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Codex Arcanis
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Codex Arcanis
Cover
Jim Pavelic
Cartography
Brian Dalrymple
Interior Illustrations
Reece Ambrose, Toren Atkinson, Andrew
Baker, Alex Bradly, Paul Carrick, Anthony
Grabski, David Griffith, Paul (Prof.)
Herbert, Pat Loboyco, Eric Lofgren,
Thomas Manning, Chris Meesey, Raven
Mimura, Richard Pace, Jim Pavelec, Scott
Purdy, Hian Rodriguez, Jason Walton, Roel
Wielinga
Layout
Ruben Smith-Zempel
Art Direction
Nelson Rodriguez
Additional Material
Pedro Barrenechea, Michele Hernandez,
Daniel Perez, and Jeffery Witthauer
Authors
Scott Charlton, Brian Dalrymple, Jared
Fenell, Matt Forbeck, Sean Havranek,
Henry Lopez, William Simoni, and Eric
Wiener
Arcanis: the World of Shattered
Empires created by
Henry Lopez
Special Thanks to
The Living Arcanis Development Team
Editors
Dean Bailey, Anna Maria Leon, Eric
Wiener
Team Paradigm
Jim Beck, Pedro Barrenechea, Matt
Blank, Henry Lopez, Sean Molley, Nelson
Rodriguez, Eric Wiener, and James Zwiers
Except as otherwise identified, all portions of this book are © 2007 Paradigm
Concepts, Inc. All rights reserved. The mention of, use of or reference to any company,
trademark or product in this book is not a challenge to the trademark of copyright in
question. Dungeon’s and Dragons® and Wizards of the Coast® are registered trademarks
of Wizards of the Coast and are used with permision. The D20 System and D20 System
Logo are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast and are used under the terms of
the D20 System Trademark License Version 1.0. The D20 System Trademark License
Version 1.0 can be found at:
http://wizards.com/d20/files/d20stlv2.rtf.
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INTRODUCTION The War of the Gods
W elcome to Arcanis, the World of Shattered
Empires.
The book you now hold details
various nations and peoples of the continent of
Onara, as well as new Prestige Classes, Spells,
Feats and Magic Items that can be used in any
world setting as well as Arcanis.
The intent of this book is to give the
reader a feel for the world of Arcanis and to
give enough information so that a campaign can
be set in the Shattered Empires. It cannot give
exhaustive details on every topic. GMs should
feel free to assign trade routes or the exact
tonnage of export if they so desire.
There Nerothian priests stave off pestilence and help
the infirm or the mad.
The Chaotic Evil adherent to Larissa
could focus on the Goddess’ aspect of Forbidden
Pleasure, spreading pain as a form of Holy
Communion.
Every God, regardless of its domains,
have aspects that can be viewed as Good, Evil, or
Neutral. Use this as a tool to provoke your players
to examine those gray areas that most Fantasy
Religions stay away from.
M ost humans believe that the Gods
Note: Each chapter is purposefully written with
the prejudice of the people detailed ingrained in
the text. Even when written in the third-person,
the bias is still present in every chapter but this
one. We have no secrets from each other here,
so you can believe every word written in this
introduction as gospel truth.
created them and the world around
them.
The Mother Church, as well as most
other splinter religions, tells of a Mythic Age
where the Gods walked beside Man and taught
him the fundamental concepts needed, not just for
survival, but for the creation of civilization.
Man worshipped and learned from the
Gods in great Temples built for Them and all lived
in harmony until the coming the Other. Whether it
was a foreign God or a Being of God-like power
is not known. All mention of this Being has been
stricken and wiped clean as if It had never existed.
But It did.
It destroyed the peace and harmony Man
so enjoyed with the Pantheon and caused the
doom of millions as it tore down the glorious
civilization that existed.
It gathered those people and Valinor
it could corrupt with Its honeyed words and
false promises and made war upon the Gods,
attempting to absorb Their Divine essence. Its
cowardly attack stole some of the Gods’ power
and in at least one ancient rendition of the tale,
destroyed the gentlest member of the Pantheon.
Weakened by the Thing’s treachery, the
Gods called upon Man’s assistance and they
readily gave it, knowing that the wrath of the
Other would fall upon them like a curse.
The legends are fragmentary as to what
occurred, but they all agree that the Other was
forced to flee to the Western continent of Onara
with what few degenerate humans and Valinor
still survived, leaving the home of Man a charnel
house.
The Gods gave chase shortly thereafter,
bringing with Them Their Valinor and Their
Chosen, those groups of humans for which They
had a particular love and devotion.
Trust me, why would I lie about something like
that?
Religion
The Pantheon of Man is a collection of twelve
Gods that have been worshipped collectively
since the time of the First Imperium to the present
day. Although, by definition, they are the Gods of
humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, and some half-Orcs
also pay homage to these Celestial beings.
In an Arcanis campaign, Gods and
religions differ from those of other RPG campaign
settings in one very important way: Alignment is
determined by the religious institution, not the
God itself.
In other words, the Gods don’t have
alignments, the churches do.
What does this mean in practical terms for
your campaign? It allows for very interesting role-
playing situations where two priests of the same God
can have very different moral outlooks from each
other.
It means that you can have a Lawful Good
worshipper of Neroth, the God of Pestilence, Death, and
the Undead as well as a Chaotic Evil practioner of the
Pleasure Goddess. It all depends on the particular slant
or aspect that the player chooses for his character.
In the above examples, the Lawful Good
worshipper of Neroth could practice the tenants of
Neroth as taught by the Mother Church in Coryan.
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Introduction
The War of the Gods
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The War of the Gods INTRODUCTION
Arriving upon Onara, a race calling itself
the Elorii welcomed them with entreaties of
friendship and peace. Though humanoid in shape,
these haughty beings were no cousin to Man and
the humans were cautious in their dealings with
the Elorii. This wariness proved wise as it was
discovered that the Elorii and their “Elemental
Gods,” creatures of immense power that lorded
over the deluded Elorii, had given sanctuary to
the Other and His followers. The Elorii extolled
the peaceful purpose of the Other and asked for
differences to be put aside.
The Elorii’s naïveté proved their undoing
as the Other kidnapped one of their False Gods.
They and their Elemental Lords pleaded with the
Pantheon to help them find their companion and
punish the Other. Agreeing, the Elorii and the
humans joined forces to hunt down the followers
of the False One while the Pantheon and the
Elemental Lord made war upon the Other.
The battle was titanic and laid waste to many
disparate parts of the Onara. Huge tracts of arable
land were made barren and desolate, especially the
area surrounding the Elorii’s capitol.
At last, the Other was confronted directly
by the Pantheon and the Elemental Lords, but of
the Elorii’s missing fifth Deity there was no sign.
Defiant even when surrounded by Its enemies,
the Other attacked His assembled Foes with such
power and fury that the Gods began to falter. So
weakened were They by the Other’s theft of Their
Divine power, that all was feared lost.
At that most critical juncture, where the
fate of all humanity was precariously balanced
before a yawning abyss, salvation came from an
unexpected quarter.
The Goddess Anshar appeared before
Illiir and whispered in His ear, “I am your sister,
Anshar, captive these many years by the jealousy
of the Other. I have hidden in this distant land
waiting for You to save Me from exile.”
Illiir responded grimly, “I cannot save you,
sister, as all of us may soon fall to Its power.”
Anshar leaned in closer and smiled.
“Worry not, brother, for your deliverance is close
at hand. The Other grew in power because He
absorbed the entire essence of the Elemental
Goddess as It attempted to do to You.
“You have at your side creatures that
have immense power which could turn the tide of
battle. You need only do to them what It will do
to you should you fall.”
Illiir was taken aback. “We cannot betray
those who have extended the hand of friendship
to us.”
Reluctantly, Illiir agreed, but He would
not stain His hands with the treachery that had
to be done. He called upon His sons, Hurrian
and Nier; His brother Yarris; and lastly, His wife,
Saluwe’ to unmake the Elemental Lords and
assure not only victory, but also salvation.
As the Elemental Lords were hunted
and absorbed, Illiir spoke to His children and
explained that the Elorii would view these actions
as betrayal most foul, unable to see the necessity
of this act. He told the Chosen of the Pantheon
that they must fall upon the Elorii and take away
their ability to harm them.
Thus as the Gods made war upon the
Elemental Lords, so did the humans make war
upon the Elorii. Man hunted the Elorii with
vicious efficiency, ensuring that they would not
pose a threat.
With heavy hearts, the Gods fell upon the
Elemental Beings and in battles that raged across
the continent, the Elorii’s False Gods fell to the
inevitable.
The Pantheon had their final confrontation
with the Other before the Ashen Temple. This
enormous shrine was built in the high mountains
by the Other’s heretical cultists, upon a field of
black crystals. Yet, even infused with the energy
of their fallen allies, the Pantheon was not able
to destroy the Other. Instead, They imprisoned
Him, sealing It for all Eternity away from those It
would feed upon.
Returning to Their Chosen, who
themselves were bloodied but unbowed, They
rejoiced. His heart full of pride, Illiir addressed
His followers; “This day we have sealed away
a menace that would have seen us all at Its feet.
The losses you have suffered have been great.
You have lost your lands, your homes, your
dearest blood to follow us. We shall not let this
go unrewarded.”
Illiir motioned to the Ancient Elorii
capitol and said, “Let this magnificent city now be
your capitol. Take it and spread from its boundary
to the furthest reaches of this new continent and
forge the greatest Empire to the envy of all who
would gaze upon its hallowed halls.”
With but a wave of His arms, Illiir
transported the multitudes to the gates of the
mighty city. “Let this be the First City of Man
upon Onara; let this be the beginning of a Golden
Age of Mankind.”
- The Illuminated Perfection, the
Codification of the Teachings of Illiir, IIIrd Scroll,
Temple of the Pantheon, Coryan.
“If you do not, not only will the Pantheon
be as dew in the morning sun, but you will
condemn your children to an eternity of bondage.
It is a small price to pay.”
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INTRODUCTION The Pantheon
The Afterlife and Resurrection
The churches of Arcanis teach that Man is
comprised of three main elements: the Body, the
Intellect, and the Soul. The body is the shell that
houses and protects the other two components.
The intellect is the total sum of experiences
and facts accumulated over a lifetime as well as
logic, cold and calculating. Lastly, the soul is the
essence of who a person is. The soul determines
if one is kind or cruel, creative or unimaginative.
When one dies, the body begins to decay,
the intellect dims and slips into a deep lethargic
state, while the soul starts to separate from its
shell.
convinced, then the way to the Underworld is
granted.
How the soul is retrieved from the
Underworld is a matter better left unsaid, as there
may be those faint of heart reading this section.
Suffice it to say that the path is guarded by fierce
Guardians and fraught with peril, the price of
failure being the consignment of a living being to
the Cauldron. Definitely not for the timid!
A final note on death: Proper burial
and rites should always be given to the deceased.
Not doing so causes the soul to bypass the
Judgment of Nier and immediately enter the
Cauldron. A portion of the soul lingers, anchored
to the remains, yet still feeling the torment of the
Underworld. These tortured souls are Shades but
are often known as Wraiths, Specters, Banshees,
or Ghosts, among other things.
Unless laid to rest, the Shades will haunt
an area around its remains, attacking the living.
The torment they feel often leaves them mad and
even the kindest of persons can leave behind the
most malicious of spirits.
The Pantheon
The Gods of the Pantheon are twelve in
number, each controlling particular domains and
spheres of influence. They are also attended by
Valinor, celestial beings birthed by the Gods and
gifted with a portion of Their essence.
A Valinor’s name is completely
unpronounceable by humans and so is known by
the aspect of the Gods it serves, i.e., The Mercy of
Neroth, The Word of Illiir, The Judgment of Nier,
The Voice of Sarish.
Just before the God’s War, the Pantheon
quibbled and bickered amongst itself. These
disagreements, some say fomented by the Other,
erupted into all-out war between some of the
Gods.
According to dogma, the morning rays of
Illiir guide a soul to the Underworld where it is
judged by a Valinor, called the Judgment of Nier.
This Valinor weighs the manner in which the soul
lived its life and determines where it shall go.
The tenants of the Pantheon do not include
the ‘Heaven and Hell’ concept. Hell is considered
a place or a different plane of existence that is
home to the Demons and Devils that so plagued
mankind during the Time of Terror.
Heaven is called the Paradise of the Gods,
a place where worthy souls live side by side with
the Gods and Their Valinor for a short time before
being reincarnated back on Arcanis.
Those unworthy of Paradise are consigned
to the Underworld, a roiling, boiling soup of souls
in the Cauldron of Beltine. Here, the unworthiest
of souls are weighted down by the evil they have
done in life. They try to claw and grapple their
way up to the top of the Cauldron in hopes of
being remade and having their torment end.
When new souls are needed, Beltine stirs
the Cauldron with her ladle, scooping up bits
and pieces of different spirits. These pieces are
then forged into a new soul, hopefully one more
deserving of life than its previous components.
To have a person resurrected is thus a
very complex affair. If the resurrection spell
can be cast by morning before the soul departs,
then the spell works as described. If not, it then
becomes an arduous task, as the representatives
of two different Gods must be convinced to allow
the resurrection to take place.
The God Neroth holds sway over the
intellect and the body, while the Goddess Beltine
presides over the soul. As long as the body of the
deceased is not raised as an undead being, then
Neroth usually does not interfere.
Beltine, however, is very jealous of her
charges. One must convince Her High Priest why
the person should be taken out of the natural cycle
and be restored to life. If the High Priest can be
During this time, the Valinor of Sarish,
who chose to remain neutral in the conflict, were
lent as mercenaries to the different factions.
The God who engaged them in turn gifted these
Valinor with even greater power.
Jealousy and resentment against Sarish’s
Valinor began to grow, eventually causing many
to be tempted to Sarish’s side. After the War of
the Gods was over, many of these Valinor were
cast out for betraying their original patron and fell
from grace.
These Valinor, still immensely powerful,
were given an option by Sarish. They could be
cast out of Paradise to wander aimlessly for
eternity throughout the planes or they could
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