BRIGHT MOON world info
- Humans – The dominant race in Bright Moon occupying the regions between the frozen northern reaches of the frost giants and the wild southern areas of halflings and more exotic creatures.
- Moonfolk – Discovered across the narrow western sea during the Age of Empire, shifters have begun to infiltrate the human societies in the east. They are crafty, but do not share a strong sense of organization; rather they tend to work independently. They can assume any wild shape by sacrificing an animal and carrying its totem.
- Pygmies – Largely subjugated by humans in the north, halflings still maintain some liberty in the southern tribes, and occasionally stir up trouble on the borderlands.
- Icewalkers – Half-breeds of frost giants and humans, icewalkers are the rarest of the four major races in Bright Moon. They are also the most highly sought after mercenaries and soldiers, fetching the highest price for their skills. It is said that the believe Luna Major and Minor to be home to their ancestors, the Frost Giants, and they tirelessly seek passage to the celestial orbs.
- Fighters – Common to the lands of BRIGHT MOON, they come in all shapes, sizes, and abilities.
- Thieves – Like Fighters, Rogues are also common and varied.
- Rangers – Since the Great Death, rangers have become some of the most common adventurers since their skills are useful in the wild lands.
- Barbarians – Common among the Icewalkers and Pygmies but uncommon among humans, these feral warriors are hard to tame and harder still to defeat.
- Bards – Like warlocks from whom they share an innate bond to the arcane arts, bards are very rare but usually tend to follow the path of adventure. Often obsessed with storytelling—a valuable currency in the fractured realm—powerful entities seek out bards to further their agendas and spread their notoriety.
- Clerics – Most clerics are wandering worshippers of all the Aspects of Luna. Most worship all Aspects and derive their spiritual energy from the current phase of Luna Major. A few believe more strongly in one of the three sects, and therefore tend toward drawing on the power of each more commonly. The three sects are: the most common Cella, or bright moon; the less common but still often worshipped, Gyel, or half moon; and, the least common and dreaded Draum, or hidden moon. Fewer still worship Luna Minor and draw different spiritual energies from the smaller orb. Refer to the Cleric domain page for rules on playing a cleric PC in BRIGHT MOON.
- Druids – Known as “shifters” in the lands of BRIGHT MOON, druids are only found among the Moonfolk and are never trusted by other races.
- Paladins – All the paladin orders of the old gods have been lost to the Great Death. Paladins no longer exist in BRIGHT MOON.
- Wizards – Uncommon and feared, arcane magic of all types was nearly stamped out of the world by Emperors past. But now magic seems to be returning to the bleak, dying civilization, and wizards are among those dedicated to understanding its power and origins.
- Warlocks – Also known as hedge mages, warlocks draw power directly from the wild lands. Many Moonfolk are attuned to hedge magic, but so are humans and pygmies.
Cosmology & Religion
Two main religious philosophies dominate the human realms.
- The Legendaries – Innumerable heroes who portray different aspects of humanity and nature.
- Aspects of Luna – Another ancient religious order aligns heavily with the passing phases of the moons, Luna Major and Luna Minor. Primary aspects are tied to Luna Major’s cycle and peak at full major (called bright moon) and new major (called hidden moon). The bright moon aspect is known as Cella, and represents life, health and the future. The hidden moon aspect is called Draum, and represents death, sickness, and the past. The half moon aspect, though lesser in importance, is called Gyel, and represents change, motion, and the unstable present. Always worshipped out of doors where and when the moons are visible.
Other races have their own view of the cosmos and associated belief systems.
- Icewalkers – Icewalkers believe the moons are actually giant orbs of ice and home to their ancestors, the Frost Giants. They disregard other races’ mythologies/magic, and focus on attaining oneness with the moon. The ways to do this are by glorious death in battle, or by finding the moon bridge, which they believe lies somewhere across the sea. They may be interested in Moonfolk legend in as much as it may point them to this fabled bridge.
- Moonfolk – The beliefs of the Moonfolk are largely a mystery to humans.
- Pygmies – Many pygmies share the same belief system and view of the cosmos as humans, but some more remote tribes have their own beliefs. Humans often forced their beliefs onto the pygmies when they brought them into servitude.
Several forces threaten the tenuous balance of power among the five major fragmented human realms. Long ago, a single king united the five realms into an empire that stretched the entirety of the known world, but the spoils of many victories ultimately paid for a heavy price. The shifters, or Moonfolk, brought back as slaves from across the narrow western sea, spread a plague among the people called the Silver Sickness. The survivors ushered in a new era, but the human numbers had dwindled and power became fragmented among five noble houses.
Beyond the borders of the five realms, to the north lie the powerful ice walkers and their control over the howling north wind.
In the south, the free pygmies struggle to survive in the harsh jungle and desert climates populated with ferocious beasts.
Across the Deep Sea, some believe the Moonfolk wait for the right moment to exact their great revenge against the humans who tried to conquer them so completely in ages past.
Some humans have so embraced the darker aspects of the Luna that they have become part shadow themselves. These folk, called Owb (pronounced ōve) or Necros pejoratively, are thought to have given their souls over to Draum in exchange for supernatural powers such as invisibility, teleportation, and necromantic powers over the dead.
Traditional fantasy monsters like goblins, orcs, and dragons are more myth than reality in Bright Moon. Plenty of people believe in such creatures and tales sprout from long nights at the alehouse all the time. Most do not venture into unsettled lands or the ruins of the former empire for fear of finding the truth of such tall tales.
Realms of Bright Moon
Realms in Bright Moon are not medieval fiefdoms, but instead are much more barbaric and tribal. Agriculture is a part of social organization, but hunting and gathering is much more reliable, especially since the Great Death and fall of the Last Empire.
Each of the three islands has organized loosely around tribal affiliations in the absence of an heir to the empire, but murder and assassination make assuming leadership a dangerous and fleeting goal.
Several major events have shaped human history in Bright Moon.
Emperor Trajon set an edict upon discovering the Moonfolk lands across the Deep Sea. It stated that the lands would serve as harvesting grounds for exotic resources desired by the Empire. These resources included the Moonfolk themselves, as slaves. Unfortunately, this decision had terrible consequences for all involved.
The Great Death
After the discovery of the Eastern lands across the Deep Sea, the Emperor’s explorers returned to the Five Realms with plundered goods and enslaved people, which they named “Moonfolk”. Unfortunately for the Realms, these new inhabitants brought with them something else: a terribly deadly disease that came to be known as the Silver Sickness. The Silver Sickness spread throughout the Five Realms, killing thousands in its wake. In the end, this age was known as The Great Death.
The Last Empire
As a result of the Great Death, the Five Realms fell into chaos. The Emperor died of Silver Sickness and because of the massive depopulation, fear ruled over law and order. Cities evaporated into ghost towns and looters rampaged the lands. In the span of less than a generation, the once stable empire had ceased to exist, and Empire Ryl became known as the Last Emperor.
The Age of Struggle
The current age is known as the Age of Struggle as the remaining humans in the Five Realms fight to restore civilization against chaos, superstition, cruelty and brutality. The Silver Sickness remains a threat, but because of their small numbers, humans are no longer the dominant species. Now humans are on an equal footing with Pygmies, Icewalkers, and Moonfolk. What the outcome of the Age of Struggle will finally be is anyone’s guess.
Locations of Note
The Deep Sea
The Deep Sea is a narrow yet deep ocean trench that separates the Five Realms from the lands of the Moonfolk. Seismic activity and strong tides caused by the closeness of the moons makes navigation extremely dangerous. In the time of Emperor Ryl, the Last Emperor, great advances in navigation techniques allowed the humans of the Five Realms to cross the Deep Sea and make contact with the Moonfolk. As the Silver Sickness ravaged the Five Realms, the new knowledge of navigation was lost and perhaps more importantly, taboo.
The Five Realms
The Five Realms of Old were kingdoms set on the three main islands (Isle Cella, Isle Draum, and Isle Gyel) that shared a loose alliance, though were never totally at peace with one another. The first great emperor, Sverin the Conquerer, created the tenuous treaty that allowed the Realms to coexist. He challenged the kings of the other four Realms to an annual duel to determine his ruling council, and when he was no longer strong enough to rule, Sverin accepted the challenge of one of the lesser kings, Plynt. King Plynt defeated Sverin in the first Imperial Challenge and took control of the ruling council. This practice established the order of succession in the Five Realms, which lasted over two centuries.
Below are some notable areas on each of the islands of the Five Realms.
- Grenthorn – The oldest of the five realms and the worst hit by the Silver Sickness. Only a smattering of humans remain in this once thriving community. Rumor has it that the ruins are occupied by dark hedge magicians (or worse), searching for the vaults of long dead emperors and kings.
- Westhold – A port village on the western shores of Isle Draum. This settlement was the port of departure for ships sailing to the lands of the Moonfolk before it burned into ruin in the early time of the Great Death. Today it manages to maintain a small camp settlement due to the confluence of old roads and trails used by travelers of the previous Ages.
- Tide Hollow – A series of caves along the eastern shore of Isle Gyel have become a safe haven for humans. It is said up to a hundred survivors have gathered here and live off the fruits of the sea left in the tide pools. It is also rumored that Moonfolk live among the humans here, in the open.
- Cella’s Bosom – What used to be the small village of Dyrton is now known as Cella’s Bosom. It was the only place spared of the Silver Sickness in the Five Realms. Because of this fact, Cella’s Bosom has also become a magnet for soul seekers, scholars, and arcane practitioners of all types. The village’s population has tripled since the Last Empire ended and more strangers mean all kinds of trouble.