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About This Game

An OSR-style tale of adventure inspired by classic 80's fantasy.

Game System

Castles & Crusades



Detailed Description


You are a hero. Or, at least, you need to be. Some people already know your name, be it from local good deeds or some position of significance that you hold. A figure of note with potential for greatness. But even heroes run into obstacles and right now you are facing something beyond the scope of your usual derring-do. An impossible task, a quest with far reaching implications that will require all that you have to offer and more. It is the 'and more' that has brought you here, to the mountain home of the Oracle of Stone, with the promise of finding aid to make this impossible task...well, possible.


Help design a world of sword and sorcery, a place of unfathomable magic and ancient evils. Work with the other players to craft a setting steeped in that grimy, 80's fantasy nostalgia complete with bad special effects and stilted dialogue. Inspiration for this style runs the gamut from Conan and Krull to Willow and The Dark Crystal. Best of all, be the architect of your own triumph (or tragedy) as you create the ultimate, impossible quest that will guide the characters through a (hopefully) compact and well-paced arc and tell an inspiring story of what it means to be heroic.


Please reference the Game Expectations for general game structure and the How to Apply topic in the Applications forum.

  1. What's new in this game
  2. General setting convention question - does every PC know, in-character, what their impossible task is? And is it self-directed or are we looking at a conspiracy of fates sort of thing?
  3. Run with anything you can imagine with regard to the world's pantheon and religions. Just like the real world, I would imagine you can find someone of any belief with any type of personality, including tomato worshipers if you look hard enough!  
  4. So I'm tentatively thinking Primal Druid with a Barbarian support, though it does feel a touch redundant. Assassin could be cool but there will end up being a lot of skill overlap with a Cleric-Thief, Rogue-Magic User, and Primal Druid-Assassin.
  5. Character Information Name Valfaren Foxwish Title Wild Child Race Elf (Sylvan) Class Primal Druid / Barbarian Alignment Neutral Religion x Age 47 Gender Female Height 5'5" Weight 120 lbs. Eyes Dark brown Hair Blue-black Language Proficiency x x Personality ... Appearance ... Background ...   Main Statistics Primary Attribute Mod Saves   Strength 17 +2 Paralysis, Constriction   Dexterity 16 +2 Breath Weapons, Traps   Constitution 14 +1 Disease, Energy Drain, Poison   Intelligence 11 +0 Arcane Magic, Illusions ✔ Wisdom 15 +1 Confusion, Divine Magic, Gazes, Petrification, Polymorph   Charisma 14 +1 Death Attack, Charm, Fear   Racial Abilities Name Effect Enhanced Senses See clearly up to 2 miles when outdoors; +2 listen Twilight Vision See color/detail up to 1 mile when outdoors in light Move Silently Stealth ½ speed when outdoors; -5 up to full speed; -20 running Spell Resistance +10 vs. charm/sleep effects Spot Hidden Doors Passing within 5' of concealed doorway grants +2 Wisdom check Weapon Training +1 to hit with: longbow (+comp), shortbow (+comp), longsword, shortsword.   Class Abilities Name Effect Weapon Proficiency Anything 3 lbs. and under; no crossbows Armor Proficiency Padded, leather coat/armor, ring mail, hide, chain mail, breastplate (any) x x   Combat Statistics AC (Total) Base Armor Shield Dexterity Mod Misc. x 10 x x x x To Hit (Total) Base Attribute Level Bonus Misc. x 1d20 x x x Current HP Maximum HP Wounds Hit Die Encumbrance x x 0 dx x/x   Equipment Weapon Bonus To Hit Bonus Damage Base Damage Notes x x x x x Armor / Shield AC Bonus Weight Encumbrance Notes x x x x x Item / Clothing Weight Encumbrance Notes x x x x   Money Platinum Gold Silver Copper Jewels 0 50 0 0 0   Mount / Animal Companion / Familiar Name Type HP AC Move Attacks Damage Saves Notes x x x/x x x x x List+x vs. Paralysis, Constriction +x vs. Breath Weapons, Traps +x vs. Disease, Energy Drain, Poison +x vs. Arcane Magic, Illusions +x vs. Confusion, Divine Magic, Gazes, Petrification, Polymorph +x vs. Death Attack, Charm, Fear x   Spell Book 0th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 1st Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 2nd Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 3rd Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 4th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 5th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 6th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 7th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 8th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 9th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x
  6. @Terran in your writeup of Nir-Vana you mention two of the foundational dities are Niko and Ivana which you liken to Apollo and Artemis: would you mind if I built on that and spun Ivana off into having some of the triune aspects ascribed to Artemis by later cultures, the whole Artemis - Hecate - Selene maiden/mother/crone symbology? Given the Rivenfell being, well, fell - and ruled by an undead witch queen - I could see Neve worshiping a Hecate style aspect of Ivana. A quick google for related names suggest a few - Basillea, maybe?   @DoNotFearToTread Quick availability FYI - I'm gonna be offline Friday through Sunday this weekend: hitting the tail end of the season down at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
  7. Character Information Name Naihm "Neve" Ashwood Title Taker, Nevergreen Carvan Race Smallfolk (Gnome) Class Rogue 3 / Magic User 1 Alignment Neutral Good Religion Ivana, cult of Basillea Age 27 Years Gender ♀ (She/They) Height 10 Hands (3' 6") Weight 3 Stone, 3 lbs (45 lb) Eyes Smoked Quartz Hair Chestnut Language Proficiency Vulgate, Dwarven, Elvish, Smallfolk, Goblin (+2 INT)   Personality ... Appearance ... Background ...   Main Statistics Primary Attribute Mod Saves   Strength 11 +0 Paralysis, Constriction ✔ Dexterity 16 +2 Breath Weapons, Traps   Constitution 13 +1 Disease, Energy Drain, Poison ✔ Intelligence 16 +2 Arcane Magic, Illusions   Wisdom 13 +1 Confusion, Divine Magic, Gazes, Petrification, Polymorph   Charisma 13 +1 Death Attack, Charm, Fear   Racial Abilities Name Effect Animal Empathy Nonverbal communication with burrowing mammals Combat Expertise +1 to Melee BtH vs. Goblins & Kobolds Darkvision See in complete darkness, 60' Enhanced Hearing +3 to Listen Checks Innate Spellcasting Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Prestidigitation 1/Day   Class Abilities Shared Name Effect Weapon Proficiency Any (per MU) Armor Proficiency Any (Rogue Abilities limited to +3 AC Armors or less)* Primary Class (EL 3) Back Attack +4 to Melee BtH, x2 Damage Cant Thieves Tongue Climb [DEX] 1/4 Move climb speed, Fail >5 results in fall Decipher Script [INT] 2d8 minutes per page of text, -10 for Arcane Texts Hide [DEX] 1/2 Normal Movement (-5 & 1/4 if Silent) Listen [WIS] Can hear a whisper at 30' (+3 per Enhanced Hearing) Move Silently [DEX] 1/2 Move (1/4 if Hiding) Open Lock [DEX] Requires Thieves Picks Pick Pockets [DEX] Stealing or Sleight of Hand. TN (- HD) of Target Traps [INT] Find & Remove; 1 minute per check (10'x10') Secondary Class (EL 1) Channel Magic 4 SP per level/day; 1 SP per channel, duration 2 rounds or 1 ✔ Detect Magic Innate Ability per spell detect magic Locate Magic Item 450' Range, as detect object, need not be familiar with item Read Magic [INT] as per read magic spell Use Magic Can use all magic items regardless of limitations, All Scrolls   Combat Statistics AC (Total) Base Armor Shield Dexterity Mod Misc. x 10 x x +2 x To Hit (Total) Base Attribute Level Bonus Misc. x 1d20 0 / +2 +1 x Current HP Maximum HP Wounds Hit Die Encumbrance 19 19 0 d6 -- / 11   Equipment Weapon Bonus To Hit Bonus Damage Base Damage Notes x x x x x Armor / Shield AC Bonus Weight Encumbrance Notes x x x x x Item / Clothing Weight Encumbrance Notes x x x x   Money Platinum Gold Silver Copper Jewels x x x x x   Mount / Animal Companion / Familiar Name Type HP AC Move Attacks Damage Saves Notes x x x/x x x x x List+x vs. Paralysis, Constriction +x vs. Breath Weapons, Traps +x vs. Disease, Energy Drain, Poison +x vs. Arcane Magic, Illusions +x vs. Confusion, Divine Magic, Gazes, Petrification, Polymorph +x vs. Death Attack, Charm, Fear x   Spell Book 0th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 1st Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 2nd Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 3rd Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 4th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 5th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 6th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 7th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 8th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x 9th Level Spells / Day Bonus Spells Total Known x x x Name Amount Prepared Notes x x x   Here is an excellent template for your C&C character sheet, provided graciously by Malkavian Grin.
  8. A full assortment of Class and a Half characters could make for some interesting play and offer even wider versatility among the group. I wouldn't object to people opting for that. In that scenario, we could even look at the totals for everyone's leveling and use the average for everyone instead of the individual numbers to make the leveling rate steady instead of people hitting levels at different paces. I'm open to some house ruling in that regard.
  9. I suppose C does feel like a "corridor" to other areas. It's kind of the middle of these big water areas. It doesn't necessarily have to be devoid of dangerous flora/fauna; perhaps there's an ancient wood that refuses to stay cut down. Maybe there's a big population of Sylvan Elves that defend some sections viciously. Maybe there's a mountain range cutting off trade on one side. (I assume we'll add mountains and the like later?) Maybe the only civilization exists on the water's edges and that's why adventures are needed, because the roads between settlements is rife with danger. Mostly, I picked C because it has more interesting edges on the landmasses LOL. Looking at A again, I definitely see Lake Michigan now (I live just under-and-to-the-right of it). The whole thing just feels like way too much land on the left. Maybe adding mountains and such would give it more character? Looking at B again, I am kind of feeling more pull to it. Definitely more than A now. I just wasn't really sure about the four lakes in the middle. I dunno, geography isn't my strong point. What I do like, is the idea of putting B and C together; if you look at them on the main screen, they basically could go side-by-side already. That, for some reason, has a very big draw to me.
  10. Great to hear about the 3 lb. limit, thank you. I think my character will be a Sylvan Elf (for flavor). This is just another name for "Wood Elf" as Sylvan literally means "of the forest" (and what my real name derives from; Sylvia). I always liked some racial subset variations, like Elves that preferred to live in more city-states vs. those that are very primal/tribal, or Dwarves that prefer to live in the hills rather than actual mountains, etc. Sylvan Society Elves that hail from the Sylvan heritage prefer to live as "with Nature" as possible, using magic and woodcraft to change the way a grove of trees grows into natural housing. They tend to find caves too dark, closed, and unforgiving, though they make for good last-stand defenses. Their villages are ruled by a council of the eldest rather than a singular figure, unless that figure is particularly brutal and savage (a rare occurence); those villages tend to feature fighting pits in the center of the area with the strongest fighter taking the mantle of leader. The typical Sylvan Elf finds solace and respect in Mother Nature like an unspoken deity. Sylvan Elves are territorial--moreso than other brands of Elf. To step into a Sylvan-owned forest is to court ambush. They do not take kindly to those they deem unworthy to be there; Goblinoids, Orcs, and monstrous creatures especially, but also Dwarves, Humans and other "civilized" races. They start with an ambush, surrounding them with overwhelming numbers, then force them to say why they are trespassing. Unsatisfactory answers result in being mugged and dumped outside the forest, all the way up to execution if too dangerous a foe. At best, a group will have to part with their valuables as a toll. In a typical village, most Sylvan Elves are Rangers, Barbarians, Archers, Skalds, or Druids. In one under brutal regime, many are Primal Druids, Barbarians, Assassins, Seekers, or Thieves. Primal Druids are uncommon within Sylvan settlements, unless it has come under the rule of a brutal champion (which tend to in fact be Primal Druids). In a typical village, they live on the outskirts defending it and sharpening their skills or spend much of their time out on the hunt for food. Under a brutal champion's watch, Primal Druids are more common and spend more time in the settlement--usually fighting each other to sharpen skills. The view of using Nature rather than revering it is not common among Sylvan Elves, and so Primal Druids are often kept at arms length in a settlement. They are seen as dangerous tools; the sword rather than the arm that wields it. Primal Druids thus tend to be more solitary, but do find a kind of antagonistic kinship with other such primal Classes. I would say that Primal Druids have a strange pull to specific times of year and thus find themselves gathering in specific locations steeped in Nature's full wrath. It is dangerous to travel to these places. During yearly equinoxes and solstices, Primal Druids feel a guiding force to come together, share stories, drink hallucinogenic wine, have spirit journeys, and then fight each other for dominance. Any race of folk are welcome, so long as they display the needed skill of the Primal Druid. @Terran It makes it take longer to level up; Class-and-a-Half requires you to take half the supporting Class' EXP requirement and add it to the Primary Class' EXP requirement. As I understand it, to increase level from a Primal Druid 3 / Barbarian 1 to PD 4 / B 2, I'd need the EXP for PD 4 (10,401) + the half the EXP for B 2 (1050) for a total of 11,451 EXP. That's not terrible, but it is slower.
  11. If we're using xp leveling, yeah. The primary class has their xp requirement for the next level increased by half the xp ammount of the secondary class. So if, say, class A takes 2000 to hit second level, and class b takes 2000, a half class A+B character takes 3000 for class A to hit 2nd level. The half class is always pegged to half your primary class level (rounded down).   Not sure how it would work if we used benchmark levelling.
  12. Given the limited number of PCs and the likely need for a wide range of skills, both in and out of combat, it's probably a good idea. Does it have any negative impact on the growth pace of the primary class?
  13. Currently, it seems C is leading with the low score of 5. As for 'off the map', I'd envisioned most of our adventure taking place on the map itself but if a twist twists and a turn turns and we suddenly need to visit the Duchy of Somewhereelsia, which we've determined rests to the east of our current map, we will just brew up a new map to tack onto the current one. Keep it nice and fluid and easy to accomodate.
  14. Okay, we're rolling. I will throw out some softball questions here while you all work on your characters. You don't have to answer all of these, they're just what immediately jumped into my head while reading your ideas. In terms of redundancy, I'm not concerned. This isn't a typical pre-written adventure and we will be crafting the main arcs together so this game will, hopefully, appeal to everyone equally but if we have rogues who want to do roguish stuff that will be a part. If we have clerics, the divine will likely play a large role. I am going to be doing my absolute best to never present this story with bottlenecks that can only be handled by/involve one character. If there is roguing to be done, there will also be other issues to deal with at that time. I want to pay particular attention to spotlighting in this game and make sure all the characters feel like equal protagonists throughout, and with everyone giving me frequent input on how things are going and what they'd like to see, I believe that will be easy to accomplish. It looks like our current high scorer totals 87, so everyone will at least total 82 points on their stat array. The only limitation I'm currently keeping with that is not being able to raise your stats higher than the highest roller's stat array before racial adjustments (a 17 and 3 15's make for a damn solid benchmark there). Currently, it looks like Cirlot will have 3 points to add (could get a 17, or spread a bit if they go ranger as they tend to be pretty MAD) and Terran will have 8 (could get a couple 15s in since they already have a 17, if they can cope with a couple lower stats). The SEIGE engine puts a lot of emphasis on your attributes so there really isn't a 'useless' stat in this game. You're likely to roll everything at some point and that base 18 diff on secondary stats unrelated to your class abilities (and race abilities, I forgot to mention that) is a tough benchmark even with adding your level to the roll. One of the big reasons I want to run this is to see how this all plays out in practice. I'd expect, with the pacing I've set, that this game will run around a year of your real life and will likely fall somewhere in the 7th to 9th level range. Happy to revisit that when the time comes, but I want to set expectations appropriately and do my level best to stick to them @Malkavian Grin What thoughts do you have on wood elf society? Are they 'ghosts in the trees who attack trespassers' types, or 'masters of the forest roads who reap great reward from taxing those who use them'? Is your character's view on nature as a force to be used common among their people? Do primal druids have gatherings or are they solitary? I'd say that the restriction allows for weapons that weigh 3 pounds, yes.   @Gregorotto Thief turned cleric (or cleric/thief) always makes me think of Phillipe the Mouse, Matthew Broderick's character from Ladyhawke. Given that you'll be creating your own religion, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what sort of deity drew this former rogue's attention.   @Cirlot I will definitely allow a class and a half rogue/magic user. The magic user seems pretty unique and is very interesting to me. Secondarily, I'm a sucker for an illusionist and I think C&C does them well. I'm not familiar beyond a class-read-through on the ranger, as there wasn't one in the Actual Plays I've listened to, but old school rangers were always strong choices. If your impossible quest involves the Ravensfell, it will certainly factor into the story. How much involvement is certainly a discussion we can all have.   @Terran Looking forward to seeing more development here. I see you listed gods so I'm looking forward to learning more about that.
  15. @DoNotFearToTread Quick question regarding Primal Druid's weapon list. It says "anything under 3 pounds," but does that include things that weigh exactly 3 or not? If not, that'll limit my selection by quite a lot, but I'll still have some decent options like a hook sword, big cleaver, and tomahawks. Question for everyone: Is anyone considering the Class-and-a-Half rule? I've never seen multiclassing handled this way and it is rather interesting. I am thinking about going Primal Druid / Barbarian in order to get a little more HP and be just a little more "rugged" and able to better overcome natural challenges. But I'm not totally sold on the idea.
  16. Unfortunately, I rolled mostly ones. 😩 Rooting for a "high" roller!
  17. Hmm. B, C, A 1: B feels like it's at the edge or large sea or body of water, which will allow for coastal towns and then varying terrain further west and south - hints of Karmeikos or the Borderlands, with a small pocket of civilization at the edges of known territory. I like that tension and liminal space, and it works with a couple of my character concepts. I could see the Ravensfell here if others were amenable. 2: C would likely be more built up - feels like a land bridge between larger territories/land masses so absent dangerous flora and fauna I'd expect lots of towns, ports and trade making this great for a urban style campaign. The Ravensfell is probably off the map, one of the two powers held in tension by this trade corridor. 3: A . . . okay, personal bias as I'm from there but my FIRST thought was "Is that Lake Michigan? Am I adventuring in WISCONSIN?" (I mean, it works, Gygax basically turned an atlas 90 degrees and called Lake Geneva Castle Greyhawk on his first maps.) This would be great for a full on hexcrawl but none of us - as yet - seem the domain building sort? Alternatively this might BE the Ravensfell entire, dotted with roving bands of smallfolk and a handful or towns. It feels to broad and open to be widely settled.
  18. Heh, a thief-turned-cleric sounds like a slightly scruffier Cadfael - speaking of 80's media - and could totally work.  My one caution would be that mechanically Castle & Crusades doesn't have quite the skill flexibility of d20 era D&D so you can't really dip into a class for a quick hit of skills to add some flavor.  Either the thief thing would be background flavor entirely or, mechanically per DoNotFearToTreads note on multiclassing above, it would be a half class you continue progressing in - basically you'd be a Cleric 3/Rogue 1 at game start and the rogue level would be pegged at half your cleric level each level after (i.e. Cleric 4 / Rogue 2, etc.) . . . with some limitations on using your rogue skills in armor (no sneaking in anything heavier than leather, etc.) and with certain weapon types. Depending on the concept your continuing growth in the skulldugery skillset may or may not matter (is a thing left behind, or a part of who they are now?), but's it totally mechanically viable, with the provisio that when you get your thief on the chain mail gets shucked and you can't backstab with your holy symbol  ~shrugs~ For my own part - it depends; I've got a rogue in mind that dovetails with my setting pitch: smallfolk adventurer dragooned into the service of one of the lich queens daughters, trying to keep her head above water.  Would go gnome an ancestry to reflect a halfling touched by magic and class-wise either straight rogue or, if our good GM allows, a Rogue-slash-half-class Magic-User from the adventurers backpack: the MU from the splat is interesting as it doesn't provide spells, it grants a certain level of daily points that can be shuffled around and used for attribute checks, temporarily enchanting weapons or armor or empowering OTHER PC's spells . . . I would flavor it as said rogue being fate-touched or linked to their patron. However, I've got two reservations about this character (Naihm "Neve" Ashwood ne' Nevergreen if it matters.  Yes I named her already.  Shutup.)  First, a primary class rogue in C&D or AD&D kinda channels the game into a certain style of play in order for them to feel useful.  It means traps, locks, dungeons, environmental obstacles being part of day to day play that not everyone may be down with.  If that's not a playstyle we necessarily want - and it can be difficult to do in PbP as it can bring momentum to a screeching halt if the rogue becomes a bottleneck ("I check the door""Door's Clear""We open the door" etc.) - she might not be the best fit.  Also, if we've got a Cleric Rogue already, a primary class rogue doesn't bring that much extra, unless we level fast they're just gonna be a little bit better than the cleric for the bulk of the game.  So, mechanically, might not be something we need. The second reservation is that a LOT of what makes her interesting and not just another thief is tied into my twee grimmdark Lich-kingdom BS tucked nearly away behind the Ravensfell.  If undead Game of Thrones and tomb-robbing holds no or negative appeal she's probably not gonna be a good party fit. In terms of secondary backups I've got very tentatively an illusionist and a ranger percolating in the back of my head: the Illusionist I'd want to hold until we see what the probable bard comes up with as I don't want any conceptual overlap. Honestly, the ranger might edge out due to necessity as we don't seem to have any bruisers in the works yet.   Edit: not a bad set but oh so bland. Just a little above average, all around.
  19. Thief-turned-Cleric sounds like a cool idea! Never heard of anyone doing that. Can't speak on any of the rest, as I'm non-religious. I've never played C&C, so don't let me influence you at all 😅 I will go ahead and roll for stats though! Get on board! Hey, that's not too bad! Higher than I expected, honestly.
  20. My original character idea for the game was a Thief turned Cleric borrowing ideas from Martin Luther, basically someone who came to the faith after a superficial promise of self-preservation but found true faith and a whole lot of problems. Mechanically I don't have a lot to say on the matter, but it's been months since I was pitched the idea for this game. I'm totally open to other people taking the lead and me filling in the cracks, I don't have enough experience with C&C to say no.
  21. Ranking of maps, based purely aesthetically and the ideas they conjure up: Map C Map A Map B My only real question is: what's going on at the map's edges? Or does that really matter for our game?
  22. Thanks for the invite! And hey, I recognize that sheet 🤩 So, as stated in my previous thread, I was really looking forward to Primal Druid. As I thought on it more, I thought how I could bring back a previous character I loved playing who didn't get a fair shake (GM turned them evil while I dealt with life crap and fell off the forums). A tribal Wood Elf that values personal power and strength over "respecting" Nature. In his eyes, he is of Nature and thus abides by its rules, but that doesn't mean there's a need to revere it. He is just another beast on his path to ultimate survival. That's, essentially, the thought behind this character. I played him originally in 3.5e D&D as a barbarian, who became a little too bloodthirsty and sought to redeem himself. I essentially changed classes to a variant druid which dropped wild shape and gained rage.
  23. Okay, we can begin talks about characters here. What have people got in mind? Throw your ideas in here and we can do some brainstorming.
  24. NIR-VANA, the City of Angels, the "Light" in the Darkness   Arising like an island of sanity and peace in a world of chaos, Nir-vana, the ancient City of Angels has been carved out of the timeless peaks of the Blackstone Mountains over eons of countless centuries, and now the divinely infused metropolis is no longer just a city on a map, but it has become a part of the land itself. Creation Theory: Before the world, there was simply an expanse of an endless, formless void that was full of chaotic and unpredictable elemental energies. It lacked form, mass, and dimension, and it is beyond mortal comprehension and understandable description. In the midst of this energetic chaos existed an intense light comprised of a small multitude of pure calmer energies, what us mortals might call 'deities.' For reasons perhaps forever unknown, long, long ago these powerful entities created a universe of many worlds and life as we know it to be born out of that chaos, all of which is both symbolically and functionally part order, part chaos, part good and part evil, with every imaginable variation in between. Our world is one of those so created, and thus now are under the purview of these 'gods' when such suits them, at least for time foreseeable. Effect of Death: When any living creature dies, normally its body becomes part of the world after death, as soil, plants, or water. However, the soul, which is pure elemental energy, discards everything from life and returns to a collective universal consciousness. Nothing from life matters when it comes to this process. In fact, even a bastard baby destroyed by his parents at birth is the same in this energy/intellect matrix as the most benevolent king who ruled for 70 years. Simply put, all such 'worldly' things are cast aside in the matrix. They are simply absent from the collective consciousness, with the simple purity of intellect and logic being restored. Notwithstanding the foregoing, very rarely a truly exceptional or otherwise notable individual creature or being is selected to 'exist and grow' or 'exist and suffer' beyond the matrix and, according to legend, a tiny handful have even invited to join the ranks of the gods themselves. Origin of Site:  Long ago in the distant past, the place we call Nir-vana began as no more than an isolated rocky valley set high up in the mountain peaks of the Blackstone Mountains, far, far from that chaos that constituted 'civilization' on this world. That's probably one of the reasons this isolated valley was originally chosen as a place on the mortal plane favored by a pair of lovers, the 'gods' Niro and Ivana and, thus, has always been a site which is energized and influenced by their raw elemental powers and unmeasurable intellect. Hence, its name, 'Nir-vana.' From Holy Site to Faith to Religion:  Predictably, the favored isolation of the valley is eventually interrupted by 'man,' whose penchant for insatiable curiosity is universally renowned with this situation being no different. Of course, first there was one explorer who discovered the site's connection to divine power and healing, which eventually lead to others, then small family groups, thereafter tribes united by faith, and so forth over the millennia until reaching today's vast theocracy in which the church is both the central religion as well as the central governmental authority in the region. Deities: In Nir-vana, two primary deities are worshipped, both avid archers and hunters, Niro and his lover, Ivana. Even though other faiths are mostly tolerated, this constitutes society's official religion which dominates all aspects of social and political life in the city-state. Most holiday are associated with the weather, agriculture, commerce and of course, different historical events such as the 'discovery' of the valley itself by the first man, now known as the day of "Light." Of course, other gods, demi-gods, avatars, angels and other unique creatures of faith of indescribable power, whether good, bad, or simply indifferent, are each recognized as being a part of the universe's overall pantheon to the extent such entities actually exist in the multi-verse. The central concept is that, pure or corrupt, involved or uninvolved, all are needed to keep a balance in the cosmos. One day each year, the pair of gods actually 'touch' their divine elemental power to the ancient the plain of Nir-vana in honor of their love, however, such holy location is now memorialized by the ancient holy alter built by the first man, which relic is hidden from public eyes by the after-built sepulcher of Hyacinth, which was eventually encompassed by the Church of Neander, and that building later being housed inside the Basilica of Abernede, all of which structures serve to form the basic interior of the Grand Cathedral of Nir-vana displayed in the artistic rendition above. Religious Tenants: Religious tenants of the faith include celebrating holidays, often with a parade, a festival, a feast, and seemingly always a monetary sacrifice to 'Mother' church. Even though the over consumption of alcohol is frowned upon, these activities are not prohibited except during the most holy of days, all of which is common knowledge. Other religious practices include, favoring an extended family structure, attending regular ceremonies and gathering of the church, serving the faith through community work if not otherwise employed, going on a journey for a religious mission, evangelizing outside the region, tithing, meditating, praying, and even feasting and fasting. Historical Impact: The Church of Nir-vana does not seek to accumulate power in order to amass treasure or resources common to most kingdoms in the land. Instead, they freely trade their healing waters from the Fountain of Orth in exchange for 'favors' in the world. In fact, the church would prefer to accumulate a handful of favors from other powerful groups around the world than to amass a hill of gold or silver. It deals in influence, not assets as it were. When other powerful folk do a favor for the Church, then you have the Church's gratitude. If, however, you fail to favor the holy institution, then someone else will and then, they will have the Church's favor. Over the now countless years, it has proven to be safer to accumulate I.O.U.'s and favors which cannot be seen, much less taken, rather than piles of gold, silver, gems and jewels that seem to eventually attract the worst sorts seeking to claim their share of the treasure. Present Day Society:   Desperation, for physical healing when all else has failed or to mend a crisis of faith, often drives people to seek out Nirvana and the city is happy to embrace them. This influx of people who often find their situation in Nirvana better than it was outside has led to a bloating of the populace and necessary expansions of infrastructure. Even though some have concerns about how the city can weather such frequent immigrations in both space and food, the Church has long dealt with such issues and now, given the increasing influx, simply plan to 'up-scale' their past efforts to 'cleanize' the congregation and maintain the position of Nir-vana both in everyday life as the dominant religion in the region and also as an 'influence' in the world abroad. Process of Cleanizing: In recent centuries, Nir-vana has weathered a normal influx of believers and even numerous waves of refugees, each time implementing a series of measures designed to keep the city in order. Basically, to stay permanently in the city, each citizen must tithe 1/10th of their monthly income to the church, which essentially allows them to be free to do as they please in the city, as long as they don't cause problems and follow the law, as well as 'most' of the rules of the congregation. If you can't afford to tithe but wish to stay, then you will be evaluated for congregational assignment, meaning you will be given a church-sponsored job utilizing your primary skills. Some folks might be wheelwrights, while others are fletchers, some farmers and even fishermen or hunters, miners and foresters. All according to their own skills. While in this job, you will be feed and housed by the collective, always with the opportunity to tithe your way into a higher position in society. Anyone with military training or prowess is automatically evaluated for service in the church's holy arsenal, which provides protection for the entire society and religious structure at large. They enforce the laws, keep the peace and maintain the status-quo as it were. It is a highly selective process; these troops are indoctrinated and extremely well-cared for and loyal to a fault. However, they are also have a notorious reputation of not becoming involved in the wars or conflicts of others outside the regional influence of the holy seat. Those who cannot fill a role in Nir-vana are cared for and healed in 'hospitalar' units in the valley until they are fit to leave the region, at which point they will be given food, a set of clean clothes, a prayer book and instructions to travel the lands and accumulate knowledge and experience to bring back and share with the Church at a later time, should their efforts be proved worthy and deemed worthwhile. Evolution:  Rumors even exist of a small splinter group in the city known as 'Humanists,' that are focused on keeping people away from the faith or from following church teachings and procedures through all avenues available, and even duplicitous means if necessary. While the 'movement' in is its infancy, there are some who want to crush the so-called rebellion in its tracks before it can gain momentum, however, since some priests have become Humanists and still are receiving powers and prayers answered by Niro and Ivana, the higher-ups in the church have refused to allow any persecution of this splinter group.  
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