Working Title: "A Hundred Days Off" [wip / poc]

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rox_midge
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Re: Working Title: "A Hundred Days Off" [wip / poc]

Post by rox_midge » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:29 pm

This is going to be a bit long, and because my day job doesn't involve creative writing, this is probably horrible, but I decided I needed to flesh out the backstory a little bit. So!
Apel Moliz Jul13 15-22.png
Historical Context

The game takes place on the island continent of Apel Moliz, which sits astride the equator slightly to the north. Divided by a mountain range running generally east to west along the middle, it was the ancestral home of the Khizian tribes, who had lived in harmony with the land – and usually in harmony with each other – for thousands of years, making their homes in the grasslands and jungles north of the mountains. South of the mountains is an arid and inhospitable desert, and although the grasslands and forests on the southernmost reaches of the island are home to a variety of flora and fauna, they remained generally uninhabited by the Khizian tribes.

The land was eventually “discovered” by settlers from afar. Starting in the year they called 273, and continuing until 320, settlements from four different states were made on the southern side of the continent. The kingdoms of Charvoy and Leylind each established three colonies; the House of Rostad established four; the Kandan Sultanate sent three ships, but one was lost at sea, and another colony collapsed shortly after arriving, leaving them with one tenuous claim. Initially unaware of the Khizian tribes to the north, each of the states backing these southern settlements claimed the entire continent as their own, and they would spend the better part of the next two hundred years in a series of increasingly bitter and violent disputes.

In 298, unaware of the southern landings (and, indeed, unaware of the sponsoring states), the Ormon Empire landed on the northeastern side of the continent. There they established the Grand Duchy of Marnach. The Grand Duke of Marnach quickly established a trade relationship with the nearby native tribe who they named “Lopta Khiz” (from the native’s term for “river people”). As they expanded their landholdings on Apel Moliz, Marnach established communication with the kingdom of Leylind, establishing an important trade route between the Khizian tribes and the southern kingdoms.

By 318, Kanda had established friendly contact with the Yotunn Khiz, who lived in the northwest of the continent. The Yotunn were friendly, and the two peoples mixed freely together. This group lived primarily near a lake called Teralosa, which is situated in a valley in the mountains between the Kanda settlements and the Yotunn; due to the mountainous terrain, this did not become an important trade route like the Ormon Empire’s eastern route did.

Over the course of the next one hundred and fifty years (from c. 300 to c. 450), the Ormon empire grew increasingly wealthy due to the value of the trade they had established with the Khiz tribes of Lopta and Apel. The company that oversaw this trade – the Ormo Trading Company – became very powerful, essentially acting as the de facto government of Grand Duchy of Marnach.

By 450, though, war had consumed the sponsoring states. The House of Rostad was overthrown in 452 and was reimagined as the Habian Empire. The newly crowned emperor Habian I demanded fealty from the sultanate of Kanda and the kingdoms of Charvoy and Leylind, including their holdings on Apel Moliz. The king of Leylind refused to kneel to Habian, instructing the governor of their holdings on Apel Moliz – now called Wislaylind – to adopt a policy of strict defense, and to seek only to maintain their current landholdings. The king of Charvoy and the sultan of Kanda, however, felt more direct action was required, and declared war on the Habian Empire in early 453.

The Kanda and Yotunn Khiz living near Lake Teralosa did not support Kanda’s war with Habian. In 458, they declared their independence from Kanda, styling themselves the “Free Cities of Teralosa”. Over the next two decades, the Habian Empire conquered Kanda, Charvoy, and the mainland holdings of Leylind. Wislaylind, however, sought protection from the Ormo Trading Company, who understood that if Wislaylind should fall, the Grand Duchy of Marnach would fall as well. The Ormo Trading Company initially supplied Wislaylind with weapons and provisions, but eventually sent entire garrisons to ensure that Wislaylind’s borders were kept intact.

The support provided by the Ormo Trading Company to Wislaylind had unforeseen effects. The mainland Ormon Empire, which had been relying on the trade with Apel Moliz, abruptly collapsed in 472, fragmenting into a collection of kingdoms and independent smaller states. The Ormo Trading Company, already the de facto government within the Grand Duchy of Marnach, formally reorganized itself as the de jure government in the wake of the collapse.

The Grand Duke of Marnach, already a figurehead by that time, was allowed to keep his title and a considerable portion of his landholdings under a series of agreements (drafted by the Ormo Trading Company) which essentially turned the Duchy of Marnach into a puppet government. Wislaylind met a similar fate; although they retained much of their autonomy, they relied on the protection of the Ormo Trading Company to prevent them from being annexed by the Habian Empire.

The region then entered an uneasy peace, with the Habian Empire finalizing their control over the former kingdoms, and the Ormo Trading Company mostly returned to their lucrative trading business. With few exceptions, battles between the Empire, the Ormo Trading Company and their protectorates, and the Khizian Tribes had ceased by 490.

Gameplay: Act One

The game begins in 528 in a small fishing town called Allos, situated on the southeastern side of Lake Teralosa. Your character is a young man – just 14 years old – who is learning the art of trapping from his father, travelling often to the nearby towns of Lonas and Caron. Lonas is a very small farming village, while Caron is a mining town situated higher up in the mountains; both are within the Free Cities of Teralosa.
Very rarely, you accompany your father to two farther cities: Agona and Nuvivik. Agona is a dry, dusty city that lies across a mountain pass to the south, within the borders of the Habian Empire; Nuvivik is a Yotunn Khiz village in the middle of the forest that lies across the range to the north of the lake.

Trips to Agona are your favorite, because at the crest of the mountain, you can see a castle in the distance. Your father tells you that this is the Citadel Altendorf, built over two hundred years ago by the first Duke of Marnarch, although he supposes it’s now under Habian rule.
Your father is one of the few Teralosians that still trades with the Empire. Although the wars ended nearly 40 years ago, most citizens of the Free Cities still mistrust the Empire, because the Emperor has been vocal about “civilizing the barbarians to the north”, many of which are now ancestors of the Telarosian people.

Trips to Nuvivik are also exciting, because the warm weather of the forest is a refreshing change from the brisk air in Allos, and the people are always friendly and welcoming. On recent trips, though, your father has noted that there are unfamiliar faces around wearing war-paint. The war-paint alone is not alarming – the Khiz are always “warring” with something, whether it’s with a nearby village or with the wildlife – but the difference in colors and demeanor is enough for your father to comment on it. The locals seem more guarded and less friendly than usual, and although there is no outright hostility, you begin to get a sense that something isn’t quite right.

Aside from these trips, you pass your time playing with friends, and by exploring the towns of Lonas and Caron on your own. Using the bow your father gave you, you can hunt small game for sport, selling the meat and skins at the market. Using the proceeds, you can purchase upgrades to your weapons, and you’re enthralled by the swords and shields on display – although their cost is far more than you could ever hope to earn by trapping small game. Noting your interest in swords, the weaponsmith builds you a wooden sword that you practice with.

Gameplay: Act Two

One day, your father surprises you with an unexpected delight – he’s arranged for a ferry across the lake to deliver some furs to the Yotunn Khiz town of Chapan, and he’s taking your mother and you with him. You’ve heard of Chapan before, but you’ve never been there; it’s larger than most Khiz settlements, situated just above the falls on the northwestern edge where the lake drains into what becomes the River Cuernacán. Your father will be trading furs for spices, beads, and paints, and your mother plans to travel farther down to the village of Teocotcos, which is situated downstream from the falls, where she will help them prepare for a celebration while enjoying the view. You will be gone for almost a month.

In the middle of your trip, a skiff rowed by one of your friends arrives at Chapan, carrying two women and several young children from Allos. Your friend is exhausted but explains that Allos is under attack and that he was instructed to take the women and children to safety at Chapan and return to take more. Your father immediately starts to find weapons and armor and sets off to commandeer a rowboat to return to Allos to aid in the defense.

He initially refuses to take you along, until you show him your wooden sword and demonstrate that you’ve learned how to use it. Although he warns you that this isn’t a game, he finds a sword that you can hold, and the Yotunn Khiz provide you with the best armor that they can find, assuring you that they will send a group of warriors to assist as soon as possible.

Your father and you arrive at the Allos docks to find that most of the village is on fire. The smoke and flames make it nearly impossible to tell what’s happening. Unsure of who is attacking, your father tells you to make your way south to Lonas to get help, and on to Caron if need be. On your way to Lonas, you are passed by a unit of Imperial soldiers, and when you arrive in Lonas, you find that it’s been placed under Imperial control. Now that you’ve arrived, you’re not permitted to return to Allos for your own safety due to what the Imperial guards describe as “civil unrest” that they are currently dealing with.

If you go up to Caron, you find that it, too, is under Imperial control, and no one feels it necessary to tell some random young boy what’s going on. Confused, scared, and alone, you head to south to Agona, leaving friends and family behind, seeking answers for what’s happened to your home.

From there, you adventure through the Habian Empire, visiting towns and cities: Lizen, once the capital of Kandan Sultanate’s colonies at on Apel Moliz; Varstad, deep within the original territory of the House of Rostad; Loucourt and Darcot within the Charvoy kingdom. Leaving the Empire, you enter Wislaylind and visit the bustling port city of Wathestore before moving into the Grand Duchy, where you visit a small hamlet called Altendorf, just outside the city of Glatten where the Citadel stands on the tallest peak. You continue into the official borders of the Ormo Trading Company, spending most of your time in Lanolitano, their largest port city (although not their seat of government), then loop your way back through the Khizian tribes.

Gameplay: Act Three

At this point, six years have passed since you left your home, and you discover that there has been a change in how the Khiz are living. The four tribes – the Yotunn to the west, the mountainous Luari, the oceanfaring Apel tribe along the northern coast, and the Lopta in the east – have been joined by a fifth tribe, the power-thirsty Ek’cal.

The Ek’cal was not initially a tribe, but rather an occupation; Ek’cal simply means “warrior”. The warriors of the Khizian tribes felt strongly that the Khiz (as a whole) had turned their backs on their ancestry by allowing these foreigners onto “their land”. This sentiment had always been there, but since the wars to the south stopped, the faction became quickly radicalized.

Led by the Ek’cal, the other tribes agreed to organize themselves in the “western” fashion, with each tribe becoming a separate province of the newly founded United Tribes of Khiz. Most of the tribal leaders went along with this unwillingly, recognizing that the warrior class could simply seize power by force. Essentially, the Khiz underwent a military coup and wound up with what is essentially a military dictatorship.

You make your way back along the northern edge of the continent, gaining prestige among the Khiz, confronting the Ek’cal, and restoring the proper tribal leadership. Eventually, you find yourself at the Nuvivik, just north of Teralosa. After confronting the power-mad leader of the Ek’cal, you travel down to Teralosa through Caron and into what is now the Walled City of Allos, a military outpost held by the Habian Empire.

Epilogue

It has been more than a decade since your village was destroyed, and you return not as a boy, but as a man, battle-scarred and road weary.
Initially treated with suspicion due to your dress and manner, having spent the last four years among the Khiz, who have been at war with the Empire for the last decade, you are recognized by the few townsfolk who survived the initial attack. You bear treaties offered by the four Khizian tribal leaders, which are quickly conveyed to (and signed by) the current Emperor, Habian II, who wishes to end the folly of a war started by his uncle.

Realizing you can’t go home again, you cross Lake Teralosa to the waterfalls at Chapan to retire.

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