|A typical Kane warrior|
I may condense the information, as my goal is to make each country have two pages max (my dream was 1 page max, but I don't know how possible that is). Also, this draft is rough; I'll come back and edit it, make it more fantastic and so on.
For the other nations mentioned in the text, Qin Chi is like Qin China, Kokahn is similar to Kahn Mongolia, the Silk Shogunate is a techno-revolution imperial Japan, the Steamlands is the dark, dinosaur filled jungles of Central Africa, and St. Fernando is a pastiche of Mediterranean religious conqueror states including Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Terah, Saharamir, Jumah and Nordov are continents, with the only one not being mentioned being Avadon. The Endless Chain is technically part of Jumah.
The Endless Chain
The Endless Chain, oftentimes called just "The Chain," is a giant archipelego situated
in the Great Sea, the huge body of water that touches Terah, Saharamir, Jumah and Nordov.
The Great Sea itself is dangerous, with dangerous weather patterns and deadly sea creatures
such as sharks and krakens. The islands of the Chain are relatively unexplored for two reasons, the first being a large coral reef called the Kraken's Teeth that has long blocked off the largest part of the Chain.
The other reason is that the islands of the Chain move through the waters like slow boats, with only
a few staying stationary. The islands are full of hot jungles and deep marshes, as well as many active volcanoes. Fortune seekers from all over Terra flock to the Chain to tap into the old ruins and caves of the numerous islands, and they all flock to the port of Ford's Folly. Meanwhile, native Chain dwellers are either actively hostile against the colonists or are trying to preserve what little is left of their ancestral homes.
The native residents of the Endless Chain, who call themselves the Kane, have always dwelt among the beautiful islands. Among the waterfalls, valleys, jungles and mountains, they had a simple life trading between islands on their canoes and spending time on their native island among their kin. The Kane had plotted out many of the movements of the wandering islands, and even knew which ones contained wicked creatures to avoid.
About 30 years ago, a giant hurricane known as the Wrack Storm swept through Terra, hitting the Endless Chain fairly hard. Kane ships and towns were destroyed, but they did rebuild. However, the night after the Wrack Storm hit, the Kane of the island of Kua'a'toa found a giant ship unlike they had ever seen smashed into their shore.
The ship was a trading vessel captained by Jacob Ford, who was sending a shipment of rice between Kokahn and Qin Chi when he got caught in the storm. Looking for shelter, he found the infamous Kraken's Teeth had broken open, and beyond he saw calmer waters. However, a rogue wave made his vessel smash into the shore. At first, the Kane welcomed Ford with open arms and a general helping of suspicion, but after a week of rest, feasting and enjoying the company of Kane women, Ford was canoed back to the nearby Silk Shogunate.
The Kane thought they were rid of the foreign "haole," but a few months later, more ships even larger than Ford's started funneling in through the Teeth. And most of these people were not kind. Their ships bristled with cannons and black flags flapped on their masts.
In a matter of months, a huge port was build around Ford's crashed ship and was dubbed Ford's Folly.
Though the Kane tried to fight back, the haole's firepower was too much and drove them off the island. Now, the Chain runs rampant with trade and piracy, with Ford's Folly as the center, and all the Kane can do is either hide or wait for the right moment to strike back.
The Kane are a distinctive people, to say the least. They are strong, their skin toned and dark, continually lashed by the salt air. They have dark hair and dark eyes, and while they often grow their hair long, men rarely sport beards. Many mainland scholars believe them to be descendants of the Kokahn, but both the Kane and Kokahni find this very insulting. The Kane dwell in close knit clans, and though they wear little clothing, their skin is itched in intricate and meaningful tattoos. What clothing they do wear usually constitutes
as a cloth wrapping for men, or a cloth or grass skirt for women; both sexes rarely wear shirts. Jewelry is also common, made of sea life and volcanic rock, with nose and ear piercings being common to the extreme. Most Kane are hard to outsiders, but treat friends and family with love and respect. Families are small, but clans can be quite sizable. Aside from humans, there have been reports of elvish and halfling natives. Ford's Folly, on the other hand, is inhabited by almost every race and creed imaginable, which the Kane call the "haole," which means "one without a home."
Ford's Folly is made up of hundreds of crashed ships, with inns being made of old prows and the town lookouts dwelling in old crow's nests. Though smaller foreigner ports exist in the Chain, none can
reach the heights of the Great Folly. The port is always busy, bringing in trade goods from all across Terra, both legitimate and illegal. Ford's Folly has little government, and is often seen as a hive of piracy. Black market deals, tavern brawls, murder, prostitution and thievery run rampant with little regard for anyone's safety. Clothes in Ford's Folly are cosmopolitan and liberal, often featuring loose shirts and coats,
wide hats, comfortable pantaloons and low-necked dresses.
Adventurers from Ford's Folly are varied, as they can literally be from anywhere in the world. Adventurers of the Kane are rare, but they are often out to right some wrong done to them in the past. Many Kane wield spears, clubs, daggers or shark-tooth tipped halberds into battle, while their armor is composed of natural materials like obsidian, turtle shells and magically-treated grass
Ford's Folly is really the only major non-Kane city in the Chain, but the Kane have numerous cities throughout the islands. Usually constructed near the shore, their homes are often made of palm leaves and wood and rarely consist of more than a few hundred residents. Many clans leave each other alone, but clan wars do break out. Ever since the Kraken's Teeth were broken, though, many clans are trying to fight off the ever advancing pirates and colonists.
The art of the Kane is mostly in the tattoos and large totem poles placed around their village; more tangible forms of art rarely last in the high humidity. Music and dance is important, with intricate war chants, erotic hula dances and dangerous fire eating being amazing spectacles at clan feasts. Food of the chain usually consists of sea food, which is always plentiful, or wild boar, insects and birds hunted from the jungles. The art of Ford's Folly is bawdy and almost non-existent; fiddle music and shanties are popular songs, and the only real art is stolen from the Kane in the form of their tattoos and piercings. Their food is also fish based, but the various cultures of the "haole" have resulted in many fusions of the colonists' native dishes
The ruling body of Ford's Folly is made of seven rulers known as the League, who are usually either retired pirates or merchant princes. The League is both rowdy and lazy, only arguing when money is an issue and waving away non-important issues. The only laws they actively enforce are the ones that will promote trade and better line their pockets. Most crimes are dealt with by imprisonment or exile, or possibly the removal of hands for major thefts. Very rarely are there "proper" executions, though members of the League have been known to murder people who commit crimes against them. The current League leader is the former captain Henry LaCroix, a Steamlands native turned pirate who made a killing in selling his own people into slavery until he lost his left arm in a kraken attack, forcing his retirement.
The Kane are mostly lead by a council of elders who convenes every season. They discuss matters important to all the Kane tribes, but they rarely pass laws or policies. Village elders are the true leaders, with their guards and warriors serving as police of sorts. The Kane are peaceful, so even minor slander of honor
can be seen as a crime, but most of their laws are vague and based on tradition instead of hard and fast rules. Most crimes are dealt with by corporal punishment, usually with whipping by reeds or having hot coals applied to skin. Executions are only reserved for murders, and usually result in either being thrown to sharks or being sacrificed to one of the numerous volcanoes of the islands.
Ford's Folly - As said before, Ford's Folly is a haven of pirates and crime. A local haunt for scum looking
for work (or workers) is The Busty Orc, a large and rowdy tavern where a flaggon of mead only costs 2 cp. Zhang's Manegarie is Ford's Folly's imminent magic shop, owned by Qin Chi native Mu Zhang. The Black Anchor is a popular tattoo parlor, and the docks of the city always brim with ships carrying goods ranging from grains to whales to drugs.
Mt. Makua - The largest active volcano in the Chain, it's located about 100 miles north of Ford's Folly. It constantly belches out smoke, but a proper eruption has not happened in ages. Many native halflings live at the base of the mountain, though their skin is dark and their hair wild. The Kane call these halflings "menehune," and they dwell in the rocks of Makua and worship the mountain as a god. The Kane and the colonists fear them, but the menehune are just territorial.
Misery Falls - Located on one of the many wandering islands of the Chain, Misery Falls is what one dwarven scholar has called the "great failed experiment." Dwarven colonists found the rocks and slopes around the majestic waterfall full of gems, metals and building stone. However, they were assualted on all sides by Kane elves and wild animals. The dwarves struck a deal with the elves; if they protected the dwarves from the animals, the dwarves would provide all the food and riches the elves could want.
While they agreed, tempers soon flared when it was found that both parties were playing each other for fools. Now the hybrid city is at a civil war of sorts, with no real end in site.
Ho'kai'mai - Ho'kai'mai is the traditional homeland of the Kane, as well as what could be considered their "capital." The city is built in and around Ho'kai Bay, with the various buildings being built on pylons that hold the city above the waters. Travel is handled by canoe or swimming, and the Kane live in harmony with the sea life they swim with. The city is well defended as the side opposite the bay is full of dense and dangerous jungles that the Kane know like the back of their hand. It is here the council of elders convenes in the House of the Great Gods, the oldest native temple in the Chain. The Kane do not care for money, and their various market stalls use barter or trade. If the Kane accept you, you will have a difficult time finding a more welcoming city in all of Terra.
Wandering Isles - Though a large majority of the islands that skirt around the Endles Chain have been touched by the Kane, some have never had demi-human feet trod upon them. Deep in the jungles, swamps and mountains holds ancient civilizations of orcs, aboleths and drow. The stinking marshes hold entrances to the Darklands and even more fell places. These ancient ruins and cities not only abound with dangers, but riches. The wrecks of ships and pirate skeletons on the shore can attest to both facts. In between, the Great Sea is a dangerous place; pirates with all sorts of writs, allegiances and goals plow the channels for traders and enemies, striking and pillaging with abandon. Captain Redhawke is the most notorious pirate on the waters, a former paladin from St. Fernando that believes every ship he sinks brings him closer to divine glory.