A Glimpse of Our World, Part 1: Pyrrhenia
Many centuries ago, the city states of Pyrrhenia ruled over a massive empire. Their settlers had colonized new shores all along the coast, and their ships had even crossed the ocean to find a strange new world in the west, of which now only memories remain. In the years before the Great Cataclysm, however, Pyrrhenia had been a subject of the Kingdom of Cormac, the zenith of its power long past and now a mere shadow of its former glory.
But in the chaos of the Great Cataclysm, the Pyrrhenian cities declared independence and became free once more. Pyrrhenian lands were largely spared by the catastrophe, and the newly autonomous city states became the centers of a Pyrrhenian renaissance, foremost of all the city of Villenia.
Even though on paper the Pyrrhenian Empire has been restored, with an emperor and a senate made up of representatives of each city state seated in the ancient capital of Tregara, in truth the city states act as independent entities and are in fierce competition with each other.
In Realms Beyond, the player will visit the city state of Villenia, heart of the Pyrrhenian rebirth, where – as High Oracle Andraste told us above – everything conforms to the divine order of the cosmos.
The society of Villenia is divided into three distinct social classes: the craftsmen, the seafarers, and the soldiers. This division is reflected in Villenia’s government, as it is not ruled by a single entity, but by three so-called Tutharchs who each rule over their respective social class. The Tutharch of craftsmen inherits his position from his predecessor; the Tutharch of soldiers is elected by his subjects; and the Tutharch of the seafarers is determined by a contest of wits, skill, and physical fitness.
In the eyes of every proud Villenian, this system embodies the divine order of the cosmos, where every man and woman is at the place the gods have decreed for them. But some voices of criticism can also be heard, claiming the lack of social mobility between the three classes is unfair… but such voices speak folly, as what could be more just than the order decreed by the gods?
In Pyrrhenia, you will find many ruined temples and palaces in the wilderness, the remains of settlements abandoned centuries ago. During the Cormacian occupation, many old monuments fell into disrepair. Now they serve as hideouts for bandits and sinister cults operating in secret, far from the prying eyes of the populated cities. Artifacts of Pyrrhenia’s glory days can still be found in some of the ruins and fetch a high price in the newly independent city states, where the people adore their ancient culture.
In the cities, you will find many well-maintained temples where priests and priestesses hold regular service to the gods. Marble floors, pillars, and plenty of statues decorate these sacred places. Similar to the temples is the architecture of the palaces of nobles and rich merchants: roofs supported by pillars, statues of the resident’s ancestors, beautiful murals on the walls.
When you visit the great city of Villenia, you will be able to experience Pyrrhenian culture at its greatest. You can go to the theater and watch skilled actors play out ancient dramas written by Pyrrhenia’s greatest poets. You can visit one of the many taverns and watch girls dressed in gowns of flowing silk dance to the tune of the lute as you drink a cup of mulled wine. Or you can relax in one of the city’s public bathhouses, where the water is kept warm by an elaborate system of pipes beneath the floor.
As an adventurer, many opportunities await you in the realm of Pyrrhenia. Explore ancient ruins from a legendary past in the hopes of finding artifacts that once belonged to mythic heroes. Assist intrepid explorers and merchants in their dangerous journeys across sea and land. And finally, spend your hard-earned coin on the luxuries offered by glorious Villenia, heart of the Pyrrhenian rebirth!