Wulfgard

Welcome to a world of darkness and mystery, a primitive place where suspicious peasants pay tribute to kings who claim to defend them from raiders and enemy armies, and to their many gods to protect them from the dark forces of chaos that they hate and fear. Magic is one of these forces - seldom seen, little understood, and generally despised, forcing the few who are magically adept to hide their gifts from the common folk or live as exiles. Monsters and mystic creatures are little more than fables to the common folk - shadows in the night, explanations for mysterious occurrences, scapegoats for blame when no other target can be found. Sometimes this blame is rightly placed, as the outcast races do what they can to survive, exiled in the shadows far from mankind's watchful eyes. Elves, dwarves, and other ancient peoples sometimes trade with major cities of men or even live there, but they are always a spectacle: much marveled at, often misunderstood, and frequently mistreated.

Welcome to a land of nobility and honor, where men do not hide behind governmental systems of law or fight wars with remote-controlled weapons of mass-destruction... but do battle man to man, defending what is theirs with strength of arm and well-forged steel. Kings both gracious and tyrranical keep watch over their subjects with either justice and generosity, or cruelty and tyrrany... but all are willing to ride at the head of a cavalry charge when an enemy threatens their land. Holy men do not simply speak empty words but perform miracles and archive the knowledge and wisdom of the ages. Shamans and druids convene with the spirits of the land, and cultists sacrifice their souls to the netherworld in exchange for terrible power.

Welcome to a place where one man can make his fortune through the strength of his will and his arm, seek out adventure in the many uncharted and untouched places of the world... but he had best have a quick eye and good judgment, or the favor of the gods, if he wishes to survive the many perils that await him in the great unknown. Welcome to a world where no map is ever complete, but full of empty zones where not a soul has ventured and returned to tell the tale, where nature remains yet unconquered - wild, deadly, and ever-changing. A land with a dark and complex history that is barely understood, passed down from mouth to mouth or lost to time, waiting to be discovered in deep and cursed tombs unseen by mortal eyes since time unknown.

Welcome to Wulfgard.

 

The Story

"Few have heard the story I am about to impart to you, acolyte, for it has been supressed, corrupted by myth, and nearly lost to time. The creatures that the illiterate masses now call monsters - the beast-folk, half-formed of a mixture of animal and man - were once a wise and powerful race we call - for lack of a better name - the Shifters.

These beings had the ability to transform into man, beast, or beast-man at will. Each form was natural to them, just as our own skin is natural to us. They worshipped strange gods and the spirits of the earth, living close to nature with lives that spanned the centuries. Whether these shifters existed long before pure men walked the earth is unknown. Some think that we are descended from they, an offshoot race of shifters who rejected their beastial side in order to conquer nature and build great civilizations of men: stone cities, armor and weapons of bronze. Others say that men were the creation of younger gods - the pantheon we worship today. But all of this is mere speculation, and I choose not to deal in half-truths. I am only interested in what is known, what is fact.

What is known is that men destroyed the shifters. As we carved our empires, cut down their forests, and hunted down their numbers like monsters, we were waging a war that took its form both on earth and in the heavens. As shifters rent the flesh of men with their claws and fangs, and we butchered them with our iron, so the gods were fighting with fire and thunderbolts that rocked the sky and rent the land asunder.

In the end, our pantheon overthrew the gods of the shifters and cast them out. Their worshippers were cursed to live half-lives, either as beast-men for all eternity or as beings of a split nature, whose gift became like a disease. The greatest and most powerful of the shifters, those who took the form of wolves, were cursed by our gods to become lycanthropes: werewolves, transforming at the whim of their emotions and the changing of the moon, constantly fighting their animal side. The gods gave us silver so that we could destroy them: a metal that is still used today to hunt their descendants, the beastfolk. Everything from lizardmen, felians, minotaurs, centaurs, and satyrs to wereboars, werebears, and even wererats. It is the will of the gods and of men that all of these be destroyed.

Burn this letter once you have read it, acolyte. It is not our duty to pass along this story, this little children's fable or fairy tale, which would scarcely be believed regardless. Indeed, it is our duty to destroy all that is left of the cursed remnants of the shifters. What our ancestors and our gods began, we will finish, until there remains no trace that these creatures ever existed.

NON METUE TENEBRAS."

- Keeper Celdric, Inquisitor