Confederacy of Sages

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The Confederacy of Sages is a minor nation made up principally of centaur, minotaur, cervitaur, fauns, and satyrs, holding loosely-defined territory Lordless Lands. The races that make up the Confederacy have their own individual lifestyles and living patterns, but share a commonality of philosophy, language, and territory that lends a natural habit of cooperation among them.

The Sages have earned their external moniker due to their reputation for peacefulness and wisdom. They are known to avoid nearby settlements of other races to the point of becoming thought of as merely mythological, only to suddenly appear in a time of natural disaster, such as after a wildfire, flood, or in times of famine, to share their capabilities and resources with the locals and put them back on their feet. They are held in particular reverence by druids of all origins, and are often sought out for their expertise in such matters.

The tribe, sometimes called the herd, is the basic unit of government, and in most cases is highly nomadic, with fixed settlements being few and far between.

The Confederacy is unique among nations in Arhen (apart from the Carcolie Wood-Elves)) as it does not have its own pantheon, instead accepting the reality of the gods concurrently and focusing its own worship on honoring Nature itself.

Sage Adventurers are rare - to a degree, all sages are technically adventurers thanks to the wild nature of the lands they live in as well as their nomadic life style. Where they are seen outside of their own lands, they were often driven thus by circumstance, such as a natural or artifical disaster, monster attacks, or so on. A rare few choose the adventuring life out of a natural wanderlust common to young beings of all races.

Geography and Government

Convocations of the Sages

All tribes that make up parts of the Confederacy recognize an orally-transmitted law known as the Great Law, which is a sort of simple constitution creating a state of alliance between these distinct tribes and certain processes by which to call the leaders (or representatives of those leaders) of the tribes together in an event known as a Convocation of the Sages. These events are called irregularly to help make collective decisions for all of the Sage tribes over matters that affect them completely. Increasingly, this is usually to do with Bastonia expanding their frontier further into the Lordless Lands, or conflict with the increasingly hostile Orcish Nation; historically, these rare events were necessary only to deal with significant wildfires, unseasonable weather leading to food chain failures, and similar disasters.

At such a convocation no one person is considered higher than any other, as no tribe of the confederation is seen as higher or lower than any other, and even representatives sent in the place of a leader otherwise unable or unwilling to attend personally are accorded the respect due that leader, as they were, after all, selected for that role.


The tribes that make up the confederacy do have a concept of property as it applies to material goods, but do not extend that understanding, usually, to a concept of real estate. They certainly understand that other nations do, and are aware of the practice, but within the confederacy, land is seen as held in common to all, available for any who wish to work or hunt it - a consideration they share with the Orcish Nation. However, with increasing encroachment of Bastonia pressing them out of lands they traditionally inhabit, the Sages are becoming increasingly concerned they will have to form a boundary before any truly sacred land is suddenly inaccessible to them.

Confederate Culture

Arts and Architecture

Much like the Carcolie, the arts and crafts of the tribes tend to focus largely on what can be carried with them; however, they do mark sacred places, efficient routes, and other points of interest with permanent figures of wood or stone decorated in ways particular to each tribe; centaur, minotaur, and cervitaur waystones all look distinct both to each other and with respect from (for example) one cervitaur herd to another.

Permanent architecture is similarly rare - especially among the centaur - but impermanent architecture runs a broad gamut. Cervitaur and Centaur, for example, tend to either sleep in the open or under communal awnings, wheras by comparison minotaur build full seasonal communities that are both defensible and easily travelled between.

Of note is that each of these races do have permanent structures at sites they hold as sacred - either individually to each races's traditions or in common for the whole confederacy. The most famous of these is the Labyrinth at the heart of the Unspoiled Wood, which was built mostly by the Minotaur and is believed to have at its heart a pool where one can speak directly to nature itself.

Religion, Festivals, and Timekeeping

Religion is, to one degree or another, idiosyncratic to each race that makes up the confederation, but at its core holds a common element of reverence for nature and the natural order. Of particular note, however, is that unlike the Carcolie who hold relatively fast to the teachings of one particular druidic circle, most Sages acknowledge the existence of the Gods of the other pantheons of the world, with a few even holding them in personal reverence.

Festivals are peculiar to each individual tribe. Only the solstices and equinoxes are observed in common, as they mark the passage of the seasons, which are undeniable shifts in the natural pattern to all concerned. At such times, the whole confederation occasionally comes together with their other neighbouring tribes for huge celebrations and druidic observances.

Fighting, Warfare, and Death

It is undeniable to any who live among the Confederacy that that which is of the nature to be born is of the nature to die. That said, war is not naturally in the life of the Tribes, and open war borders on being unheard of. Tribes will band together with each other and fight against threats they can't otherwise handle, but there is no spirit of expansionism or isolationism among them; at worst, the most you'd see is a skirmish between the Confederacy and the Orcish Nation, with whom they share territory but who also occasionally forget themselves, or skirmishes with overly-eager Bastonian hunters.

Death is viewed as a return to the earth, no more or less. Each member of each tribe has to come to their own peace with death and what they think a good death is.

Language and Scholarship

Sylvan - a language said to be created by woodland spirits - is the principal language of the Confederacy, though many members also speak Common, Orcish, or both. Writing is not a common technology among the Tribes, but those who are literate and have a need to write in Sylvan do so in a pictographic manner, usually engraved, though a written-on-paper variant of the language exists as well.

Formal education as a sperate activity from entertainment and conversation is unknown among the Tribes, who instead have an informal culture of trade apprenticeships and a strong culture of storytelling and philosophical discussion to pass along higher concepts. While this has lead to misconceptions of barbarism among the urbanized nations like the Atarlie or the Bastonians, this misconception erases the fact that the Confederacy are accomplished astrologist and astronomers in their own right, brilliant conservationists, and in some ways talented engineers.

Diet, Libations, and Entertainment

The sages have a deeply seasonal diet that relies heavily on forage and hunting, though the Minotaur (being more settled) have light agricultural capability and the centaur often herd cattle (bovines, goats, and so on, depending on what is available) which are considered a valuable store of food in the winter months. Those near rivers and lakes may also practice fishing. Preservation practices are highly developed.

Drinking is not commonplace in the confederacy; water quality does not tend to require it, and other purification methods are known. The Minotaur are known to produce a mild beer that the other tribes occasionally trade for, and the consumption of other intoxicants such as naturally-fermenting fruits and various herbs or mushrooms is also not unheard of among the other tribes. Doing so to excess is frowned upon in all cases; in some cases, even reserved exclusively for religious or social rites.

As meals tend to be a communal affair for the whole drive, they are often followed by periods of song and dance of the whole community in common, as needed.

Confederate Economics

Cashless Society

The confederacy does not find coinage a useful form of currency; you can neither eat copper, silver, gold, or platinum, nor are such commonly available without a mining infrastructure, which is seen only among the minotaur and even then rarely. Instead, wealth is what you have available to you in resources, be they the cattle in your heard, the grain, fruit, and nuts in your pack, or other items of greater value. Most trade is either direct, good-for-good trade, or a system of bartering and favours.

As most goods of use to most people are produce of the land and the land is held in common, true proverty among the tribes is rare. It is considered a community duty to care for those unable to feed themselves.

Focal Industries

Industry is a strong term if applied to the Confederacy of Sages, whose principal concerns from day to day are their philosophical considerations, and making sure food is available. The rare exception is trade with their neighbours to obtain other needed materials they can't otherwise produce.

Technology and Craftsmanship

It would be incorrect to accuse the Confederacy of being technologically underdeveloped. What metal they work they work with the same quality as those found throughout the world, and the weapons and tools they make for themselves are just as good as those found elsewhere. The principal difference is quantity. What a member of the Confederacy owns, they must carry with them. While the Minotaur move around rarely and so accumulate greater quantities of tooling and material wealth, the centaur and the cervitaur move around daily and so must travel relatively light.

The peculiar design of sage goods marks them out instantly as exotic. On the rare occasions that they do trade with Bastonians, this exoticness is actually seen as a selling point. Centaur bows are particularly favoured among Bastonian archers (especially if they can't get Elvish). The Cervitaur, who are uncommonly attuned to Natural magic, are well known for their trade in medicines of all kinds, even producing staves and wands on occasion. They trade this medicine heavily with Orcs, when the Orcs are in the mood for trading.

Sages and the Adventuring Class

Barbarian – though perhaps a rude thing to call a sage, this is none the less an extremely common class. Barbarians are suited perhaps second only to rangers to a life in the wilds, and is a common melee combatant class among the Minotaur Nation particularly, though certainly no less common in the other nations.

Bards – are not unheard of, though far more common among the relatively minor tribes of the Satyr and Faun than elsewhere. Musical styles favour woodwinds among most of the tribes, with only the Minotaur favouring drums instead.

Cleric – In the priestly sense, true clerics are rare, though clerics worshipful of nature as a concept occasionally exist. Where they are found, they often hold positions of community reverence and are consulted for their wisdom.

Druid – This is the far more common priestly class, and usually represented in great numbers among individual tribes by comparison to the other nations of Wisteria. Druids from other lands will even travel at great risk to Confederacy territory to meet and speak with the elder druids of the various tribes. Unlike in other nations, the druids do not operate in secret. While they do speak a secret language common to all druids within the confederacy and to the practice itself, they practice openly. Most tribal elders, medicinefolk, and other authorities have some degree of druid experience or another.

Monk – Almost unheard of, and no local, native pratice of monastic training exists. What few monk there are among the Confederacy usually were introduced to the practice during rare times abroad and are already unusual in that respect. It may be desirable to use a monk class generally to represent a lightly-armed and unarmoured but talented fighter, without laying too heavily on the lore that makes up monks themselves.

Fighter – Comparatively rare as combatants go, and usually favouring light armour. The idea of a professional soldier is foreign to the confederacy, and so expertise in fighting (as opposed to hunting, which is a thoroughly different practice) is not in common need. Of some exception are Minotaur who share territory near to Bastonia or Orcish settlements, who occasionally adopt the practice of wearing heavier armour, having better access to the resources needed to produce and maintain it.

Paladin – Entirely unheard of - such zeal is not felt by those within the Confederacy.

Ranger – Extremely common, in both the traditional ranged and melee variants, and particularly common among the Centaur, who are quite literally rangers and renowned in the Lordless Lands and abroad for their skill at archery. Use a ranger in most places where you would normally see a fighter among NPCs; leaders of community guards, warbands, and the like.

Rogue – There is not a strong criminal underclass, even in Minotaur settlements. That being said, rogue-as-in-scout is a useful interpretation for making rogues among the Confederacy, and one to which Satyrs, Fauns, and Cervitaur are all reasonably well-suited (particularly the former two, who would be suited to Arcane Trickster-like prestige classes).

Sorcerers – Sorcery is not reviled or viewed as a perversion as it is among many of Wisteria's nations, nor is it as common as it is in the Atarlie Empire. Most bloodlines are more or less equally represented, save for aberration or undead, which are among the very few things reviled in the confederacy and aberrant or undead bloodlines are viewed as no better.

Wizards – The rarest of the arcane classes by far, as no strong traditions of such practice exist. Those who learn arcane magic to the point of wizardry within the Confederacy purely usually do so under the tutelage of druids versed in astronomy and become Divination specialists. A rare few with exposure to the Orcish Nation or Bastonia may pick up other schools of specialty, usually by way of trade of information.

Sages and Monsters

Wild as their land is, the Confederacy sees so many different kinds of monsters that most are simply considered particularly dangerous wildlife. Only two classes of monster - aberrant and undead - are viewed as truly monsterous, as the former often have minds too alien to be understood as sentient, and the latter often have no mind at all. Both represent perversions of the natural order.

Conversely, Outsiders are often seen as fully intelligent in their own right, and while some are hated and feared for their destructiveness, quite a few are seen as particularly exotic magical beasts or people, depending mostly on their intelligence.

Confederate Attitudes toward the Other Nations

Wisteria is not a monoculture, and neither is the confederacy, particularly given that they count at least five distinct races among their number.

  • The Carcolie Ravenmasters occasionally wander far enough south and west of Carcolie lands to encounter remote [Minotaur] villages or wandering [Cervitaur] sages. In general, the Mountain Elves are seen as a flighty, slightly-wild "junior race" who the Sages respect as being at least civilized enough to not be overly destructive to the world around them, which is realtively high praise.
  • The Atarlie Empire is known to the Confederacy of Sages, but not well, and mostly by rumour and inference. High Elves in the lordless lands are sufficiently unusual events that they are often shadowed by members of Confederacy tribes, whether they realize it or not.
  • The Orcish Nation is one of the largest populations of the Lordless Lands. Until recently, they had a mutual understanding with the Confederacy, though they refused to be part of the Great Law and instead preferred their own independence, which most among the Confederation sympathized with (and expected to "fade with time"). Trade between the two nations is relatively common, though it was far more common before Bastonia began to once again expand to its south, which soured the moods of the Orcs and have made them increasingly territorial, including toward the Confederacy.
  • The Kingdom of Bastonia, is seen as the principal threat to the Confederacy. In generations previous, it was not unheard of for Confederate Sages to trade with, and occasionally simply provision, Bastonian settlements in their "Frontier Counties" in times of mutual need. However, with Bastonian movement to the south, the incompatible views of real estate, rite of way, and common holding of property are leading to conflict, with Bastonian farmers and soliders occasionally going so far as to drive confederate tribes off of encampments because that land was somehow desirable for development.
  • The Clans of Magnus are the antithesis to the Confederacy in a lot of ways, in spite of the commonalities their cultures occasionally touch on. However, the extreme distance between the western and central Lordless Lands (where the Confederacy ranges) and the Atlas Mountains means that contact between the two groups is quite rare, usually occurring only with Sages who have already wandered deep into Orcish Nation territory.
  • Opinion on the folk of the Shimmering Shore has turned friendlier since the Collapse in that region lead to a devolution of government to city-states and rural communities, often in need of support wherever they can get it, including from the Sages. While the Satyrs and the Fauns (who have a touch of the arcane themselves) are happy to provide such help, the other bands that make up the Confederacy are less convinced - the Mintoaur have no love for the Outsiders and Halffolk who appear in the Shimmering Shores, the Centaur are too haughty to go so far out of their range to help, and some among the Cervitaur (who are often otherwise helpful) fear that too much interaction with the Shimmering Shores could lead to [The Great Bleeding] extending north into the Lordless Lands, causing similar disaster.