Guidebook
Geography


Ilium is divided into four major regions, which are formally called principalities. Although they are distinct and spread out, the closest capital cities can be reached by sea within 4-7 days depending on the weather.

Ilium has stayed united for so long because the regions and houses depend on each other for resources and protection from outside invaders. Rebellion means that the remainder of the empire is likely to cut off trade at the very least.

choosing principalities. Making a character from a less populated region is NOT a disadvantage when plotting. We have purposely made travel easy and swift, and characters from all over the map interact regularly. As long as your character stays in one of the four major cities, visits court, and/or travels they will not be limited at all.

Zhaoshang
Zhaoshang is the northernmost of the four principalities, dominated by mountains and forests and cold winters. The capitol is known as "The Mountain City" and "The Tiered City" due to being built into a mountainside on various levels. The wealth disparity is fairly noticeable, and social classes are more stratified than anywhere else in the Empire. Residents are seen as rather serious and tough. Zhaoshang is especially known for metalwork and ore.
Inspired By
China & East Asia
Visuals
Names
Chinese & Korean
Stereotypes
Hardy, solemn, direct, efficient, pessimistic
Values
Honor, directness, resourcefulness, perseverance, tradition
Climate
Mild summers and cold, snowy winters
Exports
Lumber, ore/metals (both raw and finished products), furs, mead, honey, syrup, ice
Fashion
Wrapped garments, layering, furs, dark shades, intricate patterns, many-colored ensembles
Cuisine
Rice, often mixed with meat and vegetables; sweet soups, roasted duck, rice flour with white shrimp, shaved ice topped with fruit and jams, rice pudding, tea (especially green oolong, and black)

Capital

The City of Zhaoshang is built into a mountainside, made up of many levels and tiers and artfully placed waterfalls, the highest of which contains the royal palace. Zhaoshang seems to be much quieter than the other cities in Ilium, especially in the winter, when people prefer staying inside. However, this might be misleading to any foreigners; the streets are in chaos during holidays and festivals. Zhaoshang is known for producing beautiful metalworks and perfumes.

Stereotypes

The Zhaoshangese are viewed as hardy and solemn. This is largely due to their direct nature and their appreciation for efficiency in all matters of life, and their greater risk of being attacked by foreigners from the north. Though people from other regions see them as pessimistic, the Zhaoshangese see themselves as realistic. Unfortunately, stratification of commoners versus nobles is even more pronounced and prejudice-filled than the other principalities, dictated by a centuries-old division of caste-like strata.

Climate & Landscape

Zhaoshang is the coldest region of the empire, with heavy snowfall in the winter and mild temperatures in the summer due to its higher elevation. However, it is far from a frozen wasteland, and is rich in lumber and ore harvested from its mountains and forests. Many Zhaoshangese also employ the use of its rivers and fields.

Fashion

The Zhaoshangese favour furs more than any other region. For women, tunics and skirts that reach the ground are preferred, whereas men wear tunics that reach their knees or calves. Women and men alike may wear trousers beneath, especially in colder months. Darker shades of clothing are preferred over light shades, and layering up is important throughout the year. Silks are popular. Many fashions involve wrapping and tying garments around the body; more layers, furs, colors, and patterns denote more wealth, as do complex hairstyles. Wealthy Zhaoshangese people tend to be dressed in a multitude of colors and patterns, and sometimes hair that looks rather impractical or fussy, to differentiate themselves from commoners.

Food

Dishes in Zhaoshang generally include small amounts of meat mixed with rice and vegetables, and rice is the staple food of the city. Cooking in Zhaoshang is much plainer than in other regions, with many citizens preferring wild herbs and simple methods of preparation rather than anything outlandish or “showy”. Sweet soups, roasted duck, and rice flour with white shrimp are considered to be Zhaoshang’s most popular dishes. Desserts are often shaved ice topped with fruit and jams, and rice pudding. Green tea, oolong, and black tea are Zhaoshang’s most popular drinks, with the city preferring hot beverages due to the regional climate.
Persad
Persad has the least land area of the other principalities, and is also the most dense in population. Nicknamed "The Floating City," the capitol is comprised of smaller islands and canals linked by bridges and travelled by boats. Wealth disparity is relatively minor, especially when compared to other regions; those from elsewhere in the Empire might say that Persadian commoners seem to have an unusual amount of influence. The economy is almost entirely trade-based, and Persad is known for skilled artisanal crafts in addition to shipping.
Inspired By
India & South Asia
Visuals
Names
Hindi & Urdu, occasional Arabic (due to historical pre-Ilium ties with Nejem)
Stereotypes
Intelligent, seafarers, traders, insufferable, traditional, indirect, lacking in personal space
Values
Honor, tradition, subtlety, learning, individuality
Climate
Humid summers and wet, mild winters; heavy rainfall
Exports
Fish and fish sauce, salt, spices, tea, rice, various fine finished products (glass, fine metallurgy, silk)
Fashion
Loose, airy, bright colors, heavy jewelry, gauzy fabrics
Cuisine
Fish, mutton (from Nejem), vegetables, flatbread, yoghurt and lentils, honey-soaked fruits, dried fruits, beer, wine, masala chai

Inspiration

India and South Asia.

Capital

The island city of Persad is surrounded by smaller islands, with the main island city situated in the centre. Nicknamed “The Floating City” by Persadians and foreigners alike, Persad is linked to other islands by bridges, and bridges also play a huge role in day-to-day travelling in and around the island city. There are multiple canals threading through the city that feed back to the sea, giving Persad the reputation of being the cleanest city in the entire empire, a reputation that is strictly enforced by its ducal Houses.

Names

Persad is primarily Hindi and Urdu, though some Arabic names will also appear.

Stereotypes

Persadians are often perceived as stiff and insufferable, a reputation that is not helped by the demeanor of House Rana. They are dedicated to traditions and talented at indirectness. On the other hand, they're widely regarded as well learned and knowledgeable; its university holds countless books and artifacts sought out by its ships, and many a Persadian feels the urge to sail and explore. Persadian commoners are bolder than those of other regions because class and wealth disparity is less pronounced here, and all classes have been pushed into close quarters by the small size of the islands.

Climate & Landscape

Persad is subtropical and warm year round, blistering in the summer, and prone to humidity due to its island location. However, sea breezes help its residents keep cool. On pleasant days, the sea is a bright blue color, although Persad suffers through a fair share of storms with howling winds and pounding rain. Heavy rains, however, are seasonal, and are often enough to sustain plants for the remainder of the year.

Fashion

Persad’s fashion is designed to be loose, airy, and made of light materials and silks. Dresses are close around the torso and have airy, loose skirts; wraps and veils are popular among women, and so are light trousers. Hair is usually worn in braids. Men’s clothing is less saturated and may consist of loose-fitting trousers, a long tunic, and a floor-length jacket. The most prominent feature of this region is their excessive use of gold jewelry and ornamentation; anyone lacking jewelry is seen as very plain and underdressed.

Food

Due to Persad’s nature as a cluster of islands, food can vary from island to island. However, a staple food is mutton, which comes from their sister-city Nejem, along with fish, which is how most commoners make their living. Bread and vegetables play a big role in any Persadian’s diet, with wheat and flatbreads being exceptionally popular, often combining vegetables with yoghurt and lentils. Desserts in Persad mainly consist of sweets, honey-soaked fruits, and yogurt with various dried fruits mixed in. Popular drinks in Persad include beer, wine, and masala chai.
Lucenna
Lucenna is the breadbasket of the Empire due to its enormous swaths of fertile land and temperate climate. Its capitol is known for being particularly lively and lucrative, easily fitting the Lucenni archetype of flamboyancy. Wealth disparity is more extreme than anywhere else in the empire, and the nobility is prone to taking advantage of commoners and competing among themselves.
Inspired By
Italy, France, & Spain
Visuals
Names
Italian, French, Spanish
Stereotypes
Hotblooded, daring, brave, easily offended, lively, shallow
Values
Honor, legacy, competition, aesthetics, family
Climate
Temperate; though northern regions are warmer
Exports
Grain, other crops, dairy, wine, wool, leather, textiles
Fashion
Complex embroidery, rich colors, emphasis on the human form, low necklines, elaborate sleeves
Cuisine
Very rich. Bread, pasta, cheese, fish, sauces, herbs, tarts, pastries, fruit fruit cordials, wine
Lucenni character creation is currently banned, with the exception of those made to fill character requests. read more


Inspiration

Chiefly Italy, in addition to France and Spain.

Capital

The City of Lucenna sits on the southern coast of the Lucenni peninsula, surrounded by several hills. It’s very lively and bustling, and the streets are usually filled with vendors and entertainment. The royal palace straddles a ridge to overlook the sea on one side and the city on the other. Lucenna takes great pride in its city bells, which ring in various tones for different events.

Names

Names are most commonly Italian, French, or Spanish: all Latin derivatives.

Stereotypes

Great importance is put on first impressions and aesthetics in Lucenna, and people from other regions may see them as shallow. Though gilded on the surface and home to some of the empire's wealthiest, Lucenna also has much more drastic wealth disparity than any other principality. They love to spend time outside and tend to be hotblooded and easily offended, but greatly dedicated to propriety in formal situations. At feasts in other regions, Lucennis are often noted for being the life of the party.

Climate & Landscape

Lucenna is relatively warm, especially in the south, where the Mediterranean climate can be very humid in the summer. Winter is typically a cool, rainy season, although the north and middle parts do see snow on occasion. The terrain is very rich, full of rolling hills and green plains, dotted with forests and lakes. The north is bordered by mountains.

Fashion

Lucennis favor colorful clothing and complex embroidery. For women, tight bodices, low necklines, and elaborate sleeves are fashionable, as are elaborate hairstyles. When performing physical activities, skirts or imitation skirts are worn over trousers. Men favor loose, airy shirts, belted tunics, jerkins, and rings. The longer a jerkin, the more formal it is. Though not as elaborate, their clothes are also made of fine fabrics and embroidered.

Food

Cooking and presentation of dishes is considering an art form, and the food is very rich. Bread, pasta, and cheese are the most common dishes in the region, and fish near the coast. Sauces and herbs are popular additions to meals. Desserts are often tarts, pastries, and fruit. Wine and chilled strawberry cordial are the most popular drinks.
Nejem
Nejemese character creation is currently banned, with the exception of those made to fill character requests. read more


Nejem is primarily a desert region, and most populated near the coasts. It relies heavily on the Azraan river, which floods seasonally to provide fertile farmland. Their cities are noted for colorful spires, vaulted basilicas, and elaborate mosaics, and open-air forum. Class and wealth disparity is moderate, bartering is favored over money, and they are very communal. Nejemese are particularly interested in their ancient history and are more prone to using the old tongue.
Inspired By
WANA region (West Asia and North Africa), Ottoman Empire, Leptis Magna
Visuals
Names
Arabic; ancient and medieval Greek
Stereotypes
Easygoing, peacemakers, communal, laid back, informal
Values
Honor, trust, community, faith, optimism
Climate
Hot and dry, seasonal flooding
Exports
Grain, spices, cotton, textiles, nonperishable crops such as figs, nuts, legumes
Fashion
Airy, loose, light fabrics, pale colors, cinched waists, geometric patterns
Cuisine
Goat, lamb, dates, olives, spiced dishes (cumin, paprika, cinnmaon, saffron, etc), use of nuts and fruits, sweet rice, honey cakes, fruit juices, heavier alcohols

Inspiration

The WANA region (West Asia and North Africa), particularly the Ottoman Empire and Leptis Magna.

Capital

The City of Nejem sits on the fertile banks of the Azraan river, its colorful spires towering above the surrounding desert. The architecture of the city is notable for its vaulted basilicas and elaborate mosaics; due to their climate’s oppressive heat, Nejemese construction favors high arches and open-air forums that offer shade without obstructing the breeze off the water. The city also maximizes on the fertility of its soil, with palms and bright flowers resplendent along its avenues.

Names

Names are Arabic and, in some houses, Greek (Crownstongue).

Stereotypes

The Nejemese have always been seen as somewhat private but easygoing, and prefer to remain out of entanglements. Their concerns are often more focused more locally, particularly with raiders and pirates. Although Nejem traditionally cooperates with all the other territories, their part in the civil war has made outsiders very suspicious of them, despite their more positive reputation of resilience, resourcefulness, and dedication to country. Nejemese are somewhat less focused on house bonds between relatives; to them building trust is imperative but not necessarily dependent on blood.

Climate & Landscape

Nejem is a desert region, with little variation between its seasons, though rainfall is most common in the winter months. The temperature frequently climbs to scalding highs during the day only to drop abruptly when the sun sets. Sandstorms occur with some regularity in the deep desert, and the infrequent rainfall sometimes causes flash floods. The capital’s raised location on the riverbanks shield it from the worst of the weather. The Azraan floods seasonally, leaving fertile land for crop growth on its banks.

Fashion

Nejem’s clothes are loose-fitting, designed to drape lightly over the body, and usually do not show off the figure. Men’s daily clothing resembles vests and short jackets. Scholars and religious people are known for wearing toga-like garments. Hair is typically worn partially or completely up, and they favor gold adornments, although not to the extent of their Persadian brethren.

Food

The staple foods of Nejem are goat, lamb, dates, and olives. Most dishes are spiced, especially with cumin, paprika, cinnamon and saffron, and spice mixtures and chili pastes are frequently used. The use of nuts, fruits and spices in Nejemese food is very prominent, and Nejemese food on the whole is regarded as flavoursome and full of spice. Desserts are mainly fruits and nuts, with sweet rice dishes, and cakes soaked in honey also being popular. Wine is Nejem’s best loved drink, though fruit juices are more popular during the hotter months.
Other

Nenesht Province

Inspiration. Russia & the Heptarchy

Beholden To. Zhaoshang

Names. Dvorjardian names are quite complex to outsiders, though the given name followed by family name structure is the same as Ilium. The head of the family, usually male, takes the "true" name, while family members add suffixes based on their rank, like so:
Base name: family head (almost always male), Ivanov
Suffix -a: wife or wives of patriarch, Ivanova
Suffix -ovich, -evich, and -ich: sons and subordinate males, Ivanovich
Suffix -yevna, -ovna, and -ichna: daughters and subordinate/harem females, Ivanovna

History. Of the many rising and falling kingdoms that have existed in Dvorjard, Nenesht is one of the more successful. Its ruling family, House Rostov, has been in power for seventy years, although this has not necessarily been stable due to coups and treachery within the family itself which has much depleted their numbers. In 474 IA, it was conquered and made into a province of Ilium. Nenesht is most known by Ilians as being the historical location of the Maple Wars.

Government. The sovereign was known as King/Queen prior to Ilian annexation. Now they are known as Petty Prince/ss. Traditionally the sovereign has had ultimate authority and keeps a council of favored individuals. Otherwise, Nenesht is very feudal. A class similar to Ilian knights is known as Bogatyrs.

Culture. The two largest ethnic groups are known as Neneshtie (Dvorjardians) and Medvoyed (also known as Mora'amyn – the largest clan of which is Clan Juyin). These groups have bitter rivalry with each other, although the native Medvoyed have been severely depleted and downtrodden through the years. Prior to Ilian annexation, women had no rights, and were seen as the property of men. Under Ilian law they have been required to give equal rights to women, though misogyny is still very prevalent. The practice of keeping multiple wives and royal harems has similarly not been recognized as legitimate by Ilians. Nenesht, like the majority of Dvorjard, follows the Voskiluv faith. Their deity, depicted as male, is said to be dissatisfied with his imperfect creations, and will angrily punish sin.


Gardrika Province

Inspiration. Norse (Viking) & Celtic cultures

Beholden To. Lucenna

Names. Gardrikan names consist chiefly of a Norse given name. Those from famous families, such as the royal family, will have a family name like Ilians. Gardrikans who are not from an important family use "av (of) _____" as their surname, which causes Ilians to assume that nearly all Gardrikans are bastards. Among their own culture they often refer to each other by an epithet instead of a surname.

History. Gardrika was conquered by the remnants of Norviker civilization by 310 IA. Its peoples mostly farm, though they seasonally raided the west coast of Dvorjard and Lucenna for many years. In 474 IA, during familial succession conflicts, Svanhild Solvkledd negotiated a peace treaty with Aryana Corona wherein Gardrika was made a province of Lucenna.

Government. The sovereign was known as King/Queen prior to Ilian annexation. Now they are known as Petty Prince/ss. Sovereignty has largely been inherited but would often be contested between the male members of the family regardless of birth order. They have never had ultimate authority, as it is traditional for Gardrikans to question and challenge leadership, and some decisions are quite democratic.

Culture. Ilians see Gardrikans as very barbaric. Historically, they have been patriarchal: though women have been afforded rights, their situation is comparatively more difficult. Class distinctions between the nobility and peasantry is fairly minor; the upper class mingles with the lower class and sometimes even farms. Most Gardrikans are illiterate, art is very symbolic, and their traditional religion consists of a pantheon.


O Asterismós

O Asterismós is sacred ground, a chain of islands and a beating heart in the midst of the Ilian sea. It is commonly referred to as the Asterian Islands or the Star-Islands by those who find the old tongue cumbersome. Considered neutral territory within the Empire, it is filled with many curiosities and is mostly uninhabited for fear of the great and divine things that are said to reside here. Nevertheless, a very small settlement can be found at the edges, comprised of scholars and followers of the Faith.

Starcourt. A grand structure with an inner fortified citadel to protect the imperial pair should they be in danger, Starcourt also contains representations and records of all past imperials. Imperial Coronations and occasionally Senate meetings are held here. It is considered sacred territory and entry is forbidden from most.

Asterian Temple & Oracle. This is the most sacred place in Ilium, and home to the two seers who serve as the Sacred Oracle.

Ladonic Keep. Near to the small coastal town, this is where Ladonic Order members and apprentices live and complete most of their training.

Asterian Wilds. The majority of O Asterismós is made up of wilds which are greatly inundated with magic. It is said that this place wavers between mortal and divine realms and that bizarre curiosities can be found within. Some who go here never return.

Latest Shouts In The Shoutbox -- View The Shoutbox · Rules