The current local region.
A collection of many middle-sized kingdoms, which together equal about one fifth the territory of Imperial Cortel, Anaat has never been united under one banner – although several kings have tried to make it so. For the past century, the constant, simmering tension between kingdoms has only rarely resulted in war, but mistrust of one’s neighbours still runs deep. As the threat of invasion by Cortel looms ever closer, several of the kings of Anaat have attempted to forge alliances, but the resulting treaties are fragile things, and everyone is unsure if anyone will honour them.
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Maraan (the starting point for the game), Paragaan, Taleaan, Petraan, Hapkaan, and Ristaan form the core Anaatian kingdoms, with Kilgan, Imran, and Varin commonly also grouped in with them on maps due to geographic convenience, although historically those kingdoms have different cultural roots. Maraan and Hapkaan are the largest of the eastern and western kingdoms respectively, and the border between the two has always been very tense and often disputed.
Anaat is bordered on the east by the Channel Sea, across which lies the Rimbalkan Territories. To the north lies Wheland, a sparsely populated region with longer winters. The Sytyrean kingdoms (from which most of the people of Kilgan, Imran, and Varin are descended) lie to the west and northwest, and the region of Hynoru lies to the south.
Winters in Anaat tend to be fairly mild. Snow is an uncommon but not remarkable event in the southern kingdoms, but even in the northern kingdoms it does not tend to last on the ground beyond late winter. Summers is the rainy season, and average temperatures are fairly hot (averaging 30+ degrees Celcius in the south during deep summer). Anaat has no mountain ranges of its own, and primarily tends toward flatlands or gentle hills rather than sharper terrain.
The people of the Anaatian kingdoms have only been rarely troubled by the chaos of planar conjunctions, and so have always placed more faith in the presence of gods than others might. The predominant religion of Anaat is polytheistic, with the standard D&D pantheon. However, worshippers of evil gods are rare, and only exist in scattered cults that are usually stamped out as soon as they are discovered. Only the cults of Tiamat, Vecna and Zehir have managed to avoid being nearly completely eradicated.
The Anaatian view on death, however, differs somewhat from the D&D standard. The natives believe that when mortals die, their souls linger in the thin regions of the Shadowfell until they can be collected by the otherworldly servants of the Raven Queen and taken through the Trials that will purge away the impurity of life. Such a journey may take centuries, and souls are deeply vulnerable during this time. As such, proper burial is very important to the Anaatians, as they believe that the soul may take with them on the journey any tools or riches buried with them. Destruction of the body, however, makes it more difficult for the soul to continue upon their journey, and so desecration of the dead is a crime equal to murder.
Undead are thought to be the bodies of mortals whose souls have been lost and destroyed upon the journey. It is unsurprising, then, that necromancy is regarded as a despicable evil, and using necromantic energy is banned on pain of death nearly everywhere in Anaat. Despite this, undead continue to be a problem in Anaat, as the massive crypts that Anaatians tend to build present far too tempting a target for both the cults of Vecna as well as unfriendly non-mortals.
Annatian family names are usually short, only one syllable long, but with plenty of soft consonants. Because of this, it is not uncommon for total strangers to bear a similar family name. Nobles refer to their family names as ‘house names’, and are usually known primarily by their given (that is, first) name. Cities are usually named after their ruler. Gis Galen, for example, is named after Duke Galen IV of House Turrm, and Gis Gorion is named after King Gorion II of House Soane.
Inheritances usually go to the eldest child of a family, although it is considered extremely poor manners to not also set aside part of an inheritance for the younger siblings.
The kingdoms of Anaat are hereditary monarchies, with the majority of power being held by the ruling king or queen and his or her consort. However, powerful noble houses also wield considerable power, particularly within their own demesnes. Most major houses are contained within only one or two kingdoms, but three have interests and influence across the region.
House Llyre’s considerable size – and accompanying power – stems from its unusual traditions of inheritance. Due to an archaic legal exception that is held up in all of the core Anaatian kingdoms, all children of a Llyrein title-holder inherit a part of their land and an equal title. Because of this, Llyre is both exceptionally large, has no minor branch houses, and is comprised mostly of exceedingly minor lordlings.
Members of House Llyre have their fingers in many pies, enough so that they could quite easily be the most powerful House in all Anaat. However, unlike other noble houses, Llyre does not present a united front and does not even pretend to have a head of house. The only cause that has ever united the fractious members of Llyre is the threat of a king attempting to rewrite the law that grants their legal loophole. On the two occasions where a ruler has attempted this, the combined power that Llyre displayed was considerable.
House Trism is a house of merchants, prominent in eastern Anaat. Quite often it engages in trade wars against House Cynad, its counterpart in western Anaat, but since actual war between the kingdoms of east and west Anaat is also common, it has been difficult for either house to establish a permanent foothold in the other’s territory.