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mikeb's picture


Free Tesaya is perhaps the most diverse land in the Dark Golden Age. It is a melting pot, where anything can be found for a price.

Tesaya was a golden land, before the collapse. Golden, anyhow, for the mageocracy. The land was tilled and planted by beastfolk. Buildings were constructed, block by block, with the sweat and the blood of the beastfolk. Many tasks that would have been done by magic elsewhere were tasked to the slaves instead, merely because a wizard couldn’t be bothered to spend a few minutes of his day away from his leisures.

In many ways, Tesaya was hardest on their beastfolk. Beastfolk has no rights whatsoever. They were created and then bred, never allowed to pair off in units of their own. Tesaya possessed vast breeding pens, where beastfolk were bred like sheep or cattle. Indeed, one of Tesaya’s major exports was beastfolk. Each breeding pen possessed hundred of stalls where females would stay until successful conception occured. If left alone, the normal gestation for a pregnant beastfolk is between three and five months, depending on the species. However, using a special magical tool called a Quickener, this gestation period would routinely be reduced to a matter of weeks. After birth occurred, the breeding female would spend a short time recovering before returning to the pens.

The infant child would be taken to the raising pens, where females who were no longer fertile would spend time raising them. It takes two years for a beastfolk to age from infant to adolescence normally, however the Quickener was also routinely used here to reduce the time to a matter of months. Most beastfolk were routinely sold at adolescence, though they could be purchased at a younger age if so desired.

They were bred almost mechanically, and then sent by foot under powerful compulsions, to their new owners. While a few might die on the trek, those that survived would be hardened by the travel, and better workers for it. The trip was designed to instill a fear of the outdoors and the unknown, as well as to increase the physical stamina of the product. The process was described as “separating the wheat from the chaff”. An ironic phrase, since most of these beastfolk would be consigned to labor endlessly in fields.

Tesaya also possessed a much more refined breeding process, which they used to create powerful gladiators for their pits, as well as unusually beautiful beastfolk to sate the illicit appetites of any with the gold to pay. The lives of both were often short and violent.

And then the collapse happened.

Tesaya literally exploded with a frenzy of activity. Because of the sheer number of beastfolk present, and the powerful rage they possessed, Tesaya was de-maged at a very rapid pace. In many cases, these once-powerful overlords were forced to labor in the fields without rest until exhaustion finally claimed their lives.

With the destruction of the mages came great jubilation, and great excess. Beastfolk who had been denied everything finally had the opportunity to indulge in excess, and did so with great abandon. Eventually, though, life goes on. With the destruction of the mageocracy, many beastfolk leaders attempted to start the formation of a new government. In fact, so many beastfolk attempted to start their own governments that chaos arose. Groups fought against one another for supremacy. No sooner would one group take power than another one would overthrow them. It wasn’t long before all semblance of fair government was dropped, and beastfolk began fighting for whatever scrap of land they could control.

And then, Thuria happened.

Thuria *expanded* its borders, encompassing and claiming large swaths of the eastern section of Tesaya and claiming that land for its own purposes. And, like all lands occupied by Thuria, members of the occupied area found themselves unable to benefit from the Thurian social model. This, of course, caused great feelings of resentment that were only deepened by the brief freedom these beastfolk had tasted.

Thus, this area of Tesaya was primed, and when the Ustern nomads rebelled, it struck a spark that set Tesaya aflame with the fires of freedom. Tesaya is a land in rebellion. Eastern Tesaya is embroiled in a war to drive Thurian invaders from the land. Meanwhile, the rest of Tesaya, Free Tesaya, is in turmoil.

Warlords vie for control of lands and people. It is possible to travel safely through the contested lands as long as one knows what one is doing. Gold is the password here. Every warlord implements some sort of taxation on goods passing through his lands. For a slight additional fee, unsold goods will also be allowed to pass back out of them. Bandits as such are rare, since those so inclined simply try to set themselves up as warlords, or find one to serve. However, warlords turn over so quickly in most areas that the gold is quickly redistributed back into the hands of the populace.

The red currant syndicate has established a hold in the foothills of Free Tesaya. The access to goods and services makes it an excellent place from which to obtain strange and unusual items. And the constantly warring factions help to keep interest and attention away from their base of operations.

Free Tesaya is a rich land, even in the middle of all this uncertainty. The vast grain fields, and substantial underground stockpiles, help to guarantee that Free Tesaya will remain rich for some time to come. Less scrupulous beastfolk have picked up some of the old businesses, breeding beastfolk for attractiveness and selling them to the highest bidder. Some have even taken things the other way, breeding humans for the more depraved beastfolk to play with. You can also find just about any drug, pay for any service, watch or participate in any depraved act, or do just about anything else you can think of. While these beastfolk work hard during the day, it is at night, every night, that they truly let loose. Humans aren’t embraced in Free Tesaya. In many places, they are in danger of imminent attack if they are not escorted by beastfolk.

Many beastfolk from Free Tesaya retain a deep sense of pride for being born in Tesaya. There is an agreement, an accord that all beastfolk who were born in Tesaya still hold. The weaknesses of the Tesayan beastfolk were ground away long ago, over the centuries of forced slavery. Those who survived were the strongest, smartest, and fastest. And now that the beast has been unchained, woe be to those who stand in its way.

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mikeb's picture


I like the addition of the Quickener. It also implies that most Beastfolk bred this way would be emotionally and mentally immature while having the bodies of adults. That's an interesting twist.

Tried my hand.

So I gave a shot at building on a stub. I just kind of went with it, so hopefully I didn't end up contradicting anything else. Anyhow, it's something to build off of.

mikeb's picture

I think it's really good, and

I think it's really good, and I really like it. I think it fits very well, good job.

The one thing I think should change though is that some Beastfolk slaves before reaching their destinations. Unless they received payment for the slaves somehow up front, it would be a pretty big waste of investment to send slaves to their deaths. It would be different if the slaves were being kidnapped from somewhere and put into slavery, Since they are being bred and raised by the Tesayans, it implies an investment of time and resources. Investment implies a desire for return on that investment.

Mmm... the way I was

Mmm... the way I was envisioning it is the same way that large chain stores order goldfish. They might order two thousand at a time, and when the goldfish arrive, you've always got a handful of them that have died on the trip. Then they send a note back to the store * twelve or fifteen dead on arrival* and they get credited for the cost of those that died in-transit.

Meanwhile, for the company producing the goldfish, losing a handful is acceptable since: A. they're goldfish. And B. it's still cheaper than implementing a review system to guarantee the health of the goldfish before they're sent out.

I'll try to rewrite it with more of that tone in mind. I think I over-emphasized the amount that died during the trip.

mikeb's picture

If it happens on occasion, I

If it happens on occasion, I think it's workable. If there's at least one in every shipment, it's too much because it wouldn't be worth the losses to the slavers.

Actually, that brings up

Actually, that brings up another interesting question. At least, to me. Do beastfolk have an accelerated breeding cycle? How about an accelerated childhood and adolescence? It seems to me that for most of the things beastfolk were used for, having them spend copious amounts of time pregnant or as children would mostly be viewed as a waste of time. And with a little bit of magic to do some tweaking... :p

I've always imagined them as

I've always imagined them as having a childhood/adolescence that is more like the animals from which they are derived - a lot of them mature in two to five years.  This makes sense based on their animal heritage, and is also definitely something that their creators would try to select for.

I forget, are we actually in

I forget, are we actually in this area in our game?  If not we should head there, sounds like we could get in all sorts of trouble. XD

Sea-of-Stars's picture

Need to know more about the situation

Is the city of Tesaya controlled by the Thurian Republic? Or is it an indigenous republic controlling the city?

As I read through this, Free

As I read through this, Free Tesaya seems more and more like a "default" starting setting for the DGA. It has lots of overlapping cultures, a contentious history with lots of opportunities for adventurers to have a lot of impact, since the difference between adventuring parties and warlord bands is academic.

Part of what this might mean is that Free Tesaya will become more clear as we define the things around it. On the other hand, we can improvise things to say about Tesaya, and then make them foreign influences from Sascria, Thuria and the other city-states.


warlord vs. warlord
peasants vs. Republican nobility
Tesayans vs. Thurian and Sascrian interlopers

Raemann's picture

The new Czechoslovakia

Ever been to Czechoslovakia? It is a place steeped in wild nightlife due to the recent release of the overbearing hand of the former USSR. It is a place where every 4th person will sell you an AK-47 or a rather nice low mileage handgun. It is a place where they have the most illicit of sex acts taking place on a prime time television game show. It is a place where subterfuge and espionage play out on the cusp of day to day life, being the new battleground for superpowers and upstarts alike.

This is what I envision when I think of Free Tesya. I think of a place that has every sensual pleasure that is available. Anything that money can buy is there to be had, for the bold and the brave. It is a place that many go to get rich while others seek a fortune at the expense of others. No one cares about morals or the trappings of decency the laws are upheld in order to maintain a level playing field for the primary powers, but the laws are not so strict as to limit said powers from employing third and fourth parties to do their dirtier wet work.

This is not the place to come during your first season at the Pathfinder's Guild.

I think the Czech comparison

I think the Czech comparison might be supremely apt (though I've never been there myself) particularly considering that Eastern Tesaya is described as a vassal-state - sounds like Eastern Bloc to me.

I also always have in the back of my mind - what kinds of places really give rise to "adventurers" in our own history? Uncharted areas that someone wants to exploit; lawless fringes of established societies; collapsed or failed states all come to mind. The civilized zones on the map are where adventurers go to unwind, get new orders or new quests, collect gear, do research and make new contacts. Places like Free Tesaya seem like where adventure happens - meaning they are not places to bring your kids or cherished pets.