Asmythe is a world of danger and survival, conflict and conquest. The dreams of the ancient sleeping dragons made the world, give magic to mortal creatures, and shape their destiny. Myriad mystical monsters inhabit the wyld, created by the ancient Ilthura to consume all magic. Dwarves in their mountain strongholds and elves in their forest encampments have survived since the Ilthura abandoned Asmythe while Humans and Goblinoids appeared only recently when the stars exploded. Can you survive and become a hero?
In the beginning the world was ruin. The Elder Dragons took form and gave form to Asmythe. They gave the creatures of Asmythe life and will and the greatest of these were the Ilthura. The Elder Dragons saw that their work was done and slept. It is said that their form can still be seen in the great islands and mountains of the world.
The First Era - The Age Of Power
When the Elder Dragons slept the Ilthura rose. For an eternity the Ilthura inhabited the surface of the world and nurtured it. The Ilthura were creatures of great intellect, immense magical power, and endless hubris. They built a great spires on every land and in every sea. They created the Gith and the Fay and many other creatures as servants and thralls.
The Ilthura split into factions and created monstrous beasts to destroy each other. In the end the Ilthura just disappeared leaving all of their creations behind. The creatures of Asmythe were left without leaders, without direction, and without protection from each other.
The Second Era - The Age Of Anarchy
When the Ilthura vanished the creatures of Asmythe were left to fend for themselves. Some fared better than others and among all of them the Gith and the Fay fared best, for a while.
The Gith built empires of their own and took the Fay as slaves. But the Gith were not as powerful or wise as the Ilthura and their subjects rebelled, throwing down the Gith empires and destroyed them.
The Fay fractured into tribes and forsook all the craft and trappings of the elder races. These tribes eventually became the elves, dwarves, gnomes, kobolds, and the many other races of Asmythe. Of all these the elves and dwarves were the most prosperous.
The elves moved into the forests, plains, deserts, and swamps of the world. These lands are overrun by beasts. The elves learned how to avoid the monsters and to harness the dreams of the Elder Dragons to heal and protect themselves.
The dwarves retreated under the mountains where they built cities in the stone where they could defend themselves from invading monsters. They learned to work stone and metal and how to summon and control elementals to create motive devices.
The Third Era - The Current Era
One day a great cataclysm erupted in the skies over Asmythe. The flares and lightning in the sky persisted for many days and nights. When it was over the Human and Orc races emerged and were already at war with each other. Each thrived on Asmythe, allying or dominating the native creatures and civilizations.
This is the current age. Human and orc civilizations strive against each other to claim Asmythe while elves and dwarves hide from the conflict and nurture Asmythe in their own way. Ilthid and Gith ruins and monsters are ubiquitus and Asmythe is steeped in myth and danger.
The humans appeared on the isle of Altazar, and there made the seat of the Armada Empire.
The orcs appeared on the isle of Cozak and rampaged across the world dominating all they encountered.
The elves have homes in all the lands of Asmythe, though they prefer forest and other lands where they can hide and shepherd the world in relative peace.
The dwarves have strongholds in all the lands of Asmythe, though they prefer mountains and other lands inaccessible from the surface and where the minerals are rich.
The Fourth Era - The Future
In the fourth era all the races of Asmythe come together to form one society to defend against monsters and, eventually, destroy them forever created a time of lasting peace and prosperity. This era develops advanced technology powered by arcane energy. But their reliance on that energy gets out of control and permanent rifts are created through which elementals invade and rampage across Asmythe eventually destroying all life. At the end of this era the Elder Dragons wake again, resetting the world back to #Pre-History.
Circling Asmyth are three moons. The largest, Cylene, marks the seasons with its four cycles each year. Slightly smaller and much redder, Samlene, cycles every fourteen days; normal weeks are seven days. The third moon, a small dark body name Rolene, hard to see even when in full aspect, cycles every 17 days. Rolene first appeared near the end of the first era and is sometimes referred to as the "dark moon" or "blue moon".
By the empire calendar there are four weeks in a month, three months in a season, and four seasons in a year, for a total of 336 normal days per year. The spring months are Seeds, Clouds, and Flowers; following are the summer months of Stars, Golden, and Contest. The autumn months are Bells, Harvest, and Crowns; finally the winter months of Shields, Storms, and Silver. The new year is on the first day of Seeds. The weeks are Squire, Knight, Prince, and King progressing from the first week of the month to the end of the month. The first day of each week is set aside for worship and is generally a day of friendship and renewal.
Every ninety-eight years is the Time of Passing, alternating between midsummer and midwinter. This is when a great darkness falls on Asmyth bringing with it a great shaking of the land, heaving of the seas and other great disasters. In the skies a great dark body growing ever bigger heralds the coming of these baneful times; it is called The Destroyer.
Astrologers also mark the passing of three great lights that streak the sky at regular intervals over the years. There is one seen every 27 years that brings with it the passing of a great leader, one every 42 years that marks the birth of a great hero, and one seen only by a few every 150 years foretells the coming of the avatar of evil who will try to claim all of creation for itself. There are many other lights that pass through our skies that cannot be predicted; all bring with them an event of great significance.
The world of Asmythe exists in the dreams of dragons and although it is similar to our world it is not the same. The most obvious difference is the existence of magic but there are also fundamental limits of physical technology. Any non-organic component or feature less than about a centimeter in any dimension is unstable and likely to swell, fracture, or shatter. These failures happen mysteriously and suddenly when the component isn't observed. This limit doesn't seem to occur in living material such as wool, wood, and bone.
This presents a limit to industrial technology and effectively limits it to a pre-industrial level. Without iron nails, furniture requires advanced joinery. Metal armor and tools are held together with leather straps and wooden pins. Sewing needles and other fine tools are made of bone. Many tools can be made with wood and leather, but they are more fragile and wear out much more quickly than modern industrial tools.
There are aspects of technology on Asmythe that are more advanced than the medieval era, especially in medicine and engineering. Doctors have a good understanding of biology and are able to create medicine and cure diseases effectively. Engineers can design castles, bridges, and vehicles that are larger and more stable than medieval equivalents.
Chemistry is not well developed in the third age. Explosives, acids, and other chemical compounds are more complex, less powerful, and less predictable than elemental energy. Stainless steel and other advanced alloys are a secret of dwarven technology.
Dwarves have their own technology than incorporates Ilthura magic. They are able to create what appear to be complex mechanical systems using elementals, creating intelligent machines and automating systems of production. Dwarven culture is analogous to Steam Punk and they guard the secrets of this technology more fiercely than their own lives. Dwarven alchemists know the secret of stainless steel and have a method of creating very small metal components that last. Dwarven armor and tools very valuable and very rare in the Armada Empire.
During the first age the Ilthura commanded through mental force. Their language was the only language and they did not share it with their servants.
When the Ilthura disappeared they left behind writing but no language to give it meaning. The Elves and Dwarves learned to adopt the symbols of the Ilthura and adapt them to create their own languages, as befit their culture.
Literacy is not common in most places, especially among the elves and dwarves. Human and goblin language is taught in their respective schools but most people don't go to school and/or don't use writing in their daily lives. Generally only aristocrats, merchants, and scholars know how to read and write.
These are the most common languages of Asmythe. Early in the third era each Elven and Dwarven nation may have a distinct dialect; later as trade and communication grow they become more similar.
These languages can be written, read, and understood without magical assistance. Although the Elven and Dwarven languages share an ancient root, they evolved over time and, in the modern era, are distinct and unrecognizable from each other.
- Empire Common, "Codrix" - The standard language of the Armada Empire. (Earth Root: Gaelic/Latin)
- Goblin Common, "Harazod" - The standard language of the Goblin hoards. (Earth Root: Korean)
- Elven, "Jaunloul" - The elven language of life and nature. (Earth Root: Lao)
- Dwarven, "Xathol" - The dwarven language of science and mechanisms. (Earth Root: Georgian)
The Ilthura had written language but never taught it to their servants; the language itself is so strange that it is incomprehensible to any of the living races of Asmythe without help from an elemental.
Although the Ilthid language is impossible to read some basic understanding of its characters and structure is possible. This rudimentary understanding is the basis of techniques used to manifest and communicate with elemetnals. (Earth Root: Punjabi)
As with most pre-industrial civilizations, food production is most important and most common occupation. The method of food production varies by region and resources with farming and fishing the most common. Farmers typically live within fortified towns and cities and travel outside the fortifications to work the farmland during the day. Farms are owned and managed by the local lord with farmers assigned to work plots of land, in a very feudal way.
Crafts are practiced through guilds, associations of expects who band together to teach and regulate their craft. Guild masters are expect craftsmen who own and manage a craft hall. The guild masters regulate the craft in the local economy; they determine who is accepted for training, who is allowed to practice the craft, the cost of products, etc. The local ruler exercises authority and sets laws governing guilds.
Travel and Trade
In the third age most of the lands between cities is inhabited by hostile monsters and travel is very dangerous. Fortified cities and town are rarely more than a days travel apart and most people live within the fortifications of a town or city.
Trade guilds travel between cities buying goods in one place and selling them in another. Purchasing a travel pass with one of of these trade caravans is the safest way to travel.
Travel by land is by foot or beast but towns are often too far apart to complete the journey in a single day, especially with a load of goods. Land caravans are mostly warriors and guards to protect it during the journey.
Sea travel is the safest and most common form of travel, where it is possible. Sea monsters are less common than on land but also tend to be much larger and more aggressive. Ships usually travel alone to minimize the loss of an attack.
Wizards are able to power and control dirigibles, making air travel possible. Travel by air is very fast and very expensive. Dragons and manticore packs are rare, but they are fast and can shred a dirigible before the crew realizes they are under attack.
Nearly all large transactions are conducted with bank notes, usually issued and backed by the House of Hugo or other large trading company. Coins are only useful for small day-to-day transactions such as purchasing goods or getting a pint at the local tavern. The most common coins are the ancient dwarven coins and the coins of the Armada Empire.
The coins of the empire are ornate and difficult to forge. They are, however, barely worth the cost of the base metals and the difficulty of mixing the proper metals into the correct molds, and the harsh penalties for forgeries, makes counterfeit coins fairly rare. In the outer reaches of the empire these coins are somewhat uncommon because of the fear of forgeries and the fact that they are more difficult to get than dwarven coins. In the heart of the empire these coins are the only legal tender; forgers are aggressively hunted and punishments are severe.
The dwarven coins are of extremely high quality; they are ornate and composed of complex alloys. Dwarven "silver" is not actually silver but some kind of aluminum alloy. The art of making dwarven coins is a dwarven secret, making them much more valuable than their base metal. Although technically illegal, in many of the outer reaches of the empire dwarven coins are more common than empire coins.
Good and Evil
"Good" and "evil" are nothing more than thoughts and actions brought into existence by the creatures Asmythe and of the realms. These terms are often used in common language to mean "actions that help others" and "actions that harm others."
With respect to Asmythe, "good" and "evil" are only conceptual. Creatures are neither good nor evil even when they have generous or destructive tendencies. Only elementals are powerful enough to embody the essence of good and evil.
In game terms: powers, abilities, and traits that specifically affect "good" or "evil" creatures only affect beings that:
- Are an elemental, originating from another elemental plane.
- Have an alignment or nature that is specifically "good" or "evil".
- Have spells-casting, spell-like, supernatural, or other magical abilities.
All creatures native to Asmythe, regardless of origin or nature, are not affected by spells or abilities that only affect "good" or "evil" creatures.