The Winds of War
The wars with the barbarian orcs continue. You can learn more here.
Over the past three months, the following events have occurred which are of significance to the Empire and may require a response from her champions:
A Miracle in Hahnmark
Miraculous auras of Prosperity have arisen within mines across Hahnmark. This has seen an influx of workers rushing to mine work with an increase in production, but has left local businesses short of labour. There is more information regarding this wondrous event here.
A Blight in Miaren
Reports have reached the civil service that a rare form of fungus has started to sprout within Miaren, and that this is having an adverse effect on herb gardens in the area. However, this fungus is a natural medicinal for livestock which makes it sought after by farmers. There is more information here.
The following represent significant events, sometimes of a magical nature, that do not have obvious solutions.
Chaos in Wintermark
The Bane of Tradition
Since autumn last year, the three peoples of Wintermark have been plagued by internal strife with no clear origin. An eerie influence has fallen over the people that is causing some Suaq, Kallavesi and Steinr to factionalise - arguments are common between members of differing traditions, and people increasingly seek the company of those who share their cultural beliefs. Those few halls where one tradition dominates the others seem to have suffered least from this supernatural influence - indeed, they seem to be prospering compared to their increasingly quarrelsome neighbours. When surrounded only by members of their own tradition, people report feeling more comfortable and more confident.
The situation is clearly getting worse. When they work together, members of the same tradition feel increasingly confident, stronger, more willing to take risks and trust that their fellows will support them. When working with members of the other two traditions, however, people begin to feel less sure of themselves, less confident, suspicious of their allies from distant traditions. It becomes all to easy for a Suaq to blame her Kallavesi companion when a hunt goes poorly, and for the Kallavesi in turn to blame the nearest Steinr if a divination is cloudy and inconclusive. Arguments are a near constant feature of most halls; temper fray, enduring friendships are strained almost to breaking point, and there has been some (limited) violence although no evidence for any actual fatalities as yet.
The growing rift is causing serious tension within the The Fist of the Mountains and Green Shield. Some soldiers are actively forming banners only with members of their own tradition, and are slow to respond to the orders of commanders from different traditions. So far discipline is being maintained, but if things do not improve the armies will require significant restructuring if they are to remain effective.
Whatever the source of the disruptive influence, it is making it increasingly difficult to address the other problems besetting Wintermark - the ongoing Thule invasion, the unnatural storms in Sermersuaq, the strange auras in Hahnmark and the worsening situation in Kallavesa.
The most likely culprit remains the dark magic of the Thule. They have a vested interest in dividing the nation and destabilising the armies to speed the conquest of Wintermark. If this is the case, then presumably the wicked sorcery can be combated in some way - but any unified response is being made more difficult by the nature of the influence itself.
Game Effect: Every citizen of the Wintermark nation who attends the event is under a magical effect called The Bane of Tradition. We plan to include a card detailing this effect in everyone's pack, and newly created Wintermark characters should be able to collect a card from GOD when they make their character. These cards exist to clarify the roleplaying effects, and to provide something that can be examined with magic.
You are aware that you are under a magical affect that is making you feel this way. You do have the mental fortitude to fight it, so this will not affect your roleplay any more than you want it to.
It is important to note that the Wintermark egregores, despite their superficial connection to individual traditions, are still recognised by all Steinr, Kallavesi and Suaq as being "part" of their nation - the presence of the egregore does not make a character unnaturally uncomfortable.
The Eldest Swamp
The problem plaguing the mana sites of Kallavesa has intensified. The mystics of the great marshes warn that not only are crystals taking longer to form, and often appear dull and lifeless. Many crystals break apart when handled, leaving only nonmagical shards and dust. Roughly half of all crystal mana forming in Kallavesa is useless.
Needless to say, many magicians are extremely worried. The effect is definitely restricted to Kallavesa - magicians living in other parts of Wintermark have noticed no additional decline in the quality of crystal mana (although those in Sermersuaq have their own problems. Coupled with odd portents and visions, it is becoming increasingly clear that something else is going on in Kallavesa, something that is not a consequence of the growing rift between the traditions. Unfortunately, the spreading parochialism affecting the rest of the nation is making it hard to get anyone other than fellow Kallavesa to listen.
Game Effect: The production of all mana sites in Kallavesa has been reduced by half. This should already have been taken into account in your downtime. It is not clear whether this situation will continue to deteriorate.
The Chill Grasp of Winter
The citizens of Sermersuaq report a terrible affliction, as though the whole territory has been cursed (in addition to the other curses that seem to beset the beleaguered nation). While battle rages in the Silver Peaks, the ancestral home of the Suaq people is scoured by unseasonably violent storms and heavy snow that persist well into early Spring. These storms seem to be a symptom of some powerful force that has depleted the flows of mana. Mana sites across Sermersuaq produce significantly less crystals over winter.
Simultaneously, it seems almost as if these blizzards are internalised by the magicians of Sermersuaq. Many icewalkers, runesmiths and mystics spend the Winter feeling restless and uncomfortable, suffering periods of depression and lethargy or bursts of short-temper and even aggression.
Game Effect: The production of mana sites in Sermersuaq is halved. Any magicians in Sermersuaq - including those accompanying the armies fighting in the Silver Peaks - will have experienced the roleplaying effect described above (although it is worth noting that those of the briar lineage are unlikely to suffer episodes of lethargy, instead becoming energetic and alert). The extent to which these roleplay effects endure in magicians travelling from Sermersuaq to Anvil is entirely at the discretion of the player.
Magicians in the area can determine that this is the result of a Winter magnitude 15 effect.
During Autumn, the Navarr heartland of Miaren enjoyed unlooked for prosperity. Now the situation has reversed itself completely, and it is not just Miaren that is affected. One of the worst Winters in living memory hits the Navarr people and - suspiciously, given the far-flung locations of the Navarr territories - it seems that only the Navarr are suffering. Throughout winter, terrible weather has battered Liathaven, Hercynia, Miaren and Therunin - only Brocéliande appears to have been spared.
Early frosts are bad enough, but a hitherto unknown blight hits herb gardens, killing bladeroot plants in great numbers. Dreadful weather combines with a rash of supernaturally bad fortune - pit props give way in mines, supplies rot, tools fall apart, terrible ice-storms hit forests, a pestilence sweeps through the iridescent butterfly populations, there are at least two small forest fires - damaging production of ingots and measures. Travel becomes significantly more difficult, tempers flare, free time becomes a rare commodity, money must be expended on repairing the damage done by this accursed winter - meaning that businesses suffer. Supplies of dry food and even preserved meat are ravaged by rats and creeping mould, ruining stores of food and threatening the livelihood of those who rely on agriculture. Even attendance at congregations suffer - not so much because faith is weak but because people are forced to expend so much energy on keeping themselves and their families from suffering worse calamities that they simply do not have time to think of religion. Even soldiers whose home barracks are in one of these four Navarri territories find that the curse follows them - equipment breaks, wounds become more common and seem to easily become infected. Finally, to cap it off, the vates who tend the mana sites discover that someone or something appears to be actively stealing or even just smashing up smaller crystals before they can be fully formed.
Winter can be harsh, especially in the north, but this winter is even harsher. Weak animals and plants die in noticably greater numbers; young children and old people alike take sick and many do not recover. Everyone finds it difficult to get a good night of restful sleep, leaving many who are not briars to spend their days in tired exhaustion (and the unnatural vitality of the briars does them few favours in steadings and stridings where everyone else is not only tired, but short tempered).
For some reason, the draughir least of all. They sleep easily, and while many mention oddly intense dreams they do not suffer nightmares. While many other people find it difficult to find enough food, the draughir seem largely unfazed. Some use their ability to consume food others would turn their nose up at to help their companions, others do not. But almost all draughir report a mild, difficult to explain sense of wellbeing as if everything is simply operating as normal.
Game Effect: Every personal resource (except fleets) belonging to a character in Therunnin, Miaren, Hercynia and Liathaven has had its production reduced during the Winter 378YE downtime. The exact reduction will vary by resource but it tends to amount to around 20% of the basic production (one rank of production from a resource if it is upgraded). This should already have been factored into your downtime production. In the case of congregations, this will mean fewer votes in the Imperial Synod. The vates have identified that for the three months following the Winter Solstice, all four Navarr territories were subject to a Winter curse of magnitude 50. As the Spring Equinox draws closer, the effects become less pronounced and exactly eighty-one days after the Winter Solstice, they cease completely.
A player is free to have some of the roleplaying effects linger on into the event if they wish, but there is no requirement for them to do so.
Wolves in Karsk
Karsk has been a battlefield since before there was an Empire; the current conflict between the Thule barbarians and the Varushkans is only the most recent war to ravage the northern territory. Towards the end of Winter, there are unsettling reports of a situation developing in western Lestazny; a gathering of wolves. The wolves appear to be primarily husks, seemingly created from both recent corpses and the preserved bodies from older graves.
The situation is not grave at the moment, but the husks are displaying odd behaviour. They appear to be clustering around a ruined fort that stands on an old battlefield and (currently) showing no signs of attacking any nearby settlements.
Game Effect: These wolves are not creating a game effect at this time, beyond worrying the people of Karsk.