The concept of “the Beyond,” and of “Beyonders,” is a relic of Larassan Imperial power in this region of the world. Throughout its imperial phase, Larassa held itself to be the political and cultural center of the world, the benchmark against which all other nations must be compared. This conceit was incredibly pervasive amongst the upper crust of Larassan society, and such had a large impact on various policies and eccentricities of the Empire. One such was the use of the word “Beyond” as a blanket term for any and all cultures or nations that did not live up Larassan standards. And given Larassan arrogance at the time, the only exceptions to the term beyond were the cultures native to Tulvus, who were too familiar to be cast in the Beyonder mold, and Vassalor, who were able to impress the Empire with their cutthroat, mercantile and ambitious culture.
Despite the decline of the Larassan Empire, the terminology has endured, mainly because most of the Beyonder nations are either too isolationist, too xenophobic, or too alien for the Tulveen peoples to grow comfortable with. That Heild, despite being the ascendant power on the continent has been more concerned with consolidating its hold over currently owned lands rather than exploring (read: conquering, and assimilating) far flung kingdoms.
On Tulvus, Beyonders are looked at in a manner similar to Vassalorians, except with the elements of exoticism and fear being exaggerated. Beyonders are generally held to be curiosities of the highest order, with obscene beliefs and practices to match. The common folk generally respond with cowed fascination and disgust, while the nobility alternatingly obsess over and shun them.
- Halitrad: A highly isolationist and tyrannical collection of city-states, Halitrad share their continent with the Vassalorians, and the Tevalkur, which has done much to enhance the nation’s paranoia. An incredibly controlled and stratified magocracy, Halitrad is ruled by a council of wizard-kings drawn from masters of each of the schools of arcane magic. Halitrad runs on slave labor kept in line through the magic of the Lexiri (Enchanter) caste, and has a lucrative partnership with both Larassan, Vassalorian, and Isilian slaving concerns. The people of Halitrad boast a bafflingly similar belief system to that of the Dragonborn of Tulva, though rather than worshipping the dragons as deicidal embodiments of nature’s wrath, the people of Halitrad see them as symbolic icons of arcane power. Despite the difference in philosophy and the great distance between the two cultures (neither of which have any record of contact prior to the Larassan discovery of Halitrad), both the dragonborn tribes and Halitrad share the Draconic tongue, and on the surface both nations’ religious practices are eerily similar.
- The Isilian Commonwealth: Consisting of a small archipelago not far from Vassalor, the Isilian Commonwealth at first glance seems to have much in common with Larassa. Both cultures are based around a strict divide between those with power and those without, both hate Heild and the Reaverkin, and both share similar interests in various trades. Despite having enough in common to make them natural allies, after the initial contact between the two nations the relationship has been cool at best. The reason for this is that the Isilians adhere to a philosophy they call Dlaco Versaf (The Path of Meat). A spiritual and philosophical belief system that pervades every level of Commonwealth society, Dlaco Versaf commands its adherents to achieve power and spiritual perfection through “domination of other’s flesh.” This tenet proclaims that one’s ability to exercise power over another’s body or meat, reducing an intelligent being to a tool, or economic unit. Dlaco Versaf has led to cannibalism and slavery, amongst other unsavory actions to become not just accepted but commended behaviors. Whatever its faults, Larassa has had no dealings with the Commonwealth after learning of its true nature. Heild has as one of its long term goals the eradication of the Isilian Commonwealth, as well as Dlaco Versaf. And the Vassalorians, as always, simply shrug and get on with business.
- Tevalkur: A strange society of nomadic tribes that inhabit portions of the Vassalorian continent, the Tevalkur have managed for centuries to avoid being ensnared in the schemes of Vassalor and its Changing Gods. They have achieved this through a surprisingly, and paradoxically studious and attentive worship of the concept of randomness, paradox, and truth. The Tevalkur are led by a disparate collection of holy men who refer to themselves as the Toosha Tav (Direct translation: Lying Children of Slaves. Simultaneously the worst insult amongst the tribes, and the most revered rank.) The philosophies of the Toosha Tav began as an act of rebellion against the Changing Gods, attempting to fend off manipulating and infiltration by abandoning the scheming, planning, rational part of the mind the Gods preyed upon. But over the course of generations of apparent success, what began as self-defense has become a path to enlightenment. The Tevalkur believe that by escaping the strictures of rationality, the mind’s need to impose order upon the universe, one can come to true understanding. Understandably, Vassalor has attempted repeatedly to wipe out the Tevalkur, only to be fought off through a combination of vicious guerilla tactics, bizarre divine magic, and the almost impossibly effective guidance of the Toosha Tav.
- The Dreaming-Kind: The inhabitants of a series of ruined cities that occupy a group of three islands south of Vassalor, the Dreaming Kind are a race of slothful prophets and metaphysicians. The Dreamers are a peculiar people; from the neck down their bodies are those of humans, but their heads are universally overtaken by unsettlingly expressive, luminescent fungi. The symbiotic relationship between the fungi and the Dreaming Kind seems to be the source of their agelessness, laziness, and unparalleled ability to see through time and space as they are reckoned. Numbering about four thousand in total, the Dreaming Kind spend almost all of their time lying around their once magnificent cities, which are now overgrown with plantlife and slowly crumbling to ruins. The Dreaming Kind do not seem to have a need to eat, sleep or even breath; they simply rest eternally and discuss and observe reality through their unique sense, a race of cosmic voyeurs. Despite many attempts, none have been able to get the Dreaming Kind to exercise their abilities on their behalf; the creatures simply ignore most individuals who seek them out. But interestingly, there have been exceptions, who were both recognized by the Dreaming Kind and allowed to ask questions, favors, and even exertion from the strange prophet-people.