Friday, April 4, 2014

Mutants & Mazes: Glossary of the Midzee Lands Preview

Here's a preview of the forthcoming Glossary of the Midzee Lands:

ABEY D’OM [3219, FORTRESS-ABBEY, MEDIUM TOWN]: The founding abbey of all abbeys and churches that are dedicated to the Church of Law Triumphant, whether the Orthodox Church Eternal of the Royoom or the Reformed Church Universal of Ahntaryo. It is built on top of an ancient Shelter, said to be the shelter from which the ancestors of the modern Kwebekwah Pure Men of D’Noord descend. The Grand Abbot of the Abey D’Om still claims supremacy over the “rebel abbeys” of Ahntaryo, but is more concerned with dealing first with the Kwebekwah Paganism, Olympian Heresy, and Chaos-taint found in the heart of the Royoom D’Noord.

ABY D’FOREE [2316, FORTRESS-ABBEY, MEDIUM TOWN]: The second-largest of the Fortress-Abbeys of Ahntaryo, the Ahntaryo Directorate of Defense is based at the Aby D’Foree, as is the headquarters of the Ahntaryo Rangers. As this region is home to a significant portion of the Mutant population of the Republic, a disproportionate number of clergy and rangers from the region are Mutants. Less tolerant Pure Men of the Church consider the Aby D’Foree and its clergy to be corrupt, though they do not voice such concerns in public.

ABY D’NOO [1607, FORTRESS-ABBEY, SMALL TOWN]: The northernmost of the great Fortress-Abbeys, Aby D’Noo is home of the Psi Directorate; being most distant from the old center of the Mighoomee Empire, it is easiest for psychic agents of the Republic to slip away unnoticed. Many strange and unusual psychic abilities and psionic devices are developed here. Most of the locals are dedicated to the lumber and fishing trades; the local population is a mix of Hwiska and Ahntaryahn, and the influence of the Hwiska Pantheon is much in evidence here (to the chagrin of the priests of the Church Universal).

ABY D’ROY [2718, FORTRESS-ABBEY, MEDIUM TOWN]: The oldest of the Ahntaryahn Fortress-Abbeys, the Aby D’Roy remains the most conservative and least Mutant-friendly. It is here that the Purity Party of the Republic, ostensibly dedicated to the “purity of Church Canon,” is based. Most of the local Pure Men speak a dialect of Kwebekwah, as most are descended from Royoom colonists. The Directorate of Science is based here, and some say the Purity Party has taken an unhealthy interest in the advanced technology of the Old World. There are also rumors that the Purity Party takes orders from the Grand Abbot of the Aby D’Om in the Royoom.

ABY D’SOOR [2820, FORTRESS-ABBEY, MEDIUM TOWN]: Once the sleepiest and most rustic of the Ahntaryahn Abbeys, this small Fortress-Abbey, headquarters of the Directorate of Charity, has transformed into a beehive of activity since the conquest of Granpoor by the Mighoomee. Today it is also home to large contingents of the Ahntaryahn Rangers as well as more than half the navy of the Republic. Sadly, the small village of refugees that has grown up outside the abbey town, though well-served by the clergy, is a hotbed of Chaos and Sorcery, rife with spies from Granpoor.

AHMEESH [MUTANT HUMAN RACE, LAWFUL]: The Ahmeesh Mutant Human Race is descended from the pre-Rad Amish population; unlike their Pure Men cousins, the ancestors of the Ahmeesh Mutants were not immune to the effect of the Rad. They look like small, wizened Ahmeesh with fleshy 3-foot long tails and large, pale blue eyes (solid blue); they dress as per their cousins, with a special hole in their pants for their fleshy tails. They use their powerful mental mutations to protect themselves and their Pure Men cousins, preferably to keep others away in a peaceful fashion. They otherwise conform in all ways to the standard Ahmeesh culture. Mutations: control weather [M3], dwarfism [P1], hemophilia [D3], mental phantasm [M2], metaconcert [M2], pituitary deformation [D1], prehensile tail [P1], ultraviolet vision [P1].

AHMEESH [PURE MEN]: The Ahmeesh Pure Men have bronze skin, tawny to dark brown hair, and blue or hazel eyes. The Ahmeesh are descended from the Amish Swiss-Germans of northern Indiana. They have maintained their pacifistic culture and religion through thousands of years of trials and tribulations. They make a large minority of the Pure Men of Napliz and Awbash (where they are among the few free Pure Men of the land due to their close relations with their Mutant cousins), and are found in small communities in Free Ohyo. They live side-by-side with their Ahmeesh Mutant cousins. Most adult male Ahmeesh are clerics; they never wield offensive spells, using only defensive and healing spells (sanctuary most especially). Each community is guided by a group of elders led by a bishop.

The Ahmeesh faith has changed little in the previous three thousand years. It continues to maintain the ancient traditions of community, humility, composure, separation, shunning, adult baptism, technological simplicity, and especially pacifism. Their reliance on low technology was a boon for them following the Great Rad War. Ironically, their maintenance of late 18th-century agricultural methods puts them ahead of the game for most peoples in the modern post-apocalyptic era.

The two major adaptations the faith has made over the millennia are the acceptance of Mutants and the empowerment of prayers with miracles. Like most things of the outside world, they reject all other faiths; being humble, however, they do not judge, nor do they proselytize. The divine sponsor of their Lawful religion is unknown to the world at large; the Ahmeesh of course humbly maintain that the power behind the answers to their prayers is the Lord, and reject any sort of Angelic influence.

Young Ahmeesh, around age 15, go on the Rhoomszpringah, or “Walkabout,” during which they explore the world outside the isolated Ahmeesh settlements. After their adventures they either return home to be baptized and remain among the faithful or they leave their natal home, never to return. Thus former Ahmeesh fellows can be encountered, the “Shunned,” who chose to abandon the Ahmeesh ways; most are normal people who simply prefer a different way of life, such as Yahkob Yohdah, founder of the Universal Ahmeesh Brethren. Most Ahmeesh speak the Ahmeesh tongue, descended from the Swiss-German spoken by their ancestors; most also speak the Common tongue, but avoid using it other than when they have to speak with the “Aynglisch,” which is what they call all non-Ahmeesh peoples.

AHNTARYAHNS [MUTANT HUMAN RACE, NEUTRAL]: The Ahntaryahn Mutant Human Race is native to the northeastern shores of the Midzee. They have bone-white skin and four large, glowing red eyes; they are bald (both men and women) and have numerous bulging veins on their large, prominent foreheads (the veins throb and quiver when they are using neural telepathy). They have four eyes, both pairs of normal size one pair atop the other (these together with the tall cranium giving them a long face). They tend walk and perform all physical actions carefully; their decision-making process is often as careful and studied as their physical motion. They are generally nocturnal due to their albinism, but wear thick black cloaks, masks, and black-glass four-lensed glasses when they must go about by day. Ahntaryahn Mutants generally live urban and subterranean lives; their homes are as nicely finished as any above-ground home might be. Mutations: aberrant form (four eyes) [P1], albinism [D1], neural telepathy [M2], night vision [P1], optic emissions (bright eyes) [P2], optic emissions (gamma eyes) [P3], pain sensitivity [D3], and thermal vision [P1].

AHNTARYAHNS [PURE MEN]: The Ahntaryahn Pure Men have pale white skin (usually tanned and freckled), blonde or strawberry blonde hair, and light blue or hazel eyes. Though not a mutation as such, most Ahntaryahn men and women have pattern baldness, starting at an early age, and by adulthood maintain a cleanly-shaven tonsured crown, with long hair worn along the sides and back (both sexes usually braid their hair and often wear beads). They are average of height and build, often wiry. Most urban dwellers are followers of the Church Universal, but many rural folk and those who still live a barbarian lifestyle in the backwoods continue to also follow Ahntaryahn Animism. Ahntaryahns speak Ahntaryahn, a language descended from Canadian English; it is close enough to the Common Tongue to be mutually intelligible.

AHNTARYAHN ANIMISM [FAITH, NEUTRAL]: The simple shamanic faith of the Ahntaryahns is much reduced is practice since the colonization of the region by the Kwebekwah and the introduction of the Church Eternal centuries ago. However, some Pure Men tribes in the wilds and on the borders still follow the old ways (almost all Ahntaryahn Mutants follow the Church Universal). Unlike the druidic faith of the Kwebekwah, the shamanic faith of the Ahntaryo cleaves to no gods, Neutral or otherwise, recognizing divinity in all living things. The shamans of the Ahntaryo seek to maintain a balance between all spirits and powers and living things. They work closely with the Strohbuhsz (Mutant Tree Men) to maintain balance in the boreal forests of the east.

AHNTARYO [REPUBLIC OF]: The Ahntaryo Republic consists of a federation of fortress-abbeys, cities, towns, and tribes along the northeastern shore of the Midzee. Founded almost 50 years ago when the Ahntaryahn abbeys of the Church of Law Triumphant and Eternal broke away from the mother church and formed the Church of Law Triumphant and Universal, the Republic is one of the most advanced and enlightened states in the Midzee lands. Dedicated to Law, unlike the Empire of Man, it is also dedicated to the common weal, individual freedoms, and inter-species amity. As such, it is opposed to the Empire of Man, though representatives would work with members of the Empire against the forces of Chaos, or at worst stay out of the way of both. It has unpleasant though simmering relations with the Royoom D’Noord, exasperating difficulties with the viking raiders of the Hwiska tribes, and is at eternal war with the Mighoomee and related Sorcerer-Scientist realms. While the abbots of the Church Universal have the strongest voice in the Republic Senate, they are not the only faction, as the various towns, villages, and tribes of the Republic all have their own Senators.

AHNTARYO RANGERS [ORGANIZATION, LAWFUL]: Originally a pan-tribal animist sodality among the Ahntaryahn Pure Men and Mutant tribes, when the Kwebekwah colonized the Ahntaryahn lands and converted the Ahntaryo to the Church Eternal the sodality was made into a branch of the church. When the Church Universal broke away from the Church Eternal, the Rangers sided with the Church Universal (in fact, most of them were strongly behind the break). The Rangers are the core of the Republic’s military; in fact, they are the only standing army of the Republic, though each district and abbey has its own small guardian force, and each tribe has its own band of warriors. The Rangers, however, are highly trained in all warrior arts, as well as in understanding magic and mutations, science and sorcery, and most especially the arts of wilderness survival and stealth. They usually operate singly or in small bands, patrolling the borders and going deep into enemy territory to scout out troop, tribe, and war-machine movements. They are a rough-and-ready lot, concerned more with victory than honor, not at all like the knights and cavaliers of the Royoom and other states who practice the ancient art of Boosheedoh.

AIYAWAHNS [MUTANT HUMAN RACE, NEUTRAL]: These Mutant Humans are native to the plains of Aiyawah (Iowa) far to the west. Their ancestors arrived in the Midzee Lands during the Great Invasions of the early 55th Century, where they mostly settled on the Eeleenoy Plains and in Awbash. Aiyawahns appear not unlike the centaurs of myth and legend; they have a horse-like body, complete with four hoofed legs, with a human torso, two arms, and human head where the neck and head of the horse would be. They are not as tall as such would seem to indicate; the horse body is slightly smaller than that of a true horse, and a mature Aiyawahn is not taller than a normal human. Their human portions feature bronzed skin, pale platinum hair, and deep blue eyes. They are well-adapted to life on the plains, able to see clearly for miles, and readily able to defend themselves with their spiked tails (the spikes of which can be thrown by the tail like a dagger). Prior to arriving in the region, the Aiyawahns were fairly primitive, using only wood, bone, and stone tools; they have since adapted to the local general medieval level of technology, though they still favor spears and bows. Mutations: aberrant form (two extra legs) [P1], bizarre appearance (horse chimera) [D1], increased physical attribute (constitution) [P2], increased sense (vision) [P2], night vision [P1], precognition [M3], reduced immune system [D3], spiny growth (tail spikes) [P1].

AIYAWAYEED [PURE MEN]: The Pure Men native to the western lands of Aiyawah descend primarily from Persian, Arab, and Lebanese immigrants, natives of the cities of Iowa, most of whom were immune to mutating factors. Their descendents are tall, lean, and dusky-skinned, with black hair and dark brown eyes; Aiyawayeed women are regarded as exotic and beautiful, and are much favored by slavers. They are followers of the ancient faith of Salaam and speak a strange tongue known as Yarbeek, though their faith and language are quite divergent from those practiced by the Salaamim of Mehmfiz. A race of nomads, three tribes migrated to the Midzee Lands region during the Great Invasions of 5423. The Behnee Hohsznee settled in Napliz, where their descendents are far-ranging traders and merchants; the Behnee Zayeedh settled in New Manpoor and adapted a nomadic seafaring lifestyle; and the Behnee Khaleedh broke up into smaller bands and has continued a nomadic lifestyle, traversing the lands from the Great Eeleenoy Plains in the west to the Sylvanian Mountains in the east.

ANCIENT EMPIRES: At the time of the Great Rad War (2419 CE) North America was divided into numerous warring states. The major players at the time were the Central States Alliance, Chicago Imperium, Commonwealth of Greater Virginia, Free Dixie Republic, Free States Federation, Imperio Mexicano, New Africa, New England Alliance, People’s Republic of California, Royaume du Quebec, and the Texan Federation. A dozen other lesser independent states and city-states stood on the edges and in the no-man’s land between these greater factions. Elsewhere in the world, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (Japan), the NeoSoviet Republics (Russia), and the Azanian Empire (South Africa) were the greatest world powers.

ANDROIDS [TECH]: Androids are humanoid, self-aware robots, with greatly diverse forms and types. Used extensively in the decades leading up to the Great Rad war, like other Old Tech of the Ancients, Androids were designed to be self-repairing and maintaining. Thus, though 3,000 years have passed, Ancient Androids still survive today. Also, many Sorcerer-Scientists repaired, rebuilt, or developed their own Android lines through the previous centuries.

An issue with most Androids is that their positronic brains are not as capable of repair as the rest of their less-fragile bodies; thus they are limited to a mere century or so of memory at best, and the older the Android, the more likely an accident (or a hit to the head) erases whole decades or even centuries of memory. Androids that have ready access to a working Cybercomplex do not generally have this issue, as their brains are easily repaired at such facilities.

ANGELIC FAITHS: Shortly after the Old Gods made their presence known, the Angels also began to appear unto mortals. While the various sects of the Monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) had declined in the centuries leading up to the Great Rad War, a large minority of the survivors were among the isolated, often xenophobic sects who had withdrawn from the world to cleave to their old ways. Until the coming of the Angels, however, their faith availed them little other than providing solace and hope for the next life.

Once the Angels appeared, however, those who had remained faithful to the Old Ways found that their prayers were literally answered with miracles. Each of the three paths has an Angelic champion: Metatron for the faiths descended from Judaism; Michael for the faiths descended from Christianity; and Jibril (Gabriel) for faiths descended from Islam. The disposition of the One God (whether Jehovah, the Trinity of Father/Son/Holy Spirit, or Allah) is unknown; divisiveness among the Angelic ranks indicates that perhaps the Earth is in a post-Apocalyptic state in a biblical sense.

While the various sects descended from the three monotheistic faiths are often at odds with each other, even coming to blows (within each branch and across the three branches), they are more likely to cooperate with one another against the various Pagan faiths and, especially, against the faiths and followers of the Chaotic Other Gods. The great enemies of the Angelic Faiths are the Demon Gods and their followers, notably the Church of Ancient Rites and Glories (dedicated to Ahzmohdyooz), the Cult of Mahmoon, and the Cult of Ohrkusz.

APE MEN [RACE]: This race of humanoids is not descended from Mutant apes as such; they are descended from gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and other apes that were uplifted to full sentience in the mid-22nd century and subsequently used as virtual slave labor by the Ancients right up to the Great Rad War. Today they fit in neither with Pure Men nor with Mutants, though Pure Men often lump them together with Mutants. Ape Men try to avoid the more advanced and powerful civilizations, preferring to live in their own isolated, xenophobic settlements; some of these settlements encourage the enslavement of Pure Men. Ape Men settlements usually have a Renaissance level of technology, with some Industrial weaponry (rifles, pistols, grenades, and cannon).

AWBASH [0826, LARGE TOWN]: This city is the capital of the Republic of Awbash; a wealthy city, it is quite corrupt and run by graft. The city is built atop and amidst the ruins of an ancient pre-Rad city, and the underworld beneath the city is quite extensive, spectacular, and extremely deadly. Due to the great wealth and power concentrated in the city, unlike the medieval domains of the Republic, within the walls residents enjoy a late Renaissance/early Industrial lifestyle. The suburbs outside the walls, however, are mostly ruins, with small villages of scratch-built hovels along the roads leading to nearby towns and domains.

AWBASH [REPUBLIC]: Awbash is a domain run by Mutants, for Mutants. It is actually a loose confederation of some two score towns, villages, and tribes, each ruled or led by Mutants (nobles, councils, or otherwise). The bulk of the population is made up of Hoozyahs, Mutant and Pure Men, though there are large numbers of a wide variety of other Mutant Races (human and animal descended).  Pure Men are second-class citizens at best; they are barred from politics and official service in the military (though some domains use Pure Men mercenaries). In some regions, they are limited in weaponry and other rights. While outright slavery is illegal, some domains keep Pure Men as serfs or in states not unlike slavery.

AWTWAH [3422, RUINS]: The ruins of Ottawa stand upon a peninsula extending into the Sanlawnts Sea. The then-capital of the Free Province of Ontaryo was heavily damaged by numerous weapons of mass destruction during the Great Rad War, including the biological agent Chimera X. Today the skeletons of scattered skyscrapers dominate the sky, while most of the ruins around them are a mix of marsh, swamp, and mutated bracken. During the reign of the Mighoomee Empire Awtwah was the capital of Warlord-Governor; during the internecine warfare at the founding of the Royoom the fortress and war-machine were destroyed with powerful earthquake spells. They sank into the swamp and have since become a destination for adventurers, as the sunken fortress and war-machine remain relatively intact and full of super-science New Tech, extensive collections of Old Tech, and vaults of magical treasures.

AWTWAHNS [MUTANT HUMAN RACE, CHAOTIC]: Awtwahns are a Mutant Human race, heavily chimericized with newts; they remain bipedal, with newt-like faces, two arms, two legs, and a pair of 4-foot long tentacles on their shoulders. They have fallen far from their state of power during the height of the Mighoomee Empire, when they served as the home guard for the local Warlord-Governor. Today they have returned to their generally primitive state, living in small clans in the ruins of Awtwah, protecting their territory with primitive spears and darts smeared with their own body poisons. They spend as much time fighting each other as they do others, as each clan is based on the numbers and combination of colors of the green, orange, and red spots, stripes, and skin upon their rubbery flesh. Regardless of their internecine fighting, all work together to keep intruders from the sunken ruins of the old Mighoomee fortress and war-machine, which they consider sacred. Awtwahns revere the Demon God Ahsztahrot, Lord of Tentacles. Mutations: aberrant form (amphibian, breathe air and water) [P1], aberrant form (two tentacles) [P1], bizarre appearance (newt chimera) [D1], dermal poison slime [P3], know direction [M2], mind thrust [M2], negative empathy [D3], thermal vision [P1].