Forces of Good

Standing perhaps chest high to most humans, the stubborn dwarfs feel most comfortable in the dark underground rather than beneath the open sky. Their great beards flecked with dust from their mines and wet with ale, spilled from shaking with laughter at the notion of living above ground. Thus, it is unsurprising that they claim descent from the goddess of those places. The story goes that the goddess of the underworld wept, for she would never have children. Those tears dripped through the caverns of the world and, over the ages, solidified into the first dwarf.
Like the other races, the dwarfs lived in unity until the God War. With the outbreak of that war, dwarven kind split into three major camps. The Abyssa Dwarfs in the northern lands 

of Tragar aligned with the Wicked Ones and the orcs. The southern dwarfs of Abercarr remained unified, but did not align openly with the Shining Ones. Between the two lay the Free Dwarf Lands, a collection of independent dwarven city-states.
Ever an insular people, the dwarfs looked to their mines and tunnels even in the ancient time of the Celestians. It took the fervent pleas of Valandor the Great to persuade them to join the war against Winter. The dwarfs came to regret their decision; Winter’s flood swept into their holds, killing thousands of dwarfs. Anguished and mourning their dead, the dwarfs sealed shut their holds, turning their backs on the world. When they opened their gates once more, many would wish that they remained shut.

Under the long rule of King Golloch, the Imperial Dwarfs of Abercarr have turned their gaze upon the world again. Ironclad warriors march in lockstep like a well-oiled machine, while mad dwarfen warsmiths lead iron monstrosities that belch fire and spew iron from their maws. The Abercarri have conquered large swathes of lands from the surface dwellers. In recent years the free  lands have come under siege by the necromancer Mhorgoth the Faceless. Mhorgoth's forces have decimated many of the free states, killing noble and commoner alike. On the heels of this ongoing siege, the dwarfs of Abercarr returned to the surface,Golloch the Conqueror has offered aid to his beleaguered kin, but at the price of swearing fealty to him. Though reluctant pay such a price, many of the free dwarf cities have been forced to do so in order to survive since the death of their leader, Thorrick Rockfist, at the hands of Mhorgoth.
This ambitious attitude runs the Abercarri afoul of the Basileans with whom they share a northern 
border. Where previously the Abercarri and Basileans peacefully coexisted, many dwarf masons having built Basilea’s southern cities, Golloch’s ambition has driven the two into conflict. Basilea even controls the ruins of Abercarr’s old capital, Difetth. Furthermore, Basilea’s ports are the only trade route open for the dwarfs to sell their goods to the rest of the world. The two nations continually butt heads over these two issues, coming to blows often. King Golloch has supposedly drunkenly sworn to topple the Basilean City of the Golden Horn.
Unfortunately for Basilea, a dwarf keeps his promises. Though the elves may have the longest lives, the dwarfs have the longest memories. They will call upon contracts and alliances made a thousand years ago and expect them to be honoured. To a dwarf an oath is an oath, whether made drunk or sober.
Thankfully, not all dwarfs follow King Golloch. Under the Halpi Mountains lies the dwarfen Freeholds, who owe no allegiance to Abercarr. The Free and Imperial dwarfs only communicate over the Great Cataract, a vast waterfall that can only be cross via ferries pulled by a great chain. The Heavyhand Clan acts as intermediary between these peoples and peace remains between the two for now,.they meet at Culloch Mor, a tree-cloaked rock with an altar of unknown origin at the centre of the falls. Other than this one neutral ground, the two groups keep away from each other. The Free Dwarfs have enough to trouble them in the north with the Abyss and their corrupted brethren. Still they worry that when Golloch tires of his feud with the Basileans, he will turn his hungry eye northward. For in a world where nations have splintered and fallen to infighting, the Abercarri Empire is on the rise.
Most recently, in the Edge of the Abyss event, the dwarves evil cousins have amassed, emboldened by the surging abyss.  The Abyssal Dwarves have marched on the Great Cataract looking to stab the heart of the Golloch Empire and bring it to it’s knees.

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Once a proud race, the envy of all other mortals, the elves have fallen far indeed. They once boasted the greatest mage who ever lived, Calisor Fenulian, but by forging the Fenulian Mirror, he shattered the Celestians themselves. In the wake of the God War, the Elves became a broken people. Time and again, they have been stuck by betrayal and catastrophe, some of which have affected the other races of Mantica. Most recently, Mhorgoth the Faceless, the greatest nercomancer of all time, was unwittingly unleashed upon the world after being educated in the ways of magic by the elves… a mistake they will not rush to repeat.

Though their lofty pride remains, the elves are a fractured and bitter race. Winter’s Flood slew half their race in an instant. Those that remain have split into several fractured Kindreds, each with their own customs and prejudices.
The Northern Kindred formed from the elves living in Elvenholme and survivors of the Western Kindred
The Northern Kindred claim to be the most powerful Kindred, counting Mage-Queen Laraentha, the figure head of the elven people, among their number.  Ostensibly all elves pledge allegiance to her, but in reality none beyond the Noerthern, Sea, and Dragon kindredcan be relied upon to provide assistance in times of need.. In addition, the Twilight Glades and the capital Ileuthar, sacred realms to the Elven Kindreds, lie within their borders. .

The Sea Kindred broke from the Western Kindred when Winter’s Flood swallowed their lands. Only the city of Therennia Adar survived, which became the foundation of the Sea Kindred.
Therennia Adar has remained the capital of the Sea Kindred since that time. The walls of the city rise forty feet from the ocean on the outside, but the city behind it is built from the ocean floor upwards for hundreds of feet. This has led to the city becoming known by another name, Walldeep.  
The Dragon Kindred were once a part of the northern kindred, but in the centuries since the end of the Winter War they have slowly moved apart and formed their own kingdom in the Alandar Mountains. They are an arrogant people, but their nobility shines through and they can be relied upon to defend Ileuthar in times of need.  The Dragon Kindred hold the one remaining blessing of Calisor, a friendship with dragons. 
Only those of the Dragon Kindred may bond a dragon, forming a kinship if they are lucky that will last for life. It is said that if a dragon rider is killed, their mounts have been known to fall into an unnatural and grief-stricken slumber from which they usually never awake. Rarely however, a particularly noble elf has been known to awaken them from this sleep and give them a second chance to serve.
Within the Mouth of Leith lurk the cruel Twilight Kindred. Favouring underhanded tactics such assassination and poisoning, they seek to return one day from the dark and conquer all of elven kind.
Roaming the eastern savannas in nomadic bands, the Eastern Kindred were once renowned the greatest artists and musicians in Mantica. Now, war with the Twilight Kindred has reduced them to a dour people, more skilled with a blade than a harp.
Within crumbling towers, the Southern Kindred stubbornly defy the ever-expanding Ophidian desert, though it has long 

since claimed their cities below. Vast libraries of knowledge may lie within their towers, but arrogant and suspicious, they allow no scrap of this knowledge beyond their walls.
Reclusive and utterly hostile to outsiders, the Ice Kindred hide away in the Bitter Lands. Their King Tyris is the only one who can open the frozen gate which bars the bridge into the Bitter Lands.
Though not a proper Kindred, a small contingent of elves have set up in the Winterlands under the rule of Prince Talannar Icekin, the exiled son of King Tyris. His frozen city of Chill has gathered all sorts of distasteful races to it, though what Icekin plans remains unknown.
Believing that the elves originated in the forests, the Sylvan have sworn themselves to the service of the Green Lady, at least in her capacity as a Shining One. Despite their split allegiance, the Mage-Queen Laraentha counts many Sylvan amongst her closest confidantes.

Dwelling in the Eastern Reaches, the Eastern Kindred are a race of largely nomadic elves who live among the plains and savannahs. Their lands lie along the border of Ophidia, which has led to their savannahs being largely swallowed by the ongoing desertification process. In times past they were known for their adventurousness and joy, but since the ascent of their current king they have become a dour, violent people.
Most Eastern Kindred live in silk-covered caravans, traveling and trading with wandering adventurers and Ophidians. They are renowned for their poetry, musical talent, and their skill with their foreign blades. Like the Dragon Kindred, they are also known to have drakon riders among their ranks. They often face assault from the Twilight Kindred.

Truly, the elves are a broken people. Only in their city of Ileuthar do they come together as one. All the Kindred are welcome and old grievances are set aside. No blade may be drawn or spell cast. With tensions between the elves rising ever higher, however, one must question how long till the conflict breaches Ileuthar’s walls.

The Reptilians predate the God War and the shattering of the Fenulian Mirror, but were somewhat isolated from the rest of Mantica until the Winter War. The various Reptilian Clans mostly stayed in their own territory, forging empires that warred among themselves and had little interaction outside their own territory.
With the seismic upheaval that followed Oskan's defeat, the clans found their land torn asunder and, in many places, flooded. Many clans were forced to migrate and settle along the coast of the newly formed Infant Sea. These clans took to the sea with ease, soon becoming a large merchant nation, not to mention a central hub for many notorious pirate crews. The more inland clans meanwhile, continued to expand and multiply in their jungles and deserts.
In the years following the end of the God War, an omen 

appeared in a clutch of royal eggs. A pale and smooth egg with dark red swirls was lain in the royal hatchery. When this egg hatched, a large female emerged who would become known as Kthorlaq the Deliverer. Kthorlaq excelled at her studies as a hatchling, proving to be a knowledgeable scholar, expert political debater, and more than adept at fire magic. She also had the gift of foresight and experienced visions of a united future.
After rising to prominence among her own clan, the Clan of Fire, disaster befell her people. The skies darkened and crops and livestock began to die. As the effects of Winter's reign settled on their lands, hordes of foul beasts besieged the lands of all the clans. Kthorlaq ordered her people to retreat to the coastal settlements. Some defied this order and were overrun, but many followed her lead. She led her people to the a range of mountains, now known as the Three Kings,  proclaiming it was the site of a new empire she had foreseen in her visions.

Once the refugees were safely between the peaks of the mountains, Kthorlaq channeled her life energy into a massive spell. Sacrificing her own life, she created a magical shield around the mountain valley. This shield lasted until the death of Winter, at which point the magical backlash of her death finally shattered it. It did serve to keep the Reptilians safe for the entirety of the Winter War though.
The failure of the shield had one important side effect upon the Reptilians, however. As the shield dissipated, magical energy ran rampant in the valley. Many of the Reptilians were caught in the storm of magic that erupted and were transformed into new species. Where once only one species existed, now there were many. These now disparate species continued to band together however, rebuilding their shattered empire into a minor power today.
The reptilians civilisation is reborn, new temple cities have been raised by Arkosaurs and Salamanders, and they are the masters of the waves again with a small but elite Navy.  They 

rarely fight for personal gain, but almost always fight to rid the world of evil. The Salamanders are very closely allied to the Forces of Nature and can always be seen in their ranks protecting the world as Kthorlaq had protected them.

Species of Reptilians

Arkosaurs: A species of Reptilian that is lithe and colored either green or blue. They tend to be of the merchant class of the clans and are rarely seen outside their cities. Those who do travel abroad are most often found among the Reptilian fleets, both military and trade vessels. They are most drawn to the water of any of the species of Reptilians.

Ghekkotah: A small, diminutive species that are descendants of the extinct Ghekto, they were not transformed at the end of the Winter War. Most live in large hunting packs or family groups in the wilds and they are known for their fierce loyalty to the Salamanders . By far the most numerous of the clans.

Salamanders: A larger species of Reptilian that are born red in color, but turn grey as they age. Their cold blooded nature forces them to often remain in the volcanic mountains or warm jungles, but a few are known to venture into the greater world. To do so, most undergo the Ordeal of Fire, magical ritual that allows them to operate in even the coldest environments without worry, but cost them years off their lifespan.
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The Brotherhood

The Brotherhood is said to have emerged from the ruins of a kingdom whose name is lost to history. When Valandor defeated Winter and flooding covered the world, their kingdom was largely drowned by the rushing seas. What once was a vibrant land-based empire was reduced to scattered islands and underwater ruins now called the Forsaken Isles. Despite this devastation, it was their forces who protected Valandor as he tried to reduce the damage wrought by the flooding from the remnants of Winter's army.
It was also Valandor who taught the ancestors of the Brotherhood to use water magics and summon water elementals. When Valandor sacrificed himself to save much of Mantica, the survivors of this lost kingdom vowed to pledge themselves and their descendants to the eternal fight against evil. To aid in this quest, they built a large fortress facing the 
Abyss so that they may keep a constant vigil on the greatest threat to the lands of man.. Their forces spread across Mantica in small numbers, taking on different vows and fighting styles depending on where they went. These became the different orders that compose the Brotherhood today.
The Captains' Council oversees the various orders of the Brotherhood. They are stationed at the fortress near the Abyss. Their main chamber houses the armor of great warriors of the past in a circle around the amphitheater. Benches sit in front of these that any member of the Brotherhood may sit on when the council is in session. In the center of the room is a main stage where the captains themselves sit around a central, empty seat reserved for Valandor if he ever returns.

Brotherhood Orders

Order of the Abyssal Hunt: A questing order. These knights specialize in fighting large monsters, such as dragons, lamassu, or even the occasional neutronium golem. They are one of the more numerous in number orders, although not nearly on the scale of the Order of the Brotherhood. On the tabletop they get some pretty hefty stats good for monster hunting, and even get Vicious specifically when fighting monster units.

Order of the Brotherhood: The most basic vows a knight may take. New recruits from the peasantry begin in this order, often on foot fighting alongside the Villein peasant levies. They are the most numerous order with many remaining in this order for life. They are generally stationed near the Abyss in order to maintain the Eternal Watch.

Order of the Forsaken: The order stationed on the Forsaken Isles. Whereas most orders ride into battle on horseback, the Order of the Forsaken ride on monstrous beasts. Many ride on pegsasi, but some members of the order also ride on large aquatic steeds. Their primary focus is on guarding the underwater ruins of their former kingdom from pillagers, but they also send small compliments of their forces to aid other orders in larger battle campaigns.

Order of Redemption: Another questing order. The knights of the Order of Redemption take a vow to hunt down the agents of the Wicked Ones wherever they may be. These knights all wear the Armor of Tides, an armor set imbued with water magic that both protects them and heals their wounds. These suits of armor are placed in the Captains' Council chambers when their owners fall in battle. Young recruits who feel a compulsion to touch one of these suits can be chosen by the armor to bear it, signified by a magical sign for the order to see upon doing so.
Recently the Abyss erupted and swallowed the centuries old fortresses that held watch over it, and which house the majority of the Brotherhood faction including most of the leadership.  While the order of the Brotherhood suffered massive losses in the initial attacks by the Forces of the Abyss the other three orders still remain mostly intact, and knights have set aside their quests to marshall the ranks of armies from the Successor Kingdoms who suddenly find themselves on the Edge of the Abyss.

The Basileans are all that remains of the once great realm of men, the Republic of Primovantor. When Winter fell at the end of the Age of Ice, she melted the ice covering the world. The resulting flood created the Infant Sea and drowned most of Primovantor. The City of Golden Horn, second greatest city in the republic, however, survived, as did much of the eastern provinces. In the chaos, orcs invaded the weakened eastern lands, ravaging and torching its fields.
A handful of surviving Shining Ones had taken up residence atop Kolosu Mountain outside the city. Though they rarely interacted with Basilea, it was not unheard of for them to aid the city in battle. With their aid, the leaders of the 

Golden Horn managed to hold the city together. The leader of the city is known as the Hegemon, who is in turn supported by the Hegemonic Court.
Surrounded by the broken bodies of his friends and countrymen, Bolisean called out to the Shining Ones and begged for aid. Legend says that Mescator, God of justice, appeared before Bolisean then and bade him to swear his people would forever worship the Shining Ones. Bolisean sealed this oath with his blood and the gods came to the land. They smote the orcs and in the wake of the battle, the Shining Ones drew the earth to the sky, forming the impossible mountain Kolosu. There they dwell, in a radiant city where no human dare tread.

Bolisean went on to become the first Hegemon of Basilea, high priest and emperor both. The City of Golden Horn became a holy place. Quickly, the newly converted faithful erected temples to the twenty-three Shining Ones they worshipped. They erected seventy-five other structures in honour of the old Celestians, but these serve more as tombs to the fallen gods than places of worship. Priestly sects devoted to each of the gods debate theology and amass fortunes through their influence. Beside the five provincial governors and the hegemon himself, the priests control the most power in Basilea.
And to hold power in Basilea is to hold power over the largest human nation in the world. The Hegemony stretches from the edge of the Abyss to the Dragon Teeth Mountains, from the Forest of Galahir to the Ruins of Difetth. Its neighbours do not appreciate the Hegemony’s arrogant certainty in their faith any more than the Basileans approve of their heretical beliefs. The dwarfs of Abercarr grumble about their ancient capital of Difetth in the hands of surface dwellers. They shout over Basilea’s control over their trade with the rest of the world. King Golloch, the king 

of the Dwarfs, drunkenly swore to take the City of Golden Horn and tear down its gods. To the west and north the Successor and Young Kingdoms chafe as the Hegemony tries to exert its will over them, and the Hegemony was at odds with the stoic Brotherhood until most of the Knight’s kingdom and forces were swallowed by the expanding Abyss during the Edge of the Abyss event. Worst of all Basilea is also the nearest nation to the Abyss portal in Tragar, meaning it is often a target of Abyssal Dwarfs, and at the forefront of the Abyss, holding back the tide of demons and infernal horrors from consuming the world.  The City of the Golden Horn was even recently sieged by the Undead when Mortibras the Necromancer marched on Basilea with the abyssal minions of the wicked Ba’el during the Destiny of Kings event. 

To face these threats, Basilea raises vast armies of holy warriors. Paladins imbued with divine fury battle for what is right. The Elohi and Ur-Elohi, the angelic servants of the gods, advise and fight alongside the Basilean armies, bolstering their resolve. Basilea’s sisterhoods of nuns ride panthers into battle and the seventeen fiery phoenixes patrol their skies. Across its vast domain, these holy legions march, to do battle with abyssal horrors and cleanse the world in purifying flame.
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