Echoes of the Rising
-The Fat One, member of the Blackbear Mercenaries
(Taddol Alchemist 4)
The Order of the Violet Flame was founded at the end of The Pulse Wars by the signing of The Violet Accord. The Order is comprised from members from all factions and accepts anyone willing to uphold its tenants. Its directive is to maintain peace between the nations struggling for control in Abyrinth. Ishyna Ravenlock leads The Order and serves as the unofficial ruler of Dawns Hope. By writ of The Violet Accord The Order has control of Dawns Hope and it’s Puddles. The majority of the funds needed to maintain itself comes from tolls required to use the gateways.
Despite its best efforts, The Order of the Violet Flame is unable to police all of Abyrinth. While it technically has unlimited Jurisdiction in Abyrinth, outside the walls of Dawns Hope its ability to enforce law is limited. Lacking the man power to directly challenge the larger factions or patrol the massive landscape, The Order instead relies on its control of Dawns Hope to keep the peace.
By writ of The Violet Accord The Order performs official investigations and has the authority to make binding judgments. Disputing parties often turn to The Order for help. When major factions are involved this is accomplished by granting more or less access to the Puddles, increasing or decreasing taxes and tolls, limiting or granting access to areas of Dawns Hope, or in extreme circumstances takes the form of granting Territories. While it is officially within their power to take territories away it is as of yet unknown how this would be enforced without sufficient military support.
The Union is suggested to be the most powerful Empire. Jezal dan Luthar serves as its Emperor and reigns over his territory from The Crossroads, the second largest city in Abyrinth. It’s citizens consider themselves to be the “civilized” members of the accord, while from the outside the other factions consider them to be frivolous and snub nosed condescenders. It has a rich culture of dancing, music, and art but is typically only enjoyed by its middle and upper class. It also boasts several influential schools and universities where anyone with enough money or power can educate themselves.
It populace lives in a feudal system who’s citizenship and nobility is inherited by blood. It hosts complex and detailed law system which is strictly enforced, and gives rights to its people based on their station. For the same crime a commoner would receive a stronger punishment than a citizen, who would be punished more than a noble, and so on. The consequences for breaking the law are often harsh but almost always include the option of paying monetary fine instead.
A growing group of “malcontents” calling themselves “The People’s Union” is the current issue this faction is facing. Once led by a well spoken man named Fenris, it had been attempting to use collective bargaining to gain class reform. After the suspicious death of their leader, however, the group has grown increasingly more militant. Tensions are high and expected to turn violent soon.
An alliance of several nations, The Clans were formed during the Pulse Wars as an alliance of mutual benefit, but has grown into a cohesive faction with a strong bond. This faction was granted a long strip of territory along Tiamut’s Spine, and most notably controls “The Eye” – a tunnel that travels through the mountain range (*See Notation for more details). Over the last century they have constructed a fortress of immense size, strength, and craftsmanship around “The Eye”, and today The Eye refers to both the fortress city and the tunnel. Only surpassed by the architecture of Dawns Hope, even the universities of The Union use The Eye as an example of modern engineering.
Of the major factions they are the least active in political affairs. Content to explorer and build, this secretive faction generally stays within the confines of Tiamut’s Spine and their territory. Obviously self sufficient, supply trains between Dawns Hope and The Eye are rare.
Consisting of kingdoms and tribes from several worlds, The Clans consist of mostly “earthen” races. Gnomes, Dwarves, and even some Drow populate this faction.
*The Eye: The Eye is a tunnel that stretches for hundreds of miles beneath the enormous peaks of Tiamut’s Spine. It was not built by The Clans, but instead was discovered when the denizens of the multiverse first started exploring after The Pulse. Despite its enormous length, it is perfectly straight, not straying a hair off course. This immediately attracted the attention of the “earthen” races. The Clans have spent countless years and man power building the fortress that surrounds the tunnel, and the two are now synonymous. It was their intention to build a sister fortress on the other side of the tunnel, but the constant attacks by Abyrinth’s bizarre and powerful predators has prevented much progress from being made. Fortunately none seem interested in traveling back south and threatening the southern continent.
Made up of a collection of nomadic tribes, the Plainswalkers are a druidic people. Their territory is the largest of all the factions, and is named “The Green Sea”. It covers the majority of the central continent and stretches from Abyrinth’s Jungle all the way to its southern coast. They do not enjoy the concept of “land ownership” but are not so stubborn as to deny the necessity of The Violet Accord and the work of its order.
While not hostile, they are distrusting of outsiders. None the less they contribute a great deal to the world economy, as The Green Sea is a fertile and rich land. Lacking in modern advancements, they trade with the outside world for new tools and equipment in exchange for crops and other natural resources.
The Plainswalkers are governed by a council whose members are a collection of elders from all the tribes. Strangely, however, all the council members are quadruped hybrids. Although mostly consisting of centaurs, a few of its members exhibit an even stranger form. Their chieftain, Greyton Deepstride, is an imposing figure with the body of a white haired mammoth and the torso of a goliath. Although a soft spoken leader, he commands great respect among his people.
This seafaring kingdom controls the Iron Isles, a territory of islands located off the south western coast of Abyrinth. A difficult people to get along with their culture has a strong Might-Makes-Right mentality. Those with weak wills and weak arms are advised not to visit their territory. As part of their joining The Accord, the Kingdom of Sachelas was allowed to keep their system of “lawmaking” as long as they understood it did not apply outside of their islands or along the oceanic trade routes.
Their government is a collection of City-States who are in a constant state of warfare with each other. All attempts to quell this violence by The Order of the Violet Flame has been ignored. Frustrating The Order, the Kingdom of Sachelas correctly points out that their directive is to keep peace between the different factions, not prevent intra-faction violence. They also vehemently deny any claims that they are in a civil war, as this bloody rivalry is simply a part of their culture – something they are very proud of, and tend to consider those who disagree as weak cowards and worthy only of slavery.
Each City-State is governed by a collection of Admirals. The majority of the male population mans their fleets, each sailor often belonging to the same crew from puberty til his (likely early) death. Its by distinguishing oneself as an “earner” that they advance themselves. Sometimes this is as a trader, merchant, fisherman, or other proffesional. Most often this is by taking something from someone else. One becomes a captain by taking a ship, or even becomes Admiral by killing the previous one.
Not surprisingly, the Kingdom of Sachelas is the primary supplier of slaves, drugs, and other illicit goods throughout Abyrinth.
A collection of savage races, this “faction” is one of the few majors powers who have refused The Accord. It consists of Ogres, Giants, Orcs, Bugbears, True Goblins, Hobgoblins, and other nefarious races. During The Pulse Wars this alliance was formed and led by a tactically brilliant ogre chieftain named Black Dow. Knowing their inability to work together, he kept the individual races organized into smaller and highly mobile regiments while employing guerrilla tactics and fear mongering. Despite their smaller numbers, this savage faction proved to be a powerful force with his guidance.
However, as the war grew to a close, Black Dow knew that victory was impossible. Faced with the knowledge that The Accord would unite the other factions against them Black Dow committed his alliance to The Accord. Outraged, several of the other racial leaders (Already spiteful of his power over them) plotted and executed his assassination. Without his firm grip on the tenuous alliance the individual armies quickly turned on each other. And while they fought all the other factions made peace together under The Accord, just as Black Dow had feared.
The decades following The Accord many attempts were made to eradicate the remains of Black Dow’s Fist. Despite several victories over them, each faction in The Accord suffered greatly for their efforts. Every member of Black Dow’s Fist they fell often cost them 3. Unfortunately he had organized and trained them well. Each of his armies where highly mobile and existed in terrain designed to match their strengths.
It was finally decided that the remains of Black Dow’s Fist was no longer strong enough to pose a serious threat to over all world peace. And as such the campaign to eradicate them has diminished to near the point of non-existence. To this day it’s members and their descendants still raid and pillage whenever the ignorant or foolish venture too close to their territories, but are not so foolish as to provoke the ire of the larger factions.
Although not truly a faction, nor even an official member of The Accord, The Banking House of Valiant and Bold holds as much if not more power than the other major factions. This unique bank dominates the economy and has influential ties with anyone who is anyone. A “neutral” party during The Pulse Wars, BVB gave enormous loans to those who needed them. With what seemed like a nearly bottomless pocketbook BVB funded nearly every army to set foot on Abyrinth’s soil. BVB now uses these debts to give itself a strong position of power and influence in nearly every government and territory.
It wasn’t until well into the war that the factions discovered a startling detail about The Banking House of Valiant and Bold. BVB already had branches set up in nearly every major world prior to The Pulse. As multi-planar corporation, BVB found itself in a position of great power when the gateways to Abyrinth were opened. Stranger still is the fact the the individual branches had been unaware they had sister banks in other worlds. It is still unknown who operates at the top levels of BVB.
The Banking House of Valiant and Bold is operated primarily by high-goblins and boggles. Elves, Half-Dragons, and other races have been employed as account managers for the larger accounts, but most of BVB’s day to day operations and public dealings are managed by the goblinoids.
BVB also owns and manages all the Halfling Employment Contracts. Greatly frowned upon by The Order of the Violet Flame and other anti-slavery cultures, BVB has never compromised nor negotiated its practices with any other governing body. BVB refutes all claims they are practicing slavery, and indeed the Halfling “servants” they “manage” unilaterally claim that the situation is not only their choice but desired.
The Free Cities
The Blackbear Mercenaries
The Ogre Nation
The Forest Dwellers