Difference between revisions of "Warlords Of Kruhl 3e EN:Setting"

From OGC
Jump to navigation Jump to search
 
(46 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 11: Line 11:
 
==History==
 
==History==
  
Countless civilizations have risen and fallen across the face of Kruhl, their remnants buried by the shifting of mountains, hidden within primeval forests, and waiting in the watery silence beneath the waves. Only two of these ancient civilizations are known by name: the Khultheans and the Thane.
+
Countless civilizations have risen and fallen across the face of Kruhl, their remnants buried by the shifting of mountains, hidden within primeval forests, and waiting in the watery silence beneath the waves. Only the two most recent of these ancient civilizations are known by name: the Khultheans and the Thane.
  
 
===The Khultheans===
 
===The Khultheans===
  
No one knows what the Khultheans were like, nor even if they were human. All that remains of them are their ruins, which spread across northern Archaea. Most of these ruins are little more than crumbled stone with carvings in the inscrutable Khulthean language, but from time to time a hitherto-unknown ruin is discovered, and who knows what may be found within? Popular folklore says that finding an inscription in Khulthean is bad luck.
+
No one knows what the Khultheans were like, nor even if they were humanoid. All that remains of them are their ruins, which spread across northern Archaea. Most of these ruins are little more than crumbled stone with carvings in the inscrutable Khulthean language, but from time to time a hitherto-unknown ruin is discovered, and who knows what may be found within? Popular folklore says that finding an inscription in Khulthean is bad luck.
  
 
===The Thane===
 
===The Thane===
  
Some time after the fall of the Khultheans, the Thane arose. Most believe they were human, or nearly so. The Thane spread their culture and their language scross western Archaea, unifying all of the human kingdoms under their banner. The Thane ushered in an epoch of peace and prosperity -- or so the legends say. A cataclysm ended the hegemony of the Thane, although the written records from that time never describe the event in detail. The heritage of the Thane persists in the languages and religions of Archaea, many of which are founded upon those of the Thane.
+
Some time after the fall of the Khultheans, the Thane arose. Most believe they were human, or nearly so. The Thane spread their culture and their language across western Archaea, unifying the civilized folk under their banner. The Thane ushered in an epoch of peace and prosperity -- or so the legends say. A cataclysm ended the hegemony of the Thane, although the written records from that time never describe the event in detail. A thousand years later, the heritage of the Thane persists in the languages and religions of Archaea, many of which are founded upon those of the Thane.
  
===The Scourge===
+
===Humanity===
  
A generation ago, a plague swept through the western lands of Kruhl... the Scourge.
+
The Thane's armies were scattered, their strongholds were overrun, and their dominion fractured into a hundred squabbling tribes. Why the Thane empire fell is less important than the result: humanity, once a barbaric, scattered folk, spread and claimed the territory the Thane had left behind. Humanity learned to cast bronze, and then to smelt iron. Forests were cut down and fortresses were constructed. Kingdoms arose, and the age of humanity began.
  
No one knows what or who caused the Scourge. No medicine or magic was proof against it, and all who caught it died within a few months. Some people fled to isolated castles to escape it, while others closed the gates to their towns and cities to prevent it from coming for them. Nothing worked. There was no escape.
+
===The Blight===
  
In a little over three years, the Scourge killed four-fifths of the population. Towns were left abandoned, castles became tombs, and the Khuraghol Empire fell silent.
+
A generation ago, a plague swept through the Archaean continent... the Blight.
  
Then, as suddenly as it began, the Scourge ended. The survivors gathered in small settlements, and began putting their lives back together.
+
No one knows what or who caused the Blight. No medicine or magic was proof against it, and all who caught it died within a few months. Some people fled to isolated castles to escape it, while others closed the gates to their towns and cities to prevent it from coming for them. Nothing worked. There was no escape.
 +
 
 +
In a little over three years, the Blight killed four-fifths of the population. Towns were left abandoned, castles became tombs, and roads became empty.
 +
 
 +
Then, as suddenly as it began, the Blight ended. The survivors gathered in small settlements, and began putting their lives back together.
  
 
==Geography==
 
==Geography==
 +
 +
The default setting for ''Warlords Of Kruhl'' is the continent of Archaea. The major lands of Archaea are Khuraghol to the northeast, Symeria to the east, Mrisinnia to the north, Vharsa to the northwest, Eidyn to the southwest, Karelia to the south, and Varangia to the far south.
  
 
===Karelia===
 
===Karelia===
  
Karelia is a cold, predominantly human country at the northwest edge of the Khuraghol Empire, bordered by the Great Western Sea to the west and the Varangian Gulf to the north. Its diverse terrain spans rocky beaches, old-growth forest, and vast bogs, in addition to hundreds of nearby islands.
+
Karelia is a cold, predominantly human country at the southern edge of the Archaean mainland, bordered by the Great Western Sea to the west and the Varangian Gulf to the south. Its diverse terrain spans rocky beaches, old-growth forest, and mist-covered bogs, in addition to hundreds of nearby islands.
  
Across the Varangian Gulf is the predominantly human country of Varangia, named for the Vaeringjar who live there. Varangia's frigid terrain includes mountains, glaciers, and deep coastal fjords.
+
===Varangia===
  
The southern boundary of Karelia is defined by the Urtasvaara Mountains, so named for the dwarven kingdom of Urtasvaar, which extends deep under the mountains. The Urtasvaara Mountains stretch along the border between Karelia and Miravore, from the Great Western Sea to far within Khuraghol.
+
Across the Varangian Gulf is the human country of Varangia, named for the Vaeringjar who live there. Varangia's frigid terrain includes mountains, glaciers, and deep coastal fjords.
  
South of the Urtasvaara Mountains is the predominantly elven country of Miravore (or as the elves call it, Miruvorenande, meaning roughly, "valley of sweet wine"). Its landscape is marked by wide beaches and dense, sprawling forests.
+
===Steinvalt===
  
==Currency==
+
The northern boundary of Karelia is defined by the Steinvalt Mountains, which is named for Steinvalt, the kingdom of the mountain dwarves. The Steinvalt Mountains stretch along the border between Karelia and Miravore, from the Great Western Sea to the Gulf Of Khaitan.
  
Barter is the most common form of exchange, but wealthy merchants mint metal coins to facilitate trade. The most common of these coins in human lands are the gold ''sol'', the silver ''luna'', and the copper ''grain'', but every variety of coin in every land has a different proper name. For this reason, coins are often referred to as simply "gold", "silver", and "copper", particularly by travelers who have no interest in remembering the official names for dozens of different coins.
+
===Miravore===
  
* A "gold" (g) is a coin of gold or (more commonly) gold mixed with silver, large enough to cover the sun when held at arm's length (about the size of a US dime). A gold is worth 10 silver. There are approximately 29 gold to the kilogram.
+
North of the Steinvalt Mountains is the elven country of Miravore (or as the elves call it, Miruvorenande, meaning roughly, "valley of sweet wine"). Its landscape is marked by wide beaches and dense, sprawling forests.
* A "silver" (s) is a coin of silver, large enough to cover the sun when held at arm's length (about the size of a US dime). A silver is worth 10 copper. There are approximately 54 silver to the kilogram.
 
* A "copper" (c) is a coin of copper or bronze, large enough to completely cover an adult human's eye (about the size of a US quarter). There are approximately 16 copper to the kilogram.
 
* A "copper bit" (cb) is one-quarter of a copper coin. A copper bit is worth roughly enough food to keep one person alive one day (just barely). There are approximately 64 copper bits to the kilogram.
 
  
 
==Religion==
 
==Religion==
  
There are a score or so major gods, and hundreds of minor gods. Each town, village, or even crossroads also has a patron god, which is usually a minor god concerned only with that location.
+
There are a score or so major gods, and hundreds of minor gods. Each town, village, or even crossroads also has a patron deity, which is usually concerned only with that location.
  
 
With the exception of priests, it is extremely unusual to find someone who reveres only a single deity. You are as likely to find someone who eats only oats, or wears only green. It does stand to reason that a midwife would make offerings to Anasara (goddess of families and fertility) more frequently than to Skudra (god of smiths and of scholars), but the gods all have different areas of influence, and it would make no sense for a typical person to reject all others in favor of a single deity.
 
With the exception of priests, it is extremely unusual to find someone who reveres only a single deity. You are as likely to find someone who eats only oats, or wears only green. It does stand to reason that a midwife would make offerings to Anasara (goddess of families and fertility) more frequently than to Skudra (god of smiths and of scholars), but the gods all have different areas of influence, and it would make no sense for a typical person to reject all others in favor of a single deity.
Line 60: Line 63:
 
Priests are another matter. Priests do devote themselves to a single deity, or to a small group of related deities, and they might place themselves in opposition to priests of an opposing deity. But a priest of Anasara would still pray to Azif when trying to light the hearth on a cold winter morning.
 
Priests are another matter. Priests do devote themselves to a single deity, or to a small group of related deities, and they might place themselves in opposition to priests of an opposing deity. But a priest of Anasara would still pray to Azif when trying to light the hearth on a cold winter morning.
  
To put it another way, someone who works for one brewery might refuse to drink the beer from a competing brewery, but they still drink water, wine, and so on.  
+
To put it another way, someone who works for one brewery might refuse to drink the beer from a competing brewery, but they still drink water, wine, and so on.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
{| cellpadding="4" cellspacing="1" class="wikitable zebra sortable"
 +
|+Table: Archaean deities
 +
|-
 +
! class="alignleft" style="width: 20%;"|Deity
 +
! class="alignleft"|Spheres
 +
! class="alignleft"|Symbols
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Anasara
 +
| class="alignleft"|Life, Nature, Peace
 +
| class="alignleft"|Holly wreath, mermaid, goat
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Arhiann
 +
| class="alignleft"|Arcana, Knowledge, Twilight
 +
| class="alignleft"|Spiral
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Azif
 +
| class="alignleft"|Forge, Light
 +
| class="alignleft"|Flaming eagle, phoenix
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Baiyatt
 +
| class="alignleft"|Order
 +
| class="alignleft"|Sword thrust through a bull's head
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Cymothoa
 +
| class="alignleft"|Death, Trickery
 +
| class="alignleft"|Skull erupting with writhing green worms
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Daarl
 +
| class="alignleft"|Nature, War
 +
| class="alignleft"|Sling, oval (representing a river stone), dead rabbit
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Horebbin
 +
| class="alignleft"|Nature
 +
| class="alignleft"|Bear, silver axe, tree
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Korro Khaitan
 +
| class="alignleft"|Twilight, War
 +
| class="alignleft"|Hammer
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Laat
 +
| class="alignleft"|Life, Light, Peace
 +
| class="alignleft"|Lion, dove
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Miranha
 +
| class="alignleft"|Trickery
 +
| class="alignleft"|Cornucopia, smiling mask
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Morganthe
 +
| class="alignleft"|Death, Grave, War
 +
| class="alignleft"|Raven, scissors, spindle
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Najon
 +
| class="alignleft"|Life, Nature, Order
 +
| class="alignleft"|Burning mace
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Oerresh
 +
| class="alignleft"|Nature, Trickery, Tempest
 +
| class="alignleft"|Sea turtle
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Pekha
 +
| class="alignleft"|Life, Nature, Peace
 +
| class="alignleft"|Sheaf of grain
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Ranael
 +
| class="alignleft"|Death, Nature
 +
| class="alignleft"|Black serpent
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Rel Thestra
 +
| class="alignleft"|Knowledge, Nature, Trickery
 +
| class="alignleft"|Raven against a gold disk
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Shadira
 +
| class="alignleft"|Life, Tempest
 +
| class="alignleft"|Cat's eyes
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Skudra
 +
| class="alignleft"|Forge, Knowledge, War
 +
| class="alignleft"|Anvil
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Tavi Thestra
 +
| class="alignleft"|Arcana, Knowledge, Trickery
 +
| class="alignleft"|Bow and arrow
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Thehlal
 +
| class="alignleft"|Arcana, Death, Grave, Knowledge
 +
| class="alignleft"|Helm with stag-like antlers, wolf
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Uzzah
 +
| class="alignleft"|Order, War
 +
| class="alignleft"|Spear, two-handed sword
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Vanu Mar
 +
| class="alignleft"|Light, Order
 +
| class="alignleft"|Lightning bolt
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Vaya
 +
| class="alignleft"|Nature, Peace
 +
| class="alignleft"|"X" (depicting a crossroads)
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Venabetha
 +
| class="alignleft"|Knowledge, Trickery, Twilight
 +
| class="alignleft"|Triangle inside of a circle (sometimes with the lines of the triangle extending outside of the circle)
 +
|-
 +
| class="alignleft"|Zhurok
 +
| class="alignleft"|Death, Life, Order
 +
| class="alignleft"|Disk half white and half black (similar to a yin-yang symbol without the dots)
 +
|}
 +
 
 +
 
 +
===Anasara===
 +
 
 +
One of the most popular gods is Anasara, the Great Goddess of Fertility and Childbirth, the Source of the Cosmic Ocean. She purifies the male seed, the mother's womb, and the mother's milk.
 +
 
 +
Anasara is depicted in a variety of ways because of the many roles she serves. The most commonly used image is that of a full-figured human woman wearing a crown of holly leaves. Popular but less commonly used images of Anasara include a mermaid, an ornately twining grapevine, and a pregnant goat.
 +
 
 +
===Arhiann===
 +
 
 +
Arhiann, sister to Thehlal, is the goddess of the night sky, the stars, and dreams. Arhiann is one of the most powerful gods, second only to Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan. Unlike most of the star gods, Arhiann has an affection for mortals, and enjoys watching them from above. She is the patron of the thief skulking in the shadows, the traveler camping under the stars, and the child hiding under their sheets in the middle of the night.
 +
 
 +
Arhiann is typically depicted as a nude, ebony-skinned woman covered in stars.
 +
 
 +
===Azif===
 +
 
 +
Among his other epithets, Vanu Mar is known as He Who Ignites The Sky (i.e., the sun). According to legend, fire on earth was sent from the sun, arriving as lightning bolts that blasted the ground and set fire to forests. Such earthbound fire is the domain of Azif, eldest son of Vanu Mar.
 +
 
 +
Images of Azif typically take the form of a tall, bronze-skinned man with plaited blonde hair. Azif is also represented as a flaming eagle, or phoenix.
 +
 
 +
===Baiyatt===
 +
 
 +
Baiyatt, grim and grey-eyed, is a god of oaths and vows and contracts, all of which are sealed by swearing on his name. His name has come to mean "contract" as a common noun. Baiyatt's likeness sometimes appears on coins, where he is shown as a lean bald man, grabbing a bull's head and thrusting a sword into it.
 +
 
 +
===Cymothoa===
 +
 
 +
Cymothoa, the Wasting God, is the god of rot, pestilence, and putrefaction, as well as of parasites, vermin, and fungi which feed upon or infest people. Its temples are few, and its priests are rare. When it is depicted, it is as a skull erupting with worms and fungi.
 +
 
 +
===Daarl===
 +
 
 +
Daarl was once one of the earth gods until she was ravished by Gurm, a minor god devoted to small mammals such as mice and rabbits. She then transformed from a gentle goddess devoted to the smooth stones of riverbanks to a fierce and implacable huntress. She is now numbered among the war gods.
 +
 
 +
Daarl's weapon is the sling. The sling was actually invented by Skudra, but the artificer god cast it aside because he could not find a stone round and smooth enough to use it effectively. Daarl took up the discarded weapon, and she uses it with deadly accuracy.
 +
 
 +
Daarl is typically portrayed as a woman dressed in animal skins, with her sling in one hand and a dead rabbit in the other.
 +
 
 +
===Horebbin===
 +
 
 +
Horebbin, the God of Dark Forests, is chief among the earth gods, and is the source of fertility for both plants and animals. Horebbin is also a storm god, and many sacrifices are made to him in the storm season so that he will not wash away his worshippers by being too generous.
 +
 
 +
Like all of the earth gods, Horebbin accepts mortal worshippers but he does not seek them. It is wise to seek Horebbin's protection while in his domain, but it is also wise to remember that Horebbin considers mortals in his forests as uninvited guests, at best.
 +
 
 +
Horebbin is not often depicted in mortal artwork: a great tree is his most common surrogate. When he is given a manlike shape, he is usually shown as a burly warrior wielding a great silver axe.
 +
 
 +
===Korro Khaitan===
 +
 
 +
Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan are the most powerful of the gods, but it is rare for either to be worshipped directly. Neither Vanu Mar nor Korro Khaitan cares particularly for mortals, and it's generally considered imprudent to petition either for favors. This is for the best: when Vanu Mar or Korro Khaitan take an interest in the world of mortals, mortals suffer. Even the other gods rarely seek the company or counsel of Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan.
 +
 
 +
This does not mean that they are ignored. Most of the larger temples have small altars devoted to Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan, and the two largest festivals each year are held in their honor. Feile Gwanwyn, held on the vernal equinox, is devoted to Vanu Mar, and Feile Hyfed, held on the autumnal equinox, is held in honor of Korro Khaitan.
 +
 
 +
===Laat===
 +
 
 +
Laat is the youngest daughter of Vanu Mar, who sits at his left hand. She is sometimes found on coins, typically on the smallest copper or bronze coins that one might give to beggars. She is most frequently portrayed as a pale young woman with gold hair wearing a flowing white gown and a crown made of feathers (less frequently, a pale young woman with great white wings and partial armor over her flowing white gown). She is the embodiment of Vanu Mar's mercy, and is frequently portrayed in myths as holding back her sister Uzzah.
 +
 
 +
Laat also serves as protector of the weak. When serving in this capacity, she is usually found leading her sister Uzzah into battle, rather than holding her back.
 +
 
 +
===Miranha===
 +
 
 +
Miranha the Deceiver is the Lord Of Illusion, the Master Of Lies, and patron of those who believe without evidence. He tempts the unwary away from the truth, and he provides succor to those who cling to hope when all others have given up.
 +
 
 +
One well-known myth featuring Miranha features a prince whom Marinha has convinced that his princess is being unfaithful. Eventually, the prince loses his princess, his wealth, and the loyalty of his retainers, only to learn at the end of his life that it was his own jealousy and fear that drove his princess into the arms of his closest friend. Another Miranha myth is the tale of a mother whose son is lost at sea in a storm. Many years pass, and everyone believes him to be dead, but Miranha reassures the mother that her son lives. Eventually, the son returns to his home a prince, having traveled the world, amassed a vast fortune in gold and gems, and married a beautiful princess in a far-off land. He takes his mother away to his palace in the far kingdom, leaving behind the villagers who did not believe he would return.
 +
 
 +
Miranha is usually depicted as a smiling man in a red cloak. He may also be represented as a gold platter or horn, overflowing with food, gems, and other treasures.
 +
 
 +
===Morganthe===
 +
 
 +
Morganthe the Tailor is the Arbiter of Life, the Grim Merchant, and a patron of seamstresses, weavers, undertakers, and warriors. She measures the fabric of a mortal's life, and uses her shears to cut that fabric when the mortal's span is done.
 +
 
 +
Morganthe is commonly held to be the daughter of Arhiann, goddess of night, although she is also closely affiliated with Thehlal. Like Thehlal, Morganthe is not evil -- she fulfills a necessary role. It is said that the other gods fear Morganthe, for even the fabric of their vast existences will someday feel the cold touch of her shears.
 +
 
 +
Morganthe is usually depicted as a grim woman in a threadbare cloak, holding a spindle or a pair of scissors.
 +
 
 +
===Najon===
 +
 
 +
One of Ranael's few allies is a figure called Najon, the Lord of the Heat of the Earth. This is the heat that builds mountains and warms the sea. In summer, Najon prowls the surface world, and is thought to be one of Anasara's many lovers. In the winter, Najon retreats to the Underworld and keeps the subterranean waters warm so the roots of plants won't freeze.
 +
 
 +
Najon frequently acts as an intermediary between Ranael and the other earth gods. He is typically depicted as a short, brutish man carrying a stone mace which burns like a torch.
 +
 
 +
===Oerresh===
 +
 
 +
Oerresh, the sea giant, is a god of the vast waters at the horizon. He is the father of the sea maidens, who lure sailors away from land, as well as of the sea giants, whose battles at the ocean's bottom cause storms and waves of all types.
 +
 
 +
===Pekha===
 +
 
 +
Pekha the Ploughman, the jovial farmer and the inventor of beer, is one of the most popular deities in Archaea. He is a god of fertility and agriculture, as well as the protector of the fields and flocks.
 +
 
 +
A well-known myth of Pekha is the Battle Of The Trees. Venabetha, the Thiefwatcher, had crept into Thehlal's castle of bone in the Underworld and stolen a book from her library. Thehlal sent an army of the dead to the world of the living to reclaim it. Seeing that the dead were trampling his crops, Pekha commanded the trees to come to life and stand in their way. While the dead were held at bay, Pekha drank beer with Venabetha until the thief got drunk and fell asleep. Pekha retrieved the book from Venabetha, gave it back to Thehlal, and went back to ploughing his fields.
 +
 
 +
He is typically portrayed as a tan, smiling, barrel-chested man.
 +
 
 +
===Ranael===
 +
 
 +
In opposition to Horebbin and most of the other earth gods is Ranael, the God of the Wastelands. Ranael is frequently depicted as a pale, gaunt woman pacing to and fro at the edge of her domain, waiting for a chance to expand the Wastelands and her power. It usually falls to Horebbin to repel these attempts.
 +
 
 +
The first time they fought, Horebbin was a great white bear with golden claws, and Ranael was a black serpent with dull silver eyes that withered all under her gaze. In that battle, Horebbin slashed at Ranael's left eye, destroying it utterly and earning Ranael's eternal hatred.
 +
 
 +
===Rel Thestra===
 +
 
 +
Rel Thestra, the Pretender, is a brother to Tavi Thestra. Like Tavi Thestra, Rel Thestra is a bit of a scoundrel, although not as whimsical as his lighthearted brother. Where the Vagabond finds joy in playing playing pranks, the Pretender seeks entertainment of a more cerebral sort: through guile, seduction, and trickery, he convinces his victims to reveal their hiddenmost secrets.
 +
 
 +
Both gods and mortals have found themselves tricked into trusting Rel Thestra, revealing to him that which they would rather keep concealed. In fact, the only god who has never succumbed to Rel Thestra's wiles is the dark goddess Thehlal, who can see past his disguises and who is too wise to believe his lies.
 +
 
 +
Among his other talents, the Pretender is the friend to all feathered creatures, from whom he hears reports from lands both near and far. It is said that a whisper on the other side of the sea will find its way to Rel Thestra's ear if there is a bird nearby to hear it. While he is nearly always portrayed in human form, he often takes the shape of a large black raven in stories, and his holy symbol is that of a raven against the gold disk of the sun.
 +
 
 +
===Shadira===
 +
 
 +
Shadira is an earth goddess, patron of carnal love and desire. Like her mother Anasara, Shadira is strongly associated with sex, but while Anasara embodies procreation, the family, and responsibility, Shadira represents pure pleasure, free from obligations or commitments. As such, Shadira is ever at odds with her mother, and many myths depict the struggle between them as they strive to sway mortals' choices between freedom and obligation.
 +
 
 +
Shadira is also known as the Eater of Impurities. Once in a lifetime, a person may confess her worst deeds and sins to Shadira, holding back nothing. In return, the confessor receives absolution; no impurity or defilement is too great to be forgiven. In this role, Shadira is sometimes portrayed as a consort of Thehlal.
 +
 
 +
Shadira is often portrayed as a horrible, devouring catlike figure, yet she is also honored for being a creator, and a goddess who sets things in motion. She is sometimes pictured as four sisters, who are present at the crossroads of one's life.
 +
 
 +
===Skudra===
 +
 
 +
Inscrutable Skudra is a god of warfare and invention. It was Skudra who crafted the paths for the stars to follow, at the behest of the star gods, and it was Skudra who polished the sharp edges from the sun and moon.
 +
 
 +
Both Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan have enlisted Skudra's aid in their battles with the other, but such aid extends only to his skill as an artificer -- Skudra himself never takes sides. The most famous of Skudra's works are Uzzah's armor and weapons, and the great Arnhammer with which Korro Khaitan broke through the dome of heaven and the crust of the earth.
 +
 
 +
Skudra has a wide variety of worshippers, from skilled tradesmen who work with their hands to cunning scholars whose tools are pen and parchment. Skudra himself is typically depicted as a dark, wiry man wearing the leather apron of a smith.
 +
 
 +
===Tavi Thestra===
 +
 
 +
Tavi Thestra is a companion of sorts to Vaya. Where Vaya is the worldly wise Traveller, Tavi Thestra is the lighthearted Vagabond. Where Vaya walks the earth, Tavi Thestra flits from place to place as his whims guide him.
 +
 
 +
Tavi Thestra is perhaps the most whimsical of the gods, playing pranks on both gods and mortals with equal impunity. Such diversions are more capricious than malicious, but like most gods, Tavi Thestra pays little heed to the fragility of the mortal frame.
 +
 
 +
Tavi Thestra can move in all directions, and if something must be found or retrieved, it is to him that mortals and immortals most often turn. Among his other talents, the Vagabond is an archer without peer. It is said that an arrow from Tavi Thestra's bow will cross the world in search of its target.
 +
 
 +
===Thehlal===
 +
 
 +
Thehlal is one of the star gods. Although she is not the most potent of the gods, nor even of the star gods, she is unassailable in her domain: Schurn, the Underworld.
 +
 
 +
Schurn is not the world of the afterlife itself, but the vast dark land between the land of the living and the Bridge of Impartial Judgment. All who pass on from the world of the living must find their way through the Underworld to the Bridge to receive their final reward. Not everyone wants their just reward, of course, and the Underworld is filled with those who are unwilling to present themselves for judgment.
 +
 
 +
Thehlal is, like the rest of the star gods, remote and somewhat sinister. However, she is not evil. It is simply her task to reclaim from mortals that spark with which all mortals are born. This was part of the agreement between the war gods and the star gods at the dawn of the Third World, and it is a responsibility that Thehlal takes most seriously.
 +
 
 +
Thehlal is also a goddess of secrets, and her library is said to hold knowledge taken from all who pass through the Underworld, but she is loathe to share this lore with anyone, even the other gods.
 +
 
 +
The goddess of the Underworld is typically depicted as a statuesque, ebony-skinned woman wearing a helm with massive stag-like antlers. She is often shown accompanied by wolves, her sacred animal.
 +
 
 +
===Uzzah===
 +
 
 +
Uzzah is the eldest daughter of Vanu Mar, who sits at his right hand. Her likeness as it appears on coins is that of an armored maiden with dark hair and mahogany skin, wearing a winged helmet and carrying a great spear (less frequently, a double-edged sword nearly as tall as she is). She is the goddess of unerring judgment and wisdom, and is commonly the instrument of Vanu Mar's justice (i.e., his wrath). Uzzah is frequently worshipped by warriors of both sexes.
 +
 
 +
===Vanu Mar===
 +
 
 +
Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan are the most powerful of the gods, but it is rare for either to be worshipped directly. Neither Vanu Mar nor Korro Khaitan cares particularly for mortals, and it's generally considered imprudent to petition either for favors. This is for the best: when Vanu Mar or Korro Khaitan take an interest in the world of mortals, mortals suffer. Even the other gods rarely seek the company or counsel of Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan.
 +
 
 +
This does not mean that they are ignored. Most of the larger temples have small altars devoted to Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan, and the two largest festivals each year are held in their honor. Feile Gwanwyn, held on the vernal equinox, is devoted to Vanu Mar, and Feile Hyfed, held on the autumnal equinox, is held in honor of Korro Khaitan.
 +
 
 +
===Vaya===
 +
 
 +
Vaya, the Wanderer, is also known as "She Who Circles the World". Vaya, sister to Horebbin, is a goddess of pathways, roads, and rivers, and she walks them ceaselessly night and day. Unlike her brother Horebbin, Vaya is numbered among the gods of mortality, also called the war gods, but unlike most of her peers Vaya actually frowns on strife and conflict. She is not considered a major god by most city dwellers, but it is rare for a traveller to pass a crossroad without a small shrine Vaya no matter how far from civilization it may be. Even brigands and highway robbers are likely to pass by a traveller who has taken refuge in or next to a shrine to Vaya.
 +
 
 +
===Venabetha===
 +
 
 +
Venabetha, the Thiefwatcher, is also known as the "Prince of Necessary Pretexts", and the "Defender of Drunkards and Fools". Venabetha is the son of Tavi Thestra. Like Tavi Thestra, Venabetha is numbered among the gods of mortality, also called the war gods. He is not considered a major god, and there are no temples devoted to him (at least not publicly), but he has a devoted following among the lower classes.
 +
 
 +
===Zhurok===
 +
 
 +
Zhurok the Inevitable is one of the earth gods, although he also has strong ties to the gods of mortality, the war gods. Zhurok has domain over the moon and the tides. He is also associated with the inexorable process of fate, and with the concept of justice as the unavoidable consequence of one's actions.
 +
 
 +
Once or twice a year, the morning after a lunar eclipse, is the holy day known as the Judgment of Zhurok. This is the day that those who have committed capital offenses since the previous Judgment of Zhurok are executed. Unlike most holy days, the Judgment of Zhurok is not greeted with fanfare and feasts: it is a grim occasion, and a reminder that no one escapes their fate or the consequences of their actions. During the Judgment of Zhurok, it is common for sworn enemies to make peace with each other, for those who have been wronged to forgive those who have wronged them, and for those who have injured another to make restitution.
 +
 
 +
Once or twice a decade, the nether sun obscures the moon in an event known as the Dark Moon. Mothers drag their children from the streets and fathers bar their doors. Citizens light every lamp and stoke the fire, every adult arms themselves with whatever weapon comes to hand, and they wait until the dawn brings an end to the madness of a night without consequences.
 +
 
 +
Zhurok is typically portrayed as a tall, gaunt man whose left side is completely white and whose right side is completely black.
  
 
==Magic==
 
==Magic==
  
Everyone knows that magic and sorcerers are real, but most normal people rarely see them. Someone flaunting their magical powers is likely to elicit a combination of wonder, fear, and hostility.
+
Everyone knows that magic is real, but most normal people rarely encounter it. Someone flaunting their magical powers is likely to elicit wonder or fear.
 +
 
 +
Magic is covered in its own [[Warlords_Of_Kruhl_3e_EN:Magic|chapter]].
  
 
==Languages==
 
==Languages==
  
  
{| cellpadding="4" cellspacing="1" class="wikitable sortable"
+
{| cellpadding="4" cellspacing="1" class="wikitable zebra sortable"
 
|+Table: Common languages
 
|+Table: Common languages
|- class="h1row"
+
|-  
 
! class="alignleft" style="width: 25%"|Language
 
! class="alignleft" style="width: 25%"|Language
 
! class="alignleft" style="width: 40%"|Typical Speakers
 
! class="alignleft" style="width: 40%"|Typical Speakers
 
! class="alignleft"|Script
 
! class="alignleft"|Script
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Archaean
 
| class="alignleft"|Archaean
| class="alignleft"|Humans (Archaea)
+
| class="alignleft"|Humans (Archaeans)
 
| class="alignleft"|Archaean
 
| class="alignleft"|Archaean
|- class="evenrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Corven
 
| class="alignleft"|Corven
 
| class="alignleft"|Corven
 
| class="alignleft"|Corven
 
| class="alignleft"|Elesil
 
| class="alignleft"|Elesil
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Dwarvish
 
| class="alignleft"|Dwarvish
 
| class="alignleft"|Dwarves
 
| class="alignleft"|Dwarves
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
|- class="evenrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Elvish
 
| class="alignleft"|Elvish
 
| class="alignleft"|Elves
 
| class="alignleft"|Elves
 
| class="alignleft"|Elesil
 
| class="alignleft"|Elesil
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Giant
 
| class="alignleft"|Giant
 
| class="alignleft"|Giants, trolls
 
| class="alignleft"|Giants, trolls
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
|- class="evenrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Gnomish
 
| class="alignleft"|Gnomish
 
| class="alignleft"|Gnomes
 
| class="alignleft"|Gnomes
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Goblin
 
| class="alignleft"|Goblin
 
| class="alignleft"|Goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, ogres
 
| class="alignleft"|Goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, ogres
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
|- class="evenrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Havlin
 
| class="alignleft"|Havlin
| class="alignleft"|Havlings
+
| class="alignleft"|Havlins
 
| class="alignleft"|Archaean
 
| class="alignleft"|Archaean
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Varangian
 
| class="alignleft"|Varangian
| class="alignleft"|Humans (Varangian)
+
| class="alignleft"|Humans (Vaeringjar)
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
 
|}
 
|}
  
  
{| cellpadding="4" cellspacing="1"
+
{| cellpadding="4" cellspacing="1" class="wikitable zebra sortable"
 
|+Table: Uncommon languages
 
|+Table: Uncommon languages
|- class="h1row"
+
|-  
 
! class="alignleft" style="width: 25%"|Language
 
! class="alignleft" style="width: 25%"|Language
 
! class="alignleft" style="width: 40%"|Typical Speakers
 
! class="alignleft" style="width: 40%"|Typical Speakers
 
! class="alignleft"|Script
 
! class="alignleft"|Script
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Celestial
 
| class="alignleft"|Celestial
| class="alignleft"|Celestials
+
| class="alignleft"|Celestials, priests
 
| class="alignleft"|Volex Pem
 
| class="alignleft"|Volex Pem
|- class="evenrow"
+
|-  
| class="alignleft"|Deep Speech
+
| class="alignleft"|Chthonic
 
| class="alignleft"|Aboleths, cloakers, troglodytes
 
| class="alignleft"|Aboleths, cloakers, troglodytes
 
| class="alignleft"|Khulthean
 
| class="alignleft"|Khulthean
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Druidic
 
| class="alignleft"|Druidic
 
| class="alignleft"|Druids
 
| class="alignleft"|Druids
 
| class="alignleft"|Shaen
 
| class="alignleft"|Shaen
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Mabrahoring
 
| class="alignleft"|Mabrahoring
| class="alignleft"|Demons, devils, dragons
+
| class="alignleft"|Demons, devils
 
| class="alignleft"|Mabrahoring
 
| class="alignleft"|Mabrahoring
|- class="evenrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Primordial
 
| class="alignleft"|Primordial
 
| class="alignleft"|Elementals
 
| class="alignleft"|Elementals
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
 
| class="alignleft"|Runic
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 +
| class="alignleft"|Saurian
 +
| class="alignleft"|Dragons, lizard folk
 +
| class="alignleft"|Runic
 +
|-
 
| class="alignleft"|Sylvan
 
| class="alignleft"|Sylvan
| class="alignleft"|Fey and associated creatures
+
| class="alignleft"|Fae and associated creatures
 
| class="alignleft"|Elesil
 
| class="alignleft"|Elesil
|- class="evenrow"
+
|-  
 +
| class="alignleft"|Thane
 +
| class="alignleft"|Priests, scholars
 +
| class="alignleft"|Thane
 +
|-
 
| class="alignleft"|Thieves' Cant
 
| class="alignleft"|Thieves' Cant
 
| class="alignleft"|Thieves, assassins
 
| class="alignleft"|Thieves, assassins
 
| class="alignleft"|(Symbols for basic concepts)
 
| class="alignleft"|(Symbols for basic concepts)
|- class="oddrow"
+
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Zinjan
 
| class="alignleft"|Zinjan
 
| class="alignleft"|Zinjan
 
| class="alignleft"|Zinjan
Line 157: Line 446:
 
===Archaean===
 
===Archaean===
  
[[Image:Font-archaean(magi).png]]
+
[[Image:Font-archaean-(ancient-greek).png]]
  
Archaean is the common script used by the nations of Archaea (i.e., Thrace, Rugeland, Vharsa, and among the Kurags), and by the few nonhumans who mingle in those predominantly-human societies.
+
Archaean is the common script used by the humans of Archaea, and by the nonhumans who mingle in predominantly-human societies.
  
 
===Elesil===
 
===Elesil===
  
[[Image:Font-elesil(tengwar-elesil).png]]
+
[[Image:Font-elesil(tengwar-annatar).png]]
 
 
Elesil may be the oldest written script on Kruhl -- certainly, the elves claim so. It is used by the various elven cultures, as well as by corven, and fey folk and associated creatures.
 
 
 
===Khitaj===
 
 
 
[[Image:Font-khitaj(guild).png]]
 
  
Khitaj is the script used throughout the nations of Khitai (i.e., Scythia, Cinnabar, Kazarahn, and Symeria).
+
Elesil may be the oldest written script on Kruhl -- certainly, the elves claim so. It is used by the various elven cultures, as well as by corven, and by the fae and associated creatures.
  
 
===Khulthean===
 
===Khulthean===
Line 195: Line 478:
 
[[Image:Font-shaen(vorlon).png]]
 
[[Image:Font-shaen(vorlon).png]]
  
Shaen (sometimes called Jayen) is a logographic script used exclusively by druids. It has no verbal component, and is strictly a written language. Druids are very protective of the secret of Shaen, and only teach it to other druids. Some ecclesiastical scholars theorize that Shaen is an offshoot of Volex Pem.
+
Shaen (sometimes called Jayen) is a script used exclusively by druids. It has no verbal component, and is strictly a written language. Druids are very protective of the secret of Shaen, and only teach it to other druids. Some ecclesiastical scholars theorize that Shaen is an offshoot of Volex Pem.
  
 
===Thane===
 
===Thane===
Line 216: Line 499:
  
 
The zinjan of the Mrisinnian jungles speak a sibilant language which is difficult for non-zinjan to learn. The zinjan have no written script, although they do use pictographs to record the history of their tribes and their leaders. They also use pictographs to mark dangers or leave scouting notes for other zinjan. For example, a drawing of three spears over a wavy line indicates, "clean water may be found three spear-throws distance in that direction".
 
The zinjan of the Mrisinnian jungles speak a sibilant language which is difficult for non-zinjan to learn. The zinjan have no written script, although they do use pictographs to record the history of their tribes and their leaders. They also use pictographs to mark dangers or leave scouting notes for other zinjan. For example, a drawing of three spears over a wavy line indicates, "clean water may be found three spear-throws distance in that direction".
 
==Paragons==
 
 
The fate of Archaea is guided by a small number of powerful people, called paragons. As the centuries pass, their titles may change, and the individuals who hold those titles may pass them to new generations, but the power and the influence of the paragons continues.
 
 
===The Archmage===
 
 
Khorvash of Symeria appears to be a human in late middle age, but he was present for the coronation of the last three Underkings, and he has been an advisor to the Emperor for as long as anyone in the imperial court can remember. Although human, his loyalties go beyond race or civilization: his ultimate loyalty is to Archaea itself. His counsel is always true, but it does not always serve the best interests of those he advises. For this reason, he is greatly respected, but never entirely trusted.
 
 
===The Black Queen===
 
 
Regine the vampire is the self-styled queen of the damned, and there are few who would dare to contest the title. Although she has no respect for life, and little affection for the living, she is an ironically stabilizing force on the legions of the undead. She values her own pleasure and longevity above all, and she is never as merciless as when dealing with an undead that threatens the security of her existence.
 
 
===The Champion===
 
 
There has always been a Champion: the lone warrior who walks the world of Archaea, never seeking conflict, yet somehow always encountering those who are beset by injustice. Where there is a fight so that the hungry can eat, the Champion will be there. Where there is an overseer beating a laborer, the Champion will be there. And when what was wrong has been set right again, the Champion will laugh, and say goodbye, and walk toward the next people who need him. The current Champion is a khul named Prakash. He did not seek this burden: no Champion ever does. He accepts it because he can, and because it is his nature to do so.
 
 
===The Demon King===
 
 
Mephistoroth, the Demon King, leads the Ravenous Horde -- the demon beast army, which waits ''en masse'' just beyond the horizon of the world of Archaea. The Ravenous Horde exists to rape, corrupt, and consume, not just people, but entire planes of existence. Worlds beyond counting have been devoured by the Ravenous Horde, and if Mephistoroth has his way, Archaea will be next. He has yet to be able to open a burning gate large enough or persistent enough to establish a permanent beachhead for the demon beast invasion of Archaea, but it is only a matter of time.
 
 
===The Emperor===
 
 
Wei Xiaodan is the most recent Ilwraithe Emperor in a line going back thousands of years: only the ice elves can claim a longer unbroken chain of succession. A young man, even by human standards, he is nonetheless a keen judge of character and a brilliant strategist. In a different world, he might have been a conqueror, or perhaps a merchant prince. Born into the royal family of Wei, heir to the Throne Of The Golden Phoenix, Xiaodan had a different destiny. He spends the bulk of his days analyzing intelligence reports, and dealing with internal unrest and external threats to the Empire.
 
 
===The High Druid===
 
 
Rhonwen of Eidyn is the most recent individual to earn the rank of High Druid. All druids are the voice of the animals, the hands of the earth, and the guardian of the trees, but the High Druid is not merely the head of her order. She is the embodiment of nature in Archaea. Her will is the will of the land, of the sky, and of the myriad creatures which grow, crawl, swim, or fly in between. She is the speaker of fire, the shaper of earth, the mover of water. She is quite possibly the single most powerful mortal in Archaea.
 
 
===The Hunter===
 
 
In each age, there is a single Zinjan who is the uncontested master of stealth and bloodletting: she is the Hunter. That Hunter is Zuri. Some say that the Hunter does not always kill her quarry, but that is probably wishful thinking. Zuri may be paid to hunt someone, but that is not why she hunts them. Someone who has enemies may find themselves hunted by Zuri, but that is not why she hunts them. Zuri may be hunting a notorious criminal, but that is not why she hunts them. Zuri does not care if the quarry is guilty or innocent, worshipped or reviled. Zuri hunts for sport.
 
 
===The Pirate Queen===
 
 
The seas of Archaea are the kingdom of the Pirate Queen, Zelda. Zelda is a rarity: a stone dwarf who left the darkness of the Mountain Kingdom when she reached adulthood. After working briefly as an apprentice shipwright, she was conscripted onto an Eidyn balinger. At sea, Zelda found her true home. In short order, she led the other conscripts in a mutiny, and they turned to piracy, preying on the ships of the merchant houses of Eidyn. Decades later, Zelda is now the mistress of her own pirate fleet, preying upon merchant ships from the rocky coast of Eidyn to the iceberg-filled waters of the ice elves.
 
 
===The Spider Queen===
 
 
In a world of secrets, the Spider Queen is at the center of the web. Some say she is an ice elf, but most people say that she is a human, for who but a human could be so duplicitous? It is said that the Spider Queen's agents are everywhere, from the depths of the Mountain King's halls to the frost-rimmed ballrooms of the ice elves. This may or may not be true, but no one doubts that wherever there are whispers, the Spider Queen is listening.
 
 
===The Underking===
 
 
Raginwald Thunderdelve is the King Under The Mountain, like his father and his father's father. Raginwald is a wise ruler, but he is not as cunning as the Ilwaithe Emperor or the White Queen of the ice elves, and he knows it. For this reason, he is always suspicious where other races are concerned, particularly when it comes to humans and ice elves. Although he doesn't believe that either have designs on the subterranean civilization of the stone dwarves, he is sure that they would cheerfully manipulate the stone dwarves for their own ends.
 
 
===The Warlock===
 
 
The Warlock was once a young woman living in modest luxury on the edges of the ice elf kingdom. Her family worked in embroidery and enchantments, sewing intricate magics into the finery of the White Queen's court. That was until the Ravenous Horde came. It was a small incursion, but it was enough to destroy her home, her family, her friends, and everything she loved. She died on that day, and the Warlock was born. Since then, she has devoted herself to turning the power of the Ravenous Horde against itself. On certain nights, she can be seen flying across the skies of Archaea on the back of an enormous bat, a burning halo above her head, and a phalanx of her demons in her wake. She has sacrificed everything to fight the Ravenous Horde, and she will sacrifice anything or anyone in her quest to destroy them.
 
 
===The Warlord===
 
 
Rurik the ogre was not always the Warlord. As a child he was a slave in the Ilwraithe Empire, working as a laborer until his size and strength attracted the attention of the masters of the arena. Rurik grew in strength and skill as a gladiator, until the day he led a revolt against his Ilwraithe masters. Since that day, Rurik has wandered the world, always siding with the few against the many, and leaving a legacy of blood and victory in his path.
 
 
===The Watcher===
 
 
The Watcher is a sacred duty given to one alate in each generation. It is this alate's responsibility to travel the breadth of Archaea, to observe and remember everything of importance which happens during his or her lifetime, and then to pass that knowledge on to the next Watcher. The Watcher is the living record of the history of Archaea. Huitzilihuitl, the current Watcher, is still young as alates measure the years, but he has seen the rise of the Warlord and the Warlock, and the passing of two Ilwraithe Emperors. What other events will he witness, before his time as Watcher is done?
 
 
===The White Queen===
 
 
Asfridur has been the queen of the ice elves for thousands of years. In that time she has seen countless human civilizations rise and fall, along with more than a few Kings Under The Mountain. She is not the most powerful sorceress on Archaea, but she is arguably the most cunning living being in the world. The White Queen is ruthless, and she will stop at nothing to ensure the survival of her people.
 
  
  
 
[[Category:Setting]]
 
[[Category:Setting]]
 
[[Category:Warlords_Of_Kruhl]]
 
[[Category:Warlords_Of_Kruhl]]
 +
[[Category:English]]

Latest revision as of 14:06, 21 June 2021

Arrow up 16x16.png Contents

The World Of Kruhl

Warlords Of Kruhl is set in the world of Kruhl. Kruhl is wide and deep, populated by savage beasts and monstrous creatures. Civilization is an isolated and often temporary condition: the natural state of Kruhl is wilderness.

600px


History

Countless civilizations have risen and fallen across the face of Kruhl, their remnants buried by the shifting of mountains, hidden within primeval forests, and waiting in the watery silence beneath the waves. Only the two most recent of these ancient civilizations are known by name: the Khultheans and the Thane.

The Khultheans

No one knows what the Khultheans were like, nor even if they were humanoid. All that remains of them are their ruins, which spread across northern Archaea. Most of these ruins are little more than crumbled stone with carvings in the inscrutable Khulthean language, but from time to time a hitherto-unknown ruin is discovered, and who knows what may be found within? Popular folklore says that finding an inscription in Khulthean is bad luck.

The Thane

Some time after the fall of the Khultheans, the Thane arose. Most believe they were human, or nearly so. The Thane spread their culture and their language across western Archaea, unifying the civilized folk under their banner. The Thane ushered in an epoch of peace and prosperity -- or so the legends say. A cataclysm ended the hegemony of the Thane, although the written records from that time never describe the event in detail. A thousand years later, the heritage of the Thane persists in the languages and religions of Archaea, many of which are founded upon those of the Thane.

Humanity

The Thane's armies were scattered, their strongholds were overrun, and their dominion fractured into a hundred squabbling tribes. Why the Thane empire fell is less important than the result: humanity, once a barbaric, scattered folk, spread and claimed the territory the Thane had left behind. Humanity learned to cast bronze, and then to smelt iron. Forests were cut down and fortresses were constructed. Kingdoms arose, and the age of humanity began.

The Blight

A generation ago, a plague swept through the Archaean continent... the Blight.

No one knows what or who caused the Blight. No medicine or magic was proof against it, and all who caught it died within a few months. Some people fled to isolated castles to escape it, while others closed the gates to their towns and cities to prevent it from coming for them. Nothing worked. There was no escape.

In a little over three years, the Blight killed four-fifths of the population. Towns were left abandoned, castles became tombs, and roads became empty.

Then, as suddenly as it began, the Blight ended. The survivors gathered in small settlements, and began putting their lives back together.

Geography

The default setting for Warlords Of Kruhl is the continent of Archaea. The major lands of Archaea are Khuraghol to the northeast, Symeria to the east, Mrisinnia to the north, Vharsa to the northwest, Eidyn to the southwest, Karelia to the south, and Varangia to the far south.

Karelia

Karelia is a cold, predominantly human country at the southern edge of the Archaean mainland, bordered by the Great Western Sea to the west and the Varangian Gulf to the south. Its diverse terrain spans rocky beaches, old-growth forest, and mist-covered bogs, in addition to hundreds of nearby islands.

Varangia

Across the Varangian Gulf is the human country of Varangia, named for the Vaeringjar who live there. Varangia's frigid terrain includes mountains, glaciers, and deep coastal fjords.

Steinvalt

The northern boundary of Karelia is defined by the Steinvalt Mountains, which is named for Steinvalt, the kingdom of the mountain dwarves. The Steinvalt Mountains stretch along the border between Karelia and Miravore, from the Great Western Sea to the Gulf Of Khaitan.

Miravore

North of the Steinvalt Mountains is the elven country of Miravore (or as the elves call it, Miruvorenande, meaning roughly, "valley of sweet wine"). Its landscape is marked by wide beaches and dense, sprawling forests.

Religion

There are a score or so major gods, and hundreds of minor gods. Each town, village, or even crossroads also has a patron deity, which is usually concerned only with that location.

With the exception of priests, it is extremely unusual to find someone who reveres only a single deity. You are as likely to find someone who eats only oats, or wears only green. It does stand to reason that a midwife would make offerings to Anasara (goddess of families and fertility) more frequently than to Skudra (god of smiths and of scholars), but the gods all have different areas of influence, and it would make no sense for a typical person to reject all others in favor of a single deity.

Priests are another matter. Priests do devote themselves to a single deity, or to a small group of related deities, and they might place themselves in opposition to priests of an opposing deity. But a priest of Anasara would still pray to Azif when trying to light the hearth on a cold winter morning.

To put it another way, someone who works for one brewery might refuse to drink the beer from a competing brewery, but they still drink water, wine, and so on.


Table: Archaean deities
Deity Spheres Symbols
Anasara Life, Nature, Peace Holly wreath, mermaid, goat
Arhiann Arcana, Knowledge, Twilight Spiral
Azif Forge, Light Flaming eagle, phoenix
Baiyatt Order Sword thrust through a bull's head
Cymothoa Death, Trickery Skull erupting with writhing green worms
Daarl Nature, War Sling, oval (representing a river stone), dead rabbit
Horebbin Nature Bear, silver axe, tree
Korro Khaitan Twilight, War Hammer
Laat Life, Light, Peace Lion, dove
Miranha Trickery Cornucopia, smiling mask
Morganthe Death, Grave, War Raven, scissors, spindle
Najon Life, Nature, Order Burning mace
Oerresh Nature, Trickery, Tempest Sea turtle
Pekha Life, Nature, Peace Sheaf of grain
Ranael Death, Nature Black serpent
Rel Thestra Knowledge, Nature, Trickery Raven against a gold disk
Shadira Life, Tempest Cat's eyes
Skudra Forge, Knowledge, War Anvil
Tavi Thestra Arcana, Knowledge, Trickery Bow and arrow
Thehlal Arcana, Death, Grave, Knowledge Helm with stag-like antlers, wolf
Uzzah Order, War Spear, two-handed sword
Vanu Mar Light, Order Lightning bolt
Vaya Nature, Peace "X" (depicting a crossroads)
Venabetha Knowledge, Trickery, Twilight Triangle inside of a circle (sometimes with the lines of the triangle extending outside of the circle)
Zhurok Death, Life, Order Disk half white and half black (similar to a yin-yang symbol without the dots)


Anasara

One of the most popular gods is Anasara, the Great Goddess of Fertility and Childbirth, the Source of the Cosmic Ocean. She purifies the male seed, the mother's womb, and the mother's milk.

Anasara is depicted in a variety of ways because of the many roles she serves. The most commonly used image is that of a full-figured human woman wearing a crown of holly leaves. Popular but less commonly used images of Anasara include a mermaid, an ornately twining grapevine, and a pregnant goat.

Arhiann

Arhiann, sister to Thehlal, is the goddess of the night sky, the stars, and dreams. Arhiann is one of the most powerful gods, second only to Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan. Unlike most of the star gods, Arhiann has an affection for mortals, and enjoys watching them from above. She is the patron of the thief skulking in the shadows, the traveler camping under the stars, and the child hiding under their sheets in the middle of the night.

Arhiann is typically depicted as a nude, ebony-skinned woman covered in stars.

Azif

Among his other epithets, Vanu Mar is known as He Who Ignites The Sky (i.e., the sun). According to legend, fire on earth was sent from the sun, arriving as lightning bolts that blasted the ground and set fire to forests. Such earthbound fire is the domain of Azif, eldest son of Vanu Mar.

Images of Azif typically take the form of a tall, bronze-skinned man with plaited blonde hair. Azif is also represented as a flaming eagle, or phoenix.

Baiyatt

Baiyatt, grim and grey-eyed, is a god of oaths and vows and contracts, all of which are sealed by swearing on his name. His name has come to mean "contract" as a common noun. Baiyatt's likeness sometimes appears on coins, where he is shown as a lean bald man, grabbing a bull's head and thrusting a sword into it.

Cymothoa

Cymothoa, the Wasting God, is the god of rot, pestilence, and putrefaction, as well as of parasites, vermin, and fungi which feed upon or infest people. Its temples are few, and its priests are rare. When it is depicted, it is as a skull erupting with worms and fungi.

Daarl

Daarl was once one of the earth gods until she was ravished by Gurm, a minor god devoted to small mammals such as mice and rabbits. She then transformed from a gentle goddess devoted to the smooth stones of riverbanks to a fierce and implacable huntress. She is now numbered among the war gods.

Daarl's weapon is the sling. The sling was actually invented by Skudra, but the artificer god cast it aside because he could not find a stone round and smooth enough to use it effectively. Daarl took up the discarded weapon, and she uses it with deadly accuracy.

Daarl is typically portrayed as a woman dressed in animal skins, with her sling in one hand and a dead rabbit in the other.

Horebbin

Horebbin, the God of Dark Forests, is chief among the earth gods, and is the source of fertility for both plants and animals. Horebbin is also a storm god, and many sacrifices are made to him in the storm season so that he will not wash away his worshippers by being too generous.

Like all of the earth gods, Horebbin accepts mortal worshippers but he does not seek them. It is wise to seek Horebbin's protection while in his domain, but it is also wise to remember that Horebbin considers mortals in his forests as uninvited guests, at best.

Horebbin is not often depicted in mortal artwork: a great tree is his most common surrogate. When he is given a manlike shape, he is usually shown as a burly warrior wielding a great silver axe.

Korro Khaitan

Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan are the most powerful of the gods, but it is rare for either to be worshipped directly. Neither Vanu Mar nor Korro Khaitan cares particularly for mortals, and it's generally considered imprudent to petition either for favors. This is for the best: when Vanu Mar or Korro Khaitan take an interest in the world of mortals, mortals suffer. Even the other gods rarely seek the company or counsel of Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan.

This does not mean that they are ignored. Most of the larger temples have small altars devoted to Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan, and the two largest festivals each year are held in their honor. Feile Gwanwyn, held on the vernal equinox, is devoted to Vanu Mar, and Feile Hyfed, held on the autumnal equinox, is held in honor of Korro Khaitan.

Laat

Laat is the youngest daughter of Vanu Mar, who sits at his left hand. She is sometimes found on coins, typically on the smallest copper or bronze coins that one might give to beggars. She is most frequently portrayed as a pale young woman with gold hair wearing a flowing white gown and a crown made of feathers (less frequently, a pale young woman with great white wings and partial armor over her flowing white gown). She is the embodiment of Vanu Mar's mercy, and is frequently portrayed in myths as holding back her sister Uzzah.

Laat also serves as protector of the weak. When serving in this capacity, she is usually found leading her sister Uzzah into battle, rather than holding her back.

Miranha

Miranha the Deceiver is the Lord Of Illusion, the Master Of Lies, and patron of those who believe without evidence. He tempts the unwary away from the truth, and he provides succor to those who cling to hope when all others have given up.

One well-known myth featuring Miranha features a prince whom Marinha has convinced that his princess is being unfaithful. Eventually, the prince loses his princess, his wealth, and the loyalty of his retainers, only to learn at the end of his life that it was his own jealousy and fear that drove his princess into the arms of his closest friend. Another Miranha myth is the tale of a mother whose son is lost at sea in a storm. Many years pass, and everyone believes him to be dead, but Miranha reassures the mother that her son lives. Eventually, the son returns to his home a prince, having traveled the world, amassed a vast fortune in gold and gems, and married a beautiful princess in a far-off land. He takes his mother away to his palace in the far kingdom, leaving behind the villagers who did not believe he would return.

Miranha is usually depicted as a smiling man in a red cloak. He may also be represented as a gold platter or horn, overflowing with food, gems, and other treasures.

Morganthe

Morganthe the Tailor is the Arbiter of Life, the Grim Merchant, and a patron of seamstresses, weavers, undertakers, and warriors. She measures the fabric of a mortal's life, and uses her shears to cut that fabric when the mortal's span is done.

Morganthe is commonly held to be the daughter of Arhiann, goddess of night, although she is also closely affiliated with Thehlal. Like Thehlal, Morganthe is not evil -- she fulfills a necessary role. It is said that the other gods fear Morganthe, for even the fabric of their vast existences will someday feel the cold touch of her shears.

Morganthe is usually depicted as a grim woman in a threadbare cloak, holding a spindle or a pair of scissors.

Najon

One of Ranael's few allies is a figure called Najon, the Lord of the Heat of the Earth. This is the heat that builds mountains and warms the sea. In summer, Najon prowls the surface world, and is thought to be one of Anasara's many lovers. In the winter, Najon retreats to the Underworld and keeps the subterranean waters warm so the roots of plants won't freeze.

Najon frequently acts as an intermediary between Ranael and the other earth gods. He is typically depicted as a short, brutish man carrying a stone mace which burns like a torch.

Oerresh

Oerresh, the sea giant, is a god of the vast waters at the horizon. He is the father of the sea maidens, who lure sailors away from land, as well as of the sea giants, whose battles at the ocean's bottom cause storms and waves of all types.

Pekha

Pekha the Ploughman, the jovial farmer and the inventor of beer, is one of the most popular deities in Archaea. He is a god of fertility and agriculture, as well as the protector of the fields and flocks.

A well-known myth of Pekha is the Battle Of The Trees. Venabetha, the Thiefwatcher, had crept into Thehlal's castle of bone in the Underworld and stolen a book from her library. Thehlal sent an army of the dead to the world of the living to reclaim it. Seeing that the dead were trampling his crops, Pekha commanded the trees to come to life and stand in their way. While the dead were held at bay, Pekha drank beer with Venabetha until the thief got drunk and fell asleep. Pekha retrieved the book from Venabetha, gave it back to Thehlal, and went back to ploughing his fields.

He is typically portrayed as a tan, smiling, barrel-chested man.

Ranael

In opposition to Horebbin and most of the other earth gods is Ranael, the God of the Wastelands. Ranael is frequently depicted as a pale, gaunt woman pacing to and fro at the edge of her domain, waiting for a chance to expand the Wastelands and her power. It usually falls to Horebbin to repel these attempts.

The first time they fought, Horebbin was a great white bear with golden claws, and Ranael was a black serpent with dull silver eyes that withered all under her gaze. In that battle, Horebbin slashed at Ranael's left eye, destroying it utterly and earning Ranael's eternal hatred.

Rel Thestra

Rel Thestra, the Pretender, is a brother to Tavi Thestra. Like Tavi Thestra, Rel Thestra is a bit of a scoundrel, although not as whimsical as his lighthearted brother. Where the Vagabond finds joy in playing playing pranks, the Pretender seeks entertainment of a more cerebral sort: through guile, seduction, and trickery, he convinces his victims to reveal their hiddenmost secrets.

Both gods and mortals have found themselves tricked into trusting Rel Thestra, revealing to him that which they would rather keep concealed. In fact, the only god who has never succumbed to Rel Thestra's wiles is the dark goddess Thehlal, who can see past his disguises and who is too wise to believe his lies.

Among his other talents, the Pretender is the friend to all feathered creatures, from whom he hears reports from lands both near and far. It is said that a whisper on the other side of the sea will find its way to Rel Thestra's ear if there is a bird nearby to hear it. While he is nearly always portrayed in human form, he often takes the shape of a large black raven in stories, and his holy symbol is that of a raven against the gold disk of the sun.

Shadira

Shadira is an earth goddess, patron of carnal love and desire. Like her mother Anasara, Shadira is strongly associated with sex, but while Anasara embodies procreation, the family, and responsibility, Shadira represents pure pleasure, free from obligations or commitments. As such, Shadira is ever at odds with her mother, and many myths depict the struggle between them as they strive to sway mortals' choices between freedom and obligation.

Shadira is also known as the Eater of Impurities. Once in a lifetime, a person may confess her worst deeds and sins to Shadira, holding back nothing. In return, the confessor receives absolution; no impurity or defilement is too great to be forgiven. In this role, Shadira is sometimes portrayed as a consort of Thehlal.

Shadira is often portrayed as a horrible, devouring catlike figure, yet she is also honored for being a creator, and a goddess who sets things in motion. She is sometimes pictured as four sisters, who are present at the crossroads of one's life.

Skudra

Inscrutable Skudra is a god of warfare and invention. It was Skudra who crafted the paths for the stars to follow, at the behest of the star gods, and it was Skudra who polished the sharp edges from the sun and moon.

Both Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan have enlisted Skudra's aid in their battles with the other, but such aid extends only to his skill as an artificer -- Skudra himself never takes sides. The most famous of Skudra's works are Uzzah's armor and weapons, and the great Arnhammer with which Korro Khaitan broke through the dome of heaven and the crust of the earth.

Skudra has a wide variety of worshippers, from skilled tradesmen who work with their hands to cunning scholars whose tools are pen and parchment. Skudra himself is typically depicted as a dark, wiry man wearing the leather apron of a smith.

Tavi Thestra

Tavi Thestra is a companion of sorts to Vaya. Where Vaya is the worldly wise Traveller, Tavi Thestra is the lighthearted Vagabond. Where Vaya walks the earth, Tavi Thestra flits from place to place as his whims guide him.

Tavi Thestra is perhaps the most whimsical of the gods, playing pranks on both gods and mortals with equal impunity. Such diversions are more capricious than malicious, but like most gods, Tavi Thestra pays little heed to the fragility of the mortal frame.

Tavi Thestra can move in all directions, and if something must be found or retrieved, it is to him that mortals and immortals most often turn. Among his other talents, the Vagabond is an archer without peer. It is said that an arrow from Tavi Thestra's bow will cross the world in search of its target.

Thehlal

Thehlal is one of the star gods. Although she is not the most potent of the gods, nor even of the star gods, she is unassailable in her domain: Schurn, the Underworld.

Schurn is not the world of the afterlife itself, but the vast dark land between the land of the living and the Bridge of Impartial Judgment. All who pass on from the world of the living must find their way through the Underworld to the Bridge to receive their final reward. Not everyone wants their just reward, of course, and the Underworld is filled with those who are unwilling to present themselves for judgment.

Thehlal is, like the rest of the star gods, remote and somewhat sinister. However, she is not evil. It is simply her task to reclaim from mortals that spark with which all mortals are born. This was part of the agreement between the war gods and the star gods at the dawn of the Third World, and it is a responsibility that Thehlal takes most seriously.

Thehlal is also a goddess of secrets, and her library is said to hold knowledge taken from all who pass through the Underworld, but she is loathe to share this lore with anyone, even the other gods.

The goddess of the Underworld is typically depicted as a statuesque, ebony-skinned woman wearing a helm with massive stag-like antlers. She is often shown accompanied by wolves, her sacred animal.

Uzzah

Uzzah is the eldest daughter of Vanu Mar, who sits at his right hand. Her likeness as it appears on coins is that of an armored maiden with dark hair and mahogany skin, wearing a winged helmet and carrying a great spear (less frequently, a double-edged sword nearly as tall as she is). She is the goddess of unerring judgment and wisdom, and is commonly the instrument of Vanu Mar's justice (i.e., his wrath). Uzzah is frequently worshipped by warriors of both sexes.

Vanu Mar

Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan are the most powerful of the gods, but it is rare for either to be worshipped directly. Neither Vanu Mar nor Korro Khaitan cares particularly for mortals, and it's generally considered imprudent to petition either for favors. This is for the best: when Vanu Mar or Korro Khaitan take an interest in the world of mortals, mortals suffer. Even the other gods rarely seek the company or counsel of Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan.

This does not mean that they are ignored. Most of the larger temples have small altars devoted to Vanu Mar and Korro Khaitan, and the two largest festivals each year are held in their honor. Feile Gwanwyn, held on the vernal equinox, is devoted to Vanu Mar, and Feile Hyfed, held on the autumnal equinox, is held in honor of Korro Khaitan.

Vaya

Vaya, the Wanderer, is also known as "She Who Circles the World". Vaya, sister to Horebbin, is a goddess of pathways, roads, and rivers, and she walks them ceaselessly night and day. Unlike her brother Horebbin, Vaya is numbered among the gods of mortality, also called the war gods, but unlike most of her peers Vaya actually frowns on strife and conflict. She is not considered a major god by most city dwellers, but it is rare for a traveller to pass a crossroad without a small shrine Vaya no matter how far from civilization it may be. Even brigands and highway robbers are likely to pass by a traveller who has taken refuge in or next to a shrine to Vaya.

Venabetha

Venabetha, the Thiefwatcher, is also known as the "Prince of Necessary Pretexts", and the "Defender of Drunkards and Fools". Venabetha is the son of Tavi Thestra. Like Tavi Thestra, Venabetha is numbered among the gods of mortality, also called the war gods. He is not considered a major god, and there are no temples devoted to him (at least not publicly), but he has a devoted following among the lower classes.

Zhurok

Zhurok the Inevitable is one of the earth gods, although he also has strong ties to the gods of mortality, the war gods. Zhurok has domain over the moon and the tides. He is also associated with the inexorable process of fate, and with the concept of justice as the unavoidable consequence of one's actions.

Once or twice a year, the morning after a lunar eclipse, is the holy day known as the Judgment of Zhurok. This is the day that those who have committed capital offenses since the previous Judgment of Zhurok are executed. Unlike most holy days, the Judgment of Zhurok is not greeted with fanfare and feasts: it is a grim occasion, and a reminder that no one escapes their fate or the consequences of their actions. During the Judgment of Zhurok, it is common for sworn enemies to make peace with each other, for those who have been wronged to forgive those who have wronged them, and for those who have injured another to make restitution.

Once or twice a decade, the nether sun obscures the moon in an event known as the Dark Moon. Mothers drag their children from the streets and fathers bar their doors. Citizens light every lamp and stoke the fire, every adult arms themselves with whatever weapon comes to hand, and they wait until the dawn brings an end to the madness of a night without consequences.

Zhurok is typically portrayed as a tall, gaunt man whose left side is completely white and whose right side is completely black.

Magic

Everyone knows that magic is real, but most normal people rarely encounter it. Someone flaunting their magical powers is likely to elicit wonder or fear.

Magic is covered in its own chapter.

Languages

Table: Common languages
Language Typical Speakers Script
Archaean Humans (Archaeans) Archaean
Corven Corven Elesil
Dwarvish Dwarves Runic
Elvish Elves Elesil
Giant Giants, trolls Runic
Gnomish Gnomes Runic
Goblin Goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, ogres Runic
Havlin Havlins Archaean
Varangian Humans (Vaeringjar) Runic


Table: Uncommon languages
Language Typical Speakers Script
Celestial Celestials, priests Volex Pem
Chthonic Aboleths, cloakers, troglodytes Khulthean
Druidic Druids Shaen
Mabrahoring Demons, devils Mabrahoring
Primordial Elementals Runic
Saurian Dragons, lizard folk Runic
Sylvan Fae and associated creatures Elesil
Thane Priests, scholars Thane
Thieves' Cant Thieves, assassins (Symbols for basic concepts)
Zinjan Zinjan (Symbols for basic concepts)


Archaean

Font-archaean-(ancient-greek).png

Archaean is the common script used by the humans of Archaea, and by the nonhumans who mingle in predominantly-human societies.

Elesil

Font-elesil(tengwar-annatar).png

Elesil may be the oldest written script on Kruhl -- certainly, the elves claim so. It is used by the various elven cultures, as well as by corven, and by the fae and associated creatures.

Khulthean

Font-khulthean(nal-hutt).png

Khulthean is a dead language which exists only in the form of writing on ancient scrolls and monuments. It was the primary language of a civilization which once spread over most of northern Kruhl. Popular folklore says that finding an inscription in Khulthean is bad luck.

Mabrahoring

Font-mabrahoring(shadow).png

Mabrahoring is an ancient language known mainly by wizards, demons, dragons, and other such entities who value linguistic precision. Mabrahoring is an extraordinarily formal language, and it is quite difficult for a human to pronounce it properly.

Runic

Font-gothic(germanic runes).png

Runic is an ancient script, possibly predating Thane. It is in use by a wide variety of cultures, including those of dwarves, giants, goblins, and some humans such as the Vaeringjar.

Shaen

Font-shaen(vorlon).png

Shaen (sometimes called Jayen) is a script used exclusively by druids. It has no verbal component, and is strictly a written language. Druids are very protective of the secret of Shaen, and only teach it to other druids. Some ecclesiastical scholars theorize that Shaen is an offshoot of Volex Pem.

Thane

Font-thane(ultima).png

Thane (sometimes called High Archaean) is an ancient language from which most modern human languages derive. Several religious texts are written in the Thane alphabet, and many of the larger and more respected religious sects use Thane during their rituals and ceremonies.

Thieves' Cant

Thieves' Cant has no written script, although its speakers do use pictographs to communicate with each other by way of a system of cryptic signs, which are chalked in prominent or relevant places to clandestinely alert other speakers of Thieves' Cant about important local information. For example, a triangle with hands indicates, "resident is armed and dangerous".

Volex Pem

Font-volex pem(kilrathi).png

Volex Pem is an ancient logographic language, older and less commonly used than Thane. Some of the most ancient and revered religious texts are written in Volex Pem, but it is rarely used in public rituals.

Zinjan

The zinjan of the Mrisinnian jungles speak a sibilant language which is difficult for non-zinjan to learn. The zinjan have no written script, although they do use pictographs to record the history of their tribes and their leaders. They also use pictographs to mark dangers or leave scouting notes for other zinjan. For example, a drawing of three spears over a wavy line indicates, "clean water may be found three spear-throws distance in that direction".