Let's Try That Again
- One year ago, the world ended.
If you're looking for a metaphor, stop looking. I was being literal.
One year ago, armageddon erupted worldwide across the world of Alheria. The Abyssal portals opened, and ancient demon lords entered through to consume mortalkind. Devils of Hell rose from their lakes of fire, and the angels of Heaven descended to meet them in battle. Gods joined in soon after - good and bad, mighty and subtle. Soon enough, kings, senators, chancellors, generals, and rulers were seduced by tempter devils to launch pointless attacks on their neighbors, or scared into fighting back. Armies seized, armies shattered. Arcane weapons of mass destruction activated and fired without mercy. Brutality merged with havoc to become pandemonium. Ragnarok.
But then, a group of wizards who'd prepared for the event activated an array of ancient portals leading to another world, and they opened these portals in various spots throughout the planet. The cabal of magicians, led by one named Ygrasmundhil, then guided the survivors on a mass exodus to safety. They left behind the higher-dimensional beings to duke it out with what's left of the old world.
The portals led to the new world of Melicau. Relatively unheard of prior to the apocalypse, the world was lush with resources and new landscapes to explore. The group of wizards, hence known as the Newdawn Cabal, oversaw the creation of five villages - now cities: Newtown, Sparhard, Pride's Point, Fardock, and Oakenwall.
It has been over a year since the Exodus. We failed at living - so let's try that again.
- Melicau is an open world, and largely unexplored. For a majority of the past year, the people of the five cities were too busy rebuilding civilization from scratch to do much traveling. Newtown has opened up a guild of adventurers recently, which offers work assignments to people who are interested in mapping the areas surrounding the cities, making contact with natives, and exploring any locations of interest.
North of Newtown, contact has been made with a group of native lizardmen, who appear to be largely similar to lizardmen of the old world, and friendly relations have been established. The lizardmen sell pottery, skins, and spiritual fetishes in exchange for food and gold.
Due to the apocalypse, sparring and combat have become a popular sport, even among civilians who previously wouldn't have considered such pursuits.
A new calendar has been implemented by the Newdawn Cabal, counting time from the Exodus, from which one year and two months have passed.
Learning from the mistakes of the previous world, the Newdawn Cabal implemented the only law that it swore to uphold: the Ban on Direct Worship. It states that no mortal creature is allowed to give worship, faith, fealty, or magical energy to a spirit, god, divinity, angel, nor fiend unless offered a reward of approximately equivalent worth. This is to prevent spirits from growing too strong, and a lack of 'direct prayers' to entities that don't have to give anything in return will prevent almighty gods from being fomented.
If someone - for whatever reason - praises a spiritual entity in such a manner without taking something in return, the Cabal is likely to warn that person and keep a closer eye on them. On a second offense, memories of the supernatural entity are removed from the deviant's mind and if need be, the entity is summoned, shackled, then drained until it becomes sufficiently weak again. Any 'summoners' are encouraged to ask the Cabal for advice before contacting any spirits, even though this isn't legally strictly necessary. If a creature doesn't hold up its end of the bargain, the Cabal offers a relatively cheap service of resummoning it then forcing it to comply with whatever deal was struck. In essence, the Newdawn Cabal has become a group of dimensional IRS agents and loan sharks for hire.
In addition, the summoning of demons and devils is illegal regardless of the nature of the contact, due to their wicked disposition towards life in general.
- Each city was created by slightly different groups, from different sets of portals, and differs accordingly.
Newtown was founded by predominantly human, dwarven and elven citizens from a number of kingdoms to the west of the old world, and it specializes in trade, farming and crafting, just like the civilized countries that its people originated from. It is run by a council of nine elected citizens, and a secretary from the Newdawn Cabal who holds little power over the actual proceedings. So far, it is one of the more prosperous cities, its streets holding up to the standards of the old world's architecture.
Sparhard was created primarily, but not exclusively, from the remnants of the wandering orcish tribes, and it inherited their warlike demeanor and aggressive disposition. Despite its militaristic attitude and social hierarchy, Sparhard doesn't discriminate racially and accepts any new soldiers. It is ruled by a strict military chain of command, with an orcish shaman from the Newdawn Cabal to keep things in check. It specializes in lending disciplined police workers and mercenaries to other cities for a fee, as well as patrolling the routes between cities and helping in engineering and building defenses. It's south of Newtown.
Pride's Point is a human settlement, with a smattering of minorities. Following the Ban on Direct Worship by the Cabal, most of the remaining clergy, paladins, and church members threw protests and attempted to revolt, finding Pride's Point. As Gods do not exist in the new world, their access to their powers was cut off quickly and they had to submit and agree. Ever since then, the remnants of the church switched from a pro bono worship model to one more of an equal exchange with local spirits - some of them even found natural ways of calling upon miracles without divine assistance. There is, however, an undercurrent of unease among the citizenry, as everyone has had to learn to completely change their model of life. It's west of Newtown.
Fardock is a city built adjacent to the nearest seashore. It lies in a very comfortable geographical point, with mild weather for most of the year, and calm waves. It gets its name due to being almost twice as far from the nearest other city (Sparhard) than any other city is from the other, although there is a supply post - slowly growing into a village - on the way there. The distance from Sparhard to Fardock on foot is roughly three days. It mostly exports fish and luxury goods, and imports wood from Oakenwall to build new ships. In terms of population, it is well-rounded. Fardock is governed by a mayor, and it has been decided that one would be elected every three years. It's to the far south of Sparhard.
Oakenwall is a city to the east of Sparhard, and it specializes in lumbering and mining, as well as minor industry. Its people live in a state of nigh-constant strife due to regular animal and monster attacks from the woods. Usually, it's mostly dire wolves or giant magical animals, but there had been one attack by a drake not long after the settlers arrived. Oakenwall has no official leadership, being close to a true democracy where each citizen gathers on a forum and votes for most decisions, which are carried out and managed by an elected chancellor with an aide in the form of a Cabal wizard.