Originally whole, the world has since been sundered into hundreds of pieces. The cumulative lands of the undivided world were oblong in shape, rooted deep in a broad, impassable ocean. The gods decorated the sky with celestial bodies and set them on their courses, ensuring the cycles of day and night, summer and winter. The world was not a planet, not spherical. The lands lay flat across its surface, the entire world enclosed within a bubble, floating within the endless Ethereal mists.
The different races developed in their own ways and ignored each other, for the most part. The elves lived deep within the wilds where men feared to go, the dwarves dwelt in their high mountain valleys. Men wandered where they would, just one savage race fighting amongst others. But men were the more adventurous and, with the help of their gods, began to develop civilizations. Made aggressive by their age-old wars against the monstrous races, men eventually turned upon each other. Thus was born the Empire.
The Empire and the Sundering
The Empire itself had no name. It simply existed as The Empire. The first of its kind in history, all peoples fell before its armies, all lands swallowed up. In their hubris and unquenchable thirst for power, the Council of Wizards, those near-immortal advisers to the Emperor, were tricked by demons and lost all (as described in The Lost Empire.) The world was ripped asunder and the pieces flung into the Ether. Each a singular entity with no outside contact. Each left to its own devices, suddenly released from the Empire’s grasp.
Three thousand years have passed without change. In most places, the Empire is remembered only in vague, mythological terms. The sundering of the world figures prominently in myth and legend but its cause can only be guessed at. Each realm has moved on, surviving the devastating changes as best they can. Some had it easier than others, with tracts of arable land and productive mines. Others were left with few resources and bizarre landscapes. Some lands were stricken with truly strange effects, such as The Three Cities of Dusk, Dawn, and Luna. Some may even be barren of natural life.
The Role of The Crystal Tower
The only thread linking each pocket together is the Crystal Tower. In each realm the Tower wears a different face, and yet there is only one true Tower. Originally used by the wizards as a magical gateway for keeping tabs on the far flung regions of the Empire, it now stands as an impenetrable mystery. Inaccessible without the key, an artifact long lost to the demon realm, it is untouched by both mortal hand and time. If the key can be retrieved, the different realms may once again be traversed by strangers.
Who knows? Maybe this sundered world will become whole once more.
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CodexPocket Realm: Anquocia - Former Seat of the Empire By: MysticMoon ( Locations ) Continent - Any
A pocket realm of forest and farmland surrounded by a ring of mountains, ocean, and the mists of the Ethereal Void.
Once the heart, the soul, and the birthplace of the Empire, Anquocia survived the sundering better than most. The bulk of the realm is a roughly circular land mass approximately 700 miles in diameter. This mass is comprised primarily of forested hills, farmland, and numerous small lakes and rivers. The landscape is marred only by a single area in the southeastern corner composed of deadly bogs and misty plains. The misty plains once held the Imperial city, but are now avoided by all (excepting those magically lured in, as related in The Lost Imperial City.)
Ringing the land are steep mountains whose outward-facing cliffs look down upon salty waters. These mountains are an unnatural phenomenon created before the sundering. The Wizard Council drew them from the earth to provide protection to the lands of the Imperial City, leaving naught but a single bay as a means of trade and transport. Now that bay serves only fishermen.
Ocean surrounds the land. A hundred miles out, the water is covered over in mist. Any entering the mists are never heard from again. These mark the boundary between Anquocia and the Ethereal Void.
Between the fertile farmland, thick forests, and rich mines in the mountains, Anquocia has had no difficulty maintaining its self-sufficiency in the 3,000 years since the sundering. The cycle of sun, moon, and stars across the sky have continued uninterrupted. Seasons change just as they did when the world was whole.
The Five Kingdoms
The sudden disappearance of the Imperial City left a power vacuum which has since been filled by five separate nations. Three of those are human, one is elven, and one is orcish. Humans originally held sway over the land and account for most of the population. The elves keep to their forests as much as possible, as they have since the days when men were no more than savage tribes beating each other with clubs, and have changed little. The appearance of the orcs came as a shock; men had believed them driven to extinction in the heyday of the Empire. Whilst small in numbers at first, they have managed to claim a wide piece of land.
The nations are: Doric, human, a feudal autocracy, lying in the south and southeast; Festus, primarily human, a democratic republic, covering the northeast; Githalt, human, extremely small, situated in the middle; Hrothma, orcish, clans bound by a council of elders, living in the west; Lhea, elven, an oligarchy, safely ensconced in the north.
The first, and largest by virtue of geography, human nation is Doric. Feudal in nature, Doric is ruled over by a king, a complete autocrat whose title is hereditary. Throughout Doric’s history there have been more than a few bloodlines to hold the title of monarch. Every century or so, civil war breaks out as a vassal makes an attempt at the throne. Successful attempts mean that a new family wears the crown. Unsuccessful attempts often mean the wholesale slaughter of the upstart’s family (at least those unable to flee across the border into Festus.) This history makes the king wary of his vassals. A savvy king will often pit his vassals against each other or unite them in a common cause against another nation, causing them to either squabble amongst themselves or to focus their attention outward rather than begin eyeing the golden crown with lust.
Much of Doric is farmland worked by peasants. There are also large stands of forest used for timber and for hunting. The kingdom produces a fair amount of food, livestock, and timber but little else and must trade for or pillage whatever else they need. The southeastern blights of the monster-infested bogs and the haunted, misty plains are technically part of Doric, although none live there.
Festus is only slightly smaller in land than Doric but makes up for it in numbers. The population is fairly dense, living primarily in cities. Festun craftsmen are the best in Anquocia, while Festun mines are the most extensive. The land is dotted with a fair number of goodly sized lakes which produce an unnatural number of fish. Transportation is often easier by barge than by land due to an extensive network of rivers. Festus holds the only outlet to the ocean, a bay situated in the northeast corner of Anquocia. Unsurprisingly, Festun diet consists primarily of seafood.
For all practical purposes, Festus is ruled by the rich. Voice in government is ostensibly a privilege of all citizens, but only those of significant income or wealth can afford the fees and education required to fully participate. This includes becoming a member of the ruling senate as well as simply voting. Guilds representing the various crafts have great wealth and hold great power over the decisions of government.
Clashes with Doric are frequent, although both tend to resist outright war. Slaves fleeing the brutal mines of Festus sometimes head into Doric while political fugitives from Doric occasionally make their way into Festus. Most of the population is human, although there are a fair number of orcs who live and work (and are slaves) there.
Githalt exists independently only because it would cost too much to bring them under heel and keep them that way. A single clan of fierce warriors, Githaltians do not suffer intruders lightly. Little is known about them. They live on horseback, raise livestock, and are a constant thorn in the sides of the orcs, the Doricans, and the Festuns.
How the orcs survived being purged by the pogroms of the Empire is not known. After the lands of Anquocia were wrested from the larger world and the Empire vanished, the orcs began to filter out of the forests and congregate along the western ends of the land. They formed clans, roughly Celtic in nature, and worked together to carve out their own space. A few dozen clans exist, ruled over by a council of elders taken from each. No more or less savage than the humans, they dwell in villages looked over by stone keeps. Warriors patrol under the guidance of champions who have proven themselves in battle and in single combat. Wise chieftains work to keep their people safe.
The orcs do their best to remain self-sufficient. They have no trust in humans or elves and fought hard to gain the land they currently hold. They fear that Doric and Festus will eventually unite in a common attempt to wipe them out. This fear is unfounded, as Doric and Festus are far more likely to wipe each other out first.
The elves live in the northernmost area of Anquocia. Little is known of them. Scouts constantly patrol the edges of their forest and are not kind to interlopers.
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The Lost Empire By: MysticMoon ( Locations ) World - Any
The Imperial city has been sucked into hell and the rest of the world has been ripped apart. And tying it all together is the Crystal Tower. The Tower lives in all realms, a needle piercing the fabric of each reality and threading them all together.
Throughout untold centuries, travelers have felt themselves inexplicably drawn into the old bog-lands east of the Arnathian forest. Villagers living close to the bog watch these fools as they march off to their doom. Their warnings have ever fallen upon deaf ears. So they watch and shake their collective heads, wondering what manner of demon could possess the otherwise sane to be so foolish. None who venture in ever return.
I'm not sure why Gareth got it into his head that we'd find loot in that infernal bog. He would only mumble about some voice in his dreams and go on about riches untold locked away for millennia. If I'd known how treacherous those damn wetlands would be, I'd've walked away, plain and simple. But Gareth had never led us wrong before and we all trusted him. Maybe if I'd had the guts to question him, Selyena wouldn't have been gutted by whatever that monstrous fish thing was. And maybe Hrothma wouldn't have died his silent death, sucked beneath by some gigantic serpent before we could even blink.
Certainly Gothrawk and I considered ourselves lucky when we stepped free of the muck and onto that endless, grassy plain. What Gareth felt, I do not know. He was still hell bent on his arrow straight course. His eyes had gone all glassy and he barely responded to anything we said. I think now that I would have been better off heading back into that godawful swampland and letting its denizens have done with me. At least they just wanted to eat.
We must've spent a couple days wandering through those mist-shrouded hills. The grass looked like it had never once seen the boots of man upon it, and yet Gareth wouldn't shut up about the grand city we were heading toward. I never saw any hint of a city. Just rolling, grassy hills, permanently covered in deep fog. The air was muffled and still. Occasionally a breeze would brush past and send the fog whirling, but it never exposed anything new. And that fog was creepy. I swear I felt cold fingers brushing against my cheek and neck every time that breeze would blow by.
The end, such as it is, came quick for us all. We reached a particularly tall knoll and Gareth stopped, saying he'd found it and now we were going to be incredibly rich. He just knelt down on the ground and began pushing dirt away with his mailed hands, like he'd found the "X" on whatever map he'd dreamed up. Then, several somethings reared up on all sides of us. I say "something" because I never quite saw them in any detail. They loomed over us, each of them mist-cloaked and at least ten feet tall. And then we were down. I distinctly remember Gareth's head sliced apart with one swipe of a clawed hand, while his body fell soundlessly onto the soft green grass.
The next thing I knew I was floating in the mists, watching green tendrils rise from the dirt, wrap around my bleeding and battered body beneath me, and suck it straight down out of sight. And now I am but one of many; one of many lost souls who blundered their way here and are now nothing but shades in the mist.
Before the rending of the world, millennia gone by, there existed a grand, continent-spanning empire. At the center of the empire was a city that outshone all other cities. It was a center of art, culture, and libraries without parallel. It was the capital city of the empire and home to the emperor and his council of wizards. The city itself is gone, banished to Hell, with no visible remaining trace. Only grassy, fog-covered hills. The empire it once ruled over has been literally torn asunder into a number pocket realms floating through the ether. The one remaining link to that old city is long buried, lost among many square miles of grassy mounds.
Occasionally, a magical force makes its way through that last link, bearing a message that floats upon the air until it reaches a mortal mind. A deep suggestion is planted in that mind, a vision of untold riches, of treasures lost to time. Few have the willpower to question the thoughts, much less resist its drive. And each meets a similar fate, slain either in the bogs or upon the grassy plains.
The Empire and The Tower
Back in the days of this lost empire, successive emperors relied upon the wisdom of the wizard council. Each wizard was very powerful, having attained at least a century of mastery over the magical elements. Mastery enough to greatly extend their lives and keep the long view of the empire throughout the ages. With their guidance, the empire became quite large, spanning thousands of miles of lands, seas, forests, mountains, jungles, deserts, and all manner of races and cultures. None could stand before its awesome might and force of will.
In order to maintain control over such a large domain, the wizards built a great, dimension-spanning tower of varicolored crystal to act as a gateway between the distant lands. To tie the tower to each location, the wizards unwisely used a demon dimension as the thread. The inside of the tower was built, and lives still, inside this demon dimension. The tower has many outsides, each existing in its destination realm. There is only one tower, but it exists in many places at once, a feat which enabled the emissaries of the emperor to traverse the empire with near instantaneous speed. Yet now, with the empire no longer even a memory, the tower sits unused.
With thousands of years of confused and broken history left behind, these relics are seen as a great, unknowable mystery, impassable by any known mortal means. If any could gain the key, lost now in the original imperial city, they could unlock these crystal towers and once again tie together what has been rent asunder.
The Fate of the City and of the Empire
We stood there, the twelve of us, surrounding the fresh-drawn pentagram at the top of the highest hill in the city. At the northern edge of the hill loomed our greatest accomplishment, the Crystal Tower. Spread before us in every other direction lay the depth and breadth of our great city. We made eye contact, each with the others. This moment would top all of our other efforts. This moment would unlock powers we had only ever dreamed of. On some faces I saw pride, on others, trepidation. I think all of us felt a heady mixture of power and fear. If only we'd paid more attention to the latter!
The ritual went smoothly. We were masters of our craft, were we not? We knew how to provide the perfect inflection to each word and how to direct our hand motions to the smallest muscle twitch. No matter that we understood not a word of that foul creature's language, in which we must speak to cast the spell. All that mattered was getting the incantation correct, using the appropriate material components, and mastering the complicated hand gestures. Which we did.
And how masterfully we sealed our own fates! Not only our fates, but those of an entire city. As the last chant ended, the sky boiled over with dark clouds. Lightning of every conceivable shade and color lanced out from the sky, the rocks, everywhere, and landed against the tower. The air became hot. Too hot to breathe freely. The sky cleared of clouds, revealing a deep red glow and no sun. The distant mountains melted away and were replaced by reddish rock. I looked to my left, to Shathara Silverleaf, and I distinctly remember the look upon her face. We both realized simultaneously what was happening. Somehow, the entire city was being sucked into that demon dimension we had been playfully putting our toes in for centuries.
We could only look on in horror as hordes of demon-kin swept into the city. From our high vantage point we could clearly hear the screams of those dying below. Fires sprang up, buildings collapsed, blood ran freely, and the screams of the tortured filled our ears. We tried to help them. I swear it! But the ritual had drained each of us and we could do nothing but watch and wait for our own fates to catch up with us.
The demon king approached us, with his slow, regal gait, making a mockery of our once high stations. He pronounced our fates with a smile upon his pale, bony face. We were to be imprisoned here, in our beloved city, and watch for an eternity as it slowly crumbled into dust. He would entertain us daily with the lash and the knife, as well as make us live through a replay of that day from the perspective of the fallen. Which is worse, do you think?
Even though we have not been allowed to recover our old powers, we have been working together to finally end this miserable existence. By combining our efforts, we seek to lure outsiders to this forlorn place, to give them the key to freeing us and the tower. So far our efforts have all been frustrated. But, we do not give up. Eventually, someone will make it. If they can but find the old pentagram buried beneath that grassy mound, they will be brought to this place and we hand them our salvation: the key to the tower.
What happened to the city? And how was the physical world rendered so? The wizards fell prey to their own pride. Ever seeking to increase their knowledge of the mystical and the unseen, they made a pact with the lord of the demon realm. The wizards would enact a ritual designed by the demon king in order to grant greater power to the crystal tower. Power over the very nature of the world. This was to be the first of an exchange in knowledge. A deal with the devil which the wizards felt confident they could outmaneuver. But, despite their great knowledge and the combined power of their intellects, they could not ascertain the true nature of the ritual. The ritual did indeed grant great power to the tower, but the surge of energy generated upon its completion could not be contained by the mortal power of the wizards. Calamity struck. The entire city was sucked into the demon realm. Ten thousand souls were struck down by a waiting demon army. The city is left a ruin made of crumbling stone and scattered bones, baking beneath a fiery red sky.
The same surge which wiped the imperial city from the mortal world spread outward from each facade of the tower. Each land was ripped from its moorings and sent adrift in an endless void of the etheric realm. Thousands of years have passed and the old empire is forgotten. The peoples of the various pocket worlds long ago turned to managing their own little spaces in the cosmos. Each developed a different interpretation of the great cataclysm which ripped away all other lands, and have adapted to their tiny insular worlds.
The wizards are imprisoned by the demon king and made to suffer an eternity for their hubris. To save themselves, they use what little power they have left to draw mortals toward the location of the ritual which shattered the world. If any mortal makes it past the surrounding bog-land, through the grassy plains, past the demonic sentries, and to the buried pentagram, they will be pulled into the demon realm and onward to the imprisoned wizards. The wizards know of the key that will unlock the Crystal Tower and all of its mysteries.
One of the adventurers begins experiencing strange dreams and compulsions. He becomes convinced that he knows the location of an ancient buried treasure that will make everyone rich beyond their wildest dreams. As time goes on, he will become more and more obsessed. Alternatively, the party might be hired by an NPC who has been so affected.
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The Pocket Realm of Brocschtal By: MysticMoon ( Locations ) Area - Mountains
The People of the pocket realm of Brocschtal are simple folk who live as they have for thousands of years. Farming the land, raising sheep, getting in the occasional brawl. And fighting off the infernal attacks of ghouls.
Legends say that once this world was part of a much larger one. But one day, long ago, the gods became angry and sought to destroy it. The people of the small villages, being proper sorts who gave the gods their fair due, were spared. The rest of the world was torn apart and stripped away, flung into the primordial mists in a thousand shards, while the humble hard-working souls were allowed to remain alive. There were hardships, to be sure, but the people had survived and must ever be thankful to the gods for being spared. And yet darkness had managed to maintain a foothold even here. But out of fear that the gods may someday try to cleanse that evil by wiping them all away, the folk never spoke aught of it in their prayers or their rituals. Instead, the people do what they can to contain the horrors which plague them.
In reality, Brocschtal is a pocket realm created by the great sundering over 3,000 years ago. Not by the whims of gods but by the hubris of mages. And while its inhabitants are only one realm out of dozens floating in an ethereal sea, there is no way for them to know this. All they know is that the rest of the world vanished and the edges of their own small realm end in thick mists which no one may return from after entering. All that is heard from those who try is a great cry of agony followed by deathly silence.
Brocschtal, as the people have called the last of the land left to them, is fairly small — about 70 miles long by 50 wide. Its entire surface is covered in rolling hills and mountain height, though the mountains are sliced off by the borders of the realm. Much of it is thickly forested with plenty of flowing streams and a decent mine or two. In one long spidery line stretching from hill to hill are roadways connecting villages of clustered homes and communal farms. There is plenty of land cleared around these settlements for growing simple crops and the raising of sheep.
For the most part it is a peaceful, idyllic land. There are no wars, no armies, no bloodthirsty madmen. Each village has its council of elders and its priests to keep things civil. There may be an argument here and there over minor slights or the occasional drunken brawl, but never any outright violence. At least not among the human population.
However, there is a darker side to Brocschtal. Creatures roam the dark forests, when the night is full upon the land, feasting on the simple folk of the quiet villages. And quite dark does night become in this land. Brocschtal has no moon to light its skies when the sun drops below the horizon. Mists cover the stars above, barring even that weak light from shining through. In this great blackness gnawers of human flesh and bone make their way into homes and graveyards to take in their fill. Men hunt these creatures as they can but the subterranean lairs of the ghouls lie deep within the forests, making it difficult to completely root them out. In daylight they are vulnerable, yet within their caves they can be quite a menace to those who hunt them.
Ghouls make their way without fail in the dark; although blind they find their way by sound and smell and some other unknown sense. They crawl out into the inky blackness of night, silently loping across the forest loam, drawn on by endless hunger and the scent of humanity. They are not completely mindless and have learned to thwart every locked gate and barred door. They will attack at least once or twice a week. Sometimes the only sign is that graves have been disturbed and the broken bones and mutilated flesh of the dead are strewn about. On other occasions, some family will awaken to the sounds of a pack of the beasts descending upon them mercilessly.
Kallen awoke in the night to muffled sounds: A soft squeal, a distant crack of wood, and dim scratching. Nothing very close by; if he wasn't such a light sleeper, he likely would never have noticed. He reached over and grabbed the axe at his bedside by the haft, sitting up and waiting while his heart pounded. He looked over at the sleeping form of his beloved Mary, hoping that the lamb's blood and pennyroil blend on the lintel would be enough to repel the creatures, although that hadn't done much for the Smiths family three weeks ago.
Time passed and eventually the sounds stopped. Even so, Kallen did not relax his vigil until the first light of dawn began to filter in through the high windows. Once the sun was well up, he made his way outside. At first he thought maybe they'd been lucky and it had only been a wolf come from the forest. Three sheep had been torn apart and wood from the pen had been snapped. A closer look showed that the sheep had not been killed for food, as a simple wolf would have done. Sometimes the ghouls did that, as if offended at the creatures. Or maybe that's what they considered having a bit of "fun."
Kallen made his way further from his home and saw the telltale signs of graves dug up and the bodies desecrated. He shook his head, feeling a mixture of relief that no one else had perished and revulsion at the sacrilege. He would again make a plea to the elders to move the graveyard further away from Savvers Settlement, even though he knew what the outcome would be. "The gods will know something is up if we move the graves too far from the village. The priests ordained long ago that the dead can't find their rest if they lay too far from their living kin. Best to keep things as they are."
Despite their blindness, ghouls become disoriented in bright light and are then easily dispatched. Seen by light they are disgusting creatures, with pale, waxy skin, large opalescent eyes, and vertical slits instead of noses. A faint reek of corruption emanates when they are near. Fire will burn them and hard metal can slice them open to reveal thick black blood, but they will continue on as if unharmed until torn to pieces. Beware their long claws, as a swipe from one may cause a deadly infection, eventually turning the afflicted into a newly birthed lurker in the dark.
The first sign Tekka had of the horror of her last day alive was the screaming of her mother in the next room. She'd only ever heard those cries from farther away, only ever seen the sad faces and canvas covered bodies on the day after. But now she knew her time had come.
Fighting down panic, she stumbled out of bed, felt for a match and the precious length of candle. Once lit, with the dim glow of light dancing about the small room, she grabbed up the long knife her father had given her on her tenth birthday, and tried to stand her ground. Her mother's screams silenced, as did the pained grunts of her father. Tears streaking her face, trying to be as silent as possible, Tekka waited for her life to be over.
Her door was struck from its frame in one tremendous blow. By the candlelight she saw the inhuman face of her murderer. It leapt for her, clawing her across the face and knocking her across the room. Reflexively, she had managed to stab it. The knife stuck on a rib and was ripped from her hands. Black blood oozed around the blade. The thing advanced, pointed teeth bared.
Other men of the village must have been roused by the sounds, for they came charging in. She clearly heard the sounds of fighting. The creature before her sniffed the air once before bounding out.
The men had driven the ghouls out, yet Tekka knew she had not been saved. One look at the scratches upon her face and their collective demeanor turned stony. She fell into a heap, sobbing. They would hang her. The priest would say some meaningless words over her body. And then they would cut out her guts and stuff her corpse with garlic, pennyroil, lavender, mint, marigold, and sheep's blood; anything they believed could poison the demons of the night as they feasted upon her dead flesh.
The villages of Brocschtal range in size from a half-dozen families nestled against a hillside to five or six hundred souls clustered together. The land is fertile and the forests provide plenty of wild pig and venison, while the climate is fairly mild. Were it not for the ghoul incursion, there would be proper cities from a much larger population. However, the ghouls appear to limit themselves to what the human population can withstand without being wiped out completely.
The villages themselves have no proper names but are generally referred to by the most prominent family. For example, the largest village, population 623, is referred to as "Flint Settlement." It used to be called "Miller Settlement" until the ghouls wiped out a sizable portion of that family.
Any village of medium size or larger has an informal group of ghoul hunters who do their best to wipe out the ghouls. Deaths among ghoul hunters are not uncommon.
The Tower and The Anchor
Overgrown with plant life and partially buried in the drift of dirt over three millennia, the Crystal Tower appears in this realm as a spiraling shaft of agate decorated in malachite; looking for all the world like a great stone tree. It has remained magically barred since the great sundering. The key to it is currently held in the demon realms, waiting to be liberated by those who would reweave the torn pieces of the world together.
It was the foul magics released by the sundering which gave birth to the first of the ghouls and they occasionally come to congregate around the great edifice, looking upon it with awe and reverence. They would launch themselves at any trespassers in a berserker rage of unbelievable ferocity.
Attaching Brocschtal to its neighboring realms will require uncovering the local Anchor. In this case, it is a small bronze statue of a mountain god held in trust by the priests of the various villages. It is ritually passed from village to village on a slow circuit taking up most of a year. As the folk of Brocschtal truly believe that it was their piety which saved them from the destruction of the world, they will not willingly part with it.
Note: This sub is one part of a much larger campaign I am slowly developing, and as such is not very usable on its own.
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The Three Cities of Dusk, Dawn, and Luna By: MysticMoon ( Locations ) City - Mountains
Three cities that come and go, yet never see the shining sun.
The cities of Dusk, Dawn, and Luna were caught in the tide of great magics unleashed long ago with the rending of the world and turned into ruins. The ghosts of the cities live on, but only for fleeting moments. For most of the time each is nothing more than a pile of ruins. Yet, during certain times each briefly comes to life. Dusk lives between the time the sun sets and when full darkness falls. Dawn lives between the lightening of the sky and the first peek of that firy orb above the horizon. Luna lives only during the full moon, but never before the sun sets or after it rises. They each spring to life, packed full of people oblivious to their plight. When their times finish, they slowly fade away, until nothing remains but crumbling abodes.
Dusk and Dawn were once sister cities on either side of a large river, in a valley a good way up in the mountains. There was a healthy rivalry between the two, yet being so near the barbarian tribes they would often band together to repel raiders.
Luna was a smaller settlement well within a hard day’s ride of the other two cities and home to an order of mystics who sought enlightenment in the powers of the moon. The mystics were more than fair brewers of ale and would often trade casks of the stuff for supplies from Dusk and Dawn.
Travelers who come upon any of these cities will be warmly received. They are remote enough that they saw few outsiders during their original time. Visitors are surrounded by folks curious about the outside world, yet strangely unaware of the state that they have been living in. Travelers may buy supplies, drink in a tavern, or rent a room in an inn. However, everything that came from the city will fade away when the time comes, including ale, meals, supplies, and beds. This can mean suddenly empty bellies, lightened packs, and surprised sleepers.
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