A Light in the Darkness Gazetteer
by Thomas Courtney
“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”
“When hell freezes over.”
“The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.”
Copyright 2008 Thomas Courtney, Tom Courtney
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Campaign
Welcome to Cellinor! Known as “The Realm” to it’s citizenry, Cellinor is the Light in the Darkness of a world without a memory. A world that does not understand it’s own past, or for that matter understand it’s own future. It is a world that knows of a destruction so powerful that it nearly annihilated every civilized race, and yet left few records as to what occurred.
The Realm is growing, and bringing peace and prosperity to many and yet it is still deadly and mysterious. Outside of the Realm the lands are much worse; they can be savage and wild, brutal or beautiful, and they are chocked full of adventure and discovery. Ruins and ancient monuments protrude from hillsides, and it’s more common to stumble across something from the “Old Time” than not doing so. Even in the Known Realm itself where “civilization” is but a few generations young, the Old Time, the time before the End Days, manifests itself in ruin, brick and stone, recycled and built upon for modern use. The truth is, even commoners know that the New Age, the Celn Age, is not as sophisticated as that of the Old, the time of Kasille. Kasille is named after the few deciphered monoliths scattered amongst the world. The Kasillians were an empire of many races, prosperous and advanced, who either annihilated themselves, or came to some doom the like of which is hard to imagine. And yet, the evidence is all around but the clues are scattered and do not yet tell the tale. People search for lost knowledge and lost artifacts that can’t be made in current times. Magic and technology are the trade of those brave enough to search. And many do, for the risk is great but so is the reward. Others fear what is discovered may lead to a new doom. The mystery of what happened to these ancient civilizations remains a mystery. But that mystery is beginning to unravel to you!
What is known is that once there was an ancient and powerful civilization that was brought to ruin by an unknown cataclysm, the End Days. Too much time has passed, and the truth of what was before, and why it was destroyed has been filled with superstition, rumor and perhaps, exaggeration. That empire and its secrets have now been reclaimed by the primordial forces of nature and lost to the knowledge of men. The wilds are simply too savage a place to explore for these answers, unless you’re willing to risk your life and maybe more.
A hundred generations have passed since that time .and now a single Kingdom shines as a beacon of light for the land. The inhabitants of this kingdom love their king who has faithfully defended their borders and now ensures peace and prosperity for all citizens. This is not an easy task since the few major cities are built upon the ruins of ancient ones, and these are scattered in the wilderness adjacent to the resources large groups of people need to survive and to thrive. Only a lone highway, the King’s Highway, connects them as it meanders through still inhospitable and ruthless wilderness. Fiefdoms outside the major cities exist by means of a lord and a protective garrison. While most do quite well, it is not uncommon to hear of one that has been taken back by the evils of the Wilds. In many ways, the entirety of the Known World is a vast belt stretching from East to West. Above, lay the Forbidden Lands, below the Empire lie the Lands of Ice and Night. Even the bravest of explorers do not return from these lands. The mere mention of either is enough to send commoners into panic.
Unbeknownst to the common folk however, this kingdom is under dire threat from secret enemies within as well. The king’s loyal servants have been ordered to seek out brave souls who would aid the defense of the kingdom. Some in secret, and some in leadership roles. Others search for the knowledge of what led to the End Days, and to the meaning of the coming signs, which point to yet another unyielding end for the Lighted Folk, The Darkening!
Your heroes can help Lord Borindin, and the Celn Empire, or they can help themselves or other allies. Regardless of your motivations, the Darkening comes for all. For as they say in Celn lands “Every wick must reach it’s end”. Will you fight to keep the flame alive? Or will you prepare for the Darkness? Consider these adventure motivations carefully. You and your party will choose one to begin and change or keep your allegiances depending on your actions and decisions!
Chapter 2: Adventuring Paths and Character Motivations
In ALIND, there are many different avenues in which to adventure. Players may choose a motivation to help define their party, and determine the type of allegiances they wish to make and how they wish to approach the people, creatures and places they will encounter. Once they have a motivation to begin with, they then can choose a THREAD to adventure in. The thread helps define the setting of the story, and gives the party a flavor for the campaign. However, because ALIND is driven by larger events, players are not restricted to staying within their motivation or setting. In fact, as they make decisions in game, they will undoubtedly move from one or another.
(The end of this guide gives background information for each Motivation)
Initial Starting Campaign Motivations
The adventure awaits you, but not on a predetermined path. Your group of adventurers can meet in a variety of different ways. Perhaps, you are all simple soldiers in the king’s security detail. Maybe, while on the run once more you meet others with the similar mark? Will you serve King and Realm, will you profit yourselves only, will you seek fame, notoriety? The choice is yours. Consider these starting motivations carefully before your adventure begins.
His Majesty’s SHIELDs: Shields come from within the realm, to serve the King, the Flame, and Cellinor through Action and Will. They adhere to a strict code, The Code of the Flame. Shield members hold both a special protection and a special burden. Their charge is to give their all, life if necessary, in the defense of the good of the Lighted Realm, keeping the darkness at bay when called for. Through the Brand, however, their honor and honesty is without judgment as they are unable through will or deed to bring harm to His Majesty, good King Borindin. Shield members on the frontier run a variety of missions at the Outposts that guard the land. Shield members in the capital serve as lowly guards, but are often embroiled in plots and recognized for promotion. Shield members are loyal to country, and are willing to risk their life in defense of the Land.
The Pursued: Their birth a mystery, their appearance always in disguise, the Pursued have lived their life running from a single event that has come to define who they are, even though they cannot seem to understand who they are themselves. Often serving various groups for pay, the Pursued stay out of the limelight whenever possible, choosing livelihoods that meet their skill set, while attempting to answer the riddle of who has so much interest in them, and what their past has to do with their future.
Between the Lines: Claiming nothing more than a set of family heirlooms and a wish to seek their fortune, those Between the Lines, follow the Realm’s Laws so as to make their living, but trust not in the King, nor the Flame. Often living outside the grand cities of Cellinor, those Between do not wish to live amongst the rigidity of the Realm’s laws, despite it’s many protections. It’s a dangerous position to be in, during such a superstitious time in the Realm, but those Between, are mindful of what they say and do, and most importantly, who they trust. Unlike the many followers of the Lighted Realm, they seek their own answers to the riddles of the past, and believe that allegiances are only worth the paper they are inscribed onto.
Adventure for Hire: Their backgrounds as varied as their skill set, those who are For Hire, seek fortune, fame or a little of both. The land around them is ripe. The rewards for those willing to seek it out or to seek it for those willing to pay, are endless. With more allegiance to Coin than to King, those for Hire are careful to choose the right job for the right price. But in a land as wild as it is strange, how does one always know what they are getting themselves into? Adventurers for Hire are found throughout the Known World, and serve whomever they choose.
*Ketian Spies: Even in a land as closely watched and guarded as Cellinor, there exists few who would betray King, Country and the Flame for their own coin purse, and for the promise of power. It is rumored that spies of KET do exist in both the cities of the Realm, it’s Wilds and even in Cillandar herself, but these rumors are believed to be simple superstition, although Bishop Belloran might wish to declare otherwise from the Temple Mount. Ketian spies are often interrogated and it is through these “Inquisitions” it has been learned that Ketian Spies often work for a hierarchy so as to protect their masters’ identity. It is therefore figured that Spies of Ket do not fully know who they serve, but seek profit for themselves nonetheless. Clearly, these individuals have a death wish or only care about their own glory, power or wealth. Those who would serve KET would be smart to keep it a secret, for certainly death would come swiftly if they were ever discovered by Cellinor’s authority.
Midpoint Campaign Motivations
These categories can be chosen along the campaign’s storyline should the party encounter certain events through choices they make.
The Loyals: Chosen for their trust, dedication or courage in the name of the Crown, the Loyals serve the King directly. As wardens of his might, they both protect and seek answers to the many riddles the kingdom must solve. The Loyals do not cling to the shadows, and their names are glorified in both tavern and alley walls.
The Dark Lanterns: Too many secrets exist, and their answers are not found by those who walk in the Light. The King has need for heroes who would serve him in secret.
For Fame and Glory: Although the world around is in turmoil, riches are still to be had, and glory is still to be found for the mighty. For mighty you are, despite the tug of those around you to join in the politics and wars of the age. You seek only a name for yourself and the power that becomes of it.
High Inquisitors: The King might be the leader of the Realm, but the Flame is his guiding Light. As High Inquisitors, it is up to you to keep the Darkness at bay, and to keep the good folk of Cellinor within the Light so long as it is here.
The Darkened Lords: The Darkness is coming, and with it the dying of day. You intend to be on the side of those who will conquer the land, and have set yourself up to be in a position to gain power, once the Light fails. All that is required of you is to serve the powers of Darkness, and since there is no stopping it, you might as well begin now.
Where does your destiny lie? How will your ambition guide you? Will you lead the armies of the Lighted Realm in war? Will you sabotage their plans? Will you be loyal to your king, or will you set off to find new lands to discover your own fate? Once again, many paths lie before you.
(The end of this guide contains the narratives and introductions for each Thread
A Ruthless Frontier-Serving on the front lines, or behind the scenes during the wars with neighboring areas, the players become bold warriors who hold the evil forces at bay. Battles tilt by the swing of their swords or the sting of their spells, as the players rise through the ranks. Events in this thread vary widely from city intrigue, political posturing, to missions behind enemy lines, or leading full scale assaults. This thread is recommended for players who like battle, and making new enemies!
His Majesty’s Service-From lowly guards during excavations in search of ancient answers to champions of the realm, the party serves the king indirectly or directly, and is at the forefront of politics, sabotage and ancient discovery. Events in this thread often take place in and around Cillandar, the capital, or other cities in Cellinor. This thread is recommended for groups that appreciate role playing and enjoy adventures that feature mystery and problem solving.
Into the Wild-Daring adventure into unknown lands, the brave find lands of untold horror, wealth and savagery. This path is a more traditional approach to adventuring. It is recommended for groups who appreciate an older more “discovery of the world” type campaign. Alliances and allegiances are made by the actions of the party, and they’ll need all the help they can get in the dangerous Wilderness beyond the Lighted Realm.
Crimson Shores-Adventurers seek out disturbing information across the seas into unknown lands for the first time, connecting civilizations from over distant seas to Cellinor. A campaign thread featuring pirates, colonies and islands of unknown horrors. Parties following this thread may ultimately become embroiled in politics and other major events involving large groups of races and peoples. Role playing is a top component, but plenty of battle awaits as well.
The Heart of Darkness-This thread is both dark, and difficult. Heart of Darkness begins in the most desperate of circumstances. Adventurers here navigate secret missions, staying under the watchful eyes of the enemy. Deadly encounters await at every turn. Not for the faint of heart or those who like to buy things in the bizarre every session. Heart of Darkness brings the enemy to you.
Chapter 3: Races, Class, and Gender in the Light and the Darkness of ALIND
The various races of lighted realms exist in a vacuum of ancient history. Nearly all races, in many respects are ignorant of their history, or have filled in the gaps with superstition and myth. It can be difficult to sort out which race or culture has the correct version of the truth. Since finding out the history of the ancient world is central to the story of ALIND, playing different races can be a lot fun. Consider your race carefully based on the information presented in this section.
Celn Humans are the most populist of the humanoid races living within the light of Cellinor and beyond. Although various styles and customs abound throughout the known world and Wilds beyond, most humans can be categorized into a few versions. The typical Celn is hard to find. They come in many shapes, sizes and temperments. One thing however binds them all, a strict adherence to The Order of the Flame’s holy doctrine. Whether they wish to do so or not. Living within the lights of a savage world means that Celns have access to a higher order of hygiene, dress and manner and as such they have a higher Charisma (+1 to charisma).
Orstman or Orlanders as they are known to Celns, are large, goliath humanoids. Standing on average at 7 feet tall, the typical Orstman can weigh between 200-250 pounds on average. Their mighty bodies provide them ample strength (+1) but they are not known to be either limber or gentle (-1 to dexterity).
Trebian-Trebians live in the outer wilds in tribes of 100s and sometimes 1000s. Rumors exist of large civilized areas, even cities deep in the northern jungles above the lands of Cellinor. However, these rumors are put to rest by the Order’s clergy and official decrees. The Trebian creation story for example, is one such cultural aspect that has permeated into Celn oral tradition but is ardently punished by the Order of Flame. Of course, this ban seems to only increase it’s popularity albeit secretively. Trebia, is currently in a state of war with Cellinor, but that is nothing new. As Celns carve out more and more Trebian lands, skirmishes and battles continue. The Celn War Council doesn’t see Trebia as a major priority at this time, their focus is on the South and the uncivilized races uprisings from giants, to orcs. Trebians have a dark complexion, are lithe and tall, quick and surefooted. The few that would be encountered in Celn lands would be servants. Not slaves, as slavery is outlawed in Celn lands. It might however, be hard to tell the difference between how the two were treated.
Sasser-Currently, little is known of the races to the West, beyond the still waters. What is known is that they are a sophisticated and technologically advanced society. Much information is unavailable to the commoner about what lies beyond, but there are rumors that the War Council, Borindin and the Order of Flame take the limited contact there very very seriously. A colony, known as Far Realm, has been established now to the West, and whether the Sassers are hospitable enough to entreat without resorting to war remains to be seen.
Blue elves are found along the Aluene River, north of Cillandar and into the Inner Wilds of the Realm. Early in the rise of King Borindin, they treated with Cillandar and now have declarations of recognition in place. Blue elves do not take in other races, although elves born and raised in the Kingdom may emigrate there. The elves of the Aluene manufacture many manner of items that Cellinor needs. However, recently, an envoy to the blue elves have not returned.
Green elves exist in several tribes throughout the outer wilds. Recently, new tribes of elves have begun to emigrate southward and have begun making entreaties with local garrisons. Trade, something the Celn nobility is desperate for with the elves, has finally begun. The green elves still keep to themselves, and the order of these exchanges is minimal at best.
Sand elves are known to exist in the Seas of Sands beyond the Eastern and Northern Celn borders of the known world. They do not officially speak with Celn expeditions, and major skirmishes have been recorded. Currently, the Shields are advised to bare arms on sight of them. Little else is known of the sand elves. Few if any live among Cellinor’s lighted cities, and if they do, they exist there in secret.
Sea elves are a legendary race that are told about in tales of Cellinor, Trebia and the Oorst. As rumors go, the Sea Elves live beneath the waves in the Western Sea in structures still intact, but submerged after the End Days. It is told in these stories, that they watched the destruction of the land above, and to this day, have no interest in the affairs above their domain.
Dwarves are often associated as rough, yet responsible, serious and grumpy. Laboring away, dwarves can be classified often as the grouchy old uncle at the family party. The dwarves of ALIND, are a bit different.
Celn lands incorporate a variety of diverse backgrounds. One of the chief races found there are dwarves. In fact about 10% of Celn population are dwarves, and that is even higher on the borderlands and in the inner wilds. Dwarves have adapted so well to Celn lifestyle and society that they are almost indistinguishable from Celn humans except for their size and stature, and of course their “attractiveness”. This gives many a Celn dwarf a bit of a chip on their broad shoulders. All Celn dwarves share a common myth of how their people entered and became a part of Celn society. That myth is known as the Throndian Arks.
Throndar according to ancient oral tradition, the dwarves attempted to outlast the darkening in a series of immense and well built fortresses hidden within their hills and mountains. During the end days wars, several of those “arks” were sabotaged and destroyed by Ket. Ket is a very real place to dwarves, unlike the metaphorical place that Celn humans describe. The few survivors of those arks however found their way to the Lighted side of the fight and helped the Lighted forces fight against the darkness. For their bravery, the goodly races included them amongst their own as the realm arose. For that reason, and although they do not live amongst them now, even the elves of ALIND treat the dwarves with respect and reverence. Minus an occasional jab about their rough eating habits, perhpas. As the stories tell, one (some stories tell of more than one, but they are much less spoken of) though remained and served it’s purpose throughout the darkening. It’s name is Throndar, and dwarves tell many tales of where it might lie, and of the wealth and beauty it would reveal to the world. It is often a dwarvish quest to search for the ancient city, although of course, none ever have found it. Many dwarves carry a weapon, shield, or breastplate with the symbol of the Ark as homage to this legend and a pride in their kinship. It is recognized in many forms, but the most simplest of forms is three intersecting circles.
According to Flame Doctrine, those who do not walk in the light, are tempted by the darkness. In this way, the halves of the world began. Although goodness can be found in their action, and thus given back into the Well of the Flame, these ancient races were once men, but were corrupted, twisted and turned by darkened deed. In this way, they are forever tainted and their kind is not considered equally as the lighted races of humans, elves and dwarves. Nevertheless, these “savages” of the wilds and of men’s darker side, can still provide aid and good things to the land, but they must be, as The Keeper of the Flame says, “watched over”. Other halves exist not listed here such as lizardfolk, kuo-toa, tieflings, or harpies. Even others like the faerie folk, pixies, brownies etcetera are often considered “darker halves” by Celns. According to the Order’s teachings, these creatures were not men once as the “lighter halves” were. Instead, they were darkened beings who became “manlike” in an effort to do the lighted races harm. Superstitious beliefs hold that Ket is to blame for their existence. The Order maintains they were simply created by men to battle each other. Some schools of thought in the clergy maintain that the ancient gods created them in order to punish mankind for his insolence during the fall of Kasille.
Halflings The most popular of all “halves” in ALIND, halflings are notorious merchants of the bizarre. Quirky and seen by many as “a cup half empty”, many live in small communities scattered in areas near larger cities. The halfling clans have established a large scale trade operation of magical and otherwise useful items found in ancient Kasillian ruins and structures. Since much of this is banned by official decree from the Temple Mount, the halfling trade is tantamount to the black market. All halflings speak a version of common that only they fully understand although their speech can be determined by a successful intelligence check. Halflings are quick witted, sure footed and have a tough skin because of the incessant badgering they recieve by the larger races of Gaia. They take little seriously, except their business enterprises.
Kenku Half man, half bird. The kenku race was recently discovered by parties entering the northern wilds in search of land to settle in. Little is known about them. Their very presence would be enough to entertain, astound and perhaps scare the common Celn.
Minotaur Have been among the Celns now for some years. It is said the first of their kind was found by Borindin’s expeditions into the wilds in the early years of his reigns. Now, there are few that have made their way by some fashion or another into the cities and towns of Cellinor. Many find their way into the battle arenas of the Challenge of Champions. Others sail west to distant isles like Xiladros wanting to escape the rigidity of Celn custom.
Dragonborn Once at war with the lighted races, the dragonborn have made peace with the realm’s customs, traditions and societal norms. Although they often keep to themselves, the various dragonborn that do live among humans are few. It is believed dragonborn live in tribes in very distant lands, but these stories never seem credible. They are often looked on in awe, and despite being a “half” to the people, they are in a way revered as the kin of dragons. There are many superstitions surrounding these “men of dragons”, but the most famous of them holds that once the dragons of the former age were destroyed, their kin was left to wander aimlessly. The world is still found to hold several actual dragons in the wilds and they are vicious and cruel. As Malorus has described, they are however, nothing like the dragons of ancient lore, who were believed to be smarter than men, and more powerful than the most brutal of beasts. The exception to this of course is Gulgol, whom Borindin slew. Celn tradition maintains, that after their destruction, the “dragons’ born” retained the nature of man, and belong in some small way to the brotherhood of the lighted races. The Flame has brought many into the fold of the Order as have the War Council into the ranks of Celn soldiery. Depending on their particular characteristics, different dragonborn have many different mannerisms and customs. There are several dragonborn legends that tell of their wanderings as a group. When one dragonborn encounters another of the same type, there is often an immediate bond of brotherhood only they seem to understand. They are fierce warriors, and have many ideals. Whatever that is, they are strict followers and difficult to dissuade.
Tieflings In ALIND, tieflings are nightmares created by a tearing of the natural goodness or “light” in the soul of mankind. The most famous stories of tieflings involve Riftenaucht, or torn night, when it is believed that women, especially, come to a crossroads of darkness and light. There seems to be evidence that these abominations occur in both genders, but the Order maintains a different view.
Half-orcs Being the offspring of an orc, a creature of darkness, half-orcs are not able to remain in natural sunlight for any length of time. Their skin, like all denizens of the dark, literally burns. A fate they fear worse than death. Only due to their human heritage can a half-orc live upon the surface for any length of time, and even so, it is not comfortable for them. They work and labor in mines mostly, and have temperaments best suited to toil and soldiery. Several half-orcs have however gained notoriety, a testament to their will and brute survivalism. A skill they are proficient in automatically.
Giants, Ogres and Ogre kin: Giants are considered darker halves for good reason. They are unruly, cruel, often stupid and difficult to contend with. More beast than man, some have been domesticated for different purposes in Celn borders. The most unruly of all giant clans lie in the South, past and adjacent to Oorst lands. There, they seem to be pawns of darker societies, goblin and orc tribes especially, who encourage them in some fashion to attack Celn outposts. They are a difficult foe and many have abilities that are not yet understood.
Centaurs, Fauns and other halves: Other halves exist and are infrequently seen in the wilds. Their stories and customs are virtually unknown to Celns.
When playing a character in ALIND, it is important to note the gender and the affects that has on others around the player character. Celns believe that Riften’aucht, literally “tearing night” exists because of the dark nature of the world. Darkness is associated with death, lightness with life. In this sense, and since women are the sex that brings life into the world, they are susceptible in a way that men are not. Surely, halves and other menlike creatures found in the world were once born of them. Thus, women may be harbingers of light or darkness. In Celn lands, women are not seen as the “weaker sex” in any way shape or form. However, because of the Order’s teachings and the traditions of Riftenaucht, and due to the cultural norm and belief in the duality of feminine nature, females in the land are often ill treated.
Men in ALIND are not the men of our world. Commoner husbands, and fathers work alongside their women, and although they perform “heavier” duties, they are not seen as more important duties or tasks. Women are educated equally in Celn lands, and in Oorst and Trebian lands even more proportionally than men. However, men are considered as benign in terms of the darker and more superstitious faiths and beliefs of the world. They are considered stable, a rock against the storm of darkness and light, but this also implies a death to these matters. Men, are not vessels for the demons of Ket to persuade. Men are also not those who would lead us to the light. This is why members of the Order of the Flame, although often men, refer to the holy doctrine as “she”. For it is not a man who can create, or give life to something good, or something ill.
Playing a female is to play a character which is seen as many things, by many different groups. In summary, women in ALIND are physically equal to men. Where men are more muscular, they are lithe. Where men are stronger, they are more dexterous. In The Ballad of Light and Darkness, and in the Liberation Scrolls, women fought alongside men during the end days war. When the battle was won and the fighters returned, the women who had been noncombatants were killed. To this day, Celns maintain a belief that women were once weaker physically, but because only those females who fought would survive, they are now physically more capable.
Females in ALIND represent a metaphor, that is not appreciated by all. A secretive group which permeates towns and hamlets, cities and villages known as “The Shielded Mothers” exists. This group of women, believed to meet in secret, are hunted by the clergy and are said to undermine the authority of law by subverting the teachings of the Flame. A mythic figure, declared sacrilege by the Order and whose idols are destroyed wherever they are found is known as The Great Mother. The Great Mother holds special significance in the Trebian creation story. She is believed to be incorruptible, and represents a woman’s ability to not just be light and darkness together, but to be above it and a harmonious balance of both. The Order warns this balance is not achievable, and so the darkness within the great mother, must be cast aside.
Due to the nature of the world in ALIND, character classes are slightly and in some cases very different than in a typical D&D campaign setting. The major difference is the way in which experience is gained. Due to the nature of WILL in this world, “experience” is essentially an increase in “power”. As heroes rise, their names become idolized, their deeds heroic, their actions legendary. Essential skills and experience are learned by adventurers alike, but true power comes to the characters as their names and identities take on meaning, for good or ill, to others in the land.
Information about the various classes and their unique ALIND characteristics is listed below. To see the background, or summary of characters featured in our ALIND campaigns, please see the PC Folio arranged by Campaign in Part 4 of the Gazetteer.
Fighters-Fighters in and out of the realm are as they are elsewhere. However, Celn fighters must abide by the Flame’s rule of law. When life is taken, will is returned to the Flame in a sacred ritual. Do all warriors follow the code? Perhaps not, but they are wise not to discuss it. Fighters are often the most legendary of heroes. Their fame rises quickly, and thus do their powers. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Mustakrakish, Flemin, M.A.R.S., Lazuras, Abel, Lessa, Kassim
Rangers-Rangers, often from lands outside the lighted realm, do not adhere to the strict martial and social norms of the regions’ fighters. They don’t “fight fair”, and have amassed skills that make them just as deadly, in different ways. Rangers gain power, not always through fame, but in their protection of the wilds themselves. For therein lies an ancient power, one that they respect even if it’s not fully understood. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Taryn, Laetis
Barbarians-Barbarians are considered too chaotic for the Celn soldiery. Something about them breeds anger in a way that is dark in nature. As such, barbarians are unruly. They are often outcasts, who because of their very nature do not contribute to The Flame. In the early years in the current age, they were inquisitioned, but now they are accepted in small ways, within the forces of the King’s armies. The most famous barbarian, Bearclaw, is said to have changed Lord Borindin’s policy towards not just barbarians, but the race of half-orcs in his land as well. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Bearclaw, Telchar
Clerics, Paladins-No healing power has existed, or is known since the time of the gods, before the end days’ war. However, rumors do exist of healing powers that exist elsewhere, beyond the flame’s reach. Clerics who claim to heal in a fashion beyond the extent of the Flame are however considered enemies of the Order. Their very existence is a threat to the solidarity of this institution. Their arts subversive, cheap tricks. Clerics and Paladins of the Flame who specialize in healing are known as the Order of Silver. Those who administer the Order’s code are known as The Order of Crimson, or simply Inquistioners. A rare sect of clerics, only females, are known as The Order of Night. Schultar, Fritz, Thaedron, Casseiopeia, Malcolm
Monks-Monks are generally Celn outcasts, self imposed, or by official mandate. There exists on the borders of the realm, several known monasteries where it is believed different communities seek a balance between a tremendous dichotomy of the world. Where others see the realm as a light in the darkness, monks in ALIND see the light AND the darkness in us all. Where their power comes from, is not understood, except perhaps, by themselves. Featured Hero: Jasper
Rogues/Assassins-The lands of this world breed thievery. And thieves, rogues and assassins abound. Perhaps, it is no surprise that as a rogue gains ability, it is not just physical theft that they are after. As thievery is punishable by inquisition, rogues often refer to themselves as “adventurers”. Featured Heroes: Bolvist, Fereday, Maria, Smudge, Mavrik, Portia,
Wizards-Wizards are the greatest threat to the Order of Flame, but because of their intellectual contributions to the realm’s technological and magical advancement are considered “necessary evils”. In their constant search for more magic from the Kasillian age, they often uncover things that challenge the authority of the Flame’s doctrine. Their power grows from a variety of sources. What they discover is often their greatest treasure but it can also put them at odds with societal forces. Featured heroes from ALIND: Splendar, Hockenbrecht, Hyperion, Doromir the Explorimir
Sorcerers-Playing a sorceror is to begin the game with enemies from all sides. Sorcerors wield power in a frenzied way and do not follow the guidelines that wizards adhere to. As such, sorcerers are considered dangerous. They are abominations of the natural order between light and darkness. Many sorcerers are killed or die early on not understanding the source of their power or how to wield it, whereas those who make it through their early transition tend to stay in hiding, pretending to be wizards, and revealing their magic as controlled energy, when in reality, it is a wellspring of the untamable. Featured heroes in ALIND: Felix, Roscoe
Warlocks and Mage Knights-Warlocks are villains to the realm at best. At worst, they are Ketian demons who have come to the surface world to drag good folk off in the night. Playing a warlock is similar to a sorcerer. The source of their power, whether possession or some other natural state must be covered through story and lie. It is believed that most warlocks are found immediately at the time they manifest their powers. Mage Knights on the other hand, are usually thought to have been warriors who have developed powers through arcane research. Several of these mage warriors have become quite famous, including one Canton, now Governor of the colony of Far Realm. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Canton, Vexlan, Thunkeroy, Lars
Druids-Druids make exceptionally interesting characters in ALIND. Their interest in the natural and physical world and their understanding of it’s very “nature” seems to put them at odds with much of the Order’s and the realms’ codes and decrees. Druids gain experience as any other class does. However, unlike warriors who grow in power by deeds on the battlefield, or by a rogue’s theft, their ardent supporters are not people, but the world itself. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Mesilla, Horst, Sanjaya, See Bo
Bards-As in any campaign, bards tell of the deeds of others, and glorify their namesake in song. Yet, there do exist some who sing of deeds they themselves have taken part in. As will and power walk hand in hand in ALIND, a bard can quickly make a name, and much more of himself, or herself in the campaign world. Featured Heroes from ALIND: Tuatha Ulrecht, Jethro Q. Lamour, Chantecleer
Chapter 4: The Geography of the Known World
The campaign world is known as many things, depending on who or what you ask. Celns refer to all of the lands within the Kingdom of Lord Borindin as Cellinor, and refer to all lands outside as The Wilds. Several areas exist in name as well, such as The Impenetrable Mountains to the south and the Forbidden Lands to the North. There is no name given for the world in it’s entirety, as there is little known outside what has been inhabited. Many venders sell maps “of the wilds” at a vast expense. All contain images of savage beasts and usually abound with treasure and secrets sworn to be accurate. Although the geography may be difficult to understand for you, there are some things which are well known to those who live in the Known Realm.
Day, Night and Passing of Time
Day in this world is not as quick as the world that we know of. One full day begins and ends with a period of 30 hours, with sunrise bringing approximately 15 hours of precious light, and darkness bringing the same. Additionally, the lone Sun does not pass directly overhead as it does in our world, but passes off of center towards the North. It has been an oral tradition that it once used to pass directly overhead, but now it no longer does. Three moons exist, each one slightly of a different size. None of these moons are spherical and their constant motions seem to create a swath of incredible tides that crisscross the salty waters of the Realm. Oddly, the moons are more visible during the day, then at night. It is common to see one or more moons in full view crossing the afternoon sky. On occasions when there is an eclipse, common folk take to their homes. Luckily this is an atypical occurrence. According to many though who have lived through the passage of the moons, these occurrences are becoming more and more frequent.
Seasons do not occur as they do in our world. In fact, flora and fauna seem to habitate in certain areas of perpetual summer, spring, or winter. Cillandar, the capital city of the Realm flourishes in a vast region of coastal warmth, too cold for the growing of crops, but yet not so cold as to be bereft of vegetation. To the East, the Southern Valley exists in an area of abundant rainfall and warm temperatures. It is this continuation of summer that allows the farmers here to feed both themselves and nearly all of the kingdom with their surplus of crops.
Geography of the Known World
(See the Map of the Known World, ACT 1 in the appendices of this guid
Although these conditions substantiate a budding civilization, other elements of the physical world are not so hospitable. To the North, little is known other than the lands grow hotter and hotter, a perpetual Sea of Sands. Rumors and superstitions exist of expeditions to vast deserts where nothing can grow and where skeletons and ancient monuments lie still, sunbaked and lonely, not a plant in sight. In between these Forbidden Lands and just above the lands of Cellinor separated by great mountains, exist a great swath of jungle, a vast belt which contains layers and layers of danger and mystery, few who venture there return, and those that do tell tales of horrifying beasts.
To the South, all whisper of the lands of Ket, Ice and Death, in which the secrets of terrible stories and myths are said to still exist. All know that long ago the Ketians rose from the Icy Womb of the Earth, and were driven back to sleep again. However, these lands are unexplorable, too cold and too forbidden for any to try. Even the vast curiosity of the King himself has not tempted him to travel there, or send others to do so. Perhaps, it is as the rumors say, for fear of awakening what lies there, beneath the ice, frozen yet living. One thing is for certain, on the southern frontier, tribes of men do live. The Ostlanders. Making their existence off the spoils of the sea, they live and treat with Lord Borindin, and claim their own beliefs and customs.
As Cillandar is situated upon the Grand Harbor on the Western Sea, much rumor and wonder exists about this vast Ocean. Sailors use the sea to transport goods and services from many places in the realm. The King’s Principality Islands form a rugged “crown” and give the Sea a calm place to transport and travel. Between the crown and the mainland, seas are not as restless, and because of this commerce has flourished. Past the Crown Isles however, little is known. The few expeditions which set off into the West have either never returned or ended in failure. Always, upon return, the ship’s crew has complained of a Sea of unmoving current, “still waters” and truly horrific beasts.
And thus is the Realm of the Lighted Folk, of the Celns, separated from the Darkness of the Wilds. Through constant vigilance, the Nobility, and King Borindin himself guard the goodly folk of the Light, and try to secure safety for those of peace.
Chapter 5: Celn Culture and History
Cellinor has a rich culture, and even though little is known of the lands of which Cellinor has sprung from, it has a rich history dating to the time of Borindin’s father, and his exploits.
A People of Faith
As a whole, Celns are rather superstitious people. Perhaps this is due to the circumstances of their surroundings and fascination or fear with the unknowns that exist around them. It is common to hear even adults making signs and leaving marks to ward off the spirits and creatures of ancient myth, especially through traditions and customs of the Silver Flame. The Flame, as it is commonly referred to, is the official religion of the Realm. It’s origins and religious documents are kept on high esteem. Even those who do not pray or give obedience to the Flame often revere it. It’s beginning and origin is traced back to Borindin’s father. Borindin himself made pronounced the Flame the guide to his Realm following his battle with Gulgol, the ancient. However, since Borindin has brought the Flame into the fold, many Celns consider themselves to be of the “new Cellinor”, and try their best not to resort to the superstitious customs and traditions of their parents and grandparents. Stories such as the “Shrouded Mothers” the “Ketians” and the “End Days” are all downplayed and for these Celns, who serve the Flame, exist as nothing more than ignorant stories told by those who have not yet discovered the new understandings of a modern civilization or in the case of Cillandar , the capital, a metropolitan city. Meanwhile, the Order of the Flame has by virtue of it’s many rewards to citizens, led the masses in an understanding that worship to Gods was and is the downfall of man. The Flame asserts that God Worship is the accumulation of the Flame within all for something that does not deserve such power. By giving their energies, prayers and souls to the Flame, the citizens of Cellinor ensure that all have a share in the collective power. Because of the nature of this partnership between the faithful of the citizenry and the Order of the Flame’s clergy, healing, and clerical arts are always free. The Flame returns the warmth unto it’s people.
However, not all races and beings that work and live within Cellinor abide by or agree to the teachings of the Flame. These beings have their own religions, many of which have been collected through tribal lore. In order to find a peaceful compromise with these creatures and races, Borindin has decreed that all in the realm may pray to what they will, so long as their prayers do not give energy to a being from the Before Days, or to one manifestation, such as a person, or artifact. Citizens who ignore this Decree of Faith are swiftly put to death.
Cellinor, being originally a set of collected human tribes, has taken in and adopted many other races during the Age of Civility. Elves, gnomes, dwarves and halflings all compose important bases for various industries, from arcane research to feats of engineering. In the “Inner Wilds” or areas near Celn cities some races prefer to keep their own smaller townships and hamlets. These racial outskirts exist as part of the realm by treaty, and by agreement of the treaty are still subject to it’s laws and taxes. Most races prefer to integrate but some still do live separately. Only rarely does a group decide to live outside the borders of Cellinor, for past the protective Outposts, few peaceful communities last long. Races such as goblins, orcs and other creatures are not common parts of the realm and are, in short, considered creatures of night. Their very presence would be enough to raise the militia. Commoners refer to them as “Ketians” and although they are usually found living in the darkened places of the world like ruins and caves, it is regarded by most of the educated officers and classes that they do not come from “Ket”. Peace is usually the norm however, amongst the races that do live in the Realm, as the national decree is to aid the kingdom. Although unity is preached, Borindin’s laws and statutes allow for the various races to do as they will so long as it is for the benefit of the Lighted Folk. This decree, similar to the Roman style of rule during it’s heyday, has provided a cultural fuel that has so far led to incredible progress.
Celns enjoy a fine tradition of art, dress and custom. The food in the realms is rich and hearty. Celns like to eat foods high in protein, a tradition dating back to the first tribes in the region. Although Celns themselves claim their food is the greatest in the land, most acknowledge this is part due to the influx of different races cohabitating with humans in it’s major cities. Cellinor fashion is also a subject of much discussion. As Cillandrians consider themselves to live in a modern city, their dress, mannerisms and traditions is often imitated throughout the land. Unfortunately, the King’s Highway is still a dangerous and difficult path connecting the cities to one another. Many a Celn husband has been waylaid by his infatuated wife to bring back the latest hat or scarf from the grand shops of the Plaza of Heroes.
Despite the fact that Cellinor is but nearly a century old, it has many established holidays, and festivals, most of which are related to the stories and tales of King Borindin. The Festival of the Fall is celebrated on every Late Harvest. The Fall commemorates the Wyrm, Gulgol’s literal fall into the Serpent’s Bay during the battle with the King. Parades are held, and tributes to the King are offered. The three day event ends when a group of nobles makes it’s way through Cillandar’s streets and ends at the great gate of the Tower Keep in which Borindin resides. The nobles tell the tale of the Fall and each offer a great treasure to his majesty. Usually, Borindin himself opens the gates, and gives a speech to the many thousands that attend. In the Southern Valley, this coincides with the annual fair. A place where farmers and villagers from the scattered hillsides congregrate to share wares and to offer their services.
And even though the realm is presided over by a watchful clergy, Celns have a flare for the ancient myths and superstitions of the land. Many festivals include iconography from these tales, and others are involved in plays, parades and other events small and large. For instance, in every hamlet and every village there is a “Central Podium” or “Circle”. In this circle, usually situated in four corners around it is a pedestal with four statues. Each statue represents one of the “Heroes”. In most villages, these statues are simple, sometimes even just blankly carved wooden posts. However, in others they are more elaborate. The Shielded or Shrouded Mothers is a theatrical event often put on by the elderly of the rural areas. It’s theme of the power of women is highly regarded by some and others wish it was abolished. In the play, women rise from their duties; some brandish sword and armor, while others become demons and return to punish the wicked.
The most spectacular, and dramatic of all festivals though is perhaps Riften’aught. Riften’aught, or “Torn Night” is a week long festival of grand superstition. Even the clergy and faithful of the Flame are often ardent adherers to the custom. During the weeklong celebration, grand food and dance is held, but on the 6th night, all of the women of the Realm are kept indoors. Games and other entertainment is strictly ignored and bedtime is observed early. During the night, it is said that the forces that persuade women to side with evil or good are at their greatest. Much innuendo surrounds this, and this innuendo is only heightened by the teachings of the Flame. For as it is written amongst it’s principle documents, “Women of the Light are always at danger of consuming Darkness, but never more so than on Riften’aucht”. On the morning of the 7th day, it is said that the evil forces have either infiltrated the home, or been swept away by the truth and honor of the woman of the house. Unfortunately, due to the nature of these beliefs it is well evidenced that female murders and other crimes against women are extremely high on Riften’aucht. A recurring problem that the members of this “civilized” realm still cannot seem to come to terms with.
All know that Celns, and especially Cillandrians, enjoy games of chance and games of intellect. They can often be seen competing with one another in games such as Spottle, or “Pockens”. A recurring joke in schools and homes is that Celn children are not able to sit until age 15 because their backsides have been whipped too much for playing games instead of studying. In fact, the Challenge of Champions, celebrated every 4 years, is the ultimate contest in the land, and pits groups that make it to the finals in contests of weapons, magic and especially in thought provoking challenges that test will and spirit. Held once every ten years, the Nobility puts on the greatest exhibition in the realm. The Battle of Heroes (named for the myths and legends of a group of ancients that did courageous things depending on who you ask) is a contest to the death. Each hero competes in the Arena of Heroes in Cillandar. The victor is given the title of Hero of the Realm, and honored among the people. It is not uncommon to see grown men, boys or women keeping idols of these combatants, or even pray to them (although this is frowned upon and openly punishable by the Order). Nearly all villages, hamlets and townships in the Realm have a small arena, in which the local boys and girls “train” in.
Regardless of where you find yourself in the Light of Cellinor, a rich tradition of many cultural elements awaits you. But, Cellinor is a growing empire. And the customs of these “conquered” people continue to change and mix with the culture of it’s inhabitants.
No race in the Light, or known to exist in the Dark, can claim that they know their true history, or origin. As mentioned, it is this unknown history that gives the inhabitants of the world a constant need to search and wonder at what came before. Tales are shared, and comparisons drawn around firesides and even in the King’s famous Discussion Room. No one in the realm has a more insatiable appetite for history than Borindin himself. Indeed, Borindin, in his younger days was said to seek new borders and lands to add to the Celn empire. It is often rumored that these lands were acquired not based on a need for resources, but on Borindin’s desire to spear head a team of archaeologists to acquire some ancient artifact or follow some deciphered text. Borindin’s passion for the past fuels an entire industry of “adventurers” who meet bi-annually to be briefed about employment on a contract for hire basis.
The Age of Awakening
What is known about the past, beyond the endless speculation of every Celn of course, begins with the Age of Awakening. Most of what is known from this time is in the form of collected oral traditions and purportedly magical “relics”. Some of these relics are well known among the masses, often kept in reverence by the Order, revealed in ceremony. Others are more mysterious or only known to a few researchers. Some are even said to have been found and kept secretly because of their power, perhaps by Borindin himself, or else located in the Temple Mount, Home of the Keeper of the Flame in Cillandar.
What is known begins with the Tree of Awakening, the same tree which inspires the symbol on flags, and banners in the Kingdom. These symbols are found worldwide, in nearly every culture. Although patterns and styles vary, the tree is a universal trait. For the Celns, the tree is often referred to as the “root” or foundation or the beginning of civilization. Interestingly, the story is referred to in Celn lands as fact, however, all know that the Ballad of the Tree (sung originally by Vroralinus the Bard) is the impetus for what is known. What makes the Awakening Story so powerful though, is that it appears in different versions in every known race within the lands of the Known World.
In short, some of the races of the world have attempted an origin story, but most, like humans and elves simply don’t have one. It is the lack of an origin between the races that seems to confirm the ballad of The Tree of Awakening that humans simply willed themselves into being, good into creatures of the day, and bad into creatures of the night. It is known that others existed before, The Old Ones, the Kasillians. But how they sprung into being after the Fall of Kasille is simply an unknown. Some legends tell of the races being the remnants of these people. One interesting tale claims that the races were but mere children, who after the destruction simply walked into the wilderness, helpless and innocent to fend for themselves.
The major races do however trace their first recorded historical event to the “Meeting at the Tree”. According to legend (and Vroralinus) the major races each wandered the land living with the animals and learning to keep their stomachs full. But once, on a particularly cold Winter Solstice eve, each race found itself at the Tree, seeking shelter from the storm in it’s massive cover. Not having any understanding of others, they immediately became aggressive towards one another. At that very moment, the tree took flame.
The different races present that night, had never witnessed fire before. At first, this scared the people, but soon each discovered that the heat kept the cold away and that the dark around them was repelled by it. It soon became apparent that this heat was safety. About to war over who would seek shelter there, the glow and heat from the fire began to spread so fiercely that each tribe had to move away, shielding themselves from the intense glow. According to Vroralinus’s account, the glow left an indelible mark in each race, a mark which each would see when they came into proximity together. This mark is called the ‘Rooting’ and is often referred to when ambassadors from various nations meet to establish borders, or conduct political business.
Eventually, everyone was within the heat and all settled in for the night. The tree burned and was reduced to ashes as the humans, elves and dwarves kept warm around it. Such was the size of the tree, that none of the races argued over the availability of room for everyone found warmth that night. In the morning the storm was gone, and the tree was reduced to embers. The various races each took a branch partially burned and set forth to light their own way. However, before they left they each pledged to remember the Tree and how the act of sharing the fire resulted in something beneficial for all. Legend holds, that those inflamed branches were each kept and that the bearer of those embers would bring the same sticks from the Tree as a sign of peace whenever the races had need to share or work together. When the races returned to the tree, it was foretold, the mark would glow again. It is not uncommon to find a merchant in some apothecary shop with a “small twig of the tree” for sale, or to collect a small fee for the image of the “mark” found in some “ancient text”.
The Age of Civility and the Great Simplification
Of the races that gathered at the Tree that night, all but one went on to establish civilizations. Only the reptile men, the Dragon Born as they called themselves, kept to their warring ways. Elves moved into the forests and mountains and lived off the land and with it. Dwarves worked in the soil and in the earth itself. Humans, halflings and gnomes worked the land and created such vast surpluses of food that they traded with the other races and became the bearers of trade centers in the land.
Other “races” are not recognized officially by the Celns. Lycanthropes are a particularly devastating form of disease that scares Cellinor Nobility. “Outbreaks” are met with fierce force and are dealt with through Martial Law if need be. Other creatures, known as “Halfs” to the Celns, are not often treatied with and are usually met with superstition, skepticism and scorn. Minotaurs, “Birdmen”, fauns, and centaurs fall into this latter category.
During these early stages of settlement and city State establishment, leaders sought to ensure safety by eliminating the superstitions that worried their citizens. A hard working and industrious population was one that did not worry about their past. It was this concern during the early stages of the cultures that would become Cellinor that led to the Great Simplification.
During this time, a period of perhaps just one or two generations, Celns destroyed any and all documents, paintings, or other periphernalia that had to do with the past. Anything other than the Tree Legend was destroyed in almost a frenzied zealousy. It is believed that the riddles and sources burned during these decades would answer many times over the many questions of the most ardent searchers in the current age.
The Age of Civility established the basic and fundamental practices of the Celn Nation right up until the present: Establish centers around resources, using the Kasillian infrastructure, create a surplus of food, and push back into the wilderness to ensure safety for the citizens of Cellinor. Although, most of what is referred to in this age is the Simplification and the great battles and histories of different figures, it is the permanent establishment of communities that so defines it.
The Age of the Flame
After many generations, the people of the land multiplied and began to fight back the wilds in permanent settlements. Using the ruins and debris that lay around them, the different races found that whoever had placed their societies here before had done so for reasons that could help them as well.
One such group was a tribe of humans that proudly traced their lineage directly back to the first meeting at the Tree. This tribe was led by a man named Cellinus.
THE TALE OF BORINDIN , A Celn Legend
In the ancient times before the Light, groups emerged from the darkness, living mostly on game to survive, collecting what they needed when they could and sometimes thriving but sometimes becoming prey; entire communities wiped out by the wilds’ many beasts. One group in particular, came from fertile valleys of the South. These ancient people were said to have carried a flame of Silver, which gave them power over beasts and other harms of the ancient world. Legend holds that the flame was found in the Tree of Awakening itself on one of Borindin’s ancestors’ quests. This flame became the symbol for a growing identity of people and in stories was carried into battle. It is said that the same flame that burns in the Temple Mount has not once been extinguished through the lines of all the Celn chiefs back to the finder of the flame himself.
Borindin’s father, Cellinus, was the first named King of one such community. He lead a group of humans to a place by the shore where food is plentiful for those with the technology to acquire it, a land of still waters, vast resources, and calmer weather. Within a decade, their growing community was trading with the farmers in the Southern Valley and with the other races of the Inner Wilds, establishing a peaceful waypoint in the land. But then, as if by some unlucky chance, they were noticed, and then ravaged by a dragon of immeasurable power, Gulgol the Ancient. The Dragon was far too powerful to be destroyed in open combat, but in time they discovered It wasn’t interested in the destruction of Cellinus or his people’s tribe.
The Dragon, it’s said in order to gain power, made a pact of sinister intent with Cellinus. He would allow the tribes to keep their Flame so long as they worshippd it’s laws as well. And although Cellinus resisted and fought the Wyrm, his death by the beast’s hand, led the people to give in to the request. Not only was worship in the Dragon’s name to be done, feeding it’s immeasurable power even more, but to ensure their loyalty they were to sacrifice their own in a “lottery”. The lottery would choose one maiden each year to be given over to the dragon for what it would.
While the nobles of the scattered clans continued to abide by the dragon’s laws, Cellinus’ infant son rose to manhood. Without a father to guide him, Borindin grew up stubborn, bold and many say fearless. Borindin fought warring groups around him and settled the region for peaceful farming and resource collection, establishing the King’s High Way. Borindin possessed an unsatiable appetite for discovery and led many expeditions in search of answers to the riddles in the ruins beneath the sands of time. This only satiated the Dragon more, as it brought riches and more servants to it’s doorstep. The land prospered, so long as Borindin gave in to the requests his father had agreed to.
But, when Borindin’s bride to be was called to be the next chosen through the lottery, he decided to fight against the Dragon. Few men would help him, something that Borindin would never forget. However, a small group of women, each having lost a child to the lottery, were said to be “guided” to join with him. Women were often trained in the armaments and strategies of war, and Borindin was always a man who had believed in the freedom of choice among his people. Rumor had it that these women were guided by a powerful ally of some sort. Something lost to the forgetfulness of Time.
Borindin led these brave villagers into the ruined lands at the base of the Dragon’s Mount, the very same ruin that today holds the Tower Keep, the Capital building in the heart of Cillandar. As they crept up the side of the mountain overlooking the Serpent’s Bay, (today it is now known as the Grand Harbor) they were guided to a place that the Dragon did not know about, and entered the lair from below. Many theories have arisen as to how they were able to invade the Wyrm’s lair without It’s knowing, and this is often believed to be the result of Borindin’s ever interest in ancient lore, and archaeology.
While in route, however, an anxious and fearful contingent of the community’s Nobles grew concerned over Borindin’s probable failure and certain death and feared the Dragon’s wrath afterwards. In an act of utter betrayal, they took his bride anyway to the place of worship, calling forth the Dragon, they sacrificed her and gave the Dragon the knowledge of what Borindin had planned.
The Dragon returned to her lair and set a trap for the would-be hero.
Borindin’s ragtag army entered the Dragon’s lair and engaged it in combat. Somehow Borindin was able to create a deterrent to the Dragon and sealed it off from escape. To this day, no one knows exactly how he was able to do this. Those that survived the ordeal never gave witness to the deed and Borindin, it was said, was too humble a man to repeat the encounter in detail for the Bards. In a final show of strength, Borindin slew the dragon with a mighty stroke of his axe, it’s body falling into the cascading waters below, ending it’s reign of terror . This exact moment is celebrated each year in the Festival of the “Fall” celebrating the literal fall of Gulgol into the bay below. In honor of his accomplishments, the people claimed him to be King of the New Age. Borindin forgave his people but made them give themselves to his commitment of the self, over worship of another. The Silver Flame became the new and only accepted form of worship in the land, something that held to the prescribed notions that already existed since the End Days. Legend holds that the first brand was created in a make-shift forge there within the Dragon’s Lair from one of her many scales. Borindin’s Brand, later known as the Brand of Cillande (sill and) was and is a magical bond between Borindin and his subjects that forms a pact of trust. The brand ensures that the bearer can never harm deliberately the King or the Nation of Cellinus, and above all, the Brand gave Borindin the peace to trust his people once again.
In honor of his father’s sacrifice, Borindin named the realm Cellinor. After his bride Cillande, whom Borindin is believed to mourn even to this day, he named Cillandar, his capital.
Owing his great accomplishment to both strength and knowledge, he has vowed to bring the people into the Light, teaching hard work and a quest for learning by example. Borindin believes wholeheartedly that the Darkness is coming again, and that only through hard work and dedication to CAUSE and by discovery of what happened to the Ancients can the REALM remain in the Light. He is constantly vigilant, and is a man of swift action, never afraid to establish the Realm’s force in order to protect it’s borders. Borindin champions education, exploration and is said to hunger himself for adventure, as he occupies much of his time in the service of his realm. Borindin is much older now, near 86, but his youth is ever present, many believe due to magical enchantment.
His second wife, Genovia, died in childbirth to Genoran, after giving the King a son Genorus (Geno) and several of the best years of his life, according to the King himself. Attempts to raise her were unsuccessful, and with the sadness this left him, Borindin never took another bride. Rumors exist and have perpetuated through the years that Borindin has a daughter, born along with one of his two sons. Unable to lose another of the women he loved so deeply, it is believed, for those who listen to such rumors, that she is to be found among one of the nobles, or elite classes serving the King, but is kept secret in order to protect her.
But rumors do, abound of who she might be…
Chapter 6: Maps of the Known World
These maps represent the information that you are now privy to. As you adventure, new maps and more detailed maps will become available. You might even create the first maps yourself.
THE GREAT REALM OF CELLINOR-Areas in Green represent the lands claimed by Cellinor, or to which treaties exist verifying Borindin’s Rule, and the Flame’s Law. Areas in Yellow are purported to be too hot and dry to explore.
The Known Realm of the World
The Capitol City of Cillandar, Named for Borindin’s First Wife Cillande
A Map of Unknown Origin, left in your possession
(find these in the front page tab marked “Maps”)
Chapter 7: Cellinor, Within the Lighted Realm
#1 Capitol City of Light, Cillandar, City of Cillande, “Lady of the Hill”
Cillandar is situated, as are most cities in the Celn Empire, on End Days ruins. Partly because of this existing architecture, the city rises high above the bay below. Cillandar, the most modern of all cities other than Cellione, boasts a magnificent infrastructure. Cillandar sits atop a mountainous archipelago overlooking a grand harbor and bay. The bay itself is part of a wide and magnificent sprawl of river deltas. Primarily, the Aluene River, known to most as the Blue Aluene, empties into the bay. The geographical importance of these deltas cannot be overstated. Cillandar is a natural distribution port. Ships loaded with cargo leave for the Serpent Isles, or Crown Isles, or even as part of trade to the Ostlanders to the south. Into the interior, barges and other river vessels bring riches into the townships and settlements in the “Inner Wilds” of the nation. As Celn fathers often tell their sons, “A ship leaves from Cillandar in every direction every day, make sure you don’t get put on one!”
The city itself is an imposing sight for any sailor arriving into Serpent’s Bay. Sheer cliffs of granite frame the peninsula for hundreds of feet, while above, the grand structures with their roofs of the traditional red pitch cast reflections below. The Temple Mount stands majestically in the middle for all to see, as well as the King’s Tower, principal offices and housing for his majesty, Lord Borindin. Not to be outdone, the noble’s quarter continues it’s upward build as new and beautiful architecture springs up each season.
Cillandar itself is fortified further by massive walls and their fortifications along the only exposed side, from the South. From here, visitors rise hundreds of feet from the hamlets and towns of the outlying valleys. Visitors arriving by land are greeted by noble towers flying the gold and green of the good king’s crest.
To the north, lies the island of Cendros, a smaller yet even more well defensed portion of the city in which lies cells and other military shipyards and training areas for the King’s Shields.
To the East, one can take ‘The Birdcages’ as they are known. A series of mechanical pulleys and bridges which bring citizens through the air below to the Docks Region, where they will most certainly either find their fortune, a whole lot of trouble, or if they’re lucky, both.
Cillandar’s economic engine is driven primarily by what grows there. As spring is nearly perpetual in it’s wide principalities, the Celn Empire essentially feeds the known world. Not only do daily shipments arrive from the Southern Valley, the breadbasket of the nation, but additionally, other food resources, fish and tropical fruits arrive from the regions islands and trade partners to both north and south. In return, Cillandar acquires vast resources of metals, precious materials used in sorcery and machinery to power factories. Additionally, the nobility acquires tremendous magical wealth taken from the ruins of the lost civilizations before the End Days. As with other powerful kingdoms, Cillandar has what the world wants, and because of it, collects what it wants. In this fashion, Cillandar has become the technological wonder of the current age. It’s a positive feedback loop that makes Cillandar the “place to be” in the Celn Empire.
Although, Cillandar’s port is notorious for it’s shipping and importing of goods, Cillandar actually offers a wide range of goods and services produced there, that are highly desirable by many in the realm. Cillandar, for instance, produces nearly all of the adventuring equipment sold throughout the land, as well as the arms, weapons and armor needed for it’s vast army and navy. Moreover, Cillandar boasts an extensive arts, and educational district which is the first of it’s kind, at least in the current era. Cillandar’s theatre, art schools and colleges of magic, sorcery and engineering are topics of conversation among the ale houses of the realm. It seems as if everyone wants to bring their tricks to Cillandar!
Mystery and Rumor
As with the goods and services produced by Cillandar, there exists quite a bit of rumor. As all in the realm know, magical devices and items obtained are subject to immediate confiscation by the Order of the Flame, and are both the physical and intellectual property of the King. During the Great Simplification, it is well known that the remnants of the past were destroyed in order to keep the citizens free and safe, however, some of these fragments escaped even the Order’s watchful eye. When found, they are brought to Cillandar, and most likely destroyed by the Order itself. However, rumor has it that the King himself is something of an archeaologist and has a great interest in Before Days lore. Nearly every magic and curio shop in the city purports itself as having some secret back alcove with something mystical that can reveal the true nature of the devastation of the past. Or perhaps, of the dark tidings that may one day come again!
But the real heart of Cillandar’s rumor mill lies in the taverns, brothels and Spottle parlors on each street corner. Here adventurers rest their aching bones, having just arrived by horse, by barge of by ship. They tell their tales of adventures, monsters, and traps, of howling spirits in the night and of scars mended in battle hastily. The rumors and stories are as bold as can be imagined, and it’s hard for even the most seasoned of barkeeps to tell what is fact and what is fiction. One thing is for certain though, the best of the tales intertwine the lore of the past as told by the Flame, as well as the oral traditions that have survived it’s “simplification”. Travelers bearing stories that best relate these dark tidings, of unknown and hideous places and beings are from time to time, canonized by the Tellers, who make their coin, and ale, from repeating these stories, mostly through plenty of hyperbole!
#2 Cellione, The Sister City
Mystery and Rumor
#5 Pylos, City of Mirrors
Pylos is unlike any most like Celn cities in that it is not built on End Days structures. In fact, Pylos is known as the Gateway to the Sea of Sands because the city, spread over two different cliff faces, sits on the northern most border of the Realm. The city, if one could call it that, is an interconnected hive of tunnels, and chambers carved into the smooth and dry sandstone cliffs. In typical Celn fashion, as much light as can be is harnessed and infused inside via mirrors and shafts. This gives Pylos a rare but beautiful feel as even deep within the city, there is plenty of light. For this reason, Pylos is sometimes referred to as the City of Light, even though it is mostly deep within the Earth.
Psidon, “Oasis” of the Realm
Deep beneath Pylos lie the fields of Psidon. Lush and green, fertile fields of wheat and fruits are grown in the most extraordinary way. As Pylos is lit by mirrors which brighten even the darkest recesses of the sandstone hills it is carved out of, so too is Psidon illuminated. Incredibly plentiful springs thought to be from the Northern marshes feed into the fields, which once irrigated, and landscaped properly have created an oasis deep underground. It is here, amongst the gardens and fields that the nobility of Pylos reside. Visitors to Pylos’ nobility to often treated here, an experience they aren’t soon to forget.
# 7 Lessina
The Cairn Republic
If the Southern Valley exists to feed the realm, then the Cairn Republic exists to build it. Located in the vast forests and hills of the realm’s North Eastern borders, the Cairn Republic was first established as lumber mills throughout the network of swiftly flowing rivers that exist in the Aluene Delta. However, the various native populations of lizardmen, gnolls and other less civilized beasts forced the Celns who set up a foothold there to set up defensive fortresses. Although, these skirmishes are now fewer in number, the Cairns are still dangerous and traveling there is best known in larger and trusted caravans with the King’s caravans. Naturally, the Celns did what they had done elsewhere, using the infrastructure of the Kasillians. What they found, was a series of interconnected sewers and waterways that make for a perfect building point. Now, with two generations of time to build atop of these ancient stone structures, the Cairns gleam magnificently, tier after tier, with gleaming spires.
The lifeblood of the Cairn’s industry is lumber products, delivered throughout the realm via river, but also over land by various caravans and other methods. However, other industries thrive. As throughout the realm, the discovery of ancient artifacts brings adventurers near and far. Located so near to a swath of unknown terrain, the Cairns also lure monster hunters who seek to kill or capture new and extravagant beasts for the Realm’s Championship games.
One of the most interesting sources of Cairn wealth however is the black market trade with the Trebians to the north. Although Cellinor exists in a state of war with the God Worshippers of the North, their goods are highly sought after by superstitious Celns. The risk of Inquisition is low as it is common and often overlooked by the Order and curiosity runs high. Recently, however, this practice has been the target of the Order’s eyes since the Trebian invasion of Carr Alpha. It is no longer a safe bet that Trebian artifacts will be overlooked by a keen Flamist’s eye!
Because of the many rivers in the area, and the necessity of their usage to transport goods, the river is quite important to Cairn Celns. The woods around these cairns teem with living things, and spirits of the woods, waters and plants are often at odds with Celn demands for the natural resources found there. Rumors of what lie at the Aluene’s source are plentiful, but truly no one really knows. The last time an expedition set out, King Borindin himself led it and that expedition failed.
However you find yourself in Cairn lands, adventure is never far.
Carr Perrin, Carr Theris and Carr Thos
The cairn lands are divided into different districts, all of which supply materials and other goods to the realm. Each district is presided over by a feudal lord, or lords, and their vassals are protected through Shield infantry by the local garrison at several key outposts. Three of the major towns, all built on end days’ structures grow exponentially, but still operate as border towns. The Flame operates much of the justice here, just as it does in other parts of the frontier. Most goods can be found here, and traded as well.
The Prison of Carthos, “The Wheel”
The Wheel is the only prison the realm has, or as The Warden of the Wheel will tell you, the only one it needs. The wheel is so named for it’s shape, which is in fact that of a large circle. Built on an ancient Kasillian structure, the wheel rotates. Each day, the wheel is turned by a gigantic device, one click. After 369 days, the wheel has been one complete turn. A prisoner with one turn, will then find that his chamber has been opened, and he will be freed. Unfortunately, for most prisoners, one turn is not enough t cleanse their soul for joining with the Silver Flame. At times, instead of imprisonment, a convicted sinner may choose to “March into the Light”. These journeys travel northward into the Seas of Sands, and those who make the trek are not seen from again. The heat of the sands, cleanes these Souls of Sin.
Carr Alpha was nothing more than a waypoint some 15 years ago. Set between hostile lands to the North, a deadly swamp to it’s southern border, and elven lands to the East, Carr Alpha’s rich soil lay unused for centuries. A decade ago however, a ragtag group of adventurers, sponsored by Prince Genoran himself cleared the land and established a township. In earnestness was the land cleared and barley grew plentiful for what has become the land’s finest brew: Dying God Ale.
Much speculation exists about the earliest days of it’s establishment, but what is known is that during it’s first few years, the Lords of the Northern Valley began to have disputes with the Trebians who had been at that time beginning their intusions into Celn lands. This would lead to a direct assault on the Valley’s Keep, Carr Alpha, in a battle siege that is still sung about as one of the greatest Celn victories of our modern time. Alhough the Trebians were annihilated and the battle was won, the Lords of Carr Alpha disappeared during the fighting, and have never been seen again. Most believe they are simply to be counted among the dead buried in mass graves after the battle, but Celn superstitutions are tough to put down!
Since the victory, Carr Alpha has become a thriving community, now rivaling it’s larger sister cities of Carr Thos and Carr Theris. Much larger than Carr Perrin, Alpha now boasts a major trading route and partnerships with several key races in the temperate Wilds above. Goods from the Outer Wilds come from as far away as Almagesh and Lessina. As trade routes are currently being explored into areas to the North believed to have large bodies of water and possibly seas, Carr Alpha will continue to grow and prosper in the years to come
In fact, just recently the governing agency in Carr Alpha has recently asked those with abilities in sailing and shipbuilding to seek employment there. It appears as though the explorations into accessing these bodies of water may have been fruitful after all.
District and Municipalities of the Southern Valley
Outpost 51, The Fair
Just another outpost perhaps, but to those in the Southern Valley, Outpost 51 has grown to be the most important fortress in all of the frontier. Situated at a crossroads between the Cairn Lands to the north, the Inpenetrable Valley to the south, Almagesh to the East, and the City of Light, Pylos, to the west, it is no wonder Outpost 51 requires multiple garrisons. Built on a nearly intact Kasillian fortification, 51 as it is usually called, is a mammoth structure, with many towers and thick walls. It is here that the yearly fair is held. To commoners, the fair isn’t just another bizarre and a place to exchange produce. It is an opportunity for the citizenry that works to bring the food to the cities to live like they are in one, if only just for a time. The Battle of Heroes, Challenge of Champions, and other festivals arrive and are smaller but still grandiose versions of that displayed in the capitol. Tellers and bards bring the latest ballads of the heroes of the land, or the most well received oral traditions.
But the most popular part of ‘The Fair’ is the Adventurer’s League Assignment Board. Once a simple post with notes attached, it now encompasses nearly an acre of tents, booths, and demonstrations. Farm hands, magicked youngsters and those with a knack or a hope to grow into a mighty adventurer like the king himself meet here to find employment. For some, others from the lighted cities offer employment in a variety of expeditions into the wilds. A variety of services are required in the land, from simple guards to full expeditions into dangerous lands. Some will be enrolled in the lists of Shielded infantry. Word to the wary though, not all employment is legitimate, and sometimes an “adventurer” sees their last fair once they’ve accepted a “position”.
Haven and Fort Ogrehead
Even deeper into the interior lies a small outpost and fort. The town of Haven is a daring venture into inhospitable lands. Surrounding it lie some of the most treacherous valleys cut into granite hills and a small mountain range. Known to dwell in the darkened places there, goblins and orcs and other foul folk threaten the security of the new enterprises there. Fortunately, Haven lies far enough away to make it difficult for these foul beasts to traverse the land for attacks. The fort which protects Haven is known as Fort Ogrehead. No one is really sure why it was so named, but the structure itself does resemble a large head if seen from certain places along the King’s Highway.
Principalities of The Crown Isles (Islands and Homesteads)
Chapter 8: Politics in Cellinor
Lord Borindin The king is the central figure in government, and Lord Borindin rules with both an iron fist, and a scroll in his open hand. Or so goes the saying. Lord Borindin is a unique and interesting figure, as well as the leader of the realm. Not only did he slay the dragon Gulgol, thus establishing the kingdom, but he singlehandedly then led forces in battle, securing the valleys of Cellinor for trade, agriculture and commerce. His interests brought him on several dangerous expeditions of which many bard songs are sung about. Lord Borindin is known for his belief in constant progress, for both his person and the realm. He leads by example, which is why colleges, and championships are often sponsored and held in his honor. A lucky adventurer is sometimes called to his Discussion Room, where an important task is discussed.
Genorus Alkeus (3rd in line to throne)
(2nd in line to the throne)
Genoran Alorin (Next in line to throne)
Senate and War Council
Order of Lighted Nobility
Commander Luger and the Lighted Registry
Calyssa, The King’s Librarian
Chief Archeaologist Duher
The Jakabins (Harpers)
The Dark Lanterns
The Shielded Infantry
The High Inquisitors
Oath and Code
Chapter 8: Other Realms and Lands
Beyond Cellione, The Frozen Seas
Ostfel, and the Ostren
The Frozen Gate
The Impenetrable Valleys
The Still Waters, The Great Western Sea
Granted Lands, The Wilds of “Outer Cellinor”
The Northern Reaches and Tropics
The Maiden’s Hair
Wings of Pelerus
Almagesh and the Sea of Sands
“Seek answers to the riddle of Ket and Kasille in the Light in the Darkness.” The Last words of Tiresias to Eminides, Captain of the Guard of Haven
“The Sea of Sands, says ye! The dead hills, the endless heat, the Scorched Lands? What in the Night would you want to know about that blasted wilderness?”
“There’s nothing there but death, and I don’t give a Blighted piss what the Flame thinks about that!”
“Superstition? Oh well, there’s no better place for superstition I suppose, except of course for Ket itself. Why just ask the Order, they’ll tell you! There you will find naught but starvation, thirst and agonizing torture, and then you’ll die, even though ye be in the Light. Here the Light takes from you everything you are, and gives nothing back.”
“Of course you’ve heard of the Souls of Sin, those poor bastards, devout and orthodox, who have taken their vow of the Flame and then betrayed it. Instead of waiting for their Inquisition, they make the pilgrimage to the North, to the Seas, there to have the heat and light remove their sins, to wash away their depravity in wretched thirst, and dust coated agony.”
Legends tell of their endless wanderings, of their endless suffering. Such is the stories of those who pass the gateways, past Almagesh to the East, and past Pylos to the North.
There have only been two campaigns into the Sands. You’ll recall the first, sent in Borindin’s early reign, sent a whole battalion through the Gateway at Pylos. Never seen again. Then of course, there was the incursion from Almagesh, unsponsored, nearly began a war with the Ala Madin it did. A garrison, led by Borindin’s youngest child, the hotheaded Koratus. I don’t need to remind you of their fate. If it weren’t for the Ala Madin granting access to the city of Almagesh, so that His Majesty could see his son’s fate for himself, it might very well have began a war with the Easterners. Those were trying times for diplomacy.
But what lies in the Seas? And who are the Ala Madin? Who else lives there? I’ll try my best to tell you what I know, but it may only be partly true, and if you are thinking of venturing there, you’d better find the trail of the Sinners, for at least they know the truth. There’s no coming back.
Denizens of the Sands
The sands are endless wastelands, barren of nearly all life as we would call it, and devoid of green or plant life of any kind, at least on the surface. However, below the sands, in the coolness and chill of the tombs and underground crevices of our ancient ancestors, creatures live and crawl and feed. These few outcroppings in the sand, lure wanderers, and there they find their deaths. Stories are told of insect men, the so called Thri-Kreen. These monsters take slaves from the Ala Madin into the sands and trade with them for all manner of treasures. This relationship is said to be ancient, and conducted only by the Circle of Masters, the leadership of the Ala Madin.
Only a few stories escape the sands and it is hard to know what is truth, as dead men usually do not tell tales. Nonetheless, of these stories, several commonalities exist. First, the sands are home to larger animals then we are used to here in Celn lands. There are reptiles and insects that are enormous. Many of these are actually used as mounts or “domesticated” by the Thri-Kreen or Ala Madin.
Since night lasts only a few hours in these lands, (and is rumored to not exist at all father North if the Thri Kreen are to be believed) there is but a short period in which the light diminishes. This is the time of danger, when these massive crawling and winged beasts, exit their hideous hiding places, and seek food upon the surface. Those foolish enough to wander into the Sea, are dragged screaming back into their lairs, to be consumed in the only dark these lands know of.
Blood Demon, The Vam Pier
The Ala Madin have many stories, stories that are told in their brothels and trading ports. One of the more famous of these stories you will not hear of in Celn lands, for the Order would be most displeased if they heard it’s falsehood is of the Vam Pier, the Demons of Blood.
Let’s assume it is just a story to frighten the Madinese children, just of course as Celn parents tell of Ket to frighten theirs.
According to the tales, the deserts of the Sands, are so parched that there exists a way in which a man may quench his thirst, permanently. One of these ways (and the stories tell of several such as the Mum Aih and perhaps the most horrific of all, the Searcher) is through an unholy ritual that gives the recipient a thirst for blood, but not for water. It is said that in this ritual, when the thirst for blood replaces that of water, a person may prolong their life indefinitely. The Ala Madin tell of those who have wished to prolong their lives in this manner. Unfortunately, as it said among these tales, the power of blood is that of darkness, not of light. These creatures thus become a creature of the night, shying their once natural way.
I have seen both Madinese children and adults listen with wide eyes to these tales, if they are not true, you wouldn’t know it among the twilight fires in Almagesh. The howls and screams that lie past the fires, in the dunes and hills beyond, make the hairs on your neck stand up. For whom has the Vam Pier come this time?
Whispering Winds, the Sa’lahuni
Another legend among the Ala Madin is more often encountered, and in fact, even Celns maintain much of it’s validity. The Order uses it as a source of warning and for good reason most Celns would agree. Whether or not the legend of the Whispering Wind is true or not, I couldn’t tell ye, but hearing the winds themselves, is something nearly every traveler to Almagesh will first talk of when they return. If they return.
According to the legend, there was once a young Master of the Madin Circle. He was haughty and arrogant, and found his seat there only because of the power of his father, who subsequently died and left his son in a precarious place among the elders. He began to make inroads with the Safre Ha’roum, the Legion of the Scorching Rays, the Madin’s army as he was brave and often volunteered for duty. As he grew in fame, the other members of the circle, wanted him dead, and so they sent him on a fool’s errand to investigate the Sands into the northern lands. Not one to refuse a challenge, he of course accepted.
Four years went by, and the prince was presumed long dead. His position in the council was taken by his enemy, chosen by the other Masters, as they had planned. But then, something miraculous happened. He returned! But not as he was. With him was a maiden of blackened skin, and with them a tribe such as the Ala Madin had never seen. They were dark of skin color, and spoke in a strange way. The prince, as was the custom, was awarded his position back among the Circle. His rivals, now older, saw their power diminish nearly over night as the people of the Sands idolized their returned prince.
In time, the prince of the Sands, Madin Sa’hur, as he was now known, replaced the Circle’s guardian legion with his Dark Warriors, the women of the Northern Lands, or Se’haroum Sadin. The people of the sands were prosperous. All seemed well. But not all were happy. The men, who had traditionally held the Master’s Circle were unhappy. They plotted against the Se’haroum Sadin. And in a terrible betrayal, they slaughtered them and retook their power. The prince took to refuge in his complex, and years went by.
But then, a great Sandstorm crept upon the cities of the Ala Madin nation. For forty days and forty nights it blocked the sun. Families stayed indoors, many perished for lack of supplies. As if that weren’t bad enough, those who ventured outside reported hideous beasts among the sandstorm. Demons that ate men. Demons that took them away screaming never to be seen again.
When the dust settled, the men of the nation of Madin were reduced to only several thousand. So many had been lost in the weeks of the winds and sand. The Circle of Masters was no more, for nearly all of these men had been taken as well.
The citizens of the Maden Empire thus gave to their prince a new edict. The Circle of Masters were once more to be women and he would choose them himself. He chose 12, and their rule has been prosperous since. Even the army is composed of nearly half women, a fact that the Order of the Flame despises.
Legend holds that the Whispering Winds are of those men who were once taken by the sandstorm. Travelers are wise to offer them offerings for a safe journey through Madenese lands.
Winds of the Ancients
Other legends of the winds do however exist. In one such tale, the winds are a carryover from the people who built the structures found deep in the sands. The Madenese fear these places, rightfully so, and never use them to build from. Whatever happened to them must have made them angry and hateful, as they were clearly destroyed. These winds are different, they come from the North, not the East. Ala Madin fear these voices and believe that travelers who do not offer tribute to the winds will be left in the desert for dead, devoid of the means with which to travel via wind in their sails.
The Circle of Masters
The circle of masters is a council of 12 women, all chosen by the reigning Emperor, currently Mufantin III. Each woman is found worthy through a ritual conducted in the spring. A woman chosen by her elders in the community as a likely candidate for the Circle is given libations of truth and given a series of trials.
If she passes these trials, she may be elected to either the fighting warriors, or the circle, if a need exists.
Matriachy in the Sands
The Madenese do not worship as Celns do. Nor do they god worship as the Trebians or some Orst do. They do however worship what they refer to as the feminine, or in Madenese the Se’har.
To the Ala Madin people, Se’har, is the core of humanity. The driving force is to procreate, to prosper for one’s children. It is the driving force of humanity. When one has children who survive and go on to reproduce, then one has led a successful life. Some might call this the worship of fertility, for it is often connected with their harvesting of underground crops such as mushrooms and other staple crops grown well below the surface. In this way, the Se’har is worshipped. There are no temples dedicated to Se’har, priests are housed in the Royal Palace, and are assigned seats around the Circle of Masters. Since the Circle of Masters has become Se’har however, it is in fact an idolization of worship for each and every citizen of Almagesh and the Sands peoples. Careful and observant rituals are pervasive in society. During these rituals, all in Madin lands are to observe these rites, in some cases not doing so is punishable by death. These include daily tributes and offerings to Se’har.
Ala Madin travel best by using their greatest resource. Wind. There is constant winds in Madin lands. Ships loaded with wares are placed on ships made of hollow timbers from jungles in the north. These ships are placed on skiffs, and are topped with immense sails. The Madin merchants who man these ships are quite proud of their ability to navigate these “waters”, and because of this technology the Madin have learned to trade for what they need, and gain much wealth in the process.
Trade winds exist and are counted on by merchants. They are quite dependable although when the winds shift disaster can strike. Typically however, winds from the East carry for several weeks and then shift West for several more, before continuing this cycle anew. The Ala Madin note these times and travel accordingly. A constant Northerly wind blows southward, but a wind in the opposite direction has never existed. Travel North is considered taboo and treacherous.
The Lost City
The sands peoples are fascinated by tales. Traveler’s to Almagesh will be greeted by a great many “wise sages” with maps to countless treasures buried below the sands. A common theme among these maps is a “lost city” which still keeps records from the “Before Days”. The days of the The Three, the Four, the Seven, and the Twelve. According to much of these stories, the lost city will contain ancient treasures, and show the Madin people the secrets of the Northern lands.
A place of superstition and mystery, said to be to the North, or to the East, always just beyond a map of the known world. Roh’m al”Drok, or “place of dragons” is that spot which according to the Madin story of the Prince, the demons came from. These were said to be demons of every color and hue. When the storm left the city, the demons returned to this place, and await in slumber still. Should the Ala Madin ever forget their mistreatment of the women that the prince brought with him to Almagesh from his days upon the sands, the demons will return, to take their vengeance on the men once more. This story thus reinforces the practice of Se’har, the worship of the feminine in Madin lands.
The Shadow River No society can exist in a desolate place like the desert seas, unless they had access to water. A “Shadow River” is said to be the life blood of the denizens of the deserts here. It’s source, and true locations are unknown to Celns. Visitors to Almagesh, or the seas who go in search of it, or asking too many questions about it, are often noticeably missing sometime thereafter. The river is a closely guarded secret to those living there. But, it is rumored to be like that of a spiderweb, and is said to have many branches, hidden, deep below the scorched surface.
The Madenese maintain strict control of their water reserves. These are taken from wells deep within the earth and well-guarded by the Scorching Rays. Citizens that pay their taxes and bestow the blessings of Se’har are granted water rights. Those who do not are left to suffer thirst and with it, death.
A story amongst the Madin exists that explains the source of these pools as a great river that flows under the sands. Whether this is true or not, is anyone’s guess.
The Madin are obsessed with the history of the world, in a way that the Celn is obsessed with superstition. No other story in their history is as intriguing or hotly debated as the Library of Theunatos.
In many lands, not just Madin lands, tales exist of a library so vast, that the learnings of the Kasillians are arrayed in book after book. Anyone finding this library would gain incredible power. Legends and stories tell of keys that unlock it, or paths that reveal it’s location. Should one find it, they would cure the world of the evil that exists in the darkened places.
Borindin himself was intrigued enough by these tales to launch an expedition into the North in his youth. It is said that his son, Koratus, did the same some years later, to no avail.
If the library exists, there have never been traces of it. But don’t tell that to peddlers in the streets of Almagesh selling you scraps of parchment that have come from Thenuatos!
Almagesh lies beyond the reach of the Great Realm of Cellinor, and the Flame’s mighty glow. For that reason, tales of heroes still exist and are told amongst the population, just as they are in Trebian lands, or Oorst. In these tales, which vary from one culture to the next, stories of three evil spirits are often defeated by four wise and powerful heroes. Sometimes, seven animals, each bearing a different virtue tell and teach of some higher wisdom. There are also tales of 12 magnificent dragons, who can change themselves into humans to manipulate the doings of people. They are ruled by a giant serpent, she of many hues.
The Blue Aluene and the Blue Elves
Isles of Dread
The isles of dread were recently discovered by the first ship to successfully sail west. Several expeditions have since arrived in the Isles beyond the still waters, and now colonies are established. The first, Far Realm, is reportedly doing well. A second colony, Silvershore, is just under way. The isles are unexplored, savage, and untamed. The word from sailors returning is there is an equal chance you will find your fortune, or your death there. Many however are still hesitant to undertake the journey, as the western empire known as the Sasser empire, is still a virtual unknown.
The inner wilds is the name given to the lands that surrounds the Celn cities of light. They are dangerous and yet provide many goods to the city folk. Although there are still issues with the wilderness there, forts and highways connect the inner wilds to keeps and militia. The inner wilds is a tough place to live, but if one knows what they are doing and follows basic rules, they can carve out a living. Travel between the cities via The King’s Highway is treacherous, and should only be done via caravan.
The Order of the Enlightened Spirit
In the vast frozen lands in the southern hills and ranges that lie before the sky reaching Inpenetrable Mountains, to which only the Lords of Ket themselves are said to travel, lie several distant outposts. Most of these are steeped in legend, and perhaps nearly all do not exist. If they had begun, whose to say that they could escape the glowing eyes of the foul demons that lie in the Frozen and Darkened Lands of our world. Whose to say that these outposts haven’t in fact joined forces with them?
No group is perhaps more whispered about, then the Order of the Enlightened Spirit, despite the fact that little is known about them.
It is said that it began with a few of the nobility of Cellione, disenfranchised with the luxury and wealth of the growing civility we know as Cellinor. For once, the commonwealth was established decades ago, those that do not provide that which many need to live, often live lives longer and fairer than those that do. Others rumor that there was a faction in the Order of Flame, that the Enlightened Spirit began as a protest to the strict doctrine that has become commonplace and perhaps necessary in a realm as vast and as new as Cellinor.
Regardless, the Order is said to be unreachable by foot or steed. High in the mountain passes and glaciers of our southern borders, well beyond the watchful eyes of the SHIELD patrols there, the Order of the Enlightened Spirit keeps their secrets to themselves, revealing them only to those brave enough to seek them. Rumors abound that they guard a unique magic. Others rumor that their powers are only a ruse to keep would be enemies at bay.
Members of the order are said to be encountered only very infrequently. In fact, to date, only two encounters can be spoken of, and neither come from reliable sources.
Encountering a Monk of the Enlightened Spirit may very well give a new definition to what A LIGHT in the Darkness of our world means….
Chapter 9: The Order of the Flame
The Temple Mount
The High Inquisition
The Order of the Flame
Order of Silver, Order of Might
Order of Crimson, Order of Justice
Order of Black, The Order of Shadow
Gods, Goddesses, and Other Divinity in the Land
The Three Traitors
Through the research of both Hockenbrecht (through his Arcane and detailed research of Iggwilv’s tomes returned by the Loyals from Tsocanth), Calyssa,the King’s daughter and Chief Librarian (through the research of artifacts returned by various archeaologists working for the King) and Hyperion (while in the Library of Knowledge discovered through a ritual under one of the pyramids discovered by the Lights), the following discoveries of the ancient world have been brought to light. Although Borindin finds these stories fascinating, he does not fully accept their validity. Bishop Belloran considers the story itself to be sacrilege. Belloran, like so many other Silver Flamists, believe the only true divine spirit is the Flame, and that worship to Gods is both blasphemy and a lie meant to scare and enslave others to do their bidding.
…From the Journal of Hockenbrecht
What is a God, without it’s worshippers? In ancient times, in and perhaps before the Kasillian age, the existence of man’s consciousness was all there was, besides his physical tools that we now know to be inferior. There were no Gods, only but a Flame of the eternal thought and curiosity of man, the collection of ambitions, desires and thoughts. If one were to consider those thoughts they could be even categorized into one of several or more, types of ambitions, desires and thoughts. Some benign, some malign. We could consider this a new “magic” that grew into being from a world of chaotic beasts, and random occurrences. As the collective wisdom of creatures coalesced in the magical void of time, they began to collect, and manifest themselves, intangible, devoid of shape or size, or other mortal coils. They were able to communicate themselves being by their very nature, of an intelligence, and because they coalesced from that which identified itself, they too could become an identity in collected form. They could and did began to form alliances with those which their creation stemmed from. And indeed these collectives sought out such alliances being by nature of the same identity. Several of these forms “became” and grew as worship to these same new “beings” grew. The intelligent creatures worshipped these “consciousnesses” and because they portrayed Power and Energy, they called them Gods and assumed their existence before Man. The people believed that the power of the Gods came from some divine pre-existence, but the Gods knew better. They knew that the true power of their existence came from the thoughts, the ambitions, deeds and non-random decisions, and most importantly the inner heart of these events, the soul of those who worshipped them. Additionally, when the immortal part of the mortal existence departed, it didn’t go away, or “die”. Nor did it stay separate. It did live forever, in the coalesced being it worshipped or represented. The more powerful the soul, the more powerful the God accruing it’s departed spirit.
And thus the Gods were created, and thus their relationship with men and intelligent beasts as well. From good deeds and intentions arose the good deities, and from the evil doings and desires came the evil ones. The Gods themselves, those that were of good consciousnesses, knew that this relationship was the source of their existence, and knowing this, created a bond with a special group of each creature. They chose women, especially child-bearing females to whom a bond would be made as a metaphor for the birth of the Gods through mankind. The Shielded Mothers became the voice of these Gods, a representation of the truth that existed between men and Gods. They provided the magical power from the Gods to the people in healing and positive works, and reminded the people that the Gods needed them to do good works as well.
Long ago, the Shielded Mothers were known as the protectors of the people. A sort of Divine Militia found in nearly every civilization. They were imbued with dignity and honesty from the true righteous Gods, serving as the liaisons between themselves and the Immortals. Their pact was sealed in both the woman through choice and through the Gods by sharing divine power. Neither consciousness could be separate from the other. Over time, they took on the physical form of warriors to embolden those around them to action, in order to make the Gods stronger. Chaotic Gods formed pacts as well, never as powerful, since by their very nature a seal of trust could not secure the bond.
But the Gods do envy men sometimes and women too, and three of them, viewed their energies embodied within the mortal flesh with envy. For what was consciousness compared to the delights of tasting a strawberry, or of the joys of the warm sun on skin? Power mattered little to a being created from joy and heartache without ever having felt it for oneself, a secret few mortals if any had been privy to. After millennia of considerations, Three Gods, gave up their divinity and took on material form. Some would call this the material plane, but in reality they simply “became” something based on a physical structure. These three seized control of one powerful being whose bond they shared and decided to live forever within the realia of space through arcane methods to delight in the pleasures of the mortals.
Alas, taking on the bodies of three of the Shielded, three women known as Iggwilv, Calychia, and Devronis, who were said in legend to be sisters, innocent and beautiful. Many versions of the story exist even after the age of simplification, but it would seem all were chosen for their allegiance, trust, wisdom and inner strength, all powerful in their right, leaders of people and speaker of each of these Gods. At first, the Three delighted in the shells of their being. The few artistic renditions found in the Kasillian ruins that Duher has unearthed, reveal that one fell in love. One delighted in the beauty of the world, and one sought the power of the physical world, of the raw science that immortals have no knowledge of. The immortals however, soon discovered each a problem with their new mortal shells. One, disease, another, heartbreak, and finally, a third the lack of worship, was taken for granted as an immortal. This lack of power was not enough to compensate for their delights of the flesh. Two found love only to be crossed by dishonest lovers, one found the pleasures of discovery grew meaningless without the ability to affect it divinely. As the aging process took hold and their arcane methods to stop it less effective with their new mortal means, each in turn began to look for methods to prolong their earthly lives.
Iggwilv, delighting in her mortal beauty, became a creature that fed off the blood as others, and used her power to charm. She gained her immortality back through the will of her subjects, through the will of her charms. Her Kingdom in the south became her domain and she was known in her later years as “Atropos”. Clothos, whose curiosity and hatred of boredom brought her to the material plane, had taken on the body of “Calychia”, hungering for knowledge and a means to Godlike powers again. However, in order to gain back her immortality, she discovered the power of the soul in death. As her subjects died, so she lived. Finally, Lachesis, whose mortal form craved and sought both longevity and the means to channel her energy into great power, through a terrible ritual, manifested herself into something of incredible size. If records are to be believed, of unfathomable magical power. She took on the form originally of Devronis, but her later form is lost in the record of my research.
Even then, they agonized over the loss of their Godliness, now even more so for the part of them they took on that was mortal, still lived inside of them. In giving up the decent parts of their mortal selves to live indefinitely, they had cast aside what orginally had them most happy. Within yet a lifetime of humans, all three had descended into madness over the loss of their immortal rights to power, and worshipped existence. The three traitors decided to make a pact with their polar opposites, the coalescense of evil deeds, the Evil Gods.
And here the story is still blurry, for the research to determine what happened to the Three is unattainable at present. What became of the THREE? To what end did the three bring upon the destruction of the land? Were they destroyed in the END DAYS as well? Or is their resting place sealed too, waiting for a moment of return? Both Hockenbrecht and Hyperion warn you all of the coalesced energy of the worship of Man. If there is any truth to the story of The Three at all, then divinity, strength and power lies within the worship and loyalty of others.
Chapter 10: KET, Land of Ice and Fire
The Ketians Myth
An ancient race of evil, always at the doorstep…
Where has the idea of the Ketians come from? Why have you not seen them? Or have you? Well, no one knows for sure, but the myth is as old as time. Ket was said to be a place of cold, of eternal darkness and icy pain. Similar to our Christian view of Hell, Ket was believed in the NEW TIMES to be where one went when they were bad, where the once mighty Gods of benign nature could not go. Ket has always been believed to be to the south past the un-navigable passes in the Southern “Ketian” Mountains, believed to hold deadly monsters that somehow consume each other in an icy wasteland.
Figure 2 The Darkness waits for those who are not wary.
Mothers tell stories to their children that when they are bad, and when they do not do as they are told, the KETIANS will come and take them away into the night. They will take them to an icy place, of no warmth at all, where frozen over many years, they will rise as darkened, frayed-skinned animals themselves hungering for other bad children to take away into the night.
As the story goes, one Star above protects good children, so long as they pray to the Flame each night and do as their mother’s tell them. This act is often infused with elements of the Shielded Mothers myth, making the mother appear to be someone who speaks for the Greater Power itself, and knows right from wrong. Do what your mother/the Flame tells you, right. Do what you want-wrong.
The Star is known as The Sovereign Star because it appears to dominate all those in the sky regardless of season . Noted Sorcerers and would-be alchemists have of late been making quite a bit of money thanks to the Star, as it has been noticeably brighter for some several years then it was. Of course, no one knows for sure if it is, but most consider it’s brighter glow to be a sign of good fortune. So too think the children who see it through their bedroom window at night, shining brighter than ever, keeping the Ketians away.
As for the land of Cellinor, are the rumors true? Do the disappearances of recent months signal the return of the Ketians? Or is the Wild simply rising up to reclaim portions of the Lighted Realm, as it always has tried to.
Erebus and Tartarus
Erebus, or the shadow lands that exist in the first few leagues below the surface of our world are said to be filled with all manner of beasts. Here, one finds goblins, orcs, bugbears, giants, and many manner of creatures that must live in the darkness. It is well known that many creatures of the world cannot handle the light whatsoever. In fact,
Tartarus, lies much lower than Erebus.
The Nine Hells and the “Underdark”
Chapter 11: Rumors of the Past
Kasille: The “Advanced Ones”
Kasille, the lost civilization. Kasille, the master’s of the world prior to the End Days War, the End Days destruction. The Kasillians are spoken about in whispers throughout the land. Living on their ruins has sparked a number of theories about what they were like. Perhaps, this rumor would be more evidence based if it were not for the Great Simplification two generations of men prior which eradicated nearly all evidence of them, but what can be built off of, or used for the benefit of the Realm’s soldiers and war.
So, who were the Kasillians? Perhaps, that is best answered for what they are best known for. They were master builders. Alghough most of their structures seem to be found underground, in twisting and winding labyrinthine corridors and chambers, some of it penetrates the ground above and is a spectactle to behold. For sure, even the King’s Tower is located above a colossal Kasillian structure deep within the heart of Cillandar itself.
The Kasillians understood magic, and it must have incorporated their everyday lives. Magic items of tremendous power exist from their time, and only some of the more simple magics from this era can be reproduced and even then it is at great risk.
Their culture, seems to have been widespread. Similarities in their architecture, items and other periphernalia turn up from all parts of the Realm. However, again, not enough of their art, or literature has survived to give any indication of their philosophy, economy or politics. Could these documents exist waiting for the discoverer still? Most likely they do, but the adventurer will have to risk life and limb, deep within the bowels of the Earth in order to find them. And when they do, the Flame will all but insist that these materials be turned over immediately. Such is the superstition and rule of the time.
There have been rumors that from the fragments of art, statues etc that have survived that the Kasillians did not necessarily exist as a single race, but rather, were simply the ruling class for all the races that are found on Gaia today. Some eccentric sages have even been heard trying to legitimize the notion that the races present on Gaia now, are long descendants from Kasille who simply have no knowledge of this previous time. This is supported by several cultural accounts of a “lost in the woods” style creation story, where the various races came out of the “WILDS” and into a form of civilization after a great battle, believed in each case to be the End Days Destruction. How or why these races came to be “lost in the woods” is never fully developed in these stories.
The Technologies of Ancient Kasille
Whoever the Kasillians were, their technology was advanced. How advanced is often speculated in local bar and tavern. So much so, that the search for their magics and artifacts yields tremendous wealth to those who can provide it for the King. In particular, the weapons and artifacts of war are quite valuable and the punishment for disobeying the “Order’s Conveyance Law” in which all magical or other artifacts of a nature not made by Celn hands must be handed over to the Realm, is strict and delivered quickly.
For example, it is well known that the sewer systems in both Cellione and Cillandar have been used as models in the rest of the realm. The wagon designs for nearly all Celn traffic is of Kasillian design as is much of the architecture. Many believe that the King himself may even have devices in which one can be teleported to a new location, rather than traveling there! Some of the more incredible tales tell of ships that fly over the land rather than on the sea. It’s hard to tell the fantasy from the truth in modern age Cellinor!
The End Days War
The Path of Light
Pelerus and The Wings of Pelerus
Maloras the Mage’s Treatise on Dragons Within and Beyond the Borders of Cellinor
No creature has captivated the realm’s citizenry as dragons have. The great wyrm is seldom seen, and when it is encountered, few stories survive afterwards.
Nevertheless, dragons and their lore are known to some in the land. Dragons, through myth and song, are said to be casters of arcane magics, intelligent beasts that command legions of followers. Famous dragons, for instance fill our modern tales for commoners of the land. First and most well-known is the mighty Gulgol herself, the Black Wyrm whom Borindin himself slew on the eve of the birth of our mighty Kingdom. Then, there is of course, the Gift Dragon, ol’ Fafnir, lone and ancient, who brings presents for children on Riftenaught. Fafnir is often a most revered object of affection in the realm, one of the few such affections that the Order seems to overlook as a childish fantasy. This mythical dragon is, by all accounts, the only story in which a dragon appears as a male.
Other tales have come down to us through our divine writings as well, even from the Liberation Scroll. In it, we read that dragons were created by the gods, weapons to destroy mankind. If this history is to be believed, then the mighty wyrm is responsible for killing nearly every civilized woman during the Last Battle, on End Night in the End Days War. For this reason, women of the realm are to this day referred to as “wild of nature”, and are to be handled cautiously, for only those who took up the battle standard in the End Days, survived.
Although lore presents many views of these devastating beasts, current research has brought forth many other details into the Light. For example, it is now believed, that the last of the ancient wyrms from the End Days has long since passed on into oblivion. If any did survive, they were destroyed, hunted down by man. For truly, no artifacts of authenticity exist in any degree of merit since that time. Furthermore, although dragons are still being encountered (a vicious green for instance was recently captured and brought for sport to Cillandar for the Challenge of Champions), there have been no reports of dragons who are capable of speech, of magics, or of the divine arts. One great White was responsible for the elimination of an entire garrison over the course of a few months in the Impenetrable Mountains, but that claim is still under investigation.
Each dragon encounter of merit, once detailed by thorough arcane review, has yielded nothing to give credence to the idea that dragons are capable of any intellectual ability whatsoever, beyond a mere bestial tenacity and extreme hostility of the most deadly kind. This is not to trivialize what natural abilities they do possess. The wyrm’s breath weapon, natural armor and deadly physical attacks are well documented, and make them the most formidable adversary from the Wilds one may cross.
However, if any dragon or dragons once did exist that might substantiate the claims heretofore written about, or sung by the bards of the age, it is most likely the case that their stories have been greatly exaggerated, and possibly completely fictionalized.
Theunatos: Legend of the Before Time
One of the more powerful but lesser known legends from the Before Time is the legend of Theunatos. It is often a topic of conversation amongst the Realms’ few sages, but few else may even be aware of it’s existence. It’s origin is unknown but that doesn’t stop those looking to make a quick coin from selling items relating to it.
In this tale, a great library once existed in the world. A library that could fill several of the King’s Towers. This library was said to house the information gathered by races even long before the Kasillians themselves, and as the story goes, even they, the advanced ones, stole their technologies from it’s vast bank of information.
Other treasures exist in it’s hidden location, too numerous to name. The belief exists among those scholars willing to discuss that it may actually exist (and of course face subsequent ostracism from nearly all learned men and women in the realm) that should one be able to access this library. Like the study of alchemy in our own Dark Ages, this has taken on the form of a serious obsession for many wizards and scholars and getting a sage to share his/her work is never easy.
The Great Library of Theunatos, a Legend
Chapter 12: Legends and Lore, the Mythology of the Realm
A collection of the myths, legends and wisdom of the ages, arranged by source.
The Ballad of Light and Darkness
Believed to be the last remaining oral piece of the Kasillian Age, the Ballad of Light and Darkness is said to be a song of the common people. Few material cultural works exist from that era, and the Age of Simplification destroyed most of what might have been left after the war. However, the Ballad of Light and Darkness became an oral tradition, one in which the Order of Flame, could not quite eradicate. Strangely, the Ballad does not describe the victory of the Lighted Folks as described in the Liberation Scroll, but rather a “Darkening” and the rise of Heroes to fight as was done in the past. For this reason, it is considered blasphemous unless performed in Celn tradition and in the proper military context. When heard, the metaphor of the Heroes and their “Path” has spurred numerous Celns onto battle. It is often played before a great conflict, and always sung after a tremendous victory.
When Gaians hide from Lighted Day
When Erebus , in Night, holds Sway
When those above are shown the way
To dark and deep, forgotten Ket.
When Heroes sleep, but rise once more
When Sages reveal our ancient Lore
When great Kings and Queens from distant shores
Awaken from their peaceful reign.
When silhouettes a Ring of Three
There will in time, come Darkening
When lands do swell from what does breed
Below, in chilled and frozen seed.
When the words of Kasille are unknown
Protecting those who rise to throne
When Heroes deeds will make it shown
The road to the Path of Light.
A Time for those to pay the price
Of man’s betrayal committed thrice
The Lords of Darkness wait to rise
Commanding hordes to battle.
Listen to the Sage’s verse
Not prophets speaking soothing words
To aid us All, a few must hurt
Make idols new; then ruin’s curse.
The Warrior shall be duty bound
His weapon rests upon the ground
His mortal wounds shall bring him down
And he will rise anew.
The Trickster’s tool provides the spark
Between the Sunlight and the Dark
His hooded visage is the mark
His time will come again.
Great Mother’s blood will play a part
Her enemies fear a noble heart.
To end the Dark, the Light will start
Her nature’s noble passage.
The Dying God is he who bleeds
In search of knowledge that he needs
For surely it is he who leaves
Upon the table scrolls of reeds.
The Hero’s Journey is complete
In tome and deed the past does meet
Those Heroes from a distant land
With knowledge lost once in defeat
The shape of destiny may be
And time not just a memory
Open eyes in Sunlight and you’ll see
The path of untold victory.
Hold true with those in righteous might
Beware the traitors of the Night
Seek flame upon the path to fight
The Enemy within the Light.
The Sacred Chant
“United Light, Mankind’s Might.
Darkened Flame, Mankind’s Shame.
For the Sake of All, We Cannot Fall
In our darkened hour, we take our power.”
The End Days Gospel
From the “Liberation Scrolls”, Chapter 1, Verse 1-23, First Order of the Flame
1 In the last mighty age of Kasil,
Mankind worshipped Gods and served as Their Slaves
Gods of the earth, gods of the sky,
of thunder, lightning, the seas, fears and dreams.
2 Man made others, in his image using bold crafts.
The elves, and the dwarves chief among these. To live longer. To dig deeper. To war better.
Some dwelt in Light and some dwelt in Darkness.
Man flew. He swam. He endured. He tunneled.
He built great cities and bent earth’s shape above and below.
3 Man accepted his place as servant to the Gods.
Thus was Man enslaved to the Gods in both Light and Darkness.
4 But then it came to pass, that Gaia* fell into a great cataclysm of Rock, and Light and Storm.
The Lighted Realms were torn asunder.
Man knew starvation, disease.
He warred. He ate of himself. He knew suffering.
5 Man turned to the Gods to help the People of the Lighted Realms
Even as those in the Darkness prospered.
But the Gods, like Man, had lost their power as well.
6 And one among them, Proteus, did challenge the gods to come forth and show their strength, to aid the people, if they may,
and the gods did not.
And thus did Mankind withhold worship from them. For the first time.
And the Gods grew furious, but their power waned,
so that all Mankind was a witness to their impotence.
7 And behold, there was a great epiphany amongst those in the Light.
Wherein the people who dwelt there discovered that the gods
Were not the Masters.
And behold, Mankind was the Master of the Gods.
8 And it came to pass that Mankind knew the true nature of the gods,
And that it was Mankind who had created Them.
And not the Gods who had created Mankind.
And for the first, the Gods were separated from the source of their power.
9 And lo! The Gods, would not go quietly into oblivion, even as Mankind fought the Destruction of His world.
The Gods brought forth the Soulless and apparitions too terrible to behold.
Finally, in near defeat, the Gods bred the Mighty Wyrm and sent Her to intimidate, to oppress Man.
Still did Mankind worship them not, but tore down their temples into ruins.
10 But in the land of Erebus, of the Darkness, those who dwelt there, the men did not reject the gods
For verily the darkness holds less power than the light, even into mighty Tartarus,
where the heat is like unto a world’s fire.
In anger and resentment at Mankind and the Lighted Races, did remain those gods who dwelt in the darkness
There they found their worshippers still, those who would not dare to challenge their oppressors.
11 Near destruction, the Gods of Gaia did then make a pact with those of Erebus. Once their enemy.
To annihilate Mankind, from the very surface of the Earth so that a (handpicked) few might re-populate and give worship once more.
In Their name. For the Light holds more power than the Darkness.
And this did put a great fear in the host of Mankind. For their enemies above and below would now be set upon them.
12 Yet, in the last hour of battle with the gods and the hordes of their Darkened slaves,
Mankind joined as one, and met at Gathering.
At the Tree of Awakening.
And a great Pact did He make with all of the Inhabitants of the Land.
13 Atop a hill, in the capitol at Nim-Inshu, was the place called, where rivers join.
There, they agreed to destroy the gods,
those last few who now dwelt in the Darkness, deformed, power stricken.
and fashioned a Flame of their collective Wills, within the Tree.
A Flame of Steel. Of Silver and Crimson wood.
For this Flame would be carried aloft into battle, to Light their way and give them Power.
Of their men, and women and children did they hide in great sanctuaries.
14 Nonetheless, there was then but a few tribes of the Outwilds, who did not meet at Nim Inshu, nor did they abandon the worship of the gods.
For fear of pain and soulwrenching.
These Betrayers joined the diminished ones.
And they made battle against the Enlightened Folk. Joining the darkened races.
15 The traitors of Mankind, were led by Three Women of deceit, of malice, of cunning
rose there on the Plains of Golgotha, the field of bones.
The Three took up a darkened banner.
Deceiving the frightened fragments of those enslaved.
They fought for the Diminished Ones. For themselves.
16 And lo! The Heroes met them on the field, their frames alight with the power of their people. The Power of the Flame.
A great Battle was fought. Ripping the land and Blighting the Sky.
Their banners struck down, the Three were killed, their soul kept separate
From the Flame, Forever.
The Godworshippers, defeated.
Mankind’s rise above slavery.
Great seals they did take and verily they did seal the shadowlands of Erebus as punishment.
17 And from whence the Heroes withdrew, but lo! They found, their homes, their children. Their women.
Destroyed by the great Wyrms of the Land.
For the foul beasts had chosen to align with the Three.
And the Three had decreed that the children of the [non-godworshippers] should forever be removed from the face of the earth even unto their very last generation.
And lo the Tree was destroyed.
And only those women who fought alongside the men did survive.
Such was the vengeance of The Three.
18 And it came to pass that on that day, those tribes that survived, Mankind, (elves), dwarves, (Halflings), (half-men), and others Gathered once more where the Tree had been,
and they did light the Flame of Brotherhood with it’s debris.
A Crimson Flame. And they did make a covenant among the land.
19 That once the Willing Souls of the land did believe in gods, of Good and of Evil.
Darkness with Foul Intention, of Ket [deep].
In order for fear to exist in the land. And enslavement, Servitude.
But now all those in Attendance knew that Evil was gone. Only the Good remained.
The Flame would bear the Intent of the people. It would be like unto a Harbinger.
Of Light. The antithesis of the Darkness of the world.
For the Sake of All.
And in a fortnight did the Lighted Leaders bring down unto the assembled people the Crimson Standard, to be a pact among all the Lighted Races:
The Crimson Standard
20 Thou shalt not dwell in darkness.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor or glorify his deeds.
Thou shalt not sanctify that which is manifest.
Thou shalt give order to chaos, but not chaos to order.
Thou shalt magnify right action and demystify rumor.
Thou shalt contribute to the Flame of Brotherhood and not to Darkened lore.
Thou shalt observe RiftenNacht, Gathering Day, and to the rituals of Flame.
Thou will join again in Brotherhood if the Light should diminish.
For the Sake of All
21 And the Lighted Races did then depart and travel to the far corners of Gaia to begin their lives anew, each agreeing to a (Generational Meeting), when the Moons were in their highest, and the Land was thus Brightest.
22 And in time was the land restored. The Great Wyrms eradicated, their victims avenged.
And the dark beings slithered back into the dark holes and fissures. Their pathway to Erebus sealed.
For every wick must meet it’s end. Unless it is restored.
And every Light holds all Darkness at bay.
Popular Repetitions from the “First Sermon on the Temple Mount Text”, Second Order of the Flame
“Those punished or Inquisitioned must give thanks in their Transcendence to the Order as their Goodness remains with the Flame, and it’s people, while their Chaos is driven off into the darkness, into the Beyond.”
The SHIELDED OATH
“The King is our leader, but we do not worship him, nor any Man, or Beast or Instrument. We glorify the goodness of right action and good will. We glorify our Flame, and sanctify our Soul for it’s return to the Light upon our death. We contribute to the Flame, for the Sake of All.”
The Oath of Inquisition
“Swift justice for those who diminish the Flame of Mankind in idol worship.
Swift persecution for those (volunteers) of Inquisition for dark Will.
Swift expediency and immortality into the Flame for fallen Brothers.
Swift expulsion of chaos into the Night.”
Creation Story of the Ata’uh-un, From A Crimson Shore…
This story was written in the journal of Horst, a druid who first made contact with the Ata’uans, some years ago on the first Isle of Dread discovered by the first expedition west.
When the world was new, great and mighty Olo-rah’n lay buried in the rock and mud of the earth. After many ages, he awoke and decided to create a substance on the surface of the world that would entertain him while he walked the lands, swam the seas, and flew in the skies of his creation. However, this substance was too consistent and predictable to him, so Olo-rah’n used his breath to give life to these creatures. In order to sustain their life once he slept again, he created the Sun to give them warmth each day. Thus, Olo-rah’n created Man, Woman and the animals, and he was so amused that he spent his time on the surface observing them and watching the many things they did many times before his slumbers. Olo-rah’n greatly desired to tell these beings that he enjoyed their company so that He, even the mighty Olo-rah’n would not spend his time on the surface alone.
So Olo-rah’n revealed his identity to his people. However, when the Men gazed on him and saw his many wonders they were overcome with envy. Instead of thanking him for the breath of life in their substance, they instead grew jealous, and tried to make themselves better in form and function, just like he was. Why had he kept the best things for himself? After many attempts they were unsuccessful, but one Man, a man whose name is no longer spoken, observed the various animals one day and created a plan. He watched the birds, and fish and insects and realized that a secret of power was given to each.
To the mighty ant, strength.
To the fish, the ability to swim in the seas,
and to the bird, the gift of flight.
It was then, that this Man came to each of the animals, offering his power of Flame and ingenuity. Tricking them into believing he would share his knowledge with them, he stole their powers and gave it to Men and Women of his village, making them more powerful. He then created strange and abdominal beasts, a mixture between man and animal in many forms. The many creatures that the tribe observes today are the descendants of these abdominal forms. (As the party watches the event, they see dancers wearing masks of what seems to be the sahuagin as well as two headed ape-like beasts, horrid women with legs and wings of a vulture, and many others).
Alas, Olo-rah’n watched all this from below and began to realize that these petty creatures had become too powerful and he was angry that they had manipulated his creations. So he awoke once more and coming to the surface, became struck by the hideous beings he saw. Men had manipulated the trees, the stone and the ore of the earth and even their own bodies. They soared in the skies, and used their new powers to rape the land of it’s wholesomeness. In rage, he blocked out the Sun taking their life force and made new animals, hideous versions of the older ones. In order to give these new deadly things a sustaining energy without the Sun, he created the Three Moons. One for the creatures of the Sea, one for the Creatures of the Land, and one for him so that all Beings of the Surface world would remember why they were being punished.
The Men of the earth and Olo-rahn’s new beasts fought a great battle, and in the end much death came to pass. With the sun’s demise, many of the Men lost their “life” and became shells of substance, morbidly wandering the land devoid of their humanity (Here the party sees a group of young children dressed like zombies meandering through the storytelling area).
Few survived the Great War, and nearly all the world was annihilated by it’s destruction, but finally Olo-rah’n’s thirst for punishment was quenched. As he was about to return to his sleep, satiated after a large battle, he passed a Mother crying for the loss of her child, wounded on the battlefield. She had loved her child so much that during the battle she had taken up a spear and slain the beast which had attacked him. Nonetheless, it had made a devastating wound in the youth and he would soon perish from the Light of his being. Taking pity and admiring the woman’s courage, Olo-rah’n decided that as a last act, he would spare the child and breathe the gift of life back into his body.
Coming to the woman in disguise as a simple man, he told her he would help the child. But at this, the woman lamented and asked him not to. Surprised by such a request, Olo-rah’n did not understand and inquired of the woman. She told him there would be no warmth for him to awaken to, and that the people left would one day become either hollowed or fall from the Light forever. She knew now that she did not want her child to live in such a world.
At this, Olo-rah’n at last knew that his creation of life, brought not just the evil he had witnessed, but the good as well and that neither could exist without the other. He called back the Sun for the Woman’s tribe, and left the Moons to give power to those abherrant beings to balance life’s many forms. Because the woman had shown him this truth, he granted her the ability to heal and chose her and her fellow women of the tribe to bring the understanding of this Balance to the people. To this day, these women appear as warriors, communicating their tribal customs and sacred traditions to Olo-rah’n as a sign of their continuing debt.
The many creatures that inhabit the world are still demons from the time when Man tried to steal the power of the animals. The tribe believes the ancient ruins they see are remainders of those who raped the land and used it’s stone and metal to create large fortresses. They believe to live simply is Olo-rahn’s way, and that anything else is to bring his wrath once more. The tribe is familiar with an increasing coming and going of new craft which patrol the waters searching for people to enslave. They know these vessels make Olo-rah’n angry and this is why the volcanic activity has been so plentiful. It is no coincidence then, that when these eruptions begin, often the denizens of the dark become more powerful and noticeable. Sometimes, even the hollowed remains of those who lived in the ancient times are set free from where they fell in battle and begin to wander, hungering for the flesh of those who live in the Light by the grace of Olo-rah’n, the great and mighty.
The Trebian Creation Myth and the Story of the Destruction of Kasil
In the first days of the world, there sprang from the Earth, the Great Tree of Yggrasil. From it’s first boughs, like fruit, grew the major civilized races of our world. The humans, dwarves, and elves. The tree was like their Mother, and so they worshipped it. Their power was not only in the might of their hands and [muscles] but in the force of their will [mental power]. Thus grew the first magics. And in time, the races grew and spread among the lands, and they prospered. harnessing this energy of both the body and mind. In time, these races grew powerful in knowledge.
Together, they became a people of advanced magic and healing arts and weapons, of great buildings, monuments and craft of the seas and the land and even of the skies (meaning translates into “ship”). What they gave to the gods in worship, they received back unto themselves. These people were the [Kasillians]. But, as every race that thrives in abundance, others slaved for them. Beneath the Earth, they labored, night and day in darkness to make the great power of the [Kasillian Empire]. They there in darkness did not receive the benefits of their toil. Those above were like masters to them. Their creators, and those races were the goblins, the orcs and the other foul races of darkness. For the power of Kasil came from both the light and the darkness then. And this Dark Realm was called [Ket], and their great empire lived deep and at the bottom of the Earth. Erebus in the shallow realms, and Tartarus in the deeper realms where dwelt those which even the surface world knew not of.
The great realm of Kasille was guarded and governed by 7 Gods, for each of the major [parts] of Mankind’s will. The people gave worship and thus grew the might of these Seven governing Mankind’s affairs. For Man’s incessant curiosity was The Trickster, known by many names. The Hero, for mankind’s courage or cowardice. For His sacrifice or pride was the Dying God whom went by many names and stories. For mankind’s envy or generosity came Atropos, The First Fate. The second Fate, Clothos, represented mankind’s lust, his fertility. The third fate represented Man’s inherent wrath or peacefulness. Finally, each God was [presided over] by the most powerful of them all, The Great Mother, who represented love, and man’s inherent compassionate nature. The realm thrived on worship to each god, and each god was kept in balance. Three boughs above for Mankind’s quest, the masculine, and three below for Mankind’s need to be rooted, the feminine. Finally, the [trunk] represented by the Great Mother, the most powerful. Mankind split into his seven primal parts.
In order to serve the Gods, 12 beings of immeasurable power were created. The great Serpents. 6 pairs to represent the female and masculine of each. Two of Gold, Two of Silver, Two of Steel, Two of Bronze, Two of Copper, and Two of Platinum.
Through the people’s worship, all things flourished for those of [Gaia, surface], and thus the land was kept in balance.
But in a single cataclysmic event, the world was torn from a place of peace to a place of utter chaos. For the balance the tree had given to Mankind had nearly destroyed it’s “roots”. Great floods swept through the land and the deluge of mud destroyed the vast empire’s beauty and serenity. The great monuments and structures of that time were buried completely to become the crawling places of those that shy from the light. The world was in ruin. The great Gods diminished.
The three moons came into being then, and the Sun was blocked for a generation. This woke the denizens of Ket, who had grown angry at their masters and now saw their chance to rise in the Darkness of the lands above.
In order to safeguard themselves, the Kasillians built 12 great arks, each to be protected by one of the mighty Wyrms, each to protect the Kasillian races during the [Darkening], when the slave hordes of Ket would finally rise against their masters. In order that the might of the Kasillian race should not fall into the hands of the Demons of Ket, each of the six Gods was given a branch of the great tree of Yggdrasil, a portion of Mankind’s power. Each were fastened into great [lanterns], one of gold, one of copper, one of silver flame, one of bronze, one of platinum and one of steel. Each God was also tasked with using their remaining power to seal their arks, against the invading hordes.
However, the task of [walking the path] was reserved for the Great Mother and only to three of them, but not the Fates. The Dying God was chosen for man’s sacrifice to each other. The Trickster for his curiosity in opening the arks once more. The Hero for his courage to walk the path.
But to the Three fates, was only given the task of sealing their arks, and relinquishing their power back to mankind.
The Gods, diminished as they were after the cataclysm and war, knew this would risk their immortality. However, when the time came, three of the Gods, Atropos, Clothos, and Lachesis, each representing the female of Mankind, chose to keep the darkened path of their beings, and refused to relinquish their power. They did not seal their ark, but betrayed Mankind. For each of the 6 arks they guarded had now become tombs.
The others, without the knowledge of what the Three had done, gave up their power, and sealed their arks. But, in time, the Ketians invaded the world, and finding the arks sabotaged, wiped the Kasillian race from the surface of the world forever.
The Great Serpents for whom represented the male, could not guard the arks without their female partners, who had now become twisted and corrupted. Nor could they conquer them, as these great Serpents had now grown in the might of a darker power, of black, and red, blue, and green, white and brown.
And thus was the might of Kasille obliterated by the Darkened races of Ket.
Chapter 13: Spottle for Nobles, and Pockens, A Commoner’s Game
Many visitors to Cillandar hear tales of Spottle, a game played by Cillandrial nobility. As it is a gentleman’s game of chance, it is often used to settle disputes by those of higher station in the Realm.
There is no doubt that Spottle is quite popular among those of greater means, however, many commoner’s would argue that Pockens requires more study and certainly more practice. In fact, it has been said by Chief Archeaologist Duher himelf that to fully understand Pockens’ many strategies could take a lifetime. Pockens is a common man’s game, and like a good brew, the Celn citizenry regards it as one of their finer entertainments. From sailors around the Crown Isles to those brave enough to live and trade near the Sea of Sands to the East, Pockens is found throughout Greater Cellinor.
Pockens is an ancient game from an ancient time. (Spottle by comparison, is said to have been created one night during a drinking marathon in the Rusty Sabre, to settle a dispute between a Mage who had a frog familiar and one of his love interest’s suitors). Pockens, like so many other Celn traditions and customs is not unique to the Realm. In fact, reference to the game can still be found among the few Kasillian artifacts available on display in various museums throughout the major cities.
The game itself appears simple but is in actuality complex and requires skill in addition to luck. A “deck” of pockens consists of 52 cards from which players will draw a “hand” of 7 cards. There are usually 4 players, but the game can be played with as few as two. Each player plays a role:
The Hero, the Trickster, the Dying God or the Great Mother. Although versions of the game vary, as do the cards themselves and various images found there, the basic premise is the same. Each role offers a negative to the player, but grants other advantages. Therein lies one of the chief components of Pockens requiring proper strategy.
The cards themselves are arranged in five categories. Four of these categories represent cards of numerical value associated with The Hero, The Trickster, the Dying God and the Great Mother. The fifth category represents figures, places and events that “occur” during gameplay. The typical and most popular Celn version of the game relies on motifs quite common among the realm and is infused with iconography of the Order of Flame. However, other versions are common or sought after by collectors.
For instance, a popular Trebian version represents the Four Heroes as animal headed halfs. These motifs are quite taboo in most of the realm though and they can be difficult to smuggle in or around Cellinor.
Although most Pockens’ enthusiasts claim to know much about the lore and history of their cards, and take both the typical Celn superstitious and Cillandrial arrogance about it, many do not know that Pockens was also believed to have been used to tell the future. Although the practice is now quite taboo and subject to Inguisition of the Highest Degree, Pockens as a means to predict one’s fate has survived in certain circles.
Whichever version you play, you are sure to find certain cards that always have certain meanings within the game. Some of these are as follows.
The Three Circles: Each card represents one of the three Moons, known collectively at times as “The Sisters”, as “The Three Lights”. Each moon is slightly of a different size. Ordinarily, they dominate their own portion of the night sky and advance towards the nightly horizon one at a time. When these cards appear in the game, they usually change the nature or pattern. Each has a unique impact, but if all three should appear simultaneously then the game comes to an end.
The Sage: The sage card or as it is colloquially known “The Pointer Card” does just that. It points to whatever card comes next and gives advantages to whichever player drew it.
The Tree: The tree is the foundation of the game. It is the first card that must be played. Without it, no other cards can be cast. Seven “branches” or sections typically lie on the game board around the tree from which players may cast other cards. Often, especially in richer cities such as Cellione, players use elaborate game boards to represent the tree and her branches. Oftentimes, these are family heirlooms and their work beautifully carved into oak to represent the seven branches of the Tree.
The Path: The path is simply a reference to the card numbers. Each of the four sections range in numbers from 1-12. They are, depending on the game version or strategy, usually played in order from least to greatest. Cards cannot be played more than one at a time. A complicated, and somewhat illogical combination of events must happen during gameplay for the next in the series of cards to be played. This can at times, frustrate the novice player. Advanced players typically remark that one must simply learn these game nuances. In any event, Celns take great pride in their memorization of these game events, which do differ depending on which part of the realm one plays.
The Dragon: The Dragon is a card that gives both advantage and disadvantage to the caster. Once the dragon is played, it’s dynamic on the game changes everything, and even the order in which the cards in Path may be played. Colors associated with the cards are referenced when the card is first cast so that different cards are thus affected differently.
Chapter 14: Real World History and Mythology of ALIND
The Ship of Theseus
“The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, in so much that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.”
John Locke proposed a scenario regarding a favorite sock that develops a hole. He pondered whether the sock would still be the same after a patch was applied to the hole, and if it would be the same sock, would it still be the same sock after a second patch was applied, and a third, etc., until all of the material of the original sock has been replaced with patches.
George Washington’s axe (sometimes “my grandfather’s axe”) is the subject of an apocryphal story of unknown origin in which the famous artifact is “still George Washington’s axe” despite having had both its head and handle replaced.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus attempted to solve the paradox by introducing the idea of a river where water replenishes it. Arius Didymus quoted him as saying “upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow”. Plutarch disputed Heraclitus’ claim about stepping twice into the same river, citing that it cannot be done because “it scatters and again comes together, and approaches and recedes” Wikipedia.Com
Ted Sider and others have proposed that considering objects to extend across time as four-dimensional causal series of three-dimensional ‘time slices’ could solve the ship of Theseus problem because, in taking such an approach, each time-slice and all four dimensional objects remain numerically identical to themselves while allowing individual time-slices to differ from each other. The aforementioned river, therefore, comprises different three-dimensional time-slices of itself while remaining numerically identical to itself across time; one can never step into the same river time-slice twice, but one can step into the same (four-dimensional) river twice. Wikipedia.Com
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, called the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ to Saint John the Evangelist, at 6:1-8. The chapter tells of a book or scroll in God‘s right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God, or Lion of Judah (Jesus Christ), opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black, and pale horses.
From the Christian Bible, Revelations, Chapter 6
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
Chapter 15: Motivation Category Materials
- His Majesty’s Shields
The Code of Cellinus
Rank and File
- The Pursued
The Common “Attribute”
Nightmares and Birthrights
- Adventure for Hire
What’s in a Name?
An Effective Agent
- In Between the Lines
- “Ketian” Spies
A Debt Owed