Cyradon Overview

Copyright Tim Dugger ICE © 2005

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"Will you dare to enter a world where even your staunchest ally may have ulterior motives, and where you can trust no one?"

As of the time of the publication of this article, the Cyradon manuscript is completely finished, and in the final editorial stages of the proofing processes. This means that Cyradon should be available in about a month, or perhaps slightly longer, depending on factors such as how long it will take for the artwork to filter from the artists. So, after a short chat with Nick, I decided that it might be a good idea for me to give a small overview of the Cyradon setting.

Before I get to the actual meat of the article, I want to give a little bit of credit to where it is due. First off, the majority of the credit goes to Heike. Cyradon was her conception. Without Heike's original ideas, Cyradon would not have gotten as far as it did. Secondly, I would like to thank Gavin. He helped to flesh Cyradon out a good bit before he left the project. Finally, I would like to thank the Cyradon Squad, our playtesters. After Heike and I took up the reins and began trying to whip the manuscript into shape, we needed somebody to let us know that we were heading in the right direction. Well, I selected several very active, long time forum members to be playtesters. And they have poured over the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb. They helped us spot problem areas and fill in the many gaps that were present. Thanks to them, we even ended up re-organizing the entire manuscript to make it more user-friendly. I doubt that Heike and I would have ever been able to finish Cyradon without their aid.

The following capsule overview is by no means complete, and it leaves out many interesting details, but I hope that it is enough to whet your appetite for more. Enjoy!

Cyradon Overview

Escaping the destruction of their city by implacable invaders from the south, a rag-tag band of refugees make their way through the mountains north of the Tarahir. They take refuge in an abandoned Dwarven outpost, to hide from an enemy that is closing in on them. They discover that they are trapped, and most likely doomed.

Suddenly, a portal opens in one large chamber. It is one of the fabled Royal Roads, built by the ancient Cyrads, an advanced race that disappeared nearly two thousand years ago. With the enemy preventing them from leaving through the only exit that could be found, the refugees go through the portal, and emerge in a far distant land. In a city older than any know about, built into and on a dormant volcano. A city located in the middle of a vast magically devastated wasteland. A city called Belynar, once home to the mysterious Cyrads, and more recently to the mighty mages known as the Razhiri.

Though nearly instantaneous, the trip took a lot out of the refugees and they all slipped into unconsciousness upon arriving in Belynar. Waking a few hours later, the refugees got one of the largest surprises of their lives. They were being tended by creatures of legends, mighty Gryphons. Only these creatures were not monsters, they were civilized, they were friendly, and willing to offer aid.

The first thing that Gryphons did was to call upon the Rhona; a race of Gnomes who had spent the last five centuries trying to undo the Devastation caused by the Razhiri. The Rhona brought supplies and provisions to help the refugees. Within a week, a contingent of Arali, Elves from the nations of Janieal and Desnia, scholars and researchers, arrived to investigate fluctuations that they had detected in the Royal Roads. Then, from the Royal Roads, came a large party of several hundred Dwarves, intent on reclaiming a mining city, now that the magical minerals had had time to regenerate, that they had shut down many years before the Arali exodus to Cyradon. And finally, from the northern part of Cyradon came the Nagazi, a race of highly civilized lizardmen. The Nagazi came because of dreams sent to them from their gods, the Seven Sages.

The arrival of the Nagazi had been what the Rhona were waiting for. The night after their arrival, the Spring Equinox, with a conjunction of three comets in the sky only seen once every 27,000 years, the Rhona were able to convince members from every race present in Belynar to participate in a ritual, one that they hoped would restore life to the land around Belynar, for a few miles at least. The group climbed to the top of the volcano upon which Belynar rested, and there the Rhona elder performed the Ritual of Estrousal.

The next morning, upon awakening, the refugees could see a change in the land around them. It was returning to life, and at an accelerated pace! Grass was growing at a fantastic rate; from the plateau on which they were camped, they could see the river beginning to fill again, and fields of crops growing before their very eyes. The petrified eggs of many creatures also came to life. Wild Stionoir now roamed the hillsides nearby, and birds could be seen flying overhead where before there were none.

By the end of the day, the growth rate had tapered off to normal levels, but all were astounded at the changes wrought. Belynar and the land surrounding it, for many, many miles were fully restored to health. This was now a place where the refugees could make a home for themselves. If the other races would let them.

This is where Cyradon picks up. The land has been restored, at least a portion of it, and the refugees are in a strange, massive city far from home with no way back. They have allies in the Gryphons, the Rhona and the Nagazi. The Arali Elves from Janieal are somewhat ambivalent and the Desnian Arali are downright antagonistic towards all, not just the refugees.

This is a setting where there is something for everybody. There are mysteries, intrigue, exploration, conflict, and the potential for combat. Just about any sort of campaign is possible within Cyradon. The following list is just a small sample:

Mysteries -- Why did the portal open for the refugees? Who opened it? Why did the Dwarven Gatekeepers not come through the Royal Roads with the Dwarves? What caused the Ritual of Estrousal to be so powerful? Previous attempts could only restore a few tiny square miles, this last attempt restored hundreds of square miles, far more than ever imagined. What really happened to cause the Devastation? The Desnians blame the human Razhiri, the Janieal blame the Desnians. Who is right? Are you sure you want to know the answers?

Political Intrigue -- The Arali Elves live for intrigue. Their society is one riddled with deals, counter-deals, double-crosses, feuds and ever shifting alliances. Some Arali want the refugees to leave and go back where they came from, while others want to use them, as pawns. There are even a few who just want to help, but these are rare. Additionally, the Desnian Arali desire to rule the newly restored lands, and rule over the refugees, making them virtual slaves. The other races do not want to allow this. One of the events yet to take place in the setting is the signing of the Belynar Compact, a treaty between the major races. A treaty that will eventually turn Belynar into a hub of commerce. Will you dare to enter a world where even your staunchest ally may have ulterior motives, and where you can trust no one?

Exploration -- The refugees are in a new land, one that they know nothing about. They need to explore the Re-Awakened Lands to see how far they extend. Nobody alive knows what the lay of the land was like before the Devastation, now the refugees need to find out. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of small ruins dotting the landscape. These need to be explored, as the Rhona require a special stone, called the Tear of Life, to perform more of the rituals and heal more of the land. Are you up to braving unknown dangers to look for the Tears?

Potential Combat -- Cyradon is far from being a safe land. There are the Schirae, Elves twisted by the Devastation into cruel and savage beings. To the west lie the Nagah, an ancient and evil race of lizardmen. And throughout the Devastation are the Aberrations, monsters created by the Devastation itself. Added to this, are the creatures and constructs created by the Razhiri for their Coliseum games prior to the Devastation. Stored in stasis chambers deep beneath the coliseum, these creatures sometimes awake and escape, wreaking havoc wherever they are found. Would you care to fight these beings and creatures? If you don't, they may just overwhelm Belynar at some point and the city will die in blood and fire.

Cyradon is divided into 10 chapters. Each chapter holds a lot of excellent information on Cyradon. I give a short synopsis of each chapter below.

Chapter 1 -- This is an overview of the setting itself. It is much like the one I gave above, but in greater detail.

Chapter 2 -- This chapter covers the basics about the world of Mithra, including a timeline and short history of the world.

Chapter 3 -- This chapter gives a short overview of the continent of Anias, where the refugees came from.

Chapter 4 -- This chapter covers the continent of Cyradon. It is much more in-depth then the previous chapter, but that is because Cyradon is where all the action is set.

Chapter 5 -- This is the Character Creation Chapter. It includes the information on the races, and their cultures, new skills for Cyradon, special starting items, and a large selection of Training Packages designed just for Cyradon.

Chapter 6 -- This chapter covers cosmology, the deities and the religions. You get a small overview of the major deities, and we also present several religious orders designed specifically for a few of these deities.

Chapter 7 -- This is where magic is covered. There are a number of different casting traditions on Mithra. The Nagazi use wands to focus their spell casting. The Drei use material components chosen for their connection and relation to the spells they want to cast, the Sithi also use material components, but they select theirs based upon color, hue and shade. Each race has their own traditions. Each also has their own Sphere of spells as well. All this and more can be found in this chapter.

Chapter 8 -- This chapter takes a closer look at Belynar and its surrounding area. This is the region where players start out, so you will want to know more about it.

Chapter 9 -- No setting book would be complete without a bestiary that details the monsters that can be found in Belynar. Not only does this chapter give you the monsters, but you also get a few new templates that can be added to more conventional creatures.

Chapter 10 -- This chapter is especially for the GM, so players should stay out. In this chapter, we discuss three possible time frames for starting campaigns. We also give you a number of adventure seeds that you the GM can expand as much as you like. We also include a couple of maps, one of a town and another of an ancient manor house, both of which are detailed enough to be used along with the adventure seeds. Finally, we cover the various ways that you can use the Cyradon book and how to incorporate it into ongoing campaigns.

All in all, I think that Cyradon is an excellent product, and one that you will enjoy for many adventures to come. Hopefully, you will think so as well.