Introduction and History Edit
Vitaurum was settled about 300 years ago by the losers of the two great wars which happened around the same time – the first Continental War, on the Central Continent, and the Mountain War, on the Eastern Continent. Humans (Central) and tieflings (eastern) made up most of the population, with some drow and dwarves thrown in. Over time, it has become a cornucopia of various races.
Vitaurum is very similar to Australia in many respects. The interior deserts are harsh, with difficult landscapes traversed only by those foolhardy and/or brave enough to put their lives on the line carrying supplies back and forth. The coasts range from rocky and difficult, to beautiful sandy beaches, to flourishing greenery, though “greenery” is only considered so in relation to the rest of the desolate country-continent. The Greyridge Mountains separate the continent’s far western region. A large area in the center of the continent’s desert region is known by the locals as the “Silver Sea” due to its silvery appearance in the moonlight. While it appears beautiful, the Silver Sea is among the most dangerous sections of Vitaurum’s desert, home to various threats, both wild and domestic.
The Portwall is a small island off Vitaurum’s eastern coast. It has acted as a natural barrier against sea invasion for Vitaurum’s history, and is also one of the few areas of the country which can consistently grow healthy crops.
Population is scarce in Vitaurum. The vast majority of Vitaurum’s population is located on the coasts – 85%. 70% live on the eastern seaboard, while 15% reside on the western coast, 10% live on the Portwall, and 5% are spread across the many deserts. Shapeir is the most heavily populated city on the continent by far, with well over 50,000 people. Bindei, where the Grey Council usually resides, is home to 15,000, making it the second-most heavily populated city.
Society and Culture Edit
Vitaurum has very loose ideas of what a society should be. There is little to no involvement in government or cohesion in society. The general rule is, “You get what you make for yourself – after the government and crime lords get their cut.”
Culturally, many people in Vitaurum enjoy rousing music and bloodsport. In some shadier regions of the country, sentient beings are pitted against each other in fights to the death. These matches bring in tons of revenue through gambling.
The Grey Council, a fundamentalist theocracy, rules over Vitaurum, or at least claims to. They command the country’s army and decide its foreign policy. In reality, however, the true power lies with the heads of the various economic consortiums – mostly criminal enterprises. While the Grey Council plays the political game and is a strong force, it is not the only or most powerful force.
Mayors of the cities are generally pawns of one crime lord or another and hold very little real power of their own.
Various crime lords essentially hold sway over the country’s economy. Vim Darklighter was the big boss for almost a century. After his death, a new crime lord calling himself Eighth Son, a rising “star” in criminal enterprise, began to amass power. He became the head of Shapeir’s economic consortium, the largest in the continent. He criminal empire had been expanding before he was captured and sent to trial by the Sandstriders.
Vitaurum is home to many precious gems, some rare species of high-value animals, and materials for stoneworking. The average Vituaran takes to working in mines, hunting, security/caravan work, or farming (if living on the Portwall). Most are poor and indebted to one crime lord or another.
The slave trade is also highly popular among the crime lords of Vitaurum. The Grey Council speaks out against slavery but turns a giant blind eye to the problem.
The Vitaurum military is not very large, when compared on a transnational scale. It is not even the largest force in the continent; that title belongs to the “security” forces of the Shapeir Economic Consortium.
The crime lords each play their own political games, many times with deadly consequences. Oftentimes fights between warring parties will break out in city streets without regard for innocent life caught in between. The government and crime syndicates alike have been known to put out hits on anyone from a rival crime lord to even children.
Various wagoneer gangs roam the deserts, looking to pounce on travelers or caravans and steal their supplies. These gangs modify normal caravan wagons to be deadly instruments, installing swords on the spokes of the wheels, harpoon guns, and even crude flamethrowers to the back. Living in the desert has chipped away at the higher functions of their mind, leaving them highly aggressive.
Scorpions, some as large as dogs, also live in the desert, as well as species of coyote and vultures.
The Grey Council claims to be a theocracy acting in the name of a higher power. However, they never give specifics, and the general population doesn’t care enough anymore to ask.
The Grey Sisters are an order who practice spirit and ancestor worship. They aren’t completely cloistered but generally avoid leaving their temples as much as possible.
There are no formal wizarding schools in Vitaurum. However, magic users often offer to tutor those with innate ability – for a fee, or for future services. Most magic users end up in the employ of a crime lord.