Author Archives: Ben Jacobson

The Prophet, The Fallen Messenger

by Kranar Drogin, Carteeg Struve, & Joe Mashuga

The Prophet of modern day is a person surrounded by mystery. She was born to the powerful Avanesti Yaweanalumn family in Avanost. She and her brother, Voronfelmos, and sister, Evadaeriana, were triplets; the only set ever of elven birth. Many elves saw this as a sign of something great that would be happening in their lifetime, but things began to fall apart for the family. For some unknown reason, Voron was cast from Avanost as one of the Fallen, and he was never heard from again. Her sister Evadaeriana rose quickly in the ranks of the military, but the elven woman later known as the Prophet was yet to have done anything with her life, even though most thought of her as being the most beautiful among an already beautiful race.

One day, as she was spending yet another day wandering her family’s beautiful garden, she came to the pond. There she beheld something that would forever change her life. A god was standing there waiting. It said its name was Dusios Vidu and claimed to have a message for her, of times that were to come of war and destruction. The god told her to seek out the Volumes in the world and gave her a small glimpse of the future that would come. This glimpse changed the Prophet for the rest of her life. The irises of her eyes immediately turned to white, although her vision remained perfect.

She ran from her meeting with Dusios to her family, raving about the wild things she had witnessed. After several days, she met with the leaders of Avanost, and the elves thought that she had gone mad. Instead of dealing with her, they branded her as Fallen and cut off the beautiful wings that had been her pride and joy. While she was still in shock, she was taken to the mainland of Adlatum and dumped with no food or water. The Avanesti removed all record of her existence from their city, including her name.

She was able to survive on her own, and for several years she lived alone and contemplated what to do and where to go with her life. Alone she hunted for the Volumes on Adlatum, and over the course of the next one hundred years, she was only able to track down one of the Volumes. She kept this book secret on her, even from those she thought she trusted. She realized though, that she would never be able to find all the Volumes on her own. Upon hearing of a great and valiant leader in the west, she traveled to the Midlands with her prophecy.

In 396 AD, the Prophet spoke with Montegron and was impressed with the confidence that he had and what she felt was genuine goodness for the people of Adlatum. She became infatuated with him, and they became lovers with Montegron promising to get her people to assist in finding the Volumes. She didn’t know that he wanted to find them for himself.

Over the years, she followed fruitless lead after fruitless lead. Over time she began to grow disheartened as she slowly came to know Montegron. She finally realized that he was not what she believed him to be, and with the weight of the coming war on her conscious, her sanity began to slip. Unseen to anyone else, blood appeared on her hands, permanent stains caused by her own poor judgment to remind her that the coming deaths were her fault. Before she fell into total insanity and despair, the Brotherhood of the Prophet arrived to rescue her from Montegron’s control. To her surprise, her brother Voron arrived with some of the Brotherhood to ease her misgivings. With his aid a majority of her sanity was restored, but the bloody stains on her hands, unseen by anyone but her, remained. Still keeping the one Volume of the Prophet she had on her secret, she escaped with them. Together with other adventurers, including one woman who claims to be Lord Montegron’s niece, they set out to find the Volumes, even if it took the rest of their lives.

 

Gaming Stats

3.5 Edition

 

The Prophet, the Fallen Messenger

CR 13

Female fallen Avanesti cleric of Dusios Vidu [Zivilyn] 6/righteous zealot 7
NG Medium humanoid (elf)
Init+5; Senses elvensight (darkvision 30 ft., low-light vision); Listen +5, Spot +7


Defense


AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 13 (+3 deflection, +5 Dexterity)
hp 67 (6d8+7d6+13)
Fort +8, Ref +9, Will +13 (+18 vs. enchantments)
Immune sleep


Offense


Spd 30 ft.
Melee +2 quarterstaff +8/+3 (1d6+1)
Ranged +1 javelin +13 (1d6)
Special Attacks oration 7/day (compelling argument [DC 21], condemning tirade [DC 21], enthralling discourse), turn undead 7/day (+6, 2d6+10, 6th)
Spells Prepared (CL 6th, +6 touch)
3rd—clairaudience/clairvoyance(D), cure serious wounds, helping hand, locate object
2nd—detect thoughts(D) (DC 15), eagle’s splendor, find traps, restoration, summon monster II
1st—comprehend languages, detect secret doors(D), divine favor, endure elements, shield of faith
0—cure minor wounds, detect magic, light, purify food and drink, virtue
(D) domain spell; Domains Knowledge, Meditation


Statistics


Str 8, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 18
Base Atk +7; Grp +6
Feats Empower Spell, Leadership, Run, Still Spell, Track, Widen Spell
Skills Bluff +9, Concentration +13, Diplomacy +16, Knowledge (religion) +10, Perform (oratory) +20, Search +3, Sense Motive +8, Speak Language x1, Survival +9, Use Magic Device +5
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Gildanesti
SQ gather followers +2, righteous indignation+4 (3/day), wingless
Combat Gear decanter of endless water, potion of cure moderate wounds (2); Other Gear +1 javelin, +2/+2 quarterstaff, cloak of elvenkind, ring of protection +3, rod of metal and mineral detection, holy symbol, one Volume of the Prophet (which Volume is unknown)


Special


Empower (Su) Once per day, the Prophet may cast one spell as though it had the Empower Spell feat applied to it. However, she casts the spell at its normal level, not at two levels higher, and uses the normal casting time of the spell.

Etlarn, Kingdom of

by Kranar Drogin & Carteeg Struve

Capital: Etlarn City
Population: 743,532 (Etlarnic human 87%, Gildanesti 10%, Other 3%)
Government: Monarchy
Religions: Autenanima (Solinari), Calorossa (Lunitari), Scuriga (Nuitari)
Languages: Etlarnish
Trade: Forged weapons, mined minerals
Legions: Dragonkin Horde, Etlarn Defenders
Alignment: All

The Kingdom of Etlarn, secluded in the storm-tossed northern mountains of Adlatum, is a realm both beautiful and grim. Founded by humans thousands of years ago, Etlarn has for centuries been under siege by dragons and their lackeys. Although it was founded by those striving to break away from the powerful magocracy of ages past, Etlarn is now a magocracy of its own, one under great strife.

Life and Society

During its heyday, the use of magic for practical and pragmatic uses was extraordinarily common in Etlarn. Now, most Etlarnans focus on the use of magic in order to keep themselves safe during the war. All cities and villages know they are prone to attack from those loyal to the dragons and their kin.

The cities of Etlarn were grand metropolises filled with towers of ornate rising to the sky and connected to each other through grand archways, platforms, and bridges. Magic was used in some architecture for some buildings, but when focused arcane magic failed after the Starfall, several structures were undermined and collapsed, leaving blocks in ruin. Reconstruction began, but efforts changed when the Dragonkin Horde attacked. This has left many citizens in Etlarn living in deplorable conditions while Etlarn redirected its efforts into stopping the invasion.

Those places under the control of the dragonkin are in a worse situation. The Scalebound and those loyal to the dragonkin have no hesitation in taking what resources are available from the people (including the people themselves) in order to strengthen their hold on the region and expand control.

Religion

The moons are the greatest celestial presence in Etlarn. Even after the Starfall, praise and remembrance was often given to Autenanima, the white moon. Smaller sects dedicated to praising Calorossa, the crimson moon, exist as well. For centuries those who praised the ebony moon, Scuriga, kept themselves in secret, leaving their numbers thought small but in truth unknown. Now, with the stability of the world coming undone, many are openly beginning to think that the dark magic of Scuriga may prove itself to be extremely useful and beneficial to the protection of Etlarn.

Government

Each of the cities and towns in Etlarn are ruled by High Elders, magi of experience and wisdom chosen by the ruling king or queen. Within each individual group of Elders, they select from themselves one to act as the figurehead and spokesperson from the Elders named the Lord of the City. This person also casts deciding votes and chooses the order in which issues are brought before the High Elders.

The ruling monarch is passed from the parent to the eldest child, but the child must prove his or herself to be an expert in one field of spellcraft with a passing knowledge of several others. If the child is shown inadequate at the time of ascension, the next child in line is given a chance to take the throne. If the previous monarch has had no children, or if all children failed to pass the examination, each group of Elders across the nation may back an archmagi to take the throne. The mage with the greatest backing across all of Etlarn wins the throne. Often this results in a sibling or more distant relative of the previous monarch being selected. The current king is Archmagi Andoja Uranjos who has been struggling to keep Etlarn City free.

In locations where the dragonkin have control, the local authority is allowed to stay in place so long as they obey all orders from the highest-ranking officer stationed there. If they do not, the troublemaker is swiftly replaced.

Military

The primary defending force for Etlarn is the Etlarn Defenders. The Defenders are divided into the Brethren of the Flame, which utilized Wild Sorcery, the Brethren of the Moons, wielders of White Sorcery, and the Brethren of the Stars, Paladins typically devoted to Autenanima, Pietarde (Paladine), or Pensokia (Majere). These brethrens also included their own elite branches. Included in these subgroups, for example, are the Knights of the Argent Crescent, divine warriors within the Brethren of the Stars who receive divine gifts from Autenanima. The Brethren of the Moons also has the High Arcanists, who serve Etlarn by defending their nation and education their kin among their Brethren in the newest advancements in wizardry. The Brethren of the Flame’s elite corps are the Sentinels of the Throne, a band of experts in the field of wild sorcery.

The other major military force in the region is the Dragonkin Horde. Exactly where they came from is unknown, but they initially appeared to come from the southwest. Now more and more people have joined the “dragons” and their kin in seizing control of Etlarn. Over the previous decades, this army has been steadily gaining greater control over the region.

Magic and Mysticism

Arcane magic, both focused and ambient, is well received as a whole in Etlarn. In the past, there was friction between supporters of both camps, but after four decades of only ambient magic being available, there was a desperate need for wizards with talent in the focused studies once the Starfall was undone. Some supporters of ambient arcane are skeptical of the “stability” of the focused magic considering how it vanished long ago, but some of it may be humor directed at showing how chaotic the ordered version of magic is and vice-versa.

The one type of arcane that many are wary of is the dark magic from the ebony moon. A growing number wish to implement it in the war to better Etlarn’s chances, but others see this as a dangerous temptation that will only lead to the corruption and destruction of their own way of life.

Divine magic has always been appreciated in Etlarn, although usually to a slightly lesser extent than the arcane. After the Starfall, those few mystics unassociated with any faith or organization became highly respected in some parts of the country for their assistance in healing and protection during the war with the dragonkin. There is a question how their services will be respected now that the moons have returned along with the gods, but for now the conflict with their enemies is still their first and foremost concern.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Vaspasias Crater: In the southern reaches of the Etlarn mountains, near the border of the Black Drake Forest, is a enormous crater where magical spells become unstable. Vaspasia was a member of the Etlarn Defenders who was sent to deal with a particularly violent bandit who had managed to convince some of the forest drakes to attack caravans between Etlarn and Gallasfjord. She confronted the bandit and the drake nest, but when using her magic to deal with the situation, something went wrong. Crystals in the mountains held wild magic, acting as batteries for ambient magic. Vaspasias’ magic and these crystals interacted badly, causing massive destruction. Now there is a crate approximately a mile wide and 600 feet deep at its center. Although Vaspasia never returned to Etlarn, and neither did the bandit or the marauding drakes. In the crater, there is still one large partially buried crystal 15 feet long and three feet thick at its base that reacts badly to arcane magic, but no one knows for certain what is causing the wild surges.

Regional History

Etlarn was founded roughly around 2600 PD when several noble mage families from the Midlands grew disillusioned with the ruling magocracy. Preferring to pursue their own paths, they set out on a trek far into the east. Eventually they established new homes in a series of idyllic mountain vales discovered to be rich in arcane energy. Choosing the wisest of their number, Etlarn the Ancient, as their new king, they likewise named their kingdom after their monarch. The common folk who joined their patrons in this migration became farmers, fishermen, and mines while the noble families continued to train their children in the arts of swordplay and spellcraft, as well as building grand and enchanted castles atop and along the mountains ringing the valleys.

Two generations later, the dragons launched their attacks against humanity and the other bipedal races. Etlarn made an alliance with their minotaur neighbors and together they joined forces in their battles against the dragons. Once the dragons were defeated, the beasts went into hiding deep within their own territories.

For hundreds of years, Etlarn stood aloof from the larger tribulations of the world. Though the wizards and sorcerers of the land maintained contact with other wielders of arcane magic, they refused to get caught up in many of the larger conflicts. In fact Etlarn strived to calm many conflicts, often mitigating disputes over borderlines between elven, human, and minotaur territories. Long alliances are formed, and Etlarn is respected as a neutral state by many governments.

Around 1250 PD, a border dispute between the nations of the Midland and minotaurs turns bloody. The growing power of the Divine Bureaucracy in the Midlands and the minotaurs turns to war. Due to specific agreements being violated in treaties, Etlarn lends aid to the Midlands, breaking their long held pact with the minotaurs. Over the next 250 years, the Chôt-tang Empire of the minotaurs grows in strength while the Midland theocracy falls apart from within. While the human nations of the Midlands fought each other, the minotaurs grew in strength. Without a unified alliance from the Midlands, Etlarn withdrew from the conflicts and returned to a neutral state.

When the Canon War began and the Chôt-tang Empire desired to seize control of all Volumes of the Prophet, Etlarn refused to be caught up in the turmoil. Instead the Etlarnans dedicated themselves to furthering their arcane researches, raising their families, and protecting their kingdom.

While most of the kingdom’s wizards revered Autenanima (Solinari), with a smaller group following Calorossa, over the course of centuries several succumbed to the temptations of Scuriga and began practicing the dark arts. Most of these mages were defeated and deposed, banished from Etlarn, but a few managed to conceal their practice of black sorcery and pass on the traditions of the Ebon Moon to their descendants. Tensions also grew between followers of High Sorcery and Wild Sorcery, as each group began to consider their form of magic superior to the other.

The Drowning had little immediate effect on Etlarn, aside from a handful of avalanches and earthquakes triggered by the continent-shaking impact of the wave. A few among the wizards blamed delving into Wild Sorcery as the cause of the turmoil, while the sorcerers responded that if they had not been so constrained by the opposition of High Sorcery, they might have been able to prevent the destruction. The already present tensions rose as accusations and recriminations flew, and civil war between the two groups of spellcasters became a very real threat.

Such a tragedy was averted by a silver wolf (truly a silver dragon) in 30 AD. The wolf acted as a voice for Autenanima, the patron of White Sorcery appeared to all of Etlarn. Through the silver beast’s mouth, he gave both High Sorcery and Wild Sorcery his blessing. “Both the magic of the moons and the magic of the world will be needed to fight the new dangers approaching; they are meant to be used in harmony, not in opposition, against forces that would destroy all that is good and magical about your kingdom.”

It was only a century later that the meaning of Autenanima’s statements became clear, as the dragons awoke from their ancient lairs and began overrunning the mountain kingdom. Although the true dragons were never seen by mortal eyes, the wyverns and tainted creatures sent out had not been seen before. Without accurate records of the ancient war, the scaled beasts were believed by all to be dragons themselves.

Nearly a third of Etlarn fell beneath the horrors of these so-called dragons before the nobles managed to establish means of defense. The Etlarn Defenders, a legion of knightly spellcasters, was established, divided into the Brethren of the Flame, which utilized Wild Sorcery, the Brethren of the Moons, wielders of White Sorcery, and the Brethren of the Stars, Paladins typically devoted to Autenanima, Pietarde (Paladine), or Pensokia (Majere). These brethrens also included their own elite branches. Included in these subgroups, for example, are the Knights of the Argent Crescent, divine warriors within the Brethren of the Stars who receive divine gifts from Autenanima. The Brethren of the Moons also has the High Arcanists, who serve Etlarn by defending their nation and education their kin among their Brethren in the newest advancements in wizardry.

Shining castles became grim fortresses, and walls and watchtowers were swiftly built to hold back the draconic onslaught. While the dragons could not venture far from their lairs, they could journey far enough to wreak havoc on many regions of the kingdom, and their servants were even more deadly.

Etlarn is recently emerging from a dark time. Forty years ago, during the Starfall, the moons and constellations of the old gods vanished, leaving the Brethren of the Moons and Stars without their magical talents. Many strongholds of these two orders were swiftly demolished by resurgent dragons. The Brethren of the Flame retained their talents and covered the retreat for the remaining warrior-wizards and paladins, which has left many among the survivors bitter and resentful. With two-thirds of the kingdom’s magical strength gone, the dragons swept over most of Etlarn, leaving only a single large valley and some isolated fortresses to the Etlarnans. Worst of all was the resurgence of those mortals who have sided with the dragons. The Scalebound, as they are called, have pledged their loyalty to the wyrms, receiving terrible powers in exchange for their souls. Though many of these traitors take up arms openly with the dragons, others work in secret. In wake of such turmoil and betrayal, some among the Etlarnans advocating taking up the arts of Black Sorcery and foul necromancy to do battle with the dragons, or even contacting the Midland Guard for assistance.

Current Events

    • The Artificers Guild of Anglem is trying to build a “lighter than air” freighter using plans discovered from a far off land that involve the use of tamed elementals. This has disturbed the Corinesti Trade delegation who fears it could impinge on their sea trade monopoly.
    • After the Midland Sovereign’s declaration that Elder Dragons were running the Tashrama, it was assumed the church was responsible, whether in whole or in part, for the draconic siege launched against Etlarn. The Tashramadic Council has vehemently denied this, stating they were never risk an assault against a distant foreign land when their own existence in the Midlands is so tentative. So far, no direct evidence has linked the draconic siege with the Tashrama.
    • The Dragonkin Horde recently launched a major siege against the capital, Etlarn City. Although it resulted in substantial losses for the invaders, the Etlarn King Andoja Uranjos vanished along with his eldest daughter during the assault. The rest of the royal family, including his wife, have no knowledge as to what happened to Etlarn’s ruler and immediate heir.
  • Scouts and spies in Gallasfjord have reported numerous ships recently having set out for voyages into the deep sea to the east. None have been able to find out where this fleet is heading.

Major Settlements

Anglem (Small City 8,495): Once larger than the capital of Etlarn City, Anglem has been ripped apart by the magic meant to protect it. Anglem has been come unstuck and instantaneously shifts through the Etlarn and Sky Seeker Mountains, rarely staying in one place for long. The disaster that caused this resulted in the death of 75% of the population, and depression and fear resulted in rampant suicides. When the sorcerers were able to gain some sort of control, holding a sizable portion of Anglem together, the curse of the city became a blessing. The dragons assaulting Etlarn were never able to find the city long enough to launch an invasion and claim it. The dragonkin armies now state they are willing to “show their benevolence” and “allow” Anglem and a few other well-defended locations to retain their independence.

Even before focused magic returned just recently, the training center for the Etlarn Defenders was rebuilt and put back into full operation. It has nowhere near the population it had before, but it is fully dedicated to training those who would stand against the dragons. The educational facilities have also been rebuilt, and any time the city appears to be still for a short while, trade is swiftly and quietly done with nearby towns with those trying to end the occupation.

Everything is not unified in purpose in Anglem however. The Gildanesti Magi Yugorv has come to the training center proposing that the darker magic of Black Sorcery be taught as a viable option for Defenders to use against the dragons. The facilities board appears to be split on the issue. The Lord of the City and Leader of the Resistance, Boeki NurVar, has been hesitant to show support.

Blissport (Large City 16,452): Blissport was founded eighteen months after the Drowning when two separated lovers found each other on the nearby cliff top during a beautiful sunset illuminating the bay below. They and their families settled here, and trade with the Corinesti on the beaches below allowed them to thrive. Since then Blissport became both a trading center and a tourist city drawing those looking for, or who have already found, romance.

A few years after the Starfall, Blissport became the first Etlarn settlement attacked by the Dragonkin Horde. Without any warning, the flying beasts and their ground forces struck the city during the night. No one had seen the ships approach, none had seen the enemy enter the city, and none had noticed when their Defenders were slain. Only when everyone woke in the morning did they realize what had happened.

The Corinesti traders have continued business with Blissport, but the tourism draw of the city has completely vanished. Now Blissport is used as a staging area for shoreline raids on Etlarn’s Sargassi seaside border.

Etlarn City (Metropolis 53,482): The pristine marvel of Etlarn City was seen as the crown of civilization in eastern Adlatum since its founding thousands of years ago. Nestled in the half-valley at the foot of the tall Etlarn Mountains, the city is directly connected to both the settlements in the western plains and to the cities hidden within the monstrous peaks that reach higher than anywhere else in Adlatum sans Terragrym. Enormous palaces and towers of white stone and colorful glass shined ten or more stories tall behind the grand wall surrounding the seat of magecraft where the king of Etlarn rules. Even as the draconic assault laid much of the kingdom to waste, Etlarn City was able to keep the threat out siege after siege after siege. Having defended so well, much of the city is still in good condition, but there has been a slow wearing down of morale draining the will for some to resist.

Gallasfjord (Small City 7,345): What used to be a tiny port village after the Starfall has grown in strength and has prospered under the Scalebound. During the early stages of the war, the village war refitted into a naval port for raids up and down the shoreline on the outer edge of the continent. Due to the amount of wealth and increase in jobs to the town, the people of Gallasfjord have changed their loyalties to the invaders, believing them to be what is best for them and for Etlarn. No longer a shanty village, large permanent structures have been constructed by local Etlarnic humans along with those who bring foreign techniques and styles to the land.

Promesh (Large City 23,542): In the early days of Etlarn, Promesh was founded by King Etlarn’s first-cousin Aphelna, who named it for her late son who long since died in childhood. Since then the city grew to become the academic center for the kingdom. The City of Seven Academies, as it had been called for over a thousand years, drew those who wished to learn about magic and its applications from all over Adlatum. Those who graduated from these challenging institutions with the highest honors almost always gained fame for their works later in life.

The grandeur of Promesh decreased during the Canon War when ability to draw new talent to the schools were weakened by the war, but after the Drowning it returned to its glory as many students chose to remain in Etlarn to become citizens in the high ground of Etlarn. Ten years after the Starfall, Promesh’s fame was squashed, possibly forever as the Dragonkin Horde flooded the valley and turned the city into a military stronghold.

For thirty-years Promesh had been under the rule of the dragonkin and their followers. But on the very night the Starfall was undone, rebels living in the walled city launched multiple coordinated attacks on their occupiers. By morning, the rebels had secured a quarter of the city, sacrificing the government buildings instead to gain the armory and training barracks. Over the following months, the rebels loyal to the kingdom have been gaining control block by block in bloody battles. Even now the city is equally divided between the forces struggling to wipe the enemy out and secure the valley.

Teusten, Nation of

by Kranar Drogin

Capital: Jut-Cythyl
Population: 302,451 (Human 89%, Sakkaran Minotaur 6%, Corinesti 2%, Gildanesti 2%, Dwarf 1%)
Government: Monarchy
Religions: Vroevadle (local version of the Tao-Shin)
Languages: Wedoegla (dwarven) and Tap-Speak (Hammertalk)
Trade: Blacksmithing, Mapmaking, Mercenaries, Shipbuilding, Slaves.
Legions: Provincial Fleets.
Alignment: CG, CN, CE.

The nation of Teusten (Too’-sten) stretches from the northern border of the Sundarin Mountains, around Lake Borlesko, up to near Harkestol Mountains in the northern Broken Lands. However many islands throughout Blight Bay and the Shattered Sea, Haskoddpad for example, are populated by Teusten humans claiming to be colonies of their homeland. Some colonies do not exist on land at all but are massive barges located out in the middle of the western seas. Teusten is known by foreigners as a xenophobic hostile nation filled with barbaric raiders.

Life and Society

The ocean waters are the lifeblood of Teusten. Even those who live inland build their towns neighboring rivers and lakes to be sure they are still connected to the greater sea. Villages and cities are lined along the water with docks and makeshift shipyards everywhere. Most homes are stone constructs with thatch roofs, while many larger buildings are made from wood. Often taverns and smithies are the few businesses built with the sturdier stonework.

Foreigners see the Teusten as fighters, drunkards, and brawlers who despise anyone in the world who is not their own kind. But the Teusten have a great love of both life and the sea. Conflict and combat are some of life’s greater pleasures. There are other races that the Teusten do hate and often attack on sight, dwarves especially, but often their malice towards others is a combination of their love to raid, fight, and beat up on those who are not their own kind.

The women of Teusten are often as combative as the men, although less of them tend to travel abroad. Those women that do manage to get a crew and their own ship are often seen as some of the nation’s greats and are most desired by the Teusten men. “Any wife who does not start a fight with you at least three times a day is a wife not worth being married to,” is a common saying among the men. Ironically the women have an identical saying but with the genders reversed and the fight count upped to four. Only in the government itself do women have difficulty attaining position.

Slavery is an acceptable part of life in Teusten. Although most dwarves are killed on sight, there are still several kept for labor. The same is true for minotaurs, humans, or elves. Elves are often seen as a weak race, and the Corinesti are believed to not deserve the sea, above or below. Those elves who prove themselves in physical labor are bragged about by their owners as “the best of their race.” Minotaurs are highly prized and respected by the Teusten. They are seen as greater fighters, and many people long for the peace between Teusten and Sakkaras to end so a great battle of strength can begin once again between them. Small raids not sanctioned by the government still occur, and although they are seen as competition and a threat to their existence, minotaur slaves are often cheered by the populace after capture at the start of their enslavement.

The Teusten people have one unique trading partner. No other race has direct trading tied to the Igurna in Terragrym. Teusten highly prizes its agreements with the Noble Ogres and does what it can to keep any Noble Ogre secrets they learn to themselves. Any ogre ship baring a Terragrym flag is never attacked. Any non-Terragrym flag flown by a non-ogre ship is destroyed with no survivors.

Religion

Most raiders encountered by foreign vessels or besieged people have a wide assortment of faiths. They believe their gods are separate from the pantheons followed by other peoples. They believe themselves to be better than all others, and therefore any real gods would not pay the others heed. Since Teusten’s will often pay respect to the “Lesser Foreign Gods” while traveling in other lands, victims of Teusten raids often witness them actually respecting their own gods and not those of Teusten.

The predominant faith in Teusten is the Vroevadle, a.k.a. “The Currents of the Souls.” The concept of branching currents purifying the soul in different manners is almost identical to that of the Tao-Shin, and it is possible the religions may have common roots. However the Teusten people do not recognize the connection between the churches and are steadfast in believing their own pantheon is completely separate from any other faith.

Government

The nation of Teusten is led by a High Chief known as the Havadman, who is assisted by the Council of Regels. Together they preside over major decisions in the land. The Regels each control a province in Teusten, generally based in the largest city of that area. The Regel is a hereditary position, passed normally from father to son, with daughters gaining the title very rarely. If a Regel dies without an heir, the Havadman appoints a new leader to the province. The Havadman is also a hereditary position with the position passing from father to son only, never a daughter. If the Havadman dies without any heir, the position of Havadman comes before the Council of Regels for them to decide among each other who will lead.

The laws of Teusten are those of any typical nation, regulating theft, rape, or murder (against their own people or property). One exception is that there is no trial by jury or magistrate, as in civilized lands, but rather a trial by blood. Depending on the severity of the crime, the accused has the chance to proclaim innocence by battling either the accuser or a monster in the Arena of Truths in Jut-Cythyl.

Military

Each province within Teusten has itself own section of the overall fleet comprised of numerous square-sailed ships with the bows headed with a variety of strange and fearsome creatures. The sections of the fleet are made up of a vast majority of the Teusten population who sail the seas. Most ships that conduct raids into foreign lands are the ships and crew within the Teusten fleet, but unless an official war is declared by the Regels, the ships and crew are considered “off-duty” and can do what they wish.

Settlements near the borders do have men and women skilled in overland raiding to help push back any incursions that may happened from or against their neighbors. These groups are treated the same way ships are. Unless there is a war, any infraction they commit against Sundarin or Sakkaras has nothing to do with the Teusten government.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic of any sort is not often practiced in Teusten, but the people love to get their hands on magical items and use them to create their own tales of glory. To many in Teusten, an enemy with magic makes them all the grander and makes the story of a sword or axe wielding Teusten slaughtering them all the more grandiose. As such, most Teustens will not learn magic simply because a wizard defeating a powerful wizard is not as glorious as a fighter defeating a powerful wizard. Still, if that fighter ended up getting his hands on a magic weapon prior to defeating the powerful wizard, the story still is considered epic, and thus the use of magic items is “accepted.”

The issue of divine magic is different. In earlier years, clerics used healing magic and other battle-ready spells in Teusten just as often as an wizard in other lands, but that changed after the Starfall. According to the Vroevadle, their gods never left. A test had been put forth to see who was truly faithful. In those times, clerics of the Vroevadle had faith in the gods for the sake of faith, and not for the bribery of magic spells. After the return of the gods, the clerics of the Vroevadle gained the ability to cast spells again, but many of them refuse this temptation saying that they are clerics for the purpose of praising the gods, not to become a holy-wizard. As such, divine magic in Teusten is a great rarity even though most of their clerics are capable of casting.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Blight Bay: North of the Teusten mainland, Blight Bay is seen by many at the playground of the Teusten raiders. None who wish to keep their ships would ever venture anywhere near these waters. It is true that primarily Teusten ships sail these waters, but most of them are used for deep-sea fishing and trade with Terragrym. Most ships of foreign sail that are destroyed in the bay had mistakenly fled from the Teusten ships and into Terragrym’s waters, where the ogres are far less friendly.

The Floating Cities: Dotting locations in the northern Shattered Sea and points west are barges of great sizes. On these structures are cities built by those who have shunned life on land. The quality and age of these cities vary. Many constructed after the Drowning were built from the debris swept into the sea by the wave. Others built by those better off used materials imported from the mainland or stolen from wealthy ships. Usually these cities reside in relatively fixed positions, but a few are slowly moved for added protection for their raiding activities.

Island Colonies: The northern Shattered Sea is filled with islands under the control of Teusten. The oldest surviving settlements were taken from the dwarven survivors of the Drowning after the Teusten people gained greater access to the seas through their agreements with the Corinesti. Since then, the Teusten-controlled colonies multiplied until the dwarves could defend themselves and hold the line against the human advances. Those dwarves on Teusten islands are usually killed or taken as slaves.

Some Teusten settlements consider themselves part of the greater Teusten Empire, but yet they do not adhere themselves to the decisions and laws set down by the Council of Regels. Several cities were founded or taken over by former members of the Council who had been ousted from their positions. Their descendants (or those who defeated their descendants) now control these cities and surrounding villages on their own.

Lake Borlesko: On the southern side of Teusten, the Borlesko supplies Teusten with a great deal of seafood and other marine resources. Teusten ships patrol the northern areas of the sea, and although there is a peace treaty standing between Teusten and the Sakkaran minotaurs, many Teusten ships will occasionally raid minotaur villages near the shoreline for fun and profit. The lake often freezes during harsh winters, but the ships are often fitted with metal bows during these seasons in order to help break the ice up.

Teusten Mainland: The majority of the Teusten population lives on the mainland gained immediately after the Drowning, residing on the stretch of land between Sundarin and northern Sakkaras. The land is filled with rivers, allowing the Teusten people to settle almost anywhere in the country and still be near access to the sea. As time passed and the population grew, canals were dug to bring the water to regions previously less accessible. Now, most of Teusten is covered with small towns and cities bordering each other, the rivers, and the sea.

Regional History

The origins of Teusten have been lost to the centuries. Some believe they had descended from early Midlands while others claim they came to Adlatum long ago from an unknown continent in the west. Even the Teusten people themselves have no solid record of their past. Most ancient tales are told through song, verse, or plain speak, and the desire to embellish and improve tales is very strong in Teusten. With so many others viewing Teusten as a land of drunken dangerous barbaric brutes best kept away from, other nations have a poor record of Teusten prior to the Drowning as well.

One of the popular tales told by the Teusten about pre-Drowning times include the supposed-fact that they were the ones responsible for starting the Canon War against the minotaurs from the east. Not only is this detail included in their popular culture, it is often bragged about. According to the tales, the sea-faring people had raided against every nation and village in western Adlatum and found no decent competition. So the greatest heroes of the waters prayed to their gods for their luck to improve. The gods responded by having the minotaurs invade the west, bringing a people worthy of combat closer to the Teusten waters and hopefully forcing the other races to strengthen themselves in the long run to better defend their homes. Teusten storytellers refer to the period of time in which the Canon War left many Teusten ships destroyed and warriors slaughtered as “The Platinum Age.”

Although there are records of some Teusten settlements on Adlatum’s then-western shoreline near what was believed to be dwarven held lands, the Teusten claim to had lived completely out in the ocean and sea. After the Drowning, the small amount of the mainland under Teusten control bloomed as they seized control of the stretch of land between Blight Bay and the enlarged Lake Borlesko. The land was and still is riddled with small lakes, rivers, and streams, making access from the lake to the bay and the ocean exceedingly easy. Once under their control, they made sure no one else could pass through without a very brutal fight. Still, many others saw the Drowning and considered life on solid land cursed, and to this day a large number of Teusten people live on large man-made barges located out in the sea and ocean.

The nation of Teusten came out of the Drowning with much prosperity, and they recognized that their glorious foes, the minotaurs, were badly hurt. To extend their thanks for the wonderful conflict of the previous hundred years, Teusten signed a non-aggression treaty with several of the minotaur factions settled nearby. Trade between the two cultures even existed for a few years. The Teusten would pay the Sakkarans in steel and other metals, while the minotaurs would give Teusten slave labor in the form of captured Midlanders, dwarves (especially from Nordarin), elves, Oguna, and even some of their own kind. But even with the Teusten assistance, the Sakkarans could not sustain themselves in the Broken Lands, and eventually the trade dried up. Yet the non-aggression treaty was not violated, at least not to a large scale, and so-called peace continued.

In 10 AD, the nation was almost plunged into total civil war with the death of Havadman Markan of Trojssan. Markan died without an heir, and two Regels both wanted the position. Luckily for Teusten, one of the rivals, Lokri son of Lukoev, was killed in a dwarven raid near Faste Ckold, thus allowing Aanon of Karssan to become the next Havadman. Aanon would rule the nation for the next fifty years, bringing prosperity the likes the nation had never seen before. He began paying people to explore the continent, making some of the best maps on all of Adlatum with rumors of other landmasses beyond the continent. By 20 AD, Aanon had it agreed upon with the Corinesti Elves that they would not raid their coastal cities in exchange for unhindered passage on the seas. The Corinesti would figure out later that Aanon had granted no protections on Corinesti-owned ships not at port in those cities, but rather than risk the safety of the settlements, the Guilds let the deal stand.

From this agreement with the Corinesti, Aanon began sending ships and settlers to the islands of the Shattered Sea. Sometimes these colonizing ships would come upon dwarves who still lived on the islands from the Drowning. The Teustens either killed or enslaved all the natives of these islands, shipping them off to be sold at their markets. The city of Ramal Varkie would arise and become a central city for shipbuilding and transferring timber back to the homeland. By 56 AD though, the reef dwarves started exploring the islands also looking for the lost villages of their nation. Over the course of the next few years, the humans and dwarves would battle each other at sea and on land, with the dwarves losing more islands to the humans before they finally solidified their hold on the other islands. Now, the Teusten colonies include many of the former dwarven islands. Many of these islands still have small dwarven populations on them, but most dwarves are owned by Teusten settlers as slaves. The island population is filled with colonies of settlers who see the mainland as overpopulated. The greatest advantage Teusten gained from these colonies is that they bring in much needed lumber, food, and metals not available in the mainland.

Aanon of Karssan, the Havadman responsible for Teusten’s expansion, died in 61 AD and was celebrated as one of the greatest leaders to have ever led Teusten. His grandson, Aanodac, took over as Havadman with high expectations. The nation continued its growth and its raids upon the other nations in the west. Nothing of important happened though over the next 200 years, as far as most are aware, but in 271 AD the reef dwarves in their ever-growing power at sea launched a surprise attack against some of the various colonies. The Teusten response was swift when Havadman Radac ordered all ships into the Shattered Sea to wage war on the dwarves. The humans were able to capture the island of Haskoddpad during the Battle of the Red Coral in 275 AD. During this, the humans were able to trick the dwarves into crashing half their fleet into a hidden reef the dwarves did not know about. This did not sink most of the ships, but stranded them allowing the Teustens to defeat them easily. Following this defeat, they took over the island and peace was brokered in exchange for the reef dwarves there.

Over the next hundred years or so, the nation of Teusten has continued along doing what it has always done, raiding, pillaging, but staying officially peaceful with the minotaurs to the east and the Igurna to the north. Their concerns with the Elder Dragons in the Midlands is minimal, other than waiting for great stories to arise from the coming war, and possibly to find a way to gain an advantage during the chaos.

The trading practices of Teusten with the Igurna in Terragrym are a great mystery to those aware of it. No one, not even the Teusten people, can remember when peaceful contact between their people and the noble ogres began, and no stories include many details on their northern neighbors. All that is known is that the nation of Teusten treats their economic partnership with Terragrym very seriously and will keep whatever secrets they gain from the ogres to the death. It is very rare for a noble ogres to venture to Teusten to trade, but Teusten ships are the rare few non-ogre vessels allowed to even get within sight of Igurna ports in the north.

Current Events

    • Several of the barge-colonies north of the Shattered Sea have disappeared with only small amounts of flotsam found floating in the water. It is not believed that the dwarves or elves could have done so much damage. Rumor is circulating of a giant ocean-fairing beast having moved into the area. Many sailors are looking forward to a legendary hunt.
    • Minimal trading has begun between the Sakkaran minotaurs tribes east of Faste Vard. The minotaurs have been purchasing parts for sailing vessels in exchange for Midlanders recently captured from tribes near Bhadlum and Vjenor.
  • Less savory sorts are complaining that travel to and from Geetrac Vag is getting longer and longer. The brethren running the floating metropolis seem to be moving the city further and further west into the ocean. Many sea raiders are thinking of finding another city to make their own.

Major Settlements

Faste Ckold (Large City 17,546): Also known as the Castle Shield, Faste Ckold is located on the border of Sundarin beneath the gaze of dwarven settlements in the mountains to the south. Positioned in a defensibly inopportune location, the city is meant to be a tempting target for any siege coming from the Sundar. The Teusten here desire nothing less than getting their dwarven enemies to attack them without provocation. If such an event occurs, it would allow the Havadman and Regels to declare unbridled war against the dwarves. Regardless of being in easy striking distance from the higher Sundar towns, the people of the un-walled Faste Ckold are well skilled in defending themselves.

Faste Vard (Small City 8,210): Also known as the Castle Sword, Faste Vard was founded on the location where the Sakkaran minotaurs and Teusten made their long standing nonaggression treaty. Now it acts as a bordertown, making sure the Sakkarns don’t become desperate enough to take any interests in their lands. Many of the citizens of Faste Vard take great pleasure in venturing into Sakkaras to pick fights with the strong and impressive minotaurs.

Jut-Cythyl (Metropolis 43,484): The capital of Teusten is the largest human settlement north of the Midlands. Like all other Teusten mainland settlements, all roads are simply wide dirt paths between wooden and stone buildings. The Frivord river divides in two, surrounding the city on both sides. The wall circling the city was built to come up out of the river and bay, and it was also made to look like the side of a ship. This gives Jut-Cythyl the appearance of being a floating structure even though it is on solid ground. Sections of the wall drop down to connect to otherwise incomplete bridges crossing the Frivord. Other sections open to connect to giant complexes of wooden docks that free-stand in Blight Bay where ships make port.

The Havadman and Council of Regels meet within the city in buildings that would remind anyone from civilized nations of renovated barns. The Arena of Truths, a place where battle determines guilty or innocence, is also located here.

Geetrac Vag (Metropolis 29,540): Also known as the City of Crashing Waves, Geetrac Vag is the largest and oldest famed floating city in the western ocean. It is also run by a brethren of pirates who do not recognize the rule of the Havadman. After gathering so much material and wealth over the centuries, the city is as well constructed and stable as any major city on land along with being a piece of architectural beauty.

Due to its primary source of income coming from illegal and murderous piracy, Geetrac Vag is continuously moving. Legend claims the city was originally constructed on the shore of the mysterious continent across the ocean in the west before being freed to sail across the sea. Another legend says the city the birthplace of one of the Vroevadle gods of the sea.

Ramal Varkie (Large City 19.803): Also known as the City of Falling Timber, Ramal Varkie is located on one of the larger islands in the northern Shattered Sea. The city was originally named Voldenhaas and was constructed during the reign of the dwarven Hammervald Empire. After being warn down by the Canon War and cut off from the rest of civilization by the Drowning, a fleet of Teusten ships laid waste against a city not used to being so close to the sea. Most dwarves were killed in the attack. The rest became slaves.

The Teustens rebuilt the city, properly adjusting it to become a port town capable of defense. The tall mountains all around the city and Human Bay hide the city from all eyes until a ship finds the pass into the bay or a foot traveler is almost upon the city wall. Voldenhaas used to be surrounded by lush forests, but the Drowning buckled the land and destroyed the trees immediately around the city. As a joke, Teusten renamed Voldenhaas the City of Fallen Timber.

This is one of the few Teusten settlements with buildings and roads made primarily of stone. The surviving forests on the other sides of the surrounding mountains provide Teusten with the best shipbuilding wood available.

Tullgripp (Large City 24,387): Also known as the City of Steel, Tullgripp is only accessible by Blight Bay. Ships enter a wide cave mouth and travel several miles underground before reaching the city ports. The city is a mining colony, filled with men and women supporting the excavation of metals from the rocks deep in the earth. There are no direct routes from the city up to the surface. All traffic comes and goes through the watery cavern.

The city is eternally lit by fires fueled from gasses seeping up from specific points in the cracks of the rock. Being so distant from the cavern mouth, this supplies the city with its only light besides lamps and torches. Some districts in the city are higher than others as the city slopes up parts of the cavern wall or rests on sculpted plateaus.

Parts of the way between Tullgripp and the bay are not safe for ships. Beneath the way’s water impossibly long and sharp stalagmites can tear apart the hulls of any boat piloted by those not familiar with the Tullgripp. Many wrecks lay at the bottom of the mile deep pool.

Dragon’s Noose

by Kranar Drogin

Capital: None
Population: Unknown
Government: Unknown
Religions: Unknown
Languages: Goblin, Hudieran
Trade: None
Legions: Unknown
Alignment: Unknown

Land Overview

Most of the information surrounding the mysterious islands of the Dragon’s Noose has come from stranded sailors who have been able to escape being marooned on the islands. Sixteen major islands make up the Dragon’s Noose, with many, many tiny islands that hold no life at all. The islands are covered in jungle, with no discernable civilization can be see from the ocean. Most that land here though never return, making it a haunted land to most sailors who steer clear of them. Most of the islands have two or more races living on each one of them.

Those that have returned, talk about a brutal society of goblins living on one of the islands. They are the Zukatm, who live on the island of Garamesh. Nothing is known about these goblins, other than that they are very territorial, and kill anyone who encroaches upon their lands.

Humans also live on the islands, those of southern Adlatum who were trapped there when the Drowning occurred. The island of Keroshic holds the most humans on it, but the exact numbers or where on it they live is unknown. Most of them speak the languages of old, and live in the ancient cities and villages. Similar to the humans that were in those lands prior to the Drowning, they are isolationists.

Bakali of Adlatum

by Kranar Drogin & Joe Mashuga

Adlatum’s bakali were once part of a great empire, said to have stretched across all of Krynn, though their history remains mostly unrecorded. Bakali tribes live in the ruins of ancient cities, located in the Vacant Lands or No Man’s End. The bakali aren’t the ignorant beasts they are said to be on other continents, but rather a people who have embraced a rich culture of devotion and endurance.

Personality: The bakali are suspicious and xenophobic. They are approachable and even-tempered when dealing with each other, or with outsiders in their own lands, but their mood changes with the mere mention of intruders. Bakali adventurers experience a closer relationship with something extraordinary, and learn to recognize the wonders that lay beyond their own lands.

Physical Description: The bakali of Adlatum average between seven and eight feet in height, with green or brown scales covering their entire bodies. Males are typically larger than females, and have larger mouths and blunt snouts. The bakali rarely wear clothes and can walk on all fours just as easily as on two.

Relations: For the most part, the bakali stay to themselves. If non-bakali come into their territory, they are considered hostile by the bakali and more than likely attacked. There are rare cases of tribes allowing very small groups or individuals to come to their tribal homes, where they are met with much curiosity. The Sekhnesti are the one exception—all bakali hate the Sekhnesti for the years of fighting between the races. Bakali attack any Sekhnesti venturing into their lands without asking questions.

Alignment:
2nd-3.5 Edition: Most bakali are neutrally aligned, with a handful of tribes being chaotic or lawful neutral.

4th Edition: Almost all bakali are unaligned.

Bakali Lands: The bakali stick to their ancestral homes in the southwestern portion of the Vacant Lands, where they have lived in relative solitude for thousands of years. A large tribe of several thousand bakali dwells in No Man’s Land, where they live similarly to their brethren in the Vacant Lands.

Religion: Bakali follow Sirr’ushush (Sirrion) or Krik’k lettz (Chislev), and have a deep hatred of both Tazhek (Takhisis) and Hizhek (Hiddukel) for their constant manipulation. Tribal cities are usually full of shrines and temples dedicated to Sirr’ushush and Krik’k lettz.

Language: Bakali are taught two languages beginning early in life: their ancient Draconic tongue, and the Common trade-speech found amongst so-called “civilized” races (which they use to spy on those near their borders). Some bakali learn Elven to better interrogate the Sekhnesti they capture.

Names: There is no distinction between male and female bakali names. All names are at least two syllables in length, and originate from Draconic.

Example Names: Drazhchok, G’aromel, Kigock, Thel’ock, Mithzok, Baccaneesh, and Xele’ku.

Clan Names: Dray’nec, Gre-tal, and Kralleek.

Adventurers: Bakali are rarely adventurers since most of them choose to remain within tribal lands and protect the territories claimed by their clans from the Sekhnesti. Once in awhile, a bakali may undertake a religious quest which requires them to leave the comfort of their home.

Bakali Racial Stats

3.5 Edition

Bakali are identical to lizardfolk from the Monster Manual (except for the difference in languages noted below), and possess the following racial traits:

  • +2 Strength, +2 Constitution, –2 Intelligence.
  • Medium size.
  • A bakali’s base land speed is 30 feet.
  • +4 racial bonus on Balance, Jump, and Swim checks.
  • +5 natural armor bonus: Bakali have tough hides.
  • Racial Hit Dice: A bakali begins with two humanoid levels which provide Hit Dice of 2d8, a base attack bonus of +1, and base saving throw bonuses of Fort +0, Ref +3, and Will +0. A bakali character receives maximum hit points for his first humanoid Hit Die and rolls all other Hit Dice (including those gained from class levels). Bakali with class levels add their base attack and saving throw bonuses to their bakali base attack and saving throw bonuses.
  • Racial Skills: A bakali’s humanoid levels give skill points equal to 5 x (2 + Int modifier). Its class skills are Balance (Dex), Jump (Str), and Swim (Str). Bakali with class levels do not multiply their first-level class skill points by four.
  • Racial Feats: A bakali’s humanoid levels provide it with one feat. They gain Shield Proficiency and Simple Weapon Proficiency as bonus feats. Bakali characters may take the Scent special quality as the feat listed in the Monster Manual.
  • Natural Weapons: 2 claws (1d4) and bite (1d4). As a full-round action, a bakali may make 2 claw attacks at his normal attack bonus and make one bite attack as a secondary attack (–5 penalty on the attack roll, and half Strength bonus on the damage roll). A bakali can also attack with a weapon at his normal attack bonus and make one claw or bite attack as a secondary attack (as described above).
  • Hold Breath: A bakali can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to four times its Constitution score before it risks drowning.
  • Automatic Languages: Common and Draconic. Bonus Languages: Aquan, Elven, Goblin, Gnoll, and Hudieran.
  • Favored Class: Druid.
  • Level Adjustment: +1.