Gears of Kesmai
The commonwealth of Lemuria is noted for its calm good sense and practical attitude. Lemurians are basically a good people, but in a low-key way, preferring to set example by actions rather than by preaching. They are governed by an elected Council of Equals, whose basic philosophy of governing is to do as little as possible. The essential good character of their people makes this a viable political philosophy. The people of Lemuria are a gregarious race, who need the companionship of friends and relatives. This need is one of the chief reasons that the governing rules may be sparse, for public disapproval is a potent deterrent.
Wizards, fighters and clerics are common in Lemuria, but rogues are rare, and sorcerers unheard of. The broadsword is the most common weapon in Lemuria, although pikes are favored for ceremonial occasions. The Knights of Lemuria – fighters and paladins in charge of protecting the members of the Council and upholding the honor of the Land — are famed for their pike work, although the sword is their prime weapon. The Knights present a grand show during the changing of their guard in front of the parliament. Small, brightly colored pennants float from the heads of their pikes as they march with great precision to the sounds of the small drums and shrill trumpets of their band.
The Knights, though proficient at show, are also proficient at fighting, and it has been more than 100 years since a Council member has been assassinated. Their continued vigilance is necessary since, during recent years, the followers of the Pharaoh of Hovath have periodically made unsuccessful assassination attempts on Council members. These attempts were prompted by the Council’s refusal to return certain refugees to the Pharaoh for beheading; as a result, the Pharaoh declared the Council to be unholy. Lemuria’s Council of Equals is singularly unimpressed with the Pharaoh, owing to the fact that three of the refugees he had ordered executed were small children whose sole “crime” had been to bear their father’s name. The Council of Equals, of course, does not employ assassins in the pursuit of its goals; but if a chance arose to disrupt the plans of the Pharaoh, they would be delighted to make the most of it.
Lemuria was settled by adventurers from several different places; hence, no particular racial characteristics predominate. This history has made them somewhat more welcoming to strangers than most countries. One thing Lemurians seem to have in common is a love of bright colors, and for a Lemurian, everyday apparel simply must include at least three shades of bright colors. On ceremonial occasions, Lemurians will want every article of clothing to be a different color; even their shoes or boots will not match. Lemurians also prefer bright gem stones, such as rubies, diamonds and emeralds, and would not wear onyx or pearls, considering them to be too plain. One of the chief attractions of the dungeons of Kesmai for young Lemurians is the possibility of finding impressive gemstones lying about (still resting where they were dropped during the dragon’s rampage so long ago.)
It has been more than 130 years since a warrior (whether man or woman) has been elected to the Council of Equals without first having quested to Kesmai. Those of Lemuria with political leanings usually start by trying to kill something noteworthy in Kesmai. A quest to Kesmai is seen as demonstrating both a proper sense of public duty and a certain amount of intelligence, since stupid adventurers rarely return from Kesmai. The fact that the adventurers also frequently return with a handful of jewels is simply considered proof that those who fulfill their civic duty reap just rewards.
Lemuria’s chief export is a potent wine of a deep purple color, made from the berries of a ground-hugging thorned vine. The wine of Lemuria is valued everywhere, and there are a number of wizards who declare that two glasses of it beforehand will vastly improve a spell. Of course, there are other wizards who declare that two glasses of Lemurian wine is more than enough to make one think that one’s spells have improved. As might be expected, The Pharaoh of Hovath has declared Lemurian wine to be sinful, and has ordained that anyone caught drinking it shall have his nose cut off. Despite this harsh ruling, there is still substantial profit in smuggling Lemuria’s wine into Hovath, which is proof either of the excellence of the wine or of the lure of the forbidden – or both. Although generally law-abiding, the average Lemurian’s opinion of the Pharaoh is such that smuggling wine into Hovath is a favorite adventure, second only to venturing into the dungeons of Kesmai.