Ryxia: The World as it Stands
AKA How I learned to stop worrying about Ultragiants and love the Objects of Focus.
While it may or not be a literal name, the event known as “Sunfall” changed the trajectory of mortal history. The second of Ryxia’s twin suns disappeared from the sky, the Ultragiants appeared, and the Pentarchy’s great capital city of Narhasur was turned into a smoldering crater. Most scholars theorize it’s probably not a coincidence.
The Ultragiants are elemental energy incarnate – colossal mountains, towering infernos, destructive tornadoes and tsunamis, all seemingly brought to life. Their alien intelligence seemed to care little for anything that wasn’t finding and destroying mortals and their settlements.
Over the next few years, societies begin to splinter. Most towns and cities were evacuated or destroyed (or both), and mortals cower in the dark corners of the world.
Until the mortals killed one.
Age of Reclamation, the return of monsters and today
Some cities were able to avoid detection for years under the oppressive time of the Ultragiants using a wide array of strategies, though few that did made it through the entire reign. One such city realized an Ultragiant was bearing down on them and their usual tactics would not work, and instead rode out to meet it in battle wielding their city’s Object of Focus. Scholars’ best guess as to what happened was some strange remnant of the magic that made the Objects of Focus in the first place – extreme emotion and shared purpose of a large group of people.
The object was destroyed, as was much of the army. But strangely, within days, the Ultragiants no longer stalked Ryxia.
The remaining mortals of the world slowly re-emerged, flocked to the husks of their former cities and tried to rebuild. They found a world whose landscape had changed and was now filled with monsters at a level only recalled in myth.
Still, the people of the world have decided they will reclaim a better life than they lost to the Ultragiants, even amid the new danger.
This is where our campaign starts.
Generations ago, far beyond mortal memory, magic filled the world of Ryxia. Dragons and other fantastical individuals dominated the land, people shaped the world with great acts of power and gods walked the mortal realm. It was an era of high adventure, grand achievement and miracles.
But the twin-sunned world Ryxia is one of comings and goings.
Once, so legend goes, the gods lived alongside their mortal creations. One day, they left.
Then came the saints, the greatest heroes and villains to ever walk upon the world. They were held up as personifications of the gods’ many facets, and are to this day regarded as lofty examples and treacherous warnings.
With them came dragons, the great, cunning beasts whose grand agendas for both good and ill often set the course of history, and creatures so alien and dangerous that they could only be called “monsters” began stalking the face of the world.
These forces, and many others, wrestled for the soul of Ryxia for generations. Lives were lived and lost and turned to myth. Civilizations rose and fell and served as the skeletons for what came next. Great feats of engineering, arcane mastery and exploration were created, forgotten, re-found and forgotten once more.
And throughout, The Wheel of Magic turned. For decades at a time, the level of magic in the world would remain relatively consistent – until it was not. Magic overflowed, then lessened, then rarified, then grew, then overflowed, and so on. Denizens of Ryxia accepted this cycle as they accepted the tides, and it served as the strange and semi-reliable force of change throughout history.
At a time where magic was at its zenith, saints, armies, adventuring guilds and monsters alike waged war over the fate of entire nations every day and dragons were at their most just, most cruel and most glorious, a coterie of the most domineering and preternaturally powerful wyrms banded together and threatened to tip the balance of the world irreparably.
On the brink of annihilation, an unprecedented alliance was forged – mortals and dragons, chromatic and metallic, evil and good, all joined together for a desperate ploy to attack the tyrannical dragons at their grand conjoined lair.
The battle raged for (presumably) three days – historical accounts only note the time from when the attack was supposed to happen and what happened next. On the fourth, something inexplicable happened – all saints throughout the world vanished, even those that weren’t at the great battle. During the intervening years, scholars, ardents, and the curious searched the world and found no trace of them or the great dragons they fought alongside.
Many theories and legends abound, but no explanation was ever discovered or agreed upon. Interestingly, the appearance of monsters also declined in the years after.
The Objects of Power & The Pentarchy
Even without their greatest heroes, the world continued and The Wheel of Magic turned.
Centuries passed, and the mortal world flourished. Without the threat of monsters casting a shadow upon them, new cities and villages sprung up and an age of art, exploration and invention began.
As the Wheel once more approached its apex of magical power, a new phenomenon occurred: Objects of Focus. While there were still magicians, shape-changers, and holy men performing miracles, there was a new source of arcane potential found in purpose and mortal emotion.
But as these miraculous items appeared, so did competition over their control. The most successful and dominating force to appearing during this time was The Pentarchy. This group of five powerful magicians, warlords, monarchs and leaders led by sorceress-queen Celestia Dreamweaver quickly accumulated an unknown but significant number of Objects of Focus.
Through their magic, they expanded their life spans to unnatural lengths and carved out a large empire connected by a magical highway and guarded by newly created undead soldiers.
Soon, however, many believe their reach exceeded their grasp.