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An Abbreviated History of Yrth

In Ages Past
Before the Banestorm, Yrth was home to three races: the elves, the dwarves, and the
orcs. Dwarf and elf fought from time to time, but they were always united in their
hatred of the orcs, and the feelings were mutual.
By the , the main continent of Yrth, Ytarria, was basically stable. Dwarves made their
home in Zarak and other mountainous regions. The elves inhabited the vast forests
that blanketed Ytarria in those days. The orcs were nomads for the most part, at times
pillaging dwarf or elf settlements. Relations between elves and dwarfs were peaceful.
In these times of peace a group of elves lived in the western Ytarrian forest, what is
now the Great Desert. Constantly ravaged by marauding orcs, the survivors finally
decided to do something about the orc barbarians, and the dwarves, too, while they
were at it.
Calling themselves the Defenders of the Shaded Woodlands, these elves at first trained
with the sword, but some eventually picked up the harp as well, and spread their beliefs
throughout elven society. Finally, in 400 A.D., these Defenders persuaded the leaders of
the elves to go to war against the dwarves of Zarak. The war was finally ended when a
peace delegation from Zarak faced down the Defenders in the Elves' High Council.
Discredited, the Defenders withdrew, but they did not disappear. Taking up positions
throughout elven society, they served as true Defenders, doing their best to wipe the
orcs from the face of Yrth. But the quickly-breeding orcs refused to be exterminated.

The Banestorm
Patiently, the Defenders waited, gathering resources and followers. Finally, they
decided to do something about the hated orcs once and for all, and they prepared a
massive spell to rid Yrth of orcs forever. It's not clear what the spell's purpose was for,
whether it was to banish the orcs from Yrth or to summon enemies of the orcs to
exterminate them.
Whatever its purpose, powerful mages of the Defenders gathered in the high mana
region of the western Ytarrian forest, where the heart of the Great Desert is now. In
addition, supporters conducted ceremonies across the continent, lending their energies
to power the massive spell, building for weeks until June 26th, 1050 A.D.
The results were disastrous. The resulting magical wildfire burned most of the western
forest to a cinder, draining mana for hundreds of thousands of square mile and razing
nearby elven communities. Then the spell jumped to other high mana spots, burning
them out as well. It was the greatest calamity to ever befall Yrth.
But the Defenders got their Bane. The resulting storms, called the Banestorm,
summoned thousands of creatures from far-flung worlds to Yrth. Most were openly
hostile to the orcs, but most were also hostile to the other original inhabitants of Yrth.
The Defenders survived and fled, retreating to the Blackwoods, but they never gave up
their genocidal schemes. The survivors of the Banestorm gave the Defenders two new
names. Other elves call them Bringers of the Storm, or Storm-Bringers. Other races
gave them an even simpler name: The Dark Elves.

Early Arrivals
Some of the first arrivals to Yrth were humans from Earth. Sailing ships were plucked
from the seas; entire villages were transplanted. Most of this occurred between 1050
and 1200 A.D. Survivors banded together to create a new life for themselves in this
strange new world.
Most of the original inhabitants avoided them at first. The dwarves retreated to their
caves, and the elves stayed in their forests. The orcs, of course, attacked.
Besides humans, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, and reptile men were brought from their
homeworld of Gabrook; centaurs, giants, halflings, and minotaurs from Loren'dil, shark
men and merfolk from Olukun, and other, stranger creatures. All were regarded as
monsters at first, even those who might seem more reasonable.
But eventually, cooperation arose in some areas, and groups banded together for
preservation, welcoming new immigrants. In time, many races of elves learned that
their neighbors could co-eist. The orcs, however, failed to learn this, thinking the
newcomers weaker than the elves and dwarves. In retaliation, humans, goblins, and
others succeeded where the Defenders had failed and eliminated orcs entirely from
many areas.
Elves, recognizing the innate ability some of the newcomers had with magery,
introduced magic to the humans. Also, goblins brought their own understanding of
magic to the new world. At first, these types of magic were considered sorcery by
humans, but eventually the attitude took root that this was natural magic rather than
dark arts, and after a few decades, human wizards became well-respected.
Spirits, who had heretofore been found in many regions of Ytarria, were mistrusted by
both Christians and Muslims, who found the spirits hard to reconcile with their religious
beliefs. Most spirits eventually decided to leave settled lands, particularly those of the
Muslims and Christians.
Gradually, civilizations emerged from these newcomers. The setters in north-central
Ytarria were mainly Christians from western Europe, who adapted feudalism for their
new home, eventually forming the Megalan Empire. To the south, Muslim tribesmen led
a largely nomadic lifestyle, although some founded settlements, preserving their culture
and creating libraries and universities as repositories of knowledge. In the North, Celts
and Scandinavians settled, and to the west, Asians and North Americans formed a land
called Sahud. In both the North and Sahud, spirits and humans lived together.
Other people groups appeared, settling all over the continent, including Jews, Chinese,
Germans, Indians, and Slavs, at times being absorbed within dominant cultures, but in
other cases maintaining their languages, customs, and culture.
Crusades, Jihad, and the Decline of Megalos
In Ytarria, kingdoms rose and fell. The goblins formed the Goblin Kingdoms, which
were eventually subsumed within the ever-expanding Christian Megalan Empire. The
Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St. John appeared via the Banestorm. To the
South, the Muslims founded three nations, al-Haz, al-Wazif and al-Kard.
Eventually, desiring to conquer the Muslim kingdoms and bring them into the empire,
Megalos launched the first of the crusades. Conquering al-Kard, Megalos renamed the
kingdom Cardiel, but after their conquest, the Megalans were halted from further
expansion, and a truce was finally signed.

In 1551, the Banestorm resumed intensity, bringing among others a large contingent of
Renaissance French that settled in Araterre. The Muslim nations launched a Jihad to
retake Cardiel, which was ultimately unsuccessful. Some of the new arrivals brought
two unwanted innovations into Yrth: Protestantism and gunpowder. Declaring the
former tainted and the latter a tool of Satan, the Megalans outlawed both. Many
Protestants fled to Cardiel or became Catholics in name only, and the recipes for
gunpowder survived in a few secret manuscripts. In the succeeding years, Megalos'
power waned, as Cardiel asserted its independence and a new kingdom, Caithness, was
founded in the west.
The previous hundred years has been marked by continued fighting between Muslims
and Megalos, greater frequency of orc raids against Caithness, and the dark elven threat
and the growing Blackwoods to the north. Throughout all of this, Megalos still remains
the most powerful country in the world, but its king seems now more interested in the
pursuit of pleasure than in further strengthening the kingdom. Intermittent civil war
threaten Caithness, pirates threaten the southern coast, and the Northmen wait for
signs of weakness in Megalos.
A Brief Description of Ytarria's Geography
Ytarria, the continent on which Fantasy Adventures takes place, is composed of several
different lands.
Megalos, or the Megalan Empire, is one of the most powerful nations on Ytarria and is
the parent of Christianity on the continent. It has certain parallels to a Christianized
Earth Roman Empire before its fall. Megalos has been corrupted, but it still wields great
political power.
Arraterre is made up of a group of islands to the south of Megalos. It is technically
part of the Megalan Empire, but given its location and advanced technology, it is in
practice independent. Its most important exports are spices. It is fully TL4 in some
areas, including shipbuilding and sailing, and its inhabitants have access to TL4 fencing
weapons.
Caithness is located in the center of the continent, to the west of Megalos, the north of
the Great Forest, the south of Zarak, the east of the Great Desert, and the northeast of
the Muslim kingdoms of al-Haz and al-Wazif. The kingdom has frequently been subject
to war, most notably with Megalos, but a Civil War has been flaring and cooling in
Caithness in the past few years.
Al-Haz is the strongest Muslim kingdom in Ytarria, the bulwark of Islam on Yrth, and
sees itself as Megalos' greatest rival. It is bordered on the north by the Great Forest
and al-Wazif, on the east by Cardiel, and on the south by the ocean. Al-Haz and alWazif are allies, though at times uneasy ones, and al-Haz has a cordial relationship with
Cardiel.
Cardiel was first a land of Muslim tribesmen, then an province of Imperial Megalos, and
now an independent country. Though nominally Christian, it is a religious and cultural
melting pot, and is ruled by a prince elected by a group of nobles. Elves still live on the
southern coast and offshore islands, and though gnomes once lived in the western hills,
they have long since moved to quieter regions. The cities, however, are as
cosmopolitan as the great cities of Megalos.

Religion, Language, Currency, and other Customs


Religion
Religion functions much the same in Ytarria as it does on Earth. The three major
religions are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Paganism has a foothold as well,
including the "Old Religion" of the Celts and Germans, Greco-Roman cults that worship
Olympian gods, Norse Cults, and Magical Cults. Hinduism and Buddhism are also
practiced in some regions.
The religions of the original inhabitants of Yrth are centered in the Eternal, a vast,
omnipresent, perfect consciousness.
The former inhabitants of Gabrook, including the goblins, kobolds, reptile men, and
hobgoblins, have their own gods that they worship, though nearly all goblins converted
to humans' religion, particularly Christianity. The inhabitants of Loren'dil, including
halflings, centaurs, and giants, also had their own gods, although many halflings have
conformed to humans' ways, as well.
Dragons seem to worship themselves, in a way; merpeople are skeptical of religion in
general; and sharkmen desire a unity with their gods, which would seem to not be a
good thing for their neighbors on Yrth.

Language
Anglish - the speech of Christian lands, evolved from medieval English and influenced by
Norman French
Northland - a related tongue to Anglish, spoken by Northmen and derived from
Germanic
Aralaise - a heavily accented form of Anglish spoken in Araterre
Old Aralaise - a distinct language similar to 16th-century French, spoken in remote
villages in Araterre
Arabic - nearly identical to Earth Arabic, although with a different accent; spoken in
Islamic nations
Latin - spoken by scholars, clergy, and some Megalan noblemen
Ladino - spoken like Spanish but uses Hebraic characters; spoken by Jews
Hebrew - used by Jews as a liturgical language
Tredroy - a patois consisting of Anglish, Arabic, and various old Earth words
Native-level Anglish or Aralaise gives an Accented familiarity of the other language.
Northland or Anglish at native levels gives broken familiarity with the other language.
Native-level Anglish or Yrth-Arabic can quickly learn Tredroy.

Nonhuman speech
Most nonhuman races have their own tongue, though kobolds and orcs have no script.
Nonhumans generally know the human language of their own region. There is only one
written form of the elven language, although there are more than a dozen spoken
dialects, each of which can be understood by speakers of other dialects at one level
less. The language known as Elvish is a trade language, and most elves only know it at
accented levels. Dwarves have one language, although different regions possess
different accents.
Economics
Most trade, even in relatively large towns, is done by barter. Coins are accepted, but
are considered rare. Some people live their whole lives without ever seeing a gold coin.
Megalos
Copper farthing ($1)
Silver penny ($4)
Gold mark ($200)
Megalan pound (a pound of silver - rare) ($1000)
(Also used by Araterre. Caithness mints its own coins using the same values and
names.)
Al-Haz and al-Wazif
Copper halala ($1)
Silver dirham ($4)
Gold dinar ($100)
Talent (thick gold coin, rare) ($1000)
(Also found in Cardiel)
Zarak (pure and physically large)
Small copper khenn ($1)
Copper dann ($12)
Silver ffo ($144)
Gold Tohn ($5,184)
Other Customs
Crime is generally punished using the "eye-for-an-eye" philosophy.
The arts, including theater, music, the visual arts, literature, and architecture, all
flourish.
Sexual morality is strict in theory and flexible in practice.
Social hierarchy is arranged according to the feudal system, with the largest number of
people in the serf class. Merchants compose a sort of middle class. Knights comprise
the warrior class, and the nobility is made up of society's elite. Slavery exists, and
slaves have almost no rights beyond those granted to them by their owners.
Most towns are run by local councils. Guilds exist to govern particular craftsmen and
protect trade secrets. Guilds include merchants' guilds, craftsmen's guilds (Spinners,
Weavers, Tailors, Dyers, and Embroiderers), the Armsmen's Guild, Mages' Guilds,
Alchemists' Guilds, and various criminal guilds.

Punishment in Ytarria generally follows an eye-for-an-eye code, with fines are very
common. Thieves may be publicly flogged (twelve lashes being common), branded on
the face and/or hand, or mutilated in some way (cutting off a finger or ear, for
example). Certificates of Honesty are often issued for those maimed in accidents
(leading to a black market for these certificates).
Treason and murder without mitigating circumstances are capital offenses, and
execution is usually swift and public. Death as a result of a duel is not considered
murder, although dueling is often outlawed. Cheating in a duel is considered attempted
murder.
Landed knights and lords are generally responsible for keeping the law on their own
estates. The king, emperor, or Muslim ruler is the ultimate arbiter of law in their lands.
In Megalos, slavery and execution are more common than mutilation. The rich can
usually bribe their way out of any crime except high treason.
Aralaise law is similar to Megalos. A man may only be sentenced to execution by
someone of higher rank than himself. Commoners are hanged; nobility are beheaded.
Slavery is not as common, and imprisonment is more common.
Caithness follows the Megalan pattern but is less severe. Lords usually hear cases, and
magic is not often used in determining guilt. Caithness justice emphasizes
compensation of the victims' families and often involves large fines payable to them.
In Al-Haz, Shari'a law is followed meticulously, with mullahs in charge of courts, and
maimings and floggings are common. Both alcohol and public non-Muslim worship are
banned. Women must be veiled, and public lewd displays (such as bare arms) are
punished with private floggings (to preserve modesty).
Al-Wazif also follows Shari'a, but the lord is as authoritative as the mullahs, and Shari'a
is implemented less strictly than Al-Haz. Alcohol is grudgingly allowed among nonMuslims, although public drunkenness is not allowed, and women do not have to be
publicly veiled.
The Cardiel legal system is a labyrinth of Shari'a, Christian church canon, Jewish
tradition, and the remnants of Megalan common law. Religious freedom is guaranteed,
there is no death by torture, and slavery is outlawed (any escaped slave who makes it
to Cardiel is free).
Criminal investigations have learned much from knowledge that has come through the
Banestorm, and forensic science is practiced. Michaelite priests are often used to
investigate crimes, and at major trials, the prosecution and defense may employ
wizards to provide arcane evidence. Such evidence is usually well-respected, for
wizards typically are not willing to risk their reputation on falsifying evidence.
Christianity
Slavery is frowned upon by Christians, going against the principle of brotherly love. It
is illegal to make a Christian a slave, but slaves do exist, pagans, heretics, infidels, and
beings without souls, leading to many slaves coming from prisoners-of-war. However,
slavery is a common punishment in the Megalan Empire.
Sin is always evil, and penance imposed. Megalan priests sell indulgences, though this
practice is forbidden by church law in Cardiel and Caithness. Indulgences range from
five farthings ($5) for drunkeness, six pennies ($24) for fornication, twelve pennies

($48) for fraudulent trading, a half-mark ($ 100) for adultery, one mark ($200) for
sodomy, and five pounds ($5,000) for killing an opponent in a duel. A few indulgences
have been sold for premeditated murder (at least twenty pounds - $20,000), and even
for black magic (fifty pounds - $50,000), but for these vile crimes, even the greediest
priest would still insist on an extended penance and reformation.
Heresy is defined as any belief that contradicts church doctrine. (Some examples:
Protestantism; Manites, who believe mages are God's chose people; mixing Christianity
and pagan religions; and the Penitentines, who hold that Yrth is Purgatory.)
Unrepentant heretics are often burned at the stake, though to prevent martyrs, they
may be imprisoned or heavily fined instead, and public, honest renunciation of heretical
beliefs is often enough to have the punishments lessened or waived. However, some
rebels may be struck down without a trial.

Islam
The core of Islam is the Five Pillars. All aspects of a Muslim's life are governed by
Shari'a. All cases are heard by religious courts. Punishments also follow the "eye for an
eye" principle, though hands are cut off only in instances of great theft. Usury
(charging interest on loans) is both a sin and illegal. Shari'a works on preventing blood
feuds by emphasizing reconciliation between wronged parties and follows strict laws on
evidence, unusually requiring multiple witnesses.
Adultery is punishable by death by stoning; fornication by flogging; but multiple
witnesses are generally required.
Slavery is viewed as not good but perhaps unavoidable. Free Muslims may not be
enslaved. Castration is forbidden by law.
Many Muslims argue that there is no such thing as heresy and has no term or concept
for atheists, seeing them as unbelievers who refuse to acknowledge God. Muslims see
people of other faiths as also searching for God and do not condemn them or forcibly
attempt to make others convert to Islam.
Souls
On the concept of souls, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism believe that nonhumans have
souls, though they have different rationales for this. Examples of accepted communities
in the Christian faith in life many halflings and goblins.

Magic in Ytarria
Magery
Magery exists in roughly 2% of the population. Of these, only about one in ten will be
able to develop their talent further. Magery 4 is incredibly rare.
Wizards and witches regularly search for youths with Magery, training them to use their
abilities. All nations of Ytarria claim the right to oversee mages, and a trained magicuser is a valuable commodity to both lord and kingdom.
Mana Levels

Most regions of Ytarria have normal mana levels, with the exception of Caithness, the
Great Desert, and smaller regions, including The Nomad Lands and Ring Islands.
Magery in Non-humans
Elves are one of the most magical races in Yrth, and nearly all elves know at least a few
spells. Dragons are also generally powerful wizards.
Dwarves and gnomes are known for their magical focus, often mastering an entire
college of spells but knowing only a smattering of other colleges. Both races frequently
learn a spell to mastery before beginning a new spell, and they expect the same
dedication from their students.
Goblins are more fascinated by magic than humans are, and are often more versatile
than dwarves. Even a few non-wizard goblins know a spell or two.
Few halflings bother to study magic, considering it too flashy. However, notable halfling
healers exist, and what halfling wizards exist are notable. Few centaurs practice magic,
but those that do are highly regarded.
More reptile men than humans exhibit magical prowess, and they generally focus on
utilitarian spells. Still, great lizard man wizards are terrifying, and many tribes have
shamans of medium ability.
Orc mages are rare, and giant, hobgoblin, kobold, and ogre wizards are almost unheard
of, but their perceived scarcity makes them more dangerous. Minotaurs are naturally
resistant to magic.
Banestorm Spells
Detect Banestorm
Seek Banestorm
Identify Newcomer
Available Spells
Gate spells are unreliable and rare, and Necromantic spells are outlawed in most areas,
although those spells are little more than legend.
Many of the more powerful spells are either known by only a handful of wizards or are
unknown in Ytarria.
The following Gate College spells have a -25 penalty when cast on Yrth:
Banish (when used on travelers from normal alternate worlds)
Create Gate (when used for anything besides long-distance travel)
Hide Object
Phase
Phase Other
Planar Visit
Plane Shift
Plane Shift Other
Sanctuary
Scry Gate (if the gate leads to another time or plane).
Planar Summons, when used to bring something from Yrth, fails outright if the
individual entity isn't specified, and even if it is, it has the -25 penalty to its casting.

Unknown spells
The following spells are unknown on Yrth and carry the same -25 penalty:
Accelerate Time
Rapid Journey (when used to travel through time)
Slow Time
Suspend Time
Time Out
Timeport
Timeport Other
Timeslip
Timeslip Other
Mysticism
Some individuals are born with magic-like abilities, like Channeling, Magic Resistance,
Medium, Oracle, or Spirit Empathy. Although similar to Magery, these abilities are often
unfocused and untrained. Some say these powers come from God or Allah, while others
say these mystics are cursed.
Some view mystics as deriving their powers from Magery, but unlike wizards, mystics
are not dependent on mana for their abilities.
A very few possess True Faith, sometimes with Faith Healing. Most mystics have a Pact
limitation.
Notable schools include the AnFoTama Buddhists, the Christian Friedrichites, and the
Sufi order of Julnari dervishes.
Magic and Religion
The Ytarrian Christian Church and Sunni Islam both teach that white magic is allowed by
God. Shi'ite Islam, on the other hand, says such magic is sinful but may be forgiven.
Certain religious sects teach that magic is evil, but other sects teach that it is a blessing
from God.
Priests who are also wizards are expected to teach others, and often know healing and
Food College spells. They frequently know Banish as well.