The Islands: Waclaw and Mastoorah
by, 09-08-2012 at 04:15 AM (1604 Views)
The ruler of Waclaw (pronounced VAK-LA) is Duke Pawel Wladyslaw, a dipsomaniacal nitwit who is the plaything of his Council of Significant Persons, corrupt businessmen and landowners whose goals are to squeeze every copper from every pauper, live magnificently on the backs of as many peasants as they can gather, and conquer foreign lands where they can continue doing the previous two things.
More than anywhere else, the nation of Waclaw is nearly dead. The land is stripped of resources, the oligarchy that controls the throne has shrunk via subterfuge and conspiracy and barely legal shenanigans to a tiny handful, the common people farm dirt and like it, and the secret police monitor everything.
If you’re Waclavian (pronounced VAK-lay-vee-an), you’re from fantasy Soviet-era Poland except ruled by Dudley Moore in the good version of the film Arthur who’s manipulated by a half-dozen Rasputins. You drink a whole lot, but everybody else does, too, because, hey, it’s Waclaw, so nobody brings it up. You’re a subsistence farmer who gives half of what he’s supposed to subsist on to his landlord who often just lights it on fire to see it burn. And then he laughs. Or you work in one of Waclaw’s enormous factories, mindlessly churning out trinkets or weapons or armor or gears or something that you don’t even know what it does, hoping the secret police can’t hear you thinking about how great it would be to sleep. In a bed. In a room with fewer than 8 people. You live in abiding fear of the great giants that live in the mountains surrounding your nation. Luckily, the islands afford the Council the opportunity of conquest in another direction. You’re either a dwarf, gnome, or human.
You worship at the Church of the Dragon, Dexter. However, if you’re a gnome, you might also be a mocked and repressed Arumdinan (pronounced ah-RUM-deh-nun).
Waclaw, having only a single (albeit huge and smoke-choked) city on the ocean, has the smallest presence on the islands, but when the Waclavians are there, they’re there in force. They’ll be the ones in full plate in charge of entire plantations of slaves. They came to the islands shortly after the Clenchwart.
For Waclaw, the islands are resources. For the Waclavian people, the islands are escape.
Pick an Eastern European first name from the Czech or the Polish. Practice it out loud so you can say it quickly and confidently. Then pick a city in Poland with fewer than 100,000 as a last name. Practice that one out loud, too.
The ruler of Mastoorah (pronounced mast-OO-ra) is Omlaj, Sultan of Ten Thousand Names. He is a wizard of incalculable power, checked only by the hundreds of contracts he’s signed with genies to keep him and his descendants in power in perpetuity. He lives in several laps of luxury, served by the Harem Asphodel, his all-female cabal of assassins, concubines, and spies, and surrounded by powerful beings from other planes.
If you’re Mastooran (pronounced mass-ta-ran) you’re from the fantasy Middle East a la Disney’s Aladdin only Jafar’s the sultan, and the genies he commands are from Wolfram & Hart’s genie division. You are a herdsman, living in the vast deserts of Mastoorah, watching your family die at an early age from the heat and endless toil and incurable camel-borne diseases. Or you live on the streets of one of the sun baked, brick cities, eking out a living hawking rotted fruit and festering meat from a creaking cart. If you’re one of the lucky few, you own a business that makes money, most of which goes to the sultan to pay his extraordinary extraplanar debts. You’re either a dwarf, elf, gnome, or human.
You worship at the Church of the Dragon, Passant. However, if you’re a gnome, you might also be an Arumdinan, who aren’t mocked and repressed in Mastoorah, just pitied as misguided, hell bound fools.
Mastoorah has known about the islands for centuries, and their sea tales are legendary, but only recently has the sultan’s need for new sources of income made exploiting them a priority.
For Mastoorah, the islands are resources. For the Mastooran people, the islands are adventure.
Pick a Middle Eastern name you can pronounce as first name; make sure it means something cool. Then pick a tiny village in Saudi Arabia that you can pronounce as a last name.
Tomorrow: Fǔshùn and Kébéme