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    Default Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

    Vidalis

    OP by Mark Smylie

    “It is true courage to live when it is right to live, and to die only when it is right to die.” – a Prince of the Kingdom

    Vidalis is a campaign setting suitable for any edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Vidalis is a word of many meanings. As a name it is the name of the human kingdom on the main continent. As pro vidalis it was the war cry that the first knights of the kingdom shouted as they fought against the bandit tribes, and translated from the Hevian tongue it means valor, the kingdoms highest award for which the Hundred Knights were given after the defeat of the Demon.

    The kingdom borrows heavily from certain real world cultures. While the military uses the British rank and structure, the government combines a Senate and King fashioned after the Greeks. The society is structured similar to the feudal system, but people are free, not serfs or slaves. Commoners work for their Lords and Ladies because the Nobles protect them from the bandits, not because of a caste system based on birth.

    Only the Demi-Humans of the Realm worship any Gods. The people of the kingdom lost contact with their god thousands of years ago and in it's place they instead have Heroes and Legends of old that they revere. Six figures from history show the people of the kingdom how to live, each praised for certain deeds or qualities.

    Three Key Themes of Vidalis

    Honor

    People focus less on the difference between Good & Evil and more on whether a person is Honorable or not. Honor can take many different specific forms, whether it be the loyalty of a Knight to his Lord, the secrecy of a Thief to his Guild or a persons adherence to the ideals of their Legend. In the most general and accepted forms of Honor, Honorable people tend to act for the good of the many, though some characters, such as the Thief, may be Honorable within one group (his Guild) and without Honor to the rest of society.

    Magic

    Magic is being rediscovered. There is no cultural distinction between arcane and divine magic. The Hevians were the masters of arcane magic, but in the devastation after their downfall nearly all knowledge of the magical arts was lost. The slow resurgence that has begun has been mainly due to individuals discovering their powers and experimenting on their own. Even the few trained magicians that exist couldn’t readily tell the difference between an arcane artifact or a divine one.

    The Sword

    In the centuries without magic people learned to survive on their own wits and skills in combat. All nobles are taught how to wield a blade and even the lowest peasant has some training with his farming implements to fight in the local militia. It is an armed society where it would be uncommon for someone to appear without at least a dagger. A famous sword fighter can win acclaim and high standing in society for his skill with the blade even if he be from common birth.

    While the cities are well-patroled and safe, one of the drawbacks of such an emphasis on the sword is that the few rogues that take to the countryside and waylay travelers tend to be very skilled. Traveling between cities can be a dangerous enterprise.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

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    Default Re: Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

    Lore

    One of the Hundred Knights, released from service to the Crown.

    Hobden

    When the war came, Hobden was left holding the door open for no one but the whispers that the wind brought. Fourteen years standing on the same spot, greeting those who arrived and watching over those that left had made him more a piece of the city’s’ masonry than a life-breathing citizen. The Grand Marionettes lobby was filled now only with remembrances and the half-imagined ghosts of joy.

    When the rumors of the desert Orc Men and the northern Dwarves reached his ears, he listened but did not speak. The doorman is not required to say of what he knows but expected to remember and recall what has been seen or said. The comings and goings of the city were his bond to life.

    When the scouts returned from the north he watched them as they passed through the doors and left whispers in the ears of the people. revenge, they said. annihilation.

    When the soldiers marched from the south he listened as their steel shook and steps thundered on the streets. Their wake was a canyon of silence, breaths held as waiting for the last trump.

    When the fire came, when the blood flowed, when the walls of the city groaned and shattered, when the sky fell and cracked the earth, Hobden stood and watched.

    When the war came, Hobden was left in a city turned on itself.

    ---

    Journal of Captain A.H. Riley
    Lance Riders Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, His Majestys Royal Mounted Corps


    3rd Week of Harvest, at the Port of Shelo.
    Today Sarah’s father has given me permission to ask for her hand. He has been a codgy old fellow, secretly advising her against me when I’m not around, I’m sure. But the words of her fair mother have been like a cool cloth to a fevered head and sounder minds have prevailed. My furlough here has been well spent, as the time required to bend the old mans ear was nearly as long as I anticipated. And my love, my Sarah; I would ride through a thousand burning deserts and face any monstrous horde to win her delicate hand.
    My heart is shaking and I find myself in a state of wonderful terror. No other makes me come alive as when I’m with her; not the heat of pitched battle nor the moment before shields break. I go now to meet her. I shall return with a bride!

    1st Week of Turning, at The Kings Palace.
    Married life has been the blessing I knew it would be. My bride has adjusted wonderfully to the demands of not only a wife but the wife of a Cavalry Officer. In these two short weeks she has proven herself to be every bit the woman I dreamed of.

    Our new quarters are small but Sarah has turned it into a home away from home for herself and me. The men all congratulated me on my beautiful bride, and they even pooled some of their pay together and commissioned a plaque commemorating our wedding day. Sarah blushed and smiled when they presented it to us, and I spoke for her as she is shy around so many men, but would have thanked them herself could she but speak.

    2nd Week of Turning, at The Kings Palace.
    Grave rumors abound in the ears of the men. There is talk of action between the Orc-Men and the Dwarves, with as many varied reasons for it as there are stars in the southern sky. Some men say that the two races have joined together for an alliance. Others reckon that the damned Orcs have organized behind a mysterious human leader and wantonly attacked the Dwarves in their mountainous homes. I even overheard one of my Officers relating a tale that he heard in the pub, of a royal Dwarf that was captured by the Orc-Men and held for ransom. I chided him not to listen to such gossip and warned him of the dangers of loose tongues spreading lies. He told me that he overheard this from a scout that had the appearance of recent desert travels. That gives me pause. I wonder what the scout actually saw?

    3rd Week of Turning, at The Kings Palace.
    I have sent Sarah home to her parents at Port Shelo. It should be safer there, farther away from the desert. Orders came down today to mobilize, but before then we were already getting ready to move. The rumors of the past week have grown wilder, and I do not have the time or authority to investigate the veracity of the claims. Yet something has happened to awaken the sleeping Dwarven war machine, that much can be believed, and we are being sent to fortify the northern border against any possible aggression.

    4th Week of Turning, en route to Borderwatch Keep.
    As we ride north we are passed by countless lines of refugees fleeing to the south. They are unharmed though, and fly only in terror of the unknown. I cannot wholly blame them; they are not trained warriors and do not have the courage of mind and stoutness of heart required to stand and face a nameless foe.

    The men were nervous and excited as we first left, but passing these fearful people have quieted their tongues for which I am grateful. I have instructed my Officers to present a calm assurance to the men, in hopes to strengthen their resolve against what may come. For myself, I think of Sarah, and am at peace knowing she is safe in her parents house.

    2nd Week of Silence, at Borderwatch Keep.
    We passed through many empty villages on our way here. Frivale was the one city that was still peopled. It is in fact over-grown with those who lived in the hamlets north of the city, near the border. The city has seemingly become a floodgate, preventing the entire northern populace from rushing down into the plains. It is well-equipped to handle the excess however, as Frivale was always been the central hub of our northern region.

    Our company is quartered in the west stables of the Keep and share the Quick Reaction Force duty with the Riders of 2nd and 3rd Battalion. We have been here for almost two weeks and though there has been no sight of Orc-Men or Dwarves, Colonel Bryant of the Keep maintains our forces at full alert. I trust in his judgement.

    I do not enjoy being this close to the desert. It lies just beyond the low hills of the Keep. As far as the eye can see there is only blasted and twisting sand, heat shimmering above the dunes. I do not envy the scouts that venture out into the wasteland. Who knows what lies among the ruins of the ancient magicians?

    2nd Week of Silence, at Borderwatch Keep.
    The Orc-Men attacked this morning. So great were there numbers that for a moment I believed I would never see my fair Sarah again. Yet though there was a horde rushing towards us, they were not organized and seemed to be merely fleeing. I acknowledge the wisdom and foresight of Colonel Bryant as well, for the whole Keep was able to respond and assemble for their charge soon after the damned Orcs were spotted.

    My Riders were detached to the west hills and had orders to wait until the Orc-Men had passed into the defile that led away from the desert and into the path that the Keep guards. There the mass of disorderly Orcs meet with volley after volley of archer fire and smashed themselves against the pike and shield wall of the 12th Infantry. As we prepared to ride down on them, I noticed that they seemed more intent on getting past the Infantry then in fighting them. I had no more time for strategy then as my company, along with every Lance Rider company of four battalions smashed into their west flank. Though some resisted, I can not truly call it a battle. We slaughtered them and the Orc-Men sought only to flee past us to the south.

    The men were jubilant after such a decisive victory, but I along with the other Officers are worried. What could have made such a large contingent of Orcs turn tail as they did? I know that the Orc has no heart for bravery or understands what courage means, but they have proven themselves to be dedicated warriors if dedicated only to the fight itself. Watching them run as they did fills my heart with more trepidation than if they were solidly lined against us.

    3rd Week of Silence, at Borderwatch Keep.
    I know now what the Orc-Men flew from. Sarah, I pray somehow this journal finds you, as you have always been in my thoughts, if not my letters. It is almost…unbelievable, beyond words, what has come down from the desert. I will say it again. I love thee. I go now to join the men.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

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    Default Re: Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

    History of Vidalis



    Valor, Loyalty, Service. - Motto of the Kingdom

    The Past

    Thousands of years ago, the land was ruled by a council of three; Dwarves from the northern mountains, the Elf people in the forests, and the Hevian wizards that lived in the plains. Each was sovereign, yet respected their fellows and worked together for the benefit of all. The Dwarves struck deep within their caves, and carved out a kingdom of rock and stone. The wild Elves grew in stature and grace as the giant trees that they lived among. The Hevians sought power beyond the reach of mortals, as to become Gods themselves.

    With great ambition rides commiserate risk, and great failure followed the all-too-human wizards. Their hubris brought the destruction of their land; rolling hills and grasslands blasted into desert dunes. Their vanity twisted their nature; once proud men transformed into uncaring brutes. Their limitless hunger warped the essence of magic; once thought gone forever is only now marking a return.

    The Present

    Some remnant of the Hevian wizards was not content to sleep under the sands. Through chance or intention, the Orc-Men released the spirit of one of the grandest wizards of Hevia. Known only as the Demon, he raised an army of dead Hevians and sought to conquer the Kingdom. The Dwarves fought a terrible campaign in the northern desert before pushed back into the mountain homes. The disorganized tribal Orc-Men were crushed beneath the Demon and were brought back to a mockery of life to serve as his fodder against the the Kingdom. Without the alliance from the Elves and the Gnomes the Kingdom would have been overrun; the Borderwatch Keep was destroyed in the early days of the campaign and the city of Frivale became the focal point for the war.

    Gnome crafters and engineers sieged the city from the south, while the Gnome Dragonriders fought in the air above it. The Elves held the forest and the western route clear while the Men and Hin fought against Demons horde. The war seemed at a stalemate for months until a daring assault lead by the King swept down from Stones End Tower to assault Demon from his unprotected northern side. The Hevian forces within the city collapsed and they retreated en mass through the desert, finally being pushed back to join their northern forces that sieged the Dwarves. Caught between the entire might of the Kingdom and its allies on the south and the impenetrable holds of the Dwarves on the north, Demons army was obliterated.

    It took a squad of spellcasters to neutralize his powers while three companies of martial warriors threw themselves against his blade. Of those only a hundred remained to stand and watch as his slain body was consumed by an unnatural fire so hot that no man could approach the coals for three days. His ashes were placed in spelled containers and spread to the four corners of the land. Before he died he cursed the Kingdom, foretelling doom in a language none could understand.

    The Future

    The Demons War lasted less than a year but brought destruction on a scale that had not been seen for centuries. It has been six months since the war ended and the Kingdom is still struggling to restore itself. The desperate still hold out hope for their loved ones that have not returned, but most people of the Kingdom have come to accept their loss. The people live day to day, the steady assurance of their previous life gone.

    The destruction of Frivale has left thousands without homes; the refugees had flooded the capital city of Petor and spread out to the other cities and towns in the south. Only in the past month have people started to return to Frivale to find it unrecognizable as a city. The destruction was so near complete that the city has more in common with ancient ruins than modern times. Returning peoples have setup a tent city just south of the ruins with a Guard force there for protection as strange noises and lights can sometimes be seen among the rubble. Some have gone there to try and rebuild their lives. Others to search for lost friends and relatives. And others yet are at Frivale for reasons only known to themselves.

    Timeline
    BF = Before Fall
    CS = Clear Sky

    Prehistory - Birth of the Gods. Dawn of the World. First Breath of Mortals.
    Uncounted Ages - Rise and Fall of Proto Civilizations.
    2,000 BF - Tharaxan declares himself first Mage-King of Hevia.
    1,250 BF - Dwarf and Elf nations recognize Hevia, form Council of Three. Dragons warn Gnome Queen to remain distant; Gnomes and Dragons retire to their mountains.
    1,127 BF - Tharaxan dies his third mortal death, transforms self into first demi-lich.
    1,124 BF - Religious pontiff opposes Tharaxan, destroys the Lich forever. Pontiff rules briefly and is assassinated by Tharaxan the Second.
    1,082 BF - Tharaxan the Second makes peace with religious order, fully integrates the Worship of the First Light into the state.
    901 BF - Dwarves and Hevia repel invaders from across the sea.
    834 BF - Elves agree to share arcane mysteries with Hevian Archmages.
    791 BF - High Priest of the First Light condemns Tharazan the Second. Priest is disrobed but escapes with large contingent of followers.
    788 BF - Hevia defeats foreign invaders. Banished Priest found helping the foreigners, escapes again.
    782 BF - Priests followers capture and kill the heir of Tharaxan the Second. Mage-King outlaws the religion and slaughters priests and laymen.
    780 BF - Exiled High Priest caught and tortured for 31 days. Before dying proclaims that the First Light will destroy Hevia. Mage-King vows to kill the First Light.
    779 BF - Tharaxan the Second single-handily destroys the foreign invaders fleet of ships.
    768 BF - Mage-King's first attempt at slaying the god known as First Light fails, 729 circle mages die in the failure. Tharaxan the Second lone survivor.
    354 BF - Second attempt ultimately fails, but before all the 2,345 circle mages die the First Light was momentarily weakened. Tharaxan the Second renews his vow.
    1 BF - Third attempt to kill the First Light succeeds. All 9,000 mages in the circle perished instantly and the dying gods death curse was lain upon the nation. All people were transformed into beasts, their intelligence turned to savage cunning. Earthquakes and fire cover the nation and burn and shake for 31 days, leaving the land in ruins. A great smoke fills the air, nearly blocking the light of the sun.

    Years in Darkness

    1 CS - First clear dawn and full day of smoke free skies.
    27 CS - Trade begins between the few human communities in the Halfling lands of the south that were spared the curse of the dying god.
    34 CS - Bandits organize into warbands.
    36 CS - Golen declares himself the first Bandit King
    47 CS - Calonis Kel defeats the bandits near Stones End Tower.
    49 CS - Calonis is killed by Golen.
    50 CS - Lothel organizes the towns militia's and rides out to fight Golen. Lothel and warriors are victorious, killing Golen and scattering the bandit war bands. Lothel is named first King of Vidalis.
    51 CS - Royal Martial Academy founded.
    53 CS - Start of the Elven War
    54 CS - Lothel is slain by the son of Golen, who is caught and executed by the guard.
    56 CS - Wilona the Wise assassinated by opposing mages. Dragons decide in her favor and reveal the mages corruption. Guild of Mages is formed to follow late King Lothel's and Wilonas guidelines and philosophy.
    78 CS - Dwarves defeat foreign invaders, send envoy to new kingdom of Vidalis.
    79 CS - Savon dies.
    160 CS - Treaty of Petor signed, ends Elven War
    160 CS - Elves recognize kingdom of Vidalis.
    174 CS - Desira becomes captain of her own ship.
    176 CS - Lagrange is first ambassador of Vidalis to travel to all three nations; The Elves, the Dwarves, and the Gnome & Dragon alliance.
    189 CS - King Garreth succeeds his father for the throne.
    200 CS - The Demon is woken from the ruins of Hevia and makes war on all the peoples of the Realm.
    201 CS - The siege of Frivale begins.
    201 CS - The siege ends and the Demon is destroyed deep in the wasteland. His body is burned and the ashes carried to the four corners of the Realm.
    202 CS - Start of Campaign.
    Last edited by Chambers; 2012-02-10 at 03:09 PM.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

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    Default Re: Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

    The Realm


    A knight in the capital city of Petor.

    Humans
    The Kingdom has survived from the remnants of Hevia and has transformed itself from a world of chaos into one of order and reason. In the absence of magic the martial arts have been developed extensively, yet the people and rulers have sought to avoid the hubris that caused the destruction of their ancient land. The King rules, but all obey the rule of law.

    Dwarves
    After the cataclsym, the Dwarves retreated from the world into their caves. The desert and the Orc-Men separate them from the rest of the world, and they have not sought to change this in all the millenia that have passed. It is rare to find Dwarves in the Kingdom though some do make the trek through the Burning Desert.

    Elves
    At first a force of wild nature, the Elves learned discipline and the pursuit of knowledge from the Hevians. Their long lives let them avoid the burning desire that the fated Wizards had, however. In the aftermath, they helped to rebuild the Kingdom and remain close allies with them.

    Half-Elves
    The best of both races is present in the Half-Elfs of the Kingdom; the Elven self-disicipline and long-life and the Human adapability and inquisitiveness. With no true community of their own they travel freely between the forest and the plains, forming the bridge that connects these two races.

    Halflings
    The Hin have lived among the Humans since the dispersion of their lands at the hands of the Wizards. The Halfings of the Kingdom work and live side by side with the Humans, and share fully in their economy and government. There remains a strong Hin cultural tradition that has assimilated itself into modern life.

    Half-Orcs
    The Orc-Men are the twisted descendents of the Wizards of Hevia, a whole nation bodily transformed into a creature that has only the baser natures of man. Orcs only breed true with other Orcs and as such there are no Half-Orcs. Orcs are not a player race in Vidalis.

    Gnomes
    Of all the races the Gnomes were the ones least displaced by the fall of Hevia. Living in and among the Dragonspire mountains in the south, they are friendly with the Kingdom but are not of it. Their close associations with the Dragons and their work in reclaiming the lost magic sets them apart from the rest of the world, yet no ill has come of this.


    Magic

    The Wizards of ancient Hevia were responsible for the destruction of their nation and the creation of the burning wastes that now lie over the ruins of their cities. Nearly all their knowledge has passed, but there still is some magic in the world. Spellcasters are the sole class that is capable of casting spells. Either self-taught or through rare training with the small Guild of Mages, no two Spellcasters are exactly the same. They refer to themselves as Mages.

    The Gods of the Kingdom do not manifest themselves or interfere with mortal concerns on a regular basis. There are accounts of divine beings appearing with instructions and aid or malice; these are matters of history. The source of magic is debated by theologians and priests, but those are titles that any man give himself. The Mages do not neccesarily concern themselves with where their power comes from. There are as many different theories for that as there are Mages, and none has been proven more right than the others.


    Places

    Petor
    The capital city of the Kingdom, Petor is the seat of the Senate and residence of King Garreth. It is home port to the ships of the Kings navy and is surrounded by many small farming communities. With a population well over one hundred thousand Petor is easily the largest city in the Kingdom. There’s a saying popular among the residents that if you can’t find it in Petor then it doesn’t exist.

    Since the end of the Demon War Petor has become a center for refugees and displaced families. The outlying villages and towns are filled with new arrivals and the city itself is crowded, though not nearly as dangerously as Cabra.

    Borderwatch Keep
    Since the early days of the Kingdom the Borderwatch Keep has been the peoples first line of defense against the Orc-Men of the desert. Placed at a natural choke point in the terrain the Keep had successfully repelled every attack from the raiding tribals. When the scouts reports of the Demons army began to come in Colonel Bryant requester the Keep be brought up to full strength. Even with the combined might of Lance Riders from four battalions and the 7th and 12th Infantry Regiments the Keep was quickly overrun by the Demons horde. The defenders of the Keep were slaughtered nearly to the last man and it was because of their sacrifice that scouts were able to get the word south and prepare Frivale for the siege.

    Today the Keep stands shattered, its walls broken and towers crashed. The Guard maintains a border presence both to deter people from entering the desert as well as serving as early warning against possible further attacks.

    Frivale
    Once a jewel of the Kingdom, Frivale has been completely destroyed. It’s buildings have collapsed, the streets filled with the rubble of once tall towers. Tens of thousands of civilians were caught in the city when the Demon came down and those couldn’t escape or choose not to leave fought a daily battle for survival for nearly half a year. Dragonriders fought in the air against horrible creations of the Demons magic while his raised army of Orc-Men fought tirelessly in the rubble of the city. It was a surprise attack by King Garreth from the northeast of the city that broke the Demons siege and forced him to retreat across the desert.

    By that time it was too late for the city. Those that have returned have yet to go back inside. The streets are strewn with bodies and stone and at night strange noises and lights can be seen and heard from inside. The tent city that has sprung up south of the city holds ten thousand people with more arriving every day. The Guard has strained itself in trying to provide protection to people in the tents, as well as from the unknown dangers of the ruined city.

    Stones End Tower
    Originally built as a northern training base for the army, Stones End Tower has served in the past century as an isolated outpost for those escaping from lives in the mainland. Though it holds a regular garrison of Kingdom troops the majority of the people that live there have formed a community that is separate from the rest of the Kingdom. Outcasts and wanderers found their place in the Stones End militia and built up a self-sufficient life at the base of the mountains.

    King Garreth called upon the irregular militia during his raid on Frivale and the whole came along and distinguished themselves in battle. Most have returned to the Tower to return to their isolated community while others took the chance to leave and return to Kingdom life. Recently the Tower has become a popular destination for displaced warriors from the war and those with no home or family to return to.

    Shelo
    Shelo is the largest city on the main road from Cabra to Petor. Though it has a sizable port and fishing industry the city is mostly supported by the outlying villages and farms, along with the business that comes from travelers. During the war Shelo was a waypoint for refugees escaping the war as they passed on through to Cabra. The city itself has lost a sizable amount of its population as citizens joined the fight up north and the majority have not returned.

    Cabra
    Cabra boasts the largest port in the Kingdom and it is the home of the finest sailors and shipbuilders. The Long Road Trading Company brings the lumber and other supplies from the west while the master craftsmen build everything from rowboats to fishing trawlers and the new warships. Though it was far from direct conflict during the war, Cabra became the new home for the tens of thousands displaced from Frivale. The city was not built to sustain such a great number of people and it has become dangerously overcrowded with little to no extra support received from the rest of the Kingdom. Only through heavy reliance on fishing has the city kept themselves fed but there are too many people for the city to endure for much longer.

    Dragonspire Mountains
    High in the mountains, just below the clouds, lay the roosts of the dragons. Though owing allegiance to none they are friendly with the Gnomes that share their mountains beneath them. While the Kingdom turned towards more martial study after the fall of Hevia, the Gnomes instead sought to recapture the magic that still lies inherent within them. It is perhaps because of that aspect of the Gnomes nature that the dragons tolerate and accept them, even going so far as to allow the Gnomes to ride them into battle.

    Endless Forest
    The elves were not immune from the war within their forests. The Demon sent raised Orc-Men to slash and burn their forest home, hoping to draw the elves away from the siege of Frivale. Forced to make a difficult decision the Elven leaders recognized that if Frivale fell, then the Kingdom would fall. If the Kingdom fell then the Elves would be next. Instead of following the Demons plans for them, they sent as few warriors to the northern woods as they could spare while the bulk of their forces fought in the east.

    The results were devastating. Though the elves managed to drive off the Orc-Men in some areas, the undead raiders broke through the Elven citadel and burned hundreds of acres of forest to the ground. The smoke from the fires could be seen as far away as Petor and the elves at Frivale fought all the harder for they knew the sacrifice they had chosen was real.

    Burning Desert
    In ages past the Burning Desert was a beautiful land of rolling hills and plains. The Wizards empire stretched from coast to coast and their cities were gleaming landmarks of beauty and power. Their fall was so terrible that now nothing remains but sand blasted ruins and the rolling dunes, home only to the Orc-Men that rove and fight in their tribes.

    There had always been a certain amount of wonder associated with the land as the people of the Kingdom imagined what treasures could be found within the desert ruins. The harrowing reports of those brave fools that were lucky enough to return alive from their explorations were not enough to turn people away, and adventurers and fortune seekers would still risk the dangers to see what could be gained.

    Since the Demon War the Guard has placed a border patrol at the ruins of Borderwatch Keep. They are fearful of someone waking up another horror from the desert, one that they might not be able to stop. So far no one has tried to bypass them as the people are too busy recovering their lives in their own land.

    Hammerdelve Mountains
    The ancient home of the dwarven peoples, the Hammerdelve Mountains have proven themselves to be the dwarves strongest weapon. They have dug themselves in for millennia and the caverns underneath the snow capped peaks go deeper and farther than any in the Kingdom can imagine. Since the fall of Hevia the dwarves remained a solitary people, cultivating the foothills beneath their slopes and rarely crossing the desert to the Kingdom.

    The Demon caught them unprepared to fight such a large force and they were forced to retreat within their caves. From there they fought a terrible battle of siege and attrition, often having to face the reanimated bodies of their comrades who had been slain in previous battles.

    Now that the war is over, the dwarven people are recuperating in their fashion of solitude. A single dwarven leader has been volunteered to travel to the Kingdom to build relations between the Kingdom and to ensure that the desert wizards never rise again.

    Cloudpierce Peak
    Little is known about the tallest mountain in the land. Dwarven legend holds that above the clouds at the top of the mountain the winds come alive and dance and sing to the giants that live on its slopes. Others claim that the moans of the wind are the cries of the sky as it is pierced by mountain, forever in pain.


    Organizations

    Royal Martial Academy
    The institution formally known as the Royal Martial Academy is referred to by nearly everyone as simply The Academy. All of the Kingdoms warriors that study the Martial Way are trained on the Academys grounds. The complex houses nearly 500 people that live and work there in support of the Academy. The schools Commandant General Holton suspended training at the Academy during the war and took all the Academies students to the fight, a number large enough to fill two battalions. The hundred warriors that returned were given the Kingdoms award for Valor, a red stripe sewn into their left sleeve. The commendation includes the Knighting of the recepient, and some of the Hundred Knights returned to the school as new instructors, while others sought new lives elsewhere.

    Guild of Mages
    Magic has started to make a return in the past century. At first adepts traveled to the Dragonspire Mountains to study and learn from the Gnomes and dragons. Soon after the Guild was created by a young man named Cedaris and three of his fellow mages. The first Archmage since the time of the Hevians, old Cedaris is still the leader of the Guild and it now boasts nearly a hundred members.

    The Guilds purpose is to promote the study of magic and train all those who seek to wield it in a responsible manner. Well aware of the folly of the Heavians, Archmage Cedaris and his three intsructors are careful to guide their students away from the search of power for powers sake. He teaches that magic is a dangerous ability and one must be careful and consider the implications of its use lest a student be faced with sudden consequences they did not foresee. In the past few years the military began working with the Guild in developing battle mages for use in their army.

    During the war many of the Guilds members fought with the Kingdom against the Demon. Archmage Cedaris himself was instrumental in the Kings raid that broke the siege of Frivale and those mages that survived the war have returned with lesons that could not be taught in the Guild hall.

    Disciples of Legends
    The people of the Kingdom do not have Gods that they call upon or revere. There was once a deity that the Hevians worshipped though the records are mostly legend now. While the complete story is not known one myth says that it was the Hevians fall that silenced their god. What terrible and powerful magics they had that could affect their own god is unknown but it is whispered that some of the Wizards tried to usurp their gods power. While they were unable to kill him they injured him somehow and the transformation of the Hevians into the Orc-Men was his curse upon his people. As far as what happened to their god or why he hasn’t been heard of in milennia no one knows.

    Arising from the ashes of the Wizads empire the Kingdom looked to its own people for inspiration. Throughout the ages individuals have risen to great power and have become entombed in myth and legend. Revered as Heroes these figures of antiquity serve to exemplify certain aspects of the human condition and people look to their example as to how they should live their own lives.

    A loose organization has developed over time that chronicles and maintains the history and legends of the Heroes. The self-titled Disciples of Legend seek to emulate the best characteristics of the Heroes in their own lives. While the group has little political or economic power the members consider themselves a brotherhood (including women) of people that strive to raise humanity up to its highest potential.

    The other races of the land have their own gods. The Dwarves worship Moradin and his soulforge. The Elves in the trees revere Corellon Larethian. The Halfings follow Yondalla where she would lead them, and the Gnomes abide under the firm but just Gaerdal Ironhand.

    The Long Road Trading Company
    Five half-elfs of the Kingdom started this merchant caravan business 30 years ago. It has grown from a single wagon team into a mobile supply chain that reaches from the eastern to western coast, including two yearly trips to the Hammerdelve Mountains. The Kingdom frequently hires the Long Road to move its own personnel and supplies, and the company has a good relationshp with the freelance swords that hire on to protect the caravans from bandit attacks.

    During the war the Long Road was instrumental in bringing supplies to the siege of Frivale; without their caravans it is speculated that they city would have fallen. However six months after the war the Kingdom has yet to begun to repay the Long Road for the use of their caravans. Senators cite the other costs of reconstruction, while others say that it was the Long Roads duty and that they won’t be paid. Though the merchant masters of the company have not yet demanded repayment there have been grumbles and rumors about what should be done.

    Council of Balance
    The official name of the Senate, the Council of Balance serves as the legislators for the Kingdom. The Senate seeks to ensure that the laws are just, whether they be fair or not. Though most Senators come from noble families, the only official prerequisite to holding office is a Honorable term of service in the Kingdoms military.

    Emerald Eye
    This thieves guild has a well-earned reputation for its skilled thieves and unique sense of honor. Though the Eye remains a criminal organization, it seeks to avoid open confrontations and prefers bloodless victories. Although the guild controls nearly all aspects of organized crime in the Kingdom, it is best known for it’s daring jewel heists. The trademark of the jewel thieves within the Emerald Eye is a emerald stone, cut to resemble a cats eye.
    During the war the Emerald Eye suspended all thefts and many members served under false identities as scouts for the Kingdom. Since the war has ended the Eye has remained silent though the typical victims of the Eye are too busy with reconstruction to give thanks or wonder the cause for the respite.

    Guards of the Watch
    The Petor guard is organized under the firm hand of Chief Magistrate Falen J. Fairweather,*III. As a port city, the Guard is kept busy dealing with smuggling and all the usual petty crime of a large city. Petor’s courtroom falls under the jurisdiction of the Guards of the Watch, so the Chief Magistrate is often indirectly the judge, jury and executioner. A cold man who gives no mercy to his criminals, the Chief Magistrate’s sole failure had been to break the Emerald Eye’s circle of crime.

    In the past few months the Chief Magistrates central concern has been security. Too many warriors were lost in the war, and the underpowered state of the Kingdoms military is a closely guarded secret. The Guard has expanded their normal duties to include border security along the desert as well as protection outside the ruins of Frivale.


    Religion

    The people of the Kingdom do not have Gods that they call upon or revere. There was once a deity that the Hevians worshiped though the records are mostly legend now. While the complete story is not known one myth says that it was the Hevians fall that silenced their god. What terrible and powerful magics they had that could affect their own god is unknown but it is whispered that some of the Wizards tried to usurp their gods power. While they were unable to kill him they injured him somehow and the transformation of the Hevians into the Orc-Men was his curse upon his people. As far as what happened to their god or why he hasn’t been heard of in millennia no one knows.

    Arising from the ashes of the Wizards empire the Kingdom looked to its own people for inspiration. Throughout the ages individuals have risen to great power and have become entombed in myth and legend. Revered as Heroes these figures of antiquity serve to exemplify certain aspects of the human condition and people look to their example as to how they should live their own lives.
    • Savon, a woodsman renowned for great strength
    • Desira, half-elf lady captain of The Laughing Face pirate ship
    • Calonis Kel, the first Crusader
    • Lothel, first Mage/King of the Kingdom
    • Wilona, wise woman of the southern plains
    • Lagrange, half-elf diplomat and tradesman


    The other races of the land have their own gods. The Dwarves worship Moradin and his soulforge. The Elves in the trees revere Corellon Larethian. The Halfings follow Yondalla where she would lead them, and the Gnomes abide under the firm but just Gaerdal Ironhand.

    Savon
    Savon was a woodsman living on the edges of the Endless Forest. Though skilled in woodcraft and sword fighting he was renowned for his great strength. While he was known well enough in his home for his survival and tracking skills, his fame grew of the stories of his unique method of hunting. Not content to slay beasts with sword or arrow, he would track his prey for days, sneak close by and wrestle it into submission. His home was adorned with the heads of great beasts that he had subdued with his bare hands.

    Though some scoff at the idea today, his most famous story tells of the time he wrestled with a brown bear for two days straight. Unable to simply overpower the beast he held on using his superior technique and endurance to defeat the bear. The story goes that after the beast was subdued Savon respected the bears strength and endurance and decided not to slay him. The bear joined Savon and followed him, the two becoming fast companions.

    Desira
    In the early days of the Kingdom the sea was an unexplored mystery. Until the resources could be developed to allow great ship building the people relied little on the sea, taking in only what fisherman could catch. Once the first great ships were sailing though, people took to the water with eagerness. One such sailor was a half-elf woman named Desira. She joined her first ship, The Laughing Face, still in her teens and never spoke of where she came from or who she was running from. She took to the sea like she was born to it, moving with a grace that seemed to be borne of water. The first time her ship was attacked by sea-raiders she laughed at their clumsy tactics and she rallied her crew to repeal the borders.

    Having gotten a taste of the rogue life she changed the mission of The Laughing Face and set to attacking other ships. She never out of blood lust or greed, but for the sheer rush of battle and the exhilaration of it. Quick with a smile and a laugh, she was as nimble the sails or climbing the lines as she was on her feet or dancing through a battle. Legend holds that all the treasure she accumulated over the years was hidden in a secret island just off the coast, and that to reach it one would have to be as daring and quick-footed as herself.

    Calonis Kel
    Centuries after his death Calonis Kel is still regarded as one of the toughest warriors the Kingdom has ever had. Credited as the first warrior to earn the title Crusader, his story tells that before he became the foundation for the Devoted Spirit discipline he was a simple healer. Raised near the eastern mountains that are home now to the Stones End Tower, the Kingdom was little more than an ideal in peoples hearts. The land was untamed and dangerous and to survive Calonis had to become tougher. Trained by his father in the arts of medicine he had some minor spellcasting ability that he used to aid him in treating people. It wasn’t until bandits attacked his family that he was forced to pick up the sword to defend his homestead.

    With no formal training in sword fighting his skills were rudimentary at best, so instead he fought with his heart and iron constitution. Men rallied behind him as he led them in counter-attacks against the bandits and he learned to combine the healing aspects of his magic with the zeal of his righteous anger against those that had wronged him. Before he and his men had cleared out the bandits from their region news of him and his crusade against the lawless had spread across the land. Stronghearted warriors came to the eastern mountains in search of the famous leader the people had named the Crusader, yet they were surprised to find a simple healer that had gone back to his trade when the fight was over. Those who stayed and were willing to learn he taught the ways of the Devoted Spirit; not in grueling training matches nor in discussions of technique, but in unspoken lessons of what is right and just.

    Lothel
    There have been more powerful Mages since Lothel and every King has reigned longer than he did but Lothel was the first man to claim that title and bring the Kingdom together. Born to a time of chaos when bandits roamed the land and terrorized the isolated pockets of humanity Lothel was one of the first to mark the slow return of magic. While meager compared to the standards of today his abilities set him apart from and above the rest of the people. He could have used his talents to unite the bandits and forge his rule through domination and fear but was instead inspired by the actions of the recently dead Calonis. Realizing what set Calonis apart was not necessarily his unique abilities but also the manner in which he employed them Lothel set for himself a code of conduct that allowed for the proper application of his magic when only necessarily.

    His code was instrumental in bringing together the Kingdom as the basic tenets were applicable to not only Mages but those with other abilities beyond the ken of common folk. His philosophy, called the Imperative of Inquiry, was simple enough for uneducated people to understand while elegant and strong enough to encompass nearly any situation into it’s guidelines. The result was a growing populace of people that had a simple but effective way of determining the right and just course of action. Through his subtle leadership of the people they banded together under students of Calonis and fought against the disparate bandits. Faced with overwheming numbers, organization and fighting ability the bandits were destroyed as a major threat. In their victory the people rallied around Lothel and requested that with his intellect he be their first King. He accepted and helped set in place the government of the Kingdom that remains today. His tale has not a happy ending, as soon after the Kingdom was established a revenge seeking bandit slew him in his chambers. Mages of today note and revere Lothel not only as a point of pride for a Mage being the first King, but recall how the proper application of ones abilities was recognized as more important than the abilities themselves.
    .
    Wilona
    The people on the southern plains grew prosperous during the early years of the Kingdom. As stability increased in the land contact with the Gnomes in the nearby Dragonspire Mountains let the plains people develop an edge in magic and technology over their cousins farther norther. The Gnomes themselves were cautious of this new Kingdom of men as the dragons still remembered the Heavians and tales had been carried down through the generations to the Gnomes then living. Their gifts of knowledge were an unspoken test to the new Kingdom to see whether they would follow the same path as their ancestors. Backed by the dragons and their magic the Gnomes waited and watched to see what course the Kingdom would take.

    It was only a few years when the first warning signs started to appear. Encouraged by their own success the people had subverted the lessons taught to them by their first King and set about taming their land and increasing their knowledge with a greed that was all too familiar to the dragons. A lone voice argued against the growing hubris, that of a wise woman named Wilona. Revered in her community as a spellcaster with a natural understanding of the world she spoke out against the corruption of the Kings Inquiry and the dangers that lay down that road. She championed for an era of compassion, of respect and regard for the land itself as well as the people in it. Most importantly she warned the people of the dangers of the knowledge given by the Gnomes. Knowledge given without being earned, she said, was knowledge not understood. Without going through the trials and hardships that came from experience she argued that the people did not have the capability to properly adjucate the use of this new magic.

    Some people listened and understood while others gathered against her. Not satisified with ignoring her they found her a threat and her assassinated. Yet the dragons heard and recognized that she had understood what their gift meant. Angered that her own people would kill her for speaking the truth the dragons swept down from the mountains and proclaimed the truth of what she had died for. The dragons did nothing to her killers aside from inform the now repentent crowd of their identities. While her life and death became a tale of inspiration for centuries to come, her assassins graves were never marked by the mob that avenged her.

    Lagrange
    The elves that live in the western forest had little to do with the Kingdom as it struggled to rebuild after the fall of Hevia. The fey creatures had trusted humanity once and having been burned they were not likely to do so again. The elves left the young kingdom alone, and the only time someone saw an elf was if they had strayed too far past the unmarked boundary in the forest. Usually the first sighting was the last as the elves killed all who ventured in.

    With the rebuilding of Perot the kingdom began expanding and the elves decided to destroy the Kingdom before it had a chance to repeat the Hevians mistakes. A long and bloody border war started that pasted for generations. Inside their forests the elves reigned supreme, but their forces could not compete with the Kingdoms cavalry on the open field. After 100 years the war seemed at a stalemate, and the resolve to fight was weakened on both sides by something new that the war had created: half-elves. Not born of atrocity, but instead the union of two races that had come to grudgingly admire, respect, and secretly love the other.

    One such man was named Lagrange, and he fought not with sword and dagger but with guile. He made himself a political hostage held by the elves and worked to get both sided to sit at the negotiating table. After years of fighting the elves had learned that the Kingdom also wished to avoid the hybrid of their forebears and a peace treaty was signed. Lagrange was widely hailed as the cause of the treaty and his name was held in high esteem as one who worked for peace when battle raged.
    Last edited by Chambers; 2012-02-10 at 03:11 PM.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

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    Default Re: Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

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    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

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    Default Re: Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

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    Two should do it. That's everything I've got for now. I know I haven't put Lagranges legend up there, so there's still some things to do. Comment away!
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

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    Default Re: Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

    The whole, "human wizards went too far, then got turned into monsters," sounds a lot like Dragon Age. You may want to take a look at it for ideas, if you haven't already.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
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    Default Re: Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

    That's a bummer. I've heard of it but haven't played the video game.
    The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai Me.
    "We have sent many to Hell, to smooth our way," said I, "and we are standing yet and holding blades. What more?"

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    Default Re: Vidalis - Where Honor is as strong as steel. [Campaign Setting]

    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    Comment away!
    Run a campaign using this setting.
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