Perils of the Open Road [Fiction]

From the diary of Mavius 

There is something to be said for the freedom of the open road, to find a path and set foot upon it. I have seen much in my life, and yet crave more. It has been a blessing and  curse, a wanderlust set upon me in youth that I have yet to be rid of.

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My journey has been one of wonder and exploration. I have seen sights that few in my homeland have set eyes upon and yet still seek more. With the joys of exploration however comes great sorrow. Not all who walk beside me have returned safely. As I write these words a great sadness weighs heavy upon my heart. A beloved friend has fallen, and with him a piece of myself. Tybalt has treated the wounds of my body, but the wounds of the heart cannot so easily be mended with prayer or healing balm. I will recount the tale here, and perhaps the telling of it, will bring me some peace that the priest’s prayers cannot.

The four of us set forth from Dynesdale, a small village in southern Zayre. It is not a place of note, a simple farming community in the shadows of the Rhenholt mountains. We arranged lodgings at the inn, and set to meet there before setting out for our destination. I was the first to arrive, and paid for our rooms, and enjoyed a small meal, while I awaited my companion’s arrival. Next was Tybalt, a friend from my youth, and recently elevated into the priesthood of Algorand. I much admired his devotion to his faith, and more than once our discussions of religion and philosophy have trailed late into the night.

We sat in the inn, partaking of a fine wheat ale, when Cora arrived. He appearance went almost unnoticed as is common with her people. The small folk of Barsa, and generally friendly and easygoing are as likely to shy from outsiders as they are to embrace them. I have journeyed through their lands many times, and even I have scarcely laid eyes upon their settlements. They lay hidden among the banks of the great rivers flowing through their land, all by hidden from prying eyes. Cora was unusual in that she generally avoided most, preferring to live on the outskirts. I met her upon the road, as her arrows felled several thieves preying upon those walking the lonely roads. It took much persuasion to get her to join me, but her knowledge of hidden paths, and skill with a bow will undoubtedly prove useful.

The three of us exchanged pleasantries as we awaited the arrival of the last member of our party. I did not know him personally, but Tybalt assures me he is a capable, if somewhat abrasive individual. He agreed to join us with promise of coin, and I had paid much for his inclusion. Tybalt assured me he was well worth the price.
He arrived late in the evening, and I had been wondering if he would show at all. He entered the inn draped in a cloak of heavy furs. He had a hard look to him, and his eyes seemed to conceal an aspect of a beast. So predatory was his appearance and demeanor that I nearly mistook him for a Karei. The air in the inn was tense, and it wasn’t until Tybalt broke silence that I had realized this was our man.

Kalum is turned out hailed from the eastern plains of Halqu, and was familiar with the terrain and the dangers that inhabited it. He carried with him a massive hammer or maul of great weight, and seemed very capable in its use. I hoped he would not have to make use of such a savage weapon, but alas that was not to be.
We left at daybreak, the sun rising to our backs as we made final preparations before setting out upon the road. I procured for us several weeks provision, but Cora seemed confident she could hunt along the way, and so extend our rations. We left on foot, with a single horse to help carry food and supplies. It would be a long journey, and a perhaps a perilous one.

Our destination was the city of Haras-Ur, the golden city of Halqu. Once the capital of a great empire it now stood as the final bastion of a people in decline. Its splendor was said to be second to none, and the fall of the empire was said to have done little to mar its magnificence. Between us though were many miles of open road and wilderness. I had heard tales of the gnoll tribes that made the plains their homes, they bore fearsome names. The Bloodtooth, the Blackmaw, and the Deathfang to name a few. I had hoped to avoid them if possible, as more than one unsuspecting traveler had fallen prey to their blades. The thoughts of potential danger did not dampen my spirits, still far from mind, and distant.

We followed the road north. The weather was fair, and we kept a good pace. The journey was long, but in a few weeks’ time we found ourselves at the eastern border of Zayre, looking out over the endless plains of Halqu. We rested and restocked our supplies at a small trading post, and discussed our plan at length. We concluded that only two reasonable paths stood before us.

The first led us along the northern borders, the second to the south. Kalum discounted going a more direct route as it would lead us into area more frequented by gnolls and other hazards, to which we readily agreed. The other routes were not without danger. To the north were known to be the war bands of the Karei, and though it was unlikely they would see us as enemy, they were no friend to the Halqu, and Kalum seemed uneasy about conflict with them. As a man of his stature, I took his words to heart. The north was also known to be home to goblin and orc, and though the dwarves of Thangnor dwelt in the region, it was unlikely they would come to aid from the seclusion of their mountain home.

For those reasons we eventually decided on taking the south road, following the coast on our way to Haras-Ur. There was still fear of gnolls, but Kalum informed us they would be fewer in number, and the vast stretches land would make such encounter less likely.
Tybalt said prayers of blessing before we departed, and my spirits lifted, the growing fears of the hazardous landscape made smaller, by expectation of successful journey. Cora was unusually quiet, even for her. I suspected she worried about our journey, a concern she did not put to voice.

We embarked on the next leg of our journey the next morning. I led the horse by hand with Kalum and Tybalt on my flanks. Cora scouted the road ahead, often invisible as she disappeared among the tall grasses that grew along the sides of the well-worn path. I took comfort in knowing she was out there before us unseen. It was likely that she would go unnoticed by all but the more discerning eyes.

Traveling south as planned we followed the road at first, before departing it, taking to the grasslands as the road grew more uneven. In the distance I could make out mountains to the north, and from the south detected but a faint smell of the sea. I knew the ocean lay beyond the southern forests, but Cora advised not taking to the trees, too many places for danger to hide. Still we agreed the forest could provide shelter if conflict arose, and we kept it close to our left as we continued our trek westward. Tybalt and Kalum kept weary eye on the trees, but from them no dangers arose.

It was but a few days later as forest gave way to open plains, that trouble arose. Cora had been uneasy all morning, having discovered tracks neither human nor beast. Kalum confirmed they were made by gnoll, and as we marched kept weapons at the ready and eye open to any threat. It would be under cover of darkness however, that danger would come.

We set camp that night, forgoing a campfire in favor of concealment. We ate cold rations and looked with tired eyes out into the dark plains. They seemed great under light of sun, but the cover of darkness made them seem more foreboding, like and endless void threatening to swallow us whole. We decided to set watch and Cora readily volunteered to keep first watch so we could all rest.

What happened next, I can not be certain, I awoke with a start as Cora shouted, calling us to action. I heard mocking howls, neither human nor animal. The shouts and grunts of the gnolls that began to circle around us. If not for the light of moon, we might have not noticed them at all, but in the silvery light their large shapes were easy to pick out among the grasses.

Kalum was first to enter the fray, plunging himself forward into battle. Wielding his heavy weapon as if it weighed nothing he quickly dispatched the nearest two gnolls. I recall the sound of their bones breaking and the sound of their death cries as they took their last breaths. Tybalt stood close to me, and I heard his prayers, the soothing sound of his voice, lifting my spirits, and calming my fraying nerves.

Cora let arrow fly, and more gnolls fell to their deaths. The beasts, however, seemed endless, and as my companions fought, there numbers continued to grow. Tybalt himself joined the fray as gnolls descended upon us. I never regretted my lack of skill with blade or spell as I did at that moment. I stood helpless as my companions fought for their lives and me, powerless to aid them.

I stood mired in fear and self-pity, as Kalum’s shouts pierced my thoughts. More gnolls made their way across the fields, and he shouted for us to flee. Tybalt and Cora rejoined me and urged me to run, but I froze. I watched Kalum issue challenge, his roar echoing through the air. His ferocity grew, and he swung his maul with even greater ferocity. Tybalt pulled on my arm, as Cora fired arrow at would be pursuers. In the end we got away, but I would never again set eyes upon my Halqan friend.

We never found his body, and I did not complete that journey, we fled east, back across the plains, and hid in the forests, evading pursuit. The gnolls constantly at our heels chasing us until forced to give up pursuit. I have many regrets in life, but none as much as leaving Kalum behind to face death. Tybalt advises me to not feel guilty, that he chose an death his people would consider quite honorable. I have my doubts, however, and part of me wonders if he may yet live.

Despite tragedy, I still long to see the golden halls of Haras-Ur, I return to Zayre, with Tybalt by my side. Cora has returned to her people, but assures me that she will provide aid if needed. I have decided to take safer route to Halqu. I will head to the port city of Malthridge, and seek a ship to take me there. And so, my travels begin once again…

For Every Action, a Consequence

For Every Action, a Consequence

This statement will be a core concept in the creation of Veyrn as a setting for 5e. The idea that a players actions will ripple through the world, and even the smallest action can create change in the world at large. Consequences need not be negative, as every heroic deed could possibly have both a positive and negative impact on the world. The book will have a section, covering this at length, and giving examples of how to implement this idea in their own campaigns.

A Case Against Good vs. Evil

As common trope in RPGs, and the fantasy genre in general is the conflict between good and evil. In some cases this distinction is clear cut, with very distinct differences between the two. In others morality is a bit more gray, preferring instead a more realistic (in my opinion) approach to world views.

Veyrn falls among the latter, with the lines between good and evil blurred. This will be evident in many aspects of the settings history and the beliefs of its people. It will be especially true of the gods and spirits. Removing alignment of these beings will free the player from preconceived notions of deity, and hopefully instead get them to view the gods through the beliefs of their characters homeland. It is meant to allow for a wider range of character concepts, and let the player craft a character that may have follow a deity that may be seen as “evil” by some, without being forced to play an evil character themselves. Ethics and Morality, will change depending on the cultural backdrop, which may vary from campaign to campaign, or even create a sense of culture shock as players encounter ideas which greatly contrast with the society in which their character originated from.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

While consequences need not always be negative, there should always be potential for a negative outcome despite good intentions. Please note this not does not mean to punish the characters for good behaviors, but instead to make the world more immersive and realistic in reacting to the players deeds.

Example:

The players work to halt the work of Halqan slavers who have been raiding settlements on the outskirts of Zayran territory. After killing the slavers and driving them off, they manage to liberate the slaves.

The players intended to set them free then move along, but discover the slaves have served their whole lives, and have very limited skills outside of their roles as house slaves. They do not know how to hunt, how to build shelters, or even how to navigate their way to a place safe from the chains of Halqu.

Our heroes are faced with a couple choices.

#1: Leave them to fend for themselves.

Not the most heroic action, but practical if the party has time constraints or pressing matters to deal with elsewhere. This could result in the slaves making it to safety on their own, dying of starvation, or being recaptured and punished for their escape attempt. They may not even want their freedom, and return to their Halqan masters of their own volition. It might work out for the best, but it is far more likely them meet death if left alone.

#2: Lead them to safety, or pass them off to someone who will.

Probably the better of the two choices presented here, the players must take time away from any mission or quest they are partaking, which may or may not endanger the completion of their objective (If time sensitive). This side trek could have many unforeseen complications, as they must make sure they all survive the journey to safety.

Passing them off to another is an option, but unless they have a trusted ally in proximity, it may be dangerous to put faith in someone they do not know well. They could get them to safety, but may request large sums of money for the task, as they must feed, lodge, and transport many people. If dishonest they may take this money, then sell them back to Halqu for a reward thus making even more profit.

In short life is messy and complicated, and the game world should reflect that. Don’t punish the players, but instead make them thoughtful of their actions, so they think of the impact they have on the world. Doing so will create more invested players, and allow them to fully experience Veyrn, or any other setting.

Nations of Veyrn pt. 2

This is part 2 of my summary of the nations of Veyrn. To view part 1 click here.

Please remember this is a work in progress.

Dulcand

An island nation west of the Halqan Empire. The people of Dulcand are known as a nation of scholars and philosophers. Founded by an enigmatic historian known as Tamerus, he and his followers have constructed a vast library, and depository for the knowledge of the world. This knowledge is given freely to those in search of it, though travelers to the island are expected to in someway contribute to the upkeep while visiting.

The people who make the island their home are an open minded and free thinking people who pursue knowledge for knowledge’s sake. This pursuit of intellectualism often makes them come across as a bit elitist and didactic.mapsample1.png

Erysalen

The Althuwatha, known as elves in the common tongue, are an ancient people from a realm far removed from Veyrn. They first settled the island south of the main continent south of Falta. They have long since thrown off the shackles of their fae oppressors and have built a home for themselves in Erysalen. Not without their hardships several cultural schisms have fractured their people, the most notable being their cousins the Feituwatha leaving the island to settle in the forests of Dormach on the main continent.

Their history of subjugation under the Fae has left them with a deep seated paranoia toward outsiders, but their pride forbids them from admitting this fault. Despite that their craftsman are said to be among the most skilled in Veyrn, and their knowledge of subjects foreign to Veyrn has led many to seek them out for their insight.

Falta

A society of farmers and craftsmen, the people of Falta have a deep connection with nature and the impact they have upon the world. A collection of farming villages they are guided but not ruled by a druidic order that oversees the people and tend to the land. Their society has been greatly impacted by early contact with the Athuwatha. The Feituwatha of Dormach however have a more contemptuous relationship with the Faltans, fueling their distrust of the Fae and their superstitions surrounding them.

Faltans are hardworking, and simple folk. They enjoy simple pleasures and rarely seek out which cannot be found within their borders. Outsiders, particularly the more superstitious people of Eizen view the people of Falta with distrust, and and regard the secretive druids as suspicious, a feeling they often apply to all Faltans.

Kinbazur

In the mountains to the northwest of Eizen sits the dwarven settlement of Kinbazur. Originally a colony of the Thangnor, it has since been cut off due to a corruption that has spread through the people of Kinbazur. This corruption is widely believed to be due to the discovery of the “Titan’s Heart.” The titans in dwarven mythology were said to be colossal beings of stone and fire, and with their deaths came the dwarves, springing forth from their remains. The Heart is said to give off strange energy and this power has aided and twisted the residents of Kinbazur. The nation has a tenuous relationship with Eizen, but are viewed as tainted by their own kinfolk.

Like their Thangnor cousins, they are a proud and hardworking people. They have however grown increasingly dependent on the strange power of the Titans Heart, and this has caused them to be viewed with suspicious by many.

Steill

The Jungles of Steill are home to the Frauki. A race of froglike humanoids that inhabit a chain of islands southwest of Halqu. They have a generally optimistic attitude, and a great reverence for The Lady, their goddess and believed creator of their race. A structured society they have an esteemed knighthood who act not only as protectors of their people, but defenders of any who are weak or oppressed. This altruism has brought them into many conflicts throughout Veyrn’s history, and the skill of their swordsman is renowned far and wide.

The Frauki are a brave people, never shying from conflict or adversity. They possess an inherent nobility, that is fermented by the teachings of their goddess. However, with shorter lifespans than many of the other races, leads them to act more quickly, and this is often construed as being shortsighted or brash.

Neman

To the east of Eizen rests a chain of islands once part of the Halqu, then part of Eizen after the nation became independent. As Eizen withdrew from the island to pursue more domestic concerns the people of Neman were left to fend for themselves. Many tried to eek out an honest living, but some turned to piracy, attacking the ships that frequented the trade routes in the area. Eizen attempted to stop the behavior, but a series of costly naval battles caused them to withdraw, and Neman declared themselves free from any nation that wished to rule them. Many have been drawn by the ideal of being free and immigrants made their way to Neman’s shores to build a life for their own. The nation boasts no central authority, instead being governed by a council of elected officials. The council boasts members from several races, and has become a haven for those seeking a life different than there homeland has to offer.

The citizens of Neman have a reputation for being open and accepting, but their history of piracy has painted them as criminals or outcasts, and many nations consider them a bit of a wildcard in the political landscape.

Race Spotlight #2: Frauki

The Frauki are a benevolent race of Froglike humanoids.

“Though you are defeated, I do not look down upon you. You have fought well and bravely this day. Had you faced a different opponent the outcome may have been different, but alas the Lady is with me, and with her grace I cannot be beaten.”

-Calen, Knight of Steill

Born Of The Swamp

Born in the swamps of the Kingdom of Steill the frauki are a noble yet reclusive race. Seldom are they seen far from their island home. Most frauki are born, live, and die without ever leaving the confines of the jungles they call home.

They grow and develop much as their more mundane amphibious counterparts. Growing from egg to tadpole to adult all in the seclusion of their nesting grounds, which are the most sacred and protected places in the Kingdom.

Much like the frogs they so closely resemble frauki are able to live in and out of the water with ease. Some are also skilled swimmers, while those that dwell in the trees become adept at climbing through the branches.

Some scholars debate as to whether the frauki are a natural race of Veyrn or the result of magical experimentation. There is evidence for both theories, and the Frauki themselves are often distrustful of arcane magic. Despite this the frauki are a proud of their heritage, and will always refute any claims of their existence being unnatural.

Loyalty and Honor

Nothing is more important to the frauki than their sense of honor, and their entire society is built upon these ideals. From the lowliest peasant to the king himself each strives to maintain their own honor, and that of their people.

This ideal leads many frauki to dedicate themselves to their chosen occupation, and many who choose less mundane lifestyles often find comfort in the life of a swordsman, closely following the code of chivalry.

A frauki whose honor is besmirched will go to great lengths to see it restored, offering compensation or service to offended parties or embarking on quests to make things right. Those who go out of their way to insult or offend a Frauki had best be wary for even the most mild mannered of them will take up arms against those who would treat them with disrespect.

In The Service Of The Lady

A deeply spiritual people, the Frauki honor a deity they call The Lady of the Lake. The Lady is said to appear near their sacred lake, and often brings words of wisdom. They revere her above all other gods, though they have a deep respect for the beliefs of others.

It is said that the Lady will send her bravest and most skilled warriors on holy quests for the betterment of the kingdom. These quests often take young frauki far from the safety of their home, bringing them into contact with the many races of the outside world.

Frauki Names

Male Names. Alden, Bromley, Chadwick, Eldric, Glenn.

Female Names. Alvina, Braeden, Della, Kendra, Luella.

Frauki Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity increases by 2.

Age. Frauki reach adult hood at around 15 years of age, and generally live till around 60 years of age.

Alignment. Most frauki are Lawful Good. Their culture puts a strong emphasis on honor and personal responsibility.

Size. Frauki average between 4 and 5 feet tall, and between 125-160 lbs. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Brave. You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Natural Jumper. You gain proficiency on Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks. Your long jump is up to 20 feet and its high jump is up to 10 feet, with or without a running start.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Frauk (Frog Song). Frauki have a distinct accent when speaking common, very reminiscent of old english.

Subrace. Two main subraces of frauki populate the world of Veyrn: The Lakeborn and Treeborn. Choose one of these subraces.

Lakeborn

The frauki born in the great lakes of Steill are among the most numerous of the race. As their name implies they begin their lives as tadpoles, swimming in the safety of the great lake that serves as both a nursery and site of religious worship. Lakeborn frauki are dark green or brown in color, and tend to be much more social than their treeborn cousins.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1.

Amphibious. You can breathe air and water.

Swift Swim. Your swim speed is 30 feet.

Treeborn

The Kindgom of Steill is home to many miles of jungle and swamp, and the Treeborn make their home in the canopies of these ancient forests. Most spend their whole lives amidst the trees. They are shy and more reclusive than the lakeborn, but skilled climbers. Their coloration tends toward darker shades of green or tan.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1. Born in the Trees: Your climb speed is 25 feet.

Natural Camouflage. While in natural terrain, you gain advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks to hide.

Race Spotlight #1: Karei (Hobgoblins)

Here is an early playtest version of a new race, the Karei. Feel free to let me know what you think. I’m always open to constructive Criticism.

“Say it again and I will cut the words from your throat. You will die bleeding as I pluck your tongue from your skull, and hold it before you.”

-Curvus of the Black Spear

 

Fallen Warriors

Called hobgoblins by those who wish to end their lives quickly, the people of Karsh are descended from a small, but powerful nation of soldiers and warriors. They earned great renown on the field of battle, and their knowledge of military tactics was second to none.

When their longtime allies the people of Halqu, embarked on a quest of expansion, the Karei were the first obstacle in their path. The Halqan people spread propaganda and misinformation about the Karei and when they were most vulnerable launched their assault. In the end the mighty armies of Karsh were defeated and the surviving Karei scattered to the four winds.

Built for War

The Karei are large by human standards, the average Karei stands about six feet tall, with males reaching nearly seven. Their bodies are strong, and powerful from years of training the harsh lifestyle they lead. Their hair grows, lifestyle they lead. Their hair grows thick, particularly the sideburns and eyebrows. Their eyes are fierce and predatory, favoring shades of yellow and green. This is further complimented by elongated canines which adds to an almost feral appearance. Their skin bears an olive-green complexion.

 Proud Nomads

With their homeland lost to them the people of Karsh live a nomadic life. Selling their services and skill to the highest bidder, the once noble race now finds work as mercenaries. Their skill and ferocity in combat is renowned, and they fetch soaring prices for their work. Their pride forces them to complete their assigned task, and they never betray those who have paid for their service. They do not take kindly to deception, and any attempt to trick or mislead them is a sure way to earn their wrath.

Sacred Ancestors

The Karei revere their ancestors as other races might revere the gods. They have a strong oral tradition full of inspirational tales of glory and battle. These stories teach their history as well as inspire the new generations to aspire to the great deeds of their forbearers.

Karei Names

Male Names. Andris, Braxus, Maris, Aivar, Valdis.

Female Names. Annas, Inese, Inga, Liga, Dace, Anita.

Karei Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2.

Age. Karei mature at the same rate as humans and have lifespans similar in length to theirs.

Alignment. Karei follow a strict code of conduct in most areas of their culture, they tend toward Lawful Neutral.

Size. Karei are between 6 and 7 feet tall and weigh between 180 and 250 pounds. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Skill Proficiencies. You have proficiency in the Athletics and intimidation skills.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Karei.

Subrace. Two main subraces of Karei populate the world of Veyrn: Eastern and Western. Choose one of these subraces.

Eastern Karei

The Karei that fled to the civilized lands to the east, found work primarily as mercenaries. This contact with a variety of people and cultures has allowed them to survive, even prosper. They retained the inherent nobility of their forebears, while embracing foreign ideas. They are not universally accepted, but have not garnered the fear and suspicion of their western cousins.

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1.

Trained for War. Gain proficiency in Light and Medium Armor.

Extra Language. You can read and write one language of your choice.

Western Karei

Remaining near their ancestral lands, the Karei of the west were plunged into a never-ending conflict with the humans, gnolls, and other races that now dominated the region. This adversity has caused them to grow more violent and aggressive, traits necessary for survival. Ironically this has also led them to mirror the negative stereotypes associated with their people.

Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution score increases by 1.

Rage of the Fallen. When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.

Death Before Dishonor. When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You can’t use this feature again until you finish a long rest.

Nations of Veyrn pt. 1

There are many nations scattered about the continent. Each of them has their own culture, history, and beliefs. Below is a quick summary of the nations. Keep in mind these are all works in progress and nothing is final, and thus subject to change.

In no particular Order…

Halqu

In the great plains of the west, rests the once great empire of Halqu. Deemed the oldest human nation in Veyrn. It once spread across the entire continent, and held sway over all of humanity. However a series of revolts, wars, and uprisings have drastically reduced their strength and influence. Halqu is now a fraction of what it once was, a nation in it’s final death throes.

The Halqans are a proud people, with a strong sense of honor. They are also to have a particularly stubborn streak, and the state of their homeland causes deep seated frustrations which lead them to have short, and sometimes violent tempers.

Eizen

The northeastern lands of Veyrn is home to the fledgling Eizen empire. Once subjugated under the rule of Halqu, it has since overthrow their rule and taken great pains in returning to “the old ways” of their people. The path to this liberation is thanks to Zayre’s rebellion against Halqu.

The people of Eizen tend to be cynical and fatalistic, a reflection of their following of  the goddess Venkria, The Dark Mother. Their warlike nature, and superstitious beliefs has often led them to conflict with neighboring peoples. Despite that they are known as a fair and just people, the laws are few and are enforced swiftly.

Zayre

The Kingdom of Zayre is likely the most successful and prosperous nation in Veyrn. The region it inhabits is blessed with abundant natural resources, and its rulers have lead them fairly if not a bit too strict. Zayre was once part of Halqu, and their revolt against the Empire, was the biggest factor in its downfall.

The people of Zayre are hardworking and honest, and generally slow to anger. They put a great deal of faith in the God Algorand, and this devotion often borders on zealotry.

Barsa

Nestled in a river valley between the nations of Zayre and Eizen the halflings of Barsa do their best to remain neutral. The people of Barsa get nearly everything they need from the banks of the great rivers that crisscross their small nation. They tend to be oblivous to greater world politics, and barely noticed the rule of the Halqan’s that once claimed their lands for their own. Even the youngest Barsan is said to have some skill at sailing.

Barsans tend to be an open and honest people, and welcoming to outsiders. Those that might look down on the small folk sometimes consider them naive, foolish or flighty.

Karsh

A proud warrior race. The people of Karsh (The Karei ) once had a great nation. They were the first victims of the Halqan campaign, and despite their long history of cooperation they were assaulted mercilessly, and after many long years of war the Karei fell, scattering across the continent. They will a skilled and intelligent people, and are said to have taught writing to early Halqan peoples.

Derisively called “hobgoblins” by their detractors, the situation of their people has led them to become antisocial and aggressive. Their work as mercenaries has taught them to be tenacious and  they keep to a strict code of honor unmatched by other peoples.

Thangnor

The scholars of Dulcand consider the dwarves of Thangnor to be the oldest race on  Veyrn, and bits of their culture, and architecture can be found on every corner of the world. Now residing deep within the Harradim Mountains they have a long history of being dragged into conflicts with the Halqu and other peoples. They have since decline getting involved in world affairs, instead focusing their energy on the welfare of their own people.

None are more hardworking than the people of Thangnor, and each takes a great deal of pride in their work no matter how mundane the task might be. As a people they are somewhat rigid in their beliefs, and have a tendency to be somewhat polarized in their outlook on many issues.

Deities vs. Faiths

As I continue to build the world of Veyrn, I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to the religious belief and practices of the various cultures of my world. There are many campaign settings out there and nearly all of them have their own pantheon of gods. Much of the time you see them with brief descriptions usually with domains, alignments, and powers associated with them and their followers. Rarely do you see much detail given to what their followers believe or much in the way of practices or beliefs, unless that detail is relevant to a particular adventure or supplement.

When creating Veyrn I’ve been not only thinking of who the Gods are, and what they are associated with, by why they are worshiped, how that faith evolved and how their followers honor or revere the Gods.

I will include the usually material for Deities in an rpg guidebook. I will have symbolism, that they associated with, and everything needed mechanically to build a follower of that faith. I will also include information of the beliefs, rituals, and practices of those followers, along with major religious festivals and “holy” days.

One thing I AM actively avoiding is alignments as applied to the Gods. There will not be “good” or “evil” deities. Though some may be considered such by the people of the world. Such black and white morality in my mind is far below the notice of divine forces. Such polarization won’t exist within the deities themselves, though it may be imposed by their followers of the followers of other gods.

I will give some examples of some of the kind of things I’m working on over the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy it.