Wintertide

General Notes

The setting of Wintertide is Cordua, a large continent spanning a vast distance east-to-west, divided by high mountains in the interior and assailed by a wall of ice in its northernmost reaches. Several hundreds year previously, Cerior, the largest state in Cordua, suffered a coup d'etat at the hands of its largest mage guild, which outlawed all other cults save their own and turned the state into an expansive empire that gradually devoured all surrounding states, crushing the tenuous remnants of Corduan Eldar culture and scattering them to the four winds, especially to the continent across the southern ocean, Shirra'il.

In the deep mythic past, the Eldar were the preeminent race, with great cities hewn from mountains or grown from enormous oak trees. Their scholarship was unmatched, and more than any race to follow they plumbed the greatest depths of magic. Their calendar is still in use today, for it is much more accurate than any other - though some cults maintain their own, primarily to track their own high holy days. The Eldar Calendar (its proper name lost to time) consists of ten months, each of five weeks with seven days in each. Each day is kept as ten hours, each of which consists of ten divisions, each division being ten minutes of 100 seconds each. Ten thousand seconds in every hour, one hundred thousand in every day. A month is 3,500,000 seconds; a year, 35 million seconds.

For comparison, the Gregorian day consists of 86,400 seconds. A day is quite a bit longer in Cordua. With 35 of these days in each of ten months, the Corduan year comes out to roughly 40 days longer than our own. A Corduan division is slightly more than 15 minutes; a Corduan hour, more than twice one of ours.

Noted races of Cordua are the vargyr, a bestial tribal people who dwell in the coldest places, sometimes known as Eldar Hounds; the Corduan Eldar, the last remnants of the greater Eldar confederation, who remain in the wild places and keep what they can of their culture; the Delthan, the race of men, now ascendant in Cordua; the Dwarves, masters of the strange steam magic and the volcanic blood of Armok, who dwell in the mountainhomes of the North and are rarely seen; and Halflings, a coastal people long since assimilated into the cities of men. Other races there are, but they are rarer in the Cordua and not thought well of by those in power.

Magic

All schools of magic ultimately derive from the same quality, called simply the Gift. The Gift is necessary to learn magic. Divination, while a proper school of magic and possessed of many studied methods, is not considered especially accurate, though this does not stop prophecies from being made, of course. A rare few personages throughout history, nearly all women, have been truly gifted at Divination. This has given Divination a reputation of being an exclusively feminine pursuit, though this is not strictly true.

Rough Timeline

  • The Mythic Past - A great Eldar state rules the legendary unified continent of Hulach. Other races dwell in obscurity. The establishment of the Eldar Calendar marks the end of this period.
  • EC 456 -The Sundering
    • A great cataclysm occurs, destroying the Eldar Empire. According to legend, this is when Hulach was divided into the northern Cordua and the southern Shirra'il. The Dark Age follows, and even the surviving centers of Eldar power are diminished. Very few records from this era survive, and are generally the basis of modern cult texts.
  • EC 1267 - The foundation of what is today called Old Cerior, a great empire of the Delthan that grew to encompass much of Cordua for some 200 years, the source of the great proliferation of Delthans in that continent.
  • EC 1603 - Old Cerior, grown corrupt and hidebound, loses control of its many satrapies, reducing it to a tiny province that pretends at empire, very unsuccessfully. The line of Kreldan monarchs is broken.
  • EC 1722 - After a chaotic interregnum, Neshara the Sibyl seizes power. Possessing an extremely powerful Gift and widely renowned for her ability to see the future, she establishes a dynastic house that controls the throne of Cerior very nearly to the modern era.
  • EC 2661 - The Nesharan Dynasty falls before a highly organized guild of war mages, the Cult of N'thas. The Cult of N'thas bans all other schools of magic and all cults save their own, and rigorously polices the Gift; all children are tested, and those with the Gift are taken to secluded N'thasian monasteries. The patriarchal Cult of N'thas trains only men to be mages; what is done with the girls they take, no one knows.
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