The History of Cambria

Since the beginning of recorded history humanity held dominion over the lands of Cambria, until the arrival of the Elder Dragons. Like a plague, the winged travelers hungrily swept across Cambria, eager to devour the plentiful magic infused in the realm to sustain their fire. By brute force, the Elder Dragons conquered the unprepared humans, but long experience had taught the Elder Dragons that they were not fit to rule directly. Thus, thousands of humans were transformed into twisted approximations of man, a new half-human half-dragon race called the Draconians. A hierarchy was then created, where the Draconians ruled over most of humankind, who now enslaved, served the whims of their Elder Dragon gods.

In this world however, the Elder Dragons made two grievous errors, both of which involved underestimating the will of those beneath them. Their first and greatest error was allowing the Draconians the human ability to cast magic, which would eventually give birth to the one responsible for their downfall. Generations after the Draconians had long forgotten they were once human, a woman known as Gitrix came to prominence among the Draconian sorcerers. She had the wisdom to realize that her overlords were feasting upon the magic of Cambria, and knew that when they had swallowed all magic from the earth, they would continue on their eternal journey, leaving behind the Draconians on a dead husk. Fearing the loss of her own powers, she turned to the humans, and her closest Draconians, seeking out those that would stand against the Elder Dragons and help her destroy them.

She found the first ally in the human family of Ardmore, who represented the second oversight of the Elder Dragons. They had allowed one family of humans to stand above the rest, giving them both authority and free will in exchange for encouraging a better haul from the treacherous gold mines in the west. Taking the name of Ardmore, the family remembered (through oral tradition passed from grandmother to grandchildren) that they once stood as monarchs in their own right. Eager to return to power, House Ardmore agreed to secretly fund a resistance, if Gitrix could provide a means to destroy the Elder Dragons.

Reaching out to other tribes of men, Gitrix sought those of the noble blood, traced from before the Elder Dragons arrival, among the fierce slaves of Wyndon in the south, the hardy warriors of the north called Helfarian, the cunning minds of the east called Lancaster, and the refugees who fled to the open water called Clan Gulph. They formed an alliance that ultimately destroyed the Elder Dragons and forced the remnants of the Draconians back into the Firelands and Desserts of the south.

Gitrix took the bodies of the dead Elder Dragons and crafted them into thrones, both as rewards and as blessings of the new human nobility. Humanity's new High Council split the lands of Cambria into five kingdoms -- Wyndon in the South, Helfarian in the north, Lancaster in the east, and Ardmore to the west, while Clan Gulph was given dominion over the seas. For herself, she took the "high magic" middle lands of Bryn Mawr, whose mirrored doors opened unto every land on Cambria. And then she disappeared... forever...

This is how Cambria stands today, centuries after the Rebellion Wars; but peace is not so easily maintained. It's now known to the Kingdoms that seductive power of the Elder Dragons did not disappear when they perished. The Dragon Thrones, containing the powerful energies of the slain Elder Dragons, an influence that twists the minds of those who rule, pushing them to seek dominion over others. While the ancestors of the Draconians who survived the revolution remain in the south, living in lands too hot for human armies to even consider entering, waiting for the right time to take back what they believe is rightfully theirs: the realm of Cambria.  


THE HUMAN FACTIONS

 

House Ardmore

Privileged. Masterful. Materialistic.

"Know Thy Enemy, Know Thy Self"

Often referred to as the First House, Ardmore has a history of collusion with the Elder Dragons. Placed over the rest of humanity, they were overseers rather than slaves, but as Ardmore is quick to remind others -- this allowed them access to the wealth that fueled the war effort. Logical, ruthless perfectionists, they see themselves as the rightful rulers of Cambria, although some wish to seek a diplomatic means to that goal.  Many, however, would be perfectly satisfied by conquering the world like the Elder Dragons did before them.  After all, if they had not provided the means to rebel, humanity would still be enslaved, so they have earned their place as the rulers of men.

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Hunter Green 
  • Minor Colors: Gold and Red
  • Symbol: Rising Snake on a Sword

Customs: The Ardmores are never too shy to proudly adorn themselves in gold and gems as a display of the wealth of their mines. They tend to employ heavy snake symbolism in clothing and jewelry. Humans have never seen an actual Dragon of lore, so the snake, they believe, represents that ancient race. The High Born of Ardmore wear jewelry and other decor with snake symbolism but all Ardmores also have a fondness for red roses, as their lands are rich in mining but shallow
in fertile soil. Few flowers can grow off the windy and rainy cliffs of the Western Expanse. Not to be underestimated, House Ardmore possesses a highly skilled and professional army that works for the highest bidder, which House Ardmore knows it will always be.

Geography: Near the Western Expanse and the sharp Endwall Mountains, the Kingdom of Ardmore proudly sits off the high cliffs of the western uncharted waters.

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

The Religion:

Atop the Endwall Mountains lies the Shrine of Letitius the Grand, also known in folklore as The Miner. Letitius is the patron to whom all in Ardmore owe their lives, and the god who has made Ardmore the Chosen People. He carries with him a snake that is both his companion and his guide.  He gave to the people of Ardmore the riches of the mines and kept them above the houses which were enslaved under the Elder Dragons. Prophecy has it that Ardmore is the House of Destiny – meant
to rule all of Cambria with the wealth given to them by the hand of The Miner.  Every year, those of Ardmore make homage to Letitius with material offerings, giving to him the most beautifully crafted metal sculptures and tools and the most sparkling of gems. The Festival of the Miner is a site to behold, full of tents made of cloth of gold and attended by every merchant and artisan in the land.  Here is where fortunes are made, relationships are started, and the gossip of the realm is learned.

Most homes in Ardmore, even those in which no miners dwell, will contain a miner’s pick, hung above the doorway to convince Letitius to bless the house and its inhabitants. Even the poorest of Ardmore’s inhabitants wear jewelry made of fine gems around their necks and wrists and in rings on their fingers, often in the shape of Letitius’ snake companion.

Secretly, the Highborn of Ardmore, though they would never confess such things to outsiders, also continue the occasional practice of offering up to Letitius a sacrifice of a young virgin, sent alone into the mines with a poisonous snake to be taken as companion to the god who has blessed them all. But such rites are only done when it is clear that Letitius has grown lonely and angry – when the mines appear dry and the crops that support the miners lay barren.

The Government:

If it were not for the wealth of Ardmore, humanity would still be enslaved. Thus it makes sense that the wealthiest family of Ardmore has risen to take its seat within the Gold Citadel in Caer Orynth. And they are not likely to turn over leadership any time soon. Following a code of modified primogeniture, the crown passes from father to child, with the first male child taking precedence over the first female child.

Costuming:

  • Greens, some Red, Gold accents
  • Love showcasing affluence, silks, satin, gowns, and formal medieval fantasy gentlemanly attire, or knightly attire
  • Love snake symbolism, mining/pick symbolism, and roses
  • They possess many jewels and jewelry, and love to show these off!
  • Think French or Italian aristocracy, Ardmores also tend to be very 'cliquey'

THE HELFARIAN COAT OF ARMS IS BEING UPDATED TO REFLECT THEIR NEW SILVER AND MIDNIGHT BLUE COLOR SCHEME. THIS IS A PLACEHOLDER. 

THE HELFARIAN COAT OF ARMS IS BEING UPDATED TO REFLECT THEIR NEW SILVER AND MIDNIGHT BLUE COLOR SCHEME. THIS IS A PLACEHOLDER. 

House Helfarian

Innovative. Hardened. Sentimental. 

"Horses Move Mountains"

Before the arrival of the Elder Dragons those of House Helfarian were renowned for the mounted charge of their heavy cavalry. Once they were conquered, the horsemen were turned into heavy laborers and their chargers became draft horses. They bore the weight of their servitude
stoically, hiding their armor in their mountain homes, awaiting a time when rebellion would succeed. When the war arose, the Helfarians were the first to answer the call of Gitrix, and they suffered the heaviest losses. Their warriors were slaughtered almost to a man, and their descendants blame the Ardmores for ensuring that the Helfarians bore the brunt of the fighting. They have regained their ancestral mountain fortresses, have slowly been regrowing their numbers, and are rumored to possess powerful and innovate
heavy military equipment that can strike fear into any army. They firmly believe, by the price they have paid, they deserve to rule Cambria.

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Midnight Blue 
  • Minor Colors: Silver and Blood Orange (so their crest can be seen from afar)
  • Symbol: Dire Wolf plus Anvil

Customs: High Born Helfarians tend to carry (what they believe to be) precious stones only found in the cold, harsh lands of the north. Plus, in order to honor their lost warriors, they ritually save a vial of blood from a brethren who has fallen in battle.  Usually that vial will be carried by other Helfarians until their own deaths, whether natural or premature. They love innovative weapon design to the point of fetishizing novel and creative weapons, always inventing new ways of striking fear into the hearts of their enemies. For a Helfarian, a 'kill' is wasted unless their enemy knows true fear and bewilderment
in the moment prior to his or her death.

Geography: the vast Northern reaches and the massive Ice Mountains

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

Religion

Cold on the outside and within, the stoic Helfarians have long turned away from the rituals and practices of religion. After the decimation of their people, anything connected to the hated Draconians was rejected. While the rest of humanity turned to old superstitions or embraced new ones, the northerners set to understand the laws of nature and craftsmanship. From these analytic principles, they learned how to create impregnable fortresses and the best siege engines in Cambria. This pragmatism has not left them behind in the arcane arts, as they have also learned the natural, governing laws of magic. Helfarian mystics are as practical as Helfarian engineers -- which makes them all the more capable.

Yet, for many in Northern Reaches, this analytical distance leaves them cold. They find that the grace of natural laws is passionless, and they hunger for a warmth that is not commonly found on the Frost Moors. In recent years, that longing has been filled by the promise of Tanza of Morrow, the Silver Flame. She first arose years ago in the small village of Morrow in the Everwood, but soon her words lit a fire in many Helfarians. Her message was simple -- fight fire with
fire.  Only in possessing the powers of the Draconians, learning their secrets, and mastering their power can they be defeated.  She said that the Dragons only came to this world to destroy their age old enemy, the True God Lucent, whose body formed the sun above. Only those who lived in the darkest part of Cambria could see the true marvel that was Lucent. Some yearning part of the northern people reverberated with this message, and many have begun wearing open symbols of the Sun God in reverence.

Government

With the loss of so many, Helfarian was forced to adopt a seniority succession law that holds true to this day. The oldest remaining member of the noble house inherits the throne of Caer Farron, regardless of how many children they possess. Since the war, there have been more Queens of Helafarion than Kings, though that has become less true in recent years as the northerners regain their numbers.

Costuming

  • Think classic Northman, maybe minor faux fur items (nothing too hot for July)
  • Colors of dark (midnight) blue, gray, white, black, very stoic, very 'north' 
  • As engineering types they tend to carry tools, think if Steampunk mixed with land based Vikings or Rus warriors
  • Wolf symbolism, plus blood vials to represent their fallen
  • Followers of the Lord of Lucent carry crystals to represent being able to "see the one true God"

House Lancaster

Seductive. Ambitious. Hedonistic.

"Nobility Over Riches"

All roads lead to Lancaster, an adage that stands at the heart of the house’s philosophy. The eastern lands have the easiest passes and the best roads, and trade from Clan Gulph begins on their shores. It takes a deft hand to handle the intricate politics of the most desirable land in Cambria, and the blue-blooded Lancasters play that role to perfection. Unlike the rest of the houses, whose noble lines were destroyed in the initial assault by the Elder Dragons, Lancaster hid its line away, posing as peasants for centuries. However, each
heir was raised with the weight of noblesse oblige upon them. In contrast to the Ardmores, they have a saying that “there is a difference between wealth and nobility.”  Paragons of that nobility, Lancaster does not have the might of the north or south, but their
razor sharp minds ensure their drive for dominance. After all, they would argue, they have the only true line of nobility in Cambria, and thus deserve to rule.

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Maroon / Deep Red
  • Minor Color: Gold
  • Symbol: Sparring Lion

Customs: the Lancasters love to showcase that they possess, by far, the most fertile Kingdom in all of the realm. They will almost always bring with them plants, foliage, and flowers that naturally grow throughout their Kingdom (this is mostly done to annoy House Ardmore). They are also collectors of anything exotic, as they operate the main port in the realm. High Born Lancasters possess spices, textiles, antiques, and exotic acquisitions, and other rival Kingdoms will pay handsomely for their goods. Although the Lancasters do possess a respectable military force, their army is not up to the measure of the other three major Human Kingdoms. However, the Lancaster "mercantile over military might" policy has made them, by far, the best in the realm at political maneuvers and espionage, with an ability to win the war, often without winning a single battle.

Geography: the Eastern Plains and fertile Danan's Cradle, plus they operate the largest port in Cambria

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

Religion

The Lands of House Lancaster are lush and green, wealthy and rich in both produce and trade. As such, the Lancastrian Religions tend to focus on bounty and fertility. Their practices of Ancestor Worship have been handed down from generation to generation, especially reinforced during the years in which the nobles of the House were forced to hide away as peasants, farmers and tradesmen. Nobles maintain shrines to their beloved ancestors, espousing the virtues of their departed kin and largely erasing and ignoring their failings. Even the common folk trace their lineage to some long dead noble relative, revering them as a touch of lost Nobility that they may someday hope to emulate.

Sometimes couched as “learning from the past,” the philosophies of long dead Lancastrian predecessors remain pervasive within daily life. Many nobles affect behaviors, foibles and sometimes even flaws known to have been present in members of their lineage, while commoners quote catchphrases used by their ancient kings and queens. Naturally, as lineage is important, so is fertility. Many outsiders to Lancastrian culture claim that their obsession with fertility is just an excuse to have lots of sex, but the Lancasters know that true nobility and legacy can only be secured by a strong lineage. Also, they like having lots of "intimate relations".

Government

As a people defined by nobility and bloodlines, naturally Lancastrian succession follows primogeniture, though it ignores gender in favor of “Strength of Blood” which is a hotly debated topic within the nobility. While a King or Queen’s direct children almost always inherit the wealth and lands of their parents in birth order, occasionally a claim can be made by a lower born child to have “stronger blood,” attempting to demonstrate that the spirit of rulers past has more thoroughly inhabited them. This can lead to all sorts of interesting political entanglements as various factions attempt to prove the strength of their chosen pawn’s blood. Fortunately, politics is the strong suit of the Lancasters, and this is good practice for
when they must pit their wits against the other houses.

Costuming

  • Maroon, Reds, and Gold (to represent the affluence of their port)
  • Medieval fantasy formal attire, dresses and gowns for women, medieval princely attire for men, but they're also quick to "get comfortable", so no shock to see a Lancaster wearign something more seductive, even to peace summit!
  • They like to show off their land's fertility, so they will often have flowers in their hair or pinned to their clothing, also they will place plants on their tables to make others envious
  • As the boast the best sea port in the realm they may tote bags with unusual collectables of high value
  • Think Tudors with lions as their main symbol 

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House Wyndon

Passionate. Steadfast. Sacrificial.

"Our Vow is Our Duty"

As passionate and fiery as the dangerous lands they live within, the desert dwellers of Wyndon have the strength of emotional intensity. When the war ended, they swore that they would watch the firepits, ensuring that the threat of the Draconians would never rise again. To this day, they take that duty seriously, and these people take their oaths seriously -- it is the only thing that will curb their emotional
intensity.  Their long association with the Draconians during the war gave them an ability to deal with the lesser Dragonkind, and in the centuries since the war, they have slowly learned to breed and control the wyverns and other non-intelligent dragon spawn left in the wake of the Elder Dragons.  If anyone is the true inheritor of the power of the Elder Dragons, it is House Wyndon, and they know they deserve to
rule over all mankind.

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Sky Blue
  • Minor Color: Red

Symbol: Proud Fire Stag standing over a snake -- as mentioned above, humans have never seen an elder dragon, they exist only in ancient myth. The snake, therefore, is what humans use to represent these creatures of lore and Wyndon's oath it to protect Cambia from the snakes

Customs: Everyone in House Wyndon has taken an oath that no matter how dysfunctional or disappointing humankind can become, they will bear "the greatest weight" of being the first to defend Cambria should the Draconians attack or the elder dragons ever return. They often function as peacekeepers and negotiators, as it's known they are not motivated by material payoffs since their "Vow" reigns supreme in their peoples’ hearts. They are also the most communal of all the
Kingdoms; no matter rank, age, or gender, they train, eat, sleep, and remain watchmen as one. Militarily they are the most balanced in the region and can be quite formidable if a promise is broken. Aggravating or seducing a Wyndon will likely accomplish little, while betraying your word with a Wyndon is an eternal sentence of enmity.

Geography: Wyndon is set in the southern marshes next to the Zareen dessert, a quagmire of a region where swamp land meets fire, steam, and sand. Nothing grows easily down south and there are no seasons, just an eternal watch over the southern fire pits.

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

Religion

Unlike the rich lush lands of their neighboring counties, the Southern Marshes are harsh, wild and untamed. From the grasslands where the herds graze, to the dangerous humid marshes and the solemn fortress of Sadathea that shadows the Red Gates, the lands of Wyndham do nothing but harden their people. Those of Wyndon look within for the inner strength that mirrors their lands, having no use for the gods that abandoned them to their Dragon Enslavers millennia ago. No, House
Wyndon puts its faith in the individual, for they know that a spark of divinity, a small tongue of the Eternal Fire, rests within each of their souls. It is whatfuels their passions and strength, sometimes manifesting in more visible ways, such as wrymspeaking or pyromancy. And while each flicker of the Eternal Flame is powerful, Wyndon’s people know that together they can take a candle and turn it into an inferno when they are together.  While praises may be sung of the individual, as a community they are unstoppable. Unlike their more conventional human counterparts, those of Wyndon grew up being taught that hate and aggression were not necessarily wrong or undesirable. Rather that they could be necessary and advantageous for survival. How else, House Wyndon argues, have they been able to stand centuries vigilant against all that seeks to slither out of the Firelands? Their hatred of monsters burns bright, and among their number come some of the greatest Hunters of the human world.

Government

Wyndon’s Vow is their duty, and their vow is to each other and to the rest of humanity. Personal freedom is to be protected, and never again will they bow their necks in servitude. The practical part of a Wyndon’s Vow is to guard the Red Gateway, insuring that no horrors creep out of the Krag, as well as to watch over the Draconians in the Firelands, ensuring that they are not given a chance to threaten humanity again. As such, their government works in far more practical ways. Each Wyndon, no matter their gender, is expected to serve three years in the military, standing guard over the Krag. As such, every single Wyndon is able to take up arms if the call is made to defend their country. Positions are filled by the most fit.

Costuming

  • Light or medium blue and Red are their main colors. Blue represents the sky they've kept clear of Dragons, Red represents their bond to keep watch for Dragons
  • Try to avoid Green and Gold, Silver is preferred
  • More conservative medieval fantasy, think noble guardsmen, priestess, vestal virgin, or anything that speaks of honor and self-respect. Wyndon too likes to dress up, just with honor and respect for how the House is seen by others. 
  • As Wyndon has been touring the southern marshes and fire pits for quite some time they may have in their possession fossils, relics, and other items that only the House can understand 
  • Wyndon may have some tamed and non-threatening, mindless serpents they keep as pets 

Clan Gulph

Independent. Adventurous. Prideful. 

"Liberty is Life"

Not even the Draconians could ensure that every human remained in slavery, but there were few places for runaways to flee -- except the sea. Those of Clan Gulph are the descendants of those that fled to the open waters, banding together with whatever floating craft enabled their escape. At first, they were merely a nomadic people surviving by fishing, but as word of a home on the water got out, their number grew until they had enough to raid their former homeland. As larger ships joined their flotilla, they created the City of Sails, a nomadic fleet that allowed them to attack the Draconians and their masters long before Gitrix spoke to the Ardmores.  They gleefully joined the
Rebellion, but after their victory, they refused to return to land. Traders, raiders, and pirates -- Clan Gulph looks first after Clan Gulph. And now, the idea of ruling over the sea /and/ land has compelled them to war.  After all, they were the first to proclaim their freedom from Draconian rule by escaping to the sea, setting the example the other Houses followed in the land war that followed, so it should be them who rule now.

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Sea Blue
  • Minor Color: Gold 
  • Symbol: the Shield 

Customs: As the only pure seafaring people of Cambria, Clan Gulph will often collect precious items from the sea, such as rare shells and sea minerals to which land folk attach value. Trade brings them a good amount of gold that they tend to splurge on outlandish clothing and hats that appear almost garish in the more traditional land-based Kingdoms. They are also a culture of sea sport, including boat racing, plank saber dueling, and diving. Although they have access to the islands of the eastern sea, they prefer to live year round on their flotillas, employing the islands only to bury their treasure.

Geography: the eastern sea and they are known to conduct night raids on land by way of Cambria's central lock.

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

Religion

As a people who are constantly in motion, there are many beliefs among Clan Gulph. They are a superstitious lot – a fact which is driven by the capriciousness of the sea. In general, however, the peoples of Gulph follow an animistic bent – but they do not believe in the spirits of individual creatures or things. Rather, they believe in the spirits of groups of things – not a spirit of a fish, but the spirit of the school – there’s no spirit of a bird, but there’s a spirit of the flock. In fact, the nterpretations of the movements of these spirits is how the shamans of Clan Gulph perform their auguries. It is through these divinations, and their ability with herbal medicines, that gives the shaman so much sway over a crew and its leaders.

Clan Gulph reveres their heraldic beast, the hippocampus, but see it more as a kindred spirit rather than an object of worship.  The beast, half-horse and half-fish, is a creature of made from two worlds – both the land and the sea, much as Clan Gulph sees itself. The hippocampus is a fiercely independent creature, not one to be tamed easily but occasionally a crew will befriend one.  On these rare occasions, the creature will help a crew by providing warnings or lead them to a rich haul of fish.

Government

The sea is a harsh mistress and those of Clan Gulph survive it through cleverness, perseverance, and camaraderie.  The smallest form of government organization within Clan Gulph is the crew. Since Clan Gulph is a seafaring people, the organization of the crew is extremely important. The ship’s Captain rules over the crew and makes most
important decisions, but the crew has the power to depose a Captain and replace him through a democratic vote – one vote for each man (or woman).  So long as a Captain works in the interest of the ship’s crew – usually through keeping gold flowing to their pockets – the Captain is safe in his position.

There are, however, always Captains who aspire to more than the command of a single ship and its crew. Some Captains have the strength of personality to gather other ships to their banner. Those Captains who command a fleet of six or more ships of significance can claim the title of Commodore. It is these Commodores who are the true backbone of Clan Gulph. Like Captains, Commodores make most of the decisions for their fleets in terms of policy and how they conduct operations. The Captains below each Commodore technically have the ability to remove a Commodore, or to even leave the command of one
during peacetime, but in practice a Commodore is more likely to face a bloody mutiny than a civilized ousting.  When one ascends to such heights of command, the fall is all the deadlier.

The highest rank among Clan Gulph is that of the Sea King. When a Sea King dies (and this is almost always how they leave office) a new Sea King is chosen by the Commodores – which is almost always one of their ranks. The Sea King decides overall policy for all of Clan Gulph and to defy him will usually lead to trouble as the Sea King can make trade with other members of Clan Gulph difficult.

As brutal and harsh a life as many of Clan Gulph lead, most actually treat with each other in a surprisingly (to outsiders) egalitarian manner. A person’s destiny is their own and woe to those who try to suppress their freedom. They will argue among themselves for hours but when an outsider interferes, Clan Gulph is quick to close ranks. They are loyal to each other against all outside threats. After all, “Clan Gulph looks first after Clan Gulph.”

Costuming

  • Prime colors are Blue of the sea and Gold of trade
  • The Clan are not "dirty pirates" but rather more like sophisticated privateers who will carry items of the sea such as decorative shells and rare medicinal herbs and/or spices that are found of islands only Clan Gulph knows about, safe to say most Houses love having members of Clan Gulp as dinner guests both for their spices and their stories of the sea
  • Sea tools will also often be carried, such as compasses, nets etc.
  • Those of the Clan tend to like decorative hats
  • Think less stereotypical pirate and more like explorers from the Age of Exploration

The Brotherhood of Yarrow

Bonded. Fearless. Hungry. 

"Forget the Past, Move Forward"

Not all of humanity is sworn to a house or a location.  The Brothers of Yarrow, named after a hero of the Rebellion War, can be a home for those who seek a family more than loyalty to a piece of rock. The Brothers have one rule -- anyone can join, but once they become blood, their past is forgotten. All ties are severed, and all previous oaths
are forsworn. This mercenary group has long fought for whatever border skirmish or internal war comes along, ever since the Elder Dragons were slain, the second motto is said to be "Pay me, and I will slay the..", safe to say, they are eager to find someone to pay them to fight in it.

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Yellow
  • Minor Color: colors camp soil, brown, beige etc.
  • Symbol: Fist + Axe

Customs: As a purely outdoor people, they keep their fraternal customs secret and carry what is needed only to travel and survive. They are known as survivalists with "9 lives", being exceptional in hand-to-hand combat and resourceful in even the most treacherous of conditions. From an outsider's perspective, there is something almost tribal about the Yarrow, and their reputation as a fearless group of mercenaries is well earned.

Geography: Camp Yarrow is nestled on the east coast above the Eastern Planes and next to Castle Bryn Mawr, there are no walls or guards. If one is interested in an open field spar or, dare we say skirmish or battle, they will welcome that challenge in spades.

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

The Religion

When someone joins The Brothers, they leave all oaths behind - for many, this includes their religious ones. Although there is no requirement that says a Brother cannot be religious, many of them have taken to “worshipping” only the strong connection that exists within this group. For those who still maintain a tie to the religions of their former lands, those ties tend to grow weaker over time and ultimately fall away in all but name.

The Government

Those of Yarrow follow a Captain Commander who is chosen through a combination of experience and election. The Brotherhood is full of well heeled soldiers who know how to make sacrifices and to lead their fellows to victory, but without fail there is almost always one who rises from amongst their number. Should he ever stop being the obvious choice, any member of the Brotherhood can call for a vote to replace him. As long as the call receives a second, it will go forward with a vote.  A removed Captain Commander will still always have a place within the Brotherhood, so long as they do nothing to
betray its members.

Costuming

  • Bold Yellow to show independence and defiance, earth colors as well (beige, night blue, earth green)
  • Camping equipment, backpacks, water bottles, medical equipment, these men (and women) are on the move and ready to take action at anytime
  • Medieval caps, hoods, not lavish hats but something to deal with the elements and get hair out of one's face
  • Boots to deal with mud
  • Think mercenaries, pikemen, the Brothers are never afraid to get "down and dirty". 

Guild of Pembroke

Secretive. Gifted. Precious.

"What is Secret is Safe"

It was the magic of Cambria that brought down the Elder Dragons, and many humans have the ability to wield the raw powers of the land. Those that show this ability are sent to the Guild of Pembroke, overseen by a Master Mage who is selected every generation, long allied within the neutral lands of Bryn Mawr. After training in the arts of magic, they are often rehired as meisters and advisers for the noble houses within Cambria, usually in the land of their birth, but
not always. In the past, having two masters -- the Guild and their noble house -- has not been a problem for the Pembroke Mages. 

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

Major Color: White or Cream comfortable cloth

Minor Color: Red and Gold

Symbol: the Key to unlock their vast and sacred knowledge, plus "Cross thy Heart" for their loyalty

Customs: The Mages of Pembroke go back thousands of years. They were the keepers of the Human understanding of magic after the Draconian extinguishment of ancient lore. Now, they (somewhat) safely reside in the dense Everwood Forrest in the far northeastern region of Cambria. For generations they have handed down the Human understanding of both nature magic (Druid, Wiccan) and the few grasps still known of ancient Draconian magic. They will eagerly work as advisers to the main Kingdoms of the realm to combat infighting and what they see as dangerous superstition within each royal house to try to maintain peace within the realm.

Geography: This Guild resides, peacefully, in the dense Everwood Forrest. Many magical secrets may lay in these woods, but only the secret society of Pembroke shall share them.

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

As a secret Guild this information will be shared with the Guild members privately.

Costuming

  • Members will be told which House is their homeland, Guild members can then dress as their homeland or can shed their homelands culture and dress more pure akin to a forest Druid or Mage
  • The Guild will wear light white cloaks, capes, or sashes, with the red crosses being their symbol
  • They will also carry a Key as a symbol of their sacred membership in the guild
  • Magical and precious items of the forest may be carried in tote bags

THE DRACONIAN CLANS

 

Blood of Vermithrax

Fire must be Worshiped...

Those of the Blood of Vermithrax, fierce and furious, adhere to the traditions of their Draconian ancestors and their Elder Dragon Parental Gods. They will do anything in their power to ensure that Draconians once again establish a homeland, outside of the limits of the southern fire pits. They will also eternally strive to summon the spirits of the Elder Dragons so they can return to the realm as supreme rulers. To a Vermithrax, only truly loyal and pious Draconians are worthy of being rewarded the great power that of which is being the children of the Elder Dragons. They believe Gitrix was a traitor and charlatan and that the Elder Dragons were not vultures feeding off the the magic of the realm, but rather they are the true gods and, as such, Vermithrax represent the one loyal and true blood who should one day take their rightful place as rulers over Cambria again.

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Red 
  • Minor Colors: Gold
  • Symbol: Rising Dragon on a Sword

Customs: Little was known (until recently) about the Blood of Vermithrax. This is because, following the Great Extinguishment, the Human Kingdoms entered into a pact that all of the available books and records about the Draconians were to be locked away in the deepest chambers of Castle Bryn Mawr. Only certain keepers of Bryn Mawr and chosen senior members of the Pembroke Guild have access to these chambers in order to have the knowledge to safely control the various Dragon Thrones throughout Cambria. However, what is known is that Vermithrax is a warrior culture and that some of them can breath fire just like an Elder Dragon. The recent summit at Castle Bryn Mawr reveal much about this complex Clan, as reflected in the sections that follow.

Geography: It is now known that they strongly reside in the southern fire pits and will occasionally make military movements into the human controlled regions of Cambria. Thus far, it appears that they are employing a long term strategy of trying to divide the humans, and even pledging their limited support to some human causes, waiting the right time to make their full assault.

Religion

….For the Blood is the life and life is the blood. For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves upon My altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.  The Elder Blood is sacred. All those of  Vermithrax’s Brood know it to be so. It is how they gain their power and how they maintain the right to rule; it is the central tenet of their worship.

As such, before fledglings can take their place among those of the Blood of Vermithrax, they must first undergo the rite of the Dance of Sanguine Flames. Aided by the Priests and Priestesses of the Elder One, each fledgling is led down to the most violent and volatile rifts of the Fire Pits; it's here that they must walk (or dance) as the flames consume their bodies. If they are of strong blood, they survive, and bear the scars of their Second Birth. If they do not, well, Vermithrax never coddled the weak, and the Brood is better off without them.

Each Draconian pays homage to the Elder One, either in the temples of Flame (often within the hearts of smoldering volcanoes) or in the small fires they keep burning at home. Blood is a common offering, and the Draconians believe that such an offering will drip down to the bowels of the earth, strengthening their Master, eventually awakening him. And from the visions and signs, it would seem that such a practice has worked, as their blood boils and the earth moves not of its own accord…

Government

Blood is everything to these Draconians. Those once favored by Vermithrax often find their descendants in positions of power. The current Archon (King) of Vermithrax can successfully trace his family line back to the first Draconian servant of the dread Vermithrax the Destroyer himself. Those who can both prove lineage and command the Elder One’s blood often have the power in the Clan. However, blood lineage is not necessarily everything, and it is not uncommon for Draconian positions of power to be hotly contested, and for Draconians to fight over the right to prove one’s “Blood”.

Costuming

  • Reds, Gold (and/or Yellow Gold), and Black
  • Avoid Purple, Blue, Green (some silver items will not undue your costume if you are also in Red)
  • Medieval fantasy clothing works, clean lines fitted work well to reference the traditional and knightly ways of this clan
  • They like weapons and rising Dragon symbolism
  • Scales / horns are up to each player and are not mandatory. They are less magical and more "Might Makes Right". Masks are even applicable to Vermithrax as they range range from Human-Like Draconian, to Human-Like Dragon!

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Blood of Ashbridge

Fire must be Controlled...

The Ashbridge Draconians are unique among the their race, as their philosophy is formed by their famous founding member -- Gitrix. She sought alliances with humanity and believed that that eternal slavery to the Elder Dragons was no place for her fellow Draconians, or the humans they ruled over, as the Elder Dragons were draining the life energy from Cambria which would doom all, human and Draconian alike. Thus, upon the end days of the revolution those Draconians who followed Gitrix's message fled to the dessert lands and formed their own unique culture, free from strict Draconian traditions and human threats to them. Less might and more magical than their Vermithrax sisters and brothers Ashbridge are willing to work with both sides to achieve fairness, but they will defend themselves staunchly if necessary. Also, following the recent summit, Ashbridge has departed from some of the original messages of Gitrix (that Elder Dragons should not be resurrected) as Ashbridge seeks to resurrect the Elder Dragon who save them, Charis

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Purple 
  • Minor Colors: Silver and Black
  • Symbol: Diplomatic Dragon
  • Customs: Unknown to Humans 

Geography: They actually freely live deep within the endless Zareen dessert to the southwest, a climate that human expeditions and armies cannot enter due to the temperature and sand storms. This is a natural defense for Ashbridge.

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

Religion

The Blood of Ashbridge are not totally and completely devoted to the worship of the deceased Elder Dragons like Vermithrax. Ashbridge are followers of the message of Gitrix and willing to work with peaceful humans towards diplomatic means.

Government

Those of the blood see themselves as the natural successors to Gitrix, and have seen themselves that way for generations. Like Gitrix, they believe ultimately in peace instead of war. The inner workings of the Clan reflect this devotion to peace - although they do have a King, he works with, and answers to, a Council of governors who advise him on all matters public and political. The ruler is chosen by the governors, but is chosen for life and cannot be removed except through death.  

Costuming

  • Purple is their color, as it represents a mix of traditional Draconian Red and dessert oasis Blue
  • Avoid Red, Gold, and Orange
  • Silver is their metal, as chromium and carbon steel withstand high heat
  • As a dessert Clan any clothing that would be comfortable for dessert living would be expected, flowing and airy clothing, scarfs, jewelry from the dessert and so on. However, Draconians do handle the heat well so traditional armor and dresses are comfortable for them too
  • Scales / horns are up to each player and are not mandatory, also Ashbridge is more magical so unique magical items, wands, secret journals, and more are all favored. 

Blood of Karakung

Fire must be Forgiven...

Karakung began as a secret sect within Vermithrax. Their message: they wanted to rule over humanity again as living gods in of themselves, this meant not resurrecting Elder Dragons and defeating the humans in battle directly. Their original strategy was more direct: convince (or convert) Vermithrax to their message (that Elder Dragons should not be resurrected) and then united Draconians could make war with the humans to become the new gods. However, extremists corrupted Karakung, their new plan shifted to allowing the resurrection of an Elder Dragon to then, at its birth, use dark magic to take its power to become all powerful, eternal gods of the realm. Fortunately, the extremists were stopped. 

So what now has become of Karakung? 

Karakung has been overtaken by spiritual leaders, those who freely admit their sect's failings and sins. Karakung's new message is of "rebirth" and views itself as a 'church' where Draconians (and possibly humans) can be "cleansed" of their misdeeds. To a follower of Karakung, a Draconian did not choose their powers or place, their ancestors were created by way of magic from an alien Dragon race imposed upon humans with no free will. Karakung is pursuing a means to cope with the fact that a Draconian's "existence preceded their essence". Presently, they are being tolerated by the Draonians Blood Clans and closely watched.

House Colors / Symbols / Customs

  • Major Color: Black
  • Minor Colors: Deep Orange or Blood Orange
  • Symbol: Wraith Dragon
  • Customs: Karakung chose not to change their symbols or colors, as it is an eternal reminder that extremism can arise at anytime. They now chose to wear mostly black, almost as if they are in morning, and they meet in secret. They can be seen praying on a one knee (to whom, to what is only known by Karakung) before mealtime. They no longer shake hands, unless you are a member of their sect and have been cleansed.
  • Geography: They have no home but have established a few churches in caves in the firelands and desserts to the south. They roam where they are tolerated and often volunteer to assist others to establish trust for this toleration of their presence.

Religion / Government / Costume Ideas

Religion

See above. 

Government

All that is known right now is that their appears to be a hierarchal structure of this 'religion', as follows:

  • Acolyte
  • Consecrator
  • Lector
  • Reader
  • Disciple

Anyone outside of Karakung does not know the significance of these terms.

Costuming

  • Think funeral, as if you represent the death of you past, the death of your mistakes, the death of all things that have been wrong in Cambria, black 'mourning' attire is idea
  • Avoid most colors so you are not confused with other teams, black and orange is ideal
  • Karakung needs some type of symbol. We will consult with Karakung players about that symbol!

Geography/ Locations

Cambria - the continent/lands central to the setting. It is bordered on the east by the Cerulean Sea, the west by the Endwall Mountains, the south by the Firelands, and the north by the Frost Moors. Geographically, Cambria is a rough and rocky land, split into 5 main lands/kingdoms/duchies, and bordered by harsh, largely uninhabitable lands on most sides.

  • Northern Reaches -

    • Caer Farran - The Iron Citadel is the mountain stronghold of House Helfarian and a testament to their engineering genius. It is an imposing sight from even a league or more away, and is widely considered to be utterly impregnable.

    • Everwood - A vast wilderness of evergreen forests many leagues in area spread out into the Reaches and the southern borders of the Frost Moors. The land provides a nearly endless source of lumber and game animals for the humans that populate the many frontier communities that dot the land.

  • Eastern Plains -

    • Caer Montrell - The Ivory Citadel of House Lancaster sits atop a confluence of two rivers in the very center of the fertile lands of Danan’s Cradle. Built on flat land instead of high, rocky ground like the citadels of the other Great Houses, Caer Montrell is easily one of the least defensible strongholds in Cambria, but that is as the Lancasters’ would have it. Caer Montrell is a bastion of mercantile, cultural, and artistic exchange, and is easily the most cosmopolitan city in all of Cambria.

    • Danan’s Cradle - Fertile farmlands, vineyards, plantations, and orchards dominate the center of House Lancaster's lands and holdings. Of all the Great Houses, the Merions have the largest number of vassal Houses scattered through the Cradle to oversee the wealth of food and cash crops that are traded throughout Cambria.

  • Western Expanse -

    • Caer Orynth - The Gold Citadel is the seat of power of House Ardmore. It is a glorious (some would say garish) testament to the incredible wealth, influence, and culture of the Ardmores.

    • Endwall Mountains - A stretch of great mountains separates the temperate lands and holdings of the Ardmores from the vast, arid Zareen Desert. The Endwalls are extensively mined by House Ardmore operations for gems and precious metals.

  • Southern Marches - Subtropical climate, hot summers, mild winters, heavy tropical storm season; flatlands, grasslands, swamps, floodplains, some major river systems

    • Sadathea - The fortress temple of the Wyndons has stood inviolate at the Red Gates of the Krag for centuries. Constructed during the Rebellion War as the first bastion against the armies of the Elder Dragons, it has withstood Draconian assaults, siege bombardment, and even dragonfire for centuries.

    • The Krag - A twisting maze of shattered valleys and trenches that divides the Marches from the Firelands. Rock slides, lava flows, and untold varieties of dragonspawn plague the labyrinthine passages, making safe travel into the Firelands nearly impossible.

  • Cerulean Sea -

    • City of Sails - When the last of the Elder Dragons fell and the heroes of the Rebellion War began carving up the lands of Cambria, the sea folk of Clan Gulph rejected the land and returned to the sea that had nurtured them for generations. While there are scattered pockets of civilization on small islands, the majority of the Gulph reside in the City of Sails, an enormous group of vessels lashed together to create a floating city that moves slowly from place to place.

    • The Pall - Where the burning flows of the Firelands meet the waters of the Cerulean a great wall of steam rises to cover the sea for leagues, shrouding the land and water alike in thick fog. As if that itself were not treacherous enough the coast of the Firelands is a broken maze of stone shards and islets infested with sea drakes, leviathans, and other aquatic dragonspawn.

  • Firelands - A burning wasteland to the south of Cambria’s habitable lands, separated from the Southern Marches by the Krag. It is a desolate land of erupting volcanoes, ash storms, and burning pits. It is an unforgiving hellscape to any but the Draconians and other dragonspawn who thrive there.

    • Fire Pits - When the Elder dragons came to Cambria they burrowed deep into the ground to make their nests and spread their poison throughout the land. All that remains of those lairs now are eternally smoldering chasms deep within the Firelands that regularly spew forth dragonspawn.

    • Talons of Nargus - Massive, twisting stone spires that rise hundreds of feet into the air. They are infested with all manner of flying dragonspawn, but wyverns in particular make their nests in the caverns that riddle them. The Talons were created by the Elder Dragon Nargus using powerful dragon magics to pull the spires up from the ground.

  • Frost Moors - In the north, beyond the great mountain fortress of House Helfarian is a cold land of evergreen forests, frozen scrublands, and seemingly endless stretches of taiga and tundra. Few humans live in this place, but other savage creatures roam the frigid expanse.

  • Zareen Desert - Over the great Endwall Mountains stretches a vast, arid desert with no known end. Few venture over the mountains themselves, much less out into the burning sands, but most who do never return. Some few intrepid explorers return with tales of ghosts that wander the sands at night, illusory cities that are forever out of reach, and other strange figments that plague any brave enough to travel the desert.

  • Caer Bryn Mawr - The Great Citadel, the Eternal Sanctuary, the Castle of Doors, and the End of All Roads, Caer Bryn Mawr is to the castles of the Great Houses as those great citadels are to a roadside tavern. Constructed during the Rebellion War centuries ago as a bastion of the allied peoples of Cambria, the castle itself is a near impossible construction forged by a circle of human sorcerers led by Gitrix the Red. It remains one of the greatest wonders of magical construction in the known lands. The castle itself is nearly impossible to access by land, but is connected to many locations throughout Cambria through arcane Waygates and very rare Pathstones, runic artifacts with the power to turn any door into a gateway to a keyed doorway in the castle. Ancient magics suffuse the stones of Caer Bryn Mawr in complex arrays of enchantments with a wide variety of effects, but the most prevalent utterly prohibits any sort of violence or bloodshed within the walls of the citadel, making it a place of safety and sanctuary frequently used as a neutral meeting place for even the most dire of enemies.