The Creation of Questworld
"These Guardians will ensure that neither foes without shall have the power, nor
friends within the wish, to do harm." -- Prince Sane, The Citadel
"And I saw Holy Ariad come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit
and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old
serpent, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him
into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he
should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years be fulfilled." --
Cloister Canon, Fast's Thesis 66, Canto 20: 1-3
The Book of Ariad teaches that the world of Questworld,
the sun and the moon were created by Ariad.
He covered the world with forests and grasses and made beasts,
fowls, and fishes to fill the lands and skies and waters. So that there
would be voices raised in praise to his creation, he made the speaking
peoples of Questworld: Elves, the Firstborn; Dwarves, the Crafters; and Man, the
To thwart Ariad's creation, Moloch created "The Unseelie,"
the goblin races, mockeries of Ariad's
races. Of a completely alien
nature, the presence of Moloch warps the fabric of reality and distorts
life and matter. Theoretically, Moloch feels a comparable sense of
"wrongness" in everything him. His alien nature cannot be stressed enough.
He wishes ultimately to enslave and then
destroy all of Reality. A word such as "evil" does not adequately
define him. He is truly beyond any example of evil in this universe.
At the end of the First Age, a war raged on Questworld. This war survived in legends as
The Time of the Sundering. At the end, Ariad emerged victorious!
Moloch, and his followers
not destroyed by Ariad, were imprisoned in a bottomless pit, the Abyss. To keep them
imprisoned, Ariad created a spell:
Three stones, three keys to lock the spell,
Three jewels to guard the Gates of Hell.
Three to bind them, three in one,
Three to hide them from the sun.
Three to hold them, three to keep,
Three to watch the sleepless sleep.
Ariad placed this spell in a Seal, which was set in the gate of the pit and locked
with three talismans.
The talismans are three enchanted runestones -- a blue
stone, a green stone, and a red stone, each with it's own
unique rune. These runestones, called the Heart of Ariad, empower the entire
Seal and are reputed to contain the essence of Ariad! To further protect the
Gate, it was surrounded with a warding pentagram, and the entrance buried
beneath tons of stone.
- Acathla: The earthy god of crafting; a strange god, concerned only with his creations;
god of the Dwarves; perhaps it it his ignorance of the Dwarves that make them so self-reliant.
- Ariad: "The Creator;" the horse-headed god of order and nature.
- D'Hoffryn: The goddess of the home, healing and truth.
- Eyghon: The wise god of riddles and knowledge.
- Gachnar: The god of fear and battle.
- Iriel: The ethereal god of the Elves and magic.
- Lagos: The fiery god of the atrocities of war.
- Lurkanis: "The Great White Bear;" the merciless god of shadows, night and Winter;
called Isengrim by the Algonish.
- Lyssa: The beautiful goddess of earthly pleasures, lust, and money.
- Machida: The serpent god of the underworld.
- Moloch: "The Corruptor;" the dark god of chaos and evil.
- Polgara: "The Lady;" patron of paladins and virtuous warriors; although Citadel Knights
pray to their spiritual father, Ariad, for their daily spells, it is to Polgara, their spiritual
mother, whom they pray for their daily blessings.
- Vahrall: The Lothing god of the seas, battle lust and honor.
The Frontiers of Alusia
The Frontiers of Alusia is a thinly settled, semi-explored
wilderness. The only significant population centers are the Brastor Holding
and the Barony of Carzala, which conduct trade with each other via the
Sweetwater (downriver to Carzala) and across the Sweet Riding (upriver to
the Brastor Holding). The Castellan of Brastor is bound by fealty to the
Baron of Carzala, and the two form a single economic and political unit.
The remainder of the region is thinly settled by humans
along the coast and the more accessible stretches of river. Small tribes of
Fey, Humanoids, and Giants are also scattered throughout the Frontiers, and
the area abounds with all manner of game (including many fantastical creatures).
The Wilderlands of Gilarni are lightly populated by small groupings of Elves,
and the Hills of Aldri are generally considered sacred to their kind, but no
major Elf kingdom exists in the Frontiers.
The climate in the region is temperate. Winters are moderate
(average temperature of 26ºF and average snowfall of 17 inches) except in the
mountains. Summers are also mild (average temperature of 72ºF), but somewhat
humid (with an average rainfall of 24 inches in the five warmest months).
The coastal areas (especially around Confederation Bay) are somewhat warmer
in winter and cooler in summer. This general pattern does not hold for The
Barrens of Sith or The Gatar Depression.
The region to the north, separated from the Frontiers by
the Wilderlands of Gilarni, includes the Kingdom of Elfholm, with which
little commerce is held, and the Confederated Baronies, of which Carzala
is the southernmost. The human settlers of Carzala conduct a brisk sea
trade with their northern neighbors, and most adventurers are likely to
begin their forays in the Frontiers from the riverport of Seagate, the
southern terminus of Confederation trade.
South of the Frontiers are the kingdoms of Shorapur,
Izmiraldi, Ajepbar, Kirkuhl, and Sukhekorrum, the fabled "Five Sisters,"
most of whose history has been lost in the mists of time. Rich and
decadent, the Five Sisters have refrained from expanding northward during
the last millennium mainly out of a cultural malaise, but also because the
vast Gatar Depression forms a barrier against the march of large armies.
To the east lies the Sea of Grass, the westernmost marches
of the Frontiers. Popular legend has it that the sea goes on forever, but
old maps show mountains and forests almost a thousand miles inland from
Panjari, though no man except the savage nomads of the Jun Horde has
penetrated that far inland since the great city fell 1200 years before in the
Wars of the Kinslaying. The Brastor Holding is the major contact point between
the Confederation and the tribes of the interior, and there is an annual spring
trade festival at the Chapel Crossing on the Swan River where the Horsepeople come to
trade furs and buffalo hides for tools and weapons of cold iron. At other times
of the year, the Castellan's Borderers patrol the Choth Gap to keep small bands
of nomad raiders from reaving in the Brastor Holding, and at these times the way
into the Sea of Grass is closed.
West of the Frontiers is the Alusian Ocean, which is sailed by
only the bravest men since it is a wide gray sea subject to sudden storms that
can last for weeks. Like the Sea of Grass, the Alusian Ocean is said to be endless,
though myth says that beyond the ocean is the birthplace of man.
The Brastor Holding (Click
here to view map)
Pantheon: Ariad, god of order and nature
Language: Westron (Marchland dialect)
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Ruler: Castellan Dernhelm Stonesoul
Human (Marchlander) -- 47%
Human (Algonish) -- 23%
Dwarf -- 13%
Halfling -- 9%
Elf -- 8%
Notable Towns (and Populations):
Brastor Landing (1200+)
Castle Brastor (1000+)
Hugler's Ferry (600-700)
The South Lending (< 400)
Tobintown (< 400)
Westgate (< 400)
Flag/Emblem: A white pegasus, facing left, on a green field, with a
red eagle in a small, yellow square in the top right corner.
Geography: Established three score years before, the Brastor
Holding claims a territory of over 6840 square miles
bounded by the Sweetwater River to the north, the Choth Gap to the east, the
northern confluence of the River Mirimar to the south, and the Artusian Hills to
the west. The Holding is basically plains, forests, hills and mountains, with roughly 77
percent of its area wilderness in which all manner of game roams. Much of
the forested land is held as hunting preserves for the nobles.
The Holding grows many varieties of
grain, vegetables, and fruits. Livestock includes good horses, cattle, and
sheep. The forests feed swine. Assorted fowl and bees are kept. Mining
yields iron, some copper, zinc, gold, silver, a good amount of coal, and salt, too.
They produce a modest quantity of very fine diamonds, emeralds, rubies, jasper
and minor amounts of amber.
Society: The society is feudal-like; the lowest, non-prisoner/slave, social class is
Freeman -- being tenants or, perhaps, having some small land holdings.
There is considerable industry and commerce is of great importance. In
contrast to the reclusive, domestic role of women in other Human societies, unmarried
Marchland females take arms alongside men.
History: Sixteen years ago, in 1182, Castellan Raymot Stonesoul
died in a tragic horseback riding accident.
His young wife, Lady Fiona Hornwood, and infant son, Halwin
("Hal"), were murdered by Algonish religious extremists, followers
of the Bear-cult of Isengrim, as
they returned to Castle Brastor from Horn's Gate for the Castellan's funeral.
Isengrim cultists throughout the Holding were ruthlessly hunted down and killed by vengeful
Brastor troops, chief among them was Captain Beragard "The
Bloody." Undoubtedly, hundreds of Algonish innocents were slaughtered
in the ensuing anti-Algonish fervor.
The campaign starts in the year 1198 SA. The Brastor Holding is ruled by
Raymot's younger brother, Dernhelm Stonesoul. Colonel Beragard ("The
Bloody") is Dernhelm's military advisor.