Stamus Contra Malum: 1013 YE
The Known World
The Known World of the Thracian Empire is somewhat different in tone and emphasis than many other fantasy settings. Based on the map in the 1980 D&D Expert Ruleset and using many historical references it has a distinct late-antiquity feel. Players adventure in the wicked and decadent civilizations that are falling slowly into ruin.
The Known World, is actually part of a larger continent called Brun, that lies on the world of Mystara. It is located in the south-eastern portion of the continent. It is in the Known World where some of the most advanced and powerful nations on the continent and maybe the world exist.
The Known World features many distinct civilizations. Most of them are inspired by historical civilizations dating to our world’s Late Antiquity and Dark Ages. The dominant Imperial culture is inspired by the Late Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. The Sunset Kingdoms, which lie to the southwest of the Empire, are akin to Indo-Persian civilization. The lands north-east of the Empire are similar to Dark Ages Anglo-Saxon and Norse civilization, with the nearby Northern Elven culture similar to Celtic Ireland.
The menacing Skythos are based on the Asiatic mounted nomads that threatened the Late Roman Empire. The ancient civilizations that proceed the campaign’s era have cultural analogues as well. The ancient elven civilization is loosely “Atlantean,” imagined as a Bronze Age Greco-Aryan civilization. The ancient Cold Blood civilization is inspired by Hittite civilization with an Egyptian aesthetic, while the deceased Nethyarii civilization is inspired by pre-Hellenistic Akkadian and Egyptian civilization. The early Thracian Empyrean era civilization has Minoan, Mycenaean, and Heroic Age Greco-Roman (Illiad, Aeneid) roots.
The people of the Thracian Empire worship a sect of seven syncretic gods collectively known as the Empyreans. The primary Empyrean god is Ammonar, the Lightbringer and Lawgiver, whose worship is similar to the worship of Sol Invictus in the Late Roman Empire. The other Empyrean gods are akin to the mystery cults popular with different factions of society, much like Mithra, Isis, and the other syncretic gods of Late Antiquity.
Another, darker set of gods, known as the Chthonic pantheon, is worshipped alongside the Empyrean gods in the various city-states of the Known World. Under the Chthonic pantheon, mad priest-kings, demonic pacts, and hideous sacrifices are disturbingly common.
The world of the Thracian Empire, called Gaia, sits at the center of a great celestial orb made up of all the elements, known as the Celestial Sphere. The Celestial Sphere floats within an infinite silvery sea known as the Cosmos. Above the Celestial Sphere looms Matera, The Empyrean Heaven, source of law and light. Beneath the Celestial Sphere lies Pantera, the source of chaos and darkness. Ringing the Celestial Sphere are the four Elemental Spheres of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. However, these positions are not static, for the spheres are all in motion. Changes in their relative positions can have a profound effect on the world. According to myth, the spheres were set adrift from their natural orbits when the Tablet of Destiny, which wrought the fates of men and gods, was shattered at the dawn of time.
While some creatures, such as dragons and unicorns, are natural to the world, most monsters, including giant vermin, undead, crossbreeds, and all evil and monstrous humanoids, were created, either when the Tablet of Destiny was shattered, or by the elves, cold bloods, and Nethyarii as slaves, pets, and soldiers. As such they are innately unnatural and targeted for destruction by Law. Adventurers need have no moral qualms about killing orcs, undead, and so on.