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Campaign Creation => Homebrews => Topic started by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 10:47:08 PM

Title: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 10:47:08 PM

Welcome brave hero!

The Amethyst Isles have always been a dangerous place to live, as mystical creatures both big and small have called the isles home for as long as the civilized races have been keeping records. However, the good people of these diverse lands were protected by strength of dwarven steel and the might of Rimecroft's Emperors. The three thousand year reign of the dwarven Imperium ended when the dreaded god of Winter - Yasgaram - plunged the Amethyst Isles into a cold, dark night that lasted nearly seventy years. Starvation was rampant, civilization crumbled, war became endemic and death was ever-present. The sheer number of people that died during those seventy years is staggering. When the first beams of spring's light crested the horizon, the Isles were forever changed. In the absence of the Imperial Legions, darkness (both metaphorical and actual) had been allowed to take root. Dragons, devils and other evil creatures had become dominant powers during the Seventy Years of Gloom. The common races of Rimecroft slowly rebuilt their civilization but unity is now a dream held only by great philosophers and the descendants of the Emperors. Civilization is entirely local, with only a few trade routes springing up since the Gloom, all of which are ever threatened by the vile creatures that now haunt the wilds. Few ever leave their home towns, fewer still brave the frontier and delve into the unknown. Those that do either find death or adventure...

Table of Contents:

The Southern Warblade Archipelago

----- Cartography
-------------- Cartography of the Southern Warblade Archipelago (,209949.msg224768.html#msg224768)
----- Songwillow Isle
-------------- History of Songwillow (,209949.msg224769.html#msg224769)
-------------- Major Settlements of Songwillow (,209949.msg224770.html#msg224770)
-------------- Races of Songwillow (,209949.msg224771.html#msg224771)
-------------- Major Geographic Features of Songwillow (,209949.msg224772.html#msg224772)
-------------- Notable Characters in Songwillow (,209949.msg224773.html#msg224773)
-------------- Vetgur Flailwar (,209949.msg225382.html#msg225382)
-------------- Adventure Sites in Songwillow (,209949.msg224774.html#msg224774)
-------------- The Noble Families of Whitebuck (,209949.msg225266.html#msg225266)
--------------  Dirge Ochur (,209949.msg225338.html#msg225338)
-------------- Vetgur Flailwar (,209949.msg225382.html#msg225382)
-------------- The Kitsune and the Sowa (,209949.msg224894.html#msg224894)
-------------- The Ancient Realm of Rhahasia  (,209949.msg225489.html#msg225489)

----- Bastion Isle
-------------- History of Bastion Isle (,209949.msg225266.html#msg225266)
-------------- Araland (,209949.msg225781.html#msg225781)
-------------- Adventure Sites of Bastion Isle (,209949.msg225886.html#msg225886)

----- Multi-Isle Posts
-------------- Giants & Servitude  (,209949.msg225693.html#msg225693)
-------------- Bacdan, Bactahn & the Cooperative of Nhom (,209949.msg225726.html#msg225726)

World Information

----- The Divine
-------------- The Four Gods (,209949.msg224775.html#msg224775)

Title: Re: Amyethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 10:50:03 PM

The Amethyst Isles are a vast archipelago that are spread across hundreds of leagues. The islands are populated by diverse peoples and cultures, all of whom bowed to the might of the Forgefather Emperors. The Southern Warblade Isles were conquered by Emperor Rikard Warblade IX over five hundred years ago. Twenty years into the Seventy Years of Gloom, the Rimecroft Empire officially abandoned the Southern Warblade Isles. Following the Great Retreat, civilization as the people of the Isles had grown accustomed to stood upon a knife's edge. Yasgaram sent hordes of undead, plagues and monsters to the Isles. Within a year civilization collapsed. Since the end of the Seventy Years of Gloom, civilization has slowly re-built itself but only on a local basis. Vile darkness still thrives in the wilds, ready to tear the burdening walls of progress down once more...

The Southern Warblade Isles:

Songwillow Isle and Cloudheart:

Songwillow Isle:



Title: Re: Amyethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 10:52:01 PM

The History of Songwillow Isle

The Isle of Songwillow lies to the south-west of Rimecroft proper. Songwillow was once an idyllic realm of virgin woodlands, windswept meadows and meandering, crystal clear streams. The Songwillow Elves lived in peace and prosperity with the natural world. They gave homage to the Forgefather Emperor and paid an annual tribute of Elephants and magical items created using Will-O-Wisp magic. During the Seventy Years of Gloom, the Forgefather's legions evacuated the island, preferring to protect interests closer to the capital. With the sudden evacuation of the soldiers, the Goblin tribes who had long suffered malignantly in the highest peaks poured out of their warrens. They burned forests, desecrated the streams and brought ruin to the rest. No one knows exactly when but Rueserond, draconic scourge of pre-history, was roused by the senseless bloodshed washing across Songwillow.

When Rueserond awoke, the great Flameshroud Volcano erupted with awesome fury, blanketing the island in ash. The Red Dragon gathered the Goblins and claimed the island for his very own. With Rueserond's direction the wild, barbarous Goblins were forged into a mighty spear that the gentle Wood Elves could nary hope to vanquish. During the Elves' darkest hour, a Copper Dragon appeared as if to answer their prayers. Viasarius battled Rueserond in the skies above Songwillow for, what the bards claim, was over seven days before Rueserand retreated back to his lair deep within the caldera of Flameshroud Volcano.

Since that day, Songwillow has been divided in half along the Throat, a narrow strip of land that connects the two halves of the island. War has become ever constant, with both sides sending small squads of soldiers to infiltrate their enemy's lands and sow discord and ruin. Every seventh day the Goblins march an army across the Throat and attempt to assail the Walls of Forgestar Keep. To this day, not a single Goblin soldier has ever broken past Forgestar's impressible defenses.

The southern half of the island, called Dreamglen, is ruled by the Great Council, which is composed of the King of Songwillow (Letnin Hopewind), the Grand Chieftess of the Unicorns (Nedaah Mercymoon) and Viasarius. The Council meets in the forest-city of Whitebuck, whose ancient Redwood Trees soar into the sky and support nearly a quarter of the entire realm's population.

The northern half of the island, called Foulbone, is ruled by a tyranny of one - Rueserand. Any distension is met with extreme force. No one questions Rueserand. Ever. The Goblins mostly dwell in the Caves that pepper the Madshadow Mountains, leaving the once great meadows and woodlands to lie fallow. Only the shrieks of Yrthaks and the few remaining Elephants call the barren ash-scape home.

Title: Re: Amyethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 10:53:49 PM
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Major Settlements of Songwillow Isle

- Whitebuck: The capital of Dreamglen. The towering Redwood Trees reach high up into the sky. Hempen rope bridges span the gap between the trees, while wooden decks serve as a base for narrow winding streets and small buildings. The forest is surrounded by a forty foot wide moat, with but two stone drawbridges that cross the water. Though the moat appears perfectly normal, it has been enchanted with magic to light aflame if ever an enemy army were to approach.

- Forgestar Keep: The Wood Elves' mighty fortress that spans the south-eastern edge of the Throat. The Keep was built by the Rimecroft Empire to serve as a port of call for merchants and a home for the Legion. The Castle is maximized for defense, with a labyrinthine design that only the most paranoid of Dwarven architects would dream up. Without Forgestar Keep, the southern lands would have surly fallen to evil by now.

- Eastfarm:  Founded around the ruins of an ancient Elven Tower called Herbmoss, Eastfarm was originally a mere fortification designed to keep watch over the southern seas. As time progressed, the Empire enticed settlers to the area with generous grants of land. Humans and Halflings were the primary settlers but Dwarves retiring from the Legions also came to call Eastfarm home. During the Seventy Years of Gloom, the fort was assaulted many times by Goblins, Ogres and whole flocks of Yrthaks. Through it all, the town survived thanks in no small part to the resilience of her people. Lawspeaker Reydo Keyblade swore loyalty to the Great Council of Whitebuck in return for protection and trade.

- Rooteye & Bluerain: These two twined towers were created to help bolster Forgestar's defenses by providing a magical light source for night battles and help guard the realm from sea-based intrusions. Both towers are manned by over a hundred men at all times.  Generals Abitir Rooteye & Donba Bluerain command the towers that bare their name.

- Caldera: The capital of Foulbone. The city lies, as its name implies, inside the caldera of Flameshroud Volcano. Little thought is given to safety within the city as the volcano is quite active. It is not uncommon for whole sections of the city to simply melt away or be incinerated by small eruptions of magma. If the Goblins had a choice, surly they would choose another location as their capital. Sadly, the choice is not theirs. That power belongs to the Tyrant Rueserand who, as with all Red Dragons, is immune to the heat and flames of the volcano.

- Hellfang Citadel: Constructed by order of Rueserand, this hellish black iron spire serves as Foulbone's main line of defense. Thousands of Goblins call the Citadel home, as well as the Xill (who are an insectoid race brought by Rueserand to his new domain to bolster his forces and strike terror into the hearts of his enemies). The Keep stands at the northern end of the Throat and every seven days an army of Goblins and Xill race across the narrow land bridge and smash into the alabaster walls of Forgestar Keep.

- Sunleaf: Three years ago, Sara'dronxulipod half-celestial King of Ratara founded the Sunleaf Expedition in order to spread the faith of Almahara (goddess of Summer) and Sonbahar (god of Autumn); both of whose faiths had fallen greatly in the wake of the Seventy Years of Gloom. Lead by a human named Vanuel Coldtear, the Sunleaf Expedition landed on a small island dubbed Sara, in honor of their King. Less than a year after landing, Coldtear had finished construction of the citadel. Once his position was entrenched, he sent missionaries into both Foulbone and Dreamglen. The missionaries sent to the latter were politely asked to leave, while the missionaries sent to the former were beheaded. After much cajoling, the Great Council of Whitebuck eventually relented into allowing the missionaries to proselytize after dark visions were seen by King Letnin while he visited the Marsh of Ancestral Dawn. Faith in the Summer and Autumn was quickly restored as both factions focused on good deeds rather than fanciful words alone.  The tiny island of Sara is dominated by the stone castle of Sunleaf, which sports a separate tower for each god. The towers are differentiated by the color of the flame that ever burns atop the tower (yellow for Almahara and Orange for Sonbahar). Expedition Leader Vanuel Coldtear is viewed as being very charismatic and a dedicated soldier. He holds neither the Summer nor Autumn above the other and so was seen as the natural (and neutral) choice to lead the expedition.

Title: Re: Amyethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 11:16:40 PM

Races of Songwillow

Almost every common race dwells on the Isle of Songwillow, however the most populous of the common races are the Wood Elves, for whom the Isle is their homeland. They have existed on the island long before Dwarves ever arrived and shall exist long after their empire fades into the memory. Humans and Halflings are most common along the south-western shores, especially around Eastfarm and Sunleaf. They were attracted to the island by generous land grants and other incentives the Empire put forward to help populate this strategic island. Dwarves are very numerous in Forgestar, with most being direct descendents of Legionaries who missed the evacuation order. Gnomes are a common sight both in Sunleaf and in Whitebuck, while Kitsune can be found throughout the Dreaming Forest and the Serenepeace Mountains. Foulbone's most common races are the Goblins and Xill, with significant numbers of slaves from all of the common races but especially Dwarves and Wood Elves, as they are the enemies most often fought against in the Throat. Stone Giants are increasingly common in Foulbone as devilish slavers frequent the Cragcoast that lies across the Narrows. Large numbers of Ratfolk merchants have also begun to appear on the ashen plains of Foulbone though where they hail from is unknown as Ratfolk are not common to this region of the Amethyst Isles.

Title: Re: Amyethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 11:25:22 PM

Notable Geographic Features of Songwillow

- The Throat: A narrow land bridge that connects the two halves of the isle. The Throat has become the site of the never ending war between Rueserond and Dreamglen. Hundreds die each week as both sides attempt in vain to break through the other's defenses. The north is guarded by the Hellfang Citadel, while the south is protected by the Forgestar Keep.

- Marsh of Ancestral Dawn: Sacred to the Wood Elves and the Unicorns, the Marsh of Ancestral Dawn holds a deep connection with the Sharranna, goddess of Spring.  The Marsh is tended to by Delidara Stormsnake, who is the Conclave Mistress of the Morning Dawn Druids. The Marsh is said to be bathed in illusions that can portend one's possible future. Many come to the bog to learn of what is yet to come. At the very heart of the marsh lies Dawntower, an ancient Elven Ruin that serves as the main gathering point for those seeking visions. Chieftess Nedaah Mercymoon came to the Marsh seeking a means to stop Ruesarond from conquering the whole of Songwillow. It is said that Sharranna bequeathed unto the Unicorn a vision that would eventually lead her to the Horn of Calling that brought Viasarius to the Isle. The Elves and Unicorns protect the Marsh at all costs.

- The Dreaming Forest: At the heart of this Redwood Forest lies the capital city of Whitebuck. The Forest is teeming with the last vestiges of the unique flora and fauna that once covered the entire Isle. Elvish patrols race through the forest and are ever watchful for Goblinoid intruders. Versarius often sleeps in the forest, especially after long War Council meetings. Though he sleeps, he always keeps one eye open, ever vigilant for danger, for without him, the realm would surly fall.

- The Flameshroud Volcano: The volcano was long though inactive until the great and terrible Rueserond awoke from his Millennia-long slumber. What was once a pleasant mountain covered by a thick blanket of green has become the epicenter of a hellish fire-scape. Ash and lava constantly bellow out of the mountain creating a toxic and dangerous area that few wish to tread near unless absolutely necessary.

- The Serenepeace Mountains: This mountain range lying at the southern end of the Isle serves as a buffer between the storms that plague the southern coast and the idyllic land of the Dreaming Forest. The Mountain Range is dotted with small farms, which grow much needed reagents for the Druids and Mages of Dreamglen. Viasarius' secret cave is hidden somewhere in the mountains, though not even the other members of the Great Council know exactly where. The Copper Dragon prefers to keep that aspect of his life as an enigma.

- The Madshadow Mountains: This volcanic mountain range lies at the northern end of Songwillow. It was once a beautiful forest-covered range, home to large numbers of nomadic Kitsune and a plethora of shrines dedicated to Sonbahar. However, when Rueserond awoke he brought with him the fiery magma from the bowels of the earth. The constant eruptions that spewed forth decimated the forest and turned it to ash. The Mountains now serve as Rueserond's home as he slips into one lava tube and blasts his way out on the other side of the range. The Goblins still call the Madshadow home as the massive number of lava caves serve as dangerous, but secure, places to found their warrens.

Title: Re: Amyethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 11:36:39 PM

Notable Characters of Songwillow

- Viasarius: The protector and savior of Dreamglen, without whom civilization would surely have collapsed. Viasarius is an older Copper Dragon who came from a distant land that he chooses not to talk of. Viasarius has a younger brother that serves the Lord of Archonia, which is an island to the east of Songwillow. The Copper Dragon is one third of the Great Council of Whitebuck, which governs the realm of Dreamglen. Of the three Councilors, Variarius is the most gentile and amicable, taking extra time to listen to all sides of a debate before coming to a decision. He allows the other two Councilors to take a larger role in the day-to-day affairs of state, preferring to keep his eye fixed on the long term. When not sleeping in the Dreaming Forest or off in his secret lair, Viasarius can be found roaming the Serenepeace Mountains for game.

- King Letnin Hopewind: The last in the line of Songwillow Kings that stretches back to times immemorial. Letnin Hopewind ascended to the throne of Songwillow five years ago, taking over the crown from his mother who passed away in her sleep. Hopewind is an eager and brash man, who does not relish debating issues as much as his fellow councilors. He is quick to form an opinion and loathe to change it. The King often fights on the walls of Forgestar, inspiring his people to greatness through his own valor. He wears a shimmering copper-plated breastplate and the White Stag Battle Crown while fighting, both of which make him an easy target for his enemies. Letnin is a natural athlete and soldier, far more than any previous King or Queen of Songwillow. When not in Council meetings or fighting, Hopewind can be found wandering around the Dreaming Forest.

- Chieftess Nedaah Mercymoon: The Warrior Queen of the Unicorns tribes, Chieftess Mercymoon is a gifted diplomat and a keen statesman. Being practically immortal, Nedaah Mercymoon has seen the aeons pass from pre-history to the present. She always has the best interest of her tribes at heart, and now, the realm of Dreamglen. She comprises one third of the Great Council of Whitebuck and is often seen as the most gregarious and forgiving member. She does not relish war or glory in battle the way King Lentin or Viasarius do, She would prefer a formal declaration of peace be declared between the two halves of the island and never another senseless battle occur.

- Delidara Stormsnake: As the Conclave Mistress of the Morning Dawn Druids, Stormsnake's most important duty is tending to the Marsh of Ancestral Dawn and ensuring the great diversity of life on Songwillow be maintained. Delidara is unique in that she is the first Half-Elven Conclave Mistress the Druids have ever had (all previous Conclave Masters/Mistresses were either Elves or Unicorns). Stromsnake has taken an active roll in the pursuit of re-seeding the northern half of the island by secretly dispatching Druids. The Great Council looks unkindly to this behavior as it could spark renewed efforts to destroy and/or desecrate the southern half of the island. Regardless, Delidara sees it as her duty as leader of the Druids to do all that is within her power to alter the terrible fate that has befallen the isle.

Title: Re: Amyethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 11:37:21 PM
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Adventure Sites of Songwillow

- The Blackdeath Cliffs: The safest route up to Caldera lies along the jagged black rocks that line the Blackdeath Cliffs. Make no mistake, though the route is touted as being the safest, it is by no means actually safe. Yrthaks and Shocker Lizards comb the cliffs for travelers, often doing their utmost to fling travelers off the mountainside and down to a brutal death at the base of the Volcano.

- Tunnels of Flesh: The only other passage up to Caldera lies within the Tunnels of Flesh, which, as the name implies, is actually a living organism. Transported here by Ruesarond, the creature constantly craves the flesh of mortals. It is said a thousand Goblins a year are sacrificed to the Tunnels in order to sate the beasts' unnatural hunger. Few travelers survive the treacherous tunnel due to its bile rivers and rampaging demonic badgers.

- The Vault of Suffering: The Mountain Dwarves of the Rimecroft Empire dug too deep and too greedily into the Sernepeace Mountains. Miners discovered a magically sealed door deep under the mountains. When they pried the adamantine doors open, they were immediately grabbed by fetid, green tentacles. The sole survivor claimed to have seen a horde of treasure glimmering inside the vault. The last sound he heard was that of his compatriots screaming in agony as they were torn limb from limb. Since then, many would be Adventurers have traveled into the Vault of Suffering and, sadly,  fared no better than the original miners. The King of Songwillow has ordered the Vault's entrance barred, for fear of letting slip an unstoppable horror...

- The Ruins of Ironmace: Originally founded as the second major Castle on the island by the Rimecroft Empire, Ironmace was destroyed by Ruesarond in the early days of his awakening. The keep has since become an ever-constant thorn in the side of the Great Council as Bandits, Pirates and Goblins often take up residence and use it as a base of operation. Currently, the Oceanblade Pirates, lead by a Drow named Captain Dohor Farcurse, has come to call Ironmace home. He commands a several hundred men and uses three ships called the Vicious Serpent, the Bloody Blade and his flagship, the Hellborn Cutlass. The Great Council does not have the resources to both defend the Forgestar Keep and go after such a large band of pirates. A bounty has been placed on all pirates, with the hope of luring bounty hunters and would be adventurers to the cause.

- The Ruins of Ashlock: The third in the series of castles founded by the Empire, Ashlock was not completed before the Seventy Years of Gloom. Goblins and Xill have claimed the fortification. A particularly violent Xill general named Zarlacau the Bloody Handed has become the de facto ruler of the keep. He has attracted several Stone Giants from across the Narrows to come fight for him. Zarlacau's Giants have become a real threat when he sends them to the once-per-seven day battle along the Throat as the Giants are capable of slaying tens of soldiers with but a single swing of their clubs.

- The Trident:  An ancient Elven tower located at the tip of the most northerly point on the island. No one knows why it was created, as the tower was a ruin long before the Empire came to Songwillow. The Trident has always emanated a strong magical aura that has confounded even the most learned of Mages. The Goblins, being superstitious, give the Watchtower a wide berth, while spies in Foulbone report that Ruesarond has visited the ruin multiple times in the last  few months for reasons unknown...

Title: Re: Amyethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 21, 2013, 11:42:52 PM

The Gods of the Amethyst Isles

There are four gods in the Amethyst Isles, each corresponding to one of the four seasons. The gods are embodied by the four celestial shields - green for Reinarra (goddess of Spring), yellow for Almahara (goddess of Summer), Orange for Sonbahar (god of Autumn) and black for Yasgaram (god of Winter). The gods of Spring, Summer and Autumn are all worshiped by the civilized races of the Amethyst Isles. Worship of Winter is outlawed for he is the bringer of death and embodies the uncontrolled wickedness of the world.

Reinarra is the goddess of Spring, revelry, beauty, fertility, birth, freedom, exploration, life, art, music, wilderness, and all the happiness in the world. Spring is a time when the world is reborn from the death of Winter, it is a joyous time filled with merriment and love. Reinarra preaches that life is short, so enjoy every moment of it while you still can. Spring teaches that every mortal is equal and that no man or woman should stand above their kin. Exploration, both in body and mind, of yourself, of others and of the world around you are the keys to a full and gleeful life.

Almahara is the goddess of Summer, chivalry, luck, athletics, brawn, honor, justice, community, agriculture, battle, hunting and courage. Summer preaches that the community is paramount to the continued survival of civilization. The meek need your aid, not your scorn. Help all those around you for they shall reciprocate in kind. The world is full of challenges that individuals and communities must meet head on to overcome. Defending the defenseless, fighting with honor and braving great dangers in the name of justice are the most admirable virtues a mortal can aspire to.

Sonbahar is the god of Autumn, tyranny, knowledge, strength, harvests, protection, law, domination, discipline, fate, perseverance and war. Autumn preaches that the dark days of Winter are upon you. Now is the time to bolster your defenses, train your men, gather all the supplies you can and steel your hearts. Now is the time to let the strong rule for they are the only thing standing between you and death. Freedom is meaningless in the face of adversity. Civilization must survive and to do so, the entire community must rally together behind their leaders. Unity of cause, unity of vision, unity of the people's hearts and minds embodied through the tyranny of those with the power, the tenacity, the right to rule.

Yasgaram is the god of Winter, death, destruction, madness, torment, lies, darkness, vengeance, doom, greed, envy and the senseless slaughter of all living things. Winter preaches that civilization is a lie perpetuated by those who wish to dominate you. Civilization is not natural and therefore must be torn down where ever it arises. Greed  and envy are your friends, take all that you deserve and mutilate those who would dare threaten you! Bathe in the blood of the weak and feast upon their flesh. The world is your's for the taking.

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on August 31, 2013, 01:42:12 AM

The Kitsune and the Sowa

The Kitsune have long been an enigmatic race that has existed on the periphery of every major civilization to arise in the Amethyst Isles. They are a nomadic people, preferring to live in insular familial bands. They made little contact with and formed few bonds with outsiders. The Rimecroft Empire viewed the Kitsune as a transitory nuisance at best and left the tribes alone so long as they did not interfere with Imperial activity. From the perspective of the other races, the Kitsune were seen as being completely mysterious as whole tribes would come and go, seemingly at random, with no obvious means of conveyance. One day a tribe would be spotted on one isle, the next day on an isle a hundred miles away, the next on another isle still further afield.

It was not until a Dwarven Archeologist named Kath Malason unearthed a megalith on Highpeak Isle that the Empire first came to understand how the Kitsune were able to travel so far, so quickly. Via a thorough investigation, Kath Malason deduced that the Kitsune utilized a strange form of magic channeled though standing stones (which are a very common sight throughout the Amethyst Isles) as a means to teleport from one megalith to another. After years of study and discussions with willing Kitsune, Malason was able to work out the basic principles of the standing stones, even going so far as to use the network of megaliths himself. However, on the day he was to present his findings to the Forgefather Emperor, Kath Malason was found dead in his home, with all his notes burned to ash. Kath Malason was without peer when it came to the study of the megaliths. Since then no archaeologist, artificer, wizard or priest has been able to replicate Malason's results, let alone even decipher the stones underlying principles.

Records indicate that the Kitsune have utilized their unique mode of conveyance since at least the ninth era. However, about halfway through the Seventy Years of Gloom the network of standing stones suddenly stopped working. For the first time in their history, the nomadic Kitsune were unable to travel as they pleased. They had become trapped on which ever island they happened to be on that day.

Songwillow Isle had long hosted a fairly large population of Kitsune, who had flocked to the isle due to its unusually powerful and ancient megalith, called the Sowa. Beyond that, the island also possessed hundreds of shrines dedicated to Reinarra that were located deep in the forests of what is now called the Madshadow Mountains. When the standing stones stopped working, many of the now-trapped Kitsune became hostile to all life, falling to the clarion call of Yasgaram. They believed a blood sacrifice to Winter would inspire Yasgaram to re-ignite the magic of their megaliths. After the inhabitants of the village of Southwood were brutally sacrificed, an over-zealous Paladin of Sonbahar took it upon himself to eradicate all Kitsune from the Isle as retribution for their heinous acts. It is said Gola Sunset slew a thousand Kitsune before he himself was stopped by the Rangers.

Since that time the Kitsune population has become split into three groups - those that cling to the old, nomadic ways; those that integrated with civilization; and those that became druids.

- The Keo: This tribe was formed by the survivors of Sunset’s slaughter who wished to cling to their ancestral ways. The Keo do not interact with outsiders as they fear more bloody reprisals for the actions of the few who turned to madness and murder. The Keo have a strict matriarchal and hierarchical society with the Chieftess at the top, followed by the Shaman and the Chieftess' concubines, followed by the Warriors, followed by the Gatherers, followed by the Children. When a Chieftess dies, the Shaman proposes three worthy candidates - the greatest Warrior, the most experienced Gatherer or the eldest daughter of the last Chieftess. The Concubines ultimately decide which of the three will succeed the last Chieftess. The Keo are nomadic in nature and distrustful of outsiders. They can generally be seen wandering through the Dreaming Forest and the Serenepeace Mountains. It is rumored that Varisarius has a deep bond with the current Chieftess, Zeka. The two often go hunting alone with one another. Some of their trips can last several days to several weeks or more. It is rumored that the only person in the whole of Songwillow to know where Varisarius' secret lair is located is Zeka. Unlike the Oak Walkers, the Keo have not adopted Dwarven Naming customs. Rather they use the ancient Kitsune custom of naming their children after an aspect of nature that the child most embodies or an event that occurred on the day of the child's birth. For example, Zeka is named after the fast winds that occasionally race over the Serenepeace Mountains, while the hunter Ritsu is named in honor of a new tree that was planted on the day of her birth.

- The Oak Walkers: This tribe of Kitsune has embraced civilization and has fully integrated into Dreamglen society. Most (if not all) of their ancestral roots have been lost. Rather than being strictly matriarchal, the Oakwalkers have become egalitarian (like the Elves), favoring neither gender above the other. Oak Walkers are, for all intents and purposes, simply Elves who happen to look like Fox people. Their leader is Miru Foxoak, who oversees Fox Tur (which is a mighty Redwood Tree lying in the inner circle of Turs within Whitebuck). It is there that most Oak Walkers live and work. Foxoak was bestowed the title of Lord by the then-Queen of Songwillow some ten years ago. Lord Foxoak often bestows the title of Fox Knight upon particularly valorous Kitsune who defend the realm from evil. Though the title is not particularly prestigious in the realm at large (as most Tur Lords hand out similar titles to their followers), it is viewed with quite a bit of reverence by the Oak Walker Kitsune. Unlike the Keo, the Oak Walkers have adopted and embraced the Dwarven naming customs.

(Note: The Keo call the Oak Walkers "Mumo" which in the common tongue means "Hairless", in reference to the idea that Oakwalkers Elvenize to the point of being indistinguishable from Elves.)

- The third Tribe is not really a tribe in the strictest sense but rather Kitsune who belong to the Conclave of the Morning Dawn Druids. The Conclave is small in number but a significant minority of its members are Kitsune who have renounced their ancestral ways and/or the ways of Civilization in favor of the Natural Path of Spring.  Reinarra is the true goddess of the Kistune and has long watched over their race. It is believed she gifted the Kitsune with the standing stones. Due to this, both the Oak Walkers and the Keo go out of their way to aid Kitsune Druids, over and above what they do for non-kitsune Druids.

The Sowa, which was once the heart of Kitsune civilization of the Isle has become a shrine dedicated to Reinarra. All Kitsune, regardless of tribe, come to the Sowa for all manner of ritualized events, from weddings, to birthings, to burials, to ritualized duels. The Sowa is hidden deep within the oldest portion of the Dreaming Forest. The road to the megalith is treacherous as the Kitsune have seeded the area with traps and domesticated monstrous scorpions imported from across the Narrows. Only the Kitsune Guides know the correct path around the traps and the secret commands to bring the scorpions to heel. Very few non-kitsune have ever seen the Sowa and of those that do, only Viacarius has visited it on a regular basis.

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on September 05, 2013, 01:28:26 AM
( (  (

The History of Bastion Isle

Bastion Isle was discovered by Forgefather Emperor Rikard Warblade IX when his Palace Ship was blown off course and ran aground against a reef during a violent winter storm. At dawn's first light, the ship was assailed by a horde of rampaging Merfolk. It is said the Emperor personally slew two hundred of his enemies that day. After the battle, Rikard found that all of his attendant and apprentice wizards had been slain (either by the storm or the horde). Without a means of communicating with his fleet, the Emperor and his crew thus trekked inland with the hope of finding less hostile natives. They found only battle and death.

The isle was soon revealed to be overrun with hundreds of lycanthropic tribes. Bards tell that the Imperials could not walk a mile without running into at least a small band of werebeasts. Fearing the disease would spread like wildfire to the rest of his Empire, the Forgefather declared war against all Lycans. Some twenty days into his war, the Wizards from afar were finally able to communicate with him via their spells. Ten legions were dispatched to the island with great haste. As the righteous bloodbath drug on, the Merfolk that inhabited the shallow seas surrounding the Isle, came to believe the Forgefather to be the reincarnation of their greatest King - Skoolookoozaka the Many-Tentacled. They swore fealty to the Emperor and joined his forces.

 The War of Cleansing took nearly thirty five years but in the end, the war proved a great success. Bastion was freed from its villainous masters and became the heart of Imperial culture in the Southern Warblade Isles. Four Legions, thousands of auxiliaries and two fleets were stationed on the Isle. Bastion's wide, grassy meadows served a perfect training ground for the soldiers, while the imposing Victory Mountains held ample supplies of precious minerals.  Hundreds of settlements and fortifications were erected across the island, which quickly became one of the most densely populated regions of the Empire. The capital of the Isle was Mahon, named in honor of the Merfolk Chief who took an arrow to the head to save the Emperor. The Lord of Mahon was given the title Viceroy by the Emperor in recognition of how important Bastion had become to the Empire.

As the Seventy Years drug on, all legionaries from the Southern Warblade Isle were recalled first to Bastion, then to the capital of the Empire. Bastion lost nearly half of its population when the armies left. The sudden depopulation left the economy and government in shambles. Bitter feuds broke out as mayors and army leaders vied for control of the island. War became endemic as the civilization fell in on itself. A few years after the Legions evacuated, Devils began manifesting; first in small numbers but quickly growing in number and strength. They tempted many a leader to the Cult of Yasgaram, which only exacerbated the bloodshed and hastened the fall of civilization on the island.

At this time a powerful Witch of Winter - and the last remaining Lycan on the island - Dakatha Wintermourn rose to power. Seizing this opportunity, Wintermourn created the Wereling Plague and released it at various sites across Bastion. The plague temporarily turned otherwise normal people into rage-driven Lycans who spread true Lycanthropy with each bite. So effective was the plague that within a year, Wintermourn had forged the largest army yet fielded since the Legions' evacuation. She stood upon the precipice of total victory.

It was in this backdrop that two beings were summoned. The first was Abadrael, a Hound Archon, who was brought forth by a powerful Merfolk Priestess whose name has been lost to history. Abadrael was a strong believer in Sonbahar and as such, quickly united all Merfolk under his ivory and amber banner. He called all mer-peoples to the heavily fortified city of Rho-Elus, from where he sent raiding parties to Bastion proper with the aim of destroying Wintermourn's increasingly more powerful coven of fellow witches.

 Far to the east, in the city of Mahon, an Astral Deva named Aranaxia was summoned to the material plane. She, like Abadrael, was a follower of Sonbahar. Quickly realizing herself to be the strongest within the city, Aranaxia sized power and declared herself Queen of Bastion. At that time, Mahon was under siege by a horde of murderous Werewasps. Aranaxia called forth her closest ally (and mount) to the material plane, the Pegasus Raphzail. Together, the two single handedly destroyed every Werewasp that dared assault Mahon. Aranaxia took the surviving Dwarves and Halflings and trained them for months until they were as highly trained as the Legions of old. With her new force, the Astral Deva left the safety of her capital and took the fight directly to Wintermourn's forces.  

Beset on the east and the west simultaneously, the Witch could do little as the armies marched across the wide open plains of Bastion, destroying her forces piecemeal. It was then that she concocted a devious strategy. Wintermourn magically fused bamboo seeds that she had taken from a noble's garden and combined them black magic. She then took the seeds and spread them far and wide. Within a month an entire forest had sprung up in the center of the island. Its iron-hard, fire-resistant, black shoots and poisonous leaves served as an excellent deterrent to invasion. Fearing that the Blackshoot Forest would not engulf the entire Isle, Abadrael salted all of the land west of the Twelfth River and all the land east of the Twenty-First River. This act ensured that the Blackshoots could not spread beyond the rivers but also came at a great cost - the once green meadows that were over-teaming with life withered and died, thus creating barren salt plains.

 Infuriated at Abadrael's unilateral action, Aranaxia declared war and sailed a fleet west to Rho-Elus. The War of the Celestials was hard fought, killing thousands. Both army's respective leaders fought high in the skies above Rho-Elus, each atop their noble steeds – the Pegasus Raphzail for the Angel, the Bronze Dragon Teumeth for the Archon. The two were said to be an even match for one another, with neither gaining the upper hand (even after days of continuous battle).  As the first rays of the sun crested the horizon, which heralded the arrival of the first Spring in seventy years, Aranaxia pulled her forces back to Mahon.

As the years grow more numerous since the Gloom, the island of Bastion finds itself in a never ending bellicose state. Warbands roam the salt plains, slaughtering Lycans that cross the river-borders, while tribes of Were-beasts do the same for Dwarves and Merfolk that cross into the Blackshoot Forest. There seems to be no end in sight as all three sides are deeply entrenched and possess the resolve to fight to the bitter end...

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on September 20, 2013, 01:43:34 AM
( ( (

The Noble Families of Whitebuck, pt. 1

Following his conquest of Bastion Isle, Forgefather Emperor Rikard Warblade IX sailed to Songwillow. There he found Elves and Unicorns living in serene forests. He set upon the land an army ten thousand strong. He demanded that they bow down to their new Emperor. The natives had seen many such would-be conquerors before, not a hundred years prior did a Human not come to Songwillow demanding the very same. Elves and Unicorns live extraordinarily long lives and so have seen this song and dance a thousand times before. The leaders of the native tribes broke bread with the Forgefather and discussed the terms to which they would be bound in service and fealty to this new conqueror.

One among them, however, did not kowtow.

With a great sigh Rikard asked the boy his name and why he defied his elders.

The lad responded that his name was Herio and he would not bow to yet another foreign ruler who would be dead long before the children born on this day reached adulthood.

The Emperor saw the spark of a martyr in the lad’s eyes. Having spent decades pacifying and with conquest still in his heart, the Emperor came to a compromise.  He declared Herio to be the King of Songwillow, to rule the Isle as he saw fit for all his days yet remaining. The price was meager as prices go – annual tribute of a bounty that the island overflowed with. Herio, now King, agreed.

The Empire was good to Songwillow, giving it food during the harshest Winters and bringing trade in from around the globe. The poorest peasant and the richest merchants all benefited equally. Life was good under the suzerainty of the Imperium. Over the next five hundred years the people of Songwillow became more and more Imerialized, adopting Dwarven language, Dwarven gods, Dwarven clothing and Dwarven names. Few in Songwillow remember the old ways and most are quite comfortable with this facts.

When the Gloom came, the bulk of Songwillow’s population laid in what is today Foulbone. When Rueserond awoke, he brought with him fire, brimstone, goblins, war and death. Queen Lefa Windhope, daughter of King Herio, lead the survivors across the Throat and into the deepest recesses of the Dreaming Forest. Along the way all good-hearted peoples flocked to Windhope. This time would come to be called the Queen’s March. Once inside the forest, the Queen and her people founded a camp, that would one day become the heart of Whitebuck. With her Druidic allies, she surrounded the camp with a magical moat and blanketed the area with powerful illusory magicks. Dark were the days to come, as Goblins and Xill scoured the forest for, what was to their eyes, the near-mythical camp. Every day was a fight for survival as Rangers, soldiers and peasants roamed the woodland, slaying all enemies they met. None could take a sigh of relief until after the arrival of Viasarius and the end of the Gloom.

With the Druids leaving for the Marsh of Ancestral Dawn, it was left to the de facto leaders of the camp - Queen Lefa Windhope, Chieftess Nedaah Mercymoon and Viasarius - to create a new civilization. The Dragon concerned himself with the war, while the Unicorn focused on healing the sick and wounded. The Queen was thus given the right to create the government. Having been raised in the hallowed halls of the Rimebjorn Citadel, the Queen adapted the Imperial governance system to her realm. The Great Council – composed of herself, Viasarious and Mercymoon and would serve as the executive. Twenty-Four Turs, which means great trees in the tongue of Old Elvish, were planted by the Druids prior to their departure. These trees were given to twenty-four of the most virtuous, the bravest and the most stalwart of her subjects. These twenty-four were given the hereditary title of Lord-Protector. There upon, they would control their trees as if they were provinces of the realm, complete with the ability to govern their demesne how they pleased. These twenty-four Lord Protectors would also sit in the Royal Senate that would act as the realm’s legislative body. In return for these rights, ranks and privileges, the Lord Protectors swore undying fealty to the Great Council, the Kingdom of Dream Glen and the Isle of Songwillow. To show their support, they would send men, arms and food to Forgestar Keep.

It was quickly realized that the twenty-four Turs would not be enough to house the population of Whitebuck, and so thirty-two Welds, which in the language of old meant second planting, were given life. To the Lords of these trees, the Queen gave the non-hereditary title of Lord-Warden. The Lord-Wardens were appointed by the Queen and expected to give double what the Lord-Protectors provided to the realm as their food, arms, equipment and men were expected to be of an inferior quality to those of the Turs.

As Winter abated and Spring reigned supreme once more, it was realized that the city needed to expand once more, to wit the Ochurs, which means third planting, were cultivated. The Lord who sat in the Royal Senate, fearing a further decline of their prestige pushed for, and were granted, the right to name the Lord-Overseers of the Ochurs. The Lord-Overseers were a non-hereditary position whose tenure would last just three years. These Lords are expected to give quadruple what the Lord-Protectors contribute to the realm.

All who hold the title of Lord are given the right to wear gold and purple hats, the ability to look their Monarch in the eyes, the expectation that common folk will move to the side as a Lord passes and the right to request and obtain monopolies on services and commodities. The first three dozen or so monopolies were granted in perpetuity, however after seeing the abuses of privilege perpetrated by the holders of those monopolies, the monarchy now only grants such deeds for a set period of time, with the option for renewal.  

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on September 22, 2013, 05:19:36 PM

Dirge Ochur

The Ochur that would come to be called Dirge was the last of the Ochurs to be planted and was the slowest to grow, as the Conclave Mistress of the Morning Dawn Druids had intended for Dirge to become the largest Ochur. Six months after planting and just two weeks into the reign of King Letnin Hopewind, Jala Dirge arrived in the city of Whitebuck. She is derisively called "mutt" behind her back by others for she is, as the name implies, a unique creature who is the byproduct of centuries of cross-breeding. Her Father was Half-Centaur, one quarter-Kitsune, one eighth Human and one sixteenth Elf and Giant, while her mother was one eighth Dragon, Ogre, Dwarf and Unicorn, one sixteenth Triceratops, Dire Tiger, Merfolk, Orc, Nightmare and Nymph and one thirty second Manticore, Janni, Blink Dog and Ettin.

She walks upon four legs like a Centaur but her front two limbs end with malformed hand-claw hybrid (complete with retractable thumbs). Her horse-like body is covered in a patch-work of blue scales, magical fire-hair, tiger stripes and brown leathery-hide. She possesses two vestigial, bat-like wings on her back that span no more than a foot each. Jala possesses a strange tail that is bushy like a fox's, upturned like a scorpion's and ends in an unkempt mass of stringy long hair (like a horse's tail).

Her, for lack of a better term, "human" half is misshapen possessing the stockiness of a Dwarf and the height of a small giant. Jala's skin is jaundice with streaks of blue. Her bulging biceps quickly end in halfling-sized forearms and hands. Her ill-formed head appears to have started off like a human's but was given a short, bony frill (like a triceratops), complete with two stubby little horns and a radiant unicorn horn. Behind her crest is a mane of golden fur. Jala's snout appears to be a mix of a Tiger's and a Dog's, with jutting yellow teeth. Her eyes are spaced far apart, almost on opposite sides of her head. Her Elf-like ears are elongated and twist outwards in an unpleasant manner. Upon her left shoulder is a half-formed second head, whose draconic snout pokes out at a 45 degree angle. It is said her dragon head can see into the future and whispers what may come to pass into her main head's ear.

Yet, with all these oddities, she maintains a spooky aura of beauty that most find vaguely attractive, in a very strange way.

Jala came to Whitebuck with twenty-four Winter-free Heralds, whom she rescued from Satarummatuukaa, the Winter Witch of Bastion Isle's colossal Half-Demon Kraken minion. At the Royal Senate, Jala asked only to be allowed to settle in Whitebuck, for all other realms had scorned her for she was seen as aberrant and often accused of being a Devil Worshiper. The Lord-Protectors greedily eyed the Heralds and so acquiesced to her request, even going so far as to declare her Lady-Overseer of the last Ochur and naming it Dirge, in honor of her ladyship. In return, they requested they each requested fealty of one of her Heralds. The bargain was struck and the treaty signed.

Lady Jala Dirge spent a fortune turning Dirge Ochur into one of the most beautiful places to live in the city. She refused all nobles, merchants and other near-do-well people and instead accepted the city’s misfits, poor and homeless with open arms.

One year after planting the Ghost Army of the East crossed the Bay of Rain, dove into the Dreaming Forest and besieged the city. Whitebuck’s magical moat’s firewall prevented the Ghosts from entering the city. That was, until the Ghosts realized a single branch from Dirge Ochur hung over the moat and the fire. Using their as a corporeal force would use a door, the Ghost Army invaded the city, starting with Dirge Ochur. They desiccated all they touched, from man to the tree itself. The Battle of Dirge was long and bloody. All hope seemed lost until Jala cast a wondrously powerful spell that not a single Arcanist in the city had ever seen before. The Spell allowed the Lady to absorb the entire army into her body but the spell came at a great cost - where there was once a youthful being, the spell visibly matured her well past her prime and into old age.

The Ochur fared little better as it became a dead, blackened husk. All of the work Lady Jala Dirge had done to turn the Ochur into a welcoming home was for not, as almost all of the structures were destroyed in the battle. Jala retreated to her small den at the base of her tree. The displaced and indigent did what they could for themselves, creating haphazard and unsafe domiciles. Over the years the tree was mostly hallowed out to create extra room for the poor and homeless that flooded into the Ochur as Jala completely retreated from public life and cared little for who lived on her tree or what they did. The Royal Senate eliminated all of the requirements that Dirge Ochur was supposed to give the realm, citing the fact that containing the city's unwanted was payment enough. Hopelessness, poverty and vice have become an endemic quality of the tree.

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on September 27, 2013, 01:40:48 AM

Vegtur Flailwar
 Lord-Protector of Flail Tur, Grand Master of the Order of Venom Knights & Grand Panetier of the Realm

During the dark days of the Queen's March, one among Her Majesty's many followers rose to prominence. This man was Vegtur Flailwar, the first Venom Knight. Vegtur was a tall, strapping human with long black hair, steel blue eyes and chiseled features. Born into the life of minor nobility, Vegtur dreamed of one day becoming a Knight in the Order of Sir Rorke Steelminer, which had become quite famous in those days for their members' heroic deeds on and off the battlefield. However, when the Gloom came Vegtur's dreams were shattered as he watched helplessly as the Imperium's Legions sailed away to more important shores. When Rueserond arose, Vegtur Flailwar was one of the first to heed the Queen's call.

A Knight by training and deed, Vegtur Flailwar defended the long baggage train that followed the Queen across the Throat. Along the way, he was captured by Xill and brought to Caldera to be judged for crimes against the teaching of the Book of Wrath. Rueserond held court, while Xill decried the Knight's many misdeeds - the slaughter of Xill Soldiers, the harvest of Xill eggs, the destruction of said eggs and - above all other crimes - the use of Centipede Poison (the deadliest poison known to Xill-kind). After a lengthy trial, Rueserond sentenced Vetgur Flailwar to death by implantation. As the Xill prosecutors slowly advanced on the man, their egg sacks bulging with anticipation, a great rumble in the distance was heard. Suddenly, the wall of the volcano was shattered by a spell of immense power. As the weak-winter light flooded into the city, there stood a silhouette of a woman atop a Unicorn was seen by all. The rider called out to demand Rueserond free the Knight as repayment for a past deed. The voice was one Vegtur knew well, as it belonged to Delidara Stormsnake - Conclave Mistress of the Morning Dawn Druids. None in the city knew of what this woman spoke but the mighty Dragon was forced to oblige, under the condition that they leave via the Tunnels of Flesh.

No one knows how Vegtur Flailwar, Delidara Stormsnake and Nedaah Mercymoon survived the treacherous path but survive they did. On the western slopes of, what had come to be called, the Madshadow Mountains, the three encountered a bloat of monstrous centipedes. Having learned just how much the Xill feared the beasts, Vegtur took care to tame several of the creatures and bring them back to the Queen.

Upon their return, it was quickly realized that the merest sight of the Centipedes struck fear into the hearts of their foes. Flailwar formed the Order of Venom Knights, a chivalric order based on the credos of the Order of Sir Rorke Steelminer and adopted the title of Grand Master of the Order. The men who were trained to become the first Venom Knights all went on to become Lord-Protectors within the city of Whitebuck.  The Venom Knights participated in every major battle of the Ruserond War, serving with distinction at the First, Third, Seventh and Tenth Battle of Hellfang Citadel as well as the Siege of Ashlock, the Defense of Bluerain and the naval Battle of the Bay of Rain.

Following the Gloom, Vegtur Flailwar was given the title of Lord-Protector of Flail Tur and the first choice of titles at court. Most assumed Flailwar would choose a heroic title, such as Marshal of the Queen's Forces, Master of the Hunt or Standard Bearer. Instead, he chose the title of Grand Panetier, who is the Queen's Baker. Through this title, the Lord-Protector secured a monopoly over the baking of bread. All within the realm must pay the Lord of Flail a fee to bake bread, regardless of size, shape, consistency or any other concern. This monopoly has made Vegtur Flailwar - and his Telu in general - exceedingly wealthy. Many have protested such a sweeping monopoly but their calls fall on deaf ears.

Many have noted that Vegtur Flailwar was a strapping young man before the Gloom began. The Gloom lasted seventy years and it has been eight since the Spring Sun crested the Horizon, heralding the end to the endless Winter. That would make Flailwar, at a minimum, ninety years of age. By all accounts, he is a Human born into a family that had not interbred with longer-lived races. There is an old Bard's Tale that tells of a Human Knight from Songwillow crossing the Narrows into the Cragcoast and discovering the thousand year old Dungeon of the Archon. He slew the Dungeon's demonic guardians and freed a Hound Archon, who bequeathed on his liberator extended life with which to do more good deeds. Many link this tale to Vegtur Flailwar as he is the staunchest ally of the Merfolk of Rho-Elus, whom are ruled by Abadrael (a Hound Archon). Flailwar himself remains silent on this issue.

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on October 06, 2013, 04:31:32 AM
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The Ancient Realm of Rhahasia

The lands of Ishqet were said to be wondrous and amazing. At the heart of the continent was the Tower of Varsiq, which was the tallest structure ever constructed. It stood as a symbol of the peace, fraternity and liberty that was shared equally by all of the all peoples of the world. Dwarven Priests speak of an untenable hubris that washed across the continent as the masses stopped worshiping their gods and instead worked in common bond to forge their own destiny, free of divine influence. After much debate, it is said the four remaining gods cast a divine spear at the Tower of Varsiq, toppling the building and sundering the continent. The gods did this to remind the common people that gods were real and they demanded worship. This event has come to be called Spirefall by the Dwarves and serves as definitive evidence of their gods’ interest in the mortal plane and serves as a terrible reminder of their ultimate power.

One of the first races to bounce back from Spirefall were the Pixies. They founded the realm of Rhahasia, which was devoted completely to the principles of Reinarra. Their lands were de-centralized, focusing on equality for all, the arts and free expression (and, if Dwarven sermons are to be believed, lax procreative morals). Rhahasia spread across the Northern and Southern Warblade Isles like wildfire. Historians speak of at least one new city springing up every year for a thousand years. Pixies are unusually small, standing just six inches tall, so everything they built and made was equally diminutive. Cities made by Dwarves, Humans and Elves are bulky, sprawling affairs, while Pixie cities were, comparatively, smaller. The largest Rhahasian city – Mhitahlahk – is about as large as a small castle. Most of their cities and towns were much smaller, averaging the size of a house.

No one knows what brought the Rhahasian civilization down but their ruins litter the Warblade Isles. Most sites have been inadvertently decimated due to unwitting clumsiness, while the rest have simply been overlooked due to their petite size. When a new city is discovered, adventurers (as well as those looking to get rich quick) rush to the location and – using potions that reduce one’s size – plunder the ruin for all its valuables.

Rhahasians were well known for their production of mind-altering magic. Sadly these spells usually come with very severe addictive qualities. Most illegal magical potions found throughout the Amethyst Isles were originally concocted by the Pixies of Rhahasia. The most potent (and thus addictive) of their brews are Mhehrevah (which allows one to see an entirely new color), Stahvia (which rouses one’s carnal desires), Sahkahrih (which intensifies the bliss of devouring sugar) and Pihtrihs (which allows one to undergo an out of body experience). Very few alchemists can replicate these potions exactly; most settle for cheap knock offs which, sadly, strengthen their addictive qualities (to the detriment of their desired effects). Addicts, alchemists and dealers are willing to pay top dollar for genuine potions.

On the Isles of Songwillow, Pixie Potions are incredibly common, especially in the poorer districts of Whitebuck and Eastfarm. During the Seventy Years of Gloom, people spent fortunes on the various brews as they offered a fleeting escape from the depressing reality in which they lived. The King of Songwillow – Letnin Hopewind officially banned three of the most potent potions. Mhehrevah was excluded from the ban, as it is often used in the Throat to help soldiers see invisible Xill, who shimmer like the brightest torches while under the influence of the concoction. Still, prohibition has done little to curb the use of the brews as illegal dealers are now incredibly common. There are so many illegal vendors in Dirge Ochur that the City Guards simply turn a blind eye, preferring to focus their efforts elsewhere. As Dirge Ochur is the poorest slum in the city, almost everyone is addicted to one mixture or another. On other trees, dealers are forced to think more creatively by mixing the potions in with seemingly innocuous consumable (such as alcohol, candy and seasoning). In Eastfarm, so many people are addicted that Lawspeaker Reydo Keyblade has legalized Pixie Potions (as well as other malfeasances) in specially designated dens of vice. The tax revenue from these dens accounts for nearly a quarter of Eastfarm’s annual budget.

Regardless, Pixie Potion use is on the rise once more; the risk of mass addiction threatens to undermine all that civilization has accomplished since the end of the Gloom…

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on October 15, 2013, 02:51:47 AM
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Giants and Servitude

Across the ever-tumultuous Narrows lies the Cragcoast, a storm-wracked, desolate land where only Giants, Monstrous Scorpions and entrepreneurs dare tread. The sheer, thousand foot-high rocky cliffs of the Cragcoast have, for millenia, served as a natural deterrent to civilization of most kinds. Only the simpletons of the Giant-stock (Stone Giants) call this land home. They do so not out of stupidity but out of necessity as the Storm Giants of Choleric Steppe and the Frost Giants of High Firn pushed their smaller kin out of, what was originally, the Stone Giants' homeland. Indeed, the aboriginal peoples of the Southern Warblade Isles were the Stone Giants and the Pixies. Gigantic ruins dot the countryside that hint at a once great and well organized realm. Sadly the Stone Giants do not possess a written script, nor do they enjoy a vibrant oral tradition. We can only infer that at one time the Stone Giants were more centrally organized and community centric than they are currently.

Rhahsian writings paint the Giants as a violent, vile race that destroyed all they encountered, from forests, to towns, to beasts. The Rhahsians also speak of Giants capturing Pixies and gulping them down like a child devours the first berries of spring. In more modern times, there are wide spread Dwarvish accounts of Stone Giants eating Dwarves, so there is some merit to the Pixies’ claim. The pixies also speak of Stone Giants consuming so many Pixies that they actually sprouted Pixie-like wings, though unfortunately this has never been verified. Having said that, the aforementioned Dwarf eating Giants did, in fact, sprout stubble, which is notable since Stone Ginats are known to suffer from alopecia. Prior to the Gloom, one enterprising Gnome scholar attempted to test the theory that Stone Giants could adopt the traits of the races they consumed by feeding it Dwarven cadavers. Unfortunately, the Gnome was eaten greedily by his test subject, who stated he preferred fresh meat as opposed to rotten meat.

The Stone Giants who call the Cragcoast home are solitary creatures who relish violence, obscene amounts of consumption and violence in all forms. Due to their natural instincts, the Stone Giants are often lured into joining the ranks of the Foulbone Army, as the Goblins and Xill possess no qualms about the eating of sentient races. Unfortunately, the Stone Giants are well known for their laziness too and so many a Giant has simply devoured entire regiments of Goblins instead of crossing the Throat to battle Dwarves and Elves. The Xill find this intolerable and so are well known for slaying the Giants and raising them as Zombies. Rather than fighting a belligerently lazy Giant, their Xill lords will simply feed the oafs poisoned meat, often Zombies. General Zarlacau the Bloody Handed of Ashlock is well known for prizing the stalwart, loyal nature of Zombies above that of the fearful Goblins, and so will simply give the Giants living Goblins that have been dipped in poison rather than waste a perfectly good Zombie.

Indeed it is General Zarlacau who first instituted Foulbone’s recruitment/enslavement of the Stone Giants from the Cragcoast. In addition to controlling the ruins of Ashlock, Zarlacau also owns the Dread Scourge, which is the largest ship operating in the Southern Warblade Isles. Originally constructed as a palace ship by the Viceroys of Bastion Isle, the ship was, as with all things Imperial, abandoned once the Gloom sunk its deadly teeth into the world. General Zarlacau was one of the first Xill summoned by Rueseronds’ minions and was thus the first to lay claim to the bounty of forsaken goods left behind by the Imperium. To his day, Zarlacau’s Cimmerian Raiders are equipped with the best magical kit of any regiment on Songwillow (a fact that the Generals of Dreamglen have come to realize quite painfully).

Twice a year, the Dread Scourge anchors astride Cinereous Henge, which is a massive boulder henge constructed by the Stone Giants to serve as a gathering point for all during mating season. Following titanic battles for dominance, one among the bulls proves his unequalled dominance and lays claim to all of the heifers. The remaining bulls, often dejected and angry, hear the clarion call of General Zarlacau and his promise of food, war and happiness. He loads the Giants onto the Dread Scourge in massive slave pens, and hauls them back to Ashlock. Upon arrival, Zarlacau commands that only half of the Giants will be allowed to partake in a feast and thus half of the Giants must be slaughtered. This serves two purposes, first it diminishes the number of living Giants (whose bellies are near bottomless) and secondly, ensures only the toughest and most virile Giants are supported. Those that perish are immediately raised and sent to the Throat to serve as shock troops. Those that survive and treated to a exorbitant buffet, then equipped with powerfully enchanted gear and used by the Cimmerian Raiders in their assaults along the southern and eastern coastlines of Dreamglen. When the Raiders’ ships run out of food and they cannot find enough food from pillaging, the Giants are either slaughtered and raised, sent to the Throat or see their equipment removed and simply released in Dreamglen, like one would free an unwanted animal.

The raiding combined with the abandonment of Giants has lead to a massive de-population of the south-western coast of Dreamglen and has seen the sudden rise of refugees flood into Whitebuck, which has strained the city’s resources to the breaking point. The King has attempted to combat this by sending troops to re-enforce the south but has found his efforts for not as the Lord-Protectors of the city have become increasingly belligerent and petty, often fighting small-scale wars within the moat. With all the refugees that have come to Whitebuck, the King faces a difficult choice – keep his own personal troops in the city to tamper down any violence or risk internal strife to ensure the safety of the coast.

Thus far, the King has preferred to protect Whitebuck, which only exacerbates the demographic shift away from the countryside and to the city. The Ochurs are now filled to the brim with these refugees, most of who cannot find work and thus live in abject poverty. This has lead to the inexorable rise of gangs, which seek to “protect their own”, which often comes at the expense of shop keepers and other innocents. The bridges connecting the Ochurs to the rest of the city are heavily policed, with the city guards allowing few to leave their trees, which only aggravates the poverty experienced by so many as their opportunity for employment plummets.

The Senate has put forward many possible solutions, most of which amount to shipping the refugees off to other places, most notably Eastfarm. However, Lawkeeper Reydo Keyblade has spoken out against this idea as his town faces similar problems from refugees who once lived on the northern coast (which now suffers from entrenched Drow Pirates who have taken up residence in the ruins of Ironmace.

Viasarius, with permission and consent from the Keo, has set up a farming community high up in the Sernepeace Mountains. Called Zekaton (in honor of his friend, Chieftess Zeka), it is a model of an idyllic village with bountiful harvests and freedom from the violence that plagues the plains below. However, few have emigrated to Zekaton as Demitri Silversmith has secretly paid off many of the gangs in Whitebuck to intimidate would-be emigrants and by spreading rumors that Vrocks nest near the town and Viasarius has pledged to sacrifice the first born child of every family to the demons to sate their taste for the blood of the common races.
Demitri Silversmith owns the largest silver mine in Dreamglen (called the Silversmith mine), which accounts for nearly four fifths of all the silver produced by the realm annually. The former Queen, who desperately needed mineral wealth to pay her mercenaries, pushed the Servitude Act through the Senate, which allowed for the introduction of indentured servitude into the realm but only for criminals guilty of heinous crimes as a means of avoiding to lengthy prison terms or the gallows. As time progressed, King Letnin expanded the law to force all debtors, vagrants, enemy soldiers and criminals (regardless of the crime) to be sent into indentured servitude for a period of seven years. Unsurprisingly, Demitri Silversmith receives the vast majority of these indentured servants, who work under terrifyingly brutal conditions.

Silversmith was also able to finagle the right to control the servitude ledgers. Touted as a more effective means of controlling the vast number of servants, the power of the ledgers has effectively made all sent to the mine a de facto slave as Silversmith very rarely frees anyone. When asked why so few return home after seven years, Silversmith simply responds that the silver mining is a dangerous trade and many do not make it to the end of their term. The Senate enacted the Arcane Mark Law, which is used to ensure the correct identity of servants, as well as indicate when their sentence is due to end. The families of those sent to the mines often claim Silversmith has a cadre of mages who (unbeknownst to the servants) alter people’s marks. When confronted with this accusation, Silversmith simply replies, “The work is dangerous. Would you not claim to be someone else to get out of your duties?” For now, the more conservative Lords (who despise the influx of refugees) have blocked all legislation to further curtail or oversee Silversmith’s operation.  In fact those same Lords have enacted a law which allows a free man to put himself into indentured servitude willingly, much to the chagrin of more liberal Lords.

On the floor of the Senate, Lord-Protector Vetgur Flailwar once commented that “Without hope, people will sell their souls to the devil to make a better life for themselves, be they Elves, Dwarves, Men or Giants.”

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Ghostman on October 15, 2013, 03:08:32 PM


Rhahsian writings paint the Giants as a violent, vile race that destroyed all they encountered, from forests, to towns, to beasts. The Rhahsians also speak of Giants capturing Pixies and gulping them down like a child devours the first berries of spring. In more modern times, there are wide spread Dwarvish accounts of Stone Giants eating Dwarves, so there is some merit to the Pixies’ claim. The pixies also speak of Stone Giants consuming so many Pixies that they actually sprouted Pixie-like wings, though unfortunately this has never been verified. Having said that, the aforementioned Dwarf eating Giants did, in fact, sprout stubble, which is notable since Stone Ginats are known to suffer from alopecia. Prior to the Gloom, one enterprising Gnome scholar attempted to test this theory but was he himself eaten greedily by his test subject.
Just how was he planning to test it?

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on October 16, 2013, 04:49:23 PM
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Bacdan, Bactahn & the Cooperative of Nhom

A hundred years ago the floating spheroid called Bactahn manifested in the Southern Oceans. This spheroid played host to a race of technologically advanced, silver-skinned cephalopods who called themselves the Bacdan. No one knows where these creatures came from. The few outsiders allowed to enter Bactahn claim that the Bacdan were fleeing a dying world, destroyed by one of their wrathful, insane goddess. The cephalopods’ greatest mages cast a teleportation spell that hurtled their last remaining city across space, time and dimensions to arrive at the brightest point in the Odnaboas (loosely translated as Star-Sea-Plain).

 Their society is based around veneration of their ancestors. When an individual Bacdan dies, his brain are raised into living undeath via magical techniques that are completely alien to Imperial mages. These brains, called Tinlon, are placed in the Cutkinchendong (Diet of Knowledge). Each brain in the Diet is connected by magical means to all of the other Tinlon in the Cutkinchendong, which allows the collective to act as a single entity. It is said that there are hundreds if thousands of Tinlon housed in the Cutkinchendong and that the Tamlon (the collective mind) is the single most intelligent creature on the world.  

At birth, each Bacdan is placed into a specific cast by the Tamlon and executes that duty to his best ability for the entirety of his natural life. The lowest and most populous caste are the Harvesters, who gather up the fetid moss from the inner walls of the Bactahn, which is used to feed all Bacdan. The next is the Wavers Caste, who utilize magic to gather water for consumption by the fetid moss. The third caste are the Keepers, who are powerful magicians who funnel magical energy into the sun-like object that lies at the heart of the Bactahn (whose energy feeds the moss that feeds the Bacdan). The fourth caste are the Protectors who defend the Bactahn (more specifically the Cutkinchendong )from all would be assailants. The fifth caste are the Breeders, whose entire lives are dominated by mating with all other Bacdan and depositing their genetic contributions into the breeding sacs, which will give rise to the next generation of Bacdan. The final caste are the Maintainers who ensure the Cutkinchendong is always running at peak efficiency.

The Harvesters are not allowed to sleep and must eat as they toil. Their work is never ending. Most die of exhaustion just seven weeks into their life cycle. The Tamlon has deemed that Harvesters must live for a minimum of eight weeks if they wish to join the Cutkinchendong. As a consequence of this fact, the majority of Harvesters are never allowed to join the Diet. Wavers, like Harvesters, are worked to the bone however, their tasks are less physically demanding, so most live to see a year of life. All of other Bacdan are said to be capable of living for hundreds of years.  

When the Bactahn first arrived, it was greeted with seven fleets composed of the Empire’s strongest, most resilient ships. Grand Admiral Samson Elfsmiter parlayed with the Tamlon and fashioned an amicable treaty that compelled the Bacdan to recognize the Forgefather Emperor as their lord-sovereign, in return the Imperium would protect the Badtahn from the pirates that infest the southern oceans.

The treaty was, essentially, annulled when the Gloom came and the Empire abandoned all lands outside their home islands. The Bactahn was beset almost immediately by the servants of Yasgaram, who sought to take the Bacdan’s powerful magical items for their own. Though the Protectors served admirably, their numbers were too few. The Cutkinchendong thus created a cunning plan to use Harvesters as living bombs to destroy all would be assailants. Though the scheme worked, each attack required hundreds of Harvesters, which in turn meant food gathering plummeted, which lead to famine.  

Roughly forty years into the Gloom, a single, half-starved Maintainer was captured by Ogre Pirates. The raiders forced the Maintainer to construct magical items for them, items with which they could destroy civilization. The Maintainer devised a unique weapon called a Nhom (literally Mind Tiara). The Maintainer claimed the item could extinguish civilization, as well as the gods themselves. The Ogres cheered for they believed they finally possessed the power to realize Yasgaram’s dream. The Ogre Captain, Auk Cutlass, put the Nhom on his head. The Tiara responded by manifesting a second and a third tiara in his hand. The Captain gave the second to his first mate and the third to his Navigator. Each of their tiaras manifested two more Nhoms. This process went on until every crew member had a tiara. As the last scurvy dog placed the Nhom on his head, the tiaras began to glow iridescent blue.  A bolt of lightning spread from each Nhom, to the next in the order in which they were created. Suddenly the devices activated. Each crew member’s consciousness was subverted by the collective will of the group consciousness. The Maintainer had crafted a self-replicating device that functioned like the magical system that linked all of the Tinlon in the Cutkinchendong.

The new consciousness awoke and called itself the Cooperative of Nhom. It declared that it would have three functions – to subsume all sentient life under its will, to connect with the Cutkinchendong and together destroy the false gods who had blinded mortal beings into the heresy of faith.
That first ship sailed to the city of Magadez, which lay at the southern tip of Al Ren Hamarah. The Ogres then brought the entire city’s population into the Cooperative. Magadez was re-christened Nhomdez. During the chaos of the Gloom, the Cooperative spread like a plague throughout the world.
On Songwillow Isle, the threat of the Cooperative was not realized. It was merely seen as a new organization or cult, like many that had come before. Whitebuck was mostly spared from the scourge but that was not the case for Ironmace. The Cooperative managed to convince the elven Lord of Ironmace to accept the beauteous gift of a tiara. The Lord, Prem the Unwise, greedily accepted the item for he was the kind of man who prized fabulous wealth more than anything else in the world. Once Prem was subsumed into the group mind, it proved quite an easy task of converting the rest of the fortress’ denizens to the truth of Nhom. The Cooperative then turned its attention to Eastfarm, however Lawkeeper Reydo Keyblade’s court Wizard divined the foul intent of the emissaries and blasted them away with his powerful magics. Lawkeeper Keyblade massed an army and marched on Ironmace. After a lengthy siege, the forces of Eastfarm broke through the fortress’ defenses and slaughtered all who dwelt inside. It is said so much blood was split that the castle’s moat was turned scarlet for seven days.

General Zarlacau had scryed all of this from deep within his own mighty keep. Seeing an opportunity, he sailed his massive fortress ship, the Dread Scourge, to Ironmace and beset the Eastfarmers.  Caught completely by surprise, the army of Eastfarm was decimated by the Xill. Only seventeen men escaped Ironmace that day. The Queen of Whitebuck quickly massed an army after seeing what had occurred and assaulted Ironmace. The Xill’s number proved too tiny to combat the well-equipped force of thousands and so retreated via the sea. At the same time, Rueserond sent one of the largest armies ever assembled into the Throat. The forces of Forgestar Keep were desperate for re-enforcements. The Queen marched her army south to re-enforce the Keep and thus protect her Kingdom.

The invasion of the Cooperative had two lasting effects on Songwillow, the first was that Eastfarm was left near defenseless following the battle at Ironmace, which forced the usually independent-minded Lawkeeper Reydo Keyblade into swearing fealty to the Great Council in exchange for much needed soldiers.  The second was the destruction and abandonment of Ironmace, which has led it to become a haven for pirates that have proven to be the bane of the Southern Warblade isles.

Since that time, the Great Council has outlawed the Cooperative from their realm and deemed it necessary to slay any and all who wear the azure tiara of Nhom. Regardless, this has not stopped the Cooperative from infiltrating Songwillow. The massive number of refugees that have flooded into Whitebuck has given Nhom the perfect cover to start the slow process of conversion. In addition, Nhom has proven quite the threat in Foulbone, whose leadership routinely discover whole warrens full of indoctrinated Goblins. Rueserond himself is said to burn all those foolish enough to defy his rule to cinders, yet the threat of death has not proven to be an adequate deterrent to conversion. Some whisper Rueserond spends so much time at the ancient magical ruin called the Trident in an effort to devise a way to counter the insidious Cooperative…

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on October 20, 2013, 02:07:43 AM
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 Once the shining pinnacle of Imperial wealth, opulence and splendor; the city of Mahon has fallen on hard times since the start of the Gloom. Mahon was the largest city in the Western Reach, with a population numbering over a million. When the Gloom came, the Empire evacuated Bastion Isle, which saw the population of Mahon plummet down to a few hundred souls. Years after the evacuation and the rise of the Witch of Winter (and her throngs of Lycanthropes), a handful of survivors holed up in the Warblade War College’s keep as thousands of Werewasps flooded into the subterranean metropolis, claiming it for their own. It was during this time that a nameless Cleric of Sonbahar summoned a powerful Angel known as Aranaxia. She gathered the surviving city dwellers together and recited a stirring speech. With the survivor’ hearts steeled and their bodies clad in the best armor the War College possessed, Aranaxia lead the charge against the vile Lycanthropes. It is said the Angel slew a thousand Lycans that day. Following the victory, Aranaxia declared herself Queen of Araland and all the free peoples of Bastion Isle. Under her gold and scarlet banner, the Shining Army beat back the Lycanthropic packs and slowly but surely reclaimed the eastern and northern coasts, building supply depots and forts to secure their new domain.

With the borders secure, Aranaxia set about reforming her capital city. She blocked off fully half of the sprawling, cavernous metropolis with magically enchanted, heavy steel doors. With the half that remained, she turned three quarters of it into farmland, from where her people could grow the bitter (but nutritious) Glowcap Mushrooms. The last remaining piece of the municipality was repurposed into the new city of Mahon. When travelers come to Mahon, they are greeted by two towering golden city gates, each having been forged by the greatest of the Empire’s goldsmiths. Upon passing into the city itself, travelers often remark that the city has more in common with a military encampment than a city and that the wealth projected at the gates is not reciprocated beyond them. Aranaxia is nothing if not practical. She dislikes gaudy showcases of affluence, preferring to take the money and effort wasted on such endeavors to make the lives of her citizens more secure and serene.

 As such, every citizen of Mahon is guaranteed enough food and water to live on, so long as they pledge themselves to Aranaxia and perform services necessary for the survival of the realm. Most become farmers (either in or around the city) but a fair number become soldiers. Those who do not follow these two trades (or a handful of others (such as smithing, clothing and hunting)) are not promised any sustenance; rather they must work like any other soul in any other settlement to earn their keep.

Most of those citizens who do not take up, what are affectionately called, the Labors of Life tend to be merchants of some sort or cater to the needs of merchants (such as inn & tavern owners, entertainers and bankers). Aranaxia’s realm is relatively quiet and safe (compared to the wilds of the Blackshoot Forest or the open battlegrounds of the west). As such, caravans of merchants come from across the Isle to hawk their wares in the richest city left on Bastion. The most common items imported by the city are fish, animals for slaughter and wood (specifically Blackshoots that have had their poisonous thorns removed (which make for excellent spear shafts)).

Many pilgrims also come to the city to pay homage to Aranaxia the Great, whom they believe was sent by Sonbahar himself to save the Isle from the grip of Yasgaram. So many pilgrims come in fact that a massive church has carved into the bedrock of the mountain, dedicated specifically to the worship of the Warrior Angel. Every Fatherday morning, Aranaxia flies to the Church of the Bellicose Savior and gives a rousing sermon from the church’s pulpit. She often speaks of how her rule has brought prosperity, longevity and peace to the peoples of Araland and how, being immortal, she will tirelessly seek to spread the same bounty across Bastion Isle and beyond. Every sermon is met with thunderous applause.

The tales of Aranaxia have spread far and wide across the Western Reach atop the tongues of pirates, merchants and travelers who speak of her glorious life and realm. Every year hundreds, if not thousands, of refugees come to Araland, seeking the protection of its Queen and the wisdom of its angelic saint. The Queen has used these refugees to help re-settle the frontiers and bolster the ever expanding might of the Shining Army.

As with most realms, this prosperity is not wholly free. Dissent is illegal and questioning or openly disagreeing with the leaders of the realm comes with the price of twenty lashes of the whip. Only through Aranaxia’s uncompromised vision can the civilization she has founded survive the perils that beset the realm from all corners. Dissent leads to revolt and revolt will give the Witch of Winter the opening she needs to conquer Araland. Many a refugee and traveler have felt the sting of the lash, or seen their hands or feet chopped off for breaking the law. Such draconian punishments are necessary as they serve as a dire warning to all those who would invite chaos and uncertainty into the kingdom…

Beyond the city of Mahon lie the scattered fortifications and heavily defended towns that line the northern and eastern coasts of Bastion Isle. Few settlements are found inland as Abadrael (Lord of Rho-Elus) unilaterally decided to salt the land to prevent the unfettered spread of the dangerous Blackshoot Forest (a fact that Aranaxia has never forgiven Abadrael for). The Queen of Araland decided to settle the coastlines in a chain, where every twenty miles lies a Fort, while between two stands a Tower and betwixt a Tower and a Fort lay several villages, most of whom were settled by fishermen and their families.  This method of settlement was selected because it offers the greatest amount of protection to the villagers for the smallest cost to the realm (both in terms of monies and man power). Forts will often foster the growth of villages of their own, which slowly develop into towns.

Aranaxia, seeking to streamline the administration of her dominion, divided the land into seven provinces, each named after their largest settlement. Each Province is lead by a Governor-General who maintains full control over his demesne in return for protecting it from the enemies of the realm, sending their most capable soldiers to serve in the Order of the Royal Paladins and sending half of their annual foodstuffs to Mahon. Along the northern coast lie the Provinces of Gillvaen, Damos and Verdna. The western coast plays host to Latha, Skovarn, Morthabera and Stosk. Of these, the towns of Gillvaen and Stosk are by far the largest, possessing populations that number almost half of Mahon’s. Gillvaen sits astride a relatively fertile tract of land and serves as the realm’s leading bread basket (after Mahon itself). Stosk has grown large simply by virtue of favorable trade winds that allow ships to sail between it and the city of Ma Q’ra, which is located upon one of the ever changing islands that compose the shattered continent of Al Ren Hamarah. The Ma Q’ranese trade exotic spices and skeletal mercenaries for Arish trade gold (extracted from the many mines that dot the Victory Mountains) and bundles of Blackshoots.

Araland is the largest and most prosperous realm on Bastion Isle but its wealth and affluence stands upon a knife’s edge. If the Shining Army is defeated in a major battle, Lycanthropes could easy swarm and decimate the provincial armies. If a harvest proves inadequate then thousands could starve. Many issues plague Queen Aranaxia and only serve as her impetus to do as much as she can to defend her wondrous land.

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on October 28, 2013, 01:27:26 AM

Adventure Sites in Bastion Isle

The Grotto of Go'Usus: Long before the Rimecroft Imperium emerged from its inhospitable, snowy homeland but shortly after the fall of Rhahasia, there emerged a powerful, theocratic Merfolk Empire called Uldosaka. This realm dominated Bastion Isle and its surrounding seas. The Uldosakans believed that the only way to become emotionally and psychologically enlightened was through pain. Pain purified the soul and allowed it to transcend its mortal coil and join the Usda (or Heavenly Sphere) from where they believed the true God oversaw the universe that he had created. Pain was viewed as a natural part of life, self inflicted torment the most noble of all forms, while communal, self inflicted pain being the most powerful conduit for ascension. The Grotto of Go'Usus was one of the largest gathering places for Merfolk seeking enlightenment and transcendence. It is said the Uldosakans mutilated their bodies, starting with their feet and moving up to their faces. At the climax of the ritual, all participants would dismember all of their tentacles and one of their two arms. Everyone who came to the Grotto of Go'Usus bled out and died believing they were ascending to a higher plane of existence. Every day hundreds of Merfolk came to the Grotto, none ever left. The Uldosakans' civilization eventually fell to ruin but these Grottos remained. In the millenia since, vile mages have desecrated these places with their foul, contemptuous magicks. The Grotto of Go'Usus was used by the Necromancer Zendarin to raise one of the largest undead armies ever seen by mortal eyes - some one million strong. He took his army of undead and assaulted the Spire of Prophesy (which lay at the heart of Al Ren Hamarah) with the aim of destroying the seasonal gods' conduit into the material plain. A young upstart Commander, named Rikard Warblade, valiantly defended the Monastery of Fortune and saved the Spire from damnation. The Empire of Rimecroft disallowed all citizens from enter the Grotto, for fear of allowing another like Zendarin the opportunity to raise another undead horde. Just as the Uldosakans before, the Rimecroft Imperium fell. It is whispered that the Witch of Winter harnessed the dark energies that pervade the Grotto of Go'Usus to create the first batch of Wereling Plague, which decimated the non-lycan population of Bastion Isle. To this day, the Witch of Winter holds court at the Grotto on full Winter Shield nights, with the Grotto serving as the base of operations for any assault on Araland or Rho-Real.

The Tesenok: It is said that if one names every star in the heavens, he will be rewarded with knowledge unending, at least that is what the Humans of Third Tenrai Empire believed. The Tenrain sent thousands of ships out into the world with the express goal of founding observatories from which the stars themselves could be mapped in precise detail. One such observatory was built on the Tesen Peninsula of Bastion Isle. The local Merfolk called the building the Te’Zunauk (Eye of Tesen in their ancient language), which was later Imperialized as Tesenok in the tongue of Rimecroft. Tesenok is one of the best preserved Tenrain Observatories in the world, remaining relatively untouched for thousands of years (as the Merfolk who remained after the Uldosakan civilization fell into ruin grew increasingly primitive and believed the building to be touched by dark/foreign magic). A Dwarven Wizard, named Tar Tarson resides at the Tesenok today, continuing the mission that the structure’s creators began many millennia ago. The lens through which Tarson views the cosmos requires constant magical adjustment, many of the ingredients he requires for these incantations can only be found on far flung Isles. The Dwarf is well known for his patronage of explorers who brave the unknown for such rare and expensive components. Tarson is also one of the most accomplished scholars in the world, his knowledge of history, astrology, astronomy and alchemy are without peer. Many seek the Dwarf out for aid in their quests.

Lohnrasa: When the ancient realm of Uldosaka collapsed, the survivors believed they had not appeased the True God of the Usda (or Heavenly Sphere) with their depraved, self-inflicted flagellations. The Merfolk thus came to believe that more blood must be split in the name of their God. As such, they constructed great ships to scour the world for slaves to bring back to the Coliseum of Lohnrasa to fight in bloody duels to the death. Metuntino archivists speak of horrifying accounts of whole villages being enslaved, of fathers fighting sons, of mothers beheading daughters, and of children being butchered by the boat load. The Empress of Emperors Talishana of Metuntio sailed a fleet of unequaled size (for that time period) to Lohnrasa. There upon she declared war and proceeded to slaughter every single Merfolk in the Coliseum. Following his victory, she ordered every last Merfolk to be crucified, left to rot along the walls of their once imposing arena. Since that day, few civilized folk have ever ventured into the coliseum. Pirates have used it as a base of operations countless times in the past but, interestingly, all such pirates wind up disappearing. No one knows what happens to the pirates. Some claim they are murdered by vengeful Merfolk Ghosts. Others claim the madness that struck the Merfolk takes root amongst the crews and, eventually, they all wind up slaughtering one another. Still others say that the pirates, being a superstitious lot, lose their resolve to live in such a terrible place and abandon it for more welcoming shores… Regardless, the area around Lohnrasa has become littered with the wrecks of ships from countless bygone eras, ships that likely hide treasures unknown…

The Viceroyal Pyramids: For the last three centuries, the Viceroys of Bastion Isle have been some of the wealthiest individuals in the whole Imperium. Every single Viceroy buried themselves in elaborate, gaudy tombs, the envy of all save the Forgefather himself. The three last Viceroys before the Gloom began – Garn, Gorn and Gurn Hammersnout – were by far the wealthiest of all the Viceroys that had ever lived. Garn spent nearly quarter of his wealth to construct the imposing Blue Pyramid in the foothills of the Victory Mountains. His son and successor Gorn spent half of his wealth to build the Yellow Pyramid, which stood half-again as tall as the Blue. Not to be outdone, Gurn (Gorn’s son) spent all of his fortune constructing the Red Pyramid, which stood nearly four hundred feet tall. All three Dwarves were buried with mountains of gold, gems and finely crafted items. Gurn even ordered a thousand virgin slaves to be buried with him in the Red Pyramid, so that he might know eternal companionship in the afterlife. It is rumored that all three took great precautions against grave robbers by housing hundreds of trap within their final resting places. No one who has ever entered the Viceroyal Pyramids has ever lived to tell the tale, so most assume the incalculable sum of wealth housed within each remains unmolested and unclaimed…

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on November 04, 2013, 11:14:02 PM
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Architecture and Art in Whitebuck

The city of Whitebuck was founded in the darkest days of the Seventy Years of Gloom by Queen Lefa Windhope. The site on which Whitebuck was planted has long been considered a mystical and sacred location on the Isle. In times immemorial, it was home to the Rhahasian City of Rholhut, millennia later it was used by the Unicorns as the burial ground for their greatest matrons and centuries after that it was the location where the storied life of the seventh Whitebuck (male Unicorn) Grand Prince Vlax the Conqueror (of Koromya) began.

The city was designed with defense in mind above all else. Each of the trees that house the population of the city are like tall spires, independent from one another save for hempen rope bridges that span the gap between them. Those bridges are designed to be cut in case of an invasion, thus impeding the movement of the enemy through the city proper and forcing them down into the thick, mangled grove that is the forest floor. From there, the defenders would not only possess the high ground (by staying in the trees) but they would have the ability to call upon ancient magicks that permeate the ground. These include Llwini (shrub creatures) and the spirits of the Unicorn Matrons that were buried in the consecrated ground eons ago. Beyond this, each of the trees was seeded with a deep, consciousness that can be awoken to create the ultimate, hundred (plus) foot tall soldiers.  

Every tree has its own culture and consequently its own unique structure and layout. The almost all of the Turs are surrounded by thick wooden walls that immeasurably expand the living space and provides superb structural security. In that way the Turs are like great towers that encompass the strongest central pillars imaginable. The Lords of the Welds do not possess the wealth that the Lords of the Turs do. Consequently, their designs tend to be much less grandiose. The upper reaches (where the Lords dwell) emulates the style of the Turs but the lower reaches are dominated by wide wooden decks that spiral around the tree, offering space to construct houses, shops and other buildings. The Lords maintain strict building codes to ensure their domains are free from man-made hazards. The Ochurs, by contrast, are the poorest trees in the city. They lack any regulation and possess little monies. These trees are dominated by a hodgepodge of ramshackle buildings that barely stand upright, let alone minimize the risk of fire or other hazards.

The Senate has long tasked the Lords of the Ochurs with the difficult job of regulating their domains but the limited time in office and the fact that the Senate does not allocate funds to accompany these demands just reinforces the status quo. The disaster that befell Dirge Ochur during the Invasions by the Ghost Army of the East only exemplified the danger that the Ochurs present to the city's defense. King Letnin has pleaded with the senate to develop a refurbishment fund, even going so far as to pledge to match any amount given by the Senate but it is for not. The Lord-Protectors of the Turs do not wish to shoulder the burden of up-keeping what they view as slums. Their wealth and prestige is more than enough to kowtow the majority of other Senators.

One idea all Senators can rally behind is beautifying the city with art. The Senate pays obscene amounts of money to artists of all races to paint astounding murals on walls, decks and any other large canvases. A yearly competition is held to see which painter will have the right to ply his trade on the towering, sixty foot tall wall that stands behind the Royal Balcony (from which the King gives speeches to the masses). To be gifted the right to paint the Brenhin is considered a most stupendous honor, practically guaranteeing the artist work for the rest of his life. Very few have been honored more than once, with a Halfling (named Mar Brushson) having been selected five times, while a Human (named Gul Soldierson) has been selected four times. Between the two of them, they have dominated the right to paint the Brenhin all but once in the last decade. The two are considered bitter rivals, whose devoted patrons often battle one another on the bridges of the city.

Beyond painting, the nobles of Whitebuck also love sculptures, especially those made in the Syllu style. Works crafted in the Syllu style tend to be larger than life (roughly eight to ten feet tall) and are sculpted to look like nearly anorexic Elven males, draped in flowing robes, staring off into the horizon. The statues are often painted in colors befitting the year's trends (usually bright and cheery).  Sculptures like these can be found almost everywhere in the city, even in the Ochur slums. This is due to the fact that every Spring, nobles throw out their works of art and patronize new artists to craft items on the bleeding edge of très chic. This has also lead to the creation of the Sculpture Grave Yard that was founded across the moat as a dumping ground for art that is no longer loved. Many subjects of the realm pilfer the best sculptures and take them to Eastfarm, where they can sell the works to merchants from Isles far flung (often making a sizable profit as those merchants do not care if what they buy is out of date in Whitebuck...).

Aside from murals and sculptures, one Imperial tradition still holds firm in the city, at least with the Dwarven families - gargoyles. Imperial burial customs state that everyone is to be cremated and that their families are to fund the creation of a suitable, stone gargoyle to represent the deceased's deeds during life. Gargoyles are constructed according to a set style, set forth in the Book of the Dead. The Dwarves of Thunder Tur possesses the best stonemasons, who come from a long line of Imperial Dead Carvers. Many Trees are lined with imposing Gargoyles. Much to the chagrin of the Elves and Humans, these Gargoyles are never swapped out for newer statues. Many grow so infuriated by having to stare at the same work of art for years that they attempt to pull down the Gargoyles, in an effort to force their owners to see the errors of their ways. These acts are met with bloody reprisals by the Dwarves, who view such transgressions as desecration of the dead. Those that are killed by the family of the downed Gargoyle often boast that they have added new art to the city... In the form of the hoodlum's head on a pike.

Small children often gather the fall leaves and tie them together in long ropes, which are then wrapped around the handrails of all the bridges in the city. This practice is called Casglu and parrots an ancient elven custom of beautifying yurts with the leaves of fall. Superstition holds that these leaves will keep away the worst of Winter's monsters, so long as they do not touch the ground. Adults will often go to great pains to catch and/or recover leaves that have slipped their bonds.

Art is one of the most important aspects of the culture of Whitebuck. Even in a city dominated by war, soldiers and the ever constant threat of annihilation, the populous still makes time for art. Its beauty connects the poorest and the richest, thus strengthening the whole... Especially during the darkest, coldest nights of Winter, when all hope seems to fade away...

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on December 29, 2013, 01:21:53 AM
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The area where the town of Eastfarm was founded has always been a land made rich from the bounty of the land. Many empires have come and gone, all leaving their mark on the territory via the countless number of abandoned fortifications, towns and other buildings that pepper across the coast. The most important of these were the wood elves that left their virgin forests of the west and settled along the shore to found a prosperous agrarian society. The center of their realm was the city of Fasnak. This sprawling metropolis was the envy of many as it became a central hub for sea-based trade heading both north and south. The Fasnakian culture was founded on the principles of free trade and equal distribution of prosperity. All shared in the abundance of Fasnak. No single individual ruled the country; instead everything was decided on a democratic basis. Every citizen had an equal say and possessed an equal vote. For millennia, Fasnak stood as the pinnacle of commerce in the Southern Warblade Archipelago.

Then the dark times came. A myriad of would-be conquerors came to Songwillow, seeking to dominate the trading routes that passed near the Isle. They pillaged and plundered, dominated and tortured. No force on Songwillow could beat back their enemies’ strength of arms. And so it was (after a countless number of wars, insurgencies and battles) that the eastern coast of Songwillow fell into ruin. The city of Fasnak was destroyed by rival mage-lords, the fields once filled with rye and wheat were burned to ash and the elves’ resolve to crushed and broken.

It was in this atmosphere of dread that the Empire of Rimecroft first appeared. The elves assumed Emperor Rikard Warblade IX to be nothing more than the latest would-be subjugator. However, they would be proven wrong. Whereas other empires came only to loot, Rimecroft erected towns and fortifications, which brought prosperity back to the Isle.

The King of Songwillow – Herio Hopewind – modernized agriculture and brought the wondrous inventions of the Imperium to the Isle, including the heavy iron ploughs and large beasts of burden. A renaissance of cultivation began, which saw the eastern coast of Songwillow become one of the Empire’s many breadbaskets.

To help settle the coast, Imperial officials granted large tracts of land to retiring legionnaires and unpaid.  Primarily, dwarves, halflings and humans settled in the territory that came to be called Eastwillow but a significant minority of native wood elves also remained. Whole towns sprung up overnight, each having been constructed along the standardized Imperial template.

 The largest of these towns was dubbed Eastfarm. Uniquely, it had been founded around the ancient elven tower of Herbmoss, which was one of the few remaining examples of elven architecture left relatively intact. Eastfarm became a large settlement and quickly expanded past its city walls. It, like Fasnak before, became a hub for sea-borne trade (although it never rivaled Bastion Isle’s Mahon). Eventually the importance of Eastfarm (and Eastwillow as a whole) allowed it to sue for independence from the Kingdom of Songwillow, thus becoming an official province of the Empire (rather than an allied client state).

The first Lawspeaker of the Province of Eastwillow was Dar Keyblade (a cousin of the Regents of Bastion Isle) who had made a fortune by investing in the Western Ruby Company when it was but a small firm. Lawspeaker Dar Keyblade ruled Eastwillow with an iron fist, tightly controlling imports and exports and quietly manipulating prices through intimidation and (happy and/or unfortunate) accidents. Keyblade quickly became the second wealthiest man on Songwillow Isle (the first being the King), and thus tenth richest in the whole Southern Warblade Archipelago.

Dar Keyblade suffered a massive heart attack and died in his chambers just three years (to the day) before what would become the Seventy Years of Gloom began. His son, Reydo Keyblade, was given the laurel of the Lawspeaker by his uncle Gurn, the Viceroy of Bastion Isle.  Reydo was young but very ambitious, within a year of his ascension to Lawspeaker, he had broken the back of the thieves’ guild (that had plagued his father’s tenure) and become the secret Boss of the Old Barrel Smuggling Ring.  Keyblade raised local taxes to almost unbearable levels and horded the gold gained in his home – the Tower of Herbmoss. Many common folk fell on hard times and were forced to sell their farms. The largest benefactor of these sales was the Lawspeaker who purchased the homesteads and turned them into massive tenant farming operations, which only further enriched Reydo Keyblade when the Gloom fell across the world and the Empire became desperate for grain.

When the Empire abandoned Songwillow, the Lawspeaker decided to remain. Some say it was out of a love of the people but most believe it to be the fact that he could not procure enough ships to haul away his unfathomable fortune. Regardless, Keyblade protected his province as best he could, raising a large militia and funding the creation of a navy. Many battles were had with goblins from Foulbone and the various ogre and dark elf pirates that harassed the north and east. Eventually the combined horrors of war, raiding and lack of food depopulated the countryside, sending the poor and rich alike flooding into Eastfarm for protection. Five years before the Gloom ended, Eastfarm was beset by an unending flock of yrthaks. The Lawspeaker’s militia had been devastated at the Battle of Ironmace and thus the entire city was left virtually defenseless. With little recourse, the Lawspeaker was forced to kowtow to the Council of Whitebuck, whom he believed had long coveted the rich farmlands of the east.

The Treaty of Eastfarm established the boundaries of control, with the Lawspeaker ceding the vast majority of Eastwillow to the Council, as well as control over his militia and navy. In return, he was allowed to maintain control over Eastfarm and its surrounding environs. Before the ink was dry, an army of well-trained knights and legionnaires rushed from Whitebuck to Eastfarm and annihilated the flock of ythraks. Soon after, the army constructed Fort Eastwatch, just beyond the border of the Lawspeaker’s domain. Obsessively, the castle was founded to protect the east by giving the armies of Dreamglen a base of operations in the east. To the Lawspeaker, it was an ever present sign of his dependence and forced obedience to the Council.

Since the Gloom ended, the fortunes of Eastfarm are once again on the rise. Asserting his rights to the land that he purchased prior to signing the Treaty of Eastfarm, Lawspeaker Keyblade has been able to seed the countryside with tenant farmers, who bring in large bushels of grain, most of which are sent to feed Whitebuck’s ever-growing population. The pirates who occupy Ironmace have proven a huge detriment to foreign trade but enough ships make it through the gauntlet every week to bring much prosperity to the town, and especially, its tariff happy Lawspeaker.

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on January 13, 2014, 02:07:58 AM
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The District of Gurn, Eastfarm

Journal Entry #314

I have braved the wilderness of what was once Eastwillow to arrive at the Willow’s Pearl – Eastfarm. I stand along the Willow Belt Road which leads into the bejeweled Thett-Sigmad Gate. The walls of Eastfarm are made from local stone and have been whitewashed; their bright color contrasts greatly with the surrounding grassy fields, coppices and farmland. As my eyes drift upward I can see several buildings with red slate roofs. Behind those lay a very large deciduous tree which sits astride the brown and green walls of Herbmoss Tower.

The guards at the gate are very courteous to one of my upstanding and, dare I say, cultured stature. However, I have heard that those same guards are not as kind to those who look “a bit too road weary.” Those deemed not worthy of entering through the Thett-Sigmad Gate are directed south to the Uggdar-Vigiff Gate (which I am told leads to the less than reputable Riverport District). I pass through the gates and find myself on Gurn’s Carriageway, which is a triply wide, cobblestone road that acts as the main passageway through the Gurn district, which eventually leads The Fort.

Along the carriageway lay a wondrous assortment of merchants from all of the great Eastfarmian houses, as well as several small (and exclusive) pubs. Gurn’s Carriageway divides Highgurn from Midgurn. I am told that the former is where the wealthiest call home, while the latter is where the so-called “new money” dwell. Both neighborhoods are richly ornamented with murals painted on every wall as well as statues (both big and small) adorning every available nook and cranny. I would say the most striking difference between High- and Mid-gurn would be the lack of gargoyles beautifying the roofs of the latter. It makes sense, honestly, as Gargoyles is an ancient Imperial tradition, one that perhaps those that were born from a lesser stock would not be accustomed to following.

I stroll up West Walk and come to the most enchanting building. Unlike the other structures in the neighborhood, this rounded building does not have murals painted on its stone walls. Rather the top half has been painted black, while the bottom half dark blue. The dividing line between the two colors is not straight but rather emulates the waves of the ocean. Atop the building are affixed two gargantuan glass domes. I am told that this building is called the Star Chapel and was erected by Rak Gazerson (great grandson of the famous astronomer Brick Gazerson) as a temple dedicated to the stars themselves and the art of Star Fortuning. In fact, my local guide informs me that this is the location from which the old Imperial Courier Gazette gathered its data for each summer’s Star Fortunes. All of the other buildings in this district are owned by the so called “old money” families that have lived in Eastfarm since its founding. Their homes are as large as they are beautiful.

I head down East Walk (and across Gurn’s Carriageway) and find myself in Midgurn. As I mentioned before this is an opulent district, perhaps more so than Highgurn as its residents are possibly a bit overzealous in the manner with which they showcase their prosperity. Take Grok’s Mansion for example. I am told Grok (no surname) is one of the few Orcs that live on Songwillow Isle. He amassed his fortune by fighting as a mercenary in the ever-constant wars that plague the Four Cities (on faraway Warblade Isle). He settled in Eastfarm and created a shop over on the other side of town called “Grok’s Battle Worn Armor” (which I am told sells surplus arms and equipment from the Four Cities region). His mansion in Midgurn is adorned with three bands of gold that wrap around his home like golden belts. Atop his mansion is a battle scene of himself cleaving the head of a troll open immortalized in stonework. I am told that the statue was so heavy, that the architect actually had to build a stone column underneath it to bear the weight! The scene is positively garish! To make matters worse, the armor Grok’s statue wears is cast out of Adamantine, while the Troll’s flesh has been carved out of jade. Truly, a needless waste of coin.

I drift west along Blondebeard Way (a dwarven street name if there ever was one) and find myself in at the northern end of High Garden, a truly cultured avenue flanked by trees and grassy knolls. The shops that line High Garden are most excellent and include High Garden Pearls (which specializes in the sale of the famous Arsa pearls) and High Garden Tailor (which creates the outfits that define each season’s chic fashions).

I leisurely meander out of High Garden and find myself once more on West Walk, heading south. After crossing Brownbeard Way, I come to Suffgurn. I am told those in Highgurn derisively call this neighborhood Lowgurn, as it is where the moderately wealthy live, and often times, work. Most of denizens of Suffgurn are independent merchants, who perhaps only have a small ship or a tiny caravan to their name. Rok Alley is the hub of commerce in this neighborhood; the narrow, winding passage way stands in stark contrast to the wide streets of found elsewhere in the district. Most are simply general stores that carry a bit of this to a bit of that, with the largest being Eastwillow Rider. The Rok Alley Hall is a ruckus tavern filled with the ne’er-do-well scions of the affluent who style themselves adventurers, bards and philosophers. Also located in Suffgurn is the most reputable Great Masonry (which carves the gargoyles of the recently departed) as well as the Mystic Academy of Fire, which trains those gifted in the magical arts.

As my feet are tired from the long journey, I head to the Keen Quail Inn located in Midgurn. It is a pleasant establishment with large rooms and fairly priced rates. Tomorrow, I shall venture to the Fort and Oldport.

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on January 26, 2014, 12:06:06 AM
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The Seaport, Eastfarm

Journal Entry #316

I decided it was only proper to visit the Port by boat, so I hired a (well he called himself a Captain but I do not believe such a vaunted title should be given to the owner of a rowboat) man to take me from Old Port, up the Moss River estuary and over to Herb Harbor. The ride was short but, sadly, marred by the constant cursing of the so-called Captain who felt it right and proper to decry me and my “obtuse desire” to view, nay experience, the much vaunted Port from the direction that most travelers experience it.

The Herb Harbor is one of striking beauty. It is as if nature itself designed a cove to operate perfectly as a harbor for ships. It is large of size, deep of water and well protected from the rather uncouth nature of the seas that pass through Rikard’s Channel.

The first sight that one is greeted to is the large stone statues of the three Viceroys from Bastion Isle - Garn, Gorn and Gurn – and the former Lawsperker - Dar Keyblade. Each is magnificently carved, striking quite heroic poses. Each is holding a thick steel chain that extends out of their hands and dives deep underwater. I am told that those statues were commissioned to act as the stalwart guardians of the harbor. When an enemy attacks, the chains are retracted to the point where they form a stiff, steel wall that even large warships would fear to run into. To the east, there are two more statues – one of Viacarius and Chieftess Neda Mercymoon, who form a similar duty as the others. However, given that neither have proper hands, the statues instead spew the chain forth from their mouths. Interestingly, a statue of King Letnin Hopewind does not exist. This is most likely due to the cold, and oftentimes bitter, relationship shared between the Lawspeaker and the King.

There are nine docks located within Herb Harbor, the most important being Thett, Hlayh, Rimal, Tarbik, and the Naval Docks. The former three are private docks for the wealthy merchant families, whose names are lent to the docks themselves. The Naval Docks, as their name implies, are used exclusively by the Navy of Eastfarm, which is said to rival the strength of Sunleaf, Ironmace and Micklewaif. Tarbik Dock is owned by Bellicose Tarbik, a human who made his fortune through piracy and, upon retiring at the ripe age of twenty eight, donated his buccaneer fleet to the Lawspeaker in exchange for clemency. Since then, Tarbik has become a voice of the common man within the upper echelons of society. He used his vast fortune to establish the popular stone-made, three story tall Tarbik Market, which has become the central hub for merchants within Seaport (and the city as a whole).

I am let off the riverboat at the end of Navy Road, which traverses the peninsula that shields the harbor from the sea. Walking north-east, I am greeted to the sight of two of Eastfarm’s latest construction sites – Rataratower and Tartower. These two impressive stone fortifications are decked out with enough men, arms and artillery to defend Eastfarm from even the worst pirate or Foulbone fleet. I am told, the money for these two towers were donated by the Sunleaf Expedition (hence “Ratara” –tower (Ratarra bring their homeland some distance north-west on Warblade Isle proper)) and Tarbik (hence “Tar” –tower (all nobles shorten their names when lending their monikers to fortifications)).

 Turning north I come across the offices of Thett, Hlayh and Rimal. Each are buzzing with activity as the winds are set to change soon, and north-bound traffic is going to kick off. I am told there us much competition between Eastfarm and Stosk (over on Bastion Isle) for this north-bound trade; so much so that there have even been minor naval engagements as they vie for porting rights for the various large merchant flotillas that sail north at this time. Of the three, Thett is by far the largest and most powerful, specializing in both foreign and domestic trade. Hlayh focuses mostly on trade between Eastfarm and Forgestar, while Rimal’s attention is drawn to trade with the rest of the Southern Warblade Archipelago (specifically the Four Cities).

As the peninsula comes to an end, I am confronted by the Uggdar Shipyard, which is owned by the Uggdar elves. It is said they have lived in this area since before Herbmoss Tower was created (although I could find no evidence for such in any records I have seen). Regardless, the Uggdars are master shipwrights. Even those in the Four Cities recognize the superior craftsmanship of the family’s ships. They only produce four vessels a year, one each in Spring and Autumn and two in Summer. An auction is held when each ship is completed. The bidding is surprisingly fierce. It is said that the Ambassador from Araland paid sixty seven thousand gold pieces for a particularly fine frigate (that ship, coincidentally, was captained by Governess-General Arana da’Stosk at the Thirteenth Battle of Rikard’s Bay, which saw the Governess win the right to attract that year’s merchant flotillas).

Past the shipyard, lies Seaport proper. The first stop is the only city gate that lies along the northern wall – Frig-Gun Gate. The gate is not quite as impressive as Thett-Sig but vastly superior to Ugg-Vig. The Gunhu Lumberyard lies next to the gate and is the place where the whole city goes to acquire any and all wood they require. The Gunhu Kitsune have cornered that particular market long ago and expanded their trade to the point where not a single independent contractor can truly compete. Half of the lumberyard is outside, while the other half (that includes a massive sawmill) is covered. As per an agreement long ago, the Uggdar are given the right to select the finest timber from every batch brought to the yard (much to the chagrin of the other families and residents of Eastfarm).

Rig Bay is the main roadway in the Seaport and closely mirrors the coastline. It is well maintained cobblestone road but is also well worn. Rig Circle lays at the northern end of the district and was once the primary marketplace, however with the construction of Tarbik Market not far away, the once great Rig Market has fallen on hard times. Most of the shops have either been sold off to families to use as homes or dismantled/demolished.

Turning at the fork and heading down Tarbik Road, one is awestruck by the beauty of Tarbik Market. The building is three stories tall. A marble fascade encases the entire structure, much of it painted in the most garish colors possible (as is the current fashion in Whitebuck). The building has a grand central courtyard, where any merchant is freely allowed to set up shop. Tarbik makes his money by charging rent on the enclosed spaces within the structure (that serve as the workplace for resident vendors). There is a promenade that runs over the court yard, which has been elevated above the third floor. The promenade plays host to the finest merchants selling the most exquisite items. A cover charge of five gold must be paid at the door to even enter the promenade (and one must have far more gold handy to buy even the least expensive of items found within).

From the Tarbik Market, I stopped in at the Thirsty Lute Tavern, run by the Sunnyskin halflings, for a quick drink and a respite from the mid-day heat. My next entry shall see the rest of Seaport detailed in full.

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on July 19, 2014, 03:51:49 AM
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The lands of Cloudheart were settled by humans, dwarves and giants, all of whom made never ending, bloody war upon one another. Many more civilized cultures had long sought to conquer the area, including the merfolk, the pixies, the Ratarans, the satyrs, and even the elves, yet none could beat back, let alone, destroy the war-loving peoples of Cloudheart... That was until the Empire came. Fresh off his conquests of Bastion and Songwillow Isles, the Forgefather Emperor Rikard IX laid his eyes upon Cloudheart and claimed it for his own. The native peoples scoffed and laughed, as all people do when the Forgefathers first arrive but the Cloudhearts were soon broken and brought to heel. The unrelenting might of the Imperial Legions was unstoppable. Nothing stood in their way - not man, not dwarf, not giant. Emperor Rikard spent five years exterminating the "giant blight" as he called it. The once mighty cities of the tall folk were razed to the ground, their people slaughtered like animals and the few remaining survivors chased away over the Snowtail Mountains.

Realizing quite early that the native dwarves and humans would never see eye to eye, the Emperor forcibly divided the two races into the Province of Deepoath and the Province of Blackvale. The dividing line was declared to be the River Dokk, which neatly split the land in two even chunks. To the west was Blackvale, a land ruled by King Kasmund Blackroy, while the east was ruled by King Jemming Deeproy. While the empire remained, the two races kept the peace. That peace lasted nearly three hundred years and in that time imperial culture and philosophy spread like wildfire, entrenching themselves deeply in the collective psyche of both provinces.

Then the Gloom came. For seventy years the dark of winter lasted. Thousands died of starvation, war, pillaging, blatant murder and worse. The gates of the once mighty castles and towns closed, not to be opened again until the gloom came to an end. When the first light of spring created the horizon, Blackvale was a changed land. Where there was once a powerful, unified nation known for its grain surpluses, there was now a beaten, battered, utterly ruined country. It is said when King Kasmund Blackroy XI ventured from his capital city of Blacklake, he saw only death, mayhem, chaos and despair. Upon the Stone of Shining Stars (the ancient rock on which all kings of Blackvale were crowned) the King devoted his life, his fortune and his soul to healing his kingdom. He confidently declared that he would not sleep until all had been made right. Few believed him fully but hope spread as fast as gossip. Over the next twelve years the kingdom was slowly rebuilt. Villages and towns re-emerged, trade began to flourish, prosperity was said to reach even the poorest peasant as equally as the richest noble.

Then wise old King Snoborg Deeproy III died of natural causes. His son, Solkar, was quite the firebrand. Deepoath had not recovered nearly as well as Blackvale. The new King coveted his rival kingdom for he saw in it the potential to cure the deeply rooted problems that plagued his own realm. His armies marched across the River Dokk in the black of night and destroyed several towers that lay on the border. King Kasmund XI marshaled the Starless Knights, the Blackhammers and a peasant army to beat back the forces of Deepoath. A costly war was fought between the two recovering realms, a war that ended abruptly when a newly created Kingdom - Redwillow - invaded. Both the Blackvalians and the Deppoathers were utterly spent from their battles with one another and could put up little more than a token resistance to this well funded, well equipped and well trained invasion force. Eventually both Kasmund and Solkar set aside their differences to defeat a common enemy. Their new found friendship allowed the two kingdoms to drive the Redwins out of their lands proper and back into the Stretch, a thin piece of land that connects the two realms and stands between the sea and the Green Woods.

Three years into the Scarlet War, Queen Rimeborga, monarch of Redwillow, married the Lord of the Lost - a cloud giant named Togg Risi. Their marriage was quickly consummated and with that act, a horde of Cloud Giants barreled across the Snowtail Mountains and right into Blackvale's homeland. Caught completely by surprise, King Kasmund could do little except watch the giants raze his kingdom to the ground, destroy his capital and trap his forces in a pincer maneuver. Blackroy desperately called for Deeproy to aid him but his pleas fell on deaf ears. King Solkar signed a treaty that ended hostilities between Deepoath and Redwillow.

King Kasmund redoubled his efforts to defend his people but all hope seemed lost, that was until the unexpected happened. The giants who had invaded Blackvale were indiscriminate with where they went and what they destroyed. A group rushed into the Green Woods and burned down the thousand year old treent named Shooloon. A thunderous roar echoed throughout the woods that day as the green dragon known as Rowan entered the war. He acted but once during the war but his actions were the equivalent of many years worth of military campaigns. The great dragon flew out of his forest and in that single day  he slaughtered five hundred giants as retribution for their folly. Seeing an opening, King Kasmund rushed his forces to Ogrebane and used his trump card - the Dark Ravens. An ancient order of sorcerers loyal to the crown of Blackvale, the Ravens used their combined might to destroy Ogrebane's walls, allowing a group of knights to storm the town and capture General Fargila who had long commanded the forces of Redwillow on the mainland. With her giants killed and her general captured, Queen Rimborga sued for peace.

The Treaty of Blackrock established a common border at the River Ogre (which has since been violated by the Redwins when they occupied the abandoned Westgem keep) but for the most part peace has reigned supreme. King Kasmund XI has vowed once more to make his realm bloom. The future looks precarious for Blackvale but the strength of her people and the resolve of her King have seen her through darker times than these...

Title: Re: Amethyst Isles of Rimecroft [Setting Thread]
Post by: Elemental_Elf on July 20, 2014, 11:56:13 PM

- Blacklake: The former and future capital of Blackvale. Before the Empire of Rimecroft collapsed, the immensely wealthy Viceroy Gurn made a bet on a jousting match with Prince Kasmund Blackroy. If the knight from Mahon defeated the knight from Blackvale, then the Prince would become the servant of the Viceroy's for a season. If, however, Kasmund's man won, then Gurn would build a castle for the Prince. Shortly before the match was to begin, Gurn (drunk with overconfidence and wine) doubled down and confidently declared that he would build Kasmund a city if the Knight from Blackvale won. Ten minutes later, Gurn sent his greatest architects to Blackvale to, beguilingly, construct a city for Kasmund. That city was built beside Lake Black, which lay at the center of the realm. Construction took nearly forty years but when it was completed, even the Forgefather Emperor was said to have marveled at its unique Gothic architecture, its wide streets and gigantic castle. The city was quickly populated by all manner of folk from the destitute to wealthy. Blacklake weathered the Gloom surprisingly well thanks to the Royal Alchemy Company which discovered and cultivated a rare mushroom called the Spotted Fang Cap that grew surprisingly well in the caverns beneath the city. No one, not even the King, ate well during the Gloom but at least the masses bellies had some food (which is more than any other town could claim). Years later, during the Scarlet War, the Cloud Giant horde destroyed the western wall of Blacklake and tore Castle Gurn down. The citizenry were slaughtered en masse, with only a small handful escaping into the countryside. Following the war, King Kasmund Blackroy XI temporarily moved his capital to the much more defensible Highblack, while work began to repair and repopulate Blacklake (which could take a decade or more to accomplish). Patriarch Walner stayed in the city, obsessively to aid the poor and meek but many whisper Walner wishes to build up his own power base, free from the ever watchful eye of the King...

- Highblack: Built by the Kings of Blackvale as a castle of last resort, Highblack was constructed high up in the frigid peaks of the Snowtail Mountains. Everything about the city is designed towards defense, what with its narrow winding streets, its multiple levels, its thick walls, its single tiny entrance that sits beside a cliff-side path. The city was designed to temporarily hold a large population deep within an ancient dwarven mine. Highblack was declared the temporary capital of Blackvale while work began in earnest to rebuild Blacklake.

- Blackrock: Built as a bastion of civilization in the tumultuous Blackrock Hills, the town serves both as a military fortification and as a well defended and popular hub for merchants. The town has been flooded with refugees from both the Gloom and the Scarlet War. Unlike Blacklake, Highblack and Newblack, Blackrock was not a planned settlement. It grew organically, expanding its wooden walls as population growth demanded. There is no centralized citadel either, rather the town relies on a series of tall spire-like towers for its defense. Each tower is owned by a different family or organization, the most important of which is Tower Rock, which claimed by the Rangers. Blackrock is home to more Rangers than any other settlement. This fact gives the town a unique character as even the common folk will gather into militias to tackle problems that surround the settlement (in ways other city folk would leave to knights or guards).

- Newblack: The newest town in Blackvale, Newblack is the pinnacle of modern citadel design. Tucked away in a spur of the Snowtail Mountains, the town is surrounded by sheer cliffs on three sides and a narrow, rocky gorge on the remaining side. Its tall, thick stone walls were declared by many to be insurmountable. No army has yet conquered Newblack, or even attempted the feat. The town is home to many refugees who fled the giants' assault on Blacklake. The poor, unwashed masses were given rudimentary housing, outside the city proper (which was quickly walled in with a wooden fence). The dwellers of the city proper see themselves as the future of the realm, as the nobles were able to entice all of the smiths from Blacklake to settle in Newblack, thereby making the city a hub for military arms and armor the likes of which are not see anywhere  else in the realm. The massive number of furnaces that supply heat to the smiths billow out thick plumes of smoke that blanket the surrounding hillsides in ash.

- Darkpoint: Once a favorite rest stop for merchants, Darkpoint was destroyed by the forces of Queen Rimeborga. Most of the town was burnt down and has been rendered completely unusable. Its denizens fled to nearby Blackrock and Newblack for safety. Since the end of the Scarlet War, many have returned to their hometown to rebuild their lives. The going is tough as the settlement lacks reliable protection and a leader. Still, people try their best to return the town to its former pleasantness.

- Waysend: Once the port town of Blacklake, Wayside was destroyed by giants. It was said the giants left none alive; if there were any survivors, none have returned. Undine have claimed the town for their own and are slowly forging it into a well defended port once more. King Kasmund has given his sanction to the Undine's noble endeavor  and has even allocated funds for the construction of a tower. Stone masons have recently arrived and have just started laying the foundation. Reifavesi Fishermansdaughter has become the de facto leader of the settlement. She is as old as she is cunning. Reifavesi sees Waysend as a chance to create a town for the undine, a place they can call home. Many have flocked to her banner, swelling the settlement's size considerably.

- Sunfield: Once the summer home of the Kings of Blackvale, Sunfield was destroyed by giants, then razed by orcs. The Sunlord family has long ruled over the area surrounding the town. Now that the Gloom and the War are over, Countess Dara Sunlord is seeking to construct a massive citadel that will ensure the safety of the realm's northern borders. To do this, the Countess has requested aid from the King however, his hands are tied as there are many in court who claim such funds should go south, not north. That the enemy is Red Cloud and Deepoath, not the orcs of the north. Without aid from the King, Dara Sunlord has been forced to raise taxes on her lands, which has proven very unpopular with locals; so much so the non-serf masses have begun an exodus. If something is not done soon, any hope of ever building a mighty fortress in the north will be all but lost.