The Land of Assentia

The Land of Assentia is a vast land region encompassing the Western half of the Continent of Apsis. The land is divided into tribal nations according to specific geographical regions. Every nation is named after their particular land region and is allied with at least one other tribal nation within close proximity. The primary purpose for such alliances is for trade and commerce, though it also provides allies for defense should war breakout between other tribes. Within each tribal nation are smaller sister tribes, often named after animals or landmarks where they are located. Each Tribal Nation is governed through a tribal council, consisting of each sister tribe's Tribal Chieftain, Tribal Warlord, and Tribal Shaman. 

Tribal Chieftain represents his tribe's interests and rules as its political leader. He establishes the laws, decides on courses of migration, how best to provide for the tribe, and carry out the punishments decided upon by his own tribal council for those who have broken the laws. The Tribal Chieftain is usually of the Fighter, Ranger, or Barbarian class, and is always counselled by his tribe's Warlord and Shaman.

A Tribal Warlord acts as the tribe’s military leader, though he will often defer to the direction of his Tribal Chieftain. He commands the warriors in all war situations, is well trained in large scale battles, warfare strategies, and defensive tactics. The warlord is usually the most powerful and most experienced warrior of the tribe, and comes from the Fighter, Ranger, Barbarian, or Slayer class.

The Tribal Shaman is the spiritual leader or medicine man of the tribe. He (or she) wield the magic of the gods, and use it to the tribe's advantage. Whether accompanying warriors into battle, seeing into the future, or curing sick and afflicted tribe members, shamans command respect from both the leaders and members of the tribe. Shamans are generally of the shaman class, though they can also be druids, oracles, or warpriests. However, occasionally a shaman is neither of these, but is a sorcerer, summoner, or witch. In any case, such arcane shamans are extremely rare among the tribal nations of Assentia because most are unable to heal, cast out spirits, or perform other acts of divine magic.

Within each tribe are strong and powerful warriors who far exceed others in ability and fighting prowess. These warriors are considered the elite and stand in a group all their own. Due to their high status, they have been given the honored title of Tribal Champion. In game terms, these Tribal Champions are at least 8th level and those wishing to play such characters often select the Tribal Champion multiclass archetype.

While the tribes of Assentia appear under patriarchal rule, it is in truth matriarchal in nature. As the men govern the affairs of tribes outwardly, the true power of leadership and decision making is held by the women who keep the oral traditions and cultural knowledge of the tribes for future generations. It is they who council the Tribal Chieftains and Tribal Councils from behind the scenes, as mothers and grandmothers. 

The Grand Tournament

Among the tribal nations of Assentia, a special competition called The Grand Tournament takes place. This tournament occurs every five years, and is held at a permanent centralized meeting place 50 miles southwest of Sousesnia in the Sousé Grasslands. The winners of this great contest gain recognition across the lands of Assentia, as well as an increase in trade. The Assembly of Chieftains oversees the proceedings of the Grand tournament. It begins with any number of individual teams from the twelve tribal nations, who wish to enter the tournament.

Each land region must have at least one team of no more than 15 members who have prepared for the testing stage. The Assembly of Chieftains then test each team’s prowess and abilities to determine whether they are eligible to enter the tournament. Each team must pass three challenges; the challenge of The Heart, The Mind, and The Hand. The tribal teams that pass the tests then compete among the other teams from their respective geographical regions, with the single winner representing their tribal nation at The Grand Tournament.

At the Grand Tournament, the twelve teams representing their tribal nations battle for dominance. Each team is randomly chosen to participate in a special challenge against one or more teams, depending upon the challenge. The winner of each challenge continues to battle others until three teams remain. It is these three who then compete in the final challenge called the Grand Event. During the contests prior to the Grand Event, any advantages the teams may possess are legal, whether they are magical or not. However, the only restriction throughout the entire tournament is that no spells may be used or cast during a challenge. Although, spells cast before such a challenge starts is permissible.

The tribal teams face a variety of challenges before three teams are finally chosen to participate in the Grand Event. While new challenges may be contrived by the Assembly of Chieftains, the following is a list of events that have been commonly used through the years.

  • Piranha Run: The piranha run consists of a pool of waste-deep water filled with piranha, and three partition walls topped with razor-sharp spikes. Two teams begin at opposite ends of the pool, with each member equipped with nothing but a 3-foot by 3-foot piece of netting with which to protect oneself from the voracious fish. Each team is then given a freshly severed animal head, generally a boar or goat, which must be taken to the other end of the pool and placed on the opposite teams mounting pole. The first team to do so wins. This challenge often results in severe injuries, and occasionally death.
  • Rollerball: The rollerball challenge incorporates a giant hollow whicker framed ball, with each participating team being strapped along its inner surface. The playing field is a huge bowl-shaped arena with four holes in the centre, into which these huge balls must be placed. Throughout the field are many obstacles, including large poles both with and without huge spikes, stone walls and pits filled with a variety of things, from fire, or snakes, to spikes. Four teams compete simultaneously in this contest. The object of the challenge is to be the first team to roll themselves into one of the centre holes, evading the various pits, avoid being impaled on the spikes and bouncing themselves off the non-spiked poles towards the center. It may be compared to a form of human pinball, but far more dangerous.
  • Spike Ball: For this challenge, a single member from each of the two participating teams is secured and bound to a large stake located at their team’s end of the field. The rest of their team member are then equipped with a large 10-foot pole, who must then attempt to roll a giant curled-up spiked armadillo across the 200 yds. by 150 yds. playing field and strike the opposing teams bound member. The team who does so first is declared the victor.
  • Pride & Shame: This challenge is designed to test a team’s ingenuity and ability to outsmart their opponents. Individual teams are to humiliate each other in new and inventive ways, in an attempt to destroy their opponent=s pride and morale. The first team to do so is the victor. Many teams who encounter this challenge have met defeat to their opponents by losing their pride in the face of the humiliation they are forced to endure. However, there is a twist to this particular challenge. The team who strikes first blood and humiliates their opponents, who then takes their humiliation in stride, is the team who wins the challenge. Not allowing one's self to be humiliated, or taking such humiliation as a learning experience is just as important as being able to strip another team of their pride.
  • Polo: For this contest, two teams ride on horseback or small riding dinosaurs, and use long curved clubs to strike a hide ball. The teams use their clubs to knock the hide ball across the playing field into their opponent’s goal net. The team with the highest score at the end of the allotted time is the winner.
  • Lacrosse: This challenge is the same as the modern game of today.
  • Test of Cunning: A team is given a particular dilemma, either mental or physical, which is proposed to test their abilities to overcome challenges in new and inventive ways. Often, these challenges will combine both physical and mental aspects, and a need for complete teamwork and unity to overcome the test. Those who succeed the quickest or in the most cunning way is chosen the winner.
  • Test of Endurance: This challenge is a test of a team’s tenacity, willpower and physical prowess. Such tests may include long distant relays, running, climbing challenges, swimming, or the like. Those with the most members of their team to complete the challenge in the quickest time, is selected the winner.
  • Test of Arcana: Most teams, but not all, will have a shaman or witch doctor among their team members. They are then placed in situation which test their shaman's mental prowess, wisdom, spellcasting mastery, and ability to cohesively work with their team. Those who succeed are the victors.

The Grand Event has remained the same from the time of the first Grand Tournament. The strict rules of the final challenge have been and will always be as follows.
  • First, no magic may be used, whether it be devices or spells.
  • Second, each team has a dragon sponsor who is positioned at one end of the battlefield behind their individual team, and is restrained so they are unable to escape but still able to defend themselves. 
  • Third, each team must either slay or subdue the other teams dragons or have the teams themselves submit to win the challenge. 
The other teams must do everything within their power to prevent this. 

The dragon sponsors have agreed to participate in this challenge for many years. They cannot use their breath weapons or spells to defend themselves, only their tails, claws and teeth. If the dragon or anyone else in the challenge breaks the rules, the shamans, dragons and other powerful warriors of the other teams will simply slay them for their unsportsmanlike conduct. The tournament is taken very seriously and no deviations from these traditions have ever been tolerated.

Each tribe within a tribal nation is allied with every other tribe within their tribal nation.  In addition, various tribal nations are allied with others throughout the land. If one nation wars against another, usually their allies are drawn into the conflict. However, if there is a menace which threatens all the people of Assentia, the tribes will band together for mutual protection against a common foe. However, such a threat has yet to arise.
The following pages contain a description of the tribal nations that populate the geographical regions of The Lands of Assentia.