Where Adventures Begin

There are some important events happening in Tamarra now that offer great opportunities for interesting adventuring. Read on to find your spot!

The Wars of Above and Below: The Tamarran Continent at War with the Sightless Nations

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The Tamarran Continent

There have been some huge earthquakes on the Tamarran Continent over the last twenty years, with the most recent occurring in the year SP~5,005.  Large cracks in the skin of the Continent have opened up, with the deepest ones revealing previously unknown realms of creatures that have lived below the surface of Ethem, without sunlight, for many years.  Believing that the earthquake was an invasion, they fought back.  Beware: there are periodic excursions by raiders from down below, and there are also rumors that several of the most powerful underground nations have allied with some nefarious powers above-ground and are plotting a large-scale invasion.

The Dwarf Clan Disputes and Invasion of the Undying Lands

The many dwarf clans that live in the southwestern part of Tamarra are on the verge of war with each other.  Their disputes have spilled over into the Undying Lands, which are near the homes of some of the strongest clans.  We know that there was a failed attempt by the Kardash dwarf clan to invade the Undying Lands, which are wealthy and generally peaceful; it is unclear what became of those invaders. That has not stopped the other dwarf clans of the southern half of the continent from carrying on their blood feuds.  It will require great diplomacy, or perhaps some friends in high places, to navigate this area of the continent; if diplomacy doesn’t work, it may require some good fighting skills!

The Shem Amaum

These creatures are some of the most cruel and merciless monsters currently on the Tamarran Continent.  They were brought to Tamarra over thirty years ago by the Nulentians, a race of creatures that live across the eastern oceans, in their most recent attempt to invade this continent (SP~4,970 – 4,974).  The Nulentians had designed (or bred…or both) these creatures to have a bloodlust that overcame all thoughts of self-preservation or mercy toward their perceived enemies.  The Nulentians were beaten back, as they were in their prior two attempts; but in their attempt to flee, they left behind many thousands of these terrible creatures.  Now (mostly) leaderless, they wander the roads and fields of the continent, looking for something to kill.

The Galguhn War and the Northern Goblin Uprising

This bloody conflict ended less than 20 years ago in SP~4,988, but the repercussions continue.  The Nashem Mountains are filled with an increasing number of goblins and other unpleasant creatures; gurv, gamol, and ravagers**, to name but a few.  This threatens Naldrin City, which lies at the very southern extent of these mountains. The old parts of the city, on and beneath the mountains, are particularly dangerous.

The Stillness Wars and the End of the Quay Empire

The Stillness Wars, between the Quay Empire and a large number of undead, were one of the major wars of the last 50 years.  The Quay Empire lost, and as a result there is a large swath of territory across the middle of the continent where undead roam freely, making travel perilous.  Guides, and some good mercenaries, are highly recommended.

This is only the beginning of the story, since there are many other things going on throughout the Tamarran Continent.  Stay tuned for subsequent blog entries!


*The history section of our rulebook, Beyonder: The Science of the Six, also gives a brief view of current events.

** See Imbelnhi’s Bestiary: Being a Traveler’s Account of our Continent and her Creatures for information about these disturbing creatures.

Organizations: Wind and Silence

“If you have the courage to change the world, and the strength to do it…to move like the wind, without a sound…think of the Wind and Silence.”

    — Found on fliers posted throughout Naldin City, Tarnath, and some parts of the Region of    Jowea during the early days of the month of Sula, SP~5,013

Wind and Silence Exposed!

— Odo Wellobra, Naldrin City News, winner of the Aydilly Award for Excellence in Reporting

Naldrin City, Sula 53, SP~5,013 — We at the Naldrin City News have written frequently about the organization known as “Wind and Silence” (W&S).  Readers may recall the strong evidence we presented linking W&S to the Dwarf Clan Disputes and the Invasion of the Undying Lands in SP~5,009:  W&S was apparently working for most, if not all, of the dwarf clans in uncovering the military capabilities and strategies of each of the other clans.  It was notable that W&S was able to unearth the most intimate details from each clan.  Perhaps more notable was their ability to then sell those secrets to every other clan, thus getting quite a bit more than “double duty” for each of their efforts.

Our publication went on record as claiming that this was basically a money-making enterprise by Wind and Silence, keeping the warring parties on more or less equal footing, so that this terrible conflict continues to this very day. A number of smaller dwarf clans from the area have countered that claim, stating that W&S has kept them alive in their struggle to be free.  In spite of this backlash from the southern dwarf clans (and the pronounced lack of interest from our readers in any news from the southern half of our Continent!), we stand by our original story.

In this same spirit of revealing the truth, we at NCN have discovered that Wind & Silence is working closely with the dwarven Council Member Druwakk Akkarrn, one of the wealthiest citizens of Naldrin City, for unknown purposes.  Though she denies it to our reporters, it is clear that Councilor Akkarrn covets the position of leader of the Council of Drawnwyn.  We ask our readers: can Akkarn’s purposes, in support of her enormous ambitions, be anything other than nefarious?


Stay tuned to these pages over the next weeks as we reveal more of the dark underpinnings that surround this story.

Energetic Barriers

Barriers, Understanding, and Oneness: the Path of the Guilds

 

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Emotion Energy

For Guild members, the purest form of progress is that of becoming one with one or more Energies. This is achieved through hard work, determination, and overcoming the various obstacles — known as barriers — encountered on their journey.

A barrier is a point in the path to Energetic oneness that is consistent for every Channel who treads the path. Barriers represent the culminating effort of understanding and unity with an Energy on one level before proceeding to the next.

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Mental Energy

Think of the path of Energetic oneness as a skyscraper. Overcoming the first barrier gets you into the first floor. While there, you can learn about that floor and what it has to offer. After exploring sufficiently, you can piece together the key code that will take you to floor two on the elevator. Once at floor two, you must explore and increase your understanding with a more complex layout, until you can finally move on to floor three. And so on, with each floor off the ground bringing the Channel into closer and closer communion with their chosen Energy.

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Body Energy

Each barrier overcome brings a Channel closer to this oneness, and with each step the Channel becomes less “mundane” and more a creature of pure Energy. This is not to say that they cease to become who they are (it is theorized that this would eventually happen, but to date, no one has achieved such perfection), but rather that the nature of their being changes, giving them supernatural powers and abilities related to the Energy in which they have just overcome this barrier.

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Physic Energy

Overcoming barriers is an achievement honored by the Guilds, and they distinguish specific stages of achievement for those who have overcome certain barriers.  

  • Novices: Those having overcome the first, second, or third barriers are considered Novices. They are early in the stages of learning the Energetic arts, and are generally the object of gentle encouragement by more nurturing Guild members. About 45% of trained Guild members are Novices.*
  • Initiates: Those having overcome the fourth, fifth, or sixth barriers are considered Initiates. At this stage, the Channel has proven their worth as a full “adult” in the Energetic arts. Initiates are afforded the basic amount of respect you would show to a fellow Guild member. About 40% of trained Guild members are Initiates.*

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    Spirit Energy

  • Adepts: Those having overcome the seventh, eighth, or ninth barriers are considered Adepts. Overcoming these barriers is a definite achievement, and not something most Guild members reach. They are generally afforded a great deal of respect by fellow Guild members, and some take on the responsibility of helping other, less accomplished Channels in their own journeys. About 10% of trained Guild members are Adepts.*
  • Masters: Those having overcome the 10th, 11th, or 12th barriers are considered Masters. Only a few people ever accomplish this task of surmounting the most difficult of barriers to their Energetic oneness. Masters are given not just respect, but outright deference by their fellow Guild Members. They are consulted on matters of great import, and sometimes bestow great honor on a Channel by taking them as their pupil.
    About 4% of trained Guild members are Masters.*

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    Shadow Energy

  • Prodigies: Of course, there are those who have overcome even more difficult barriers, and these are known as Prodigies. While they are few and far between, they are not unheard of. Many Enforcers, the Guilds’ elite police and strike force, have overcome the 13th barrier — and higher — in their primary Energy. Channels of this status are regarded as celebrities amongst most Channels, and even some non-Guild folks, depending on how they use their powers and whether their fame has spread. Such celebrities include Pirixchi, the de facto leader of the GERC; Gill, a continent-class Umbrist and thief; and Ordon of the Whirling Blades, current Commander of the Enforcers. And, of course, the amazing Mayor of Tarnath, Sympriono Ka’nesi. About 2% of trained Guild members are Prodigies.*

*Not all Channels are registered with the Guilds, so these numbers are approximate.

Organizations: Open Hand

Welcome To Open Hand Bootcamp

— Elstrog Vorman, Master of First Year Recruits, on the first day of basic training.  She gives this speech verbatim every year, with identical pace and inflection. Vorman is a tall, lithe, but muscular ishiri with blood-red streaks of ruby running along her whole body like hundreds of old battle scars.  Though she is not a Channel, she is respected by comrades and feared by foes for her skill in battle and her unwavering commitment to her missions.

Jordan Campbell

Jordan Campbell, the voice behind Elstrog Vorman

Salutations, recruits!  Welcome to the first day of the rest of your lives.  Up to this day you may have thought your life had meaning, purpose, or direction. Or perhaps you have wandered through life aimlessly only to find yourself here.  However you got here, whatever convictions you entered with, they are all insignificant.  From this point forward you pledge your life to a greater purpose.  

When it comes down to it the Open Hand are protectors.  We are renowned for our unyielding commitment to our clients who pay a hefty fee to get the best.  We are bodyguards for royalty, we are escorts for priceless treasures, we are guides on dangerous expeditions, we are the impenetrable wall around the village against which hordes of Scarecrows shatter, and we are the last one standing when the enemy finally overwhelms the keep, giving our clients enough time to escape.  

Over the next 6 weeks we will train your mind, body, and soul. At the end of this time, you will become an Initiate.  While a large part of this training will be focused on your physical fitness, strength alone will not keep you alive. We will send you on missions where your survival will depend also on your wit, social skills, historical knowledge, and force of will.  There may come a time when the mission’s success will require you to throw caution to the wind, put your life on the line, and hope for the best.  I can count the number of times that I have been willing to make that sacrifice by counting the lines that cover my body. I would not give up a single line.  Yes, there will be glory; there will be rewards; there will be times of of great joy and prosperity; but this all comes second to your commitment to the cause.

Why listen to me?  Because I am one voice, but I speak on behalf of many.  I speak for Isthar Kassir, the first Master of the Open Hand.  Isthar died a proud crawn, surrounded by 100 dead foes — but the family he was charged to protect remained unharmed.  He was succeeded by Tralwai the Green, a kamari woman with bright green foliage.  When she laughed and her leaves shook all would smile and forget war, but her battle cry would make the fiercest foe flee in fear.  She died old and content, in the great woods of the West, with a flawless record of service.  

Since then, thousands have joined the cause, and now here you stand, the next to join the ranks.  Again I say: however you got here, whatever convictions you entered with, they are insignificant.  From this point forward you pledge your life to a greater purpose, and I tell you from my own experience, it is worth every mark that scores my skin a thousandfold.

Sex Shifting

Zilwey Enua, GERC Senior Medical Researcher

Somans have known how to change their own biological sex for at least centuries, and perhaps millennia; the first known record of a transition dates back to SP~4,590, when the crawn Soman by the name of Tasziik changed her body from that of a biological male to that of a female. This transitioning is not uncommon among the Guild; hundreds of Somans have recorded their own experiences of moving between male and female bodies (and everywhere in between). It is curious, therefore, that in some societies this still seems to carry a stigma. Ushen culture, for instance, tends to regard gender nonconformity as a perfectly normal occurrence, whether it manifests as a desire to physically transition sex or simply identifying oneself as a gender other than what they were given at birth with no desire to transition. Crawns are notoriously less accepting – which makes Tasziik’s historic change all the more impressive.

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Kamari female (left) and male (right)

Lhavernu Sah is, to my knowledge, the only Soman on Tamarra who specializes in Energetic reassignment of gender in others – and he is one of only a dozen or so Somans who know the process of transitioning bodies other than their own.

Lhavernu, an ushen from the tribes of Lochuum, was originally trained as a medic at no less prestigious a university than Naldrin’s First. He was among the top students in his class, and worked as a healer in the city for years – until one day a patient came to him with a problem he had never faced before. This patient, a female-bodied kamari, had never felt that he had, as he put it, the “right body.” He felt he was a man despite having traditionally female anatomy.

Lhavernu thought that he could solve this problem. That he could do what no one had ever done before: change the biological and Energetic sex of someone other than himself.

The process of creating the Power to transition a stranger’s body was long and full of technical jargon. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that Lhavernu was resoundingly successful. The technique is difficult to master, but can consistently change the physical body from one sex to another over the course of mere months. And while the population of Somans who have spent the time to learn the procedure is still small, it’s growing every year.

Organizations: The GERC

Javeer Akcher: Senior Physical Investigator for the Guild Energetic Research Coalition

The Guild Energetic Research Coalition: the GERC. That’s pronounced “GURK,” mind you, not “JERK.” Yes, we have heard the jokes. They’re hilarious.

The GERC is the largest research coalition on the Tamarran continent – and that is giving generous credence to the other “organizations” that float around like so many seeds in the wind. We fund over 15,000 researchers, once you’ve tallied up all the lab assistants and principal investigators and whatnot.

We developed the hammool tracks that now allow for fast travel across the continent. We mapped the spines of the oceans, developed the Sound that allows living folks to travel safely in undead Quiets, and crafted the thread-thin metal okku that stabilizes buildings to five, six, even ten stories across the continent. We are the force of innovation on Tamarra, the wind of scientific change. Ahem – but I wax poetic. You must not let me carry on like this or we’ll be here all day!

Speaking to some specifics, the GERC is an umbrella entity comprising many teams:

    • Acquisitions and Archival: A&A is the backbone, in many ways, of our organization. A&A maintains our libraries, our archives, our records of all known Powers and – thanks to the NGEI’s work (see below) – records of Spells.
    • Division of Geographic and Fexoanatomical Surveys and Research: We call this organization Geo, because lord is that full name a mouthful. They explore the world around us, mapping and exploring. In one of  their most thrilling projects, they have explored the so-called “Spines” of the seas to our east and west. Someday we may find a way to travel beyond these, to other continents – if they exist.
    • Energetic Experimental Group: The curious heart of the GERC. EEG researchers fiddle and tinker with the very core of the Six Energies, developing new Powers and new technologies at a tremendous rate.
    • Materials Development Division: The stolid older sister of the EEG, the MDD works with physical materials. They developed okku (see above), and they work with the EEG constantly to craft previously unseen wonders.
    • Mnemonic Division: The mnemonic division is a special group. They are our memory, our eyes and ears on expeditions. Mnems (“nems”), as we call them, train to use Mental Energy so that they forget nothing – absolutely nothing. They accompany Sojourner expeditions to provide accurate records of everything that happened, and transmit it Energetically into the minds of others.
    • Non-Guild Energetic Investigation: The division that preserves and records the culture of the few remaining sorcerer tribes. The Guilds have a spotty history with the sorcerers, to put it lightly. I personally think the NGEI is the absolute least they could do. Terma Lanchet, who leads it, is an absolute wonder, though.
    • Sojourners: The explorers, with a dash of derring-do and a dash of sheer insanity on top of a heap of genius. These intrepid adventurers go where most will not to explore the farthest reaches of our world.
    • Voices: The Voices occupy an interesting niche within the GERC. Diplomats, linguists, and cultural savants all in one, they developed as a kind of independent branch within the Guilds. They were lumped into the GERC through a stroke of chance, and now provide services both to us specifically and to the Guilds as a whole.
  • Wyrd Division: The Wyrd Division is… a little off. They work with that intriguing energy called Wyrd that seems to be some sort of breakdown product of Shadow, or perhaps Shadow catalyzing breakdown of the other five Energies. Kemmfaut Lap-Kep, who leads it, is among the most bizarre and yet most brilliant people I have had the pleasure to meet.

And of course, within these divisions are subdivisions and smaller teams and little groups of inquisitive minds prying into every force you’d care to mention that the Ten were not meant to meddle with. Around the GERC we don’t take well to limitations.