A brief guide of 13
"A world is defined by its people, first and foremost."
Mom, when was the world created?
We don't know. The time before is called the "Misty Ages", shrouded in mist and mystery like a thunderbird's nest. We call what came after "Scribe's Epoch", as the written records are what separates it from the time before. Then comes the "Flood" -
The sea revenge!
Yep, the seas rose and knocked down the scribes and their empires. But people are resilient, aye? So of course, we rose again, even if it took some time. That's why we call that time the "Second Rising".
Are we still in the "Second Rising", mom?
I... I don't... I guess not. But the plague is now behind us, right? It has taken years and years, but there is hope for us.
Yes... 6013 will be The Year of Hope!
Continents & Sapient Species
Three continents make up the world. Their histories are full of warring and collaborating, migrating and interacting. The Plague stopped all that. Ships stopped sailing, travellers were often unwelcomed, whether from the town a day's away or from a different continent...
Tundras, savannahs, and rainforests co-exist easier than the cultures that the biomes spanned.
Halflings populate the coastlines and waters of Friac'seoue. Their cities are but the cusp of their civilization, however, as halflings are nomads at heart, and most have a nomadic life, travelling back to the settlements when necessary. Their roaming custom has put them at odds with everyone else on the continent since the "Misty Ages".
The kingdom of Bastelia'hu is an expansionist force to be reckoned to. The centaurs who rule, made in the image of their goddess, established a prosperous nation at the expense of accepting Bastet as the supreme goddess. A small price to pay for many.
The Tall Belt creates an impenetrable barrier; one which Bastelians have never managed to perforate. Amongst the tall trees live vanaras. They seek knowledge, not power like their southern neighbours.
Yet further to the north one can find the savannahs where catfolk, centaur, vanara, and halflings live as equals. City-states rise and die, but the germ of freedom never dies within them.
At the northern edge of Friac'seoue stand the mountains and the ocean. Both frigid and inhospitable, and somehow, sustaining vanaras who long adapted their lifestyle to move with the seasons and learn from nature.
A land of extremes. Where water-loving, extremely short-lived gripplis live in and protect the waterways; they live together in harmony with extremely long-lived elven people who take care of the sacred land, above and below ground. At least, that's their story.
Tengus, followers of thunders and handlers of fire are also originally from Oceasile. They used to inhabit the forests of the continent. But their way of life was contrary to that of elven people. For that, they have been harassed, persecuted, and at times, hunted down and driven away from their homeland. Living in isolated pockets in the depths of Oceasile's rainforests, some tengus cling to their homeland. Most tengus, however, live on the other two continents.
Gripplis are an industrious bunch, whether on the coast or inland. The main differences between both groups are religious (not that they care much) and in the exposure they get to outsiders. Coastal groups protect the waters of Oceasile, essentially acting as the border police, making sure no one untoward steps a foot in the continent.
Elven people stick to their places except during religious festivities or emergencies. Elves wander through the arid lands, living in harmony with the harsh environment; drow live underground, keeping at bay the monsters that lurk in the shadows; drelves inhabit both, often acting as messengers and conduits between the other two species.
Many generations ago, a war between Tiel and Friac'seoue (one of many) led, indirectly, to the creation of a continent-wide federation 100 years after the war. Gnomes, dwarves, humans, and ratfolk all saw the benefits of uniting in war and peace.
Great things have been achieved since the unification. There are organized education and healthcare, which makes sure that all its citizens receive at least the basics, regardless of where they live.
There are also pernicious ailments that seep through the cracks.
The long-held stability is boring gnomes to death, and every generation, more of them leave for the Godless Realm, the plane of the fey. Racial undercurrents against the ratfolk are subtle, but the racial bias is there, many generations after the unification. Economic ambition and addiction are both rife, while humans expand and dwarves long back to the days they were in power.
Beyond the known world
Somewhere, unknown to the inhabitants of the three continents lays a group of islands, known to their inhabitants as the "Archipelago". A few people have found them throughout history, but the secret has always been kept or buried.
Without maritime travel during the plague, the secret may now be completely forgotten.
The source of most tales concerning outsiders, and many of the heroic tales of each civilization, the reality of other planes is an undeniable but mostly unknowable thing. The Godless Realm is inhabited by fey, the God's Shadows is inhabited by shadowy creatures, and the elemental planes are inhabited by a mixture of wispy, incoherent masses of the elements, as well as far scarier monsters adapted to live under the most terrifying environments.
Species = cultures?
Many people & cultures described here mostly refer to a specific race. For example, the vanara culture of the Tall Belt. This has three reasons for being: areas of origin, reproductive isolation and naming difficulties. All humanoid species in the world were originally found in different areas of the world. Although time has blurred those lines, it still holds true for all but one species that the continent where they were originally found in is still the continent where the majority of that species lives. Reproductive isolation refers to the fact that many species in 13 cannot reproduce with each other. While relationships are possible and happen between people of different races, the inexistence of children from those unions often means that no long-term cultures are created from these unions. Naming refers to my difficulties with coming up with names! Would it be cool to have a proper name for the vanaras of the Tall Belt? Yes. Am I going to prioritize such a task, knowing it'll be a pain in the ass? Not really, at least not until I have developed the basics of all these areas.