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Encyclopdedia Eternica

Xal

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This is a newly started document and will be updated often in the future.

last updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2001

     
 

Information is red is what is specifically required for the Runesword (I) system
Information in blue is also particularly useful

I. Basic Kingdom Infomation
Kingdom Quote: Xal is a sparsely populated mountainous region of assassins, miners, and hermits. An enormous, intricate, never-mapped web of tunnels run through the mountains. Xal is ruled by close-knit clans of associated families, each run by a matriarch.
*Sub-Cultures:
- There exists within the larger culture-group of Xal two important sub-groups.
   *Occultists: The first is a loosley affiliated group of individuals interested in researching magic and "the occult". Xalians' superstious nature keeps all but the most unusual of them from pursuing these subjects themselves (hence the lack of spell-casting skills available at character creation). Occultists instead tend to come from other lands, drawn often by legends of knowledge brought up from the depths of Xal's honeycombed underground, and are shunned by locals fearing what troubles might be stirred-up. Occultists are most commonly hermits or live on the outskirts of towns as pariahs.
    * Fate: In the background of all crimes in Xal, and some would say all of Eternia, can be seen fate. More correctly, Fate. The Fate, or often simply called Fate, is an organized crime syndicate consisting primarily of Xal's assassins. While the typical trade of organized crime, such as extortion and the black market, are run in order to generate revinue Fate's main objective is the covert manipulation of businesses, clans and governments. This provides them the opportunity to practise thier true profession: assasination. At the higher levels of Fate this objective is pursued with religous fanaticism. Each Fate training camp has at its center a secret shrine and is run much like a monestary. To what black god these masters of death pay homage is not known as noone who is not of the Fate has lived long enough after entering thier shrines to share the tale. Most of the different Fate schools offer training of subtley different styles, and it is not known if this is due to clan affiliations, different gods of death being worshipped, simple tradition or some combination thereof.
What the Native Peoples Call Themselves: Xals
Location: Northeastern corner of the Eternian continent.
Size of Territory:
Language(s):

Inter-Kingdom Relations:
Border Countries/relations: Xalians are a superstitous society, and as such look with fear and suspicion at countries that foster and promote magical research. As they are the primary source of Eternia's mineral resources they are very amenable to trade and any region doing business with them. Thier geographic isolation, especially in the western provinces, has bred a strong, almost xenophobic, distrust of strangers. Relation with Jafra/emperor: While sharing a border with the seat of power in Eternia, Xalians tend to view Jafra and the Emporer with quiet distain. Some say this is due to Xal's isolationist tendencies and others atribute it to jealousy of Jafra's wealth and power. Jafra and the Emporer share this feeling as well, seeing Xal as a backwater filled with greedy, superstitious hillbillies. They are tolerated primarily because of thier abundant mineral resources, and many believe that the Emporer himself is fears the rumored horrors beneath Xal's mountains.
East - The Isles, Talanta
West - The Northlands
North - Unkown Lands
South - Jafra
Relation with Jafra/emperor: Xal and Jafra have an uneasy goodwill toward each other, based primarily on trade. Xalians see jafra as an outsider not to be trusted, and Jafrans see Xalians as illiterate mountain folk easily dismissed.
Reputation/Stereotype: Most other countries view Xalians as illiterate, backwoods folks who's chief good point is their metal working skills. Those who know of the Fate and Xal's natively trained assassins view them warily and with constant suspicion.

Physical Environment:
General Terrain: Xal consists mainly of high mountains and coastal lands. The lowlands inbetween are more often than not sparse scrubland. A majority of the coastal regions are isolated from sea-going trade by barrier reefs. One notable exception to this is The Far Reach, a large island at the northern tip of the country. Because of this The Far Reach is a major trading center for northern Eternia, exporting Xal's mineral resources and importing all manner of goods.
"Common" Natural Disasters: Earthquakes
Other Notable Features/Concerns: Much of the coastal regions are innaccesible by sea because of barrier reefs. Exceptions include the area of the mainland to the west of The Far Reach. An enormous, intricate, never-mapped web of tunnels run through the mountains.

II. Individual Citizens (Characters)
Physical/Racial Characteristics
Standard Game Stats:
     Health: 35                Strength: 10
     Agility: 19                Action Points (AP): 15
     Will: 13                    Body (size): medium
Special Resistances: (cold/fire/sharp,etc., with % resisted)
Life Expectancy:
 % mortality at:
       infancy     childhood     adolescence     young adult      middle age     old age
       (*should equal 100% for total population)

Notable Skills/Occupations:
Typical (Stereotypic) Occupations:
Available Skills for Characters (at Creation):
        (weapons) Axe, Bow, Dagger, Staff, Sword
        (magic)
        (other) Acrobatics, Amibex, Backstab, Critical Strike, Deflect Arrow, Evasion, Fencing, Martial Arts, Pick Locks, Remove Traps, Perfect Hit

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

Family Relations
Family unit: Xal is a matriarcal society, meaning that woms ars the head of family and clan units and lineage is traced down through the mother.
    courtship and marriage: Marriages are typically arrange by the parents in order to strengthen clan ties or gain some political or economic benefit.
    living arrangements: Newly married couples usually leave thier parents' homes to start thier own, though it is not uncommon to find an extended family living together.
    fatherhood:
        traditional responsibilities: Fathers typically do not play a large part in child-raising, being generally considered to ignorant or coarse to have much of value to impart.
        effect(s) on social status: Ones father will typically not convey much in the way of social status to daughters, though the opposite is true for sons.
    motherhood:
        traditional responsibilities: Xalian mothers tend to teach and raise the children in thier household. effect(s) on social status: Women who have several children are looked up to as leaders and sages.
        effect(s) on social status: Women who have several children are looked up to as leaders and sages. children
        males:
            traditional responsibilities: Men are usually assigned tasks related to trade outside the village as well as tasks involving heavy manual labor (such as farming or blacksmithing). Men also make-up the majority of martial units, such as local militias, as such activities are generally "beneath" women.
            education: (formal, informal, and vocational)
            birth order issues: (social value, birthright/inheritance, responsibility to family members)
        females:
            traditional responsibilities: Xalian women tend to take on more political roles in village and clan/family leadership than do men. In addition, women often act as merchants within the village, leaving dealing with "strangers" to men.
            education: (formal, informal, and vocational)
            birth order issues: (social value, birthright/inheritance, responsibility to family members)
    elderly:
            what defines "old age": (actual age? generation?)
            traditional responsibilities:
            care of the infirm/senile: (responsibility of family? community? individual?)
                widows: (revered and cared for? cast out? pitied? other?)

Social Castes / Groups:
        types / basis (birthright, wealth, education, religion, occupation, etc.)
            For each Caste: social status
                                     social responsibilities
        possibilities/consequences of crossing caste lines:
            how rigid/formal are caste definitions?
            can someone's caste change? how?
            are mixed marriages permitted? probable?

Major Religion / Religions:
The majority of Xalians worship the gods common to Eternia. In addition, many rural Xalian villages also pay homage to locally known, lesser dieties associated with protection of homes and livestock and with good harvests. These demi-gods are given offerings and prayers in small house shrines There are also rumors of secret groups meeting in the dead of night to worship Old Gods that existed long before mankind. These tales are heard most often among the more isolated coastal and mountain hamlets.
    Diety / dieties:
    Other super-natural beings: (angels, demons, spirits, ghosts, Saints, ancestors, etc.)
Xal is generally known to be a region riddled with vast cavern and tunnel systems. What is not known (with the exception of a handfull of occult scholars) is that these cave system, at their deepest levels, form an expansive underground network within which have developed several distinct ecosystems and races of creatures. It is not known whether this vast underground pre-date the human migration into Eternia as told in legends, but there is evidence of a few races of sentient creatures.
    Role of magic in this society: (namely, which schools/branches are available to characters)
    Answers to the Big Questions:
        where did we come from?
        why are we here?
        what happens after we die?
        how much control do we have of our own destiny? as individuals? as a people?
    leadership/priesthood
    priorities: (is the emphasis on rites/rituals? proselyting/conversion? service? tithes/offerings?)
    value system: (what is most important: honor, faith, service, courage, honesty, cunning, wisdom, etc.)
    taboos: (what is forbidden? how strong are the taboos and what are perceived/actual consequences for violation of such?)
    rites/rituals
        birth
        initiation
        marriage
        death
        (others: include frequency as well as nature of ceremony)
    holidays/holy days
    festivals
 

Community Life
    General Community Style: (towns/cities, small villages, nomadic, etc.)
    Types of dwellings and buildings: (individual homes; communal living - by gender, family group, or whatever; apartment-like; family compounds; etc.)
    Most Common Means of  Economic Support: (farm, fish/hunt, forage, skilled labor, trade, military/religious service)(adding a % of people/families supported by each general category might be handy)
            Other (less common) Occupations:
    Local Money/Barter System:

Domestic Government:
Kingdom-Level Government system: (who holds ultimate authority?)
[Any figurehead/traditional but non-functional government positions?]
Local Government System: (who actually runs a town/village/clan/etc.?)
[Religious Influence on Government:]
Law Enforcement/Judicial:
    Kingdom vs. Local:
    [Religious Influence on Judicial:]
    Definition and Consequences of Serious Crime:
         (murder, sexual crimes, battery, larceny, lying/fraud)
    If detention is a possible punishment, how is this handled?
    Rights of Accuser and Accused? (and who has burden of proof?)
    How are "outsider" (non-resident) criminals handled?
        If fugitive from another Kingdom? (extradition?)

Miscellaneous "Color"
    Arts:
        What place does formal "art for art's sake" have in this society?
        What folk-arts exist? (folk art = a practical item made beautiful - like a quilt, furniture, clothes, pottery, or whatever)
        (Note: this definition of folk art is my own arbitrary decision for the purposes of this document only. I have taken various college courses on the topic, and the debate over what defines "folk art" versus "fine art" and so on is complicated and seemingly endless....)
        Are art objects a trade item?

    Foods:
        Is this region known for a particular culinary style? (describe it)
                If so, how famous?
        Is this region a supplier of any rare foods/delicacies? (could be anything from truffles to opium)

    Clothing:
        Standard Costume: (list any difference in male/femal garb, etc.)
        Any religious significance/relationship?
        Function vs. Fashion: (likely to be related to wealth)
        Is the region known for a particular clothing style?
        Is Cloth or Clothing a significant trade item?

    Other Possible Considerations:
        Agriculture:
        Animal Husbandry:
        Science/Magic:
        Technology:
        Communications:
        Transportation:
        Medicine: