Welcome to the second installment of our Rivenstone lore series. These blogs are meant to introduce you to the world of Rivenstone and the warring factions that you, as the player, will be able to take command of in this upcoming miniature wargame. If you missed our first blog post, which covered the broader world history and setting of Rivenstone, go check it out: The Lore of Rivenstone Part I.
In this post, we’re covering our first faction: the humans of the Shattered Empire. While a primarily human faction isn’t a new concept in wargaming, the Shattered Empire presents humanity in a very different way than you might have experienced before. The use of arcane prosthetics to empower the heroes of humanity, known as the “stone-touched,” lends itself to a unique visual on the tabletop.
We’ve decided to introduce the Shattered Empire first because in many ways they help set the tone for what sets the world of Venn apart from other fantasy worlds.
Venn has its share of primal and savage creatures, or warbands of more traditionally medieval soldiers, but the Shattered Empire’s special blend of real world martial traditions and surreal arcane machinery very much demonstrate some of the setting’s defining narrative themes.
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Children of the Arcane
The Augurs were never alone in their quest for greatness. They belonged to the greatest empire humanity has known, a proud and ambitious people who applauded the Augurs' work and aided their conquest. Though it ended in tragedy, there is no question this mighty empire changed the world. The capital of the old empire (its name no longer spoken) and its inhabitants were at ground zero during the Augurs' ascension.
Some of those at the heart of the devastation survived the ordeal, mostly through the good fortune of being within a vast, magically warded structure created to facilitate the Grand Ascension. When the Rivenstone erupted, this structure endured at the eye of an arcane storm. Those that survived did not do so unscathed, as proximity to the eruption permanently altered their very essence. The ripples of change crossed vast distances, reaching even those at the periphery of the empire.
With each passing generation more children were born with strange physical mutations. Such children were often missing limbs or even larger sections of their bodies at birth, while small organic deposits of Rivenstone grew where the missing limb or other flesh should have been. Strangely these changes caused no pain, even in cases where it seemed injuries should be life-threatening. Not one of these children died from their mutations, and many thrived.
It was discovered that these newborns had been affected in the womb by the arcane energies that still coursed through their ancestor's veins, giving rise to spontaneous crystallization. In time the survivors saw this as more of a blessing than a curse. Each child born in such a manner was proof that Rivenstone would return, and those affected soon demonstrated unusual gifts.
The "stone-touched" children showed strong affinity for magic, especially when arcane storms would pass over their enclaves. The stone-touched would become energized by such storms, allowing them to perform feats of strength and skill beyond those of unaffected humans. Their organic crystal deposits proved receptive to mystical prosthetics and other machinery, which the stone-touched could control with ease.
Human artificers spent decades perfecting new forms of technology to augment the stone-touched, allowing them to better synergize with arcane energies. In time the people began to praise the stone-touched as heroes and saviors of their empire.
Humanity had been left fractured after the ascension, with multiple isolated kingdoms and city-states, each separately governed, but the Shattered Empire intends to unite them again. When the storms began to fade, it was the stone-touched who led the first companies of imperial soldiers to discover and reclaim Rivenstone deposits. It is by their actions that the Shattered Empire will reclaim its fallen lands and restore the glory of its great people.
Grand Adjudicator Belcroft
Above is an illustration of the Grand Adjudicator Belcroft, one of the Shattered Empire characters that you will see in miniature form as part of our game. Belcroft is a stone-touched, one of the strongest and most influential within the Shattered Empire.
Born without limbs, Belcroft’s body produced a tremendous amount of organic Rivenstone crystallization, and gifted him with an innate mastery of sorcery. Such is the power of Belcroft’s organic crystals that he is capable of powering a suit of Shard Knight armor, a massive mechanical construction that stands three times the size of a normal human.
This marvel of modern technology is outfitted with various weapon systems, warded against all but the deadliest of enemy attacks, and is capable of crushing an adult orc under foot or by hand with ease. When Belcroft marches to battle within his Shard Knight armor, he enters the fray as a demi-god wielding both arcane mastery and mechanical superiority against his foes.
The Grand Adjudicator experienced a meteoric rise through both the spiritual and military ranks of the Shattered Empire’s culture, thanks to his innate powers, as well as his legendary charisma and cunning. Belcroft currently presides as the authority of both the Order of Aethos religious organization and the Shattered Empire’s military efforts of global reclamation.
There are many within the empire that do not agree with the ruthless and malicious tactics Belcroft employs to achieve victory, but none dare oppose his might.
Thank you for joining us for the latest installment of the lore of Rivenstone. We hope you come back for Part III as we explore the Orrix faction.