by David Rauscher (email@example.com)
In their pride, the Tileans began work, with the aid of the dwarfs, on a great monument to their god. Unable to finish their work despite years of labor, in babe-like trust they allowed a stranger t finish the tower in but one day.
It is unknown what dark magic completed the tower's construction. All that can be said is that it had a purpose of its own, and it destroyed the Tilean city with warpstone rain and an evil that killed in the dark. After the fall, the few survivors were scattered throughout the land and reduced to a state of near- barbarism. So it is that the Golden Age of Tilea ended.
Finally, along came a great negotiator, Tobaro the Peacemaker, who negotiated the establishment of a proto-democracy. The landholding townsfolk in every village and town of Tilea elected a local town council. This town council in turn elected from their number a burgomaster to act as a neutral party in negotiation deadlocks. The council also selected one of their number to represent them to their central city-state. The legislators of the 13 city-states in turn elected one of their number to be a king, usually acting as a negotiator/judge, and a Divinator, their representative to the Great Assembly. The 13 members of the Great Assembly met in the new-founded city of Tobaro, deciding on ultimate issues governing the law of the land, and overseeing negotiations between city-states (usually involving border disputes or arguments over taxes).
To hold back the ever-encroaching blight, the Great Assembly would choose a General, a man who must abide by the decision of the council, to lead the Tilean armies to war. Granted the nominative Caesar, this general's power was kept in check by tight city-state control of their forces, only permitting the Caesar to lead the armies upon approval of the council. While this Great Assembly brought the first Tilean peace in millennia, most Tileans still felt tied to their city-states. A Tilean identity was little more than some half- remembered dream.
At the end of the First Millennium on the Imperial calendar, Jean set off into the Blighted Marshes, despite the half-hearted pleas of his neighbors, claiming to be on a dream-inspired search for his destiny. When he wandered into the Marsh, none believed he would ever return.
Three years later, Jean of the Sedges staggered into the city of Remas, half-starved and wearing naught but rags, clutching a book of glowing white. When he recovered, he told a story that immediately brought him a fervent cult following. The book he held he claimed he had taken from a temple on the outskirts of Skavensblight itself. Seeking refuge from the fearsome monsters of the Blight, he entered the ancient temple to find an alter beneath an open dome. In the midst of the Blighted Marshes, where the sun never shines, he claims that the sky above the dome was crystal clear. On the alter, bathed in a radiant white light, sat the tome.
Jean preached a religion that he called the Way of the White Path, a belief claiming that of all the gods, only one controlled the gates to the afterlife. Jean the Pious (as he liked to be called) taught his followers of a way of reaching the hereafter - a regimen involving abstention from all worldly goods.
The rapid growth of this new religion is credited in large part to new powers he had acquired during his wandering. His eyes, it is claimed, glowed with an eerie white incandescence, making it impossible to look straight into his face. And that many who heard him speak entered a strange trance so that they came away from the audience with no clear idea of what happened, but with an undying love for Jean the Pious.
To his most dedicated followers Jean read from his glowing tome. While none understood the meaning of the words, they found that reciting the chopped chant-like verses brought on a religious fervor and enabled them to cast strange new magics, never before seen.
When Jean finally died, nearly 100 years after his return from the Blighted Marsh, his followers built him a great temple in the center of Remas, and buried him at it's center. His son, declaring himself the Great Potentate (the One Who Follows), and became the new leader of the expanding religion.
Exactly one year after the death of Jean the Pious a milky-white liquid began bubbling forth from the floor of the temple, exactly over the location where Jean was buried. Those followers who drank the potion suffered one of two fates - instant madness, of the grant of great new powers.
The Way of the White Path has since grown to become the mostly influential religious doctrine in Tilea.
For a period of nearly a thousand years, now, the Skaven have regularly threatened the integrity of Tilea. Periodic raids on small villages, localized outbreaks of the Red Pox, and corruptions of Tilean people have been referred to as The War of the Blight. It's constant threat has defined much of Tilean poetry and art, and is essentially the basis for the Triumvirate system: a system of consolidated forces capable of independently destroying any single army, but which requires all to hold back the Skaven Hordes.
Two horrific outbreaks have best defined the War of the Blight. The first is the outbreak of Red Pox in Northern Tilea in 1812, killing 7/10ths of the population of Miregliano.
The second major threat were the Skaven Raids of 2319-20. During these two years, shipping in and out of Tilea came to a virtual standstill. Already fearing starvation due to a poor harvest, the Tilean's (especially those in and around Remas) had become dependent on Araby grain imports. With these drastically reduced, riots broke out throughout the city, and were suppressed only by harsh action by the Halberdiers of the Mount. Those who masterminded the riots were hung by their toes in the main square, inches away from a small feast, and allowed to starve to death.
The greatest of the these tournaments are the yearly chariot races. With reckless abandon, the best charioteers of the Old World meet in the Coliseum to test their mettle, and determine who will be crowned the greatest charioteer in the Old World.
The greater warriors of the White Path are baptized in this water. When they emerge, they are imbued with the magical powers granted them by the One God, and are ordained as priests.
Special Rules: The Followers of the White Path are extremely contemptuous of labor-saving devices, and of the Reasoners who run them. While they are to devoted to their mission and are well- disciplined, Followers will not come within 6" of either war machines or a unit of Reasoners. Should they find themselves, at the beginning of the movement phase, within 6" of War Machines or Reasoners, they must pass a leadership to move this turn, and they must immediately move more than 6" from the unit. If they fail the leadership test, or if they cannot move more than 6" away, the unit may do nothing this turn. (It may, however, fight and defend itself as normal).
The Ponderor: Count Leo da Vincenza
Leo da Vincenza was raised a wealthy prince in the city of Remas. His father, a Count ruling a modest
fief on the outskirts of the territory claimed by the Great Potentate during a religious purge. His father
was not a follower of the White Path, and refused to submit or offer an Oath of Fealty, even after weeks
torture. From the beginning, Leo had a strong dislike for the White Path. When the family manner was
burned as an attractor of vermin, Leo and his family were forced to take what was left of their small
fortune and move to the city.
In Remas, Leo went into seclusion for several years, studying what he called the Art of Reasoning. When he emerged from his seclusion, he published his first of what would be many books. The tome, Artus Mechanicus, was a detailed examination of the Laws of Being, laws he derived from his reduction of the behavior of the world around him into a series of mathematical models based in large part upon the movement of the stars. He attracted a great number of admirers who wanted to learn more of this strange new science, and he gladly offered to teach. With the help of a few wealthy young nobles, he opened his first school of learning, As the number of enrollees grew, his earlier followers returned to become teachers themselves.
The small school grew to be a university nearly large enough to rival those of the Empire. It taught skills of logic and reasoning, and the skills of mechanics and advanced agriculture. But to the Great Potentate, this school became a threat. Large segments of the population had followed him only through complete control over what was and was not. This University taught people to think for themselves - a practice entirely contrary to the Way of the White Path, which taught all to proceed in one direction toward the afterlife. Clearly this threat had to be dealt with.
The moment came when Leo had built a great tower in the center of Remas. The Tower of the Heavens, reaching hundreds of feet in the air, hung far above all other buildings in the city. This tower became for many a beacon of truth and reason amid a world of turbulence. Tileans, and even foreigners, came far and wide to meet with Leo da Vincenza, the Ponderor, and to gaze upon his great work. For many years the tower stood and Leo educated any who would come. And all this while, the Great Potentate brooded.
In 2499, the Great Potentate finally got his chance. As news of the treachery of the Burgomasters of Miregliano spread panic through the streets, the Great Potentate called a general assembly in the city's central square. Pointing toward Leo's University, the Great Potentate labeled the tower a disgrace against the One God and a beacon to the Vermintide. All in Tilea knew of the ancient legends of the Dwarf / Man city, which fell to its ill-fated attempt to built a tower touching the heavens, cursing them all forever. The possibility that a drought-bringing rain of warpstone could come drove the crowd into a frenzy. As they burned the university and Leo's tower, Count Leo and his Reasoners fled, barely escaping with their lives. They eventually settling in Tobaro, far from the influence of the White Path.
Although in exile, Count Leo da Vincenza still maintains a large personal retinue of students, teachers, and inventors. Known as The Reasoners, his followers work with him night and day on creating new inventions and rebuilding the vast library burned with the tower in Remas.
In addition, Leo da Vincenza continues to work on his fabulous inventions. He and his laboratories turn out dozens a day, but most of them prove useless failures. But, always among laboratory disasters are gems of innovation, giving The Ponderor a regular supply of unique war engines.
The Black Gulf is named for it's dark, murky waters. Once upon a time, the Black Gulf was a deep, brilliant, blue sea, teeming with life. During the Skaven and the Undead wars, however, a great sea battle was fought in the Black Gulf. Skaven Clan Priests in mighty warships fought against an Undead army of 10's of thousands. Skaven and Undead littered the ocean so that legend says, at the end of the battle you could walk from shore-to-shore across the floating bodies of the dead. The only creatures to survive the Skaven poisons and Black Magic which polluted the ocean were the scavengers. All other life in the Black Gulf was killed.
Living in submerged caverns in the shallows of the Black Gulf are the Black Gulf Cavecrab. The Cavecrab has a shell of ever-changing iridescent colors, a shell which can be sold in the markets of any man-city for enough money to buy a small country farm. Once upon a time, the Cavecrab lived in great numbers throughout the Black Sea. Now it is reduced to a small population which only the Sartosan Fishermen can find.
Special Rules: All Windfinders are expert swimmers, capable of holding their breath and swimming under water for great distances. Because of this, Windfinders may cross any still body of water (such as a lake or a pond, but not a fast-moving river) as if it were difficult ground. While under water, they are immune to normal attacks. Note that this does not make them immune to certain powerful magic spells...
The various Sea Folk of Luccini (The Windfinders) never wear armor. While they often carry shields in combat, the consequences of falling overboard with even light mail frightens even the strongest of Luccini swimmers.
|11 February 1999||links updated|
|21 June 1996||reorganized|
|22 April 1996||reformatted|
|Written by David Rauscher|
|Comments or corrections?|