383YE Winter Solstice winds of fortune
Over the past three months, several events have occurred which are of significance to the Empire and may require a response from her champions. You can also read about the progress of the Empire's military campaigns here.
In each case, we've tried to tag the Winds of Fortune entry with the nations, or political bodies, to which it is most relevant. We've done this to help people who are interested only in events that are especially relevant to them. In no way are these tags intended to be exhaustive; the Empire is a complex place and very little happens in isolation.
As always, how much or how little of this information you choose to know in character is up to you. Part of the purpose of Winds of Fortune is to maintain the illusion of the Empire as a living, breathing place where things happen - and to make players aware of things their characters 'should' know based on what their roleplaying says they have been doing for the past three months.
Many winds of fortune open with a short section of in-character text. In all cases, these pieces are intended to help create an atmosphere and provide a little entertainment. Where they contain opinions, those are the opinions of the fictional people depicted - and where they contain information or rumours the assumption is that the reader will create their own context for that information or gossip. They're mostly just a bit of fun and they tend not to contain anything vital to the understanding of the wind of Fortune.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Winds of Fortune
- 2.1 Some Heavenly Music
- 2.2 Cloud Waves Break
- 2.3 A Horn Resounding
- 2.4 Impossible Landscapes (Plenipotentiary)
- 2.5 Stone and Stone
- 2.6 Apples from a Tree
- 2.7 The Price of Wisdom
- 2.8 From the Sieve of Your Hands
- 2.9 To Curb Those Raging Appetites
- 2.10 Everything Has A Price
- 2.11 Bones in the Ocean
- 2.12 All Lift Together
- 2.13 An Unexpected Alignment
- 2.14 Seize the Moments
- 2.15 Between Wind and Water
- 2.16 Beyond the Light
- 2.17 Thousands or More
- 2.18 Across the Abyss
- 2.19 Daughters of the Empire
- 2.20 The Net of the Realms
- 2.21 Three Celebrations and a Funeral
- 2.22 The Virtue of Sharing
- 2.23 Hard Times Come Again No More
- 2.24 Written in Salt
- 2.25 Whither the Seed
- 2.26 The Winds of Fashion
- 2.27 A Health to the Company
- 2.28 Signs and Sigils (Appraisal)
- 2.29 Tend to the Flame
- 2.30 The Hammer and the Anvil Song
- 2.31 Smoke and Oakum
- 2.32 All at Sea (Trade Winds)
- 2.33 Faded from the Winter
- 2.34 Hoist Up The Thing (Conjunctions)
- 2.35 Towers Behind the Moon (Winds of Magic)
- 3 Other Events
- 4 Mandates
- 5 Imperial Lore
- 6 Urizen Lore
- 7 Other Media
Winds of Fortune
Some Heavenly Music
The inclusion of half-a-dozen rituals in Urizen lore - the newly created body of magical knowledge only available to Urizeni magicians - has caused great excitement in the nation of the high peaks. As awareness of its potential spreads, a number of groups within the nation have come forward to propose their own magical texts for conclusion in the corpus of Urizen lore. Adding a ritual to Urizen lore requires the ritual text be sent to the celestial library via the Gift of Knowledge ritual - a ritual that is not itself part of Urizen Lore. As a consequence these custodians of ritual grimoires must come to Anvil and find someone (ideally a fellow Urizeni) capable of working the magic required. Enthusiasm for the novel only goes so far however. A respect for Ambition and Prosperity mean that most of those who have proposed that their tomes become part of Urizen lore want something in return for their largesse...
You can learn about the groups who have rituals to add to the new body of Urizeni magical knowledge - and what they want in return - in Some heavenly music.
Cloud Waves Break
- Of special note for all Imperial citizens, but especially: storytellers, bards, and musicians; priests; members of Conclave orders; adepts of Night and Autumn lore; those seeking a new start in life.
A peculiar fog with memory-eroding qualities is seeping across the Empire. Many of those exposed to it find their recollection of the smaller details of their life have been lost, or altered slightly. Confusion spreads, but a few find the loss of memory inspires them to profoundly change their path through life.
Solutions to the eerie fog's effects have been found, and some of them suggest actions that can be taken during the Solstice to help mitigate its impact.
As is common with such magical events, there is also news of perturbations to the effects of certain rituals - especially those dealing with memory and identity - but more peculiarly there is also talk of odd figures in the mists - of tulpas with an unsettling taste for human and orc memories.
You can learn about this strange fog, the steps to counter its effects, and the perturbation of certain rituals in Cloud waves break.
A Horn Resounding
- Young citizens; parents; Gatekeepers
In the wake of the Autumn Equinox, young people all across the Empire have undergone uncanny growth spurts. It starts with a burst of energy and that lasts for a month or so, and when it ends they have visibly aged by between one and three years! Stories filtering out of Wintermark suggest that the change has been sparked by a combination of a mysterious magical horn and possibly ill-advised Summer magic intended to call forth heroes.
Whatever the cause, this unwarranted event offers its own opportunities. One Highborn chapter for example, eager to prove an esoteric theory about reborn heroes, offers a dose of True Liao to the most virtuous of these "Summer Children", with the intention they use it to receive a vision of their past-life that might explain their sudden maturiation.
At the same time, a whole bevy of eternals offer boons to any of these children prepared to commit themselves to their "heroic destiny" - whatever that means. Indeed, the eternals have very different ideas of what counts as a "heroic destiny" - and anyone tempted to accept their boons might give thought to what that might entail.
You can learn about the peculiar growth spurt, the Highborn offer, and the opportunities provided in A horn resounding.
Impossible Landscapes (Plenipotentiary)
- Archmages; the Silver Chalice; Master of the Koboldi; the Seer of the Gateway; Livia of the Spire of Celestial Cascade, Lord Colwynn de Rondell, and Astrid Fjellrevening Rezia di Tassato; a whole gaggle of mystics, heroes, Winterfolk, Freeborn, and more
During the Winter Solstice, Lord Rain will hold court for the first time in over three centuries; favoured emissaries of the Walker on the Littoral and the Spiral Dancer will meet with very different groups of truth-seekers; and the City of Gold and Lead will arrange a meeting with emissaries of other cities to see what can be done about the Sanguine Market.
The King Beneath the Mountain has also responded enthusiastically to an invitation from the Summer Archmage, but has apparently made different arrangements, which do not include parley. Very public arrangements, in fact, which we will learn more about... very shortly.
As for the plenipotentiaries for the Winter Solstice, you can learn all about them in Impossible landscapes.
Stone and Stone
- Master of the Koboldi; Archmage of Summer; Master of Ice and Darkness; Imperial Orcs; Urizen; people of Miekarova, Hahnmark, Mournwold, Weirwater, Miaren, Upwold, and Temeschwar
The eternal Adamant, He Who Sits on the Granite Throne, King Beneath the Mountain, the Deep Dragon with the Glinting Heart, has responded to a plenipotentiary from the Summer archmage by dispatching dozens of his koboldi servants to all corners of the Empire. Looking to share their enthusiasm for building impressive structures with Imperial citizens, they have identified a number of special opportunities, just in time for the appointment of the Master of the Koboldi by the Imperial Conclave.
In addition to opportunities to create, however, they've also identified an opportunity for terrible destruction. Namely, a great horde of monstrous trogoni gathering in the depths of Lorenzo's Deep Pockets in the north-western Empire. Don't worry though; they have a solution! There's not a hole so large that the koboldi can't plug it with a bit of mithril, a lot of hard work, and the help of a few hundred bold adventurers!
You can learn all about the opportunities for building presented by the koboldi, and about the threat in the north-west, in Stone and stone.
Apples from a Tree
The Empire has been wrestling with the contentious question of how the Empire's most precious resources - mithril, weirwood, white granite, and ilium - should be allocated for some time now. Details have been prepared outlining an opportunity to construct a trading hall in Wintermark, and a market in Varushka. The outstanding opportunities to take advantage of similar situations in the Marches and the Brass Coast have likewise been updated. The problem is, there's only so much to go around. Someone is going to lose out...
At the same time, all of these opportunities arguably began with the Prosperity Assembly. In recognition of this, a unique opportunity has been presented for the Cardinal of Prosperity to lead the way in blazing a trail away from the Bourse and toward a new, more Prosperous, Empire.
You can learn about these opportunities in Apples from a tree.
The Price of Wisdom
- Imperial Synod; the General, Wisdom, Loyalty, Prosperity, Urizen, and Freeborn assemblies; the Imperial Senate; sword scholars
Between them, the Assembly of Wisdom and the sword scholars of Urizen are obstructing anyone trying to enact a Synod mandate that has not been upheld with a greater majority. Several have failed as a result. A number of statements of principle and one mandate were upheld during the Autumn Equinox relating to the heirs of Sulemaine. There have been incendiary calls for action, and calmer voices urging debate and discussion rather than open opposition to the Synod. Decisions need to be made, some of which may have implications that go far beyond the questioning of the Synod authority by the Wise.
There are other considerations as well; the Urizen Assembly has expressed unequivocal support for the swords scholars, and the opportunity exists to solidify that support in Morrow. At the same time, the Freeborn Assembly has made its own statement of solidarity with the sword scholars, reminding the faithful of the Brass Coast of their own strained relationship with the Synod.
You can learn about this developing situation and the many ways it might be addressed in the price of wisdom.
From the Sieve of Your Hands
- Urizen, especially those in Spiral; Urizen Assembly; General of the Citadel Guard; Doyen of the Spires; Imperial Synod, Imperial Senate, Imperial Conclave
During the Autumn Equinox, the Imperial Senate ceded the regions of Ankra, Cinion, and Ateri in Spiral as part of the Grendel peace treaty. Provisions were made to allow citizens currently in those regions two seasons' grace to relocate to Imperial territory with all of their possessions. The new governor of Spiral, the Salt Lord Mahiri Kaliact, has a different proposition. Stay, and stay out of her affairs, and both sides might still find Prosperity.
This might include the sentinels of the Citadel Guard. With so much of their nation conquered by orcs, the only Urizen army has been on the verge of collapse for some time. The Grendel governor has a proposal to make, one that could secure its short-term survival... and perhaps lead to a longer lasting solution.
You can learn all about events in Spiral under the Grendel in From the sieve of your hands.
To Curb Those Raging Appetites
- The Brass Coast; Freeborn national assembly; Imperial Fleet Master; Keeper of the Spice Gardens;Celesti Lighthouse Keeper; Vizier of the Incarnadine Satchel; Imperial Delegate to the Temple in Feroz
During the Autumn Equinox the Imperial Senate ratified a peace treaty with the Grendel orcs, ceding the regions of Morajasse and Afarjasse to the orcs of the Broken Shore. The rapacious governor Rahab already controls the eastern half of the territory, and the provisions for free movement only apply to those in the western regions.
The orcs of the Broken Shore have spent the last three months consolidating their hold on the territory and their control of Feroz is now uncontested. The remaining Freeborn populace - at least in Afarjasse and Morajasse - look to the Synod for guidance. Should they stay and cooperate with the Grendel? Remain behind but resist their new orc overlords? Or should as many people as possibly can flee the yoke of Grendel domination? Which course of action is most in keeping with Freeborn tradition - and what will the implications be for the Brass Coast, and for the Empire itself?
You can learn all about the situation in Feroz under the Grendel - and the implications for several Imperial titles - in To curb those raging appetites.
Everything Has A Price
The peace treaty with the southern orcs has had a major impact on Feroz and Spiral, but it also has implications for the entire Empire. The Empire now considers the orcs of the Broken Shore to be foreigners, able to trade with and visit each others lands. The Grendel pride themselves on their mercantile expertise, and claim that they view war as something not to be pursued until all other avenues for profit are exhausted. They are unsurprisingly eager to take advantage of the new treaty.
Since the Grendel are slavers, the Empire imposed the sanctions required under the Liberty Pact, and the Grendel swiftly responded in kind, but this move doesn't seem to have dented their interest in trade in the slightest. They appear to regard the inevitable taxes as just a regular part of the costs of doing business with the Empire. Merchants and messengers have all arrived at the borders of the Empire with various different proposals for trade. Now it remains to be seen if any part of the Empire wants to trade with the Grendel...
You can learn about the general situation with regards to the Grendel, and the opportunities the peace treaty presents, in Everything has a price.
Bones in the Ocean
- Brass Coast, Freeborn Assembly, Imperial Senate
As part of the Grendel treaty, a contract was signed between the Grendel ambassador and a Freeborn priest. Intended as a codicil to the main treaty, it secured certain provisions relating to the Isle of the Osseini in Feroz. A contingent of priests from the Brass Coast has visited the island - deep in Grendel territory - and reported on the situation there. Opportunities are presented, especially around the agreement that a small enclave might be established here for the use of priests interested in the arts of exorcism. While there, they made contact with a representative of the corsair families of nearby Shantarim - who offered an opportunity all their own that may have special appeal to the privateers of the Brass Coast.
You can learn about the situation with the Isle of the Osseini, and the offer of the corsairs of the Cazar Straits, in Bones in the ocean.
All Lift Together
- Wintermark; Imperial Senate
The Wintermark Nation Assembly has sent out a call for more healing herbs, desperately needed to support the heroes of the 'Mark. Some elements have caused confusion, but the virtuous in Wintermark understand that there is a grievous need, and propose ways that need can be met. Much of the conversation takes place among the grimnir, who combine the study of the healing arts with practical experience of the battlefield. The solutions they suggest are equally practical and include redefining unfocused sinecures; rebuilding the healing house of Wittal's Grove; helping the warrriors to help themselves; and raising the profile of Asny of Stormspire whose name inspires the opportunity.
You can learn about the situation, and the practical solutions put forward by the healers of Wintermark, in All lift together.
An Unexpected Alignment
- Wintermark; potentially Varushka, the Imperial Orcs, the Military Council, and the Imperial Senate
The situation in Sermersuaq remains dire, and attempts to retake the Suaq homeland have been rebuffed by the Jotun. Diplomatic overtures have failed. The Empire clings to a foothold in Sealtoq, but the sands run swiftly through the hourglass and soon the arrangement that keeps the Jotun from retaking that ancient town will have run its course.
The Jotun are not the only orcs in Sermersuaq of course. The Thule control the Silver Peaks in the north-east of the territory, and seem to have made their own accord with their western cousins. Now, though, something has changed. The Thule are no longer content merely to watch. A small delegation has approached Sealtoq, under a white flag of truce - it seems the Thule have a proposition for the people of Wintermark...
You can learn about the Thule offer, and its potential repercussions, in An unexpected alignment.
Seize the Moments
- Imperial Orcs, Dawn, potentially Navarr; Ambition, Vigilance, and General assemblies
During the Autumn Equinox, Bloodcrow Udoo announced the ambition of the Imperial Orcs to claim the Barrens for their nation, a call to arms that received the backing of the Imperial Orc Assembly. The Druj hold the territory, and show no signs of letting it slip through their talons, but with the orcs of the Mallum defeated in Ossium and on the back foot in the Forest of Ulnak, now might be the moment to take action and drive them out of the Barrens as well.
One matter still to be resolved is what form an assault against the Barrens should take; a direct assault to destroy the Druj, or something more focused around uniting the remaining orcs that live under the thumb of the cruel tyrants. There are also allies to consider; perhaps they could be found among the virtue assemblies? Perhaps the orcs of the Great Forest, or even the briarborn who live among them? This is no simple undertaking after all.
And of course there is also the matter of Dawn. The glorious nation has a long history of conflict in that sprawling wilderness, and has attempted to conquer the territory many times, but implacable opposition from the Druj has always stymied them. How will they react to this ambitious claim by the Imperial Orcs?
You can learn about the opportunities for the Imperial Orcs to press their claim to the Barrens in Seize the moments.
Between Wind and Water
- Dawn, especially the national assembly, the troubadours, and the knights both questing and errant; Lady of the Proffered Hand
The role of the troubadour in Dawn is to use poetry, storytelling, and song to recount the deeds of glorious heroes, both the living and the dead. There are plenty of priets in Dawn, but it is often the troubadours that lead the way. During the Autumn Equinox, three statements of principle in particular resonate with their calling. Three opportunities have arisen as a consequence. In Weirwater and Semmerholm, the legacy of storytellers and musicians is discussed, and a chapel for the troubadours is proposed. On the borders of Brocéliande, the threat of the vallorn is on everyone's tongues, and ways to support the knights who quest against it are discussed. And in the far west, in the Freeborn lands, the plight of ancient cousins is made clear and new homes amidst the splendor of Astolat are offered.
You can learn all about these opportunities in Between wind and water.
Beyond the Light
- Varushka, Imperial Orcs, Dawn, the League, especially their national assembly and generals; military units
Three challenges remain however, preventing the territory reaching its full potential. The territory is Underdeveloped - lacking all but the most basic infrastructure. It is underpopulated - there are few Imperial citizens here. It is under threat by the Druj - it would be an easy matter for the orcs of the Mallum to return.
Still, the Varushkans have a great deal of experience dealing with rich, perilous lands, and for many of them Ossium is just another challenge to be understood and overcome - one that promises rich rewards. Now the national assembly calls for the wagon raiders, sellswords, and wardens of Varushka to head east, and with axe and torch bring these wild, dark lands to heel.
You can learn about the opportunities presented in Ossium in Beyond the light.
Thousands or More
- Varushka; Imperial Senate, Synod, Bourse, Conclave; potentially any Imperial citizen, especially from Dawn or League territories bordering the Semmerlak
It's taken a while but the Civil Service have finally completed their survey of the wealth of Ossium. They confirm the wealth of the forests, and the paucity of minerals in territory, but they also catalogue the spoils of war seized from the Druj. These include valuable opportunities; the Palace at Orieb; the Stinking Market; Marshstand Skerry; the Bonehives; the Fields of Glory. It will fall to the Imperial Senate to determine who will made custodians of these unique sinecures and ministries.
They've also presented a report on ways to make Ossium more hospitable. On the wider benefits offered by a new port on the Semmerlak; a barracks-armoury in Nearwald to defend the new vales; and an extension to the Iron Roads already in progress. It seems the future may be bright for Varushkan settlers in the Empire's newest territory - if they're able to capitalise on these opportunities!
You can read about these opportunities in Ossium - to assign new titles and build new things - in Thousands or more.
Across the Abyss
- The League; Prosperity Assembly; Imperial Senate; Imperial Conclave
The Sand Fishers were one of the first groups of orcs that the Imperial armies encountered when they invaded Ossium. At first the they seemed a peaceful people; later it became clear that they had been enslaved by the Druj and brutalized for decades. Forced to gather food under soul-crushing horror of the Druj miasma, when the Empire gave them an opportunity to claim the a dank forest in Holberg, they jumped at the opportunity to put the Semmerlak between them and their former home.
The Druj followed them, but the Empire kept them at bay. They brought them the Virtues, and showed them how a different path than the one the Druj had forced on them. They're grateful, but there's more the Empire and their friends in the League can do to help them get away from their legacy of fear. Yet they've also embraced the virtue of Prosperity, which proposes harsh punishment for those who take without giving. What can the Sand Fishers give to the Empire that they will value?
You can learn about these questions, and some of their answers, in Across the Abyss.
Daughters of the Empire
- Highguard, especially the National Assembly; Archivists; the Virtue Assemblies; the House of Seven Mirrors and the Cenotaph
Since the mandate of Summer 383YE, the congregations of Highguard have been experiencing a period of introspection. It is perhaps unsurprising that few of the statements raised during the previous summit have attracted much attention in Highguard. With one meaningful exception. The archivist Elkiah proposed that the shrine of Empress Britta be dedicated to a new purpose, and the Assembly agreed. Now two proposals have been submitted as a response to that judgement. One deals with the memorial itself, one speaks of a different kind of memorial.
The other statement that has received some attention also deals with memorials, and Thrones. Ruth of the Cenotaph made a personal appeal to the tempestuous architect Frederick di Sarvos, inviting him to discuss the tomb of Empress Lisabetta. It has apparently been well received - what ambitious artist could refuse such a once-in-a-career opportunity? Will he be convinced to add his expertise to the memorial for the Empress of Flowers?
Three memorials then, as the Day of the Dead approaches. A tomb, and obelisk, and a flame to light the way.
You can learn about all three of these memorial opportunities in Daughters of the Empire.
The Net of the Realms
- Urizen; Imperial Conclave; Imperial Senate; Imperial Spymaster; Cato Auricspire
The Urizen National Assembly passed a mandate raised by Maximillian to encourage their people to seek out opportunities to work alongside denizens of the realms. Fortunately, unlike a similar mandate in the General Assembly, this one achieved a greater majority and so has been enacted in full. Now citizens are presenting suggested collaborations with the eternals of five of the realms. Meraud, Zakalwe, Prospero, Sadogua, and... an eternal of Winter... have all proposed ways they might cooperate with the people of Urizen, and at least one of those offers may prove contentious indeed.
You can learn about the five chances to collaborate in The Net of the Realms
Three Celebrations and a Funeral
- Imperial Synod, especially the General, League National, Varushkan National, and the Prosperity, Ambition, and Wisdom Virtue Assemblies
The virtues are often interpreted through the lives and legends of mortals; the paragons and exemplars recognised by the Imperial Synod. In addition to recognising new exemplars and paragons, the Synod also takes an active hand in preserving those legacies.
Last season, three statements of principle drew particular attention to three particular inspirations: the ancient magician Zoria, Paragon of Wisdom; the Ambitious exemplar Adelmar the Lion; and the fiery corsair Zemress, Exemplar of Prosperity. Achieving the support of individual assemblies, these statements have given rise to opportunities to the General Assembly to celebrate the lives of the three inspirations.
Unfortunately, before we can talk about those opportunities for celebration, we must touch on something sorrowful and full of tragedy... the destruction of the Basilica of the Little Mother in Bastion.
You can learn about these opportunities, and the terrible opportunity that arises from tragedy, in Three celebrations and a funeral.
The Virtue of Sharing
- Highborn and Dawnish national assemblies; Navarr; the Imperial Inquisitor
Thanks to a mandate from Yarona of the Chantry, the National Assemblies of Dawn and Highguard are building a closer understanding of each other. Highborn celebrants are keen to hear the words of Dawnish priests, and vice versa.
At present the issue that arouses the strongest feelings is the situation in Brocéliande. Both assemblies opted to support attempts to free the Dark Ranging region from the Vallorn before the enemy recovers enough of its strength to make that victory impossible. Now there is an opportunity for both assemblies to draw inspiration from the methods used by the other. There is however one small matter that must be resolved first - the inquisition of those responsible for inviting the Druj into Imperial affairs.
You can learn more about these unfolding events in The virtue of sharing.
Hard Times Come Again No More
- Imperial Orcs
The Ossean orcs - those orcs that were once slaves of the Druj in Ossium - have reached Skarsind. They spread out across the alpine paradise, preparing to start their new lives. New villages are popping up almost overnight as the Imperial Orcs embrace the newcomers. Some have already chosen to join the nation, and more will do so in the coming season. But there are three holdout groups who are looking for something more. Three septs as they term themselves: the Ethengraw, the Illarawm, and the Yerende. They are grateful for new homes, far from the Mallum, but they are Proud of their identity and not yet ready to risk surrendering it. If they can be convinced that there is a place for them in the Imperial Orcs, however, they bear with them the promise of a wonderful gift... the promise of a third army for the Imperial Orcs.
You can learn about the septs, the challenges they represent, and the opportunities they bring, in Hard times come again no more.
Written in Salt
- Imperial Orcs; General Assembly and Assembly of the Nine; Ambassador to Axos; Imperial Fleet Captains
The Citadels of Axos freed their slaves when they signed the Liberty Pact. All the information coming from Axos says that while they stuck with the letter of the Pact, their actions since have little to do with the spirit. The freed orcs live in miserable conditions, subject to laws that keep them firmly in the gutter. All attempts to encourage change through diplomatic channels have bred resentful accusations that the Empire is meddling in affairs that do not concern them.
Now it falls to the Imperial Synod to make a difficult choice. Will they intervene, urging ship captains to help the orcs find new homes in the Empire? Will they risk an international incident with the Axou in the name of orcs they have never met? Or will they choose a different path... and while they are making up their minds at least one allied nations is putting it's own plans into motion...
You can find out about the opportunity to help the Axos orcs in Written in salt.
Whither the Seed
At the recent Summer Solstice, the Navarr performed the potent curse Wither the Seed on the territory of Brocéliande. The magic hindered the vallorn, allowing the Empire to exploit a crucial weakness and try to push back the Navarr's ancient enemy. While the Winter ritual has succeeded in inhibiting and sapping the energy of the vallorn, it has taken a deadly toll on those Navarr eking out an existence in the territory. With every passing year, fewer and fewer children will be born in there, and it will get worse over the three decades that the curse persists. While the vallorn slumberrs, the Navarr wither.
Faced with this grim future, the people of Brocéliande appealed to the nation for aid. The Navarr assembly in turn called for the vates to seek out ways that the terrible curse might be lifted... and the nation answered.
You can find out about the opportunities around lifting the most powerful curse known in the Empire in Whither the seed.
The Winds of Fashion
- League, especially Sarvos
At the Summer Solstice 383YE, the the Hag Queen found a way to inflict a terrible curse on Sarvos - shattering every mirror in the Jewelled City. Folk legend has long held that if the mirrors were shattered then the city would surely fall. A sense of impending doom hung over the city, with fears of flooding, fires and worse. Imperial magicians confirmed that hearth magic threatened peril if the city's shattered identity could not be restored.
In response the city came together, not in restoration, but in renewal, resurgence and reinvention. The mirrors are gone, but Sarvossians do not mourn what is lost but instead celebrate what is gained. Once the Bourné School of Couture is recognised, Sarvos will be reborn as the City of Masks.
First though there is just the small matter of a little doom...
A Health to the Company
- the League; the Custodian of the Kennels; the Loyalty assembly and the Assembly of the Way
Cities, so the motto above the doors of the College of Engineering in Holberg goes, need buildings. It is as true now as it was when the League was founded, and the College proposes to do something about it. By offering the Chair of the Wolf to their fellow citizens, they hope to encourage a burst of growth in League cities. Yet nothing of value is ever gained without a cost - so the College has set a challenge to their peers. A challenge of architecture and engineering.
There's a wealth of other building opportunities in the League. We might look in particular to Holberg where the park remains blighted, the rats remain large, and the Memorial Orchard remains unclaimed; and in Temeschwar where the aura of Mellfort offers opportunities for much needed reflection. But there's never a shortage of ambitious projects for League citizens to patronize, and even more reason than usual to consider them now.
Signs and Sigils (Appraisal)
- Appraisal: Imperial Senate; Conclave; Highguard
The Senate instructed Graciana i Lòpez i Guerra to apparaise the ancient ditchworks know as the Sign of Tamar in Reikos. They wanted a report on how the site might be preserved, and how it might be useful to the Empire. Of the potent Spring regio that once stood here there is not the slightest trace. It is as if Llofir took Spring with them when they were driven back to their realm. Not just the regio disappeared; Tamar's Toes and every other mana site in Tamarbode disappeared when the Garden of Llofir was destroyed. As a result it is challenging for anyone to find much of value here, fortunately the Imperial Senate have had the wisdom to send their most innovative and unorthodox thinker to assess the site. Well, fortunate provided they're not worried about the potential costs of any proposals she submits.
You can learn about the proposals Graciana i Lòpez i Guerra has made on behalf of the civil service in Signs and sigils.
Tend to the Flame
- The Marches; Vigilance assembly; Imperial Conclave, Imperial Senate; The League, especially Tassato; Imperial Orcs
In recent years the eyes of the Marches have been fixed broadly on the Mournwold. First as a literal battleground between Imperial forces and the Jotun, but now as a more metaphorical battleground. Between the people of Whittle, and the Mournwold thralls, the hills and fields of the Mourn have echoed with a different kind of conflict - one arguably tied to the heart of what it means to be a Marcher.
Now the Silent Bell has been sent in to investigate the Whittle sect of Hatred, and as 383YE draws to a close, three topics of conversation keep cropping up across the Marches. What is to be done about Whittle? What is to be done about the Mournwold thralls? And what is to be done to protect the Marches from future devastation by Imperial curses?
You can learn more about these topics, and find several opportunities to address them, in Tend to the Flame.
The Hammer and the Anvil Song
- Traders, merchants, seekers after novelty, aspiring entrepreneurs, artists and crafters, people with beggar's lye, and collectors, among others
Anvil is a place where the good governance of the Empire is always at the forefront, but it's also a place where people come to trade, to make and spend fortunes. As the Winter Solstice approaches, there's news of several opportunities likely to appeal to merchants and collectors alike.
An unlikely alliance between apothecaries of Faraden and Axou keen to sell their specialist wares to those with jaded appetites; a celebration of Pride and craft; an Autumnal game invitation auction; a blessed - or cursed - relic of a tragic time; and unique foci offered by a Dawnish house a little down on its luck. The new auction houses in particular will find much of interest here. All this, on top of the usual auctioning and tallying that accompanies the business of the Imperial Bourse, in the season of Weirwood. Rich times indeed.
You can find out about these opportunities, both those offered by the general public, and the business of the Imperial Bourse, in The hammer and the anvil song.
Smoke and Oakum
- Marchers; Navarr and Wintermark National Assembly
During the Autumn Equinox, the Marcher National Assembly upheld a number of statements of principle with a greater majority. Several addressed matters of great concern to the people of the nation, and one has set Marcher eyes looking speculatively westward. A good sauce goes with any number of dishes, as they say in parts of Bregasland. There's just the question of which dish, specifically, to pour it over...
It's also not gone unnoticed that the priests of the assembly seem to be doing an excellent job of presenting a united front in the Synod. There's a patter of interest in who's responsible and how they're achieving this thankless task. Perhaps it's time to try having a convener again - surely it won't degenerate into argument and accusation like it did last time the assembly had one!
You can find out about the opportunities that have arisen in the Marches in Smoke and oakum.
All at Sea (Trade Winds)
- Ambassadors, traders, and the Imperial Senate; fleet captains; All kinds of Imperial citizens but maybe specifically the Freeborn and the Dawnish
There are a great many foreign powers in the Known World, ranging from those that are peers to the Empire in scale and reach, all the way down to tiny nations who don't even own their own territory. International politics and diplomacy is as dangerous a shifting battlefield as any where the heroes of the Empire might face barbarians. The challenges here are those of influence and politics, rather than swords and spells, but the triumphs and disasters are no less important to the future of the Empire.
You can learn about all kinds of opportunities and challenges presented by foreign nations, human and orc alike, in All at sea.
Faded from the Winter
- Navarr, enemies of the vallorn, opponents of the Heirs of Terunael; Imperial Senate; would-be spies
For some years now the Empire has been facing an increasingly militant threat posed by a strange cult known as the Heirs of Terunael. Appearing to be primarily made up of treacherous Navarr, they claim to be descendants of the ancient nation of Terunael. Each time they attack, they are driven back, but each time they come back stronger than before. These Heirs also seem to have forged an alliance with the eternal Yaw'nagrah - an alliance that has brought them new allies - Urizeni conspirators and Varushkan cabalists.
The Heirs and their allies are canny opponents, they rarely take the field directly, preferring to act through magic, sabotage, and subterfuge, leaving the actual fighting to the vallornspawn. Now, though, the actions Imperial heroes have left the Heirs in flight and their allies exposed. Now, there is a chance to act rather than react. Now there is a chance to end this threat once and for all.
You can learn more about the Heirs of Terunael and the followers of Yaw'nagrah in Faded from the winter.
Hoist Up The Thing (Conjunctions)
- Imperial Heroes
During each Solstice and Equinox opportunities exist for Imperial heroes to use the Sentinel Gate to travel to places around the Empire and occasionally beyond. There they can intercede at moments of crisis to determine the direction that events will take. Many of the conjunctions of the Gate are opportunities for heroes to fight the enemies of the Empire, while others are more peaceful in nature. As much as possible, the civil servants, the war scouts, and the egregores of each nation work together to determine where these conjunctions will go and what might be achieved if they are taken advantage of.
Towers Behind the Moon (Winds of Magic)
- Imperial citizens, especially but not solely magicians
As well as being a realm of politics and prosperity, of intrigue and battle, of faith and reason, the Empire is a realm of magic. It has a crowd, there's always something happening, and it's usually quite loud. Here we have a roundup of peculiar of magical events - some clearly the result of rituals performed by Imperial covens, some of less obvious provenance. One of the most enigmatic might be the unexpected delivery of a hundred Imperial citizens to Semmerholm by the Druj, apparently on the say-so of the Emissary of Mazen, but there's also strange visions in the night sky over Astolat; a curse on Casinea (where Anvil is!); messages from more than half a dozen eternals; and the usual list of castles, and shrouds, and lasting enchantments.
You can learn about magical occurrences not covered elsehwere in Towers behind the moon, the last Wind of Fortune for the Winter Solstice 383YE.
There are a number of other events and situations which are noteworthy, but which for whatever reason have not lead to a full Wind of Fortune in their own right.
Pride inspires others, it does not demean them." People all over the Empire judge and demean briars for what they are rather than what they do. This is a massive failing of Pride and we encourage everyone to challenge any who would demean or condemn Briars based on lineage alone.Josephine of Adina's Charge, Autumn Equinox 383YE, Upheld (Greater Majority (1555 - 222))
- Synod judgements have rebuked citizens for their prejudice against briars and encouraged greater acceptance
Over 383YE, the growing threat posed by the Heirs of Terunael and cultists of Yaw'nagrah caused long-standing prejudice regarding the place of briars in the Empire to bloom. These questions were answered with emphatic responses by the Imperial Synod. The greater majority supported a statement by Josephine of Adina's Charge openly rebuking those citizens who judge briars for what they are rather than what they do, and citing the lack of Pride of those who act that way. There were related statements of Principle passed in the General, the Highborn and Marcher assemblies, by Friar Jack Reed, Tabris, Son of Armisael, and Mel Bleak of the Marches.
The clarity and forcefulness of the Synod's statements have decisively settled the questions that were being asked about briars. There's been no requirement for mandates; as the strong leadership the Synod has shown has been sufficient to address concerns. The prejudice that was openly growing has now abated, and in some cases the response has gone further. Some citizens have taken the words of the Synod to heart and are now openly questioning long-standing prejudice, not just against briars but also against Imperial Orcs. There is no conflict over the issue at this time, that has been settled by the Synod's statements, but more than a few citizens have personally resolved to treat briars (and Imperial Orcs) with more Pride.
Game Information: If you want your character to have been influenced by the statements of the Synod, then you are free to do so. Any character who wishes to put aside any prejudice that is outlined in the brief for their nation in favour of treating the lineaged and the orcs on the basis of what they do rather than who they are, is free to do so. This includes, but isn't limited to, the burial traditions of the Marches, and the Navarr concerns about briar susceptibility to the vallorn miasma. We are going to update the lineage and species pages to reflect these changing attitudes once we have had an opportunity to consult more widely on the potential impact of the evolving world.
- Flowers are now an additional trapping for briars
- Some further information, relating to peculiar dreams, can be found in Faded from the winter wind of fortune
During the Autumn Equinox, several briar lineaged citizens exposed to the vallorn and the followers of Yaw'nagrah began to develop an additional trapping - blooms and flowers growing from their bark. There was some concern that these flowers represented some kind of invasive "mind control" targetting briars, but further studies have shown that this was predicated on a misunderstanding. It appears the flowers were related to some kind of curse inflicted by Yaw'nagrah, but fears of briars falling under the control of the Spring eternal seem to have resulted from a rumour mill run amok.
That curse now appears to have run its course. Briars are no longer experiencing the strange, peculiar dreams associated with the flowers, nor experiencing the burst of vitality and health that accompanied them. However, more than a few briars have found that the flowers continue to grow, and while the flowers may have begun in Brocéliande, they've also begun to appear on briars who've never been there. Examination shows them to be entirely natural, and not a cause for concern, divination repeatedly proves that any lingering curse or connection the flowers once had with Yaw'nagrah has now ended.
Game Information: We've added the option to include flowers and blossoms as part of the trappings of briars. There's nothing sinister about this; the worry that the flowers were somehow controlling briars was based on a miscommunication. There's no particular roleplaying effects associated with the flowers.
We'd initially offered additional briefing to player-character briars who might have been receptive to the approaches of the Heirs of Terunael, but we've taken that plot in a different direction. Anyone who had e-mailed in has already been made aware of the changes.
The Late Empress
- At the urging of the Synod, the virtuous have engaged in a pilgrimage of devotion
- The pilgrimage means that mandates won't require a greater majority to be enacted despite opposition from sword scholars and the Wisdom assembly
During the Autumn Equinox, the General Assembly enacted a mandate raised by Genoveva Barossa di Tassato urging Imperial citizens to undertake a pilgrimage of devotion and revelation. As detailed in the Crowned in rose and heather wind of fortune, this means that mandates enacted during the Winter solstice won't need a greater majority regardless of how the conflict between the General Assembly, the Wisdom assembly, and the urizen sword scholars turns out (you can readabout that in the price of wisdom).
In addition, there was an opportunity for the General Assembly to determine a greatest achievement for the Empress. Despite several such statements being raised, all were withdrawn, Instead the Assembly of the Nine declared her greatest achievement to be acting as a patron of others. While the statement has been widely circulated, it has not had the impact that a statement from the General assembly would have had, and so has not lead to any additional opportunities.
Raiding in the Marches
- There's no sign of the winter-touched feni who attacked the Singing Caves
The Marcher National Assembly voiced concerns during the Autumn Equinox regarding an attack on the Singing Caves that took place during the Summer Solstice. There have been no further attacks, and no further sightings of the raiders. Walter of Conksbury (a thresher from Sarcombe) has spent some time searching for clues and has come to the conclusion that the raiders were none other than the feni of Alderly who accepted the offer of vengeance from Agramant. The signs suggest that the Imperial heroes who went through the Sentinel Gate during the Summer Solstice defeated the entire band - although whether that will be the end of them or not is anyone's guess. Life and death can be tricky where a creature like Agramant is involved. For the moment, however, there's been no sign that they are still active in the Empire.
- Liathaven is still under the effect of Wither the Seed
- Vallornspawn run rampant in the territory
As detailed in the winds of war, the Heirs of Terunael were unchallenged in Liathaven and have presumably completed their schemes there. The withering curse of Winter magic still lies across Liathaven, and there is no sign that Yaw'nagrah or her servants have taken any steps to remove that curse. Despite the curse, the heirs, the spawn of the vallorn, and the servants of Yaw'Nagrah have run rampant here during the last few months. There has been no contact with either the feni settlers, not whatever jotun forces still notionally remain in the territory. It is not clear how well they have weathered the violence there.
There are very few Navarr left in the territory (indeed we assume only player character steadings still exist there). Players are free to roleplay the details as they wish, but their steadings will have experienced savage if sporadic attacks since the Autumn Equinox. A further 10 Thrones each season will be diverted from the Imperial Treasury to support those Imperial citizens still in Liathaven. Every forest, farm, herb garden, business, congregation, mine, and mana site in the territory will suffer a 1 rank penalty for the next year. Worse, vallornspawn have infested the territory and will represent a significant threat to any military force that enters the territory until they are dealt with. While there is no danger of the vallorn itself spreading, the vallornspawn will need to be dealt with in the event the Empire returns to liberate the beleaguered territory.
- The Highborn armies can now take the Crusade order
Last season, Able of the Shattered Tower enacted a mandate to encourage the Highborn armies to embrace their destiny. As a consequence, each of the three armies of Highguard can now take the Crusade attacking order.
As the Season change, so does the scales of battle. The eastern sky refreshed from their time in ossium raise our banners once more. While the Empire Strikes the Druj Elsewhere we march to Holberg. There we will expel the Druj and show them the cost of attacking a city of the Empire."Vincent
Dawn over Holberg
- The Eastern Sky has secured the borders of Holberg
When the Druj invaded Holberg in a vicious attempt to make an example of the Sand Fisher orcs, they established themselves in Ennerlund. Following the summit where their murderous enterprise was thwarted by Imperial heroes, the Eastern Sky under General Vincent "The Scorpion" Vexille moved quickly to secure the borders. The Druj scattered and rather than face the Dawnish - backed up by the entire garrison of Holberg - they retreated back across the borders into the Mallum.
In the months since, the Dawnish army has been busy rooting out hidden Druj encampments across the eastern forests, and ensuring that none of them are able to reach the Sand Fishers. By the start of the Winter Solstice, Ennerlund is secure again and the last of the Druj have been dealt with. Almost certainly.
Some mandates were upheld by their respective assemblies but failed due to the intervention of the Wisdom assembly and the sword scholars. Judgement 7 (encourage Imperial citizens to find opportunities for cooperation with the eternals), Judgement 17 (encourage citizens to travel to Zenith and offer aid there), Judgement 52 (encourage Marcher pilgrims to make a pilgrimage to Holberg), and Judgement 82 (encourage the virtuous to undertake a pilgrimage of dreams) were all ineffective as a consequence.
No new rituals were added to Imperial lore during the Autumn Equinox.
Our friends at Empire LRP Audio have recorded the Winds of Fortune and presented them on their YouTube Channel. The videos are also linked from the individual winds of fortune.