Alpha sheets can now be added to games via the edit option in the alpha sheet display. In addition, statblock embedding should also work for the [sb=show][/sb] tags. Any problems, please post in experimental features with links to the sheet and the game.
As you might have guessed, massive updates have been happening all over the wiki.
As always, contributions to the wiki are welcome and earn you in game rewards from xp and die roll bonus to plot maneuvers and others. Being that we have some down time with a few PC's I figured I'd throw out some requests of stuff I've been meaning to get to but simply haven't due to time and energy constraints. If you have an interest in one of these post below and mention some ideas you might have and I'll set you loose in your own private thread. Also, just because you might not have down time for your character right now doesn't mean you won't be waiting on players later and this is a great way to contribute to the game as well as exercise your creative writing muscles even if your hands are tied for in game posting.
Thanks all, any suggestions and new ideas any where in the wiki are always welcome =)
I'll post new needs as they arise.
New world maps:
The maps we have right now are very web 1.0 and were mocked up with MS paint like 6 years ago. They serve the purpose but if someone has some some artistic skills they want to show off this is a perfect opportunity. If you go so far as to make region maps as well then you are my new favorite human being. I'll need to be able to edit these later as necessary so do let me know what app you're using to generate them.
Third age pantheon of the keepers:
This one has opportunities for several writers. Pick a deity in the pantheon of the keepers and flip through the outline I have up of the third age. Third age needs a lot of meat added and finding out some of the specific things these deities do is a great way to develop that. Let me know what you think these gods might be up to. It's roughly outlined, but specific events will help trigger new world developments for the age.
The Unified Clans:
In the region of the kingdoms of man there are 9 tribes that make up the unified clans. Develop them some and give them some identity. It's probably a good idea to read through the other factions outlined for the area so that one understands the various political forces as work in the region. This area is still under heavy construction which means although it's not well organized, there is lots of opportunities to develop in this region. Although I'm requesting ideas on refining the clans, any ideas are welcome for the region.
L'Ohrdohnia This region is somewhat game relevant as we do have two elves in the party and it would be great to develop is some with some culture and unique features. Consider them to be akin to high elves with a tiny bit of blood elf twist from WoW. There's little about them here and there throughout the wiki, but the nation of elves demands steep culture centered around nobility, wizardy and religion as they are rather reclusive and have nothing to do but develop their culture and occasionally venture out into the world. Tons of opportunities abound here.
Wanna know something disturbing? This region is where a good chunk of the NPC's involved with the party directly come from and I haven't worked out much except that they are an old pirate nation that settled down into it's own kingdom because they don't like the oppression of the Pristine Empire. That's a bout it. Not to mention one of the PC's spent a good chunk of her life there. Having a few details about the place might be a fantastic idea, yeah? Thankfully none of this has come up in game yet, but it inevitably will and having any ideas at all for this place would be far better than the current document. I have no history, no culture, no anything really, just a few pictures and some vague notions of what it might be but zero in the realm of actual meat and potatoes. Take a peek at it and brainstorm.
Unique artifacts are great way to trigger world events. I need a bunch more of them. What is it? What does it do? What is it's back story? What relevance has it had in the world? For what purpose was it created? What purpose was it used? Who created it?
I'm not talking minor magic devices, although those are still important, I'm talking about something that has the power to appear on world time line such as the font of Aleksi. The third age is a great time to create these sorts of things as the gods will be most involved with the affairs of the world at this time.
I'd love to chat with you about doing some maps.
Just a warning though, this is a project that may take a while - a slightly slower process since it will take a back seat to work and keeping up with posting.
(Personally, for the campaign's sake, I'd love to start w/ a slightly more detail map of the City...)
Here's some samples in various states of completion from past ftf campaigns. (Unfortunately, to try and respect bandwidth usage, these are a little shurnk, but you can hopefully get the idea)
A city on a bay, with canals (partly inspired by renaissance Venice)
A political map of a large island, showing influence of the three major city-states
You are my new Hero, no lie. Make as many maps as you want. Maps of this quality will earn you handsome xp, but keep in mind you can only receive 3 bonus per scene, however if you did a dozen maps you'd still get the xp, it would just be spaced out.
Please get started whenever you can afford to but consider your character a priority. Also be sure to label things by number and add in extra points so we can add in more points of interest later. If you would like to create more points of interest I will need at least one picture and 1 or more sentences depending on how well you thought out the idea. Of course if you want to get crazy and start generating city NPC's with back stories I'm not going to stop you.
This is especially a perfect task for your character as he knows the city in and out. Good luck and keep me updated on progress! Very excited to have some one tackle this.
The legend of Ishmial is but one of many that should be unique to this world. Consider various Asop fables, but don't simply rehash them, be sure to make unique spins and twists to give this world it's own unique identity. This will also likely help generate legendary NPC's and artifacts. Gods are also great tools for this.
The Pristine Empire
The basic idea is outlined, but as they are a major antagonist it would be great to have a lot more substance to draw from to make the enemy more "real".
A massive segment of the world that is largely undeveloped, plus who doesn't think vampires are just cool? Whip our your ideas and go to work, lots needs doing here.
The nearest human kingdom modelled loosely after the chaos faction in warhammer online (in visual concept). This will be a fun place to develop, especially since it has such a long history!
L'Orhdohnia and the Dwarven alliance Both play minor roles in the game and both are fairly undeveloped. We need a lot more on both of these. If elven or dwarven culture is your thing, consider adding to these articles, they desperately need your help.
This may seem redundant, but what about some history of the land the characters are in? There is quite a bit already, but there is lots of unanswered questions and huge gaps in the time line. Sure would be great to know more about the land the story takes place in. This article will require much GM oversight so as to not directly conflict with the present game dynamics.
Ok, at WoLT's request, I'm reposting my past artifact write-ups, and mild fluff pieces. I hope this is the right place to transcribe them, sorry if not
"Without something to fight for, strive for, we are nothing" Seth of Tormauz
Seth of Tormauz was an early Mason, and one of the greater ones. Originally an urchin, abandoned by his mother in the streets, he managed to secure a job as assistant to the Overseers on a temple site, and worked his way upwards from there, to the point of becoming a true Mason. In time, he managed to teach himself magic through watching the Vaorren create their wonders, and used his arts to aid the growing underground. Once Tormauz was founded though, he didn't see a place for himself. He'd defined himself as a warrior for so long, someone struggling for freedom. He just... didn't fit in with a country at peace, with nothing to overcome
He refused the post of Arch-mage, instead asking that it be bestowed upon his apprentice. He never designed another grand temple, although one or two built under the Vaorren are in truth his handiwork. He taught a little to other magic users on occasion, but was never an easy master, always more focused on one or another of his goals. (Legend says he was cursed by a powerful Vaorren he slew to never know contentment, though that's just a romanisation) The truth was that he created a struggle for himself, a quest for answers, for understanding. "Without something to strive for, aim for, we are nothing"
Eventually, he left the nation of his birth, on one quest after another, quests for meaning and purpose. With no wars to fight, and no cause to strive for, Seth's focus became the understanding of things, how the Planes truly were created, how the gods came to be, what the laws were that controlled the flow of destiny and fate, that bound the Vaorren, the mortal races and gods as one.
Seth had never been a believer in half measures. He sought the answer to everything, the truth behind existence itself.
And in some dank elven ruin, he found it.
Not the answer, but a part of it. Some aspect or facet of universal truth. What form it took, Seth could not truly say, some of his writings speak of a blinding light, others of carvings upon the walls that shifted as he read them. Whatever it was, however, it was great. He comprehended it, at least whilst he stood there, but the knowledge was too great for a mortal mind to retain.
But no Wizard comes that far, fights as many battles as this, only to surrender to mere physical limitations. And thus, with focus only a master of magic could muster, Seth of Tormauz bound his Truth into the staff he carried, melding the two, until both staff and Answer were but a single thing.. He let that knowledge, that understanding, flow into what was already an item of power. And it changed as he did so, the once elaborate Wizardly Staff of silver and iron shifting to a simple thing of darkened wood.
Seth smiled as he left the ruins, the staff later known as the Way glowing at his side. His journey was not done, and in truth, would only finish with his death. But on this day, he had found a great Answer, one that would help him on his way forever more.
Seth must be long dead now, buried by the march of time, but no one knows for sure if the staff has passed to other hands since then. Many tales have been told by both scholars and bards, of Seth's 'final quest', of individuals who supposedly possessed the Way at some point, though none have been confirmed. More than one lesser staff has been misidentified as the Way, although a true sage could recognize the effects of the original.
The Way is a storied relic, and it holds it's place as such for a reason. Shifting it's shape with each being to possess it, be it taking the form of shining blade, royal sceptre, or wizardly staff, one constant remains. No one can stand in your way if you hold it.
Oh, people might attempt to block your way, walls may be built, wards erected, armies assembled to stop you. None of these things matter. All the wielder has to do is to continue to progress towards his goal, whatever that may be, and will an obstacle gone. The staff will do the rest. Warding spells will shatter at its touch, gates will be broken by simply pointing it towards them. Guardians will be tossed aside and the very earth itself will tremble and give way rather than deny the passage of this staff.
That is not to say the wielder becomes invulnerable, after all, death stops all travellers in the end. Nor do the powers of the Way allow its barer to kill with impunity; every effect will, if possible, remove, rather than destroy. The gates may be blasted open, but barring some slight damage to the lock, they remain intact. Armies may be blown asunder by blasts of torrential force... but not a man will die unless it is clearly needed for the chosen path to progress. Death is, and always will remain, the final Answer.
It was also created by a philosopher, who believed in the ability of people to choose. The Staff can not affect people's free will under any circumstances. it's effects are purely physical. You could use it to make those in your court bow down, if doing so somehow advanced your goal, but they would hold no love for you because of it
One point remains above all, however; The Way has no use for those without a goal. Any person without a strong driving focus behind them, if they try to touch the staff, will find the Way returns to the form it has most often been found in, a simple wooden staff. Yet now it is seemingly intangible, beyond mortal ability to grasp. Only one with a clear goal in their heart, that they truly wish to make manifest, may reclaim the Way from this state.
Mor'anor - The Shard of Endings
The tale of the battle between Magi Typhon and Vaorren is one of the most renowned in all of history, except to historians, who remain vexed at the lack of information on the final confrontation. Oh, the bards sing a thousand versions of the great battle, twice that if you include the comedies, and ten times as many in Vaorren lands. But every single one is supposition, artistic make-believe, and any sage can tell you as much. Even the dark ones don't truly know what happened at the end of the Last Age..
However, one legend seems to have some consistency to it. Either there is truth buried within the tale, or it's simply an oft told story.
Idril Helyanwë was a mistress of the forge, at the time of the Vaorren domination. Few elves were kept as slaves by the dark ones, but for one with Idril's skills, an exception was made by her 'master', Lord Kerras. Guards were stationed around her workshop constantly, wards were placed upon every exist, and any blade Helyanwë forged was to be taken from her immediately. The effort Kerras went to for the sake of his elf-pet was extreme, but justifiable. She wrought some of the finest arms and armour the Vaorren Court had even seen, although her style showed a little dwarfen influence, blending the two into a state greater than either. Work befitting the masters of L'Tiene
As Typhon's forces grew, and his armies begun to march, Kerras was not idle. He foresaw that at some point Maggus Vaorren himself would need to meet this newcomer in battle, and the ambitious lordling intended to stand by his master's side that day. He ordered his prize smith to fashion him the finest blade she had ever wrought, a sword worthy of one fighting at the side of the Maggus. If she but completed this one last task for her Master, to his satisfaction, Kerras would not only set her free, but personally ensure her safe passage back to L'Ohrdohnia
Idril did not believe her master capable of such compassion, but begun work on the blade, as he requested. In truth, however, her intent for it's final destination was a touch different. Typhon's forces were marching, getting closer by the day. With luck, by the time she was done, they would have taken the city, or come close enough to it as made no difference. She had some friends on the outside; her warded windows barred her passage, but not her words. She could see her blade delivered into the hands of one far more fitted to wield it, her brother Aelmah, now an apprentice to Maggus Typhon.
The tale divides itself at this point. Whilst all versions say that Idril of the Forge was killed by Lord Kerras before the Vaorren fled the city, the fate of the blade the elven smith forged is uncertain. Some say that she threw it from the window to a waiting runner, who did not stop until it was in her brother's hands. Others say that Kerras used it to slay his elven pet, silting her throat with it's impossible edge, sipping just a little of the red he found there, before stepping back, and bathing the sword in it's creator's lifeblood
It is not hard to see which version the Vaorren tend to prefer. Either way, the tale of Mor'anor resumes only at the time of the final battle itself. Either Kerras or Aeimah bore the silver glinting blade into the final battle, at the side of their master (both magi had few retainers with them at this point). Both men were slain; they were powerful in their own right, but hopeless beside two of the greatest magic users of history. All tales agree on that point alone; the battle that brought the Age to a close was between the Magi, and none other. Whatever forces stood by their sides were cut down to a one.
And this is where the stories split for the final time. One Maggus had gained victory over the other, who lay wounded upon the ground, life and energy ebbing away. However, just within the loser's reach lay a silver blade, with a pointed hilt. With their final effort, the all but dead loosing Maggus plunged the blade straight towards their killer in a final, desperate attack, leaving both the great beings, dark and light, truly and finally dead.
Yes, this blade was the one that either ended the last age, or saved the Vaorren from extinction, depending on who you ask. Irrespective of the precise details, all tales agree that the Shard of Endings gained incredible power from it's small part in that confrontation, that it has some key role to play in the next age, and has slipped past the sight of the powerful
The Book of deMorneBook of Ages, The new Grimoire
Once upon a time, there lived a wizard called Julin deMorne. He was a dark man in many ways, bitter and twisted by time and many failures on his part. He was powerful, well respected in his work as Capitan of the Royal Guard. All he could see were the things he could not affect. Corrupt officials whose guilt he could never prove. Bandits who fled before he could end their worthless lives. Guardsmen who would happily hang children and let the guilty go free so long as they were well compensated for it. At his heart DeMorne was a noble man, who strove to uphold law and justice, but he saw only the evils of this world, and was rarely able to appreciate it's betterqualities.
Yet one day, this blackened wizard found someone to care for. Her name was Jaquline, and she worked as a scribe in the royal library. It was hardly unusual for DeMorne to spend time there, so he started to speak with this radient figure. And she was everything he'd first thought of her. Charming, good-natured, and enraptured with the history she copied so often. She happily talked for an hour of the battle of Temple Hill before Julin was called away to his duties. The wizard left enraptured, stricken with love, but...
She is too naive, too caught up with her fanciful tales of bold knights and noble magi. She needs to understand the truth. The way things are, have always been, will always be. Otherwise...
He shuddered to think of how many ways black hearted rogues could play on so sweet a soul. He could not let that happen. She... would thank him later, surely.
So the cynical Sir Julin decided to show his beloved the truth of history. For a task such as this, he spared nothing. He combed every text he could think of, every account, every tale, looking for a way to demonstrate the blackness of the world as he saw it. But none seemed sufficient. These books were just facts, statistics, nothing that could even hope to break the delusions Jaquline surrounded herself with.
That was when it came to him. Only magic, divination of the purest sort, could provide the kind of revelation he sought. The library's spellbooks produced nothing, but perhaps instead he could create something suitable
Yes, a book. A book that showed the truth of the world, of history and the future alike.
So DeMorne set about creating his masterpiece. He took a selection of the greatest, most well regarded histories from the library, and burned them in his quarters. They glorified the world, they did not understand it, With their ash, he summoned the darker things that truly defined the mortal races; greed, pride, fear and hatred. These things he bound into the remains of a half-burnt spellbook, yet as the ritual finished, the binding seemingly began to mend itself, and pages of thick dark paper seemingly grew back into place..
Now, DeMorne was not a fool. He knew that magic can deceive as easily as illuminate. So before he rushed to fetch Jaquline, he gave one command to the book, a command that defined it forever.
"Show nothing but the truth"
There was a faint sound as Julin left. Almost like laughter
Extract from Cautionary Tales of Human Lands; written by Gavlin Rockblade, and published throughout Dwarfen Alliance territory in the fifth year of the War of Silver Crowns
Sometimes called 'The Black Oracle', the Book of Ages does indeed possess that power. It is a mighty device of divination, containing the essences of a host of demons within, all of which are charged with a singular task. To show the truth of things to any inquiring reader. Be this the facts surrounding some past event, or possible events that lie in the future, precious little lies beyond the book's sight. Those who peruse the book, with an question in mind, find themselves enveloped by it, as the spirits that provide power to the artifact take them within to demonstrate their answer directly. Thus, someone with inquiries about the outcome of the battle of Temple Hill would be transported to an illusory battlefield, complete with warriors and corpses, in which their answer can be seen directly. Those who ask about the coronation of Tormauz's next king might be taken to the throne room to watch it happen.
There is one limitation on the book's power, and one drawback to it's use. The limitation being the simple fact that the demons within have no power to grasp the minds of the beings they study. They observe the physical alone. Questions about thought, belief or emotion are impossible for the book to be certain upon, unless they were clearly shown physically at some point. If a thing was never expressed, it lies entirely beyond the Tome's power to know. Some mystic wards against scrying might also meddle with the demons' power, although few indeed have that level of strength.
However, the main problem one faces with DeMorne's tome is quite simple, not only is the book powered by immortal personifications of greed, pride, fear and hate, but it was created by a man who could only ever perceive the world in shades of black. All visions seen through the Book of Ages are distorted, darkened, designed to show the reader DeMorne's 'truth', that the noble will die without reward, whilst the corrupt and selfish prosper. The difference being that whilst DeMorne was a noble soul, who believed in fighting against the adversity of the world, the book has no such pretensions towards virtue. Its demons are all too happy to tempt mortals towards embracing the blacker side of existence, to show that only power matters rather than virtue and conviction.
Oh, and whilst they can't see into the minds of others throughout the wider world, the daemons of the book can see very clearly into the thoughts of any user; perceiving their history as well as their current reflections. Willingly reading the book forfeits any protection against such mental divination, and the demons will exploit that knowledge in the crafting of their visions of the future. They always know just what buttons to press, what fears and hopes to exploit to make their arguments and futures that much more convincing.
And finally, a WiP
"History has many virtues. Dramatic propriety is not always one of them" Master Sol'tahl Songsmith; playwright of L'Orhdohnia, and master of the White Glade Troupe
For a battle that ended an age, it was everything you might hope to see, and everything the stories would later say. The setting was perfect; Vaorren's final castle; a great edifice of stone as black as night, perched upon the mountainous cliffs that overlooked an icy ocean. A castle of bitterr, endless cold, standing upon the end of the world. Even the timing was appropriate by this point; the final stages of the battle came at the break of dawn. The whole affair would have delighted any bard who could've witnessed it; there were monsters, knights, heroes, villains, bravery, treachery, sacrifice and all the other components of a true epic. Not a surprise really; given the two titanic forces that had met in battle here..How else could such a tale end?
The bards never write about the smell though. Or the blood.
Past the thousand iron shards that'd once stood as the castle's gate, corpses lie without order or method, fallen where their battle ended. The two sides ate undivided in death, a great dwarven lord lay beside a newly turned Vaorren squire. Here, everyone is equal. You can even tell a little of the battle's tale if you are curious, simply by inspecting the bodies. Here lies Jinn d'Lai, one of Typhon's younger apprentices, and former Mason of Tormauz, slain by Lord Galnar, who has fallen against the wall across from them in second death.He was the coin-master of the Empire, and old partner at cards to Maggus Vaorren. Over there is Lord Kerras, kind and humble, there lies Sir Aeimah, the petty and vein. Here lies the golem that Vaorren had forged himself, a massive thing of spiked bronze and cold iron, its mystic wards faded, and animus left. There lies a great spirit of the forest, ten feet tall, and clad in leaves and bark, called up by Typhon's druidical allies to smash the gates of this hated final keep. Here lies Arra First-Born, there lies Calin of the Icy Blade. Here lies Hensford the Faithful, there lies Elera Crow-Blood.
Here lies Vaorren, there lies Typhon. Here lies Typhon, there lies Vaorren.
No. Not just yet.
The battle has moved now, atop the coastal wall. The mighty pair have a fine view of the sunrise, sparkling upon the ice below, not that either would turn to see it before the end. The sounds of hissing fire and crashing steel can be heard for quite a distance, along with a few bellowed, forced mystic syllables. No one could call these chants, they were more like arcane battle-cries; frenzied, angered. One could hardly tell the voices apart by now; for all the bards and composers will insist on writing Vaorren as a baritone in the times to come, his voice was not all that different from his foe's. A proud and commanding tenor, honed over many years at court. The voice of a leader.
It's ironic. The two most powerful men in all the world, two of the greatest thinkers, strategists, and magicians that history will ever see, and this is how their duel will end. Both sides exhausted, all subtlety lost, and strategy fled, once firmly held beliefs seeming like trivia now, at the end of things. They have fought with everything they had, every trick, every tactic, every spell, and with all their mystic power had beaten each other to the breaking point. No defences were left, no wards or secret plans remained. All that keeps the Magi going now are old instincts, honed on the battlefields that led them here and battered determination not to let the other leave this place still moving
The Duchy of Stormrend tends towards a somewhat diverse climate, cold winds from the north, pleasant breezes from the south. The land is mostly plains, through there're forests to the west, most prominently Wisterhelm, and rivers running down through them, heading north easterly. Once you reach the east, the land grows drier, less suited to farming, and more suited to animal grazing. The population spread is pretty conventional, clusters of farming villages, mostly in the west, each leading towards a town, and roads running from those towns towards the central city, which also serves as a fortress against invasion by easterly powers. There're iron mines in the north, most of them connected closely to the Reavers' Road, which runs from Stormrend to the ruins of the Vaorren's military harbours
Trade and travel to the rest of the kingdom has traditionally been a problem for the duchy, there's never been a good road between Stormrend and Dormogouge, just trails that go through rough terrain, forests and hills as you go further away from the plains. Recently, Stormrend's been arguing in the capitol for funding to put behind a grand paved highway, linking the eastern part of Tormauz with the west, although that project has fallen by the wayside in the light of recent problems within the capitol. It would probably require magic to create a level path through hills and forests.
Stormrend was one of the first of the city states conquered and rebuilt by the Vaorren. Formerly the Dwarfen merchant city Irrakahr, it'd fallen upon harsh times through the Elder Wars; elven forces had strained their armies to the breaking point, their coffers falling short. Irrakahr's Trade Council were trying to maintain peace with all outsiders, and didn't expect the new armies sweeping across the land. There wasn't a battle when the Dark Knights showed up, just something between a massacre and abject surrender. A smooth transition, if a rather bloody one (the inability to resist doesn't stop a dwarf from attempting to do so)
Thus, the conquers were left with a mostly intact city that they were all too happy to build upon, with the help of their human slave Masons. Thunderholme, as it was known then, was the military capitol for the Vaorren prefecture whose lands would later form Tormauz. Its walls were high, it's keep was strong, and this was where the dark lords maintained the heart of their armies in the region, both their own warriors, and those humans who served them; the Night Guard. This was a central point of Vaorren strength, and the civilian population didn't have much chance to work against them in these lands. The Duchy of Storms was docile, not fond of it's masters, but not fighting them directly
No, rebels here were generally subtler than that. Most were members of the Night Guard. Officers were treated well by their masters, they were kept literate, and one or two were allowed to read the classics. Lady Ayen, the prefect, rose more than one of them to join their masters in the darkness, but other officers remembered their families. So did the soldiers under them. When Typhon's War came, Thunderholme fell not to war, but to a well planned internal coup, orchestrated by a combination of Masons and the local resistance. There were battles across the streets, epic acts of heroism, a strong defence of the walls against a group of Vaorren knights encamped around the city. Ayen herself fell to the blade of Councillor Arthur Prescott, in an epic duel that raged across the flower gardens.
That day was the birth of Stormrend. The Guard elements that'd led the rebellion reformed as the bodyguard to the state's new Duke, and proceeded to retake the outlying areas, one by one, They'd won a great victory, trowing off the rule of their masters, and the people were entranced by it. Many buildings within the city proper date from around this time, people demolishing the old and celebrating the new dawn that'd been blanketing the world, and all the heroes that had died and lived to bring it about.
Then came their first real challenge, the Horde. No one'd really been expecting that; the only opposition anyone could recall was either the Vaorren, or each other. Stormrend's walls held strong, the guard were ready, and they took villagers in as refugees but Lord Allymyre Prescott was from the first amongst those calling for reunification to beat the greenskins back. He even left the city in his son's hands, riding out to the gathering of city rulers in person, to speak on behalf of coming together as a kingdom once again, but under their own rule.
Things haven't really changed much in Stormrend since then. They've stayed out of most of the Kingdom's internal conflicts, occasionally playing peacemaker, but generally letting the other cities sort things out on their own. Peace allowed for more civilian enterprises to rise to the fore, farming, mining and even a little poetry, but the Duchy's never been entirely at peace. Especially now; the return of the Horde was not too long ago, and the province remembers it's military past with some pride. They might have served the Vaorren once, but they struck them down in time, and no one served as well against the Horde. Gerheidt Prescott, the last Duke, was a close companion to King Aerailius from their childhoods, and fought hard against the Greenskins at the side of his King. However, he pushed himself too hard after his wife's death, and the loss of his old friend did not help the Iron Duke. He fell to illness about five years ago.
Stormrend isn't the utter, opposable stronghold that Khenzil Keep is; the Sleeping Giant was built by the Masons themselves as a rival to the Iron Rock, and they more than outdid the Vaorren military centre. To march upon Khenzil Keep requires a trek through mountains, and having to penetrate the many smaller towers and outposts the larger bastion maintains. To march on Stormrend, you just have to head towards it. The city is a city; it was built to be accessible, whereas Khenzil was once a place Masons went when they didn't want to be found
Still, neither has ever been taken, and Stormrend is still a force to be reckoned with, particularly when on the defensive. The Duchy has a long-standing martial tradition, mostly down to fending off the Orcs, and most families maintain at least one heirloom set of arms and armor, some holding several. Joining the Ducal Armies in wartime is something to be proud of, and the duchy maintains a smaller professional army at all times. The walls of the capitol are thick, strong, and supposedly still hold a ward or two; there're enough smithies in the capitol alone to outfit an army, and the granaries are high, thanks to the surrounding farmland.
Stormrend will not fall easily.
Stormlanders are a people of contradictions. They try to be ready for war, but to be so, they have to adopt peaceful pursuits. Thus, farming and smiting are respectable professions, and always have been in the duchy of storms. They believe in co-operation, the group working together to protect one another, and achieve great things ("You don't raise walls alone") but also understand the idea of personal excellence, each individual striving to be the best they can be. That's what leads to heroes, and everyone wants to be a hero on some level, the best at what they do.
This has resulted in the stereotype that the people of Stormrend are a collection of over-emotional, violent hotheads, held together by over-emotional, violent nobility. It is a stereotype, a total exaggeration, but it's got some basis in real tendencies. Arguments between close groups are common, and seen as character building, a way of showing yourself and your strength of character. No one and nothing is beyond question, although questioning nobility or authority requires politeness. They are where they are for a reason, after all.
Still, on the whole, they're a cheery folk, quietly proud of their history and place in Tormauz. Oddly enough for a people noted for war, they also tend to be welcoming hosts. Travel to the duchy from the west is rarer than you might think, and arrivals from the east that don't come baring blades are a pleasant surprise. A guest might get a few curious gazes, but if patient, they can find a warm welcome amongst the locals. A fair few rebellious young Stormlanders leave home for foreign shores, trying to find out a little more about the wider world, though nobles or import who attempt this journey generally travel in groups.
Nobility in Stormrend;
The Stormlands do not lack noble families. Most are old lines, tracing their origin to one of the Night Guard officers who sided with Arthur Prescott and the Masons so long ago. However, newer houses do exist, and the stigma of being recently raised to lordship isn't too great. A sufficiently heroic act is just cause for the Duke of Stormrend to raise any commoner to noble rank. However, this isn't common, most of the land in the duchy is already under someone's firm control, and a noble house can not exist without land and incomes. The idea of a 'merchant house', that has incomes, but minimal land, has been proposed by court sages (most notably the political scholar Lord Sachi), but has yet to be implemented.
Most of the lords are behind their duke and duchy, but their loyalty is not beyond reproach. Thirty years ago, there was a conspiracy to kill off certain small families through faked bandit attacks, and then orchestrating the counter attack as the defining event to establish several new 'heroes' worthy of nobility, aiming to create a new power block that the conspirators could control. The ultimate goal was a united front to make a play for Stormrend and the Prescott ducal seat. However, they made one misstep; the young Gerheidt Prescott was travelling with Emric Shayl, one of the targets. Not only did that attack fail, it led to the discovery of the conspirators plan, and instigated a small scale war within the duchy, lasting about a month. (Few troops wished to stand against their duke to be)
The Ruling Family; House Prescott
Since the Vaorren rebellions, there's been a Prescott on Stormrend's throne. They were the city's Councillors before that, a position roughly equivalent to mayor in less military settlements, overseers of the population in the Vaorren name. However, Lady Ayen generally attached honorary rank in the Night Guard to the position, leaving Arthur Prescott one of the Guard's highest ranking members, and one able to get close to Ayen if needed. He was the one who struck his former ruler down, and rose to the ducal seat at the vote of the other Captains
They've remained a warrior family at their core since then, although times have left to individuals deviating from that. The current Duke, Wellington, has come into his position before his time, thanks to his father's unfortunate death. Old Gerheidt Prescott used to jest that he'd follow his king even into death, and before a decade passed, he'd done as much, thanks to some damnable illness or other. Still, Wellington is shaping up to be a fine successor. He's already married Illeonah, a smart and beautiful woman whose dowry was high. He's still learning, but with Tine as a teacher, full mastery of his position should not take much longer.
More commonly known as the Reavers' Port, Greysands has been razed by more than one Duke Prescott, and yet somehow always survives. At the time of the kingdom's founding, it was a ruin, a wrecked Vaorren harbour where the dark ones once kept their warships lying in wait for any potential opposition. Since then a series of pirates, mercenaries and other scum noticed the little known spot, and decided to make it their hideaway, rebuilding the docks and using the place as a more or less safe harbour. In time, some more civilian styled businesses even moved in, accommodating to the tastes of the scum.
The secret port has, of course, not remained a secret since then. It's existence now tends to be a matter of cycles. The reavers are careful to raid away from Stormrend, and thus maximise the time in which they're able to make use of the port. Once they're known to have returned, the duke will rally cavalry to raid the ruin as quickly as possible, but several ships generally manage to escape. Stormrend then maintains a garrison there for a few months, until other issues become important. The troops are then recalled, and the cycle begins again.
And in times when a more pragmatic outlook's been needed... the pirates keep the port safe, and provide a better naval defence for Stormrend than any fleet the Duchy could afford, maintain, or train. There's never been a deal made between a Duke of Stormrend and the pirates of the north, but the Prescotts have delayed their response sometimes, letting their foes bleed one another before driving them away. Honor does not mean stupidity, or a failure to use your situation to it's fullest.
The port's currently been in in use for a fair while, the affair of the king's death distracting Stormrend quite nicely. (Or leaving them concerned for defence... the specifics are quite hard to tell) Any who heads to the north of the duchy now will find a full fledged settlement, ruled by strength at arms, and with minimal law. The most noted Captain currently calling Greysands home is Lady Bren'lia, a privateer originating from L'Ohrdohnia who bears a Letter of Marque from the elven court. Her opinion (and blade) is respected by most of the younger captains, and if Greysands has a queen, it's her.
The westermost town in Stormrend, Yrgaard stands in the shadow of the forest of Wisterhelm, the first barrier to travel to Dormogouge. For a major trading point, it's a little on the small and quiet side; whilst occasional events or holidays might trigger bursts of activity, most of the time, Ytrgaard is a restful town, comfortable and peaceful as they wait for the next group of traders to arrive. This is perhaps the only settlement in the Duchy of Storms that has never come under direct siege, though it still maintains a small militia in case of bandit attacks from the forest. When trouble and unrest has spread here, you know that whatever is going on will soon be affecting the whole Duchy, if it's not already.
Still, all the comforts of the city can be found here, if needed, and like most towns, it acts as a centre of travel for outlying villages on the forest boarder. In recent days, there've been rumours of a heretical cult to some old, heretical god or gods in one of the outposts, though which village has yet to be determined. The Church have sent a small detachment of Templars here to attempt to root out this hidden sect, and they've made Yrgaard their centre of operations, much to the displeasure of the local priest, Father Gregoran, who has received no end of complaints about the warriors' conduct towards the locals.
The City of Stormrend
The walls of Stormrend are one of the wonders of the kingdom; standing tall and strong, higher than the spires of the city's cathedral to XYZ. More and more hills rise as your horses draw closer to the far off city. As you approach, you can see Lake Irla rising behind the fortified city, glistening, a few boats slowly progressing across the still waters, even as the sun begins to set. There're many hills rising from the plains as you draw closer, a light atop each one, civilization beginning to show itself more blatantly. You can hear companions riding the road at your side, and the buzz and hum of any large, active city.
The clack of iron on cobble persists for quite a while, but before too long, you're at the oaken gates, your horse making it's way through the wall that almost felt like a tunnel. With that, you're within the city proper, the district known as the Horseman's Way, and you get to see the area that some people call the heart of Stormrend. The cobble street is lined with stone buildings, taverns, bakers, even the stables are made of granite. It's dark by this point, but the Way is well populated with people going to and from their places of work. Smoke rises up from a nearby forge, the wind blowing the black bitter air towards the castle, standing proud at the height of Stormrend
At a first glance this looks great. I need to read it over but that's deff. a beautifully crafted article.
I still need to get around to updating the wiki with the previous articles but it will be done at some point. Right now we're wrapping up the MW GUIDES and on the last leg of the MW MODULE, so that should give me some time to get to updating the wiki before starting the 3.5 college.