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Author Topic: The Fifth Age  (Read 4793 times)
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Ghola
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« on: November 03, 2006, 11:07:18 AM »

So recent posts from Bleak Knight and ayeela have got me thinking about how Eredane might look if the Night Kings were defeated and Izrador’s current plans were foiled.  I think it would be fun to speculate about how things might improve (or slide back into darkness) in a hypothetical Fifth Age.

Dubh Amn and Nif already speculated a bit in ayeela’s thread above; I’d like to invite them to expand on their ideas and invite anybody else who’d like to participate.  What if the Darguul rise up again?  Do the gods return?  Has the Shadow directed a tainted Pellurian Empire to re-conquer Eredane?  Could a maddened Whisper turn against the elves?  Would the orcs blame the Order of Shadow for the defeat and turn against them?  Go wild!

edit:  Mommyyyyyy!  Bleak was mean to me!
« Last Edit: November 03, 2006, 01:11:09 PM by Ghola » Logged

"New heroes will arise, driven by fate, to lead the world out of darkness and herald the coming of a new dawn." -  Aran Noros of the Sahi Priesthood, Commentaries on Vesra’s “Prophecies of the Last Age”
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2006, 12:56:50 PM »

I'm gonna go absolutely wild, and kick you in the nuts: It is already the Fourth Age.

Sorry.

Anyway, I've got some stuff in the works for this, but I can't really talk about it here, because of the Lurking Players (tm) syndrome. I will do so in my own campaign thread at some point, though.
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Naszir
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2006, 01:33:05 PM »

One of the things I have contemplated is that chaos would be the undoing of Izrador.  Law is needed for Izrador and the Night Kings domination. 

Why couldn't the downfall of Izrador be because of chaos?  A path has already been set, strife between the Cabal and the Devout, unruly orcs, rebellious humans, a war on too many fronts and the very land itself rising up to meet the forces of the Shadow.  Madness takes over as common people suffer too long and the collective chaos that boils to the surface rips through the evil foundations that Izrador had laid.

Chaos now reigns as those who survived the passing of Izrador claw their way trying to make new societies and make sense of a world that is barren of the divine but not of magic.
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Dubh Amn
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2006, 02:56:43 PM »

I've been thinking about this since I posted on this thread and I've become locked on this wacky idea:

Izrador's defeat was brought about by the birth of the King of Erenland.  The afermath would, of course, be the King taking his rightful place as ruler of the largest kingdom in Aryth,one that stretches from the Northern Reaches down to Shaarun.

This will, of course, cause some political upheaval.

In my Fifth Age, I see Eredane divided into three kingdoms:  The forest of Erethor, the Human Kingdom taking up the entire middle of the map, stretching to the Kaladruns, home to the other major kingdom, the Dwarven nations.

Getting to this state will be lots of fun, of course.

After the Shadow is bested and the Orcs are scattered, everyone is going to take a collective breather.  The War of the Dawn will have spent most of the resources of everyone on Eredane.  Millions will have died, both the Unfettered (the forces of Good) and the forces of Shadow.  The city of Highwall will be shattered, broken Obsidian blocks scattered among the ruins of a once-great city.  The Unfettered, marshalling behind the standard of the King, try to fortify as best they can.  Simply too weak and spent to press into the forboding peaks of Northern Erethor, the War ends at Highwall.

For months, the Unfettered plan on loosing Highwall.  The defense is simply untenable, the ruined walls and non-existant manpower are not enough to hold back even a small force of Orcs.  Plans are made for a cunning retreat by sea coupled with an attack from the flanks that will push an attacking force right into the Pellurian.

The plan is never needed.

The first real sense of relief is felt when no reports of bands of Fell are recieved.  While most of the bodies close to the major battlefields are disposed of, the simple scope of the last battle in the War of the Dawn means there had to be thousands of corpses unnacounted for, but no one ever sees the packs of ungral that one would expect - the Fell simply don't seem to be rising.

Two months after the battle, the defenders have their first real challenge - a war band of Orcs under command of Kharn the Savage attacks.  When the War had ended, the Orcs fell to infighting, establishing a new order.  Having sorted out their own concerns, they turn back to the one existance they know - war.

Kharn's force is met by the bedraggled defenders outside the northern gates.  Though still struggling, the reprieve has granted them time to recuperate and prepare.  They also have two advantages - They have the King.

And they have Grial the Honorable.

True to form, Grial attempts to persuade Kharn and his forces that they need not war against this new kingdom, that the odrendor are free to pursue their own destiny, to found their own kingdom.  His words inspire revolt and the battle beomes a confusing morass of shifting loyalties and unbridled hatreds.

At the end, Grial takes Kharn's head and his position.  Drafting a hasty charter of non-agression between the newly formed human kingdoms and the "holdfasts of the Odrendor", Grial takes the remnant of his forces North to reclaim the Northern reaches for the Orcs.  Despite the warnings of several, the King lets him go.

Outraged, the Elven emmissaries present leave for Erethor, leaving the human kingdoms uncertain about where they stand politically.

In the ensuing silence, a truth begins to sink into the humans slowly rebuilding Highwall - they are remaking a kingdom that many thought they would never have.



.. I should probably actually slow down and figure out a narative order for this, rather than just storytelling off the top of my head. 

thoughts?
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2006, 04:50:34 AM »

This is good. But I'd like to know why and how Grial joined the Unfettered. I'd add more layers of political / diplomatic complexity (intra-faction conflicts, mainly) for the sake of believability. Otherwise, a very good first draft. Have a cookie.
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2006, 12:45:09 PM »

That's why I stopped, it was just loose creation with no backstory.

The redepmtion of Grial the Fey-Killer has always been a camapaign goal of mine since I read his description in Minions of Shadow.  The How and Why of it could be thusly:

A group of resistance fighters, through months of effort, convince Grial to listen to them.  Through a series of blind drops and secret messages, they convey a message of peace.  Once Grial is convinced they actually mean to parley, he holds a meeting with them.  Though it will not be easy, Grial can be convinced that the Shadow has no great plans for the Orcs, that the end of the War will be just as fatal for them as it is for those he hunts.   Although Grial has no compassion for the Resistance, he does disocver that they have the potential to win their freedom and end the War.  Grial switches sides in an effort to find a better future for himself and his race.

The addition of Grial to the Resistance will not be easily accepted.  I had the idea in my head that the factions that were willing to work with him do not tell others.   Instead, his tactical ability and Orc warriors are used as a "secret weapon", smashing into the ranks of the Shadow with unbridled fury.  Eventually, the inclusion of Grial will form a deep schism between certain factions that will never really heal, setting up an echo of future problems once the War is over.
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Harrowed
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2006, 01:17:44 PM »

Very cool idea ... it feels like Midnight meets A Game of Thrones.

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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2006, 08:05:31 AM »

Kane once did a good pice on grial and redemption, too abd it does not seem to be in these boards... damn it. Anyway, i just don't think the orcs would go back to the north, or that it would be possible tot ake the battle up to the north of the pelluria, to em that region will become a series of orc holdfasts and dorn nomadic tribes, unless the norfall and roland raiders can help securing a region for them, perhaps one close to the Veradeen, using elven backup.

To me Grial would not change sides, but instead, change direction, he would still be an orc, he would still be cruel, brutal and efficient, but he wants a better place and life for his own race, he would surely want to get some youth to follow his own footsetps, so he woudl need at least one female group to side with him and his group, and give birth to a new culture of orcs, an educated and tactical group with no less brutality, but with more thought on their own race and nto so much on the dark god. Grial would be a leader striving to give the orcs a future.

Somehow the orcs not with the dark god looks a lot like the Warcraft plot where they were first in line with demons and then became independent and fighting for their own, not in line with humans, or elves, but still, no more evil, just different. Wink
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2006, 12:44:49 PM »

That's what the Orcs who follow the White Mother are for in my hand.

In my vision, Grial isn't fighting on the side of anyone but himself.  And he doesn't just leave to go North, he leaves to clean house.  That shouldn't be the last time that the Orcs are seen, it's more a prelude to a coming war in the North.  Once he can get everythign sorted out, get the Orcs in order and get them marching everyone in Eredane is in trouble.
 
There would be a lot involved in creating stability among the Orcs after this last War.  It would take years to allow the clans to find the stability needed to be effective.  They would have to raid South because the meager lands they do hold can't support their population. 

Think of it as the end of World War II, when Churchill and America let the Russians go rather than pursuing the fight - peace for now, trouble for later.
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Ghola
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2006, 10:45:14 AM »

Great stuff so far.

Some of my thoughts run parallel to Dubh Amn’s:  Clearly the restoration of Erenland as a free kingdom would have to take place, and the fragile command structure of the orcs would fall apart.  In the process the Night Kings need to be defeated and many of the black mirrors would have to be neutralized or destroyed.  However you cannot kill a god and the Shadow would regard all of that as a temporary setback – all setbacks are temporary when you’re immortal.  Besides which Izrador has a giant ace in the hole with on that mysterious other continent.  You don’t think he left them alone do you?  twisted

Imagine if you will the old Empire of Sarcosa – a vast and formerly great civilization thoroughly corrupted by the Shadow and the model for the Shadow’s political actions in Erenland.  Instead of simply crushing the societies of Pelluria the Dark Lord insinuated himself into every aspect of them.

The priests of the Sahi have become the Order of Night, twisting the stories of the Sorshef to serve their dark master.  Long ago the stars were revealed to be mere pretenders, for what power do they have without the night?  The Sorshef are but disobedient spirits who once misled men with parables of honor, charity and humility.  The true god Dal Sutara teaches his children to embrace the virtues of strength and cunning by pointing out the flaws in the old stories.  What is more he directly makes his favor (and disfavor) known in the world.  His temples deliver the gift of blood to him from his loyal children and in return guard humanity from the magics of rebels.  There are none who doubt Dal Sutara.

The former meritocracy of the Sarcosans has also been skewed thanks to selective blessings from the Shadow – instead of empowering a few great Night Kings he has doled out power to entire noble Houses who rule in his name.  There are whole populations gifted with infernal power, and some provinces are ruled by Houses of undead or even fiends.  The Emperor is an office that changes on a regular basis however – it’s more likely for an ambitious noble to become Emperor than for a sheol to better himself.

There are pockets of resistance of course.  In a land so large good-hearted (or just rebellious) people have room to hide, but the majority of the populace accepts the word of the priests as just if extremely harsh (and what is life if not harsh?).  Those who fight against the Shadow are some of the ever headstrong Dorns, renegade Sahi who know of the old scriptures, and tiny colonies of nomadic Miransil.  These few cannot stand against the might of the Empire however and it has not seen a real war for centuries.  The only threat to the Empire comes from the conflict between its own myriad of ambitious

Izrador might well decide to sweep Eredane clean of enemies by sending the Old Empire to re-conquer it.  The timing of his defeat in Eredane might even be seen as convenient for the Dark Lord’s plans in old Pelluria - a good war is just what the sluggish and corrupt empire needs to revitalize it.  And the Shadow might not withdraw his favor from his remaining servants in Eredane but he might not care if they were destroyed in the process – that’s the price of failure.  If the orcs and Legates are strong enough they will survive and perhaps learn the error of their ways.

Imagine an enormous wave of fanatic warriors landing on the shores of Eredane, urged on by the chance for new glories and new respect from their Lord.  With them they bring the Order of Night who is determined to punish those pretenders in the Order of Shadow for failure.  The Empire’s technology is still more advanced than that of Eredane:  every unit has alchemical weapons in its arsenal, and the quality of equipment is so high that masterwork items are commonplace. 

The Empire has numbers, superior equipment, and an unholy aggression that even an orc would admire.  Eredane would be in deep trouble, but the chaos of the orcs and legates fighting the new invaders could give them a chance.  The invasion might also lead to a reunion between the men and fey of Eredane with their free cousins in Pelluria.  Once again Eredane would have to snatch victory from a seemingly hopeless situation.
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2006, 05:42:05 PM »

One of the more interesting little hints I've picked up for what's going on in the homeland of the human races comes from two different asides in the setting material.

One is a scholar dismissing stories of the presence of reptilian humanoids as blatant nonsense... the other is the casual mention in the text of one of Izrador's servants on the Pelluria as a snake-like humanoid of unknown origin.

Then there are the facts that foreign ships have completely ceased visiting Eredane and that the elven exploration ships have not returned with news of new colonies.

It would seem that the writers intend the rest of the (accessible) world to be in a condition comparable to that of Eredane.
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