Our game world is called ‘Erdreja’. It tends to be described as a ‘world’, rather than a ‘planet’, but either term is equally apt, being an egg-shaped world floating within the cosmic void. It has oceans and continents, rivers and mountains. Our game generally takes place within a continent known as ‘The Heartlands’, a bit reminiscent of a medieval Europe, but with added magic and mystery.
Within The Heartlands, the land is divided into nations, just like a continent is in the real world. These nations, both the land and the people, are governed by ‘factions’. Some factions control a single nation, such as the Bears that rule Caledonia, while some factions control multiple nations, such as the Dragons who rule Erin and Cymrja. A faction will have a leader, typically a King/Queen or a Lord/Lady General, and then a range of people who head-up various functions, e.g. Foreign Minister or High Mage. The faction leader and a couple of his/her key lieutenants will be appointed by the Lorien Trust – they in turn will then make other appointments.
Factions also perform key out-of-character logistical functions for the Lorien Trust. At our main events, the camping areas for players are provided on a factional basis – it is normally expected for players to camp within their faction’s camp. Every player’s character is a member of a faction. The faction leader and command team will co-ordiante the layout of the camping area, and will organise communal facilities such as a command tent and a camp fire, as well as organising services such as camp security and first aiders. They will also convene a plot team, which will write and run plot directed primarily at the members of that faction. Outside of our main events, faction command teams often choose to organise ‘sanctioned events’, smaller events set within our game world, with plot that bridges the long gap between one year’s main events and the next.

The Bears Faction

The Bears are comprised of the Peoples of Caledonia, and south-western Orkneyjar, an island which they share with the Wolves. They are made up of diverse groups and clans, which fit into three main broader categories; Celts (including Highlanders, Islanders and Lowlanders), Picts and Sassenachs (being non-Caledonian-born Bears), though the latter term is generally considered an insult. Predominantly but by no means exclusively human, Bears are traditionally clad in tartan, generally in the form of kilts, worn with little or no armour.

The Bears have a reputation for being people of celebration, enjoyment and honour. They love drink, songs and games and enjoy hospitality. However, do not let their fun loving nature deceive you, for the Bears are also strong and fierce warriors and will fight to the death to defend their friends, their honour and their Queens. In modern times the Bears have faced adversity as they find their place in a changed Erdreja and the nation is now led by Lairds, who are charged with the day to day running of the faction. The three Queens now look after the faction’s more spiritual needs, though they remain key members of the Privy Council and there is still no law in Caledonia other than the ‘Will of the Queens’. With more formal structure than in the chaotic old days, the faction is gaining strength, though it is still one of honour, fun and of course the Bears are always ready for a good fight!

The Dragons Faction

The Dragons are a Celtic faction, formed of an alliance of the Land of Cymrija and the Isle of Erin, each ruled by leaders chosen by ancient and often mythical ways. They have a reputation for song, celebration and reverence for the deeds of their heroes. They are a people of endless hospitality, honour and courage. Theirs is a tradition of tales and song told by mother to daughter, father to son and each looks for their place within those legends Often unpredictable and violent, they are however always loyal to their own especially in the face of any external threat to their brothers over the water. Faith and tradition are the two virtues a Dragon values above all.

There is a common saying amongst the Dragons. ‘The land is the people.’ To a Dragon the land is their most sacred possession and they will defend it beyond death with the help of their beloved ancestors, against any who threaten it. This ethos has been defended down the ages from the founding of the Dragons as ‘two peoples, one nation’ through their war with the Empire, to their long battles with Balor and his hordes of Formor. From timeless Meath, capital city of Erin, and aged Gorsenydd, first city of Cymrija, to the blasted plains of Ulster and the terrible Ravenscar Woods, the deep mines of Mullingar and the lofty heights of the Dragon Spines, the Land of the Dragon is both dangerous and beautiful and the people who live there will strive to protect it no matter what. Their love of what their ancestors have gifted them drives their renowned loathing of unliving

The Gryphon Faction

The Gryphon faction is comprised of the allied monarchies of Lyonesse and Estragales, based to the south of the Heartlands. The mountainous island of Lyonesse lies west of the arable plains of Estragales. United under the ideals of the ancestor Charlemagne, the two monarchs delegate a hero from either nation to stand as Lord General to protect and guide the twinned nations under one banner. Despite the faction’s vehement contempt for all aspects of Unlife, most other races are represented amongst the Gryphon populace; there is a mutual respect for the various cultures and creeds that constitute Gryphon society. Once the targets of the darker nations of the Heartlands due to the nation’s stance against Unlife, the Gryphons otherwise sit diplomatically on the world’s fence.

The Harts Faction

Albion is a green and pleasant land bordered by the kingdoms of Caledonia to the north and Cymrija to the west, and separated from the mainland of the Heartlands by the Betton Sea. Whilst tiny in comparison to the vast landmasses ruled by many of the other factions, Albion is fertile, rich in mineral wealth and relatively densely populated.

All those who live within its borders are considered subjects of King Edward Pendragon; who claims sovereignty by virtue of a birthright that can be traced back to Arthur. Whilst all power rests within the purview of the King, day-to-day government is delegated to the Harts nobility; a network of hierarchies under the Pendragon Throne. This nobility is led by a Royal Council consisting of the five Dukes, and selected senior ministers. The Harts nobility serve the King in a wide range of capacities and are considered his most trusted and honoured subjects. With this comes great responsibility; When Albion is in direst need it is the Harts who stand at the forefront of any struggle; putting their lives on the line for the land, its people and their king. This being so, it takes a certain type of person to want to join the Harts. Most possess a good measure of either idealism or ambition that makes them accept the risks in the service of their country. Many believe strongly in duty, and often see honour in service to The Pendragon Throne.

Albion was not always as it is now, and in many ways it is ironic that a faction so steeped in ideas of tradition and duty was born out of rebellion. In 1094 Lord General Corvus Corvidae of the Lions (then the ruling faction of Albion) succumbed to the dire influence of the demoness Roxanne. As he became ever more irrational, his leadership began to divide the faction and alienate Albion’s allies, until finally he claimed the Crown for himself. When attempts at reason failed, those who would not accept Corvus’ claim united behind the banner of his niece, Elspeth Karlennon. Albion was divided by civil war as Elspeth’s supporters (calling themselves the Harts) fought to wrest control of Albion from the Lions and Corvus’ increasingly insane and corrupt rule. When the war ended Corvus fled and the Lions were exiled; leaving Elspeth and the Harts in control of Albion. In the years that followed the Harts sought to rebuild Albion; uncovering ever more of their own lost heritage, summoning forth the sword Excalibur and recognising the spirit of the Pendragon reborn. Elspeth was eventually crowned Queen and under her leadership both the Harts and Albion prospered. Following the death of Queen Elspeth, Albion has been ruled by a succession of Regents for the boy King Edward.

The Jackal Faction

The nations of the Southlands have only recently united to bring their ways north, to interact within the nations of the Heartlands. These nations include the Aegyptians, with their strange rites and rituals, a dominant priesthood, a reverence of mummies and the noble dead. Arabians, who are learned men with great skill in astronomy, seekers of knowledge and great traders. Maurabians are of the deep desert, forged in the harsh and unremitting sun into great warriors. Nubians and wild orc tribesmen mainly come from the great plains. Graecians, the cultured democrats ready to fight if their freedoms are threatened.

All of these disparate people, and more, are brought together under the aegis of the Jackal faction, where the greatest of the Southlanders meet and mingle, united in the sight of the Ancestors, ready to bring the Southlands the fame and respect it deserves

The Lion Faction

The Lions were once the rulers of Albion. Upon losing the Albion civil war to the Harts, the Lions were exiled to the dream realm of Avalon. They soon found themselves at war with the Nosta Kar, and upon realising that the war was lost; they abandoned Avalon, leaving only a small band of heroes known as the Gateguard to hold the line.

The Lions brought the historic Camelot through the Void and around it they raised the islands of Lantia, which is where they now reside. Truth, Honour and Justice are the cornerstones of their laws, their belief and their society. They fight for the right of the common man to live his life in peace. For these values the Lions will stand, against the ending of the world.

The Tarantula Faction

Welcome to the Underdark stranger, Heed my warnings well for it is the only time they will be given freely!

The Tarantulan Nation spans the length and breadth of the Heartlands in the subterranean caverns and tunnel systems that are collectively referred to as ‘The Underdark’. The faction is mostly comprised of Drow, Norns and Dark Elves although other races are well represented.

The nation as a whole is a matriarchal society where the current Valsharess and her advisors lead the people of the Underdark in matters of state, war and most importantly, faith. Religion plays an important part in the day to day lives of the denizens of the under empire and although open worship of many ancestors is tolerated, it is often frowned upon by the more pious Dark Elves.

In more recent times, the faction finds itself in a time of uneasy peace; it is a time to re-build, re-arm and ready the people for whatever threat chooses to throw itself next against the swords and shields of the Tarantulan Nation.

The Unicorns Faction

The Unicorn faction is a melting pot where many different cultures meet and meld together to form a vibrant, diverse and eclectic mix, many of whom were brought together by a shared desire to trade. It is a faction formed from refugees, exiles, mercenaries, traders and the indigenous peoples of the Mauritanjan Archipelago. Rather than sharing one central culture, the Unicorns take pride in rejecting any notion that they should adhere to one particular way of life; however they would defy all who seek to limit their rights to live their lives in the way that they see fit.

To other factions, the Unicorns can be a baffling people filled with contradiction, while somehow possessing a strong sense of unity. The Unicorns often see themselves as a family that pulls together in times of need, embraces its diversity and the strength of its many faiths. This family is always growing and changing, accepting anyone and everyone who desires to join it.

The Unicorn faction live on Mauritanja, an archipelago set south of Estragales, west of Lantia and north west of Aegyptus. The first Unicorns were colonists from the Heartlands who advocated free trade amongst all the nations. As the faction grew and welcomed more people from across Erdreja, and even from beyond the stars, the focus on free trade lessened and instead became about freedom of rights for all.

Once a Republic, always a Republic? It may not be entirely true but its close enough in this case; a brief flirtation with royalty aside, the future of the nation now lies in the hands of its people. Lord Valten Dredd was appointed the Lord Unicorn by the people and the old royal positions were abolished. The Lord Unicorn is ably supported by a team of Consuls who administrate and represent a region of the land, and below them the Quorum speaks for the people of each province. Ever since this administration was brought in, the faction’s profile has steadily increased day by day. Tensions with other factions are finally reduced to manageable levels and relations with the other nations of the Heartlands have never been so good. What could possibly go wrong?

The Viper Faction

Teutonia is the largest single country in the Heartlands, stretching from the cold and wild Grey Sea in the north of Germania, to the warm and sunny climes of Italia in the South with the wide open spaces of Wallachia nestled in between. As befitting such a large country, everything imaginable can be found within its borders; the magical Great Forest that would cover all the land unless prevented, the Blood Marshes where unliving roam without end, the Reis Astrobleme with its impenetrable mists; orcs, goblins, stone-ogres, trolls, elves and even humans. The country is diverse, with every race and culture to be found somewhere, but all come together with the same goal, to make Teutonia strong for Crown Prince Willhelm, the heir to King Gustav von Darkblade.

Some see the Vipers as evil, for they do whatever they need to, in the name and cause of Teutonia. Some see the Vipers as heroes, for they have always led the fight against those who threaten the Heartlands, whoever the foe. Some are in awe of their magical prowess, for none are as successful in ritual circles as the Vipers and none have used their magical abilities to save the world more often. But if truth be told, should the Heartlands be destroyed or overrun, what would be left for the Vipers to dominate?

Since King Gustav departed Teutonia for the Planes of Unlife, the country has been ruled by a series of Lords Regent, responsible for keeping Teutonia safe until young Prince Wilhelm is old enough to claim it for his own.

Over the last few years Teutonia has been beset by a number of enemies and the country has been split. From outside were the forces of the Akari. When their first attack, on the great port of Rimini in Italia, was repulsed it was the first time that the Akari had been defeated in the Heartlands. Since then the Akari tried many different tactics and approaches; the country was ravished, but the Akari were eventually defeated. From within the borders of Teutonia came Usnacht, a former king who returned as an unliving monstrosity, bent on regaining his country. Although the country was split he was eventually defeated and returned to his rest. The land is now quiet, but there are still rumours of trouble; rumours of goblins, rumours of daemons, rumours of murderers…

The Wolves Faction

The Wolves have a strong Norse tradition, rooted in the ideals of loyalty and courage, and hold their Ancestors in highest regard. The leadership of the faction is not hereditary and there is a strong emphasis on obtaining positions through individual merit, rather than group or family ties. The Wolves are known as a predominantly martial faction; they fight with a passion, drink with a passion and are fiercely loyal to their fellows.

Norsca lies to the north of Teutonia; it is a land of contrasts stretching from the rolling plains and fields of Jotunheim in the south to the harsh, frigid beauty of Vetrheim in the north. It is bordered by Siberija to the east and encompasses the majority of the Isle of Asgard to the west. Although Norsca is predominantly inhabited by humans, many other races and peoples call it home. The faction has a long-standing hatred of unliving and they are not permitted in Norsca without the express permission of Faction Command.