Alkaen was, according to legend, the first land to break the waves placed by the goddess Alrianne during the making of the world. This meant that it was the first land to grow life, and the people there advanced first in everything. Alkaen is the centre of the world, as far as any Alkaeni national is concerned, and that rather rings true, as the peoples across the waters all look to Alkaen for an example of culture and politics.
The Peoples of Alkaen
While many peoples come to Alkaen seeking their fortunes, there are some races that are far more common than others in this land. Humans are the most populous race, followed by half-elves, halflings and dwarves, then followed by elves and half-orcs. While almost every race is represented in Alkaen, they are often treated as outsiders by the Alkaeni peoples.
Magic in Alkaen
Since the events that lead up to the creation of The Wastes in Northern Alkaen, magic has been viewed with suspicion and often outright hostility. It is considered vastly dangerous, and is also associated with evil. Those that have been found to wield magic have been put to death for being in league with the demon lord Ascliatus, god of darkness, death and lycanthropy. Since the events leading up to the deification of Brúra Godrak one hundred and fifteen years ago, mass hysteria broke out when it was discovered that mortals could become gods with the use of magic. This has resulted in mass arrests over suspicion of magic, and several hundred people have been executed since then. It is not uncommon for people to smother their own children, believing them to be magical and not wishing to see them put to death publicly.
While magic is not accepted in society, alchemy is a fairly common skill and industry across Alkaen. It is not something that people encourage their children to enter into, but it is not persecuted the same way that magic is.
Political and Religious Unrest in Alkaen
Because of Brúra Godrak’s ascension, The Old Gods are experiencing a minor resurgence in followers. However, the followers of the New Pantheon (these are the gods you will find in the Player’s Handbook) are not best pleased. This has resulted in assaults on clergy from either side, the sacking of temples, and massive civil unrest. This conflict is largely stemming from the followers of the New Pantheon believing that the Old Gods have abandoned all of Aika to their fates, and that to worship gods that don’t care for their people is worse than worshipping evil gods or demons. There is also a lot of conflict over which pantheon Brúra Godrak belongs to, as he is popular among either group. This situation is getting further out of control by the day.
There is also civil unrest being generated by a large organisation of working-class and merchant-class individuals who are trying to bring about a democracy as opposed to the monarchy that has been in place almost since Alkaen rose from the waters. They are slowly gathering influence among the poor and the wealthy alike, from all backgrounds bar the nobility themselves. There are several people, however, that are using this doubly-restless time to snatch land and power to themselves. Mercenaries are being bought out at dizzying rates, and lawlessness abounds.
To top it all off, the yearly skirmishes of the Landrassians on the innocent peoples of Yandril is causing further strain on the already precarious position of King Bornir. This year’s skirmish has lasted longer than any other in living memory, and the casualties are some of the highest on record. This is causing the families of the soldiers quite a bit of concern, and they are some of the most vocal members of the opposition.