Common Knowledge

 The Known World

The Known World stretches from The Great Ocean in the east to the Great Wastes in the west. Its Southern Forest forms an effective border to the south and the frozen Dragonspire Mountains cut off exploration to the north. Although it is known that there are people living beyond these borders, no reliable witness has ever traveled there and returned to tell their tales. Those who have claimed to return from travels beyond these borders are generally thought to be liars, crazy or both.

The known world is split into three major regions:

  1. The Tawdonian Empire – Frequently, this region is simply called The Empire. It stretches from the edge of the Great Wastes to the shores of the Northam Sea and then south through the Rocklands, along the coast of the West Hurn Sea to the Southern Forests. The Tawdonian Emperor from his throne in the Imperial City rules these lands.
  2. The Confederacy of the Eastern Woods – Often shortened to The Confederacy. It stretches from the Great Ocean west encompassing The Isle of the Dead, The Great Woods, the Spirit Forest and The Thunder Mountains. The area is in the control of the Confederacy of the Eastern Woods, a loose political grouping of a three of powerful tribes and a number of smaller tribes.
  3. The Frontier – The lands that lie in-between The Tawdonian Empire and the The Confederacy of the Eastern Woods. Geographically, it is centered on the region between the Sea of Storms, the Sea of Aerie and the East Hurn Sea. Control of this area has been in dispute between The Confederacy of the Eastern Woods and the Tawdonian Emperor for the last 300 years. Presently, governments vary from community to community.

The Imperials and the Confederates have been at war on and off for over 300 years. Most Imperials consider Confederate peoples to be primitive, dangerous savages. Most Confederates consider the Imperials to be arrogant, power-hungry expansionists.

The Plague

The Great Plague ended 68 years ago, and killed about ninety percent of the population. Until the Plague hit, magic and Fey Folk were just legends.

No one knows what caused The Plague. The Confederates believe it was their ancestors crying out in outrage and shame at the way the current generation was behaving. The Empire belives that it was because Sim held dominace in NOS and in society for too long. The Fey believe a variety of things about the origin of The Plague. Some say it was a ritual gone wrong. Some say a ritual gone right. Some say the Faerie are responsible. Some think a Dragon played a trick on the world. Some don’t care.

Despite The Plague, humans still make up the majority of the population of the Epoch world. Both the Imperials and the Confederate cultures are struggling to recover after The Plague and the emergence of both magic and the Fey races into the world.

In addition to making people sick and killing them, The Plague has been known to change people, plants, and animals in strange and terrible ways. The Great Plague was never cured. No medic, shaman, priest or wizard could ever find a way to get rid of it. It just went away. Which means it could just as easily come back.

The animal hardest hit by the plague was horses. Effectively, all the horses died (although rumours exist that the Emperor might have a breeding pair or two). Donkeys and other related animals suffered a 99% mortality rate.

Humans and Fey Folk

From the point of view of the humans, magic, the Fey Folk and mysterious resurrections have only been around for about two or three generations- ever since the Great Plague subsided. A few people have “mastered” magic and societies are coming to grips with what multiple lives means spiritually and legally. To the average human these things are still strange and wondrous. The average human has probably not yet met a member of every species, let alone been briefed in full on the workings of their society. It is commonly rumoured that the Fey peoples come from the Mists, a place of mystery and magic. Most human societies regard the Fey peoples with fear and suspicion.

For more information go to: Peoples of Epoch.

The Tawdonian Empire

The Empire is shaped by a long history of conquest and expansion. Citizenship in the Empire is available to anyone who can afford to buy it. Those who cannot have no rights under the law. The Imperials worship a three faced god called NOS. Ney, the hidden face – represents summer, mystery and beauty. Olt is the owl face – the predator, representing middle seasons, change, knowledge and wisdom. And Sim is the skull face, representing winter and death.

For more information on the Imperials go to: Peoples of Epoch – Imperials.

Imperial Quick Facts

The current year is The Year of Our Emperor 426.

The current Emperor is True Emperor Medaka V, who was crowned at the age of 17 in 407. The young Emperor was assassinated in his sleep sometime in the Fall of 411 but successfully resurrected several months later.

 

The Confederacy of the Eastern Woods

The Confederacy consists of three main tribes, the Skae, the Pyren, and the Curn. The Skae are a warrior society with overtones of ancestor worship. The Pyren are a hardworking people that believe that all spirits wish naturally to strive towards perfection but that any individual spirit lacks the means to find the path. The Curn are the most spiritual of the three major tribes and are generally noted as the spiritual leaders of the woods.

For more information on the Confederates go to: Peoples of Epoch – Confederates.

The Frontier

Epoch Toronto is set on the Frontier, which is neutral territory between the two main human groups, the Empire and the Confederacy.

For more information on the Frontier go to: Maps – The Frontier

The Fey

Out of the mysterious Mists came the Fey peoples. Believed by some to be the union of mortal men and True Faerie, the Fey are neither human, nor immortal Faerie. They are the beings of legends and lore, and recent newcomers to the world. Shortly after the Great Plague ended, these unusual creatures moved into the abandoned areas of Man, starting their own societies. Now somewhat integrated into the fringes of human society, the Fey peoples are still regarded with a great deal of apprehension, fear, and awe.

Elves

Elves are known by all demi-humans to be the mortal race with the greatest claim to kinship with the Faerie. It is because of this that many of the other Fey (demi-humans) respectfully refer to the Elves as “older brothers” or “older sisters” in deference to their purer Faerie blood. Their blood makes them so akin to Faerie that they are inherently magical, and they tend to become powerful mages. The Faerie consider Elves to be their business and force the Elves to adhere to a strict code of honor; straying from this code can have dire consequences for an Elf. Aside from this code, Elves lack a concept of good and evil, and it is not uncommon for personal tastes to lead Elves to opposite sides of a conflict.

Elves are recognized in an Epoch game by their pointed ears.

Dwarves

Dwarves are second eldest of the Fey, less pure in Faerie blood than the Elves, but more pure than the other Fey. Because their blood marks them as different from the other races, Elves and Dwarves, although frequently rivals, always treat each other with respect. All other Fey are considered so distant from Faerie blood as to lack this bond. Dwarves tend to be blunt people with an eye always on the bottom line. Although profit oriented as a people, they tend to be long term planners which make them (fairly) honest. When Dwarves are wronged, they tend to be quite tenacious in exacting revenge, although they may not seek redress immediately. Dwarves have LONG memories.

Dwarves are recognized in an Epoch game by their luxurious beards.

Halflings

Halflings tend to be a gregarious, cheerful, curious people who are never happier than when they are sitting down to a good meal in comfortable surroundings. The Halfling creed can easily be summed up as “good food, good drink, good friends, good song, and some more good food. They are a peaceful people who seem curiously ill-equipped to deal with the trouble that their curiosity can provoke. Appearances do tend to be deceiving in this instance. Halflings’ cheerful natures often allow them to charm their way out of most situations and, in any case, they usually have many friends willing to come to their aid.

Halflings can be identified in an Epoch game by the fur upon the backs of their hands.

Orcs

Orcs have a reputation for being ignorant, bloodthirsty savages, and generally speaking, they deserve it. All Orcs tend to be competitive and clan oriented, seeking to dominate those that they perceive as weaker than themselves. However, an Orc, when called upon to defend themselves and their homes, or their friends, are capable of extreme acts of bravery and self-sacrifice. The weakness of the Orcs is in their mental laziness. Although excellent specimens of health, they rarely master mental disciplines. An Orc may be cunning and sly, but they generally lack the focus required for study and mental excercise.

Orcs can be recognized in an Epoch game by their green-tinted skin and protruding lower teeth.

Kaern

Kaern are a cat-like people who live in a female-dominated culture. Although they may be found in human society, they will tend to congregate in an area which they mark as their territory. Trespassing into Kaern territory can be dangerous indeed as this passionate people tend to ask questions later, if at all! Kaern are quite emotive and tend to share their feelings with everyone. No Kaern has ever learned to use a poker face – instead they revel in sensuality. They consider their own pleasures (and displeasures) to be of the utmost importance. Kaern males are all owned by a female. The males are taken care of by their female, while the female demands complete loyalty from her men. Males who have no females are called “rogue” and are either absorbed or destroyed by other Kaern groups.

Kaern can be recognized in an Epoch game by their cat-like facial features. Some Kaern have tails.

Fauns

Fauns are flighty forest dwellers. Although some take a fancy to the social scene of civilized areas, they always remain near their beloved woods. Fauns are a lustful, socially oriented race; loners are unknown! Fauns like nothing more than being at the centre of an admiring crowd. They are naturally devious; they constantly play harmless practical jokes in an effort to make everyone else lighten up. They have had enough experience with other races to always keep an eye on the exits just in case one of their jokes is taken the wrong way. Fauns tend to rely on fleetness of foot, quickness of mind and advance preparation to deal with whatever troubles may be thrown at them.

Fauns can be identified in an Epoch game by their horns.

Arluru

Arluru are wolf-like hunters, whose rage fills their minds and hearts. They dwell in the untamed wilderness, taking up and protecting their territory with extreme vigilance. A pack of Arluru are not to be trifled with. A group can explode into a frenzy and tear the offender apart at the drop of a hat.

Arluru are, by instinct, berserkers. When provoked, backed into a corner, or outnumbered, they unleash their anger in desperation. And when one is dangerous, a pack of them is unfathomably terrifying.

The Arluru are Fey, and their purpose is to protect and keep the wild lands wild. As such, seeing one in a small town is rare, and one in a major city is unheard of.

Only recently have the Arluru begun to emerge from wherever they came from to The Known World. Before this, they were in a much more horrible place.

Arluru are recognized by their wolf-like features in-game.

For more information on the Fey go to: Peoples of Epoch – Fey.

The Elemental Kin

The Elemental Kin are beings made of the four prime elements: Earth, Fire, Air and Water. Each species is as different as their elements to each other and each have traveled to the prime material plane for their own reasons. Elemental Kin greatly revere their respective Elemental Lords as their creator and gods. There is no natural animosity between each element. Their magic power is as much a part of their essence as it is a learned ability.

The Fire Kin are known to be fierce warriors with tempers as hot as their element.

The Earth Kin are normally calm and steady. Rarely making hasty decisions, they value the long process of decision making and generally do not favour change.

The Air Kin are flighty people, changing moods rapidly and unpredictably.

The Water Kin are normally very steady and slow to anger. Once angered, however, it’s very difficult to slow them down.

Elemental Kin can be recognized in game by their multiple horns and power lines on their skin in the colour of their element.

 

Common Knowledge About Magic

There are two types of magic in the Epoch world.

Cast Magic
Cast magic involves the manipulation of magical energy (mana) into a magical act. There was no cast magic in the human plane prior to The Great Plague. It continues to be rare in many areas. There are many humans who have never seen a spell cast. Many more do not trust magic and may not trust those who use it.

A cast spell is made up of two elements: the mana and the spoken spell. Both of these elements must be correct or the spell simply fails to work.

Ritual Magic
Ritual magic pre-dates The Plague. However, it was extremely difficult and often dangerous to learn. It was only practiced by an elite group of academics working on behalf of an even more elite group of patrons.

Awareness of mana has proven to be a great tool in learning and understanding ritual magic. As a result, it has become more common to use ritual magic now than it was before The Plague. However, ritual magic continues to be less stable than cast magic. Where an incorrectly cast spell simply fails to work, an incorrectly performed ritual can have undesirable side effects.

Mana

What Non-Mages Might Know

Many humans (and some Fey) may be completely unaware of what mana is. However, any non-mages who have spent time around mages has probably heard it discussed. They would know that it is magical energy and that it is an essential element to a spell.

A non-mage can never see mana before a spell is cast with it. No matter how much mana a mage may be carrying on their person, a non-mage cannot see it. However, once the incant is complete, the spell takes form and a non-mage can see the magical energy as the spell travels to its target.

What a Mage Might Know
In total there are 6 types of mana. These are divided into prime mana which is used for the basic spells and pure mana which is used for more advanced spells.

Type of Mana Colour of Energy Opposite Element Complementary Elements
Earth Prime Brown Air Water and Fire
Air Prime Blue Earth Water and Fire
Water Prime Green Fire Earth and Air
Fire Prime Red Water Earth and Air
Essence Pure White Void N/A
Void Pure Black Essence N/A

In order to hold its power, mana must stay in contact with a living mage, or else be housed in a special type of container. Any mana which is dropped or otherwise loses contact with the mage, dissipates into the environment.

Elves and Magic

Elves are born aware, thus they all see magic around them. For an elf, casting a spell is as natural as breathing. Magic is part of their environment like air. They are attuned to it to the point of being able to cast spells no other mage can cast. Most Elves become accomplished mages. But because it comes so naturally to them, they are unable to explain magic to non-Elves.

Circles

What Non-Mages Know About Circles

Anyone who has spent time around mages will know that there are magic circles dedicated to the prime elements. A non-mage will not notice a circle unless it is pointed out to them and even then will have extreme difficulty noticing any differences with the land around it.

What All Mages Know About Circles

Most mages will be familiar with the concepts of circles although, depending on where their travels have taken them, they may not have seen them before. They will know that circles are created by elementals and are guarded by elemental champions.

More knowledge on circles may be available to mages with high awareness. Please speak to the AD if you think your character might qualify

Opinions among mages on what exactly the circles are vary. Some treat them as holy spaces and worship the elementals as gods. Others treat the circles as sacred spaces worth protecting and preserving. Still others see them as merely a ‘tool’ in the trade of magic.

It is common knowledge among mages that circles can be broken. Most suspect that this is done by putting the opposite type of mana in the circle.

Phys-rep: The circles are represented in-game by large (3m in diameter) cloth circles. A blue one for air, a red one for fire, a brown one for earth and a green one for water.

Earth Circle

Current Location: In the woods across the field from the inn.

What You See If You Are Aware: An earth circle appears to be a large round flat stone about 2 feet in height. It is rotating very slowly.

What You See If You Are Not Aware: There is very little that the non-mage can see of an earth circle itself. The very observant might notice some strange patterns of cracks in the dirt. However, the former location of the earth circle in Carreg Wynn is surround by 8 foot stone wall with a wide entrance at one end.

Air Circle

Current Location: In the woods behind the Confederate Stones

What You See If You Are Aware: There is a slowly moving cyclone that glows blue.

What You See If You Are Not Aware: There is a slight atmospheric disturbance. Birds and other flying creatures avoid the area above it.

Water Circle

Current Location: On the ground just before the beginning of the dock.

What You See If You Are Aware: A round magical puddle. There is a slow current in the water that causes the water in the puddle to rotate.

What You See If You Are Not Aware: This area is always wet and boggy and best avoided if you don’t want muddy feet.

Fire Circle

Current Location: About 50 meters to the left of the path through the forest if you are heading from the Inn to the Tower Bridge.

What You See If You Are Aware: A ring of magical fire approximately 4 feet in height. The fire appears to dance around the perimeter.

What You See If You Are Not Aware: The ground is warm (but not hot) to the touch. In the winter the snow melts away leaving a bare patch.

The Elementals

Elementals are powerful magical creatures. Within their element, the Elementals appear to be omnipotent. They can cast spells known to no mage and tap seemingly endless power. Some mages believe the Elementals to be gods and worship them as such. Others believe them to creatures made completely of magic, to be respected and obeyed but not worshipped.

It is customary to use the title “Lord” in respect to the Elementals. For example, an Earth Elemental would be referred to as Lord Earth. Mages and knowledgeable non-mages show great respect to the Elementals, bowing in their presents, acquiescing to their will, etc. The Elemental Lords have been known to enchant or give mana to those that have pleased them.

Elemental Champions

The Elementals choose champions to protect the circles. The champion(s) for each element are loyal minions of their respective element. Champions are expected to organize the defense of the circle and to promote the use of their element in magic. They are expected to teach interested people magic of that element, or undertake any other task the Elemental lays before them. For the most part, each circle will have one champion, but there have been occasions where co-champions were appointed.

Since teaching is a primary role in the life of a Champion, elves are never chosen as champions.

Elemental Defenders

Some mages pledge themselves to the defense of a particular circle. This may be because they are unwilling or unable to become a champion. Or it may be just to assist an existing champion whom they respect. The circle they pledge themselves to is commonly the element for which they have the greatest affinity. Unlike the role of champion, elves can take on the job of defender. Defenders assist the champion in the defense of the circle and may also help with his/her other duties.

Elemental Creatures

Some magical creatures have specific affinity to an element. For example: Fire Salamanders are known to be creatures of fire magic. These creature may act as agents of an elemental.

Psychic Auras

What a Non-psychic Sees

Nothing. A non-psychic has no way of telling if another person is psychic. When they use one of their skills there is no visible effect.

What a Psychic Sees

When a psychic looks at another psychic, they see a purple aura surrounding them. The strength and intensity of this aura varies based on how many psychic states the person has at the time. When a psychic state is used, the aura increases for a moment then dims. There is no way for another psychic to know what state was used except to observe the effects.

The Mists

The Mists are the homeland of the Fey. All the Fey currently on the human plane either came there from the Mists or are descended by those who made the journey. Fey who have been to the Mists have found it extremely hard to put a description of them into words. The best most are able to come up with is, “Like here, only better.”

The Mists are also the home of the Faerie. The Faerie are powerful unpredictable creatures. It is the Faerie who created the Fey and the Fey worship them as gods.

Theories as to why the Fey left the Mists vary. Some believe they were sent by the Faerie to conquer the humans. Others believe they were sent as either a punishment or a reward. Still others, say that it was to relieve the over population of The Mists by allowing them to take up space vacated by the death of most of the humans. And then there are those who believe it is part of some larger cosmic cycle.

The name, The Mists, is derived from the blue mist that emerges through the portals opened between the two planes.

The Land of the Dead

The Land of the Dead is the place where the souls of the dead go when they leave the body. It is a vast and strange place. Many rules of time and space do not seem to apply here. A spirit may dwell here for a short time or may linger there longer. Some spirits return to the human plane to be resurrected, others travel though the swirling portal to the Land Beyond.

Different cultures have different understandings of what lies in the Land Beyond. But that journey appears to be one way, as none have ever returned to tell of it.