A LAND OF MAGIC AND INDUSTRY
Soluna is the sole continent in the world, a 500km long mountainous island which is home to humans living in their own early 20th Century. Magic is a real force in this land, one which for whatever reason is more favoured to those who are born and raised on mountains.
This has led to highlanders dominating and subjugating their lowland neighbours for millennia. This stagnant world order was finally shaken with the advent of the Great War, a conflict that involved the whole continent, and one which resulted in the victory for technology over magic for the first time in history.
Soluna's 8 nation states have deep, rich histories, and as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, there was hopes for a better, brighter New World Order. Unfortunately, at the turn of the century this future was derailed with the advent of the Gates.
The Gates are of an unknown origin, but lead to eldritch worlds that are causing the doom of Soluna & humanity. They are spreading across the land at an unabated rate, forcing people into close proximity, and revealing the worst of humanity's darker impulses.
But, within countries of this land are those who would seek to reverse the fate that befalls the world. They may only be few, but those who are dedicated have something to fight for and defend in this new world.
THE MAGIOCRACY OF ELLISIA
The black, icy monolith that dominates the land and sky of the east is home to the colder hearts of men. Ellisia is the name given to not only the mountain and the nation that sits atop it, but the idea that Ellisia represents.
Home to the greatest Mages of the continent, Ellisians stick to the most primal of evolutionary psychologies. To an Ellisian, not all people are created equal, and so it's natural that the strong should rule over the weak. To be born an Ellisian is to accept a bargain, that you shall be predator atop the mountain, or prey below the clouds.
Ellisia has undergone a burst of nationalistic fervour since they lost the Great War. They have re-organised themselves, and are beginning to imitate the modernisation efforts of their western neighbours. Revenge is on the mind of these mountain-dwellers, and another war is likely to be on the horizon.
THE QUEENDOM OF CAIN
Cain has existed as a deeply ingrained matrilineal monarchy for five hundred years, a place where men women exist as two completely separate social classes. Cain's rich resources are managed and ruled over by its women, whilst its men are sent to defend against incursions by Magical nations.
After centuries on the back foot, Cain fought back and won in the recent Great War. Spearheading this effort was the newly ascended Red Queen, Arianne I. It's thanks to her efforts in modernisation and centralisation that her knights defeated Ellisia's mages in the field.
Going into the new century, Cain was spearheading the new world order. Regardless of whether their ethno-centric militarism would be right for the future, they are paving the way to something different after millennia of stagnation.
THE REPUBLIC OF DELARI
Delari appears to be flashy, modern and sharp. People take the tram around the city, communicate via the telephone, and widely utilise electric lights and appliances. The people there speak, think and act with a haste that rarely ceases, fuelled by a trifecta of tobacco, coffee and alcohol.
It’s often been said that Delari could conquer the world if only it would stop fighting itself, and all this makes sense once you look past the polished machines and sharp suits. Beneath the veneer, it's clear to see that most of the city is ruled with intimidation and violence, keeping the city's workers binded in chains of economic domination.
Where once a progressive democracy stood, Delari is now fully in the throes of violent corporate capitalism. In the modern day, understanding these wolves in sheep’s clothing is more than politics; it’s life or death.
THE FREE REPUBLIC OF WHARVESPORT
To the south of Soluna, over 96km of harsh seas and brutal storms, lay the island of Wharvesport. For most of ancient history, Wharvesport lay isolated across the Strait, developing completely different cultural trends to the mainland.
Unfortunately, since the meeting of the two islands 400 years ago, Wharvesport has existed as a satellite state. Its own culture, religion and language have been all but obliterated by foreign rulers during the brutal occupation period.
In the last decade, and only after years of bloody fighting, the Wharvesportians have won back their independence. The cost was perilously high, but there is a tenuous hope on the horizon that these islanders are fighting to protect. Only time will tell if the republic will remain free.
TRIBES OF THE COMMUNECHOAN DESERT
Communecho is the name given to the large desert region in the north of Soluna, typified by a hostile and arid climate. The region itself is enormous, and possesses a unique geographical quirk. Most of Communecho’s water is found underground, and the water itself shifts with the seasons, ebbing and flowing such that it will only pool in fixed areas for mere days or weeks at a time.
This has forced most of the people who reside in Communecho to live as nomads. For thousands of years, these highly varied groups have wandered through the graveyards of ancient cities, uncaring towards groups of people south of the border.
In recent years, their isolationist attitude has been severely shaken. Shortly after the Great War, they lost a great deal of their land to an invading army, one which isn't going away soon. The tribes are now as unified as they have ever been, trying to keep their rich and cultural traditions intact as they transition, by necessity, into a modern state.
THE FREE STATE OF RUSH
Rush is a young settlement with its moniker as ‘the city of opportunity’. Bordering the Communechoan desert, the city is built directly into a large gorge that was dug by a meteor strike forty years ago. The idealistic and money hungry flock to the city, benefitting from a mineral boom that's ongoing to this day.
Rush offers anyone a chance to keep the money they earn, though without any kind of safety net underneath them. The city can be both a symbol of hope, and as a last chance, where one more poor decision or stroke of bad luck means being left to die in the desert heat.
The perpetual state of liberalistic anarchy in the city is also maintained by a paradox. The head of the military junta, Gregory Brissot, that claimed the land could at any point seize complete dictatorial powers by force. Instead, he forces the city to exist in anarchy, watching as the free market guides his home from afar.
THE EMPIRE OF LOWAIN
The oldest continuous settled society on Soluna, Lowain oozes magical tradition and aristocratic philosophy across its sunny shores and fertile fields. Settled by early Mages, they used their talents to effortlessly dominate the stretches of flatland to the east, fuelling the City of Light's ascension.
At its zenith, the empire once stretched across the entirety of the lowlands, but after numerous rebellions the sun finally set. Now a shadow of its former self, the nobles of the great city cling to their imperial ambitions, invoking the names of great ancestors in endless games of war and politics.
The common people have suffered greatly in these pursuits, and in recent years a rebellious sentiment has been sown. The largest of these factions, the Unionists, believe in equality for all peoples, regardless of their birth or their magical status. Their numbers are growing, and the world looks on with bated breath to watch the inevitable conflict bubble over and consume the west.
THE VOLTAEUS MOUNTAIN RANGE
Thunderstorms, landslides and wildfires are all common features of the mountain range to the north of Soluna. The dwellers of this alpine landscape are considered to be brutal pragmatists and heretics, feared as raiders throughout history.
The Voltaeans live their life according to ancient religion codes, unique amongst the other ‘enlightened’ nations of Soluna. Their way of life is harsh, but a necessity in order to thrive where nobody else could.
After a centuries-long isolation period, the nation has rapidly industrialised. The result is a nation where the fires of industry blend with great steel monuments to the Gods, a life where ancient traditions and forward thinking ideals have melded together.
TIMELINE: THE PRE-WAR ERA
TIMELINE: THE GREAT WAR TO THE MODERN DAY
10,000 b.c.e.: The first great civilisation, Ancient Communecho, spreads across the breadth of the great northern desert. Evidence of its meteoric spread can be found across Soluna in written records, magical residue, coinage, architecture and advanced road networks. Unfortunately, the civilisation’s apotheosis was short lived. For unknown reasons, Ancient Communecho suddenly collapsed, consigning humanity to trek across the unforgiving desert to the lands beyond.
9,500 b.c.e.: The settlement of the rest of Soluna began with its mountains. People who are born and raised at higher altitudes are more likely to develop magical potential. This made hills and mountains prime settlement locations, as Mages frequently used their powerful gifts to subjugate their neighbours.
9,200 b.c.e.: Human settlers cross the southern ice bridge to the heavily forested island of Wharvesport. After the ice melts, islander culture diverges from the mainland, developing their own language system and religion.
200 b.c.e.: The first empire of Soluna emerges as the Mage Lords of Lowain extend their reach well past the mid-point of Soluna. Rebellions occur time and time again on the fringes of the empire, places where the conquered non-magical populace severely outnumbered their Mage overlords.
100 b.c.e.: The success of the Lowainian Empire presents raiding opportunities to the Mages of the Voltaean mountain range. Aside from their profitable excursions, the Voltaeans are otherwise an isolationist group, practicing their beliefs in the Voltaean Pantheon, a far more brutal belief system than the more common Solunan worship of the Goddess Echo.
0 a.t.e.: The vast eastern mountain range of Ellisia federates into a magiocratical kingdom. Ellisia’s large magical population turns outwards, nearly doubling the size of their borders. This year is used as a zero for the standard modern calendar, bringing a soft close to Soluna’s ancient and classical eras.
44 a.t.e.: The eastern portion of the Lowainian Empire collapses after a long, protracted rebellion. Much of the Ellisian kingdom sweeps up the remains, but a core section of the lowlands remains free. The remaining land would fracture into further warring states, and this central land would never be truly conquered by Mages ever again.
1200 a.t.e.: Lord Argentine, ruler of the southern barony of Delari, passes away, leaving his estate to a Guild of mercenaries who had made his estate their home. Eager to expand, but only able to move into the ocean, they discover’ the island of Wharvesport, quickly exploiting the land’s resources to fuel their growing economy. The renaissance of Soluna begins.
1500 a.t.e.: After centuries of warfare and careful diplomatic marriages, the central lowland states are all joined under the banner of the Queendom of Cain. This monarchy is highly militaristic to defend its borders, and practices a strict social divide between the sexes. Over the coming centuries, they will frequently come into conflict with Lowain to the west, and Ellisia to the east.
1700 a.t.e.: The Solunan industrial age begins with the invention of the steam engine in Delari. The subsequent industrial revolution would shake Soluna, nowhere more so than its point of origin. Upon heavy privatisation of the technology, the merchant families begin to use their vast wealth and factories to separate from the Guild’s influence.
1850 a.t.e.: A meteor strike lands in the southern Communechoan desert, carving a large gorge into the land. The small area is settled by a group of highly successful Lowainian mercenaries, who seek to turn the unclaimed land into a free city of commerce. As they dug into their new land, the meteor yielded a vast amount of mineral wealth, granting the mercenary’s wish as the free city of Rush is founded as an ultra-liberal, anarchic state.
1891 a.t.e.: Queen Arianne I ascends the throne of Cain. She considers it the destiny of both her and Cain to fight and unite the culturally similar lowlanders of the world. To this end, she announces her great reforms to remould the armed forces into a conscription army, one prepared for an ex-tended invasion. Support and weaponry pour in from Delari and Rush as the prelude to the Great War begins.
1893 a.t.e.: The border city of Priture petitions the Cainite government for liberation from their Ellisian rulers. Negotiations ultimately fail, and war is declared. Most of the Cainite Royal army marches east to wage war against the ill-prepared Mages, whilst a border force holds against the lethargic Lowainian army.
1893 a.t.e.: The Ellisian fighting effort is consistently marred by a lack of support from the inefficient rulers back home. The eventual head of the war effort was the Archetype of Fire Magic, William Pyris, and he switched much of the Ellisian strategy to guerrilla warfare. This involved attacking enemy supply lines, leaving ambushes, and otherwise taking advantage of the Cainite’s overstretched lines.
1893 a.t.e.: Whilst the war was ongoing, a rebellion begins across the Strait of Wharvesport. The Wharvesportian people, backed by the merchant families of Delari, rise up in arms. The Guild is caught by complete surprise, and within only a couple of months they lose their satellite state, and most of Delari’s land is seized by the families who metamorphose into independent gangs. The Guild is reduced to a shell of its former self, a puppet being directed by oligarchs whose only interest is the bottom line.
1894 a.t.e.: The battle of Priture occurs between Cainite & Ellisian forces. Ellisia had held the city over the course of half a year, but the eventual Cainite onslaught would necessitate a full evacuation. The main battle would be the bloodiest day in Soluna’s history, as the city turned into a battleground. 80,000 soldiers and 60,000 civilians perish in the fighting, most of whom are Ellisians who perish whilst covering the retreat of the citizenry.
1894 a.t.e.: The Cainite army finally reaches the Ellisian Mountain, and sets up for a lengthy siege. Such preparations prove to be unnecessary as Archetype Pyris offers an armistice after a high degree of uncertainty from the politicians in the capital. As a part of the war reparations, the city of Priture and a massive sum of money exchange hands. The culmination of the war would mark the first time a lowland nation had bested a mountainous one in a major conflict.
1895 a.t.e.: In the wake of the Ellisian’s defeat, Archetype William Pyris turns the Ellisian public on the politicians that rules prior to the war’s commencing. As far as he was concerned, the army never lost, but were instead abandoned by the politicians back home. Pyris enacted a series of purges with mass popular support, turning the nation into a centralised autocracy with him at its head. The laws he passed stratified the nation along magical lines, a far colder nation.
1897 a.t.e.: The Rushgan-Communechoan war, also known as the 4 day incident, occurs. Over the course of a freak snowstorm, a joint Rushgan-Ellisian taskforce pushes 10km into the desert’s borders. No motivation for the conflict is ever given, but Rush would subsequently mine the land they occupied. Their overall objective was to siphon water to fuel the ongoing expansion of Rush.
1898 a.t.e.: The otherwise nomadic Communechoan groups call the first meetings to garner support to take back their land, and create a firm border around the desert’s edge. Their actions mirror those of the Voltaeans, who only a few short years earlier looked to become a modern nation, ready to compete with the challenges of the upcoming century.
1899 a.t.e.: The New World Order was appearing on Soluna, and everyone had hopes for the promise of the new century, and the many questions that it would answer. Unfortunately, on December 31st, the Gates appeared, forever altering the course of world history.
1901 a.t.e.: Current date.