Setting » Golden Circle » Sukho


Sukho is the collective name for a vast archipelago, the full extent of which is unknown. There are precious few things which truthfully be said of all the thousand islands of Sukho. Some are very nearly paradise - long white beaches abundant with fruit and fish. Some are hell on earth, volcano scourged wastelands populated only by those things tough enough and poisonous enough to survive. So diverse are the islands that some have even theorized that they encompass more than one shadow, connected by some sort of natural shadowpath. This kind of theory is hard to prove or disprove, as even something as simple as an accurate accounting of the islands of Sukho has so far proven impossible.

Some theorize that the archipelago covers the entirety of the world, with the part close to Amber representing little more than the tip of the iceberg. Some of these same scholars also suggest that it was not always so - ruins and hints of ancient civilization throughout Sukho point to the possibility that the current geography is the result of a dramatic, world-changing upheaval at some point in the past.


Sukho has no unifying government. Every now and again an ambitious warlord manages to put together an alliance of a few of the larger islands, but it never lasts. There are too many islands to conquer, and those that don't have doughty locals often have flora and fauna that make for more than enough of a challenge. A few of the larger islands have managed to sustain some sort of stable government, but it is usually informal. More sophisticated experiments have been tried from place to place, but none have endures.

The largest islands are the ones who have managed to become trade hubs for the other islands. These islands trade among themselves and with Amber.


There is a tendency to consider the people of Sukho a little more primitive than the rest of the Golden Circle, but those who spend time among them often discover that this land is very nearly a paradise, provided you don't explore too much, and that their priorities are perfectly reasonable given those bounds.

As an aside, very few people from Sukho (which simply means "the world" in a native tongue) self-identify as such. Most will introduce themselves based on their nation or tribe.


While Sukho's trading ships are greatly influenced by the shipwrights of Amber, Sukho is still primarily home of the single-man craft, usually either a kayak or catamaran. Technology is generally limited to hand tools, and what little industry can be found on the islands is generally imported by foreign interests, such as House Sorgo of Amber, who have large salt collection facilities. Despite this apparent primitive state, there are surprising areas of sophistication within the local cultures, especially in the areas of navigation and verbal memory (most lore is transmitted in an oral or tactile fashion - pen and paper see little use among the islands).


There is always a war somewhere in Sukho, be it two families or two nations, and that is something of a fact of life. There are also regular discoveries of resources, lost treasures and new crops for those brave enough to explore. There are occasional issues with raiders from Kitezh, Minos and elsewhere. The lack of political centralization has been both a boon and a problem in this regard - there is no unified body to take up issues of defense, but at the same time, the damage done by raiders has little impact beyond the immediate. Additionally, despite the naval disparity, the people of Sukho are far from helpless, and they have used their superior knowledge of local waters and dangers to turn the tables on more than one invader.

While individual islands may make gifts of kayaks or loan warriors to AMber as a sign of respect, there is little in the way of formal arrangement in this regard. Sukho simply does not maintain the kind of standing armies that allow such arrangements, and they find it a little crazy that others do.


Notable islands and such to be noted when I get back to my notes


Magic abounds in Sukho, albeit in small ways. Most islands have a local wyrd-worker, and there are legends aplenty of wizards and sages who have made their home in some isolated island or another.


Sukho is a potpurri of play options. There are literally a limitless number of islands available, and any one of them may have some unique threat, challenge or treasure waiting to be discovered. While the overall theme is polynesian, bear in mind that this is a broad category indeed. Anything from New Zealand to the Japan is fair game as inspiration.

Additionally, for all their idyllic veneer, Sukho does have politics. They are usually personal, between two important figures on two different islands, but such situations can usually benefit greatly from a clear-eyed outsider.


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