Today we’re going to be discussing City B, which sits on what I have been calling “Cock Island” but which will, from here on out, be known as Duraun Jörgmadnr (dwarven for “isle of the serpent”).
Right off the bat, there were a couple of things I knew about City B – also known as Magwer (its people are known as Magwothi). Mostly I knew that I wanted them to be something a little different – a way to make something familiar and reassuring into something different and frightening. I wanted them to be at ideological odds with Kungarde – which would help explain the pressures that led to the war I alluded to a couple posts earlier. Most of all I wanted them to be the opposite of Kungarde – that is, not a bastion of freedom and racial intermingling – while at the same time not being evil.
Which brought me to my favorite fantasy setting subject – religion.
If you take core assumption #9 (“the gods are distant”) to its logical extreme, it stands to reason that the followers of the gods probably don’t know all that much about the beings they worship. Which opens up all kinds of exciting prospects for different flavors of a single faith coming into conflict with one another – which brings us to Magwer.
Magwer is a theocratic monarchy ruled equally by both king and queen. Specifically, the city traces its true founding back to the mythical figure of Magwoti – chieftain of a human tribe who led his people to the site of Magwer. Below the ground of this site was an already active dwarven city, and Magwoti sought and received the blessing of the dwarven thane to settle the lands above the city – an agreement known as the Deeping Compact. The humans built an aboveground city over the dwarves and the two lived together in peaces and harmony – for about twenty or thirty years.
Magwoti was a warrior and a war-monger, aggressive and brutal in his rule, and his people strayed far from home to make war on their neighbors. Eventually, their neighbors decided that it was perhaps time to be rid of the violent and treacherous Magwothi and banded together to assault the newly-founded city. The battles raged for sixty nights, but ultimately Magwoti was undone and led his people below ground to seek the asylum and aid of the dwarves. Combined, the two people drove out the aggressors and the dwarves remained to assist in the rebuilding.
Seeing the boons of the two people’s cooperation, Magwoti sought to sow the seeds of a new Deeping Compact that would forever unify his people with the dwarves and secure the might of Magwer by arranging for his daughter to wed the dwarven thane’s eldest son. The pledge of marriage secured, Magwoti then murdered the thane, the thane’s ailing wife, and then his own sons – ensuring that the newly-wed couple would inherit all authority over both man and dwarf. This done, he surrendered himself to the city’s own justice and was executed for his crimes – ushering in the reign of the first King and Queen of Magwer. The truth of the story is impossible to verify, but Magwoti’s willingness to perform horrific acts in the pursuit of a noble cause is a facet of the Magwothi character even today.
Unlike the oligarchic republic of Kungarde, Magwer is ruled by a dwarven king and a human queen – when a monarch dies, his replacement is selected by the priesthood of Magwer and the remaining monarch weds the chosen replacement. So it has been, since the death of Magwoti and the dwarven thane.
The priesthood is the other primary power in Magwer – and various priests fill governmental roles typically occupied by nobles in most kingdoms. The city of Magwer recognizes only two true gods – Moradin, god of the forge, and Erathis, goddess of civilization and law – whom they collectively refer to as the Divine Union. The priesthood acknowledges that a few other gods existed at the beginning of all, but have since been slain – specifically they acknowledge the previous existences of Corellon (who was weak, and thus died during the Dawn War against the primordials), Kord (who was slain in battle during the Dawn War – his final droplets of blood carrying on his legacy to its eventual inheritor: Magwoti), Io (who was tricked and betrayed – you guessed it! – during the Dawn War by the demon who is now known as Tiamat), and Pelor (the sole divine survivor of the Dawn War beyond Moradin and Erathis – who later betrayed the Divine Union and was struck down by them). They regard most other deities as demons or devils (Tiamat and Asmodeus) or non-existant fabrications of barbarians or pathetic fools (Avandra and Sehaine). The only other “gods” with a place in Magwer theology are Ioun, Bane, and the Raven Queen – all of whom have a subordinate role, like the saints do in Christianity. There are no Magwothi priests of Bane – only priests of Moradin, who belong to the Order of Bane (a politically important distinction).
Considering how Magwer is not the starting point for my campaign, I think that’s enough for now, so I’ll toss a few additional details out and call it a night. Magwer is very intolerant of religions that conflict with their own, considers the dragonborn a slave-race (for a couple reasons I might touch on next time), and tends to regard the divine power source coming from anyone who doesn’t worship Moradin or Erathis as “witchcraft” or demon-powered sorcery.
Next time I’ll be looking at City C – or Surilphu as the locals call it. A city of predominantly eladrin, Surilphu was once a colony of Ravantamar – an elven nation to the north that rose to prominence after the fall of Arkhosia. Lots more for mapping enthusiasts after the jump.