Geography - Mindeforme
“Mindeforme is an ivory tower in a sea of filth. History will always wonder how so many advances in learning and magic grew out of such a cesspit of corruption.” ~ Jothan Blackkard, Gazetteer

Between Genmide in the north and Taunuan to the south lies Mindeforme. The land split between steppes and wetlands that make the interior of the nation inhospitable to large communities, favoring instead loose confederations of farms built on stilts and serviced by boats and rafts. The major cities are constructed on the more solid steppes that make up the northern and western parts of the nation or the rocky, cave dotted east coast.

And uninhabited land is left that was for a reason; quicksand, mudslides and sinkholes creating constant and deadly hazards.

Much of Mindeforme was untamed wilderness, occasionally interrupted by a road or two, and home only to ogres, gnolls and the occasional mad hermit until the War of Ascension ended and it was first inundated with emancipated minotaurs, driven from their Genmidi homeland by humans and dwarves and hailene refugees, escaping the god wrought destruction of Illium.

The minotaurs bent their martial might to carving out communities and farmsteads in the wetlands from the ogre tribes local to the region. At the same time, the hailene formed tribal societies on the steppes, bringing their wartime xenophobia to the mainland.

With the promise of new lands tamed by the efforts of the hailene and the minotaurs, brave souls from the rest of the crumbling Empire were also drawn to Mindeforme, seeking to make their own fortunes. With the help of some of the most potent magical minds of the age, these groups too managed to thrive and create their own kingdoms.

But the lands, such as they were, were only capable of supporting so many, and in short order, the kingdoms and the tribes and the farmsteads found themselves locked in a constant cycle of wars, alliances and assassinations. Tactically minded mages soon found themselves at the top of the most successful, if still tenuous factions and used their power to escalate it.

So began the Age of Tragedies.

For chaotic centuries, the wars continued and countless small villages were wiped out in the struggle, or when left defenseless against spirit beasts by their feudal lords. Finally, Matsura Nagakuri, heiress to one of the more powerful lords and known as the Sword Princess, traveled to the Library at Siram Legate and found the names of the two surviving elven mages who once ruled large portions of Mindeforme for nearly two centuries of relative peace and convinced them to return.

Backed by mages from Te’ran and warrior-poets from the Bardic College of Harpsfell, the elves of Vini Tresolm, Toli Runeshard and Largo Foresight took back their thrones and set up the modern mageocracy of Mindeforme.

Today, Mindeforme is a highly urbanized area, rife with magic. Unfortunately, the current rulers in the Tower of Arcana have been supremely irresponsible, not only turning a blind eye to law and order, but improperly disposing of failed experiments, therefore giving birth to horrors even worse than spirit beasts. Because of this lax leadership, Mindeforme is one of the most dangerous places on Ere, save the Ashed Lands.

Human natives of Mindeforme are generally strong of body and weak of moral fiber, having grown up in harsh inner cities, or having spent their lives cleaning up the messes left by the mages. They are a tall and muscular people, sporting fair hair and green eyes.

All Formeans are jaded individuals, fully aware of their government’s lack of cohesion, but unable and unwilling to fight and give up the material comfort provided by this disparity.

The mages of Mindeforme hold Dey in high regard as a goddess of duty, believing that the deity smiles upon their diligence in their chosen fields. A much smaller group of casters secretly worship Kayda, hoping to glean the secrets of Kaydan Demons.

Common folk in Mindeforme are partial to the entire Greater Pantheon, with few being particularly adamant about a given deity. An increasing number of dragon cultists have come to Mindeforme in the past few years following rumors of draconic involvement during the Age of Tragedies.

Such as it is, Mindeforme’s economy is quite weak. Its primary exports of rice, sugar and clay are over shadowed by the mammoth influx of foreign trade goods into the market. This has led to a large scale ceramics industry as failed clay producers try to recoup their losses.

There was a time that magic items drew a terrific price in Mindeforme, but the rise of Trestrolm Norry’s spellcrafting franchises has crippled this business as well.

Mindeforme is ruled by the Senior staff of the Tower of Arcana, a research institute with deep connections to the Academy of Arcane Arts in Te’ran, and the Historical Guild of Kinos. The current heads of the facility are less concerned with the well being of their people and more concerned with carrying out their research unfettered.

To this end, policy is decided mostly on the merits of what effect it will have on the Tower. Funding for civil services, defense and increasingly important sanitation services are routinely cut to increase research funding. Mindeforme is on good terms with most other nations, thanks to free trade agreements and very low tariffs.

Out of sight and largely out of mind for the Tower of Arcana, the villages and towns far from major cities still maintain the old feudal system, with local lords living largely on the backs of the peasant class that works the crops and dredges for clay in the cloying marshes. These lords war constantly with one another for territory with little interference from the national government.

Organizations and Individuals of Note

The Emerald Sanctum
The collective name of the senior staff of the Tower of Arcana in Ma’tang as well as the assembly hall they meet in. The Sanctum is headed by the Dean of the Tower, who is elected by the Sanctum into a life long position. Below the Dean are his three advisors, holding the offices of Keeper of Tomes, Keeper of Arts and Sorcerous Raven.

The current Dean of the Tower is Erik Storm, a human wizard of great power. Like his predecessors, Storm is more concerned with the advancement of the institute than the matter of state.

Those matters fall to Sorcerous Raven, Livia Westerwood, a half elf descendants from one of the first mage-lord. As Sorcerous Raven, she is the voice of the school and thanks to Storm’s lax leadership of the nation, de facto steward of Mindeforme. Under her leadership, some effort to right the wrongs of past Deans has been made, including a push toward using more safe, albeit expensive means of containing and disposing of experiments rather than using the dumping grounds on the border with Genmide that routinely give birth to eldritch abominations or transform local wildlife into something worse.

Westerwood is constantly pitted against her fellows in her attempts to do what is right and has on many occasions been known to use adventurers as cat’s-paws to get things done.

Librarians of Siram Leggate
The Library at Siram Leggate is an autonomous organization dedicated to the acquisition of information. It is governed by a highly regimented structure of command among its Librarians, a core group of men and women who have a deep seated devotion to the concepts of learning and the written language.

The Librarians as a group prefer books over people and care little for the good of the people as long as the people are still able to read, write and above all value the written word. They are staunch activists in promoting literacy and brutal opponents of any they feel re promoting ignorance.

But the Librarians aren’t zealous fools, they keep the most powerful knowledge to themselves; hoarding rare books and artifacts and selling the information to the highest bidder. Recently, they’ve also begun a program for people they refer to as ‘biographers’; spies loosed throughout the world to consolidate information – both public and private on powerful figures.

As no one knows who the biographers have already learned of, no power players have attempted to move against the program yet. But as information of specific people goes up for sale… a confrontation may be inevitable.

The Library itself, the largest in the world, is a thirty story hulk, two city blocks wide, made of magically petrified wood, residing on the border with Taunuan, from the wreckage of a mammoth hailene airship from the War of Ascension. The former forecastle and rails of the ship have been covered over by warp wood and shape stone spells. A stone paved plaza, where the flags of the Twelve Nations (ignoring Mon Sulus Kime) are hung in a circle.

Inside, the hailene vessel has been gutted and new floors laid down, stone lifts, enchanted with levitate spells to carry patrons between floors. Information desks exist on each floor and guards are posted to each set of stacks. Fireguards, armed with magical means of suppressing flame, patrol the floors periodically.

Major Settlements
Ma’tang (Large City)
Ma’tang is the capitol city of Minde Forme, built in a formerly serene valley. The Crystal City no longer lives up to its name, the once crystal peaked wizardry towers given over to foundries and stone mills, churning out the components for magic item construction.

The hills that once formed the valley have been strip mined to mudflats for stone to build more buildings. The city is now a maddening labyrinth of stone walls and blind alleys known only by natives.

Crime is a constant problem, especially with a decree by the previous Dean of the Emerald Sanctum that all youngsters must be given rudimentary arcane study as part of their schooling. A small army of unemployed youths, armed with cantrips has made Ma’tang’s crime problem that much worse.

Siram Leggate (Large Town)
The steady stream of scholars and adventurers that have flocked to the Library since the Age of Tragedies encouraged the growth of a sizable waterfront town around it. The accommodations at inns in Siram Leggate are rarely better than ‘good’, but despite its size, the town is a close and friendly place.

The Librarians have been given control of the town by the Tower Arcana, but take little interest, letting public matters fall to a community-elected marshal (currently Simon Taang, a former human mercenary).

Siram Leggate has a pact dating back some three hundred years with the copper dragon Namumec for his aid in protection of the city in exchange for a lair (an oversized and operational clock-tower to the south of town) and that the town pay for his charges at the Library.

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition © Wizards of the Coast
World of Ere and related original content © Landon Porter