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 A Planeswalkers guide to The Oka Region

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A Planeswalkers guide to The Oka Region Empty
PostSubject: A Planeswalkers guide to The Oka Region   A Planeswalkers guide to The Oka Region EmptyThu Oct 11, 2012 12:50 am

A Planeswalker's Guide to The Oka Region
By: Tamiyo

This small region holds a deep amount of history, and while my stay in this region was brief, I gained a moderate understanding of the regions various cultures. So without further ado, here are my findings on the Oka region.

To begin I will discuss the inhabitants of Oshu, the current power in the region. Populated by gnomes the island boasts several major cities and industries, the most notable being the Mage City of Jet and the largest city/port in the region, Glittercoast. The entire island and the smaller islands surrounding it are under the banner of the gnome monarch Regulas Silvercrown the Third. The sixth ruler of his line, he recently succeeded his mother Anita Silvercrown the Second. Regulas is focused on expanding his influence on the Island of Kai, however the local tribes of ogres and humans are presenting various issues to this king's army and navy. Overall, the gnome people of Oshu are an industrious people that get along with most races and have taken the human race under their wing, so to speak.

Oshu and some of the islands surrounding it lay host to a large number of humans. These humans have allied with the gnomes of Oshu primarily due to the technological advancements that they could offer, along with the fact that gnomes found a steady and powerful workforce for their mining, lumber, and construction operations, thus making this alliance advantageous for both parties.
This has created an interesting society on the Islands of Oshu, where gnomes control most of the high positions in society while humans perform most of the low positions. However, during this current period of prosperity many humans are advancing and gaining political power. Many gnomes see this has a natural progression of events, though there are others that see these events as a threat to their livelihoods.

The next island I visited was Kai. This island has had the most turbulent past in the Oka region. Sadly because of that history most of Kai’s past and customs are unknown, but I did manage to learn a few things. Originally ruled by a half ogre named Shingen Takada he ruled the tribal groups of Kai with power and respect. Unfortunately, Shingen died without an heir and the tribes under his rule fell into infighting and chaos. This series of tribal wars are constantly ongoing and because of this many travelers and pirates use Kai as a trade hub for arms and other goods, due to the increased demand created by this warfare.

Of all these governments the Stonehorn Empire has some of the highest regulations. Ruled by Lord Alabaster Stonehorn the Third, the Stonehorn Empire has ruled the island of Eichigo for the length of recorded Oka’s written history. Incredibly focused on isolationism, the Rhox race rarely sends trading ships out and focuses on strict border control with their navy. This border control is so extreme that most Rhox cities on Eichigo have a separate area built for the sole purpose to house travelers. If a traveler attempts to enter the “true” city without permission, the Rhoxes will execute the traveler without hesitation. Another issue among Rhoxes is that the use of arcane magic within their lands is strictly forbidden. Obviously because of this rhoxes are considered to be rude, dogmatic, and xenophobic.
With that stated, Rhoxes do share their island of Eichigo with a race of Badger like humanoids called Mujina-bito, or badgerfolk in the common tongue. Living in the Wormwood forest of Eichigo, many would think that the Rhoxes with their xenophobic nature would have annexed them or driven them off Eichigo, but instead the Rhoxes have formed a unique alliance with them.

This alliance formed through a variety of reasons; first the Rhoxes attempted fight the Badgerfolk but soon realized that they would have to destroy the forest in order to clear them out. Soon after this conflict the Rhoxes discovered that the Badgerfolk had a talent for warfare equal to their own, primarily that they excelled at forest guerilla combat and their use of druidic magic. At the same time, the Mujina-bito realized that Rhoxes had far superior weapons and armor, and through this realization and a few brief negotiations a mutual agreement was struck. The Rhoxes would open their cities for trade with the Mujina-bito and the Mujina-bito swore an allegiance to come to the aid of the Stonehorn Empire in a time of war. Through this initial agreement began a series of events that have lead to Rhoxes and Badgerfolk developing a close bond.

Mujina-bito are tribal in nature and often live inside the Wormwood forest. Each of these tribes elects a leader through a series of trials and traditions, mostly involving ritualized fighting and other acts of barbarism. These leaders meet at a large structure every two years for an annual tradition, Norgwa, which loosely translates to King’s match in common. During Norgwa each of the respective Badgerfolk leaders fights in a tournament with the victor becoming the leader of all the tribes for the next two years. This savage from of government is the process by which these people have lived for several centuries. Beyond this crude exercise of “government” there was little to report on these forest dwellers.

However, another race dwells on Eichigo that impressed me. The noble race currently resides in the Mossridge Forest, on the eastern edge of Eichigo. They are called Kitsune. Fox-like humanoids, Kitsune are agile and clever. Living in small villages throughout the forest the Kitsune seem relatively simple in lifestyle. However, after observing them for some time; I came to realize that their culture was far more complex than I thought. Each village is lead by a spiritual leader and that leader guides the community in its daily activities; this activities range from tending fields, building new homes, even to the art of swordplay. Whenever an issue occurs that affects the entire Kitsune community, the tribal elders convene and decide what to do.

Preferring isolation the Kitsune stay within the confines of the forest and because of this have perfected ancient sword techniques. It was these techniques that allowed them to defeat the Rhoxes when they attempted to subjugate them. After this brief struggle the Rhoxes and the Kitsune came to an understanding. The Rhoxes were allowed to travel along the edge of the forest on the coast while the Kitsune are allowed to control the forest. Since this encounter the Kitsune have remained quietly within the forest uninvolved in the affairs of the world.

Next I decided to go to Sagami the island that lies southeast of Oshu. My journey had unexpected surprise when I ran into a group of Kusawa-bito or Otterfolk in the common tongue. I discovered that this occurrence of Otterfolk visiting ships while still at sea is common in the Oka region. It seems that the Kusawa-bito are nomadic and travel throughout the Oka region, though some create small towns on the coasts of islands. These towns are hubs of trade and commerce that are supplied daily by Otterfolk and other merchants visiting these little villages, which are often placed between key ports. As a method of promoting good will, Otterfolk visit the ships that pass by in order to gain new knowledge, supplies, or anything else that satisfies their curiosity. I found this race to be quite interesting to deal with considering that their thirst for new experiences is somewhat akin to my desire to chronicle the multiverse, but alas, I digress. Many sailors have been saved a great hardship because of these travelling Kusawa-bito or given sanctuary in one of their small port towns. This is why their presence on any coastline or ship deck is considered a pleasant one.

After my quaint encounter with the Kusawa-bito, I arrived at Lion’s Maw Port. This shallow port is the entrance to the Leonin kingdom of Nakalla. The ruler of Nakalla is called Kha Zaliki Thunderclaw, a mighty warrior he has been policing his kingdoms borders with a fleet of ships that have been recently outfitted with Gnome cannons. It is rumored that Zaliki Thunderclaw is ambitious and is planning to invade Eichigo, thus causing tension between the Leonin and the Rhoxes.

It is important to note that Leonin society is connected to a deep belief in the god Ajani. Depicted as a Albino Leonin, it is said that he visited Sagami and Eichigo. Seeing that creatures of islands were primal and uncivilized he took pity on these creatures and began to teach them the benefits of civilization. The first he chose to elevate were the lions of Sagami due to them being similar to his image. After this the other creatures of Sagami and Eichigo received the gift of civilization from Ajani. However while the Leonin chose to emulate Ajani in every way, some of the races treated the gift of civilization poorly, reverting to their savage nature. The two greatest offenders of this were the Badgerfolk and Gnolls.

I can’t say that I don’t agree with them. However, while I have already stated that the Badgerfolk of Eichigo were savage I realized the true meaning of savagery upon meeting the Gnolls of Sagami. Gnolls appear to be Hyena humanoids, however apart from being capable of speech and upright walking these creatures are feral. Travelling in packs across the savannahs in packs, Gnolls have no true system of government, just ragtag tribes competing for superiority. Though each tribe features a shaman in charge of keeping the tribe's history, that is about the only form of civilized activity that these creatures have. I quickly moved on to meet the catfolk of the savannah.

The Catfolk of Sagami having been under the rule of Leonin for many centuries. While less powerful than the Leonin, the Catfolk have a proud heritage of being warriors. However, most of their struggles are against the foul Gnolls that they share the savannahs with. While they are tribal in nature, Catfolk are focused on agriculture and maintaining their communities. However they are far more civilized than any of the other tribal groups on Sagami that I had encountered yet. The Catfolk had created a shamanist culture that focused on searching for spiritual enlightenment rather than material wealth or conquest. Unfortunately, I had to leave my study of the Catfolk as I was told that Sagami Bay played host to a large community of Merfolk!

(An author’s side note: I caution any person that wishes to explore the Tenzin forest of Sagami to be wary of a type of reptilian creature called a Baloth. Baloths resemble in some ways wingless green dragons. Reptilian and scaled, this creature can grow to enormous sizes and often prey on the following: fruits, plants, small woodland animals, large woodland animals, woodlands, fruit groves, fruit farmers, and small cities. Feral in nature these creatures will stalk and attack anything in the forest that enters their territory and have a fearsome reputation of not leaving many survivors after their rampages. Because of this I avoided the Tenzin forest on my way to Sagami bay. There is an old Sagami saying that tells a lot about the baloth’s nature which is follows, “he is out chasing Baloths,” this phrase is used when describing someone who has or is about to go on a suicide mission.)

After remembering my basic aquatic spells I took the plunge into Sagami Bay. The largest shallow body of water the bay houses a network of tunnels and caves. Merfolk use these caves have served has the homes and fortresses of the merfolk for the length of their oral history. A matriarchal culture, these merfolk tend to the animals and kelp forests of the region. Carrying a deep seated interest in the conditions of this world, the merfolk send groups of their kind to various areas around Oka region tending to the natural health of the area. Because of this natural tendency merfolk believe that poor physical appearance is an insult to the world and often clean and groom themselves. Also because of this belief in physical beauty reflecting inner health, merfolk cloak their sick and injured in clothes in order to hide their condition until they are “cured.” This tradition has lead to an assumption that merfolk are vain and cruel to those peoples that they consider ugly. However, this is not true. While merfolk do indeed hide physical ailment with clothing, these clothes are designed with beautiful patterns and are meant to aid the misfortune of an ill person, not to make them a pariah. In fact, merfolk are incredible healers and often seek to aid injured sailors at sea, despite most merfolk not wanting to become involved in the surface world.

Merfolk thrive on the bonds of community, hence why their culture is designed to strengthen the bonds of the community. This has resulted in merfolk creating a society that is based on free love. Females are competed for by males using displays of beauty and strength. Once they win the affections of the female and consummate their love the couple often part ways. Birthing caves of merfolk are considered sacred places and are only known through the passing down of knowledge of their location from one mother to another. Overall, merfolk live a harmonious existence with the other races of the world, though they care very little about the surface-dwelling races' feuds, as they often pass like the tides.

However, the merfolk of this world have a cruel opposite in this world: the Merrows. Merrows are the dark reflections of merfolk. Where merfolk are community driven, kind, and concerned for the welfare of others, Merrows are cruel, destructive, and driven to causing the pain of others. Little is known of the merrows' culture, except that they roam the oceans preying on anything that they can take on. There are rumors that the merrows gather in the Tidehollow Islands; the common belief is that the vile creatures prey on ships that crash on the rocks on the islands. While I couldn’t gain any insight to the merrows' culture besides the stories of their cruelty, I did gain an insight to their appearance and mentality.

Merrows appear to be feral merfolk at first, however on further inspection we find that merrows have eel-like tails, bioluminescent antennae, and a sleek but dense muscle structure. Powerful swimmers, merrows can jump at least 4 feet out of a body of water to snatch an unsuspecting victim. They also have a vicious set of sharp teeth which betrays their carnivorous nature. The merrows also don’t just restrict their victims to those at sea. Many a seaside town has experienced the sudden influx of eviscerated corpses found on their beaches. These merrows often stay in an area until the supply of bodies runs out or until a group of adventurers clears them out. Out of all of my fact searching I realized that these merrows are not to be trifled with, especially in large groups. I caution anyone reading this brief script that plans to visit this plane to remember this common phrase that mothers of the Oka region tell their children, “Faerie fire at water’s edge is enough to make anyone drop dead.”

It was after my visit with the merfolk that I decided to visit the island of Vulcanus. This island as it turns out is ritualistic place for merfolk males were they have their rituals of manhood and learn to fight and defend their tribes from merrows. I followed a group of juvenile merfolk on their way to face the trials of Vulcanus. Vulcanus is a highly volcanic area and therefore the seas around it are difficult to both sail and swim in. Merfolk males use this to create a series trails called Barajejak. Males who complete their Barajejak become warriors that aid in defense of merfolk tribes.

Upon reaching Vulcanus often I realized that it play host to a race called Flamekin. Elemental humanoids that live on the edges of volcanic pits, Flamekin are the most secluded race in the Oka region. This is for an excellent reason, Flamekin are persecuted everywhere in the Oka region due the widespread belief that Flamekin are hazards at sea. This rumor is due to the fact that Flamekin have the ability to use their inner fire in combat in a rather spectacular display. Flamekin rarely use this ability due to the destructive nature of it but on their native lava fields these denizens of magma display their full mastery of their elements in displays that I cannot describe in these brief pages. Flamekin society balances two ideals; one of community and the second of individuality. Flamekin are constantly trying to prove their worth to their community and spar on a daily basis. Flamekin however do not wish to kill their peers in these fights, but merely to gain greater skill over their mastery of their inner fire or Corignis. This drive to become complete masters of Corignis is also the cause for Flamekin communities to stay bonded together, as they believe that they are all a part of the same flame, born of the fires of Vulcanus. The Flamekin believe very strongly that they were born of Vulcanus and therefore protect their Island from invaders. This defensiveness was mainly born of the issue that when Flamekin do venture beyond their home island they are met with harassment and prejudice from other races. In spite of this some Flamekin do
venture beyond the island in order to strengthen their skills and Corignis.

Sadly the end of my journey took me to the island of Okarthel. A mountainous island, it features two races Kobolds and disgusting Nezumi. The Nezumi I encountered had made their nests in the Falazure swamplands. The Nezumi it seems were native to this region and often live in their traditional huts of bones and swamp filth. I desired to not expose myself to these creatures for longer than I had to. So as usual these vermin of the swamplands have little to no culture, banding together in small hordes in order to scrape a living off the barren landscape. Beyond that there is little to report about these rats except that they roam from port to port like the blight they are.

Apparently the Kobolds of the mountainous regions have a similar opinion of the Nezumi that I do. In fact, it appears that the Kobolds allow the Nezumi to live in the swamps because they create a buffer between the shore and their mountain homes. Most Kobolds rarely interact with the Nezumi allowing them to run amok in the Falazure swamplands. However, if these vermin attempt to move into the more mountainous area of Okarthel the kobolds respond with a swift military response. Thus the area of swamp that borders the mountains called Shizo is a mass graveyard full of dead bodies from the Kobold patrols killing trespassers into their territory. This has caused many necromancers and grave robbers to take up shop in the area.

The Kobolds have a great history in the region. According to historical records kept by the gnomes, the Kobolds were their greatest competitors for regional power. They engaged in a naval combat across the region for about 50 years. Each side enlisted several privateers over the course of this conflict; however I will discuss these privateers in later texts. In the end however the two sides signed an armistice with the islands of Oshu and Kai going to the Gnome Monarchy and the islands of Sagami and Eichigo going to the Six Houses of Kobolds. Amazingly enough the Kobolds, after the armistice, withdrew into their warren-cities on Okarthel only sending out ships for a bi-monthly exchange with the Stonehorn Empire; though what is exchanged is a secret between the Kobolds and Rhoxes.

Little is known of Kobold society, even before the armistice they were a secretive people. Therefore I little to report except the following: that the Kobolds worship an alternative pantheon of gods based around a draconic deities and their patron deity Kurtulmak, and that their government is divided between six families each with half dragon origin. Beyond that, there is little to no knowledge on the Six House of Kobolds.

This concludes my brief summary of the Oka region. I will be reporting more on this region’s history, customs, and sending the reports to Oboro at regular intervals. I hope that these pages are helpful to any who read them.

Last edited by ixidor83 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:45 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Planeswalkers guide to The Oka Region   A Planeswalkers guide to The Oka Region EmptyFri Dec 14, 2012 12:35 am

Here is The Oka Region Map
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