Demons, Devils, and Dragonsbane
Voron, A History
Voron is the northern half of Gamon, the true name of this world. The Mountain Pass splits the world in two halves; the northern half of the world, from the Mountain Pass to the Upper Northern Sea, is called Voron. The southern half of the world, from the Mountain Pass to the Isle of Seranah, is called Drua. The division of the pass causes large changes in climates and in demographics. The lands south of the pass are more fertile and warm, and thus attracted large settlements of elves, fey, and humans that were all focused on agriculture. Additionally, Drua is home to many warm-based hostile creatures, such as bands of southern ogres, sahuagin, hydras, and red, blue, and green dragons.
The lands of Voron are much more barren. The immediately northern plains region housed a strong bastion of humans that focused on livestock and animal breeding (in addition to total militarism). The open plains did house a few metallic dragons, although these noble beasts were few and far between. Passing the plains and cutting across the Northern Sea, Voron gets much colder the further North you look. The freezing climate changes the dominant race from humans and elves to dwarves, who also share close alliances with the Svirfnelbin (the deep gnomes) and the northern fey, or the fey-nor, who share practically all traits with their southern counterparts (henceforth referred to as the fey-sar) with the exceptions of slightly lighter skin, and a different dialect. Opposed to the good-aligned races are the durgear, the deep dwarves, the amphibious kuo-toa (the natural predators of the svirfnelbin), and the fearsome drow (the dark elves). Additionally, there are small settlements of ice giants, trolls, and northern ogres present problems for all of the “civilized” races of the rigid, inclimate region of Voron.
Table of Contents
I. The Main Races
Humans: Although not incredibly noted in the above introduction, humans were among one of the first races to settle the region of Voron. Dwarven historians have found loose records of Humans settling the the Northern and Southern tundras of Voron in years as early as 452, which was still in the Second Age (note: we will use the Ages according to the history of Drua, for consistency). The northern and southern tribes were both barbaric and used little tools or magic, save for the occasional adept. Oddly enough, these northern humans revered magic and did not shun it as much as their counterparts did later on in Farun.
The Southern tribe that settled in the temperate to cold tundra below the mountain range and the Northern Sea eventually moved into what is now known as the Forsaken Woodlands. Here, the tribe benefited from a close relationship with local fey-nor Sprites that instructed some of them in the art of magic (this occurred around 725, or 57 years before the Southwestern humans “discovered” magic.) However, the forsaken woodlands acquired its name and reputation in 810 (in the Third Age) when the half-fiend Iuz finished his training under the deity Lolth. Lolth, despising the rising human settlements on the surface, gave Iuz a mission: if Iuz could successfully turn a fruitful forest into a forsaken land within a week, Iuz could ascend to the Northern Pantheon as a Lesser deity. Iuz heeded his master’s call and headed to the Woodlands. He found two settlements; one was named Serrem, and the other Khalil. He found two men from the towns that bickered over money that they owed one another. He first sought the man from Khalil and tempted him with the power to destroy the other man and seize his property by assuming the form of a powerful animal. The man from Khalil refused him. Iuz went to Serrem and gave the man the same offer; the man from Serrem accepted, and he quickly assumed the form of a wolf. The first-known lycanthrope, this werewolf went to Khalil and slaughtered the man who owed him money. Those who tried to stop him were slain. When the man returned to Serrem, he was delighted and thanked Iuz for his gift. Later that night, when the full moon was in the sky, the man became a wolf again and spread the lycanthropy to his family. Within 24 hours, the entire village of Serrem was infected with lycanthropy, although Iuz added some changes for his amusement; some turned into boars, rats, or other animals, as he saw fit. These lycanthropes soon began to infect the residents of Khalil, spreading the disease everywhere. However, this scheme did not go unwatched. The deity Corellan, a chaotic-good champion of nature, heard the cries of the noble citizens of Khalil and tried to save them. He could not reverse the disease, so he invented a new form of lycanthropy that would act as a vaccine. He chose the noblest of the forest’s creatures – the mighty bear – and infected the remaining citizens of Khalil with a disease that would turn them into this creature, but prevent them from assuming an evil form. Those that assume the form of the bear, or werebears, were filled with the passion to hunt evil creatures and became Lawful Good whenever they underwent the transformation. Those who turned into rats or wolves were called wererats and werewolves, respectively, and were filled with the inclination to do evil. Despite Corellan’s intervention, Iuz still ascended and became a demigod. Ever since the event, the land was called the Forasken Woodlands, due to the constant strife between the lycanthropes.
The Northern human tribes were outstandingly barbaric, with little to no formal knowledge of magic. They had no wizards or scholars, but as time progressed, an ample amount of sorcerers, adepts, and druids populated the lands. Forced to live in harsh climates, the Northern tribes perfected the art of hunting and thus spawned many rangers, scouts, and barbarians. These tribes were often ruled by the strongest of their ilk. From 552 to circa 650, the human tribes drifted between periods of war and peace. Eventually, massive guerrilla warfare among the cold tundra of the North caused two dominant feudal city-states to arise: Tanus and Craudon. In 678, (Second Age) the two tribes had to unite to fight off Troll invaders in the Battle of Kharidel. This caused peace to emerge between the two clans for over 200 years, as the humans of the North often fought off invasions from Ice Giants, drow, the duregar, or even advances from the Dwarven Kingdom in 845. (See Conquests of Kalin Axearm under Dwarves).
This long-standing peace ended in 891 (Third Age) when the Twin Titans came to the Material Plane from a portal deep inside the Northern Mountain Pass. As the stoutest warriors around, the twins split up and each claimed a tribe for his own. The titan Cirion ruled Craudon, renamed Craudion; the titan Terranus ruled over Tanus, renamed Titanus. Cirion was an unpredictable, but noble ruler at heart; Terranus abused the power of his subjects and was easily amused by the power he held over the “puny” human race. Tensions between the two city-states erupted in the early 930s, and have been ongoing ever since. When Craudion and Terranus died, their children assumed control of the various tribes.
Dwarves: As stated above, the Dwarves were and still are the main source of civilization in Voron. Since the beginning of life on Voron, the Dwarves have forged impressive settlements in the mountain ranges. Because they mostly share a tendency towards law, structured clans were the first main power sources to arise among dwarven society; however, these clans were divided by the dwarven subraces. From about 100 to 500 (First Age), there was always tension between the Hill dwarves, deep dwarves, duregar, and mountain dwarves. Each clan had its own separate society and drafted laws that would not tolerate the existence of the other clans.
In the year 534 (Second Age) a climactic battle occurred in the Bal’ik Pass. The Rinthar Clan, or the Hill Dwarves, sent a scouting party to investigate the borders of their domain as recently changed by a treaty with the Barlock Clan, or the Mountain Dwarves. (The Hill dwarves had recently defeated the mountain dwarves in a war and won a stretch of land in the Bal’ik Pass.) The hill dwarves’ scouting party was ambushed by another group of dwarves. The ambushing party killed the scouting party. A secondary Rintharian party discovered the sigils of the Daragrin clan among the bodies of the fallen in battle; thus, it was understood that the Daragrin had sought a war with the Rinthar. The Rinthar Clan marched across the Bal’ik Pass to pass by Barlock territory and engage the Daragrin. The Barlocks thought that this was a ruse on behalf of the Rinthar clan, so they forcibly resisted the Rinthar clan’s approach. However, the Daragrin also entered the fray, as they were outraged at the Rinthar’s declaration of war. In a stroke of tactical genius, Renar Shieldshaker of the Mountain Dwarves led his people to victory by waiting for the bulk of the Hill Dwarves to be crushed by the Deep Dwarves before engaging both sides.
The Daragrin and the Rinthar were forced to retreat, and this began a period of tactical conquests known as the Valiant Assaults by Dwarven historians. Shieldshaker first turned his attention to the Hill Dwarves, knowing that the Deep Dwarves would now stick to a defensive war inside their vast caves. The Rinthar were too rash to engage, and they were outsmarted by various pitfalls and traps that decimated their forces. By 537, Shieldshaker’s army had broken through the Rinthar’s defense and now stood within pillaging distance of the main Hill settlements. Before any more blood could be shed, the Elder Council of the Rinthar submitted to the will of Shieldshaker, who demanded that they pledge fealty to him. They obliged, and Shieldshaker was proclaimed to be the first Dwarven king. With the Hill Dwarves under his rule, Shieldshaker was able to refresh his army with new impressed troops and lead a strike on the Daragrin. Despite tensions between the Rinthar and the Barlock, both sides were keen on waging war against the Daragrin. Unfortunately, the conquest was delayed for five years as severe winter weather kept most of Shieldshaker’s army stuck in Barlock. In 542, the Valiant Assaults resumed. The Daragrin fought a defensive war with tactics that relied on keeping the army inside of their home mountain ranges. At first, their plan seemed successful; when Shieldshaker’s army was drawn in to attack underground, the Daragrin had complex systems of tunnels and traps that would obliterate entire battalions of Shieldshaker’s Army. The Daragrin seemed impenetrable, but they had one weakness – arrogance. Shieldshaker knew that eventually, the Daragrin would come to vanquish their foes. Shieldshaker decided to test the patience of the Daragrin; he collapsed the cavern entrances to their tunnels wherever he could find them, trapping the Deep Dwarves in their own mountain. In a stalemate that lasted for over two years, Shieldshaker came out on top when, in 545, the Daragrin army attempted to break from the mountain and charge at Shieldshaker’s army. With over two years to prepare for the counterattack, Shieldshaker obliterated the oncoming army, drove into the mountain, and forced the Daragrin to surrender. After negotiations, Renar Shieldshaker was officially made the Dwarven King in 546.
Sixty years later, in 606, a group of diplomats returned from their mission to get the Dwarven Kingdom recognized by the distant Fey-nor. In the Dwarven-Fey negotiations, the fey-nor trained several Dwarven Scholars in the art of arcane magic, while the Dwarves gave the fey insight into divine magic, as well as their vast share of geographical map information. Previously, only dwarven clerics (or dwarven scholars who studied divine magic) had a grasp on how magic worked, but only divine magic. The first arcane casters among the dwarves were scholars, but dwarven wizards soon began to pop up in the following years. These wizards had studied magic intensely; some even left for the fey-nor to study magic to the degree that the sprites did. Once again, the Dwarves had acquired knowledge of arcane magic before the humans did.
The discovery of magic soon convinced people to investigate the past. With a more detailed knowledge, Dwarven clerics of Moradin and powerful necromancers realized that they could contact the dead to ask them questions. They sought the preserved bodies of those slain in the battle of Bal’ik Pass and asked them about their deaths, for historical purposes. This led to a shocking revelation – the Daragrin were not the ones who had ambushed the party of Rinthar scouts; the Duregar of the west had actually killed the party and left the sigils of the Daragrin behind to frame them. This outraged the Dwarven Kingdom; for years, the Duregar had kept to themselves, trying to make the other races weak. Ironically, the plan backfired and caused the Dwarven Kingdom to form. This began the Dwarven-Duregar Wars, which lasted from 589 – 638, with several periods of stalemate or non-combat. This tension between the Dwarven Kingdom and the Duregar state of Durock has never officially ended.
700s: Dwarven-Ba’ren Wars
- A perpetual state of conflict between the Ba’ren ogres and the Dwarven Kingdom, where several dwarven hostages from Rinthar were taken in exchange for a monthy 100,000 gold tribute. The fiscal resources of the Ogres allowed them to train Ogre Mages, which proved to be devastating against the Dwarven infantry. The war dragged on for so long that two of the five hostages died of natural causes and the Dwarves refused to carry on a war for the daughters of a noble. (dwarven loss)
820-830s: Svirfnelbin immigrants steadily arrive in the Dwarven Kingdom.
833: Svirfnelbin settlement of Barinigon is cleared by the Dwarven King.
833-835: Trolls are found to inhabit the proposed land. Dwarven-Troll Wars.
840: King Kalin Axearm’s Conquests Begin vs. Trolls
840-845: Army pushed past Kharidel, into northern tundra.
845-847: Dwarven-Craudion Wars. After the eruption of conflict between the trolls and the dwarves, the late Dwarven King made land claims in what is currently Kharidel. Unbeknownst to them, Kharidel’s territory was disputed with the human state of Craudion before it was under the control of Cirion, the good Titan. The human raiders began to pillage the dwarves who inhabited “their land,” and the combined pressure from the humans and the renegade trolls forced a Dwarven retreat back to Barinigon in 847.
850-920: Relative peace with the surrounding areas. Of course, skirmishes occurred at the time, but this peacetime allowed Dwarven engineering, brewing, and arcane studies to flourish as cities became more developed. The main governmental change of the time was the signing of the Lalir Hasgar, a Dwarven version of the Magna Carta that limited the power of the Dwarven King and established a Dwarven Council of 6 elected nobles (2 from each tribe). This was eventually expanded to 8 nobles in 949, with the additional two elected from the people of Barinigon.
Svirfnelbin: Much of this race’s history is covered in the history of the dwarves. Basically, Svirfnelbin settlements started to pop up formally near the middle of the Second Age, circa 640. They were focused on the island known by these deep gnomes as Cesannar. The primary settlement of the deep gnomes was initially called Syros; it was founded in 652 and was a flourishing society that was ruled by a Gnomish King. However, the chaotic, free-spirited tendencies of the gnomes caused a rebellion to ensue fifty years later in 702 and overthrow the regime in favor of a Republic. Though the first Representatives of this Republic were appointed by those who overthrew the Regents, elections were soon held among the population to choose representatives.
Note: The Svirfnelbin, by nature, had a rudimentary knowledge of magic. Occasional naval voyages to Fylvan in the Era of Gnomish Exploration (720-740s) led to the creation of the first formal Gnomish arcane scholars, wizards, and illusionists. Prior to this, sorcerers (and wizards who had studied scrolls made by these sorcerers) existed but were often rare and regarded with even more awe than they are today.
A dark crisis hit the Svirfnelbin in the late 780s. The Kuo-Toa of the north had always proved to be a nuisance, but conflicts with the Drow and the Cloud Giants of the northern continent had always prevented a full-scale invasion of the Gnomish Republic. This “protection” expired when the Northern Confederacy began to form during this period. A pact was signed between the Drow and the Kuo-Toa for protective purposes, and ages of malcontent between the races were (formally, at least) put to an end. The Kuo-Toa were free to expand, and the settlement of Def’lier appeared on the northern side of Cesannar by 791. The decades that followed contained confrontations and skirmishes between the two races as the Kuo-Toa were vying to conquer and expand to meet the needs of their growing population. This pressure had caused many cowardly gnomes to abandon ship and seek sanctuary in the Dwarven Kingdom or in Fylvan. In 815, the Svirfnelbin-Toa wars officially began as the Gnomish Congress formally declared war in response to a large invasion on one of Syros’s main armories. In a prolonged war and siege, many of the external gnomish communities were burned to the ground, with some family names wiped out forever. The Kuo-Toa, with the support of the Drow, steadily made advances into Gnomish territory. By 820, the gnomish Republic had split into two factions – one faction wanted to defend the homeland, and the other faction wanted to start a new colony elsewhere. The latter left Syros for the Dwarven Kingdom, bringing over half of the Gnomish Congress with them to delegate. Those who remained faced a grim fate, as by 822, Kuo-Toa armies were marching in the streets of Syros. With Drow negotiators, the Northern Confederacy officially accepted the unconditional surrender of the Svirfnelbin settlement of Syros. The gnomes were allowed to remain in their homeland, but they were forced to obey Confederate landlords who reigned supreme over the crushed Republic. Many svirfnelbin were forced to work in the mines or perform other exhausting feats of labor for their oppressors. After a small revolutionary attempt on behalf of the remnants of the gnomish forces was crushed in 840, the city of Syros was half-burned to the ground. Henceforth, the Northern Confederacy changed the name of the settlement to Syruins, as a mockery of the gnomes.
The faction of Svirfnelbin that abandoned the homeland successfully settled and became incorporated to the Dwarven Kingdom. Though they lost their sovereignty as a Republic, they did score representatives in the Dwarven government in 949. The Gnomish representatives have been pulling for Dwarven intervention in the state of Syruins ever since, but only nominal efforts have been made to aid the crushed Gnomes.
Fey-nor: Known as the Faerie, the Bringers of Magic, and the Wayfinders, the Fey-nor are the most magically advanced race of Gamon. Born with a natural insight into magic, it is only natural that the first formal Fey-nor sorcerers and sorceresses appeared near the beginning of time. With formal study, fey-nor wizards appeared within the first century of the First Age, but the faerie were always reluctant to share their knowledge with those outside of their race; everyone was viewed as a potential threat to the culture.
The Fey-nor, much like the Fay-sar, their southern counterparts, hail from the City of Faerie on the plane of Elysium. The Faerie, being strongly good-aligned, migrated to the Material Plane through several gates that are still rumored to exist near Zanaris, the main fey settlement of Voron. The city of Zanaris itself is ancient, as it was founded near the beginning of the First Age.
Not much is known about the true history of the Faerie, save for their explorations and negotiations with other creatures. Though the Faerie were powerful, they often needed resources such as metal and food that were not abundant in their own lands. Additionally, they would extend their knowledge of magic to races that proved to have the capacity for being good. Table F-1 summarizes what races received magic at what time.
Received Magic in…*
782 (only for comparison; the Magocracy received magic from the Dragons)
The city of Zanaris is a hidden paradise. More importantly, Zanaris is home to the Fairy Rings, which can be utilized by any fey, or any human wielding an item with fey magic. In negotiations, the Fey-nor planted secret rings all around Voron. Adventurers who befriend the Fey-nor could potentially use these rings for quick travel between certain key areas.
II. The Pantheon
The Good-Aligned Deities:
Greater: Jericho (LG), Corellan (CG)
Intermediate: Heironeous (LG), Ehlonna (NG), Kord (CG)
Lesser: Moradin (LG), Garl Glittergold (NG), Bahamut (CG)
The Neutral Deities:
Greater: Boccob (N)
Intermediate: St. Cuthbert (LN), Fharlaghn (N), Olidammara (CN)
The Evil Deities:
Greater: Vecna (LE), Nerull (NE)
Intermediate: Hextor (LE), Lolth (NE), Erythnul (CE)
Lesser: Tiamat (LE), Kurtulmak (NE), Iuz (CE)