The wars of Zerse
At the end of the last age, the gods of ancient time returned to the land and to the peoples of Zerse. Their return heralded the beginning of the current age: the age of the Return. Angels had preceded the gods, foretelling of the Return and spreading knowledge of the gods and of the terrible war that had destroyed the heavens. The scattered people flocked to the banners of the many gods and soon the battle lines had been drawn anew; But this time they were drawn on the fields and shores of Zerse.
The first battle of the Deific Wars on Zerse was the Battle of Terra Rending. The gods had not known the effects their strength would have on the fragile lands of Zerse, and when the dust settle from the initial engagement, whole lands had vanished or been thrown half a world away. The war dragged on for centuries, and the face of Zerse could no longer be recognised from maps of the previous age. After the second century, even the peoples who inhabited the land began to change.
In the year 281 of the age of the return, the Battle of Reaping waged on the Fields of the Twice Dead. The Raven Queen, god of death and winter, slew Margnath, the god of undeath. After the battle, the Raven Queen claimed the lands of Ice in the north of Zerse for her own and pledged Neutrality. After two centuries of war, the domain of death had grown strong, and now that it had one ruler, no other god dared challenge her. The city of Ashgar was founded at the edge of the Fields of the Twice Dead and the Raven Queen’s followers imposed peace on those small lands.
The war raged on for another century before anyone bothered to record any battle or event. In the third century, the war was changed forever by the death of a minor god. Feilis, god of the hearth and of family was killed in a small skirmish in an island kingdom that no longer exists and whose name has been forgotten. Feilis’ death shook the other gods because he had been killed by a mortal. Gordon Naxean, a member of the anarchist order of knights known as the Knights of the White Lily, had proven to all creatures of Zerse that a god could be slain by mortal hands. After this news had spread, the gods retreated from the fields of battle and went about trying to learn Naxean and the White Lily’s secret.
It has been two centuries since that day, and the White Lily has slain three more gods. No god will show his face in battle, and few will show themselves in public. The kingdoms have been turned over to the half-blood children of the gods. The two sides of the war have opened their own institutes where mortals are trained and empowered to try and learn the secret of the White Lily; and aside from rare occasions, the battles of the war are fought by these highly trained specialist troops. Every able-bodied man and woman considered testing for these institutes, because the rewards given to the members are extravagant, but few succeed. As time passes, the numbers accepted have continued to decline and many people believe that the gods must soon give up on their hopes.
A timeline of common knowledge.
(0 AR) The Age of the Returned begins when the angels return to Zerse, spreading the word of the gods and foretelling their return.
(10 AR) The gods gather the armies of Zerse and meet on the battlefield in the Battle of Terra Rending.
The Storm Mother brings the merfolk from the depths of the oceans to fight for her.
(134 AR) The Sylvan gods engage in battle in the Feywild. After the battle, Elandon emerges and unites the sylvan peoples for the first time since the Dawn War.
(281 AR) The Raven Queen slays the god of the undeath in the fields of the twice buried and declares neutrality. The city of Ashgar is founded by the Raven queens followers, creating a refuge for the war torn land.
(322 AR) The repository of knowledge is invaded by Rasuul, the Nightstalker. Ioun, god of knowledge and magic forgoes neutrality to seek vengeance on Rasuul.
(327 AR) The gnomes emerge from their underground homes and lead an attack on the temples of the Nightstalker. Armed with the devastating power of boom powder, the knowledge of which was given to them by Ioun, the gnomes level the temple of Midnight.
(~390 AR) Feilis, god of the hearth is slain by the Mortal Captain Gordon Naxean of the Order of the White Lily. The Gods flee the fields of battle.
(418 AR) The Order of the White Lily strikes a second time, slaying Nix, god of games and challenges. There were no witnesses to this event, only the bed of white lilies Nix was found in gave a clue to his murderers.
(434 AR) The god of fish and gold betrays Procella and gives her domains to Ignis.
The pantheon of chaos:
Ignis “The Everflame”
Ignis is the god of fire and earth and is known as the Everflame. Passion, violence and destruction are the qualities he prizes in his followers. Ignis is unforgiving of weakness, and rewarding of shows of force. He is the leader of the gods who fight against the goddess Procella. Deserts, volcanos, tall mountains and underground tunnels are the lands from which Ignis draws his power. His holy symbol is face made of flame.
Elendon “THE Beauty”
The god of life, Elendon favors those who heal, grow or create life. She is known as The Beauty, and it is said that the sight of her stills mortal hearts. Plants and animals are her children, and are cared for by her followers. Elendon is also the goddess of sexuality, beauty and fertility. Pregnant mothers say prayers to her for healthy children and easy labors. Elendon and her followers find forests to be ideal homes. Her holy symbol is a willow tree.
Rasuul is the god of chaos and darkness. He is known as Nightstalker by those who find themselves alone in the night. All those who employ chance, fear, secrets, deception, illusion, trickery or subterfuge will pray to Rasuul, and hope for his favor. Creatures of the night, mad with hatred, are counted among his followers. The nature of Rasuul’s minions makes any and all lands home to them. No one knows, and everyone fears who might be a follower of the Nightstalker. His holy symbol is a lop-sided die.
The pantheon of good:
Procella “Storm Mother”
The god of storms, Procella is ruler of the seas and driver of the winds. Change, freedom and courage are her tenants, and her followers are free spirits. Her fury is manifest in gigantic hurricanes that roll off of the sea and ravage the land. The merfolk are her chosen people, brought from the depths to fight for her. Her holy symbol is a face made of black storm clouds blowing wind from its mouth.
Ioun “of one thousand eyes”
Ioun is the god of knowledge and magic. Known as “thousand eyed one” or the god “of a thousand eyes”, his sight is said to reach to every corner of Zerse. History, learning and skill are the things valued by his people. Mages and scholars revere Ioun and collect long forgotten secrets in his name. Ioun is also the god of fate. Prophecy and fortune are tools of his followers and used by them with peerless skill. His holy symbol is an unlit candle with eyes inscribed into it.
Jor “Blade of light”
The god of light and law is known well for his uncompromising pursuit of justice and balance. Jor is said to hold the sun over the world each day, only putting it down when he catches sight of Rasuul, his hated rival. Jor is the protector of the people, bringing them justice and truth. He requires purity and order from his followers, and brings a harsh judgement on those who fail him. His holy symbol is a double edged sword of pure light.
The Raven Queen
The god of death, winter and in control of the domain of undeath. The Raven Queen is commonly known as the single most powerful god on Zerse. With the power of the domain of death, she has glutted on the energy of the war and claimed the northern tundra as her domain. She supposedly resides in the city of Ashgar, on the fields of the twice buried. Her followers, known as ferrymen (regardless of sex), are welcomed in every kingdom on Zerse because both sides of the war fear her ire. Most people pray to the Raven Queen to ferry their dead safely to the afterlife. Her holy symbol is the jet black feather of a raven.
The eastern kingdoms are located on the hundred island chains found in the seas of the east and are ruled by the gods of good: Procella, Ioun and Jor. The hundred island chains are made of the land shards left after the early years of the war. Together these gods make up the pantheon of good and the eastern kingdoms are the lands of their people. The eastern land is mostly tropical islands with minimal tree cover..
Ruled by Prolly, son of Procella, Procia is the greatest of the eastern kingdoms. Home to the Mer, Procia is the center of trade and ruler of the fifty seas. Home to the great city of Divinities reach, boasting a population of over a hundred thousand. Procia is the largest of the eastern kingdoms and claims to be the wealthiest of nations due to its control of sea trade.
Founded by Ioun, Krapsi is a tiny kingdom, consisting of only three islands. The capital city of Merth is the only notable landmark in the Kingdom. Merth is the location of the second repository and home of the gnomish race. The secrets held in the repository make the city a powerful ally to its neighbors, and a dangerous enemy to invaders. Krapsi is ruled by Iouns only living daughter, Cealea, the dragon queen. Krapsi holds the front line of the war with the Western empire, using the legions of the the gnomes to patrol the western seas.
Home to the followers of Jor, Guygaxia is a sprawling kingdom of city states, controlled directly by Jors many children, legitimately sired by his many wives. Oced is the capital city of Guygaxia. It is lead personally by Jor in the sun throne. Oced is the home of the three knightly orders of Guygaxia; the order of faith, the order of hope and the order of charity.
The order of faith is an order or knights devoted to spreading the word of Jor and bringing his justice to other lands. They are the ambassadors of the guygaxian empire
The order of Hope is an order of knights devoted to protecting the kindom of Guygaxia and, to a lesser extent, the eastern kingdoms as a whole. Focused on foreign threats, the knights of Hope are often found in other kingdoms, bolstering the defences of the islands on the outskirts of the eastern kingdoms.
The order of Charity is an order of knights devoted to the people of Guygaxia. Serving domestically to aid the people in both mundane and theological problems. The knights of Charity are the leaders of the temples of light. The knights of Charity are
The dwarves of Zerse were isolated in the age before the gods returned. This isolation protected them and preserved their culture. When the angels came and the gods marched to war, the dwarves were one of the strongest armies on the field. Unfortunately dwarves were found on both sides of the field. After a few years of war, hatreds and grudges were cemented between dwarven clans that may never be forgotten. To this day the various clans of dwarves are found on either side of the war, and each clan holds a list of grudges longer than their beards. Dwarven clans are spread far and wide, taking up any hold that they can find. In the eastern kingdoms, dwarven holds can be found under almost every city. Known for their masterful engineering, dwarves find work easily and are welcome all across the land.
Torn from lives of peace by a savage and unyielding war, halflings almost wiped out in the first century of this age. What halflings survived became a vicious lot of dangerous folk. Suspicious of everyone, and armed to the teeth, Halflings became feared and overwhelmingly successful bandits. For a century their small population allowed them to stay out of the war, while feeding off its supplies and living in between both forces. The refuge granted to them by the Raven Queen and her followers in the city of Ashgar was a revolution among the halflings. Finally free to relax and give up fighting, most Halflings returned to peaceful life with eagerness. Some halflings however did not trust peace, and would not give up their lives of banditry and distrust. Most halflings found in the lands of either kingdom are nomadic thieves and are distrusted by all sources of authority. Still the largest population of halflings can be found in the lands of the north living peaceful lives adapted to the cold weather.
Humans have proven their adaptability and resourcefulness in this age. They can be found in any kingdom and of various stations within them. The populations of the human race have been severely crippled by the war, and with no kingdom of their own, no center of human culture exists to begin replenishing them.
After the return of the gods, the dragons of Zerse fled the land in fear of the power the gods wielded. Where the dragons have gone is a mystery to all. A mystery the dragonborn are most driven to unravel. Dragonborn are found on both sides of the war, choosing independently which gods to follow. This however does not prohibit them from sharing knowledge about the mysterious departure of the dragons. This willingness to communicate across battlelines is unique to the dragonborn race and it often distrusted by the other races. Few people would call a dragonborn a traitor to their face, but many do so behind their backs.
The gnomish people were the last race to enter into the war, over three centuries after it began. Held up in their underground homes they call ‘holes’, the gnomes stubbornly refused to leave, even after entire cities were buried by the rending of the land. Only after Ioun adopted the gnomes and offered to them forgotten secrets, did the gnomes march to war. Dispite their late entry, the gnomes have made their mark on the war. Leading successful campaign after successful campaign, the gnomes seemed like they might win the war for the gods of good. Only after Rasuul, the nightstalker himself tricked, or seduced a few leaders of the gnomish army and stole the secrets of boom powder, were the forces of evil able to stop the gnomes. To this day the gnomes are considered some of the most feared warriors on Zerse.
The Merfolk, or Mer as they are more commonly called, are the chosen people of Procella, the storm mother. After five centuries at the surface of the ocean, the Mer have adapted to the land. Most Mer have legs, originally gifts from Procella to use in fighting the war. Now only a few “pure” lines of Mer have the natural tails of their ancestors. The Mer are known for their fast sea travel, used mostly to transport goods around the eastern kingdoms. This has brought a new meaning to the title Mer-chant. Few seacraft can rival a Mercraft in the open sea, and none are manned by crew as at home there. That means that the Mer-chants of the eastern kingdoms have few rivals and are very successful. So successful that some forget how fierce the Mer are in battle. That being so, the Mer are quick to pick up a spear to remind the other races who are the chosen of the storm mother.
As a Merfolk you gain the following racial traits:
Ability score adjustment: Your dexterity and charisma scores increases by 1
Speed: 30 feet (land); 30 feet (water)
Low-light vision: You can see in dim light as well as you do in bright light.
Mer Weapon Affinity: You gain proficiency with the spear, trident and net. While underwater, you gain advantage on attacks made with these weapons.
The Voice: Once per day, you can use your action to imbue your singing voice with the magic of your heritage. The sound is entrancing to mortal creatures. When you use The Voice, choose a creature that can hear you within 50 ft., the creature makes a wisdom saving throw, the DC for the save is 8+ your charisma modifier, the creature has advantage for the save. If the creature fails the save, it is charmed by you for half an hour or until you or your friends do anything harmful to it. The creature regards you as a friendly acquaintance.
Trance: Merfolk do not need to sleep. Instead, they meditate deeply for 4 hours a day. (The Common word for such meditation is “trance.”) While meditating, you can dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive through years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit that a human does from 8 hours of sleep. While meditating you can maintain a circular motion underwater to keep water moving through your gills.
Languages: You speak read and write Common and Elvish.
In their long-standing war many Deities have assumed personified forms to better
command the battlefield. In accordance with natural law and the proximity of camp followers, this resulted in intermittent half-god children. After five centuries, the blood of the gods has been spread thin and left many Deitish roaming the war-ravaged land. Those of the blood of gods are commonly indifferent towards their children, and so often leave the raising of them to the mortal parent. These consummate bastards gain little of their forebears power; aside from glowing a bit and having an oft-regretted propensity to draw Godly attention.
As a Deit-ish, you have the following racial traits:
Ability Score Adjustment: Your charisma score increases by 2.
Speed: 30 feet.
Your affinity with the Gods facilitates an indirect connection to their power. You can use your action to sacrifice an object you’re touching, destroying it in exchange for a blast of destructive energy from the gratified God. The 5 × 30 ft. line of elemental power has a Dex save, taking 2d6 damage on a failed roll and half as much on a successful save. The damage increases to 3d6 at 6th level, 4d6 at 11th level, and 5d6 at 16th level.After a sacrifice the Gods tire of you and you cannot regain their attention until after completing a short or long rest.
Touched by divinity, you can glow slightly in a 10 foot radius and have resistance to radiant damage. You appear vaguely to be carved of marble and have an overall aura of awe. Despite your general resentment that this difference was inherited from your absentee parent, other creatures look upon you with varying degrees of wonder.
Language: You speak common. Often bitterly.
Background: Statuesque (Dietish only)
As a glowing Deit-ish you’ve lead a fairly lawless youth. Sustenance was typically a smoldering look away—whether the subject was afraid you had favor in the eyes of the gods, or was simply struck with awe. This lead to a combined arrogance and isolation, whence you often spent time alone, wandering nearby orchards and hacking at branches ‘to hone your skills as a fighter’.
Trait – Simpering Layabout
You find it easy to ingratiate yourself with people, and can frequently gain small favors with a simple smile and statuesque pose. This works particularly well among members of the opposite sex, although is by no means gender specific. On the other hand, every once in a while someone will randomly balk at your persuasive air and hate you utterly. You can sustain yourself on hand outs and favors in settled lands. You can often convince locals to provide a loft or barn for yourself and some allies to spend a night. You gain advantage on checks to improve a creatures moods towards you.
Skills: Persuasion, Intimidation, Athletics
Tools: Weight lifting apparatuses, Fishing gear
Fine Clothes, Steel Mirror, Fishing Tackle, Fine Clothes, Pouch (For receipt of gifts), Angsty Sighs, 138 gp
These once friendly forest folk have been tossed about in the turmoil of the centuries old war on Zerse. In the early years of the war, the Satyr followed the goddess of their forest homes and defended their fey neighbors. When their goddess mysteriously died in battle, they blamed Elendon, then the goddess of beauty and fertility. After Elendon claimed the domain of life and took charge over the forests the elves and many other fey followed her. The Satyr however forsook the deep forest and departed from their neighbors in search of a god to take back the domain of life from the goddess they believe betrayed them. Joining the battle on the side of the gods of good, the Satyr have avoided the front lines of the war where they might be faced by their old friends. The Satyr people have taken responsibility for the woodlands in the eastern kingdoms and become respected and valued members of their communities.
As a Satyr, you gain the following racial traits:
Ability score adjustment: Your constitution and wisdom scores increase by one.
Speed: 30 feet.
Low-light vision: You can see in dim light as well as you do in bright light.
Strength of heritage: You have advantage on Intelligence (nature) and Wisdom (animal handling) checks.
Fey Ancestry: You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic cannot put you to sleep.
Light of heart: You have advantage on saving throws against fear effects and you maximize any hit dice you use during a short rest.
Ram charge: You can use your action to charge a creature and if the attack hits, make a strength check with advantage contested by the creatures strength or dexterity check (the creatures choice), if you win the contest you can push the creature one square and knock them prone. You then cannot use Ram charge until you complete a short or long rest.
On a large island in the eastern kingdom, in the shadow of the White Spear mountains, rests a town called Tull. Tull is overseen by Barron Phelon Hevenson and his wife, Baroness June. Phelon and June are legitimate Deitish from the line of procella. They oversee the ranchers council who address issues in Tull. The Hevensons have the authority to govern Tull without the approval of the council, as given to them by the kingdom, yet they have never exercised that power. Phelon also uses their house guard force to police the town, maintaining the peace and protecting the homes of the citizens. With an approximate population of four hundred, it is a well established town. Tull is known for its live stock and fruit orchards. The ranches of Tull are the only place in the eastern kingdom where muffer birds are bred and raised. Muffer birds are a large predatory bird, prized for their intelligence and use as mounts across the island kingdoms. They stand between six and seven feet tall, weigh roughly four hundred pounds and are entirely flightless. Prized for their speed and intelligence, muffers are valuable mounts who travel much better than other riding animals on the seas of the eastern kingdoms. The town of Tull has a minor tourist attraction for the muffer birds and, less officially, for the illegal muff races. Though these races are illegal, they are seen as harmless and rarely complained about or persecuted by the local lords. Other trade in Tull take place in the town center around the extravagant statue of a muffer bird placed over the town well. Jack Fleetfoot, dwarven owner of the inn “the Creamy Fox”, sells a rather famous stew to the traders and tourists that visit the town. Few people know the secret of the stew, but everyone agrees it is worth the trip to try. Tull is otherwise surrounded by orchards and other small forest groves, left to support small animal populations for the muffer birds to feed on.
Important people in Tull:
Phelon and June Hevenson
Phelon and June are the beloved lords of Tull. They remain apart from the citizens without being exclusive. Thier manor house is outside of town, in the orchards they oversee. June hosts seasonal festivals at their manor house and grounds.
Captain Rolf Laurelless
Rolf is the human captain of the guard house belonging to the Hevenson house. He has been charged with overseeing the town of Tull in addition to the grounds of manor Hevenson. He has gained a reputation for fairness and is generally trusted by the townsfolk. He captains a guard force of 15 men and hires more men around harvest season to help protect out lying farms from bandits.
Jack is the dwarven innkeeper of the Creamy Fox inn and tavern. He is the face of Tull for the tourist crowd and has managed to make the name of his inn well known in the region. Jack is always welcoming to his customers and possesses an impeccable memory for names. The Creamy Fox first opened four years ago, after Jack’s husband passed away and left him a widower. Jack speaks freely about his husband and seems to have survived his spouse well.
Waven is the owner of a smithy in the town square of Tull. Waven’s skill with metal is average but his real skill is in the artistry of his work. Wavern never turns out a product without some adornment, and all of his work is possessed of an elegance that is as good as a signature. Waven has worked in Tull since his father lost the use of his arm and Waven had to take over his fathers business. Today Waven works to feed his wife and son as well as his crippled father.
Ty is the leader of the plains druids who live outside of Tull. The Druids of Sunlight are favored by the people of Tull for aiding in the raising of the orchards and muffers. Ty is considered social in contrast to the reclusive druids of his circle.