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Iron March WIP

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Prologue: The Blood March

His Adam's apple bobbed with every gulp of sweet wine from the bladder. Long he swallowed, ne'er a drop split, you'd just have to wait until he finished. "Nhm, the Blood March-" he nodded the wine skin emptied yet he didn't hand it back, only smirked and leaned into the rickety chair padded in furs. "They call it that for a reason young cubs; as far as the eye can see, the water, the mud, the reeds, the leaves on every tree stained blood red. First born cursed!" He spat a sudden anger at his own mention of the first born, not uncommon among those of the first generation. "And that's just the start of it. You think the old world was bad? Heh..."

The Old World
Two generations ago our people fled the old world to the Ironlands, why?


  1. The savage clans called the Skulde invaded the kingdoms of the Old World. Our armies fell. Most were killed or taken into slavery. Those who escaped set sail aboard anything that would float. After an arduous months-long voyage, the survivors made landfall upon the Ironlands.
  2. The sickness moved like a horrible wave across the Old World, killing all in its path. Thousands fled aboard ships. However, the plague could not be outrun. On many ships, the disease was contained through ruthless measures—tossing overboard any who exhibited the slightest symptom. Other ships were forever lost. In the end, those who survived found the Ironlands and made it their new home. Some say we will forever be cursed by those we left behind.
  3. The Old World could no longer sustain us. We were too large in number. We had felled the forests. Our crops withered in the barren ground. The cities and villages overflowed with desperate, hungry people. Petty kings battled for scraps. We cast our fate to the sea and found the Ironlands. A new world. A fresh start.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear the


"Upon the iron of my blade, to the last drop of iron of my blood - I swear I've yet to begun to fight." - Avella Beltran

IRON



  1. The imposing hills and mountains of the Ironlands are rich in iron ore. Most prized of all is the star-forged black iron.
  2. The weather is bleak. Rain and wind sweep in from the ocean. The winters are long and bitter. One of the first settlers complained, “Only those made of iron dare live in this foul place”—and thus our land was named.
  3. Inscrutable metal pillars are found throughout the land. They are iron gray, and smooth as river stone. No one knows their purpose. Some say they are as old as the world. Some, such as the Iron Priests, worship them and swear vows upon them. Most make the warding sign and hurry along their way when they happen across one. The pillars do not tarnish, and even the sharpest blade cannot mark them.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.


LEGACIES



  1. We are the first humans to walk these lands.
  2. Other humans sailed here from the Old World untold years ago, but all that is left of them is a savage, feral people we call the broken. Is their fate to become our own?
  3. Before the Ironlanders, before even the firstborn, another people lived here. Their ancient ruins are found throughout the Ironlands.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.




COMMUNITIES



  1. We are few in number in this accursed land. Most rarely have contact with anyone outside our own small steading or village, and strangers are viewed with deep suspicion.
  2. We live in communities called circles. These are settlements ranging in size from a steading with a few families to a village of several hundred. Some circles belong to nomadic folk. Some powerful circles might include a cluster of settlements. We trade (and sometimes feud) with other circles.
  3. We have forged the Ironlands into a home. Villages within the Havens are connected by well-trod roads. Trade caravans travel between settlements in the Havens and those in outlying regions. Even so, much of this land is untamed.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.


LEADERS



  1. Leadership is as varied as the people. Some communities are governed by the head of a powerful family. Or, they have a council of elders who make decisions and settle disputes. In others, the priests hold sway. For some, it is duels in the circle that decide.
  2. Each of our communities has its own leader, called an overseer. Every seventh spring, the people affirm their current overseer or choose a new one. Some overseers wear the iron circlet reluctantly, while others thirst for power and gain it through schemes or threats.
  3. Numerous clan-chiefs rule over petty domains. Most are intent on becoming the one true king. Their squabbles will be our undoing.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.


DEFENSE



  1. Here in the Ironlands, supplies are too precious, and the lands are too sparsely populated, to support organized fighting forces. When a community is threatened, the people stand together to protect their own.
  2. The wardens are our soldiers, guards, and militia. They serve their communities by standing sentry, patrolling surrounding lands, and organizing defenses in times of crisis. Most have strong ties to their community. Others, called free wardens, are wandering mercenaries who hire on to serve a community or protect caravans.
  3. Our warbands are rallied to strike at our enemies or defend our holdings. Though not nearly as impressive as the armies that once marched across the Old World, these forces are as well-trained and equipped as their communities can manage. The banners of the warbands are adorned with depictions of their Old World history and Ironland victories.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.

MYSTICISM



  1. Some still find comfort in the old ways. They call on mystics to divine the fortune of their newborn, or ask them to perform rituals to invoke a bountiful harvest. Others act out of fear against those who they suspect of having power. However, most folk believe true magic—if it ever existed— is lost to us now.
  2. Magic is rare and dangerous, but those few who wield the power are truly gifted.
  3. Magic courses through this land as the rivers flow through the hills. The power is there for those who choose to harness it, and even the common folk often know a helpful ritual or two.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.


RELIGION


  1. A few Ironlanders still make signs or mumble prayers out of habit or tradition, but most believe the gods long ago abandoned us.
  2. The people honor old gods and new. In this harsh land, a prayer is a simple but powerful comfort.
  3. Our gods are many. They make themselves known through manifestations and miracles. Some say they even secretly walk among us. The priests convey the will of the gods and hold sway over many communities.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.


FIRSTBORN



  1. The firstborn have passed into legend. Some say the remnants of the old tribes still dwell in deep forests or high mountains. Most believe they were never anything more than myth.
  2. The firstborn live in isolation and are fiercely protective of their own lands.
  3. The firstborn hold sway in the Ironlands. The elves of the deep forests and the giants of the hills tolerate us and even trade with us—for now. Ironlanders fear the day they decide we are no longer welcome here.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.


BEASTS



  1. The beasts of old are nothing but legend. A few who travel into the deep forests and high mountains return with wild tales of monstrous creatures, but they are obviously delusional. No such things exist.
  2. Monstrous beasts stalk the wild areas of the Ironlands.
  3. Beasts of all sorts roam the Ironlands. They dwell primarily in the reaches, but range into the settled lands to hunt. There, they often prey on cattle, but attacks on travelers, caravans, or even settlements are not uncommon.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.


HORRORS



  1. Nothing but stories to frighten children.
  2. We are wary of dark forests and deep waterways, for monsters lurk in those places. In the depths of the long-night, when all is wreathed in darkness, only fools venture beyond their homes.
  3. The dead do not rest in the Ironlands. At night we light torches, scatter salt, and post sentries at the gate. It is not enough. They are coming.
  4. Other: these are the default given by the book, but if you have ideas feel free to present them we'd all love to hear them.

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