Although Gloria Victis is highly focused on skill-based combat and great PVP experience, immersion and credibility of its world are crucial as well. That entails a need for complex, believable lore, as well as a deep and mature storyline. Characters that the players will meet have their own personalities, stories to tell, personal beliefs and value systems. While some eager patriots and dedicated defenders of the weak can be found among them, most of the people just struggle to make it through another day and handle the burdens of everyday life.
As the world has been set in the Middle Ages, a time when the legends were born and a tale about a man could have more meaning than his life, all of the playable nations in Gloria Victis have been based on real powers of medieval Europe and Middle East. Our inspirations were the four main cultures of that era: the kingdoms of Christian Europe, Scandinavian and Icelandic Vikings, Arabic tribes and the Byzantine Empire. The Midlanders, Ismirs, Azebs and Sangarians have their own rich history, traditions and belief systems. Let’s say a word or two about each of them.
Midland is the common name for the kingdoms of Logres and Wenedia, two nations united by the cult of the Forefather and his son Geliand of Hillead. The lands in Midland are varied ? from the primeval Eagle Woods in Wenedia, through massive and dangerous Eagle Mountains dividing the two kingdoms, to the green hills and valleys of Aquilla. Logrean architecture is based on the style of High Medieval nations of Western Europe, with wood and grey stone as the main building materials. Echoes of the last Azebian invasion and Ismirean raids are still visible in the ruined structures that can be found at every step.
The political system of Midland is a mix of feudalism and patriarchy. According to Geliand, the Great Lord’s will, since the beginning of time, a Pontiff ruled over the spirit, making a monarch responsible for polity and other formal duties. However, Midland has been divided long ago into two separate realms: western – Logres, and eastern – Wenedia, both ruled by independent kings.
The Azebs are one of the many nations inhabiting the sun-scorched South. The people born among the unwelcoming sands are of slight stature but great agility and hardiness, they're as well characterized by an unquenchable will to survive.
They worship the Greatfather - the Maker of Men, synonymous in essence with the Midlandic Forefather. However, they denounce the sanctity of Geliand, ascribing greater significance to the Scrolls of Vali, composed by an ancient sage known also as Al-Walik. Azebian culture is deeply rooted in the tradition of the Scrolls of Vali, which helped the nation cast off the yoke of Sangmar and guided them through a series of unparalleled conquests. This is how the Zenith Empire came to be, a magnificent realm on which the sun never sets. It is ruled by a khagan who commands god-like reverence from his subjects.
Frosty and rocky Nordheim is the home of Ismirs – properly: Ysmirs – who are also in control of Styrborg, a dukedom with capital in Styrhale. Formally the dukedom is dependent on Logres but in fact remains free, choosing one side or the other in countless arguments and affairs. Just like the Midlanders, Ismirs pray to the Greatfather, however they consider their form “pure”, for it rejects all pontiffs and lectors’ dogmas. They do not praise Geliand, but consider him a prophet. They do, however, believe that their gods – the Forefather, the Foremother, their countless scions and other heavenly home-dwellers are similar to Ismirs. In the Ismirean culture chants play a very important role – not only they serve as entertainment, but also allow for brave warriors to be completely focused on combat. Ismirs also use them to keep stories of past times and great heroes alive.
Ismirs are famous for their fearless hearts – and that is why the Logrean royal guard consists only of Ismirean mercenaries. While serving the kings, they took part in many crusades against the Azebs where they earned their name of the unbent and unstoppable. Well-known are the songs of guards so honorable that they would rather die than let the enemy reach royal chambers; tales of warriors without fear, with their will so relentless that they spit in the face of Death itself, even with their axes broken and standing knee deep in their own blood.
There is a lot to say about what Sangmar was once. It was, truly, a mix of many diverse cultures from all over the world; home of the greatest philosophers, inventors and artists; an empire so great and vast it was beyond bounds of a common man’s imagination. All this greatness has fallen like a colossus with legs of clay with the rise of the Azebs who, like a violent storm swept all that stood in its path south. Sangarians, vainly awaiting the Midland’s aid – were forced to sheathe their weapons.
Basileus of Sangmar kneeled before the Azebian khagan, kissed the scrolls of truth – and saved his nation’s riches. Walls of Baalhammon, the only city left to Sangarians – are dripping with gold, people’s clothes amaze with opulence, and market stalls are full of wonderful goods that no northern merchant ever dreamt of; they can still worship their gods – the violent, forgotten powers of ancient times. However, the only thing Sangarians cannot buy is freedom.
All of the nations have been clashing for ages in merciless battles and never-ending conflicts. To understand why, one needs understand their religions. Midlanders believe that the Forefather, the Mountain King and Ruler of the Kings, also known as the Lord of a Secret Name, awakened a world singing the First Song – Song of the Names. As the holy scrolls say: Within it the Forefather included the secret names of all things, so they would never forget what they really are. But there was one powerful entity that did not receive its secret name, entity older than the time itself. When the Forefather came down from his throne and divided the light from darkness and fire from ice, his Heralds asked the Unnamed One to finally banish the primeval Beasts, which were ruling the world before the humans have been given their power over all of the living.
He did what he was asked for, but not without a sacrifice; since then he is known as the One-eyed or Chort. He led the defeated Beasts to the Abyss, the dominion of the dead, of which he became the guardian. But he took his revenge: he tricked a human to open the Abyss and release the Beasts, so the dead were feasting on the living. It was the First Betrayal of Humans, and it was told by the prophets that when the third one happens, the Forefather will come down from his throne again to start the Last Battle and it will be the end of time.
Very little is known about the Second Betrayal but when all of the men stood to fight against the dead, released by the One-eyed, the Azebs fled from the battlefield. Since then Midlanders continuously organize crusades agains them side by side with Ismirs. The latter call the Azebs and Chortmir – One-eyed in Ismirean beliefs – as the greatest enemy of Gautyr, king of the Northern gods. Both Ismirs and Midlanders believe that defection of the Azebs was the Third Betrayal of Humans and if no one punishes them for it, the Forefather will start the Last Battle.
On the other hand the Azebs broke the Sangarian chains after the ages of slavery, and now follow strictly the Scrolls of Vali, especially in terms of fighting the infidels. Currently the Empire continues its expansion to the North, with Khagan Temmur waging the first Holy War against Midlanders and Ismirs. They have conquered Sangmar as well, forcing the Basileus to escape and seek protection in Logres. The situation is favorable for the Azebs, as the Ismirean Black Guard abandoned Karleon, capital city of Logres, after the Walter’s Levelling – Logrean king Walter ordered the royal forces to slay every Ismir living in the city of Tenebrok. Since then the relations between Midland and Styrborg got tense. It had a huge impact on the power of Midland – Ismirs, driven with the lust for revenge, are constantly biting and scratching Logrean borders, weakening the kingdom already devastated by wars against the Azebs.
Deep and mature lore of Gloria Victis creates a lot of space for the role-players and the storyline explorers. At the same time it doesn’t negate the sandbox character and freedom of the game, as the quests will be mostly non-linear and not obligatory, however, very important in terms of learning more about the world and people living in it, as they will touch mature subjects like faith, morality and the essence of humanity. Players will be able to not only find out the history but also to create it – to fully role-play their characters in a living, believable world.