Dark Gate Lore


Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#21
Re: Lore

Children and Life Spans
How long pregnancy takes depending on race, and how long each race lives

Lifespans:
Angels, Demons, Sidhe, Ogres, Part Daemons, Darkwalkers, Dragonkin, Dragons, Daemons, Vampires, Black Oaks, Ember Draconians, Gemini, Kitsune, Arachne, Nightmares, Hellhounds, Fey Warhounds, Sphinxes, Shadow Demons, Karkastans, Slimes, and Giants are all biologically immortal unless killed, are immune to all natural diseases and to any ill effects that might result from aging in a mortal, and require far less in the way of sleep, food, and water than a mortal creature in order to survive, often going days or even weeks with neither in harsh environments and suffering minimal ill effects.

Elves, Part Demons, Harpies, Oni, Naga, Merfolk, Elementalkin, Minotaurs, Nymphs, Goatmen, Trolls, Fairies, Yetis, and other creatures creatures who become Warped through corruption (unless otherwise noted in their racial description) are possessed of lifespans far exceeding that of a human, though they still need to sleep, eat, and drink the same amount as any human would in the same environment. They can live for (roughly) up to 500 years naturally, though the average is about 400 years, and are generally more resistant to natural diseases and heal slightly more effectively than humans and other mortals. This allows them to live that long without suffering debilitating effects due to their age and the injuries they'd suffered during their longer lifespans.

Humans, Orcs, Plant Hulks, Kobolds, Hunters, and Su-Ku-Ta have limited lifespans that range from 50 to 100 years but tend to end around 70 to 80 so long as they keep in good shape. It should be noted that goblins, kobolds, and hunters all have the same resistance to disease and lessened physical needs that Warped creatures have.

Alraune, Goblins, Faerie Spiders, and other plant creatures not yet listed all have heavily shortened lifespans compared to humans, and rarely living past 40 years. Alraune and their kin have no special resistance to disease (beyond being plants instead of animals and thus subject to a completely different subset of infections) and need to eat and drink as much as a human in order to survive. Alraune that become Warped extend their lifespans to the length of a human one, and even Supernatural alraune only live about as long as uncorrupted elves at most. Goblin and faerie spider lifespans are unchanged regardless of how much corruption they take.

Some unnatural creatures, such as grabbers, live only for a few years at most despite coming from supernatural origins.

Half breeds generally favor their longer-lived parent in terms of how long they live, so average the age of the two races forming the half breed and round up.

Corruption affects different creatures differently. For humans, orcs, and su-ku-ta, becoming Warped doubles their naturally life span and becoming Supernatural gives them a lifespan roughly equivalent to an elf. Elves, on the contrary, actually lose remaining years as they become corrupted for reasons unknown, with a Warped elf losing up to half of their remaining life span and Supernatural elves losing three quarters of it. Creatures who are naturally immortal take no adverse effects from corruption, and the lifespans of longer lived creatures besides elves are likewise unaffected.


Genetics and Eugenics:
Determining the race of a child created between two different races can be a fairly complex thing, but generally unless one or both parents say that they cannot be used as part of a half breed, a half breed between the two races is created.

Some races create unique combinations or reproduce in unique ways, however, and these are listed below.
-Monstrous creatures will produce a creature that is completely of their own race with any partner other than an alraune or an arachne. These include (among others) non-humanoid demons like ogres, hellhounds, and nightmares, tentacle monsters, hunters, the lesser fey like kobolds goatmen and trolls, minotaurs, and goblins.
-Creatures that lay eggs take little to no genetic information from the host for their eggs.
-Angels are genetically dominant over most races, and other than children resulting from coupling with supernatural races their children will always be an angel whether they are the father or the mother unless they decide otherwise. The exceptions to this are karkastans, sidhe, demons, and harpies. With harpies, see their lore entry to determine what race the child is. For demons and sidhe, the child will be the race of the father. For karkastans, roll for their discordant fertility but replace sidhe with angels and demons with karkastans. Angels may also voluntarily suppress their dominant genes at any time, allowing them to birth pureblood children of any race following the normal rules for that race, treating uncorrupted angels as uncorrupted members of that race to determine the length of the pregnancy and how long it takes for the child to grow up. Fallen angels can never have angelic children.
-Karkastans are unique, see the discordant fertility special mutation.
-Arachne will always produce arachne when their eggs are fertilized, regardless of the race of the father.
-Alraune will produce seeds that will become shorn weeds when impregnated, regardless of the race of the father, unless a Supernatural alraune is impregnated by an angel or member of a supernatural race, which may produce a super shorn. They always produce seeds that develop into other alraune when impregnating other women.
-Demons will produce part-demons with races that don't somehow supersede their own genes and are not supernatural themselves, karkastans with sidhe, oni with orcs, ember draconians with dragons and dragonkin, and either full-blooded demons or a member of the other race with supernatural partners depending on who the father is. Mortal characters that have become Supernatural through corruption will produce full-blooded demons.
-Nymphs, nagas, orcs, merfolk, oni, su-ku-ta, and dragonkin will always produce more of their race with non-warped, non-supernatural races. See the Beastman Genes mutation for most of them.
-Naga, in addition, will produce a unique mutation with supernatural races and monsters who would normally dominate them genetically. They will create hybrids with the nearest equivalent race for humanoid monsters, part demons for creatures like stalkers and goblins and ogres, for instance. Non-humanoid monsters impregnate them with eggs containing monsters.
-Dragons will always produce dragonkin with non-supernatural partners, and daemons will always produce part daemons with any partner. For Supernatural partners, if their genes are not such that they will produce a pure blood, a dragonkin or part daemon will still be produced. Part daemons, kitsune, and dragonkin are considered supernatural for the purpose of determining what the child will be with other races.
-Harpies will produce a harpy 75% of the time, and a child of the father's race 25% of the time. Children from harpies are always born in the form of an egg. Monsters ignore this, always producing a monster.
-Werewolves and elementalkin do not pass on their unique traits and are treated as their base race.
-Vampires are supernatural creatures, but are treated as an uncorrupted form of their base race when determining the result of their children with supernatural races and produce half vampires with anyone else.
-Kitsune produce a kitsune one in ten times, and a pure blooded member of the other partner's race with an unusual template depending on the race of the other parent the rest of the time. Kitsune who have selective fertility may ignore the percentages and choose whether to have a kitsune or a member of the other race. All pure kitsune children produce a noticeable strain on their mothers, consuming half of their max EP every day. Kitsune do not produce multiple births naturally except for identical twins on a natural 20 on a twins roll; they will almost always have only one child if their child would be a kitsune, and if the other parent would normally have multiple children they are always of the non kitsune race regardless of who is the mother.


Birth and Aging
Supernatural creatures have unusual life cycles, and it can result in many strange things.

-Humans, elves, su-ku-ta, dragonkin, and angels (unless corrupted or carrying a child of another race) all take the usual 9 months of gestation and take roughly 15 to 20 years to reach full physical maturity. Naga that give live birth do the same.
-When humans, elves, orcs, su-ku-ta, or dragonkin become Warped and then become pregnant, their spawn takes half as long to gestate as it normally would unless the resulting child is another race entirely, and if the other parent is also Warped when it normally wouldn't be the gestation time is reduced by half again. The resulting children will grow up depending on their own level of magical nature and their race combination.
-Naga that lay eggs generally hold them for about a month before laying them, either into a host in whom they'll hatch or into a burrow that the naga must carefully oversee. The eggs hatch after another two to three weeks. Hatched naga age unnaturally quickly, growing up within about 8 to 10 years.
-Arachne eggs take about a week to grow inside of the arachne, but they don't need to be fertilized to do so. After being fertilized, the eggs grow inside of the arachne for about 72 hours or inside of a host for about eight hours, and if still within the arachne by that time they will immediately hatch and the young will eat their way out of their mother, killing her. If laid within a host, the host's body will eject the eggs after an eight hour incubation, leaving roughly an hour before they hatch, and either way the young arachne will take about 3 to 5 weeks to reach maturity. Once their adolescence is over, arachne will cocoon themselves and grow into their adult forms, a period in which they are highly vulnerable that lasts for about three days.
-Demons and karkastans gestate for about 2-3 days and then grow to a state of near-adulthood within about 2 to 3 weeks, though they continue to develop for another 2 years before reaching full physical maturity.
-Part-demons, sidhe, half-sidhe, oni, nymphs, and part daemons are born and mature abnormally fast. They generally gestate for about three weeks and then take about one to two years to physically maturie, though they continue to develop for another three to five years after that.
-Orcs give birth after only six months and are physically mature by the age of ten.
-Harpies take roughly 3-7 days to lay an egg after impregnation, which takes a total of two months to hatch, and if the child is a harpy they'll take a few weeks (3-8) to reach a state in which they can potentially be independent from their parents, but take about 6 years to reach full physical maturity.
-Alraune seeds, whether they will develop into alraune or into shorn weeds, take about eight to twelve hours to gestate inside of their mother before they are ready to be born, and crawl away on their two little tentacle arms to burrow into the ground and gestate into their adult form for about a month before emerging.
-Vampires, if born full-blooded, are born within 3 months and develop into adults within about two weeks. Half vampires are born and mature as their base race.
-Kitsune, though they do take the full 9 months to gestate inside of any mother, grow to physical maturity within about 2 years.
-Goblins and kobolds develop and mature depending on the mix of parentage. A female will always take about three weeks to give birth if impregnated by a non-warped race or a male goblin, and the resulting child will take a month to grow to adulthood. Mating with a warped or higher creature shortens this to 3-5 days and 2 days respectively, which is the same gestation and maturation period that results from males impregnating females of other species.
-Monstrous creatures like hellhounds, warhounds, hunters, tentacle monsters, and etc generally take about a day to gestate and grow up within the next day. Grabbers grow even quicker, as they are born effectively as grabber spawn. More humanoid monstrous creatures like ogres, minotaurs, and trolls take three days to gestate and then about three weeks to reach maturity.

Determining the number of children
Generally humanoid creatures such as humans, elves, orcs, angels, demons, goblins, etc give birth to a single child per pregnancy, with rare occurrences of twins, triplets, or more. Some creatures have higher breeding rates, however, and how that's handled is seen below.
Nightmares/Horses/Minotaurs/Tentacled Horrors/Grabbers: As humanoids.
Wolves/Bears/Boars/Hellhounds/Warhounds/Other Beasts: 1d6 + 2 per pregnancy, +1d3 for Fertile females.
Alraune/Shorn Weeds: 3d10 + 10 per pregnancy, +5 for Fertile characters.
Arachne/Darkwalkers/GIFTS/Feral Stalkers: 3d6 + 4 per pregnancy, +2d6 for Fertile characters.
Naga: 2d6 + 2, +3 for Fertile characters.


Populations
A distribution of the races and their abilities in and around Heloras

Donevrion is inhabited by a wide variety of individuals belonging to a wide variety of racial and political groups, some of whom are more populous or powerful than others. The following statistics are divided as clearly as possible, but note that the language may flip around a bit, particularly when discussing the various ethnicities of the human population. Also note that these have no bearing on the PCs, as they are generally allowed to be as strange as they want. Finally, gemini and slimes are not included in these statistics as their population cannot be accurately measured.

Races by Geographical Location
Amazon (Approximately 17% of the world's population)
-24% human, about 80% being racially Amazonian
-5% demon, assorted
-13% faerie, assorted
-1% arachne
-15% orcs and oni
-31% night elven
-10% alraune
-About 1% make up a mixture of the remaining races, including vampires, dragonkin, ember draconians, harpies, karkastans, kitsune, merfolk, high elves, and su-ku-ta

Anudor (Approximately 16% of the world's population)
-39% human, with about 70% being racially Anudorian with the rest mostly comprising of a mix of Crolian and Badarian
-1% demon, assorted
-9% faerie, assorted
-1% orcs and oni
-3% alraune
-4% elven, mostly high elven
-40% Su-Ku-Ta
-1% merfolk
-About 2% make up a mixture of the remaining races, including vampires, dragonkin, naga, karkastans, kitsune

Atlantis and small islands in the oceans (Approximately 5% of the world's population)
-35% human
-60% merfolk
-5% elves and orcs
-Less than 1% make up a mixture of the rest of the races

Badaria (Approximately 30% of the world's population)
-74% human, with about 60% of that being racially Badarian
-4% demon, assorted
-7% faerie, assorted
-1% elven in an even mixture of high elves and night elves
-3% orcs and oni, predominately orcs, almost all clanless
-5% su-ku-ta
-5% alraune
-Less than 1% make up a mixture of the remaining races, including vampires, dragonkin, naga, karkastans, kitsune, and merfolk

Crolia (Approximately 32% of the world's population)
-45% human, with 70% being racially Crolian, another 20% being racially Badarian, and then an even mix of Amazonians and Anudorians making up the rest.
-40% orc and oni
-12% high elven
-4% faerie
-About 1% make up a mixture of the remaining races, including demons, alraune, vampires, dragonkin, ember draconians, harpies, karkastans, kitsune, merfolk, night elves, and su-ku-ta


Class Percentages by Race (Warriors in this case would include normal people as well as trained fighters. These statistics include only those that live to adulthood.)
Alraune - 80% Warriors, 10% Mages, 10% Wielders, 0% Succubi
Amazonian - 87% Warriors, 9% Mages, 2% Wielders, 2% Succubi
Angel - 33% Warriors, 33% Mages, 34% Wielders, 0% Succubi
Anudorian - 93% Warriors, 2% Mages, 4% Wielders, 1% Succubi
Arachne - 75% Warriors, 10% Mages, 10% Wielders, 5% Succubi
Badarian - 96% Warriors, 4% Mages, 1% Wielders, 1% Succubi
Crolian - 92% Warriors, 6% Mages, 1% Wielders, 1% Succubi
Dragonkin - 46% Warriors, 22% Mages, 28% Wielders, 4% Succubi
Ember Brood - 60% Warriors, 9% Wielders, 1% Mages, 30% Succubi
Full Demon - 30% Warriors, 18% Mages, 18% Wielders, 34% Succubi
Gemini Empowered - 0% Warriors, 0% Mages, 0% Wielders, 100% Succubi effectively, 60% Warriors, 20% Mages, 0% Wielders, 20% Succubi in terms of combat styles
Goblin - 96% Warriors, 2% Mages, 2% Wielders, 0% Succubi
High Elf - 88% Warriors, 9% Mages, 2% Wielders, 1% Succubi
Karkastan - 40% Warriors, 21% Mages, 22% Wielders, 17% Succubi
Kitsune - 30% Warriors, 16% Mages, 45% Wielders, 9% Succubi
Lesser Demons (Stalkers, Ogres, Hellhounds, etc) - 96% Warriors, 3% Mages, 1% Wielders, 0% Succubi
Lesser Fae (Goatmen, Kobolds, Trolls, etc) - 92% Warriors, 5% Mages, 3% Wielders, 0% Succubi
Living Slime - 25% Warriors, 25% Mages, 25% Wielders, 25% Succubi
Naga - 89% Warriors, 2% Mages, 6% Wielders, 3% Succubi
Night Elf - 84% Warriors, 9% Mages, 4% Wielders, 3% Succubi
Nymph - 22% Warriors, 58% Mages, 10% Wielders, 10% Succubi
Part Demon - 62% Warriors, 8% Mages, 9% Wielders, 21% Succubi
Sidhe - 16% Warriors, 41% Mages, 42% Wielders, 1% Succubi
Oni - 88% Warriors, 0% Mages, 10% Wielders, 2% Succubi
Orc - 95% Warriors, 0% Mages, 4% Wielders, 1% Succubi
Vampire - 5% Warriors, 5% Mages, 78% Wielders, 12% Succubi
 
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Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#22
Re: Lore

Those of the Brightest Past
The Story of the Elves

The Changing
The spells worked after the great Cataclysm were some of the most potent ever cast upon the surface of Donevrion. To rebuild the world after it had been so badly damaged and to take the magical nature inherent to half of an entire race without killing any of them required not only incredible power, but incredible skill as well. Those who were changed went into a coma that lasted for a week and a day, and when they awoke they were the elves, long-lived but mortal. For a time their former kin cared for them, in memory of what they had once been, but it was clear even then that they were changed irrecoverably.

Disoriented and unsure what to do with themselves, the first of the elves still held a tether of their connection to the natural world, and were able to hunt and forage in order to sustain themselves. They began to collect, to breed, and after roughly a year they had organized to the point that they formed along the lines of the courts to which they had once belonged. It was then that those elves who had once been the members of the Court of the Void, the only ones who had argued strongly against the Changing, banded together and promised their eventual return, before vanishing to never be seen or heard from again.

What followed was a gradual drifting across the continent and a change from their faerie ways to a way of life that was entirely their own. Thus agriculture was first created and the first wild beasts were tamed by a humanoid race, while at the same time humans and orcs were still living in caves and hunting and gathering for a living. Though primitive, the elves retained their ties to one another and kept to their court lines, and their unity in common origins and language combined with some assistance from their faerie kin allowed them to survive and flourish in the untamed lands of Heloras where they had been settled.


The Dawn of Civilization

Centuries passed, and the elves expanded in numbers and territory against their nearest neighbors. Just over two thousand years after they were born from the fey, the first written language was created to allow the elves to record their history, for they had lost the intrinsic understanding of their sidhe minds that had allowed them to work entirely from pure images and ideas without the need of language as a connecting concept. Though initially primitive, the first portions of recorded history were written in the elves' first symbolic language, and fragments of it still exist even in modern Donevrion, though only in the form of ancient tablets and carvings. Basic mathematics first appear here too, and these elements of elven culture would evolve steadily over the next few thousand years.

Their communities would grow, slowly but steadily, until the first elven city was founded where Therion stands now. The elves had begun to conflict with the primordial orcs by that point, however, and knew that they would need to protect their lands from the beastmen lest their people be conquered and pillaged by them. By that point the fey had largely stepped back from their mortal cousins, leaving them to tend to themselves as they would, and with no one to turn to for aid the long-standing martial tradition of the elves was created alongside their first fortress, a stone tower that would eventually form the basis of the citadel of Gods-Reach. In all of the wars with orcs, giants, and all the other wild primordial beings that inhabited Donevrion, that citadel would remain untaken for thousands of years after its initial construction despite countless attempts to claiming it from its defenders.

The savage battles between the elves and their neighbors would, after another thousand years, drive the fey to part from them fully and officially, but even then the elves would hold stalwart against their countless foes and continue to expand across Heloras. War soon followed, but it was a war that the elves were more prepared for than their opponents, and it would be a war that they would eventually win. It was about this time that most of the lands now comprising Crolia and Badaria would be in elven hands, with small groups living in the Anudorian desert and in the rich but dangerous Amazonian jungle.

The unity that had held them together thus far began to wane in this period, and with control of much of the known world the elves grew restless with one another as their populations swelled. After some centuries, civil war broke out, allowing their ancestral enemies to invade their lands while elf fought against elf for the first time. It was only through the timely intervention of the Summer Court that the elves were not fractured and conquered completely, but that move caused the other courts to grow angry both with the Summer Court, who had acted against their wishes in intervening in such a trivial mortal conflict, and with the elves for requiring such babysitting.

It would not be the last time that the Summer Court aided the elves, but it would be the last time for a long while, and after several more centuries many of the wayward ex-fey would abandon their old ways completely. Only those who had once been the Court of the Moon retained their ancient ways, keeping unified rather than taking up the more fragmented culture that their neighbors adapted despite their cries that it had caused the conflict which had nearly destroyed them. More such conflicts occur periodically over the next few thousand years, but they are much smaller and never nearly as catastrophic as the first elven war.


The First Contact with Humanity

The Coming of Ruin: Malfegor

The Schism and the Blood War

Peace

The Fall of the Elves

Timeline

27,643 BAI
-The Cataclysm forces the sidhe courts to sacrifice half of their number to a spell called the Changing, creating the race of the elves from the Courts of the Sun, Stars, Moon, and Void.
-The kings of the fallen courts vanish, leaving their wives to fend for themselves as the faeries reorganize themselves into the Courts arranged by the seasons, a phenomenon allegedly created by the magics used to do this.
-The elves of the Court of the Void, the only group who were dissenting with the decision to enact the Changing, flee from their brethren and are never heard from again. The other newly created elves live alongside their former brethren.
26,000 BAI
-The elves begin to drift apart from their faerie brethren, establishing small villages and developing rudimentary agriculture as their populations grow.
25,541 BAI
-Elves develop the first written language in history, as well as basic mathematics. The first recordings of known history are written at this time.
22,000 BAI
-The first elven city is built, and to guard it against the primordial orcs and giants that bordered elven lands their first citadel was built as well, on the mountaintop that would eventually be renamed Gods-Reach.
21,000 BAI
-The elves officially split fully from the fey courts, who retreat into the seclusion of the wilderness while the elves engage in their first wars against the orcs.
20,300 BAI
-The wars are ended, with the orcs driven deep into the mountains and the giants nearly wiped out. The elves begin to spread across what is now Crolia and Badaria in small groups, founding villages that would grow into towns and eventually city-states over the centuries.
18,700 BAI
-Conflict brews among the elves, allowing their ancient foes the orcs to take some settlements from them as they skirmish among themselves. After one hundred years, the Summer Court of the Fey intervenes to end the dispute and restore peace, earning the anger of the other three courts against both them and against the elves they had helped.
16,000 BAI
-The elves begin to split from their ancient ways, all save those who were once the Court of the Moon discarding the court system in favor of monarchic or republican city-states.
12,000 BAI
-First contact with humans occurs, and the elves quickly begin to lose ground to the insistent expansion of their quicker-breeding but no less intelligent competition.
11,600 BAI
-Elves and humans begin to intermingle, producing the first half-elves and granting humans exposure to the written word.
11,203 BAI
-The dragon Malfegor conquers Gods-Reach and claims it as his lair using orc and giant slaves, the only time that it ever falls from elven hands until the orcs take it over eleven thousand years later.
11,078 BAI
-The dragon Malfegor is killed by a sidhe knight named Titannia, and Gods-Reach is given back to the elves.
10,800 BAI
-As human culture grows stronger in Badaria, the elves there migrate farther East to Amazonia, where they find other humans of a different cultural and ethnic origin. These more amicable humans become allies and cosettle the region, a fact mirrored to the North in Crolia. In the West, the elves present in Anudor are largely wiped out by mingling and breeding with the far more numerous humans.
8,900 BAI
-Elves and humans in Crolia officially join as city-states further develop, resulting in a unified culture. Meanwhile, those elves who had settled in the Amazon began to grow restless while sharing space with their human neighbors. Some whisper of otherworldly influence...
6,000 BAI
-The First Demon Invasion sends the elves into an uproar, but even though they strengthen their borders to the North they do not intervene, allowing the human kingdoms in Anudor to be laid to ruin while they sat by and watched.
3,570 BAI
-The Schism occurs, splitting the elves racially as demonic influence twists the elves of the court of the moon into the night elves, starting a war that would last two hundred years and be waged across lands held by humans and orcs that were increasingly hostile to both sides.
3,315 BAI
-The Blood War ends, with the remaining defeated night elves joining with their human neighbors or forming small, harmless tribal groups who quickly descended into near-total savagery.
-The first elven queen of the city that would eventually be known as Therion is elected, resulting in a line of elven rulers that would last up to the alien invasion and beyond.
3,000 BAI
-A cult of night elves unleashes the next (fourth) demon invasion in the Pfitherian jungle, but it is repulsed before it can gain any real foothold.
1 AI
-The ancient elven citadel of Gods-Reach falls to the orcs, the first time it been taken from its ancient builders in more than ten thousand years. The elven records held there, untold centuries of history and lore detailing the arcana and culture of the elves, are burned and lost forever.
 
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Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#23
Re: Lore

Tongues
A guide to the Languages of Donevrion

Firstly, a short list of languages and who speaks them!
Ancient Anudorian – Su-ku-ta, Anudorian tribes, dead language
Anudorian - modern Su-ku-ta and Anudorian tribes
Badarian - Badarian Humans, most intelligent beings on Heloras and the islands immediately around it
Crolian - Crolians, High Elves
Elven – High Elves, Night Elves, Amazonians, Crolians
Helltongue - Demons, Goblins
High Amazonian – Settled people in the Amazon, dialects differ by city
Londorian - Londorians, Formori
Low Amazonian – Tribes located in the Amazon, many spoken dialects
Old Crol – Crolians, dead language
Orcish - Orcs, Crolians, High Elves
Wolfgrowl - Wolfir


Details

Ancient Anudorian
One of the oldest human languages, originating from the language spoken by the first humans to travel from Arlos to Heloras. A dead language that hasn't been spoken since shortly after the first demon invasion, very few are still able to speak or read this ancient dialect, and none do so natively. Originally spoken by the people who established the grand cities on the edge of the Anudorian desert and the nomadic tribes that spread out from them, the speaking of this died out when the demons took control of most of Anudor, resulting in the majority of its speakers being forced to briefly adopt Helltongue before the demons could be pushed out. The Su-Ku-Ta, freshly mutated by decades of slavery to demonkind, attempted to reclaim the glory of their fallen culture by adopting the language spoken by their nomadic neighbors, but by that point the speaking of it had evolved enough to make it unrecognizable, and the pictographs representing their written language were completely incomprehensible. Ancient Anudorian is a very simplistic language when spoken, its syntax extremely rigid and with very very few exceptions.

Anudorian
One of the most widely ranging languages in terms of dialects compared to the number of native speakers, the Anudorian language is spoken by those living in the vast wasteland of the Anudorian desert. The dialects adopted by the settled su-ku-ta have evolved to a point of being static and similar enough to each other that they are more or less the same, but the different dialects spoken by the various tribes are so different that they practically represent entirely different languages. There initially was no written language, but eventually the su-ku-ta and the tribes that used written tradition rather than passing things down orally adopted the Badarian alphabet. Anudorian, like Ancient Anudorian, is simplistic syntactically, but unlike the language from which it was derived is fairly fluid thanks, in part, to influences from Western Badaria.

Badarian
The most commonly spoken language on the continent of Heloras, the official imperial dialect of Badaria is a useful trade language that is the result of centuries of cultural assimilation between varying groups. The language that this conglomeration produced, spoken with only very minor evolution over the last several hundred years thanks to the highly conservative regime of the Lich King, is a complex language with influences from dozens of other older human dialects, elven, and even orcish. Originating from the meeting of Amazonian, Anudorian, and Crolian dialects at their edges and comprising of the numerous human racial subgroups that make up the Badarian Empire, the core of the language is a relatively simple set of syntactic rules that have numerous phonological exceptions stretching across the language's incredibly vast vocabulary. The smattering of influences and the widely spread out usage has produced a large number of different dialects and accents, particularly where it is taken as a second language. Badarian is the commonly accepted trade language of Heloras, and is the most commonly spoken language on Donevrion. It is also the most commonly written language, and is unique in that more than half of those able to speak it natively can also read and write in it. Badarian has its own alphabet based on stringing sounds together to form words, but it is similar enough to the Crolian one thanks to the fact that both are rooted in the Old Crol alphabet that they are often interchangeable.

Crolian
The direct descendant of Old Crol, Crolian is a more fluid language in comparison to its ancient predecessor, having numerous dialects that differ subtly across the wide range in which it is spoken. Possessing the heavy consonants of its ancestor but with a much wider vocabulary and a more fluid syntax thanks to mingling with other languages, the Crolian language developed an alphabet representing sounds rather than concepts by necessity, which was eventually adopted in Badaria and Anudor as well. Though there are numerous different dialects of it, many of them a fairly similar, and the four major groups of modern Crolian represent different geographical regions. Theronian Crolian, the most commonly encountered version, has many influences from other languages but still maintains the heavy consonants expected of the language and has the widest range of vocabulary. Castlian, the dialect originating in the city state after which it is named, hails from far to the East and claims a more rigid structure and much softer sounds due to its proximity to a major Amazonian city. Pig-Crolian or Orcish Crolian is the dialect spoken by the orcs and those living around them, and has portions of their language mixed in. Finally, Avdriatic Crolian is the simplistic version spoken by those primitive tribes living farthest to the North, making their homes in the tundra and among the icebergs beside the treacherous Frozen Sea, which has a smaller alphabet and still uses a few runes from Old Crol to represent certain things.

Elven

Helltongue

High Amazonian

Londorian

Low Amazonian

Old Crol
The single oldest written language on Donevrion and one of the oldest spoken ones, Old Crol is another language spoken by people who came to Heloras from Arlos when humans were first expanding from the continent on which they had evolved. Unlike Ancient Anudorian, however, it still has numerous scholars reading and speaking it, though the vast majority of the populace speak a dialect of modern Crolian. Syntactically, Old Crol is almost completely rigid, with an extremely limited vocabulary but with many words having multiple meanings. Consonant heavy and with mostly hard sounds, Old Crol is fairly primitive compared to modern languages, but produced a complex runic alphabet in its written form that is the ancestor of every written language save for the Amazonian ones, Londorian, and Ancient Anudorian.

Orcish

Wolfgrowl
 
Last edited:

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#24
Re: Lore

Sorcery
Magic, how it works, and how it relates to powers of the soul

Preamble
The forces collectively referred to as magic on the world of Donevrion have been studied by mortal and immortal alike since the dawn of intelligent life. It can be found and taught in many different forms, and wielded by individuals ranging from demonic sorcerers, hedge mages, healers, Inquisitors, adventuring wizards, royal archmages, and countless others of varying backgrounds, each of whom uses magic in their own unique way. On its most fundamental level, magic is the expression of will upon the fabric of reality, the direction of a sentient mind using the latent energies of the universe to manipulate aspects elements of the world both simple and abstract. Schools devoted to understanding magic and passing that understanding on to others are everywhere, each one possessing knowledge and techniques different from the last but each one offering those who study magic the opportunity to unlock new techniques.



The Three Limits
The use of magic has always been subject to three simple limits. The first and most essential is energy, and that limit is the most difficult to bend. A living being and a given area each only have so much energy that can be used for magic before a measure of time must occur for that energy to be replenished. Energy of course cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change forms, but the uses to which magic puts that energy can make it unusable in further magic until it can revert back to its original form. The second limit is the medium through which one is working, as even magic must obey the laws of reality. For example, magical fire acts mostly like fire save that a mage can force it to move in certain ways, protecting themselves from its effects. Certain types of magic are easier to manipulate, and certain advances have made some inexplicably more easy to control than others, such as the polarity control of lightning magic allowing a person to draw bolts of lightning to exact points or direct lines of electricity to go from one point to another rather than simply grounding out immediately. More abstract elements, such as nature or aether, are more difficult to describe using realistic analogues but follow the same basic principles in that they don't generally violate the basic laws of physics. Force magic, for example, does obey the rule that there is an equal and opposite reaction, it simply produces that reaction on the same point as the target only in the opposite direction. The third, final, and most abstract limit is the imagination of the user. Some aspects of reality simply cannot be worked around - energy can only be so concentrated, and aspects of reality cannot be made to obey even the strongest will if it is against their nature - but a creative sorcerer or sorceress can use produce almost any result that they desire. The spell lists available in the mechanics are therefore not an entirely comprehensive list, but merely the most basic spells available to any given element, mixed up in the way they are for balance purposes.



The Origins of the Elements
The understanding of each element was developed individually as mortals developed their own spellcasting from the magics naturally wielded by the fey. Initially, humans migrating across the lands mastered the use of magic relating to Wind, Water, and Fire, the elements most useful to their primitive cultures as they sought to expand. The elves, learning directly from their fey ancestors, developed Wind, Water, Nature, and Earth magics to work with them along the same principles as their human competitors. The slightly differing schools of Water and Wind created by humans and elves were eventually combined into one teaching as human and elven culture contaminated one another. Other elements were gradually introduced over time, one or two at a time, and the understanding and practice of each has evolved over time.

Aether
One of the two youngest Elements introduced into magic, the study of necromancy was largely exclusively an intuitive practice with some ritualistic elements until the Lich King formalized it as a commonly used school of magic. Even since then it has largely only practiced openly in Badaria due to its grim nature, but over the years some study of it has been allowed at the Academy, and as those who studied it there spread their secrets and members of the Lich King's magus battalions deserted the element became gradually more widespread. The aspects involving the manipulation of the dead, attacking a person's life force, and binding lesser daemons nonetheless ensure that it is still rarely more than tolerated in most places, however.

Arcane
The other of the two young Elements, this one was introduced at the Academy in Crolia by the proto-deity Arcade, but only became popular when the practice of dueling against other mages was being studied in order to better counter the forces of the Lich King. The secrets of its basic mechanics were poorly guarded, however, and soon enough it became a widespread element that is practiced by anyone hoping to get into a cultured magical circle. The one element with no basis in physical reality whatsoever, Arcane magic is the direct manipulation of the energy that all magic draws its power from without any supposition on what that form will take, making it incredibly fluid but also extremely complex, requiring a great deal of discipline and control to master.

Body
The healing arts were one of the first to be formally developed at the Academy after its establishment, borrowing from traditions stolen from Londorien long ago, when humans lived solely on mankind's original homeland of Arlos. The leves had come to study it as an aspect of nature magic long ago, but they had never separated the two before humans took to formalizing the study of magic, and since then the two have been largely maintained separately. Simple and almost universally accepted even among Badarians and the famously mage-hating orcs, the healing arts allow a mage to cause wounds to knit back together instantly, to allow a body to quickly replenish its blood supply, or to repair other such damage. Too much at once can do far more harm than good, however, especially if an injury hasn't been properly tended to in more mundane manners first, leading to broken bones healing incorrectly, torn blood vessels healing such that they allow no actual bloodflow, or the body simply going into shock. Of course, sometimes such effects can be done deliberately, and the magic of the physical body is often considered to produce some of the more horrific effects upon its victims when used offensively. Maladies and injuries from which the body wouldn't naturally heal on its own, such as diseases, tumors, failing organs, genetic disorders, or other such permanent things are also almost impossible to heal with conventional magic.

Earth
An early and simplistic element, the power over the structure of the very ground is normally a tool more practical for menial tasks than for combat, but it is still an essential tool taught at each and every magical school. Often taken up as a secondary element choice by aspiring mages, the patience necessary to use such magics without exhausting oneself is a skill only a few can master, but that rewards such a person with ample opportunities to practice their talents.

Entropy
The power over the primordial forces of chaos is a young Element first crafted in the dark realms of Hell, but later made to follow over when it was introduced to the Night Elves when they began to worship demons. It is still often seen in a negative light by many, particularly by Badarian mages who revile its uncontrollable nature, but its power is not to be underestimated. Manipulating a more primordial form of magic, entropy spells can most directly manipulate the fundamental fabric of reality, but those effects are not ones meant to be controlled or contained, at least not by any sane sentient mind.

Fire
An ancient element used to drive off the cold when humans first arrived on the shores of Crolia, the power over fire was the driving engine that first pushed humans to spread across much of the world. It sees as much use on the battlefield as it does in industry, particularly in Badaria where it is considered standard practice given the element's sheer destructive and utilitarian potential. Despite its popularity, fire magic is generally considered one of the most simplistic and least practical elements to focus on, since it has so few uses outside of mundane work and combat.

Force
Another Element engineered in the Crolian Academy, the advent of this brand of magic was hailed as man's final mastery over the forces of nature, as it represents the ability to control the most basic application of power. The ability to channel and pure force rather than pushing air to make wind, it was eventually discovered that it was less practical than could be desired since force is very difficult to maintain or redirect, but more creative applications of it were eventually worked out, and it can sometimes be used outside of combat purposes. In combat, however, it is especially difficult to defend against since it has no visual cues to go by, and has the added benefit of allowing a caster to keep their opponents away from them.

Light
This Element was first created many years before humans had begun to settle on Heloras by the elves, but its secrets were lost to ancient writings given the minimal applications of it until it was discovered again shortly after the demons invaded. The Stalkers of Hell had long made use of this brand of magic before the Devourer came, and they continued to use it to great effect, prompting others to begin to study it and master its utility. Utilizing ,isdirection through illusion and the production of blinding beams of light hot enough to sear flesh from bone as effectively as any flame, this element sees use almost everywhere now, and provides the simple and vital production of light by which mortals can banish the darkness.

Lightning
A popular Element among evokers, the mastery of this powerful but unpredictable force was done during the integration of humans and elves in Crolia, and has since become a popular subject at the Academy and required learning at the Incantarium. Its destructive power is one of the few to rival that of pure fire or a lucky entropy mage, though controlling it can be difficult at times. Even so, many young mages enjoy the prospect of striking their foes with a bolt of lightning drawn from the sky, and as such it has seen many new creative inventions with its power over the years that make it more controllable.

Nature
The first and most primal form of magical learning, this element has evolved much but changed little over the years, allowing its users to master basic primordial powers tied in to life itself that are potent even compared to the more complex sorceries wielded by practitioners of other elements. Calling upon the spirits of the wild and controlling the flow of life energies, the study of nature is often seen as enlightening by those that favor it, though its detractors would often call it stifling since those who practice it often lead very hermetic lives. The understanding granted by the practice of nature magic often leaves its more serious practitioners to become increasingly nonviolent, however, so it has seen few advances in the way of battle-magic besides those advanced by its child-school, body magic.

Water
One of the oldest of Elements practiced by mortal mages, the fundamental force of water has been manipulated ever since humans and elves began to settle to lives of agriculture. Useful in countless applications, the most basic of which being providing the element itself in usable quantities, the study of water magic has also long included the manipulation of its solid form for the purposes of evocation magic. Just as with wind magic, water magic is viewed as essential on sailing vessels, and is also the very first sort of magic taught to Anudorian priests and priestesses if their tribes are possessed of magical traditions.

Wind
One of the earliest Elements used, its popularity has fluctuated with the advent of the mildly more efficient Force element and with its resurgence when sea trade was made possible again, but it has always seen some practice in the lands of Heloras. Early humans used it to cross the sea from Arlos, and it has been a staple for those making such travels ever since. It was the very first element developed by the elves after they ceased to be members of the sidhe, though by that point they still hadn't developed true magical schools.



Daemons vs Elementals
No single aspect of magic is more poorly understood by plebians than summoning. Seemingly able to conjure beings of fire, lightning, or even wind out of nothing, or to raise dark specters with insatiable bloodlust, those mages who focus on conjuration are often the most feared by the superstitious, and often rightly so. On a practical level, the difference between the two creatures that a mage can call upon ought to be explained, as nebulous as that difference might seem.

Most creatures summoned and bound to the will of casters are elementals, or in the case of those from the Nature element spirits that follow the same general guidelines. Their "bodies" are created from magical energy and a substance known as ectoplasm, matter that seemingly exists everywhere but has physical substance only when charged by magical energy. Elementals and nature spirits are, like the fae, beings representing manifestations of various aspects of physical reality, but are not truly sentient in the traditional sense even if they can have a will of their own. They are not truly alive and do not have souls, but they function similarly enough to natural beings when summoned that they can usually be dealt with in similar manners, though all elementals are immune to the element from which they stem. Nature spirits generally represent the apex of the sort of creature that they stem from, though the ability of their summoner can leave them weaker or stronger than a natural creature at times.

Daemons, on the other hand, are much more rarely called upon by mages, as they are extremely powerful and have a will of their own. Conglomerations of the souls of the dead, summoned daemons are rarely powerful enough to manifest a body of their own or affect the mortal world, but even then they are immensely powerful compared to most mortal creatures when summoned. Extremely difficult to control, daemons will generally only serve under a simplistic contract requiring that they be allowed to take souls to increase their own power, and will rarely care if their summoner is among those they claim.



Teaching



Natural Power
Though more often than not, magic is a studied skill that requires great discipline and training to use at all, sometimes a person is gifted with a natural affinity for it. More often than not, this is restricted only to a single element and offers no wisdom to help in controlling that power, but with that starting point a person can easily become a very proficient sorcerer. The most common occurrence of this natural aptitude for magic occurs in the harpies, the favored creations of the wind goddess Notos who possess a degree of control over the winds, but the other common occurrence are those who are inexplicably attuned to certain elements. These elements are always the primal ones, namely Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Lightning, and Nature, as the magical elements created by humans are less tied in to the fundamental forces governing life upon Donevrion and thus are not likely to take root in whatever manner they do in the mortal spirit before it fully develops.



Evocation, Summoning, and Healing
The three primary branches of magic used in combat are divided into three branches. Evocation magic is destructive magic, and is often simple applications of energy meant to damage or inhibit the foes of the caster. Summoning magic includes spells that conjure elementals or daemons to serve the caster. Finally, healing magic, sometimes also called enhancement and referred to as buffs in the mechanics, are spells that repair or enhance the body of the caster or their allies. Basic proficiency in all three aspects of combat spellcastong, as well as the more general applications of a given element, are generally expected from a spellcaster before they can be considered a true mage.


Corruption
The effects of magic on the body and soul of a living creature, most commonly referred to as corruption due to the hysteria against magic and all things relating to it stirred up by the Lich King’s propaganda and by the Church of the Star God, is the buildup of excess magical energies in the body. This most commonly occurs due to extended periods in areas of high magic, remaining around beings of exceptional power for great lengths of time while said beings are not making an effort to contain their power, or through intimate physical and/or spiritual contact with beings that are of a highly magical nature. All beings are possessed of magic in their nature to one degree or another, but it is important to note that magical talent or the ability to wield powers of the soul do not in themselves seem to have any correlation with a being’s level of corruption, save for a small number of powers that only seem to manifest in beings who are of a certain level of corruption.

Corruption naturally builds up in the body over time, but tends to dissipate just as quickly unless taken in in great quantities at a time. Taking in too much corruption too quickly can result in sudden surges in magic present in a creature’s body, and these bursts can often result in wild and strange mutations and sudden and sometimes drastic shifts in personality and mannerisms. When enough of these sudden bursts have occurred, usually about a half dozen or so, the creature subject to them enters a state that is generally referred to as “Warped” and will begin to exude low levels of corruption themselves. Some creatures exist in such a state naturally, and some such creatures are born into a more controlled form of it that causes them to be more resistant to outside corruption without displaying any themselves.

It is at about this point that, if a creature has been taking great amounts of corruption in over a short period, they may begin to exhibit more drastic personality and cognitive changes. Such is also when the artifacts known as darkhearts begin to form, the body pushing the excess corruption into less vital tissue which will form into cysts, and then into crystalline tumors that contain vast quantities of raw corruption. As those crystals grow, they would gradually bind together until they form an object roughly the size of a peach, a completed darkheart. It should be noted that the drastic and unhealthy effects of the Warped state will only occur when corruption is gathered very quickly, and that a more gradual build up allows the body to process the mutations more comfortably. Such will very rarely result in drastic shifts in personality, and will almost never cause the formation of a darkheat. Sometimes, taking in too much corruption too quickly can be far more harmful, resulting in more numerous tumorous growths that don't avoid the body's vital areas, often causing extreme pain and eventually death.

Once at the Warped state, most races will begin to exhibit unusual symptoms as they become, in essence, creatures of magic not dissimilar to the fae in many respects. Humans and orcs receive extended lifespans, for instance, and all Warped beings possess a greater ability to heal from injury than they did before acquiring their Warped status. Resistance to natural poisons and diseases are also increased, and many hereditary and chronic conditions will see their symptoms reduced significantly or even eliminated entirely. The need for food, water, and sleep is decreased significantly as well, though Warped beings are free from none of those needs completely, or even to the degree of naturally magical beings such as the sidhe. This increase in vitality is not without its flaws, however, as finding sleep while Warped often becomes extremely difficult without becoming completely exhausted, and even when the corruption is taken in very gradually, psychological effects of varying severity will often manifest seemingly at random.

Warped is not the final state of exposure to magic that a body can achieve, however. Beyond that is the state of becoming a true being of magic, as the sidhe and full blooded demons are, which is generally referred to as “Supernatural,” though the sidhe and some others are at such a state that they cannot spread their magical nature beyond bringing a being to the Warped state. Supernatural beings usually become completely immune both to natural diseases and to the effects of aging, though just as with the Warped state they may bring this can also result in many drastic psychological problems if it occurs too quickly. In addition, many parasites will not survive in the body of a Supernatural being due to their enhanced immune system, and chronic conditions that might cripple a mortal being simply do not exist to one who reaches a state such as this. However, the psychological effects created by this transformation are far more severe than those created by becoming Warped should the corruption be gained at a rapid rate, and may even result in extremely drastic turnarounds that can cause the person suffering them to behave like someone entirely different.

It was long thought that this was the highest plateau that one could reach, but as demons were studied it became clear that there was a greater level beyond even Supernatural that corruption could allow one to achieve, the state at which the most powerful forms of demons are naturally born. This state is powerful enough to corrupt even Supernatural beings, and though it confers no additional physical advantages it has been known to cause grave psychological harm even when the corruption needed to acquire it is granted slowly. Why this might be is not known, but most suspect that the amount of magic necessary for a being to internalize to reach this state is too much for a mortal mind to handle.
 
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Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#25
Re: Dark Gate Lore

Damnation
A history of Hell in DG-Verse
Even before the coming of the dark god known even by its followers only as the Devourer, the world of Enellon was already a dangerous place. Its environments, though verdant, were wild and filled with dangerous predators, and the dominant species, now known as the shadow demons, were spreading slowly across the surface of the world in the face of that opposition. Ancient ruins of a race long extinct dotted the landscape, white stone that never seemed to age or stain the only marker that intelligent life had ever flourished in that place. The largest of these ruins, the city that would eventually become known as the Heart of the Abyss, sprawled across hundreds of miles of barren landscape, and no living creature dared to tread there, not even the shadow demons, for fear of an unknown dark presence that dwelled there.

Then, roughly ten thousand years PI (prior to the alien invasion) and four thousand years BFDA (before the first demon attack,) a dark presence arrived upon the surface of arrived upon the surface of the world, and began to consume all life from its surface. The Devourer had come. There was no organized resistance to the hungry daemon's consumption of all life and energy from the verdant place save for the shadow demons, who were quickly subjugated and mostly devoured as well after their own deity and hive mind, the All-Devourer, was consumed by the invading power. After barely more than a decade, the once beautiful plane had become a lifeless desert, with naught but the nearly empty hives of the shadow demons and the still abandoned cities of the long forgotten race that had once inhabited Enellon to mark that there had ever been life in the desolate place. The Devourer was not sated, however, and sought to go to the neighboring planet, Donevrion, and feed upon it as he had upon Enellon, now referred to purely as Hell. Here, however, there was resistance, as the gods who controlled Donevrion banded together to repulse the invading force, and the Devourer was forced to retreat, weakened. The gods, thinking their foe banished, simply returned to their normal routines, but the Devourer was not so easily repelled.

Donevrion, unlike Enellon, had an abundance of intelligent life, and upon subtle inspection hidden from the prying eyes of the foes who had bested it, the Devourer found them to be quite malleable with the right prodding, particularly the mortals who by that point had spread across much of the planet's surface, and he saw too how the deities who fed from them largely ignored their plights. A group of the shortest lived but most ambitious creatures, humans, were secreted away to the surface of barren Enellon, which the Devourer had taken as his lair. The power once sealed within the Heart of the Abyss, a bound outsider who had been felled by the shadow demons long ago when it had attempted the same thing as the Devourer, was torn away only to be consumed by the greater beast, and with that power the Devourer warped the wayward humans in body, mind, and soul almost beyond recognition.

Thus, the true demons were born. All of Hell was quickly swept with the same warping magics that had changed the former humans, and what few life forms remained after the Devourer's purge were changed into the various forms of lesser demons that serve their more powerful and intelligent kin. Goblins, ogres, the tentacled horrors, and hellworms were all formed this way, and the sole remaining intelligent race upon Enellon, the creatures who would become the nightmares, the burning steeds of Hell, were stripped of their beauty and power and reduced to their present forms. The shadow demons were one of the few races to largely maintain their original form, only receiving the mark of the devourer’s energy; while corruption through pleasure, a tool that the Devourer had found incredibly useful in luring the mortals of Donevrion to his cause, was one of the daemon’s most useful tools, it had an entirely different fate in store for the insectlike creatures.

The demon-god replaced the Shadow Demon hive mind, adjusting their memories and allowing them to continue existing much as they had before. The creatures reproduced the fastest of all the Devourer’s new minions, and their unusual biology meant that each dead Shadow Demon’s soul would be fed directly into their hive mind – which, because of the daemon’s deception, meant directly into the Devourer, giving the creature a stream of stolen souls straight into its "stomach" to restore its lost strength. The creatures would finally discover the deception more than 7000 years later, between the 6th and 7th invasions. They immediately rebelled, but were crushed and the survivors, finally warped to be as be-gendered as the rest of the demons, and entered into slavery. The last survivors of the once populous species escaped to the mortal realm during the seventh invasion, still warped from their original forms that they cruelly were allowed to remember.

Another four thousand years saw the demons spread across the surface of the dead planet, the sun gone, blocked out by clouds of ash in the upper atmosphere, and replaced by a constant, colorful aurora created by an immensely powerful spell that the Devourer worked to ensure that his followers could survive. That same spell regulated the temperature and weather, ensuring that both were always constant so as to avoid losing forces to storms or weather. Only to one another would his demons die, for to be strong enough to conquer Donevrion that he might consume it, the Devourer found the greatest of cruelties to be the most potent instructors. Only then, after four millennia of watching his subjects torment each other, did the Devourer think itself ready to unleash them upon the subjects of his enemies, and thus the first demon invasion occurred. This marked the start of the calender year, AFDA (after first demon attack,) later known now as 6000 years PI (prior to the invasion.) The man who would eventually become the daemon Matthias, later the one who would destroy and consume the Devourer, was a mortal at this time, a noble warrior and member of the Deathguard who guarded the Anudorian royalty, and was one of the many died in the battle against the more powerful demonic forces. Possessed of physical might, deadly skill, and supernatural power beyond anything that any mortal warrior had ever faced, the demons easily overpowered all who stood against them.

The first invasion came in the Anudor desert, a hostile land even then, but it also struck at what was largely considered the height of human civilization at the time. The Anudorian Empire had begun to stretch beyond the desert, to what would eventually become Badaria, but after the demon annihilated its leadership the empire fell into chaos. For a hundred years, the demons spread slowly across the surface of the world, practically unchecked, as the gods continued to ignore the prayers of their followers. It was as the demons tried to bring the Devourer itself onto the mortal world that Matthias arrived, having consumed the demon who had eaten his soul from within, killing and eating the soul of the Devourer's voice to its servants, the demoness known as Corini. At the same time, the gods finally recognized the thread posed by the demons, and with their efforts and those of Matthias, the Devourer was driven back to Hell along with most of his servants. What was left behind, however, were those warped by the demon's magical nature, who would quickly unify to become the Su-Ku-Ta, founding a society that in some ways emulated the twisted society of the demons that had so warped them.

The Devourer was not destroyed, however, and nor were the demons wiped out. Every thousand years, the deity would use its power to open a Dark Gate between Hell and the Donevrion, a tear in reality that unleashed a wave of corrupting magic where it opened and allowed the demons to spill forth en masse into the mortal world. It was through these gates that the demons invaded once more, but they had made a powerful and immortal enemy in the form of Matthias. Every thousand years, a portal would open from the demon world to the mortal one, and every time Matthias and the local mortals would promptly slaughter every demon that had come through and seal it shut again, though almost never without catastrophic losses.

Even with these setbacks, the demons continued to grow steadily in both power and depravity, and shortly after the second invasion the ability to open lesser gates was floated to the mortal world. These lesser gates couldn't be used for full invasions, but such did allow for demons to infiltrate and influence the mortal world in more subtle ways. This led to many near disasters as demons, immortal and guileful, began to amass power among mortals that could be used to facilitate the eventual demonic invasions.

Finally, 2 years PI and a full 6000 years AFDA, the Artmirst invasion signaled the end of the dire pattern that had formed. Matthias, tired of the endless struggle and now immensely powerful, allowed the demons to get a foothold rather than wipe them out completely as he had before. By sacrificing the inhabitants of the Badarian town of Artmirst, he hoped to get the opportunity to strike at the Devourer itself, and with the aid of a certain elven necromancer and her demon pet, as well as the assistance of a group of four adventurers who acted as a distraction, he was successful. The Devourer was destroyed, and the demon queen at the time, Natalie, was presumed dead after her battle with the four adventurers who had accompanied the daemon to Hell. The last Dark Gate was closed, and Hell was left without a god or a leader for the first time.

Chaos ensued as the demons fought one another for power, a conflict that caused untold destruction in the Heart of the Abyss, but finally the conflict ended when Natalie, recovering from her wounds, regained her former title as Queen of Hell in the traditional demonic manner - by slaughtering or subjugating every one of her rivals. On the mortal world at about the same time, the demon lord Xeon took power over those demons that remained at Artmirst, and one year AI (after the invasion) founded the city of Acheron.
A simple timeline:
10,000 PI
-The Devourer arrives in hell and, over a period of 10 years, subjugates or eradicates the native creatures.
-Humans are kidnapped from the mortal world and transformed into the first demons.
9000 PI
-The society of demons is fully crafted, Corini becomes the first Queen of Hell, the Voice of the Devourer to his servants.
6000 PI
-The First Invasion takes place in the Anudor Desert.
5900 PI
-The First Invasion is pushed back, but not before the local humans are transformed into the Su-Ku-Ta.
-Corini is killed, and is replaced by the nightmare lord Nazrigel, the only King of Hell ever to hold power.
5000 PI
-The Second Invasion takes place, this time arriving in the city that would eventually become the Necropolis. It only lasts a year before the demons are pushed back, however.
-Nazrigel vanishes during the invasion, and it is assumed that he was killed by Matthias. Ishvar becomes the second Queen of Hell.
4000 PI
-The Third Invasion takes place on the island nation of Adamantia, resulting in the death or corruption of the entire population. The invasion is pushed back within a month by the combined efforts of Matthias and the island's fallen king, Elric. The island is sunk into the ocean as a result.
-Ishvar is killed and devoured by Elric. Natalie becomes the third Queen of Hell.
3000 PI
-The Fourth Invasion takes place in the jungle, and for the first time the shadow demons are unleashed upon the mortal world. The invasion lasts for less than a week before being pushed back by Sivicine, Matthias, and Elric.
2000 PI
-The Fifth Invasion takes place in Crolia, and again it is easily pushed back by Matthias, who had risen in power massively by consuming many of the other deities.
1000 PI
-The Sixth Invasion takes place in the Amazon, but the demons mysteriously abort it mere hours after it takes place.
2 PI
-The Seventh Invasion, though it is often referred to as the Sixth Invasion due to the shortness of that particular event, takes place in the town of Artmirst.
-The Devourer is destroyed, and Natalie is presumed dead after a battle with a group of adventurers. Civil war overtakes all of Hell.
The Year of the Invasion
-The alien invasion that devastated the mortal world is barely even noticed by the demons, who after a brief but bloody conflict push the aliens back. The Civil War ends as Natalie returns and reassumes power.
-Corini, the first Queen of Hell, returns after being released by Matthias through the machinations of a certain night elven witch, becoming the new deity for the demons but allowing Natalie to retain political control. She begins to attempt to steer the demons down a less self destructive path.
1 AI (After the invasion)
-The city of Acheron is founded officially upon the mortal world by the demoness Xeon. She retains no ties of any kind to Hell, and attempts to take her race in a new, less destructive direction, much like Corini.

Demons, their Society, and their Physiology

Demons, unlike the most populous races on Donevrion like humans, orcs, and elves, are immortal. Physically, they do not age after reaching physical maturity save in ways that benefit them, and normally don't suffer from disease or effects like malnutrition or dehydration nearly as easily as a mortal would, if at all. All demons are possessed of natural magical power through their corrupted blood, though some possess more than others, but this and their immortality only protect them so much. A demon can be killed just like anything else, and are biologically similar to all other humanoids, particularly humans who are their very distant ancestors. That said, powerful demons are capable of surviving and fighting with wounds that would kill a human instantly, but they still need to heal themselves as quickly as possible lest even their unnaturally durable organs fail them.

Demons still require basic physical sustenance, at least until they reach a certain age at which point they can survive purely on stolen energies and the occasional meal. After they've grown up, many demons begin to subsist solely on spiritual energy taken from mortals or other demons unless they become badly injured, though those unable to feed on the souls of others must still eat normal food. Most demons who are unable or unwilling to feed on energy do not survive for very long in Hell, however. All demons do still require water, which no amount of energy can replace, but they can survive on mouthfuls unlike any human could. Though their own homeland is temperate despite its arid appearance, demons are rarely made anything other than mildly uncomfortable by even the most extreme of temperatures, though sudden changes, particularly sudden bursts of cold, can be as harmful to them as to any other creature.

Initially, demons would give half of their stolen energy to the Devourer, feeding their god much of their power to strengthen it, but since the daemon was destroyed members of demonkind have been holding onto all of their stolen energy and thus growing in power naturally far more quickly. When their dark god was in power, however, he would provide those that fed him enough energy with boons, filling his most faithful servants with his power and granting them greater strength. This was called ascension, and how far one had risen in the favor of their master was often the marker of one's station. A common soldier or succubus could, with enough gifted energy, become a knight, and a knight would eventually become a lord. Without the Devourer, however, the rise in power of individual demons has become a much slower process, forcing them to attain their strength from more conventional methods rather than the boons of their deity.

Socially, demons are an extremely ordered race even after the death of the Devourer. Demonic nobles jockey for the favor of the Queen or King while simultaneously seeking to supplant them, but only occasionally outright kill or enslave even their most hated rivals, as such overt measures are considered heavy handed and are regarded as the mark of a simpleton. Beneath the lords and ladies are the knights, who tend to wield less political and metaphysical power but who are often more direct in their methods. Demon knights often challenge one another to duels to the death if they cannot reach a compromise on an issue, with the winner assuming the rights to all of the holdings of the loser. Lesser demons, however, can and often do kill or enslave one another in order to achieve greater personal power, hoping to one day climb up the ranks.

Demons don't have any concepts similar to marriage, love, selflessness, or family. A full demon is begrudgingly raised by whoever gives birth to them, or their servants if they are born to a noble or a knight, but they are pitted against their siblings and kin as soon as they are old enough to walk, which is within days of being born. Rape and murder are common among young demons, and most demons don't see the end of their first year even among the ruling classes. As a result of this sort of brutal upbringing, the vast majority of demons are utterly selfish and consummate survivalists, considering their own wants and needs exclusively and only working to the benefit of others if it is needed for them to see to their own interests. While some might consider this to be hardly civilization, the order of the hierarchy remains unbroken despite the loss of the Devourer, for the greater demons refuse to relinquish their hold on power and most definitely have the strength to keep it from their lesser kin.
 
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Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#26
Re: Dark Gate Lore

Fairies and their Kin
Kobolds
One of two races of humanoids who were driven nearly to extinction in the ancient times before the elves split from the fae and men or orcs had settled into civilization and begun keeping records, kobolds are a miniature version of their larger kinsmen the trolls. Wiry and crafty but also small and fairly hotheaded, kobolds were nearly wiped out by their more intelligent competition before the Queen of the Summer Court (then the Queen of the Fire Court) and her husband, the King of the Court of the Sun took pity upon them and adopted the remnants of their scattered race into their court. Such proved highly beneficial in the long run, as the creatures proved an invaluable asset to the more martial courts. Even after the cataclysm, the kobolds still serve the Summer Court above all others, though many kobolds also serve Autumn, Spring, or are simply unaffiliated.


Trolls
The second of two races of humanoids that competed with ancient humanity that were adopted, it was the Queen of Winter (Water) and the King of the Court of Stars who first adopted the trolls into their ranks, though it was far from an act of kindness. The trolls were nearly wiped out for their brutishness and cruelty, and they were salvaged from extinction by Winter because of those traits. It wasn't until after the cataclysm that they were freed of their enslavement to Winter, their service ended in a bet between the Queens that ended in Summer's victory. They have since spread from Winter's service outward and lost some of their cruelty and savagery, particularly as mercenaries in service to Summer, though many still call the domain of Winter their home and maintain their ancient ways.


Wooly Spiders (Giant Intelligent Friendly Talking Spiders)
Like many other races among the fey, the GIFTS, as they are sometimes known, were not initially members of the fair folk when their race was conceived. The white spiders were an experiment, created from a fusion of the demonic darkwalkers and the essences of natural creatures by the mage-turned-deity Arcade. Why he created them is not precisely known, but that they were as kindly as they are seemed to have been his intent, as he labeled them a success. Since their creation, the spiders bred enough to be recognized as the fey, and while they started initially in the lands of Mab, they soon spread across the courts. They were adopted wholeheartedly, and since then have proven invaluable in the production of silk and in support against the enemies of the fey, and few fey enclaves fail to support a small population of the gigantic spiders. Though mortals often find them unnerving at first, it’s difficult to not warm up to the creatures once one is actually familiar with them, and though they are dangerous to those that manage the difficult feat of earning their ire, their friendly and forgiving nature has ensured that they hold no long term grudges. Crafted from magic and members of the fey, the spiders are still possessed of mortal lifespans, living only for about forty years or so naturally.


Fauns, Satyrs, and Gruffs
Of the five initial races that comprised the fey courts, the goat-men were by and large the ones that came into contact the most with the mortal races. The physical embodiment of masculine virility, the goat-men nonetheless have female members, though they are few in number and almost never encountered by mortals. The gruffs, the physically strongest of the breed, form the brunt of the military might of the fey, while satyrs often play a more supporting role to their less human-like brethren, and fauns generally act as behind-the-lines support if they involve themselves in battle at all. The goat-men are known well for their lusts in mortal legends, though only extremely rarely will they be forceful with their appetites among mortals. Though they call humans and the like mortal, the goatmen actually aren't fully immortal, though their five to six hundred year lifespan is generally long enough to be called such.


Nymphs
One of the five initial races that comprised the early courts, the nymphs were once several races that were joined into one by powerful magics. The classical nymphs have always been a personification of female fertility, but long ago there was another race not among the fey, known now only as the wild elementals. Those beings controlled and shaped the fundamental forces of the world, and came in all shapes and sizes, but over the years they simply began to die out. The elements grew out of balance, and that instability caused them to reach out to the fey, who worked a great spell to join the wild elementals with the nymphs, and now many nymphs likewise represent an elemental force that they possess great control over.

A third group was added centuries later with a second spell, when the Sirens of old who had once lured mortals to their doom with irresistible songs and beautiful bodies were conquered by the fae and given the choice to join or be killed to the last after they entered into a war with the courts and lost. They chose the latter, and were united with the nymphs that their nature might be tempered. That experiment has largely succeeded, and few now live who remember those events anyway.

Like the goat-men, the nymphs are held beneath the sidhe in rank but still accorded great respect in the courts, and are likewise famed for their uncontrollable lusts, driven by their instinctual desire to procreate just as their masculine opposites are. Like their male counterparts, nymphs are not immortal and share similar lifespans to those of the elves, though they breed true only with mortals while the goatkin are able to maintain dominant genes over most races.


Sphinx
The guardians of Anudor were invited to join the ranks of the fey long ago by the Queen of Spring, a merger to which they agreed simply because they lacked any better options at the time. Though not officially swearing fealty to any one court, most favor Spring and their allies over any of the others, and Queen Leanan is said to have the most ancient of the sphinxes at her side at all times as an adviser.


Pixies, Sylphs, and Sprites
Tiny beings possessed of little real power, the fairies as they are collectively known comprise a sizeable portion of the population among the courts, but possess little power of their own, either in the martial or in the political sense. Spirits of fickle nature, the fairies are only glimpsed by mortalkind when they are caught performing some act of mischief, as they are often wont to do, but generally cause very little trouble. The reason for this is simply that they don’t have the capacity for it, as their tiny bodies are too weak to cause much physical harm, and they lack both the malevolence and the metaphysical power to make up for that weakness with magic. Even so, they are directly responsible for a vast majority of the legends about the fey being capricious and mischievous. Immortal, the ranks of fairykind as they are known are varied in size and power, with fairies being the largest and strongest, followed by pixies, then sylphs, and finally sprites who are barely larger than a mosquito.


The Hunting Hounds


Angels
The angels, like many others, are a client race rather than members of the initial ranks of the fey. Possessed of immense innate power and a nature contradictory to that of the sidhe, the ruling body of the four existing courts, it was decided when they joined following a great war between the fey and angels that the angels would be allowed their own court, with equal say to any of the other four. The spell that sealed this fundamentally changed the angels, albeit on a minor level compared to any of the others who joined after the foundation of the courts, as it merely marked them as members of the fey.


The Sidhe
The eldest, the guardians, the principles of all creation. All different titles for the sidhe, examples among countless others, and all capturing no more than a tiny portion of their being. Considered by many to be the oldest beings to have lived upon Donevrion, the sidhe are the first of the fey and the leaders of their courts, and are among the most powerful living beings in all creation. Their origins are unknown even to them, but there are many theories to explain their existence. Some call them the protectors of the natural order, while others refer to them as representatives of chaos and change. It has been said that the sidhe are living embodiments of raw magic shaped to be compatible with nature, while others call them the first examples of consciousness directing the world to its own whims. All of these theories represent a part of what the sidhe truly are, but each fails to comprehend them as a whole.

A key part of the nature of the sidhe is that each of them is an individual, and a member of a Court, and a part of their race as a whole all at once in a fundamentally different manner than a mortal mind would think of those divisions. This division of their natures runs at a deep level psychologically and is passed down to their children, leaving it difficult in the extreme for a non-sidhe to convince a sidhe to betray any one level of their heritage, much less all three at once, even with the most powerful of magics. Another essential part that must be understood about them is that the sidhe do not truly have a shape of their own, not as a natural race such as a human might. Each one looks different, and each and every member is a consummate shapeshifter that can not only shift their shape, but that appears differently in subtle ways to each individual who looks upon them, tailored by their glamour to appear as beauty incarnate to whoever is viewing them. This subtle illusion cannot be dispelled or disabled, even if the sidhe is killed or held in a place where magic cannot function. Finally, the most important part of the sidhe is that they learn intuitively and perceive on a level all but incomprehensible to the mortal races, even to the elves who once numbered among them and to the demons who are in many ways their dark mirror. Language is inherent rather than learned, effectively allowing the sidhe to communicate with any natural creature as if in its own tongue, though the lack of complexity to their minds makes communicating with animals more difficult unless such is studied or possessed as an inherent talent. Lying to a member of the sidhe is, as such, extremely difficult, as they can read body language and other subtle cues extremely easily. This is why they don't require names, as who is being addressed is normally understood implicitly by subtle cues that most mortals cannot even perceive, much less understand.


Elves
Once members of the courts of moon, sun, stars, and the void, the fey who became the elves surrendered their power and immortality in a great spell that repaired the world of a cataclysmic harm. They have long since distanced themselves from their immortal brethren, and though they’re possessed of long lives and powerful magics of their own, the elves are a far cry from the sidhe that they once were. The court of the void vanished shortly after they were changed, and the court of the moon split off many centuries after they lost their power, becoming the night elves when they began to consort with dark powers in a bid to regain their immortality. The courts have remained largely aloof since their brethren lost their powers and immortality, some say out of a desire to remain aloof from mortal affairs, while others whisper that the knowledge of what their fallen kinsmen have been reduced to is too great a pain for them to bear.
 

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#27
Re: Dark Gate Lore

The Ways of War
Martial traditions of Donevrion

War. Bloodshed. Conquest. No other consequence of civilization has had as much impact as war upon the cultures of Donevrion, but every civilization has made war in a different way. From the adaptation of hunting tactics used by ancient men to fight against rivals for territory, to the primitive spear walls produced by phalanxes in every ancient culture, to the grand marches of the legions of the ancient Badarian Empire, to the gunlines of modern Badarian infantry squads, the manner of waging war has evolved over the centuries of war in the lands of Heloras. The traditions of waging battle have been tested and honed all over the world, each culture developing its art of war first to battle itself, and then testing those stratagems and tactics against its neighbors.


Demons


Faeries


Elves
The elves, being the first group in history to engage in organized warfare, did so for many centuries before humans ever joined them on Heloras, and though some of their tactics are similar to those of men, theirs were long forged by their encounters with their most direct rivals; the orcs. For their first few centuries, elves enjoyed relative peace, but as resources grew scarcer for the newly civilized faeriekin they began to squabble among one another. Their first skirmishes were fought by hunters, wielding spears and bows, but unlike early Crolians they were coordinated and well versed in how best to kill. Skirmishes were often between small groups, with the winner being which group outmaneuvered the other or, more often than not, who struck with the element of surprise.

That strategy continued into larger conflicts, elven hunter cadres acting in small groups independently while guided - through complex signals delivered by smoke or sound or magic - by a single group at the center. hunting down and eliminating the enemy's leaders became the key to every conflict, producing battles almost like a game of chess. Indeed, elven warfare was the original inspiration for the creator of that game, though the pieces and rules have since changed to reflect human warfare instead. These tactics were forced to change when the elves began to face the orcs, however, as the brutal greenskins would continue battling on despite heavy losses and the deaths of their leaders, often with frightening coordination as tribesmen simply banded together in squads too large for small cadres to dispatch before things closed to melee.

The battles against the orcs proved that the elves required a superior killing tool to the spear or the dagger in hand to hand combat, and so.... The first sword was forged, cast from bronze in the style of the faerie courts to which they had once belonged. Against the more primitive orcish weapons, these early blades proved exceptionally effective, though the advantage was short lived as the orcs quickly adapted the technology themselves. Even so, the natural grace possessed by the elves and their already loose formations naturally allowed them to develop the first recorded and organized fighting styles, wielding a single blade or two and fighting their opponents individually, sometimes two at a time. The two styles developed from this advanced not only by military necessity but, as the elves began to win more engagements and spread, because they competed with one another. The first of the two styles, the Windborne Leaf, favored a single blade in one hand, preferably a longer, thinner one while the other hand was left free, combining the two with agility and constant motion in order to fend off an opponent's initial rush and respond with a group of swift, deadly strikes. The second style, the Claw and Fang, favors a pair of blades, usually a shortsword and a dagger, though variations do occur with the length of both weapons, and while it also relies on deflecting the initial strike it all but abandons defense after that in favor of bringing down one's foe as quickly as possible.

Over time, as elven and human cultures intermingled, the elven way of war would partially die off as elves adopted human military tactics, but the guerrilla style of combat would never end completely, and is now the favored method of dealing with orc warbands in the years following the Invasion. Elven mages, ever a part of hunter cadres, still join human battlemages in supporting lines of troops but just as often they will join small warbands and offer evocation support and healing as they pierce deep into orc lines to eliminate key targets.


Crolia
Crolia, one of the first lands settled by humans migrating from Arlos, has seen more battle than any other region on Heloras. From the early settlers raiding one another and fending off orc warbands to the combined militia formed to fend off attacks by Badarian legions coming from the Pass of Ghosts, the tactics of Crolian forces vary heavily from region to region and have done so since humans first built their early civilizations there.

At first using simple bows and arrows and the most simple stone weapons, the journey across the desolate tundra from the Northern tip of Crolia to its more verdant regions produced a harsh, hardy people who understood how important cooperation was. When they encountered orcs for the first time, the first battles were bloody and brutal, and defeating their stronger but more individualistic and less numerous foes taught early humans that they needed to work together in order to survive. Given the secrets of metalworking by the elves, they forged their first swords from copper and then later bronze, and their first and most simple tactic was the shield wall. The furious charges of orc raiders would break upon lines of spears and shields, and for a time that backed up by huntsman archers, primitive cavalry, and their mages wielding the primitive powers of the elements were enough to allow those early refugees to spread.

In that time the value of honor, valor, and personal strength was learned, and great warriors earned legendary tales about themselves. When humans took to battling each other again, however, the need for a counter to the shield wall other than magic and the value placed upon personal strength produced the first knights, warriors clad in heavier armor and sent out with longer blades and stouter shields, moving whether on horseback or on foot to flank their foes, and it was the skirmishes between those groups clashing of more loosely organized skirmishers that often decided the outcome of a battle, as when the winning side closed in upon the side of a densely packed shield wall the less hardened spearmen would often break and run after the first few were slaughtered. As times went on, the practice of great warriors dueling against one another began to grow more popular as a means of settling disputes over property, honor, or even women, and in more primitive areas in Northern and Eastern Crolia the practice of ritual duels is often upheld even today, though the actual method of combat in such combats and the traditions surrounding it varies heavily.

In time, human civilization would spread, and incorporate portions of elven military practice as the tools of war became more sophisticated, introducing iron and then steel along with more sophisticated engineering and magic to the fields of mortal wars. It was in Crolia where the first siege engines were fielded, catapults and ballistae meant to break down walls of wood and stone, or to hurl fire over walls that fire magic could not circumvent. The first complex battle lines were likewise produced in this period, the shield wall evolving to be larger and better organized in units of twenty, led by a single sergeant who was usually only a slightly more experienced warrior than his fellows who wielded a sword in one hand and a tool to signal his troops - usually either a flag or a musical instrument of some sort - in the other. Organized professional archer and later crossbowmen cadres would rise in the same manner, producing coordinated volleys rather than disorganized streams of wild shots. The martial tradition of knighthood, of noblemen soldiers clad in heavy armor that guarded against all manner of attack, wielding the finest weapons bearing enchantments to make them even deadlier, would rise in this time as well, born from the warrior-hero culture and thundering forth to perform the same role as their predecessors - break the lines of their foes apart and drive them from the field.

Most devastating of all, however, were the rise of battlemages as regular elements of larger battles. Where earlier mages who had joined battles were often little more than hedge mages whose skills were developed mostly to aid their small communities through hard times, the rise of war mages dedicated to using their talents in battle allowed for far more devastating usage of spellwork. Dedicated counters to magic, such as sharpshooters, wards crafted into shield walls, and arcane magic dedicated to negating the work of other spellcasters rose from the destruction wrought by early battlemages. Human battle tactics were forever bent around the use of magic from that point onward, and such has largely remained the case to this day.

In the age after the Invasion, Crolian military tactics are still dominated by the tried and true methods of their ancestors as fielded by the armies of Therion. City guardsmen are equipped with the simple round shields that have served for centuries, with line infantry provided with shields inscribed with an incredibly weak and easy to make ward that, when combined with many others like it, make lines of troops all but immune to magical attack from any but the strongest mages, at least so long as the platoon sorcerer - the magus put in with every group of fifty or so troops who is dedicated to maintaining that protective ward - survives. Most modern Crolian soldiers wield short swords, narrow blades that tapper towards their points that are excellent for stabbing while keeping in ranks, but their primary weapon remains the spear, now longer and fitted with a steel head but following the same basic design as it always has.

For more individualistic warriors, such as knights or troops who fight in looser formations, the preferred blade is usually the longsword, which can comfortably be wielded in one or both hands, with a shield or without one. Knights still march or ride in heavier armor, all but invulnerable when clad in plate from head to toe and defended by a shield. Though some still remember the tradition of legendary warriors who single handedly turn the tide of battle, dueling practices in the more civilized lands have largely died off except among the nobles, especially since battlemages are also often of noble stock. The strength of steel armor has led to more advanced fighting styles in terms of grappling among the noble classes of warriors, however, as attacking the armor directly is ineffective and wearing through it will more likely break the weapon being used, leaving it necessary to put a smaller weapon through the gaps in the armor, though eventually spiked maces and warhammers would marginally circumvent those defenses as well.

In modern formations, lines of spearmen are always backed first by a line of crossbowmen and dedicated evokers, able to put pinpoint fire on important tactics and stall enemy lines. Those are followed up by the longest ranged weapons, the longbowmen who can put volleys of deadly fire sailing over shields to decimate the ranks of opposing spearmen, and the artillery and most experienced battle mages. Cavalry, both knights and the lighter variety, still skirmish on the flanks of shield walls with swords and lances, vying to see who can overrun the other and claim the victory for their side in a devastating sweep while the second line of skirmishers consisting of swordsmen, crossbowmen, and battlemages come in behind them. These tactics have not proven as effective as could be hoped in the war against the orcs, however, as the adaptive greenskins proved quite able to counter them with variations of their own.

It is notable that, even though they could have by this point, no major Crolian force has adopted the use of the gun, even when faced with lines of Badarian riflemen capable of annihilating entire lines of infantry. Seen as a coward's weapon and poorly understood by the technologically primitive Crolians, the firearm still hasn't been reproduced, and thus cannot be fielded save by Badarian or Anudorian mercenaries.


Badaria


Anudor
As one of the most ancient bastions of settled human civilization, the military history of Anudor was the only one initially isolated from other cultures. The elves had only very sparsely settled the Northern mountains and the desert itself, and with the incredibly hostile Expanse between them and the verdant lands of Badaria the majority of their warfare was purely internal. Tribes and villages made war on one another for sparse resources, and at first the small nature of those conflicts were relatively chaotic. Eventually, however, one particular tribe began to better organize their troops, both for defensive and offensive purposes, and even though they were relegated to relatively primitive weapons due to the lack of easy access to wood and having not yet reached a level of technology that would allow them to use metal tools, their more disciplined and tactical approach gave them a significant advantage over their neighbors until their tactics spread.

Early Anudorian military organization was based on the rule of three due to the prominance of the number in Anudorian culture. Groups were organized into squads of three men who worked together, and three squads joined together to form a unit. Three units made up a raiding party, each with their own role in combat, usually involving one group of skirmishers who attempted to lure their enemy into an ambush lain by their comrades. These roles became highly specialized and regimented, with the main groups consisting of agile skirmishers more adept at single combat, line infantry in heavier armor and with heavier weapons, and rangers usually lightly armed with slings or bows. As conflicts expanded and weapons technology improved, however, the size of parties expanded and their sophistication increased. They kept the rule of three but simply expanded it, using it as a number of ranks instead.

Groups of line infantry were organized into thirty three man groups, with three line being line officers usually better equipped than their comrades and often drawn from the nobility or the magi. This allowed them to do their preferred formation and fight three men deep, allowing them to fight effectively with their spears, or six men deep for a stronger phalanx. The use of light armor and shields made fighting in close combat especially deadly, necessitating the use of long pikes to keep an enemy at bay, and as they acquired domesticated horses and camels for outriders the use of pikes became even more popular. Unlike in Crolia, line soldiers in Anudorian regiments did not have access to warded shields, making magic incredibly effective against them. This was countered by the more common use of highly accurate archers and crossbowmen as supporting units, however, and as a result of high casualties it became seen as unseemly for magi to actively take part in warfare overtime. Skirmishers remained much the same, using light weapons and trying to force their foes to maneuver into positions convenient for their allies, and with the dunes of the desert battlefields often obscuring line of sight signals became incredibly important, meaning that they often carried whistles or horns or drums. While skirmishers were usually left in squads of three and units of three squads, ranged troops were organized like line infantry.

A fourth dimension appeared when society advanced further, conglomerating into the early kingdoms, and metalworking became apparent. Suddenly the sword became a staple weapon, and more heavily armored and armed units shook up the dynamic. The first group to truly master this new aspect of warfare was, ironically, the very tribe who had first created the rule of three, and it was they who eventually established the first great dynasty of Anudor. The most elite units became the Death Guard, the guards of the king, who rarely entered into battle but were all veterans equipped with the very best equipment.


Amazonia


Orcs
Known for being brutal and warlike, the greenskins have fought for the limited resources of their mountainous homeland practically since the birth of their race. Harsh as they are, the mountains of Crolia might not have a great deal in the way of food, but they are rich with iron and coal, and though the technology to harness those precious resources wouldn't be gained for many years they would one day prove invaluable.

Early on, their sparse populations and the uneven terrain made engagements between large groups not only impractical but almost impossible. As such, orcs had no battle lines, and instead organized themselves through markings to differentiate tribes and through the shouts of their warleaders. Small groups battling one another often resolved practically as one on one duels, and after a time it became traditional to fight as such, leaving single battles to resolve as they would. It was from this tradition that the orcish manner of taking only worthy fighters as captives arose, as wasting a good warrior's lineage by slaying them on the field was seen as wasteful of potential.

For many years that continued, with orcs wielding simple stone axes and spears, but eventually the orcs would have a new opponent to fight. The first skirmishes against the elves did not go well, for either group. Their favored tactic, to engage in single combat with their foe and prove themselves on the field of battle, was perfectly counter to the elven tactics of striking from surprise and then retreating to lure any survivors into an ambush. These tactics infuriated the orcs, who viewed them as cowardly, but as they would do many times in the future as new opponents saw them faced with new challenges, the orcs adapted. They fought in larger groups, took up heavier shields to block arrows and lighten the effects of magical strikes, and began using formations of shield walls or rings to ward off ambushes only for outflanking scouts to cut off elven lines of retreat. They came up with wards and enchantments to aid against magic, which they chose not to take up themselves, and as the elves adapted their own tactics and began to face the orcs as they had wished all along, now with new edged weapons that the orcs quickly stole the secrets of and adapted to their own brutal fighting techniques, the warrior race was, for a time, content.

And then, humans arrived on the shores of Crolia and the Amazon, and once more the greenskins faced new foes against which to test themselves. They quickly found the humans ready and able to fight them, and though one on one they might be weaker the orcs found the human's ability to fight in tightly packed formation and with greater coordination impressive. Their tactics adapted again and again and again over the years, fringe tribes bringing in new ways of waging war only for those new ideas to quickly be absorbed by their orcish rivals, each new secret spreading like a plague. When their foes developed heavy armor and longer blades, they learned to exert their great strength in grappling and using lighter shields to bat aside the longer blades, negating both advantages. Against shield and spear line fighting, they developed lines of their own, with hooked javelins thrown first to weaken the enemy line and longer winged spears developed to outreach their foes and hook shields, pulling men out of line only to butcher them, all while their more mobile fighters fought the skirmishers on the flanks in the favored orc method. Despite their mountainous origins, orcs mastered cavalry fighting, wielding the lance and the sword and even the bow, a weapon they had long seen as unfavorable, while on the backs of horses or dire wolves or great boars.

Sorcery has long been the greatest advantage against orcs, for even to this day do the greenskins see the use of magic as cowardly and unclean. They have come to respect the devastation created by the spells of enemy magi, however, and have countered it both by copying the Crolian defense against it - warded shield walls and shaprshooters to pick them off - and by loosening their formations enough that barrages of blasts can deal only minimal damage. More arcane tactics, allegedly copied from Badarian Inquisitors, have allowed the orc elites even greater defenses against magical attack, leaving them able to strong off all but the most potent sorcery entirely, costing many a stunned magus their lives as a hulking, armored warrior charges through their magical barriers like so many walls of paper.

No other tool has made a greater difference in orc tactics than the gun, however. Stolen from Badarian soldiers in the Pass of Ghosts, orcs easily back engineered the simpler rifles and, using the resources that their homeland had in great supply, created their own stocks of firearms. Contrary to the near-suicidal line fighting favored by Badarian riflemen, however, orcish gunmen are often sharpshooters, holding behind cover and picking off officers and mages with well placed bullets that even magical defenses can have a hard time stopping. This most recent adaptation to a new method of waging war, more than anything besides the leadership of their king, has allowed them to score victory after victory against the forces of Crolia who have still refused to adopt the gun.
 
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Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#28
Re: Dark Gate Lore

Geography of Donevrion
The various lands of Donevrion encompass all manners of environment. From tropical islands to dense jungles, from expansive tundras to temperate woodlands, from endless sand dunes baking under the sun to frigid mountaintops that almost never melt, any landscape that one can imagine can be found somewhere, and all manner of plants and animals inhabit them.

Heloras
The continent of Heloras and its surrounding isles contain the four primary regions of Crolia, Badaria, Anudor, and the Amazon. Each of these regions is actually a collection of cultures and biomes rather than a uniform province, some of which are so different from one another that they might have been different regions entirely were it not for certain political and cultural norms that have long since been established within them.

Badaria
The most populous and expansive of the regions in terms of inhabited areas, Badaria stretches from the Southern edge of Heloras all the way up to the mountain range that essentially cuts it in half, and from the most hostile section of the Anudorian desert known as the Expanse to the equally hostile Pfitherian jungle in the Amazon. The heartland of Badaria is the vast region in its center, a long stretch of grassy plains and temperate forests that are arguably the most hospitable lands on Donevrion. Rivers, lakes, and swamps provide ample fresh water and avenues for trade, and these are some of the most densely settled rural lands on Donevrion, producing more food and goods than any other singular region in the world.

The heartland is not the only region of Badaria, however. Heading North towards the mountains, the climate grows cooler, and in the East edging towards the Amazon it is almost as cold as the more temperate regions of Crolia as the elevation increases. This hilly region is rich in minerals, many of them easily accessible, and though the population there is small it produces a great deal of wealth. To the far Northeast, however, the temperate actually increases as one enters a marshy region of a much lower altitude that filters the melt water from the Northern mountains, leading to a section of narrow wetlands that stretches all the way West to the borders of the Anudorian desert where a small mountainous region marks the barrier between Badaria and Anudor. Though not possessing the resources of the hills to the East or the verdance of central Badaria, this region is fairly densely populated due to the confluence of numerous trade routes that meet within it.

The Western border of Badaria as it brushes against the Expanse has a distinctly noticeable drop it elevation and an equally noticeable rise in temperature. This border region is still relatively temperate, but isn’t nearly as idyllic as the heartland that it borders, and while it does have a number of mineral deposits they are neither as rich nor as well tapped as those in the Eastern portion. This region stretches for thousands of miles to the South until it reaches the warmer region of Southern Badaria, the section of it that borders the coast, where it becomes somewhat cooler and more hospitable. Unfortunately, this region is also extremely rocky and hilly and lacks easy access to fresh water, leaving it only sparsely inhabited. This stretch of land is most often known as the King’s Shield, so named because it was established by King Artorias in the height of the first empire as the Western border of the country.

Directly next to it, however, in the Southernmost region of Badaria, is a region most commonly called the Baker’s Spire, a warmer region that is nearly as verdant as the heartland but also manages to be a good deal wetter. Like the heartland, the spire is a breadbasket, and stretches all the way South to the stretch of coastline controlled by the Empire, and all the way East to the border with the Amazon. Its humid climate necessitates a less conservative style of dress, however, and due to geographical constraints many of its communities are kept very small, producing a very rural and sometime even nearly tribal mindset among its people. The coastline, however, has a number of larger cities that trade with the various islands surrounding Heloras, as well as the coastal cities of Anudor since the journey by sea is much easier than going across the Expanse on foot, and with many of the rivers running through Badaria ending up here those cities facilitate most of the trade across the region.

To the North of the Baker’s Spire is a narrow region separating it from the heartland known as the Argyle’s Crag, a section of small mountains surrounding by rocky hills that is as green as the rest of Badaria but, like the Northern hills, also possesses great mineral wealth. This region is where Artmirst, now known as Acheron, sits nestled in a curve in one of the largest rivers running through Badaria.

Ecologically, Badaria supports a wide range of creatures well suited to temperate regions. Rodents and insects sit near the bottom of the food chain, preyed upon by foxes, lynxes and coyotes, while the larger game such as deer and elk are preyed upon by wolves, hunting cats, and bears. It boasts many omnivorous creatures, and many of its creatures are not highly specialized due to the regularly shifting seasons, necessitating a higher degree of adaptability. Its plant-life boasts similar features, and vary from colossal oak trees often harvested for lumber to the dense grasses used to graze cattle. It was Badaria where the first cattle were domesticated, in fact, as it happens to be the homeland of the bison and aurochs that were earliest ancestors of modern cattle, and the first horses were also domesticated in Badaria from the wild herds that once roamed the dense grasslands. Other than them, however, Badaria is unique in that it lacks many large, dangerous predators besides bears and wolves, the more adaptable creatures simply out competing the much more dangerous but much less common monsters native to the surrounding regions.

Anudor
The smallest region of Heloras unless one counts the islands bordering it, Anudor is a largely arid region. The mountains to the North collect little water to melt and producing a pocket of warm, dense air that combines with the regions low elevation to produce a particularly hot climate that remains as such year round. The most hostile portion of this is the region bordering Badaria to the East known as the Expanse, a wide desert that supports only a small population of both people and wildlife. Extremely hostile and often boasting little more than sand dunes and rocky outcroppings, what pockets of life do exist in it are often highly specialized to such a life, and many creatures of the desert are both small and mostly subterranean.

To the far West, however, is an entirely different story. A small section of the mountain range separating Anudor from Crolia gets water off of the sea year round, which drains into a dense river system that borders the coast as water seeps back into the ocean and produces a North flowing stream along the coast. These rivers produce a section of land that rivals heartland Badaria in its fertility, but the climate is still hot, and the lack of larger trees due to the inability of the seeds to easily cross any of the large hostile areas bordering it makes lumber and shade relatively sparse. Tall grasses and fruit bearing shrubs are the most common plants in this region, but humans arriving from Arlos brought along various plant species for cultivation that now thrive. This section of land is more tropical than arid, being very humid while retaining the desert’s heat, and supports a vast ecosystem of specialized but often small creatures, though a few larger animals such as the dok cat, the lion, antelope, and camels also make this area home. This area is where the ancient Anudorian and Su-Ku-Ta cities rose, being some of the oldest settled areas on all of Donevrion and certainly on Heloras.

The verdant region comes to an end where the last of the rivers meet the sea, however. The most hostile portion of the Expanse runs along the coast, an area so low and dry and with so little rain that almost no life can survive there. This region is known as Death’s Eye, named for its oval shape and for the circular section at its core that is the most inhospitable of all.

Crolia
The coldest section of land in all of Heloras, Crolia is actually almost as widely varied as Badaria in terms of its climates even if all of them tend to be generally colder. The most densely populated region is the temperate portion to the West, sitting just above the section of the Gormoia mountain range bordering Badaria and Anudor. This region includes both Therion and the Academy, as well as dozens of other smaller towns and cities and thousands of small villagers that dot the landscape amid the thin forests. The trees in this region are both numerous and hardy, producing ample supplies of lumber, and many are so tall that they prevent enough light from reaching the ground for anything larger than crabgrass or moss from growing on the ground below. As this is one of the first regions populated by both humans and elves, it holds a great deal of history for both races and has long produced intermixed communities thanks in no small part to the relative abundance of resources in comparison to many other parts of Crolia.

To the far North, however, in the lands along the Northern edge of Heloras and stretching for some hundred miles South is the frigid region known as the Snowlord's Cap. Connecting Heloras' landmass to the ice formed at Donevrion's Northernmost pole, this large region that covers most of the top of Heloras is a nearly barren tundra, no less devoid of life than the Expanse in Anudor though some highly specialized creatures do manage to survive there, the largest of which are the great white bears that prey upon the seals and even sometimes whales that also make their home there and in the Frozen Sea. Some human and orc tribes also eek out a living on these harsh lands, but most living in the Snowlord's Cap are primitive and few in number.

The Western coast of Crolia along the more hospitable region is a common harbor for fishermen and trading vessels, and despite the cold climate is both quite verdant and very supportive of ship construction. The more dangerous species of wildlife sometimes found in Crolia, such as frost or wind drakes, the larger white or brown bears, and the deadly snow panthers and yetis are rare or unheard of in the region stretching from the tip of the Snowlord's Cap to the Northern edge of the frosty Gormoia mountains, with the most dangerous predators there, the dire wolves, now hunted almost to extinction in that region. The elk and bison herds have long been greatly reduced by more sentient hunters, however, leaving the ecosystem mostly in balance even if the grandest wild creatures have largely been wiped out.

To the East, however, Crolia grows much more wild. Past the invisible border created by the small mountain capped by the elven fortress of Gods-Reach at the mouth of the Pass of Ghosts, many of the lands to the East are much harsher and more dangerous than those surrounding Therion, both due to their colder climate and due to the more prevalent forms of dangerous wildlife like great bears, mastodons, and dire wolves. The more common presence of orcs has, of course, not benefited the much larger region's reputation, and most see it as an untamed frontier with pockets of civilization scattered throughout it. Some portions of it are more accepting of habitation, particularly those nestled in the valleys bordering the Eastern half of the Gormoia mountain range that splits Crolia from the rest of Heloras, but those regions are also near to the dangerous mountains and their denizens, making any settlement of them a risky proposition. This area stretches all the way from the Pass of Ghosts to the Eastern coast of Crolia, which is far less civilized than its Western counterpart but nonetheless still possesses numerous trading ports to take advantage of sea trade coming up around the dangerous mountains separating the two regions.

The Gormoia mountains themselves are perhaps the most dangerous individual region of Crolia, not merely for their highly inhospitable terrain but for their wildlife. Both portions of mountains are both extremely cold and almost constantly wracked by storms, a result of the air currents that create the distinct climates of the other regions of Heloras meeting among them. Very few trees can thrive here, most being smaller coniferous trees that only grow in the somewhat sheltered valleys between the mountains. The Western range, separating Anudor and about half of Badaria from Crolia, is thinner but more densely packed, and is mostly uninhabited save for a handful of small villages that mostly thrive off of what they can take from the ancient rock of the gigantic mountain range. The creatures that do thrive there are often highly specialized for such a harsh land, such as the great mountain goats, the densely furred gormoia aurochs, the wooly rhino, drakes, and most dangerous and mysterious of all, the yetis. To the East, however, the wider mountain ranges are only made even more dangerous by the orc tribes living there and the former denizens of the Amazonian jungle who have managed to adapt to them.

There are a few safe paths for traders to take through the mountains, though safe in this case is highly comparative considering that few who try to explore new paths through those mountains return alive. The largest passage through those mountains, however, is the narrow corridor of upward sloping land known as the Pass of Ghosts. Believed to have once been a mountain before some great cataclysm split the Gormoia mountain range, the Pass of Ghosts is an incredibly inhospitable place. Frigid year round and with little in the way of native fauna, no permanent settlement has ever managed to survive for more than a decade in it, and the majority of its hundred or so mile stretch is empty wilderness with only a sparse animal population. The region directly bordering Badaria is very steeply sloped, but it levels off after ten or so miles, by which point the perpetual dusting of snow that the windswept valley sports year round has settled in.

Amazonia
The most strangely varied land of them all, at least as far as Heloras is concerned, the Amazon is a land dominated by two almost diametrically opposing biomes. The first, and the portion that it is most famous for, is the dense jungle separating it from Badaria, the deadly core of which is known as the Pfitherian jungle and houses some of the deadliest and strangest natural creatures on all of Donevrion. The second, however, is the grand grassy steppe known as the Riyaha Plains, a vast often flat grassland separated by small stands of short trees and small hills that is actually larger in size than the jungle that Amazonia is much more famous for.

The plains, while still often harsh, are no less fertile than the heartland of Badaria and offer some of the best grazing land imaginable, producing an even mix of settled people who farm for rice and other grain and wandering nomads who raise horses and cattle on the open plains. The peoples of these lands are often short and stocky, their skin tinged slightly yellow and their eyes slanted, following after the pattern set by many of the natural creatures who are likewise shorter and thicker set. Though they are temperate by most standards, the Riyaha Plains are generally somewhat cooler than most of Badaria, and often receive thick snowfall during their harsh winters. The plains stretch all the way to the coastline, where many of the largest cities on Heloras outside of heartland Badaria ply their trade with the countless islands bordering the Amazonian coast.

Many wild creatures still thrive on the plains, competing with or even coexisting alongside the human and orcish populations. Besides wild and feral horses, aurochs, goats, and warthogs, there are numerous stranger creatures such as the strange bipedal creatures called kangaroos, the spike-backed echidnas, and spined land drakes.

In the jungle, however, sit many of humanity's most ancient structures, the penetration from those early humans arriving from Arlos fast and deep. The hot, dense jungle that they descended into was not unlike their original homes, but here they found creatures even more dangerous than those that had driven humanity from its original homeland. The early settlements were tiny and often obliterated without warning, but those few that survived began to spread. Huts made of grass and mud gave way to stone structures crafted by magic, the use of Earth and Nature magic more common in the Amazon than anywhere else, and over centuries the great cities of the Amazon rose to challenge those in early Anudor that were rising at the same time for the greatest accomplishment of humankind.

Many humans still live in the far more tribal setting of their ancient ancestors, however, hunting and gathering in the jungle rather than settling and trying to make a go at agriculture. That jungle is ever willing to provide such sustenance, but only to those skilled enough to take it, for the creatures of the lower jungles are impossibly dangerous. From the Gormoia mountains come the wind drakes, one of the apex predators of the jungle. The great drake-titan is even more powerful, rivaling true dragons in strength, but is thankfully far rarer. Jungle yetis, great apes, all manner of toxic creatures ranging from tiny brightly colored frogs and spiders to titanic snakes live among the trees, as do ax-beaked and helltalon strixes, gigantic bipedal flightless birds who hunt anything that they can catch. Their cousins the jungle raptors, possessing wicked claws on their hands and feet that range from the size of a small dog to as large as a bear, hunt the jungles in packs.

Even more unusual dangerous creatures fill the jungle as well, such as gigantic predatory amphibians that prowl the waterways, ravenous sharp-toothed fish that attack in swarms along the rivers, and even carnivorous plants. Relatives of more common creatures are present as well, including but hardly limited to dangerous beasts such as panthers, jaguars, wolves, black bears, and even colonies of stinging ants and naturally occurring giant spiders and praying mantises. The flora and fauna of the jungle is not purely dangerous, of course, but even the herbivorous species living among the trees lack the ability to defend themselves. The great behemoths, titanic creatures that can grow as large as mountains and consume entire sections of forest, are oft revered as gods by the local tribes. Regardless, no other region on Donevrion is as varied in the number of species of creature that have taken to flourishing there.

Besides the Riyaha Plains and the Pfitherian Jungle, the most glaring region of Amazonia is the section of swampland directly to the North of the section of jungles. The majority of the water that keeps the jungle so damp runs down from the mountain range hanging over them, and all of it filters down through a narrow band of dense marshland that stretches all the way from Badaria to the Eastern coastline. This marshland is so thick and cloying that it exists almost as a distinct environment entirely from the rest of the Amazon, with entirely different species of organisms as they filter and warm the chill water running down from the mountains. While this water, coming from melting snow and the storms wafting over from the seas to the East and North, runs through the Amazonian jungle all the way to the Southern shore after passing through these bogs, the plains do not have nearly as many such rivers and thus ended up being much drier than the jungle due to a difference in topography. Unfortunately, this difference often sends dangerous storms running South through the plains, lightning strikes producing vast brush fires and lashing wind and rain and hail made even worse by the rarity of good cover. Those storms often end up being pushed West by air currents and become the monsoons, harsh storms that flood the already damp jungle for one season a year, usually in early spring but sometimes in summer or even early autumn.
 
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Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,038
83
#29
Re: Dark Gate Lore

Festivals, Traditions, Sports and Games
Entertainment, rites of passage, and sporting on Donevrion and beyond.
Be they for entertainment, athletic or mental practice, the training of warriors, rites of passage, or any other purpose one might imagine, the people of Donevrion have invented a wide number of games, sports and pastimes with which to occupy themselves. Some hold cultural significance, others are holdovers from ways of life long lost.

Chess
The same as the real world equivalent. Invented in Badaria after someone became frustrated with the complications and variability of Dotet.

Dotet
Has its own lore entry. Go there.

The Acheron Arena Trading Card Game
Also has its own lore entry.

The Memorial Festival of Courage
A grand festival held for centuries in the heartland of Badaria, in the marshaling fields just South of the city of Cheydin. A festival meant to encourage the remembrance of the importance of martial traditions both old and new, including competitions with every weapon and fighting style ever used in Badaria. The Lich King attempted to disband it but faced such opposition from the populace that he changed his mind, and it has continued and been sponsored by noble families in a rare display of cooperation ever since his fall. It is held every five years with events occurring year round, and though it is often expensive to do so and nonhumans are shunned, under the rules any who are willing may enter.

Lacrosse
A game favored by Badarian nobility. Popular among the upper classes exclusively. Yes it is the same as the real world version.

Rite of Trial by Combat
An ancient tradition, originating from the fae and from orcs but sometimes practiced in parts of Crolia and the Amazon as well. When accused, the defendant may choose the right to defend themselves in battle against their accuser, who has a chance to accept. Among the fae the terms may vary depending on the given court, but among orcs if the accuser refuses to fight or declare a willing champion they must retract their claim. Among summer faeries, the principle is the same and a fine is imposed upon the accuser. Among winter faeries, refusal results in a major loss of standing for the accused. The rite is rarely practiced among spring faeries and is only used as an expedience, as refusal carries no consequences, but among autumn faeries to refuse a trial without just cause is to give up the self to the accused as a slave. It should be noted that one must have standing in a culture where such a method is accepted, so slaves and outsiders who have not definitively proven themselves cannot even claim rite of trial. Other trials, similar but not involving combat, may be taken on in special circumstances, such as a trial of will or a trial of cunning, the latter often called a huntsman's trial as it involved hunting a great beast of some sort.

The Rite of Challenge
An extremely rare tradition practiced only by dragons, orcs, and certain tribes in North Eastern Crolia, this involves a trial by combat with special rules. The challenged may set the exact method of battle, though it must be one at which the challenger is at least reasonably capable, but the challenger must set the terms as to what the winner gets, which must be fair. Right to claim the loser as husband or wife, breeding rights, a period of servitude, station, favors or property are all common things for which a challenge of combat are acceptable. The resulting fallout depends on the given culture, with orcish and Crolian results of refusal ranging from a loss of standing to outright exile, to enslavement in some cases. Among dragons, however, there can be no refusal, regardless of any gap in power, and the terms are almost always for right to territory or breeding rights, though if a dragon already has a Mate they may issue a counterchallenge before the first is resolved.

Poker
I shouldn't have to explain this.

Blackjack
See right above this entry.

Queen's Command
A popular card game among those more patient than poker or blackjack players, involves each player being given a queen face down and made to draw six cards from the deck. Their goal is to get as many cards of the same suit as possible, and after cards are drawn there is a trading round, each player offering to swap a card from their hand with any other player, naming only the number or face of the card and not its suit. This goes on until all players are satisfied. They must place cards in a row face down in front of their queen, then draw back up to six, and repeat another round of trading followed by another round of putting down cards. Any cards of the wrong suit, called traitors, have their value detracted from their total, while any cards of the correct suit are added. The player with the most points wins.

The Firsting
A demonic ritual rite of passage designed to maintain their population, practically exclusive to succubi. A group of roughly equal age are stripped to the skin and have sealing collars placed upon them, and are sent into a section of abandoned ruins. The only method in which they are allowed to fight is hand to hand, in particular grappling, and the only method by which they may subdue an opponent is through draining them or sex until they pass out. A victor claims their defeated foes as subordinates, and whether either likes it or not the losers must either carry their new master's children or give their seed to their master to do the same. Victors may also claim the souls of their defeated foes outright, but a more popular tactic is to enthrall them, give them just enough energy back to move, and use them to help claim further "victims." Those who make it unconquered for a full 24 hours are allowed to return to regular society, with their victims often becoming their slaves.

Cromgen
A goblin ritual sport in which a group takes a number of members of the opposite sex, strips them, oils them, and throws them into an arena. The members of the initiating gender must stand in the middle, and the members of the opposite gender must run from one "safe zone" to another without being caught. Being dragged down and pinned means they must give themselves to whoever caught them, though winners can share "prizes" and even invite those without a partner to share one they've caught.

The Moon Herald's Faire
An almost worldwide ritual festival come early winter that celebrates a fruitful year and hopes for another, though the exact traditions vary wildly from place to place and sometimes even household to household. It's basically like Thanksgiving and Christmas put together.

The Maze of Torment
A common form of entertainment in the underground, now sometimes done in the Acheron arena, the maze of torment is a set of trap-laden catacombs with enchanted illusion recording devices set in numerous points. Women, usually slaves but sometimes captured or conned adventurers or the like, are sent in clad in little more than rags and given only wooden weapons with which to defend themselves, usually drugged. The ensuing struggles are recorded and sold, and sometimes broadcast to viewing screens for spectators to watch live. In some cases warriors are sent in to try and capture the subject, and any of them injured or knocked out by the contestant are allowed first dibs on her when they are brought out, which is also usually recorded. Sometimes instead monsters are sent in, or perhaps left to lair in longer running mazes, and allowed to take the maze runner when they catch her. In some more expensive mazes, like the one in the Acheron arena, wealthy patrons are allowed to buy customized trap emplacements and given a portion of the profits if a contestant is caught by them.

Boxing
Fairly self explanatory in basics, but the specifics of it vary from region to region. It is most popular in Badaria, where during the imperial days the sport became a publicly sponsored spectacle, and thus the competitors were often sponsored by nobles or merchants and gained some notoriety, much like the jousting knights and sword dueling champions of old. Not all aspects of the sport are public and wholesome, however, and many underground boxing rings across Heloras pit fighters against one another in more brutal bouts than can be shown openly.
 
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