ALIND is a unique fantasy setting in that the world’s full history and geography are not currently known at the origin of the campaign. Nor does this information come easily. Due to the nature of it’s mysteries, these campaign basics are outlined below for new players or DMs to gain a basic understanding of what the typical citizen in Cellinor would know. The full exposition of them is outlined in the Celn Gazetteer, so these “basics” are provided here just as a quick introduction. Understanding the significance of these campaign basics is essential in understanding what has come before and what will come again in Cellinor, and beyond.
LIGHT AND DARKNESS Everything revolves around the concept of Light and Darkness. Daytime is a time of work and happiness. Night is a mystifying horrifying time where people flock together for safety. Even those who consider themselves tough, observe darkness as a time when denizens who dwell around them can in darkness can and do use this time for ill intention. Many goblinoid, orc, and other dark tribes such as kobolds, bugbears, troglodytes and the like can not spend even the smallest fraction of time in the light, and so it is well known that venturing out in the night is unwise. The King’s Highway for example, is designed so that a full day’s journey can bring travelers to an outpost for safety to sleep. The world is a very unknown place and those that do not obey these simple concepts of “staying in the Light” are often accused of malign intent.
THE CELN EMPIRE: The Known Realm, is “claimed” by Borindin, but his rule is in pockets, connected by an ancient high way of sorts. It is referred to as the King’s High Way, a series of pathways and ancient roads connecting city to city. However, all know it existed in the Before Times. The new realm then is nothing more than a group living in the shadow of a once larger Kingdom. Think Dark Ages. Surrounding these pockets is a wild, untamed land full of horrors. Various races and creatures, mysteries exist. To the South, freezing lands. To the North, untamed Jungle. Further North, the Desolate Lands where nothing lives, at all.
MAJOR CITIES OF THE REALM These pockets include three cities, Cillandar (the Capitol, and major Port City), Cellione (another port City North of Cillandar, and Lessina to the East. Lessina exists as a defacto “city” when in reality it is nothing more than a frontier town set inside of an ancient ruin, dressed to look the part. Several other cities exist, each ruled by a subsidiary of the King having ties to him from some sort. The Order of Flame keeps a presence in each city, despite the fact that local customs often cater to or at least tolerate belief systems of the area.
LAW: Each city is surrounded by small areas of habituated land protected under the King’s Shields. It is still an ignorant time, and corruption is rampant. Borindin does not have much patience for corruption so when it is discovered it is of serious issue to King and senate. Punishment is swift and brutal. Law is nothing more than the implementation of the decrees of the Flame. Break any of the decrees, and a swift justice is brought upon you. Most in the realm, not under the watchful eye of the Inquisition, realize these laws are strict and are often broken in secret, private affairs. Borindin is believed to tolerate them, knowing the difficulties of maintaining an empire with so many borders, during what all soothsayers seem to say is a coming Darkness. This is the primary difference between the King and the Order. The order does not believe the darkness comes again, and so law is paramount to guide men’s souls.
TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS When most civilizations arise, they spread out from one area, building as they go. This is not the case with the Known Realm. These ruins and high ways existed in ancient times and have simply been retooled for modern society . The people occupied them and then Borindin collected them under one rule. Many of them have varied customs and manners and are not always responsive to what Cillandar and the King wants. He keeps a heavy presence in each city for this very reason. The Celn Gazetteer offers many versions of the various traditions and customs that exist in the realm, but the party should have great fun in helping to create them through game play.
MYTHS and LEGENDS Importantly, each city has a cultural beginning or myth to describe the way in which their area came to exist. It is important to the story of ALIND that these myths begin with a very vague notion of the group/tribe coming to live in the ruins of the area, but nothing is known prior.
DARK RACES Savage races like orcs, and the like encountered by the party in the adventures will also have their own myths of their beginning. They may be seen in physical totems or through conversation or dialogue. These myths are very different. These races believe they were left here to serve some greater purpose and wait for the time when they can do so again. They believe the civilizations in “The Light” are nothing more than blips in the darkness and will be wiped out once more.
Religion The only true and known religion of the Land is The Order of Flame to the East. To the West, it is The Host. Other minor religions exist, but major deities are not existent in manifested form. Please play characters or NPCs who pray to these as believers that struggle with faith but still receive divine gifts. Both The Order, and The Host, and other minor religion’s core value is the belief in a well of souls and faith given by physical acts and mental consciousness from it’s believers to a well of power known as The Flame, or in the case of The Host, to The Web. This well is used by it’s believers to provide healing or other helpful acts. Worshippers incentivize their faith due to the belief in reincarnation in a more divine soul, until they ultimately join with The Flame or Web.
END DAYS, END DAYS WAR or DARKENING The End Days are a vague and mysterious set of circumstances that ended the great civilizations several millennia ago. Little is known about this except for a few basic things:
GODS God worship was believed to be the major cause to the East, while to the WEST, less civilized tribes like the Atauh’u believe it was the rise of technology they see evidence of that ruined the land and people before them. The far EAST, the core of the campaign world, sees it as a conspiracy, a betrayal of humanity by some grander and evil force.
The Ketians Are believed to be a group of savage shadowy creatures which dwell in the dark places of the world. The Ketians are like boogeymen, and each race, like Cinderella stories in our time, have versions of what the Ketians are. The destruction during the End Days, created a balance destroying most of the evil forces along with the good. But the worship of false Idols (as Gods are now referred to) could awaken these maligned beings once more. Therefore, religions that do not focus on a pool of energy used to heal etc, are seen as extreme taboo by clergy. Superstitious governments, and leaders, rulers are quick to put to death those that would preach these claims once more
THE LAND The Known realms are surrounded by Inner and Outer Wilds, places of strange and unknown origins. Trade does exists with other races and lands, but it is rare, and full of superstition. Many new structures are built upon older, as the engineers before the End Days created massive and spectacularly strong fortresses and monuments. Most people live their entire lives without going a few miles past their place of birth. Travel in almost any capacity is considered hazardous unless in a large groups called caravans.
MONSTERS Since those in the Known Realm fear venturing into the Outer Wilds, little is known of their inhabitants, often a monster encountered by the party will be the first in recorded history. Monster origins are often unknown. Some of the origins of magically altered beasts (such as Chimerii, lycanthropes) are connected to the overall story. The story of their creation is therefore of value to player characters should they find evidence of it.
Disappearances Disappearances occur and have been occurring in small but unaccountable ways. It is well known that forces exist outside the Light and that villages are often wiped out or “taken back by the wild”. Those who live on these frontiers are extremely wary of outsiders and act accordingly. Journeys from one city to another are often considered grand undertakings, and even The King’s Highway of roads are considered as safe as who one is traveling with, and who or what might be in wait.
CITIES and Points of Light There are only 7 major cities in Cellinor, the Known Realm of Lord Borindin. Most predominately, the party will find adventures in Cillandar (it’s capital), and Cellione, it’s “Sister City”. although there are others. Would be GMs are encouraged to create or expand on these, or establish their own for a waypoint or adventure site. A “King’s Highway” exists that connects them all.
The Shielded Mothers A myth surrounding women and their relationship to the Gods, both good and evil exists in some form in every culture. Each culture has it’s own spin on it, just as each of our cultures has it’s on spin on creation stories.
The Heroes of the Light Again, a myth exists in each land regarding heroes that helped protect the good citizens of a by gone age during the END DAYS war. These heroes were known as The Four, and their images are represented by a four sided arrangement of statures dedicated to their ideals found in Celn lands.
Magic and Technology Technology is a constantly sought commodity. The new civilizations seek to acquire the knowledge of the ancients in order to provide themselves better weapons, protections and services. Magic and it’s like is often seen for the first time, and those who do not know how to wield it’s powers are often killed or harmed in the process. Would be “archaeologists” are constantly searching here or there, often as paid members of some or other expedition to find something or to gain information. When a party member discovers a magical item, scroll or tome, it could very well be the first of it’s kind to be found in the LIGHTED DAYS. Adventurers would be wise not to show their goodies around too well. It may be something another group would be paid well to acquire.
Dragons Dragons are particularly powerful and obnoxious denizens of the Land. Ironically, in the last 100 years or so, Dragons have not participated much in the affairs of humans or the civilized races, and the cause is unknown. Dragons are believed to be one of the few creatures in the NEW DAYS to have knowledge of the events of the END DAYS war. It is believed that the last of the intelligent beasts of their kind was slain by Borindin, leaving their agressive, vicious but non-cerebral kin to ravage the land.
THE END DAYS The destruction of ancient Kasille and the way in which the old way is found buried, and destroyed is the singular event that links all cultures regardless of where they are or what they are. It marks a turning point for each. None of these cultures knows exactly what happens. Each has it’s own myth, stories and superstitions. ALL OF THESE STORIES relate exactly to the idea of worshipping the Gods and letting the Gods have a way with their soul. This is now taboo in most cultures, except in very serious, or evil cults, who it is said are searching for “the ways of the ancient gods”.
GODS and DIETIES Some extreme and secretive groups do follow and worship gods of benign intent. Knowledge of these gods is NOT mainstream and often met with severe doubt and pessimism. Often the knowledge of these gods purports to come to them from ancient sources or groups discovering this knowledge. These people are often doubted and frowned upon by intellectuals, sages, and wizards partly because their “miracles” often fail. By clergy and commoners, these followers are sought after for inquisition and to keep safe civilization which needs them not.
MOONS There are three moons. Each one is of a different size, Illuine for example, is the morning moon, giving light before the sun even comes up. These three moons are very superstitious to people. Every culture has some superstition about them, when things should be done related to each, etc.
MAGICAL BEASTS Magical beasts and creatures of multiple species have a unique origin in the campaign. Rather than simply existing as fantastical creatures, it is believed that the Kasillian races created them using advanced magic. The technology used to do this was lost, but evidence of their creation exists. “Undead” equally are unique. The term “undead” in this campaign is literally the lack of soul, either used purposefully by something else, turning the shell into a zombie, skeleton, etc. Or, in many cases, the Undead is the acquiring of souls/soul to keep a physical body alive ie lich, vampire. In any event, undead are often created by forces that have experimented with ancient magic of the old ways and are considered abominable and evil.
THE PAST Archaeologists are constantly searching everywhere. Merchants exist and “Gold Towns” spring up as well for the collection of scrolls, magic and information from ruins and ancient sites. These NPCs are a great source of storytelling in the game.
THE TRAITORS Evil deeds are often related to someone attempting to acquire information of one of the three traitors. This is extreme sacrilege for members of the Order and considered treasonous to the realm. Many evil forces believe they were not destroyed in the End Days wars. It is important to note that the Three Traitors are part of a vast forbidden lore. The discussion of any of these topics could lead the speaker to a quick death after an even quicker Inquisition by The Order’s High Inquisition.
OTHER NATIONS Run ins with other civilized nations do occur although they are rare. Some nations exist peacefully with Cellinor, but these political ties are often rocky and require intervention. Usually interactions outside Cellinor are considered extremely precarious events by most of it’s citizenry which believes itself kept within the “Light”. Most common folk believe the idea of other CIVILIZED nations absurd, but Borindin takes these very seriously having been witness to contacts in his journeys in younger days. Nations of elves, dwarfs, halflings and gnomes, and the like may exist. But the exchange between them is minimal. Many races seem to not be interested in joining with Borindin’s realm. For their own reasons, they wish to distance themselves.