Dead trees litter the fields;The world of Renath is dying. The creation energy that gave birth to its lush fields, verdant forests and bejewelled caves has begun to wane, leading to a large-scale decay. Those fields have turned to desert; those forests have withered to shrubs and thorny bushes; and the caves have darkened and filled with evil. Every year is a little colder than the last, and the people who live here live a constant life on the edge.
The great plains are dying;
Iron rings against shields;
And crows begin flying.
Gold wanes to brass;
Gems wither to glass;
Wounds fester not heal;
And peoples end and pass. ~ Ardaenian funeral dirge.
Constant ExtremesThe creation of the world - by the Pantheon of Renath or by the Powers, depending on which religion one follows - was a rapid and quick affair. The creating forces came in, created the supercontinent of Xaperi, then left their creation to its own devices. This was not by choice; Renath is a point of safety in a sea of evil and chaos, and the gods and the Powers spend most of their energy keeping it that way. Beyond the residual energy of that creation concentrated in the Remnants of the Passing, not much remains of that power. As that power beings to fade, the Remnants became the only sources of life in a dying world. As grasslands turned to tufts of grass in growing deserts and mountain ranges lost their forests and became barren rock, some places stayed green and lush as the Remnants poured life into the area. Whenever the gods or the Powers intervened on behalf of the races of Renath, they also left their mark with a tree or a spring or a patch of golden flowers. Life congregates in these places while monsters and nomads wander the steppes. The Remnants are so rare and so coveted that there have been robberies of them from nations in the past. The remaining nations of the world have become increasingly warlike as they fight over the few resources that are left. Magically-assisted heists and careful plans have prevented most conflicts between nations, but they can only do so much...
Magical CultureMagic arrived on Renath very quickly after its creation, so it has deeply inundated the societies of the world. Seeing magical abilities is a daily occurrence, and nearly half of all mages in the Multiverse hail from Renath. Most people know at least a couple of mages, and the worship of magical power is very strong in many places in the world. A combination of various magical disciplines have replaced many complex technologies. The people of Renath are the most interested in arcane research, often discovering new dimensions or being the first to pioneer new magical technologies. It was them that first discovered and settled the wastes of Limbo and deciphered the Form system of magic that is now the standard for the Multiverse.
The Hollowed PlanetThe cave systems under Renath are incredibly extensive and very dangerous. The planet is believed to have been incredibly volcanic in its infancy, so lava tunnels and huge caverns are very normal. Many of them are nearly impassable for the crystals and metals that are inside them. However, monsters roam the caverns, attuned to the dark and hungry for humanoid flesh. There are even stories that some of the crystals and stalactites of these caverns have a will of their own and a taste for meat...
Local Intelligent SpeciesThe peoples of Renath are quite varied, and many of them represent different races. Due to the migration of peoples across history, many nations contain lots of mixed races and a mixture of different racial cultures. The major races include:
- Renathian Elves are the oldest of the races of Renath, and they are as varied as the terrains that they inhabit.
- Renathian Humans are very low in number due to their relatively high mortality, but represent a variety of different nations and backgrounds.
- Renathian Orcs have escaped from the domination of the Dark Ones and have now secured their own land.
- Renathian Dwarves are the great city builders, building some of the mightiest architectural wonders of the known world.
- Renathian Duergar are the barbaric cousins of the Renathian Dwarves, with a penchant for war and are often forced to serve dark masters.
- The Weretouched are very few in number and keep to the Zhorisan woods, using their animal-like traits to keep themselves safe.
StarmarksThe power of creation has retreated beyond the Deity Wall has settled in the stars, and every star has its own spirit or power attached to it. If a star gets incredibly bright and the night is clear, some children born on that night will develop intrinsic magical abilities tied to that star. Called Starmarks, these magical signs leave tattoo-like lines and dots on the skin that match the constellations in the sky. Some mages even aim for their children to be born on certain days for this reason.
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