Until then, you can check my websites to the right.
Until then, you can check my websites to the right.
Barathrum (the Sealed): An old and smallish planet, with three continents, no moon, and one sun. The crystal sphere it encloses is black and marked with the zodiac symbols of its reigning pantheon, hence the name.
Caeles (the Unfolding): A very young world, with a gold-green crystal sphere.
Domi (the Twain): A crystal sphere broken long ago, it survived and adapted to its exposure to the Twilight, but only just.
Gyre (the Ringed): An average and healthy crystal sphere appearing as a smooth sapphire marked with a spiral. The ring of its name is four closely linked planes.
Ouroboros (the Hoarded): A glittering crystal sphere ringed by a time dragon biting its own tail, this vast world is the where the dragons retreated to from many worlds.
In ancient days, when mystical shit was BIG and IN YOUR FACE, somebody FUCKED UP and BROKE EVERYTHING and now THINGS SUCK.
— Bailywolf of rpg.net
“listen, there’s a hell of a universe next door, let’s go”
— e.e. cummings
“We’re all made of stories. When they finally put us underground, the stories are what will go on. Not forever, perhaps, but for a time. It’s a kind of immortality, I suppose, bounded by limits, it’s true, but then so’s everything.”
— Charles de Lint
“Fantasy isn’t just a jolly escape: It’s an escape, but into something far more extreme than reality, or normality. It’s where things are more beautiful and more wondrous and more terrifying. You move into a world of conflicting extremes.”
— Terry Gilliam
“Fantasy is made out of the Primary World, but a good craftsman loves his material, and has a knowledge and feeling for clay, stone and wood which only the art of making can give. By the forging of Gram cold iron was revealed; by the making of Pegasus horses were ennobled; in the Trees of the Sun and Moon root and stock, flower and fruit are manifested in glory.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories
“Creative fantasy, mainly because it is trying to do something else (make something new), may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you.”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, On Fairy-Stories
“That unnameable something, desire for which pierces us like a rapier at the smell of bonfire, the sound of wild ducks flying overhead, the title of The Well at the World’s End, the opening lines of “Kubla Khan”, the morning cobwebs in late summer, or the noise of falling waves.”
— C.S. Lewis
“What Tolkien called “eucatastrophe,” the absolutely triumphant ending, and evangelium, the joy “as poignant as grief,” are the heritage of fantasy, too.”
a shared fantasy world
We’ve since played it in four different RPG systems across five campaigns, all but one of which were played to their finish. Jessica’s working on a trilogy of novels set in the North of the world, while Ruth has plans on the South. It’s really their world, and I’m mostly going to be just posting illustrations I’ve done for it, though I’ve been lucky enough to have had some input on how it grew*. I treasure this world a lot.
ART AND STORIES
- The Five Wits Press: The latest news on Madrahar’s stories can be found here.
- World of Shandor: You can find older posts Ruth’s art and some of Jessica’s story snippets here.
- Ruth’s deviantArt: More of Ruth’s art from the first D&D games and the novels.
- My deviantArt: Some of my art from the D&D games. oh god these are so old
- Amanda’s deviantArt: My friend Amanda’s art from the D&D games.
* read as: I have drawn like a fuckton of fan art, you guys
Hybrilon, the Storied Wild
plane of fey and monstrous humanoids
A hollow world of high magic and mystery, with no outer sun but instead huge bright stars and a close-orbiting inhabited (and living) moon. The shell of the world is fractured into four major chunks of land caused by the Breaking of Hybrilon, and most civilized creatures live on the outside of this shell. Each landmass is eternally locked into one season. Climates on the lands are oddly patchwork- true jungles spring up right next to deserts like massive oases, glaciers next to thriving woods, etc- due to the influence of fey on the landscape. The smooth blends between biomes found on Midheim often unnerves Hybrilonians. Not just the world’s structure but reality itself is cracked here, and not only the Rivers flow from Esthire- pools of magic, incarnum or shadowstuff may be found as well. Due to the hollow nature of the world the oceans are quite shallow, each guarded by a small court of ocean stridersMM2, with lakes and rivers being far more common. Spirit animalsFr are very common fey in the shape of beasts, held as wise totems by some monstrous humanoids and feared as guardians of the normal animals.
Settlements conform around natural surroundings, rather than trying to supplant them, and the great cities are all fey-built wonders of crystal and trees and magic. The populations of the cities are very mixed, unlike Midheim’s warring races, though a few isolationist monstrous humanoids are single-race tribal wanderers instead. Courts are the main organizational structure of Hybrilon, and while little divided courts with shifting borders split the already fractured lands, each land is ultimately ruled by one of the four great courts of the last remaining leShayEL: the Winter Queen, the Summer Lord, the Autumn Maiden, and the Spring Prince. Lesser courts on their respective lands owe fealty ultimately to one of these leShay. The leShay are ultimately responsible for the season and upkeep of their lands, as a dryad is responsible for the health of her tree. Some courts have carved out kingdoms lording over monstrous humanoids, while others are fey supremacists and keep to their own, cursing or toying with any who cross them. Hags covens are their own odd power, feared and respected by fey despite being ‘just’ monstrous humanoids. Tauric creaturesMM2, doppelgangers, verdant princesMM4, nature spiritsOA, nymphs and dryads are found naturally across all four lands, and of course travelers can be found anywhere on Hybrilon. Dryad-inhabited trees mark themselves with twined ropes in the colors of their allied court.
Magic is quite common, but viewed as art, not industry- bards are the most common casters. Truenamers are also well-respected. Hybrilon runs on Story, and the fey are story incarnate. As befits this bard-governed land, oaths, curses and myths hold great power here, and the wise choose their words carefully. Hybrilon’s monstrous humanoids are viewed as hopelessly superstitious by offworlders, but on Hybrilon this is the only way to stay alive.
– The Springlands: The Springlands is the most densely populated of the lands, swept by perfumed winds carrying the countless petals of its vast ever-flowering fields. Beyond its famous fields lie hills and low mountains, temperate forests eternally just in bloom, and fertile but dark swamps. The varied people of the Springlands includes some of the friendliest of Hybrilonians, the hooved folk- goatfolkMM3, centaurs, satyrs, and hybsilMon– but also holds horrors such as ormyrMM2 and zernMM4. Springlands fey run toward the small and often inoffensive- pixies and other sprites, shimmerlingsMM3 and petalsMM3– but woe betide those who offend the court lords and ladies of these smallest subjects. GlaistigMM3 compete with nymphs for the many small lakes. KappaOA haunt rivers, while aarakocraMon nest in the low mountains overlooking valleys. Artful abeilMM2 hives rise from the landscape like gold and white hills made of clay or coiled grass, while their cousins the dromitesXPH carve their shallow nests below. Kuo-toa have cities in the many shallow warm seas. RatatoskEDP are found in forests across the world, but particularly in the Spring and Autumnlands, and always near dryads. BisanOA and dryads of flowering trees make up the forest fey. Spinglanders are often accused by the other lands as being too frivolous and carefree.
– The Summerlands: The Summerlands is primarily covered in sandy desert, red rocky wastes, and savannahs. Dense tropical jungles hug the rim that faces the Springlands, home to the serpent cities. Summerlanders are an odd mix of hospitable and violent- their bright tents and harbors are full of laughter and welcoming shouts, but these can just as easily become joyous war-cries. No sane Summerlander travels without a weapon at her side.
Other cities include Indrazima, Marrahad, Oxomic, and Flajemma. Queen Merry Bones (CG female phoelarch bard 12) is the leader of the Summerlands bardic college in Kingatra. The semi-molten Mesas of Flame are a holy place and one of the few neutral zones- those escaping wars shelter here. The tall and thin glass desert palace of the Summer Lord, formed of fused sand, is one of the marvels of the world. Alagasia is the famous bright harbor, covered in sprawling tropical plants. The great Bone Fortress in the middle of the desert is one of the most famous proving grounds for warriors, though few return from it. The yuan-ti cities of Agna-ti, Seshma-ti, and Phayan-ti on the jungle coasts produce famous traders and diplomats, though they frequently war with the sarkrithFF. The trees beyond the jungle cities walls are ruled by wild natOA courts, but they seldom have influence over the tribes of lhoskMM3 or the stately bajangOA groves. Psionics, rarely practiced on Hybrilon outside the Summerlands, is taught at the School of the Unbodied in Anga-ti. Both the cities and wildernesses of the vast deserts are home to many peoples: marrusault, thri-keen, scorpionfolk, firenewts, phoelarch, and armand. Loxo, wemic, and minotaur live on the plains. The small tropical seas are beautiful but few, and ferociously guarded by sahuagin who deeply hate intruders. Dune hags rule the wastes.
– The Autumnlands: Coming soon.
– The Winterlands: The Winterlands is the loneliest of the four lands. Small tribes travel the wide tundra hunting mammoths, yak, and reindeer, wandering past jagged black mountains covered in snow and cities carved into ancient glaciers. Many small lakes dot the landscape, frequently frozen over and all haunted by rusalka. Silent dark-haired dryads haunt the quiet pine forests. Courts can only reliably hold what lands they can monitor, so high-walled castles of cold stone or mountain retreats are the most common settlements, but the comforts of courts are few and far between in the Winterlands. Oddly enough, the small domovi are often of very high rank in these holds.
Hybrilon is a flowing but complicated language. Monstrous humanoids call themselves Llwdion (‘flesh’), and the fey Ania (‘spirit’). Individuals’ true names are very closely guarded, often not even being shared with closest kin, while epithetic names such as Weeps-By-Rivers and Wisdom-Of-Lanterns are used among others.
Traits: normal gravity, normal or flowing time, normal or wild magic
Links: Hybrilon is coterminous with Ferrang, Holtenna, Tkk’burum, and Grran. Grranish ocassionally make pilgrimages to contact the spirit animals of Hybrilon, but are wary of being used as dangerous hunting quarry by Hybrilonians.
Grran, the Beast Totems
plane of animals and magical beasts
The varied wildernesses of Grann might be mistaken for unsettled areas of Midheim or Hybrilon at first; but a glance at the sky, where Lugin the Raven-Sun soars during the day, quickly cures this mistaken identity. If a creature were to fly up and out for days, they would be able to behold the cosmic turtle called Prach-terr that the world is the shell of.
Organization tends to grow no larger than a pack or herd; with less intelligent animals (called the Silent or dumb beasts) often staying close to like kinds of magical beasts (called the Speakers). Culture is largely orally transmitted, though some caves and standing stones bear wisdom or warnings recorded in Grranish. While normal animals and a good portion of magical beasts are content to live simple lives of natural balance of life and death without concerns for more abstract things, the Dominions call in Grran too. Inter-species packs dedicated to ideals include Glories (good-aligned guardians) and Ravagers (evil-aligned cullers and destroyers). Druids- the stewards of Grran- and clerics are very common among magical beasts and highly honored, while non-natives often become totemistsMoI, wielding soul energy to blend in and worship at the same time. Glory druids often awaken normal animals. Soarwhales are the quickest way between the great zaratans, plying the endless airs between worlds. Wild flocks of astravians dart in place of stars.
The world-bearing great zaratan named Prach-terr is one of many. As ‘east’ and ‘west’ lose their meaning on a world where the sun is a sentient corvid choosing its own flightpath, locations are discussed by their relation to the center of Prach-terr’s shell. Running along the high spine of the shell, The Celestial Crowns mountain range is home to high lonely temples inhabited by giant eagles, asperiMM2, and phoenixesMM2. The Ink Sea to the left of the Crowns is divided up by kraken lords, while the Bright Sea to the right is home to hippocampiSto and dolphins. The Blood Strait between these two seas is treacherous, with armies of the two seas and natives such as dire sharks and reptilian sea monsters. The Gnawing Caves under the left lands are home to horrors such as ropers and darkmantles. Stretching down the left slopes of the Celestial Crowns are the Queenwoods, the kingdoms of unicorns and giant owls, each founded around a pool of the Lethe. Rotfield is the barren badlands where opposing armies traditionally war. Flickerplains is right of the Celestial Crowns, home to competing packs of blink dogs and displacer beasts who hunt among cattle and herd dinosaurs. Further tailward the grasses thin into Lionwings, the desert home of sphinxes and lammassu. Past the shores of Lionwings is the Vast Ocean, named for both its size and its inhabitants- whales, leviathans and zaratansAE. A handful of ‘baby’ (still Colossal-sized) zaratans swim sheltered in Prach-terr’s oceans until they grow too large, when they swim into the skies to bear their own worlds. Near the Queenwoods is Dawnmane, a valley of heavily religious alacorns. Weaving Wood is a large forest of aranea crafters, considered neutral ground by all Speakers. Fangwood is a right-tailward forest home to jungle animals, girallons, and predatory dinosaurs. Wolfwastes, cold headward tundras roamed by winter wolves and true-packs of brachyurusesEL that lead dire and normal wolves. Foolsands is home to behir, carcass crabsECS, and purple worms, with tribes of violent but skillful lamia traders wandering the wastes. Wingtree is a tremendous plant brought from a Tkk’burum seed, now used as a home by various avian Grraners.
While many Grraners are territorial, some groups transcend these boundaries. Thunderbird druids in Lugin’s flock bring rain to the lands below. Pegasai herds wander seasonally between settlements, bearing messages. A feared phenomena of Grran are the hi-tenraa, or lone walkers. Solitary hunters of phenomenal strength- the terrasque of Foolsands, the tayellahEL of the Wolfwastes, the leviathanMM2 of the Vast Sea- are seen as something between impartial gods and living natural disasters.
Grranish names are simple in creation but often difficult to pronounce for offworlders, so they usually translate their names into common for convenience’s sake. Names are chosen upon reaching adulthood, and usually compose of two or occasionally three word descriptive compounds. If the beast is a member of a ki, they give that after their name.
The suffix -ki literally translates to ‘group’, though ‘tribe’ or ‘pack’ might be more accurate. The Lugin-ki consists of the deathravenBE swarms, thunderbirdsSa, and giant ravensFr that follow the sun-bearing ziz through the sky.
Traits: normal gravity, normal time, normal magic
Links: Grran is coterminous with Hybrilon, Midheim, and Ixendra.
Tkk’burum, the Creeping Woods
plane of plants and vermin
The plane of Tkk’burum consists of flat disc-like worlds dominated by huge year-trees which provide sunlight in the form of their mile-wide golden fruit, and water in the form of their mysterious wells and rains of self-produced dew. These waters eventually spill over the edges, forming thick cloudbanks around the discs and thickening the atmosphere to the humid closeness. Midheimers often feel as if they’ve been shrunk when wandering among the overgrown plants. Strange and frequently magical plants not found on any other worlds flourish here- healing fruits, airship-crafting floating timber, and more. Vermin grow huge in the thick atmosphere, and strange insectoid creatures fill the many niches of offworld rainforests. Travel in the canopy is achieved by flight (in small airships or on the backs of vermin), swaying bridges, or by climbing. The forest floor, choked from light as it is by sometimes miles of leaves, is a place of cloying rot and fungi turning death into life. Starbugs flit in the constant mists that surround the discs and hide other worlds from view.
MyconidsMM2 are the most numerous civilization on the forest floor and within the discs themselves, carving civilizations among the roots. Wise treants live solitary hermited existences, guarding the silent trees from those who would harm them and meditating on Alltree nature. Wood woadsMM3 and volodniUna are more social than treants, as are the sproutlings, mysterious little creatures that spring from the year-trees themselves. Even nonmagical plants can grow to astounding heights and the Plant Dominion has an understandable strong influence here. Offworld druids are relatively common, generally keeping to small circles led by treants. Those discs without year-trees are uncommon, and tend to become desert-like, with cacti and succulents surviving off of the ambient dew-clouds of other discs.
Traits: light gravity, normal time, normal magic
Links: Tkk’burum is coterminous with Midheim, Hybrilon, and Ixendra. The few sentient creatures of Tkk’burum are fairly insular, and have a dim view of offworlders, who usually only come to harvest bits of their home without permission.
Midheim, the Mortal Realms
plane of humanoids and giants
Midheim is an Earthlike planet of low magic governed by science. The vast heaths, mountains and forests of the great continent of the Moonlands are home to humans and their closest kin (called Westlings), along with various lesser giants (hill, stone and trolls) and packs of lycanthropes that plague civilization. The cool forested islands off the western coast are home to elves, dry southwestern lands to gnomes and halflings. Fire giants and orcs live to the far south of the Moonlands, while the continent stretches north into the icebound realms of frost giants and dwarves. Cloud giants dwell on secluded mountaintop castles scattered across the Moonlands. SelkieFF colonies keep near the coastlines in the northern seas.
The half-ruined kingdoms of the southwestern continent called the Scalelands- home to reptilian peoples such as kobolds, troglodytes, spellscales, greenscale nagas, and lizardfolk- are ill explored due to the dense tropical jungles. TrenSK guard the coasts of the Scalelands. Tropical seas hide locathah and shalarinMon cities, sometimes trading with the merfolk who roam the temperate and colder seas.
Past the Mountains of Shadow are the Sunlands, which include vast plains, deserts, steppes, and bamboo forests. Sunlanders are also called Eastbeasts for their often animal-like features, and the Twelve Imperials (as they call themselves) include such varied peoples as gnolls, shiftersMM3, kenkuMM3, nezumiOA, goblinoids, crucians, spiritfolk, darfellan, hadozee, asherati, catfolk, and raptorans.
Farthest to the south is the isolated sub-continent of the lightly scaled ‘near-human’ Southrons- rilkanMoI, skarnMoI, the gith, maenadsXPH, and xephXPH– who explore different sources of power than the arcane magic favored in the north. Southland is mostly hot and barren badlands. While there are very few native giants (the strange small half-giantsXPH and the very reclusive totem giantsMoI), threats arise in the form of Githyanki dragon cultists and incursions from Bliqquth.
DabusEDP, illumiansRD, and buommanPIH dwell on the mysterious Silent Isle in the center of the sea.
Mages are fairly rare, especially in the Moonlands, and usually wizards in secluded towers with an apprentice or two. Sorcerers and druids are often mistrusted in the Moonlands. While magic items of course exist on Midheim, because most mages are loath to give up bits of their soul (XP cost) to make them, they are valued heirlooms or items of legend. Midheim characters can still advance to high levels, but the strongest living characters rarely reach beyond 10th level. Those who go beyond are honored in song as great heroes or villains, and are likely to be experienced planewalkers.
– Moonlands: The Mad Hills to the Moonland’s northwest are misty heaths inhabited by bronze age tribes of humans and elves living brutal lives in the struggle against lycanthropes and lesser giants. Clad in lycanthrope furs and tattooed with white or silver paints, the Westlings live brutal and frequently short lives. Threats include the cults of were-worshippers who are hated by all as traitors who’ve turned their backs on their people for a chance at power. Clans are the highest form of social organization here.
Even beyond the Mad Hills, true unified nations are few and far between- giant-ruled kingdoms and fiefdoms are the usual power structure. Very powerful humanoid kings and queens may be able to hold their lands against the giants, but these humanoid-ruled kingdoms are few and far between. Stone giants are found as commoners across kingdoms of all types, and so they are the most likely of all the giants to be sympathetic to the plight of the children-people (humanoids), as they are only a very little higher up the social ladder. Trolls too are frequent peasants or slaves to greater giants, though they have no love for humanoids.
Lostcrown is the northernmost kingdom of the Moonlands, home to frost giants and dwarves. The legendary Queen of Lostcrown is the missing frost giant ruler. Jarls rule in her place, in a council of chairs set under the cold gaze of the Empty Throne, in the palace located on the north pole.
Traits: normal gravity, normal time, normal magic
Links: Midheim is coterminous with Holtenna, Ferrang, Tkk’burum, and Grran. Horror stories are told about the shells of Ferrang. Grran and Tkk’burum are treated more as mysterious and probably treacherous otherworlds from which strange beasts occasionally venture.
Ferrang, the Creaking Shadows
plane of constructs and undead
A cold and thin-aired ring world with only dim light from a far-off moon, the corpse of a murdered star hanging in the ring’s center providing intermittent sunlight. The terrain is largely a cold desert with only odd rock formations breaking up the sands, though traditionally living creatures can be found in narrow bands surrounding the Lethe. Souls of those who cling to their past lives and memories in Esthire are drawn here, either wandering the wastes or being drawn into the service of one of the willful undead. Incorporeal undead value constructs for their use as possessable bodies, corporeal undead want them as servants, and this has drawn them into the long war with the inevitables. Inevitables see themselves as defenders and uplifters of constructs and so fight the undead at every turn. Liches rule great dark cities of vampires and other sentient undead, drinking of the Styx to sustain themselves. They frequently conduct raids of other worlds for ‘materials’.
Constructs are powered by the waters of the Lethe, and the Inevitable cities jealously guard these tributaries, diverting them into canals and dikes where they can. Livewood trees grow near untamed paths of the Lethe, and from these the strange constructs known as warforged(MM3) sprang. Primitive boguns(MM2) and tribal warforged guard these forests. While intelligent, the clockwork horrors’(MM2) hives have little to do with the rest of Ferrang- they have warred and traded both with undead and other constructs- but they’ve left their mark in the thousands of miles of tunnels riddling the world-ring. Inevitables find ways to make use of many lesser constructs of Ferrang: Flocks of clockwork menders(MM4) act as messengers and spies of the inevitables, and they have been building a great number of effigies(CAr) of extraplanar creatures as experiments. The strange sentient (though not very intelligent) trains-constructs called railrunners create their own tracks before them, and happily and pointlessly wander the ring, often lending rides to other creatures. Sometimes, tremendous walking shapes- colossi(EL)– will rise from their sand-buried resting places to walk the wheel. The Inexorable Forgers keep elite guards of grisgol(MM3), each construct made from a defeated lich-king. Artificers(ECS) are very common, and it is their view of magic that shapes magical philosophy here.
The cities of Ferrang tend to be low-lying but spread over massive areas, surrounded by canals of the appropriate River- Styx for undead, Lethe for construct. Earthen tomblike structures serve as housing for the majority of inhabitants, with towering edifices for the rulers. Undead cities are windowless, but while constructs do not need light to see by either, they tend to built soaring, open buildings with many pillars to prevent easy undead infiltration. Complicated mirror constructions to focus the dying sun’s light on encroaching vampires are common. Undead cities not situated near a major clockwork horror hive often expand their buildings underground.
Traits: normal gravity, normal time, normal magic
Links: Ferrang is coterminous with Hybrilon, Bliqquth, and Midheim. Undead see Hybrilon and especially Midheim as free food stores to be raided. Undead have been known to occasionally treat with Bliqquth’s inhabitants, but like most worlds, they usually just avoid it. The inevitables view offworlders as mostly useless distractions.
Holtenna, the Eternal Islands
plane of outsiders
Beings whose soul is one with their form, shaped by abstract ideals, the creatures more commonly called immortals dwell in Holtenna. Form follows belief in this endless sea of the waters of the Twin Rivers, mingled like oil and water, with islands each devoted to an idea or cause rising out of it. Weather is created at the whim of the powerful but goodly mortai, which explains why predominately evil islands tend toward barrenness.
Outsiders age until adulthood, when they stop aging and can theoretically live forever until violence takes them. Many are able to fly or teleport, which scholars owe to the distances between their lands and the floating islands that rise above some seas. Holtennans are often arrogant, viewing themselves as especially blessed by the Dominions and above the baser creatures of other worlds.
Planar scholars have long debated why Holtenna alone out of all the worlds in Tworivers has only one type of creature who originated there. The most popular theory is that these creatures- usually called the Lost in conversation- were destroyed in the Drowning of Holtenna, though why such a group would also be missing from the very long memories of the immortals remains a mystery.
– Agathios, the Angel Tower: Agathios is a miles-high pale tower resembling castles of gold and silver and pearl stacked one on top of the other, surrounded by gentle snowfalls and illuminated by the glowing spheres that circle its peak. Angels (who call themselves aasimon, or ‘sun’s middle children’) are a warlike people, concerning themselves with proselytizing Good, by word or by sword. They worship the Sun Dominion, and star motifs feature heavily in their art and language. When not crusading, they’re famous for their textiles and weaponry, marked by bold, geometric, and heraldic designs. Angels are completely hairless, always winged, and have brightly-hued skin- red, white, green, etc. Angels with additional HD grow extra pairs of wings, though this does not increase their speed or maneuverability. Aasimar (‘sun’s youngest children’) are also native to Agathios, though they are considered more potentially wayward than angels, and so are treated in a gentle, guiding way. Some aasimar balk at this, considering it patronizing, and seek their own paths elsewhere in the islands.
– Tezu City and Perdition’s Fleet: Tezu, the Isle of Perdition, is a vast volcano whose slopes and active caldera both are completely covered by the baatezu city-state. Enormous fortress-ships, each at least as large as a city, built of cold iron and burned black by the furnaces that power them. Black clouds follow behind these organized slaver’s ships. Groups of ships are bound by the wills of their captains and literal chains that link the ships. Strict and cut-throat military ranks, marked by silver brands, ensure order on ships.
– Aea, the Three Monasteries: These three vast gold-, silver- and crystal-roofed buildings are the homes of the great Masters, 20th level (and above) monks formerly of many different races and types who have perfected themselves to the ideals of the monasteries. Aean monks often serve as arbiters, balance-seekers and lawkeepers of Holtenna, and are often used as impartial diplomats in the many conflicts of Holtenna. Aspirants often give up the traditions of their former culture. The Monastery of the Sun is home to lawful good monks, the Monastery of the Moon to lawful evil, and Monastery of the Diamond to lawful neutral. The Monasteries’ towns are cosmopolitan, if rigidly ruled, filled with aspirant monks and those who provide services for them. The symbols for each are a circle, crescent and diamond respectively, each bisected by a line. The Diamond Monastery is the oldest of the three, and enshrined at its center is the Diamond of Perfection, on which the first monk fought and achieved Purity- what monks call the change to outsider type. The halls of the Monasteries are spare and airy, built large to accommodate the variously sized monks. Within them apprentices are taught mastery of the physical arts and the religions, magics, and languages of the peoples they will have to keep the peace between. The school-like halls include libraries, musical training, pools, and of course gymnasiums.
– The Ash Boatmen: The yugolothsMM2 no longer have a home island to call their own- whether by choice or accident is up to the individual telling their tale. Instead they roam the Styx reaches in small gray-sailed ships- hardly specks compared to Perdition’s Fleets. A lonely crescent, broken remains of an exploded volcano, is rumored to have been the once-homeland of the yugoloth people. All that remains on the island shards is an obsidian standing stone with only one word carved on it, but it has so far not been deciphered. It is whispered that there are no women left among the yugoloths, and that they are a vanishing people. Most other peoples agree this is probably for the best.
– The Mercane Progressions: A much more even-handed maritime force than the Ash Boatmen or Perdition’s Fleet, the blue sails of the great mercaneMP ships are well-respected and welcomed on most islands, and charter with them is one of the most popular ways to get between islands. They run the huge market surrounding the base of the Monastery of the Diamond. The home of the mercanes is rumored to be a string of fabulously rich and fertile islands, but their location is not disclosed to non-mercanes. The search for the Mercane’s islands is a popular one among adventurers.
– The Firefields: A huge blasted wilderness of volcanoes, rocky badlands, and rust-colored grasslands located close to the island of Tezu. Firefields is the origin of hellcats, nightmares, and achierai, along with an assortment of normal prey animals. Tribes of bladelingsMM2 also dwell here, reveling in the hunt. Occasionally they leave their culturally primitive island, often falling in as mercenaries or pirates, but often just forming raiding parties in their knife-edged longboats.
– Alman, the Dreaming Castle: A sealed castle of pale pastel tones, floating upside down over a gentle grassy island which is home to shirokinu-katsukamiOA and hollyphantsBE. It’s said they fight a quiet dream-war with Kozmar, though those who’ve asked the shirokinu directly about this war come away with no straight answers but many riddles. (Those asking the Kozmarans get laughed out of the room, at best.) The Key to Dreams that can open the castle is a legendary artifact among Holtennans, though few believe it actually exists.
– Kozmar, the Island of Nightmares: The orderly and deeply evil kingdom of daelkyrECS, quoriECS, night hags, pseudonatural creaturesLoM, and assorted allied fiends. Impossibly tall and jagged black castles rise over the fens, with spiny towers stabbing both into the twisting skies above. They are avoided by many- even most other evil outsiders mistrust them- but their vast libraries full of knowledge found nowhere else lead those who have no other choice to dealing with them.
Traits: light gravity, normal time, normal magic
Links: Holtenna is coterminous with Bliqquth, Hybrilon, and Midheim. Nature-concerned or chaotic-aligned Holtennans often enjoy traveling to Hybrilon, but many other immortals see the world of the fey as a waste of time. Feelings on Midheim vary from island to island, with the most common consensus being ‘quaint primitives’. Evil-aligned Holtennans have greater interest in Bliqquth, particularly those of the island of Kozmar.