Saturday, December 10, 2011

Welcome to Ma'arb, the Land of 500 Graces

The uncouth barbarian scum that make up the zrne-share of players in our Jakalla Petal Throne games on Google+ are said to be refugees from the obscure southern land of Ma'arb. Observing the Discrete Etiquette of Background Facts that Mean Little to Players, not much is known in the Five Empires of that distant, dusty place.

Ma'arb lies mainly on a thorn-tree covered hilly plateau punctuated by grassland prairies and labyrinthine box canyons. Around the two rivers draining it there are fertile bottom lands where most of the population resides in teetering fortified steads made from jer-dun, the mortar of the shells of gargantuan sand mollusks.

The capital city of Ber'jef, the Classical Ma'arbyani word for “Sanguinolent Fortress That Wraps the Sky in Apricity”, was founded as a remote Engsvanyali military cantonment and trading concession with the local hill tribes. In its heyday a millennium ago it was a flourishing trade center, but as the continent-wide demand for hu'uz (an allegedly-madness producing liquor brewed from Zibraan, the underparts of a local grub) shrunk so did the fortunes of the city.

The isolation and decline of Ma'arb in recent centuries was compounded by an incursion of the Kazs, an obscure branch of the dreaded Ssu that now lay claim to vast, cycolpean ruins near the single mountain pass off of the plateau--passes that would otherwise connect Ma'arb to the other nations of the so-called Southern Continent. The local Foes of Man are hunchbacked, mauve in complexion, and reek of stale cardamon.

Ber'jef today is but a dusty shell of its once glorious self.

Religion in Ma'arb is dominated by a Manichean system split between two god-heads, one symbolizing “Stability”, the other “Change”. The seeming unity of this doctrine is marred by an internecine factionalism.

It is said by wags that for every five Ma'arbyani there are six competing cosmologies--and in truth much of the nation's cultural and intellectual life is consumed by fervent debate of these matters of religion (questions such as whether Tekumel was created from the Top Down or Bottom Up or if life can be described as a fast-moving game or a loose, but grand narrative for example) .

Each school of thought is called a “grace”. One such grace is the Equipollent Idolaters, a school of thought that maintains that the deities of Pavar are in fact not just major aspects of the twin god-heads, but separate divine beings in their own right. Refugee priests of this grace seem to have little difficulty--once their atrocious barbarian uncouthness is overlooked--fitting into the local temple structures of Tsolyanu.

7 comments:

  1. Very well done. I linked over at the Skein.

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  2. ... and it's right next door to the Land of 1000 Dances.

    ;)

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  3. Na na-na-na-na na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na

    I need somebody to help me say it one time

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  4. Hey I ain't no barbarian, simply an honest priest with an obsession with a fertility goddess' statue.

    ReplyDelete