Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ánemos: An Introduction

Geography and Ecology:

Ánemos is a large and loose group of islands, united by a common tongue but little else. Warriors and poets, fishermen and aristocrats, scholars and mystics, sorcerers and madmen, beasts and monsters, lovers and warmongers; all of these call Ánemos home. 

Formed thousands of years ago when the Gods one by one awoke and rent the Sea and lifted their lands into the Sun’s light, Ánemos’s islands vary in size from mere rocks in the sea to roughly 48 miles across. Some of the islands seem to clump together in small sub-groups; others sit alone in the ocean. Few have ever traveled its whole breath, and no one can truthfully claim to have seen every one of her isles.
Most islands look lie this,small and crappy and dry
Beyond the Ánemos Archipelago is the Deep Ocean, beyond which is said to be the end of the world, death, or nothing.

There are two seasons, wet and dry. Ánemos is at its best a warm and mild place to live, and people have flourished in her forgiving grace. At its worst Ánemos is the harshest of deserts, with a cruel Sun and an unforgivingly salty Sea. The winds blow continuously, whether from the north, south, east or west and are often unpredictable. They whisper and they howl, and they shape the lives of all.

The Ocean, or at least the sea that the Ánemos group finds itself, is warm and generally pretty shallow (~700 feet max). Because of this sea life has flourished on the wide shelf of shallow warm water. The floor is littered with coral reefs, and schools of fish are abundant.

The islands large enough to have natural flowing fresh water are home to abundant life, and these are the primary ones that support large animals. The watered lands are lush, though people have trouble wresting control of them from the clutches of the Spirits

Cultures in (not really) Ancient Greece:

There are three primary island groups in Ánemos, and there are many more in the matrix of the sea. This has led to four relatively distinct people: the Chalcis, the Arsuf, the Minoan, and the others. Though they all speak roughly the same language they identify more with themselves then with each other.

The Chalcis Chain is lies on the western side of the Ánemos Archipelago and has several  inhabited islands that are close enough to swim between. The two largest islands are so close that they actually have a bridge spanning that gap, a long straight channel. Her people are quite folk, more interested in fishing and magic than trade and war fare. Many hedge wizards sail Chalcis’ coasts in their enchanted sloops, selling their talents or teaching their pupils. The villages and towns along the Chalcis coasts are all allied in a coalition of mutual protection (the Chalcis Alliance of Protection, or CAP), though they hardly view themselves as a nation.

The Arsuf islands are all long and steep, resting at the south eastern edge of the archipelago. The islands all run north east and have sharp knife like ridges. The people that inhabit these rugged islands are themselves rugged and fierce. They are far and above the best sailors in Ánemos and the Arsuf islands are known to be home to many pirates and lawless peoples. Her people take a deep pride in their strength and independence, and with no government or laws they form small tribes and villages that are led by their strongest as chieftains and warlords. In times of crisis the islands have untied under one war leader, though it has been many generations since that last happened.

The Minoan ring of islands rest near the center of the Ánemos Archipelago, and her people feel that they are the center of civilization. They invented the compass, the built the first light houses, they standardized money and trade across the archipelago, and they have they most learned people in the world studying at their universities. The islands have entered into the only true nation in the known world, the Minoan Republic. In the last few generations the young Republic’s power has truly begun to wax, her navies patrol the Inner Seas and protect trade and citizenship can be bought by merit or birth.

The others islands are governed as fiscal dictatorships, mageocracies, anarcho-collectives, oligarchies, idiocracies, big dick contests, divine rite or as anything else or in between. They are united by nothing other than their lack of identifying features and proud of it!


In the last couple of posts I have been giving you some tools I use to populate my current setting, Ánemos. Hopefully they provide some interesting rules/ideas. So I wanted to give you a look at the setting itself. Its growing and dynamic, as are all played in settings, but I tried hard to write a framework that could be fleshed out in any number of ways.

Anyway, Ánemos, this is the setting I am currently living in, written for and inspired by a friends request for an "episodic, seafaring, island adventure". So I did some thinking, asked him some questions, and Ánemos was born.

One of the stipulations with the setting when requested was that it be episodic with interesting/wacky islands to explore. Neither he nor I had the language to describe it at the the time, but he was basically asking for a picturesque setting with rogue-ish type heroes. I really like writing with a clear ecology/area of the world in mind, and what better mythology to draw on for wacky island adventures than Ancient Greece? Many of their mythologies have been beaten to death, so I am not drawing too much on that, instead focusing on aesthetic and not story.

[I'll post the document I give my players to give them a working knowledge of their world soon (I also don't really suppose anyone likes to read other peoples world building, but one of my players encouraged me to put it out there.)]

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