Introduction to Lethea

What's it about?

Lethea is a fantasy world with multiple magic systems, complicated political intrigues, ambitious dynasties, and much more. What originally started off as the backdrop for a few Dungeons & Dragons campaigns has now grown and developed to the point where it now has its own species, monsters, lore, and magic. Even the magnificent dragons have been drastically altered to fit the setting and its themes and tones.
 

Le Zhea, Lethea, Lettela - We may call it by different names but this land is ours and mustn't forget that

Inspiration

Lethea draws inspiration from a diverse array of different sources such as late-medieval and renaissance Europe, religious schisms and reformations, Finno-Ugric mythology, ancient river valley civilisations, and the modern socio-political conflict between globalism and nationalism. A fair amount of Lovecraftian horror inspired the more monstrous aspects of Lethea.

Tone & Theme

Lethea is a world of devout zealots, passionate patriots, scheming nobles, and the ever-present fear that your neighbour might be an abomination of nature which desires to influence your mind, enslave you and force you to act against those who you love. Despite the paranoia and the tragedies of life, people cling on to what they have: family, faith, and fatherland.

Technology

The technological progress depends on the region of Lethea. Travelling through lands such as the Delerian Wastes you'll find mud huts and people with stone and bronze tools, but in the bustling cities of The South, you'll encounter steel and stone. Artillery pieces keep the panedur safe all while the remnants of the Lethean Empire continue to strive for genetic perfection.


Species


The continent of Lethea and the rest of Ryel are home to a large variety of different intelligent species. Over thousands of years the humans, a species native to the continent, have established their dominance over the others, but mankind remains divided. Given enough dedication, hard work, and cohesion, a different species could kick the humans off of their pedestal and assume control over the entirety of the continent.

The species of Lethea are in one of four groups: geprati, ispalati, aberati, and veriati. Everything that doesn't go under those groups, such as wild animals and normal sea life, are categorised as Metrati.

The geprati deny our rightful place. Ours is the nonagon and the nine-sided star. We alone can dictate the future of this great continent. All who refute these simple facts will be forced to open their eyes to the truth!
— Unknown aberati

Common sentient species such as humans, elchen, panedur, goblin, and a few others are classified under the geprati category. All of these species have a number, and it's corresponding geometrical shapes that are associated with them. Many believe that the higher the number, the more powerful and feared the species is.

Throughout Lethean history, humanity has used genetic engineering technology to mix multiple different species in their attempts to create new ones. Many of these artificial species were sterile and died out but a few survived, and they were collectively called the ispalati. Species such as the dantuir and vlans are such species.

The aberati are often called monstrous abominations of nature. Although they come in an unimaginable variety of shapes and sizes, every one of them considers the aberati a single species and all of them are born with the ambition to guide in the ascension of their kind.

Regions


Lethea is a large continent with plenty of different biomes and environments. The people of the vast continent divided the landmass into four regions back when the majority of the land was under the control of the mighty Empire of Lethea. These regions were simply called The South, The East, The West and The North. After the fall of the empire, there were many attempts to name the regions, but since the peoples of the lands couldn't agree on names that would fit the land and represent every culture, the old names remained.

The South

Home to most of Lethea's feudal Human states, The South has had a colourful history. Thousands of years ago the tribes that inhabited the land were forcefully subjugated and incorporated into the Empire of Lethea. The natives eventually rose up and banished the invaders from their land, only to find a new enemy to their east. Despite the hordes of aberati and the ounslought the proud southeners preserved their freedom and rose to greatness. Now the region is concidered the safest and most well developed out of the four.

The West

The West is a diverse region of deserts, mountains, jungles, and savannahs. Thousands of years ago the first civilized human country was born there. They cobbloed up their neghbours into their state and exanded beyiond the region, into The South. They called it the Empire of Lethea, but evenutally The West fell, leaving behind countless tiny tribes and the shambling corpse of the empire, Le Zhea. A long time ago the great desert that takes up most of the region used to be a lush grassland, but at some point it stopped raining,rapidly transforming the place into a wasteland. The buried ruins of once great cities are all that remain of the lost civilisations that died there.

The East

The cursed land, the eastern wastes, land of the endless marsh - The East was once a region that was held in high regard among the people of The South. When the elchen left their old world and landed on the shores of Lethea they ended up in The East. Although it was wild and cold, the Imperium of Qerthéllnaval made it shine. Further to the north-east the human nation of Cehvox built marvelous wonders, excellent roads, and brought civilization to those around them. Unfortunetly The East fell when two people from both of these countries conspired together to take over their countries and to expand beyond the regional borders.

The war that followed dramatically changed everything. A massive crack had split the land, destroying most of Cehvox's cities and nearly all of the wonders they had built. The centre of the great Qerthéllnavalic Imperium had been turned to a horrible wetland and without their capital, major cities, and the government, their proud civilisation fell.

The North

Desolate, cold, and mostly isolated from the other regions, The North has remained a mystery to many. It is seperated from the other regions by The Divide, a massive mountain range that has killed nearly everyone who has tried crossing it. Much of the region is a cold, sparcely populated wasteland, but that hasn't stopped nations from rising and falling. Currently over half of the region is under the control of the Empire of Lorgzilin and they haven't shown signs of stopping their invasions.

Ryel, the Moons, and Beyond

Lethea is a continent on a fairly Earthlike planet called Ryel. The planet is orbited by two moons that are referred to as Vol and Tyril by most Lethean scholars, but different cultures have their own names for them as well as the planet itself. One of the moons, Vol, is very small and observers have noticed that during certain times of the day specific spots on the satellite's surface reflect a lot more light than the other moon and Vol's other surfaces.

The sun that Ryel orbits is a G-type main-sequence star called Ryelnor. Between Ryel and Ryelnor is the barren rocky wasteland know as Danris and the molten hellscape called Astralis. Further away from Ryel are the gas planets Flenteth and Devealtis, but between Ryel and those planets is also a ring of asteroids known as the Keliapol Belt. Beyond the gas planets is a second belt called the Ounarsas Belt.
Lethean Regions

Religions


The countless religions and beliefs about the world have divided the peoples of the great continent and the rest of Ryel since the dawn of civilisation. Religion and people's overall belief in something greater has been a source of comfort and a becon of hope in times of tragedy. A few religions have grown to be some of the most influential forces in Lethean society and politics.

Abreanism

What started off as a small religion based around the teaching of a girl who had drowned and scended to divinity, Abreanism has become the dominant religion in The South and in more recent times the faith has become more popular among the desert-dwelling tribesmen that inhabit the eastern side of The West. The religion has gone through two major schisms that severly hurt it from spreading further and caused conflicts to arise between the Orthodox, Hillenist, and Baglamist Abreanists.

Haltjanism

Long before the birth of Abrea of Sentijk the pround Saralians discovered the world's ultimate secret. According to their beliefs, nearly everything around them has a spirit. The mighty oak that stands tall on top the sacred hill, the vast lakes that provide fish for the people, and the ancient grove, all of them possess an ancient spirit that can be contacted with the power fo Spirit Magic. Even the animals and people have spirits and when they die, their descendants can contact them on specific says of the year.

Haltjanists argue that the gods the other religions speak of are merely powerful spirits of dead mortals. Unfortunately for them, the power to contact and see the spirits requires a mindset and understanding of the world that only the Saralians seem to have.

Aberati Cult

Deep in the darkest reaches of the world are groups of people so despicable that few would dare to acknowledge their existance. The aberati cultists serve their masters in hopes that when the aberati rise and bring the other species of Lethea to heel, then they would be awarded with mercy.

Since the cultists rely on raids and kidnapping for new recruits, slaves, and sacrafices, most military organizations are hostile to them and there are some, such as the Inquisition of Athe, who have made it their duty to root the cultists out and to destroy their hideouts.

Balicism

The old religion of the Vivernians, Balicism has remained strong despite the growing threat of Abreanism. It is a polytheistic faith that acknowledges the existence of other Gods from other religions, but only allows it's followers to worship and make sacrafices for their five gods.

The Existence of Gods

There are many unique understandings on how divinity works and whether or not a god or multiple gods even exist. Monotheistic religions such as Abreanism say that there is only one god, which for Abreanism happens to be Abrea, but there are also saints. People who did great things during their lives and ascended to serve beside god.   The Panedur have perhaps the strangest relationship with religion and spirituality. Due to past events, they have grown to despise the gods, every last one of them. They freely admit that all of them exist yet they deny their rule over the panedur species.   The overwhelming majority of gods started off as average men or women who did something great and ascended to divinity. The obvious exemptions are the moons and the sun. Their worshippers claim that they are gods, but they lack the origin stories that are associated with the other gods.
They claim that their god and the saints can assist people. What the ignorant fools fail to realise is that those gods of theirs are just the spirits of dead men and women. They are powerful spirits, but a powerful spirit is still a spirit.
Hiiekar Otti Vöök


Cover image: Among the Sierra Nevada, California by Albert Bierstadt

Comments

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11 Apr, 2019 19:17

This world looks so awesome and beautiful, you've clearly put a lot of love into it! I'm excited to see where this will go.

12 Apr, 2019 00:20

Thank you! :3

23 May, 2019 03:12

Beautiful work. You'll have to teach me how to do the little icons with the links in the lower right corner. I am in awe of your abilities.

24 May, 2019 12:28

Thank you for all the kind words!   Creating the little icons with the links took me a while and they use containers which are something that only Grandmaster+ users can use. The icons on the blocklinks I created in Adobe Illustrator. If you ever want a detailed guide on how to create those little blocklinks then feel free to contact me.

16 Aug, 2019 15:03

Hi,   Frederic from Germany here :D   It's very inspiring to brows through your work. Just by knowing, that you have no idea what you were doing, when you began world building is making me hopeful. I am very much at the beginning of my journey and I do hope to become a master myself. One far distant day in the future.   Keep up the good work.   Viele liebe Grüße Frederic

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