Kingdoms of New Meritta
A Campaign Setting
For eons, kingdoms have risen and fallen on this continent of Onmeneth. Leaders, tyrants, and idealists have created structures that have risen high above and crumbled back down to dust. Societies have been immortalized and forgotten. New Meritta has seen power struggles, political battles, and, most frequently, war. The last war between the kingdoms ended just over 70 years ago and from the ashes the Kingdoms of New Meritta were born. A new rule under the Council of Kings with the hope that the people of the kingdoms can finally stop the spilling of blood once and for all. But these things seldom work out as they are meant to, and they never account for the darkness that creeps in. That’s what adventurers are for.
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Ruler: King Thormund Greywood III
Capitol: Mare Glade
At the center of the kingdoms of New Meritta, Bradmont stands as a shining example of prosperity, honor, duty, and respect. Bradmont is mostly large, sprawling, fruitful plains that have led to years of content subjects with work to do and food to eat. Bradmont stands tall as one of the longest running kingdoms in New Meritta. Bradmont has long been one of the most stable kingdoms due to their incredible defensive tactics. Internally, Bradmont has never had an uprising. Centuries of recorded lineage show the Kings of the past, the noble houses they came from and their heraldry. This lineage is important to the people of Bradmont. As such, the names of families carries more political weight in Bradmont than anywhere else.
King Thormund Greywood III comes from the illustrious Greywood family that leads back over 130 recorded generations. Known to be a strong tactician and a benevolent leader, Thormund is a bit gruff, but loved by the people of Bradmont. Sadly, Thormund is yet to produce an heir, and with the recent death of his wife Philia Greywood, it appears he may be the end of the Greywood line. Much of the other noble families have been talking about subsuming the Greywood claims but clearly nothing louder than a whisper can be heard.
Mare Glade is the capital city of Bradmont. A large wall around the glade protects the city within. A series of large mansions dot the inside of Mare Glade, homes for the heads of the noble families of Bradmont. There is no castle for the King of Bradmont, instead staying in his or her family’s estate as the defacto head of the family. Each of the major noble houses send representatives to meet with the king on a monthly basis. The capitol isn’t open to outsiders except on a monthly moon festival, a large part of the culture of Bradmont.
People of Bradmont
The people of Bradmont are a proud people with a focus on order, chivalry, and civility. They work hard, but are treated well by the nobility, feeling they get a fair amount of food, pay, and lodgings for their work. The political family keep one another in check, shaming those who treat their servants poorly. There is a strong sense of duty in Bradmont, to the family, to the nobles, to the kingdom, and to the world. The saying goes that when you fight someone from Bradmont you fight his friends too. The people of Bradmont are open to visitors and tend to treat outsiders with respect.
Ruler: King Elletrix
Carapath is located in the swampy Southeast region of New Meritta. Wedged between the fingers of the Starlight River and the Ishtarra Wastes, Carapath has long been desirable for its abundant growth and dense flora and fauna. The hot, humid area has treated its people well, and the greater races who reside there have had the luxury of putting their focus in places other than survival. However, this verdure has led to hostility in the area. Many different cultures have risen and fallen on the land in the bloody skirmishes over the property. In a modern age, the people of Carapath have the luxury of plumbing the ancient burials for exciting new information and technology. Carapath has become the defacto home for scholars who wish to delve deep into the histories.
Of all the kings on the council, none are more long lived than King Elletrix. No one is certain how long Elletrix has been king, but at least since before the Blade War ended and the Council was formed. Elletrix is rumored to be of fae blood; not just fae touched like all elves are said to be, but truly born of the fae. While unsubstantiated, these rumors have grown to become the legacy of Elletrix. Such men of great power are not to be interfered with, and his claim to the throne has gone largely unchallenged for decades. Of course, when it was challenged, the usurpers were shut down quickly, perpetuating the unlikelihood of a future uprising. The true story of Elletrix’s life may stay shrouded in mystery, but his rule over Carapath is indisputable.
Deep in the heart of the swamp an, ancient fortress reaches out of the mire. A testament to a long dead civilization that built a lasting structure. Inside, evidence of multiple groups over the years assuming control of the structure and leaving their unique cultural touches on it. The fortress is still used as the King’s great hall, with a vibrant city in the swamp surrounding it, celebrating the lost cultures of the fortress. Morevia is a vast series of mysteries left behind by generations of cultures.
People of Carapath
The people of Carapath are mysterious and eccentric. Many scribes and scholars who do not fit in the competitive world of academia fostered by the Notatia Collective find themselves heading for Carapath to seek out what hidden secrets they can uncover. People of Carapath tend to be misunderstood by the rest of the kingdoms, a respite for misfits that revel in cultures long since gone. It is not uncommon for festivals and parties belonging to long dead cultures to be celebrated in the streets of the city around Morevia. For all of their idiosyncrasies the people of Carapath are good natured, and welcoming to strangers; even if most would rather leave them to their swamp.
Ruler: King Callien Garhand
Capitol: The Ashen Observatory
To the Northeast of New Meritta lies the kingdom of Emberfall. Long ago it had been the home to a great army of evil creatures and their human slaves, but the great volcano cleansed the land with fire and lava. Many saw the volcano as a sign of Oliander wiping away the corruption the evil denizens brought to the land. Others thought it may have been the result of a dark ritual the creatures were performing that backfired. Regardless, new life sprouted up from the ash fields at the base of the mountain. Now the land is populated with buildings made from volcanic rock. The ash has given way to verdant fields of plenty. While the volcano has lain dormant, great caves still filled with lava dot the base of the mountain. Some of the greatest smiths in the land seek out these caves to make great forges for smelting and shaping steel. The most beautiful and deadly weapons are crafted here and the most ornate suits of hardened armor as well. Emberfall has become prosperous and powerful, but the ever present volcano looms overhead, like a cog-work clock ready to explode at any moment.
King Callien Garhand has travelled all over the world, and has the scars to show for it. Callien started his life as an adventurer, fighting back the forces of darkness. He battled creatures in every kingdom in New Meritta, and in lands beyond. When he returned home, he was seen a hero. Of all the lands, Emberfall faces more creatures of darkness than any other. They face constant threat from monsters pouring out of the forest to the Northwest and monsters crawling out of the endless caverns underneath. The last king, Markus Mordhein appointed Callien Garhand as his strategic advisor to deal with the constant threats. Over their time working together, Markus and Callien grew closer. Three days after the announcement that Callien was the new King Regent, Markus Mordhein was found murdered in his bed. Peackeepers suspected Callien was the murderer but they were unable to prove it, and Callien took the throne. Under him, the kingdom has made a lot of money, but the quality of life in the kingdom doesn’t seem to have changed. Many of the citizens fall in line due to fear, rather than respect, but fear can be a powerful motivator.
On the side of the volcano, overlooking the kingdom of Emberfall, a great observatory was built. Initially this was built as a symbol against fear. The king of Emberfall could stand ever vigilant over his people, and would stand fearlessly on the side of the mountain, so that if it were to erupt he would face its wrath head on. The Ashen Observatory stands to this day as the home of the Emberfall king. It stands as the only castle not surrounded by a capital city.
People of Emberfall
Years ago Emberfall was filled with craftsmen and survivalists. Hearty people who lived among ash and lava. In recent years, the type of people who live in Emberfall has been changing. Instead of hard working artisans, more and more of the residents of Emberfall have become thieving bandits looking for a safe place to hide out. Emberfall under the new king has very strict property right laws, and possession carries more weight than anything else. It has become a home for lowly criminals and crime bosses alike. A safe haven for the scum of the kingdoms. There are still many of the old guard that live in Emberfall, crafting in the forges and protecting the world from the darkness, but when they look around them they see their home changing before their eyes. Emberfall isn’t exactly a welcoming place to outsiders, or even those who have lived there in the past; however, coin is always appreciated in Emberfall and will get you quite far with the locals.
Ruler: King Layl Heramon
The Southeast’s Ishtarran desert is vast, desolate, and uninhabitable. However, underneath the sand, a series of tunnels and caves have provided the Ishtarran people a home away from the bright hot sun. Rivers of underground water have provided a means of meager survival for the Ishtarrans for generations. Slowly the Ishtarrans pushed their network of tunnels further and further from their desert. As their tunnels spread, they began raiding the areas they had burrowed to. For centuries the Ishtarran were the biggest threat to the citizens of the other kingdoms, launching secret attacks and raids. At the end of the Blade War, the Ishtarrans were brought in and their tunnels now are used as an alternate route for trade as they twist below the surface. What was once a very jingoistic culture has opened its proverbial doors and joined the great melting pot of New Meritta.
King Layl Heramon is one of the last dark-born, those who were born before the Blade War ended. While she was just a child when the last king, Anaja Va, signed the peace treaty, she has a strong nostalgia for the days when Ishtarra hid under ground and took what they pleased. She is well liked by the citizens of Ishtarra, but less so by the Council of Kings. Very little else is known about Layl.
At the center of the Ishtarra Desert it is rumored that a great oasis of water and vegetation breaks up the sea of dunes. This life is the only marker from the surface of the vast city underneath. Vedriss is an enormous cavern miles below the ground. Built on a geothermal pocket, the warmth from the earth keeps the city thriving. At it’s core, a twisted spire of rock with a glowing orb on top. The Tower of Light has long been the home to the King Under the Desert. No one knows what mystical force keeps the orb glowing bright, but it’s magic has kept the Ishtarrans alive for as long as anyone can remember.
People of Ishtarra
The people of Ishtarra are insular and and private. Though Ishtarra is part of the kingdoms of New Meritta, and its King sits on the council, the people have had a difficult time with the transition. Many wish to return to the days when they patrolled the tunnels under the kingdoms, popping up and taking what they wanted. Most Ishtarran’s consider themselves Ishtarrans rather than citizens of New Meritta. Outsiders are only begrudgingly welcome in the desert caverns that make up the villages and cities in Ishtarra. Any slight against the citizenry is seen as an immediate threat and dealt with swiftly.
Ruler: King Evian Redridge IV
Capitol: High Grove
Perrinith lies on the Northwest shore of New Meritta, though it is cut off from the water by a steep mountain range. The land is rocky and dry and the cold temperatures do little to cultivate growth. Only the most stubborn plants and animals make their homes there, and the greater races aren’t much different. The harsh weather, and difficult growing conditions has bred the people of Perrinith to be hearty. They appreciate the reward that comes from hard work and above all they value respect.
King Evian Redridge IV is entering her 23rd year as king of Perrinith. She was once known as the child heiress, just six years old when she was appointed. Perrinith had faced a string of bad luck, with six kings in five years. The turnover was causing instability, so on his deathbed, King Quentin Redridge named his six-year old daughter, Evian, king. He also appointed a number of advisors to guide and teach her about leadership. Now, at 29, she has brought stability and prosperity to the land. She has grown into an outstanding leader, and has earned the unwavering loyalty of her people. While not the longest reigning leader in the council she is certainly the most well respected.
High Grove has long been the site of the King’s castle. A tall, verdant hill acts as a strategic site capable of supporting the small city and castle. Most other people live spread out, planting where they can and gathering what resources the earth is willing to give them. Perrinith has the richest deposits of earth metals and minerals for weapons, armor, spell components and many Perrinithians make their living mining these things and selling them to other kingdoms.
People of Perrinith
The people of Perrinith are a strong, tough people. They battle fierce conditions as a way of life, and tend to be strong and weathered because of it. While cynicism is part of life for many Perrinithians, they also tend to have a strong sense of warmth and mirth when it comes to their family lives. Respect plays a huge role in the society of Perrinith. Outsiders to Perrinith are treated with a critical eye. Most visitors do not receive a warm welcome until they prove they mean no harm to the people, at which point they are treated like family. One of the biggest crops in Bradmont, The Thornsuckle, includes a prickly hard pod with delicious meat inside it. It is often colloquially called the Perrinithian for it’s tongue-in-cheek metaphor.
Ruler: King Victoria Calis
As the Starlight river travels south west past Bradmont they splinter into fingers. Hundreds of twisting and turning distributaries creating river islands that spread across the Southwestern part of the continent. On top of these river islands, the kingdom of Varina has formed. A sprawling city with veins of water moving between buildings. The kingdom has become a hub for trade across the great ocean and as a result has adopted many exotic customs and assimilated strange aspects of foreign culture. Varina has become an eclectic array of all the cultures of the world. Varina has grown from the coast further up the river, like a vine climbing a trellis. Varina is made up of one major city and it takes up most of the kingdom.
The king of Varina, Victoria Calis, truly embodies the cultural melding so common in Varina. She prides herself as a collector of exotic relics from around the world, all corners of the Kingdoms and beyond. Many of her opponents think she focuses too much on her cultural mixing and not enough on working towards the future of Varina and its role in New Meritta.
The Great Dome sits on the coast of Varina looking out over the ocean. The shimmering roof bounces the first light of the new day out over the distributaries and buildings they flow between. It is seen as a symbol of opulence and hope. The city sprawls out from that point, like the sun rising over the horizon.
People of Varina
The people of Varina exude extravagance. The city is wide and sprawling, with many of the most opulent families in New Meritta living their. Homes lined with golden gilding and beautiful ornate metal work are commonplace and the people who live in them often look down upon the denizens of the other kingdoms. Even the servants of the rich families there see themselves in noble work as compared to farmers or tradesmen. There is a culture of showing off, gathering secrets and treasures from around the world to display in the parlor of your home is quite commonplace among the richest of families. Visitors to Varina will only be welcomed if they look like they belong. People travelling through that look like ruffians or other “undesirables” will likely be shunned, but a nice clean set of clothes goes along way with the people of Varina.
The Kingdoms of New Meritta are led by the Council of Kings. Six kingdoms, each with their own ruler who is fit to make the laws of his or her own kingdom as long as they are in accordance with the decrees given out by the Council of Kings. The Council was founded with the creation of New Meritta to finalize peace between the kingdoms. Grievances between two kingdoms are now heard by the four other kings on the council and disputes are handled in private sessions.
The Council of Kings meets regularly, twice a year, and will also handle inter-kingdom disputes on an as needed basis. The Council rotates host cities each session, with the host King getting an extra vote in the case of ties.
King is an androgynous title, with both men and women taking the honor of kingship. A king’s significant other holds no title except for default King Regent in the King’s stead, unless another has been appointed. When a king dies, the title is passed to an individual of his choosing (a list maintained by the king and kept by the royal keeper to be announced upon the King’s death). The only exception to this rule is in cases where the King’s appointee and his or her murderer are the same person, in this case the choice would fall to the appointed regent to make (unless they are also the appointee and the murderer, in which case it falls on the keeper to make the selection).
Each kingdom is ruled by its King, who oversees a number of Dukes in charge of the various provinces of the Kingdom. Dukes are appointed by the King, and if they die a replacement is appointed in their stead. The King can also strip a duke of his power if the King is not pleased with the Duke’s rulership in some way. Dukes operate out of keeps usually found in the largest city in the province, though sometimes other cities have grown away from the keep. The Duke is often a landowner within the province also, and will still control their holdings elsewhere.
Barons are in charge of districts within the province, mostly overseeing small operations such as farming and shipping and acting as a representative for their district to the duke. Dukes choose their Barons, but the Barons must be approved by the King. Barons must also be selected from landowners inside the districts they serve. They are not given anywhere special to live and must maintain their own residence.
Lord and Lady are titles given to landowners within the kingdom and any are eligible for selection of a higher nobility role. To gain the title an individual must own at least ten acres of land and apply for the right to be addressed by the title to their Duke through their Baron. Once Authentication has occurred they may be considered a Lord or a Lady depending on their gender.
Over the years the races of New Meritta have mingled among the kingdoms. Each of the greater races bringing a bit of its history and culture to the other races in a great exchange of ideas. There have been times of great strife between the races, but now they rely on each other too much to be met with fear and hostility in most parts of the world, instead the tenants that bind them as the greater races keep them together against the darkness that would try to rip them apart.
The Greater Races are so called because they possess capacities that other races of the world do not. The binding factor is a free will, and the ability to exert that will. Creatures that can think, communicate, and form societies fall under the banner of the greater races; whereas more animalistic creatures that react and rely on instinct alone do not. Survival is important to all creatures, but creatures who act only for survival lose the element that makes them great. Many also refer to this as the ability to think critically, though it is up for debate if that is the true nature of the greater races.
When Hairix, God of the Greater Races, looked upon the world he saw the beauty in the greater races. He saw hope, and love; knowledge, and free will. He wanted to try his hand at creating something so magnificent. He looked upon his dragons, amazing creatures in their own right, but bound to his purpose, for inspiration. From their he created the first of the Dragonborn. As descendants of Hairix, much of their culture revolves around the god, and their sisters, the dragons. Many dragonborn quest for dragon lairs to seek the favor of their kin. As one of the newer, rare races in the world, Dragonborn are sometimes met with curiosity in the smaller towns and villages of the world; though they are always treated with respect.
Believed to be the oldest race in New Meritta, the dwarves lived underground for generations before ever seeing the surface world. Ancient stories of the dwarves talk of the great kingdoms under the ground ruled by noble lines of dwarves. Many of those family lines still exist now and take great pride in their heritage, though in truth the lines are so old that it is more likely that all dwarves share the blood of those families. As dwarves began to venture from their caves and tunnels, mingling with the outside world, they found a fondness for the cultures of the other races. The mountains, to many of the dwarves, became the work place of dwarves, while the towns and villages became their homes. Many dwarves rebelled against this, preferring their ancestral homes of stone (even to this day) but for most, life above the ground has treated them well. All dwarves still feel the calling of the earth, and tend to be excellent smiths and miners.
The elves are said to be “the fae-touched” and their histories tell of a time before the greater races were considered such. When all the creatures of the world were like the animals, searching for food and survival, with no thought of society or order. Their stories say that the fae, who roamed the lands freely at that time gave the elves the gift of greatness before leaving the world, and the elves spread that gift to the other races. The Elves have their ancestral home among the forests of New Meritta which they have opened to the other races as well. Several breath-taking cities have become centerpieces for commerce and diversity in their respective kingdoms. Many elves have moved out of the woods as well, of course. Elves of all times live in the cities around New Meritta. Even the dark elves who call the land under the istaran wastes home now live among the people (but in much much smaller numbers).
The gnomes have long held association with the dwarves. While the dwarves are experts at stonework and smithing, the gnomes bring a flare when working with the gemstones and jewels found in the earth. The Dwarves would bring such treasures to the gnomes who would craft exquisite pieces of jewelry with them. It was the gnomes intimate knowledge of these stones that eventually led to the discovery of infusing them with magical energies, and using these magic gems to power machines of the gnomish devising. Now, anything mechanical is likely the handiwork of gnomes and some of the most exotic and interesting tools in the world are crafted by gnome hands. Gnomes take great pride in whatever work they do and are happy to be looked at as special and experts among their field. Gnomes are present in cities, but not common; and even more scarce in smaller towns. Several gnome cities exist around New Meritta, where things get a bit small for most other of the greater races, but the are otherwise friend towards visitors.
Half-Elves have not always been common. In the last 100 years or so, they have definitely increased in number (mostly due to elves travelling away from their forest homes and out into the cities of the world.) Even a generation ago, half-elves were being shunned from both their elven and human families as abominations and left to fend for themselves from a very young age. Much of this has faded away in recent times. The modern generation of Half-elves can find groups of elves and humans to seamlessly transition between without much consternation. Most half-elves pick one part of their heritage to identify more closely with (often dependant on which parent they get most of their traits from) but many still choose to follow both ancestries and learn as much about both as they can. Still other half-elves have forsaken both their elven and human roots and chosen to identify themselves as something new altogether, only seeking other half-elves to surround themselves with. What started as camps are now villages devoted to the “New Half-Elf” way of life. Regardless, in most places in the world, Half-elves are much better off now than they were just a few generations ago.
Unlike Half-Elves, Half-Orcs are not as well accepted in polite society. Orcs, while considered one of the greater races in their ability to organize and think freely, do not fit in with the other greater races. They tend to be vicious, brutal, and evil. Willing to murder and pillage whatever they please. Because of this, Orcs are often shunned to their own clans that roam nomadically across the land or hide in caves and forests where they cannot be hunted down easily. Most Half-orcs in the world come from women of ransacked villages and for many years were hunted as monsters. Half-orcs born in orc society are usually used as slaves in orc camps. In modern times, half-orcs tend to avoid big cities, as half-orcs moving through large crowds can sometimes incite violence. Instead, they stick to the small villages on the outskirts of the kingdoms where they can make themselves useful, and earn goodwill with the people there who in turn protect them from outsiders. Half-orcs are much fewer than most other races and tend to draw a lot of attention to themselves when travelling to new places.
Halflings are sometimes called “the forgotten race” as they are the last race who has not moved into the cities and villages outside of their own communities. Tucked into pockets of their own little communities, halflings tend to run their societies without contact from other races, and even other halfling communes. They are not unwelcoming to outsiders, in fact, quite the opposite, but for the most part they don’t see a reason to leave the lives they have built for themselves. You may run into the occasional adventurous Halfling on the road or in a city, but the chances are very small. Halflings do not have a lot of history of shared culture, mostly due to the various families separating and starting farms in the planes spread all over New Meritta. However, sit a halfling down and ask him about the gossip in his family and you will be there for hours.
Humans are the most common place among the races in New Meritta, if just by a little. Originally nomads, the human settlements that have grown the largest are among the oldest. In many ways, the history of New Meritta is the history of the humans, even if the dwarves, elves, and other races play a big part in that history. The humans do not have a culture outside of the culture of the land itself as the human spirit varies so much from each individual human. Humans are everywhere, from the biggest city to the smallest village, and while some of the other greater races grumble about humanities apparent takeover of the realms from time to time, it’s hard to fault humans for their ingenuity and determination to do so much over such a short lifespan.
Tieflings are incredibly rare in New Meritta. Hailing from somewhere south of the Ishtara wastes, very few find their way north, and those that do are unwilling to talk about their lives to the south. You are as likely to see a Tiefling in the city as you are the country as Tieflings who make New Meritta their home tend to serve as bodyguards and mercenaries for anyone who will take them. Their rarity lends them mystery and an intimidation factor that sets them apart from the other races.
As the premier adventuring organization in New Meritta, Adventure Inc. services some of the highest profile contracts from some of the most prominent organizations in the kingdoms. If a royal court needs adventurers for something, or one of the other large factions needs a job done, the members of Adventure Inc. will take the job. Most of the people who contract out Adventure Inc. have long standing accounts with them, including keeping large amounts of gold at the compound in Carpath in the town of Mughamara. This would make Adventure Inc. one of the favorite spots for “the great heist” that thieves dream about, if it weren’t for it also being the home of some of the greatest adventurers of past and present and more fortified than some castles.
Adventure Inc. was founded by a group of adventurers who had been highly successful as “independent contractors”, doing odd jobs for organizations and Kings around the kingdoms. Once they had acquired enough gold and prestige they bought up a parcel of land and built their compound. The town of Mughamara sprouted up around it. Many of those adventurers still serve as the leaders of Adventure Inc. to this day. Adventure Inc. is willing to take most any job, no matter how dangerous, but their screening does include a sense of morality. If any one of the masters feels a job is not right to be taken they will veto and it will often pass to someone a little less scrupulous.
Players looking to curry favor with Adventure Inc. may find it difficult to permeate their compound walls. While they are frequently scouting for adventurers to mold into champions of their organization, they are also notoriously protected in their compound, choosing to only allow those that are part of the organization in. Players could contract them, but the price is generally quite steep, though they have been known to take the occasional low profile case as a means to test or train new recruits.
Brolly’s Brawlers is a very new guild that first appeared a few years ago in Perrinith, but has quickly spread all over New Meritta. Members of Brolly’s Brawlers come from all walks of life, but they have one common thread among them. A brotherhood in silence. Brolly’s Brawlers was initially founded as an adventuring organization willing to take on any job and, for the right price, keep quiet about it; filling a void they saw left by Adventure Incorporated’s unwillingness to take the unsavory work. The organization has grown into a fraternity of people unwilling to turn on one another. Betraying a brother or sister in the order results in harsh repercussions from the order (usually resulting in the removal of the ability to speak and complete exile.) However, those who do not break the simple tennant are treated with a network of resources of brothers and sisters who don’t ask a lot of questions and who don’t tell secrets. The guild still supports itself by taking mercenary jobs of all types, but they also serve other functions for the communities they are a part of, often offering services for the town for free in exchange for immunity for their members in certain less legal practices within the realm.
Players who wish to curry favor with the Brawlers and their members don’t have to look much further than their purse strings. The Brawlers interests are wide, but as deep as the width of a coin. They certainly won’t be willing to do any favors for people who disrupt their activities. Additionally, some members of the guild will be leary about working with Knights of New Meritta or Peackeepers of the realms; but only those dealing in things that might be considered highly illegal.
Before the rise of New Meritta, many craftsmen had began forming guilds according to their trade. The tradesmen would trade information on prices, clients, and resources with others who practiced their craft in the villages around the kingdoms. Each guild operated separately with varying degrees of success mingled with corruption in their highest ranks. Some guilds, like the baker’s guild, saw new levels of prosperity under the guild system. Other guilds did not fare as well; the farmer’s guild was rife with extortion, forcing farmers to pay exorbitant fees to maintain the rights to farm certain crops. While most farmers could barely feed their family, the guild coffers continued to grow. The guild leaders would then purchase the land from the farmers, promising to cut their crop fees, and instead charging even higher rental fees. This practice ultimately came to an end after the winter of famine, where the recklessness of the guild led to an underproduction of crops for the winter. Dozens of villages around the kingdoms fell to famine.
After the famine, the King of New Meritta created the Crafter’s Society. One guild responsible for overseeing all other guild activities and actions. The existence of the Crafter’s Society has created a lot of extra bureaucracy among the trades, dragging down those who were working quite efficiently under the old system. However, on the whole production has flourished under the Crafter’s Society. Corruption has been routed out and new prosperity has flourished for all trades.
Player’s who wish to curry favor with the Crafter’s Society should look to negotiate strong deals with the members. The Crafter’s Society has found its success in contracts and negotiation and is unlikely to commit to anything if it isn’t over a bargaining table. The guild, on it’s face, despises corruption and greed, favoring instead fair and balanced deals; but with all large organizations there are always those still trying to find a way to make a lot of coin at the expense of the organization.
The Knights of New Meritta are a protective force sworn to the Council of Kings of New Meritta. Once each year the council selects one knight from each of the kingdoms to ascend to the rank of Knight of New Meritta. Often this title is given as an award for good service or as a mark of honor to end ones career, but those knights who are ambitious can find themselves there at a young age, with many years of service ahead of them.
Knighthood started as a concept in Bradmont, and spread throughout the kingdoms over time. When the council was formed one of the first laws passed was that each kingdom would have its own knights and they would each elevate a single knight to protect the council each year. The Knights of New Meritta wear a series of tassels that hangs off the back of their belt, each a different color, representing the kingdoms. The knights are not volunteered by their king but voted in by the council, so some politicking is often at play when it comes time for elevation in the spring.
The Knights of New Meritta are sworn to the kingdoms, and their leaders. Moving against any of the Kings would undoubtedly cause problems. However, players who are in good standing with the Kingdom and are seeking to stop threats that would weaken it can expect the help of a Knight of New Meritta should they be lucky enough to find one.
The Mendicant Savants have been around as long as anyone can remember. Dressed all in white with featureless masks, the Savants will not speak with anyone unless a donation is made first. Savants are said to be sacred beings who swing a bell meant to identify and protect them, and travel the world as nomads, sharing information and offering to trade with those who are willing to donate them some coin.
Very little is known about the Savants except that when one becomes one, they give up their identity and take on the identity of a savant. They speak in the plural, though they do not seem to share all information among them. There are strict laws in most of the kingdoms against hurting a savant, but they hardly seem necessary, as even without the laws, the superstitions about the savants would keep even the scariest bandit at bay. There are many stories of people who hurt the Savants, only to face untimely deaths, and their families stuck under a cloud of bad luck for generations. Many claim they have faced bad luck simply for being rude to one. Whether there is truth to this or not, it seems much easier to simply be nice to a savant, especially since trading with one can often lead to great boons.
Mendicant Savants carry with them a great pack, or sometimes drag an animal carrying their pack. They love to barter, and will trade you items from rare to mundane for other trinkets and objects or hard coin. As they are always travelling, they do not have food or lodging except that which they purchase. A donation is always required to even speak with a savant. Some say the better the donation you give, the better the items you are shown or the better deal you will be cut; but a savant will tell you any donation is appreciated.
The Notatia Collective represents some of the greatest scholars, researchers, and theorists in all of New Meritta. Scattered across New Meritta are dozens of Notatia Collective guild halls packed with tomes, scrolls, books, and artifacts from all throughout history. Members of the collective search tirelessly for new secrets hidden by time.
The Notatia Collective has become the defacto museums and libraries for the Kingdoms, often acting on donations from wealthy nobles who wish to keep the research going. Many provinces compete for the most complete works within their collective’s guild halls. The Collective, for their part, is happy to spark this rivalry to fund their research and provide information to the people in the process.
The Notatia Collective crave knowledge and players who try and curry favor with them could start with artifacts and secrets the group has never seen. They can be a powerful resource, and the information the collective holds is fairly open to those with the time to try and find it. Members of this group tend to follow the god Sallius and players who also follow this god will have an easier time gaining favor.
The Order of the Pure Elements was once a true monastic order, nestled into the hilltops. While there are still monks that follow the path of elemental enlightenment, the history of the order has led it away from silent contemplation.
More than a thousand years ago, in a kingdom that existed where Emberfall now stands, the true temple to the elements housed monks trying to find enlightenment through the four elements of the earth. One monk discovered, through intense contemplation, that each of these elements was tied to a plane of existence, a layer of reality that he could peer into. The other monks redoubled their efforts to try and tap into these hidden layers, and through it they found immense power.
As the Order of the Pure Elements became more and more about reaching out and discovering these elemental planes the focus shifted from the traditions of concentration to a focus in study and understanding. Many users of the arcane arts were drawn to the order to help continue its research and understanding. Over time, the order has become an organization for any who want to practice the elemental arts, whatever their form. Wizards, sorcerers, some clerics, druids, and a few monks still study the elemental planes under the order.
As the study continued the never-ending clash of the elements was discovered; the war that rages on under the watchful eye of Colliesto. The Order of the Pure Elements in modern times seeks to keep this war from spilling over into the mortal realms or destroying whole elements from existence. They do battle with elementals who find their way into planes in which they do not belong.
Player who wish to curry favor with the Order of Pure Elements will bring to them the remnants of elementals left when an elemental is slain. These crystallized forms of pure elemental energy are very valuable in certain spells and rituals, but can wreak havoc if used incorrectly, even accidentally summoning greater elementals that can rend the planes. Returning these to the order for safe keeping and study will surely please them.
Most guilds are public and sanctioned by the Council of the Kings in New Meritta. The Seekers of the Shadow are not. They are a group originally founded by a warlock by the name of Dia’Merith who had led a campaign against the ancient kingdom that once stood where Carapath stands today. After his campaign had failed his mysterious benefactor abandoned him. Dia’Merith was not pleased and created an organization to study and understand the dark realm of shadow his benefactor had come from so they could find him and pay him back for abandoning Dia’Merith.
Dia’Merith did not survive long enough to fulfil his goal, but the organization changed in his absence. The new leadership of the seekers used the organization’s impressive research on the shadow realm to try and understand the dark magics involved and turn it against the denizens of the realm. Now they travel the kingdoms searching for corruption by the shadow realms and destroying the creatures that find their way into New Meritta.
Members of the Seekers of Shadow have been shunned by the rest of society. Their use of illegal dark magics, no matter their intention, has made them outlaws in the kingdoms. The organization now meets in secret, using ciphers and codified language to discuss matters in public. Many of the members utilize dead drops and safe houses hidden all around the kingdoms. Their veil of secrecy has risen so high most common folk believe they are nothing but a myth, though a weary traveler has likely stumbled across a sign or two that the organization still functions.
Players seeking favor with the Seekers of Shadow should remember that discretion is at the utmost when dealing with members. Some magical ability, specifically through the arcane, and especially through eldritch powers intrigue the Seekers and they are more likely to interact with people who have these traits. Clerics and Paladins of Iora will be hard pressed to garner favor from the Seekers as they see no value in their solution.
Soldiers of the Golden Spear are a militaristic organization, created during the War of the Evermarsh some 400 years ago and founded on the principles of the First Circle of Lady Valestra’s Knights. Lady Valestra was an ancient ruler whose empire stretched well beyond the borders of New Meritta. When she called her First Circle of Knights, the twelve men and women who had protected her during a slave rebellion, she created a creed for them to live by based on honor, loyalty, and strength. Today’s Soldiers of the Golden Spear are no different. They are held to a very high moral standard to maintain membership in the order; as such, they are often turned to for matters of upholding justice and honor. They are looked to as community leaders and protectors of the weak. Many villages will hire the local chapter of the Soldiers of the Golden Spear as the guard for the town.
Players who wish to curry favor with the Soldiers of the Golden Spear will often be expected to uphold similar standards of honor, loyalty, and strength, though not to the same degree as the members. They will find skullduggery, murder, and lying distasteful, and may turn against practitioners of these arts. Clerics, Paladins, and followers of Iora will have an easier time connecting with the Soldiers of the Golden Spear as many of them follow him.
The Divine Court represents the pantheon of each of the gods in their relation to the laws of the greater races. While the kingdoms are allowed to develop their own laws and judicial systems, each of the kingdoms has agreed to observe a set of laws agreed upon by the Divine Court who uses Peacekeepers as investigators and judges. Peacekeepers do not swear allegiance to any one god, but to the pantheon as a whole, and look to protect the integrity of the Divine Court and its Law. Additionally, the Divine Court rules on all matters of faith, including excommunication, heresy, and the calling of a crusade.
The Divine Court meets in the High Cathedral in Carapath. Each faith has a Grand Cleric, the head of their order, who meets in the High Cathedral as their representative. While not in session, the Grand Clerics head their individual orders from their cathedrals. The Grand Clerics are the authority for their patron deity, and the Archimandrites act as management below them. Priests are most common within the church, answering to the Archimandrites, and the Acolytes are lay people who are training to join the church. Clerics act as the churches army, protecting their order at all costs. They answer to the Grand Cleric, eschewing the usual politics of the church, although some choose to pursue that path as well.
Paladins often time will choose a god to follow devoutly, and if they are selected can sometimes become Chaplins, a sort of Peacekeeper for internal affairs of the order. Other times they simply follow the pantheon, which can lead them down the path of becoming a Peacekeeper. Still others find their calling away from the formalized structure of the church, though they can still be called upon during a crusade to fight at the Divine Court’s behest.
The Divine Court holds a lot of political sway, particularly the Archimandrites, and especially the Grand Clerics. Since the founding of New Meritta the church has taken an increased role in the governance of the people, much to the chagrin of some of the nobles. While they might not ever say it out loud, there has certainly been animosity brewing in recent times towards the “over-reaching” Divine Court.
God of the Planar World
Domains: Tempest (The Cosmic Storm), Knowledge (The Seat of Omniscience), War (The Planar Conflict)
Symbol: An eye with a purple iris.
Colliesto is known as the All-seer, the World Binder, and the Fate Weaver. She views all the planes in the multiverse and knows how they stack, and move, and collide. She watches the war between the opposing planes rage and she sees the nether space that exists where no planes exist at all. Depictions of Colliesto vary, but all show her immense size compared to the depiction of the multiverse she holds in her hands. She is often blue in color with great glowing eyes, purple at their center. Her angels are depicted as beautiful blue skinned beings with wings that seem to be made of a glowing dust. Collietsto is frequently worshipped by those looking to improve their fate, asking the all-seer to scout their path and guide them on the correct one. Those who learned to travel between, or call to other planes, will frequently have shrines to Colliesto asking for protection as they meddle in the dangerous art.
Clerics of Colliesto
When a worshipper takes up the call of Colliesto and becomes a cleric, they are committing themselves to a life of service to the World Binder. Colliesto’s deepest worshipers wear purple as a sign to their god, usually emblazoned with a great eye. The devout of Colliesto tend to be good natured about situations that present themselves, very happy with whatever path Colliesto has chosen for them to follow. Their chief duty is to protect their plane from incursion by other extra-planar beings. Additionally, as a champion of Colliesto, they seek to stop those of the greater races who would call on other planes for power that circumvent Colliesto. On this premise, the church of Colliesto stands opposed to the Order of Pure Elements and seeks to stop them from meddling in extra-planar activity.
God of the Greater Races
Domains: Life (The Greater Beings), Knowledge (The Elevated Mind), Trickery (The Never-ending Cycle)
Symbol: A candle with two wicks.
Hairix is known as the Representative, the True Being, and the Great Cycle. He is the god of all races who exercise their will in the world. Not a lot ties the world of humans, elves, dwarves, and orcs; but the ability to think and make decisions for themselves based on more than instinct is the common thread that Hairix represents. Hairix is depicted as a great gold dragon and is said to speak all languages. His angels are the dragons of all colors that populate the earth. Hairix is often tied to the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. He represents more than just the creatures of the greater races, but their eternal struggle. Followers of Hairix tend to be adventurous, reveling in the idea that they are special and different. They tend to take fate head on. They can be found all over the new kingdom.
Clerics of Hairix
Clerics of Hairix wear gold and carry with them a candle with two wicks. This represents the element that makes the greater races superior. They have both the flame of spirit, and the flame of thought. The greater races have passion and creativity, instinct and fervor, this represents the first wick. Many creatures share this with them, just as many candles have a wick. The greater races also have the ability to think critically, and react according to their desires. This second wick represents the free will that greater races share. As such, clerics of Hairix are defenders of free will and seek to stamp out subjugation and tyranny. They find anything that keeps a member of the greater races from making their own decisions to be an affront to Hairix. Clerics of Hairix tend to be passionate, noble, and just. It is great sacrilege to kill a dragon, even one who is doing evil. But a follower of Hairix who can find no other option can do so but must pay penance to Hairix as soon as they can.
God of the Higher Virtue
Domains: Light (The Pure Virtue), War (The Political Order), Life (The Selfless Arts)
Symbol: A vial of golden liquid.
Iora is known as the Guiding Light, the Eternal Counselor, and the Master of Health. Iora is seen as the god of good and order. He stands against chaos and evil at all turns. He is a moral compass for the greater races and the pantheon of gods. Iora is depicted as a human dressed in white robes with a golden glow at his center. Usually Iora’s arms are outstretched, though they are sometimes up in the air. Iora’s angels are golden creatures with wings of pure light. Followers of Iora do their best to stand up to the example set by their god in virtue. They try to uphold morality and act as a voice for the weak and unrepresented. Politicians often worship Iora, at least publicly. Those who practice the healing arts look to Iora whose golden light has healing properties.
Clerics of Iora
Clerics of Iora are valiant and righteous. They wear all white and hold themselves above moral temptation. Clerics of Iora take great pride in their order and self-police it to make sure that all within the order stand up to the high moral character they are perceived to have. As such, being a cleric of Iora means something to people and they are often called upon to settle disputes. Each carries with him a vial of golden liquid. The golden liquid is a tradition from long ago and many theologians have crafted theories around the vials. Some say it is meant to represent the golden light of Iora, while others take a more metaphoric stance, saying it represents the aspects of Iora inside the cleric. A cleric who has fallen out with the order will have his vial taken and smashed as punishment.
God of the Fierce Battle
Domains: War (The Raging Battle), Nature (The Savage Brutality), Trickery (The Strategy of War)
Symbol: A ram horn.
Murkas is known as the Lord of War, the Master Strategist, and the Savage King. He watches all forms of combat and destruction with a hungry eye, longing to join the tides of war. The emotion people feel when the anger rushes over them is said to be the breath of Murkas whispering thoughts of war in their ear. Depictions of Murkas show a stout, proud dwarf in full plate armor, only his beard visible through the metal plates. Two great ram horns protrude from his head, even in the few images of him without a helmet. He always wields a great, two-handed axe forged from flame known in legends as “Spirit Cleaver”. His angels are depicted as large, strong beings with flaming swords and wings of metal and fire. Murkas’ followers tend to be hot-headed, but strong-willed. They have a keen mind for strategy and games matched with a ruthless competitive desire. While many of Murkas’ followers take pride in their physical prowess, not all physically imposing individuals follow Murkas, and not all followers of Murkas are physically imposing. Many theologians suspect that Murkas has taken the form of the dwarf to show that his focus is not on physical prowess, but on a battle-ready spirit.
Clerics of Murkas
Of all the gods, the devout of Murkas spend the least time in the church and the most time on the field of battle. Even the priests and acolytes who tend to the temples of Murkas spend some of their day sparring and practicing, keeping their mind and bodies sharp. Clerics of Murkas tend to wear shades of red to intimidate their enemies and represent the ram’s horn on their armor in some way. The clerics of Murkas are as good at being generals as they are at being foot soldiers. They will get the job done in battle but also know when to step up and make tactical decisions as well. While they can be strong-willed and brash, they seldom fight without cause. The mental and physical exercise of combat thrills them, but violence that does not serve a purpose is abhorrent. They are as much the shield of the weak as they are the sword against evil.
God of the Natural Earth
Domains: Nature (The Natural World), Life (The Unchecked Growth), Tempest (The Unwavering Storm)
Symbol: A gilded leaf.
Oliander is known as the Life-giver, the Great Mother, and the Earth Seed. She empowers all things that grow and nurtures life, but she is also ruthless in her path of destruction. An old Perrinith saying states “There is no force more gentle than the love of Oliander, and no force more brutal than her wrath”. She is generally depicted as a halfling with long, amber hair, swathed in flowing green clothes. She carries with her bundles of vegetables, generally the depiction of these vegetables vary based on the geographic region (tending to depict whatever food product grows naturally in the area). Her angels are generally depicted as green-skinned and entirely naked. Some have wings of bright green leaves, others take the wings of animals such as eagles or butterflies. They will frequently depict the season around them in some way as well. Oliander’s followers do not do well in civilized city settings, preferring the open land and natural features to make their homes, but even a follower of Oliander (or perhaps especially the followers of Oliander) know to find cover and avoid a powerful storm. Followers also tend to be moody, letting their emotions change as the wind or the seasons.
Clerics of Oliander
Clerics of Oliander make their temples in sites of great natural power. They may find a glade deep in the woods or a cavern underground and construct a temple of natural materials to worship in. Many tops of mountains are decorated to the god with clerics standing vigilant guard over them. Clerics wear green and display a gilded leaf on their clothing. While the clerics of Oliander can accept the spread of civilization they are staunch defenders of nature and its senseless destruction. They know that Oliander can often take care of herself, but that they are happy to step in for her when she can’t.
God of the Forgotten Secrets
Domains: Knowledge (The Depth of Learning), Tempest (The Spark of Inspiration), Light (The Untold Truth)
Symbol: A tome locked shut.
Sallius is known as the Lore Keeper, the Prime Muse, and the First Secret. She values knowledge and truth and is said to be the recorder of all events. She is depicted as an Elf in blue robes. She is generally shown hunched over an enormous book with a quill scratching away. Her angels are slender, shadowy creatures with wings that appear to be made of scrolls flowing from their backs. Followers of Sallius are studious and curious. They are hungry for knowledge and greatly value information. Many times followers of Sallius are mistaken for secret-dealers, people who buy and sell information; but secret-dealers only gain value from keeping information from those except those who pay, and followers of Sallius look to illuminate, not obfuscate. Magic users sometimes gravitate towards the worship of Sallius as the secrets of magic are often tied to her.
Clerics of Sallius
Clerics of Sallius are champions of secrets and knowledge. They adventure deep into forgotten ruins to uncover secrets of the world buried deep. They tend to wear blue robes with ornate patterning. Each cleric carries a tome with a lock that only two keys exist for. One is kept on their person, and one is kept in the hall of keys at the Cathedral of Sallius. They record everything they find within their journey and upon their death the order will transcribe their tome, sharing the secrets within with the world. Clerics of Sallius hate deception and will find it wherever they can, root it out, and stop it.
God of the Warm Mirth
Domains: Trickery (The Hapless Scamp), Light (The Warmth of Joy), Nature (The Brother of Fae)
Symbol: A two-headed coin.
Vorillian is known as the Joy Maker, Old Wild-Eye, and the fae Lord. He is known in many stories for playing pranks on the other gods and tricking mortals. His tricks are always good natured and full of joy. He is depicted as an elderly gnome in brown rags with a large patchwork sack on his back, twice the size of himself. The bag is said to be full of tricks. His angels appear to be clockwork creatures with wings of brass. Vorillian’s followers tend to be good-natured, warm-hearted, and optimistic. Many young boys dress as Old Wild-Eye to perform tricks around their villages. He is also followed by artificers who marvel at the great works that are attributed to him. Truly some of the greatest artifacts of all time are said to have come from Vorillian’s workshop.
Clerics of Vorillian
Clerics of Vorillian are good natured and fun, spreading joy being one of their chief duties. When travelling Vorillian clerics come to town they can often be seen with rows of children dancing and playing behind them. The usually wear simple, brown clothing and many are decent artificers in their own right. Clerics of Vorillian are happy to play tricks and jokes with benign outcomes, but they never use these tricks for personal gain. A participant must be unaffected, if not better off from an interaction with a Vorillian Cleric. As such, clerics of Vorillian are widely trusted and in most cultures it is considered bad luck to turn a cleric of Vorillian away. They carry with them a two-headed coin as practical trickery, but also to remind them that their luck comes from within.
There are many who find their sense of worship in the natural order of the world. For them, even Olliander seems like an outside force meddling with the true beauty of the cycle of nature. Those who draw their power from these natural forces and feel a special connection to the animals and creatures of nature (often druids, barbarians, rangers, and some paladins) don’t worship nature as a being but rather as the force that sustains all beings. However, the great animal spirit, Tezcatlipoca, is said to appear before these followers of nature to give them guidance, and give them boons in exchange for services to nature. Those who speak of the animal spirit say he can appear as a large spectral version of any animal and unchecked growth sprouts up around his feet, wilting away as he steps away. Tezcatlipoca does not demand anything of those who draw their power from nature, but does ask them to use their power for various goals to help nature where needed.