8/08/2014

Icons of the Ashen Coast: The High Priestess and the High Thane of the Dwarves

The High Priestess and the High Thane have both watched the Ashen Coast suffer before at the hands of great evil and were both powerless to stop it. Both now strive to create a better world from their own ideals. 

The High Priestess fills the same archetype that the Priestess does in 13th Age's Dragon Empire. She is one of several religious icons in the Ashen Coast. Religion is a significant part of the World of Vostror, and most campaigns set there have dealt with the gods in some way, often using evil clerics as primary antagonists. I've usually stayed away from those plots, but the High Priestess has always been a feature on the Coast. Who knows, maybe the gods will have a significant impact in this campaign?

Icon from game-icons.net and by Lorc

THE HIGH PRIESTESS
The most respected religious figure on the Ashen Coast, the High Priestess works tirelessly to remove the taint of evil from her beloved holy shores.

Quote
'We must wash away the evil that threatens these holy waters. United we are the tide; inevitable and unstoppable.'

Usual Location
The aquamarine temple of Vadomer in the port of Gelfar.

Common Knowledge
The High Priestess, Brenna Tellan, is known for her stirring sermons, sharp tongue and dry wit. She believes the Ashen Coast is a gift from Vadomer himself, created from the ashes of a war with the followers of Nycho - evil god of storms and fury - long ago. It is a gift she would do anything to protect; woe betide the man in Gelfar who defiles the waters there.

Beneath the rough exterior, however, is a kind and patient woman who has seen enough true evil to know that it must be stopped. It is not out of cruelty she acts but the worry of a woman who has seen first hand how low people can stoop.

Recently her stirring sermons have begun to tell of a coming darkness and secret evils hidden in cults and cabals throughout the coast. It appears she has committed herself to stopping this darkness and is actively seeking support.

Adventurers and the Icon
Clerics and Paladins of Vadomer make up the majority of her supporters, naturally, but others are also keen to flock to her holy cause; followers of Nalfarin (god of agriculture and forests), Leandel (goddess of healing and life), and Staryl (goddess of wisdom and prophecy) make up a sizeable portion of her devotees. It is unlikely she would turn away a follower of any of the good or neutral gods. Many that have come to lend their strength to her cause are sailors, or former pirates wishing to atone.

Allies
She serves the realm, and thus the King of Thun. The Knights of the Platinum Shield and the High Priestess appear to share similar goals and both serve the good gods, though she has little tolerance for their grandiose acts of valour.

Enemies
The Tenebrae Council are the last vestige of the evil Empire of Turin and followers of the evil gods, and they are her true foe. The Dread Pirate corrupts the seas with his very presence and must be vanquished.

History
Brenna Tellan is impossibly old. Many say she was the High Priestess in Exile when the evil empire of Turin had annexed the Ashen Coast, and that was over fifty years ago. Others still say that she was High Priestess at least a hundred years before that.  Most say she must have some elf blood in her, if she has lived so long. The High Priestess simply attributes her incredible age to loyal service to the seas and to Vadomer.

The True Danger
They say if the Temple of Vadomer were ever to fall, all the Coast would be imperilled.

Where the Dwarf King of the Dragon Empire is rich and powerful through his land's natural bounty, the High Thane has achieved through a combination of good fortune and strong resolve. 

The dwarven Thanedom of Isminak and its ruler, the High Thane, is another player creation, although I knew I wanted the dwarves to be merchants and artisans, rather than just warriors. The player responsible is no longer with the group, but it's nice to think that shared world building has resulted in something that lasts. I think the dwarves would approve. 

Icon from game-icons.net and by Lorc


THE HIGH THANE OF THE DWARVES
The High Thane is ruler of the Thanedom of Isminak, the foremost trade power on the coast. He would do anything to protect that superiority. 

Quote
'I have crafted a civilization that will stand a thousand years.'

Usual Location
The great Thanedom of Isminak, deep within the Vycarian Spires. There is only one entrance these sprawling dwarven lands on the Ashen Coast, and that is through Valgan's Passage.  

Common Knowledge
The High Thane, Kevaver Runehouse, is a patient, shrewd and diplomatic leader. He united the thanes under the mountain; he turned a tragedy into prosperity; and he has brought more wealth to Isminak than any other before him. 

Adventurers and the Icon
Any dwarf would be honoured to serve their High Thane, but he has the money to pay almost anyone for their services. 

Allies
The dwarves, in theory, give fielty to the King of Thun. Certainly it is in their interest for the Kingdom to stand. 

Enemies
The duergar and cults that serve the Devil constantly beseige Isminak from below, and it is a war that shows no sign of ending. The Ice Titan holds claim to a significant area of the Vycarian Spires known as Hammercrag Fell, lands that the dwarves believe are ancestrally theirs. This claim is disputed by the Lady of the Woods, who supports the indigenous goliath population's quest to reclaim their home, in spite of dwarven protests. 

History
When the gates at Valgan's Passage were closed at the defeat of the Kingdom of Thun to the evil Empire of Turin the High Thane set to work building alliances with the free lands to the north. He turned a nation of warriors and artisans into a merchant empire that upon the defeat of that evil empire turned its attention south, once again. Dwarven traders are now commonplace in most settlements and the dwarves have become very rich indeed. 

Recent years have found the dwarves prospering further still, as the twin threats of the Corsair and Dread Pirate have made merchant shipping nearly impossible. So it is that trade with the northern nations beyond the mountains must go through the dwarves. The High Thane finds this advantageous indeed. 

The True Danger
Everything will be alright as long as the dwarves maintain trade superiority. In the past they have been known to go to war over what they have lost. 

So, two more icons up. What would your icon relationships be?