Thea is a continent that lies in the great Central Ocean to the east of South Vanil and somewhat southwest of the riichna homeland of Thigain. Specifics of the continent, its inhabitants, and their culture are unknown to the average resident of Vanil, as Theans have but a minute presence in Vanil, tending to travel only to Portsport for matters of trade. The population of Thea, however, is vast, and it is sufficiently organized to have proven a resilient thorn in the side of Thigainad riichnas since the Second Kingdom.
What is generally known of Thea is that it are a brutal culture who delights in dominating weaker beings. Necromancy and animancy are commonplace and accepted, if not encouraged; various types of bound undead and constructs make up a significant portion of the Thean labor pool to accomplish menial tasks. Thea’s capital is Ort-Sad-Arl, and it is ruled by a council of nine powerful mages and clerics; rumors circulated by riichnas, which should be taken with a grain of salt given the animosity between the two races, are that these leaders are in fact powerful free-willed undead or mochadim.
Thean history is unknown to all but perhaps the oldest of riichnas; it is known that riichnas traveled to the continent during the First Kingdom before heading east to Vanil; who and what they encountered there is a mystery. They established a small number of settlements on the eastern coast but these were razed during the skirmishes between the two cultures during the Fourth and Fifth Kingdoms.
In the Fifth Kingdom Thean explorers founded Simoom on the east coast of Vanil and expanded their slaving operations onto the continent, subjugating a large portion of the landmass and ruling the areas east of Southtinker and Derma Juchad with an iron fist. In expanding northward during the Sixth Kingdom, they entered a war with Kalimaar that saw the Vanilli victorious only after a great artifact was activated to decimate the assault force of slaves, undead, constructs, and conjured devils.
Later, in the Seventh Kingdom Thea was able to prosecute a war on two fronts as Simoom battled for independence with the assistance of north Vanilli, dwarves, and riichnas; and Thigain riichnas pressed an assault on the empire from the east. While the war in the west ended in Simoom’s independence, Thea struck a serious blow against riichna morale when it succeeded in slaying a number of members of the High Council.
During the Eighth Kingdom Thea lay low; it consolidated its power and focused primarily on fending off routine riichna assaults to the continent. Late in the Eighth Kingdom Portsport cautiously opened up trade relations with Thea and saw an explosion of wealth as the rare goods imported from the empire were sold to Vanilli collectors. Thea was allotted a small portion of Portsport to call its own; natives of the city who stray too closely tend to turn up missing.
Economy and Society
Thea’s economy and society are one and the same: they are predicated on the idea that social inferiors are owned entirely by their betters, with every citizen of Thea ultimately the property of the Council of Nine. This is not to say there is no social mobility; Theans actively court the idea that one can improve one’s lot in life, and all but the most abject of slaves is given the opportunity to pursue some sort of training to further their lot in life. By far the most common route is to join the military or police force. Particularly skilled individuals are taken for clerical or wizardly training. The base of Thean culture has rested for centuries upon the legions of skeletons, zombies, and servitor constructs that tirelessly work the fields to feed the empire’s population, and which are a first and fearless line of defense against aggressors.
Thean and Riichna Similarities
Astute Vanilli scholars have noted the many similarities between Thean culture and the culture of the riichna race, primarily regarding the important focus of the number three and their heavily hierarchical, regulated societies. A lack of Theans to ask makes it difficult to pursue research from that end; riichnas, when approached on the subject, become as defensive and belligerent as they do when mentioning their other great racial shame, leading scholars to surmise that riichnas planted the seeds of modern Thea during their explorations of the continent during the First Kingdom.
| Continents of Gymalle | Darklands | Thigain | Thea | Vanil | Wizard Islands |