Coming in 2017 … the new low-level campaign for the HQ chapter.
Stormbreak takes place on Fortannis far to the north of Icenia near the glacial northern tip of the continent. Completely cut off from travel by a raging mystical storm called the Maelstrom since before recorded history, the game will take place in the Eye of the Storm – an area large enough to encompass several nations with mountain chains, lush forests, and a bay the size of a sea. Throughout the centuries, many people have traveled into the Maelstrom but so far there doesn’t appear to be a way out (don’t worry, we’ll be opening it up to mist travel for our PCs!). You are probably going recognize some HQ racial cultures; however, they’ve been away long enough to develop their own way of doing things, their own flavor, and their own history. We have written hundreds, and in some cases thousands, of years of history that make our races unique and varied with an eye towards maintaining a common enough history that when the game comes to an end in 2019, your character will have a home away from home among the races of HQ.
One of our local flavors is going to be a role-play effect for spell casters. Whenever a caster releases the most powerful spell they are able to memorize from their highest circle of magic, they will have an emotional reaction based on the type of magic they’ve cast. Historians and Sages have pinpointed this to the chaotic nature of the Maelstrom impacting magic. The Maelstrom has also made many monsters weak enough to be killed outright by certain elements. We’ll leave you to work out what those are in-game.
When the players enter the game, a vast Empire will have just taken over the ancient crumbling Stormbreak Keep and placed two Houses in charge of the area. The Imperial edict is that whoever does the best job ruling will gain the vast swath of lands surrounding the keep. There are a number of Houses, Guilds, and other interested parties attempting to exert influence as well. Some vie for one house or another, and some want the entire Empire to fail entirely. All organizations are open to our player characters, some may be a better fit for you, and some may exclude you from joining others.
In the end who wins, who loses? What will the nations of our world look like when the game ends three years? You tell us, because we don’t know. Our goal is to put as many interesting agents in the sandbox as possible, and to have our PCs maneuver them around. We have created more conflicts than will ever appear on stage in the three years that we have. Which conflicts are resolved? Which are left for our imaginations? The choice is yours. The intrigue is yours. The machinations are yours. The success of a House, or the fall of an Empire… All yours.
Welcome to Stormbreak Keep. Welcome to the Maelstrom.
For the latest updates, visit the Stormbreak section of the Bulletin Board.
The Races of Stormbreak
(click on the name for the complete packet)
Barbarian: There are two distinct nations of these people, the noble horse riding clans of the Azarka who roam the Southern Wildlands, and the insane Stormborn pirates who attack every other free nation and power in the Maelstrom bay with the erratic and unpredictable nature of a hurricane. Both groups are leary of celestial magic, and have their own codes of honor.
Biata: Getragen, Gryphon Touched, or Highbloods, are primarily found in The Cloud Empire. The Imperial ruling house has always been Biata. They are often not welcome in the Stormedge Islands or in Quyah’scenthaal where they tend to be discriminated against because of the historically ruthless policies of the Empire. They are also not popular in the Orc Kindom of Orentis. It is important to note that until 14 years ago Biata and Humans looked identical (except for the longer life spans of Biata) and so they intermarried a great deal with humans. As a result most Biata families have many humans in them and vice versa.
Dark Elves: The Kel were a powerful nation living in the Sunless lands below the Wahnsinn Cliffs until their city state fell to a powerful ground quake. Fractured into several small clans ranging from the traditionally minded scavengers of the old ways to the savage survivalists, it is believed they still live in the Wahnsinn Cliffs and in the lands under Wyndael. It is said that whenever a dark elf child is born within the Empire that they are left at the Wahnsinn Cliffs and abandoned, to be brought into the underground realm of the mysterious Kel.
Dryad: Dryads were held in sleep for tens of thousands of years and not seen in the region. One of the reasons that the elves of the Quyah’scenthaal settled where they did and defended it so vigorously, is because they recognized the resting trees of the Dryads and were determined to keep any hostile forces away from them. Dryads are from Quyah’scenthaal and are treated with honor and respect as citizens and manifestations of nature. Those who awoke within the borders of the Empire have not yet been formally recognized as citizens on the Imperial level, though most houses have recognized them as citizens. However, this does sometimes create a situation where they have a tough time eking out an existence. Though House Heinlein has made efforts to help the Dryads and started to petition the Emperor for official Imperial recognition of the people, others have taken advantage of them, using their lack of status to extort labor or goods from them without proper pay. There are even rumors of House Geifer has started enslaving Dryads since they are not protected as citizens by law yet.
Dwarf: Dwarves are a definite minority in the Empire, having only settled a few hundred years ago, but they are commonly accepted. The dwarves found in the Empire and descended almost entirely from exiles from Dwarreangar. Though they were not a founding race of the Empire and joined it fairly recently they have carved a healthy niche for themselves. Many dwarves are members of House Mithril and they rule Iceforge Keep – the northernmost settlement of the Empire, butted up against the glacier where they repel near constant attacks of the Frostfang Trolls.
Elf: The elves of Quyah’scenthaal tend to hold watered down (but still prevalent) versions beliefs of the about elf supremacy due to the fact that they are descended from the realm of Dur Numarie. There are very few elves in the Empire comprised or descended of of a small amount who have left Quyah’scenthaal to settle there, or an even smaller amount of those who shipwrecked in the area but weren’t affiliated with Dur Numarie. There is a definite unspoken understanding that due to conflicts with the elven homeland, there is a limit on how far an elf can rise in the Empire. A slightly larger amount of elves than are in the Empire may be found amongst the pirates as they may have left Quyah’scenthaal because they wanted to strike against the Empire but their own government would not allow them. Thier leader of Quyah’scenthaal is the Maturarch, the oldest living elf.
High Ogre: The High Ogres in the region are part of the groups brought by the Dur Numarie who traveled to the region a decade ago, or were soldier/slaves brought by the elves that ultimately formed Quyah’scenthaal thousands of years ago. They are very rarely found within the Empire and are not especially well regarded (in no small part due to their ancient disgust with Necromancy, which has only relatively recently been made illegal within the Cloud Empire) and tend to be used mostly for labor and cannot rise very high in society. High Ogres are the only group of citizens known to thrive out in the glacial lands to the north, where they live among the Yeti and fight Frost Trolls.
High Orc: The Kesh in the area are mostly settled in the “wild lands” outside the Empire’s territories in the kingdom of Orientis. They are occasionally found within the Empire but are not especially well regarded because of an ancient animosity, and tend to be used mostly for labor and cannot rise very high in society. The animosity began during the Westward Expansion of the Empire. The Kesh defeated the Empire’s most powerful invading force handily using an ancient artifact. Kesh are necessarily war minded, as their lands abut the South and West corners of regions where Maelstrom deformed creatures and tribes of monsters are a constant threat.
Hobling: Hoblings were fairly common in the Empire but were mostly part of House Goldpipe, which has recently left the Empire. Other houses and guilds often have uses for skilled accountants and businessmen, however, and Hoblings are often amongst the best so they are found in other houses as well. Hoblings loyal to the Empire, even after the defection of House Goldpipe, are not hard to find scattered throughout the Empire. Most Hoblings are loathe to leave the cushy positions that exist for them in their Kingdom or the Empire, but a very small minority may be found amongst the Pearl Island pirates, stealing, ransoming and pillaging to try to secure a comfortable lifestyle.
Humans: Humans, occasionally called Sapiens, are found throughout the Empire in nearly any house, as well as amongst the pirates on the Stormedge Islands. Some humans live amongst the barbarian and monster tribes “wild lands” to the west and south of the Empire as well. With the exceptions of the elven forest of Quyah’scenthaal and the northern glacial wastes, a human can be found in any realm. Numerically there are more humans than any other race in the region.
Mystic Wood Elves: Children of the Storm (Storm’Ren) are fairly common in the region. Most were originally brought to the region after fleeing from the Kanoredhil. The ship arrived in the region and the people were accepted by the Empire, though many found the Empire’s practices of slavery and necromancy abhorrent and settled in on an independent island instead. Some Storm’Ren live in the Empire, where their skills and penchant for crafts make them welcome in many guilds and houses. A large percentage of them can be found in House Heinlen, were several even hold leadership positions. Many, however, chafe under the strict laws and policies of the Empire and migrate towards the freedom fighting pirates.
Selunari: Calling themselves “Arieanis”, they are not well regarded in the Empire based on their “chaotic” nature. Those who wish to see the land based wonders of the world may be traveling through the Empire (though they are looked down upon) or wandering the Wild Lands (though this is often dangerous). Some are seagoing adventurers living on the high seas and traveling around. Known far and wide as neutral political agents, Arieanis bands frequently act as messengers and couriers and traders of rare or unique items. They have an uncanny ability to find their way to anywhere.
Stone Elf: There is a large population of Dustren within the Empire. They are descended from the Stone Elf slaves that were originally brought to the region by the first Dominion settlers in the area. Since then they have emerged into efficient middle managers and sometimes bureaucrats within the Empire, often handling the boring day to day operations for their more fortunate higher ups. Stone Elves tend to be well respected in the Empire and are often in positions of power, though frequently still subservient to the true masters of the houses they serve.
Wylderkin: Wylderkin are incredibly common in the area and can be found practically everywhere and in all walks of life. Enslaved by the Empire until only about 20 years ago, they are found all over within the Empire, though often at the lowest rungs of society. The Wylderkin have no house or guild and are still largely performing the same sorts of tasks they did when they were slaves except now they are paid (often poorly) for it. House Heinlein has been largely inviting and taken in many Wylderkin, and those of talent and ability are starting to see some success in that house, but for the most part they are still put upon in the Empire where many still view them as barely a protected race. Many Wylderkin fled the Empire when they were freed (or are descended from escaped slaves) and can be found in the wild lands outside of the Empire where they struggle against the harsh environment in several tribes or clans. Many who left went to join the pirates or live on the Stormedge Islands where they find far more acceptance and social mobility. After the Empire freed the Wylderkin a large amount of them founded the nation of Wyndael, though it was promptly destroyed by trolls.