The Enchanters of Androssi

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Boddynock
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The Enchanters of Androssi

Post by Boddynock » Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:41 pm

(So I had a preliminary idea for the halfling Roman-esque empire. The Caesars of Androssi, just read below and lets get some ideas out.)

Overview:
The Empire of the Halflings
The Enchanters of Brute Slaves
The Largest Thorn in Steel Ogre's Side

It is said as halflings migrated together and journeyed to the fertile, hilly lands of the Androssi Highlands. Harassed by giants and ogres. Attacked by human bandits who existed long before these tan skinned, dark haired halflings began as mere gypsies. Traveling from empire to empire, supporting themselves on the odd copper. Their small dancers were a curiosity that brought tall folk to watch their performances. Occasionally these folk refused to leave the camps, volunteering to travel with and serve the dancing halflings as bodyguards and helpers. Little did these tall folk know that the dancing was a pleasing trap, enchantments that the halflings had learned from their old home and in the freeing realm of The Edge. Without the constraining halfling gods to curve their lusts for power and domination the halflings had a chance at rule. They certainly took it.

The Androssi Empire is the empire of halflings. Watched over by the Caesars and the chosen consort amongst the enchanter witches the Androssi Caesars extend their powers by two ways. Their legions of halflings, clad in armor and experts with the bow and javelin and their enchanters who use their magic to seduce and dominate ogres and giants into shock troops. While tucked away in the south the Androssi Empire has slowly begun to expand its embassies to different countries. Assuring rulers that while they dominate the minds of 'brute folk' that any kingdom who sides with them has nothing to fear of their enchanting witches or their slave giants kicking down the doors. So far the neighbors have been polite and acquiescing to the 'requests' of the halfings, but as the embassies and troops make their way north they perhaps will encounter trouble with the freeholds of Refuge Point and the fiercely independent Fiori city states.

The Androssi Empire
Capital City: Nova Andross
Caesar: Altivo Andronicus
Head Consort: Enchantress Portia Farzini
Number of Consorts: 4

Noted NPCs:
Altivo Andronicus:
A scion descendant from the first halflings who settled the Androssi Highlands. Altivo made his way up from his days in the Legion. The serious, somewhat cold halfling made a name for himself with a remarkable strategy against the invading steel ogres. Utilizing the skill of his talented enchantress consort, Portia Farzini and her 'sisters' he lead a campaign of domination of Steel Ogre troops. Using the Steel Ogres to fight themselves. With the collapse of Steel Ogre power his eyes are fixed firmly against the humans on their archipelago (map placement #24) and their neighbors to the north (Fiori Hills and Refuge Point)
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Re: The Enchanters of Androssi

Post by Boddynock » Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:51 pm

Geography and Features:

Lets talk a little about the geographic features of the Androssi Empire. As it corresponds to the world map (25) The Androssi Empire settles the gentle hills that border the western taltinian sea. To the south lies the dragon spine mountain range and to the north west is another series of mountains (not sure the name yet.) From the bay comes a major summer rainy season that brings needed rain to the heated spring ground. The halflings have cultivated the land to wheat and low growing plants. Grapes vineyards being one of their traditional crops, they also have a love of wines, being one of the largest exporters of wines in the area. Current contact with the empire stands to the European like Archipelago/Peninsula as well as Soralav. The presence of these cultures has kept the halflings limited on road traffic (not out right banning them but taxes has caused bickering with the groups.) The halflings have now resorted to sailing around the main continent to interact with their northern neighbors.
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Re: The Enchanters of Androssi

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:16 pm

Very nice entry, Boddynock! I really it! Especially the halflings' hypnotic dance. :)


A few suggestions on my side:

- I would like to add the fire gnomes of the ancient Gnoman Empire on Chrelos to the list of potential harassers/conquerors of the halflings. it is likely that the present-day situation is much more quiet and polite, but maybe in the past centuries (say, before the coming of the earth gnomes and the Steel Ogres invasion) the two empires were at odds with each other (sort of halfling-Rome versu gnomish-Carthage?), the gnomes even managed to conquer halfling metropolitan territories before being repelled to the sea. This would lead to the development of a strong navy on halfling side to patrol the coasts and propmptly repel further invaders.

- An empire would need attractive places where to expand, so I'm wondering if the Androssi Higlands actually do not host the whole halfling population of Thalassa: many more independent halfling gypsy-like tribes and communities still exist around the bulk of the Androssian Empire, resisting its assimilation efforts on their side. The empire would be most interested in acquiring the independent halflings lands, before moving to conquer other races' territories (local human and humanoid populations would be already engulfed into the expanding empire, as you wrote above ;))

- From the general climate map of the master document the Androssian Empire region seem to be influenced by monsoon like climate (that is, the year is divided into a dry and a wet season). We could say that vineyards are actually cultivated on the highest, more inland and well-protected boundary hills. The lowest central hills and the internal plains are a two-harvests-a-year, extremely fertile lands cultivated with wheat, rice, tobacco, cotton and sugar. Most of the power of the empire come from the possibility to feed a very large population and army (the mountainous Gnoman Empire was always attracted by the fertile land of Androssia) while much of its wealth would come from the exports of those goods. ;)

- I envisioned two or three large lakes west of the empire, the result of the monsoon-like showers on the Dragon's Spine Mountains foothills and on the other unnamed mountain range. Such lakes would act as a natural barrier to halfling expansions on this side. Maybe I'll manage to sketch a rough map of the area, but I'm not very sure about it.

- What if a small detachment of Steel Ogres was actually persuaded to serve the halflings? Their descendants would now act as shock troops for the empire, a very unexpected vision for any enemy prepared to face a troop of small-sized people...
Of course such "assault ogres" would be despised and frowned upon by any "true" Steel Ogre descendant for having betrayed their origins and nature. The assault ogres would not care less about it, as soon as they are allowed to see these soo cute halflings dancing... ;)

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Re: The Enchanters of Androssi

Post by Boddynock » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:41 pm

LoZompatore wrote:- I would like to add the fire gnomes of the ancient Gnoman Empire on Chrelos to the list of potential harassers/conquerors of the halflings. it is likely that the present-day situation is much more quiet and polite, but maybe in the past centuries (say, before the coming of the earth gnomes and the Steel Ogres invasion) the two empires were at odds with each other (sort of halfling-Rome versus gnomish-Carthage?), the gnomes even managed to conquer halfling metropolitan territories before being repelled to the sea. This would lead to the development of a strong navy on halfling side to patrol the coasts and propmptly repel further invaders.
Very awesome idea actually fire gnomes of Cherlos would be an interesting mix of Carthage and Gaul. What with the water based empire of Carthage and that more grim, somewhat barbaric war mongering of Gaul (especially their use of pick-axe, battle axe, shield bashing type that disgusts the halflings and their refinery. We probably would see some gnomish influence on conquered territories before being repelled back to the sea and then an even major disaster for the gnomes when their volcano blew its top.
LoZompatore wrote:- An empire would need attractive places where to expand, so I'm wondering if the Androssi Higlands actually do not host the whole halfling population of Thalassa: many more independent halfling gypsy-like tribes and communities still exist around the bulk of the Androssian Empire, resisting its assimilation efforts on their side. The empire would be most interested in acquiring the independent halflings lands, before moving to conquer other races' territories (local human and humanoid populations would be already engulfed into the expanding empire, as you wrote above ;))
That's a fine idea. Really I had no idea how large the empire should be so the idea of maybe a small concentrated empire that is trying to slowly persuade (through bribe or force) more smaller halfling villages to their cause is good too. Perhaps the halflings would be the more tougher hold outs, after all, they know better then to watch the dance of their enchanter women to closely.
LoZompatore wrote:- From the general climate map of the master document the Androssian Empire region seem to be influenced by monsoon like climate (that is, the year is divided into a dry and a wet season). We could say that vineyards are actually cultivated on the highest, more inland and well-protected boundary hills. The lowest central hills and the internal plains are a two-harvests-a-year, extremely fertile lands cultivated with wheat, rice, tobacco, cotton and sugar. Most of the power of the empire come from the possibility to feed a very large population and army (the mountainous Gnoman Empire was always attracted by the fertile land of Androssia) while much of its wealth would come from the exports of those goods. ;)
I didn't write it yet but I had pictured that Nova Andross was, unlike other capital city-states are more landlocked city higher up in the hill country (an homage to Rome of course.) Thus perhaps the capital is most famous for grapes while its more port dwelling cities produce the other exports. Between the wine, sugar, tobacco, the Androssian Empire seems to be an empire of sweets and vices (and making it a bit more alluring and also infamous.)
LoZompatore wrote:- What if a small detachment of Steel Ogres was actually persuaded to serve the halflings? Their descendants would now act as shock troops for the empire, a very unexpected vision for any enemy prepared to face a troop of small-sized people...
Of course such "assault ogres" would be despised and frowned upon by any "true" Steel Ogre descendant for having betrayed their origins and nature. The assault ogres would not care less about it, as soon as they are allowed to see these soo cute halflings dancing... ;)
Not a bad idea. When I originally sketched it I was just going to have a situation where, while the Steel Ogres had conquered the city (like they did everything else) the halflings were the largest plague as units of steel ogre would literally succumb to the (sweet whispers) and fire upon each other. Also given the fact that no matter how advanced a group is in their metal a stone giants boulder will most likely still crush a tank or some steel ogres. But a detachment is good, in fact now a days these assault ogres could now be the Caesar's Praetorian Guard because nothing more could inspire fear and awe then a Praetorian guard made of giant ogres (also the reason Caesar Andronicus keeps several enchanter consort/concubines to keep the Ogres under a tight leash.)
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Re: The Enchanters of Androssi

Post by LoZompatore » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:02 pm

Here are a couple of concepts we could use to add details to the halfling Roman-like empire of Androssia and surrounding halfling cultures. Let me know what you think and add any feedback you feel suitable ;):

Halfling Gentes: We could exploit the concept of ancient Roman "gens" (plural "gentes", see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gens) and apply it to the halflings. An halfling "gens" will be an extended family of people tracing back their origins to a common ancestor; the ancestor could be a prominent forefather of the past who managed to estabilish its own large group of followers or the most important halfling of a group who was left stranded in Thalassa. Of course not all the halflings arriving in Thalassa would adhere to this social organization from the beginning but, given the fact that most of newcomers find a warm welcome into already estabilished "gens" (civilized foreign newcomers often bring exotic wealth and new ideas to the group, so they are a mostly sought "asset"), this tradition actually survived and thrived on Thalassa.
I suppose we could mix the "gypsy" and "ancient Roman" family concepts and apply the result to the halfling society as a whole (both the Androssian empire and its gypsy-like people around it) to get a strongly family-oriented society.
We could say that all the halflings in a "gens" are very proud of their origins and traditions, so each group actually follows its own customs and local set of laws (in the Androssian empire such laws are included into a broader and looser frame of "imperial" legislation) which are warranted by the community elders and by local internal councils.
Such an approach would represent a strenghtening of the concepts described in the "Social function of the gens" section of the article cited above and would explain why most halfling groups are so fiercely independent, free-loving and unwilling to cohoperate even with (most of) other groups of their kin. The empire of Androssia will be the exception, of course, and its superior organization is what enables this country to subdue the less organized gypsy-like clans and assimilate their territories.
Another interesting concept related to the empire of Androssia would be the introduction of "Patrician gentes" (the descendants of the founders of the empire) and the "Plebeian gentes" (every other halfling gypsy-like family, either included into the empire or still roaming free outside its borders). Patricians would act as a "gens of gentes" group, who would rule the empire through an assembly of their representatives, the emperor likely being chosen among the elders (this could not be the situation anymore, as an emperor of the past could have estabilished his/her own "gens" of ruler of the empire), while the plebeian would do most of the hard work.
Please notice that in ancient Roman times it would have been possible to be adopted in a "gens", so the link between people belonging to the same "gens" is not solely genetic. As I wrote above, halfling newcomers from outisde the Edge would be gladly be adopted by exisiting "gentes" but I would also extend this concept even to non-halfling people (please notice that a single "gens" could include up to many thousands people before derived "gentes" spring up from it). I suppose that any deserving human, elf, dwarf or humanoid who helped an extended family of halflings would be likely be adopted and included into a "gens". Such a behaviour would be much more common into the "civilized" grupos of the Androssian empire with respect to the "barbarian" gypsy-like people of the surrounding wilderness.
The Steel Ogres "preatorian guard" would be such a group of non-halfling people which was adopted by the emperor's "gens" and served into this extended family together with their descendants.

Household deities: another ancient Roman feature that would be interesting to import into halfling society. Following what is written above about the "gentes" we could say that ancestors are actually revered as lesser deities into each gropup (see this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Di_Penates). Thanks to the use of clerical magic, we could say that the ancestors' cult could be something very serious, with real consequence on the mundane world, which in turn would also strenghten the ties of each halfling belonging to a given "gens".
Ancient Romans used to have a small shrine in their houses where to pray for protection from their dead ancestors. What if such a cult actually works in Thalassa's halfling small societies? There would be a small group of priests inside each "gens" acting as intermediaries between the ancestors and living halflings. Please notice that we will not introduce a new halfling deitiy for each halfling family: in the artcile above it is said that the ancestors' cult was related to a single deity (Vesta) who actually made possible the contact between the living and the dead. We could introduce a single deity with a similar portfolio for Thalassa, which could also be revered by other cultures throughout the planet. Halflings would just "personalize" its cult in order to commune with their dead ancestors and get advice from them.

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Re: The Enchanters of Androssi

Post by metal » Tue Jul 13, 2010 1:46 am

Very interesting ideas Boodynock and LoZompatore!!!!

What if the "caesars" all came from one or two (or 3)* "gens" that trace their lineage back to the leaders of the halflings that first arrived on Thalassa. For the rest of the halflings, some gens choose to be part of the "orderly" empire, others would rather strike it out on their own than be caught under the imperial boot-heel (giving rise to the gypsy "gens").

*got to have a couple of ruling "gens" to make things interesting! :twisted:

Just throwing out some ideas off the top of my head.
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Re: The Enchanters of Androssi

Post by LoZompatore » Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:59 pm

What if the "caesars" all came from one or two (or 3)* "gens" that trace their lineage back to the leaders of the halflings that first arrived on Thalassa. For the rest of the halflings, some gens choose to be part of the "orderly" empire, others would rather strike it out on their own than be caught under the imperial boot-heel (giving rise to the gypsy "gens").
Nice idea! :cool: They would trace back their rights to rule to the first leaders and organizers of the scattered halfling refugees. The same, the most ancient "gypsy gentes" would descend from the "rebel" halflings who decide to stand aside from the fledgling authoritarian (to their views) community. Of course such a neat division between the two halfling societies would have been blurred by centuries of traditions, politics and lies on both parts.
*got to have a couple of ruling "gens" to make things interesting!
True: we need - at least - a couple of large families who may claim equal rights to the throne, not counting for a few "cadet gentes" who derived from those progenitor families during the following centuries. This would put things in motion in the Androssian Empire... :twisted:

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Re: The Enchanters of Androssi

Post by Boddynock » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:05 pm

Very interesting reads and I think it works quite nicely, definitely need something akin to a family known for its military history and probably a family known for mysticism with emphasis on Enchantment, I had the idea that enchantment sort of runs along the female side of the family. Witch mothers teach their daughters the art of enchanting dances and a daughter who doesn't seem to have power is somewhat seen as a bad omen. Males also are seen in disfavor if they develop a magical aptitude, males after all are desired for soldiers and spies not spellcasting. It might seem strange to outsiders who look at all the halfling as being short and thin but amongst male halflings it might be a mark of macho pride to not be magical.
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