Shades of Shadora
Shadora’s history is divided up into 7 distinct periods – See the Timeline for details.
- Dawn Age: 1000 years
- Journeyman Age: 2000 years
- Gods Age: 2000 years
- Chaos Wars: 1000 years
- First Age: Slavery and Emancipation: 900 years
- Second Age: Dominance and Submission: 250 years
- Third Age: 50 years (present day )
The -ahay suffix is SlaveTongue for “Tribe of Man”. e.g. The Yatahay are the “Yat” tribe of men and use the Bear as their totem animal.
The giant volcano that Kala’s Chariot returns to at dusk each night.
A crystal tower that rises from the Sea of Steam and glows with a soft blue light.
BALLOON FLEET OF THENGA ORANA
A mighty collection of airships manned by human slaves that serve as a fleet of aircraft carriers for the Vrawk War Flock. The fleet was created by Duran Treadash, a renegade dwarf graduate of the College Inner Workings. He was paid an enormous sum by the Vrawk war leaders, but suffered a terrible gunpowder accident before he could spend it.
A volcanic ash and rock plain one one of the central islands that juts into the Sea of Steam forming a natural cove. There is a powerful water temple there.
A rugged, nearly impassible section of the Ring Range that is inhabited by dwarves.
A notorious pirate port in the Sea of Steam
- Mount Cannon – an active volcano that is perpetually spewing ash and rock
The high reaching mountain range in the Realm of Shadow that protects most of the realm from the rays of the sun.
In the Season of Winds Rise, Waves Crest, Shadows Creep, Earth Turn, or Flames Leap . . .
|Week / Day||Darks||Dirts||Lights||Winds||Rivers||Shades||Blooms||Heats||Gales||Lakes|
In the Season of the Adjournment . . .
|Week / Day||Darks||Dirts||Lights||Winds||Rivers||Shades||Blooms||Heats||Gales||Lakes|
The chain of large islands (some say small continents) that exist in the Sea of Steam between the realms of Fire and Earth.
CLIMATE AND WEATHER
The element presiding over the Cosmic Court influences the weather patterns in all domains to some extent. Weather is also influenced by your position on the disk. The weather in the borderlands and the contested realms will be a mixture of the two elements involved with some input from the presiding element.
COLLEGE OF INNER WORKINGS
The dwarves have a vast technical school buried deep within the Serpentine Mountains called the College of Inner Workings. Dwarves and men come from all over to learn of Alchemy, Chemistry, Metallurgy, and Mechanics. Graduates of the school are highly regarded in their society. Its graduates are Master Mechanicians, Alchemists, and Engineers and are highly sought after by large civilizations and besieging armies. Of course, the dwarves keep the most powerful secrets for themselves.
Men that come to study a basic arts are required to swear draconian secrecy oaths and to pay 30% of their earnings back to the College for the rest of their lives. Much of the “true” inner workings ( gunpowder, steam power, etc ) are always kept from outsiders. Most of these “under” graduates become guild masters of the mechanics or alchemy guilds in large cities or hire themselves out to nobles or kings.
In Shadora, priests, sorcerers, wise men, mothers and fools all tell the story of creation as follows: ( see Mythos and History for more details )
- First were the Elements, who are forever.
- Next came the Giants and the Dragons, keepers of lore.
- Next came the Journeymen who lived, built, and departed.
- Next came the Gods, created in the Great Contest.
- Next came the Eldar Races, constructed by the Gods in their own image
- Next came Chaos, formed from the scraps of the Eldar Race creation and transformed by the Winds of Change.
- Next came the Chaos Gods, who defended their warped children, were stripped of their element, and driven mad.
- Next came Man, the slave race, born without elemental ties, created to serve but yearning to be free.
- Last came sorcery, gleaned from the ruins of the Journeymen, it gave Man the stature of a dominant race.
A mountain pass in the Blind Mountains between the realms of darkness and darkearth.
There are 4 directions in Shadora: Coreward, Rimward, Spinward and Spunward. These are normally marked as Core, Rim, Spin, Spun on most maps.
In the Shadoran compass, the needle, a sliver of Elementia, points at Emancia ( the core ) and the outer ring spins to align your current elemental domain under the point of the needle. The compass image shown on the right says that bearer is in the realm of water and they could travel north west ( in terrestrial terms) to reach the core. These compasses were built by the Journeymen and found among the ruins in the realm of water. They enabled the early sailors to open the seas and establish trade.
When used in the core, the needle will simple spin and the ring aligns itself to the elemental domains. Direction in this case is always Rimward toward an elemental realm of dominance or contest.
During the Gods Age, the gods of Shadora involved themselves directly in the daily affairs of of the Eldar races. At the end of the Chaos war, the gods swore to uphold the Concordance which prohibited direct involvement, limiting them instead to interacting only through their worshipers. This interaction comes with a price for whenever a god provides divine intervention fr his or her worshiper, a chaotic horror is summoned from the void and set loose upon the world.
The gods still provide divine intervention, but only rarely, only to their most devout, and only in teh most dire of circumstances. A god’s aid is also limited by its nature. For example, Vorthod, god of Storms, cannot make a volcano erupt or turn water into steam. He could, however, grant the gift of flight, cause a tornado to suddenly strike, or put out a fire by taking all the air out of an area. Under no circumstances can a god intervene or interfere inside the temple of another deity or change time in any way.
A mated pair of dragons were created by each element. They were the teachers of the Journeymen and came to be known as the Lore Givers. The dragons spawned many clutches of lesser dragons that learned from their sires and became great Keepers of Secrets. They went out into the disk and dabbled in their own experiments, especially sorcery. All dragons are sorcerers of their element to some extent. These dragons remained loyal to their element during the gods war and were known as the ‘good dragons’.
The Jester’s Handful had bits and pieces of dragons in it. These came to be known as the Wyrms or evil dragons. The most fierce of these was Hyalorm – Mother Hydra, a 5 headed monstrosity, horribly tainted with chaos, and bearing one of each dragon’s head and wielding the powers of all five. All Wyrm-kind bear the taint of chaos.
The Races created by the gods. Trolls Humans are not an Elder race. They were created as a subservient slave race to serve the Elder races.
One of the four aspects of man. The men who broke ties with the elements and gods, escaped with Eman Zelen to Emancia, and became the first sorcerers. They are also known as the Valkim which is a journeyman phrase for “Unchained Ones”.
A bleak, frozen land with a home to a human culture of great explorers, fierce warriors, harsh living, and unforgiving gods.
A mated pair of giants was created by each element. They were the messengers and enforcers of the laws of elements to the Journeymen and came to be known as the Lore Wardens. Some scholars speculate that the dragons taught the Journeymen too much, such that they threatened the elements themselves, and that the elements sent the giants to destroy their civilizations.
The Jester’s Handful had bits and pieces of giant kind in it. These came to be known as the Grall or evil giants. No great leader rose up among them as with Hyalorm. Instead they banded together and took to the Ring Range and scattered across the disk. Also, unlike the dragons, each took on the aspect of only 1 element and their intelligence dimmed as their brute strength grew. All Grall have a chance of having a chaotic feature. The cyclops, ogres, ettins and goblins are the most common form of Grall.
The forest and farmland within the arms of the mountain range dominating the Realm of Earth.
The five cities built upon the Journeyman Ruins that lie at the apex of two Ley Lines. Each Great City has the prefix “Thenga” meaning “great city of” in the tongue of the Journeymen.
A haunted place in a deep box canyon full of giant spiders and the bones of the dwarf god Teral. Teral fell here when betrayed by Sinooth during a prisoner exchange.
The hexalexicon, discovered by Deniom in the vaults of Eman, state that there are 6 × 6 rituals each with 6 parts. This yields a total of 216 ritual acts. The tome was secreted away, probably to the palace of lost hope, before any copies could be made. The minions of the chaos gods have been working on this since the advent of sorcery in the second age. Their progress to date is unknown…
Chaotic sorcerers specializing the conjuration of chaotic horrors. They are the sworn enemies of the College of Conjuration in the University of Earth.
After the Dragons and the Giants, came the Journeymen. They were a golden race of immortals created by all the elements in concert and endowed with a combination of their powers. This was a golden, timeless age in which great deeds and accomplishments were attained. Cities, great libraries, roads and aqueducts were all built.
None know what became of the Journeymen. Some say they grew too powerful and the elements destroyed them. Some say they simply left on some great Journey, thus the name. Others feel that there was a great war in which both sides were wiped out. Some believe that they have not gone, but are among us, watching and waiting for the correct time to come out of hiding. Whatever the case, much of what they created in their golden age still exists today. Especially the roads that crisscross Shadora and their vast library left behind in the ruins on Emancia which gave birth to sorcery.
JOURNEYMEN ARCH (JOURNEYMEN GATE)
The Journeymen created a series of arches that are self powered, teleportation gates. They used these arches to transport items over great distances. It is thought that there is an entire network of a that allowed them to crisscross the world. Many arches have been found in strange, remote areas of Shadora as well as in the Great Cities.
When a sorcery student matures, and they have spent at least a year abroad, they may be approached by a master of their college to serve them with the rank of apprentice. They will only be approached if their skill is great in their college of focus, if their exploits are notable, if they have not brought shame on their element, and if a master is willing to take them on. When they are approached by the master, he or she will introduce themselves and then summon them to Liberty City on the Isle of Emancia to take the challenge of the Journeyman Conundrum.
The Journeymen left at least three of these magical labyrinths in Shadora and one sits below the city of Freehold near the Vaults of Knowledge. Walking the conundrum invokes an intricate “walking ritual” where the path one traces actually casts a complex spell. In the case of a sorcery student successfully walking the conundrum, both the Create Familiar and Apprentice Bonding rituals are completed. Within the maze the student will encounter the familiar the Conundrum chooses for them. The student must prove themselves worthy of the prize via a series of grueling tests. Many take the test, most fail, and some die.
I am Gaburi, royal scribe of Liberty City. This record was discovered in the ruins of Emancia in a series of clay jars. The parchment was damaged beyond repair during the translation and I am not entirely certain that the dynasties are called out in the right order. But the Journeymen are gone and there is no one to dispute me so I stand by my work.
The Journeymen were a race of immortals created by the Elements themselves and as such they were inherently unstable. In the 2500 years that the journeymen flourished on the great disk, they had a total of 10 dynasties that rose and fell before they departed on their mysterious journey. The bulk of the journeyman ruins that litter the surface of Shadora are from the 9th or 10th dynasty though sites from the earlier dynasties are not unheard-of.
The journeymen clans were an untamed and contentious lot. Secretive, proud, insular, quick to take offense, and slow to forgive. Some scholars say it was a miracle that any dynasties were ever formed. The early dynasties unraveled in some form of civil war when old slights blossomed into full on conflicts between the clans. Some of these ancient battle sites are still unsafe to enter as radiation from the mighty magics unleashed still lingers and affects those who enter. The rulers of these dynasties where called “valka” which mean “god among men.”
The first Valka was Wulfar the Maker and he was the first leader to unify the young journeyman clans under one banner after decades of bloody conflict. He was a great smith and an inhuman warrior. He taught his craft to many men and formed the first guilds. The wild powers of the Journeymen, given by the elements themselves were first bound into objects by the smiths and craftsmen of Wulfar. Many of these items exist today, as the makers ensorceled these objects with great preservative powers. Artifacts from this dynasty bear the markings of a crossed sword and hammer above an anvil. The anvil is draped with a cloth bearing a single five pointed star within a circle representing the unified clans under one banner. This pentagram mark became the symbol for all the dynasties that followed and became the first Rune of Shadora, the Journeyman Rune.
The second Valka was Adar the Bringer, a powerful conjurer who rose to power by conjuring terrifying and unknown animals onto the battlefield to smite his foes. Fliers and diggers, swimmers and stompers, strange hybrids, and all with terrible powers of their own such as fiery breath, a stoning gaze, poison stings, and beguiling songs. He maintained an extensive zoo. When his dynasty fell, many of his creations escaped into the wilds. Many of these creatures can still be found roaming the disk today. Some have gained limited sentience like the gryphon and the birdbear, others like the basalisk and wyvern have been warped by chaos and are mere shadows of their former glorious selves. Artifacts from this dynasty, other than the aforementioned creatures still roaming the disk, are identified by a gryphon in flight wearing a shield shaped pendant bearing a pentagram.
The third dynasty was formed by Valka Emmar the Tactician, a blind military strategist. It was said that he could plot the moves of 1000’s of troops in his head. Emmar was the first to suggest domesticating some of Adar’s less dangerous creatures. He raised the first mounted units both airborne on great golden eagles and land based on horse and lizard. Emmar lost his sight in an early battle when he fell from his horse and landed among his foes. He was recovered by his faithful, but not before a sword slash cost him his sight. Emmar was as brilliant off the battlefield as he was on. He created the first version of of the game rooks and knights which is still played in the halls of kings today. It is thought that the wise sage playing piece that moves diagonally across the board was modeled after Emmar himself as his battle strategies were built by thinking of his foes in unexpected ways, on the slant if you will. Artifacts from the third dynasty are identified by a grid pattern behind the head of a man wearing a blindfold bearing a pentagram.
The fourth Valka was Finsar the Hunter who hunted down one of Adar’s partictularly nasty creatures. A large flying reptile with tentacles and a foul stench that was plaguing the clans. Finsar drove the creature into extinction and the clans rallied behind him. On one of his hunts, Finsar sailed to the center of the disk and discovered the Isle of Krayatan which in later ages became known as Emancia. His dynasty fell before he could fully explore the island, but it’s power over the elements became clear to him immediately. He dispatched his sages and sorcerers to understand his discovery. His realm fell and the small research outpost was left forgotten for decades. Artifacts from the fourth dynasty are identified by a crossed bow and spear with a pentagram above.
The fifth Valka was Orar the Runeweaver who rose to power as an elemental priest in great temple. He drove the clans to spread the faith across the disk. His dynasty erected great temples and cities all across the disk and dedicated these great works to the Elements who were their gods. Orar demanded that all the elements be represented equally and evenly across the face of the disk. These labors established the five realms of elemental dominance, each dedicated to a single element. Orar, the priest Valka, and his high priests also created a all the remaining runes of power with which to further enchant their greatest works. These works were staggering and generated enormous outlays of mana and all the elements grew in power equally. It is widely thought among the sages that the act of creating the runes cause the first area of concern for the elements at the power of the journeymen. Perhaps they were growing too great. Artifacts from the fifth dynasty are identified by a large pentagram with elemental runes in each of the points of the star.
The sixth Valka was Elufar the Runebender and she rose to power after a long bloody war against the priest hood that had grown to powerful and decadent. Elufar and her agents proved that the runes could also be used to work against the elements and enhance the powers of the journeymen instead of glorifying and growing the elements. The worship of the elements had become oppressive as the powerful priests wielded great power over the common worshipper and a caste system had formed centered around the temples and those that serviced them. Elufar had rallied the the craftsmen and artists and farmers that formed the lowest caste and helped them rebel against the church of the elements. Elufar organized them into secret enclaves and when the architects and engineers among the journeymen saw that knowledge was also beginning to be regulated by the priests, they joined the secret covens and practiced their arts in secret. Elufar’s covens sent ships to explore and find a place where they might pursue their arts without being hunted down and persecuted. They stumbled upon the lost outpost established by Valka Finsar in the fourth dynasty. On this island the priests held no sway and the need to worship the elements that was built into the journeyman race at creation no longer impelled them once they reached this new land. Elufar and his coven used the new knowledge that had been developed by the scholars of the lost outpost to grow the island from a small spit of land into an entire continent. It is said that Elufar reached deep into the sea and pulled the earth to the surface and some believe this is why Emancia is shaped like a hand. She named this newly formed land Emancia as she felt it represented final freedom from the enslavement of the elements. In fact, Elufar found that mages in this realm could bend the elements themselves to their will. Emancia became known as the realm of submission where none of the elements held power. In addition to creating the new continent, Elufar’s mystics built the conundrums to help train more learners as quickly as possible. It is said that she built 5 conundrums though only 2 have been discovered to date. These new students found that on this island they had the power to manipulate the elements simply by desiring to do so. Their own will became a powerful force. They found that with practice they could work this elemental manipulation beyond the shores of their new home thought it was much more difficult. Elufar moved the set of power of her empire to Emancia. Artifacts from this dynasty are identified by an open hand with a pentagram inscribed in the palm. This was the rise of the sorcerer priests.
The seventh Valka was Elrar the Dragoncharmer and she rose to power as the daughter of Elufar. She studied under her mother and when she perished in one of her conundrums, Elrar took the obsidian throne. Elrar codified the the knowledge of her mother’s covens into a grand library in the capital city. The greatest scholars and sages were gathered to record, catalog and codify what had been discovered so that it would never be lost. Great expeditions were sent out across the disk to share this knowledge across the empire and the teachers found that their students had also made strides. In this way knowledge flowed into Emancia a a great rate. Elufar also convinced the great dragons to visit and roost in Emancia. They hunted the hills and plains of the new content, grew fat with its plentiful sheep and game and wagged their tongues to attentive scholars. New secrets emerged and the journeymen learned. Artifacts from the seventh dynasty are identified by an unfurled scroll containing her mother’s open hand with a pentagram on the palm.
The eighth Valka was Hrathar the Gatemaker and he rose to power as Elrar’s son. Hrathar was a brilliant student in his youth and excelled in all the arts including engineering. Hrathar engineers surveyed the disk both topologically and magically. They discovered and mapped all the ley lines and found them to be unpredictable and poorly distributed. Hrathar designed and oversaw the creation of the great road that still criss cross the disk today. Besides the obvious improvement in land travel that the roads provided, they also stabilized the flow of mana by balancing out the key lines. Some believe that the roads also channelled the power of the ley lines directly into Emancia to increase the power of their sorceries and enchantments. Hrathar achievement was great but he was not finished. He designed and oversaw the creation of a massive teleporting gate system known as the Journeyman Arch network. The Arches were built in all major cities and any places of interest or import to the journeymen and their studies. Many of these “interesting locations” are still being discovered in the present day as it is not uncommon to uncover a lost journeyman arch in the middle of the wilderness. Since the Journeymen only inhabited the realms of dominance and submission, the contested realms have not gates nor journeyman ruins. Artifacts from the eight dynasty are identified by a soaring arch with a pentagram inscribed within.
The ninth Valka was Dorahar the Giantslayer, the youngest son of Hrathar. He rose to power when his four older siblings died in a mysterious accident during the construction of one of the journeymen’s great graceful bridges. He was a sorcerer without equal and he whipped the guilds mercilessly to extend their research into all forms of knowledge even those that were considered dark or evil. The power of the journeymen grew in leaps and bounds but still Dorahar wanted more. The great dragons still slumbered in the hills and vales of Emancia murmuring secrets in between contented dreams since the seventh dynasty. Dorahar put a plan into motion that chained and enslaved the dragons as they slept. Great was their rage, but greater was the power of Dorahar and the darks arts of his minions. The dragons were bound and their secrets plumbed. The elements responded by sending the giants, their own private peacekeepers, to free the dragons and punish the hubris of Dorahar and his people. The true giant Athial descended from the celestial court and met with Dorahar to negotiate the surrender of the dragons. He would not attack the Dorahar outright as ordered by his elemental masters because his love for the journeymen was too great. It is said that he wept bitterly when he saw the bound dragons and angrily demanded that Dorahar free them immediately. Dorahar refused and smited the great giant king saying, “Begone servant of the elements! You no longer have any power here!” This phrase is still used today by sorcerers to banish elementals. The young giants who accompanied Athial went mad with despair and fled Emancia to become the wild giants of frost and fire, sea and shadow. Some were enslaved by Dorahar to work his mines and forges, he gouged out one of their eyes so that they would know the cost of rebellion. They became his most loyal followers, gouging out the eye of their young as a show of fealty, he called them the cyclops. The elements themselves were enraged and great earthquakes, tsunami’s and storms battered the shores of Emancia threatening to destroy Liberty city. Dorahar and his sorcerers held the onslaught at bay and spared the great city and it’s works. Dorahar however was slain when a thunderbolt struck him down from out of the heavens when his attention was turned towards the city. His minions worked great magics to try and revive him, failed and so they preserved him as best they could in the hopes that they could someday restore him to life. In the end his sorcerer-priests could not agree on a successor and formed a 12 person council of governors. Artifacts from the ninth dynasty are identified by an unblinking eye with a pentagram inscribed within the iris.
The tenth dynasty had no Valka and the obsidian throne sat empty in the hall where the council of governors met to reign over the haggard empire. Almost immediately the last dynasty began to break down. Great arguments broke out between factions that thought that Dorahar’s dark, and as some said, forbidden knowledge should be destroyed and those that wanted not only to preserve it but to delve even deeper into it’s black depths. At this point, the tale of the journeymen begins to become obscured. It is thought that the palace of lost hope was built deep in the desert of the fire realm during this time as a secret means of preserving the dark knowledge. It is also thought that the council kept the dragons chained and continued to pursue the extraction of their knowledge. This act was thought to have rekindled the rage of the elements and they rallied their giant armies led by Enisha, the widowed mate of Athial, to lay siege to Emancia and the other great cities of the crumbling empire. Some great magic was worked towards the end of the dynasty and the journeymen disappeared from the disk forever. The giants destroyed all their cities and great works leaving them all in ruins. They freed the dragons, but the journeyman experiments had left them broken and wild. More animals than the great teachers they once were. These wild dragons did not return to the celestial court and took up residence on the disk. Artifacts from the tenth dynasty are identified by Dorahar’s unblinking eye surrounded by a ring of 12 diamonds.
At the height of their power the Journeymen disappeared from Shadora forever leaving behind the ruins of their great works scattered about the world. There are many myths as to the nature of this disappearance. Some think that the Journeymen used the realm of submission to rebel against their elemental masters and had to be destroyed by the elements to save the world. Other believe that they destroyed themselves and their works by becoming both too powerful and too careless. Some scholars speculate that the dragons taught the Journeymen too much, such that they threatened the elements themselves, and that the elements sent the giants to destroy their civilizations. However, the most popular legend suggests that they grew more powerful than the elements and left the world, journeying out on some great quest to become gods in their own right, thus gaining the Journeyman name.
When the elements turned to the creation of the gods, they agreed that they would each create their own pantheon to prevent the problems they had encountered with the journeymen.
The Journeymen built a series of wide roads that still criss-cross Shadora tracing out a five pointed star. These roads have proven to be virtually indestructible and now serve as invaluable trade routes. The roads tend to disappear into mountains, hills, and large bodies of water. They are made of a radiant white cobblestones and are perfectly straight. All 5 of Shadora’s major cities lie upon their vertices. In the stretches of wilderness which they traverse, highwaymen and bandits have found a haven. Walkers on these road have found that they radiate power and that spell casting is much easier upon the roads.
The roads contain runes of motion inscribed upon them at specific, repeating intervals. The Eldar races found it useful to use these marks as a standard unit of measure as the roads exit in all the realms. Thus the unit of long distance became to be called the “Mark” and is equal to 1 earth mile.
Cities, monuments, and temples to the elements, all of the great works of the Journeymen were destroyed and now lie in vast ruins. No one know how they were destroyed, or why, but all remain great places of power and mystery.
“Kent” is an Agualan word for mercenary. The most accurate translation would be “bloody spear”. Kent’s Lake is a large lake that is fed by the Warm River and its tributaries. The lake attracts those who would hire themselves out as bodyguards for migrating Agualan. It also attracts those who would hire themselves out to slaughter Agualans. The Agualan’s suffer mightily from natural predators and political enemies during their vast migration up the Warm River to the Sundered Sea. This is a place of hard men, loose coin and shifting alliances.
The languages in Shadora are listed below along with the native tongue for all the races
- Darktongue = Trolls, Chytes
- Firespeech = Lazuri, Fel
- Windspeech = Vrawk, Nein
- Watertongue = Agualan ( no written form )
- Earthtongue = Elf, Dwarf, Lir (most common written language),
- Voidwail = Chaos, ( no written form ) , Grall, Kur
- Slavetongue = Men ( no written form )
- Traveler = Journeymen, Dragons, Giants, Sorcerers
- Alembic = Guild Alchemists ( no spoken form )
Lazuri generally distain armor, donning only a loincloth and a colored sash that indicates their rank or caste:
- White: High Priest;
- Grey: Priest;
- Gold: Rune Lord;
- Red: Warrior – Veteran/Master;
- Orange: Warrior – Chaotic;
- Yellow: Warrior – Experienced;
- Green: Warrior – Recruit/Average;
- Hand – hand width – 3 inches (pl. hands )
- Foot – foot length – 4 hands – 12 inches (pl. feet)
- Stride – 3 feet – 12 hands (pl. meters)
- Mark – 1000 Stride (pl. marks)
- League – 5 Marks (pl. leagues)
Ley-Lines indicate the high mana areas of Shadora. The five Great Cities of Shadora are each at the apex of two Ley Lines.
Chaotic god of Cyclones slain by Vorthod in the chaos war.
A large, journeymen ruin in the foothills of the Blind Mountains inhabited by Malamorphs
Mana is the magical force that powers all spells in Shadora. There are areas of high Mana along the Ley Lines of the world which tend to follow the Journeyman Roads. There are also regions of high and low Mana in areas once inhabited by the Journeymen or blasted during the Chaos War.
Any member of the group of beings cursed with a shifting shape. Malamorph used the shapeshifting properties of water to curse a number of her followers with a second shape. They collectively took on the name of their goddess which means ‘false form’. Bear, tiger and wolf, ape and rat, shark and crab, and many others were given the curse. It is not known if they were humanoids or animals before taking the curse. The most powerful of the shapeshifters, the doppelgangers, have no real shape at all. The Blind Mountains holds a large Malamorph city called Lunden.
Money was first minted by the dwarves, but with the rise of the Lazuri Empire, most of the money in circulation is minted by the Lazuri and so bears the visage of their emperor. In game terms currency uses the F/T/S notation instead of the $ denotation used in the Savage Worlds rules, there is no “dollar” among the cultures of the world. Rather, coins are minted from three primary metals: gold, silver, and copper. 100 coins = 1 pound.
- Copper Coins = Scales = 1S
- Silver Coins = Talons = 1T = 10S
- Gold Coins = Fangs = 1F = 20T = 200S
NIGHT AND DAY
When Kala, the Sun, leapt into the sky Shadora fled his burning, blinding light, while the other elements revealed themselves. Kala and Shadora eventually came to terms and agreed the world would spend half of each day in the light and the other half in darkness. However, neither wanted to have their powers completely vanquished by the other. Thus all things cast a shadow in the light, and the holes in Shadora’s cloak let in a little of Kala’s ever present glow at night known giving the world the stars.
Kala and Shadora fulfilled these roles for centuries until the birth of the gods when they handed them over to Lazur and Mawl, the sun and night gods. At dawn Lazur drives his chariot, pulled by seven tigers, across the sky during the day and then retreats into the depths of a great mountain which Natrala crafted for him. At dusk, Mawl spreads the cloak of her mother Shadora across the world and blankets it in darkness.
Whether one worships the gods or uses sorcery, their powers are bound by the nature of the elements and the fact that each element is always directly opposed by two others. All the cults of Shadora consider it a sin to use magic from a rival element for any reason. Sorcerers find it much harder to learn and use spells from opposed colleges.
Perali, the name the elves of Shadora take for themselves, comes from their representative goddess Peral.
PLAINS OF HERIA
Vast grassland off the coast of the realm of air.
PLANES OF EXISTENCE
Five planes exist in Shadora’s Realm. The Elemental Court, the Overdisk, the Spiritrealm, the Underdisk, and the Void.
Chaotic god of thunder slain by Vorthod in the chaos war.
Also known as battle magic or spirit magic is the most common form of magic in Shadora. Even a lowly farmer will know enough possession magic to help him mend a fence or heal minor injuries. This form of magic gets its name from the fact that it is accomplished via benign possession. The spirit magician feeds the spirit mana in exchange for the use of its essence. Spirits used in this fashion must be an ancestor of the caster and for this relationship to work. If uncle Bob was good at fixing things and died in a hunting accident, it is possible that he could serve his nephew by providing repair magic.
Shamen and cult spirit masters have learned to judge spirit impressions and can usually prevent unfriendly spirits from entering into a seemingly benign relationship. Accidents, however, do happen and warriors can find themselves suddenly possessed in the middle of battle with no control over their actions.
Shadora is a disk world, 11,000 km in diameter with an area of approximately 30,000 sq. mi. Upon this disk it is possible to superimpose a five pointed star and get an immediate feel for the relationships of various regions of the world.
The five points of the star, represent the five Elements that make up the cosmic binding forces that allow Shadora to exist: Darkness, Fire, Earth, Air, and Water. The five areas outside the star are the Realms of Dominance where each element has carved out their own piece of the world. The areas within the star, not including the center, are the Realms of Contest where neighboring elemental forces vie for dominance over their nearest neighbors. The center of the star is an area where the elements by themselves have little or no power and is known as the Realm of Submission. Here it is actually possible for the denizens of Shadora to dominate the Elements with ancient and arcane techniques long lost to the world at large.
The world of Shadora is strongly linked to elemental powers and characteristics. Each of the five elements have created a pantheon of gods to help it rule over their domains. The gods are in turn worshiped by the sentient races.
In Shadora, the Law rune is an equilateral triangle. Its three sides represent the three virtues of Law: truth, justice, and equality. The law rune was the foundation upon which the Elements built the gods. Each god is empowered with dominion over three broad domains represented by mystic runes. The first rune is always that of the element that spawned them. At the onset of the Great Contest, all Elements agreed that each god must be bound by their element. The second and third runes represent their unique abilities and finish out their runic triad.
The runic triad is also used in enchantments to leave the permanent effect of a god on an item. Chaotic enchantments, when they succeed, can be extremely powerful as they serve to bind chaos into a permanent pattern. However, these enchantments have been known to be extremely unstable and very unpredictable.
When the gods of Chaos were stripped of the elemental rune in their runic triad, their very foundation was shattered. They avoided annihilation only by embracing chaos and placing it at the core of their being. Chaos could not be held thus, nor could it be dislodged. The destruction of their triad and its restoration with chaos as the core, left the gods of Chaos utterly unstable, horribly transformed, and driven to madness.
The Ring Range is a range of “impassible” mountains that ring the edge of the disk and reach high into the heavens. The range is there to keep the living out of the underworld and to keep the dead from straying into the overdisc. A holy peak exists in each domain where each element has it’s house. The holy peak is guarded by the most powerful and loyal elementals, dragons, and giants. The Ring Range is said to have deep caverns that lead to the Underdisc, the realm of the dead.
The Elements hold court high above Shadora on Celestia, the world’s only satellite. To promote peace in the court, each element presides over the court as high judge and tie breaker. The seasons reflect the element that holds the high seat. Each Season is 5 tendays (50 days) in length.
The court takes an annual recess to allow each element to recharge its gods and followers. It is a time of great feasting and solemn prayer. It is the Time of the Adjournment. It is a time when the gods commune with the elements and the elements collect their tithe from the gods. It is a time for worshipers to reaffirm their faith in the gods, for the gods to pay homage to their makers, and for the elements to renew their hold on the universe. The Adjournment is 2 tendays (20 days) so a Shadoran year is 270 days in length.
The effect of each Shadoran season is as follows:
- Winds Rise: A time of great storms and turbulence while Augustus presides over the court. (early spring)
- Shadows Creep: A cold dark time while Shadora holds court. (winter)
- Waves Crest: A gloomy, rainy wet time when Aguala holds court (late spring)
- Earth Turn: A warm and clear time when he harvest is taken in and Natura rules the court (fall)
- Flames Leap: A hot and sultry time when all the world basks and Kala holds court (summer)
- The Adjournment: The Cosmic Court is in recess and a mood of peace reigns, conflicts are minimized and feasting, worship, and homecomings are the order of the day. The court is left unattended and the Table of Judgment lies empty.
SEA OF STEAM
A huge inland warm water sea between the realms of Fire and Earth know for its dense fog, volcanic gem mines, fierce pirates and violent clashes with the natives and the Lazuri forces.
A huge mountain range with a vast dwarven stronghold in the spinward region of the realm of earth. The Serpentine mountains are run from the foothills of the Ring Range at the farthest reaches Rimward in the realm of earth. They extend down in a series of great arcs both spinward and spunward to form the borders of the Basin via the Stonerim and Stoutrock ranges. The Serpentine’s sister range, the Grimstones begin Spunward of the Sundered Sea.
The dwarves essentially hold all of these mountain ranges, though the Stoutrocks are hotly contested by the Trolls of the Blind mountains. The ranges are connected by a crude but functional steam powered railway.
SHADES OF GREY
The collective name of the 11 Troll Clans:
- Harzarg ( Extinct – Victims of first Oath War )
- Glooma ( Goodtroll’s clan )
The gods of Chaos have recently taken up a quest to establish Chaos as the sixth element. They are convinced that this will restore them to their former selves and set the world aright. They see the shattering of the elemental pentagram and its subsequent replacement with their six pointed star or hexagram as their goal for this age. Their Black College has recently unearthed Journeymen documents that outline complex, ancient, experimental rituals designed to establish new elements. A great struggle is coming to a forefront as the lawful forces of the old world fight to stave off the creation of a chaotic and horrible one to take its place. Beware the six pointed star!
SlaveTongue is the “common” language of Shadora. When men were created as a slave race for the Eldar races the elements imbued them with a native, racial tongue made up of a basic sign language and a collection of basic sounds. They also gifted the eldar races with the knowledge of the language so they could easily command their slaves. Once freed, the humans adopted the journeyman language as their own, but the slave tongue lives on among the captive, the eldar races, and the worlds traders and merchants. Slavetongue has no written form.
SORCERY COLLEGES, COLORS AND RANKS
Each Sorcery University and College has a unique color that identifies its members.
|University of Elemental Water|
|College of Form||College of Resistance||College of Mist|
|University of Elemental Darkness|
|College of War||College of Stealth||College of Shadows|
|University of Elemental Earth|
|College of Nature||College of Conjuration||College of Stone|
|University of Elemental Air|
|College of Passion||College of Motion||College of Storms|
|University of Elemental Fire|
|College of Will||College of Perception||College of Flame|
The Ranks and associated colors of a sorcerer are as follows.
|Rank or Title|
A university sorcerer gains his robes upon becoming an Apprentice. The robes are a gift from the university and are enchanted to never need washing and provide basic protection to the spell caster. The robes are colored as desired by the Apprentice but the hem, cuffs and collar of the robe will have three stripes. The innermost stripe, closest to the sorcerer’s heart, indicates the color of the University, the middle stripe their college of specialization and the outermost stripe indicates the sorcerer’s rank. The robes are a valuable gift, as a sorcerer may not wear metal armor unless it is made of silver.
All sorcerers start out as students. Most of them study in schools within the great cities, but it is possible that some have studied with an old mage that took the student under his wing for some reason. A sorcerer living outside the system would not get access to the benefits of sorcerer rank ( staff, robes, etc ). There are rumors of other ways to get access to those things…
SPIN AND TUMBLE
Kala, elemental fire, stays seated upon his golden throne high in the heavens. The tumbling of the world disk allows the Sun to spend equal time with his worshipers on the overdisk and his fallen heroes on the underdisk. Kala rises over the realm of fire and the spinning of the world disk insures that the Realm of Fire is present to welcome the sun back into its arms at dusk.
Shadora, elemental darkness, extends her Shadow Cloak from the Realm of Darkness at dusk to blanket the world with the cover of night. The spinning of the world disk insures that the Realm of Darkness is present to draw in and fold the cloak for use on the next night before the rise of Kala at dawn.
Shamen work with the concepts of Malign and Benign Possession.
All spirit magic is accomplished via benign possession, where the spirit magician feeds the spirit POW in exchange for the use of its essence. Spirits used in this fashion must be friendly to the caster for this relationship to work. Shamen and cult spirit masters have learned to judge spirit impressions and can usually prevent unfriendly spirits from entering into a seemingly benign relationship. Accidents, however, do happen and warriors can find themselves actively possessed in the middle of battle with no control over their actions.
Malign possession occurs as a result of a loss in spirit combat with a hostile spirit. Depending on the state of mind of the spirit, those possessed in this fashion may find themselves falling on their swords or completing some quest for lost bones.
The Agualans tell a tale of sadness and courage when they speak of the Sundered Sea. The Sundered Sea is an enormous freshwater lake atop a huge mountain that steams and bubbles from the volcanic vents deep beneath it. The Sundered Sea flows to the ocean via the great Warm River. Each of the 5 great schools of the Agualans requires freshwater to breed. Every 5 years, after reaching adulthood, Agualans must make a vast migration to mate in the Sundered Sea. Some say this tie to the fresh water is insisted on by Aguala herself to insure her rivers remain protected.
The Agualans maintain a great lodge and temple on an island in the middle of the Sundered Sea. The water of the lake is highly valued by healers and alchemists for the creation of healing draughts and poison antidotes. Smiths also value the water for quenching their metals to increase hardness in the creation of fine and superb weapons. Immersion in the lake is said to bestow longevity and good health. The bottom of the lake is rumored to contain much Elementia and a great and mysterious Agualan city.
Great City of Stone and Bone in the Realm of Earth. Ruled by a dual-monarchy of an Elf and a Dwarf.
Great City of the Deeps in the Realm of Water.
Great City of Storms in the Realm of Air.
Great City of Flame in the Realm of Fire.
Great City of Shadow in the Realm of Darkness.
A combination fort, trading post, and distribution point between the wilds of the Great Basin and the more civilized Thenga Velu environs. They bring in raw goods from the wilds and sell basic necessities to the frontier folk and villages. There are limited magic services here – mostly small temples and shrines.
Seasons: ( 5 weeks )
- Winds Rise, Shadows Creep, Waves Crest, Earth Turn, Flames Leap
Weeks of the Season: ( 10 days )
- Nightsweek, Growthsweek, Warmthsweek, Stormsweek, Seasweek
- Reflection Week and Renewal Week occur once a year during the Adjournment
Days of the Week: (25 hours)
- Darksday, Dirtsday, Lightsday, Windsday, Riversday, Shadesday, Bloomsday, Heatsday, Galesday, Lakesday
Hours of the Day: (60 minutes, tracked with day and night candles )
|12pm||Bat||12pm||Lion ( noon )|
All of the sorcery that exists today comes from discoveries made centuries ago in the extensive Journeyman ruins beneath the city of Freehold in Emancia. These ruins were discovered by descendants of escaped slaves during the First Age. There they found ancient tomes which described the basic principles necessary to form the foundations of Shadoran Sorcery.
Shadoran sorcery is organized into 5 major universities. Each of these is tied to one of the 5 founding elements and has two associate universities with whom research and knowledge is shared. Each also has 2 opposed universities from whom its secrets are closely guarded.
All students are required to complete a series of general education courses designed to instruct them in the use of all known common spells. These first 5 years of intense study often serve as a weeding out process and many of the students who drop out go on to become village enchanters, hedge wizards or hermits.
Those who do survive grueling ordeal are offered apprenticeships and begin work on their majors. All apprentices and above wear the markings of their colleges on their robes in the form of colored stripes at the hem, collar and cuffs. Each university and college have specific colors and a third color indicates rank.
Within each university three major colleges exist, each focusing on different aspects of their parent element. Members of this university may pursue a major or minor in any of these. In addition the sorcerer may pursue a minor in any of the 6 associated colleges.
Recently, a new university has been formed from forbidden texts, stolen from the Vaults. This new school is the University of Chaos. Their sorcerers are both ruthless and amoral and their rituals are induce both terror and madness. It is said that apprenticeship causes permanent insanity. The University of Chaos has no allies and is considered hostile by the other 5 schools.
Finally, learned sorcerers surmise that there may be other secret texts in the Vaults or waiting to be discovered in the Journeyman ruins scattered across Shadora. These ‘lost’ spells are collectively referred to as the ‘Lost College’.
“We will rise up and destroy any who seek to enslave or mistreat any free man whether Valkim, Ahay or Nargai.”
VAULTS OF THE EMAN
Access to the vaults is granted to the most accomplished sorcerers in Shadora. The vaults contain many as yet undiscovered secrets.
The Warm River is Shadora’s mightiest river and cuts a broad and sinuous swath across the realm of earth. It has it’s source in the great Sundered Sea and flows to the Central Ocean through the center of Thenga Velu itself.
The river forms the main highway for migrating Agualans on their way to the Sundered Sea to spawn. It also branches in to many tributaries forming some of the most fertile and sought after farmland in all of Shadora. This farmland forms a major part of the Great Basin and it’s bounty feeds much of the world.
Bandar is the god of dance and over the ages his worshipers have created a series of martial dances that greatly aid them in combat. As a result the Bandar cult has formed four separate sects to pursue the dance perfected each following a different way. Membership in these sect is by invitation only. The “walkers of the way” have come to be called Wayfarers and those rare individuals who have mastered all four of the ways are known as Waymasters.
The four sects of the Way are:
|Sect Name||Way||Racial Affiliation|
|M’Yow Lin||Way of the Raking Claw||Fel|
|Tesh Tara Jal||Way of the Coiled Serpent||Lazuri|
|Arax T’ha||Way of the Bending Willow||Elf|
|Hamar Tayar||Way of the Open Hand||Man|
WEYMEN OF EMANCIA
There is a single Female warrior society upon Shadora. From before time until the Civil War of
Emancia no society like it had ever been conceived. It somehow seems reasonable that this totally
impractical society would spring up among the humans. Many epic events lead to its founding, it
seems that Fate played a role. The Emancia Civil War, the Elder Race invasion of Emancia, and
hundreds of small choices and hard decisions led to the Weymen of Emancia as they are known today,
735 AT. It all started during the Civil War on Gateway Island, now Weymen, which sits in Varnal Bay.
Because of the stability on Gateway the factions felt safe sending men to the mainland to fight.
Setcious recruited like minded men and brought them to Gateway. In a coup Setcious seized control of
the Island and imprisoned his enemies, all women were confined to their homes. Had the invasion not
occurred it is likely that Setcious would have been overthrown within a week. As luck would have it
the Elder races invaded the island two days after the coup.
The only hope Setcious had was to turn over the women and hope the dwarves would be satisfied. In his tortured logic this was in line with his beliefs. Knowing the women would not go willingly he devised a plan. A great feast, called to celebrate peace with the Elder Races. Secretly Setcious and his minions
planned to drug and enslave the unknowing women. Fortunately for Emancia a small band of women had carefully watched Setcious and developed contacts. Hippolyta was their leader and she divined the
feasts true purpose. She devised a plan of her own. As the feast began the Women attacked before the Men could act. Aided by greater numbers and surprise Setcious and his men were quickly routed. Many of the faction fled the city into the chains of the Dwarves and Elves.
Dwarven Envoy Torrak, with Setcious as an adviser, arrived in the morning he expected immediate
capitulation. He was meet by countless women upon the walls. Twice Torrak ordered the women to drop their weapons and surrender, and twice he was meet by laughter. Setcious pleaded with them to surrender but was answered with laughter. Torrak drew his axe and cut Setcious down. He was surprised when the women applauded. A final time the Torrak demanded surrender, Hippolyta noting the broken truce with the spilling of blood ordered arrows to fly. Around the Envoy, the Honor Guard was struck down. He fled slipping on the blood of his men to women’s laughter. The brutal assaults over the next three months were nothing to laugh at. Many defenders fell, but the fortress survived and the women proved their mettle in battle. The Siege of Gateway required large numbers of Dwarves and Elves, weakening the mainland invasion force. With the unification of the clans the Elder suffered major mainland defeats and began withdrawal. Gateway’s port had staged the invasion, now it supported the withdrawal. Hippolyta conceived of a daring plan. The women launched a daring night attack on the port, many Dwarves and Elves were driven off the island, many more were captured or killed. Without Gateway for support the mainland armies of the Elder Races were quickly defeated, allowing the Leadership of Emancia to dictate terms of the Peace.
Ne’er-do-wells. Many men who came were dismissive of the Weymen and their accomplishments, a group banded
together to overthrow the Monarchy. It is said that the Government at Varnos unhappy with the treaty was
pleased by the development and encouraged the uprising. The instigators formed a large mob of men with a
list of grievances and marched on the Queens residence. Blocked by the guard the men attacked without
provocation. After a vicious engagement with many killed on both sides the mob’s cohesion shattered. The
Weymen discipline held. Hippolyta conferred with her consolers and enacted laws to ban all men who were not
citizens prior to the invasion from the island. The men were banished under pain of fine, imprisonment, and
death. Many of the broken mob laughed and refused to depart, they changed their mind as the executions
started. In fact the only ones executed were found guilty of murder for raising and leading the mob. With
the law firmly in place deportation became the punishment. The ejected men petitioned Emancia for redress.
The government was not pleased but the laws conformed to the negotiated treaty and they were not without
guilt having encouraged the men. Emancia refused to intervene.
Weymen supports a thriving culture. Through trade and crafts Weymen is wealthy. The navy and marines are
both strong. A Sorcery University was founded many years past by dissident female wizards, it has very a
strong program. All citizens are initiated into sorcery. Not to be outdone Emancia has funded a city across
the bay. In addition to a Military School it also has a Sorcery University extension. A boys school and
orphanage has been built and funded by the Weymen for male children who cannot remain on the island and
are not accepted by their fathers.
Also called the Hyalormi, wyrms are the collected races of chaotic dragon kind that worship Hyalorm.