The Sinking City

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Island of Etos, drawn using Inkscape

On the Island of Etos, in the Middle Sea, is the city of Tannos, also known as the Sinking City. With a population of about a million, it is the capital of the Atharian Republic and a major trade hub that is a destination for traders, immigrants and travellers from all across the world.

I’m starting to fiddle with ideas for a new high fantasy setting for use as an RPG campaign world. My last effort was a very low fantasy world, more similar to dark ages Europe. For this, I want to do something quite different, with a much higher level of both magic and civilisation. Something similar in style to the Forgotten Realms or Golarian. I would have continued to explore Golarian (a setting I really like), but I have a desire again to move away from Pathfinder and D&D-like systems (and especially no interest in moving to Pathfinder 2nd edition), and building on top of something that has no licensing restrictions is probably going to be a lot simpler.

My current plan is to start with a single city – one large enough to have complex adventures involving politics, skulduggery and some dungeoneering. So I’m going for something loosely based on Rome, a city at the heart of an empire with a population of close to a million people. Though the culture will be similar to the height of the Roman Republic, the technology level will be more late medieval to early renaissance.

Though I intend to concentrate on just one city, I have thought about the larger world, and it might look a bit familiar. Basing it on Europe means that I don’t have to worry about trying to work out climate and terrain – it’s close enough to be familiar, but not completely the same.

Draft map of Eyressia

The addition of an eastern sea gives a limit to the region I’m interested in, but the focus of things for now will be around the Middle Sea (another name of the Mediterranean), with the capital city based on the isle of Etos (Sicily). The current name for the continent is Eyressia, though that may change. Several names have been stolen or at least based on names from my original AD&D campaign world The Land of Kythe or my Habisfern setting.

The Atharian Republic spans the region of ‘Italy’ and ‘Greece’, as well as most of the north coast of ‘Africa’. ‘Egypt’ is its own empire, with Dwarven kingdoms in the ‘Alps’, a high medieval human kingdom of Galcia in ‘France’ and lower technology barbarian kingdom of Novgor from ‘Germany’ through to the East. The ‘British Isles’ (still connected by Doggerland) are wild lands where the Fey dominate and humans are considered guests at best. There is a human empire in ‘Africa’, and great empires with advanced magic and technology to the far east, but these will probably remain as distant rumours for a while. All these names are likely to change.

The historical background of the setting is that long ago humanity was enslaved by the elves, whose power and immortality came from the World Trees. Almost two thousand years ago, humans managed to unleash a ritual on the world that destroyed the World Trees and broke the powers of the Elves, summoning fell beasts into the world the greatest of which was the Tarrasque.

The upheaval allowed humans to gain their freedom and build their own empires, the largest of which was the Atharian Empire. After a thousand years though, the Tarrasque returned, and caused devastation across Eumeria once again.

The Tarrasque has been sleeping for 800 years now, though there is fear that it may awaken again at the new millennium. Humans, dwarves, gnomes and halflings can be found all across human civilisation, as can catfolk and ratlings. Orcs are to be found to the east, gnolls to the south, and goblins seem to crop up everywhere like weeds. The few elves that there are, are generally distrusted, and no longer have the immortality of their ancestors.

Tannos itself as known as the Sinking City, simply because part of the city has sunk into the sea. The roads are now rivers, and the damp houses are lived in by the poor and those wishing to avoid the law – a good place for adventurers to hang out where people need the services of those who won’t ask too many questions.

Some information will start to get fleshed out on the Eyressia website as I get time.

Samuel Penn