NIGHT OF THE VACANT THRONE: magic of ayotha
The world is a fragmented, ruined shell of what it once was, and magic is what ensures it stays that way. In Ages past, before the Night of the Vacant Throne -- when mankind and the other races of Ayotha were given the chance to meet a sliver of what it was that they had foolishly called their Gods -- the world followed the rules set out for it at its creation. Arcanery, in a very generous sense of implying it existed at all, was only a theoretical, philosophical exercise, conducted in meeting halls and lounges by societies that simply enjoyed dressing their social circles in a different kind of trapping. It did not exist; not merely as the world sees it now, in this broken age of horrors, but at all, and when it did arrive, it did so on the wings of nightmares.
Magic is not some mystical recipe its practitioners follow on a day-to-day basis to casually manipulate the world around them; while it affects very real results in the world around it, these results are consequences of another reality being imposed upon ours and causing the one we live in to shatter, albeit in -- at least hopefully -- a controlled fashion. As far as scattered records can ascertain, the application of this knowledge came at the hands of the humans of Ayotha first, as most of their peers and the other races struggled not just to rebuild but to survive in the lloigor-wracked wasteland that was once a comparatively peaceful, fertile world. After the Night of the Vacant Throne, rumors of uncovered writings which allowed real magic, real power, to be channeled through a dedicated practitioner and out into the world. These writings were collected in an utterly forbidden grimoire that came to be known as the Black Book, a tome with many speculated origins. Some say the Book is a legitimately living, sentient other, alien and conscious entity with unknown and sinister purposes. Others say that it exists simultaneously in other times, other places, other worlds, and exists conterminously to spread its influence in the past, present, and future all.
What is incontrovertible, however, is that the following of parsed and translated rituals found in this book or copies of it has wrought unmistakable horror upon the world and those in it. While the Night of the Vacant Throne was responsible for the destruction of cities, towns, and life, the magic found in the Black Book is responsible for the corruption of what remains and what has been built to try and effect repairs upon those shattered remnants. While there is real power to be found in the practice of these rituals, the overwhelming vast majority that even know of the existence of the Black Book are far from willing to pay the cost of not just their own sanity, but that of their friends, loved ones, and fellow men. Every so-called spell cast brings Ayotha closer to a tremulous reality merged with that of wherever the grimoire truly came from, and even amongst the universally loathed practitioners, all but the maddest can recognize that that would bode very, very poorly for our world and those living in it. Most do not know of the intricacies of magic, of course, but they know enough and have heard enough of rumors to wish to stamp it out where it exists. People have been strung up, burned, tied, and quartered, even tortured to death over days over mere mention of witchcraft, and this is the case through almost all true civilization. There exist, of course, esoteric societies, occasional outposts, even whole races of people who feel differently, but these people are outside of their own universally reviled as destroyers and corruptors of the highest order, and they are ruthlessly hunted and slain by those who catch wind of them. Only in the vast, far reaches of the untamed world is this viewpoint ever relaxed, and even then, it would still be a poor idea to reveal oneself -- fear is the most powerful motivator of violence.
HOW MAGIC MANIFESTS IN THE WORLD
Magic is horrific and corrupt, even healing magic faces the same stigma and with good reason. The Slender Crown drew magic with him when broke through into the world with disastrous results. Once upon a time the use of the Black Book was required to use magic, but as the Slender Crown's influence spreads magic is becoming increasingly easier to use. This is by the Crown's design. These are EXAMPLES. Spells can manifest in different ways but it’s never subtle. Eldritch energy and power is the theme behind the powers. Ask players how their spells manifest (just remind them of the origin of the magic itself. They can probably come up with something cool - Please no stupid cat ear shit. This isn't your favorite anime.)
FACTIONS OF MAGIC: AYOTHA
These are only a few of the factions that exist in the world that relate to magic in some way.
ORIGIN OF THE GOBLINOIDS: BY HISTORIAN DEMETRIOS
THE MONSTROUS GODS OF GOBLINKIND AND BEYOND:
NORMAL & ELDRITCH GOBLINS
Normal goblinoids are monstrous creatures with squat, hunched bodies that are covered in tough, leathery hides. Their faces are dominated by sharp, pointed teeth that jut out from their wide, gaping mouths. Their eyes are small and beady, flickering with savage intelligence. These goblinoids stand no more than three to four feet in height, but their diminutive size belies their ferocity in battle. They are known for their cunning and quick reflexes, darting in and out of combat with deadly efficiency.
In contrast, eldritch goblins are a far more terrifying sight to behold. These creatures have been horrendously mutated in different ways, often becoming twisted and malformed by dark, alien magic or their harsh environments. Some have extra limbs or eyes that bulge grotesquely from their misshapen heads. Others have tentacle-like appendages that writhe and lash out at their foes, or grotesque, mutated flesh that oozes pus and bile.
Eldritch goblins infused with alien magics are perhaps the most horrific of all. Their skin is twisted and contorted into strange, otherworldly shapes, as though it is no longer of this world. Their eyes glow with an eerie, sickly light, and they possess powers that are beyond mortal understanding.
THE HIGHER BLOOD: great goblins
Great Goblins are truly fearsome creatures to behold. They stand head and shoulders above the average goblin, with massive, hulking frames that are rippling with muscle. Their skin is tough and leathery, covered in patches of matted fur and rough scales. Huge tusks jut out from their massive jaws, dripping with saliva, and their eyes gleam with a fierce, wild intelligence.
Their arms are thick and powerful, ending in sharp claws that could tear through flesh and bone with ease. They move with a surprising agility for such massive creatures, able to bound and leap with a terrifying speed. Their voices are deep and rumbling, like the growl of an angry beast.
Great Goblins are often seen wielding massive weapons, such as enormous axes or hammers, that are as large as a normal man. With these weapons, they are capable of tearing through entire ranks of soldiers, cleaving through armor and flesh with ease.
But it is not just their size and strength that sets Great Goblins apart. They are called 'high bloods' for a reason - they are blessed by the gods of their race, given a special mark of favor that allows them to lead and conquer in the name of their kind. This mark is often seen as a glowing rune on their forehead or chest, a sign of their divine blessing.
Though Great Goblins are extremely rare, their presence is often enough to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies. They are born only to non-eldritch goblins, but when they do arise, they are often seen as the chosen ones, destined to lead their people to glory and conquest. To face a Great Goblin in battle is to face a true monster, one that is capable of tearing normal men limb from limb.
THE DRAKON OF THE MISTLANDS: rivala - pITCH hIDES
Drakon are mishapen and terrible, with scales as hard as iron and eyes that glow like molten lava. They are feared and rightfully so by humans, for they have a dark history of enslaving and eating them.
Among their own serpent kind they are just as cruel and arrogant, they dominate and enslave them as well. But as time passed and the world changed, the drakon found themselves struggling to survive. Their once-great cities fell into ruin, their power waned, and their people began to turn on them.
Desperate and afraid, the drakon turned to dark magic in a bid to save themselves. They sought out powerful sorcerers and made pacts with ancient gods, offering sacrifices of flesh and blood in exchange for the power they needed to maintain the status quo.
At first, their sacrifices were small, as humans meant nothing to them, but as their need grew more desperate, the drakon turned to the only source of flesh they had in mass: themselves. They captured other drakon by the dozens, dragging them screaming and struggling to their sacrificial altars. They spewed acid and used their razor-sharp teeth and claws to rend flesh from bone, consuming their victims with an insatiable hunger. Their bid for power worked, but at a terrible cost...
For centuries afterwards, drakon continued to prey upon humans, their culture and society twisted into something dark and monstrous. They built great temples for their dark gods, offering up sacrifices of humans and other creatures in exchange for power and wealth. And all the while, the humans lived in fear of the terrible creatures that lurked in the mountains, waiting to drag them off to a fate worse than death.
In the end, the drakon's greed and thirst for power proved to be their undoing. During the Black Crusade, the drakon were lead by their warlord Balaur, in service to the Slender Crown. Balaur was slain and the drakon's armies were crushed by the northern alliance after the sudden disappearance of the eldritch god whom they went to war for. They never recovered, and those who survived, once again betrayed their own kind. Turning on them in the last moments of the war in the hopes of a more merciful position afterwards when they were tried in the courts of the surviving human kings.
Now, the Drakonian Empire is but a distant memory, a dark tale told to scare children and warn of the dangers of power and greed. But some say that the drakon nobility still lives, hiding in the shadows and waiting for the day when they can rise again and reclaim their place in the world.
THE BATTLE OF FELL HILL: FALL OF BALAUR
The sun had just begun to rise over the Black Mountains as the armies of Balaur and Ashbrand prepared for battle. Balaur, a towering drakon warlord, led a massive army of drakon and dark creatures, while Ashbrand, a valiant Oronok king, commanded a force of human knights and warriors.
The battlefield was a wide plain, with no obstacles to hinder the movement of the armies. Balaur chose to divide his army into two wings, with himself leading one and his second-in-command leading the other. He hoped to use his superior mobility to outflank and overwhelm the human army.
Ashbrand, however, had anticipated this strategy and ordered his army to form a defensive line, with the knights in the center and the foot soldiers on the flanks. He knew that his men could not match the drakon in terms of speed and maneuverability, so he chose to rely on their discipline and numbers.
As the two armies clashed, Balaur's wing of the army charged forward, hoping to break through the human lines. But the knights held their ground, and their heavy armor and shields proved to be a formidable obstacle for the drakon. The foot soldiers on the flanks, armed with spears and pikes, drove back the dark creatures that tried to outflank them.
Meanwhile, Ashbrand led a charge with the other wing of his army, hoping to strike at Balaur's second-in-command while he was distracted. The drakon commander was caught off guard, and his wing was quickly routed.
With one wing of his army defeated, Balaur was forced to retreat, hoping to regroup and mount a counterattack. But Ashbrand saw his opportunity and ordered his knights to pursue the retreating drakon. In a fierce battle, the knights and the drakon clashed, their weapons ringing against each other.
Balaur, realizing that the battle was lost, chose to make a last stand. The warlord fought with the fury of a demon, cutting down several knights before finally falling to Ashbrand's sword.
With their leader dead, the drakon army lost heart and began to flee the battlefield. The human army had emerged victorious, but at a great cost. Many brave knights and soldiers had fallen in battle, and the kingdom was left to mourn their loss. Ashbrand himself, was dealt a mortal wound and was carried home on his shield.
The city of Ashweald in the Black Mountains of Stetmark is named in Ashbrand’s honor.
"letter to the king of skane: year 841 fire"
The village was peaceful and content, nestled in the shadow of a great cathedral that loomed over the humble homes and businesses below. I had been sent there to serve as the town's priest, to tend to the spiritual needs of the people and guide them in the ways of the gods.
But one night, the peace was shattered. The sky was alive with the sound of wings, beating against the air with a thunderous roar. And then they descended upon us. Dragon men, with scales as black as the abyss, eyes glowing with an unholy light that struck terror into the hearts of even the bravest of men.
I watched in horror as they descended upon the town, their claws and teeth tearing through flesh and bone like a hot knife through butter. The screams of the villagers echoed through the night as the dragon men attacked, their acid spewing and fiery breath leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake.
I could do nothing but watch in despair as these terrible beasts descended upon the cathedral, their claws raking across the walls and their teeth biting deep into the stone. They were determined to have their fill of human flesh, and nothing would stand in their way.
And then, as suddenly as it had begun, it was over. The doom-spawned horrors had had their fill and had taken to the sky, leaving the village in ruins and the people shattered and broken. I knew then that I had failed in my duties as a priest. I had been sent to this town to protect the people, to guide them in the ways of the gods, and I had failed. I had been powerless to stop them, and now the people were suffering because of my shortcomings.
But amidst the despair, I felt a sense of purpose. I knew that I could not undo what had been done, but I could help the people to pick up the pieces and rebuild. I vowed to dedicate myself to their cause, to use my faith and my strength to help them heal and recover.
And so I set to work, tending to the wounded and offering comfort to the grieving. I spoke of the gods and their power, of their ability to heal and to protect. And slowly, the people began to find hope once again, to see that there was a future beyond the devastation that had been wrought upon them.
Years have passed since that fateful night, and the wounds of the village have long since healed. But I have not forgotten the lessons that I learned on that terrible evening. I know that evil exists in this world, and that it is up to us, as people of faith, to stand against it. For as long as we have the strength and the will to fight, we will never truly be defeated.
It's why I now request a stipend of gold my lord, please, I beg that you aid the church in this time of dire need.
"a large sum of coin was donated, soon after it was discovered that drakon do not have wings. a scandal ensued and numerous priests were tried and executed."
ORC TRIBE: orcs of the numb "YOSKAD"
THE HISTORY OF ORCS: AS WRITTEN BY SAINT OKALIS.
In the Age of the Divine, Baur sought to become the supreme deity by overthrowing Mordrannic, initiating a conflict that ravaged the land of Orth. This prolonged struggle endured for 30 days and nights, causing the earth to split apart and transform from a vibrant mountainous forest into a desolate wasteland. Although Baur was ultimately defeated by Mordrannic and brought down in a humiliating manner, their battle was not without repercussions.
The pools of blood spilled by both combatants seeped into the soil, contaminating the aquifers and water sources, and causing the creatures of the land to mutate into feral and oversized versions of themselves. The veil between worlds also became distorted because of their clash, unleashing dangerous storm elementals into the world as a reminder of Mordrannic's influence. Not only did their war scar the land, but it also left a lasting mark on the minds of those whose lives were disrupted and shattered for generations to come.
Humans had already gained sentience and established homes and villages, but they were easily victimized by Baur's bid for power, which resulted in their displacement. Forced to flee to the ancestral caves in the mountains, they relied on stored food reserves to survive the harsh winter. In the caves, they lived in darkness for generations, venturing out only at night to scavenge for supplies. The lingering magic of the flora and fauna in the caves slowly altered them, transforming them into larger and stronger beings with unnatural skin hues and warped mindsets.
Centuries passed until their cavernous domains reached capacity, and they were forced to venture out into the world again. However, what emerged from the caves was no longer human. They had become orcs, worshiping the destructive power of what they believed were twin gods. They had successfully reconquered their homeland, and fights broke out among them to determine who would rule. With Baur's religious influence, the question of leadership was inevitable.
After months of rioting, the Orcish tribes established the first chiefdoms with their rivalries, resulting in the initial diaspora across Orth and its natural borders. The rest of the age was marked by constant warfare for resources and territory until Orth could no longer contain the chaos, leading to the emergence of new tribes outside its natural boundaries. When news of this spread throughout the land, the tribes began to fragment even further, leading to a mass exodus that brought them into contact with other humanoids.
During the beginning of the age of muses, many tribes would stampede across the land, ransacking anything in their path, leading to the saying “If you hear thundering and there isn’t a cloud in sight, run.” Additionally, many Orcish tribes made settling far away from Orth their imperative, leading to the saying “Farther from Old land, the better the land.” It is unknown if any of their attempts at sailing were successful. Since the First Era, many tribes have risen and fallen due to internal and external influences, such is the tempestuous nature of their civilization.
Many kingdoms and nations have crusaded against Orcs, reclaiming the lands surrounding Orth and keeping them from spreading further. This has kept their population in check, isolating them from remote Orcish tribes that have settled far beyond the world of what is known to the tribes of Orth, and eliminating the more problematic tribes. Orcs over the ages have gained the reputation of being a destructive force of nature due to their combined worship of Mordrannic and Baur, until the Third era when their devotion became questionable, fragmenting their race further religiously as many turned to the likes of Gru’thul, Noulbor, Uthra, and even the traitor gods themselves. Combined with their constant competition to prove their strength and their desire to be recognized as the strongest race in Ohr, they have become a deadly race to be against. Besides their quarrelsome nature, a blessing from the gods themselves, is that orcs tend to have relatively short life spans. Usually living no longer than 50 to 60 years. Few surviving past 30 due to their violent cultural customs and homelands.
Fortunately for those who oppose them, Orcs have a number of weaknesses. Firstly, their deep-seated fear and paranoia of magic, particularly storm magic, which has been passed down through generations of storytellers recounting the destructive power of Mordrannic. While Orcs value physical strength, the ability to wield magic is viewed as anathema, even among their own kind. Although this belief has been somewhat watered down to superstition, Orcs still attribute much of the world's misery, including their own, to the use of magic.
Secondly, Orcs are vulnerable to disease, despite their hardiness. Without access to proper medical care, they are susceptible to illnesses from other races, particularly those of humans. In the past, entire tribes have been decimated by outbreaks of influenza, which has proven more deadly than battles. Although this threat has been mitigated to some extent due to improved medical practices and the practice of raiding, it still remains a weakness.
Thirdly, Orcs are opportunistic, preferring to take what they need from others rather than creating their own tools and weapons. This presents opportunities for those who wish to hinder them. In addition, many lowborn Orcs choose to strike out on their own rather than remain loyal to their tribe, resorting to banditry, mercenary work, or even conquering their own tribe under the banner of another tribe or nation. Some tribes have even
The sky fractured and the stars of the vault bloomed in velvet black. Magick had been unleashed once again. As the thread of fate unraveled, a pillar of existence was destroyed. A part of creation, of the tapestry that all known laws of the waking world are built upon. The golden lights that were embedded in the sky melted away as it was torn open, a mutilating wound to reality as the mortal races know it. Immense structures fell from the sky, raining down greenish stone blocks of impossible size. Hideous crowned citadels of a golden-hued city wavered in and out of existence, as gurgling blackened rivers drained from unknown, alien origins and onto the earth below. Where the waters spilled, life was forever transformed. It became disfigured and cruel. Beasts were no longer just that, they were blood-hungry monsters of blasphemous horror. Men who were caught in the tide of magick became husks of their former selves, hunting and slavering creatures that darted across the open plains and hills of Loclan, slaughtering anyone or anything they came across. The horrors unleashed were not limited to just its epicenter. Terrible events unfolded across the land as reality waned and the veil between the worlds faltered.
Unklaw the Scale felt the thread fade from existence upon his throne in Norcia. His rage was so immense that he burned the world. A swath of destruction cascaded from his torturer city of Norcia to the edge of Loclan’s territory, becoming the Obsidian Scar. All who were caught in the flames have become ash walkers, blackened, lost souls who wail and cry in agony for all eternity. Serpents are drawn to the place of the dragon’s fire. Wyverns now make their home here, along with the serpent-men of Ixindar and the brutal tribes of Drakon.
The Notari, an assassin’s guild ruling over the city of Myrefall, has closed its gates and rumors of faceless, horrific guardians protecting the inner city have become widespread. The Rot that once consumed the farmlands of Myrefall has spread, and those unfortunates who are forced to live outside the muted walls of stone of the inner sanctum are now caught in the slimy harbors and dense rotting structures of the water-bogged slums that surround the city. Citizens wander aimlessly in the streets, unable to sleep as visions and haunting nightmares prevent them from doing so. Even more have whispered of “Her Majesty, the Agony”.
The Five Ladies of Ruin have masqueraded long enough, no longer bound by the laws put in place by the Keeper and her tapestry of fate. Their supplicants and followers make war with the people of the Red Sands, the Sorcerer Kings of Ahnki and beyond call to their demonic allies for help, and are answered. Legions of devils and demons swarm through the deserts and midlands of Evslore. Hosts lorded over by the great masters of the shallow halls march over the fallen and slay any who stand in their way.
The Guild Eldritch goes silent and magical seals of great power prevent all outsiders from approaching the monolithic tower of Zundureem. Some claim that the sorcerers and sages that call the tower home have finally gone mad, or perhaps they have dabbled too far into the inner workings of the black book and discovered a terrible truth.
The Age of Death arrives.
The Grand City of Kaastark rests within a caldera, its homes and inhabitants obscured by what the locals call the "sleeping mists." Visitors are greeted by a 60ft smooth, stone wall circling the entire perimeter of the city and can enter through four cardinal gates evenly spaced out along the wall. Smoke and steam pour out of every crack in the foundation and wash over the sides of the walls, immediately producing light beads of slick condensation on the goods and clothes of those unfortunate enough to come into the city wearing anything other than light armor. Looking up at the tops of the gates reveals the tanned, stern faces of the Redguard, clad in crimson and white linen robes bound with golden cords, as they survey the intended with a halberd crooked in their elbows.
Looming over the stone defenses, a massive tower of obsidian cradles an iron brazier whose flame whips violently in the spring breeze. Upon passing through the gates, it would become clear that the tower sits atop a large temple sinking beneath the burbling waters at the foot of the caldera. Smoke billows forth from between the columns of the temple, weaving its way through the city districts. Civilians scurry towards the steam pools, dumping large cauldrons of cold water into its depths, and as a byproduct releasing more clouds of steam into the area.
Each district of the city has its own place along the wall and as such carries many exciting wares unique to Kaastark. The Garden District boasts flowers of brilliant red and blue, each thriving in the unusual conditions it was born into. The Farming District has taken advantage of vertical plots and offers various species of beans, peppers, and grains. The Market District is a vast, open bazaar situated directly next to the Garden District, which houses hundreds of stalls selling the freshest vegetables and finest linens in the region. The Civil, Noble, and Military districts are all separated respectively but sit adjacent to one another, making up the Living Quarters.
The Temple District encompasses almost the entirety of the caldera and contains the Obsidian Tower, the Red King's Temple, and the Hissing Pools. Here, the Red Priestesses tend to the Eternal Flame and can be seen accepting offerings to the Red King from civilians who wish to pay homage to him.
Though the city is immense, and everyone seems to be busy minding their duties, the Market District has its own agenda and welcomes weary travelers into their high priced inns with open arms. The Fireside Tavern, however, is a unique establishment whose owner, Akhem, prides himself on offering only the best quality food and rooms to those who cannot afford to rest their weary bones on fine silks. The tavern itself is three floors high, much taller and grander than its competitors, but has a well-worn, gently loved look about it. Game tables, a large hearth, and beautiful women are just some of the attractions one can catch a glance of when passing by its doors. The tavern is refreshing, inviting, and bustling with activity.
Akhem allows a handful of carts to set up shop outside of the tavern once a week and encourages newcomers to take a glance at the collections offered outside. Each cart has been inspected by Akhem before their wares are sold and he can -guarantee- each item's authenticity. An announcement board is nailed to the side of the tavern and looks to be kept up to date because there aren't many posts available. One flier, however, does hang loosely from a silver pin, pocked with various holes from when it had been hung several times before. A man by the name of "Asim" is advertising for recruits for a new guild he is forming: the Fireside Free Company.
Author: Emily B. | Jensyn.
The Ohr Gaming Network is a gaming community focused on fostering a group of mature, intelligent, funny and down to earth players who are more interested in camaraderie over competitiveness. We want the Ohr Gaming Community to be a place for adults that can enjoy socializing with friends as much as they enjoy playing the games themselves.