Habadad today is nothing. A single small island, barely half the size of the New Provinces and only twice as interesting. It’s significant only as a Unified Front Naval waystation for the ships of the line out in that quarter of the Mother Countries, and is seen as a punishment-posting by most of the Army of Diamonds. Habadad’s glory ended in 321, when she lost her war against the Diamond Isle and suffered the fate of all our opponents.
So much ridiculous half-truth about Old Habadad has been promulgated since its destruction in 321 that even otherwise well-informed scholars at times show their irrational sides whenever it appears as a topic of conversation.
Old Habadad’s place in Living Memory is an unusual one: while many firsthand impressions contemporaneous with Old Habadad have been preserved in either Undying or eiodolon stone, surviving information about that corner of the Mother Countries, 250-321, are few and far between. However, proper study of both what Living Memory recordings do exist, and of the more prosaic and fallible physical evidence, permits the drawing of a number of conclusions.
First, Old Habadad was the dominant power in the Mother Countries from approximately -700 until the arrival of the giants. They possessed a sophisticated and cosmopolitan culture that spanned the entire Mother Countries. Their numerous colonies once occupied multiple sites on the Diamond Isle and participated in an elaborate trade network that spanned the entirety of the known world.
Second, Old Habadad was a magically backwards culture, ruled not by Undying wielders of eldritch fire, as is proper, but by some self-perpetuating oligarchy which in theory required the consent of its subjects to rule. Their magic was not tied to the Dark wells of power at all, but rather drew either from the less-potent power of Nature-Magic or the decentralized might of the runes.
Third, they were despite their magical retardation an extremely spiritual and superstitious people. The Cult of the Million Gods originated in Old Habadad, but competed with several other religious pseudorational belief systems of which little has survived. Much of Habadad’s capital city Gold-is-Gold was dedicated to religious buildings, including numerous temples, seminaries, monasteries, and cathedrals. While the Avenue of Gods and other temple districts comprise perhaps one percent of Ka-Rone, in Gold-is-Gold the percentage was closer to eighteen.
Fourth, again despite their magical retardation, Old Habadad enjoyed a highly advanced level of sophistication in their use of the limited spells at their disposal. Surviving evidence suggests that by some process they were able to generate vast numbers of minor magical items, many of which served no purpose beyond improving quality-of-life. This implies either a level of wealth quite beyond the means of the Mother Countries or else a remarkable and irrational cultural priorization towards trivial matters.
Ol-Rasta, the Silver Marquise and current sponsor of the ART, once said that “if a tenth of the wonders of Old Habadad had existed and been deployed against the Diamond Isle, the Council of War would have been pulverized by 314. If a fifth of the wonders of Old Habadad had existed and been deployed against the Diamond Isle, the war would have ended before it began. If half the wonders of Old Habadad had existed and been deployed against the Diamond Isle, the Diamond Isle would have sunk back into the Sea of Creation. If all the wonders of Old Habadad had really existed and been deployed against the Diamond Isle, we’d have never even noticed when they destroyed us.”
SEE ALSO: the Council of War, the New Provinces, the Unified Front Navy