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Leave the Light: An Introduction

Where Have We Stranded?

Points of Radiance is a dark fantasy setting developed to capture the dread feeling of old mythology where the world isn't carved up by powerful nations, but civilization is instead few and far between. The lands are dark, quite literally in this case as there is no sunlight, and full of terror. Difficult and dangerous roads tenuously connect these places, and woe be to those who run into something during their journey.
Yet people survive.

Dark Woods by Josh Rosenbohm

They survive because they are not without help. There is such a thing as divinity and these powerful beings are found all over...except they aren't all that powerful without sufficient worshipers. And they are young, they are still learning to use their power. They need to build up their strength and it is difficult for them to venture out of the cities without them being raided or even razed. The divine cities they are called, the settlements that have sprang up around these divinities. Maybe with their protection, humanity will one day be able to break free from the terrors beset upon them.

Life in the Divine Cities

Under the Divinities, people have been able to build up cities, bastions of hope called the Points of Radiance. But even then, life is hard. Due to the planet's shape weather conditions tend to extremes. Maintaining expansive farmlands is difficult due to raids from creatures, and the cities can often barely feed their people. The Divinities can provide miracles to ease some of these burdens, but they can only affect the Greater Domains they represent and understand. A God of Fire can provide people with warmth, but not with fresh drinking water.

Swamp Town by Henrik Ågren

Food shortages are common. Travelers being assaulted and killed is common. People fighting over petty reasons is common. People fighting over religious views even more so. But despite the violence and starvation, people survive and they have hope. They have found something greater than themselves and many are willing to try their best for that, or die trying.

Beyond the Borders

There are many things hidden in the dark. Due to the eternally dark conditions, life here is quite different. Creatures have adapted to possess either good dark vision or even another method of sensing nearby creatures. Doubly so for predators, who rely on sharper senses to notice their prey before it notices them. Meanwhile plants are pale things with no pigment that use specific chemical reactions to obtain their energy. Interestingly enough, some plant-life has adapted to this darkness by developing bioluminescence, their unique way of drawing in herbivores to spread its spores or seeds. But then some predators have taken advantage of this by developing activatable luminescence to draw in unsuspecting prey. All in all, the dark is not comfortable, but even light can be a sign of danger.

Mushroom Cavern by Unknown

But there is worse. In a world with divine beings, it should come as no surprise that there are other supernatural forces at play as well. Demons that corrupt the area and wildlife around them by their sheer presence. Fey that abide only by the laws of nature and drag others in their twisted games. And then there are other esoteric forces that cannot be properly categorized or explained. Many of these also have worshipers, but they are capricious at best and have seemingly no interest in building any civilization. They simply follow their instincts, reveling in their all-devouring nature. It is these forces in particular that keep people confined to the divine cities, and force the divinities to spend much of their time guarding their home territory. Any sign of weakness, any lapse of concentration, and these dark forces will come rolling in, wiping anything in their path.

Ghost Swamp by Louie Lorry

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Cover image: Ashlands by Titus Lunter


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