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Offline Iain

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The World of Edrith
« on: June 04, 2004, 12:13:44 PM »
Hi, Edrith is the world which I've been slowly developing and running games in for the majority of my GMing experience (about 100 hours of gaming over 6 years). I thought I'd post up what I've developed so far, so that people can look at what I've fleshed out(and maybe get some ideas), but mainly so that on the bits which I haven't fleshed out well (which is quite a lot of it!) you can all hopefully suggest ideas and give me some inspiration!

To sum up what I mainly need help with:

Things which I've got mainly in hand

Large scale geography
Large scale culture
History and international politics
Races (mainly)
Linguistics
Systems of measurement
Animal species
The magic system

Having said that, if anyone reads stuff I've written and wants to make suggestions of anything new for here, please go ahead: I'm not by any means saying that these sections are fully developed, just that I've done a lot more work on them than on some of the other bit.

Things which need a lot more work

Mythic stuff (very little)
The pantheon (weak - not much done. Haven't really got the gods or their priesthoods well developed).
Small scale culture: i.e. I have my culture developed on continent wide scales, but not on how different countries within a continent are distinct.
Should there be centaurs? (I want to put centaurs in, but don't know where to put them)
Guilds and organisations (got a few, but not very many: could definitely have more here).
Some areas of the world: for example, the islands surrounding Avalonia are totally undeveloped (I haven't even drawn a map); many of the kingdoms of southern Laurentia are also fairly sketchy at the moment.
No doubt there is quite a lot of other stuff I haven't developed well - I'm sure you'll spot things.

I'll probably be posting things in this thread quite rapidly over the next few days. This is because I've got quite a lot (but not everything) in my World pack; however, I need to "Strolenise" it. By this I mean two things: 1) put it in a form that is useful for this website, rather than for people who are about to be playing in it and 2) change quite a few names. I have a tendency (especially when I was starting) to, whenever I couldn't think of a name, just take one from a random fantasy novel and plonk it in (the place or person in question would usually have nothing to do with the original). This isn't really a great idea, so I'm using this as an opportunity to go through and change a lot of names.

Anyway, I'd really be greatful for comments and ideas on Edrith. Hope you enjoy what I've done so far.
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Offline Iain

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Summary
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2004, 12:22:54 PM »
This page won't at the moment make much sense, but it's a summary of the world at the moment. Basically, whenever I post something up, you should be able to relate it to something here, and it will help you keep track of everything.

Edrith

Three continents: Baltica (far west), Avalonia (middle) Laurentia (far east)

Sapient races: Humans, elves, dwarfs, orcs, cho-ja, gryphons, shadowspawn, rock trolls, great dragons.

Place within fantasy setting: technology similar to that of 17th century Europe (no gun powder); medium magic. It used to be high magic in the past.

Current year: 1770SS (or 424PC). A few of the following posts were written 100 years before this: they say if they were.

Context: It is 1770 years since the sundering of the Covenant; 424 years since the formation of the Triune Empire on Avalonia; 245 years since the foundation of the Variscan Imperium upon Laurentia and 109 years since the destruction of the Variscan Imperium.

Current world status: Baltica is a largely uninhabited waste land. The Triune Empire occupies almost the whole of Avalonia and is isolationist. The surrounding islands of Avalonia are occupied by independent kingdoms. Laurentia is a mish-mash of 37 different kingdoms, the four most powerful of which are Siluria, Torridon, the Elder Alliance and the "Empire" of Pelagos (no larger than the other three). The island state of Krinth-Turon (half way between Laurentia and Avalonia) is growing in power, and seeking to expand on Laurentia.

Tell me if there is anything else I should add to this summary.
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Offline Iain

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The world
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2004, 12:31:49 PM »
Author's note: the majority of people upon Edrith, with the exception of a few scholars would not be aware of the information in this post.

THE WORLD (From the archives of the Geographical Society of the Triune Empire, Aarenis (Last updated 422PC))

It has been established that our world of Edrith is a sphere of radius 11 700km, and with an average density of 3000kgm-3. There is one moon, of angular diameter of 0.5°, which orbits us once every 28-29 days. Aarenis, the continent on which our Triune Empire is located, is situated in the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, and is one of three known continents, the other two being Novindus to the west-north-west and Kerys to the north-east. It should be noted that due to the presence of strong magical fields, the climate of certain regions does not always correspond to that which would be expected in the absence of said fields.

Aarenis is approximately 600 leagues from west to east, and 300 leagues from north to south; Kerys is approximately 640 leagues EW and 560 leagues NS, while Novindus is 400 leagues EW and 700 leagues NS. The distance between Aarenis and Novindus is 1200 leagues at the nearest point, and that between Aarenis and Kerys is 1800 leagues.

Naturally, all three of these major continents have some islands near them. Aarenis is particularly rich in attendant islands, having a small archipelago of about a dozen major islands and more smaller ones off its northern shore. One other geographical feature of note is the island of Kierst-Isel. An island of approximately 100 leagues by 120 leagues, it is situated between Aarenis and Kerys, being slightly closer to Aarenis than to Kerys.

There are tales of continents in the northern hemisphere, but these cannot be reached, due to the wide torrid zone near the equator through which ships cannot sail.

Author's note: I'm afraid that I use metric and imperial units fairly interchangeably. If this annoys anyone, sorry: sometimes and for some things I think in one, and sometimes in another. I figure that on this site we probably have a fairly equal split in terms of who uses which system, so at least this way everyone will be happy some of the time!
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Offline Iain

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Dating systems
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2004, 12:33:50 PM »
Author's note: Throughout the rest of these posts I will almost always use either the Triune system (YB/PC) for Triune Empire events or the Laurentian system (FY/SS) for all other events.

A NOTE ON DATING (From the archives of the Imperial Historical library, Triune Empire, Avalonia (Last updated 422PC))

The calendar used in our Empire naturally dates time from the year of foundation of our glorious Empire; namely the year in which the great Charter of Unification was signed. Years are thus referred to as Post Charter (PC) or Year of Barbarism (YB).

The barbarous nations of Laurentia instead prefer to use as their starting point the sundering of the Covenantal Pact, choosing an arbitrary date in the decades in which it crumbled. They refer to dates as SS (Since the Sundering). Dates before this time are referred to by the archaic dating system NE (New Era) which was used by the Covenantal Pact.

The Variscan Imperium, during its existence, dated years from its own foundation: NF (Varisca founded) or PI (Pre-Imperium).

Evidence of three further dating systems was discovered on a ship from the northern hemisphere, that had evidently been attempting to cross the torrid zones (and had succeeded, though all of its crew had long since perished). These dating systems are Arenig Epoch (AE), After Rebellion (AR) and Meglaran Founded (MF). What these dating systems refer to is unknown; however, we have done our best to equate them with our own.

1SS = 2357NE
1PC = 1347SS.
1NF = 1526SS

1MF = 639SS
1AR = 1291SS
1AE = 2155NE
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Offline Iain

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The races
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2004, 12:49:20 PM »
Author's note: I have two things to say here. The first is that, as you may have noticed, all these articles are written by people in one country. This means that there may sometimes be a small degree of bias. There is not much, and not enough to confuse the issue (I hope).

The second thing is that it may be noticed that I have been inspired in some of my races and creaturesby the works of various authors: notably perhaps JRR Tolkein, Raymond E Feist, Robert Jordan and Mercedes Lackey (in the "race" section). Though a race may be similar to one in a book, it is not identical: furthermore, the world of Edrith bears no (intentional) resemblance to any other work of fantasy fiction.

THE PEOPLES (From the archives of the Cultural Bureau of the Elder Alliance, Laurentia (Last updated 1769SS)

Our world is known to be home to at least seven civilised, intelligent races: humans, elves, dwarfs, orcs, cho-ja, rock trolls and gryphons. Though some other races are intelligent; notably the great dragons (who chiefly inhabit the Wormlands of southern Baltica), these are not usually classed as “civilised�, due to their isolationist individuality and habit of not forming any social structures or communities, either with themselves or with others. Similar objections apply to certain magical creatures such as unicorns: though intelligent and good, they cannot be considered “civilised� in the normal sense of the word.

Though creatures such as trolls and giants have some, limited, intelligence (and, indeed, are frequently capable of human speech), their intelligence seems to be little higher than that of an intelligent animal. For a different reason the shadowspawn cannot be considered civilised, as their sole goal is the slaughter of other life (including, if not controlled by a higher will, others of their own species). The same is true of other creatures inimical to all other life such as the wraith lords and the strange form of vegetative life known as triffids (which renders moot the hotly disputed point of their degree of intelligence). Finally, this report refuses to class intelligent magical constructs such as sphinxes as intelligent civilised races, due, among other reasons, to their lack of independence and their inability to reproduce.

Our classification complete, we will now return to a description of the six civilised races. The first important point is that elves, dwarfs and humans are by far the most numerous of these races, with humans being probably slightly more numerous than elves or dwarfs. There are still substantial numbers of orcs in certain parts of the world (particularly in Laurentia and western Avalonia); however, the cho-ja are mainly restricted to mountainous regions (though their numbers are quite high here) and rock trolls and gryphons are extremely rare. An approximate ratio of their numbers on Laurentia would be (humans:elves:dwarfs:orcs:cho-ja:rock trolls:gryphons) = 4300:3500:3500:1000:250:5:1, where the total population of Laurentia is around 50 million (data extrapolated from collaborative census of 1772SS).

The second important point is that the elves, dwarfs and humans (henceforth we will adopt the standard convention of referring to these races as the primary races) are almost totally intermingled throughout the land. Enclaves or regions of “all human�, “all elf� or “all dwarf� (or even “mostly� rather than all) are all but unknown, and the three races coexist on all scales, from the village to the metropolis. One exception to this is the two isolationist dwarf mines of Sedgwick and Phloem in the Meneth Scahas range.

This is not to say, of course, that our continent of Laurentia is free of conflict: far from it. With over 35 independent nations, this would be a miracle. However, warfare takes place between countries, not between races. A person, whatever there race, will normally feel far more loyal to their nation than to their race. Culturally and militarily this is also true: you are unlikely to find significantly more dwarven miners than elven and you will not find “the human crossbow regiment� in any army – it will simply be “the crossbow regiment.� Likewise, an elf from Allende will have more in common with a fellow human from Allende than with an elf from Acinace.

The situation in the Triune Empire on Avalonia bears a strong similarity to this, despite the fact that the Empire was formed in 1347SS by a series of treaties between an elven, a human and a dwarven kingdom. However, over 400 years under one government have done much to soften the boundaries between the races and though each of the three sectors is still primarily elven, human, or dwarven, there are large numbers of each race living throughout the Empire, with much cultural intermingling. The situation in Krinth-Turon is much like that on Laurentia with the difference that dwarfs are in the slight majority there rather than humans, and there are no cho-ja on the island. One point that should be mentioned is that the six races are genetically incompatible and any union between the races invariably fails to produce offspring. Any such union is also the subject of a strict taboo throughout the known world.

The situation regarding the other three races is more complex. In most places, orcs have achieved some degree of integration with the other races; however, due to their real and perceived lack of civilisation and innate tendency to be drawn towards evil (it is a sad but true fact that orcs are more prone than any other race to being persuaded in to following an evil leader) they are frequently viewed with some degree of suspicion and mistrust. Orcs frequently operate on the fringes of society and it is rare to find an orc in a high position of authority in a non-orc nation. The problem is particularly acute in Avalonia: it is only within the last hundred years that the orcish tribes of the north west have ceased their warfare and raids against the Triune Empire.

When not mixing with other races, orcish society tends towards the tribal and clannish. A large scale centralised government is almost unheard of, as are nations, and low key warfare and raids are common in most orcish societies. An exception is here in the Elder Alliance, where orcs, due partly to their contact with more civilised races such as cho-ja and gryphons, are much more peaceful (at least towards other members of the Elder Alliance) than is normal. Orc society is primitive compared to that of other races: orcs do not usually build large cities, sail ocean going ships and have advanced systems of magic and magical research, to name but a few examples.

Rock trolls, much like orcs, can frequently be drawn to the service of evil. Here in Laurentia, however, the situation is rather different: the majority of rock trolls live within the borders of our great Elder Alliance and thus are firmly in the service of good. This is something for which we can be most thankful, for rock trolls are fearsome enemies. Not only are they stronger and tougher than their lesser brethren, they are also more intelligent. Extremely powerful, rock trolls are not stupid, brutish creatures like most trolls; rather they are an intelligent race. Though they do not usually build large cities or towns, instead having a tribal or village existence; this does not stop them forging their own weapons and armour or making other simple goods they need. A rock troll will typically wear heavy armour and wield a mighty great sword or axe; in combat they are deadly and a company of rock trolls together will cut a path through almost any opposition. Rock trolls frequently command normal trolls when fighting: the brutish but powerful normal trolls can become much more of a threat under the leadership of their greater brethren. About the only weakness that rock trolls have is an almost total lack of magical aptitude: in this they are even more inferior to the orcs. Unlike orcs though, rock trolls do not have a superstitious fear of magic: rather, they seem to have little fear of it and will not let it prevent them from smashing their way through the heart of an enemy army.

The cho-ja, due to their hive structure, do not even attempt to integrate with the other races. Each cho-ja hive is a self-sufficient community and a cho-ja’s primary loyalty will always be to his hive. Though hives will frequently come together to cooperate (either with other hives or with non-cho-ja nations), it is not really viable for other races to live within a hive, nor do cho-ja wish to leave them (this is not to say, of course, that a cho-ja will never be found far from his hive: traders, warriors and ambassadors, amongst others, will need to leave the hive for periods of time; however, they would always return to the hive after a time).

Gryphons, due to their size, shape and character are also extremely isolationist. A gryphon will simply not fit through the door of most buildings designed for humans, and as flying, intelligent carnivores their wants and needs do not greatly overlap with those of the other races. A gryphon community will typically consist of 100-200 gryphons and is usually situated in the high mountains, far from the habitation of other races. As well as suiting the isolationist character of the gryphons, this also provides them with, amongst other things, a large range in which to hunt game. Though gryphons are tremendously powerful, both physically and magically, they will not usually fight except to defend their own territory (for one thing, their numbers are so few compared to that of other races that to engage in large scale warfare would probably soon spell the end of their race). An exception to this is that gryphons have occasionally been known to commit themselves against the forces of evil: in the attack on Krinth-Turon by the evil Variscan Imperium, an entire gryphon wing of 400 gryphons joined the defenders. Also, some young, more adventurous gryphons will sometimes join the army of one or another kingdom (much to the advantage of that fortunate kingdom); these however, are the actions of individuals, not of a gryphon community as a whole. The army of Torridon currently includes some gryphons. A final point of interest about gryphons is that they are all magical creatures and thus have the ability to cast spells to a greater or lesser extent. Gryphons divide themselves in to four categories – apprentices, journeymen, masters and adepts – depending on their innate ability to use magic. The approximate ratio of these categories in a typical gryphon population is 2:5:2:1.
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Offline Iain

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Of the Nature of Society
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2004, 12:51:45 PM »
Author's note: This is a brief introduction to the nature of society. More will become apparent in later posts. I couldn't think of a clear way to put this in "in character" form, therefore I refrained

Of the Nature of Society (Excerpt from “Dovie’andi se tovya sagain: A history of the world�, a mysterious manuscript discovered in the wreckage of a magical explosion. 2004AD).

The technology of the world in question is, in general, comparable to that in Europe in the 17th century, though there is no gunpowder. Scientific knowledge is at a similar level to this as well. Some areas of technology are, in some areas, higher than this: for example, the ships of the Triune Empire are comparable to those of the Napoleonic wars (though without gunpowder).

Magic is relatively common. However, whilst it is relatively easy to create large effects of short duration with magic, creating longer term effects and creating magical devices is much more difficult. This has the unfortunate implication that one of the most useful areas in which magic is used is in war, where short-term effects are usually all that is required. The ability to use magic cannot be taught: amongst humans and cho-ja approximately 0.5% of the population has the innate ability to use magic. Amongst dwarfs the proportion is slightly lower, amongst orcs significantly lower and amongst elves slightly higher. Gryphons can all cast magic (though the strength of the ability varies) and no shadowspawn are able to.

Due to the difficulty in creating long-term effects with magic, it is not a “substitute� for technology. You will not find dozens of magic items in the hands of commoners (such as never-blunt ploughs, automatic lifts, or other such devices). Magical spells could, however, be used in the construction of buildings to move blocks in to place, and things of this nature. Similarly, magic users can communicate across long distances (and a noble would be sure to have a mage advise to do this), but there is not a nation-wide communication network. Magical devices remain the provenance of nobles, rich merchants or (in the case of weapons), powerful (or lucky) warriors. In other words, some thing such as a globe of communication which can communicate with other globes does exist, but is rare enough that a rich merchant might own two: one for his main office on each continent. Incidentally, carrier pigeons are used extensively for communications.

In the more advanced nations, such as the Triune Empire, wizards’ universities exist which research magic. The extensive and efficient use of magic in warfare can make a such a difference that for an army with no (or little) magic to attack an advanced one (such as one from the Triune Empire or Variscan Imperium) is very similar to that on Earth when men with swords and spears attacked rifles and field artillery.

An interesting feature of the world is the nature of the gods. The gods are fairly distant figures and do not tend to intervene on a personal level; however, they bestow their divine favour fairly liberally. A large number of people become ordained in the worship of one or the other gods, and then will, over time, receive magical abilities of healing and other such matters for seemingly very little devotion. These “clerics� are quite distinct from the organised priesthoods of the gods and, in fact, almost all of the nobility, wealthy men, powerful warriors and almost anyone of any importance will be ordained in one or another of the orders.
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Gemstones and Magic
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2004, 12:56:51 PM »
Author's note: Many thanks here to everyone who gave me ideas in the "Gemstone magic" thread. The thread is here and there are many, many good ideas in it:
http://www.rpgcitadel.com/guild/index.php?topic=1240.0
This post is a collation of the ideas I eventually decided to use.


Of Gemstones (Extract from a teaching primer at the University of Linnarson, Laurentia, 1770SS)

     One of the major sources of magical power for the wizards in our world are gemstones. The ability to recognise and identify gems and the methods of extracting mana from them are fundamental skills for all mages, and should be mastered by you early in your training. Only the most flawless gems are suitable for wizardry, meaning the many almost flawless gems (that might, to the untrained eye, appear flawless) are available for their common use as jewellery and ornamentation.
     Only the most powerful nobles or royalty would be likely to have gems of magical quality as jewellery, and in such cases the gems would almost certainly be imbued with powerful magical spells. The royal regalia of a kingdom is frequently a collection of items of inestimable value. In fact, any magical item or artifact must contain a gem in order to anchor the spell.
     Unfortunately for us, gems are an exceptionally rare commodity in the world. This was not always the case: at the time of the Second Covenantal Charter, gems were far more common: this is largely the reason behind the great mastery of magic in this era. However, gems turn to dust once used, and in our age, a millennium and a half later, the gem mines have been largely worked out. Despite the constant search for improvements in mining technology, the quest for gems becomes harder each year. Some are, of course, still found, but the great lodes of yesteryear are gone for ever. Consumption has fallen of course, as the price and value of gems has climbed, and currently supply approximately equals demand. It is not difficult, however, to foresee a time – perhaps in another millennium’s time, that gems will have become almost non-existent and mages will have to rely purely on their own innate power. Many spells will become impossible to cast. It is for this reason that so much research is devoted to the quest for artificial gems: as yet we have only had the paltry success of mana crystals: colourless faux gems which are very costly to create and produce a pittance of mana; furthermore they are tied to no domain and so cannot be used as spell components. Nevertheless, there was a time, not so long ago, when even this would have been impossible so we retain our hope.
     The mining of gems is a difficult and dangerous task. Not only are the current gem mines so deep and inaccessible physically, there is also the fact that large concentrations of gems, especially uncut gems, attract magical creatures which feed upon the energy which they radiate. Elementals, wraiths and spectres are particularly attracted to these energies, and these are all dangerous foes. It is particularly difficult to defend against these magical creatures due to the difficulties of casting magic in mines. Anyone casting a spell near the presence of large quantities of uncut gemstones is playing with fire. Unless controlled extremely precisely, there is a strong likelihood that the magical energies of the spell will course the gemstones to resonate wildly, ultimately creating a devastating massive explosion. The more powerful the spell, the greater the risk of resonance; even the most skilled mages cannot cast with impunity. Ever since the Phloem disaster of 1368SS in which 337 people were killed and a fabulously rich vein of rubies was destroyed, any spell casting in mines has been banned in almost all of the nations of Laurentia.
      Naturally, given their power and value, almost all mines are directly controlled by the government of the kingdom in which they are located. The more powerful stones (such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds) are frequently subject to strict government control; it can be very difficult for private individuals to obtain such stones. The difficulty of otherwise obtaining gems is a major factor in prompting many wizards to work directly for their governments. It should be noted that a large black market exists in gems, both in conventional gems and in the illegal bloodstones.
      Naturally, of course, almost all governments stockpile gems for use in war. Though gems do not provide ultimate power (a wizard is still limited by the power of his spells), a plentiful supply of gems greatly increases the number of spells which can be used in combat, almost always deciding the day if the gem differential is high enough. In the civilised regions there is not usually a problem of magical creatures being attracted to the stockpiles (due partly to the fact that they are cut, and partly to the fact that we have cleared such hostile creatures from our lands); however, there have been cases of frontier regions suffering raids by elementals upon their gems.
    As you may be aware, there has been a small backlash against these phenomena, in the form of the Society for Simple Wizardry. The Society speaks against the use of gems in magic, saying that their use leaves inevitable to corruption, politicking and greed. Not surprisingly, the Society has little power and is mainly the province of young or poor wizards: in fact, the majority of its members are quick to recant once they become successful enough in their field to afford gems of their own. Nevertheless it must be said that the Society of Simple Wizardry has made some successful progress in researching and developing spells without gemstones: whilst as Society wizard is much restricted by his refusal to use gems, if you had no gems available then a Society wizard would likely prove much more useful and versatile than one more conventionally trained.
    Regarding the use of gems, it should be remembered that it takes several minutes to attune yourself to a gem before you can use it, though experience can lesson that time. It is thus usually not possible to touch a person’s gem and use it instantly. Many wizards find that setting their most valued gems in to staffs or rings (frequently only of copper or brass) in order that they may be more readily available, and to help protect them against pick-pockets. This, and the fact that a cut gem provides far more mana than an uncut one, means that many mages choose to learn something of the art of gem-cutting and jewellery. Remember: any jeweller you meet may really be a wizard. Due to the power of gems, many places require wizards to turn in their gems at the door (for example, many kings do not allow gems in their presence, in the same way that they do not allow people to carry weapons).
     Before we end, two special cases of gems should be mentioned. The first is the mood stone, an exceptionally personalised item of great value. Any wizard of sufficient power can create a mood stone; in fact, some of the most powerful wizards have been known to have as many as three. The process is lengthy and laborious taking several days; it is also extremely draining to the wizard, for it takes an irredeemable toll upon his vitality and life force. In the end though, a mood stone of imperishable and almost unbreakable crystal will have been created, which will give him a reasonable amount of mana. Furthermore, unlike ordinary crystals, the mood stone does not crumble to dust once used; instead, it can be recharged again and again by merely spending the amount of mana to charge it and applying a drop of the owner’s blood.  
     A mood stone is a personal object: it will change colour and appearance depending on its owner’s mood and personality. If calm and happy the mood stone will appear smooth; if angry then furious currents of energy will appear to move beneath the mood stone’s surface. The colour of the mood stone reflects two things: firstly, the domains chiefly used by the owner (power=gold, fire=red, earth=green, water=blue, air=white, mind=brown, conflict = orange, healing=yellow, death=black). Secondly it will reflect his sense of purpose and honour; the higher and more noble his aims, the brighter and lighter the colours will be. These two factors combine to give a variegated mix of colours through the stone. Finally, the stone will appear dull when uncharged and bright when charged. The highly personal nature of a mood stone means that a mood stones will crumble in to dust if their owner is killed; furthermore, if a mood stone is taken away from it’s owner for more than 24 hours then it will crumble to dust.
     Far more sinister than mood stones are bloodstones, used by those who practice dark magic. Bloodstones are formed by the last drops of blood "crystallising" when any draconic creature (including dragons, wyverns, basilisks and firedrakes) is killed in a way that involves bleeding. Especially given the fact that these creatures are usually intelligent, the use of blood magic, which is usually in any case used for dark purposes such as the creation of undead, is banned almost everywhere in the world. This does not, of course, prevent a flourishing black market in bloodstones – many mages are quite willing to compromise their morality in exchange for a more readily available source of power than common gems.
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The Triune Empire
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2004, 04:11:39 AM »
Of the Triune Empire (From an instructional text for trainee civil servants in the Kingdom of Avalle, near Avalonia. 422PC).

The Triune Empire, our neighbour to the north, has a form of government that can best be described as a constitutional bureaucracy. The Empire was formed after a series of treaties united the three major kingdoms of Avalonia, one of which was elven, one human and one dwarven. The races have since integrated considerably, though each of the three regions still has a majority, though not an absolute majority, of its native race.

The capital and largest city of the Empire is Wenlock, located at the joining point of the three former kingdoms (now regions). Each of the three regions has its own regional capital: Ketton (human), Ellesae (elven) and Regolith (dwarven). Other major cities include Ashgill, Bunbury, Ludlow, Farlad and Caradoc (human), and Thodar, Eclogite and Bathon (dwarven). The elves in the Empire tend to live in towns rather than huge cities. The regions all have a large degree of autonomy in deciding local laws; however, the Empire is fully unified regarding foreign policy and national laws: the central government can over-rule any of the regions.

Though the Empire is not a democracy in that people do not directly elect their rulers, ordinary people have a large amount of say in government through indirect means. City councils, guilds, universities, trading consortiums, local councils and almost any other collective organisation all have power in electing rulers, and all have some degree of local autonomy. Both the central and regional governments have large numbers of ministries and departments, and even at the town or province level committees, sub-committees, semi-autonomous bureaus and the like seem to be spawned with almost unbelievable regularity.
There is also a hereditary nobility, who have some say in national government and who are also powerful in the region of their lands. The exact balance of power between a local lord and the local city council, the farmer’s guild, the other guilds, etc. varies from place to place.

The central government in Wenlock is complex, and consists of large numbers of representatives elected and put forward in various ways by the regional and local governments, as well as by organisations such as the guilds and so forth. There are seven houses: the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, the Senate, the Chamber, the Congress of Barons and the Grand Assembly. Varying laws require varying different consensuses both within each house and also may require varying numbers of houses to consent. The exact relationship of power between the varying houses, the central government, the regional governments, town councils, the provincial rulers and so forth is incredibly complex and uninteresting.

One may ask how is it, with such a bureaucratic system of government, that the Empire ever manages to get anything done? The answer lies in the Emperor. Contrary to what one might expect, the Emperor is not a single person but is rather a triumvirate of three people: one elf, one human and one dwarf. Once elected to the Emperorship, a person cannot be removed, though they may choose to resign. The central government can delegate and remove powers from the Emperor at will, saving only that it may not delegate the power to determine the powers of the Emperor. On any matter within his provenance the authority of the Emperor is absolute (within the Emperor, all decisions simply require a 2:1 majority – abstention is not permitted). For example, in a time of war, large amounts of power will usually be delegated to the Emperor, allowing the Triune Empire to pursue its course of action quickly and with great efficiency.

The culture of the Empire is one which is reasonably prosperous and benevolent, placing a high value on personal freedom. The majority of people have a reasonably standard of life. The central regions are reasonably safe, though banditry and monsters are not unknown in the periphery. A high emphasis is put on trade. The ships of the Empire are some of the greatest in the world. Within the Empire, its technology and buildings are some of the finest, and there are many centres of learning. Magic has perhaps reached its highest level in the Empire.

In former times, the foreign policy of the Empire was expansionist, and they had extended their sway over the majority of the surrounding isles though our kingdom of Avalle had remained more autonomous than most. However, since its attempted conquest of Laurentia and the Pyrrhic victory of the Variscan War 107 years ago, the Empire has been almost totally isolationist. The surrounding kingdoms have regained their autonomy, and even the Empire’s thirst for trade has slackened somewhat. Their army, however, remains the single most powerful in the world.
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Languages
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2004, 05:39:17 AM »
Note that the majority of languages in Edrith are national languages rather than racial languages

The Languages of the World (From the archives of the Geographical Society of the Triune Empire, Avalonia (Last updated 422PC))

Dalradian Dalradian was the language of the Covenantal Charter. The Covenant at its height covered the entirety of the known world, and though Dalradian never fully superceded other languages, it was widely spoken everywhere (often as a second language). Since the sundering of the Covenant, Dalradian fell in to disuse; more and more it became spoken only by scholars and historians. A number of new languages evolved in this period.

When the Triune Empire formed, the three kingdoms that united to form it could not agree on one of their languages becoming supreme in the Empire over the others. Instead, they decided to adopt Dalradian as the official language of the Empire. In the 424 years since then, almost everyone in the Empire speaks fluent Dalradian: in the dwarven section, it is frequently the only language spoken whereas in the elven and to a lesser extent the human, people are often bilingual.

Given the power and influence of the Triune Empire, in the island kingdoms surrounding Avalonia Dalradian is spoken by many people to some extent. The further from the Triune Empire and Avalonia you go, the less Dalradian is spoken: on Laurentia, Dalradian is still spoken mainly by scholars, historians and some traders and rulers (who might have dealings with the Triune Empire and neighbouring kingdoms). A few people do learn Dalradian because of its use: a Dalradian speaker will be be able to find a translator in any sizeable town or city, a fact which induces a few more people to learn it than would otherwise.

Avallan The original language of the human and dwarven sections of the Triune Empire.In the human section, roughly a 1/3 of the people are still fluent in Avallan (i.e. are bilingual) whereas the dwarfs have almost totally abandoned it. Avallan is spoken (and is the primary language) in Avalle and in some of the other neighbouring island kingdoms near Avalonia; as such, if people in the Triune Empire learn another language it is frequently Avallan.

Evvenyae High Elven. Now a dead language, spoken only by (usually Elven) scholars. It has not been spoken as a native language by any elves for well over 500 years.

Alanyae (Otherwise known as "Elven"). A hybrid language, composed of a mixture of Evvenyae and Avallan. It was the original language of the elven section of the Triune Empire and almost all elves in the Triune Empire (who live in the original elven section) are bilingual in Alanyae and Avallan. About 10% speak only Alanyae (or speak very poor Avallan). Alanyae is not spoken by elves anywhere else in the world; nor is it spoken (or learned) by almost anyone other than elves in the Triune Empire. Alanyae and Evvenyae are not very similar at all: it is unlikely that a historian who had learned Evvenyae would be understood by an Alanyae speaker, though they would probably be able to get the gist of what they were saying for simple conversations.

Falani Spoken in the land of Krinth-Turon.

Dwarden High and Low Dwarden are the two ancestral racial languages of the dwarfs. No-one has spoken either for well over 1000 years, and they survive only in the work of some of the dwarven rune smiths. A very few scholars learn them. If someone did learn Low Dwarden they would be able to understand High Dwarden fairly well, and vice-versa.

Scahanian Spoken in the Scahanian peninsular of Laurentia.

Menethion Spoken in the dwarven mines of Phloem and Sedgwick

Silurian This language is spoken in the majority of northern Laurentia, with the exception of the Pelagic "Empire". It is known as "Torridonian" in Torridon, though everyone else refers to it as Silurian. Silurian is the primary language in Torridon, Siluria, Cadomia, Cenoman, Linnarson, Valangin, Rhaetia, Berrias and much of the Elder Alliance. The western portions of Zechstein and Allende are largely Silurian speaking; the further to the NE you go, the more prevalent Rotliegendan becomes.

Variscan A mainly dead language. It was the language of the Variscan Imperium; however, Varisca did not rule for long enough to effectively enforce its language upon Laurentia; after Varisca's destruction and the total devastation of its capital Turriculatus, few people remained to speak it. Now, 100 years on, Variscan is only spoken in the port city of Atavus (on the edge of the Great Western Desert) and by a few people of Variscan descent scattered around Laurentia.

Namurian Spoken in Namuria

Pelagic Spoken in Pelagos (the Pelagic "Empire")

Minor languages There are a number of minor languages spoken by very few people; for example, the Yale Riders (technically part of the Elder Alliance) speak their own language, known as Gralbakha

Orcish: A mainly dead language; spoken by orcish priests and clerics. It is spoken by some of the orcs on Avalonia; the orcs in Laurentia tend to speak their national language, just as the elves, dwarfs and humans do.

Xkatxklax The language spoken by the cho-ja. A language of clicks and harsh vocal sound, accompanied by clacks of their claws. The human tongue cannot accurately reproduce the majority of sounds in Xkatxklax and the best phonetic representations contain large numbers of the letters x and k. All cho-ja who will need to speak to outsiders speak the language of the non-cho-ja with which they will be communicating; almost no non-cho-ja can speak or understand more than a smattering of Xkatxklax.

Dead languages: There are a large number of dead languages, some of which are not even known to scholars; i.e. a written script in a language none can translate. Some are known to scholars.

Other Laurentian languages

Santoni Spoken in Santon

Rotliegendan Spoken in Rotliengendes, Toarcia and the eastern portions of Zechstein and Allende. The further east you go, the more prevalent Silurian becomes. Rotliegendan is also the language of the two island nations of Aile Calyx and Aile Stratig.

Rodinian Spoken in Rodinia

Scandian Spoken in Scandia, Noria, Tacon, Carnia, and Longmynd. Along with Givetian it is widely spoken in Tournais. With Givetian and Benthish, spoken in Varangia.

Givetian. Spoken in Givet and Morraine. With Scandia, widely spoken in Tournais. With Benthish and Scandian, spoken in Varangia.

Benthish: Spoken in Benthos and Kyanite. With Givetian and Scandian, spoken in Varangia.

Grabendra:
Spoken in Graben

Ilmenitian: Spoken in Ilmenite and Schist.

Bajoc: Spoken in Bajoc

Other national languages in the island kingdoms off Avalonia There are half a dozen of these, but we will not discuss them here.
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Ancient history
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2004, 05:41:49 AM »
The first of the history posts, this one discusses ancient history. The exact events described here would only be known to scholars; however, the general trend of what happened is an integral part of the history/legends of the world.

THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD ((From the archives of the Imperial Historical library, Triune Empire, Avalonia, 316PC)

The Covenantal Pact: ???? – 1380YB

Less than 2000 years ago the three continents of Avalonia, Laurentia and Baltica were unified under one government, known as the Covenantal Pact. The origins of the Covenantal Pact are lost in the depths of time (it is known that it was formed over 2500 years ago), though the name suggests that it was formed by the alliance of a number of nations. At the height of its power, the forces of the Covenant dwarfed the mightiest armies in the world today and its magic was of a similar quality to that existing in the most developed countries, such as our own. All races and nations were unified under the Covenant, with the sole exception of the desert land of the great dragons, situated in the south of Baltica.

One of the few pieces of history that survives from the time of the Covenant is the fact that, in the year 1839YB, the Covenant launched a full scale invasion of the Wormlands in an attempt to bring the entirety of the known world under its banner. At this time, the Covenant was at the height of its powers, and the invasion force consisted of literally hundreds of thousands of soldiers, supported by thousands of wizards and clerics. In the attack, the Covenantal army was totally obliterated.

Fortunately for us, however, the great dragons chose not to exploit their victory. These isolationist beings believed, due to their exceptionally long lifespan, that the loss of even one dragon would not be worth any gain, and instead a treaty was formed, in which the Wormlands were forbidden to any members of the Covenant, provided the great dragons stayed within their own territory. This treaty was never broken.

The Covenant brought peace and prosperity to the land, all but destroying the shadowspawn, significantly reducing banditry and piracy, and forcing unintelligent monsters away from the habitations of the civilised races. Towards the end of its dominion, however, its military power had deteriorated almost to nothing, due to the lack of any opposition, rebellion or areas of foreign adventure.

Furthermore, in the century immediately preceding the end of its dominion there had been growing worries over the increasing scarcity of gemstones, crucial to magic. The heights of magic reached under the Covenant required a huge and steady supply of gemstones; under this demand, many of the mines were beginning to be worked out. As prices rose, tensions began to rise between the different regions of the Covenant. Whilst these tensions manifested themselves as economic and political struggles, rather than military conflict, by the middle of the 24th century NE the tensions and rivalry were both real, obvious and, it is likely, helped considerably to contribute to the fall of the Covenant.

The Sundering of the Covenant: 1380YB – 1254YB

c. 1380YB: Around this time a wizard, known to us solely by the name of Goridan, began to secretly make contact with the remnants of the shadowspawn in the mountains of central and northern Baltica. Using his magic he supported and controlled them, causing their numbers to increase and unifying them under his rule. Ruling the shadowspawn with an iron first, he carefully concealed his doings from the Covenant so well that suspicions did not even begin to arise of his existence or of the increasing threat of the shadowspawn.

1358YB: A shadowspawn army under Goridan pours down out of the mountains and besieges Ventral in central Baltica. After a swift but brutal siege, the city falls and is destroyed, its inhabitants slaughtered to the last man.

1358YB-1356YB: The Covenant desperately begins to rearm; however, minor pockets of shadowspawn uprisings all over Avalonia and Laurentia cause great difficulties in organising any forces to be sent to the relief of Baltica. Meanwhile, Goridan’s forces firmly occupy the mountains running westward across the centre of Baltica and north to the sea, cutting the continent in to three parts.

1355YB: Goridan launches a major assault in to north western Baltica, driving towards the city of Epifaun. Avalonia and Laurentia both send a small number of troops to support, and Goridan is halted, though not defeated, 45 miles SE of the city. Simultaneously, however, renewed shadowspawn uprisings, supported by Goridan, occur in both Avalonia and Laurentia. In Avalonia, much of the population of the western peninsular is massacred; in Laurentia, the devastation is less severe in any one region, but more widespread.

1354YB-1328YB: The Covenant begins to fracture. After the disaster that had followed the sending of aid to Baltica, the governments of Avalonia and Laurentia bilaterally secede from the Covenant, effectively splitting the Covenant in to three. A core principle of the new order is that no continent will send military aid to another while their own continent is threatened. Furthermore, the breakdown of swift, reliable communications between regions, combined with the continued depredations of the shadowspawn cause the people to put their trust in local leaders rather than in the Covenantal Council which had been so ill prepared for this threat. In particular, the continuing shadowspawn uprisings meant that no region within a continent was particularly willing to send troops elsewhere. The beginnings of nations were forming. On Baltica, Goridan’s forces continued to slowly encroach upon the north west quadrant.

1347YB: Act of Secession. (This date is used by the nations of Laurentia as the start of their calendar).

1338YB: A combined attempt by armies from Silesi (south west Baltica) and Westphal (north-east Baltica) to break through the leaguer of Epifaun is repulsed by the shadowspawn.

1336YB: On the island now known as Krinth-Turon (untroubled by shadowspawn), independence is declared, but the island quickly splits in to two warring kingdoms, who continue to feud over their common boundary until Imperial intervention in 246PC.

1332YB: Goridan completes the seizure of the entire north-western coastline, cutting Epifaun off from the sea.

1328YB: Epifaun falls. Goridan now controls almost 1/3 of Baltica. The two remaining sections are now totally cut off from each other (except by sea) and two new kingdoms are declared, with capitals in Silesi and Westphal.

1328YB-1300YB: Break down of civilisation continues. Laurentia and Avalonia split in to progressively smaller fragments. Races such as the cho-ja and the gryphons begin to become more isolationist. By the end of this period, the majority of the shadowspawn uprisings had been defeated upon Avalonia; however, Laurentia continued to be plagued. Forces under Goridan begin making probing attacks towards Silesi in the south west of Baltica.

1322YB: Loss of contact with Silesi. Westphal continues fortifying its borders but makes no move to counter-attack.

1303YB: An attack by shadowspawn into the territory of Westphal is repulsed. It is presumed that Silesi has now fallen.

1302YB-1281YB: Quiet on the borders of Westphal. Westphal continues to fortify; all attempts to investigate shadowspawn lands meet with failure.

1296YB: Last formal contact between Laurentia and Avalonia. From here onwards, almost no word is heard from Laurentia, though the occasional merchant does make the voyage.

1285YB: Though the shadowspawn are defeated on Avalonia, the continent has splintered and the new kingdoms will not agree on any reunification, each claiming that they have the right to rule Avalonia. The far west has been almost abandoned, other than some nomads and the cho-ja who refuse to leave their mountains, whilst the bulk of the continent is split between three evenly matched feuding kingdoms: one elven, one human and one dwarven. In the north-western hills (to the east of the abandoned west), tribes of orcs settle, preying on each other and the humans and elves to their east and south. The surrounding islands also declare themselves as independent kingdoms.

1281YB: Massive shadowspawn forces attack the border of Westphal. The defences are overwhelmed, and three huge armies spearhead in to Westphal territory.

1281YB-1275YB: The armies of Westphal fight a defensive war, constantly retreating.

1275YB: Despite his best efforts to prolong his life by magic, Goridan dies of old age. The shadowspawn assault falters, but does not stop.

1269YB: A merchant from Laurentia brings word that the shadowspawn upon Laurentia have been defeated, but that the continent is now riven with civil war.

1262YB: Westphal falls.

1254YB: Last refugees from Baltica reach Avalonia. They tell of a land totally over run by shadowspawn; however, with no leader they will fall to fighting amongst themselves, and are unlikely to attack the other continents (which appears to be true).
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The Scahanian Peninsular
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2004, 01:13:35 PM »
Author's note: This is one of the posts that was written 100 years before the current era. At the moment, the Scahanian Peninsular has been conquered by Krinth-Turon, much as the Triune Empire conquered it 100 years before (and then soon lost it). Krinth-Turon has not attempted to extend it's dominion north of the Meneth Scahas range.

Of the Scahanian Peninsular of Southern Laurentia (before the Variscan War)(Excerpt from a report to the Triune Empire prior to the Imperial invasion of the Scahanian Peninsular, 313PC)

The Scahanian Peninsular is a primitive region, consisting of various city states. There is no large-scale organisation – few rulers’ authority extends much beyond three days journey from their capital town. The major city states are the trade-city of Autigen in the far south-east, Laetoli in the north, close to the Moldan marshes on the banks of the Golbardis, Ludens and Hovius in the centre and the two port towns: Bouma in the north and Orcad in the south.

The inhabitants are, in general, more primitive than those of Avalonia; though the major city states have achieved some degree of sophistication, there are many regions which are less civilised. The inhabitants of the Moldan marshes are savages, and those of the Gorenfells and the Forest of Ludenec little better. Even in the city states, the true potential of magic is not appreciated, and our armies should be able to overwhelm their primitive forces with ease, even if we are outnumbered. It is unlikely that the city states will have the cohesion to unite against us.

The entire peninsular is only 120 leagues from east to west at the widest part, and 140 leagues from north to south. It is isolated from the main part of Laurentia by the Meneth Scahas range, which runs from east to west across the entire neck of the peninsular. A priority in subduing the peninsular should be to fortify any passes in the Meneth Scahas that would be large enough to permit an army passage: should this be done, the peninsular should fall in to our hands with ease.

Author's note: The Moldan marshes are the site of the Monastery of Moldan: http://www.strolen.com/setting/viewsetting.php?setting_id=44&offset=0&order=updated&dir=Desc&index=1
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The Mainland of Laurentia
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2004, 11:17:49 AM »
Of the Mainland of Laurentia(Excerpt from a geographical survey by Krinth-Turon, 434PC)

The continent of Laurentia is large, slightly larger than Avalonia to the west and certainly much larger than our small island. Currently it is divided in to over thirty separate countries. The Great Western Desert is largely uninhabited, and the region surrounding the ruined former Variscan capital of Turriculatus is inhabited mainly by barbarians. In the main though, the nations, though some are small, are of a comparable level of technology and magical advancement to ourselves or the Triune Empire to the west. This section of the survey will deal primarily with the differences between Laurentian society and that of the Triune Empire (our own culture is, whatever people may say, very similar to that of the Triune Empire.

In the first place, on Laurentia the three races of humans, elves and dwarfs are almost totally integrated. Even orcs, long shunned in Avalonia, are somewhat accepted in to society, though they often remain on the fringes. The cho-ja and gryphons, though both are still isolationist, have a much stronger presence and relationship with the other races than on Krinth-Turon or Avalonia: in consequence, humans, elves and dwarfs are used to dealing with the elder races.

Another major difference is the presence of to’raken. These large, flying animals (with a wingspan of 70-80ft) are native to Laurentia and were long ago domesticated. In consequence, Laurentia has commercial air travel at a price affordable to anyone with as much money as a moderately prosperous merchant. Naturally, these beasts, along with their cousins, the smaller raken, have been used in combat, primarily as transports (they are harmless).

Not so harmless are some of the other beasts of war used by the Laurentians. The inhabitants of the continent have managed to domesticate grolm, hrulgin and algroths, all of which are used to a greater or lesser degree in combat.
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The Variscan Imperium
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2004, 11:19:01 AM »
This post is one of those which was written 100 years ago. It describes what Laurentia was like then.

Of the Variscan Imperium (Excerpt from a government report of the Triune Empire, 315PC).

We have been able to determine very little about the Variscan Imperium. It is known that they control the entirety of Laurentia including, since our defeat at The Pass of  Froude, the Scahanian Peninsular. From their dating system we can deduce that Varisca rose to power 136 years ago, and since then must have swiftly subdued the entirety of the continent of Laurentia. Their rule is brutal.

Their government is, as far as we can determine, a brutal theocracy, with the Preceptor of the Dark Templars serving as the supreme ruler. Whether a country known as Varisca existed before the Dark Templars rose to power is unknown. What is undoubtedly true is that much of the Templars’, and Varisca’s, power stems from an ancient device, once buried, but now located in Turriculatus, the capital of Varisca. This fiendish device is used to create the Joinings, hideous blends of man and beast of unmatched strength, ferocity and speed. Almost none can stand against the power of the Joinings combined with the dark sorceries of the Dark Templars. It should be noted that the conventional forces of Varisca are well-armed, well-disciplined and make full use of magic in combat; they are also at least as numerous as our own.
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Semi-recent History
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2004, 03:42:34 AM »
This post (and the next couple) mainly concern the events of around 100-120 years ago, when the last major events which greatly influence the world today occurred. This was actually the background and setting for the first campaign I ran in Edrith - at the time, I was fairly inexperienced and didn't realise that it was unrealistic for the fate of a great empire to revolve around a party of level 2 characters. (OK, they were high level by the end). If this bothers you too much, then pretend that the words "The Farladan company" actually refer to a variety of different people, rather than the same group.

Another point is that the 1000 years or so between the Sundering and this time are fairly sketchily developed. If anyone wants to make up some history, either about Avalonia before the Triune Empire, the early days of the Empire or Laurentia before the Variscan Imperium (the countries then were similarish to now - I will post more about Laurentia soon) then please feel free to.


The Dark Ages: 1254YB-1YB

1254YB-26YB: The dark ages. The three kingdoms of Avalonia slowly decline in power and civilisation, due primarily to the intermittent but interminable wars between them. The orcs encroach further to the west (though they also are weakened by constant warfare). At some point around the eighth century YB, all contact with the cho-ja is lost and their very existence begins to fade in to legend. Banditry proliferates. Very poor records are kept throughout this time; furthermore, the records from each of the three kingdoms frequently disagree.

26YB-1PC: The charismatic ruler of the humans, Corithin Andar, negotiates a series of treaties with the elven and dwarven kingdoms that bring peace and lead the way to the unification of the three kingdoms.  

The Golden Years: 1PC-293PC

1PC: Charter of Unification signed. Triune Empire formed. Construction begins on a new capital, Wenlock, to be built at the junction of the three former kingdoms. Wenlock will quickly grow to become the largest city in the Empire.

1PC-50PC: The three nations become more and more integrated into our glorious Triune Empire. The Empire, at peace with itself, begins to regain strength, pushing back the barbarism and lawlessness that had begin to form in the far-flung regions of each of the kingdoms. The new government establishes itself in Wenlock and the military is reformed. Centres of learning gain prominence as the lost arts of magic are rediscovered, and trade blossoms throughout the Empire. (The ending point of this time is somewhat arbitrary).

37PC: The Great Uprising. A dire threat to the fledgling Empire appears on the north-western border. Many tribes of orcs, unifying under one leader, begin to move against us. Fortunately, however, a large temple of Order (originally founded to proselytise to the orcs) was located in the orcish territory, in the path of the invasion. The entire complement of the temple down to the last novice (barring one priest who was placed in a stasis field to communicate the news to the Empire later) defeated and destroyed the orc horde at the loss of all their lives (much use was made of the spell Starburst). The orcs were broken, never again to reform under one leader. Thus this threat to the Empire was rendered harmless and, in fact, was only realised when the temple (with its stasis-bound priest) was rediscovered in 294PC.

51PC-293PC: The golden years of the Empire. The Empire expanded, pushing back its borders on Avalonia and growing ever in prosperity and might. Its influence was extended over the various nations on the islands to the north, with almost all of these countries either being subsumed outright in to the Empire or becoming vassal states. Even the island of Krinth-Turon, 350 leagues to the east became a vassal of the Empire in 246PC when Imperial forces were asked to assist in arbitration of the long-standing dispute over the border between Krinth and Turon.

179PC: Variscan Imperium founded on Laurentia. (This fact was not known until over a century later).
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More Semi-recent History: The Shadowspawn War
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2004, 03:44:03 AM »
292PC: A prosperous merchant of Farlad, a human frontier city on the western border of the Empire, finances an expedition to explore the lands outside the Empire in the far west of Avalonia. The expedition is successful; contact is re-established with the cho-ja, and a nation of nomads is discovered in the plains of the north. More worryingly, the presence of shadowspawn was discovered in the mountains of the far north-west.

294PC: In the spring of this year, large numbers of the orcs that inhabit the hills to the north and west of the Empire are seen moving southwards, overrunning any settlements in their path. However, it does not seem to be the act of a war, rather a mass migration: large numbers of women and children are also moving south, along with the warriors. In an attempt to discover the reason for this unexplained migration, the authorities in Farlad hire a mercenary band, (comprising of some of the explorers who had recently charted the far west and some other people) to investigate. From this point on, the fate of the Empire would seemingly be inexplicably linked with this band of mercenaries from Farlad: the Farladan company.

Upon going north in to the hills, the expedition quickly discovered the presence of large numbers of shadowspawn in the hills – thus immediately explaining the migration of the orcs, who were fleeing from the invaders. Once again, contact was made with the cho-ja and the beginnings of a treaty between them and the Empire was negotiated. The cho-ja told how the shadowspawn forces, arriving from Baltica, had left the hills from the far north-west and crushed the nomad kingdom on the plains of the north, with the exception of those few nomads who managed to make their way through the cho-ja held east-west mountain chain to the plains in the far south-west of Avalonia. The shadowspawn had then crossed the northern mountain chain in to the orcish lands, where they were in the process of crushing the resistance.

The Farladan company also managed to intervene in a skirmish between the orcs and shadowspawn, thus saving the life of a powerful orc chieftain. In recognition of this, he pledged friendship with the Empire, the first truly peaceful contact between the orcs and the Triune Empire in over 1000 years. With the power of the orcs broken by the shadowspawn, the Empire was far more willing to listen to overtures of peace, and the remnants of the orcs eventually established a client kingdom to the immediate south-west of the Triune Empire. One final point of interest about this investigatory mission is that the temple of Order that had broken the Great Uprising in 37PC was discovered (and thus the events of that time became known to us).

The Shadowspawn War: 294PC-297PC

294PC: In the late summer of this year, the armies of the Triune Empire bring the shadowspawn forces to battle northwest of Farlad. The Imperial army is triumphant, defeating the shadowspawn and forcing them back, first in to the hills, and then across the mountains. An alliance is formed with the cho-ja, and the mountains are fortified against a shadowspawn counter attack.

295PC: Throughout this year, several shadowspawn attacks are repulsed by the fortifications in the mountains. Though there seems to be no immediate threat that the shadowspawn will break through, the constant fighting is costing the Empire dearly in both lives and money, and the shadowspawn remain in too strong a presence in the far north-west of Avalonia for any to relish the prospect of counter-attacking in force. In short, a stalemate develops.

296PC: On Avalonia, the stalemate continues. Neither side shows any prospect of gaining any kind of decisive advantage. At this point, the Triune Empire decides to send an embassy to the Wormlands of Baltica, the first time any from Avalonia have been to Baltica in over 1000 years. The decision is made to approach the great dragons because, though they are unfriendly to the civilised races, they are not evil. It was also considered almost a certainty that, due to the power of the dragons, the Wormlands would not have been overrun when the rest of Baltica fell to the shadowspawn so long ago. The Farladan company is sent to negotiate, as they are considered to have the greatest first hand information on the situation.

Though the dragons are not particularly friendly, they are not overtly hostile, and are eventually persuaded to give information and to allow the very border of their land to be used as a landing stage (though they refuse to countenance the landing of huge armies). They tell how a mage, seeking to emulate Goridan, has established himself in power in the centre of Baltica, and has brought large numbers of shadowspawn under his sway. Though undeniably strong, his power is not even a faint shadow of Goridan’s, and his success in gaining power over the shadowspawn is largely due to the lack of opposition. Even then, large areas of Baltica do not acknowledge his rule, though they do not actively oppose him either. It is because of this mage that the invasion of Avalonia has been instigated.

297PC: Upon learning of the situation on Baltica, the Farladan company is dispatched from the Empire, with orders to penetrate through Baltica to the base of the mage, and then to assassinate him. Such an act would have been impossible, but for two things: firstly, the mage did not realise that any opposition was even present on Baltica and so would not have regular patrols out; secondly, the almost impenetrable defences of the base itself were circumvented by a magical artifact provided by the dragons: this artifact would transport a small party past all the magical defences of the base in to the presence of the mage himself, and would then transport them out again (after this use, the artifact would be drained and useless).

The plan was embarked upon and successfully carried out. With the mage defeated, the unity of the shadowspawn once again collapsed, and certainly any ambitions of invading other continents vanished. With no reinforcements from Baltica, the shadowspawn on Avalonia were soon defeated by the Empire, and peace once again reigned.

The Years of Quiet: 297PC-304PC

For several years, peace reigned in the Empire. Relations with the neighbouring island kingdoms and vassal states were peaceful, with the Empire seeking to extend its sway merely through diplomatic means. For mercenaries such as the Farladan company, jobs were scarce, with about the only opportunities for employment being tasks such as the rescuing of a minor lord’s daughter from bandits, serving in one of the minor squabbles between rival nobles, caravan duty, or serving on a diplomatic mission such as the embassy to Avalle. (This is a prime example of the type of affair that was commonplace in the Empire’s foreign relations at this time (and throughout its history). The Empire wished to increase trade links with the Kingdom of Avalle (located on a large island off the south coast), and also to station a small number of troops on the island (ostensibly to protect trade). After some discussion, the King and nobles of Avalle agreed, the benefits being better than the downsides).

One minor happening of interest was the discovery in an archaeological dig of a fluted black rod, an ancient artifact thought long lost that produced balefire. It was, however, of little use: not only was it dangerous and almost impossible to control, it also irrevocably poisoned the wielder, with the only known antidote being kept in a guarded underground vault in the wizards’ university of Caradoc. This being the case, the artifact was delivered to Caradoc for study.
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2004, 03:44:52 AM »
The Krinth-Turon Affair: 305PC

The island of Krinth-Turon, to the east of Avalonia, was split between the two kingdoms Krinth and Turon. The kingdoms had a long history of warfare and though there had been peace between them for several decades (since they had become vassals of the Empire), much animosity still remained. In the centre of the island, on the border between them, lay the free city of Murchisoni, and near it, the great Moraldan mines. These mines were jointly operated by both kingdoms and were the source of much of the island’s wealth.

In 305PC, there had been mysterious occurrences in the mines. Many miners had been vanishing, and others told tales of their comrades turning on them and trying to slay them. Furthermore, large numbers of orcs had been seen in the mines. Each country blamed the other, accusing it of a plot to try to gain control over the mines. Tension was rising between the two nations and hostilities began to seem increasingly likely.

It was at this time that the Triune Empire, exerting its right as overlord, sent out the Farladan company to investigate the situation. They were to penetrate in to the mines and discover what was wrong. Inside, in the very depths of the mine, they found a small group (of 8) of the evil creatures known as Morgalen, which had entered the mines and were mind controlling both the orcs and the miners to gain control over the mines. The Morgalen, once tracked to their lair, were defeated and slain to the last man.

From what little information could be gained from the Morgalen before combat ensued, it appeared that the Morgalen had fled from Laurentia, and told tales of a great power rising there. Given the evilness of the Morgalen, of course, there was no way of knowing how “great� the power was, nor indeed whether this power served good or evil. It would, however, later be realised that this new power on Laurentia was the rising Variscan Imperium, a power as evil as the Morgalen, yet far more powerful.

The Mysterious Evil: 308-309PC

Late autumn, 308PC: A merchant ship sailing from Caradoc to Bathon on the eastern seaboard of the Empire sinks with all hands about 10 miles south of Bathon. There had been no storm or bad weather; furthermore, the magical communications device used by the ship captain to keep in touch with the merchant owner suddenly went dead. The reason – no-one knew.

The merchant wishing to reclaim his ship (which was loaded with gold) first decided to hire the Farladan company to investigate the ship to see if they could determine the cause of the sinking. In the ship, they found no sign of anything untoward; however, in the captain’s safe was found a small steel box. When opened, the people opening the box claimed to have felt an evil presence pass over them and move westward; however, their stories were discounted as nothing seemed to have come of it.

Winter of that year was quiet, with little out of the ordinary occurring. The Farladan company occupied themselves by helping to defeat the rebellion of Lord Tuath, a rebellious noble of the Empire.

Spring, 309PC: Three powerful high priests (of Order, Life and Earth) had gone missing, and were believed to be building a stronghold in a forest near the middle of the Empire. They had located on top of a powerful node of magic, which they had opened and were no doubt trying to use to fuel their powers. The circumstances were bizarre, and these clerics and previously shown no sign of leaning towards evil. Furthermore, other high ranking members of the Empire were believed to be plotting with them.

The temples of the Empire hired the Farladan company to find the renegade clerics’ stronghold, destroy them and shut down the node. By secretly abducting one of the suspected treacherous Empire nobles, the stronghold was located. Once this was done, it was not too difficult to penetrate it, though the clerics were so strong that they were only just defeated. To seal the node was more difficult. The clerics had been using chained elementals to channel the power of the node; by forcing several of these of different types in to the node and then capsizing earth on top to bury it, the conflict of so many disparate types of forces in close proximity sealed tight the node.
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More semi-recent history: The Variscan War
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2004, 03:46:00 AM »
The Invasion of Laurentia: 306PC-314PC

For several years, the Triune Empire had been considering an invasion of southern Laurentia. The Scahanian Peninsular, the southernmost peninsular of that continent was isolated from the main portion of the continent by the Meneth Scahas range of mountains, and would make an easily defended base from which to pursue the eventual conquest of the continent. Furthermore, though little was known about any portion of Laurentia, the Scahanian Peninsular allowed the Empire to maintain a strong trading presence in the city of Autigen (on a promontory in the south-east). Though no outsiders were allowed out of the city, Laurentia traders were, of course, allowed in and they told of a land of primitive magic, the land divided between minor warlords and city states, with no area that could realistically be called a kingdom. About the main portion of Laurentia, not even this much was known as that region was even more hostile to outsiders; however, once the southern section was secure, the north could be investigated.

In 312PC, the by now extremely renowned Farladan company was sent to reconnoitre the land. Specifically, their task was to evade the guards around Autigen, and then head north to the Meneth Scahas range, locating any pass that would be large enough to permit the passage of an army.

The Farlad company found that the land was as much as described. They learned from locals that their were only two sizeable passes in the Meneth Scahas: the Pass of Aradha and The Pass of Froude. Upon investigating, however, they found that the Pass of Aradha had collapsed several years earlier in a series of avalanches. All that the Empire would need to do to secure the south would be to guard The Pass of Froude.

In the spring of 314PC, the Imperial Expeditionary force swept out of Autigen and struck north for The Pass of Froude. They met little resistance. The troops of the Scahanian Peninsular were not only mostly outnumbered, but even when they were not they were no match for the highly sophisticated armies of the Triune Empire. By early summer, the entire region south of the Meneth Scahas had been conquered. By winter, the conquest was secure. The pass of The Pass of Froude had been well fortified and heavily garrisoned, and all seemed secure.

The Variscan Wars: 315PC

Spring, 315PC: A great host of Varisca sweeps down from the north and assaults The Pass of Froude. Their banners blacken the sky with their numbers. Rank after rank of troops pour in to the pass, yet this is no uncivilised hoard: their magic is on a par with that of the Empire, and their troops as well trained and well-disciplined. Yet it is not numbers alone that confront the Triune Empire’s armies. Marching alongside the armies of Varisca are two forces of great power and evil: the Dark Templars, a dark order of warrior clerics of great skill, whose prowess in combat was matched only by their dark magic and the Joinings, hideous blends of man and beast of unparalleled strength, quickness and ferocity.

The armies of Varisca smashed through the defences of The Pass of Froude and poured in to the southlands. Outnumbered more than 20 to 1, the Imperial Expeditionary Force was crushed, driven back as fast as they could run. The last stand at Autigen was one of the quickest and most hopeless in history. In less than a month, the entirety of the Scahanian Peninsular lay beneath the banner of the Variscan Imperium, that dark empire which now controlled the entirety of the continent of Laurentia. It would not remain confined to Laurentia for long.

So swift was the Variscan assault that most of the Imperial forces were overwhelmed before they could flee. The Dark Templars actively hunted out any men of the Empire and slaughtered them. Amongst the few who escaped the debacle were the men of the Farladan company, who had remained there after their scouting mission.

It was clear that Varisca would soon move against the Empire. Across Avalonia, troops were mobilised, and armies were sent eastward. The hammer blow would fall first at the island of Krinth-Turon, located mid-way between Laurentia and Avalonia. Could, however, these Imperial vassals (Krinth and Turon) cease from their rivalry to form an effective defence: enough to delay Varisca long enough for the main Imperial armies from Avalonia to arrive?

It was thus that when the Farladan company landed at Visean on the east coast of Turon they found themselves presented with an Imperial mandate to take control of the defence of the island. They were the highest ranking and most experienced Empire citizens on the island, and had thus been commanded to coordinate the defence – the Empire not trusting in its vassal rulers to work together to defend the island.

They had little time to prepare, for the advance guard of the Variscan army was following little more than a week behind. Naturally, the entire army of Varisca could not be found ships for so soon, but Varisca had hoped that a quick strike by as many men as possible could secure Krinth-Turon.

To mobilise Krinth-Turon was no sinecure for the Farladan company. Firstly, the rulers and nobles of the island resented these Imperial agents being placed above them. Secondly, most of Krinth did not wish to send troops to defend Turon, yet without a combined army the island was doomed. The nobles did not wish to contribute to many troops to a central army and thus leave their own lands undefended. Perhaps the biggest problems though were the sheer impossibility of mobilising the entire army in time for the landing and the fact that, though at full mobilisation the army of Krinth-Turon had about as many men as the Variscan invasion force, the Variscan were far better trained, equipped and supported (even discounting the Joinings and Dark Templars).

In late Spring, the Variscan army landed at Visean, 50 000 strong. Through fire ships and magic, the defenders managed to inflict heavy losses before landing; however, Visean soon fell. From here, the Variscan split their army: half moving west towards Micraster, the other half south east to the Fords of Derun and thence to Stephanian. The defenders fell back before them. In several battles the Variscan forces were victorious, though each time the defenders managed to withdraw in good order.

At this point, the Farladan company managed to attract two allies to their cause. The first were the gryphons. Recognising the great evil of Varisca, 400 of them pledged to join the beleaguered forces of Krinth Turon. The second was a monastic order of holy warriors of Order; they could, to some extent, counter the effect of the Dark Templars and destroy the Joinings. Though more powerful individually than any Dark Templar, they would, however, not be able to match the combined power of the 350 in the army of Varisca, nor the 3000 Joinings.

In the north, the Variscan army had continued to Micraster where the defenders, aided by the monks of Order, had settled in for a protracted siege. Micraster, a strongly fortified city in a mountain pass, would not fall quickly, and the monks of Order would be able to keep out the power of the Dark Templars (who could otherwise have caused fear and desertions) for a time at least.

Meanwhile, in the south, the Battle of the Fords revealed the nature of the Gauntlets of Lightning. These 3500 men in the Variscan army were clearly special forces of some kind, but their exact nature had been unknown.

At the Battle of the Fords, whilst the two armies were engaged in battle along the river, and defending army of Krinth and Turon found themselves attacked from the rear by large numbers of the elite soldiers of the Gauntlets of Lightning. Mounted on to’raken, large flying beasts capable of carrying around 30 mean at a time, the Gauntlets of Lightning would be flown to their target and would then disembark, whilst the to’raken would fly back for another load. Though the gryphons were to some extent able to counter them in future battles, the surprise at the Fords was total, and the defending army was once more forced to retreat. Meanwhile, a magically concealed army under Varisca had taken Lingula.

At this point, the defenders decided to retreat the entire army in Turon back in to Stephanian, the capital of Turon. The remaining troops arriving from Krinth would mobilise along the wide Faolain river, which formed a border between Krinth and Turon in the south. With many of the Varisca troops following the defenders to Stephanian to besiege it, less would be available to assault the river. However, the defenders then evacuated Stephanian using coastal boats, leaving just enough men to defend the city. The evacuated soldiers went to join the garrison at the Falani River, thus meaning that, with a large portion of the Variscan army besieging Stephanian, a stand-off would ensue. Meanwhile, the northern half of the army was still besieging the city of Micraster.

The situation continued in this way for another week. Though Micraster was weakening (the monks of Order had by this time succumbed, though not before taking a heavy toll on the Dark Templars), it seemed as though the island would surely hold until reinforcements arrived from Avalonia (which could not be more than a week away).

The complacency of the defenders was shattered when word reached them that the Earl of Epifaun, a powerful noble of southern Krinth, had defected to Varisca. His reason for contributing so few troops to the defence effort was now revealed. Sweeping north, his troops had taken the almost undefended city of Lundgreni and were now striking from the south east directly towards Murchisoni, the largest city on the island. Meanwhile, the remainder of the Gauntlets of Lightning had flown behind Micraster and taken the city of Ramas River. These were now marching towards Murchisoni from the south. No troops could be removed from the Faolain or Micraster (and in any case, these would not reach it in time), but all remaining forces were urgently rushed by the defenders to defend Murchisoni. They would not, however, be sufficient to hold it for very long.

It was at this point that the armies of the Triune Empire landed from Avalonia. Though much of Krinth-Turon had fallen to Varisca, enough had been preserved for the Empire to have a solid base to counter-attack from, and much of the island was retaken before the Variscan reinforcements arrived.

The situation was beginning to boil down to a war of attrition – but one which the Variscan Imperium was sure to win, due to both the Templars and Joinings, and also because of its uncaring attitude towards spending the lives of its men. With the Triune Empire facing destruction, it was decided to embark on a plan that seemed almost foolhardy to some: send the now legendary Farladan company in to the heart of Varisca, to the capital city of Turriculatus. There they would attempt to kill the Preceptor of the Templars and destroy the machine that created the Joinings (which would, in its destruction, destroy much of the city). It went without saying that the Farladan company had little chance of success, and still less of surviving should they succeed.

Setting sail for Laurentia, the Farladan company landed in Atavus, the port city on the edge of the Great Western Desert, the only unguarded region of Varisca. Crossing the desert was in itself an achievement of legend: the number of times the desert had been crossed in the past century could be counted on the fingers of both hands. The crossing took more than two months; all the while men were fighting and dying upon Krinth-Turon.

Once across the desert, they had little fear of detection, and soon reached Turriculatus. Once here though there was the problem of getting inside the Inner City, the forbidden portion of the city in to which none but the Dark Templars were allowed. Impersonating Templars got them so far, but from then on they had to fight. It is known that they killed the Preceptor, but how they destroyed the Joining machine is unknown, given that it was impervious to force, fire and magic. As the destroyed machine exploded, destroying the city in the process, the legend has it that six chariots of fire swept down from the gods, and carried off the Farladan company – what the truth of this matter is we will never know.
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Cho-ja
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2004, 04:33:11 AM »
A little interlude from history here. In case I haven't mentioned it already, cho-ja are large intelligent insectoids, bigger than a sheep but smaller than a horse.

On the Social Structure and Military Capabilities of the Cho-Ja (Excerpt from a report by Xalaxkl, Force Commander of the Xatexca Hive, Elder Alliance, 1769SS).

The Xatexca Hive, like the majority of our hives, has a population maintained at 50 000 by our glorious Mother, the Queen. Of this 50 000, 5000 will be soldiers, the remainder being workers of various castes (including builders, foragers, miners, engineers, drones, the mindless tunnel ventilators and the spinners of silk). The mages I am here including with the military, though they are in addition to the 5000 soldiers. The numbers of each caste, and of the military, is always carefully maintained. Almost all cho-ja hives will have a very similar structure to our own; in many cases, even the total population of 50 000 is the same. In general, should an area be able to support more than this number, a new hive close by will be formed.

The army, as stated before, consists of 5 000 cho-ja warriors. When drawn up for full-scale battle, the army has the following organisation:
The army is commanded by myself, the Force Commander.
Under me are five Force Leaders, each commanding a force of 1000 cho-ja.
Under each Force Leader are 10 Strike Leaders, each commanding a strike force of 100 cho-ja.
Under each Strike Leader are 10 Patrol Leaders, each commanding a patrol of 10 cho-ja.
When not arrayed for full-scale battle, the dispositions are somewhat more flexible: each patrol leader can command between 5 and 20 cho-ja, each strike leader between 8 and 15 patrol leaders and each force leader between 5 and 15 strike leaders.
Our mages are assigned to the army as follows: each strike force is assigned five low ranking mages (under the command of the strike leader); each force is assigned five medium ranking mages (under the command of the force leader) and the five most powerful mages are assigned to the entire army, and answerable to myself alone.
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Post-Variscan history
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2004, 04:35:33 AM »
This part of the history deals primarily with the events of northern Laurentia, as it is written by the Elder Alliance. A lot of it deals with the events of that last 10 years: the events which are shaping the world (or at least this part of it) at the moment.

Post-Variscan History((From the National Historical Library of the Elder Alliance, Laurentia, 1769SS)

With the destruction of Turriculatus by the six legendary heroes of the Farladan company, the Variscan Imperium was left leaderless. Many of the Templars and Joinings were destroyed, as was the entire mechanism of government. The majority of those that survived were abroad, fighting the armies of the Triune Empire, and with them were the majority of the armies of the Imperium.

Across the length and breadth of Laurentia rebellions sprang up. The Imperium had been hated for its evil and repressive cruelty and had only remained in power through its overwhelming force. Much of Laurentia had, in any case, only been conquered between 50 and 150 years ago, so stories of the old times remained. The destruction of Turriculatus seemed to many to have all but destroyed Varisca, and this itself was as much a factor in prompting the rebellions as the actual weakness of the Imperium.

The commanders of the Variscan army, seeing the total destruction of their city and  watching their empire fragment before their eyes chose instead a new course of action. Gathering all their forces, they launched a final all-out assault upon the homeland of the Triune Empire, thinking to carve out a new kingdom for themselves there. Fortunately for the world, their attempt was defeated, though not before enormous devastation and loss of life had been inflicted on the Triune Empire.

On Laurentia, the rebellions continued apace, and soon the power of Varisca was broken for ever. The few surviving Joinings and Templars were destroyed, and their remaining armies either killed or scattered (many deserted). New kingdoms sprang up, with every man who could gather more than a handful of followers proclaiming himself lord and ruler of a town. In the century since then, many of these smaller “kingdoms� have been absorbed by others; however, there are still 37 recognised nations on Laurentia. The old country of Varisca was abandoned to its devastation, and nomads now roam this area.

The Triune Empire was also greatly affected by these events. Though the Variscan assault was defeated, the Triune Empire took huge losses. Much damage was done to certain areas, particularly the dwarven area on the eastern coast where several cities were razed to the ground and the populace slaughtered. The Empire lost its hold over its client kingdoms on the islands around Avalonia, and these nations are now fully independent in truth as well as name.

For several decades, the Empire was solely occupied with rebuilding. Since then, a staunch isolationist ideology has ruled the policies of the Empire. Many believe that it was meddling with the outside world that brought the disaster of the Variscan War upon them, and there has been no move to expand again in to their attendant islands, still less on to Laurentia. Even the passion for foreign trade has somewhat diminished. Their army is still the single most powerful in the world and by far the most powerful in the region, however, they do not stir beyond their tradition territory on mainland Avalonia and refuse to alter this policy for any reason.

Surprisingly, given that many of the island cities were severely damaged by the succession of battles that were fought on the island, Krinth-Turon has benefited enormously from the Variscan War. The death of many of the old nobles, combined with the fact that the two countries had just united to defend their homeland against an external enemy, seemed to provide the catalyst needed to rebuild a new, genuinely unified nation upon the ruins of the two old ones. The former free city of Wenlock has become the capital of the new kingdom of Krinth-Turon, which has rapidly rebuilt and grown in strength.

Aided by the power vacuum left in that part of the world by the withdrawal of the Triune Empire from external politics, Krinth-Turon has expanded and looks set to become the dominant power in its region. It has also expanded eastwards to Laurentia. Between 1708 and 1714SS it conquered the Scahanian Peninsular and fortified The Pass of  Froude against counter-attacks, much as the Triune Empire had done before. Though it has not stirred since then (indeed, to force their way past the dwarven mines of Sedgwick and Phloem would not be easy), any attempts to dislodge them would be extremely difficult. Their continued presence cannot be described as other than worrying.

Far more worrying, however, are their activities in the north-west where they have been seeking to extend their influence by proxy. Since 1723SS, Krinth-Turon has been systematically aiding the Pelagic “Empire�, though in 1723SS it was barely more than a city state. Pelagos is nothing more than a puppet state of Krinth-Turon; indeed, Krinth-Turon barely bothers to disguise the soldiers it sends to fight alongside its Pelagic minions. In the 46 years since Krinth-Turonian began aiding it, Pelagos has conquered several other countries, and is now probably the fifth most powerful entity on Laurentia (behind, in an undetermined order, the directly ruled Krinth-Turon territory in the Scahanian Peninsular, Torridon, the Silurian Alliance and our own Elder Alliance) and occupies approximately 8% of the total land area. The Pelagic “Empire� is particularly worrying as they now abut our western frontier, though as yet they have not dared to send troops against us. Instead they have been conducting a sporadic war against the kingdom of Namuria to the north; both we and the Silurian Alliance have been supporting Namuria with aid.

In recent years, events in the nations to the south of Laurentia have been relatively uneventful, with the status quo being generally maintained. It sometimes seems that the most exciting bit of news to come from there is of a merchant’s daughter being held to ransom.

Our region to the north, however, has been rather more eventful. In 1758SS, war broke out once more between Torridon and Siluria, its ancestral enemy to the north. Niavon (a young Torridonian officer) led 1000 men when the armies of Torridon marched north to meet the invading Silurian, and it was Niavon who held together the broken remnants of the army after the rout at Karst. With all superior officers dead, Niavon managed to lead his remaining forces in a counter-attack that shattered the Silurian flank, forcing them to consider overtures of peace. A treaty was signed shortly after, with neither side gaining much advantage.

Niavon blamed the Council of Seven (who ruled Torridon) for the debacle of Karst. Many of his friends had died in this battle. With his victorious army behind him, he marched on the Torridonian capital of Torridon City and seized power, brutally executing all seven members of the Council. Since then he has ruled as absolute ruler.

Niavon's rule has been harsh, but just. He is respected but not loved. Lacking any great gift for statescraft, he has been wise enough to realise this, and has surrounded himself with intelligent advicers, the two chief amongst them being Aliana Mosali, a fiery elven mage, and Father Nathan, a human healer cleric. It is in large part due to their advice that Torridon has largely accepted his rule (the fact that the Council of Seven were also not particularly loved).. Since then he has been the absolute ruler of that country. He is respected but not loved, being a just though harsh ruler (and can be cruel to his enemies). His foreign exploits have also helped to ensure his popularity.

As soon as he gained power, Lord Niavon began increasing the size and capability of the army of Torridon. Several reforms and modernisation, combined with moderate recruiting, meant that soon Torridon had one of the more formidable armies in the region. In 1764SS Torridon invaded the nation of Cadomia, located immediately to the south. The country was soon conquered, and in 1766, Niavon launched a major campaign eastward, striking into Santon, and beyond it in to Rodinia and Allende. By 1767, all three countries had fallen. Niavon proved to be a wise ruler, and allowed his new conquests to maintain much of their autonomy. These vassal states, however, have dramatically increased the military potential of Torridon, particularly as Niavon shows no sign of slowing his conquests. Though all has been quiet for the last two years, Niavon has continued to build up his armies (and as even managed to attract a small gryphon wing to his banner). The signs indicate that he is preparing for a major assault on his arch-enemy, Siluria, and he recently secured his western flank against invasion by negotiating a peace treaty with the Hauteriv tribe of orcs, which are the part of our Elder Alliance that are nearest the border with Torridon.

Siluria, of course, will not be unprepared. Siluria and Torridon have been hostile since the two countries were first established, and they have fought more wars against each other since then than any other two nations on Laurentia. In 1756SS, as Torridon was launching its invasion of Santon, Siluria formed the “Silurian Alliance against Torridon� with its neighbour, Cenoman. This alliance has now spread to include Valangin and Rhaetia.

In the far north east of the continent lie the Principality of Zechstein, the Kingdom of Rotliegendes and the Duchy of Toarcia. They are attempting to avoid the conflict between Siluria and Torridon, and have signed a mutual defence treaty with each other to that aim. Similarly, we ourselves have attempted to stay clear of the fray, though we are probably more sympathetic towards Siluria. This is for two reasons; firstly, we can only look askance at the rampant aggression of Torridon and secondly, our troops our fighting alongside those of Siluria in aiding Namuria against Pelagos We have, however, recently signed non-aggression treaties with both Siluria and Torridon.

In a far more difficult situation is the free city of Linnarson, a rich trading city sandwiched between Torridon, the Silurian Alliance and our own Elder Alliance. Much of the commerce of the region is centred there, and it has thus far survived by means of the balance of power: any of the three powers that tried to conquer it would find itself opposed by the other two.
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Current events - the happenings of the last year
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2004, 04:37:14 AM »
The last history post - I will be getting on to religion, mythology and a bit more geography after this.

The Events of 1770SS((From the National Historical Library of the Elder Alliance, Laurentia, 1770SS)

In the early spring of 1770SS, Lord Niavon of Torridon launched his long-expected offensive against Siluria. In a series of battles, however, the Torridonian offensive was halted, though not without extremely heavy losses on both sides. This was Niavon’s first major military defeat and, after his army had retreated back to Torridon, there were rumours that the defeat had unhinged his mind. Niavon was devoting the entire resources of his kingdom to the conquest of Siluria; taxes had been raised steeply in order to rebuild the army. Furthermore, his behaviour had become erratic: his mood would change rapidly and he would obsess about tiny issues. Several servants who had displeased him were killed out of hand and loyal nobles had been driven out of the room, only to be readmitted, an hour later, as if nothing had happened. Naturally, Niavon’s behaviour was not popular; however, his strength as a ruler was sufficient that there was no danger of a rebellion, particularly as his two chief advisers, Aliana Mosali and Father Nathan have done much to mitigate the worst of his excesses.

These advisers rapidly suspected that Niavon’s madness was not natural but was instead the result of some spell, but one so subtle and powerful that it could not be reversed (unless it was known exactly how it was cast). As neither could be sure of the other’s innocence, both began separately to investigate the cause of his madness, the prime suspects being either the Silurian, or else someone close to Niavon in Torridon. We understand that over the course of the next few months, Nathan and Aliana came to a tentative understanding with similarly senior figures in the Silurian government that the madness was not due to the Silurian (who, after all, had the most to lose from Niavon’s obsession with conquering Siluria). Furthermore, the evidence, rather than pointing to someone within Torridon or Siluria, seemed to indicate that the madness was the work of the growing Pelagic “Empire� to the west who, after all, had a great deal to gain from two out of three of the major powers of northern Laurentia being at each other’s throats.

Meanwhile, due partly to the fact of the Silurian Alliance withdrawing its aid from Namuria in order to defend against the Torridonian invasion, the Pelagic Empire, supported by the thinly disguised troops of Krinth-Turon, scored a series of victories against the Namurian armies (supported by some of our own forces) holding the western border of Namuria. By now, in the early autumn of the year 1770SS, Pelagic forces hold much of the western quarter of Namuria up to the river Erinal. The Namurian armies are attempting to hold the line of the river, but are unlikely to continue to be able to do so for long. Within the next few weeks we are likely to see a major Pelagic push against the capital, Aalen (located just on the east side of the Erinal): should Aalen and the line of the river fall, Namuria will collapse soon after, and our vassal state of Berrias will be in grave danger. What armies we can spare are attempting to aid the Namurians, or at least to secure retreat
routes in to our own nation for their fleeing armies.

Thus the situation stands. Should Namuria fall, the Pelagic armies will be on the border of Rhaetia, most westerly of the nations in the Silurian alliance. Whilst we have sent messengers to senior figures in both Siluria and Torridon (who, from their response, appreciate the graveness of the threat), as long as Niavon’s madness remains, these people are powerless to halt the conflict between Siluria and Torridon. Siluria will be overwhelmed by Pelagos, and our own Elder Alliance would be forced to stand alone against them, should they turn their attentions to us (which is fairly likely). The designs of Krinth-Turon, and their Pelagic puppets, upon our continent become daily closer to being fulfilled.
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Map
« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2004, 06:56:30 AM »
I just remembered I could do this: here is a map of Laurentia.

http://www.strolen.com/forums/album_pic.php?pic_id=65

Laurentia is the most complex continent in Edrith (in terms of number of countries, etc. The continent is 640 leagues EW and 560 leagues NS. I'm sorry the map hasn't come out very well: the main purpose though is to get an idea of where the countries are to each other. I've labelled principal regions (e.g. mountain ranges) with letters. I've labelled countries with numbers, and then have listed the principal cities in them (from left to right) afterwards, in brackets. If you can't make out some of the numbers let me know and I'll tell you.

A: Forest of Ludenec
B: Meneth Scahas (B' = Pass of Froude - only major pass)
C: Rangrisha Mountains
D: Great Western Desert (unclaimed). Town is Atavus
E: Forest of Shadows
F: Gralbak Mountains
G: Siluria/Torridon Fire Swamp
H: Blue Forest
I: Ooid Forest

Country List

1: The Scahanian Peninsular. Land conquered and directly controlled by Krinth-Turon. (Orcas, Moldan, Autigen).
2: Dwarven mines of Sedgwick and Phloem. Isolationist.
3: Kingdom of Ilmenite (Knoydart)
4: Duchy of Schist (Kame)
5: Kingdom of Varangia (Diamict)
6: Principality of Noria (Hovius)
7: Kingdom of Scandia. (Aesthen) One of the more powerful southern nations.
8: Duchy of Carnia (Barchan)
9: Barony of Longmynd (Longmynd)
10: Free City of Tournais (Tournais)
11: Kingdom of Givet. (Anis) Allied with Kyanite in a war against Benthos
12: Graben. (no major cities) High number of gryphons.
13: Kingdom of Morraine. (Westphal)
14: Kyanite (Kyanite)
15: Kingdom of Benthos (Jurass)
16: Duchy of Tacon (Esker)
17: Cadomia. (Diorite) Vassal province of Torridon.
18: Santon. (Bajada) Vassal province of Torridon.
19: Rodinia. (Argenteus) Vassal province of Torridon.
20: Allende. (Murchini) Vassal province of Torridon.
21: Torridon. (Bathon)
22: Siluria. (Pridoli) Founder and leader of the Silurian Alliance against Torridon.
23: Cenoman. (Lewisian) Member of Silurian Alliance.
24: Principality of Zechstein. (Zechstein) Mutual defence treaties with 25 and 26.
25: Kingdom of Rotliegendes. (Phacopid) Mutual defence treaties with 24 and 26.
26: Duchy of Toarcia. (Amphibole) Mutual defence treaties with 25 and 24.
27: Valangin. (Loess) Member of Silurian Alliance.
28: Linnarson. (Linnarson) Rich trade city with large university.
29: Kingdom of Rhaetia. (Petros) Member of Silurian Alliance.
30: Elder Alliance (Acinace).
31: The Barrens. (Turriculatus) Former seat of Variscan Imperium and suffered much damage in its destruction. The devastated region is inhabited by nomads. The Elder Alliance has most influence here.
32: Berrias. (Berrias) A primarily elven region; client state of the Elder Alliance.
33: Kingdom of Namuria. (Aalen) At war with Pelagos; receiving aid from Siluria and from the Elder Alliance.
34: Pelagic "Empire." (Pelagin, Arelag) Puppet state of Krinth-Turon. Constantly trying to expand.
35: Bajoc (Pyroxene)
36: Aile Calyx (Crenulata)
37: Aile Somera. (Riccarton) 36 and 37 are rivals but are currently at peace.

NB: This post is meant to be a reference for the map, and also to be a quick reference guide. I am currently working on a CP style Codex Populatia which I will start posting at some point in the future.
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Religion
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2004, 07:27:33 AM »
This is the first of my posts on the religion of the world. As I said at the beginning, this is one of the less well fleshed out areas and any suggestions here would be good. In general, I'm looking at a more Manfredine nature of the gods than anything else, though there are some significant differences.

Of Religion (From an elementary textbook in the University of Linnarson, Laurentia)

Almost all of the civilised world shares the same religious beliefs, no doubt a relic of their history of unification under the Covenant. This belief encompasses a worship of five gods, each of which personifies a quality: the five faiths are Order, Life, Earth, War and Silence. Though at one point things may have been different, the gods are now distant and impersonal: the anthropomorphic gods of each country have merged in to one, and the god of each faith is known simply by the name of the faith.

Throughout the world these five faiths are recognised and acknowledged; however, individual people or countries usually feel more drawn to one or two of the faiths than to the others, and will worship that god more. For example, in the dwarven mines of Sedgwick and Phloem Earth is the chief god, whereas a knight may feel more devoted to Order and War. Such adherence does not imply a lack of belief in the other faiths (or a lack of respect for their powers); rather it means that that person believes that certain faiths are more important and more valuable than others, and it is these that he would rather serve, worship and promote. Certain races are more often drawn to certain faiths; the dwarves, for example, usually serve War, Order or Earth.

Having said this, it should be known that there are some areas where one or more of the faiths is viewed as bad, and is suppressed. This could be for religious reasons – for example, Silence is viewed with great suspicion in the kingdom of Avalle as it is seen as deceitful – or political reasons: Lord Niavon of Torridon suspects the priests of Order of plotting against him, and is seeking to curtail their freedoms.

As has been said before, the gods are distant and impersonal; they seem to bestow liberal amounts of their power and favour around seemingly without care or thought. All that is required to be ordained as a cleric in a faith is to perform a few minor religious devotions, and then to continue to acknowledge that deity with the occasional act of worship. One need not be honourable, pious, intelligent or devout to become a cleric, and it is estimated that around 1/3 of the population of the world is. Certainly almost anyone above the level of a peasant becomes a cleric relatively quickly (so do quite a few of the more prosperous peasants as well). (Note that people are only ever a cleric of one faith). Becoming a cleric grants a person access to some of their god’s power, chiefly the ability to perform some moderate healing, and access to other minor powers, chiefly those that aid or protect themselves or their companions, that grant greater powers of sense or perception, that conjure light, or other such abilities. The more powerful and experienced clerics can actually perform quite powerful magics, though they are almost always far more passive and defensive in nature than those used by wizards.

It should be noted that becoming a cleric is very different from becoming a priest. Each of the faiths have priests; these are the true servants of the gods, who devote their life to serving their god, typically spending much of their time in a temple, monastery or other such place of worship. Priests have access to far more of their god’s than clerics do, though even their most powerful magic is usually of a more passive and defensive nature than wizardly spells (this does not mean it is less powerful).  

Note two important metagaming implications. Firstly, almost all PCs or NPCs above about level 3 will be clerics (about 1/3 tend to start as clerics) in addition to their normal class. This is totally different from standard multiclassing, as the advantages of doing so far outweigh the disadvantages. It doesn't affect their other class: a cleric is not like a D&D cleric - a warrior or thief will still be mainly a fighter or thief, just that he'll be able to heal a bad cut, or improve his hearing, or other minor things by calling on his god. He won't be going around shooting fireballs or turning undead, etc. Secondly, priests are more like classic role play clerics, except that they are much weaker physically (they are weaker than wizards) and because they actually do spend most of their time at temples, they're not particularly suitable for PCs (fine for NPCs though). Basically, the standard "PC cleric" does not exist (or is very rare) in this world.
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Coinage
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2004, 03:14:09 PM »
OK, after quite a break I've got some more Edrith stuff to post. A brief interlude on coinage before we get back to the business of religion.

ON COINAGE (From a government treatise of the Triune Empire, Avalonia, 422PC)

As one would expect, the pre-eminent monetary unit in the known world is the Imperial Crown, the gold standard of our glorious empire. The Imperial Crown is a large, golden coin that weighs approximately 4.3g. There are 8 silver marks in one crown: the mark is a silver coin that weighs 3.8g. There are 24 copper pennies in one mark: a penny is a small copper coin that weighs 2.1g. Monetary units are shown as in the following way 5,6M would mean 5 marks, 6 pennies whereas 3,4C means 3 crowns, 4 marks. 2p means two pennies. To give an indication of the value of this currency, the daily wage for a peasant labourer might be around 6p-16p whereas a lord might have a yearly income in the tens of thousands. The coins in use in the Empire are: crown, half crown, two mark piece (tommak), mark, demi-mark, eighthen, sixpence, thripenny bit, tuppence, penny, hapenny, farthing.

Many of our neighbouring kingdoms have based their currency on ours; it is, however, almost invariably inferior. For example, the Avallan Crown, although it professes to be worth as much as the Imperial Crown, actually only weighs around 4.1g: as such, merchants consider it to be less valuable. Ultimately, the weight of the coin is what determines its value. Most national currencies are of reasonably high quality, however, adulteration of coins remains an issue. The exact denominations of coins minted by the different kingdoms varies.

The island nation of Krinth-Turon has a most bizarre system of coinage. Their basic unit of coinage is the orald, a gold coin of 14.8g. This is subdivided in to the oraldin (a gold coin of 2.96g). Below this is the silver eld, a silver coin weighing 4.2g, and junior to this is the copper reldak, weighing only around 0.7g. Below this is the reldakin, made of tin, and weighing only 0.6g; a reldakin is all but worthless. There are 5 reldakin in a reldak, 5 reldak in an eld, 5 eld in an oraldin and 5 oraldin in an orald. Orald coins are fairly rare. These are the only coins: there are no other denominations.

Certain nations, such as those of the cho-ja, do not have their own coinage system: their hive society has no need for it (any commerce between hives is done either by barter or using the coins of other nations). Cho-ja tend to interchangeable use the coinage systems of the races nearest to them. The same is true for the gryphons: they are too few to require coinage within their communities (a gryphon community might only have 100 gryphons) and so simply use the coinage of others when trading with the outside world (which, in most places, is something that they rarely do). There are also a few primitive societies, such as those in the Moldan marshes, which have not developed coinage.

Over much of Laurentia the primary monetary unit is also called the crown – unfortunately, due to the lack of contact between the continents for so many centuries we cannot claim this as a result of the influence of the Empire; rather the fact that both continents use the name “crown� is a testimony to the fact that they were once united under the Covenantal Pact. Due, perhaps, to the fact that gold is fractionally more common upon Laurentia, the Laurentian Crown weighs (on average) 4.6g although its purchasing power (upon Laurentia) is roughly equivalent to that of the Imperial Crown upon Avalonia. Just like in Avalonia, different countries mint crowns that weigh slightly different amounts.

The Laurentian crown is subdivided in a number of different ways: some nations, such as Torridon (4.6g crown), use the same 8mark/192penny split as we do on the Empire; in Siluria (4.5g crown)they split the crown in to 12 florins, each of which is subdivided in to 15 milrays; in Zechstein (4.8g crown) they split it in to 10 akzars, each of which is split in to 20 kirds. The list goes on.

In the Pelagic “Empire�, Krinth-Turon coinage is now seen as commonly as Laurentian coins, due to the heavy influence of Krinth-Turon over this country. In southern Laurentia, a different monetary system has prevalence: minted in the Kingdom of Scandia they use the following system: the base unit is the huonar, a gold coin weighing 3.55g; this is split in to 6 onaer (silver coins weighing 4.15g), which are in turn split into 4 giala (silver coins weighing 1.04g). The giala is split in to twelve niugial (lit. “piece of giala�), each of which is a copper coin weighing 1.15g. This system has been adopted in the Dwarven mines of Sedgwick and Phloem; it is thus used widely in the Scahanian peninsular, the dwarven mines and (of course) Scandia; Scandian currency is also used to some extent in Noria, Varangia, Ilmenite, Schist and Carnia.
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The World of Edrith
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2004, 05:37:04 AM »
Finally, information on the different orders

The Different Orders

The worship, structure, beliefs and outward signs of the different faiths vary considerably. (Note that when it says that, e.g. “Faith X does not get involved in wars� this does not mean that individual clerics (as opposed to priests) will not do this; what it means that the organised faith and the priests will not do so). It should be remembered that most of the population worships all five of the faiths, though most people will honour one or two deities more than the rest.

Order
Order is the largest and most influential of the faiths on both Avalonia and Laurentia. The followers of Order are fundamentally committed to balance between all things; in addition, this balance should consist of everything being ordered. They are strongly opposed to disharmony, chaos and disorganisation (though not necessarily to war), traits that most agree with. Other high priorities to Order are honour and justice.

The faith of Order is the most powerful in terms of number of followers, number of clerics and priests and, probably as a result of the former, in terms of wealth and military and political influence. The followers of Order are generally on reasonably good terms with the other four faiths and Order worship habitually acknowledges these faiths as vital parts of the balance of all. All cities, almost all towns (except possibly the very smallest) and many villages will contain an Order church; in many cities the cathedral of Order will be one of the dominant features of the city’s architecture. Churches are often large, grand buildings, in some areas (but by no means all) given to lavish displays of wealth. Services use a strict liturgy. Order has a large monastic contingent, dedicated to prayer and worship of Order, scholarship and, in the case of some monasteries, military prowess. Many Order monasteries have well over 100 people in.

Order is the only faith to have a continent wide hierarchy (parallel in both Laurentia and Avalonia; neither continent acknowledges the authority of the other – the church of Krinth-Turon pays lip-service to the authority of the Avalonian church). The priests in each area will be subordinate to a bishop; each kingdom or region will usually have one archbishop. The archbishops of a region (around 6-10) meet in synod and elect a representative (known as the Lord Servant) to represent them at the Grand Synod which meets at regular intervals. Similarly, with monasteries, each monastery abbot in an area is subordinate to a prelate; the prelates of an area elect an arch-prelate (8-12). The Archandurmi (chosen by the archprelates) is “first among equals� of the monastic branch of order; all the archprelates, the lord servants and some powerful independent archbishops take part in the Grand Synod (around 30 people). The chief of the Grand Synod (chosen for life (unless removed by unanimous consent or divine intervention) by the Grand Synod) is known as the Archimandrite. Relationships and precedence between the church and monastic branches is convoluted and frequently a matter of dispute.

The faith of Order has a lot of influence in its dealings with the secular world. On a low level, the church is frequently involved in charitable works and in addition has a lot of influence as many people throughout society (both high and low) will be clerics of Order. Order almost always works to support government, law and order unless they are stunningly unjust or evil. It provides this support by both economic and military means. Order priests are more frequently found as advisers to nobles than priests of any other faiths.

Order is also by far the most militantly powerful of the faiths. (Order is much more powerful militantly than the Order of War. This is because Order battle prayers are almost as powerful as those of War. However, firstly, Order is much more popular than War and secondly, most of War’s adherents are common soldiers. These are either not clerics or, if they become clerics, are unlikely to make it their first priority in their life. On the other hand, those drawn to the life of a “holy knight� overwhelmingly seek out Order rather than War). Order is the only faith other than War that regularly takes part in normal (i.e. not against evil) warfare, always in the name of balance, justice and righteousness. Order forces will also be in the forefront of the struggle against evil wherever it should arise – though Order acknowledges the place of death (it balances life), evil violations of death (e.g. undead) are an abomination. A number of Order monasteries exist solely for the purpose of training the soldier-clerics of Order.
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Life
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2004, 05:37:45 AM »
Life
The order of Life is probably the second most popular faith; however, it is not particularly powerful or influential, primarily because it does not see that as being particularly conducive to its role. The faith of Life is totally aheirarchical; each temple of Life (in many cases, each priest of Life) is independent. There is no rigorous doctrine. The majority of Life followers are in the countryside, for the faith of Life is fundamentally a celebration of all life – human, animal and vegetable. It is particularly popular in the elven section of the Triune Empire. Most farmers are followers of either Life or Earth.

Temples of Life do exist in the cities and it does have its followers, some of whom may be people of great influence. However, the faith of Life does not in itself pursue any political goals. It concentrates on helping the individual people in its community and congregation. Life services are typically very simple and to the point. Flowers are a more common decoration than gold. Life does not have a monastic contingent, though some priests of Life do become hermits. Life is usually on fairly good terms with all the other faiths with the exception of War.

The faith of Life (as a faith) does not involve itself in wars between nations (though individual clerics may do so). Life, however, is foremost of all the faiths when it comes to resisting the power of unnatural evil (e.g. undead, shadowspawn, dark mages). A very small (but influential) minority of the followers of Life dedicate themselves to this purpose and are fell opponents of the dark. Life followers typically view all evil with extreme antipathy, particularly those that meddle with life (such as drain life). Undead are an abomination.
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