Saturday, 16 February 2013

Ix -- World of the Dying Sun: Part 2

Continuing from yesterday's post about the nature of my work-in-progress campaign setting, here's my current players' introduction to the world's history.

(Next up will be part 3: Factions.)

History

The Sorcerer Kings
The most ancient of records tell of an era when the desert cities were ruled by the cruel grasp of the sorcerer kings – wizards of inhuman arcane power. Each city was held sway to the whims of its ego-maniacal ruler, and wars raged for centuries as the sorcerer kings tried in vain to conquer each others' dominions. Many hideous creatures and warped sub-races were bred by the genetic magic of the sorcerer kings, and these monstrosities were pitted against each other in the ever escalating wars.

The Last War
There came a final battle, as the monstrous forces of the armies of five cities were arrayed on the plains of Goth, and the skies were rended by shuddering blasts of eldritch energy. Too zealous were the sorcerer kings in their lust for power and domination, and the arcane forces which were unleashed could not be controlled. The sorcerer kings were destroyed by their own might, and took the rest of mankind with them – the desert was razed by toxic magic and civilisation fell into ruins.

The Dark Age and the Demon Lords
After some centuries, the scattered remnants of humanity began to form into tribes, marking the first steps on the road to a new civilisation. In these desperate times, men took up the worship of ancient entities, deifying beings which had previously been called demons. It was at this time, with the wandering tribes of men under the sway of these demon lords, that the world began to darken. The sun became swollen and red, night was not always followed by day, an endless gloom arose in the north, and twisted spirits of shadow emerged from the darkness.

The Coming of Zyklon
In these dark times, prophecies whispered of a saviour – a man who would come to unify the tribes of mankind and bring a new order to the world. He was known as Zyklon (“the caustic light”), and came from the tribe of Dugpa. Under the leadership of Zyklon, the tribe of Dugpa discovered and rebuilt the ruined city of Mexicarn, fortifying it and beginning a campaign to bring all of humanity under one rule.

The Templars and the God-Slaying
Proving the truth of the prophecies, the loyal followers of Zyklon were blessed with miraculous powers. They became known as the Templars, and formed great armies. With the righteous light of their lord behind them, they crusaded against all opposition, dethroning and debasing the idols, demons and false gods which dominated the tribes of men. The holy wars of unification lasted for over a century, during which time Zyklon himself did not age.

The Coronation of the God-Emperor
When the last desert tribes swore fealty to Zyklon, he was crowned as Emperor of the desert. On the eve of his coronation, torrents of water cascaded from the sky, and every living person knew him to be their God. The city of Mexicarn was renamed as the Tear of God, and the dying Hayyem tree of the city was rejuvenated.

The Continuing Darkness
Despite the unification of the desert cities under the rule of the undying God-Emperor, darkness still encroaches upon the world. Doctrine tells that only when all men are free from domination by false gods will the sun become bright once more, and the gloom be lifted. To the south of the desert, on the edge of the steaming toxic jungles lie cities where men are slaves to demonic entities. The Templars wage war against these heathen realms, to bring about an end to the darkness and a new era of light.

8 comments:

  1. I really like this. The influences are clear without being oppressive and the setting itself looks like it's got plenty of potential for actual gaming; so many settings seem more like the backdrop for a novel than they do an environment in which to play.

    I might have another think about the name of the God-Emperor though.

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  2. Thanks for the feedback! I find it a pretty weird task actually, writing this kind of campaign intro material... kind of feels like talking into a void. So it's nice to hear someone else's opinion.

    You don't like the name Zyklon then? Too trashy sounding? I originally called him Akkarn, but I thought that sounded a bit too generic / flavourless somehow.

    "so many settings seem more like the backdrop for a novel than they do an environment in which to play."

    Yeah, this is what I'm aiming at. A small number of short paragraphs explaining some gameable bits & pieces about the world. I also have no illusions that my writing skills are good enough for fiction, which is kind of a relief, if you see what I mean!

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    1. You've definitely inspired me to do a similar project, or at least add it to my to-do list. I love the idea of taking the essence of a published setting, but then going off in whatever directions take your fancy.

      Zyklon's a great pulpy-sounding name, but it also conjures up some pretty serious real world juju: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zyklon_B

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    2. Re: Zyklon... Oh! I really had no idea! Thanks for pointing that out. I thought someone was gonna say it was the name of a brand of washing powder or something, haha.

      Yes, I'll give that some more thought then... I certainly didn't intend the name to conjure such dark history!

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    3. Re: taking a published setting as inspiration... Yeah this is the closest I can see myself coming to running a game in a pre-existing setting. The weight of canon is too vast for me otherwise. I like being able to take some ideas as inspiration but mould it into something that's my own.

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  3. It's all sounding great. My only change would be to change the title Templars to something else, simply as it already has very strong connotations with a certain period, feel, religion etc. Even Zyklonites would work.

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    1. Yeah I wondered vaguely about that too. The name Templars comes straight out of Dark Sun, hence its presence, but perhaps you're right.

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  4. I would definitely get rid of the name Zyklon, but I would keep Templars. Not only because of the source material but I think the "religious" implications work well with the setting.

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