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[Let me start this off by bumping the Raining City thread by FormerlyCurious, which has been a huge and continuous source of inspiration to me since it was first posted. Ultimately, it was that discussion that led me to design the Kingdom of Verterre, which neighbours the Stormlands and Strasa in my game world, in the first place. Big props to everyone posting in that thread; you've all done an amazing job, and I hope we can all work together to make this thread half as interesting and productive as the last.]
It occurred to me, while sitting down to write out some new story ideas, that the vast majority of the game worlds I have played in (and written) in the past were based upon Anglican or English history and folklore. I wanted to change things up, so I decided to write up a world that was loosely based upon mid-Revolutionary France. Let me hit you with you with the teaser splash:
Verterre's King and Queen have been betrayed by their treacherous Viceroy, Rene Marchand, and assassinated by violent revolutionaries demanding the destruction of the monarchy. The Prince has gone into hiding, and the Viceroy's agents will stop at nothing to find and eliminate him. As political alliances break down, Verterre finds itself on the brink of war with a neighbouring kingdom. Powerful nobles and merchant lords seek to exploit the political power vacuum, using their vast resources to hire on personal armies of mercenaries and cut-throats to help them claw their way to the top of Vertessian society. The economy is in shambles, the people have royal blood on their hands, the social order is breaking down, and the nation prepares itself for war; now is the time for heroes.
Geographically, the Kingdom of Verterre is situated between the Stormlands in the south, and the nation of Reinzwald in the north. The western Reaches feature fertile plains and rolling hills, but dense forests cover the majority of the Kingdom. These forests are home to some of the oldest and largest trees on the continent, and feature a number of wildways that connect our realm to the dark and mysterious Feywild. They are also home to the Fey themselves. Called "Eladrin" in the tongues of Men, the Fey have populated the woods of this region since the Time-Beyond-Remembering, and the people of Verterre have always had a relationship with them.
In recent years, in an attempt to secure a permanent alliance between the Kingdoms of Fey and Man, the Elf-King Orthelian gave up his daughter, Thelir, in marriage to the King of Verterre. The King and Queen grew to love and respect one another greatly, and Thelir gave birth to their son, Prince Lhirimbar, the year following their wedding. Their passion for one another was the stuff of songs and stories, and ushered in a period of great peace and prosperity in Verterre. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever -- about 20 years later, following a series of economic, political and agricultural disasters, the common folk of the Kingdom began to rise up against their leaders; with swords in hand, and curses on their lips, they began to fight a revolution.
It is important to mention, at this point, that the people in the northern nation of Reinzwald worship a cruel and expansionist god. It is a primorial creature of fire and smoke, who demands that all non-believers be purified, and put to the torch -- their sins burned away by righteous flames. Over the past few decades, they mave marched across the northern lands with impunity; their ferocity and military might is unequaled on this continent, and now they point their torches to the south. The only thing protecting the people of Verterre is their alliance with the Fey; the Elf-King is an unrivaled master of elemental magics and the natural world, and would never dream of allowing his daughter's kingdom to be burned away.
But when the people of Verterre rose up against their leaders, dragged the King and Queen from their grand chateau, and killed them like dogs in the streets of the capital city, the Elf-King Orthelian began a descent into grief-fueled madness. The certainty of his protection over the Kingdom of Verterre began to wane, and he would have given up on them, and let their cities burn, were it not for the love he bore for his half-elven grandson. The Prince had escaped the Viceroy's treachery, and was not murdered alongside his parents. Instead, he was able to gather up a handful of loyalists and disappear. So long as he lives, Orthelian will not allow the people of Reinzwald to march south.
You may be wondering why Rene Marchand, Viceroy to the King, betrayed his monarch, causing Verterre to spiral into a period of chaos and death. Well, it's because he's an agent of the Court of Cinders, the Council which rules Reinzwald with an iron fist. They seek nothing so much as the "purification" of Verterre, and they know they cannot accomplish this goal while Orthelian still protects the kingdom with his ancient magics.
And that's pretty much where the story picks up. We will begin in the city of Oliver, a powerful trading city on the southern border of Verterre, which the kingdom shares with the Stormlands. Mercenary companies from Strasa are a common sight in Oliver, because powerful nobles and corrupt merchant lords have plenty of coins and plenty of enemies. The economy is in shambles, the people have royal blood on their hands, the social order is breaking down, and the nation prepares itself for war; now is the time for heroes.
I will be adding to this thread for a while, depositing ideas for factions, plots, NPCs, etc. Please, let me know what you think! If you've got any ideas of your own to add, please post them! The Raining City thread was tremendously successful because it was a collaborative effort. We can do the same for Verterre, I think. I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can come up with.
Current Cast of Characters:
Sylvain / Eladrin Paladin: A loyal knight and former member of the Queensguard. A childhood friend of Princess Thelir, daughter of the Elf-King Orthelian, he has never been far from her side: when she was married to Charles II, the King of Verterre, he had been there; when she gave birth to Prince Lhirimbar, the half-elven Song of the Earth, he was there; but when the treacherous Rene Marchand betrayed his King and Queen, and they were dragged into the streets and murdered by revolutionaries, he could do nothing to save them. Sylvain's grief over the loss of Queen Thelir has broken him, and the Paladin has sworn a holy oath to Corellon that he will find the Prince and restore him to his rightful throne.
Leon / "Shifter" Avenger: Born during a time of economic instability and agricultural disasters, Leon's family found themselves with too little coin and too many mouths to feed. In exchange for a bit of wealth, they agreed to give up the boy to a holy order devoted to Kelemvor called the House of Scales. The order raised Leon in the ways of Kelemvorites; he was taught the value of justice, and of balance, and he was taught to wield a sword in service to those virtues. He proved to be an incredibly skilled student, and was eventually asked to join the order's inner circle. Upon entering into this circle, Leon was forced to drink the Blood of the Wolf during a sacred rite of initiation, which granted him the strength, speed, and cunning he would require to hunt down those who would seek to escape judgement. *
* Leon's player's wife actually just gave birth recently to another child, and it's looking like he's going to be too busy to play. All the rest of us have children, so we understand. It's unfortunate that he probably won't be able to play, but we'll save him a spot, regardless. I'll include his character in the story as an NPC, and if he ever decides he's able to jump in, he'll be welcomed at the table.
Victus (Lazare) / Human Warlord: Without going into a lot of detail regarding the stuff that happens in the Raining City thread, Victus actually plays an integral part in that city's future. I'm setting this game a hundred years before the game I ran in Strasa, in which an ancient evil lurked beneath the water and twisted the minds of everyone it came in contact with. Well, as it turns out, Victus is ultimately responsible for releasing this creature in the first place. He tries to fight back when he realizes what he's done, but it's too late, and he's forced to leave his friends and family in Strasa behind, because the Abiding One has corrupted the minds of everyone that could help. He travels north, and enters Verterre as a broken man with nothing left to lose. He manages to hire himself out as a mercenary, and even find some measure of peace -- albiet, at the bottom of a bottle.
Currently Unnamed / Halfling Bard: Brought to the kingdom of Verterre in chains, this character was forced to act as the personal entertainer for a corrupted noble woman for years, until he was eventually released by her son. Having denounced his native gods in frustration and sorrow, he has no desire to return to his homeland. He struggles to find a place of his own in this strange new nation, however.
Also, there's a Wilden Druid that's currently under construction. I'm really excited about this character, and I think she's going to be really cool. I'll update this thread when we've finished her up.
I'm working on a few different factions at the moment that I can use to populate the world. Let me know what you think of this stuff:
The Nine Swords: Mercenary company that emphasizes the importance of personal skill, speed and dedication to duty. There are nine captains and nine chapters to the organization. Raphael Duval is the captain of the First Chapter, which is currently stationed in the border-city of Oliver (where the game will open). He is called "The First Sword", and is renowned as one of the most technical and accomplished swordsmen in all of Verterre. There are about a dozen Swords in Oliver, but Raphael takes pride in the knowledge that each of his men are worth 10 from any other company.
The Mouse and Magpie Tavern: Owned and operated by a Gosczi* immigrant woman by the name of Mladenka Jankova, the Mouse and Magpie Tavern is well-known throughout Oliver as the headquarters of the local thieves guild.
* The Gosczi Tribes are a collection of nomadic people from the northern region of the continent. The Gosczi King, knowing that his tribes were no match for the nation of Reinzwald, officially accepted their religion on behalf of his people to avoid a Holy War that would surely cost thousands of lives. Now the Gosczi Tribes are nomadic; they cannot worship their traditional gods in their own land, so they've scattered themselves across the rest of the continent. They are almost universally distrusted, though, and regarded as thieves, killers, and bringers of bad fortune.
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