Angels & Demons
In the rural and mountainous dukedom of Percipus, Duke Beremund has had several good years of timber harvesting and the mild winters have kept the one mountain pass to the trader cities of Basaka open longer than usual. All this has led to profit not seen for generations and the Duke has decided to invest this gold in a large stone castle, the kind of fortress that can move his backwoods dukedom out of irrelevance and allow him to build a real military.
The massive importation of quarried stone, laborers (mostly Half Orcs), stonemasons (mostly Dwarves), master builders and engineers, and all the other things big and small associated with a massive building project of this type has thrown the usually calm and unchanging backwoods villages of Percipus into frenzy of activity and change. A large and ramshackle village to house the laborers has sprung up outside the village of Stonewood, the largest village in Percipus. Numbers have swelled amazingly, food prices have skyrocketed crime is on the rise and there is a significant rift developing between the new arrivals and the full time residents of Percipus.
Besides the Duke, the other power in the land is the Church, a monotheistic religious order very similar to the medieval Catholic Church in tone and practice. Continually competing with the secular authorities of Percipus, the Church is wealthy, powerful, and amazingly influential. Ostensibly concerned with promoting positive virtues and keeping evil of all kinds at bay, the Church nevertheless has something to say about virtually every aspect of everyone’s life. It is led by powerful clerics, cardinals, and monks who are under the direction of the main Church located outside the dukedom in the capital city of Tursus. Abbot Landis, the Bishop of Percipus, controls all the monks and the huge and ancient Monastery of Lir they call home. Infinitely older than any other buildings in Percipus, the monastery’s founding is lost to history. It is located on a large flat shelf several miles up in the thick old forests which coat the mountains surrounding Stonewood and the half built castle.
The other religious power in the land, the Druids, are seen by many members of the Church as their mortal enemies. Embodying many ancient and nature oriented beliefs, the druidic religions are most often followed by the rural denizens of Percipus, the hunters, loggers, and farmers, and other peoples who have the most contact with the ancient forests. Those forests hold many mysteries for the people of Percipus and remain almost wholly unexplored except by the Rangers, also known as King’s Men an ancient order of woodsmen and explorers who owe their allegiance not to the Duke, but to the King himself and are ordered to explore his entire realm and protect all those within it from monsters, predators, and bandits.
Percipus remains a wild wilderness settled by a few small villages. The Duke’s subjects live in constant fear of prowling beasts, monsters, raiding orcs and bandits, and the only dreamed of dangers of the massive swamp, the Murk lurking just outside of Stonewood. Life is hard and death is always only a breath away.
Worse than death to most people, the Church combats a very real evil; the demons and devils which constantly strive to confound and destroy the weaker willed residents of Percipus. These wholly evil creatures try to possess souls, destroy all things good, and eventually find a way into the world to physically destroy all they can. On the side of the Church are Angels and Archons, wholly good beings dedicated to protecting the worshippers of their God by any means necessary, including direct intervention.
By seeking safety within the bounds of their organized religion, the peasants of Percipus have grown extremely suspicious of any kind of magic other than that practiced by their own clerics. Spellcasters of any ilk are seen by most people with grave suspicions if not outright hostility as agents of the Evil One. Those who have been blessed with the ability to touch the arcane are wise to keep their gift a secret if they wish to be able to move about freely in Percipus.