THE WINTER WAR Edit
The Winter War was the second game in the Living Legends series. It took place on January 17th, 2015 at the Hudson Valley Sudbury School.
The Winter War was set in a tribal period of Whorl's history, during the ice age that followed the departure of The Creators and the rise of the Kin. During this ice age, disease and wild beasts ran amok while the descendants of the first peoples clung desperately to what little civilization they could marshal.
The game's literary teaser was posted to the Wayfinder website, with an illustration by Leigh Petersen. Additionally, players received the following background:
Myth of the World Edit
In the beginning, there was the sky, and that was all there was. But the sky grew to be lonely, in its vast oneness, so it pulled itself aside, and created space where there was none. And this was the earth, and thus there was two. And in the sky, the seed of cold crew, and in the earth, the seed of flame was planted. And so the universe was held in balance, between the lonely sky and the earth. And in the space between the two, the world began, and all the plants and creatures in the world crawled forth as the first rain touched the earth. And the greatest of all of the creatures were the Loam, who were wise and just, and watched over the land, and with the tools of the Creators sculpted the valleys and painted the rivers and seas into the world like ink on a stone. There was a sun and a moon, and a right and a left, and Order and Chaos. And all was good, and the world lived in balance.
One day, one of the Rooted, Azara the Traitor, grew to be jealous of the power of the Loam, and she snuck into their hut while they were out hunting. She found three eggs, nestled around the hearth. She grew angry, and exclaimed, “How dare they keep secrets from us!” she smashed the first egg, and its yolk soaked into the earth. And she threw the second egg against the side of the hut, and she took the third egg, and threw it into the flames, and it was in the flames that it hatched. And thus was evil born, and there was nothing to balance it, and it is because of this that there is disharmony in the world.
The Three Brothers of the Loam bound evil at the edge of the world, but it was too late, and a thousand disharmonies had entered into the world. As the world continued to grow, so too did these disharmonies, until the world was consumed in cold, and the Long Winter began.
A Brief List of Gods Edit
Zur, the Lonely Sky: the spirit of the endless, unified sky.
Or, the Half-made Man: the spirit of darkness and heat, who lives deep beneath the Earth. Mainly worshipped by the Ulog, who believes it maintains the great forge at the bottom of the world.
The Three Brothers: triplets, who ruled over the Loam in ancient times. Created the world with the tools of the Creators. Not worshipped by humans.
Som, the Red Well: the spirit of love and compassion, who was torn apart by wolves. His blood poured into the earth, and out into the sea. When you die, your spirit finds its way to the salt of the sea, and your blood returns to the Red Well from whence it came.
Mu, the Broken One: the spirit of justice and fairness, a leper injured by disease. They wander the earth followed by a parade of the spirits of the unjustly killed, seeking respect and revenge.
A Background of the Tribes Edit
When a baby is born, its cry can be heard from the mountains to the valleys, and it is said by the Yasir that this is the first name it will ever bear. The land of Whorl is an infant one, born in the time of your Grandfather’s Grandfather. All the creatures of the world run free, unconstrained from the ideals of civilization. Mankind is new, but has already spread itself across the land, from the mountains to the seas. The laws of the land, the nature of the cosmos, is still a vast uncertainty, and any understanding of the workings of the world are constrained to what your Grandfather has taught you. Not that there is much time for research. The land of Whorl, born so recently, is already fraught with imbalance. Wolves ravage nature, tearing apart travellers and destroying villages. Disease infects and haunts the old and young alike, creating sores and agony wherever it touches. And the cold is everywhere, descending from the sky. This is not a cold which is accompanied by snow. It is a cold which cannot be escaped. Every single day, the evils of the world draw closer and closer, and the sun takes longer and longer to rise each morning. But life survives.
In the mountains, hidden within cave networks and deep beneath the earth, the enigmatic Ulog tribe lives. The Ulog have found warmth in the heat emitted from the bottom of the world, and survive in these caves, only emerging to occasionally hunt or explore. They are a secretive and highly spiritual culture, who worship the order and strength of the darkness. They are led by the Deep One, who is said to have never been touched by the harsh light of the sun.
Charging from hilltop to hilltop and fighting amid the tundras, the harsh Razak tribe travels. The Razak follow a strict code of equivalent exchange - nothing can be gained without something lost. Their best swordsmen have only one hand, having chopped the other off in a powerful ritual. They are a violent and aggressive culture, who worship the freedom and unforgiving intent of the Lonely Sky. They are led by the Twice-Born, who is said to have hung himself from the branches of the Elder Tree, and gained insight into the magic of the world.
Sailing the seas and building nests on glaciers, the capricious Yasir tribe wanders. The Yasir love to do whatever makes them happy, and they follow the whims and fancies of their souls. They believe that all living creatures have souls, and in order to avoid their retribution after death you must take their name and wear it with honor. They are a whimsical and beautiful culture, who worship the love and wanderlust of the waves. They are led by Stormstrider, a famous hunter who killed his namesake in a battle that raged for forty days.
Marching along treacherous paths and settling within valleys, the steadfast Terin tribe stands. The Terin live in a series of fortresses, each ruled by a different family, and the entire tribe travels from one to the other every season. They are also skilled metalworkers, and are the only people who use bronze instead of stone. They are a strong and loving culture, who worship the blood and authority of the family hearth. They are led by Prince Zao and Princess Wu Zenro, identical twins and the eldest children of the recently deceased King Zen Suli, King of the Sabered Fortress. While Prince Zao is choleric, Princess Wu is melancholic, and the two are said to balance each other perfectly. They are young and brash, but have already proved themselves on the battlefield.
While the tribes of man are populous on this cold and bitter world, there are other sentient races which live in Whorl. Along the banks of rivers and in the crevices of hills, the Loam dance and twirl. The Loam are beings made from dust and silt, who were the original creators of the world. They prefer to avoid other races, especially humans, when they can help it, but are also willing to be very compassionate when necessary. Another race, which lives deep beneath the earth, deeper than even the Ulog can travel, are the Delmar. The Delmar are beings made from stone and iron, and claim to be the first creations of the Gods. They despise other races, and believe themselves to be superior to all things. Finally, at the very edges of the world, it is said the dangerous Rooted wander. The Rooted are beings made of branch and flame, and are said to have been the creators of evil itself. They are despised by most and distrusted by all, and it is said that wherever a Rooted goes, misfortune will soon follow.
Every single day, the cold settles, deeper and deeper into the heart of this infant world. It crawls between the crevices of the mountains, and slinks along the waves. It cuts through furs, walls, and blubber, digging deep between the ribs like a knife that forces steam out of your mouth as you gasp for breath. The cold burns, and it tears, and it shreds. It finds its way behind your eyes, between your teeth, and under your skin. You can push it away, with the heat of the hearth, but it will always find its way, crawling inch by inch like a glacier, closer and closer to your soul. It will take years, decades even, but once it reaches the very center of your being, you will know. Your bones will crack, and your blood will freeze, and the blue light that burns at the very center of your body will cease to be. It will extinguish all that you are, and you will be nothing but a husk. This is the fate of all, as long as the cold continues to settle, deeper and deeper.
The oracles foretell a day when the sun and the moon will be extinguished like this, and the world will be plunged into eternal frost, and the bars on Evil’s cage will flex and bend, and its colossal presence will run free across the world once more. Om of the Delmar, and Mokshan of the Rooted, have called for a meeting between the four tribes of man, at the ancient Hearthstone, the first stone the Three Kings ever stood upon, and the place where the flame of the Earth meets the lonely sky. They want to push back the cold, and return balance to the world. You are the representatives of your four tribes, sent to assist in this heroic venture. The first quest, of an infant world.
Game Overview Edit
The four tribes met together in Hearthstone, and discussed their issues under the supervision of the Delmar Ambassador Om and the Loam, Dr. Saiya.
After discovering that the Rooted, Mokshan of the White Pine, had been corrupted by the cold, they set forth to bring the flame of Hearthstone into the Empty Circle, the first place where the gods set foot on the world. To do this, two Yasir (twins) took the soul of Om into themselves and brought it out into the woods. They came to be known as Del and Mar. These two also domesticated the Yeti, and with its help they fought off many wolves.
Meanwhile, several Terin and Ulog shamans and warriors worked together to try to figure out how many of the diseases in this world actually work, and successfully developed the first tradition of medicine. They discovered that evil spirits (which cause disease) were easily confused and trapped by mazelike patterns, and that bread was an especially good vessel for containing them.
Also, the Razak warriors assassinated Prince Zao, along with several Terin diplomats, and when Princess Wu fled into the woods, the Twice-Born sent his men after her. He promised the other tribes that he would have his men’s other hand chopped off, but it was an empty promise, and he sent a scout to the Razak horde, to have them prepare for war against the Terin.
By the end of the evening, the Hearthfire had been relit, and as cold retreated from the world Mokshan was reignited in its flames.
- Cold was successfully banished from the world, and put back into balance with other natural forces, ending the ice age.
- The Wolf King was defeated, rendering the many savage and intelligent demon wolves of Whorl leaderless and, without the dominance of cold, weakened.
- Medicines were developed to help combat the plagues which were weakening the mortal races.
- Razak initiated a war with Terin with a brutal opening play, decapitating its leadership and forcing its royal lines into hiding.