At Broken Anvil, we have been furiously working towards the release of our first miniature wargame: Rivenstone. Over the last few months we’ve shown you previews via social media of the miniatures you’ll be able to play with when the game releases.
We’re gearing up to show you even more in the upcoming months, including a deep dive into the gameplay of this fantastic new skirmish game. However, before we get into the nuts and bolts of tokens and dice, we need to properly set the scene. This blog is the first in a series that will introduce you to the setting of Rivenstone and the various factions you will encounter in the game.
We’ll be releasing this series over the next several weeks, so make sure to sign up for our newsletter at Broken Anvil Miniatures, and don't forget to follow our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for even more miniatures.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Survival of the Fittest
The world of Venn is volatile, its lands infused with power, its diverse and fierce peoples divided by strife.
The magic of this world pervades every facet of life for its inhabitants. Its energies have sparked the rise and fall of myriad races of intelligent peoples across Venn’s six continents, each locked in desperate struggles to survive and excel. Magic is not an invisible ethereal energy, but a force so potent it crystallizes into mineral deposits found across the world: a resource called Rivenstone.
For centuries the denizens of Venn harvested and refined Rivenstone for various purposes: using it for sacred rituals, arcane studies, fuel for intricate machines, or hoarding for raw power. Even before it was well understood, the reserves of energy within Rivenstone allowed for great leaps of arcane, spiritual, and technological advancement. Careful exploration of its potential might have brought about a golden age of innovation, but prudence has never been humanity’s nature.
Each of Venn’s peoples viewed Rivenstone differently, and some of these understandings might have eventually flourished, but a dark seed was growing in humanity’s strongest nation. Its leaders could not tolerate the success of others and set upon a course of ruination.
Four centuries ago, a coalition of their mages known as the Augurs deduced that the relative prosperity of the various competing factions was based entirely on control of the world's Rivenstone. It was clear to them they must gather and control it all. Not just for the fortune of their empire, but to enact a great transformative ritual. The greatest Augur masters believed that a sufficient supply of Rivenstone, if subjected to certain complex manipulations, would prompt a forced evolution to ripple across the world, changing it forever for the better. Outsiders knowledgeable in the power of Rivenstone who learned of their ambitions vehemently disagreed, foreseeing disaster. But in the clash to come, their collective might failed to prevent the Augurs from scouring the world in pursuit of their mad goals.
Like arcane locusts, the Augurs and their allies tore across the continents, obliterating any who attempted to stop them. They raised great armies, and the influx of Rivenstone allowed them to create powerful weapons with which to arm them. With each foe they toppled or forced to join their coalition, they grew even stronger, gaining momentum. Ultimately the Augurs' conquest was successful. They managed to secure the majority of all Rivenstone extracted by their rivals, bringing it back to their capital, there to begin their greatest work. These wizards and sages began a series of ambitious but perilous experiments, attempting to understand and manipulate space, time, and reality itself. The process changed the Augurs, affecting both mind and spirit, eventually allowing them to transcend their mortal flesh to become something other than human.
Outsiders do not entirely understand the transformation they underwent, or whether their experiments succeeded or failed, but amid an apocalyptic backlash of mystical power, the Augurs left the world entirely. This event is referred to today as the Grand Ascension, during which the Augurs punched a hole through reality, escaping beyond the veil of perception to realms unknown. In the process, their vast hoard of Rivenstone exploded, unleashing a torrent of wild magical energies that ravaged the world for centuries.
This arcane apocalypse caused a chain reaction as the remaining Rivenstone elsewhere in the world evaporated to create persistent storms and chaotic swells of rending power. In some places the natural laws were bent and changed, creating impossible landscapes of elemental torrents, zones where gravity no longer applied, and other places where all living things twisted into new and bizarre forms. Only the most resilient, protected, and strongest societies survived the waves of the storm, forced to also endure attacks by new perils that emerged from the wilds. Most did so by hiding in protected enclaves or tunneling deep within the crust of the planet. Those who could not find some degree of lasting shelter either perished or evolved in unexpected ways to survive.
Slowly, over the centuries, the arcane storms diminished. Like a volcanic eruption wherein the magma cools to rock, the storms of magic dispersed and left behind them new crystalline deposits of Rivenstone. Even Rivenstone itself was changed by these storms. Overcharged by the violent mystical energies, Rivenstone carried within it newer, more powerful elemental forces, radiating in flickers of heat, cold, or sparks, thrumming and pulsing with barely contained energy. In ages past, it took great effort to unlock the sealed power within them, but now doing so was simple.
Those societies that had survived through the long centuries cautiously began to venture from their safe havens, exploring the changed world, and began to harvest Rivenstone once again.
The survivors began the slow process of rebuilding. Though the arcane storms had not faded completely, the bravest among them felt the compulsion to reclaim the surface world, to venture beyond the safety of their enclaves and build new holdings. The existence of Rivenstone demanded action, as each people knew their survival might rely on its recovery, or alternately preventing their enemies from doing the same. Each nation sent warbands to harvest as much of the vital mineral as possible.
These warbands were not the grand armies of old: they were small expeditions of great heroes and skilled warriors seeking to harvest the greatest power in the world for their people. Now, not long after those first heroes set forth back into the world, the hopes and dreams of fledgling nations rests on the shoulders of these warbands.
We hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into the Realm of Rivenstone. Join us for the Lore of Rivenstone Part II as we explore the Shattered Empire faction.