Solarean Adventures LARP Lore
By Lane "Fenix" Carter
Solarea - Home Sweet Home
The continent of Reshis, a vast landmass which stretches almost unbroken from north to south, is home to our country, Solarea. Largely covered by verdant forests and lush fields, Solerea is just the right mix of civilization and wildlands to produce strong, happy people. Blessed with abundant resources and one of the Empire’s most well-developed road systems, Solarea thrives as a region ripe for both development and trade.
From ancient times, the land played host to a variety of people and cultures. In the time before the Empire, Solarea was known as Amarlind. Depleted and ravaged by the fires of the Godswar, the once great Amarlind was all too glad to accept the benevolent occupation of the majestic Karlanaarian castle, Solarea.
Named for the great glow which its enchanted armor gave off as it reflected the daylight, the Castle of the Sun quickly became the heart of Amarlind, and as the grip of the Empire solidified, its original name was replaced by that of the shining fortress in the sky. The Imperial Province of Solarea thrived, as one of Karlanaar’s most important footholds on the continent. By the same relationship, this was the region which felt the chains tighten the most, as the Empire’s corruption grew.
When the Twelve gifted the mortal races the knowledge to take down the Empire, it was brought to Solarea directly by two local adventurers, who had attended the meeting with the Twelve.
On the night that the counterspells were cast, the nearby capital city of Athelen was largely evacuated, for fear of a retributive strike from the castle’s mighty armament. Though the castle never opened fire, the collapse of its floatation field was slow enough to allow its controllers to aim for the heart of the city below.
The burial of their home quenched the last bits of mercy from the hearts of the onlooking citizens of Athelen, and they fell on the castle like a terrible, screaming wave. The Imperial forces had already suffered heavy casualties from the crash, and were in no condition to repel an attack from the entire city’s population. When the morning sun next reflected on Solarea’s shining walls, there were no Imperials left to witness it.
It is a testament to the castle’s construction that much of it remained intact, once the dust settled. As the people explored the halls of power, they discovered a wealth of resources and knowledge which had been kept from them under the Empire’s reign. Libraries of magical texts lay scattered but whole, and the storehouses of valuable supplies proved more than enough to see the fledgeling Kingdom of Solarea through its recovery.
The knowledge found in the Karlanaarian texts proved fertile ground for the establishment of a magic school in Athelen. This institution, Aphinast University, enjoys a reputation for excellence in magical learning to this day.
The old Imperial Highway still conducts trade through Solarea, kept in good repair by order of the crown. Following the Highway for two days south from Athelen, one will find the crossroads town of Merriwin conducting its daily business with ever increasing bustle and energy. Inns and taverns sit astride each road exiting the town, and merchants congregate in the town square to sell their wares to passers-by from every walk of life. As an up-and-coming center for trade, Merriwin boasts shops with masterwork and high value goods, as well as quality entertainment and juicy gossip that might usually only be available in the capital.
Should one take the least-traveled road out of Merriwin, and travel southwest for most of a day, one will find a small village on the edge of a marshy wood called Evermire. Local rumors warn of the place, telling tales of curses, monsters, bandits, and an ominous evil which lurks in the woods. It is said to be home to hardened adventurers, lawless and poor. To venture there is to take your life into your own hands.
Of Borders and Those Beyond Them
From the beginning of Solarean independence, there were those who held fast to the opinion that nothing good could come from following in the Empire’s footsteps. A growing group of Solarean citizens rejected the new kingdom’s willingness to pick up the tools of its oppressors, and as the years went by, many of them left the area of Athelen and headed to the west. There, the city of Innovia offered a lifestyle without the artifacts of the past. Its people didn’t live in fallen castles, they didn’t study elven runes, and they didn’t eat vegetables grown from salvaged seeds.
The disparity and resentment only grew, and as they did, so did Innovia. In the Year of the Accord 255, Innovia and its surrounding towns and provinces declared independence from Solerea, establishing a nation which they named Amarlind, reclaiming the ancient heritage which the Solareans seemed too eager to forget. The two countries still fight the occasional war, though their shared history and geography have made them something closer to rival siblings than true enemies. Though the average Solarean has little complimentary to say about the average Amarlindian, and vice-versa, trade between these neighbors is currently at an all-time high.
To the north, separated from the rest of Reshis by the continent-wide Broken Sea, lies the relatively sparsely populated land of Rhiosse. Rocky plains, dark forests, and imposing mountains characterize the country to the north. Not unified under a single government, the tribes of Rhiosse live through the generations as their forefathers did, learning to survive the great beasts and sudden winter blizzards by day, and telling tales of inspiring deeds around the fire by night.
The Karlanaarian Empire found that only minimal oversight was needed in this land. The Imperial presence was largely ignored, and there was little for the Empire to gain from the Rhiossian wilds in any case. Rhiossians regarded the Empire as a nuisance. Dangerous, but not more so than a sudden white-out storm, or a giant bear, or in some cases, the average wedding.
After the empire fell, resulting conflicts drove the tribes to unite under a single chieftain, but the unity fell apart in the power struggle which came after his death. In an attempt to settle the debate and recapture Rhiosse’s brief unity, the legendary sword known most commonly as “Murnrose” was thrust into a stone, charged to only come free in the hands of Rhiosse’s next unifier. Centuries later, the sword remains there still, more commonly visited by arcane scholars wishing to study its enchantment than by contenders for Rhiossian rule. In truth, Rhiosse seems content as a land of small groups. Thought of as rough barbarians by outsiders, and perhaps with good reason, the people of Rhiosse are used to keeping to themselves. Their conflicts are tribal, and their politics rarely extend beyond the walls of a village.
South of Solarea lies beautiful, beleaguered Venalia. In the north of this country, a large Lesser Star impacted a Godfall Site directly, causing such a calamitous release of energy that it split the mighty Kondua River in two, and created the Riven River which now serves as Solarea’s southern border.
Rich and inviting plains characterize Venalia, once a breadbasket for the Empire’s forces on Reshis. Lush farmlands, famous vineyards, and lovely, rolling fields of grass fit for raising herds of grazing animals characterize Venalia’s center.
But it is Venalia’s north which has shaped the history of Venalia in the Age of Freedom. The Lesser Star which split the Kondua from its fall is buried deeply and much intact. A Grand Dungeon known as the Lifelands has taken hold there, a hyper-magical swamp dense with writhing masses of vines, giant swamp life found nowhere else in the world, and raw magic seeping from the multiple cores at its center. As of yet, only three adventuring parties have been able to make it to this legendary Grand Dungeon, and even the most careful of them - a group sent by Venalia’s king to scout the entrance chamber - have been killed by forces unknown. Few now bother to try, even after the king offered titles and land as reward for the Grand Dungeon’s core.
As long as the cores remain in place, the Lifelands will be a primary concern for the country. Magical beasts born there tend to head south towards the farm lands rather than fording either river. As a result, Venalia’s military mostly concerns itself with fighting the creatures which come from the Lifelands and keeping the roads safe.
Because of their circumstances, Venalia makes for a remarkably quiet neighbor, politically. They are too preoccupied with their own concerns to care much for expanding their borders, and they are so practiced at defending themselves against powerful foes that they aren’t worth invading. Venalia’s mounted knights are known far and wide for their code of chivalry and bravery in defending the weak. They are also reputed to be arrogant, and perhaps rightfully so. For any knight who has defended against a Lifelands assault has a one in three chance of survival, and their veterans are among the greatest fighters alive.
Across the Kondua River to the east of Solarea, the sprawling plains and veldtlands of Y’so Penden stretch far to the southeast.
Like many large and sparsely populated countries, the Imperial presence in Y’so Penden was mostly limited to its large cities. The capital city of Sulivar played host to an Imperial castle called Aeol, but unlike old Amarlind, the cultural history of Y’so Penden could never be overshadowed by a mere floating fortress. It was Aeol which lost its name over time, known for most of the occupation as simply “the Sulivar Castle”.
Even 1500 years of Imperial rule was never able to erode the millennia-old cultural identity of Reshis’ oldest country. With written records dating back to 3500 B.A. (Before the Accord), Y’so Penden boasts one of the world’s most intact records of the Age of Legends and the Godswar.
Traders, negotiators, and shrewd politicians by tradition, Pendians are famously friendly, generous, and cunning. It is well known that during the Imperial Age, the Governors of Sulivar maintained open and amicable relationships with the Lords of Aeol, often dining together. Before the countermagics tore Aeol out of the sky, Governor Jerahn Wrin’hou of Sulivar invited Lord Sivanah Kallath, his family, and their entourage to a dinner at his personal residence, where they were all allowed to live in peace for the next decade.
Since the Y’so Penden veldtlands are so vast, they received only basic attention from the Empire’s road-building efforts. Due to the largely unmarked nature of the expanse, Pendians have developed secret techniques for navigating over land. Foreign merchants have long spread tales of Pendian caravans cutting across the land in a seemingly random direction, only to arrive at their desired location sooner than it was thought possible. The tales of bards will often employ a Pendian trader when the heroes need to travel as if by magic, popularizing a reputation which only adds to the mystique of the ancient land and its people.
The Free City, Darivell
The large and rocky Greyshore Island sits like a sentinel at the northern end of the Kondua River, marking the point where the Broken Sea ends and the great river begins. There is little of value which is found there naturally, but its strategic importance cannot be overstated. Recognizing a natural outpost for water-based trade routes between countries, the Empire established the town of Darivell to police and regulate the inland shipping lanes. When the Empire fell, no previous government had claim, and so the city declared itself independent and went about the business of being a hugely successful trade hub.
Today, the Free City Darivell boasts a mercantile fleet of its own, the Greyshore Company, and has a reputation for providing any kind of goods or services one could desire. Governance of the city falls to the Trade Council, but governance of the Trade Council largely falls to a coalition of smuggler, pirate, and thieves’ guilds, reputed to be held together by a legendary Code, known only among the initiated of the underworld. Nevertheless, things seem to run smoothly, and provided one has coin, the city can indeed be a garden of earthly delights.