(this post is taken from, and credited to, @Tegan)
Welcome to Sunne.
300 years ago the gods went to war. No one remembers why, only that nature itself was ravaged.
From this Cataclysm came scorched desert, poisonous forest and vicious ice.
This is where we have survived and where the Three Nations have risen.
Now war is come again.
After three centuries in isolation the Red Empire, the Green Realm and the Blue Republic cross paths.
And as expansion meets expansion, the word is spread...
...word that the Divine Weapons, dropped as the gods fell, are being uncovered across the land.
A vacuum quickly fills. Past the violence of the Cataclysm, three nations pulled themselves from the sandstorm, blizzard, and acid rain. They grew until their turgid boundaries pushed against each other.
The Nocturnes emerged from the sandstorms to the east. Wogov scorched the plains as he died, trying to make the earth inhospitable. But the Czar Lukesh crawled out from the embers and united what was left, drawing tight their sinewed will in a mighty campaign to scratch a living from the desert. The industry of his nation, Kaustir, did not go unnoticed - the Archon Eirene, prophetic in origin and timing, united the scattered sages in the frozen north into nation Pegulis. They traded under paper-thin pretenses, underwritten by the scum of the Chersonese and the furtive merchants of Avarath that the Czar brought to heel. And the lumber that they float on came from the great verdant forests to the west - a theocracy born from the trees, Viridos, tasked only with scrubbing Sunne free of the Cataclysm.
Czar Lukesh, Archon Eirene, and Prophet Kairos still bore keen memory of the Cataclysm. They were content to bark and bare their fangs, masking a deadly paranoia - that the moment one of them dove for the ground and ocean with shovel, that they had to follow suit, and desperately claw among the debris for a Divine Weapon, tools that the Gods used to shape Sunne, then kill each other.
The Chersonese is scorched earth now. The Czar Lukesh pushed Pegulis too far and they were forced to crown a new champion. The Sphere of Libras, a pulsing orb recovered (or stolen...) somewhere between Viridos and the Deadlands, perhaps the soul of Libras, or the library of all knowledge, or the ability to transmute, sits within a Sage of Pegulis. For a brief period, before Medwick began to lose his mind, he outshone the sun above Sunne. Some where blinded, some killed, others blown away on the wind.
Lukesh was blown back to the Chersonese, where a kangaroo court of old attendants of the Gods awaited him. They held burning spears and breathed air that could reshape mountains. At their head stood the nervous K'Larr, president of the fourth nascent nation, the Prosperos Guild that called the sea its home.
Perhaps Lukesh had not thrown away Kaustir after all. He had expected complete capitulation, but the lizard fumbled his words, speaking of petty things like trade, unions, tariffs, and councils. The Czar escaped with a handful of attendants, while the rest of his army froze to death in northern Pegulis.
Six months later, flowers bloomed at the end of every stem in the poisoned forest to the west. Tattersal commanded it so. A cloud of fungal spores burst from the stamen of each flower, and carried by the winds, decimated the Prosperos Nation. Their iron ships are now intertwined and encased in roots as gnarly as rock, extending all the way down to the bottom of the Prosperos sea. Fully half of the population died from black lung (or was it from the coal smoke...?). Tattersal did not expect K'Larr to launch spears of fire, as tall and long as meteor trails, from his ships into the green forest. Hosia was already empty, but the symbolic demonstration of power drew a month long, startled silence from the Green General.
K'Larr could not contain his paranoia any longer. He filled the outskirts of Avarath with cooling spears of flame, that later solidified into twisted pillars that stretched to the sky. Unfortunately, he did not have any willing soldiers to occupy the city ... so it continued to be buried under sand from the easterly dust devils, an empty iron and rock forest to match the one to the west.
A few days later, the iron pillars melted again and collapsed into dunes of slag and iron. A god of fire, Wogov's last incarnation on Sunne, strode from the open lava scars between the mining city Dorgrad and the capital Zirako.
Welcome to Sunne.
Not much has changed. Three nations were born in the ashes of the Cataclysm. Now there are four. Instead of leaders, the people have the lesser demiurges, those who stole power from the Old Gods. There is still deadlock, still politics, still saber rattling, and life continues as always. Just now, there are four tyrants who watch from their spheres of influence:
The Red Demiurge: The Fake Czar, the Two-Faced One, Mask of Madness, Wogov's Last. A man who usurped Lukesh, and was haplessly forced to drive Kaustir to its doom in front of Pegulis. He dove into the Black Tower of Zirako and emerged a King ... to protect his people.
Ilium's Fist: Tattersal believes that he has divine mandate to inherit Sunne. He has reassembled parts of Ilium's last prophet, Kairos, a decaying, temporary man made of animated mud who Ilium dressed with eyes, mouth, ears, and nose, to carry her messages to the forest-kin. Now he is the one that sees, speaks, hears, and touches all of Viridos.
Libras: The Uncaring, The Aloof, the latest reincarnation of all knowledge. With knowledge of everything comes acceptance of futility of all action. He strides the northernmost parts of Sunne, looking to the stars forever.
The Lizard: Mostly regarded as a fake one. His attendants, the spear wielders, believe that he speaks the language of their masters, but the three other demiurges regard him with contempt. He sits atop his iron-and-wooden throne in the middle of the Prosperos Sea, shackled from all sides by powers greater than he. For this reason, there is no recorded image of the Lizard - his face has not been seen in months.
Book 2 of Ilium is the second arc of @Asmodeus and @Tegan 's masterpiece. In Book 1, we witnessed the futility of individual action, and experienced our powerlessness against the force of old conspiracies and power. Here, we will explore a continuing arms race between four nations that scramble to dig up the Divine Weapons, tools that the Gods dropped as they fell all across Sunne. Each lesser-demiurge, one of the four in this world who managed to snatch a piece of divinity before anyone else, has a story to tell. Perhaps you will explore it.
Or maybe you will join the gold rush and arm yourself to the hilt. And when that happens, how will Sunne overflow?
Ilium is a special microcosm on Iwaku. What started off as a site-wide roleplay with high expectations has cooled down to a focused ember. It is not so much a roleplay now, rather a large work of collaborative fiction. As such, I will not write down rules, codes of conduct, or systems of magic or power (although an interested reader is encouraged to browse the old Introduction), but writers who need a bit of coaching will be referred to the old code of conduct.
When writing for Ilium, think of magic realism. Focus more on what happened, not how or why. Channel the dystopian fantasy, the surreal, accept that there are things beyond your knowledge, accept them as a normal and constant presence.
The content in here is all you need to know to get started. Don't worry about what happened in Book 1. Start from here.
- Computers, Electricity, Lasers, Microwave, Locomotion, Radio and all that 20th Century shit.
- Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Cyberpunk - pretty much any kind of punk
- Time Travel
- Personal Firearms (gunpowder exists, but in the form of heavy-ass cannons that require strenuous upkeep)
- Personal "pocket" dimensions
- Extra-planar creatures (everyone was born in Sunne - you did not come here from another place)
- Being born during, before or within living memory of the Cataclysm.
- Direct depiction, channeling of, or interaction with gods.
- Being from another continent
- Being from the Deadlands
- Being a lone mercenary/assassin/adventurer/treasure-hunter/bard/thief/sellsword who roams the land and inexplicably manages to survive by taking "odd jobs". Most drifters would be killed if they stumbled into a village in this post-apocalyptic feudal world. In Sunne you have to work for someone and be part of a community. It's just that kind of roleplay.
- Necromancy or anything to do with raising the dead.
After two hundred years, Kaustir still burns from the Cataclysm. Volcanic fissures scar the landscape, rendering it a desert wasteland. Storms of sand and volcanic ash strip the skin of any stranded in the open.
Kaustir society values industrialization and military conquest. The worship of deities - except for the Red Demiurge - is punishable by death.
The capital city, constructed around an iron mountain where a thousand natural springs shoot forth. Each spring is revered and guarded – both life-giver and stronghold. Zirako is the oasis in an otherwise murderous desert.
The city was abandoned in the Czar's ill-fated northern campaign, and the desert stripped the city of everything. Now it is slowly being rebuilt, but rust and erosion are not easily reversed. It feels more like a refugee city than the once bustling capital, which was filled with stalls, fortifications, and a constant military presence. The hard-nosed people shoulder on, and continue to brew the national drink, kresnik, from select springs.
A massive underground city and heart of the war machine. 90% of the population work in sprawling ore mines. It is the only city that was left staffed when the Czar went north. As such, the city has begun to develop its own identity. They resisted a return to the yoke, until the Red Demiurge commanded their obedience with the blood of their families. Dorgrad is still a worker's paradise - even if its citizens are forced to believe.
Avarath was the most beautiful city on Sunne, the intersection of trade and all three nations. Culture and vice mingled freely here. Then it was turned into a military port, and its buildings were razed and the earth salted as the Czar's army retreated back to the deeps of the desert. The city is ringed by dunes of solidified iron, still grey and rust-free from the arid air. The city is slowly coming to life, starting from the coast. Within its sand bleached streets lie enough secrets to occupy many lifetimes.
VIRIDOS The Green Realm
The soil of Viridos still bubbles with the Cataclysm’s poison. It is a toxic forest of venomous plants and giant insects. The land's dwindling stewards, the Forest Kin, struggle to maintain order - a task which their elders received from the being known as Ilium, who visited them in the final days of the Cataclysm. By her teachings the Forest Kin have purified enough territory to sustain a civilization. Now they work ... under a new self-proclaimed prophet of Ilium.
Viridosi society is based on Ilium's spiritual teachings and its cities are built around the Prosperos River, the life-giver amongst the poison.
The capital city was once a great paradise, built on, around, and in between the Prosperos River and her falls, home to the high council and the greatest theologians. It was the epicenter of a resurgence of aux-eaters, ancient creatures used by a faction of the old gods to invade and destroy the aux (which some debate is the soul) of Sunnephiens. The once beautiful, colourful architecture has been transformed into a gothic nightmare. The black shells of the moirgut are everywhere, their bellies up and insectoid legs rising stiffly into the air. Cleaning up has been agonizingly slow - the Viridos are deathly afraid of that which can attack the insubstantial aux, even in death. Their superstition has grown uncontrolled.
The City of the Great River. Hosia lies where the River empties into the Sea. It was a realm of barges and floating favelas, houses strung between submerged trees and perched in swamp lands. Like Avarath, Hosia has been invaded many times, and eastern influences remain in the mercantile culture. The land lies deserted now, its settlements scooped out by the mass departure of the merchant guild, who pulled their homes and ships from the soft silt and entangled roots. The shores are blockaded with ancient mangroves that stretch into the sky.
The Riven Tree is believed to have spread the first seeds that took root in the world – the source of life and the birthplace of the Ilium Cult. It is guarded by vengeful fey and home to some of the weirdest creatures of the Green Realm. Due to its great height and how deep its roots penetrate the soil, the mother tree is home to an immense diversity of life. It was fortunate enough to escape the aux-eater infestation by the vigilant grace of the tree architects and soothsayers. Now it is the focal point of the new Viridosian council, for Edelon is too full of ill omens to stay for long.
Once a city in the skies and home to the oldest dynasties of avians, the Aviary crashed to ground. It was caught by ancient earth elementals after the Jade Prophet petitioned their help. Now supported on mountainous arms and hands, the city adjusts to its new home in the heart of the Prisma Strata, the rock plains north of the Poisoned Forest.
Many years will pass before the Aviary is rebuilt and the refugees return home. The avians are a scattered people, and this their wounded home. Many great temples and old cathedrals are ruined, and bodies are still being pulled from the wreckage. In the quest to protect the old bloodlines, marriages are being arranged and alliances formed. It is a momentous time for this city.
PEGULIS The Blue Republic
The past is buried in the frozen lands of Pegulis. Impossible, alien structures are hidden amongst the mountains and ice rivers. Those that are uncovered are repurposed to suit the needs of the Pegulians, a hardy and enlightened people who have faced the fiercest winters. At the apex is their mercurial champion, Libras, who values freedom and choice - even if it needs to be forced on the people.
Pegulian culture values reason, arcane instruction and the pursuit of democracy.
Barvelle was a secret city. The Archon of Pegulis discovered the snaking network of caves, and within them perfected the thermic gems which warm every household in Pegulis. Within these secret tunnels, education, freedom, and critical thinking are taught by Sages that wander with groups of children and adults who have immigrated.
The great iron doors are twisted and painted red. Barvelle did not suffer from Kaustir's invasion, but rather, from the damage that the Sage Medwick inflicted with the overwhelming power granted to him by Libras Sphere. They have been hastily repaired, as there has been no time to forge such a large set of replacement doors. The city is not so much a secret anymore. Traders can easily find it by going in the direction where the bleached bones, sticking out of the grey silt , grow in density.
The hunter’s city. Deep in the evergreen forests, Tavark is one of the few places in Pegulis not blanketed in perpetual snow, and is remote enough to have escaped the carnage that befell Barvelle. It is a city of pine wood and animal hide, where trappers and hunters reign. Each home is hung with beast furs and decorated with animal bones, trophy upon trophy proclaiming the sagas of the family. There is nothing better in Tavark than hanging a fresh kill above your doorway for the neighbours to see.
Here the northmen are fierce and those who do not hunt in the forest build longboats to explore the northern oceans. Stories abound of pirates and great sea monsters to be battled in the waters. Yet the democracy of the capital is not lost here. Every citizen has their say in Tavark, and education is valued as the path to better hunting grounds, better homes and greater conquests.
The Wall of Ghosts. Stretching along the western border, between Lake Kaikas and the Ocean, is a line of structures, built from materials beyond comprehension. Though no one knows their purpose, many Pegulians now live amid them. Aldus has the largest population of all Pegulian cities, and from its dizzying heights they keep watch over the border with Viridos.
The diet in Aldus is primarily fish and elk. Plant life is scare, save for seaweed from the coast. This diet is jokingly called "brain-food", and for good reason, since the people of Aldus are as intelligent as any scholar of the capital. Some blame the structures themselves. If a new invention or spell is emerges, it is likely from one who has spent too long sleeping with their head against the metal of the Wall.
The six pillars that form the foundation of the wall are charred. They were used a short time ago to call down beams of angel fire from the sky. The few guardsmen that survived the ordeal are tight lipped.
PROSPEROS The Merchant Guild
The merchants were first borne by the coast. An ancient community of fishermen that started by plying the lands near present day Avarath, half of them were driven to the opposite end of the sea by the Invading Czar. Though they lost their pride and freedom, they quietly reforged them both in their gigantic trade ships. When the time was right, their expanding ideals and egos drove them from their homes to the sea, with city-sized ships of metal and gunpowder. At their head is the paranoid K'Larr, whose quest for independence and power grew far beyond his ability to control. The cities are permanently rooted to the sea now by mangroves that stretch all the way to the seafloor. It is now a rusting trade platform, and their Viceroy has not emerged into the public eye since. At the very least, it is still a port ...