Chaldis is a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, a world of ancient-empires and broken ruins that reflect the lost majesty of past ages. The very stone of Chaldis is hostile to life. The element elements are not balanced evenly; rather stone is the most dominant, the most enduring and the most implacable. The other elements that could be man’s allies are weakened in the face of this stone: Fire at the core of the world, the distant light of the Cold Sun. Water, gathering in dark pools, salt, mineral rich. Air, thin and hard to breathe in the stone wastes, without the assistance of traveller’s moss.
In past ages, Chaldis was a cold and distant planet of age-old stone, lit only by the light of its distant sun. It was the birthing-place of the abyssal worms, devourers of stars, whom the Worldsoul of Chaldis loved above all else.
And then one day, Chaldis was conquered by the Khepheru, a race of capricious beast-gods. They fought the abyssal worms back to the core of Chaldis. They covered the native rock of Chaldis with forests and oceans, to make a place for their mortal worshippers. They put the sun mirrors in the sky, so that the mortals might have enough light to see by, to make praises and build temples in the Khepheru’s name.
The whims of the Beast-Gods were harsh. But still, the mortal civilisations flourished. They grew beyond compare. And then, the greatest rulers of the mortals races met, growing wearing of how the Beast-Gods toyed with their fates, growing weary of the rituals and sacrifices made when living under the yoke of the Khepheru. The greatest king of men, Khamrach Ironshaper, said: “The Beast-Gods rule us because they possess Imral Perdu, the Celestial City, which circles Chaldis like a moon. If we were to take the city, we would be gods of our own fates. Men, and not beasts, would be gods upon Chaldis.”
“And how are we to challenge the Khepheru?” many cried out.
“Our races did not begin on Chaldis; there are lost secrets of ancient sorcery known only amongst my people. We shall use the power of the titans, to make war upon the Beast-Gods and become rulers of Chaldis,” cried out Khamrach Ironshaper.
And thus the terrible wars began. Mortal kings used eldritch secrets to transform themselves into titans, so that they might have the power to directly challenge the gods. And Khamrach Ironshaper became the greatest of titans, the leader of a vast host.
And while mortals warred amongst each other and the gods, and while the gods warred amongst each other and their former subjects, the Wordsoul of Chaldis, filled with hatred and pain, sought to destroy all of her oppressors, so that her beloved children, the abyssal worms, might be free to escape their prison at the world’s core.
The history of this war is a lost and tattered affair – the Beast-God Spire and the titan king Khamrach Ironshaper met upon the Iridium Plains and fell in battle against each other.
And so, the begins the present age of Chaldis; an age of ruin, an age of ignorance and barbarity, of desperate feuds and warring strife. An age scarred by the shadows of a war that lasted one thousand years. Most of the surface of Chaldis is now its native red rock, although pockets of greenery and fertile land still exist. And the Beast-Gods still rule upon Chaldis, although these are lesser gods, survivors of the great war, whose attention is consumed by their duties to keep the dying civilisations of Chaldis alive. To reconstruct the lost power of the Elder Gods, these lesser Beast-Gods gathered into four elemental courts, and none of the courts may directly intervene with with mortal affairs unless called upon.
Chaldis remains to this day a devastated world of ancient, honeycombed rock and hostile stone. The surface of Chaldis is inimical to life. These “stone wastes” are lit only by the distant light of Chaldis’s distant, far-off sun. A normal mortal cannot survive for long in the stone wastes without magical aid or specialist equipment; for the air is too thin and cold. Littering the stone wastes are the detritus of previous civilisations: vast chasms that were once the bottoms of vast oceans, fallen cities of gold, glass and steel, degenerate races descended from civilisations of great kings and architects.
Mortal races cling to small, isolated fertile pockets granted, it is said, by the clemency of the Beast-Gods. Without constant rituals, prayers and sacrifices, these domains slowly die and their inherent reality slowly changes to become that of the stone wastes. Within a domain, its very reality can be sculptured by its master.
Sunlight can fall directly down, giving life to crops. Life-giving water can run through canals that may have known millenia of dust.
The mystery of life before the War in Heaven may never be uncovered. Many have strange “red dreams” where they recall moments of terror and torment, fighting in a vast, unknowable war. Some go mad beneath the weight of these dreams, others simply go on with their hard lives, while others are inspired by the dreams of furious back-the-wall strife, adrenaline rushes.
Despite this age of ruin, civilisations are slowly rising from the wastelands. Great domains, shards of former empires, enable to life to proper and be restored. Ambitious traders forge trading routes connecting smaller domains. Expeditions into the stone wastes are often conducted to gather relics, magical items and strange devices that no longer appear to work. The will of the Beast-Gods is carried out, even though this often causes conflict in the mortal ream; the four courts of the Beast-Gods are often in conflict with each other, and continue their elaborate and intricate intrigues against each other.
Eight Things You Need to Know About Chaldis
- Chaldis is a post-apocalypse fantasy world. Communities are isolated from each other by the stone wastes.
- Chaldis is based on d20 fantasy tropes. Chaldis is built on the bones of a standard d20 fantasy world and then crisps and toasts them. There’s familiar stuff here, but its repackaged with a different slant.
- Stone is your enemy! The very soul of the world screams out for the death of civilisation and the mortal races. This living stone can slowly claim cities and ruins and fossilise them into vast red-rock towers of basalt and sandstone. Those who, in desperation, turn to the Worldsoul for power or survival are corrupted into stonewights or other monstrosities, filled only with the Worldsoul’s mindless rage to rid itself of living, mortal life.
- Starsteel is your friend! The monstrosities of the stone wastes can be permanently wounded by forged metal that it is not native to Chaldis. Occasionally, a “star” falls from the sky the smashes into the surface of Chaldis, creating vast impact creations and scars in the stone. Those who can harvest the metal of this fallen stars are rich beyond belief.
- The Beast-Gods rule all. Prayers and rituals to the Beast-Gods can create domains, fertile pockets where life can exist. However, the Beast-Gods are divided into four different courts, and appear to spend their existence plotting and scheming against each other in elaborate games of intrigue, often involving the fates of mortals. These four courts are the Iliath Court (the Artificer Gods), the Mortanius Court (Death Gods), the Tsargoth Court (War Gods) and the Disayr Court (Chaos Gods).
- All things must die. The Mortanius Court of the Beast-Gods are devoted to upholding the Laws of Death inscribed in the Codex Mortanius. All must die at their end of their allotted span and descent to the True Hells to face Seven Torments to be purified before their next incarnation. Undead, ghosts, liches and those who create pacts with the Chaos Gods to obtain immortality have violated the Codex Mortanius and will be sought after by the legions and templars of the Codex Mortanius.
- The legacy of the War in Heaven remains. The remnants of the War in Heaven is still felt upon the scarred surface of Chaldis. Some souls remain trapped outside the cycle of torment and reincarnation, cursed into the forms of immortal monstrosities. While these abberations can be slain, they can also be guided back into life again, to continue their allotted span, although at great cost and difficulty.
- A legacy of great civilisations! Fallen artefacts and grand creations from before the War in Heaven remain upon Chaldis.