This is a sneak preview of the Kingdom of Morgrave. We thought players would be interested in seeing cultures and kingdoms as we work on them. As with all Sneak Previews, details may change over time.
Those who live in Morgrave are hardy and grim folk. The land itself has a dark reputation and a wicked history. Undead roam the land at night, and the folk of Morgrave need to be on a constant vigil against them. The noble houses of Morgrave constantly war against the undead that seek to take over the land.
Although the undead seem to fall into their own houses and the most powerful undead hold their own twisted version of court, three types of undead roam Morgrave.
Ghasts hunger for the flesh of the Gifted Races, and feed on flesh. They have ghouls as servants, and, although cunning, the ghouls lack the reasoning and power of their ghast masters. Ghasts and ghouls are said to be driven to frenzy by the exposed throats of their prey.
Spectres also roam the land. These powerful incorporeal creatures are difficult to damage without blessed silver weaponry, and they carry the chill of the grave and can call upon it to attack the living. They are served by haunts that roam the land and do the bidding of their masters.
Revenants are skeletal beings that retain a twisted intelligence. They can use both the skill of their previous life, as well as the skills practiced by the undead houses that they serve. These undead are served by lesser skeletons which are risen from fallen foes and crypts in the hills.
The worst of the undead come from the fallen house of Crowell, for that house was once a powerful and loyal noble house in service to the king. House Crowell fell to Malediction when an enemy of that house, as an act of revenge, fed the flesh of the Gifted races to the nobles of that house unbeknownst to the lords and ladies of that court. The house became tainted with Malediction and fell to darkness, becoming themselves ghasts and ghouls and turning on the rest of their countrymen and women.
The people of Morgrave have a particular concern about the food they consume. After the curse of House Crowell, the people of Morgrave, as a habit, take time to bless each meal. Each family has a short blessing they say over their food before they eat, and sprinkle food and drink with either blessed water to cleanse it or a bit of salt to purify it. It is to invite malediction to eat the flesh of the Gifted, and although these people cannot always check on the preparation of meals lest they be rude, they can take proper preparations to cleanse the food they eat.
The magic of gloaming takes many forms, and some members of the Gifted Races have, in the past, become either undead without the taint of Malediction, or twisted in some subtle way while retaining their free will. These folk are not welcome in Morgrave, and can only travel to that land in the escort of the knight of one of the major houses.
Although all the houses produce knights and lords that are constantly vigilant against the threat of the undead, House Wickford is known to produce the most skilled hunters of the undead. Largely forsaking magic in favor of rosewood bolts and blessed silver weapons, the House is perhaps the greatest weapon against the undead.
Although the folk of Morgrave fight a constant battle against the undead, the northern reaches of the kingdom are twisted and have fallen to darkness. This area is called the Bleak Reach, and it includes the northern depths of the Razorwold. It is said that the very branches of that cursed place hunger for the flesh of the living.
People from Morgrave dress in typical European fantasy garb. Wools and cottons are common since there is large variation in temperature during the year. Cloaks, hooded mantles, tabards and surcoats are common. Warriors favor heavy armor to protect against undead roaming the night. Common folk dress in tunics, linen shirts, bodices, and tall boots with linen, wool and leather being common materials.
Morgrave is a dark land, and the creatures twisted with malediction that roam that land tear the throats of travelers and victims. The knights and warriors of Morgrave protect their necks by wearing armor that includes a gorget, or neck protector. In doing so they reduce their exposure to the attacks of undead, particularly ghasts and vampires, that are driven to frenzy by the throats of the living.
The tradition of protecting one’s throat has extended into the fashion of Morgrave even among those who do not wear armor. The people of Morgrave consider an exposed neck to be improper or even scandalous and wear tall collars, scarves, and other fashions to keep that flesh covered.
~ Celebrate the days of the Spring and bask in the daylight of Midsummer’s Eve, and remember always that the Festival of the Dead is less than a year away.
~ Be vigilant for undead threats, and the magic of Necromancy.
~ Those tainted by undeath, gloaming, or Malediction will turn on you. Do not forget that.
~ Bless your food, and purify meals with holy water or salt.
~ Be loyal and steadfast, for those you argue with for petty reasons will be fighting on the morrow with you against the horde of the unliving and watching your back.
The most common religion in Morgrave is the Woven Faith. Many nobles and commonfolk of Morgrave find comfort in the divine purpose woven into the Tapestry, and they call on the Threadbearers for strength. Recently there has been a surge of druidism as archdruids have appeared in Morgrave seeking to cleanse ancient places that were perhaps once sacred to the Pale religion. Shamans are rare, though no religion is outlawed or forbidden in Morgrave.
While Magic is practiced in Morgrave, particularly among the noble houses, it is as rare in this land as in most other lands. The art is difficult to learn and practice. Those who can use magic are valued among most noble houses, although the Wickford house has few if any mages. The noble houses of Morgrave and its people are particularly vigilant against those who would practice Necromancer or deal in the foul art of Malediction. Any evidence of this art will bring inquiry, and evidence of this magic will bring swift and final justice.
The king of Morgrave, His Royal Majesty Kevel Faircroft, is also the leader of the powerful Faircroft house. The house has dozens of branches, and many lords and ladies of Morgrave bear the Faircroft name and traced their lineage back for generations to show their relation to the royal line. The king is beloved of his people, and after the loss of the powerful House Crowell the people are particularly protective of their noble houses.
House Breck, House Serelle, and House Rake are all major houses and very influential in the royal court. Breck is known for its mines, and its iron and silver smiths that craft armor and weapons that are particular potent against the undead. That house also has a small number of runeweavers that bolster its heavily armored knights. House Serelle is perhaps the most devout of the houses, and boasts a larger number of priests that are trained to fight undead and heal those stricken or diseased by those foul things. House Rake guards the borders of Morgrave and the rangers of that house hunt down undead that crawl out of the Bleak Moor.
House Wickford, while influential, does not maintain a presence in the court. The lords and ladies of that house are less social, and spend their time relentlessly hunting the undead; particularly the creatures that consider themselves lords and ladies of the foul creatures that roam the night. In times of need there will be a representative of House Wickford at court to advise the Faircrofts. Since the nobles of House Wickford come to court only when there is some surge in undead activity or uprising their appearance is not generally embraced with joy, and can be cause for no small amount of gossip and conjecture.
The Bleak Reach encompasses the northern area of Morgrave, and this land is in the control of the undead houses that seek to consume all of the kingdom. The Bleak Reach extended well into the Razorwold, which seems to have a mind of its own and a hatred for the living.
The tears of Balaron’s Gaze flow down into western Morgrave, turning part of that area into a heated and ashen wasteland. No one travels there, for wraiths of fire roam that land. The lava to the north does not block the western road leading out of Morgrave, however.
The southern mountains are mined by House Breck. The short coastline and eastern areas are home to House Serelle. House Rake has the northwestern lands, where they guard the borders of the tears and Razorwold. The Wickfords have towers all over the land, and call only a small area around their towers to be ancestral land.
King Kevel Faircroft rules the land. His life and Queen is Ellesandra, who is from house Rake. The king and queen have three daughters and one son; Ferah, Lucia, Gertras, and Keven.
Count Demestrius Wickford leads the house. His wife died years ago to an undead attack. He has one daughter, Hanna, and one son, Larkos.
Baroness Marison Rake leads her house and lives by the sea. She has four children and numerous branches of her family as she is more apt to adopt those she favors in House Rake than some of the more traditional nobles.
Baron Nicolas Serelle is the ruler of his house, but some claim that High Priestess Tara Serelle holds as much power. Regardless of rumors, her advice is well regarded by all the houses.
Baroness Gertrude Breck leads her house. Her husband was killed in a mine collapse, though he was Breck by name only and married into the family from the Commonwealth of Blacktallow far to the southwest.