Posts Tagged ‘Aeranore’

My day job has been keeping me busy traveling, so here’s another sweet excerpt from the Exploration Age: Campaign Guide. Take a look below at the religion of the humans and gnomes of Aeranore and let me know what you think.

A BIG shout-out to my friend, player, and fellow podcaster Ray Fallon for giving me this idea. Sometimes a friend approaches you with an original mythology and world creation story. Those friends are the best kind, especially when you’re creating several unique religions for a campaign world. These ideas come mostly from his own, amazing brain.

Here endeth my similarities to Steve Jobs

Also, as you read this excerpt, remember that Exploration Age is a campaign world where the gods have no confirmed existence, and if they do exist they do not directly interfere in the affairs of mortals. How is that possible when clerics and paladins pray for spells and get magic? Well, skeptics would say sorcerers, rangers, warlocks, wizards, bards, and more have magic without praying for it – why can’t clerics be getting their spells from the same places? Magic is mysterious. No one is sure of its origin on Canus, but that’s another matter.

Many humans and gnomes of Aeranore practice a religion known as Immortalism. It was their belief in this religion that resulted in their persecution in Parian and subsequent immigration to Aeranore. Immortalists believe all humans and gnomes are descended from a race of humanoids who used to be immortal, long ago. According to the religion, these beings, known as The Immortals, lived before the aberrants and the dragons.

World Creation Myth of Immortalism

According to Immortalism, Canus was created when The Sun and The Moon mated to produce three children. Their firstborn was their daughter, Alphon, a ball of earth encased in water. Their second birth was conjoined male twins, Baydon and Cardon. These twins were made of dirt and earth. They lived as one land mass on top of Alphon. These stories have led many humans and gnomes to believe that Parian and Findalay (and now Verda) were once one giant land mass.

The Immortals sprang forth from the bodies of Baydon and Cardon and at first there were no animals or plants. They were the first living beings on Canus and their lifespans were infinite, though they could die as the result of physical harm or starvation. At the time there was no disease. Since there was nothing to eat other than each other The Immortals began as violent cannibals.

This changed when Gretan, the first Immortal Hero, prayed to Baydon and asked him to produce something to stop the violence amongst her people. Baydon took pity on Gretan and was overcome by her beauty, so he created sheep and goats. The Immortals learned to herd.

It is said that sheep and goats soon began to die, however, for they had nothing to eat. It was then that Mara, the second Immortal Hero, prayed to Cardon for an answer by planting her hair in the dirt. Her hair took root and grew, becoming the first plants. Soon The Immortals learned that they could eat this food as well. Baydon created many animals and Cardon created many plants. For a long time Canus lived in peace.

Overtime, Baydon and Cardon grew jealous of one another. Baydon was resentful of the fact that his animals could not exist without Cardon’s plants, and Cardon did not like the way The Immortals made animal flesh the center of their meals. Soon the conjoined twins began to war with one another through earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and storms. Many Immortals had their lives ended in the process.

As the war progressed, Alphon formed rivers to part her brothers, breaking them into pieces large and small. Still that was not enough to stop their warring. Cardon and Baydon created The First Dragons who escalated the war. These were the ancestors of the dragons known today and instead of breath weapons of fire, ice, acid, and the like, they breathed pestilence, which ravaged the plants and animals of Canus. Eventually these diseases spread to The Immortals. It took a toll on their bodies and The Immortals had their life spans shortened. They began dying of old age and disease. They became the present day humans. The gods, Baydon and Cardon saw what they had done to these people, called The First Dragons back into the ground, took them apart, and rebuilt them over centuries into the dragons known today. The brothers vowed to never again interfere directly with the live of the folk of Canus.

The Immortal Lines

It is believed that Cardon, Baydon, and Alphon in a final act of divine intervention granted immortality to one champion each of their choosing. Baydon chose Gretan and Cardon chose Mara. It is said that when these champions grow tired of their immortality, they are able to pass it to a worthy offspring. It is believed that Queen Icillia IV herself is descended from The Line of Gretan and holds The Immortal Gift, which she may pass on. Currently it is unknown who holds The Immortal Gift in the Line of Mara.

Alphon’s champion does not pass on his gift. The goddess chose the first man to ever drown in her waters, a sailor named Delistar. His body still lies somewhere in the oceanic depths, and it is said that his late-granted immortality does not allow him to move physically, but he can transfer his spirit into the body of any Immortalist. When an Immortalist is dying, moments before death it is believed that Delistar inhabits that person’s body and sends his or her spirit on, so he may suffer that person’s pain.

Creation of Gnomes

Somewhere down the line, Alphon decided the humans needed magic again, but since she had vowed to never directly intervene again in the affairs of the world, she created a plan for the creation of the gnomes and left it out for the shardminds to find. The shardminds followed the plan exactly and then also modified it to create the dwarves.

Immortalism Today

This creation myth is the base of all Immortalist doctrine. The Sun and The Moon are part of this five god pantheon, but they most prayed to are Alphon, Baydon, and Cardon. Delistar is a sort of demigod, prayed to when a loved one passes. Most Immortalist priests and clerics are not exclusive to one god or goddess. They rely on Alphon in times of healing and magic, Baydon in times of the hunt and war, and Cardon during the harvest.

  • Alphon Often depicted as a globe of water, Alphon is the kind and gentle goddess. She is prayed to for all things nautical and ocean related. Alphon is also the goddess of mysteries so all magic, psionics, and healing are both her domain as well.
  • Baydon Often depicted as an angry volcano, Baydon is the aggressive god of the hunt and the herd. War and weather fall into his domains as well.
  • Cardon Often depicted as a piece of wheat, Cardon is the sneaky god of the harvest. He is said to take pleasure in many things that delight and make life easier so art and technology are also part of his domain.
  • Delistar Though not truly a god, Delistar is prayed to in times of death, and some cults who worship him have sprung up throughout Aeranore. The cults range in their beliefs from those innocently interested in death to those who violently murder other Immortalists, believing if they sacrifice enough victims to Delistar he will grant them his Immortal Gift.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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“It’s been a while,” the clergyman thinks as he gets out of bed and reaches for his prayer-book. It hasn’t held interest for him in years, but today, for some reason, he feels compelled to grab the book off its near-permanent location – the bedside table.

Also on the table sits a pile of gold and bank notes – extortion fees from the nobles he is blackmailing. The scheme is simple – the nobles come to the cleric to confess, a process during which he remains anonymous. The cleric makes a note of the noble’s sin and identity and then years later collects his money via blackmail, long after the noble has confessed.

Sighing, the clergyman opens his holy book to begin his prayers and he throat becomes dry. Cold sweat breaks out on his brow, his back, and under his arms. The pages of his prayer-book are defaced. Right over the text someone has painted a face with two large, black ears. Behind him a voice speaks.

“If only you hadn’t given up your prayers for the pursuit of wealth, you may have received our warning in time.” The cleric does not turn around. His face curls in terror and he can only let out a whimper followed by a sob.

“We cannot show mercy to those who cannot save themselves.”

“Please!” the cleric finally musters the strength to save between tears. It is not enough. Before he can say more, he looks down on the floor and sees the carpet stained with blood. His blood. Dripping from his own white robes and from the end of the blade sticking out of his stomach.

Dark Whispers is secret organization of Gnome Assassins operating in Aeranore. They seek to right anything they deem an injustice through intimidation and murder.

The Founding of Dark Whispers

‘Nuff said.

The gnomes fled Parian many millennia ago due to the violent persecution of their race at the hands of a human emperor. A mass exodus of humans and gnomes from Parian landed on Findalay and founded Aeranore. For thousands of years after that exodus, the gnomes and humans worked side by side building a better life in Aeranore.

Then Maldwyn the Mad King sat Aeranore’s throne. His paranoia and suspicious nature made him fear the gnomes’ ability with magic. Maldwyn ordered all gnomes be removed from The Council of Mages and then demanded every member of the race be rounded up and put into walled camps. Any who spoke out against the actions of Maldwyn were immediately put to death. The gnomes had few allies amongst each other, let alone from other races. However, a group of courageous gnomes rose up and decided to take action against Maldwyn. They became everything he feared, mastering illusion magic and stealth. One night, they infiltrated Maldwyn’s court, killed Maldwyn, and all of his advisors. The victims’ ears were blackened, for the gnomes had poisoned them via the ear canal while they slept soundly.

The king’s brother, Madrin, took the throne and immediately did away with the camps. He never searched for his brother’s assassins. Many believe the gnomes intimidated Madrin, explaining his actions and lack of retribution.

Since there was never a warrant issued for the arrest of the gnomes who killed Maldwyn, they remained free. The vowed to never again suffer injustice at hands of another race. Folks took to calling the clan of assassins Dark Whispers, a name taken from a poem written about The Night of Black Ears by, Namfadring Dazlittle, a famous gnome bard (whom may have been a member of Dark Whispers).

The Manifesto

This lady ain’t messin’ around.

Dark Whispers has set forth a code for dealing with those they deem unjust.

  • Those in power have no one to keep them in check; therefore we shall be the judge, jury, and executioners of those with power who oppress those without.
  • All people are flawed. Before they are delivered judgement, they must first be given a symbol which warns them they are giving into evil temptation and will soon be dealt justice if they cannot change their ways.
  • There are no third chances.
  • There will be no warning given to those who take action to intentionally harm the gnomish peoples as a whole. These are the worst kind of criminal and shall be dealt a swift justice. We cannot allow our race to risk suffering again.
  • Those in power hold many of the cards and only a preponderance of evidence is needed to convict them.
  • The word of the common folk is worth twice as much as that of nobles.

By these rules Dark Whispers deals out judgement.

Secrecy

No one knows the structure of Dark Whispers or how one joins the organization. Dark Whispers could be as small as ten gnomes or could have hundreds of members. To this day there is very little proof they exist. Copies of their manifesto can be found and occasionally a noble finds a face with two black ears on a piece of parchment of carved into his or her furniture, but this could be and most likely is someone playing a childish prank. It’s the Exploration Age equivalent of Bloody Mary in many people’s eyes.

Still occasionally one of those nobles who has received the sign does become a corpse. The nature of this organization and the tales surrounding it have become of great concern to Queen Icillia IV and her court.

Remember how David had a fox… I’ve got a pet too.

Dark Game

Queen Icillia IV has publicly expressed her own disgust with Dark Whispers, an organization she fully believes to be real. Though she speaks out against the organization, she has never received a mark of warning or threat otherwise, strengthening the belief for many that there is no Dark Whispers. Other argue that while Icillia rails against the organization, she has done nothing under-handed during her time as Queen of Aeranore and therefore Dark Whispers continues to let her live… for now.

Either way, the queen has launched her own investigation into Dark Whispers. Many say a dangerous game of imbedded spies and double agents has begun. Who is working for whom is unclear and loyalties are fluid. Of course, publicly, no one is really sure what’s happening, since the existence of Dark Whispers has yet to be confirmed.

There are a lot more pictures of badass gnomes on the internet than I thought.

More Rumors

Here are some other rumors about Dark Whispers:

  • The organization is currently run by a racist gnome supremacist who has plans to use Dark Whispers to eliminate all humans and other non-gnomes in Aeranore.
  • Dark Whispers is no longer exclusive to gnomes and the organization may contact all types of like-minded specialists to join.
  • Dark Whispers has grown beyond Aeranore and now has branches all over Canus.
  • Solving the plight of warforged slaves in Bragonay has become a primary focus of Dark Whispers.
  • Queen Icillia was assassinated by Dark Whispers long ago and has been replaced by a doppleganger in service to the organization.
  • There is no Dark Whispers. The rumors were started by Madrin, who actually desired the throne for himself. He murdered his brother and Maldwyn’s advisors. Since that time Aeranore’s Royalty has used Dark Whispers as a cover for a few assassinations.
  • The deep gnomes of The Underdark have their own branch of Dark Whispers known as The Lightbringers, but they are assassins for hire.

The idea here is that DMs can choose which of these rumors they want to be true or not about Dark Whispers. Or perhaps they could add their own and keep the players guessing!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Aeranore’s gnomes value the study of magical arts, history, and sciences above all others. Long ago they founded an institution in Aeranore where all gnomes could attend to receive an education in these areas of the highest pedigree. The Arcane College was meant just for Aeranore’s gnomes when it was founded, but now its presence and influence has spread.

Every major city in Findalay and Parian has a campus to which members of any race are welcome to apply. Now with various fields of study, The Arcane College has become the Canus A-List academic institution.

Fields of Study

Had to be done.

Retired adventurers, young academics, and everyone in-between can be found on the faculty of The Arcane College. If you’re at the top of your field, they want you, and they’ve got the hiring package to back it up. In addition to a healthy salary, professors are offered free room and board in spacious campus apartments, the ability to take free classes themselves, free travel to other campuses, and funding for expeditions and independent studies (provided The College also profits from these pursuits).

There are major fields of study for any who come to the college as a pupil, either to specialize or receive a well-rounded education. Some of the fields of study:

  • Arcane Magic
  • Forbidden Lore
  • Psionics
  • Physical Combat and Martial Strategy
  • Theatre
  • Music
  • History
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Law and Government
  • Nature Studies
  • Unusual Beast Lore
  • Cartography and Geography
  • Geology and Earth Science
  • Alchemical Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics and Physics
  • Foreign Languages and International Relations

Goals of The Arcane College

Let’s check out that pyramid… uh ziggurat…. uh temple? Whatever, there could be loot inside!

The mission statement of The Arcane College states: “We establish this collegiate institution to uncover mysteries of the natural and magical world, whether forgotten, lost, or as yet unknown. Our professors will light the candle of students’ minds, which shall, in turn, bring a glorious flow of knowledge to all people in the dark.”

From that flowery, pretentious statement it seems The Arcane College was founded to teach, experiment, research, and explore. That may have been true centuries ago when the establishment was founded, but at some point during the institution’s rapid expansion, another goal was added – profit.

Yes, The Arcane College continues to teach, but their tuition prices are steep. One can get a loan from The Arcane College, but, as we all know, in the long run the student would end up paying even more. Scholarships are only granted to the most gifted potential students, and in turn, those students must work for The Arcane College for free for four years after graduation.

And yes, The Arcane College experiments, researches, and explores, but they only fund those endeavors which will grant them a return and then some on their investment. For PR reasons, the institution will occasionally take on a high-profile project or expedition from which they shall not profit directly. This is a calculated risk. The College bets the prestige associated with that particular project will generate enough donations to turn a seeming net loss into a profitable venture.

That being said, The Arcane College makes its money through discovery and exploration. They have many folk in Verda learning about new cultures and mapping out areas unexplored. They have even sent (often ill-fated) expeditions into The Damned Lands. The Arcane College funded research that has given rise to air ships, underground railways, and hasted cobblestones that speed travel throughout Canus. They have experimented with cheaper technologies and better medicines. When the kingdoms of Canus were truly in trouble, they have to rise up with the goodly folk, as they did during the War of the Crown.

The Arcane College is run by The Board of Arcane Directors, a group of gnome wizard professors, who are each in charge of running one of the campuses of The College.

Adventures with The Arcane College

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

The Arcane College provides many opportunities for PCs. They might be contracted to serve on an expedition, guard the transportation of The College’s goods and services, or be called upon to help face a greater threat. One of the Directors may hire the adventurers to investigate a murder on campus he or she is hoping to keep quiet or to spy on another Director who may be engaged in underhanded dealings. The Arcane College has several zoos full of exotic beasts, and adventurers can earn coin by capturing and turning over odd beasts to the institute. The more rare and dangerous an animal, the higher the pay.

The PCs might become professors and teach in the downtime between adventures, or pursue an independent study, expedition, or experiment of their own if they can convince the institution to give them a grant. Which The Arcane College may do after a lengthy review process and cost-benefit analysis.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Everyone loves the twice-widowed Queen Icillia IV. The octogenarian is praised for her even-handed ruling, merciful nature, and kindness to people of every class. Her reign has been long and prosperous for Aeranore. Not only do her farmers’ crops bring the nation great economic standing, but Aeranore has the largest and most successful settlements in Verda. Of course, there is the matter of the Twins, which could lead the entire nation to erupt into a civil war.

The Twins

Queen Icillia has two male successors, Fergal and Mankor. These identical twin brothers are now in their fifties, and have watched their resilient mother hold the throne all their lives. The twins are growing restless. Each desires Aeranore for himself and at this rate their mother could outlive them.

Fergal was born first (“by a minute,” as Mankor is quick to tell anyone) and has become a charismatic general. He is as ruthless and cunning at court as he is on the battlefield. Backstabbing, blackmail, theft, seduction, underhanded dealings, and even murder are all rumored to be part of Fergal’s toolbox when it comes to scheming and gathering power. Who could blame him? Though the throne is his by birthright, Mankor is clearly the queen’s favored son. Some whisper the reason she continues to sit the throne in her eighties is her secret hope Fergal dies in some war and Mankor be next in line. Any favor Queen Icillia gives to Fergal is for accomplishments that cannot be ignored, and nothing less.

Mankor is the seemingly softer soul. More educated and sheltered, the minute-younger twin has a love of music, wine, and bed partners. The queen looks upon Mankor with the greatest affection and has granted him a seat at her right side. For his entire life, Mankor has believed he is more worthy of the throne than his brother. His mother, who reinforced the thought, will not scheme against Fergal, she simply grants him no special favor. Mankor, on the other hand, has no such honor. Often he openly mocks his brother as a ruthless brute. More than once Fergal has thwarted assassins that have come for his life, many believe at the behest of Mankor.

Icillia is seeing her own health degrade, but it does not seem fast enough for either of her sons. So they plot against one another, they plot to strengthen their own claims to the throne, and some whisper, they plot the demise of their own mother. (DM Note: The fact that these two are identical twins allows them extra opportunities to sabotage each other via impersonation.)

The Twins are not simply power mongers. Both have visions for what Aeranore may become. Fergal believes that the smaller folk should have more of a voice at court and believes Aeranore must maintain a strong military. His biggest proposal, which has so far been rejected at court, is that anyone who enlists in the military has an opportunity to be heard once a year by Aeranore’s royalty.

Mankor also has a dream for Aeranore. He sees a land of inventors and researchers building new technologies and uncovering blank spots on the map. He believes Aeranore should be investing in young minds by scouting out potential scholars and mages then offering them scholarships to institutions like the Arcane College. In exchange these students then come and work for Aeranore’s government for a time.

The Twins are not the only forces at play.

Icillia V

When Queen Icillia IV was in her twenties she was married to a nobleman adventurer named Rallaigh DeTremont. Rallaigh went to war against Bragonay shortly after marrying Icillia and lost his life at the end of a dwarves waraxe. Shortly after, the queen gave birth to their daughter, Icillia V.

The queen rained love down on her daughter and told her tales of her father’s bravery. One day the throne would be hers after all, and she had to know what it meant to have courage. Little Icillia V grew proud of the father she had never met and desired nothing more than to go on heroic adventures. Everything the girl did was out of love for Rallaigh. That love was nurtured by her mother to prepare Icillia V to be an effective ruler. The queen constantly sang the praises of the girl’s father and spoke of how deeply she loved him.

Alas, the queen pushed too hard and praised Rallaigh too much. Eventually she remarried to the Twins father, Jerronic Tellibo. Icillia, appalled at the actions of her mother, forsook her birthright. She disappeared amongst the peasants, sought her fortune as an adventurer, or took any and all of the actions told in countless other rumors. Today she would be in her sixties, if she is still alive, and hiding somewhere in the world. Aeranore’s true heir to throne does not wish to be found, but there are those who wish to find her. Certain diplomats and nobles do not think either of the Twins sitting the throne is a good idea. They hope to find the lost princess so she might take the crown and perhaps avoid a civil war… but Icillia V’s return could just make a potential war even worse.

The Power Players

These rebels are… upset.

Two other groups further complicate Aeranore’s situation. Free Aeranore is a revolutionist group that spreads their message through acts of terrorism. They wish to bring democracy to Aeranore and put more power in the hands of the peasants by having a democratically elected group of leaders. The message of Free Aeranore is spread through vandalism and acts of violent aggression, such as raiding and raising government buildings, robbing treasury carts, and executing nobles. Their leader, a masked female who calls herself The Voice, claims Free Aeranore does not wish to commit such acts, but the monarchy forces them to do so. They have promised all acts of aggression until now have been warm ups for an imminent event they’re calling The Big Show.

Aeranore’s other issue is its largest Verdan colony, Paqual. Governor Sydal Freedrock has convinced the people of Paqual that they should not be subject to the rule of Icillia IV, who sits on a throne across the sea and does not understand the problems of the Verdan colonies. He wants Paqual and Aeranore’s other colonies to rise against Icillia IV and declare themselves a separate nation. Trying to garner support, Sydal will soon make his own claim for Paqual’s independence, with or without the other colonies. Many of Paqual’s citizens agree with this separatist attitude, though others see Sydal as a power-hungry tyrant who desires a kingdom of his own.

The Rumors

Aeranore’s situation is complicated even more by rumors whispered amongst the peasants and nobles alike. Here’s a few!

  • The Twins’ father is not actually Jerronic Tellibo, but actually his deceased, older brother Vant Tellibo. Therefore the Twins are actually bastards and have no claim to the throne.
  • Icillia V is actually still the 18-year-old woman she was when she left her mother’s palace to seek a life of adventure. Some say this youth has been achieved through a magic necklace given to her by an old tutor who looked upon her as a daughter. Others believe it is because Icillia has studied dark arts and transformed herself into some sort of undead.
  • Queen Icillia IV is not as healthy as she appears. She is suffering from an illness that will strike her down sooner than her sons might.
  • Mankor has a love all things lemon – pies, tarts, drinks. This has led many to whisper that Mankor himself is a mystauk host.

How’d I do?

I know I’ve said before I want every country to be a rich enough world that a party could simply complete a level 1-20 campaign without ever leaving its borders, but have enough connections to the outside world that an organically sprawling campaign may also be played. Hopefully, I have enough domestically going on in Aeranore to make things interesting if my players stay there. This is just a small piece of the country’s lore and we haven’t gotten into its connections to the outside world yet.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!