The basics about the world.
What are the basic premises of the campaign setting? The entire story takes place on a world named Serlon, an imperfect creation of the Elder Gods. Almost sixty years have passed since a magical cataclysm known as the Second Tearing has shattered the geographical and political landscape and brought an end to the Golden Age. But such short information does not give the world much credit as there are so many questions waiting to be answered…
- What was the Second Tearing? What about the First one?
- Who are the Gods of the Tribunal and why have they left?
- Is the Taint the effect of the imperfection of the Elder Gods’ creation or is it the other way round?
- What are the Voragos and why are they reshaping the very fabric of reality?
- Is there any way of passing the Barrier of Eternal Mist and reaching the lost continent of Andarion?
- What are the Tools and why does the Workshop and so many other factions try to control them?
- Will another war ravage the already dying land?
- Why did the Elves of Spring lose their Queen and what does that mean to them and the other races?
- Will other races than the reptilions or elves come through the Voragos?
Not all of those questions will be answered in the basics sections but it is a good place to start and then… read on!
No other events have shaped the world as much as the Tearings. This phenomenon was caused indirectly by the imperfect nature of Serlon itself and directly by actions of certain individuals and deities. It caused other dimensions to literally spill into the world.
The first Tearing didn’t cause the end of the world as the Gods mended it, which as a side effect forced them to abandon the mortals. This however sparked a new Golden Era as various races learned to use the Tearing as a source of almost unlimited power. Soon however, the overuse of this power, espcially by warring factions led to the Second Tearing which brought the end to the rapid rise of the civilizations.
The Gods are absent
The Golden Tribunal, Gods or Guardians – however you name them – were a force to be reckoned with in the previous ages but since the First Tearing they were forced to abandon the world as their very presence was weakening its foundations and causing the Taint to envelope more and more of the world.
Now, while some mortals still remain faithful to the Tribunal, others have started seeking and accepting other religions, spiritual paths and philosophies. Some cults worshipping divine beings also came from the Voragos, converting a large percentage of population. Religious unrest only adds to the tensions that are rising in the world.
Finally, the fact that the Gods had to abandon the world does not mean that there are no more entities that view themselves as worthy of taking the place of the Guardians…
The Gods of the Tribunal may have left the world but they did leave the Tools. These are divine artifacts left by the Elder Gods to the Guardians to help them in finishing the shaping of the world and inhabiting it with intelligent races. After the War at Dawn most of the Tools were lost. Afterwards it turned out that many of them changed the way they work and became unusable by the Guardians… while the Young Races found out they are able to utilize them.
The use of the Tools shaped much of the history of Serlon, with some of the most powerful ones as the Diadem of Whispers, the Dagger of Immortality or the Vial of Living Flame taking important part in the rise – and fall – of the Empire of Erhliss. While only a minority of the members of Young Races have the talent to use the Tools, those who do can use them to create magnificent effects as well as create temporary magical artifacts known as Instruments to futher enhance their powers.
No one knows what makes some able to use the Tools and others not. Those gifted – called the Craftsmen – usually are willing to do anything to get a hold of the Tools. Most of them are organized into an organized called the Workshop, which studies and gathers those items. Other organizations and individuals also strive to control the Tools.
A direct result of both the Tearings and the Taint, Voragos have appeared in the world. A Vorago is a piece of another dimension, surrounded by a protective layer, that has literally spilled into the world. The Voragos are covering a large part of the known world including the entirety of the capital province of Erhliss.
These phenomena influence the daily lives of people in a number of ways. Sometimes when the barriers are weaker, creatures – usually malevolent and dangerous can pass through to our reality. While it is possible to travel through a Vorago, such travels are almost always extremely dangeorous as the require the skills and knowledge to survive in a different dimension and the ability to leave the Vorago when the person reaches its end – which made it necessary to redraw trade routes and borders. Finally, the very presence of Voragos change the land, reshaping creatures and the nature near them to the likeness of the one inside the Vorago.
As the Voragos are pieces of another dimensions, some served as bridges for entire nations to cross from their realities to our. Such cultures, with their own beliefs, technology, way of life and lifestyle now strive to achieve an uneasy peace with the nations native to Serlon… or seek to dominate them and claim this world as their new homeland.
One cannot forget that at least three races arrived to Serlon from other dimensions – the elves, reptilions and the dwarves.
While the world has long has the level of Medieval Ages Technology, this is quickly changing. In the Golden Age following the First Tearing, people learned to use the power of the Taint or the Tearing itself to fuel various device such as airships, portals or other artifacts of immense power.
Following the Second Tearing much of this knowledge has been lost, but some of the nations that came through the Vorago brought their own technology – primitive firearms, printing press and more advanced medicine being just some of them.
A war is upon us
The Tearing, the Voragos and all of the changes are not enough to cause the Young Races to stop fighting. Although in the majority of the world there is some fragile peace, many nations are preparing for war. Some just lust for conquest, others sincerely believe that the world would be best if most of the population was united – under their banner.
Spies, priests, generals, war wizards as well various lords, princes and dukes – everyone who has something to gain – or lose – with the coming war is mustering forces, seeking allies and gathering inteligence. Whether it will be a war for land, religion or a racial genocide – isn’t known yet but dark clouds are gathering.
Organizations and factions
Along with various individuals and nations, other organizations are fighting for control over land, sources of magic or the minds of people. Brotherhoods of assassins, secret cults, arcane guilds and knightly orders – each group has its agenda, its philosophy and, of course, its enemies.