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Author Topic: Haveneast: Lords of Anglyrion  (Read 2185 times)
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Yrthak
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« on: February 27, 2011, 12:18:08 AM »

Haveneast
Lords of Anglyrion

The Land of Haveneast


John Briarstride. Anorian the Fierce. The Dragon of Kastmarch. The Ogres of Halarshire. Saint Calhurst the Blooded. These are the names given to legends of Haveneast; of people whose deeds were mythical, whether great or terrible. Their tales are stories of glory, fortune and skill, and speak of events that define the behaviors of entire noble courts. They have been the inspiration for allegiances and wars alike, as much as the bright light of the Church of the Silver Cross. And one day, if you keep your wits about you and never dull your blade, you may be among them.

What is Haveneast?

Haveneast is a land of chivalry and myth; darkness and light. It is made what it is by heroes and villains who are mortal, but whose courage and cunning make them legends among people and the beasts that riddle the history and folklore of the land. It is a land where feudalism runs rampant in many of its regions, and kingdoms are made enemies by transgressions against noble houses. It is a continent of crusading knights and ghastly witches; a realm of white castles and gloomy forests. It is where some young men and women who were raised on the forge can become knights of great halls if they are brave and strong, or doomed to poverty and harsh toil if their lord is cruel, and where kings of old are honored and even the most solitary wizard is feared.

Out of Character

This is yet another reboot of this now-ancient setting, changing the focus to a yet lower level of magic but upping the fantasy, seeking to replicate a cross between Middle-Earth, tales of Arthur/Camelot/Knights of the Round Table and Skyrim. In particular this reboot comes as I prepare to run a campaign within the setting. I'll be using the E6 rules variant on D&D (you can view them here. The game will be set in a new kingdom I've written (the entire layout and relations between kingdoms and political factions has changed; many names have been reused) called the Aganthan Empire, a kingdom which is highly civilized and much of its land is part of a huge plain in the center, but at its frontiers are more unknown and mythical lands. I'll post more info here and elsewhere about the finer details as I find things to mention. laugh

Technology and Social Norms

The technology level in Haveneast is a mixture of those of the Middle Ages between 850-1250, but with more prominent influences of the Roman Empire. Heavier armor and more martially-inclined weapons tend to be rare and expensive still, limited largely to the armories of nobles and the most lordly of freemen. The transition from wooden fortifications to stone and iron is gradually taking place - especially where the Aganthan Empire has extended its influence. A feudalist society has evolved and become commonplace for several hundred years, with the depth and complexity of the nobility expanding and changing frequently over time. Individuals within the hierarchy ranges between Yeoman and Viscount are the ranks within which most active characters reside. There are a great deal of customs and laws, particularly relating to court behavior and addressing nobility, that vary from kingdom to kingdom and it is expected that generally one should follow them to the letter.



Sorcery

In Haveneast, magic is an ancient power, but one neither well known nor understood. Wizards have traditionally been rare and not all have been benevolent with regards to their powers, leading some lords to outlaw their presence while a few dare to invite them into their courts as advisors. Perhaps a sorcerer's greatest advantage is that the extent of his or her power is largely unknown (even by other wizards). This is because the magical abilities of the mortal mind are fickle, but given the right study or ritual one can harness great and terrible spells.

The wisest of magi and most cunning of witches survive into influence and age often not because of a wide repetoire of spells, but effective application of a handful. Tales are not lacking of witches who held entire kingdoms ransom with the transforming of a prince into a tiny creature, warriors who fought off armies with fire and the dead, and foul sorcerers toppling kingdoms with magical poisons and spells of disguise. For all of their knowledge and power, however, many cannot escape the wrath of the angry mob, or the dark prices they may pay for the gift of greater knowledge. This is not to say that those who seek them have always had violent or sinister designs; desperate men and women of all social classes have sometimes sought them out, hoping that their mystical understandings may shed light on dire situations.

The Four Magics

Invocation or Red Magic is the art of creating something from nothing, be it raw material or brilliant flashes of fire. Invocation magic is dangerous to the practitioner because many of its most potent forms are fuelled by the life force, rather than mana; in addition, some users choose to push the malleable magic's limits by purposely burning their life force to increase their spells' potency.

Druidry or Green Magic is the magic of the natural world and of its creatures, allowing the control of weather, the boons of spirits and oneness with reality, whether scorching desert or bountiful forest. It is the magic of hermit alchemists and hedge witches whose practice is quiet, defensive and utilitarian. Druidry of all forms is the least damaging to the mind and body in its use, and is often still distrusted for its power, however subtle. It is druidry that many aged wizards wield, claiming that wisdom in its use, not the raw energy of the magic, is what determines its power.
 
Necromancy or Black Magic is the ability to commune with and control the otherworldly, animating the dead or daring to ask questions of unfathomable spectres from other realities. It is by this magic that the life force of others is stolen or replenished, although performing either requires the wielder or another party to be the corresponding recipient/donor. Necromancy is almost universally looked upon with suspicion and distrust because of its nature and the peril inherent in allowing oneself to be tempted by it; countless many fear to even wield it to banish and ward off its own effects, for fear of becoming victim to its mesmerizing power.

Witchcraft or Blue Magic is the art of illusion and transformation, the choice of deceptive shape-shifters and stealthy witches. It includes the control of minds - a concept viewed as unnatural as necromantic magic, more often than not - both as gentle suggestions and complete domination of the will. Where the other colors merely provide a means of communication or exchange between their mediums, witchcraft forcefully dictates the properties of the world around its wielders, sometimes to disastrous and debilitating ends. Many a proud knight has met their end at the hands of users of witchcraft who turned them into tiny animals or simply destroyed their mind by implanting a song of servitude within. Witchcraft places its wielders in peril by the often damaging or irreversible nature of its more powerful forms, which the promise of strength and dominance often coerce practitioners into using regardless of the danger inherent.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 10:12:55 PM by Horse » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2011, 12:18:29 AM »

Castes and Lineages

Variant Rules?!

Castes and Lineages are variant rules I'm adding to this particular presentation of E6 Pathfinder. This is chiefly because in Haveneast there are no playable non-human races, but I still wanted players to have some choice on that level. Castes are features related to membership in guilds and social strata that a player gets to choose at character creation and are similar to PF's Traits. There are a variety of caste bonuses that will have the [Noble] suffix; if these are chosen for a character then it is assumed that that character is (or was) of noble birth (but a player can still take a non-noble caste as a noble). Lineages function similarly except that NPCs are less likely to be aware of lineage qualities that a character may have (castes are usually distinguishable by attire and gear). They typically provide a skill bonus and a minor passive ability or bonus to the character.

Castes

Shepherd Caste

You were born into the life of herding and are able to withstand years of the hard work involved you have become stouter. You gain a +1 caste bonus on Fortitude saves.

Forge Caste

You belong to a guild of blacksmiths or a family of blacksmiths, and are familiar with the heat of the forge and the stamina required for the job. You gain a +1 caste bonus on saving throws against fire effects and treat your medium load capacity if it were 30 pounds higher.

Master Caste

The master caste refers to the dedication to a craft - this caste represents devotion to the making of a particular good. Choose a Craft skill, Handle Animal or Heal. This skill along with Appraise are always considered class skills for you, and you gain a +1 caste bonus to each.

Caste of the Watch

You are a member of a guild of town or city guards or similar profession, and have received decent training with the weapons and the duty. You gain a +1 caste bonus on attack rolls with spears or polearms. In addition, you gain a +1 caste bonus to Perception checks made at night.

Yeoman Caste

You are a yeoman, a commoner whose family owns a small amount of land, who has received training in some weapons and may be called upon by your lord to go to war or perform other tasks. Add the following weapons to your proficiency list: longbow, handaxe, shortsword. In addition, choose one of Craft(bowmaking), Heal, or Survival. You gain a permanent +1 caste bonus on skill checks of this type and it is always considered a class skill for you.

Caste of the Archivist

As a member of a guild of scholars and record-keepers, you are more educated than many of your peers. Choose a single Knowledge skill. You gain a +1 caste bonus on Knowledge checks for this skill and on Craft (alchemy) checks, and these two skills are always considered class skills for you.

Hunter Caste

You are particularly capable of taking that ideal shot that brings your target down. You gain a +1 caste bonus to attack rolls made to confirm critical hits and a +1 caste bonus to Survival checks.

Bandit Caste

A thief or highwayman, a member of the bandit caste robs travelers in less populated areas and often have a price on their head. You gain a +1 caste bonus on initiative rolls and may choose one of either Escape Artist or Sleight of Hand. You gain a +1 caste bonus to this skill and it is always considered a class skill for you.

The Monastic Caste

You have been a member of an isolated brotherhood or other order whose path to attaining the Silver Grace includes purity of mind. You gain a +2 caste bonus on saves against mind-affecting effects.

Caste of the Warrior-King [Noble]

You come from a land where even the king does battle on the front line. Your family knows of war; they remember the pounding heartbeat of that moment when two lords' eyes meet. The chanting of soldiers fills their minds every time they draw their swords, remembering the moment just before the first swing. You have a permanent +1 caste bonus to initiative checks. If you are attacking a target whose initiative result was lower than yours, you gain a +1 caste bonus on attack rolls against them for the duration of the encounter or until a new initiative check.

Crusader Caste [Noble]

You are a member of a guild or order of royal mandate, a knight ordained by the Church and guided by the Silver Grace. You have a +2 bonus on saving throws against fear effects.

The Caste of Steel [Noble]

You have been trained to be a war leader, inspiring as much through prowess as through rank. Gain a +1 caste bonus to attack and damage rolls on attacks of opportunity.

The Caste of the Crown [Noble]

You are well-versed in the ways of nobility and as a result are capable of willing situations to work in your favor. Against non-nobles and nobility of lesser rank than yours you have a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks, and Diplomacy is always a class skill for you. Against non-nobles of other countries this bonus is reduced to +1 (and +0 against nobility).

Lineages

Kin of Witches

Somewhere in your ancestry was a great wizard, fallen druid or something similar. Choose a spellcasting class. You may activate spell trigger items related to it as if you had one level in that class.

Lord of the Forge

Your forefathers were so proud and so capable in regards to their craftsmanship that your hands knew the hammer before the hammer knew you. You gain a +2 lineage bonus on either Disable Device or Use Magic Device (your choice) and a Craft skill of your choice.

Son of the Silver Lion

You are the descendent of a mighty king of old whose heart was pure and whose prowess was unmatched. Gain a +2 lineage bonus on Will saves. You cannot become shaken and ignore the effects of the condition, although you can still become frightened or panicked.

Elderson

The fabled eldermen are where your family traces its history, and your kin are tough and well-weathered. You gain +4 hitpoints. This stacks with Toughness and similar feats.

Destiny

Although you were likely not mentioned in prophecy, your soul is near the fate of the world, and the spirits are careful to guide you whether you know it or not. Gain a +1 lineage bonus on saving throws and Armor Class.

Equine Kinship

You are descended from the great horse-riders of the east, who for generations have had a close bond with their mounts and have slowly begun to take on their fortitude. You can move overland across trackless plains at normal speed and gain a +4 lineage bonus on all Constitution checks required for forced marches across plains. Up to one ally per character level can also gain these benefits while traveling with you, as you share their burden to the best of your ability.

Veins of Silver

You are known by the Silver Grace in body and soul, as your ancestors of ancient times were great heroes or even angels. You are not a humanoid but a native Outsider and have darkvision 60ft. You gain a +2 bonus on Heal checks.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 10:12:40 AM by The Horse » Logged


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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2011, 12:18:37 AM »

Orders and Guilds



The Order of the Sun Crescent

The Knights Argent

At the height of the Heartland War with Halavia and Angorad, when defeat seemed near for Kangdemar, King Vanthian bestowed upon the last defenders of the city of Kangsaar the rank of knight, and created the Knights Argent, the last defenders of the Silver Towers. The courage of these last lords of warfare and their troops was what saved the kingdom that day, and since the turn and continuing even now, years after victory, the Knights Argent are the largest and most powerful military order in Kangdemar. As the kingdom recovers they scour the land for threats to the integrity of the land and the King's seat of power; though the war was won with help from Agantha to the south, much of the invaders from the Heartland remain in the eastern parts of the kingdom and the land is lawless and dangerous to travel. Some of the Argent are also to be found in Agantha in more political roles.

The Knights Argent are known for their stout steel armor, fine swords and focused demeanors (although unproven squires are often outfitted with less expensive and symbolic gear). The oath sworn by the Argent is one of utmost courage and chivalry, requiring purest devotion to knighthood in the style of the Silver Tapestry. A knight in this service is trained in swordplay, warfare, leadership and court behavior, and their interaction with the order as a whole results in fearless and daring warriors who believe devoutly in the power and purity of the Silver Grace. Many seek out great challenges and feats of endurance and will to test themselves and gain closeness to the Grace, while others seek to do this through charity and tending the sick and wounded.

Knights Argent are easily recognized by their large shields painted silver and white alternating through four quadrants on a shield. In the center of the four quadrants is a black square cross. A similar symbol is worn over their armor; the surcoat covering their armor is black with a white cross, contrasted against their shiny silver armor. Argent helms are ornate and very protective, with a white plume at the top.

The Fury Shamans of Warskaria

"Truth be told, success in man-to-man combat is only partly born of skill; there is another, more sinister grace at hand. This interloper is fury, hot and violent, bent upon the triumph of mankind in the form of kings. Kings are never made, they are born to be centerpieces of warfare, to wield the sword in a showdown where the king and his foe are fools; entertainers in a court of heroes. They chant for the warrior-king because it makes him mighty, and because he is the greatest entertainer in all the world. And what makes him so is this fury, this invader of the mind and the soul, whose gentle whispers betray excellence and breathe confidence, making exceptional blows flawless and killing blows legendary. There are kings of humanity and kings of fury, and some of them are both, but the Grace of Fury transcends the limitations mortality chooses to impose upon itself. The spirit of a man's fury shall live forever."
-The Inquisitor of the East



under construction

Knights of Gilbany

From the hallowed shores of Arhona on the Caernel Sea, the Knights of Gilbany are silent guardians of the sick, the poor and the downtrodden. Unconcerned with particular religious or moral codes beyond the desire to heal and ward their charges. As a result, the Knights of Gilbany are much more welcome in foreign nations than most other orders would be in comparison. However, despite taking a more neutral stance on the warfare of others, these men and women are skilled warriors and even a friendly match with the Hands of Gilbany can be a humbling experience. Becoming a Knight of Gilbany has recently become open to foreigners, and the order is gradually becoming a more mixed, more active organization, although the lords in command of the Knights make certain that the order never approaches the fashion of mercenary work.

Like the Knights Argent, the Hands of Gilbany swear an oath before training and again before knighthood, offering their services in protection of people from sickness and disease. They come to understand that judgement is a sacred task and that the calling of the purifier transcends kingdom or heritage but instead asks for unquestionable devotion and opposition to evil. When a knight encounters wickedness, he must strike at it and deal it a killing blow; when he has vanquished it, his name will echo in the Silver Grace. For protection a Knight of Gilbany wears armor lighter and more mobile than many other orders as his suit, hidden largely by his surcoat is primarily mail. Only the head and extremities receive any kind of plating; the head in particular is crowned with a mighty helm with a visor that obscures the face entirely, leaving only dark slits for the knight to see out of. To compensate for the lighter protection given by their armor, their shields are made stout and broad and seldom fail to deflect an attack. The colors of the Knights of Gilbany are green and black with hints of silver; the typical surcoat depicts a black eagle upon the green tunic, with black sleeves and leggings.

The Four and the Nine

The Four and the Nine (whose members are also known as the Red Lords) is the name of the order of most hallowed warriors of Kangdemar, second only to the Knights of the Raven in strength and honor. Brilliant red and gold are the colors of the surcoats they wear over their armor, great steel plate armor that is deceptively light. The Four and the Nine wear distinctive, round great helms with white plumes atop them and, as is standard for nobility in Kangdemar, they are highly trained in the bastard sword. Red Lords traditionally also carry a great kite shield in the style of the Four and the Nine, but with a silver dragon emblazoned upon it.

The Four and the Nine's strongholds are primarily located within the borderlands of Kangdemar, along the Trollhowls and the Coast of Angrad in the west. Patrolling Kangdemar's marches since its beginnings, the Four and the Nine build mighty castles to house their knowledge and protect the land while they seek enlightenment by mastery of the sword and the pursuit of peace. The Red Lords' very origin is in battle; the first Red Lord slew a great black dragon at dawn, where the sacred Rock of Azlorn now stands on the edge of the forsaken road to Kragsmor, and with its bones forged the Shield, Sword and Spear of Andon, now lost to time and secret vaults.

The Four and the Nine adheres to the Western Divergence within the Graces, a term for the eventual melding of the Silver Grace and the old pagan beliefs of the kingdom; the Western Divergence among other things calls for burial of the body as opposed to cremation, something almost all kingdoms in Haveneast now do. Despite few major differences, this rift has at times caused enmity between the Red Lords and their contemporaries elsewhere. The dawn is sacred to the Four and the Nine because of their heritage, and this time is reserved by those Red Lords who are not engaged to meditate and pray.

Histories
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 08:12:58 PM by Horse » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2011, 12:18:53 AM »

Agantha
Although it is called an Empire, Agantha's ruler is addressed as King, and has presided over the land for two decades. Weary of conflict with Halavia and the once-ally Warskaria, the King of Agantha has withdrawn to Thraan, the King's Haven. In his stead it seems the Green Prince Makkalius, heir to the throne of Agantha has been assigned his duties permanently, leading some dukes to suspect that the king is dying and that the Prince, who is not fit for ruling in peacetime, may cause the kingdom to crumble if not properly advised (or supplanted). However the one ally the King and his offspring can always depend upon, the Grand Duke of Llander (also known as the War-Regent) suspects this, and his Cheltarian Knights, who some say are the mightiest knights in all the land scour the realm for signs of treason and witchcraft. For the Empire this is a time when new alliances are forged, fealty and homage are given, and a great many riches and opportunities await the nobility and free men of the kingdom, should they have the courage and skill to attain it...

Arcurium

Ruled by Duke Yoltstrad the Eagle, Lord of Halawyn, Arcurium is the lowland dukedom in the Western Marches where many well-traveled roads westward end; the land here is on the edge of the wilds, near forgotten trails that gryphons and drakes and the will o' wisp guard. The Duchy's only city Castlemarsh sits alongside a mighty lake and within view of mountains both to the north and south. Once a March and made for war on the western front (which has now expanded), Arcurium is dotted with countless fortifications, some from a time none can remember. These become a problem as the yeoman and knights of the realm leave to do battle elsewhere, leaving such inassailable landmarks free to possession of rogue nobles, bandit clans and the occasional wizard. The counties within Arcurium are Atla, Sibenium, Coravum, Anglaia and Ursis. The coat of arms of Arcurium is a simple white shield with vertical green stripes, held aloft by a great bird of prey whose wings embrace the edges.

Duchy Anglyrion

Also known as Kingwheat, Anglyrion is ruled by the Duke Ancaron of Rosewyn. Anglyrion is the historical homeland of the royal line (Rosewyn) and where high-ranking nobles are typically crowned, at Rosewyn House. The landscape is like much of the rest of Agantha in that it is rich wheat country, bordering on the relatively civilized Angilas Mountains to the south. It is here that many knightly orders are headquartered and where a significant population of yeomen, led by the Counts under Duke Ancaron, reside. Despite being dotted by many well-fortified castles, the region sees little conflict barring the occasional bandits in hills. It shares a careless border with North Angilas, largely due to the recent marriage of the Prince of Anglyresse to the Viscountess of Rhones on Angilas' eastern border, forcing any scheming between the two neighboring courts to end. Anglyrion's Counts are Ananion, Kettstron, Valtham, Malenwood, Caradon and Laundir. Anglyrion's coat of arms consists of a black-and-white depiction of a gryphon facing outward and holding the Sword of Blackshire downward with both hands.

The Principality of Egium

Since the Empire expanded to include more territory west of the Elstram Mountains, one of the king's greatest concerns has been the swath of land north of Calhurst and south of the neighboring kingdom of Kangdemar. Although a few significant villages sprout up along the roads that wind through the region, it is largely unpopulated and remained entirely unchecked and wild until the King appointed his son, the Green Prince Makkalius to govern it, knowing his son's love of the hunt and battle. This has become a problem as of late however given that the King has chosen the High Prince of Egium to run his affairs while he retreats to Thraan - and Makkalius seldom returns to the heart of the kingdom where he is needed, preferring to govern Egium as he has for nearly a decade now.

Egium is one of the largest divisions of Imperial territory but is administered primarily by the High Prince and his personal band of knights. Although some counts reside within the principality, they are left largely to rule the more civilized counties on the eastern border with Arcurium and Calhurst in the Calhurst Mountains, while the the Prince and the Knights of Oleander deal with the wilder areas and the hostile denizens believed to be there. The counts that the principality is split between are Araterre, Naraux, Gorhendel and Tonneria. These counties are all located south of Tracker's Rest, while the thicker woodlands land north of Hollow Road, on the edge of The Forest of Drakes, is exclusively the concern of the Prince's court. The coat of arms of Egium consists of a green shield painted with a black drake with red tongue.



The Feudal Hierarchy and the Holds of the Monarch


Customs and Standards of Agantha



« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 09:24:20 PM by The Horse » Logged


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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2011, 12:19:02 AM »

Warskaria

« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 09:24:34 PM by The Horse » Logged


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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2011, 12:19:15 AM »

Religion, Folklore, and Legends

The Graces

The Graces (known collectively as Avamism) are part of a larger branch of thought originating in far away Verkemy a thousand years prior to the modern age. The tradition has held largely because of its simplicity and benevolent nature, as well as "compatibility" with other beliefs. There are four schools:

Humanity, also known simply as The Grace, is the highest tenet of Avamism. The Grace encompasses the concepts of altruism, charity and selflessness, and is the grace most followed by the people of Haveneast. Unlike Nature, Time and Fury, Humanity asks only that one be kind and generous to their peers with the goal of supporting happiness and prosperity throughout the land. Humanity's temples are the cathedrals of cities and chapels of the countryside, built as houses of peace and comfort.

Nature's devotee aspires to be modest, rational and adaptable, and values knowledge similar to Time (with a focus on passing on what one knows). The Grace of Nature is the stereotypical domain of the hunter, but also of the hermit, the surgeon and the benevolent witch. Those who hold Nature most dearly among Avamists constantly seek to acquire knowledge of the world and techniques by which to survive it, understanding by patterns of regularity within reality that there are laws and relationships within everything; that every action or thought ultimately leads to a result. They also know that failure, in competition or fight for survival, is sometimes all-but-guaranteed. Nature's places of reverence are complex gardens and orchards hidden in the wild, and sometimes mythical in their population of fauna.

Time teaches patience, efficiency and temperance. Its followers - the least common out of the four Graces - are often found in the roles of undertakers, historians and the travelling bard. The Grace of Time values the preservation of knowledge and the passing of memories, believing that although mortal lives are brief and all things inevitably end, the memory of a person and their deeds is true immortality. Temples of Time are sometimes integrated with (or host to) great libraries or halls of song, while others may be much more somber and serve as mortuaries and great halls of the dead.

Fury is the grace of physical and social prowess; of determination and resilience. Most popular among those whose profession is battle, Fury teaches perfection of body and closeness to the base, primal power and knowledge hidden away in the recesses of one's mind. Often somewhat at odds with Humanity, Fury's devotees seek to attune themselves to the brutal, fundamental knowledge of combat, unleashing the emotion and raw cunning of their ancestry and blood to deal with their adversaries. Further teachings extol the development of this inner strength not only in combat, but in all human interaction, stating that true perfection of the body is exemplified by complete control and presence. Fury also teaches to honour the dead both by ceremony and by continuous pursuit of perfection and strength. Its temples are simple structures of many columns and typically-open roofs, made as arenas for one to test himself against another, and to learn from the power and weakness of one another.

The Pevoldwe

The Pevoldwe is an older belief widespread across most of Haveneast. It is a belief that the spirit world and mortal world are truly one and the same and that everything is governed by a spirit of some power. All animals and earthly creatures are sacred in the Pevoldwe, while the particularly inhuman is opposed and even the angelic host is sometimes scorned. Small shrines dot the roads of populated lands for travelers to give offerings in hopes of safe journeys and larger temples in lands where the Pevold spirits are widely revered. The holy days of the Pevoldwe occuring at the beginning of new seasons and additionally at the turning of years, in multi-day celebrations including feasts, games, storytelling and dance.

There are many varieties of the Pevoldwe belief system, but all of them include some belief in an afterlife; as a rule the western parts of Haveneast feature a belief that the afterlife leads to a wondrous spirit-world where there is always more game and the fields are always ready to be harvested, while those in the east tend to believe in a journey to the afterlife that one's spirit can stray from and in the process become a malignant apparition that haunts the mortal world and shares with the living its torment in being unable to reach the spirit-world.

The Inaershch

"We know what happens to a human when they die. What we do not know is where they go when they are missing."
-Grand-Fury Lydrah of Shevil

In Haveneast, some will occasionally disappear and fail to be found regardless of renown. While some of the disappearances may be simply too difficult or distant to resolve, legends and the warnings of oracles speak of a dimension known as the Inaershch, the place within which they may have become trapped. The Inaershch is not a single world but a reality full of domains of gods, beasts and secrets hidden in an infinite darkness, where the paths between them range from ungrounded roads through the gloom to the throats of great dragons and by ancient rites hidden in nearby realms. The lands within the Inaershch are varied and alien, sometimes said to have sprung from the very dreams of the angels.

Humans who come from the mortal world to the Inaershch are said to do so in places sometimes considered unsafe, but it is also said that the quiet, dark and remote areas of the world one can be taken by it. The Oracles of Nivenia and Verkemy in the east beyond Numethia were said to travel to the Inaershch at will, and those that returned from their journeys claimed that they met people who were from lands of different ages and regions of the world, but many went mad following their return; a story now told to teach children against foolish ideas of crusading into the Inaershch as a noble warrior to cleanse the evils of the land.

The Niveous Demesne

Those who enter the Niveous Demesne often find themselves near a campfire in a lightly-wooded area overlooking a downsloping field broken by small copses of trees, leading ultimately to a quiet and dark town overlooked by a castle sitting further in the distance atop a perilous hill. The landscape is perpetually blanketed in varying amounts of snow, and the moon sits eternally low in the western sky, haunted by monstrous and sinister storm clouds partially hidden by an unnatural darkness devoid of stars. Breaking up the often monotonous and eerie expanses of forest and mountain meadows are tiny structures and altars, usually ruined and on rare occasions inhabited by things that are seldom friendly. Those that find themselves there are quick to search for a way out only to learn that the exits are neither easy to use nor pathways to safer places; a nearly-invisible sphinx is said to haunt the road to a place known as The Dolor Cathedral, while the arcane wooden ladder said to hang from the lowest part of the Demesne's earthen underside is broken and the entrance to its tunnel forgotten - closing off an entrance to the tainted Meadow of Dusk, where strange flying beasts sometimes perch among the battered stone columns now broken and covered in moss.

The Demesne is ruled by the Platinum King, a cold-hearted lord in a gleaming yet ice-encrusted suit of armor which he is never seen without. It hides all of his face but his yellow eyes and appears to increase his already unnatural height and brawn. His abode is the great castle visible from anywhere in the realm, a great ruined fortress that is dark and cold. His loyal and wicked lieutenants known as the Knights of the Ice are clothed similarly and answer his every command, which often involve the capture of whose who find themselves within his kingdom. The people who dwell there successfully avoid the roads and the town beneath the castle, hiding deep in the forest and on the edge of the abyss, utilizing ruins hidden by snow and far from the sight of the king's minions. They are not safe, however, as the Demesne is made home by some other hostile creatures that lurk in the forest.

The Sunless Deep

There are few people in seafaring cultures that do not speculate what may happen to those lost at sea. Likewise, their children are seldom unaware of an accompanying fairytale told by those they to whom were not supposed to listen, of a dark watery realm known as the Sunless Deep. They say none who have gone there have ever left the Deep, much less returned to their homes. The Sunless Deep is described at first as a disorienting locale, as one often finds themselves with the seafloor above them, only to learn that they are in fact beneath a ceiling with no edge or end. Groping in the darkness in fear and urgency, they begin to gasp for air as they see in the distance a faint glow. They swim desperately for the light, as if it would provide them comfort, but the light is merely a lantern in a line of lanterns floating on a path strung aimlessly from the ceiling into the depths below. As the end overtakes them, the victim of the Deep may see shapes darting about on the edge of the light - but fortunately, they are spared the knowledge of what lurks there.

There are no known paths into or out of the Sunless Deep known in modern times (other than those claimed to lie in the deep parts of the sea), but some legends say a trio of heroes once traversed it unscathed. Among the nomads of Warskaria and Angorad, it is claimed that a family once found a great cave in the forest, which they delved deep into only to find a narrow opening beyond which was a silent dock made of ancient, rotting wood, floating in a pool with no visible bottom. A child foolishly jumped into the water, only to never return, and his mother who dove after him could find no end to the pool - but saw the lights of the Deep. Some of the tribal leaders insists that the lost cavern with the entrance to the Deep hides somewhere in the mountains of Golair - although they warn that none should seek it out, for fear of what might lurk there escaping...

Hydolyn

Few realms of the Inaershch are as significant or as large as Hydolyn, also known as the City of Fifty Kings. A visitor to Hydolyn typically finds themselves suddenly walking down a cobbled hallway, or perhaps on a bridge, somewhere within the shadow of a castle wall.Their paths may be impeded by harsh snowstorms or violent thunderstorms, or blessed by brilliant sunlight and a cool breeze in a summer's warmth. They may seek out the parapets and the highest tower only to learn that they must climb further - eventually learning that they are inside a seemingly limitless fortress made of ruins and bannered halls; of shining towers and shadowy crypts. The entrances and exits to the land are many, with the latter having long been locked, hidden and guarded by lords of the City - sometimes to increase the population of their dungeons.

Throughout its history, the extensive and varied environs within the castle of Hydolyn and the forest growing around it have been host to many factions and kings. A great deal of knights, some of whom have lost their minds since coming to the City, have taken up residence in different areas, as have some sorcerers and even demons. By virtue of being so immense and ancient, there are a great many secrets said to be hidden within the lost and forgotten parts of Hydolyn (which can be found in most any direction, given enough perseverance). The power, majesty and creeping horror of Hydolyn's nature are often overlooked by those who find it, as they are often too foolishly concerned by less well-known and more alien worlds that have connections in the depths of the City. Many find themselves wondering the purpose of the realm or where its master, if any, has gone - but the secrets of Hydolyn are difficult to unearth, as some areas of it have been lost or simply never visited at all...

The Windmill of Harabol

Bridging the gap between the Forest of Insolia and the Dolor Cathedral via a massive stairway made of solid storm clouds, the Windmill of Harabol and its surroundings are blanketed in a perpetual thunderstorm and lit with an eerie, overcast gray color. The realm consists of some earth and grass atop dark clouds similar to those of the entrances to Harabol's domain, which in turn support a stout and unnaturally tall tower which the great wooden blades with sails rotate upon. Hidden within the Windmill itself is a labyrinth of arcane and bizarre rooms and corridors that wind their way erratically up the tower, along with some what do so to nowhere. Travelling them is treacherous and no maps exist, leaving one to stare into the gloom above them in many cases or wander through the old chambers until they find a way forward.

Harabol himself was a cruel wizard who was driven mad by the very sound of the mechanisms within the Windmill, its never-repeating pattern of chimes, creaks and grinding gears said to have driven him to try and strip the world of all music by etching in stone and magic every sequence and tone in every configuration possible throughout all time, but his search for such comprehensive, secret knowledge was one not even his power could surmount. His windmill and the many dissonant and otherworldly shadows of songs he recorded now stand amongst the realms of the supernatural, quiet and ominous without purpose. Like so many other realms of absent powerful entities, the Windmill serves as little more than a daunting passage along the road to less hostile domains, at least for the time being. Eventually, the Windmill will be envisioned as a mighty fortress for some interloper, but like their predecessors, they will fail to understand the task they have given themselves - not knowing the madness of the machine.

The Forest of Insolia

The Forest of Insolia is best described as the last remnant of a subtle, murderous god's mind; a land made of cryptic dreams of a serial killer. Its landscapes, always covered in thick forest, are haunted by a thick, enveloping darkness not unlike that of a deep, dark cave. No cycle of day and night is to be found here, and beyond one's line of sight the air is black and devoid of detail as if the very trees were stealing the torchlight in their hunger for the sun. Scattered between the shadowy oaks are structures both ruined and intact - some seemingly inhabited but vacant - that compel their discoverers to enter. Some say that it is the Forest itself, imbued with the insanity of the lost god, that entices even great heroes to seek out the chasms that dot the land and plunge to their deaths, or dare the abyssal hallways of the catacombs that traverse the realm in patchwork. The inhabitants of nearby Brectaria - which sits on the precipice between the Forest and the Marsh of Memories - are particularly wary of going anywhere near it, insisting that one cannot approach the trees without drawing the attention of the Forest's eyes. They are reluctant to speak of what lurks there, and warn those lost in the Inaershch to pay no heed to the cries that come from the edge of Insolia - for the Forest's victims are not given a chance to scream.

Brectaria and the Marsh of Memories


The Pillars of the Graces


Sigurion's Rest


The Hall of Bonfires
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 09:02:50 PM by Horse » Logged


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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2011, 12:19:24 AM »

Hawnil


Steeped in folklore and tradition, Hawnil is a kingdom of mountains and castles, rivers and caves. Much of the kingdom is located in or around the Caltisian Alps, making snow and rough terrain an everyday obstacle for travel. The few lowlands are where most of the population of Hawnil resides, growing barley and oats, although the Hawlian highlands are home to many shepherds. Like parts of Agantha and Kangdemar, Hawnil is littered with castles both ruined and intact, with many ancient holds deep in the Caltisians. Some of these are fortresses from an age where the kingdom's borders were very different, while others are the long barrows of the Elder-men who dwelt within the Caltisians.

The nobility of Hawnil has traditionally had very close affilitation with the Church of the Silver Cross to the point where Hawnil is home to several military orders that combine the courage and prowess of knightly stature with the holiness of the Silver Grace, the most powerful of which being the Order of Saint Wodigan. Many of the lesser nobles of the kingdom pledge service to the Church and become members of these orders, taking part in the Grand Inquisition and scouring the region for witches or crusading in far-off lands. Many of these orders were originally created during the First Witch War when many powerful lords of what is called "Old Hawnil" were condemned for the practice of witchcraft and an internal conflict that spanned decades began. Although the wickedness in the kingdom has been largely eradicated, the great cavaliers of the Hawlian Guilds make ready for a war that may soon spread further east into pagan lands.

Eigerhaut

Hawnil is home to the second largest mountain in Haveneast, Eigerhaut, which (much like the Edge of the Sky in Kangdemar) is an ominous shape on the horizon nearly everywhere in the kingdom. Jagged, treacherous and engulfed in snow, Eigerhaut is spoken of in war-halls and kingly courts as the ultimate test of a knight - and more importantly, a king. Many corpses of failed conquerers of the mountain are said to wait for would-be heroes, spiteful in the un-life; they are often found lurking in the crumbling remains of past attempts at building towers and fortresses on the mountain's side. Its peak is shrouded in storm and has never been reached by mortal man.

The Lords of the Pines

As a more mountainous, compact kingdom, the lords of Hawnil have long sought to keep their own numbers low. As a result, beneath the king there are only the five dukes of Hawnil, often titled the Lords of the Pines (for the presence of the trees throughout the Hergovian Alps that controlled mainly by Hawnil). The Dukes are the most powerful people in the kingdom after the king, queen and their children. Unlike Agantha, Hawlian nobles (even the dukes) claim jurisdiction over any land beyond that of their castle and a lordly hunting ground. As the cities in Hawnil are often larger with more uninhabited space between them, the country is in a sense a league of city-states within the singular domain of the King of Hawnil. Almost every one is walled and each is very different from the others.

The Order of Saint Wodigan

A savage roar pierced the sky. Were the sky not already black with the coming storm, the shadow of the drake would've eclipsed the sun as it swept down at the guards on the castle wall. Two of them fell to the ground below as a third was briefly picked up by the creature before being thrown into the trees outside. Those who couldn't get to the keep and tried to run could not escape the drake, and soon the courtyard-turned-battlefield was silent and devoid of movement - except one figure. With sword drawn and thick, emblazoned shield held high strode an armor-clad knight from the keep. His cloth was dark gray and red, and his face was obscured by a full visor and helm. The drake snarled at what it perceived to be its new victim, but the knight did not falter. As he reached the gate on the outer wall, the beast set down before him, snarling and stretching its leathery wings. The castle was silent.

That night, a memory was made. A memory made of bloodshed that made the land, that became the land.


Saint Wodigan was a knight blessed by the Church and by the Silver Grace who slew a wicked dragon that terrorized a kingdom and nearly brought it to ruin, at the cost of his own life. Decades later, when the Church in Hawnil declared him a saint, an order was created with the purpose of pursuing closeness to the Silver Grace by preparing for chivalric acts such as that. The Order is the most well-known and feared knightly collective in the region, and exemplifies purity of soul, courage, and physical prowess. Many a tale of dragons and other evils in Hawnil involve great warriors of Saint Wodigan, and children are inspired to long for the ranks of the Order from an early age.

The Knights of Saint Wodigan are funded well enough to have master smiths, gem crafters and bowyers in most of the larger strongholds. Regardless, Knights have reliable access to the sturdiest plate armor and finest horses of war and they are famous for the variation in the equipment they typically carry. The symbol and colours of the Order are a red square cross on a dark gray background - the dark gray represents the imperfection of the human form and the constant striving for closeness to the Silver Grace; the red represents the mortality of mankind and the blood that must be spilled in the pursuit of victory.

Kasteelstad

The great city of Kasteelstad is at first, when one enters the front gates, passing the great, foreboding walls of its exterior, an eerie and yet awe-inspiring sight. The buildings here are tall and hardy to match the often harsh winters high on the western slope of the Aadorian Range, and they block your view ahead. Eventually however one reaches a hill, and as you descend its far side, you see them - the countless towers that dot the city. Tall and with windows and gates lit with torches, the towers of Kasteelstad are in some ways cold and oppressive to the skyline, but they stand still because they are monuments to the glory of Hawnil's past and bastions of the kingdom's defense. Beyond the many towers, as the city approaches the rocky facade of the mountains, the buildings give a wide berth to the awe that radiates from the Castle in the Stone, the seat of the King, whose towers are meshed with caves-made-halls and whose vaults delve deep into the heart of the mountain. Kasteelstad, although it is the royal city of the King of Hawnil, sits upon the lonely, largely unguarded and unwatched border road over the Aadorians from Aath in the east. When the lands of Aath were a frontier and not a protectorate of Hawnil, the towers of Kasteelstad were (and still remain) a valuable guard against war and woe.

As a military city but one that sits upon a major road, Kasteelstad is home to a high concentration of skilled craftsmen and varied merchants. The guilds are strong in cities such as this, where credible fortresses that loom over the other structures in the city can be purchased easily on the coffers of powerful organizations and enthusiastic nobility. Two great monasteries of Saint Wodigan are located nearby - one in the forested foothills below in Hawnil's valleys and one known as the Shivering Fortress high in the Aadorians where it is said one can see all of both kingdoms on the clearest days. The members of these monasteries pledge themselves to the King of Hawnil personally, knowing his heritage - the House of Volkuf, which has ruled Hawnil for a hundred years, is a line of warrior-kings - and they wish to serve proudly, courageously alongside him in war now and in legend.

Aath

Aath is a small, eerie, torch-lit kingdom of deep, dark forests and the winding roads that traverse them. Nestled within a valley known as the Elderdell, a wide depression that breaks up the mighty Kaltisian Alps, Aath has traditionally been a quiet and relatively peaceful kingdom. It has had no shortage of folklore to color its history, however - Aath is sometimes called the Land of the Witch because of the strange people who live within its forest borders and the equally haunting forests, dark and ancient. Aath's population is largely of the same descent as that of Hawnil and many aspects of their culture, such as architecture, are very similar - but Aath, for all its lawlessness and oddity, is also home to the greatest and grandest of fairytale castles, or so the lords that dwell or dwelt within them would tell you. While many Aathian fortresses are truly spectacular and built with many towers and elaborate, beautifully complex courtyards and walkways, many of them have been home to tragedy or have fallen into disuse, especially where they fail to be completed before the end of their funding. Such structures stand out strongly against the horizon, their white and gray facades with bright flags a sharp contrast to the endless, green forest of the kingdom, and they are only dwarfed by the Kaltisian mountains on the eastern and western borders of the Elderdell.

The Tower of Sunhild

Legend has it that in the first days of the Kingdom of Aath following the Hawlian Crown War, the Tower of Sunhild was built with intend to survey the treetops and the mountains in the west, and to serve as a stronghold for crusading knights and messengers moving from Kasteelstad to Fevenrau. This role would be largely unnecessary following the peace and Sunhild, the old village that used to cling to the tower, saw autumn after autumn of quiet and untraveled roads. The village eventually was abandoned by its residents, although for many years it commanded a presence of bandits and the occasional crusading band of the Graces attempting to fortify the tower for use as a base of operations. Though it is close to the very Castle Golrung in that county, the Countess is largely unconcerned with its inhabitance, since no one stays there for long - and some go and are never seen again.

No one is truly sure what took place in Sunhild to make it so fear-inducing to those who trespass there among the old leaves, but all that remains is the Tower, which still stands tall above the forest, although it is slowly being overtaken by the forest as the village was. Those who traverse the old field between it and the Old Post claim that it appears to have lost its main entrance some time ago to a collapse, but the rest of the structure is largely intact. Children's tales of ghosts haunting the ruin, trapped inside its old rooms are numerous in the region, while others associate it with the nearby Shrine, claiming that it has been taken by the old evils.

The Books of the Elementals

The Books of the Elementals (collectively called the Heregian Codex) are a series of tomes long separated but rumored to still be in the hands of inhabitants of Aath, who are often completely unaware. Dismissed as propaganda of the Warlocks of Thamalyca by some, the Books contain alchemical and knowledge of sorcery as it pertains to the Five Elements, the doctrine of a wizardly tradition now faded and accused of evil by some Bishops of the Grace. The Heregian Codex was once considered a great treasure by many lords, but to some monarchs of Hawnil it was perceived as a threat and they long sought to remove it from the kingdom, if not existence. Old halls so great, dark and deep were said to be built to take them in secret to a final vault along with many other artifacts of truly fearsome power, accessible from Hawnil or Aath beneath the mountains. At some point however, these chambers were discovered by sorcerers seeking the power of the Books of the Elementals and they were plundered while everything else was left alone. It was believed that a wilderness mage, driven mad in isolation and by the whispers of cruel elementals of lightning and wind, took them originally, but sometime after he was cornered and defeated in the dead of winter and his prize was stolen, only to eventually become scattered.

There are no highly regarded tales regarding the capabilities of the books if brought together and if they confer any additional magical enlightenment, but there are many theories as to what power they may hold as one. Some regard the collection as a whole as simply a power enough, as each book is a plethora of information - although much of it is dangerous. As with many other examples of neutral sorcery and knowledge, the Books of the Elementals draw no shortage of crusaders and adventuring everymen alike who seek to locate them and destroy them, hide them, or - when they've realized the power contained within and held the books - use them for their own purposes.

The Tainted Stones

A Tainted Stone is a stone which has been corrupted and touched by dark magic through the hands of evil. Numerous and yet often difficult to locate, the stones are said to be enchanted with hidden words telling great secrets or paths to power. The stones contain the essence of those who altered them, turning a foul bleed of from the spirit world into power to retain a malicious entity within the rock, which then tempts and coerces those who come within its range. Those who run into one are quick to turn away for fear of the tainted stones cursing them, afraid of the aura of despair that they keep.

The typical tainted stone is a standing stone at least eight feet high, three feet in width and the widest point, and nearly a foot thick. They are often carved jagged from the mountains they are taken from, with arcane symbols etched into their surface. Sometimes, accompanying a drop in temperature or perhaps dying of the wind, one can catch a glimpse of the symbols glowing briefly, before going dark again. It is claimed by men of the road that should one's full name be carved into a tainted stone that the named will become cursed and weakened, sometimes growing ill and dying at an alarming rate. Many have been destroyed but as time goes on it is learned that most are now in more distant, less known regions of the kingdom, and despite a crusader interest the tainted stones are largely forgotten and left to crumble far from civilization, holding secrets that the earth wizards that made them left for those intelligent enough to use them.

Imbranyl, the Forest Wind

Matching the somewhat spooky demeanor of the forests of Aath, Imbranyl is a local spirit of the Pevoldwe who is often associated with travel, secrets, animals and druids. It is said that she appears somewhat infrequently along long stretches of deserted roads, coming first as a gust of wind out of the dark forest. Manifesting as an elemental of sorts, Imbranyl protects those who are good to the forest - and impedes those who are not. Her wrath is the storm and the calling of the wolves, whose howls she willingly carries by her winds far through the forest, letting the enemies of the wood know they are hunted.

Small shrines to her are found along the roads in Aath, where travellers may leave an offering of bread, hay and the local valtic lotus in return for good fortune on their journeys. Sometimes, those that devote themselves to her ways improve the simple shrines into places of rest, maintaining a small number of them in an area and allowing travellers to rest, meet, trade and leave messages. Although the way of the Graces does not mention her as an entity of any sort, her influence has spread into other regions and her shrines are tolerated by most people; this is owed mostly to the fact that other kingdoms have taken up the kind of messaging system created by the Pevolds in honor of Imbranyl.

Belwyr Crossing

Villages such as Belwyr Crossing are often found deep in the woods of Aath admist swamps and untravelled roads, and are fueled by paranoia towards outsiders. Belwyr Crossing, however, does a decent job of being a more welcoming town than many others, owed at least partially to the presence of Castle Golrung on the hill and the number of roads leading into and out of the area. The town survives primarily on mining and hunting, with a few farms to be found nearby. Its manufacturing culture is limited and yet accommodating in the sense that its smiths typically do not have access to many materials to forge numerous steel weapons and suits of armor, but Freeman Lucarvin, who is the chief smith of the Countess, is a veteran of the War-Forges of Agantha and can make most anything given the materials. Of particular pride is the Golrung Shield, Lucarvin's finest craft, which is sought out by crusading knights and given as a great gift and sign of allegiance to the Countess of Golrung.

The road between Belwyr Crossing and the Old Gryphon Inn and Stable is one of the quietest in the area, but the road to Hirkhorn as of late has become more dangerous as it is plagued by brigands and ghost stories. One may follow the river or the road south from Belwyr to the graveyard, which is tucked deep into the back of a wide field in a grove that partially shelters from the elements. Witchmark Farm is to be found beyond that, its old windmill standing idly among the woods; the house charred and crumbling. The Countess often hires local men and women trained at arms to patrol the area as far south as the Witchmark Farm, when the local concern is not what lies just to the northwest of Belwyr - the Old Post and Tower of Sunhild, as well as Castle Glaun and the Shrine of Rottinghorn all draw concerns because of both superstitions and rogue bands taking them for their own with designs on the surrounding lands.

Looking down from the hill from Castle Golrung, Belwyr Crossing is easily seen to be focused upon the river. The west bank is home to few structures except the homes of local hunters and the tanner, while the east sports several unorganized structures made of mixtures of stone, wood and thatch. Halfway back up the hill towards Castle Golrung sits the guardhouse and a small temple of the Silver Grace, built of stone columns and a slanted, open roof. The village is lit by little at night, save for a few checkpoints along the main road through it where the local guard has established some lantern posts and simple shelters from the rain and wind.

The Spearmarch

East of Castle Golrung begins a large swath of untamed, treacherous land cut deep by river-claimed gorges and forsaken mountains. Here begins the Spearmarch, the border land between the inner counties of Aath and Gilbany in the east. The Spearmarch is an unwelcoming region to say the least, with a small population spread thin over secluded villages at the ends of long, winding roads that creep through the land. Though the Marquis is hardly uninterested, he is often confined to the great Castle of Dusk in the eastern Kaltisians, from which most of the Spearmarch can be surveyed high above the trees.

The nature of the Spearmarch itself often impedes overland movement to and from Gilbany; though the lords of the kingdoms have long sought to improve and fortify the routes through the dense eastern reaches of Aath, these endeavors are perpetually cursed as the land itself impedes it, with tumultuous spring melts causing the washing out of bridges and the forest hungrily encroaching on nearly-forgotten paths. On the eastern end of the Spearmarch, the land opens gradually into a great, flat plain between the mountains - Gilbany.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 10:56:43 AM by The Horse » Logged


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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2011, 12:19:35 AM »

Gilbany

The Kingdom of Gilbany is, along with Kangdemar, the most prosperous and powerful kingdom in all of Haveneast. It can be seen in the villages and between them, as the roads are well-traveled and the people well-supplied. Each village of decent size is home to essential craftsmen mandated by the king, in addition to a stable for the prized horses of travelers. The land itself is a pleasant temperate, consisting mainly of great plains interrupted by rivers, forest and road, with the western reaches and the southern coast being the only mountainous areas. Its features are fantastic and almost otherworldly, with matching flora and fauna.

Gilbany's greatest assets are its navy, its wheat, and the Knights of Gilbany, a mighty order of pious and just hospitalers dressed in green and white to match the king. It put them to great use in the recent Heartland War, when Gilbany, Kangdemar and Agantha went to war with Halavia and Angorad following their partial conquest of the fragile Warskaria. Many Gilbanians were displaced and in some cases people of Ghosmian descent began new lives where they had been when the war ended, mixing their blood with those of the local lands. Gilbany's presence in other kingdoms and its potential to lay siege to other kingdoms' ports with little resistance (the fleets of Gilbany are both more numerous and more advanced than most nations within and without of Haveneast) make it a formidable voice on any lordly counsel, and both the monarch and the Knights have taken a more diplomatic role than usual in the past years as the kingdoms around them seek their insight and wisdom - and more importantly, their political and military backing.

Nobility

The noble hierarchy of Gilbany is fairly long and complicated, as below the King and Queen there are a significant number of titles and the accompanying positions. The system does share similarities with kingdoms such as Kangdemar and Agantha. Brief details are as follows:

Crown Prince/Princess: Title held by offspring of the monarch who is destined to rule. May rule over a principality (equivalent in size to a duchy) if succession is not necessary at adulthood. Also known as Grand Prince. The current Crown Princess rules the Principality of Svestokol.

Duke/Duchess: Peers of the king and occasionally granted also to sons and daughters of the monarch not first-born. Title associated with large tracts of land within the kingdom. Assuming the duke is not a member of the family line, a duke may assume the position of king should the original line be eliminated or under exceptional circumstances. Each duke typically rules from and primarily governs a city or town within their duchy, while the many marquesses and counts that serve them are focused on a more local level. The duchies of Gilbany are Arhona, Calvask, Talstyl, Fyomav and Nikarvy. Children of dukes are typically addressed simply as "lord" or "lady" like their parents. Duke is the lowest rank that may hold court.

Count/Countess: Counts rule counties typically from small cities or large towns, although even in Gilbany there are many marches and frontiers administered by the rank (sometimes called the marquess/marquise). The Count is the lowest rank that can bestow knighthood. Counties are typically divided into baronies, which in turn may include townships and the manors and estates of knights. The sons and daughters of counts are addressed the same as those of dukes.

Baron/Baroness: Lord of a barony within a county. Though the baron ranks higher than the knight, a baron holds no significant authority over a knight and cannot grant knighthood, although they may present an allied knight with a tract of land which they may build upon in return for protection. Like counts, they and their children are addressed as "lord" or "lady". The baron holds wartime command of all conscripts and men-at-arms who are not knights or the companions of knights.

Knight/Dame: The lowest rank to officially hold a tract of land, the knight is the most common rank of nobility and signifies service in war to a monarch. Among Gilbanian courts, where even high-ranking nobles go to war, knights are often present as attendants to the counts and dukes. The sons and daughters of Gilbanian nobles not destined for duchies or the royal throne may elect to be knighted and accept the title instead of that which they are given by birth.


The Shores of Arhona

Gilbany is the first of the kingdoms heading east from the continent of Haveneast to touch the Caernel Sea, and it is known particularly for this majestic shore in the Duchy of Arhona, the great plain-lands, open to sunny blue skies viewed from towers of pearl and the backs of great horses, the talents of which other kingdoms, in awe, covet as if among the most costly of commodities. From the finest horses and the most bright of lands too come the Knights of Gilbany, the shining, decorated warriors atop the mighty horses of their homeland draped in the colors of their order. The Arhonian Silvermane is the most prized of breeds, the royal steed of House Iledya and the current King of Gilbany. The lords of Gilbany unite in Arhona on the edge of the glistening shore, in the fortress Stormthanolt overlooking the port of Naldovr. No more hallowed a beacon can be found in all of the land, as its greatest towers can be seen from most anywhere in the country and far along the Inusklian Coast eastward. For centuries the lords of Gilbany have upheld a tradition of building great towers within their castles that house great signal fires, which signify the allegiance of the lord to the king, and Stormthanolt and most every other fortress in the kingdom possesses one.

Halavia

Angorad

Pheregia

« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 10:39:20 PM by Horse » Logged


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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2011, 12:19:43 AM »

Kangdemar


The Kingdom of Kangdemar is a temperate land steeped in mists, spanning great forests and plains, swamps and jagged mountains. It is the land of the King Corvinian II the former Duke of Corvaldshire and heir to the throne of Kerroch, and his council of lords known as the Knights of the Raven, given the title of duke (also Grand Knight) for their skill and bravery at his side in a decade of reign. The kingdom's towers and castles and the cities therein are saturated with the colors of the king, black and purple with hints of white, as are the surcoats of many a warrior in Kangdemar in honor of the monarchy. It is a land of great myth and of long histories, where the lords are just and chivalrous and the land is fantastic, almost otherworldly. From the great fortress of Cloudtower high in the Trollhowls to the town of Blackbridge on the edge of the forest border into Agantha, to the ancient Elkhold, the sacred retreat of kings of Kangdemar since the kingdom's beginnings. The land of Kangdemar is wild and dangerous beyond the cities and towns of the south, and its western and northern reaches are riddled with ghostly villages, abandoned ruins and lost cities such as Kragsmor, remnants of a time when the land was ruled by others.

The Lost Knights of Keldval, Atchion and Pythlan

For every great tale and hero in Kangdemar, there is also a great tragedy and whispers of evil. Of all the legends however the greatest is that of the enchantress Scolyara and her part in the Great Crippling of Kangdemar. Scolyara had once been courted by Corvinian I, though he eventually married Cestra of Shanosaun in Warskaria, and his rejection drove her mad not because she loved him but because she wanted his power. When she learned of the marriage she sought to sow the land in poisonous magic, but her heels were dogged by the Dream Wizards, who were one-by-one eliminated even as they nearly annihilated her many times. The Knights of the Raven long had hunted her after her corruptions of the land and her eventual slaying of King Corvinian I's wife, and though many perished either when ambushed by her minions in the great Forest of Thorns in the foothills of the northern Trollhowls; or by her hand, three veteran Grand Knights infiltrated her lair and through blood and fury brought her to her knees.

As a final curse upon the kingdom that had already lost so much by her malice, she cursed the three knights of Keldval, Atchion and Pythlan who had cornered her to become small, wretched animals for all eternity. Keldval became a toad, while Pythlan became a rat - but Thergryn of Atchion, who drew Scolyara's ire more than any other, was made a mockery of the great Raven Knight he was, turning him into a crow. Her death left their fates uncertain, for few could wield such powerful magic as she to be able to return them to their normal forms, and none even knew of what had truly happened to them, as they had all disappeared sometime in the years following their transformation. Though there is now a new generation of Knights of the Raven, their numbers are fewer and are less capable of protecting the kingdom as they once were, when the three lost knights were bastions of hope, experience and knowledge for the warriors of Kangdemar.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 09:18:30 PM by Horse » Logged


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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2011, 12:20:00 AM »

West: The Isles of Kerroch and the Serpethian Ocean

« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 06:51:28 PM by The Horse » Logged


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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2011, 12:20:10 AM »

Beastiary

Mythical Beasts of Haveneast I: Creatures of Agantha

Gryphons

"For a king so heralded and mighty, no other creature shall grace his coat of arms, for the gryphon is the most majestic, most kingly of beasts."
-The Writ of Anglyrion

The gryphon is a rare but regal creature, steeped in the folklore of Agantha and Kangdemar. Possessing the size and cunning of a lion but mobility and awareness of an eagle, the gryphon is said to be fond of ancient ruins and royal treasures. This along with its regal and fearsome appearance makes it the symbol of kings among nobles, and most royal coats of arms in and around Agantha have depicted the gryphon in some manner. Royal trackers and woodsmen claim to see one from time to time, usually on the edges of the kingdom where there is untamed forest and hills.

Healers and alchemists have often claimed that the feathers of a gryphon can be used to create a rejuvenating paste, and that their claws can be used as wards against evil. That being said, the slaying of such a creature is met with reluctance and its death is honored. It is a widely held belief in all the lands that they dwell in that those who kill a gryphon without respecting its corpse shall be cursed to be infertile or for their children to die before they may inherit, and anything they eat for ever after to taste of ash.

Nightmares

"The forest grows dark and the air feels stale. There is silence but for the sound of hooves. Out of the gloom it stalks, its eyes white and dead, its mane a blazing fire. The creature bellows and its face is obscured by unholy, noxious smoke. It stares you down and you know your doom has come. The world grows small and terrifying as the creature charges, and you know in that moment that a nightmare has come."
-The Book of Great Beasts

The nightmare is an evil spirit said to hunt the good of heart for purposes unknown. It appears as a horse as black as night save for its sickly white (sometimes entirely absent) eyes and its fiery mane and tail. It is said that some nightmares were once tortured and neglected mounts, while others are demons from the a darker realm. Nightmares are said to lurk near less traveled roads, hiding in dark places at day and stalking the forests at night. They are particularly fond of lurking near bridges.

It is said that in order to ward onesself against a nightmare, you must carry in view a broken horseshoe made of silver or place a ward of white magic over the body - the latter belief has led many to see out scorned witches far from safety, only to come to gruesome fates. Placing a set of horseshoes at the corners of a bridge prevents the nightmare from passing over it, and they cannot cross moving water (unless there is an unwarded bridge). Should one spill blood on a road, it is believed they must pour on it a bucket of water or cover it with a fallen tree, or a nightmare will find it and follow a person to their home and peer in through their windows, looking into their dreams and turning them horrid and sickly. It is also believed that they do this to children singing and playing in the forest near their lairs at day, haunting their dreams and stealing their souls so they are too tired to do so again.

Drakes

A terror to behold skimming the horizon, drakes are draconic beasts slightly larger than a horse and rider. A lesser, less cunning relative of the true dragon, drakes are much more common than their larger brethren. A worrisome adversary even to the most veteran knights, to properly combat a drake one must prepare themselves with multiple contingency plans. Its large wings bear it aloft, allowing it to attack a vulnerable point, and its heavy, quick tail carries a terrible poisoned barb. Drakes are often known to toy with enemies and victims given the chance, chasing them for a distance before making the killing blow, and more than one unfortunate guardsman has met his end by the teeth of one, too oblivious to its coming high atop his castle wall.

There are two kinds of drakes known to Agantha: the storm drake and the swamp drake. The former's coloring is a dark blue with gray underbelly and wing membrane. They smell faintly of sulfur and smoke. Storm drakes are named for their association with thunder and snowstorms, for they are seldom seen without one or the other looming overhead. They tend to fly high when approaching prey, allowed to do so by their sharp eyes and dark hue, which matches the clouds of a violent storm. Those who have heard it claim that its roar sounds of thunder and its hiss of a downpour, while it is so silent while moving that one not spotting it by eye will never know it is there.

The swamp drake is colored black and typically has sickly yellow eyes. It smells both of rotting meat and pungent flowers that grow in the fetid swamps they dwell in. Though they spend more time on the ground or in the water, swamp drakes are no less capable of flight than storm drakes. A swamp drake makes few noises and seldom has anyone ever heard one roar. They are fond of lurking near bridges and roads, and sometimes are known to hide in forests. In heraldry, the swamp drake is more often seen as a symbol of cunning or skill in hunting.

Goblins

 Goblins are creatures said to live only in the mountains, in impassable ravines and valleys few men have ever seen. They are skilled climbers and silent as the wind, and speak in hushed tongues except to snarl and pounce. When they do this, their savage orange eyes grow to an unholy size and and they appear taller and darker than the darkest night. They have pointy ears and round, hairless heads and are colored so that they are nearly invisible in starlight and moonlight. Goblins are said to be fond of stealing things, and are known for stealing infants, whom they turn into more goblins to multiply their numbers. They stand about the same size height as humans but are noticeably lankier. They are incredibly physically strong, but prefer stealth over a direct fight unless they can corner their prey. It is said that they speak human tongues and will sometimes play games with humans after dragging them away, offering their freedom if they complete a grievous tasks. Goblins are not known to keep their word however, and seldom is it safe to trust one if it seeks to barter. Goblins are weakened by sunlight and do not come out in it if they can.

Vendmotyv

"Listen not to their words. Meet not their gaze. Touch not their skin. Smell not their rot. Each is poisonous, each unholy; each will cause you to wither and your face to become the creature's. It steals not just your looks, but your memories as well, and leaves little left of the soul."
-The Writ of the Eldermen


An ancient, gruesome spirit of death and blight, the vendmotyv is a thing of nightmares. It would be just a goblin if it did it not tower over them, and its skin is mottled and in places one can see dead gray muscles pushing through. Its hands are massive and its claws unnaturally long, its eyes are a bloody red and its entire lower jaw appears to have been ripped from its face. Occasionally its large, dark head may tilt oddly or its arms may move as if dislocated or broken. Around the vendmotyv is an aura of grave stench so foul that it causes fear in the hearts of stout warriors, and it can easily overpower mortal men and inflict them with their malignant rot. When they have killed a person they devour their flesh but collect one's face, for they can wear them and assume their victim's identity.

When in a victim's form, vendomotyv are physically almost perfect copies of their victims, difficult to discover even by lovers and spouses. They can recall the more general memories of their victims such as names, common activities and routines, but depending on the individual this may not be enough to remember very specific details. Vendmoti make no attempt to converse with humans, though it is believed they know many (or even all) languages. They only appear to be interested in killing humans and stealing their identities, but sometimes strangely entertain charades such as attempting to masquerade as the victims whose faces they've stolen for years at a time. The only way they can be discerned is by the cold ash scent that they carry faintly in this form and the fact that they do not use mirrors; a vendmotyv who is forced to look into a reflective surface is revealed for what it is. Vendmoti are repelled, along with mirrors, by the Silver Cross and by sunlight. The latter does not harm them but like goblins they are very weak within it.

Woodwights

The woodwight is a curious creature that haunts the forest. Appearing a short, gaunt man or woman whose very body has taken on the characteristics of the twigs and branches that litter the forest floor, woodwights are regarded as relatively harmless when alone, but children or those surrounded by numbers of them should be cautious. It is said that they rejuvenate the forest by casting their ancient magic on animals - and if they can, humans - to turn them into new trees, and that they prefer young creatures to old to extend the lifespan of the forest. A homestead plagued by woodwights can often expect to find small farm creatures and tools missing, and locks are often broken. To ward against woodwights, trinkets made of iron are typically left at entrances to homes as they are repelled by cold iron (but not steel).

Trolls

"By day they are stone but at night they are awoken, by their brethren who escaped the sun. They haunt the hills waiting for the foolish to enter the mist and get lost in the forest, to steal their flesh and goods."

Trolls have long been associated with the hills of western Agantha, particularly in Malivea, Calhurst and Egium. Although actual encounters with trolls rarely take place, some residents of the kingdom have been regularly unnerved in their homes in the hills after waking to see a stone statue staring in the direction of their home somewhere nearby - a statue that was not there the night before, and that will be gone tomorrow. Their petrification by sunlight allows them to be observed in all of their grotesque glory, with their fangs and ears and nose and eyes all far too large. They stand twice as tall as a man, and although they appear tall and thin they are incredibly strong. Some say their skin is colored a dark brown or mottled green. They can travel by day if they stick to the forests, but rarely does one hear of one being spotted after dawn and before dusk. Some fear the purpose of the trolls to come down off of the hills to be caught staring in the dark at a human town by the rise of the sun.

Some scripts claim that the troll is a ghastly alchemist, who weaves exotic substances and potions using only bodies of the dead. This is one supposed cause for the perpetual existence of trolls in the hills nearby, in that they seek to sneak in town and steal someone to use for horrid experiments. With actual attacks so infrequent, one has to wonder why most of them have not attacked their target villages yet. Attempts to destroy them by day have typically failed, as the troll simply regenerates so rapidly from even limb loss that they do not truly die. It is said that the only way to truly destroy a troll is to burn it at night when it is at its truest. Most churches of the road are quick to warn of the troll-traps in the hills of western Agantha; while some say they are merely the poor attempts of bandits, most generally believe that the elaborate and sometimes deadly traps on roads through the area, which typically aim to keep the victim from leaving, are the works of the trolls trying to capture travelers and use them for their unholy art.

Mythical Beasts of Haveneast II: Creatures of Hawnil and Aath

Mountain Shades

A dark, evil gloom on otherwise majestic and wondrous mountains, the mountain shades (sometimes called revenants) are wicked undead said to creep out from the barrows in the Caltisians at night. They are violent and malicious creatures, sometimes incorporeal, that appear as barely more than elongated shadows with hints of old, disused armor hidden within their forms. Their touch can steal the life of their victims, making them sick and weak with an illness called shadeblight that is nearly impossible to cure. Given time, those infected with shadeblight will become like them and kill those around them, haunting the realms within which they dwell and turning mighty kingdoms into wastelands of abandoned ruins.

Shades are said to be completely incapable of functioning in daylight, being made partially of gloom and shadow. They cannot be harmed by most normal means, but a torch made from wood of a hallowed grove or a blessed artifact is said to be capable of keeping one at bay. Shades are known to relentlessly pursue those who disturb them in the mountains, sometimes following foolish travelers to their homes. Some scripts say that they can speak and remember much of their past lives, using their knowledge of the land to stalk the living. A rare few revenants become fixated upon people similar to those they once swore to protect, haunting them and stealing their strength with futile hunger to live again.

Werebears

The first werebear was a woman who, in ancient times, sought to gain favor and success by offering herself to the Old Gods, but they cruelly tricked her and put a curse on her to transform into a werebear should they be bathed in the light of the full moon. The carnage that took place the first night she transformed was terrible, and eventually she spread her affliction. Unlike her they would not readily turn back, being so absorbed in their feral forms to be unobservant of the continued value of their human forms, although a rare few re-learn how to become their human selves once more.

Werebears in their hybrid state tower over most men at eight feet high. They are built powerfully but it is clear there is a sleekness and an agility to their hulking forms. The savage face of an enraged bear is the expression that they seldom drop, and although the eyes are bloodshot and grey, it is clear that the creature was once a mortal man. As full bears they are massive even compared to their natural counterparts. Werebears are said to found dragging livestock into the woods or eating other small animals, lurking around farms and other sources of oblivious animals. Like their wolf cousins they are weak to the touch of silver and are wounded by few other things.

Snow Gryphons

Like their counterparts in Agantha and Kangdemar, snow gryphons are great beasts with features part lion and part eagle. A snow gryphon's coat is as white as the snow they hunt in during the winter, changing briefly to a brilliant gold and brown during late summer. They are more accustomed to high altitudes and cold temperatures than most other creatures, often perching on jagged outcroppings too high and difficult to reach by anything else.

In some valleys of the Kaltisians, the snow gryphons are quite well-known by their furious roars they emit when diving from high on a mountain ledge onto sheep and other prey. They hunt in all but the very worst of blizzards and are known to venture down from the mountains under the cover of the storm. Despite the fear of encountering one in the forest alone that many have, the meeting of a snow gryphon on a solo hunting trip is said by the Pevoldwe to be a divine message. Some say that not all encounters must end in bloodshed, as snow gryphons often are curious enough to simply observe and even interact peacefully with humankind.

Wargs

Unlike the majestic and virtuous gryphon, wargs are manifestations of the evil of the wilderness. Born of the domain of wicked druids of storm and decay, wargs appear as a ferocious cross between a wolf and a bear, muscular yet agile and twice as large as their canine cousins. Intelligent and capable of some speech, wargs are cunning and evil stalkers of the mountains past sunset. Wargs hunt in packs and behave much as wolves do, attacking with the ferocity of a great kodiak bear once its prey is cornered. Sometimes they will toy with that which they pursue, pretending to retreat or having conversations with humans before continuing their onslaught of teeth and jagged claws. They are easily discerned at night by the voracious yellow eyes that peer from the darkness of the forest, although sometimes they are first noticed as grey silhouettes stalking low ridges and mountain passes in the dim moonlight.

Dream-Eater Wargs

If the wargs of the highlands were ever commanded by an alpha beast, the dream-eater warg is it. The dream-eater warg is a rare and terrifying, demonic version of an already twisted and mad creature. Even larger than typical wargs, the dream-eaters appear as massive shadowy forms with horrible orange eyes, the silhouette of a massive warg hidden in their gloom. In the proper light, one might briefly see its black fur gleam silver. They move silently and quickly across the landscape, and more willingly venture close to populous human settlements. It is said that the dream-eater wargs often creep into villages at night and look into the homes of the people, stealing their dreams and causing horrid nightmares.

Willow-Lights

Willow-lights are the eerie lights that haunt Aath's waterways and seem to multiply within the festering swamps that the forest sometimes sinks into. They are a reminder that not all otherworldly things are necessarily evil. Willow-lights move erratically and unpredictably, sometimes drifting on the wind, although they are quite slow. This often leads to humans coming into close and physical contact with one out of foolishness or misfortune, resulting in severe harm. Willow-lights are said to be created when innocents or crusaders for good are slain before their time, perhaps with sinister magic, and these newly dead reanimate as incorporeal, unaware ghostly things that the living do well to avoid. The spectral forms of the willow-lights and the eerie cloud they exude allow them to sometimes impart their anguish upon those who are touched by it, often powerful enough to quickly kill and create another of their kind.

Willow-lights can be banished by the proper rituals, charms and spells, although some of these only force them to retreat rather than destroying them outright. Those who study the Graces claim that the willow-light is a dangerous shell containing a void. They state that the soul of the living person is no longer truly there, and that the entity is merely its energy formed into a hazardous ball of light; something that must be destroyed if the person is ever to truly make it to Azlorn.

Mythical Beasts of Haveneast III: Creatures of Kangdemar

« Last Edit: March 17, 2012, 09:54:52 PM by The Horse » Logged


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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2011, 12:20:24 AM »

East: The Caernel Sea and Numethia
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 06:55:47 PM by The Horse » Logged


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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2011, 09:47:49 PM »

Cool monster concept - folkloric stuff like that is often under-utilized.
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2011, 05:39:04 PM »

Sports and Culture

Helmball

The game of helmball is a brutal contact-based game that involves two teams of 11 men taking on symbolic ranks, who dress in bracers, greaves, padded armor and a thick helm and compete on a flat, rectangular field one-hundred meters long with an open "goal zone" at each end. Each team, while playing offense, begins the game at a distance from his own goal zone equal to how far the Messenger (a special, temporary position given to a regular player) can travel upon possession of the lemon-shaped ball before being tackled by a defending knight. The offense is given three attempts to move the ball at least ten meters - switching to defense if they lose, and scoring points if they eventually make it to the opposing endzone. The team leader of the offensive side (known as the Duke) is in possession of the ball as each play begins and may choose to either run the ball himself, hand it to one of his Attendants (knights who focus on being fast, strong, elusive runners and stand next to or behind the Duke), or attempt to pass it to a Cavalier (a player who attempts to catch the ball from the Duke while running varied routes across the field). The Duke is protected by a line of particularly strong and brutish knights (the Vanguards) who attempt to block defensive players from rushing the Duke (known as Sieges and Skirmishers) and either throwing him to the ground or stealing the ball, while his Attendants and Cavaliers are shadowed by similarly built, fast and agile knights (Assassins and Thieves), who may also try and attack the Duke. If any of the defensive players obtain the ball, they may either attempt to score themselves or, failing that, the possession allows them to switch to offense on the next play. The victor is the team who has scored the most points after the given time has passed (and is usually measured by an hourglass or movement of the Sun).
« Last Edit: July 29, 2012, 02:50:54 PM by Horse » Logged


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« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2011, 12:19:09 AM »

A few more updates. Map is up, however only Kangdemar and relevant areas have names for towns, and I haven't added rivers yet.
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