Things that are known

Free association time.

The overlord exists, but almost no one thinks they exist NOW.

For various, individual reasons, the members of the fellowship believes Ursula Tenebrios is active, out there, and very much exists. Specifically…

  • Rowan knows that most of the ‘mighty’ among the harbingers have sided with the overlord and work at her behest. “Other” harbingers are roaming the world or living far away from high-pop areas to stay out the mess the leaders have gotten into. Basically, if you don’t dig the overlord, you stay away from the harbinger “Tower of the Moon.”
    • Ekki of Bornaer is the most skilled of the overlord’s harbingers, if not the most powerful.
    • Rowan can command lore about the powers and magic of the harbingers, both in terms of scope and limitations, and I’d expect them to also have an idea of harbingers who might live ‘near where we are right now’ type thing.
    • Are harbingers a people or an order? I think I’ve asked this, but: might there be a dwarven harbinger? Elven? Catling? Etc.
  • Wynn’s people were wiped out by the Overlord the last time she rose to great power. At that time, Wynn’s people were probably the dominant culture or nation in this part of the world. They had a LOT of power. They did a lot of stuff with crystalline magic/power, and worked with a now-extinct dwarven clan.
    • (More to come here as I read up on James’s write up.)
    • Possibly the lost Heir playbook will show up leading a splinter of Wynn’s people who survived out in fantasy-north-dakota.
    • Siflæ, one of the ofir and now the overlord’s general, “betrayed everything they loved to serve the overlord.” That’s not how Siflæ would describe it, but it’s the overlord’s bond and inarguable fact, so.
  • Virens witnessed some great catastrophe as a naturally-occurring flying island was drained of its power and dropped from the sky. Although this happened away from major population centers, it was in orcish lands and did kill the other members of his company, specially _____________.
    • I personally imagine Virens covered in ash and dust, seeing Rowan Greenhand and Wynn emerging from the smoke and fog and meeting them under those circumstances. Consider this non-canon fan fiction.
    • I have some pre-history, pre-civ origin thoughts about the orcs that at this point don’t rate as anything more than unwritten fan fiction. Probably something to bring up to Bill at some point, but it’s all super ancient history - at least as far back as the Nalres empire, if not twice as far back.
  • Carabas’s family line has apocryphal stories of the last defeat of the overlord. His family was… there, for some reason?
    • The overlord’s bond pre-game ‘rumor about these people’ with Carabas the catlings is something on the lines of “the halflings were never useful servants because they were made from imperfect stock” or something very like that. Rude.
  • Wrangler Ann knows the overlord’s weakness. Whether that’s humankind’s folk tales or what, but it’s true.
  • Humans don’t really have a home. Parallels have been drawn (albeit by mostly not-margie, so buyer beware) between them and the humans of Titan A.E., the wandering romani, or any collective people with no homeland but a shared culture. One wonders (or at least I wonder) how they have a shared history/culture if they weren’t at some point together, and when was that, and what did it look like?
    • Could be the heir playbook is leading a Wakanda- or Gondolin-like hidden human land, somewhere.
    • I feel like, with any sort of transient cultural facet/event (traveling acting troupe, a wandering fun-fair, a goblin market, caravansaries in general, et cetera et cetera), I’m going to default to asking Ann for Lore, unless it’s a direct expression of someone else’s people, since humans probably fill in most of the gaps in such transient spaces.

What else?

  • Dwarves are around. They are involved in the raising of new stable flying islands, and major crystal-based infrastructure project either do or probably-should involve them. No one’s really able to command a lot of lore about them, except maybe Wynn can talk about the old days, and probably at SOME level the Toskan people have Opinions On The Subject, positive or negative.

  • “Elves” are, collectively, fae creatures. Playable ‘elf’ characters are the 18-inch-high option from the stock playbook, but you might hear ‘elfling’ or “elf-thing” applied to dryads, naiads, satyrs, centaurs, unicorns, or whatever. Catlings, at the least, have regular enough interactions/encounters/dealings with them that Opinons Have Formed.

    • Carabas can command some level of lore about the elves, though, as he is not one, that’s somewhat constrained.
    • Rowan can probably command lore about their magical nature, and how they did or didn’t evolve out of the native magical flow of the world.
  • A lot of the ‘magic’ power of the world is ley-line-ish, gravitates naturally ‘down’, if left to its own devices but, weirdly, when concentrated in certain crystals, leads to lighter-than-air buoyancy. This effect has been leveraged at least as far back as the height of the Nalres empire. The power is not naturally stable and, free-flowing in the low-lands, may be psychoreactive.

    • Wynn could command some lore about this, though more as a user than a designer.
    • Rowan can command lore on at least some magical uses of the stuff.
  • The overlord has a hidden base.

  • The overlord is a skin-changer, whatever that means.

An uninhabited island has been sucked dry of power and dropped out of the sky. A repopulated once-Ofir city (Red Valley ni Rød dal) had all its defenses drained of power. Ekki has indicated they were the first and second parts of a ‘test’ or proof-of-concept. Presumably this information could be put together to determine guess what overlord’s next plan is.

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What other stuff have we established that I missed, or that we should know?

What other command lore ‘default’ domains for people obviously present themselves?

Good write-up. I don’t see anything here that directly contradicts what I’ve gleaned. A couple of notes, though …

My impression (and I am not @Margie, so buyer beware as well) is less that they have no home than that they are sort of ubiquitous. There is no recognized “This is the Empire of Humanity”. There’s nobody claiming to be the King of the Humans. There is no “this is the origin point of humans.” They are more just sort of a global proletariat, farmers, traders. Anywhere there are not racial-exclusive realms, humans are there – sometimes as second-class citizens or serfs, sometimes as partners.

(This lack of conquest and domination probably strikes some races as weird. There are probably languages where the phrase “Lazy as a human” exists, possibly alongside “Hard-working as a human.”)

(All this notwithstanding Hidden Cities, of course. But, then, who’s to say if the Heir rides forth from Gondolin that any of the humans in the outside world will actually be interested in following them?)

That said, the shared culture question is an interesting one. Trade is part of that. Is there anything more?

Lots of interesting lore questions.

As we Catlings prefer out-of-the-way, unbothered spaces for their villages, and those are the sorts of locales that fae tend to drift through or dwell in in a far less organized fashion, we put up with them.

Thinking without notes here, I can’t recall if that’s the distant uncle whose journeys brought back the reference Carabas uses for his taken name. That sort of wanderlust / curiosity / interest in things beyond a great place to sun oneself is rare, though, and generally considered quietly scandalous. “Even in the best families …”

I’m happy for it to have been Uncle Whatshisname who was around that time. That certainly allows for more amusement.

Is that what the Overlord (and her generals/followers) believe? Or is that a general rumor perhaps originating from the Overlord?

Vile calumny, of course. We don’t make good servants because we are free-spirited and independent creatures who are not easily or willingly herded. Unlike some races I could name.

I’m interested in hearing more about this.

If you don’t have someone in mind already, I’ll Command Lore about orcish family practices in a Campfire Tale that talks about this.

Mike can tell me how he feels about this, but it’s also possible it went like this:

  • Virens showed up in the area, following rumors of unrest
  • Arcane portents guide either Rowan to him, or him to Rowan (Mike’s choice, depending on how this works)
  • Rowan advises Virens of unusual activity around an island, which the orc goes to investigate, and optionally sends some mystic assistance or wisdom along (perhaps that even saves Virens’ life)
  • Colony Drop
  • Virens returns to Rowan, ready to aid him, and convinced of his power and importance (Bond: “I would give my life for Rowan Greenhanded without a thought”)

There’s a version of events where a human diaspora happened because they know the Overlord’s secrets, and realized everyone was safest if everyone knew. Somewhere along the way it didn’t work out, but it’s still in their old stories, and they have something like the Torah telling them “tell stories from this book every day, and change nothing”.

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I really like this. @margie?

To the previous to that: yes please command lore, and barring Mike’s input, I like that order of events for Virens meeting Rowan.

I too like this. Much like with Red Valley, Rowan’s reading the leylines lead him to Virens, whom Rowan probably looked like some sort of madman babbling about arcane portents.

I’m beginning to think Rowan only looks reasonable in hindsight to some folk.

Rowan’s face is permanently at ELRON-3 because no one ever listens to him.

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Yes! Humans are ubiquitous. Mostly human towns will have a mayor and locally elected government, (non-humans inhabitants can vote in these elections). Most trader and trade families are human. There are norms and traditions that keep humanity connect across islands and nations. There are mysteries that humans keep from other races. I’m still deciding if this is tied together by a single religion or just how thing have always been. There is no king or a desire for one. There are very few who believe in a one-world human government.