This is a little project of mine that i have been working for over a month or so, going to it as I take breaks from studies and not gaming. Many things inspire it such as the Witcher games, The magic of the Dresden Files, The Elder Scrolls, The Fable Games, Pathfinder and D&D and many more. Note that it isn't finished and I am mostly looking for feedback but some assistance and ideas from others is more than welcomed. A lot of information is yet to come up such as the majority of the races and the geography of the world as I have been focusing more on the culture and polishing this magic system of mine. In the context of Forum Roleplaying, it is essentially there to give the GM the in-game narrative power to halt further exploitation of player's powers while also taking into consideration of the character's skill. It is that but also a plot element that may drive the story. I have mostly addressed the source that the players/mortals could wield but Magic in and of itself is multifacited and have more than one source to further give my world more fantastical elements. This world I had considered being in a post-industrial age where firearms such as the ever popular flintlocks are present yet keep some aspect of Sword and Sorcery. So here is my world and take a gander at it. Criticize it's current state at your leisure and if you are interested, please inquire more about it. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Backstory 113 years have passed since the War of the Wraithborn ended. It was a devastating and cataclysmic event of an unknown and mysterious foe that caused a 3 year war, a mysterious magical storm its harbinger. The Wraithborn were fuelled with magic of unknown and unheard of proportions. These proclaimed Wraithborn caused chaos and ruin to major settlements and fought entire armies to a standstill while only being a fraction of their enemy’s force. The Wraithborn however suddenly vanished even when they seemed to be at the wake of victory, fading without a trace and leaving behind confusion, mistrust and more chaos. It nearly caused more wars between the nations before they managed to avert it through treaties and truces but even after a century the chaos that the Wraithborn inflicted the world resonate both socially and magically. Even now rumours persist that they shall return to finish off what they started. The realm now is filled with uncertainty. The king of Tenia, Athelan Reinhart, has only recently passed away and his rule befalls his son Athelstan, a man who has only seen 17 years on this earth and now all the responsibility falls on him to rule the famous nation and all the while banditry and piracy is getting worse. The fact that some believe that the current king is not even legitimate as King Reinhart died as an old man and he and his queen had trouble achieving heirs to the throne. Some say that the son was born of adultery despite the word of both the mother and the royal family’s trusted advisors. While Tenia is embroiled in it politics, the two dwarven holds seem to be on the verge of another war. The two have never had an easy history to begin with but with the The only possible good news that seems to be going around in the settlements of Cerdryn are sightings of winged creatures. Some say that they could be just wyverns but the claims of those who have seen them, mostly farmers and common guards but the rumours are getting more frequent and gaining more momentum. Hunters and people of faith are starting to test their luck and faith to catch a glimpse or more of the creature. You find yourself in the city of Windemere, the trading city that is fortunate to be at the south eastern border of Tenia where series of rivers happen to twist and fork into the mainland and into other nations, making the city one of the most profitable trading hubs in all of Cerdryn and run by Baron Desol, one of the Royal Family’s most trusted honorguard but with its own dark histories and its loyalties sometimes brought up to question. The city hosts and embassy for peace time talks, guild halls, a large market square that is seemingly open every day and an impressive navy to protect itself from any invaders. Who are you? Are you an elven mercenary hired to explore the wilds for the rumoured dragons? Are you a Trestan farmboy who seeks adventure and glory? The World Cerdryn is a vast and magical world. The known realm of Cerdryn consists of the three known continents, the forests and plains of Ardeyn, The deserts and jungles of Vestien and the tundra of Anoth Wastes. Magic The magic of Cerdryn all comes from the Maelstrom, a metaphysical realm that those gifted with manipulated with magic can reach and let the energies flow into them to later on manipulate at their will. The Maelstrom itself is a chaotic realm, known as the maelstrom as it is the apt word that those who have looked onto it. The realm is a literal storm of energies that have been called by many names. Mana, ether, mojo, juju or the fuel, these names all represent the same thing which is what is used to fuel spells. All living beings have something which is called a Rift. These Rifts are metaphysical tears on the veil that separates the worlds from the Maelstrom and those who are gifted with using magic can widen this tear and allow the energies to flow into them to be later manipulated. How they manipulate the magic all depends on their personality. Some are talented with the elemental magic of fire, others to manipulate the external senses and create illusions while others may actually be talented in binding magic in the physical world. It all depends on the person. That is not to say magic is easy. It carries risks and costs. Almost all those who wish to cast spells efficiently the caster will require a focus to cast large spells. The most common focus that just about every officially trained spellcaster has used is a staff of wood as wood is more expandable and easily worked with. The staff is carved with runes by the caster for various different sorts of spells to make it the most versatile tool in the caster’s arsenal. Others also make smaller foci such as rods and wands for different types of spells, often offensive spells. Swords are sometimes also used as a magic focus though that leaves no room for other enchantments. A sword may also be a difficult focus to make as runes are sometimes deep so it is not always the most practical option. Casting spells often require a verbal command which often is determined by what the caster has studied. When casters train they may learn commands and how the theory of a spell should work but they may cast a spell without necessarily studying them in a book but theorize themselves how a spell should work and assign that spell with a verbal command of their own which can be a certain inflection of an existing word or even a made up word. It is easier to cast a spell through a focus such a staff that has been crafted by the caster himself. A great help to stay focused with a spell is also to add hand and arm gestures and it isn’t uncommon that some casters channel their spells through a literal dance. Others even cast some spells through the tones of their instruments, casting spells to make their music divine and beautiful that softens the hardest of hearts. Ritual magic is one of the safest magic to perform but the most time consuming. It is far easier to manage than straight forward magic and in a way rather more versatile but it is very time consuming and can go horribly wrong. Ritual magic often involve a circle. The circle may be drawn upon the earth with a stick or even using a carved ring of stone or metal but a ring it must be. To be efficient the cultural symbol of magic is drawn within the circle and the most common symbol as a five pointed star. The pentacle represents the four basic elements of the world and the spirit all within the circle that is mortal control, often the symbol of power and restraint within the spellcasting community. Ritual magic allows multiple casters to assist one another with a single spell such as summonings and affecting the weather. Enchantments are spells that infuse an item or even a person with magic. The theory is that the caster draws out magic from his or her rift and lets it flow into the desired object and there to make a permanent spell. It is often used as rituals and requires both time and immense talent or cooperation to achieve as magic, when no longer in direct control of a caster, will soon scatter across the world. An object almost never has just a single enchantment either. An example would be if someone would want to enchant a blade to burn, the casters will have to not only make sure how the blade burns and how intensely but also need to make other spells so that the object will not be destroyed by the heat and even to make situational command words so that the sword does not burn constantly and that it may burn at a convenient time. Enchantments can easily fail and those who wish to purchase enchantments for their blades or to have a protective talisman will have to very wealthy if they wish to eat the next winter. The most complicated use of enchantments is to enchant a living being. The theory is that an object is still and calm while the living are a fluctuating storm. It is not impossible however and those who gain enchantments upon their limbs and body are often capable of extraordinary feats such as strength, speed, eyesight or foresight. This is however an extremely dangerous operation. A failed enchantment can destroy an object which isn’t much of a sacrifice while a person will be lucky with a loss of a limb or death, depending on the form of an enchantment. Not many attempt this form of an enchantment but when they possess one, they may never have another. Oddly enough, never has a spellcaster been successful of gaining such enchantment. However, the easiest and most often made enchantment is a focus enchantment which is used to create a magic focus which holds the least amount of risks as there isn’t much magic involved. Culture of magic There are many different ways magic is practiced in the world of Cerdryn but they share similarities. Many have recognized how wooden staffs are useful for foci but how they practice magic in the world is quite different. There are separate establishments within the world that have their own ways of teaching magic and others have become diplomatic symbols for unity, a rather fickle one at that. Tower of Sorcery is an establishment between the borders of Sulstan and Tenia, tasked to educate those who are gifted in magic. They don’t necessarily educate them to become more powerful but to handle their powers and introduce them to the dangers that follow wizardry. Usually the apprenticeship starts at the age of just prior to puberty as that is often the age where the talent is apparent. Five years is often the time it takes for someone to know their limits and avoid from idly succumbing to the Maelstrom. After these five years, the apprentice may either strive to become greater or to return to his old life, safe in the knowledge of his limits and some modicum of power. Those who decide to stay often are assigned to certaint schools that they seem to be naturally talented at such as certain elemental magic, mental magic, illusionary, mental or weather and so on. Those who seem talented in offensive magic or show the fitting mentality they are shown to the Warlock Cabal. If they have an aptitude for Enchantments they are taken to the Enchanter’s Grove where they will become official Enchanters. The tower does provide shelter to their apprentices and students but they care not for them to be idle. They must work for their stay; harvesting the local farms and aiding those who give provide food for the tower. Not only is it to assure that the tower remains stocked with supplies and is favoured by the locals. The tower itself technically not just a tower but a whole keep. The tower is large however and was the home of a powerful sorcerer who first established the school. It has been reinforced with not just magical but practical defences as the keep was built around the tower to gain more defences. It is built at the side of a small mountain and the structure is literally carved from the mountain wall, allowing many floors to be established without fear of the structure coming down. It is guarded by combat ready Warlocks from the cabal that are not only there to protect from outside threats but also those within. The Tower of Sorcery is also the most diverse as treaties with Elves, Dwarves and Humans, after initial conflicts, made the Tower into a neutral zone and those within it would not become official involved with any more conflicts and skirmishes. The apprentices may leave to aid their supporting side but would forfeit further apprenticeship. In all ends and purposes, The Tower of Sorcery is it’s own government and state. The Warlock Cabal is an order that is concentrated in Tenia. They are loyal to the crown and act as spell slinging enforcers and warriors. They are also the ones that are tasked in hunting down renegade wizards and mages that violate laws and abuse their power over people. Warlocks are trained in offensive magic and armed with foci that are designed to channel quick and deadly spells, most common of which being fire. When someone decides to further study magic from the tower of sorcery or have a potent talent for offensive spells they will be taken to the Cabal. The true location of the cabal is kept a secret and the training is harsh. The regalia of a warlock often consist of red and black robes and the emblem of the cabal, a black diamond with a red eye with a slitted yellow pupil. Light armor is also common amongst or even a breastplate, any sort of armour that won’t hinder much movements. Often they carry multible rods and wands on their belts and some even carry weapon foci. They are combat trained unlike other most other schools and those who carry staffs make them as polearms or fit metal weights at each end to make them effective weapons. They are however rather distrusted by most of those in human community as their methods may be rather harsh as well as brutal when it comes to renegade and unsanctioned spellcasters. They are also distrusted because of the authority that they possess with members watching over royalty, the Tower and the Grove. Enchanter’s Grove / High Conservatory The Enchanter’s Grove is located in the elven nation of Kravos. The elves have a long history of enchanting and are considered the more knowledgeable authority of the matter, rivalled only by dwarves who know most about materials outside of wood to enchant. The Grove was once just that, a Grove with members numbering in about a couple of dozen but with Dwarves, Humans and more coming more prominent in the world, the grove has become a village also guarded by the Warlock Cabal. The students of the Grove learn to trap magic within the material world and study what implication it could be used for. Some learn to enchant arms, armour and other such objects while others learn to infuse magic into living things such as plants and the theory of enchanting mortal beings. Those who manage to advance in the Grove often have great communication skills and have an easy time working with other people as advanced and efficient enchanting has a lot to do with team work. The grove has a deal Gul Maldir for rare materials and metals and in return that a number of graduated students become official enchanters for the dwarven city. This has made dwarves have an influence of enchanted arms and armour. The grove is in the southern reaches of the dense Kravos forest and its location is a secret only for the highest ranking officials of various royalties and counsellors such as the head of the Tower of Sorcery, Grand Warlock of the Cabal and the royals and trusted spellcasters of various nations. Usual length of study in the grove is six years. The High Conservatory on the other hand is located in the far northern mountains of Helfast and was created after the Grove began to take in outsiders since Hel Thoram and Gul Maldir have a volatile relationship at best. The Hel Thoram dwarves refused to be a part of the Grove due to their acceptance of the Gul Maldir dwarves and instead created their own. They are stricter and harsher when it comes to their teaching methods. The Cat’Sith Circle is a shamanistic circle primarily of orcs. Since Orcs are not often within the Tower or other northern magical social structure they stay in their circle. The Cat’Sith Circle is named after a renowned orc shaman who brought his teachings of magic to the orc people. The location of which is in the southern plains of the two continents, not too far from the Orc capital. Lycanthropy The were-beasts of Cerdryn have been around for a long time, their precursors the fierce dire beasts of old. Many sought to harness their prowess and attributes and so they did. Hunters drove them out of their lands, killing them for their hide and bone, alchemist desiring their blood and organs. That is how they started to create the fierce were beasts. There are ways to become a beast, through potions or ritual but the most preferred path is a mixture of both. The first ones to achieve lycanthropy were a tribe of humans at the shores of the Anoth south the great mountain walls. They used their primitive alchemy along with a winter new moon ritual. They used their already mastered berserker potion, adding the blood of the dire beasts and infused with ritual magic. More potent than the previous potions, the consumer became infused with the strengths of the beast, taking upon the attributes of wild to become a greater tool of battle and to feast on the flesh and blood of their enemies. Upon the full moon which the ritual and potion was brewed the person in question goes through a change where they become more like the animals whose blood was used. The most common blood was that of the dire wolf and it is the most numerous species in Cerdryn and there for the most common in the creation of were beasts. The were-beasts have many strengths. They have enhanced senses to become ferocious hunters, great strength and claws to become feared warriors and speed to hound down their enemies before tearing them apart. They do however become more aggressive, more prone to violence and often ill-suited to society and as spouses despite the intentions of the afflicted. Lycanthropy can be cured on the other hand but it leaves its mark. Not all of it can be cured and the afflicted is permanently changed. Thicker hair, thick claws, fangs, beast like eyes, often flattened and sometimes even animal nose. They are often avoided however and especially when they are in the presence of alcohol. The cure consists of another potion and ritual to draw the spirit of the beast out. A failed ritual can cause a permanent beast state where they will attempt to murder and devour those around them. Lycanthropes are often seen under the employ of mercenaries or even shock troops in armies. Vampirism Vampirism is mostly legends and stories within the world of Cerdryn but they were once a great force before. They were not numerous but they were immensely powerful, able to bend the wills of mortals and turn them into their thralls. The last commonly known true vampire was last slain over two millennia ago with no sign of any others. Their spawns however still survive but not by their doing. Long ago, not long after the War of the Necromancers about 1200 years ago, a renegade faction of the Desol Family, a long living family line of noble heritage but questionable morality, managed to use their sorcery to subdue and capture one of the last remaining vampires. Despite their strengths, the undead blood suckers had many weaknesses such as light of the sun, silver weapons and alchemical remedies that men of faith and knowledge managed to concoct. These weaknesses were exploited as well and aided in the capture of the last vampire lord. The renegade Desol Family spent years studying the vampire, prying it of the secrets of its strengths, weaknesses and, most importantly, its immortality. The Desols craved the promise of eternal life and tried for years to create even better vampirism. Their first creations were abominations, deformed creatures that were soon burned. It took over 40 years of gruesome tests and experimentation using both alchemy and magic. They were however found by the rest of the Desol family who were highly against their actions. With a retinue of highly skilled warriors and warlocks, they set the site of their experimentation ablaze and killed whatever abominations that they could find. The Desol avengers dealt with their traitor kin and what of their creations that they could find but some of those creations survived. These took the form of various mortal creatures that had something akin to the vampiric abilities of the lord but somehow watered down. They did not share the full subjugation abilities of their precursor nor the full potential strengths but they also do not share their full weaknesses either. The sun is a great irritation and can cause death on a clear summer day but some have the ability to use their blood fuelled abilities to stave off this weakness. Attributes such as true love and faith hold no bounds to these breed of vampires unlike what their template did. They find garlic only an irritation such as poison ivy or a rash inducing allergy and many of the alchemical concoction do not hold sway over them either. Silver is somewhat as effective but just the mere touch, even with clothing, does not make their skin burst into flames as it did the vampire lords. Despite these lessened weaknesses they however do have a bloodlust greater than that of the lords. They are more dependent on it and spend their blood fuelled strengths like a carpenter using a sledgehammer to hammer in a small nail. They need blood but cannot afford to be recognized for their true nature. Not many survive after the eradication of the renegades but those who do are the most cunning which has always been the true strength of the vampire, pure-blooded or not. They know how to survive and keep themselves hidden and maybe even walk among the mortals of the world. They cannot risk infecting others which they need to do deliberately. The modern vampire does not have visible physical features that define them, only what race they come from as well as the age that they were turned. Their fangs may grow or retract and they have small holes like syringes which they may inject euphoric liquid into their prey to keep them from struggle and actually enjoy being fed upon. This drug like liquid is thick like saliva and some vampires use it to coat their tongues to induce pleasures to make the victim more encouraged to be lenient prior to feeding. When a vampire is in the sun and is not using its strength to stave it off, it may look as if they are burning from the inside, the skin scorching slowly and blackening when it worsens. A starving vampire becomes paler as it grows hungrier, the fangs always prepared for feeding. Their urges become harder to fight until they have no choice in the matter. They also seem to visibly age by some decades depending on their physical age. The true vampire lord is believed to be dead, part of the ashes that are long by now scattered across the land and under its dirt. However legends persist that the pureblooded vampires may still walk the earth, watchful of the world. Races (Playable) Humans Humans have become more prominent in modern day of Cerdryn. They hail from two notable countries; Ardelan and Tenia. Elves Dwarves These short and stout folk are usually on average 4 feet tall and there doesn’t seem to be a size difference between the sexes although men seem to have some more muscle mass. They tend to have proportionally larger muscle mass than that of humans and also hair growth. Despite common belief among individual outsiders that have not encountered many dwarves, females do not, on average, grow beards like their men but there are those who do and usually not as much as their males. Dwarven men do not find this feature unattractive, some even finding it more appealing than women with smooth faces. Common hair colours of dwarves of Hel Thoram are shades of brown and red and common eye colours are shades of grey and blue. Gul Maldir dwarves in the meantime commonly have lighter hair colours and tanner skins. The dwarf culture has become a figurative backbone of metal trade as their holds are rich with nearly all types of metals and the people themselves have mastered the art of crafting them into weapons, armour and precious objects. Their common magical items often consist of enchantments as lore suggests that they were the first to conceive to anchor magic in the material world from the Maelstrom and bind it to an object or even a person. Goblins Drahmin Besseradi Orcs Half-Breeds Beasts and Villains Heroes of past glory Hans the Siege Archer Thorkell Thoram Wraith of Aether Also known as Maelstrom Wraiths or just commonly known as Wraiths. They are not denizens of the material realm but are from the Maelstrom, the origin of mortal magic. The Wraithborn The wraithborn were a mysterious group of people that were the cause of the infamous war 113 years ago. They numbered at an estimate few hundred from war reports of their battle. Those who survived a close encounter with them have reported that they were members of the other races but all had seemingly pale and scorched skin with cracks in them like burning embers. The cracks glowed with “unholy” azure fire and their eyes burned, literally burned, the same light. All revelled in the chaos that they caused and those that were gifted with magic have described them as “Wraith Like” which shook the various courts of spellcasters to the core. No wraithborn has been seen since nor has the process of how they came to such power been replicated but small and very secret sects of various spellcaster schools are still studying. Geography Cerdryn The name Cerdryn often is referred to the entire world or the realm itself though most known portion of it are just two continents, Adeyrn and Vestien. The Storms The Storms are constant tempests that are on both known seas, leaving further exploration almost impossible as those who have attempted to explore.