Author Topic: Setting History: Chardil  (Read 196 times)


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Setting History: Chardil
« on: August 16, 2020, 12:29:09 AM »
So I'm not that keen on strictly timeline-ing Kavis, though I may do it at some point to get my thoughts more in order. However, generally I wanted to sketch the outline. This is for Chardil, the northwestern pseudo-European continent which I'm starting with writing.

It is about three hundred years since the very last of the Heirophancy's armies left Chardil. The small, northerly continent was never more than an afterthought on the edge of the greater realms to its south, a shadowy region best suited for slave-taking. Nonetheless, the warm waters of the Starlit Sea and the Oak Island archipelago at its western end made good locations for producing olives, cork, cheeses, and some other produce.

The heirophancy was not an Empire in the conventional sense: in legal theory it was an alliance of cities, though far from an equal one, and it was primarily bound together by shared, public religious ritual, though ritual that was very much confined to an elite priestly caste in its actual participants. Their dualist theology never really broke through into popular perception in Chardil proper, though dualist groups. They never truly secured control over the Oak Islands, though they had a string of ports around south and east Chardil: in the west, the two city-states of Tabnire and Kesrata took turns leading and forming alliances against them.

Eventually, the heirophancy began to lose its wars as cities broke away, internal warfare broke trade routes down, and mercenaries began to turn into local potentates. Troops were withdrawn and cities left to fend for themselves. The post-heirophancy cities in some cases maintained nominal loyalty, but this broke down as over the course of two centuries the northern shore's ports fell under the sway of more inland rulers, especially the Alasians and Sternish in the west (and a dizzying array of smaller polities in the more mountainous south east of Chardil).

The Alasians were a tribe of riders from the plains north of some of the Heirophancy's northern ports, who saw wide use as mercenaries and ultimately replaced their former paymasters, as well as splinter groups laying claim to odd bits of land far to the south and east where they had been brought to fight in other wars. The Sternish meanwhile were mostly beyond the Heirophancy's reach in the west, and were largely client peoples of the Tabirenes and Kesratans, with their Kesratan-influenced elites breaking away as the great cities diminished in power. Neither of these processes was bloodless, and a lot of people streamed out of the old cities into monastic communities and villages, and the cities themselves often transformed from tightly run, heirarchical creations to having their wider streets filled in, argumentative political factions becoming the norm, and a range of deities becoming the foci of popular piety movements.

Further north, beyond the reach of the Heirophancy, lies the Sea of Shipwrecks, and beyond that the long peninsula along which is the land of Cenica. Cenica has a High King, and has done since time immemorial, though their power is often somewhat nominal and reliant on particular tribes and chieftains pledging individual loyalty. The marshy land of Serraty connects Cenica and the rest of Chardil: it was briefly claimed as a kingdom by a Cenican noble clan, was then taken over by some Alasian mercenaries, and has since slipped into being a constested realm. The northeast of the continent is mostly mountainous, and dwarves and goblins are more common than humans as the major sapient peoples there: the more westerly dwarves are increasingly part of the Alasian realm, the high dwarves of the far northeast are, and much of the rest is a land of small villages, ancient mines and caves, and deep valleys.

A number of present conflicts have emerged from all of this. Fighting over the Oak Islands, which are largely the wealthiest part of the continent now, is increasingly a bizarre multi-dimensional political game between a variety of northern rulers who want to extend their power into the maritime world, the Oak Island city-states themselves who are major players in their own right as key trading ports, and the Tabirenes and Kesratans. In the rugged east of the Chardil, small lordships led by dwarves, humans and occasionally goblins frequently (though rarely effectually) skirmish, with shifting allegiances and few permanent victors. In Serraty, the increasing ability of both Cenica and Alasia to project power has led to both coming into conflict in the deep marshes as they try to present their preferred claimants for a throne that barely ever existed in a unified state.

South of Chardil, the Heirophancy has largely lost its status as a maritime power, and a line of Sternish freebooters have become the rulers of Starshore, the south-east coastal region of the Starlit sea. However, it has not disappeared, and the regions of the south and east are fabled in Chardil as being great sources of wealth and power. More on them in some future post.
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...