Today I’m continuing to reveal the Ultimate West of Panzoasia, focusing on three places that are not actually considered nations, but which nonetheless loom large in the imaginations of the Five Peoples.
Ten Things to Know About the Sacred isle of Albelon
- Albelon is where the Immortal Heroes and Heroines of the Ultimate West gathered before they shed their material bodies and became Light.
- The most holy shrine of the Ultimate West stands at the summit of Albelon’s Holy Mountain.
- Pilgrims from across the Ultimate West journey to Albelon to receive blessings and miracles.
- Those powerful mortals who seek to become Saints in the service of the Immortal Heroes and Heroines must also go to the Holy Mountain of Albelon, where they will receive the quests that will prove their worthiness to dwell in the Light.
- Albelon is administered by a counsel of nine High Priestesses – one each from Auddisland, Bythebia, Maeland, Edister, the Free March, Corthis, Ombratia, and Ydez, plus a ninth elected by the other eight.
- The Nine Priestesses of Albelon are said to protect a sleeping King from a far away land, who will one day awaken to lead the righteous.
- The Holy Order of Paladins is sworn to protect the island, and especially the Shrine of the Holy Mountain.
- Ghost Ships from the Cursed island of Nerolan sometime threaten the western coast of Albelon.
- Weapons forged on Albelon are inherently blessed and able to damage even the most powerful of evil beings, even if not otherwise enchanted.
- Temples to the Immortals of the Ultimate West are oriented towards Albelon.
Ten Things to Know About the Cursed Island of Nerolan
- When the Realms of the Five Peoples were liberated, many Depredators and their followers in the Ultimate West fled to Nerolan.
- Nerolan is now the Kingdom of the Undead, ruled by the deathless Lich Vermadeus, who was in life the most powerful Depredator of all.
- It is rumored that the Depradators still look to Vermadeus as their leader – at least fear his wrath enough to obey his directives.
- As the righteous make pilgrimage to the Sacred Isle of Albelon, so Depredators and their cultists are said to journey to Nerolan to receive instruction and unholy blessings.
- The sky is over Nerolan is always cloudy – when it is not actually storming.
- Ghost Ships manned by the dead sail from Nerolan, raiding the coasts for corpses to be brought back to the island and reanimated.
- Sometimes, the Ghost Ships deliver Undead, to infest the dark places of Pazoasia and serve the Depradators.
- It is also rumored that the Ghost Ships ferry Depredators back to Nerolan.
- Among the inhabitants of Nerolan are the abominable Thouls, bizarre cross-breeds of Hobgoblin, Ghoul, and Troll created by the Depredators.
- Ghost Ships from Nerolan will occasionally attempt to raid Albelon, but so far have always been repulsed by the Paladins.
Ten Things to Know About the Wasteland
- The Wasteland was once green. But the greed and rapaciousness of the Monsters made it barren.
- There are rivers that flow into the Wasteland, but all of them end before reaching any body of water.
- There are several enormous depressions that were once a network of vast lakes and inland seas, called the Wells of Chaos.
- The Wasteland is not a sandy desert, but rocky, barren ground largely devoid of plants. What does grow there tends to be thorny, twisted, and useless.
- Above-ground life in the Wasteland clings to the few rivers that flow into it, and some scattered oases.
- Large sections of the western half of the Wasteland are canyons and badlands.
- There is supposedly a vast network of of tunnels and caves running underneath the Wasteland, constituting the heart of the Underworld. It is said to be possible to travel from one end of the Wasteland to another (and into the realms of the Five Peoples) without ever seeing daylight.
- The Wasteland is filled with the ruins of Lost Cities once inhabited by the intelligent Monsters.
- The Lost Cities are said to hold treasures beyond belief.
- Those who have returned from the Wasteland also claim to have see the bones of gigantic, primordial sea monsters – and not just in the Wells of Chaos.
The Future of the Wasteland
In my mind, in 250 years or so the area of the Wasteland will be occupied by the Phoenix States, a kind of fantasy version of the American Wild West.
In about 150 years Panzoasia will undergo an Industrial Revolution. The remaining Monsters in the Wasteland will launch a final, all-out invasion. By this time, however, they are at a truly massive technological disadvantage. Ha’wakuni firearms had long since spread across Panzoasia, and the Ha’wakuni themselves had developed the repeating rifle and the six-gun. The riders of Ha’wakun smash the hordes of Monsters invading their realm, and conquer the Wasteland. Settlers from Ha’wakun begin restoring the ecology. Rivers begin flowing back into the Wells of Chaos, and they become vast lakes again. The Ha’wakuni government invites immigration, and settlers of every People stream in from across Panzoasia. Eventually the number of non-Ha’wakuni equals (and in some places exceeds) those descended from the original Ha’wakuni settlers. The Tribal Congress in the City of Six Horizons decides that the New Lands cannot be fairly ruled by a far-away government. Rather, its current inhabitants should be granted the right to form independent states, with the proviso that all such states must be representative democracies in an eternal non-aggression pact with Ha’wakun. The new states remain separate entities for a decade, but come together in a plan to build a Great Railroad to link themselves together. That project hastens the joining of the Phoenix States together in a federal union. But, the place remains a wild land filled with both idealistic dreamers and amoral opportunists. Wandering gunfighters battle the last remaining Monsters (and each other), Halfling farmers and ranchers eke a hard living from the land, and the Elven Green Wizards develop (and sell) new magic to make the desert bloom again. And all the while work on the Great Railroad continues.