The nations of Ifri are among the oldest civilizations on the world of Terra. While their northern neighbors in Theah continue to debate the existence of their deity Theus, Ifrians know for a fact that the supernatural is real- the Ori spirits and Abonsam demons are an everyday sight. The nations of Ifri are united (and divided) by the great rivers which flow from the heart of the continent. While the Ifrians have been plagued by troubles and wars like any other continent, they have the unique challenge of battling the Slave Traders of the Atabean Trading Company.
The company came to Ifri years ago after first failing to find enough willing Theans to brave disease, sea monster attacks, and terrible conditions to work their plantations. The ATC found an answer to this problem in Ifrian slavery- a practice that had existed for centuries, where an Ifrian would be beholden to their master, but enjoy legal protections and social obligations from said master which prevented abuse of authority. The Company disregarded these traditions and protections, simply buying their human cargo en masse in exchange for weapons and gold. As their Atabean colonies became more profitable and their slaves perished in greater numbers from the hellish plantation conditions, the Company doubled down on this practice and fomented a rebellion in the outer provinces of Mbey. They traded guns and steel to the rebels for prisoners of war and refugees alike, fueling the uprising until their own soldiers helped to sack the capital city and carry off Bour Ba (King) Ighodalo's sons into captivity across the sea.
The Company's operations have fractured the entire continent. Now that the Atabeans have sacked the proud nation of Mbey, its ruler has decided to beat them at their own game- buying their weapons to arm his soldiers, calling on a dangerous Eldritch Spirit to counsel him, launching a successful war against Aksum and planning a second against Maghreb. Aksum is quickly collapsing and has sued for peace through a marriage pact with the Bour Ba, but the peace is set to fail- their princess' heart belongs to another. The Manden Kurufaba watches and does what it can to save the innocent from the turmoil but has not committed to fighting while the Atabeans try to sabotage their economy and recreate their pillaging of Mbey. The land of Maghreb knows that the Bour Ba will soon attack their ancient and wealthy coastal cities; their revered Blue Queen has retreated to the wasteland to confer with the spirits for a way to fight the abonsam. In the Blue Queen's absence, the Corsair Queen Mar Veraci prepares their few soldiers and mighty fleet to resist invasion and the ambitions of Montaigne. And across the great sands, the ancient nation of Khemet is shrouded in eternal night while a prince born of their gods prepares to overthrow his scheming and corrupt Queen Mother.
Aksum (Ethiopian Empire; Second Edition)
- Altar Diplomacy: Princess Mehret has been formally engaged to the Prince of Manden in an effort to end the war. Unfortunately for the Kingdom, she has other tastes in a partner.
- Apocalypse Cult: Aside from the current war with Manden, Aksum is threatened by hidden cults devoted to the Eldritch Abonsam spirits.
- Formulaic Magic: Aksumite Magic is inherited from the teachings of the Jok deities. The "Chroniclers" use math analysis of all potential outcomes of a situation as a kind of "call and response" to the universe itself. The math itself isn't magical (every child in Aksum plays games that place an emphasis on math) but the meditation training the Chroniclers receive is.
- Skipping School: A frequent problem within the Kingdom. While Aksumite culture places special emphasis on math and learning with state-sanctioned public schools, the lower classes cannot afford to send their children to receive anything more than basic education. Only four Zxafi (peasants) have ever graduated from the royal universities.
- Standard Royal Court: Most of the intrigue and adventure within the nation comes from the courtly interactions within Aksum- half a page in the splatbook is devoted to dinner manners. The nation is on the decline, its economy collapsing while the war with Manden consumes more and more resources, and the nation's peace plan fell apart when the agreed upon marriage alliance between Manden and Aksum never materialized.
Kingdom of Khemet (Late Period Ancient Egypt; Second Edition)
- Indentured Servitude: Due to the economic crash caused by the eternal night, the people of Khemet can't pay their tax levies. Queen Kyber has generously allowed her people to pay their taxes through forced labor. And if they can't pay for their own food and lodging at their work site, she will provide- and add the cost to their due date. Her people have quickly realized defaulting on taxes is a one-way ticket to a lifetime of slavery.
- The Night That Never Ends: After Queen Kyber isolated the rightful Prince of Khemet- child of a weeklong tryst between the Queen and an unknown deity- the entire land of Khemet fell into eternal night.
Maghreb (The Barbary Coast; Second Edition)
- Ghibli Hills: While much of Maghreb is given over to deserts, the peace and stability found within its borders is rivaled only by Manden Kurufaba's.
- The Blue Queen: While most of Maghreb is ruled at a local level, all its people look to the Blue Queen as their true ruler. The Queen, Tasa Noumidia, has retreated into the deserts to investigate prophetic voices speaking about an invasion from Mbey.
- Ultimate Authority Mayor: The plains of Maghreb have no formal, centralized government. Village mayors will pool their resources with their neighbors in times of need. That being said, the Pirate Queen Mar Veraci rules the bustling trade coast with her privateers and answers only to the Blue Queen.
Manden Kurufaba (The Malian/Songhai Empires; Second Edition)
- Amazon Brigade: The Alagbato Iya, the royal guards of the Manden Mansa. The guard is made up entirely of female soldiers.
- The Federation: After overthrowing the King Sumanguru, the four great cities under his rule banded together to create an experiment in diplomacy. No nation is strong enough to conquer the others, but if they remain united they are unassailable. The Manden Mansa reigns as a hereditary executive, but only at the pleasure of the individual cities.
- Great Big Library of Doom: The mad Library of al-Ghaba is what happens when you combine a university library with a classic adventuring dungeon. Some books eat human flesh, the book wyrms are summoned by loud noises, and even the smallest candle flame can take the form of a djinn. Failure to return a book on time creates a hole in the library's spiritual wards, allowing bookwraiths to escape and run amok in the city.
- Refugees Out of Our Country: Most of the everyday tension within Kurufaba's borders comes from the fact that it is in such good shape, refugees are flooding into its borders for safe haven. The common folk are beginning to chafe at this and are asking for the militant city of Igodomigodo to send its soldiers to the border to stem the flood of people.
- Vacation Adventure: While the Manden has its share of problems, the Lands of Gold and Fire sourcebook specifically points it out as a place where most "action" comes from daily intrigue and diplomacy, where Heroes can go to rest and recuperate.
Mbey (The Jolof Empire; Second Edition)
- The Bermuda Triangle: When the Bour Ba fell to madness and unleashed the abonsam, the entire province of Nder did a magical... something that caused it to descend into a cloud of fog. Anyone trying to reach Nder simply finds themselves back where they began their journey- as though they made a looping journey.
- Civil War: The land of Mbey fell into its current dystopian state through civil war and outside interference. The Atabean Trading Company fostered a rebellion between the provinces and the monarch (Bour Ba), selling guns to both sides and buying prisoners of war as chattel slaves. The company even managed to take the Sika'Dwa stool- the divine symbol of the Bour Ba's power. Then they captured and enslaved the Bour Ba's sons, selling them into bondage across the sea... but now the Bour Ba is turning to dark spirits to restore his power, and he is buying more and more guns and steel from the Atabeans. Three guesses what he's planning...
- Darkest Africa: The only one of Ifri's nations that seem to lend any credence to this trope. Mbey is a land of dense rainforests and magical mystery. A handful of Atabean forts have been established on the coast to facilitate their slave trade.
- Eldritch Abomination: The abonsam spirits unleashed by Bour Ba Ighodalo have been bound by exorcists for millenia. While they give him the power to tip the scales against the Atabeans, they are creatures that simply should not be- moving from flesh to memory in a moment's notice.
- Reluctant Psycho: Bour Ba Ighodalo is a broken man, completely aware that the decision to unleash the abonsam spirits and to sell more slaves to the Atabeans are horrifying actions- but he knows of no other way to attain enough power to drive the Atabeans out.