Lakates is a lush planet so full of life that the tropical forests and giant Mother Trees within them are barely safe for humanoids - elf or otherwised - to travel. Though some communities have spread into these dense woodlands, those with true leverage ply the Scalding Seas for both trade and travel. The acidic waters are far from safe, of course, which has brought about the invention of the true backbone of the Vyrden Empire - the LIving ElfWood Ships. These elven ships dominated the Scalding Seas for centuries, but in recent years the dwarven-made ironclad Kupukkas have more than threatened to displace them as the most commonly perferred conveyance.
Swashbuckling adventure on the Scalding Seas is but one facet of ElfWood, however, as adventure can be found in many places througout Lakates. The verdant forests of Vyridia, the crystal mines within Covawl's Backbone, the dense jungles of Durkrow, the Rumbling Plains to the distant west, and so much more await exploration and discovery!
Characters can be created from a variety of new Racial Kits, Cultural Kits, and Profession Kits, may choose from a variety of religions and Backgrounds, and can become even more unique through a variety of personal selections in Edges, Flaws, and Qualities and more. Everyone on Lakates is influences in some way by the massive Vyrden Empire, and most have heard the legends from the old world involving the prophetic return of the Forest King. Shard Magic is considered pure and good - a true elemental and natural essence in the world, but other magics are tainted and destructive beyond measure. Most every good Vyrden will pay homage to the Vyrden Pantheon, more out of tradition than any true belief, but each Culture has their own myths and legends.
Shadowy magics, alternate Cultures and Religions, and ancient feuds between the Branches vying for power within the Vyrden Empire have created hindrances to the purity and former might of the Vyrden. Some even declare the dawning of a new age is upon Lakates, but most Vyrden want nothing to do with such talk - it's bad enough their ways are being crept over by the choking vines of cultural and technological shift, but to admit it aloud would be to make it true!
Humans on Lakates were nearly made extinct by a terrible - some say magical - blight that seemed to target their kind. Many blame the rat-like Kague for carrying the disease to the Humans, but some also whisper of involvement by the Sanguine and their dark arts. The remaining Humans are pariahs. They exist almost entirely in tribal drifter colonies upon the Scalding Seas or private island communities as they continue to struggle back from their holocaust one child at a time. Some amongst the Humans, however, are not just Human. As a people they are changing, adapting to the acidic waters, and becoming part of them.
There are others beyond the Elves, Dwarves, and Humans. The massive Taurim, the M'raak and their forefathers the ThorneOrcs, the vicious hive-minded Drey, and the immortal Windsormen. The Vyrden Elves consider everyone beneath their lofty status. The Stygian Elves are considered servants, the Sanguine a detestible abomination, the Dwarves a hated enemy, the Taurim dull brutes, the M'raak simple and crass, the Drey cunning but loathed, the Windsormen little more than constructs designed to serve, and the Kague disgusting rodents, but the Humans have earned the ire of nearly all simply by existing.
Beyond the border skirmishes, cultural strife, politics, and trade negotiations, Lakates has more fundamental problems that few realize. Every living thing on Lakates is infused - in some small way - with The Shard. This is how and why Shard Magic came into existence, but the purity of The Shard has been tainted and begun to fade causing the veil that separates the Shadowrealm from the physical realm of Lakates to thin. What has crossed over - or is about to - could well spell disaster for all.
The Shard is instrumental to the Vyrden way. It allows the Vyrden Elves to be born of their MotherTree pods, and it allows their Heartseed to sprout and grow to rejoin the MotherTree when they die. In other words, without The Shard there are no more Vyrden.
ElfWood strives to answer the niggling questions found within typical fantasy genre materials. Why do the elves love the trees and nature? Because they are the trees! Each Racial Kit, or people group, is equally rooted within the world as part of an organic, growing, living, and thriving world.
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