Hello all! I’m quite excited to submit this idea for the contest. I’ve been running a D&D campaign in this world for a few months now, and have been itching to do something more with it. Ideas of novels have crossed my mind, and I may still go down that road. However, I discovered this site via Reddit (today actually) and thought it could be exactly the thing I’m looking for. Be warned: I exposition a lot lmao. This will be quite a long submission, as I’ve poured a lot of time into this world. Ultimately, the first paragraph is all that’s necessary for a basic understanding of what this Tale will consist of. Read more if you please, or don’t if not. I hope you enjoy!
The Divine Deck
In the land of Aenia, every 1000 years, a great challenge is issued. The gods, in all their glory, reassemble the Divine Deck for another round of challengers. Each of the 22 gods select their champion(s), great figures who they believe will be greater than all the others. They that assemble the Divine Deck, in its entirety, are granted a great boon: one wish of their choosing. Two such contests have already passed, and you have been chosen as a champion for the third.
Brief History of Aenia
The land of Aenia came into being by the hand of the gods. They infused their powers into the world and the people within, creating a land of magic and warfare. They utilized a set of cards, known as the Divine Deck, as catalysts for their power. As time passed, they granted mortals these cards as boons for their devotion. They became symbols of divine favor and power. Many a mortal kingdom arose due to possessing a card, while many others faltered because of their influence. The cards have influenced the land for 3000 years now, and they show no sign of stopping their influence.
As previously mentioned, this Tale takes place on a continent called Aenia (for the most part), a land divided into a few different nations. I’ll give some brief descriptions of the major nations here:
The Humanitas Imperii: A human empire, inspired by the Roman Empire. The ruling family is a bit… closed-minded, to say the least. They’ve declared humanity superior to the other species on the continent, much to the ire of their neighbors. They’ve even proclaimed themselves superior to the other humans, which has gotten them in even more trouble.
The Holy State of Harania: A human kingdom, inspired by the Levant. They generally keep to themselves in most circumstances unless provoked, such as by the Imperii, whom they are currently engaged in a bloody war with.
Szorethin: A Dark Elf state ruled by a council of elected individuals, Szorethin has become an incredible naval superpower. They’ve begun charting expeditions out into the sea, hopeful to discover more islands to expand their influence. They’ve recently merged with several orc tribes, and even added a seat to the council for the orcs in a gesture of good faith.
Moceria: A human kingdom, inspired by medieval Spain. Moceria has been a well-established power for hundreds of years. The ruling family is very well-respected. Tensions with the Imperii have been running high as of late, with talks of joining their war against Harania circulating in the palaces.
Ziradznib: A Dwarven kingdom which has had its borders pushed further into the mountains as of late. The Imperii has made the dwarves their main targets, leading to a very unfortunate destruction of Dwarven culture in many places.
In addition, here’s a map I’ve cooked up. I didn’t talk about all the nations on this map for the sake of brevity. I’d be more than happy to explain the rest to anyone who is interested. (This map was created with the program "Azgaar's Fantasy Map Generator". Note that this map was not simply a randomly generated one.)
Here’s a basic overview of six characters. Three NPC helpers for the player(s), two antagonistic characters, and one character that’s a bit… different.
Bodger, Disinherited Lord of Clan Raleigh:
A member of a high ranking Dragonborn clan, Bodger was disinherited of his titles due to his inability to cast magic. Angered and seeking vengeance, Bodger sees the opportunity presented to him by the gods’ challenge as a way to exact vengeance for his betrayal. While not a card-bearer himself, he will certainly make a loyal friend in this quest, provided you have no dealings with his family.
Nari, Shrouded in Shadow:
A dark elf shrouded in darkness is a relatively uncommon sight in Aenia these days. Undeterred by this, Nari remains in the darkness. His past is just as mysterious as he is. What secrets is he carrying? Only time will tell.
Theron, Officer of the Mage Corps.:
Theron, a dark elf of great renown, has served in the Szorethin mage corps. for a very long time. An esteemed officer, commanding a squadron of war mages, Theron earned many accolades in many wars. Theron withdrew from the armed forces recently, citing “independent study” as his reasoning. His studies have led him here, prepared to help collect cards. His magical prowess would certainly be invaluable.
Ascensor, Lord of the Wyverns:
Born a thousand years ago, Ascensor was the last in a long line of great Wyvern Tamers. Bound to a pact with the leaders of the Imperii at the end of a brutal war, Ascensor was made to serve the rulers after his death. He has finally been granted a chance at eternal rest, if he can complete one last task. His mission? To gather the cards. Pray you aren’t in the vicinity when you hear his wyvern screeching.
Rhag, the War Butcher:
A fearsome orc, leader of the Horde of Bror. He wields two battleaxes, infused with the two cards he was granted. The chosen champion of two gods is always a force to be reckoned with, and Rhag is no different. He has felled hundreds, if not thousands, of enemy soldiers. He will certainly continue to do so now that he has the power of cards.
He looks like a corpse. He never moves. He never speaks. He just sits. He stares. He watches. Those who have seen him up close say that spiders crawl out of his empty, black eye sockets. They say he always tries to bargain with individuals. He doesn’t deal in gold, though. He deals in memories, skills, and the like. Recently, he’s taken to dealing cards.
Plot Points and Quests:
Obviously, the main goal here will be to obtain the cards. However, there are plenty of other things going on in the world, some of which also relate to the cards. Here are a few examples:
The Grand Tournament:
Brakrukk Shattershield, the orc elected to Szorethin’s council, has organized a great tournament. He has sent out an invitation to all reaches of the land. The invitation was to a grand tournament, the greatest ever held within Aenia. The rewards would be riches beyond one’s wildest dreams, powerful weaponry, and cards. A vast multitude of card-bearers will be in attendance, so why not throw your hat in the ring?
The Slumbering Giant:
Legends abound of a fearsome beast that lies on an island far from the main land. This island, the only portion of the continent which is not inhabited, is said to be home to a great Turtle Dragon, and her great horde. The legends say that she will slumber, just as she has for centuries, until a great event awakens her and her thirst for wealth and power. A terrible roar was heard coming from the direction of the island recently, audible across the entire continent. This can mean only one thing: the slumbering giant has awoken.
Across the ocean:
A humongous event has just occurred. Szorethin's explorers finally found what they've been looking for: more land. An entire new continent, if they're to be believed. They've told of strange inhabitants with their own languages, weaponry, and magic. Many a noble is sending out an expedition to chart and claim these new lands. Your interest may be piqued, should you choose to explore.
If you’ve read everything, thank you so much for your time, and profuse apologies for how long it was lol. If you skipped down here after reading some of it, thank you for reading any of my work. It truly makes me happy that even just a fraction of it was worth reading. Good luck to everyone else submitting Tales for the contest. No matter who wins, I get the feeling that we’re going to create something special here :).