PrinceCon 15 : The Writ of Banning

pcon_15_back_cover pcon_15_front_coverDirector: Dan Eisenstein
Theme Master: Geoff Cohen

Adventurers had been outlawed by the Emperor, who claimed that they had no proper role in a peaceful, orderly society. The hidden agenda was that a big menace was coming and the Empire needed to weed out all *incompetent* adventurers. PrinceCon XVI was the sequel in which the Big Menace happened.

By this time it had been established (by Andy Zovko?) that “there are no orcs at PrinceCon”.

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The World of Mirelia

To: Graduates of Rebel Training Camp
From: Lucius, President of the Free Resistance Council
Classification: Eyes Only

First of all, congratulations on graduating from the training camp. After intensive training in the fields of combat, stealth, magic, healing, and survival, you have shown that you are more than adequately prepared for the coming challenges. Your assignments will take you across the continent, to sweeping metropolises and desolate mountaintops, in the great struggle against the empire.

As you well know, our homes, freedom, and very way of life have all been stolen by this sudden and ominous creation of a worldwide empire. As special agents of the resistance, you will need a certain knowledge of the world, the history, and the empire to effectively combat the Empire. Needless to say, existence of this document is vitally secret, and under no circumstances can it be let into imperial hands.

Part I: General Knowledge

Since you come from a number of different regions and backgrounds, I will give a brief description of the various regions of the empire.

The world has traditionally been divided into six geographic areas. Four of them, Ocsed, Norod, Mithil, and Vostoq, are on the main northern continent, Severnia. The other two, Barzien and Archon, are on islands to the south.

Ocsed, the western quarter of Severnia, is an area of grasslands surrounding a central mountain range known as the Markrebs. The Scarred Land lies to the east of the range, while a forested lake region called the Braids lies to the west. Because of the number of natural boundaries, a large number of states traditionally existed here, and indeed even now the empire adminsters it as many small areas. The four main cities of Ocsed are Perduin, on the southern coast, Novgorod, once capital of a northern empire, Marzur, just south of the Markreb mountains, and Larax, in the western penninsula. Perduin is the only state directly opposing the empire, and is thus a member of the Free Resistance. Your duties may take you there to help defend the city from the imperial seige.

Norod comprises the northern wastes and is largely unexplored. It is inhabited mostly by nomads and barbarians. These nomads, while not fighting the empire presently, make up a large and effective fighting force and would help greatly in the struggle. This area is also vital for the furs and timber it supplies. Norod is separated from the rest of the continent by the Trollsfels Mountains, home of the dwarves.

Mithil, the central area of Severnia, is the homeland of the Empire and its capital Strann. It is dominated by the Zanya River basin, a fertile area of grasslands and savannahs. On the western boundary is Oelvenwode, the ancestral homeland of the elves, while the eastern boundary is formed by the Great Forest and the Nehawk Mountains. The Zanya River network links Strann, Benvidrin, and Ostil, the major cities of Mithil, Ostil is the largest trading center of the world, while Benvidrin is the seat of the Mithil Council. Strann, although historically insignificant, has emerged in the last six years to create and rule the Severnian Empire that we are now struggling against. In addition, the ruins of Mithilrode, the first human city, lie in the center of this region.

The eastern area of Severnia, Vostoq, is mostly desert. The Leo religion was founded in Tilmonh, the capital. Although it is still independent from Strann, most of Vostoq has been conquered, including the port city Yathib. The main feature of this region is the Sea of Sand, an impassable desert which has claimed many adventurers lives.

The fifth area, Archon, is an archipelago to the southeast of Severnia. The capital is Torin, but the islands are more important for their large quantity of tropical fruits, spices, and gems.

The sixth area and the least explored one is Barzien, a large tropical island to the southwest of Severnia. While some trading has been established with the fringes, the inner regions have never been explored. The empire has forbidden any non-licenced traffic there, presumably because the only motive to go there is to adventure.

Part II: History of the World

This world was once inhabited by warring ancient races, refered to as the Faragh and the Turan. Nothing is known of their lifestyle or even appearance, although Hermits have hints that they arrived here from another star. They totally ruled Mirelia until until they completely destroyed each other. About a thousand years after the final battle between these two races, human civilization emerged.

Our calendar dates from this point, when Oelrik the Grey founded the first human city, Mithilrode, at the confluences of the Zanya and Valdemar Rivers. The city became a kingdom, a republic, and finally in 473 proclaimed itself an d Empire, with holdings covering all of Mithil, parts of Norod, and northern fc Vostoq.

Across the continent, in Ocsed, the ancient city of Novgorod founded its own empire in 564. It reached its greatest extent three centuries later under Sylvester the Gorger, a cruel and hated man who not only brought the empire to its highest glory, but also nearly destroyed it in a sorcerous war with a demon.

Meanwhile, the Mithil Empire was waning. Corruption, incompetance, and civil wars plagued it throughout the eighth and ninth centuries. Then, in 921, the Leo sect was founded in Vostoq by Ataman the Prophet. He lead the newly converted nation against the Mithil Empire, first merely to throw off their oppression, and then later in actual conquest. In 936, Mithilrode was sacked and abandoned. The Leos’ “Eternal Kingdom” seemed invincible, until Ataman died and his heirs split the empire in a civil war that lasted almost a century. Afterwards, the Kingdom was reunited but never reattained its original grandeur.

Back in Ocsed, the retreat of the Novgorod Empire created a power vacuum that was filled by the Ocsed Confederacy, created by the Treaty of Perduin in 1058. Comprised of twenty-seven city-states in Ocsed, it managed to hold Ocsed together in a loose but effective alliance until the rise of the Severnian Empire.

While these political changes took place in the edges of the continent, the center was strangely quiescent. The city of Strann was founded by refugees from the sacking of Mithilrode in 936, and considered itself the inheritor of the Empire, but was unable to assert itself. Benvidrin, a city in the north, took on status as the dominant internal trading city, and Ostil was (and still is) the largest seaport in the world. Despite the economic prosperity of the region, the Mithil Council’s attempt to copy the loose confederation of Ocsed was barely successful. It was not until 1598 that Mithil was again politically united.

Part III: History of the Severnian Empire

In 1597, Philip IV was King of Strann. Upon his death from a tropical disease in 1598, his son Alaric was next inherited the mantle of kingship, receiving the surname Marcius. Almost immediately upon doing so, now-King Alaric Marcius embarked on a massive political and military campaign to increase the power of Strann. In the spring campaign, he destroyed a nearby rival city- state completely, frightening neighbor states to join into a hurried alliance with him. In a series of “Fall Treaties,” Alaric assumed command of the northeast of Mithil. Before the winter, he took Benvidrin, the seat of the Mithil Council.

In summer of 1599, Ostil, the port city of Mithil, joined in treaty with Alaric. The fall was dedicated to conquering and fortifying the rest of Mithil. On the first day of 1600, Alaric was crowned Mithilrodean Emperor Sardonn III in the previously abandoned city of Mithilrode, and received the red and gold of the Severnian phoenix.

Later that year, he launched the Skalic Plains Campaign, a favorite among mercenaries, and took the northern section of Ocsed. The coastline along southern Vostoq also fell. By the fall, Alaric had established outposts in Archon, certain mountain passes to Norod, and Novgorod. The next year, the rest of Vostoq except for Tolminh fell.

In 1601, the Ocsed Confederacy collapsed, with most of the confederacy joining Alaric of their own volition (knowing that they would be squashed if they didn’t). These states remain in an quasi-independent status. Perduin, the former capital, is the only state actively resisting Alaric.

Part IV: The Emergence of the Resistance

In 1602, the Emperor, worried about the activities of the so-called ‘adventurer class,” issued a Writ of Banning that forbade the use of heavy weapons or armor or high-level magic, without obtaining permission from the empire. In short, adventurers had three choices: retire permanently, join the Imperial Army, or die on the headsman’s block. Naturally, a number of free- thinking adventurers chose the fourth, unlisted option of telling the Emperor where to stick his “heavy weapons” and formed a loose coalition of resistance cells that sought to overthrow, or at least seriously inconvenience, the Empire.

This resistance was centrally coordinated by the Hireling Hall in Strann. But in 1603, the mysterious Omniscience, the dreaded elite of the Imperial Secret Police, discovered this fact and destroyed Hireling Hall, killing a number of resistance leaders.

The movement seemed lost, until a number of wealthy patrons joined to rebuild the network of resistance. These benefactors were the nucleus of the sed Free Resistance Council. They formed a coalition between the adventurer class, the ousted nobility, the thieves’ guilds, and the independent cities. The resistance now operates out of a series of safehouses and contacts throughout the the continent.

Part V: The Modern Resistance

The resistance for which you work is comprised of four main factions, all of whom have seats on the Free Resistance Council (FRC). The first faction, the Democratic Revolutionary Party (DRP) is comprised of individuals who believe that the autocracy of the empire is oppressing the masses and must be removed. The DRP has three seats on the council, although their identities must be kept secret.

The second faction, the Oblemoor faction, is composed of elements in the nobility who believe that it is the rulership of the empire that must be removed, not necessarily the empire itself. The Oblemoor has two seats on the Free Resistance Council, one of whom is the leader of the faction, codenamed Father.

The third faction, the Covert Actions Taskforce (CAT), is comprised of thieves, the Shadows of Ratri, and the old thieves’ guilds, now outlawed. The leader of this faction and the delegate to the council is codenamed Weasel.

The fourth faction is the Free City of Perduin, presently under attack by Imperial Forces. Perduin is represented by a delegate from the town council.

The FRC, while sometimes disagreeing on final goals or even immediate strategy, has proved to be enormously successful and helpful in coordinating the efforts of the resistance. The council is presided over by me, codename Lucius, and I assure you that we will do our utmost to further the goals of the resistance.

When returning from resistance missions, please try to give as complete a briefing as possible so as to enable future parties to be fully effective. In addition, if you discover information that could be of use in other areas of the world, please communicate this to that area through the Hireling Hall communications network.

Most importantly, remember that the Resistance can only succeed as a popular movement. We must win the support of the common people. Actions that alienate or scare the people greatly harm the cause. Do not forget the fundamental freedoms that the Resistance embodies. A multitude of hardships await you as a new agent, but with strength, perserverance, and the ideals of the Resistance, we will emerge triumphant.

Next year in Strann,
Lucius, President of the FRC