The Foundation Stones
History and Geography
For a more specific look at the geography of the Haven Islands, visit here: Haven Islands
The Ancient World
Very few reliable records exist of ancient Eparus, prior to the Severing. Apocryphal tales indicate that there was no disease, no monsters, and no war. Then the Three Heralds occurred, followed by the Severing. Remnants of the ancient world still exist, ruins dotting the landscape of wild areas yet to be reclaimed. Adventurers delve into them to learn their secrets (as well as to find treasures). The picture that has been assembled thus far is missing large parts and does not explain much.
The Severing and the Ferrovum
No one today knows exactly what happened. But something happened, and today, that something is called the Severing. Magic warped the world and its effects nearly wiped out civilization. But civilization survived, and hung on, and learned the new rules of the world and how to survive in this postSevering world that it found itself thrust into. When Ignis, the first Foundation Stone, was created, it marked the ending of the Ferrovum and the dawn of the modern age. That creation marks the date from which the survival of civilization stopped being actively in question. From that date on, there was hope that someday, it would get better.
The Modern World
In the modern world, there have been seven Foundation Stones created. In the order they were created, they are:
Ignis, the Stone of Fire;
Terros, the Stone of Earth;
Aeros, the Stone of Air;
Mortis, the Stone of
Vitas, the Stone of Life;
Cogiatus, the Stone of Thought;
and Tempus, the Stone of Time.
Tempus was created approximately a hundred and fifty years ago, and there have been no more since then. All seven were created and are housed in Belru Astu, capital of the Belruel Imperium. The most important and powerful country in the world is the Belruel Imperium. Its capital, Belru Astu, is conveniently located at the center of the known world. At least, according to the Belruel Imperium.
Well-defended by natural barriers against both wild magic and conventional assault, Belru Astu is located at the tip of a peninsula which is very nearly disconnected from the continent of Arsatum by a sharp cliffside strait. This quality allowed it to retain its preeminence after the Severing. The Belruel Imperium is the only known government that has an unbroken line of succession that predates the Severing. (Although the city was sacked, despite its natural defenses. Multiple times.) The lands of the Belruel Imperium extend the farthest inland of any known country today, pushing to the north and west despite siege by monsters and wild mage and extending to the eastern coast of the continent. The Belruel Imperium is also the only country known to defend their outer lands beyond natural barriers without having first reclaimed them with Focusing Stones, constructing barriers of water and steel. The Haven Islands, located far to the east of Belru Astu, are the eastern edge of the known world.
Beyond the Haven Islands lie dangerous seas crawling with monsters, at the edge of which smoke-topped volcanic islands can be seen far off on the edge of the horizon, their tops clawing at the sky. No expedition sent further than a relatively few miles east of the Haven Islands has ever returned to tell the tale. The Haven Islands also possess great historical significance in the post-Severing world, as they were the birthplace of the Adventurer’s Guild. It was in the Haven Islands that the fight to reclaim the world began; even the Belruel Imperium remained focused on mere survival until the Adventurer’s Guild arrived to inspire them to think about a better future, one where the wilds were tamed and known, where monsters from the wilderness do not assault their defenses on a regular basis and where one can walk in a natural forest without fearing a random strike of wild magic.
Around the protruding horn of the continent to the west of Belru Astu, along the western coast, lies the nation of Yammosi. Unlike the Belruel Imperium, they have almost no presence more than five miles inland; their peoples are spread in a thin line along the coast, stretching over hundreds of miles. While their lands may cover much more area from north to south than the Belruel Imperium, they have very limited farmland and a low population density as a result, with few cities of any size (and certainly none to compare to Belru Astu.)
Although most of Arsatum’s terrain features are not mentioned here (many of them are not even known), one draws attention to itself. The peninsular horn that must be traveled around to reach Yammosi from Belru Astu would be a fantastic place for civilization, given the amount of coastline it has, were it not for its one major terrain feature. The center of this horn is taken up by a miles-long and miles-wide lake of lava. The smoke and fumes poison the peninsula, not merely out to the coast, but even off the coast. The heat rising from it plays havoc with the weather in the area, and it is even more unpredictable and dangerous to navigate around than normal. Unfortunately, the storms have demonstrated no ability to quench or even affect the lake of fire.
While many other areas contain settlements and small groupings of people (mostly along coastlines or rivers), the Belruel Imperium and Yammosi are the only two that hold large amounts of territory under a single government. City-states are the largest others that can be found. Two notable city-states are Djew Kheti and Kul-Purut. Djew Kheti is located high up in the mountains bordering the west of the Belruel Imperium’s lands. Perched atop the crossing of two flowing mountain rivers, their natural defenses are, if anything, even more formidable than Belru Astu. However, the difficulty inherent in eking out their existence atop mountains prevented them from expanding to any great size, and even today their population is not great. Kul-Purut is built on a suspiciously flat plain, around which a circular river flows, in defiance of the laws of hydrodynamics. It is surrounded by wild lands and is rarely traveled to, located to the east of the lands of Yammosi. Its location surrounded by wilderness does, however, make it a popular stopping point for adventurers, who resupply and rest there while exploring the lands around it.
Beyond the western coast, a few islands are scattered. They serve as the western edge of the known world. Rumors abound of what else can be found on Eparus beyond the known world, of course, but any records of such were lost in the Severing and have not yet been recovered. That is, of course, assuming that they ever existed. The known world is the continent of Arsatum and the islands off its coasts; and most of the land area remains unexplored. Eparus has vast potential, and more places to discover and more history to learn than any single adventuring group could discover in a lifetime.