Ravilla

RAVILLA

Ravilla knows what is best for the world. The equation is simple, despite what other races and nations like to believe.What is best is that the Abyssal Gateways remain closed. Each gateway is locked and buried deep in the heart of a gray elf city. The cities have grown into great (and sometimes) urbane metropolises, but at heart, each exists only as containment for a portal to the unspeakable horrors of the Abyss.

One thousand years ago, Corellon Larethian charged the elves of what is now Ravilla to defend the Abyssal Gateways, to keep them from opening and their evil from consuming the world. The elves followed their deity’s orders by ensuring that no enemies, or potential enemies, could grow strong enough to challenge Ravilla and smash a path to open a portal. For hundreds of years, the hegemony of the elves’ Dragon Empire was a necessary burden, a duty imposed by Corellon’s sacred trust. That was the theory, in any case. In practice, the distinction grew fuzzy between guarding the Abyssal Gateways and playing the game of empires for its own sake. The “Empire” was governed by a Grand Council of Oligarchs who maintained the Empty Throne for Corellon Larethian, against the day when he would return to commend them for their sacred dedication. Many Oligarchs exercised power for its own sake rather than as a necessary evil. There is scarcely a people, tribe, or nation that has not been invaded, betrayed, or dominated at some point by the Dragon Empire or its current Ravillan heirs.

Consequently, the new potentials of the Godwar come as a major threat to the people of Ravilla. The Dragon Empire is long broken, limping along as a collection of gray elf citystates, wood elf strongholds, and draconic allies. The Oligarchs still rule, and the Abyssal Gateways remain closed, but even the good-aligned nations of Thalos and Mordengard have reason to despise the elves. And to Ahmut, the once-slain lord of undeath, and the demonic gnolls of Jangir’s crusade, the elves are a most hated enemy who must be slain at any cost.

With so many enemies, it is a wonder that Ravilla endures. At this moment in the Godwar, the reasons for its survival are two. First, the chaotic conditions make full-scale invasions and sieges difficult: The elven cities endure constant harassment and raids, but no death blows. Second, there is more power in Ravilla than the Oligarchs themselves realize. A young elf named Tarquin, son of an ancient and illustrious family, possesses Stratis’s sword. Tarquin’s plans are not known, and he has not yet revealed his full power. But in the streets, in the academies, among the Oathbands of the forest, there are whispers that what the ancient Dragon Empire needs is a true emperor at last.

Despite the fact that they have won several engagements in the war, the elves have only recently gotten off the back leg. After the youth with the sword of Stratis was crowned Emperor after the death of the previous one 4 years ago, he shifted the focus of the war, splitting Ravilla’s army into grey and wood elf forces. Calling upon rarely seen grey elven druids, he created pacts with the seelie courts, bringing the fey into the war. Dryads, satyrs and treants join forces with the wood elves, while sylphs, nymphs and pixies would march on the grey elven front. He also made overtures of peace to humans not aligned with Thalos in the wake of the Free States disaster, and it is met with no small amount of enthusiasm. New Govis became a buffer state for Ravilla, just as it did all those years ago, although now humans are seen as full (although certainly not equal) members of the empire in an attempt to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Before the Demon war, the elves were split into two main groups. The wood elves as their name suggests, lived in the primeval forests of the interior. While the gray elves lived in remote mountain cities. There was little communication between the branches of the elven race, but the Demon war changed everything.

Without warning enormous portals opened up in the depths of the forest. Armies of demons direct from the abyss poured into western Oerik. The wood elves were caught by surprise, thousands died. Wildfires raged out of control, destroying the heart of the forest and the wood elves homesteads with it.

Aid was slow in coming, and the wood elves were on the brink of annihilation. At this hour, the wood elf hero Peramil mounted his giant eagle and flew through the blackened sky to reach the mountain homes of the gray elves. He fought off winged demons and vicious harpies along the way, but no evil could slow him. Peramil reached the gray elf city of Ventia and told his kin of the holocaust consuming the wood elf homeland. The gray elves acted quickly. Within the hour, powerful wizards were flying above the battlefields, reconnoitering the enemy positions. Elite strike teams were dispatched to distract the demons while the gray elves mustered their army for war. Soon a hundred thousand elves were marching from the mountains to engage the demonic armies. Bahamut the platinum dragon led his metallic dragons into the fray, and together the allies saved the wood elves from destruction. To show their gratitude, the wood elves swore a great oath, binding them to their kin for the duration of the conflict. Throughout the long war that followed, wood elf units served with the gray elf army. They became known as Oathbands, and the demons learned to fear their guerrilla tactics and deadly accuracy with the long bow.

An Elven Nation After the Demon War, Corellon Larethian tasked the gray elves with guarding the Abyssal Gateways. The elves sealed up their mountain cities and hid them from the world with magic spells and wards. They built new cities around the portals. Should they ever prove lax in their duties, the gray elves will pay a heavy price. What was left of the wood elves returned to their forest homes after the war. Due to the destructiveness of the conflict, only a small part of the forest remained. They made a formal agreement with the gray elves to ensure their own protection. The wood elf lands would become part of the new elven nation, but gray elf control would end at the borders of the forest. The wood elves also agreed to provide Oathbands for service with the gray elf army in times of war. The City States At first the gray elf cities were fairly autonomous. The city-states that emerged had many forms of government, with a Grand Council that addressed issues of import to all the elven lands. This state of affairs lasted for nearly five hundred years, during which time human tribes and dwarven clans spread into Western Oerik. In the year 499, the Abyssal Gateway in the city of Xanos opened, and demons flooded out once again. The attack was contained quickly and bloodily, but the complacency of the previous centuries had been shattered. Everyone wanted answers and the Grand Council had none to give. To address the concerns of the common citizen, the Grand Council tasked a small group of wizards with the investigation of the Xanos Incident. In 505 the wizards reported their findings. It was their opinion that the gate’s activation was due to the abnormally large number of sorcerers in Xanos. In a stunning declaration, the wizards claimed that the secret and previously unknown root of sorcerous power was the Abyss. The scientific method of wizardry was thus the only safe way to practice arcane magic. Sorcerers across the city-states protested vehemently. They argued that it was the blood of dragons that gave them their power, not the influence of demons. The Grand Council was looking for a scapegoat, however, and the wizards had given them one. To protect the elven people, the Grand Council turned from an advisory body to a ruling one. The city-states were now to become parts of a greater whole. The gray elf citizens, frightened by the taste of war they had received, wholeheartedly approved of the Grand Council’s action. From City-States to Empire The Grand Council’s next move was to enact an official ban on sorcery. Its practice was specifically linked to demonology and its practitioners were declared a danger to elven security. Over the ensuing five years, sorcerers in the city-states were hunted by specialized teams of mage hunters. They were forced to renounce their sorcerous ways or go into exile. Many left and never returned.

The most successful mage hunter was an elf named Trigorian. He unearthed a cabal of sorcerous cultists, and their public trial made Trigorian a hero. When the sorcerers of Ravilla had been dealt with, the ambitious Trigorian turned to politics, and in 513 he was elected to the Grand Council. He immediately agitated for a wider effort against sorcery. He argued persuasively that city-states could not be kept safe if sorcerers were allowed to run wild beyond their borders. The council tripled the size of the army, while Trigorian urged the citizens to war. Hostilities commenced in 515. Gray elf armies swept south and east for the next twenty years, aided by Oathbands of their wood elf kin. They overran a myriad of petty kingdoms and drove humans and dwarves before them. By the time the campaign had run its course, the elves controlled all of Western Oerik north of the Blasted Desert with two exceptions: the dwarven kingdom and the new human nation of Thalos. The dwarves were not a sorcerous people, so costly assaults on their mountain strongholds were considered unnecessary. The island nation of Thalos was assaulted in 550, but the inspirational leadership of their Queen Almira helped the humans defeat the veteran elven legions. Although Trigorian agitated for a renewed attack, none would back him. The elven people were tired of war. Thus the elven city-states became an empire. The official year of this event is 525, when the city-states unified permanently as the Empire of Ravilla. The members of the Grand Council became known as the Oligarchs and their power was vast. They presided over the zenith of Ravillan achievement, the Elven Peace of 552-698. Everything Falls Apart The Empire of Ravilla could not last.

Homebrew Options for Chainmail: A Decade Into The War

Despite the fact that they have won several engagements in the war, the elves have only recently gotten off the back leg. After the youth with the sword of Stratis was crowned Emperor after the death of the previous one 4 years ago, he shifted the focus of the war, splitting Ravilla’s army into grey and wood elf forces. Calling upon rarely seen grey elven druids, he created pacts with the seelie courts, bringing the fey into the war. Dryads, satyrs and treants join forces with the wood elves, while sylphs, nymphs and pixies would march on the grey elven front. He also made overtures of peace to humans not aligned with Thalos in the wake of the Free States disaster, and it is met with no small amount of enthusiasm. New Govis became a buffer state for Ravilla, just as it did all those years ago, although now humans are seen as full (although certainly not equal) members of the empire in an attempt to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Ravilla

Chainmail- The Sundered Empire Crimson_Jester