Posts Tagged ‘Findalay’

“There are those who rule the world, and there are those who should.” – Motto of The Servants

Have you ever looked at a supervisor and thought, “I would do your job much better than you,” while shaking your head? Have you ever heard a politician speak and wondered “How did this moron get elected?” Have you ever thought that the decisions of those in power have damned those without? Well The Servants thought all those things too, and they decided to do something about it.

The Formation of The Servants

Crowns are pretty badass.

A little over a century ago, a group of intelligent people came together secretly in Taliana’s Sentinel Grove to try to solve one of Findalay’s biggest problems – war. Some of the smartest minds from every country in Findalay were in attendance after contacting one another through a secret network of magic sending stones they had created. At this meeting, they began to hatch a plan to bring peace and even handedness to the continent.

They concluded that the chancellors of Marial, the royal family of Aeranore, the Parliament of Taliana, and the empress and upper castes of Bragonay were unfit to rule. They lacked the foresight, wisdom, and intelligence this group assembled in the Sentinel Grove had. They were the top minds not just in their countries, but in all the world. This group could bring not just peace, but prosperity to Findalay. To accomplish this would mean one final, bloody, massive war which would result in the death of all the rulers on the continent.

Of course, at the time there was already a shaky peace between the nations of Findalay, but in this group’s mind it was only a matter of time before another war erupted. If they could have a hand in beginning the next war and influence its outcome, they may be able to keep the number of innocents harmed lower and focus the fight where it needed to be – amongst the ruling class.

This group called themselves The Servants, for they knew the double meaning would serve them well. It would appeal to Findalay’s leaders and make them appear subservient, but really, the organization considered itself The Servants of the people, whom they would serve by crushing the rulers of the continent.

War of the Crowns

How many lost their lives needlessly in the War of the Crowns?

The Servants went public as an international collective looking to aid the nations of Findalay. Their first act was one seemingly of generosity. They fashioned special crowns to afford the rulers of Findalay mental protections against mind reading, domination, and manipulation. The crowns were ornate and beautiful, featuring small pictures with defining moments of that particular ruler’s country’s history.

The catch was that the crowns also allowed a member of The Servants who knew a special command word to read the thoughts of, charm, and even dominate a ruler wearing a crown. The very attacks the crowns protected against could also be used against the wearer by The Servants. This, of course, was kept a secret amongst The Servants themselves.

With these gifts, The Servants offered themselves as free advisors to the rulers. The leaders accepted, for these were internationally renowned minds. For a time all the nations of Findalay prospered, but The Servants were never content to rule from behind the thrones of others. They knew they needed to get the ruling class out-of-the-way. Easier said than done – Bragonay and Aeranore had entire family lineages that would need to be wiped out, while Taliana and Marrial had large governing bodies made up of many individuals. All of these folks would need to fall in a way which was convincing to the people of Findalay, so the citizens would accept The Servants as their new rulers when they came to power. So, The Servants began what they thought would be the last war Findalay would ever need.

Things began small, the assassination of a few small-time political leaders to get the wars going. Then attempts on the lives of the higher politicians and soon a series of violent struggles began, many of which were covert attempts on the lives of the rulers. The military and bodyguards often got in the way of The Servants plan, but more than a few chancellors, senators, princes, princesses, and warlords met their end during this time.

There were plenty of battles too. If The Servants could remove the soldiers from the sides of the rulers, they would have better chances to assassinate rulers. So huge armies clashed in areas designed to keep civilian casualties low, but how many soldiers senselessly lost their lives?

The Servants’ biggest weakness was their impatience. They knew their plan would succeed, but they wanted to end the war sooner and put themselves in power. To pull this off their small group would need a bit of a membership increase. So they reached out to several worthy candidates, many of whom worked within The Arcane College. That’s where their plot unraveled. Many professors disagreed with the views of The Servants and had lost friends in the war. They infiltrated the group and exposed the plot. Many of The Servants were captured or killed. Some made it out though and went into hiding. The crowns they created still exist today, but no rulers wear them for fear of The Servants return.

The Servants Today

The Servants? Or just your everyday assassins?!?

Many believe The Servants are still in operation today, though what is truly theirs and what is copycat is difficult to tell. Often local newspapers feature anonymous opinion pieces written with scathing criticism of an official. These pieces are simply credited to The Servants. Sometimes a scandal will be exposed, a minor leader will be murdered or blackmailed, or a protest will take place – all led or perpetrated by an organization claiming to be The Servants. Whether or not these folks are The Servants is up for debate, but many believe the organization would never get involved with things on a local level. The Servants think big… total domination big.

One thing is certain to many – The Servants are still out there, plotting. Recently, several of Findalay’s most promising mages, diplomats, and inventors began disappearing. Could this be the work of The Servants? Perhaps they are recruiting members and going into hiding, waiting for the pieces of a grand puzzle to fall into place before making their next move. Or perhaps The Servants are removing intellectually powerful individuals they see as threats before launching a new plot. Perhaps a little of both of the above are true. Maybe The Servants have disbanded and these disappearing folk are starting a whole new chapter of the organization. There are also rumors The Servants have given up on Findalay and have set their sights on ruling Verda, which is where all these smart folks might be disappearing.

Whatever the case may be, there are those in the world who publicly support The Servants. They want to see peace and total governmental reformation come to Findalay. The intelligent should lead, not the popular or those with a birthright. Should The Servants rise again, they will have more support amongst the people than ever before.

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!

Peace-keepers, heroes, reluctant partners – all of these terms apply to The Swords of Findalay. This international peacekeeping quartet was put in place long ago to help settle disputes and punish those who violate the Treaty of Findalay.

Who?

It’s party time.

The Swords of Findalay are four of Canus’ most accomplished adventurers joined together in a party for the betterment of the continent. One adventurer is chosen by his or her country’s leaders to join The Swords for a ten-year term. Swords may serve as many consecutive terms as they like and their leaders allow.

The Swords of Findalay are above all laws but their own, so they are supposedly selected based not only on their accomplishments, but their character… but character is quite subjective. More often than not the leaders of a country pick their most popular and storied hero to serve as a Sword. Other countries don’t want to be outdone and so The Swords of Findalay can sometimes become showboating drama queens out for individual glory and popularity as opposed to a cooperative team of negotiators and adventurers. Though recent events have encouraged a more careful picking of The Swords.

Meet the current Swords of Findalay, who are in their tenth and final year of their term.

Mikandra Felonde – Aeranore

Aeranore’s champion is a demure, middle-aged gnome woman. She dresses plainly, abhors makeup, and keeps her hair in a tight bun. Queen Icillia IV didn’t appoint her close friend for her appearance. Mikandra Felonde is a renowned conjurer. She and her many summoned beasts have a rich history saving citizens of Aeranore from various threats – particularly the terrorist organization of Free Aeranore.

Mikandra does not say much in public appearances and when she does speak it’s usually with the voice of a person who’s so intelligent they can’t understand that no one else is keeping up with them. Still, her power, heroism, and time on Aeranore’s Council of Mages make her a perfect fit for the job. Her zipped lip means she’s likely to not shame Aeranore as well. Of course there is that pesky rumor that Mikandra is secretly a member of Dark Whispers…

Therrah Gwana – Bragonay

An artisan turned warlord who rose through the ranks of the Bragonay caste by order of Empress Nawja herself is far and wide considered the most honorable fighter in all the land, which is a major accomplishment considering her predecessor literally stabbed the other Swords of Findalay in the back. In her early days, Therrah gained fame as an artisan when she made armor out of the hides of dragons… whom she personally hunted down and killed with her axe. When her fame reached international levels the Empress forced a warlord to trade castes with Therrah and later asked her to join The Swords.

Therrah is well-mannered and respectful of other nations and cultures. Training is her number one priority and she is soft-spoken… until she gets a few ales in her. Therrah becomes the life of the party and center of attention whenever she starts to drink. This is a little dangerous though. How lose her tongue becomes is proportional to how much she’s had to drink.

Leiryiach Lekjaver – Marrial

There is no voice in Findalay as sweet as that of Leiryiach Lekjaver the bard. Leiryiach is a dragonborn who has grown popular in the isles by calming monsters and beasts with his songs and spells. He has laid down almost as many beasts as he has women – his one true weakness.

Leiryiach is easily the voice of The Swords of Findalay. He often sings when they give public appearances and is the first to show off when challenged. Leiryiach craves attention and pulls pranks on his fellow Swords when they are being honored in order to draw attention back to himself.

Justinianus Salavanas – Taliana

Leiryiach might be the voice of The Swords, but Justinianus is their true leader. He is a calm and collected Solarist priest who has made his name through adventuring and then giving away his gold to the poor. This made him wildly popular in Taliana where he could easily be a senator. Parliament naturally saw him as a political threat (he could take one of their seats) and immediately nominated him to be Taliana’s Sword as soon as the opportunity arose. His work as a Sword bars Justinianus from running for office.

Justinianus often picks the quests The Swords of Findalay undertake when they are not needed to settle a dispute. When they are needed, he is a skilled mediator, helping leaders everywhere come to agreements during disputes. Though he has stated when his term as a Sword is over he does not plan to stay, but run for Taliana’s Parliament, which has worried more than a few in the House of Labor.

What?

Party down.

The primary responsibility of The Swords of Findalay is to keep the peace between Findalay’s nations. They have two primary ways of doing this.

  1. When another nation or leader of a large-scale, internationally recognized organization such as The Arcane College asks them to help mediate a dispute between themselves and an opposing party, The Swords must heed the call. Likewise, before any military action is taken The Swords must first be called upon. Nations and organizations who do not take that step are subject to penalties determined by The Swords of Findalay.
  2. The Swords must provide an example for all of how the different Findalayan countrymen can work together. This means public appearances, speaking-events, and above all adventures. If a Aeranorean gnome can become a hero to young Bragonian dwarves and Talianan elves, then people may be able to better understand one another. There’s plenty of places for The Swords of Findalay to explore and plenty of adventure out there.

Since The Swords of Findalay are so very busy, they have a few special tools to manage their jobs. Each has a special stone of sending which allows communication with one another and the leaders of Findalay. They are also loaded up with scrolls of teleportation so they can easily get from one place to the next, not to mention their griffon mounts given to them by Taliana’s Parliament.

Where?

In order to not show favoritism to any nation over the others, The Swords of Findalay spend two and a half years, one-quarter of their term, in one of Findalay’s four nations, using it as a base of operations. Their base is usually located in a the country’s capital.

Why?

The Swords of Findalay came about after years and years of war between all of Findalay’s countries. Aeranore, Bragonay, Marrial, and Taliana agreed to create a force made of their champions that would be the continent’s police force. They have not always been successful in negotiations, but they always take action and pride themselves on hunting and punishing the guilty.

When?

The Swords of Findalay have had numerous major accomplishments. One of their biggest was uncovering the grain plot of Taliana and offering Parliament a choice in their punishment, the result of which was damning to the country’s economy.

Perhaps one of the most important moment in The Swords’ history is the event that started the Fourth Great War. Bragonay’s Sword murdered the other three and then the empress of Bragonay began her invasion. The Swords murdered and the war begun, for a long time there was no Swords of Findalay.

Ten years ago the countries brought the group back, but many people are wary of The Swords, unsure if they truly put the needs of Findalay above the needs of their individual patriotism.

How?

So how are The Swords of Findalay important to the PCs? Well, first of all they are the highest moral authority in Findalay, an example to all adventurers. Second, these adventurers have real authority, they could ask the PCs for help, or with the term ending, one of the PCs could be chosen to be a Sword.

Or perhaps the adventurers find themselves at odds with The Swords. The adventurers could work with an organization sparking an international incident or perhaps The Swords themselves have ulterior motives, either individually or as a team. Imagine the best adventuring party in the world gone rogue. Fun stuff.

Last one… party on!

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!

Dragons are world-weary and few. I’m a huge fan of these creatures. Who isn’t? When the fourth edition of D&D launched I loved the variety of dragons in the game. I used them everywhere. They served as main villains, but also as mounts for bad guys, guardians of temples and artifacts, beasts that were summoned by wizards, powerful allies, combat companions alongside the PCs… you get the idea. After all of that I’m a little pooped out on dragons and they’ve lost some of their majestic pizzazz for my players. I know, I know. I blame me. So I’m taking a different approach.

However, I also don’t think dragons should be shut away in ivory towers, reserved for epic level encounters only. They are in the name of the game after all and a big part of the attraction. If you can’t see a dragon in your fantasy life when can you? (Seriously when can you see one in real life, if you know, please tell me.) As a player I’d feel cheated in a dragon-less campaign and as a DM I’d have a big dragon-shaped void in my gamer heart.

Dragons Are Special

What do you mean I ain’t special?!?

In Exploration Age, dragons should feel special, but not wholly inaccessible. The PCs should all know of the greatest dragons from childhood stories. The mere mention of a specific name should make an entire tavern nod with recognition. Before a dragon ever steps into the PCs’ lives they should know he or she is kind of a big deal.

Along the same lines dragons in Exploration Age should never play second-fiddle to another NPC. They don’t serve as full-time guardians or mounts, those are jobs for animals, not great majestic beasts. If a dragon chooses to work with an NPC, it is for one of two reasons. First the dragon is clearly in charge, the scheme is of his or her design and the NPC is the dragon’s lackey. Second, the dragon and NPC appear to be equal partners in a scheme crafted by the latter; however the dragon still considers itself superior (he or she probably is) and allows the NPC to think of them as equals as long as their goals are aligned.

Dragons of Exploration Age are proud of their mighty heritage. Since the dragons of Canus only grow stronger of mind and body as they age, some dragons from The Birthing Dawn (the time when the dragons came forth from Canus’ core) are still alive. Though old age will not kill a dragon, he or she could still be put down by physical wounds. There is no known ritual that can restore a dragon to life once it has died, which is why some might choose to become a dracolich. If sword or spell strikes down a dracolich, the phylactery will bring the dragon back.

In general, dragons have grown world-weary of the affairs of mortals. While once their goal was world domination, most no longer desire power and already have a vast horde of treasure, either acquired or more-likely inherited. Dragons often look to gain something far more useful than items or kingdoms – knowledge. They have the time and strength of mind to become experts in all sorts of lore. Some might spend their time summoning other-worldly beings to speak with them, reading mounds of ancient tomes, experimenting with magic, studying the stars, talking to spirits of the dead, or even occasionally seeking out mortals of renown – all in the name of expanding their minds.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Some dragons may grow so bored and nihilistic they seek their own death, so they begin raiding villages and country sides as a challenge to find a creature worthy enough of granting them death. Others may hunger for knowledge so ravenously that they kill other dragons and extract the knowledge of the victims’ corpses. Still others, mostly younger dragons, may become obsessed with gaining power or a larger horde and seek out treasure, minions and power, or enjoy the company and affairs of mortals more than most of their kin.

Chromatic vs Metallic

In Exploration Age there isn’t a strict evil/good divide between chromatic and metallic dragons. Instead these general truths holds true:

  • Chromatic dragons can be found in Parian, Glacius, and Findalay.
  • Metallic dragons appear to be exclusive to Verda.
  • Chromatic dragons are quicker to anger and use their might and wrath to swing a situation to their advantage. They are more straight forward and demanding when dealing with lesser beings.
  • Metallic dragons are calmer and more level-headed in high pressure situations. They let their confidence and intellect win the day and prefer to have others fight for them, only attacking when there is no other option.
  • Surprisingly, these two types of dragons have always known about each other, or so they claim, but have had no known contact since they emerged from Canus’ core. The reason why is currently unknown, but it seems the dragons are not friendly.

Legacy of the Dragons

Exploration Age’s dragons are no longer active in the day-to-day lives of mortals, but that wasn’t always true. Drow and elves formed from the blood of chromatic dragons and share their love of knowledge, quick temper, immortality, and passion for life. They are fiercely proud of this heritage and call themselves The Dragon Children. Sharminds, gnomes, and dwarves fought against the chromatic dragons long ago, and their tales speak of the terror and violence dragons can rain down upon the world. Tieflings and dragonborn can trace their own creation back to the hands of metallic dragons. The dragonborn just recently learned of their lineage, but the tieflings have never forgotten their younger brethren, nor have the tieflings ever stopped hating the dragonborn’s existence.

The dragons influence can be witnessed throughout the world. Aberrant ruins tell tales of the wrath of the dragons, while abandoned nests tell tales of their caring, introspective natures. Tieflings have books and works of art from metallic dragons in their Spires. Dragonscale armor is more than practical, it’s a sign to others that you are a badass. Scholars may spend their lives dreaming of getting to sit down and access the mind and/or library of one of the more ancient dragons, while a village may live in fear because of their proximity to a dragon’s nest.

Stories are the largest legacy dragons give to the world. There isn’t a person on Canus who hasn’t heard at least a few tales about the majestic beasts as heroes or villains.

Do you agree? Should dragons be super special, but still fully integrated into the world?

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!