Romtol

Behind their masks of jest and joy lies despair and sadness for what they have lost, and fear for the future. It was until not so long ago I would have called them friends.
— A Rektouzk trader

  Within Rqet, Romtol is second only to the nation of Rektouzk in size. Within its borders live the Tollouchi, an exuberant and industrious people on the surface— and fatalists underneath— whose architecture and craftsmanship is famous the world over. Comedians, actors, and playwrights— the citizenry of Romtol enjoy any distraction and escape from the realities of the world they live in.
 

A Home Destroyed

Long ago, the great jungles of Puloum filled the land of Romtol. The apelike Tollouchi were at home in the canopies, often constructing their settlements high above the ground floor. However, some desired to live upon greater heights, larger trees, and larger homes within them. The Romtuun king was one such individual— who offered a great reward for anyone able to produce such great trees.

  Occultists, madmen and madwomen, knew of a way— or thought they did. A small group of individuals— twenty in number— shared a dream the following night. In this dream, a shrill cacophony of voices— as if a million entities spoke at once— rattled through their minds telling them of a ritual which could transform the jungle into a field of great wooden spires. Some tried to pass the dream off as just that— but it repeated itself each night until those that doubted began to chant unwillingly in their waking hours in a tongue they did not know.

 
Shuu'lnugt om, naelz gorth'nm. Gryiinph, gryiinph! Phtyn gnagran gryiinph. Hou rob'eb, nuzog garuum.
— An approximation of a madman's chant

 

  Unable to ignore their glimpses into the strange, alien powers that are enmeshed within the laws of the universe— they decided to forgo experimentation, and went to the capital itself to conduct their rituals. As they performed the rites— their bodies almost moving of their own accords— a terrible noisome wind shook the treetops from below. Clearly, it had to have been working! Then the screams began. The light seemed to be sucked out of the surrounding area— as if it was a mere blanket— and they were plunged into an all-consuming darkness blacker than the deepest caves they had ever seen.

  Just as suddenly as it had began— it stopped. There were no more screams, yet still no light— they could merely feel a sensation of growth and pain. The people of the once great Romtuun capital had become the trees they wished to create— their roots always growing outwards, expanding without end— sprouting new trunks where able.

 
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  Other settlements fell in the following days, overgrown and crushed by the cursed wood. Seeing the encroaching plants that would soon be upon them, the next settlement set alight the jungle they called home in desperation. The fire spread quickly, as this was during the summer months, and the cursed woods' march was delayed. The majority of Puloum had been destroyed in the process.

  Those that survived left the treetops— not knowing what caused the terrible incident, believing that it could happen again at any moment— and began to build anew on the ground floor. What hadn't been burned was felled, and it wasn't long until the cursed woods— now known as Rotomul— snuck upon their cities once again. A tradition began, and every year the living forest is burnt back.
 

Governing Structure

Pomm

Romtol is led by a monarch, called the Pomm, who is decided by victory within a series of hextennial trials known as the Gounom. This event is held within a great arena in the capital of Romm, and is viewed as a great spectacle for the public to enjoy. Trials include foot races through fiery tracks, improvisational acting, gladiatorial combat, and more.

  The Pomm can declare war, ally with other nations, and handles foreign policy.

The four families

A panel of four judges— seated by representatives of Romtol's four eldest lineages— decide on the winner of each trial, and the ultimate victor. The heads of the four families preside over the nation in four split counties— in which they elect their own regional leaders.

  The Pomm holds veto power over their decisions— though they rarely oppose the families as this is deemed unwise. An uncooperative Pomm may find themselves quickly and quietly replaced.

 

Architecture

Romtuun architecture is constructed primarily from lumber, felled from the now small forests that remain, and salvaged from the annual burning. The cursed lumber of Rotomul is particularly hardy, and once burned, is extremely fire resistant. It is said that if one closely inspects the patterns etched into the wood, screaming faces can be seen. Their settlements are constructed in a unique manner— attempting to emulate the mobility and aesthetic of the canopy cities they once inhabited.

  In pursuit of this ideal, Romtuun settlements are tall, and great terraces of wood snake throughout— like artificial hills. Grand entrances dot the edges of the terraces, and most structures are built hanging from the ceilings within. On the outside, long platforms extend from the edges, allowing structures to be built from underneath. Towers, windows, and other structures break through the wooden surface.

  Long stretches of thin wooden platforms kept a couple yards above the surface wind through their streets, as well as over, under, and around structures. The Tollouchi are adept climbers, and this allows for great mobility throughout their settlements. Trees are planted and grown where possible, but are isolated from one another in stone containers. Guards are sent to check on them periodically— ensuring the curse does not begin anew.

 
 

Assets, Industry, & Trade

Romtol's borders extend to the Xhloui River in the north, bordering Louh, and extend until the Tchlnox Mountains in the west— bordering Zilopnou. In the east, their lands reach towards Nipinoul, but fall short— ending in the Rollk desert where Kohd stands. Their southern border ends with one of Rektouzk's great forts.
 

From craft to coin

Some of the most skilled craftspeople in Qet are Romtuun, as in the pursuit of escapism, many find themselves pursuing a craft to its fullest extent. Their wood carvings are greatly sought after, and often commissioned by nobles from other lands.
Romtuun furniture, too, is expertly crafted— combining both comfort and aesthetic into expensive goods. Romtuun weaponry and armor is exquisite— strong, and beautiful at the same time.

  Some high-level Rektouzk mercenaries will even commission Romtuun smiths to forge their equipment.

 

 

Inadvertent fertility

With the yearly fires lit on the ever expanding Rotomul, Romtol's farmland has become more fertile than previously seen. While many crops are still grown in the Xhloui River delta, much of the central laying land has been able to produce adequate harvests.
Like their neighbors on Rqet, Romtol, too, grows copious amounts of maize. Squash such as pumpkin, and coum, are commonly grown as well. Various grains and vegetables are grown where possible.

 

Agile Armies

Romtuun armies fight quite differently than their contemporaries. With prehensile feet, and nigh unparalleled agility— their soldiers are often unpredictable. To them, battle seems to be somewhat of a show— entertainment, a distraction. Or at the very least, they try to act as such— when in reality, this is a well-honed style of combat. With their unique style of war, discipline, and weaponry— Romtuun forces have been able to stand their ground for centuries.
 
You may believe the enemy to be helpless when knocked to the ground— but then the blasted fool makes a mockery of you as they walk on their hands— and pull a dagger to your throat with their feet.
— A foreign commander

  Uniforms tend to be bright and colorful, mostly wooden or leather, with small pieces of embedded metal only covering key areas. Mail is often worn underneath the breastplate. Skirts of mail, with bright cloth woven throughout, and a leather belt fastening it to the body serve to protect the upper legs. Many choose simply to fight shirtless, shaving the hair over their bodies into various patterns as a sort of reverse war-paint.

  Common weapons include elegant curved shortswords which grow wider at the end, and are cut flat at the top— creating a surface that can not only cut, but defend, and deflect to an extent. Spears, and curved polearms called Modoul are oft wielded, as well. For ranged fighting, javelins are more typical rather than arrows.
 

Religion

There is no official state religion, though there is somewhat of a generally accepted philosophy. Fatalism runs rampant through the populace of Romtol, with war brewing on either side of their country, stress is high. Many believe that they are simply fated to a long, slow death. Perhaps they had defied fate by escaping the cursed woods hundreds of years ago— this particular notion is often scoffed at, however. You cannot change fate. It is preordained.

  With this terrifying prospect in mind, many Romtuun seek to fill their minds with something— anything— but the reality that faces them.
 

Education

Romtuun are more or less self educated— schools exist as a distraction rather than as a means to improve oneself. What is considered by the rest of the world as less-than-relevant knowledge pertaining to crafts, arts, math, and nature are taught much more than history or philosophy.

Kondil mondol gonm.

Type
Geopolitical, Country
Capital
Demonym
Romtuun
Leader
Head of State
Head of Government
Government System
Oligarchy
Power Structure
Unitary state
Economic System
Command/Planned economy
Currency
Houm: A 1/2 inch silver coin with a round hole punched out of the center, the front depicts the image of a large tree, the nation's motto is embossed on the back.
Major Exports
Pumpkin, coum, and other squash. Silver, lead, exquisite statues, carvings, furniture, weaponry, and armor.
Major Imports
Gold, gems, copper, tin, yntxol fruit, unique lumber from elsewhere, and yoult tree bark.
Official Languages
Neighboring Nations
Related Ethnicities

A preliminary attack

The bordering nation of Louh, to the north, has an unfortunate history of kidnapping citizens of other nations for use in alchemical experimentation.
  Some are harvested for their various body parts, to be brewed into new concoctions— and others are used to test these concoctions, among other various brews.
  Members of the four families— and once, even a Pomm— have been kidnapped in the past, sparking war. Throughout history, Romtol has either feared or hated Louh— sometimes both.
  Now with the mad king having usurped the throne, kidnappings along their borders have increased— and some Romtuun believe it is merely a matter of time before they launch a large scale invasion.

Generic3

The solution

The Romtuun wish to end this war before it begins— and to do so, have planned a surprise attack that should not only demolish Louh's capitol— but end the mad king's reign of terror.
  A mining outpost has been established within the dark depths of Tchaoxlik— and flocks of miners work tirelessly, hoping to excavate a tunnel that reaches beyond the Xhouli River, and brings them underneath Louh's capitol of Neulo.
  An upward path will finally be excavated, then, explosives will be placed— and set off.
  The question is whether they will be able to excavate the tunnel before Louh attacks.

Related articles

Tollouchi
Ethnicity | Nov 3, 2019

Apelike people who spend much of their time escaping the crushing reality around them, many finding themselves pursuing artistic skill.

Tolech
Language | Feb 20, 2020

Language spoken by the Tochkli, within the nation of Romtol

Romm
Settlement | Jul 5, 2019
Pomm Golom
Character | Jul 5, 2019
The Four Families of Romtol
Character | May 19, 2020

True leaders of Romtol, hidden behind the station of the Pomm.


Comments

Author's Notes

Feedback is very much welcome! Whether on the content, or the formatting! Please, point out typos if you spot any!


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7 Jul, 2019 22:10

This article is very imaginative. I thought the origins of Romtol and the living forest was especially creepy (as well as the nice detail about the screaming faces seen in the wood.) I also really liked you description of the army and their fighting style. I was surprised that you referred to the subjects which are frequently taught here as "less than relevant." It sounds from the description of the culture and the location that these may actually be the more relevant subjects for the people who live in Romtol. After all, they are artisans who live in nature. Perhaps you meant that the subjects they learn are considered less than relevant by outsiders? If so, I think you might add a sentence to clarify.

Reading Circle Temple Because magic isn't just fiction
Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
8 Jul, 2019 00:21

Good point! I was tired by the end of writing when I got to there. Yeah, that'd be in the context of outsiders.

9 Jul, 2019 02:11

Thanks for the clarification. :)

Reading Circle Temple Because magic isn't just fiction
17 Jul, 2019 00:20

This is a very intriguing and interesting article! The mood of the country permeates every aspect, from architecture to war. My only issue really is a small typo at the beginning. In the last paragraph of "A Home Destroyed," it says 'Was hadn't been burned was felled,'. I think that first word should be 'what'?
I hope this helps, this is really a wonderful article!!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
17 Jul, 2019 01:24

Thank you! I bodyslammed the typo out of existence.

17 Jul, 2019 06:45

Such a nice article! I wasn't expecting the creepy back story for the country, but wow, that was cool.   I found the trials for the monarchy interesting, but it was never mentioned how often are they held/how often monarchs stay on the throne? And since the families each govern their own county, what does the monarch exactly do?   Another thing that wasn't clear was war: they seem to have it quite present, since their country is surrounded, with war brewing on either side, and they have a well-honed style of combat. Who do they often do war with/Who have they been in war with in the past? (Is it Louh and Rektouzk?) And who orders the war? The monarch or the families?   You made a really interesting article about a country, and I want to know more about how do they run themselves xD

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
17 Jul, 2019 18:27

Thank you for the feedback!
  Yeah I should absolutely mention how often those are held, I'll rub my two remaining brain cells together and come up with time periods for that and monarchs with it. International matters— war, trade, allying, aid, diplomacy, etc. would be what the monarchs deal with— and supposedly keeping the families in check. I will add a bit about that into the article proper.
  Louh is run by alchemists who somewhat lack ethics— and as alchemy in Qet runs off of plant and body parts— people find themselves kidnapped from time to time to be chopped and brewed or experimented on. Of course this makes being neighbors somewhat unsettling— and nobles have been kidnapped in the past, leading to wars. There is a current issue where a madman has usurped the throne of Louh and is making waves; kidnappings are increasing, bolder claims made, and more terrible chimeras are being created.
I somehow neglected to mention this in the article, ontop of the fact that Romtol currently has a mining outpost within Tchaoxlik (a massive network of caves) with the aim of digging underneath the river and gaining a surprise attack on the Louh capitol.
I will add this into the article as well.
  Rektouzk has merely had one or two short-lived wars in the past, which both ended disastrously for Romtol with terrible luck and natural disasters befalling them— those have long passed. Rektouzk, too, has had a recent change in leadership— a leader who isn't exactly fit to lead, and is eager for war with what should be a valuable trade partner— Romtol.
This, too, I should add to the article itself.
  Thank you again!

17 Jul, 2019 19:19

So many hidden lore, I'm glad I asked! (my favourite bit is the alchemists who use body parts) Right now your sidebar is way shorter than the main article, so lots of space in there to write all of this stuff :P

17 Jul, 2019 21:59

My favorite bit about this whole article is that I get "Living next to Cthulhu's breathing Bones" vibes:   A living forest?! Why had I never thought of that? That's terrifying and great, and it gives the wilds that snow-white feel as well (the Disney one where she's running away from the evil queen). Not to mention the screaming faces in the wood. Extra spooks that are combined in such a way to give your world a very familiar but terrifying feel. -- also, to clarify, you mention that when this living wood is burned, it gains a resistance to fire, yes? If am then understanding, how then do the people keep up a tradition of burning back the wood? OR, is this their "encroaching fate" and what they try to distract themselves from? OORR even worse, are other people prone to becoming "one with the wood"?   That aside, is this...

[...] elegant curved shortswords which grow wider at the end, and are cut flat at the top [...]
... a scimitar~? You say it's a shortsword, so it might not be anything alike, but that's the image that was born in my brain.   I do have one thing I'd like to suggest for your sidebar. First, you are the first I see to list relations between countries, and I'm gonna have to figure out a way to do that for mine~. This aside, on the first to nations, you have Romtol on the right side of your sidebar but then, at the very last one, switch to the left. It would make more sense to be consistent and place it along the right side, I feel.   Thank you for the read, Time!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
18 Jul, 2019 02:54

There are techniques where burning wood can make it more resistant to fire— but it is not live wood. In this particular case, the wood is "killed", it's like if you burn your barbecue meat so the skin is blackened but the inner meat is still edible. The woods are their encroaching fate, but they constantly burn it back— though there is still fear of mishaps.
  Similar to scimitars, but image rather than a pointy end, a flat-cut top, somewhat like a chisel.
  The diplomatic relations can be found in the "Diplomacy" tab next to the "Notes" tab when editing an organization. Unfortunately, you cannot have it so everyone is set on the same side— relations share between articles and the other two originated from other articles. Changing it would make those in turn, asymmetrical! I wish it could default to showing the current article all on one side or another.
  Thank you for the feedback!

17 Jul, 2019 22:44

I agree with barriesaxxy above, this article is really imaginative, and the description of being able to see the screaming faces within the wood is a nice touch to reflect on the history. I have a couple things I'd like to talk about, some pretty small and more centered on quality-of-life updates.   Dashes and commas can be a lot of fun to add to a sentence, but as I read through the article, I became distracted by the sheer amount of dashes you added to it. Perhaps you could crop some of them, because I understand that they help add emphasis to statements, but when everything's emphasized, nothing ends up being emphasized.   Also, you talk a lot about the geographical position of Romtol. Do you have a map of it to go along with it? This isn't something really needed, but it would help your article pop a little bit more too.   Lastly, I'd like to know more about whatever caused the cursed forest. I'm certain it wasn't some random entity who showed up, caused chaos, and just left after, but it's not explained so I don't know for sure. And instead of writing about it directly, you could hint at it with rumors that are circumventing the Romtol people, because I'm sure there are some myths and legends talking about its source.   Nice article (and great header formatting)! Have a great summer camp!

~ Tristan
Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
18 Jul, 2019 03:02

Thank you for the feedback!
  The use of dashes I have found to be incredibly subjective— where some may dislike them, others may love them. I appreciate the feedback regardless! It's the style I write with, and I have toned down where I felt they may have been too numerous in the past.
  Yes, there is an overall map of the continent! It is on the main world page. I have not gotten to region maps yet, nor do I know entirely that I wish to in the interest of time. If maps are able to be centered on a location when linked to an article I could try that. I'll have to look into it.
  Not knowing is part of the mystery and suspense! But, you are absolutely correct that there should be myths and rumors noted— I'll likely save those for the ethnicity article on the Tollouchi. Perhaps there are unsavory rumors from outsiders, as well?
  Thanks! Likewise!

18 Jul, 2019 04:52

You cannot change fate. It is pre-ordained.
Was doing some reading on the early Norse the other day and they had some of that attitude. Even the gods are bound by fate, but how you stand up to it matters. The people of Romtol have turned inward (perhaps because they still live in a land of plenty, perhaps because they secretly think they deserve it) instead of clawing outward to take over a less-cursed forest. I wonder if that fatalism will eventually seep into their art and architecture, both becoming more simplified over time, because why bother? Who needs an elaborate hall with hanging galleries if the forest will eat us all in the end? Or does the dedication to creativity mean that they aren't as doomed as they think, and can still pull something off? I really want to know how this ends!   I've played enough Cthulhu to be worried when the voices started, and your origin story ended horrifically well. In D&D terms, a tree-warlock would be a great bad guy NPC, wandering out of the woods to finish the job. You've given enough background and detail to play a character from this country. For me, this is aspirational, thank you.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
18 Jul, 2019 05:04

Thank you!
  The way I thought of it, their dedication to their crafts and artwork is a form of escapism— placing their entire focus and effort on something other than the issues at hand so as to find peace of mind. While they may fear the future, they do not wish to— and take at least a few steps to alleviate this.
  There, too, is purpose found in being the ones tasked with burning the forest— for if they allowed it to take them, what of the rest of the world? There are a number of myths and legends surrounding why the forest haunts them, and I plan to write about them later on when I tackle the ethnicity of the Tollouchi.
  Thanks, my intention was— besides fleshing out more of the world and having fun— giving enough information for my players to write backstories. Glad to hear that it should work!

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