The World of Alyria

History, Factions, and Politics


the story of alyria - an introduction to the world as it is...

** To view this and other stories via the web, please visit the
History section of the Materia Magica website at **

In days gone by, a medium-sized blue-green planet named Alyria
existed, and continues to exist, in the northern quadrant of the
galaxy of Sirchade. Orbiting the planet are the twin moons,
Trigael and Marabah, which emit a form of energy best described
as chaotic; saturating the world of Alyria in this power.

This affected life on Alyria, as all such things do. From the
common roots of primal ancestry evolved several forms of life,
which were known as Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Gnomes.
As such things must be, these races discovered their differences
and went their separate ways, with little or no mingling.

As self-discovery continued, overall intelligence grew. Humans
were interested in exploration and discovery, and as such
populated several landmasses. Dwarves were concerned with the
heart of the world, and in the natural expression of stone, and
as such delved deep underground. Elves and Halflings were quiet
beings, preferring to follow the ways of nature and existed in the
forests and glens. Gnomes were enthusiastic about kinetics and
machines, and lived primarily near waterfalls, volcanoes, and
other natural sources of energy.

With time, order developed from chaos. The separate races built
towns, cities, and roads; selected leaders to guide them, each in
their own way, loved, lived, and died, watched over by the twin
moons that circled the planet daily.

One of the greatest discoveries of that time did not go to the
Dwarves, who had become obsessed with the mining of precious
metals and gems; it did not fall to the Halflings or Elves, who
were perfectly content with nature and shunned change; nor did it
fall to the Gnomes, although many of their machines were
considered great discoveries in themselves.

The humans had discovered how to tap into the natural chaotic
forces that flowed through every tree, every rock, every stream
on Alyria. They called it Magick, and with it they were able to
perform great feats of enterprise and construction. That is not,
unfortunately, all it was used for. Everything must balance, and
in time, Magicians were divided into three groups, depending on
the way they used the forces that governed Magick. These groups
were simply known as White, Grey, and Black.

White magicians were concerned with the loftier pursuits of
self-discovery and pure-hearted results. Black magicians were
concerned with control, and power, and how they could exert that
over the other denizens of Alyria. Grey magicians drew from both
sides of the spectrum to create a healthy, natural balance;
and as such were closest with Nature, which can be heartless
and cruel one moment and beautiful and generous the next.

As the races began to intermingle more, as transportation became
more reliable and swifter, the Humans shared their knowledge of
these occult mysteries with those who were interested, and so
the world became a more orderly place. That is not to say there
were not occasional wars and skirmishes, far from it. Yet the
races existed together fairly peacefully for a long while,
learning and exploring with each other.

From the Grey Wizards, a subgroup emerged, calling themselves
Druids. These were the magicians who had felt closest to nature,
who saw that life balances itself, and the wheel of fortune
turns slowly but surely as it moves through all creation.
Because the Druids were able to understand the natural processes
surrounding them, they could encourage the natural fauna of
Alyria to grow and develop into sentient beings.

One of their early experiments was an attempt to make a stronger
race, one that would be close to nature, and respond to it,
and yet intelligent enough to make its own decisions. They chose
the bull, a large and unruly beast, and evolved a small group
using their Magick and understanding of natural processes. The
bulls were able to walk upright, and became intelligent, and the
Druids were pleased. They called these beasts Minotaurs.

As the Minotaurs grew in intelligence, they also grew in arrogance,
for the Druids made no secret that they were attempting to create
the strongest race. They learned order and hatred on their own,
escaping from the Ivory Towers of the Druids and ravaging the local
populous. Marking the experiment up as a failure, the Druids closed
their Towers to the general populous and became even more sequestered.

The White Wizards and Black Wizards were concerned about this;
the White Wizards because the Minotaurs were causing so much
destruction; the Black Wizards because they could not control the
strong race of Bulls. They disagreed as well, on what should be
done to stop this growing menace, for the numbers of Minotaurs were
increasing daily.

The White Wizards wanted to bring the natural balance of order back
to the world, and conducted many experiments designed to bring
nature to the world in a physical form. In doing so, they discovered
the Faerie plane, a higher plane of existence, created from the
chaos of energies that swirled throughout the universe. The Faeries,
until now, had existed completely separately from the physical world,
yet were attracted by the warm blood and presence of Alyria and
sought to journey there. Chaos flowed through their beings as
naturally as blood through a Human, giving them substance and form.
However, the Faeries did not have souls; once they were destroyed
they remained gone forever; and grew jealous of the races upon the
Physical Plane who had them.

Two groups existed among the Faeries; the Feys, and the Sidhes,
governed by a Queen and a King, respectively. The Queen of the
Faeries wanted control of the physical plane, which to them
consisted mainly of Alyria and its Magick; the King merely wanted
to continue living in peace (and ignorance, some might say).

From the Queen's desire, Feys journeyed to Alyria through
magickal doorways created of chaos energies, and discovered that,
while the warm blood of the denizens of Alyria appealed to them,
they could not stand the sun, for it burned away the chaotic darkness
that made up their beings; nor could they stand water, for it
nullified and purified the chaos within them, thus destroying their
physical forms. It is due to these restrictions that the Queen's
plan to rule the World of Souls failed; for the races discovered
these weaknesses and used them to their advantage.

The King, somewhat alarmed that his Queen should have control over
something he did not give her, sent his own race to the physical
plane, the Sidhes. The Sidhes were pleasant creatures to look at
in physical form, if somewhat cold in their mannerisms. Choosing
Alyria as their final battleground, the King and Queen raged
war against each other, in an attempt to gain control; the Queen
wanting control, and the King merely not wanting her to have it.

The White Wizards were aghast at the chaos they had caused, and
were taunted by the Black Wizards, who had gone their own way and
had continued the Druids' racial experiments. They took the
newborn spawn of one of Alyria's more fearsome, if stupid,
creatures, the Dragon, and subjected it to magical rites
designed to improve intelligence and form. This gave them the
ability to walk on two legs and to communicate with others.

The Black Wizards were not as successful as the Druids in this
experimentation, however, for the Dracons, as they were called, had
neither the brains nor the brawn of the Minotaurs. Yet, they did
possess one powerful ability left from their former beings, the
ability to use the natural gasses and forces within their bodies
to produce fire, electricity, and acid as offensive measures.
The Dracons did not care for the Minotaurs, either, who considered
them beneath them and the two races warred continuously. In that,
the Black Wizards had succeeded where the White Wizards had not,
giving Minotaurs a counterbalance, an equal enemy, and so the order
of Alyria was somewhat restored.

The dismay of the Druids, however, was greater than that of the
Black Wizards, for they had started the chain of evil events by
tampering with the forces of Nature. Vowing that no Druid should
ever again seek to alter the Balance of Nature, the Druids withdrew
from the people into the last primal forest on Alyria, the location
of their fabled Ivory Tower, and vanished from the sight of mankind

A thousand years passed, and the world began falling into disarray.
The Great Council of Wizards was no more; the separate members having
left in anger over petty quarrels and disagreements hundreds of years
before. Without the Council to discourage racial strife, the separate
races became more and more disillusioned with each other and eventually
withdrew into their separate homelands, not wishing to intermingle with
that which was not them. Wars erupted between the races, and thousands
upon thousands of innocents died in meaningless squabbles.

The War between the Dwarves and Humans was one of the great Race Wars,
and had gone on for more than a century. The great Battle of Istani was,
in both Dwarf and Human view, the key to the victor; whomever won this
battle was the more superior race.

However, just as Huruk (the Bearer of the Golden Hammer of Triumph) and
Farren Trueblade (the Wielder of the Last Mighty Ironsword) were
exchanging final blows, there was a tremendous eruption over the whole
of the main continent, Sepharia. A hideous thunderclap of sound and
force blew across the opposing armies, deafening and stunning those who
were not killed instantly into dropping their weapons and staring,
openmouthed, at the western horizon from whence the blast had come.

Slowly, ponderously into the sky rose a massive Isle, which had, until
just then, been the western peninsula of Sepharia. It was well known as
Verity, the land of the dark Sorcerer, Riga, who was reputed to be over a
thousand years old, and had originally sat as one of the heads of the
Black Council of Wizards. Dark thunderclouds swirled about the base and
top of the now airborne peninsula, as it continued its ascension into
the sky. Occasional streaks of lightning would erupt from beneath the
Isle, and tons of earth and molten rock poured over the land for fifty
miles in all directions.

From within the dark clouds came a great Voice, the voice of Riga, which
proclaimed the following:

"I, Riga, am now the ruler of all the lands upon Alyria. As I have spoken,
let all now feel the Power of my Words."

With that, there fell upon the peoples of Alyria a crushing blow, a
mental force, a spell so powerful that it caused all who were outside to
fall upon their knees and raise their voices in praise to the great
Sorcerer Riga, even though deep within their entranced minds they were
screaming in utter Horror. Even the faeries could feel the power of the
Voice, and fled shrieking back to the Faerie Plane so that they would
not fall under its power. Utter Silence befell the land; the birds
even ceased to sing.

From within the dark Tower upon the floating Verity Isle, Riga laughed
and cackled, for now all that was upon Alyria was his.

Thus did Riga's five-hundred year reign begin, referred to by historians
as the Age of Silence, for not once during that long span of years did
the birds sing again.

As the centuries passed, Riga reigned with a careful, if often cruel,
hand. Those who opposed him were immediately slain. Riga, however,
began to feel the weight of the years upon his back, for Sorcerers,
even though their magic can greatly extend their lifespan, cannot live
forever. In his quest for companionship, Riga created the winged Aeriels,
which guarded his tower, but he was never able to bless them with the
power of Speech, such a feat being beyond any mortal Sorcerer without
divine intervention of some kind, but Riga served no Powers, thinking
them crutches for the weak.

It was thus that Riga accepted his first and only apprentice, a young
Sorceress named Cassandra. She was indeed beautiful, and rumor spoke of a
romance that existed beneath the guise of learning. Cassandra learned of
many things; the Temporal Displacement Spell, with which one can reverse
the effects of time in a wide area range; the Spell of a Hundred Years
of Silence, with which one can remove the subject's ability to speak
for a hundred years; and it is rumored she even learned the dreaded
Armageddon Spell, with which one can incinerate all life upon the
planet, checked only by boundaries of water. Needless to say, the spell
had only been cast twice in the history of Alyria, both with equally
dreadful results.

As Cassandra drank in the knowledge the Sorcerer was bestowing upon
her, she became more and more curious about the secret of the Sorcerer's
power. She knew not where he gained the increased magical strength,
required to cast spells like the Armageddon Spell and to use the
magical Voice in the manner which he had done; however, she did know
about the room at the top of the Tower, the one in which she was never
allowed, the entrance so covered with wards and magical alarms that
she could feel their glowing presence from a hundred feet away.

Cassandra began to plot and scheme, planning the Sorcerer's downfall.
What lay beyond that door she could only dream, but she knew it was the
key to the Sorcerer's power and by rights it should be hers. The only
thing standing in the way of her plan were the loyal, dumb Aeriels,
who heeded every beck of their Master's call. After much wheedling and
manipulating, she managed to get them banished from the tower during
the nighttime hours, claiming they made her nervous. They did, but not
for the reason that the Sorcerer assumed.

Her chance came one evening, upon a rare occurrence in which the
light of the twin moons, Trigael and Marabah, were extinguished by
the cold shadow of Alyria, and all the land was utterly dark. Without
the power of the Moons, a Sorcerer's power is greatly diminished,
and Cassandra knew this. She waited in her bed with a jeweled knife
gripped firmly in her grasp, over and over repeating the words of an
Incantation of confusion that would cloud Riga's senses for that
brief instant she needed to be able to slip the knife past his shields
and into his withered flesh.

Riga came to her that night, as she knew he would. As Riga fell to the
floor, blood cascading from the mortal wound she had given him, she
smiled gleefully at the power that would soon be hers.

Not everything went as she had planned, however, for at the passing
of the Sorcerer Riga, the shutters of the tower banged violently at
a sudden wind which had sprung up from nowhere. The Aeriels began
wailing outside the thick stone walls, and to her alarm Cassandra
heard the sound of the window breaking, and saw the white wings
of an Aeriel as they began to fly into the bedchamber.

Her magic being limited by the lack of the Twins, Cassandra
hastily retreated up the stairs, heading for that repository of
power for which she had yearned for so long, knowing that its
magic would give her the strength she needed to destroy the
rebellious Aeriels and take control of what had been Riga's.

The door, held shut by magic, had shifted ajar at the Sorcerer's
passing. She pushed open the door and beheld the key to Power,
a glowing red Stone, which hovered in the center of the room,
held in check by the power of an elaborate pentacle interwoven
with sigils and runes engraved in the stone beneath her feet.

Hearing the beating wings of the Aeriels behind her as they flew
up the stairs, she hastly crossed the pentacle and grasped the
Stone within her hands.

A circle of fire enveloped the room, and the very foundations
of the tower shook, causing structural damage throughout the

Cassandra's hands remained gripped tightly on the Stone;
the Stone which Riga had siphoned power from but had never
attempted to use directly, for he feared it, as it was not
of this world.

Two hundred years passed, and the events on the floating Verity Isle
faded into legend, save for the memories of a few wayward adventurers
who dared to discover its location and unlock the mystery of
the Tower of Riga. It is said that the fierce Aeriels still guard
their now-Masterless tower, and slay anyone who dares come near.

World events now assuming a normal course, several feudal Lords
came together to form the first Alyrian Council, with plans to
better the world and all those who lived upon it. The greatest
of these lords was known as Agrippa, for he governed the majestic,
ancient towne of Rune. The other great nobles were Lord Vendredi,
the master of the magical city of Sigil; Lord Telleri, the ruler
of his self-named city Tellerium; Lord Vashir, the overseer of
the rogue-infested town of New Rigel; and Lady Undya, the governess
of the clerical city of Xaventry.

** For more stories, please see the History section of the Materia Magica 
website at: **


factions - groups of people (and/or creatures) united by an ideology

 Factions exist throughout the world of Alyria, and your standing
 amongst the varied factions can be important depending on your
 goals. Faction standing can affect many things, such as:

 * Ability to equip/use certain faction-bound pieces of equipment
 * Cause faction members to attack you on sight, or possibly
   to assist you
 * Give you access to exclusive faction banks
 * Give you discounts at exclusive faction stores, or the ability
   to buy from those stores at all using credits from the faction
   bank (some faction-run shops may not accept gold or any other
   form of currency, except as issued as credit from their bank)

 Faction Types
 There are many different faction types, which are primarily used for
 classification purposes. These faction types are similar to clan
 types. Current faction types are:

 Guild                 Region              Racial
 Towne                 Class               Clan
 Alliance              Cartel              Coven
 Court                 Order

 Faction Points and Standing Levels
 To increase or decrease in standing with a faction, you will gain
 or lose faction points. When you are first 'noticed' by a faction,
 you start out neutral, with a faction standing of "ambivalent"
 (0 points). As you gain faction points, your standing level will
 change. Faction levels range from feared to legendary, and
 points range from -27,500 to 27,500.

 Faction standing levels are:
 Legendary                 22,500  to   27,499 faction points
 Esteemed                  17,500  to   22,499 faction points
 Distinguished             12,500  to   17,499 faction points
 Liked                     7,500   to   12,499 faction points
 Appreciated               2,500   to    7,499 faction points
 Ambivalent               -2,500   to    2,499 faction points
 Apprehensive             -7,500   to   -2,499 faction points
 Disliked                 -12,500  to   -7,499 faction points
 Disgraced                -17,500  to  -12,499 faction points
 Despised                 -22,500  to  -17,499 faction points
 Feared                   -27,500  to  -22,499 faction points

 The FACTION command displays a list of factions and your current
 standing with each one.

 Gaining and Losing Faction Points
 You can gain or lose points with particular factions via the
 following actions:
 * Completing certain quests
 * Firing upon and sinking faction ships
 * Slaying faction NPCs

 Additionally, some factions have restrictions as to who can gain
 points with them (such as specific race-bound factions).

 Opposing Factions
 Many factions will have goals opposing other factions, and so helping one
 will necessarily disadvantage the other. Some relationships will involve
 many factions all opposed to one another; gaining favor with one will
 result in losing equal favor with another, or all of the others equally,
 as appropriate, and vice versa.

 Faction Banks
 Some factions have their own banks. These banks can be used by
 faction members in shops associated with that faction. For example,
 the Alyrian Bazaar, located near New Rigel, is run by the Alyrian
 Merchant's Association, a well known trading faction. You can
 obtain vouchers that, when used, give you a certain amount of
 credit in the Alyrian Merchant Association's bank, which can then
 be used to buy goods from the Alyrian Bazaar.


mayoral elections - the process of electing a citizen adventurer to mayor

 Elections deciding who will become the Mayor of Rune will take place for the
 Alyrian 4-day period encompassing the 12-15th of the months of January, May 
 and September. Elections are held in The Council Chamber in Rune Town Hall,
 off of Rowan Road. Election officials ensure that elections are held fairly
 and that only citizens of Rune may vote. To become a citizen of Rune, one
 must be a property-holder in Rune, and demonstrate that they are active
 homeowners in the area. Once they have proved this to the satisfaction of
 the election officials, voting is as simple as using the voting booth for
 the citizen of your choice. Mayoral candidates do not have to be citizens of
 Rune to be voted for or win. Citizens may only vote once, and homeowners
 switching their citizenship from another town on the day of the election may
 not vote in it.
 Lord Agrippa is very apprehensive about testing out this new-fangled 
 'democracy' thing, and is wary about anything that could confuse the results;
 as such, election fraud is taken very seriously, and the utmost scrutiny is
 applied to make sure that alternates are not used to tamper with results.
 At 11:59pm on the last day, the 15th, votes are tallied by election imps and
 their impartial supervisors, and a winner is announced. In the event of two
 or more candidates tying with the same number of votes, one winner be will be
 chosen at random from among the tying candidates. The election officials will
 take down the election booth, and the mayor may go acquaint themselves with
 the High Judge of Rune, who serves as mayoral advisor. 
 The Mayor of Rune is the only person authorized to wear the Rune Mayor's
 official top hat of office, with which they may affect change around town.
 When interacting with the High Judge of Rune, the mayor has several lines of
 inquiry available to them:
    Asking the Judge about 'protocol' will lead him to explain that the
    position of mayor confers certain rights and privileges, primary among
    which is the ability to change certain basic elements of the towne. The
    properties of individual rooms may be toggled, but each change will make
    the town less familiar to the town council, and as such the Mayor may not
    change things too much. Each property has a degree of newness associated
    with it, representing how acceptable it is; making a room reinforced
    against earthquakes would represent a small change, whereas making a room
    no-regen would represent a big change.
    Asking the Judge about 'room qualities' will lead him to list the room
    qualities that can be changed by the Mayor, along with how much of a
    change they represent.
    In order to change a room's qualities, the Mayor must be wearing the Rune 
    Mayor's official top hat of office, and say, "I, Mayor so-and-so, do
    formally declare this room to be, and then the desired property to be
    changed." For example, if Sylvaer were elected Mayor of Rune, she would
    say, "I, Mayor Sylvaer, do formally declare this room to be reinforced.",
    and then, until she or a future mayor reverted it, that room would be
    immune to earthquakes.
    The mayor and all adventurers may ask the Judge about 'what policies 
    various administrations have enacted', and the Judge will list which
    Mayors have changed the Towne of Rune and how, as well as how much more
    the current mayor can change things before having to revert room
    qualities and undoing changes.

    Once every 3 Alyrian days, the mayor may have the Town Crier issue a 

    proclamation by going to Town Square and SAYTOing the Crier 
 The Mayor may revert a change that either the current or a previous 
 administration has enacted, and will regain the trust of the council in doing
 so, permitting them to change more later. Both the council's trust and all
 mayor-enacted changes persist across time and regime changes, and all changes
 to the town are permanent until changed by a Mayor. As such, future mayoral
 candidates and incumbent mayors can be judged and differentiated by their
 willingness to listen to their constituents' wishes for change or
 preservation, as well as their willingness to uphold campaign promises.