Welcome to Kith Kanaan
Kith Kanaan is an island set off the west coast of the continent of Midiron, sometimes called the Main Lands. Kith Kanaan is divided into a number of nations, and is culturally diverse. It is isolated from Midiron by reefs and by a powerful storm calle the Maelstrom.
Kith Kanaan is divided into a number of nations, with each nation having developed more or less in isolation from one another until the last hundred years. As cultures flourished, trade and interaction increased, and the borders between the nations have grown thinner. The rise of demons and undead in the south have destroyed the Cordona and Anansie, while the nation of R'Tal is now cut off by a thick, supernatural mist and Carcassonne has closed her borders, using a haunted forest to protect itself.
Understanding the Setting
Kith Kanaan is, for the most part, a medieval setting, with technology and cultures which span from the early 800s (in Aregon), to the early 1500s (in Tarantis / Siren's Cove). Things which are taken for granted in the modern age simply do not exist for characters within the setting. It is important to keep some of these differences in mind.
In Kith Kanaan, the world seems much larger. It may take three or four hours to move from one village to another, and news takes days or months to spread from one region to another. The distances between cities can be measured in the number of days it takes to get from one to another, and it may take up to months to travel the length of Kith Kanaan.
The Shire: The Shire is a centralized location, and is a major source of trade. The three key locations in the Shire are Westwood, which is a large township in the west, bordering Anaitha and Drachenkeep; The Shire, which is the only true city within the region, having grown into a sprawl with the coming of refugees from the south, and Hawk’s Freehold, a fortress and gathering ground for rangers and druids to the south, on the borders of the River Lull, nestled in against Anaitha and just north of the ruins of Kopje Keep.
Magic plays a significant part in Kith Kanaan, and is accepted for the most part as a normal aspect of life. Because of the presence of the Northern Wilds and Southern Wilds, and the recent destruction of Cordona and Anansie from magical forces, magic is not entirely trusted, and those known to practice magic are watched with suspicion.
The upper class often see magic as a gift, much like a tool or an art. People who have magic are expected to be educated and entertaining, while the peasantry and lower classes see magic as a curse – those who know magic are seen as a threat to the normal way of life, and tend to become either shunned or banished, or even branded and put to death.
The Shire: The Shire has had a large number of practitioners of magic, from all walks of life. True peasantry do not trust magic, but among the middle class and higher, magic is nearly mundane. The acceptance of magic among the lower classes tends to ebb and flow, but it is mostly met with distaste. In the Argus district, magic tends to inspire fear, as the citizens of the region recall necromancy and infernalism from the nation of Cordona, while in the Anansie district, magic is seen as an art form and is treated with respect and awe.
Education and the growth of technology is slow. With the presence of magic and the supernatural, the study of science is hindered – but it still exists. In Tarantis and in Anansie before its collapse, the study of the natural sciences was an important aspect to understanding the world. Siren’s Cove is the city of scholars and learning. Outside of Tarantis, the study of science is not widely accepted, and can often be seen as a threat to the normal way of life. Some cultures dislike the advance of ‘reason’, which threatens tradition, superstition, and some even say magic.
In the modern age, the amount of information we gain in a day surpasses what peasants used to learn in a lifetime. This should give an idea of the ignorance of the peasantry of Kith Kanaan, while the merchant class and upper class have a bit more of an education. The ‘Renaissance Man’ does not exist yet, and most individuals focus themselves in a very narrow field of education, if they are educated at all. Most people can’t read.
The Shire: The Shire is a very simple region, with a low level of education. The majority of the native population are lower class, being peasants or farmers. The Argus district is mostly lower-to-middle class, and have a low level of education, while the Anansie district tends towards scholars and artisans, with a higher chance of education being a serious possibility. Those who want a true education take a boat north to Siren’s Cove, and attend the universities there.
Society is isolated, and most regions distrust strangers. Most people do not travel from city to city, or even from town to town, and the regions outside of civilization tend to be quite dangerous. National borders are patrolled, and people are not allowed to pass without written permission or a clear indication of who they are and where they are going. People tend to distrust outsiders, and those who travel frequently without being merchants are seen as unreliable or touched in the head.
Civilization grows normally around a central city, with branching out from it, then local villages scattered between. There are often trade routes and guard outposts, and communication is done by couriers and messengers. Anything outside of these hubs is generally foreign to most people. Information and news is usually weeks old before it has spread to another hub, and innovations or knowledge is very slow in spreading.
The Shire: The city known as the Shire is a central hub. There are scattered farms which exist just beyond it, and Westwood is the only large town within the region. The people of the region are more accepting of wanderers, simply because of the fact the Shire was a major trade point, and due to the influx of refugees.
Authority is incredibly important. Those of higher social rank are expected to lead and protect those of lower rank, and to keep society safe. To the peasant, those in power control nearly every aspect of life. The city guard are paid by the nobility, the city shops negotiate trade with the nobility, and the cities function through the money of the nobility.
Royalty is more than a title, it is a power granted by blood. Nobility is also a matter of blood, and not simply a title. When one is made a noble, they are invested with power. While nobles may be questioned in some societies, it is understood that destroying the leaders of a city or town is effectively destroying the entire community. While a ruler may not be liked, it is their place to rule, and attempting to destroy the balance of power cripples the society at every level. A peasant who kills a noble is doing more than killing another person, it is an attack on the entire order of class, and not only scares nobility, it scares peasants, who know no other way of life. There is a very serious risk that the offender will be torn apart by the panicked members of his own class, and the corpse presented to the nobles as a request for forgiveness and mercy.
The Shire: Authority manifests in the position of the Peacekeepers, who were appointed by the mysterious figure known as The Blue Wizard. Power is held by the Peacekeepers and the merchant class, and there were very few ‘noble’ lines within the Shire until the refugees of the south came in.
Currently, there is a level of class warfare going on in the Shire between the nobility of other nations attempting to exert their authority over those of lower class, and the merchant class who want to keep the status quo. In the Shire, the nobility are not the highest authority, the Peacekeepers are. Since the Peacekeepers can come from any level of society, this has caused many problems among the new noble class, and those refugees who see this manner of rulership as alien to their way of understanding.
In the Argus district, nobility have attempted to create a ‘new order’ with them on top, and have taken to using the former guards and enforcers of Aranous to answer to them. They are attempting to force the Shire to adapt to the society they are familiar with, and finding stiff resistance. In the Anansie district, a new court is in the process of being put together to settle difficulties behind closed doors, to keep the honour and reputations of their nobility intact. Both districts are proving frustrating to the Peacekeepers and this has caused much turmoil and confusion among the lower classes.
Every nation has some form of faith, even if it is not officially recognized. Faith is the spiritual food and drink of civilization, and brings a sense of order to the lives of the peasantry. It is through faith that society can accept things which are outside of their control, knowing something else is responsible for the world and how it works.
Carcassonne is home of the Celestial Courts, which holds great sway on the entirety of their society. The ruler of Carcassonne has divine blood which can be traced to the highest members of the Celestial Court, and is worshiped as gods made manifest, a living testimony of the presence of the spirits. The peasantry worship their ancestors, the fortunes, and the faeries that live within the Carcassonne woods. The belief that every rock, tree, and stream holds their own spirit is accepted as fact, and the land itself seems a place of mythic beauty.
Anansie was once a city deep within Midiron, and was brought to Kith Kanaan by powerful magic. They accept the presence of the Joshuite faith, and accept Yahweh, if not by that name. Blessings are made in the name of Yahweh’s prophet, Suleiman, and attempts are made to ward off the evil of the demon tiger, known as Ravana. It is believed that the rukshasa were once angels, and Ravana was the greatest among them, but the sin if pride caused the One God to throw them from heaven. In the war that followed, some angels did not take part, and were cursed to fall, but not as far – and these became the elemental lords. These elemental lords tormented the people of the desert, until the prophet Suleiman came and brought with him the wisdom to bind these Fallen Angels with oaths and pacts.
Cordona held no official religion, though there was a strong presence of the Arin Pantheon. The Sisterhood of the Blade were recognized for their religious strength and the blessings of their goddess, and the Brotherhood of the Book were known for their aid within the merchant class. Additionally, however, there were myriad demon cults that existed within Cordona, with more than twenty active cults within the capital before the city fell. The most prominent cult, the Boned Ones, believed that the infernal were a part of the natural order, and were expected to guide the world into the next age.
In Aregon, the Joshuites held some influence, attempting to convert the tribes to their beliefs. Those tribes who converted were given aid in the form of clothing, blessings, and weaponry with which to wage war with their rivals. The Joshuite faith proved effective in the south and south-east of Aregon, but the northern and western tribes held to a strange variant of the Arion pantheon. The belief held in the north is that Arion is the Father of a vast army, and that any warrior who dies in battle will join him in that army. The warrior-women of Sanguine were said to walk through the battlefield, choosing the worthy from the fallen to serve Arion. To not die in battle, or without honour, was to be denied entrance into the army, and was a great shame. Zillah is seen as the Queen of the Under World, where the unworthy are held and tormented, and the goddess Mana is seen as the wise woman who provides insight to the warrior-god Arion.
Until twenty-five years ago, Drachenkeep was held firmly by the Joshuite faith, who held considerable influence among the nobility and could place incredible pressure upon the royal line. A terrible curse destroyed most of the upper ranks of the clergy within Drachenkeep, crippling the faith enough that their influence became nearly non-existent, and when a living incarnation of the Arion pantheon took the throne of Drachen, the Joshuite’s hold on the nation was finally broken. This has resulted in a subtle religious war, with the Arion and Joshuite faiths contesting for influence among the nobility and merchant class. For the most part the peasantry are still faithful to the Joshuite faith, and follow their religious holidays. The exception lies in the city of Threshold, which is firmly held by the Arion faith, though the Joshuites are ferociously attempting to contest this power and convert the city.
The Northern Wilds is a region of animistic tribes who do not hold any true, organized faith. In many ways, those who come from the Northern Wilds have an early form of belief similar to that of the Celestial Courts, in that they accept that the land is alive with spirits which must be respected and appeased, but there is no ‘pantheon’ associated with it.
The Joshuite faith still holds power in the Shire, and is the most prominent faith among the peasantry and most of the middle class. In the last twenty five years there have been a sudden increase in a variety of faiths returning, including the Arion pantheon, the presence of the Celestial Court, and the appearance of the goddess Kij. This has caused much conflict within the region between those who have quietly kept the ‘old ways’ of the Arion, and the Joshuites who protected and guided society for the last thousand years.
The Southern Wilds is rumoured to be the domain of Ravana, but in the last ten or fifteen years there have been rumours of a darker influence in the south, with the demons and undead growing stronger with each passing season. The deepest recesses of the South hold tales of unspeakable horrors and lost kingdoms, but all that remains are the scattered remnants of demon cults and those who have survived the destruction of Aranous and Anansie – slaves and playthings for the monsters which exist, and those who have escaped.
Springdale is home to a unique religion which focuses on the god of lions, known as Simba. This religion is fairly simple, with respect paid to the non-anthro people of Springdale who live in the savannas and wander the region. This is essentially a form of animism which has not caught on outside of Springdale.
Tarantis is an unusual region, where the Joshuite faith holds significant power, but is contested by faith in the goddess of magic, Mana. The people of Tarantis are mostly matriarchal in nature, and the wife of Yahweh, Shekhina, sees more praise in the temples. This is usually met with shock and antipathy from the more conservative members of the Joshuite faith, who do not normally recognize Shekhina’s place in their beliefs. For the most part, the legends of Mana have blended with the story of Shekhina as the ‘dark mother’, creating a rich tapestry of self-empowerment for women in Tarantis, and the faith which has grown there is considered a heresy by the vast majority of the Joshuites who live outside of Tarantis.
Shire Legal System
The primary legal system in the Shire has adapted with the influx of refugees from outside the nation. Originally, the legal system was pretty direct – a person who was arrested was tried by the Peacekeepers, and if found guilty were imprisoned. With the sheer number of criminals and arrests made during the first few years following the destruction in the South, this system had to adapt or the prisons would soon be too full.
The Peacekeepers try to get arrests settled as quickly as possible. Trials are held with one judge who oversees the proceedings and who can ask questions of anyone involved, the arresting Peacekeeper who lists the crimes the prisoner has been accused of, and the prisoner who speaks in their defence.
A new tradition has begun in the Shire, which was brought in by the nobles of Argus. A noble who is accused hires someone to speak for them and to question statements made by the Peacekeeper. This hired lawyer is versed in the laws of the Shire, and keeps record of judgements made in past trials, in an attempt to help the noble escape persecution.
When this first began to happen, the Peacekeepers were at a serious disadvantage, and the practice began to spread into the merchant classes and to anyone who could afford them. The Peacekeepers were at a loss until the Brotherhood volunteered to act on their behalf. Most members of the Brotherhood have extensive knowledge of the law, but as an added advantage are also fully capable of knowing exactly what questions to ask, and whether or not the prisoner is lying.
The use of the Brotherhood to assist the Peacekeepers has been met with stiff resistance from among the nobility and those who follow the Joshuite faith. It is well-known that the Brotherhood keeps extensive records in their libraries, and are known to be able to see the past and future, and some nobles have protested their appearance, stating that the presence of a member of the Brotherhood is tantamount to saying the entire faith is declaring the guilt of the prisoner.
The process is still evolving however, and there have been some comments about simply placing a member of the Brotherhood as a neutral judge. This has not been met well by the Joshuites or by nobles who prefer to be able to use their wealth and influence to escape persecution by a ‘peasant militia’.