Lore Spotlight: Mundi and the Hominid Dominion
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Mundi - setting of a thousand songs and the center of civilization. This magnificent city is seated at the three critical junctions of the Moon River, which divides the upper regions of the Daylands and Nightlands. Labyrinths of high canals and thoroughfares divide bustling neighborhoods, with the waterways emptying into the Midnight and Gilded Seas. Barring sailing all the way around the southern tip of the Midlands, there is no way to pass the Mountains of the Moon to traverse the two halves of Dema besides through Mundi. It is both physically and culturally the crossroads of the world, receiving an equal amount of daylight and dusk each 25 hour day.
Mundi has been the azure jewel in the crown of many kingdoms and empires throughout the history of Dema. The city’s territory is a sprawl of hundreds of thousands of residents extending across the entire length of the northern tip of the Midlands and the western and eastern banks. With slavery outlawed for centuries after the Marble Rebellion, dreamers, entrepreneurs, and skilled workers of all types spread word of the city's opportunities and hospitality for the downtrodden. The western bank of Mundi has traditionally been inhabited by a large Nightrider community where different tribes coexist in urban districts rivaling Tallon or Yaras. Humans dominate the eastern bank. The other four sentient species have presences in the central area, with different quarters further subdivided into artisanal and trading domains.
Mundi is the origin of the universal language used throughout the world, Mundane. As the nexus of all seven beams that comprise The Solar Network, it is also regarded as a holy city by the Church of Sola. Orphaned children make their way to the city's Creche System by the thousands. All are eager to be nurtured in a pipeline of learning and upward mobility that can see lowly runaway slaves rise to powerful reaches of government.
No appreciator of art will live a complete life without visiting Mundi’s fresco bedecked alleys, statue-lined causeways, and corner taverns humming with string folk music and chatter in a dozen languages and dialects. Building materials include marble, limestone and colorfully tiled roofs against whitewashed walls. The older buildings left behind by the area’s unknown precursors are constructed out of Eldertech metal, including the gladiatorial Coliseum of Mar, and the Palace of Eyes that various rulers have conducted their affairs out of.
With its high number of visual artists and wordsmiths, few other cities can compete against Mundi’s cosmopolitan prestige. The drama, fashion, metalworking, and cuisines of six sentient species unite in this melting pot, not to mention the spies, diplomats, sellswords, and itinerant travelers passing through on their way to shape the world for the larger organizations in Dema. At least a hundred named trading guilds, brotherhoods, mercenary companies, and religious orders vie for influence behind the scenes of Mundi's animated public forums. Just one group resides in The Jade Feather, a members-only tavern that hosts the most successful bands of adventurers as they plan expeditions, or how to squander the gold from their latest quests.
Much of the city's history can be accessed from the archives of the Scholasta. Their order’s grand Musaeum is host to some of the most well-kept records and collections of lore in existence. Elite Novitiates to the Scholasta may rise in station based on how many archaeological digs, Eldertech-gathering adventures, prospective genius recruits, and tomes of history and folklore they can accumulate. Only the great philosophers of Hollowfalls, the scientific savants of the Ikhish Freespawn, or the Eldertech tinkerers of Luminos can match the Scholasta's store of knowledge. Cross-faction exchanges are common, with visiting teachers and apprentices a regular site in the Musaeum's halls. Yet, all four seats of learning conspire against each other for superiority in the decades-long information war known as the Duel of Scrolls.
For journeys beyond the city, Scholasta members can count on protection from the Marshals, a prestigious city guard with its own storied history. The Marshals are renowned across Dema for their hybrid, multi-species tactics and iron discipline. A unit of Wakewalker shock troops may perform combined arms maneuvers with Nightrider virsemen and Featherfolk peltasts at the Gates of Mundi, the series of walls and forts along the western bank. This combat prowess serves the city well in times of independence, or marks the Marshals as powerful auxiliaries in larger empires.
Mundi has had various rulers and systems of government in its history, including ancient Heroic Era kings, the despotic slave trading Scions, a short-lived republic, a trading guild oligarchy, and as part of larger nations, most infamously beneath the united horde of the King of Darkness and as a reclaimed, human-dominated subject in the Solar Hegemony.
After the Moon Realms Conflicts concluded in 22 LS, Mundi became the capitol of the Hominid Dominion, a tributary vassal state to the Hegemony’s emperors. Designed to rule over the prosperous Nightland territories of the empire, the Dominion became even more diversified by refugees fleeing to Mundi in the Exodus and Redsky Eras. The ruling Praetors of the Hominid Dominion grew increasingly independent over generations. Tensions around religious freedom, taxation, and slavery inflamed passions on all sides. Outside agitators from other political groups like the Archivists of Etherea and the Hatinate of the Auric sent agents to stir up dissent. The accounts of riots and renewed protests in Mundi's streets from these years fill several books by themselves.
In the final years of the Redsky Era, a mass-movement of Dominion nationalists finally revolted against their Hegemony rulers. Led by heroes seemingly returned from the distant past, the Dominion's Marshals swelled with the ranks of Hiremai Wakewalkers, Nightrider descendants of The Queen of the Night's Uprising, Hive Hall remnants from Tohol and Ikhish fleeing above ground to escape the golem swarms, and tolerant human freedmen far-removed from the cruelty of the Solar Hegemony's inner provinces.
Hopelessly outnumbered, the epic land war between the Hominid Dominion and the Solar Hegemony only halted with the coming of the Overseers. In the face of technology so strong it may as well have been magic, the collapse of society seemed imminent. Mundi barely endured at the center of a closing ring of unnatural disasters and migrations of monsters sweeping the world.
In the meantime, Mundi is the site of dreams and dramas your party's characters could lose themselves in for years. Little is absent from the rest of Dema. From the lowliest urchin studying for the Creche System's palace advisor exams, to a commander of the Marshals rallying against the King of Darkness, to dueling Archivist spice merchants outbidding one another in the wharf markets, the infinite faces and spaces of the city are yours to mold. Will your adventurers make their headquarters here to profit off the wars of the Uprising Era? Can you protect the survivors of your Wakewalker clan after being driven to the Hominid Dominion from the Midnight Isles? The Vaults of Mundi overflowing with gems and Eldertech won't heist themselves, of course.
Each of the dozens of dots on Dema's world map is large and dynamic enough for entire campaigns. Yet, no other city or faction offers a taste of everything at once quite like this.
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