Islander

From World of Charun

"Gold is not found under a horse's hoof."
- Old Islander saying

Priest of Sirine on Diamond Isle
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Priest of Sirine on Diamond Isle


Contents

Description

The Three Isles is a melting pot of races, cultures and religion. It is the largest centre of trade on Charun and also the most open-minded of all nations. It is also the most advanced and powerful of the human nations found in Charun, with some of the richest, as well as poorest, populace. Its politics are rife with intrigue, murder and horror, with countless plots and intrigue amidst the nobility, priesthoods, guilds and other organisations that yearn for power. With frontiers that are often tested by pirates, Urmen and foul forces of Mogaroth, there is opportunity within its borders for warrior and courtier alike.

Over three hundred thousand people live on the three separate isles, all walled, thriving cities by themselves – together creating a metropolis of such size that nothing even remotely like it can be found in Charun. People from all over the continent move there, hoping to strike it big, or trying to escape poverty and starvation. The majority of them find themselves living on Smoke Isle, sometimes in even worse conditions than before. Others manage to succeed in their attempts at getting a better life for themselves. All these metropolitan inhabitants are known as Islanders to the rest of the world, but within their nation they are known by names based on which isle they hail from. Their habits and ways differ greatly from one and other.


Life expectancy and Fertility Rate

Adulthood: 15 years
Life expectancy: 68 (Diaminian), 62 (Coiner), 53 (Smokey)
Maximum lifespan: 120 years
Total fertility rate: The average number of children born to a female over her lifetime is 3-6.


Etymology

Islanders are named after the isles they inhabit. In addition they are known by names within their nation based on which isle they hail from.

  • The name "Snootie" was given to the inhabitants of Diamond Isle by the lower classes, for their arrogant manners. However, the people of Diamond Isle do not appreciate the term the “lower class” has dubbed them with. They prefer refering to themselves as "Diaminians" instead.
  • The inhabitants of Trade Isle are called "Coiners", a name derived from the fact that they are mostly merchants, artisans or work with business-related jobs.
  • The inhabitants of Smoke Isle are called "Smokeys", a name based on two things - the name of their Island, and on their habit of smoking Haze, which is a substance extracted from the treacherous Pouch Flower that grows in the jungles of the south.


History and Origins

It is believed that the first Islanders consisted of a tribe of Northerners, possibly a group of Hrafnir that had left their realm. They counted 39 warriors and their families, and had Harigum Half-Dwarf, the founder of the Three Isles, as their king. As their newly founded realm grew both in size and power, additional nationalities moved there to take part of the opportunities offered, especially trade and some even for the tolerance. Within a few generations all Northern blood had been diluted, and a new race of mixed blood men had been born – the Islanders. The descendants of the 39 warriors are today regarded nobility on the Isles.

Diamond Isle was from the beginning the site where Mórail merchants opened their shops, which attracted Prosperous Islanders to the atmosphere of quality and wealth. Soon temples followed, keen on having the rich (and their heavy purses) as their members.

Trade Isle quickly became the isle where all commerce took place, attracting artisans and merchants, resulting in the many markets and the thriving trade seen there today.

From the beginning Smoke Isle was the home of the many miners that worked in the iron mines near the Mountain of Doom. When access to the mines was denied by the appearence of Urmen, the miners became unemployed, leading to poverty and the harsh conditions found on Smoke Isle today.


Appearence

Islanders tend to be of medium build with fair skin and brown, hazel or grey eyes. Their hair ranges from dark to light brown - even though there are redheads and blondes.

Smokeys are somewhat darker than the average Islanders. The immigrants from the now fallen kingdom of Kurash, that arrived to the Isles in the end of the Third Age, ended up in most cases on Smoke Isle. As the centuries passed, their blood was mixed with the Smokeys' of then, resulting in a darker complexion. They have dark brown hair, in some cases even black hair. Their eyes are usually brown, but grey ones do occur rarely.


Language

Islanders speak Islean - a language that has spread across the world and is today used as the common tongue.


The dangerous streets of Smoke Isle
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The dangerous streets of Smoke Isle

Society

Governmental Form

The Three Isles represents the pinnacle of the 4th Age human society – a realm of enlightenment and prosperity. Even so, its form of government and its treatment of the various economic classes of people is ancient in comparison to a realm such as Sun Glade, that of the Uluthar. The Three Isles is a confederation that is ruled by a Council with representatives from every major religion and from the most powerful noble families, as well as with some of the wealthiest persons of the nation, regardless of how they attained their riches. The political structure of the Isles tends to maintain only the illusion of order and unity, since it is clear that corruption steers the council, leading to officials and citizens frequently ignoring their edicts.

More about: Council of Isles | Three Isles Nobles


Social Stratification

The society is stratified according to which Isle the person originates from:

Diaminians hail from Diamond Isle, the home of the noble, wealthy and powerful.

Coiners hail from Trade Isle, the home of the middle-class, merchants and artisans. The majority of the active officers who have families live on Trade Isle, as well as many retired soldiers who offer their services as mercenaries and bodyguards.

Smokeys hail from Smoke Isle, the home of the poor and unfortunate. There is a strict hierarchy on Smoke Isle, even though all the inhabitants are considered lower-class. This hierarchy is based on reputation, toughness and power. Even the children know the names and looks of the biggest crime-lords of Smoke Isle, as well as the toughest kids on the block, with whom you should avoid getting in trouble. Coin does not talk on Smoke Isle: it only attracts violence. Skill and strength talks instead, and often results in wealth that stays in the owners pocket. Notorious racketeers, brutal hitmen, and clever thieves all enjoy stardom as would nobles on Diamond Isle.


Economy

The city is a formidable centre of commerce and it is said that if you can’t find what you are looking for on the Isles, you shouldn’t bother looking elsewhere. Not only do the Isles lie in a central location on the shores where the Central Sea meets the Fierce Sea, but the security offered by their fleet to merchant ships sailing into their waters has allowed them to dominate trade. Merchants from all races and nations travel to their docks with their goods, resulting in a blend of exotic and otherwise rare range of merchandise. The Isles are also known for being the only place in the Charun where the temples actually manufacture religious goods for sale, be it weapons or amulets, and the site where the best smiths dwell to sell their craft. Real magical items (as well as plenty of fakes) are found there as well, something rarely seen for sale elsewhere within human societies.

The economy of the Three Isles is extremely dependant on trade, leading to a careless attitude to shipping and import laws. Even though it is not officially allowed to force someone in debt into slavery within the Isles, it is fully acceptable to import slaves from other regions in Charun. This sloppy approach has also led to known pirate ships under false merchants’ flags being allowed to dock at the harbour as long as they pay the sufficient taxes (and bribes).

The Council of Isles largely modify the economy in order to suit their own organisations (and own personas), thus making the wealthy grow even richer and the unfortunate poorer. This has fouled the system, turning corruption and bribes into acceptable, as well as common elements within all levels of the society.


Army

Both a large fleet and an impressive infantry build up the core of the army that, even though there is a deficit of troops within the walls, is one of the most powerful in the world. The army of the Three Isles is unique with its recognition of the importance of a well-trained infantry. Many realms rely on elite troops only, with the infantry seldom being any better trained than a militia member of some small hamlet. The infantry of the Isles is made up of soldiers with poleaxes and swords, as well as crossbowmen, with its strongest section consisting of heavily armoured knights.

The Three Isles is an impressively intricate nation when it comes to population and society, even more intricate than the government can effectively rule. Without a surfeit of troops to enforce their will everywhere on the Isles, they have chosen to man the walls and other militarily or economically important parts, while the rest are left with a fragmented and broken presence of soldiers. Local powers, be they nobles, temples or wealthy merchants, maintain their own troops and can nominally be ordered to fight for the nation in case of emergency – given that the power in question gains an invitation into, or more influence if already a member, in the Council of Isles. These military men, knights and warriors, have gradually become their own social class. Many of these quasi-independent units work as enforcers of their Lord’s will, be it a noble or a temple, within the part of the city authority is claimed.

More about: Army of the Isles


Technology

With very rare exceptions (such as Mubuluki golem-craft, the Mórail hydrostatic sciences, and whatever foul Sauroid traditions may be preserved in Mogaroth), if a given technology can't be found on the Isles, it no longer exists in Charun. The Three Isles are one of the very places in Charun which manages to preserve something remotely resembling Third-Age technology and magic use.


Culture

Diet

Food customs on the Three Isles varies wildly, with Smokeys being happy simply to fill their bellies, Diaminians eating small and refined dishes that cost more than most Coiners make in a week...and Coiners routinely creating hybrid "kitchens" combining varieties of spices and cooking theories which would make no sense anywhere else, such as mixing Kanjite sauces with Umair sheep dishes. The most successful of these hybrids tends to become fashionable for a year or two, the finest exponents finding their way to Diaminian tables, after which time they gradually become passé and something new takes its place.


Customs

DIAMINIANS: They often see themselves slightly better, or at least more successful than those of Trade Isle or Smoke Isle. They are wealthy, many are nobility and all live in a secluded environment, protected from the dangers that lurk outside of their walls. A child growing up here is expected to carry on the family’s good name and reputation. This involves marrying the right spouse from the right family and pursuing an occupation that is considered of high status.

COINERS: The Three Isles is a potpurri of cultures and traditions, which shows more than anywhere else on Trade Isle. "Everything goes," is a common phrase heard from a Coiner about to discuss how things are to be handled, be it business or something else, with a foreign visitor. They take great pride in their flexibility and ability to adjust accordingly to the person they are dealing with. It is often said that the Coiners have neither culture nor traditions, they disagree with that though, meaning that they have all the cultures and traditions found in the world on Trade Isle.

Growing up on Trade Isle means being in the midst of organised chaos. The numerous marketplaces are open 24 hours a day, with merchant calls echoing day and night, whilst ships and wagons loaded with goods, slaves and visitors arrive and departure continuously. Fruit salesmen, shackled slaves, Jawharan smiths, Mórail bowyers, Kanjite alchemists walk or run up and down the streets, accompanied by bard’s tales or a madman’s ramblings.

The different markets found on Trade Isle are run and owned by a number of people, called Nizers, derived from the word "organisers". All merchants have to pay a fee to them in order to put their goods for sale in their market, and the Nizers have to pay taxes to the government for their business. The Nizers are important and powerful people, often with close connections both to the criminals on Smoke Isle and the nobles on Diamond Isle. Two of the most famous and powerful Nizers are Abûkum, who runs the Slavers' Bazaar, and Arabella Perth, who runs the Masters' Market.

Tolerance is the keyword amongst the Coiners. Tolerance is extended towards all immigrants and foreign merchants. Very little upsets or surprises a Coiner, since they have seen and experienced most oddities found in the various customs and cultures across Charun. The same is expected from anyone who becomes a citizen and settles down on Trade Isle – IF that person expects to be accepted into the community.

SMOKEYS: The people living on Smoke Isle that work have low-status jobs working for the government, jobs that none of the inhabitants from Trade or Diamond Isle wish to take - such as sewer cleaning or emptying outhouses. Tasks barely suitable for slaves, but the with the government not officially using slaves, the tasks fall on the poor. Those that wish to make a living otherwise do so through the life of a criminal, or through other questionable, unfortunate ways. Most inhabitants are poor and live under harsh conditions, in vermin-infested homes that are about to fall apart.

The Smokeys take great pride in their miner ancestry, even though the majority of the families there moved to the Isles after the iron mines north of the city closed down. "Are ye a miner's son or not?" is something often heard from youngsters daring one another. The fact that the original miners of Smoke Isle were hard-working, honest individuals seems to have been forgotten along the way, and today they are reduced to mere concepts of tough individuals who aren't afraid of pain, dirt, or harsh conditions.

Smoke Isle is a place where you either have to have powerful friends, or become powerful yourself. Many youngsters join groups, be it religious sects or criminal gangs, in order to gain protection. These groups more or less dominate the lives of ordinary people. The government can rarely collect tax from the Smokeys, which is good, since most of them have to pay a share of coin to the organisation claiming their section of the city - for "protection".


Marriage

Across all three of the Isles, monogamy is the standard practice, but unwritten rules apply different across the Three Isles.

'DIAMINIANS: On Diamond Isle, marriages for love happen, but arranged marriages set for political or economic convenience are every bit as common. It is therefore not considered remarkable if someone takes a lover (or three!) on the side. Adultery does not bring social stigma to a Diaminian -- though indiscretion does, as it indicates low personal quality, and can socially ruin the individual in question.

COINERS: Coiners are generally reserved in their love lives, and tend to have as many children as they can afford. On the other hand, there is such a bewildering variety of people on Coin Isle, that it is entirely unremarkable to find a monogamous family next to someone from a polygamous familiy and his three wives, who own the space rented out by a Mórail whose "marital" inclinations are near-indescribable in human terms. Generally speaking, immigrants tend to adopt monogamous relations after their families have been settled for a generation or two.

SMOKEYS: Smokeys consider monogamy the standard -- yet those who are stably married are nearly outnumbered by those lacking parents, or who are born out of wedlock, as prostitution and loose behavior is so common that it's nearly expected: life is short and cheap on Smoke Isle, and people tend to grab as much from the moment as possible, while worrying about the repercussions later on.


Clothing

DIAMINIANS: Diaminians dress well, and though the fashions change over time, it can be taken for granted that whatever cuts of doublet or surcoat or vest is in fashion will be of the finest material. Women tend to dress relatively conservatively, with heavily-structured garments in multiple layers, though party dresses can occasionally be towards the scanty side with deep but subtle decolletage or a high hem. The materials, nevertheless, remain exceedingly fine.

COINERS: Predicting how a Coiner will dress is a lost cause. Bright pink Mubuluki dress can exist not only on the same street, but occasionally on the same person, as Umair turbans and shirts repatterned from Kanjite saris. Those who are engaged in skilled physical labor tend to dress for it, in simple clothes of solid colors, but when not working it's anyone's guess as to whether a blacksmith will wear a cotton tunic or a thick and heavy felt vest, or no shirt at all.

SMOKEYS: Dressing accordingly, especially if not reputed, is a matter of life and death on Smoke Isle. Wearíng too fine garments just attracts robbers. That is not a problem for most Smokeys though, since they can barely afford new clothes to begin with. Dirty and patched clothing, usually a cloak, tunic and hoses with boots, are worn by both sexes, garments often passed down from an elder sibling, or even a parent.


Arts

Unusually, the Isles are so cosmopolitan that it cannot well be said that it has any particular distinctions regarding the visual or performing arts. Its residents have a tendency to pick, mix, and match, rather than devising their own original styles. While there are goods which can be pointed out as "Isles work," it is almost impossible to do so with an artistic style.

Notably, however, the Isles are home to excellent theatres on both Diamond and Coin Isles, and theatre attendances are popular. More "serious" theatrical works tend to attract a mix of attendees, and is one of the few places where Diaminians and Coiners comfortably interact without any thought for the "real" world.


Games

DIAMINIANS: On Diamond Isle, games exist to lubricate conversation, and are therefore not taken very seriously. Card and dice games tend towards the old-fashioned and predictable precisely so that they don't interefere with discussion. Gambling occurs, but it's not a major concern.

ÇOINERS:' It's probably safer to try to make a list of what games are not found on Coin Isle. it would be a very short one. Recently, Kanjite tile games seem to be much in fashion, though the military individuals still tend to prefer openly strategic games such as chess, checkers, nine-man's morris, and in a few places, even Go (though the latter is losing popularity, as the Yao servants who popularized it have generally married into society and assimilated to the point of being invisible).

SMOKEYS: Dice games and games intended for cheating such as three-card-Monty are popular on Smoke Isle, though some card games do occur. Most games are openly meant for gambling, or else for wasting time when people are forced to wait around.


Weapons and Armour

DIAMINIANS: The smallsword, also known as the duelling sword, is smaller and shorter than the rapier it was developed from. It is extremely fashionable amongst the Diaminians, being as as much male jewelry as it is a defensive weapon. It, along with perhaps a decorated dagger, is the only weapon worn by the inhabitants of Diamond Isle. Almost no one wears armour of any kind, since it is seen as a sign of the "lower classes".

COINERS: The majority of the Coiners wear Roundels at their waist, which is a type of dagger that can be used both as a weapon and a tool. Those wanting larger weaponry usually settle on a Cat-Gutter, which is a shorter version of the broadsword, and intimidating enough to keep the inexperienced robber away. Many Coiners, especially the wealthy ones, or those wishing to portray themselves as richer and more successful than they actually are, have adapted the smallsword as their weapon of choice. It is smaller and shorter than the rapier it was developed from and extremely fashionable amongst the Snooties on Diamond Isle, being as as much male jewelry as it is a defensive weapon. Few Coiners wear armour, but those needing the extra protection usually settle with a mail shirt.

SMOKEYS: Smoke Isle is a violent place, where life and death meet in a way seldom seen in "civilised" parts of the world. This hostile enviroment mirrors itself in the inhabitants' choice of weapons as well. Easily concealed daggers, darts and shortswords are mixed with intimidating greatswords and morning stars - it all depends on the purpose. The same goes for armour. Some Smokeys need to stay fast and agile, choosing no armour, while others need the protection and wear mail shirts and even heavier armour if need be.


Religion

It is said that every god in the world has a shrine somewhere on the Isles, and that new gods are born there regularly. The Three Isles has always been a trading nation, with people from different races and cultures coming there to work, live and worship. Most faiths have over time established places of worship there, be they striking towers or temples, or mere shrines located in worn-down cellars. All faiths are tolerated, save a few primitive religions that are looked down upon along with their worshippers. The temples that boast with some form of power or influence, be it wealth or a large number of followers, have a seat in the ruling organ, the Council of Isles. The nature of the faith, or the teachings they follow, have little, or no meaning, since gold and power rules the society – not ethics or moral standards. Bureaucracy, greed, and complex hierarchies have reduced many old and righteous temples, once true carriers of faith, into mere ceremonial illusions - excellent means of gaining power and wealth for their priesthood.

DIAMINIANS: The Temple District of the Three Isles lies in the southern parts of Diamond Isle, with its middle and northern parts being inhabited by the wealthy and powerful. All the influential faiths have their magnificent temples and imposing towers in the Temple District. Fat priests in gold lined silken robes and heavy jewellery can be seen walking the streets there, conversing and plotting with posh nobles in perfumed wigs and velvet jackets. The most wealthy and powerful faiths on the Isles are those of; Brunir, Garagor, Glurak, Hedonia, Shanrom, Sirine, Zimara, The Enlightened One, The Sleeping God and the God-Lich . They all have places of worship in the Temple District, as well as representatives in the government.

COINERS: Coiners are serious and down to earth with their faith, seeing religion as an important part of society and life. The temples are their only way of trying to influence the politics on the Three Isles, and they have managed to get a representative into the ruling council from the Temple of Thilias. Their donations made it the wealthiest faith on Trade Isle. and with wealth equalling power, the Temple of Thilias was soon invited to the Council of Isles. The temple of Randar is well-visited as well, as is the shrine of the Spawn, where most sailors make offerings, hoping for a safe voyage.

SMOKEYS: Smoke Isle houses hidden, underground sects, with dark faiths and foul rituals, as well as public shrines with reinforced metal doors sharing alleys with run-down brothels and bars. Religion and faith there is about two things - protection and success. Few are prepared to give anything without being granted something in return. The weak can find strength in return for their devotion and loyalty, while the able are offered pathways to fame, wealth and power for lending their skills to the faith in question. The grand temple of Garagor that used to be located in the centre of the isle houses now the Order of the Tainted Sword, the warriors amongst the Garagorians. They recruit most of their members from the ruffians found roaming the streets outside. They do, however, according to rumour, have a small shrine devoted to the God of Evil within the building. Rumours further claim that there is a sect of Cnaghu, the prohibited spider-god, to be found on Smoke Isle as well. Many dissapearences are blamed on them and their need to bring sacrifices to their deity.


Statistics

Location in Charun: Three Isles

Population: 365.000

Settlements: Diamond Isle (60.000), Trade Isle (125.000), Smoke Isle (180.000)

Army: Army of the Isles - 20 000 soldiers

Government form: Oligarchy


Player Characters

Islander names for your character: Islander Names


Faction

The Islanders are part of the Civilized Faction, along with other human cultures and the Mórail.


Genetic Modifiers

Human cultures bearing heredity to two or more ethnic groups are labeled Mixed Blood cultures. This doesn't apply as much to individuals born in a mixed marriage, but more so to entire cultures where bloodlines have been mixed. Mixed Blood humans all have one thing in common - all racial traits have been thinned out, but they have gained extra insight through their exposure to several cultures.

The Mixed Blood heritage has the following ingame effects:

Bonus Feat at character creation


Cultural Modifiers

Diaminian: Eloquent Rhetoric:
Skilled in the play of biting and cutting words, the inhabitants of Diamond Isle have long learned the value of both a sharp blade and sharp wit. With wealth and influence comes manners, ettiquette and, when necessary, the verbal strike across the cheek. Diaminians gain a Skill Bonus: Bluff +3, Diplomacy +3

Coiner: Hard Bargainer:
Businessmen and trinket sellers, Coiners grow up in an atmosphere of hustle, bustle, and trade. Merchants of every trade, race and disposition litter the streets and paths, shouting and pushing their wares; a myriad of items strange and familiar, in tongues to match. Coiners gain a Bonus Language and a Skill Bonus: Appraise +5.

Smokey: Miner's Son:
On the hell that is Smoke Isle, one learns that if he wants to survive, he better be tough, or run fast. To fight is to be tough, and jeers of "Well, are you a miner's son or not?" can often be heard, despite whatever profession one's father might practice. Smokeys gain a Skill Bonus: Bluff +3, Taunt +3

Classes

Islanders have the following cultural classes, which they can choose from during character creation. Following levels may be taken in the general classes (rogue, mystic, warrior) or in the cultural class chosen during character creation.


Languages

Native Tongue: Islean
You can always speak your native tongue as long as your INT is above 0, but you will not have any "language slots" at INT 7 or lower.
If your INT is 7 or lower you will not be able to understand languages other than your native tongue, regardless of whether you know them or not.

Faction Common Tongue: Islean
At INT 8 you will be given your first language slot, which if starting with INT 8 or higher will always be used for your faction's common tongue. If the native tongue is the same as the faction tongue, the slot can be used for a secondary language.

Secondary Languages: Kurashami, Necharamian, Nordska, Mórail
At INT 10 and each 2 INT after that you will be given another language slot, which can be used upon entering the game for the first time to pick a language from the secondary languages list. Language slots may also be used later to learn new languages.


Back to: Races | Human | Human Ethnic Groups | Mixed Blood

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