Welcome to the Ivory Kingdoms, a place of great heroes and stark evil, encompassing lands of forbidden magic, political mystery, and high peril.
Bold knights dare the ancient desert sands, seeking glory and treasure. Insolent rogues prowl the dank alleyways of ancient cities, plotting their next exploit. Stead fast priests wielding religious zeal, question against the terrifying powers that threaten the land. Secretive wizards plunder the remaining scrolls and books of civilizations long past forgotten, delving fearlessly into secrets too dark for the light of day. Black hearted villains, demons, savage hordes, and unimaginable abominations lurk in horrible dungeons, endless caverns, ruined cities, and the vast wild places of the world, thirsting for the blood of heroes.
This is the world of For’Terra, a world of heart-stopping beauty and ages-old evil. It is a land trod by noble heroes and unredeemable villains, a great and terrible company to which you and your fellows now belong.
The Ivory Kingdoms
From the bitter cold of the Hordelands to the mysterious walls of the Crescent Moon Empire stretches a wide, wild land of shining kingdoms and primal wilderness. The Ivory Kingdoms is only one land in the world known as For’Terra. Other lands lie in distant corners of the world, but The Ivory Kingdoms is the center of it all, the crossroads upon which all else turn. Nations, bristling with many towns, countless tribes, villages, and settlements dot its expanse.
The land of the Ivory Kingdoms measures more than thirty-five hundred miles from east to west and twenty-five hundred from north to south. It includes sun-blasted deserts, vast forest deeps, forbidding mountains, and a gleaming inland sea. Across this vast expanse travel minstrels and peddlers, caravan merchants and guards, soldiers, sailors, and steel-hearted adventurers carrying tales of strange, glorious, faraway places. Good maps and clear trails can take even an inexperienced youth with dreams of glory far across the continent. Thousands of restless young would-be heroes from backcountry farmsteads and sleepy villages arrive at the footsteps of Sonnenspire every year in search of wealth and renown.
Known roads may be well traveled, but they are not necessarily safe. Fell magic, deadly monsters, and cruel local rulers are all perils that you face when you travel in the Ivory Kingdoms. Away from the main roads and great cities, the countryside is far wilder than the city folk remember. Even farms and freeholds within a day’s walk of a large city may fall prey to bandits, and no place in the Ivory Kingdoms is safe from the sudden wrath of an angry warlord or even long forgotten ancient powers…
The Ivory Kingdoms is home to hundreds of thousands of people, ranging from the teeming baronies of The Empire of Torodan to the deep and highly secretive clans of the Hordelands. These people range from the grotesque to the beautiful, from murderous to the most humble and kind.
The great story of the Ivory Kingdoms is, in many ways, that of the rise of Torodon and the fading of the ancient empires of those who came before. Over thousands of years, humans have brought an end to the old ways. Great empires that once stood bold against the changing winds lie in ruin, abandoned only to be picked up by other cultures. Hills and dells once the homes and hunting grounds of ancient creatures and legendary monsters are now dotted with fields and pastures.
Human pride and folly have brought untold disaster down on For’Terra more than once, and the ever-growing lands of Torodon have all but consumed the territories of older cultures both benign and fierce. The fundamental questions are clear: Can the new empires survive the ever changing winds? Or will humans overreach themselves, as they have done so many times before, and bring down upon all a dark age of unimaginable horror?
The Civilized Folk
Of the many cultures of For’Terra, a dozen or so account for nine-tenths of all folk who live in the world today, the Ivory Kingdoms are the most numerous. They are a collection of kingdom-builders, merchants, wizards, and priest whose crowded cities lie scattered across the fair face of the world. Young and vigorous in comparison to the other cultures that came before them, The Ivory Kingdoms hold the future of For’Terra in their hands – for good or for ill.
Heroes… and Villains
For’Terra is a land of heroes both light and dark, and you must choose where you will stand in the struggle to come. Regardless of race or station, the most notable creatures to roam For’Terra are its heroes and their enemies. In the courts of kings, the dens of thieves, and the citadels of the dark powers, companies of questers, treasure seekers, monster slayers, and freebooters struggle to preserve the things they hold dear and to vanquish the enemies who would destroy them.
The most dangerous power on For’Terra is, as you might expect, a person with the ruthlessness to do whatever is necessary to achieve there goal. Even a dim-witted slave can guess what a Warlord and and his horde might want when it appears on the horizon, but fathoming the purposes and designs of a scheming lord or unscrupulous merchant lord is far more difficult.
A World of Magic
For’Terra is steeped in mysterious magic. It permeates the entire world. Fallen empires thousands of years old left uncountable treasures and wrecked ruins scattered across the landscape that are still filled with potent enchantments. It is said that mysterious wizards whose spells can lay low entire armies plot against each other as they pursue their studies into ever more powerful, and more dangerous, fields of magical lore. Secret Organizations manipulate their loyal agents to advance the magical causes that interest them. Adventurers of all types, evil and good, wield mighty spells seemingly at will. But at a price.
Most people in For’Terra never learn to speak a spell, and the rulers of the world tend to keep it that way. But magic touches their lives in ways they do not always see. Crimson wizards serve the monarchs of the land, plying their spells to defend their realms against attack and to watch their enemies’ movements. Apothacaries or “Pothers” invoke their abilities as real and tangible benefits to the endeavors of the community. Even the legends speak of Miracle Workers who could heal the sick and tend to the masses with but a prayer to their gods.
Life in The Ivory Kingdom
Nomadic Hunters wander the trackless Forests. Soot-covered armorers hammer away in the forges of the Empire. Heavily guarded merchant caravans wind through Ipana’s plains and along the rivers of the Tarodon. An adventurer’s road leads through many lands and even more cultures, customs, and locales.
Most of The Ivory Kingdom’s humans labor as peasants, farmers, and simple crafts folk, living in countless tiny thorps and villages. Over this vast sea of simple folk rule the wealthy and the privileged, in whatever form wealth and privilege taken in a particular land. In the lands of Dikyos the common people are ruthlessly shackled and exploited by their overlords, but by and large The Ivory Kingdoms are populated by folk content with their lot in life.
Wild and Domestic Animals
Given the vast distances they travel, adventurers in For’Terra understand the value of a reliable mount. Those who seldom travel outside a city may care nothing about mounts, and instead think of avoiding, fighting, or eliminating guard beasts owned by others. For the people of the Ivory Kingdoms, horses and mules are the most popular mounts for almost all purposes.
Beasts of burden are usually valued for their strength, endurance, and temperament, with oxen at the head of the list and horses considered the most nimble (again, with adjustments for climate and nature of travel). Beyond that, most folk have little care for the wildlife around them except as it competes for their viands (wolves, foxes, and rats), offers them direct peril (poisonous snakes), or is easily snared or slain in the hunt for use on the table (rabbits, deer, and river fish that can be drag-netted or caught in a trap).
Folk who live close to the land (rangers, hunters, foragers, and farmers) know well that the little chipmunk is as important in the grand scheme of things as the wolf that eats the chipmunk. They also know that dying chipmunks signal some taint or disease upon the land.
Time and Seasons
Almost every people or race in the Ivory Kingdoms marks the passage of days, seasons, and years in some fashion. In the Kingdom of Sol and many other kingdoms, royal astrologers carefully tend Scrolls that mark the years past and the years to come. Even the war-heralds of the unlettered Hordelands compose harsh chants that record the days and deeds of their fierce chieftains.
Day and Night
For’Terra days are 24 hours long, divided into night and day by the rising and setting sun. In the south such as the fortress of Ravensguard, the length of the night does not vary much with the season, and 12 hours of light and 12 of dark is the rule year round. In the north, the days are markedly longer in the summer and shorter in winter. Midwinter day in the Tribelands see little more than 8 hours of daylight, and Midsummer almost 16. Seven days comprise a For’Terra week.
The Calendar of Seasons
Each year of 365 days is divided into 12 months of 28-31 days, and each month is divided into a certain amount of weeks. Four-special days fall between the months. These annual holidays mark the seasons or the changing of the seasons.
January, also known as “The Deep Winter”
Annual Holiday: Midwinter Celebration
February, also known as “Winter’s End”
March, also known as “The Rise of Spring”
April, also known as “The Cleansing”
Annual Holiday: The Festival of Awakening
May, also known as “The Blossoming”
June, also known as “The Rise of Summer”
July, also known as “The Scorching”
Annual Holiday: Midsummer Celebration
August, also known as “The Harvest”
September, also known as “The Rise of Fall”
October, also known as “The Fading”
Annual Holiday: The Feast of the Moon
November, also known as “The Rotting”
December, also known as “The Rise of Winter”
Four times a year the annual holidays are observed as festivals and days of rest in almost every civilized land. Each seasonal festival is celebrated differently, according to the traditions of the land and particular holiday
Midwinter Celebration: Nobles and Monarchs greet the halfway point of winter with a feast day they call the Midwinter Celebration. Traditionally it’s the best day to make or renew alliances. The common folk enjoy the celebration a bit less, among them it’s called Deadwinter Day, noted mainly as the halfway point of winter, with hard times still to come.
The Festival of Awakening: The official beginning of spring is a day of peace and rejoicing. Even if snow still covers the ground, nobles and wealthy folk make a point of bringing out flowers grown in special rooms within their keeps and castles. They distribute the flowers among the people, who wear them or cast them upon the ground as bright offerings to the seasons that summon the warm summer months.
Midsummer Celebration: Midsummer night is a time of feasting and music… and love. Acquaintances turn into courtships, courtships turn into betrothals, and even the nobles themselves take a part by ensuring the night goes as smoothly as possible. Bad weather or death on this special night is taken as an omen of extremely ill fortune to come.
The Feast of the Moon: The Feast of the Moon celebrates ancestors and the honored dead. Stories of ancestors’ exploits mix with the legends of heroes past until it’s hard to tell one from another. It is a day of remembering the dead and a time to rest for the coming winter months.
Once every four years, Harbortide is added to the calendar as a “leap day” immediately following the month of Winter’s End. Harbortide is a day of open council between the people and their rulers. It is a day for making or renewing pacts and for proving oneself in tournaments. Those not seeking advancement treat the elite’s tournaments, duels, and trials of intuectual prowess as welcome additions to the holiday’s theatrical and musical entertainments.