D&D, RPG, Story, Writing

Welcome to Iyastera

Welcome to Iyastera.  These lands were once lush and prosperous, inundated with a natural magic that graced fields, forests, and seas with an abundance that sustained its people for generations. As civilizations and kingdoms grew, treaties and political alliances became strained, eventually reaching a boiling point and erupting into a war now known as The Severing.
Centuries have passed since the end of The Severing, which wreaked havoc across the four kingdoms–  Moineir, Tashkil, Jokull, and Ilha– and saw alliances torn asunder. Resources were pulled from towns and settlements at alarming rates and any identified magi were enlisted (usually forcefully) to fight for their respective kings. Before long, they were treated as little more than weapons.
After the sixth year, the war ended suddenly with an arcane blast felt across the realm, leaving scars on the land now sucked dry of its natural magic. No one claimed responsibility and, when the dust settled, the kingdom of Jokull had disappeared without a trace. Links to other realms were broken and the gods themselves fell silent. Still in a state of shock, the other kingdoms moved to depose of what remained of the royal families and pick up the pieces of a broken world.
The kingdoms were rebuilt as political centers of influence, with surrounding provinces. Capital cities are now under the guidance of Councils, rather than a royal family, made up of a representative from each native race. These organizations monitor the post-war reconstruction of the realm and have mandated that every magic user must henceforth be registered with their parent Council. Upon registration, a magus is granted a set of enchanted leather cuffs, with the symbols of their school of magic (whether arcane, natural, or divine) and the kingdom from which they hail. Registration permits the use of official schooling and resources, but also comes with automatic consent to monitoring and geographic restriction– If you are not registered within a kingdom, the cuffs will prevent you from casting within its boundaries.
As you might imagine, not everyone is content with this new mandate and opposing factions have begun to form. Now that the realm is finally healing and enjoys some semblance of peace,  the magic is replenishing and threads of discord are beginning to reawaken.

This is the introduction that I usually send my new players, to introduce them to the general themes of the realm of Iyastera. Once they begin formulating ideas for their PC and where they might be from, I work with them one-on-one to “drill down” through the more detailed layers of the world.

The Kingdoms:

Today, the Kingdoms are more like political centers of influence, with surrounding provinces. Capital cities are under the guidance of councils, rather than a royal family, made up of a representative from each native race.

Aberdeenshire_Watercolor World
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017 | Licence: All Rights Reserved

Moineirs lush green forests and fields create an ideal environment for agriculture and equestrianism, and the inhabitants live in a state of easy harmony with the bountiful lands around them. Elfkind predominantly live in their forest haven city, Glenfaera, but often keep a presence in the capital to support their participation in the council. The High Council is made up of representation from each race, from each kingdom, and is dedicated to maintaining balance and peace. Magic users are more welcome here (if they follow the proper regulations) and many refugees from Jokull migrated here during the war, with Tashkil being far less welcoming and Ilha being too far away.

  • Economy: agriculture, equestrianism, woodwork
  • Native Races: Elf, Human, Halfling, Firbolg
  • Former ruling family: House Cairdas
Egypt_Watercolor World.PNG
© Trustees of the British Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Tashkil exhibits a dramatic landscape of rugged mountains, vast plains, and arid deserts. The inhabitants of this realm are just as rugged and diverse as the land they call home, and make a living through mining, pottery, and stonework. The Tashkili are master craftsmen and their goods are highly valued by foreign traders and collectors alike. The past ruling family valued hard work and mastering one’s craft, a philosophy that still influences the culture today. They felt as though the natural world represented both a treasure to be harvested and a test to strengthen you, and the excessive manipulation of that energy was frowned upon. Be that as it may, there are certain cities and regions within Tashkil where magic is more acceptable.

  • Economy: mining, stonework, pottery, precious ores
  • Native races: Dwarf, Goliath, Lizardfolk, Gnome, Tieflings
  • Former ruling family: House Sahalia
Madeira_Watercolor World.PNG
Out of Copyright. Image courtesy of the National Library of Australia. | Licence: Public Domain

Ilha: this grouping of islands are characterized by their rocky cliffs and robust forests. This kingdom’s trade lies in shipbuilding (the hardwood trees here are perfect for building vessels to weather any storm) and colorful glass made from the coarse, mineral-rich sand found along the coastline. The Tabaxi and Lizardfolk make up the majority of the population, as the island jungles here are their native home. More adventuresome Humans, Elves, and Halflings have also settled along the islands. The magic of Ilha is the wild magic of the sea.

  • Economy: shipbuilding, glass craft
  • Native Races: Tabaxi, Human, Lizardfolk, Elf
  • Former ruling family: House Areissi
Alps_Watercolor World.PNG
image © Trustees of the British Museum | Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Jokull boasted the most intense connection to the natural energy due to its location at the northernmost pole of the earth. Jokull became known not only for it’s cold and unforgiving climate, but also for its expansive libraries and mysterious academies where those with the gift could go to learn and further develop their abilities. The ruling family, House Idreki, developed the Codes of Harmony, and encouraged the responsible use of magic throughout the kingdoms, in order to avoid upsetting the balance of the natural world. Jokull was the largest victim of the war and seemingly has been wiped off the earth. Its status is unknown to the rest of the world.

  • Economy based upon: magical resources, precious ore, forestry
  • Native Races: Dragonborn, Goliath, Human, Dwarf, Gnome, Aasimar
  • Former Ruling Family: House Idreki

 

Magic in the World:

The world is full of magic, but magic itself is raw, pure energy that can then be manipulated into different forms. Magic is given a “flavor” by virtue of the vessel used (magic is not inherently “good” or “evil”).

Perceptions of Magic Users vary. The attitudes of younger generations towards magic range from curious to doubtful, or sometimes apathetic. They won’t care as much about the topic of registration unless it affects them or their families in some way.

Many who were alive during the war are wary of magic, and older individuals will remember the destruction it caused.  Even those who were children at the time will be familiar with the stories and may fear you if you are a Magus. Most of these people will not be openly hostile (depending on the region, city, or kingdom), but may still be untrusting.

Magic users are “born” from either a gained understanding of how to sense and manipulate the magical energy (wizards, bards, etc.) or from an innate intuition/inner source of energy themselves (druids, sorcerers, certain races, etc.). Clerics, Paladins, and other magic users with a divine inspiration still benefit from the graces of their deity, but more as a focus for that sphere of influence. They find inspiration and purpose in representing that domain, but direct communication from their god is rare these days.

Tribes of druids, elves, and other natural magic users, stayed away from the cities and population centers, preferring instead to live peacefully in their mountains, forests, etc., centered around the natural springs of energy that remained. Unfortunately, knowledge of the locations of these springs has been lost and they have faded into myth.

Post-War, magic users are now controlled. Councils of each region register individuals who fit into the categories of Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics, Paladins, and Bards (heavy spell-casters). Druids are still encouraged to register, though the nature of their roles and disciplines already align most of them with the purpose of keeping the peace. Many of these individuals may not be opposed outright to registering but will still prefer to stay more neutral in their actions and views.

When you are registered, you have taken an oath of service and are committed to peacekeeping and safeguarding the kingdom. You have access to formal training and can gain access to controlled supplies that you may need. You are given enchanted leather cuffs are adorned with symbols to show your school of magic, your skill level, and the kingdom to which you are assigned. You also consent to be monitored by the Head Magus of your kingdom and are required to report other magic users you find who are good candidates for training (or who need to be harnessed in some way).

Though each kingdom has adopted Registration, there are still many unregistered magic users, many of which live in the rural and far reaches of the kingdoms. Some are unaware of the registration rules, others resist, either openly or quietly. They may not be able to practice their craft freely or have easy access to training/supplies and must find other ways to learn and assimilate into their communities. There are ways for them to gain the training they need, but they may be forced to adopt a certain level of secrecy when practicing their craft.

 

Next time, we’ll talk about some of the organisations within Iyastera!

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