Monday, August 22, 2016

Magic, Dragons, and Saints in Krevborna

A typical scene of adventure recruitment in Krevborna

More Krevborna setting lore 

Krevbornites react differently to feats of magic depending on the enchantment's apparent provenance. Magic that is connected to the Church's teachings or seems saintly in origin would likely be regarded with awe and reverence. Magic that appears to originate in esoteric study and occult lore will probably arouse suspicion. Magic that carries a whiff of the infernal would certainly cause panic and revulsion, and might possibly result in an angry mob forming or the intercession of the Church's witchfinders. In more rural areas, pagan folk magic often exists uncomfortably side by side with belief in the Church's saints. In Lamashtu, the vampire lords attach no stigma to the use of any form of magic; in Hemlock, witchery and deviltry is unusual, but also unsurprising.

Dragons in Krevborna are also known as the Beasts of the First Sin. Ancient texts record that mankind's first transgressions against the commandments of the gods coalesced into the form of a dragon that punished human frailty. Great sins, whether personal or communal, continue to give birth to dragons. It is debated whether dragons exist as a scourge that punishes mankind for its moral outrages or are simply the unintended consequences of man's flawed and immoral nature.

Here is a list of saints reverenced in Krevborna with a bit of lore related to them.

St. Othric
Things we know about St. Othric:

  • In life, Othric was a slayer of the undead; he was martyred by the vampires of Lamashtu for his crusades against them.
  • The holy symbol associated with St. Othric is a downward pointing greatsword.
  • There was once an order of knights dedicated to St. Othric, which had dwindled over the generations and had essentially died out when bandits killed the last of them at the Church of St. Othric. 
  • Nevertheless, the Knights of St. Othric have begun to experience a rebirth due to the actions of players in my current game. The bandits mentioned above were converted to the faith, and a number of recent converts were placed in control of a watchtower in the town of Sellvek's Hollow.
  • The Knights of St. Othric used the vaults beneath their churches and cathedrals to imprison supernatural creatures who could not otherwise be destroyed.
  • Pen Bennett's research uncovered the location of a mythical, sacred being called Volamnus the Holy Flame, who once devoured a demon on behalf of the Knights of St. Othric.
  • The skull of St. Othric possesses healing powers when used according to an ancient rite within his northern church. 

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All of the above is setting information prompted by questions from current players in the campaign. Writing what is needed and filling in details as they come up is proving to be a much better method than drafting a giant setting Bible before play even begins. As always, I'm showing my work on the exam and pointing out my influences:

  • The place of magic in the setting was inspired by Innistrad and The Last Apprentice novels in about equal measure.
  • The stuff about dragons is mostly original ideas I've been hashing out forever; there is a bit of Dark Souls in the saints document. Note that the number of saints in Krevborna matches the number of clerical domains currently in 5e D&D. I could spell out which saint matches which domains, but also I don't care which domain and saint players pick for their clerics, so...
  • St. Othric started as a throw-away setting bit that was only going to factor into one adventure, but since some players took an interest in the saint he has become a part of the themes running through the campaign overall.