Continuum II: Basic Malavon Player Handout

   Today, by special request, it’s the basic Malavon Player Handout. Malavon was the setting for the longest running campaign to date; it went on for a little over twelve real years, six hundred regular sessions, and about that many more weekday sessions for individual activites and special events. Some of the old players still get into touch by email, telephone, and chat to update things a bit, despite the fact that the main campaign had to be closed down ten years ago due to having to move several states away. Still, some of  the players sub-campaigns are still running occasionally, so here’s the basic world setting.

Planetary Data

  • Day: 24.63 Hours
  • Year: 388.27 Days (~ 1.1 earth years.)
  • Radius : 5263 Miles
  • Gravity: 1.04 earth gravities (33.28 ft/sec)
  • Atmosphere: Earthlike, Pressure ~ 1.1 times normal.
  • Moons: Three, one major, two minor. Radii/Periods of;
    • Astarte’, 812M R, 24.05 days
    • Kalene, 102M R, ~ 63 days
    • Ta’she, 26M R, ~ 41 days
    • Triple lunar conjunctions occur at ~ 7 year intervals, and are of great magical importance.
  • Calender: 16 months of 24 days each. The Equinoxes and Solstices belong to no month.
  • Climate: Slightly cooler then earths, moderated locally by various currents, magical, and geothermal factors. Less dramatic seasons due to lesser axial tilt (~15o).
  • Geology: Very active with thin crustal plates, leading to high abundances of metals, crystals, and volcanoes.
  • Landmasses: 2 major and 3 minor continents, innumerable islands.
  • Sun: ~ 1.4 solar masses, somewhat bluer then Sol (F8).
  • Other Planets: 5 visible, see astronomical section.
  • Star Density: Slightly greater then earth’s, Malavon is somewhat nearer the core of its galaxy.
  • Technology: Low, a bit above “classic” earth mediaeval, with some imported oddities, designs, and ideas.
  • Magic: Arcane energies are generally available. More specific forces focus on particular locations, times, or celestial events. Spells and devices normally recharge from the “surge” of mystic energy at dawn.
  • Aspects: Malavon has three linked “aspects”. All have similar geography, but passage between then is quite difficult. They are commonly known as:
    • Malavon Proper, the “Prime Material”, or normal world
    • The Spirit Realm, sometimes known as “Faerie”.
    • The Shadow Realm, a highly entrophic realm of things past and unpleasant.

Major Areas:

 Malavon

  • Me’rag: Serves as the main campaign setting, being both the largest and most variegated of the continents. Much of the material given in this package is related to this continent. Information on other areas is much sparser.
  • Ho’jin: Dominated by an ancient and isolationist empire, Ho’jin hosts complex, vaguely “Oriental”, society of clans, intrigue, and nomads.
  • Primeva: A mountainous subcontinent filled with dinosaurs – as well as isolated dwarven mountain cities linked by magical gateways.
  • The Arctic Icecap has no known major land mass – but has many lightly populated islands around the fringes. Little is known of the interior regions, but they are believed to be utterly desolate.
  • The Antarctic Icecap is associated with a major landmass, or possibly several lesser ones. Areas of the shoreline are apparently inhabited.
  • The Dragon Isles are a series of large, volcanic, islands “hosting” a vaguely eastern / oriental culture – along with numerous monsters and a good deal of wilderness.
  • Sere’ados: A semitropical wilderness hosting numerous city-states and “hidden realms”. Generally considered quite mysterious.
  • Mar’sin: A nearly continuous mountain range seals off the interior, creating a central desert and fertile coasts. The brutal conditions of the interior are legendary.
  • The “Raft Culture” rarely touches land, drifting across the seas with the oceanic currents. It has little material wealth – but has a rich cultural tradition.
  • The Archipelagoes serve as the setting for the “Ship and Sea” campaign; they host a wide variety of cultures – and rely extensively on trade. It is best to travel them with an experienced crew and navigator.

Capsule History:

   Legendary Period; Malavon was dominated by an elvish race known as the Alfar for many millions of years – although there are tales which imply that some terrible elder race preceded them. Near-immortal, the Alfar were powerful enough to magically stabilize the planet’s crust, geology, and weather patterns, as well as to create various seemingly imperishable devices and structures. Their downfall began with the arrival of a group of alien creatures of horrific nature – and ended in a civil war between the Alfar and their offshoots, a group known as the Dokalfar or “Drow”, who had allied themselves with those same aliens. According to legend, their war spanned millennia and employed terrible primordial magics of fire and ice. According to other legends, the war is not yet over, but only silenced for the regathering. “When it once again breaks out, the unleashed powers of creation’s fire and the ice of the world’s end will forge Malavon anew”. Most accounts agree; the Alfar won in the end, but it was a pyrrhic victory. The few remaining gradually withdrew to other realms, leaving the ravaged planet to the races which emerged from the war and its dimensional rifts. Even now there are surviving remnants of the Alfar – especially from the final war, and near the old ways or “Straight Tracks”, a network of enchanted roads apparently extending through various dimensions. While no exact date is available, this “Legendary Period” apparently drew to a close at least 50,000 years ago – although it’s lingering aftereffects hindered the rise of the younger races for eons longer.

   Dragorean Period; The Dragorean Imperium was one of the first true empires to rise after the Drow-Alfar war. Aided by the Knights Of The Rowan Crown (And possibly by one or more of the surviving Alfar), the Imperium successfully dealt with many of that war’s more deadly traps and relics, coming to dominate first their subcontinent and then much of Malavon over the course of several thousand years. Somewhere along the way, the Dragoreans began breeding creatures as magical tools and weapons, a line of research which ultimately resulted in the creation of “Dragons”. Originally a monopoly of the Imperium, owning dragons rapidly became the symbol of a noble house. As will happen, decadence eventually set in – and rebellions followed. Most were fairly minor, and were easily dealt with. Still, as the “martial virtues” continued to decline, the Imperium relied more and more upon magic to turn back rebellions. Unfortunately, the rebels learned. Each uprising required more and more potent magic to suppress. Eventually, during the attempts to suppress a major uprising, something (whether Rebel or Imperial) disrupted the old Alfar planetary binding spells. Millions of years of geologic change were unleashed in mere hours. The subcontinent of Dragorea was swallowed by the sea. Discharges of magical energy created new races and beings of power, opened gates, and transformed much of the world. All but the remnants of the old order were swept away in what would – much later – become generally known as “The Cataclysm”.

   Post-Cataclysm Period; The Cataclysm was a disaster on a scale – and an intensity – which is difficult to imagine. Suffice it to say that some 99% of the planetary population died within twenty-four hours. A large chunk of the remainder died of starvation, exposure, and disease, within the next few months. While a few, small, and incredibly lucky, areas came through the Cataclysm virtually unscathed – or with enough survivors to preserve some vestige of civilization – vast expanses of desolate wilderness and scattered clusters of survivors are the rule. Various new arrivals further complicate the situation, but do provide foci for the survivors to gather around. Seagoing survivors – fairly common since a vessel at sea is fairly well “protected” against tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanoes – often never return to the shattered continents, choosing instead to remain afloat, and to accept the aid of the Cetacea, and the newly-created Arielmere. Millennia later, their descendants would become known as the “Raft Culture”.

   The Eldritch Wars; People are resilient. It didn’t take all that long before the larger clusters of survivors began spreading out, and encountered each other. Sometimes – often – this went well. Sometimes it didn’t. The largest, and thus the most powerful, groups of survivors had organized themselves into “city-states”, usually around the focus of some individual, force, or group, which had been able to support and protect them during the perilous centuries after the Cataclysm. Some (most) were settled and peaceful. On the other hand, it was the highly expansionistic groups which tended to collide. The centuries of slow rebuilding and resettlement gradually gave way to the “Eldritch Wars” as new forces and entities sought dominion. Much to everyone’s regret, some idiot created or imported the “Orc” subspecies of humans during this period – probably as disposable fighters. They’ve been a nuisance to almost everyone ever since. While intermittent, and normally more-or-less localized, the wars continued for many centuries. In the end, many of the odder and more specialized factions were eliminated (or absorbed) – and a good many of the stranger things born in the cataclysm had been eliminated as well.

   The Modern Era; Since the end of the Eldritch Wars, the history of Malavon has been better recorded – enough so that each continent must be treated individually. A few general notes are, however, relevant; technological innovations and imports aren’t uncommon – but rarely make much of an impression. The advantages of any particular technological step are rarely enough to outweigh the benefits of simply letting the people with appropriate talents, or lesser magical skills, do things. In addition, the immense personal – and unpredictable – power available to adventurers often leads to an endless round of founding, usurping, and dismantling, minor empires unless SOMETHING intervenes.

  •  
    • Sere’ados, mostly unconquered during the Dragorean era, has never been sufficiently “civilized” (IE; had enough of the old weapons shut down) to allow for much beyond city-states and “pocket realms”.
    • Mar’sin, while loosely politically and culturally unified (At least around the coastline), suffers from natural barriers, and conditions, so formidable that there is much local independence – and little land.
    • Me’rag, at the center of the dimensional roadway network, has an excessive supply of things; Orcs, Monsters, Magical Power and Items, Adventurers, Godlings, and Weird Places. Things tend to be rather unstable – and very strange – on Me’rag.
    • Ho’jin is divided between The Empire and the plains-domain of the tribal Markasta. The empire is stable. It’s somehow arranged for it’s offices to carry personal magics as well as political power, and drafts individuals with major personal abilities into the imperial service.
    • Primeva – essentially ONE city surrounded by ravening monsters – is prone to intrigue, factionalism, and power struggles – but has little energy to spare for outright internal warfare.

Major Languages

  • Common Languages Of Merag:
    • Allathen – Spoken in the lands around the Mayvalt Bay, by nomads, and in the Silverdeep, Allathen is lilting, lyrical, curiously precise, and apparently unrelated to any other current language, save for some imported terms from Alveshen.
    • Ceradine – While related to Old Ermanic, “Ceradine” has changed a great deal since then, and continues to diverge in the numerous city- states of the Dharos Jungle.
    • Ilpanese – Spoken in various dialects in the Dragon Isles and, on formal ceremonial occasions, in Kest-i-mond. Originally derived from Mandoric (The elder language of the Empire Of Ho’jin).
    • Kenshar – Spoken mostly in the northern reaches of Me’rag, mostly among the barbarian tribes. Unique in that it’s runic written form is of some slight, inherent, magical potency. Loosely related to the old Jotun language – not that any northerner would admit it.
    • Old Ermanic – The ancestral Dragorean tongue. Now spoken only in the remnants of the Dragorean Empire and Pharoakon. It contributed to many of the more modern languages – and is probably related to whatever other languages were spoken before the cataclysm.
    • Saethar – Spoken throughout the Zaratoz empire.
    • Valest (“Orcish”), serves as the base for the innumerable, local, dialects spoken by various orc tribes.
    • Ymrae – A tongue descended from Old Ermanic, Ymrae is the primary language spoken around the Gulf of Sarkisk.
  • Global Languages:
    • Alveshen (AKA; Elvish) – The worldwide elven tongue. While their long lifespans inhibit linguistic drift, the pure form is spoken only in Mallinlassor. Why is still a subject of debate – but most scholars agree that it probably has something to do with the Aursuntelyn.
    • Dwarvish – has no “formal” name. Various dialects are spoken on Primeva and in the dwarven colonies on Me’rag.
    • Kelsen – Found in a multitude of variations in the Archipelagoes, some mutually incomprehensible due to the influence of other tongues.
    • Telesian – Spoken worldwide by the Raft Culture, and derived from Old Ermanic, Telesian has been modified by linguistic drift, adaption to oceanic conditions and exposure to Cetean (The speech of the Cetacea and the Arielmere). A few speakers can usually be found in any major port. It’s also common among the (few and scattered) inhabitants of the Everlin Forest on Sere’ados.
    • Tradetongue – Spread worldwide by traders, “Tradetongue” includes simple words and phrases from many other languages, varies locally, and has a severely limited vocabulary. While a poor choice for discussing complex subjects (Any group that relies on tradetongue to communicate will have many difficulties), you can generally find somebody who can speak it almost anywhere.
  • Common Languages Of Sera’edos:
    • Oddly enough for a holdout against the elder Dragorean Empire, the peoples of Parack speak Old Ermanic. Understandably, the “pure” form is preserved only in temple liturgy – but they can usually comunicate with those who speak other dialects with some work. It’s also spoken in Osvarin, if only as a secondary tongue.
    • Antorese, derived from Mandoric (The elder language of Ho’jin), is spoken in Telmedr, and many of the nearby Small Kingdoms. Both Ilpanese (The language of the Dragon Isles) and Ansoran (The current language of Ho’jin) are considered related tongues. Interestingly, an assortment of nearly-pure dialects of Mandoric serve as “mystic tongues”.
    • Azitlin, Mardas, and Tamere are spoken in many dialects throughout the Linara Rain Forest. Unlike most of the local tribal languages, this trio has some importance due to the potential profits involved.
    • Cor’See’A is the tongue of the Alceraath, a curious and tightly-knit group of small clans scattered across Sere’ados. They’re apparently interested in Malinlasor and have a small colony in nearby Teris. A few outsiders have learned the tongue, but few have actually learned much about the Alceraath. Perhaps the language itself reveals something; it has many terms for retreat, fortification, last stands, and losses – but few for advancing, victory, or even peace.
    • Ostlin is fairly common in the “small kingdoms” – albeit in nearly impenetrable dialects and variants. Luckily for the area’s wanderers, the various kingdoms borders shift enough to keep isolated linguistic pockets from turning into new languages very often.
    • Vardic is spoken in the Sekmoran Union – at least as far as anyone can tell (The place is weird) – and is the primary tongue in Osvarin. It’s related to Old Ermanic, although exactly how is unknown. The Rom also speak a version of Vardic – although they also seem to use a lot of private signals.
    • Varisin, AKA “the speech of the people” is the only major language of the Varia, and has been widely adopted by their subjects (Especially the Yataran, whose native tongues are almost extinct except among the few “wild” tribes beyond the empire’s northern boundries). While it has many different dialects, most of them are quite similar as far as ordinary ears and vocal cords are concerned. The otterlike Elshor have numerous tongues of their own – but almost all of them speak this one as well. Elshor tongues include Orphal, Kime, and Rersinth. All rely extensively on signs for underwater communication, and are considered “related” languages.
    • At last count, Sere’ados has at least 300 “minor” languages. These can be absolutely vital on rare occasions and useless otherwise. Anyone who speaks two (or more) of the major languages will be able to speak 2D4 minor languages well enough to get along. (The GM will choose one from your list and note it’s origins when/if he/she thinks it matters).
  • Common Languages Of Ho’jin:
    • Ansoran – See “Antorese”, above. It should be noted that, in the empire proper, Ansoran is devided into High, Middle, and Low, Dialects, with forms of address varying depending on the social status of those speaking. This is a headache for visitors.
    • Mrrri – Spoken by the Markasta, the rumbling intonations of Mrrri are almost impossible for other species to master. The Empire regards it as being even worse then most barbarian languages.
  • Common Languages Of Mar’sin:
    • Harvite – Spoken almost universally across Mar’sin, and distantly related to Saethar. Interestingly, many ancient meditation techniques and spells of empyrean magic use an ancient dialect of Harvite.

Malavon: Major Religions

  • The Aesir and Vanir (the nordic/germanic pantheon) are worshiped in northern Me’rag around the Mayvalt bay. Entangled in their perpetual series of battles with the ice jotun, these gods are popular among the northern barbarians, but are mostly a dark and brooding bunch. They do not get along with the greater elementals.
  • The Celestial Bureaucracy is worshiped in Ho’jin – and is noted for taking a much more direct interest in their priesthoods then is usual for most pantheons. The Celestial Bureaucracy is also worshiped in Telmedr (Sere’ados), albeit in combination with the “Myriads Of Kami” and occasional bits of Khoradan. Unfortunately, the Bureaucracy tends to be a bit rules-bound.
  • The Cetecean DreamSingers and LoreKeepers are worshiped by the Raft Culture and among the Archipelagoes, but are merely respected among the Cetacea themselves. The Cetacea, as much as they “worship” anything, are Primordialists (QV), although they usually limit this to the more benign entities in that group.
  • The Elemental Lords are a curious mixture of mighty, semiabstract, higher powers and lusty fertility deities. Worshiped under a variety of names and aspects, the three pairs; (Light (M) and Darkness (F), Earth (F) and Air (M), Fire (M) and Water (F)) give rise to movement, plants, animals, and every other aspect of the world. Worship ranges from pure, contemplative, reverence for the elements through the orgiastic rites intended to invoke their divine power (and thus sustain the cycles of the world) through sympathetic magic. Priests of the Elemental Lords are relatively rare; it’s quite difficult for most ordinary creatures to attune their minds to such primal entities.
    • Many of these deities have been incorporated into other pantheons. They seem to have some connection with dragons, elementals (obviously enough), and most natural forces. A perverse variant of their worship occurs among some savage/decadent societies, who feel that the powers of these deities – and the cycles of the world – must be invoked, and sustained, by feeding these gods with life energy via sacrafice.
  • The Heliopolitans (The Egyptian and, sadly, much of the Aztec, and Mayan pantheons) are widely worshiped on Mer’ag (Pharoakon follows a nearly pure “Egyptian” version, Dragorea pays some attention to Mayan and Aztec beliefs – and the inhabitants of the Dharos Jungle pay little attention to the Egyptian side), in Parack (Sere’ados. A nearly pure eqyptian pantheon. The Yataran may well adopt some of the pantheon’s feline gods and/or goddesses – now that they’re on a world where gods actually respond to worshipers), in the Linara Rainforest (A nearly- pure Aztec enclave in Sere’ados. Human life is VERY cheap there), and throughout Mar’sin (In a rather abstract fashion. The “Egyptian” gods are greatly stressed).
  • Khoradan is a philosophy and faith originally based on the worship of the pre-alfar Khynadori. By now it’s become a “zenlike” worship of a vague “higher power”. Most of it’s priests wield psychic powers and empyrean magic, and recognize a “dark power”; Nergal. Khoradan is widespread on Sere’ados, but rare elsewhere.
  • The Lords Of Chaos and Order are popular in the “Small Kingdoms” (Of Sere’ados), and are often tied in with Vardan in one form or another. The general theology is quite simple; The “Lords Of Order” attempt to keep things stable, just the way they are. The “Lords Of Chaos” want to change everything into something new – pretty much at random. Too much of either is bad, so which you pray to depends on what you need. Many “priests” of this faith are actually mages or wizards. The Lords of Order (And Artifice) are fairly popular among Dwarves as well.
  • The Myriads Of Kami are worshiped in the Dragon Isles, and Khynator (Mer’ag) – and tend to be respected in most places, albeit under a wide variety of names. Most other religions are not, however, inclined to simply lump all kinds of spirits together as “aspects of divinity”.
  • Primordialism, the worship of the terrible elder gods, shows up in Malinlassor (Sere’ados), in a few of the hidden kingdoms (Sere’ados), in the hidden realms and surrounding regions (Me’rag), as the worship of the Midnight Goddess (Ho’jin), among the Lythari (Planetwide), and as secretive, underground, cults (Planetwide).
  • Totemism – shamanistic worship of everything from dragons to local or totem spirits – is fairly common among truly primitive tribes, and in Sere’ados. Such cults include the leopard-men, the “wolfrunners”, the dragon knights, and many others. Totemistic cults following various dinosaurs are a special problem in Primeva, and are usually outlawed.
  • The Tuatha De Danan, children of Dana Allmother and wild Curennos, are worshipped in central Me’rag, albeit often combined with totemism of one form or another. According to legend, all the powers of Faerie are descended from them, taking after either Dana (The Sealie Court), or Curennos (The UnSealie Court). Interestingly, the Tuatha De Danan are quite popular among the Elves.
  • Vardan is the worship of the Drow and Alfar – and is fairly widespread among those primitive tribes who’ve recognized something beyond local spirits. As a rule, this is restricted to shamanistic cults, and often centers around some ancient Drow or Alfar relic. Vardan is reasonably common in Sere’ados, around the Antarctic Icecap, and among the “Lizard Men”.
    • While there are numerous other local divinities, cults, and faiths, the list given above covers most of the “major” belief systems.
  • Notable Local Divinities include; Kalessien Landshaper (Dragon-god of creation – popular in the Dragon Isles and Archipelagoes, where he is said to have raised the lands for his people after the catacalysm), Minatet and Linere (Twin, fun-loving, husband-and-wife, deities/heros/founders of the Elshor. Given that the Elshori homeworld generally has no active gods, their actual existence is open to doubt), Caermori and Evarii’l (Mother-goddess and loremistress of the Centaurs), Tavashti (The Lord of Artifice, popular among the dwarves), and the mysterious Voices of Skarasen (Mer’ag).

Calender and Astronomy

CALANDER

“Standard Holidays”: (There are many local and religious holidays).

Month

Day

Runic Link

Translation

Related Magical Fields:

Winter Solstice

 

The Abyss

 

Severance and (Un-)Focusing

Oertreod

8

Stormwalk

Coldfeet

Unbinding and Chaos/Discord

Herewulf

5

Quagmire

Wolfhosting

Negative Forces/Emotions

Gwyrthan

1

Henge

Greenfire

Inner Powers and Wisdom

Dunholt

3

Yaggdrasil

Hillwood

Stability and Linking

Spring Equinox

 

Lightning Bolt

 

Divination and Catalysis

Widfara

17

Worldgate

Fartraveller

Dimensions and Gates

Odhame

11

Starfall

Richcoat

Pure Forces, Light, and Magic

Alltfion

1

Burning Torch

Springwine

Energy Conversion and Direction

Ramward

15

Pathwalker

Ravenguard

Movement and Travel

Summer Solstice

 

Twilight/Dawn

 

Metamorphosis and Renewal

Gwyntan

21

Crossroads

Windfire

Transformation and Choices

Aldhild

14

Dust

Oldbattle

Destruction and Curses

Matleod

1

Windweave

Nationgift

Destiny and Forgetfulness

Adharcceol

5

Tradesfair

Hornmusic

Craftsmanship and Glamours

Fall Equinox

 

Harvestfest

 

Nature and Life Forces

Derntaan

16

Darkwalk

Hiddenfire

Darkness and Necromancy

Aurholt

9

Forestwake

Goldwood

Spirit Magics and Dreaming

Hamfara

1

Ocean Deeps

Hometravel

Bestial Power and Great Spirits

Isenos

22

Bladeshatter

Ironfrost

Binding/Finality/Revenge

   -The days of the week are usually called La’kin, Donnar, Karos, Maat, Tiy, and Kalar (If anyone cares). These names vary with local customs.

   Common Dating Systems:

  • The closest thing to a “universal” dating system on Malavon relies on dating from the Cataclysm, dividing the years into Pre- and After- periods. Given the planetary extent of the Cataclysm, it’s one of the easiest ways to compare local dating systems.
  • The Arkonate dates from when the Arkonate of Mazadone was founded, in 11,873 AC.
  • The Dragorean System dates from the original Declaration of Empire in approximately 18,300 PC.
  • The Empire Of Ho’jin dates according to the years of each emperors reign as well as by a cycle of year-names – making the interpretation of old dates a matter for scholars or for much consulting of records.
  • The Ilpanese system uses a complex system of cycles – so dates are given as “being in the year/cycle/eon of the a/b/c”. While the system is built around the cycle of lunar conjunctions, early dates are more then a bit uncertain.
  • Mar’sin relies on a patchwork of local systems,
  • Old Dwarven Records were kept using a 453-day “cycle”, rather then by year, dated with a system of astronomical signs which seem to have nothing to do with Malavon’s skies.
  • Naturally enough, a multitude of other, local, systems are in use.

   Major Conjunctions:

  • Lunar: Triple lunar conjunctions occur every seven years. They’re occasions of great magical potential which greatly enhance the forces associated with the nearest standard “holiday” – and enhance magic in general to a lesser extent. When the conjunction actually occurs on a “holiday” the power is at its peak. Since the date of the conjunction shifts by slightly over a day every time, the complete cycle requires approximately 2400 years.
  • Outer Planets: Triple conjunctions occur once every 380 years.
  • Leap Years come every 4, 50, and 3840 years. While it has popular associations (Usually being either dominated by religious concerns or being taken as an excuse for a festival), no real magical effects are known to be involved in the event.

Major Astronomical Objects:

  • Sun: 1.4 solar masses, and therefore somewhat bluer then Sol. It has an 18 year sunspot cycle, a period involved in certain magics.
  • Nartyo: The innermost planet. No known atmosphere – or people. It’s year, and approximate rotation period, is 82 days.
  • Culoris: This planet has a very high albedo, an extremely thick atmosphere, a year of 212 days, and two minor moons.
  • Malavon: Is the primary campaign planet. It has 3 major moons; Astarte, Kalene, and Tas’he. (See Page 1)
  • Torisin: Seems to be a dead world. A bit smaller then Malavon, with a year of 1009 days. It has no apparent moons.
  • Rakoris: Is a ringed gas giant, with many moons and a period of 13.4 years.
  • Verdin: A gas giant with at least fourteen moons and an orbital period of 34.3 years.
  • Starmere: The local “Milky Way”. Brighter and more impressive then earth’s due to the greater mass and size of this galaxy and Malavon’s location porportionately somewhat nearer the galactic core.
  • There are lots of nebulae, clusters, and so on. Major constellations include The; Wyrldgate, Circle of Fire, Bear, Chariot, Shadowed Lord, Ice Maiden, Trailingsword, Harvest Stars, Coyote, Weaver, Salamander, Sundered Spear, Huntsman, High King, Time Dancer, Shaman and the Guide, Kraken, Shining Mask, Dragon Circle, Cauldron, Winter King, Starmist, Horned Lord, Demon, Sundered Helm, Hornblower, Dragon, Bright Archer, Star-Storm, Abyss, Smith, Crystal Skull, and others.

   Anyone interested in an explanation of the powers linked with each “holiday”, or the symbolism and powers of the various constellations, is welcome to discuss such matters with a scholar. The information is available, if uncommon. It is important in ceremonial magic and is of some use to powershapers.

Other Matters:

   Money And Coinage: Malavon operates on the silver standard. The most common exchange rate is; 1 Gold = 20 Silvers = 200 Copper = 2400 “Bits” (Pieces of coppers broken to make change). Gold and silver coins which conform to this standard are minted at 50 to the pound. Coppers are minted at 20. For comparison purposes, one silver piece is a very good hourly wage, two hours wages for a skilled craftsman, four hours wages for an unskilled labourer, a days pay for an errand boy/child – or a weeks “pocket money” for a kid with an unusually generous master or very well-off parents. The prices given on the malavon price list are all in standard silver pieces.

   While the Primeva/Normark-Arkonate, Dragorean/Pharoakon, and Mar’sin coinages all adhere (somewhat roughly) to the above “standard”, other systems do not. Nonstandard, rare – or simply strange – coins are all fairly common. Some examples include; the Dharos Acaro Pod (a natural plant, usually valued at about 10 CP in Dharos, at several times that elsewhere), nomadic Feather Belts (Intricate artworks, usually valued at about 25 SP), Zaratoz Electrum Rings (Worth around 10 SP), Keshian Firedrops (Pieces of opaline crystal. Roughly equal to gold in Kesh, usually treated as gemstones elsewhere), Pounds (A large – and somewhat crude – gold coin minted by “kinglets” among the northern barbarians, worth 50 SP), Hacksilver (Common among barbarians and mercenaries, this consists of crude silver jewelry which you hack bits off of by weight when you want to pay for something), Imperial Ho’jinite Scrip (A true rarity; paper money. Generally considered too easy to counterfeit, and hence worthless as currency in most places. Oddly, Ho’jin never seems to have much trouble), Zholani Pearl Tokens (Common among traders and in the Archipelagoes. The value depends on the quality of the pearls used, but is usually inscribed on them), “Dragon-Wheels” (Rare to the point of being unheard of, these gem studded platinum-iridium “coins” are (supposedly) minted and used in Skarasen. While there are various sizes, even the smallest is worth some 500 SP), and Ilpanese Imperial Jade Markers (In various denominations. These are rarely encountered, much less recognized, beyond the Dragon Isles). While merchants – and great lords – often use Letters Of Credit, the practice is ordinarily limited to those with massive financial interests.

   “Common” expenses include supporting a lifestyle (As per the price list), families, guild dues, tithes, taxes, tariffs, fees, purchases, charity, bribes, obtaining licences, buying titles, and paying off your debts. Incomes may be derived from “adventures”, grants, investments, character backgrounds (QV; “Talents”), membership in a guild or other society (These usually come with various obligations, QV; the various relevant Major Skills), or simply be spending some of the character’s time and effort on obtaining cash (If done before beginning play, QV; the “Money” skill. If this option is taken in play, the character is holding down a “job” of some type. Success in this depends on skill, the amount of time devoted to it, the rarity of the abilities used, and the risk involved. Ditch-diggers don’t make much, but take few risks, and require little skill. Minstrels can get along quite well, and take few risks outside of occasional tavern brawls, but need skill. Street Healers can do very well, but need skill – or even arcane abilities – and can run into riots and such. Thieves vary, depending on the level of skill they possess and the risks they’re willing to run.)

Sentient Races:

   With a lengthy history, and a distinct excess of dimensional gates and arcane conflicts, Malavon “hosts” more sentient species then any ordinary world. Quite a few are confined to little enclaves – or even, occasionally, a particular mages laboratory – but some of the more widespread species include;

  • Cetaceans; The whales and dolphins. While they rarely get involved with land dwellers (Save for Delphinus Arcanus, AKA the “Arielmere”), they do have an ancient oral culture. Given that the very concept of “equipment” or genuine “privacy” is foreign to the cetacea, they tend to strike most of the other races as seriously weird.
  • Dwarves; While dwarves appear closely related to humans, there are extensive metabolic differences. Dwarves tend to be tough, enduring, clannish, highly skilled, poor at magic – and somewhat standoffish.
  • Faerie; QV; “Lifeforms”. There are too many types to handle here. Includes Dragons, Brownies, Unicorns, Tengu, Naga, Satyrs, and Dryads.
  • Humans; Hopefully, humans are a fairly familiar species. As one of the most common species on Malavon, humans and their variants [Variants include Elves (Arcanus), Sidhe (Faerie), Vampires (Undead), Bushmen (short quick people), Jotun, Titans, and Ogres (all three races are engineered bioweapons), Orcs – and various halfbreeds] make up a fair percentage of the planetary population. According to some tales, the Alfar were the original template for humans and their variants.
  • Lizard Men; Barbaric and deadly, the “Lizard Men” are actually far more closely related to the archosaura – and birds – then they are to reptiles. While poorly socialized, unintelligent, and apparently very poor at arcane pursuits, they’re tough, strong, fast, and amphibious. To this point, outside of the extremely rare Lizard Magi (Possibly an offshoot subspecies), their greatest cultural achievement is managing to organize the Lizarchor (AKA; “The Lizard-Man Mafia”).
  • Shapeshifters and Lycanthropes have a unique genetic complex which gives them their special abilities. It apparently started with elves, but has spread to Humans, Cetaceans, Centaurs, Lizard Men – and Giant Beavers. It seems to be a lethal gene in nonsentients and other races.
  • The Continental Races include the Markasta (Ho’jin’s Nomadic “Cat-People”), the Chorrag; (Hoj’inite “Bug-People”), and Centaurs (Me’rag’s “Horse-People”).
  • Minor Races include the Giant Beavers (apparently the result of an ancient mage working on flood control. He enlarged their brains to make them smarter – and then enlarged their overall size to make them stronger, incidently enlarging their brains again. Giant Beavers tend to live in small, co-operative, colonies, and make decent neighbors, if lousy adventurers), Stardrakes (a near-extinct race of pterosauria, rarely seen on – or even near – Malavon), Minotaurs (arcanely altered humans – apparently intended as heavy laborers and/or “farm animals”), Kraken (giant sentient squids, normally equipped with bioelectrical and arcane abilities. Apparently created as an oceanic bioweapon, they’re noted for foul tempers and general hostility), the Lytheri (a vaguely “octopoid” alien race, the Lytheri maintain a few outposts on Malavon despite it’s hostile environment. Powerful natural psychics, they do not seem to relate well to nontelepathic races), MiniDrakes (miniature “Toy” dragons, sometimes used as familiars), assorted Spirits (Few of these get involved with normal people, hence, while there may be lots of them about, they’re rarely noticed), and various others.
  • All sentient species are potential player-characters.

Mer’ag: Major Political Entities:

  • The Arkonate once dominated the land around the Gulf of Sarkish as the chief province of the Empire of Mazadone. It’s been sadly reduced since the disappearance of the imperial family some centuries ago but still remembers its former preeminence – retaining numerous physical, political, and social, relics of the period. It is a member of the Iron League, still hosts the central headquarters of the ancient “Order Of The Griffin”, and somehow still retains considerable political power, despite it’s apparent lack of political assets. The current ruler is the Arkon Jerwaith Alaran, “Regent” (“Until the Emperor’s return”) of Mazadone.
  • Cisnaud was founded about 500 years ago when the sourcerer (no, that’s not a typo) Garadin funded and assisted in the rebuilding of the city of Harados after it was destroyed by a tidal wave. He renamed it Gildas, and established a mageocracy – although the sages, guilds, and various other groups now have representatives on the council as well. Since then, Cisnaud has gradually expanded by voluntary incorporation. Gildas is still the capital – and remains one of the great centers of magical activity on Mer’ag. The city is often referred to as Cisnaud, so often that it’s original name is almost forgotten.
  • Dragorea is a remnant of the pre-cataclysm Dragorean Empire. It is at least 20,000 years old – and is probably far older. Its citizens are rather decadent, haughty, and touchy – tending to regard all foreigners as uncivilized, and untrustworthy, barbarians. Given the convoluted, trans-generational, intrigue, ancient magical skills, inbreeding, and outright insanity commonly found among the competing noble houses, by their standards it’s true. On the other hand, few sane people WANT to be THAT “Civilized”. Since the original imperial regalia – and the imperial bloodline – was lost during the cataclysm, the various noble houses have spent millennia passing the position of “Emperor” back and forth according to a complex web of rules and political maneuvers. The current ruler is the Emperor Duraten, of House Evorth – and the capital is the city of Terakos.
  • Eldras has short summers, horrible winters, and a population made up of nomadic tribal herders wandering a high plateau. Most follow odd, totemistic, cults or local divinities, and pay tribute to the ice jotun in exchange for “protection” during the winter. Oddly, the trade-city of Serapis is considered holy by virtually every faith on Mer’ag.
  • The Duchy of Eregion is noted for having superb farmland, superior weather conditions, and excellent crops. Outside of border skirmishes with hotheaded centaurs from the plains, and occasional troubles with the unseelie court, there is little excitement in governing here. As a result, many of the local nobles make their own, dabbling in plots, politics, and intrigues. The mess is overseen by Duke Televan who seems to derive an obscure pleasure from the entire mess. Over the 63 years of his extended reign, most of his relatives have been exiled – and the plots have become extremely complex. Much of the genuine excitement in Eregion can be found in the offices of the merchants and traders who keep the grain, goods, money, and people, moving.
  • Hallanx is a fairly new theocracy – formed by a coalition of orcs, halfbreeds, and the “Council of Yamerton”, a group of priests. There’s still quite a power struggle going on between the council, the orcs – and at least one underground sect. It wouldn’t be too surprising if the country was to fall apart again as quickly as it formed, which may be why the capital, and seat of the Council of Yamerton, is the fortress Gravenlith – and is often besieged by centaurs.
  • Kartori is an extremely mountainous land, hence most of the people live along the shoreline or in small inland valleys. The “economy” – such as it is – relies on the Harrkene Seafarers, who operate over an immense range as raiders/traders according to mood and opportunity. It is a major naval power, and traditionally regards the Dales (QV) as its “personal” trading preserve. The current “Seamaster”/chief captain is “Admiral” Ashar.
  • Khynator came into existence about 200 years ago, when the city of Kest-i-mond offered the surrounding towns aid in repelling raiding or invading creatures from the Dark Forest. With such aid came military directors and advisors. Shortly thereafter, Kest-i-mond was the capitol of a realm nearly its present size. Continuing expansionist ambitions make Khynator an ominous neighbor. Kest-i-mond itself remains a major trade center, and has extensive shipping interests. The current ruler is Queen Isilor Sugara, as advised by the high council.
  • Kelost, Belore, and Morfane are known by rumor, rather then by any dependable source. Hidden within the depths of the dread forest, they are supposedly lightless realms of orcs, demons, evil gods, and bloody, terrible, magics. More specifically, Morfane is supposed to be under the control of an archdemon or evil god. Belore is primarily orcish, but is apparently led by halfbreed leaders. Kelost is supposed to be ruled by some sort of theocracy or mageocracy – or to simply be a lot of orcs with no particular leadership. Nobody really knows – but few expeditions have gotten very far into the dread forest.
  • Maran Empire: While now defunct, the Maran Empire once ruled most of the Dharos Jungle. Today there remains a score of quarrelsome city states – each claiming to be the rightful heir(s) to the old imperial titles, and each busily sacrificing their enemies to the gods both in order to obtain their backing and to prevent their world from falling deeper into ruin. The local “governments” are mostly theocratic, but the military and nobles exert a strong influence (wherever things are still organized above the tribal level).
  • Meron is an oligarchy, run by a loose alliance of “lords” who hold their positions by virtue of raw personal power. While the council positions are loosely hereditary, duels are often fought to determine who actually receives them.
  • Normark: This dwarven realm is basically a confederation of clans which has presented a united face to the planet for millennia – while maintaining an endless internal squabbling as the seven major, and many minor, clans jockey for position. There is no current “Clanmaster”, but Battlemaster Durvar Ermlenderr is temporarily handling the duties of the position. With a candidate from each clan trying for the job, he may be in charge for a considerable period.
  • Pashad is old – reputedly dating back to the eldritch wars. It is dominated by a group of mages and their military forces, but is subject to constant border raids from its coastal neighbors, The “Warlordism” of Telif and the Theocracy of Medore. All three have a reputation for being overrun with werecreatures and shape changers, ancient and terrible magic, berserkers, and interclan feuds – perhaps a result of the fact that al three suffer regular infusions of northern barbarian blood.
  • Pellinore is notable for its dangerous creatures and modest deposits of gems. Sadly, most of the mineral wealth occurs in small pockets or as placer deposits along the many, modest, rivers. Hence it will not support large scale exploitation, and so is mostly left to individual prospectors or small groups.
  • Phaorakan is another ancient civilization – although at least from after the cataclysm. It once controlled a major trading empire, but that period was millennia ago. It is deeply conservative, tradition- bound, and stagnant. It has changed very slowly – if at all – in the past several thousand years. The government is a balance between the the god-emperor, currently Turankane XXI, and the bureaucrats, although both the military and the nobles manage to exert some influence.
  • Seltos is a small, rugged, and heavily forested, country notable for withstanding the attacks of the Zaratoz Empire. It is supposedly run by several circles of mages, but the reports are oddly contradictory. If it does rely on magic, its either well mixed with something else – or is a very strange variety.
  • Skarasen and Altorsh reinforced ancient barriers to somehow “seal” their borders during the eldritch wars period, and have had little or no contact with the outside world since. While there is some evidence that Skarasen’s organization collapsed some time afterwards – leaving a selection of small groups sealed behind their own magical barriers – other tales speak of a war of ancient voices. While there are a few known / rumored paths into Skarasen today, these routes are dangerous enough, and the inhabitants are weird enough, to discourage contact. If there are any routes into Altorsh at all, they apparently lie today – as before – through Skarasen.
  • Talies: Populated almost entirely by bushmen, the Commonwealth is remarkable for its total peacefulness – and is quite casually run by a council of village mayors, who use “neutrality” as their byword. It offers sanctuary, good food, and a secure place for negotiation, making it a popular neutral point to hold conferences or stash things. This makes them useful to everybody – as does their helpful willingness to export great quantities of food. Since that’s the only major resource that Talies seems to possess they have very little trouble with their neighbors. On the other hand, they are a member of the Iron League, have close ties with Normark, and quite handily defeated the orc army contingent, and it’s supernatural allies, which came their way during the great orc invasion of 14,117, which may have something to do with the general reluctance to bother them.
  • Velathyis: One of the few primarily elven kingdoms, Velathyis is centered around the Marnar river. It is quite loosely organized, but has been around in various “incarnations” for several thousand years. Recently, Velathyis has considerably expanded its area of influence – politically, along trade routes into the Silverdeep – and through the Knights Eldritch. It’s currently ruled by a council in Elisar, headed by Ameschel Rachad, a comparatively youthful ex-adventurer alchemist.
  • Ypros – along with Hath and Colsec – is a nuisance for most of the northern and eastern coastlines. While the northern barbarians who live here sometimes trade peacefully, and sometimes fight each other, they manage to put together raiding expeditions all too often. Even their “peaceful” trading trips often result in violence. Nevertheless, they are often tolerated, as the area is a source of fine furs, amber, and much mineral wealth.
  • Zaratoz Empire: A youthful realm, the empire uses armies of orcs to do its fighting. While most of its territories are very thoroughly subdued, some power in the forest of Arden continues to withstand all attempts at conquest – as does the neighboring realm of Seltos. While outsiders speculate that Seltos’s continuing resistance is tolerated, perhaps as a sort of “safety valve”, no one really knows what defends the forest of Arden. With its other borders hemmed in by the ocean and natural barriers, the ruling military oligarchy runs a repressive and rather unpleasant realm from Zaros City.

Some Major Organizations:

  • The Order of the Griffin is one of the oldest, and most respected, orders of knighthood on Malavon. It’s members wield limited arcane, and formidable physical, skills. They’re recognized virtually everywhere.
  • Khynatori Intelligence is a remarkably extensive network of spies, operatives, and informers. While overt confrontations are not their style, they can be exceedingly dangerous.
  • The Iron League dates to the great orcish invasion of 14,177. The league is a defensive alliance – the second, although few know it, to be so named. Members include; Velathyis, Khynator, Talies, Normark, The Arkonate of Mazadone – and a selection of minor holdings referred to (by courtesy) as “duchies”
  • The Knights Eldritch are a relatively new order founded in 14,022. Primarily elvish, and based in Velathyis, the order wields considerable arcane power. They distinguished themselves in action in the invasion of 14,177 – and in many smaller actions since then.
  • The House of Keravos is sort of a cross between the yakuza and the mafia. It enjoys a quaislegal status in Dragorea and Phaorakon, and is extremely good at what it does; they’ve been at it for millenia.
  • The Order of Quinona is a loose association of foresters, weilders of nature magic, and herbalists. It’s based in the Silverthorn, and is noted for sponsoring various “quests”. It is believed to have ties to something in the Eldwood.
  • The Han Council is a rare gathering of Centaur tribes, which meets to mediate tribal disputes or to elect a new “Great Khan” or overlord of the tribes – a position more ceremonial then practical.
  • The Mercenaries Guild primarily operates in central, and northern, Mer’ag as a hiring service, contract enforcer, and proxy representative for members and employers. “Bonded” Members are the most trusted, as they post 480 SP bonds against violating their contracts.

Mer’ag: Areas Of Interest

  • Arden: An enchanted forest, strangely populated – and of curious dimensions. Reportedly it extends more then a thousand miles through but only hundreds around. It’s a known focus of dimensional warps, including natural gates.
  • Athor Glacier: Said to contain an ancient city in its depths, the glacier is heavily populated (for a freezer) with deadly creatures.
  • Dales: A rough region with many small valleys and plateaus. Each small, livable, area tends to be isolated – so small holdings are the rule. Local lordlings and light woods abound, as do ancient ruins. Any traveler can usually find a welcome – but bad experiences with magic lead many dalesmen to distrust any but the weakest of spells.
  • Dharos Jungle: A tropical rain forest of considerable extent. A source of rare woods, spices, and drugs. It’s very dangerous to travel unguided, due to the many toxic plants and animals. (QV; Maran Empire).
  • Dread Forest: This forest is heavily populated with orcs and minor forest monsters. It is supposedly loosely organized into an oligarchy and two theocracies.
  • Earthfires: A belt of highly active volcanoes, combined with the local glaciers, they virtually block assess to the high plateau.
  • Eldwood: A section of primordial forest hundreds of thousands of years old. Ancient beings and powers walk this alternatively terrible and pleasant wood. The fringes are frequented by Herb-gatherers seeking magical plants, but those who venture in too far rarely return.
  • Firespirals: A near-surface chain of active volcanoes. At least one major island has recently subsided here – creating the tidal wave which destroyed Harados. Sections of the water are extremely hot and occasional bubbles of flaming gas have been observed.
  • Fist-Of-Ra Desert: A remarkably unpleasant, dangerous, area. It’s noted for sandstorms, heat, and occasional lethal inhabitants including Kenri nomads and sandwyrms.
  • Haunted Lands Apparently the site of some great, ancient, series of battles, the Haunted Lands contain many grave-barrows – and arcane remnants of the past.
  • Landrift Canyon: Created by the same, massive, crustal movements that created the Wedore and Sarkish Gulfs, this vast chasm supports a wild and monstrous population.
  • Maydalor Swamp: Once the kingdom of Elvanos the region is now the domain of lizard-men, quicksand, and swamp monsters. Rare herbs and weird plants can be found here.
  • Misty Sea: Here, where cold and warm currents meet, the ocean is shrouded in perpetual fog. Both hidden islands, and some form of sea- monster capable of pulling down a ship from the midst of a group, are known to exist here.
  • Morshalag Deep: This forest is another enchanted wood, but one of an extremely evil nature. A known place of power for necromancy, and for trips to the shadow realm
  • Nomad Plains: A dry, cool, climate creates vast grass-lands which support a few human and many centaur nomads. Many spots are regarded as “cursed”.
  • Seawyrm Bay: A favored midwinter spawning area, the Seawyrms are occasionally hunted in special ships, although the tables are all too often turned on the hunters.
  • Shavros Swamp: Extraordinarily inaccessible, which – of course – leads to all kinds of wild rumors about it’s contents.
  • Silverdeep: This forest is inhabited primarily by small primitive tribes following celtic and totemistic religions. A few small domains are scattered around the edges of the forest – but their expansion is fiercely resisted. Zarathos occasionally raids the place.
  • Silverthorn: This light forest is home to elves, a scattering of small holdings, the Order of Quinona, and a variety of creatures in the northern sections.
  • Sunfall Cliffs: Created by a major crustal upthrust these nearly sheer cliffs along the Weldore Gulf rise 400-800 feet. Wave erosion has created a vast number of caverns along the base of the cliff.
  • Twisted Peaks: These mountains seem to have somehow been churned or twisted. Virtually impassable, they are home to the Storm Titans – and are said to conceal the treasures of ancient realms.
  • Windheights: Remnants of a huge, elder, city cling stubbornly to this section of the plateau. The terrain is remarkably treacherous, and curious creatures are often reported in the area.
  • Wind Towers: These mountains include some of the tallest peaks of Malavon. At least one ancient complex of buildings clings to them at an incredible altitude.
  • Yalorth: Once part of Elvanos – a smallish empire destroyed by a massive arcane attack – the Yalorth has subsided far enough to become an inland sea. It is now a haunt of freshwater “monsters”, occasional coastal rafters, and traders.

   Recent History “begins” with the “great orcish invasion” of 14,117 PC. The attack struck north from the dread forest on several fronts; a grand attempt to overrun the lands about the gulf of sarkish. While they enjoyed a initial successes, the realms swiftly leagued together to oppose them. This new “Iron League” managed to bring the orcs and their allies to a conclusive battle in 14123 in the area now known as “bonemarch”, driving them back to the dread forest.

   It should be noted that the material given above becomes less and less reliable as it goes further back in time. More detailed data is available – but it requires research; while most adventurers take the time to listen to a lot of old tales and put some pieces together, very few become serious historians.

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One Response

  1. […] introductory handout sheet for the continent of Sere’ados – a subsection of the world of Malavon. If I can manage to get a decent scan of one of the maps, I’ll add that as […]

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