The Chronicles of a Dead Empire
What Your Character Knows
From the day your character was “born” to the present, he or she was immersed in a rich culture and was injected into the time line of Mathojan history. So the question becomes “what does your character know?”
As for the questions of specific culture, it is better to go to these pages; Mathojan Culture, Grumald Culture, Wuld Culture and Sidhe Culture. This way, you get an in-depth survey of the culture of your chosen race. Look in Flora and Fauna for information on the natural animals and plants that one can encounter, and in the Mathojan Beastiary for the more unusual creatures that roam the lands.
History, on the other hand, is a shared experience. The following is a quick survey of the history of the past 300 years, things your character would know through story and songs and eventually through her or his life.
Old but common history
The various khzardoms, kingdoms and territories of Mathoja were part of a larger empire 300 years in the past. It is referred to as the “Old Empire” these days. Not much is known before that time, other than what legends and mythology were handed down from the ages. See Legends and Myths of Mathoja for more information.
The Old Empire was good to the peoples of Mathoja; it gave much and expected little in return. Mathoja was rich in natural resources, both farmed and mined. The Emperor introduced the Grumald to the Mathojans, and they established a colony to mine the ore-rich Hard Hills and establish commerce with the rest of Mathoja and the Empire. The colony prospered, and later became to be recognized as a small kingdom within the cradle of the Empire itself.
Much of the magical, alchemical and medical knowledge of Mathoja was introduced by the Old Empire, as well as improvements in trade skills and warfare. The lands prospered, even if Mathoja was far away from the rest of the Old Empire. The ties between the khzardom and the Empire were very strong.
Then the Great Invasion put an end to it all. The maimed soldiers who returned only had tales of horror and woe. They had stories of the dark peoples they met; the Gragul, the foot soldiers of the western hordes, the Gragul-ka, the arrow fodder that was driven in front of the Gragul and the horse-borne Khazzir, who were unmerciful to all who got in their way. The ones that figured most prominently in the stories where the Zyguth-yothi, three Gragul witch-sisters who used terrible magics to drive the armies of the Old Empire close to the very gates of fabled Kofina, the capitol city.
The Emperor ordered the Mathojan soldiers to return to their homeland with a secret note for Khzar Maxius. The day after their arrival was the Night of Day and then Day of the Hot Wind. (This also marked the beginning of the New Mathojan Calendar) Some stories mention that Maxius and his son sent brave souls northward to reconnect with the Old Empire. All who went never returned. In 53 NMC, Khzar Barthus put an end to the search when he realized that the Kingdom was suffering from a lack of able-bodied men. He issued the Edict of Mathoja, which made it unlawful to go north of the King’s Gates or of the Gaze of Athusus.
Songs and stories of note:
“Glorious Old Empire” – common song; “The Bright Emperor” – popular poem; “Coming of the Dwarves” – common song; “Bash your shields, the men of Mathoja are here!” – military song; “Darkness Coming” – popular poem; “Hail the Glorious Dead” – military dirge
Kingdom stands alone
Khzar Barthus was a great king and saw the kingdom through rough times. His descendants were good men and women who cared for the kingdom and its people deeply. For the most part, peace was the rule of the land. But as the population grew, so did the desire to expand.
The Grumald and Wuld were well entrenched in their small areas, not interested in moving. The Sidhe were secretive and had larger territory. Unknown to Khzara Sophia, Mathojans on the eastern side of the Shar River began squatting in Ninda Wood. Quickly, border disputes erupted and the First Sidhe War began in 160 NMC. Sophia sent in emissaries and the army to put a stop to the war and bring the Mathojans back to the western side of the Shar River. Instead, the emissaries were killed or kidnapped and the army suffered a devastating loss at Wolf Totem creek. It was bleak until a brilliant raid by Rosinjil’s Rangers, a volunteer group from the northern part of Mathoja, captured the Grand Druid of the Sidhe. The Sidhe then sued for peace. The Shar River Treaty was signed defining the boundaries of Mathoja and Ninda, the Sidhe lands. The town of Azja was founded soon afterwards to encourage trade been the Mathojans and Sidhe.
As a result of the treaty, some of the Mathojans and a small band of the Sidhe were very disaffected, and decided to turn on their respective peoples. The Mathojans turned to banditry and attacked caravans coming to and from the towns of Ren and Los from their camps in the Low Hills. This became a five year long hide and seek, before the bandit’s leader, Bavzin Redhanded was caught and executed in 172 NMC. Soon after, a band of Sidhe attacked some villages in northern Mathoja started the Second Sidhe War in 174 NMC. The outlaw Sidhe were looking for members of Rosinjil’s Rangers to kill. Some running skirmishes happened, but the Grand Druid of the Sidhe put down the attackers, and banished them from Sidhe lands. This won the admiration of Mathojans who built Bis as another trading hub for the Sidhe and secured a lasting peace between the two races.
The Mathojans turned inward and soon they were making progress in technology and magic. Much of this was re-discoverd through Old Empire scrolls and books. In the meantime, relations between all races made improvements. The Wuld and Mathojans founded the town of Het to create a hub of commerce between the Wuld, Grumald and Mathojans. It soon became a bustling town where all races were welcomed.
As an island of possibly the only island of humanity, Mathoja prospered as best as it could.
Songs and stories of note:
“Bathus the Wise” – common poem; “Battle of the Totem” – common story; “Song of the Rangers” – military ballad; “Death of the Redhanded” – common poem; “Raise the Mugs Tall or Small” – popular tavern song
A new dawning
The peoples of Mathoja prospered, but a restlessness began to creep in with all the peoples of the peninsula. Rumors began to abound that maybe Mathoja wasn’t alone. Banditry and piracy was becoming a problem in the Neck and the waters around the Gaze of Athusus. Captured pirates jailed in Los or captured in the Neck of Mathoja told tales of ships they captured or cased away that had unfamiliar people or colors. These pirates fancied themselves bloodthirsty and claimed they killed the foreigners.
Khzar Halvec, grandfather of, the current ruler, sent emissaries to the other peoples of Mathoja to see if they too had heard from anyone outside the peninsula. Only the Sidhe reported that a colony that comprised a couple bands of Sidhe had moved onto the continent or the “Big Land” and were being harassed by human bandits from the Neck.
This triggered the Bandit War in 245 NMC, which lasted for seven years and cleared out most of the bandits close to Mathoja. The Khzar raised the Royal Company of Rangers and well as recommissioned Rosinjil’s Rangers to keep guard of the neck and keep the bandits from reforming in any considerable means.
The Pirate War started at the winding down of the Bandit War in 251 NMC. Not as long lasted as the Bandit War, the Pirate War was inconclusive, and the Mathojan navy ceased their offensive in 255 NMC. Sea Lord Salic discovered that the pirates were operating just out of Athusus’ Gaze, and have a rolling war going with the bandits in the neck. Khzar Halvec’s death in 257 NMC put any invasion of the pirate island on hold. Khzara Menelope decided to carry on with the late Khzar’s plans, but the Blue Plague struck, and all plans were put to a halt.
It took Mathoja 30 years to recover from the Blue Plague, which spared no race. Death was quick, and the disease ravaged the population in a year’s time. Calling to gods was of limited help, and spared only a few. Many beliefs still exist to this day on the origin of the plague, but no one has been able to identify it, although it seemed to got its start in Belja.
Upon Menelope’s death in 288 NMC, Khzar Valijec ascended to the throne with a plan in mind. In the same year, he put into motion the plans his grandfather and mother’s had created. With Valijec at the head of the navy, the Mathojans invaded the pirate’s home island and in many bloody and costly battles, drove them to smaller northern islands and crushed any ability they had to stop any movement to the north. This is referred to as Pirate Island war. They were reduced to a nuisance in five years of fighting. In 293 NMC, he also, renewed fighting with the bandits that had grown back into power in the Neck. He threw them out of their southern strongholds driving them to the northward edge of the Neck. This is known as the War of the Neck.
It is now fall 297 NMC. Khzar Valijec has recently decreed that the northern borders be open and abolished the Edict of Mathoja. He is calling for brave adventurers to go northward and contact the Old Empire. Any that seek commission as a Royal Company will be given a Letter of Discovery that allows commissioned adventurers to deal directly with the Khzar’s representatives. Also they will carry of Letter of Ambassadorship, which allows the Company to deal directly with any of the Kingdoms of the Old Empire. All other adventurers are welcome to take their own chances.
This is the world how it is now. You are on your own.