Dungeoncraft: Secrets!

Secrets are what makes a campaign setting more interesting and deep. The old man sitting on the bench under the big tree in the village is not very interesting. But if he’s – unbeknownst to everyone in the village – a former mercenary and adventurer, it suddenly becomes something greater. But as with all good things you have to make sure you don’t overdo it. In this episode of Dungeoncraft I want to talk about some of the secrets of my campaign world “Asecia”. If you are part of my gaming group, please read no further (Warning! Spoilers ahead!)

“Humans can’t do magic”

The biggest secret of them all is the fundamental lie of Asecia. Only a few scholars and mages know the true origin of magic. For a long time it was believed that the marked where capable of channeling the raw magic energy around them to create magic effects. And it was accepted doctrine that the eery blue-white glow was the manifestation of the sorcerors power. But that glow is in fact the visual sign of a spirit, the so-called avatar that allows the marked to do magic.
The true nature of the avatars is unknown to even the most wise scholars. And even the avatars themselves don’t know where they come from. They usually come to awareness when a marked reaches adulthood, sometimes earlier. Although the avatars are sentient spirits they usually don’t reveal themselves to the humans they are merged with. They don’t control the marked but they live in some kind of symbiotic relationship with the human sorcerors.
Why avatars merge with humans is unknown. I leave this intentially open because that adds to the mystery and gives me some open space on which I can expand the world further. But there’s more to avatars and magic that almost no one in Asecia knows…

The Lost Kingdom of Rivenar
In the last episode I mentioned a nation called Rivenar but I haven’t given any further details. That was intentional because Rivenar is another big secret. Of course everyone knows that Rivenar exists and there were sporadic contacts and some trade between Rivenar and the other nations but about 200 years ago, the nation started to isolate itself from the others. Maintaining isolation was very easy for the kingdom beyond the Balaki Mountains because of its geographic location.
The kingdom that once shared its tradition with the bigger Tovenari nation has turned into a dark place. A few years before the isolation, Rivenari King Ozardin II found out that he had a terminal disease. In order to fight that disease he tried everything, even resorting to magic shunned by other sorcerors. He finally found a cure in Necromancy. Using the life energy of others he not only fought his disease but also prolonged his life.
200 years later Ozardin II still sits on the throne of Rivenar. His use of Necromancy left him twisted and mad, more demon like man. His armies consist of intelligent undead and he rules his land with an iron fist. In his laboratories his scholars have developed terrible weapons powered by necrotic energies and now Rivenar is ready for war.

So, this concludes this episode of Dungeoncraft. Next time I will write about the role of religion in Asecia.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

One thought on “Dungeoncraft: Secrets!”

  1. I dig the idea of avatars and magic. I like it when the tried and tested explanations for magic have been altered. It also lends itself to a ton of hooks. It also makes me wonder about Ozardin's avatar and how necromancy affected it.

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