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The World of Azmoth: Godwar Battlefield


You can find a map of the known regions of Azmoth here.


CREATION AND MYTHIC HISTORY OF AZMOTH

Before the people began, there was a Godwar.

Az-Mozeth, a creator Elumen, formed the world and separated it as a source of power, and hid it in a protective dimension. But one of the corrupters, a Shailumen named Di-Anthnik, discovered the infant world, and made plans to take it for his own. For both the Elumen and the Shailumen desire worlds. Their motives are beyond our understanding – perhaps they use it for power, or currency, or status. But Di-Anthnik planned to steal the world from our maker, Az-Mozeth.

But the gods are more subtle than men, and the infant world could not withstand the touch of divine beings, so they did not war directly on our world. Instead they raised up servants: Az-Mozeth created Anhouim to do his work, while Di-Anthnik created Demons. In turn, the Anhouim made Arch-Angels, and the Demons made Arch-Devils. And so on, until finally the minor angels made men, and the minor demons made the darklings. These would be the servants who could do the detailed work and confront each other without destroying the world or ruining it’s value. Because they had so little of the divine in them, they could not understand the greater workings of the Godwar. But because they still had a divine spark, they were zealous to accomplish their work.

Now both Di-Anthnik and Az-Mozeth use their forces to battle over the world, each to gain dominance so that he can banish the other’s influence.
-From the "Chronicles of the Anhouim," by Magir, High Priest of Tyl

This is Azmoth, a world embroiled in a divine war that none of its inhabitants begin to comprehend.

THE ELUMEN AND THE SHAILUMEN
The information in this section is known to the theologians on Azmoth. Most people don’t care to know this much detail, but there are high priests who understand.

In the universe there are two major factions of divine beings. The Elumen embody the creative force. They build stars and planets and solar system. It is unclear why they do this, for what mortal can comprehend the mind of a god? But it is clear that these worlds are important to them, because they create weaker beings to help manage and control the worlds. These beings are capable of creation too, but each successive "generation" not only holds less divine power, but is less capable of comprehending the ideals and glory of the Elumen.

The main servants of the Elumen are the Anhouim. The Anhouim are essentially gods themselves, but their powers are apparently more limited. The servants created by the Anhouim are Arch-Angels, which are then followed by several different degrees of angels: seraphim, cherubim, and so forth. They do more and more detailed work as they get further away from the Elumen in their genealogy. This is done because the worlds the Elumen create are very sensitive, like a potter’s clay vessel. Simply the presence of an Elumen (or, for that matter, a Shailumen) would cause irreparable damage to a new world. The world must set for many millennia before it is a fit habitation for a divine being, so lesser beings are created to do the work.

It can only be concluded from this that it is quite an investment of time or energy to create a world, because Elumen go through such lengths to make worlds and then protect and develop them. This is also evident in the fact that the Shailumen covet worlds so much. Note, certain theologians believe that only one world exists, and that therefore, there is only one Elumen and one Shailumen – those who war over Azmoth.

No one knows why the Shailumen simply do not make worlds. Perhaps they are incapable of that creative control. Perhaps they are simply lazy. Debate on this issue rages. However, Shailumen power has the same destructive effect on worlds that Elumen power has. And since they wish to possess a world, they do not enter it themselves until it is ready. They likewise make subservient races. At first they create demons, which then create arch-devils, which are then followed by minor devils, though in some theological discussions, the terms "devil" and "demon" are interchangeable.

When an Elumen creates a world, typically he hides it in a pocket dimension where it will be difficult to find. However, they are still sometimes found by Shailumen, and that is when Godwars begin.

AZMOTH: GODWAR BATTLEFIELD
Azmoth is a young world, and as such it cannot survive the tread of divine feet on it’s surface. Even the approach of Shailumen or Elumen close to Azmoth’s atmosphere could cause terrible upheaval. This is why the divinities use agents. On Azmoth, the agents of the Elumen Az-Mozeth are human beings, created by the least of angels; the agents of the Shailumen Di-Anthnik are known as the Darklings.

Humans were first created on the northern continent, though those who live on the southern continent claim this is not the case. Soon after the creation of Azmoth, Az-Mozeth ordered a division of his people, and a mass migration to the southern continent ensued, where culture and great civilizations rose. This was done so that if one of the groups of humans were to be corrupted by the Shailumen’s forces, it would not be a total loss.

Humans more info
Humans are different on Azmoth than on many other worlds. Several groups of angels were responsible for creating them, and they each made unique versions, suited for their environments. The humans of many coasts can breathe water as well as air, and though they live on the land, they suffer when too dry for too long. Humans of the desert on the other hand, enjoy the heat, and rarely suffer from sunburn or sunstroke; they find even temperate climates frigid, however. Humans of the jungles of Azmoth are adapted to living in the trees, and have an amazing speed and agility. Those from the mountains have an incredible strength and endurance. The plainsfolk can expand their minds to exceptional limits. Those of the forests are capable of perceiving things that may not even be there, though they are often called mad.

Darklings
The Darklings are an unpredictable lot, in all ways. The powers that serve Di-Anthnik shape each one to their needs and whims, and so very few Darklings look the same, even taking into account the normal differences in humans. Their abilities can vary as well. It is best not to take anything for granted when dealing with Darklings.

 

GEOGRAPHY (map)

The geography of Azmoth is remarkable for the equatorial ocean: a huge belt of water, several hundred miles wide, wrapping around the world at the equator. Because the world itself is only around 8000 miles in diameter at the equator, the entire coast of the southern continent has been explored, and humans on Azmoth are aware that their planet is spherical. However, they have only explored about 800 miles inland, so much of the world is still undiscovered.

The coast of both continents is very diverse, with mountains, deserts, jungles, and plains. Half of the northern continent has not been explored, due both to it being less accessible from the south and the high mountain range that marks the eastern edge of the explored (and colonized) land.

PHYSICAL FEATURES

The Ocean
The ocean of Azmoth has different names in every culture, often in every town. It is a wild and chaotic sea. Storms, often of typhoon status frequently traverse the surface, and it is nearly unheard of to cross the ocean without some sort of storm. And when the storms don’t blow, the sea monsters rise to the surface. Many are so unlucky that they meet both. Until recent advancements in sailing technology, it was nearly unheard of to venture into the open sea and survive, let alone crossing the ocean completely.

Bay of Pirates
This is an amazingly complex and haphazard arrangement of very rocky islands in a localized area. It is difficult to navigate because of both the rocks and the rough seas that characterize the entire ocean. For this reason, pirates often risk the area, and it’s rumored that many pirate crews have even found ports and caves they can hide in. Too dangerous to clear out, this will probably remain a safe haven for criminals for a long time to come.

Demon Cliffs
One major feature of the ocean is known as the Demon cliffs. The sea near the demon cliffs are particularly rough and frequently stormy. On this land mass nest dozens, if not hundreds, of dragons, none of which are particularly friendly to sailors. It is not a place any sailor visits willingly.

Kharnis Highlands
North of the Free Cities the land starts to rise, hilly and gentle at first, but getting more and more rugged as you near the coast. It is claimed that only Darklings, trolls, and giants inhabit the highlands, but they have never been thoroughly explored. Some explorers have returned and reported that just before reaching the mountains one can find a lush paradise where all your whims are fulfilled.

Shodu Bay
The Shodu Bay is actually a great sea that breaks off the ocean. It is separated from the ocean by a mysterious chain of islands. Sailors say that the islands are home to mermaids and elves and faeries, and that each is made of a different substance (usually gold, or silver, or garnets, or in one case, crystallized whiskey). No one has been able to explore them, and ships that try to land are never seen again. Whatever the island properties are, they protect the Shodu, for the sea is never affected by the chaos of the ocean. Even when it rains, the seas are calm in the Shodu Bay

THE NATIONS

Bask more info
Possibly the richest national entity on Azmoth, Bask is a huge trading force and the most maritime of all the cultures on this world. Bask ships are famous (and infamous, as they don’t hesitate to sell to pirates) for their reliability, and it is ships from Bask that nearly all successful expeditions to the north are conducted. From its island in the Silkurt bay, Bask controls the only habitable island in the center of the ocean, which gives them a huge advantage for shipping, but earns a lot of income from refitting and repairing ships on their way in either direction. The lush, tropical isle Bask has colonized in the north has a number of rich mineral veins of tin, gold, and others, as well as several major ruins sites and burial grounds that are hundreds of years old.

Naturally, other nations are jealous of the resources Bask controls, but Bask is careful not to promote the welfare of any party above another (aside from their own), so there is rarely any hostility. This means their only constant enemy is the frequent storms that all of their territory is subject to. The one exception is that of piracy. Since Bask is not particular about their clients, most pirate vessels in the waterways of Azmoth are built in Bask; and since Bask offers protection to any one conducting legitimate business in their ports or lands, Bask is often a haven for Pirates to retreat to when pursued. This occasionally causes problems, both with international tensions and with too many pirates on their shores, but so far it hasn’t been enough to cause a war or change their policies.

The Church of Bask is headed by the current ruler of Bask, with actual direction provided by royally appointed officers. The church is as social as it is religious. The wealthy attend for standing reasons and dress in their best to impress others. It would be unfair to say they don’t gain values and strength from their religion, but upmost in their minds is who’s who. Peasant Baskers don’t go to the fancy churches that the elite attend. Their chapels, run by lesser priests and lay workers, are humble affairs generally near the harbors of cities, and as worshippers aren’t as social in their sphere, but the element exists. A common use for priests of the Church of Bask is to bless sailors before they embark on a journey. Many sailors, baskers as well as those of other nations, carry charms blessed and provided by the priests of the Church of Bask. Priests also inaugurate new ships about to take to the sea. The Church of Bask is the default religion for all those who make their living on the great waters of the ocean, be they baskers or not. There are sailors of other faiths, but it’s less common.

Bregtoran more info
Bregtoran is more properly a geographic region than a nation, though most peoples in the region have the same or similar ethnic backgrounds. There is still a wide diversity of religious practice and political division in the area. Occasionally a great warrior will unite most or all of the Bregtoran lands; one notable figure even united half of Silkur under his banner. These unifications never last longer than the demagogue responsible, and collapse quickly in the ensuing chaos. Bregtorians tend to be warlike, but enjoy the arts as well, particularly story and song – in fact, it is considered fashionable in Bask, Parthann, and the Tylerian Empire to have a court musician or skald from this region, though Bregtorians don’t usually remain in foreign lands for long, so they must constantly be replaced.

the Bregtorians, in line with their martial nature, are military in their worship. Their church is not centrally organized but based on a similar approach to theology. The church is technically called an army, “the army of god” and priests are officers in that army. They preach lots of hellfire and damnation, focusing on the conflicts in the world: elumen/shailumen, angel/demon and so on, as well as the conflicts within each person. Worshippers are sometimes called upon to make sacrifices to prove their devotion to the powers of good. It is rare, but Church officers have even raised small armies composed of followers to physically fight some force they have determined as evil. Some priests use their religious authority in the pursuit of political authority, become ralcolms. As mentioned above, authority isn’t centralized, but is held by the local priests who build their congregations with charisma and forceful preaching. Strength in arms always helps, too.

Free Cities
The Free Cities are often grouped as a collective identification, even by the Tylerians who are their closets neighbors, but nothing could be further from the truth. There is no federation or alliance or even informal understanding that binds the city-states of the region. The Free Cities, in fact, are only free in the fact that each city is totally independent of it’s neighbors and not beholden to any other political power. It is a proud tradition that they share, held sacrosanct: it is anathema for them to try and build empires. Not that it has never occurred: tyrants still get greedy, but they will tend to defend each other from attacks initiated by other city-states in the region. This independent streak is the only thing that can be said to be universal of the Free Cities. They hold wildly different social practices, government systems, ethnic backgrounds, and even theologies: typically worshiping various Angels or Anhouim as gods.

A few of the free cities stretch into the hills and mountains, to the north, but most stay in the lowlands. Passage through most of the City-States’ lands can be made for a small toll, so most residents of this region have access to the Ourismi River, if they would like.

The free cities are varied in their religious practice. There are at least (probably more) as many different religious traditions as there are major free cities. Some traditions borrow heavily from the traditions of other cultures, but are never associated with that other culture’s formal religion. If a religion is very Tylerian in form, it will have it’s own name and claim to be thoroughly belonging to whatever city it’s in, and will never, ever mention the similarity to the Tylerian form, or look to it as a greater authority or even parent. The region of the free cities is famous for producing cults: new religions centered around an exciting twist of doctrine and founded by a charismatic man or woman. These cults vary widely in form. Some are very open and proselytizing, others secretive.

Free Colonies
The area on the map marked with this designation, roughly the western edge of the area unexplored by southern powers (primary because the imposing mountains have not been tamed yet), represents the tightest clustering of colonies either established by Free Cities or colonies that owe no allegiance to any southern power. Worship in the Free Colonies depends mostly on the religion of the colonizers.

Nomad Plains more info
This vast land is covered with grass, with only the infrequent copse of trees. The people who live here travel in tribes, following an ancient custom that no longer has a definite meaning. They never make camp for long in any location, sometimes staying for only a night, generally for a couple weeks. They survive partially by hunting and their herds, but also by farming. Each tribe will take care of the crops planted by their camp, and when they move, they travel to the next set of crops and camp there. After the harvest, they tribes meet in the north, where it is warmest, bringing their crops, where it is distributed among the tribes. During the Winter months they marry, conduct business, choose tribal leaders and so forth. Before Spring, they re-divide themselves into tribes. No one is committed to following a specific tribal leader, and each is free to follow any leader they wish. Though tribal leaders who have an inordinately large following will often ask tribe members to follow another tribe for the year if there it seems a tribe will not be able to do the required work.

No one knows the origin of this tradition, though the Bregtorian skald Myd has recorded at least a dozen different legends the nomads have told him. He jokingly mentions that he doesn’t know whether they are truly ignorant or if they just liked deceiving him. The nomads have a reputation (though Parthann scholars claim it is undeserved) for deceit and treachery and underhandedness with outsiders. It is true that they have a remarkable solidarity and don’t trust foreigners very much, and this may be the source of the ill feeling.

The nomad plains peoples are irreligious by most standards. They do not have much use for organized worship, though spiritual conversation is a part of every day life.

Silkur more info
Like Bregtoran, Silkur is really more of a collection of petty kingdoms and baronies than an actual kingdom in it’s own right. Silkurees are particularly ethnocentric and proud, however, and even though they fight each other as much as any one else, a sure way to get yourself a fight is to insult the region. Silkurees like alcohol, but despise getting drunk. Few have much social ambition, and even fewer can gather the means to accomplish those ambitions. The one notable exception to this ambition is bodily control. There are a string of small groups that believe they can perfect themselves through ultimate bodily discipline. Those who don’t belong to these schools think the idea is a load of dragon dung, but have a healthy respect for how the devotees fight.

Family is very important to Silkurees, and this devotion will always supercede loyalty to whatever government they live in. Those who live in the northern highlands are particularly clannish, and even though they build fortresses, usually you will only encounter them in family groups.

Silkuree religion consists of wandering priests. As the Silkurees are not a very religious people, there isn’t any establishment. These wandering priests never get too doctrinal or deep. They may borrow from Partite/Tarthitism, or Tylerianism, or Bregtorianism, or even from the Church of Bask, but never too much, and mostly in form, not substance. The Silkurees don’t like sermons. Priests are there to perform weddings and the initiation of children into life, adulthood, and the afterlife. They may say a few words on these occassions, but anything longer than five minutes is considered bad form. They live from the gratuities they receive for preforming the very ambiguous ordinances (which are often specified and designed by the worshipper who desires them.) This means they aren’t very wealthy. They’re given respect for their office, but it’s a kindly, courteous, social respect, not a reverential one.

THE EMPIRES

Parthann more info
Parthann is most noted for their intellectual accomplishment, but second only to that is their architectural virtuosity. Parthann is called an empire because it once stretched from the nomad lands on the east all the way to the Ourismi. But that was centuries ago. When the Free Cities started to become "free," great unrest developed, and when the last of a dynasty failed to produce an heir, the empire split. The eastern portion felt they were superior warriors and a war ensued. After 200 years things finally settled down, but the empire was now split, the western empire was now Tarth (meaning "west," "dragon," or "victor" depending on inflection and context), while the east changed their name from Parth to Parthann, (in their language, simply adding a superlative to the word for "east," which could also mean "true" or "loyal")

The current boundaries of Parthann cover the Nomad Plains on the east to just beyond the Ilne river on the west – roughly the bounds of the original Parth Sultanate and the Trinth Kingdom, the first two portions of the Parthann empire. The capital at the river’s delta, Pirkash, is renown for having five universities of learning, and the only public museum ever. Of the ten universities on Azmoth, eight of them are in Parthann. Pirkash also holds the largest library on Azmoth, the desert air keeping the texts preserved for hundreds of years (the head librarian claims thousands).

Parthann colonies in the north are primarily sites where archeological or anthropological work had begun, and where findings were so important permanent communities grew. The Parthites claim to have found several necropoli, and a major religious settlement from a dead civilization.

Parthann and Tarth share a highly intellectual religion, based on scholar priests and ancient texts, disputing interpretations and implications and arguing doctrine. While it may seem very divisive and combative, it’s really a civilized discussion, and priests of opposing schools of thought actually agree on more things than they disagree. There is a strong, commonly held basic belief structure on which they build their debates. Priests of this religion are often found with tomes of ancient scripture, which they rely on in the practice of their profession.

Up until the split, the religion was unified also, with a titular head who oversaw the practice of religion in the realm. This head was nominated by a council of priests, and as the leader of that council, had much say in the philosophical debates, and would produce position papers indicating the mind of the council theologically. While no authoritarian power, the council, with its head, was a great force in shaping the religion. At the time of the split, the head of the council and a majority of council members hailed from the now Tarthite lands and sided with Tarth, and went so far as to proclaim Parthann supporters “mistaken,” “misguided,” and “bound to erroneous traditions” which amounted to branding them as heretics. The scholars supporting Parth claimed that the head (who should have a cool sounding, impressive title) had taken too much authority unto himself and had devaited from the ancient texts on which their beliefs were based.

Today, both factions make the claim of being the true branch of the religion. The Tarthite version has invested heavily in the role of the “head” and their authority, holding the proclamations of the head and council as important as the old texts. The Parthite version is in possession of most of the old texts, and is much less authoritarian and more scripturally-led. Despite the division, much (most) of the doctrine is the same, and the religion is practiced in more or less the same way, with services consisting of priests making lengthy sermons out of ancient (and in the Tarthite case modern) scripture, and opening it to discussion afterwards. All manner of traditions and customs can be invented to support this form of worship

Tarth more info
The word "tarth" to a Tarthite means several dozen things, but usually is used to indicate power or victory.

Tarth, while much more vast than Parthann, is also more sparsely populated. There are plenty of oases in the Parth Desert, but any roads or trails are quickly covered by shifting sands, and so a local is needed to get anywhere in the desert. The Tarthites are not entirely unfriendly to locals, but they have complex social nuances that they do not excuse a foreigner from. It is easy to offend a Tarthite, so it’s best to only deal with those in your own borders until you’ve gotten to know their culture intimately.

The Tarthite colonies are very few in number, but they have been built and fortified to an amazing extent. It is impressive how well the Tarthites have been able to do in the forested regions where their colonies lie, since they are primarily a desert people. The fortresses in their colonies are virtually impregnable, though no one else seems to know why they have focussed so much on building this up.

Tylerian Empire more info
The Tylerian Empire began as a small walled city that developed at the inland end of a very long bay, on the banks of the Treib River. Tyl had only about a thousand residents, but due to a highly defensive position up a steep hill – which protected against both invaders and flooding – they were unassailable, and soon took to making vassals of their neighbors in exchange for the food they grew abundantly and which was never stolen. Eventually, they had enough loyal cities to field a sizable war band, and they began military conquest. It wasn’t long before they had control of what they called (and is now known as throughout the world) the Tyleri Jungle. They are bounded on the west by gentle, rolling mountain range, on the other side of which are the Bregtoran and Silkuree lands; the south boundary is a much more imposing set of mountains to the south, known as the Peaks of Death to the more superstitious of the Tylerians, but the picturesque name demonstrates why they haven’t passed this border. The territory between these ranges is inhabited by a semi-nomadic Bregtoran tribe which resent encroachment, and the Tylerians have focussed their expansion eastward.

The Tyleri Jungle ends at the west bank of the Zaamon River, and the Tylerian Empire controls most of the flood plains to the east, but since their style of warfare is much more effective in the jungles than in the plains, they have not made as much progress as they would like. They currently have an uneasy peace with the Free Cities nearest their borders, though none of their neighbors trust that peace to last long, and they are well fortified and armed.

The Tylerian Colonies are a mixed success. The Empire seems to be the only one having any problems with the natives. They have managed to establish a few stable locations, but most new endeavors are wiped out by northerners who don’t welcome them. The Tylerian colonies are primarily between two incredibly massive rivers, the Gzeegynat on the west and the Shodu on the East. It is an incredibly fertile land, though not jungle so difficult for Tylerians to adapt to. They stick it out primarily for the mineral resources they have found.

The Tylerians are wrapt up in a sense of being chosen. Naturally, it is the Tylerians who have been chosen by the Elumen to rule and understand the true doctrine. They believe in the divine rights of kings, and their nobility/royalty is considered virtually Elumen. The Emperor himself is believed to be an Elumen in the most devoted cults, but is at least an angel in all cults. Of course they try to expand their religion, which means of course, submitting to Tylerian rule, since their leaders are nearly gods on earth. So not so much preaching, as missionary work by the sword. This is, of course, all for the good of the people they conquer. The emperor is the head of all religions, but they are divided and fractured into a huge number of cults with varying worship practices and devotions, though the essential doctrine is very similar. Any other religious tradition is banned from Tyleria.

A NOTE ON NORTHERNERS
Development on northern culture and political divisions is reserved for a future expansion. However, a few items need to be noted. Northern culture is no more black and white than southern culture, but a few things stand out. Every northern culture encountered has been resentful of the colonization by southern invaders. There is little peaceful intercourse between northerners and southerners, though it has been learned that while few settlements from the northerners are within a few hundred miles of the coast (resulting in no maritime technology by northern cultures), the north is far from a barbaric offshoot. There are apparently highly advanced cities and huge societies in the land north of what has been explored by the southern cultures. There are even rumors of tribal peoples who ride griffons into battle. As has been said before, there are few northern settlements anywhere close to the continent’s coast, which means while every colonizing power has had some trouble and conflict with natives, only the Tylerians have had serious conflict, and those were with more primitive tribal people.

 

MAGIC

Magic is not common in Azmoth, though it is seen enough to be believed in. Theologians claim that those who wield magic powers are the descendants of low-ranking angels who fall in love with their creations (or the creations of their peers). The result is that a person may be able to manifest magical powers that are unrelated to his heritage. For example, a plains nomad might manifest magic that is of the jungle or the sea. The scholars of Parthann do not argue with the theologians on the source of the power sorcerers possess, though they have some very esoteric descriptions and categorizations of powers and their uses. They also claim that the spawn of demons may result in magic powers.

 

MONSTERS

Angels
Angels are not encountered very often on Azmoth. After all, only the weakest of them can even come to the world without causing severe damage. Even these do not generally stay long, as they also affect the world by their sustained presence. Angels have a tendency to fall in love with humans, even though those relationships are inherently short-lived, causing problems for the immortal angel who cannot stay with the human for long.

Rarely, an angel can be found as an advisor to a ruler or a assisting in a battle. When this happens, time are bound to be dangerous, for angels do not risk damaging the world unless their fight with the demons is particularly dire.

Angels are humanoid, though they also have wings. The color of their skin and hair, as well as the shape of their wings depends on the element they are associated with. Angels are associated with the same natural phenomena as humans: river, sea, desert, plains, forest, jungle, hill, and mountain, as well as two that don’t seem to correspond to humans: sky and void. Their powers and colors are associated with these elements. Angels typically appear to be immolated in fire and radiate light, both of the color associated with their element. The fire and light will be stronger for more powerful angels.

Darklings
If there is a single enemy that all humans recognize and oppose, it is the Darklings. Made specifically by demonic forces to corrupt and destroy humankind so that Di-Anthnik can gain control of the young world, they apparently have no mercy for any human. According to the few accounts from Darkling prisoners, apparently the Darklings are as cruel to each other as they are to humans. The only thing that keeps enough of them around is that the breed like rabbits.

No two Darklings seem to be the same, but most seem to have some sort of elemental power, though unlike humans, these seem to be like magic powers, rather than innate abilities, which makes them dangerous. Most Darklings are markedly not human, with features or shape or size that make them readily recognizable. They tend to have skin and hair/scales/fur/feathers that are of very dark colors, though any color is possible. There is even a legend telling of an evil desert king who lived on the blood of his people – literally — who turned out to be a Darkling who looked so human he fooled thousands until an angel exposed him..

Darklings don’t always try to destroy and kill humans. Their tactics also include subverting or corrupting humans to worshipping Di-Anthnik – in effect turning the creations of angels against them. This typically requires a Darkling who looks more human, so that they can be trusted, but the right human may not need that reassurance.

There are also darkling beasts, creatures that bear the same resemblance to normal creatures that Darklings do to humans: that is, creatures that one can judge to be a wolf, but that looks like a nightmarish, deformed sample. Darklings use these creatures in combat and as mounts. None have been observed for any other purpose, and they do not appear to have intelligence.

Demons
Like their angelic counterparts, demons are hesitant to step themselves on to Azmoth. After all, the war they rage is to control the world, not destroy it utterly. However, they have been seen from time to time. Usually this is leading a group of Darklings, trolls, and giants against a human city, or else attempting to corrupt a particularly interesting or lucrative human.

Demons, like their Darkling creations come in various sizes and shapes, though they are typically half again as tall as a human. Demons have been reported who are immensely fat, muscled, or unbelievably thin. They have darker, but similar coloration than angels, and use artifacts more often. They seem to suck in light, rather than radiate like Angels do.

Dragons
Dragons are strange and mysterious beasts, and they are not of Azmoth. They are not creations of Di-Anthnik or Az-Mozeth. Theologians debate whether dragons possess the same divine spark as the Elumen and the Shailumen, though most think they do not, since they are able to live on Azmoth and interact directly with its people. Whatever their origin, dragons are immensely powerful and come from some place other than this world.

Dragons come in a variety of shapes and colors, though neither of these seem to have any reflection on what they can do. Apparently, all dragons can use magic, which is another fact, which, in addition to their (usually) lizard-like body and leathery wings makes them very exotic. They tend to be fast, very strong, and above all, quite large, though some have been reported that are the size of a man.

All dragons like to collect things. Traditionally humans have believed they collect gold, and many of them do, but it’s not a universal trait. Some prefer to collect ships, or castles, or people, or sheep, or leaves. For some reasons, dragons have a compulsion to focus on something and gather as much of it as possible. The image of dragons rolling and nesting in their collections is accurate, however, so some scholars have theorized it has something to do with contact with the material world. Perhaps they are just flaunting the intimate contact they have with the world that the Elumen and Shailumen lack.

Fairies
Fairies are embodiments of nature. Many of them look and act like playful humans, though frequently with an incredibly mean streak. Often there will be fairy beasts as well – wild animals that look and act normal beasts, but are magically different; perhaps they grow to amazing sizes, or can inexplicably escape hunters, or they leave no trail in the woods. Many of the human-like fairies are small, around 2-6 inches tall, and have wings of various styles. Whatever the form they take, however, fairies embody the environment they’re in, having grown from them much like humans were created to live in various environments: a river sprite will belong to a specific section of river, a dryad to a particular tree, etc.

It is rumored that fairies are fallen angels who have lost their powers, and therefore cannot hurt the world. Even though they have committed some crime against Az-Mozeth, their punishment has not earned them destruction, and their love for Azmoth holds them to the world. It is also rumored that fairies are very weak demons.

Giants
Most giants live in the mountains or jungles of the world, living in caves or recesses where they can’t be seen easily. This is mostly because they’re quickly hunted when they are discovered. Giants are dangerous and usually surly.

As is implied by their names, giants are simply larger versions of humans or other creatures of Azmoth. Actual size can range from half again as tall as a human to several times that size. No one knows where they come from though. They don’t have the elemental qualities that humans or angels do, so they don’t appear to be the creations of Az-Mozeth. They are, however, very strong, and typically fight with Darklings or trolls, their hatred of humanity is so strong.

Fortunately for humans, giants do not seem to possess any powers beyond their size and strength. They are also not as smart as humans, and get frustrated easily, so diplomatic approaches to dealing with giants usually end in violence anyway. What is odd is that the intelligence of a giant does not seem to have any correspondence to their shape. A giant dog will be just as smart as a humanoid giant (as far that goes).

Griffons
Griffon describes a category of winged creatures that are part bird, part other animal. The two most prominent examples are the hippogriff, which is half horse, half eagle, and the leonogriff, which is half lion and half bird. All examples have the front half being bird-like, with the other half resembling another animal. They are not intelligent, but manage to be the bane of many ranchers.

All observed examples have shared some traditional traits. They are meat eaters, and therefore prey frequently on domesticated animals. They tend to be solitary, and are never observed in more than a family group. All of them retain the wings of the bird heritage and are capable of flight, making them exceedingly dangerous. All observed samples have also had the posterior of a mammal, though scholars theorize the potential for reptilian griffons.

Sea Monsters
The ocean holds a vast variety of creatures collectively known as sea monsters. These range from giants (squids and whales being particularly dangerous), sea serpents, which Parthann scholars claim are not giants, but relatives of dragons, and the leviathan, a dark and shadowy beast that rises from the sea with the only motivation of destroying a shi — though perhaps they’re hungry.

Trolls
Trolls are almost giants, but they resemble Darklings and their creatures more than humans. Trolls are particularly fearsome and violent, but they have a cunning that giants lack. They are not quite as strong, but are still much stronger than humans, and they continue to function even when they have lost limbs. Some warriors who have fought them claim they heal right after suffering a wound, but this has not been substantiated. Trolls often command Darklings — or are commanded by them, the relationship is not clear — in war.

Trolls are typically green or brown, though sometimes yellow. They stand about 7 or 8 feet tall, and look a bit like hairless apes, with long arms, short but stocky legs, and brutish sloping foreheads.

Other
There are many other creatures on Azmoth, some of them magical, others not. This is not intended to be a complete list. There are un-named creatures in the depths of both the earth and the sea. There is also vast territory that has never been explored on Azmoth, and no one knows what lies there.

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