Friday, October 1, 2010

Inscrutable Yian

The people of Yian are considered a mysterious and alien presence in the City, and the New World in general. Much of this prejudice and fear is borne of misunderstanding. Still, the stereotypes are accurate in one respect--the Yianese are an ancient people with ancient secrets.

The misunderstanding of Yian begins with its name. This empire of the ancient East is not actually called Yian in its own tongue.  Yian is actually the name of the mystical and secluded city only sometimes accessible on this plane, where the dread (and perhaps inhuman) rulers of the country dwell. These are the Ku’en-Yuinn, “the Deathless,” undying sorcerers thought to be lich lords surviving from prehistoric Lemuria.  Most feared of all is the August Personage of the Black Jade Mask, the one whom Westerners call the Emperor of Yian. 

The common folk of Yian are humans like any other who, despite the stereotypes in the West, are not “yellow-skinned.” The high folk of the City of Yian do indeed have skin-tones ranging from lemon to saffron. These folk also tend to be tall, whereas the common Yianese are shorter than most westerners. Also, the high folk of the purest ancient bloodlines often have a slight inhuman, sometimes even bestial, cast to their features.

The common folk of Yian began immigrating to the New World in the last century, looking for economic opportunity and freedom from the yolk of the often oppressive rule of the Deathless lords and the high folk. They have unfortunately met with distrust and oppression from the Ealderdish majority in the New World, too. Despite this, large and thriving “Yiantowns” have grown up in the City, and the metropolises of Hesperia.

The high folk of Yian seldom immigrate. When they are found outside of their native land, it is almost always a single individual encountered. Yianese criminal societies and occult groups are often run by such expatriates, though of course seldom publicly. There is some truth to the pulp novel image of the sinister and secretive Yianese crime lord, but its regrettable that all Yianese suffer for the actions of an ancient and often wicked few.


Anonymous said...

Excellent. The sinister oriental villain is such a staple of the pulps. Does the city have it version of opium dens?

And what about the debased Tcho-tcho of the Lovecraftian mythos? Do they have an echo is the world of the city?

Word verification: chful, the narcotic incense used by high folk of Yian.

Welcome to Dungeon! said...

I once used that picture of Ming for a PC, "Xaxxon," the Githzerai wizard.

Trey said...

@seaofstarsrpg - There are indeed opium dens in the City, though there are also more exotic intoxicants as well. Opium is, of course, technically illegal.

I'm sure the Tcho-Tcho will raise their dwarfish heads. I know, there's a Plateau of Leng in the world of the City.

@Cole - Githzerai wizard? That's an angle I'd not thought of, but now that you mention it, I like it! The pic above is actually a Kirby rendition of the Yellow Claw.

Welcome to Dungeon! said...

@Trey. You're right...I got that mixed up since I found it making an image-search for Ming.