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Encyclopdedia Eternica

Morea

Talia/Jen

last updated: Friday, November 23, 2001

     
 

I. Basic Kingdom Infomation
(updated 10/30/01)

Kingdom Name: Morea
Kingdom Quote: "This war-banding, clannish, crazed pack of heavily tattooed marauders does not answer to anyone. They hate the Emperor and do not pay tribute. If it weren't for the great sea between Morea and Jafra, they would have wiped each other out." (from the Runesword Guide, by Dan and Adam)
Location: Large Isle across the Sea to the East of Jafra
Size of Territory: Pretty big - a large island/small continent
[Time Period: (if applicable)]
Language(s): Moreans speak their own language, with various dialects, but some know a little Jafran standard (for trading, etc.)

Inter-Kingdom Relations:
Border Countries/relations: No land borders. Closest by coast are: Argos, to N; Kyparrissia, to SW; Andoria, to NW.
Relation with Jafra/emperor: Absolute hostility, long feud. (No tribute)
At War/Conflict with: Jafra: long standing hatred results in frequent raids and occasional flare-ups in open warfare
                                Zur: "Cold" war (and bad feeling) because of raids on Zurish ships....
Treaties/Positive Relations with: Argos: Formal non-aggression pact. Lots of trade, with Morea having (only) a slight advantage. Moreans tend to respect Argosans for their devotion to their faith/god(s). Few historical conflicts.
           Kyparrissia: Formal non-aggression pact. Some tension (because Kyp. magicians get hired by Jafra army....) and some religious-related tension. Peace held mostly for trade purposes (so both sides tend to gouge each other whenever possible).
           Andoria: Informal non-aggression pact. Relative peace. Morea would rather attack Jafra anyway, so the two countries' ships pretend to ignore each other (most of the time). Some trade goes on as well, at fairly equitable terms.
Reputation/Stereotype: On the Jafran mainland in particular, Moreans are viewed as barbaric marauders - fierce and cruel.
        Why the Stereotype?: Generally, the only Moreans who travel to Jafra (and neighboring countries) are those in war-bands (or on similarly hostile missions). Not only are they actively hostile, they are generally young, fierce, warriors with strong motivations for gaining glory by slaying enemy warriors, destroying enemy property and holdings, and generally creating chaos among their Morea's foes. Many of the warriors are likely to be Dan'ap, men disowned by their clans (for any one of a variety of reasons) and desperate to gain a heroic reputation and/or enough loot to earn a wife (and thus a family, clan, and future....). Ferocity in battle is furthur enhanced by religious beliefs that the blood of enemies, one's own blood shed willingly in "righteous" combat, and, especially, the tattoos given by Bataya priests in recognition of valor and quests fulfilled, mark an individual for passage into the after-world of Zylos....
 
 

II. Individual Citizens (Characters)
Physical/Racial Characteristics
Standard Game Stats (RS2):
     Health:  42              Strength: 17
     Agility:  14              AP:   14
     Will:       9               Body (size): Avg.
Special Resistances: (none)
Life Expectancy:  62

Notable Skills/Occupations:
Typical (Stereotypic) Occupations: Widely known as fierce warriors of some variety
Available Skills for Characters (at Creation, RS2):
    Weapon Skills: Axe, Bow, Dagger, Martial Arts, Sword
    Secondary Combat Skills: Ambidex, Back Stab, Cleave, Heroism, Mad Rush, Taunt, Whirlwind
    Defense/Healing: Battle Armor, Bloodshield, Distract, Evasion, Revive
    Magic Related: Lunaspell, Wrathspell
    Other: Acrobatics(+Ag), Body Building(+Str), Health(+Hp)

III. Social Issues
Standard (Character) Vice Scores:
        Luna   19               Pride   20
        Revel  19               Greed 16
        Wrath 20               Lust    17
(higher number = worse weakness, average is 18)

Major Religion / Religions:
    Overview: Morea was settled mostly by people belonging to the ancient religious sect called Bataya. With its history of stalwart independence from the other Kingdoms, other religions have had little chance to replace Bataya, or even really challenge it at all. The beliefs and customs of the current Batayans have probably changed and evolved over the years, but it is hard to say, since no written records are known to exist from the original sect. There are a few factions within the Bataya religion, but they all agree on enough things and follow enough of the same customs/rituals to be considered a single religious sect. (The variations from area to area would be in overall "strictness" of the religious practices, emphasis put on various ceremonies, bits of local mythos that have evolved, and so forth.) Since the rise in power of Bataya after the defeat of the Eternals and rebel Dreamers, the five Greater Temples of Isuli oversee various areas of Morea.
    The central identifying characteristic of Bataya is their worship of the goddess of the secondary sun (the Babe), who they call Isuli. As with many sects, they believe Isuli, the Babe, is the first-born of the sun, Ibeza. However, though they have respect for Mother Ibeza, the focus of the Bataya worship is Isuli. They believe that, as eldest daughter, Isuli is destined to inherit the rule of the Heavens. Because of this, they worship her as the ultimate controller of destiny, and the true force to be reconned with in the Spirit world....
    Another key concept in Bataya involves beliefs about personal valor and the afterlife. Batayans do not believe in reincarnation of any sort - they believe you get one shot to prove your self and that's it. If you belong to an honorable clan, or have enough personal honor, you may win the attention of Zylos and have your spirit escorted to a glorious afterlife world. Otherwise, your spirit is doomed to linger on Eternia, or lost between Eternia and Zylos. Over time, lost souls slowly loose any remaining power and dissolve to nothingness.
    As far as gaining/losing honor, anything an individual does is believed to also effect his/her Clan as a whole (unless the person has officially been severed from the Clan by religous decree). Women gain honor primarily by bearing (and raising) children, especially daughters (because they can bear more children...). Men can gain honor the quickest by taking the lives of those declared to be Isuli's enemies, or by shedding their own blood in defense of her cause. Women can also be warriors, but they are rarely permitted by their Clans to risk their lives unless the need is very dire (or someone has11 daughters...). Other service to Isuli, or support of her priests/priestesses, also gains honor and recognition. All manner of honorable deeds are reported to priests of Zylos, who then award recognition in the form of tatoos. Each tatoo refers to a specific event or deed, beginning simply with being Named (and officially included in the Clan roles) at age 2. Most tatoos are given after something is done, but an "open writ" may be given to symbolize a special quest is in progress. When said quest is completed, the tatoo becomes a "closed writ", one of the most honorable and powerful tatoos.

    Diety / dieties: - Isuli (the Babe), the "one who will be", controller of  the future/destiny. Isuli's symbol in the Cosmos is the smaller (red) sun. She is the eldest (and only) daughter of Mother Ibeza, and will inherit all power as Ibeza slowly fades away through the eternities. All Batyans worship Isuli as the ultimate power over destiny. Priestesses of Isuli have the highest authority in the Batayan religion, and can prophesy, cast (or remove) curses, and command priests/priestesses of the other dieties, or over-ride/revoke their decrees, in addition to making her own decrees. Only a priestess of Isuli can declare a death penalty upon a criminal. The Ascending Heirs of Isuli (who rule the five greater temples) are responsible for passing judgement upon and deciding punishment for any corrupt priest/priestess within the Batayan sect. They can also curse (or redeem) entire Clans.
    -  Mother Ibeza, the grandmother of Eternia. Ibeza's symbol in the Cosmos is the larger (yellow) sun. Being the grandmother, Ibeza watches over Eternia, nurturing Isuli's children. However, she is viewed as primarily a passive diety, unlikely to act directly or with great power/force. Ibeza is actively worhiped only by pregnant women, families in need of children, or families with sick or injured children. Priestesses of Ibeza generally act in supportive duties, they oversee libraries, scribing duties, and such. However, the Wise Women of Mother Ibeza (of the five greater temples), are the only ones who can veto an edict from Isuli's high priestesses. This veto power is very rarely used, but is true and absolute - a veto from a single Wise Woman could conceivably halt an entire war effort or pardon the most hated of criminals. (*Note: a priestess may switch between service under Ibeza to Isuli, or back, once or more during her lifetime.)
    - The Brothers: Isuli's brothers, the warriors of the Heavens. Completely devoted to Ibeza and Isuli.
        - Alern, eldest brother and captain of Isuli's army. Alern's symbol in the Cosmos is the steel-grey moon. Alern guides and strenghtens warriors fighting Isuli's enemies (i.e. the enemies of her followers). Alern is worshiped in particular by warriors, hunters, and stone-workers. Priests of Alern train warriors for battle, teaching both combat skills and techniques, and strategy. They personally guard temples/shrines, and oversee other temple-owned lands. Only a senior priest of Alern can sanction or dissolve a war-band (a temporary alliance of clans), and most war-bands are commanded by one or more priests of Alern. (*Note: Both men and women can serve under Alern, though the ratio is about 8:1 priests to priestesses.)
        - Adad, the battle-mage. Adad's symbol in the Cosmos is a red-yellow moon. Magic, curses, and insanity flow through Adad. Magic users and metal workers pay special tribute to Adad. Priests only outnumber priestesses of Adad by about 3:2. Priests/priestesses of Adad learn and teach Wrathspell and Lunaspell magics, primarily for use against enemies of Isuli. They serve as the magical defenders of the temples/shrines, and often accompany war-bands into battle. Priests/priestesses also oversee and regulate any other known users of magic, including healer and small-time sorcerers, etc. Extremely talented priests/priestesses of Adad are rumored to still posess the ability to bless/enchant weapons.
        - Elohin, the messenger, commander of wind and water. Elohin's symbol in the Cosmos is a bright blue moon. Elohin is the parton of travelers, especially messengers and sailors, and also of farmers. Priests/priestesses of Elohin serve as a messenger network throughout Morea, particularly between the shrines, of course.
        - Zylos,  the lord of death. Zylos's symbol in the Cosmos is a hazy green-brown moon. Zylos is the one who chooses which souls will go on to the further glory after death.(Note: Zylos is also the name for the after-world). Zylos is actively worshipped by families with warriors away at battle or anyone being troubled by restless ghosts or undead. Priests/priestesses of Zylos record worthy deeds (which must be witnessed or otherwise evident) and award tatoos to Batayans. They keep track of the status ("valor") of each Clan , and act as political advisors to the temples. They also track genealogy (within the region they serve) and have the power to authorize/deny adoptions, marriages*, and anything else relating to Clan membership (such as banishment). (*marriages are performed jointly by a priest of Zylos and a priestess of Ibeza, with a witness priest of Elohin present.)
    **Note: the physical descriptions of the moons and some initial ideas for the role of the Cosmos in mythology comes from an article by "VampiricDread", originally posted on the Shrapnel-Runesword-General forum, and re-posted by Count0 on the "Eternal Project" message board.

    Other super-natural beings: demons (evil, including the Eternals), spirit warriors (good), ghosts (lost souls trapped on Eternia, mostly harmless, occasionally malicious), ancestors (souls who moved on to Zylos but may communicate with their descendents in special circumstances)
    Role of magic in this society: Lunaspell and Wrathspell magics are the most common taught/used. Magic is generally used only for battle-type purposes, and magicians pay special homage to Adad.

Family Relations
Family units: The basic family unit, a Household, is defined by grandparents and their posterity. All grandchildren consider each other brothers and sisters, regardless of specific parents. Aunts and Uncles are called Sister-mother and Brother-father and have equal authority and responsibility over children as actual parents. Bloodlines are matriarchal (a child belongs to his mother's mother, and males join their wife's household/clan at the time of marriage).
    A Clan is a group of families whose grandmothers are/were sisters. If the great-grandparents are living, they have special status and are highly revered, but may or may not be the current clan leaders. Clan leadership is actually determined by religious ceremony, and may change from time to time.
    courtship and marriage: grandmothers arrange marriages, but both the man and woman have veto power (at least officially). However, those who reject their families' choice of spouse once the engamement was set must suffer certain consequences. With a young man, if his family is feeling merciful, he may only have to re-pay his grandparents for any gifts, etc. given on his behalf, and another marriage may eventually be arranged. If the family is really ticked, he may be dis-owned and turned out to fend for himself (usually as a warrior, because if he gains enough valor he may be able to acquire a wife/family at some later time). With a young woman, if her family is feeling merciful (which is more likely if she is young and hasn't ever pulled this trick before), she may have to serve in some capactiy to pay back her grandparents for any gifts, etc. given on her behalf, and eventually another marriage may be arranged. If a woman continues to refuse marriage arrangements, she may be pressured into entering religious or military service. (Successful female warriors still answer to their grandmothers, but basically have their own say in things, since they contribute to household valor, etc.)
Note: Those who enter religious service can still marry, but circumstances are rather different....
    living arrangements: a bride remains with her family and the groom moves in. They are entitled to a (small) degree of privacy, however, - such as their own house/room, or at least their own bed (in a poor family). They are also entitled to begin accumulating some personal property/wealth (in the hopes that they will one day have their own household).
    fatherhood: (includes spouses of mom's sisters, to some extent)
        traditional responsibilities: A father is responsible for contributing to the physical support of his children. He is expected to contribute more significantly to household resources according to the number of (living) children he has. A father's income (be it money, meat, crops, or whatever) is pretty much turned over to the grandfather for supervision. The grandfather is still the head of the household, and ultimately responsible for providing food/shelter/etc.  A father is also generally involved in vocational and martial training of his sons (and/or his sister-in-laws' sons), under the supervision of the grandfather (of course).
        effect(s) on social status: The birth of a first child marks a man's true adulthood. He may now have a voice in the clan, (and is much more accepted in the household, too). With more/older children, his position becomes more secure, and their achievements, as well as his own, are likely to influence his social/political power/standing (for better or worse).
    motherhood: (includes mom's adult/married sisters, to some extent)
        traditional responsibilities: A mother is responsible for most of the day-to-day chores of raising kids: diapers, feeding, etc. She is also to be the model of obedience to her own mother, to instill this value from an early age. Mothers also meet out discipline, as directed by the grandmother. Mothers are also the teachers of domestic chores/tasks (to both male and female children, though the emphasis shifts when the boys get older). Grandmothers are responsibility for the formal education and religious instruction of children. Religious instruction is in the home, and usually other education is, too. Most kids learn to read (a little) and do simple (practical) math. Few other (non-religious) subjects are studied formally.
        effect(s) on social status: The birth of a first child marks a woman's true adulthood, too. She may now have a voice in the clan. The more children she bears that survive childhood, the more family/social power she is likely to have. The accomplishments of her daughters, in particular, greatly influence her social standing.
    Becoming a Household: The birth of a grandchild signifies the creation of a new Household. The grandparents and their adult/married children set up their own home, etc. It is a time of intense celebration for all involved. At the second birthday of the child, a special religious ceremony occurs, writing the Household name in the "book of life." (Until at least one grandchild survives to age 2, the household status somewhat tenative....)
    Becoming a Clan: The birth of the first great-grandchild is incredibly exciting. However, at least 3 great-grandchildren (from the same or different families) must survive infancy before a Clan is officially formed. At the second birthday of this 3rd great-grandchild, a major religious ceremony is held to establish the new Clan, its totems/symbols, etc.
    children
        males:
           traditional responsibilities: helping with household chores
           education: (formal, informal, and vocational)
           birth order issues: In theory, birth order does not affect social status. However, first grandchildren and the first three great-grandchildren are likely to be a little favored, as their well-being (as children, especially) is critical to family status.
        females:
           traditional responsibilities: helping with younger siblings (including cousins)
           education: (formal, informal, and vocational)
           birth order issues: In theory, birth order does not affect social status. However, first grandchildren and the first three great-grandchildren are likely to be a little favored, as their well-being (as children, especially) is critical to family status. First born daughters are also important, and are likely to be pressured to marry and have children quickly (so her parents can be the head of their own Household).
    elderly:
           what defines "old age": A person is considered an "elder" when he/she becomes a great-grandparent. A person is considered "aged" (elderly) at about 60 years old.
           traditional responsibilities: "storytelling" - relating family history and such to the younger generations
           care of the infirm/senile: Infirm and/or senile elderly are the responsibility of the clan, and are cared for according by households chosen by the Clan leader.
     widows: Since females stay with their families after marriage, and become matriarchs in their own right as their children grow, widowhood is not necessarily the end of the world. Young widows (without any children of marriable age) may re-marry at their family's disgression. Depending on their child-bearing history, they may actually be a very desirable wife, in some cases. Older widows (with at least one married daughter) continue as the household matriarch, but the responsibilities her husband would have had pass to her first/oldest son-in-law (that is not already a grandfather with a Household of his own). An older widow without a son-in-law for support may choose to remain "alone" or to apply to her clan for support.
     widowers: If a man's wife dies young, he may find himself cast out of her family - especially if they have no children, or if she died in childbirth. If this happens, he has to pretty much fend for himself. If he wants to marry again, he has to gain enough reputation and wealth (usually as a warrior) to hire a marriage broker to speak for him.... If a man is well-established in his wife's household, he may be offered the chance to marry one of her sisters/cousins. If a grandfather's wife dies, he continues as head-of-household. However, he becomes responsible for making sure his grandchildren receive the education his wife would have provided - either by applying to the clan or to local religious leaders. Once the grandchildren are grown, and his responsibilities fulfilled, he may choose to live "alone" or to apply to his clan for support.
    Infertility: If a couple has no children after three years of marriage, the marriage is declared null - as if it had never happened. The man returns to his birth family, the woman remains with hers (of course). They are allowed to re-marry other people, but it will probably be harder to arrange matches for them the second time. If a man or woman has had two null marriages, he/she is considered infertile. This is a sorrowful curse. The person is marked (by tatoo) and may never marry again. He or she is considered terribly unlucky (almost tainted) and even a woman could be turned out of her family. A man is most certainly left to fend for himself. Many times someone marked unfertile will basically commit suicide. Taking one's life directly is forbidden, but a woman may stop eating or begin taking extreme health risks, and men may become near-crazy warriors. The mark of infertility is irreversible. If a woman marked infertile were to (somehow) become pregnant, that is a mark of a pact with a demon. She would probably be killed, and if she managed to hide her condition long enough to bear the child, it would be as well.
 

Domestic Government:
    Kingdom-Level Government system: basically, none. Clans are always developing/changing relationships with each other. However, they may group to form a Band for a specific purpose - usually Warfare, but also to survive a local disaster, colonize a new area, or make improvements to a village/town.
    Local Government System: A village/town is usually run by the clan that first settled the area. They can be overthrown, but in the current times, it doesn't happen too often - especially to larger communities.
    Religious Influence on Government: Religious leaders have significant influence on almost all clans. They are often the arbitors of inter-clan squabbles, as well.

Miscellaneous "Color"
    Arts:
        What place does formal "art for art's sake" have in this society? almost none
        What folk-arts exist?
                - armor and weapons are often very detailed/ornate, wrought with a lot of symbology
                - tatoos are a big deal - warriors in particular have a great number of them. Each has specific meaning and is awarded by a clan leader or religious leader.
        Are art objects a trade item? Only within the country.

 


See also: History of Morea