Monday, August 20, 2012

The Exodus of the Zarathel: A Historical Plot Point in Chirak

A while back I toyed around with the idea of a "historical" campaign in my Realms of Chirak campaign. it would have worked best with some of my established players who could piece together both when and where events were taking place, but as things worked out I never got around to developing it beyond this outline, which may contain some useful scraps and ideas for future campaigns.

The Exodus of the Zarathel

A Realms of Chirak Campaign Set Approximately 100 years after the Apocalypse


   The campaign begins in the small enclave called Zarathel. Here a few hundred souls have found protection against the dire elemental storms that periodically scour the earth outside, and struggle to survive in a harsh land. The Winterblight is not entirely safe; it is located in the outer hub of a deep network of ancient caverns, in which darker and more dangerous beings lurk. It is a harsh place, but the occupants do their best to survive.

   Much of the immediate history of a century past is gone. Almost all written records were destroyed when the great flood inundated the entire civilization of old. The people of old called themselves the Mythrics. The survivors of this drowned culture have taken on the Mythric word for survivors, “Zarathel,” and named their enclave after it. That was two and a half generations ago.

   Recently, incursions from the deep have been causing problems, as strange entities from the subterranean lands have been encroaching on Zarathel, seeking food in the form of its hardy survivors. This has prompted a need to find a new place for the Zarathelites to settle. They are looking among their sturdiest survivors to take on this quest.


   The settlement and people of Zarathel is located about thirty miles from the coast of the Great Sea caused by the flooding of the Mythric Empire. Zarathel is located in the entry to a cavernous network that stretches deep in to the Old Mountains, as they are called, in the region one day to be the location of the Grelmanic city of Breseggan.

   In this era, the geography of the land is still wild and untamed, suffering from the rippling effects of the near-death of existence brought about by Ga’thon’s power. There are other bastions of civilization, but they are few and far between. Coin from the old empires is sometimes still exchanged, but less frequently than goods.

   The after-effect of so much divine and arcane energy being released in the final days of the war has left a strange magical radiation to seep across the world, and large regions are rendered deadly as a result of this strange seepage. Creatures not poisoned or killed by the magical radiation are sometimes transformed in to hideous beasts.

   There are several regions of note:

Wilds of Grelmaine: The future land takes its name from an old Mythric province, named after a legendary prince of old. In the century after the Apocalypse there are no civilizations here. It is a wild, untamed land and almost all of the people who survived have been reduced to primitive savagery. Orcish warlords roam freely, as well, seeking out survivors of the Mythric and Inadasir empires to enslave.

The Ruins of Inadasir (Xaxican): The people of this land have not yet arrived, for the great outpouring of Occultic-descended people is still happening far to the east. The Xaxican temples and ruins often attributed to these people dot the land, however, but are in fact the lost Inadasir ruins that stretch out in a vast swathe. Remote towns and a couple cities still function. Atos, deep in the war-ravaged ruins of Inadasir, still has a modest population of survivors.

Bral: More significant is Bral, which has become a city of madmen, ruled by the power-hungry eladrin Zarybdas. The orc warlord Garmsrath covets Bral, and plots how he will overcome its ancient defenses and claim its treasures for himself.

The Kingdom of Khorus: Here lies the foundations of the ancient Masirians, around the lush Sea of Khorus that is not a dead sea at all in this era. The Masirians of this time are actually a royal family: self-proclaimed sorcerer-king Dal Masir and his wife, who appear to be pre-Apocalyptic sorcerers that survived the destruction and also seem to hold the secret to immortality. The scheming king has united a great many people under his rule, and Khorus thrives compared to many other regions of the land. Khorus has an absolute sense of power and will seek to crush or absorb any other kingdoms that arise around him. He has had more success in the east, quelling and enslaving the crude barbarians who call themselves the “Legans,” on account of their strange relations with spirits.

   Khorus’s largest problem these days is the enigmatic prophet named Chirak, who sows peaceful dissent against the sorcerer-king, calling for a reform of the government. Chirak is believed to have moved eastward, where his message of freedom and peace has been reinterpreted by the legani as a sign they should rise against Khorus. Chirak’s exact whereabouts are unknown.

 The Black Dome: This dome functions now as it will in the future, but it is much, much more aggressive in this era. The dome was a manufacturing facility for the unfathomably powerful armies, and though many factories like it were destroyed, the Black Dome fights on. In this era, Nethragram, the Facility Attendant, is still fanatically loyal to the Betrayer Gods and is sending out minions to gather parts abroad for recycling and the creation of new agents. It has not evolved a god complex, yet.

Eristantopolis: This solitary city survived, thanks in no small part to the sacrifices of many defenders and mages who gave their lives to protect it. The once fertile lands of the region are gone, obliterated through  magical radiation, leaving only the blighted sands of the White Desert. The denedaki elves are presently a group of elven and eladrin kin who survived the mind-warping death of the feywild by virtue of the magical protections placed on Eristantopolis. They have no common unity, instead belonging to the various elvish factions across the world, and are only now beginning to take on their own identity. Denedaki means “calm ones” in the elvish tongue.

   Eristantopolis is currently ruled by a loose council descended from the survivors of the war, amongst whom one man named Garus Dethorin has been elected regent and general-protector. Eristantopolis was the home of the enigmatic scholar named Chirak for two decades, and thanks to his knowledge and general skills the city was restored to working condition and made habitable, even against the encroaching desert.
Other Major Threats:

Thousandspawn: still young, the thousandspawn are everywhere, though most are terrifyingly large, mindless monsters ravaging the land. A few have begun to experiment with shape shifting powers.

Dragons: The dragons were devastated in the war, but many homeless dragonkin now roam about, seeking to establish new personal empire for themselves while also seeking revenge on their other kin who fought for the opposite side.

Orcs: The orcs are everywhere, for they were made most numerous with Shaligon’s fall as her blood was spilled on the land. Shaligon’s aspect is male ascending, and so the warlords are dominant, seeking blood and conquest.

Generals of the Last War: 99% of all combatants died in the final conflict, but those who survived are inevitably powerful, ancient beings who now roam the land, seeking remnants of divine power for succor, guarding planar rifts as they find them, to try and find a way back to the planar realms. The Spirit Plane is very close to the mortal world in this time, and it is easily accessible. Many of these powerful beings an demons have manipulated the Spirit Plane when they find rifts to create demiplanes for themselves.

Undead and Insane Fey: The Weeping Wall is still fresh in the West, and indeed the ancient empires in the West are still fighting. The rest of the world is forced to deal with the madness caused by the destruction of the feywild, which left many of its surviving denizens insane. Moreover, most of the fey that perished after the feywild was destroyed have returned as undying. In this era, the reasons for the undying as well as the means to insure a fey does not rise again are as yet unclear among all save the few elves that are sane.

   Most elves who retained their sanity were very young children during the final war or were born shortly thereafter. All elders and other adults who were unprotected at the time the feywild was devoured by Ga’thon were driven mad by the destruction of their native realm and the Primal Mother. This led to an entire generation of young elves being forced to raise themselves and survive in the presence of their insane kin. This has had a decidedly negative impact on the elven culture as a whole.

   Eladrin are few and far between in this era, save for a handful who returned to the world after the feywild was destroyed. Some have remained, to try and help their fallen and damaged kin. Others have simply washed their hands of it and returned to the planes, unable to bear the supreme sense of emptiness that they now feel when stepping in to the world.

Soldiers of War: the world is littered with relic machines and soldiers. A century ago, the final day of the war was one of such intense devastation that barely one in a hundred soldiers lived to tell the tale, and even then most of the survivors were so scarred and wounded that they did not survive much longer. Most had no home to go to; either their cities were obliterated, their temples sunk,their planar gates shattered. Such soldiers who survived and did not later perish often sought out like-minded survivors, and gathered in small communities that they would fiercely defend.

   One hundred years later, few soldiers are still alive, although a few long-lived races (including highbiorn Mythrics and Inadasir with longevity spells) and half-mad eladrin and elves still roam, able to tell tales that will curdle the blood of all listening at the carnage.

Demons: Less human survivors were left with even more bizarre issues. Many of the demonkin were recruited from the Abyssal world of Periditon, but all gates to Perdition died with Ga’thon and Minhauros. A return to their homeworld was impossible, it seemed. In this era the exodus began, and a new Abyss was subsequently founded when gateways to the Infinite Planes of Chaos were discovered across the world.

   One hundred years after the war, however, many demons still roam the world, desperately seeking an escape. The final escape would not come until the discovery of the Rift of Chaos beneath the Sea of Chirak, in to which the demons would pour, seeking escape from the mortal plane at last.

Elohim: The sky guardians still fight, protecting a handful of sky-cities from constant assault by the immense, mindless thousandpawn Sky Gaunts that ravage the skies. Ruins of some of their cities can be found abroad. Some elohim descend to the ground to assist survivors in need, their overriding sense of goodness sometimes overwhelming common sense. In this era, knowledge of what the Thousandspawn are is only in the hands of the Elohim, who know that Ga’thon was sundered in to countless pieces as he fell to the earth, and that he somehow imbued his soul and stone in each of those pieces.

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