What is known of the Dark Mountains is that they are a massive chain of craggy peaks upon which the sun never rises. The terrain in this terrible land is harsh and forbidding, and the valleys between the mountains are the only habitable places. Civilization does exist in this world, but it is a civilization controlled entirely by the six Dark Lords who wield sorceries of terrifying power. The Dark Lords have divided the mountains amongst themselves, and in their own demesnes, their power is absolute. Each lord has the ability, through various fell means, to coax life and sustenance from the sunless land: sustenance for which their subjects pay a terrible cost of blood and fear. Each of the Lords sits in their stone keep, brooding and plotting against their brethren, while dreaming of new cruelties to inflict upon their land.
The people of the Dark Mountains are largely complacent, as they depend on the Dark Lords for their very lives. Dissention is punished with swift and brutal death at the hands of the Dark Lords’ silver-masked enforcers, known as Praetors. Flanked by cadres of walking dead, the Praetors’ word is law amongst the illiterate and fearful peasantry. Recently, however, a glimmer of hope has flickered across the land, as one of the Praetors returned from beyond the mountains, speaking of a place of light and hope. This Praetor has cast off his servitude, drawing to himself rebels who call themselves the Seekers of Dawn. “Even in darkness,” these rebels say, “the stars remember light.”
In the Dark Mountains, magic is illegal for all except the Dark Lords and their Praetors. The Dooms of Light and Shadow, as the style of the world is known, focuses on the interplay between light and dark; six of its spells manipulate shadow, while the others turn towards the light. The rituals of this discipline generally involve abstraction, such as meditating in darkness or light, reciting the aspects of the Dark Lords, recording dreams, or contemplating reflections.
The Dark Mountains are cruel, and people who claim descent from this world are gifted survivalists. Travel from one settlement to another can turn into a deadly proposition under the starless and unending night. Every child is expected to know the basics of Survival, and thus characters from the Dark Mountains receive a reduced cost for this skill. Bodies are treated with the utmost care in this terrible place, for as the living serve their Lords in life, so they will serve them after death. The Dark Lords and the Seekers alike employ skilled physicians, and even peasants are expected to be able to staunch bleeding if it becomes necessary. Thus, characters from the Dark Mountains receive a reduced cost for Healing. In addition, the rebels—forced to use whatever weapons they have at hand—have developed a cunning fighting school based around the staff, called the Hidden Justice Style.
|Dark Mountains culture packet 2010 (pdf)||170.99 KB|