Alignment Changes

Alignment, especially race-restricted alignment, has always been a sticky issue, not just for Avendar but for pretty much every game that uses it. Modern game design has been steadily moving away from alignment as something that is important or even exists due to the baggage and complications to storytelling it introduces. While alignment is baked too much into Avendar’s setting to excise entirely (nor would we want to) what we can do is adjust it so it makes more sense in-play and open up some roles that have until now been unavailable without extreme penalties. This should help with contextualizing things like genocide being an act that a good-aligned person can advocate, or an evil-aligned person being a kind and charitable individual, as well as avoiding the quagmire of saying that a race with certain characteristics reminiscent of real-life cultures cannot be good-aligned.

So with that out of the way, here is the broad, sweeping vision of alignment going forward:

Good and Evil in the sense of alignment are not merely references to the personal morality of individuals or even most societies, but rather sides in a cosmic-scale war as begun by Jolinn and Ashur at the beginning of creation. On one side, you have the purity of Jolinn as the font of life and ordered creation, and on the other you have the stillness of Ashur as the force of death and entropy. As other deities arrived on the scene, many of their personal concerns and portfolios overlapped with one of these two deities and they took a side, but just as many did not, either because the war does not interest them or they believe both of these forces need to or should exist in balance or harmony.

The concerns of cosmic alignment are vast; it is deities doing deity things, and though this is often through mortal agents by necessity due to the Compact, deities think about things on a larger and more far-reaching scale than most mortals are able to. By nature this makes their actions and positions morally incomprehensible and even alien from a mortal point of view; evil tends to be self-explanatory in that respect, but this is why you also have good-aligned gods like Calaera saying “yes we should annihilate every single evil person and wipe out the shuddeni race,” because that is a reasonable position for a good-aligned deity to take; most people actually living in the world with a nice quiet shuddeni neighbor upstairs are not going to take that kind of extreme position.

Individuals who do fall to either side or another are indicating that their values do in some fashion align with those respective positions though. A Good character will care about things like purity, light, unity, harmony, generosity, cultivation, and life. Conversely, if your character is Evil, there is something of their values that reflects the principles of stillness, death, entropy, destruction, selfishness, or endings. Your character may not care about all or even most of those, but one or more of them is where their morals will be rooted, and from there a wide range of behaviors is possible and justifiable for both alignments; a good person may be cruel and abrasive, and an evil person can be quite kind and friendly, though of course these values will tend to attract certain kinds of people. The observant may notice that a functional world as we know it needs both of these extremes to exist, which helps lend traditionally problematic deities like Enirra more weight as they are able to point to both and say “these are both necessary and must be kept in balance,” a stance the original creator deity Iandir seemingly agreed with.

The upshot of this is that most individuals in the setting of Avendar end up being neutral. They will certainly have their own systems of morals and value and things they consider right and wrong based on their culture and upbringing, but they do not have a vested interest in the cosmic-scale conflict happening and just want to live their lives. In addition, most people (with the noted exceptions of races like shuddeni and ch’taren) will not be wholly invested in one to the exclusion of the other; in a single character there may be a mixture of values from both ends of the spectrum, even in one who is good- or evil-aligned.

This approach also helps to define adventurers as a class of people. We certainly have adventurers who are disinterested in gods and this won’t apply to all of them, but a *ton* of adventurers are people touched by gods or who throw in with gods, which naturally sets them apart as they have essentially declared that they are agents of cosmic forces and/or that normal person morality does not or should not apply to them. This does not mean that a character must follow a god to be good or evil, but it does mean that the sensibilities of that alignment have captured a character in some fashion enough to shape their thinking and the way they interact with the world. This is particularly relevant with regards to magic, as every magical sphere is connected to these cosmic powers in some fashion and your ability to access it is limited by how you think about the world. For example, water magic being unusable by evil-aligned magicians is as much a statement about a character’s thinking and values rendering that kind of magic inaccessible as it is how Jolinn feels about it.

I hope this has been a helpful rundown of our approach to alignment going forward, and also helps explain some of the changes we’ve made to both various magical spheres as well as racial alignment options. I know this represents a fairly big departure from how things have been handled in the past, but our hope is that these changes will allow for more robust, nuanced, and interesting storytelling and encourages people to explore roles that have never been explored before.

As always if you have any questions you may reach out to us on Discord. Thanks!

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January 2021 Update

  • Alignment restrictions have been removed from: aelin, nefortu, ethron, srryn, caladaran, kankoran.
  • Ethos restrictions have been removed from: aelin, kankoran.
  • Alatharya can now create as bards or watchers.
  • Chaja can now create as bards or druids.
  • All bard instant AoE songs, such as feckless nefortu, have had their targeting rewritten.
  • Feckless nefortu has a new implementation with changed functionality.
  • Harmonize no longer has dexterity and charisma components, and instead scales only on percent.
  • Nature’s renewal (druid Firiel totem) has a new implementation to improve its mana restoration.
  • Weapons altered by shape timber now restore a small amount of mana on strike.
  • Lightning brand can now be cast on others while in combat, like other brand spells.
  • Absorb electricity has a new implementation.
  • Fire/spirit no longer receives: oriflamme, soulfire shield.
  • Fire/spirit now receives: fuse karma, shock diffusion, mindbender, glyph of empathy.
  • Holy flame’s functionality has been expanded to add bonus holy damage to numerous major fire spells.
  • Water/spirit no longer receives: stone of Salyra.
  • Water/spirit now receives: martyr’s shield.
  • Martyr’s shield can now be cast on others.
  • Annointed one has had its trigger rate adjusted, and additionally improves the bless spell.
  • Water/air no longer receives: storm mastery, fog elemental summon, monsoon.
  • Water/air now receives: fog aspect, group teleport, spell ripple.
  • Brume has new functionality, adjusting the effect(s) of various mist-based abilities.
  • Frigid burst has a new implementation to use more modern AoE targeting.
  • Fixed a bug in soothing mist which prevented characters from wielding weapons while it was active.
  • Tempest has a new implemtnation to use more modern AoE targeting.
  • Many major and minor spells have had alternate religious theming based on the chosen religion of the caster.
  • The following spells have had their casting line removed: mark of winter, abominable rune, bond of souls.
  • Major, minor, and templar spells should now have appropriate lower bounding on duration, in the same manner as druid.
  • Word of recall will now allow a character to move from the origin casting room during spell activation.
  • Added a god touch for Ashur (not a current creation option).
  • Added a sacrifice effect for Ashur (silent meditation) and Vaialos (divine requiem).
  • Added secondary sacrifice effect for the Ashur sacrifice if one has the Ashur god touch.
  • Fixed a crash bug in gate’s targeting routine.
  • Wraiths summoned by speaking Ashur’s name have adjusted scaling.
  • Ashur punishment code entirely rewritten to facilitate the above changes.
  • Replaced Aranthas encounter in Champions with Yesal-Xea encounter, moved Aliphor to the Atrium.
  • Merchant find items notes are now sent by Ysobel instead of Talsikin.
  • The BRIEF toggle no longer prevents exploration point gain.
  • Added instanced rooms to the Sea Dragon Inn in Gaald.
  • Various minor bug and typo corrections.

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Current Events

Here are some of the current happenings and ongoing plots going on in Avendar. You may treat this as in-character “heard through the grapevine” knowledge. We encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved in one of these plots to reach out to relevant PCs or NPCs (notes are great; just be sure to include immortal!) or join a relevant Great House with a role in mind.

Lights in the Sky

Eleven years ago, brilliant white lights in the shape of the constellation Lavetiae appeared in the skies over the Imperial Republic of Daphoa and the continent of Avendar, heralding the fiery destruction of a small island some distance north of Ashta Harrud as well as its small population of red ethron, rendering them extinct save for far-flung diaspora. In addition to creating ongoing shortages of goods such as mango, tobacco, and chocolate, Daphoa has laid claim to the newly-deserted island, the first attempt at expanding its imperial borders in millennia. Known officially as Aehiori, many are calling it New Illata due both to the appearance of Lavetiae and the manner of its destruction, which mirrored the province of Illata’s destruction by the god Alil at the close of the War of Fire. Though the island remains an ashy wasteland for now, bereft of life, many parties are interested in its settlement and the direction of its future.

Unrest in Daphoa

Unease and chaos continues to follow in the wake of the sudden death one decade ago of Lahanet of house Ishtae, a priest in service to Aeolis the Rose King for the past five millennia. Responsible for seeking and vetting Aeolis’s chosen Rose consorts, his death was followed by the withdrawal of Aeolis from His priesthood along with a period of mourning across Daphoa. Keiari, the current Rose consort, has spoken publicly on a number of occasions about the matter and encouraged calm and cooperation over what was assuredly a tragic accident, but rumors of a schism between her and the Rose King abound, as well as rumors that house Lenahiri — with whom the consort is known to be involved — had a hand in his death.

Gaald Renaissance

Following Duke Tanar’s removal of Guardian influence in the city and the installation of the Grand Federation of Merchants as its keepers of law and order, Gaald is undergoing a renaissance, with many local businesses being replaced or updated to appeal to more modern sensibilities. Long the gateway to Avendar from Daphoa, aelin influence in the city has been growing as many of the efforts have been spearheaded by house Lenahiri of Daphoa, though the Thirty-Seven Families of the Great Council of Gaald have responded to these efforts with many of their own in an attempt to ensure Gaald’s fortunes remain in noble hands. Rumors of yet more changes to come abound as opportunistic merchants, investors, and even representatives of Ayaunj flock to the city to claim fortunes and legacies.

Chaja Ascendant

A diplomatic representative of the hidden chaja stronghold of Kashek gand Aldam named Tlakhah has been seen in the cities of Gaald, Kor Thrandir, and Earendam, extending friendly overtures and negotiating on matters of trade. Long isolated from the world, Kashek gand Aldam and strongholds like it are home to free chaja, both lineages that escaped the slavers’ lash as well as refugees from shuddeni and Harrudim lands. With their presence they bring word of the trappings of chaja culture untainted by the shuddeni, including word of two of their three gods: Kyana the Perseverent, Lady of Sorrows, and Elanthe the Bard, Keeper of Fables. Of course, whispers of the third chaja god abound — though they, whatever their nature, is sure to be found in much darker places.

Changing of the Guard

Following a period of upheavals concerning the adventuring members of the Guardians of Law, Iarod Riruna was dispatched by Iandir’s priesthood to the Halls of Law to take over as its keeper of records, promising both better organization of its records as well as renovations of the Hall of Law itself. Though no official changes have taken place of yet, there have been promises of new staff of a more Jalassan bent, proposals to expand the role of adventuring Guardians, and preparations to expand and update the Halls and the services it offers to its members.

Scion of the Dragon

House Lenahiri of Daphoa, long thought to be on the decline, has experienced a resurgence in notoriety as its new head has become known across Avendar and Daphoa as the Son of the Dragon. He and his spouse, a sigiled priest of Alil, have become associated with a number of infamies and unusual and dangerous abilities, including the destruction of the Marble Pegasus of Rystaia and invasion of Her shrine, the murder of Nistaru and the desecration of Rveyelhi’s shrine, the ability to speak the name of the Dragon with no ill effect, and playing host to a growing void drake. Most alarmingly, they are rumored to possess the ability to permanently destroy so-called “immortal divines”: sigiled individuals granted permanent agelessness and deathlessness by their deities. Rumors persist of house Lenahiri’s involvement in the death of Lahanet of house Ishtae during a diplomatic mission to the continent of Avendar, and the house has claimed responsibility for the destruction of a demonic entity known as the Scorpion of the Coven. What the ultimate aims of house Lenahiri are given the extent of their machinations and the sheer variety of their targets remains a mystery to the public at large.

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