Rifts and other dynamic events can be triggered by players, scheduled by the development team, or even occur spontaneously. Dynamic events within the game can lead to a range of changes across the world, including everything from minor events to dramatic shifts in the game’s landscape and the opening of new areas. Players will connect with hundreds of thousands of other gamers to battle creatures overrunning the world, as well as each other.
Legend has it that when Bahralt the crafter god had finished forging Telara, he examined his work and was pleased. His assistants in this masterpiece were spirits of creation, and he rewarded their labors with the gift of life. These Dwarves awoke with a desire to build and create, to craft wildest dreams into tangible wonders.
The Dwarves built the first cities. Though primitive, these cairns were carved into the rock with such craftsmanship that some still stand today. Dwarves were the first blacksmiths, masons, the first enchanters of magical devices. Their works made them welcome in any settlement the world over. Dwarves made weapons of surpassing deadliness, jewelry of astounding beauty, and structures to withstand eons and sieges.
When the Blood Storm invaded, the best the Dwarves could hope for was to be forced by the more civilized dragons Laethys, Crucia, or Akylios to produce wealth, weapons, and runecraft. Rather than accept slavery or oblivion, the Dwarves marched from their halls of stone to help rid Telara of the plundering wyrms.
Thereafter, the works of the Dwarves were integral to most of Telara’s great empires. Dwarven craftsmen were paid handsomely to build the machines that fueled the mad cosmic dreams of the Eth sorcerer kings, and Mathosia marched on its first crusade wielding Dwarven blades and accompanied by stout Dwarf axmen.
The Dwarf king upon his runic throne is no entitled aristocrat, as Dwarf hierarchy is based on craftsmanship and skill. Every generation, each Dwarf city, or “delve,” holds a festival where a council of elders called the Syntechnia select the clan who boasts the greatest artisans, mages, warriors, and priests. This clan rules the delve until the next festival, with their head-of-house as king or queen. Dwarven folklore is filled with stories of tinkerers, smiths, and warriors rising from poverty to prominence through hard work, ingenuity, and excellence in their field.
Every delve has different needs, valuing different skills and crafts. For example, Lord’s Hall in Scarwood Reach nurtured close ties with Mathosia, focusing on war and weapon-craft to create the finest swords, warriors, and inquisitors in Telara. Led by the architect Borrin Gammult, these Dwarves joined with Prince Zareph Mathos to battle the tyrant and necromancer Aedraxis. Alas, Lord’s Hall was hit hard by the Shade. Its remaining Dwarves shut themselves behind a mighty door, and have not emerged since.
Meanwhile, in the Moonshade Highlands, Rune King Molinar of Hammerknell ushered in a golden age of magic and runecraft. The delve produced miracles to rival the brilliant Eth, and was spared the horrors of the Shade, only to suffer the consequences of an ancient lie. For Hammerknell owed its miracles not to craftsmanship, but to binding the spirits of the dead to fuel the machines. Freed by proximity to planar energies, these spirits rose up in vengeance. The doors of Hammerknell were also sealed, not to protect the city from the world, but the world from the horrors of the city.
The Dwarves are a fallen people now. Without a homeland, they wandered for many years, taking shelter with the Mathosians, Elves, and even the Eth, as few towns would turn away a dwarven craftsman looking for a home. When Borrin Gammult returned as an Ascended Guardian, many Dwarves rallied to his banner in Sanctum, vowing to build a new home with the Vigil’s blessing, and to seek redemption for the sins of Hammerknell. Holy Sanctum owes much of its beauty and strength to the efforts of Dwarven heroes, mortal and Ascended, whose genius never faded even as their hope guttered to embers.
“’Fire is a hazard,’ says the coward. ‘Fire is a tool,’ says the fool. I say fire is a weapon, a friend, a state of mind, and that the bold man and the craven burn just as fast.”
Pyromancers are destructive mages whose sole focus is the mastery of fire, from launching massive incinerating blasts, to trapping their opponents behind a smoldering wall of flame. No other Ascended can match the sheer destruction at the Pyromancer’s fingertips.
Pyromancers keep their enemies at bay with well-placed fire spells, until they can be immolated at the Pyromancer’s leisure.
Pyromancers excel at roasting their enemies from afar, and so must be wary of foes able to charge into melee quickly or defend themselves against searing flames.
“Stay here. Those tricks the Elves taught you won’t frighten the Storm Legion,” Phynnious Rothmann’s brother said, laughing.
Imbecile, Phynnious thought, watching his fellow tribesmen ride to battle. My tricks frightened even my teachers!
Sickly son of a Mathosian chieftan, Phynnious Rothmann was sent to study magic with the Elves — less to bring the arcane arts to his people than to stay out from under stomping, booted feet. But the Elves sent him home early: not because his research into fire magic nearly burned their sacred grove to the ground, but because the urgency of human youth made them uncomfortable.
Rothmann trudged over to the edge of the cliff to watch as slowly, the valor of the united tribesmen overcame the mindless discipline of Crucia’s Storm Legion. Suddenly, an electric blast erupted in the middle of the battlefield. Whether thanks to lightning or terror, the hair on the back of Phynnious’s neck stood up and he whispered, “Stormtouched.”
Crucia herself, dragon of storms, had possessed the Legion’s commander. Phynnious knew she could bring to bear superhuman tactics and storm magic that would eradicate every northman in that valley. He knew this even as he rode to the battlefield, quick as a midsummer fire through dry scrub. Leaping off his horse, Phynneous turned into a streak of flame flashed toward the front line just as the Mathosians quavered on the edge of disaster.
Standing on the front line, Rothmann conjured exploding fissures of magma, completing in mere seconds an incantation that took his Elf tutors minutes. White-hot flame lanced from his fingers, sending charred chunks of Legionaries flying in all directions. The Storm Legion’s rally became a rout.
An arrow slammed into Rothmann’s shoulder, jarring him into a state of sharp focus. The possessed Storm Legion leader advanced, aiming his second arrow at the mage’s heart. Phynnious screamed at his assailant, exhaling waves of flame that burned the bow away. The general drew his sword and charged through the flames. Two steps from Phynnious he stopped, a statue of solid ash.
Phynnious’s laughter blew the ash away on the northern breeze, joined by with the roar of his clansmen as they ran down the fleeing Storm Legion, even as a voice hissed from the sky: “I will kill you, little mage.”Years later, as Phynnious fixed the keystone to Crucia’s prison, he taunted, “Remember what you promised me?” and laughed again, breathy and crackling like a bonfire.
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