World of Zo Background

The World of Zo

The world of Zo is a world full of order and conflict.  Two factions dominate the known world, the Republic of the Blue Flags and the Empire of Namis.  Though the two nations are currently under a truce, border disputes have caused considerable tension between the two nations and has forced each side to mass their armies at their border.

 

History of the Namis

        Around 2000 years ago, a small kingdom in the southern territories on the continent of Azika ruled by the Namis family began a campaign to bring order to the Azika continent.  Generation after generation of the Namis family pushed the boundaries of their kingdom futher and further, until after 900 years, it not only covered the Azika continent but the whole of the known world.

For over a thousands years the Namis empire ruled over the world with military dominance and religious order.  In the year 1034, a small rebellion on the island of Butara began which in under 200 years robbed the Namis empire of almost half of their territory.

 

History of the Blue Flags Rebellion

For over 1000 years the Namis family maintained a empire that covered a large part of the known world.  In the year 1034 (since the founding of the empire of Namis), a small group of rebels on the island of Butara over powered the local Namis garrison and took control of the island.

The rebellion turned out to be popular rebellion amongst the lower classes of Namis society and so the citizens of Butara took up arms.  When the armies of Namis returned, they faced a difficult task of retaking the island because the people of Butara had a very strong military advantage over the Namis; the entire island is surrounded by massive cliffs except one access point to the island which is to the only port city on the island.  As a result, the Butarians were able to fight off wave after wave of Namis ships.  Eventually, the military campaign to retake the island was considered too expensive because the island held very few natural resources and wasn’t a strategic point for the empire and so the Namis gave up their quest to retake the island.

 

Over the next 10 years the Butarians started to build a fleet of ships in secret sent out spies to the nearby islands, where they started to stoke the fire of rebellion.  At the same time the people of Butaran set up a government hoping to correct the wrongs of the Namis government.  This included and end to social classes and slavery as well as the development of a judicial system fair to all people.  The government also put a strong emphasis on it’s military and gave much of it’s decision making over to the generals.

In the year 1045, 11 years after the original rebellion, a series of islands close to Butaran rebelled against the Namis with the help of the Butaran navel fleet.  In six months, 15 islands successfully rebelled and joined the Butaran people.  It was at this point that the Butarans, viewing all of their new territory as equal in importance to their own, decided to rename their new country the Republic of the Blue Flag.  As a response to the uprising, the Namis attempted to amass a massive fleet of warships to fight off the Blue Flags but were thwarted by many acts of sabotage perpetrated by the Butaran spies.  The resulting response from the Namis navy was easily beaten by the Butaran fleet, giving the Blue Flags the time they needed to fortify their new land and build a more massive fleet.

A year passed and the Blue Flag fleet was ready for a invasion on the main land.  Assisted by local rebels, the Blue flags launched a massive attack on the coastal regions near the Blue Flag islands.  In just three days, the Blue Flags took control of 20 coastal towns and immediately pushed further inland, taking control of 10 more towns and allowing all of the coastal towns to be linked by controlled roads.  The fighting over the next five years was brutal as the Blue Flags fought off wave after wave of Namis soldiers, using gorilla tactics to wear down the Namis and massive assaults to whip out the remaining soldiers, a tactic that destroyed the moral of the Namis soldiers.

Emperor Edward Namis III decided that a drastic course of action was needed to halt the Blue Flag threat and so he called upon the powerful Yellow Order, a sect of wizards from the forbidden territory, to call down plagues and pestilences upon the Blue Flags newly conquered land.  As part of the deal Emperor Edward was forced to hand over his youngest son Duvan to the Yellow Order.  As promised, the Yellow Order used their dark magic to called down plagues on the crops, animals and people and ripped apart the Blue Order towns with earthquakes and hurricanes.  Thousands of people died over the next three months, but it only stoked the fervor of the rebellion.

When the Yellow Order was finished, Emperor Edward marched his armies into the territory only to find 20 new towns, including the City of Spires (a massive city and a stronghold of the Namis Empire), in full rebellion.  The Namis army spent the next year attempting to quell one rebellion after another only to find itself weakened and scattered, giving the Blue Flags the time they needed to regroup and retrain their ground troops.  During this year, the Blue Flags also hired the Pirate Tybalt to gather a fleet of ships and harass the Namis coastal cities.

The Blue Flags amassed their armies at a small port town called Port Dumond and swept through their territory and the newly rebelling territory, clearing out the Namis armies and fortifying their position once and for all.  Over the next 100 years, the Namis lost city after city to the Blue flags until nearly half of the original empire was under the control of the Blue Flags.

 

In the year 1155, Emperor James Namis I decided to take another drastic action against the Blue Flags, after realizing that it was only a matter of time before the Blue Flags would control a majority of the former empire.  Once again, the Namis called upon the Yellow Order, but this time it was to erect a magical barrier the length of the empire, giving the Namis time to construct a wall behind the barrier, preventing any further incursions into their territory.  As promised, the Yellow Order erected the barrier but this time the cost was the Emperor’s eldest daughter Ellana.  Over the next 50 years, the Namis constructed a massive wall behind the barrier.  When the wall was finally completed, the Blue Flags were completely unable to maintain any type of foothold behind the wall.  The wall is nicknamed the Red Wall because in certain parts of the wall, where draughts were common, the blood of the deceased slaves who constructed the wall was mixed into the mortar giving the wall an eery dark red color.

The wall has kept the Blue Flags at bay for the past 50 years (bring a truce to the ongoing war) but as more spies are able to sneak over the wall and stir up trouble, rebellion seems at hand on the far side of the wall.

 

 

Magic in the world of Zo

Very few magically able individuals are born every year and even fewer make it into adulthood.  This is due to an ancient preconception about the desires of magical people, that says that all people of magic desire power to no end and that magic itself causes people to seek power.

As a result of this type of belief, most people are deeply afraid of magic and people of magic are taught socially that they should desire power beyond anything else.  By the time most magic users reach adulthood, they have been subjected to so much prejudice and so many tribulations, they often become power hungry to bring some amount of normalcy to their lives.

This desire for power often pushes these magic users over the edge and causes them to seek out other magic user and either harness their powers or destroy them, further perpetuating the prejudice.

 

 

The Seers of Namis

Nicknames: The Seers, The Future Seers.  Since magic users are very rare, Wizards and Sorcerers are very uncommon in the world of Zo.  The Seers of Namis is a hierarchical group of arcane magic users forced to serve the Namis royal family.  All bear the Mark of Skanzi, which is the way the Namis royal family is able to keep control of the magic users.

Not all Wizards and Sorcerers are members of the Seers of Namis, but without the assistance of the guild most never develop skills beyond simple cantrips.  The guild is broken down into the 7 circles of the Seers.

Circle 1: The initiates of the Seers of Namis.  Access to cantrips and simple non-destructive 1st level spells.  Initiates undergo a series of tests to determine if they are capable of serving the Seers.  If they fail the tests too many times, they are expelled from the guild and never allowed to return to try again.  The initiates are put through the following tests:

  1. The test of endurance – different for each initiate.  A weakness or character or physical body is found and the initiate is forced to endure that weakness for a length of time
  2. The test of sound mind – the initiate is asked a series of questions and has their mind probed at the same time by a Circle 4 or above Seer.  Used to test the truthfulness and desire to become a Seer of Namis.
  3. The test of skill – The initiate is forced to demonstrate their knowledge of magic by preforming a series of minor magical feats
  4. The final test – The most hated test in which the initiate is forced to tattoo the Mark of Skanzi onto a young child.

 

Circle 2:  Once the Seer passes all of the initiation tests, the are conidered a full member of the Seers of Namis.  They are given access to all first and second level spells in the possession of the Seers.

Circle 3:  To become a member of Circle 3, the Seer must be voted in by the ruling console.  The Seer is given a small entourage (3 warriors) to accompany her on her journeys.  The Seer is also allowed access to all third level spells in the possession of the Seers

Circle 4:  To become a member of Circle 4, the Seer must be voted in by the ruling console.  All Seekers of Circle 4 and above are considered senior members of the guild.  As such, they are given full voting rights into the collective decisions of the guild.  The Seers entourage is increased (5 warriors 3 archers and 2 shield bearers).  They are also given full access to all forth level spells in possession of the Seers.

Circle 5:  To become a member of Circle 5, the Seer must be voted in by her peers.  In addition, there are a limited number of members of Circle 5 (25) and so there is no chance of becoming a member of Circle 5 unless there is a vacant spot.  The Seers entourage is increased (10 warriors, 7 archers, 4 shield bearers and 2 non-magical scholars).  They are also given full access to all fifth level spells in possession of the Seers

Circle 6:  To become a member of Circle 6, the Seer must be voted in by her peers and the appointment must be recommended by a Duke of Namis.  In addition, there are a limited number of members of Circle 6 (10) and so there is no chance of becoming a member of Circle 6 unless there is a vacant spot.  The Seers entourage is increased (20 warriors, 15 archers, 6 shield bearers, 1 captain, and 4 non-magical scholars).  They are also given full access to all sixth level spells in possession of the Seers.

Circle 7 (Inner Circle):  To become a member of Circle 7, the Seer must be voted in by her peers and the appointment must be approved by the emperer himself.  There are a limited number of members of Circle 7 (4) and so there is no chance of becoming a member of Circle 6 unless there is a vacant spot.  The Seers entourage is increased (50 warriors 25 archers, 8 shield bearers, 2 captains, 8 non-magical scholars, 1 ship including 20 sea men and her captain and a Cleric of Duram).  They are given full access to all seventh level spells in possession of the Seers.  In addition, at the request of the emperor , the Seer may learn eighth and ninth level spells in possession of the emperor.

 

The Wizard Hunters

In the Namis Empire, the Wizard Hunters is a guild of non-magical warriors and scholars who seek out all magic users when they are young children and tattoo them with the Mark of Skanzi in order to force them into the servitude of the Namis family.  When magical children are found, the Wizard Hunters hunt them down and either tattoo them or kill them.

The Mark of Skanzi is a magical ruin that links the bearers life force to a Skanzi crystal.  Pain and death can be administered to the bearer of the mark should the owner of the Skanzi crystal choose.  Currently, all but one of the known Skanzi crystals are in the possession of Namis royal family.  Short of death, there is no known way to break the link between the Mark of Skanzi and the Skanzi crystal.

Motto: “None without the mark”

 

Religion in Namis and The Clerics of Duram

The clerics of Duram are the primary religious sect in the Kingdom of Namis.  Like the Seers of Namis, all of the members the have magical ability are bound to the will of the Emperor by the Mark of Skanzi.  The primary goal of the clerics is to spread the word of Abadar and the Emperor of Namis, and is the only religion allowed to be practiced openly in Namis.   Since Abadar is the only deity allowed to be worshiped and Abadar is lawful neutral, there are no paladins of Namis (since they must be Lawful Good and must worship a Lawful Good deity).  In fact, religious zealot are not allowed to fight in the military to prevent warrior religious icons from gaining status and possibly threatening the military leadership and the emperor himself.  

The tenets of the Namis religion are the following:

        Abadar is the one and only God, all other gods are false

        The emperor is the mouth and will of Abadar, whose judgement is infallible

 

Many of the Clerics of Duram do not possess any magical ability since magic is extremely rare and the clerics are not.  In most towns and villages, there is at least one cleric positioned there.  By law, a village must contain at least one temple and one Cleric of Duram.

        Though the Clerics of Duram do spread the word of Abadar as often as possible, they are also administer healing to small communities and act as doctors to the serfs.  Because of this, and the kind nature of most clerics, the Clerics of Duram are often considered valued members of their community.

As their sect orders name implies, the Clerics of Duram’s order resides in the city of Duram.  Most initiates in the order begin as cleric assistants in their home towns.  After studying with the local cleric for a few years, the clerics can then recommend them to become full Clerics of Duram.  To become a full cleric, an initiate must first obtain the recommendation of an existing cleric to gain entrance into the training and then train in Duram with the order for 2 years.

The training that a typical cleric receives during the two years consists of basic and advanced healing techniques, methods for preaching the word of Abadar and methods for indoctrinating and maintaining communities of believers.  At the end of the two years a final test is administered, called “The test of true faith”.  This test is administered by the initiates mentor and differs for each individual but is always suppose to pit the initiates underlying morals against their faith in Abadar.

Once a person completes their training, they typically spend the next year under a new mentor in towns all over the empire, during this time they are considered fledgling members of the order.  After the first year is up, they are now full members of the order and are stationed wherever the order needs them.  Once a member is part of the order, they are never allowed to leave.  Abandoning the order is a crime punishable by death.

Within the order all members are considered clerics but the following titles and positions of power exist

Initiate:  A person seeking to become a member of order

Fledgling: A member of the order in their first year of service

Priest:  A full member who who has been with the order for at least one year.  They are usually in charge of a small community of followers.  All villages have at least one priest.

Mahatama:  A member of the the order whose great spiritual insights have propelled the faith forward.  Mahatams spend most of their lives in large monasteries contemplating and debating meanings of their faith.

Rebbe: A member of the order who oversees a large community of followers including around a dozen priests.  

Seer Protector:  A member of the order who has chosen to follow and protect a Seer of Namis

Vedic: A member of the order on the ruling console.  They are in charge of overseeing several large communities and Rebbes.  To emperor approves all appointments of Vedics.

The Grand Vedic:  The ruling Vedic.  The emperor appoints this Vedic to watch over the entire order.

 

 

Factions:

  1. Human
  1. Namis
  1. Ruled by the Namis Royal Family, Emperor George Namis III
  2. Social classes exist
  1. Royal family, the ruling class.  The emperor and his family, Dukes and Counts.
  2. The Namis Guard – Warriors of the Throne and the empire’s Knights.  The military elite.
  3. The Wizard Hunters
  4. The Clerics of Duram (Clerics) and The Seerers of Namis (Arcane)
  5. The Namis Militia – Full and part time soldiers, anyone can try to become a soldier when they reach the age of 15.
  6. Artisan’s of Duram.  Artisan’s guilds.
  7. Peasants – farmers, miners, other laborers
  8. The dark keepers.  People who deal with the dead, sewage workers, anyone who works a dirty undesirable job.
  1. Very racially charged.  Humans are considered superior.  Elves and Dwarfs are looked upon with distrust and are considered almost as superior as humans.  Gnomes and Halflings are considered second class citizens, they are laughed at and thought of as lesser peoples.  Cross breeds are considered the lowest peoples.  They are often banished for minor crimes.  Many mothers kill half breeds at birth to save the family embarrassment and shame.
  2. Crimes are punishable according to the persons class.  If a member of the royal class kills a dark keeper, they may have to pay a small fine to the family.  If a dark keeper were to kill a member of the royal family, the dark keeper and entire dark keepers family would be put to death.
  3. Slavery is allowed
  4. National color is Green, nobles wear yellow or gold
  1. Elven
  2. Dwarf
  3. Gnome
  4. Halfling
  1. The Blue Moots, an elite Blue Flag battalion consisting of only halflings.  A dark blue scarf is worn around the neck to symbolize membership.
  1. Outcast
  1. Pirate

 

 

The Blue Flags

The Blue Flags are a extremely militaristic society practically run by a console of military generals.  Even though The Blue Flags are a republic with civilian representatives, a judicial court system,  and an executive military branch, because they are constantly at war, the executive console of generals runs everything.

        The Blue Flags rose from the ashes of oppression of the Namis.  As a result the society of the Blue Flags differs greatly from the Empire of Namis.  

There are no classes in Blue Flag society, and punishment is imposed on all people in an equal manner.  Punishment for crimes is much more severe for Blue Flags as keeping people productive and winning the war are the governments primary goals.  In terms of personal freedoms, everyone in the Blue Flag society has the same rights, though these rights are to a lesser extent compared with the high classes in Namis society.  The Blue Flags have adopted a “Put your money where your mouth is” style to peoples freedoms.  For example, people have the freedom to speak their mind and speak out against the government, but the government can challenge the claims of a citizen and force them to provide proof or provide solutions to problems the citizen speaks out against.  If the government finds the proofs or solutions inadequate, they can bring up charges against the citizen.

Slavery is strictly forbidden in Blue Flag society, but prisoners are put to work, “paying off their debt to society”.  To discourage slavery, not only are people found with slaves given life sentences with hard labor but anyone found to make dealings with these individuals are stripped of their land and money.  As a result, people, especially merchants, are extremely careful about who they make business with.

Racism still exists in Blue Flag society, but the government forbids and public display of it.  No race is considered second class but practically speaking the Blue Flags are always at war with the Orcs the Gnolls and other hyper aggressive violent races and so they are not typically welcomed into the Blue Flag society without much apprehension.  Gnomes, Halflings and half breeds are especially proud of their citizenship in Blue Flag society because the Namis treat them so poorly.  There is even entire military battalion comprised of only Halflings, becoming a member of that unit is one of the highest honors for any Halfling.

World of Zo Background

The World of Zo Noch