Showing posts with label World. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World. Show all posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sand and Stone Released!

We've just put Sand and Stone by Chris Avellone and George Ziets up for sale on DriveThruRPG. The book came out to 30 pages, and we're excited to have this opportunity to expand the information available about the game setting.

Since the colonization of Morden, Hebron and Hyphrates shared an enmity. In part, this was because of their nearness and competition for many resources. Their cultural differences, however, served to intensify the division as well. Hebronites are generally far more devoted to family, while Hyphratians tend to embrace personal goals. These differences often triggered misunderstandings and hostilities between the two cultures, leading to an endless series of conflicts. Much of this was swept aside in the face of the Grand Coven, when all the nations of Morden cooperated under the banner of the Armies of Light.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Creating Banes – Inventing New Horrors

When we began working to create the Accursed setting, the creative team quickly came to the decision that we needed to have a lot of horrific elements. Part of that was because we knew that the Witches were going to be extraordinarily powerful beings that wouldn't be a good fit for routine opponents. Another justification was simply due to the fact that we needed things that would give a prototypical monster pause. After all, a Dhampir, a Mummy, or a Revenant is unlikely to find even a force of mundane humans threatening. Our solution was to expand the scope of what the Witches had done.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

From Palmyria to Port Sorrow 'tis Thirty-Five Leagues - Port Sorrow

All that winter we starved. We starved along with our neighbors and our livestock. What little food we had was stolen from us by the heartless animals working for Baba Yaga. My mother died that winter, of sorrow or shame, along with my two youngest sisters. My brother had died fighting in the Tsar's army the year before, and in the end it was too much for my father. He went mad with grief and fled screaming into the howling winter. Alone and desperate, I packed what little I could carry and left my home. I had heard that far to the south, somewhere in the sea, was an island paradise where people fleeing the war were gathered. With nothing left to lose, I headed south to see if the stories were true.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Capricious and Treacherous - The Fey

In the ages before the Bane War, mortals and fey only had limited interactions. Most of humanity—even those who were devoted to the Enochian Faith—recognized that there were creatures that dwelt at the fringes of human perception. Some called them nature spirits, others called them little people, and a few recognized them as beings of power. Regardless of their name, all who knew of them knew that they were capricious and volatile. Some among the fey could be generous—legends of rescuing orphaned children, recovering lost goods, or protecting innocents from predators abounded. Others, however, were less kind, including those who stole children, took precious items, or treated humans as little more than chattel. The challenge to anyone who had a chance to interact with these beings was to identify the friendlier fey—known as the seelie—from the treacherous, unseelie fey.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Black Barrier - The Darkwall Peaks

I tell you, the mountains are alive.
You know they say that nothing lives there? It's a lie. There are things that live in the mountains; terrible things... nightmare things. Twenty years ago, my troopers and I chased a band of mercenaries led by a handful of filthy Vargr into the mountains north of Steppengrad. Not five miles into those mountains we were hopelessly lost. Us! Seasoned cavalrymen mounted on the smartest, most knowing steeds in all of Morden, lost like children in the Darkwall with night approaching. Why did we not turn around you ask? We did! The path we had taken was gone.

Friday, August 23, 2013

In the Vanguard - The Cauldron-born

Creatures who have a semblance of life beyond the grave were only legends before the coming of the Morrigan to Cairn Kainen. The Witch brought an artifact with her that had power over death itself; a dreaded item known as the Dark Cauldron. Once a dead body was placed into the cauldron, it rose again as an undead being; a cruel parody of the life it once held. These beings were known as the cauldron-born. They left behind all semblance of their former lives and existed only as slaves to the Morrigan’s will. Powered by the cauldron and guided by the Morrigan’s necromantic witchcraft, uncountable numbers of cauldron-born were created during the conquest of Morden. Since the fall of the Alliance, the Morrigan’s task has been less urgent, and she has vastly slowed the pace of cauldron-born production.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Place to Call their Own - The Adherents of Aliyah

Brother Malakai moved about the claustrophobic shelves of the ancient library at Westyn Priory. The Golem's heavy step rang from the worn, polished stone tiles and echoed high in the vaulted ceiling. His work in the library was a great comfort to him. The solitude, the smell of old leather and parchment, the faint echo of plainchant from the far-off chapel – all helped to soothe his troubled mind and, at least temporarily, insulate him from the horror of his existence. As he plodded through a dimly lit intersection between shelves, a figure stepped from the shadow and laid a light hand on the Golem's forearm. With all the frightening, deceptive speed of an avalanche, Brother Malakai pushed his attacker away with one broad hand while the other went reflexively for the heavy, broad-bladed cutlass that no longer hung from his belt. He relaxed at once as he saw the short, swarthy form step more fully into the light and smile.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Technology in Morden

Morden is a land that is caught between contradictions of technology. On the one hand, some things have not changed in centuries—carts still wend their way across roads that are, in many places, little more than dirt tracks. Farmers till the land with horse and plow as they have for generations, and the sword is still the most common weapon wielded by a fighting man.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Enochian Faith

When the first settlers crossed the lightning bridge to Morden, they brought the Enochian Religion with them. Not all were devout followers—particularly those who settled in what eventually became Hyphrates—but the religion was well established and had already existed for thousands of years. The central focus of their belief involves a single, all-powerful creator who made the world of Saturnyn and continues to oversee it. The religion is monotheistic, and holds that their Creator shall return to provide the world its ultimate salvation in their moment of greatest need.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Armies of Light

The true threat of the Witches’ invasion was not felt throughout Morden until the Outlands were fully overrun; this signaled the beginning of the Bane War. With the border realms completely under the Witches’ domination, the rulers of Morden's nations knew that something had to be done lest they face the same fate. King Stefan Hightower II of Valkenholm sent couriers to all the other realms of Morden, soliciting support for building a military alliance to face the Witches’ army. Under King Stefan’s leadership, Valkenholm became the staging ground for a counterattack against the Grand Coven.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

On the Roiling Main - The Discordian Sea

I've lived with the sea my whole life, just like my father and his father and his father before him. I've done everything a man can do in this world on the sea. I hunted sabreback whales in the cold waters north of Steppengrad. I sailed under the flag of Manreia against the black thieves of Port Sorrow. I won and lost a dozen fortunes before I was thirty years old, and I have no regrets. Life is simpler out here, better, healthier. Even before the Witches came, a life at sea was preferable to that of a life trapped on the land. On the sea there's the swell and the tide, the wind and the waves, and good, honest seamen. There are no lawyers or bailiffs or bums come to take you to a sponging house over the sum of a few pennies. No land sharks to trick you out of your money, nor wives or in-laws either. It's a good life. Hard at times, sure, and dangerous, but it's worth it to be free.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Alchemy - Supernatural Science

Alchemy is a tradition that combines philosophy and a study of both natural and supernatural materials. Most often, alchemists are learned men and women who use their knowledge to create unusual effects by combining exotic materials. The trade produces rare and exceptional elixirs, potions, and salves, but some scholars have refined their craft for use in the engineering fields like masonry and metallurgy. According to Enochian historians, the practice of alchemy in Morden was originally systematized over three hundred years ago. The earliest records of alchemists practicing their trade began among the palaces of the Pharoahs in Hyphrates and slowly spread throughout the other realms.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday, June 28, 2013

On Witchcraft

Spells, curses, charms, chants, or hexes – all of these are part and parcel of witchcraft as it is known on Morden. Witchcraft is the manipulation of magic to achieve specific goals – and it is the most powerful tool of the Witches that have conquered Morden. However, it is not the Witches alone who can wield witchcraft and channel it into charms or spells. Many banes and some humans can learn to harness the supernatural forces of witchcraft. This magic can accomplish tasks both small and large, from cleansing the dirt out of a hovel to collapsing a mountain pass. There is an astonishing variety of uses for witchcraft, and the use of this magic in itself is neither particularly good nor evil. Those who perform witchcraft as agents of the Witches are known as warlocks, while those who seek to use witchcraft instead for the common good or to aid in the resistance against the Witches’ dark influence are often called “white witches.”