To the outside world, Timaeus looks like an idealistic place. Every man, woman and child has magical talent, their military is a precision machine, and they are ruled over by the wisest and most powerful wizards in the known world—the Obelisk Order. However appearances aren’t everything, and like many perfect things, its interior tells another story entirely.
Timaeus is mostly a peaceful place due to a perpetual military presence and because the citizenry lives under the constant fear of the living dead, as well as a government that keeps both the populace and their soldiers in check. Secrets are not to be spoken aloud, and any troublemakers or revolutionaries are quickly tracked down and executed.
It is true that every natural-born citizen of Timaeus is taught magic as early as they can read, but this is done both out of desperation as it is out of inborn talent; any children who reach the age of eight without proof of magical ability are stolen from their homes, never to be seen again. Though no more than one in a dozen youths is taken this way, many mothers make deals with planar creatures and outsiders just to ensure their child has magical potential.
Likewise, the military has proven itself to be exceptional—for nearly a thousand years it has been in a perpetual war against the undead surging from the deadlands and the army shows little sign of wearing thin. Yet despite this bravery, the country is fragmented into six orders, six armies struggling for control against both the undead and one another—instead of uniting as a unified force.
Worst of all is the Obelisk Order themselves. When they stopped the shard of the sun they were unarguably the most powerful and wisest wizards in the world; but that was centuries ago and in that time they have calcified, becoming shells of their former selves who can do nothing but continue their eternal ritual. Without the clear guiding force of the Obelisk Order themselves, Timaeus borders on self-destruction. As the leaders of the six armies become increasingly obsessed with the minutiae of citizens everyday life for the slightest advantage over the others, they become ever blinder to the dangers massing both within and without the country’s borders.
Year –813 The Timaeus Academy is founded by six explorer-wizards that feel the ley-lines at the site were extroardinary and would encourage magical growth amongst students of magic.
Year –784 The city of Maeus is settled around the Timaeus Academy.
Year –731 As settlers expand through the brushlands, more and more children are born with magical talents until eventually, nearly every citizen of the nation develops magical powers.
Year –598 Feuds between the masters of the Timaeus Academy lead to the devastating Campaign of Roses, killing thousands. The remaining masters build an obelisk in the courtyard of the academy as a memorial, naming themselves the Obelisk Order so they will never forget the dangers of untapped magic.
Year –219 The Black Halls appears from out of nowhere, within sight of Maeus.
Year –1 Mek’Madius is cast out of the Obelisk Order.
Year 0 The Obelisk Order send the Shard of Sun into orbit rather than allowing it to crash into and destroy Aventyr. The resulting ritual levels the original Timaeus Academy, killing dozens of promising wizards and destroying thousands of years of arcane knowledge. Energy released by the event alters the local geography, creating the Scorched Lands to the west and the deadlands that will come to define the northern border of Timaeus.
Year 16 Six orders are founded, one for each remaining member of the Obelisk Order. Their leaders look entirely to one member of the order for guidance however with each annual ritual that passes, they are more difficult to reach and their responses become shorter and more cryptic.
Year 108 The undead surge forth from the deadlands, razing cities and destroying the countryside as they go. The Order of the Blade mounts the first Warmblooded Campaign to drive the undead back into the deadlands, establishing four border fortresses in so doing.
Year 391 The undead again surge from the deadlands, showing amazing cognitive ability as they overtake each of the border fortresses one at a time, almost entirely eliminating the Order of the Blade in a defeat now known as the Red Plague.
Year 393 The Second Warmblooded Campaign begins the grueling task of driving the undead back north, into the deadlands. Martial Law is declared and the military Order of the Shield takes official control of the country.
Year 418 The Second Warmblooded Campaign succeeds in freeing most of northern Timaeus from the grasp of the undead. However, constant border skirmishes lead to perpetual casualties, forced enlistment, and the creation of the first reanimates.
Year 463 The Order of the Shield declares the country is safe only to have a surging of undead destroy yet another northern settlement. The shamed order is ousted by the newly rebuilt Order of the Blade, who take the offensive into the deadlands to put down the growing threat.
Year 497 The Order of the Blade proves that at least some of the undead raised within the deadlands cannot be permanently destroyed by any known means. In an effort to prevent another Red Plague they begin a practice that lasts to this day of daily raids into the deadlands to destroy any unliving blight they see.
Year 901 In an effort to raise dwindling morale and reduce growing bureaucracy, the Order of the Blade raises all six orders back to equal status once more. Though their goals remain the same as they once did, each is now little more than a specialized military unit. Martial law and waves of forced enlistment remain an uncontested fact of everyday life for all but those with the longest memories.
Though popular names vary widely from year to year, nearly all Timean given names are two distinct syllables. In the Common tongue, the short pause between characters is commonly represented by a hyphen, though individuals occasionally choose to spell their name without, such as the infamous Mek’Madius.
Timean surnames are often only a single syllable and when formally written are placed before the given name, and separated by a hard pause (represented in the Common alphabet by an apostrophe).
Timean Male Names
Do-Ius, Mad-Kyun, Sun-Hyun, Syung-Won, Ja-Kyun
Timean Female Names
Amin-Jin, Min-Sao, Son-Yeo, Ji-Hei
Common Timean Surnames
Car, Kai, Ra, Mek, Nan
The Six Orders
The government of Timaeus is broken down into six orders; the Rose, the Staff, the Wand, the Shield, the Blade, and the Cloak. Each represents one of the members of the Obelisk Order and is in theory run by them—though they haven’t been consulted in generations. In practice each order is run by its own jang (pronounced “yang”) who vie for dominance over one another as often as they work together. They all promote from entirely within their own ranks, and each jang chooses their own successors personally—often establishing their replacements decades before they intend to need one in case of an untimely “accident”.
Though the organizational structure of each order is different, they have all been known to hire mercenaries and assassins from outside the country both publicly and clandestinely (to accomplish deeds they do not want to be associated with doing themselves).
The Order of the Rose
The most diverse of the orders, its leader Sojang Nan’Min-Jun manages dozens of subordinates each of whom oversees magical distribution and use amongst one or more trades and professions across the country. He is a patient man but has a terrible temper when provoked, and he insists that all contracts be signed in blood, openly carrying a special bloodletting knife with him at all times to ensure such a rite is always carried out.
Min-Jun also manages all imports and exports from the country—which is little. Timaeus primarily acquires few foreign goods (only a small amount of food) and publicly trades nothing though secretly, they do sell the occasional skyship or magical weapon to those wealthy enough to afford it. The Order of the Rose also serves as the country’s semi-underground information network. They encourage both loyalty and fear amongst the populace, requiring under fear of punishment that people report unusual amounts of magical usage from their friends and neighbors—or any other suspicious activity. Information about those who are potentially misusing their magic or otherwise might be troublemakers is typically passed to the Order of the Cloak, who then act on information that proves reliable.
The Order of the Staff
The official mandate of the Order of the Staff is to oversee and improve the arcane schools across Timaeus, a duty which the order has performed with stellar efficiency for generations. However, the order’s control extends far beyond simple magical knowledge—they strive to control all information both within and without the country.
Their leader, Hanjang Long’Kai-kyun, manages this task first by throttling information that the citizens of Timaeus receive. Educational programs available to the common citizen stress loyalty to the six orders, the flawlessness of their leaders, and the chaos and evil of the world outside Timean borders. Though Kai-Kyun is undoubtedly a genius when it comes to information, he is absolutely useless when it comes to dealing with people. He squirrels himself away in a library nearly all of every day, emerging only to review the decisions made by his six trusted sangjwa’s (pronounced “sane-wah”) who head the six major academies, one of which is Timaeus Academy itself.
To keep out false knowledge the order maintains a fierce presence in every port town and landing, upholding a strict policy on border crossings—namely that as little of it happens as possible. Total isolation is beyond their reach, however, so instead they sell trade and travel permits to foreigners (so long as they don’t appear to be spreading false messages of the government or the outside world) and hire them as mercenaries for the Order of the Blade.
Despite the overall quality of the schools run by the Order of the Staff, few outside those who join the order are ever allowed access to them. Those not born within Timaeus must pay a small fortune each year to be allowed to study within any of their hallowed halls, and those who are must pledge their life in the order’s service.
The Order of the Wand
As long as there have been opinions, there have been those who force them upon others. Nowhere is this less true than the Order of the Wand, who constantly monitor the population for any sign of general distress before working to quiet it—by any means necessary. What this usually means, however, is that they spread propaganda, stage fake uprisings elsewhere, or otherwise seed the population with the false idea that nothing is wrong, or that acting on anything they feel is wrong will not end well.
Any major operation is led directly by Sojang Mik’Min-Hei herself; she has always been a master of making people see things her way, though on the exterior she rarely gives off even a sliver of emotion herself.
When dealing with smaller-scale operations that focus only the removal of one or two targets they typically defer to the Order of the Cloak, and they encourage citizens to speak to the Order of the Rose instead of themselves. Though it is a rarity to see their agents in action, the Order of the Wand does employ a number of specialized evokers and enchanters to perform operations themselves when no other alternative is available.
The Order of the Shield
The longest-standing military order in Timaeus, they control the majority of the country’s navy as well as a small fleet of skyships (alongside other mobile units) capable of crossing the ocean or the deadlands at any time in defense of the country. Officially, the Order of the Shield is also a religious order who worship a variety of deities, notably amongst them Onael, Hado and Xio—gods of law and of war. The order’s daejang takes this devotion to the pantheons of combat extremely seriously, and Il’Mad-Kyun is considered a zealot by most and a bully by all.
Mad-Kyun has done an effective job at keeping external threats at bay with his posturing and regular threats against any nation near enough to listen; he’s been known to threaten to adjust the Obelisk Order’s ritual just enough to shift the location of the Scorched Lands so that it destroys anyone who might oppose him or Timaeus. None are sure if he actually has this power, but it is certain that if he were to do such a thing, much of the world would unite against Timaeus to prevent Aventyr’s destruction at the hands of a madman. Despite Mad-Kyun’s bizarre fanaticism, he also cares deeply for his pets and those under his command he is directly responsible for. He has half-dozen servants each for his horse, his battle-turtle, and his wolf-hound, all of whom must be ready for battle at a moment’s notice.
The Order of the Blade
The country’s second standing army, the Order of the Blade, exists solely to handle internal threats. Primarily they fight the undead from the deadlands but they are also responsible for managing banditry and natural beasts of all kinds. They are led by Daejang Hai’Kal-Sean, a bastion of honesty and loyalty within a government known to be self-serving. He fights to protect the people the best he can and is seemingly tireless in his efforts. He sees law and goodness as inseparable, and any who seek to undermine the law are perceived as evil no matter the reason.
Though the order is led by battle wizards and other combat focused mages, the Order of the Blade is the most diverse of the six orders. They have units of wizards, entire companies of immigrant mercenaries, and most interestingly, companies who must fight without the aid of any magic at all, accompanied by battle-tortoises equipped with 10 ft. tall crystals that radiate antimagic. These antimagical units are officially intended to fight rogue spellcasters and army deserters, yet whispers abound that these are the kidnapped children that lack any magical talent of their own.
The Order of the Cloak
The most secretive of the cabals that rule the country, the Order of the Cloak doesn’t have a visible presence in Timaeus and instead works through spies, assassins, and covert agents within the other orders. Despite this, their actions are easily recognized and whenever a person is found mysteriously dead or missing, none doubt who is responsible. To outside inquirers they are led by Bimiljang Ko’Amin-Jin, a patient and arguably evil woman who wears a mask and black cloak when out in public. Yet it is rumored that Amin-Jin, and thus the entire order, takes her orders from some other entirely secret, true jang not known outside the upper echelon of the order—perhaps one as alien as the black halls where Amin-Jin is frequently seen.
While the Timean military is structured similarly to militaries elsewhere in the world, they use uncommon naming conventions.
Jang (“yang”) The general and leader of an order. Also, a term informally used for any military superior.
Sojang (“so-yang”) General of Man, a title commonly given to the jangs of the Order of the Rose and Order of the Wand.
Hanjang (“han-yang”) General of Knowledge, a title commonly given to the jang of the Order of the Staff.
Daejang (“day-yang”) General of War, a title commonly given to the jangs of the Order of the Sword and Order of the Shield.
Bimiljang (“bim-ill-yang”) The Lost General, a title commonly given to the jang of the Order of the Cloak.
Sangjwa (“san-wah”) A ranking military officer who typically oversees several lesser officers (daewi) or entire platoons or divisions of soldiers.
Hanjwa (“han-wah”) A scholarly ranking officer who commands non-military units or oversees cities.
Daewi (“day-whee”) A low-ranking military officer who typically oversees a single small unit or group of soldiers.
Chonsa (“chone-sah”) An unranked military recruit or mercenary. Chonsa makes up the majority of the Timean Military.
Sosa (“soh-sah”) An unranked civilian expert such as a cook or blacksmith. This term is also used for any non-military units (like rebels or allied forces).
The Shard Calendar
Unlike the majority of the world (which uses a calendar based on the seasons) Timaeus uses a 321-day Shard Calendar that represents the time between obelisk rituals, with the new year a holiday known as The Shedding.
Other than The Shedding there are few holidays associated with the Shard Calendar. Some of these include The Festival of Darkness—celebrated on the day the Shard of the Sun is furthest from Aventyr, 140 days after The Shedding—and the Rain of Petals, which celebrates the greatness of the six jangs.
Once each Shard Year the Obelisk Order perform a ritual to channel energy from five huge crystals surrounding The Pentagram, sending a visible pillar of light up into the sky to strike the Shard of the Sun in an explosive event known as The Shedding. During the Shedding even the safest areas within the deadlands become utterly uninhabitable as raw energy rains from the sky. This energy (known as sun magic) is later collected and used to charge the crystal pillars once again—and much more besides.
Despite the devastation (which is very localized, mostly to the Scorched Lands), this event is celebrated akin to the new year with all fervor and excess usually associated with annual holidays of renewal—one of the few days of the year that such excitement is encouraged by the six orders. Huge feasts are conjured and made freely available to anyone within any of Timaeus’ major cities, foreigners and citizens are allowed to mingle (though not entirely freely), and merchants and craftsmen of all sorts migrate into the cities (which are normally followed by a week of major mercantile activity across the country).
Sun magic is a remnant of The Shedding, energy so dense that it takes physical form as a glowing orange liquid hot enough to burn unprotected skin. With careful preparation, however, it can be handled safely, charged into prepared crystals which other magical devices use as power. Though it can be found in the Scorched Lands where the magic of the obelisk ritual connects with the Shard, the rain of magic continues across the ocean into the deadlands and across northern Timaeus (and even further east into the ocean).
The Tortoise Migration
The day after The Shedding, the massive crystals are taken from the perimeter of the Pentagram and loaded onto trains of tortoises to begin their journey across the countryside to collect the fallen sun magic. The beginning of this migration is seen with much fanfare, as it is never known exactly how long the tortoises will be away from the city for (though it is rarely less than half a year). In addition to the five heavily guarded crystal tortoises, dozens if not hundreds of more mundane merchants and travelers begin their own, lesser migrations across the countryside. Many of them ride tortoises of their own that are similar to the crystal tortoises, complete with large crystals destined to be charged with sun magic and then reforged into magical items and weapons.
Huge tortoises have been native to Timaeus since the original wizards settled here. Over the generations, they have been largely domesticated—though it still takes great effort to raise and train one to properly take a rider. They are commonplace amongst the orders but demand exorbitant prices elsewhere, easily thousands of gold pieces at bare minimum; this price is only logical, however, as it takes nearly five years for a hatched tortoise to reach the physical and mental maturity required to carry a rider, and the beasts can live for hundreds of years. The oldest known tortoise is over 400 years old and lives in a comfortable pen in one of the magical academies in Maeus.
All that remains of the original Timaeus Academy, this massive pentagram is effectively frozen in time, protected by powerful magic. Without extensive protection, one cannot even approach the Pentagram itself, where the Obelisk Order continues their perpetual ritual to keep the Shard of the Sun’s orbit stable. Nearly a hundred feet outside the Pentagram are five large pits home to huge, charged crystals that multiply in number as the time for the Shedding draws near, marking the border of where it is safe to approach without magical defenses.
Populated by wizards and literally overflowing with magic, Timaeus boasts many incredible and unusual advances in both science and magic, their discoveries far advancing many others elsewhere in Aventyr. Some of these inventions have become commonplace throughout the world (such as the interposing hand series of spells) whereas others are merely commonly known (like the skyships), while some are far-flung rumors far beyond where they are invented (unique constructs are a common example but there are numerous others). While most of these creations are magical in nature, some are entirely technological—for instance, firearms, while still rare, are an accepted part of life within Timaeus.
The six orders, especially the Order of the Staff, keep a close eye on civilians developing new technologies and have been known to regularly confiscate or destroy anything that might be too dangerous (a questionable practice that has been the source of no small bit of derision from the more liberal-minded mages). Despite the routine destruction of small villages or devastation wrought by experimentations gone awry, the people accept the practice without much complaint; those that do not quickly find themselves in the sights of the orders.
Known as airships, skyshells, and by countless of other monickers, skyships are found almost exclusively within the Timean capital of Maeus where the power to keep them airborne is most readily available. Typically crafted from the shells of gigantic tortoises reinforced by magic, common skyships are 60 ft. long and hold a crew of four comfortably. Far larger ones do exist, of course, that can hold hundreds of soldiers at once—though all such vessels are currently based within the Order of the Shield’s imposing armory. Most skyships are able to travel about three times as fast as a man can run (180 ft. speed), though as larger airships exist so do faster ones. The fastest one known to exist was known as The Tera-Bolt, which could travel faster than the eye could see; however, it disappeared over twenty years ago and hasn’t been seen since.
Though crystals are not common within Timaeus they have found widespread popularity as conduits and storage devices for magical energy. Even uncharged, good crystal demands a high price on the open market. Most valuable are so-called sun crystals, large clear jewels that easily absorb and safely hold sun magic. The demand for crystal is so high that Timaeus has financed dozens of large mining operations searching for a reliable internal source, which was eventually found in Wyosani after over a century of failed excavations.
Charged crystals are used as magical power sources for all sorts of magical and technological feats across the country, though such things are only truly commonplace in the capital where the streets are lit at night by large lamps, and water is magically heated and pumped into the homes of residents thanks to the excess power available. Lower-quality crystals are also often used as a material to make weapons, as even flawed crystal is often as hard as steel (note that mechanically these weapons are identical to common metal weapons.)
Though the best-known side effects of the Shard of the Sun are the Scorched Lands and the deadlands, the overabundance of magic it has brought about an entire spectrum of new creatures (created both deliberately and accidentally). These creations span every facet of existence from humans with extra limbs, to chimerical connections of a dozen different creatures, or oozes that can shift in and out of the Material Plane. Collectively, they are known as mutants. Elsewhere in Aventyr, this term is reserved for creatures transformed by the Shedding or through sun magic, but in Timaeus it covers a much wider variety of creatures—everything from sun-magic mutants to distasteful constructs or even aberrations. Very rarely are any mutants even similar, but some few experiments have yielded reproducible results (though even in such cases it is uncommon to see more than a handful of similarly altered creatures together).
Though the Shard of the Sun orbits the planet and comes closest over the Scorched Lands, its orbit brings it across the northern border of Timaeus. While the land isn’t quite as blasted and desolate as it is to the west, the deadlands remain a dry and dangerous place—particularly where the Silent Forest to the north suddenly ends in a line of dry scrub and withered trees, all of which are thick with undead that appear utterly indestructible.
The deadlands define Timaeus’ northern and only, land-based border, and they find little objection from the elves that they claim the land as theirs—the lithe folk are happy enough to grant the country of mages their isolation without complaint. Though the blasted sands technically border the Silent Forest to their north, the undead within seem to have a particular hatred of Timaeus and surge south in unending waves, forcing large armies to field just keep the hordes at bay. These armies are primarily stationed around four border fortresses: two of which have been recovered and remade from the first Warmblooded Campaign, and two of which have been rebuilt larger and stronger after their respective destructions. Despite the danger of such an endeavor, some few trading routes through the region persist, heavily patrolled by members of the Order of the Blade and Order of the Rose.
Visible for miles around because of the titanic obsidian slab that shadows the town, this settlement is the only well known, living collection of humanoids within the deadlands. Kuchang serves as a trading post for what little commerce exists between Timaeus and the Silent Forest—mostly importing food in exchange for charged sun crystals. Save for a few days of the year around the Shedding, the town is sheltered from the worst of the Sun Shard’s magic by the thick slab of stone looming overhead, and protected from the undead by swarms of tiny golems. For the week on either side of the Shedding, the settlement is populated only by reanimates and constructs—beings safe from the fatal energy that rains from the sky.
A port town founded long before Timaeus’ self-imposed isolation, this city sees a great deal of travel by those passing around Cape Fin. Nyamo is defined by the titanic wall down its center, separating the city into two parts—one for the Timean citizens, and the other where travelers and merchants may land and trade. Passage through the singular, huge gate is strictly regulated by the Order of the Staff, but rumors persist of catacombs beneath the city used by smugglers of both goods (and more dangerously, ideas).
The capital of Timaeus is constructed unlike nearly any other city on Aventyr, with the most developed areas around the border of the city, and the least desirable and dilapidated areas towards to the center with each tier of buildings approaching the Pentagram seeing more and more wear.
What was formerly a salt mine has exploded into a prosperous mining city when 40 years ago they broke into an undiscovered series of caverns beneath their existing mines, containing titanic crystals of the sort used across the nation for crystalline items. The depths of these new caverns have yet to be fully explored or plumbed, but they have been searched for decades now seemingly without end (though rumblings can often be felt deeper below, prompting fears of a response from the Underworld).
These large, white, almost cubic mountains have dominated western Timaeus for longer than the lands have been settled. Some believe they are the bones of a god or other ancient and titanic creature—others say they are abandoned alien structures riddled with never-used chambers to scale with the mountains themselves—but explorers that trek there rarely return to confirm any of these rumors.
Though few know the actual location of his lair, the locals rightly believe this steppe is the home of the seventh (exiled) member of the Obelisk Order—the lich Mek’Madius. The Timean government give the mountain a wide berth, though adventurers and treasure-hunters do occasionally strike out towards the plateau, and some have later returned to bring torment to the towns they had visited preparing for their journey.
Not officially settled by Timaeus, these islands are each dominated by a volcanic mountain surrounded by thick and supposedly untamable jungle, much of which is inhabited with dangerous and strange creatures. Despite these obvious challenges, the islands are a regular harbor for fugitives and rebels fighting against the Timean government and each holds a handful of heavily armed camps along its shores. Some even claim to have made alliances with the insectoid natives (creatures that call themselves dromites and have strange powers over the mind).
The peninsula jutting south off Timaeus towards Picollo is home to many harbors; with the exception of Nyamo they are barred and magically protected from all foreign traffic.
Nearly separating the country in two, the Hanne River flows southwest and northeast before turning south again into the ocean. It is nearly a mile across at its widest point, but rarely more than 50 ft. deep, and fed by several other waterways nearly as large. Of note among the tributaries are the Imihanne in the north and the Namihanne in the south.
The Scorching Sea
Named for the way the sea boils each day as the Shard of the Sun passes overhead, the sea to the west of the country is known to be home to thousands of undead sea creatures and more bizarre monsters besides. Strangely these creatures are never seen south of the tip of Cape Fin, though none have identified a clear reason for why the monsters contain themselves to their established territories.
The Black Halls
After appearing mysteriously just outside of Maeus 1,500 years ago, this structure has been thoroughly searched and found to be an utterly empty complex save for a number of lethal traps. Most people today give the enigmatic building a wide berth but the Orders of the Shield (and some say the Cloak) use it as a prison for particularly dangerous convicts, having long discovered the magical incantations to seal or unseal nearly any door and window in the building.
Despite the near destruction of the city during the cataclysm that was the first Shedding, Maeus has been rebuilt and has risen from a center of learning to a metropolis of wonders. Commonly considered the most magical city in the world, it boasts its wealth and prosperity with magical displays on every street corner accompanied by impossible buildings in nearly every block.
Even the poorest citizen of Timaeus has the advantage of Timaeus’ excess of magic. Eternally flaming crystals stand on tall posts every 50 ft. along each major road, as well as at intersections of smaller roads. Wells that produce their own water (known as everwells) can be found interspersed around the city, some able to produce hot or cold water on demand.
Typically small, these buildings are in high demand where they exist. They maintain permanent magic portals to all other traveling houses throughout Maeus and specialize in teleportation to related guilds and structures across the country of Timaeus.
New Timaeus Academy
A sprawling affair that dominates an entire spoke of the city stretching from the old Timeaus Academy all the way to the edge of the city, this institution is constantly bustling with activity. It serves not only as an academy and place of learning, but as a center for experimentation and innovation. This is also the primary birthplace of reanimates and the regional headquarters of the Order of the Staff. Regardless of the vastness of the academy, enrollment is low, likely due to the restriction that only those who are approved by the Order of the Staff may attend.
Old Timeaus Academy
Once a huge building sprawling over several acres of land, this ruin has been left untouched since the Campaign of Roses, save for the five-story tall obelisk standing in what was once the main courtyard, engraved with the names of all those lost. Aside from the general danger of being so near to the Pentagram itself, ancient magical experiments left abandoned have a tendency to occasionally malfunction, releasing monsters into the streets or into the so-called Archive. The sprawling series of tunnels that once served as a vault and library for the academy now houses monsters, lost treasures, and more; many say the complex expands with each passing year, along with all the glory, riches, and power it offers..
Cathedral of Shadow
Large, square, and utterly dark, no public entry is allowed into this imposing structure through the single door that faces out to the street. The sight of black-robed figures entering or leaving only give credence to the rumor that the building is one of, if not the main, headquarters for the Order of the Cloak. Locals know that questioning the figures ends in bloodshed and not answers, and thus give them a wide berth.
Several hundred feet across, the Pentagram is where the Obelisk Order continue their eternal ritual to keep the Shard of the Sun in orbit. The structure radiates heat and energy comparable to the sun itself, and standing too close leaves one’s skin dry and sore. The corners of the Pentagram are comprised of five huge pits, each of which normally holds numerous clear crystals charged with sun magic the ancient mages will use at the next Shedding.
Nyamo is a walled city; aggressive outside threats necessitated the construction of a sturdy barrier hundreds of years ago. Originally designed to repel intruders, it now serves a slightly different purpose—as the settlement became a center of commerce, traders from all over the world arrived in Nyamo to sell their wares and exchange ideas. While the goods and money were welcome, the ideas were not.
The visiting merchants and migrants were mostly housed in the migrant district, which was composed of the majority of the northern half of the city. Construction began on a new section of the Nyamo Wall that effectively split the city in half, running down the middle and connecting each end to the original outer wall. Taller and thicker than the original wall, the huge gatehouse built into its center gave each side of the barrier its own portcullis.
Traffic between the sections of the Nyamo Wall is strictly regulated—in order to pass, one must provide an acceptable reason, a gate tax must be paid, and a stamp issued. Those wishing to stay overnight must obtain permission and purchase a special permit to do so. Guards from the Order of the Staff search each and every person that passes through the gate, ensuring that no contraband makes its way into Nyamo (normal magic items are not illegal, but may not pass through the gate; these must be surrendered or passage is also prohibited.) Usually travelers are given the option of simply turning around and not passing through the Nyamo Wall if they do not wish to surrender their items—in this city of Timaeus, this is just the cost of doing business. Those that pass through the gate are often followed by a member of the Order of the Staff, who make careful notes on interactions they make and often follow up questioning where searches occur (often using Nyamo scribe orbs).
Those that wish to enter the city from outside must go to the Migrants’ Gate on the outer wall (unless they are a Timean citizen) where they are still subject to search and seizure, declaring all of their enchanted items; undeclared magic items are subject to confiscation. Those that wish to stay more than 24 hours must apply at the gate or at a Timean embassy for a permit, and anyone found entering the city under false pretenses are subject to expulsion or arrest. Only Timean citizens are allowed entry through the Timerian Gate. They must present the proper papers and declare any magic or valuable items obtained outside of Timaeus. Generally speaking, most citizens comply and seizures at this gate are rare.
When the Nyamo Wall was constructed, the sewers under the city were modified, blocking passages with bars and grates, and in some cases blocking tunnels altogether. Over the years enterprising smugglers and other criminal elements have reopened some of these sealed passages to facilitate the burgeoning black market in Nyamo. While some goods are sold, it is most often news of the outside world that is traded, as well as books and other forms of publication. Several competing guilds operate underneath the Nyamo Wall, including those that support revolution; simple thievery and smuggling are often overlooked, with the occasional blatant offender caught and made an example of. However, the revolutionaries that deal in information and subterfuge are almost always put to death when caught.
Entry into the tunnels that connect the two sides of the cities is a closely guarded secret. A select few safe houses on each side contain concealed entrances to the underground labyrinth—these are moved on a regular basis, the old entrances sealed up. Few people know of the existence of more than one way into the network under the Nyamo Wall, and even some of the guild masters do not know every entrance under their control.
Nan’Min-Jun, Jang of the Order of the Rose (LE Male human aristocrat 8/wizard 8) Min-Jun makes himself to be an expert in everything, and very rarely is he proven wrong; he is excellent at foreseeing tiny details required to keep large plans on track. Fair looking with a trimmed mustache and coiffed hair, he dresses in an expertly tailored white suit with dark green highlights and carries a long, thin bloodletting knife with which to sign contracts.
Long’Kai-kyun, Jang of the Order of the Staff (LN Male human wizard 15) Mousy, thin, and balding, Kai shuns human contact both physical and emotional. He even dislikes his immediate subordinates, whom he deals with as little as possible, granting them a huge amount of freedom so long as they continue producing results. His faded green and blue robes are never quite clean, unlike the tall black and gold staff he always carries with him—the iconic (and magically powerful) staff of the order.
Il’Mad-Kyun, Jang of the Order of the Shield (LE Old male human magus 18) A stickler for order in all its forms, Mad-Kyun is never seen in anything less than full military garb (traditionally a silver breastplate over green robes). He is the oldest of the current jangs, having instrumented a major shift in power 20 years ago that put himself and the Order of the Shield in a relatively powerful position. He has lost much of his weight in the last decade but otherwise is very healthy.
Mik’Min-Hei, Jang of the Order of the Wand (CE Female half-elf sorcerer 12/rogue 4) Min-Hei would be beautiful if she didn’t act like she was dead. Despite her outward appearance, she has an unarguably powerful effect on those around her and though she has a great deal of enchantment magic at her command, rarely has to resort to its use. She dresses in a leather outfit beneath a heavy black coat, and where many would strap weapons she carries a bandolier of dozens of wands.
Hai’Kal-Sean, Jang of the Order of the Blade (LN Male human fighter 6/cleric 11) Known for fairness in a government that is self-serving, Kal-Sean found himself thrust rather suddenly to power after his miraculous survival in a failed raid into the deadlands 19 years ago alongside the previous jang. Kal-Sean is large and handsome, with a chiseled jaw and long black hair; his enduring good looks, mysterious survival, and the fact that he never seems to need rest makes many people suspect that he died and was reanimated during that raid so long ago. He always wears his mithral full-plate and keeps his weapons close at hand at all times—a crystal longsword and a crystalline lance charged with energy and known to be able to shoot skyships out of the air.
Ko’Amin-Jin, Jang of the Order of the Cloak (LE Female oracle 15) A secretive woman, Amin-Jin is never seen in public without her mask and heavy, dark cloak—both of which are known to be magical. What little can be seen of her skin is heavily scarred, suggesting some tragic past (though as for what caused the marking, she isn’t telling).
Unlike so much else in Timaeus, citizens are allowed to freely worship any god they choose so long as they do not disrupt the flow of society around them. Despite this freedom, much of the country praises gods of magic and warfare—the aspects that touch their everyday lives. The most commonly worshipped deity is Xio, the Eternal Combatant. The people pray to him daily to keep the war at the fringes, so that their warriors may someday go to join the battle, rather than the battle come to them.
New God: Xio
Titles The Eternal Combatant, Captain of Captains, The Blood Rage
Symbol A star crafted from five crossed swords surrounding a bleached skull
Portfolio Bravery, Combat, War
Domains Destruction, Ferocity, Honor, Strength, War
Favored Weapon Warhammer and handaxe
Xio is the deity of battle, both honorable and otherwise; he goes wherever there is war or brings it to lands where it is not, ensuring constant and glorious battle.
None truly know when Xio came into existence, but it is said that as long as there has been conflict, he has been amongst those who fight. However the first record of his existence was only a few thousand years ago, after civilization was well established, and people warred amongst one another in vast numbers.
It is said that in Xio one sees oneself, and at least literally this is true. Xio’s true form is unknown, as whenever a mortal sees him he appears as a battle-scarred member of the same race and gender as the observer (though most at least agree that Xio is a male deity). What never changes regardless of Xio’s incarnation is his thick layer of half-plate armor, and his iconic hammer and axe—Vlandiur and Seara—that are never further away than stowed in their sheaths.
Xio’s church itself is an army, both literally and not. None rise through the ranks of his church better than those who can wage war, and it’s most common that temples are within fortresses that see constant struggle, or are hastily erected on battlefields. Sites of worship to Xio are rare within towns that are not constantly pressed by conflict—it is said that to erect a shrine to the Eternal Combatant within a peaceful land is to invite war upon it.
Worshippers and Clergy
Most of Xio’s followers are traveling warriors, mercenaries, and captains of military units. Anyone whose business is war is almost unwillingly bound to the Captain of Captains, and his blessing is known to turn the tide of battle on numerous occasions. His clergy are most often those who begin war, or followers that find peace where it exists and start a violent conflict. Most lands find these warmongers to be no better than bandits (worse than most) resulting in an almost world-spanning bounty for Xio’s clergy—a fact which they relish, meeting each new bounty-hunter with zeal and their god’s greatest blessings.
The Business of War
Though there are strategic insights to be gleaned from these heavy tomes, the business of war is largely about relishing the glory of battle more than how to conduct it.
Mek’Madius (Lich of the Sun Shard)
Mek’Madius once resided in the kingdom of Timaeus, an esteemed member of the council of wizards known as the Obelisk Order. In preparation for the arrival of the Shard of the Sun, he preached its benefits—the obtainment of unlimited energy, the power which would assist the high mages and all of Timaeus in dominating any foes that would dare to stand against them. The Obelisk Order vehemently opposed Mek’Madius’ stance and voted unanimously to revoke his place on the council; he was thrown out onto the street with the commoners, where he began to plot his revenge.
As the Shard of the Sun grew closer to impacting the planet and Aventyr’s annihilation seemed imminent, the Obelisk Order marched north in a final attempt to intercept and destroy the incredibly powerful relic. Keeping to the shadows and using a potent artifact to remain undetected, Mek’Madius followed behind with nine of his former and most trusted apprentices, scheming to gain as much power as he could from the Shard of the Sun while stopping the Obelisk Order’s plans. The exiled mage was aware that his power alone would be insufficient to enact his revenge, but a mass sacrifice using souls to fuel his magic would give him a definite advantage over his former comrades.
The Obelisk Order arrived at the projected impact location of the Shard of the Sun, solemnly faced one another, and began the most powerful spell ever cast by mortals. Just as the rogue relic appeared overhead, Mek’Madius sacrificed his nine apprentices and began a powerful spell of his own. Utterly focused on their ritualistic arcane protections and the Shard of the Sun, the mages were unable to stop the exiled wizard as he channeled the soul energy into a powerful absorption spell, attempting to siphon off a portion of the magical and radiant energy from the Shard. But Mek’Madius’ evil and selfish acts came with a price—as a fragment of the powerful relic broke off and tumbled toward the earth, Mek’Madius’ very soul was drawn into the fragment. His selfishness and reckless abuse of power had transformed him into an undead creature, permanently bound to the fragment and destined to experience his unintended mortality in utter isolation.
Fragment of the Sun Phylactery
Mek’Madius’ phylactery is not one he made by choice—his reckless use of souls to power the absorption spell failed to siphon all the power from the workings of the Obelisk Order, instead, channeling only some of the energy back through his own soul. At the same time as he completed his energy absorption, the mages repelled the Sun Shard from impacting the planet, causing fragments to break off.
One of the largest fragments reflected the energy absorption back into Mek’Madius, pulling his soul out of his body and into the sky before slamming his essence into the sundered piece of the Shard of the Sun as it plummeted toward Aventyr. He had been transformed into a Lich, and the fragment of the Shard of the Sun his phylactery. The entire event was a complete mistake but he soon would come to see this curse as a blessing in disguise.
The fragment stands at a height of seven feet and weighs 500 lbs. A strange dark red glow emanates from deep within it and the ethereal voices of Mek’Madius’s nine apprentices can still be heard chanting the words to the arcane ritual in an endless, droning loop.
Mek’Madius has taken up residence in an ancient plateau in the northeastern corner of Timaeus. He plots his eventual and inevitable rise to power from this location, few mortals know the lich is still around but the time will come when everyone knows the name Mek’Madius.
For more information on the locales controlled by Mek’Madius, see Pathways #18 (pages 20-21 Hideout Location: Waterfall) and Pathways #23 (pages 14-15 Hideout Location: Dead End Tunnels) and the adventure Into the Red by Will Myers.
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Michael McCarthy presents… Timaeus!