Monday, September 14, 2009

The Shadovar; Races of Sarterra

The Shadovar are from the elemental plane of shadow. They have dwelled there for eons, and it is unknown if they originated there or somewhere else. The Darque, unsurpassed in the arcane arts of summoning, had embarked upon a complex ritual to stretch across the heavens and tap into another elemental plane, although which plane they were uncertain of until actual contact was made.

At first, the Darque were elated when they discovered the plane of shadow, it being so much like their own Underdarque. Then the shadow beasts came, driven onward by a insatiable lust to escape their realm through the newly created gateway. Following close behind were the Shadovar, either leading the shadow beasts, or merely following them, the Darque did not know and they hurriedly worked to close the gate they had opened. Protective wards and pentagrams were smashed aside as the gate crumbled before the Darque Wizards, shadow essence and beasts tearing through the ranks. The Archmage, in a last desperate attempt, sought to destroy the gateway where it stood. The spell to create the gate took three days to cast, and it would not be easily destroyed.

An explosion rocked the high tower where the wizards had gathered as the elemental plane of shadow rushed in, unabated, into the world of Sarterra. Shadow beasts tore through the skies and descended upon the citizens of Darquetower in a hungry fury.

Chaos and panic took hold of the city, hundreds died instantly, and the skies darkened as the shadow realm took hold of Sarterra's reality. Too stunned to act at first, the Darque quickly found their resolve and fought back the creatures at the portal, with the assistance of the newly arrived Shadovar. Before the portal would close forever, there was a standoff between the Darque and the Shadovar, who refused to return to their realm. There was no time to discuss the matter, the portal had to be closed, and the Shadovar became the latest race to call Sarterra home.

Shadovar resemble gaunt humans of average height. The most obvious feature is their near-ethereal aura of shadowstuff, gathering about them like a heavy fog, blurring their features in tendrils of smoke. The darker the environment is, the more insubstantial the Shadovar become, and a host of innate abilities becomes available to them. In bright light, the Shadovar resemble nothing more than a pale human, their powers all but useless.

A secret cabal known as the Umbra Covenant consists of corrupted Shadovar. Their goal is to study the arcane principles involved in opening the doorway to the plane of shadow and crash the two worlds together, making Sarterra an extension of the shadow realm. They would then become the masters of the newly created shadow world.

The Shadovar quickly assimilated to life in Sarterra under the tutelage of the Darque. The harsh sun still hampers them at every turn and keeps their activities limited to the twilight and night time, as well as long periods of darker winters. Despite all of this, they have found life better suited to their ideologies than their plane of shadow.

Not all Shadovar have sought to make the best of their new surroundings. A cabal of Shadovar maintain a secret sect under the noses of their benefactors. Their goal is to not to return to the shadow realm, but to merge the shadow realm with this new land.

Through sorcerous study, the Umbra Covenant works towards this goal in secret lairs and hidden vaults.