See a separate page for the maps.

History and Culture:


The Fall of the Hanseatic Empire:

A thousand years ago, the entire island was ruled by the Hanseatic Empire. This empire fell when a fleet of ghost ships crewed by unspeakable horrors landed on the shores of Durenheim. The undead legions which landed carved a path of destruction through the land as they marched toward Hansea.

The forces of the Hanseatic Empire inflicted heavy losses on the invaders, but, no matter how many of the undead they killed, the Lim Dul, the necromancer who led the invaders, always seemed to have more to throw into the fray. Eventually, Lim Dul pushed the Emperor’s armies back to the capitol city—Hansea. After months of siege, an army from the provinces of Capernaum and Travincal marched to lift the siege of Hansea. They met the invading forces in battle upon the Plains of Betrayal. As the battle lines were drawn away from the city gates, Arcturius, the last emperor of the old empire, rode out to battle at the head of his legions.

The Emperor Arcturius and his forces had fought their way to the leaders of the invading army when Prince Cassius, the leader of the Emperor’s Hundred Companions turned against him. As the Emperor fought Lim Dul, Cassius, pretending to heal his liege, instead threw a spell of silence upon him. Then Cassius turned and the Hundred Companions galloped out of the fray, allowing a group undead to attack the Emperor from behind. Seeing that his Companions had betrayed him, the emperor wordlessly spoke a deadly curse upon them and, removing the crown of swords from his head, broke his staff across it. The resulting release of magical energy must have destroyed Lim Dul because his undead soldiers fell apart where they stood and their souls departed to their rest.

Because of Cassius’s betrayal, that area was named the Plains of Betrayal and they retain that name, even to the present day.

The Curses:

All of the Orcs on the battlefield heard Arcturius’s malediction against The Hundred. Cursed for his betrayal of the emperor, Cassius was not permitted to assume the throne. His execution, however, did not go as planned. Maximus, commander of the XXXIII Legion, struck off his head and threw his body onto the battlefield to be devoured by the vultures. Vultures did not devour his body, however, for he returned to “life” the next day. Arcturius’s curse—that the Companions would never die, but would they would always hunger and never be satisfied, always thirst and never be quenched, that they always fear the darkness, but be burned by the light, and would always be lonely, but the presence of people would cause them pain—had come true. Maximus and the other orcs chased Cassius into caves deep under the mountains and sealed them behind him—trapping him in darkness forever.

The other accursed fled at the sight of day. To this day, people claim to have seen these twisted, malevolent souls nursing their madness in the desert or lying in the den of some malevolent beast and being eaten every morning only to recover by the sunset and be eaten yet again.

Arcturius was not the only one to bestow a curse that day. At the center of the magical vortex, Lim Dul is said to have cast his malevolent spirit into the very earth itself. In the months after the battle, the area around Hansea changed. The very ground itself seemed to be poisoned. Some trees abandoned their passivity. They sang to people in their dreams, luring them to rest against their bark. When their victims lay against them, the bark closed around them and consumed them. Children were born with horrible deformities—some grew into malformed ogres; others were born with scales and wings, seemingly inhabited by the souls of demons rather than men. The very walls of houses grew soft and reached out with bony hands to rend flesh. Sometimes the clouds rained blood over the city and sometimes they rained an acid that dissolved flesh.

The people called upon their gods and Hadrian, the new Emperor, sacrificed his son upon the high altar of Ares to break the curse, but nothing availed. Within six months, no-one remained in the city of Hansea and Hadrian moved his court to Travincal. Over time, the curse seems to have spread out over the entire province that was once known as Hansea but its strength remains undiminished at its center on the Plains of Betrayal. Now, men shun the Cursed Lands and, even among the orcs who fled there to escape from slavery, only the bravest will venture near the cursed city of Hansea.

The rebuilding of Durenheim and the revelation of El Elyon:

After Lim Dul’s undead legions marched through Durenheim on their way to the city of Hansea, the once populous province was reduced to a wilderness inhabited by frightened refugees who lived in terror of the apprentices of Lim Dul who still walked the land. Had it not been for certain events in Hansea, those servants of Lim Dul would almost certainly have become the dominant force in the province.

After the fall of Emperor Arcturius, the orcish legions were decimated and among the orcs who remained alive, scarcely one in a hundred was uninjured. The new armies from Travincal and Capernaum under the command of the new emperor, Hadrian had fared much better. Had it not been for these circumstances, Hadrian would never have been able to enslave the orcs.

When Hadrian saw that the crown of swords had been destroyed with Arcturius and Lim Dul, he recognized that he could not compel the orcs to serve him as emperors had through the ages. Realizing that the orcs were at their weakest, he dispatched his armies to the orcs’ living quarters and took their children hostage. Faced with the death of their children, what remained of the orcish legions laid down their arms upon the field of battle and followed Hadrian’s armies into servitude. (Thus the name, “Plains of Betrayal” have a double meaning for the orcs underscoring humans’ treacherous nature).

Maximus and the XXXIII Legion, however were not on the field when Hadrian issued his ultimatum. Maximus’s troops had just sealed Cassius within the bowels of the mountains when one of the few orcs to flee rather than submit to bondage came to him with news of Hadrian’s ultimatum. His children had been crucified when he had failed to appear on the plains of Victory (for that was what Hadrian then called the Plains of Betrayal) to lay down his weapons. In his rage and despair, Maximus found that he was able to consider vengeance despite Hadrian’s position as emperor. He immediately turned his legion around to assault the city of Hansea and wreak vengeance for their murdered kin.

The XXXIII legion was slaughtered. Despite their physical superiority, they were exhausted from their travels and due to their losses, they were vastly outnumbered by the combined levies of Travincal and Capernaum. Maximus and seventy other orcs were taken captive to be tried and crucified as examples to any who rebelled against the emperor. The trial, however, never happened. In the middle of the night, the archangel Tyrael appeared to the survivors of the XXXIII Legion and the chains fell from their wrists and ankles. The angel opened a portal and, when they stepped through, they found themselves on the peak of a monastary, high above the mountains which divided Durenheim from the Highlands.

The monastary belonged to a strange sect. At first, the orcs believed them to be worshippers of the Lord of Heaven—although that was odd for only the Emperor was permitted to worship in his temple. Although their ways were strange, these monks found ready disciples in the orcs (the supernatural elements of their escape from Hansea predisposed them to believe). It turned out that these monks did not worship the gods of Hansea at all, but rather a being they called El Elyon—a supreme God who created the heavens and the earth.

As he studied in the monastery, Maximus had visions. The same angel who had appeared to him in Hansea appeared to him again, sometimes counseling him, sometimes imbuing him with power, and finally, commanding him to take his teaching to scattered peoples of Durenheim. When he consulted the abbot about his visions, the abbot revealed to the orc that his son, Cuthbert, had also received such visions. In obedience to the visions, Maximus, Cuthbert and the survivors of the XXXIII Legion left the mountain monastery and traveled through the province of Durenheim spreading the teachings they had received in every settlement.

It wasn’t long before they ran afoul of one of the Lim Dul’s apprentices. After the Arch-Necromancer’s destruction, his apprentices carved petty kingdoms out of the area that he had already conquered. Even if the new disciples of El Elyon had not been preaching against their sacrifices, a large group of armed strangers would have been a threat to their power. The apprentice attacked Maximus and Cuthbert as they preached in the center of the town which later became Stormkeep. Erasing the scourge of the necromancer was one of the commands the archangel had given them, so they were happy to oblige the necromancer’s desire for battle. As Cuthbert held up the holy symbol of El Elyon, the skeletons and wights the necromancer had brought with him crumbled into dust. Calling upon the power of his new God, Maximus charged the now defenseless necromancer and dispatched him with his gladius. The discovery that the mere mention of El Elyon’s name and the display of his symbol could destroy the necromancers’ undead minions gave credence to their preaching.

Before Maximus’s death, he and Cuthbert were able to destroy all the undead between the two rivers and establish the City of Stormkeep as a haven for the survivors of Durenheim. After Maximus’s death, Cuthbert continued their crusade and drove the last of the apprentices of Lim Dul from Durenheim. (Cuthbert and Maximus were both canonized, but, due to his short lifespan, Maximus never achieved the fame of St. Cuthbert. Despite the facts, today St. Maximus is usually depicted as a human. Apparently most Durenheimers cannot conceive of an orcish believer, let alone an orcish saint).

In the years that followed, the Cuthbert and the survivors of the XXXIII legion, travelled the length and breadth of Durenheim and slew or drove away many of the apprentices of Lim Dul.  The survivors of Lim Dul’s assault were able to rebuild small scattered settlements. Some swore fealty to the Lords of Stormkeep—the first settlement to be liberated from the scourge of the necromancers—but many other kingdoms also rose from the ashes of Durenheim. The Assembly of the Faithful of El Elyon provided a unifying force through the entire land (although it has always been stronger in some areas than others) since St Cuthbert and the Seventy (for so Maximus and Cuthbert’s band has become known) carried the revelation of El Elyon throughout the land and drove out the Apprentices of Lim Dul.

The liberation of Durenheim was not complete, however, until the kingdom of Stromgald—the stronghold of the Witch King, the greatest of Lim Dul’s surviving lieutenants—was defeated by King Desmond of Bearns one hundred years ago. The Holy order of Saint Cuthbert slew the Witch King himself as he fled into Glome (whether he was attempting to flee to the Cursed Lands or merely to gather forces for a counterattack is unclear). Fifty years later, the princess Celerity of Bearns married King Pepin of Stormkeep, uniting all the regions of Durenheim under one government for the first time in almost a thousand years.

The rebellion of Capernaum and the rejection of the old gods:

One hundred and fifty years ago, the First Consul of Capernaum was slain on a journey through the Highlands to re-establish contact with the Kingdom of Durenheim. When his body was returned to the temple, the High Priest of Ares, Aristarchus, called upon Ares to return the Prince to life.  His prayer appeared to be answered and the prince’s body sat up on its bier. Something about this prince didn’t seem right, however. After much searching, Aristarchus discovered that the prince’s body had been brought to him on the eighth day, after his soul had departed. He then demonstrated that the resurrected “prince” was, in fact, a demon.

Thereafter, his beliefs thoroughly shaken, Aristarchus abandoned the priesthood and journeyed into the mountains to seek the truth. When he returned, three years later, he taught that the old gods whom he had worshipped his entire life were, in fact, demons who fed upon the souls of the dead. His preaching was highly successful and when the Emperor sent orders that he be killed, the remaining Consul of Capernaum refused to do so. Instead, the Consul armed his orcish slaves and sent them out with the militia to defend Capernaum against the legions of the Hanseatic Empire.

After two years of siege, the Consul sent messengers to the hire the Highland tribes to aid him. The Imperial legions were defeated in the ensuing battle, but the Consul knew that the Empire could raise soldiers more quickly than he could. Having seen the effectiveness of his orcish slaves in battle and remembering the tales of the Orcish Legions of the Old Empire, the Consul offered freedom and a commission in the army to anyone, human or Orc, slave or free who would fight for Capernaum.  His strategy was highly successful. Although the war lasted for seven years, at the end, the Emperor’s forces were defeated when a mob of escaped orcs crashed upon the imperial flank in hopes of attaining freedom.

After his second defeat at the hands of mere slaves, the emperor’s two oldest sons killed him as he went to pray in the temple of Erynthul. (Some scholars believe they expected their father to sacrifice them to Erynthul to assure victory in his next campaign against Capernaum). They then fled into the Cursed Lands and their brother assumed the throne. The new emperor did not assault Capernaum during his reign. (Scholars are divided as to why this was the case. Some claim that he was a weak monarch and was never secure enough on the throne to either allow his commanders to gain glory on the field of battle or to leave his nobles to conspire in the capitol while he led the armies personally. Other scholars, citing an absence of temple records from the time of his reign believe that he rejected the old gods himself and had focussed himself on reforming Imperial religion. In either case, records of his reign are scanty and most are located in the annals of Capernaum).

During the wars against the Hanseatic Empire, Aristarchus founded the Keepers of the Dead and convinced many that the old gods were merely demons feeding off of people rather than helping them. He crafted the first of the soulstones on the day that the Emperor was murdered in Travincal. After his death, one of his acolytes discovered that he could draw upon the souls trapped inside the soulstones to cast magic in much the same way as the followers of the old gods did. Soon thereafter, the worship of demons (meaning the old gods) was outlawed and anyone found sacrificing to them was executed. And executing anyone who sacrifices to the old gods continues to be the practice of the Republic of Capernaum to this day.

The Highlands:

Although written histories of the highlands are largely non-existent, some knowledge of their history may be gleaned from the records in Travincal and Capernaum as well as from the legends of the people.

Some of the most striking features of the highlands are the cities of refuge. They are large cities that have stood since before the Highlanders recorded their history. Each contains a temple to without an idol, altar, or dedicatory inscription. Priests of the various gods worshipped in the highlands have attempted to claim these temples for their own, but any altar erected is demolished by the morning after its creation. Idols placed in the temples invariably show up on the threshold the following morning with their head, hands, and feet cut off. It is said that a priest of Huorn once attempted to consecrate a temple to his god immidiately after the altar was built. Fire consumed the priest and the altar leaving only dust. The sacrifice then fell to the ground untouched. Some Highlanders occasionally offer prayers to the unknown deity who inhabits these temples, but they are careful never to step beyond the threshold when doing so. Most priests are now, quite understandably, unwilling to set foot inside these temples.

Many of the traditions that govern Highlander society are inscribed upon the doors to these temples. For that reason, some scholars believe that they were erected by the ancestors of the Highlanders. Some of the tribesmen agree. One legend (particularly prevalent among followers of the Divine Archer) is that the Highlanders long ago followed other gods (some suggest another god or another pantheon entirely—since there are no records, it’s hard to tell), but did not keep his commands. They followed other gods and when the Empire came to take their sons into slavery, it was these gods that they called upon.

In their time of servitude to the emperors, the knowledge of their former gods (or god) was lost to them, but when their time of penance is over, that knowledge will be restored. Devout followers of this tradition will wear a necklace of beads with one bead for every seven years since the promise was given. The standard reckoning of this time results in necklaces of seventy seven beads.

Others Highlanders believe that the temples are dedicated to their gods, but will not be opened until the tribes prove themselves worthy. Exactly what would demonstrate worthiness is not agreed upon. Priests of Ares, generally contend that conquering Capernaum or the seventy (for that is the number the Higlanders assign to them) orc tribes of the cursed lands would suffice. Others have presented different theories. One priest of Erythnul for instance, claimed that the temples are his but that the proper sacrifice (a human warrior of great bravery defeated in battle) has not yet been offered. Since offering a captive as a sacrifice inside a city of refuge would be an unthinkable breach of tradition, nobody has tested this theory.

For as long as people can remember, the Highlanders have been at war with the orcs of the cursed lands. Orcs often venture across the borders of the cursed lands in search of better hunting grounds and slaves. Since the defeat of five orc tribes and the Deathbringer of Erythnul (apparently some shaman offered him a very pleasing sacrifice) at the battle of Broken Hill ten years ago, there have been no major invasions from the cursed lands, but the border is still the location of constant skirmishes.

On the eastern border, things are somewhat more subdued. The Highlanders sometimes raid the rich fields of the Republic of Capernaum, and sometimes fight settlers attempting to change their traditional hunting grounds into farms. The Legions of Capernaum sometimes cross the border in response to a particularly effective Shardmaker raid on the houses of the dead. Still, the border is much more peaceful than the border with the cursed lands and caravans sometimes pass through this way on their way to or from Durenheim. There is also occasional trade between highlanders and the citizens of the republic at the border. The conflict between the Shardmakers and the Keepers of the Dead makes this difficult though.

The Battle of Broken Hill:

The battle of Broken Hill was a massive battle between the highlanders and a number of orc tribes ten years ago. It was the final battle of a dramatic orcish invasion of the Highlands. Militarily, it was a decisive Highlander victory: the leaders of the united tribes  were killed and the tribes have not reunited since then. After the battle, the orcs retreated to the Cursed Lands.

Losses on both sides, however, were tremendous. This yields a significant strategic advantage for the orcs should there ever be another invasion. Since they mature faster than humans, almost a generation has passed since the battle. Unlike the Highlanders, their populations have almost fully recovered. Since Broken Hill, Highlander raids against the orcs have almost ceased—too many of their men had died for them to be able to afford to lose any in raids.

The battle of Broken Hill is also significant for another reason (and this is why men in Durenheim, Capernaum, and even the Empire would have heard of it). At Broken Hill, the gods fought among men. The orcs were accompanied by a Deathbringer of Erynthul--a powerful demon who was invulnerable to the Highlanders' weapons and who sliced men in two with every blow of his sword. The Celestial Archer (or a celestial archer) is said to have appeared, uncalled for (at least not with any ritual or pomp), among the Highlanders. According to the tales, he slew the Deathbringer and in the demon's fall, the forces of the orcs faltered and fled.

Exactly how people interpret this is unclear. The Highlanders offer varied explanations, many Durenheimers ignore the tale, the sages and philosophers of Capernaum are confused, and the learned men of Hansea think it to be the fancies of the bards. No-one has asked the orcs what they think, nor is it likely that they all share the same explanation.


The Assembly of the Faithful:

These priests serve El Elyon, venerated as the one and only creator-God in Durenheim. Although separate from the political leadership of the Kingdom, they wield a great amount of influence because they are believed to be best equipped to interpret their God’s will.

Not all clergymen are spell-casting clerics as per the PHB (although some—but not all—clerics and paladins will be clergymen). Many are simply wise teachers, devout disciples, or brilliant preachers. Some are shrewd and machiavellian powermongers or nobles whose claim to a title could be inconvenient for the people in power.

There are two main branches of the Assembly’s organization: the civil orders (Overseers and local Teacher’s of the Law) and the monastic orders (cloistered monastic orders are a better place for stuffing unwanted claimants to a noble title because they don’t get out too much). The civil orders maintain the communal life of the Assembly, teaching the laymen and performing the ceremonies and rites of their faith. Some members of the monastic orders are wandering preachers, but more often they are found in communities which serve as centers of learning (esp. the Order of Saint Lucas), provide hospitality for weary travelers, or train warriors (esp. the Order of St. Cuthbert) who travel through the Kingdom protecting the people from evil magic.

The Assembly does not teach that El Elyon often directly interacts with mortals—instead they claim that he most often speaks through his messengers, chief among whom are the four archangels: Tyrael, Lemuel, Gabriella, Githoniel and the saints (notably St. Cuthbert and St. Francis).  Although the priests of El Elyon do not worship these luminaries, some priests have visions of them. In these visions, the El Elyon’s celestial servants deliver His instructions to his mortal servants (and divine spells). Usually one of these saints or angels will be depicted kneeling before the empty throne that is behind the altar at the center of most shrines to El Elyon.

All members of the Assembly’s clergy forswear claiming any noble position and are immune from civil justice (although they are subject to the judgements of the Assembly’s courts and the King’s justiciars also claim jurisdiction over them).

The feats they teach include: Divine Gift, Faith, Brew Potion, Scribe Scroll, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Wondrous Item, Craft Staff, Extra Turning, Leadership, Weapon Focus: Bastard Sword (Tyrael), Composite Bow (long or short—Lemuel), Gabriella (Longsword), Githoniel (Warhammer), Heavy Mace (St. Cuthbert), Quarterstaff (St. Francis).

Organizational Ranks


Area of Responsibility

Teacher of the Law

Village or local Assembly


Greater Assembly



High Priest


Dreadknights of the Twisting Serpent

The Dreadknights were the elite bodyguard of the necromancer kings of Stromgald until three generations ago when the last of the Necromancers was defeated by the armies of Bearns and fled into Glome where he was slain by the a company of Knights of the Skull. Their number was never fully accounted for, however, and it is rumored that, even sixty years later, Dreadknights still haunt the foothills and mountains of Stromgald, waiting for a chance to take back their country from its conquerors. Whether or not this is true, the Duke’s magistrates don’t travel often to Eastern Stromgald and when they do, it is only with a heavy escort of soldiers.

The Emperor’s Hand:

This organization, composed of people from every walk of life operates to ensure Hanseatic Citizens loyalty to the Emperor and to keep the Orcish slaves from revolting. Most members merely report disloyalty, but a select group within the organization (the Emperor’s fist) cull potential troublemakers from among the slaves either by magic or assassination.

Joining the Emperor’s Fist is one way to become an Assassin (Prestige Class: DMG).

The Holy order of St. Cuthbert:

Knight © Glyn Dewey 1993

The order of Saint Cuthbert is dedicated to protecting the people of Durenheim from evil magic, demons and undead. They consist mostly of Fighters, Rangers, Paladins, and Clerics although some rogues and even one mage of note have served with distinction in this order. In Durenheim, they have judicial authority with regard to evil magic. This, however, is subject to the King’s Justiciars and the local Overseer.

When a warrior chooses to dedicate his life to El Elyon by protecting His people from evil magic he will travel to the Monastery fortress perched in the mountains high above Stormkeep. There, on the same grounds where it is said that St. Cuthbert and the Seventy trained, the candidate will be tested to see if his or her heart is pure and steadfast. If the he or she passes the test, he or she will become a knight initiate. After training, the initiate will fight a ritual battle with the champion of the monastery. If the champion judges the initiates training complete, the initiate will become a Knight of the Holy order of St. Cuthbert. Otherwise, the initiate will train for another six months. After every six months, the initiate is permitted to test for full knighthood.

The feats they teach include (among others): Alertness, Cleave, Discipline, Divine Gift, Divine Might, Divine Vengeance, Divine Vigor, Dodge, Endurance, Extra Turning, Faith, Holy Spell, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Power attack, Spell Penetration, Sunder, Supernatural Blow, Toughness, Weapon Proficiency, Focus, Specialization, and Improved Critical: Heavy mace, light mace, warhammer, long sword, bastard sword, greatsword, glaive, light crossbow, heavy crossbow, double crossbow, Arbalest.

The Holy order of St. Cuthbert is a very prominent order within Durenheim and it includes several suborders such as the Knights of the Chalice. The order is known to train Hunters of the Dead, Knights of the Chalice, and Sacred Exorcists.

Holy Order of Saint Francis

The Holy Order of Saint Francis is an order dedicated to removing the curse of Lim Dul that operates over the Cursed Lands. They are known to be friends to animals, plants, and farmers as well as healers of the poor.

Headquarters: Fairhill Monastery in Glome

Feats: Cooperative Spell, Arcane Defense: Transmutation (prerequisite waived), Spell Penetration, Greater Spell Penetration, Foe Hunter (Magical Beasts, Abberrations).


Alignment: Good or Neutral

2 ranks Wilderness Lore

2 ranks Knowledge Nature

4 ranks Heal

Special: Must be an upstanding member of the Assembly of the Faithful.

The King’s Justiciars:

In the Kingdom of Durenheim, the Justicars a circuit court and appeals court roled into one. Their authority is granted directly by the King and, by virtue of that authority, they are an avenue of appeal from any decision made by any noble. Due to their reputation for wisdom, some chartered towns also defer judgment on particularly difficult cases until a Justiciar rides through town.

Although they travel with guards, they rely on local governments to enforce their decisions. Consequently, powerful nobles and city councils sometimes ignore the Justiciars’ decisions.

Keepers of the Dead:

These priests prepare the soulstones for the inhabitants of the Republic of Capernaum. They tend the Houses of the Dead—the chapels where the soulstones are kept and draw on the powers of the souls preserved inside the stones.

All keepers of the dead have the knowledge of how to craft soulstones, but most cannot channel the powers of their ancestors. Of those who can channel that power, most are only able to channel small amounts. Among their ranks the clerics who can channel the power of the soulstones are highly honored, but simple monks (common is some stoic and mediative houses), experts, and fighters, also occupy high positions.

Some of the Keepers of the Dead are concerned that the souls of other peoples are being annihilated (the Higlanders would say that they wish to gain power from the souls of our people). They often travel to other lands and seek to establish Houses of the Dead to the souls of the unenlightened foreigners. Some do so openly, attempting to teach the necessity of preserving souls. Others do so covertly—they have seen the message of their prophet rejected so they sneak into crypts, graveyards, and burial grounds to preserve souls before they are annihilated.

The keepers of the dead teach the following feats (among others): Craft Soulstone, Discipline, Iron Will, Craft Wondrous Item, Scribe Scroll, Combat Casting, Heighten Spell, Quicken Spell, Silent Spell, and Still Spell.

The Legions of Capernaum:

Composed largely of orcs, the legion battles to keep Capernaum independent of the Hanseatic Empire. They teach, among other feats, Hold the Line, Power Attack, Power Lunge, Shield and Spear, Shield Expert, Shield Specialization, Weapon focus: longspear, shortspear, shortword, shortbow, javalin.


Shardmakers are not an organization per se, but they are a class of warriors highly honored among the highlanders. Among the tribes, the Capernean practice of “preserving” souls inside gems is considered to be an offense against the natural order. (Some would say “against the teaching of the twins”). The teachings of the twins declare that the souls so captured are tortured every time the Keepers of the Dead draw on their power. Because of this the highlanders destroy any soulstones that enter their territory. That isn’t enough for some highlanders, however. Some Highlanders travel to the Republic of Capernaum to free as many souls as they can (the Keepers of the Dead say that they are driven to destroy souls by the demons they worship). These are the Shardmakers.

The Shardmakers are the only group on the island to contain Holy Liberators. All of these Holy Liberators are followers of the Celestial Twins who have been blessed with visions of their patrons.

The Templars of St. Guthorm

The Templars of St. Guthorm are an order of Holy Warriors founded to support the righteous war against the necromancer-kings of Stromgald and guard against the drakes of the mountains. Since the defeat of Stromgald and the unification of Stormkeep and Bearns, the Templars have become rivals of the Holy Order of St. Cuthbert in seeking out and destroying forbidden magic, undead, and demons.

Across Durenheim, they have a reputation as fierce warriors who neither give quarter to the forces of evil nor request it. They are also have a reputation for incredible strength.

Feats: Cleave, Divine Gift, Divine Might, Divine Vigor, Endurance, Extra Smiting, Extra Turning, Faith, Great Cleave, Improved Sunder, Instantaneous Rage, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Power attack, Power Lunge, Quicken Turning, Sunder, Supernatural Blow, Toughness, Weapon Proficiency, Focus, Specialization, and Improved Critical: Armor Spikes, Battle Axe, Great Axe, Hand Axe, Shortspear, Longspear, Composite Shortbow, Composite Longbow.

Prestige Classes: Templar

Prerequisites for entry:

Alignment: good or neutral (with good tendencies)

Strength 14+

BAB +4

Knowledge (Religion): 4 ranks

Weapon Focus: Battle Axe

Special: Must be upstanding members of the Assembly of the Faithful

Must be recommended by a Templar of the order or a Teacher of the Law.

Waymarch Knights

The Waymarch Knights have protected Glome from the orcs and unholy abberations of the Cursed lands since the days of Queen Orual. Headquartered in Waymarch Keep, they are often seen patrolling the southern borders of Glome. They have a reputation as fierce and fearless warriors.

Feats: Alertness, Blindfighting, Combat Reflexes, Close Quarters Fighting, Dodge, Endurance, Far Shot Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Mounted Combat, Power Attack, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Reload, Ride By Attack, Run, Shield and Spear Fighting, Spirited Charge, Trample, Track, Weapon Focus: Double crossbow, Light Crossbow, Heavy Crossbow, Heavy Lance, Longsword, Longspear, Shortspear.

Prestige Classes: Warmaster.

Prerequisites for entry:

BAB 2+

Special: Must swear allegiance to the Council of Lords and the King of Durenheim.


There are major religious differences between the various regions.

The inhabitants of the Hanseatic Empire (what is left of the Old Empire) are polytheists; they worship what are called the Old Gods: Ares, Vecna, Huorn, Ungit, Nerull, Erynthul, The Lord of Heaven, and The guardian [guardian of Heaven]. The chief temple in the city of Travincal is dedicated to the honor of the Lord of Heaven. Only the Emperor is permitted to enter. He does so once a year to spread out a map of the empire on the floor and entreat the Lord of Heaven’s blessing on his realm.

Hanseatic religion is quite practical: Sacrifices are offered to the gods for victory or success or to appease their wrath. Devotion to any particular god is the realm of priests and seers. (And even they will offer sacrifices to other gods when they desire success in that god’s area of influence). The only exceptions to this rule are the Lord of Heaven who is considered to be unapproachable by anyone save the Emperor, and the Guardian who is rarely asked for anything.

Personal conduct is considered to be the realm of philosophy rather than religion. Major philosophies include Epicureanism, and Stoicism.

The Kingdom of Durenheim believes in only one true God; they worship El Elyon, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. His servants, the four archangels Tyrael (The Divine Warrior), Lemuel (The blessed archer), Gabriella, and Githoniel play a large part in El Elyon’s dealings with men.

Although the men and women of Durenheim venerate the various angels and archangels, for the most part, they worship and offer sacrifices only to El Elyon.

El Elyon’s followers believe  that he has entrusted his teachings to men, instructing them in how to live.

The tribes of the Highlands: are mostly polytheists. The Celestial Twins (Celestial Archer and Holy Warrior), Ares, Ungit, and Huorn are prominent.

Religion in the highlands is varied. Some tribes offer sacrifices to all of the old gods depending upon their needs. Others (particularly followers of the Celestial Twins)  believe that the best sacrifice is a righteous life and an eager anticipation of a promised revelation.

The Highland tribes generally live their lives either by the teachings of the twins or by the traditions of their people. (These don’t often conflict, but where they do—examples include human sacrifice and shrine prostitution (forbidden by the teaching of twins, but encouraged by the other Old Gods)—these conflicts are serious). The traditions include a strict prohibition on incest (1st cousins included), duty to avenge the death of a family member (vendetta, and the Avenger of Blood), a prohibition on shedding blood within a city of refuge, a prohibition on eating horsemeat, the sacred hospitality, weregeld, a seven year servitude for unransomed captives, and Jubilee (every forty nine years, debts are forgiven, and all slaves are freed).

The Republic of Capernaum is populated largely by atheists. The prophet is revered, but not worshipped. According to the prophet’s teachings, the old gods are viewed as demonic counterfeits. They believe that, after a person has been dead seven days, that person’s soul is annihilated (or consumed by demons—it rather depends on who you ask). To prevent this, they have developed a technique of “preserving” their souls in crystals which are then stored in giant mausoleum/temples. Some of the Keepers of the Dead draw upon the powers of these ancestors in order to work magic.

A number of philosophies of life have appeared in Capernaum. Some believe in the pursuit of pleasure (the teachings of Epicureus). The original teachers of this philosophy advocated moderation and enjoying life. More recent popularizations are thoroughly hedonistic. The followers of the Stoics cultivate a devotion to duty and family (this is particularly popular among the orcs of the Legions). Other philosophers teach that calming and stilling the mind in meditation is the primary task in life because it prepares the soul for its life in the soulstone.

The orc tribes of the Cursed Lands are theoretically polytheistic. In practice, however, few tribes venerate more than one god. By far, the most commonly worshipped deities are Ares and Erynthul, but a few tribes have recently abandoned their worship and begun to venerate the Celestial Archer. Among the notable tribes, the Black Sword tribe venerate the Celestial Archer, the Ironclaw tribe worships Erynthul, and the Broken Fist tribe is known to follow Ares.


Old Gods:

Ares: god of war, authority and strength. In Hansea, Ares is considered to be the functional head of the pantheon (the Lord of Heaven is considered to be largely uninterested in the affairs of men, otherwise he’d be a shoo-in for the title).  Domains: Strength, Destruction, Authority, War Weapon: Battleaxe.

Vecna: god of magic, secrets, knowledge and power. In the Highlands, Vecna is viewed as something of an outcast among the gods. In Hansea, Vecna is the chief counselor of the gods. Although he defers to Ares, myths picture him as the power lurking behind the throne. Before the fall of Hansea, many emperors are said to have worshipped Vecna and his temple in the cursed city is said to still be one of the seven wonders of the world—of course, no one dares to visit it anymore. Domains: Knowledge, Magic, Evil Weapon: Dagger.

Huorn: god of the hunt. In the Highlands, Huorn is generally considered to be the chief of the gods. Although there are no temples to him in the cities of refuge, prominent shrines are just outside the gates to each city of refuge. Domains: Animal, Plant, Hunting, Travel. Weapon: Spear.

Ungit: the goddess of beauty, “love,” and fertility. Ungit’s worship is quite popular in Hansea as her sacred rites generally involve sex with temple prostitutes. In the highlands, her rituals are somewhat different and are usually consummated between a man and his wives. Domains: Beauty, Charm, Trickery

Weapon: War Fan.

Nerull: the god of death. He is said to rule the domain of the dead, and Hanseans and Highlanders alike make offerings to him to improve the lot of their friends and family after death. In Hansea, no one is considered less fortunate than a man who has no one to offer sacrifice to Nerull for his soul.  Domains: Death, Evil, and Authority. Weapon: Scythe

Erynthul: the god of battle and slaughter. He is said to answer prayers for victory in battle (especially if accompanied by human sacrifice—the closer one’s relationship with the person sacrificed, the better). He is also said to sometimes possess his worshippers, driving them into a beserk fury. On more than one occasion, he has descended to the battlefield in person. Domains: Fire, Evil, Trickery, and War Weapon: Morningstar

Morgion: The god of disease and pestilence. Men offer sacrifices to turn his eye away from them or toward their enemies. His priests are feared and usually accorded the same treatment although they are thought to have the power to turn his eye to or from a person and are therefore sought out by the desperate (for healing) and the ruthless (to curse their enemies).  Domains: Pestilence, Evil, Madness. Weapon: a rotting, claw-like hand (unarmed strike).

The Lord of Heaven: the Lord of Heaven has no priests among the old gods; only the emperor of Hansea is permitted to worship in his temple (he is unknown in the Highlands). Some Hansean travelers have theorized that the empty temples in the Highland cities of refuge were dedicated to him when the area was a part of the empire. Since only the emperor is permitted to worship in his temple, they say, the priests of Huorn have been unable to enter them.

The Guardian: The guardian of heaven is known in Hansea (he’s unknown elsewhere) the primary messenger and servant of the Lord of Heaven. He is said to do the Lord of Heaven’s bidding without question. Therefore, no-one in Hansea thinks it worth sacrificing to him—he’s only going to do what the Lord of Heaven tells him to, and it seems that the Lord of Heaven never tells him to do anything so there’s no point in sacrificing to him. Weapon: Bastard Sword

The Celestial Archer: The first of the Celestial Twins. His position in the Pantheon is unclear. He is known only in the Highlands and among some tribes in the Cursed Lands. He is said to have defeated an avatar of Erythnul in battle and turned back the orc tribes at the battle of the broken hill. Although no records survive, some of his followers in the highlands claim that he gave the tribes the Taboo.  Domains: Protection, War, Strength (among orcs of the Cursed Lands), Family/Hearth (among the Highlanders) Weapon: Composite Shortbow.

The Holy Warrior: The other Celestial Twin. His position in the pantheon is also unclear; he is mostly known for appearing in visions warning of the soulstones. Hanseans who have travelled to the Highlands generally consider him to be the Guardian. He is revered among the Highlanders but not worshipped. He’s thought to be a messenger of Huorn (Hanseans dismiss this idea as barbaric ignorance—like the Highlanders’ assumption that Huorn is the head of the Pantheon). Weapon: Bastard Sword.

In Hansea, priests are officially supported by the imperium. Their ability to bestow the blessings or curses of the gods and forsee the future makes them valuable allies or deadly enemies for the various noble houses and factions. Generous monetary donations are often given to temples in exchange for procuring the gods’ favor for friends or retracting it from enemies. Many temples have other sources of income whether it is prostitution (Ungit), blessing the bodies of the dead (Nerull), or providing mercenaries (Ares). Sacrifices include animals, grains, wines, and people. Human sacrifice is often offered (and/or promised) to Ares, Erythnul, and Nerull in order to secure victory in battle.

In the Cursed Lands shamans are generally highly respected members of the tribe. Their ability to call upon the power of the gods ensures that they are treated with respect—or at least a certain degree of fear. They also often serve as power brokers in their various communities as the favor of the gods is certainly a factor in the tribes’ choice of leaders.

Priests, Shamans, and Holy Men are highly respected in Highlander culture. If they are travelers, any highlander is expected to provide them with hospitality. Stationary priests are supported in a variety of ways. Some are prostitutes—almost all houses of Ungit function as brothels. Others provide counsel and hospitality (to travellers) for a reasonable (or unreasonable) fee. Still others function as wizards offering charms and salves. All priests eat of whatever meat they sacrifice (although the blood is poured onto the altar and the fat is generally burned as an offering). Sacrifices are generally offered to procure the favor of the gods and ensure favorable hunting, success in battle, romantic success, etc. Monetary donations at shrines are also thought to secure favor as is incense offered at either public or personal shrines.

Some Selected Traditions of the Highlanders:

One who sheds a mans blood—by man’s hand shall his blood be shed.

The horse is a brother—his flesh shall be buried or burned. Whoever takes of it and eats shall be marked as an outcast. Anyone who offers aid to such a man shall be accursed.

Offer hospitality to strangers and travellers.

To insult ones’ host is to invite a curse.

A thief is a brother to the murderer. As he is the hand of the destroyer, let his hand be cut off as a warning.

To steal a man’s horse is to attempt murder. Such a man must not live.

Selections from the Teachings of the Twins:

To trap a dead man’s soul is an abomination.

You shall not prostitute yourselves in the temples of the gods.

Heaven quakes at human sacrifice. The anger of the heaven is upon a murderer.

For a man, as for a woman, the anger of heaven is upon adulterers.

A liar and a thief, both are accursed before the holy ones.

Endure for the days of penitence will soon be over. Await the ambassadors of Heaven who will once more teach what was lost.

The Keepers of the Dead:

They’re atheists. Domains: Death, Protection, Knowledge. Favored Weapon: varies by House of the Dead.

Followers of their beliefs keep a soulstone on them at all times so that they may preserve their soul from demons of Hansea after death. They are also concerned to have someone preserve and care for their soulstone after they die. Many Hanseans regularly donate to a House of the Dead to ensure that their soulstone will be brought to a Hall of Souls after their death. Wealthy families and houses often establish or endow Houses of the Dead to preserve their family’s souls and to demonstrate their generosity to the poor.

Selections from the writings of the Prophet:

I looked and saw that I had been blinded by the pursuit of power. The gods are hungry for our worship and the blood of our sacrifices but in return they offer us only pain and deception. The Lord of Heaven has turned his back on us and his children [Ares, Erythnul, etc.] prey upon us.

Against those that call themselves gods, what can we do? Who can prevail against their power? Though armed might may keep us free of their priests all of us will eventually die. Who will then deliver us from their grasp?

Selections from the writings of the Philosophers:

Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

Moderation in all things, excess in none.

The Assembly of the Faithful:

El Elyon: He is the only deity worshipped by the monotheistic citizens of Durenheim but He generally does not grant powers directly—most of his spellcasting clerics, paladins, etc. have a vision of one of His messengers.

The Messengers:

Tyrael: (Courage) The Guardian Angel Domains: Justice, War, Authority, Strength

Weapon: Bastard Sword

Lemuel: (Justice) The Lawgiver Domains: Justice, Protection, Good, Family        Weapon: Bow

Githoniel: (Temperance) Domains: Healing, Good, Protection, Weapon: Hammer.

Gabriella: (Wisdom) Domains: Healing, Sun, Compassion, Knowledge                Weapon: longsword.

St. Cuthbert: the Avenger Domains: Destruction, Justice, Protection, Strength        Weapon:  Mace.

St. Francis: The Farmer and Preacher, Friend of Nature and the poor. Domains: Renewal,  Plant, Animal Weapon: Quarterstaff.

St. Guthorm: the Lucky: Patron Saint of Bearns, the righteous ruler. Domains: Justice, Luck, War. Weapon: Battle Axe.

St. Maximus: the Light bringer: Domains: War, Protection, Sun.

            Weapon: Shortsword

Followers of El Elyon are expected to regularly study the Law of El Elyon and follow its teachings. They also gather on Saturdays to hear the law read to them and to hear teaching on its application. In addition to this, the Assembly observes a feast each new moon and high holy days on the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes. On these days, it is forbidden to work and the head of every household is expected to bring a sacrifice to atone for their sins. Families are also expected to give the first 5% of their increase to the Assembly. Members of the Assembly are also expected to give generously to the deserving poor (orphans, widows, etc.)

Exerpts from The law of El Elyon (as presented by the Archangel Lemuel)

On Human relations:

Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel

He who curses his father or his mother, his lamp will go out in time of darkness

Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.

Do not contend with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.

Better is an open rebuke than love that is concealed.

You shall not murder.

Honor your father and your mother.

On Justice and Economics:

Differing weights and differing measures—both are an abomination

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous for the guilty shall not be acquitted.

You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to pervert justice.

You shall not steal.

On Companions:

Loyalty and truth preserve the king, and he upholds his throne by righteousness.

Take away dross from the silver and there comes out a vessel for the smith; take away the wicked from before the king and his throne will be established in righteousness.

Leave the presence of a fool or you will not discern words of knowledge.

On Personal Conduct:

It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory.

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

You shall not commit adultery

On Religious Worship:

He who sacrifices to any god other than El Elyon shall be cast out from among you.

On the Treatment of Animals:

If you see the horse of one who hates you trapped under its load, you shall not leave it to your him to free it, but you shall surely assist him in freeing his beast.

You shall not muzzle the ox as it treads the grain.

Crime and Punishment:


In Durenheim, it is a crime to sacrifice to the old gods (punishable by branding and banishment), establish an altar to any of the old gods (punishable by execution), to create soulstones (punishable by branding and banishment) or a House of the Dead (punishable by execution).

Slavery is illegal in Durenheim and slave traders are punished with banishment or execution.

Justice is decided by the local Lord, his duly appointed magistrate, or, in a chartered town or city, the city council or their magistrate. The King’s Justiciars also ride through the Kingdom. Anyone may petition a Justiciar to resolve a grievance or to reverse injustice by the local barons. The Nobility is subject to judgement only by the Justiciars or by a higher noble. The clergy are subject only to the judgement of the Assembly of the Faithful (although the King is attempting to also make them subject to his Justiciars).

Crimes are usually punished by (in order of severity): A day in stocks, flogging, branding and banishment (to the Cursed Lands), or execution. Some rulers have also implemented systems of restitution for theft and vandalism.


In the Highlands, it is a crime to create soulstones or establish a house of the dead (punishable by death). Mere possession of a soulstone is punishable by flogging.

The status of slavery is unclear. Trading in slaves is outlawed (and punishable by branding or death) but debtors are required to serve their creditors for a set period if they cannot repay a loan. Captives taken in battle also serve their captors until they are redeemed.

If someone is murdered, their family members are considered to have an obligation to carry out a vendetta against the killer. If the killing was accidental or the result of a formal duel, the vendetta may be cancelled by the payment of a weregeld. Alternately, the killer may flee to one of the cities of refuge and declare his plight to the king. The king will hear his accusers and if he judges the killer innocent of malice, the killer will be free from retribution as long as he remains within sight of the city walls. If the killer is judged guilty of murder, the king will execute the murderer himself.

Justice is decided by the elders of a tribe or city. It varies widely from city to city and tribe to tribe (although all tribes consider the cities of refuge sacred—inside them the vendetta is disallowed; only the elders may shed blood).

Crimes are generally punished in these manners: flogging, servitude, amputation, execution, or vendetta.

Cursed Lands:

Justice in the cursed lands varies widely from tribe to tribe. Many tribes operate by the rule: if you can keep it, it’s yours and if you can do it and not be killed, you may do it. Trial by combat or ordeal is the general rule—assuming they bother with a trial at all. Recently, some of the tribes who have converted to the worship of the Celestial Archer have begun to emulate the Highlander’s concepts of justice (although ceremonial combat is still used to determine right among many of these tribes).

Slavery is legal and commonplace among the tribes of the cursed lands. In fact, among some tribes, human slave girl is a unit of currency.


In the Republic of Capernaum, it is a capital crime to sacrifice to the old gods or to establish an altar to them. It is also a capital crime to destroy a soulstone (they punish this by “the death of the soul”—execution without a soulstone).

Slavery is legal and commonplace. Debtors unable to pay their debts, criminals, and prisoners of war may become slaves.

Justice is administered by the Archons and their representatives. A prefect rules each province of Capernaum. Governers are below prefects. Magistrates are below governers. Sheriffs are the lowest rung in the ladder of justice. Any citizen of Capernaum (a title gained by birth to a citizen, twenty years service in the legions, or by official grant by a governer (it is often purchased from governers, although it is a very expensive bribe)) may not be punished without a trial. Any citizen may also appeal their punishment to the prefect or the Archons. Although noble and common citizens have different rights, they have the same standing before the law in matters of justice.

Crimes are generally punished by imprisonment (usually short term), flogging, execution, slavery, branding and banishment, execution, and (in the most serious cases), the death of the soul.

Hanseatic Empire

In the Hanseatic empire, it is a capital crime to refuse to sacrifice to the gods or to promulgate teachings in opposition to their worship. (You will sacrifice to the gods of Hansea or be sacrificed to them).  Although soulstones are not technically illegal under imperial law, where the priests of Nerrull wield significant influence, possession of a soulstone is often punished by destruction of the soulstone and public flogging.

Slavery is legal and commonplace. One may become a slave by being an orc or half-orc, having unpaid debts, being captured in battle, or committing crimes.

The main focus of the Imperial law is to ensure that sacrifices to the gods continue, taxes are paid on time and in full, soldiers are provided for the legions, guard against riots and rebellion, and to keep the slaves in line. Other matters of law are left to the traditional local courts throughout the empire (although only the Emperor’s representatives have authority to execute people). In some cities, though, criminals of any kind may be taken as gladiators or prove their innocence in gladiatorial combat.

The final arbiter of Imperial law is the emperor. Under him, the prefects administer justice in the various provinces.  Governers rule the regions within the provinces. Under governors, the authority to keep the peace is granted to the legions. Any slaveowner is the final authority over the lives of his slaves. The priesthoods of the various gods have exclusive authority on temple grounds. They may also capture and bring anyone they accuse of crimes against the gods to the local military commander. The Emperor’s Hand and the Emperor’s fist are above the law.

Common punishments in the empire include: flogging, slavery, gladiatorial combat, branding and banishment, sacrifice, execution, and execution by torture.