Asmer is not the same as Earth, all years have the same number of days, arranged in the same manner: A year starts with a single spring day, “Highmount,” (traditionally when agreements are renewed, annual rents are due, etc.) that’s not part of any month.
Then there are 12 months, all of them 28 days long: 4 armoons (weeks) of 7 days each. In every month, the armoons are, first to last, New, Bold, Crown, and Old. Days don’t have individual names, they’re “Month-X-Y” where X is the Armoon name, and then the day is first through seventh, so: “Month-Crown-Third” and so on.
The months are named Eldoun, Deethkul, Thaw, Flowering, Huntra, Boarild, Veldown, Harsun, Ramshorn, Stagpoint, Thunderfall, and Serpent.
They roughly correspond (in climate, in the “main map area” of ST) to the real-world months of:
March = Thaw
April = Flowering
May = Huntra
June = Boarild
July = Veldown
August = Harsun
September = Ramshorn
October = Stagpoint
November = Thunderfall
December = Serpent
January = Eldoun
February = Deethkul (“Deepkill” or “Deepchill”)
So the first day of any year is Highmount, the second day is “Thaw-New-First,” and the last day is “Deethkul-Old-Seventh.” This is how such days would be written down on documents. In daily speech, all over Asmer, what people actually SAY is Highmount or “First NewThaw” or “Seventh OldDeepchill.”
The Count Of Years
Although many dating systems have been used in the past and faded with the realms that used them, there’s now one universal dating system, dating from “Dragonfall.” This is a year when a huge “skyserpent” fell dead out of the sky right in front of Tanthalas, into the sea (its body was never found, but its fall caused a tidal wave that battered not only the Firefall, but the facing coasts of the two continents across the sea; some say it was the last of the great dragons that was awake, but others insist it was another sort of wyrm entirely; its body was never found, and some say the Heirophar seized it and cemented his power from what he derived from it). This happens to be the same year when the Heirophar formally seized control of “all Skalaunt.” As the first ST book begins, it is the early summer of 49th Dragonfall (that is, the forty-ninth year since the year when the Heirophar proclaimed himself ruler of Skalaunt).
There are IOU’s in Asmer, known as “skrith,” but they are individually written up and witnessed by priests. Most transactions are by barter of coin. There is no shortage of coin (it’s common and correct knowledge that Rheligor, Skalaunt, and the major coastal ports on the other continents have “bulging vaults full of coins” and they are the places that mint coins, too).
The three main coins are copper (bits), silver (daunts), and gold (taleths).
The copper coin is a heavy, thick plaque of keystone shape, with rounded corners and a hole punched in it at the top or narrow end. One side is stamped with the side-on face of the current ruler of wherever it’s minted, and the other with the symbols of the gods. This coin, the “bit,” is the daily common currency of most people. Bits are copper over iron, and rapidly weather to a dirty brown hue.
The silver coin is an equilateral triangle with rounded corners, punched with a hole near the “top” point. Like the bit, it has a ruler’s face on one side and the symbol of the gods on the other. This “daunt” (plural: also daunt) is covered with a blue wax when new, but inevitably tarnishes to black.
The “Taleth” or gold coin is rarely seen in daily commerce, by most people; it tends to be used for property purchases, cargo buys, and paying large debts. A taleth (plural: also taleth) is oval, with a hole punched near the top, and has the same stamped adornments on its faces that daunt and bits do; ruler’s face on one side, gods on the other.
Gems are used for larger amounts if portability or concealment are a must; otherwise, small, flat coffers of taleth are the daily carrying-tools of wealthy merchants.
Regional names for the coins will vary, so the names can be changed, but the general weight, purity, and shape of the coins will remain relatively constant from place to place. There are no exchange rates, per se, but one country/barony/holding that mints their own coin might have a slightly higher purity of precious metal than others, so their taleths might people more amenable to haggling.
1 taleth = 20 daunts, or 240 bits 1 daunt = 12 bits
Races of Asmer
Humans are the dominant race of Asmer, with a smattering of other races throughout. All races have their unique features, but within each races there are societies and cultures that can vary wildly, just like with humans. There is no typical hatred for any one race by another, that is to say elves no more hate dwarves than they do anything else, and even the snake-headed uolori are not feared as a whole.
The elves of Stormtalons dwell within the mists, and have a slight resistance to their touch, although not enough to stave off anything longer than a minute or two of contact. They are a rarity in the human claimed areas of Asmer, and as they are separated from each other by the mists, have a variety of societies and cultures that are dictated just like any human land; by the land itself, the available resources, and the attitudes of the leadership.
As such, you will find snobby elves and outgoing elves, mysterious elves and elves who wear their hearts on their sleeves. While they do feel an inherent attachment to the land and the mists, it does not make them contemplative, insular, or particularly cryptic as a people (although you will certainly find individuals and even societies where they are just that).
If they do venture to human lands, however, you can bet they will be wary and hiding their true nature, blending in to the human population. The Heirophar pays a pretty bit to anyone who brings tidings of elfkind. The priests of Rheligor are no better, constantly on the lookout for ways to better their Blood Temples, and their abilities to push back the Stormtalons from their lands.
Elves do have innate magical abilities, but most of them are tied to nature; sensing which point of the compass they are facing, general time of day or night even deep underground, and an affinity for creatures with beast-minds, be they natural or twisted, scenting the wind for weather changes, etc. They can also learn spells as any human with the Gift of Magic can, but with half the cost for Stormtalons based spells, double the Cost for non-nature based spells, and if the spell is necromantic in nature, the Cost is triple.
Then there is their affinity for the Stormtalons themselves.
Long ago, some ancient elves had pacts with the now Sleeping Dragons, giving servitude in exchange for dragon-like powers and talents. One of those gifts was a long life span, which has dwindled over the intervening years. If any elves live from the time before the Dragons slept, they are well in hiding. Even the names of the great elven sorcerers who made the pacts have been lost to the encroachment of time.
As time went on, and the dragons slumbered, and the Warpriests took Rheligor, and the Heirophar came into power, those magical abilities granted by the dragons waned sharply, each generation less powerful than the next, until only the barest of that granted capability remains.
It manifests best in their affinity with the Stormtalons. They can read the mists on an instinctive level, knowing which way to go to avoid the danger swirling around them and find the pockets clear of their taint. They also have realized how to harness the power of their combined spirits in keeping the Stormtalons from further encroaching on the lands they have claimed, keeping them clear for agriculture, hunting, fishing, mining, and building their cities, much like the Blood Temples of the Rheligor theocracy. It also is key to the trade that takes place between elven city-states and kingdoms within the mists, and a few enterprising elves have made quite a bit of coin as Mist Walkers in the human world, disguising themselves well as crazed, if reliable guides.
As such, they tend to largely see themselves as shepherds of the mists, much like how a park ranger sees the bears, wolves, and other predators on their lands. The Stormtalons cannot be controlled. They can only be temporarily penned, or guided, and others educated on how best to deal with them. So the elves only clear what they feel they need, and have many a tale about those who overreached and were bitten. Every now and then, the Stormtalons part, revealing an overrun elven civilization, full of mist-twisted and the misshapen mutations of the elves who once lived there.
Physically, elves are very similar to humans, although generally slighter of build and with the expected more defined features. They are an attractive race, though lack the gossamer and moondust ethereal qualities of ancient elves of yore. Their ears taper to slender points easily covered with hair, a band, or a hood, and their eyes, while large and slanted upward, are not so different from a human’s that they are immediate giveaways unless the person looking at them knows elves. There are, however, awkward elves as well as graceful, and dimwitted elves as well as wise.
The length of their lifespan (they can live to be up to 500 years old) gives them a more philosophical outlook, but sometimes that philosophy is the gaining of their own wealth or power, rather than some sage perspective.
Elves have a great love of Sroon, Vraevre, Noroedryn, and to a lesser degree, Pelaspur. While they respect Tlalore and Morian and the two’s place in the Great Root and Cycle of All, not much heartfelt devotion is paid at their shrines. There are dwarves in Asmer , but they live among humans on the surface. They tend to be master miners and masons, and the best metalsmiths and runecrafters,. They don’t have disdain for elves (or any mutual animosity between the races), their females aren’t bearded and many of the males shave, and only some of them are gruff or hard drinkers. What they are is: skilled craftworkers of all sorts, who make a living with their hands and are happy doing so. Dwarf weavers (textiles, in bulk and in a hurry) are as famous and important and wealthy as their miners.
Dwarves are not xenophobes, they are not a “proud fallen people wanting to retake their lost cavern homes,” and they don’t exist on a diet of raw meat and stronger drink than other races can handle. They do form intense friendships, cling to loyalties, and their word is their bond (high reliance on trust), so they are widely preferred as merchants, especially traveling merchants/traders.
They can be found anywhere in Asmer, but their country of Khaormont is located in the mountains between Irlspyre and The Harr, and is equally above ground as it is in the mountains. Underground one will find their forges and smithies, their jewelers and gemcrafters, ready to convert the ore they’ve mined into pure ingots, and the precious stones into glittering marvels. There are also military compounds, constantly patrolling the mining tunnels for the dangerous creatures that dwell there. Above ground is where one will find their homes, their taverns and inns, their stores and markets.
Rather than a capital city, the country is trade oriented, with districts acting as city-states within its loose borders. They are pragmatically named, so merchants and traders from other lands can easily find their way around.
Weavebhayle is the home for all things textiles and fabrics. Spicebhayle is where one can go for the herbs and plants the dwarves forage for and cultivate. Brewbhayle is where their ales and beers, wines and liquors are crafted. Cragbhayle, the largest of the city-states and considered its capital by foreigners, is dedicated to anything and everything mined from deep within the mountains, and has the largest concentration of underground compounds.
Khaormont is ruled by a noble-merchant class that has dozens of clans made up of “families” that may or may not be tied by blood. They are organized by occupation, not lineage, so the clan head may not necessarily be the “Son of the son of the son” of the founder of that clan, but instead a particularly successful merchant of that trade voted to the position by the rest of the clan. And once in a clan, they are not bound to it for life, if they find a different vocation they enjoy more.
So dwarves have two “families” they identify with, their blood family and their profession family.
And while all seems convivial and open, the politics between the merchant clans can be just as brutal and vicious as anywhere else in Asmer. Dwarves just tend to be more pragmatic about it all.
Rather than worship the Six, most dwarves worship the dragon Khaoralist. It is this mighty dragon that is credited with the creation of the dwarven race, crafting them from river water and mountain granite, fertile earth and green leaves, giving them an affinity for working with and crafting all the elements.