The Pirates Of Atlantis
Occupying half of the continent of Tel’Ramas, the Empire of Tellat has been a persistent source of trouble for Atlantis. Unable to conquer the southern upstarts, the Dominion must now confront the fact that Tellat may choose to ally with Lemuria, giving the undersea realm new life and power.
Unlike present-day Hazaria, Tellat is a true empire. Its beginnings lie with two peoples, the Erixo and the Ventani (or Ventanians), who controlled the lands south and north of the Sinessa River, respectively.
Although linked by trade and a common language, the two peoples often fought with one another for territory, over some slight real or imagined (raids across the river for cattle or women being the most common spark), or to obtain a trade advantage.
It came to pass that both peoples were led by kings of exceeding wisdom: Berreket of Erixo and Tagal of Ventani. After one particularly vicious conflict, both men realized the situation could not be allowed to continue. With most of their noblemen dead in the fighting, both were in a position to exert great power within their lands. Working at first in secret, but later in the open, they began to negotiate an end to the hostilities. It was agreed that Berreket’s daughter would marry Tagal’s son, and their son would rule a united land. They called this land Tellat, a word in their language taken from the term for “union” or “coming together.”
The peace lasted — barely — long enough for old hatreds to die away with those who’d held them and new generations to grow up having never known anything but Tellat. Jokes were still made about “filthy Erixians” and “barbaric Ventani,” but in effect the two people had become one. Within a few decades they were beginning to come into their power and cast covetous eyes eastward. The Lucanians, who dwelt in the lands east of the Sinessa, were the first people to “join” Tellat, and the overproud Tellat King Ammicar wasted no time declaring himself “Emperor.” Nor were the Lucanians the last people absorbed into the Empire. When the vicious Askari held out against the Tellat armies in their mountain highlands, the Ardanians to their south and Volscarans further east were unable to resist Tellat strength. Turning north, the Tellat armies next took Apperia, destroying so many Apperian towns and villages that for years the region was a virtual wasteland.
With the other nearby lands pacified, Tellat returned to the thorny problem of the Askari, sending so many troops against them not even the fierce mountain folk could hope to hold out for long. One by one the Askari strongholds fell, though none easily and none without price for the Tellats. In the final conflict of the war, the Tellat army confronted a much smaller Askari force that it had pinned against the edge of a precipice along with many Askari women and children. As the Askari warriors slowly gave ground, the women and children willingly leaped off the cliff to give their men more room to fight. When all were dead the anguished soldiers threw themselves at their opponents with renewed fury, but for all their boldness they were swiftly cut down.
Though the main work of conquest was done, it took centuries for the conquered peoples to become truly pacified. Revolts flared occasionally, and the Tellat emperors put them down. To keep soldiers in fighting trim, expeditions were mounted to conquer the lands northwest of the Erixian hills and north of the Dardessos, though with mixed results at best and no permanent holdings for the most part. At times the Empire expanded, and later it contracted back, but it never lost its core lands. During the First Lemurian War, Tellat allied with Lemuria, one of its strongest trading partners. The Tellats had long been envious of Atlantean power and prestige and hoped for the chance to humble them. They very nearly did at the Battle of Mt. Akontios (page 13), but ultimately the Atlanteans won the battle despite the Lemurian magiconstructs and Tellat countermagics.
As the price for its defeat Tellat was forced to cede its lands west of the Erixian Hills. At the time many Tellats were glad that price was so small, but today more and more of them wonder if there might not be a way to turn that long-ago defeat into a victory and take the place of both the Atlanteans and the Lemurians as the chief actors on the world stage.
The Empire of Tellat encompasses all the lands east of the Erixian Mountains and Hills and south of the Daressos River and the Inland Sea of Khotar. Most of the land is flat, fertile grasslands, though around the two mountain ranges and to the far north along the river there are ranges of wild hills where few men live; wild beasts and even monsters dwell there, sometimes coming down into the civilized lands to wreak havoc. For example, just a few decades ago a gigantic serpent left the hills near the Apperians, lured by the succulent taste of Tellat sheep… and Tellats! Its foul breath and steel-hard scales made it nearly impossible to kill; over a dozen soldiers and heroes died trying. Finally the hero Hodesh, skilled in archery, slew it by firing an enchanted arrow down its gullet.
Built at the confluence of the Sinessa and Ventana Rivers, the Tellat capital of Tardanum is effectively landlocked since a series of turbulent rapids makes the Sinessa un-navigable by ships all the way to the city. Known simply as “the City” to Tellats, it’s also called the City of Bridges because Tellat engineers have built so many spans over the city’s two rivers.
The heart of Tardanum is the Great Plaza just to the north of where the two rivers meet. Ringed by the Imperial Palace, the Hall of Councillors, and the Temple of Maritra, it’s where all important official business takes place. When the weather is fine most of the city’s movers and shakers can be found there, debating policy or transacting business; in foul weather the conversations and deal-making move indoors.
North of the Great Plaza is where the wealthiest and influential citizens live. Across the rivers, and the further south one goes, the poorer and and more squalid the neighborhoods become. The wealthy rarely venture into those parts of the city without an armed guard.
The Empire has two other major cities of note (as well as many other smaller cities, towns, and villages). Mendria sits at the mouth of the Sinessa River, on its west bank (the east bank is much lower and swampier; the swamps provide waterfowl and fish for the city). Since trading ships can’t sail upriver to Tardanum, Mendria is the Empire’s chief trading port. From its northern gate caravans carry goods to the capital and elsewhere.
The other two cities — Telamon, on the coast between Ardania and Volscara, and Ventanium, on the Inland Sea — are also important ports, but more limited in scope. Telamon mainly sees trade from Kaphtor and Eshuna, whereas Ventanium is the port that gets traders who come from the north through the Mestorian Canal. Atlantean visitors who arrive in Tellat by ship usually disembark in Ventanium.
The Decana Islands
Off the coast of Volscara lies a small archipelago, the Decanas, that the Empire claims. Although not particularly hospitable (especially during the long, cold winters), the Decanas are home to Tellat settlers because of the silver mines there. For some reason the silver mined from these islands is magically “potent,” and thus perfect for use in crafting enchanted items. It’s not unknown for a powerful wizard to visit the islands to personally choose exactly which silver ore or vein he wants because of the way it “feels” to him mystically.
The Tellats are known as a proud, even arrogant, people. Many of them believe their Empire is destined to rule the world, though there seems to be little chance of this ever happening and the Emperor isn’t planning any campaigns of conquest. They tend to look down on other peoples, even Atlanteans, as “barbaric” to some extent.
Perhaps related to that trait, the Tellats are great talkers, debaters, and thinkers. It sometimes seems as if every Tellat has an opinion on each issue, and that no two opinions agree! Many famous philosophers are from Tellat, and the Tellats have a rich body of legend, song, and poetry. More than one skilled versifier has earned enormous sums of money as gifts from wealthy Tellats who enjoyed his work. In contrast to many societies of the Atlantean Age, Tellat is mostly gender-neutral. While a woman cannot rule as sole Empress, women can own property, participate in public debates, have a say in who they will marry, and initiate divorce proceedings. Even Atlantean women sometimes envy them their freedoms.
The Tellat Empire enjoys a broad-based economy that’s able to provide most of its own needs. Its copious, fertile farmlands provide so much food that it can export grain and animals to other lands if necessary; its mines produce most of the ore it needs, and it has many other natural resources to draw upon. It most often trades for lumber (which it has relatively little of) and luxury items. Its potters, sculptors, and swordsmiths are highly thought of and their products often traded for.
Tellat trades extensively ties with Lemuria. Having a common enemy in Atlantis has brought the two empires closer together, and that’s led to a lot of exchange. For example, Lemuria is Tellat’s chief market for surplus foodstuffs.
The Tellats are ruled by an emperor who supposedly has unquestioned authority. The current ruler, Emperor Doracantos, is an accomplished man skilled in the arts of war, diplomacy, and remembering the names and birthdates of his 26 children. Its said he yearns to expand the borders of the Empire, but neither Chagaria, nor Eshuna, nor Kaphtor presents a particularly enticing target.
Assisting the Emperor is the Council of Nobles, which meets monthly (and sometimes daily) in the Hall of Councillors. The Council is supposed to advise and assist the Emperor in the running of the Empire, but in practice it sometimes goes beyond that. There have been periods in Tellat history when the Council, not the Emperor, really ran things. This is not one of those periods, though the Council is powerful and popular enough that Doracantos can’t simply ignore or circumvent it.
Tellat maintains a large army and navy, though given the current state of world affairs the military mostly performs guard duty, accompanies trading expeditions, and the like. Like Atlantean soldiers, Tellat soldiers typically wear a breastplate, greaves, vambraces, and a helmet, and carry a spear, sword, and shield. But stylistically the two are different, no one could ever mistake a Tellat warrior for an Atlantean one.
To augment their soldiery the Tellats employ battle-beasts. Some are species native to the Tellat lands that are trained (and sometimes armored) for fighting, while others are tamed monsters or specially bred by Tellat wizards. Examples include the battledon (a creature like a large, multi-horned, spined, reptilian rhinoceros), the skréa-hawk, armored war-wolves, the Tellat battlehound, and the warvoren (a dragonlike creature about the size of a chariot with needle-sharp fangs and talons, a venomous sting in its tail, and a vicious disposition). A specially-trained soldier known as a beastmaster controls each battle-beast.
Tellat mages practice a style of magic that’s similar to Atlanten wizardry, though generally weaker and with one important difference: for reasons the Atlanteans cannot discern (possibly something to do with their god Maritra), Tellat mages can learn and cast Arcane spells more easily than their Atlantean brethren. Among other things, they’ve used this to develop an elaborate body of countermagics and spell-stealing spells. This gives them the mystic clout to take on Atlantean wizards even though they otherwise lack the raw power to do so; often the Atlantean wizard finds that his spells won’t work… or are being used against him!
|Everyman Skill Addition||Rating|
|AK: Tellat||8 -|
|L: Tellat (No Literacy)||Rank 4|
|L: Atlantean (No Literacy)||Rank 3|
|PS: (Farmer, Miner, Shepherd, Potter, Sculptor, Blacksmith – Pick one)||11 -|