being paid for it a set number of days in the year. In turn their patron protects them from bandits, beasts, corrupt tax collectors, military press-gangs, and other such dangers. Perhaps he also maintains some form of infrastructure such as a road or a dam. The patron in question does not necessarily interact with these clients directly. He might be living elsewhere and only visit his country villa for a few weeks each year. In such cases appointed underlings will be responsible of running the estate and seeing that the clientage is maintained.

In cities, most typical clients are craftsmen and peddlers, beholden to a low-ranking aristocrat or some wealthy middle-class businessman. They tend to have much closer ties to their patron than rural smallholders do, personally seeing him on almost daily basis. Quite often they are required to run errands or perform other direct services at their master's call. On their part they enjoy protection against organized crime and resentful rivals. The patron might also help them out in such matters as finding suitable spouses to their children, arranging funerals and weddings, mediating over business agreements, or even funding basic education for a promising first-born. Once in a year the patron might invite his clients to a feast, letting them eat and drink from his table.

Clientage for Protagonists and Player Characters

People of special skills or status tend to enjoy far greater fruits from clientage. Patrons value highly skills in such areas as the fine arts, knowledge of legal matters, diplomacy, business savvy, espionage, martial valor, etc. Those born of a significant lineage and those with close connections to important personages can also expect to enjoy great benefits in exchange for serving their patron loyally.

They might be given comfortable quarters in their master's villa or palace, regular invitations to banquets and weddings, free visits to theatre or the hippodrome, luxurious clothes, masterfully crafted weapons, or other such expensive and precious gifts. When traveling while in service of their patron, they may be entitled to food and board in houses and shops belonging to him or his clients, and free rides on his ships and caravans. Lowly tasks such as menial labour will not be required of them, though they are expected to make themselves useful via the skills and abilities they possess.

A patron can be an invaluable source of information, influence and material goods. He also acts as a wellspring of plot hooks and entanglements - any conflict involving the patron will more than likely involve his clients also, whether they like it or not.



Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Llum on July 26, 2010, 04:02:48 PM
Just a couple quick questions on Clientage (which is a really cool idea btw). Can a Patron testify against a client? Also, I'm guessing this system has caused all sorts of legal issues in the past, so are there any abolitionist movements?


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 26, 2010, 06:04:40 PM

Llum

Can a Patron testify against a client?
For the sake of clarity, here's how it works:
  • A client can only testify against his patron of his own will. No one can legally compel him to do so. (+)
  • A patron could be legally compelled to testify against one of his clients.
(+ Note that direct commands from the Emperor can ignore/override the law.)

Llum

Also, I'm guessing this system has caused all sorts of legal issues in the past, so are there any abolitionist movements?
The powers-that-be largely find that the system protects their own interests more than it harms them. Those who would have the most interest to abolish it can't really do anything about it.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 31, 2010, 03:16:54 PM

The Sacrifice

Ceryx felt embarrasingly nervous; he couldn't help but fiddle with the folds of his crimson himation as he stood on the long shadow of the altar, cast by the Suns rising up from the horizon. There was some modicum of chill in the morning air, biting the exposed skin of his legs and right shoulder-area. The priestly outfit wasn't the most comfortable this time of day and year, but traditions had to be maintained. A wave of excitement washed over him, wiping away his mild discomfort as his eyes locked on the first sight of the approaching procession. Today he would have the honour of conducting the ceremony for the first time. Today he would be a full-fledged priest.

To his right side stood the elderly priest Trachyllos, a wrinkled and slightly hunched man in a saffron himation. Far to the left, a young boy was sitting on the ground playing the aulos, the double-reeded pipe. Behind him loomed the imposing entabulature of the Temple of Tatiane, held up by fluted columns of white marble. Ceryx's hands idly wandered to the hilt of a ceremonial dagger, gilded and elaborately decorated. The procession had now reached the sacred precinct, and was arranging itself into a semicircle. Then the ram was brought forth by two young men dressed in loincloths.

The wiry youths held the beast by it's horns, which had been painted to stripes of red and dark blue. The animal, able to smell the scent of dried blood and aware of the excitement of the crowd, was resisting fearfully but in vain as it was dragged to the altar. Ceryx cleared his throat discreetly, then raised his hands and called out: "Friends! Let us be diligent in our service to the Sovereign! Let none stand before Her vaunted altar who is unclean." With those words a bowl of water, consecrated at the feet of the revered cult-image of the Judge, was carried by Trachyllos by everyone present, and everyone did well to purify themselves. The elderly man then passed the bowl to Ceryx, who took it in his hands and loudly declared: "May Tatiane look favourably upon this sacrifice!" With those words he poured the remaining water on the struggling ram's head. And the beast nodded, declaring it's willingness to be sacrificed.

The crowd around him was now muttering prayers and making occult signs, as Ceryx prepared for the ritual slaying. The young boy who had been playing the aulos - perhaps ten summers of age - was now kneeling before the animal, holding a painted bowl under the ram's neck. Ceryx, grasping the decorated knife, recalled how he himself had once been like that boy, how his hands had shook and his stomach turned. That time seemed like ages past now, more like a shade of a memory out of a previous life than his own childhood. He pushed these thoughts out of his head and focused. The old Trachyllos was watching him keenly, observing. Judging. He would not embarrass his mentor now. With a swift and careful flick he made a single cut across the beast's throat. The pair of youths held it firmly, as the fountain of warm blood flowed to fill the small bowl and soak the boy holding it. Somewhere nearby a woman let out a scream.

When the spark of life in the ram's eyes had flickered away, the carcass was dragged to the edge of the sacred precinct. Ceryx received the container of blood from the boy, who stood before him suppliantly, covered from head to toes in sanguine stains. Ceryx glanced at Trachyllos. Surprisingly, there was a hint of warm approval - perhaps even fatherly pride - in the old man's withered face, which was far more accustomed to frowns. A feeling of contentment and confidence rushed over Ceryx as he sprayed the blood on the altar. After many years of apprenticeship he was finally ready. Today he had ascended among the peers of his mentor.

Ritual Sacrifice
Argyrians sacrifice all manner of domesticated animals (wild animals are an exception specific to Theramenes, the god of the hunt), most commonly sheep, goats, pigs, geese and the like. The animals to be offered must be in perfect condition, for sacrificing a crippled or diseased beast would be a grave offense. Sacrifice might be made in private or in public. In the former case it is likely to be less formal, and even in the latter case there is no one universal procedure. Usually a public sacrifice includes at least the following elements:

  • A procession where the sacrificial animals are led to the altar. Likely accompanied by music and singing. The animal(s) will be decorated with colorful ribbons and bells.
  • The ceremonial knife will be carried to the altar concealed in a basket of grain, possibly in the front of the procession.
  • The sacrifice will be conducted on an outdoors altar, typically a block of marble with a fire-pit. Most of the participants will stand in a circle or a semi-circle around the altar.
  • The ceremony begins with the participants washing their hands on a bowl of water to ensure that all involved are ritually purified. The water is then sprinkled upon the victim(s).
  • The priest - or lacking one, whoever is conducting the ritual - begins by pouring the grain (and any additional nonliving offerings) on the flames of the altar. While the victim is held in place by the altar, he loudly announces to which divinity the sacrifice is to be be offered, before cutting the throat of the animal with the ceremonial knife. All women present let out a ritual wail. The drained blood is collected into a vase and then splashed upon the altar.
  • Following their death, the sacrificial animals are butchered. Each of them, according to it's kind and to relevant theology, is separated into the parts belonging to men and the parts belonging to the gods (generally the bones, the tail and the entrails). The latter are burned as a fire sacrifice, while the former are roasted on a spit, then eaten by the participants in a ceremonial feast.

Needless to say, there are plenty of variations from this loose norm. For example Thalas, god of the Sea, requires that all sacrifices to him be given by drowning the animal in sea-water. Hedomus, god of intoxication, will only be pleased if the beast is properly drunk when offered.

Sacrifice can be offered by virtually anyone, and requires neither a priest nor any formal equipment. An impromptu altar can be constructed if a proper one is not available. That said, Argyrians will always prefer to make use of these things when opportunity permits it. Sacrifice is a most serious matter, and always carries the risk of offending the divinities through erroneous conduct (intent is irrelevant, it is the adherence to ritual that matters). Making sacrifice for a particular purpose such as to lift a curse off one's head, might require extraordinary rites and unusual sacrificial animals and should always be overseen by an esteemed priest.

Offerings to the gods and spirits are just that - wooing gifts accompanied by pleas. Nothing guarantees that the deities will listen, or care for the offer. This is why the sacrifice must be announced so loudly; to better the chance that it will be noticed. Blatantly avaricious or irrational requests will usually fall on deaf ears, and asking a deity to act contrary to it's own agenda will more likely result in a painful lash of misfortune. Even if an offering is accepted, divine favour might not be forthcoming. One's antagonists might nullify one's request via a sacrifice of their own (either appealing to the same deities, or asking different ones to intervene). When two offerings are pitted against one another, it is usually the one better conducted and richer that will prevail.

Communal sacrifice is regularly conducted:
  • As a part of yearly festivals
  • Incorporated into state occasions and court ceremony
  • Before major battles or the signing of treaties
  • During athletic competitions


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on August 01, 2010, 02:43:39 PM
I like this specific bit about sacrifice.  
I also enjoyed the bit about opposing sacrifices.

Would a sacrifice help a difficult or powerful spell succeed, or fail?


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 01, 2010, 03:48:56 PM

LordVreeg


Would a sacrifice help a difficult or powerful spell succeed, or fail?

Quite possibly. Even something as abstract as good fortune can be gained via sacrifice, so I see no reason why one couldn't ask for luck with a bit of sorcery. Of corse you'd want to call upon the right deities; ones that hold power over concepts relevant to the magic being made. For example if you wanted to place a curse on a ship or it's crew to make it sink, you'd want to appeal to Thalas (the sea) and Tarasius (disasters), and perhaps Aeron (winds/weather).


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 15, 2010, 02:18:43 PM
A follow-up for my earlier post on clientage, here's stuff on factions and organizations - the vital building blocks for conflicts, plots and byzantine intrigue.

An Overview on Factions and Organizations

A multitude of factions make their homes within the Empire, from ragged street gangs to centuries-old conspiracies. Not merely can characters expect to run afoul of some of these organizations, they are likely to be members or even leaders of one faction or another.

Noble Houses

Among the most powerful factions in the Argyrian Empire are the noble houses, ancient lineages regarded as descended from demigods and legendary heroes. Privileged, arrogant, and incredibly wealthy, they are machiavellian movers and shakers in the courts. They possess vast estates across the Empire, operate lucrative trade networks, man the offices of the imperial bureaucracy, and form the officer corps and élite military companies in Argyrian armies. Only the power of the Emperor and their mutual rivalries keep them in check.

A noble house consists of one or more related families, it's retainers and it's dependencies. It is centrally led by a particular individual, typically the eldest male of the principal family. Houses engage in ever-shifting alliances and rivalries with each other, always striving to increase their own wealth and power at the cost of the others. Although they have little qualms about crossing the law when it suits them, the nobility prefer not to sully their own hands by being directly involved in crime. Instead, they tend to make other factions do their dirty work.

Collegiums

A collegium is a formal organization cooperating in pursuit of a particular activity or business, such as caravaneering, shipbuilding, prostitution, usury, masonry, etc. For example, a coastal town with a thriving fishing industry might have several competing fishing collegiums controlling the chain of supply from the fishing boats to the smokeries and all the way to the exports. While collegiums of a bewildering diversity exist, the most influential ones tend to be those focused on highly profitable mercantile activities - usually under the control of a merchant family, or a few allied families.

Collegiums are more than just business partnerships; very often they develope religious and/or philosophical ideologies, and a mentality of a sort of kinship. Although they are outwardly public organizations, recognized and protected by law and tradition, they more often than not are shrouded in an air of secrecy. While most collegiums entertain legitimate agendas, some are little more than covers for less scrupulous activities.

Conspiracies and Secret Societies

Suspicious though as the collegiums may be, they are nevertheless rather well-known entities within their communities. Secret societies, on the other hand, strive to conceal not only their goals and actions, but the very fact of their existence. These societies usually revolve around a singular ideology or creed, which also dictates much of their activities. Reliance upon secrecy naturally steers them toward clandestine methods, such as espionage and assassinations.

Temples and Shrines

Argyrian religion is not a unified hierarchy, it is rather just a set of more or less common beliefs shared across a vast cultural sphere of influence. Priests and holy men thus do not belong to one overarching organization - they in fact need not belong to any kind of organization. Where religious organization does exist, it is on a strictly local level, and revolves around specific holy places. A city may have a number of temples and shrines within it. Each of these will be attended to by it's own clergy, with at best loose ties to other temples, even ones that might be dedicated to the same deity.

From the humblest of village shrines to the colossal golden-roofed temple complexes of great cities, each abode of the divine is effectively a faction in it's own right, with agendas that extend far beyond theology. Temples are hosts to treasuries filled with wealth from gifts and offerings, and in some cases, profits from temple prostitution. In cases of old, prominent temples, these hoards might have accumulated to extreme sums, enabling the clergy to take on the lucrative business of money-lending and usury.

Although violating the sanctity of a temple treasury is considered a fatal taboo in Argyrian culture, priests overseeing notable holy places tend to employ dedicated bands of guards for added security. The presence of such warriors not only deters thieves and vandals, but also provides the temple with a fair bit of muscle with which to further increase it's influence and guard it's interests. Where bitter rivalries exist between two or more temples, violent clashes between their guards are possible, though not very likely.

Smugglers

Smuggling in the Savage Age is not so much about contraband than about avoiding tariffs and harbour fees by sneaking cargo past state officials. Smugglers have to carefully balance the risks they face versus the potential profits. They must cultivate contacts to the black market, where the smuggled wares can be sold. There are corrupt officials to be kept happy with payments or controlled via extortion, and rivals to be kept away from the home turf.

Gangs

The cities of the Argyrian empire are large, cramped and rife with corruption. Like all such cities, they inevitably contain some crumbling slums and ghettoes, the shanties where the poorest, the most miserable and the most criminal elements of society tend to collect. Beyond the task of maintaining some semblance of public order and keeping the fire hazard under control, the authorities responsible for overseeing these notorious districts tend to ignore their nominal duties. What happens in the slums is of little concern provided that it stays in the slums.

This negligent policing has essentially turned the shantytowns into playgrounds for local street gangs and protection rackets. Some of them are little more than ad hoc bands of thugs and robbers, temporal packs that prey on the weak for a while and then scatter, either falling apart on their own or swept off by a stronger rival.

But there are also groups that can be considered true factions - large and organized gangs formed around semi-legit business such as brothels and gambling dens, under the yoke of a neighbourhood strong man and his small circle of favoured henchmen. Although such groups do engage in violent turf wars from time to time, overall they actually contribute to the stability and safety of the neighbourhood, as they take care of the day-to-day policing that the official authorities are unable or unwilling to do. A good enough a reason to leave them alone. Not to mention the fair share of their profits which tend to find their way into said authorities' pockets...

Bandits

Outside the protective walls and entangling politics of cities, a different kind of lowlife menace prevails. Bandits plague the roads, attacking lightly escorted caravans or lone travelers. They pillage the fields and granaries of farming communities, and in large numbers might even dare to sack and plunder entire villages. They operate out of hideouts in the wilderness, led by ruthless quasi-warlords who take the lion's share of the booty. To make profit out of their ill-gotten loot, they need in some way arrange it to be sold in the markets of the cities. This is often facilitated through contacts with smugglers and unscrupulous collegiums.

Escaped Slaves

Sometimes, groups of slaves manage to escape and survive long enough to form roving bands of fugitives, poorly armed and somewhat dangerous. Large-scale slave revolts are particularly likely to spawn such packs. They often take to banditry, becoming just another horde of brigands. But sometimes they rally under the ragged banner of some charismatic leader, determined to instigate rebellion and make war upon their masters. Should their leaders prove intelligent and capable, they might in time become a force to be reckoned with.

Pirates

Piracy is a perpetual problem on all the charted seas. It is not the sole province of seaborne bandits, though. A good deal of piracy is actually practiced by the war-fleets of political states - tribes, cities, kingdoms and empires. Pirates target not only ships at sea, but also frequently raid coastal settlements. Pirates of the Savage Age are after more than just plunder, too - they are among the most efficient providers of fresh slaves to sate the demands of the market. Slave-traders rarely bother to ask questions regarding the origins of the chattel they purchase, and their customers are all too happy to be as courteous when the prices are low.

Charioteer Teams

In the Argyrian Empire, chariot racing is serious business. The colossal stadiums known as hippodromes attract audience by the thousands, and enormous sums change hands on the betting tables at every race. In prominent cities (where the largest and most lucrative arenas are located) charioteers are organized into teams that compete against each other for the glory and prizes. Intimately tied to the business that revolves around the races, each team seeks to maximize it's own profits and influence, and undermine their rivals by any means.

Chariot teams are overseen by cabals of wealthy patrons, who own and outfit the chariots and the horses, and sponsor the careers and training of the charioteers. Their cutthroat competition threatens public safety, as a popular team might be supported by thousands of fanatical followers that could easily be manipulated into a violent mob.



Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 03, 2010, 02:27:44 PM
The Lands of the Empire


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/Mornos.jpg/120px-Mornos.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Mornos.jpg)
The territories of the Argyrian Empire stretch far and wide, encompassing a multitude of environments from hot semi-deserts and subtropical islands to the chill of windswept highlands. However, the majority of it's inhabited portions exhibit a warm climate where summers are dry and hot, winters cool. Alternating between arid plains, deep-cut valleys, jagged rocky hills and towering mountain ranges, the landscape bears an overall character of ruggedness. A long, serpentine coastline gnaws deep notches into the continental landmass, while uncountable islands rise up from the waves, littering the restless waters like the scattered pieces of a broken stone tablet. There is some truth to the adage that Argyrians are never far from the Sea.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bb/Andimilos.jpg/120px-Andimilos.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Andimilos.jpg)
While it's climate may be generally habitable, at times even pleasant, and it's landscape adorned with scenery of striking, stark beauty, the Empire is frequently devastated by a host of calamities and natural disasters. The spirits of the earth seethe with untamed rage, unleashing their fury through volcanic eruptions, fissures, lava flows, mudslides and earthquakes. The scorching heat of summer leaves the land dry and parched, giving wake to immense bushfires that sweep across fields and pastures with terrifying speed. Winter brings with it relieving rains, but also violent storms that rise quickly and unexpectedly, felling trees and huts and lighting the sky with the flame of thunder.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/46/Tara_River_Canyon.jpg/79px-Tara_River_Canyon.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Tara_River_Canyon.jpg)
Although civilization marches forth with the callous determination of an army of ants, raising it's head again and again after each debilitating blow, many corners of the Empire yet remain untamed. Beyond the protective walls of crowded cities, past the slave-tilled fields and orchards of Mankind, there are places unmarked on any map, pristine soil untrod by civilized feet: Unconquerable heights amidst ancient mountain-peaks, hiding the ruins of pre-human civilizations under the eternal ice of glaciers. Wild and primeval forests haunted by ancient spirits, shrouded in darkness under impenetrable canopy. Nameless islands hidden in mists, thrice accursed in the whispered tales of affrighted mariners. And unexplored valleys and ravines wherein roam lions and saber-toothed tigers and wild beasts from aeons long forgotten.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/db/Rhodos-Land-2.jpg/120px-Rhodos-Land-2.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/Rhodos-Land-2.jpg)

Regions
These regions fall under the august rulership of the Argyrian Emperor, some more firmly so than others:
  • Acheria (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg228024.html#msg228024)
  • Acropalaea (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg103990.html#msg103990)
  • Andauria (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg171583.html#msg171583)
  • Araxa (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg228025.html#msg228025)
  • Aspidia (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg113839.html#msg113839)
  • Auria (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224027.html#msg224027)
  • Carantia (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg102764.html#msg102764)
  • Cerberia (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224028.html#msg224028)
  • Chelonesia (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg102766.html#msg102766)
  • Helikia (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg102762.html#msg102762)
  • Orestia (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224026.html#msg224026)
  • Ophidiana (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224029.html#msg224029)
  • Therania (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224025.html#msg224025)
  • Throntia (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg228046.html#msg228046)


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 03, 2010, 02:31:08 PM
Helikia
Helikia is the quintessential maritime region, consisting of the large island of Helikia, a myriad smaller islands of the Imperial Sea, and a long coastal strip of the continental peninsula to the west. With it's population focused on port-cities and fishing villages, Helikia lives and breathes by it's access to the sea. It boasts of the oldest and most honorable traditions in shipbuilding, sailing and maritime trade among all Argyrians.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/ff/De-_San_Vito_lo_Capo%2C_Zingaro-NatSchGeb%2C_Strand.jpg/120px-De-_San_Vito_lo_Capo%2C_Zingaro-NatSchGeb%2C_Strand.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/ff/De-_San_Vito_lo_Capo%2C_Zingaro-NatSchGeb%2C_Strand.jpg/800px-De-_San_Vito_lo_Capo%2C_Zingaro-NatSchGeb%2C_Strand.jpg)
Helikian lands are rugged, more so than those of it's neighbouring regions. The soil is rocky, eroded and fairly arid. Vegetation is sparse, dominated by shrubs, palms and acacias. Arable land is at a premium, especially on the islands, and many hillsides have been terraced to maximize yields. While state of agriculture is mediocre, viticulture and olive cultivation prosper. Shipbuilding is a major industry, though much of the wood must be imported.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Benizar_Moratalla_Murcia_rincon_de_las_cuevas.jpg/120px-Benizar_Moratalla_Murcia_rincon_de_las_cuevas.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Benizar_Moratalla_Murcia_rincon_de_las_cuevas.jpg/800px-Benizar_Moratalla_Murcia_rincon_de_las_cuevas.jpg)
Helikia is regarded as the original homeland of the Argyrian peoples, and bears a great deal of religious and mythological value to them. Many ancient temples of particularly high status are located there - as is the seat of the Supreme Oracle, who resides in the sanctuary on Mt. Helix.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 03, 2010, 03:04:12 PM
Carantia
Carantia is the proverbial breadbasket of the Empire, famed for it's great estates and the throngs of hapless slave workers that till them. Carantian soil is volcanic and extremely fertile, while the Aetic Mountains to the East capture the rainfall from clouds brought from the sea by prevailing winds, feeding rivers that irrigate the fields via a carefully engineered network of canals. What land has not yet been converted to farming is largely left undeveloped, save where valuable mineral deposits or the like are found. The region's politics is dominated by a small cadre of extremely rich potentates who own all the estates and exploit their produce to fill their hefty treasuries.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/20/Eurotas.JPG/120px-Eurotas.JPG) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/20/Eurotas.JPG/800px-Eurotas.JPG)
Great port-cities line the coast, supplying the immense grain ships that make runs there from spring to autumn. Having filled their holds with the harvest, these behemoths head for the Imperial capital city to provide food for it's enormous population. Without imported Carantian grain, the streets of Atarneon would soon be overrun by desperate mobs of starving citizens, a fact that has allowed the potentates to amass excessive wealth and influence. Inebriated by the profusion of gold and power, the upper classes have become dangerously ambitious, decadent and corrupt. They hold the Empire's laws in contempt and stop at nothing in their efforts to gain ever more influence, confident in their ability to bribe and blackmail their way out of any adversity.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e6/Sierra_de_Cazorla_-_Pantano_del_Tranco.jpg/120px-Sierra_de_Cazorla_-_Pantano_del_Tranco.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e6/Sierra_de_Cazorla_-_Pantano_del_Tranco.jpg/800px-Sierra_de_Cazorla_-_Pantano_del_Tranco.jpg)
But there is much more to Carantia than just bustling harbours, fertile floodplains and plantations. It's mountains of karst and jutting hills rise high, riddled with maze-like passes and canyons, punctured with vast networks of caves and underground rivers. Amidst the precarious crags and gorges lurk a multitude of savage hosts - barbaric hill-tribes whose bewitched wardrums echo ominously through moonlit nights, bandit hordes that skulk in hidden fortresses and descend on the lowlands with steel on their arms and the glint of plunder in their eyes, and droves of escaped slaves gathering under the banners of charismatic leaders urging them on the blood-soaked path of revolt.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/Samaria2r.jpg/84px-Samaria2r.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d5/Samaria2r.jpg)
Carantia may be a disaster in the making, but the calm that precedes the coming storm may last quite a while yet. In the meantime, aspiring heroes will find plenty of opportunities in this land: sorting out the conflicts and trade-wars of feuding noble houses, exploring the mysterious caves beneath the mountains for deposits of gold and silver, fighting off raiding bandits and tribesmen, and returning fugitive slaves back to the pens they escaped.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 03, 2010, 04:01:50 PM
Chelonesia
A rival of Helikia in maritime activities, Chelonesia is an entirely island-based region, consisting of a major archipelago and an ill-defined number of other islands. It is located between four bodies of water: the Imperial Sea (Helikian Sea) to the North, the Erytanian Sea to the East, the Coral Sea to the South and the Sea of a Million Islands to the West. Chelonesian islands are volcanic in nature, and quite active. The volcanoes rise relatively low, their sides sloping lazily down from the smoldering craters.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fb/Alicudi_filicudi.jpg/120px-Alicudi_filicudi.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Alicudi_filicudi.jpg)
Scarcity of arable land combined with natural aridity resulting from it's southern latitude has left the region sparsely populated compared to the continental lands. Agriculturally challenged, the people look to the sea for their livelihood. The region is well-known for producing highly valued purple dyes, extracted from certain molluscs, and for the large number of turtles and tortoises found in these islands. The people here worship a great turtle-god, which is not part of the general Argyrian pantheon. Turtle soup is a local delicacy, and decorative artefacts made from tortoise shells are imported overseas for fine profit.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/54/Gozo_Ramla_Bay.jpg.jpg/120px-Gozo_Ramla_Bay.jpg.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/54/Gozo_Ramla_Bay.jpg.jpg/800px-Gozo_Ramla_Bay.jpg.jpg)
Though the threat of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes is omnipresent in Chelonesia, it pales in comparison to the more commonplace menace of piracy. The broken coasts and uncharted islands offer an abundance of potential hideouts; obscure coves where swift galleys may be drawn to the beaches and hidden bases carved into the soft stone of cliffsides to store the fruits of plunder. It's central location between the seas makes Chelonesia a nexus of crisscrossing shipping lanes, which ensures that piracy thrives. Sailors who ply these waters ought to keep their eyes keenly on the horizon and their blades sharpened.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 09, 2010, 10:49:04 AM
Acropalaea
Although Therania is the political center of the Empire and Helikia the reputed origin of Argyrian culture, Acropalaea is regarded as the foremost cradle of civilization. It was in this land that the Empire was born, in the great city of Hedra where Argyros himself once sat upon an ornate throne, and wherein was of old the Imperial capital. Amongst all the regions, Arcopalaea is the one most urbanized, the most advanced, and the most prosperous. It's cities are ancient and proud, adorned with colossal monuments and lavish palaces. The land is very productive: it's fields fertile, it's gold and silver mines replete with wealth, it's wines and wares lauded for their quality.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/05/Bay_north_from_Parga.JPG/120px-Bay_north_from_Parga.JPG) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Bay_north_from_Parga.JPG)
The coastal plains along the western shores are densely populated, dotted with sprawling towns and covered in well-tended fields. As one proceeds eastward, the land begins to rise, at first gently, but soon giving way to deep-cut river valleys and ridges of highlands, which gradually turn into the foothills of the Polemos Mountains. The hill-lands of Acropalaea are less troubled than those of other regions, being inhabited mostly by reclusive shepherds. The mountains themselves, however, are ones of vicious reputation, said to be haunted by bloodthirsty spirits and abominable monsters. Fearful of these ancient peaks, the people are used to giving them wide berth save for the heavily fortified mining towns, thrust like spearpoints between the foothills to siphon the flow of precious metals from earth's bowels to the bustling markets on the coast.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/be/DSCN0182.JPG/120px-DSCN0182.JPG) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/DSCN0182.JPG)
Acropalaea is a land of vibrant commerce, high culture and carefully veiled intrigue. Merchants, diplomats and spies from across the civilized world congregate in it's wine-houses, villas and pleasure gardens, spinning their clandestine plots even as they indulge in a gourmet of a thousand luxuries. In the dark of night, poisoned blades and seductions of the flesh stalk all those who meddle in the dangerous games of trade and politics.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 23, 2010, 09:59:54 AM
Aspidia
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/Thessaly_Plain.jpg/120px-Thessaly_Plain.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Thessaly_Plain.jpg)
It is said that the Aspidians only know true passion for two things: horses and battle. Their homeland certainly has given them both in abundance. Landlocked and far from the sea, Aspidia lacks the maritime culture of other Argyrian regions. It is a vast territory, comprising great open plains and arrays of low, gently sloping hills, broken by meandering rivers. To the north and east it is bordered by the mighty peaks of the Gora Mountains, while the dark treeline of the Forest of Satyrs looms menacingly to the northwest.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/34/Kisavos_%28Ossa%29_mountain%2C_Thessaly%2C_Greece.jpg/120px-Kisavos_%28Ossa%29_mountain%2C_Thessaly%2C_Greece.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Kisavos_%28Ossa%29_mountain%2C_Thessaly%2C_Greece.jpg)
The soil in Aspidia is less fertile and the climate harsher than in the adjoining westerly and southerly regions, while the greater distances between towns, lack of sea access and position away from the primary trade routes has retarded local mercantilism. It is quite a poor and rustic region compared to most of the Empire, but it is also one of formidable power and military importance. The Aspidians are a notoriously hardy and warlike people, bred that way by generations of rough lives lived on this land. With the meagre harvests of their fields, they have had to rely on herding cattle and breeding horses on the scrubby pastures in order to avert famine and poverty, a state of affairs that has given them an outstanding tradition of equestrianism.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/62/Nida_tableland.jpg/120px-Nida_tableland.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Nida_tableland.jpg)
In a way, Aspidia has never truly known peace. The people are proud, clannish and hot-blooded, easily given to feuds and vendettas. The foothills to the north and east are inhabited by fierce hill tribes, and the Goras beyond them by even fiercer mountain tribes. A state of open hostility exists between these barbarians and the Aspidians, going back further than even mythic stories can recall. An endless cycle of brutal raids and counter-raids rages between the people of the peaks and the people of the plains; the former too few and disparate to challenge their foe on equal terms, the latter incapable of assailing the impervious mountain strongholds of the tribesmen.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 07, 2010, 11:14:20 AM
Many are the tales told about the legendary Eye of Skotys, which haunts the coast of Rhadinia. This is how people from the city of Ilissa, famed for it's resin-wines, recall it in their fables:

Argyros and the Eye of Skotys

It came to pass that during his wanderings, Argyros happened upon the town of Ceratopolis, by the mouth of the River Cyanis. It was the day before the night of the Torch Festival, and he found the entire city held in the pall of terror. The men went hither and tither in frightful hurry, clearing the streets from the carts and stalls of trade-goods, while from shadowy doorways women peered and cried for their children to come home with all haste. Everywhere windows were being boarded shut, doors barred and chimneys and smoke-holes sealed. And the beggars and urchins minded not their rightful place, but dared disturb their betters with frantic pleas for sanctuary, for they despaired being left out on the streets the coming night.

Argyros wished to know of the cause of this commotion, but such was the fright that beset the townsmen that he had to hold them at a spearpoint to hear an explanation. The menace, he was told, was the dreadful crimson star which was wont to rise in the black of night, heralding a plague of terrors upon the city. For three generations now had this doom visited Ceratopolis every year on the night of the Torch Festival. The star, it was said, was the abominable eye of the cosmic daemon Skotys, sent by the wrathful fire-god Phlegos to punish the Ceratopolitans, for three generations ago had the king of the city blasphemed against Phlegos by copulating within one of his temples. The coming night, this ominous eye would rise above the town's gabled roofs and peer down with it's monstrous gaze, shedding tears of blood. And this poisonous blood would rain down in torrents; and the wells would be fouled, and the crops upon the fields would wither, and the flesh of the livestock would rot and fall off their bones, and the people would be struck by madness and disease and misfortune.

Having heard this much, Argyros headed to the king's palace, and he was courteously invited to spend the night under his eminent host's roof, and to eat from his table and to drink of his wine. He talked at length with the king, reciting the words of the townsmen. And his eminent host did indeed confirm the truthfulness of that tale. The king on his part was as appalled by the peril as were his subjects, and he swore by his name that any man who should rid the city of this curse would earn his undying friendship and alliance, and that the men of Ceratopolis would gather beneath the banner of such hero when called upon. Upon hearing these words, Argyros announced that he would confront the menace that very night. And he took leave from his eminent host, and without fear he entered that perilous twilight outside the protective walls of the palace.

As dusk fell and the last stragglers withdrew into their houses, Argyros climbed atop the city's highest roof and lay in wait. Nary a cloud grazed the vault of the heavens that night, and the stars and the moons were ablaze. Behold! From the Northern horizon rose a star of crimson red, burning brighter still than the stars of old. With aberrant speed it ascended, anxious to reach it's destination directly above Ceratopolis, that it may cry a rain of blood. Facing that cosmic oculus, Argyros stood on the ridge of the roof and drew his mighty bow, which no one but him had the strength to string, and he nocked an arrow fletched with the feathers of a terror-bird. His aim was true, and with the single arrow he struck the crimson star, felling it from the sky like a hunter fells a bird in flight. And the star plummeted into the sea, sinking down to the bottom near the coast of Rhadinia, where it remains still, ever glowing with crimson light in the dark of night. And it is said that on the nights of the Torch Festival the sea by the coast turns to blood, and that unspeakable horrors shall befall the mariner who dares those waters after dark.

Such goes the legend as told by the people of Ilissa. In the renowned city of Saros one hears a different tale, where the curse of Ceratopolis is blamed on the sorcery of the Naiads of the river Cyanis, and where Argyros uses trickery to make the Eye of Skotys mistake the reflection off the water's surface for the sky, thereby causing it to plummet into the sea and drown. The proud men of Arete narrate yet another version, attributing the deed to their native hero Polydorus.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/5/55/Argyros.png)


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on January 23, 2011, 03:21:04 PM
Argyrian Law and Justice
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/09/Scale_of_justice_gold.png)

The Art of Law
Throughout it's thousand years of civilization, the Argyrian Empire has wrestled with the scourge of crime and brigandage that plagues every corner of the known world. In that time the Argyrians have built and refined a sophisticated legal system, based on written-down laws and a bureaucracy that arbitrates disputes between citizens. On the public squares and plazas of the Empire's cities, justice is administered in formal trials presided over by educated judges, and cases won or lost by the carefully worded arguments of silver-tongued jurists. Riddled with myriad nuances and subtle loopholes, the corpus of imperial legislation is a byzantine maze navigable only by the wise and cunning, while the course of a trial exhibits all the intricacies and high drama of a theatrical play. To the Argyrians, law is much more than a means to seek justice - it is a form of art.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c8/School_of_Athens_cropped.jpg/800px-School_of_Athens_cropped.jpg)

Roles and Scenarios
There are many ways for the lives of characters within the Empire to be affected by matters of law. They might commit crimes, or be unfairly accused of such. They may become involved in investigations, or find themselves drawn into a case as key witnesses. They could be aspiring jurists looking to make a name for themselves, or assassins hired to affect the outcome of a high-stakes trial.

Enforcement
Despite it's remarkable state of progress, the Argyrian justice system lacks one important element: organized law enforcement. There is no such thing as a police force within the Empire - nor in any other kingdom of the Savage Age for that matter. Although public order in settlements is enforced and roads patrolled by garrisoned militias, these forces have no duties to apprehend common criminals. Instead, the burden of delivering perpetrators to justice rests on the shoulders of the citizens wronged.

This poses little problem for the aristocracy; every noble family employs a corps of armed retainers easily up to the task. The governors who rule the various corners of the Empire can likewise rely on their henchmen should they have an interest to arrest someone. Even the common citizen isn't nearly as powerless as one might presume: binding familial ties and the clientage system ensure that virtually any free-born man has a large number of relatives - brothers, cousins, uncles, in-laws, etc. - to call upon, not to mention his powerful patron. And should these means prove inadequate, one can usually find bounty hunters willing to do the job for a handful of coins.

Investigations
As with law enforcement, the investigation of most crimes is left to the interested parties. Any characters possessed of experience or skills useful for such work are likely to be called upon by their allies, friends or superiors in need of such services. As the investigators usually lack police-like authority, they may have to rely on deception and creative solutions where more straightforward means are unavailable. For example, to search for evidence in a private house, they may have to get themselves invited in, or quietly steal into the place under the cover of night. Such actions may very well cross the limits of lawful conduct, but this is rarely a problem - provided they do not get caught...

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/96/Gaius_Gracchus_Tribune_of_the_People.jpg)

Jurists
While there is an expectation that every citizen be able to speak up and argue his case in court, it is acceptable to enlist the aid of others. This has led to the rise of an entire profession of jurists; men learned in the arts of law, politics and rhetoric. Jurists offer advice and interpretations on laws to the customers who consult them, and draft contracts and other legally binding documents. They also act as advocates or judges in trials.

A jurist must be well educated, of a respectable social status, and have good connections. Thus a commoner cannot become one. The services of a jurist tend to command high prices, although sometimes one may agree to work for free if the case presents an opportunity to win great fame and glory. A man who could not afford to hire a jurist on his own might be able to obtain such advocacy via his patron.

Justice isn't Blind
All are not equal before Argyrian law. The social status of the parties involved influences how much weight is put on each side's claims (and whether a trial can even be held in the first place), and the status of witnesses determines the worth of their testimony.
  • A slave is not considered a person, and therefore cannot commit crimes, only 'cause them to happen'. A slave's master may be prosecuted if his servile causes crimes to happen. A slave can never press charges against anyone. A testimony given by a slave may be deemed legally valid only if it has been obtained via torture.
  • A non-citizen cannot press charges nor give testimony against a citizen. However, another citizen may press charges on behalf of the non-citizen.
  • A commoner cannot press charges nor give testimony against a nobleman. However, his (noble) patron may do so on his behalf.
  • A client cannot be compelled to give testimony against his patron.
  • A dependant (a direct descendant, a younger sibling, a wife) cannot press charges nor be compelled to give testimony against the head of their family (the eldest male).
  • Nobody can press charges nor give testimony against the Emperor. Ever. This immunity can be extended to any other member of the Imperial family at the Emperor's behest.

Continued in:
  • How to run a Trial (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg147222.html#msg147222).
  • Punishments & Example Laws (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg158080.html#msg158080).


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Steerpike on January 23, 2011, 03:31:23 PM
I love the detail of this setting.  It feels "authentic."


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on January 23, 2011, 04:19:26 PM
Not sure what you mean by authentic, but I'm glad you like the detail-ness. I felt rather unsure about dabbling with the subject of law, which is not commonly given much attention in fantasy. It also seems a subject difficult to write about without getting long winded & boring.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LD on January 23, 2011, 04:41:27 PM

Quote

All are not equal before Argyrian law. The social status of the parties involved influences how much weight is put on each side's claims (and whether a trial can even be held in the first place), and the status of witnesses determines the worth of their testimony.

    * A slave is not considered a person, and therefore cannot commit crimes, only 'cause them to happen'. A slave's master may be prosecuted if his servile causes crimes to happen. A slave can never press charges against anyone. A testimony given by a slave may be deemed legally valid only if it has been obtained via torture.
    * A non-citizen cannot press charges nor give testimony against a citizen. However, another citizen may press charges on behalf of the non-citizen.
    * A commoner cannot press charges nor give testimony against a nobleman. However, his (noble) patron may do so on his behalf.
    * A client cannot be compelled to give testimony against his patron.
    * A dependant (a direct descendant, a younger sibling, a wife) cannot press charges nor be compelled to give testimony against the head of their family (the eldest male).
    * Nobody can press charges nor give testimony against the Emperor. Ever. This immunity can be extended to any other member of the Imperial family at the Emperor's behest.


I agree, it's a good idea to have a detailed system of law- for that is what makes real societies function. My Gloria setting had a similar problem to confront in structuring how evidence can be weighted, so you are not alone in addressing this issue.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on January 27, 2011, 05:10:34 PM
The Anatomy of a Trial
Trials are often the culmination points for stories about crime and punishment. In the Argyrian Empire, a trial is as much a battlefield as any blood-soaked plain on the savage frontier: an arena of intrigue and manipulation, where the lives of powerful men can be cut short and the glorious names of ancient lineages shamed for eternity with but a few well-phrased words of a skilled rhetor. The course of justice presents a drama of veiled intentions and scandalous revelations, unfolding over three stages: the summons, the preliminary hearing, and the trial itself.

The Stages of a Trial

Note

All trials take place in a city or a town of sufficient size to host a magistracy. Large settlements may employ multiple magistrates, one for each district, while in smaller ones there is typically but a single magistrate, who oft is also the reigning governor. People living in small villages or on the countryside may have to travel long ways to receive their justice.
Stage I: The Summons
To press charges, the party feeling wronged (called the plaintiffs) must present their grievances to the local magistrate. If the magistrate deems there to be grounds for a valid case, he will consult a diviner to determine an auspicious date for a hearing, and issue a public announcement whereby both sides are summoned to appear in court at that time. Should the defendants fail to obey the summons, the magistrate can authorize the plaintiffs to bring them in forcibly. If the defendants manage to evade justice they lose the case by default and the magistrate may pronounce a summary judgement in favour of the plaintiffs to the fullest extent of the law.

Stage II: The Preliminary Hearing
Both parties appear before the magistrate for a preliminary hearing, held on the public square. A formalized sequence of statements follows:
1. The plaintiffs state their accusation against the defendants.
2. The defendants either agree with or refute the accusation.
3. If the defendants agree with the accusation, they may raise a defense justifying or mitigating the accusation. (Eg. a man accused of slaying his neighbour's mule may admit the deed but raise the defense that said animal was apparently rabid)
4. The plaintiffs announce what support (witnesses and evidence) they are prepared to present to back up their claims. The defendants may, with argument, demand any of these items to be withdrawn as invalid.
5. The defendants announce what support they in turn have to present, and the plaintiffs may demand any of these items to be withdrawn.

Note

Depending on omens and the participants' ability to travel as needed, the time between the hearing and the trial can range from a few days to weeks. Plenty enough time for key evidence to go up in flames, witnesses to be intimidated, judges to be bribed and the plans of the opposition to be spied on.

During this interval the characters involved should prepare their speeches, safeguard their resources, engage in espionage and pull favours with their social contacts.
Having heard each side, the magistrate then decides whether to disallow any witnesses or pieces of evidence to be presented in the upcoming trial. He then dismisses the parties and arranges for the trial to be held on an auspicious date. A public announcement will be issued, along with summons for both parties to appear. As before, the plaintiffs may be granted authority to drag the defendants to court by force.

Stage III: The Trial
The final trial is set on the public square, beginning an hour after sunrise. The trial will be presided over by a council of 10 judges, one of whom ranks as senior. The judges will be seated on a raised stand by the end of the plaza, while the involved parties and their supporters are placed to the sides. Curious bystanders may gather to spectate the event from the opposite end of the square. All speeches are made from a pedestal in the center, each speaker stepping forth as called by the senior judge.

First, a spokesman from among the judges formally presents the case - who against who, what is the accusation, on what grounds, and so on - summarizing what was learned in the preliminary hearing.

Note

Cross-examination of witnesses is not possible. Each side is allotted the same amount of time, measured by water clocks.
Next, the plaintiffs are allowed to argue their side of the case. They may opt to give orations, bring forth witnesses, present material evidence for examination, or request for laws or other documents to be read out.

After that, the defendants are allowed to argue their side of the case, with the same options.

At the end of the first round the judges pass a verdict by casting votes in favour of either the plaintiffs or the defendants. The decision is made via secret ballot, with a simple majority required. Should the votes be tied, the senior judge acts as a tiebreaker.

If the verdict was in favour of the plaintiffs, the trial continues for a second round, to determine the severity of the punishment, compensation or other consequence the defendants should be condemned to. Again, both parties are given a turn each to propose an appropriate judgement (within the limits of the laws), with arguments to support their stance.

At the end of the second round the judges decide which proposition they support. The same manner of voting is used to arrive to the decision. Once the decision is reached, the judgement is declared and the trial concludes.

The Aftermath
The passing of judgement could be the end of the show, but it need not be. Parties unhappy with the result might appeal to a higher-ranking magistracy, convicts might escape the execution of justice, unexpected evidence challenging the verdict might turn up, or the course of the trial might have revealed leads to other crimes that now need to be investigated.

Larger Trials
Particularly difficult or politically charged cases may be brought before a council of 100 judges, available only in provincial capitals. Such scandalous trials always attract large crowds of spectators, rouse up furious gossip, and may even trigger riots and public unrest.

Imperial Edicts
In rare cases, the Emperor himself might decide to intervene directly with a court case. He does so via edicts that overrule or append the normal laws and procedure for that particular case. His power is such that, when fully exercised, it can largely dictate the verdict. This form of intervention generally only happens over truly extraordinary matters, such as high treason or conspiracies against the throne.

How to use a Trial
There are many ways to incorporate a trial into a story, ranging from a minor sideshow to the entire story being about a trial. The pacing of the events can be fast or slow as needed, depending on how much detail is to be shown. Not all the stages are necessarily explored; the action could begin in the middle of the interim and span through to the end of the final trial.
Continued in: Punishments & Example Laws (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg158080.html#msg158080).


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Magnus Pym on February 01, 2011, 10:28:05 PM
Good work, very detailed.

I am myself designing a campaign setting and the first part of the world, from where the story and content will evolve, is alot like Greek-Romanish times.

This inspires me


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LD on February 01, 2011, 11:47:57 PM

Quote

Particularly difficult or politically charged cases may be brought before a council of 100 judges, available only in provincial capitals. Such scandalous trials always attract large crowds of spectators, rouse up furious gossip, and may even trigger riots and public unrest.


Sounds like a particularly good adventure seed. Trial of Socrates, for e.g. (!)


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on February 02, 2011, 10:08:17 AM
Welcome to the CGB Magnus Pym! Good to hear that someone has found my ramblings inspiring. :)

Light Dragon: One of the reasons why I decided to tackle laws & trials in the first place was to make it easy to create such adventures.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on February 24, 2011, 12:26:44 PM
Punishments
The judgements of Argyrian courts tend to be harsh, especially toward those who stand lowest in the social order. As with all civilizations of the Savage Age, imprisonment is completely absent from the list of punishments - without the advantages of mechanized industry and machinery, societies simply cannot afford to keep large numbers of people fed and housed for long. The incarceration facilities that exist are thus used only for short-term detention; to hold those deemed too dangerous to be left free while waiting for their trial, and for the execution of those sentenced to death by starvation.

List of common punishments:
  • Monetary fines, generally paid as compensation to the victim or his inheritors. The sum settled on is based on the estimated loss of property suffered by the victim, but may be multiplied manyfold if the victim is of noble status. The wealthiness of the perpetrator is not given any consideration whatsoever.
  • Enslavement deprives the criminal of all social status and rights, and he becomes either private property of the victim of the crime, or collective property of the Empire. The latter case generally means being sent to waste away in heavy labour in some quarry or mines, which is practically a death sentence.
  • Indentured servitude is superficially similar to slavery, but not nearly as severe. It is a temporal sentence; the convict's social status is merely suspended rather than lost, and the master does not hold the power of life and death over the indentured servant.
  • Exile is inflicted only upon the nobility, generally for crimes that would cost a commoner his life or freedom.
  • Corporal punishments include lashings with a leather whip and beatings with a wooden rod. Such punishments are administered in the public to set an example, and for the added humiliation of the criminal.
  • Mutilations include blinding by removal of the eyes, deafening by rupturing of the eardrums, muting by cutting off the tongue, dismemberment and castration.
  • Capital punishments come in many forms, some of which are considered much more severe than others. They are executed in the public to set an example. In order from the most dignified to the most ignominious:
    • Death by poisoned drink (generally hemlock)
    • Death by beheading (by the axe)
    • Death by strangulation
    • Death by starvation
    • Death by drowning (in a river, lake or the sea)
    • Death by boiling (in a cauldron of water or oil)
    • Death by stoning
    • Death by impalement (a pike inserted through anus, exits from the chest)
    • Death by wild beasts (anything from wolves to crocodiles may be used)
    • Death by the sack of snakes (executed is put into the sack, which is then sewn shut and rolled down a cliff)
The Effect of Status
The status of the criminal (citizenship and nobility) effects what sort of punishments he can be sentenced to:

  • A citizen cannot be sentenced to suffer more than 20 lashes, or more than 15 beatings, from any single crime. A non-citizen can be sentenced to any number of either kind, even to such numbers that are likely to result in death, though this does not qualify as a capital punishment in the eyes of the law.
  • Corporal and capital punishments inflicted on those of noble birth are always administered discreetly, rather than in the public, unless their crime was against the Emperor or the Empire.
  • A citizen cannot be sentenced to death by the means of stoning, impalement, wild beasts, or the sack of snakes. The Emperor may still authorize such punishment.
  • Those of noble blood cannot be sentenced to death by any means other than poisoned drink, beheading or strangulation. The Emperor may still authorize greater punishment.
  • Those of noble birth can never be reduced to slavery.


Example Laws
It would be futile to try to list all the hundreds of laws. Instead, a few example codes are provided here, to give Game Masters a general idea of the language and nature of Argyrian laws. New codes should be thought up ad hoc as a plot warrants.

  • "He who in anger strikes a free citizen, so that injury is brought upon the one struck, shall render onto his victim 45 asteres."
  • "If a man steals from another man's house, and he is caught in the act, and the act is taking place after dark but before the sunrise, and the man so caught is struck where he is met, so that he dies, then this slaying shall be deemed lawful and just, and no restitution shall be required of he who struck the blow."
  • "He who steals from a temple or holy place shall be flogged, and his arms shall be broken, and he shall be put to death. And those who possess the things he stole shall also be put to death."
  • "If a man wishes to divorce his wife, and his wife has not been found barren, and neither has she been found adulterous, then shall he return in full measure the dowry that this wife brought to his house, or else compensate it's value in silver."
  • "If man who holds a public office accepts a gift of money, or of property, and out of gratitude or in conspiracy with the gift-giver renders onto him such favours as are commanded by the office held, then that man shall be put to death. And the gift-giver shall be given lashes of the whip, and then he shall be put to death."
  • "When a man has become indebted to another, and has not made good on it, then the one to whom the debt is owed shall take from his house, and from his garden, and from his fields, and from his cattle, and from his slaves, any such portion as is deemed good and just to satisfy the debt.
    • Should this not be enough, then the one being indebted to may seize the debtor, and put him in chains, and he shall be made his slave.
    • Should this also not be enough, then the one being indebted to may seize the debtor's wives, and his children, and his children's children, and put them in chains, and they shall be made his slaves."
  • "He who slanders the Most August Name of the Emperor, present or past, shall be put to death by the sack of snakes, and his immediate kin shall be put to death, and his house shall be reduced to rubble, so that not a stone is left to stand."
  • "If a man looks maliciously upon another, and willfully casts upon him the evil eye, then that man shall be deprived of his eyes."
  • "If a man places ignoble writings upon a hex-tablet, and in so doing causes failure of crops upon another man's fields, or disease upon his livestock, then that man shall be flogged and then beaten and then castrated, and he shall be put to death by drowning."

GMs should not fear coming up with overlapping, contradictory or confusing laws. After all, the realm of Argyrian legislation is supposed to be a convoluted web full of intricacies and nuances, with room for creative interpretations and cunning manipulation by jurists. In addition to the corpus of Imperial laws that (at least in theory) are applied across the Empire, each province enforces it's own set of supplemental rulings, adding to the complexity. It is not at all uncommon for the plaintiffs to press their accusations based on one law while the defendants cite another law that addresses the same issue, arguing why it should take priority over the other one.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 01, 2011, 11:05:14 AM
Andauria

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Caucasus%2C_Russia_%28Dombay%29.jpg/90px-Caucasus%2C_Russia_%28Dombay%29.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Dombay%2C_Caucasus%2C_Russia.jpg)
Resting atop a dismal plateau high above sea level, nestled betwixt formidable walls of snow-capped mountains, Andauria presents a stark contrast to other regions of the Empire. Due to it's elevation and northerly latitude, it's climate is harsh by Argyrian standards. The winters there are viciously cold, with howling winds of glacial air blowing down from the mountains, sweeping mercilessly across the plateau. The native air draws thin to the breath while the soil beneath is poor and rocky, the very earth rent and torn with perilous cliffs and bottomless chasms. The forests are dark and impassable tangles, the rivers fast-flowing rapids rushing their way through deep-cut gorges.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/99/Azat_at_Garni.jpg/120px-Azat_at_Garni.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Azat_at_Garni.jpg)
Andauria is a bleak, brutal and inhospitable land, beset by savage tribes of ever-rebellious natives. It is the very image of an untamed frontier, and can only be held onto through rigorous military power and relentless vigilance. And it is a land of utmost importance to the Empire. Shipments of silk, a source of fabulous wealth for the Argyrians, must cross the isthmus of Euria on their way to the distant markets of the Sea of Blood, where the precious fabrics command a king's ransom in gold. As it happens, the primary route across this stretch of land passes through the Andaurian plateau. He who controls Andauria controls the flow of silk.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/35/Shahara_peak_near_Ushguli_1870.jpg/120px-Shahara_peak_near_Ushguli_1870.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/35/Shahara_peak_near_Ushguli_1870.jpg)
Andauria is bordered to the south by Therania, the edge of the plateau marked with steep cliffs and waterwalls. Northwards the elevation drops somewhat more gradually, descending near sea level at the shores of the Gulf of Aundauria, the westernmost arm of the Sea of Blood. The east and west sides are blocked by mountain ranges, but to the northwest opens the way to the Endless Plains where savage horse-tribes ride.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Ardoti.JPG/120px-Ardoti.JPG) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Ardoti.JPG)


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 08, 2011, 02:28:50 PM

Out of Character


One might not think that education would be worth covering in much detail, since it isn't likely to be given much "screen time" in any story - not least due to the fact that most characters would be well past their school days. My opinion is that it is a subject that shouldn't be glossed over so easily. A character is very much a product of his past, and education received during childhood forms a major component of those past experiences.

And much as the state of education within a setting informs the creation of individual characters, it can also shed a great deal of light on a society at large. The questions of what is being taught, to whom, and how, help paint a clearer picture of life in a fictional world.


Education

Education in the Argyrian world is divided to two tiers: primary and academic. Both are fairly formalized, taking place in schools and academies under the tutelage of professional teachers. There is no public school system found anywhere within the Empire; all schools are private institutions that charge fees for entry. Thus education is available only to the children of such families that are able to afford it.

Opportunities for formal education are mostly present in cities and towns. Rural population (except for the landed aristocracy, who send their sons to be schooled in urban centers) remains largely uneducated. Male and female students are taught in separate schools, and receive very different kind of education.

Proper education is highly valued within the Argyrian society. However, it is viewed not so much as a means to learn any kind of practical trade, but chiefly as a way to refine and cultivate the character of the youths. To shape them into civilized and sophisticated citizens, equally capable and appreciative of the pursuits of the mind and the pursuits of the body; on all occasions conducting themselves with dignity and honor.

Primary Education

Those who have the fortune of receiving formal education usually begin with their schooling some time after their seventh birthday. Schools tend to be small and austere businesses, located in the private homes of the teachers. A child is typically placed in the charge of a dedicated caretaker, usually a trusted household slave, who will escort them to the schools and back to home, carry their possessions, keep them out of any kind of mischief, and punish them when necessary. The teachers are lower-class citizens, a poorly paid and unrespected profession. Discipline in their schools is very strict and ruthlessly enforced by caning and flogging. Schooldays begin shortly after dawn and end before dusk, the time between filled with arduous studying.

Boys are from the beginning taught reading and writing skills, using wax tablets and stylus. They are also taught some basic arithmetic using the abacus, and to recite poetry from memory. When they get a bit older, they will divide their schooldays in three parts: They'll continue to attend the literary and arithmetic class by the morning; then they move on to another school where they spend the noon learning to sing, dance and play the flute and the lyre; the rest of the day passes in the excercise grounds of the gymnasium, practicing various athletics and martial skills.

Girls attend separate schools, where such are available and if their parents are willing to pay the entrance fees. Their education consists of reading, writing, poetry, singing, dancing, playing the lyre, etiquette, and weaving. In some cities, athletics may be taught to girls also, but this is rarer.

Primary education is often the only level of education within the grasp of the poorer citizenry. It is also the only type of formal education that may be available for girls.

Academia

More sophisticated (and expensive) avenues of learning are open for the sons of powerful wealthy Argyrian families, once these youths are done with their primary education. This transition usually occurs at age of fifteen. Every major town bears at least one academy, hosting lectures in philosophy, rhetoric, advanced mathematics, geometry, astrology, medicine, politics, history, literature, calligraphy and etiquette - in addition to further studies in the common curricula of primary education.

Unlike school teachers, academic instructors are notable and respected citizens, drawn almost without exception from aristocratic background. They are accomplished scholars and sages, teaching more out of a love for the arts and sciences than any need to earn a living. A few academia have become particularly famous and prominent centers of learning, amassing great collections of written-down wisdom in their libraries and gathering the sharpest minds of the Empire within their vaunted halls.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 17, 2011, 10:07:11 AM
Philosophy: The Mountain of Wisdom

A widespread school of philosophy originating from Epimetrias, the city of marble. The school's teachings concern the nature of the universe and the inherent flawedness of human perception.

Teachings

The cornerstone of the Mountain of Wisdom's philosophy is the assertion that a true and objective form of the universe exists, but that it cannot be directly observed by mankind due to the limits and biases of mortal faculties. Disciples of the school propose that glimpses of this platonic actuality - what they've termed true wisdom - might be caught by looking past the readily apparent, by reading between the lines of the cosmic manuscript and thereby seeing the forest for the trees, even if within a limited scope and context.

In their quest for greater apprehension these philosophers have developed and perfected techniques to more acutely recognize such obscure patterns and associations lost amidst the cacophony of everyday phenomena. They are quite notorious for displaying quaint and unconventional points of view on the most mundane of subjects, and of being adept at seeing through expertly crafted deceptions and hidden agendas.

Behind the Name

The proverbial "mountain of wisdom", whence the school takes it's name, is not an actual mountain but a metaphor that illustrates the paradox of the mortal philosopher: Imagine an infinitely tall mountain, with a lone philosopher climbing it's side. His ascent represents accumulation of wisdom; each step and clambering resulting in ever greater understanding and clarity. Yet, to reach the summit - to achieve paramount wisdom - is impossible, as the mountain is infinitely tall. It is thus an unachievable objective, a hopeless task, to attempt to grasp the true nature of the universe. And yet the philosopher continues his ascent undaunted, for he has realized that it is the journey, not the destination, that actually matters.

Public Perception

The school primarily attracts upper-class intellectuals and retired academics; people with the leisure and interest to pursue such eccentric knowledge. As the Mountain of Wisdom tends to disregard common worldly matters as unimportant and focus on seeking the esoteric true wisdom, it is largely seen as an aloof and apolitical movement. This has enabled the school to spread and grow unimpeded, as the powers-that-be see no threat in it's activities. Students of the Mountain of Wisdom often take to the road, traveling far and wide, driven by desire to discover new ideas and perspectives with which to challenge their perceptions about all things.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Magnus Pym on April 17, 2011, 10:50:41 AM
I like what I'm seeing.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on May 30, 2011, 02:22:51 PM
Character Names

Although the Empire is host to a wide array of local traditions, most Argyrian peoples have come to observe similar naming conventions.

Structure of Common Names

Only the aristocracy uses family names; common people simply go by their personal name, supplemented by a patronym (refering to their father) and/or a toponym (refering either to their place of birth, their current hometown, or their family's place of origin) to distinguish them from others bearing the same name.

For example, a man named Phanias who hails from the city of Ilissa might alternatively introduce himself as "Phanias of Ilissa, son of Androcles", or as "Phanias son of Androcles", or as "Phanias of Ilissa" - or even simply as "Phanias", depending on how formal and informative he wishes to be.

The string of patronyms may be extended to include grandfathers, great-grandfathers, great-great-grandfathers and so on, thus announcing the character's paternal lineage. For example: "Phanias son of Androcles son of Timaeus son of Artemon son of Timaeus son of Xenion". Of corse, such meticulous listing is rarely needed, and most people will never continue beyond their grandfathers. A proud warrior boasting of his glorious ancestry (for example, when issuing a challenge) may well be quite thorough in listing his forefathers, though.

It is a fairly common tradition to name first-born sons after their paternal grandfather, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Even traditionalist families might swerve from it if the grandfather in question was disgraced; the naming of children is considered to be an act of ominous power that can potentially doom the progeny with ill fortune or endow it with an auspicious destiny.

The Naming of Slaves

Slaves, being objects rather than people, have no proper names at all. They are called whatever their master decides to call them, which he may change on a whim. When a slave is manumitted (freed), he acquires his current slave-name as a proper personal name and usually also a patronym refering to his former master, regardless of whether the master actually adopts the freedman.

Example Names

The example personal names listed below are suitable not only for Argyrian characters, but also for many other Eurian peoples, such as Minarians, Valarians and Erytanians.

Aba
Acacia
Acrivi
Actaia
Admete
Adrastea
Adriane
Aello
Aerope
Aesione
Agape
Agathe
Agathemeris
Agathoclea
Agiatis
Ago
Aithra
Alcyone
Alexandra
Alexia
Alkinoe
Alkippe
Amalthea
Amaryllis
Ameino
Amphithea
Amphitrite
Anastasia
Anaxibia
Androclea
Andronica
Antallis
Anthea
Anticlea
Antigone
Antiope
Arcadia
Arethusa
Argiope
Ariadne
Aristea
Aristonike
Aristophora
Asemina
Aspasia
Asteria
Asterope
Athanasia
Axiothea
Berenice
Briseis
Callianeira
Callimede
Callinoe
Calliope
Callippe
Calliste
Callithoe
Canella
Cassandra
Cassiope
Castalia
Cleio
Cleo
Cleodora
Cleonike
Corallia
Corinna
Crinio
Cybernis
Damis
Danae
Daphne
Deianeira
Deidameia
Deipope
Delphis
Demarete
Demonike
Despoina
Dido
Dionne
Dora
Drosia
Eirene
Electra
Elpida
Elpidia
Elpis
Enarete
Epicharis
Epigone
Erasmia
Erinna
Erytheia
Euclea
Eudoxia
Euphemia
Euporia
Euthalia
Euthymia
Gaia
Galatea
Galina
Glycanthis
Glykera
Gorgo
Habro
Habryllis
Hagnothea
Halimede
Harmonia
Hebe
Hedeia
Hediste
Hedyle
Heleanthe
Hesione
Hieroclea
Horaia
Horigeneia
Hypatia
Hyporeia
Ianthe
Iphigenia
Iris
Isigenia
Ismene
Keda
Kerkis
Lampetia
Lamprini
Leda
Leontia
Leontis
Leothemis
Lesis
Leto
Leukothea
Liana
Lysandra
Lysippe
Maia
Margarita
Megaera
Melainis
Melania
Melanippe
Melete
Melia
Melinna
Melitta
Menandra
Meneia
Menippe
Menis
Menodora
Merope
Metaxia
Methe
Metrodora
Mneme
Myrianthe
Myrsine
Nais
Nausicaa
Neda
Nephele
Nereis
Nicanthe
Nikis
Niobe
Ocalea
Oceanis
Ogenis
Ogygia
Oianthe
Oinoe
Olbia
Omphale
Onasima
Ophelia
Ophelime
Oreias
Oreithyia
Orimeda
Ourania
Palladia
Panacea
Pandora
Pandrosos
Panope
Panoria
Parthena
Pasithea
Patrophila
Pelagia
Penthesilia
Perdica
Phaedra
Phaethousa
Phainarete
Phaino
Phanagora
Phanouria
Phaustine
Pheina
Pherenice
Pherousa
Philesia
Philinna
Philippa
Philomela
Philotera
Photine
Pistis
Pithane
Polyanthe
Polymede
Polymnia
Pomponia
Pothoumene
Procla
Promeneia
Psamatha
Psecas
Psylla
Pyrrha
Rhadamnia
Rhadine
Rheia
Rhodope
Rhodopis
Rhodothea
Sebaste
Selene
Semele
Smaragda
Sophia
Sophronia
Soteria
Stamatina
Sterope
Stilbe
Tatiana
Teisis
Telesilla
Terpsis
Tetradia
Thalia
Thallo
Thecla
Themis
Theodora
Theodosia
Theodote
Theone
Theophane
Theresia
Thespesia
Thetis
Thisbe
Thria
Thyia
Thymele
Thyone
Timarete
Timocharis
Timocleia
Xanthigone
Xanthippe
Xeinis
Xenarete
Xenea
Xenis
Xenomeda
Zaphiria
Zoe
Zopyra
Zosime


Abas
Acacios
Acastos
Acrisios
Admetos
Adrastos
Aeas
Aedesius
Aegeus
Aegisthus
Aesios
Aetolides
Agamemnon
Agasias
Agasicrates
Agathemeros
Agatheus
Agathias
Agathinos
Agathocles
Agathodoros  
Agathon
Agathonicos
Agathonymos
Agis
Agroicos
Aiacos
Aiakes
Aietes
Aion
Aithales
Alcaios
Alcon
Alexias
Alexippos
Alexius
Alketes
Alkibios
Alkidemos
Alkimedon
Alkimenes
Alkimos
Alkippos
Alypos
Amphias
Amphilochos
Anaxenor
Anaxilas
Anaxippos
Anaxis
Andreas
Androcles
Andronicos
Antaeus
Anthemion
Anthippos
Antidoros
Antigonos
Aratos
Arcadios
Arcas
Arceon
Archelas
Archippos
Aresias
Argos
Arion
Aristeas
Aristocles
Aristodemus
Aristomedes
Artemon
Asterios
Asylos
Atreus
Axiochos
Barsames
Brasidas
Calchas
Calliades
Callias
Callimedes
Callisthenes
Callistos
Carkinos
Cassandros
Cleanthes
Cleippos
Cleodoros
Cleomedes
Cleon
Crateros
Ctesias
Ctesippos
Damas
Damasias
Damasippos
Danaus
Deinias
Deinosthenes
Deiochos
Demalkes
Demanthes
Demonicos
Demopheles
Dexilaos
Dexios
Diagoras
Dikaios
Diphilos
Dromeas
Dromocles
Elatos
Elpias
Elpidios
Endios
Epandros
Ephoros
Epicles
Epicrates
Epigonos
Erastos
Eryx
Eteocles
Etion
Eubios
Eudemos
Eumenes
Euphron
Euporos
Eurytos
Euthymos
Galenos
Gelos
Glaukias
Gorgias
Gorgippos
Habron
Habronides
Hagnias
Hagnon
Hediodos
Hegias
Heniochos
Herondas
Hesychios
Hierodotos
Hieromenon
Horigenes
Horios
Hyalos
Hylas
Ibycos
Ictinos
Iketes
Iolaus
Iphicles
Isagoras
Ismenias
Keleos
Kepheus
Kerkion
Kineas
Kydias
Ladas
Lamachos
Lamprias
Laomedon
Leodamas
Leontios
Leophron
Leucos
Libanios
Lysanias
Lysias
Lysicrates
Lysippos
Magon
Maion
Maron
Medon
Megacles
Megasthenes
Melanion
Melanippos
Melanthios
Meletios
Meliton
Memnon
Menandros
Menas
Menippos
Menocles
Meriones
Merops
Methodios
Mnemon
Moschus
Myrsinos
Narcissus
Nausiphanes
Neandros
Neocles
Neophron
Nereus
Nicanor
Nikippos
Oarion
Oatas
Ocellus
Ocylas
Ocyllos
Ocytos
Odacon
Ogenos
Ogyges
Oiniades
Oinokles
Olbanos
Olenias
Olos
Omestes
Onaros
Onasimos
Onesas
Onomantos
Opeus
Ophelimos
Orestes
Orimedon
Orthocles
Oxylos
Palaemon
Palamedes
Panainos
Panopeus
Paramonos
Pardalas
Parmenion
Pasicles
Patrocles
Peithias
Peithinos
Pelagios
Peleus
Pelias
Pelops
Pentheus
Perdicas
Periandros
Phaedimos
Phaedon
Phaenippos
Phalacrion
Phanias
Phanocles
Phaustos
Pheidias
Pherecles
Pherias
Philagros
Philaretos
Philippos
Philocles
Philocrates
Philomelos
Philon
Philotas
Phlegon
Phocas
Phoroneus
Pitheus
Polycles
Polydamas
Polymedes
Porphyrion
Pothos
Praxiteles
Priamos
Proclos
Prostasios
Proteus
Psacadias
Psakelias
Psameas
Psanos
Psathos
Psellos
Psiax
Psoleas
Pyricles
Pyrranthes
Rhadinos
Rhombos
Rhomos
Sarpedon
Scopas
Solon
Sophilos
Sophocles
Sosibios
Soterios
Spiros
Sporos
Stelichon
Stesippos
Strabax
Synesios
Teisias
Teleclos
Telegonos
Teles
Teleson
Tetradios
Thales
Thaletas
Thalpios
Theocles
Theodoros
Theodosius
Theodotos
Theophanes
Thoas
Thrasymedes
Thyestes
Timaeus
Timarchos
Timocles
Timogenes
Titos
Trachyllos
Tryphon
Valantes
Xanthippos
Xauros
Xenaitos
Xenares
Xenetos
Xenion
Xenneas
Xenomedes
Xenophilos
Xiphias
Zapheirios
Zeses
Zopyras
Zosas


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Steerpike on May 30, 2011, 06:01:42 PM
This setting is getting very detailed!  Great sense of verisimilitude.

EDIT: ha, I totally made the same comment earlier...


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Eilathen on June 30, 2011, 06:55:55 AM
This setting is very well done! I do hope we will see more of it?
Btw, any news on the worldmap? I remember you saying that you were in the progress of "finding the version" you wanted. How is the status on that front?
Oh and how about a detail map of Brond (like the one for Euria)?


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 01, 2011, 02:17:38 PM
Thank you for the compliment Eilathen. All of my current maps are outdated and need to be replaced, and I'm still struggling with geography in many places. Hopefully I'll get something done before the end of summer.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 01, 2011, 02:27:17 PM
Xenia (Hospitality)
Xenia is a code of hospitality, observed by most Eurian peoples. Though unwritten and not enforced by law, it is nevertheless held up as a matter of serious importance. Those ignorant of xenia are regarded as barbaric, whilst those who pretend to follow the code only to end up violating it are scorned as dishonorable miscreants.

The rules of xenia are much the same from place to place:
  • The host must show hospitality toward his guests; food drink, and a place to rest must be provided by him.
  • Once a host has admitted guests, he is honorbound to provide for them for three days. Only after this time has passed may he drive them from his house, unless they themselves have violated xenia during their stay.
  • The host ought to not ask questions of his guests until after their needs have been sated.
  • Guests should observe politeness and moderation and not demand from their host more than is provided.
  • Guests must not bring violence to the house of their host, and should leave any arms to the care of a servant for their stay.
  • Upon the departure of the guests, the host must provide them with a parting gift. The guests must never ask for such a gift - they have to wait for one to be offered, and courteously receive it as if it were unexpected. As the parting gift symbolises the host's thanks for having had the honor of receiving the guests, failure to offer one is a grave insult; a suggestion that the guests were not worthy. Likewise, guests turning down the gift insults the host, implying that a stay at his house was to be taken for granted.


Title: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Eilathen on August 02, 2011, 04:32:31 AM

Ghostman


Thank you for the compliment Eilathen. All of my current maps are outdated and need to be replaced, and I'm still struggling with geography in many places. Hopefully I'll get something done before the end of summer.


You're welcome! It really has a well rounded depth and feeling. I really hope to see a lot more from you :)

Wow, ALL the maps are outdated (ok, granted I have only seen two...the worldmap and the Euria Detailmap)?! Well, looking forward to seeing your new works.
Maybe the cartographers guild can help with ideas if you're struggling? Just an idea.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on September 23, 2011, 01:36:32 PM
Bearing Arms in Public
In most Argyrian cities, it is unlawful to carry arms within the city precinct, only the garrisoned militia guard being authorized to exercise armed force in the line of their duties. The details of these restrictions vary from town to town, and tend to be less strict in frontier settlements far from the Empire's core.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/3/37/Helmet.png)
In general, these bans are only enforced on actual weapons of war and assorted military gear - common tools such as woodcutter's axes, farmer's sickles and blacksmith's hammers being exempt unless they're being carried openly on the street or in other contexts where they obviously do not belong. Such items are kept within homes and shops and only wielded as weapons to fend off burglars. Staves are often used as walking aids by travelers, and tend to be overlooked as long as they are carried in such obviously non-threatening manner.

Men of noble lineage and their retainers are allowed the right to wear personal weapons in public, but with the caveat that these must be kept sheathed at all times. Thus their privilege only extends to the sorts of weapons that can actually be worn in a sheath: swords and knives. Even the aristocracy are required to disarm themselves before entering certain public buildings and spaces, such as offices of government and courts of law.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/e/e7/Sabre.png)
Temple-guards - dedicated warriors attached to temples and other holy sites - are something of an anomaly. The letter of the law rarely acknowledges them in any way nor grants them any rights to arm themselves, yet in practice they are rarely if ever stopped from doing so. The authorities simply ignore them as long as they stay within their temple grounds, wherein they are regarded to hold sacred authority independent of profane laws. This sort of quiet acceptance applies to well-established public cults, whereas minority and foreign sects are far less likely to be so favoured.

Of course, those who cannot legally arm themselves may be inclined to do so anyway. The most common manner of breaking the laws is the possession of concealed weapons. Daggers, being easily hidden yet also effective at drawing blood, are by far the most favoured option among petty criminals, professional hitmen, and the common man looking to defend himself alike. In the crime-ridden slums where violent gangs prowl and militiamen turn the blind eye for a handful of coin, ruffians may be seen flaunting more obvious weaponry, typically either improvised arms such as clubs spiked with iron nails, or even low-end weapons of war such as battle-axes bought from the black market.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/8/8a/Bloody_Dagger.png)
These restrictions on citizenry do not extend beyond the precincts of urban centers, but even in rural settings and wilderness there are unwritten rules dictated by common sense. Whilst farmers and hunters are expected to own simple and cheap weaponry such as bows and spears, and travelers are expected to reasonably arm themselves out of fear of roving bandits, there are many forms or equipment that are regarded as belonging purely in the military domain. This generally means expensive or heavy arms such as metal armour, warhorses, etc. A band of travelers found bearing such gear may be stopped and questioned by patrolling soldiers. Unless they belong to the military aristocracy, they may be arrested out of suspicion and have their equipment confiscated.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Steerpike on September 23, 2011, 02:21:23 PM
This is cool, and very atypical for gaming settings, where adventurers tend to haul weapons and armour around like it's no big deal.  A nice touch!


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on September 23, 2011, 05:18:11 PM
And one I agree with and use heavily....


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on September 23, 2011, 05:28:09 PM
The goal isn't so much to disarm characters, as to steer the manner of their equipment toward more fitting choises. And to call attention to context, which I feel tends to be overlooked in gaming.

It doesn't really make sense to lug some big-ass polearm everywhere you happen to go; it's heavy, it's cumbersome, it can't be conveniently holstered, and it probably makes people think you're off to rob or kill someone. It may be something to bring along when you're going to face off your sworn nemesis in a duel at sundown by the creek, not something you'd pack when going to a tavern for a drink.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on September 24, 2011, 09:44:11 AM

Ghostman

The goal isn't so much to disarm characters, as to steer the manner of their equipment toward more fitting choises. And to call attention to context, which I feel tends to be overlooked in gaming.

It doesn't really make sense to lug some big-ass polearm everywhere you happen to go; it's heavy, it's cumbersome, it can't be conveniently holstered, and it probably makes people think you're off to rob or kill someone. It may be something to bring along when you're going to face off your sworn nemesis in a duel at sundown by the creek, not something you'd pack when going to a tavern for a drink.


agree 110%. no one goes into a tavern wearing full-plate armor. that's ridiculous. you spill your ale, and BAM!, rusty armor.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LD on September 24, 2011, 04:50:55 PM
The article on arms was good. I especially liked the piece on temple guards.

--
This does bring up an issue of choice and design. You seem to be designing to be more realistic. The reason that most games don't care much about dress in public areas appears to be this: 1. Lazy game design...possibly ; 2. Players are overwhelmed by having to take on and off and to apply and unapply modifiers when they remove armor--therefore a better character sheet is needed to keep things straight; 3. The games go for a more action-centric feel--players may feel more epic being the Kaius Alexander-type (metal-wearing monstrosity); 4. In many games,the gear makes the player rather than the player's traits define the character--it can get troublesome to reward the monk in all situations while the knight effectively operates at half power--the players may get annoyed.

I think that if problem 2 can be overcome by more games making the tracking of modifiers simpler, then it'll be easier to maintain versimmiltude by having those items removed. But taking on/off armor and weapons can often become an annoying administrative task.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on September 26, 2011, 11:52:31 AM
Government
The Argyrian Empire casts it's shadow across vast areas, both overland and overseas. It is far too large to be managed directly from the capital, and is thus divided into smaller areas governed by lesser rulers in the name of the Emperor. These territories fall into two types, called Themas and Dominions.

Themas
A Thema is a land thoroughly integrated into the Empire - it is subject to Argyrian laws, it's freeborn population is largely vested with citizenship, regular censuses are carried out by imperial tax-collectors, and military forces are raised to march under the Emperor's banners.

Each Thema is ruled by a Strategos, a kind of governor-general appointed to office directly by the Emperor himself for a fixed term of 5 years. This state of affairs is designed to safeguard the power of the Emperor and check the ambitions of the nobility. The term limits and regular passing on of governorship help ensure that noble houses do not become entrenched in the Themas, treating the lands as hereditary possessions. Although this system has diminished the threat of rebellion, it has also stirred a hotbed of intrigue in the capital, where the aristocracy is constantly vying for the next governorship appointment.

Themas are subdivided into smaller territories called Provinces, governed by Archons appointed by the Strategi. The Provinces are in turn subdivided into Prefectures, governed by Prefects appointed by the Archons.

Dominions
In contrast to the firmly controlled Themas, the Dominions are peripheral lands that have been subjugated through force of arms but not truly annexed. They are largely autonomous states, retaining their native laws and forms of government, though they must pay tribute to the Emperor and submit to his edicts. Dominions are under constant military occupation, with Argyrian soldiers garrisoned in major cities and strongholds. The populations are typically natives without Argyrian citizenship, although large numbers of Argyrian colonist may also be present in these lands.

Roles to be Played
Regional governors are powerful men that can act as antagonists, allies or mentors for characters. Ambitious characters of noble background may even wish to pursue such positions for themselves, trying their hand in the dangerous games of power and politics.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 12, 2011, 03:05:58 PM

Braccheus

The Hand from the Depths

The terrifying sea-monster Braccheus plagues the Strait of Istros, southeast from Periclea. According to local legends, Braccheus was a wicked pirate whose relentless lust for plunder led him to sack the ancient sanctuary of the Crenian Oracle. To punish him for despoiling her sacred grounds, the vengeful goddess sent a cloud of obscuring mist to engulf Braccheus' ship on the Strait of Istros, causing it to be wrecked. To add insult to injury, she transformed the drowning pirate into a gigantic zombie-hand.

Braccheus appears as an immense cadaverous arm emerging from the sea, it's rotting flesh hanging loose off the bones, matted with seaweed and barnacles. It reaches out to grasp at ships passing by, crushing their hulls like a bundle of twigs and dragging them under. So notorious is this menace that ships sailing the strait give wide berth to the continental shore, where the arm most often emerges; they keep closer to the rocky forelands of the island of Karytis, safely out of the arm's reach but dangerously close to the reefs that lay hidden in the waters near those cliffs. Despite all caution it happens every once in a while that some poor vessel gets caught in the strong currents of the strait and drifts too close to the continent, meeting a grisly end at the iron grip of Braccheus.

A curious piece of mariner-lore states that the monster always appears by the starboard side when it emerges to attack, never by the port, stern or bow. For this reason sailors always keep a careful watch at starboard when daring the waters of the Strait of Istros.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 31, 2011, 06:50:52 AM
Areté
As explained by Argyrian philosophers, areté is the art of excellence: to walk the path of areté is to achieve one's highest potential, to fullfill one's destiny and purpose of being. In it's broader interpretation the concept can be applied to just about anything - the areté of a mirror would be to reflect any vision as clear and true as reality itself, while the areté of a sword would be to hold a perfect edge on steel at the same time adamant yet springy, with optimal balance and length of the blade.

When applied to Mankind, areté implies excellence of mind, body and soul in unison, for Man is understood to be composed of all three in equal measure, and neglecting any one of these aspects would be a failure to realize one's potential. Thus for a Man to live up to this ideal requires cultivation of the virtues of the mind (such as erudition and judgment), the virtues of the body (such as athleticism and hygiene), as well as the virtues of the soul (such as courage and restraint).

The aristocracy in particular is expected to display areté in everything they do, from mundane day-to-day actions to vital decisions in the face of crises. Failures result in loss of face, and one individual's vices can easily jeopardize the honor of his entire family. Although Men of lesser station are not held to such high standard, they too are encouraged to aspire to this common ideal.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on February 18, 2012, 10:41:08 AM
A Legendary Item: The Gray Savant
(AKA Macabre Oracle)
Kept in the temple of Tatiane at Periclea, the ancient relic formally referred to as the Gray Savant, but colloquially know as 'Macabre Oracle', is an enigma that astounds the wisest of sages. Due to it's ghastly composition - a mummified human head of incrutable antiquity planted on a blackened bronze rod jutting out of a queerly shaped stone pedestal - it is kept in a candle-lit chamber behind a silken curtain, concealed from the eyes of all but the hierophants that attend the temple. It's origins and age are a complete mystery, but ancestral lore attests to it's presense in the earliest eras of rememberance.

The Gray Savant is an object of pilgrimage due to it's mystical powers of prophecy: formulaic questions written on strips of papyrus may be placed in it's mouth, whereupon they are somehow consumed, eliciting a whispered response in archaic language. These utterances are in the form of perplexing riddles, which once unravelled reveal the answers to the questions presented. The speaking cadaver-head has never been known to make an error in it's revelations, but it will answer but once to each person that comes seeking it's wisdom.

All pilgrims are required to donate a heifer as a gift for the temple before being admitted to peruse the enlightenment of the Gray Savant. They will be led to the entrance of the chamber and instructed to prostrate before the curtain. The written question will be fed to the Savant by one of the hierophants. The question and the answer are both penned down on the temple's records, which are accessible to the priesthood and trusted scholars.

Should the head be removed from it's stand even briefly, it's oracular powers would be lost forever.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Steerpike on February 18, 2012, 03:53:23 PM
Why didn't I think of this first!?!


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 18, 2012, 02:53:07 PM
The Great Houses
After the Emperor, the most formidable political actors within the Argyrian Empire are the Great Houses - mighty noble families that trace their ancestry from legendary heroes and demigods. There are currently 12 such houses, although the number has changed over the centuries as some lineages have perished and new ones arisen. Each of the houses is quite large, consisting of multiple branches and sub-families, and closely associates itself with several families of lesser aristocracy and with organizations such as collegiums. They own estates and operate businesses from various corners of the Empire, but focus most of their attention and assets in the capital, close to the Imperial court wherein real power resides.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/27/The_Sweet_Siesta_of_a_Summer_Day.jpg/618px-The_Sweet_Siesta_of_a_Summer_Day.jpg)

While they all serve the Emperor, the Great Houses each have their own agendas to further and interests to look after, and they are not afraid to leverage their political influence in the pursuit of these goals. Each day their courtiers engage in the never-ending game of deception and guile, weaving intricate plots to gain an upper hand over their rivals. Although open armed conflict between the houses is out of the table as long as the Imperial law is upheld, the menace of more subtle, clandestine methods of violence hangs perpetually over the members of these families.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d4/Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_A_Roman_Art_Lover_1.jpg/640px-Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_A_Roman_Art_Lover_1.jpg)

The Great Houses differ somewhat in temperament and traditions, having adopted distinguishing philosophies over the course of their existence. Some are pragmatic, others more idealistic, some advocate war and conquest while others favour trade and diplomacy. Although not every member of a house will share the same views as his peers, there is enough truth to these stereotypes to make them justified.

In the Age of Thunder, the 12 Great Houses include:
  • House Agapetes (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg215582.html#msg215582)
  • House Aristenos (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg215873.html#msg215873)
  • House Branas (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg216879.html#msg216879)
  • House Catacalon (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg217203.html#msg217203)
  • House Coresses (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224832.html#msg224832)
  • House Dalassenos
  • House Galanis
  • House Leontophoros (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg215463.html#msg215463)
  • House Messaris (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg217041.html#msg217041)
  • House Panaretos (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg224833.html#msg224833)
  • House Triantis (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg217789.html#msg217789)
  • House Zarkadis (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg216905.html#msg216905)

Out of Character

Write-ups detailing individual houses will be coming up. Not all of the Great Houses will necessarily be given a detailed overview.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Humabout on March 19, 2012, 09:48:56 AM
I've got a lot to catch up on here, but the post about carrying weapons and armor is excellent.  I've watned to implement something like that in teh past but always ran into too much player resisitence.  I shall read on now!


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 24, 2012, 02:50:06 PM
House Leontophoros

  • Family Name: Leontophoros (masculine), Leontophorina (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Andronicos Leontophoros
  • Motto: He conquers who conquers himself

One of the oldest Great Houses, the Leontophoroi are proud bearers of a very long and illustrious past, having stood at the forefront in many pivotal events throughout the Empire's history. They are highly self-conscious of this vaunted heritage and driven to prove themselves worthy to their ancestors. The origins of the family are found in coastal Acropalaea, and they have always possessed an intimate connection to the sea. Theirs is a lineage of salient sea-captains, explorers, admirals and maritime entrepreneurs. Accordingly, the wealth of House Leontophoros draws in no small measure from their enterprises in naval trade and shipbuilding - in particular, they are a major player in the most lucrative business of silk trafficking.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Gustave_Boulanger_The_Flute_Concert.jpg)

Members of House Leontophoros are well represented in the courts, and present in respectable numbers in high-profile military posts (especially in the Imperial fleets) and as regional governors. Although concentrated in the capital and other major port-cities of the Helikian Sea, the house exerts via patronage and emissaries significant influence in every noteworthy center of trade within the Empire and in several foreign ports. Although it prefers the means of diplomacy and subtle coercion to promote it's interests, House Leontophoros has never hesitated to apply swift and decisive force in the face of aggression.

The Leontophoroi are renowned for their passionate dedication to defend their family's eternal glory, instilled in every new generation through rigorous upbringing. It is said that if you insult one Leontophoros, you insult every single one of their name - the deceased, the living and those yet to be born - and that some day the house will exact unrelenting retribution, whether in this day and age or the next.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 29, 2012, 11:24:28 AM

Out of Character

I have decided to change the number of moons that traverse the heavens in the Savage Age, reducing the figure from the original 5 down to 3. I've updated the Imperial Calendar (http://www.thecbg.org/index.php/topic,75347.msg79186.html#msg79186) to reflect this change.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on March 31, 2012, 03:33:54 PM
House Agapetes

  • Family Name: Agapetes (masculine), Agapetissa (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Timarchos Agapetes
  • Motto: A man's character is his fate

The eminent Agapeteis are astoundingly rich, even for a Great House. Much of their fabled wealth can be attributed to the vast estates of premium farmland they hold across Carantia and Therania - copious plantations and orchards tended by throngs of chattel-slaves. The house and it's dependents also operate many of the Empire's most prolific gold and silver mines, wineries and forges.

Because it's business interests rely so intensely on slave labour, House Agapetes has gone to great lengths to secure itself a steady supply of fresh serviles. The house controls directly a sizeable portion of the slave trade, by organizing caravans, slave markets and breeding pens. However, even these measures may be insufficient for their needs, for rumours persist that the Agapeteis sully their hands by trafficking with pirates and bandits, purchasing illegally procured chattel. Such accusations are never voiced in public though, as evidence of these alleged crimes tends to disappear as soon as it surfaces - along with those who intended to bring it forth.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7a/Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_After_the_Audience.jpg/436px-Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_After_the_Audience.jpg)  (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e9/Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_A_Sculpture_Gallery_in_Rome_at_the_Time_of_Agrippa.jpg/376px-Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_A_Sculpture_Gallery_in_Rome_at_the_Time_of_Agrippa.jpg)

Between it's bottomless funds and it's strategic position as the Empire's chief grain suppliers, House Agapetes commands fearsome political influence. Members of the family fill many administrative duties in the Imperial bureaucracy, being often found in roles of civilian governance and tax collection.

Although they have always lacked in the way of martial valor and pugnacity, being more disposed toward politics and commerce, the Agapeteis nevertheless pursue military careers, using their connections and influence to place family members in important positions of leadership. After all, nothing produces fresh slaves as quickly and in such numbers as does open war: when cities are laid waste and entire populations put under the yoke by a victorious general, the markets will be flooded by an influx of cheap serviles. It is hardly a wonder that the representatives of House Agapetes are among the most outspoken warmongers in the Empire's courts, firmly voicing their support for new campaigns of aggressive expansion.

In addition to their material fortunes and status, the Agapeteis are notorious for being a rigidly conservative lot. They oppose the adoption of novel and alien customs, espousing time-honored values and upholding ancestral traditions. They are prideful of their pure-bred lineage, which has been kept untainted by foreign blood throughout all generations since the founding of the noble house.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 14, 2012, 11:23:49 AM
House Aristenos

  • Family Name: Aristenos (masculine), Aristene (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Epicrates Aristenos
  • Motto: A word is a shadow of a deed

Strength. The virtue by which House Aristenos lives and breathes. Other houses may revel in greater wealth, higher esteem in the courts, or the favour of the gods. But when it comes to the art of making war, none are the equals of the Aristenoi. For centuries they have stood tall as the Empire's paramount noble warriors, warlords and heroes. They have achieved and maintained this envied position by an absolutely uncompromising philosophy of warrior-ethics. In the eyes of an Aristenos, a man's strength is the sole and ultimate measure of his worth - strength not only of one's flesh, but also of one's spirit and of one's character. Those who are in all ways strong are worthy of respect and success in life, whereas the weak exist to be ground to dust under the heels of the victors.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c2/Cornelis_Troost_001.jpg/583px-Cornelis_Troost_001.jpg)

In accordance with this philosophy, House Aristenos hardens it's members from early childhood on through a brutal upbringing of harsh athletic conditioning, austere stoicism and adamant discipline. Those who display weakness are mercilessly weeded out: exposed to the elements in their infancy or disowned and driven away if older. The ones that survive are taught the ancestral ways of the family, trained in the martial crafts of violence and leadership, and instilled with the loathing of fear and the grim determination to die for the glory of the family. An unusually large portion of the house's female members join the Cult of Amazon, an act that the Aristenoi appear to silently condone unlike other noble houses.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Lawrence_Alma-Tadema_04.jpeg)

As befits their warlike reputation, most Aristenoi pursue military careers with outstanding success. Their prominent presence in the chain of command of the Imperial armies incites fear and concern in the other Great Houses, and even the Emperor must be wary of their ambitions. While their dour and blunt demeanor and distaste for political games often leaves them sidelined in the courts, the Aristenoi rarely have shortage of allies, for they are well-known for keeping their words and honoring their commitments. They are also quite capable of seizing the social spotlight in athletic games, as members of the house number among the victors of such contests more often than not.

House Aristenos possesses sizeable holdings in Therania, Aspidia and Orestia. Moreso than for their harvests these are known for the quality of their stables, breeding excellent horses for riding, chariot racing and war-mounts. The house also tends to see major gains during wartime, as their generals find opportunities to seize plunder and capture fresh slaves.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Magnus Pym on April 14, 2012, 11:35:20 AM
Very nice, Ghostman. Liking the Great Houses very much.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on April 14, 2012, 12:47:13 PM
As do I.  
the use of pictures and the mottos provide a much stronger picture added to the descriptions.  Nicely done.

I do need to ask if the Argyrian's live in a Human-only world?  For example, I found myself wondering about the slaves of the House Agapetes, their makeup and where they come from.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 14, 2012, 02:01:02 PM
Thank you both for commenting :)

LordVreeg

I do need to ask if the Argyrian's live in a Human-only world?  For example, I found myself wondering about the slaves of the House Agapetes, their makeup and where they come from.

The setting is very human-centric by design. Nonhuman beings largely play similar roles as they do in real mythologies and folklore: monsters haunting the untrod wildernesses, ineffable fey tricksters, supernatural spirits to be revered or warded off, unique creatures belonging to specific places, etc. Even the ones that have something of a society among themselves, such as the Centaurs, effectively stand outside the daily experience and world of Men. They are not really "races" in the vein of modern fantasy conventions, being too few in numbers and scattered about, having no kingdoms of their own.

This is not exactly how I originally envisioned SA, but it's the direction I've been moving with it. Anyway, while it's possible for intelligent nonhumans to be captured by humans from time to time, these would be rare incidents and more than likely in very small scale. There couldn't really be a war between humans and nonhumans, the way that two human states might have a war against each other. Thus the rare, captured nonhuman would likely be seen and treated as a curiosity, something to be put on display for the entertainment of the masses. They wouldn't end up like most human slaves do, eg. rowing a merchant galley - the very idea probably wouldn't even occur to their human captors.

So to answer your question regarding the origin and makeup of slaves, they'd be humans, mostly from the same part of the world. The way slavery works in the Empire and it's neighbourhood is quite remiscent of slavery in classical antiquity: theoretically there are restrictions on enslavement (those who are under protection of the law of the land can't be enslaved except as punishment for crimes), but in practice you could be jumped by a bunch of bandits or pirates, put in chains and carted off to be sold - unless you can escape or somehow prove you were illegally enslaved, you're SOL. And victorious armies will generally do their darndest to reap as much profit out of their conquests as possible, by sacking towns and pilfering fields and capturing surrendering soldiers (and civilians) to be sold to slave traders.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on April 14, 2012, 02:35:16 PM

Ghostman

Thank you both for commenting :)

LordVreeg

I do need to ask if the Argyrian's live in a Human-only world?  For example, I found myself wondering about the slaves of the House Agapetes, their makeup and where they come from.

The setting is very human-centric by design. Nonhuman beings largely play similar roles as they do in real mythologies and folklore: monsters haunting the untrod wildernesses, ineffable fey tricksters, supernatural spirits to be revered or warded off, unique creatures belonging to specific places, etc. Even the ones that have something of a society among themselves, such as the Centaurs, effectively stand outside the daily experience and world of Men. They are not really "races" in the vein of modern fantasy conventions, being too few in numbers and scattered about, having no kingdoms of their own.

This is not exactly how I originally envisioned SA, but it's the direction I've been moving with it. Anyway, while it's possible for intelligent nonhumans to be captured by humans from time to time, these would be rare incidents and more than likely in very small scale. There couldn't really be a war between humans and nonhumans, the way that two human states might have a war against each other. Thus the rare, captured nonhuman would likely be seen and treated as a curiosity, something to be put on display for the entertainment of the masses. They wouldn't end up like most human slaves do, eg. rowing a merchant galley - the very idea probably wouldn't even occur to their human captors.

So to answer your question regarding the origin and makeup of slaves, they'd be humans, mostly from the same part of the world. The way slavery works in the Empire and it's neighbourhood is quite remiscent of slavery in classical antiquity: theoretically there are restrictions on enslavement (those who are under protection of the law of the land can't be enslaved except as punishment for crimes), but in practice you could be jumped by a bunch of bandits or pirates, put in chains and carted off to be sold - unless you can escape or somehow prove you were illegally enslaved, you're SOL. And victorious armies will generally do their darndest to reap as much profit out of their conquests as possible, by sacking towns and pilfering fields and capturing surrendering soldiers (and civilians) to be sold to slave traders.

Well, I was one of the original commenters on this thread.    I like deep, detail-heavy settings.  I also understand how these things change and grow as time goes on.
So this is not a world with demi-humans making up a large population groupings, either within state level structures or with their own race specific statelevel structures.  That clears that up.

How about ethnicities within the human sphere? 


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 14, 2012, 04:56:07 PM

LordVreeg

How about ethnicities within the human sphere? 

Ethnicities are numerous, even accounting for just this corner of the world. A very important thing about human ethnicities (which actually will be called 'races' in-setting) is that they are defined from the point of view of the characters living in the world, not from the POV of the player/reader. So there won't be any pretense of objectivity nor modern sensibilities. Ethnic distinctions will primarily be drawn based not on appearance, but on tradition and perceived ancestry. The populations of two neighbouring towns might look every bit alike and speak the same language, yet consider each other to be separate (sub)races due to a long-standing rivalry.

To better understand what I'm after, consider this thought experiment: "Athenians are a race distinct from the Spartans, who are a race distinct from the Cretans, who are a race distinct from the Etruscans, who are a race distinct from the Romans, who are a race distinct from the Carthaginians."

It probably wouldn't occur to a modern audience to draw quite that fine-grained categories, but it wouldn't seem so odd to the ancient peoples in question. They might recognize various different levels of commonness (eg. Athenians and Spartans would agree that they are both Greeks, as opposed to Thracians who are non-Greek, even as they continue to see each other as distinct), but the more narrowly defined racial identities would be given precedence. This isn't very far from how the people of the Savage Age approach the issue of 'race'.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on May 16, 2012, 08:56:47 AM
Greetings
The customs of greeting follow the same general pattern throughout the Empire, with minor variations from locale to locale. To Argyrian people, the manner of greeting one another is of great signifigance, for it reflects the social status of each person involved. Using an incorrect form, whether deliberately or by accident, could constitute a grave insult or an embarrassing faux pas.

To greet people or to welcome them as guests into his house, an Argyrian will exclaim the word "khaire!", accompanied (or not) by one of the following gestures:

Note

At with most other social customs, there is a great deal of resemblance between the Argyrian manner presented here and the ways of other Eurian cultures.
Raising a hand
The most common gesture of greeting is the raising of one's right hand: the palm is open and facing forward, the fingers straight and pointing upward, and the elbow bent. The exact position of the arm varies based on regional traditions, but the hand is usually raised roughly to the height of one's own eyelevel. This action communicates a message of peaceful intent, the empty palm declaring that one is unarmed and means no harm upon those being addressed. At the same time it allows the greeting to be delivered at a distance, and doesn't compromize one's ability to defend against a sudden attack nearly as much the barbarian handshake.

Citizens of similar social class always greet each other by raised hands, thereby acknowledging one another as near-equals. A man of clearly superior rank may also decide to greet those below him by this gesture as a magnanimous courtesy, although he need not do so.

Bowing
In Argyrian culture, the act of bowing carries very strong connotations of submission and humility. It is therefore only ever performed when facing someone of clearly higher station: slaves bow before their masters, peasants bow before the nobility, and sons bow before their fathers. Because the gesture intrinsically communicates an admission of inferiority, the very idea of two people actually bowing to each other is completely alien and unthinkable to Argyrians.

Prostration
A display even more meek and obsequious than bowing - to fall prostrate is an extreme act of self-abasement. It is generally reserved for groveling slaves and for prisoners pleading for mercy; freeborn citizens would only expect to ever have to perform it in the presense of the Emperor or one of the high-ranking members of the Imperial family.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 16, 2012, 02:48:36 PM
House Branas

  • Family Name: Branas (masculine), Branaina (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Agathocles Branas
  • Motto: The sky is open to those who have wings

The youngest of the Great Houses. With barely two centuries to it's name, the House of Branas is scoffed at and belittled as impudent upstarts. It's rise from obscurity to the forefront of politics has been rapid despite an uphill struggle against such attitudes - a testimony to the family's resourcefulness and savvy. The Branai are ruthlessly pragmatic in their dealings. While they spare no expense at adorning themselves in the traditional trappings of nobility, they are quick to ignore "sacred" ancient conventions and taboos whenever it's convenient. The vigorous and cosmopolitan Branai shamelessly fraternize with foreign emissaries and low-born tradesmen, and are often able to beat the older houses to new avenues to wealth and glory.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/Tiepolo_arkhangelskoye.jpg)

House Branas is still fairly small, and it's holdings and interests are largely confined to the capital city and a few major ports. It's influence however reaches much further due to an extensive network of contacts and alliances, and is easily underestimated by rival houses. Members of the family can be found in military and civilian offices, though not as often as they would like. The prejudices against such "green" aristocracy are a significant hinderance when it comes to securing political appointments, and the Branai have found that they must ascend the ladder the hard way - by relying on genuine merit. This handicap motivates them to push themselves to excel at their careers.

The stereotypical Branai are outspoken, confident and showy to the point of flamboyance. They are wont to make decisions quickly, seize opportunities and take daring risks - but do so intelligently and always take care to cover their backs. They hide their shrewd, calculative genius behind a facade of panache and bravado.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 17, 2012, 09:37:50 AM
House Zarkadis

  • Family Name: Zarkadis (masculine), Zarkadina (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Lysias Zarkadis
  • Motto: Wisdom stands more firm than the stoutest mountain

Note

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/25/Collier-priestess_of_Delphi.jpg/296px-Collier-priestess_of_Delphi.jpg)
Among all the Great Houses, the one of Zarkadis has ever been the curious, uncomfortable oddity. Even it's origins are outrageous, founded as it was by an infamous sorcerer. The stigma of occultism has haunted the Zarkadeis throughout the family's existence. Although no actual proof has ever been brought forth, rumours persist accusing them of unwholesome pacts with fell spirits of the Underworld, of cabalistic schemes to manipulate the courts, of secret congregations where the dead feast with the living...

It is true that the house has maintained something of a mystic tradition, filling it's libraries with secret lore of the most esoteric kind. It is also true that some of it's members have successfully dabbled in arcane arts, with rarely a generation passing without at least one such adept rising from it's ranks. That said, the egregious reputation of House Zarkadis is largely unwarranted, a result of centuries of wanton exaggeration and hearsay. And that is exactly how the Zarkadeis prefer it. Thanks to their ominous image as formidable magicians, masters of unspeakable curses and otherworldly servants, there are few among their rivals who would dare to step on their toes. Having ever been contemplative and inwardly focused, they appreciate being given a wide berth to conduct their business in privacy.

Most Zarkadeis possess quick wits, acid tongues, and a dry, laconic sense of humor. They tend to excel in tasks that require patience and attention to detail, and thus are a common sight in scholarly circles. Perhaps surprisingly (for the other noble houses), the family has also been quite successful in military pursuits, having produced quite a few cunning warlords whose mastery of strategy and familiarity with military manuscripts could put an Aristenos to shame.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 24, 2012, 11:47:20 AM
The Seven Ages of the Argyrian Calendar

The Dreaming Age (primordial past)
  • The gods walk the earth, warring with each other and the giants and other mythical beings. They give shape to the universe by erecting mountains, carving valleys and flooding the seas.
  • Mankind is young, primitive and unspoiled, the world wild and full of mystery.

The Age of Glory (ancient past)
  • Mankind transcends it's animalistic origins, yet remains in many ways close to the earth and the gods.
  • The Supreme Oracle appears on Mt. Helix. History begins to be recorded on clay tablets.
  • Demi-god kings rise to rule over and unify the multitude of tribes. The first fledgling city-states are founded.

The Age of the Chariot (ancient past)
  • Mortal Men tread the blood-soaked path of war, mighty kingdoms rise and fall.
  • Legendary heroes steer the course of history, Argyros himself among them.

The Golden Age (archaic past)
  • The five fortunes of Mankind: prosperity, rule of law, the arts, high civilization, and philosophy.
  • Populations multiply, cities swell and wax into vast behemoths, explorers voyage beyond the edges of the known world, sages contemplate the mysteries of the universe, holy men preach words of prophecy, and courtiers device grandiose games of romance and guile.

The Age of Chaos (archaic past)
  • Mankind is wracked with disasters and strife on epic scale, smote by the wrath of the gods.
  • Many great heroes rise and are fallen, immortalized in tragic poems.

The Age of Silk and Steel (recent past)
  • Order triumphs over chaos, but the taint of corruption lurks in it's shadow.
  • Intrigue and decadence nest in the hearts of Men: The seasons pass in a perpetual cycle of paranoia and treachery, assassins' blades strike in the black of night.

The Age of Thunder (present)
  • Akin to a soaring phoenix, a new era rises from the flames that consumed the previous age.
  • The winds of change have calmed for the time being, but already dark clouds gather in the horizon. A storm is coming.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Kindling on June 25, 2012, 11:37:13 AM
I may never have said this before, so let me say it now: This setting is excellent in a multitude of ways.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 26, 2012, 10:29:58 AM
House Messaris

  • Family Name: Messaris (masculine), Messarina (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Callias Messaris
  • Motto: Draw each breath as if it were your last

It is said that the Messareis are beloved even to their sworn enemies, so well-received is their name among the Empire's aristocracy. For centuries now has House Messaris been held as the epitome of hospitality and amenity. They are famous for their fiery passions, their love of wine and poetry, and for their virile optimism in the darkest of times. In that energetic spirit lies the strength of the family, the force that enables them to rise above simple hedonism and act as competitive players in the game of politics: For all their blatant indulgence in luxuries and fixation on aesthetics, the Messareis are possessed of a formidable ambition and daring. They are not daunted by any setback, and they'll never give up a battle.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/64/The_Vintage_Festival.jpg/800px-The_Vintage_Festival.jpg)

The house is quite wealthy, although it's coffers never grow too fat - their infamously sumptuous lifestyle tends to consume their fortunes as they come, preventing any hoarding. As consummate connoisseurs, House Messaris has mastered the production and trade of wine, controlling directly or indirectly a lion's share of the Empire's most distinguished vineyards and winehouses. They are also enthusiastic patrons of art, counting an impressive array of sculptors, painters and goldsmiths within their network of clients. The works of these master artists are frequently used as diplomatic gifts to cultivate alliances and favours owed from important personages. Other major business interests of House Messaris focus on various forms of entertainment: brothels, gambling halls, opium-dens, and chariot racing teams.

As befits their competence in the field, members of the Messaris family are well-placed in diplomatic posts within the Imperial bureaucracy. Their emissaries are familiar faces in foreign courts, where they make good use of the plentiful opportunities to forge far-reaching alliances.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Mason on June 26, 2012, 09:21:06 PM
So I'm totally lurking on this thread, but just wanted to say you write some really detailed interesting stuff. Do you run/have run any games in this campaign world? What would some possible adventures be?

Your synthesis of classical actual history and the legends and myths that make it so appealing truly create an epic world. Well done sir.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 27, 2012, 09:59:20 AM

Sarisa

Do you run/have run any games in this campaign world? What would some possible adventures be?

No games so far. Hopefully I'll get something going in the future. The setting is intended to be useable as a backdrop for a wide variety of scenarios, but what I'd be most interested to try would be supernatural mystery investigations.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Eilathen on June 27, 2012, 12:21:59 PM

Kindling

I may never have said this before, so let me say it now: This setting is excellent in a multitude of ways.

That it is indeed. It would be awesome to have a collected version in pdf or something to read at ones leisure.
Oh and the seven ages are very inspiring.

The only thing that is still missing is the world-map and detailed regional maps for it ;) Come on, Ghostman, you know you want to work on those :D


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Weave on June 27, 2012, 12:32:04 PM

Eilathen

Kindling

I may never have said this before, so let me say it now: This setting is excellent in a multitude of ways.

That it is indeed. It would be awesome to have a collected version in pdf or something to read at ones leisure.
Oh and the seven ages are very inspiring.

The only thing that is still missing is the world-map and detailed regional maps for it ;) Come on, Ghostman, you know you want to work on those :D


All of these I desire now. PDF, map, more posts, etc. I'd love to see SA up on the wiki someday, but I'm content to devour these posts as they come. It probably doesn't help that I watched Gladiator yesterday and thought primarily of SA.


EDIT: So it IS on the wiki! How have I never noticed that...


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Tangential on June 27, 2012, 12:45:17 PM
What do you hope to tackle after the Houses?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 28, 2012, 09:28:49 AM

Eilathen

The only thing that is still missing is the world-map and detailed regional maps for it ;) Come on, Ghostman, you know you want to work on those :D

I keep on changing my mind about the lay of the land in the global scope, so this one's kind of a major thorn in my side. Hopefully I'll get some updated regional maps done though.

Tangent_Jaerc

What do you hope to tackle after the Houses?

Hard to say. I mostly do write ups when I have the inspiration for them so there's a lot of stuff that has been sitting on the To Do -list for quite a while. I still haven't finished descriptions for all the major geographic areas within the Empire, for example. Religion needs an overhaul, too. But I can't write adequately without a creative urge on, and those seem to come and go without rhyme or reason.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Eilathen on June 28, 2012, 12:43:32 PM

Ghostman


I keep on changing my mind about the lay of the land in the global scope, so this one's kind of a major thorn in my side. Hopefully I'll get some updated regional maps done though.


You know, i'd be totally interested to see all these changes, the development of your global-scale view. For me, that is very interesting. But then i am a total geography and map-geek :D
And maybe, just maybe, this "laying out of your geographical thoughts", so to speak, could help you removing that thorn.
So if you feel like it (maybe in a different thread?), show us the different, developing, world-maps.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 05, 2012, 03:54:20 PM
House Catacalon

  • Family Name: Catacalon (masculine), Catacalina (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Philocrates Catacalon
  • Motto: He who wants everything loses everything

Many who look upon House Catacalon today see in it a vivid testimony to the cruelty of the Fates, a reminder that even those of a most exemplary lineage might fall from grace. A truly ancient family with an illustrious history, the Catacaloi used to be powerful, respected and admired by all. During the Age of Silk and Steel their fortunes were reversed, and the exalted noble house was caught in a spiraling decline it has been unable to escape. Now it is but a morbid shadow of it's former self: impoverished, humbled, deprived of influence. Even the ranks of the family have dwindled, many among the line having sought greener pastures via marriage or adoption to other Great Houses. Those who remain are bitter nostalgics, clinging to the fading memory of glories long past. Some among them are given to a lethargic creed of fatalism, viewing their downfall as inevitable; a divine punishment for excessive ambition and hubris of their ancestors.

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ac/Pierre-Henri_de_Valenciennes_-_The_Ancient_City_of_Agrigento_-_WGA24226.jpg/640px-Pierre-Henri_de_Valenciennes_-_The_Ancient_City_of_Agrigento_-_WGA24226.jpg)

Despite the extent of it's deterioration, House Catacalon is not dead yet - unlike some other Great Houses that met their ends in times past, the memories of which have dimmed to the point they are preserved only in the cracking marble of crumbling mausoleums and in the dramatis personae of the odd theatrical play. The Catacaloi may be grim and brooding, even without hope, but they have no desire to simply lie down and die. If it truly is their destiny to fall all the way, so be it, but they are determined to make every step a grinding struggle worthy of poetic verse. They will see to it that the gods and their noble peers bear witness to their perseverance.

What remains of the once impressive holdings of the Catacaloi is but scraps: a jumble of rustic villas with attached farmlands scattered across Therania and Acropalaea, a few ailing businesses in the capital city, and a lofty but understaffed mansion in a state of disrepair. What profits the house manages to squeeze out of it's assets are quickly eaten up by their mounting debts. Elevating the family's members into public office becomes harder with each generation, and it has been a long while since a Catacalon was honored with one of the prestigious posts in the Emperor's court. Their courtiers are mostly left rotting in the lower tiers of the hierarchy, with little prospects for promotion.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Tangential on July 08, 2012, 06:38:44 PM
Dat second paragraph.

How often are family mottos redrafted?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 09, 2012, 08:59:57 AM

Tangent_Jaerc

How often are family mottos redrafted?
Very rarely, and then only due to a profound shift in the family's outlook or in reaction to some shocking event. Argyrian culture doesn't have heraldry, so the aristocracy places a good deal of symbolic value on their mottoes.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 26, 2012, 10:18:01 AM
Here's a plan-map of an Argyrian hippodrome that I made for a Cartographer's Guild contest entry.

(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/thumb/f/f3/The_Great_Hippodrome.png/180px-The_Great_Hippodrome.png) (http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/f/f3/The_Great_Hippodrome.png)

(Click on the picture for a full-sized version - be warned it's 1600x1200 px)


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Weave on July 26, 2012, 11:44:21 AM
That's awesome. What software did you use to make it?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: sparkletwist on July 26, 2012, 12:06:26 PM
Yeah, it looks good. :D
It reminds me of one of those David Macaulay books.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 26, 2012, 01:12:17 PM
Thanks. I used Inkscape and GIMP in combination.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 11, 2012, 10:30:27 AM
House Triantis

Note

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/34/Benjamin-Constant-L%27Imperatrice_Theodora_au_Colis%C3%A9e.jpg/505px-Benjamin-Constant-L%27Imperatrice_Theodora_au_Colis%C3%A9e.jpg)
  • Family Name: Triantis (masculine), Triantissa (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Patrocles Triantis
  • Motto: A hidden hand is stronger than a revealed one

If knowledge is power, then secret knowledge is all the more so. This simple truth is taken to heart by every member of the machiavellian House Triantis. Masters of the clandestine game of espionage and blackmail, the Trianteis are a force to be feared and respected. Over the course of centuries they have carefully assembled a vast and perplexingly convoluted network of spies, infiltrators, conspirators and puppets, orchestrated via chains of expendable intermediaries so that any attempts to follow these links to their source may be easily halted, or diverted into a maze of false leads and decoys. With these eyes and ears placed in every corner of the Empire, there is very little that can be concealed from House Triantis. At the same time the noble family guards it's own secrets with such vigilance and paranoia that few among it's ranks are privy to them all.

To the outside, the house is always careful to show only a benign facade designed to alleviate suspicions. Although the Trianteis have inevitably acquired a somewhat insidious reputation over generations of extortion and intrigue, the true extent and depth of their operations remains a mystery even to the most perceptive of their rivals. The alliances they forge tend to be shaky and short-lived, albeit ones that usually serve their goals well. The Trianteis are not particularly focused on any one field of business, prefering to spread their interests far and wide so as to not keep all their eggs in one basket - like the hydra with it's many heads, their fortunes would be difficult to eradicate.

Members of House Triantis usually lead very successful and profitable political careers, climbing the ladder of promotions swiftly. Those who stand in their way often end up discredited by sudden exposure of scandalous information, or unexpectedly stepping aside of their own volition, conveniently clearing the path for the aspiring Triantis. Towns and cities ruled by governors from the noble family tend to be remarkably clean, orderly and bereft of crime, at least at the first glance. Malicious rumours sometimes imply that such state of affairs stems from illicit deals between the governors and the local crime-lords.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 29, 2013, 03:54:54 PM

Furies

Minor death-goddesses that revel in carnage. Drawn like corpse flies to the ominous scent of bloodshed, they scour fields of battle, hunting down the souls of the fallen and dragging them screaming into the Underworld. They occupy a secondary role as the dread handmaidens of Amazon, and intervene in mortal affairs on her behalf. Other gods sometimes call upon their services, dispatching bands of Furies to exact terrible punishments upon those that have desecrated temples or otherwise violated religious taboos; in this aspect they are seen as enforces or divine justice. In art they have been traditionally depicted as naked female figures with aberrantly vicious faces, vulturine wings and crooked fingers ending in sharp talons.

Furies are greatly feared, and various measures are taken to avoid accidentally drawing their attention, though it is acknowledged that they will inevitably haunt any place where violence has happened on a large scale. Curses on the other hand often invoke them deliberately, counting upon their formidable power as well as their willingness to meddle in the affairs of mortals. Due to their vassalage to Amazon, they are closely associated with the Cult of Amazon and it's warrior-priestesses -- indeed, it is sometimes claimed that particularly fierce Amazonids will join the ranks of the Furies after death.

There are no temples or shrines dedicated to the Furies, although some locations are considered to be sacred to them or otherwise connected to them; such places are wisely shunned by people.

Tritons

Minor sea-gods, generally considered to be descendants of Thalasses (with various mates) but sometimes said to have sprung from the loins of the enigmatic Old Man of the Sea. They are organized into tribes, each one ruled by it's founding forefather-prince. Tritons are fickle and hedonistic, but also highly aggressive and quick to anger -- in ancestral folklore they often follow bizzarre and inscrutable codes of conduct, taking insult from the most unexpected things.

In their wrath they might lay waste to entire coastal villages, emerging from the sea in the dead of night to slay and plunder with reckless abandon, leaving no survivors behind. They also have a more benevolent aspect, and may be persuaded to help mortals in various ways: protecting a boat caught in a storm, luring fish into a fisherman's nets, returning items lost at sea, etc. They are depicted as possessing many monstrous features: lidless fish-eyes, matted green hair that resembles seaweed, dark clammy skin, sharp pointed teeth, webbed fingers, and a scaly lower body resembling the tail of a fish -- except when they choose to walk on land, which they may do in the dark hours between dusk and dawn. They wear no clothes and make use of no tools but are fond of jewelry, especially pearls.

Tritons are venerated by all the peoples dwelling near the sea (which includes the majority of all Argyrian peoples), and communal rites, taking place on the beaches, are diligently observed in all shoreside communities. Sacrafices are offered by drowning piglets and chickens, and by pouring wine into the sea. Most temples of Thalasses include a shrine to the local tribe of Tritons, and small idols of carved stone have often been erected to overlook ritual sites.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on April 30, 2013, 01:41:38 PM
S the furies will haunt/inhabit old battlefields, etc...can certain rites, rituals, or spells negate/minimize this?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 30, 2013, 03:40:46 PM
Probably not negate, but there should be rituals to lessen the danger of drawing their attention. Not that such a danger would be very high to begin with, it's more like something to be used when plot demands it.

P.S. It's not just the Furies that (are assumed to) haunt such places. Bloodthirsty ghosts should be the bigger concern, at least if you listen to the peasants that refuse to go near yonder hills with all the uncremated dead left there a few generations back...


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 29, 2013, 02:25:36 PM
Therania

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fc/Rio_Segura_a_su_paso_por_Archena.jpg/120px-Rio_Segura_a_su_paso_por_Archena.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/Rio_Segura_a_su_paso_por_Archena.jpg)
One of the largest of the Empire's regions, Therania is a land of contradictions. In times of old it was a rustic frontier land known for it's abundance of game. It has since those days become the heart of the Empire, home to the glorious capital city of Atarneon and a host of lesser cities. It is urbanized, sophisticated and prosperous. Yet it's population is largely concentrated by the southern coast and along the great Triton River, which meanders slowly across the land.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/15/Lousios-kloof.jpg/120px-Lousios-kloof.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Lousios-kloof.jpg)
The flood-plains and valleys are carefully cultivated, covered by seemingly endless stretches of fields and orchards fed by irrigation canals. Beyond this rural zone sprawls a great and menacing wilderness; primeval forests and feral highlands that yet resist the encroachement of mankind. Nowhere is this disparity manifest as starkly as in the ancient Forest of Satyrs that marks the northern border of Therania. It's impassable thickets, haunted by sylvan spirits, stand as a reminder of the untamed primal world that preceded the rise of civilization.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 29, 2013, 02:28:13 PM
Orestia

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/71/Samaria3r.jpg/120px-Samaria3r.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Samaria3r.jpg)
Orestia is the Empire's eastern borderland, guarding against forays of the Erytanians and the savage tribes of the Numerians. Located on the opposite side of the Polemos Mountains from Acropalaea, Orestia is markedly less developed and wealthy, though it does take it's share of the mineral riches from beneath those infamous peaks. Towns and cities are scattered along the southern coast and by the swampy floodplains of the great river Ladon.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a6/Meteora_%286220579339%29.jpg/120px-Meteora_%286220579339%29.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a6/Meteora_%286220579339%29.jpg)
The landscape is dominated by jagged, rocky hills, punctured by narrow ravines and river gorges. Gaunt parapets of military fortifications stand austerely upon the desolate summits, overlooking serpentine roads vigilantly patroled by companies of Imperial troops. Population is concentrated on walled towns and palisaded villages of tightly-packed buildings along narrow streets. Despite the cramped conditions these centers are rife with vibrant activity and traffic, a flow of people and carts going to and fro.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 29, 2013, 02:34:53 PM
Auria

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a7/Nestos_or_Mesta_River_-_Greece-Bulgaria.jpg/120px-Nestos_or_Mesta_River_-_Greece-Bulgaria.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Nestos_or_Mesta_River_-_Greece-Bulgaria.jpg)
Auria was once host to an old and illustrious civilization, one that plays an important role in the epics of Argyrian mythology. Little now remains of the ancient Aurians, save for their language and local customs. Their land, once so fabled, has long since been conquered and colonized by the Argyrian Empire. It is a rich land, blessed with fertile valleys and deposits of red-hued gold. It's cities are old but vigorous, centers of thriving industry. The people are pacified but maintain their ancestral grudge against their neighbours to the north, the Cerberians, over a centuries-long violent rivalry.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e6/Fuili.jpg/120px-Fuili.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e6/Fuili.jpg)
The geography of Auria is quite hospitable. The eastern portions of the land are the least populated, being ridged by mountains and canyons. The southern section, bordering Carantia, is dominated by a series of lakes connected by navigable rivers that form a heavily trafficked waterway. It is along this corridor of extensively cultivated river valleys that the greatest cities of Auria are located. The interior of northern and central Auria is characterized by picturesque landscapes of deciduous forests, pastoral valleys and gently sloping hills often terraced with vineyards. Population centers are mostly found along rivers and the coastline. The northeast is a small but densely populated area squeezed between the Gulf of Cerberia and the Aetic Mountains, dominated by the great city of Sophoris.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 29, 2013, 02:38:16 PM
Cerberia

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/43/LaculGalesusiVarfulRetezatvazutedepeVarfulMare.JPG/120px-LaculGalesusiVarfulRetezatvazutedepeVarfulMare.JPG)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/43/LaculGalesusiVarfulRetezatvazutedepeVarfulMare.JPG)
The land of Cerberia takes it's name from the great Cerberos River, known for the bitter black waters that stream through it. The origins of this waterway stream out of limestone caves puncturing the western slopes of the Aetic Mountains; unexplored caverns believed to be an entrance into the Underworld. Much of the region is comprised of the river's basin, riddled by branching tributaries and streams. These lesser rivers course through austere highlands and densely forested hills, cutting valleys across the terrain, which gradually flattens into vast floodplains around the main branch of the Cerberos and near the coast. These flatlands are cultivated where arable, but much of them is made up of treacherous marshes and fetid swamps.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Ardoti.JPG/120px-Ardoti.JPG)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Ardoti.JPG)
Throughout much of the Empire's history, Cerberia has been either foreign soil fiercely defended by it's proud natives, or else a loosely controlled frontier plagued by internal unrest and border incursions. It is only in the time of the latest generations that the region has begun to be more securely integrated into the Argyrian sphere, although most Cerberians still cling strongly to their traditional ways. The western portion of Cerberia now forms the Empire's border against the Minarians, and those Cerberian tribes that yet live free from it's yoke. This stretch of land is thoroughly militarized, fortified by numerous strongholds, watchtowers and defensive walls.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 29, 2013, 02:41:02 PM
Ophidiana

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9c/Zingaro_Sicilia_2005-09-30-2.jpg/120px-Zingaro_Sicilia_2005-09-30-2.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9c/Zingaro_Sicilia_2005-09-30-2.jpg)
The southern quarter of the island of Thymbria, Ophidiana is a treacherous land in many ways. It is a hotbed of volcanic activity, wracked by frequent tremors, fissures and eruptions. The landscape is scarred by old lava flows from the volcanic peaks of the southern Ceratops Mountains, and geysirs and volcanic springs are scattered across the terrain. The soil is quite porous and sometimes forms sudden sinkholes that may swallow entire houses. Despite the natural hazards, the land and the fishing waters along the shoreline provide adequate livelihood for the population.


(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8b/Lago_basso_flumendosa_sardegna9.JPG/120px-Lago_basso_flumendosa_sardegna9.JPG)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8b/Lago_basso_flumendosa_sardegna9.JPG)
Urban settlements are largely confined to the coast, in natural harbours that receive much maritime traffic. Inland areas are relatively inaccessible, being wilderness dotted with isolated villages. The lack of a proper road network makes overland travel slow and dangerous. The range of uninhabited land forms a haven for wildlife, and Ophidiana is known for it's abundance of fauna - poisonous snakes in particular.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 24, 2013, 02:04:44 PM
Theatre
Theatre is among the most highly regarded forms of art in the Empire. It boasts a long tradition that stems from the very dawn of civilization, allegedly taught to mortals by the goddess of inspiration. Argyrian theatre makes use of a minimal number of actors on stage, rarely exceeding three speaking roles. In addition to the actors, theatrical performances include a chorus that narrates the story in verse and sets the mood for each scene. Musical accompaniment is provided by a flutist playing an aulos (double pipe).

To the masses, theatre may be simple entertainment, but for the upper classes it provides avenues for social intercourse and intrigues. The ability to proficiently discuss the deeper aspects of a play, drawing comparisons to renowned classics, is an effective way to cultivate a public image of oneself as a sophisticated connoisseur. The stirring drama of Argyrian theatre can excite powerful emotional reactions in the most stoic of men, and such reactions can be quite telling, revealing aspects of one's character that one might normally keep concealed. By observing the reactions of one's rivals in the theatre, a perceptive aristocrat might learn valuable information about them.

Genres
There are three recognized genres in Argyrian theatre: tragedies, comedies and satyr plays.

Tragedy is the oldest and original form of theatre, which arose initially as a part of ritual - of myths and legends being acted out during religious festivals. For a long time, ALL theatrical plays were tragedies, and to this day tragedy continues to be the most prominent genre by far, to the point that all other genres are considered to be inferior to it. A playwright will not garner any respect or recognition until he has produced at least one adequate play of tragedy, no matter how good his works on other genres may be. Traditionally the plots and subject matter for tragedies have been drawn from mythology, especially the many tales about deified heroes. However, the more modern tragedies may also base their plots on historical events and characters, and even on entirely fictional ones.

Satyr Play was the first "new" genre to emerge and gain acceptance. It's invention is conventionally attributed to Lamprias of Saros, a controversial playwright from the Golden Age. Lamprias recognized that the harrowing melancholy of his tragedies tended to leave the audience deppressed and wanting for a relief, and thought to provide such by adding a brief sideshow to be performed after the actual play. These supplementary after-plays were outrageous spectacles, with actors dressed as satyrs and nymphs and shown engaging in obscenities that challenged the boundaries of common propriety. These minor sideshows survived the initial reaction of shock and revile leveled at them, and over time they evolved into the longer and more ambitious form of the present era satyr play. Although the modern genre retains the provocative nature of it's roots, these plays now also contain meaningful plots that engage the audience on a deeper level, and provide satirical commentary on social mores or recent events. Even so, satyr plays are almost never treated as standalone productions, but are instead performed as accompaniments to a "main" play of another genre.

Comedy grew out of the early satyr plays, as many playwrights and their patrons desired for a way to provide relief without resorting to the often uncouth, juvenilely rebellious (and not to mention politically dangerous) antics of Lamprian debauchery. The first comedies were similar, short sideshows with simple plots, played either after a tragedy or between two halves of one. Rather than seeking to shock the audience, they strove to entertain and evoke laughter. These shows proved extremely popular and quickly spread to all the major cities in the Argyrian world. The hardships and uncertainty of life during the Age of Chaos were a major catalyst to the development of comedy, as the people found in these jovial plays a means to brush aside their woes. Though it was met with some resistance from more conservative circles, comedy was eventually accepted as a full-fledged genre that could be performed on it's own. Present era comedies feature plots nearly as complex as those of tragedies, and are laden with subtle themes and intellectual wit that might escape the notice of those without a high level of education, although the masses tend to enjoy the more obvious humor all the same.

Architecture
Argyrian theatres are exclusively open-air sites, consisting of ascending rows of seats laid out on a semicircular stand overlooking a stage. Rising behind the stage is a background building with projecting wings, that contains the dressing rooms and storage for costumes and props. The wall of the building facing toward the stage and the spectators acts as a backdrop, and may be covered with painted panels to display illustrated scenes.
(http://www.thecbg.org/wiki/images/f/ff/Theatre_small.png)
Where possible, the' rows of seats are laid upon natural slopes of hillsides, and all the older theatres have been built in such manner. In the more modern times (over the last three centuries or so) theatre stands have also been erected on stadiums supported by concrete vaults, allowing large stands to be built on a flat landscape.

The most advanced theatres are equipped with various mechanical wonders designed to make the plays more vivid. Such devices include rotating screens to change the backdrop scene, concealed trapdoors on the stage for actors to emerge from, and even cranes that can be used to suspend actors mid-air from wires - this latter invention is most commonly employed to represent gods in flight or descending from the heavens to address the mortal characters on ground.

Actors
The profession of an actor is rife with contradiction. Despite the fact that theatre is considered to be a refined art form and that playwrights are held in high esteem, actors are wieved with suspicion and outright contempt. All actors are men of humble birth, drawn from the unwashed ranks of labouring castes. Their profession is regarded as inherently unclean and morally suspect, often lumped in the same category of vulgar entertainers with dancing-girls and prostitutes. And yet, successful actors may attain a great deal of fame, command large fees for their performances and enjoy the backing of generous patrons.

In large cities, actors tend to be organized into collegiums that take in apprentices and instruct them in the dramatic art. This organization provides them with protection and promotes a high standard of skill and professionalism. Such collegia often offer refuge to orphan boys and sons of impoverished families whose parents cannot afford to feed them. Female actors do not exist, and thus all roles in Argyrian theatre are played by male or eunuch actors.

Masks
Actors wear stylized wooden or ceramic masks with attached hair while on stage. The most elaborate of these masks are veritable works of art in and of themselves, and can be extremely ornate and finely detailed. Their features are twisted, wildly exaggerated to the point of appearing deformed; the purpose being to emphasize particular emotions or personality traits of the character being portrayed. In some plays an actor may change masks between scenes, reflecting the changes in the character's demeanor or role as the plot progresses.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fb/7302_-_Piraeus_Arch._Museum,_Athens_-_Tragic_mask_-_Photo_by_Giovanni_Dall'Orto,_Nov_14_2009.jpg/160px-7302_-_Piraeus_Arch._Museum,_Athens_-_Tragic_mask_-_Photo_by_Giovanni_Dall'Orto,_Nov_14_2009.jpg)(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/Affresco_romano_-_maschera_tragica_-_Pompeii.jpg/180px-Affresco_romano_-_maschera_tragica_-_Pompeii.jpg)(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/Pompeii_-_Theatre_Mask_-_MAN.jpg/174px-Pompeii_-_Theatre_Mask_-_MAN.jpg)(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/86/TragicComicMasksHadriansVillamosaic.jpg/320px-TragicComicMasksHadriansVillamosaic.jpg)

Since an actor's own face is concealed by the mask, he cannot make use of facial expressions to act out his role, and therefore has to rely on his voice and bodily movements to convey emotion. Because of this limitation, Argyrian theatre places much focus on skillful speaking, symbolic poses and gestures. Some masks have their mouth openings shaped so as to amplify the actor's voice, enabling his words to carry clear even to the rearmost rows of seats on the largest of theatres.



Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 20, 2013, 04:41:36 PM
Wrestling, Boxing and Pankration

There are three kinds of combative full-contact sports practiced by the Argyrians: wrestling, boxing and pankration. The former two are considered to be "soft" civilian sport forms, despite their quite harsh nature; pankration alone is acknowledged as a properly martial form - it was invented by warrior-athletes who lobbied for the inclusion of a contest of personal combat in athletics competitions.

All of these sports are practiced in the nude under open sky, either on a field set aside for athletics or within the palaestra (enclosed courtyard) of a gymnasium. A rectangular patch of ground, flattened and covered with sand, provides the "ring" within which the contestants face off. Referees armed with wooden rods are tasked with ensuring that the athletes stay within this area - there are no ropes or other kinds of walls to fence them in. Matches are not broken into timed rounds like they would be in modern sports. A bout continues until one of the contestants either yields or is rendered unable to continue the struggle. Prolonged matches can turn very taxing and favour the contestant with superior stamina. The referees may also choose to end a match prematurely for any reason (mostly to prevent death in the ring, though they do not always do so timely enough).

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/42/Pankratiasten_in_fight_copy_of_greek_statue_3_century_bC.jpg/640px-Pankratiasten_in_fight_copy_of_greek_statue_3_century_bC.jpg)

Wrestling
Wrestling is regarded as the most sophisticated and elegant of the trio, largely because - despite being vicious by modern standards - it avoids the excess brutality of the other two. It is also considered to be the truest test of physical strength in the field of athletics in general. The elevated status of wrestling stems partially from the fact that it is strongly featured in the mythology of the Argyrians: many of the gods are said to enjoy wrestling, and the ancient heroes of legend were often accomplished wrestlers.

Wrestling is more restricted (some would say watered down) by rules than are boxing and pankration. Intentional strikes are wholly forbidden. A contestant is judged to have taken a fall if either his hip, back or shoulder touches the ground, or if any part of his body touches the ground outside the ring; three falls results in a defeat. Besides throwing his opponent to the ground, a wrestler may employ a variety of holds and joint locks to cause intense pain, strangulation, or the fear of breaking joints, so as to intimidate his opponent into yielding the match. Before entering the ring, wrestlers prepare themselves by rubbing their skin with oil and sprinkling fine sand over it.

Boxing
Argyrian boxing is very different from modern age boxing. A lot of moves that would be illegal or condemned as "dirty tricks" in a modern boxing ring are not only perfectly acceptable, but outright commonplace in Argyrian boxing. The boxers do not wear gloves or any kind of head protection. Depending on local tradition and rules, they either box barehanded, or may wrap their hands with leather thongs. Such bindings protect the fists but do nothing to soften the blows for the one being hit; they actually cause the strikes to tear more savagely into the opponent's flesh. Some boxers even reinforce their wrappings with pieces of brass or iron. Boxing is infamous for frequently resulting in ghastly injuries, and many boxers end up suffering permanent facial disfigurement. It is so common in fact, that stating someone has a "boxer's face" has become a popular insult, the implication being that the subject of the comment is particularly ugly.

Pankration
Pankration isn't a martial art - it is a contest of martial artists. It's rules are very brief and simple: no weapons, no armour, no biting, no crushing of testicles, and no gouging of eyes. Aside from those restrictions just about anything is legal within the ring, making for an extremely brutal sport. Because the minimalistic rules of pankration do not enforce any particular style, matches tend to see contestants from a variety of different "schools" - especially in large tournaments that gather entrees from different cities. Thus a pankrationist can hardly know what to expect from his opponent, unless he happens to know that particular opponent well from previous matches or from being trained under the same instructor. There is an ongoing argument among practicioners of the sport over whether it is a better tactic to strive to keep standing up as long as possible, or to try and take the fight to the ground immediately - most bouts do see the contestants end up grappling on the ground sooner or later.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Weave on August 21, 2013, 09:09:23 PM
I love a good SA update! Always very informative and well-written.

How diversified are the "schools" in Pankration? Are there competitors from lands beyond or across distant seas, or is it more of a diversity amongst the known Argyrian world? Have mythical creatures (satyrs, minotaur) ever partaken in these events, or is that something more of legend?

Also, Magic the Gathering has an upcoming block called Theros (http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/261c&dcmp=ilc-mtgrss) that might be worth drilling for inspiration, if you'd be so inclined. It seems right up your Argyrian alley.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 22, 2013, 08:21:56 AM

Weave

I love a good SA update! Always very informative and well-written.
Glad to hear that! :)

Weave

How diversified are the "schools" in Pankration? Are there competitors from lands beyond or across distant seas, or is it more of a diversity amongst the known Argyrian world? Have mythical creatures (satyrs, minotaur) ever partaken in these events, or is that something more of legend?
There are not really any organized schools as such. Simply that different instructors tend to have their own styles (what they learned from their master, and probably developed further) which differ, sometimes less and sometimes more, from one another's. Some instructors may be so well-known that stating you've been trained by one makes an effective boast. There's probably more variation in styles between regions than there is within a region, though.

Such sports (or variations of them) are also practiced among other civilizations, and definitely among those that border the Empire. At rare occasions extraordinarily distinguished foreigners may be invited to participate in Argyrian athletics events, but by default only citizens have the right to compete.

There are certainly legends about heroes wrestling with powerful creatures such as giants, though not in the context of a formal athletics contest (which are mostly held as part of religious festivals and funerary games).


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 25, 2013, 01:35:35 PM
House Coresses

  • Family Name: Coresses (masculine), Coressina (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Arcadios Coresses
  • Motto: To find yourself, think for yourself

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/TempleofAesculapiusWaterhouse.jpg) (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ATempleofAesculapiusWaterhouse.jpg)

Philosophy, especially in it's classical sense as love of wisdom, has always occupied the highest place in the heart and soul of House Coresses. This sagacious noble family cherises it's ancestral pursuit of knowledge and understanding. No expense is spared in ensuring that the young members of the family are provided with the best possible education and tutelage. Perhaps owing to this high standard of upbringing, along with their penchant for critical thinking, the Coressai are exceptionally altruistic for an aristocratic family. They genuinely believe in the betterment of civilization as a whole, including the lot of the underclasses, through the discovery and propagation of truthful knowledge. Even more radically, they are generally pacifistic, dismayed by the violent nature of the world they live in.

Members of the Coresses family are justly famed for their sharp intellect, keen perceptions and skills in debate - talents that serve them as well in the realm of politics as they do in the realm of academics. Due to their reputation Coressai are widely sought after as advisors, councelors and adieutants to governors and other high-ranking bureaucrats; positions that lend their House a great deal of influence over and insight into the plots and machinations being woven throughout the Empire. They are not afraid to leverage this influence, though they do not merely wield it for their own benefit - they also strive to protect the Empire from destructive influences, and to steer it's course toward peace. House Coresses is relatively small for a Great House, and primarily derives it's wealth from patronage over various manufacturing crafts and industries such as potters, glassblowers and cartwrights.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on August 25, 2013, 01:40:41 PM
House Panaretos

  • Family Name: Panaretos (masculine), Panaretina (feminine)
  • Current Leader: Herondas Panaretos
  • Motto: Nothing is arduous for the willing

Note

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/09/John_Vanderlyn_002.jpg/256px-John_Vanderlyn_002.jpg) (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AJohn_Vanderlyn_002.jpg)
Infamously uncompromising in their stoic idealism, the Panaretoi are ever at odds with the more decadent elements of Argyrian society. They firmly believe that weaknesses of the flesh and spirit alike must be culled through practices of discipline and self-denial, that strength and enlightenment are to be gained by enduring hardships, that is it by mastery over his base impulses that Man elevates himself above beasts and closer in likeness to the gods. It is perhaps due to this philosophy that the fortunes of their house have waxed during times of crises and waned during times of prosperity - they have been likened to the stalwart cactus plant, which thrives in the most inhospitable of environs.

Although House Panaretos in fact possesses significant wealth, this is anything but readily apparent. Their abodes are spartan affairs, modest in size and unadorned by luxuries. Members of the family dress in plain linen rather than embroidered silks or cotton, and choose to walk on their own feet rather than being carried on palanquins. Much of their riches lie hidden in secure vaults, or are invested in farmland, cattle and slaves. Their business practices are conservative, focused on self-sufficiency and avoiding high-risk ventures. Panaretoi tend to be most adept in pursuing careers in the spheres of military and bureaucracy, although their stubborn refusal to accept or engage in any kind of bribery hampers their ability to ascend the ladder. The house has also bred many great philosophers and athletes (and not rarely in the same persons) down the history.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 19, 2013, 10:30:07 AM

A conversation between a hierophant and his apprentice


Parmenion: "Speak your mind, pupil of mine, for I can tell that something troubles you."

Dexios: "O master, I cannot grasp the mystery of the numen. If I could be so enlightened?"

Parmenion: "Pay heed then, and contemplate on this. When you tread upon the ground of the palaestra in the morn after a night of rainfall, do your feet not leave their impression on the wet sand, such that long since you've passed on your way will it betray your passage to the eyes of your peers?"

Dexios: "Of corse."

Parmenion: "And when you seat yourself upon the bench on the hippodrome, can you not sense the warmth of the man who but recently sat on that very spot, lingering yet therein?"

Dexios: "That is indeed so."

Parmenion: "Thus are there ways in which one might observe, upon a given place, traces of the presense, of the being, of the power of men that have been there. So it is with gods also.

 Consider now the serene majesty of the sacred grove, the shade of it's ancient oaks and standing stones. Or the hallowed sanctum of the temple, it's peristyle of fluted marble pillars, and it's floor-mosaics, and fragrant incense laid before the golden Image. Or the lofty solitude on the holy mountain's summit, it's nearness to the celestial arch above, with the wondrous vistas about. These all inspire in the pilgrim a profound sense of divine presense, for they are places touched by gods. And where gods have been are their numina most strongly felt."

Dexios: "Is numen then nothing more than the presense of a god?"

Parmenion: "No. Numen is the nature and providence of a god, the power through which they act. When Thalasses the Sea-King assumes his wrathful aspect, it is his numen which drives the waves of the raging seas. When restless Theramenes embarks on the Ravenous Hunt, it is his numen that rouses the packs and herds of beasts to stampede across the wilderness. The numen of the Emperor is made manifest in his authority and magnanimity, while the safety and prosperity of every family is bolstered by the numina of their household-deities. It is verily through the numina of all the gods that the natural order in the world is upheld."



Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Magnus Pym on October 19, 2013, 11:43:03 AM
Nice

So numen is supposed to be some sort of ''supernatural energy'' (like magic???) or is it just something invented by the superstitious many? Or both?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 19, 2013, 12:27:11 PM
It is supposed to be spiritual power - kind of. There's no "generic" numen, as every numen is of a deity and one with the nature of said deity. Hence the plural numina.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Weave on October 19, 2013, 08:08:12 PM
Very nice post, Ghost.

So, are numina capable of being harnessed in any way by mortals? A priest or oracle maybe? Or is it entirely the power of the gods?

Also, this may have been mentioned earlier and I missed it, or you may have left it intentionally vague, but how "real" are the gods? Is numen a clever way of explaining their presence, or an actual, permeable manifestation of their power?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 20, 2013, 05:28:31 AM
It's not really something that should be thought analogous to substance or energy. It's more like an aura.

That said, numina might well be leveraged in some ways. After all, if it's all numina that make the winds blow, the crops grow and the minds of men form coherent thoughts, then one is already indirectly making use of them in everything one does. Making offerings to the gods is asking them to excercise their will - through their numina - to one's benefit. A traveler might ask that his campfire burn warmer through the cold night, a sculptor that his chisel cuts the perfect contours on a bust, a farmer that the swarm of locusts steers away from his fields, a lover that his illicit trysts remain secret. Since the numen of a deity is the providence of said deity, appeals have to be directed at approriate deities to be effective. Asking Gennia, the Great Mother, to provide rain would be fruitless, for making the clouds shed water is not part of her nature and providence.

As mentioned before, there are certain places with particularly potent numina. Such spiritual auras could be taken advantage of, if their natures are known. For example, a place sacred to Aketos, the Healer, might bolster the chances of survival and recovery of a patient brought to be treated there.

Weave

Also, this may have been mentioned earlier and I missed it, or you may have left it intentionally vague, but how "real" are the gods?

My stance on this has changed somewhat over time. Given the whole polytheistic POV that assumes a mystical world full of gods, with "god" being a very broad term meaning everything from empyreal cosmic destroyers and creators to humble dryads and domestic spirits to impersonal forces of nature to ascended mortal heroes and still-living rulers, I can't really see any way to keep the existence of deities totally uncertain without depriving the setting of flavour-appropriate chances to encounter some of them in the flesh.

Even so, there's quite a bit of room for vagueness. The mythology is supposed to be riddled with internal inconsistensies, with same deities being ascribed different names and attributes by different priesthoods/traditions, some deities not being acknowledged outside of specific cities, entire legends being told in radically different ways (and this not stopping some people from believing they're all somehow true) by different tribes, and with new deities from foreign religions being sometimes "borrowed" and adopted regardless of how well they fit into the existing mythos.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Elemental_Elf on October 21, 2013, 01:44:55 AM
I really like the description of House Catacalon. Their slow decline is almost sad, if not a bit touching as well. It must be truly disheartening to watch your power and prestige slowly slip and fade over the eons. You mentioned members of House Catacalon finding greener pastures in other Houses but are there any young upstarts of adequate birth who could join the Catacaloi and revitalize the House with his youthful vigor? Does something like that ever occur?

Also, super jealous of your map of the Argyrian Hippodrome. :D


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on October 21, 2013, 10:30:18 AM

Elemental_Elf

You mentioned members of House Catacalon finding greener pastures in other Houses but are there any young upstarts of adequate birth who could join the Catacaloi and revitalize the House with his youthful vigor? Does something like that ever occur?
I think such candidates would be very hard to come by. For even minor nobility there's little point in throwing your lot with what looks like a losing horse. Common citizens could always be brought in to the family, but that would risk destroying what's left of the worth of the Catacalon name and public image ("look, they've become so desperate they'll take in anyone!") and would also be regarded by some members of the house as effectively giving up.

Elemental_Elf

Also, super jealous of your map of the Argyrian Hippodrome. :D
Thanks! :)


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on October 23, 2013, 07:45:55 PM
Numina works for me.  I always enjoy when a setting's esoterica and fantasy elements get beyond the surface, "it's magic' and to how it feels or why it works, or how the denizens of the setting perceive it.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 09, 2013, 04:42:37 PM
I've created a star chart that shows the constellations known to the Argyrians. It's posted over on the Cartographers' Guild forum. Not sure if you can see the attached picture without an account, but anyway: Atlas of the Celestial Heavens (http://www.cartographersguild.com/finished-maps/25510-atlas-celestial-heavens.html).

There are 9 constellations that lie along the path of the Suns, forming the Argyrian zodiac. They include:
  • The Centipede
  • The Chariot
  • The Horn
  • The Hippocampus
  • The Ouroboros
  • The Sphinx
  • The Spider
  • The Tortoise
  • The Vulture

The signs of the zodiac have major astrological importance. Other constellations include:
  • The Amphorae
  • The Bow
  • The Cyclops
  • The Dragonfly
  • The Falcon
  • The Fisherman
  • The Flamingo
  • The Hands
  • The Horseshoe
  • The Ibex
  • The Jellyfish
  • The Maiden
  • The Moth and The Butterfly
  • The Octopus
  • The Palm
  • The Pegasus
  • The Satyrs
  • The Shark
  • The Shepherd's Crook
  • The Sistrum
  • The Stag

On a night of a clear sky, characters might observe omens and portents against the cosmic canvas. Unusual signs manifesting in the direction of a particular constellation could bear occult significance, that those who are wise in the way of divination might decipher.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Humabout on December 09, 2013, 06:13:05 PM
First, let me say, awesome map.  Second, let me say, TURTLE!!!!

This is really cool, Ghostman.  One nitpick - and it's a minor one - is that constellations need not be as literal as the spider or vulture.  While Orion actually has stars for all the important bits, most constellations lack them. 
Case in point:
(http://astrobob.areavoices.com/astrobob/images/Lyra_harp_1.jpg)

Don't feel so constrained by the stars themselves when picking out constellations.

All of that said, this is just awesome.  I've never really seen this particular detail included in a setting, and it has me wondering what I can do with Starfall.  Fantastic thing to include!


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 10, 2013, 02:27:47 PM
Good to hear :)

Humabout

One nitpick - and it's a minor one - is that constellations need not be as literal as the spider or vulture.

I'm well aware of that, because I studied the RW constellations quite a bit before starting to work on my map. Giving all of them fairly recognizable shapes was something I consciously decided to do, as there's no reason why stars couldn't be aligned in a more obvious way in a fantasy universe.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: sparkletwist on December 10, 2013, 03:55:07 PM

Ghostman

Giving all of them fairly recognizable shapes was something I consciously decided to do, as there's no reason why stars couldn't be aligned in a more obvious way in a fantasy universe.
I like that you did that. The real constellations are... weird.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Magnus Pym on December 10, 2013, 08:03:28 PM
Nice touch there, Ghostman. Will you come up with some fluff that includes such spiritual (astrological and whatnot) stuff in the future? Like, short stories?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 15, 2013, 07:35:11 AM
On Dueling

In those ancient times when the world was more wondrous, when Men knew simpler ways and when heroes were towering goliaths nine-feet tall, it was customary when two tribes made war upon each other and their hosts met on the field, that one of the warlords might call a challenge upon his counterpart. Thus would the two leaders engage each other in mortal combat before the eyes of the assembled hosts, to determine in this manner the outcome of the battle. Such days are long gone; for as Man cast away his primitive ways and as warfare grew more refined and organized, the custom of the warlords' duel was abandoned. Although no longer relevant in war, some vestiges of the archaic ideal of a heroic one-on-one clash of arms survive to this day, manifest in honorary duels between champions of the noble houses.

What dueling isn't

Argyrians do not practice judicial duels. Indeed, their laws do not even recognize the act of dueling in any manner. Disputes are supposed to be solved by trial, with arguments and evidence and the mediation of judges, not by illicit bloodshed. Neither is dueling ever an affair between individuals - any fight between two men initiated out of personal enmity or over some object of contention is not a true duel, but a mere brawl.

What dueling is

Dueling in the present era is exclusively the domain of the aristocracy. It is something that happens very rarely, and never without careful consideration by both parties. A duel is a means for the families to solve a grudge or feud that cannot be brought to trial - either because it is over something the laws do not address (such as perceived insults), or over something that could embarass both sides if it were to become public knowledge. When two houses agree upon a duel, they will choose a time and place suitably removed from the public eye, and each house selects a champion to represent it. This champion is almost always the house's senior spatharius - a professional swordsman who usually also commands the household guard and acts as a personal bodyguard for the head of the family. The duel is fought to the first blood, witnessed by representatives of the two houses and possibly a trusted third party. Both sides are expected to abide by it's outcome - the house whose champion was victorious is considered to have won the argument, and the matter is considered disclosed.

While this custom isn't legally sanctioned, it is practically never suppressed by authorities, for a number of reasons. Firstly, the few people who do know about the duel are not interested in raising lawsuits over it, even if their champion ends up accidentally killed. Secondly, noble houses typically command enough political influence to ensure that local governors won't interfere in their private affairs. Most importantly though, the imperial government is willing to overlook duels because they present a means for rival nobles to solve budding disputes before they escalate into blood feuds. Given that blood feuds tend to be extremely bitter and destructive affairs that span several generations and often only terminate when one side is completely eradicated, the policy of quietly ignoring duels is nothing short of pragmatic.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Humabout on December 15, 2013, 10:34:38 AM
I like this take on dueling. It still retains the elements of its judicial roots, but with a distinctly martial tinge.  Nice stuff


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 15, 2013, 11:31:35 AM
The roots are in tribal warfare, not judicial. I thought that my posted description was pretty clear about that?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Weave on December 15, 2013, 01:48:17 PM
Great update, Ghostman! I always enjoy reading new bits for Savage Age.

What sorts of weapons would be "typical" for a duel? What would someone don to duel a rival family?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Humabout on December 15, 2013, 03:38:08 PM

Ghostman

The roots are in tribal warfare, not judicial. I thought that my posted description was pretty clear about that?
Yet the duels are used to adjudicate disputes that cannot be taken to a legal trial.  It doesn't come off as antiquated warfare so much as how historical duels are largely represented in fiction and media.  Those derived from trials by combat.  Hence, the roots feel like they are judicial, but there's a heavy dose of militarism involved.  I suppose if you were really trying to distance these duels from judicial combat, you'll either need to expand on just how they are not trials by combat, since the descriptions of those duels really sounds a lot like just that.  The winner is deemed "right," the loser "wrong."  It even draws on the idea of champions fighting for those incapable of fighting for themselves, like women and invalids.

I liked the post, but I guess the post really missed the mark in terms of differentiating these duels from traditional trial by combat duels, except for one sentence that just says, "This is not a trial."  Elaborate and this could be even more interesting.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 15, 2013, 04:43:15 PM
I guess the confusion arises from me thinking in terms of in-universe history, and you thinking in terms of out-of-universe influences? Real world judicial duels do count as a source of inspiration for this setting element. Whereas within the setting, the Argyrians have never had actual judicial duels, their present activities being a legacy of an earlier military tradition. Since they've never applied dueling as part of a judicial process and have a rather strong and lengthy history of formal trials, it wouldn't occur to them to make such a comparison. From their POV these duels between the champions of noble houses are something that falls outside the proper course of justice, though not necessarily in violation of it.

Anyway, the outcome of the duel being accepted as final and binding isn't because it's regarded as "just" of fair, but rather because both sides realize that ending the dispute is ultimately more important than proving who is truly in the right. Which is why they'd be willing to agree to holding a duel in the first place, instead of stubbornly carrying out with the feud.

Weave

What sorts of weapons would be "typical" for a duel? What would someone don to duel a rival family?
Because the champions are practically always swordsmen, common sword types are the weapons of choise. Armour would be negotiated, and if worn would be something light and "court-appropriate", of the types that may be worn by household guards while on duty. Since there are actually no written rules for these duels, deviations from traditional norms is theoretically possible. That said, breaking such traditions would risk incurring a loss of face, and is therefore unheard of.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Humabout on December 15, 2013, 09:17:18 PM

Ghostman

I guess the confusion arises from me thinking in terms of in-universe history, and you thinking in terms of out-of-universe influences? Real world judicial duels do count as a source of inspiration for this setting element.
This, I think.  Sorry for the confusion.

Ghostman

From their POV these duels between the champions of noble houses are something that falls outside the proper course of justice, though not necessarily in violation of it.
This sort of thing is interesting to me.  It gives a glimpse of the mindset of the people living in the world.

Ghostman

Anyway, the outcome of the duel being accepted as final and binding isn't because it's regarded as "just" of fair, but rather because both sides realize that ending the dispute is ultimately more important than proving who is truly in the right. Which is why they'd be willing to agree to holding a duel in the first place, instead of stubbornly carrying out with the feud.
Again, awesome little glimpse into how they think.  It bespeaks a level of cultural altruism, for sure.

Ghostman

Because the champions are practically always swordsmen, common sword types are the weapons of choise. Armour would be negotiated, and if worn would be something light and "court-appropriate", of the types that may be worn by household guards while on duty. Since there are actually no written rules for these duels, deviations from traditional norms is theoretically possible. That said, breaking such traditions would risk incurring a loss of face, and is therefore unheard of.
What is the standard sword?  Most societies have only one word for sword and it describes the one they use.  Modifications on that sword result in derivative names like "longsword," "two-hander," or "shortsword."  What is "sword" to these champions?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Magnus Pym on December 15, 2013, 10:57:50 PM
Please host a game. I will play.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on December 16, 2013, 10:36:37 AM

Humabout

What is the standard sword?  Most societies have only one word for sword and it describes the one they use.  Modifications on that sword result in derivative names like "longsword," "two-hander," or "shortsword."  What is "sword" to these champions?
The most commonly carried swords would be the spathion (an arming sword) and the xiphos (a short sword), although the paramerion (a sabre) and even the two-handed rhomphaia have become common enough weapons for household guards that they are acceptable choises.

Magnus Pym

Please host a game. I will play.
Hopefully I can assemble a game to run some day. It's encouraging to hear that there's interest. :)


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on January 01, 2014, 09:38:12 AM

Pteraskeles

The Wing-Legged Abomination

Pteraskeles was an athlete from Axion, and it is said that he was the swiftest runner ever born into the world. He attended the Panargyraic Games five times and won all of the sprinting races. During the summer months he would hunt deer and wild horses by chasing them on foot. He was an excessively prideful man and bragged insufferably of his accomplishments, belittling anyone who refused to recognize his greatness. His unabashed arrogance earned him many enemies, but none could hope to catch him.

One day he boasted that his speed was superior even to that of Aeatis herself. The goddess heard his words and, taking offense at his insolence, leapt down from the heavens and challenged him into a footrace. Despite his phenomenal speed Pteraskeles had barely cleared the starting line when he was already left in the dust. Having effortlessly won the race, Aeatis punished the braggard by transforming his legs into feathery wings that carried him afloat, his body hanging helplessly upside-down. She also cursed him so that he could never touch the ground. In this monstrous form Pteraskeles took to flight, shrieking in madness, as his aberrant wings carried him away toward the Polemos Mountains. Such foolhardy travelers that dare cross near those peaks sometimes speak of having sighted the wing-legged abomination, or of having heard his awful wails in the dead of night.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on May 20, 2014, 03:46:43 PM
Acheria

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/08/Avileñas.jpg/120px-Avileñas.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/08/Avileñas.jpg/1280px-Avileñas.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d8/Costa_Paradiso_-_(Trinità_d'Agultu)_(3).JPG/120px-Costa_Paradiso_-_(Trinità_d'Agultu)_(3).JPG)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Costa_Paradiso_-_(Trinità_d'Agultu)_(3).JPG)
The northeastern lands of the great island of Thymbria, between the Ceratops Mountains and the Sea of Dolphins. Acheria is famed for its vast grazing lands, trampled every year under the hooves of massive cattle herds. Equally famous are its inhabitants, the gaunt and warlike Acherians. The land bears the scars of active volcanism, though not so intensely as Ophidiana to the south. Hills, valleys and ridges dominate the landscape in the western parts of Archeria, nearest the mountains, while expansive plains and tablelands become more common eastward. Much of the coastline is rocky and riddled with treacherous currents and shoals, but sandy beaches are found in fair number along the shore. The climate of Acheria is mildly warm and dry, whilst winds blow freely across the pastures; great raging wildfires are a common hazard in the summer months. The coastal areas have been subject to significant colonization efforts by Argyrians, but the interior remains inhabited almost solely by natives. The foothills of the Ceratops range lay largely outside the Empire's control, home to tribes of lawless tattooed hillmen that do not allow themselves to be ruled by anyone.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on May 20, 2014, 03:50:57 PM
Araxa

Faraway and foreign Araxa comprises the western quarter of the island of Thymbria, made up of fertile lowlands girded by the shores of the Merciless Sea, and of wooded highlands that stand anterior to the summits and canyons of the Ceratops Mountains. The region is watered by a multitude of streams and rivers flowing westward from the mountains toward the sea, many of their number flooding forcefully during the spring. The hilltops and plateaux are crested with dense forests of deciduous trees and the valleys and plains riddled with scattered thickets of evergreens. The sylvan landscape provides a plentitude of lumber, but it is also a haven for wolves, panthers and spotted lions that infest the region in great numbers. Bandits, too, are fond of the convenient hideouts and dens to be found in the wilderness.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c2/Near_the_Caspian_Sea.jpg/120px-Near_the_Caspian_Sea.jpg)
 (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Near_the_Caspian_Sea.jpg)

Walled towns and fortified hilltop settlements intersect the roads and waterways, their parapets looming warily amidst the treacherous territory, overlooking cultivations criscrossed by irrigation canals. They fall under the yoke of local despots that assent to pay tribute to the far-flung Emperor they know from word of mouth only, given free reins to reign as they see fit. The Araxan people seem strange and barbarous in the eyes of their conquerors, ill-trusted but left to their devices as long as tribute is paid. Argyrian presense in this alien land is confined to garrisoned strongholds along the coast that provide bases for the galleys of the imperial navy, essential for guarding against incursions from (and launching them into) Daliristan across the sea.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on May 22, 2014, 11:55:41 AM
Throntia
The region refered to as Throntia by Argyrians lies upon a large island to the west from the desert of Khâvaran. It is the southernmost extent of the Empire's reach, a conquered foreign land colonized via trading outposts. Situated as it is on the sea route leading to the fabled Silk Islands archipelago to the southwest, Throntia's strategic value cannot be overstated -- it is through their outposts along the coast that Argyrian merchants operate the shipments of silk en route to the markets of their homeland and beyond. To protect this lucrative trade the Empire maintains a very strong military presense in Throntia.

Climate on the island is hot and dry, but falls short of being truly desertlike. Much of the land is too arid to be cultivated, necessitating a heavy reliance on rivers for irrigation. Flocks of sheep and herds of goats graze on the open pastures and shrubby hillsides. Dust storms and bushfires are a frequent hazard in Throntia, and fresh water can become hard to find if the rainy season is delayed. Argyrian colonists inhabit the port towns along the northern and western shoreline, mingling with the natives there, but they've found little incentive to venture far from the coast. Military fortresses are maintained deeper inland along navigable rivers to maintain a presense and deter rebellion. The mountains of the interior are largely uncharted and aren't considered to be part of the Empire's territory.
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/06/Fuerteventura_kueste3_750px.jpg/120px-Fuerteventura_kueste3_750px.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/06/Fuerteventura_kueste3_750px.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/32/Hills_of_Gilead.jpg/80px-Hills_of_Gilead.jpg) (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/32/Hills_of_Gilead.jpg)


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 14, 2014, 06:19:05 AM

Kobaloi

Kobaloi are mischievous, dwarfish trickster spirits that revel at tormenting mortal men. They are blamed for stealing and misplacing items, spoiling food and drink, poisoning wells, frightening cattle and leading travelers astray. They are believed to be shapeshifters that may imitate the likeness of anyone who gives them his name. Their true forms resemble twisted infants some two years of age; baby-faced yet hunched and wrinkled like old men, with long gray beards that reach to the ground, rotund pot bellies and disproportionately large phalluses. It is said that a kobalos is compelled to always accept a bowl of soup or a cup of wine when one is offered, and cannot resist guzzling down on it until every last drop has been emptied.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: LordVreeg on June 14, 2014, 12:29:22 PM
very pleased with the mythic quality of the Kobaloi.  The appearance, is a great match, and one wonders their intelligence level and organizations.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 14, 2014, 01:59:32 PM
They are certainly very cunning, if not quite "book smart". Encountering a small band of Kobaloi wouldn't be unreasonable, though I think in most cases they'd be solitary creatures. They're rustic spirits to begin with, and IMO the trickster flavour works best if they're not very organized.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Magnus Pym on June 15, 2014, 09:22:18 PM
Very interesting creature there. Sound kind of like an imp, or something.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on June 17, 2014, 11:32:02 AM
The Underworld

The Underworld of Argyrian mythology is a dreary facet of the spirit realms. It is the home of the chthonic deities and also the place wherein souls of mortal men are drawn after death. The Underworld overlaps with the world of the living, touching it in various locations that permit passage between the twain. Such entrancies are most often found within natural caves, but the subterranean crypts and catacombs of old necropoleis may also contain passageways. Another way to reach the Underworld is to sail to the shores of the Twilight Lands, a fabled place at the edge of the world.

The Underworld is described as a grim and barren wasteland, engulfed in perpetual darkness and devoid of color and warmth. The air there is stale and reeks of decay, while a bitter coldness assails one relentlessly, chilling the blood and sapping strength. Time itself seems to grind to a halt, stalled in an eternal standstill. Three forbidding rivers, of blood, pitch and venom, meander sluggishly through the desolate expanse. The umbral milieu defies rational conceptions of space: in the Underworld distance and direction are haphazard measures at best, landmarks may change their positions or orientation when one is looking away, passages wind and loop in impossible ways, and doorways when revisited lead to different places than they did before. It is very easy to get lost in this perilous otherworld.

Locations and Denizens

Neleus' Palace
In the heart of the Underworld is the palatial house of it's sovereign lord, the ill-tempered god Neleus. Built from massive blocks of granite, this gargantuan structure looms imposingly, akin to a fortress. The interior is dimly lit by festooned oil lamps, and centers round a great reception hall where the mirthless lord holds his court. Few are those who seek his audience willingly, for while the sullen host is generous with wine and entertainments there remains an unshakeable, oppressive atmosphere that quickly diminishes the spirits of the most cheerful of guests.

The Phantom Wind
A dread wind that blows from the pitch-black depths, occasionally reaching even the surface of the overworld. It reeks of the putric stench of an open grave and carries forth the cacophonous lamentations of wailing ghosts.

Amazon's Rest
A fortress of wrought iron walls stands upon a blood-soaked plain smattered with bleached bones, broken weapons and rusted pieces of armour, reminiscent of a battlefield. It is the abode of the dread war-goddess Amazon and her retinue of furies. Anyone that dares approach it will be torn limb from limb by the furies.

The Rock of Colosseus
When the golden arrow shot by Argyros slew his monstrous brother Colosseus, the very earth split and parted underneath where the giant fell, his corpse descending directly into the Underworld. There he was shackled and bound, at the command of Neleus, to an immense boulder with an unbreakable chain forged by cyclopses. Colosseus remains thusly imprisoned and bitterly curses the day of his defeat. The arrow that broke his ravenous heart remains impaled on his chest still, the wound bleeding an outpour of bitter blood that fills one of the Underworld's three rivers. From time to time Colosseus tests the strength of his bounds, his formidable but futile struggles causing destructive earthquakes up on the world of mortal men. His enraged wails reverberate across the Underworld, so loud and terrible that they strike fear in the hearts of all who hear them.

The Valley of the Dead
An ash-gray plain broken by jagged boulders and perpetually obscured in a haze of freezing mist. Listlessly wandering about this scarred lanscape are throngs of the dead: dour, apathetic shades that barely remember the lives they once lived. Consigned to an eternity of languid torpor, they know only bitter resentment and envy toward the living. Somewhere atop a mound of bones a great drum is beaten, it's dull and monotonous rhythm a beacon guiding the recently deceased on their way to the afterlife. Entrance to the valley is through a gate of brass guarded by the deity Aphrastus the Gatekeeper, who alone decides which souls are permitted to pass.

Enerthys
The grisly figure of the lictor-god Enerthys frequently makes forays into the Valley of the Dead to hunt down oathbreakers at his leisure. He decapitates them and tosses their heads on the steadily growing heap outside his abode.

Grotto of the Unborn
When a child is stillborn it's parents will kill a rooster and bury it, unplucked, sealed within a ceramic vase along with the remains of the fetus. A ritual incantation is inked on the jar to summon a daemon that will spirit away the lost child's soul, which would be unable to travel into the afterlife on it's own. Such souls are destined for a hidden grotto somewhere in the Underworld. The cave's entrance is guarded by a pair of simian monsters, one of them blind and the other one deaf.

The Twilight Coast
Located on the edge of the world of Men is a forlorn strand of gray sand and weathered rocks locked in perpetual twilight, a liminal space betwixt the Underworld and the vastness of oceanic waters. It is said that those who drown in the sea may be washed ashore here and thence be able to complete their journey to the Valley of the Dead, but many such souls are less fortunate and end up haunting the world as terrifying sea-ghosts. Mariners who sail too far into the open sea may reach this ominous coast. Those foolhardy enough to beach and venture inland will enter the Underworld, and may never find their way back. A necromantic ritual may be performed on the shore to summon shades from the Valley of the Dead, allowing one to make contact with the deceaced in person.

The Gate of Destiny
The mysteries of the cecropian serpent-priests speak of secret pathways, revealed to the initiates of the cult, that lead to the Gate of Destiny and through it to one's next incarnation in the cycle of life and death. The final obstacle on this journey is a bridge that arcs over a deep chasm wherein dwells the ravenous twelve-headed Erebean Hydra. Initiates are taught a formulaic meter which they should recount to cross safely. Those who lack knowledge of these secret words are devoured by the beast.

Having reached the gate the supplicant prostrates himself before the Gatekeeper and is presented with three trials - ordeals where he must reconcile with the shadows of his past, prove himself to be worthy in the present, and embrace the unknown that is the future. The trials are different for every supplicant, for they reflect upon their personal flaws and vices. Those who pass these tests are bid to drink from a cup filled with the bitter black waters of forgetfulness, wiping their memories of past life. Only then may they step through the gate which leads to their being reincarnated into the next life, the trials determining their destiny therein. Those who proved unworthy to pass are cast into the slavering jaws of the hydra.

The Shimmering Mountain
A fabulous mountain of the purest gold and silver, of lustrous pearl and amber and jade, rises beyond a forbidding moat of boiling tar, tantalizingly always just mere inches too far away for one to make the leap across. On the summit of this prodigious mound an opulent pavillion gleams with the brilliance of a thousand upon thousand diamonds and rubies and emeralds decorating it's exterior. Muffled sensual rhythms of the harp and flute, and glimpses of shadows and silhouettes cast by the supple figures of dancer-girls hint at the luxuriant delights to be found within. A faint scent of myrrh and frankincense mixed with the fragrant aroma of spiced delicacies somehow issues past the stench of the steaming tar, teasing and tempting. This is the empyreal lair of the many-faced goddess Alphaia. A parliament of nefarious harpies roosts on the pavilion's ivory-plated roof.

Caliginosa, the Dreamscape
In this strange quarter of the Underworld originate dreams, phantasms and illusions. The Dreamscape is ephemereal and untractable even moreso than the rest of the Underworld; a nebulous landscape of shifting and blending vistas equally captivating and dreadful in their otherworldly majesty, a warped space wherein nothing is fixed or constant. It's erratic ruler is Oneiria, the Goddess Impalpable, who drifts through her domain singing an eternal song. Caliginosa borders the Valley of the Dead, and can only be accessed through that realm.

The Tower of Riddles
Lair of the sinister Chthonian Sphinges -- twisted hybrid beasts that delight in tormenting Men with their uncanny riddles, almost as much as they delight in devouring the hapless fools that fail to unravel these enigmas. Each sphinx will confront an intruder with a single question, all of which must be answered to reach the pinnacle. Kept on the top of the tower is a puzzle-box said to contain the secret of immortality, a prize to be claimed by whoever proves able to open it.

The Terrors Beneath
Belching smoke and foul odors, the nethermost chasms of the Underworld yawn wide and open like outstreched maws of some enormous beasts. Obscured in unpenetrable darkness, they are said to extend so deep that an anvil dropped from the edge of one would fall for ten thousand years before reaching the bottom. These awful pits reverberate with echoing groans and howls of unseen monstrosities; primordial horrors cast into those unfathomable depths during aeons immemorable even to the eldest of gods. In one of these abysms slumbers the formless behemoth and devourer-of-worlds that is Amorphis, tangled among the roots of the World Tree, lulled by the feverish drumming and piping of degenerate cyclopses.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 21, 2014, 12:15:36 PM
So the underworld is my favorite part of the setting thus far!

Another way to reach the Underworld is to sail to the shores of the Twilight Lands, a fabled place at the edge of the world. I like the multiple entryways: very Mictlan-ish. I love the three rivers of blood, pitch, and venom. The wind is also cool; I like how you describe it's feel, its sound, and its smell.

Neleus' Palace: You paint a good ambience to the place, but the site seems lacking somehow. For example, what might draw someone there (willingly). What wonders and guardians (besides Neleus) are therein?

Amazon's Rest: To me, Amazon, by itself, seems a bland name, overused by modern society. That said, what do the war-goddess and furies do down there?

The Rock of Colosseus: Maybe my favorite. Echoes multiple mythologies, but in a good way. The description and past of the place is poetic and evocative.

The Valley of the Dead: I like the freezing mist, listless shades, and gates. The drum is really cool as well. Does the Gatekeeper beat it?

Enerthys: A lictor-god who leisurely hunts down deceased betrayers? I love it. The decapitation seems a bit bland though, honestly as a punishment from a god to a dead shade. I'm not saying it needs to be gruesome, just a bit more supernatural -like maybe he wenches the heads of the shades, so they always face backwards and pluck their tongues to make his standard?

Grotto of the Unborn: Cool ritual, cool place. Simian guardians are really intriguing as well.

The Twilight Coast: Elegant, plot-rich concept.

The Gate of Destiny: Cool site. It does make me wonder though. The tests sound tough, and failure means being eaten by the hydra and presumably not being reincarnated. Consequently, does that mean that the race is slowly dying away as more and more fail the tests and aren't reincarnated?

The Shimmering Mountain: Love the place, especially the juxtaposition of the boiling tar, mineral riches, and sensual shadows. The name is okay, but doesn't quite rise to the level of coolness that the area does, in my humble opinion. Alternates: Mount Lucre, The Gilded Cornucopia?

Caliginosa, the Dreamscape: So dreams originate in the underworld? That's a distinct cosmology. Do the dead here dream? Regardless, I love the names Caliginosa and Goddess Impalpable.

The Tower of Riddles: Chthonian Sphinges: cool name. I also love the puzzle-box allegedly contained immortality.

The Terrors Beneath: I like the name. The dropping anvil line is good too.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 21, 2014, 02:39:02 PM
Thank you for your feedback Rose-of-Vellum! Glad to read that you're finding this part of the setting to your liking :)

Rose-of-Vellum

Neleus' Palace: You paint a good ambience to the place, but the site seems lacking somehow. For example, what might draw someone there (willingly). What wonders and guardians (besides Neleus) are therein?
I agree about there being something lacking. I struggled quite a bit writing up the palace and never felt 100% satisfied with it myself. Any visit to the palace should be a reluctant undertaking (beyond the borderline lunacy of intensionally entering the Underworld in the first place) warranted by plot devices. Presumably one needs really badly something that only Neleus may grant, be that information or specific divine favours.


Rose-of-Vellum

Amazon's Rest: To me, Amazon, by itself, seems a bland name, overused by modern society. That said, what do the war-goddess and furies do down there?
Ah, the thing with Amazon is that she is a dead goddess -- but one that returns to life whenever a major battle is taking place. Thus she has to stay in the Underworld much of the time, and chooses to spend it in her fortress. What she's actually doing is anyone's guess. It might be that she's simply resting.


Rose-of-Vellum

The Valley of the Dead: I like the freezing mist, listless shades, and gates. The drum is really cool as well. Does the Gatekeeper beat it?

Enerthys: A lictor-god who leisurely hunts down deceased betrayers? I love it. The decapitation seems a bit bland though, honestly as a punishment from a god to a dead shade. I'm not saying it needs to be gruesome, just a bit more supernatural -like maybe he wenches the heads of the shades, so they always face backwards and pluck their tongues to make his standard?
There's a minor deity responsible for the drumming. As for Enerthys, his decapitations are less a matter of punishment and more a matter of collecting trophies. It's much like bored aristocrats going on hunts as their favoured pastime. I'm also trying to avoid making the Underworld too gruesome, as it's not really supposed to be HELL so much as a frightening otherworld that reflects the harshness and brutal inevitabilities of life in an iron age civilization.


Rose-of-Vellum

The Gate of Destiny: Cool site. It does make me wonder though. The tests sound tough, and failure means being eaten by the hydra and presumably not being reincarnated. Consequently, does that mean that the race is slowly dying away as more and more fail the tests and aren't reincarnated?
This gate didn't become part of the mythology until after the Cecropian mystery cult was adopted into the corpus of lore and traditions of the Argyrians. Their original concept of afterlife was limited to an eternity spent wasting away in the Valley of the Dead, so naturally there was an implication that new souls were created as people were born. The novel concept of reincarnation (transmigration of souls) did not challenge this, it merely added the possibility of a living person having lived past lives. Not that the cult has become universally accepted, and many Argyrians stick to the older perception of their cosmology.


Rose-of-Vellum

Caliginosa, the Dreamscape: So dreams originate in the underworld? That's a distinct cosmology. Do the dead here dream? Regardless, I love the names Caliginosa and Goddess Impalpable.
It's actually inspired by classical mythology - what with Hypnos (http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Hypnos.html) being the twin brother of Thanatos (http://www.theoi.com/Daimon/Thanatos.html) and living in the Underworld.

Now, whether or not the dead dream is an interesting question to ponder! Death and slumber are likened to each other and connected in mystic ways. Dreams might be regarded as visions from beyond the veil of mortality. The dead that have passed on and become shades in the Underworld are stripped of most of the qualities that they possessed while alive, being incapable of most emotions and ambitions. Stuck in endless tedium, they probably cannot fall asleep, but it's questionable if they truly are 'awake' in the same sense as the living. Perhaps they do dream but are unable to tell the difference? Doubtlessly philosophers and theologicians could have the most fascinating debates over the matter. Ordinary people OTOH wouldn't be as interested, and probably prefer not to think too often and hard about the fine details of what awaits them beyond the end of their lives.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 21, 2014, 03:12:11 PM
Re Neleus: I likely don't know enough about the god to know what might belong or could be added.

Re Amazon: That's a really, really cool concept of a war-goddess being dead, but resurrecting during war (and dying again when peace resumes). Very cool. Still 'meh' about her name, but the concept is golden.
 
Re Enerthys: That's fair enough. Does he have hounds or other things with him on said hunts? Do the dead know and fear him -or do they shuffle like half-sensile prey? Do the decapitated shades continue to 'live'?

Re Reincarnation: Ah, that makes sense. I wasn't aware of the Cecroprian mystery cult info.

Re Caliginosa: Oh, I don't mind it being there; it was just unexpected (to clarify, I was seeing a distinction between sleep and dreams). So, for example, Hypnos -the Personification of sleep- was indeed the brother of death and 'lived' in the underworld. However, his sons, including Morpheus the personification of dreams- did not; they lived in ocean-shore cave in the 'west'. However, by tying dreams and death more closely in your setting, it does offer some interesting possibilities. For instance, when people dream, do they believe that that were walking in the lands of the dead? That in going to sleep, one dies a bit, then is born upon waking, a minor reincarnation of sorts?


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on July 21, 2014, 03:55:47 PM
I prefer to reserve hounds for other gods (there's -lots- of them, yet to be detailed and posted), as Enerthys is not quite as strongly associated with hunting as some others. The shades definitely fear him. Indeed, many of the lesser gods and denizens of the Underworld probably fear him -- he's not someone to pick a fight with. Decapitated shades are somehow 'deader' than dead, the exact meaning of which is beyond mortal comprehension. It's one of those things that, if you ask ten priests about it, you'll prolly get ten different explanations.

Dreams do originate in the Underworld, but Caliginosa is still merely adjacent to the Valley of the Dead (whatever 'adjacent' means in a cosmos that defies mundane concepts of geometry...), not the same place exactly. There's a belief that people drift closer to the spirit realms in general, and the afterworld of the shades in particular, when asleep. It's not regarded as dying though.


Title: Re: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire
Post by: Ghostman on April 19, 2015, 09:52:55 AM

The Poetess Himeria


Born under brilliant stars, Himeria was a daughter of a flax-merchant. Blessed she was with eyes of alluring beauty and a voice of sublime euphony, and endowed with a natural gift for poetry, which she came to practice and love with passion.

Scores of suitors came to her bearing offerings of scented oils and kohl and honeyed wine, but she refused them all and married instead a poor farmer who tended a meagre field. Her life as the farmer's wife was simple and austere, but she worked hard and felt content with this fate. On every day of toil her voice lifted in joyous poems.

One day an affluent lord came passing by the road with his entourage, and by chance he caught a glimpse of Himeria sowing an oat-field, and he heard her sonorous verses. So thoroughly was the lord captivated by her beauty and the melody of her voice and the eloquence of her poem, that he at once ordered his men to seize her and bring her to him. He had her taken to the palace where she was bathed and perfumed and adorned with expensive silks and jewelry, and he made her one of his concubines. She quickly became the center of attention in the court, the object of deep adoration and envy.

Yet amidst this luxury her heart was heavy with sadness, as she longed for her loving farmer-husband. She began pouring her sorrows into her poetry. The poems she composed were of such tragic grace that even the gods wept when she sung them, and a great downpour of rain fell from the heavens, threatening to flood the earth.

Parthenia, the maiden dusk-goddess, took pity upon Himeria, and appeared to her in a dream holding forth an incandescent weft of many-colored thread, and spake thus: "Take this weft and weave it on the loom and fashion the cloth into a peplos. Wear this dress on the day of the Koraia, the maiden festival." When she awoke from the dream, Himeria found the miraculous weft placed by her mattress. She did as instructed; for a hundred nights she worked on the loom, until at last the peplos was finished.

The day of the Koraia came, and Himeria did clothe herself in the many-colored peplos, and she proceeded to the sacred orchard with the people of the palace, and everyone was awed by the wondrous lustre of her dress. In the orchard she sung a poem in praise of the dusk-goddess, and soon as she'd uttered the final verse did Parthenia appear; and the goddess lifted her up, and on wings of golden feathers spirited her away, up to the sky where she placed her among the clouds.

On the heavenly dome she remains to this day, looking down upon the earth - so it is said, still searching for her husband. On rainy days the hem of her many-colored peplos may be glimpsed arcing across the sky, it's radiant beauty ever captivating and inspiring the souls of poets.

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4b/Archip_Iwanowitsch_Kuindshi_009.jpg/640px-Archip_Iwanowitsch_Kuindshi_009.jpg) (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Archip_Iwanowitsch_Kuindshi_009.jpg)

Baskets of oat seeds are dedicated as offerings to deified Himeria on the Koraia festifal, in remembrance of her diligence and humble contentment during her rustic life. The act of offering is often complemented with reverent poetry.