100 years of change have passed since our last campaign, but much has remained the same…
A century ago, an apocalyptic maelstrom of fire, flood, and rage swept over Vinramar, wreaking havoc on the civilizations and cultures residing in the material realm. At the end of this catastrophe, the sun went out for several hours, and then seemed to be reborn in the sky, larger and brighter than it was before. A new era began for the peoples of Vinramar, and for the known worlds.
Terratorumme was abandoned to Xoco’s empire a century ago (except for the university), the colonials called home by the royal family to rebuild. Trentsmund has been rebuilt from the ashes, and now is a mafia-run puppet-kingdom, a bit steampunk, with warforged just now emerging as a new race. Arcane magic is controversial, often vilified, and mistrusted, but often “overlooked” by officials, as it has its uses in the new society. The same mafia that was running guns as underground tech is now the major power behind the throne.
The norlythe, now a stable empire of cooperative city-states and wandering tribes, worshiping Sarnoss and led by Empress Xoco’s descendants, is anti-technology, echoing Sarnoss’s beliefs that technology-wielding mortals were and still are ruining Vinramar. They have recently become an epicenter of primal power, which the Norlythin take as a sign of cultural superiority, many declaring that they are “Sarnoss’s blessed people.” Worshippers of Duhulatt constitute a major secondary religion here, and relations between the followers of these two gods are strained. The nation is now in tense diplomatic negotiations with Trentsmund, and tempers are high, but hopefully (depending on actions of certain PC’s), war may be averted.
Chayershellech is pressing for peace between its northern neighbors, and is sending a diplomat to aid in the peace talks / negotiations, and the PC’s may be hired to go along and assist her…
In Chayershellech, Mottan refugees and Heathfolk converted to Loragg have influenced the development of a renaissance-style republic / monarchy revering the old man who leads their high council, the well loved “bastard king,” the son of an infamous pirate queen and a former head councilman of Chayershellech. The government has evolved into a blending of a monarchy and a republic. There is an argumentative council made up of community representatives, university representatives, other educated and respected men, and self-appointed persons of various backgrounds. There is also a king, who is generally elected from among the (usually many) offspring of the previous monarch.
The conservative Yaelcar kindred of heathfolk have blamed magic for the crisis, and now they’ve rebuilt Yaelcarrach into a nation based on the persecution, subjugation, and outright enslavement of magic-users. Their witch-hunters travel the countryside capturing wizards, warlocks, and other “deviants” for use in work-camps. Raids into Chayershellech and Motta have increased tension with their neighbors.
Strangely, Astronomers and other scholars have noticed a growing number of missing stars, and it is boggling the scientific community. Learned men from several nations have gathered in the universities of Chayershellech to debate the phenomenon, and heated debates over the nature of the universe are in progress there. As the stars have gone out, another phenomenon that intrigues the scholars has begun to manifest. This confusing new is the world-fire, strands of aurora borealis-like colored lights that drift across the night sky of Vinramar in an interconnected web. The world fire has been faintly in effect over northern lands a few nights a year since the day of darkened sun a century ago, but lately, it has grown in power and scope, and now shimmers over all of Vinramar’s night skies, year round. Could this be related to the missing stars? Will the scholarly debates over favorite theories and long held traditions about the nature of the universe cosmology lead to anything besides loads of hot air?
The Etholchan church is still a major world power, hiding from, misinterpreting, or in denial of the events of one hundred years ago, and the knowledge that Daemoth is dead is a controversial top secret subject that even knowing about may well get you killed in certain countries. (Especially Trentsmund, Motta, Goltaraim, and Arrochule) People needed a scapegoat to blame for the crisis years ago, and in areas where the Etholchans still remained in control, the church speaks of a small band of villains led by a traitorous Jhareth-loving eitharmos agent and a deadly backwoodsman blademaster. The Eitharmos have reestablished themselves in force, bitterly re-founded by Halendir at in the final years of his life, along with several other young survivors. Though the Eitharmos are now merely mortals, they still carry a dark power that confuses the followers of the Jharric gods, especially those who know the truth of Daemoth’s demise a century ago…
Meanwhile, the oceans have become unsafe for travel, due to giant sea monsters and freakish, unpredictable storms. Aberrant creatures are attacking shoreline communities worldwide. What could it mean?
In ruined Perrith Gorr, a wasteland has lain fallow and desolate for a century. But now, rumors of secretive movement in the barren dustlands have surfaced. Could it be vampires?
In Goltaraim, the Asgari family has carved a small, desperately defended chain of merchant city states, but the rabid frenzy of the elementalists in the shattered countryside all around them threatens the stability of any semi-permanent government they manage to establish.
In Arrochule, the rise of primal energy in the world has further empowered the strange jungles that once enveloped the Jhareth empire of New Ardon. Many of the peoples of mainland Arrochule have vanished under an onslaught of hungry wilderness, and the empire is in turmoil. The remaining cities and neighboring island states are sending scouts to find out what is brewing in the hungry forest. So far, none of the scouts have returned…
Arwest remained largely untouched by the crisis 100 years ago, and the lycanthrope tribes are ignoring the outer world as they turn inward, embroiled in a deadly civil war. The elves there, meanwhile, have isolated themselves from the war, but are fallling prey to a strange sickness…
Iluithum also was relatively unscathed by the apocolypse, but is now also struggling with a strange outbreak of sleeping-sickness. Tension between the arrogant elves and the proud humans of the area is rising.
More stuff to come on other nations / cultures we may visit… I’d like to do some stuff with the human racial gods, so I need to figure out who worships them and where they live…
Some hooks to consider in character creation:
Most of Vinramar is still a hostile place for good aligned characters, but in a few nations, things are changing. In Chayershellech and the Norlythe, good aligned characters can now live out in the open, but this choice is controversial among those accustomed to the security of secret strongholds and communities. The governments there no longer sanction outright killing of Jharric-worshipping communities, but many of the people still harbor violent prejudices. In other nations, good aligned characters are still living on the run or in secret communities, hunted and persecuted wherever they are found.
Technological inequality between nations is starker than it was before. Transportation and travel over both land and sea has become dangerous, and finger-pointing over the cause of the crisis caused wars, both leading to more isolation between nations than existed before. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds in some nations, but in others, it has collapsed back to a dark ages. If your character is a heathfolk or a human from Trentsmund, your culture has seen great technological advances in the last century. Alchemists and engineers are respected and successful. In the Norlythe, much technology, guns included, has been outlawed as a crime against the natural world in the eyes of Sarnoss, but interpretations of what technology is capable of being used in harmony with nature and what isn’t varies. In Goltaraim and many other nations, technology isn’t feared, but the crisis took a heavy toll on the population, and technological development is lower than it was a century ago. Some areas, notably Goltaraim, are torn with war, and resources, including mined metal, are scarce. Famine and disease are killing thousands. Most people are just trying to survive.
For Primal Characters:
The crisis of 100 years ago has, in many places, left in its wake a revival of respect for nature and the wild. Primal characters are becoming more numerous and powerful than ever before, and, in the Norlythe, have gained considerable political influence. Some groups of nature worshipers, however, have embraced aberrant life as part of the natural cycle, and others violently disagree… this is causing outbreaks of violence
For Divine Characters:
Much of divine magic has become unstable, and prophets and doomsayers have risen up to explain the strange event. Why are the followers of some gods immune to the strange instability, and others more prone to it? There are lots of interesting character story possibilities here, very different depending on which god interests you. The Jharric gods, the Etholchan church, the Silphenites, and the [primiordial gods] are three differently impacted groups…
For Psionic Characters:
As aberrant life form attacks worldwide increase, psionic adventurers are becoming more common, some of them part of an elite order founded 80 years ago by a pair of young Jharethil Psions: Inaya and Idrys Pilar. This monastic order is dedicated to the destruction of aberrant life, and they travel the worlds even now…
For elves, eladrin, and drow characters:
A strange sickness is sweeping across Iluithum and Arwest, spreading out from the feywild gates into elven communities. The disease is wiping memories from elves as they sleep, and has begun to infect nearby humans as well. At the same time, shadow beings are being sighted across the feywild, and throughout elven communities in vinramar, but their role and goals are mysterious at best. The elves are blaming them for the sickness, but the humans of Iluithum have blamed the elven magisters themselves.
For Jhareth characters:
When Salevendom was under attack in the crisis 100 years ago, much of the civilian population of salvendom was evacuated to the secret cities, filling them to the brim with refugees. After the destruction of old salvendom, most of those refugees remained, joining their relatives in Vinramar and creating a population crisis that still challenges the Jharethil of vinramar today. Several new secret cities have been formed over the last century, but others have been destroyed by hostile enemies. Most of the cities still struggle with food production, crowding, and increased crime. The characteristically high birth rate of the Jharethil is adding to the problem exponentially, mitigated by the high fatality rates of the marachel, and other causes of death in a world hostile to their kind. The number of young Jhareth leaving on marachel is higher than it has been in thousands of years, and the world is still a growingly dangerous place for these young adventurers. Few of them are coming back, and the percentage is dropping at an alarming rate.
For Daemon characters:
When daemoth died a century ago, most of the malign spirits waiting in his realm for human bodies fled at once to Vinramar, and more daemons were born in the course of one year than ever before. The dark heralds came to these children, but their forces were spread thin and many fell through the cracks. Daemon characters are still secretive, hiding their identity. The main change is in their numbers, and that more and more of them are pledging allegiance to gods other than Daemoth. They are no longer quite as protected in the abyssal throne, so at death, they return immediately to be reborn on Vinramar. Some vigilantly seek ways to restore their dead god, or, denying the truth of his demise, find where he is hiding. Many have joined the eitharmos in the guise of humans. Others have forsworn the gods entirely, and live a life of hedonism and pleasure in the human communities they bend to their will.