The world of Anarden is a place of sheer fantasy populated by a wide scope of creatures and cultures. Tales of love and loss, savagery and compassion, beauty and horror, begin, and conclude on a regular basis. These stories are forged by the laws, the instincts, and the desires of the inhabitants of this world. However, recently an age has ended. The balance of power is poised to shift. Great prosperity will fall at the feet of the strongest regime.
“There once was a madman of incredible power. Thaul. One of the 4 last living Valo. Thaul claimed himself a god over all of Anarden. With the ability to twist the very atoms of the world to his will, he demanded absolute obedience from all the peoples of Anarden, under threat of annihilation.
The other Valo, including myself, had no choice but to submit. We each wield phenomenal power but Thaul was a tier above. If we were to die our once great race would be extinguished. So we were the first to become his instruments.
Next he enslaved the Podels, a race of beastmen who had long looked to the Valo for leadership and wisdom. All knew that Thaul was a beacon of cruelty and greed but few opposed him. Few of those who did, yet remain. Podel society fell to his rule, and they suffered for his amusement.
Thaul then set his sights on the Crage. A warrior race of dragonoids that held ill will towards the Podels and the Valo. Mighty apex predators, though few in number. The Crage refused the rule of Thaul and readied themselves for a fight that they could not win.
Thaul looked upon them as mere toys. He allowed them a cramped scrap of land and regularly spent the lives of his Podels to harass and irritate the Crage. When finally he grew tired of these games, Thaul moved to finish the crage for good.
I was thankful that Thaul went on the mission himself. As his second I was able to exact small mercies to the Podels whom I had grown to admire and even care for, while he was gone.
That day will never be forgotten. As the palace conducted business as usual, a scout from Thauls army flew onto a balcony in the very room I was in. Beaten and exhausted, I ordered medical attention. As soon as he had the breath to speak, he said ‘Thaul has fallen.’
A creature that could manipulate matter with a thought. How was it even possible? At first I thought him mad, but more and more defeated Podels arrived. All of the with the same story. A young Crage named Kiln had slain Thaul and claimed rule over his own nation.
A successor was quickly chosen. Thaul was no more, and many rejoiced. However, the Crage resentment to my kind and the Podels was greater than ever, and with the strongest of us dead by crage hands, they will surely seek spoils and vengeance.
I am Soljiet, new leader of the Podels, and I don’t know what the future holds.”
Podels are a beastlike people, who live in a pre-industrial society. Essentially human in their size, society, and bahavior, podels come in all shapes and sizes. Their main asset in life is typically their manifest. A conjured item or limb set that they call into being through training and focus. While the limitations of what they can and can’t do vary from individual to individual, a good meter for manifests is that large strong ones take large amounts of physical power, and intricate complicated ones take a great deal of focus.
Wings, blades, even cookery, are all well within the realm of possibility. However, learning a manifest is like learning a skill. Not many Podels have more than a few, and some are better than others.
The Crage are massive feathered dragonoids. They average 4.5 meters tall and over 16 meters long including their tails. Thick natural armor and large talons, combined with all the senses of an apex predator, give the Crage a domineering edge of most of their competition. An internal magic field called a hardsoul shelters their bodies and enhances their already considerable strength.
Crage hate the Podels with a passion. A prolonged repression that could hardly be called a war has left a bitter rivalry between the two races. With the recent death of Thaul, the Crage stand poised to claim all of Anarden for themselves.
The Valo are creatures of superb power whose society collapsed hundreds of years ago. Now only 3 remain. Though the Valo are nearly extinct, all of Anarden is built upon the ruins of their race. Much of what is seen, was set into motion by these mysterious beings, either through intent or coincidence.
Quarry are small insect like creatures that typically measure about a meter tall and two meters long. Able to adapt to and absorb the traits of nearly any environment, they once populated the entirety of Anarden. However being as sturdy and potentially dangerous as they are, they were viewed as a threat to Podel society. Systematically, they were hunted and expelled from Podel lands.
The Crage, however, found them useful as work animals, and endearing as pets. While still a put upon race, the quarry have found a well earned place in Crage society, and enjoy their protection.
Short lifespans and slightly lower intelligence, mean that the quarry will accomplish little on their own if competing with Podels. Fortunately for them the Crage don’t plan on letting Podels into their territory any time soon.
The term Feral is used to refer to all the wildlife found in Anarden. The spectrum of species is broad, and there are simply too many different kinds of creatures to mention here. Some cute. Some Horrifying.
When a Podel passes away there is a small chance that their energy will remain. You never know what form it may take or what it may do. You can’t even tell the level of intelligence it may posses. Some are strange and unique creatures that carry out the unconscious will of the Podel that spawned them. Some are phantoms, whispering in and out of reality, to no effect at all. Each one is different.
Equally diverse is the number of Podel beliefs surrounding them. Some say they are messages from beyond the grave. Some respect and admire them. Some hunt them out of fear. Some keep them in an attempt to honor their fallen family members, even though its nearly impossible to know for certain exactly who the spirit form belonged to.
A rather strange Crage named Lord Gaunt had a knack for tinkering. In his quest for entertainment through understanding, he unearthed technology beyond his comprehension. Quickly he set to work reverse engineering it. With a myriad of electronic entities as the result. He sometimes smiles at the notion of his own personal army of machines, but in truth it’s discovery that drives him. Discovery as an end, not a means.
As a result, his work is largely secret from his fellow Crage. Even from his “old friend” Kiln. Who is now Sovereign of all the Crage.