Carncar. There is blood and bone and sinew. Wood and stone and dust. There is water and fire and life. And there are equal parts magic. It flows through every living thing, like the wind whips through a canyon. It churns like the choppy ocean before a storm against the continent's rocky cliffs. And it powers this world like a giant gear. Never ceasing, always turning.
Carncar: The Collective
Every living thing has this magic running through it. It is as natural to most as breathing or blinking. And while it is true that there is a lot of magic, there are also a lot of things living. Therefore, most living things only have a small, limited amount of magic. In fact, many don't even realize it is there. Those that have more than their fair share aspire to great and awful things. They are the heroes and villains of this world. But even many of them decide it is better to use their power to create more life than to gain some abstract power. As magic travels through all things, it is the first ingredient in the most basic of things: creating.
Magic on Carncar is a skill to be honed, and a muscle to be flexed. It cannot be taught in a book and no amount of studying will make you a better wielder of its power. Of all magic knowledge, only rituals are committed to books. However, rituals are a complex operation, and these manuals look more like play books than text books. They keep everyone in sync while they perform the ritual and channel their natural energy into the caster. These patterns are difficult to come by, and highly prized. Even the most basic of rituals cannot be performed alone. A powerful caster will need the help of at least two companions to channel each's natural energy into the spell.
Different classes utilize their magic in different ways, based on the source of their power. Primal classes draw extra energy from the natural world around them. They are attuned to the magic in the living things of the natural world that they protect. Arcane classes, however, rely only on their own magical energy. While they believe this nonreliance on outside sources makes them that much stronger, it does limit their powers to their own reserves. Martial classes also draw only on their own inner magic but they manifest it differently than arcane classes. While an arcane user draws on their magic like pulling water from a well, the martial classes have their magic flowing through their veins. It pulls their muscles taut and focuses their mind. Guardians ask their patrons for strength, and to bolster their own abilities to act for their people. They do not pray to their patrons for their patrons are not revered.
The Source is the beginning and the end. It becomes all things and is made of all things.
The Source creates everything. When something dies, its natural magic is returned to the Source. In this way everyone becomes everything. When a personís magic is returned to the Source, he becomes part of something greater than he ever could have achieved during life.
When someone dies and isnít able to return to The Source, it is usually a miserable existence. He is reminded constantly of his failure to reach the end. There is even an incessant pull from The Source on his very being. These beings are often referred to as ghosts.
The Last Suffering
Over 200 years ago, there was a war that tore the continent apart. It had humble beginnings: a small disagreement between two powers. The Elves of Thoronlond wanted the Dwarves of Fox Clan to stop all of their underground digging. They believed it was stirring up the Under People against them. The Dwarves, of course, refused. It was their lifeblood. And they had dealt with the Under People for centuries. They couldn't understand what their eastern neighbors were making such a big deal about. But there was more afoot than any of them would know at the time.
When the war broke out, the other elven nations came to their sister nation's aid. The human nations believed that no race should have any say in the affairs of another sovereign nation and sided with the dwarves. They believed that the elves were being oppressive. The minor city states in The Hollowed Hills had no say in the matter, and they fought for either side as mercenaries. The goliath tribes to the north avoided the entire situation.
During the Last Suffering, several great leaders emerged. They led their people to battle and spent many days on the home front speaking to their people. They raised morale where they could and gave their people something to believe in. It took a continent-shattering war to unite the different sects of each race into single causes. It was at this time that the Patrons ascended. It was the belief of the people, the channeling of their natural magic, that made them powerful, and they decided to use this power to keep their people alive. The Patrons decided to come together and end war. The Patrons made several agreements to make sure another war wouldn't break out. One of these agreements was that all of the races must stop underground mining, since it was blamed for making the nations into a nervous enough state that the changelings were able to spark a war.
It was discovered, near the end of the war, that the entire war had been formulated and manufactured by some very ambitious changelings. What they stood to actually gain was never truly discovered, or, at least, it was not information released to the masses. One thing was certain, though. Those changelings had turned the entire continent against them. They were hunted down for decades after the war ended, until it was believed that their race had been extinguished... with one shining exception [their Patron, Plexil the Many].
The World of Carncar
The World Map
Continent of Carncar political map
All of Carncar's nations tend to only have mostly their own race in their kingdoms. The major exception is Thoronlond. Since it is the trade capital of the area, other races tend to mingle more. The elves welcome this, as they see it as a sign of power.
Most of Carncar is surrounded by steep cliffs, making access to and from the water difficult.
The elven population of Carncar is significantly larger than the other races.
Led by a council. New members are asked to join the council when they have done something of great merit for the tribe. The Fox Clan dwarves are easily identifiable by their signature headgear. Every fully grown dwarf prominently displays the pelt of a fox. The capture of that fox is part of a ritual ("earning your ears") that leads to the dwarf being accepted in the clan as an adult. Always savvy at business, the clan adapted when they were banished from their home. They now supply most of Carncar with the highest quality of wood and wooden items.
For centuries the dwarves dug out the earth in search of treasures. They brought most of the dirt and rock that they carved out of the mountain and deposited it into two huge piles outside of their home. Both piles grew for many years until an insightful Dwarven council realized that it would be safer for their people if they conducted all of their trading outside of their home. A small trading settlement was established on the now very high mound of dirt.
Over the years the silt had settled, making it quite a formidable hill. The council then ordered that all the extra stone from the neighboring pile should be used to construct the town and its defenses. The dwarves took their word as law and vowed to use it all. The process took longer than the old council had left on this world, and after they passed, the dwarves continued to work. They kept building and building trying to diminish the ever added-to pile.
When the decree came that no race shall mine the earth any longer, the dwarves had already built themselves a new home. They left their ancestral city for the mountain they had crafted themselves. They had built the outer walls continuously for generations. They built them higher and higher until it just made more sense to connect them. The walls met in the middle at a peak. And thus Faux Mountain was born.
Leaders from Zatarin named Faux Mountain as kind of a joke when their comrades were moved from their home. Unfortunately for the dwarves, the name stuck.
Kuldvudd (dwarven for Axe Wood) is more of a camp than an actual village. The exact location of this small village tends to move. The dwarves who live here harvest trees to be sold or used to manufacture a vast array of tools and weapons. The dwarves of Kuldvudd have a reputation for being very unwelcoming to guests. They are there to work and have no time for the small talk that visitors always seem to want to engage in.
The forest at the foothills of Fox Mountain is almost indescribable. The trees that make up the forest reach like obelisks into the sky and out of sight. Despite being so tall, the trees are packed in unrealistically tight, and, stranger still, this was not a forest that took thousands of years to reach this magnitude. The thicket grows fast.
Located on the western coast at the mouth of a river, Vrudenlalur (dwarven for Wooden Creek) is a small village set into the face of the cliffs themselves. From their varied perches, the dwarves who call Vrudenlalur home have a perfect view of the waterfall that spits out giant felled trees into the ocean below.
It is said that on a clear day, you can see Fox Mountain from any point on Carncar. It is that massive. It was a point of pride that the Fox Clan lived there and devastating when they were forced to leave -- because the mountain has an air about it, something that can't quite be seen but is always present. It almost radiates magic, as if life itself was started at its peak. However, as majestic as the mountain may look from miles away, navigating inside the mountain is one of the most dangerous things someone on Carncar can attempt to do.
The Forsaken Barrier
The wall of the world, with Fox Mountain as its highest tower, the Forsaken Barrier has long kept the southern lands of Carncar a mystery. Passage through the mountain range is dangerous and long. Winding trails and dead ends make a trek through its peaks and valleys take weeks where they should take days. For those not as lucky, one of the many caves becomes the final stop as they surrender themselves to the Barrier.
Castien Talloth, the elf lord of Harbarad, is not a well-liked man. From a modest keep he controls the realm through the use of magistrates. All of the states of Carncar maintain significant standing armies, but Harbarad's soldiers seem to get the most training. As there has not been a war in centuries, Castien has resorted to using them as a policing force.
This village and the forest of its namesake have a symbiotic relationship. The residents tend to the grove and the grove provides for them. The most unusual provision that the people of Ornanto procure from the surrounding woods are the supplies necessary to produce various potions and elixirs. The Grove itself has a mystical quality about it that lends itself to rumors about what actually happens deep in the tangles.
The Hollowed Hills
Where every hill is a home, or so the saying goes. There are villages in the Hollowed Hills, but the halflings that make the Hollowed Hills their home can be seen almost as frequently while traveling through the entire area. They group themselves by family, with the responsibilities of leadership falling on the eldest in the clan. However, keeping all the families straight in your head is a task that only a halfling can seem to manage.
A single giant tower is the only permanent structure in all of Jerendas. From its highest peak the king, Traros Pegason, rules. This is not to say that there are no other settlements. On the contrary, there is a fairly large settlement surrounding that very tower. But none of those settlements last. The people of Jerendas follow the herds. And the herds graze all of Jerendas.
The Eastern Queen, Lona, sits atop the throne of The Coral Isles. The island chain makes up the entirety of the nation of Nimlad. The elves that reside there never stay long. They are always catching the quickest wind to far off locales in search of trade and treasure.
Led by the heads of several merchant houses. They elect the Master Merchant, who settles all ties when decisions are being made. The Master Merchant is a position of great power, envied by all in Coltara. Thoronlond is the center of trade for Carncar. Merchant vessels from distant lands, and Nimlad ships alike, make the journey down the river to the ports of Coltara.
A town located on the shores of the lake surrounding Coltara, Antaur is the first stop for any trade ship looking to do business. The coast is occupied by wharves and warehouses and a large customshouse sits predominantly at the center of its bustling market. Here large quantities of goods are bought and sold, while more precious cargo is shipped to the island itself.
An area of low land between the Seler'duinra and the coast, the Mire is avoided by all those who can. Nothing of value is known to exist there, and nothing but death has ever been received by journeying to the Brackish Mire.
The island city of Coltara, considered the bastion of civilization to those who inhabit it, is the capital of Thoronlond and the busiest trading hub on Carncar. The city is surrounded by giant, heavily fortified walls. These are mostly a relic of wars long past. Outside the walls, encircling the entire island, are docks connected by a wooden boardwalk. One massive gate grants access to the city on the eastern side of the island, almost opposite Antaur.
Set into the hills at the intersection of three major roads, Forlond Hold was always of strategic importance. Its importance was stressed even further when the Last Suffering began. It became a focal point of the war, and the fields surrounding it are now a host to lost equipment, lost lives, and lost souls.
It was deemed an appropriate location to gather when the various nations need to discuss their affairs, and the Patrons themselves must agree. Once every five years, they send an agent to the Hold to listen in as the discussions take place. The agent (known as The Chancellor) says very little but observes everything. In this way the Patrons always know the state of affairs of their charges on a national level.
Old Bridge & South Post
South Post was a failed joint attempt between the humans, dwarves and elves. After the Last Suffering it was agreed upon that a united venture between the nations would help breed trust and understanding. However, while these races had spent time fighting each other, the southern races prospered. When they tried to create a settlement south of the river, it was overrun by River Runners. Now, not much remains of the endeavor. The only relic to survive intact all these years is a giant bridge constructed by the dwarves. Lovingly referred to as Old Bridge, it is the safest way across the river south, even after all of these years.
Elven for Great Sister Rivers. Referred to individually as the River North and the River South, these two great rivers are fed by the giant lake surrounding Coltara. The River North is Coltara's lifeblood, as it is constantly occupied by trade ships coming and going. The River South functions as Coltara's guardian. For the most part the deep riverbed, its wide shores, and the quickly rushing water keeps the River Runners at bay.
A sizable town at the mouth of the River North, Torailin was established to make initial contact with potential traders and to warn Coltara of possible threats. It also serves as a short reprieve for travelers after a long journey at sea or a final stop off before they are about to make one.
The Whiplashed Tundra
Several goliath tribes roam the tundra at the northern edge of Carncar. The chieftains that lead each tribe gained their positions through a show of force. Not much is known about the goliath tribes by the southern races. The tribes tend to stay in the Whiplashed Tundra, and only a few stragglers make their way south. The southerners return the favor, and few ever seek out the tribes.
Several towns dot the landscape of Zatarin, although they are often obscured by the tall crops that make up most of the nation's livelihood. Each town has a mayor, and some wonder if you can even consider Zatarin a nation at all. The land is fed by streams that trickle down from the eastern mountains and they join to form a large marsh that encompasses a large swath of the country.
Once one of the most fertile areas of Zatarin, Old Meadow grew enough food to support half of the country. That changed during the Last Suffering, when a regiment of soldiers made a push around the main contingent of Zatarin's army. They arrived at Old Meadow unaccosted and burned the fields surrounding the town using a new alchemical mixture. Very little has grown there since, and the residents now make a living as a stopping point for all the excess food that leaves Zatarin.