Post your sheets, Backgrounds, and Contacts here when they're ready.
Here's the setting info again.
The Continental Map:
Blurbs on the major cities:
A Brief Explanation of Politics, Cities, and Geography
Most cities are Independent City States, each ruled in their own fashion, be it Ruling Class, Royal Family, Republic, Theocracy, or any combination of the above.
Massive stone edifices litter the continent, built by peoples long lost to the mists of history, for purposes unknown. Most cities have grown around these cyclopean structures and fortresses, as they provide easy fortification, and sit in idealy provisional lands.
Timaril, centrally located, is the largest city on the continent. It's people are a wide variety of races, but the predominent population is human. It calls itself a Republic, but is truly controlled by the wealthy upper classes. It is rife with crime and political intrigue, and it's population numbers in the millions of souls.
Beluvah The 'Seat of the Gods' has been a religious center since anyone can remember, and is governed by the council of Religious Leaders. It's great temples the goal of many a pilgrim on their way to pay hommage to their chosen gods. It stays apart, at least publicly, from most intercity politics.
Star Spire is named for the impossibly tall iron spire that sits at it's center, reaching high into the heavens. The spire was ancient when people first settled around it, and, like the other great structures, continues to be a mystery to any who would seek to understand its origin. The Land around it is high and rocky plateaus and mountains, reaching east to the cost, and south to the Red Canyon, through which the river flows from Clear Water Lake.
Great Gate is the oldest human city on the continent, and generally believed to be where all humans originally came from. It is ruled by a King.
The Ancient's Way is an incredibly massive stone bridge that connects the Northern Reaches to the Mainland. 26 miles long, and wide enough for a thousand men to march abreast, it's construction is far beyond contemporary means.
Citidel is a ancient fortress sitting at the base of the Ancient's Way. Now, it has grown into a hard trading comunity through which all action between the North and the Mainland must pass.
Loc'Nethal is the city of Elves, burried deep in the southern forrests. Very little is know about it, but the Elves are becoming increasingly territorial as expanding outposts encroach into their lands.
Black Harbor is the slavers' outpost, where those captured and kidnapped are rounded up to be shipped out to their buyers. Many cities condone slavery, many others do not.
Deep Mote grew up over an expansive network of mines in the northern mountains.
Bastion was built as a naval fortress on the Eastern point of the Northern Reaches, Bastion now controls most the sea trade between the mainland and the Island, and is a haven for traders not wanting to brave The Narrows and pirates alike.
Market This small town grew on the pilgrim's crossroads between Star Spire, Timaril, Sandy Shoal, and Beluvah.
Every major city has lines of nobility stretching back across the centuries, and elite orders of protectors to go with them.
The Silver Horsemen
The Slayers of Giants, the makers of Kings, and the Noblest of the Noble, these are the famed Knights of Star Spire. This order was said to have taken the lands around the Spire from the giant tribes that lived there in ages past. The order has existed longer than there are records for, and it's list of valorous deeds stretches for miles.
Ranging through all the lands surrounding Star Spire, the Silver Horsemen are kown for their white horses and shining armor, and march under a Banner of a rearing white horse on a burgundy feild, crossed by a clashing sword and lance.
They are lead by Sir Gerret Thornside
When the Dragons of old sailed the skys, none stood before the destruction they wrought. Untill the men of this Order arose... Weilding fearsome magics and deadly weapons, they bled the beasts for every village burned and peasant devoured, unto near extinction...
Based in Great Gate since men first landed on these shores, none need fear the terrors of the sky, or any other, in their presence.
Their helms and armors wrought in draconic fashion, the Dragonknights are known by their Banner of a black dragon spewing flame across a green field.
They are lead by Lord Jessen Kleret.
In ages passed, the king in Great Gate sought to control the whole of the continent. From Timaril to Citadel, none stood before the might of his armies... The orcish hordes were pushed back across the Ancient's Way, and even the Elves fled deep into their forrests. Nothing was beyond his grasp...
Untill he fell upon the garrison at Deep Mote...
The Garrison barely a thousand strong, the might of the king's great empire stopped at their wall, and never reached a step further.
To this day, under their watch, Deep Mote has never fallen... And never shall.
Theirs is the Banner of Deep Mote itself, A hammar and pick crossed over a slate grey field.
They are lead by Dylan Grimaxe.
Clearwater has always been a center for trade and learning, and does not possess much military strength beyond it's city watch. As such, it has always been a tempting target for any upstart dictator for it's wealth and ideal location...
However, whenever armies have marched on the city, to be met by the feeble strength of the city guard, it has been shown time and again that a few interested and well educated individuals can more than make up for a lack of manpower...
The wizards, sorcerors, and alchemists who make up the order are much more researchers in their normal lives than they are warriors. But when they take to the field, even great attacking forces have been said to flee at the sight of the Ivory Tower of their Banner flying over their walls.
They are lead by Grey Gregor.
The Knights of the Golden Mantle
The largest city on the continent, Timaril is both wealthy and powerful. It's standing army is the largest in the land, and it's elite troop, the Knights of the Golden Mantle, are the pride of all who reside within, or within sight of, it's walls.
Chosen from the finest soldiers of the ranks, these peerless warriors are credited for having made Timaril what it is today.
Their Banner is a Silver Shield upon a gleaming golden field.
They are lead by Lord Jaysen Tearic.
Despite the fact that there has been a tenuous peace over the land for the better part of a century, numerous skirmishes have taken place between rival cities and factions, usually at the hands of paid and unflagged mercenaries, rather than officially sanctioned soldiers. These are some of the more famous groups.
The Bloody Hands
Long ago, when the demi-human hordes of the North threatened to break through Citadel, it was mercenary troops from Ork Watch that bolstered the beleagured ranks, and stopped the invasion... Namely among them were the Bloody Hands.
These men are the separated and the outcast from more official soldiering troops, who've bonded togather to continue doing what they do best for the highest bidder... Fighting and killing.
Their banner is a brown field with a bloody hand print.
They are lead by Torin Hamerfist.
The Ashen Company
They say the men of this company are contracted to serve even after death, and to them, the will of the company stands above that of any king or god.
Marching into battle smeared with the ashes of their fallen brethren, it's said that these men are both protected and empowered by the spirits of those than came before them...
Whatever the truth may be, they are known to fight without flagger and without pause, and without fear of death, and their deeds are sung by bards all across the land.
Their banner is a plain ashen field.
They are lead by Graham Sweeper.
The Crimson Horde
Raids by barbarians and demi-human creatures are common all across the continent, and once upon a time, an enterprising orc decided to start selling the service...
Now one of the strongest troops on the continent, the Crimson Horde is made up of orks, goblins, trolls, ogres, gnolls, hob-goblins, and any other creature willing to swing an axe for gold. They are brutal and vicious, and well worth whatever price they ask.
Their banner is a torn red cloth.
They are lead by Zog Rotgut.
Gods, Deities, Etc.
Gods, Deities, Spirits, and their interactions with the mortal realm
The gods are numerous beyond count, and equally varying in power and influence over the people who live there.
Their purposes and agendas are complex and unknowable to mortals, who can only ever grasp the vaguest principles that each god is said to represent (honor, duty, war, murder, magic, etc.)
They are, however, very involved in the lives of the mortals. Constantly nudging them and pulling them towards their ends. They speak through omens and portents, visions and dreams, signs and fortunes. With legions of angels and demons at their service, they guide the mortals through their lives.
Though they'll never give you a straight answer... Those few truly capable of contacting the gods directly are met with riddles and inuendo, or answers which seem to have to relevence to the question asked... Such is their way.
And so, in a mortal's life, everything from the sermon at the great temple, the tattoo glimpsed on the tavern wench's thigh, the old woman with the crystal ball, or even the coin accidently dropped by a passerby, are the moments through which the gods speak.
As such, society is riddled with every manner of fortune teller, sooth sayer, priest, and spirit man that one could immagine. Most have no true connection with the powers they claim to represent, but are still as often messengers of the gods as they are not (almost always unaware of the differences between their usual ramblings and the god's words).
The gods themselves, similarly, are as conflicted as they are numerous, and certainly not above posing as one another. And so a person who takes to heart every potential sign or omen, finds themselves pulled in so many directions they are likely to go mad. Similarly, a person who attempts to ignore every potential sign, must always wonder if he is not still being strung along by influences he is unaware of.
And so, many fall to following popular gods, or attend smaller gatherings to lesser deities, or simply pay some attention to their fortunes, and try to get through their lives without bothering to much about them.
(This is written in the perspective from a city, but the spirits of nature behave in much the same fashion.)
Regarding the Elves
There is something of a dissconnect between the Elves of Loc'Nethal and those that populate the rest of the continent.
For lack of a better term, we'll call them the High Elves and the Low elves.
For the last several centuries, since the conquest of Great King Guntur the Fist of Great Gate, the High Elves have secluded themselves in the forests around Loc'Nethal, and have shown themselves to be oppossed, sometimes violently, to outside contact.
The forest is not their's alone, however... Barbaric tribes and bandits often hide in the outskirts of the woods for the safety and easy forage the woods provide, and lumber harvesting operations operate all around the forest's edges.
Skirmishes between these groups is common, and every so often, an elf is captured.
Due to their rarity, and the legends surrounding them, elves fetch a high price on the slave market, and a pure blood of the forest can make a pirate crew rich as kings on the single sale alone.
Once caught, such specimines are most often taken to the slave pits of Black Harbor and bred, usually unto death. Their (usually) half-human offspring are then sold across the continent to the wealthy of discerning tastes, or else bred further...
This practice has gone on for several centuries, and now a new breed of elf circulates through the population.
These 'Low Elves' are still uncommon, and while many have escaped or been released from their bonds, and made lives for themselves through various means, they are still always in danger of kidnap by slavers. To avoid this, many cut off their ears and scar their faces, or use other methods to hide or revile their heritage.
It has been said that some have tried to return to their ancestral home, but those who've tried have never returned... Whether because they were successful and welcomed, or killed, no one can say.
Either way, there is no communication that comes out of the forest, and none of any elven heritage have connection to Loc'Nethal save by the blood in their veins.
Posting lore info here so I don't have to find it later deeper
Barbarian tribes vary in size and makeup. There are humans, orks, goblins, gnolls, dwarves, halflings, etc.
All tribes are generally hostile to all others, and warring amongst tribes is almost continual. North of the Ancient's Way, 'cities' rise and fall with such frequency that they are rarely named (at least to southerners), much less marked on any map.
The barbarians worship nature spirits and gods, and their magics are derived by such. Their casters are Druids, Rangers, or Sorcerers. Without a schooling system, wizards are rare.
Beluvah, the holy city, has always been a religious center for all gods, spirits, races, and creeds, for longer than there are historical records for. It believed that the geological location is perhaps significant to the gods, but if it is, no one quite knows why.
Nearly everyone on the continent has made pilgrimage to Beluvah at one point or another in their lives. Both of you have been there, though it was before the fall of your clan. In your subsequent overworld wanderings, you likely passed through it again.
You particularly remember the immense gold dome of the Great Temple, and the soaring spire of Lathander's High Tower.
Whether because of their proximity to nature, or simply because they breed like rabbits, there are more magic-users per capita in the north.
The War Parties fielded by any tribe or group of tribes (tenuous alliances do exist) range anywhere from twenty warriors to upwards of a couple thousand.
The army you just faced numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
By all rights, they should have been killing each other.
Also sorry bout the incredible slowness here, I should have realized despite having some internet access here that I'd end up being busy as hell and only have time for it at the end of the day and can barely keep my eyes open by this time.
also missing all my books of course, so I'm borrowing a copy of the MiC now to make figure out some purchases. looks like the backstory between the two brother's is mostly fleshed out. We've still got some details about after the exile to hammer out...most likely becoming mercenary's of some sort and making a name for ourselves.
That's the update for now, hopefully having more time in the next few days. but bottom line I'll be back at home and ready to go with a much more typical 1-2 posts a day by tuesday next week.
No worries, life's been pretty busy for me too of late. Either way, we're not going anywhere.
On a side note, I find this site:http://www.d20srd.org, to be invaluable when books are not handy, and often even when they are.
As for backgrounds, if you like, it's possible that you might have ended up as soldiers in thee Garrison... Your marred past won't leave you much room for promotion, but they will give you a steady job.
Dice has been out of town all week. We have been working on our backstory quite a bit, though. We keep looking at your note about needing to be somewhat accomplished and noteworthy. When Dice is back in town (middle of this week) we should be able to hit the ground running.
Sorry again about the wait, but I just got back home early this morning. Karazi is done, baring Barthac telling me later in the day "Yo dumbass, you forgot X"
Hope you don't mind me leaving a bit of cash in normal gold, soon as he gets some xp I may be using it to make a magic widget or something I'm sure we'll realize we need.
Same with the back story, just need to go over the last detail and fill in some names and make sure Barthac's cool with the last bit added.
Well that and get him to check for grammar...I leave some odd artifacts occasionally.
I grabbed "Shapesand" from the Sandstorm book, as a kind of multi-tool kind of deal. Planning on refluffing it as like a remold-able stone, unique to the Felgen clan.
But I'm back in the normal swing of things and don't plan on another trip like that for a LOOOONG time.
No worries, and no problems saving a little extra gold. A 'shapestone' should be pretty cool and unique. Send me the blurb on 'shapesand' so I know the basics... I've got a general idea of what it does, by I've never actually read the item description.
I have one request, if you both could please post your backgrounds here, it would be awesome. I find it to be sort of a pain to read on the myth-weaver's sheet.
Just note, if you want to turn your 'shapestone' into a key, you'll either need to have seen the actual key you're trying to reproduce, or else succeed at a Knowledge(Clockwork and Mechanics) check, for it to work.
Oh yeah, I wasn't thinking keys. more like. "Oh, I need a hammer here, or a crowbar"
Here's the finalized backstory in a better format :D
A half days travel by tunnel from Deep Mote, deep into the underbelly of mountains lies the Dwarven keep-city of “Mithril keep under the sparkling water” (Kralitaglorfal) or Mithral Keep.
Home to 7 clans, lead by a council with one representative from each of the major clans
Strong Stone (Falgen), Stonestrong Clan
Sons of Mithril (Noraten), Mithrilson Clan
Eternal Iron (Whurgrim), Ironborn Clan
Farmers (Vonthur), Tunnelhunter Clan
Hearty Warriors (Harkel), Battleborn Clan
Gem Friends (Orlond), Gemkin Clan
Traders [Noble Thiefs] (Nalgath), Highcraft Clan [Dwarves view trading as a lesser profession hence the name, the clan tweaked the common version of their clan name for marketing sake]
For generations Kralitaglorfal prospered, Over time the Mithril started to get mined out and the Mithril Clan lost much of their political sway, Stone and Iron becoming more prominent in their place.
Eventually they betrayed their very brothers, The current Thoranor, Mithril-King, head of the Noraten Clan devised a cunning plan to pit their political foes against one another, breaking up the alliance that had nearly ruined them.
With the help of the somewhat sneaky Traders Clan they secured a set of weapons and armor from the Iron Clan. Slipping a few Noraten warriors into the Falgen Clan-Home during a rest day.
They managed to quietly kill the few standing guard before massacring scores of the Falgen.
Careful to retreat once the Falgen regrouped they quickly shed their ill-gotten Iron Clan armor and sat back and watched as the enraged Falgen’s swarmed out of their tunnels.
The very Stone of the tunnels themselves seemed to come alive as the Falgen went to war, Clad in the finest Stone armor they had, carrying blades of jagged obsidian and huge warmauls made of nothing but shaped granite.
The Whurgrim had no idea what was coming for them, it was a slaughter as their once close ally
butchered them by the dozen.
Yet they regrouped and fought back, they may not have expected the attack, but they were still Dwarves and not far from weapons at any given time.
The fighting lasted for days, those that tried to stop the carnage just got killed for their trouble. The rest of the clans, with some urging from Thoranor decided to sit back and wait for the fighting to end.
After it was all over there were only a handful left from the once large and proud clans, maybe a score of Whurgrim left yet only a pair of Falgen remained. As the Council convened the Falgen explained how they’d been attacked first, but with no evidence to back it up and the active dismissal of the idea by the Noraten. The final 2 sons of the Falgen were exiled, never to return to the Mithral Keep under penalty of having their family name erased from the histories completely.
Twins....quite rare when it comes to dwarves. But when it occurs within the Falgen clan there are always distinctions. One is always of the hot stone and one of the cold, Karazi was born of the cold stone, methodical and slow to action or anger.
As was tradition Karazi as the “Cold Stone” was trained as a Stoneshaper, an artist of the living stone. He was taught not just to make the tunnels and passageways, but to make them masterpieces.
Falgen Stoneshapers were some of the best in the region at making tunnels. As was tradition they made the tunnels that allowed the other clans access to the purest ores, they designed the cites such that the honeycomb of tunnels never disrupted the strength of the earth and would accommodate the occasional shifting from an earthquake without true disaster.
Taught Terran at a young age, as the formal language of the Stoneshapers as they needed it to speak with their elemental partners. Once of age Karazi was allowed to become a true Stoneshaper. Drinking the water of purified stone and making contact with his own elemental.
Referring to his partner only as Marr in the common tongue, his true name is kept secret and is quite the mouthful to say, even in Terran.
His father was one of the first to fall when they assaulted the Whurgrim, chopped down by the Iron-King himself. Enraged but barely showing it he formed the stone to hold the Iron-King in place while his brother took his head. Pulling the decapitated Iron-King’s axe from his father’s cloven head and moving on to enact more vengence.
Taalkar sniffed at the cool air of the early morning. The sun was just lighting the sky but it would be almost an hour before it rose above the mountains. Above his head, the summit was just beginning to glow in the early morning sun, the snowy cap glinting with the first rays of dawn. Below him a clear stream of water picked its way carefully down the rocky slope. It would meet up with a similar stream eventually and race down into the lower lands where it would become muddy and dark. But here, in the mountains, it was cool and clean and would sparkle in the afternoon light.
He stood on an almost invisible ledge, his eyes following the stream out to the lands beyond the mountains. He was ready to leave, to be done with this place and its stink of deceit and betrayal. His ancestors had long ago carved deep and beautiful halls into this very mountain. Far below his feet, safely surrounded by the heart of the mountain, lived his people in warm rooms shaped from the very flesh of the earth. Never again would he see those rooms. Never again would he step foot in the main hall, its walls carved with the names of his forefathers. Never again would he feel the warm press of his kin as they gathered in their ancestral home.
“Bah,” he chided himself, breaking his revery, “No sense in yearning for what can’t be.” His mind flitted over the events of the past several days. The attack, the retaliation, the endless fighting until only a few remained. It was a bloody time full of death and destruction that seemed to last far longer than the few days it really had taken.
They had come without warning. They butchered and killed with malice. They shed the blood of their clan brothers and then snuck away into the dark like rats. Taalkar had rallied for their complete destruction, deceit must be rewarded. His clansman took up the charge and they took the fight to the betrayers. After the blood cooled, the fighting ceased, the remaining few battered and bloodied warriors on each side finally stopped from complete destruction by the Thoranor. He had been called before the council, with his brother Karazi, to explain the actions of his clan. They were all that remained of the once mighty Falgen.
And here I stand, betrayed, clanless, homeless, he thoughts boiling, Denied the home of my ancestors and my place on the council. Denied my birthright. Denied my place among my forefathers.
His anger began to fester again, his feet shifting anxiously, his fingers tightening on the haft of his longaxe. He was the “hot stone.” Quick to anger, quicker to act.
Later, he thought to calm his nerves, Later I will take back what is mine.
“Brother,” he shouted back to the tunnel. Laying his axe over his shoulder and tightening the strap on his pack he continues, “It’s time to go.”
He marched down the mountain, never looking back.
Reforging the Stone
As they left the tunnels of the stone clan, A low rumble alerted the few dwarves to see them leave for exile they knew immediately what had happened and turned a hostile eye upon the Felgen brothers. As the sound quickly grew the brothers just continued to walk away. The entire Felgen clan compound and surrounding tunnels finished collapsing. One onlooker swears they heard a small parting comment from the brothers “It was our belief in the strength of the tunnels that kept them standing, our foundation has been shaken...but the stone shall endure”
Heading to the city of Deep Mote they soon spoke to an old friend of their family, Ironjaw. Technically he used to be of the Falgen Clan, but a young lass from Deep Mote caught his eye and he married into her clan.
With his pull in the area, they were able to get jobs as guarding caravans hauling quality dwarven made goods from Deep Mote to the other kingdoms.
As a few years past and many caravans come and go from Deep Mote and one caravan headed towards the Market City never made it, waylaid and plundered by thieves...they put up a good fight but ended up enslaved with the rest of the survivors, bound for the Black Harbor and the slave markets.
Although enslaved they did have some luck, staying together and ending up in one of the larger slave manufacturing operations in the Black Harbor area. For a year and a half slaved at that factory producing shoddily made mass produced weaponry.
At the dawn of the 542nd day there, the alarm gong sounded. Outside the factory they could hear the roar of battle and clang of steel upon steel. Less than an hour later the victor walked into the factory.
Quickblade and his men had freed them, many took up arms with his band as he roamed the countryside, freeing slaves where he could. The brothers spoke with one of Quickblade’s lieutenants and took to running smaller jobs for their organization of guerillas
They worked to repay their debt of honor for some years before finally returning to Deep Mote and the caves that they loved.
Returning to their old friend Ironjaw and got some work as part of the garrison force, working for a few years yet telling tales in the taverns of daring adventure in the overworld, of fighting slavers and defending caravans.
During their years at the garrison Ironjaw managed to hear a few rumors coming from Mithril Keep about a coup, with the Noraten claiming dominion over the entire keep, killing off the other council heads. Rumors abounded as some dwarves left rather than live under their rule, one of which gave the brothers considerable pause. A slight rumor of the years past and the treachery involved in the Falgen downfall.
Just a note, going forward, I am applying the following rules adjustment:
Practice Makes Perfect
When selecting Feats that have multiple redundant levels (Skill Focus, Greater Skill Focus, Epic Skill Focus), you automatically gain the upgraded benefit when you meet the prerequisites. These upgrades occur at Level 10, 15, & 20. Upgrades do not apply to Feats that would provide new effects (Two-Weapon Fighting would upgrade normally, however Off Hand Parry or Pin Shield would still need to be purchased normally).
Additionally, Crafting and magical crafting shall be adjusted as follows:
Demons destroying the holy city, is definitely bad.
Having a massive army from the north liberate the Holy city, is not bad in and of itself... However, allowing a northern army to rampage through the southern lands is definitely bad...
Here's a little history:
The barbaric hordes were driven across the Ancient's way in the time of King Guntur the Fist of Great Gate (whom the Garrison at Deep Mote bled untill he decided he didn't need to conquer the Dwaven lands after all). Since then, Citadel has held the way south sealed from them.
Times have changed, somewhat, over the ages, and years of relative peace have allowed for trade and pilgrimages to pass from the north south through the city is small and well controlled numbers.
Despite this, the north and south are not brothers in arms, and an army at the gate is not to be welcomed for any reason... Though the destruction of Holy Beluvah is indeed an extenuating cercumstance.
The politics of the situation are complicated at best... Every city and Noble line on the continent, you expect, will be vying for the honor of liberating the holy city, and despite the past century of relative peace between the cities, such an attack could easily fracture relations as the cities battle each other for the right to the honor of taking the fight to the enemy.
The situation is extreme, and the right course of action at this juncture is difficult to see. Not much is even known of the force that occupies Beluvah, and you doubt that the Nobles of any city, including your own, will give as much thought to the threat as to the opportunities presented to their reputations...
For now, Captain Bejal intends to fight the horde, if only because it is his duty to prevent the northern hordes from crossing into the southern continent... And not for no good reason either... Even if the assembled army truly had no intention beyond liberating Beluvah, you still have absolutely no doubt that they would pillage and raid every village or town along the way... And the way is not short.