Zhou

Population: 1,800,000

  • 85% elves
  • 12% half-elves
  • 2% gnomes
  • 1% humans

Zhou’s fall from grace has wounded the pride of the most populous kingdom, but with such a loss comes a renewed sense of duty – that of protecting the council and the holy cities and temples of Xingdu to the east. With such an important territory at their backs, the armies of Zhou watch closely for any signs of invasion or other treasonous activity.

The land of Zhou itself is a magnificent valley of light forests and grasslands, with many small rivers and lakes. Roads are well maintained, patrolled, and are thankfully abundant given the number of trade caravans, diplomats, pilgrims, and such that travel upon them into the great cities of Zhou.

Famous landmarks include the “Hundred Pools of Fortune”, “Golden Crane Bay”, and “Old Spider’s Mine”.

Physicality:

Zhou elves define the “average” of elves for size, and most have light to dark brown hair. Humans living in Zhou usually have darker skin tone and shorter, black hair.

PC institutions:

There is an official thieves guild in Zhou, one of the oldest and most organized. There are many opportunities for an enterprising young rogue in Zhou.
There are also a few temples where one could learn more of the divine (divine spell-casters) and of the physical arts (Monks). Yet there are no specialized schools for inquisitors, paladins, or oracles remaining. Those are all now in Xingdu.
There are also few opportunities for Druids or Witches, with only one smaller circle in Zhou remaining.
Lastly, there are many training grounds and other military fields where one could train in armed combat (fighters, barbarians, etc.)

Cultural notes:

  • Singing is an incredibly popular and rich form of expression in Zhou, with many schools dedicated to the art. There is also the tradition of Gesheng – twin song voices – where two musicians are paired at the age of eight and train to sing with each other only.
  • Zhou cuisine is some of the spiciest, pungent, and sour food in all of the kingdoms. Most of the meats are lake and river fish, with game birds and yak to supplement. Ginger and sour onion are found in most dishes.
  • It’s considered exceptionally unlucky to speak poorly of anyone before noon.

Magic:

Magic is fairly common within Zhou, especially summoning. To wit, monster hunting is a bit of a cottage industry here. All magical items are priced normally, and one can find spell and magic item creation components (at least not incredibly exotic ones) without too much trouble.

Speaking of summoning, within Zhou’s territory is “the 4th Pillar of Heaven” – a small hill in the central southern plain as it slopes down to the Cresent Wing Bay. It is illegal to trespass upon this hill without proper authority from the Heavenly Council or the King of Zhou. In the legend “The Blood Debt of Gao Mai”, the witch Ozai summoned four heavenly fire giants to defeat the invading ghoul army of the Ivory Devil. The army of Zhou isn’t going to let just anyone step on to that pillar.

Zhou

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