Last week, I looked at how I was adapting the Icons from 13th Age to my specific campaign setting of Maia, an series of island nations separated by elemental flux due to experimentation with planar magic. Here’s the second half of the movers and shakers of the campaign setting.
Sometime in the 3rd Age, the elemental forces coursing through the world due to experiments in planar magic coalesced into sentience. Fire and ice mixed with storm and muck and from the mingling energies the first dragons were born. These dragons had not divided into color or metallic sheen at this point, but were merely mighty beasts of fell energies and the world shook with their roars. As they grew, they eventually turned on each other and were divided. The five strongest dragons in bright elemental colors took leadership of one faction of the dragons. Of these five original dragon leaders, only The Three remain. One was lost in battle against the metallic forces and another has been taken captive by forces The Three are unaware of. The Three rule a nation of draconic-like beings, some of whom are their creation and others who merely flocked to them. They built cities and strongholds and hold one of the largest, most prominent sections of land in Maia. They keep mostly to themselves, but if their wrath is raised, the rest of Maia should beware.
As the great chromatic dragons were consolidating their power into separate chromatic hordes, the metallic dragons were in deep discussion deciding who would lead them. When one metallic dragon killed another in a trial of combat and absorbed his spirit, the metallic dragons realized that their conductive nature allowed them to receive and channel each others’ power and that they could present one united front against their enemies, the chromatic dragons. Some submitted willingly and others were hunted down, but as the metallic dragons fell their concentrated power grew as well. The last metallic dragon is now known as the Great Gold Wyrm and he holds the collective power of his race. It has been long since the mighty champion of order was last seen. Legends tell that the Great Gold Wyrm went raging into the Tempest to fix the world and was never seen again, but orders of warriors have sprung up in his name and stand for everything the Great Gold Wyrm held dear: justice, order, law and peace. The great castle fortress of Wyrmlock holds a host of loyal warriors who would ride to the gates of hell to stand with their master in battle.
In the Savage Lands, a jungle land separated by mountain ranges buried deep in the plains of a lost continent to the southwest of Maia and as the waters rose, this hidden land was protected by the mountain ranges. Here unknown magics raged and warped the natural creatures giving rise to the intelligent bestial races of Maia. Minotaurs, wolfmen, satyrs, centaurs, frogmen, along with many more developed tribal societies in this primeval place. Over time a guardian emerged, a caretaker of all things wild. That guardian was known as the High Druid. In this Age the High Druid is a young elf who was chosen by the primal spirits to guard all natural life on Maia. She resides in the Savage Lands, but has been known to travel the rest of the world over. With growing cities and larger nations pushing back the wilds in so many places, the wrath of the High Druid is a very real threat.
In the shamble and threat of all the dangers that have befallen Maia, the cities took a long time to rebuild an resettle. When they did start coming back together, the criminal element always resurfaced. Many would quake in fear of a figure supposedly working behind the scenes, one who many would simply refer to as the Prince of Shadows
. Very little is known about the Prince, but someone is taking credit under that name. The deeds of the shadowy elements in cities are often connected and there is a great opportunity to find resources, information or merely to find a way to disappear, but do so at your own peril.
There were three human nations in close proximity to each other: Baen Nerath, Baen Arkon, and Baen Turath. These nations were constantly in competition with one another and eventually this competition led to war. Baen Nerath tried to remain neutral in the combat as Baen Arkon and Baen Turath worked against one another from their flanking position. As the war escalated, the people of Baen Turath grew desperate and turned to forbidden magics to seek allies from beyond. The leader of the Turathi led her people to pledge their lives to demonic forces and were warped by the infernal magics that changed and empowered their race. The people of Turath became the tiefling race, gifted with elemental fire and able to summon infernal allies, and their leader became the Diabolist a terrifying personality and a devastating beauty whose machinations have now sold her entire race to demonic overlords. Even should they win the war, will the world ever be the same?
The gauntlet thrown and the Turathi empowered, the people of Arkon were limited with their choices. They went from winning the war to very suddenly finding themselves outclassed and outgunned. As the war shifted and battle was joined on the shores of Baen Arkon, a low acolyte of a religious sect turned to the rituals of dark gods and elicited their aid. He was surprised when the ritual actually summoned a member of the dark gods host. Bringing the leadership of his nation into contact with the dark angelic being, the acolyte led the people of Arkon into a pact with the long forgotten, dark gods and became their champion, their Crusader in Maia. The people of Baen Arkon were also transformed and became the assimar race; gifted with incredible strength and the divine power of the dark gods, but have sacrificed the ability to bear children. Every Arkon death is a loss to the entire race. The Crusader has become more and more like his dark masters and more cruel and grim. Would he drive back the forces of Baen Turath, what would his dark masters want of him and his people?
The Dragon Emperor is dead. The war that enveloped the nations of Baen engulfed the entirety of their three nations and while Baen Nerath tried to stay neutral in the conflict, they were eventually consumed in the crossfire. The last of the Dragon Emperors who ruled the nation of Nerath for Ages was killed and with him ended any hope of the Nerathi people rising again. Or did it? Many wonder if a hidden heir was able to survive. Could there be a chance that the great Dragon Empire of Nerath could be reborn and end the countless years of war between her sister nations? There are many who quest after the potential lost emperor and an elite guard of Dragon Knights waits at the great flame, waiting to see if one could arise who could light the beacon and reunite the lost empire of Nerath.
That’s what my Icons look like. The ideas built upon in the 13th Age canon lend themselves to adaptation and wide sweeping notes that can fit in any campaign and I’m excited to see just what mischief my players get up to and how they involve themselves in the works of these Icons.