Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The World of Erebus

If you’ve read my blog, then you know I’m a fan of Fall from Heaven II. It’s the best dark fantasy setting you’ve never heard of! The setting’s foundation is based on the Princess Rule: princesses do not find their prince charmings and there are no happily ever afters. In this world, angels fall from heaven while the God of Hope is presently planning the slaughter and damnation of every man, woman, and child. Hence, dark fantasy.

If you game in this world, you’ll come in contact with people of many different nations. One of the fun things my players in my Pirates of the Aegean campaign got to do during background creation was to pick their nationality. Which empire would you live in?

Empires of Men
Amurites - The Amurites have no ancient history, no glorious empire in the Age of Magic to harken back to or trace their lineage from. In terms of civilizations, the Amurites are newcomers on the world stage. Nevertheless, they are a force to be reckoned with, feared by some, and respected by all. Part of that respect stems from the tremendous magical power the Amurite armies command, but no small part of it stems from the incredible story of their genesis.

Balseraphs - It’s a nation of lies and illusions led by a madman and his daughter. All those still clinging to sanity fled long ago, and now the Balseraphs share Perpentach’s madness, living to amuse him. He goes to war on a whim and fights unpredictably, but is no less a threat for it. Despite the capriciousness of their ruler, the Balseraph cities are marvels to behold, dizzying carnivals filled with endless amusement and captivating horrors.

Bannor - The Bannor Empire is a people forged by unbelievable hardship into a weapon of unrelenting justice. They have the will to take the fight to the enemy no matter the price; the only question is if they will take it too far, but they did not fight their way through fire and ice only to let the world fall to darkness.

Calabim - Ancient and powerful, the rulers of the Calabim possess a dark secret. Through fell ritual their lives can be prolonged at the expense of others. This secret would surely incense all honorable nations of Erebus, but perhaps their enemies are willing to dismiss the ugly rumors as just that to avoid the danger of sharing the fate of the sad Calabim humans.

Elohim - The Elohim are the heirs to an honored and selfless legacy. Throughout the ages they have guarded sacred shrines, given comfort to the broken, and brokered peace between deadly rivals. The role the Elohim have chosen earns them the adoration of the humble man, but rulers often resent their meddling and seek the mysteries they guard.

Grigori - Cassiel was an angel in the service of Dagda, god of balance. He spent the Age of Dragons protecting the men who hid from the might of the warring gods around them. When the Compact ended the gods’war yet allowed the gods to battle through men, Cassiel abandoned Dagda's service and began his own crusade to lead men away from a war that has little to do with them. His followers adhere to his ideas by leading themselves. Throughout the ages the cities of the Grigori offered safe haven for those who wanted to lead their own lives. The races of Erebus are divine enough to choose their own fate, and for Cassiel any intervention by the so-called gods is too much.

Hippus - During the Patrian Wars of Succession in the Age of Magic, the Hippus earned great renown as mounted raiders. As the other great nations emerged into the Age of Rebirth, the Hippus turned to raid them, as well as each other, until this proud people looked to be eclipsed by those more united and disciplined. Eventually the leader of a small Hippus tribe made it her mission to unite her people without losing their culture. Now warriors for hire, the swift moving Hippus have fought for, and against, every nation at one time or another.

Illians - When Bhall, goddess of fire, fell from heaven the Illians began a ritual to break the Compact and allow Mulcarn, god of ice, to enter creation. Only the Luchuirp rallied a significant army against them. But they were too late. Just as they broke through the walls, the ritual was completed and Mulcarn entered creation. His first act was the destruction of the Luchuirp army. His second was telling the Illians that a new age had begun, an Age of Ice that belonged to them. With the death of Mulcarn they have been broken and pushed back to the frozen wastes they call home; yet rumors spread of a new leader, uniting them in search of lost glory.

Kuriotates - In the harrowing years between the end of the Age of Ice and the dawn of the Age of Rebirth, squabbling tribes, warlords and city-states of many races were gathered into a nation, led by the mysterious boy-king Cardith Lorda. He dreams of building a peace and prosperity that draws all races to his teeming cities. Under him, these diverse elements gather together in a tolerant and bountiful land, and forge a state to survive a dangerous world.

Lanun - The oceans and seas of Erebus are home to the Lanun, an untamable people as comfortable on deck as on land. Every captain is a nation unto himself, and the two most powerful are Falamar and Hannah the Irin. Falamar is as dauntless as the waves, with an allure that draws in women from any port, while Hannah is as fickle as the wind, and a tempest when crossed. They are unrivaled on the waves, but as the conflicts of Erebus draw them in they will be forced to fight on battlegrounds of every type, and must stand firm or be buried in the sands of time.

Malakim - When a group of hunters happened across a nearly-dead elven man freezing in the desert wastes, they took him back to their village and agreed to tend to his injuries rather than kill him. When he awoke in their care, he explained that he was Varn Gosam, and that he had fled from his homeland. Sensing truth in him, the Malakim accepted him and allowed him to live among them. Varn built a shrine to Lugus in the small village and began spreading his newfound religion to the villagers. His revival spread quickly, and the former elven prince found himself a leader of men. Accepting that role, he set forth to lead the Malakim through the hard years to follow and into the light of Lugus.

Sheaim - There is no history of the Sheaim as a people before the Age of Rebirth. As the Age of Ice ended, they were a people from all civilizations gathered toward one purpose: ending creation through the fell magic of Armageddon spells. Most pursue this focus to increase their arcane knowledge, some believe they will receive an eternal reward for destroying creation, while a few just want the world to end.

Sidar - Men who have traded portions of their soul for immortality, the Grey are detached from the events of the world. Only intervening to protect themselves or striking out to destroy undead (despite their own use of magic to extend their lives they see the undead as aberrations), they are happy to keep to their hidden cities, out of the eyes, and the wars, of the younger races.

Empires of Elves
Ljosalfar - Once the Summer Court spent its days in song and harmony with nature, but those days are long past. The elven god was killed, and the elves were nearly wiped out as a result of the ensuing Civil War, stopped only due to the Age of Ice. With the promotion of Cernunnos to be the new god of nature, they are coming back from the few hidden groves they still control. The question which remains is whether the old feud shall begin anew.

Svartalfar - Once, the Winter Court danced beneath the stars. But they abandoned their faith after the death of Sucellus and chose to revere Esus, the god of Deception. Now their midnight pranks have turned deadly as the illusions and games of former ages are used for war.

Empires of Dwarves
Khazad - Sturdy dwarves, the Khazad have finally stepped out to embrace their destiny as one of Erebus’ powers. Tradition holds them in a firm grip, but ambition draws them away from their underground homes. Steadfast in battle, in faith and in friendship, they build their empire slowly but give not an inch in trade nor warfare.

Luchuirp - The cities of the Luchuirp are beautiful to behold. Enchanted lifts carry people throughout the city and powerful golems serve and guard the dwarves. Although most golems are unable to learn, Barnaxus is an oddity among the Luchuirp; able to learn, and pass what he learns along to the rest of the Luchuirp's golem army.

Empires of Savages
Clan of Embers - Bhall had given her righteous followers gifts to rival those sorcerous powers gained first from Ceridwen. The passionate fire goddess was a force for good. Those who loved justice and mercy could use her power to counter the wicked mages Kylorin had trained. But she fell to the wily whispers of Agares, god of despair, raining fire on the just and unjust alike in a terrible day heralding the end of the Age of Magic. Once devout men of many nations they were transformed, cursed and enraged. As she fell from heaven the goddess passed through the holy city of Braduk, taking many of those who loved goodness and trapping them in Hell. Half the city was rendered a flaming pit, but those people who remained, in touch with the fiery spirit of Bhall, were twisted into the orcs.

Doviello - The greatest shock to those who study the Doviello is this—that they are indeed human. This is a tribe so savage and feral that most sane people assume them to be monsters. None are sure what they were before the Age of Ice; most likely men of many nations. But instead of retreating to caves to wait out the cold, they became wild men surviving on the surface, raiding and killing any they found. The Doviello continue their habits today even as other nations try to settle the thawed surface, for unending winter winnowed away compassion and trust; stripped of all but will and strength.


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