Welcome to the fifth 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’re just joining us, be sure to read our first four lore posts: Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.
In this post we’re (un)covering the damned creatures of the Risen. From the previous factions we’ve discussed, we can see that both the Shattered Empire and Iron Guard feel like technologically advanced societies, especially in comparison to the Orrix who utilize far more primal tools and weapons. The Risen’s technological level, in contrast to these other three factions, falls into the category of “medieval Europe.” If it weren’t for the fact the Risen are all undead, they would be the faction that looks the most like a traditional fantasy army.
The Risen are, however, very undead. The standard Risen soldier enters battle wearing rotten chainmail, wielding chipped blades, and firing splintered arrows at their foes. Despite the ravages of time, the Risen’s weapons of war are just as effective today as when they first fell hundreds of years ago.
The Risen are far more than just the undead faction though, as is hinted at in their lore below. The Exiled Prince and the commanding necromancers that serve him have been forced to make strange alliances over the many years in order to protect their people. Any sane mortal or animal would have nothing to do with the Risen, so the undead have found themselves scouring the darker corners of the world for allies in their great quest.
These allies include entities from other realms of existence, such as demons, or brutal creatures that the Risen bewitch to serve them. Wolves and dire wolves in particular are creatures that the undead often ensorcell to serve in their warbands as shock troops.
Of all the factions in Rivenstone, the Risen are undoubtedly the masters of spellcasting. It was by magic that their entire faction came into existence, and it is with magic that they continue to survive. The Shattered Empire and Iron Guard may seek rivenstone ore for more selfish and material reasons, but the Risen seek it as a means of survival.
Many Risen heroes are spellcasters, and their commanding elite are almost exclusively necromancers to some degree. Necromancy is not the kindest form of magic in Venn, and while the Risen utilize this dark art to literally hold their people together, they are also more than capable of wielding it to tear their foes apart.
The Spiteful Damned
Far from the Augurs and their machinations was a smaller, more noble kingdom. Ruled by a proud royal family, this kingdom, along with many others, raised its voice in disapproval as the Augurs committed to conquest to seize the world's rivenstone. But like many others, they were not brave enough to take a decisive and armed stand against the Augurs, hoping the threat would not reach them.
The eldest prince of the royal family stood apart from these sheepish dissenters. A man versed in arcane lore, having taken it upon himself to master the magical arts, he listened to the rumors of the Augur’s grand plans with greater understanding than most. He apprehended the greater peril they represented, not just as a warlike empire, but to the integrity of reality itself. He called for war against the Augurs and all who supported them. When his family declined his repeated demands as "the rage of foolish youth," the prince took it upon himself to act when no others had the courage to do so.
The prince traveled throughout his kingdom, visiting each town and village to call for aid in his march to oppose the Augurs. This act, in direct defiance of the king's orders, earned him the nickname "The Exiled Prince." Despite the colorful title, many brave individuals were convinced to leave their homes and families and join his growing army. Had they acted sooner, perhaps they could have made a difference, convincing other nations to join an organized resistance.
His army was but halfway through their march when the Augur stockpile of rivenstone erupted and the arcane tempest swept the world. It took less than a day for the prince and his entire cohort to perish, their bodies ripped apart by magic winds and rain. Their corpses fed many savage beasts, and their bones bleached in the sun for centuries.
No one endured to witness it, but the prince had not fallen without one last heroic effort. Sensing the approach of terrifying mystical power, he used his knowledge and skill to create powerful wards, hoping to protect himself and his soldiers. He threw all his will into these runes, desperate to endure, knowing his cause to be vital and just. Yet the storm’s power was too great and overwhelmed him. Still, an echo of his late rite endured; the fallen bodies were imprinted with the mystical sigils of his final work. Though their flesh was consumed, and their bones scattered, a remnant of their being persisted.
Years later, amid one of the subsequent surges and secondary storms, something macabre but miraculous happened. This mystical storm resonated with the prince’s sigils and reanimated the fallen into a state of undeath, each individual rising as a reassembled collection of bones and rotten armor, eyes lit by the inner flame of sentience.
Those initial weeks of confusion were pure torment for the freshly Risen, none of them capable of understanding what had happened. Soon though, they turned to their Exiled Prince for guidance. To his credit, the prince did not falter or fail in this crucial moment. His raspy words soothed the minds of his followers, reassuring them that they would have revenge on the Augurs for the fate that had befallen them, and in time perhaps find a cure for their curse. He studied their nature and discerned that his last magic had played a role in their new state, giving him a key to unlock the process of doing the same again, to restore to a semblance of unlife others who had fallen.
The Exiled Prince and his followers have spent decades mastering the magic that brought them back to the world. They are not necromancers by choice, but by necessity, their magic drawing on the old lore possessed by the Exiled Prince adapted to accommodate their new state. Their condition has given them tremendous insight into the energies of life that endure past death. Due to their horrific appearance and spite-fueled spirits, the Risen have made alliances with many strange and dark entities, a matter of necessity if they are to endure to achieve their goals.
Even as some of their ranks slowly slip into madness due to decades of undeath, the recent reappearance of rivenstone in the world gives the Risen hope that both revenge and salvation are achievable before they endure a second and more lasting death.
Lichbane Corum Maelgrave
Above is an illustration of Lichbane Corum Maelgrave, one of the Risen characters that you will see in miniature form as part of our game. In life, Corum was secretly a warlock and demonologist. He spent his mortal years in pursuit of mastering forbidden magics for his own personal gain. When the Exiled Prince began gathering troops to confront the Augurs, Corum immediately joined the cause, secretly hoping to learn some of the arcane methods being wielded by the Augurs.
Unlike many of the other soldiers in the prince’s army, Corum was delighted to have perished and been reborn by the mystic winds of the rivenstorm. His greatest fear had always been his own mortality, specifically in running out of time to learn and master the magic arts of Venn. Now that he is undead, Corum has an eternity to study the primal energies of life and death, and perfect his dark craft.
Corum’s mastery of necromantic magic is rivaled only by that of the Exiled Prince himself. He rides to battle atop a spectral tide of spiritual energy, empowering and amplifying the magical energy within all Risen soldiers that stand by his side. His knowledge of demonology has also proven invaluable to the legions of the Exiled Prince as well, as it was Corum’s influence that led to the first alliances between the Risen and demonic entities from realms unknown.
Thank you for joining us for the latest installment of the lore of Rivenstone. We hope you come back for the final installment in this introductory series as we explore the Wild faction.