In some ways, I guess you could say that that this is where it all started.
Episode description Edit
In the time of fraught paladins and wavering wizards, of contemptible fighters and indignant druids, of wide eyed rangers… and of bards, the people of the continent of Hieron recover and rebuild in the aftermath of a cataclysm.
But, after all, for every inside there is an outside—no disaster was the first of its kind, except, of course, for… well... And so, in the years prior to the event that would come to be called the Erasure, in a time of civil conflict, the people of Hieron faced calamity, and they sought to recover and rebuild.
For a long while, blessed Samothes led His Somber Campaign against the heretical armies of the Boy-Traitor Samot, clashing steel in valleys and volleying arrows across plainlands. In time, though, your wise lord, the god-alive, recognized that there had been a stalemate, and that you, His people, were suffering.
And so, He returned to you, to His home, your city in the south, moving at fast pace, the dust of the Traitor Charioteers rolling like thunder behind him. And as they pursued, Samothes climbed the mountain of fire from which He forged our first tools, with which He built the first bridge, and He reached inside that mountain, and turned the ruddy summit just so. And because He is Great, it bent to His will: Viscous fire erupted, rushing down the peak and into the riverways that separated the city of light from the continent. He pulled up on the blaze like a reined mare, and yanked the city and its surroundings further away from Hieron. The ground itself shook without mercy, ocean water filled the new gap in the land, and then fire fled into that self-same sea, creating an inseparable blend of liquid heat.
Now, Samothes has returned to the mountain to work on some new holy device, and we have been left to rebuild the city as His faithful disciples.
In the wake of this destruction we’re left with this. One quiet year in a city we now call Marielda. Come Winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive and we might not survive the encounter. But we don’t know about that yet. What we know is that right now, in this moment, there is an opportunity to build something.
Austin sets the scene: Samothes and Samot are embroiled in a long and dreadful war. To protect His people, Samothes pulls the city of Marielda from the mainland and directs fire from His volcano into the waters surrounding it, turning them scorching hot. Marielda is now isolated; the waters are impassable, and the bridge that had spanned the bordering river is broken.
The players then all create one new interesting feature on the map: a crumbling wall splitting the bulk of the city from the outskirts; a dense and spooky forest; a massive rock, large enough to be a mountain, unearthed in the moving of the land; a beach with black, unpleasantly warm sand; Canopy Row, the slums on the southwestern edge of town, whose proximity to the forest made it unappealing but whose houses have held up the best during the seismic activity.
Resources are chosen and designated as abundant or scarce; magic is abundant in Marielda, while fish, obsidian, knowledge, and wood are scarce.
The spring brings many social and political conflicts and discussions. Tamsyn, a newly orphaned young woman living in a large house in Canopy Row, fights and kills a young nobleman who demands rights to her home. Christopher, a priest of Samothes, confesses to having taught a young Samot. A strange man in gold pants is spotted outside the city walls. Hedy Braum, a charismatic young woman from Canopy Row, convinces people to venture with her into the ominous forest to gather lumber, though she does not return. Hideous kobolds come up from the rock under the beach and build equally hideous structures near the Golden District, the most affluent part of town. A library is found; a magical boat is built; more people disappear into the woods and are never spoken of again.
Near the end of the season, a large plesiosaur tears through the city, destroying walls and houses and eating nearly a hundred people before turning back to the waters it emerged from. After this rampage, a strange orb of glass and metal is discovered, and the citizens, fearing it was what called the sea creature to attack, throw it into the lava-water surrounding Marielda.
A blessing from Samothes: the volcano erupts, launching a volley of lava rocks at the city. They strike, and cool, and break open; inside are perfect fish, a safe and abundant source of food. These piscine geodes fall from the sky each week, landing neatly in the wealthy parts of town but haphazardly and destructively in Canopy Row. The colossal rock is damaged in the eruption and trickles fresh water from the split.
Winsley Cartwright, who is an alchemist and therefore fluent enough to communicate in the kobold's language, has been talking to the kobolds. They claim that their buildings are houses for the people of the city, though they seem too small to be of actual use, and make it known that they prefer to be referred to as cobbins.
Across the channel to the west, there is a settlement of elves who were once trading partners to the city. They had a different internal mythology regarding the forest and spent a lot of time there when they could still reach it. Now they have no forest, nor any trade with Marielda.
At the start of summer, people notice that the man in gold pants, who lives outside the city in a crumbling watchtower, is no longer alone. There are others, who also wear very nice pants. Curious about their new neighbors, some citizens of Marielda investigate and discover that these pantsmen are exiles and deserters, sent through the burning waters on regular boats. Not all who set out on the trip make it to the island.
Winsley seems to be the only person who can read the books within the recently discovered library, and even then he can only get the gist of them. However, people are drawn to the knowledge within and a casual, disorganized sort of school grows from the library. One member begins to organize things into more formal classes.
Tensions between the upper and lower classes of the city are high, and one night a group from Canopy Row decides to destroy the upper class's magical boat. This action unintentionally strands a group of workers on the obsidian sea stack they were mining. Soon after, the body of a student of the new university is found, stabbed many times, and with their belongings and papers scattered widely about them.
The cobbins have been observing the city and noticed the inefficient university. A contingent of them move into the city and take over the school's management, but not without trouble. A few people objected to the takeover; the cobbins killed these dissenters. One day, on the other side of the wall, a tower from the mage's university in the north appears.
Meanwhile, in the woods, people continue to harvest wood and occasionally disappear. Inside a tree, Hedy Braum is discovered, twisted, elongated, but alive. She returns to the city with the people who found her.
The inhabitants of Canopy Row are increasingly unhappy about the weekly destruction caused by the fish geodes, which have also begun to strike the library and some houses in the Golden District. They work together to create a net above the district to catch the rocks. Hedy proves to be very adept at this task, and thanks to her help, the net is completed faster than anyone expected. More people like her – stretched out and strange – return to the city as more people enter the woods. The forest takes its toll, but it's also open to trades.
One afternoon, Samothes finishes His newest project. They walk up out of the sea, onto the beach, and into the city. The pala-din, the living marble statues that carry out Samothes's will, have arrived.