The Plane of Moliora
“The wind in your hair, the sea a thousand fathoms beneath your feet, a glass of rum in your hand and your shock-cannon at your side. It’s enough to make a man sentimental, right up until your first mate brains you with a mace and steals your ship. Still, it’s only business.” - James Highsmith, Captain of the Lighting Runner Saucy Mare
At a Glance:
Total Population: ~1.1 billion.
Land Area Coverage: 13%
Native Sentient Species: Humans, Merfolk, Elves, Goblins, Dwarves, Aven, Warforged (Constructs), Vampires, Dragonborn (referred to a lot in this document as Viashino), Tieflings, Half-Orcs, Half-Elves, Gnomes, Halflings
Full of airships, pirates, trading companies and plunder, the plane of Moliora is built for swashbuckling, clockworking adventure and mayhem on the seven winds. A mostly water based plane, Moliora has five lightly populated island based continents, with the indigenous people largely at the whims of nature and the ever churning nature of it’s sporadic seas, which have a nasty penchant for birthing new continents… while swallowing other civilizations whole.
Early on in it’s development, the population of these continents banded together through rough sea trade to find a way to escape the plane’s harsh gales and high waters, and through pooling the efforts of technology and magic created Moliora as it is today, a network of sprawling sky cities and way stations that hover safely above the planet’s ever changing surface. These cities are supported by both land and sea by large harvesting expeditions that set out to bring back coveted foods and raw materials for use by it’s denizens. These heavily guarded expeditions make their way to and from the plane’s surface to plant, harvest, and mine the land below, and are extremely profitable both to those bankrolling them… and those who would hijack them for profit.
While the actual exposed portions of known continents shift and change constantly, each tends to disappear and reappear in the same nautical location and provide the sky-dwellers with a different source of resources and plunder.
The largest and most populated continent is Jugi Prime, Moliora’s breadbasket, ancestral home to the Sky-Hunter clan. While this plane rarely surfaces, it remains a staple of the Moliori economy because of it’s indigenous population largely consisting of merfolk. Using growth magic and carefully constructed air-domes, this population is able to produce more than half of all food consumed by the sky-dwellers, and make a handsome profit by selling it to traders. Jugi Prime is home to vast expanses of mass produced kelp fields, a rich fishing stock in any season, and the underwater city of Nousnaka, capital city of the merfolk. Largely sheltered from raids (and the fact that the consumables trade is notably less lucrative than other expedition zones), the merfolk live as a mostly peaceful race, safe from the surface dwellers whom they see as leeches… but some leeches pay very well.
One of the least populated continents on the plane, Perstanica boasts an landscape of flat, soft sanded desert punctuated by high plateaus, and is the ancestral home of the Hellkite Alliance. While the area itself is unforgiving and rough, it has an extremely lucrative trade in metals, mostly iron used for smelting and the occasional mine of rare gemstones. Additionally, the warm, arid air over the continent provides optimal flying conditions, and is often sought out by captains looking to make a longer, but more easy journey through the skies. It’s only indigenous people are the self reliant, nomadic viashino who follow the tides in and out across the barren landscape, who are naturally skilled fisherman that often offer their services as miners should the need for a new vein to be open arise. Work must be done quickly however, as only a small portion of the plane is open at any time, and the Viashino are largely uninterested of being drowned in a deep hole for the right of the sky dwellers to kill one another in aerial duels. These are somewhat frequent over these lands, as the price of iron continues to rise with each inter-company conflict.
Easily the most inhospitable of the five continents, Marduus is a murky marshland punctuated by brief stretches of desert from which few ships survive upon crash landing. Fraught with quicksand, saltwater crocodiles, and other amphibious predators, it’s primary natural people- an aven tribe known as the Windseekers had long ago abandoned it- choosing instead to live in the sharp spires of Telumara… that is, until the airship changed the very face of the plane. With this new advent, the Marduui found themselves sitting on something of a gold mine with what up until then was among their most hazardous resources - oil and coal. The black, filthy goo would seep up from the marshlands with each passing tidal cycle, it’s magical energies mutating the wildlife and poisoning the soil, ensuring not even kelp would grow during a wet cycle. But with the advent of the steamship (among other forms of air travel), overnight the Aven people became among the most well funded on the plane, and founded their new enterprise, the South-North Trading Company. Knowing fully well that they lack other political or economic strongholds, these resources are fervently guarded by the Windseeker clan (now known dissaffectionately as the Windstealers), but is available to any Moliori trade or pirate… for the right price.
Being the only continent that constantly has overland exposure is little comfort to the goblins that make their homes in the tall, daggerlike spires of Telumara. Stretching through most of the northwest ocean of the continent, Telumara is a dangerous place for air captains to tread, with nary a place to land and plenty of places to crash. A common joke around taverns throughout the sky-cities is that the Lightning Runners were the first to create airships so that they could get the bloody hell out of this twisted landscape… although usually not in the presence of a Lightning-Runner captain. The continent is largely defined by tall, almost ludicrously sharp daggered peaks that jut out of some of the harshest seas on the plane, making boat travel nearly impossible and air travel a risk few crews dare to take. However, deep in their warrens, they goblins found one gem to warrant visits to their humble, dank homes - Luxium. This extremely light, extremely tough mineral became one of the most valuable on the planet after it’s properties were examined for airship construction and found to be among the best. Horrifyingly expensive, shipments of Luxium are hard to obtain and are viciously guarded, turning the seas bordering Telumara into a perpetual battlefield of pirates, frigate captains, and trading companies. The goblins and miners are only more than happy to make the ships heavy with their product for the price… even if they never leave the borders of their twisted, barren home.
The second largest continent of the plane, Denunatu is a strange, everchanging swampy jungle of a landscape stretching across the center of Moliora. Always at least partially exposed, the stretch of salt trees runs just below the murky water from it’s northern panhandle to the southern tip that leaks slowly into the Telu Mountain range, and sports a wide variety of bird and amphibious seabeast. While the great jungles could, theoretically produce a large amount of food, much of what is made is used by the elven natives, and no large scale farming operations could be laid in place due to it’s constantly shifting borders. Having no other natural resources but the wildlife that makes it’s nomadic journey through the heavily forested marshlands, it’s primary resource is it’s location. Being the central most continent, and snarled with heavy growth, Denunatu’s shores are constantly littered with the trash and treasure of the continents that surround it. Ship crashes collect among tangled brushes, entire shipments of valuable jewels and ores are found buried under swampland, and even ancient, magical relics have been known to be pulled from the murk. Likewise, it’s airspace is considered the most valuable on the plane, for while the tides that constantly morph this land make surface living hell, skilled captains are able to make the quickest routes from nearly any other continent by moving over the forests of Denunatu… if they can survive both the sharp storms that hammer the lands, and the natural denizens below who are always looking for a wreck to salvage….
With each continent providing it’s own, valuable resources, several pirate gangs, trading companies, and mercenary groups arose to try to challenge each other to the right of the skies. While hundreds of small, independant gangs of sky pirates and traders exist, five have risen to control the majority of the plane’s trade, commerce, and pillage. These powerful factions are nation states with no borders, constantly vying against one another for more power and wealth.
Color Identity: Black/White
Common Races: Aven, Vampires, Dwarves, Tieflings
Originally founded by the aven that naturally inhabited the marshes of Marduus, the Intercontinentals make up the strongest “legitimate” trading company of Moliora built originally on the insane profits of the oil trade. Now greatly expanded, this group of aristocrats, warriors, and privateers advertises themselves as the power of the skies and a bastion of law and order.
Although as any of their toll collectors would tell you, things are usually more complicated than that.
Dominating the rights to many of the most important trade routes, the Intercontinentals have been nicknamed “The Windstealers” (among other things) by the free traders of Moliora. This group of aven (and their shrewd business partners) have become notorious from the high peaks of Telumara to the deepest stretches of Jugi for enforcing high tariffs on most commodities traveling the seven winds travelling along their routes, and an outright blockade around their homeland of Marduus, effectively controlling the oil trade. Although this stretches their ranks thin, the Windstealers have a variety of very… persuasive collectors.
Literally named “the high nest” in the tongue of the Aven, Bailthe Nead is the floating seat of power for the Intercontinentals. The largest floating city in all the plane, Bailthe Nead floats like a shadow over Marduus, a giant, glowing, golden reminder of the power and wealth of its owners.
Though vast and well funded however, the Intercontinentals have more than enough competition to keep their hands full…
The Lightning Runners
Color Identity: Red/Blue
Common Races: Viashino, Goblins, Gnomes, Vedalken, Warforged
The most technologically advanced of the five nation-states, the Lightning Runners are a guild of daring captains, eccentric inventors, and advanced technology. Founded in the needled spires of Telumara, the group was originally a thing of necessity to the denizens of the constantly storm-ridden mountain tops. Originally named for the network of dangerous rope bridges and hook networks that connected the hollow tunnels of the area, the Runners have used their wealth of luxium to bring a new dawn of magic and technology to the plane. Lightning Runner ships are the fastest on the plane, and sport the some of the best mechanical and magical cannons and barrages that can be found anywhere on Moilora. It’s people are a rowdy type of explorers, scientists, and sorcerers that are willing to go anywhere and do anything to make a profit. A loose accord keeps them from targeting one another, and binds them to provide aid to another runner if need be. Other than that, the group is very individualistic and cunning, celebrating their rogue, passionate nature with a smile and a heedless charge.
Perhaps eclipsed only by the Lightning Runner flagship, The Indifferent Rose, Tanascian, the Skyjack stronghold Tanaiscian may be the greatest technological wonder of Moliora. While other cities may float, Tanaiscian holds the distinct privelege of actual flight. The city freely moves where needed, providing the Lightning Runners with a mobile trade hub and rest area. Heavily armed, it can also serve as a flagship if need be, despite it’s enormous size.
The Sky-Hunter Clan
Color Identiy: Blue/Green
Common Races: Elves, Merfolk, Vedalken
Arguably the most industrious and secretive of the factions on Moloira, the Sky-Hunters are a collective group of elves, merfolk, and vedalken that produce many of the foods and tools that are used by the other habitants of Moilora. Centered in Jugi Prime, a nebulous, swampy continent including a large portion of the south sea where the merfolk hold their capital Morgast, the Sky Hunters wrangle large fish and tend to the kelp fields, turning them over to their elven bretheren for trade. What the intercontinentals are to the skies over Moloira, the Sky-Hunters are to the seas and many of the plane’s scarece exposed land masses. The clan is a tight lipped, closed community, filled with druids and careful rituals that keep the rest of the plane full. Being the nigh-monopoly that they are, the Hunter clan has employed many means of fast travel and adapt quickly to any situation, most notably by the domistication of the “Nimbus”, a small, Levithan creature that can float as easily in the air as they can underwater. Even more unnerving are the reports that under the sea the Sky-Hunters use not a powerful ship fleet, but powerful magics used to contain and control massive sea creatures to crush enemy vessells that would dare invade their lands.
Less a city and more a country all to itself, Morgast, the seat of Sky-Hunter power is a sprawling network of flooded caverns and mysterious caves leading into the largest undersea city known to the plane. Clouded in mystery, the merfolk and elves guard the many entrances with unerring devotion, preferring to do their trade in the many unaffiliated floating cities rather than let outsiders in. The only widely known entrance is located within the dense forests of Jugi prime, and opens only three times a year due to the tides, during which time the Sky Hunters entertain guests for diplomacy, trade, and festivals.
The Driftwreck Enclave
Color Identiy: Black/Green
Common Races: Elves, Vampires, Tieflings, Halflings
Based in the murky marshlands of Dennunatu, the Driftwreck Enclave is a strange collection of druids and dark wizards that strictly enforce the skies above them and scavenge all the wreckage and plunder that washes up on from the cross-streams that keep their little slice of Moliora nearly inhospitable. Largely populated by elves and the devilkin tieflings, the hierarchy of the Enclave is largely made up of druidic vampires, allegedly some of the oldest being on the plane. The faction has few rules, but two commandments are core to their mission - 1) Ensure that the other sky-dwellers pay their toll when crossing over the heavy marshland. 2) Waste nothing. To that end the group utilizes powerful necromantic magic not just to create a serf class of walking dead, but to conjure their terrifying flagships called “The Hollowed”, usually made out of a strange mesh of wood and preserved, but still rotting flesh of sea creatures. Curt, but fair, this group rarely reaches out to the other nation-states, and rumor has it that they may have been waging a low-level conflict with the Sky-Hunters for centuries, although few outsiders would know of the feud.
Easily the most horrifying of the major cities, Bastus rests high above Denunatu, and is so massive that onlookers can spot it from many leagues away. However, most prefer to joke that you can smell it farther than that. A total picture of the Driftwreck’s refusal to waste any part of their scavenge, Bastus is made up of a strange combination of wreckage and reanimated flesh. Leviathan bones and boat sterns make up the strange, half-living city. Understandably, the Flotsam rarely conduct major business on it, and attendanc eis by invite only.
The Hellkite Armada
Color Identity: White/Red
Common Races: Viashano, Goblin, Aven, Dwarves
Founded in the dusty foothills of Perstanica, the Hellkite Accorders are regarded by many as the “true law” of the skies above Moliora. A ragtag band comprised of hearty sailors and the crafty Viashino, the Accorders are known for fighting for the weak, fighting for plunder, fighting for justice, or just plain fighting. Following the Accord signed by the great pirate lords of yore, the life of the Hellkite is one defined by extremes. One day, you might find a crew of them ruthlessly assaulting an Intercontinental ship to find the reach plunder within - the next, you may see them staunchly defending a Jugi shipment of food from the Scraprigger horde. Above all else, the Hellkites value honor and worthy foes. More oft than not, this puts them at odds with the Intercontinentals, and even the other fleets that they share airspace with. Weary of Lightning Runner deals and the increasingly unresponsive Sky Hunters, the accorders police the airways of Moliora as is written in their accord, holding “The Accord of Winds” as ultimate law.
One of the few land based cities on the plane, Garbhcarraig rests atop the tallest plataeu in all of Perstanica, and has the luxury of being even above the highest flood plain that the seas of Moliora can boast. Carved into the actual rock face by Viashino pioneers, it is considered both fortress and temple to its people, a blazing symbol of the justice and free will that the Accorders swear their lives by.
Other Major Cities
In addition to the faction run nation capitals, thousands of small costal port-towns, floating cities, and refueling stations decorate the skies and seas of Moilora. Of these, three in particular stand out.
Snamflais - A giant floating barge of a city resting on the cusp between Jugi Prime and Marduus, a frequent hub of scrap trading for the Driftwood Enclave, and a launching point for many of the goods found in Jugi Prime
Speirline- The most central trading platform on the plane, Speriline is the largest and most poupulous “free city”, and usually rests in the northern hemisphere between Telumara and Marduus.
Gearrnoc- A distant trading hub on the southern hemisphere, Gearrnoc serves as a major port town between Pernstanica and Marduus. While it is a small hub, Gearrnoc’s central location means that it’s goods and traders are some of the most diversified on the plane, sporting the best selection of wares and gear from all of the other guilds.