Heart of Darkness
Sprawled across the south-eastern hills, Glomdoring Forest is a blight on the land. Once called Gloriana Forest, it was a place of light and beauty. Since the Taint spread across its borders, these dark woods have been home only to twisted monstrosities and sinister, scheming individuals. Those few who have been daring enough to venture within its boundaries have bought back tales of the walking dead, beasts made of the plants and soil, and even stranger creatures of nightmare. The spirits Crow and Night cast their malignant gaze over the woodlands, protecting them and acting to spread their influence across the world. Glomdoring has recently been revived as an active commune.
Nexus: Master Ravenwood Tree
The nexus of power in Glomdoring is the Master Ravenwood Tree, located in the center of the dark woods. As other forests, it is reflected upon the ethereal plane, adjacent to the Realm of Faethorn.
The Swarm has always existed. Hunger dwells in the heart of the Wyrd, and because of this, its agents have always been. Anyone who has served the Glomdoring has preserved the intent of this guild, and now, it has a voice of its own. The Swarm does not devour mindlessly, like the insatiable appetites of the Soulless Ones, but instead, it carefully selects its targets with a cunningness of the most feral of predators.
When others merely accept change for what it is, the Swarm is a progenitor of this evolutionary force, consuming one weakness to create strength in the intervening absence. With the throes of careful manipulation or the ferocious might of an army, the conquering power of this guild's goals involve uniting the external with the internal, always bringing new facets of the Basin of Life under the control of the Glomdoring. While the Auguries provide new intel and the Thornwatch enables safe travel to new landscapes, the Swarm dismantles the world around it in order for the seeds of the wyrd to take root.
Warriors, politicians, instigators, and all manner of artisans find their footing here, so long as they recognise one overarching principle: the Swarm of the Glomdoring is unstoppable, and it will only be sated when every nuance of Creation has been consumed by the boundless progress of the Wyrd.
Auguries of the Dark Heart
There are signs in everything. Beyond the discourse of semiotic note, the natural world flexes its spiritual side whenever practitioners of the subtler arts manifest their will. The Auguries of the Dark Heart will read these signs as if they were made of whispers, which only they can hear, and will then transmute this information into strength for the wyrden population. Following blindly the will of the wilderness is the way for most, but for the priests and priestesses who make up the body of this guild, their will commands and the spiritual energy of the Basin of Life bends before them.
Who can say what lies behind the cloak of Mother Night? What terrible thoughts run through the minds of the men and women who breathe their last breaths in agony? When will the first black rose of spring rise from the rotting mulch of the Glomdoring, and how will its petals be used? Only the clever minds of the Auguries of the Dark Heart can divine the answers to these questions. Those who practice the arts of subterfuge, magic, and ritualism will use the shadows as their tools, crow with the voice of the murder, sing with the choir of the Wyrden Song, and bestow their dark gifts upon the unwitting souls of the Basin of Life.
Together with the Thornwatch and the Swarm, the Auguries of the Dark Heart will guide the culture of the Glomdoring forward, ensuring that all who call the Heart of Darkness their home will know the true influence of the wyrd.
Power is raw until it is nurtured. Then, it is changed. This change is the essence of what the Thornwatch has sworn to protect. What is power, if it is not the fetterless majesty of the wyrd? The answers may be varied and many, but they are wrong, and the defenders of the southern wood know this truth well. Governed by the belief that this innate power can only grow when its weakest limbs are removed, the Thornwatch follow a two-fold path: those who will destroy weakness from within, reaping away the dead to make room for new growth, and those who will spend their lives -- and their eternities thereafter -- tending to the ebb and flow of the wyrd's potential, within the Glomdoring and without.
While the Auguries are the priests whose fruits blossom on the rotting vines of the Glomdoring and the Swarm commands the ravaging conquest of the wyrd's reach into the Basin of Life, the Thornwatch remains a stalwart sentinel, embodying the centre of the Heart of Darkness. Those who find themselves taking up a sickle and reaping away the useless stalks of the wyrden garden so that new growth can rise will make their way to this guild, knowing that the seeds of strength must first have proper soil in which to take root. So, too, must the history be preserved so that the future can be realised, and the Thornwatch knows to place an eye on both ends of this spectrum.
Wardens, historians, leaders, and all manner of diligent reapers will find a path to tread within the Thornwatch, and through their efforts, the power of the wyrd will be free.
Deep in the heart of the Glomdoring Forest, the Song of Dark Returning lay dormant for many, many years. In the early years of Glomdoring reawakened, Crow began to appear with Brennan Stormcrow in the dreams. Brennan, whole and handsome, spoke to the commune of the Song, slowly revealing hints and eventually leading the whole commune to search for it. Uncovering the words, many of the commune's guildless druids agreed to sing the Song, hoping it would reawaken Crow, so that he might teach one to lead the druids on a new, uncertain path. After many unsuccessful tries, Glomdoring was informed that they must choose amongst themselves who the Chosen of Crow would be, and they would be handed the spine of a feather to open the way to the Dark Nest. After some debate and discussion, Bau Sayelle-Gladheart was eventually chosen to be the first Eye of Crow, and sang the Song of Dark Returning which gave birth to the Blacktalon Guild.
The Blacktalon are a druid archetype, thus, they are required to take LowMagic as a common skill before being able to study Nature magic. Once having mastered Nature magic, they then specialize in druidry. Their main secondary skill is Totems, which once mastered allows them to specialize in the Crow totem. Blacktalon druids may choose Runes or Dreamweaving or Hunting (with the specialization of Ecology) as their final skill, and may take Alchemy as their trade skill.
In the year 115, shortly after Rowena Nightshade passed on her mantle of power to the new Queen of the Night, Lady Viravain asked a simple tae'dae warrior if he planned to travel the path of the Shadowdancers. He was a warrior armed with flails and explained to the Lady Viravain that he sought a guild of warriors to protect the Glomdoring, to take up arms in battle where needed. Finding much wisdom in the words of the bear, Viravain decreed that it would be so, and asked what this group of warriors would be called. Shocked and amazed, the tae'dae said the first name that came to his mind, and that name was 'Ebonguard'. And so it came to pass that this most unlikely of tae'daes, whose name was Daganev Treeripper, founded the Ebonguard and took the title of Merciless Chieftain of the Ravenwood. The Ebonguard attracted many who had sought out the newly founded commune of Glomdoring, banding together as a tribe of fierce warriors. Using steel and might along with the teachings of the Great Totem Spirits, the Ebonguard embodies the Spirit of the Ebonglom Wyrm. But what this truly means remains an enigma to those outside of this fledgling guild. Are the Ebonguard brutal merciless warriors or deep pondering mystics? Do they care only for Nature or only to enhance their own power? The answer perhaps can only be found deep within the Mysteries of the Ebonglom Wyrm itself.
The Ebonguard is a Warrior archetype and thus able to choose Knighthood as their primary skill, though they can specialize as a Blademaster or a Bonecrusher upon reaching mastery. Like all warriors, they can learn Athletics as their secondary skill. They may also devote themselves to the Totems and choose to either specialize in Night or Crow. Alternatively instead of Totems, they may choose Hunting and specialize in Tracking.
Unsettling rhythms echo in the darkness of Glomdoring Forest, a low thrum rising from the Drums of the Dead like the pulse of a dark heart, accompanied by barghests' howls and the beating of crows' wings. In the year 159, the Blacktalon Nirrti captured these eerie melodies in a song, whose refrain awakened the Voice of the dead Elder Goddess Mahalla. Nirrti found herself keeper of the Dead Voice, and vowed to teach others to sing the praises of the dark forest, becoming the first Harbinger of the Wyrd.
The Harbingers' art ranges from hymns of subtle beauty, to ferocious hunt songs, to dirges fatal to the listener. Their music spurs shadowbound fae to a frenzy and makes the Wyrden forest thrive. Above all, their voices herald the ascendancy of the Wyrd over the Basin of Life.
The Harbingers follow the bard archetype. Their primary skill is Music, specialising in the insidious Shadowbeat, with the secondary skill of Acrobatics. Harbingers may study Hunting, specialising in Ecology, or learn to craft Illusions of light and shadow.
The pact between Glomdoring and the Illithoid of the Undervault culminated in the formation of the insidious Cult of the Nekotai in the year 204CE. Upon being raised as the Avatar of Illith by Kaervas d'Murani, Great Cthoglogg pledged the aide of the Illithoid in teaching their ancient arts to their newfound allies. Named after a fae word meaning "bringer of sorrow", the Nekotai study under the watchful guidance of Madam Yoraghu. The primary weapons of the Nekotai are the nekai, long claws which enable them to incapacitate their foes by tearing flesh from bone and causing severe nerve damage. Fierce defenders of their territory, they stand as sentinels ever present in the gloom of their home, scouting the lands for intruders and warding off those who dare to come near. The sacred beliefs of the Nekotai are shrouded in secrecy, though they are known for their steadfast devotion to the exultant Wyrd.
The Nekotai are of the monk archetype. As such, they study the central monk practices of Kata before advancing towards their mastery of Nekotai, the craft of wielding claws. Their secondary skill is the ancient Illithoid ability of Stealth, allowing them to shift through the shadows and spring upon their prey with ease. Nekotai may choose to unlock their psychic potential by choosing to take Psionics, eventually specializing in Psychometabolism, or they may choose to hone their bodies further with rigorous training through the skill of Acrobatics.
Ancient and mysterious, the Coven of Night once prevailed as the spiritual link within the Gloriana Forest Commune, who worshipped the Great Nature Spirit Mother Night. During the Fall of the Holy Celestine Empire, fair Gloriana fell into the embrace of the Taint, and with the forest so fell the Night Coven. Rowena Nightshade, once High Priestess of Night lurked deep within the forest boughs, tending the whims of Night as she waited for the day when the Coven would once more rise again.
In the year of 115 after the Coming of Estarra, a group of like-minded individuals who left the cities and the commune and ventured deep into Glomdoring to learn the old magic of Night. The goddess Viravain remade the Glomdoring forest to prepare it for its reawakening, and then demanded that Rowena Nightshade give up the secrets of Mother Night so that a coven could serve the spiritual needs of the dark forest. The undead witch led them all in a long pursuit, which ended to the birth of Rowena's children by Laeroc, the Consort of the Fae Queen. It was then, that the mantle of power was passed from Rowena Nightshade to the new Queen of the Night, a wiccan of the name Gwynevere Whytetower-Drakonis, who formed the fledgling coven of Night once again calling itself the Shadowdancers.
Shadowdancers are of the wiccan archetype. As such, they are required to take LowMagic as a common skill before they are able to study the arts of Nature magic. Once having mastered Nature magic, they can specialize in Wicca, a skill which draws the powers of the Ethereal Realm and its inhabitants in times of need. Their main secondary skill is Totems, which allows them to bond with the various Spirits that reside in Nature. Once they have mastered Totems, they are able to specialize in the studies of the Night totem, enabling them to form covens and perform shadowy ceremonies to better aid themselves. At some point wiccans choose either to take Healing to become a healer or to train in Hexes or to study Astrology. Wiccans may take Alchemy as a trade skill.