The Opal Empire
Welcome to the Opal Empire
WELCOME TO THE OPAL EMPIRE, a land as beautiful as it is magical. For the past 62 years, the Supernal Empress has ruled in the Summer Court of the Elves while her three sisters impatiently wait (and scheme) to replace her. The elves live long lives so it was only natural that they would lord over all other races. The suzerain dwarves are the closest to having sovereignty. Humankind is allowed to hole up in seven city-states, though they pay taxes and are subject to the whims of the Empress. Society is carefully structured. Everyone knows his or her place in the hierarchy, from the Supernal Empress down to the lowest slave.
The Opal Empire spans all of the explored world, from the high, jagged mountains in the west to the vast ocean to the east and south to the unforgiving glaciers in the north. Most of this imperial territory is tamed and farmed. Forests are tended. Mountain passes are guarded. There are few true monsters left in the world. People are monstrous enough.
This is a world without gods, so the people make their way with them as best they can. The elves never really needed them, as their philosophy treated deities as just another set of spirits to be appeased. That job is easier now for them. The dwarves are secular in belief, so they do not miss the divine meddling. The hardest hit were the humans, who clung to their divine watchers even after the magical gates to heaven were slammed shut forever. Humankind had to learn how to live without deities, modifying their prayers and clerical magic accordingly.
With the heavens closed, spirits have nowhere to go after death. Some religions deal with the problem with complex funereal rituals that bind the spirits safely. Others work to appease the spirits. Necromancers, of course, revel in the abundance of targets for their black magic.
Ritual magic is common. Wizards use binding spells to trap spirits for specific effects. They draw energy from the powerful elemental mana that flows through the land in waves that crash into one another, creating ley lines that shift over time. Sorcerers tap this raw elemental magic and focus it into weapons.
WHO ARE YOU?
You’re an elf, dwarf, human, half-elf, or halfling. You’re a spellcaster or a rogue or a warrior, or some combination of those: cleric, druid, wizard, bard, rogue, monk, fighter, barbarian, ranger, or paladin. But that only scratches the surface. You’re royalty, aristocracy, commoner, or outcast. You’re a professional soldier, temple warden, slave-gladiator, merchant, farmer, drakerider, beggar, court magician, or anything else you can imagine.
You have skills that many envy and covet. Most shockingly, you have bound powerful spirits to yourself so that you can harness their power. This is something most other people won’t even try, and most that try don’t succeed. You are spirit-bound, and that makes you most special above all. Each spirit you bind gives you new power and ability and allows you to accomplish tasks out of the reach of normal folks. This makes you a target. Some want you dead. Others want to use you to achieve their own goals. At the top of the food chain are the Icons, whose webs of operatives need people like you. By aligning yourself with an Icon, you gain some measure of protection. On the other hand, your Icon’s enemies are now your enemies. It’s a dangerous way to live.
You’re an adherent of one of the major belief systems, such as the Four Paths of the elves or the Five Spheres of the dwarves, or one of the minor ones like the Old Ways of the humans, or even some borderline-illegal cult. Religion and philosophy are most interchangeable here, and daily life for most is tied up in living properly according to the complex systems developed over many thousands of years. You probably seek harmony and order, beauty and simplicity, as these are the things that the elves and dwarves prize most. Those priorities have influenced all cultures, even the stubborn human polytheists.