View Full Version : Sanctuary

12-15-2008, 12:08 PM
Your quest starts within the walls of sanctuary. Here you find many hardy people that have helped forge a hold on the edge of the shattered city. You have come here for glory, power, money, or to spread your beliefs. The city is nearly constantly under siege from the evil that has overtaken the rest of the city. The best way to gain your destiny is to find out more about the city and the surrounding areas. thus you research what can be found out:

The Shattered City

The shattered city, as it is called, was once the primary city of a glorious empire. The empire was composed mainly of humans, but there were plenty of the other races. The Dragonborn, called the Radiant Knights, were well known for their bravery and adherence to honor. The Eladrin were the keepers of knowledge, a sect of wise men that advised the emperor and various overlords. Elves were added to the empire as their forests were expanded into. The half-elves were the result of this invasion. They rose to power as charismatic leaders in temples and government. Halflings made up most of the crime syndicates and also were known to run small shops selling strange and wonderful artifacts from outside the empire.

War came to the empire in the form of a planar invasion by strange creatures no one had seen before, they later became known as the infernal. The empire struggled with them for several years. Finally some made deals with the infernal and ended up breeding with them creating the Tieflings. The war became known as the rupture. It lasted eighty-seven long years. The war was finally won by the empires superior numbers, but the toll of the war was too great. By the time it was over, the empires money coffers were laid waste, and the emperor died of old age. His children fought over the remains of the wealth and the empire, but by the time one of them came out dominant, plague and internal rebellions had ripped the empire apart. The yellow plague as it was known swept across the land killing everyone in its wake. Many blamed the Tieflings for it. Then came the great persecution, many Tieflings were burned alive or drowned in tests to prove they were not an Infernal. The world hated them for what their ancestors had done. The Eladrin were nearly unaffected. At the start of the war they withdrew into the Feywild. They wanted no part of this war as they had been severely decimated by the last war that had put them under control of the empire. When the war was over they emerged claiming large tracts of land. Some say the Infernal were drawn to the empire because of the plotting of the Eladrin.

The dwarves living in their mountain homes came in droves to harvest the now unused stone from the ruined cities. Whole cities were thought to have been carted off by the industrious dwarves. Many settled in the area and to this day dwarves can be seen leading trains of wagons laden with stone harvested from the shattered city. Some say that the dwarves being so long sighted had made a great bargain with the emperor that they would build his great cities, if they could take the stone back with them when his empire started to crumble. Some say he agreed readily since he thought his Eladrin advisers could make him live forever. Others say that he haggled and bargained with them for years over the cost of the stone and how it would be used. Yet others say the emperor just enslaved a large portion of the dwarves and made them work the stone unwillingly, and once he was gone they simply took the already worked stone to ancestral mountain home when they left.

The city took the main brunt of the attack. Its great towers and castle spires were ripped apart by the Infernalís blasts of power. The Eladrin wizards fought with equal powerful magicís, but the war looked to be hopeless. Somewhere in the city a wizard made a deal with some otherworldly existence to gain power. This was the first warlock. From that day forward the tides changed, the Infernal were beaten back and after a long war they were finally driven back to the world where they originated. The Eladrin and the warlocks were able to seal them in for the most part. Every once in a while a few may slip back to this world to cause mayhem and mischief.

In the time of the empire many warlords rose to power as generals in the emperorís armies. The battle tactics and traditions of the few survivors were handed down after the war to their families and progeny. Rogues became more common and the remaining cities and areas were plagued with them. Almost every decent sized town has some kind of black market or thievesí guild. The warlocks are feared throughout. People know that without their power the war would not have been won. They fear that the warlocksí power will be used against them someday. Mighty warriors roam the land the descendants of the battle hardened veterans of the rupture, taught great battle techniques by their forebears. Great wizards hide in well guarded towers taking on apprentices as the need arises, and sending them out into the world before they can gain enough power to wrench control from them. A new form of power has risen since the time of the great rupture. Priests of long forgotten gods roam the lands healing the sick and stemming the yellow plague. Some donít even know the names of the gods, but are still granted the power to help others in their plights, the more foul call on the forbidden names of the Infernalís gods in order to gain power. There are great warrior priests that come from families that were veterans in the great rupture that have turned to the new (or old) religions.

The land is rife with ruins of great cities and underground dungeons. Homes of ancient creatures that were thought long buried during the war. The old wards holding them have become weak or broken altogether allowing their inhabitants to rise to the surface and wreak havoc on the survivors. At the edge of The Shattered City is a small point of light in the darkness, a haven for those that need it. Sanctuary as the city is called or Sanctuary of the Shattered by some. There a small group of Dragonborn, ancestors of the radiant knights, have beat back the darkness and created this point of light and share it with others freely. Here gathered the remnants of the cities defenders and inhabitants. A small shelter against the wild gale outside. Here your adventure starts. Here you have chosen to lead daring forays into the darkness in order to bring back some of the shattered cities former glory, or just to make a name for yourself, or maybe just to bring back some gold to make your life more comfortable. Whatever the reason you have chosen to explore, you set out into the dark world ahead.

The Foul Swamps of Venom

to the south of the Shattered City lies a vast tract of swamp, marsh, and bog. It is known collectively as The Swamps of Venom. During the empires reign it was merely a means by which other dominions could be subjugated. The empire sent armies through it, but never bothered to claim it as their own.

This suited the inhabitants of the swamp just fine. The various troll tribes were nearly wiped out by the empire, but some were smart enough to avoid the armies that passed across the Swamps of Venom. Various lizardfolk tribes traded, and even befriended especially clever warlords during this time. There was even a regiment of lizardfolk in one of the armies.

The Swamp of Venom became a major trade route for the empire, for those willing to venture into its depths. For every merchant caravan that was never heard from again, two more took to the swamp. Eventually some of these even settled and became way points for the weary, and for the traders. To this day you can find settlements dotting the swamp. They have grown clever and tough living in this way.

When the Infernals destroyed the empire, the peoples of the swamp were hardly affected. Trade stopped, so some of the more rare items couldn't be bought. Overall the villages didn't feel the brunt of the plague, because they had grown strong against poisons and disease.

When the persecution of the Tieflings began many of them headed south to the swamps. Due to their particular traits anyone born to a Tiefling grew up to be a Tiefling. In this way the Tieflings continued to grow as a people. Some places in the swamp you can find entire villages of Tieflings.

Elves enjoy the natural environment of the swamp, and during the elven war with the empire many fled here, mingling with the traders that had settled in the swamps. Their descendants are the elves and half-elves that live there today.

Halflings lived on the edge of the swamp along the rivers that fed it before their lands were overrun by the gnolls of the eastern plains. From there they fled to the west through the swamp to settle on the other side. Some settled within the swamp.

Dragonborn usually avoided the swamps. Though their cousins the lizardfolk enjoy the swamp life, the Dragonborn find no honor in the tactics used by inhabitants of the swamp. There are exceptions though, every once in a while a Dragonborn is found living among them for one reason or another.

Dwarves despise the swamp. They dislike the deep muddy water, the quicksand, and the inhabitants. If you asked a dwarf what he'd rather do between traveling through the Swamp of Venom or eating live scorpions, he' d choose eating live scorpions hammers down.

Eladrin sometimes travel through the swamps on their way to other places, but rarely stay long. They have a dislike of the weather and conditions there. Long before the empire was formed some Eladrin senator managed to exile one of his rivals to the Swamps of Venom running an "outpost". The rival later described the experience as dreary and foul.

Alliances within Sanctuary

There are many different affiliations within Sanctuary. There are the Frost Hearts, Defenders, Knights of the Heavens, Shadow Ken, Keeper of the Many Eyed.

Frost Heart
This group is an Eladrin and mostly elven and half-elven group (though there are exceptions). They wish to help Sanctuary by making logical, and well thought out decisions. They have been mostly unsuccessful because of a lack of being able to come to a consensus on decisions in a limited amount of time. They will call a meeting and discuss for days what should be done. They are good at solving hard problems and they are tireless and relentless once a decision has been made. Their want to place schools of magic within Sanctuary (this hasn't been done yet, because it would be a major drain on the economy). They also want to see more wizards and star and fey pacted warlocks in the ranks of the cities guards and defenders. They have put a small contingent available to the defenders as a way to get this accomplished, the defenders as yet have not called on them to do anything more than lift minor curses and remove simple magical problems that arise. They dislike the knights of the Heavens because they are so stuck in tradition and will not think past their rules and regulations (code).

The defenders are a group of mostly dragonborn that have sworn that they will take back the shattered city. They have plans to push the borders of sanctuary as far as they can, and hope to eventually (in a few hundred years) build the empire back to what it was before the rupture. They will rush to the aid of anyone if it directly or indirectly threatens Sanctuary. An example would be that if a Tiefling were found to be in the marketplace they would find out why they were there and if they had anything to do with the constant goblin raids. They want to see an increase of expansion. They have a standing offer that if someone clears a section of ruins of monsters and problems, they will patrol that area as part of the city, and the person that clears the area will own it. They prefer martial tactics to magical force, they also respect honor. Their allies are the Knights of the Heavens. They despise keeping secrets and "dishonorable" tactics used by the Keepers of the Many Eyed, and the Shadow Ken.

Knights of the Heavens
These defenders of justice follow a strict code of conduct with many rules and regulation. Though there are a few dragonborn within their ranks, they are mostly human and half-elven. Because they value honor, their goals are pretty simple and are summarized in their maxim: "I am sworn to uphold justice while doing no wrong and to expose evil and triumph over it." They would rather die than break any of the rules of their code, in the case where the rules conflict they choose the greater good, then do a penance for not following the lesser rule. They like the sense of honor the defenders have, but they feel they are lax in their discipline. Like the defenders they hate dishonorable groups like the Shadow Ken, and the Keepers of the Many Eyed. They also dislike the frost heart, whom they think will eschew any honor so that they can solve a problem.

Shadow ken
The shadow ken are a group of secretive thieves and rogues. They enjoy trickery and larceny. They ally themselves with those that have secrets, and those that will reward them for their help. If they were to see a Tiefling being accosted in the marketplace by a defender, just to make the defenders mad, they would find a way of distracting the defender to let the Tiefling get away. They operate a thieves guild under in the tunnels under Sanctuary. The Defenders and the Knights of the Heavens have tried to clear them out, but all they do is kill the weak of their group, and the strong get away forming an even more tightly knit society. The defenders have bartered a truce with them, that they won't openly plot against the expansion of the city in exchange that the tunnels will be their property, and they will be the law down there. They run the black markets, and though you might be able to get a discount from them for goods and services, you might end up dead or with an empty money pouch on your way out. They are not to be taken lightly by anyone with any sense, and only the most desperate make deals with them. They dislike the Defenders, and hate the Knights of the Heavens. They make deals constantly with the Frost Heart, and the Keepers of the Many Eyed.

The Keeper of the Many Eyed
This secretive cult is rumored to be made up of some of the nobles and richer merchants of the city, no one knows which nobles and merchants or whether any nobles or merchants belong to this group. They venerate the "all powerful" beholder as a being of purest creation. It is even rumored that a beholder is their leader, but few know what this group want or are. They are simply rumored to exist within the walls of Sanctuary. They dislike the defenders and Knights of the Heavens, because they consider them meddlers. They sometimes have dealings with the frost heart, mostly because they will do anything to accomplish their goals.

Moradin's Anvil (Anvil Mountains)

Moradin's Anvil is a large stretch of mountains rising out of the wolf plains to the north of the Shattered City. The stand tall and imposing. According to legend this ranged of maintains is where Moradin forged the dwarves. He took his mighty hammer and slammed it down on the mountain crashing rocks and gems down from its heights. He then took those pieces up and putting them back on the mountain slammed his hammer down again and again until the pieces were small enough and hard enough that they could be used, then he infused life into them with his fiery breath. This is where the dwarves get the saying "If Moradin himself couldn't separate the stubbornness of the stone from the dwarves what makes you think you have a chance?"

Giants rampaged south a few thousand years after this. They enslaved the dwarves and made them work their arms and armor. They also made them build their great stone halls. They Dwarves slowly came to master fire, stone, and metal. Moradin seeing their suffering promised them he would free them from their torment when they had suffered under the rule of the giants for a thousand years. When the thousand years were up the dwarves had all but forgotten the prophecy. Thoradin Thundergold rose up and became powerful in the ways of the dwarves and secretly taught them the ways of battle, after another fifty years the dwarves rose up and drove the giants from the mountains.

The Dwarves tunneled intricate networks of cities within the mountain long before the time of the empire. When the empire rose to power the dwarves thought "ah just another human kingdom that will see dust long before any of ours do." Alas, they were wrong. The human empire expanded until it was at the foot of Moradin's Anvil. The Dwarves realizing their error, made a deal with the empire, they would keep their sovereignty in exchange for a hundred years of service from the hundred greatest Dwarven stone masons currently living. Thus started the great building of the empire. The Shattered City was built up with stone from the mountain carted hundreds of miles to build castles courtyards and any structure that would house anyone with citizenship within the city known now as the Shattered City. The Dwarves were responsible for the great walls that rose up around the inner capital. They were known as the giant walls for they were almost as tall as a giant.

After the fall of the empire enterprising dwarves started to take back the stone from the once mighty city. To this day you can still see dwarven stone masons searching through the city for choice and rare stone.

Before the rupture (when the empire was torn from one end to the other with war with the Infernal) several armies were sent to train outside the fighting at the foot of the Anvil they were going to be an elite reserve force. The rupture happened so fast that they were forgotten. Their orders were to train until they were given the order to return. They did this waiting anxiously for the order, but the order never came. The capital city was besieged and no one could leave at first, but then the fighting became desperate. Infernals could warp time and space and appear almost anywhere. finally the empire was barely triumphant, but with the emperor dead and his sons tearing the empire apart the armies were forgotten. The descendants of those armies still reside at the foot of the Anvil awaiting orders from the empire to return and defend the city. They are a militaristic band of humans, elves, and half-elves. They still hold themselves to be an army even though their armor is mostly hide, and their weapons are made of stone or crude metals. They train themselves still, and one of their number is not considered an adult until they kill an opponent in battle. They constantly find themselves at war with the Gnolls that wander the plains. They value honoring the empire and the rules of the elite armies over everything else. They await the day when the empire will rise again.

The dwarves view the armies of the broken mountain, as they are known, as little more than an oddity. They respect their dedication to their cause, but also wonder why they still honor it, the empire is long dead and will never rise again.

The years following the rupture saw the dwarves numbers dwindled due to famine and disease and entire cities were abandoned. Fell creatures now walk the abandoned homes of the dwarves. The dwarves have attempted to reclaim sections of the old halls, with little success. Finally they have offered an open reward for anyone willing to help clear out the fell creatures that inhabit the abandoned mines and homes.