A World of Perpetual Twilight
Welcome to our Earthdawn game. Rather than using the standard Earthdawn setting, we’re mixing things up this time around. The universe is a bit Earthdawn, a bit Midnight, and a bit Lord of the Rings. The planned campaign starts with Journeymen characters and is epic in scope. Read on for more.
You were born and raised in the kaer in which you have lived your whole life: Kaer Evenfall. Kaers are underground cities, protected by strong magics, that protect their denizens from the horrors that have ravaged the outside world for centuries. You kaer is huge, holding thousands of Namegivers. Its residents are descendants of the city of Evenfall, one of the major cities in the realm of Selene. Before the Scourge came, Selene was a prosperous nation of magic, science, and learning. It was home to a group of legendary heroes known as the Star Shields, who valiantly defended the citizens of Selene from the horrors that appeared at the onset of the Scourge.
According to legend, and your training as adepts, the Long Night, also known by some as the Scourge, is a consequence of the Cycle of Magic. For centuries, the Sun Dragon and Moon Dragon crossed the skies, protecting the world and maintaining the balance of life and magic. Even dragons eventually tire, however, and so the time comes for the Sun Dragon and Moon Dragon to descend from their heavenly flights and rest. As their lights descended, the world was cast into twilight, and the ambient mana level rose. This allowed the monstrous creatures known as horrors to cross over from the deep netherworlds, ravaging the world and tormenting minds. By the time the Long Night had fallen, the horrors would dominate the world, seeking out the survivors hidden away in their kaers, like precious eggs to break open and eat.
The more mindless horrors are gibbering beasts that simply eat and destroy everything they come into contact with. The more insidious horrors feed off pain and suffering, often establishing a mental link to torment their victims known as a horror mark. Some Namegivers succumb to the whispers and promises of horrors, sometimes even engaging in dark pacts for power, becoming Corrupted. Anyone who survives contact with the horrors is sure to be marked in some visible way, however, and even their children may bear the signs of such Taint. Such scars and blemishes are not uncommon among those inside the kaer, even hundreds of years later.
With the Sun Dragon and Moon Dragon no longer lighting the way, the spirits of the dead cannot find their way to rest in the netherworlds. Many of them remain tethered to their bodies as Fell creatures that feed on the flesh of the living. Procedures for dealing with the dead have been instituted to ensure safety.
Prior to the Long Night, the Rites of Protection & Passage were spread to the nations and cities of the world, instructing them in making kaers and other magical protections against the Scourge. Different versions of these Rites were available, of various strength and trustworthiness, depending on your loyalties. Several great dragons offered Rites freely to Namegivers, but few people trusted those devious creatures. The Theran Empire, who waged war on the dragons, sold their Rites at great expense, forcing whole kingdoms to become client states. The Wyrm Wood elves, the Throalic dwarves, and many T’skrang Serpent Clans developed their own Rites, trusting their own scholars and wizards to protect them.
The Long Night was predicted to last 300 years. An elemental clock in each kaer measured the ambient mana level, instructing the kaer residents when it would be safe to lower their defenses, open their doors, and greet the Sun and Moon again.
400 years have now passed. For over a century now, the elemental clock in your kaer has been frozen in place. Though the Long Night is over, the Elders believe it is still a time of Twilight, with no sun and no moon—-a dangerous period where horrors may still stalk the world. The Elders fear to open the kaer, lest they allow the horrors in. Increasingly, however, the populace has grown anxious. Many yearn to see the Sun and Moon which they have never before seen. Some claim that the clock must be broken, or that the Elders conspire to keep the population contained. Discontent grows each year. Tensions rise.
Then, today, the Bell was wrung.
The Bell is a magical mechanism by which someone outside the kaer can contact those inside. The secrets of the Bell were only shared between adept journeymen of certain guilds. It is a message from a group of Namegivers outside the kaer that the world is safe, and the kaer should be opened to greet them.
Some whisper that this is a trick of the horrors, to lure you out. But the vast majority see this as proof that the clock is broken and the outside world is safe. If the Elders do not open the kaer, they face a popular revolt.
In this situation, you have been called forward by the Elders. For years, you have trained with various ghost masters of your guild, mastering the talents of your discipline. You are seen as young elites, ready to carry the mantle of the Star Shields. You do not yet know what task they will ask of, nor do you know what to expect of the outside world. Will you be greeted by the Sun? Or by monstrous horrors in the dark?