zwemir by s.a. hannonThe great dwarven Empire that spans most of the northern continent of Barathrum.

Races: Dwarves are far and away the majority in the Empire. Gnomes and halflings are the best integrated into society, and tend to get jobs in shallower levels. Officially, other races are welcome to become citizens, provided they strive to enter Zwemirran culture, but in practice they have a hard time fitting into rigid Zwemirran society for several generations, especially with beastfolk. Crown Dwarves tend to be more racist than southerners.
: Zwemirran is the official language, while Trade is the unofficial second, spoken more in the south than the north.
Names: Children are given a name and christened into the faith of the Kingdom after they are a month old. Fathers choose the child’s name, when no father is around the priest chooses a name. Surnames are usually based off the family’s ancestral occupations. Priests often choose to take a new last name related to their deity.

  • Male names: Alberic, Einarr, Oktric, Tancred, Horduin
  • Female names: Hildegard, Valdis, Thuslnelda, Ulrica, Ingrid
  • Surnames: Ringforge, Roothewer, Trainguide, Deepblade, Firemaster

Religion: The Seals are the state-sponsored religion, depicted in orderly arrangement in large temples as idealized dwarves in stylized, symbolic poses. Smaller box-shrines with statues are also set up by priests in areas concerning the god- the Knight in barracks, the Judge at city halls- and offerings left at them are collected by priests to be redistributed. The magnificent Pillar of Heaven, the most sacred temple in Zwemir, stands beside Mt. Mirrikan and is the home of the Godsdottir, highest priestess of the Seals. Below her are the various ranks of priests, all of whom are sent to the Pillar to train. Godstouched are honored for their gifts, but looked somewhat askance by the rigid training and hierarchy of the church.
Geography: The four provinces are Crown to the north, Wheel to the east, Blade to the south, and Scepter to the west. The central plains are interrupted by the sudden rise of Mirrikan, the Imperial Mountain. The landscape of Zwemir is fairly idyllic, with valleys and farmlands broken only by train-tracks and marker-towers that lead into cities not below mountains.
Government: The Emperor of Zwemir has divine right to rule from the King, and is served by the monks, who form a unique branch of society not quite connected to the military or church, but interacting with both. The nation is divided into four provinces in the cardinal directions, with the city-province around Mt. Mirrikan forming the nation’s heart. Most homes have a portrait or statue of the Emperor over the hearth.
Magic: Magic use is tied up with the church’s hierarchy. Most mages are permitted to join the seminary at the Pillar of Heaven instead of the military. Mages over 70 who have not registered with the Pillar are considered to be practicing illegal sorcery and may be brought in by monks or inquisitors. Seers are thought to be especially unstable, and that without the Pillar’s guidance they are fated to go mad.
Military: Military service, which begins at 65, is mandatory for all citizens- regardless of the apparent age 65 years puts their race in. Those deemed physically unfit for fighting join in service positions, but almost all Zwemirrans have limited fighting training due to this service. After they finish their five years they can either return to civilian life, or they can continue in the service. Either way, Zwemirrans are considered adults at 70, eligible for marriage and employment.
Food: Zwemirran food is bland and very hearty: hard cheese and breads, thick soups and porridges, dumplings, potted meat. Meals are shared three times with the whole family or, often, the whole block. Most foods include cabbages, potatoes, and pork in some way; and are often fried or fermented. Herders and farmers make up some of the lowest of Zwemirran society, living on the surface as they do. Black tea, mead, and vodka are famous beverages. Sweets are sculptural hard candies, little sugar models of buildings or beasts.

  • Mokra: “I’ve got a son and two brothers down there. We’ve got those savages on the ropes, I’m sure they’ll be back home soon.”
  • Kajuhan: “Damn slippery tree-huggers. It’s not like they’re using those mountains for anything productive.”
  • Zengan: “What, you mean the edge of Wheel? It’s all swamps, right?”
  • Elam: “I hear they make cute kid’s toys, but you can’t call that real magitech.”

Art and worldbuilding by S.A. Hannon.

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