An Overview of Gessa Part One - Kerana

Hello Adventurers, Arewys here with another installment of details on the Original 5e Content we are working on. The World of Gessa. We hope you enjoy the sneak peek.

This Overview of Gessa, will be released in several parts, as there is a lot of ground to cover and we wanted to parse it in digestible posts.

Gessa is a diverse world full of strange creatures and magics. At the Fall of the Elves, over a dozen millennia ago, magic exploded into the world in an event called the Cataclysm. Every culture has a different viewpoint, spawning thousands of legends and myths that serve as the basis for many of the world’s religions. Even the Elves, now a rarity in this world, have forgotten the true nature of the Cataclysm as what ancient civilizations that ruled the lands of Gessa fell, their knowledge lost. 

Since that point, the wellsprings of magic that erupted from various points in the world, the highest concentration at the center of Broken Continent of Xerac have twisted and mutated the creatures of the previous age, accelerating their evolution into brand new creatures, including new Sentient creatures not derived from Humans, as still exist on Kerana, the Beast races of Xerac. This eruption of magic changed Gessa and spawned these new races in Xerac and accelerated Humanoid evolution on Kerana and Jotunlund, creating new forms, though some like the Elves and Orc existed shortly before the Elves’ fall. In later articles, I will go deeper into each of the races and subcultures that exist in Gessa, but here I will give a brief overview of our takes on these races and the basic makeup of Gessan culture, but is not an exhaustive one. 

There are a few new races and cultures, unique to this setting, that we will detail more later, as well as having high quality maps as we settle Gessan geography. This serves as a basic outline to give you all an idea of what to expect. And if you think you have a great idea to include in this world, tell us. If we like it enough, we would include and credit you as a writer for the area. 

  • Kerana
  • Kerana is the continent that has most of the Humanoids in three major clades. The goblinoids on the far west in the plains and forests far from humans.  The Giant races of the Duergar of their mountain halls, The Goliath, and the Jotun, though the latter two mostly reside on Jotunlund. And the Humanoids of the Elf in their hidden conclaves, the Orc of the Karagan Desert, and Humans of the Astarium Empire, the Free Cities, and the Archipelago. 
      • The Orc
        • Occupies the large central desert in the middle of Kerana
        • Orcs will have their racial set up modified to be as a standard race, no intelligence penalty (the race is detailed in our prior blog post The Orkata)
        • According to Lore, during the time of the Elves, the Orcs were taken from Humans and remade. Later when they fell, the humans refused to accept them and thus they went to the harsh Karagan deserts
        • Harsh environment produced a harsh people. Highly competitive, the race is set as the ultimate meritocracy. If they reached a position, they won it proving their worth in whatever field it was in informal and formal challenges.
    • Astaran Empire
      • Largest Human Territory, Covering European to Middle Eastern Culture equivalents
      • 13 Human Kingdoms divided by 3 governments. Was once one great Empire of the Sun, Moon, and Stars. Over the centuries there have been several civil wars that have redrawn the lines and even took over other nations for a time. Now the 13 regions are divided into the Moon Kingdoms of Sorala, the Loyal States to the Sun of what is left of the Astarium Empire. And the State of the Wandering Sun, a dead star that has a highly peculiar orbit around Gessa. 
      • The Moon Independent Kingdoms of Sorala
        • A more Pagan version of the Astrological Religion.
        • 5 states, corresponding to Zodiac signs of the Astronomer, the Heir, the Maid, the Sinner, the Dragoon. The Navigator was a Moon state that is occupied by the Astarium Empire for its position and trading hub
        • The capital of Cirahdar, the City of the Lake Tower, the Moon’s ruined Elven city sitting at the bottom of a deep and large lake. 
      • The Empire of the Sun, the Official Astaran Empire, a shadow of the territory it once held.
        • Ruled under the Imperial Church of the Sun, ruled out of the city of Amadore, the city containing the still standing Elven construct of the Sunspear, a inner city Humans have built on consisting of the impenetrable walls of Amadore perfectly centered around the Spire, a elven tower hundreds of feet tall, never entered. 
        • 6 states corresponding to the Wolves, the Blacksmith, the Warrior, the Crone, the VIceroy, and the Shroud. After a war 30 years ago between the Sun and Moon empires, the Navigator was also claimed by the Sun.
      • The Wanderer’s state of Nawor
        • Consists of just one of the 13 states of the Astaran Empire, but the largest single state. 
        • Lies between the Duergar and their Mountains, the Empire of the Sun, and the Karagan Desert. 
        • Large concentrations of magic and a constant target for war as it occupies this nexus territory. 
        • 30 years ago, they declared their independence as a diverse state of Duergar, Humans, Orc, and Nomadic Wood Elves. Protorepublic state ruled by the Council of Demonspire
        • Contains the Fallen Tower, a place that has revealed ancient secrets in the ruins, the only tower to be breached. Scholars from all over have converged to study the Elven magics contained there, even a few elves, creating The Order of the First Flame, relating to the Wanderer’s story of stealing and distributing magic.
    • The Free States
      • Sitting south of the Goblinoids, west of the Orcs, and North of Nakta, as well as leading into the Archipelago
      • Diverse cultures in a variety of environments, many free and independent states covering the south western coast line up to the deserts of Karaga. 
      • Loose association of merchant princes, oligarchies,small countries, and city states.
      • Majority human, but has large populations of Orc, Goblinoid, and various races of the Archipelago and Xerac
    • The Elves
      • Sun and Moon (High and Dark) live in cryptic conclaves deep in forest, hidden in glaciers, sunk in swamps, high in mountains. Always carefully hidden by magic, jealously guarded. Those that venture out are exclusively exiles as as soon as they leave, they can never come back. 
      • Wood Elves are nomadic with a few large bands
    • The Duergar
      • Mithral, Adamantine, and Aurum Duergar replace the Hill, Mountain, and Grey Dwarves
      • Millenia ago, they lived in Jotunlund before being pressured out by their Giant cousins. Some duegar still like there in their mountain halls, but they have long since made this section of Kerana their home. 
      • They venerate progress and artistry over everything else. Every dwarf makes it their life mission to be the best in their niche of a field or craft, and they tend to venerate their greatest craftsman. Works of engineering and smithing are lauded the highest
      • Mithral Dwarves make their home in the mithril rich hills of the southern part of the Duergan mountain range. The hills aren’t deep enough here to make good underground cities, so the duergar here live mostly above ground. Being closer to the human and orc cities, they are also the Duergar with the most contact and familiarity to humans
      • Adamantine Duergar live very traditionally, deep in their stone halls under the mountains. Politics among the Adamantine Duerger is determined by caste and house, though unlike Humans where caste and house is determined by birth, Duergar choose their lot in life, though circumstances will often pitch them into less desirable ones.  
      • The Aurum Duergar live the deepest and are perhaps the strangest. They believe in the spirit of the stones, living among the living rock animated by magic. Their mining of Aurum has caused them to have stronger traditions of wizardry and magic in their blood. 
    • The Goblins
      • Mix of nomadic herders and cities occupy the western plains beyond the desert of Karaga leading into the Mountains of Gobul and western coast. 
      • Several competing tribes, some mixed some just of Bugbear, Goblin, and Hobgoblin. Occasionally a Great Rider will unite and threaten the Orcs and the Free Cities. 
      • Animist religion worshiping the spirits of the plains and hills they live in.

    Stay tuned for Part 2 of an Overview of Gessa next week!

    Until then, Arewys...

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