10 Things You Need to Know About Suwarnabumi

The An Oath Against the Shadows campaign chronicles the events of four Vamachara hunters who travel the far reaches of the Suwarnabumi archipelago. Along the way, they save innocent people, uncover forgotten secrets and fight supernatural creatures like ghosts, vampires and various evil spirits.

1. Melting pot of different cultures

Suwarnabumi has long been a melting pot of a wide range of cultures. Societies here are multi-ethnic. Nowehere else can one find so many different races and cultures calling Suwarnabumi home. Besides the majority Kedayuh, other racial groups include the Hao, Kaliyatran, Ebon, Langanese, Phuong and dozens of aboriginal communities. But even through people of different cultures, races, and religions live side by side, they sometimes live separately in their own worlds.

2. Southeast Asian mythology

Suwarnabumi is set against the backdrop of Southeast Asian culture and mythology. It is a dark fantasy setting where there is no clear good or evil, where shapeshifters, vampires and demons pose as humans and live human lives. Some people might not even be aware of their supernatural origin. When such a being reaches puberty, a few of these unfortunate souls turn into ravanging, hungry ghosts that lust for blood or flesh to sustain their supernatural existence.

3. Most of the mainland is unsettled

Most nations in the Suwarnabumi archipelago are either maritime states or agrarian kingdoms. They have little to no control of the mainland, often left in the hands of the indigenous population, whoever those might be. Roughly one-third of the islands in the archipelago are inhabited.

4. Kerisblade

The kerisblade or krisblade is a sacred heirloom. In Suwarnabumi, a man is not considered a man until he has a kerisblade. A true kerisblade is constructed entirely for supernatural and spiritual purposes. The creation of this knife is a long and complicated ritual which involves the blending of metal with supernatural ingredients and invoking of a powerful spirit into the blade. After the kerisblade has been created, the spirit of the blade has to be continually fed, so it gradually grows more powerful.

5. Hot, humid rainforests

The archipelago] is hot, humid rainforests and numerous islands both inhabited and uninhabited. The archipelogo consists of a large group of over 10,000 islands scattered over the Kaliyatra Ocean. The five main islands include; Bakasura, Langa, Panau, Shimah and Vanamala. Generally, there are only two main seasons in Suwarnabumi, the wet and dry season. Average temperature is between 20 to 30 °C.

6. Religious tolerance

Religion is important in the archipelago, and there are many different ones too. Some people venerate the spirits of the natural world, while others pray to higher beings for protection or guidance. Some turn to holy men and women for salvation, and a few even worship nonhumans as gods. People tend to pick and choose what they like from the various beliefs, and it is not uncommon for worshippers of Tahamatan to pray in front of a Nagaist shrine. A holy place, is a holy place. Ancestor worship and animism is as commonplace as the three established religions of Thalathanism, Nagaism and Veraism.

7. Reincarnation

Reincarnation is a strong core concept in Suwarnabumi religious traditions. The root cause of rebirth is the desire to enjoy world pleasues, which can only be enjoyed through a body. The majority of the religions in the archipelago denies the existence of a permanent self or soul that reincarnates from one life to the next. According to the teachings of Veraism, deeds or karma determine whether someone is reborn into high or low status.

8. Magic comes at a cost

Supernatural powers are either hereditary or obtained through devotion. Hereditary magicians are often shamans or medicine-men who recieve their knowledge and powers from a family member or successor. Initiated magicians are let into their role through hard work, studying and personal sacrifice. The use of supernatural powers is addictive.

9. Superstition

The people of Suwarnabumi are very supersitious. They believe that all things have a soul or spirit, including inanimate objects and places. People make offerings when passing by a shrine or holy place and they pray silently when walking through the rainforest in order not to upset the spirits.

10. Monsters are rare

Supernatural creatures live in the most isolated islands or remote mountains and rainforests. Ordinary people rarely survive an encounter with a monster.

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