Remain true, remain in us, O master of all Ascend;
A new beginning will come, in the times of the Neverend.
Wise men will wither themselves, into the folds of Legend.
yet Faith builds our lands, Hope we become strong, doth Transcend.
-- A prayer inscribed at the Great Stone Wall by the Light Pilgrim of the Crest Fall.
THERE IS A LEGEND of "The Frozen" who died a mysterious death after an evil high priest summoned a dragon and cast a powerful spell of “immortal death,” in a long-lost era called Archoane (Ar-kyu-wane). The Frozen were previously called as Dolniors, seventeen sages of might and magic (a group comprising humans, elven and the dwarven ancestry) who once ruled the Kingdom of Navage in her time of widespread fame and prosperity.
(Archoane was a time of rebirth; a flowering of the arts, literature, and a beginning of modern science – a Dawning Age which spanned for a hundred years.)
Of these seventeen legendary men and women, their exemplary reputation became a household name throughout the Lands of Hesperune. They ruled the land with the unwavering scepter of egalitarian law. However, their religion is a powerplay of consequences, using magic to extol the merits of their rule. The Kingdom of Navage became a mighty and prosperous land; a mecca of races, cultures, the thriving arts and the knowledges, and noteworthy of all – her conflicting religions. The religious disputations were dictated by magic and public opinion is ushered through both intellectual and political strata.
Two major deities are worshipped in the Lands of Hesperune – particularly the Kingdom of Navage – which form the basis of their magic. Navageans (the culture and race) are warring in their faith and beliefs vying for religious superiority. The two deities are actively locked in constant conflict for the ultimate homage from the various thriving cults that worship them. Other religions are considered secondary when compared to the established Hesperunic magick and religious traditions. Merathor, the God of Light, which all Things and Beings came from, was challenged in the Time of Upheaval (a period of De-creation) by Nosferi, the Dark Lady of Oblivion, Goddess of Scourge, when Navage reached her pinnacle of glory. Tainted by vanity, as their fame and power grew, some of the Dolniors became complacent and self-serving. The lure of dynastic ambitions, including the graven efforts to persuade and create a large following to Nosferi, bore a gaping hole in the political landscape.
In the cosmic realm, seeing that Merathor had lost a considerable number of followers, his waning powers prompted him to seek the council of the gods. The council overruled against him and was challenged by Nosferi through a contest of faith where he was eventually defeated. Forced to an impending exile to the Waters of Doom, instead, he chose the easy way – departed from the gods’ and mortals’ domain. The fate on the Lands of Hesperune became an unusual epic struggle when Merathor left his divinity to his lower, hapless principalities.
Seeing her advantage, Nosferi assumed the new divinity and power on the face of Hesperune. A great temple was built in her honor in the Lake City.
Archoane came to a dismal end when some of the Dolniors were too engrossed in building their “own city of the gods” – a mocking, vainglorious attempt to outlast the Elven ancestry’s legacy of their Great Work. So it was in the 4th day of Weirprose, the 6th month of Wardclone’s Epoch 529 when Navage fell into the hands of its neighboring kingdom, Telnym. It coincided with the Sorus Invasion. Sorus was Telnym’s common farmer whose strong faith in Nosferi elevated him as her High Priest. A menacing Ternukelos, a powerful dragon in the lands of Hesperune, conspired with Sorus and gave him the most powerful spell called Cloudfrost. He overthrew the seat of the Dolniors and Navage became his ultimate conquest.
Sorus immediately released Cloudfrost upon his victims – the Dolniors. The deadly spell turned them into “relics of Archoane” – frozen in time, including their families. Some of the Dolniors (the seven Sagerulers of Myrharp, Grizz, Pristinerage, Farrandir, Elrin, Glimpseby, and Southara) escaped from Sorus’ wrath. However, the unfortunate ones, the remaining ten were transformed into living statues, floating a few feet above the ground (some were in ecstasy, some in writhing pain, and some in their most compromising situations); in many places at the moment Cloudfrost struck them.
Their memories were never forgotten, a reminder of the terrible Time of Upheaval, a Time of Pestilence and Plague, a Time when Evil Opened Itself; a Time long before humans settled the outermost regions of the Lake-City-Within-A-Lake.
The current era – Wardclone’s Epoch 529 -- bears witness to Navage’s degenerative state: the masses are huddled in rural, traditional society. However, extensive attempts to recreate a flourishing state and bring forth a rise of humanism are made, especially in Myrharp, an autonomous region. Myrharp proves a threat to the menacing grip of power in the Lake City. A group of heroes, assisted by Iur of the One Light (one of the seven Sagerulers who escaped from Sorus' wrath), had forged allegiance with the Elves and Dwarfs to keep her region from the clutch of the Sorus Dynasty of evil rulers.
Iur holds the mystery and lore of the Staff of Gingerblight, an ancient artifact buried in the graveyard of a Dwarven hero name Cladvyrd. It is said that the Staff wields tremendous energy to heal the most incurable diseases and can even resurrect the dead. The goal of this adventure is to find the Staff of Gingerblight and save the neighboring towns like Tiamash and Erangorn from the attacks of the Grammans and other Darklings.
The relentless power of Nosferi in the Kingdom of Navage spawns with a malignant curse. Nosferi’s throngs of her followers have enlisted themselves in the Legion of Life, a rogue army who pledged allegiance to “Death upon Her Unbelievers” to whoever refuses conversion. There are Darklings too: vile creatures and other “curse of creations” of the current ruler, Scorv. A wicked dragonlord of Telnym, he is the fourth descendant of Sorus the High Priest. The Darklings have amassed themselves in Pristinerage, turning most of the towns into a bane.
A portion of Grizz has lost itself to Scorv’s army and has become a “citadel of pain and sickness” where people die from a strange scourge and there are stories of dreaded Grammans attacking the towns every night.
The campaign starts here.
Two major magic traditions are found in the fantasy world of Navage. Not all people have the magical abilities, though. Viscera Magic and Cerebra Magic are superior abilities (beyond the normal humans), but some would contest this egalitarian precept.
Viscera Magic is an innate (inherited genetically) supernatural gift and was founded by a secular group of pilgrims called Paens (Pa-yins). They came from Silicia, a continent below Navage, centuries ago. This is the typical magic most Navageans (and the lands of Hesperune) are aware of. For many generations, the Paens focuses their magic through incantations (ritual words). They were the forefathers of Old Magic. The archaic language used, a cryptic lost tongue, which predates to the prehistoric Time of the Upheaval, is Visceran. However, Viscera magic is an “expression,” and some magic users harness their effect through somatic means (gestures). It is by way of formality that magic, in an expressive sense can be achieved on “movement.” This type of magic can be wielded also with the use of imbued materials or magical artifacts (charms, talismans and amulets).
Cerebra Magic, on the other hand, is an alternate magic through the use of prayers and can be first achieved through a processed learning – a specific ritual (after learning the spells), a one-time rites-of-passage called “Forgotten Dance,” ably performed in the clear mind in order to be a full-pledged Cerebran mage. The Forgotten Dance, ushers a mage to the “throne of her deity.” It is a ritual to summon a particular god/deity of the mage and to establish contact. Thus, allowing her of magic use as a conduit.
This contact is a repetitive process throughout, but in the form of theosophy. Cerebran mages call this immediate vision as “The Illumination.” Others call it “Divine Inspiration.” The Cerebran mages have downplayed the concept on incantations or gestures, used by Viscerans, since the former’s magic is postulated by cosmic elements (Light, Wind, Water, Earth, and Spirit). Cerebra Magic is termed, “Cosmos.” Hence, this is a distinct field or “reality of thought” magic. Importantly, a magic wielder must devote to the research of a specific component that will represent the “Cosmic Elements.” For example, if his deity will bless the Dandelion leaf used for levitating himself, he will use this prior to his spell casting. The component has no magic in effect before it was blessed. However, it will dissipate/vanish once he plans to use it for the day, at the time he is about to cast his spell. A Cerebran deals his magic with a specific usage first and apply them to a specific or (groups) of affinity (or the Cosmos). The originator of this magic came from the cults and followers of Elomind, Maker of the Universe.
The Gingerblight Story
The Staff of Gingerblight, a powerful artifact that can cure strange illnesses (and has been reputed to raise people from the dead), is shrouded in myth.
Centuries ago, when the Dolniors were almost “wiped out” from the face of Hesperune, they have entrusted a Dwarven Sorcerer named Cladvyrd as their Protector and Keeper of the Charms. The magical objects (referred to as “Ar’wyr”) were usually inscribed with runes to protect it from falling into the wrong hands; evil per se. Cladvyrd was a gifted Visceran long before Dolniors came to rule Navage. He was unequalled at producing magical rune calligraphy.
His reputation came widely from various legends, including the War of Desecration. Together with a throng of hundred gifted gnomes, he destroyed most of the evil artifacts and weapon devices. However, some of their fates were unknown. The War of Desecration took place half a century before Archoane, when Navage was teeming of Ar’wyr and he was commissioned by Thurden, the ruling prince at that time, to the formidable task of guarding them against a growing menace of magicians attempting to steal the items for their own wickedness.
Since he was the only person to specialize in this unique ability, the Dolniors made him their custodian of all the Ar’wyr during their halcyon days. Cladvyrd committed himself to the extensive study of all magical artifacts of Navage until the time of his death in Wardclone’s Epoch 497. He was buried in an unmarked grave and only the remaining two of the Dolniors, who outlasted him, knew his secret burial place.
Search for Gingerblight
Many groups have attempted to reclaim or even loot the Staff in the previous years. The search waned after Scorv has grown interest and has, in fact, ordered his Darklings to find it.
One famous incident, or so it was rumored, in the underground catacombs of the Old Lyeild (lie-yield), a church-santuary holding the archives of a “healer’s” incident of her quest for the Gingerblight, was recorded by one of Cladvyrds gnomes.
The healer had prayed, one night, to her deity for a divine intervention to the strange spell affecting her whole village of Tiamash, in the border steppes of Grizz and Myrharp, a northeastern part of Pristinerage. There was no answer. She prayed for almost two weeks and in great sacrifices, her prayers were answered. She mounted a three-man expedition to locate Cladvyrd’s burial whereabouts. Upon reaching the supposed catacombs, hoping to find the mysterious map (drawn by the recording gnome) and other vital scrolls, a vision occurred to her that the Staff of Gingerblight must be returned three days after the last known disease-ridden person is healed in her village.
After encountering with lesser threats of Scorv’s dreaded Darklings, the Tiamash healer brought the Staff of Gingerblight to her village and cured almost every one of their sicknesses. However, her fame grew overnight and the temptation to own it was viciously intense. Soon, she yielded to the temporal powers accorded to her, add this up to the vexations of her relatives, she ignored the warnings of her previous vision of the Staff’s immediate return. One night, her deity smote her with a strange, deteriorating disease.
Lot of the Staff
Coincidentally, some of Scorv’s hordes have gathered in Tiamash – to obtain the Staff of Gingerblight. Word came quickly that Scorv rode a terrible Beast of the Night straight from the Lake City to get the Staff himself, only to find the Tiamash Healer dead, rotting at dawn. The fate of the Staff of Gingerblight that night and from then on was never known. Some have said Scorv imbued it to the Grammans and used it to wield a greater power and transformed the neighboring towns with undead. While others believed, that the healer’s deity took it in her immortal domain.
Rippled and warped inwards, Navage sits in the bosom of Hesperune. Bordering and trapped within the islands and continents of these mythical lands, Navage is an island peninsula forming into a crude nautilus which the sea continually chews the central portions of its large shoreline rock formations. Far to her northeastern is the dreaded Ocean of Fire.
Text and story concept: zetweaker
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