Translated by Alain Coubard
Compared to anEarthling, a Lossan is recognized at first sight: he is 20 to 25 centimeterstaller than his counterpart from Earth and he usually looks wider and stronger.However, the noticeable difference in gravity makes theEarthlings, even smaller and with some difficulty to breathe until thye areacclimatized, likely to benefit from some advantages.
You will find a summary of the fourteen peoples below, but what the Lossans have in their common mentality is that they are proud, welcoming, superstitious, often male chauvinists, and less afraid to die than the Earthlings. Their world is dangerous and hostile. Death often strikes without mercy. Security forces in charge of enforcing the law are rare where they are present, and class injustice is regarded as customary fatality.
Massive and tall horseman warriors, riders of horses and dragens, they live in cold and harsh lands, close to the arctic circle. They are bold, spirited and hot tempered men with shamanic traditions. Warrior women are frequent. They are fiercely opposed to the Chuch of the Council and permanently at war against the Hegemony of Anqimenes.
Hegemonians and Anqimenes
Disciplined, authoritarian, sexist and arrogant, they have Slavic and Norse origins and are the inhabitants of the immense theocratic conqueror empire whose capital city is Anqimenes. They are the most important and the most devoted followers of the Church of the Council and regard as legitimate and fair the fact that all the world has to live under their yoke. This empire is unquestionably the most powerful civilization in Loss.
The woodsmen with Slavic origins and cousins of the Hegemonians, but they are fiercely independent. The Hegemonians persecute them and hunt them like preys to provide themselves with slaves, and the Svatnaz have learned to live hidden as small nomadic tribes.
They have Asian and Siberian origins, mixed with the Norse and Slavic Hegemonians, they are the inhabitants of the coastal marches standing between the Hegemony and the Hemlaris, and so they spent most of their history indergoing attacks from both empires. They are undisciplined horsemen with a touchy honour and they easily lose their temper. They earn their living by breeding horses and griffins in great plains. Their culture is influenced by the Church but also by shamanism and leaves great room for matriarchy.
Hemlaris and the City of Ruby
The second empire of Loss, with the Hegemony. The Hemlaris are South-Eastern Asians who put honour, respect and the position of everyone as a natural thing above everything else. They are a sexist and very xenophobic people and they have faith in a local version of he Divine Council which regards the empress of the Throne of Ruby as a heavenly representative, but which show an almost hateful mistrust to the Hegemony. Its warriors are famous for never surrendering.
Woodsmen of the Elmerase
They live above the plains of Eteocle in deep and dangerous forests. They are Celts with a tribal and Shamanic culture. They are persecuted as a flock of slaves, in the same manner as the Svatnaz, by the Hegemonians and also, sometimes, by the Eteocleans. They are a particularly distrustful and prudent kind who live in well hidden tree villages and who trade with the greatest precaution. They are dreadful archers and, like the Dragensmanns, they allow women a great importance in their society and the latter often fight along with them.
Most of them have ancient Greek origins. The Eteocleans are a proud and noble people with old traditions, who pay close attention to the respect of the Virtues. Each of their city-states is highly independent. Their plains are the most fertile in Loss. Despite their superstitious faith in the Church, they are deeply tied to their ancient myths and beliefs and a great consideration for scholarship and science.
Ar’hanthia of the United Cities and Allenys
A mixture of Asians and Europeans, they are remarkable sailors and also nomads who breed herds of thunder-ghias. They are superstitious and deeply tied to the dogmas of the Church. They pay close attention to the respect of honor and to being faithful to their people and their beliefs. Their city-states are unified under the supervision of the biggest of them: the powerful Allenys.
With Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern origins, they are famous for being undisciplined and cunning. Excellent sailors, often cultured and prudent, they dominate the islands of the archipelagoes thanks to their ships, and they frown neither to piracy nor to trade. They are often nicknamed the “cousins of the Athemais” and share their progressive mind. They are also known to be often part of brawls between the cities and ports.
A complicated mixture, though with Mediterranean bases, you can now recognize them as being of any origin. The Jemmaï are a full people, more thanks to their mentality than to their appearance. They are humanists as we understand the term now, and fiercely atheist, decidedly scientific, they are the few survivors of the people that was reviled by the Church and the Hegemony. All the other peoples fear them, but none really knows them. Actually, the Jemmaï are almost regarded as a legend, because those who travel or live around the Seas of Separation hide their origins. It is said that nobody can reach the borders of the Jemmaï-he Jil, their land in the heart of the Rift. Apostates are supposed to be their legendary neighbours.
Athemais and Armanth
With ancient Greek, Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern origins, the Athemais are a melting pot of people coming from all the Seas of Separation. In Armanth, almost all the Ethnic groups of Loss are present. The Athemais are curious, open and progressive and they regard trade and exchange as bearing a high value, ahead of their thirst for knowledge. Their government is made up of a mixture of beys, governors, merchant councils and oligarchic republics. Armanth the Heretic is also nicknamed the Decadent or the city with a hundred thousand slaves. Its leaders and inhabitants have no consideration for the Church of the Council, even if it is still present and somewhat respected by its aristocracy.
Originating from Eastern mountain peoples and very secret, the Ereb make a living out of wood and farming. Their culture is partly matriarchal and very mystical. Wisdom and the observation of the natural world are very important to them and they do not recognize the faith of the Church of the Council. Their isolation, their forests and their mountains are what hides their small villages and what spared them from the crusades led by the Ordinatorii. They maintain good commercial exchanges with Armanth.
Their origins are uncertain but they look like tall Asians. The San’eshe have a strongly tribal and shamanic culture which highly praises courage and passions and make no disctinction between genders. They haunt the deep and mysterious forests as nomads most of the time. The cult of the Council never settled there and the San’eshe are neither soft nor patient with the strangers who come into their territory. Nevertheless, they are sometimes the victims of raids organized by the Terranchen or even the Athemais to capture slaves.
Relatively close to the Athemais by their culture, they make their living with breeding in the deserts and the arid plains of the south, close to their horses and their flocks of sheep and Sikas. There are uncountable patriachal clans and some of them dominate their rare but splendid cities dug out of cliff sides. Often tall and massive, with a black skin, they are famous for their endurance and their lack of mercy, but also for their generosity and their touchy pride.
The Divine Council
In all the Seas of Separation, a religion imposes its rule through an authoritarian domination, using the empire it leads: the Church of the Divine Council. It has its own cosmogony, explained in what the Lossans call the Dogmas, which are the collection of all the holy writings of the Church.
The gods and the the spirits are not the creators of the universe, but its servants. The creators are entities, never named nor represented, who reign beyond the stars, where the virtuous dead rest. They make life swarm everywhere and they put it in the hands of spirits and deities whose task is to reign over the beings they are entrusted with and to protect them. According to the Divine Council, there is an infinity of worlds like as many cristal spheres: one planet is in the centre of each of them, and it is circled by stars, moons and suns, and inhabited by living beings, spirits ans gods who rule them. Above all that, silent and invisible, the entities of the Council observe and only intervene in last resort, when their servants have failed in their task of protecting life, intelligence and civilization. The Lossans, after the failure of the powers who were looking after them, are then privileged and blessed because they know the Council. The prophets and ordinatorii speak in the name of the Council and are protected by its direct envoys, the thanatarians. As gods and spirits failed on Loss, the Dogmas declared it is forbidden to pray them, honour them, offer them sacrifices or raise altars and temples. And the belief that is most harshly hunted by the Church is shamanism.
The other religions of Loss
The Church supplanted all the cults, but hasn’t managed to crush them nor to make them disappear. Many ancient gods and pantheons are still dear to the Lossans’ heart, who still believe in ghosts, ghouls, geniuses and demons, and if all the forms of cult are forbidden, secret altars and discreet chapels never stopped to appear her and there. As the peoples of Loss arrived from Earth during the ancient times, the names of many ancient gods is familiar to the Earthlings, mostly the ancient Greek gods the Eteocleans still pray, like Zeus, Apollo or Athena. Other ones are only typical to the Lossan peoples. They will be described in detail in the rulebook.
Besides, some peoples are fiercely opposed to the Church of the Divine Coucil and resist it. The most emblematic of them is the Dragensmanns whose rich and complex shamanic cult is also the cement of their civilisation.
The Church itself is not as united as one could believe. Schisms have appeared, secret sects and deviant cults flourished here and there, and some heretical churches finally managed to have a great weight, like that of the Empire of the Hemlaris.
Finally, despite much various, and sometimes unique, forms, shamanism has a strong influence on many peoples of Loss, which goes beyond the simple religious framework. Shamans have a power on Loss, a strange and mysterious influence on the natural world and this is enough for the Church to carry out a witch-hunt against the Shamans, who are searched and chased wherever the ordinatorii can do it.
The greatest cities of Loss
The peoples of Loss live close to heavily fortified city-states, cities and towns. It is necessary when one lives in a world where a three-meter high wall is no bigger an obstacle than a garden fence. There are therefore few rural communities, and even these ones are fortified. The cities of Loss tend to concentrate much population. Thus seven cities have close to half a million inhabitants. And if three of them reach a million, two of them dominate the Seas of Separation by their importance and their might.
Capital city of the Athemais, even if all the provinces and the city-states in the region are autonomous, the city of the merchant lords houses more than 1,2 million inhabitants. The city is built on a lagoon in the estuary of the fiery Argas river. A part of the city and its many shipyards is built on artificial islets and its town planning is as chaotic as the decisions of the leading families and the mood of the Council of Peers. Armanth is mostly famous for welcoming intellectuals, free thinkers, savants who are harrassed and chased in their country, including women, and for being very tolerant and modern. However, it is the capital city of slave trade and during the Great Cage Markets, it houses more than 200,000 captives for sale.
Capital city of the theocracy of the Hegemony, haven of the Church of the Divine Council, Anqimenes may have close to two million inhabitants. The city is a gigantic monster with a rich and complex architecture, urbanized with a methodic order and care. Nestled behind the most impressive walls that have ever been built, the city is an ogre which needs all the ressources of the empire to subsist. Although Armanth has “the city with a hundred thousand slaves” among its nicknames, Anqimenes is actually the city that exploits the greatest number: almost one fifth of the population is enslaved.
Travels on Loss
On Loss, most of the travelling is made by sea. Almost all the cultures and most of the city-states face the Seas of Separation. But over land, caravans with mounts and carts are more frequent for long journeys. Great herds of giant mammalians like longilas or thunder-ghias represent a danger like the several ton predators that follow them. Against Loss wildlife, man is of little weight, even with powerful weapons.
Land travels are also made with levitating ships, a technological marvel which uses the antigravitational properties of Loss-Metal. These ships, which are perfectly able to sail over sea, are then able to float in the air at a few meters of height, beyond the reach of the predators. Land ways and lines which follow the rivers and the winds exist similarly to maritime ways.
Yet, there are caravans which use animals. The Gennemons know how to train longilas for the transport of freight and many peoples use griffins as mounts, and the other mammalians prefer to avoid them. Of course, the Lossans also have horses, but in fine, the levitating ships and their ways are the safest means of moving, mostly to transport great amounts of freight.