Welcome to Etharis.
Darkness and Obscurity Large swaths of Etharis are shrouded in darkness, supernatural and otherwise. In the farthest north the sun is hidden half the year in the natural progression of seasons. It’s no surprise, either, that the deep halls of the dwarves are plunged in darkness. But the darkness shrouding the land of Ostoya is more sinister and magical in origin, and in the forests of the Charneault Kingdom, the dense mist that covers the land is the work of benign spirits—or at least spirits that bend to the will of mortals, for good and evil. The people of all these lands have adapted to a hostile environment. Punishing storms are frequent across the land, foreshadowed by howling winds and then drenching rain. Where the sun never dries the ground, mud is a constant fact of life. The crops that grow are strange and bitter. For most people, there is no safety outside the radius of a torch’s glow. The Land is Dangerous Civilization dot through the land as islands of light surrounded by the unforgiving terrain of shadowy forests, rough mountainscapes, and sinking bogs. Travellers are often met with suspicious gazes by locals who have never left the isolation of their home village. Relentless threats assault humanity. Vicious creatures hunt wandering children and armed travellers alike, many of whom are never heard from again. Sinister forces seek to twist mankind’s nature to their whims, leaving them forever changed. Travel is a perilous endeavour, especially at night (in lands fortunate enough to enjoy a sunlit day). Armoured columns of merchant caravans transport goods, nervously guarded by mercenaries who refuse to deviate from known roadways. Travellers caught in the dark are forced to lodge at the remote roadside inns for extortionate prices. Local guards are quick to leave them in the dark if they do not have the coin to pay. A Lost Pantheon In their never-ending struggle to control Etharis, the deities of the world fought what they could not defeat, and ultimately turned on and destroyed each other. With but few knowing this truth, many believe that the gods abandoned a forsaken world or never existed in the first place. The only remnants of their reign are their surviving lieutenants—the Arch Seraphs and Arch Daemons—and the forces they control. Arch Seraphs overlook the world with a righteous zeal, granting powers to a select few who fight in their crusades. Separated from their deities for so long, many of them have deviated from what they once represented, twisting their ideals into whatever suits their cause. Arch Demons take delight in a world overrun by shadow and decay. Freed from the deities’ power, they relish opportunities to feed their appetites. They take keen interests in mortal lives, often living among them, making deals and twisting fate to ensure threats to their existence are destroyed.