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Godwar

It began with good intentions.

Imagine a world without war. A perfect realm where all beings are free to grow and develop without having to fight against their neighbors.

Imagine you see a way to make this dream a reality.Would you risk your life to end war? Your soul?

In the west of the world, the elven hero Marinn took the risk. The God of War, a four-armed warrior named Stratis, walked among mortal races for the pleasure of their combat. Wherever he went, he drove mortals to rise against one another in bloody battle. Marinn recruited heroes of all the mortal races, gathered artifacts that could slay a god, and lured Stratis into an ambush.

In daylong combat, Stratis slew all but three of the heroes. The fight had weakened him, though. Marinn’s allies seized the God of War, and Marinn pierced his heart with an ancient elven blade.

Stratis was slain, but divine power gave him time to utter his curse. “You think your people will be free? You think you have escaped me? You mortals will have nothing but war, not a moment of peace until a new God of War rises to replace me.” Stratis staggered to his feet and erupted toward heaven, spraying his blood and weaponry over the world as his soul blasted upward. His weapons scattered away from his ascent as meteorites, burning through the smoke of the warzone.

Even as he died, the God of War knew how to place his weapons. Stratis’s axe dropped among the savage tribes of the southern lands and was seized by a hobgoblin chieftain named Drazen. Stratis’s spear plunged to the forgotten grave of an ancient human warlord, Ahmut, who rose screaming for vengeance and the death of all living things. Stratis’s flail came by the hands of a child to the half-fiend gnoll Jangir.

But the real danger lies not in the weapons that fell into evil hands—it’s the power promised by Stratis’s undiscovered artifacts. It is commonly believed that anyone who can assemble enough of Stratis’s divine panoply and blend it with his or her own supernatural power will become the next God of War.

The dead god’s promise of war unfettered has come true. It is now the fifth year of the Godwar. The only thing preventing universal apocalypse is the supernatural chaos left in the wake of Stratis’s fall. This turmoil hinders armies of thousands from mustering, much less marching against enemies. Common soldiers no longer remember orders without their commanders’ constant presence; they lose themselves to the frenzy of war instead of its efficient execution. Decisive warfare is now possible only with bands of elite combatants who can maintain their focus and cohesion. These same small bands spearhead the search for Stratis’s scattered panoply.

Stratis’s curse has left some room for hope. Unfortunately, it is the hope that one’s own people will sponsor the next God of War. Every kingdom and tribe fears the consequences should its enemies win. And no one can afford to trust the good intentions of those who, under other circumstances, might be friends. Because we know where good intentions have taken us . . .

It ends in war.

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