Durgan

Pronunciation: DUR-gun
Name of the people: Durganite (sing.) / Durganites (pl.)

Durgan is a planet of small continents and archipelagos with a temperate climate and warm oceans. It is here that men and women take up the ancient art of the sword in its various forms and are often acclaimed as masters of melee combat. Along with their martial prowess they are a studious people rich in philosophy, and tend to study one of the eight Virtues at the respective temple (loyalty, honour, valour, truth, justice, faith, charity and mercy) and thereafter strive to apply its ethos to daily life. Each type of sword is associated with one of the Virtues – the rapier for honour, the double-handed sword for valour, etc. This is not to say that in order to study a particular style of swordsmanship one must study the associated virtue, though it’s seldom that one will go without the other.

Before colonisation scientists studied the planet from afar to ensure viability as a long-term habitat. As soon as scans revealed a habitable climate, atmosphere and the presence of water, it was a simple case of landing and exploring the surface, with the first landfall taking place in 4889. The initial settlement was Swanpool, but this was quickly superseded by the city of Harpthorne, which would become the planet’s capital. The tall, lean buildings and lighthouses that guard Harpthorne’s harbour paint a picture of peace, despite the hustle and bustle of the city below.

Heading the colonisation of Durgan was John Ivanhoe, a man known for his studies of various ancient martial sword techniques. Naturally, many that followed him held similar interests, and once the colony was fully established he set up the Temple of the Sword that, in time, would become the Temple of Truth in Harpthone – now one of eight separate Temples of the Sword, each dedicated to a Virtue. He would not live to see how influential and widespread his Way of Virtue would become. Those wishing to study the Virtues enrol in the Temples, and each year’s group of graduates are the focus of the annual Festival of the Forging, a ceremony for those leaving a Temple after completing their studies. This festival lasts for a week, and marks the point at which the student becomes a master of their chosen art, forging their own sword and proving it in combat with one of their teachers. This proving is more ceremonial than a true test of mettle, and is often just an exchange of a few blows before the student is considered to be proven. This tradition was instituted by Ivanhoe, and is sometimes referred to as the Founder’s Festival in his memory.

The many seas of Durgan are littered with ocean-going vessels of all types and the oceans yield a bountiful supply of all manner of fish. Many Durganites find employment as shipwrights, fishermen, farmers, and merchants who cross the oceans on trade runs. It is not only the merchants and fishermen who spend so much time on the oceans. Those undertaking a traditional Durganite pastime of sailing and rowing exercise their rights to practice on open waters for future events. These sports that train the body and endorse teamwork and unity are held in high regard and seen as important factors by the populace, and by the Temples that sponsor them. As a result, boat racing on the coasts and in the seas are celebrated events that have become frequent since the days of settlement.

The military of Durgan are easily identifiable as they often carry a sword as part of their basic kit. To allow for effective use of melee weapons in the field most regiments from Durgan take the form of light infantry units, designed for quick movement and flexibility in battle, able to switch between ranged and melee combat with ease. 


Inspiration for characterisation: Cornwall, Yorkshire, Scottish islands, abbeys and ancient places of learning, knights, chivalry, the age of Romance, sea-faring nations.

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