The World of Maxia
Born from the prophecies of the first clerics over a thousand years ago, the lands that became the Celentine Empire were once the rich and verdant woodlands ruled by Eladrin nobles and their Goblin slaves.
When the Eladrin retreated from the world to the Feywild, their hearts broken by the birth of Tieflings in the young nation of Bael Turath, the forests were rocked by brutal wars between the slave races of the cruel Fey lords. Goblins, Men and Elves battled for years until peace was brokered in the wake of near annihilation.
That destruction came in the form of the ancient abomination known as the Tarrasque, a fell monstrosity unleashed by deranged Goblin shamans from the befouled region of the deep woods scoured by the Dawn War. From the Dread Pits of Nerluc they summoned the creature to destroy their foes, only for the Tarrasque to live up to it’s true purpose and rampage across the land in bestial rage. The abomination was brought low by a trio of heroes, their names now forgotten to history. Though popular myth paints them as an alliance of Elf, Goblin and Man, this is often taken to be an apocryphal attempt at reconciling the warring races. What is known about the heroes is that they were followers of the gods, and that in the wake of their victory they brokered peace across the woodland realms.
The Elves retreated northwards into the deep forests and across the seas to the east, leaving the land to Men and Goblins. Within a generation the forest had been cut back and the first port city raised along the Flame Sea coast. The first true king of the region was the Goblin warlord Arkan, assassinated by agents of the Fomorians in an attempt to rekindle the war. His successor was King Elderan, a Half-Elven priest who formed the early council of rule and set down the laws which determined the split of rule between the king and his council.
Over the century of Elderans rule the city state grew into a wealthy nation, prospering through strategic alliances with the woodland clans, wizards of the Crimson Desert and both Arkhosian and Turathi interests. His daughter Elleya ruled as well as her father, though the explosive conflict between Arkhosia and Bael Turath tested the kingdom to it’s very limits. An assassination attempt by the Pit Fiend Vausitsal was foiled by the sacrifice of a single knight, a Human Paladin of Bahamut named C’Elen Valle. His sacrifice led to the formalisation of a treaty between Arkhosia and the kingdom, and the utter defeat of Bael Turath. Queen Elleya declared that the loyal knight’s deed would be forever remembered by renaming the kingdom Celenia in his honour. Many ballads paint the tale of C’Elen and Elleya as a tragic love story, a favourite of many nobles and bards.
With the fall of Bael Turath, and collapse of Arkhosia thanks to the treachery of the ancient wyrm Zebukiel, Celenia was the pinnacle of civilisation and the guiding light for the many refugees from those fallen empires. The kingdom prospered under the guidance of Elderans line for generations, and for five centuries Celenia was a shining light in the world, covering the northern lands from the Dragonhome Mountains to the islands of Ruul. The Celentine Empire, as it was known in the later days had grown fat and decadent, the ruling houses of the council members and Elderan’s descendants considering themselves beyond the reach of the petty threats that walked the world. Few suspected that the greatest threat to the empire was it’s very ruler. Tales of infernal consorts, the binding of devils and worse from the Imperial Palace at Celene were hushed away by merchants and nobles to rich to care about the indulgences of their emperor.
When the wizard lords of the Crimson Desert sent forth a great host of Gnolls and summoned demons to strike at the city of Veritas and the desert colonies of the empire, the utter brutality with which Emperor Graz’zt struck down his enemies sickened even the most decadent of his allies. Three assassination attempts followed swiftly in the wake of the heinous war crimes, the most successful of which was inflicted by the legendary Hobgoblin General Kargg who refused to stand by as Graz’zt personally beheaded the seven ruling mages of the Crimson Court. The mages fled into the desert, swearing vengeance on the line of Graz’zt as the general and his emperor fought an epic duel of spells and steel. The general vanished following the battle, the emperor left half dead at his hands but still alive to continue his wicked deeds.
Maddened by the treachery of his closest general and seeing enemies everywhere, Emperor Graz’zt called for a purge of the lands under his rule. Mages were hunted like animals, suspected of consorting with the Crimson Court, while the temples of the gods were burned and the priests hung in the ruins. The people rose up under the guidance of the council, only for a tide of devils and undead to spill from the imperial palace grounds and tear apart the rebels.
Aghast at this latest heresy, and refusing to stand by as yet another empire fell to the grasp of Hell, Pelor himself manifested before the imperial palace. Banishing the fiends and blasting the undead to ash with mere words, the Sun God raised the slain priests and commanded the surrender of Emperor Graz’zt. Or so the bards tell the tale, as not a single living creature survived the devastation when the avatar of Pelor and the mad emperor faced one another in the grounds of the palace. The capital city at Celen is a shadow of a city now, fought over by those who still believe in the empire while strange creatures stalk the shadows and the palace itself is an immense crater.
Only two things are known for certain of that fateful day. The god Pelor stood against the mad emperor, and the demon lord Graz’zt was born in the depths of the Abyss. Those who seek the truth in such matters invariably find themselves consorting with fiends and falling to madness.
In the wake of the mad emperor’s reign the Celentine Empire crumbled swiftly.
General Kargg returned to lead his loyal Goblin legions in an uprising across the west, burning cities and laying claim to the forests. Now King Kargg rules a nation of Goblins and black hearted Men in the western reaches.
The council split, noble families claiming cities and strongholds across the empire for their own, rendering the once glorious empire into a broken land steadily crumbling into the wilderness from which it was carved centuries ago.
The three greatest cities of the empire now stand as the hearts of individual kingdoms, each claiming the right of rule over an empire that has yet to realise it is dead…
On the southern coast, the port city of Veritas is ruled by the grand-daughter of Graz’zt, a cold hearted woman named Elyssa Valle. The city still controls trade with the southern merchants of the Crimson Desert and the clans of the Turathi Steppes, making Veritas the wealthiest of the Celenian City-States. Art and music are highly prized by the nobles of the city, a grand distraction from the shadows slinking through the alleys of their home and the growing power of thieves and merchants guilds.
The merchants grip on the city tightens daily, and the poor look to the hilltop villas of their supposed betters with growing bitterness. Veritas is a wealthy city, but one where the disparity between rich and poor is destined to lead to conflict soon.
The ruined capital of Celen is divided between armed camps of mercenaries hired by the remnants of the old council and the two noble families who refuse to accept the death of the empire. Barely a day goes by without open conflict between the hired swords of the three factions, while the people of Celen simply struggle to get by in a city once known for it’s radiant glory. The great pit at the heart of the city draws adventurers and truth-seekers, but few ever return from the black crater that was once the palace of the mad emperor.
The former crossroads of Elamat was known as the seat of learning for the empire, home to great libraries, universities and the finest sages in the known world. Years of bloodshed, demonic rampages and the death of a god have laid the city lower than any of it’s neighbours. Elamat is a city of the mad, raving lunatics wander the streets shouting nonsense prophecies and ruined libraries are piled in the ash of burned books and wrecked artefacts. There are still treasures to be found in Elemat, and the city stands still on the crossroads at the borderlands but few dare to enter the walls of late. Dark rumours claim that the madness of the inhabitants is far from natural, but instead the work of aberrant evils lurking deep below the city.
Blackmarsh is the seat of King Kargg’s power. It’s old name stricken from the records by the former general, the city stands on the edge of the stinking Fellmire, a swampland covering hundreds of square miles along the south-west coast of the empire. Hobgoblins, Lizardfolk, black hearted men and degenerate cultists call the city home, trading in everything from drugs and weapons to black magic and slaves.
The western coast is the site of a Godstone, the immense stone relic dedicated to the god Erathis fell in the ruins of civilisation. A small but burgeoning city state has grown around the relic, governed by a council of priests and scholars who send ambassadors to the other cities of the empire. Most return either rebuffed by the callous nobles or as broken bodies delivered on horseback. Such cruelty does little to deter the followers of Erathis who still see hope for what was a perfect example of their god’s teachings for so long. While Minotaur corsairs harry the small fishing fleet of the city and monsters threaten the trade routes slowly being built outwards, the people of Toren are determined not to be defeated in their noble quest to relight the fire of civilisation.
The smaller settlements of the empire are either beholden to the closest of the cities or so insignificant as to be ignored by the noble families as they plot against one another.
Calibos is a river town known for it’s fine fish and the minor noble family who claim ties to the imperial line despite lacking in wealth or contacts across the empire.
The forest town of Elmfall supplies lumber to many merchants and the larger cities, but is subject to frequent raids by forest dwelling Goblins and Trolls.
Rokea is a small fishing port midway between the Fellmire and the lands claimed by Veritas, actually being a trio of settlements on the mainland coast and a pair of tiny islands joined in alliance against shark cults, sea monsters and a dark wizard who claims to be the bastard son of Graz’zt himself.