Meier: The Orient, The Bocans, and Languages

More info about my campaign setting, Meier.

Orient
To both east and west of the continent called Occident is Orient, the other northern continent of the Old World. It is home to six major nations: Songae, Pin-Tu, Kampsha, Kamto, Shraa, and Cipok. Songae is loosely allied with Lasant, Cipok with Gard, and Kampsha and Pin-Tu with Urst. However, these alliances are meaningful mostly in terms of trade. Not since the time of old Gideon has any Occidental power warred with an Oriental power, although they have provided one another with aid on occasion.

Not much is known about these lands in the Occident beyond their names and these alliances. Different languages are spoken in the Orient; there is even a different Common tongue (Kamese, the native language of Kampsha and Kamto). Even less is known about the history of the Orient; those knowledgable in history know of an ancient civilization there called Tzudan, which vanished a long time ago.

Orient is the land of samurai, ninja, and “Eastern” weapons/armors as far as the setting is concerned. Such weapons and armors might be found in Occident, though they would be rare. But a ninja or samurai would have to actually come from Orient itself.

The Bocan Islands
To date over a hundred islands have been discovered in the Bocans. Of these, 30 or so are colonized by Old World powers. These are mainly Gard, Arcland, and Lasant, but some islands bear racial, religious, or refugee communities owing allegiance to no nation. Many more islands are inhabited by indigenous tribes. The indigenous tribes are largely fey, goblinoids, kobolds, gnolls, giants, etc. There are no indigenous humans, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, or orcs; there may be elves, however.

Life in the older and larger colonies often resembles life back in the Old Country. But most of the colonies are smaller, poorer, more rough-and-tumble. They have their own culture. Laws are often poorly or summarily enforced. The colonial governor is often the final authority on his or her own island, unless the king or queen back in the Old Country decides to send a new governor.

Things are more dangerous, too. In a place so far from home, the Pact which dictates rules of war and peace has little meaning. Gard and Arcland are in an unofficial state of war in the Boucans, competing for territory, resources, and gold. Arcland’s navy has no trouble wiping out an entire Gardian colony, declaring it lost, and building anew on the same island. Gardian sailors attack any vessel that’s Arcish, or that looks Arcish, or that might be going to an Arcish colony. Lasant and Urstish mercenaries play both sides. Refugees from the Old World seek to make a new home for themselves where these national distinctions don’t exist. And the natives are striking back at these foreign invaders who bring war and disease to their shores.

Campierno
The island that the campaign will start on is called Campierno. Campierno is known to sailors as Hell’s Bells Island. It has a rough bell shape, with a clapper-like bite taken out of the middle. The island is mostly jungle, with some mountains and a dormant volcano. Locals divide it into three rough sectors, the north, west, and south. The northern part of the island is hilly but drier, and has a good natural harbor. At one of those harbors is Morgan, Gard’s oldest Bocan colony. Nearby, at a spot slightly flatter but less ideal for shipping, is the curious settlement of Bonny. The west and south parts of the island are ill-explored, because they are claimed by island’s natives, and they guard their territory violently.

Morgan
The port of Morgan, founded in OC 321, was Gard’s second colony in the Bocans, and the oldest one that still survives. It’s still an important colony for Gard, economically and strategically, due to its central location and thriving farms. Despite this, there’s a good deal of poverty in Morgan; a lot of out-of-work sailors or drifters end up in Morgan. The Westmoor district is also infested with pirates, cutthroats, and prostitutes. The Eastmoor and Downtown districts are a bit more civilized, with a high population of half-humans. Many half-elves, half-orcs, and similar beings felt like outcasts in the Old World, and came to Morgan to make new lives for themselves. All in all, the population of Morgan is approximately 7,000: 4,000 humans; 1,250 half-elves; 1,000 half-orcs; 750 dwarves; and 1,000 others.

The Governor of Morgan, an old, fat human named Tob Corley, was appointed by the King of Gard to be viceroy of the whole island. But in fact, his power is limited even in his own city. If he did not have a loyal town guard at his command, he would have no power whatsoever. As it is, he minimally enforces law and order, and collects tax from local businesses and farms (but not individuals). His main job is organizing the defense of the island from the threat of Arcish invasion. In this, at least, he has the populace’s unreserved support.

The other way he maintains power is through a tradition brought over from Gard. The civic calendar contains so many holidays, festivals, and city-wide parties, that the people are kept too happy to worry about what he’s doing with their tax money, or why his city guard seems incapable of dealing with the pirate problem. About one day in five is a city-wide party, celebrated by drinking, dancing, drinking, singing, drinking, carousing, and the eating of strange native fruits with seemingly magical properties.

Languages

As in Golarion, many different languages are spoken amongst the humans on Meier. In general, each Old World nation has its own language. The PCs will all be presumed to speak the most Common language in the Occident (i.e. Gardish), and whichever language belongs to the nation they’re from, if they’re not from Gard. Orient has its own Common language. The languages of Bocan natives are not well enough known to the colonists for the PCs to learn them the normal way — technically, they’re considered “secret” (like Druidic). Here are the languages of the Meier world.

Occidental Languages

  • Common (a.k.a. Gardish or Lasani)*
  • Arcish
  • Urstish
  • Gideonese**
  • Idyan**

Oriental Languages

  • Kamese*
  • Songai
  • Pin-Tu
  • Shraaj
  • Cipokan
  • Tzu-Dan**

Native Bocan Langauges

  • Bocanto*†
  • Bocan Sylvan†
  • Juju††

* Common tongue — all natives to the continent/region speak this
** Dead tongue — no native speakers
† Secret language — cannot learn as a bonus language or through linguistics
†† Magic language — counts as secret, and cannot be understood by spells like comprehend languages or tongues

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