- This is about the planet. For other uses, see Artograch (disambiguation)
The planet of Artograch is the planet which happens to house all the civilizations, races and peoples that play roles in the Ways of Darkness franchise. The planet itself shares its name with the continent of Artograch - at least in Continental Artograchian science.
During one orbit around the various solar bodies that surround the planet, Artograch rotates about its own axis 376 times, creating 376 solar days.
Geography and culture
The world of Artograch is divided into two four parts: the Occident, the Orient, the Triangle and the Northern Islands. The Occident is also known as simply "Artograch", although it may also refer to the continent of Artograch, which is also part of the Occident.
The three major parts are divided by an ocean, which happens to house a rather diverse life, and even a sapient species - the Nereids.
Most of the variation between the flora and fauna of Artograch is not a West versus East divide, but a division caused by climate - in fact, areas of the East and West with similiar climates often have quite similar flora and fauna, with only a few token bits of variation, unique local animals and plants.
The majority of domesticated animals and plants have their origins in the Orient, and were brought into the Occident by the Proto-Elves, who had their origins in the Orient.
- See also: Artograch (continent)
The Occident - also known as just Artograch - is one half of the world. The Occident is characterized by a rather consistent and smooth landscape - with a few mountainous areas -, dominated by one large continent, the only noteworthy island being Keldorn, all other islands being too small to be significant or house any states or larger settlements.
Most of the northern parts of the Occident have a mild continental climate, except the mountains of Northern Etrand, which have an alpine/artctic climate. Most of the southern parts of the Occident vary between mediterranean and tropical climate, with the exception of Brutang - cold for an unexplained reason -, sporting a taiga/tundra climate.
While all of the wild flora and fauna of the Occident is indigenous to the Occident, most domesticated plants and animals happen to originate in the Orient.
Before the arrival of the Proto-Elves - who are of Oriental origins - the Occident was dominated by indigenous Artograchian races, namely the Lizardmen, Dwarves and Goblins, out of which the first formed the most influential Empire ever known, the second continue to be influential, and the latter continue to be populous. After the Proto-Elven invasion, the Proto-Elves exterminated a good deal of the former Lizardman population, forcing the survivors into the swamplands of Southern Etrand and other remote areas, while the descendants of the invaders evolved into their present-day offshots: the Humans, High Elves, Wood Elves, Dark Elves and Orcs.
While the Occident may have lagged behind the Orient in terms of technological development until recently, Occidental minds have grown very innovative, and may take over the Orient's place in terms of technological development in the near future.
The Orient has a much difference landscape from the Occident - while the latter is much more land-centered, the earlier is dominated by coasts, peninsulas, islands and mountains, making sea travel much more important.
Much of the northern Orient is dotted in impassable mountains, gradually transitioning into a much smoother southern landscape, filled with rivers, taken over by bodies of water that occasionally leave the land a little bit of space left - island.
Culturally, the Orient can be divided into two parts: the more advanced "Eastern Empires" that represent Oriental high culture, being technologically, economically and militarily superior to the Occident, and the less advanced "Hinterland states" that are technologically, economically and militarily inferior to the Occident - the earlier happen to occupy much of the mainland and border the impassable mountains, while the latter occupies the southern islands and other peripheral areas.
While it may seem like the Eastern empires are the winners of the geographic lottery, unlike the isolated "hinterland tribes" of the Southern islands, the "highly civilized" empires are constantly harassed by steppe tribes, who may usually be content with petty border raids, every three-to-four centuries, they unleash a massive mayhem that decimates the empires' populations - a lot of imperial families themselves have steppe origins.
The Triangle is an archipelago named after its largest island, which is also called "the Triangle". Just like the Occident and the Orient, it is home to several civilizations - however, due to the nature of the landscape (archipelago where the every island's inland is dominated by mountains, leaving only small amounts of arable land between the coast and the mountains), the nature of these civilizations is rather alien to both Oriental and Occidental peoples alike, save for a few. The mountains are rich in minerals of all sorts, while the biomass of the sea more than makes up for the scarcity of farmable land when it comes to food production.
The traditional kind of warrior-dominated feudal or quasi-feudal monarchies that are seen as the norm in both the Occident and the Orient have no place in the Triangle: this is a cultural sphere dominated by magocracies, theocracies and merchant republics. Rather than unified kingdoms or empires, the Triangle is dotted with small city-states along the coast. Mountainous inland territories are dominated by tribal societies that trade with said city-states.
An interesting phenomenon that frequently occours during the history of the Triangle is the complete collapse of society, only to be followed by a gradual rebuilding.
An interesting fact about the Triangle, is that it has no indigenous mammals: the dominant races are dinosaurs and avians, and any mammals on the islands are descendants of imported ones.
The Northern Islands
The Northern Islands are perhaps the most enigmatic part of the world - two freezing-cold islands with an arctic climate, seemingly completely devoid of life (and unlife for that matter). No one - not even powerful mages and dragons - has dared to venture into anywhere further inland than a couple of miles away from the coast - at least, no one who returned home to tell the tale. Those who did vanished without a trace, never to be seen or heard of again.
Fishermen and pirates from both the Occident and the Orient frequently visit these two islands to pitch a temporary camp at the coast, but usually leave after less than a full day, claiming to have "sensed something ominous in the air on the island(s)". Those who slept at the islands claimed to have been ravaged in their sleep by debilitating nightmares.
No one knows for certain what is the deal with these two islands, but even those who claim to be unsuperstitious believe that the islands are cursed.