What is Skolos?
Two terrible forces met at the end of the Third Age, one of evil and tyranny, the other of good and nobility. Two centuries have passed since each side lay waste to the other; the rest of the world has been picking up the pieces ever since. Skolos is an island port, founded by men in the Second Age, built atop elven ruins ancient even then. Fifteen years ago, the elves returned in their magnificent ships to oust the upstart noble families of men. Only these elves evidenced the terrible wrath of the Great War: Each was a walking corpse, dessicated and terrible, bearing grief and terror.
Unsteady alliances have formed, criminals and fallen nobles, demigods and freethinkers, all with a common purpose: To reclaim the city for men (and often a select few men). Only the campaign must be waged carefully, for each elven lich possesses eldritch wisdom and might beyond the conception of any common man. No lich has yet been seen to fall, though the gears of revolution churn onwards.
How will you become a part of history?
The Spirit of Skolos
Skolos is meant to be a guideline for campaigns and not a canonical setting. The “baseline” setting is a what-if combined with a love of intrigue. What if, in the final battle between good and evil, both sides wiped each other out? Those that remain are the common people, without epic bloodlines, angelic powers or demonic gifts. And what happens when the heroic or villainous past confronts the pragmatic present? In the case of Skolos, this is personified with the return of the elves to the common men, only with a bizarre twist. Thieves’ guilds, deposed nobles, pirate gangs, guildsmen, all must confront a world of elf lich overlords, unchained demons and ancient magic returned.
If you like the setting, feel free to pick up pieces here and there. Mash stuff together. Tear it apart. A D&D 4e game is currently planned for Skolos: The heroes can be tieflings, eladrin and dragonborn yet still experience the spirit of Skolos as epic history collides with the present.
Skolos began as an elven shelter against the primal seas of the First Age, eventually becoming the human city of today.
The House of Pheonell from the book of Order
The noble houses of Skolos have been driven out. There are some secret sects that would like to see the nobles come back into power and believe they are the best chance to rid the city of the lich infestation.
The house is called the Pheonell – the pheonix in and old pidgin language that was used to speak and barter with the elves. The house’s symbol was a white eagle with an ornate sword in its talons. The color is red.
Popular rumor is that the house fell when corrupt knights started working with underworld city rats from Fralldren. The house held Skolos and its leader, King Claudier was on the throne when a revolt in the city happened because of taxation. Unseen spies and assassins crept from the shadows and killed everyone in the castle. No one was spared, not even the cook hands or the children. The castle floors were soaked in blood and it was destroyed. There is a rumor that the bodies of all of the people were taken from the castle and used in some terrible necromantic ritual.
From the history books (From Book Alexedral) on the The Dead God
The god was a benevolent god of order who the old Skolos nobles looked to for protection. Commoners went along with this religion/cult because they kind of had to, and the god was a sort of patron of Skolos long ago. Then the god ceased to be. Skolos was attacked and the decadent nobles called on their god to protect them, and were crushed by the liches.
Skolos is home to myriad demigods, charlatans and prophets, all of which claim to be gods or their mouthpieces. Some have legitimate power, others are merely self-deluded or preying on the weak. Others still are of ancient stock, elf, dwarf, demon, and are playing at god in a world of men.
This is really only fun for those who like to see language-building. It’s not an exercise in creating a functional language, merely a way to provide a grounded sound for each language in Skolos. For example, the ancient elves’ tongue is modified from Old Babylonian, and the human founders’ tongue stems from Ancient Greek.
The Elven Door – 10 ft. tall, glowing blue, esquisite design and deatil, opens easily with no effort.
The Elven Village The doors open up to bright sunlight. You look around and seem to be in the trees, in the upper part of a forests’ canopy. There are elves everywhere. Some are singing, some are climbing in the trees, some appear to making elven bows. As soon as you enter, some of the groups stop what they’re doing and point over at you. As you look around you notice that the bright light is not from the sun, but something much brighter, almost as if the sun were being reflected back and into your face. conditional steel tests given.
Leader, the Guiding Star Alor (Ah – lore) of the Star Elves “Welcome, I am the leader of these people and responsible for them. You have come from Skolos. I would ask that you please go back the way you came and not speak of us to anyone. We have been brought back to life by the great dreamer and all would be lost if it were to awake.” All stats B5 except magic related stats B6, excellent with weapons and all of the elves can use singing magic to cause wonderment.
Mirror Golem – A golem made from a mirror in a demon’s dream.
Massive – Fist increased one weapon length, 8ft. tall, 250 pounds, Mortal Wound base of 6
Form – Spiky head, skin is mirrored and melting like water in a fountain, seems to be constantly spewing and dripping mirror.
Natural Advantages – Very difficult to see, especially when it is in its mirrord lair
Natural Disadvantages – mentally weak
Character Traits – Empty Vassal, personality formed by mages who take over its mind
Speed multiplayer – Human +1, moves like liquid mirror, BWR 4x, BWG Stride 8
Will B2, Perception B6, Agility B6, Speed B6, Power B5, Forte B5
Feral Instincts – I must do what master tells me. It is my only reason for living. If master dies, I have no reason to live and must find a new master. Having no master is the equivalent of dying.
Skills – Scavenging, Brawling, Climbing, Stealthy, Tracking, Tome-wise
The Marketplace – Thousands of shoppers are packed into the square. There seems to be every kind of food available, especially the kind that can survive long winters. Plenty of thin potato soup, small vegetables, suspicious fruit, hay and other feed for animals.
Bernard’s Bakery – There is one thriving bakery that seems unaffected by the terrible economy. It’s called run by a large fat man named Bernard but he prefers the nickname that children have given him, “The Breadman”. His shop is always busy and always seems to have fresh supplies and soup even though all of the other shops are barren. Rumor has it that he has hired mages from Felldren to work some evil magic to make the bread and that if you eat it you’ll become a lich. Other people say that he has discovered a secret recipe and that he’s a genius. He stands almost seven feet tall, wears all black and always has a rolling pin in his hand. If players are really observant they can notice that one of his eyes is red and doesn’t seem to track along with the other one.
Blacksmith Felron Kreel – One of the very few half-elfs in Skolos. He faced prejiduce until he won a tournament and hacked the head off of the leader of the extremist faction that wanted everything elven completely destroyed in the city. He was making a speech to some people outside out of the tournament and Felron challenged him to a duel with non sharpened swords. Felron apparently hit the man so hard on the top of his head that his neck snapped and his head bent a funny angle.
The House of Parliament aka The Tomb – A huge white building with molding pillars and cracked marble. In front of the main big double doors are two skeletal guards carrying swords. They sometimes shift, but otherwise do not move. A foul odor comes from the building and the only people who enter alive are slaves. The liches have completely transformed the palace into their den of death. Everything inside has been devoted to the study of magic and there are magical wards on everything. Some say that there are whole chambers where living things can not take a breath. A wonderful defense for the undead.
The New House of Parliment aka The House of Cards – A new wooden government house has been erected and holds the living sections of the government. Rumor is that it was created to assuage the people’s worry that they would be used by the liches. All of the politicians are thralls for the liches and the contruction of the house is such that it will burn nicely killing everyone inside. The liches hold a strong sway over anyone who lives there.
The buildings in this area look much nicer and are decorated with ornate window sills and statues in front of them. There are two houses of government that face each other. The house to the west has a large hunched over guard in front of it. He smells like death and wears tattered purple robes covering him. In his hand is a large great sword and is motionless at the bottom of steps leading up to the columned entrance. The other house to the east is poor disrepair. There are human guards with purple sashes out front and the crumbling steps lead up to a building that looks like it was impressive a hundred years ago. Other locations you see upon entering this area are banks, loan offices, a large single story jail, four guard towers positioned to look over the houses of parliament and a few buildings that are small and seem to have no doors or windows.
The two houses of nobles, one for the undead and one for the living. There is an ambassador to the living named Clin, knight of the Order of the Silver Tooth a group of humans that work with the liches and help them gain sway with living beings. Clin is an ambassador who has caught wind of the players’ quest from Tilith. The liches have completely transformed their palace into their den of death. Everything inside has been devoted to the study of magic and there are magical wards on everything. Some say that there are whole chambers where living things can not take a breath – the breathless quarters. A wonderful defense against the living.
The Docks – There is no undead presence here at all. The governing body of Skolos has decided to put their most ‘live’ face forward to encourage commerce. There are even fancy hotels and inns near the water and locals encourage sailors to not go into the main town. There are many pirates and gangs tha work the waterfront. They make their money through violence and lying. Never trust a man who works on the docks.
Ragged banners are propped up in front of each of the temples. Each one is distinct and has people milling about in the front talking, sometimes arguing with followers of other temples. There is an air of hostility and foreboding given off by the resident’s tense and angry faces. Upon further inspection you see a yellow temple with thick smoke curling out of its windows. Another building is brick and has graffiti all over it of scenes depicting rape, rage and torture. A strange screaming seems to bellowing from the opened door. Pleasure or pain? It’s hard to tell. Another house is old and has columns. The residents out in front sit at a table and seem to talk quietly and patiently with unseen people. There are a few other houses, most of them smaller and and seem less important.