The Free Lands
Topic 1: The Dragonblood Curse
Several months have been spend thoroughly researching the topic of the Dragonblood Curse. Sages, books, divinations and many other methods were used to provide reliable sources of information. Among the scholars of Angmar, the in-depth studies have provided quite some prestige for your new centre of study.
During the final years of the war between the Dragonborn empire Arkhosia and Tiefling empire Molatti much of the continent was ravaged. By now Arkhosia had gained the upper hand and had retaken much of the main land at the cost of turning the once fertile lands now known as the Sun Desert into a near lifeless waste. Sinking further into their demonic pact the imperial Molatti family gathered their remaining resources in their capital over the course of several months. The Dragons in turn tried desperately to discern the reason for this withdrawal. As this point in the war, they could not yet threaten the Molatti capital with adequate force. Spies were send, divinations performed, but alas the Tiefling plans remained elusive. As the Tiefling lines faltered and many of the remaining Kruthik Queens slain, the reckless withdrawal of supernatural and magical resources by the Molatti became a top concern to the Arkhosian Emperor. Again all ways of intelligence gathering failed and the emperor decided to take desperate measures. He feared for a new demonic plot that might threaten the all but guaranteed victory of the devastating war. In a surprise move the emperor, one of the most ancient of Dragons, gathered his most elite and powerful forces to strike directly at the Molatti capital. At great cost they traveled non-stop, overwhelming all resistance they encountered, before finally attacking the heavily fortified capital without any chance for backup or supply lines. At extreme costs they finally overcame the Tiefling troops. In hindsight, this was only possible because the most powerful tieflings and hellish creatures were participating in the ritual. Assaulting the palace, the Arkhosian Emperor himself made his way to the throne room. There he saw the Molatti empress and her most powerful warlocks completing a ritual that would bring forth the Dragonblood Curse. Reports conclude that all creatures across the continent with a draconic heritage heard the final words of the last empress of the Molatti:
“Hear me creatures of veins filled with Dragon’s Blood. Know that the Molatti will have their last laugh. For I have cursed thee by the most unholy of profane curses, the most powerful of demonic powers. Thou shall yet kill me, but I have ensured thine offspring will suffer. I say to thee; your eggs will wither and die, your women weep as they will breed no seeds of life and your children will not live past their second year. So I have spoken so it shall be. See you in hell wretched ones.”
The empress’ palace was destroyed in a decidedly magical explosion, it is unknown whether this was a side effect of the ritual or due to the battle between the Dragon-blooded and Infernal-blooded.
In the years following the event, the remains of the Molatti empire were crushed and most remaining tieflings massacred. After this the Arkhosian empire went through several decades of decline before finally officially collapsing after the riots and subsequent ransacking of the capital.
The Dragonblood curse effects all creatures closely related to Dragons this includes all known types of colored, metallic and gem Dragons, Dragonborn, Dragonspawn, etc. Compared to pre-curse records and other creatures types of similar development as the affected creatures there appear to be three main effects:
- 33 to 59% of every egg shows obvious signs of rotting in any period between four and eight weeks after laying.
- Egg laying incidence by female creatures of every affected race has steadily declined to approximately one fourth of the estimated old rate.
- Anywhere between 14 to 74% of the hatched Draconic creatures show signs of severe organ failure at birth, causing death before their second year of age. The exact number is hard to determine as most Dragonborn Clans have acquired a custom not to publicly acknowledge or even name newborns until after their second year.
Among the many family trees some seemed more affected by others, but never in any sufficient degree to cause a significant change in birth rate among the entire population. Current estimates and records show a Dragon population numbering below one thousand and a Dragonborn population close to 425.000. Before the curse, even during the deadly times of the Three-Hundred Year War, their numbers were estimated to be at least ten times higher. Decline in number is predicted to increase exponentially in the coming decades. In short: if the curse is not cured Dragon-blooded will become extinct within the next two to three generations.
Attempts at a cure
Although many upon many attempts have been made to cure the Curse as a whole, none have proven effective (over the long term). During the final years of Arkhosia and the many years following it a large number of groups, most very proficient, have tried. Most avenues have tried by arcane, or divine means, although there are also reports of infernal bargaining to attempt to procure a cure. Although some were successful, the infernal pacts were deemed detrimental to the Dragon-blooded races as a whole (as in effect, they too would turn into Tieflings), and all affected eventually killed by their fellows. The main supplier of the Infernal blood and warlock pacts to the Tieflings was the Arch-Demon known as Orcus; the Bloodlord. Verified stories conclude that high sacrifices and worship to His name has exempted some Dragon-blooded from the curse over the decades. No family has survived the eventual backlash of killings from fellow Dragonborn though. Another mention of success comes in the form of necromantic rituals designed to sacrifice one Dragon-blooded life for another. Again such practices are rare and severely frowned upon. Several highly proficient groups remain to perform many experiments and rituals in an attempt to reverse the curse. Research shows these are:
- A decidedly isolated group of Dragons on the Dragonisle of the western coast.
- The Hearthlands Imperial Corporation ‘House Cannith’.
- A research academy located on Molatti Nua, one of the old Molatti islands.
- Mutaali’s Pride; A temple-organization dedicated to the God of Knowledge and Arcanists in conglomeration with the Temple of Healing; A temple-organization dedicated to the Goddess of Healing; Shalliandra.
- Arch-mage Oldrin Faezmorth, ruler of the city of Corisco, east of the Sun Desert.
- Several remaining Dragonborn nobles located in the old Arkhosian capital: Versu’Mia.
There is little cooperation between these different groups, and all knowledge is guarded vigilantly. Many would deny any involvement in the topic of the Dragonblood Curse.
Our view is that several methods to cure the curse should be excluded from the list of possible means by which to create the cure: Any directly arcane or divine way to remove or bypass the cure does not work. Research suggest that any significant other power source; such as an infernal one may supersede the curse and allow manipulation. Attempts at using primal powers by the Temple of Healing have so far proven ineffective as well, although it is not known whether divine powers have been sufficiently excluded from this research process. As you can imagine, other power sources with accompanied proficient and reliable users are not known at this time.
Info Dragonblood Curse:
At the end of the Three-Hundred Year War between the Dragon(born) empire Arkhosia and Tiefling Empire Molatti, all Dragonblooded were cursed. The Empress if Molatti put a threefold curse on their offspring.
The words of the curse were written down and are known to nearly all Dragonblooded.
“Hear me creatures of veins filled with Dragon’s Blood. Know that the Molatti will have their last laugh. For I have cursed thee by the most unholy of profane curses, the most powerful of demonic powers. Thou shall yet kill me, but I have ensured thine offspring will suffer. I say to thee; your eggs will wither and die, your women weep as they will breed no seeds of life and your children will not live past their second year. So I have spoken so it shall be. See you in hell wretched ones.” -The final words of the last Empress of Molatti.
After the extreme drop in fertility rate and death of many newborn, the Arkhosia Empire collapsed and all Dragonblooded have sought a cure to the curse ever since.
- Research Notes found in a House Cannith transport case. *
Research Note 22/5.4.374 p GE
Project Golden Egg done; results good. Final attempts brought success. Viable egg must receive exactly 3/4th of drop of blood from a Life Blooded Creature, daily. The exact amount may vary ( strength ‘course). Obviously, the original curse is threefold, other effects may not be negated. Yet an increase in fertility by a third… glorious result! Futher Study needed. Closing project for now, too many questions about missing eggs. If Dragonborn will find out, repercussions are obvious… and immense, there is only one source of Life Blooded. Us.
Research Note 16/2.2.374 p GE
Status; lousy. No success, 32 eggs wasted, difficulty finding new Dragonborn. Curse resilient to all forms of dispelling, anti-magic, extra-planetary isolation, even angelic cleansing. Demon summons suggest blood rituals. Took its blood for ritual, no success. Must think! solution always obvious. p GE on hold ‘till new eggs ‘ave arrived.
- Research Notes found in the chamber of Huileh Cannith, Perth Research Center *
Research Note 1/5.3.354 p FF
Project scrapped, Fly-forged not viable. Early tests show no materials of sufficient strength-weight ratio. Chassis either far too delicate or far too heavy. Had to resort to magical levitation, not cost effective by a factor of six point thirty-eight.
External Mail 7014417A/3.6.366 P-C / B-I
I must ask for you to begin on the previously outlined project Cerebro. Time is now of essence, gold is not an issue. The Empire needs it running before the end of the decade. I’ll have test subjects shipped to you for calibration as soon as you’re ready. Once again I must..kindly emphasize you not to ask me for the source of this technology, nor its purpose. I already made my opinion on this clear to Starrin, when he was still among us. I’ll dispatch Lord Conrad of the Lacrima for extra security, he’ll bring the first down payment in the sum 1.000.000 imperial gold. You mentioned the Perth Research Center as a prime location, no? I expect to hear from one of you within the week.
Belisarius the First, Light of the Hearthlands, Unifier of the High Blood, etc.
Research Note 4/1.2.368 p GE
Failure #4, egg-fetus unable to be sustained outside of egg, even after careful transplant. Womb-rituals partially effective, yet unknown failure. Considered consulting Shalliandrist, yet unwilling to risk outside exposure to project GE. Extensive dissection shows fetus affected by curse, not egg in itself. Curse affects life, not its supports mechanism. Maybe important. Maybe not.
On to experiment #5.
External Mail 7043595A/8.7.371 P-C / B-I
Our Lord-Emperor the Most Valiant, Lord Belisarius the First, Light of the Hearthlands, etc.
My Emperor, we have finally finished project ‘Cerebro’. The Room has been fitted to your exact specification. We are ready to run calibration tests, although unsure of what exactly we’d be calibrating. I’m sorry to see Lord Conrad has been…called away to attend other matters. Attempting to keep the utmost digression, I have decided to send a letter of the progress instead of a messenger who could be made to talk.
Merrix d’Cannith of Cannith South.
Transfer Note 7135374M/1.1.374
Below is a list of equipment requests by Bioco to be sent to Kure.
-four Tritons with ballistae’s
-sixteen carts, size 4 -350 large shields, forrest camo.
-150 tents -500 forrest standard kits with ropes.
-any remaining endless wands of poison resist
MdC of South
Transfer Note 7492.3M/5.3.374
Ignore previous transfer request by ZdC of East. New batch NOT, I repeat NOT to be sent to New Niasi. Keep batch on premises for pick-up by General Bioco. Request at priority B paid for by Belisarius I. Now Z if you’d stop fiddling with your pet projects until later, we can’t afford to disappoint Belisarius I.
JdC of West
Transfer Note 7512.5M/6.3.374
Reinstate of Transfer Note 7412.1; batch to be send to Sui Qing Sae Chong ASAP. Stop messing with my orders, this is actually important girl.
ZdC of East
Transfer Note 7534.9M/7.3.374
Ignore previous Transfer Note; Batch paid for and promised to the Empire. Request came in at priority B paid for by Belisarius the First himself. Now Z if you’d stop fiddling with your pet projects until later, we can’t afford to disappoint Belisarius the First. I’ll send some grade A stuff your way if you behave.
‘girl’ JdC of West
Transfer Note 7592.6M/7.3.374
Ignore previous order by JdC, Huileh. She doesn’t know shit of what I’m doing. Sometimes there are more important matters than gold JdC.. you reading this? If I’m right we got a Class One artifact north of that craphole town Etanen in the Savage Lands. Some primate fuckers over there are already blasting their way into the mountains to find it. I need a team send over there immediately to get it first. If it is what I think it is, we could finally proceed with project Essence after two centuries of research by our father. If you care anything about his heritage, get Sui to tp that batch to the Chae’s in Etanen.
Ps your last ‘grade A’ stuff were volatile Kruthik one of my apprentices has now nicknamed ‘Suiicide bunnies’, you can keep it and stuff it.
ZdC of East
Transfer Note 7812.14M/8.3.374
Batch will be transferred to Bioco’s control today at 03:43, that’s in two hours, get them outfitted H.C. ZdC you of all people should know Starrin is gone, and so are his foolish dreams. We can use the gold, and we can’t afford to piss off Belisarius the First until we know what the hell is going on and what side he’s on. Fuck, if there’s even a side to this thing. I think he’s planning something, you’ve seen the transfer requests. I say we ignore the projects for now and deal with what’s going on, playtime is over. I’ll speak to you next week personally.
JdC of West
Transfer Note 8595374M/4.4.374
Below is a list of equipment requests by Bioco to be sent to Kure.
-Minimum of fifty rifles every month.
-Another five hundred wood-chopping axes if you’ve got the capacity.
MdC of South
Intercepted Communications 84902784UK/9.5.374 P-C / B-I
First, I have found a number of new gifted, the full list is included in the addendum. I am afraid we have once again.. worn out.. the seeker. I humbly request another dozen as they seem to last no more than a few weeks.
Addendum I: Arlene Gabriela Nichols, Bernadette Minnie Edwards, Briana Velasquez, Carly Kayla Fleming, Coleen Kathie Valenzuela, Dolores Cantrell, Doreen Letitia Rollins, Effie Hodges, Erma Saundra Farrell, Fay Naomi Dejesus, Ginger Moody, Uther Sarym Neal, Helene Pickett, Hilda Keri Mathis, Lakeisha Graciela Phelps, Laura Angelia Gibson, Lauri Earlene Whitney, Marietta Beard.
Huileh Cannith Journal 33.4A/9.8.374 G-E
Transferred everything GE related off-plane, no risks now. Categorized it under ‘waste disposal via unstable planar wormhole’. They never checked if I’d stabilized the portal beforehand. I assume J&M&Z will approve once I bring success. Imagine what we could make ‘em do for us if we succeed. The most powerful creatures on this continent at our command… we could rename our house the Dragon House.
Urgent Message 1/12.10.374
I’m calling everyone of the family for an emergency meeting. MdC of South has been compromised.. do NOT relay this message to him. I’m losing spies as fast as I’m losing income. Last night a Ghasthate Mind Flayer almost got me, if it wasn’t for Graxx, I’d be under its control by now. Repeat, meet us at the following Teleportation Coordinates at 24.11.374 at 12:00
JdC of West
Informatie uit Huileh d’Canniths off-world private research station
Scribbled on a piece of ancient parchment
“Hear me creatures of veins filled with Dragon’s Blood. Know that the Molatti will have their last laugh. For I have cursed thee by the most unholy of profane curses, the most powerful of demonic powers. Thou shall yet kill me, but I have ensured thine offspring will suffer. I say to thee; your eggs will wither and die, your women weep as they will breed no seeds of life and your children will not live past their second year. So I have spoken so it shall be (bleed). See you in hell wretched ones.” -The final words of the last Empress of Molatti.
Personal log entry 13/11.2.374. Topic allocation Curse.
Wording of dragonblood curse eludes me. Can hardly be right, yet four separate sources confirm. Type 4 curse of highest magnitude due to power source. Still no escape, as already known. Words falsified? Mass memory alteration? Will look into it further. H.C
Personal log entry 3/12.1.374. Topic allocation Curse.
What unholy luck. Of all what Sorelia could summon he summoned a Red Abishai. Guess I could not blame him for it, since it was my need that brought it here. Bargained with it, until it laughed and explained the hidden joke about the Molatti curse. The thing was so powerful it escaped and I had to kill it but not without suffering heavy costs. Will take months to repair damage to warforged and replace contingencies. Learned the truth.. at least I think I do. H.C
Personal log entry 26/12.1.374. Topic allocation Curse.
Went to Shores of Sorrow to confirm the devil words. Should have offered Savaria’s life in retrospect, but miscalculated the price. How subtly cruel that beautiful woman was, yet can’t even remember her face anymore. Took half my life’s experience, weaking me so terribly much. Oh how much have I forgotten? Do know part of the solution now, but was it worth it? Have committed the remainder of my memories to the station’s brain to prevent such loss in the future H.C
Personal log entry 27/12.1.374. Topic allocation Curse, addition.
Learned in Hell that the type 4 curse of the Molatti combined with it’s fueling power has an escape indeed. Am impressed at its cleverness, could never have thought of it without aid. And impossible to fulfill, no wonder not even divine means could aid in curing the curse; it goes totally beyond it.
Am also still baffled on the planar curse linkage level of tier at least 12. Calculation put the bonds in that range, though I did not even know it was possible. And bipolar with equal amounts of low and high planar anchors. Unbelievable, have never seen something like it. Yet through the Sorrows I have seen her in Hell, which effectively cheated the curse. Could only be done there, no where else. Programmed the planar portal coordinates to the Silver Stone. Now most precious item in my collection. H.C
Personal log entry 2/5.4.373. Topic allocation Curse.
Will continue looking further into the Dragonblood curse on personal costs. No research has ever been done on curses of this magnitude. Can acquire such useful data in the process. Possibility research yields option of retailoring the curse to gain control of prime dragons. Answer lies inside the magics of the blood. Unfortunately redistributed personal funds too late to avoid all notice. Must however continue operational projects and agents even with current orders to halt all non essential projects. Have to be careful though. As temporary solution I filed it under false projects Heartstone and G.E. to prevent allocation tracking with latest orders. H.C
Research Note 11/5.10.373.——-
Last and final report for a while. I am now sure the cure to the Dragonborn curse lies in the blood and not in the matter. Previous experiments in Project Goldeneggs and Primordial Morphing have yielded enough results to prove this conclusion valid. H.C.
Personal Log Entry addition to 11/5.1.374.——-
Revision of the Life Blood effects data as seen in Project Goldeneggs provide too fleeting results to be viable, is my final conclusion. Will not put this in next research note because it can still be viable. Scapping all projects until further notice. If only there was a way to prolong the effects or increase the transfusion into cellular membranes and esotherical essences.”
Personal Log Entry to external mail 8901235Q/7.7.374
The last rapport is that my agents at Molatti-Nua have seen the tieflings have somehow discovered what keeps eluding me. They seemingly had much greater access to dragonblood and life blood sources than I anticipated. How it taunts me that they have found the answer to why the dragonblood curse permeates so deeply. I wonder if is part of their infernal heritage. How invaluable that research could prove to distilling the needed penetration for the blood to actually be curative. I shall contact our agents to procure the data at all costs…”
Personal Log Entry 1/14.7.374
Such tragedy! The data of the tieflings at Molatti-Nua is lost! Stolen before we could secure it. Only one agent has returned with this news. Although it is unclear exactly what happened, it seems another fraction of tieflings was also after this data. I have ordered tracking of the tieflings but the trail end at that damned retarded city on the Tokien site. I’m losing spies faster than I can recruit them in that horrid place! On a side note, I should look in into the matter of the reported titan there later, seems to be quite peculiar.
Personal Log Entry 21/14.1.375
How could it have eluded me. Would have never overlooked this if I was in my former glory. The missing link is the place. Spend all this time curing in the wrong place, ofcourse the wrappings in the prime boundaries are the strongest should have thought of that. Should dissemble the curse like any macheriny, starting at the origins. Prime versus planar! Already knew that curse bindings are fueled from the Astral Sea and the Elemental chaos. Once the cure is perfected it should be performed at the planar coordinates in the astral. Would need strong concentration of life blood and the right procedure. If only I had that tiefling data, than I could truly perform this.
Personal Log Entry 2/18.9.375
Finally found clues about the tieflings. It seems not all officials in Tokien are immune to the right bribes. Two possible candidates exist. Ygres Soulwax serving maid in the the High Tower, and Felicia Brimlash, librarian in the University there have arrived within the estimated timeframe and have shown nightly excursions that seem peculiar. Ordered our agents to proceed with all caution to retrieve the stolen data! Moving the new warforged models to the city suited for stealth and striking.
A scrabbled side note.
Investigation of an old report has yielded some interesting side notes that might become important. The Arch-Mage Oldrin Feazmorth, ruler of the city of Corisco, in the east of the Sun Desert has discovered nothing new about the curse. However the fool is so blinded by his so called wisdom he does not see what he truely has found. The true treasure are not the trinkets he found, but the place itself. A true Arkhosian ruin! Chances are estimated at high probability that data from inside that place give more insight of Dragonborn physiology and founding beyond that we know so far. Knowing the Dragonborn from ancient days and how they came to be is paramount of finding the cure!
Although highly confidential in the Empire itself, the university of New Thoradon has managed to acquire some small scientific treasure worth of knowledge on the subject of Bloodlines. Material varies wildly and is ripe with false or superstitious information, much of which can be traced back to Imperial propaganda campaigns and misinformation. As such all information presented here has been verified by multiple sources depending on their reliability. It is this research group’s opinion that credible knowledge on many matters concerning the Bloodlines is lacking even amongst the Blooded themselves. For basis of this document we use a variety of terminology that is well established among scholars. Divine Blooded are individuals with Bloodlines. A ‘higher’ bloodline is synonymous for a stronger/greater bloodline. Thus those of ‘High Blood’ will usually have more plentiful and powerful blood abilities, than those of ‘Low Blood’.
The history of the bloodlines primarily relies on information brought here from the Old World by the colonists of the Hearthlands, whom introduced the bloodlines to Angmar. The well known creation myth brings us to the basis of the bloodlines:
[i]“A world void of life, barren waste.
The Ancients came with limitless Power, infinite Wisdom.
To each their own: Earth, Fire, Water and Air.
One remained; without place, without cause.
A passing of time immeasurable; filled with sorrow for one.
Until it forever changed; by her hand.
For she combined her brothers domains; but saw life’s missing piece.
The Great Spirit was born; the elemental Life.
And it was barren no more.”[/i]
Although details vary, we can surmise that after their creation of the many species that inhabit the world, at some point the Ancients infused mortals with the tiniest fraction of their own power.
We theorize that the percentage of different bloodline types vary because some Ancients were more willing to infuse their powers unto their creations, than others were. Limits to what a mortal body could withstand might also play a role. The Ancients eventually disappeared from the world. In their wake they left the Blooded.
Each type and its most common features and characteristics are detailed in addendum 1 through 5, please see [URL=http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-free-lands/wikis/divine-blood]the relevant pages.[/URL] Great attempts have been made to filter unreliable and unconfirmed information.of Bloodlines[/i]
Although information is limited and experiments virtually unheard of, several key points are understood to be ‘facts’ among Bloodline Scholars:
-Each blooded individual may pass along their bloodline power via two methods: conceiving a child and/or becoming the subject of a ‘bloodtheft’.
-A child will usually have a blood strength of the average of its two parents, although this may vary. Low-blooded parents will sometimes not pass along a bloodline of sufficient strength to manifest.
-The only reliable way for a bloodtheft to occur is by violent combat involving the drawing of blood. Once killed, a blooded individual releases its divinity in an area around it. All nearby creatures gain a portion of its power, becoming blooded if they were not already. Those with the lowest (or no) bloodline will usually absorb more power than their stronger counterparts. In effect the power will flow from high to low before anything else.
-There are several instances throughout written stories that detail a change in bloodline derivation when an exceptionally powerfully high-blooded creature was slain and transferred its divinity to a low-blooded.
-The exact radius of a bloodline release is estimated to range from several feet to over a hundred. A release is often followed by a particularly explosive release of energy of all elemental types.
Although there are many nobles and creatures of High Blood several deserve mention above all others.
- Lord Belisarius the First; Emperor of the The Hearthlands Empire. Widely accepted as the most High Life-Blooded (or possibly of any blood derivation) in Angmar. Openly proclaims kinship with all blooded on Angmar, vowing to welcome them into the Empire as nobles should they wish to join.
- Starrin Cannith; the now deceased founder of the Cannith Cooperation and a high-blooded of Earth, whom passed his power unto his three children. Well known for creating many magical inventions, processes and other technological advancements.
-Sui Qing Sae Chong; the imperial regentess of new Niasi whom knows no superior save the Emperor. Although never once seen with unveiled bloodline; she is suspected to be very powerful indeed. Sui Qing personally gained the Emperor favor by slaying several of his High-Blood enemies during the war that founded the empire.
- Cathrine Katte; A Life Blooded noble’s daughter of one the Empire’s most renowned high-blooded noble houses. She is thought to have gained all of her mother’s bloodline power when she died giving birth. Her wealth and families power is generated in large part by their majority hold in the Adkins Industries Cooperation.
- Vyking Bioco; among the strongest known Fire Blooded in Angmar. His family holds a prominent position in the Imperial army. A highly xenophobic man with frequent conflicts with the half-elves of the Towering Woods.
- Anahita Sadri Padideh Yasaman Zaleekhah; A water blooded and unofficial ruler of Ashkabad. Details on the strength of her bloodline vary greatly. There is little in her corrupted city that escapes her knowledge and few who dare threaten her survive. Supposedly even the Emperor has given up its attempts to get her to join the Empire.
3 – El Rashied Items[/b]
- CLASSIFIED – COUNCIL MEMBERS ONLY *
The Legacy Artifacts of El Rashied [/b]
With the expansion of our Research Division, the New Thoradin University has been able to unlock new fields of knowledge. Although very rare, the information gathered here was found amongst records held by the people of Merel, as well as divined from over a dozen angelic and other immortal creatures. The items themselves were unfortunately only available for limited explorative rituals.
During his ritual to achieve divinity, El Rashied channeled a vast force of necromantic powers. Each death brought forth from his zombyfying plague brought additional energies to a beacon; a dagger called the Xel’Naga Artifact. From there he slowly shaped them enough to absorb into his very soul. Although risky, El Rashied was by no means foolish. By all reports the ritual began to work, adding power and slowly transcending into Divinity. As he did so, his physical form began to dissipate from the sheer stress, as it was not made to contain such power. Although well-garbed, all other items El Rashied wore were non-magical in nature, to prevent their enchantments from ruining the careful balance of energies in his ritual.
Unfortunately for El Rashied, then came the more famous part of the story. Enraged by the death of an entire city, a group of brave adventures who had escaped the Death Plague contamination attacked the Necromancer. Normally he would’ve most likely slaughtered them were they stood, but amidst such an extremely delicate ritual all he could do was reason with them. Alas they did not believe his words and a battle followed in which El Rashied was killed. By this time it was believed his soul was mere minutes away from achieving full divinity. During the resulting fall out, parts of El Rashied’s soul were presumably cast into different planes, as other pieces exploded into ours. The clothing that survived the near-divine burst absorbed both a part of El Rashied’s soul and a percentage of the massive amounts of necromantic energies.
Each item holds great power. The combination of necrotic energies and a part of a near divine soul manages to bind magical energies quite strongly. Where items could normally never hold such vast magical effects without (explosive) destabilization, El Rashied’s soul apparently stabilizes the containment by its need to remain alive and prevents escape. Without the energies to sustain it the soul would most likely dissipate into the Great Spirit. As happens when any other mortal loses on our world its ‘soul-sustaining’ body. Each item is believed to be sub-sentient, incapable of coherent thought or focused will but still something that is intuitively ‘alive’. Additional El Rashied items worn together might increase the sentience to conscious levels.
When its wielder ‘feeds’ its item magical power (raw residuum or even applied arcane power like in magic items), it is capable of absorbing powers unto it. The magic is converted and brought into the soul-necrotic energy bubble so to speak. This seems to increase only the powers within the items without affecting the soul part of the bubble. One should thus never worry that feeding his or her item more will suddenly revive El Rashied’s soul shard within the item.
Testing showed that bringing in different magical energies into the item brought forth different effects. Overfeeding of one particular type may prove to reduce the percentage of necrotic energies below the fiftieth percentile. It is unsure what would be the result. Could the soul of El Rashied transformed by necrotic energies survive within a bubble of non-necrotic energies? Would it change as well or lose containment? We may never see these questions answered, as the experiment would be quite dangerous and unpredictable indeed.
Our latest addition, Novice Shareen proposed we combine the standard Speak with Dead, Legend Lore and Commune rituals to bring us into contact with a soul shard of El Rashied within an item. Preliminary testing unto test-items was successful. With the limited sub-conscious of each part, we do not know how much information can be garnered, and at what risk.
Various grade fifteen layers of safety procedures have been included into the ritual to prevent direct mental manipulation effects, or releases of any kind of harmful energies.
4 – Warcraft[/b]
Traditional battles and wars in Angmar vary by area. Most post Great War, warfare in civilized parts of the lands have been restricted to small scale skirmishes between houses and sometimes city states. In nearly all cases combatants consisted of a small number of House Guards and large number of mercenary companies. More often than not, armies were brought to bear merely as means to press for negotiations or surrender. Wars and large scale battles are (rightly) seen as costly and wasteful affairs. As such other means of conflict resolution are more frequently used, economic and terrorist attacks are the most popular kinds of attack.
City militia, if present, are often very small in size and consist of untrained volunteers without equipment. Mercenary groups however are abundant and widely used for both domestic and foreign tasks. Their reputation for combat prowess and loyalty determine their prices. Most are of small size, constantly traveling the lands in search of patrons. Some are kept in service by means of long term contracts. In effect, many houses out-source their military capabilities.
With the arrival of the colonists and the Hearthlands empire alliances and larger armies have become a more common occurence. Many fear that without some sort of emergency back-up alliance, they might be fall divided. Although actual gatherings of multiple city state or house forces is still rare. Again, economic and terrorist means of settling conflict are still far more popular.
Amongst the abundant use of mercenary forces, there has been an increasing tendancy to form larger and more potent groups.
High Elven warfare traditionally hardly makes any use of mercenary, instead opting for small teams of highly trained and specialised forces. These often hold high-level magical capabilities. Sword-mages, archmages, priestly orders, druidic circles, summoners and such are prime examples of these forces.
In the relatively underdeveloped parts of the Savage Lands and the rough areas of the Sun Desert the nomadic and tribal lifestyles usually lend themselves to frequent raids among neighbours and small villages or cities. Experienced but badly equipped warriors among these tribes are constantly seeking out targets with minimal defense and high pillage values.
Again these vary by area. Imperial and southern open lands lend themselves to use of heavily armored cavalry and subsequent countering pike- and spearman forces. Although new technological advancements such as rifles are expected to have (an unknown) impact on future conflicts.
The relatively small numbers of the Elven and woodland races lend themself to ‘safe’ long range combat and guerilla warfare. Thus archery and magical capabilities are highly developed, in part due to the longevity of these races.
Dwarven and other underground races rarely engage in open, large scale warfare on the surface. Their forces usually consist of very heavily armored, slow, but capable infantry forces. Uses of heavy duty crossbow and ballistae has historically also been one of the strong points of Dwarven troops but is seen far less in the past decades.
Monstrous races often engage enemies in chaotic, unplanned and uncoordinated assaults, using large numbers or their physical qualities to overwhelm enemy forces. Their equipment varies. Single ‘army-level’ creatures such as Dragons rarely enter large scale battles unless provoked. In most of these cases they have obliterated even overwhelming numbers of troops attacking them (the most infamous being the Slaughter at the Pit of Teseus). This in turn has prompted a general consensus of military forces to stay out of their way.
Over the ages creatures and person capable of incredible feats of power have walked the world. Dragons, planeswalkers, demons, exceptionally powerful high nobles, legendary fighters and divine servants to name a few. Each of them represent an incredible force on any battlefield in which they partake. The term one man army comes to mind. Although large numbers can sometimes overwhelm them, costs are often very high, making entire operations against such individuals infeasible.
Some argue then, that fielding armies, or even trained squads are useless in the face of such power. This is true, attacking a Dragon’s lair or Archmage’s tower is rarely worth the loss of material and manpower. However powerful individuals can only be in one location at a time, focusing on one task. As such it is nearly impossible for one or a handful to occupy cities or larger territories. They need underlings to retain control of areas, people and resources. No matter the method of control (oppression, reward-based, magical, or otherwise), to conquer any kind of large territory one needs large numbers. As such many of these high powered individuals forego attempts at ‘ruling’ anything but their own personal lair or stronghold. Nearby rulers are often disinclined to arouse the sleeping dragon (literally in some cases) and content to rule the lands minus some creatures cave, tower, or whatever.
When mass battles do occur with powerful creatures partaking in them the methods of war slighly change. As logic would surmise, it becomes of paramount importance to prevent them from slaughtering your army en masse at their leisure. If left unchecked, you will have no ‘infantry’ to occupy, pillage or otherwise conquer the territory you wish to assault. Thus a general must ensure to keep them engaged by having equally high powered individuals to counter theirs, strategically plan to occupy these prime enemies at some other location or in some cases.. have a lot of lives to ‘throw’ at them (a finite tactic in most cases).
In the first option the battles become places which operate on two distinct levels:
one at which the most basic forces engage, and the other in which the high-powered individuals do battle. Sometimes these battles can even be fought in seperate places. If the high level battle is lost, the lower level will undoubtedly be lost as well as the winning creatures will simply wipe out the less powerful but large in number enemy forces (although of course, exceptions do exist, as illustrated by the battle of Perniopel). If the low level engagement is won before the high level is finished, this will oft not have a significant impact on the high level fight, but as one’s ‘control’ force is destroyed the entire reason for the battle has become moot for the side that has lost. Even if they win the high powered fight afterwards they can no longer hope to occupy, or defend their entire territory with just a small number (even if they are very powerful). Hunting down every one of the large number of enemy (minor) forces is time consuming and by the time it is finished the damage to one’s territory has often already been done. Try taking out a dozen deers all flying away at the same time with but one crossbow. Now imagine a hundred, or a thousand, or tens of thousands.
To truly win the battle one must therefor win the high level fight before the mass lower level fight is lost. Time spend fighting becomes another factor in both levels of battle (making delaying a victory option for the side with superior ‘low level’ forces). An important historical example is the Urthaak’hal dragon and kobold invasion of Kigali, in which the Dragon’s immense resiliance stretched the ‘high-level’ fight for such extended periods that his kobold forces had already breached the city walls by the time the High Priest Adran and Sir Randrin had finished the dragon off. Despite ‘winning’ the battle, so many inhabitants had been killed that the High Priest resigned from office and committed suiicide two years later.
Ofcourse variant tactics have been seen throughout the years, such as focusing on keeping oppoising high powered individuals busy with eleborate deceptions, highly trained troops, diplomatic and sabotage efforts.
5 – The Hearthlands Empire[/b]
-[URL=http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-free-lands/wikis/house-cannith]House Cannith Corp.[/URL]
-[URL=http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-free-lands/wikis/blood-hunters]The Blood Hunters[/URL]
Nearly four centuries ago, the colonists came to th western shores of Angmar with their huge, ocean-faring ships. They were greeted by green, fertile plains with plenty of wild life. Having lost most of their expedition, and extremely low on supplies, they decided to immediately make camp in these new lands. Months passed and the camp turned into a village. The local Dragonborn tribes made contact and a trade was made; a lending of the lands in exchange for the strange new items, and knowledge these colonists brought. (It is therefore that one my find Old World items across Angmar these days). The village grew into Perth, so named for the man that first proposed the expedition from the Old World. A portion of the colonists repaired their ships resupplied before heading out again. The Niasians went south, followed the southern edge of the Continent before finally settling in the mountain ring and founding New Niasi. They continued trading with the colonists of Perth. A large subgroup of the colonists, mainly Elves and Dwarves used to cold weather went to find a more suitable home and traveled north, landing several times along the way before finally founding Thiavalna some forty years later. Even now they hardly maintain contact with the other colonists. An expedition under the leadership of William Tokinn took off through the mountains and eventually founded (the old) Tokinn.
Over time the colonists expanded their cities, created more villages, incorporated several local tribes, people, mercenary groups and so forth. Kure and Adela were founded. The Dragonborn tribes considered this a break of the original agreement. Increasingly concerned that the newcomers would take their lands and ‘ruin’ its beauty by defiling it with their strange structure, tension grew. As it did, the colonists increasingly grew frustrated at the payments of items they had to make to ‘lend’ their use of the lands from the Dragonborn tribes. It was felt they had turned the rugged plains into the start of a civilization and the locals no longer held any claim to it. The tension grew into open, violent conflict and the small tribes, numbers dwindling by the Dragonborn Curse, gave up claim on their lands to avoid further loss of lives. Most historians believe they could’ve won the conflict at this point if they were not intent to avoid any and all loss of lives.
More years passed, Canton was founded and the colonists and their offspring build their homes and tamed the lands. Most other, nearby cities, hardly took these new people seriously. The Wood Elves regarded them as primitives and their struggle with the Dragonborn a fight of lesser races. After the founding of Canton this changes, as wood logging across the river became commonplace instead of incident. Once again tension increased and conflict erupted. Loggers were killed, raiding parties send into the woods and so forth. The conflict became more or less a small war of the colonists against just two of the Wood Elven cities Aidivin and Custyleth. After a little over four years the Elves finally had enough and fielded an army to raze Canton. The colonists, having to defend all their cities at the same time with little manpower and few defensive structures, turned to the readily available mercenary groups on Angmar. Relying on them to protect their assets from raids. In what is known as the Betrayal at Canton, they learned the valuable lesson most others on the continent had learned long ago; not all such groups were trustworthy. The Elves came and a number of mercenaries opened one of the city gates at night to let them in. Within hours the defenses were overwhelmed from the inside out and large parts of the cities were on fire. The city surrendered and the Elves occupied it for two weeks. Unsure of what do to with the ‘primitives’ and unwilling to slaughter families with children and such, the Wood Elves decided to force everyone out. They send them out on their carts towards Kure and burned the city of Canton to the ground. The colonist coalition began negotiations and although officially never surrendering, made compensatory payments and stopped all wood logging operations. The people of Canton were allowed to resettle and rebuild their city. More years passed and the cities recovered, expanded. There was a post-war movement which idealized the Wood Elven cultured and trade was eventually begun by some Houses. Scotia and Cato were founded and there was a period of great commercial and economic growth. Guilds and such were established, these were the early years of House Cannith, Adkins Industries and other such organizations.
Behind the scenes, powerful houses such as Belisarius and Bioco rebuild their forces and worked against the Elves, plotting revenge. Building upon the economic growth the ‘modern’ day nobility became the top layer of the colonist society.
The second tree was started by a highly suspicious attack of Wood Elves on a mansion of a House friendly to the Elves. Although denying any involvement, general opinion was swayed towards retaliation and another war erupted. More prepared this time, the colonist coalition inflicted great damage on the Elves, but took heavy losses. The war was costly and ended abruptly one year later. The most common reason given for this sudden cessation was the influence of the mercenaries, whose income had fallen greatly due to the war.
The previous treaty was abolished and a new one made that allowed very limited wood logging.
Tokinn was overrun by orcs and cultists and its loss was felt by all. The economic and other kinds of developments stagnated as noble houses and merchants began feuds to steal power and influence. The living condition of the peasants and other working classes dropped significantly. Unrest increased and many moved away from the Hearthlands River towards the ‘last free’, more socialist city of Nelam.
After rising to dominance above most Houses, Lord Sir Thokas Shaice Belisarius of House Belisarius further stirred the civil unrest and took control of Perth. Cooperating with allied noble houses he systematically usurped mercantile business, reducing other city’s economic powers. In what is unofficially known as The War of Brothers, Belisarius conquered some Hearthlands cities by force, and usurped the powers in others, establishing the Empire three centuries after the landing of the first colonist at point Perth. By 340 AC, New Niasi was the last city to join after high level, personal negotiations between its leader and Emperor Belisarius the First.Culture[/i]
The current society of the Empire is a proud culture ruled by an interwoven web of Houses with political, economic, religious and military power. As most Houses and organizations have invested in multiple of these powers, none reigns supreme. The feudal system has been partly abandoned, although serfs and even some light forms of slavery still exist.
The Imperial people see themselves as enlightened and superior to undeveloped civilizations, and there are strict rules as to what is and is not proper. Although somewhat rigid, reaching a higher class in society is possible, mainly by mercantile success, military promotion (based on skills), or in some cases, marriage.
True Noblility cannot be attained without becoming Blooded, thus for an un-blooded only one’s children can become blooded by marriage with a Low or High Blood. Some exceptions occur, as Belisarius can, as Emperor, declare someone Low Blood. In most cases this is done to invest foreign Blooded creatures into Imperial society. Bloodtheft is a highly taboo subject and virtually unheard of. When out in public among non-blooded, it is customary for Nobles to veil their bloodline, as to not embarrass non-blooded for their lack of Divinity. With their usual retinue of guards and house colors however, they are not often mistaken for non-blooded.
Customs are strict and deviation is frowned upon. Holy Days of every large religion are observed. Nameday is celebrated, the Landing Date, even some ‘Heathen Elven’ celebrations (Tree Dance), and others etc.
The justicial system is well developed and decently fair. In most major villages and cities there are police forces that uphold the law, investigate criminal activity in fair,open process. There are courts with judges, and juries in case of capital crimes. Historically followers of Barma The Truthful Divine and Regin, the Noble have contributed a very large part in establishing this system and maintaining it by preventing corruption. [URL=http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/the-free-lands/wikis/barmas-law]Barma’s Law[/URL] is allowed and sometimes enacted if the accused so wishes.
The justice system works differently for Blooded Nobles, whom cannot be tried by normal means, but instead rely on an adjusted, archaic means of solving accusations of criminality. If no agreement can be made for compensatory payments or deeds, the Nobles resort to a challenge and dueling system of old, that has been replaced by fencing done by ‘lawyers’ hired by accused. As such, for minor crimes, the two parties might hire lawyers that fence until first blood is drawn (customarily non-lethal). The winning side, wins the case. In capital crime cases, it often customary to fight until the opposing lawyer loses consciousness. As such lethal stabs are not unheard of. This of course, makes finding a talented fencing lawyer very important, and being one very well payed.
All Gods are worshiped throughout the Empire, most openly in some form or another. Very few people consider any God to be purely evil, as each represent aspects that are simply a part of life and do not automatically cause wrongdoing. Some cults and organizations following harmful beliefs are outlawed though, such as the Church of the Predator, following Inzuban, or assassins following The Mad, or thieving clerics following Virna.
As all Gods are well represented, and nearly all Imperials pay homage to all the Gods at some point in their lives, temples are abundant. The largest of these follow Regin the Protector, Barma the Divine Arbiter, Shalliandra the Mother, Gadi The Mechant and Atylia the Planner. Paladin Orders are often devoted to Regin and quite influential.
The Imperial military is quite potent, well equipped and trained. The recent attack on Oarae, regarded as ground breaking in terms of military strategy, has established them as one of the foremost powers on Angmar. Attacks on the Eladrin, magical powerhouses, were previously unheard of in Agnmar’s history.
The entire Imperial society as a whole has great respect for troops and it is customary for secondborn of every family, serf through noble, to join its ranks. Although most rich families buy their sons and daughters (under)officer training and associated ranks. Paladins of religious orders are automatically given (under-)officer ranks in the military and afforded status in society.
During the Brother War, the Imperial Military became highly developed in terms of cavalry forces. In recent years however, emphasis has been on new equipment (rifles), magical talents (The Imperial Sorcererous Aptitude Program) and advanced military strategies.
Magical education is organized by mage academies and in many cases, tutor-student traineeships. All forms of known magic are practiced, Mages, Sorcerers, Warlocks and even esoteric means of performing the magical arts such as Rune Magic are accepted. Psionics are surprisingly left unmentioned and largely unknown throughout the society. Most Imperials believe them to be just another lesser form of magics.
Art, music and other creative matters of all kinds are given quite some respect. Nationalistic outings in such creations are highly valued. For example, bards singing songs of victories of Imperial Troops, or paintings depicting battles with Emperor Belisarius I leading the Imperial forces.
Most notable allies of the Empire include Clan Stonebreaker and the eastern cities. Ashkabad and other Star Desert cities also have frequent dealings with the Empire, but these remain primarily mercantile and with houses (as opposed to the entire Empire). Etanen are regarded as distant cousins whom are more or less allied. With no formal government in any Molatti city, relations with them are varied and largely unknown. Other Dwarven Clans remain neutral and distant, as they do towards most surface dwellers. Some Eladrin cities have very recently declared war on the Empire, and most Wood Elven cities near the Empire are expected to join this war. Actual invasions are unexpected, this will most likely be a war in which resource and production capabilities are targeted to prevent further aggression from the Empire.