PrinceCon 16 : SpiritCon

pcon_16_front_coverDirector: Dan Eisenstein
Theme Master: Geoff Cohen

Restless spirits rose from the underworld, and the PCs had to set matters straight.

Player Theme Pack

The World of Mirelia

Attention, Members of the Imperial Adventurers Guild!

I, your great hero and leader, Derek Dragonsbane, call you to heed my words!

As servents of our great Empire and Empress, we are called upon to face extraordinary perils and dangers every day. However, the task that faces us now in the year 1616 may be our most difficult and dangerous. Of course, it holds the promise of the most booty, I mean glory. The quest, which I will describe below, will take you across this great continent, even beyond the realm of the Severnian Empire.

Since you come from a variety of backgrounds and education, I have prepared the following notes from my extensive travels. I suggest you keep this document, and the attached map, with you at all times.

Part I: General Knowledge

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.

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 represent an important power center. 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 Mithilrode. 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, Ostil, and Mithilrode, the major cities of Mithil. Strann is the former capital of the Empire, although it has been sacked by the Leos and abandoned. Ostil is the largest trading center of the world, while Benvidrin is the seat of the Mithil Council. Mithilrode is the oldest human city in the world, and has only recently been resettled following a seven-hundred year period of abandonment. Even today, we are still finding new archeological sites full of wonder.

The eastern area of Severnia, Vostoq, is mostly desert. The Leo religion was founded in Tilmonh, the capital. The Eternal Kingdom, the main political unit, has opposed the Empire for many years. We have reason to believe that they are planning a massive assault in the following months. The main geographic 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.

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 Sages have hints that they arrived here from another star. They totally ruled Mirelia until until they completely destroyed each other during the so-called Black Moon War. The destruction of these races allowed humans to become independent.

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 Empire, with holdings covering all of Mithil, parts of Norod, and northern 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 821, 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).

Part IV: The Rebellion

In 1602, the Emperor Alaric passed the Writ of Banning, a legal document which outlawed adventurers completely. Unhappy adventurers united with the thieves’ guilds, the displaced nobility, and democratic movements to form the Free Resistance. Operating mainly out of the city of Perduin, the Resistance tried to overthrow Emperor Alaric.

However, the Imperial Secret Police, the Omniscience, were too powerful and the resistance made no progress until 1604. At that point, a collection of powerful and anonymous supporters joined the leadership of the rebellion. The leader of these, and the new President of the Free Resistance Council, was known only as Lucius.

Under Lucius’ leadership, the resistance began to achieve enormous successes. However, at the same time the Imperial Army was close to crushing the Free City of Perduin, the headquarters of the resistance. The Resistance was in great danger of being destroyed when a daring band of adventurers infiltrated the Imperial Capital successfully and destroyed the Imperial Military Command Center in an explosion which also killed the Emperor.

At the same time, these adventurers also discovered a frightening fact: the man who had been born Alaric of Strann had died in 1598. Who – or what – had been impersonating the Emperor since the very beginning of the Empire was unknown.

Part V: The Triumvirate

The Congress of Mithilrode was summoned, and the fragments of the Empire and the Resistance met to elect a new Emperor. After an intense struggle, a triumvirate of Lucius, leader of the Resistance, Grand Marshall Tzi Pei, leader of the Imperial Army, and Madame Woo, a popular businesswoman, was elected.

Although the Eternal kingdom took advantage of the temporary power vacuum to invade and sack the capital, Strann, they were soon beaten back. It appeared that the Empire was united and at peace at last.

But it was unfortunately not to be. In 1612, six years after the Congress of Mithilrode, Grand Marshall Tzi Pèi mysteriously disappeared. Many areas of the Empire became restless, as the central authority of the Triumvirate waned.

Fueling this unrest was a vast increase in the number and severity of spiritual encounters. Demons, elementals, wyrds, and undead began to haunt the Empire in unprecedented numbers. This increased from a nuisance to a public danger as time passed, but the central authorities did little to stop it.

To investigate this and search for a cure, Empress Woo called all the leaders of the world’s religions to a Grand Convocation in Mithilrode. The conclusions of the Convocation are given below. However, the Convocation also reported that the Emperor Alaric had not died in the explosion; indeed, that Lucius and Alaric were the same person. Lucius fled and has not been seen since.

More recently, Madame Woo has been crowned the sole Empress, with a Council of Nobles as advisors and checks on her power. But central authority has almost disappeared, and many factions have brought the Empire to the verge of civil war in their attempts to seize the Phoenix Throne.

Part VI: The Convocation and the Quest

The Grand Convocation determined a number of things concerning the spiritual invasion. Although the relationship is unclear, the spirits are the same spirits that were unleashed during the Black Moon War that destroyed the Faragh and Turan. At the same time, they also discovered that a new star that appeared in the heavens was somehow related to the spirits.

According to the Convocation, the Black Moon War lasted many decades, and destroyed much of the world. At its height, both races cast a powerful spell called collectivization, which combined all the members of each race into a magical being. These collectivized beings fought, and eventually the Turan beat back the Faragh and destroyed it. Not willing to accept this partial victory, the Turan planned on destroying Severnia, the homeland of the Faragh as well. To do this, they marshalled a huge number of spirits, including Chthon, the Prince of Earth Elementals, and prepared to sink the continent entirely.

Oelrik the Gray, a human in the service of the Turan, realized that this spell would also destroy all the free humans. He rebelled against his masters, stole the Orb of Chthon, and fled to the north. There, at a mountain called karach, he somehow managed to reverse the spell and sink Miskonia, the continent of the Turan. Afterwards, the spirits had also disappeared. Oelrik, with his great power, went on to found Mithilrode, the first free human city.

It is unknown why the spirits have returned. But the convocation greatly fears that unless Oelrik’s counterspell is rediscovered, that our own continent may sink. Even if it does not, the spirits themselves may destroy us.

Your quest is clear: you must go out into the world, discover who is behind the release of the spirits, find the counterspell, and prevent the continent from sinking. At the same time, you must act as emissaries of the Imperial authority, and stop the various factions from seizing power. Indeed, one of the factions is most likely behind the spiritual invasion.

There are six factions which are vying for the Phoenix Throne. The first is the Mages Guild, whose strengths are magic and scrying ability. They are weakened by internal politics. The second faction is the Imperial Army. Although they are at present largely concerned with the Vostoq Invasion, they nevertheless represent an incredible concentration of troops and power. The third faction are the religions: the Convocation has begun to wield large amounts of political power since it was first convened, and now represents an important power broker. The united Thieves’ Guilds and Ratri Temples make up the fourth faction, collectively known as the Brotherhood of Night. Their advantages are surprise and stealth. Although not very powerful in absolute terms, they can also be the most dangerous. The fifth faction controls the wealth of the continent, and is lead by Mr. B, Chief Executive Office of Bazzaar and Weerder, A.G.

But remember that there is one more faction: you, the adventurers. Although unorganized and apolitical, you represent the greatest collection of power, skill, and experience. The factions will be courting you during your quest; use that fact against them. Although it is unclear as yet what we can do to best serve our Empire, I am confident in the virtues and abilities of the Imperial Adventurers’ Guild.

A multitude of hardships await you, but with strength, perserverance, and the ideals of the Empire, we will emerge triumphant.

With gore and glory,

Derek Dragonsbane, Guildmaster of the
Imperial Adventurers Guild

 

At the Con

PrinceCon 16 Featured
Good Sams, and Bad Sams
A plague of orcs
Magic-using killer whales
Factions within Hireling Hall
The Death Wish award
One clever character was heavily wounded in battle. Bleeding from a multitude of sword injuries, he attempted to make an escape through shark-infested waters. We stress the word attempted.
The With Friends Like These… award
party: “If you don’t help us, we’ll die!”
character: “Yes, that’s right.”
Notable Events
Geoff, the Theme Master, the only one who really knew the details of the theme, left Princeton for Cairo (that’s Cairo, Egypt!) the day before the con. Though he gave a good day’s warning, many wondered whether he might have known earlier…