*The Many Years of Anguish* were hard on the nation of Zakiim. Drought, famine, and disease plagued the population and poisoned the soil, and it would be 13 years before the country would be able to begin recovery. In dark times, some people search for solace in insidious places. Such was the case of the cleric known as Xierhan, who became increasingly convinced that his nation's plight was punishment from the gods; retribution for the sins of the ruling Solar Council. Over many months, Xierhan consulted with the God of Pestilence and Anguish, and for his devotion he was rewarded with power that he could previously have only dreamed of. But the God of Pestilence is vile and manipulative, and while Xierhan leveraged his charisma to develop his own cult following, his mind began to fray under divine influence. As he circled the whirlpool of insanity, Xierhan became fixated on bringing a finality to Zakiim's suffering: a noxious, contagious disease that would threaten all life in the nation. Xierhan and his followers built the Vault of Pestilence, hidden away in the sweltering southern jungles. It was here that Xierhan conducted appalling experiments in an effort to produce new toxins. It was here than Xierhan became convinced that by offering his own life, and the lives of his followers, he would be granted the privilege of acting as patient zero for the most virulent plague the world had ever seen. It was here that Xierhan was wrong. Because the God of Pestilence is vile and manipulative.
The Dragons of the world are incredibly influential. They are practically immortal in years and bow only to certain gods, such is their power. Through endless generations of plotting and scheming they have reached an incredible amount of wealth and influence in a world of the mortal races. * There are three categories of magic in the world: Divine, Pagan, and Dragon (Arcane) * Divine as expected, covers things cast by Clerics, Paladins, and some Druids/Rangers. * Pagan covers magic used by Warlocks and most Druids/Rangers * Dragon magic is Arcane magic.. what Bards, Wizards, Sorcerers and others use You are not affected by this for the most part, but here are some key points: * Artificers are finding a way to harness arcane magic without channeling directly themselves. Where the rumors of this exist it's widely met with either hope or fear depending on how people feel the dragons will react. If your party contains an artificer you may need to consider this. Potions (a form of alchemy) are practically non-existent in this world. Those who have or use them usually serve a dragon. * Scrolls are also kept under pretty strict supervisions. Wizards and others who create them usually serve a powerful dragon * The Gods are worshiped openly but open devotion to them is not common. There is a balance of power with the Dragons who allow churches everywhere and accept that they are not gods nor can control them. But in cities in particular, temples are discouraged from active recruitment and are kept from exerting too much influence.