Talamh - the known world - is large, but it is covered near-entirely by a massive sea. There is one large continent - Arshiul - but its distance from civilized lands, its harsh terrain, and the vicious fauna that call it home have, until recently, made its colonization unfeasible.
You are a member of the court of Inis, one of many small island nations far to the North of Arshiul. While not the largest island, Inis boasts the best navy in the world, and is renowned for its elite Knights-Marine, trained to ride dragons from childhood.
The world of Talamh is saturated with magic, but tearing it away from the leylines that run through the world is a difficult, time-consuming process. Most mages don’t even know of their talent - they just use the energy of the leylines instinctively, making them seem lucky. Some train themselves in this passive use of magic, and can thereby read omens in natural patterns or nudge fate to produce a useful, minor happenstance. Those that wish to effect large magical phenomena - such as setting a fleet of boats on fire, teleporting large distances, or creating a massive storm - must resort to complex rituals designed to channel the energy of leylines and shape them to the desired end.
Some members of certain families are born with the innate ability to manipulate a certain form of elemental magic - a feat that typically requires the use of rituals. These families have, over time, come to dominate the political landscape of the Northern islands, either as noble houses in Inis or as the royal families of other nations. Scholars believe that this natural ability has something to do with living on or near a confluence of leylines, and that the large number of such confluences on Inis explain why there are so many families with these abilities in that nation.
The dominant religion of the Northern Islands is a highly refined form of ancestor-worship. The religious leaders are called Seers, and they specialize in incidental divination - stargazing, reading tea leaves or the flight of birds, et cetera. This is believed to be a means of communicating with the honored dead.
The dragons of Talamh are not the fire-breathing monstrosities of myth, but they are by far the most terrifying creatures in the skies. Even the smallest adult dragon is as large as a draft horse, and exceptional specimens can be half again as many hands tall. As apex predators, it is an amazing feat that the Knight-Marines of Inis have managed to tame them as mounts. Still, they are tempermental beasts, and rarely let anyone beside their usual rider mount them.
Inis is ruled by a confederation of four noble houses, and the monarch is drawn from one of these houses. Whenever the sovereign dies, the houses hold a moot to elect one of their number as King or Queen, with one caveat; the new ruler may not be drawn from the same house as the previous.
House Abhainn is the current ruling family of Inis. Their natural ability to use magic tied to water lead directly into the current queen’s massive expansion of Inis’s navy.
House Carraig is the most wealthy noble family, due in large part to their extensive mining operations. Their inherent ability with earth magic makes them some of the finest craftsmen in the North.
House Tine are world-renowned for their skilled mercenaries and artists. Their ability to shape fire lends them a distinct advantage both in the galleries and battlefields of the world, but has given them a sinister reputation that isn’t entirely deserved.
House Gaoth hails from the highest mountains and cliffs of Inis, and their ability to manipulate the wind has made them some of the most skilled merchants and most daring Knight-Marines the world over.
Finally, House Toirneach was exiled when their head, Ander Toirneach, tried to wrest control of the throne after his father died. House Toirneach was skilled with weather magic, in particular the creation of powerful storms, and until its banishment used this to protect Inis’s coast.
There are dozens of nations among the islands of the north, but most are small, composed of a handful of slivers of land that mostly keep to themselves. Beside Inis, there are four other nations that are usually considered to be the true powers of the region.
Tonnerre was only fifty years ago ruled by a hereditary king of the Bruine family. Able to control weather much like the Toirneach, the Bruine developed the wide fields of Tonnerre into the most productive farmland in the North. However, the Bruine family’s excesses lead to a bloody revolution; only the arrival of Ander Toirneach, claiming distant relation to the Bruine but none of their decadence, was able to stabilize the nation. Since then, the Toirneach have begun conquering the small, independent islands that lie between Tonnerre and the other major nations.
Weltall is a large, forested island dominated by tall mountains and deep valleys. Scions of the Sterne family, the rulers of Weltall, are gifted with the ability to control metal, and as such are among the greatest engineers and warriors of the islands.
Maroz, the Northernmost and largest of the islands, is ruled by the Lednik, a family of shrewd warlords with a mastery of cold magic. Despite its harsh clime, Maroz is the largest nation by poplation.
Estela is the Southernmost island, and as such has the heaviest investment in colonies on Arshiul. The rulers of Estela - the Centelleo - are masters of the magic of light, making them the worlds most sought-after entertainers and spies. Some whisper that a few of their number are even assassins.
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You will all be playing members of Inis’s royal court as you try to maneuver your way to power against the backdrop of the difficulties the nation faces.
Hosted and narrated by:
Will Thibault (astralArchivist)
Scenes played: 1
License: Community License