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July 2, 2012 / Wythe

North Pala map: hexplained!

Okay, so months ago, I posted this map of the northeast corner of Pala, called Djenma—a wildland at the edge of the edge, the limit of Fjatal, and thus of all of Pala. Beyond: Sharkman-filled seas. Before: The vastnesses of Fjatal, land of the gmothi and the human barbari—lawless peoples, jerks, and loud-talkers. In this post, I will elaborate somewhat on the area. COMMENCE FUTURE-POLITICKIN’—

Hjalax – Gmothi badlands. Densely inhabited (compared to other gmothi tribelands) and relatively fertile (by grim gmothi standards), Hjalax (“HYA-lax”) is off-limits to non-gmothi, though this doesn’t prevent intrepid Vennari and Arakhan traders from trying to cross the northern beaches, or begging for protection from the sahaguin when those shark-men emerge from the waters at night. The gmothi are judicious in their granting of favors, especially those martial in nature… Huge, shovel-headed saurians walk the beaches, scooping up sand and the crabs that make their home there. Giant albino crabs occasionally wash up onto the beaches in large cohorts, as do chuul (lobstrosities). The gmothi eat these foes, when possible.

The Floor of Ulshun – These bogs are filled with small, wild tribes of barbari humans, orphaned gmothi, and anti-Arakhan varanids and scincids. Travelers here are frequently harried by small cadres of highwaymen. These sociopaths have spent so long in the swamp, avoiding the gmothi tribes to the north and east, that they have no real ethic beyond survival. Many of the varanids and scincids are descendants of heroes from the Second Unhuman War who were stranded here, lost and harassed by the barbari, when the humans and imperial Arakhans retreated west, just before Vennar signed a ceasefire with the Federation. The bogs themselves are beautiful, featuring some of the largest trees left on Pala. Ceratopsians and hadrosaurids are common here, as are huge spiders, some of whom have learned to manipulate simple human technologies, such as levers (such as gun triggers).

Djenma proper: Kingdom of the Spikers – Led by Zhale the Traitor (his name is false, simply implying “of Zhalay”), the Spikers are a group of powerful, independent-minded warriors who defected from the elite Zhalavane Heresiarchal Guard (ZHG) in order to set up an agrarian–piratocratic new state in the foothills of the Ulshun Alpines. The Spikers gave up on the dream of a unified human Djenma after Dralah’s defeat of Zhalay and the acquisition of much of eastern Djenma by the shark-men. In their own land, the paranoid Spikers are the absolute law. They ride restored motobikes across the wastes, frequently fighting gmothi tribes who feel the Spikers are usurping their land. The entire Spiker population is maybe 30,000 humans, ha’-quan, and varanids, of whom only maybe 6000 are able to fight on short notice.

Djenma proper: Zhalay – Population 77,000, Zhalay (not pictured, because it moves) is the “capital” of and only real city in Djenma. It is usually found between the Kingdom of the Spikers and Center Djen. Ruled by a heresiarchy of 20 or so ancient creeps who worship Zhzhangh (the primal pissing-into-the-desert-at-night Old One), Zhalay drifts from waste-plain to waste-plain on the back of a huge copper frisbee with tremendous tank treads, crushing everything underneath, sucking up water and minerals for fuel, further scarifying the land. All Zhalavanes (the people of Zhalay) hate the ha’-quan Technarks, but many hold a soft spot for the rebel Spikers. (More on Zhalavane names.)

Djenma proper: Technarky of the Ha’-Quan – Can humans and quan mate? Apparently, some cohorts can. Mostly, they choose not to. In this weird corner of Pala, however, the quan have been aggressively breeding with humans, trying to get back upwet (on land). The Technarky is a scheme by the insane leaders of Zhalay to defeat Dralah: Fifty years ago, they turned the quan toward the notion of a ha’-quan state, one amenable both to the quan (in search of former glory) and humans (in search of an appreciation of the sea, and of an alliance against the sahaguin). Now the Technarks, thanks to the discovery of a pod machine (meaning pod-human manufacturing machine), have rapidly populated the west of Djenma with ha’-quan, all of whom are amenable to the idea of a state there, against Dralah. The Zhalavane plan, however, is seen as a failure by its architects, as the ha’-quan are rapidly outnumbering the human ambassadors in their lands; they could one day even switch allegiance and help Dralah unite Djenma in a reign of enduring terror…

Djenma proper: Center Djen – Still inhabited mostly by gmothi tribes who fight both Dralah and the “orthodox” Djenmans (the Zhalavanes and their various mercenaries, including some corrupt gmothi tribes), Center Djen is a warzone, littered with landmines and nanoswarm devourer traps… Few “live” here except those gmothi who have claimed it for (in their words) millions of years. The Zhalavanes have already mined it free of heavy metals and carbon and drained the aquifer. Dralah has already had most of the remaining humans loyal to Zhalay nerve-gassed or irradiated. Thus Center Djen is home to many hungry, lonely mutants…

Dralah’s Kingdom – Seventy-five years ago, in the wake of the Second Unhuman War—which had reached even the distant gmothi tribes and the horrible archaecity of Zhalay—one heresiarch (already a famous embezzler, arms dealer, and rapist) and his family rebelled and stole most of the great Weapons of Terror from Zhalay, retreating toward Sussaru. Dralah ruled for several decades before passing, in his last breaths, the “Rogue’s Throne” to his son, who adopted his father’s name. The current Dralah is a pale, long-haired technobarbarian bent on “unifying” Djenma by wiping out the gmothi and quan, recapturing the Satrapies from the sahaguin, and executing the heresiarchs of Zhalay. Rumors:

  1. Dralah has made a deal with the Federation
  2. Dralah has made a deal with the Fang Monks of Sussaru
  3. Dralah has a terrible new weapon that allows him to mass-mind control sents
  4. Dralah has a terribly old weapon that will “burn the sea” for hundreds of miles out if activated, vaporizing thousands of sahaguin, quan, chuul, and other aquatic sents and demi-sents (and a much smaller number of ammon)

Sussaru-the-Ancient – Ruled by the Fang Monks… Utterly cut off from the rest of Pala…

Sahaguin Satrapies – Yes, the shark-men here seem to be learning, to be developing what could be mistaken for dry territorial or even political ambitions… The Satrapies are each inhabited by ex-Zhalavane humans (Djenmans, they call themselves) who are left alone by their shark-man masters so long as they do not fight. At night, the sahaguin come farther and farther into Djenman, hunting toward Zhalay, toward the easternmost Spiker encampments, toward unsuspecting gmothi tent-cities (always under watch by the wayfarers, of course). The Satraps are reportedly amphibious, intelligent mutant sahaguin who have trained their beastly cousins to wear primitive, temporary rebreathers fashioned from water-tight algae-skin sacks and primitive mollusc-powered pumps. The Zhalavanes would pay anything to reclaim the west from the sharks—to destroy not only the Satraps, but their shadowy masters back in Sahaguinta, down deep off the continental shelf…

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