The history of the small kingdom of Iacon for the most part resembles that of any small kingdom. It survived by careful alliances with larger kingdoms, and arranged marriages to maintain its autonomy and its status as a kingdom despite its less than impressive size. The soldiers of the Iaconian Royal Guards were well known for their long lances, brightly burnished breast plates, and the long blue and silver streamers and banners tied to their weapons and armor.
The War of Divine Blood
Yet Iacon became the battleground for one of the most vicious religious wars fought in known history. The followers of the Sky Lord and God of the Sun and the Heavens and Everything Under It decided that it no longer needed to share Iacon with the followers of the Horned God of Fertility and Dancing with the Tress. The conflict that followed started with persecutions.
Then the rivals responded with a number of violent abductions and several terror attacks against the temples of the other. This quickly escalated to the point of open warfare. Templar of the Sky Lord rallied militias to ravage the countryside homes and villages of the Horned God's followers. These responded with equal ferocity, attacking the followers of the Sky Lord as they prayed and made offerings to their deity. It became a mix of pitched battles, and of bloody massacres of innocents by both sides.
The war reached its fever pitch when a number of previously neutral nobles went from protecting bystanders to actively participating in the war. Several lords rallied their men and laid waste to a large amount of land that was loyal to the Horned God's followers. The Horned God's faithful responded with arson attacks and dumping poisons and dead bodies in water supplies of the Sky Lord's followers. It seemed that as the war grew, no end could be seen beyond blood and violence, and anarchy.
It was then, when all seemed to be blood and ashes, that the Wizard stepped in and ended the conflicts. Using personal charisma and a call for reason, he called many supporters to his side and called for a cessation of hostilities on the part of both parties. Seeing him as a new and potent ally, the leaders of both sides approached the Wizard to make him an ally. The Sky Lord high priest admonished the wizard for not doing his holy duty, while the Priestess Maximus of the Horned God offered him both knowledge, magical artifacts and her body if it pleased him.
With both in hand the Wizard acting, seeing the duplicity they held and their unrepentant bloodlust. The wizard arranged a formal public meeting for the new peace accord, with each of the leaders secretly believing that they had been chosen and the moment would be the Wizard's declaration for their god, and the imprisonment of their rival. Yet both had the nerve to look surprised when the lieutenants of the wizard apprehended both leaders and within brutal seconds had both of then noosed and dangling.
In the last half decade, we people of Iacon, once a proud and prosperous Kingdom have seen the worst of mankind, and the worst of wars. We have seen women and children, the old and the maimed killed in the name of two faiths.
It is the pinnacle of hypocrisy and arrogance that both faiths have claimed their actions to be 'good' and sanctioned by their respective deities. For this, we have seen our friends and family torn apart, we have seen our loved ones killed out of hand.
For this crime, the leaders of both factions have been tried by the Tribunal Plenipotentary, and been found guilty of treason, sedition, and murder without remorse. For their crimes they have been hanged. Let this be a potent lesson. The people of Iacon will no longer tolerate this pointless and nakedly secular conflict between those who would call themselves holy.
From this day forth, let Iacon be free from the tyranny of the gods and their chosen!
The Provost and Free Iacon
Bolstered by the wizard's actions, many moderates defected from the war camps of the two faiths. Many found their flocks shaken by the death of their leaders and the proclamation. A few of the other leaders attempted to step up, and raise their predecesor as a martyr and a symbol to galvanize their faithful. This drove more people to the Wizard's side.
The Wizard, now known as the Provost, lead a large contingent of Royal Armsmen to force the capitulation of the Sky Lord's temples in the capital city. Arcane and divine magic strove against one another, but the Provost found a wellspring of power to draw upon, the magnessence of those he lead, and the common folk who had stopped praying for this god or that god, but for the Wizard to deliver them to peace.
The temples of the Sky Lord and the Horned God were both thrown down. Many members of both sides clergy were captured and tried for crimes against Iacon, and her people. A few were placed on probation, but the greatest part were either exiled upon pain of death, or were executed for their part in the slaughters of the war.
The position of Provost was made permanent for the wizard Layton Frost. He had power and rank second only to the King, to whom had sworn fealty to decades before. The King later said that if Frost had asked for the throne, the King would have gladly given it to him.
With its painful history of religious violence, the Iaconian people have little tolerance for proselytizers, missionaries, clerics or paladins. The absence of temples and churches is very obvious in the city, as some have been left as ruins as monuments to the slain and to the horrors of the conflict. The Kingdom retains its strong traditions of pomp and grandeur, but the gods and their faithful no longer have a place within its boundaries.
To compensate for the loss of healing magics employed by the clerics, the Provost aided in the construction of the University of Iacon. This campus is a training and proving ground for the exploration of alchemical medicine, vivisection and practical surgery, and other non-magical forms of healing injuries and illness. This has attracted a large number of intelligent people to the Kingdom who wish to learn the new medicines and to escape the often alarmist and oppressive dogmatic clergy who reside in their own homelands.
Belly of the Whale - The religious minded Cleric PCs have the unenviable task of opening a new church within Iacon. While this is a flagrant violation of the Provost's Law, the PCs are told that they answer to a higher lord than a pompus wizard. The PCs must face a culture that has a blood earned intolerance of those who would seek to force their faith on others.
The Secret Cell - Similar to above, the PCs are involved in a religious group in hiding. Rather than expand, they must work to keep it a secret and protect other members.
The Relic - The PCs have been tasked with retrieving a religious relic from one of the Royal vaults in Iacon. The PCs have to find some way to return with the artifact without being lynched or imprisoned as thieves.
Hunters - assigned by the Provost, the PCs have the job of sniffing out a religious cult that is setting up operations in the area. They are to find the leader, capture them and disperse the cult before it starts seeking converts.
Naked Sin - Without the morality gained from a stable faith, many seedy operations have sprouted in Iacon. Thieves den's, brothels, drug parlors, gambling halls, and blood sport events are more and more common. Does the devil ive in Iacon, or was he driven out with the rest?
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? Responses (8)-8
I am torn on this submission. Is it possible to give a little clearer explanation of why the two religions went to war? Did they actually disagree over a certain event or did they just hate each other in the first place?
Hmmm...I sense my Godless World idea from yestermonth percolating here.
Very well written. Covering all major points. I dare say a peoples without faith, religion, or god reverence is a novel concept!
This is only one city, so it works very nicely! It was all about perfect timing. The people were fed up, and shown a new revolutionary course, by a charismatic new leader. Love the Plot Hooks and nuances. Thumbs up! This is a city that I would LOVE to role-play in!
To install such a campaign world overall however, would be difficult and take much detail, as subtle changes would reverberate through every aspect of life. Just a thought. I've been trying to write it. :D
5/5 What do the other cities think of this one?
Other than this is a location (being a nation with borders and such), rather than group (which could cross borders), it is an interesting one.
Darn it, Zufa got me again!
But to answer questions and comments.
Demogogue, the reason of the conflict between the faiths is not really an important issue. The real problem was that the two faiths could not coexist peacefully with each other. This is something that has been repeated time and time again in history. Iacon is an example of what might happen if one side didnt win over the other and the populace simply had enough of it all.
Muro, Iacon is a small kingdom, akin to Belgium or the Netherlands, not a single city. As for subtle changes, spreading across a game world, these events would be slowed by the normal pace of trade and travel, and minimized by the small size and lack of importance on the part of Iacon.
Cheka, the other Kingdoms tend to view Iacon as an anomaly and cooler heads have since prevailed, and the general consensus is that the general ban on religion will last so long as the Provost lives.
An atheistic kingdom... yep, there has to be one. Good thinking, and nicely developed.
Holy man: An especially interesting challenge to the regime would be a cleric masquerading as a sage/alchemyst, healing with divine powers what others cannot with their potions and skills - once found out, can he be indicted because he wanted to help people?
Damn good. It smacks of the Terror in france with the new intellectuals killing all the old intellectuals.
The Peasents: Not being educated in a secular fashion, the peasentary is unable to imagine a world with out religion. And with the science of the day not being able to give all the explainations that we take for granted the people again begin to see supernatural hands in things such as illnesses, bouts of insomnia, and the weather. But instead of praying to the old gods, they have begun to pray to the Wizard Frost. And indeed a less than chivilrac Bard has been traveling the rural settlements claiming to be a Disciple of the Wizard, and delivering seromns outlining his will. The PCs are charged by the Wizard himself not only with tracking done the Bard but dissmissing any claims of the Wizards divine status.
The use of this country in a campaign will give you conflict if you are emphasizing religion in your world.
An interesting country to add to a world with religions, much like a democracy in a world of monarchs. The existance of this place can make a good counter point to the religious world outside. If the Gods are 'active', this religion could be simply an odd duck. If the Gods are only a different magic system or there is no magic involved, then this religion becomes competative with others.