Western Iussus

The term Western Iussus is the name given to a group extremely similar countries that share commonalities in terrain, religion, ethnicity, and culture. Located on the large landmass at the western end of the continent connected to the rest of Iussus by a relatively small strip of land, Western Iussus is a relatively isolated region that sees little traffic from the outside world. The countries are a hodge-podge collection of villages without any formal government to connect them, and even the different 'countries' have no real centralized government. Despite this, the region has managed to flourish in peace since the fall of the Vardamir Empire, a quality that cannot be said about much of Aatos. The wild pokemon here are generally low level and non-aggressive, and the country faces no imminent threats that would mean the conscription of young men and women into militias. This has lead to a relatively quiet life for the citizens of Western Iussus, and that serves them just fine. However, as the former seat of the Vardamir Empire, an empire that spanned all of Iussus and was eventually destroyed for challenging the gods, there is a mystical underside of the region. Ruins full of treasures dot the countryside, ripe for exploration and exploitation by travelling adventurers and treasure seekers. The locals don't mind these visitors so long as they don't make too much of a ruckus and ruing their provincial life.

Regional History: Western Iussus has, for the majority of history remained relatively peaceful. The only time it ever encountered activity on a large scale was during the Vardamir Empire. This behemoth of a country rose from a small fishing village on the western coast of the region, where the people discovered and developed symbol magic. They expanded and crafted a nation that spanned the length of the continent, with Western Iussus as the capital. Tragedy struck however, when the Empire fell. Its hubris had angered the gods, and much of the region was sacked by the avatars of deities. All of the cities and secrets of the area were buried under fiery rain, floods, and hordes of wild pokemon. The area was destroyed and born again as fertile cropland, with dangerous ruins left behind as a reminder of humility. The people of Western Iussus have taken this lesson to heart, and they have never again attempted to form a government of any power.

However, since this calamity, the region has seen very little violence. They occasionally face invasion from the neighboring Galla, but the country is oftentimes too busy fending off its other neighbors to pay much attention to the lands to the west. Additionally, the people of Western Iussus have learned the ability to quickly band together to fend off raiding parties or, more often, groups of bandits that think the region is easy picking. Another reason why Western Iussus sees practically no military action, even from the sea, is that many people around the world think the region to be cursed, and that any country that tries to conquer the land will feel their diety's wrath. These factors have allowed Western Iussus to flourish. The only problems they face are wild pokemon attacks, bandits, and pesky adventurers trying to gain access to the myriad of ruins that cover the landscape.

Culture: The people of Western Iussus tend to be more casual than in the rest of the world. They focus on the needs of the here and now without worrying terribly much about monumental events across the globe. Their peaceful existence has allowed them to truly gather together. They have a good sense of community, with each village living as one large family. Of course, that isn't to say that there isn't bickering, squabbling, or blood feuds; just that those occurrences tend to be gossip points rather than the norm. The people enjoy dancing, drinking, and farming. They live out their lives in peace and quiet without the major events of the rest of the world to interfere with their enjoyment. However, the people of Western Iussus are, if not devoutly religious, extremely godfearing. More than any other people of the world, Western Iussans know the damage that the gods can inflict on human civilization when they put their mind to it. To this end, the people go out of their way to placate the gods and ensure that no suspicion could ever be cast upon their aspirations to start a new empire.

Geography: For the most part, the climate in Western Iussus is mild, though the winters can get quite cold. The temperatures make it an ideal place for farming of all sorts, and the people of Western Iussus are more than happy to embrace this gift. Farms and ranches dot the countryside, often grouped around a village or hamlet, and the people produce more than enough food to support themselves. The region gets a mild amount of precipitation, enough to keep the lakes and rivers up and sometimes cause flooding. The landscape is hilly, even mountainous in places. The land is woody, with large pockets of light forest and patches of woods throughout the area, though more and more of these forests are being turned into farmland by a growing population. Finally, the ruins of the Vardamir Empire can be found just about everywhere. While most areas are a secluded dungeon or house that was buried during the great destruction, there are entire cities half-buried under the forests or hills.

The only heavily forested portion of the region is Dínendal on the western coast of the region. It was once the seat of a powerful nation that wielded incredible amounts of symbol magic, but it fell in a catastrophe that rocked the world in a way that hasn't been replicated in over a thousand years of history. The forest that grew around it is filled with odd sightings, illusions, and pokemon that lie outside the norms of what are possible. Ruins lace the inside of the forest, filled with ancient protections that have been protected for generations. The Dínendal is one of the only places that almost all Westerners refuse to enter. Additionally, it also holds the region's most powerful pokemon, though these beasts refuse to leave the bounds of the forest. A great deal of powerful magical artifacts are sure to be lying in wait inside the darkness of the forest. The people of the region leave the forest alone, and it leaves them alone. It seems as though both parties are quite happy with this arrangement.

Demographics: While Western Iussus is technically composed of several different countries, regional differences are decided on the local level rather than international. The differences between village traditions can be significant, although they don't tend to be a problem. There's a good amount of immigration from Galla at the moment, mostly from northern farmers being pushed out by the descending ice and seeking fertile farmland and a calmer political landscape. Western Iussus lacks the bickering noble class that Galla supports, and the social hierarchy is much less distinct in these relaxing hills. In addition to immigration, the native population has been growing at a constant rate over the years as peaceful seasons pass by without significant causes of death.

Economy: Western Iussus has few interactions with the outside world. They export whatever surpluses of grain they have, but the people of Western Iussus don't desire anything enough to go out of their way to do business with money loving foreigners. Inside their borders, almost all commerce occurs at a local level. Farmers will sell their food in the local town marketplace, or they will trade for goods that they cannot produce themselves. Rarely do goods go further than twenty or thirty miles from when they were produced. Each village operates as an independent unit, and this allows for several separate economies that operate at their own pace. That being said, most of the economies lack luxury goods or excessive amounts of combat gear (including healing supplies), as they tend to be unnecessary commodities for the majority of consumers.

Politics and Government: In all seriousness, Western Iussus is simply a collection of villages with some communication, but no real governmental structure. The people don't pay much attention things like borders, and each of the nine 'countries' is used more as a way to identify where one lives and less of a way to establish a sense of nationality. A group of village leaders meet when a larger issue needs to be addressed, but the people of Western Iussus are slow to get moving. Once they do however, their determination is legendary. Villages and towns will usually have an elected leader or elder of some kind that serves as an administrator of traditional law. Additionally, many larger villages will have a man informally in charge of the militia, which will have monthly training sessions. Otherwise, the towns tend to run themselves. Governments are meant to solve disputes and punish law breakers, but not much else.

Pokemon: Pokemon are used as part of everyday life in Western Iussus. Pastoral and ranching pokemon are by far the most commonly seen and tamed. The people ride ponytas around, use tauros for farming, and sheer mareep to make clothing. Rhyhorn are also incredibly common in Western Iussus, as with most of the world, as one of the premier pack animals for mass transportation. The citizens tend to avoid casual pokemon battling, though it is becoming more and more common among the youngsters in towns. Wild pokemon tend to not be a problem. They are much less aggressive than in other countries, and they also tend to be fairly weak. Normal, Grass, Flying, and Bug type pokemon are all extremely common in the region.

Important People:
Jezz Tanner: A former explorer turned author, Jezz has retired to live a peaceful life in Arkhen. He is relatively wealthy and more than a little egotistical, with a well trained team of pokemon that he continues to work with. Jezz is the strongest fighter in Western Iussus, and he often travels around helping with problems throughout the countryside (although he wouldn't be considered nearly as powerful in other countries, his strength is legendary in a region like Western Iussus). He may have a high opinion of himself, but he's always willing to lend a helping hand. Currently however, he is trying to document all of his past adventures into an epic poem for the bards to sing across Western Iussus.

Important Areas:
Swordpoint: The largest village in the area, Swordpoint is still quite small. At approximately 7,000 people, many would even consider it a small city. It has a small contingent of permanent warriors, the only such institute in the region, and several blacksmiths. Life in Swordpoint is as rough and tumble as you get in Western Iussus, and Swordpoint remains a fairly tame city in the grand scheme of things. It also is the place where people come to meet in times of trouble, providing a sense of safety and reliability to the people in the region. However, Swordpoint oftentimes has trouble justifying this military contingent due to the longstanding peace, so the warriors will often host festivals for showcases of martial ability that draw huge crowds. These festivals raise enough money to keep the warriors paid for a while, and so the tradition of Swordpoint's military holdings remains strong as every.

Western Iussus in Your Campaign:
Western Iussus is an ideal region to use as a starting point for longer campaigns. It is in many ways the classical pastoral land of a fantasy world: seas of rolling green hills, a calm landscape, and happy people who are happy to drink and dance life away in their own small community. The wild pokemon here are weak on the whole, and most are of a relatively common variety making it wonderfully suited to an early game exploration. It also offers players the chance to do a multitude of things, explore dungeons, defeat bandits, or participate in small town life (solving murders and the like). Then, when the players have grown too big for the region, perhaps having already become regional heroes, they will leave for the metaphorically greener pastures of other lands. At higher levels, the forest Dínendal offers higher level and rarer pokemon, many altered from a normal species by the powerful magic present in the forest. The ruins in this forest are much more dangerous, and offer much greater rewards. For games of any level, the Ring of Shadows (see Organizations for more information) has been subtly operating a major base of operations in the Yengal Mountains, and players could either learn about the organization's sinister plans for later adventures or attempt to rout the group and retrieve the Pixie Plate that they believe resides in the Dínendal forest.

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