Friday, February 15, 2013

[Olden Lands Gazetteer Preview] Empire of Kryx

KRYX, EMPIRE OF
His Divine Immanence, God-Emperor Kryx (Chaotic Evil 40 HD Demi-God)

Capital: Kryxophon [City of Kryx] (pop. 76,000)
Other Major Settlements:
Meriama (pop. 37,200)
Shabha (pop. 19,700)
Taljat (pop. 23,200)
Tandarine (pop. 32,700)
Zilgum (pop. 27,700) 
Humans: 6,000,000
Demi-humans: None
Humanoids: Gnoles (300,000), Half-Orcs (200,000), Gnolls (100,000), Orcs (100,000), Half-Ogres (40,000), Ogres (10,000)
Monsters: Many, though very, very few who are not the pets, war-beasts, servants of or otherwise in the employ of Kryx. His pets and war-beasts include all manners of natural animals horribly warped by Chaos; usually these are giant or colossal-sized beasts with unnatural bloodlust and strange features and powers. The most notable examples are his war elephants, which are twice the size of normal elephants, have four tusks, and have an armadillo-like shell. His servitor monsters include chimeras, cyclopes, blue and red dragons, hill giants, harpies, and medusas; some of these are granted greater power through sorcery.
Languages: Kartaghan; Kryxon, Kartaghan, Deshreti, Eoshan, Manday, Gnoll, Orcish, Ogrish.
Resources: Cotton, food (wheat, sugar), silver, slaves, spices

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Kryx is a land of sweeping grasslands, cedar forests, rugged hills, and tall rough mountains. The land was long ago a patchwork of ancient Deshreti and Manday city-states, kingdoms, and tribes; then a patchwork of provinces under the rule of the High Lord of Notixos during the Elysion Empire; and following the Doom of Elysion it became the stomping grounds of wild tribes of Kartaghans. Slowly civilization returned as the coastal cities grew in power and were able to challenge the wild nomads of the interior. And then, in 1350 AE, Kryx, freed from his long sleep in his prison in the Ormakh Mountains, arrived from the south.

The origins of the mad demi-god are still a mystery. What is known is that in a short time he built an empire that stretched from the Horn of Eosha to the Purple Plains, and from the south bank of the River of Stars to deep into Mandayan, in a matter of less than two centuries. He sired a line of ogres potent in magic and psychic powers. And then he was laid low with the Weeping Wound by Ulferic, the Champion of Meromagnus, at the Battle of YbaƱedha in 1478. He then disappeared for centuries, and the empire he built collapsed, to be swept over time and again by invading Paynims, Saracens, Deshreti, Manday, orcs, and gnolls.

Kryx returned again in 1960, when he was awakened from his slumber by raiding Paynims. Since then he has rebuilt the core of his empire, and is sending out feelers in all directions to find the weakest point that he can next expand with his legions of ogres, gnolls, orcs, and savage nomad warriors. His black-sailed shops bearing his golden-eye symbol have been spotted far into the Serene Sea, while his ogre scions raid into Deshret, Manday, and Eosha. Some groups are armed with a new weapon – cannons and hand guns. Both are of primitive, simple sort, and they are used sparingly, as the black powder used to fire the shot is an expensive and rare alchemical concoction (said to have been created from Kryx’s own blood).

Though Kryx is power-hungry and insane, and keeps a tight reign on his inner circle, priesthood, bureaucracy, and army of ogres, gnolls, orcs, and nomads, his caste of nobles and aristocrats are allowed to pretty much do as they please, provided their taxes are in order and they pay proper obeisance to Kryx at need. Thus, the wealthy and powerful have unbridled freedom, and use it and their power and wealth to rule a realm where most of the population has been reduced to abject slavery.  Fully a third of the population is made up of slaves, and another third consists of peasants and serfs whose lives are little more than slavery.

The cities of the empire are fabulous edifices of marble and green jade, centered on the tiered pyramid temple/bureaucracy complex of Kryx, with golden domes, grand obelisks, tall minarets, garden-girded palaces, and great vaulted baths, all surrounded by thick walls, the walls ringed with the teeming shanty towns and tent cities of slaves, peasants, and nomads. Smart, talented, and successful adventurers of the lower classes can make vast fortunes and gain great power and favor working for the nobles and priests; they can just as easily earn death or worse, end up as sacrifices for their failures.

Kryx is a jealous god, but he knows the value of cooperation with other gods, demons, and beast cults and their followers when it suits his purposes. Thus many other faiths are legal in the empire, provided their followers and priests recognize the superiority of Kryx in the mortal world (if not otherwise as well). Beast Cults and Demon Cults are rife, often tied in with noble and peasant gangs who war in the noble courts and streets; provided their warfare does not cause Kryx, his priests, or his armies any difficulties, he’s pleased that they expend their energies on each other rather than him. He and his priests often play favorites, or secretly support one faction against another, just to keep them warring and weak, for their own profit, or merely for amusement.

Kryxophon is the largest city on the shores of the Serene Sea, if one counts the itinerant population of the shanty towns and tent city outside its walls. The great tiered pyramid, the temple-residence of Kryx, is the largest non-ruined man-made structure in the Olden Lands, standing five hundred feet tall at the tip of its gold-plated capstone. Only the faithful are allowed within the inner ring of walls. The central ring is dedicated to nobles; the outer ring is home to merchants, craftsmen, and the small middle class. The army is based in the Grand Citadel on the west side, while the navy is based on an island in the bay. The wharves are home to the merchants, privateers, and pirates who deal with the realm.

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