Semper Alea Iactas
VILLAGE OF LORING AND SURROUNDING REGION
Village of Loring
HISTORY OF AMADOR
No one knows exactly when the Seven Families came to Amador but it is known they fled something called the Rivening. Even the ancestral choir of the oldest families refuse to shed any light on the disaster they fled or where their true homeland lies.
Tall and pale, the newcomers stood in sharp contrast to the stocky, dark-skinned natives of Amador. The Seven Families came with powerful magic and quickly dominated the peaceful natives. The new civilization grew and each of the families founded a great city. Together the cities formed the core of a great civilization that lasted thousands of years. This included geographic expansion across Amador and countless wars (often civil in nature). In one period of uncharacteristic cooperation, Amador expanded westward until it encountered the reptilian humanoids of the Windward Steppes. In their expansion they also encountered the brutal humanoids to the north in a region they called the Unclaimed Lands.
After a generation of bloody conflict on two fronts, the Seven Families abandoned their attempt to conquer the Windward Steeps and the Unclaimed Lands. Together the Families built a great barrier, called the Bell Wall, to mark the border of their lands. Then they withdrew to fight another civil war; quickly abandoning the Bell Wall.
Now the once great civilization of Amador is in decline. The Seven Families have lost much, including the ability to craft new items of power, and each generation of mages is weaker than the last. Even the incredible power of the ancestral choir has diminished. The Seven Families have withdrawn into their cities while the humanoids of the Unclaimed Lands have crossed the Bell Wall and threaten all of Amador.
THE PEOPLE OF AMADOR
There are seven great Families of Amador. Each is centered around the bones and spirit of an ancient progenitor, and each family strives to maintain the purity of their line. Uniformly, they are tall and with sharp, angular features. From the blond, green-eyed scions of House Kias to the red hair and orange eyes of House Hisira, all share the same pale skin and light eyes. As a group, they are referred to as “lightborn” (or “kin”, by members of the Seven Families). Although few in number, the lightborn sit at the top of the social ladder in Amador and even the lowest member is treated with deference.
In sharp contrast to the Families are the natives of Amador. As a whole, they are shorter, muscled and lack the angular features of the Families. Their dark tan skin and round, brown eyes have led them to be called “darkborn” (or “kine” by the Families). The darkborn reside at the bottom of the social order and rarely hold any power or authority (certainly never over a lightborn).
When the light and darkborn mate, their offspring do not blend the traits of their parents. Strangely, elements of both parents appear distinctly in the child. For example, a child of House Farasi and a darkborn might have dark hair with patches of blond. One eye might be blue while the other is dark brown. Even the pigmentation of the skin has elements of each parent – some large patches with the pale skin of one parent and others with the dark skin of the other. People with these traits are called “grayborn” (or “kith” by the families). Although not as populous as darkborn, they hold a higher status and are often as craftsmen, merchants, soldiers and scholars. It’s not uncommon for darkborn men and women to use cosmetics to create (or embellish, in the case of grayborn) light patches of skin or die patches of their hair.
THE PEOPLE OF URUK
The noble monster hunters of Uruk are a feudal nation of tribes. They have no traditional nobility. Birth means nothing to them; only deeds matter. Although tribes are led by a king, there is no hereditary titles or rank in Uruk. New kings are created when a hero (called a Mamune – or monster hunter) defeats the current king in personal combat. To be considered a worthy challenger, the Mamune must bring the bones of a great creature, like a giant or a dragon. As there are no longer giants or dragons in Uruk (they have been driven to extinction), the monster hunters cross the land bridge to Amador to find their fortunes. The Manune are plentiful enough that they have been given the name of “sunborn” and a place in the social structure (above darkborn but below grayborn).
The people of Uruk have spent thousands of years in the sun bleached deserts. Their skin, hair and eyes range from dark brown to black (although most Mamune shave their heads and beards to better show off the white tattoos that show their accomplishments). Although the people of Uruk are powerfully built, the Mamune warrior caste are almost a race until themselves. They tower a foot or more above their brethren, often topping seven feet. Although a land of magic and scholarship, the Mamune eschew both to focus on their martial skills. They consider the scholarly arts a sign of weakness.
THE PEOPLE OF THE WINDWARD STEPPES
Beyond the Bell Wall to the west, lies a great semi-arid shrubland. This is a land of large grazing reptiles and fierce predators. There are several types of sentient humanoids in the westward steppes but the most common are the scaly folk (called “coldborn”). These include include the hulking lizardmen of the plains and their cousins, the nimble kobolds of the underhills, and their masters, the dragons. The coldborn rule the savannahs and arid areas of the Windward Steppes. Reclusive and territorial, these cold-blooded humanoids are usually content to stay within their hunting lands. Only in times of famine or when threatened do the coldborn become a problem for the people of Amador.
THE PEOPLE OF THE UNCLAIMED LANDS
To the north of the Windward Steppes are rolling hills that lead to high areas of alpine tundra. This land is cold and unforgiving but filled with life. Large herds of grazing mammals and the tribes of incredibly diverse humanoids (called “mongrels” by the Families or “rageborn” by the natives of Amador). Organized into hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tribes, they constantly battle each other for dominance. The mongrels have two defining characteristics. First of all, they grow physically and mentally through conflict. If they manage to survive long enough, a rageborn is capable of growing to become towering giants as a result of bloody battle. Secondly, rageborn do not become infirm with old age, gaining strength with every battle until they are defeated (and devoured) by the victor. The people of Amador have many names for the rageborn, including orks, goblins, hobgoblins, trolls and giants, but they are all the same race.
There are no gods in Amador but religion thrives. Each of the Seven Families is centered around the reverence of their ancestors. The spirits of these long deceased family members speak through the ancestral choir.
Few darkborn belong to or are enjoined to one of the Seven Families. As a s result, few darkborn families can rarely look back more than a generation or two, and their ancestors usually lack renown and cannot communicate through the generations. This means that common families rarely have access to their ancestors — and when they do it’s usually an unwelcome ancestor (e.g., a murderer or notorious thief may linger through generations due to their infamy).
This has led the common man to focus his thoughts on humanity’s common ancestors, which some label as common gods. These ancestors appear to have no power but may offer solace to commoners. Through reverence and hard work at their chosen following, many commoners believe they will join the common gods upon their death and be able to watch over their descendants.
“True magic requires bone, offered by the devoted or torn from the defiant… both hold equal power.”