Bastion and Beyond
Bastion is located within an enormous sandstone bowl approximately 3,000 m (1.86 miles) in diameter, and about a third as deep. Outside of the bastion, the edges of the bowl slope down gradually to meet with a seemingly endless, featureless desert.
Every night, a powerful sandstorm sweeps across the desert, seeming to appear from all sides at once and converging over Bastion. This has prevented successful exploration outside of Bastion, at least in living memory.
Lacking any water sources, good agricultural land, or many resources at all, Bastion’s economy is based on difficult farming, recycling precious mineral resources, and maintaining a magical water supply.
Population ~4,000; The lowest point of the Bastion. Centrally located, home of the magic users. The magic users are the wealthiest because they alone have the ability to summon water, a skill they have perfected over the eons (Bastion natives create double water with Create Water). This water is distributed by canals and pumps (some magical, some manual) all over the city. Most of the taxes paid by nonmagical folk go towards supporting these lifegiving folk and encouraging them to use all possible spell slots to create more water. Most spellcasters are content to learn basic magic and then retire to a life of ease, but some arcanists controversially seek to study and experiment with magic—which requires the use of valuable spell slots.
Population ~15,000; Around the basin lie the Slopes, where the curvature of the Bastion become noticeable. The mansions of the Basin abruptly transition into more humble abodes, shops, traders, and tradespeople. As the Bastion is totally isolated, many people’s trades center around recycling used goods and any and all salvageable material—for example, fixing up old farming tools for the Terrace or turning the paper of used scrolls into new parchment for the Basin can both bring lucrative incomes.
Population ~11,000; Where the gradient of the Bastion becomes extreme, sand and dust from the storm often whip against the sides, rapidly eroding all but the hardiest of structures. There are no ancient buildings on the Terraces, and the inhabitants are constantly reinforcing their homes and sandshields with scavenged or recycled materials. The Sandshields are diversely crafted to protect the crops grown on the terraces from the sand. Terrace-dwellers are hardy people who sustain the Bastion by providing food, yet are almost always doomed to lives of poverty and danger, and are looked down upon, particularly by the magic-users, who see them as brutish.
In the southwest are the Psuedowilds, a special area reserved for less domesticated flora and fauna. The Scar to the northeast; the result of a particularly devastating sandstorm. Most of the Sandforge sector is in the Terraces.
Bastion is an integrated city, though humans, with their shorter lifespans, have come to outnumber the other races. Relationships between races are amicable, and individuals tend to identify more with their trade or location in the city than with their race. Out of respect for Cormilious, who created distinct races, and out of familial tradition, naming conventions are generally based on race. Otherwise, however, any racial distinctions in culture are on a family-by-family basis.
- Humans are prevalent throughout Bastion.
- Elves are generally arcanists, divine worshipers, or traders, as their delicate bodies made hard Terrace word difficult. The harsh, dry Bastion weather means that few Elves survive past 250 years.
- Dwarves are fairly well-distributed. The dwarven family of Sandforge is the largest unified clan in Bastion, and monopolizes a good slice of the Terraces.
- The ingenious and hardy gnomes are well cut out for life on the terraces. Many also work as mechanics for residents of the basin or as inventors or entertainers on the slopes.
- Many halflings are traders or beastkeepers, but can be found in any sector of Bastion society.
- Almost all orcs and half-orcs reside in the terraces, making use of their enormous strength. They are generally looked down upon, even among other terrace-dwellers, and brutish and monstrous. One current exception is Noorgak, a half-orc entertainer who has gained Bastion-wide renown for his hilarity and knack for employing the most talented actors and bards.
Bastion is governed by the Bastion Council. While the only real force behind the Council is the Bastion Peacekeepers, in the isolated and resource-scarce world of Bastion, most people respect the Council out of necessity. Without the council, the distribution of water and maintenance of water-producing mages would be difficult, if not impossible.
Mythology and Religion
See Bastion Mythology.
While not everyone in Bastion is religious, most have some knowledge of the creation story in which Cormilious created Bastion and the sentient races within Ahti’s chaos. There are two churches in Bastion, the Church of Ahti and the Church of Cormilious.