Thursday, May 24, 2012

Impiltur: Faded Brilliance

A century ago Impiltur was a shining star in the north. Trade flowed  from the mountains and forests down to the cities of the coast,  exporting timber, metals, armor, weapons, and paladins. These gleaming, evil-slaying exemplars made a great impression on the peoples of Faerun and even today many still imagine Impiltur as a nation of bold knights and virtuous leaders ... a magical land where a wise king and his circle of 12 paladins defend the weak and right wrongs ... a place where things are better. At one time, this was largely true, but no longer.

Roughly seventy years ago the Spellplague wrecked the world. Tales from that time are many but in Impiltur the impact was personal and severe. When the magic failed horrors long imprisoned were let loose, the king was slain along with many knights, nobles, and commoners. Gods fell. The sea retreated from the shore as the world shook and changed.  Shocked, leaderless, and under attack, the surviving noble families of Impiltur pulled back to their safest castle homes, abandoning much of the land to fate. Evil now stalked the land openly, no longer banished to dark places, cowering in fear.

Much of what had been was no longer.

The Circle survived but was diminished as many of its greatest knights fell in the chaos of the Spellplague and its aftermath. With no king to rule attempts were made to from a Grand Council of Lords but the countryside grew so dangerous that few were willing to risk the roads. The ancient territories of the houses lie largely abandoned outside of their core holdings and the people in them feel little attachment to "ruling" families they have never seen.

Over time the reverence for the Triad, the traditional threesome of deities worshipped in the realm, has declined. Other powers have become more prominent, and the sons of each family no longer assume that paladinhood is the most correct path. Even those who do attain it find it more difficult to stay on the path of law and good, sometimes making choices that would have been deemed unforgivable a century earlier. Such are the times in which we now live - not as shining as before.

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