The world of Dellan is a peaceful land. There is the occasional border dispute, Orcs and Trolls would attack each, but that was mostly in the way of racial diplomacy. It is, in general peaceful. There were areas that would occasionally succumb to the Darkness, a pervasive force from the Beyond that turned the hearts of people towards it's own purpose. The purpose of death and chaos. These small outbreaks were often stopped in their tracks the moment they became apparent. In this time of light, the Knights of Ithica, or perhaps, members of the Guild of Light, would soon ensure that peace was restored.
Dellan is a haven of life surrounded by areas where death comes swiftly, be it in the fiery mountains, desert, or troll country. While predominantly peaceful, it was not always safe. The major cities had all come to an accord, and major war was kept at bay by the Knights of Ithica, based in the centre of Dellan in the citadel. While major incidents were avoided, life was still hard in Dellan. Country Folk lived outside of the protection of the Cities, and bandits, roaming orcs and trolls, and general opportunism made it difficult. The population of Dellan were always trying to carve a niche out for themselves, and often thought they could challenge the power of the Knights. People's greed often led to stupidity.
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This page contains a brief summary of the locations, races, and other ideas in the land of Dellan. For a more information, please follow the links.
Dellan is a high-fantasy setting. A place of magic and mystery, where strange and fantastic creatures wander the forests and the plains. A place where heroes are forged in the fire of intrigued and battle. A place where death comes swiftly to the unwary.
A map of Dellan can be found here
Ithica is a large sprawling city centred around the Citadel of Illan. It is a prosperous city, and sees itself as the height of culture and order. It is a city that has grown out from it's small beginning, but it is still a fortified city. The walls to the city have never been breached, despite it's numerous gates. It is a city that focuses on civil programs, ensuring plenty of sewers and clean water for it's populace. A place in Ithica is well sought out, despite what some might see as it's old-fashioned approach to policing, and moral order.
Elmar is a city that sits on many cross-roads, and as such has become a powerful city of trade. It has never challenged Ithica for supremacy, and seems content to simply make it's money on the back of the trade taxes. It's laws are simple, and that often breeds tension between the righteous knights, and the citizens of Elmar, who seem to believe it's their right to be able to make money anyway they seem fit.
Pridfall is a small-city state who's major focus has been on exploiting it's natural resources. The Mountains of Fire, the local forest and river make this a hive of industry. All manner of weird and wonderful items are made in Pridfall, and if it isn't, it is the place to find someone to make it. It can be seen from miles around because of the constant black cloud that hangs over it as the industry belches out it's dark smoke.
Meishan is not, as the others, a true city state. It is a collection of smaller towns that have grown into one another, by their own definition. Meishan has many large grass areas, and houses are built a great distance between them. It is a city that is considered to be “at one with nature”, enough that an elf would not feel too uncomfortable within it's boundaries. Meishan does not have a single ruler, but rather it is ruled by a trinity of people, who rule for three years. These people are chosen from the elected council. Of those three, they share the duty of public engagements and meetings. It is only very rarely are the three of them to be seen attending functions together.
Reesh was a political experimenter. He believed that everyone should have the equal say in what it takes to govern. His idea was put into practice in a small city called Omelar. This revolutionary idea spread to the surrounding cities, towns and villages, and they began to band together for mutual support and governance.
Fertile land with unstable governance
The Outlanders are those who have chosen to brave the elements in search of a new life. The Outlands is rumoured to contain a large amount of Gold, Coal, Tin, and Iron, and all manner of other precious minerals. However, life is harsh in the unpredictable micro-climate, sitting as it does at the foot of the mountains, and near the Burning Sands of Reinhold
If ever there was a land that was made of entirely minor nobility, this was it. The land is held under charter, and is often divided up between families and knights. The same land is then merged through marriage and treaties. Generally there is no single leader of the Confederate Baronies, often a delegation is sent to deal with individual incidents, or internal problems are dealt with in the simple process of negotiation, war, or marriage.
This large desert has some of the highest temperatures on all of Dellan. It is SANDS that are BURNING. It is a wasteland, from which many rumours come. Some say you can hear voices on the winds. The sands are said to be so hot that they can melt metal. Ancient stories tell of a city, or perhaps a person, with the name of Reinhold. Some say that the ruins can still be found in the centre of the dessert. Those that have gone in search of them often return mad, telling wild tales of cities of ghosts. Some do not return at all. The legend tells of a mage, a powerful woman who sought to bring the power of magic, magic that was wild and free in those days, to all people. She wrought a powerful magic that tore the fabric of magic into tatters, and destroyed the nation of Reinhold.
While most countries are ruled by a form of royalty, the word “Royals”, and “Royalty” most often refers to the Kings and Queens of Ithica.
Cities are often large states. Sprawling urban settlements that have grown for miles. These sprawling collections of humanity are supported by magical and engineering feats.
These are folk too poor, or too unwilling to leave their small villages or dwelling places. They are hardy creatures, often forgotten in the political wheels. There are numerous small villages, mostly undocumented and forgotten, and live peacefully enough. It is these small places that are often the mainstay of the work for the Guild of Light.
The lands, unowned by any major lord, or part of any major holding, is referred to as “The Between”, because it is between places. This does not mean the land is empty, but it does imply a lack of appreciation for what is there.
The Law of Dellan
There is no universal law in Dellan, officially. However, the Knights of Ithica with their access to all cities mean that in practice the Law of Ithica is the law that is followed by most countries in Dellan. It is designed around principles of Justice, which applies to all people, regardless of rank or title. The legal system works based on physical evidence and eye-witnesses. Hear-say is generally not used, unless it is based on the word of, say, a Knight of Ithica, or a prince or other recognised person who's word is accepted as truthful.
The Wild Times is a shorthand for the time before the darkness war, and the rise of Ithica. It is a time of myth and legend, where creatures of great magic, and great evil walked abroad. Mistrust and suspicion were watch-words necessary for keeping people safe. It is from these times that the myths of dragons, vampires, and other creatures of the night come.
The Darkness War split the world into two factions. Led by the sorcerer Leofwynn, an army attempted to swarm the land and bring about a new era of subjugation and fear. It was the great hero Ithican Wolfsbane, and his small band of friends that turned the tide.
Much of what is known about the Darkness War is held in three letters, or missives, written by the previously-unknown member of Ithican's party, Uggthdraal the Tengai, who chose not to enter the great river to keep the group's dark secret.
Following their loss during the the darkness war, many of the greenskin fled to the hills. The laws of Ithica made the presence of greenskins, and all their accomplices in the land of Ithica illegal. Following the example set by the fledgling hero-state of Ithica, many other countries followed suit. This persecution of greenskins became acute, with raiding parties being paid to hunt them. It wasn't long before a resistance began to push back against these draconian laws, and the Obsidian Revolt took place. Raids took place on the fringes of societies, on places that were considered easy targets. Many of these places were still suffering a lack of fighting force following the darkness war, and so a new fighting force was needed to combat this menace. This fighting force grew out of the Ithican Royal Knights, and would eventually become known as the Knights of Ithica. They drove the greenskins into the hills. This new band of knight have ensured peace throughout the land ever since.
The Bad Guys
The Darkness is a physical substance, as well as a concept. It can be seen as a thick, mucus-like oil, often moving under it's own power. It corrupts people, and slowly turns their nature towards it's own evil ends. These ends are those of chaos and destruction. No-one knows why, or from where it comes. Sometimes those infected with the darkness can plan for years, some others simply descend into animalistic frenzy. It is rumoured that some can withstand it's affects, but rumours such as these can kill.
The Darkness is so named both because of it's colour (a dark black), and because of it's aversion to fire. Light, in great intensity can have an affect. There is no known cure for those who have been corrupted by The Darkness.
No-one knows where the Obsidian horde have come from. Some say it arose in opposition to the Knights of Ithica, some say that it is was created by Trolls out of vengeance. Some say that it is created by the Darkness itself. The Obsidian Horde dress in tatters of black, occasionally outfitted in purple. They are ruthless, merciless, and fear not for their own deaths. Their appearance is enough to empty villages, assuming they let them leave, and don't butcher them as they run.
The list of races below are not an exhaustive list of races on Dellan. These are simply those that have been catalogued by the Ithican Botanist Council. In some cases, their records are incomplete, and suffer from the fact that the notes that arrive back at the IBC have often been through many hands, the original exploratory botanist having met a rather grisly end due to their curiosity.
Humans are the most prevalent of all species in Dellan. This is often because of their vicious nature, and their ability to survive in varying climates.
The Enki stand at around 4ft tall, and look like much smaller humans. Other than their size, there is very little that distinguishes them from their much taller cousins. Enki can be born to to humans, and two Enki may produce a human. Over the centuries, the Enki have gathered together in communities, and have claimed this name for themselves.
The elves of Dellan generally keep themselves to themselves, staying mostly in their Great Forrest, known colloquially (and slightly derogatorily) as “Elfland”. Elves are not, by nature, a curious people, and are generally content to hunt for food, gather berries, and generally occupy themselves by simple living. They have no interest in leaving their Great Forrest, and as such elves are rare beyond it. That, however, does not mean that they are unheard of. Occasionally and elf will wonder what is beyond their borders. Often, without so much as a goodbye, this wanderlust will grab them, and they will pack what little things they have, and head off into the Beyond (that is, the lands beyond the Forrest). It is not a coincidence that the elven word for “Beyond” is almost identical to the elven word for their afterlife. These wandering elves are thought by those in the Great Forrest to be one tree short of a forest, or touched by the Moon Goddess. Their reasoning is founded on the change that comes over elves after they have been wandering in the Beyond. They find the sedate life of the elves to be difficult to handle. Some return, but rarely stay long. Elves who wander find themselves caught between a longing to return to the forests, but knowing that such a return is no-longer truly possible. They become liminal creatures, stuck between two worlds, never really of one or the other.
Elves are tall, and slender, often though of as “willowy”. They have sharp pointed faces with almond eyes, and pointed ears.
Elves think Faisal is the greatest bard of all time.
Dwarves are very superstitious creatures, and rarely leave their mountain. This superstition stems from tales of the great Dwarven adventurer, Carreg Axewielder. He wandered the world, and experienced many things, he was attacked by walking trees, had the sky fall on his head, and fought great and terrible beasts. He found the entire experience to be enlightening, but found, on his return, that his story struck fear into the Dwarfs, who hid themselves in their mountains, refusing to come out in case the sky fell, or the trees attacked them.
Gnomes, also called “halflings”, for being half the height of your average human. They are hordes. This leaves many people to believe that they are thieves, but the average gnome is law-abiding and hard-working, most having more than one job to allow them to acquire stuff. It doesn't matter, generally speaking, what the stuff is, so long as it's theirs, and they have earned it. They can be found throughout Dellan, and are, relative to elves and dwarves a more common sight. While gnomes are curious about what stuff might be in far-flung places, they are often to busy acquiring stuff where they are to go looking. Many people find gnomes difficult to tell apart, as seeing their faces is often difficult beneath the colourful scarves, goggles, or other items they are wearing.
The Wat are a singularly unusual race. They are tall, and thin, their skin generally black, or brown. They move rather like a spider. They are a race that is found everywhere on Dellan, but they normally live unseen. They arrive out of nowhere, and spend their lives cleaning sewers, dealing with corpses, and other unsanitary odd jobs. As a species they can often be found in the cold and the dark parts, often in large caves under cities. The species finds subterfuge odd, and are biologically incapable of telling a lie. The interactions of other species are generally a mystery.
The Tengai are a generally bigger than average humanoid race, with skin that is wrinkled or creased. Some have the look of bark, or stone. They are credited as being the source of the myths of rock creatures, or moving trees, even as being the source of the myths of giants. Tengai are large, nomadic, gentle, peaceful people. Despite their large size, they have incredible manual dexterity, and delight in making small complex pieces, tiny carvings, intricate jewellery, and so on.
The Dryad are a collection of entities who have an affinity for a type of element. Each one affects the dryad's personality, and their abilities. Dryads cannot be too far from their natural element, and were thought, until recently, to be tied to living in the area where they were made. Over the last few decades, however, dryads have found that they can wander further and further from their native element, and even explore the world.
The Strygath are humanoid lizards. They vary in look, size and shape based on the tribe that they come from. They are hunted, illegally, throughout Dellan because of the many myths that are connected with them. Various parts of their anatomy are used in potions and concoctions of various kinds from potions of strength to tinctures of virility. This has made the Strygath incredibly rare.
The Language of Dellan appears to come, predominantly, from a single shared language now lost in the WildTimes. Many of the languages, especially those that are kept in isolation, have kept more of these words than other, modern languages.
Many scholars believe this language to be Old Ithican, but it is likely that Old Ithican is itself a derivative of the First Language (if one existed), that retained much of it's flavour and character.
Languages of each of the races has it's own subtleties, some of these are a factor of their physical biology (certain letters or sounds being difficult to pronounce), and other a factor of the way in which they live.
Someone who keeps the oral history of Dellan. Despite the literacy level of the general populace, it is believed that the songs of history have a power and a life of their own. It is into the hands of the Talesingers that these stories are entrusted.
Priests of Machina
Priests of Machina are an unusual group. They dedicate their lives to finding ideas, and then building their soul-machines. These are machines where the Priests will live out the rest of their days, serving as whatever machine they finally decide to dwell in. Along the way they will build many smaller items of Machina, and infuse them with little pieces of themselves. Partly as experimentation, partly as learning, but also to answer the yearning in their souls do find that one vessel that they will become.
The world of Dellan is a world full of deities spirits, and entities. Each species has their own particular take on religion/philosophy. For some, gods are central to their existence, and others believe their own gods are dead. Whatever walk of life a person comes from, they all, in some way believe in the gods.
Atheism in Dellan is generally a bad idea. Gods have a tendency to be petty, and a person wouldn't want to find themselves without the beneficial magics of healers, or the target of every lighting strike. Most people operate under a form of functional agnosticism. They pray to the local gods of harvest, winter and summer, the gods of fertility as the year turns.
The least understood is the eternal known as Lady Fate. She is the personification of the idea that fate is a vital force in the universe. That people have fates.
Chaos is the force of random events in the universe. It's both destructive and creative.
Kairos is the beat and flow of Dellan. Crudely thought of as 'time', but Kairos is the force of the right moment. The point at which knowledge will be revealed. Kairos is thought to appear throughout the ages of Dellan at important moments, offering advice to people just when they need it. Why Kairos should choose to do this is unknown. Their ways, like that of the Lady, are complex.
Deities of light are not necessarily deities who would be considered morally good. They are, rather, deities that come from the more positive aspects of human experience. Deities may have a dark side, or even a negative expression of their faith.
Artemis is the God of Travel. He is not necessarily the God of arriving in places. He much prefers to wander the highways and byways of Dellan, just to see what it looks like. While he prefers paths he's never walked before, he will also walk old paths to see something new, to see how the world is changed.
Mishna is the goddess of healing and health. Her aim is only to heal, and to care for those who are sick. While Mishna has no offensive spells, she (and by extension, her clerics) are protected by the other gods. A well-known tale speaks of a man who mugged and murdered a cleric of Mishna, and out of spite, every other god took turns in pouring misfortune upon him. When he begged to die, even Death turned away for his actions against Mishna. As a result of this tale, it takes a special kind of bandit to want to do serious harm to a cleric of Mishna (though it appears that knocking one unconscious and tying one up earns only a small amount of ire from the other gods, providing you are gentle with the cleric).
Mishna herself is often depicted as a woman with long blonde hair and kindly features. She is thought to be absent-minded, except when it comes to the health of her patients.
Her symbol is often that of a mouse, or a fish.
Portia is the goddess of wisdom. Her aim is to seek out knowledge, and new ideas and experiences. Portia has an almost child-like curiosity about the world, and seeks to understand as much about it as possible. Her clerics, on the other hand, see wisdom as something that needs to be guarded and protected.
Her animal is a butterfly
Lord of War is a deity whose only interest is war. Despite the peace brought about by the establishment of the Knights of Ithica, that has not meant the end to battle. Smaller cities and villages have used war, on a small scale to settle disputes. He is often depicted as a warrior with a metal helmet covering his face, wearing a breastplate, and holding aloft a sword.
The Lord of War's symbol is often a tiger, trapping something under his paw. Some people suggest that it is a mouse.
Helios is credited with being the first God of Dellan. Despite their historic age, Helios has not aged. Helios is most often depicted bald, with smooth skin. They are shown in rather plain clothing, often a pale yellow or white. Generally with a benevolent smile. Helios is attributed with all the positive aspects of warmth, light, and fire. They are the ones that send the fire that cleanses forests and allows regrowth. They are the one that bring the fire to cook, the light to see.
Tenebris is the sibling god of Helios, most often depicted as the Moon. Technically the God of the Dark, Tenebris is more often thought of as the deity of the Moon or the Night, to avoid confusion with the Darkness. To them falls the realm of the night, and they are seen as the guardian of sleep.
When the first animal squealed in terror, when the first chase for food began, Hurn was there. He is a God of necessity, a God that is known to be fickle, and hard. You do not gain Hurn's favour lightly.
Dark Gods in the world of Dellan are not, necessarily, evil. While they generally seek to fulfil their own ends and desires, the are simply outworkings of more base emotions of people. Many followers of the Dark Gods consider the moniker to be an insult, stressing that these are naturally-occurring parts of the lived experience. Each Dark God has a follower-path that could by many standards be considered 'good'.
Despite this, followers and clerics of the Dark Gods are often treated with suspicion from the populace. Despite the benefits that the Dark Gods can bring, over-use of their powers can often lead to real mental trauma. Folk tales about those driven mad by their seemingly positive ability are abound.
Nagani is perhaps the most well-known of the dark gods, due to her association with the uses of pain for pleasure, expressed in some forms of sexual experience. Despite this, she is the goddess of those that experience pain and suffering as a result of injury, as well as those that experience it as a result of loss and death. It is Nagani who can be petitioned to remove such pain, both physical and mental.
Minor gods are a collection of gods who have taken smaller roles throughout Dellan. This can be everything from small caves, to strange rock outcrops. Occasionally, these gods manage to grow to become significant minor gods, based on the amount of belief channelled into them.
Korbantu was a Troglodyte deity. They were the one that offered to them light when there was none, and it was worshipped as a sign that there was a way to avoid the evil monster that lurked at the heart of their small set of tunnels. It was believed that right worship of Korbantu would being saviours that would banish the darkness. It turns out they were right.
The Gods of Nature simply are. Their power comes from the plants and animals that know of their seasons, and rely on them for their life and food. They are unusual in that they do not have typical 'creation' stories, but all stories about these gods begin as though they have always been. Some have sought to make them Eternal Ones, but unlike other Eternals they can be swayed by prayer, belief, and rituals of appeasement. It has been known for summer to last over-long when Canth has been annoyed with a people, or that Mordan to be particularly harsh when people have not given him his due. As such, they have their own category. Not quite the Eternal Ones who live by their own rules and are rarely swayed by humans, and not quite Gods, who are intimately interested in people.
No-one likes winter. It is the time of stillness. Where the cold means only death. Mordan was always the selfish deity, wanting everything to be blanketed in their own still white. They care not that the cold brings death, or that animals shelter to be away from their touch. They like the world frozen and unmoving.
The despise Shani, for bringing her energy, and they loath Canth for their warmth. It is only Daleth that Mordan will deign to talk too, though Daleth is not a fan of Mordan, finding him arrogant and self-centred.
Shani is the Goddess of Spring. She is the one who has the energy to break the grip of Mordan on the world. She awakens the plants, and fills the seeds with the energy to grow. She encourages Helios in their path to come a little closer to warm the world. Everyone likes Shani for the joy that she brings.
Canth is the hot-headed deity of summer. Canth is perhaps the most emotional of Gods, and the type of summer that places experience is thought to be directly affected by Canth's mood. It is often considered best if Canth is indifferent towards a place, where you will then simply receive a pleasant summer. To gain too much of Canth's interest is to gain a blistering summer, or a changeable summer. As such, summer festivals are often held away from villages, often in places several days travel away. It is believed that if the summer festival upsets Canth, or brings on too much of ire, then it will be the location, not the people, that get the brunt of the resulting joy or wrath.
Here you will find a list of the creatures encountered by the group during the game. Some of these creatures are new, some are thought to have gone extinct in the Wild Times.
These new creatures are creatures for which there are no record, either from the wild times, or in myths or legends.
There are the ordinary creatures of Dellan. The ones that are know about, but hardly encountered unless you are unlucky enough to live beyond the protection of the Knights of Ithica.
Dellan is a fantasy land created by Xen Bettinson for the use in a roleplay game. All materials here are copyright Xen Bettinson/Psi23.