Principalities taken from “The Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” the Byzantium Notebook, by Ben-Derek Hayes (Circa Age 13). Part One.
I discussed the Byzantium Notebook, and its cosmology, in an earlier entry. This is a list of seven of the 14 “major principalities” listed throughout the Byzantium Notebook. I’ll get to the other seven sometime next week.
It’s worth noting that despite begin designed for some very common class/level fantasy ttRPGs, the Principalities offered here are not described in terms of alignment, good or evil, or churches. It’s clear from the notebook that Principalities grant power to those who advance their causes, and their ethics and morality are very different from most mortal societies. Individual religions and churches may well lean toward some specific aspect of a Principality, but they can and do oppose each other as readily as they opposed organized churches revering other Principalities. Especially within the campaign-focused region of the “Commonlands,” organized religion tends to be as varied and local as the city-states that are the majority of the powerful nation-states. Further, Principalities tend to reserve their direct punishments for those who have passed on to the afterlife, so posing as a priest of a given Principality may be foolish, no divine retribution strikes down those living mortals who attempt it.
All art in this article is by warmtail.
Avergentis is the Principality of striking down evil, falsehood, corruption, and greed. She is portrayed in crimson, gold, and black as a women in armor, and always in motion, for to Avergentis to see evil and fail to oppose it as best you can is as great a sin as acting toward evil yourself. Her followers rarely attempt to convert others or give sermons, preferring instead to show by example how their active lives make the world a better place. Nothing angers Avergentis more than using false humility or honor to hide a corrupt or despicable course of action, and lands where her worship is allowed openly require their rich and powerful to consider carefully the consequences of having her faithful within their realms.
The Heartflock is the Principality of the susurrations of a group of birds in flight, the course of driftwood across the ocean, and the feeling of joy brought by the first fresh air carried by the wind into places of ash and decay. The Heartflock is not anthropomorphized, depicted as a central eye within a ring of divinatory runes, or natural forces in coordinated movement. Followers of the Heartflock seek to protect both the patterns of natural life, but also the stirring of the soul brought about by such things. The Heartflock opposes stagnation, disruption of the interconnected elements of the natural world, and despair. Most worshipers of the Heartflock do not build temples, and have traditions that are very local and connected to their own environment.
Marugal is the Martyred Angel, Principal of birth, bravery, dignity, healing, lingering wounds, love, masks, pain, parenting, long-term planning, sacrifice, scars, remembrance, winter, and righteous wrath at those who betray trust. She took on the wounds of the seasons, compressing them into just the time of winter, that spring, summer, and autumn might exist. She accepts all those who sacrifice for others, and opposed those who waste sacrifices made for them, or use trickery or manipulation to cause others to sacrifice for them under false pretenses. She is the Principality of those suffering uncurable wounds and pain, not to glorify pain, but to acknowledge the cost required to bear it.
The North Wind
The North Wind is the oldest of the Seven Winds, and among the oldest of the Principalities. He is normally depicted as a blue face in a complex burst of spiraling tendrils. The North Wind is the Principality of free movement and free choice, trade, sailing, the cold, weather, storms, clouds, silver, amber, and leaving your childhood either physically or metaphorically. His followers prefer slow, constant action to sudden bursts of activity, but in extreme cases are willing to play the part of cleansing storm leveling everything old so new growth can come. They are keepers of chronicles of seasons and bloodlines, and violently opposed to imprisonment, slavery, and coercion of any kind.
Plautaurch is the Principality of the sea and oceans, the tides, waves, currents, the great depths, darkness, the unseen, life, risk, divination, gambling, and the downfall of mighty things. He is depicted as existing to two parts, a mighty green elf warrior with a crown of coral, and a hippogriff with emerald scales and an alicorn, which may appear jointly or separately. His worship is almost exclusive to diviners, sailors, and gamblers, who often seek to learn his secrets and/or appease him as much as they seek to spread his glory.
Uhr is the Progenitor of Dragons, the Father of Fire, and the Mother of Tooth and Claw. Uhr seeks and respects only power, and demands its followers do the same. To see Uhr is to have every other image wiped from your sight forever, and “May You Look Upon the Face of Uhr” is a powerful profanity. Uhr’s image is never complete, for to depict all of Uhr would risk the wrath of the First Dragon, and anyone daring to carve or paint even just part of Uhr strives to make the image a horrific and strong as possible. Uhr rewards might with greater might, but punishes those foolish enough to gain more power than they can protect. The Clawed Shield is an order of defenders sworn to Uhr, for they believe in offering defense-for-hire they can gather greater power without provoking a coalition to bring about their downfall. The Draconex was an ancient sorcerer-warlord of Uhr who sought to conquer the world to gain ultimate power, and was defeated by the first Duck Kingdoms. The soul of the Draconex burns forever in the hellfire gut of Uhr as punishment for gaining the most power of any mortal ever, yet being defeated.
Wrogan is the Warhound, the Iron Fist, and the Smith of Battle. He is the Principality of conflict, warfare, crafting, smithing, walls, gates, prisons, tactics, obedience, animal husbandry, riding, and commanding respect. He promotes all things that can advance the art of warfare, and promotes warfare as the force that promotes all other arts and knowledge. His worship is more common among nobles, generals, and craftsmen than warfighters and knights. An important part of his teachings is that war must serve a purpose–the application of force is pointless unless it bring about change. Just as randomly heating metal and smashing it with rocks is not blacksmithing, to Wrogan randomly killing or doing so for sport of pleasure is not warfare.
Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes Index
As I translate and post more excerpts from these amazing analects of creativity, I’ll post the links to the end of the first Horrors & Heroes post, so serve as an Index for all the Horrors & Heroes content.
Posted on June 22, 2022, in Appendix O, Game Design, Microsetting and tagged Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes, gaming, Geekery, Principalities, Worldbuilding. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.