Codices of Istralar and Beyond Document in Istralar | World Anvil

Codices of Istralar and Beyond

This article does not seek to give the specifics of each continent's geography - it will not detail every island, mountain, river or sea...
the Geography of Istralar, an older entry in the Codices of Istralar
  The Codices of Istralar and Beyond are the grand works of the Kartovian Exploration Society, functioning as their purpose for continuing on and their everlasting impetus to improve.  
The Codices are an invaluable resource containing an utter wealth of knowledge; indeed, they are a publicly-available repository of knowledge like none other.   They seek to document every facet of Istralar, from the numerous species (both sapient and not) that inhabit the planet to the intricacies of the leylines and magical systems that very few are aware of the depths of.   Despite being a repository of knowledge for Istralar and the other planes, the originals of the Codices are not stored on Istralar.   To protect them from interference, they are instead stored in a demiplane linked to the Astral Plane. Copies of the Codices are made regularly, with the year of their publishing engraved on the spine and printed on the inside of the second page with the other details of publishing.   Some organisations maintain yearly copies of the Codices, even linking them directly to a source book that receives updates as the Codices do, but this requires extreme arcane talent to accomplish. Others, like the Eagle's Shadows, instead maintain their own versions of the Codices - utilising the updates that the Society provides, but adding their own private information.

The Codices of Istralar and Beyond by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Historical Details


If we don't share our information, how many years will we as a collective society spend re-learning what was already learned and forgotten?
— Society researcher
The Codices began shortly after the Kartovian Exploration Society was founded in 5074, as a pet project of two of founder Chiaretta Kartovy's closest friends and adventuring protégées.   The duo were displeased with the status quo the guilds had spread over time, where knowledge was kept insular and irrelevant knowledge was forgotten. As the new Society was dedicated to exploration, they began matters with a bestiary to account for what they saw, and it drew great attention from others in the Society.
  The project blossomed in scope quickly after that, with other members of their initial adventuring group offering information and expanding the bestiary greatly. When more came with their own myths, legends, and tales of various beasts of afar, the initial Bestiary of Istralar was forced to expand into something able to hold the knowledge provided. Over time, the Bestiary bloomed into the Codex to collect all information, and steadily it was organised and shared - but links to other planes were always left vague, and readers were confused on how the different planar links worked.   Less than two decades after the Codices began, they were turned into a repository of all possible information worth knowing; significantly; though the rules on what can and can't go in these days has shifted, the purpose has not further slipped from where it was six centuries ago.


This is a work that never ends, and it is up to every citizen of Istralar to ensure it continues. They need not take any action to do so; all we ask is that people keep on living.
— former president Paulina Kartovy
  If there is any work that can be said to truly be a love letter and group project by every member of every society, it is this. Each page of the Codices is crafted with love, every word reflecting the lived experience of hundreds. The Codices are a rare and near-unique beauty in how they proliferate and inspire, and very little can cast a shadow on the overarching benefits they offer.  
Interpretation of the Codices by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Their legacy is primarily evident in the increased cross-country and cross-continental discussion and collaboration over the past few centuries since the Codices began to grow to significant size.   Now that even ordinary researchers in backwater towns of Iskaldhal's distant reaches are aware of the airships of the Tengeriin Fleet half the world away, the Northern Continent can begin planning to expand their methods of travel into the skies - perhaps taking cue from how Takawaoku manages the Rage of the Sunari to prevent the icy windstorms from grounding any airships - and this is only one example.   The Vostene Republic is one of the nations that stands to benefit most greatly from this legacy, and not entirely because they are the nation of the Codices' birth. As a rare example of democracy after their overthrowing of the prior government, the Codices ensure their ideology spreads across the globe to reach others who might feel similarly about rising up.
  Indeed, the Codices contain many such examples of regimes and revolutionaries that might inspire commoners; for this reason, many nations censor which volumes of the Codices are available. The Medimian Empire, for example, requires all copies of the Codices within their borders to be edited and distributed by their own teams to prevent 'undesirable or incorrect information' from disseminating into their populace.   It is incredibly lucky that those editing the Codices had the forethought to store the originals in their own demiplane. As was discovered in the Endless Archive, there exist many artifacts and spells capable of altering text. In the case of the Unbroken March, the aftermath of its largely-unknown destruction is still being uncovered in Liangxin and beyond. Comparisons between different copies of the Codices, as one of the most widely-produced yet consistent documents, has been noted as an effective way of determining the scale of the March's effects.  
Codices by by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Codices study area by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
Study, Scientific
Authoring Date
Began in 5074
Freedom through information.
— researcher

Isn't this all a bit... meta?

For readers from Earth, some of this information may seem eerily familiar.   This is because the Codices are intended as a reflection of the bulk of Istralar's articles - the information scribed in them is available in-world, though perhaps not as openly accessible as this article (which is also included in said Codices) implies.   Not all information within Istralar's articles is available to those living there.   Many notes are left out, many copies are not updated, and some articles are restricted to specific individuals.   However, if something seems to be inscribed as common knowledge that is not too recent, then it is likely something players are able to learn and that characters might know - perhaps through visiting local libraries or otherwise undergoing study.

Cover image: Codices of Istralar by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


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Aug 28, 2022 02:00 by Amy Winters-Voss

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Author of the Liminal Chronicles urban fantasy series | Author Website