Sudar, the World's Edge
Sudar (SOO-darr) is known better as the "world's edge", and anyone who has stared out into Battlewaite from the wide plain that passes through the mountains will understand why. Sudar looks out across a vast, flat, featureless desert that stretches as far as the horizon, and the mountains are home to savage Org tribes all making their way into the Southlands to settle in Bulghaz, Usdai, or Arumthar.

Tech Code: 7
Governments: Monarchy under a Blessed-Satrap, chosen from the Satraps of thirteen old tribes.
Religions: The Old Way.
Industries and Trades:
Major Terrain: Flatlands, Mountains.
Primary Languages: Bosk, Vashri.
Major Settlements: Ghulharus, Jhilkhauri

Geography


Physical Geography

Predominantly mountainous, Sudar straddles the Sudarese Way - the broad mountain pass that climbs from the Kayari Steppe, over the Shoulders of the World, and into the trackless wastes of the Battlewaite. Though the land is predominantly mountainous, much of central Sudar rises through a series of dramatic ascents, terraced by leagues-deep plateaus, until eventually the ascent becomes all finger-shredding tawny rock. Reaching these highlands proves a punishing ascent, but they are not so inhospitable as they may at first seem. Still, the bulk of settlement is based around the more accessible lowlands and up the shallower path of the pass.

The lowlands are bisected by the fast waters of the Jemelf Rill, broad banked where cuts through the rolling plains like a straight-razor does a throat, it narrows frequently where the land becomes hilly to the north, making for frequent fords, but also falls and rapids. The currents of the river are deceptively strong, and they will quickly pull an unprepared traveller under. The banks are peppered with shallow holes used by eels as homes, and it is an easy thing to be driven by the current under the lip of the riverbank, where the roots of the river grasses are tangling and the eels hungry. The tributaries of the Jemelf tend to be calmer affairs, and are fed by fresh hill springs as well as spring runoff from the mountains. The goblyns consider the waters of these springs to be a tonic.

The highlands, and eventually the mountains, rise steeply between highland terraces, but the land is habitable. Constant runoff from the winter snows that sometimes whiten the peaks like the jutting fangs of a predator has taken much of the topsoil away to the lowlands, and so the land is mostly scrub and bracken. But those things that can survive in poor soils thrive. The mighty mountains themselves are all exposed brown rock - not volcanic, but pushed up out of the bedrock of the world during the elemental wars. The goblyns of Sudar consider them a wall against the predation of the creeping wastelands of the Battlewaite rather than true territory, and they have been known to bring down slides to block or ruin passes and otherwise make the land hostile here. An effort was made to plant a poison jungle like that of Hyd some generations ago, but the few plantations that survived at altitude remain feeble.

The exception to the goblyn tendency to eschew the mountains is Sybilba, the mountain of the Sybil. Overlooking the Sudarese way from the north, and within sight of the walls of Jhilkhauri, this particularly tall and jagged peak proves one of the most formidable ascents in the entire range, and yet at its highest shoulder, barely short of its needle peak, is the temple of the Sybil, blessed seeress of Sudar. The mountain is forbidden all but the Satrap and the most ranking of priests, but its base affords a good view down into Battlewaite, and so many outposts both guard the Sybil's temple, and watch for predation from the west.

Like most of the Farland Sudar is temperate, with balmy summers and mild winters. Only in the worst seasons does it see snow, and then only on the mountain peaks, though a frost would not be uncommon. The mountains shield it from the worst of the punishing wind storms that batter the Battlewaite, but the Sudarese Way is a glaring exception, and it is battered relentlessly by gales the year round, leading plant life to grow low, and dust to bank up in deep flurries. Dust storms are common, and blinding, and at their worse the world is turned to an ugly mustard yellow, and gold-tinged lightening casts the land into sickly relief. On a good day, when a northerly (or rare southerly) blows visibility stretches back to the Yrelldors and leagues into the Battlewaite.

Setting Trait (3): The End of the World

Political Geography

Sudar is ruled over by a Blessed-Satrap - a monarch chosen for life from amongst the various Satraps who rule the thirteen tribes of Sudar, and ordained by performing a trial of sorts. The Blessed-Satrap must earn his rule by finding and wedding the seven reincarnations of the Deevai, virgins sacred to the seven divh. A satrip who weds a mere four may claim the throne, but only one who marries all seven will be truly great. While the prospective Satraps are looking for their wives a council of elders is appointed to rule. The current Blessed-Satrip married his seventh deevai only a year ago, and his venerable age has already prompted talk of succession. Upon his death the seven deevai will be fed the blossom of the blue milkflower, so that the reincarnation cycle can begin again.

While the Satraps of the thirteen tribes are theoretically a law unto themselves, they are expected to answer to the Blessed-Satrap, to answer his summons when he calls them, obey his laws, and send him tribute. The tribute that they must provide is not prescribed, but usually greater tribute buys greater favour, and so they are as generous as they can afford to be. Eventually their coffers will benefit from having a Blessed-Satrap emerge from their tribe, and the tribute of that will last many generations. Tribes that do not produce a Blessed-Satrap in a long time tend to die out, sold into servitude as they cannot afford favour. The current Seven-Blessed-Satrap Büma Shand is undoubtedly reaching the end of his life, and already the Satraps are lining up to inherit his rule, with many tribes undergoing changes of leadership to put the best candidate forward - usually meaning the youngest so that they might see the longest rein of prosperity possible.

Social Geography

The goblyns of Sudar often think of themselves as inheritors of the caliban civilization, and only here and in the Goblynfells far to the north do some few remnants of caliban society remain, but unlike the barely recognizable ruins of the Fells, the Sudarese have restored as many of the ancient structures as they can, and proudly embrace the lost glory of their ancestors, even within sight of the ruination it has descended into. But they are also Vashrite goblyns, though they more often speak Bosk now, and so they know that strange mix of cold practicality and stiff propriety unusual to goblynkind. No goblyn, no matter how nefarious, would think to shirk his duty. No matter how costly to himself, or how morally repugnant, if he sees himself bound by duty then it will not even cross his mind to defy.

Goblyns here practice slavery gladly - when a goblyn is indebted beyond his means his freedom becomes forfeit, and he becomes a kholop in the service of he who he owes, until his debtor deems his debt paid. Of course, the Satraps keep close watch to ensure that no kholop is taken advantage of, lest the master become kholop to his slave to balance the debt. Kholops can be owned, but never traded - they are not chattels like beasts. In fact, some kholops have better lives in servitude than they did as free men, for their masters are responsible for their keep and well-being, and they are often lifted from the depths of poverty to the comparative comfort of servitude. Many will choose to sell their freedom to that same master when their debt is paid, rather than return to their previous life.

No kholop would ever think of escaping - it is his duty to pay his debts - and so many criminals are given as kholops to those they wrong. The Sudarese do not have the same qualms about crime that they do about duty. It is the prerogative of the strong to use their strength, and just as a wise man can use his skill and learning to improve his lot, so is it acceptable for a strong man to use his strength. There is a certain respectability in being a robber or outlaw. A man pits himself against the strength of a great lord and, for a time at least, proves mightier. If his life or his freedom are the price for being overcome, then he must simply ensure that he cannot be overcome. And so the battle between order and lawlessness becomes one of mutual respect rather than resentment and derision. A legendary bandit brought low is a prized kholop indeed, and often serves in a prominent place in his master's house.

Faith and Worship

The Sudarese take their worship far more seriously than most of the western realms. But perhaps that is unsurprising given that their ruler is personally ordained by the deevai - brides of the seven Elder Divh. Like most of the nations of the Farland, the Sudarese follow the teachings of the Old Way, in a manner. And just like their neighbours they have made of that faith what they will. They are a pious folk, given to regular visits to their shrines, and to great public works in honour of the Divh. All of the stories of Sudar feature the Divh, either in person, or merely their influence, and they are given to see the hand of the divine all about them in their daily lives. They seem either fearful or hopeful about this in turns.

Though all temples have seven shrines, and the Blessed-Satrap takes great pains not to offend one Divh by favouring another, it is Otta to whom the Sudarese naturally find themselves turning. The mountain divhi is depicted as a great two-headed monster here, with fearsome jaws red with gore, and a storm swirling about his feet as he tramples the world. With so impressive and fearful an idol, it is not surprising that he stands above other Divh in the eyes of the Sudarese. And with the threat of the Battlewaite constantly ready to engulf them, it is no surprise that the Sudarese believe that Otta walks the mortal world out in those endless blasted wastes.

Setting Trait (2): Seven Blessings of Dominion

History


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People


Races and Nationalities

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Notable Individuals

Büma Shand, Seven-Blessed Satrap of Sudar
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The Sybil
Dwelling on the mountain of Sybilba, the Sybil is the ancient sangoma of Sudar.

Culture


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Today at the Edge of the World…


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The Sprawling Southlands and the Western Kingdoms
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