Primer: Welcome to the Zone
Day 1 at the Kirinal Pit
You file into the cool auditorium tugging at your newly issued, uncomfortable uniform. The other recruits fill the room's high ceiling with unfamiliar smells and sounds. A high-born tiefling in a bespoke tailored uniform sneers at an unwashed Alian barbarian fresh from the snows.
The room quiets as a white-robed figure with a face carved from marble glides across the stage. It stands at one of the podiums and begins to speak in a clean, smooth voice.
Welcome sophonts to the Kirinal Concordance Zone. My designation is 20,607, refer to me as Instructor of Recruits. My pronouns are they/them. I am soulforged, a lost soul of Kirinal given a new life in this constructed body."
"I see mortals from across our world along with recruits from other planes of reality amongst you. Today you will learn how to complete your period of service and earn your citizenship amongst the Concordant."
A hulking figure lurches from the other side of the stage, dressed in the pristine uniform of a Concordant Sergeant. A surly growl emerges from a mouth full of tusks and sharpened teeth.
Look alive Pit-Meat! I'm Sergeant Grokzaz Kill Flayer. You will call me Sergeant Kill Flayer! I'm a full-blooded orc of Borthakar. None of that watered-down half-orc pansy feculence here."
"I don't care where you come from or who your daddy is. I'm here to let you know that no matter what monstrosity crawls out of the Pit, I'll be standing behind you to make sure you don't run!"
A 30-mile wide hole in reality ringed by fortresses and armies.
The area 20 miles around the Pit is a political neutral zone.
The political alliance that administrates the Pit and the Zone.
Days of the Week
Every day a new plane manifests in the Kirinal Pit.
The piece of another plane that has appeared in the Pit for tht day. This is controlled by the Navigator, using the Orrery of Worlds.
A canton is one of the eight independent political entities that make up the Zone.
The capital city of each canton.
The security and law enforcement organization that controls the borders and enforces the Concordant Mandates.
The Days of the Week
The days of the week are named according to the Schedule of Planes, which is controlled by the Orrery of Worlds. As each day dawns, a new plane, the Manifest, appears in the Kirinal Pit.
The Navigator of Worlds carefully plots a course through the great wheel, choosing the safest possible path for our civilization.
Shatter is a day of preparation, peril, and opportunity. The Manifest is a random plane from the Wheel, or beyond. A 1-day war with hostile sophonts, an uninhabited wasteland, or an invasion of fiends are all just as possible.
Shatter's when the feculence hits the frakking fan. I love Shatter. I usually get to kill something new!
On Elemental, a negotiated location from one of the Elemental Planes appears. We have trade treaties with the various elemental sultans and emirs.
Many citizens make their fortunes trading on Elemental! Perhaps you will too after you gain citizenship!
A location from the Shadowfell emerges. By treaty with the Lords of Shadow, shadow denizens do not cross into our world, but our residents must be allowed to enter Shadow, if that is their desire.
The beasties and grumkins only know hunger. No matter how good the wards are, stuff still gets through. Make sure you keep up your apotropaic practices! I just eat my adobo!
The Manifest is plucked from another crystal sphere or mortal plane. Usually, it's an uninhabited piece of wilderness. Sometimes we get ruins, or sophonts, or even whole cities.
Depending on the nature of the Manifest, we can have Days of Harvest, Trade, War, Rest, or Vigilance. We'll get into each of those.
The Ethereal Plane and the Astral Sea alternate. Travel to any other plane in the multiverse is possible if you know the right path.
One of the quieter days of the week. We also call Bifrost the Day of Returning. It's the most likely day for lost Kirinalos to find their way home through one of the transitive planes.
By treaty, the Manifest on Faerie is always the Market in the Feywild. You can find anything you want at the Market, just beware what price you pay.
Don't let the bright colors and good manners fool you, Faerie is just as dangerous as Shadow. Visit the Market if you like, but DO NOT eat anything fae! You physically won't be able to cross the border back into the Zone!
The Navigator has a day of rest. The Upper Planes send a Manifest of their choosing. Over the years, we have learned that they always send the right one.
On the seventh day, a heaven Manifests. Pilgrims dwell here in the Zone just to visit Heaven once a week. The Gods themselves remain behind the Divine Gate.
Your ident-a-hedron marks you as a legal resident of the Zone. As recruits, beginning your civic or military service, your hedron should be upgraded to at least an octahedron. The color will be changed to match your fortress assignment.
Your hedrons function as identification and they can send and receive 25-word messages. They also track time, work as a distress beacon, and can replace currency. For more details, refer to your orientation package.
Cantons and Forts
The fortresses on the edge of the pit predate all the cantons/zones, the cities, and the alliances. The continued success of the fortresses protecting the world has allowed enough stability for the trade, industry, and politics to thrive. The terms canton and zone are interchangeable. The eight geographic areas are formally called cantons in the Concordance for Survival Treaty, but they are just as often referred to as zones.
Zones, cantons, political alliances... it's a bit of a mess to figure out what to call them, innit? Always remember, the fortresses came first. They are the foundation of our way of life. No fortresses? No armies? Then you don't get your fancy hedrons or crazy magitech and we would all be at war with each other again.
The Northern Zone is home to an assembly of mages, heroes, and lords who balance their interests to make this canton one of the richest and most vibrant in the Zone. The the father of the Concordance, Chagroth Durinhelm, also known as the Navigator of Worlds plots a course through the Great Wheel using the Orrery of Worlds.
House Molndal and its attendant powers own the Southern Canton. Their influence arises from the vast wealth produced by their gold mines and the unequaled fertility of Molndal's grain fields. Their unrivaled ability to direct the narrative through newspapers, bards, and the Cavaliers of Light serves to cement their power.
Elves and druids oversee the Southwest Zone, the most bizarre region of the Pit. Here, the Kirinal River rises, in defiance of gravity, out of the Pit. It's waters carry life from all the worlds that Manifest, creating the Anomalous Forest an evolutionary riot always on the verge of becoming a nightmare.
The earth dwarves of the Northeast Zone have discovered the secret of renewable magical energy, they harness it to create incredible machines, and their trade in hex crystals has brought them enormous wealth in recent years. Young dwarves from the hills and mountains have come from those high places to learn from their brothers, to the dismay of their elders.
The unlikely alliance of northern tribesmen and an orcish empire defend the Northwestern Zone. These traditional enemies discovered that their fighting styles complemented each other when they were forced to fight side by side after the Kirinal Explosion. They have since become close allies and brothers-in-arms.
When the Call for Concordance went out over Erathia, no one expected the dark mages of Kiris to answer it. But they did, with an army of goblin slaves, arcane engines, and puissant spellcraft. Their involvement turned the tide, but their arrogance still lives. The other Concordant powers begrudgingly acknowledge that they deserve their place in the Southeast Zone.
The Concordant Mandates
All residents of the Zone are bound by the Mandates of the Concordance for Survival. They are administered by the Concordant Conclave and enforced by the Zone Authority.
The Duty of Defense
All residents of the Zone have a war assignment. When two horns blow, everyone must prepare for a Day of War.
Soldiers must report to their assigned fortress and prepare for battle. Civilians prepare to shelter in place and may be called upon to back up the troops or flee.
The Treaty of Trade
Sophonts within the Manifest are entitled to negotiate a fair price for goods that they own.
On Days of Trade, residents enter the Manifest to buy and sell unembargoed goods. Licensed merchants may conduct trade on a large scale.
The Treaty of Passage
Those bearing the correct identification may enter the Zone and cross any non-military borders.
This includes residents of Erathia, residents of the Zone, and sophonts from the Manifest. However, sophonts of Shadow and Faerie shall not enter the Zone in exchange for allowing passage to any who want to enter Shadow or Faerie.
The Right of Salvage
When the Manifest does not contain sophonts, it's natural resources may be salvaged by licensed salvagers.
Harvest Days are highly regulated. The quota is determined by the Manifest Authority, the quotas are auctioned, off and the Salvager Guilds vie to gather the most resources.
The Right of Return
Everyone is entitled to return to their place of origin. Lawful sophonts of the Manifest must be allowed to return before it leaves our world.
Sometimes people get left behind. Those who tarry too long in the Manifest or in Erathia get trapped in the wrong world, but some do it on purpose.
The Right of Pilgrimage
Anyone following the laws of the Zone may enter the Manifest on Heaven. No religions are outlawed in the Zone.
The gods are kept from Erathia by the Divine Gate, but those eager to visit their domains just wait for the heavens to Manifest once a week. Always a Day of Rest, no conflict has ever defaced Heaven.
The Right of Justice
Every mortal in the Zone has the right to a swift trial and humane treatment.
Every canton in the Zone has a separate judicial and prison system regulated by the overall Zone Justices.
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech, press, and other forms of expression are guaranteed.
The concept of freedom of expression was novel when introduced, seen as an interesting experiment by some and as an insidious otherworldly infection by others. It has led to the rise of the newspapers, a dissemination of knowledge, and the flowering of civilization.
Abolition of Slavery
The gods' final decree before they withdrew was that all mortals should be free, sophonts shall not own each other.
The founders of the Concordance made the end of slavery a precursor to membership, thinking that their traditional enemies would not be able to survive without it. To their surprise, Borthakar and Kiris both ended the practice and they are now thriving members.
Independence of Cantons
Within their borders, the governing bodies may enforce any laws that do not interfere with the Mandates.
The fractious alliance of former enemies could never hold together without their right to operate independently within their borders. Only the Mandates are universal over the entire Zone and the Concordance only claims authority for overall security and intra-Zone activities.
Rule by Representation
Now that the Divine Mandate of Kings has withdrawn, power now resides in the mortal peoples of Erathia.
The right of mortals to select their own leaders is another extraplanar idea that has taken root in the Zone. The idea has spread on Erathia, leading to the end of most of the monarchies in the world.
Bear the Ident-a-hedron
Every sophont within the Zone shall carry official identification, the ident-a-hedron, at all times. They shall present it to the Zone Authority upon request.
The newest mandate was enacted after the creation of this almost fool-proof soul-based identification system.