Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An Implacable People - Hebron

We were once a peaceful, happy people who cared little for what went on outside of our borders. We lived with the land, content to tend to our olive groves and raise our families. There was strife of the usual kind of course, corruption in government and feuding with our neighbors, especially the villains in Hyphrates. Overall we had it better than the people did in most places, though. Our land was neither as decadent as Manreia nor as backwards and corrupt as our neighbors to the East. For the most part, we got along well with the world.

Monday, July 29, 2013

De Acosta's Workshop

Once a student of the crazed inventor Herr Doktor Franken Von Nachtmachen, Aureliano De Acosta completed his apprenticeship shortly after the beginning of the Great War. As a recognized master inventor, he was a member of Manreia's tradesmen caste. It was his responsibility to see that the nation's trains ran effectively and to continue the development of Manreia's transportation system.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Revenants - Driven beyond death

A Revenant may appear human at first glance, but a closer look reveals more of his Accursed nature. As one of the living dead, Revenants have a faint scent of rotting flesh around them at all times, and their eyes are a milky-white in color. Their flesh is often disfigured with mortification, and the wound that ended their former life is often the most prominent of their many scars. Due to their unsettling appearance, Revenants have a difficult time dealing with the people of Morden. Most citizens consider Revenants untrustworthy at best, and there are many who consider all living dead—Revenants included—to be horrid pawns of the Witches.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On Gluttony - The Hunger Trolls

In these days of want and woe, the faerie stories of my youth have an unsettling tendency to become real. As a child, my majka told me of the wildmen of the forests; mostly as a way to make me behave and to eat my vegetables. These creatures, these trolls, were terrible giants who wandered about after dark snatching bad children from their homes and destroying the farms of those who transgressed against the Old Ways. Cut too much wood from the old forest or kill more game than you could eat in a season? Neglect your chores or letters? The trolls would come and teach you a very hard lesson. Adults could laugh at these stories, although they would make the ancient signs to ward off evil as they did so. But to a young man with an active imagination and a guilty conscience, the threat of being carried off to be eaten by trolls was a very real threat. Now I am grown, and there is precious little laughter anywhere in Steppengrad. Baba Yaga is with us again. Blight and famine are everywhere, and trolls step out of the pages of books to devour our livestock and ruin our crops. These are dark times my friend, but some day, if we are lucky, we will see the end of them.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hyphrates - A Desert of Tombs

As one of the first areas settled in all of Morden, the earliest colonists had boundless opportunities to select an idyllic locale. These eager explorers chose to take advantage of the gulf sheltered by the southern extension of the Darkfall Peaks, and the bounty of the Iteru River. Finding fertile grasslands, a warm climate, and a navigable waterway, Ur-Xandria became a thriving city in only a few years. In short order, its culture expanded up the river, as the city grew and the population expanded beyond the delta. Agricultural and mineral resources both proved readily available, and only time and the size of the population limited rapid growth and development.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sanguinara, the Blood Witch

In appearance, the Blood Witch looks quite human… on the surface, at least. Her form is overall quite pleasing to the eye, seductively beautiful in a manner that makes most viewers instinctively feel both attracted and repelled in a manner they cannot explain. Her skin is incredibly pale—the color of milk—and her long, lustrous hair is a dark, coal black that seems to absorb the light. Her lips and eyes are a dark crimson—the hue of freshly-spilled blood. Her teeth—although perfect and gleaming—feature a prominent pair of fangs.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Bleak and Windswept Country - Steppengrad

When I was young and frightened and could not sleep, my grandfather would tell me stories of his youth to soothe my mind and ease my way to slumber. As much as they were stories of his youth—and what a youth my grandfather had—they were also stories of Mother Steppengrad in the days before the coming of the Vještica, before Baba Yaga came and the land wilted away. To see her now, in her anguish, you would not know that once this was a rich and vibrant land. Long ago, before the Great War, Steppengrad was the jewel of Morden. Her rivers teemed with fish, her forests and plains were crowded with beasts and birds, and her fertile fields were the envy of all lesser nations. The people were different then, too. We were stronger, the men handsomer, and the women more lovely. There was wealth and food aplenty, and even the most desperate of our countrymen had at least a goat and a small plot of land; enough to feed his family in even the harshest winter. Now, well, now it is different. Mother Steppengrad is very sick, maybe dying. As long as Baba Yaga still wanders the forests the land suffers and we starve. All is not lost, though. One day this will all be over. One day Baba Yaga and the rest of the Vještica will be driven away. Mother Steppengrad will be made whole, and she will once again be the envy of all the peoples of Morden.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Djinn - Granter of Wishes

The Djinn's current status remains one of the greatest mysteries of Morden. When King Auberon's blade pierced her flesh, she vanished, taking much of her army, the forces of the Alliance, and even the Summerlands with her in a cataclysmic magical explosion. No human scholars know her ultimate fate, and even the Witches seemed unnerved by this dramatic turn of events. Though the Witch armies had essentially won the war, many of them left Morden with their armies, crossing the Darkfall Peaks to their homes that lay beyond.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cairn Kainen

The realm of Cairn Kainen once bore a different name. It was originally known as Caer Kainen and is still called that by many of its remaining citizens. At the time of its founding, Caer Kainen was home to many tribes of men that arrived in Morden (like many others) through the mysterious “lightning bridge,” about which very little is known. These tribes found a lush valley between high, arching peaks. The broad realm was composed of sweeping moors, misty boglands, and long stretches of wild heath perfect for grazing. The tribes looked upon the place that would be Caer Kainen and knew that this land was theirs to call home.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

You Shall Know Them by the Trail of the Dead - The Witch Armies

They came through the Outlands, boiling over the Darkwall Peaks in their multitude. Huge throngs of undead things and living creatures twisted beyond recognition by dark magics. Rank upon rank of hired soldiers from across the great sea bolstered their numbers. In the van were the Accursed–shambling Mongrels, plodding Golems, loping, gibbering Vargr, lithesome Damphyre, along with their fellows. At their head strode the great usurpers, the Witches of the Grand Coven. Cunning Baba Yaga, mighty Sanguinara, the twisted Chimera, and their sisters led their varied armies over the Darkwall Peaks and into the unsuspecting lands of Morden quick as lightning, taking the unprepared mortals completely unawares and easily sweeping aside the initial, hastily assembled resistance. The Witch armies spread out and the heroes of the Alliance gathered their armies to oppose them. The entrenched forces settled in for a savage war of attrition that would grind on for decades and only really end with the Great Betrayal, when the Grand Coven was broken and the Witch armies scattered to the winds.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mummies - Ancient Majesty Restored

The horrors of the Mummy Witchbreed originate with a foolish mistake made at the time of the initial Grand Coven invasion. As the Outlands began to fall before the Witches' armies, the other nations were scarcely aware of the dangers. For them, their daily routines were untouched by the political instabilities in far off lands. Consequently, the inhabitants of Hyphrates continued to scheme against one another, in hopes of gaining ever greater control over the fertile land. It was part of this scheming that led to the creation of these Accursed—and proved an early turning point in the war.

Friday, July 5, 2013


The northern realm of Valkenholm has long been seen as one of the most pre-eminent regions of Morden. Its vast, thick forests provide many benefits—amongst them rich lumber, furs, and food. Valkenholm sits astride the mighty Scythe River, itself a prime source of fish and minerals. To the southeast, the realm’s forests give way to a deep and largely unexplored series of bogs and swamps known as the Sunken Lands.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Their Name is a Killing Word - The Golems

In the land of Hebron, legends tell of a powerful being made of clay that protects the people in their hour of need. Details vary by the telling, but most agree that the creature was formed from dust and clay by a powerful priest and given life through magic words carved on its body or by a magic formula written on parchment and placed in the creature's mouth. In some of these stories, the creature is little more than a mindless automaton; a powerful construct that possesses personal initiative and follows orders to the letter. In other stories, the creature is deadly and cunning; a monster requiring constant supervision and a danger to both its creator's enemies and the creator himself. These Golems, as they were called, existed in one form or another throughout Hebron's antiquity, being at once metaphor for man's hubris and a representation of man's power and his wish to protect hearth and home. When the Crone and her armies boiled out of the Mountains and entered Hebron, at their head strode massive, hand-built horrors. Automata of bone and clay, of iron and straw and pallid flesh, these horrific creatures cut a swath through Hebron's defenders. Those few who survived called the monsters Golems and fled before them, their ancient stories come to life at long last.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Deep and Abiding Hunger - The Vargr

The Vargr are the chosen of Baba Yaga–the Witch that created them. They are her shock troops, implacable warriors and brutal combatants with a nearly insatiable taste for the flesh of men. Once normal men and women, they now walk a ragged edge between beast and man. The Vargr are werewolves, a people cursed (or blessed depending on one's point of view) with the ability to become half human, half wolf… overcome with a ravenous, all-consuming hunger. Their beast forms give them increased size, strength, speed, and stamina. Becoming a werewolf sharpens their senses, allowing them to see, hear, and smell far beyond the limits of mortals. However, the transformation is more than skin deep—they become savage creatures operating on little more than instinct and low cunning.