Crimson Armor (3.5e Campaign Setting)
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- The World Compelled by Mark C Klingseisen.
This is a world that has a well thought out foundation and several twists and turns to keep the player guessing. This campaign setting was completed with the help from: The Original 1st Edition D&D, 2nd Edition AD&D, 3rd Edition D&D, 3.5 Edition D&D, d20 Fantasy Books, Diablo Games and Books, Darklands Game, Final Fantasy Games, Forgotten Relms, Dragonlance, Lord of the Rings Movie and Books and Real Life Mythology.
The Dawning (Basic Background)
Created deep in the lower pits of the Nine Hells, an unnamed Devil warlord started the creation of a powerful plate mail armor suit that was even more powerful once it was soaked in the blood of his sacrifices to increase his power to one of the most powerful Devil warlord in the Nine Hells. Several other Devil warlords lead by Zariel Lord of the First and Asmodeus Lord King of the Ninth attacked this newly powerful Devil warlord and quickly attacked him due to them become afraid of the new found power would soon come and conquered them and take over their territory. They defeated him and casted him from the Nine Hells, along with his dreaded armor.
After 1,000 years of wandering, he arrived into the Abyss, the slayer of the Demon lords. With the power of his armor, he quickly conquered several powerful Demon lords and forced many to become his slaves and minions. He contracted countless deals with other Demon lords and established many allies to help them with their Holy War against the High Heavens and even the beginning stages of the Blood War, the civil war between several Demon lords and the Devil lords.
However, he was soon betrayed by his Demon allies and many rebelled against his rule. The unnamed Devil was overrun and ripped apart, and then casted into the Lava River, forever destroyed. The Crimson armor fell into the hands of the Demon lord Fabin and kept it for his own. Fabin knew he could never don the powerful relic, so he gave it as a gift to his most prominent of followers, Bartuc of the Mortal Realm and human magic-user to the Red Robe Clan.
As Bartuc wore the armor, he became increasingly unstable and more connected to Fabin through the power of the armor. Fabin soon fashioned a pair of gauntlets and a helm to complete his set. All soaked with the blood of mortals and angels, thus granting him incredible power. He was soon drawn to Fabin and connected to him telepathically and allowed Fabin to easily control Bartuc to do his bidding without much force. But from within the remaining soul of Bartuc he continued to resist the demonic powers of the Crimson Armor, and even the remaining life force of the unnamed Devil also pulled Bartuc in a different direction. This haunted him in both dream and conscious thought, which drove him mad. Bartuc slowly turned paranoid and ever more unstable, even more so than Fabin could control. This allowed Bartuc to rampage through the Mortal Realm, slaughtering all who oppose him, and he even traveled to the Abyss and slaughtered millions of Demons and Devils.
Fabin was then killed by an attack force of 5 angels sent from the High Heavens; this in turn enraged Bartuc and continued his world-wide killing spree. He completely conquered the Mortal Realm until a last stand of humans, moogles, dwarves, elves and lawful dragons put an end to Bartuc. His body was destroyed, but his spirit remained, inhabiting the Crimson Armor.
Once Bartuc was finally defeated, the Crimson Armor was taken by the High Heavens and spread out across the Mortal Realm, for they knew not of how to destroy it, so they hid them from the eyes of the world. For centuries they lay there, slowly forgotten in time.
Bartuc’s older brother, Zon, did not forget about his younger brother’s powerful artifacts and he began a massive crusade to seek the pieces of the Crimson Armor. Using his undead servants and Demon minions, he found all the pieces and placed the items on himself, proclaiming to be master of the Mortal Realm and Ruler of the World. He used his Mortal followers, the Red Robe Clan, to engage in war for him while he built an army to match that of his brother. He soon formed the Blood Cult as he began to become possessed by the spirit of Bartuc and gained the vile traits of his deceased brother. Countless necromancer guilds and witch cults joined his cause to bring darkness to the Mortal Realm and thus was the beginning of the Undead War (later known as the First Undead War).
While the Undead War raged in the Mortal Realm, a civil war erupted in the Planes of the Abyss and the Nine Hells as Devil and Demon fought against one another, trying to rid the universe of one or the other. This became known as the Blood War which fought on all fronts of the world. Also, after the death of the Supreme God Odin to a Demon attack in the Plane of Concordant Opposition, the deities of the High Heavens turned against one another and took their own path of enlightenment and in turn allowing good spirited gods and goddesses turn evil and even more sinister than the Demons and Devils themselves.
After Zon was destroyed by Zhubalah and his crafted Staff of the Great Grey Wizard, which broke into 6 pieces upon petrifying Zon in the last battle between them, the Crimson Armor once again vanished from sight, and soon vanished from thought.
The world slowly recovered from the ravages of the Undead War, but greed and jealousy burned in the hearts of many men. This burning hatred was soon unleashed against the remnants of the Red Robe Clan and the newly organized Magician’s Guild. Magic-User soon turned against their own kind, and thus the Dark Wars began. Soon, the powerful Empire of Sylvania rose up from the ashes of the war and put an end to the war by conquering several territories and murdering the leaders of many of the magic-user clans. It is written that Sylvania set technology and magical research back 500 years by the murder of many magical scholars.
The Empire of Sylvania, at the peak of its power, was the undisputed policing nation of the world. They protected many free cities from dragon attacks, barbarian hordes and goblin rampages. They also forced many nations to do their bidding and follow their laws. They established many alliances (voluntary or involuntary) and were allowed to occupy many territories without having to proclaim any reason. It is stated at those times, “The sun sets on the Empire of Sylvania.”
Soon, the King of Sylvania became corrupt with power as he proclaimed himself Lord King over all things and declared it as such under law. Many within the ranks of the military and advisors to the King began to rise up and reject the King. This was headed by a young man magic-user by the name of Hyslop who started questioning the King’s orders and laws. He soon formed a resistance movement and a civil war erupted. Soon, however, more and more nations and organization were drawn into the melee as Kingdoms fought Kingdoms and Guilds fought Guilds. This would be later known as the War of the Magi. It was named this due to the fact that countless relics, artifacts, magical spells and magical items were created during this long period of war and darkness. Those who studied magical arts or had family members involoved with magic was particularily hunted down and blammed for the war. This conflict also included the race of Elves combating against a new evil that rose up from within, the Drow. This worldwide conflict involved all inhabitants of the known world and would last many decades.
After the long years of war and darkness, the Empire of Sylvania was freed from the Lord King as he was killed in a surprise attack orchestrated by Hyslop himself. Hyslop was also enlisted into the newly organized Eastern Mage Clan, an organization of scholars and magic-users, and with this the Eastern Mage Clan took control of the government of Sylvania with Hyslop as head of the council. The Empire of Sylvania broke apart to form the Kingdom of Sylvania and about a dozen other littler Kingdoms known as “The Young Kingdoms”. Under the watchful eye of Hyslop and the Eastern Mage Clan council, they voted in a new monarch family to lead the country to prosperity. Soon after word, the council dissolved as their task was complete.
Tensions began to rise again as two powerful magic-user organizations, the Magician’s Guild and the Eastern Mage Clan, began to argue over territory. Soon, a battle broke out in the mountainous region of the Great Continent, and this escalated into war. The Guild Wars, as it was later called, involved many parts of the world as the two magic-user organization fought for territory and local power. While they battled, several evil cleric organizations and necromancer guilds researched the ancient history of Bartuc and the last known whereabouts of the Crimson Armor of legend. Once this knowledge was acquired, they began a worldwide hunt for the priceless artifacts.
During the Guild Wars, the Elven War on the Drow was still raging on. The Elves were always the favorite race of the gods and goddesses, but since this war engulfed the entire Elven race, the gods and goddesses fell silent. The oldest and most powerful race lay dormant, trapped in their blood conflict between light and darkness. During this time of darkness, the Elves turned to the many Druid orgainization to assist them against the Drow. Many Druids remained neutral until it was discovered that the Drows had allied with Orcs and Bugbears and began ravaging the woodlands. In light of this, many Druids eagerly joined the ranks of Elven warriors to combat the Drow. Also during this terrible time of war, many Elves began to venture out from the borders of the ancient Elven Kingdoms that stood for thousands of years to attempt to escape war and destruction, but only to find it throughout the entire world.
While the protecting eyes of the Elves diverted from outside their borders, and the human kingdoms raging war against one another, the Undead Horde began to rise up and take form. The evil clerics and necromancer clans formed an alliance and created the army of the undead, later taking the name of Undead Horde. They quickly consumed territory and slaughtered hundreds who stood in their way.
In light of this new event, Hyslop quickly made peace with his long time enemies and adversaries so that resources can be used to protect the free world again from an attack from the forces of death and darkness.
With many kingdoms and nations in ruins from the Guild Wars, Hyslop and his Eastern Mage Clan form an alliance with the Kingdom of Sylvania, Magician’s Guild, Clydesdale Kingdom, Ridgerock Archipelago Nation, Lut Lund Confederation, Bor Avolloc Free-State, Bladeworks Guild (mercenary fighter organization) Elf Kingdom of Elwood, the Gnome Nation of Ulborg and the Dwarf Empire of Kleinberger. This alliance was called the Free People’s Alliance, and they formally declared war against the leaders and forces of the Undead Horde. This was the beginning of the bloodiest and most costly war of the history of civilization, the Second Undead War.
Several years of war had passed, one side never taking an advantage over the other as new spells were being created and new, more powerful items were created to help those in combat. It was soon discovered by Hyslop and a few of his advisors that the Undead Horde was in possession of several ancient relics from the wars of old and that more evil organizations were joining on the side of the Undead Horde. The Cult of Tiamax and their dragon-kin army was soon in the ranks of the undead warriors as well as several types of demons and daemons. After the great Battle of Lut Lund, it was discovered by Hylsop that after defeating the Blue Dragon, Bartzzazz, he found the cursed crimson gloves of Bartuc located in the treasure cove of the dragon. Hylop was later injured in the second Battle of Lut Lund where he was defeated and forced to return to Sylvania. He placed the crimson gloves under the watchful eyes of the Great Wizard’s Library located in the isolated village of Molshaw, in the mountain range outside of Sylvanian territory. It was not known to Hylsop, however, that the Great Wizard’s Library was under the payroll of Ridgerock Archipelago and the Magician’s Guild. The crimson gloves never lasted the night before they disappeared.
Two decades of war had passed and finally the Free People’s Alliance staged a surprise attack on the Undead Horde top generals and necromancers during the Battle of Giliad. The Army of Sylvania was crushed by the overwhelming power of the Undead Horde’s new allies, the Stone Giants and Dragon-kins, but Hyslop and his small task force of mystics and magic-users managed to attack from the flank and caught the Undead Horde leaders surprised and exposed, killing all of them. Although it was a terrible loss for Sylvania, it was turned into a major victory for the Free People’s Alliance. Several months later, the Second Undead War was at an end.
The legend of those times, Hyslop, soon lost to the plague and died. Although many believe he was poisoned as he lived to the ripe old age of 124 years old, the oldest living human on record. These theories live to this day as to what really happened to Hyslop. The world soon sank into a deep depression, known as “The Dark Times” as evil despots easily took over weaker kingdoms and free cities to enforce their will over the weakened spirits of the populace, already wary from war. The most powerful Kingdom the world as ever seen soon crumbled out from under itself. With hardly an army to protect its territory and civilians, they were reduced to a quarter of the size they were before the start of the Second Undead War due to barbarian attacks and goblin hordes. The Eastern Mage Clan and the Magician’s Guild struggled to return to their former glory as well. Without a powerful leader, both organizations were in limbo. During all this time the gloves that were discovered by Hyslop and soon stolen from the Great Wizard’s Library vanished from all thoughts, again.
Years pass, and one day on an expedition for iron ore, a small group of dwarves and human miners from Ridgerock Archipelago Nation discovered a brightly colored, red-tinted plate mail suit of armor. It was returned to the King of Ridgerock as a gift from the miners, but the Queen knew of what this item was and wanted it for herself. It almost instantly consumed her as she stated to her advisors that “the armor actually spoke to me…told me what to do and how to do it”. Later, the King mysteriously disappeared and the miners who found the armor were hanged in Public Square for conspiracies against Ridgerock. The miner’s families were hunted down and hanged on the spot once found as well. This purge of the Queen was felt everywhere as advisors and councilmen either went missing or were jailed for crimes again Ridgerock. Political adversaries were also hunted down and either deported from Ridgerock, jailed or murdured. The Queen soon declared absolute authority and proclaimed the Ridgerock Archipelago Nation as Ridgerock Archipelago Kingdom. She began to aggressively move towards her neighboring nations and easily conquering the smaller, weaker nations.
During the same time, a young group of adventurers discovered the Crimson Gloves located in a secret hiding grounds of the famed thief, Black Widow, near the small community of Narshe. The item was worn by the young fighter, Wulfkin, and he soon felt the curse of the Crimson Gloves as it slowly consumed him, both body and mind. A small angelic figure in the form of a bird attempted to assist the group, but was still lead astray by the demon influences of the gloves. Many other angels and avatars attempted to destroy the human fighter and the gloves, but all attempts failed. Even several minor demon lords tried to capture the cursed fighter and the relic, but all attempts failed. Xop, an Illusionist, researched and discovered a way to remove to curse of the Crimson Gloves, but only for a short period of time. It seems that if the armor is scratched by a shard of amethyst, it quiets the trapped soul of Bartuc for a few hours. With the time allowed, it is long enough to remove the gloves from the victim, thus releasing them from their torture. However, no known version of remove curse spell is strong enough to put an end to the evil relics.
Now, the group lead by Xop the Illusionist, attempts to stop the rampaging forces of the Ridgerock Archipelago Kingdom while trying to discover a way to rid the world of the cursed items of Bartuc.