From Chains to Thrones
The Free Nations was born on a fated night, a few thousand years before the present days, deep under the earth in the Beholder dominions, that night a group of slaves begun having strange dreams of freedom, a divine patron was offering them a brigth future and a promise land. More than a generation passed before the dream of the Hensen, the Hydra God, became true, during that time those who recieved the vision prepared for the flight, gathered their friends and families, and secretly plotted against their masters.
Finally on the first day of the year 0 in Free Nations calendar, they broke free from the shackles cast by their aberrant tyrants and as the god has stated them long ago they found out that a new, strange land, was waiting for them. They settled on the newly risen Bloodmist Island, later known as Freedom Island, a land saturated and nourished by Hensen own blood. There they begun to create small villages and to explore the archipelago that was litterarely growing out of the ocean as the divine ichor mutated the land.
Soon they found out that the eating the vegetation tainted by Hensen presence and staying near to the large crystalline spikes of Bloodstone produced unusual alteration on their bodies, things that other races would have spurred but accepted as "boons" of their god by the Freemen, as Bloodmist inhabitants begun to call themselves. After a while a group of them became able to guide the flow of mutation, creating the Priesthood of Change as the informal ruling class of the fast growing nation.
As their population kept growing, due to an unusually high birth rate and the abundance of their adopting homeland vegetaion the Freman begun to create new settlement across the archipelago, forming small semi independent communities that developped different traditions but shared a common sense of national pride and unity.
The first stranger to land in Bloodmyst was a Warforged of the Iron State, that also became the first allies of the nascent Free Nations. The Freemen open mindness, curiosity and natural drive to make new friends and learn new things allowed the creation of a strong friendship bond with the machine people.
After a few centuries the small nation has developped into a large federation of city states, born from the original settlments or just from the ambitions of their inhabitants.
In order to create a national core and to stabilize their own power, the Priesthood of Change funded the construction of a large new capital, Freedomguard, near to the spot where the first slaves landed on Bloodmist. Using the weatlh obtained trough trade and they shaped the city like a massive work of art and integrated in it the arcane wonders granted by their god.
Using their large support the Priesthood created a common form of governament for the federation, in the Eldest Council, a senate like order composed of Priests, Freedomguard officials and representats of the other city states. With Freedomguard might and the new council they kept the ability of shaping the Free Nation destiny.
Before Freedomguard Hegemony the Free Nation has no permanent military power, counting on a volunteer army that could be risen in time of need by the priesthood or the local leaders. However after a few internal tensions, mostly caused by the city state of Novost, who has a warthirsty leadership, the misterious death of Kargas, the current Eldest Council leader and the contact with new cultures trough exploration, conviced the priests to begin a proper militarization of the Free Nations. Using it as an excuse to further increase Freedomguard influence in the process. Thus the Bloodguard was formed a volunteer army, that combined military training, some time provided even by foreign teachers, with the natural supernatural energy flowing in the Freemen blood.
During Freedomguard regime a new breatktrough allowed the Free Nations to gain new arcane wonders, even at the cost of many innocent lives. The artificer Hanvis created the first Arcane Focuser, a machine capable of extracting energy from the leylines and mass produce bloodstone tainted residdum. The first prototype exploded, destroying Hanvis home town and creating a large area of unstable magic and tortured ghosts, however the Eldest Council managed to replicate Hanvis research and built a new mass sized machine in the waters of Freedomguard.
With so much cheap residuum available Free Nations artificers begun to create new wonders, mostly weaponry, to improve the quality of Freemen life and equip the Bloodguard.
Age of Blood
Bloodstone contaminations kept producing weird effects on bloodmist inhabitants, starting with the birth of the previously unseen half humites, but with the mass diffusion of the tainted residuum the warping effect of the divine ichor grew stronger.
After a while a new race come into being, the Bloodborn, bleessed by Hensen power they were capable of induce new mutations into themselves trough sheer willpower, were gifted with a long life span and increased physical power by the Hydra god essence. The Bloodborn soon begun to incarnate the Free Nations nature, their easy going attitude, their desire to improve themselves and their surroundings, their ambitions, their lust for knowledge. However some prophets had strange visions about them, predicting a darker fate that has yet to manifest.
Using a combination of the Priesthood of Change techniques, combined with a new bloodstone based drug, the elixir of sin, a group of Novostian alchemists managed to create artificial Bloodborn, this unnatural creations had all the benefits of their cousins, however are totally amoral, due to a side effect of the drug and the fact that mostly was knowlingly trading their own umanity for power and a longer life span. All the Novostian aristocracy converted into artificial bloodborn a few years after the discovery and begun using the elixir to create their own "super soldiers".
Freedomguard, fearing to loose its power, begun to mass recruit natural Bloodborn into its rank and to secretly experiment with the elixir in order to obtain artificial ones too, playing with the lives of its subject as only the beholders slavemaster has ever done to the Freemen.
This was an age of great upheval and new discoveries, like the "Dragon" class flying vessels, in Bloodmist Archipelago, as their trading empire kept growing, foreing ideas and cultures begun to influnece the Freemen, combined with the Bloodborn revolution, shaping great social changes and forging new alliances. This age featured the complex diplomatic realtion between the politically unstable Terena, ancestral home of the Humites Freemen and the alliance with the Imperium of giants as well as the first order directly ginven by Hensen to his followers in their millennia of history.
The Humite - Imperium War
Due to Hensen will, combined with powerful interests of Novost and the Bloodguard, the Free Nations became involved in the Humite - Imperium war, siding with the giants. Trusting their technological edge, combined with the giants mights and secretly lobbied by the humites members of the Eldest Council, who wanted to protect as much land as possible from the giants atrocities, the Free Nations sent a strong invasion force on Terenas skies. Unknown to Freedomguard, however, the army was not in control of the Eldest Council anymore, two warring factions was secretly influencing the generals to serve their own ends. Yorik, hensen's exarch, an humite priest who has struggled to create an alliance between Terena and the Free Nations, influenced a large part of the contingent in order to effectively protect the humite refugees, even managing to guide them in the Feywild and help Terenas forces against an army of invading demons.
The majority of the Bloodguard expedition, however, was under the influence of a nefarious group of otherwordly creatures, the Unshaped, Hensen superanatural spawn, cursed with un unstable form but capable of possessing mortals, these creatures wanted to destroy Terena for some unknown reason and guided their portion of the army to help the giants military efforts.
The war, expected to be a fast and easy conquest, turned to be a long and exausting conflict, when the Loremaster, a group of wizards dedicated to acquire and control knowledge, old enemies of the giants and quite influential in the continent, managed to have the nations of Meribia and Silvera to join the conflict, combined with the effort of the mercenary city state of Alexandria. With the raising costs of the military effort and Yorik growing influence in the Eldest Council, after a few years the Free Nations was forced to back out from the war. Signing peace agreements with the warring nations, including a promise of future trade, and offering their giants allies a rich compensation for having abandoned them in the fight.
The Free Nations managed to recover quite fast from the war costs, its large fleet, built for military conquest, was turned toward exploration, managing to create new agreements with the feudal Azorans and the secretive eladrin of Latane. At the same time, seeking for more metal, that was the main component of their technology, they begun to delve deep into the underdark, to uncover its secrets and haverst the treasures hidden there.
However the war changed the Free Nations mentality, many was not satisfied of the final outcome, both in Novost and in Freedomguard halls of power, the Bloodguard, whose number has being increaed to face the war, was now full of soldiers without a real purpose and the Unshaped, even after loosing their control over the military was still lurking.
While the Bloodborn keep struggling to maintain the glory of their country, now apparently richer and stronger than ever, dark stormy clouds begun to amass at the horizon and old prophecies about a dark destiny resurface in the mind of the oracles.
Territory and Places of Interest Edit
The Free Nation is located in the Bloodmyst Archipelago, once composed only by a bunch of small islands it had grown in size to rival small continents. Using the bloodways and unstable bridges of land that some time form with the low tide the Free Nation have colonized a large portion of the archipelago, but still a lot of land remain free to be claimed.
The archipelago is at the same time a rich and an unforgiving land. It lacked animal life for a log time, mostly due to the deadly nature of Bloodstone tainted vegetation, that tend to be decorated by spikes or merely poisonous, the land itself is extremely unpredictable, large chasms are opened in gentle hills, forests of large crystalline spikes sharp enough to cut trough metal ar just some of Bloodmist Hazards. However the vegetation is also extremely lush and producte a large amount of nutrient fruits and roots, bloodstone itself is an extremely malleable matherial that can be shaped in any form desiderd by the artist and than become as solid as steel.
The climate is almost tropical, a large hot sea current rise the temperature of the water and makes rain a quite common event, a thing that nourishes even more the vegetation in the archipelago, however, mostly due to the fast growing ilsands and the warping effects of bloodstone pillars the weather keep changing erratically, a sunny day might become stormy in matter of seconds.
While navigation is far from safe in the archipelago, without knowing the safe routes that Free Nations merchants reveals only to their allies and trade partners, usually making them pay heavy fees, there is a place that even the most daring pirate captain tend to avoid, a large permanent vortex exist in the south of bloodmyst archipelago, old mariner legends tell that the place is really a portal to a realm of madness, known as The Grand Distortion, a palce where reality itself reshape to follow the will of an unknown master.
Another planar portal exist in Bloodmyst, this one leading deep into the realm of the dead, the portal allows the spirit of the deceased to manifest themselves and to communicate with their lost relatives, in order to protect this place and study it to uncover the secrets of death, Freedomguard government has ordered the construction of a large fortress at the portal location guarded with a legion of soldiers and elditrich machines, the real extent of the portal power or the discoveries made by those who studied it is still unknown.
Free Nations have a large number of small outposts, fishing villages, mines, or just fortress made with the purpose of claiming the land during the first age of exploration, these communities tend to be well connected and travel from town to town is extremely common. Every region is usually under the influence of the strongest city in the land, but territories and loyalities changes at a really fast rate. And every few years a new city state rise to power or have its territories and influence divided among their neighbours. Currently only the largest city states have some influence on the nation global politics, for more details see Free Nations City States.
One city state name is well known on Bloodmyst Archipelago, the one or Rakhaos, the place where the Artificer Hanivs created the first prototype of the Arcane Focuser, it was one of the richest cities before the machine destruction consumed it with a burst of wild magic, from that time it became a ghost town, ruled by mutated horrors and spirits of the deceased that apparently kill any traspasser. No one knows that there are not as many ghosts and monsters as the people believe, in fact it is mostly a legend as the only ghost present, the one of Henvis himself is not aggressive and is confined in the ruins of his machine, the real killers there are a group of pirates that have formed a base within the city ruined port and foster ghost stories with the purpose of keeping away unwanted attentions.
Freemen, as bloodmyst inhabitants call themselves, came from different cultures and even races, cross race breeding is quite common, as there is no cultural restriction, so many half-blooded exists within their society. This, combined with a large trade empire and an open minded culture produce a quite varied population.
Due to the sunny enviroment and a way of life that favor phisical excercise and life in open air, freemen tend to have a darker skin in confront of continental population and a strong built. Mutations are quite common due to the presence of large amount of bloodstones in the archipelago and the diet mostly composed of bloodstone tainted vegetables and fishes. However usually, maybe due to a gift from Hensen, the warping effect produce useful changes and there is no social stigmata for those who bears disfiguring "boons".
The eye colors of those touched by bloodstone influence tend to assume a brown-red coloration, even if recently dark blue eyes are becoming more common, mostly due to the unsheped meddling with Freemen in the last few centuries.
Freemen like to follow variegated styles in cloathing, some time adopting foreign costumes, but prefer to dress with practical clothes, the hot climate strognly influnce their style and showing the skin is not considered shameful. The elites tend to dress in a way that don't differ too much from the commoners and jwels are quite rare, as they are considered unpracticals.
Red is considered to be a lucky color, and celebratory to their land and freedom earned by shedding blood, most freemen usually carry something red, the Priesthood of Change robes are red as many symbols of power in their heraldry. Free Nation people worship many gods and some time keeps with themselves some holy symbol of their divinities, mostly in a supersitious way.
Freemen culture has being strongly influenced by their god and their memory of being born as slaves. Personal freedom is the most important value there, citizenship is given freely to whoever ask for that and past sin are forgotten, as no foreign law apply to bloodmyst territory and no extradition is done people that are considered criminals or just could not fit the society of their home country tend to join the freemen, a thing that contribute to a quite chaotic society, as many people are or descend from criminals and unwanted elements of foreign societies.
Freemen have an easygoing attitude, they try to take the best for their life and for the ones who they care about, they are rarely envious of others, they rarely judge other people behaviour. Their open mind allow them to easily make new friends, understand other point of view and concept, even if understanding not always means acceptance and freemen can be quite stubborn in defending their ideals. Leadership is only sought if the individual is conviced that he can make the life for his people and friends better, as it is not expecially rewarded in any material way and is only awarded by merit.
Their family is quite peculiar as the idea of mating for life is not really common in bloodmyst, usually a freeman has many partners during his life and they tend to mantain good relations with their older partners, while marriage exists, imported from their original cultures, it rarely last for life and is easily broken. Parents usually form a strong link with their offsprings, even if they are no more engaged with the other partner and tend to be extremely proud about their success, helping them as much as they could expecially in the earlier years of life. The concept of freemen family is extremely enlarged, comprehending all their partners and the families of the many half-brothers and sisters that usually form strong bonds among each other even when they don't share both parents. Due to the "free form marriage" there is a strong parity among genders as females usually work as hard as males.
Adult age is around 14 years, occasionally even a little before, after that time a young freemen is traditionally left to provide for himself, usually under the watchfull, but apparently distan, eyes of their parents and begin to build up their future life. Education is handled by a combination of family, priesthood sponsored teaching and apprentship. Most of the freemen begin their work life as apprentship of artisans or merchants and later inherit their workshop or activity or start one on their own. After death properties are divided among the (usually many) heirs, but tools of trade and other things related to the job are usually left to aprrentists or co-workers, there is no hereditary title in Bloodmyst as everything is selected trough merit, even if within some city states, mostly Novost, the elité tend to make their offspring train hard for their future roles within the city they still are even harsher than normal on their sons and daughter if they have to assign them positions of power.
Freemen have a good relation with the seas, mostly due to the dangerous nature of the land and the fact that almost every city is situated on the coast, pretty much everyone is quite good at swimming and find it pleasant. Freemen desire to exlpore and make new experiences also tend to make working for the military marine, merchant or occasionally pirate fleets one of the most common ambitions.
Thanks to the high number of young men and women looking for a job in their early age the army and marine rarely lacks new recruits even if the service is volunteer, the government usually manages to begin a lot of pubic operas in order to provide work and training from the young freemen. That ability to easily recruit saddly also applies to criminal syndicates and other unsavory kind of business.
A freeman never stops attempting to learn new things and make new experiences for their whole life, they have a strong drive to improve themselves and the world around them, becoming too "static" is almost assimilated with dying on bloodmyst. Phisical excercise is considered quite important and even those who have intellectual professions try to keep themselves strong and in good health.
Law enforcement varies from town to town, with just a few national rule promoted by the Eldest Council and Freedomguard, local authorities are capable of deciding for their own, but usually they decide for lax system that leaves much to the judgement of the people.
The greatest "crime" on Bloddmyst Archipelago is removing the freedom of someone else, for this reason enslavement is illegal and punishable with death of the slaver, the same is applied for murdering, kidnapping, raping or inflicting incapacitating mutilation. Pronstitution is quite rare, but not unknown on bloodmyst, mostly due to Free nations mindset about sexual relations. Using drugs or other intoxicating substance is not a rare plague, however the government attempt or control distribution of substances that harm their citizens or are strongly addictive. Usually the military has police powers and tribunals exists only in a really small number of cities.
WORK IN PROGRESS
High Priest Tzavach, who signed the trade agreement between the Free Nations and the City of Gears
Ambassador Vashe, leader of the exploration fleet and emissary of Freedomguard Elders on the continent.
Artificer Hanvis, creator of the first Arcane Focuser.
Government and Law Edit
The Free Nation is de facto ruled by the Priests of Change, that using "moral suasion" direct the overall politics of the nation, however their government usually leave the people to their own business, as personal freedom is one of the core belief in the nation. Only the larger scale operation, like the construction of Freedomguard, creation of political agreements with other nations or defense, that require coordination require a strong government involvement.
The Nation is based upon a few principles that are enforced by the majority of the inhabitants and that form the core of their unity.
"Personal freedom is everything, no one can be subjected to the commands of others, no one can become property by law or fact, everyone is free to act as he wishes as long as the freedom of others is not limited by these actions"
While this principle is strongly enforced it is some times softened by the necessity for cooperation, however no leader in the free nation is considered superior to the ones he leads, and personal power is limited to the scope of specific actions and tasks.
"Only the laws of the Free Nations apply into its territory"
No foreign crime can be punished in Bloodstone Archipelago, slaves are set free and foreigners have to respect the principles and rules of the free nation only.
After the Social Revolution the followed the introducion of Endir faith the Free Nation reorganized as an alliance of City States, with Freedomguard at its top. Every city has its own form of government, usually the council of elders a prince or a master artificers that deals with day to day activity and is also capable of emanating laws, as long as their leaders are strong enough to have them respected and undertake major initiatives and modification. For every matter that regards the Free Nation as a whole the Priesthood of Change and Freedomguard council of elders usually decide, listening to the most important City lords.
While apparenlty a lot of infleunce moved from the Priesthood to new regional leaders real power is still strongly in the hand of the Changebringers, that most of the time hold more power than a city prince, as trusted advisors or due to having placed trusted individual in key roles within the militia, crafts and government of the City States.
The Free Nation originally did not have a proper police force or army, but a large number of people that were eager to defend it, forming some kind of militia when needed to protect the borders and enforce the "principles", many bearers of "warlike" mutations are part of this militia, the Priesthood of Change and the Artificers are also ready to unleash their magic against the enemies of their people. After the social revolution and the murder of the Eldest the council voted for the creation of a permanent volunteer military, the Bloodguard, trained in a new fighting style, an amalgamation of the tecniques used by the various free nation races become a strong army, including also a powerful fleet.
Reading\Writing, Agriculture, Blacksmithing, Priest Class, Artificer Class, (Spellscarred multiclass), Stone Masonry, Alchemy, Ritual Casting, Sailing, Fighter class, Bloodstone Weaponry, Elixir of Sin, Paper, Cartography, "Dragon" class flying ships, Combat Tattics, Warden Class, Pyreflies Magic, Weaponsmithing, Armorsmithing, Necromancy, Rogue Class
From the Half Humites: Oracles, Invokers.
Hensen, the Changer of Ways, (leading god in the Free Nation Pantheon), he is considered the father and benevolent protector of the Free Nations.
Kiptar, Patron of Artifice, worshiped by the craftsmen and artificers.
Endir, God of Ambition, an aspect of Ipsur.
Shurka, divinity of Healing and prophecy.
Mara, goddess of storms and seas..
Priest of Change
Work in Progress.
Adventure Seeds Edit
False Legends and Dark Memories: the heroes are hired to find some precious item from the ruins of Rakhaos, their employer provided them with special equipment that should protect them from Bloodstone radiations, however the hazards of the city are quite different than expected as the adventures become forced to fight for their life with the Yellow Bastard pirates and the crazed spirit of the city inhabitants, including the original Hanvis.
Prince of Lies: an escort mission of a notable diplomat become a deadly game as the prince of the warlike city of Novost attempt to kidnap the emissary to use him as a part of a scheme to increase his influence over the archipelago.
The Beast that Was: the heroes are hired to kill a bestial monster who is putting in danger the population of a small city, but what if the monster is only a local mutated by Bloodstone Radiation will the heroes kill it or are they going to look for a Priest of Change to help the poor guy. And what happens after they discover that he was not naturally mutated but someone has put him into that miserable state for some unknown pourpose?
1 - Nourish (Beholder Slaves); 1 - Nourish Population: more slaves are free from the beholder influence.; 1 - Nourish (from Bloodstone), Most of the inhabitants of the Free Nation is affected by mutations (mechanically they become spellscarred); 1 - Nourish (from Bloodstones), the Free Nation population increase fed by the Bloodstone tainted vegetation of the archipelago; 1 - Nourish Free Nations, The Free Nation build their Capital City, Freedomguard on the spot where Hensen's vision guided them on the first Island of the Bloodstone Archipelago. With their increasing number they begin colonizing the new land masses using the Bloodways to travel between the islands. 1- Nourish (from Bloodstones), the Free nation birth rate and mutation rate rise, they build new cities to accommodate the growing population; 1 PP (from Bloodstone): Nourish the Free Nation population keep growing, and they colonize most of the Bloodmyst Archipelago; 1 PP Nourish - The Free Nation reorganize in form of City State alliance, new cities rise within the Archipelago, 1pp nourish populace (from Ipsur): increase wealth, 1 PP - Nourish Populace (From Mara) - Free Nations/Bloodmyst Archipelago - Arrr! There be pirates in the Bloodmyst Archipelago. 1 Nourish (from Bloodstone), the Bloodguard is created as a permanent volunteer army. 2 Nourish (1 From Bloodstones), the Free Nation keep expanding and its Blood Guard grows in size and in power. 2 PP Nourish (1 From Bloodstone), the free nation power grows and many in the elité turn into Bloodborn. 1 PP Blessed by an high birth rate, expecially among the Bloodborn, and on the success of the new trade routes the Free Nation power and glory keep growing. 1 Pp Nourish (From Bloodstones) - Free Nation (start of the Golden Age). 1 PP Nourish - Free Nation golden age continue 1 PP Nourish (from Bloodstones), Free Nations, the bloodborn number keep increasing, but something dark is hidden in their heart.