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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default The World of the Succession Wars

    Hi everyone!

    In the actual play sub-forum we have created the history of the world by posting new entries in a timeline in a non-chronological fashion, meaning you we could create new periods and events and place them before, after or between existing periods in the timeline.


    King Arunidas LXXVII. dies under mysterious circumstances
    • The Tiefling Archmage and King, Arunidas LXXVII., is found dead in his bed drained of all his blood
    • A note written in the handwriting of Arunidas is found crumbled in the fist of his corpse: "I fear the path I must go, for it will bring death, but no other way is open to me. Blood betrays and blood heals. What begins here, ends here."
    • The sole survivor of an expedition into the Morthal Ruins reveals the existence of an ancient Blood Curse before succumbing to it himself.
    • Suspicions rise when the Guild of Necromancy - the guild of the king's firstborn son, Astaroth the Silent - decides to spend all resources that would be needed to invoke the spirit of the dead king to question him about the circumstances of his death to find out more about the blood curse instead.
    • King Arunidas LXXVII's lesser son (Zardos the White) and his daughter (Kallista) start independently claiming the throne from his firstborn (Astaroth the Silent). Political tension rises.
    • The goblin baroness Nasha forges a secret alliance with the Guild of Three Leaves
    • Zardos the White consolidates his power over the many tribes of Hroudhorn, uniting them in fear and reverence, thus considerably empowering his army
    • Kallista consolidates, through blood bonds and political action, her supposedly good relations with the rich city-state of Istion, the marine republic; the Bank is happy to fund her campaigns
    • The secret alliance of guilds and lesser nobles begins stealth actions against the three children of the late king, undermining their positions.
    • An assasination attempt on Astaroth's life by an envoy of the noble House of Andal fails. As the assassin was using a poison that could only be prepared by use of the Seal that is under the Alchemist Guild's protection, Astaroth occupies the Alchemist's Guild's Tower and announces the Guild's dissolvement.
    • The secret alliance now revealed, the remaining guilds split and join into factions.

    The Guild War rages
    • While Astaroth is on the battlefield, the Guild of Anti-Magic, the Guild of Artifice and the King's Arcane Guard take over the Iridescent Tower and declare a Council will rule the Kingdom until the rightful heir has been determined
    • In order not to waste any troops needed for squashing the insurrection, Astaroth and Zardos agree to fight each other one on one in a Mage's duel. Both using chronurgy the fight ends within seconds - and while Zardos does age decades in this short moment, his brother's body dies and crumbles into dust
    • Zardos re-establishes the Guild of Alchemy, instantly gaining its loyalty.
    • Zardos the White mobilizes his troops to occupy the Iridescent Tower
    • While the Siege of the Iridescent Tower is coming to an end in favor of Zardos' forces, the goblin faction of Baroness Nasha and the Guild of three leaves sabotages the attacking forces from the underground with alchemic devices. As Zardos and most of his troops die, Nasha gains her place in the Council
    • After the death of Zardos the White and many of their leaders, the Hroudhorn tribes close the Gates to the Mountains and declare their independence
    • The Gates to the Mountains now closed, the ancient trade-route that was bringing best quality wood to Istion in exchange for salt is compromised, Istion is now forced to smuggle the wood for its ships and is unhappy about the huge costs that this implies.
    • Her most wary brother out of the game, Kallista schemes and corrupts, to maneuver the political powers behind the Council in her favor. She seems not to worry about the gold that this requires, nor of her growing debt towards the Bank of Istion
    • Kallista's Mentor Titanius confronts his pupil about the attacks on her brothers, attempting to convince her, to reliquish her claims for the throne and instead help hime solve the riddle left by her father, but Kallista laughs in his face and breaks her bond with Titanius.
    • As her debt mounts with no end in sight, the Bank of Istion petitions the Council to force Kallista to repay it, one way or another.
    • The council grants Istion the right to attack and seize Kallista's lands without them intervening as long as long as Istion doesn't dispute the conquered lands stay under the overall rule of the Kingdom and keeps paying tributes
    • Istion offers an unprecedented amount of their best mercenary crossbowmen to Kallista, but as they are gathered in Ildova (the main city of Kallista's land), they quickly turn the table, occupy the fortress, snipe the resistance and attempt at Kallista's life, who magically escapes
    • With Kallista gone, the Bank of Istion's agents and mercenaries sow confusion amongst her troops, as well as issuing fake orders. by the time everything is settled, they have gained control of Ildova.

    The enormous losses during the Guild War result in the collapse of the 13 Arcane Guilds
    • With no one remaining to maintain them, the Great Seals weaken
    • As the Great Seals weaken, the Blood Curse begins to spread through the land
    • The Condottiers of the Crownhill order are sacrificing everything to limit the spread of the curse, healing the sick, blessing the doomed ones, limiting the spread of panic and the riots.
    • The knowledge spreads that, while the Crownhill Condottiers die by the dozens, low rank condottier Iliana Sunshield seems to be unaffected by the curse; some see this as a miracle, many look at it with suspicion.
    • Working with the spirit of Isolar, the Living Island, the former vampire master of the Guild of Necromancy sacrifices himself in a blood ritual to stop the last seal from breaking.

    The post-collapse Great Reform of magic studies happens; the study of the 5 Spheres spreads, co-existing and in attrition with older studies of the guilds era
    • In the vacuum after the collapse the 5 Spheres theory that had been brought to Istion from the South a generation earlier spreads rapidly into the Kingdom
    • Efforts are undertaken to research ways to rebuild or recreate the Great Seals. With so much knowledge lost, progress is slow.
    • A rogue faction of mages, nobles and researcher search for ways to, rather than prevent the Blood Curse, submit to it, empowering them with its dark energies.
    • The rogue mages attack a secret meeting of spellcasters at Isolar, the Living Island, where they had gathered to cure the Blood Curse. In the ensuing chaos Isolar vanishes but it is unclear who is responsible for its disappearance.
    • As it becomes clear that the vampiric magic that keeps the last seal from breaking will end sooner rather than later, Iliana Sunshield sets out to explore the ancient V'ran ruins nobody else can step into without succumbing to the curse to find a solution
    • The cryptic, enchanted glyphs in the V'ran ruins do not disclose any remedy to the curse; however they DO tell the story of an ancient war of the V'ran civilization against the so called "Murg Thalai", and about the V'ran developing of "the Red touch of Ta'axos", a curse they lost control of, sealing their own doom

    The Blood War
    • Several secret societies who see the Red Touch as a solution unite under the banner of the "Reborn Kingdom of V'ran".
    • The actions of the Reborn Kingdom of V'ran to deliberately spread the Blood Curse in order to inflate their numbers come to light.
    • The remainder of the old noble houses and guilds blame the current course of actions upon the students of the 5 spheres, feeding ideological conflict on top of the already existing tensions
    • Now revealed, the Reborn Kingdom of V'ran accelerate their recruitment. Despite the dangers and side-effects, many are lured by promises of power and relative safety from the Blood Curse, especially those not magically inclined.
    • Fights between the different factions in the streets of the capital escalate leading to a magical chain reaction causing the explosion of the Iridescent Tower and death of almost all magic users within the city's vicinity
    • Already over-strained, the magical surge makes the final Great Seal collapse at last.
    • With the final seal gone, the Blood Curse surges again. In the ensuing chaos, the Reborn Kingdom of V'ran threatens the Concil's precarious hold on power.
    • Isolar, the Living Island reappears in the present
    • A small party of survivors and war deserters, led by Iliana Sunshield and Titianus from the former Guild of Lost Knowledge, barely find their way, stranded and barely living, to Isolar, in search for answers
    • The very air of Isolar whispers a new story, to the few worthy ones that arrived, about what it calls the "Great Treason": an old demonic domination plan that used the Murgh Thalai and the V'ran as puppets, and their war as a tool.
    • Elite troops from the Reborn Kingdom of V'ran invade Isolar.
    • Iliana Sunshield enacts the plan of Isolar and helps the Living Island to vanish again and stay outside of time - with the leadership of the Reborn Kingdom, the council, the guilds, herself and other faction leaders being trapped on the island without the power to return on their own!
    • Trapped out of time on Isolar the different factions are forced to work together to find a solution for the effects of the Old Treason
    • With all legitimate leadership gone, the kingdom fractures into petty fiefdoms.
    • As soon as the death toll meets a threshold, both because of the Blood Curse and the useless fights, the the Blood Curse stops spreading all of a sudden, substituted by something even worse. As a strange energy comes out of the broken seals, those dead by the curse that weren't burned rise up once more as undead
    • The fiefdoms try to put up a resistance, but there is no coordinated effort and those who fall to the undead are soon to rise again as well.
    • Rumours abound that the Red Undead are beginning to create a large construct of unknown purposes.
    • Only as the blood curse has tainted every mage in the Kingdom to some degree the "Exiled" on Isolar finally realize they have to combine blood magic, guild magic and sphere magic to end the curse that doomed V'ran and Murg Thalai before - but for the ritual they need the blood from a mage who doesn't yet carry the curse...
    • As the exiled ones start arguing once more on who should perform the rituals and who should be sacrificed, Titianus from the Guild of Lost Knowledge voulounteers for both. His position of un-tainted guild's mage seems the most natural choice anyway, but he alone understands the heavy toll that he'll have to pay.
    • Just when Titanius steps forward to volunteer, his former pupil and mentee, Kallista returns to the island - together with a hooded figure. Kallista tells her mentor that she has finally solved the riddle - and reveals the old hooded man as a living Arunidas LXXVII.
    • Arunidas explains he received a vision showing him how the blood curse would destroy the Kingdom but there was also a way out, that required him to leave and hide outside of time - even though would not be able to come back on his own.
    • Being trapped out of time makes time move in strange ways. And now, Isolar felt the tremors caused by the undead's device, to trap them there forever of pull them out prematurely, either way, it was clear that they were planning nothing good.
    • The purpose of the device is now clear: sealing the Old Spirits like Isolar out of time forever, so they can't interfere in the plans of the forces from Beyond. As tears in the fabric of reality are forming, Titianus and King Arunidas coordinate and push the others in a rift, back to the normal word, while staying on Isolar themselves,to provide the 2 magic components of the ritual. They are trapped out of time forever.
    • The disturbances in the time flow fling those who passed through them to all corners of the Kingdom. The magic users amoungst them, empowered by the ritual, endeavour to create new Great Seals wherever they landed. Few succeed and, those that do, burn out their magical powers in the process.
    • However, the ritual succeeds and both the Red Dead and the Blood Curse are defeated, leaving a free but scarred kingdom that - possibly due to the banishment of the Old Spirits - has lost the element that made accessing magic in its borders so much easier than the rest of the known world.

    Iliana Sunshield is elected for life as Queen over the remaining provinces
    • With the kingdom broken and so many lives lost due to the machinations of noble-mages, the remaining people begin to revolt violently against any hint of being so ruled again.
    • Istion backs the uprising but surprisingly does not try to annex any territories or take over the Kingdom, but instead ennobles "mundane" leaders from the Kingdom to rule in their fiefdoms and pressures the Mages to transfer the power "to the people"
    • A surprise attack from a magical assassin reveals to all that Iliana is, in fact, immune to magic.
    • The kingdom splits into new factions, those who think that Iliana's resistance to magic is, itself, a new form of magic, those who believe it to be something new and wonderful and those who think it a terrible affront to the laws of nature.
    • In peace talks the different nations determine 7 lord-electors who will elect the new King or Queen and any successors when the time comes.
    • Tensions run high as candidates to the new throne are brought to the fore, Iliana, a rich merchants, a former lesser noble with no power, even a mage were amongst their number.
    • The Human Condottiere Iliana Sunshield is crowned in the new capital of Ildova as Queen, becoming the first ruler of the Kingdom without any magical ability
    • The night after the crowning Queen Iliana meets in private in the new palace with Kallista who has stayed hidden ever since their return from Isolar. Kallista wishes Iliana good luck and declares she is leaving with a far trader for the South - hoping to find answers there how to prepare for the inevitable return of the Attackers from Beyond.
    • New talks begin, propositions to re-institute the old magic guilds or something like them. So much magical knowledge has been lost, but the new Great Seals must be maintained else catastrophy befall the land once again.

    • The study of the 5 Spheres is the reformed way of interpreting magic. Magic is seen in terms of what "costs" a caster withstands, in every "sphere" his being reflects (The Movement of Matter, The Spirit of Nature, The Human Matrix, The Veiled Realm, The Beyond), rather than what it manipulates. Many old scholars (and especially the conservative ones, insisting on magic as an elite knowledge) frown at this reform.
    • The Guild of Necromancy - or officially the Guild of the Inner Light - was one of the original 13 Arcane Guilds, but in contrast to Necromancers in other parts of the world, the guild focused not only on death and undeath but also the healing and preservation of the spirit and the living body.
    • The Free Republic of Istion - also named the "free cities", the "Radiant" one, or simply Istion -is a mainly coastal territory ruled by an independent, oligarchic, state-city. Seafaring, marine commerce and trading and military / economic hegemony over several colonies / tributaries has made the Republic incredibly wealthy, and thus able to preserve independence. The city Bank wisely administers this wealth to generate more, borrowing and retrieving huge sums to (openly or secretly) sponsor this or that political power.
    • The Relation between the Guilds and the Nobility of the Inner Provinces at the time of Guild Wars was very complex. In general most Arcane Casters were members of one of the guilds but not all guild members were Arcane Casters. While not all or even a majority of nobles could cast magic, the noble families had to keep up the appearance of being part of an arcane bloodline - which were the basis of their claim to rule - so many became members of the guilds even though they lacked talent.
    • The Condottiers of Crownhill originated as a small military garrison to protect the strategically placed monastery of Mount Crownhill. Time passed and the monastic order fade away, but the warrior stayed, and found themselves without a master. They refused to be called "knights", because they saw the other knightly orders as little more then hounds in service a master, be it a noble house, guild, or rich men. They chose for themselves the name "Condottiers", and with it they adopted a moral code based on discipline, self-perfection and charity (reminiscent of the original way of the monks, somehow). They are either loved as holy protectors, or hated as holier-than-you hypocrites, with little shades in between.
    • The Great Treason is (according to Isolar) an old domination plot by forces from the Beyond, having the Murg Thalai and the V'ran as victims. Both nations used their form of primitive magic to empower their body and souls (the first ones through channeling of Daemonic energies, and the second ones through blood offerings, sacrifices and occasional ritualistic cannibalism). Unknowingly to them, the "Forces" actually played both sides in their war, "farming" them, leading them to mutual destrucion only to feed on their enpowered bodies and souls. The plot never saw its completion, as the Forces were sealed away, but not before the two nations perished, leaving only the Morthal and the V'ran ruins behind.
    • The Red Undead rose after the dead count reached a limit with the seals gone. They are so called because of the color of their eyes, and they are difficult to kill. Their bodies regenerate, and will keep marching forward until completely disintegrated. They are immune to mind magic, and resistant to all other forms: even necromantic spells, that would normally influence the balance of life and death, have a minimal effect on them and barely slow them down. Fire burns them, both mundane and magical, but due to the wars and the plague there are now very few spellcasters left in the world, able to conjure big flaming attacks. So those who resist must resort to mundane fire usage, which is simply not enough.

    I would like to know what you think of the timeline? Does it work for you? Any suggestions for editing? ANything you would say needs more clarification?

    (And if this interests you I have iopened a recruitment thread for a similar game that would explore a different woröd)
    Last edited by Wasp; 2020-12-03 at 06:16 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Boston, MA

    Default Re: The World of the Succession Wars

    I like a lot of this. Here are my immediate questions:

    Not clear to me what the Blood Curse is or what the Seals are. I'm also confused as to how the guilds worked. Were they powerful groups by themselves? What did they do?

    <quote>King Arunidas LXXVII's lesser son (Zardos the White) and his daughter (Kallista) start independently claiming the throne from his firstborn (Astaroth the Silent). Political tension rises.</qoute>

    How does this not lead immediately to a civil war?

    Also what is happening in other nearby empires, kingdoms etc.

    Also, some idea of time would be helpful. How much time do the listed events go on for? Unclear if this is like 50 years, a hundred years or more. And what is the approximate tech level during all of this?
    My homebrew:


    ToB disciplines:

    The Narrow Bridge
    The Broken Blade

    Prestige classess:
    Disciple of Karsus -PrC for Karsites.
    The Seekers of Lost Swords and the Preserver of Future Blades Two interelated Tome of Battle Prcs,
    Master of the Hidden Seal - Binder/Divine hybrid
    Knight of the Grave- Necromancy using Gish

    Worthwhile links:

    Age of Warriors

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: The World of the Succession Wars

    Thanks a lot! Your feedback is very much appreciated. All good points (to which I don't yet have answers *g*)

    Especially more on the Blood Curse, the Guilds and the timeframe sounds like a good idea. Considering we have some of the characters throughout the campaign I always thought it's not more than like 20 years overall...

    Regarding the claims not leading immediately to civil war - I saw this as a phase where each faction tried to figure out what to do next with unclear alliances and allegiances. The Cold phase of the Civil War.

    And while it would be nice to know more about the surrounding Kingdoms and the world I think that may be a bigger project!

    In any case, thank you very much for your questions! Definitely things to ponder!

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Default Re: The World of the Succession Wars

    The Blood Curse seems to be some sort of magical disease. It kills people and then, later, after enough have died makes the killed people rise as undead. There also seems to be some way to derive power from the curse, though that doesn't seem to end all that well. The Great Seals' purpose seems to be to hold back the Blood Curse and prevent it from spreading into the Kingdom.

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