Phoenix Rise: From the Ashes
Welcome to the world of Avarda. It is a world far older than our own, with millennia of history, whose technological progress has been periodically checked by world-shattering cataclysms. As veterans of the Dragon Wars, you got to see one of those cataclysms up close and personal, as the Age of Heroes was drawn to a bloody close by the hand of Aesur, the Unconquered Sun.
The Magelords and Dragons had ruled over the world for as long as anyone could remember. The sudden power vacuum thrust the world abruptly into a dark age that you would have been able to see the beginnings of.
As for how the world has developed during your centuries of slumber, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
I’m going to attempt to give an overview of life in Avarda. At first, it will be very generalized, but as you learn more about the civilization you’ve been revived into, I’ll add more specific information about the setting.
- Dwarves: The Lost Ones, as they are often called. No one knows how they came into the world, or where they went. There are relics of their lost civilization scattered in ancient ruins. There are references to them in texts from the Age of Wonders, and even early in the Age of Heroes. However no one has seen one in many many years. They are, however, still a playable race. If you would like to play one, we will talk about exactly what this all means.
- Elves: What men call “Elves” are, in fact, what happens when an immortal Sidhe gets banished from his court and stripped of his power and birthright. To the Sidhe, they consider this punishment being “Made Human” though there are obvious physiological differences and, even stripped of their immortality, an elf has more than double a human’s natural lifespan.
- Halflings: At the end of the Fae War, not all of the fae creatures chose to follow Malvena into Faerie. Those that remained behind eventually lost their immortality, living as mortals among humans. They are culturally homogeonous at this point. (Please note that Gnomes and Halflings are considered one species in my game. If you can have a gnome’s statistics, but will be considered a halfling by everyone you encounter)
- Half Elves: When a Sidhe and a mortal have a child, the child has special privilages. They live out a normal childhood among humans until the age of 13, when they are magically whisked away to spend the next 7 years among the Fae. If, at the end of this time, they chose to remain in Faerie, they become lesser Sidhe. If they choose to return, they become Changelings, also known as Half-Elves.
- Half-Orcs: Half-orcs are excedingly rare in my world, but they do occur. Orcs are not exactly bruding thugs in my world, just nomadic people who live in some of most desolate places in the world. Orcs and humans do not generally interact peacefully, so Half-orcs are still almost always the children of violence and rape, but let us simply say that the Orcs are as often the victims of these atrocities as they are the perpetrators.
- Humans: The dominant species of Avarda, Humans easily have more numbers than all the other races combined. Humans were created by the Sun God, Aesur, and cary His divine favor.
- Others: There are other sentient species in Avarda. If you wish to play something a bit more exotic, I will not stop you. Run your idea past me and we will discuss what it will mean.
I’m going to go over the very basic geography of most of the world.
- Oestria: This is the most “Western Europian” of the continents. As the name suggests, it is the western-most continent of the Known World. The coastal regions of the continent are highly fertile and have been traditionally densely populated, however its heart is an arid wasteland. During the Age of Heroes, almost all of this continent was under the reign of the Golden Empress, a Great Wyrm Golden Dragon of immense power and influence, who was much beloved her human subjects, but often dispised by her Draconic retainers.
- Orientis: The Divided Continent has three faces. In the northwest, its cultures are similar to those of Oestria, having a very “Eastern Europe” feel to them. The Southwest of the continent is the northern portion of Al Ghieb, a land of desert and mystery. The far east of Orientis is the land of Arkay and the island of Naratoma, which are… well… Far East in feel. During the Age of Heroes, most of Orientis was controlled by the Red Emperor, a Great Wyrm Red Dragon of vast power and influence, who was feared by his human subjects but greatly popular among his Draconic retainers.
- Surva: Surva hosts the southern portion of Al Ghieb and the mysterious land of Dhurgen. Further south, the desert gives way to a tropical forest and dense jungles. The southern most part of the continent is known as the Ghost Steppes, a vast grassland where the boundries between the planes seem thinner than they normally are. Surva was host to numerous petty Dragon Lords and Magelords, but no great power ever took root there as it did in Orientis and Oestria
- Sea of Trade: Between Oestria and Orientis, there is the Sea of Trade, where arcepelagios form distinctive civilizations.
There are four distinct pantheons of gods that rule over Avarda: Heaven, Faerie, the Deep, and the Netherworld. Each has its own distinct power-structure, effectively acting as independent nations, but most are usually willing to bow to the obvious might of Heaven.
The Gods of Heaven are the most powerful of the Pantheons in Avarda, and most widely worshiped among humans.
- Aesur: The King of the Heavens and the most widely worshipped god in the world. Aesur is the God of the Sun and the Elemental Lord of Fire. Even gods from other pantheons are quick to bow to his will.
- Aevisa: Daughter of Aesur and Malvena, Aevisa is the Goddess of Agriculture.
- Adrius: One of only two known ascended mortals, Adrius is the God of Knowledge, having gained his divine power from uncovering the hidden nature of the universe.
- Reyas: The Trickster God, Son of Ysira by a mortal thief, Reyas is the only one to have survived openly opposing Aesur and is a constant thorn in the Sun God’s side.
- Tamvor: The Storm God. Son of Zoraya and Lathan. Often acts as Aesur’s hard right hand.
- Ysira: Goddess of the Moon, Aesur’s bastard daughter by Nerai. Ysira created arcane magic. She has a… complicated relationship with her father.
- Zoraya: Goddess of the Wind, Aesur’s daughter (probably by Lithis but no one would dare suggest this to a priest of either Aesur or Zoraya). Popular goddess amongst sailors.
Gods of Faerie
Faerie is complicated. The Gods of Faerie are the direct progenitors of the Sidhe and for this reason, the line between royalty and divinity is thin. However four are reveared above all others.
- Malvena: Goddess of Nature, mother of all Fey, and the Elemental Lady of Earth.
- Adellena: Daughter of Malvena, born immaculately. She is the Goddess of Love and Beauty, and is considered the Queen of the Seelie Court
- Corellus: God of Bards and Wanderers, on-again-off-again husband of Adellena, and the technical creator of the world though no one seems to make a big deal of that last bit.
- The Queen of Air and Darkness: Rarely worshiped or even spoken of, she is the Queen of the Unseelie, created when Adellena was tainted by Lithis, and Corellus was forced to cut her in half to save her (an action which began the Demon War). The Queen is no longer possessed of Lithis’ malevolent intelligence, but has been left twisted by it.
Gods of the Deep
Far beneith the waves, the courts of the gods of the Deep hold sway.
- Nerai: The Goddess of the Ocean, and Elemental Lady of Water. Nerai is a strange, alien creature, incapable of understanding the speach of other creatures. Her actions often seem instinct-driven, rather than intelligent.
- Lathan: The God of the Waves, Lathan is the son of Nerai by Corellus and is the defacto ruler of the Deep. He has a keen understanding of his mother and her wishes, but tempers her instincts with sapience. He is the progenitor of the merfolk races.
- Daegen: Nerai’s firstborn son, which she created in an attempt to immitate Malvena’s ability to immaculately concieve. Daegen is the Allfather of Aberrations. Corellus taught him to sing in order to escape his clutches, and it is said that, to this day, he waits beneath the deep, composing the song that will end the world.
Gods of the Netherworld
The Netherworld has a divided power structure. Hell sits as a vassal state to Heaven, with Aesur serving as Judge of the Dead. The Abyss, however, is chaos. If there is an authority, it is found in the deepest darkness where Dead Lithis weaves her plots.
- Gerigon: Lord of Death, son of Malvena. He has the task of collecting mortal souls from their bodies.
- Raestor: God of War. The other ascended mortal, and hero of the Fae War.
- Lithis: Goddess of Darkness and undeath. Formerly Goddess of Air, Lithis betrayed Aesur. She was laid low by the God of the Sun and slain by his daughter Ysira. But since when has Death spelled the end for a God?
for more detail look up History
Here’s an overview of humanity’s history on Avarda
- The Birth of Humanity: Aesur decided to recreate Malvena’s success with the Fey, creating mankind
- The Fey War: Humanity’s population boom encroaches on the Alfaen Empire. Gods become involved. End result, three new gods Gerigon, Raestor and Aevisa. Humanity now dies of old age. All of the Fey leave for Faerie except those that would eventually become halflings.
- First Celestial Empire of Man: A period of relative peace and prosperity under the theocratic rule of the first Aesurian Church. Ends when the Demon war spills onto the Prime Material plane and hordes of the Abyss rampage across the world. Almost an extinction event.
- Rebirth of Mankind: Aesur’s response to the Demon War on the Prime Material was to shut that plane off from direct access to the others. The refugees in the city of Tyrn survived better than the rest of the landscape and quickly set about restoring order to the world.
- Age of Wonders: During the many wars to reclaim the known world, the Second Celestial Empire of Man quickly advanced both magically and technologically. During the thousand year history of said Empire, their technomagic was advanced to such a degree that artifact-level creations became commonplace. Eventually the hubris of the Empire became its downfall, as the entire civilization was undone in twenty-four hours during the Day of Fire.
- Age of Heroes: Following the cataclysmic failure of the Empire, Dragonkind flourished for the first time. Great Wyrm dragons began conquering swaths of land, simply laying territorial claim over an area and forcing all of the mortals within it to pay tribute. At the same time, spellcasters began doing their best to collect the magical knowledge of the Age of Wonders, jealously hording the power to themselves. These Magelords constructed high towers and cities tended to develop in their shade, safe from the predations of the draconic overlords.
- The Dragon Wars: Following the death of the Golden Empress, leaving her estate to her son, a powerful half-human sorcerer known as Xerxes, the delicate peace between Dragon and Magelord deteriorates into total war. Never has a period been quite this epic in every sense of the word. It ends with Aesur’s intervention. Every dragon was simultaniously banished… elsewhere along with every other purely magical creature remaining on the Prime Material. The Magelords were slain by the Gods themselves, often in painfully ironic ways.
- The Aftermath: Or Prologue. The first game session will start during the Aftermath. Heroes of your caliber have been disappearing. No one knows what’s happening to them, only that something is coming, and after what happened to the Magelords, you can only assume that it isn’t friendly.
- The Age of ???: During your centuries of slumber, what happens to the world around you? I suppose you’ll have to find out.