Welcome To Telisar
The introductory text I sent the party before the campaign’s first session…
The Arcani Extus, those bookish scholars pursuing lost lore and deep truths of the universe, believe that Telisar is but one of an infinite number of worlds that make up the Material Plane, that portion of existence where wild, raw philosophical and physical forces coalesce. A thousand years ago the Elven scholar Arcanus Traumus Astrumson published a treatise entitled Astrumson’s Guide To Everything, a polarizing work of which the central thesis was that Telisar was but a material echo of tales told by Gods, and had no legitimate existence beyond “…the campfire musings of an idle, omnipotent consciousness.” “Life,” said the sunny scholar, “[is] therefore arbitrary, pointless and devoid of all meaning.” A follower of Traumus, the Arcanus Snorri Skjardinfel, in her Commentaries On Everything noted that “while this may be true, and Traumus correct, it’s no excuse to let the crops die.”
Snorri’s hard practicalism is the prevailing attitude amongst the common folk of Telisar, who generally don’t trouble themselves with such rarified thoughts as the origins of existence, leading difficult lives attempting to tame a wilderness that seems largely disinclined to civilization. Outside the few towns and villages able to sustain themselves, Telisar is a dangerous place. Dangerous animals, both mundane and monstrous, roam the wild lands. People, too, eke out violent, brutal lives outside society – brigands and bandits, warlords, tribal chiefs, mad sorcerers and petty hedge wizards are found everywhere, and make travel and trade difficult.
There are only two major cities in Telisar, the largest being El Astrum, a grand city-state and home to the El Astrum Public Library, the center of learning and magical study. El Astrum straddles the banks of the great Throm River, on the eastern side of Telisar. The Throm flows north-south, dividing the land; little is known of the great western expanse beyond the banks. Following the Throm north-northwest out of El Astrum, along the eastern bank, is the Great Northern Road. A hardy traveller could follow the Road for weeks, over the Misty Moors and through the Forest of Stars, eventually reaching the base of the Redfall Mountains. There, at the mouth of the Throm and beneath a massive waterfall lies the city of Uman. Known as the Jewel Of Redfall, Uman is a city of wealth, its great houses made rich by centuries of mining of precious metals. A thriving merchant class handles trade with El Astrum, moving precious metals, gems, timber, coal, and other raw materials out of the mountains, down the Throm or along the Great Northern Road in huge caravans.
The civilized peoples of Telisar are a cross-section of many races, including Humans, Elves, Halflings and Gnomes, even Tieflings, though these latter are considered exotic by most commoners. And then there are the Dragonborn, though they are rarely seen in the modern era. Dragonborn are highly xenophobic, and call Telisar “The First Land,” claiming the land was stolen from them by Dwarven war-priests and their armies thousands of years ago. It is said that what remains of the Dragonborn society retreated far into the west, away from the settlements of the other races; whether this is true is open to debate. Many scholars believe the Dragonborn were for all practical purposes wiped out, and those few that remain are the last vestiges of a dying race.
This is what would be accounted as common knowledge in Telisar; what mysteries, what secrets and truths might be waiting to be uncovered? Let’s find out.