Posts Tagged With: Great Realm of the Shadowlands

The Shadowlands (Environmental Effects)

So, when the party travelled to the Shadowlands, they discovered that it has rather grievous effects on non-natives. Being so close to the Realm of the Dead, this creates a drain on those not born to it. The following are the basic rules for how the Shadowlands affects creatures and classes who travel for any length of time there without magical protection.

RACIAL PENALTIES:

  • Humans: Must make a DC15 Charisma Check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Khazan: Must make a DC5 Constitution Check monthly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Half-Elves: Half-Elves suffer from much the same penalty as both of their kin, just to a lesser degree. Use of their Faerie Magic requires a DC15 Con check, and they must also make a DC15 Charisma Check weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Dwarves: Dwarves are generally unaffected by the Shadowlands, merely needing to make a DC15 Constitution Check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Gnomes: Closely tied to the Mortal Realms and Faerie, Gnomes lose their Speech with the Wild Things and Mask of the Wild feature. Use of their Faerie Magic requires a DC15 Con check. They suffer greatly from the lack of sun (see their Disadvantages) and they must make a DC15 Charisma check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.
  • Elves: Closely tied to Faerie, Elves are grievously affected when within the Shadowlands. They lose their Faerie Mien unless they make a DC15 Con check to call it forth – and then must maintain Concentration upon it. They must make a DC15 Charisma check Weekly or suffer a level of Exhaustion, on the Fumble they also lose 1 Sanity.

For periods spent Carousing in the Shadowlands the roll to check for Exhaustion may be reduced to a DC5 Check.

Exhaustion levels may be reversed for each week spent Carousing. Sanity loses may be partially reversed in the Mortal Realms for every month spent Carousing, if started weeks equal to the 1 + the Wisdom modifier of the character in question. If Sanity is lost, no more than half can be regained in this way (rounded down).

HEALING AND REST PENALTIES:

  • Long Rest only restores 1HD (not half), unless accompanied by the excitation of strong physical and emotional passions (or by some forms of intensely focused meditation).
  • Death Saving Throws are at Disadvantage. A Healer’s Kit is and a DC10 Wisdom (Medicine) check is needed to stabilize a creature.

CLASS EFFECTS:

  • Bard: Song of Rest will restore +1HD if played during a Short or a Long Rest. Bardic Inspiration may also be used to restore 1HD per use of the Bardic Inspiration. Recovery of Bardic Inspiration requires a DC15 Charisma check. After a Bard has resided in the Shadowlands for 1 month per level they recover Inspiration as normal.
  • Cleric: Clerics of the Life, Light, and Nature Domains must make a DC15 Wisdom save to use their Channel Divinity feature. They also only regain one (1) use between rests. Clerics of a Death Domain do not suffer from Racial or Healing & Rest Penalties, and have the same benefit as the Druidic Natural Recovery feature.
  • Druid: Due to the alien nature of the Shadowlands, until a Druid has resided there for months equal to their level, they only regain half the number of spells as normal after a Long Rest.
  • Monk: Due to their studious discipline, Monks may recover HD as normal. Monks of the Way of the Shadow have Advantage in Combat, and only need spend 1 Ki to use their Shadow Arts.
  • Paladin: Paladins of the Oath of the Ancient must make a DC15 Wisdom save to use their Channel Divinity feature. They also only regain one (1) use between rests. Until they have resided in the Shadowlands for months equal to their level, they only regain half the number of spells after a Long Rest.
  • Ranger: Rangers have Disadvantage when using their Natural Explorer feature until they have resided in the Shadowlands for one week per level of experience.
  • Warlock: The nature of Pact magic means that there is no mechanical issues for Warlocks in play. Those with the Archfey Patron may find that they must make Charisma tests to use Patron-related features, while those with a Patron among the Great Old Ones are likely to become the targets of the Wild Hunt…
  • Wizard: Those who study the School of Necromancy do not suffer from Racial or Healing & Rest Penalties, and have the same benefit as the Druidic Natural Recovery feature.

DAMAGE MODIFIERS:

  • Cold, Necrotic, Poison, Psychic, and Radiant damage is +1 per die of damage.

EFFECTS ON GEAR:

  • Non-magical equipment and gear from the Mortal Realms suffers from -1 Penalty each week of existence in the Shadowlands. After no more than five weeks (and a potential -5 penalty) it finally reaches a functionally useless state.
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5e – Warlock Patron – The Shadow King

The Shadow King

You have made your pact with one of the Lords of Shadow, powerful, liminal beings who dwell in the Shadowlands and beyond. Wise and ancient, selfish and patient, the Shadow Kings work behind the scenes, neither of the Light or the Darkness, to survive against threats from across creation. None can say what their true motives are, but their subtle hand is feared by those that know of it.

Expanded Spell List

The Shadow King allows you to choose from an expanded spell list when you learn Warlock spells. The following spells are added to the Warlock spell list for you.

  • 1st Level: Shroud the Shadow, Debilitate
  • 2nd Level: Shadow Sight, Shadow Embrace
  • 3rd Level: Shadow Bolt, Blackout
  • 4th Level: Shadowform, Shadowbind
  • 5th Level: Devouring Darkness, Mantle of Dread

Embraced by Shadow

At 1st level your patron grants you a cloak of shadows when it is desired – enveloping the character Dim Light. This makes Charisma skill checks more difficult but lessens the difficult if Stealth and similar checks. The character is also now treated as a native of the Shadowlands when considering it’s negative effects.

Shadowstep

Starting at 6th level the character may teleport, as a Reaction, up to 120′ away as long as they end up in an area of shadow. This feature may not be used again until after a Short or Long rest.

Shadowstuff

At 10th Level the character has become infused with Shadow to such a degree that they are Resistant to Non-Magical weapons.

Spiritual Malaise

Upon reaching 14th Level the character can touch a target and inflict a number of levels of Exhaustion equal to their Proficiency Bonus. The target is allowed a Con save against the effect at the Spell Save DC of the character for half effects – creatures of the Shadowlands are Resistant to this effect. This feature cannot be used again until the character finishes a long rest.

 

Note: The Spells of the Expanded Spell List are from Necromancer Games Book of Lost Spells

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Lost to Shadow – the Shades

Most sages agree that Shades are, or more accurately were, normal people who, through arcane magic or dark science, traded thier souls or spirits for the essence of shadowstuff. Others suggest instead that Shades are cursed by the Unborn or the Witches of the Shadowlands, perhaps even the High Lord himself, while yet others insist that Shades are not what they appear to be at all, and are instead some alien creature masquerading in familiar forms. In any case, the method of turning a creature (any human, humanoid, or demihuman with a spirit or soul) into a Shade has been lost for centuries.

Shades are readily identifiable by the learned and the wise due to their dusky grey skin, and their eyes, which have no white but instead have a dark grey or purple iris and pupil. They tend to prefer clothing of greys and blacks, and rarely wear brightly colored clothing or jewelry. The transformation brings about a gloomy broodiness, for the Shadowlands weighs heavily upon them. The most ancient among them have great power and respect in the Shadowlands, but they are feared as well, and they must all maintain constant vigilance against those that seek to harm or control them. The wise Shade quickly learns to trust no one, especially another Shade.

  • Shade Sight: The character can see in Dim Light as if it were Bright Light.
  • Mask of Shadows: The character can Hide in Dim Light as a Bonus Action.
  • One With Shadows: The character has Advantage when in Dim Light.
  • Unnatural Vitality: The character does not age as normal, and they are Immune to Disease. The character has Resistance to Poison, and they will regrow lost body parts (save their head) in 1d4 weeks if they stay in Dim Light or Darkness for the entire period. If slain the character will dissipates into Shadows and reappears in Great Realm of the Shadowlands after a decade per level (or hit die) of the character. In Dim Light the character automatically Stabilizes upon reaching zero hit points, and doubles the hit points regained from each Hit Die spent.
  • Shadowstrider: At 3rd level, when in Dim Light, the Shade is under the benefit of a Longstrider spell – the effectiveness of which increases by 10′ per maximum spell level.
  • Shadowstep: Gathering existing Shadows around themselves, at 5th level the character may Teleport up to 30′ away to an unoccupied space that they can see as long as it is in Dim Light. This range increases by 10′ per maximum spell level. This ability may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Gloomcalling: At 7th Level, the character may summon forth a deep gloom, blanketing a 20′ radius of Bright Light in conditions of Dim Light that creates a heavily obscured area. The radius increases by 10′ per maximum spell level. This may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Shadowpath: At 11th level the character, in conditions of Dim Light, can travel to the Great Realm of the Shadowland. This takes one round and Concentration. This ability may be used again after a Long Rest.
  • Light Sensitivity: Bound as they are to the Shadowlands, the character is at Disadvantage for all activities in conditions of Bright Light. Shades are Vulnerable to Radiant damage, and they may not heal naturally while in Bright Light.
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Intersession #18.5 – Through the Leygate (Fiction)

Stepping through the leygate was an exercise in willpower, the crackling, eldritch energies raced through one’s body and it was easy to believe that instead of translocating space your body was ripped apart and reassembled within the span of a flash of lightning. But the memory of that awful moment of being in two places at once thundered through the body for long moments as each member of the party stumblingly caught their breath, trying to make way for the next with limbs that moved numbly and awkwardly.

Rhys had been the first through, now he stood on the edge of the barren and ancient road the leygate had taken the party to. Eyes alert on the surroundings, his cloak already pulled up around his face to keep out the black and grey dust that was whipped up by the low wind that moaned across the ground and through the surrounding hills, Rhys absently scratched Lockheed’s head as the dragonet wrapped itself across his shoulders, staying close in the unfamiliar and alien terrain.

He’d been the first to investigate the low stone terrace that they all rested upon now, where the leygate had opened to. There were a pair of ancient stone plinths standing in the terrace, deeply graven with runes and sigils, the site of the leygate terminus. They were now cold and silent rather than alive with arcane energies. The leygate had closed scant minutes after the company had arrived, removing the only way to return to Kingshom that the party knew of – the first sign of things going horribly, horribly wrong. Rhys had also discovered the body lying in road in his sweep of the area, a human dressed in violet robes, filled with arrows and bitten about the face and shoulders by snakes. The twin sacks turned out beside the body had been similar to the ones the tomb-robbers had carried and had the remains of grave dirt and tomb dust, but the note in the corpse’s hand had been in no language he’d ever seen before.

After that had gone Dhagri. The young Khazan’s eyes had been big and bright as he passed through the leygate, uncomfortable with the unfamiliar and arcane nature of the travel. He paced around sniffing the bitter tang to air that was cool with the wind. Like Rhys, his eyes focused outwards at the bleak rocky hills, watching for danger, looking for a clue as to what to do next. As he unconsciously played with the wrappings of the hilt of his axe, his eyes drifted off to the distance where it seemed darker, like the coming of night, but it came no closer, grew no darker as Dhagri watched. Instead it seemed as if the Darkness waited, and watched him in turn, patient and silent and hungry as a grave.

Fonkin sat on a small rock, shivering in the shadowy twilight they had found themselves in. Gnomes were creatures of the surface world for all that they burrowed in the earth for its treasures, and too much time away from the fresh air and warming rays of the sun brought with a malaise for the Little People. One hand on the body of his cousin Wren that lay wrapped at his feet, Fonkin rocked gently and prayed quietly that they could revive him rather than leave him in such a desolate place. Reaching out to his Patron, the link felt hollow and weak, and he shuddered to think of himself left alone in the darkness here, still and lifeless, with no-one to remember him. The light of Faerie seemed very distant, fading the same as hope threatened to.

Even the knowledge that his Patron was pleased with him barely cheered him, for while the contents of the note had been revealed to him, the turned out bags beside the corpse meant that another task lay before them…

Fadheela,

I have been delayed. My servant carries the king’s bones and all the items of his champions that I could find. Merthúvial I cannot locate. I shall spend a bit more time it, but I am sending these on so our rendezvous is not compromised. Please give the Vanguard my regards. I shall be along shortly.

                                                                                                                -Xeron

Ilda’s eyes flickered over the party in turn, then to each of the corpses in turn, as well as toward the same Darkness as Dhagri’s eyes did – consciously or unconsciously everyone cast a glance in that direction regularly. Having pulled out the dulcimer from its’ storage place, the dwarf was calmed by checking to make sure that it had survived the recent combats unscathed. This place was like nothing the dwarf had ever encountered before, and the lays and lore tumbled through Ilda’s head trying to figure out where they were. Like all of the party, the dwarf was tired – the miraculous blessing of the Celestial seemed days distant rather than hours.

Lost in a numb reverie, Ta’sara sat next to Rhys, unconsciously looking to family for comfort. Coughing at the dust, all she could hear was the wind blowing across the stones. Not a bird, not an insect, not any animal that she could identify. She hoped that this place would not be the death of them all, the same that the tomb had been for Wren and their distant kin Leera. The wrapped body of the young bard lay where it had fallen as Ta’sara had stumbled through the leygate – the incredible and essential wrongness of the place like an ache in her joints, a weakness in her bones, a queasy feeling that settled in guts like spoiled meat. The quiet, the dust and incredible dryness, the lack of vegetation made her think it was desert of some sort – but this matched no description of any desert she had ever read about. Beyond that, even the light of the distant stars was wrong and cold. There were none of the natural rhythms and currants that she was used to or even expected – only dust, shadows, and a distant lurking Darkness.

The tracks that had surrounded the purple-robed corpse had walked in the direction of the road and then stopped in mid-stride. Whomever had slain Xeron’s servant had teleported away in midstride and there was no way to know where they had gone. The Forgotten King’s remains and the equipment of his champions was nowhere to be seen and Ta’sara had no clue as to where to look next, no idea how to solve the problem in front of them, let alone the looming issue of the Vanguard and whatever their mission was in the threatened coming of the Age of Worms.

Face illuminated by the endless flame he held cupped in his hands, Jarvic listened to the song of the Great Dragon in the wind that swept across the land. It was a harsher, darker song, one that he had never heard before and it matched the ache in his muscles and the tiredness he felt in his very soul after the travails of the Barrow. Here, in this wide open space with nothing but rock and wind and dust Jarvic could hear the Great Dragon like never before, not just one Great Voice, but a multitude of lesser voices that sang in harmony and melody. It was so strong, these combined voices that made up the Great Dragon, the Great Dragon was so strong, that it felt like Jarvic was all but lifted off the ground, like the wind would carry him. The breeze eddied around him, filling his lungs so full that they would never empty, a constant presence and reminder that the Great Dragon was near, was present even here, was with him even with the Darkness so close.

The Darkness, Jarvic looked towards it. It weighed heavily on his mind, its presence almost adding a physical weight to his shoulders, adding to his weariness, holding him down where the Great Dragon would raise him up. The flame in his hand seemed dimmer here, less warm, colder, like the distant stars that could be seen through the twilight gloom of the sky. Stars that were in no configuration that he had ever seen nor any that he had read of. Their pattern reminded him of the writing that the Necromancer had stolen from his mind, not that it should be possible, but he felt weak and uneasy when he thought to deeply on the matter and his thoughts fled from half-remembered dreams of terrible things and worse possibilities.

While Fonkin had been able to read the missive from the tomb-robber Xeron, it was due to some arcane trick. Jarvic had recognized the script, even if he wasn’t skilled enough to read it. It was elaborate glyphs of the Ithian language – the language of the slavers that his family had escaped from when he was nothing but a child. An ancient and cruel people, of inhuman lusts and infamous plots, who dwelt far to south in a jungle empire built on the ruins of races and empires far worse than they. This rocky, desolate wasteland was not the jungle of Ith, so where had this Vanguard led them?

Shivering slightly as the wind picked up, Devon stared at the gleaming sword lying on the ground on a ripped and tattered cloak before him. The adamantine blade glowed faintly in the darkness the black and grey dust refusing to settle upon it. It sat there where he had placed it, almost dropped actually because gazing upon his companions he had been overwhelmed by the cacophony and hopelessness of their thoughts, their confusion, pain, and their fear. It had not happened again, but Devon was wary of that flood of information again. It made the young nobles own fear worse, that he would never see his wife again, that he would fail not just his family, but the Light itself by allowing the bones of Forgotten King whose sword this had been to be used in whatever fell ritual they were intended. The weight of that responsibility was crushing, weighing him down despite already being exhausted by the fight with the Betrayer and his companions.

Devon glanced in the direction of the Darkness and shuddered, it was as if he was living the tales and parables of the Enchiridion. It was hard, he knew he needed to be an inspiration even when he doubted himself. There is no Light greater than that found within the soul of the Faithful. It shines through the longest nights, in the deepest Darkness, and provides a beacon for those in the greatest need – was the quote and he remembered Frater Simeon reciting it as he learned Aleph in temple. Devon just wished that he was as strong as the blade in front of him, he knew he was unworthy, knew that he was merely weak flesh rather than celestial steel.

.

..

….

…..

….

….

..

.

Startled by the almost simultaneous low whistle by Rhys and soft coughing bark by Dhagri, the company came to their feet, grasping at weapons and looking in all directions. Appearing out the shadows, gliding silently down the road, a small landbarge – more of wagon actually – had appeared. Rarely seen, no one in the company had ever seen such a small one before. It floated silently down the center of the well-worn cobblestones of the ancient road, and as it drew closer they were all able to see who helmed it.

Sitting there, holding the wheel, was a broad shouldered dwarf, but not like one that any of them had ever seen before. Dressed in a long black skirt, the dwarf also wore a heavy, dark leather greatcoat over a tight fitting shirt the same shade as his skirt. While this was odd enough it was the rest of his appearance that drew the most attention – the ashen-colored skin and glittering black eyes with no whites and no iris were like nothing any of them had ever seen.

Pulling up a short way off from the party, the dwarf nodded and smiled, calling out in a deep baritone in Dwarrune, the private language of the dwarves. Ilda stepped forward and responded as the dwarf climbed down from the helm of the landbarge and smiling as nodding as he did so.

“Well met travelers, and unless I miss my mark from the Heartlands of Avalon too. Harsh winds this span, but you have travelled far to get here and I am called Heart of Coal, a humble merchant of the Shadowlands. Perhaps you would like to see my wares?”

The words were harshly accented, but clear and unmistakably Westron, surprisingly welcome after the long silence that the party had not even realized had settled upon them as they had sat with their thoughts. But the words themselves held within in them the terrifying answer of where they were.

The Great Realm of the Shadowlands.

Ruled by the Witch-King and his Ebon Council, who had alternately plagued and saved the Heartlands since time immemorial, and bordering the Great Realm of the Dead, the Shadowlands were the home of daemons, succubae, and deadly beasts that were the stuff of both legend and legend in the Mortal Realms.

It wasn’t the Pit of Hell, but tales said there was a road from the palace of the Witch-King that led straight to the throne of the First of the Fallen.

By the Light, the Great Dragons, and the Old Powers – what exactly was this Vanguard and why had their minions fled here of all places?

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Nonhuman Languages

Overview of Language Mechanics

Non-Human Languages: These are the most common of the languages spoken by non-human races. The Old versions of these tongues often date back to the time of the White Empire, while the Ancient versions date back to the time of the Sundering – prior to this most races used either Demonspeech (see below) or just simply spoke in whatever magical language most suited their nature, their mood, or the circumstance. Unless otherwise noted, and with Demonspeech being the obvious exception, knowledge of one of these languages provides no knowledge of any of the others.

  • The Dark Tongue: Spoken by the Goblin, Troll, and Giant races this language is a corrupted mixture of Faerie, Dwarrune, and Kens (Skilled speakers of those languages have a DC10 check to understand or speak the Dark Tongue). It is a constantly changing language, if a speaker was attempting to communicate with someone from another era, it would be Very Difficult (DC25) at first, but would eventually become clear for everyone involved. The written form is simple and incapable of conveying complex concepts and uses a mixture of different pictograms and glyphs both drawn and inspired by its root languages. (Glyphic)
  • Demonspeech: An unfortunate colloquial term for a style of speech most commonly found among a variety of supernatural creatures and spirits (including angels, devils, demons, dragons, many elementals, etc). This speech is actually a form of highly limited psychic and spiritual awareness that allows the speaker to understand intent and meaning from any type of formal communication and also communicate in return – often being considered a native speaker. It is possible for mortals to learn, though it requires being skilled in True Speech, High Kens, Enochian, El’aum, and Sh’aur, as well as having one or more Arcane, Divine, or Psychic levels. Levels of 6+, as well as being skill in the True Runes, allows understanding of written language as well though they are not able to write in the language being written. There is no written form of Demonspeech nor are there any “Old” or “Ancient” versions of it.
  • Dwarrune: This is the ancestral language of the Dwarves, the Dwimmervolk, and the Dwarrow. It is considered a deep secret of their people and few outside of those three races speak or read the language. Steeped in tradition and ceremony, Old Dwarrune dates back to before the Sundering, while Ancient Dwarrune dates back to Ages of Creation. Its written form is predictable set of runic futharks, though many dwarves also learn True Runes. (E)
  • Faerie: The language of the creatures and the peoples of Fae, it is used by the Elves and their various cousins who inhabit both Faerie and the Mortal Realms. Old Faerie dates back to before the Sundering, while Ancient Faerie stretches back to the Ages of Creation. The written form is a beautiful and complex series of logograms and glyphs that are more art-form than writing, that results in +5 DC to read, +10DC for non-native speakers. (C)
  • High Elven: The formal language of the elves, few aside from them speak it to any significant degree – it is mainly used in formal situations and confined to the learned among them. The Sha’Achtar of the Shadowlands speak Old High Elven, with a subtly different syntax (+5DC), which predates the Sundering, while Ancient High Elven is as old as Ancient Faerie. It is difficult for non-natives to speak or read (+5DC) and uses the same script as Faerie. (C)
  • Kens: The language of the Shadowlands, held and used in common by all those who live there under the reign of the High Lord. This includes the Anakim, the Daemons, the Dwarrow, the Erynine, the Sh’Achtar, and the Sh’dai. Old Kens dates back to the time of the White Empire, while Ancient Kens dates back to before the Sundering. It has its own relatively simple and direct writing system. (S)
  • ‘Khar: A guttural languages of growls, hisses, coughs and snarls used by the Rakshasa, the mythical race of cannibalistic beast-folk from the Wars of Binding. ‘Khar is Moderately Difficult (DC15) for non-Rakshasa (or Goblin- and Troll-Kin) to speak due to its harsh treatment of the throat and vocal chords. The written version uses the Istarian alphabet. (S)
  • The Old Tongue: The other close relative to Senzar, the Old Tongue is a somewhat corrupted and idiosyncratic version of Senzar that is spoken by the ancient race of Beastmen (who while human are often considered non-human by their cousins). They can understand, at Disadvantage, Senzar and Tsath-Yo, but the opportunities for doing so are uncommon at best. There is no written form, just simple pictoglyphs and signs used as trail-markers and other forms of graphic, static warning. Speakers outside of the Beastmen are rare, though not unheard of – mostly being travelers who have reason to travel through the Wall of the World, the Ice Wastes, and other old wild places. (Glyphic)
  • Serth: The language of the Serpent Kings and their degenerate descendants, the Lizard Men, Serth is a sibilant language that has changed little over the ages. Old Serth dates back to the time of the Second City, while Ancient Serth dates back to the time of the Serpathian Empire. It is Difficult (DC15) for non-Serpent Folk to speak, though speakers of Serth have Advantage when trying to understand Ti-Ann. Serth has a complex written language of thousands of complicated glyphs such that it is a +5DC to be able to read and write it. (C)
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A Short Synopsis & Minor Treatise On the History & Nature of Creation (Part 4 – The Classical Era)

There is a great Lord coming.
He will both walk in the Darkness and be one with it.
The Blood of gods flows in his veins.
Blood and Fire surround him.
His coming has been fortold, but not it’s manner.
He is the Unforseen, the Unheralded, and the Unexpected, a lambent ebon flame that burns within the Night.
Angels weep at the sight of that which he bears, and the Daemons fear it’s touch.
He is the last remnant of an older time, and his understanding is insanity.

 

The Prophecy of the High Lord

Many viewed the Tearing of the Veil as the final culmination of the Wars of Binding, but it was almost immediately revealed that it also set the stage for a resolution to a problem which had plagued the Mortal Realms, the Shadowlands, and even Faerie. All across Creation, a prophecy came of the coming of great Lord, a remnant of an older time bringing destruction in his wake. Collectively, across the Realms, forces began to gather and prepare, and equally old powers began to awake and return, woken by the sound of that Lord’s footsteps.

Dara Hannan, Countess-Palatine of Morrow, Kin to the Dragon, and Consort to the High Lord

Witness to the Tearing of Veil, Dara was steeped in sorrow, having lost the love of her life in that great and terrible crime. Already a potent mage, with the spirit of a dragon bound within her, Dara along with her companions and kin was instrumental in defeating Alkenzamier the Dark – though she lost many of those  closest to her in the fight. Rewarded with the lands and titles in Albion, Dara retreated to grieve her losses, found the second great love of her life, and then soon found herself embroiled in the coming conflict. Rebuilding the tattered remnants of the Circle to stand against the coming storm, Dara also built the bridges between the Shadowlands and both Albion and Silverveil, creating the foundation for the firm footing that the High Lord’s return needed.

The Mad God’s War (1043 R.A. to 1046 R.A.)

The Mad Gods War started when Valerius, the Founder and Warlord of Tierna, awoke after his long slumber to continue his war against the Witch-King, thought long dead, but in his opinion the coming Lord who was foretold. In his insane search for power to assume his place as Ilhiedrin’s Heir and thwart the Witch-King he slew many Godlings, disrupting the order of Creation. In response the High Queen of Albion invoked the Grand Alliance and called for aid to combat the swiftly growing theat. The call was answered in more ways than she ever expected as the Mad Gods War was seen as a crucial gambit in War Without End by players who had been maneuvering since the Invoked Devastation. And on the Plains of Furlaith the forces of the Grand Alliance met the forces of the Mad God, and ground near unto destroyed themselves until the High Lord of the Shadowlands met the Mad God in single battle, broke him, and threw him into the Abyss.

The Phoenix King

In Faerie, a promise made in ages past by a Queen who sacrificed herself for her people, finally came to pass. The heir to the Great Throne of Faerie finally came again, the Phoenix King. He took up the Blade of the Empty Throne  where it had sat since the Sundering. Calling the Elven Host for the first time since before the Sundering, drawing forth kin that had retreated to the far reaches of Faerie and the Mortal Realms, the Athamae of the Great Houses were loosed in the War Without End once again.

The Grey Elves

In what should have been nearly as great a moment of joy, the lost heir to the Great House of Elastrin appeared on the field of battle, bearing the equally as lost Athamea of the House, drawn in battle for the first time since the Wars of Binding. A rogue and a scoundrel, he heard the call of his liege lord and answered – and stood at the High Lords back against the vanguard of the Knights of Dearth. It was a battle that was not without cost, for that which could not be broken was, the Athamea of the Great House of the Elastrin was shattered – and the Elastrin were left without a center. The greatest of the Warrior Houses, the Elastrin found themselves broken swords, elves in twilight, lost in Faerie but unwilling to join their kin the Sundered in the Shadowlands.

The Peace of the High Lord

Standing on the Plains of Furlaith, the High Lord of the Shadowlands, the Immortal King of the White Empire reborn called a council of the gathered rulers and nobles, from the greatest to the smallest, as sovereign lord. Proclaiming his new reign over both the Shadowlands as well as the old lands of the White Empire, the High Lord declared his authority absolute in standing  in opposition to the Lords of Dearth and the Five Demon Emperors in combination with his supreme disinterest in ruling the Mortal Realms. He also declared his support and friendship for the new King of Albion, raised up by the Old Faith upon the passing of the Queen during the battle just passed.

The Shattering

The Mad Gods War shattered what the Heartlands knew of the order of things. The realms of Tierna and Albion both greatly suffered from the loss of land and people, and other countries suffered in similar ways. Tierna lost much land to the newly created Scarlet Sea, and the breakaway of what is now known as the Grand Duchy of Sohac along what had been it’s northern border. Albion suffered the breakaway of many of it’s northern duchies into a series of independent kingdoms. Elsewhere, Kistath saw a great deal of political upheaval as many tried to take advantage of the new balance of power with the High Lord while Ith and Thule were mostly unaffected by the changes.

Boon Companions

Following the Mad Gods War, with all standing in both awe and fear of his power, the High Lord returned to the Shadowlands with his troops, taking up residence in Ebionstark. Though few understand it, a quick friendship grows between Albion and Shadowlands, even if tensions remain with the shattered remnants of Tierna as old hatreds and habits remain deeply embedded in both cultures. Albion also maintains a distant stance to the creatures of the Shadowlands – holding true to both the letter and spirit of the Compact. The only race that has been become accepted in Albion, or even the rest of Uerth are the near-human sh’dai and they are eyed suspiciously more often than not.

Founding of Mystvale (1132 R.A.)

With the blessings of Albion and under the leadership of Ilian Half-Elven, a large number of Half-Elves and others move into Lorewood and build a new city, Mystvale. They have the tacit blessing of the High Lord and the open blessing of the Consort Dara, as well as close ties to the Phoenix King, with many elves joining them from the start.

Retreat and the Night of Ebion Fire (1197 R.A.)

In what is now known as “Retreat” the High Lord disappears for a generation, and in the coming years this becomes an unexplained mystery of the High Lord. In this case, the Consorts, Anakim, and Sha’Achtar managed to keep the peace until the city of Golath, north of the Martyr Mountains, rose up in open defiance of the High Lords decree, violated the Compact, and began to make open war on their neighbors. Before the Anakim or the Sha’Achtar could react the High Lord returned during the Night of Ebion Fire. Though different in appearance, and appearing as a young man, the High Lord bore the blade Deathkiss and wore the Ebion Crown on his brow. He scoured the city to the ground, slaying all within, save children under the age of majority, without mercy or cruelty. The children were fostered out among the Heartlands and beyond and held blameless.

Colonies Founded (1311 R.A.)

After years of searching, the new continent of Acadia was discovered by windships out of Zymora. Covered by a series of forests and plains ripe for settlement many of the countries of the Heartands (and elsewhere) sent ships and people, forming a series of colonies. At this point while travel of goods via windship is common the majority of people travel there via Navigator.  The wind passage is long and dangerous, and not a few ships go missing in the area, but it is much cheaper for moving goods and supplies.

Rise of the Petty Kingdoms (1327 R.A.)

As much of the Heartlands focused on Colonies, the Petty Kingdoms experienced a period of growth – taking advantage of deficiencies in trade. An area that had often been ignored for the most part, the Petty Kingdoms had been primarily at the mercy of the Nomads of the Tawill Plains and the Deep Ones of the Crimson Reef instead of the Goblins or the Trolls that plagued the main Heartlands of Avalon. In spite of this, the Petty Kingdoms had been intimately involved in the events

The Tauri Republic (1388 R.A.)

Though originally founded over a century previously by idealists from Albion, starting in 1388 R.A. the Tauri Senate voted to invade nearby kingdoms over the next nineteen years either by force or after instigating rebellions and “offering aid” to a country in dire straits. Bringing democratic reforms and  a keen intellectualism to their lands, the Tauri Republic accidently positions itself well for the coming problems, being less dependent upon magic or psionics then many of their neighbors.

 

“Behold the Witch Who Screams in Silence and Darkness, Firstborn of the Void, Forsaken, and Oracle of the Eighth Essence!
Behold the Life-Giving Sword Reforged in Blood and Shadow, The Solitaire, The Unforseen and Unlooked For Childe of the Storm and Crown of the Shadarin!
Behold the Passing! Behold the Meeting! Beware the Gathering!
Beware the Choice between Star and Shadow! The Sword! The Sword is Come!”

 

The Great Balance

The wise say that the multiverse exists in a state of equilibrium, constantly seeking a state of balance but never achieving it. This was illustrated in the twin kings of the Phoenix King of the Fae and the High Lord of the Shadowlands each coming to the fullness of their power at the same time. They also point to the rise of the Shadarin and the Cataclysm as another example of this, though a darker one.

Ashanden n’Dai Sa’J’asamyn kel Elastrin n’Hai Diablen

The son of the Witch J’asamyn and the self-exiled, disgraced, and un-seated head of the House Elastrin, Lord of the Great House of the Phoenix, “Ash” was ultimately a child of multiple worlds, multiple races, and always alone. Despite this, when he was faced with the reality of the War Without End, he was able to find the strength to stand and fight against the Dearth, with the remade sword of his House in hand. In doing so, he chose to stand with the Sundered, not with the Fae, and became the first of the Shadarin – those Forsaken to Shadow. Thus forcing the proud members of that Great House to choose between Shadow and Twilight and throwing the Court of the Phoenix King into disarray.

The Cataclysm (1507 to 1561 R.A.)

With Creation rocked upon it’s axis, distracted, the Lords of Dearth took this opportunity to put long-laid plans in motion. A seed of corruption, long hidden in the mountains southern Heartlands, blossomed and the madness grew in the minds of the infected until it exploded in a frenzy of blood and gore that spread across the Heartlands. It took three generations, but finally the spread was stopped, reversed, and even somewhat contained – though the effects and the danger remain to this day.

The Blight

The mountains south of Albion had long held secret pathways to the Realm of the Great Waste, in much the same way that there are hidden pathways between all the Great Realms that are known to the wise. The Lords of Dearth helped that realm of poison and destruction spill out into the Mortal Realm, leaving a Blight on the Heartlands that remains to this day. Encompassing much of what had been the Petty Kingdoms and Albion, the Blight does not just corrupt the creatures that live within it’s bounds but also poisons the minds of those who enter it or who dwell within it.

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A Short Synopsis & Minor Treatise On the History & Nature of Creation (Part 2 – The Antediluvian Era)

(Estimated Timeline -250,000 to -5000 RA)

Rise of the Elder Kingdoms

In the Mortal Realm, new life sprung up in the wake of the destruction wrought by the War. The Fae live a life circling around their Great Tree hidden in the center of the Golden Woods, the Dragons sought out place wild and desolate and beautiful to contemplate Creation and the nature of the Thirteen Great Gods. But new life also arose, echoes of dead Gods, influenced by the memory writ upon the world by what had happened. So there came forth the Serpent Kings, the Weavers of Spells, the Dragonborn, the Consanguinity, the Bringers of Fate, the Gatekeepers, the Ichneumon Vorre, the Wind Giants, the Deep Ones, and many more besides.

The First City

It is the Serpent Kings, the Serpathians, who truly dominate the Mortal Realms in the Antediluvian Era. They create the First City, living what was at first a deeply contemplative life in the warm sun. A wondrous edifice that sprawled across leagues of land and sea, the First City was the first hub of mortal civilization. But with the cycles of light and darkness, the Serpathian’s began to delve into matters better left untouched, uncontemplated, and unexplored. Slowly as the Serpathians gave themselves over to longer and deeper periods of hibernation and sleep, aided by sorceries and alchemy, ever-seeking more truth and more power they inevitably begin to become infected with the Dearth, the dream-taint of the memory of the unmade Great Old Ones.

The War in Heaven and the Fall of Angels

Ever vigilant, the Celestials experiment in the Vale of ‘Aden, and create new life in Their own image, Humans, trying to find a new tool, a new weapon in case some new threat emerges that threatens Creation. There grows to be discontent in the Eternal City and greatest among the Celestials, the Morningstar, argues about the role of the Sarim in the Mortal Realms. The Lightbringer, as the Morningstar is also known, seeing what is occurring amongst the newly born races advocates for active engagement and even rulership among the mortals. The opposing side, does not wish to get involved in affairs of mortals and instead advocates for a continuation of passive guardianship. Stealing into the Vale, the Morningstar convinces the First Man and the First Woman to leave, setting them loose upon the Mortal Reams after teaching them much lore, more, it must be said, than he intended. This is the start of the War in Heaven and the Fall of the Angels. The Lightbringer and his angels take up residence opposite the Eternal City in the great Abyss maintaining watch over the great gate of the Void. The Celestials decided to spread the children of the First Humans across the Mortal Realms to see how if they survive and if they will thrive despite adversity.

The Rise of Man

Spread across the Mortal Realms by design, they wander freely curious and free of fear due to their birth in ’Aden, but eventually come together. To the great sorrow of the Celestials they also war amongst themselves and several tribes establish themselves, some say thirteen to match the Great Gods, but they found what was soon known as the Second City – an edifice that rivals the now lost First City of the Serpent Kings. Watching their pain and suffering, the Celestials take mercy upon them and some, known as the Grigori, come down to the Mortal Realms to teach and aid them. Unfortunately these Celestials are not suited for Mortal Realm and end up ensnared in their lusts of the flesh, not quite Falling, but still being cast out from Heaven. Out of their liaisons with humanity come the inhuman Nephalim who are still feared to this day.

The Decline of the Elder Kingdoms

Elsewhere, after millennia of exploration, contemplation, and growth, the Weavers of Spells destroyed themselves in a spectacular magical display, with only a few survivors now existing and trying to regain their lost glory. The Serpathians became lost in their hibernation and dreams and their slave-races and servants rose up to usurp their place and power until now only degenerate remnants of the once proud race exist, eking out a primitive existence in jungles and swamps across Creation. The other Elder Races see similar declines, some greater, some lesser, and many find their fates irrevocably linked to end of the Antediluvian Era.

The Thrice-Blessed and Thrice-Cursed

The Fae also meet the humanity for the first time as humanity matures and the Second City grows in power and influence. Ilhiedrin, the Thrice-Blessed, the first half-elf, is born to the King of all the Fae from his mortal lover. While this love child is a marvel, there are some within the Fae who are uneasy about the commingling of the blood of the two races. Ilhiedrin rises to be the greatest mage that the world has seen at this point but jealousy grows in his heart and he makes a great mistake as he descends into madness. Passing beyond the Veils, Ilhiedrin becomes the Thrice-Cursed when he breaks the great seal at the bottom of the Abyss and uncovers the truth of the Great Old Ones in his search for power.

Where there is memory, there is imagination;

where there is imagination, there is Essence;

where there is Essence, there is Form.

The War Without End

When Ilhiedrin unleashed the Great Old Ones upon creation again it was not complete, and what was able to manifest has become known as the Five Demon Emperors. They found Themselves greatly restricted by a multiverse that is far less fluid and They are barred from true entry. Even so, Their baleful influence spreads and the War Without End is rekindled as the Shadaoin are created and walk free within the Mortal Realms. Whole civilizations rise and fall during this time, shaped and wracked by the conflict. The Sorcerer-Kings of Engis-Erkrath rise up almost overnight and are destroyed from within, their own people rebelling against their domineering and tyrannical ways – and stand to this day as guards against such a thing occurring again, witnesses to the madness that is the War Without End.

Sundering of the Fae

After the loss of the Queen of Elvendome and her heir, the decision is made by the Fae to work a great enchantment and raise the Twilight Mists between the realm of the Fae and the Mortal Realm, creating a safe haven that can remain uncorrupted by the Dearth. This in turn is greatly contested by others among the Fae and causes the Sundering as the Sha’Achtar leave their brethren to pursue the War Without End in their own way, carving out their own Shadowlands on the edge of Death and Destruction so as to find and meet the Great Old Ones and the Lords of Dearth before they can corrupt reality even more than they already have. The effort is not entirely successful, and even in Faerie the Dearth has a foothold while the Shadowlands remain the first battleground against the Lords of Dearth as the Sha’Achtar intended even if the Realm itself is a darker and more dangerous place than was intended.

The Invoked Devastation 

After the Twilight Mists rise and the Shadowlands expand, the War Without End continues to raze the Mortal Realm without mercy or hope as the Dearth taints it and Creation rebels against itself. The Primordial Gods, finally roused from their contemplation, bring about the Invoked Devastation, destroying the Second City in Fire and Flood. Its status as a seat of goetic perversion in the wake of Ilhiedrin’s crimes a cancer on the face of Creation. While the Celestial Fires are specific, raising Thalath in a Great Flood is far from specific and much of the Mortal Realms affected, and the effects are felt even into Faerie and the Shadowlands.

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