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World of Rhiada

Overview of Rhiada

Rhiada is a fantasy world I’ve been creating for the use in Fantasy RPGs over the last thirty years. It was inspired by the creative works of many authors ranging from HP Lovecraft to Clark Ashton Smith to Marion Zimmer Bradley to Fritz Lieber to Robert E. Howard to Michael Moorecock to Julian May. The world reflects less of the epic fantasy feel and could be considered high fantasy sword and sorcery. Although this same world has been used in many different gaming systems, my preferred system is the HERO System.

Cosmology

The font of creation sits at the center of the multiverse. Also known as the Elemental Maelstrom, it pours forth a continuous stream of energy in all forms. Some of this energy coalesces into new worlds. As new worlds are created, older worlds are driven further away from the font of creation, gradually losing their connection to the font.

The Inner Worlds are mutable and permeated with energy. Their nature is hostile to mundane life and their inhabitants are quite powerful. The more hospitable of these worlds are known as the Courts of Chaos, whose inhabitants are often called demons, ifrit, djinn or elementals.

The Middle Worlds are more stable, but show fantastic landscape and magical effects. These worlds are infused with magic and their inhabitants can typically manipulate magical energy as a matter of course. Normal physical laws either don’t apply or seem more like suggestions than immutable laws of nature.

The Outer Worlds contain very little magic and follow the normal physical laws of our own universe. As worlds move further out towards the Outer Void, the level of magic drops to imperceptible levels. While this process holds true for most of the Outer Worlds, some worlds have a link to the Font of Creation that allows magical energy to continue to flow into the world. These worlds closely resemble our own world, but some the inhabitants can manipulate magic energy.

Rhiada is one of these special Outer Worlds.

Beyond the Outer Worlds lies the Outer Void, the region where universes go to die, where the forces of Entropy reign supreme. The Outer Void is home to vast and ancient intelligences that somehow hang on to life on the edges of the multiverse. Most are inimical to human life.

The World of Rhiada

Rhiada is a beautiful, earthlike world with a connection to the Font of Creation. This link is called the Omphalos – or the world soul.

Rhiada has earth normal size, climate and features. Its day is 24 hours; its year is 365 days and it has three moons. It has normal earth flora and fauna, but also has distinctive plants and animals, as well as a few species that have become extinct on Earth.

Socially, politically and technologically Rhiada is similar to Earth in the Middle Ages.

Reflections of Rhiada

The Omphalos creates a tether that connects the Rhiada to the Font of Creation. In the same metaphysical direction as the Font of Creation, there is an arcane reflection of Rhiada. This realm is known as Faerie and it is the source of many magical beasts that plague Rhiada. The Faerie Realm is ruled by powerful beings known as the fey. Rhiadans refer to those who seem beneficent to them as Seelie and those who seem inimical as goblins or trolls.

In the opposite direction to the Faerie Realm lies a darker and more entropic reflection of Rhiada called the Umbra. Its denizens are called umbrals and they include shadows, entropic creatures and undead.

Both of these reflections overlap with Rhiada and manifest in the mundane world in synchronicity with the phases of the moon Omphale.

The Three Moons of Rhiada

  • Selene – a large silvery moon that goes through its cycles once every 28 days. Much like Earth’s moon, it goes through phases. Unlike Earth’s moon, it isn’t tide-locked, but shows all of its surface to Rhiada once every 139 days. In reality, this is the only mundane moon Rhiada possesses.
  • Omphale – this small pink moon sits above the Niemocrands, the massif that marks the location of the Omphalos in Rhiada. It shines with a pale rosy light and goes through its phases every 8 days (marking the Rhiadan “week”). Since it is stationary in the sky, its phases aren’t different shapes but different hues. The “full” phase is a bright pink, while the “new” phase is a dull pinkish gray. When Omphale is full, arcane energy from the Font of Creation permeates the world. When it is new, this energy is weak and entropic energy from the Umbra is strong. Some nexus points in Rhiada are only open during certain phases of Omphale.
  • Morphale – this dark purple moon has no set point in the sky and cannot be viewed directly. It can be seen only through the corners of the eye. It goes through normal phases every 60 days. Dreamers can see Morphale large in the sky and can study it directly. Some oneiromancers have claimed that Morphale seems more like another world than a moon, complete with clouds, oceans and continents.

The interaction of the three moons has a tremendous effect on the magical energy of Rhiada. Certain nights, when the moons are in the correct configuration make certain types of magical rituals easier – and some can only be performed when the moons are right.

Sea of Endymion

The Sea of Endymion is a body of salt water that is almost entirely surrounded by land. To the north, the Halueth River (actually a long and winding strait between two continents) connects the sea to the Bay of Cimber in the icy Northern Sea. To the south, the sea empties in the Lampadian Sea. The region was once controlled by the Witch Queen Xandia, but is now divided into numerous smaller countries. The people of these countries reasserted their independence upon the Witch Queen’s death just over 150 years ago.

The chronicle set in the Sea of Endymion is centered in the Duchy of Elocia, an aristocratic oligarchy that controls trade south into the Aikonian League and the Zokhari Coast. The nation has recently declared its independence from the Kingdom of Morava that had conquered it more than a century ago.

West of Elocia sits the Kingdom of Morava whose king is trying to reassert his control over his most powerful and wealthy duchy.

To the north sits the wildlands of Acheron, a failed state comprised of several city-states and walled towns besieged by the bestial (hyena-like) Sergalla marauders.

East of Acheron lies Vadirshold, a land recently settled by Vanir who’ve come down the Halueth River from the Northern Sea. East of them lies the Empire of Chryseon, an ancient land with a proud tradition and a powerful trade fleet.

The Sea of Grass lies east of the Menoth River. While once part of the Empire of Chryseon, it has long been overrun by the Janthy Horde (a mixed race tribe of horsemen from the steppes). At the far eastern edge of the Sea of Endymion is the land of Janthygar, where the Janthy nomads have settled down to become herdsmen and farmers. It is ruled by the Khagan of Asticon, the Janthy ruler of a city that was once the eastern capital of the Empire of Chryseon.

South of Janthygar lies the southern coast of the Sea of Endymion. The easternmost nation is the City-State of Sadiroth, once called the Jewel of Endymion. This city was a perfect blend of elven and human (Midani) civilization. It controls trade with the highlands around Lake Aveshan (the Midani homeland) and thence into the headwaters of the Issaria River that flows south into the Goza Desert and the fabulous city-states of the Dragonfolk. It was the stepping stone that provided a base from which Xandia conquered almost the entire region. After her fall, the city and the region lay in ruins. The minotaur clans that once served the Witch Queen now rule what is remains of Sadiroth.

West of Sadiroth lies the xenophobic, elven nation of Eluquome, one of only two nations in the Sea of Endymion to escape domination by Xandia. Although Sadiran merchants were once welcome in Eluquome, the land has now been closed to outsiders for 300 years.

West of Eluquome lies the Vale of Adumbar and the dweirish citadel, Deladdun. Although much of Adumbar was conquered by Xandia, the citadel itself remained free throughout her reign thanks to the power of the dweirish artificers. Deladdun is the manufacturer of the only reliable and quick-loading black powder weapons in the region. Their heavy, iron clad ships are powered by engines that spew forth thick black smoke.

At the western edge of the southern shore of the Sea of Endymion, just south and across the Straits of Thona from the Bay of Elocia sits the land of Lugash, once the easternmost of the Midani nations, but now ruled by the descendants of the urhag (orc) mercenaries employed by Xandia in taking the region. The urhag King of Lugash rules with a bloody fist supported by the wealth drawn by his human slaves from the emerald mines of Lugash.

The city of Elocia was once a colony of Lugash before becoming absorbed by colonists from Aikona hundreds of years ago.

Races in the World of Rhiada

Rhiada is a fantasy world that has many intelligent species inhabiting it. Many of these races come from mythology or folklore, but they all differ from their mythic roots.

4 Comments
  1. Luke Porter permalink

    Quite awesome reading. I wonder if there are any Trigonian Giants left in the southern reaches of Morava? We have seen a little bit of how oppressive the Kurdanan church is, but it is always a surprise just how present they are in all aspects of everyday life of a Kurdanan dweir.

    • There certainly are Trigonian giants left in the Cordanian mountains and the southernmost range of the Somber Mountains.

  2. Cassy New permalink

    great story !

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