(Banner artwork by Flavio Bolla)
The Land of Szaadi and the Mages of the Eleven Chantries–A Primer for Playing Herein
The land of Szaadi used to be a mundane land without magic of any kind. All magic comes in the form of spells from the mages of the 11 chantries and there are no magic items. Read the history below (at the bottom of this document) if/when you are interested in learning how magic came to the land. Technological advancement has pretty much progressed along the same lines as it did on our Earth, from Bronze Age to Iron Age. As the game begins, the land remains in the Iron Age, though there are artifacts of Aetherian Steel, and no gunpowder. Humans are the only sentient race on Szaadi. There are other, unknown lands and planes that may have other races.
Each nation has it’s primary tongue and perhaps some dialects. There is a common language with 2 dialects, Pidgin, a mish-mashed tongue with harsh accents and humorous slang; and Trade, also called the common tongue, which is a more formalized version of pidgin that serves as the common tongue of the educated.
Specific laws and traditions vary from region to region. Players will have a say in the details of the region their characters come from, and perhaps even areas they aren’t. Occasionally, I will ask questions about history and culture, but other than that, it will be up to you, how much you want to fill in the history and culture of your character’s people.
A note about religions: In general, mages are like our worlds scientists. They are not likely to have religious beliefs because everything that used to be taught about gods of magic has been rendered invalid with the introduction of Aetherion Magic into Szaadi lands. That isn’t to say there are no religions, just that, in general, they hold much less sway than they had in the past.
The Szaadi, land is a small continent or, perhaps, a large island. Its southern reaches are dry and hot. Its midlands are generally humid and warm with few mountains, many jungles and some forests, and its northern reaches are mostly mountainous and cold. Likewise, the peoples from each region appear as we might expect them to. The northerners are big-boned, tall, have fair skin and hair, and have green, blue or hazel eyes. The midlanders are short to average height, have brown-skin, hair and eyes; and the desert folk are of average to above average height, lanky, have brown to olive complexions with black hair and brown, green or hazel eyes. There could be occasional, small pockets of anomalous (human) races and/or cultures.
There has been peace for 67 years, ever since the formation of the Second Szaadi Empire; The Great Szaadi Mageocracy. The head of each of the eleven chantries sits on the empire’s ruling council and ensures this remains so. The chantries, in spite of their differences, no longer wage wars with one another, instead they work towards maintaining peace while pursuing their interests.
Now, in this 67th year of The Great Mageocracy, the cloud city of Aetheron, the origin of Szaadi magic, has reappeared on the horizon. A quiet tension seems to fill the air as the people wait to see how the Council will respond and wonder what it all means.
This is where your PCs come in. You will play 1 of 11 Minister-Adepts, (or one of their servants) who work directly for their chantry’s Arch-Mage. You may create a mage, but there may be no more than one mage PC from each chantry or, you may create a servant of a PC mage: a defender, scout, spy etc. Feel free to chat in the forum about who will play what. The PCs could all be mages; several mages and their support grogs; or, one or two mages and their entourage.
If you play a mage, you must pick a chantry in which your mage has membership and learned his or her magic. From your chantry, you must choose 1 ‘Look’ that affects your character (see below). It is a permanent effect. ‘Aligned’ aspects or powers are your most powerful abilities. You may cast other spells, too, but their power will be limited and there will often be a cost. ‘Opposed’ powers or aspects, are those which you are completely unable to call upon.
Keep in mind that your character will be sent a mission with mages from other chantries. While technically allies, the very nature of your magic may put you at odds with each other. Furthermore, there is the distinct possibility that your homelands have been at odds with one or more of your coven-mates’ homelands in the past. However, you will share a common mission and a common goal.
(The mages below were all created by Jacob Randolph for “The Mage” Dungeon World playbook. I am using them with his permission.)
The Eleven Chantries
Chantry of The AbyssLook: Missing Eyes, Replaced Limb, or Touch of RotAligned: Conjure Horrors, Corrupt the Innocent, Transfigure Living FleshOpposed: Purification or Enhancement, Using Spells that Aren’t Horrifying
Chantry of The ClockLook: Hourglass pupils, Impossibly Old, or Ticking HeartbeatAligned: Adjust the Flow of Time, Stop Aging and Movement, Erode to DustOpposed: Manipulate Emotions, Moving Anything Around
Chantry of The DragonLook: Aura of Warmth, Dragon Tail, or Scaled BodyAligned: Form of the Dragon, Burn with Fire or Passion, Reckless DestructionOpposed: Healing or Repairing, Using Subtlety
Chantry of The ForestLook: Green Skin, Leafy Hair, or Tree-Sap BloodAligned: Rampant Growth, Unmake the Artificial, Commune with NatureOpposed: Assist or Create Anything Artificial, Desecrating the Natural Order
Chantry of The HorizonLook: Immaculate Grooming, Never Touches the Ground, or No BloodAligned: Reveal the Way Forward, Purification, Grant Freedom or MovementOpposed: Elemental Magics, Forcing or Restricting Movement
Chantry of The MaskLook: Eternal Smile, Poker Face, or Silver PalmsAligned: Mislead Others, Avoid Notice, Cunning or Elaborate PlansOpposed: Break the Facade, Using Brute Force
Chantry of The StarsLook: Galactic Hair, Speckled Skin, or Star-shaped PupilsAligned: Foretell Destiny, Call Across Space, Peel Back the VeilOpposed: Earth and Stone, Hiding the Truth
Chantry of The StormLook: Aura of Wind, Purple Skin, or Touch of StaticAligned: Fog and Lightning, Control Wind and Rain, Move like the WindOpposed: Stasis and Calm, Creating Anything Solid or Permanent
Chantry of The TowerLook: Eyes of Mercury, Metal Arms, or Quicksilver BloodAligned: Shield From Harm, Give Strength to the Weak, Iron and SteelOpposed: Fleeing or Escaping, Using Magic for Your Own Gain
Chantry of The TwilightLook: Inky Black Eyes, Missing Shadow, or Monochrome BodyAligned: Dance with Shadows, Incite Terror and Panic, Shroud the TruthOpposed: Fire and Light, Being Loud or Obvious
Chantry of The WinterLook: Aura of Cold, Blue Skin, or Touch of FrostAligned: Chill them to the Bone, Induce Stasis, Reveal Grim PortentsOpposed: Create or Empower Life, Showing Generosity
Posting Convention: Please, write in the third person past tense. If you are strongly opposed to this, we can discuss it.
I’m not planning any NSFW scenes, but that could change. I won’t shy away from them if that’s where the story goes, but nor will I include them for their own sake. Some types of mages are far more likely to head in that direction than others.
I have a non-standard system for combat I’m working on, for tracking wounds and possible character death. Once I complete these rules, I’ll present them. If they are agreeable we can use them, if not, we can stick with the standard Storium system.
A Brief History of Szaadi
–Tribes form 27 nations. (Bronze Age)
–Wars plague the land. They become more fierce over time, eventually leading to the genocide of 3 of the nations.
The remaining 24 nations, fed up with generations of war, and fearing ending up on the wrong side of genocide themselves, change their thinking and accept Quasaid I to become their emperor. (Iron Age) The calendar starts at the 1st year of The Empire.
–In the 107th year of The Quasiad Empire, the cloud city of Aetheron slowly floats its way over Szaadi. Quasaid IV, in his wisdom, reassures his people, and does nothing to provoke those floating above. While over the capital city of Tsempaus, an airship descends from Aetheron, and lands on the palace grounds. The single messenger aboard informs the emperor is invited to send his most trusted 11 ministers as ambassadors, back aboard the airship, and up to Aetheron; which he does.
–In the 120th year of the Quasaid Empire: The ministers return from Aetheron to Tsempaus, and Aetheron slowly floats away across the sea.
While above, the ministers had sent messages to their emperor and their families, ensuring them of their health and well being, assuring them that all was well, but never telling why they stayed or when they would return.
The 11 returning minister/ambassadors had learned much in their 13 years in Aetheron, very much. And they had changed drastically. They had learned the Magecraft of Aetheron.
They paid their respects to the emperor, but soon returned to their home provinces where they began teaching apprentices what they had learned.
–By the 204th year QE, the empire had fallen. The mages had built up powerful chantries. The emperor no longer commanded their fear or their respect, but the chantries feared the other chantries. Old nationalism returned and the empire fell apart. The chantries grabbed up what neighboring lands they could and eventually 11 new countries were born. The Eleven Szaaldi magocracies.
–This unfortunate Szaadi cycle continued. Wars and famine, and with the powerful mages leading them, they were more terrible than ever before. Fortunately, that, too, came to an end, when the chantries’ leaders met and made peace. In the 271st year QE, they created the Second Szaadi empire. The Great Szaadi Mageocracy. Since then, the head of each Chantry sits in the council that leads the land.
Hosted and narrated by:
Rich Robertson (Dogtarget)
Scenes played: 2
License: Community License