Between Genmide in the north and Taunuan to the south lies Mindeforme.
The land split between steppes and wetlands that make the interior
of the nation inhospitable to large communities, favoring instead
loose confederations of farms built on stilts and serviced by boats
and rafts. The major cities are constructed on the more solid steppes
that make up the northern and western parts of the nation or the
rocky, cave dotted east coast.
And uninhabited land
is left that was for a reason; quicksand, mudslides and sinkholes
creating constant and deadly hazards.
Much of Mindeforme was untamed wilderness, occasionally interrupted
by a road or two, and home only to ogres, gnolls and the occasional
mad hermit until the War of Ascension ended and it was first inundated
with emancipated minotaurs, driven from their Genmidi homeland by
humans and dwarves and hailene refugees, escaping the god wrought
destruction of Illium.
The minotaurs bent their
martial might to carving out communities and farmsteads in the wetlands
from the ogre tribes local to the region. At the same time, the
hailene formed tribal societies on the steppes, bringing their wartime
xenophobia to the mainland.
With the promise of new
lands tamed by the efforts of the hailene and the minotaurs, brave
souls from the rest of the crumbling Empire were also drawn to Mindeforme,
seeking to make their own fortunes. With the help of some of the
most potent magical minds of the age, these groups too managed to
thrive and create their own kingdoms.
But the lands, such as
they were, were only capable of supporting so many, and in short
order, the kingdoms and the tribes and the farmsteads found themselves
locked in a constant cycle of wars, alliances and assassinations.
Tactically minded mages soon found themselves at the top of the
most successful, if still tenuous factions and used their power
to escalate it.
So began the Age of Tragedies.
For chaotic centuries,
the wars continued and countless small villages were wiped out in
the struggle, or when left defenseless against spirit beasts by
their feudal lords. Finally, Matsura Nagakuri, heiress to one of
the more powerful lords and known as the Sword Princess, traveled
to the Library at Siram Legate and found the names of the two surviving
elven mages who once ruled large portions of Mindeforme for nearly
two centuries of relative peace and convinced them to return.
Backed by mages from
Te’ran and warrior-poets from the Bardic College of Harpsfell,
the elves of Vini Tresolm, Toli Runeshard and Largo Foresight took
back their thrones and set up the modern mageocracy of Mindeforme.
Today, Mindeforme is a highly urbanized area, rife with magic. Unfortunately,
the current rulers in the Tower of Arcana have been supremely irresponsible,
not only turning a blind eye to law and order, but improperly disposing
of failed experiments, therefore giving birth to horrors even worse
than spirit beasts. Because of this lax leadership, Mindeforme is
one of the most dangerous places on Ere, save the Ashed Lands.
Human natives of Mindeforme
are generally strong of body and weak of moral fiber, having grown
up in harsh inner cities, or having spent their lives cleaning up
the messes left by the mages. They are a tall and muscular people,
sporting fair hair and green eyes.
All Formeans are jaded
individuals, fully aware of their government’s lack of cohesion,
but unable and unwilling to fight and give up the material comfort
provided by this disparity.
The mages of Mindeforme
hold Dey in high regard as a goddess of duty, believing that the
deity smiles upon their diligence in their chosen fields. A much
smaller group of casters secretly worship Kayda, hoping to glean
the secrets of Kaydan Demons.
Common folk in Mindeforme
are partial to the entire Greater Pantheon, with few being particularly
adamant about a given deity. An increasing number of dragon cultists
have come to Mindeforme in the past few years following rumors of
draconic involvement during the Age of Tragedies.
Such as it is, Mindeforme’s economy is quite weak. Its primary
exports of rice, sugar and clay are over shadowed by the mammoth
influx of foreign trade goods into the market. This has led to a
large scale ceramics industry as failed clay producers try to recoup
There was a time that
magic items drew a terrific price in Mindeforme, but the rise of
Trestrolm Norry’s spellcrafting franchises has crippled this
business as well.
Mindeforme is ruled by the Senior staff of the Tower of Arcana,
a research institute with deep connections to the Academy of Arcane
Arts in Te’ran, and the Historical Guild of Kinos. The current
heads of the facility are less concerned with the well being of
their people and more concerned with carrying out their research
To this end, policy is
decided mostly on the merits of what effect it will have on the
Tower. Funding for civil services, defense and increasingly important
sanitation services are routinely cut to increase research funding.
Mindeforme is on good terms with most other nations, thanks to free
trade agreements and very low tariffs.
Out of sight and largely
out of mind for the Tower of Arcana, the villages and towns far
from major cities still maintain the old feudal system, with local
lords living largely on the backs of the peasant class that works
the crops and dredges for clay in the cloying marshes. These lords
war constantly with one another for territory with little interference
from the national government.
and Individuals of Note
The collective name of the senior staff of the Tower of Arcana in
Ma’tang as well as the assembly hall they meet in. The Sanctum
is headed by the Dean of the Tower, who is elected by the Sanctum
into a life long position. Below the Dean are his three advisors,
holding the offices of Keeper of Tomes, Keeper of Arts and Sorcerous
The current Dean of the
Tower is Erik Storm, a human wizard of great power. Like his predecessors,
Storm is more concerned with the advancement of the institute than
the matter of state.
Those matters fall to
Sorcerous Raven, Livia Westerwood, a half elf descendants from one
of the first mage-lord. As Sorcerous Raven, she is the voice of
the school and thanks to Storm’s lax leadership of the nation,
de facto steward of Mindeforme. Under her leadership, some effort
to right the wrongs of past Deans has been made, including a push
toward using more safe, albeit expensive means of containing and
disposing of experiments rather than using the dumping grounds on
the border with Genmide that routinely give birth to eldritch abominations
or transform local wildlife into something worse.
Westerwood is constantly
pitted against her fellows in her attempts to do what is right and
has on many occasions been known to use adventurers as cat’s-paws
to get things done.
of Siram Leggate
The Library at Siram Leggate is an autonomous organization dedicated
to the acquisition of information. It is governed by a highly regimented
structure of command among its Librarians, a core group of men and
women who have a deep seated devotion to the concepts of learning
and the written language.
The Librarians as a group
prefer books over people and care little for the good of the people
as long as the people are still able to read, write and above all
value the written word. They are staunch activists in promoting
literacy and brutal opponents of any they feel re promoting ignorance.
But the Librarians aren’t
zealous fools, they keep the most powerful knowledge to themselves;
hoarding rare books and artifacts and selling the information to
the highest bidder. Recently, they’ve also begun a program
for people they refer to as ‘biographers’; spies loosed
throughout the world to consolidate information – both public
and private on powerful figures.
As no one knows who the
biographers have already learned of, no power players have attempted
to move against the program yet. But as information of specific
people goes up for sale… a confrontation may be inevitable.
The Library itself, the
largest in the world, is a thirty story hulk, two city blocks wide,
made of magically petrified wood, residing on the border with Taunuan,
from the wreckage of a mammoth hailene airship from the War of Ascension.
The former forecastle and rails of the ship have been covered over
by warp wood and shape stone spells. A stone paved plaza, where
the flags of the Twelve Nations (ignoring Mon Sulus Kime) are hung
in a circle.
Inside, the hailene vessel
has been gutted and new floors laid down, stone lifts, enchanted
with levitate spells to carry patrons between floors. Information
desks exist on each floor and guards are posted to each set of stacks.
Fireguards, armed with magical means of suppressing flame, patrol
the floors periodically.
Ma’tang (Large City)
Ma’tang is the capitol city of Minde Forme, built in a formerly
serene valley. The Crystal City no longer lives up to its name,
the once crystal peaked wizardry towers given over to foundries
and stone mills, churning out the components for magic item construction.
The hills that once formed
the valley have been strip mined to mudflats for stone to build
more buildings. The city is now a maddening labyrinth of stone walls
and blind alleys known only by natives.
Crime is a constant problem,
especially with a decree by the previous Dean of the Emerald Sanctum
that all youngsters must be given rudimentary arcane study as part
of their schooling. A small army of unemployed youths, armed with
cantrips has made Ma’tang’s crime problem that much
Leggate (Large Town)
The steady stream of scholars and adventurers that have flocked
to the Library since the Age of Tragedies encouraged the growth
of a sizable waterfront town around it. The accommodations at inns
in Siram Leggate are rarely better than ‘good’, but
despite its size, the town is a close and friendly place.
The Librarians have been
given control of the town by the Tower Arcana, but take little interest,
letting public matters fall to a community-elected marshal (currently
Simon Taang, a former human mercenary).
Siram Leggate has a pact
dating back some three hundred years with the copper dragon Namumec
for his aid in protection of the city in exchange for a lair (an
oversized and operational clock-tower to the south of town) and
that the town pay for his charges at the Library.