The Krosven Steppe

PREGAME: Introduction to Iro!, and, The Letter

Hello friends! Welcome to my game. In this campaign you play some explorers who inadvertently settle around a spring, jokingly calling your caravan “Springvale,” like it’s a city or something. You have settled because four adventurers (NOT you) who were guarding your expedition traveled south to investigate some woods and haven’t returned. That was six weeks ago. No one else in your caravan are adventurers. Yet.

Your characters, over the course of the 2 ½ years spent traveling through the western side of the continent of Iro, have become friendly with the adventurers who have disappeared, and while you wouldn’t call yourselves adventurers, that changes on the night of our first session. Something forces you take up a sword, or a shield, or some thieves tools, or a spellbook, and begin your adventuring career.

So I want to present to you a few things: first, a letter delivered to your character shortly before you began your expedition, and second, a little bit of knowledge about the country you have left. I will present more lore on the Obsidian Portal site if you want to read that too.

First, the letter:


(A rider arrives and gives you a wooden scroll tube festooned with elaborate carvings. Inside the tube is a scroll sealed with wax and a small red gem about the size of a quarter. The symbol in the wax is the Queen's signet, which also adorns the red gem. You unroll the scroll—the paper is the nicest you have ever seen and felt in your life—and find two sheets. One sheet is a letter, the other sheet appears to be a questionnaire of some sort.

The letter has a header in gorgeous penmanship:)

By Royal Decree
of
Queen Isobel Derevia
of Magnificent Country
Of Eora
Princess of the Frozen Forest
Friend to the Blackmarsh
Holiest of Holies
The Breath of Padora
Lioness of the Wyddan Folk
Keeper of the Scepter,
&c.

(The letter then reads, in different handwriting:)

Dearest [it says your character’s name here, obviously],

Greetings. I am Lord Lyrewin Hashnell, Governor of Hashnell Province. If you are receiving this letter, it is because your name has been given to my personal team of Explorers for consideration of a Great Quest we are about to undertake. You were considered to have some advanced Knowledge or Skillset that will aid in our ongoing expedition, and you should feel honored to be spoken of in the same room as our Queen.

Queen Isobel has chosen three traveling parties to traverse the Spine and explore the Krosven Steppe to the west; to gather Knowledge of the Unknown World that lies beyond; to Contact the People or Creatures who live there; and to Establish Colonies and Trade in the name of Eora and your Queen.

Thus, by the Divine Breath, you are hereby summoned to Ironrock to be Enlisted into the Great Expedition. You will be joining the exploring group known as The Padoran Envoy, one of three groups participating in this Momentous Event. You should feel a sense of pride in being chosen to represent Our Queen and the people of Eora to the mysterious peoples of the west. This is a very special occasion that will shape the future of all Eorans, and all the people of Iro. It is not to be taken lightly.

Refusal to join the Great Expedition in any way will be considered Treason against the Queen and may be punishable by Exile or Death,. However, if you truly believe you have received this request in error, you may petition to be removed from the Expedition by pleading your case before the High Court in Ironrock.

In order to be Officially Chosen for this Expedition, you must answer the questions on the other sheet of paper in this scroll within One Week of receiving it. Once you have completed them, please wet the paper and place face up on any surface. You will see the ink bleed into the paper until it has soaked entirely into it. Then place the red gem in the center of the paper. A horse and carriage will arrive no more than one day later to take you to Ironrock.

Congratulations, and may I be the first to welcome you to a Brave New World.

Yours Truly,
Lord Lyrewin Hashnell

(At the bottom of the scroll is the Derevia coat of arms and underneath it, smaller, the Hashnell coat of arms.

You look at the second page of the scroll. It is a long questionnaire. [But for the purposes of the game, it is your character sheet.])


ADDENDUM: What do you know about this letter?

  • Queen Isobel Derevia is the queen of Eora, the northern country of Iro. She is human and has been queen for eight years following the death of her father, King Edwynd, whose reign lasted a quite lengthy 67 years. (Edwynd was known as “Good King Edwynd,” and was well-beloved by pretty much everyone.) Isobel is 36 and widowed; her husband, Colab Benawar, former Governor of Antanel Province, died of some kind of consumption three years ago.

  • Lord Lyrewin Talavier Hashnell is the Governor of Hashnell Province. Hashnell is the most northeastern province, is one of the oldest governed pieces of land in Iro, and is adjacent to Ironrock Province, where the Queen’s castle lies. Lyrewin is mostly known as the Governor and an Advisor in the Queen’s cabinet.

  • Ironrock is the name of the castle where the monarchy lives, the city in which that castle resides, and the province in which that city exists. The province is only as big as the city too—think of it like Washington D.C.

  • The Spine is the enormous north-south mountain range in the west of Iro. In the 2-½ years since you received this letter, you have since passed the mountains and are very, very deep into the Krosven Steppe. The Steppe is a broad, flat land that seems to stretch on forever, covered in short, prickly grass and shrubbery. (There are obviously more things on the map, but your character do not know about them, yet.)

  • Padora is the goddess of Padorism, the dominant monotheistic religion in Eora. Padorism became the major religion of the country after it was adopted by Queen Savosa over 300 years ago, though it has existed for about a thousand years before then. There is also a polytheistic religion of Old Gods, but it has lost popularity greatly in Eora, and is mainly practiced in Valden, the southern country ruled by the elves. The basic dogma of Padorism is that our world exists within Padora’s lungs—that we are but a mote of dust inside her, so to speak. Her “breath” is the wind, the giver of life. The theology of Padora’s Breath is heavily debated, and there are four basic “sects” of the Padoran religion: Inhalers (those who believe Padora is breathing in), Exhalers (those that believe she is breathing out), Skeptics (proto-philosophers and scientists, those who question Padora’s existence even), and Peacekeepers (Padoran paladins, basically, though they are forbidden to even practice Padorism—it’s complicated).

  • You know a lot about Padorism now because you have been traveling with the Padoran Envoy for two years and obviously the knowledge rubbed off on you.

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