Welcome to the Kingdom of Pharazon: most ancient and honorable of the Five Kingdoms of Geryon.
It has been over 300 years since the defeat of Daigon, the Dark Lord, a sorcerer of terrible power who, from the cursed lands of Nagath, launched an invasion of the Five Kingdoms of unprecedented scale and fury. Daigon and his legions of twisted soldier-fanatics were beaten back, barely, by the Kingdoms, under the leadership of King Odrossyan II of Pharazon and the Synod, a group of powerful wizards, who aided in combatting Daigon and his many fell lieutenants.
In the intervening centuries, the Five Kingdoms-- Pharazon, Phars, Caphad, Essur, and Glome-- have squabbled for dominance and have seen off invasions and raids from the desert peoples to the south and the ferocious Ashlanders to the north. Only once, however, have they faced a threat akin to Daigon: more than a century after the Dark Lord's defeat a rebellion broke out in the heartland of Pharazon, led by the Wretched Prince, a disinherited heir to the throne, who nearly toppled the kingdom by rallying a coalition of the dispossessed in the name of the Dark Lord.
The revolt was broken, along with Pharazon's preeminence among the Five Kingdoms. In the wake of the Wretched Prince's revolt, the Darkwatch, an inquisitorial order of battlemages was founded to root out followers of Daigon from Pharazon.
The fourteen members of the Synod, some old enough to have participated in the fight against Daigon, have retained a place of respect and influence in the five royal courts, almost always urging peace and cooperation between the Kingdoms and often mediating disputes.
In recent years, however, something has gone wrong.
Odrossyan VI reigns in Pharazon, a pampered youth controlled by his advisors and courtiers. Disputes have arisen within the Synod, with several members-including the the influential Athalus the Peacemaker-expelled from the Order for reasons that remain unclear. What is clear is that these dissident wizards are now hunted actively by the Darkwatch, which has become increasingly repressive. Several powerful nobles have disappeared. The Royal Scholam has been closed and many of its famed scholars are nowhere to be found. Taxes and conscription have begun to weigh heavily on the peasantry, though no war seems immanent. There are reports of barbarian migrations in the mountains.
The truth, known only to a fearful few, is more terrible than it seems.
Daigon has returned. What he failed to take by force he has succeeded in taking by guile. The Synod is overthrown. Its presiding wizard, Salazar, is a puppet of the dark lord, and has perverted many of the other mages to his cause. Daigon and his minions now rule Pharazon in all but name, and their influence extends to the other royal courts of Geryon.
Welcome to the Shadowed Throne. My hope here is that we can collaboratively tell a story and world-build in a scenario where a Dark Lord has won power not by might but by guile.
Writers are invited to submit up to two character applications. I dont require a specific format, but invite you to write a brief scene that gives a sense of your characters' personality, looks, and motivation. You can use a traditional character sheet format if you like, but please do include a brief IC scene- it can serve as your first IC post if you wish.
Collaborative worldbuilding will also be a major part of this RP. The details given above are meant to be fleshed out by the players both in the course of the IC and OOCly. Some details to get us started are included under the hider below, but these are meant to be explored and deepened not just by me but by all the writers in the RP. In fact, if there is some aspect of the world you'd like to flesh out with an OOC description, you can submit that here and I'll include in in the OP.
The Five Kingdoms
The Five Kingdoms are bound together formally by what is known as the Tattered Treaty, so-named because it was signed during the Nagathi War by monarchs of four of the five kingdoms on a tattered bit of parchment deep in the wilds of the Dreadwood, following the defeat of their combined armies at the hands of Daigon's forces on the shores of Lake Doldrums. The monarchs pledged eternal cooperation and vigilance against the forces of darkness should they succeed in their war against Daigon. The King of Essur, not present at the battle, became a signatory later in the war.
Nominally, the terms of the treaty are held to today, committing the Five Kingdoms to cooperate militarily against external threats and never to raise arms against each other. In practice, the Five Kingdoms have warred regularly, with shifting alliances always ensuring that no one kingdom ever became over-mighty... resulting a de facto stalemate of several centuries.
Pharazon: A feudal monarchy occupying a series of fertile valleys between the peaks of the Broken Crown Mountains. Traditionally, Pharazon was the most powerful of the Five Kingdoms and played the greatest role in the defeat of Daigon, though it retains a mere shadow now of its old primacy. Pharazon's capital is Azon, a great city of shining white stone in the wide, fertile, highly defensible Odrossyan Vale.
Factions of Note
The Darkwatch: An inquisitorial order founded in the wake of the Wretched Prince's revolt in order to root our Daigon's lingering influence from Pharazon, as well as to root out forbidden magic and unnatural threats to the Kingdom. Led by Lictors, highly trained and usually magically-capable spellswords, the Darkwatch commands an elite detachment of troops, known as Ordinators, to carry out its mission. Additionally, Lictors possess the authority to command royal troops, city guardsmen, and even the lesser nobility in times of crisis.
While the Darkwatch nominally answers to the Crown of Pharazon, it has traditionally been led by a member of the Synod appointed by the King, who also sits on the Privy Council. The post of Archlictor is coveted by the more politically ambitious members of the Synod, since it commands immense power and influence within Pharazon. Currently, the Darkwatch is led by Qux the Many Eyed, one of the youngest members of the Synod and a loyalist of Salazar.
Alright everyone, this is pretty cool. Will put up the OOC shortly. For those thinking about designing characters and factions somewhat distant or (for now) peripheral to the main plot- as people submit their CSes, either consider also having a 'secondary' character in Pharazon or work with each other to develop subplots that will keep everyone active. Perhaps a discord channel will be helpful, Ill create one and post a link.
Good question: my idea is for magic to be similar to something like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings. Definitely real and around, but not everyone is slinging fireballs or teleporting places. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be: this is a medium-to-high fantasy setting but in the IC, for aesthetic reasons, magic use will be limited.
Alright, awesome. I think four is enough to start and we can take new players. I have a big-picture plot in mind but I'd really like this to be collaborative, so as you think about characters feel free to flesh out what's mentioned in the OP. There's a lot of blank spaces, so be creative and think big. What are the other four kingdoms like? Pharazon society? Religion?
In terms of characters, the world is your oyster. I mean it, you can play the puppet-king if you want to, head of the Darkwatch, street urchin, whatever you like- villain or hero. I'm only going to ask that you check with me if you'd like to play a member of the Synod.
Welcome to the Kingdom of Pharazon: ancient, powerful, and prosperous. Greatest of all the Five Kingdoms of Geryon.
It has been over 300 years since the defeat of Daigon, the Dark Lord, a sorcerer of unprecedented power who, from the cursed lands of Nagath, launched an invasion of the human world of unprecedented scale and fury. Orcs, undead, beastmen, trolls; human soldier-fanatics, infernal war machines, and blackest sorcery. Daigon was beaten back, barely, by the Five Kingdoms, under the leadership of King Odrossyan II of Pharazon and the Synod, a group of powerful wizards, who aided in combatting Daigon and his many fell lieutenants.
In the intervening centuries, the Five Kingdoms have squabbled for dominance and have seen off invasions and raids from the desert peoples to the south and the ferocious ashlanders to the north. Only once, however, have they faced a threat akin to Daigon, more than a century after his defeat a rebellion broke in the heartland of Pharazon out led by the Wretched Prince, a disinherited heir to the throne, who nearly toppled the kingdom by rallying a coalition of the dispossessed (as well as beastkin tribes and orcish clans from the mountains and wilds) in the name of the Dark Lord.
The revolt was broken, along with Pharazon's preeminence among the Five Kingdoms. In the wake of the Wretched Prince's revolt, the Darkwatch, an inquisitorial order of battlemages was founded to root out followers of Daigon from the Five Kingdoms under the direction of the the Synod. The fourteen members of the Synod, some old enough to have participated in the fight against Daigon, have retained a place of respect and influence in the five royal courts, almost always urging peace and cooperation between the Kingdoms and often mediating disputes.
In recent years, however, something has gone wrong.
Odrossyan VI reigns in Pharazon, a pampered youth controlled by his advisors and courtiers. Disputes have arisen within the Synod, with several members-including the the influential wizard Athalus the Mediator-expelled from the Order for reasons that remain unclear. What is clear is that these dissident wizards are now hunted actively by the Darkwatch, which has become increasingly repressive. Several powerful nobles are beginning to disappear. The Royal Scholam has been closed and many of its famed scholars are nowhere to be found. Taxes and conscription have begun to weigh heavily on the peasantry, though no war seems immanent. There are reports of orc migrations in the mountains.
The truth, known only to a fearful few, is more terrible than it seems.
Daigon has returned. What he failed to take by force he has succeeded in taking by guile. The Synod is overthrown. Its presiding wizard, Salazar, venerated by many, is possessed completely by the dark lord, who has perverted many of the other mages to his cause. Daigon and his minions now rule Pharazon, and their influence extends to the other royal courts of Geryon. The King is a puppet, the Darkwatch perverted from its original purpose.
So, the idea here would be to play characters and perhaps factions who come to realize that the dark lord now rules the kingdom and band together to resist him. Alternatively, characters can play allies of Daigon or antagonists with their own agenda. Fantasy level would be low-medium. World building and fleshing out the backstory of the world would be a major focus.
The carriage rattled down the pitted road, axles screeching, suspension groaning under the strain. A handful of ghouls in the livery of Necron rode alongside the bouncing landau, their steeds thin horse-corpses with bared teeth and glowing eyes. One of the escort ghouls held aloft a banner as he rode, a black flag emblazoned with the Standard of Rutile: a black tower imposed over a green streak of lightning.
The company was riding through a forest of bent and twisted pines that loomed over the road like mourners over an open grave. Most woodlands in Leria had died in the many twilit years since Eagoth's victory, but the Hag Wood clung ferociously to life, infested with great spiders and corpse-eaters, pig-men and nosferatu, heretic liches and outcast revenants, among other menaces elsewhere eradicated by Eagoth's legions.
The dangers of the wood, however, did not concern the Thing within the carriage, sitting curled and silent and still in the shadows. It, after all, was far more terrible than anything the Hag Wood could hide. Indeed, It rather relished the prospect of battle with one of the truly great monstrosities said to lurk in the depths of the forest: a spider's corpse would serve as a fitting gift to the Necromancer.
Alac, there was no time to go hunting just now, and a spider was unlikely to attack a caravan of the undead. It was the Thing's understanding that they mostly cannibalized each other in these famine-times. The Thing's lipless mouth curled into an approximation of a smile at the thought. At least It was not alone in its constant hunger.
It felt the carriage slow, then jolt to a hard stop.
It hissed. Delay was unacceptable. It needed to be back at the Spire in time for the Feast of Withered Hearts, merely eight nights hence. The Necromancer himself was due to award It for bringing the Bile Spewer to heel, avoiding a potentially costly revolt in the East.
One of Its many thin hands wrapped around the dark metal of its stave and another reached for the door of the carriage. Perhaps the Great Worm would have mercy on these idiot ghouls in the Ashpits Beyond...but It would not. After all, was it not a Finger of Eagoth, most favored of the Six?
To be failed even slightly was intolerable.
It pulled its shrouded, serpentine form from the carriage, like a great centipede uncurling itself from beneath a rock.
Outside, the ghouls and their mounts were gone, and the horse-corpses that pulled Its carriage. Cinders burned in the mud of the road. Bits of charred bone smoked. It sniffed the air, flat nostrils flaring. The air stunk of spent magic, spicy and sour. Delicious. The Thing breathed in, Its first breath in many years. What remained of ancient lungs cracked and crumbled within Its slender chest. It hardly noticed.
It cocked its head, snaggle-fanged mouth falling open, tongue uncurling.
It turned toward the sound, eyes on its face and forehead narrowed to slits.
In the middle of the road stood a man in a mudspattered traveling cloak and heavy boots. He was shaved-bald, with a weather worn face, dark skin turned ashen from too many days in Lerian gloom. His eyes were closed.
He held a one-sided blade of dark metal in one hand.
The Thing hissed, several hands wrapping around the twisted metal of its stave.
"A long time since a living challenger has-"
"No more words," said the man, and he charged at It. The Thing drew itself to its full considerable height, its multitude of corpse-hands producing daggers and swords from within Its ragged robes. It leveled its stave at its attacker, firing a bolt of green lightning. The spell arced almost lazily from the black gem atop the staff, unhurriedly cutting through the air. The man caught it on his blade, uttered something in a tongue long dead, and the spell fizzled, emerald gobs of ectoplasm collapsing into the mud of the road.
Fire ran down the length of the man's blade, while the Thing's many weapons ignited with green corpse-light. The man closed the distance and leapt at the monster in a whirl of red flame.
The battle was brief but intense, both combatants a blur of blades and spell-craft. The air around them shimmered, over-saturated with magic. Small rifts in reality opened, unstable doorways into realms of utter madness.
In the end, the Thing's raw power overcame the man's considerable finesse and skill, and he lay in the mud, gasping, bleeding from a dozen wounds all over, crimson streams winding and pooling in the churned mud of the road.
The Thing brooded over him, yellowed drool leaking from its fanged maw, like a great snake considering a mouse before it strikes.
"Where did you come from, little wizard?" It hissed, "Were you sent? By whom? Answer me, and I will raise you again, present you to the Great Necromancer. Perhaps he will, in time, grant you freedom in undeath. He values skill such as you have shown..."
Blood burbled from the man's mouth. He spat it into the mud of the road.
"Eagoth's Art is strong, lich," gasped the man.
"Our Power is unrivaled," agreed the Thing.
"But there is much you have forgotten in your long half-life."
The man sat up, grinning, teeth scarlet with his own blood, and...the road sat up with him. Rather, a towering figure composed of mud pulled itself up behind him, resolving into the rough shape of a huge man. Little streams of the wizard's spilled blood crawled across the golem's dripping flesh like crimson worms, animating it.
The Thing hissed and struck at the golem with its many corpse-blades, sent bolts of bright and angry green at the lumbering monster from its stave. Little good it did. It hit only mud, while the ribbons of wizard-blood slid easily away from the lich's weapons and spells.
The golem embraced the Thing, bringing its huge weight down on it as it struggled and screamed and sank into the road. Mud churned, boiled, geysers of steam erupted from the road.
Then all was still.
The wizard picked himself up calmly, and with a gesture the little ribbons of his blood returned to him from the mound of caked mud that had been the golem. They slid back into his wounds, which clotted immediately at their return.
He picked up his sword and sauntered over to where the Thing had been crushed. He picked up the Thing's stave and, with a little effort wrested the black gem from its tip, sliding it into a satchel at his waist.
"Two more to go," he said to no one in particular, "and such complacent prey."
He laughed. It was the only laughter in all of Leria.
Name: The Pale King; formerly Callidus of Yzen Rank: Revenant Major
Background: One of the most powerful of the Kings of Leria prior to its fall. A formidable mage in his own right, Callidus foresaw the inevitability of Eagoth's victory and betrayed many cities into the hands of the Great Necromancer. He has been a valued- if never wholly trusted- servant of the dark lord ever since.