A Culture without Gods
Byssia is a small nation (~10000 people) at the southern edge of the Kairen Mountains, north-west of the Twisted Lands. It is comprised of two races (humans and wood elves) in an uneasy alliance against the dangers that lurk on the boundaries. It's notable feature is it's lack of religious traditions. The wood elves are primarily shamanistic, appeasing and revering natural spirits; the humans honor their ancestors and the local elemental spirits. Pantheistic religion (the worship of the 16 Gods) is not forbidden, but it's not common. Clerics are very very rare and are almost always auto-didacts.
Technology Level and Culture
Byssia is not a technologically advanced nation. Metal is uncommon, coming from the Kairen Mountains. They are very inventive with leather, wood, and stone. Lacquered goods are relatively common. Most of the people are illiterate. The economy is mostly done on a barter basis, but gold is accepted as currency to a limited degree. Inequality is limited as most people are subsistence farmers.
Unlike most other nations, Byssia is ruled by an elected hierarchy of judges. Changes to the law are done democratically (and are rare). Each village has a judge, elected for life by the people (and removable for cause). Each kith (a collection of villages, like a clan) has a higher judge who hears appeals or can judge the lower judges. The nation has a High Court composed of 3 judges--one human, one elf, and one half-elf. The High Court is also responsible for relationships with the Federated Nations.
- Arch Druid Damon Dreamcat--male wood elf. Middle-aged Druid (Circle of the Moon). Prefers the shape of large cats. Tends to speak cryptically.
- High Sage Savvas Stonemaster--female human. Older Elemental Sage (Outward Spiral). Prefers earth elementals, is not pretty (very solid and blocky like her servants). Brusque.
- High Judge Danai the Just--female half-elf. Currently serving as Presiding High Judge. New to that position and young. Does not tolerate flippancy. Think Judge Judy, but young and relatively pretty.
Most of Byssia's people with magical capabilities are druids or elemental sages. No significant wizards are present--sorcerers and warlocks are rare but known. Clerics are vanishingly rare--one or two total in the entire land. Average spellcaster level is 1, with a few at 2. Elemental sages are an exception--there are several powerful sages. Bards are storytellers, and ones with power are very rare.
Mostly fighters, barbarians, and rangers. Rogues are not common.
As mentioned in The Civilized Races--Humans, Byssian names are very simple; they consist of a given name bestowed at birth and an appellation bestowed later based on the life or deeds of the individual.
Common male given names include: Admitos, Damon, Adrianos, Aetos, Daphnis, Alkaios, Charklis, Herodis, Ion, Ipparchos, Savvas, and Lambros.
Common female given names include: Acathi, Adriani, Danai, Daphne, Dione, Eirene, Galini, Charis, Ippodamia, Sergia, and Sotiria.