Myros - Cultures (Nur)
When the old empire disintegrated, it balkanized into various city-states. The Ancient Nuric Province of Xalix is the only province that was to retain its identity as part of the empire, due in large part to the old empire’s capital city, Xalion, being within its boundaries.
The Nurites (as the denizens of Xalix still call themselves) believe that it is their divine destiny to reunite the old empire; to this end, they have sent emissaries to every other civilized region on the continent (except for the Dwarves of Oringard, who will not associate with humans, and the eladrin, who they cannot locate) and are embarking on wars of expansion to reclaim traditional Nuric lands now inhabited by humanoids, wild beasts and undead. As these wars draw closer to other city-states, however, diplomatic tensions over Nuric expansion will certainly increase.
Much knowledge was lost in the wars that led to the empire’s fall, and the current technology level of the Nurites can be loosely compared with Ancient Rome from our own history.
As the advancing hordes never reached the city of Xalix, certain aspects of Ancient Nuric architecture, history, art and government survived, and all are similarly Roman in flavor. The province is governed by a senate, elected by the people, which oversees the military through a consul appointed by the senate. The Draconic legal code of the Ancient Nurites has survived, and is rigorously enforced; it is a common belief that deviation from the empire’s founding laws was one of the causes of its collapse.
Militarily, the Nurites have developed above-average infantry tactics, rooted in its powerful legions. While it is important to note that the fighting ability of an individual legionnaire is much lower than a typical Clurgish Clansman, the legion has vastly superior numbers. In addition, the legion’s centurions and officers are trained in group tactical combat, so that many Nuric soldiers fight as one entity, a marked contrast with the individual combat favored in Clurgish warfare. At present, the legion only uses cavalry for skirmishing and rapid infantry deployment; they haven’t developed the shock cavalry used so extensively by the Atherites.
Not surprisingly, the Nuric Legion has been brutally effective against evil humanoids in the open field; unfortunately, the humanoids have learned from these battles, and will now only face the legion in rough terrain where the Nurites cannot maneuver as well as they. The result is an uneasy stalemate: the humanoids can no longer raid Xalix, but the Nurites lack the tactics to successfully conquer the untamed lands.
Nuric entertainments gravitate toward physical sports, and social status for both males and females is influenced by physical ability. The Nurites do have gladiatorial combats, although pains are taken to ensure that arena battles aren’t lethal, as they were in the days of the Old Empire.
Spiritually, the Nurites have an unusually high tolerance for all religions. They they typically believe that all gods exist, and that the more immortals one venerates, the better. They are so sensitive on this issue that, in addition to maintaining temples to all known human and demi-human gods and all Ancient Nuric gods, each Nuric temple contains a well-kept shrine dedicated to “The Immortal We Do Not Yet Know,” so that they might not offend immortals they haven’t yet discovered.
A final cultural distinction found among the Nurites is the practice of wearing masks while engaging in menial work. Working activities normally practiced by prominent families – politics, combat training, engaging in philosophy or meditation, supervising one’s servants, accounting, and scholarly, religious or arcane study are chief among them – are considered the tasks of the social elite, and so people performing such duties don’t wear masks. All other types of labor are considered ignoble, and no one wants to be seen doing such work in public, so masks are therefore worn. A strange consequence of this practice is that people are more easily recognized by their masks than by their actual faces, and to know someone’s mask and face equally well is a sign of great intimacy in Nuric culture.