Showing posts from January, 2018

Character Classes: Mystics

There is an inner magic in humanity. It is this magic that lets their souls mingle with those of other races, and which lets them access the magic of the world around them. There are a few, however, who have learned to turn their gaze inwards, and draw power from themselves. 
Being a mystic is an inherently personal thing, requiring self-knowledge. Most mystics therefore are self-trained, or apprenticed to another mystic who guides them. There are a few gymnasia that can teach this, as many mystics promote self-knowledge and self-examination in the community around them. These philosophers are not always popular for doing so.

Art: 'An Allegorical Figure of Calliope'. Cosimo Tura, c. 1460.

Character Classes: Artificers

The world sees artificers as a type of wizard, who have focused on technology over magic. It is artificers who are responsible for the creation of the cannons that have become a standard part of the army, and artificers who are researching smaller hand-cannons now. Mechanical clocks and the press are also both new creations of artificers. While these devices are extremely rare at the moment, they will only become more common, and will transform the world. 

Art: 'A Goldsmith In His Shop'. Petrus Christus, 1449.

Character Classes: Wizards

Wizards are those who have learned to manipulate the magical forces of the earth through study and ritual. Much of their learning was pioneered by the legendary wizard-king Mercurio of the Eight Ways. He codified and mastered all eight of the paths of magic which wizards today now follow, and connected the study of magic with the study of chemistry, physics, biology, and astrology.
Most wizards today need a patron, and so many serve guilds, nobles or dragons who are able to finance their studies. Many also learn their arts at one of the many universities in Tirenia. There are wizards there who identify likely students and take them under their wing. Many wizards keep in touch with their colleagues, to share information. The largest network of wizards is the Rememberers. This group is concerned about the censorship of knowledge and the rewriting of history by the dragons, and works to preserve knowledge from being lost.

Art: 'Dante Alighieri'. Luca Signorelli, c. 1500.

Character Classes: Warlock

Warlocks are those who access magical power through an intermediary, after making some sort of pact or covenant with them. All three groups of the Host have warlocks, although demons have by far the most: it is their preferred way to meddle in the world. The angels, meanwhile, have created very few warlocks throughout the history of Tirenia, and fairies tend to do so haphazardly, as the situation arises. 
However, there is one more force that has begun to create warlocks. People who have been infected with the Great Death and survived have begun to manifest strange magical powers. Did they make a bargain with the intelligence controlling the Great Death? Or, having left its mark on them, can it force a pact on others against their will? The motives of the Great Death are inscrutable, but its work in Tellaia has only just begun...

Art: "The Witches' Sabbath." Francisco Goya, 1798.

Character Classes: Sorcerers

There are some who are born with the ability to use magic naturally. Often this is because of some accident around their birth. The energy that funnels along ley-lines bubbles and burns, and children born upon a confluence may have an instinctive ability to draw upon their power. If the child is born during a mighty storm, or during an eclipse, they may be able to draw upon the lightning or the shadows to aid them.
The other way in which sorcerers are created is by being descended from an inherently magical being. Most often, this occurs among dragon-born, who are often able to use some part of their progenitor's great power. For this reason, sorcerers are often adopted (sometimes forcibly) into noble families: anyone who wields such power must be descended from a dragon.

Art: "Circe Offering The Cup To Ulysses." John William Waterhouse, 1891.

Character Classes: Rogues

Rogues are probably the most common class in Tirenia. Anyone who is defined by their profession rather than their ability to fight is probably a rogue. From assassins to artisans, from courtiers to criminals, rogues are ever-present in society. 
The most well-known roguish organisations are criminal ones. Most crime across Tirenia is locally organised - there is no such thing as a 'thieves' guild' - but the Benevoli has its hands in most organised crime across the land. These crime-families originated in southern Tirenia, and it is strongly believed that the black dragons have a hand in them.

Another roguish organisation is the Winnowers. This secretive mercenary order carries out assassinations on request. They are very hard to contact, and charge excessively high prices. However, their specialty is discreteness. Their crimes are often disguised as accidents or natural causes, after they spend a considerable period of time scouting out the target and infiltrating every a…

Character Classes: Rangers

Some warriors have always been more in tune with the outdoors. Even in Tirenia, where the wilderness has been pushed back a long time ago, there are still people who feel a kinship with animals, and who can use the power of druidism to a small degree. The master of the hounds or a bounty hunter might both be rangers. 
There are two groups of rangers that are especially important in Tirenia. The first are the Wayfarers. Merchants regularly travel across dangerous lands, and many want to find new trade routes or partners. The Wayfarers are a loose organisation of guides, scouts and bodyguards, who will assist merchants on their travels.
Meanwhile, the Brothers of the Wolf are an ancient secret society from before the time of the dragons. According to legend, its founders were raised by wolves, and so they live among the wolves and offer sacrifices to the Wolf God. This rite was originally connected to kingship, and the Brothers of the Wolf still today have many important political figu…

Character Classes: Paladins

Paladins are warriors who are dedicated to the church. They get their name colloquially, from the heroic knights of King Carlo. Some paladins are individuals whose fervor gives them strength, but the majority belong to organisations. The most famous of these is the Knights Austere, the militant arm of the Church. They gained a lot of power during the war with Crescentia, but were disbanded shortly thereafter. Their fall was almost certainly motivated by the hatred of the dragons, and certainly many wyrms have been slain by the Knights Austere throughout their history. There are still individuals who idolise them and remember their ways, and there are rumours that the order still exists in some form, albeit underground. 
Today, most paladins are exceptional members of other military or religious organisations. Two other paladin orders of note are both reptilian. The sibilant monasteries are guarded by warrior-knights who focus on healing and protection rather than magic, and the myste…

Character Classes: Monks

There are a number of unarmed martial arts taught in Tirenia. Wrestling is seen as a fundamental martial skill, to be used in a duel to supplement armed combat. Both wrestling and boxing are popular sports, but also good for general health. Pammachion is a martial art that uses both as a particularly vicious form of unarmed combat. These techniques are often taught at gymnasia, which teach that the body and the mind are connected. By training the body, the mind itself will be stronger. They also teach how to use one's pneuma (their breath or soul) to empower themselves further. Gymnasia also teach scientific theory, and so it's not irregular to find brawlers manifesting the power of the four elements of creation, combining body and soul to be the most powerful fighters that they can be.

The tabaxi also have a tradition of unarmed combat, although they do not have any particular name or mystique about them: for them, it is simply using their natural abilities.

Art from: 'Cle…

Flora's Taverna in Minecraft

Art: Minecraft. 2009, Mojang AB.

A letter from Matilde

A letter from Matilde to her professore in Padovia. It is written in a special code to avoid it being intercepted.

I hope this letter finds you, and finds you well. Many terrible things have happened at home. There seems to be danger and tragedy around every corner. I need your help Professore. I feel my family will need all the assistance we can procure in the coming weeks. 
Firstly, please assist the lady Esssmerelda, whom has delivered you this letter. She is a scholar of the stars and hails from the Yuan-Ti. Esssmerelda tells me the stars brought her to Vanzenia. Maybe if the two of you work together you could provide us with some guidance in these troubled times? 
Secondly, my family rescued several innocents recently from Carnelio the Red Dragon’s house. While searching for a way out we stumbled upon a dark room filled with water and some kind of slime. We were desperate to escape so I, perhaps somewhat foolishly, touched the slime. Suddenly we were out on the stree…

Carnevale - Session Four: The Resurrectionist

Art: 'Head of a Young Saint'. After Carlo Dulci, c. 1670.
Four days passed. Morignus had become paranoid after the death of his daughter Rubina and the 'assassination attempt' on his son Carnelio. A curfew was declared, armed mercenaries patrolled the streets, and there were rumours that secret informants were seizing enemies of the state. The city was in a subdued mood, with the Carnivale celebrations all but cancelled for the first time anyone could remember. During this time, the children of House Benicio spent their time trying to locate Santa Maria, the miraculous child. Deltorro spent most of his time looking in various bars, where he became friends with Roberto Ormanni, a local fisherman whose business was affected by the curfew, and Martina Verditto, a stevedore - probably because they could match him drink for drink.

Eventually, they heard a rumour about Antonio Rossi, a dockworker. Rossi was one of the people saved by Maria's miracle on the day of Morignu…

Carnelio's House in Minecraft

The fireplace burns without any fuel. One of the gold dragon paintings is strangely familiar...

Chandeliers without candles and a very cute gold dragon hatchling.

A cute piece of artistic propaganda: a painting of a gold dragon.

The house guardians, made out of the red dragon's own fiery breath.

Carnelio's room of magical paraphenalia

Art: Minecraft. 2009, Mojang AB.

Character Classes: Fighters

Fighters are one of the most common character classes in Tellaia. There are always wars, and there will always be a need for warriors. In Tirenia, the city-states do not have their own personal armies. Instead, they hire mercenaries called condottieri to wage war from them. Many members of the nobility have served as condottiere generals, and it can be a path to fortune and power if you are successful. Condottieri study battle from a scientific point of view, and often battles between condottieri companies will end without blood shed, as one side acknowledges that the other has outmaneuvered them, blocked their supply lines, or taken the superior terrain. 

Art: 'Man in Armour'. Jacopo Robusti Tintoretto, c. 1550.

Character Classes: Druids

Druidism is a type of magic based upon the connections between living things. Those who practice it can feel the inherent magical power that all life creates, and the flow of power in great ley-lines across the landscape. They often erect shrines in the wilderness where the lines intersect. 
Druidism relies upon a connection to the untamed world and, as such, it is harder to practice in civilised lands. It survives more strongly in rural areas, where its ancient customs pre-dates the Church itself. The Church officially denounces labels druidism as a type of paganism, although they tend to be quite lax with its adherents as long as they acknowledge the Creative One and do not pose a threat. In fact, there is an order in the church of monastic monks who worship the Divine One, but practice druidic magics. Druidism is more commonly found in more remote lands, such as Sahelio and the Tin Isles. 
One of the most famous miracles of druidism is the ability to talk to animals, and then to a…

Character Classes: Clerics

A cleric is someone who is able to access the inherent magic of the world through the power of their conviction. Traditionally, the majority of clerics are members of the clergy, who use their faith in the Almighty One to work miracles. The Church has the most knowledge and structure of how to use this magic. Religious clerics devote themselves to a particular saint, and develop magic based upon that saint's sphere of interest. But not all members of the Church are clerics, and many who are have only achieved a low level of power. Centuries of corruption has eroded the faith of the clergy. There are also other religious movements, particularly in other countries, which have their own clerics.
It is not necessary for a cleric's faith to be religious. A new group of clerics have arisen in recent years. Humanist clerics reject the teachings of the Church to a greater or lesser degree, and in some cases they are even atheist or agnostic. But the conviction that they have in their…

Character Classes: Bards

Creation has power. Bards are those who, through artistic creation, can channel the primal magic that created Tellaia itself. Many 'renaissance men' are bards - skilled at a wide range of artistic and creative endeavours, which makes their magic more powerful. Bards do not need to be musicians: a sculptor, painter, or architect could also be a bard. They do not need to create while invoking their magic, although many find it helps them. Others might use a symbol of creation done at an earlier time, while for some it may not be necessary at all.
As skilled professionals, most bards are middle-classed. Some artisans belong to guilds, while others work independently for various patrons. Because they work for rich nobles, merchants, and the clergy, their art tends to be produced for them, although there are a growing number of musicians who are interested in popular music and instruments.
Art: Detail from 'Investiture of Saint Martin as a Knight.' Simone Martini, c. 1315.

Character Classes: Barbarians

'Barbarians' do not exist. While the word is still used as an insult towards those of a different culture, religion, or city, the stereotypes that it conjures up, of uncivilised violent marauders or noble primitives, are not true. Even the orcs who live on the outskirt of society, who frequently raid seemingly for the pleasure of it, have a complex social organisation. 
However, there are many people who take the Barbarian class. Any warrior who relies on instinct and ferocity over training and equipment may be a barbarian. A sailor who uses whatever weapons come to hand, a street thug, or the leader of a peasant revolt might be a barbarian. Many soldiers may take some levels of barbarian.
The berserker subclass is characterized by how it puts itself in harm's way to better hurt the enemy. Any barbarian who is heedless of their own safety might be a berserker. Totem warriors, meanwhile, have been inspired by a particular animal. In some cases, this is done formally: vario…

Mortal Races: Yuan-Ti

The Sibilants are a small and ancient gnostic monastic order. They were created by the angels during the Hostwar. Their temples are a sanctuary to all, offering healing to all. Their temple guardians are monastic knights who focus on healing and protection, rather than violence. Other Sibilants follow the path of knowledge, as wizards, astrologers, diviners and artificers. The Sibilants appear as human, although with snakelike features, which become more pronounced as they use magic. The Sibilants eschew political power, but they are held in high regard by the people who live around them, and snakes are also culturally portrayed as wise. Their esoteric learning is at odds with the Church, however, who portray them as wicked tempters.

Art: 'Saint John the Evangelist.' Piero di Cosimo, c. 1500.

Mortal Races: Firbolgs

To the far north of Tirenia lies a series of rain-soaked islands. A few humans eke out a living there, selling tin to traders, but the land is still ruled by the giants of old, the Firbolg. These dangerous giants worship the cycle of life and death. Many of their religious festivals are celebrated with a living sacrifice - humans, if they can get them. For their most potent rituals, they will even sacrifice one of their own. There are different ways of conducting the sacrifice, depending on the phase of the moon and the stars.

Not all of the Firbolg follow this religion, however. Some firbolgs may object for moral reasons; others become rogues after they are marked for sacrifice themselves. They use their natural druidic abilities to disguise themselves, so that they can hide among humans - who would surely reject them if they could see their true forms.

Art: 'The True Picture of One Pict.' Theodor de Bry, 1588.

Mortal Races: Minotaurs

To the far east lie the Spice Islands of Baratio, where many strange monsters dwell. Every year, traders return from the east with exotic goods and tall tales. One of the tales that they tell is of the bull-headed minotaurs. The bull is seen as a sacred animal in those lands. Sometimes, a woman will give birth to a cow-headed child, which is seen as being a gift from on high. These holy children are removed from their families and raised together as a special caste. It is the duty of the rest of society to look after their needs.
The task of the minotaurs is to defend others. Before a battle, the bull-men garland themselves and decorate themselves with colourful paint. Their fury, however, is legendary. They are mighty warriors and immensely strong. They are highly trained to use a wide variety of weapons, and often use the horns on their heads to gore their enemies as well.
Art: 'The Minotaur.' George Frederic Watts, 1885.

Mortal Races: Lizardfolk

The ancient lizardfolk empire was on the border of Sahelio and Crescentia. They lived in harmony with the great river, and viewed all animals as being divine. There were a thousand cults dedicated to their study and worship. Their great secret was that of becoming, taking the form of another race. Now the lizard empire is gone, although a few lizard-people remain, but the secrets of becoming remain with a few last worshipers. 
Art: Extract from 'The Last Judgement.' Lucas Cranach the Elder, c. 1524.