Sunday, October 25, 2009


This post is similar to the previous one, but regarding the lands of dwarves. Apart from the ones living in these two places, there are approximately fifty thousand more elsewhere, most of them explorers traveling the world to find a new home for their (dying) race.

· ETERNOCK: Eternock is the name of the huge mountain country that occupies most of the Nor-Gorlend subcontinent. And it's also the name of the ancient dwarven empire that covered all of its excavated underground, continuing down to Sur-Gorlend. The Vortex caused the cave in of all the southern part of the empire; and only the solid rock of Eternock stood still. It's hard to know how many dwarves live there nowadays, but a decent estimation is about two million souls. Dwarves live mainly underground (in fact, the surface supposedly belongs to the human nation of Othar), with small farming facilities in rocky areas. Those "farmers" also serve as merchants and intermediaries with humans. Bellow the ground, vast cities lie in excavated caves that are an immortal testimony of the grandiosity of dwarven mining and architecture. Each city hosts a number of clans, which are large family groups. One clan will be charged with ruling the city (a task that can be retained for many generations), yet it will be aided by selected counselors from every other clan. That same political structure, augmented, rules the whole Eternock, with one clan taking the lead in ruling matters, but usually just for a few generations (from only one to three). Humans call the chief of the ruling clan "king of dwarves", but to be honest that's not a good definition. Dwarves living in Eternock remain the most true to ancient traditions and way of living, despite the fact that mines are dangerously depleted of ore. They put great effort in maintaining the imposing halls of their cities, and still create wonderful pieces of blacksmithing, and goldsmithing jewels that sometimes reach the human world where only the most rich aristocrats can buy them.
Unsurprisingly, Eternock stands for "eternal rock".

· DRAKPAC: In the times before the Vortex Drakpac was a peninsula of Sur-Gorlend, the most southern place dwarves had colonized. But the earthquakes provoked by the Vortex profoundly affected the peninsula, up to the point that it came loose of the continent, and even started to drift away to the East. Fortunately, the dwarves that populated it lived on the surface hills, instead of underground, so not many of them died. The following years were much worse, as the isolated community had to struggle for survival in a relatively small island with no external help whatsoever. Due to dwarven tenacity they overcame those obstacles, and somehow reinvented their own society. In fact, they managed to break a legendary dwarven fear: fear of waters. From nothing but their own intelligence, drakpacians created slow but very resilient ships with which to navigate and reach the continent once more, searching for the rest of the dwarven race. They found a very changed world, in the final stages of the Long War, in which they too entered. In the present, Drakpac supports a community of three or four hundred thousand dwarves, living according to the old traditions, but keen on engineering innovation and exploration of the world still in search of possible lost dwarven colonies.
Drakpac seems not to have a translation into common language, although the word has been linked to the dwarven semantic family of "audacity".

Monday, October 12, 2009


Basically, all elves live in any of their three territories. There are just ten thousand elves living outside, either adventurers, high diplomats or the occasional merchant. All the rest, you'll find them here:

· VIDOLGREEN: A vast forest located at the western side of Conterria. In the distant past, before the Vortex, Vidolgreen was the only elven country; but then it was much bigger, more than twice its current size. Now a mere shadow of its former glory, it's still the largest forest in the continent; but it gets slowly smaller due to men salvaging the woods closest to their lands, something that fills elves with affliction. There's a shadow in the woods, though, a dark place in the southeast, where the forest was tainted with Hell's corruption, an expanse that is rumoured to be filled with the lost souls of elves that died fighting the infernal hordes. Apart from that, everything is a celebration of greenness and life. Elves (somewhere between half million and one million) live in the inner part of the forest, in places that none from other race has ever seen; enormous arboreal cities can hold thousands of them. Buildings are done in titanic trees as old as the world, and everything is so integrated in the natural landscape that for the untrained eye they would be all but invisible. In these cities elves live under the wise advices of a king and a queen, chosen from the elder for their intelligence and knowledge. All kings and queens are in periodical contact thanks to magical ways, and every decade or so a meeting is held in which all of them visit every city. Vidolgreen is the elven country that keeps most faithfully to the old ways of the race, and they are very happy just to live in perfect union with flora and fauna. Even so, every now and then a rogue elf would want to know more of the outer world, and the very rare elven adventurers will likely come from Vidolgreen.
The name stands approximately for "always flourishing".

· RINTOLLE: The archipelago located between Conterria and Alterria, west of Vidolgreen. It appeared when the Vortex shook the world so hard that terrorizing earthquakes made Conterria split up in two parts, and a good part of Vidolgreen quickly sank under the waters; the islands are what managed to stand above sea level. The population is low, as most of them are direct descendants of the survivors (migration is negligible): something in the vicinity of one hundred thousand inhabitants. The morphology is pretty different from Vidolgreen, as there can't be so dense woods in relatively small islands; because of that, here elven cities are constructed near the shores, with tall stone buildings of rounded shapes. In a way, they resemble the trees that had always been their homes. There they spend their long lives cultivating the arts, that they've honed to a masterful level never seen before, compiling all history in epic odes and wondrous tunes, a swansong worth of gods that will make the legacy of elves live forever. Apart from that, they've also built a small but imposing fleet of ships, that add the luxury expected from elven manufactures to a top performance. But they are just for maintaining the relations between the three elven countries.
Rintolle means "islands of remembrance", and it's a homage to the thousands of elves that died drowned when the earth cracked open.

· YANATHANIL: A small country located in the east of Alterria, southwest of Rintolle. It is the smallest of the elven lands, little more than the area surrounding a gulf and a small peninsula that houses a wood that survived from the pre-Vortex days of Vidolgreen. Population is higher than you would expect for such a small territory, but even so accounts for just under a hundred thousand souls. For the last centuries, almost since the end of the Long War, Yanathanil has been marked by a tense cold war held against the neighbouring human kingdom of Kamenstein, who yearns for the very tactical Yanathanil gulf for his own fleet of warships. This situation has affected greatly to the social and political forms of this land, up to the point that the typical elven pseudo-monarchy has been replaced by a military oligarchy based on the predominant siege mentality. They have little time for Nature or Art, always honing their military skills getting ready for what they think is the inevitable war. This state of mind, and clear xenophobia, has separated them from the rest of their race; but every elf from Yanathanil will readily give his life for their Vidolgreen and Rintolle brothers (a readiness for sacrifice that is reciprocal, too).
The word Yanathanil is usually translated as "steel-strong will", and for that reason the elves from this land are sometimes referred to as "steel elves".

Monday, October 5, 2009


With the post from last month about the classes to be found in Ajsalium you could see which were going to be the playable races. Now I give you a little more info on them.

· HUMANS: Humans are the massively dominant race in the world of Ajsalium.
The humans of Ajsalium are like the ones in real life, which means they come in all sizes and colours. The average height is nearly six feet, but five or seven feet tall men are not unheard of. There's also a big variety in complexions, from the very thin and fragile to the disgustingly obese. Women are usually shorter and weight much less than men. Hair and skin colour vary depending of the geographical zones, from the blond haired, blue eyed and pale skinned inhabitants of the cold Nordic Kingdoms to the black haired, brown eyed and tan skinned people from the warm deserts of Masiwn.
And as varied as they are physically, thus happens with personalities. No moral positions is banned to them; humans are capable of the best but also of the worst. Shining righteous knights lead the Protector Order of the Dragon against the armies of fiends, but meanwhile sinister warlocks spread infernal-adoring cabals. Yet, on the whole, humans are a neutral race trying to live their daily lives with as less fuss as possible. Their life span of sixty-eighty years, much shorter than that of elves and dwarves, gives them a great vitality and thirst for adventures.
Humans appeared on Ajsalium much later than elves and dwarves, and approximately at the same time as orcs. Visibly more akin to the former two than the later one, an implicit alliance was formed, and elves and dwarves somehow "adopted" men and taught them everything they knew. That allowed mankind to advance incredibly fast, imposing over the orcs. In fact, they too imposed themselves over elves and dwarves and became the dominant race. The relatively short life span allowed for quicker evolution and greater variety. Only the infernal menace of the Long War was able to put humans on the brink; but after victory their grip was reinforced, and has allowed for pride to turn into supremacionism. Guessing what may happen in the future is always a dangerous bet, but surely mankind will have the leading role... for the good or the bad.

· ELVES: Also known as "the fair people". Elves are one of the ancient races, with dwarves; and as them, they are headed towards extinction.
Unlike humans, the physical appearance of elves is rather uniform, with no big variations in height or weight, not even amongst male and females. Average height is roughly six feet; but being far more slender than humans they look taller. Weight is somewhat lower, but not too much as they don't carry superfluous fat. Skin colour is fair but not pale, and has a slight golden hue; hair and eye colour present a great variety, much more than humans, with purples and metallic hues a common sight.
Elven mentality revolves around a calm view of life and close connection to Nature. They are peaceful and benevolent; but also ready to take the arms to defend their way of life, as it was proved during the Long War. Their current decline is translated nowadays in a melancholic resignation of the status quo, and a great interest in all the simple pleasures of life, as well as arts and spirituality. Their very long life spans, of up to two centuries, allow them to reach unparalleled levels of expertise in their areas of favour.
Elves have always seen themselves just as a part of Nature, no more precious than any other, and aim to live as smoothly as possible. Because of that, their laws are just an extrapolation of the natural laws; something that makes them look chaotic in the eyes of humans or dwarves. Since they taught the finesses of civilization to the early humans, and due to their distrust for dwarves and hatred for orcs, they've not had a strong communication with the rest of the world, except during the Long War. And the great toll that conflict put on them has made elves somewhat isolationist for the last millennium. Nowadays they live happily cultivating their culture and waiting for the end.

· DWARVES: Also known as "the stout people". Like elves, dwarves are an ancient race, but their days may too be coming to an end.
Being called dwarves make it evident that they are of short stature: they usually range from four to six feet (with females being somewhat shorter than males). Yet for their height they have a very bulky complexion, with a wide skeleton that's covered with dense muscles, and typically also good layers of fat. Their skin has a rosy tone; and the hair has as many tones as those of men. A very distinctive feature of dwarves are their beards, which the vast majority of dwarves wear with great care and enormous pride. But contrary to an extended myth, female dwarves have no beards (although keeping incipient sideburns was stylished some centuries ago).
They are so fiercely determined and focused they are stubborn. They can bear grudges for their entire lives (that may be nearly two centuries long), and even pass them onto the following generation. But that same memory can remember a friendship and an alliance; a man that befriends a dwarf can expect him to be friend of his son and grandson, too. They are always reliable.
Dwarven mentality has created a well established legal system, able to cover every aspect and solve every quibble; it's the oldest dwarves the ones charged with imparting justice. They are not prone to socialize with the rest of the world, but living mostly underground they need to maintain a commerce with humans for things such as food (that they love), and that merchantile relation has kept the two races mainly as friends. In the long past they were mentors to humans, teaching them all things technical. And despite the fact that human industry has exceeded that of dwarves in many aspects, the solidity and durability of dwarven construction are unrivalled so far. The quality of their black- and gold-smithing are legendary, too.

· ORCS: Counting orcs as a civilized race is not done without controversy; most men, elves and dwarves count them amongst the monstrous races.
At the very least, the looks of an orc are rather monstrous. They are of a similar height to humans, approx six feet, but notoriously broader, in a somewhat disproportionated way. Orc hair is invariably black and very coarse, and covers most of their bodies in a patchy pattern. Their skin is a muted green, so much so that it may be almost grey (for the orcs living in Nhorbar; the ones from the south are more clearly greenish). It has been noted that the stronger the orc the thicker his skin, which is also darker. Their eyes are so dark it's almost impossible to distinguish the iris from the pupil; when there's some variation, the iris tends to very a dark brown or red.
Such a brutal appearance is coupled with a similar psychology. Orcs have a short life span, and they rarely exceed the fifty-sixty years barrier; a fact partly caused by their warring lives. They value strength over anything else, and they are quicker with a sword than with the mind (but for a few notable exceptions). Orcs are easy to anger and prone to burst of ire, but not really rancorous because they don't care about the past or the future, thinking just in the present. Orc life is hard, but they just can't understand it any other way, and are proud of themselves.
A little know fact is that orcs are actually an ancient race, that appeared at the same time as elves and dwarves, but were repelled by them and forced nearly into extinction. It was much later that orcs managed to resurge, but that time they had to fight against the humans helped by elves and dwarves. That has made them bitter, and revenge is a long term goal for the entire race. For the time being, they want no contact with anyone else; that's why they isolated themselves during the Long War. That made them be considered supporters of infernals, and is the origin of the present ban on them. Something the don't really care about, as they're too busy fighting and getting stronger.