Posts Tagged With: Retreat of the High Lord

A Short Synopsis & Minor Treatise On the History & Nature of Creation (Part 5 – The Modern Era)

The Interregnum (1545 to 1670 R.A.)

The existing political landscape of the Heartlands was shaken by the events of the Cataclysm, Albion descending into chaos in the years that followed and eventually falling. The Petty Kingdoms were all but destroyed, some lasting as isolated enclaves within the Blight. The T’zarr Border States, far from the Blight, survived and even thrived.  The Grand Duchy of Soahc weathered the storm, ever-changing and yet unchanged as is it’s nature.

Damian Blackstaff and the Ashen Covenant

The descendant of Kesterin Blackstaff and heir to his power, Damian Blackstaff was present for the Cataclysm and witnessed it firsthand, saving the city of Vaille against desperate odds. In the ashes of the Cataclysm mages were the target of rage and violence across the Heartlands, led mostly by the surviving members of the Church of the Lords of Light. Gathering together in Vaille, surviving mages and their allies banded together for protection against a world that had turned hostile from all directions. The Ashen Covenant exists today, a hidden organization in an isolated stronghold, determined to insure the survival of it’s members.

Old Aquitaine (1670 to 1948 R.A.)

Eventually, a new power grew in the Heartlands, the Old Realm of Aquitaine. Centered in the northern reaches, with it’s capitol of Navarre high in the Mountains of Martyrs, the Old Realm of Aquitaine maintained excellent relations with it neighbors to the south (the Grand Duchy of Soahc) and east (the T’zarr Border States) but eventually became a victim of its own success.

Rise of the Great Guilds

The great strength that binds both Aquitaine is the string network of guilds that bind society together and act as a entire supplemental (and often alternative) system of governance within the environs of the realm. Loyal to themselves, to the status quo, and the general welfare of Aquitaine as a whole, the Great Guilds create subsidiary guilds and guildhouses to exert control over all the important aspects of trade and life in Aquitaine and the surrounding areas. Magic, mercenaries, merchants, adventurers, thieves, entertainers – all these professions (and many others) are governed by the Great Guilds.

Return of the Iron Court (1877 R.A.)

In the wake of the Mad Gods War, the battered remnants of the fleets and legions of the Iron Court fled the chaos of the final battle. More than six centuries later, they returned after having travelled not just across the Mortal Realms but even into the Great Waste to hide from the fury of the High Lord and the wrath of Albion. With the fall of Albion that Iron Court returns to what it left of their old lands – and  conquering new ones.

 The D’lanni Magistracy (1883 R.A.)

Thought lost in the Cataclysm, the floating city of Dinas Fforran reappeared deep within the ruins of Albion and cast lose it’s moorings  to float silently across the Heartlands. Ruled by the D’lanni Council, it remains one of the greatest of institutions of magic in the Heartlands though its mages and agents are both feared for their skill and despised for their abandonment of Albion in the hours of it’s need. Now a free city of trade and intrigue, Dinas Fforan charts a course known only to it’s rulers, with equally unknown goals.

The Siege of Storms (1900 R.A.)

Perhaps inevitably, the Iron Court attempted to destroy Dinas Fforan – something only possible due to their own potent fleet of windships. The siege lasted several nights and devastated the surrounding countryside and while both sides were mauled in the process the results were inconclusive at best. The Iron Court quickly realized that they were not willing to expend the resources needed to break the siege at the same time that they realized that the D’lanni were only interested in survival.

Black Dukes Proclamation (1948 R.A.)

In 2077 R.A. with the signing of the Black Dukes Proclamation the various duchies and powerful counties of Old Aquitaine all became independent kingdoms under the nominal authority of the High King in Navarre. This was a compromise on the part of all parties to prevent open rebellion but also a means to provide better alliances and defenses in the face of the Iron Court. Not a perfect solution, tensions remain and the authority of the High King is often bitterly disputed if ultimately recognized, the “New Aquitaine” is a powerful but often flawed beacon in the north of the Heartlands with the common folk often speaking with some fondness of “Old Aquitaine” as a time of less conflict and kinder rulers.

The False Archon’s War (1975 to 1987 R.A.)

In a troubling and once thought impossible situation, a third High Archon was elected along with a series of Archons across the Heartlands. The resultant chaos within not only the Church of the Lords of Light but Aquitaine, the Taurii Republic, and the T’zarr Border States lasted for over a decade before the rebellious Archons and lords were brought under control.

The Poisoning of Imris (2001 to 2013 R.A.)

Over the course of thirteen years, the Ithian Empire infiltrated the Kingdom of Imris via trade, marriage, and the discrete neutralization of threats and potential threats, ultimately placing one of their on the throne. In the years since their position has solidified and they have started to look elsewhere within Aquitaine for new breeding grounds.

The Hundred Blades War (2055 to 2058 R.A.)

One of the numerous trade wars between members of the Cartel (the Great Guild of Merchants in Aquitaine) explodes as various mercenary companies, then thieves bands, then adventuring groups become embroiled in their own conflicts as contracts are honored, old scores are settled, and spoils are taken. When the noble families begin to become involved, the conflict came to a quick end when the High King in Navarre, began to revoke charters and ordered the Imperial Legion to take action and against any and all brigands involved.

The Ravenger Campaigns (2085 to 2105 R.A.)

In what ended up being a failed a futile attempt, the Taurii  Republic began a series of campaigns against the Ravengers in the Blight, hoping that by exterminating them they could reclaim more land. Though warned by the Ashen Covenant in Vaile that the attempt would not succeed, the Taurii lose company after company of troops in a meatgrinding series of conflicts to no effect. The Ravengers numbers were seemingly undiminished, raids outside of the Blight increased, and the Taurii eventually stopped before they face a wholesale rebellion within their army, terrified of being send into the Blight again.

The Thirteen Moon Rebellion (2122 to 2123 R.A.)

In a frightening night of bloodshed the ruling family of Mystvale was slain, provoking a year long series of reprisals before the current ruling family was acknowledged as the proper rulers. Unfortunately, the common people do not rest uneasy under their rule and relations with the Elven Court have been strained in the years since.

The Goblin Wars (2161 to 2170 R.A.)

Boiling up out of their warrens in the Underdark, armies of Goblins rolled out of the mountains and attacked the civilized lands in a nine-year collection of conflicts that covered much of the Heartlands. In the Southern Heartlands, where the Blight acted as somewhat of a shield, the Trolls of the Black Hills took the opportunity to raid even more heavily into civilized lands than normal.

The High Lords Retreat (2180 R.A.)

The High Lord made his Retreat in this year, the Oriflamme remains banked, his Return not yet come again.

Current Time (2200 R.A.)

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Categories: Campaign, Campaign Development, Game Design, Game Play, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: Campaign, Campaign Development, Game Design, Game Play, House Rules | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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