My story began but a decade or so ago, back when I was still a young half-elf finding her way in this screwed up world. My small clan of half-something misfits, all rejected by their original tribes for “mingling” with outsiders, had been mostly slaughtered during a war we weren’t even involved in. Unfortunately, we just happened to be in the vicinity of the fighting and no one cared to ask if we wanted anything to do with it, they just wanted blood. I lost my parents, my friends, everything… So I was forced to leave and find my own way.
In my travels I ended up here, in the “Lands of the Floating Island” as the locals call it. The name makes sense I suppose, considering the actual floating island. Thing is, as special as this island was, no one knew how to get there or why it was floating in the first place. Boredom and, frankly, desperation forced me to join up with a band of traveling adventurers who were after gold and glory - they call themselves “Aurum Venatores”. They’re an alright bunch, but “gold and glory” isn’t so much my thing, so I only really stuck around for the company, food, and adventure. I love adventure, whether it leads to treasure or not.
Being the curious one I am, this floating island had me intrigued. I became obsessed and just had to figure out everything I could about it. In my search for knowledge I explored the many ruins scattered throughout the land. In many places I found writings and drawings, but the language was unknown to me so I could only assume from the drawings that the writings were describing something about the floating island and what power created it. One particular drawing showed a large beast throwing a huge chunk of land towards the sky, but another entity within the sky preventing it from leaving the atmosphere.
After a while I brought my findings to the leaders of the group and asked if they would consider sending a research party with me. They sent people to study my findings, but most of them shrugged it off as nothing more than scribbles from an ancient people. There was one, however, who refused to shrug it off stating that he had seen similar drawings and words in other ruins of civilizations lost. This particular fellow had been a traveler too in his youth and had seen more than the other researchers. Sadly, majority ruled, and it was deemed “uninteresting” enough to devote valuable resources to… But, like me, this fellow became obsessed with the floating island and wanted to find out more. Even though he wouldn’t be paid for it any further, he spent his time with me discovering what we could.
Eventually our findings lead us to a large cave leading to a larger set of ruins beneath a volcano. It took a lot of prep work, but it sure was worth it. There we found… well, a lot of angry things that didn’t like us being there, and we definitely didn’t almost fall into lava a few times... Beyond the angry things, however, was an artifact. Farther in, we found another, just as our studies told us we would. Each of us clutching an artifact, we got the heck out of there - partially cooked, but still alive.
These artifacts revealed so much to us. It seems that just by holding them you are able to gain the ability to understand the texts within these ruins. It turns out that we had discovered an ancient civilization known as Arryth. In their writings they described their gods, their rituals, and their society as a whole. It even seems as though they knew their society was coming to an end, but were entirely content with it, despite it being depicted as something quite violent.
Ever curious, we decided to see what else we could learn. We were lead to finding more artifacts, which lead to more knowledge and, in my case, a direct connection with the gods themselves. They spoke to me, acknowledging what we had found was true. Makt, the “head god” if you will, asked if I would assist her in bringing Arryth back into existence. Well, I wasn’t keen on the idea to be honest, but how can you refuse a god, and what else was I going to do with myself? It would be so much work, but it would also be quite the adventure. I agreed, my friend too, and here we are now, trying to rebuild this society. It’s not without its difficulties though, and I have a feeling we’re about to discover the true power of the Gods soon enough.
Oh, and you? This is your story too. What will you make of it?
Aurum Venatores is a group of adventurers who seek gold and glory, with an emphasis on “gold”. Their quest for more sends them all over the world. Wherever treasure may be, you’ll likely find them.
They organize themselves in a direct democracy. A blind eye can sometimes be turned to crime when gold is involved, but when action is needed in the form of punishing a criminal the people vote on the sentence directly.
Dux de Omnia - The leader of Aurum Venatores and is responsible for overseeing the community as a whole. Acting as a guide for the group’s development, he or she sees to it that Aurum Venatores doesn’t crumble due to everyone’s self interests.
Aids the Dux de Omni in the running of the community. The Auxilium works more directly with the people and relays information to the Dux de Omni to keep them informed on allhappenings.
Aurum Venatores is open to war. They understand that through the hardships of battle great wealth can be acquired, but they won’t fight if there isn’t an incentive for them personally.
Aurum Venatores believes that this is the only life you get and that you should enjoy all the luxuries it has to offer while you can. They often like to show off their wealth in whatever form it comes to them and won’t hesitate to brag if the opportunity arises.
Arrythians have a strong connection with nature and the spirit world. They believe all lives are sacred and should only be taken when there is no other option to defend one's own kin or for hunting purposes and everything possible should be used. Respect for nature itself is key - if you respect it then it will always provide for you.
All typical crimes are punishable in addition to anything done against Arrythian belief. If a crime involves members of the religion only it can be taken care of silently in-house. A trial is held with a judge to oversee proceedings, which is usually the master shaman, and at least 2 jurors (keeping the total number odd to prevent tie votes) who decide alongside the judge if the party is guilty, majority ruling. Severity of the crime will dictate the punishment, usually decided solely by the judge, but can be decided with jury input too. If the crime was done by someone or to someone from outside of the religion, the outside tribe may or may not be consulted and allowed to deal with it themselves.
Arrythians will always try to settle disputes peacefully, but when not possible or when attacked first they will fight and lives may be taken. “All lives are sacred” still holds true even in war - the dead from both sides are given proper burials and the proper rituals performed. The exception is if the opposing side's surviving kin refuse this service.
Regarding “life after death”
Arrythians believe there is a spirit world - both good and bad go there, but keep separate from each other (for the most part). There is no typical “hell” for the bad and no “heaven” for the good, however, the good spirits are given more spiritual rewards and powers while the worst of the worst get absolutely no rewards and minimal, if any, powers - most people will be in-between somewhere. Bad spirits can redeem themselves in the afterlife, but the worst generally choose not to and may seek to become demons. Demons have more spiritual powers than other bad spirits and often use those powers to harm or even control the living. Good spirits can also seek to become angels to work against demons to help keep living beings safe from demonic attacks.
Animal spirits often do not go to the spirit world and are simply "recycled" by nature. The only way for an animal spirit to go into the spirit world is if that animal had a death ritual performed for it and a proper burial had. Often this is done for a beloved pet or loyal mount that the owner wishes to see again in the afterlife.
Arrythians believe any intelligent being can marry any other intelligent being, as long as love is the reason. As a fun event, but not binding, an animal couple may also be married, but because animals can’t speak and thus can’t consent to being married this is just for show and nothing more. In recent years it is customary for breeding pairs to have a wedding ceremony performed for them.
Makt: Deity of light and darkness, life and death. Created the other gods. Despite creating them, she very rarely orders them. Represents strength.
Artifacts: strong, devourer, brute
Alom: Sky, sun and moon deity. Represents knowledge.
Artifacts: clever, skylord, cunning
Vand: Water deity controlling all bodies of water and creatures living in water. Represents luck.
Artifacts: massive, immune
Voltan: Earth deity responsible for shaping the planet and maintaining all plant and animal life, other than what resides in water. Represents prosperity.
Artifacts: pack, hunter