The Lorestaves – Prelude
by Fraser Ronald and Dean Martin
Almost a thousand years ago, Humankind had found civilization. City-states had risen to offer protection to the people. Philosophers and poets began to formulate logic and art. In this, the Old Gods had a hand. Led by the Al-Pater and Danu, the Encompassing Mother, the Old Gods walked the lands, involved in Humanity, in the achievements of man.
Then came the one called the Wanderer, the Divine Voice and the Shining Prophet.
The Wanderer brought word of the New God. The world turned from the Old Gods and soon the New God became the True God. The world changed. Magic, once a realm of science and philosophy, became a cauldron of superstition. The priests of the True God lacked the spells of healing and life that had nurtured fragile Humanity for so many centuries. As magic was denied them, the religious powers denied it. Kings and princes followed the dictates of the religious masters. Wizards and sorcerers became bogeymen and scapegoats. Those who had aided the sick and wounded, who had protected the seeds of the farmer, who had dispensed justice and shielded the weak were turned from their homes. Some burned, some hid, many died.
Only in one place did the old learning survive. In Highstone, the Magus survived. The master of the arcane arts created a sanctuary for those magic touched and a college for those who wished to learn the lost sciences. Soon after the coming of the True God, a crusade crashed against the walls of Highstone. The Magus laid waste the land for fathoms. Armies died. Never again was Highstone assailed.
Slowly, even in Highstone, knowledge of the Old Gods disappeared, hidden in dusty scrolls and ancient legends.
What none knew was that the Wanderer was Incarnos, a deva—a guardian spirit of the Old Gods. He had seen the suffering of age and disease and wished to save Humanity from this. He had believed this was a curse of the Old Gods. For centuries he studied the Planes of Reality, seeking an answer to his dilemma. The New God found him, promising to release Humanity from the bondage of the Old Gods. Incarnos believed him, and helped him access the world. He quickly learnt this New God had lied to him.
Trapped in an immortal body, devoid of his powers, Incarnos walked the world. With the same diligence with which he had planned the downfall of the Old Gods, he sought some way to contact them, perhaps release them. Why had they not stood against the New God? Why had they proved so weak?
Finally, Incarnos has learned the truth, but the New God—the True God—does not wish for any knowledge of the Old Gods to survive, even in the mind of one. His hounds seek to find Incarnos and kill the unkillable. Incarnos, though, cannot release the Old Gods. Only mortals may. The secrets are trapped in 10 staves created at the dawn of time—the Lorestaves.
Above was to be the introduction to a series of modules based around the concept of finding the Lorestaves and releasing the Old Gods. This entire cycle of adventures would have in turn been an introduction to the Divided Kingdoms, a campaign setting by Dean Martin.
Those who have followed Sword’s Edge Publishing from its founding in 2004 will recognize Dean Martin as one of the company founders. He has since moved on to pursue a career in law enforcement, and the development of the Lorestaves and the Divided Kingdoms screeched to a halt. Not even the first module was completed.
However, rather than let the work done during development go to waste, Sword’s Edge Publishing will host it as part of our now barren Arcane Kingdoms line. The introductory materials, the module and the rough maps will all be hosted here, as will fiction that was originally written to support the release of the modules. Only the first chapter was ever completed, and this will be broken into bite-sized chunks and posted here.
I hope that you enjoy this little peek at what could have been, and I hope that there is something useful in all this for your own campaigns.