Necroxis Paar (3.5e Location)
Rate this article |
Discuss this article
Eerily floating in the sky, through some powerful magic, a massive island formed of jagged black rock encompasses the horizon. Its sheer size is enough to give even the most grounded individual vertigo. The cloud cover above it is black, intensifying the darkness it casts over the land. This is the terrible, fabled city: Necroxis Paar.
Necroxis Paar is a city built atop a floating island. It is capable of moving if directed to do so, but, generally, the city will be anchored using massive black chains that are hooked into the ground. Each link in these chains are the size of a house. The city spends most of its time anchored nearby excavation sites so that the ruling council can use their laborers to search for ancestral relics.
Necroxis Paar challenges the notions of natural good and evil in races. Just like most humanoid societies, they despise the creation of mindless undead and deem it an evil act. The only exception to this rule is what they consider the equivalent of the death penalty: turning a criminal into a mindless undead creature, trapping the soul inside the body.
The members of the city revere intelligent undead as the upper echelon of their society. The general population, which tends to consist of humans, but is also composed of many other races of mortal humanoids, gather their wealth to hopefully join the noble ranks of vampires and liches.
The ruling population is very small, but is unique in that it is composed entirely of immortal beings, most of which are undead.
Necroxis Paar is strictly split up into three social classes. Citizens are born into one of the social classes (or created into the social class the case of vampires and liches) and generally that never changes during their lifetime.
Mataar: Mataar are the intelligent undead that rule Necroxis Paar. The mataar are the high society and aristocracy of the land. Some exploit the lower classes and others rely on their own magical strengths to prove their power and standing. These are the people that tend to make, or at least influence, the big decisions of Necroxis Paar.
Living immortals also live under this social class. They are given general equality to the Mataar, but it is generally known that they hold less respect because their reliance on things like food, water, and air are seen as a weaknesses. There is a small group of Black Dragons that are well respected, however, and sometimes devils will live in Necroxis Paar if it suits their interests.
Tolian: The Tolian are the regular mortal members of society. Necroxis Paar has no racism so all Tolians stand on an equal footing in the eyes of the law and these sentiments are generally reflected in society at large. Tolians are just a normal middle class: they have professions, pay taxes, and try to earn as much money as they can to both provide for their families and, perhaps, someday afford the high price to become undead themselves and join the ranks of the Mataar.
Besides the outstanding debts a Dredge owes (see below), Tolians differ from the Dredge class in that they are considered full citizens of the city. This entitles them to many freedoms including the ability to leave Necroxis Paar if they so choose. Citizens are also allowed to attend schools: something the Dredge wouldn't have time for anyways because they are too busy working.
Dredge: The Dredge are almost like a slave class in the Necroxis Paar society. Unlike what you might expect with regular slavery, Dredge still have the capability to earn their own money. Their duty that defines their social class is outstanding family debt. Because of the eternal nature of Necroxis Paar, a family can acquire massive debts. Fines for crimes committed by one family member can be so large it would be impossible to pay them in one lifetime. Poor financial decisions or gambling problems can haunt a family for generations. When a debt cannot be paid, ancestors and kin must pay the remainder of the debt. The Dredge work 12 hour days under employment by the government and their salary pays for their housing and meals and slowly reduces the debt their family owes. Any money they earn elsewhere is their own, and rarely, there have been cases of exceptional Dredge buying transformation into Mataar late in their lives.
Especially skilled Dredge are sometimes offered training to command groups of mindless undead to help them with general labor projects. Most general labor is really just performed by the Dredge themselves, however, because zombies and skeletons are not too great at tasks that require more than brute strength and endurance.
Undying Laws of Nature
The Undying Laws of Nature are a foundation of ideas that are the backbone of Necroxis Paar. The laws are taught in schools and believed by basically everyone as something that is unequivocally true.
To people from other lands, the undying laws might seem like a religion. And they practically are. People attend weekly gatherings where the virtues of the undying laws are taught (basically like church/temple service). There are those that devote their lives to leading others in understanding the undying laws (clerics).
The following are the basic concepts behind the undying laws:
Law I: The body is a horse and the soul is the rider. If a horse is hurt or sick, then the rider cannot control it properly. And since the soul is what truly forms an individual, the mortal body, like the horse, can be a hindrance if wounded or sick.
Law II: When a mortal dies, their soul will spend a lifetime in agony before returning back in the form of reincarnation. Reincarnated individuals forget all that they knew in their past life because the agony their soul suffered during its lifetime of pain allows them to remember nothing else. Souls can be stolen by deities by worshiping them, in which case the soul will never reincarnate and will face eternal agony.
Law III: True immortality is when the soul gains full control of the body. The body may look dead, but the will of the soul allows it to function properly as a vessel. This is the ideal state.
The implications of these laws resounds throughout the social structure of Necroxis Paar.
The first and third laws are part of the major foundations of the Necroxis Paar society. They clearly state that mortality is a hindrance to an individual and that immortality is a matter of control over the body. In fact, it is believed that being an intelligent undead creature shows a mastery over the body that even other immortals cannot achieve. Basically, if you can control your body even when it is dead, you have created the perfect vessel for your soul.
The second law states that those that have their soul go to an afterlife suffer agony. The people believe that deities attempt to trick mortals in order to draw their souls to the deity's personal plane where they use it to power their immortality. In some ways, this is actually true. Deities do require the power of their worshipers to have their own power grow, after all.
An incidental cultural impact of the laws is that mortals of Necroxis Paar favor physical wellness above all other virtues. Wellness does not necessarily mean strength, though it often means having strong stamina. A sick individual is often thought of as weaker and less desirable to be associated with. Those that get sick often usually are shunned by their families. In some ways, among mortals, success is determined by the health of a person over their lifetime rather than their achievements. People look up to elders rather than clever people or strong people because elders know how to stay healthy and alive.
The undying laws also explain one aspect of Necroxis Paar society that would otherwise seem to be a contradiction: the fact that intelligent undead are revered, but mindless undead are disdained. The people of Necroxis Paar believe that in creating a zombie or skeleton, they are actually powering it with the soul of the person that was killed. But instead of the soul being in control of the body, the body is control of the soul. And this state is pretty much the Necroxis Paar equivalent of hell. As a result, such a punishment is only given to mortal enemies of Necroxis Paar and horrible criminals.
To an outside perspective, the land would seem to be festering with evil. Necroxis Paar is actually more neutral than good or evil. Citizens don't view undead in the same way that other nation's citizens might. As such, they don't see necromancy as an evil act as long as it is used responsibly.
A general member of the population is LN, though there are certainly many members of high society that are evil. The necromantic process is a delicate and fragile border of neutrality to evil. Many people in their transformation into undead become evil with the vile magic at work. But, then again, what aristocracy isn't filled with a bunch of evil individuals?
In order to be considered a full citizen of Necroxis Paar (a Tolian), a person is marked with a special spell that functions similarly to Arcane Mark. This spell cannot be dispelled without a Wish or Miracle spell and gives a +2 bonus to scrying against the subject, but otherwise functions exactly like an invisible arcane mark. The mark is almost always placed on the forehead of the Tolian.
Dredge are marked with a second spell that expires once their family debt is absolved. This mark is basically a Mark of Justice that will be triggered if the Dredge leaves Necroxis Paar or fails to obey orders while on duty.
The laws of Necroxis Paar are very specific, but are constantly in contest to be perfected. At least one quarter of the Mataar are actively involved in law, many of which are lobbyists for political changes. The laws can be harsh to those unaware, but the court finds no excuse in ignorance. The law is freely available for anyone to read and many aspects of it follow general moral principles.
It is strictly illegal to transform a subject into a zombie, unless it is for an execution. The penalty for such an act is execution. It is also illegal to transform a Tolian or Dredge into a vampire or lich (or other intelligent undead). This process requires a hefty sum to be paid to the government and also requires several prerequisites to be met by the person such as a consistent source of wealth, mastery of a trade, etc. The Mataar only want the very best to join their ranks and want to protect their standing from well-intentioned, but misguided individuals with the capability to transform others into their ranks.
Though Necroxis Paar generally allows free liberty, they also wish to conform to a common morality. In doing this, it became necessary for the government to ban religions that oppose the moral values of the land. Many good gods are banned because they are opposed to undead in general (and more extreme members of the good gods will crusade to kill the Mataar). Gods of nature are banned because they also oppose undead. Vecna and Nerull are banned from worship because of their support for mindless undead (although it is impossible to keep the god of secrets outside of a land like Necroxis Paar). Chaotic gods are also banned because of the rigid law of the land. Racial gods such as elf or dwarf gods are banned because they consider Tolians more important than the Mataar.
The punishment for worshiping banned gods ranges based on social class. Foreigners are warned for display of holy symbols, and will be prosecuted for worshiping banned gods in public or spreading information about their gods. Mataar will be punished severely since they are setting a bad example for the people and they are often resurrected and fined heavily, thus making them Tolians once again. Tolians may be fined enough for their life as a Dredge up to several generations of Dredge.
Slavery is strictly prohibited in Necroxis Paar. Punishments are extremely severe to offenders. There is, however, a way to get inexpensive laborers: hiring Dredge and mindless undead crews from the government.
Anyone can hire work crews of Dredge from the government for generally around 5 sp per laborer per day. Specialty tasks will cost more and anything requiring a high level of skilled craftsmanship generally will require finding a Tolian specialist.
Necroxis Paar has no need for prisons. If an offender breaks the law as a Tolian, they are fined (sometimes to the point that their entire family becomes Dredges). If an offender breaks the law after becoming a Dredge, they are almost always executed. Anyone who is executed is raised as a mindless undead. This is the exception to the laws forbidding creation of mindless undead. Necroxis Paar citizens view this as the ultimate punishment. The hordes of skeletons and zombies that have been created over the years are used as general laborers and as a local defense force. It is said that there are huge spaces in the Astral Plane storing tens of thousands of skeletons and zombies that are eternally waiting to be released.
High ranking Mataar are able to represent the interests of people in a particular part of Necroxis Paar. There is an emperor that rules the land, but he is rarely seen and most citizens consider him to be nothing more than a figurehead. The true power is in the representation of the people, which most Mataar rarely represent well. Senate seats are bought by Mataar, whom usually use them to create favorable political positions for themselves and their friends. It is always a fine balance, however. The primary job of a senator is to keep the people in his area productive. Often, they will make platforms and take stances that would seem to benefit their people. More often than not, this takes the form of fear-mongering. They will create an enemy through propaganda and fight for laws to protect the citizens from the alleged enemy. The citizens, most of whom tend not to be bright, will completely buy into it. A result is that Necroxis Paar is almost always involved in a "preemptive war" that it has no chance of losing. These preemptive wars also give the senate the opportunity to seek out relics to help aid them in the struggle. ie. "We can't beat the fairies of happyland unless we seek out the doomsword of death".
- Emperor Necroxis - The land was named after this demi-lich. He isn't seen very often and some people believe that his appearances are illusions made by some senators that actually rule Necroxis Paar as puppet masters.
- Senator Mirroa - The unofficial leader of the vampire population in Necroxis Paar. It is said that her magic rivals and is possibly stronger than even the most powerful liches in the senate.
- Treasurer Bogan - A pit fiend, that considers Necroxis Paar to be the perfect city. His experience has given him a high position in office as treasurer.