Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Enoch List

The following is a list of arcane orders and societies who have signed the Precepts Arcane, and thus stand united against the Enemy.

The list is compiled by Aktor Smit.


High Craftsmasons (order)
Legal Status: Ally
Representation: Dekanos Adalwin Carlomanus; 6 named Awakened; unknown number of followers.

Member of the Enlightened Alliance.

Royal Guild of Argonauts (order)
Legal Status: Ally
Representation: Captain C. Enesar Ardyne-Mellius, 3 followers.

Member of the Enlightened Alliance.

Order of the Black Friars (order)
Legal Status: Ally
Representation: Frater Æðelred of Gwyndelbane; 1 named Awakened.

Member of the Enlightened Alliance.

Ordo Hermetica (order/mythocracy)
Legal Status: Ally
Representation: Master Octavian Terrafundus Augustus Arbalestus bani Flambeu bani Hermes; 36 named Awakened; 207 followers.

Member of the Enlightened Alliance.

Legal Status: Ally
Representation: Knight Commander Estevan de Crezin; 5 followers

Member of the Enlightened Alliance.

Council of Awakened Viziers (order/faith)
Legal Status: Ally
Representation: Emir Hakim al'Faroul bani Aziz; 27 named Awakened; 2,300 followers.

Formal alliance between the Wezellian Syndicate and the Caliphate of Aziz. Affiliated with the Host of Man.

Wolflords of Draccia (order/mythocracy)
Legal Status: Affiliate
Representation: Lord Vargas Audovacar Raganchard of the Grey Knights; 167 Lychantropes; 900 followers.

Member of the Enlightened Alliance.

Host of Man (army)
Legal Status: Ally
Representation: Lord Marshal Friedric Roeder; 3 named Awakened; 9,700 followers.

Member of the Enlightened Alliance.
Oaths sworn to the Lord Marshal by numerous cabals and orders [see own file].

Knights of Angermar (order/faith)
Legal status: Affiliate
Representation: Ridder Gustavus Gyldenlance; 1 named Awakened; 5 followers

Member of the Enlightened Alliance.

Arkonshōv (faith)
Legal Status: Associate
Representation: Gode Godwin Suthavarde Osbeornì; 11 named Awakened, large and growing following.

Formally reckognized faith.

Pillar of Truth (order)
Legal Status: Associate
Representation: Lady Adelaide Thorne; 3 named Awakened; 12 followers.

Formal negotiations between the Wezellian Syndicate and the Corillian Presbyterium.

Arrow of Light (cabal/order)
Legal Status: Associate
Representation: Adalweda of the Seventh Pillar; 2 named Awakened.

Formerly of the Temple of Man Supreme.

Speakers of Mÿn (cabal)
Legal Status: Associate
Representation: 5 named Awakened.

Keepers of the Silver Tablets (cabal)
Legal Status: Associate
Representation: Manfex Berathraban Manticore Fulco artz Aretmar; 5 named Awakened; a dozen followers.

Holds considerable wealth.

Solemn Order of the White Chrystal (cabal)
Legal Status: Associate
Representation: Manfex Childebrand Waltgaud artz Gryffon; 3 named Enlightened, a dozen followers.

These claims have been lain towards SOWC: demon-worshipping; espionage; plotting regicide (Emperor Constantinius Ada of the Enlightened Skythian Empire).

Cult of Dìs Invictus (cabal/faith)
Legal Status: Associate in pending
No named representation, growing following.

Suspected close affiliation with the Host of Man.

House of Voordalak (cabal/mythocracy)
Legal Status: Associate in pending
Representation: Rago Vardayev; a dozen followers.

Golden Ladder (order)
Legal Status: Associate in pending
Representation: Atmân Svarog of the Seventh Gate; 1 named Awakened; 7 followers

Esoteric Kengelian order. Rumored to be in congress w/demons.

Guardians of the Tablets of Merovinus (cabal)
Legal Status: Associata in pending

Representation: Finnguala Enenina Gruinn; 1 named Awakened; three followers.


Storyteller's note: I will try to keep  this list up to date.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Reference: Names

Names are important, and ideally they tell something about the person who bears it. I try my best to give my NPCs names they can be proud to claim, but it's not always easy to cough up yet another name for yet another character who may or may not ever get a talking part.

The internets, of course, has more than a million sites that offer up real, or imaginary, names for absolutely any use. The link below is to just such a site.

Behind the Name - the etymology and history of first names

A comprehensive collection of names, sorted by language and culture, it also has a large mythology and ancient cultures section. Behind each name there is also a short explanation.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

A Clash of Civilizations

"I do not come to Malta for wealth or honour, but to save my soul."

The Religion, by Tim Willocks, is probably the best read I've had so far this year -- at times I had to put the book down so as not to finish it too quickly. The author has chosen the Great Siege of Malta in 1565 as the back-drop for his story, and he does a brilliant job of depicting this truly epic clash between the cross and the cresent moon.

In 1565 the Grande Turk, Soleyman the Magnificent, launched an attack on the Knights of St John. The sultan had fought the Hospitallers before, when he drove them out of Rhodes in 1522. Now he sent the cream of his army, some 30,000 men, to make sure the knights could never again pose any problems to his empire.

The Grand Master of the Order, La Valette, had also been present during the Siege of Rhodes, and was determined not to be defeated again. Against the massed strength of Islam, the Grand Master had about 700 knights and in the order of 7000 thousand militia and lighter troops. All the participants were willing to die for the possession of a barren sandstone island in the middle of the Mediterranean.

Enter Mattias Tannhauser, ex-Janissary turned smuggler and adventurer. He is just the type of charming scoundrel needed to fulfill the intrigues of a beautiful woman and the Grand Master, and so it is that he finds himslef thrust into the middle of the man-made storm about to be unleashed. The story we are told has all the elements one expects; romance, heroism, intrigue, loyalty, humour, evil inquisitors, and battle-scenes, all set in the middle of one of the most epic conflicts in the history of man.

Personally, I've been fascinated by the siege since I read about it in the Phantom when I was a kid. Still, I've never actually done any digging into this event. Reading The Religion changed that. Before the last page had been turned, I had placed an order with Amazon on two other books on the subject.

Having read one of these, and being in the process of reading the other, I have found no major discrepancies between the siege of The Religion and that of the historical event. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Great Siege was extremely rich on fantastic details and characters, and Willocks has managed to weave much of these into his story.

Of course, his hero, Tannhauser, is accredited with many deeds done by other men, but such is fiction. The opening quote is one such example; it is from a bracelet Tannhauser is given by a young Greek defecting from the Turks. In actual fact, a knight of Navarre took it from a slain Turkish officer during the first sally of the siege. This is a good example of how Willocks uses elements of truth to weave a compelling tale of sacrifice and triumph.

Lastly, set in the watershed between the old and new worlds, The Religion will stand as one of the works of fiction I will quote as references for the world of Argos.

I found The Religion through a review on The Cimmerean.


The 'two other' books are:
Malta, 1565: Last Battle of the Crusades; Osprey Publishing
The Great Siege, Malta 1565; Ernle Bradford

Knights of St John
Soleyman the Magnificent
The Great Siege of Malta
Tim Willocks

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Now Listen

May has been a slow blog-month partially due to work. I've also been away a bit, visiting my parents, and partially for that reason its been a slow playing-month (which has made for little blogging).

What I have done more of, however, is reading and listening to podcasts. I might do a review of one of the books a bit later, but right now I want to share with you some of the pod-nuggets I've found.

First out is The History of Rome. I cannot express how awesome this cast is. Mike Duncan is not only an expert storyteller, he is also extremely knowledgeable in this field. The series starts with Romulus and Remus, and continues through the Roman history up to (so far) 175 CE. If you are thinking that this sounds too much like school, I can assure you that it's anything but. Mike presents the events in a laid-back and witty manner that keeps the material alive and fresh.

So, to conclude my indorsement, search for "the history of rome" in iTunes and get started. One thing, though. The episode-numbers are a little wacky, so look for episode "001 - Birth of A Nation". You should be able to stream and/or dl from the blog, but I haven't tried.

If you're wondering; yes, this inspired the last post about the Skythian Empire.

Then there's BBC Radio 4's show A History of the World in 100 Objects, hosted by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum. It is, as you might have guessed by the title, a show about the history of the world, each episode focusing on a unique artifact.

You'll hear about the oldest known man-made tool, long dead civilizations, about the Black Pharao, the Persian Empire, and the list goes on. Each episode brings us closer to our own age. What's more, it covers the whole world, not just the normal euro-centric stuff you expect from a European presentation. The episodes are short (~15 minutes), and without boring dates and all that crap that makes people yawn.

It is a new and very fascinating way of looking at our history, expertly presented. Also, if you disagree with the fact that pictures are best on radio, the homepage lets you explore all the featured items, plus a pantload of other cool stuff.

Again, you'll find it all on iTunes.

One of the really neat things about these podcasts is that the whole series will cost you absolutely nothing.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Empire of Man

By Sir Revius Athor, Crondor, YE 961

Chapter I: The Rise of the Skythian Empire

~Emperor Markelin Elfsbane~
[Source: Karen's Whimsy]

THE SKYTHIAN EMPIRE rose from the smoldering ashes of the Erian Empire. The latter, having been torn asunder by centuries of religious strife and tribal conflict, finally collapsed after the imperial capital Apeloni was burned to the ground by the Cult of Xuul.

The powerful Skythian tribe now came to dominate the Hegemony of Man, as the regions of the Erian Empire had become known. From their stronghold in the highlands of northern Corinth they quickly gathered the pieces of the broken empire and put them back together again.

In a campaign that lasted more than five years, the first of the Skythian Emperors, Flavus Pentagenal, eradicated the Cult of Xuul and placed the Corinthian tribes under imperial jurisdiction. He also made the Cult of Man Invincible the state religion, greatly helped by the deicide, and following sainthood, by his adopted son, Ares Demagos.

Even with religious unity, the young empire was wracked by internal conflict as tribal rivalries quickly started simmering again. Emperor Flavus's death, twelve years after he was named Princeps Optimus, almost ended the imperial dream in it's infancy. As he lay on his death-bed, being wounded in the battle of Amanervo, he named one of his generals, Germino Atathron, his heir.

Emperor Germinio proved to be a wise and just ruler, and his seventeen years at the helm of the Empire was marked by peace and prosperity. New areas of land was brought into the fold, and roads were built to connect every part of the Empire to the rest. He also made an alliance with the martial Penderii.

The lands of the Penderii bordered the Sielwoode, an elven realm in the middle of the Erian mainland. The tribe had long been in a state of perpetual war with the elves, and few at the time doubted that the alliance would plunge the Empire into war. Still, it would take seven years before this came to pass.

Emperor Germino died shortly after the alliance was signed, and his son, Vevio Cathago, took the purple. In his treatise on the Skythian emperors, Mirryn accuses Vevio of poisoning his father. Immediately after his instatement, the young Emperor started a purge of real and percieved enemies. Amongst those targeted were both politicians and generals. The latter would prove to be his undoing, as this left the legions under the command of men who's chief merit was their allegiance to the Emperor.

When the elves finally attacked, the legions on the Sielwoode border were quickly overrun. A large war party also attacked and razed three of the forts in the Elfswall Mountains. In one fell swoop, the Elf had crippled the Empire's legions, and now stood poised to strike at the Imperial City.

Emperor Vevio panicked fled the capital with his mistress, leaving the Empire without effective leadership. According to Sertino, he was later killed by one of his guards.

In this time of peril, Markelin, the son of St Ares, seized control of the chaos. When Vevio's purges began, Markelin had gone accross the Straits with a band of loyal followers. When he returned, he had stayed out of the Imperial City, but as soon as the crisis began, he stepped onto the stage.

Markelin ordered the Invictus Legion to close the Elfswall, and then marched to the aid of the Penderii with twelve Corinthian legions. In the three years long campaign that followed, the elven host was driven back into the forest, and the border finally fortified. By now, the legions had named Markelin Emperor, and the king of the Penderii had sworn him allegiance.

Understanding that peace between Man and Elf could never be lasting, Markelin ordered that each week a verst of forest be burned or cut down. Despite a decade of fierce skirmishing along the receeding forest-line, the massed might of Man proved too much for the non-humans. When Markelin, now named Elfsbane, died after thirteen years on the throne, he left the Skythian Empire stronger than ever before.

It would take a century of internal unrest and religious conflict, and another elven incursion, before the Empire again renewed its efforts to cleanse the lands of the elven scourge.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Golden Ports of Saranassi

The Tradesmaster's Dispatch
Räderhafen - 2 / MXXII

~Arasani merchant and assistants~

East of the Inbari Peninsula lies the Golden Islands of Saranassi with ports of coffe, sugar, and most of all silk. The trade in precious stones, pearls, spices, and beautiful works of gold and silver is also rich in these ports, and is surpassed by none. It is here we find the noble tribe of Aras, tall, crafty and golden-skinned. A thousand and one islands encircle the Sea of Pearls, all ruled by the Grand Sultan.

Grand Sultan Ahamet the Light of Conviction is not only rich as onkel; it is said by many that he fought with the prophet Aziz in the Battle of the White Tower, and that he is indeed one of the Awakend Viziers -- the mysterious cabalistic Azizinian order that rules the Hanumen.

The Grand Sultan rules from the Palace of Pearls in the magnificent city of Sirinagar on the emerald green island of Erentam. In this city, the roofs are made of gold and even the footmen wear silk. In its markets one can see wild and exotic displays, peruse wares from far away realms, and haggle with the Arasani. Be warned though, they are as cunning merchants as any in Creation.

After the loss of the rich harbours of the Colonies, the Saranassi trade has become increased to fill the Erian demands. As of this day next to five ninths of all Wezellian silk import hails from the Golden Islands, further three sevenths of the coffe bean, and four thirteenths of the sugar. For most of the remainding trade, merchants rely on the Waymar ports.

For almost three centuries now there have been Wezellian offices on the Golden Islands. Even though all foreign commerce is strictly controlled by the Grand Sultan, the tradesmasters and captains who have plied this route have made healthy profits. There are currently five Wezellian houses running trade off the Golden Ports, the newest of these being Ferner-Smaal. This young house only became involved in the region as recently as YE 1017.

The Tradesmaster has become informed that due to certain developments, the named tradeshouse is in the process of opening two new offices in the Golden Islands. One need perhaps not explain why this makes the purchase of stocks in this venture good business. It can also be expected that many others will follow suit within the end of the year.

The Tale of Princess Aleriane

From Legends of the White Ocean, Erasmet von Adderborn, Rattenhof, YE 899

In the early days of the ancient Skythian Empire, the shores of the White Sea were plagued by terrible pirates. These wolfs of the ocean mists would strike without warning, and vanish without trace -- leaving only death and ruin behind.

The worst of these ravagers were the Zarduki, the Reavers, a tribe from the Dark East, all worshippers of a dark and terrible god. Their ships were shaped like horrible monsters from the abbyss, and the horror they inflicted on their victims were beyond words. The mere rumor of their coming could make staunch men flee with their families, abandoning their homes and their possessions.

The worst of the Zarduki was a man called Smyiewitch. When his ship hit the shores, those who were killed were the lucky ones. There are many tales of people flayed alive and things so horrid I will not put it in ink. For years and year this foul beast and his vicious dogs struck at will, killing scores, and carrying scores again off to their home beyond the Eastern Shore.

Written in the margin, in faded ink, is the following: Smyiewitch means Son of the Wyrm.

Amongst the peoples who made their home on the Southern Shore there was at that time a tribe of men called the Aneredi. They were a fair and proud people, although their martial might lay already then lost in days long gone. The Aneredi were particularly tormented by Smyiewitch and his evil men, perhaps because, as one story tells, because the daughter of Rethror, their king. The princess, Aleriane, was said to be fair as a summers morn, and the Lord of the Reavers was enthralled by her the very minute he saw her.

Smyiewitch vowed to wipe out her entire people unless the princess gave herself to him, and for twelve years the beastly ships of the Reavers tormented the villages of the Aneredi. At last her father gave in to the demands of the dark lord, and chained his beautiful daughter to a rock by the seashore. This stone still stands, and the spot is to this day called Aleriane's Grief.

The princess was left thus fettered for three days, until finally she could see the dark sails coming out of the mist. At this moment she called out to all the gods, and such was her beauty and her grief that the gods themselves were moved. She cursed her father, and she cursed the Lord of the Reavers, and with a shard of flint she had found on the shore she took her own life.

At that moment a great storm came upon the White Ocean, scattering the ships and breaking them upon the rocks. Smyiewitch was swept out to the great depths; his men were thrown overboard and his ship was battered by wind and waves.

The story now tells us, by what authority I am unaware, that as death was finally upon him, Smyiewitch cursed the gods and gave his soul to the Things of the Deep.

The fate of king Rethror was that of seeing his sons killed in battle, his people conquered, his lands divided amongst his neighbours, and finally to himself to die of old age, alone and forgotten.

Written in the margin, in red ink, is the following: Is this legend of Captain Radoslav the Defiler?