The World of Orsus
Discovered a few hundred years after the Dragon Wars, Creston was named by a prominent human explorer employed by the king of Tolgar. Already inhabited by civilized Orcs, this land would evolve into a lawless but wealthy region of Humans, Orcs, and all manner of races seeking out fame and fortune.
Creston was once a harsh and untamed land – and in many ways, it still is. Today it is dominated and ruled by a council of pirates, and quickly became one of the richest lands in the known world. Its deserts are filled with gold and gems, and its jungles are rich with precious woods, rare medicinal herbs, and exotic creatures. If you can bare the harsh climate and nearly never-ending summer, you can live your life in excess. However, given the dangers here, your life is likely to be very short.
Arcane magic is encouraged and common here, as are magical items. Few people revere nature as they do wealth and magic.
When humans first landed, Creston was already occupied by several tribes of Orcs. As settlers arrived, battles were fought and thousands were slaughtered on both sides. Many defeated Orcs were captured and enslaved. These Orcs would go on to build some of the first settlements along the northern coast.
Over time the orcs were pushed further into the desert. Some decades passed and Orcs from Tolgar and Cacthal came over. They helped open up negotiations with the Creston Orcs and traded information. It turns out the Creston Orcs knew advanced mining techniques, and where to find precious ore in the desert. A deal was struck, and the two sides made peace.
Once word reached Tolgar of the wealth in Creston, all manner of adventurers journeyed out. Elves, Halflings, Gnomes, and countless humans all wanted to find a share of the treasure. But the desert was harsh, and not many succeeded. Those who did succeed would claim their stake, put their slaves to work, and settle in the Carlathan Oasis for a life of comfort. Those who could not afford their sea passage would indenture themselves into slavery for a period of time. However, not all masters would honor the contract when it ended, and new laws had to be formed in order to prevent the abuse of such tactics.
Eventually more peaceful folk settled south of the desert, called Nubem-het by the Orcs. Cackthal Orcs shared their knowledge of advanced sea-fairing, and many who were still bitter about losing their homeland to other races all turned to pirating. Orcs would sail up and down the northern coast and raid the smaller villages. Many of those villages burned, and settlers evacuated to Carlathan or the Ok-tak region. Aby-staad was the only major city with enough defense. It was from there the first Pirate Council was called, and four leaders of major merchant companies joined forces with the three prominent orc captains. It was never written down what happened that day, but all members left that council satisfied in the deal that was struck. Pirates never raided the shores of Creston again, and Aby-staad would forever remain a free port.
Its a bit dryer in the desert, and more humid in the jungles and grasslands. Summer is roughly 7-8 months long, and winter is 5-6 months long. Summer temperatures average in the 70s at night to 80s and 90s+ during the day. In the winter it can be as cold as 40 at night and 50-60 in the day. Summer rains are common in both the desert and jungle regions, and the humidity within the jungle keeps everything perpetually damp.
Each city is ruled by its own Pasha, as was traditional for the Orcs. The language here is a bit different than common, having a mix of Common and Orcish background. Houses and titles are everything, and its the goal of many to become part of a prominent wealthy family. Most of the ancient families have orc blood, and close ties to pirate and merchant trade.
The Pasha of Carlathan is also sometimes called the Malik or King, although he holds no official power over other cities in Creston. Since he controls the majority of the wealth around the desert, he’s usually deferred to by the other Pashas. He meets regularly with the Council of Pirates.
Money is the dominant faith of this land. Those who do worship the gods find comfort in those of wealth, luck, death, and magic. Hades is popular, as are We-Jas and Boccob. Grummsh is respected, but not often worshiped. Olidammara, Yondalla, Apollo, and Tyche are also fairly common. Deities of nature are rarely worshiped here.
Economy, coinage, and trade
Creston’s coin is minted in Carlathan, and most of its metals are mined throughout the desert. Money changers charge a steep price to exchange your currency, as only Carlathan coin is recognized. Most find it more cost-effective to change your currency in one of the coastal cities.
Trade routes cross the Ok-tak region, and usually converge at Myrad before pushing north into the desert. Countless mining villages are scattered about the sand, and only known to the most experienced of merchants. The powers at be prefer to keep it this way, in order to make it harder for potential invaders to find the source of their wealth. Most proceed directly to Carlathan, then north to Aby-staad before following the coast to the southeast. Huge caravans of a dozen or more are known to travel together for the best protection.
The two major Regions in Creston are the Nubem-het Desert and the Hajan Jungle. The central plains between the two is known as the Ok-tak region, mostly named after the Ok-tak river. Much of the jungle has been cleared away from the southern end of the river, allowing for further expansion.
For more on specific cities and regional details, see THIS page