Foreword: The History of Tellest
From the Desk of Gaston Camlann
‘I’ve never looked down upon such beauty, as the day I stood upon the peak of Mount In’Adell.’
Thundar Proudfist wrote that in his book, “The Mountains of Lustra”. The writings were a memoir of a minotaur, who had been bred into a warlike society, who longed for a change to his scenery. He traveled the whole of Lustra, before finally ascending the aforementioned mountain in the final passage of his book.
Tellest is an aged world. The trees and mountains are testament of that. Wisdom abounds in the landscape surrounding us, and the wind carries the secrets of old.
The gods created Tellest from a hunk of molten lava. They breathed life onto its surface, cooling the fires wrought upon the plane. They cried tears of joy, which created the grand oceans and lakes. They cultivated Tellest’s solid form, and grew great fields and trees and mountains. Through the gods, Tellest was born.
Life on Tellest was born soon after. The gods populated the planet with all manner of beast, from the lowly mouse, to the great dragon. Multiple types of flowers and herbs sprang up from the dirt, helping to color the once dismal world. But Tellest still lacked beings of greater knowledge.
The gods decided upon three greater races that would live upon the surface of Tellest. Each would live of their own free will, able to make their own mistakes or victories. It was up to the three to decide how they would proceed through life.
The elves were the first to walk this earthen plane. They were the first mortal children of the gods. They were jealous of their creators, though, and many had forsaken them. The dwarves were created next. Their loyalty to the gods has earned them great favor, and many had thrived with the blessings of Golernus. Humans took presence afterwards, formed in the true image of the gods themselves.
The three races vied for the love of their creators, warring and meddling with each other until the Elves banished humans to the depths of the deepest mountains, the dwarves also playing their part in the third race’s exile.
But this greatly angered the gods.
They had not created mankind to simply be wiped out, never to be seen again. A cataclysm of rage and fury tore the world apart, ripping the world asunder and sinking parts of it to the ocean. Volcanoes shot up from the depths of the seas, creating new, hostile lands. Storms shattered the single land mass into a series of continents and smaller isles.
Following the Sundering, the gods created scores of other creatures, and other races. The orcs, gnolls, kobolds, kaja, lagano, minotaur, and many others took face on the planet, each with their own unique views on life. If the elves and dwarves thought the world was theirs alone, they were mistaken.
Then, over nine hundred years ago, the first of us men began climbing from our earthen holes. We escaped from our exile, appearing in every corner of the world, ready to live anew upon the surface. We had forgiven the elves and dwarves, and found new allies waiting for us in the orcs, minotaur, kobolds and kaja.
Together, this world is ours.
Together, we will thrive.
The world of Tellest is vast and varied. Gaston Camlann, one of the leading historians of the human race, has said that there are infinite possibilities that abound throughout the lands, the deep oceans and the treacherous underworld.
While Tellest can be beautiful, it can also be cruel. Scattered across the globe, the goodly races struggle to make the most of their lives while protecting their lives and livelihood against the darker races, like the gnolls, the lagano and the goblins. The deep oceans are filled with even stranger evils, like murkgills and levians.
Yet, among all the frightening unknowns, the humans, the dwarves and even the elves have banded together to push forward. Though cataclysmic events like the demon wars and the rise of the great dragon Batrura have shaped the world, the people who call Tellest home are not easily deterred.
Tellest is composed of several large land masses.
The major continents are Lustra, Ravane, Saveon, Astranus, Draconis, Mistfall, Lionel, Erenea, Algea and Tarson, in order of their size. There are also two archipelago continents called Numasa and Brittanea. In the deep south, a glacial continent called the Frozen Abyss also supports a small amount of life.
Each of these land masses supports a variety of life and has a rich history, whether it be the haunted isle of Japel Brae in Brittanea, the Forgotten Sands of Xumedar in Lustra, or the lands of Vissicus in Lionel, where demons from Evarice have peaceably settled.
Magic and the Strain
In Tellest, magic exists as a sort of radioactive tapestry. It is part of the world the same way the weather is, and in that form is called the aether. Various practitioners of the arcane arts tap into this world between worlds, and create magic with the powers it bestows.
Because of its presence, the aether can bestow its gifts on people even unbeknownst to them. This is called the Strain, and it has blessed many people with uncanny powers.
The races all inherit their gifts differently. Humans are the tried and true champions of Tellest, who toil with their identities and the harsh way they are treated. Dwarves very rarely receive the Strain. When they do, it’s a sign that they’ve become their own clan leader. They are essentially thrown out of their original clan to start a new one. Elves share the strain amongst themselves, but typically their powers are very limited. As an example, the Whisperwind elves can teleport anywhere they’ve been before, but only twice a day. Even the darker races experience the strain in some cases. Harpies, for instance, gain the title of Matron, and can take additional male consorts.
980 years after the return of man, technology has begun to rapidly change the face of the world. The gnomes, especially, have begun taking spectacular risks, some of them quite inane, in the name of science.
Coupled with magic, nearly anything is possible. In Raleigh, in the city of Atalatha, a tinkerer named Maximus Xanders has created a clockwork steed that he calls Equinicus. In the seas south of Draconis, the various pirate lords have been working on a projectile artillery weapon with more accuracy than a catapult. The gnomes of the Golden Council were supposedly even able to make fully functioning automatons – recreations of themselves to serve as a proxy in basic tasks.