Organizations of Harqual

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
PROJECT: Organizations of Harqual
This list is always in flux.
  • Angle's Edge Thieves' Guild
  • Ara Guild, the
  • Arcane League of the Monarchy
  • Arcane Order (from both the 2E College of Wizardry accessory and D&D Complete Arcane)
  • Blades of the Emperor (based on the prestige class in the Path of the Sword d20 sourcebook)
  • Bleak Masters
  • Brotherhood of the Farrowsnout
  • Cagewrights (imported from the DUNGEON Magazine Shackled City Adventure Path)
  • Collage of Magecraft (imported and renamed from Mystara)
  • College of the Twin Moons (imported, renamed, and reworked from the Player's Guide to Faerûn [College of the Eclipse])
  • Colourless Lodge, the (imported from the If Thoughts Could Kill d20 sourcebook)
  • Companions, the
  • Cult of the Dragon (imported from the Forgotten Realms)
  • Disciples of the Way
  • Esoteric Order of the Mooncalf
  • Eyes of Hande Thieves' Guild
  • Fallow's Cross Adventurers (borrowed from an old Forgotten Realms 2E fan web site)
  • Fury of the Dragon
  • Guardians
  • Halfling Syndicate
  • Heartless Firestorm
  • Hidden Death (imported and renamed from Mystara [Veiled Society])
  • Hounds of Cronn
  • Iron Circle (imported and renamed from Mystara [The Iron Ring])
  • Iron Minds (based on the Iron Mind prestige class in D&D Races of Stone)
  • Izmer School of Magic (based on the original D&D Movie)
  • Knights Majestic
  • Knights of Avion
  • Knights of Belporte
  • Knights of Izmer
  • Knights of the Honoured Few
  • Last Laugh Thieves Guild (imported from the Shackled City Adventure Path)
  • League of Soldiery
  • Lords of the Arena
  • Magicians Guild (of Sandbreak)
  • MaShir Wolves
  • Memento Mori (imported from the Requiem for a God d20 sourcebook)
  • Mindful, the (imported, renamed, and reworked from Class Chronicles: Psionics Across the Land on WotC's website [Kaliesh-Erai])
  • Opposition, the
  • Order, the (imported from Dark Sun)
  • Order of Dusk
  • Order of the Silver Hand
  • Players, the (imported and renamed from Threshold Magazine #26 [Ambassador’s Men])
  • Purge, the (imported, renamed, and reworked from Class Chronicles: Psionics Across the Land on WotC's website [The Destroyers])
  • Rapid Riders
  • Ring of Razors
  • Rogue Masters Thieves' Guild (imported and renamed from Mystara [Kingdom of Thieves])
  • Sable Company (imported from the Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to Korvosa d20 sourcebook)
  • Shadowmind Guild (imported from D&D Complete Adventurer)
  • Shiverthorn
  • Sisters of the Way
  • Skyriders of the Navir
  • Soldiers of Iron
  • Streugedanken (imported, renamed, and reworked from Class Chronicles: Psionics Across the Land on WotC's website [Stray Thoughts])
  • Striders of the Dawn (imported and renamed from the Shackled City Adventure Path)
  • Thallinite Resistance
  • Tiger Guild
  • Union of Masks
  • Vanguard Mystics
  • Varath's Irregulars
  • Veiled Alliance (imported from Dark Sun)
  • Warriors of Thenin
  • Wolfheads of the Strand
  • Wizard's School of Nasundria
  • Yosyntya (Dark Reborn)
  • Zars' Army
NOTE TO MY CROW GOD PBP PLAYERS: This thread contains spoilers for the Lands of Harqual, but not necessarily specific to the Strandlands or the pbp game itself.
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Angle’s Edge Thieves’ Guild

Source: Homebrewed
Origin: Kingdom of Stonn
Symbol: A silver dagger pointing up in front of an inverted black triangle.
Leader: High Guildmaster Vhinn Bakersson (NG male Stonnish human, rogue 8/cleric of Kuil 7)

Purpose

Too find old relics of the North Gods, protect hidden holy places from those that would defile them, and help maintain fairness in the kingdoms and city-states across the continent of Harqual. As a guild of rogues, this group often has the ear of the streets.

Notable Activities

The Angle’s Edge Thieves’ Guild was initially sponsored by the Church of Kuil to procure relics of the North Gods lost or stolen from the members of the pantheon’s churches. The guild will use any means possible to recover such items, including theft, bribery, magic, and if called for, assassination. Once the guild has procured a relic, they will protect it at all costs until it can be returned to where it was taken from. The guild also then takes measures to ensure that the item isn’t stolen again by setting traps and magical protections — usually incredibly powerful illusions.

The guild is also called on to travel across the continent of Harqual to find old, hidden shrines and temples once dedicated to the Dead Gods that were members of the pantheon. They are responsible for protecting such places and, if possible, restoring them in the name of the North Gods. Guild members can be called upon by their church or by an allied church to help protect a particularly important location from intruders, tomb raiders, and twisted villains wishing to defile such places.

This guild of rogues is also the eyes and ears of the Churches of the North Gods throughout the North, but especially in the region known as the Eastern Shores. It members seem to act and behave just as simple thieves but the truth is that is more to them then most commoners realize. They act as powerful information and spying network against the vile followers of the Sword Gods as well as Interloper and World Gods trying to undermine society.

When they steal, it is from enemies of the North Gods. They have little tolerance for strict lawful societies, even those tempered by good. Yet, in all good societies they follow the laws of the land but still work as shadowy vigilantes. They set up evil to be wiped out by local law enforcement if they cannot handle a problem themselves.

Campaign Notes

The Angle’s Edge Thieves’ Guild came into existence out of the Kingdom of Stonn and its members are completely loyal to Kuil, North God of Rogues and Illusion. The guild is one of the oldest in existence and has guild houses in every major city throughout the Eastern Shores. They also have a strong presence throughout the Thunder Lands, many of the islands of the Karmine Sea, and Arkhangel & the Kingdom of Navirosov. (In Navirosov, they are an actual extension of the more traditional law structure.)

The guild’s main guild house is located in Stonn City. The guild house is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. In recent years, the guild has gone through a resurgence due to the views and values of Queen Emilia, a devoted follower of Inanna, North Goddess of War. She relies heavily on the guild for information about the current activities of her enemies, especially the troop movements of the Kingdom of Thallin. The High Guildmaster of Stonn, Vhinn Bakersson, is one of the few people in the kingdom who has met Queen Emilia face-to-face.

Due to the many evil edicts passed by Thallin’s new King, Varath Dragonguard, the Angle’s Edge Thieves’ Guild has fallen on hard times within that kingdom’s borders. Many of its members have been found out, put on trial, and executed without any real chance for justice. This has driven the guild underground and many of its allies out of the kingdom. In Thallin, the Angle’s Edge is one of the few forces of good still working for the people and protecting sacred places of the North Gods.

Angle’s Edge Thieves’ Guild.png
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Arcane League of the Monarchy

Source: Homebrewed
Origins: Monarchy of Avion; Old Sword Imperium (secret)
Symbol: A balanced scale weighing magical effects against time.
Leaders: Zhako Ashford (LN male Avionalle human, wizard 15), Aregund Hammel (NG female elf, elementalist 7/elemental savant 5), and Lothar Roland (NE male half-orc, warmage 9).

Purpose

The Arcane League of the Monarchy is the official arcanist guild of the kingdom known as the Monarchy of Avion. It controls all arcane research and teaching within the Monarchy’s borders and protects its own from all that would destroy it. The league recruits members vigorously and those homegrown arcanists that refuse to join the league often are forced to leave the country, and they are refused even the simplest arcane knowledge.

The league does help with the protection of the Monarchy but only under the direst of circumstances. Normally, it remains neutral to internal conflicts and uses subtle methods when dealing with overt threats to the Monarchy. This neutrality means that the league stays out of political matters, which was agreed upon by the league and the Royal Family of the Monarchy.

The league is often accused of being dispassionate about the welfare of the Monarchy and its people but this isn't true. The arcanists of the league do care about their homeland, but they refuse to let the passions of others dictate their actions. One must think before acting, especially when the livelihood of an entire nation is at stake. People live and die, often violently, and one cannot risk the future of the whole for only a few desperate souls.

Notable Activities

The Arcane League prefers to work behind the scenes within the borders of the Monarchy of Avion and prefers that the rest of the world stay out of its magical concerns. They know that when those concerns extend beyond the borders of the Monarchy they risk the ire of other arcanist guilds, but they really don't care or even acknowledge these rivals. To call the arcanists of the Arcane League arrogant and self-righteous is an understatement. (It can also be said that many of them suffer from megalomania and paranoia.)

Often, the league will use its extensive resources to interfere in the lives of anyone who might have something magical that they need. Lothar Roland leads the charge regarding this unseemly practice. Only the Royal Family of the Monarchy is considered safe from this behaviour, but, in truth, the league has confiscated many magical items and arcane discoveries it deems “dangerous” from the Royals, in the past. Nobility below the Royals have very little protection from the predatory nature of the Arcane League.

Magic is power, and these arcanists tend to view magic as something to be controlled, but only by them. They will even go so far as to steal magic from other arcanist guilds — a practice that has gained them the enmity of arcanists in Anthmoor, Eversinki, Halandra, Izmer, the Old Sword Lands, and even the powerful arcanists of the City-state of Cirrus, far to the East. The league has heard of the Arcane Order but knows almost nothing about its activities, or the location of Mathghamhna.

The league is always conducting new magical research, and its successes and mistakes are the stuff of dreams and nightmares. Its members are obsessed with spelljamming and sky-ships, which is what brought it into direct conflict with the various arcanist guilds of Cirrus. The City of Spires is a spelljammer captain's dream come true, and the city-state has everything to offer to arcanists that sail the skies and beyond.

It is this fact that drives the Arcane League to interfere, in every way, in the lives of the arcanists of Cirrus. Privateers in the employ of the Arcane League often raid Cirrus sky ships, and several pitched battles have been fought over shipping rights, cargo manifests, and taxes. It is important to note that the Royal Family of Avion and the ruling elite of the Spire Kinships of Cirrus play little or no part in this conflict. They are not at a state of war, and the regular citizens of both kingdom and city-state know very little about each other. This is a war between magical elitists.

The league is also known for its members that go out of their way to explore old ruins, monster-infested dungeons, and hidden, ancient tombs. The guild seeks to uncover relics of the past and powerful magical spells believed to exist from before the time of the Divinity War. The league's members believe that the world is much older than is generally believed by scholars and they go to almost any length to prove their collective theory. Aregund Hammel considers it her personal mission to prove to the world that civilization and magic existed on Harqual before the time she refers to as the Second Ice Age.

The league has a standing order to discover new, magical way-points connected to the Way of Eilendar — a group of magical standing stones. The Way of Eilendar connects to many other notable locations throughout the Sword Gulf Region, including the Onan Territories and Crystalmist in the Cadra Forest. It has long been known that these way-points existed during the time of the Old Sword Imperium, but the Arcane League believes that they are much older. They have lost several prominent members who became lost in the Ways.

Campaign Notes

The Arcane League is as old as the Monarchy of Avion, and its roots are tied to the Old Sword Imperium — a fact that they go to great lengths to downplay in their homeland and speak of in hushed tones while elsewhere. The exact beginnings of the league aren't know and its current members do not wish to delve to deeply into their own history. The last thing they want the High Queen to learn is that there are more skeletons in the league's collective closest than she'd be willing to ignore.

The League has many bastions of arcane power scattered throughout the Monarchy — as well as some beyond — and the league's members go to great lengths to hide these locations from the citizenry and those they consider their enemies. Some even go so far as to hide their most powerful magical sources from each other — a practice that is frowned upon by the league. However, everyone does it, even the league's highest ranking members. (Zhako Ashford, the defacto head of the guild, is infamous for this unethical behaviour.)

Since the start of the Tabaxi War, the league has been forced to play a greater role in the protection of the Monarchy. This new mandate bothers the old guard, while the newer, younger members of the league wish to become more involved with the wider world. The Aerie Holds, east of Avion, has always been a close ally of the Monarchy, but the league has always separated itself from the arcanists of its capital, the City of Nasundria. Now, there is a movement within the league to extend membership to the arcanists of that city, which has led to a rift, of sorts, between the league's membership.

Relations with the arcanists of Izmer improved after the Queen of Izmer and a host of her knights (including many powerful arcanists) came to the rescue of the City of Avion, just as it was ready to crack wide open during the beginning of the war with the tabaxi. An official alliance now exists between the two kingdoms and many old grudges have been set aside due to the threat of the tabaxi — a new, common enemy that the arcanists of both lands despise more than they did each other. One can only hope that the goodwill continues to last.
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Arcane Order

Source: D&D Complete Arcane | AD&D College of Wizardry
Origin: Kingdom of Thallin (before it became a theocracy)
Symbol: Exterior view of the towers of Mathghamhna against a blue circle.
Leader: Chancellor Japheth Arcane (CG male human, wizard 9/guildmage 10).

Purpose

The Arcane Order is a college and guild of arcana. Magic is taught, explored, and researched, and members benefit from a sharing of knowledge. The college is also an extension of the government of the Domain of the Arcane Alliance.

Notable Activities

Before anything else, the Arcane Order is a place for the charismatic and intelligent to come and learn the ways of the arcane magical arts including bardic magic, sorcery, and wizardry. Mathghamhna is both a campus and guild for arcana and its students are taught many aspects of magic. The members of the Arcane Order follow the teachings of the Patron of Magic, Immotion. Thus, its members are forbidden from learning and practising the Forbidden Art (necromancy). The guild doesn’t restrict its members from worshipping other good (and some neutral) deities of magic, but the worship of Math Mathonwy or Xuar is forbidden.

The research of magic is highly valued by the members of the Arcane Order. Details on creating spells, magic items, and even minor artifacts fill the many libraries of the college’s staff and students. Of course, there isn’t a library more diverse, in the ways of magical research, than the Grand Library of Mathghamhna (in their opinion). To the members of the Arcane Order, knowledge is power. The college’s motto is “Publish or Perish.” (The many sorcerers and bards of the Arcane Order also take this to heart, creating wonderful treatises, plays, and ballads in the spirit of arcana.)

The Arcane Order is more than just studying and researching though. The college’s forced exile from the Kingdom of Thallin has brought about the need for its members to band more closely together. Now, the Arcane Order is as much a political entity as it is a magical one. Soon after relocating Mathghamhna, magically, Chancellor Arcane began forming alliances with several communities located on the adjacent islands on Lake Qualitian.

Together, the Arcane Order and these communities have formed the Domain of the Arcane Alliance. As a result, the members of the Arcane Order have become the magical eyes and ears of Mathghamhna, which isn’t just the name of the college of arcana anymore. It has become synonymous with the entire Domain of the Arcane Alliance.

Campaign Notes

For years, the Arcane Order was a bastion of magical knowledge in the Kingdom of Thallin. The college was highly respected, by the nobility and common citizens alike, for the school’s views on working within the community without overly burdening it at the same time. For many years the wizards, sorcerers, and bards of Mathghamhna had worked alongside the guilds and colleges of the Capital City of Fruen, striving for its esoteric goals and providing special magical services to the city to keep it safe from its enemies.

The former King, Travathian Dragonguard, held Japheth Arcane as one of his most trusted subjects as well as a good friend. He knew he could always count on the denizens of Mathghamhna for aid in times of need. And Chancellor Arcane was glad to give it, as it allowed his school to prosper and remain protected within Fruen’s city walls. Whether scrying, research, potions, or custom magical gear, Japheth always knew the King would call upon him and would pay fair value for the college’s wares and time.

The King also granted graduates of the College of Arcana citizenship, which lead many wizards and sorcerers to settle in Thallin. Fruen became know for the many low towers and spires built by local arcanists. Eventually, the fame of the school attracted other institutions to Fruen such as the Bardic College of Thallin and the Esoteric Order of the Mooncalf.

However, times have changed.

King Dragonguard’s sudden passing on the 10th day of Hela (in 749 N.C.) was a blow to the kingdom and the arcanists living in Thallin. Travathian’s son, Varath, was crowned king only moments after his father’s death. The young King, who soon became known as the Mad One, began a systematic restructuring of Thallin’s military into a dark force dedicated to the evil deity, Nether, Sword God of Hate and Tyranny. His reformed the royal guard, known as the Fury of the Dragon, which began terrorizing and subjugating the citizens of Fruen.

Worse than this, Varath soon declared arcanists to be heretics and begins sending waves of evil priests and assassin after known arcanists. This evil force, known as Nether’s Deathtide, swept through Fruen seeking out arcanists. Most of those captured were executed on the spot and their homes or towers destroyed. Magical treasures were looted and those that radiated an arcane magical aura were destroyed. Those few lesser artifacts discovered disappear into the possession of the High Priests of Nether.

The Bardic College was completely destroyed its members unable to withstand the onslaught of the Deathtide. The Esoteric Order was taken over by the Deathtide and its arcanist members either killed or imprisoned. Its remaining members were given a choice, work for the divine glory of Nether and King Varath or perish. Many converted to save their lives, other refused and were burned at the stake along with their family members.

Only the Arcane Order was strong enough to resist the initial onslaught. Japheth Arcane knew it would only be a matter of time before King Varath came for his head too. He refused to let Mathghamhna be destroyed by the Mad One. Thus, he and the regents of the Arcane Order used a properly worded wish, along with the power of several secret artifacts, to teleport Mathghamhna from Fruen to an isolated island on Lake Qualitian.

Those members of the Arcane Order who had yet to leave Fruen, quickly followed their Chancellor in a retreat from the Mad One’s forces. Most relocated to other countries or locales in the Eastern Shores, most notably to the Duchy of Minar, to the south, or the Wind Cities, to the north. Japheth knew he needed allies and the Domain of the Arcane Alliance is the result. This alliance was struck between the Arcane Order and three small communities located on the same small island chain that Mathghamhna had relocated to. These communities are Elsedria, a town of outcast humans, forest elves, & fey from Narda'taur; Half-pint, a hairfoot village known for its aqua vitae; and Mathtown, a new town that has sprung up near Mathghamhna.

The Arcane Order lost many members during the initial months of the Arcanist Purge and those that relocated to other places soon found their way to Mathghamhna to renew their allegiance to the Arcane Order and its Chancellor. Now, those that were granted citizenship by King Travathian are considered full citizens of the Domain of the Arcane Alliance, regardless of where they live.

Arcane Order.png
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Blades of the Emperor

Source: Homebrewed (inspired somewhat by prestige class in Legends & Lairs Path of the Sword)
Origin: Old Sword Imperium
Symbol: Two white swords crossed over a bronze shield with the old heraldry symbol of the city of Vapaa upon it. (A black starburst.)
Leaders: Hzina Blackrazor (LE female Meai human, fighter 8/blade of the emperor 4/blackguard 4]; Gulric Hangomhal (LN male half-orc, fighter 7/blade of the emperor 4]; and Rethme the Shadow (NE male tiefling, rogue 6/assassin 3].

Purpose

The Blades of the Emperor are an organization over a 1,000 years old, which has always fought to protect the lives and interests of the Imperial Family of the Old Sword Imperium. They willing gave their lives for the glory of the Empire and the Sword Gods.

Now, after the fall of that empire, the Blades align themselves to powerful nobles and merchants able to pay for protection. A few of their numbers work towards restoring the Empire of Swords and are seeking a worthy successor with Imperial blood for the Imperial Throne.

Most Blades consider the citizens of Ahamudia to be invaders on the Ragik Peninsula and always work to undermine their lives and society. They will go so far as to attack Ahamudians travelling anywhere west and north of the Rilous Mountains.

Notable Activities

The Blades of the Emperor are not a unified group as they were in the Empire’s glory days. Now they are split into many factions each with its own agenda. Most of these factions are nothing more than bands of brigands riding across the Ragik Peninsula taking whatever they can from whomever they encounter. A select few are more organized working towards higher ideals.

The Blades are on the decline, regardless of what they would like their enemies to believe. More and more, former Blades are leaving the Ragik Peninsula to find another life where they can forget the death of the Last Emperor on the 31st day of Hansa, 749 N.C. These exiles never wear their traditional Blade tunics as most beyond the Ragik Peninsula look unfavourably towards the Blades. A few of these exiles fall back into old habits by protecting nobles or petty lords. It isn’t much, but it is all they have left.

Those Blades unwilling to give up their ideals and dreams for a new reinvigorated Empire of Swords continue to live and work throughout the Ragik Peninsula. While not as reviled in the Old Sword Imperium, they aren’t always welcome either. Blades can usually wear their traditional tunics openly in the Sword South, the Sword East, and the Lake Ragik Region. However, they are not welcome in the Sword Protectorate and most of the lands surrounding the Imperiumi Forest. Also, beyond the Iron Shields of Järir, Blades are looked upon unfavourably by the citizens of the lands of the Ragik Interior as well as the Iron Lands to the south. No Blade would ever openly walk in the lands of the Kingdom of Ahamudia.

Campaign Notes

The largest faction of Blades of the Emperor serve the dictator of the Järir Autarchic known as the Iron Emperor. These Blades are known as the Iron Shields of Järir. The faction’s leader, Hzina Blackrazor, believes that the Iron Emperor is the only man capable of restoring order to the Sword Lands and rekindle the days of old. Hzina is completely loyal to the man and will defend him with her life. She expects the same from her fellow Blades and none of them would dare disappoint their commander. Hzina is a blackguard as well as Blade and is devoted to the Sword Gods almost as much as she is to her lord.

The next largest faction is controlled by the half-orc Gulric Hangomhal. Known as the Red Brands of the Imperiumi this faction is found exclusively in the Lands of the Miekka in and around the Imperiumi Forest. They are known for protecting the ancient ziggurats & tombs and the surrounding communities lining the Empirisk River. They are also commonplace throughout the towns of Miekka and are one of the few factions that treat people fairly within the edicts of the law. Yet, without an Emperor to protect, the Red Brands have turned towards protecting the dead (but not the undead) King-Priests of the Old Sword Imperium. They are near fanatic in this devotion and will kill any that dare defile the rest of the King-Priests, even locals of Miekka. There is no greater crime in their minds.

The third largest faction of Blades is one that most have never even heard of. They are called the Blood Shards of Vespin and most that have heard of them think they little more than another cult dedicated to the dead Sword God of Thieves and Assassins, Vespin. And while their leader is an assassin, known as Rethme the Shadow, they are made up mainly of Blades loyal to the ideals of Rethme. The tiefling assassin is fanatical about the resurrection of Vespin and deciding who will be the next Emperor of Swords. These two ideals often conflict as he uses the Blood Shards to gather information about possible heirs to the Imperial Throne, while sending out assassins to kill any heir he finds lacking. (Rethme has strong ties with the religious sect known as Vespin’s Lost.)

The largest active outpost of Blades outside of Järir is the garrison located at Räven Castle. This large fortress is located near the Gradig River just northeast of the town of Gräsenbyen and is considered essential towards the domination of the northern communities of the Southern Domain of the Sword. Blades walk openly in the towns of the Domain and patrol the lands of the Sword South constantly. They always stop — and often imprison — those travelling south from the Sword Protectorate and do not allow citizens of the Sword South to migrate north into those lands. They see the citizens of the Sword Protectorate as traitors to the Last Emperor. The towns of Gradigstade and Gräsenbyen on the northern edge of the Sword South are, thus, tightly controlled border towns.

Another outpost of Blades are those that control Våravhold Keep on the edge of the Menhir Waldd in the Eastern Domain of the Sword. These Blades are less integrated into the military structure of the Domain as they do not pay fealty to the Princes of the East. They were once loyal to the Last Emperor and have as yet to decide whether to back the Princes or move to have a person of their choosing named Emperor of the East — a title not used since before the Sword Lands were united. These Blades tend to stay close to Våravhold Keep and aren’t as militant as some of the more visible factions. They work towards protecting the hamlets within a days ride from the keep but demand shelter and food from these communities' citizens. They are often found in the Town of Svärdaden, Village of Grisby, and, sometimes, the City of a’Harn. They have apathetic relations with the Prince of a’Harn and often butt heads with the city’s guardsmen over matters of law. The prince puts up with the Blades as the citizens of a’Harn consider them intimidating; they are less likely to cause unrest when Blades are nearby.

Rumours abound about other outposts of Blades across the Ragik Peninsula and beyond. The rumour spoken most often in taverns throughout the region is that a group of good-aligned blades protects the members of the newly formed senate in the city of Vapaa. (After the fall of the Old Sword Imperium, life in the Sword Protectorate changed dramatically and quickly. Three major cities in the region joined the Eight Cities Alliance with those that helped bring down the Last Emperor.) Another rumour circulating through the Kingdom of Ahamudia is that a single Blade swore fealty to King Loghan Halonnan after being captured by the Ahamudians during the Ahamudian War. It is said that this Blade is a half-elf who grew up under the yoke of the Last Emperor and rode with the Northern Army to Vapaa to bring down his former liege. It is said he still wears the traditional tunic of a Blade but the heraldry matches that of the capital city of Kingdom of Ahamudia.

Others rumours include (1) a group of Blades riding across the grasslands of the Wild Plains, following a powerful warlord; (2) another band of five Blades now protect Countess Erin Camur of Mistria; (3) a solitary Blade of resounding good, said to also be a paladin, now lives somewhere in the Thunder Lands doing good deeds; and (4) a rumor circulating in the Kingdom of Izmer says that a group of Blades, numbering over fifty, passed through the region riding south towards the city-states of Hellekan and Favir. The truth of these rumors remains unknown.

DM's Note
Most Blades of the Emperor (with the Blade of the Emperor prestige class, see L&L Path of the Sword, page 16) are lawful evil but are often lawful neutral as well. Lawful good Blades are extremely rare -- remaining in hiding from the traditionalists (LE).

Blades of the Emperor.png
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Bleak Masters

Source: Homebrewed
Origin: Eastern Shores (rumoured)
Symbol: A black sun outlined in blood red rising over a colourless landscape.
Leaders: Aarne Stormwinden (N[E] male half-elf, elementalist 8); Ignazio Von Orsini (NE male Ervenik human, cleric of Nether 10); Lind Morgan (LE male Denilan human, aristocrat 6/expert 6); Rhine (LE female Anorian human, rogue 12); Tyne Smallweed (NE female Jerran halfling, expert 10).

Purpose

The Bleak Masters are a consortium of advocates that often come to the aid of groups or individuals accused of being violently evil. They are concerned with all things judiciary, and work towards undoing strict codes of conduct imposed on knights and holy warriors. (Even if the ‘clients’ don't want their help.) They fight for the rights of individuals who have been convicted on magical evidence alone. They also use their considerable legal skills to advocate for restrictions on arcanists, especially enchanters and illusionists. This group sees it as their duty to put magicians and religious zealots in their place.

Notable Activities

The Bleak Masters are concerned with gaining as much power, through legal means, as possible. They have little regard for those who do good for the sake of the world, and they always oppose chaos in all its forms. They are also complete hypocrites. They argue that ‘true evil’ isn't something that can be defined, and yet, they often commit clandestine acts of evil for the sake of causing suffering and pain. Many of the Bleak Masters are clerics of evil gods and many others are vile necromancers or power hungry elementalists. They oppose other arcanists because they don't like to share power, and they don't want to be exposed by those with mental powers.

The group always works towards uprooting secret societies that might be a threat to their need for power. They despise psionic characters and will bend (or break) the rules of law to expose them. They often hold clandestine inquisitions where wilders and psychic warriors are tortured and killed by evil clerics dedicated to law and tyranny. The members of this consortium will do almost anything to wipe out psionics on Harqual. They are careful to hide these behaviours from the rest of society, in order to protect their ‘business’ from prosecution.

This consortium also gets its hands dirty in politics as well as advances in magical research. The Bleak Masters often interfere in the political landscape of nations and city-states, especially when dealing with a chaotic society, and they have been known to cross planar boundaries just to discover some new magical idea that hasn't been conceived of on Kulan. They gain insights into law from Infernal instructors; many of the consortium's best clients are devils. These vicious barristers often trade their souls to powerful devils for the chance to be successful and wealthy.

Campaign Notes

The Bleak Masters are drawn to conflict in all its forms. Thus, they are often the first ones to enter a war-torn region and inflict their own version of pain and suffering on the populace. Currently, the consortium has been sending its members into the Theocracy of Thallin to protect the rights of the new king and his evil followers. They keep Thallin's elite from being preyed upon by laws and canons of the surrounding lands. They have managed to free Thallin military men from the prisons of the Kingdom of Stonn on technicalities and helped the new government suppress the activities of the Knights of the Honoured Few.

The consortium has been supplying legal advice to cat-men captured during the endless battles of the Tabaxi War, which has been ongoing since the return of the tabaxi to Harqual. They argue that the tabaxi must be represented, if put of trial, just like anyone else. This has made them the bane of the Monarchy of Avion, and Queen Felicia Gerrard III is considering having them all rounded up and executed. This would be a disaster for her politically as the Bleak Masters have a long-standing tradition in the Kingdom of Izmer, which is now the Monarchy's best ally.

The consortium has also gained support and considerable power in the Fallen Domain of Anoria, which is now controlled from the City-state of Flamerule in the Diabolic Enclaves. The group's best barristers protect the rights of the Infernals and their closest servants and work towards undermining the treaties signed with the Cauldron and Kul Moren. There has always been Bleak Advocates working and living in Flamerule, and they are more than happy to expand their base of power in the Thunder Lands. New holdings have sprung up in Cirrus and the Strandlands. These evil lawyers are usually killed on sight in the Dominion of Cauldron, which just increases the tensions between the mountain kingdoms and the followers of Flamerule.

Another place that the Bleak Masters have considerable power is in the lands of the Old Sword Imperium. The group can trace much of its history through this region and the consortium's machinations are considered legendary in places like Ara-Ragik and Järir. They argue for the independence of the Sword Protectorate , which has remained occupied since The Transformation. They try to undermine the laws and customs of the Kingdom of Ahamudia and argue that the Ahamudians are illegally occupying Sword Imperium soil. (Many a low-end Bleak Advocate has found himself on the run from an Ahamudian lynch mob.)

The barrister shops of the Bleak Masters can be found almost anywhere in Northern Harqual. However, they are not welcome, under any circumstance, in the forests of the silver elves or the mountains of the dwarves. They are hunted by freedom fighters as well as knights dedicated to good before the rule of law. They often come into conflict with arcane colleges, thieves' guilds, and clandestine psionic organizations. In the Monarchy of Avion, for example, the Bleak Masters are strongly opposed by the group known as the Hounds of Cronn. And in the Eastern Shores they are considered an 'enemy' of a group of young, wild express-riders known as the Rapid Riders.

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Cagewrights

Source: Shackled City Adventure Path
Origin: Thunder Lands
Symbol: The Carcerian Sign.
DM's Note: This entry contains spoilers for the Shackled City Adventure Path!
Leaders: Bianca Yelverton (NE female Anorian human, rogue 12/assassin 4); Chitto Moniric (CE male Charan human, sorcerer 15); Maklolm Ivarsson (NE male Vindi human, cleric 8/wizard 8); Ursula Rivadeneira (CN female half-elf, fighter 10/rogue 5); Vennos Dannard (NE male half-orc, druid 15).
Notable Members: Embril Aloustinai (CE female half-dragon [brass], wizard 6/cleric of Falazure 9/mystic theurge 5); Kyan Winterstrike (CN female elf, wizard 1/fighter 6/arcane archer 9); Viirdran Daraqor (CE male rmoahali, fighter 7/evoker 5/eldritch knight 4).

Purpose

In the year 245 N.C., the demodands of the prison-plane of Carceri sent some of their kind to the Lands of Harqual through a one-way portal. Disguised as humans, they mated with humans and other denizens of the Material Plane. Most of their spawn was stillborn, but a few survived. They mated and produced the next generation with demodand blood. As the generations passed, all obvious traces of their demodand ancestry faded away. Today, only unveiling an invisible birthmark known as the Carcerian Sign can recognize the descendants of this fiendish bloodline.

These ancestors are known as the Shackleborn.

The group known as the Cagewrights seeks to open a permanent two-way portal between the Material Plane and the outer plane of Carceri. The location of this portal would transform the surrounding area into a planar gate-town. If successful, an incarcerated horde of demodands — trapped on Carceri’s first layer, Othrys — will escape the prison-plane and ravage the continent. The Cagewrights will benefit from this event as the new servants of the demodands, or at least this is what they have been told.

In truth, the Cagewrights are manipulated from the highest level of the organization's leadership towards the ultimate goal of freeing the Lord of Darkness, Hiisi, from the prison-plane of Carceri. This isn't generally known by the lower-ranking members of the group, but it isn't a closely guarded secret. Many members have come to learn the truth about the Cagewrights ultimate goal, and those that embrace the Lord of Darkness gain true power in the organization.

Notable Activities

Since the failed attempt to open a portal to Carceri, under the City of Cauldron, in 750 N.C., the Cagewrights have become a more recognized threat throughout the continent. They still prefer to work clandestinely whenever possible, but more of them have begun to operate out in the open, especially in the Old Sword Lands. Many a desperate soul has been recruited into their ranks without any knowledge of the Cagewrights ultimate goal. Instead, they are told that the Cagewrights are simply a doomsday cult with prophetic knowledge of the end of the world. This overt cult is lead by Ursula Rivadeneira.

In the Thunder Lands, the Cagewrights are hunted everywhere they go, especially in the Kul Moren Mountains. The organization is considered to be blood-enemies of the Order of the Silver Hand and the Disciples of the Bloodsun. They work towards undermining the love that the people have for their rulers, and they support black-hearted tyrants seeking power. One of these tyrants is a man named Ankhin Taskerhill (NE human Anorian male, aristocrat 10), a former member of the aristocracy in Cauldron, who seeks to usurp the leadership of the Lord Mayor of Cauldron, Hezekiah Grofus. (Lord Taskerhill isn't a true member of the Cagewrights.)

The Cagewrights are also found throughout the Chara Coast, and they work in secret there to open portals to the prison-plane of Carceri, and other infernal realms. They work with slavers and evil humanoids to find and enslave the Shackleborn for their nefarious purposes. As a result of their activities the area around the Chara Cities has become infested with demodands and other Carcerian creatures. There are even rumors of a Carcerian-tainted aberration being involved in their machinations. The most powerful member of the Cagewrights in this region is a sorcerer named Chitto Moniric.

Cagewrights can be found almost anywhere there are slaves and those toiling in prisons. They often fall into a vile, evil state of being in their dealings with the demodands of Carceri, and any of them that have direct contact with the demon lord known as Adimarchus go mad. This demon lord was a servant of the Lord of Darkness during the Divinity War, and it is now imprisoned on Carceri in the fortress known as Asylum. Those Cagewrights that come under the sway of the Demon Prince of Madness often end up locked away in madhouses or living in twisted ruins with unspeakable things. These are some of the most dangerous of the Cagewrights.

Campaign Notes

Cagewrights can be found skulking anywhere there are Shackleborn living. The organization is strong in the Thunder Lands, just north of the Great Expanse, where the invasion first occurred. The majority of these servants of Carceri are found throughout the Kul Moren Mountains — a close second is the Hather Plains. After the City-state of Flamerule subjugated the Domain of Anoria, many of the Shackleborn from that infernal city moved to Mor's End. It won't be long before a new generation of Shackleborn are born throughout Anoria. Whether these Shackleborn are be able to rise above their inherent evil nature will determine the future of Mor's End and its vassal communities.

The largest density of Cagewrights are found throughout the Ragik Peninsula, especially among the decadent citizens of the Ara-Ragik City Alliance. There, where Hiisi’s power is strongest on the Material Plane, the Cagewrights and many of the Shackleborn work together to bring about the return of the Lord of Darkness to the Lands of Harqual. They work as spies and assassins for the Black Cult — a hidden religious faction dedicated solely to Hiisi — and they work to undermine the rules of society throughout the lands of the peninsula. However, the Old Sword Lands have undergone some major changes since The Transformation — a lot for the good — which means the Cagewrights must now tread more carefully in the region.

It is believed that this organization has rooted itself into every kingdom and government in the Southern Heartlands but this is an exaggeration. It is true that they are strongest in such lands as the Aerie Holds, Anoria, Antius, Eversinki, Flamerule, Izmer, Shaule, the Strandlands, and Yuln, but they are not everywhere. And they are not trusted by other evil and neutral organizations, since many of those organizations have been duped by the Cagewrights in the past. The ultimate goal of the Cagewrights often conflicts with the desires of evil religious sects that worship the Sword Gods. Most of these sects do not want the Lord of Darkness to gain his freedom as he would try to regain his mantle of leadership over the Sword Gods. This would lead to blood feuds and holy wars amongst the followers of the Sword Gods, which would be devastating for everyone involved.

The Cagewrights are nearly unheard of in the lands of the Far South due to the inherent bias in the organization towards those without some form of human ancestry. That ancestry can be mixed with anything else, but those that aren't partially human aren't respected unless they also happen to be Shackleborn as well. This racial bias is by no means absolute but it does breed hatred and dissent amongst those members without human ancestry. This twisted bigotry has kept the Cagewrights from gaining power in the southern lands, in the past, but since The Transformation things have changed somewhat. That magical conjunction changed the landscape of the entire continent. It redistributed the racial demographic of the Far South, and now there are many more humans living in the southern lands. As a result, the Cagewrights have slowly spread south to such cities as Belinay, Hathmathia, and Rusthallow in the West, and Osebye, Sallim, and Selquin in the East.


DM's Note
Hiisi is imprisoned on the sixth layer of Carceri, Agathys. This means that the followers of Hiisi never find their way to their god as petitioners. Instead, they become trapped on one of the first five layers, or continue to exist on the Material Plane as undead. As Hiisi is trapped on frigid Agathys, his followers are often cursed by cold. On Harqual, his living followers sometimes become frost folk, while his undead followers mostly become entombed, frostfell ghosts, icegaunts, or winterspawn (see Chapter 6: Monsters of the Frostfell in D&D Frostburn). Demodands in the direct service of Hiisi gain the Wastling Template from the Frost & Fur d20 sourcebook (see pp. 152-153).

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Cult of the Dragon

Source: Forgotten Realms Lords of Darkness
Origin: Unknown
Symbol: A flame with eyes burning above a dragon's claw.
Leaders: Wearers of the Purple. Each cell of the Cult of the Dragon is lead by one or more of these leaders who wear purple robes to signify their rank.
Notable Members: Augustin Guischard (NE male Getacian human, transmuter 18); Khallos Windenrivier (LE male half-elf, cleric of Falazure 12); Maddalyn Reimstein (N female Northlander human, fighter 10).

Purpose

The Cult of the Dragon believes that the world should look to dragonkind for leadership. They revere dragons in all their forms, but show the greatest reverence for undead dragons such as dracoliches (called the sacred ones). The cult tries to recruit rogue dragons to their cause, and they will even go so far as to kill a dragon and then raise it as an undead creature. This organization has no respect for those that follow the Tenets of the Balance. The cult pays special homage to Falazure, The Night Dragon.

Notable Activities

The Cult of the Dragon bases its daily activities around the betterment of dragonkind and those that show them proper respect (namely themselves). This doesn't always conflict with the goals of other organizations dedicated to dragonkind, but when they start turning dragons into undead creatures they go one step too far in the mind of civilized society. The cult is always looking for rogue dragons willing to undergo the transformation into dracoliches, and they don't always take no for an answer.

However, turning dragons into undead creatures rarely is an effective way for the cult to fund their activities, in fact it costs the cult tons of time and gold. Each cult cell usually makes its coin by one of the following methods: banditry & pirating, blackmail & extortion, dungeoneering, kidnapping, protection rackets, smuggling, or providing vices to others. Cult cells that are forced to fund their activities by dungeoneering, or worse, by legitimate means are usually down on their luck.

The cult also works towards spreading the worship of the dragon gods. They revere Falazure before all the other dragon gods but that doesn't stop them from being prophetical regarding Io's place in the universe. And this devotion to all the dragon gods keeps the cult from being hunted everywhere it has influence. A cell that is able to increase the standing of all the dragon gods, in a particular area, succeeds as much as a cell that only spreads the word of Falazure.

Opponents of the cult consider its members activities and goals to be contradictory; this seems insane to a group like the Knights Majestic. As a result, members of the Cult of the Dragon and the Knights Majestic never work together and will attack each other on sight.

Campaign Notes

The Cult of the Dragon tend to keep to the shadows of mainstream society, so the cells that have been uncovered have tended to be located in out-of-the-way places. They prefer to haunt old ruins and abandoned dungeons — anywhere they can provide a suitable lair for a sacred one. However, a few cells have been rooted out in major population centres.

One such cell was uncovered and destroyed in the City of Anthmoor, in late 754 N.C., and it was believed to have been in league with High Fist Warcoul, the theocratic ruler of the Owelga Dominion. The High Fist has coveted the lands of the Storm Domain for over fifty years, and his knowledge of necromancy is undeniable as is his strength of will. It is even rumoured that he has a dracolich in his service. Thus, it is quite possible that he's had dealings with the cult.

The only other known cell to be uncovered in a populated region was the group of cultists known as the Purple Brotherhood. This large cell existed in the Free Lands of Arkhangel, and it was the bane of that republic, up until the end of 735 N.C. It was at this time that the cultists tried unsuccessfully to take over the City of Arkhangel. They were defeated by allies of the current Gubernator, Willem Polgár, including a group of adventurers from the Wind Cities known as the Ramparts of Alavar. The Purple Brotherhood cell is believed to still exist somewhere in the Wind Plains, but nothing has been heard of them in decades.

Another famous Cult of the Dragon cell is known as the Unnamed. These cultists wander the wastes of the Great Expanse staying one step ahead of the desert elves and the Knights Majestic. They are nomadic and are said to be lead by a powerful dragontouched earth elementalist who's name isn't know — not even by his fellow cultists. They simply call him the Purple Lord of the Sands. His followers are fanatical and in the few instances when the Unnamed and the Knights Majestic have clashed they have laid down their lives to save their master.

There are many more cells spread throughout the Lands of Harqual but discovering and cataloguing them all would take a lifetime. It would also be useless as Cult of the Dragon cells come and go. The legacy they leave behind is an increase in the number of undead dragons that now haunt the continent. One of the most powerful of these is a dracolich named Hellscar (LE male red great wyrm [dracolich, rogue], sorcerer 10). (He had a different name once, but no one dares speak that now.) Hellscar was an ancient red dragon that once lived within the Tenets of the Balance and who once soared over the Hills of Morhan and was a great friend to the druids of the Hallowed Lands. His fall at the hands of the Cult of the Dragon is one of the worst tragedies of dragonkind.

The cult tracked the ancient red to his lair and offered him undeath and immortality. He refused, of course, but they wouldn't take no for an answer. Over a hundred of them died, sacrificing themselves to bring the dragon low and then they forced the transformation into a scared one on him. The forced change drove him completely mad, and he slew every last one of the remaining cultists before going on a rampage across the North. The druids tried to save what was left of his soul, but he did not recognize them and killed dozens of them. He didn't remember his former self and took the name Hellscar to strike fear into the hearts of mortals. That was more than 100 years ago.

The ancient, red dracolich now lives in the Aragar Mountains in the frozen wastes of the Northlands. He considers the entire mountain range to be his domain and kills all other dragons that infringe on his territory. It is known that Hellscar is in league with the ruler of Blighted Lands of the North, the Lord of Decay. Hellscar helps subjugate the Lord of Decay's more unruly citizens, and in return, the evil cleric of Mussin provides the dracolich with suitable sacrifices. If those sacrifices are members of the Cult of the Dragon then so much the better.

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(Alternate Homebrewed Symbol)​
 
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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Eyes of Hande Thieves’ Guild

Source: Homebrewed
Origin: Duchy of Minar
Symbol: The open palm of an upright hand with multiple, tiny eyes scattered across the palm, a small eye on the top of each fingertip, and a large eye in the centre of the palm. The eyes are all iridescent and of different colours. The centre eye is coloured black while the fingertip eyes are blue, green, silver, red, and yellow.
Leader: “The Hande” (unknown origin; rumoured to be goodhearted). The leader of the Eyes of Hande is only known as The Hande, as the guild isn’t popular in lawful lands and secrecy is very important for its upper echelon. No one knows who The Hande is truly. It is rumoured that the guildmaster isn’t fond of assassins or lawful-loving adventurers but realizes that sometimes they are necessary. (This makes The Hande and their religious followers of Kuil part of a separate group — as the Church of Kuil has discredited the guildmaster and branded them all as heretics.)

Purpose

The thieves’ guild known as the Eyes of Hande holds sway in several cities of the Eastern Shores. However, its main base of power is in Minar City in the Duchy of Minar. There, as well as in other cities, the Eyes of Hande works toward keeping freedoms in place for the citizens of the duchy as well as making a profit. The Eyes of Hande don’t like lawful rulership and always work towards creating more chaos and independence in a society. Many rogues and rogue/clerics dedicated to Kuil are members of this guild although it’s not a requirement. Worshippers of Dionysus, Heward, Kord, Lokun, Olidammara, Tok, and Valkar are all welcome in the guild.

Notable Activities

The Eyes of Hande Thieves’ Guild leans more towards chaos and neutrality, which is what makes it stand apart from other thieves’ guilds with worshippers of Kuil. The rogues of the Eyes of Hande are more like subtle freebooters on a sea of land. They steal from the rich and powerful, as well as the uptight citizens of lawful societies. However, while they do give to the needy, they would much rather train the needy to “fend for themselves,” after helping them eat and become stronger. This means that a lot of the Eyes of Hande members start out as youngsters.

The Eyes of Hande is primarily a guild of thieves, however, and a lot of the guilds major illicit money comes from pick pocketing, burglary, and protection rackets. The guild also has a strong spy network, which it uses throughout the Eastern Shores. The network never maliciously targets Duke Jace Brookwater of Minar or his family although they do keep track of the family’s members and current activities. This is made easier due to the fact that the Duke’s nephew, Lord Roland Dentonsen (CG male Denilan human, aristocrat 2/rogue 2), is a member of the guild. Roland keeps a detailed journal on his family members and the activities of the Ducal Court and the Duchy’s lesser courtesans.

The Eyes of Hande spy network is rumoured to be based upon The Hande’s time as a member of the Tiger Guild. Now, that the Tiger Guild has relocated to the City of Tian, after being force out of the Theocracy of Thallin, the two guilds have a (somewhat) friendly rivalry. While The Hande respects his former guildmaster, he worries that the Eyes of Hande and the Tiger Guild both being in Minar might end in conflict. After all, The Eyes of Hande work less towards influencing different power centres and more towards changing them into what their guildmaster prefers.

For now, the Eyes of Hande and the Tiger Guild try to respect and try to work with each other, but more often than not the two guilds prefer to ignore each other. It hasn’t helped relations that Carl Tigerstorm has long denied, and continues to so, that The Hande was ever a member of the Tiger Guild.

Campaign Notes

The Eyes of Hande are the foremost thieves’ guild in the Duchy of Minar and the communities of the Independent Sovereignty of the Qualitian Belt and the region known as the Highlands. They are also common in the western communities of the Kingdom of Stonn. However, they aren’t welcome there. They are almost unheard of in the Theocracy of Thallin and the Barony of Wolffire but have begun to expand south into the western region of the Thunder Lands — especially the Barony of Calot and the City-state of Cirrus. They had made inroads in Domain of Anoria but after that lands fall from grace they no longer have a presence there. So far, they have been kept out of the Dominion of Cauldron and the Diabolic Enclaves.

However, the guilds primary activities are in its traditional homeland of the Duchy of Minar. The guild controls the streets in the capital city as well as in the City of Tian. Here, they are considered heroes by the locals but are still clouded in mystery. It is often been said that Minar is one of the most open places in the Eastern Shores, if not all of Northern Harqual. And while the citizens of the Cities of the Wind would dispute both those claims, Minar has some of the freest laws of anywhere in the Northern Heartlands.

This is what makes Minar the best place for the Eyes of Hande to operate. The members of the guild don’t believe in chaos for chaos’s sake. They believe in change and a free-form government that changes with the whims of the people. They believe this brings about better trade possibilities, as well as less legal means of commerce. Thus, the tournament every five years, which allows anyone to compete to become Duke of Minar for the next five years is one of the greatest political achievements in the opinion of the guild members.

However, The Hande is beginning to think that it might be time for someone else to win the tournament as Duke Jace has continued to win the tournament every five years since he entered. The last thing The Hande wants is for the Duke to decree the tournament’s end and begin a hereditary rulership of Minar. And yet, the people love their Singing Monarch, and he has been a fair and honest ruler. The guildmaster is torn; he doesn’t want to “fix” the tournament.

The outbreak of war between Minar and the bugbears of the Sunus Mountains forced The Hande to postpone and idea of forcing change on the beleaguered duchy. The guild now works towards stabilizing Minar (something they never thought they'd do), and The Hande works to ensure that the Duke remains in power, for now. The war brought the entire country closer together as a nation, and the Eyes of Hande now work towards rebuilding the towns and villages that were lost. The war also created a closer bond between the Eyes of Hande and the Tiger Guild of Tian.

The members of the Eyes of Hande in the Qualitian Belt and the Highlands are less like thieves and more like scouts. They work towards protecting these isolated communities from the machinations of the Fury of the Dragon, from the Theocracy of Thallin, as well as the blood elf, ogre, gnoll, and krug raiders of the region. The guild has members that are scouts, wilderness rouges, and rangers and the guild often works with the two organizations known as the Striders of the Dawn and the Rapid Riders.

The Eyes of Hande have tried many times to make inroads into breaking the lawful grip on the Kingdom of Stonn since the guild was first formed. This has always ended in disaster as the Angle’s Edge Thieves’ Guild always works against them. The fact that there are followers of Kuil on both side has lead to a lot of friction and, sometimes, outright warfare on the streets of the western communities of the kingdom. No where is this more prevalent than in the City of Sentinel — a strict lawful neutral city where the members of the Angle’s Edge are also members of the watch.

The Eyes of Hande expanded into Calot and Anoria shortly before The Transformation. Calot, being a much smaller land, was easier to infiltrate, but they continue to keep a low profile there. Anoria, however, had a more complex power structure before it fell into the hands of the Infernals of the City-state of Flamerule in 753 N.C. The Eyes of Hande didn't fair well when Anoria was conquered. The guild’s membership in the area were either killed or scattered to the wind. Several of them made their way back to Minar, but others fled into the Kul Moren Mountains and the Great Expanse.

The former head of the Eyes of Hande in Anoria, Darel Willowtree (CN male half-elf, Rog4/Ftr4) [a follower of Olidammara], joined another thieves' guild that fell on hard times after the three-pronged war between Anoria, Cauldron, and Flamerule — a guild known as the Last Laugh. His defection to this rival guild was a tough blow to the Eyes of Hande. Darel was considered to be one of the brightest young members of the guild, but his ego and mean streak got the better of him. Now, he works to undermine the activities of the Eyes of Hande throughout the Thunder Lands, and he enjoys hunting down his former guild mates.

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Fallow's Cross Adventurers
Source:
Fallow’s Cross AD&D 2E Web Site (see the DM’s Note below)
Origin: Eastern Shores
Symbol: A wooden, Celtic-style cross.
Leaders: Coromir Maralethion (CG female half-blooded* elf, fighter 6/wizard 6/rogue 6); Hassan (CG male Shaoyan human, fighter 20); Jason of the Dark (CN male Denilan human, wizard 18); Marie Goldmane (CG female half-elf, rogue 11/wizard 9). *Coromir is half-silver elf and half-forest elf.
Notable Members: Artemis (NG male Vindi human, ranger of Brenna 9); Danal Blackeagle (CG male Stonnish human, fighter 5/sorcerer 5); Ingrid Halloworth (NG female Silvester human, druid of the Daghdha 16); Jillian Featherbrook (LG female hairfoot halfling, paladin of Arvoreen 18); Morcleb Maralethion (CG male silver elf, fighter 9); Orris (LG male Navir human, paladin of Valkar 9); Wilfred of the Wild (NG male Tanaroan human [werebear], fighter 8/cleric of Larea 8).
Other Members: Diana Rande (CG female Lochfolk human, ranger 2); Ian Rocliffe (N male Anorian human, cleric of the North Gods 7); Lindy Littlecart (N female Denilan human, cleric of Larea 3/fighter 2); Leslie Whitecotton (NG female Qualitian human, cleric of the Daghdha 10).

Purpose

The Fallow's Cross Adventurers (FCA) are just that, a group of adventurers who try as hard as they can to protect the small border town of Fallow's Cross near the edge of the Great Forest and the moors of Caer Amylinyon. They oppose the rule of the Mad King of Thallin and are considered freedom fighters to the citizens of the Theocracy of Thallin. They strive to reclaim their old headquarters in Fallow's Cross as well as the estate known as Stanzfeld Mansion near the City of Fruen.

Notable Activities

The Fallow's Cross Adventurers have become more militant since the civil war in the Theocracy of Thallin. They believe that King Varath Dragonguard should be removed from the throne. The group does whatever it can to disrupt the flow of wealth into the king's coffers. They oppose his elite soldiery known as the Fury of the Dragon as well as the diabolical priests of Nether's Deathtide. These adventurers take great pride in their devotion to freeing the kingdom from the Mad One's tyrannical rule.

The FCA also works toward strengthening the enemies of Thallin such as the clannish hill-folk of the Highlands and the Thallinite Resistance in the City of Rivenwood. The adventurers are careful to not stay in one place for too long, and they have been known to disappear into the Great Forest for months at a time. It is believed that they have a base of operations somewhere near Lake Loch and have made alliances with the fey enclaves living there.

The FCA have also taken a great interest in the border skirmishes between Thallin's armies and the militias of the Wind Cities. King Varath has made it clear that he believes that the Lands of the Cities of the Wind rightfully belong to Thallin based on one-hundred-year-old documents. These pages of parchment are said to have been found in old, abandoned ruins under the City of Raell, and they state that the land surrounding the City of Baermos, for fifty miles in all directions, belongs to the Dragonguard Royal Family. The leaders of the Fallow's Cross Adventurers believes that King Varath had these documents forged for his own evil purposes.

They work tirelessly to uncover the truth.

Campaign Notes

It has become widely knownin the Eastern Shores that the adventurer Danal Blackeagle, the son of an influential nobleman from the Kingdom of Stonn, is the cousin of King Varath. Many in Thallin wish for him to become country's new king should the Mad One be overthrown. His fellow adventurers only found out about his bloodline after the civil war began. They weren't sure if they could trust him (he was new to the group at that time), but he has proven himself time and again. He has become more than just a freedom fighter to the citizens of the kingdom; he has become a folk hero. This makes the young man uncomfortable, but he refuses to hide way somewhere while his cousin oppresses his friends and allies.

Marie Goldmane often helps the persecuted citizens of the City of Raell, which was where she spent a great deal of her youth. That city is a dangerous place, even before the war, and she rarely stays in Raell for more than a week at a time. (Most nonhumans are now banned from entering Thallin, except as slaves.) More often she travels to and from the Wind Cities from the Kingdom of the Silver Leaves. The kingdom of the silver elves has become her new home, and she uses her influence with the High One, Menkhar Silversun, to help the struggling communities of the Wind Plains.

Hassan, a foreign warrior from Kanpur displaced through time, controls the activities of the FCA in the City of Rivenwood. He works closely with the Thallinite Resistance; he has freed dozens of people just by the power of his sword arm. The bounty on his head is considerable but the people love him. Only some of the more dangerous of the criminal element in the city would turn him in and such an act would be risky. Hassan fights diligently to wipe out the Fury of the Dragon; warriors that he considers to be dishonourable louts.

Jason of the Dark and Coromir Maralethion are the most militant members of the FCA. They go on the warpath wherever they can, and they almost never take prisoners. They push young Blackeagle to become more involved with the Thallinite Resistance, and the two of them have decided that Danal would make an excellent king. They keep tabs on him at all time, and Coromir rarely lets the young nobleman out of her sight. Danal puts up with “Corrie,” as her friends call her, because he is completely in love with her, and he greatly admires Jason who helped him unlock his potential for sorcery. (Jason also gave Danal his nickname, “The Wind Walker.”)


DM's Note
Fallow's Cross Adventurers isn't my original creation. I got the name and many of the characters from an old 2nd Edition D&D Forgotten Realms website [link isn’t secure any more]. The website details the Fallow's Cross campaign, which was run by multiple game masters in several locales throughout England. I received permission from the owner of the site, Andrew Prentis, to borrow the FCA (as I call them) for the Lands of Harqual.

Artemis, Coromir Maralethion, Jason of the Dark, Marie Goldmane, Morcleb Maralethion, and Orris are all PCs from that gaming group. The site had their character stats and backgrounds, which I used for the starting point of my own version of the FCA. I have altered a great deal about the adventuring group, and now that I've advanced my timeline I need to alter the group even more.

Danal Blackeagle is a character from the Dungeon Magazine module called as “Prism Keep,” which I briefly ran through for my Companions campaign (Bactra, Dabuk, Jeddar, etc). The character from that module escaped Prism Keep and eventually made his way to Fallow's Cross. The other listed members of the FCA are original NPCs created by me.

Thanks again to Andrew and his fellow gamers for providing me one of the best campaign locations I've ever used. Their campaign might have ended ages ago, but the Fallow's Cross Adventurers will live on in my world for as long as I find a reason to use them. And thanks to Rich Baker for writing one of my favourite Dungeon adventures of all time.

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Last Laugh Thieves’ Guild

Source: Shackled City Adventure Path
Origin: Thunder Lands
Symbol: The silhouetted profile of a laughing jester or a stylized black and white jester mask made of two four-point stars and a crescent moon.
DM's Note: This entry contains spoilers for the Shackled City Adventure Path!
Leaders: “The guild’s leaders, called Jesters, form an inner circle that oversees all guild activities” (LBWE, pg. 1). The guild has different Jesters in different regions, so the Jesters in the City-state of Cirrus aren't the same Jesters that control the activities of the Last Laugh in the Strandlands. Very few Jesters are openly known to be guild masters of the Last Laugh.
Here is list of some of the known Jesters throughout the Thunder Lands: Jacob Taskerhill (LN male Anorian human, aristocrat 4/rogue 8/monk 8) – Cauldron [lawful faction]; Aryira Oliverio (NE female Ervenik human, fighter 6/rogue 10) – Anoria; “Lady Death” (CE female Tahrannuti human, cleric of Vespin 15) – Cauldron [chaotic faction]; Wyrmarnare (N male half-elf, rogue 10) – Cirrus.​
Notable Members: Darel Willowtree (CN male half-elf, rogue 4/fighter 4); Fulgar Crystalmantle (N male hill dwarf, aristocrat 6/fighter 6); Joaquim Iravedra (CN male human, rogue 8/cleric of Olidammara 5); Nolan Fullecoppe (NE male hairfoot halfling, rogue 8); Vivianne Kerrick (CN female Denilan human, rogue 5/ranger 5).

Purpose

The Last Laugh Thieves' Guild oversees various rackets and specializes in security, blackmail, extortion, and assassination” [in many regions throughout the Thunder Lands and beyond] (“Life's Bazaar” Web Enhancement [LBWE], pg. 1). The guild also wishes to subvert other thieves' guild, and its leaders want to rise to positions of power in legitimate society without exposing their illegal ventures.

Notable Activities

The Jesters . . . rely on an intricate network of spies, agents, and informants. Their immediate subordinates are called harlequins — skilled rogues and assassins who paint their faces and handle much of the guild’s “dirty work.” The guild also uses spies — called mimes — to infiltrate rival organizations, verify rumors, and gather information on troublesome bands of adventurers” (LBWE, pg. 1).


The Last Laugh expands into new territories whenever possible. They are famous for recruiting locals into the guild by giving support to the recruit's family. This support almost always comes with a price. The guild actively recruits members from rival guilds regardless of the risk. The Last Laugh has made many enemies this way, but they come out on top more often than not. They will go so far as to wipe out rivals in brutal gang wars and coups using mimes to subvert rivals from within.

“The Last Laugh mints its own currency by melting down [the] sovereign coins [of nations] and recasting them with the guild’s jester insignia” (LBWE, pg. 1). They use these coins to undermine barristers, guilds, moneylenders, shops, and even governments. The Last Laugh also use the coins to bribe bandits and pirates to do special projects for the guild. They often leave a Jester's Coin behind when they do a special job for their guild masters.

Campaign Notes

Since the history of the Last Laugh Thieves' Guild is strongly tied to the Thunder Lands, those lands are where they have the strongest influence. They once had a great deal of influence in the lands and communities of the Kul Moren Mountains. However, since the formation of the Order of the Silver Hand and the Disciples of the Bloodsun, the guild has fallen on hard times in Cauldron and Kul Moren. It hasn't helped that one of the Jesters of the Cauldron region formed an alliance with the Order. This man, Jacob Taskerhill, is trying to legitimize the Last Laugh in Cauldron under the watchful eye of Lord Mayor Hezekiah Grofus. Note: Taskerhill is also a magistrate in Cauldron.

This has caused a schism through the remaining members of the Last Laugh in Cauldron and Kul Moren. After Taskerhill revealed himself to be a Jester to the citizens and promised to reform the guild, many of his former allies turned on him. This included the Jester known only as “Lady Death.” This vicious woman is actually a middle-class merchant, named Rane Kiduttaan, with holdings in Anoria, Cirrus, Flamerule, and Izmer, as well as in Cauldron. So far she has managed to keep her identity a secret from Taskerhill and the leaders of the Order of the Silver Hand. She has put a considerable bounty on the head of Taskerhill and Hezekiah Grofus but so far, she hasn't had her harlequins go after Argo Flameheart and the other leaders of the Order.

The faction in Cauldron under the leadership of Taskerhill isn't the only group of Last Laugh rogues trying to go legitimate. There is small group of rogues in the Duchy of Minar that are trying to set up a mercenary company using the insignia and name of the Last Laugh. They are led by a woman named Vivianne Kerrick; she doesn't refer to herself as a Jester. These rogues, scouts, and bards seem to have left behind the viciousness of the Last Laugh guilds of the Thunder Lands. So far, they have managed to coexist peacefully with the Eyes of Hande and Tiger Guild. (The fact that these Last Laugh rogues seem determined to operate out in the open as a mercenary company has helped.)

The worst of the Last Laugh can now be found in the Fallen Domain of Anoria. Despite the iron-fisted rule of the Infernals of the Diabolic Enclaves, Anoria is still a city with its own criminal element. The Last Laugh Thieves Guild has existed in Anoria almost as long as it has existed in Cauldron. There use to be several Jesters controlling the activities of the guild in Anoria but now there is only one. Aryira Oliverio is a mean-spirited woman with a lust for vengeance and evil. She is the sister of one of the most famous commanders of Flamerule, Tarsus Oliverio (LE male Ervenik human Ftr18), who now oversees much of the day-to-day activities of Anoria's government. Publicly, the two are enemies but the truth is that the two of them work together to control every aspect of Anorian society.

The Last Laugh can be found in every major city and city-state in the Thunder Lands but each individual guild rarely works willingly with other Last Laugh guilds. The group has become so decentralized that no one person could hope to unite all the guilds into one massive thieves' guild. Many have tried, but they have all failed. The Last Laugh seems to be built around gaining power for oneself, first, and everyone else in the guild, second. There are exceptions, however. The Last Laugh rogues in Cirrus follow the leadership of a Jester named Wyrmarnare. No one in the guild has any idea who the mysterious Jester is, but it is believed that he is nearly a hundred-years-old and cannot be killed.

If they learned the truth, that “Wyrmarnare” is only a name used by the Council of Jesters to control the guild, then the guild in Cirrus would likely fall apart. It was decided ages ago that the underworld life in Cirrus is so complex and divided that no one person should hold absolute power in the guild. However, it has to appear that way to the lower-level members of the guild or the various factions within the guild would go to war on the streets and sky-ways of the city-state. The power of the name has kept the peace in the Cirrus guild for almost forty years and the high-ranking members of the Last Laugh in the city-state prefer to keep it that way.

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

The Opposition

Source: Homebrewed
Origin: Unknown
Symbol: A black ring surrounded by burning yellow flames on a blood red field.
Leader: The Opposition's commander is a man simply known as The Father (LE male human*, fighter 10/marshal 10) and he has several overlords that control certain aspects of the group. *The Father’s ethnicity is unknown but most that have seen him and lived say his complexion is pale.
Overlords: Elyiniia the Foulsoul (CE female elf, necromancer 10/sorcerer 10), Horz'bak (NE male gnoll, rogue 10/assassin 5), Krill the Blackened (LE male Ruelian human, ex-paladin 6/blackguard 7), Retan (LE male half-fiend hill dwarf, fighter 7/cleric of Nether 7), and The Crane (LN male Meai human, monk 6/ranger 6).
Notable Members: Unknown.

Purpose

The Opposition is an evil organization of adventurers and nobles that wish to dominate all of the Lands of Harqual. The organization uses any means to achieve their goals from blackmail to murder. They often use their peers, clandestinely, without their knowledge to advance the organization’s goals. This organization thrives on fear and mystery and protects it secrets vigorously.

Notable Activities

The Overlords of the Opposition organizes their membership similar to an adventuring group crossed with a thieves’ guild. It's most notable members are those who are part of the subgroups known as the Father’s Legion and the Blood Dawn. These two groups are the elite soldiers of the Opposition, but they rarely organize themselves into standing armies. They are more like strike forces of unique adventurers and mercenaries who act against enemies of the Opposition only when the overlords order them to. The Father’s Legion takes their orders from the half-fiend dwarf known as Retan. The Blood Dawn takes their orders from a secretive man known as The Crane.

Two other subgroups that aren't as well known throughout the Lands of Harqual are the Black Storm and Vespin’s Hand. The Black Storm are pirates and cutthroats that have been specially trained to attack and destroy ships, both naval and aerial. They work towards dominating the seas and skies for their Opposition Overlord, a cruel, fallen paladin, Krill the Blackened. Vespin’s Hand is the Opposition's own unique assassin's guild; this clandestine organization is greatly feared by those that have heard of it. Vespin’s Hand is controlled by the Opposition Overlord known as Horz'bak, a vicious gnoll assassin.

There are many other subgroups dedicated to the Opposition but most of these are so secretive that nothing has ever been uncovered about them. One of the more infamous overlords is an ancient, elven necromancer known as Elyiniia the Foulsoul. She is believed to have been born a gray elf but now she changes bodies so often that a person who meets her cannot recognize the arcanist from one week to the next. It is believed that she is the Overlord of Magic for the Opposition but this has never been verified.

Campaign Notes

Because the Opposition takes interest in so many activities and its members prefer, for the most part, to remain hidden, tracking the organizations movements is an impossible task. One of the few things that is known about the Opposition is that they rarely employ dwarves and the group often preys on dwarven communities. In 550 N.C., the Opposition were responsible for the destruction of the City of Highstone, which was located in the Greystone Mountains. This event caused great hardship in the Kingdom of the Greystones for a long time, and even now, the dwarven kingdom still suffers under the effects of displaced dwarven clans.

In more recent years, the Opposition has attempted to undermine the civilizations of dwarves throughout the Lands of Harqual. They have tried to sow corruption into the Dwarven Hold of Kul Moren, and they have worked towards undermining the Torin communities of the Far South. When it comes to opposing the expansion of dwarves, they are very overt. While they aren't as brutal towards gnomish communities, they have been known to attack gnomes and their allies on sight.

The Opposition also takes a great interest in any wars that are currently being waged on Harqual. They rarely take sides in such conflicts, but they will provide mercenaries to whoever will pay their price. The Overlords of the Opposition are all great lovers of war and strife. As a result, they have taken to working for various factions fighting in the Tabaxi War. The tabaxi do not trust them, so The Opposition never fights alongside the cat-men. However, members of the Father’s Legion have been seen helping the more despicable louts now infesting the Ruined Lands of Valora.

It is known that the Opposition are great supporters of King Varath Dragonguard of the Theocracy of Thallin. Many of the members of the Opposition (but not all of them) are followers of the Sword Gods. The theocracy has become a breeding ground for evil, which is the perfect environment for the Opposition to use to expand its operations in the Eastern Shores. Here, the Opposition works towards suppressing the Knights of the Honoured Few and the Tiger Guild — two groups that the evil organization wants to wipe out.

The Opposition also have strong ties to the Old Sword Imperium. However, they often come up against opposition from other evil groups in the Old Sword Lands unwilling to share power (such as the Blades of the Emperor and the Lords of Pestilence). On the Ragik Peninsula, choosing to worship the Sword Gods doesn't mean different organizations and religious cults are always allies. (The bloody pie is very large and no one likes to share.) The Opposition is known to operate primarily out of the lands of the Sword South. The City of Yulvanaa is where the Opposition has its strongest membership. However, they can also be found openly recruiting in such places as Miekka, Toraa Bagul, and the City-state of Vesi.

In the Far South, the Opposition doesn't have much power. The peoples of the southern lands rarely see eye-to-eye with the activities of this evil organization. Humans are considered uncommon in the south, and the rank-and-file of the Opposition's membership are humans. Note that this isn't a requirement, but the group has not endeared themselves to prospective members from southern peoples such as lightfoot halflings, the rakasta, and the t’skrang by lording over them. More often, the Opposition's membership in the Far South is made up of evil goblinoids, monstrous humanoids, and other people living on the fringe of society. The Opposition used to have a great deal of influence in the Thorn Republic on the Thenin Peninsula, but since the upheaval there, that brought the Light of Jalivier back to the region, the Opposition's influence has disappeared.

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Striders of the Dawn

Source: Shackled City Adventure Path [Striders of Fharlanghn]
Origin: Thunder Lands
Symbol: The horizon at dawn.
DM's Note: This entry contains spoilers for the Shackled City Adventure Path!
Leaders: Alexandre Theobald (NE male Vindi human, scout 14); Cezar Threlfall (N male Valoran human, druid of the Daghdha 15); Darara Balderama (CN female Ruelian human, cleric of Sanh 14); Meerthan Eliothlorn (NG male half-elf, wizard 16); Shensen Tesseril (LN female half-elf, monk 3/bard 3/druid of the Daghdha 10)*.
*DM's Note: Since there aren't any native drow on my world, I changed Shensen’s racial origin to half-elf.
Notable Members: Fario Ellegoth (NG male half-elf, rogue 7/fighter 7); Fellian Shard (NG male half-elf, rogue 5/cleric of Brenna 9); Gavin Vasswind (LN male hairfoot halfling, rogue 2/wizard 7); Marta Stangassinger (NG female hill dwarf, sentinel 10); Pan Mirelic (NE male half-orc, bard 4/fighter 6); Riannon Jalovartio (CN female Kieli human, barbarian 6/sorcerer 6); Shadlor Zimmel (N male desert elf, cleric of Bast 5/ranger 5).

Purpose

The Striders of the Dawn is a loosely run organization of adventurers (and ex-adventurers) who watch the horizons for signs of great turmoil, and who strive to preserve the Tenets of the Balance throughout the Lands of Harqual.

Notable Activities

The Striders of the Dawn are always looking for that next crisis. The group seeks out troubles regardless of where it is happening. As an organization dedicated to the Tenets of the Balance, its idea of “trouble” doesn't always correlate with the goals of good organizations. Evil groups almost always work against the Striders, but there have been exceptions. The harsh neutrality of the Tenets don't always endear the Striders to governments or a kingdom’s citizens.

For example, the Striders oppose slavery as general rule, which makes the group unpopular in places like the Chara Cities. However, it also opposed to the clear-cutting of forests, which makes the group unpopular in places where forestry is part of a region’s economy (Stonn, for example). Usually, if something protects the sanctity of life (including non-humanoid life) then the Striders are for it. Some monsters fall into this category but only if they have a true ecological niche. So, a dragon that lives within the Balance is to be protected but a dragon that turns “rogue” is considered a threat to the Tenets. Creatures like aberrations and the undead are considered to be destroyers of the natural world, so they are always hunted and destroyed by the Striders.

Note that while the Striders tend towards protecting those that are goodhearted, the group will fight to protect peoples and creatures that live on the fringe of human society that are part of the natural world but don’t always ally with humans (like lizardfolk). The group rarely fights for the lives of evil creatures (or individuals), but when such beings are vital to balancing out good, the group will support them. This has caused conflict between the Striders and peoples such as elves and dwarves since the group has protected evil monstrous humanoids from being wiped out by them. (It’s rare, but it does happen.) These foes (sometimes) balance out elf and dwarf activities, which tend to be more accepted in civilized society.

Note that the Striders don’t hate civilization. Civilization has its place in the world, just not at the cost of the natural world. For example, the Striders have never agreed with the location of the City of Cauldron. Building a city in the bowl of a dormant volcano is not a good idea in the group’s opinion. However, the group won't work to destroy the city as the people who live there are relatively benign. Cauldronites are strong supporters of the natural world, and they work towards protecting the land around Cauldron — now, due to recent events, even more so than before.

The Striders, more often, oppose the construction of cities and towns without consideration to the people and creatures that might be living nearby. The City-state of Cirrus is such as city. It was built quickly, using magic, and is considered by many to be an eyesore on the edge of the Great Expanse. It is also filled with many immoral people who have no regard for the natural world or even their own neighbours. There are good people in Cirrus, but they are not the norm. Thus, the Striders would like Cirrus to disappear under the sands of the desert.

The Striders can also be found anywhere that one facet of alignment (or sometimes two) has gained too much strength. If a community or kingdom has become entrenched with evil (or good) or affected by rigid laws (or uncontrolled chaos), the group acts to return the region towards the Balance. Since many of the Striders are good-aligned, they are more likely to turn a blind-eye toward governments that are extremely benign. Good is almost always better than evil in the minds of most members of the Striders. (Views on law vs. chaos tend to divide evenly among them.)

Both the old Kingdom of Thallin and the Kingdom of Navirosov are two good examples of this. Thallin was always known as place where new ideas were welcome but always had a strong controlling centre to it government. Now, it has fallen into chaos and decadent evil in just a few years. Meanwhile, Navirosov has been strongly lawful and good for so long that the island kingdom is at risk of become dull, stagnant, and annoyingly priggish. Change must become a vital part of Navirosov’s political climate in order to protect its amazing civilization.

The most important thing to remember about the Striders of the Dawn is that the group is as diverse as the many sides of the Balance. Any character who is partially neutral and believes in the Balance could find a place for her or himself in the organization. While a character with an extreme alignment (LG, LE, CG, and CE) could find her or himself as a member of this group, they would have a hard time justifying the behaviours of some of their fellow Striders. Since the organization is made up mainly of adventurers and ex-adventurers it tends to have a lot of rollover. Striders come and Striders go but the organization outlasts all those who have tried to change it.

Campaign Notes

The members of the Striders of the Dawn are wanders (for the most part). They come and go as they please and one could argue that the group is highly chaotic (and unreliable). However, there are just as many lawful Striders as there are chaotic ones. The people of the Lands of Harqual simply hear more about the wild, unruly ones than they do about the law-abiding ones. The strider named Darara Balderama is a good example of the latter.

Born in the city-state of Halandra, Darara discovered at a young age that she was free spirit. The citizens of the city-state learned it too as she often ran around the streets naked. When she was still a child, her behaviour was seen as being naive and childish. However, after she blossomed into her womanhood and continued to behave the same way, it became too much for some of the more prudish citizens to bear. She soon was exiled from the city-state, which suited her just fine. She took up the faith of Sanh and let her wild spirits roar. She fell in with the Striders several years later and is considered one of the group’s greatest leaders. And yes, she still prefers to roam around naked.

Another famous strider is the half-elf wizard Meerthan Eliothlorn. He is famous for being an ally to the Order of the Silver Hand without overshadowing them. In fact, he is in semi-retirement in Cauldron City and is beginning to wonder if it might be time to pass his place of leadership to another. This other is the half-elf woman named Shensen Tesseril. She is quickly becoming a favourite ally of Lord Mayor Hezekiah Grofus and is beloved by the populace of Cauldron. She is already a leader in her own right, but her place among the upper echelon of the Striders would be assured if Meerthan endorsed her.

Every member of the Striders has a story to tell and a goal in life. Whether it be to bring down the Mad One of Thallin or to reform the political structure of Navirosov. However, the Striders of the Dawn is at its best when the group works together and forms alliance with others. The Cagewright Crisis in Cauldron was one of these events and the ongoing tabaxi attacks is becoming another. The Striders hate slavers, and the tabaxi are becoming the worst slavers on the continent. The Striders are working diligently to bring down as many of the cat-men as possible, but they'd prefer to change the tabaxi from within, if possible. Its a tough idea to put into the minds of the tabaxi, as well as those the cat-men have been enslaving.

The whole Storm Peninsula is a hotbed of turmoil to the Striders. There aren't any bans on the cutting down of the trees of the Storm Jungle, tabaxi are hunted as animals by the ignorant and ruthless, and the tabaxi don't help matters by being egotistical marauders out for blood and vengeance after being banished from the world. The Striders have learned that not all tabaxi are evil and many of them wish to live in peace with their humanoid neighbours. The Striders believe that it isn’t fair to judge an entire people on the anger and frustration of its oldest citizens. Yes, the strongest tabaxi deity is a vicious entity but not all tabaxi believe in the Doctrines of Tu.

If there is one place where the Striders believe that evil must be put down, it is on the Ragik Peninsula. The Old Sword Lands have remained oppressive since the time of the Empire of Swords. In places like Kingdom of Ahamudia (brought to Kulan during The Transformation) and the reformed Sword Protectorate there is a new hope blossoming. However, the rest of the peninsula remains a dark place full of evil of every sort. Dark, twisted creatures roam the lands and only those with power are safe (and only some of the time). Evil undead and werebeasts are commonplace throughout the region.

Only the stalwart courage of the Northlanders, dwarves of the Greystone Mountains, elves of the Great Forest, and the druid enclaves of the Hallowed Lands keeps the worst of the peninsula’s evil at bay. Many a strider, near the end of her or his life, has travelled to the Old Sword Lands to cleanse as much darkness from the region as possible before dying a bloody death.

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
Tiger Guild
Source:
Homebrewed
Origin: Kingdom of Thallin (before it became a theocracy)
Symbol: A roaring white tiger's head on a black field.
Leaders: Guildmaster Carl Tigerstorm (NG male Maviun human, fighter 10/rogue 10); Crystal Tigerstorm (NG female Maviun human, wizard 16).
Notable Members: Dabuk Tigerstorm (CN male half-elf, ranger of Rillifane 9/urban ranger 7) [part-time member]; Kenneth "Wheezy" Rosser (NG male Minari human, rogue 4/wizard 6); Lyle Outlawe (N male Vindi human, rogue 6/ranger 6); Mesik Tindertwig (LN male fate-touched hairfoot halfling, rogue 7/cleric of Hades 7) [part-time member]; Minx (CG female Qualitian human, rogue 14); Snyder Tolle (LN male Denilan human, rogue 10).

Purpose

The Tiger Guild is a spy network dedicated to protecting the stability of the lands of the Eastern Shores. The guild originally was located in the City of Fruen in the old Kingdom of Thallin, but after King Varath outlawed the guild its leader, Carl Tigerstorm, moved the guild’s headquarters to the City of Tian in the Duchy of Minar. The guild still has a presence in Thallin but it is even more clandestine than it use to be. The guild played a major part in the protection of Tian during the Bugbear War that ravaged through Minar, and it still works to protect its adopted city’s citizens, as well as the rest of the duchy.

Notable Activities

The Tiger Guild is known for its sly members and worthy goals. The guild is more concerned with the protection of the people and the noble of heart than it is with the protection of the wealthy and the powerful. Its members often skirt the edge of law to achieve their goals; they'll even break the law if it benefits society as a whole. Thus, most who oppose the activities of the guild see it as nothing more than a thieves’ guild with slightly higher morals, which is closer to the truth than the guild’s leader, Carl Tigerstorm, likes to acknowledge.

The Tiger Guild once held a considerable place of power in the old Kingdom of Thallin as the previous king, Travathian Dragonguard, relied heavily on Carl Tigerstorm to watch over the people and borders of the kingdom. (Carl and the king were steadfast friends.) The guild never acted against the Dragonguards, which ultimately led to King Travathian’s downfall. Carl knew that his old friend’s son was a horrid man but not even he new the depravity in Varath’s soul. Nor did he know that Varath had corrupted Carl’s closest advisor, a man named Tallos, who now serves the new king.

This betrayal has made the Tiger Guild’s membership even more distrustful than normal, which has impeded the guild’s ability to recover. Now located in the City of Tian, the guild works to overthrow King Varath’s evil reign. Tiger Guilders work clandestinely to support the Thallinite Resistance, and the guildmaster’s own granddaughter, Crystal Tigerstorm, is still in Thallin leading the way against the Fury of the Dragon and the evil humanoids that the king has recruited. She and her followers smuggle out goodhearted people who wish to relocate beyond the reach of the Fury of the Dragon.

In Tian, the Tiger Guild has found a new home. They have been accepted by the citizenry and by the Duke of Minar, Jace Brookwater, although he doesn't rely on the guild for the duchy’s protection or the welfare of its citizens. Yet, the Tiger Guild does in Minar what it did in Thallin just not with the official support of Duke Jace. After what happened in Thallin, the guildmaster decided it was in the guild’s best interest to remain more autonomous in future dealings with external ‘clients’. The guild’s influence in Tian cannot be underestimated, however. Its members protects the people and integrity of its new home without hesitation or remorse.

In the past, the Tiger Guild has ignored regions and events beyond the Eastern Shores (except when Carl was specifically asked to look into something by Travathian), but now it looks towards the Thunder Lands and north of the Wind Cities for anything that would threaten the lands of the Eastern Shores. Of course, getting accurate information from beyond Thallin’s northern border is harder now that the theocracy’s borders are closed to those that King Varath considers seditious or subhuman. Still, Carl Tigerstrom is a resourceful man who is believed to have contacts throughout the Eastern Shores and beyond.

Campaign Notes

The Tiger Guild’s purpose is a bit of an open secret. While it’s primarily a spy guild, almost everyone in the Eastern Shores knows this fact. It is the fact that the guild’s ideals have always been honourable, which has endeared it to the peoples of the Eastern Shores. Yet, it isn't the common man’s guild. The guild is based on a military order originally created during the Second Ogre War by its guildmaster, Travathian Dragonguard, and Jacard Winternight (a renown knight who now rules the Kingdom of Navirosov). During that time period, The Tigers, as they were called, were a special unit of soldiers designed to spy on and fight the enemies arrayed against the allied lands of the Eastern Shores.

The Tiger Guild, now, operates openly in the City of Tian and much of the Duchy of Minar. Its military background helped save the land and its people when the bugbears of the Sunus Mountains attacked the duchy. Those evil armies believed that they would run roughshod over the citizens of Minar without any real resistance. This was a perilous mistake that decimated the bugbears and their gnoll allies. Duke Jace knows that his country would have fallen without the help of the Tiger Guild, yet the guild remains separate from the military structure of the duchy. Duke Jace pays for the guild’s services as if he was paying for the fealty of a group of mercenaries. It’s simply that he get more for his gold lakes than he would for actual mercenaries.

The guild also operates openly in such lands as the Barony of Wolffire, Domain of the Arcane Alliance, the Highlands, the Qualitian Protectorate, and the Wind Cities. However, the guild isn't welcome everywhere. Of course, Tiger Guilders are now hunted in the Theocracy of Thallin, and they have never been welcome anywhere throughout the lands of the Jagged Peninsula. Also, despite a past friendship between the guildmaster and High King Jacard Winternight, the guild is no longer welcome in the Kingdom of Navirosov or in the Honoured Islands of the Light. (It is rumoured that King Winternight has his own group of loyal ex-Tigers who protect only the Kingdom of Navirosov.)

Tiger Guilders are famous for showing up where you least expect them. This includes current members as well as those that never quite made it within the guild. The most famous of these is the guildmaster’s own grandson, Dabuk Tigerstorm. He and his fellow companions have been closely tied to the guild from time to time, but he and the halfling cleric-rogue Mesik Tindertwig are the only ones in their social circle that are official members of the Tiger Guild. Dabuk is famous for his hatred of ogres, and his need for vengeance on those that cross him or his family.

An ex-member of the guild learned this the hard way during the Bugbear War. Jacob Diamondeye was an assassin that tried to poison Dabuk’s grandfather. The young half-elf tracked and killed the assassin. No one every found the man’s body.

Another famous Tiger Guilder is the roguish woman named Minx. Born on the streets of Fruen, Minx was granted a special exemption from the initiation fee required by the guild. Guildmaster Tigerstorm saw something in her that others missed, and he felt that she deserved a chance to prove herself. Once she graduated from the training program she quickly became one the guilds most renown members. She is considered a hero in the Wind Cities, and she continues to operate out of that region. As a former citizen of Fruen she sees it as her duty to fight against King Varath’s tyranny, so she often supports the Thallinite Resistance and not just clandestinely. This makes her a very controversial member of the guild.

As noted above, the Crystal Tigerstorm continues to live and operate guild activities in the Theocracy of Thallin. It is her responsibility to capture Tallos, escort him from the theocracy, and bring him before her grandfather to be judged for treason against the Tiger Guild. This task is proving to be quite difficult as Tallos is a high-level member of the Fury of the Dragon and not easily reachable. Every attempt to capture him has failed. Also, another ex-member of the guild, Bella del Hall, is now a member of Nether’s Deathtide. Rejected from the guild at an early age, Bella took the disgrace very personally and vowed vengeance. However, the guild doesn’t consider her a traitor to the guild since she was never a full-member. Regardless, Crystal has marked her for judgment.

Crystal has a great deal of help in Thallin from other famous members of the Tiger Guild. The most notable of these is the rogue/ranger known as Lyle Outlawe. Lyle was once a trainee in the guild alongside Dabuk. Now he watches the Silver Witch’s back almost everywhere she goes. They have become good friends, and the young man is one of the few people that Crystal trusts. Lyle is smitten with Crystal, but he knows better than to mix business with pleasure. Lyle took Bella’s betrayal of the Thallinite citizenry very personally, since she was also a trainee alongside him and Dabuk. (Minx was part of that group too.) He has made it his personal goal to “gut her like a fish on the docks” as he likes to phrase it.

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Knightfall

World of Kulan DM

Yosyntya (Dark Reborn)

Source: Homebrewed
Origin: Lands of the Miekka
Symbol: A ring of blood-red swords embedded in the ground around a large central blackened sword on a field of red and black.
Leaders: Caleb Oxenbrigg (NE male Ervenik human, ex-cleric of Vespin 10/disaffected 10*); Kaarlo Østerdal (LE male Meai human, fighter 14); Lazzaro Canis (CE male unholy scion, cleric of Angrboda 16); Raphael Korsten (LE male dragontouched, marshal 18); Theophilus Fen Arthin (CN male hairfoot halfling, cleric of the Dark Reborn 14).
*See pg. 30–31 of the d20 sourcebook Requiem for a God for details on this prestige class.
Notable Members: Andras Ytterdal (NE female half-gnoll*, elementalist 8); Buccanelos Smaniotto (CE male half-orc, sorcerer 11); Jukka Aasen (CE male half-ogre, rogue 6/anti-paladin 6); Meggan Thuresby (NE female fire jovian*, crusader 9); Usha Gascoigne (NE female Ervenik human, fighter 10).
*A racial origin from the d20 sourcebook Bastards & Bloodlines: A Guidebook to Half-Breeds.

Purpose

The goals of the Yosyntya are to resurrect the fallen Dark Children and to free Hiisi from captivity in Carceri. The Yosyntya work towards the first goal, before all others; work towards freeing the Lord of Darkness, second; and work towards anything else of interest, third.

Notable Activities

The roots of the Yosyntya are firmly attached to the Old Sword Lands of the Ragik Peninsula. Its traditional name comes from the language of the deities of the Finns of which Hiisi is still a member even in his banished state. In the Old Sword Lands, the Yosyntya works tirelessly to protect the unholy places of the Dark Children from those who would reconsecrate them to other dark gods (or destroy them). Mussin (as the current leader of the Sword Gods) and his followers wish to wipe away the remnants of Angrboda and Hiisi’s brood. This clash of religious doctrine has lead to a bloody feud between the Yosyntya and the followers of the remaining Sword Gods.

Note, however, that the Yosyntya, or the Dark Reborn as it is called beyond the Ragik Peninsula, isn’t considered a religious cult even though many of its members are followers of the teachings of Angrboda, Hiisi, and the Dark Children. It is more like an esoteric knighthood made up of the aimless, the disenchanted, and the roughshod of Harqual’s society. An individual cell of the Dark Reborn works toward restoring a particular Dark Child to godhood, and the cell is usually led by corrupt rogues, disenchanted priests, or unholy knights.

The Dark Reborn believes that if they can free Hiisi from Carceri, the Lord of Darkness will be able to restore the Dark Children to the world or spawn new Dark Children to take the place of the Fallen Ones. The latter is more likely and most of the Dark Reborn would accept new Dark Children to worship. There is some friction in the group’s ranks regarding this idea, and the Dark Reborn is often split between the more orthodox view of restoring the fallen Dark Children and the heretical idea of Hiisi spawning new Dark Children.

The members of Dark Reborn do not operate within a vacuum of their own zealousness, however. They realize that other organizations work towards the same goals or similar ones. The best example of this is the Black Cult of Hiisi, which wishes to free Hiisi from Carceri. While that is the cult’s primary goal they have been known to work with the Dark Reborn to accomplish other goals. However, the Black Cult has no interest in restoring the Dark Children to divinity, and its members would never presume to preach the idea that Hiisi will spawn new Dark Children to replace the Fallen Ones.

This very specific ideology keeps the Black Cult and the Dark Reborn from working more closely together. It also separates the Dark Reborn from the activities of the Cagewrights. The members of the Dark Reborn despise the Cagewrights and will not work with them unless the priests of the Black Cult insist that the three groups work together. However, the Black Cult rarely can influence the members of the Dark Reborn enough to accept the presence of Cagewrights. The Dark Reborn consider freeing anything else from Carceri, including exiled demon lords, to be counterproductive to their cause.

Campaign Notes

The Yosyntya has taken it upon itself to try to free the lands of the Kingdom of Ahamudia from the interlopers that illegally settled there after The Transformation. At least, that's how they see it. Since the Transformation the Kingdom of Ahamudia has become a driving force throughout the southern half of the Ragik Peninsula. The Ahamudians have allied themselves with the peoples of the Goldensoul Monarchy and the Mines of Morhan. They have also actively opposed the aggressive behaviours of the citizens of the Soreney Domain and the brigands of Toraa Bagul. The Ahamudians have even kept the armies of the Sword South at bay.

The Yosyntya consider the Ahamudians to be little better than dogs to be forced into submission. Many of the group’s members have become “freedom fighters” on the northern side of the Rilous Mountains. They attack Ahamudians and their allies without hesitation or mercy. This protracted guerrilla war has been going on since the end of the Ahamudian War. The end result of that war enrages the leaders of the Yosyntya. The most militant of these leaders is an ex-solider named Kaarlo Østerdal. He has personally lead dozens of missions against the citizens and soldiery of Ahamudia. He and his squad rarely take prisoners; they prefer to butcher everyone before fleeing back into the lands of Toraa Bagul.

The Yosyntya have an extreme hatred for the dwarves and gnomes of the Domain of Bitran. The organization works towards destroying these peoples who have defiled the sacred lands of the Dark Children and the Lord of Darkness. The group’s members have heard of the jackal-headed humanoids of Hutaalar, but they have yet to find a way past the hutaakans considerable magical defences. Their unique god, Vaflar, protects them from the assaults of the Dark Reborn. This has frustrated the Yosyntya to no end. The group’s leaders are worried that they are losing ground to too many foes all at once. It is only a matter of time until they become even more militant.

Another place on the Ragik Peninsula where the Yosyntya are commonplace is the region known as the Land of the Miekka. This area is sacred to the worship of the Sword Gods and the Dark Children. Miekka, also known as the Lands of the Ziggurats, is a matriarchal autocracy with strong ties to the worship of Angrboda and her brood. It is in Miekka that the Yosyntya first came into existence, to protect the unholy lands of the Fallen Ones, shortly after the end of the Divinity War. Since Mussin’s takeover of the Sword Gods, his priests have begun to systematically destroy all remnants of Hiisi’s power-base and the legacy of his Dark Children. The Yosyntya rose up to face this coup and have never stopped fighting. It is a strange thing to behold evil battling evil on the brutal stage that is Miekka.

The Yosyntya also fights to undo the changes currently happening in the Sword Protectorate. The Ahamudian War, as short as it was, ended in the capital city of old heart of the Empire of Swords, and it ended with the death of the last Sword Emperor. Now the capital city has been given a new name, Vapaa, and the region is controlled by new military force controlled by the combined forces of the Eight Cities Alliance. This alliance is a farce in the minds of the leaders of the Yosyntya; its member cities have no right to undo the traditions of darkness and evil that have sustained the Old Sword Lands for over a thousand years.

The Yosyntya is rarely encountered throughout the rest of the Lands of Harqual and those that have had run-ins with its members know them only as the Dark Reborn. Beyond the Ragik Peninsula, the members of the Dark Reborn never use the group’s traditional name. It’s not a secret, but it is considered unwise to announce that name to the rest of the continent. The Dark Reborn are strongest throughout the western lands including the Eversinki Suzerainty, Jovian Alliance, Kingdom of Izmer, and the Principality of Shaule, as well as the entire Storm Peninsula. The group has become a problem along the Chara Coast as well. Its members are rarely encountered south of those lands or anywhere east of the Principality of Pretensa in the Thunder Lands.

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Dungeon Delver's Guide

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