Shadow and Light

The world stands between two poles. The light pole is dominated by a massive red sun that hovers eternally over vast lava fields. Floating chunks of magma and stone drift through the skies providing a home to fire birds and dragons. The dark pole is a frozen waste of ice mountains and spires spread beneath a chaotic spiral of stars and a baleful white moon attended by seven planets frozen in a nebula of purple and green. Only in the Borderlands that lie between Shadow and Light is a semblance of normal life possible. The lands of Light are dominated by creatures of fire and energy, fierce dragons, living flames, and giant lava serpents. The lands of Shadow are ruled by cold wraiths and ravenous demons forever hungry for the souls of the living.

The Fae

The entire world is permeated with the fae, the fundamental force of magic. Fae flows from the depths of the world, rising from the icy crevices of Shadow and the lava filled depths of Light. Fae is colored by whatever it touches as it moves across the surface of the world. Those attuned to the fae can control its changeable power, creating powerful magical effects. Those most attuned are often unstable, and the manifestations of an insane mage are truly fearsome.

Unfortunately the fae can also manifest the unconscious desires of sentient beings. Once given life by the imaginings of a sentient creature, the fae becomes a living thing, struggling to survive and grow, consuming the dreams, thoughts, even lives of natural creatures. The nature of individual fae creatures varies widely, as do their means of sustenance.


Mount Twilight

Rising like a great pyramid on the borders of Shadow and Light is Mount Twilight, a massive round hill of pure granite. Perfectly balanced between the everlasting night and the merciless sun, Mount Twilight stands between the elemental forces that dominate the poles. At the summit, the Finger of the Seven rises like a great white flare, swirling upward from seven mighty towers, each topped with a huge silver and gold mirror that focuses the local fae skyward, draining it from the locale and providing an island of stability in the ever-changing reality of the world. Fae-beasts that approach Mount Twilight are drained of potency, becoming fae-wraiths, and are eventually consumed by the Finger of the Seven.

The Pillars of the Sky

Scattered across the lands are great stone pillars, miles across, that reach into the heavens. Some say they are the roots of the great stone trees that hold the stars in the sky. Others claim they are the legs of giants who were ensnared by the gods and forced to hold the sky above the world. Prospectors climb these spires seeking riches, but the Aviar that inhabit the heights guard their territory jealously, and more than one prospector has ended up spattered over the lands below.

The City at the Center of the World

On the crest of Mount Twilight stands the great iron-walled city of Shadin. Spires and towers rise like spears above the shadowed streets, and tunnels riddle the stone below. Men swarm the streets while fiends and dwarves vie for space in the tunnels. The Borderlands near Shadin are riddled with slave nests of the hive queens and their crystalline insect workers, who toil in the fields that feed the city.

The Powers of Shadin

Hive Minds and the Masters of the Fields

The hive minds are the great queens that control the crystal insect slaves that farm the fields around Shadin. They inhabit hidden chambers beneath vast conical towers scattered across the fields. The hive minds are creatures of Shadow, enslaved with bands of magic. When one dies, another queen egg must be retrieved from Shadow to replace it. Human adepts are enslaved to control the queens, living in magically enforced symbiosis. The Masters of the Fields obtain the adepts and arrange for the recovery of queen eggs from the great hive nests in Shadow.

Attendants of the Finger

The Attendants are seven adepts maintain control of the Finger of the Seven. Each inhabits one of the silver and gold topped towers that control and tame the fae near Shadin.

Riders of the Wains

The great caravans are controlled by the Riders who guide wains the size of houses hauled by catersaurs the size of semis.


The Beastmasters train the catersaurs that haul the wains and the beasts and pit fighters that battle in the arena. The Fanged Towers of the Beastmasters are guarded by feathered flying serpents.

Wardens of the Keys

Warriors who control the security of the streets and tunnels of Shadin.

Wardens of the Wall

Warriors who control the iron walls of the city.

Wardens of the Fields

Warriors who control the fields around the city.

Tourney Spire

At the highest point in Shadin there is a high tower surmounted by a cup-shaped arena. It is here the pit fighters and beasts trained by the Beastmasters compete for glory and freedom.

Pillars of Pain

In the courtyard at the main gates of Shadin a half-dozen stone pillars stand in a semicircle. The criminals of the city are hung at various heights from these pillars depending on their crimes, while weakened fae-wraiths feed on their pain.

Fire Tribes

The sun-side territories near Mount Twilight are home to a number of barbaric tribes who survive by raiding the caravans and fields of Shadin. The tribes have their own primitive means of keeping the fae-constructs at bay, relying on crude wards and sigils to drive off the fiery creatures of the Light.

Most of the Fire Tribes are human, though both Ogres and Fiends can also be found in the mountainous regions to the south. From time to time a number of the Fire Tribes will join forces and raid and pillage to the base of Mount Twilight itself. Though the walls of Shadin have never been breached by a hostile force, the lower slopes of the city have been pillaged and burned many times over the course of history.

Sky Well

In the depths of Shadow a huge geyser of water pours from the depths of the world. It rains back down as massive chunks of ice and snow.

Shadow Vale

A miles long valley that runs straight down into the core of the earth.

Crown Mountains

A 5 pointed peak of bronze and iron in Light. The fallen crown of a dead god.

Crystal City

Yellow and Red crystal walls surround the purple spires of the Crystal City in Light, the home of Jinn and their Fiend servitors.

Black Sea

A vast sea like polished black glass. The depths are inhabited by the Choka, a race of amphibian creatures that rise from the depths in delicate vessels of spun glass, raiding the surface and dragging slaves back to the domed cities beneath the sea to work in their underground tunnels.

High Hall of the Sea King

Standing on the highest cliff above the black sea, the High Hall is home to an isolated community ruled by the Sea King. Some claim the Sea King is a creature of fae, others claim he is an adept that has achieved eternal life. None doubt his power. Even the Choka avoid the walls of the High Hall and the fields around it.

Swamp Cities

Beyond the Black Sea there are three small cities, Molat, Tine and Crune. They stand above the desolate mangrove swamps that line the distant shores. Swamp-walking lizard folk trade bizarre herbs and flesh from the depths of the swamps for the steel and finished goods imported from Shadin.

The Gods

Manifestations of the fae, given life by their believers. Once manifested they grow in power depending upon their worshippers. Priests use formal ritual as a means of structuring their fae manipulations according to the powers of the god.

The One

Protector of life and order. Fae is the manifestation of the One. Only sanctified priests may use fae. The believers are a minor sect.

King of the Dead

Ruler of the spirits of the dead. God of necromancers and protector of graveyards.

Shadow Walker

God of thieves and ruler over the gray spaces between light and darkness.

All material Copyright (C) Mark A. Thomas