Setting Info Thread

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Jan 3, 2019
(Copied from the original request thread)


The year is 1100 BC...
...or thereabouts, as ancient history is never very precise when it comes to years and dates.

It has been three or four generations since the abrupt fall of the great empires of the Eastern Mediterranean. In the lands formerly occupied by the once-powerful Hittite Empire, warring tribes battle constantly over territory and resources. There, upon the river Thermodon in a region of northern Anatolia known as Pontus, nestled high in the mountains overlooking the Black Sea shore, is Themyscira, the capital city of the Amazons (if you want to google it, look for the modern city of Amasya, Turkey). Unique among their neighbours, the Amazons are a female-dominated society, where the power of men is limited by law, and a class of elite warrior women are responsible for all military and political decisions.

Greek folklore speaks of these women as daughters of Ares, god of war; wicked man-hating women who mutilate their own breasts and live only for bloody conflict. But as with most creatures of folklore, the truth is far more nuanced than all that. For instance, they certainly do not damage their own breasts, as they can use their weapons just fine by using bandeau-type wraps to flatten their chests. They also don't necessarily hate men, although they are very hostile to outsiders, automatically assuming the worst intentions in anyone they do not know. And, as is common to the region and time period, they have rather barbaric sensibilities, such that they do not consider slavery, torture, or summary execution to be immoral, and in general they believe that the world turns on the principle of, "Might Makes Right", and there is no justice but what can be carved out through naked force. Finally, they aren't entirely women, only ruled by women. There are both male and female warriors, it's just that the first time a Greek saw one of the female warriors, it blew his mind so much that he had to tell all his friends, and things went viral from there in a game of bronze age Telephone. Most men in amazon society are slaves, but some men are free, having earned their freedom as a result of some great accomplishment, such as winning a gladiator tournament. Sons of amazon women are raised like normal boys, trained to fight, and educated in the things their parents deem important. But when an amazon boy turns 18, he is expected to leave his family and either sell himself on the slave market, or go into a period of exile, traveling the world for at least 2 years after which he may return and be accepted as a free man if he brings back some knowledge or items of sufficient value to amazon society.

Our story begins with a Greek merchant ship that was traversing the Black Sea when it was blown off course by a sudden storm, and beached upon the shores of Pontus. While the sailors were scrambling to repair their ship as quickly as possible, they were met by a squadron of Amazonian warriors garbed in leather and bronze, armed with bow and spear, and riding directly upon the bare backs of their horses (which was a thing not normally done in this period of history, for it was the chariot which yet dominated bronze age battlefields -- even saddles had not yet been invented). The warriors spoke a language the Greek sailors could not understand, and none of the warriors knew Greek, so they could not understand what the Greek men were saying. The situation devolved into violence, and after a brief battle, the sailors in their phalanx formation were soundly defeated by the superior mobility and skirmishing tactics of their mounted attackers, who fought in the Scythian style of the steppe nomads. The survivors of the battle were taken captive, stripped of all their belongings, bound to one another by ropes, and marched up into the mountains towards Themyscira's gates, to be presented as slaves to the Amazon Queen.

The fate of men who are captured in battle by Amazon warriors is that they condemned to the fighting pits, to be executed as sport by a professional gladiatrix. If a prisoner can fight well enough and is so favoured by the gods as to survive his execution, he will be allowed to live among the Amazons as a slave, either by being put to work in the fields or in maintaining the city, where he may live a long life of honest servitude; or by becoming a professional gladiator to entertain the citizens, with great potential rewards if he fights well enough, but also great risk of a quick and sudden death in any given match.

The rules of fighting pit executions, in summary:
- The fight ends when either fighter is either killed outright, or is so severely wounded that they cannot continue to fight, and must plead for mercy from the Queen.
- A prisoner defeated in this manner will usually be put to death by the Queen's order, unless he fought with a level of skill and bravery that makes the crowd call for his life to be spared. In this case, the man is then pegged by the victorious gladiatrix, as a way of further humiliating him, and he is then sent to the slave market to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
- If a prisoner defeats his executioner, he may claim her body for his sexual desires, and she is then required to make a place for him in her household, where he shall live as her guest for one lunar cycle, until it can be discovered whether or not he impregnated her. If she is pregnant, he shall become her slave permanently, but if she is not pregnant, she may send him off to the slave market as soon as she experiences her period.
- If a prisoner kills his executioner during the course of the fight, he will be brought into the palace and given an offer to serve as one of the Queen's personal slaves. He is allowed to refuse this offer, in which case he is sent to the slave market as normal.

The Gods Of The City
(You'll be put to death if you don't believe in them, or if you try to corrupt the nation's youth)

The Amazons worship primarily a brutal warlike god named Ha-Mazakaran, who is the god of blood, violence, war, and conquest. He is said to be the father of the Amazon lineage, and the Greeks could easily draw parallels between him and Ares. Ha-Mazakaran means "to make war" in Old Persian, which is the same root language from which the word Amazon derives: ha-mazan, meaning to fight as a group. The Amazons make blood sacrifices to Ha-Mazakaran every year, on the night of the winter solstice, and there is a grand tournament scheduled in the days leading up to the solstice, where male and female gladiators and gladiatrices battle to the death to provide a sufficient amount of "blood for the blood god" to dissuade him from sending great armies to conquer and destroy the Amazon cities (which is what he will certainly do if he is displeased, or he judges that the Amazons have become too decadent in their ways).

Below Ha-Mazakaran is his daughter, the Goddess Kaska, who was the First Queen of the Amazons, born on a battlefield as her mother lay dying in a pool of blood. She was raised by her father alone and taken to various battlefields and occupied lands as part of her education on the sheer brutality that humans are capable of. Kaska is a matriarchal goddess of wisdom, law, and the city, and it is her example of wise leadership that the Amazon Queen is expected to follow.

The next two goddesses of the city are Kaska's two daughters, named Manah and Erpata. Manah, the elder daughter, was conceived by brutal rape, when Kaska was at one point enslaved to a tyrannical warlord, as one of her father's sadistic lessons. Erpata, the younger daughter, was conceived many years later by a peaceful union between Kaska and a rival king whom she had defeated and taken as a husband. Erpata is depicted as a fiercely independent maiden warrior who is dedicated to fighting to protect the city and her family. Manah, by contrast, is depicted as a goddess of fertility, constantly pregnant so as to sustain the city's population. Together with their mother Kaska, they form a Triad representing the three stages of a woman's life: Erpata the Maiden, Manah the Mother, and Kaska the Crone (these archetypes are often depicted by Celtic/Wiccan artwork as the three most iconic lunar phases: waxing crescent, full moon, and waning crescent).

Manah is said to have had four sons who are revered as demigods. They are, in order of their birth, Sakud, Akuna, Garga, and Sarmat. Sakud is depicted as a soldier, and he is the god of male warriors, particularly defenders of the city and protectors of their families. Akuna is the intelligent son, god of farmers, workers, builders, artisans, and all other creative pursuits. Garga is depicted as being very handsome and well endowed. He is the god of love, sex, empathy, and relationships. Men pray to him for a bigger dick, and women pray to him for romance and long-lasting unions. Finally, Sarmat is the god of winter, starvation, and sacrifice. The weakest of Manah's four sons, Sarmat is depicted as having sacrificed himself a bitterly cold winter (or in some tellings, a long drought), so that the rest of his family could eat. Families pray to Sarmat for guidance during harsh times.

Taken together, the four sons of Manah represent the four highest virtues to be found in a man, from the perspective of the Amazons. First and foremost is the ability to protect the people he cares about, especially his children. Secondly, the ability to use intellect and hard work to create things of value, where nothing existed before, and thus provide resources to a growing population. Thirdly, to be a good companion to his wife or mistress, to understand her mind and keep her sexually satisfied. Fourth and lastly, to sacrifice himself for the sake of his family, when the situation demands this of him. Thus there is a common and superficially-contradictory saying among the Amazons: Men are expendable; Great Men are irreplaceable.

A Schedule of Feasts and Tournaments
"Fighting Is Truth" - Old Amazonian proverb

Slaves who fight as gladiators can fight as often or as infrequently as their owners dictate, but there are 8 major calendar events where games and tournaments are scheduled, and that fighters should look forward to. Four of them are placed on the four astronomical events of the yearly cycle (summer and winter solstices; spring and fall equinoxes), and the other four are spaced evenly between these events (at the times of year the Celts would refer to as Bealtaine, Lughnasaidh, Samhain, and Imbolc). Each of these important dates is dedicated to a specific member of the Amazonian pantheon, with the feminine Triad occupying the spring, summer, and fall events, respective of their 'phase' association. The winter solstice is reserved for Ha-Mazakaran. The four mid-seasonal dates belong to the four sons of Manah, placed onto the calendar in the order they were born (with the year starting in spring, so that Sakud's feast is in May).

Spring Equinox -- Festival of Choosing (Erpata) -- Games scheduled around this festival are themed around female sexual selection, and involve events that help young women coming of age to choose the right partners. The most popular tradition in this festival is where a maiden warrior who came of age in the preceding year will step into the fighting pits and issue a challenge to a group of male slaves, that the first one to subdue her can have her. She is naked and armed only with a staff, while the men are all unarmed. Thus, she must fight off the group of men, beating them all into submission while protecting her virginity, and if she is successful at this challenge she will be inducted into the ranks of the amazon elites. If she fails, she will probably end up pregnant, and should settle for a civilian life. A warrior can choose how many or how few opponents she faces, or even select specific ones, but her prestige among her peers will hinge on the level of challenge she sets for herself, such that a warrior who makes it too easy for herself will be thought of as a coward and will not advance in status.

Mid-Spring (~May 1st) -- Festival of Swords (Sakud) -- Games here are themed around athletic competition between males, with the winners gaining great esteem in the eyes of the amazon warrior class. Champions in each event are rewarded with a blowjob from one of the temple priestesses, and may also find themselves being solicited for sex by amazon warriors attracted to their accomplishments.

Summer Solstice -- Festival of the Moon (Manah) -- On the day of the solstice, the temple holds a massive orgy from sunrise to sunset, where men of all status are invited to come in and have sex with the priestesses of the temple. Gladiator matches are also held on this day, and women will sometimes offer themselves as a prize, to be impregnated by whichever gladiator wins a given match.

Mid-Summer (~August 1st) -- Festival of the Sun (Akuna) -- This is a mid-summer feast, with games and music to celebrate the hard work of the farmers. Tournaments take place here as usual, with no particular significance to them other than to provide entertainment to the masses during the dog days of summer.

Fall Equinox -- Feast of the City (Kaska) -- A great feast is held at the queen's palace to celebrate the harvest. There is also a women's tournament for elite gladiatrices, where they compete to rank themselves by skill and prowess. The results then play a role in ordering the matches for the upcoming Tournament of Blood. There is also a yearly ritual at this time where the Queen is stripped and humiliated by the high priestess of the temple, for the amusement of the common people, to remind her of her sacred duty to embody the ideals of Kaska and to rule over the city in a way that is wise and just.

Mid-Autumn (~Oct 31st) -- Festival of Love (Garga) -- Another temple orgy is held on this date, but the focus of this one is to assemble the most attractive males together in one place and invite amazon women to make use of their bodies as they see fit. The orgy takes place on the nearest full moon to the scheduled seasonal date, and it lasts from sundown to sunup.

Winter Solstice -- Tournament of Blood (Ha-Mazakaran) -- Over the days leading up to the solstice, several rounds of gladiator matches are fought, in a tournament structure designed to produce a great number of deaths to satisfy Ha-Mazakaran. In the preliminary rounds, male gladiators fight against other male gladiators, with all fights being to the death, effectively culling the weak from their ranks. In the later rounds, the surviving male gladiators may challenge the female gladiatrixes, according to the rankings that were established in the prior Feast of the City. It is not necessary for a gladiatrix to fight to the death, but all male challengers must do so. If a man can defeat a certain number of gladiatrixes, he wins the right to challenge the Queen, who will allow herself to become possessed by the power of the Goddess Kaska. If a man is able to defeat the Queen in this fight (and this has never happened before), it will be taken as proof that he is the chosen son of Ha-Mazakaran, and must be revered as King of the Amazons, and the Queen shall serve as his concubine, if she is not killed during the fighting. To date no man has ever been able to do this.

Mid-Winter (~Feb 1st) -- The Culling Time (Sarmat) -- During this period of mid-winter, households are encouraged to dispose of all that is wasteful or unnecessary, the better to conserve their remaining resources until spring. This can involve culling herd animals to stretch existing grain stores a little bit longer. It can also involve sending weak slaves into exile, in the footsteps of the god Sarmat. Slaves chosen for this fate are sent to the city square to be attended to by the priestesses of the temple. Each man is offered sex with a priestess, as a parting gift, before he is sent out of the city to try to survive on his own in the wilderness. Most who are cast out will simply starve to death or be killed by some wild beast or roving bandits, but any of them who manage to survive until spring will be seen to have received the blessing of the gods, and will be welcomed back into the city as a Free Man. Survivors of this mid-winter exile are especially sought after as opponents in the Festival of Choosing, because of the divine favour they seem to possess.
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