DescriptionMassive chains connect the world-islands of Braythe with each other. Stretching for hundreds or even thousands of miles, these metallic constructs are landscapes of their own. The world of Ashandri has two such World-Chains: The one to Va’Laeth, and the other to the world of Morothai. Nobody really knows what they are or where they come from. Only a few things are known for sure: They keep Ashandri in its place, preventing it from randomly drifting through the Braythian Void. And they are highly magical, the rust and metal from the chains imbued with supernatural properties. Some people, the so-called Chainwalkers, are naturally connected to the World-Chains. They are drawn to the chains, and they have special abilities tied to them. The Chainwalkers, which some have nicknamed the Druids of the Chains, have also founded the Chainguards. Legend has it two chainwalkers met on the chain to Morothai, and discussed how some things would be easier if they were organized better. The idea spread, more people called themselves chainguards, and that's how the organization was born. Everything else kind of developed afterwards. Why so many people feel so attracted to the World-Chains is up for discussion. The chainwalkers themselves seem to be chosen somehow, even developing supernatural abilities. To them, the chains are home, more so than Ashandri itself. Others are fascinated by the giant structures, or they are convinced they are essential for the world's survival in Braythe. All this shows the World-Chains are more than just metallic structures of unknown origin. The Chainguards believe that they need to be protected, and some even say they are alive. And while this is important to protect the world of Ashandri, many Chainguards care more about the chains themselves. This love and appreciation for the World-Chains is what unites the members of this organization. They might have different philosophies and beliefs, but they all pull together when it comes to protecting the chains - which they lovingly nickname the rackles or tethers. Most chainwalkers are members of this organization, with only a few ones preferring to stay on their own. But as there are only a few dozen of these chosen people, they still make up a minority of the Chainguards. Still, they are among the most respected members. What’s interesting is that almost all chainwalkers have little interest in politics and status, and prefer to be operative members. But even the more politically inclined members usually care little for power and privilege. They are pragmatists, and diplomacy is simply one of the many tools to protect the rackles. This also shows in the organization’s structure: They don't have much of a hierarchy or strict rules, and they rarely question how members achieve their goals.
GoalsThe Chainguards have one supreme objective: Protect the World-Chains. To achieve that, they fight against criminal organizations that try to mine or sell chainmetal and chain rust, help the poor that scavenge the chains out of despair, and prevent dangerous knowledge from falling into the wrong hands. As they found that many dangers to the World-Chains can be traced back to the city of Hag’s Rest, the Night Queen has become their most important enemy. In a rare case of official political statements, they declared Agrutha the Number One enemy of the Chainguards. And they won’t rest until they bring her down.
Rules and LawsThe Chainguards are somewhat of a loose organization, and as such have few rules. You have to be approved by a Chainwalker to join. If you intentionally or repeatedly do something that harms the rackles, you’re kicked out. Aside from that, Chainguard members don’t judge each other (something the good-aligned members occasionally struggle with), and support each other in their missions. And that's about it.
Organization structureThe organization is unusual in that they don't have an official leader. All Chainguards are equal, and there’s no hierarchy. They do have a few official positions, but only because they are necessary to avoid chaos and confusion. The three Keepers of Alliances are responsible for keeping up with diplomatic developments. They aren't the only ones negotiating with other factions, but they keep track of all important relationships. Anyone going into formal parleys consults one of the Keepers first. The Prime Chainwalker is the official speaker for the Chainwalkers in the organization. Nobody really knows how that person is chosen. From one day to the next, the other Chainwalkers refer to one of them as the Prime, and all of them seem to agree. Even Chainwalkers that aren’t part of the Chainguards respect the authority of a Prime. The Chamberlain takes care of the organization's financial resources and physical properties. This includes equipment for new members, or items needed to fulfill a certain mission. The Chamberlain is responsible for keeping the treasuries both well-equipped and well-guarded, and makes sure the Chainguards always have the necessary resources to do their job.
RelationshipsThe Chainguards are on the best of terms with both Marisha Veilbreaker and the Voidguard. Despite their sometimes differing priorities and ethics, there were no real conflicts between them. They consider each other to be close allies, and regularly work together. The Arcanists, while resourceful, can be a bit too curious for the Chainguards' taste. They know the Arcanists have experimented with Chainmetal in the past, and they regularly try to push the protectors of the World-Chains to reveal their deepest secrets. The two have a very ambivalent relationship, occasionally working together, other times working as rivals. Overall, they see each other as allies, but with reservations. The Chainguards' nemesis is the Night Queen of Hag's Rest. The hag queen actively promotes mine working on the chains, as well as using chain material for the creation of magical items. The Chainguards have put a reward on her head, and sent a few assassins after her, but so far with no success. Agrutha hates the Chainguards just as much, and if you get identified as a member of the organization in Hag’s Rest, you are as good as dead. King Hagnar from the Tower of Memories is a close ally of the Chainguards. He understands their motives, and he and the council willingly fund several projects of the organization. Hagnar is also highly fascinated by the Chainwalkers, but doesn’t pressure them into revealing their secrets.
Important locationsSkypoint is a place in Carivar, close to the border to the Mesmerizing Mountains, that the Chainwalkers specifically created to allow for easier travel through the neighboring regions. The Mesmeric Halfling Jourani, who had the idea for building this place, is a Chainwalker and part of an adventuring group. Their travels regularly led them to the World-Chain to Morothai and back to Ashandri. To make crossing the Mesmerizing Mountains easier, the halfling came up with the idea to build a skyport. Several balloon ships are always ready to help Chainguard members quickly reach the chain. A designated landing area at the edge of the world-island allows for the travel back to Skypoint. For some reason, the residents of the Mesmerizing Mountains aren’t too happy about this endeavor. They are keeping a close eye on the Chainguards, but so far, there haven’t been any aggressions. The treasuries are hidden vaults belonging to the Chainguards. They are spread all over the world to allow quick access for Chainguard members whenever needed. The treasuries are heavily guarded, and there’s always a network of local members who know the location. Whenever the position of a treasury is revealed, they quickly move elsewhere. The Chainguards seem to have several backup locations prepared for every single treasury they own.
Important membersSevronos is one of the Keepers of Alliances. He’s a ragtag tiefling with a brilliant strategic mind and great diplomatic skills. He saved the relationships with the Arcanists several times already, and is also responsible for the good standing the Chainguards have in the Tower of Memories. His main concern is always to understand the deepest needs and desires of his conversational partners. During negotiations, he focuses on how the Chainguards can help the other side. Only once that is clearly established, he talks about what his organization wants out of an alliance. This strategy has almost always let negotiations turn out successful. Marisha Avardayne is an 18 years old human woman, and the current Chamberlain of the Chainguards. Her parents named her after Marisha Veilbreaker, who saved their village early in her adventuring career. She is famous for her perfect memory. The young woman not only knows the exact inventory of the entire organization, down to the last sword. She also remembers every situation as if it had just happened. She became a member of the Chainguards because her boyfriend, the Areian Elf Thamaquille, turned out to be a Chainwalker. With no hierarchy in the organization, the other Chainguards quickly recognized her talent. The former Chamberlain Daquvin, an older gnome, willingly gave up his position, and now assists Marisha.
Rumours and News
- The Arcanist Defiler Gwenra Athumy barely escaped being captured after her experiments were revealed. She injected substances based on chain rust into the veins of sentient humanoids, analyzing the (often horrible) effects in detailed research papers. Gwenra was last seen on the World-Chain to Va’Laeth, and supposedly continues her experiments there with whomever she can capture. Both the Arcanists and the Chainguards have put a price on her head.
- There are rumours about Shamrua’s infamous Horde looking for one of the Chainguards' treasuries. It's unclear what the fiends are looking for. The organization is afraid the Horde might have taken on a task delegated by the Night Queen Agrutha. Whether they act on her command, or the Horde has plans of their own, the Chainguards are hellbent on stopping them.
The Chainguards and the Voidguard are strong allies. Individual members might have differences, but the organizations regularly work together. Voidguard patrols on the chains are often accompanied by Chainwalkers, and if the Chainguard needs backup, the Voidguard are ready to help.
The Arcanists see the Chainguards as important allies. However, they are frustrated that the Chainguards often deny them access to knowledge about the World-Chains. The Chainguards, on the other hand, consider the Arcanists helpful, but potentially dangerous. Therefore, when the two parties cooperate, the Chainguards usually remain very vigilant.
Both groups only had superficial contact with each other. The Holy Purge is still suspicious of the Chainguards. The latter see how dangerous the Purge can be, but they also realize the fanatics might be useful in protecting the World-Chains.