College Arcanum Fantasy Age
Castillia Nova - the First Kingdom of Hemland
Rise of the Theocracy
When the Theocracy of Daimar arose in the Eastern Kingdoms, it took a great many people by surprise. By the time the Burning Times began, the faith was well entrenched through out the lands. Those who remained true to their faiths, or who resisted annexation by the Templars of the Holy Flame, or who refused to acknowledge the primacy of the Theocrat over all kingdoms all found themselves at war, and having to unite in a Grand Alliance to stand any chance or survival. Sadly, these hopes were dashed, and the long Exodus began.
The Triumph of Carlo Dracazador
Two decades prior to the rise of the Theocrat, the nation of Castillia had discovered the Western Continent of Hemland, and send a handful of expeditions there. There was one fortress colony set up in the Dragon Isles, but headway hadn’t been made on the mainland, due to the presence of the Great Dragon Sathrax the Black, and the sway she had over the local tribals. When it became clear to the King of Castillia that it was only a matter of time before the Theocrat conquered all the lands of the East, he sent his son at the head of a small armada, to establish a place where a great colonization effort could begin. Young Prince Carlo Alvada led the effort to slay Sathrax. The effort was very costly, but the Great Dragon was eventually brought to ground and slain at the site of where the great city of Landfall would one day grow. Prince Carlo gained the title “Dracazador,” or “Dragon Slayer.” It time, he would change the name of the royal family from Alvada to Dracazador, to differentiate their rule in the Old Kingdom from that in the New.
Landfall is Born
The beaten Grand Alliance began to evacuate as many people as they could, sending them over the seas to the New Land. Landfall became a great city at the mouth of the Garnet River, near to Sathrax’s old temple complex. The sorcerous Enclave uses the old complex as the heart of its headquarters. Some whisper that the old temple contains many secrets that the Enclave have used to make themselves the most politically influential gathering of the Gifted in the Western Continent.
The Exodus and Local Tribes
In time, the Western Continent was claimed and settled by the Exiles. Castillia Nova became the home of the Castillii (pronounced ca-steely) people, and many of those who chose not to press on to the West. Castillia Nova is not an entirely hospitable land, having many swamps and wetlands, especially along the Wyvern Coast and the Garnet River Valley. The two greatest tribal nations that had to be dealt with to settle the land were the Lizard Folk and the Human Zantatl Confederation. After many long years of battle, the Zantatl eventually bent the knee to the House of Dracazador, and were largely absorbed into Castillia Nova’s culture. There are villages of the Zantatl that still follow the Old Ways, but the mostly try to avoid conflict with the Castillii.
The Lizard Folk
The Lizard Folk were another matter entirely. At home in swamps and bogs and wetlands that most civilized folk found impassable, they were able to retain their old culture. Several tribes have assimilated, to one extent or the other, into Castillia Nova’s culture, but most are independent and hostile. Raids are not uncommon, and the brutally practical Lizard Folk are not well liked. People tend to refer to the Lizard Folk as “Serpents” or “Snakes.”
Pirate Kingdoms of the Dragon Isles
The Dragon Isles are not well-settled, and a dozen petty kingdoms exist there. Only old Fort Vanguard flies the flag of New Castillia. Because many of these petty lords raid the coast for plunder and supplies, the settlements of the Dragon Islands are often known as the Pirate Kingdoms. Not all of the Dragon Islands are home to civilized folk, either. Lizard Folk and Zantatl communities abound. There are also islands where no folk dwell at all, islands claimed by Great Dragons. Many adventures have tried unwisely tried to slay these creatures, but all have failed. The reprisals they have led against the local communities have led to the Pirate Kingdoms not being very hospitable to would-be dragon slayers.
The Wizard Wars
When the wizard wars were taking place, Castillia Nova was torn. Its Gifted were frequently utilized by society, and enjoyed many of the benefits thereof. When the crack-downs against arcane abuses began (and there were abuses, to be sure), the Wizard’s Guild split in half. The Enclave chose to swear allegiance to the Crown, and agreed to certain requirements & restrictions in exchange for protections & privileges. The Grey Magi attempted to overthrow the government from both within and without. There were rumors about their aligning with strange powers from Beyond. With the aid of the Enclave, the Grey Magi were foiled and their power was broken. Many surrendered, but others went on the run. To this day, there are groups of Grey Magi operating from hidden strongholds through out the land. A few of the Pirate Kingdoms are ruled by the Magi, and are opposed by the Enclave presence in Fort Vanguard. The Magi have gone from being rebels and idealists to being supremacists wanting to create Magocracy that they are unlikely to ever bring about.
The Marks of the Enclave
The Gifted of the Enclave, as part of their deal with the Crown, agreed to mark themselves, so that they could not operate secretly. As a Wizard of the Enclave gains knowledge in the Arcane, she is marked with arcane tattoos. The Marks are typically placed somewhere exposed, or that can be exposed upon request, like the face, arms, shoulders or hands. More uninhibited Wizards have them placed on their torso or legs. Thankfully, Castillii fashion tends to favor a reasonable amount of exposed skin, so the Wizards don’t face too much embarrassment. Indeed, the Marks are seen as badges of power, and most Wizards are quite proud of them. The special inks used can flare with light when magic of the appropriate school is cast, but a Wizard doesn’t have to do so. The flare also allows a Wizard to prove his Gift, as there are unscrupulous sorts who attempt to copy the Marks in order to gain something of the respect (and fear) that the Enclave is held in.
Long Live the Queen!
Castillia Nova is currently ruled by Queen Beatriz Dracazador, a very popular young monarch. Her father, Guillermo IV, was a bombastic man, fond of warfare and leading from the front. He died recently from a disease he caught when leading a retaliatory assault against the Lizard Folk (usually just called “Serpents” or “Snakes” by the Castillii). The young Queen is much more diplomatic and graceful than her father, who was a bit crass, by all accounts.
The Wyvern Guard
The Queen’s elite protectors and agents are the Royal Wyvern Guard, an elite cavalry unit that rides Wyverns trained by the Enclave. As raising Wyverns is a very expensive and risky business, the Wyvern Guard’s numbers are not large, but they are great heroes in popular culture.