There are some facts and traditions that every cultured adult in the civilized world would know with few exceptions. Among these things are the calendar system, major global organizations, languages around the world, the existence of common wildlife, and the most recent world-shaping events.
The universal calendar is said to have been taught to the Elves near the dawn of history to allow them to perfectly follow the seasons and plan their harvests. Since there has been no observable variation in the seasons, the length of days or the phases of the moon since records began, this calendar is highly regarded as one of the most significant gifts of the gods.
The names of the months have changed gradually over time to the point that every civilization has come to accept a mixture of names in Damaran, Elven, Common and Dwarven.
From first to last, the months are:
- Thermidor (from Elven “summer heat”, first month of Summer)
- Calidor (from Damaran “hot”, hottest month of the year)
- Ceridor (from Damaran “grain”, harvest season)
- Herbinar (from Dwarven “leaves month”, trees first shed leaves)
- Slahinar (from Dwarven “slaughter month”, ends with preparations for Winter)
- Midyear (from Common)
- Frostfall (from Common, first month of Winter)
- Eismose (from Dwarven “ice month”, coldest month of the year)
- Nivose (from Damaran “snow”, last month of snow)
- First Seed (from Common, planting period for farmers)
- Floridor (from Damaran “flower”, plants in full bloom)
- Ventidor (from Damaran “wind”, windiest time of year near the coast)
Every month is 32 days and begins with a Full Moon without exception. In the middle of every month Luna, the moon and moon goddess, will not be visible for the New Moon.
Although the moon goes through these 32 day phases, its position in the sky varies over 8 day periods. This second lunar cycle established the week. The days of the week are Mundas, Melodas, Leordas, Middas, Turdas, Vandradas, Seturdas and Anundas after the most commonly worshipped gods of the Pantheon (only Io, Crassis, Thalassa and Bahamut are missed).
These perfect cycles are attributed to Corellon, son of Thalassa and God of natural cycles, as well as the deities of the four seasons (Amun, Ishtar, Mata Nui and Melora respectively).
While a year consists of those twelve universally recognized months, the years are counted in more than one way. Most people recognize the simple Cambrian Calendar. This places year One 4,400 years before the present day on the year the Cambrian Federation, the first civilization, was formed by all fey races. 1 CE (Cambrian Era) is rightly considered the dawn of history as the first written historical record is the document forming the agreement to unite. Years prior to this time, about which no written records survive, are referred to as Before the Cambrian Era, i.e. BCE.
Men use a less formal dating system based on historical events. Everything before their first kingdom was founded is the Dawn Era. The time of the many kingdoms of men when none stood supreme was the First Era (1E). After all human kingdoms answered to one as their lord, with others as vassal states, the Second Era (2E) began. It was not until the Third Era, when all men were brought under one Imperium of Man, when human affairs became more structured and united. There was a brief interregnum that is generally considered part of 3E, but only nominally, before one side of the civil war reigned supreme and ushered in the Fourth Era (4E). This is the present era of mankind and has been for some time.
The most universally recognized institutions are the religious communities of the major deities. Every large city has at least one temple to each of them, sometimes as a primary feature of the urban landscape. The most well-known are:
- Amunites: priests of Amun who often works closely with chancellors, kings and emperors
- Order of Mara: priestesses of Hathor who perform marriage rites, separations and introduce couples
- Hammurabian College: institution of Bahamut that trains and supplies judges for courts of law
- Ebony Knights: paladin order of Bahamut whose knights travel the mortal world keeping the roads safe and slaying creatures terrorizing villages
- Order of Vega: priestly order of Avandra, sometimes supply a hall for games of chance
- Golden Knights: paladin order of Crassis, highly-skilled mercenaries for the rich
- Nervan Warpriests: priestly order of Minerva, protect the populace of cities in war, fight against whichever side is on the offense
- Brotherhood of Steel: powerful paladin order of Aule, equipped with the finest weapons and armor, tasked with defending the League of Aule and destroying threats to civilization
- Fleet of Thalassa: paladin order equipped with ships all over the world, protects ships traveling the Panthalassic Sea and routs piracy
Some of the major non-religious organizations of which everyone has heard are the Gith, traders from the Hejaz Republic, an international mediator of commerce; the College of Mandalore, foremost school of magic and most famous of all magical research institutes; and the Oracle of Nousis, a famous eladrin seer who has directed many of the greatest figures of legend. Furthermore, everyone on the continents of Pandraia and Xen knows there is an international order of assassins and another of thieves, but few know their names and even fewer know how to contact their agents for a contract.
Speech was a gift of Yggdrasil to the Elves in the time before history, when all races lived as wild beasts. This was shared by various deities who taught their own tongues to each of their creations. When countries were forming and wars breaking out, the God Richelieu saw a lack of communication as the root of the many conflicts. With his mother, Avandra, Richelieu taught all the leaders of the various countries and tribes of Pandraia and Xen a common language. This is known in its own words as the Common Tongue.
Besides Common, there are the following known tongues:
- Argon: gift of Orcus to the Orcs
- Chondathan (like Spanish): evolution of Damaran in the state of Chondatha
- Damaran (like Latin): gift of Julius to Humans
- Draconic (like Farsi): gift of Bahamut to the Drabonborn and Lizardfolk
- Dwarven (like Old Norse): gift of Aule to the Dwarves
- Elven (like Greek): gift of Yggdrasil to the High Elves, spread to all fey races
- Giant (like Danish): evolution of Dwarven passed to the Goliaths and Giants
- Goblin: mixture of Damaran and Dwarven invented by Goblins
- Netherese: gift of the Raven Queen to the Kenku and Shadar-Kai
- Orcish: gift of Orcus to the Orcs
- Primordial: spoken by elementals like Genasi and Archons
- Quori (like Archaic Egyptian): gift of Anubis to the Rakshasa Eladrin
- Shou: gift of Pangu to the Halflings, evolved into one language spoken by the Halflings (like Mandarin) and another spoken by the Gnomes (like Cantonese), both still called Shou
- Supernal: original tongue from which all others derive, spoken only by certain scholars, divine beings and dragons
- Untheric (like TES Dragon Tongue): mixture and evolution of Quori and Dwarven, spoken by Kalashtar, in addition to their native language of the mind
Gaia is home to two broad groups of wild creatures: Natural and Fey. The former were created long before the Cambrian Era by the goddess Melora while the latter were also created before history by the god Yggdrasil. No one knows which came first – whether an owlbear is a fusion of a bear and an owl, or an owl and bear are partial copies of an owlbear. Regardless, these creatures are similar in mostly lacking the intelligence required for proper language, or at least showing no tendency to craft goods or unite as lasting communities.
The variety of natural species seems almost limitless with cats, dogs, rabbits, weasels, sheep, goats, moose, cows, bats, crows, doves, eagles, falcons, owls, geese, swans, bears, lions, tigers, wolves, foxes, snakes, gekkos, iguanas, skinks, turtles, scorpions, spiders, bees, ants, mantises, flies, mammoths, and raptors, with various subspecies of these natural forms of life. In addition to these more mundane creatures: species of saurid (dinosaurs) inhabit the western half of Pandraia, giant dune worms and scorpions live in the Badlands, and huge lizards live in the swamplands in northeastern Xen. These are all considered children of Melora.
[Notably, there are no natural creatures like mosquitoes or tapeworms. F**k mosquitoes]
Fey beasts are not nearly as diverse as natural beasts and some species are presently limited to a region of Pandraia known as the Feywild. Among such majestic creatures are owlbear, direwolf, roc, phoenix and basilisk. These are much more dangerous than natural beasts and certainly not to be trifled with by the average person.
Although taxonomists do not consider any other creatures to be part of the world’s wildlife, regular folk will often consider monsters, dragons, oceanids and Titans as wild animals.
Every time someone loses his village to a monster attack, he curses Echidna, the Mother of All Monsters. A horrid Daedra, Echidna is known for giving birth to every species of terrible beast roaming Gaia. Dragons are shrouded in mystery. While chromatic dragons, wyrms and sky dragons are no less hated for their attacks on innocent people, drakes have been tamed as mounts around the world, most notably by the merchants of the Hejaz Republic. Oceanids are said to be the corrupted children of Thalassa’s son, Poseidon. They vary considerably from krakens to leviathans but all are feared by sailors traveling the Panthalassic Sea.
Titans are arguably the most feared of all “wild” creatures. Ranging between 240 and 9,000 ft tall, Titans are said in legend to be the “stillborn of the gods”. For most travelers, a Titan is a natural obstacle, like a river or a mountain. They are so large and powerful that it is inconceivable for most people to even confront them. The smaller ones are, however, possible targets for a more enterprising adventuring party and can be taken down in a similar fashion to their smaller counterparts, the giants. Goliaths and giants are loathe to avoid comparisons with those wild Titans simply on account of their great size.