Campaign of the Month: October 2010
Wyrmshadow Campaign Setting
Wyrmshadow - Cosmology
The Realms of Wyrmshadow: An Atlas of Creation
- It appears to be a gleaming kingdom in the clouds. The ‘floor’ of Arcadia is both reflective and transparent, allowing the Gods and Angels to peer ‘down’ to Materia and witness the changing world before them.
- Time passes much differently in Arcadia than it does in Materia. Standing upon the ‘floor’, a God or Angel will experience a week of time in what only amounts to a few seconds passing on Materia. However, Arcadia is not a “disc”, but a “dome”. and the higher one flies toward the ‘roof’, the faster time passes, eventually at such a rate that a few moments in Arcadia equates to weeks, even months, on Materia. However, the perspective attained is most often worth the risks.
- The residents of Arcadia are made up of the three Elder Gods, the Lesser Gods, the various choruses of Angels, and the Risen – Materian spirits who have ascended to a new life in Arcadia.
- The Risen are the most populous group, as nearly every being that dies in Materia has his or her soul carried to Arcadia by the Elder God of Death. To the Risen, Arcadia is a true paradise, where they are reunited with fallen friends and family, they feel no pain and no worry, and are truly at peace. To the Risen, Arcadia is like a vast, limitless city of gardens.
- The Angels are Risen who are either called to, or volunteer to, serve the Gods in maintaining Arcadia and protecting creation. Angels are divided into three separate choruses, the Seraphim, Sephirim, and Cherubim.
- Angels, like the Gods, can peer down through the ‘floor’ of Arcadia to look upon Materia.
- Archangels are elite Angels, those embued with the greatest divine power, and serve as the leaders of the three choruses. Archangels can traverse between Arcadia and Materia, though not often without the consent and aid of the Gods.
- The Lesser Gods are Materian souls who are chosen to serve as deities for their given races or classes, and thus are among the few Arcadians to not have had to die to get there.
- The Elder Gods are, like the Lesser Gods, Materian souls chosen to serve as deities. However these Gods serve as host to the memories, knowledge, and powers of the Elder Ancients, Aos, Nus, and Phi.
- These residents are all grouped as Arcadians, much as all races and beings indigenous to Materia are called Materian.
Arcadia is the domain of the Gods, and the Wyrmshadow analogue of Paradise or Heaven.
- Etheria appears to be an infinite tempest of energy: a violent, roiling storm of raw, unbridled power. It is a volatile, dangerous realm whose resources can only be tapped remotely in the form of Mana.
- Nothing other than the Phoenix, an Ancient comprised entirely of raw Mana, could enter Etheria and survive. In fact, it was only through his description that anything is known of what lies within Etheria. Etheria is so dangerous that not even the Elder Gods or the Legendary Wyrm itself could go there and live.
- Through their faithful priests and paladins, Gods can channel Etheria’s power in the form of Divine Mana. Some others, however, through birth or through training, can harness Arcane Mana on their own.
Etheria is a vast cosmic expanse, a realm of pure elemental energy, and is the source of all magic in Wyrmshadow.
- Infernia appears differently from one locale to another, though several elements are common everywhere in Infernia: The oppressive heat and the overpopulation of monsters and fiends.
- Infernia is a “disc” realm. At the outer edges of Infernia is a very visible “End of the World”, a massive wall seemingly made of heat-blur, like the wavy air of a Materian desert. Stepping through this blur merely makes one turn back from whence he or she came, but the experience drives this person incurably mad.
- At the center of Infernia is a volcanic mountain thousands of miles high, beyond layers of haze, into space itself, where Lord Asmous the Foul resides. Down the edges of this mountain run rivers crammed with the festering dead. Between these rivers are the different Regions of Infernia. For example, the River Eridanos slices between the Regions of Stalakh and Pylea.
- In the skies above Infernia, one can see Materia as if it is just beyond the clouds, faded in the reddish hue of the Infernal sky. One would also see Arcadia as the sun, passing across the sky once every hour, leaving thirty minutes of night at any given time. During this time, when Arcadia is out of view, Lunaria takes its place on an opposite schedule.
- The residents of Infernia include Lord Asmous himself, his Archdemons and Lesser Demons, monstrous creatures of nigh infinite varieties, and some small pockets of humans and other Materian races who, under the leadership of the Grooselaugg, resist the Demon’s reign over Infernia at every opportunity.
- These residents are all called Infernian, whereas their language is called Infernal. Infernians sometimes refer to themselves as Outsiders, as Asmous the Foul decreed Infernia a separate realm altogether from the other planes that make up Wyrmshadow’s reality.
Infernia is a seething, torrid realm, a twisted mockery of Materia, and the prison/domain of Lord Asmous the Foul and his Demon children.
- Draconia is made up of a series of temple-like buildings connected to one another by floating, transparent balconies and catwalks, all appearing to exist within the vacuum of space.
- Created by Tiamat and Bahamut as a sanctuary for the Dragons, it would become a refuge from the Curse of Asmous against the Dragons.
- Existence on Materia became caustic, even poisonous to the Dragons, effectively turning Draconia from a blissful retreat to a desperate place of exile.
- From Draconia, Materia can be seen as a massive globe, as if Draconia itself were a structure built in orbit around the planet. In fact, as Materia rotates and the moon revolves around it, Draconia appears to remain stationary.
- Entry into Draconia is the birthright of all full-born Dragons, though others can make the journey so long as they bear a Dragonmark, a tattoo-like symbol that signifies a dragon’s sponsorship of the visitor to Draconia.
- Dragonmark bearers are, while in Draconia, bound to the will of their Dragon sponsor. However, on Materia, these Dragonmarks represent a bond of cooperation between the marked and the sponsor, a kind of tertiary familial relationship.
- Children and all future generations of marked individuals will also bear the same Dragonmark, albeit invisible but to magical detection. For that reason, the act of Dragonmarking is not one taken lightly.
Draconia is the domain of all Dragons, both metallic and chromatic, and a safe haven from the ravages of the Curse of Asmous.
- Lunaria, much like Materia, is a globe with an atmosphere. However, unlike Materia, Lunaria was never blessed with the Legendary Wyrm’s gifts and, as such, it remains a lifeless wasteland.
- Much like Materia appeared when the Legendary Wyrm awoke 1,000,000 years ago, Lunaria is a ravaged carcass of a former world, with ruins of ancient civilizations all that remains in the otherwise featureless expanse.
- Lunaria reflects Etherian energies toward Materia. Some mana-sensitive peoples developed entire schools of witchcraft and sorcery around this Lunar Mana, whereas others, like the Weren of Freel, became allergic to these energies, losing control of their abilities whenever Lunaria was full in the sky. After Asmous cursed the Weren, only a total Lunarian Eclipse could return control to the Weren, until Katiera Hexan, the rare Weren born with a natural immunity to Lunar Mana, developed a method of effectively freeing her people from this Lunar curse.
- In the 2,000th Year of the Phoenix, upon the return of the Shadow Knight, Lunaria was visited by the Gnomes. Twenty years later, the Gnomes shed their mortal coils and became the Inevitables, divine constructs of fantastic power. The Inevitable revealed the completion of Ce’Virah, a vast, self-contained ecosystem, a city built beneath the surface of the moon.
Lunaria, as the moon of Wyrmshadow, is the only realm that can be seen from Materia.
- From the tallest peaks of the Rohn Highlands to the deepest trenches of the Undertides, Materia encompasses all that most Wyrmshadow denizens ever know of the world. As such, it is considered “the world”, even though Wyrmshadow itself is comprised of several realms other than Materia itself.
- Materia is at the center of Wyrmshadow’s existence, the apex realm through which all other realms are connected. Every other realm has a direct, albeit unapparent impact on Materia.
- Materia is the only realm that can be seen from all other realms, though its denizens can only see the realm of Lunaria with the naked eye, and even then cannot truly see the other realm in any detail.
The primary realm, the largest, most populous, and most important, Materia is also referred to as Wyrmshadow, even though that title truly encompasses all of the realms.
- The Gates appear as a vast network of translucent tunnels filled with countless particles of sentient energy called the Weave. The Weave are responsible for the transport of energies from one realm to another, such as mana from Etheria to the other realms.
- Since the Age of the Ancients, The Gates have been overseen by the Ancient Aold. Aold, a sibling of sorts to the Elder Gods and Asmous the Foul, has held vigil over the Gates for over half a million years, keeping his word to the Legendary Wyrm.
- The Gates are not the only route through which some of the realms can be traversed, but they are the only route through which all realms can be accessed. For example, only through the Gates can one hope to reach The Perch, if at all.
A tangled web of cosmic conduits weaving between the realms unseen, the Gates are a volatile, yet crucial link in the cosmic chain of Wyrmshadow.
- Located outside the rest of the known realms, the Perch offers a unique perspective to any within, the ability to peer into every other realm, a feature unique to the Perch.
- The Perch can only be accessed through the Gates, and even then, it can only be accessed by those capable of surviving a journey through the Reality Maelstrom that barricades passage to and from the Perch.
For many centuries, the Ancient Elders who would later become the Elder Gods sat and observed the realms of Wyrmshadow from the unique vantage offered by the Perch.
- Black, bleak, and devoid of all energy, the Void is a place of desolation where concepts such as time, beauty, hope, and life quickly lose all meaning.
- When a particularly powerful being threatens to banish someone or something out of their particular realm, there can be no worse place to be banished. Even Infernians, whose realm is a literal hell, would prefer their own existence to the eternal nightmare of the Void.