Ogun, Broken Lands of
Capital: Zorhasic (fallen)
The eastern portion of the Broken Lands is often named Ogun (Oh'-goon), the Oguna nation. However the border of Ogun with the Sakkaran minotaur lands to the west is vague at best and undefined at worse. The conflicts that rages through this would-be nation are not only for the existence of half-ogre nation, but it is also a fight for the Oguna to find their own identity.
Life and Society
Survival is a constant struggle in the Broken Lands. In the west Sakkaran minotaurs struggle to push their control eastward in order to gain control of the more fertile regions, and the Ogun are in constant battle to push the bull-men back. Away from the war with the minotaurs, tribes put together by strong warlords battle trying to gain dominance, aiming to build a strong Ogun under their own governance.
A majority of the land is covered with both nomadic tribes and barricaded villages. The only city of significant worth was Zorhasic, located on the southern shore of Glisemegh Lake. It had stood as the center pillar that many Ogun were hoping would bring about stability to their birthing nation. But in 352 AD two separate armies of minotaurs destroyed it. Since then, hope has been a hard thing to come by.
Not all of the Oguna are warmongers. In fact very few see themselves "born for battle" even though all Oguna, man or woman, must know how to fight at an early age in order to survive. In a land where those who have embraced their ogre instincts and use their human talents to better wage battle for domination of the lands, keeping out of the fighting is extremely difficult. Many learn to fight to better protect themselves of raiding armies or other invaders. Others join the conflict in the west to help keep the minotaurs away from their homes. But some have also been moving south into the Midlands to try to succeed in a more civilized world, either to use force to gain wealth or to escape the constant bloodshed.
The minotaur settlements that are deep within what is otherwise Oguna territory, the bull-men consider their own lands to be part of Sakkaras and defend it as fiercely as they would their lands to the west.
Most of those living in Ogun have no faith in a holy power. With life so difficult, many feel that they are nothing more than rejects from the rest of the world not worth more than what themselves can get for themselves.
Still, a few individual faiths have survived the years. Although the Tao-Shin faith is spat on by most due to its respect for gods as a whole, worship of a few individual gods has arisen. For many Oguna, any power that can given them the ability and strength to survive may be worth respect and praise. The major exception to this is Ordrion (Sargas) who is hated for his support of the minotaurs. Manrian and Pharlon used to be supported in the past, and lately there have been signs of a few Oguna who have returned to them. Another god who has been gathering support lately is Korolothe. Many of the Oguna wish to rebuild the promise of a better day, and Korolothe's teachings of focusing their inner fire towards noble causes is drawing support.
Some from Ogun have migrated south into Solishairan to join the militant Red branch of the Tashrama, but only a few of them have joined due to religious reasons. The rest are simply bringing their desire for battle to a new land.
From 340 AD to 352 AD, Ogun was on the very of forming a functioning government in the city of Zorhasic. Both the city and the Army of Unified-Blood was put together by Helris, an Ogun Battlemaster who had come from a family who had led his tribe to a long history of battle for survival. Although Helris did what he could to stabilize his own nation while keeping the minotaur threat out, his law could not extend more than one hundred miles from his throne. Yet for many it was still a sign that a stable and secured nation would be in Ogun's future.
The future ended in 352 AD when two armies from Sakkaras successfully attacked the city and razed it. Since then the most Ogun had to offer in the way of a government were the vast number of feuding warlords vying for control or trying to push the minotaurs westward. Until then, most can only have dreams of the "next Helris" coming to power.
With so many warlords and tribes combating each other, Ogun is filled with a vast number of small to mid-sized armies. The largest army ever gathered was the Army of Unified-Blood, under the direction of Battlemaster Helris. This army was made up of over fifty smaller armies from various clans, tribes, and villages who joined together to end the largest minotaur incursion into Ogun. The Army was destroyed less than twenty-years later when the newly built capital Zorhasic was destroyed and Helris was slain. Splitter groups from the Army of Unified-Blood continue to exist, but they are nothing more than the descendants of those who had once stood against the threat of the bull-men and tried to build a new homeland for themselves.
Many of the warriors among the Oguna are known as beastriders. Within the Broken Lands a number of large beasts roam the land, and the Oguna have long ago learned to train and keep these various creatures as fierce pets or mounts. One of the more popular creatures ridden in battle are the hucovi, a wide six-legged green and yellow striped creature with a head vaguely similar to a shark whose claws can grind easiest through both rock and bone. The second-most popular mounts are the fresajou, long fury ferret-like animals that have bat wing-like webbing between their long fore and rear legs that allow them to jump and glide long distances. The fresajou are favored among Oguna scouts.
Some historians believe the techniques of the beastriders may originally have belonged to the human ancestors of the Oguna.
Magic and Mysticism
Arcane powers and those who wield them are feared by most in Ogun and respected by many. There are no major centers for studies in the arcane, but often mages will travel with their student(s) and educate them on their lessons in magic (often for purposes of battle). War-trained mages are common among Ogunish wizards and sorcerers. Several battlemasters who have proven their talents not only as warriors and spellcasters but also as leaders. Nowhere in Ogun do spellcasters act as advisors to local leaders. If a mage is wise and strong enough to advise others, then he or she is strong enough to rule.
Divine magic is rare in Ogun. With few popular religions, there are not many divine spellcasters in the area. However, when holy men or women of some sort are encountered, they are often heeded with respect. Exceptions exist. For example, any follower of Ordrion would be beaten, tortured, and desecrated after death. Respect is never given to a minotaur, no matter their place.
In the easternmost reaches of Ogun, where the land is the most fertile and some forests even grow, shamans and druids are a little more plentiful. Here they are often viewed with the same awe, respect, and fear as arcane spellcasters.
Major Geographical Features and Locations
The Fertile Lands: Although not as harsh as the rocky dusty land of Sakkaras, much of Ogun's hilly terrain is not very suitable for farming or other methods of cultivating. But the further east one travels, the land begins to improve. The Drowning brought additional water into the land by forming the watery gap between the Broken Lands and Galachot. The increased rainfall during the only mildly cool summer seasons let nature grow to a greater extent than before. Now in eastern Ogun, farms can thrive during the short summers, and forests have begun to grow on the eastern shore. This land is both a blessing and a curse to Ogun. It has made life much more survivable than before, but it is also the reason why the minotaurs in the west invade. In the Broken Lands, fertile soil is a prize most would proudly kill for.
Zorhasic: The ruins that used to be the capital of Ogun. Destroyed in 352 AD, its fall spoiled the immediate hopes of the Ogun people in that a true leadership would unify the eastern half of the Broken Lands into a secure state of its own. The ruins of the city are very extensive with many of the buildings still standing, albeit in relatively unsafe conditions. Even the sewer system underneath is fairly intact. Vegetation and wildlife have moved into the remains along with bandits and occasional nomads hoping to claim the some of the glory lost long ago.
Sometime during a long forgotten part of history, the Igurna of Terragrym began the practice of discarding those children they deemed not up to their expectations. Thrown into the wild, most died unable to fend for themselves. But over time, those discarded over the Endless Reach survived. Some found a way to exist on their own, and more were found and cared for by early human settlers. As the years went on human and Igurna bloodlines mixed, and a race of half-ogres came into being.
Little is known about the original humans who had befriended and cared for the exiled Igurna. It is believed by many historians that they either died out or had completely merged into the growing Oguna population. But one thing was certain, the Oguna were not liked by those races from elsewhere in Adlatum. Even in modern times, most in Adlatum see them as nothing more than monsters that are only a little tamer than the more dangerous monsters in the unseen north.
With no choice but to survive on their own in later centuries, the Oguna population spread out over a healthy block of land in the north. Sparse ruins throughout the Broken Lands pointed to their being a lost civilization having existed in the region before their coming, but not enough had been found to learn much more of their earlier settlers.
The Oguna banded together into various groups of tribes or clans. Some attempted to build towns to give themselves a stable home. Others became nomads who lived off the land and traveled to wherever suited their needed. Their hot ogre blood made them more prone to violence and feuds broke out constantly between the various communities. The Oguna tendency for depression added to their frustrations, making an optimistic outlook for their future difficult. When some Oguna settled too close other "civilized" races in the south, the humans, dwarves, and elves would send armies in to sack their villages in order to keep the barbaric threat back. Sometimes war-taught Oguna would take control of a tribe and strike at the settlements of the other races, not bothering to wait for an inevitable attack. And so a never-ending cycle of bloodshed dominated most of the Oguna history.
The closest the Oguna came to an alliance with the other races occurred in the early years of the Canon War. At first the Oguna saw the minotaur-invasion as a method to remove their frustrating neighbors to the south. For the first few decades, the half-ogres predominately sided with the minotaurs, but they eventually realized that they were being used as fodder and distraction while the minotaurs sought to penetrate into Igurna lands and steal the ogres' Volume of the Prophet. Some Oguna shifted their allegiance to the alliance standing against the minotaur invasion while others fought merely to protect their own lands. During the later years of the war, the minotaur armies swallowed the lands of Ogun completely, and the Oguna were forced to aid the minotaurs as slaves.
Six months before the Drowning, a young Oguna teenager was forced to watch his father beaten and tortured in public after the boy failed to properly place the meats on the plate he served to his minotaur master, a well respected major. The young teen, Hroce (named by his master from the minotaur word meaning "spit"), snapped and charged the major in the middle of his father's execution. Hroce's father died, but after killing a guard, the boy shot the major in the head at close range with a stolen bow and arrow. As the boy was apprehended and beaten, the rest of the slaves were likewise emboldened. A riot broke out resulting in the destruction of one of the larger minotaur cities to be build during the war. Over the next six months, the Oguna were slowly able to hurt the supply chain from the minotaur empire to their forces in the west. After the Drowning, the surviving Sakkaran minotaurs only held what they had left in the western Broken Lands. The lands claimed by "Hroce's Cry" (as the rebellion was called) became what are roughly known in current years as Ogun. Even the human slaves who were freed by "Hroce's Cry" remained to continue the fight against the Sakkarans.
The state of Ogun, although reduced in size, returned to the state it was in prior to the Canon War. Internal fighting and struggle for survival between rivaling clans and towns were a constant. The only real change was that they now also had to deal with the constant attacks from the surviving Sakkarans who wished nothing more than to claim the eastern-most Broken Lands were the earth was much more accommodating for farming and livestock.
One minor change to the location population did occur to Ogun in 71 AD. A group of thirty-nine Hoda kunda on Terratrek who had somehow managed to stay together ventured into the Broken Lands and took an interest in Oguna-life. Understanding what it was like to not always be well-received by others and living a life that appears to be cursed by the gods for no fault of their own, the kunda joined the Oguna in their fight against the vile bull-men. These kunda never returned home to the Kundamarsh. Instead they settled in the region, building their own community or joining up with others, and taking on many of the more local customs while still holding onto their own faith and traditions. Opinion on the local population of kunda in the Broken Lands varies from hatred to high respect depending on one's experience with them. But in time, their skills in combat are not questioned by many.
The conflict with Sakkaras turned for the worse in the 330 AD. The Sakkarans had successfully gathered themselves together into a massive military force when two harsh winters and a poor harvest encouraged them to seize territory in Ogun, hoping eventually take control of the fertile soil in the far east of the Broken Lands. Over the next several years, Ogun tribes were defeated time and again. The minotaurs had successfully conquered almost all of the territories up past the eastern shore of Glisemegh Lake.
In 333 AD, one tribe's battlemaster began to gather a number of tribes together under a single banner. Battlemaster Helris used strength, intelligence, and bravery as he led the assault against the Sakkarans. His skill, with the aid of hundreds of normally separate and feuding villages and tribes, enabled him to slay all three of the minotaur clan-leaders leading the assault. By 334 AD, the invasion's back was broken by the Army of the Unified-Blood, and Helris reclaimed the lands almost up to the western shore of Glisemegh Lake.
Unwilling to let his people fall back into their centuries old tradition of anarchy and civil war, he gave his followers new missions. The primary one would be to hold the then-current line against another minotaur invasion and to allow rid Ogun of the pocket areas splinters of the Great Invasion left behind. The second mission was more monumental. He desired a large capital city to be constructed on the eastern shore of the lake where one of the hardest fought victories of the war took place. Oguna craftsmen from all over Ogun and also from the Midlands came to construct the city. Battlemaster Helris, now called by many Battleking Helris, named the city Zorhasic after the late love of his life, Zorhanya.
In six years, Zorhasic stood as a shining white city of marble constructed completely by those who called Ogun their home. All of it built by hand with only the occasional magical enhancement given by those few spellcasters in the Ogun populace. Much of the stone used in the city's construction was pulled from quarries in the north near the minotaur-controlled lands. Sakkarans constantly tried to halt the city's development, but their efforts for the time being failed. In 340 AD, Helris and Ogun had its capital.
Unfortunately only a minority of Ogun recognized Helris' rule. Many of the warlords feuding in the central and eastern regions refused to recognize his claim. Being so far from the minotaur incursion, his victory meant nothing to them. Yet many of the Oguna in these places saw Zorhasic as a symbol of hope for their people, and they prayed for their strong and patriotic Battleking to come and unify their nation.
Fate deemed the course of history to be otherwise. Two separate armies of minotaurs, neither aware of the other's existence, circled Glisemegh Lake with hopes of sacking Zorhasic. Both armies successfully dodged most of the Ogun patrols and quietly slew those they needed to. The two forces then attacked the capital from both sides on a single night. The capital's defenses failed, and the minotaurs swept in. Helris was slain in the throne room, giving time for his only daughter to escape. The desecration done to his severed head was made public during the fighting, and the shock lasted long enough for the minotaurs to finish the city off. To this day, Zorhasic remains ruined.
In the months that followed Zorhasic's fall, many of the Oguna in the east who had only hope that Helris would come and unify the land grew angry. Many abandoned their villages and clans, charging westward against the invading armies. It was said that the rage of the Ogun made even a minotaur seeing red to flee in fear. Many of the minotaur villages in Ogun lands who were not even part of the more recent invasion were massacred. The minotaurs were forced back once more, but not quite as far as Helris had done before.
Soon the rage of the Ogun people fell to depression. The Army of the Unified-Blood fell apart as many of the officers tried to take control and become Helris' successor. One battlemaster attempted to force Helris' daughter Gorro into marriage as to embolden his claim. His attempt failed when the young Gorro emasculated him before disappearing into the east. The anarchy and civil war Helris strove to destroy had returned. Status quo was resumed.
After the Starfall, the population of Ogun has begun to take notice of the political, military, and religious issues of the south. The nation of Solishairon has opened some minor trade with many of the tribes and villages living close to their border (mainly out of arrogance to prove to the rest of the Midlands how accepting they are of those who are different). This also allowed word of the Tashrama to seek into Ogun, and large numbers of Oguna traveled south to join the Army of Brimstone, the military of the church's red branch. When the Army suffered a massive defeat in 406 AD the flow of travel with the south slowed, but in more recent years the numbers those emigrating to Brimstone have increased once again.
But for those who live away from the southern border, life has not changed much in the past sixty-years. Even when the creatures of Chaos assaulted the world in 383 AD, most saw the event as just another enemy trying to swipe them from the face of Krynn. Such a sense of pessimism and futility is commonplace in Ogun, that and a hope that a new Helris will arise to bring a sense of pride back to the people.
Alyst (Small Town 940): Fifty miles from the ruins of Zorhasic, Alyst was one of first towns liberated by Helris after the Great Invasion. After the capital's fall, it was re-enslaved by the minotaurs until the Ogun rage forced them out. Battlemaster Chorta Lovan (CN female Midlander human barbarian 9), one of the few humans to make the rank of battlemaster and the only human woman, now rules Alyst. There is no place near Alyst suitable for farming or raising livestock, so Alyst needs to get its supplies from either trade with those in the east or the fishermen on the lake or from raids against the minotaurs in the west. Due to the scarceness of food in this region and the destruction of a working economy when Zorhasic fell, minotaur meat has become an acceptable food product.
Ko (Large Town 3,503): The Sakkaran minotaurs living in Ko consider themselves to be living in the easternmost "reaches" of Sakkaras. This town was founded during the Great Invasion of 330 AD and was able to survive both the Invasion's destruction and the onslaught of the Oguna after Helris' death. Located where the soil is just fertile enough for mass planting, the minotaurs of Ko spend much of their time fighting to hold onto their town and fighting to keep their food shipments back to the west safe. No years have gone by without Ko's stonewalls being tested by a siege coming from the savage Oguna of the east. Lately the town had been able to take in more soldiers from the west in preparation of a second Great Invasion.
Morest (Village 803): In the Fertile Lands, the town of Morest lies on the border of one of Ogun's larger forests. Distant from the threats of the west, Morest is often more under the threat of the warlords and battlemasters who fight and constantly attempt to take over more and more villages. Morest itself has changed hands several times over the centuries, but it has consistently under the iron rule of Battlemaster Vroek (N male Oguna fighter 12/ranger 2) for the last ten years. After so many campaigns, the older Vroek has begun to tire of battle and is now primarily concerned with protecting the five towns he has along with the farms in between. His twin daughter and son Ukina (CN male Oguna noble 1/fighter 6) and Troest (NE female Oguna rogue 7/shadowdancer 2) believe their father to be weakening and desire to replace him and get the war machine moving again.
Varin (Small Town 1,865): Named for the kundaspeak word "Hope," Varin is the largest kunda settlement in Ogun and one of the larger port towns in all of Ogun. Located on the Bay of Drialis, the kunda are used to attacks from minotaurs, pirates, and some of the Ogun tribes who have taking a disliking to them. The Hoda of Varin are friendly and liked by several of their immediate neighbors, who they trade and meet with often, and they are also known as fierce warriors who will defend themselves and their friends to their dying breath. Even the fire-born Hoda from the Kundamarsh are often stunned by the unified and targeted savagery their "Ogun-cousins" use in battle. Although battle-hardened from the many generations who have lived in the Broken Lands, the Hoda here keep to their traditions of enjoying what they can in life to the most they know how.