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Background of Terminus

Cosmology

The power of light belongs to the Gods; the power of fire to the Titans, and Terminus was created and blessed from both sources. The world of Terminus is unique. It stands alone as the sole creation of the Gods and Titans in the Material plane; other of their creations inhabit the other realms, but Terminus is the only world. There are no planes, as such. Each God has a sphere of influence, and the Titans have a unified sphere of influence. These appear as stars to mortal beings, or, in the case of the Titans’ sphere, as a vast cloud of stars. Outside of these spheres, the Void seethes with cold and darkness.

The original intent for Terminus was that the world was to occupy the center of this universe, well away from the chaotic Void that exists away from the protection of the higher beings. However, due to the events in the Age of War, the world of Terminus is now hurtling away from its rightful place, and only vestiges of the Gods and Titans can reach Terminus now.

Culture

Good vs. Evil is not the focus on Terminus. Truthfully, many acts that would be considered evil (such as the enslavement of the Forgers) are tolerated, simply because they lead to a greater good. No, the focus is on order vs. Chaos. Order leads to survival. Chaos leads only to suffering and death.

The main reason for this is the arctic weather that dominates Terminus. The nearby star is old, provides only feeble light, and very little heat. However, as hard as life is, most have come to love the cold. Once a decade, at Terminus’ perihelion to its star, it grows just warm enough to cause the ice to melt slowly. For these 3 weeks, panic is only barely restrained.

In addition, the old races are dead. A few more bestial offshoots might exist somewhere, but humans hold dominion over what is left of the world. More than a few races are available to play, but they are for the purposes of this world, different statures of human. Simply remove any racial traits that list an origin other than human. The classes are all available, with some changes in flavor. Several different themes are available due to the unique nature of Terminus.

Geography

Terminus is a harsh mistress. On the warmest days, the temperature just manages to crawl above freezing; on the coldest days, and at night, the temperature can plummet to one hundred degrees below freezing.

As shown on this climate map, the southern hemisphere of Terminus is comprised mostly of an ocean, the Ael; the northern is comprised of a super-continent and its islands. The two curving southern points of the continent – Virtril and Interal enclose a smaller ocean, the Cael.

  • Green denotes areas where animal life can be found, and where temperatures are warm enough to let humans subsist at least fairly well.
  • Brown denotes scrubland, or hard-packed snow and ice, where only a few creatures live, and where humans would have a very difficult time surviving over an extended period.
  • Cyan denotes ice cliffs (near Mossbank Cliffs) and unfrozen fresh water (near Dhaurm and Mederi).
  • Grey denotes low mountain, usually bare rock. No humans live here.
  • White denotes high mountains, nearly always ice-covered. Only the most austere of living conditions live here, and the only three human settlements at these altitudes are all Anchorite monasteries (Sunshadow, Kestrelstrommen, and Cadence).

The altitude map reveals the two mountain ranges that band the globe, Aegeotl, and Torgeol. The temperature map shows why most people keep to land; the sharp rise in temperature (all the way up to 11˚C!) causes vast storm systems that stand still in the ocean. Three of these enormous storms are perpetually raging: Caelanthrus, just off the coast from the Mossbank Cliffs, Revestrus, north of Invernë Links, and Aeltorus, southeast of Windrise in the Ael.

Magic

A few Gods and Titans still can still reach Terminus, albeit tenuously. Gods give divine casters their powers; Titans give arcane casters their powers. Psionics is known as Void Magic in Terminus. Its knowledge is fairly recent, made possible by Terminus growing ever closer to the chaotic void which exists outside the influence of the Gods and Titans. Magic uses the caster’s own life force to fuel itself. This slowly eats away at most people. Player characters, however, are not most people.

  • Due to the position of Terminus, though, so far away from the light and heat of the deities, powers with the keyword Fire or Radiant are harder to cast. These powers take a -2 to attack rolls, but gain an extra die of damage (of whichever type the power usually deals). Both the caster and the target take this extra damage.
  • Any spells that draw their power from the Gods or Titans are hard to cast. The strongest casters though, can channel additional energy to make their spells more reliable. At any time, a caster may take an additional 1d6 damage in order to increase his attack roll by 2.
  • Also, because of the position of Terminus, drawing closer to the cold and dark of the chaotic Void, powers with the keyword Ice, Lightning, Thunder or Shadow gain a +2 bonus to attack.
  • The chaotic Void is antithetical to all life. Most casters go slowly insane as this energy corrodes their body. While player characters can withstand this, augmenting Psionic powers causes 1d4 damage per power point used.

Trade and Economics

Most cities have long since stood where they are, and most trade using similar currencies. The inter-dependence of the various peoples is so pronounced that historically, any city who has tried to stand on its own has not lasted long before its populace has risen up in protest. That being said, most cities still retain a heightened sense of individuality, and there exist several city-states and federations, each with their own currency. This currency is based on a shared standard however, and coins must be at least a certain weight. Cities who wish to attract more trade will often over-weight their coins, in essence giving merchants who trade in their cities a tip for doing so.

Five main trade routes exist. Lesser trade routes interconnect these often, but not at regular intervals.

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