Atlyria, the Sunken Continent
The Tale of Atlyria in Brief
In ages past, the continent of Atlyria was home to the technologically advanced Atlyrian Empire, whose crusade against the world’s magically reliant civilizations ended in a single day and night of cataclysm that saw its people extinguished and Atlyria partially sunk into the ocean. Eventually recolonized by a collection of rival nations, decades of peaceful coexistence in Atlyria ended when the Thunder War carved a massive swath of destruction across the continent. Now with the fires of war barely extinguished, colonial nations consider revanchism and revolution, piracy runs rampant and forces dormant since the Atlyrian Empire’s death are reawakening, gazing out upon a continent in crisis.
Into this tense situation the party steps, as a simple investigation into a crime spree draws the group into a conspiracy to awaken the Atlyrian Empire’s gods from their millennia long slumber. As the party travels from the depths of Atlyria’s ocean trenches to the summit of its highest mountains, the true nature of the Atlyrian Empire’s destruction is uncovered as the stakes are raised and the danger escalates. After secrets and deceptions are revealed, an Atlyrian god is awakened, and the party becomes the only thing standing between a fanatic’s hatred and the destruction of an entire nation.
Atlyria sinks during the Aetherstorm 
The Fall and Rediscovery of the Atlyrian Empire
The Atlyrians were beautiful beyond belief
The Atlyrians were engineers beyond understanding
The Atlyrians were cruel beyond imagination
Opening lines of The Lost Continent,
by G.A. Falswin
In the apocalyptic final days of the Age of Forgotten Legends, a human tribe was spirited away by their gods to Atlyria, an uninhabited and isolated continent. As they worked to rebuild their shattered civilization, they were driven by a belief that their celestial heritage and the physical changes they had experienced during their exodus made them a chosen people entirely distinct from other humans. Terming themselves the “luxin” race, they would build a continent-spanning civilization known as the Atlyrian Empire.
Harnessing technologies beyond compare and regarding arcane magic as blasphemy of the highest order, the Atlyrians launched a crusade against the world’s many magically dependent civilizations. Atlyrian legions emerged from the seas, descended out of the skies, and even burrowed through the earth to pillage underground cities. The world buckled as nations began to break down under a century of regular attacks.
Suddenly the raids stopped and the Atlyrians abandoned their colonies overnight, their soldiers and war machines disappearing back to their homeland without explanation. Years passed with no sign of the invaders until a blinding light enveloped Atlyria, the sign of an unimaginably powerful explosion. Worldwide disaster ensued as great waves destroyed ports around the world, fire rained from the sky, and the sun dimmed for a decade.
While the catastrophe’s cause remains a mystery, the flaming debris raining from the sky worldwide led to the event becoming known as the “Aetherstorm”. In the decades-long environmental disaster it created, civilizations barely recovered from the Atlyrians’ predations collapsed worldwide and Atlyria became shrouded by a perpetual storm. As the world slowly rebuilt, Atlyria remained an enigma, hidden from mundane and magical attempts to uncover its secrets. That is, until 200 years ago when the hurricane covering Atlyria suddenly dissipated and a collection of rival nations moved in to pick clean the Atlyrian Empire’s bones.
The continent they found was changed almost beyond recognition. No longer a coherent continental landmass, Atlyria had partially sunk, with only its hills and mountains remaining above the waves. A completely uninhabited land of archipelagos, shallow seas, and broken mountain ranges beckoned, and colonists flowed in by the thousands seeking their fortunes.
Atlyrian automata configured for melee and ranged combat 
Possibly the Atlyrians’ greatest invention, automata are non-sentient constructs built around living organic cores which were used in a huge variety of civilian and military roles. Automata tilled fields, raised buildings and fought gladiators as well as serving as the empire's shock troops. Extremely variable in design, automata range from dog sized pack hunters with sonic screams, to twelve armed horrors with a propensity for dismembering intruders, to gargantuan colossus automata designed to level cities.
After the Aetherstorm killed their creators, tens of thousands of automata remained within buried ruins across Atlyria. Thanks to the Atlyrians’ artifice, most automata that survived the Aetherstorm remain fully functional to this day. Some stand completely stationary at their posts while others slavishly follow their final orders, grinding grooves into the floor as they pace the same patrol for thousands of years.
A Galeranian scout discovers a Atlyrian planar rift that has mysterious reactivated. 
The Technology of a Fallen Empire
As the colonization of Atlyria began, the Atlyrian Empire’s wondrous machines have become a curiosity the world over as scholars attempt to rediscover their scientific principles which drive them. While researchers are nowhere near recreating even their most basic devices, they understand that the Atlyrians based their technology on creating permanent rifts to other planes to continuously extract energy or materials. These rifts could be massive enough to power entire cities, or small enough to be contained within portable devices and weapons
While small machines have been found above ground, beneath the surface Atlyrian technology becomes gargantuan in scale. While for the most part these engines sit idle, some work towards purposes that elude even the most thorough scholars, occasionally manifesting active effects across the surface of Atlyria itself.
Jakob Mathys examines a statue of Zephra, a lost Atlyrian god 
The Lost Gods of Atlyria
The Atlyrians worshiped a pantheon of seven deities that seem to be unique to their civilization. Devotion to their gods was central to almost every aspect of the Atlyrian Empire, and altars and other dedications in their honor can be found scattered throughout Atlyrian ruins. Despite their prominence in Atlyria, these gods have never been seen since the Aethersorm. While some scholars believe that they died in the Aetherstorm others believe that the deaths of an entire pantheon would have enormous aftereffects that would be clearly felt today. Many cults and scholars have become fixated around the idea that these lost gods of Atlyria are merely sleeping, awaiting a force strong enough to end their eternal slumber.
A map of present day Atlyria 
While many attempts have been made to explore and colonize Atlyria, three nations’ proximity and strength has led to their domination of the sunken continent:
- Galaren, a fading republic reeling after a devastating war.
- Zamar, a cosmopolitan empire trapped in service to a ravenous god.
- Lotharia, a merchant oligarchy struggling with internal religious strife.
While there are independent enclaves, almost all settlements in Atlyria can be divided into one of these six regions.
Galaren offered land, the tools needed to cultivate it, and free passage to any citizens who would immigrate to its colony, self-selecting independently minded settlers willing to take risks. As a result, Nova Galaren’s capitol of Haven was the first city founded in modern Atlyria and today Nova Galaren is its most populous nation, sporting a much more individualistic culture than its collectivist mother country. In the aftermath of the Thunder War, Galaren has increased taxes and control over the previously autonomous Nova Galaren, resulting in a rising crisis which threatens to escalate into a revolution.
Zamar’s first colony, Zama’s Land was established as the emperor of Zamar’s personal property where political prisoners who couldn’t officially be executed were dumped. For ten years these prisoners toiled before seizing their freedom in a bloody uprising. Though Zamar has attempted to retake the colony several times, all efforts have been met by cataclysmic failure. Rumors persist that both the initial revolt and the defeat of subsequent invasions were enabled by the Atlyrian Empire’s automata rising in the prisoners’ defense.
New Zamar is in many ways alike to its homeland, but with its extremes laid bare. Its capital is the most cosmopolitan city in Atlyria, with a huge class of talented scholars, artisans and smiths. Meanwhile in Adelene’s Sound, thousands of enslaved miners toil relentlessly under merciless wardens, extracting precious metals and gems to feed the ravenous Zamarian state. To deal with dragon and pirate attacks on its ships, vast treasure fleets under heavy military guard assemble to cross the smoke and fog choked Sea of Fire.
The Orichalcum Collective
These scattered mining outposts represent Lotharia’s only major colonial push in Atlyria, but under the West Atlyria Company’s absolute control, the wealth they generate outshines even the mines of Adelene’s Sound. Within this territory Lotharia’s perpetually squabbling merchant lords have put aside their differences to monopolize the extraction of orichalcum, a green metal with wondrous physical and arcane properties found nowhere else in the world.
The Outlaw Isles
The Outlaw Isles are a scattering of independent ports famous for the disreputable characters they host. While these most famously are the pirates that prey on Zamarian shipping in the Sea of Fire, there are also a multitude of cults, and a necromancer cabal settled in a cursed Atlyrian city. The largest of these ports is Dragon’s Watch, a city ruled by the ancient and powerful dragon Angharad the Traveler. In exchange for an anchorage immune to Zamarian reprisals, pirates gladly pay a tithe of their loot to Angharad’s increasingly vast horde. Around these buccaneers a thriving settlement has developed, and against her better judgment, Angharad has begun to see the boisterous city outside her lair as an extension of her horde.
The Dawnbreaker Federation
A vastly less coherent entity than its name suggests, the Dawnbreaker Federation is in reality nothing more than a mutual defense pact signed by dozens of settlements around the exceptionally shallow Dawnbreaker Sea. These settlements are eclectic to the extreme, ranging from tiny swamp outposts to Firth, an underwater metropolis where merfolk have established an expansionist city-state with an eye towards becoming Atlyria’s underwater hegemon.
Galaren’s fleet advances on New Zamar during the Thunder War 
The Thunder War
The most recent event to reshape Atlyria was the Thunder War, a conflict between Zamar and Galaren which exploded just one year ago. Zamar’s land forces attacked during a massive thunderstorm, catching Galaren flatfooted and naming the conflict. A long siege of Galaren’s capitol and national suffering looked inevitable, only for word to arrive of the incredible situation across the sea in Atlyria.
Half of Galaren’s fleet had been training in Atlyria and though it could not defend its homeland, it was perfectly positioned to attack Zamar’s colonies. A call for volunteers from Nova Galaren brought so many recruits that many had to be turned away, eager as they were at the opportunity to strike at their country’s perpetual foe and emancipate those it held in bondage. Catching New Zamar’s defenders unawares, they conquered its outlying settlements before surrounding the colony’s capital. After smashing its defenders, Nova Galaren’s colonial militias reorganized to take the city, only for news of a ceasefire to arrive.
Both Galaren and Zamar had realized they held a knife to each other’s throats, as without the continuous flow of wealth from its colonies the shaky Zamarian state would collapse under its debts, even if it managed the dubious task of taking full control of Galaren. Despite the damage both sides had wrought on each other, a white peace was signed as the two powers returned to their prewar borders. The colonial militia were furious to be stopped before liberating the city’s enslaved population and then outraged when the peace terms were disseminated. From the volunteers’ perspectives, their sacrifices had merely been used to balance the ledger against their motherland’s incompetence.
Tamasha Sulio faces off against a monster from the Screaming Realm.
Other Notable Aspects of Atlyria
Reality Made Thin
The Aetherstorm’s impact didn’t merely stop at the physical, as even reality itself became scarred by its devastation. So much energy was released that it punched through the barriers between the planes, briefly causing pieces of the Inner Planes and the Infinite Light to overlap at the detonation’s hypocenter. While such an unnatural breach collapsed in seconds as the explosion expanded, such a cataclysmic wound would never fully heal. This weakness in reality has had enormous physical, cultural and ecological impacts across modern Atlyria.
A flight over Atlyria’s forests and grasslands provides clear evidence of this weakness, with vibrant red and blue trees, onyx black grasses and shimmering iridescent bushes poking out from an otherwise green landscape. These standouts are examples of the many species from the Inner Planes that have naturalized and thrived in Atlyria. Entire industries have sprung up around exploiting the exceptionally valuable mundane and arcane properties of these interplanar immigrants.
Fishermen wander too close to an ixigoth’s nest 
The Storm Beasts
Eight leviathans only seen when a tempest rages across the ocean surface, the Storm Beasts have prompted fear and fascination since the colonization of Atlyria began. Ranging from a massive sea serpent with centipede-like legs to a castle sized sphere of flesh covered in hundreds of eyes and propelled by numerous flagella, the Storm Beasts are as diverse as they are misunderstood. Though most colonists consider them merely a physical hazard towards ships and coastal settlements, those who study the arcane and esoteric arts understand that their influence is far wider and more insidious than their simple capacity for physical destruction.
Amelia Aravina examines the exterior of Destiny Reactor, which powered the Atlyrian Empire at its peak 
The Living Ruins of Atlyria
When the Aetherstorm sank Atlyria, it buried many temples, research facilities, and even entire cities with relatively little destruction. While some ruins are dark and broken places, others hum with active power and show signs of rebuilding in the intervening millennia.
Ruin delvers have been killed by cave-ins, flash floods and hostile wildlife, but universally consider the multitude of bizarre traps the ruins contain to be the most insidious danger they face. Despite millennia passing, many traps remain functional and even show signs of repair, suggesting that something is actively maintaining them to guard against intruders. Uncontained rifts to the inner planes, invisible fields which can exsanguinate a body, and force whips designed to decapitate intruders are just a few regularly encountered traps.
Despite the dangers, adventurers are drawn to these ruins for the vast wealth they contain. The Atlyrians pillaged the world for a century before the Aetherstorm and within their ruins the stolen treasures of the entire ancient world can be found. Ruin delvers have emerged carrying lost dwarven sagas, elven living statues, and artifacts from the Age of Forgotten Legends. Beyond typical valuables, there is a huge market for Atlyrian technology and devices from scholars and curiosity seekers the world over.
From left to right, Amelia Aravina, Cassandra Raatan, Zilmis Uhmolath, Tamasha Sulio and Tajel the Chainbreaker. 
Major Characters in Atlyria
Potential Player Characters:
Top Stats: Wis/Dex
A research assistant at Charbonat College in Haven, Amelia’s nature as a gorgon tends to cause fear and suspicion amongst those she meets. Still, her politeness, stringent work ethic, and obvious competence as a researcher tend to win over those who get to know her. Today, Amelia’s role at the college is delving into Atlyrian ruins to recover lost knowledge and technology, a role in which she is given a great deal of independence. While she enjoys her position, she hopes her discoveries will bring enough prestige to see her promoted to a full professorship, despite the facility’s reluctance to give such a position to a gorgon like her.
Top Stats: Str/Con
An apprentice of Zamar’s Crimson Knights, Tamasha Sulio has worked her entire life to overcome the shadow of her luxin ancestry. Belonging to a knightly order dedicated to protecting Zamar’s common folk, Tamasha struggles with serving an empire whose nobility seems to see them as nothing but a resource to be exploited. To assuage her conscience, Tamasha has thrown herself into tackling ever greater threats to the common folk of Atlyria, hoping to one day find a solution to this seemingly impossible contradiction.
Top Stats: Dex/Int
From the Darkness the Twilight, or Dawn as his friends quickly nicknamed him, is a member of the albatross-like avesecra race who exhibited an intense curiosity about the world around him from the moment he hatched. Becoming fascinated by the Atlyrian technology he was exposed to during his aerie’s migrations, Dawn eventually stole several Atlyrian devices, word of which eventually made its way to his home. Fleeing into a self-imposed exile from before a judgment could be handed down, Dawn seeks some discovery or treasure that would buy forgiveness from his aerie.
Top Stats: Int/Cha
As an orphan in Meridia, Galaren’s overcrowded capital, through luck, charm, and hard work Marcel secured a scholarship to study magic at the University of Meridia. Under Anthonin Marvolo’s tutelage, Marcel excelled in studies, and upon graduation he took Anthonin’s surname as his own to show his gratitude for the life changing opportunity he had been given. Seeing that Meridia was a very competitive and crowded place for wizards and fascinated by reports about unique and bizarre magical phenomena to be found in Atlyria, he set out to the sunken continent searching for adventure. Marcel hopes to make a name for himself through swashbuckling tales and magical discoveries.
Top Stats: Cha/Dex
Born in Zamar, Illana Vale came face to face with the horrific proclivities of her nation’s nobility when as a child she was nearly sacrificed in a ritual to the dark god Thar’Xian. Eventually escaping to Galaren, she told all she knew about Zamar and drew the attention of the Mariners, Galaren’s intelligence service. Recruited and trained to be a field agent in Atlyria, she has been growing increasingly uneasy at the echoes of Zamar that she sees in Galaren’s attitude towards its colonies. She hopes that her work in Atlyria can help calm the situation down in the colonies, lest Galaren go to war with its children.
Other Notable People
In Haven, the Amethyst Crown is renowned as an exclusive social club serving the raucous city’s many ship captains and officers. Its proprietress is a luxin named Cassandra Raatan, known for her vast knowledge of historical trivia and for eschewing typical Galarenian dress in favor of a signature dark gray toga. While generally regarded as just a charming and somewhat eccentric woman of great wealth, for an exclusive clientele she is known as the greatest information broker in all Atlyria, with access to secrets from across the continent. What even those in this inner circle don’t suspect is that Cassandra is working towards her own agenda, one which has been in motion since before the colonization of Atlyria began.
Early on in his life in the reclusive nation of Zama’s Land, Jakob Mathys was identified as an intellectual prodigy and given over to the best arcane tutors Zama’s Land could offer. Jakob took very strongly to his country’s anti-Zamarian indoctrination, something that allowed his instructors to overlook the troubling signs of an utterly amoral and manipulative mind. Though these traits are typical in criminals being sent to the gallows, they identified him as a promising candidate for his nation’s foreign intelligence service.
Today Jakob lives undercover in New Termessos, acting as a rare friendly face around the typically stern and serious Zamarian bureaucracy. In his true role, he reports on Zamarian troop movements, blackmails officials, and occasionally assassinates those who threaten Zama’s Land. Though loyal to his homeland, Jakob has also been working towards his own agenda which threatens to reshape the very fabric of Atlyria.
Tajel the Chainbreaker
A pirate captain whose meteoric rise to prominence was fueled by the Thunder War’s chaotic aftermath, Tajel received her moniker by deliberately seeking out and freeing as many of those held in bondage as possible through attacks on Zamar’s shipping within the Sea of Fire. Her formerly enslaved crew operate a former Zamarian frigate renamed the Empress whose history is decidedly murky. Rumors that she obtained her ship by single handedly slaughtering its Zamarian crew, or that her rise was enabled by a creature that lives on her ship’s hull remain unsubstantiated.
Upon hearing the light call and ascending from the depths of Atlyria’s oceans, the lophiite Zilmis Uhmolath was taken in by the necromancers of Corpse Bight who found his enthusiasm and cheerful nature a marked contrast from their normally dour brethren. As an apprentice, Zilmis proved to be a mediocre corpse reanimator, but excelled at changing Atlyrian automata into undead puppets by corrupting their biological cores.
What was previously only a technique for use on smaller automata, Zilmas developed until he set his sights on the most grandiose target imaginable, a destroyed colossus automaton on Corpse Bight’s outskirts. After nearly two years spent experimenting, the colossus’ surviving organic core twitched and shuddered, growing and expanding with necromantic energy as the undead colossus unsteadily rose to its feet. With his masterpiece ambulating, Zilmas bid farewell to Corpse Bight and set out to find new test subjects.
An adventuring party discovers a partially reactivated colossus automaton 
Treasures of Atlyria
Technological Wonders of the Atlyrian Empire
Each piece of portable Atlyrian technology has at its core a device known as a planar siphon which can draw energy and material from one of the six inner planes in order to power the device. These are some of the more notable Atlyrian devices recovered by adventurers.
An innovation introduced by the Atlyrians after nasty encounters with wielders of arcane magic, dismagus capacitors are worn around the neck and grant the wearer temporary immunity to magic sources of fire, lightning and force damage, absorbing the damage that would have been dealt into the capacitor itself. Once the capacitor reaches its absorption limit, it becomes inactive as the energy is passively discharged.
A red and gold semi-cylindrical shield carried into battle by every Atlyrian legionary, a scupeus is a powerful offensive and defensive tool which can block strikes and release blasts of concussive force against nearby foes. A rare blue and gold variant known as the scupeus dismagus also exists, which trades the ability to release concussive blasts for exceptional resistance to magical attacks.
An Atlyrian defense of last resort for when armor, and skill all failed, when the wearer of a motus belt is struck by a damaging attack, they are instead uncontrollably teleported 10 feet in a random direction. The belt holds five charges which recharge at a rate of one per hour. If all five charges are ever expended the belt overloads and explodes.
When inert, an arc bow resembles a boxy metal device whose function is unclear apart from an obvious hand grip and trigger mechanism. When the grip is grasped, the bow’s limbs rapidly unfold, creating an electrical bowstring between them. When the trigger is pulled, a bolt made of electricity is formed and can be loosed as with a mundane crossbow.
The staple weapon of the Atlyrian Empire’s legions, a glatha superficially resembles a mundane short sword apart from an unusually large grip and pommel that contains a planar siphon. When activated, the glatha channels the Screaming Realm’s energy to magnify each strike’s power.
A rare sight even when the Atlyrian Empire was at its peak, clamatoren are enormously complex weapons capable of unleashing the raw physical insanity of the Screaming Realm in a concentrated beam. Due to their bulk and slow firing sequence, clamatoren are difficult to aim at anything that’s even somewhat mobile. However anything struck becomes unmade at the most basic level, whether that is a stone wall or a living creature.
A silvery metal net with a dozen weights tied around its edge, when thrown the small gravity generators in each weight activate, increasing their effective mass a hundred fold. A reteclanus is only large enough to ensnare a medium or smaller creature.
A bronze breastplate with elaborate purple geometric patterns covering its surface, a Chronospida’s hidden connection to the unshackled realm is betrayed by an occasional transparency that flickers across its surface. Using that realm’s irregular flow of time a chronospida can project its wearer’s body back in time several seconds, reversing injuries and allowing for rapid escapes.
Cold Star Bomb
A cold star bomb is a small, circular device designed to open a brief rift to the Realm of Cold Stars after being thrown or placed. When the rift is open, the device is entirely consumed as ice spikes rapidly burst out from the bomb’s detonation point.
As more and more expeditions have returned from Atlyrian ruins, a particular artifact class has confused scholars of the Atlyrian Empire. Rather than technological devices, these are biological organs which can grant unique abilities to their wielders while subtly influencing their behavior. Termed “living relics”, though most scholars assume they are variations of the biological cores used in automata, others have pointed out that there is next to no resemblance between the two, and that the Atlyrian legions were never recorded using them. Rumors persist about living relics powerful enough to entirely dominate the minds of anyone attempting to wield them.
Treasures of the Forgotten Gods
While their taboo against arcane magic resulted in the Atlyrians creating no magically enchanted items, they readily used magical items bequeathed by their gods. Most famously, each of the Atlyrian gods had a legendary weapon that was given to the one held highest in their favor. Though most scholars believe them lost in the Aetherstorm, these treasures have been a constant draw for adventurers across Atlyria
Jakob Mathys attempts to bring the Atlyrian god Zephra under his direct control 
Beginning with a simple investigation into a crime spree in Nova Galaren’s capital of Haven, over the course of three quests the party becomes drawn into efforts to reawaken the Atlyrian pantheon from its millennia long slumber by those who would use the power of these sleeping gods for their own ends. As information about the true nature of the Atlyrian Empire’s destruction is uncovered the stakes are raised and the dangers escalate. After secrets and deceptions are revealed, the first of Atlyrian gods is awakened and the party becomes the only thing standing between a fanatic’s hatred and the destruction of an entire nation.
Revolutionaries, Cultists and Charlatans
Guards and the Guarded
The party is contacted by the head of Haven’s City Watch, who wants them to infiltrate a meeting by the Navigators, a group he believes is committing serious crimes around Haven, as well as agitating for Nova Galaren’s independence. As he’s afraid a direct investigation by members of the City Watch might cause an uproar and give the impression that the city watch is suppressing dissent in Haven, he needs an outside group for the investigation. He believes the resistance against Galaren is mainly being driven by Zamarian agitators and hopes to cool things down by exposing them.
Traitors and Revolutionaries
An investigation sees the party make contact with a member of the group, who invites them to meet with the group’s leader and “see if they have the stomach to do what needs to be done to save Nova Galaren.” They are taken to a warehouse next to the Amethyst Crown, a high end social club, only to enter a hidden passageway dug into the club’s basement, which turns out to be a small Atlyrian ruin that has been converted into storage space for the club.
Within the basement hooded figures holding unlit lamps are standing in obvious reverence before a statue of winged woman wearing a stola and raising a lamp in one hand. Disconcertingly, there appears to be a slow drip of blood coming from the figure’s eyes and the lamp. A powerfully built man steps forward in greeting, explaining that the “lady of light” has given them an opportunity to free their homeland from the Galarenian tyranny. He is pleased to see new recruits, but warns them that they will need to prove their loyalty with a traitor’s blood. The entire time he has been speaking, pained moans can be heard from a large crate in the same room.
Asking why they want to join, the leader listens to the party’s cover story before nodding and saying “now the lady of light will confirm you speak truly”. For a moment the statue’s lamp and eyes all flash blue before the leader angrily shouts “spies and traitors” and the cult members draw weapons and advance.
A Fake Cult to a Dead God
After the cult members are defeated, opening the crate reveals a scrawny looking man covered in bruises who cowers before realizing his ordeal is over. Relieved at surviving he explains that he is the cult’s founder, though he just started the group to meet friends and seem more important before being overthrown by his second in command.
Upon being questioned about the statue's glowing eyes he is confused, explaining that the statue is just something he found in the Amethyst Crown’s basement. He only used it because it looked mysterious enough to make it seem like the cult was ancient and well established, instead of being invented out of whole cloth by a charlatan. Where his usurper’s powers came from, he has no idea.
Followup research reveals that the “lady of light” is really a statue of one of the Atlyrian Empire’s gods known by scholars as Zephra, the Messenger. More confusingly, despite the displayed powers the god is generally assumed to have died in the Aetherstorm, as no evidence for her survival has been uncovered since.
Thieves in the Abyss
An Unexpected Invitation
Cassandra Rataan, the proprietress of the Amethyst Crown, invites the party to her study, a room filled with Atlyrian cultural and technological artifacts. She has uncovered the location of one of the living caves known as Flesh Caverns that can be found in the ocean trenches around Atlyria and proposes a difficult but lucrative job. She wants the party to infiltrate the cavern and recover as many skepsaad (a type of living relic) as possible. She promises a reward for returning with at least one, as well as a bonus for each additional skepsaad recovered.
A Taboo Broken
After descending into the dark depths of Atlyria’s ocean trenches the party encounters a friendly lophiite who directs them to the cavern they’re seeking, but warns that his people avoid these places, as they hold the remains of the gods who enslaved the lophiites in the distant past and are guarded by their thralls. As the party approaches the cavern, they encounter a millennia old battlefield, with dozens of automata twisted and shattered, including a colossus automaton which has been torn in half at the waist. From the outside, the cavern appears as a massive fleshy tumor suddenly rising out of the otherwise featureless benthic plain, covered in giant tube worms and pale coral growths.
Once the party enters the cavern, it is immediately apparent that the lophiite’s warning is well justified. Inside are multitudes of horrifying creatures that react violently to outsiders and even its very walls are alive and hostile, attempting to reach out and harm those who stay in one place for too long.
Eventually the party enters a chamber where around a dozen living relics are found, including five skepsaad, as well as an enraged ixigoth. Anyone who handles a skepsaad after dispatching the ixigoth sees a flash of the memories stored within it. Visions of everyday life from the Atlyrian Empire’s height are experienced, including market scenes, gladiatorial games and a visit to Atlyria’s central forum. Disconcertingly, these memories show the citizens of the Atlyrian Empire as being deeply fearful of attacks and infiltration by an unknown foe apparently powerful enough to seriously threaten the strongest empire the world has ever seen. In addition to memories of everyday life, there is one memory from the perspective of someone attempting to flee Atlyrian legionaries and automata, their body contorting into strange and inhuman forms as they move. Most intriguing, in one memory a painting of a luxin woman who exactly resembles Cassandra can be seen.
A Woman out of Time
If the party mentions witnessing the painting: Cassandra cooly reminds them that a condition of their hiring was discretion. After all, she doesn’t want any salacious rumors spreading based on what amounts to a memory of a coincidence. She politely but strongly hints at severe consequences if such rumors were to spread.
If the party does not mention the painting: Cassandra is thrilled about the number of skepsaad the party was able to recover. However she also leadingly asked them if they had left anything out of their account of the abyss. This is simply an attempt to encourage someone to let anything slip they might be concealing by implying that she knows they aren’t telling the whole story, rather than a sign she actually knows what they witnessed.
Either way, as long as the party doesn’t attempt to use what they saw against her, she thanks them for their service and promises more work in the future if they maintain discretion about the job. If enough trust can be built, in time Cassandra may reveal her true nature, and purpose for the strange job she sent them on.
A God in Shackles
A Mysterious Visitor
In the middle of the night in a seemingly secure location the party is awoken by a masked man. His name is Jakob Mathys and he has come to present an intriguing offer. He’s identified a previously unexplored Atlyrian temple and offers to give the party information on how to enter and loot it if they’ll activate a device he provides of obviously Atlyrian origin in the temple’s inner sanctum. He explains that the device will map the temple as it once was as part of a project researching Atlyrian technology.
A Suspicious Series of Devices
When the device is activated in the inner sanctum, the party is transported to the realm of the Atlyrian god Zephra whose herald Litzen is shocked to find the first visitors in millennia, and then ecstatic when Zephra’s unconscious form begins to briefly stir. Excited by his mistress’ stirrings, he begs the party to plant more devices to help reawaken Zephra. Jakob is ready to provide more devices and directions to more temples, however meeting individuals familiar with Jakob and delving through other temples makes it apparent that his intentions are impure to say the least.
In addition to helping to stir the sleeping god, Jakob’s devices are enforcing a hypnotic conditioning that will force Zephra to obey his commands when reawakened. He intends to use her power to first destroy the city of New Termessos, then all of New Zamar if possible. While this would kill thousands of innocents, he sees this as an acceptable sacrifice to drive Zamar out of Atlyria. Depending on the party’s actions, they may have some or all of this figured out when Jakob asks them to plant the final device in Zephra’s temple on top of Atlyria’s tallest mountain east of New Termessos.
Jakob Mathys Plays his Final Card
If the party plants the final device: Once the final device activates and Zephra fully awakens it becomes clear that the god is not fully under her own power. Her herald is horrified and becomes hostile, attacking the party unless calmed down. However Jakob’s control is tenuous, and he requires some time to actually direct the god’s behavior, providing an opportunity to find and stop him. If the party fails to stop Jakob, Zephra summons a hurricane of such power that it wipes New Termessos off the map before she is able to shake Jakob’s control.
If the party refuses to plant the final device: Jakob is disappointed but insinuates that he is fully capable of planting the final device before teleporting away. The party will need to chase after the powerful mage in order to make it to the final temple for a climactic confrontation in Zephra’s actual realm, possibly with her herald’s assistance. If Jakob is killed after the final device is activated Zephra awakens as before, but with Jakob dead her conditioning is rendered moot and she can act according to her own free will.
Assuming Jakob is stopped before he can force Zephra to destroy New Termessos, the deity is enormously grateful for being awakened and freed from Jakob’s influence. Despite the Atlyrian Empire’s fearsome reputation she is a kindly god, averse to violence and horrified at what she was almost forced to do. Though Zephra is greatly diminished after her long slumber, she is able to grant the party several boons, including the Tonitrus Wings, her legendary weapon.
Searching Jakob’s body reveals extensive research notes on the subject of awakening a member of the Atlyrian pantheon. Recent notes reveal an anonymous benefactor provided the crucial devices that enabled Zephra’s reawakening. However Jakob’s own suspicions led him to investigate until he uncovered his benefactor’s identity, Cassandra Rataan, proprietress of the Amethyst Crown.
Sidequests and Potential Future Arcs
While these three quests could make up the entirety of the tale, it’s also possible that they might only be the first arc in the Sleeping Gods Saga, which sees the rest of the Atlyrian pantheon awakened, or in one case resurrected, while the ancient and alien forces responsible for the Atlyrian Empire’s death begin to reassert their power over modern Atlyria.
Outside of these three main quests there is the potential for a multitude of side quests great and small where the party can help solve problems and uncover mysteries across Atlyria. Some of these include:
The Breaker of Cities The necromancer Zilmis Umohlath has recently succeeded in corrupting the organic core of his magnum opus, a colossus automata. He has taken his undead pet on a joyride, destroying small towns around the Dawnbreaker Federation. The party must race to level the playing field against an automaton built to flatten entire cities before they confront the deranged necromancer.
The Church of the Lady Ascendant: Angharad the Traveller, the draconic dictator of Dragon’s Watch, has a problem. A cult purporting to worship her as a living god has committed a series of thefts across her city. While she has no problems with being worshiped, “stealing from another’s horde” is an intolerable crime and the party is recruited to track down and stop the mysterious thieves.
Hunting the White Stag: The hunter Cassius Torgaden recruits the party for assistance tracking a legendary white stag recently seen in the Whisperwoods. Unfortunately for the party, they’re actually tracking an archfey who enjoys playing sometimes violent pranks on hunters in his woods while in his guise as a white stag.
Infiltration and Emancipation: Tajel the Chainbreaker is looking for outside help with a plan to raid one of Zamar’s mines around Adelene’s Sound and emancipate its miners. She needs the party to infiltrate the Zamarian sea fort that guards the sound’s eastern entrance and sabotage the harbor chain that controls access so her ship can slip in and out before a response can be mustered.
 Stock Art by Liu Zishang used per license. Image modified by author
 Stock Art by camilkuo used per license. Image modified by author https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/2d-digital-illustration-character-design-concept-2016499865
 Stock Art by Liu Zishang used per license. Image modified by author
 Stock Art by Liu Zishang used per license.
 Map of Atlyria by author
 Stock Art by Liu Zishang used per license. Image modified by author
 Monster Slayer by Enmanuel "Lema" Martinez. Stock Art used per license.
 Dagon by Enmanuel "Lema" Martinez. Stock Art used per license.
 Underground Stone Temple Stock Art by Daniel Comerci. Stock Art used per license.
 Character art commissioned from mattrdl by author. Contact him at [email protected] if you’re interested in having your own art commissioned.
 Stock Art by SimpleB. Image modified by author.
 Stock Art by Liu Zishang used per license. Image modified by author
Author's note: this entry is split across two posts due to hitting the character limit for a single post.
incredible presentation! big mood.
@TableTopProphet Thank you! I spent a long time working with markdown in order to make the formatting look good.
The art looks so good! I love the painterly backgrounds
Thank you! I spent three or four days digging through various stock art sites to find pieces that were a good fit for my entry.