The Hopewastes

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Ben
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The Hopewastes

Postby Ben » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:45 pm

Drake's Guide to the Hopewastes

Introduction

And as they stepped through the cave, they found their senses twisted out of their control. Something seemed to draw at their minds and their souls and they fell to their knees as a chill that froze their blood reached into their very hearts.

As they looked around, the world they knew was gone. No wind filled the air,
no sun shone from the sky. Instead only a vast greyness stretched from horizon to horizon. Beneath their feet the grass was blackened and dead and the trees were burnt and twisted. On the edge of their vision dark shapes, terrible dark shapes, flitted here and there.

Fear filled the party. What manner of hell had they walked into?


Creation

The moons seemed to scatter and fade away, for here was Eremine’s final creation: her greatest son, Velnashar, God of Destuction, the balance that she so eagerly sought. Velnashar reached forward, but before he could act, Eremine spoke the only words she ever would, ever has and ever shall until the end of creation.

“What gift can you give, my son, that will not destroy the balance? For should my balance be disrupted, all of creation will come to an end.”

Velnashar smiled and replied, “My mother, my creator, I shall give them free will, the choice to do what they will with their lives. By the light of my day they shall wreak more destruction by their own accord that anything that I could ever imagine, and it will be all by their own hand, thus preserving your precious balance.”

At this, Eremine smiled…

“Wait.”

Eremine once more looked at her son, this time in puzzlement.

Her son’s smile grew, “The balance is not complete. You have created all this from the void. Matter, light, life, where is the balance?”

Eremine’s smile faded yet she remained silently watching her son.

Velnashar closed his eyes and his brilliance and intensity increased a hundred-fold. His light seemed to pour into the void and across the newly created world until a dark shadow of the world was created.

Eremine remained silent as she watched.

Velnashar grew even brighter until his light seemed to pour through the world itself and where it did so it gave shape to the shadow. Land-masses, mountains, volcanoes, vents and valleys formed in exactly the same places as Grethanax had placed them on the world. As Eremethal had done, mist, snow, rain and clouds appeared. Everywhere Lenamo had placed them, now forests, trees, bushes and plants sprung up on this new world. Finally, as Lenamo had done, life, both animal and sentient, appeared until the world was a mirror of Velmaneth except everything was created of shadow.

Velnashar opened his eyes, looked at his world then at his mother before turning back to his creation. His eyes narrowed and his smile cracked to show teeth and he snapped his fingers. Flame poured across the shadow world in an instant. Grass blackened, trees twisted and burned, the seas boiled away to almost nothing and the thousands of life-forms were unrecognisably warped into hideous and chaotic creations.

Within seconds the flames died down and though no wind blew, a chill of death permeated the world. Velnashar pointed at the world and with a gesture of his hand set the world moving towards Velmaneth.

It looked as if the two would collide, certainly destroying both, but Velnashar’s creation simply passed through the new world. However, instead of coming out the other side, once the two overlapped completely, the shadowy, ethereal world stopped invisibly overlaid on Velmaneth.

Velnashar bowed, “I present to you your balance mother.”

And with that, she sank into the jewel she had created: forever becoming part of her own most prized creation. With her, Velnashar receded into his light, his work done and left the world to become what it would become

And so were the Hope Wastes born and placed a shadow’s breadth from the world in which we live: a place to hold that which is destroyed on Velmaneth.

The Demons

Little is known of the early years of the Hopewastes. It is believed that the creatures who survived Velnashar’s fire were warped by his magics so much that they were no longer men: they were non-men, un-men…de-men. These demons were the original inhabitants of the Hope Wastes existing here long before the first soul entered their lands.

They have fought between themselves since the beginning of time gaining knowledge, power and territory. To say they rule the Wastes would be an overstatement, however, some of the inhabitants have called truces, forged uneasy alliances and formed a hierarchy with the most powerful demons ruling their own principalities in the Hope Wastes, some with thousands of lesser demons below them.

The Dead

Then the first soul arrived.

The Hope Wastes are what we might call purgatory or the land of the dead. This is where the lost souls of departed creatures from Velmaneth come to wait before moving on. However, often spirits are unwilling or unable to move on either due to fear of something even worse awaiting them or due to a desire to return to Velmaneth. This might be due to some perceived unfinished business, a desire for revenge or justice or perhaps to attempt to return to life. It is possible that their death was so horrific that they simply cannot find peace.

This was a shock for the demons, time in the Hope Wastes is different from that on Velmaneth so the demons had experienced what felt like centuries by themselves and had never considered that there might be other forms of existence of indeed other worlds. Their attentions were turned away from empire building and infighting to torturing the souls who began to arrive who they immediately felt both superior to and threatened by.

These souls began by appearing irregularly but as the population on Velmaneth increased, more and more souls started to arrive in the Hope Wastes. However, they didn’t appear in the same physical place each time, they would appear all over the Hope Wastes and eventually the demons got round to finding out why.

By torturing the new arrivals, they discovered that the souls were coming from somewhere. This was another shock for the demons who hadn’t considered that there was anywhere else and as soon as they were aware of it they began to crave it. From their ministrations they gleaned that it was a place filled with souls, with magic, with power and they wanted it. It didn’t take them long to gather the information that wherever a soul died in this other place, this is where they would appear in their realm. Soon demons began to gather like vultures (vultures with multiple heads, scales, horns and tails) in the areas where most souls appeared.

Citadels of the Hope Wastes

These areas corresponded to the places on Velmaneth which were the greatest population centres and so to defend these hunting grounds and hold the captured souls they built cities, castles, prisons and dungeons.

This is how sprawling metropolises appeared in the same areas in the Hope Wastes as they were on Velmaneth. The strongest and most easily defensible is their equivalent of Dvarni in the Heartlands with some others located in the Hope Waste locations of Ingolé, Mahtar, Nandine, Nuuta and Sanga. Still more gather round the areas equivalent to Gweria, Serke Kemi and the Swamps of Tuure waiting for a chance to escape into the world.

One such place which should be noted here is in the Hope Wastes equivalent of Hoopa in the far northeast of Gweria. Known as The Bastion of Hope, this is one of the only known areas of sanctuary in the Hope Wastes. The first souls to enter the Hope Wastes came from Gweria due to the tribal wars that plagued the early years of the country and The Bastion was the first major demonic settlement. Those souls unfortunate enough to be taken to The Bastion called it The Bastion of Despair due to the horrific tortures endured there and surely that is how it would have remained had it not been for an unlikely saviour.

Back on Velmaneth, Quarin and the Hopeslayers were rising and their main area of operations was the land of Gweria. With the rise of necromancy and the undead, though the death toll of the country increased exponentially, very few souls ever found their way into the wastes. In this way, with no fresh meat entering the Gweria of the wastes, the demons departed for their twisted versions of The Heartlands and SInya Palurin and The Bastion was abandoned. Ironically at the same time on Velmaneth, the town of Hoopa was founded and in just a few short years the flood of souls entering the Hope Wastes would once more flow from Gweria. The reason for this change in circumstances was mainly due to one man, a man named Varya.

Varya, also known as The Warden, was said to have been infused with the power of life from the very jewel itself and it is claimed that any who died in his presence were protected from being raised as undead, their souls passing directly to the Hope Wastes. He encouraged the Hoopans to risk their own lives in order to bless those who fell in battle, both to protect their souls from destruction but also to quell the opportunity for the Hopeslayers to raise reinforcements. Their souls freed, the Hoopans would go on to destroy the bodies in order to protect them in the future.

Over the years many hundreds of people fell protecting Hoopa from the Hopeslayers and their armies and those who entered the Hope Wastes did so near the abandoned Bastion. The earliest casualties of war fortified it against attack and as their numbers were bolstered, the Bastion became a beacon of hope in these lands of despair. In this way, the Bastion became known across the wastes as a sanctuary from the denizens of the Hope Wastes and many souls have made the journey there over the years seeking its protection. Unfortunately, this has also brought it back to the attention of the demons and their forces regularly assault the fortress which was once the first demonic settlement.

Over time it has become known as a holy site for followers of several gods, including Lenamo and Firin, and their mortal followers will occasionally make pilgrimages into the wastes in order to bring aid or at least good will to the inhabitants. When the great Kami of Serke Kemi known as Life Unbound was sundered, the part of her dealing with the soul was banished into the Hope Wastes where she wandered lost and alone. It is said that during this time she took refuge in The Bastion and after her release from the Hope Wastes she blessed those who had helped her by infusing The Bastion with her power, granting her protection to those who protected her. Today, the Bastion shines with holy light, driving the demons and forces of Despair away into the shadows where they watch and wait. In honour of their savious and protector, the souls renamed their sanctuary The Bastion of Hope.

Entrances and Exits

The caves in the swamp of Tuure are the only known stable entrance to the Hope Wastes although it has been claimed that there are several others across the world. Here the barrier between the worlds is thin and beings can pass between the two if they perform the correct rituals. Fortunately two groups (one of druids and one of Shiraken) guard the swamp against incursions from either side.

Due to the weakening of the barrier between worlds, it is believed that with enough power and the correct ritual a portal into the Hope Wastes could be opened for a short time from any point in Velmaneth (or indeed from within the Hope Wastes). Fortunately this is a rare occurrence for to do so could only weaken the barriers further.

Having said this, a portal appears for a short period in Decus each year. The portal does not have a fixed entry or exit point but gives those within the Hope Wastes a chance to fight their way out. Few risk this for to fail is to be destroyed forever. It is believed that this is the work of Kan Slaar, Arch Mage of the Hope Wastes who it is believed resides in the Hope Wastes version of the Heartlands but can pass freely between the two worlds.

The Hope Wastes themselves are a terrible and horrific place for a living soul. Should they wait there too long, the malicious spirits will attempt to inhabit the dark corners of their bodies and travel back with them into Velmaneth. The world should forever be in fear that some evil, deranged creature might one day discover a way to open the door to the Hope Wastes for all, for in that moment darkness would cover all of Velmaneth and the world as we know it would end.

The Undead

Whatever the reason for not having moved on to a final resting place, while in the Hope Wastes the spirits of the dead, for the most part malicious and resentful, can be summoned back to Velmaneth in the form of the Undead. These will either be summoned into the corpses of the departed to create Zombie, Skeletons or Ghouls or given the incorporeal shadowy forms of Shadows or Wraiths.

It is rumoured that sometimes living creatures summon the spirits of the dead into them, the reasons for this are myriad and complex however and the results diverse. However, it is believed that this is the process used to create liches and even vampires.

Demons in Velmaneth

For the most part demons are powerful creatures, feared above most summonations of undeath. There are of course exceptions to this rule: weaker demons would be less powerful than the stronger undead and there are souls so powerful that they could overthrow the strongest demon.

Whilst they usually reside in the Hope Wastes, it is possible for demons to be summoned into the world, in a very similar way to the spirits of the dead. Either they are brought through whole: through some doorway between the worlds, or summoned into the bodies of the dead or even into living creatures. It is not unknown for demons or the dead to force their own way into the world without any assistance, which is why this threat remains very near and always pressing.

Those demons that leave the Hope Wastes and enter Velmaneth are usually the most powerful opponents one is likely to face for even the seemingly harmless, smaller demons can be lethal.

Magic and the Hope Wastes

It is theorised that as the Hope Wastes are physically similar to Velmaneth, there must be a ‘jewel’ (dark and shadowy though it may be) deep in its centre. As it has been discovered that Bards are much more powerful within the Wastes, it is feasible that this other jewel is what provides this power. It is further theorised that the casting of Shadow and Death magic may be easier within the Hope Wastes whereas Light and Life may be more difficult.

Appearance in the Hope Wastes

The souls of the dead have no shape other than what they give themselves. There is no reason for a soul to appear as they did in life other than habit. Furthermore there is no reason for a soul to be physically stronger, tougher or more dextrous in the Hopewastes except if that is what the individual believes. Therefore, it is possible that if a human truly believed they were an elf that is how they would appear in the Hopewastes. It is also possible for a person who dies as an old man to appear young, strong and fit again in the Hopewastes or for a blind woman to be able to see or a cripple to walk.

It is likely that the further a person is from being grounded in reality, the less like their physical form they will appear. This is not to say that if someone is unhappy with their appearance that they can change it: often the less happy someone is with their appearance, the more aware of it they are.

Along with the appearance of their body, the soul will also subconsciously clothe and equip itself. Many will simply appear as they did at the moment of death, though again there is no hard or fast rule to this. A warrior may have died naked in bed but appear in the Hope Wastes fully armed and armoured as this is the way he sees himself. Alternatively a peasant press-ganged into military service who dies in chain-mail on a battlefield having never worn armour before in his life might appear wearing his everyday clothes.

Because of this, it is theoretically possible for duplicates of items to enter the Hope Wastes. Whether they would retain the powers of the ‘true’ items is a matter for debate.

Due to the above factors, there are a limited number of resources in the Hope Wastes and it would be feasible for demons to attack the souls, or souls to fight each other for these items. This could be anything from a pair of shoes to a suit of armour.

It is important to mention here that not all souls are ‘equal’. As in life, where some people are more powerful than others, in the Hopewastes some souls will be ‘superior’. Generally, the more a person did in their life (the more experiences they had, the more they learnt, the more they trained) the more powerful their soul will be in the Hopewastes.
"And unconscious people always count as willing"

Tome of Magic 6.0

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Ben
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Re: The Hopewastes

Postby Ben » Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:29 pm

Added the following:

One such place which should be noted here is in the Hope Wastes equivalent of Hoopa in the far northeast of Gweria. Known as The Bastion of Hope, this is one of the only known areas of sanctuary in the Hope Wastes. The first souls to enter the Hope Wastes came from Gweria due to the tribal wars that plagued the early years of the country and The Bastion was the first major demonic settlement. Those souls unfortunate enough to be taken to The Bastion called it The Bastion of Despair due to the horrific tortures endured there and surely that is how it would have remained had it not been for an unlikely saviour.

Back on Velmaneth, Quarin and the Hopeslayers were rising and their main area of operations was the land of Gweria. With the rise of necromancy and the undead, though the death toll of the country increased exponentially, very few souls ever found their way into the wastes. In this way, with no fresh meat entering the Gweria of the wastes, the demons departed for their twisted versions of The Heartlands and SInya Palurin and The Bastion was abandoned. Ironically at the same time on Velmaneth, the town of Hoopa was founded and in just a few short years the flood of souls entering the Hope Wastes would once more flow from Gweria. The reason for this change in circumstances was mainly due to one man, a man named Varya.

Varya, also known as The Warden, was said to have been infused with the power of life from the very jewel itself and it is claimed that any who died in his presence were protected from being raised as undead, their souls passing directly to the Hope Wastes. He encouraged the Hoopans to risk their own lives in order to bless those who fell in battle, both to protect their souls from destruction but also to quell the opportunity for the Hopeslayers to raise reinforcements. Their souls freed, the Hoopans would go on to destroy the bodies in order to protect them in the future.

Over the years many hundreds of people fell protecting Hoopa from the Hopeslayers and their armies and those who entered the Hope Wastes did so near the abandoned Bastion. The earliest casualties of war fortified it against attack and as their numbers were bolstered, the Bastion became a beacon of hope in these lands of despair. In this way, the Bastion became known across the wastes as a sanctuary from the denizens of the Hope Wastes and many souls have made the journey there over the years seeking its protection. Unfortunately, this has also brought it back to the attention of the demons and their forces regularly assault the fortress which was once the first demonic settlement.

Over time it has become known as a holy site for followers of several gods, including Lenamo and Firin, and their mortal followers will occasionally make pilgrimages into the wastes in order to bring aid or at least good will to the inhabitants. When the great Kami of Serke Kemi known as Life Unbound was sundered, the part of her dealing with the soul was banished into the Hope Wastes where she wandered lost and alone. It is said that during this time she took refuge in The Bastion and after her release from the Hope Wastes she blessed those who had helped her by infusing The Bastion with her power, granting her protection to those who protected her. Today, the Bastion shines with holy light, driving the demons and forces of Despair away into the shadows where they watch and wait. In honour of their savious and protector, the souls renamed their sanctuary The Bastion of Hope.
"And unconscious people always count as willing"

Tome of Magic 6.0


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