Black Powder & Dark Magic
Basic History and the Lay of the Land
The continent of Vaporia has long been swathed in darkness. Centuries have passed since the last two great empires have crumbled into dust. Once the human Agatian empire ruled the west and the Kuruthian empire of tieflings held the east. But these are but myths to the denizens of the world now, their only mark left being their ruined cities that dot the landscape. They tore each other apart until nothing remained and the names of their empires were meaningless.
Without standing armies to keep them in check the monsters of the world thrived, breeding and pushing ever forward. They claimed more and more land for themselves, making war on the denizens of the Vaporia.
The gods forsook their mortal followers, turning their backs they took with them their divine magic and retired to new devices atop their home on Mount Celestia. Clerics, Paladins and other divine champion who hear the will of the Gods are so rare that they are practically unheard of and are either treated as Prophets or crackpots by the people of the world.
In their place the populace turned to cultism and Primal Spirit worship often in the service of Warlocks beholden to deamonic entities. Though the Arcane and Primal domains of magic began to recede from the world, their practitioners becoming a rarity, their power a commodity. Wizards, druids and their like became warlords and revered wise men amoung the chaos.
For the most part the races banded together for survival. Tieflings and humankind set aside old enmity in the face of their desolation. The eladrin, now known simply as high elves abandoned their beautiful but ravaged cities in the Feywilde, a place of wild magic, to join them. Many dwarves left their mountains and underground hides to share their knowledge and seek better fortune above ground, as did the gnomes. Halflings opened their villages to all comers. Added to this melting pot are settlers from the other contients; the Long-Eyed humans of the God Rune Isles and minotaurs of the Labyrinthine Isles of the Southern Archipelagos; dragonborn of the Tumerian Dynasty; and dark skinned variations of all races from the distant continent of Azrakahn.
Not all embraced this new diversity. The roving orc clans kept their nomadic lifestyle, rejecting the safety of the towns as did the forest dwelling catfolk referred to as ‘wood elves’ by the so called civilised races. They chose to live free and are regarded with suspicion by most and hostility by some. The humans of the North, sheltered behind the mountain range known as The Great Peaks remained a seperate nation, as did the blue skinned Saorsa elves, hidden behind the Cairns of Old.
The map was carved into territories by Feudal Warlords, Petty Tyrants and Bandit Kings with vast swaths of no mans land separating them.
Then came the invention of the ‘Gun,’ weapons that utilised the power of black powder to send a projectile winging towards its target. Such weapons are viewed with scorn, frowned upon by most of society but their power is undeniable and their usage has risen steadily over time.
Out of this desperate time rose an elf, a powerful wizard named Solemet Kildark, bringing with him a race of his own design and creation; the warforged, golems of metal, stone and wood. It is said that he tamed the dragons and united the world under his banner before retiring from the world, building his palace at the peak of Mount Celestia, fabled home of the Gods. Though all towns pay him homage his rule means little. He has not been seen in centuries, letting his Lords rule with total autonomy. They soon returned to their despotic ways.
Before retiring from the world, Solemet sold his designs for a magically powered engine that runs on rails, capable of dragging tonnes of weight, to the highest bidder: Trading House Voren. Once a great mercantile power of the world, their influence had waxed somewhat from their glory days. The acquisition of the railway plans allowed them to build a network of tracks capable of shipping vast quantities of goods to all corners of the continent without the worry of spoilage, thus retaining a vestige of their former strength. Trading House Voren also sold travel tickets at exorbitant prices to those whose wealthy would allow it.
In this world where life has no value, death often comes with a price tag.
Vaporian- often known as Common or Traders Tongue. This is the most common language known on the Continent of Vaporia and is known by most of its denizens
Chondathian- the native language of the Long Eyed Men of the God Rune Isles
Azrakahni- This is the most common language known to the people of Arakahn, acting as its version of common. Arakahn is a huge place however, and many areas have different dialects or local languages
Elven- Elven has three dialects; Eladrin, Saorsa and Mewl, native to the High elves, Saorsa elves and Wood elves respectivly. Though all dialect share some common ground they are treated as three languages
Kuruthian- the language of the tieflings that are the decedents of the denizens of the Kuruthian empire
Taurian- The language of the Minotaur people which sounds to those who do not know it like a series of gutteral grunts and the lowing of cows
Dwarven- Language of the dwarves
Goblin- the common language spoken by goblinoid races and orcs
Tumerian- Language of the dragonborn settlers from the Tumerian Dynasty
Each fiefdom has its own mark of currency and its own minted coins. Although this means that currency in Vaporia is diverse and varied all of the currency has an approximately similar content of precious mental making the coins interchangeable where ever they are spent. As such most of the people of the continent simply refer to them as Gold, Silver and Copper Pieces
The Old Religion
Religion in Vaporia is a complex issue. The Gods themselves are seldom vocal anymore, remaining silent while their priests preach holding to faith, being strong in the face of adversity and reassuring their people that the Gods will reward them for their devotion in death. It is easy to see then why many citizens secretly take to the worship of daemons and spirits; joining cults or societies in an effort to reap the rewards and find some meaning to their lives.
Perhaps the best known pantheon in Vaporia is the one shared by the sister empires of Agatia and Kuruthia. When Agatia enveloped Kuruthia they added some of their gods into their pantheon. It is the subject of some heated debate within the Temple to which gods were added later and which ones were from the original pantheon. It is widely accepted however that the First Family as they have come to be known, are the original gods of Agatia. They all reside in a grand palace at the peak of Mount Celestia, the tallest mountain which occupies the centre of Vaporia.
Pellor, the Father of the Gods, Lord of the Sun and Master of all Time, created the world and all things as a gift for his wife Ioun, Goddess of Knowledge. Ioun was pleased with her gift but she was especially pleased with the people and sentient creatures. Ioun began to impart her knowledge and her teachings to its people. In thanks Ioun bore Pellor two children; a boy, Erathis; and a girl, Calypso.
Jealous of the gift Pellor had given his wife, Vecnis, Pellors sister, the teller of Lies and Deceits, and Hoarder of Secrets disguised herself as Ioun and seduced Pellor. When Pellor discovered the deception he flew into a rage but by then it was already to late. Vecnis was with child. She gave birth to a daughter, Nephratis.
His children bickered between each other, their petty squabbles often spilling down to the world below causing many a war. Ioun, in her wisdom suggested a solution and Pellor agreed. Pellor and Ioun gave to Erathis the land and he became the Protector of Civilisation. Calypso was given the sea and the sky to keep watch over as her domain. To Nephratis they gave the realm of death and she became known as the Raven Queen. Their new duties and responsibilities gave the gods little time to argue among themselves, as was Iouns plan. But even so between the gods themselves there was little love lost.
There the story should have ended but in a time long gone, in the days near the Agatian Empires founding Erathis still took a keen interest in the affairs of men on his land. He fell in love with a mortal woman and they conceived a child with him. Some, many orcs who dwell beneath the Empires rule among them believe that the woman was an orc and that the child was a half orc but this, too is disputed by various factions of the Temple. The boy was named Kord. His mother tried to convince Erathis to take Kord with him, to dwell on Mount Celestia but Pellor was angry at Erathis’ meddling and ordered Erathis to leave the boy behind. Kord possessed an incredible strength and a hide thicker than steel. He competed in the Games and fought many battle in the Arena. He joined the Agatian Legions and campaigned with them while they settled the land around them.
He is famed in legend for taking the Agatian War of Settlement to the Underworld, quelling the daemon uprising and fighting a duel with Asmodeus himself. Eventually, after hearing many tales of Kords deeds, Pellor relented and allowed Kord to dwell on Mount Celestia with his father. Though not a true God, many worship him as the Patron of Warriors and Athletics, gladiators in particular venerating him as they combine the two aspects.