Since I've been blogging about it for almost ten years, and since I plan on doing a product version this year, I decided it was about time that I reintroduce my signature setting to potential new audiences. This "Behold! __________" series of posts, inspired by an utterance once made by Hydra's Robert Parker* will cover areas I've already discussed at some length but in a hopefully newbie friendly manner.
Some two hundred years ago, a religious order of knights dedicated to the Church of Law entered the Dark Country. It would be their grave. They sought to bring the light of the Law to the pagan peoples of that place - which men now call the Bogdani - but in their zeal they turned to torture, murder, and ultimately acts too unspeakable to relate here. Stories of their depravity made it to the Realm of Man, though even then the High Pontiff was slow to move against them. How could such acts be committed by those who had worshiped the God of Law. Finally, the High King of the Realm decided to act, taking an army of men from across the West into the Dark Country, There they set about destroying the works of the disgraced oath-breakers once called the Sword Brothers.
The Sword Brothers had their last stand in their grandest chapter house - Nightwick Abbey. After the defeat of their armies in the field, the Sword Brothers retreated into the catacombs beneath the abbey, and some say they sought out necromancers, witches, and conjurers to build a new army to destroy the forces of the Realm. At last though the abbey was besieged by three princes of men - the King of Karse, the Baron of Averois, and the High King of the Realm. Few survived the terrible melee that ensued in the dungeons beneath, and those that survived spoke of horrors beyond the pale of anything they had seen even in war or in the night terrors of the Dark Country.
It is said that the High King gave the order that the dungeons be sealed once both his brother-princes were killed. He did not know what evils awaited below, but what he had already seen chilled him to the core. It does seem though that this blow was enough to defeat the Sword Brothers, who disappear from the historical record outside of appearances as shades, revenants, and other sorts of boogie-men.
Now Nightwick Abbey lies in ruins near a village that bears its name. Its crumbling walls sit upon a hill in the Fog-bound Forest, covered in a mysterious vine that no living mortal has yet identified. Inside are rumored to be the loot of 150 years of conquest. Those who have plumbed the parts of its dungeon nearest the surface speak of walls that bleed, rooms that move of their own accord, and creatures born of sin and devilry. Many sages outside the Dark Country believe these descriptions mean that the abbey is affected by the psychic trauma of the last days of the Sword Brothers and the siege. Those in the Dark Country know better.
The Bogdani and the Realmish immigrants that live in the Dark Country know why the Sword Brothers turned - there is an evil beneath the abbey. From out of the depths it called up to them, perhaps appearing as the sacred thrumming of the God of Law itself, or perhaps promising power far beyond what could be obtained by mortals in the Church. Whatever it was, the world of men can never be safe so long as it lies beneath those dungeons, waiting for its chance to escape.
*Robert may be working on some new blog content that sounds like an absolutely fantastic handling of the procedures of running a game.