The City-State of Ton Isiq
Government Style: Magocratic City State
Ruler: Magus Cestacis
Capital: Ton Isiq
Alchemy: Common, though seen as a "lesser art"
Forge Magic: Common
National Symbol: A white arched gate on the cover of a book
The history of Ton Isiq is a history of magic. It was founded upon the ruins of an even older civilization. Over the ages, the ruins attracted scholars and wizards. Sometimes as many as a hundred cabals would come upon hearing of a rediscovered art. Unwilling to share the prizes they won from the ruins, the cabals clashed. They wielded magics of awful might in the constant battle for supremacy.
Through these conflicts, the number of cabals soon shrank to eleven. For a time, the eleven cabals ruled over the city as a council. The peace between them lasted over a century, until it was shattered on the Night of Secrets. The details of the night were ever after shrouded in rumor, conflicting stories, and mystery. Whatever happened returned the cabals to open conflict. The thousands in the city who were not wizards cowered in fear or fled the battle. The once-great city of mystical secrets seemed doomed to obliteration, but within a month, the fighting ended. With only nine cabals still standing, a new peace was forged by Sychiros, the first Magus.
This Grand Cabal-- Nine cabals of nine wizards each-- ruled the city, and a Magus ruled them in turn. The peace held for centuries, and as the war against the Most Foul spread, the powerful resources of Ton Isiq made a difference.
Ton Isiq rightfully became a hub of manufacture and transportation in the war. Those who practiced forge magic made specialized weapons. Prisoners too powerful to simply kill were taken to the Ton Isiq Gate to be imprisoned for all time. The ritualists of the Great Order worked powerful magics to bar, bind and otherwise destroy servants of the Most Foul.
The Magus was the supreme lord of the magocracy of Ton Isiq. In the centuries of the Great Order's reign, there were five Magi. The Magus at the end of the First Age was Cestacis, the son of Anaxares, the previous Magus. He ruled with a light hand, as he was mainly focused on extracting secrets from artifacts of Sharat Gan.
The nine cabals of nine ritualists functioned much like a nobility. Each cabal had a head ritualist selected by its members and approved by the Magus. Beyond their ritual duties, they maintained order within the cabal. The cabals controlled specific areas of the city's governance, so as to avoid overlapping jurisdiction and other causes for disagreement. Unlike the present day, the cabals of Ton Isiq retained the same names and general character from generation to generation.
The cabals had chamberlains to handle much of the day-to-day bureaucracy of Ton Isiq's governance. They could not pass sentence for crimes, but in all else they spoke with the authority of those they served.
The people of Ton Isiq were an interesting mix. At the founding of the new city, there were no "native" people there. It was built by wizards and the adventurers followed them. Over the centuries, more came to seek their fortune. Some returned home, but many stayed, and their descendants were the people of Ton Isiq.
Most of the people of Ton Isiq were artisans. There were farms in the surrounding countryside and the land was verdant, but between trade and fishing, the agrarian class was unusually small. Craftsmen, though, were always in high demand. Wizards needed weapons, armor and other goods of the highest quality for their enchantments and experiments. Other nations prized finished goods from Ton Isiq. It was not uncommon for a noble of Tharicia seek out furniture from Ton Isiq as a status symbol. The jewelry made there was some of the most beautiful ever made. Fabled among these was the Ruby Heart of the Deeps; though among the most beautiful of gems, it was said to bring only ill fortune.
Education in the city was the most advanced of its era. In a city run by wizards, learning was considered a virtue. Almost the entire populace was literate, and the center of the city held the remarkable Library of Halidon Idana. Free to all citizens of Ton Isiq, the library supported itself with fees levied on foreign scholars.
The militia of Ton Isiq was made up of volunteers from the citizenry. There was also a small standing army, called the Samonian Guard, though it was nothing like the mighty forces of Tharicia or Druma. They were loyal, well-trained, and some of the best-equipped troops in the world. More importantly, they were trained in the use of and defense against magic on the battlefield. One of the cabals, also named the Samonian Guard, commanded the army and handled the city's military defense. That cabal's leader at the end of the First Age was Ismene the Wanderer, famed for her waspish wit and skill with anything that bore an edge.
Faith and Religion
The people of Ton Isiq were extremely pragmatic in their faith. They knew, in general terms, of celestial hosts and the Light of Heaven. This was not an obscure faith for them, but a pragmatic reality based on research and interacting with celestials. They were aware of the Most Foul even before the start of the war, and it was forbidden to learn his magics.
It was widely accepted that magic was a gift to allow humanity to approach the higher orders. Through research and learning, one could become something greater than his base materials. There was no particular priesthood as such, but a number of respected and famous philosophers. The subjects of morality and the origin and nature of the world were often the subject of discussion in all levels of society. Pursuit of truth was considered the highest purpose in life.
Ton Isiq society attracted many people from around the world over the centuries, and was very cosmopolitan and accepting of outsiders and their beliefs. As a result, there were small communities in the city practicing faiths from all over.
What makes Ton Isiq great?
Ton Isiq was a place of wonder. The citizens of Ton Isiq lived in the presence of magic. It suffused their lives. They had a legitimate claim of having the greatest collection of mages, ritualists, alchemists, inscribers and explorers in the ancient world. Certainly, most of the research done in the higher orders of magic was led by the Grand Cabal. The Ton Isiq Gate, the Hallowed Gardens, and a hundred other wonders attracted travelers from around the world. The artisans of Ton Isiq spread not only magical wonders, but artistic treasures to the far corners of the world.
What makes Ton Isiq less than desirable?
The line between confidence and arrogance is often hard to see. The people of Ton Isiq were prideful. They had all the latest and greatest magic. People came to Ton Isiq, not the other way around. It is easy to see how the city fell in the end. Pride goes before the fall. Also, despite it its mystical might, the city had the weakness of numbers. The population of Ton Isiq would not even come close to the next smallest nation in the world. Even the warriors of Ton Isiq were expected to possess culture and learning. Intelligence, power, beauty, and sophistication were the measure by which all people were judged. Uncultured and blunt people were not well thought of.
Theme & Costuming
Ton Isiq was a city of magi. Magic here was glorious and majestic, as compared to the dark mysteries of Sharat Gan. Characters from Ton Isiq had a Greco-Roman look and feel. The city was very cosmopolitan and accepting. Returned characters from Ton Isiq come from one of the mystical and scholarly powerhouses of the ancient world. This a good place to be from if you plan on playing a Returned with a more scholarly bent, a world traveler, or a craftsman of great skill.
We encourage Returned players to wear tattered, stained, or dusty clothes when they rise out of the Grim Prison. However, Returned wear whatever clothing they can come across thereafter, possibly recreating the styles of their forgotten homelands. The fashion of Ton-Isiq reflected the very Greco-Roman feel of the city itself; togas, loose, flowing robes, and long, scholarly or 'goddess' style gowns were common. Jewelry was very subtle and understated, plain bands of gold and silver were worn as bracelets, circlets, and belts either. Belts of silk rope, sometimes ornamented with beads, were most fashionable.
Returned hailing from Ton Isiq pay two fewer points for Ritualism Initiation at Character Creation.