Contents this page
The Darshak Theocracy |
The History of the World |
Mind, Body, and Spirit |
Clans | Karma |
Sharing | I'm Dead! |
The Darshak Theocracy
This is a summary written by Hulapop the Thoom before his disappearance.
My friends in exile have suggested that I write down my knowledge about the
The Theocracy got its start on the continent of Shan-Deral a century before
the dawn of the Ascendancy. Almost entirely composed of humans, this cult
promised its members the secrets to eternal life and great power. Many
humans, jealous of the much longer-lived races, wanted to believe in the
cult’s teachings, and joined up.
Each follower of the Cult was subjected to a magical process in
which a portion of his spirit was drained from his body and used to
enhance the power of the higher-ranking members of the Cult. Members of the
Cult subjected to this process became — depending on the level of spirit
drain — enervated, homicidal, apathetic or so completely devoid of spirit
that they walked around in a sort of living death.
The draining of this spirit is said to be accomplished through the use
of tainted Moonstones, identified by their deep violet color. Whether they
created these stones or discovered them somewhere was never learned.
The Cult’s leaders used the various states of their followers to their
advantage by using the homicidal members as assassins, the apathetic ones as
slaves, and the “walking corpses” as warriors unaffected by pain and fear.
The isolated nature of the races’ nations became a boon for the Cult of
Darshak — by the time word of the teachings had reached the other races,
the Darshak activities had already grown to have a vast following.
The Thoom, who had the most contact with the human nations, tried to warn
the other races to meet the potential threat. The human nations, up to this
point, had never managed to stay allied long enough to pose a threat to the other
races’ nations, but as the Cult worked its way to power in several of the
Human kingdoms, the threat of a unified Humanity became more real.
The Dwarves were content in their mountain fortresses, and the People were
much too distant to care. Only the Elves (Sylvan) and Halflings heeded the
warnings of the Thoom. The elves, however, had few warriors, and the
Halflings, while willing to help, were not eager to leave their homes.
A decade after the founding of the Cult of Darshak, several kingdoms under
direction of the Cult attacked neighboring lands that had been resisting the
Cult’s infiltration. They were successful at every turn.
After several years, the Cult controlled seven of the eleven human kingdoms,
and was turning its attentions to the last of the unaligned human kingdoms.
This is where the Emperor Mobius made his mark on history.
The true history of Mobius is not known. What is known is that a young human
male, skilled in the arts of the Mind, somehow acquired an army of large
magical constructs — the Sentinels. Backed by the armies of the four remaining
unaligned kingdoms, they fought against the Darshak Cult’s army in the year now known as
Year One of the Ascendancy. Mobius used his the human armies to distract the
main body of the Cult’s force while his constructs chewed through the army’s
rear elements. The casualties were incredibly high on both sides, but when
the battle was over, Mobius’ Dark Sentinels were untouched.
In the wake of the battle, Mobius had the leaders of the Cult rounded up and
exiled to the desolate Islands of Gathner, stating that he was sickened
by all the killing he had witnessed in his life.
The destruction caused by the war gave Mobius the opportunities that
led him to form the Ascendancy and declare himself Emperor.
Not much was heard from the islands of Gathner until five years ago, when
raiding vessels started to appear off the shore of Shan-Deral. These vessels
raids were odd in the fact that in their raids they seemed to value people
more than goods. Whole villages were found empty, except for the corpses
of the very young and old.
Unable to convince the Emperor of the danger, the nations of the
Ascendancy formed a small navy of merchant vessels and other small ships to
patrol the waters of the Eastern Shore of Shan-Deral.
Scrying seemed to indicate that the raiders were originating from
the islands of Gathner, and scout vessels were sent there to investigate.
None of the vessels returned, but Thoom mystics detected
Mind-Casts from the Otalla the Mystic, a survivor who had managed to make it
ashore. She confirmed that the vessels were coming from the descendants of
the people that Mobius had exiled there. Otalla avoided detection for
several weeks, relaying information about the Darshaks until her
transmissions abruptly ended.
The priesthood has the real power in the Darshak Theocracy.
The next caste down is the “citizen,” which makes up the rest of the
society, except slaves. All real work in the society is done by the slave
caste, who are drained of their minds and spirits.
The most disturbing news was that the Theocracy had learned to create
and control the lesser forms of Undine. There was also some information that
implied the original founders of the Theocracy might still be alive, hundreds
of years later, as powerful Undine.
Since then, all attempts to get the Emperor to act on the threat of the
Theocracy have been futile and the Theocracy continues to expand its
There is evidence of a Darshak outpost here on the Lok’ Groton island chain,
which I hope to investigate more fully.
The History of the World
The known world consists of a single continent, usually referred to as Shan
Deral, the Western Continent, or the Ascendancy. The Lok’ Groton islands,
where characters begin, are two weeks east of Shan Deral by ship. Historians
believe there to be another continent far to the east of the islands. A
great exodus was said to have happened where all the people of the Eastern
Continent fled away from it, perhaps landing on the Western Continent and
the island chain.
The nations of Shan Deral are all ruled by the Emperor (sometimes quietly
referred to as “the Mad Emperor”) Mobius. Mobius rules what he calls “The
Ascendancy,” which is a collection of rulers of the individual nations. Many
nations chafe under his rule but are loathe to see their armies destroyed by
the Emperor’s indestructible Dark Sentinels.
Several hundred years ago, when the Emperor conquered Shan Deral, he
established the Compact of the Ascendancy. The Emperor stated in this
Compact that all nations will cease behavior that would jeopardize the
Ascendancy’s stability and well-being. To this end he created a group named
“The Defenders of the Compact” who would enforce this Compact. The highest
ranking members of the Defenders are the Inquisitors. Trained in both
magical and scholarly arts, they travel the continent enacting the Emperor’s
When the Ascendancy began, some nations benefited from the Emperor’s
policies, and many thought the Utopia the Emperor promised was inevitable.
Over time, however, the Emperor became more and more withdrawn and
self-absorbed. His word and the Compact were law, and the Inquisitors
ruthlessly enforced the law to the letter.
One of the more interesting parts of the Compact made killing another member
of the Ascendancy the highest crime. This limited the Inquisitors’ options
for dealing with those they saw as a threat to the Compact. The policy they
decided upon was to exile criminals.
As the centuries went by, the list of crimes worthy of exile grew. It became
clear that the Emperor’s vision of Utopia was a society of stagnation, where
no new ideas are sought and where the status quo is mandatory. Many of the
people that the Emperor exiled, in addition to thieves and scoundrels, were
brilliant scholars and mystics.
The Story Development
The world has a past, present, and future that we’ve developed. Only the
broadest of changes to the world will be felt by casual players, but if you
want to get more involved you’ll have the opportunity to affect the story of
the world as it unravels.
Much of the story is tied to our development of the technology that runs the
Clan Lord world. As the technology grows, the world will grow. The island
chain that people start out on will be tiny compared to what will be
discovered later on.
The Emperor sounds very oppressive — how can I free my character’s nation
from his reign?
Many nations have been trying to do that for centuries, with no success.
Many think that the Emperor’s current state of apathy will make him more
vulnerable. (He stands aloof from most decision-making for the Ascendancy.)
To overcome the Emperor, you must first deal with his Inquisitors and his
army of Dark Sentinels. But who knows? In the far future of Clan Lord maybe
someone will figure out a way to do this.
Huh? What’s that supposed to mean?
In our outline for the future, it’s possible that information may be
uncovered in a new area that might allow someone to set about the downfall
of the Emperor.
Most who arrive in exile find that the skills they learned in their previous
life are not well suited to life in the Lok’ Groton islands. Things just
work differently, and at first, everything seems difficult. You won’t know
how to do anything, and accomplishing even simple tasks may prove daunting.
Over time, however, you will learn your way around, and your character will
become better and better able to deal with the challenges the islands
present. As you explore, fight, and study, you will be able to train to
improve your skills at whatever you choose.
Furthermore, you can learn a considerable amount just from hearing stories
from the other exiles. (This means they’re sharing with you.) You can also
gain experience by joining a productive Clan.
Gaining experience is one of the primary goals of most adventurers. The most
experienced exiles tend to have the respect of their peers, and are able to
accomplish things unimaginable by their less accomplished associates.
Each Guild teaches a variety of abilities available only to members, but
there are also abilities that can be learned by any exiles, no matter what
their main realm of study.
You’ll have to find the teachers and learn these abilities on your own, but
some of these skills might include pathfinding, swimming, lockpicking,
skinning, self-healing, hiding, and so on.
Many of these skills take considerable effort to learn, so few choose to
attempt to study all of them; most pick a specialty that seems to be in
Mind, Body, and Spirit
In addition to learning specific skills and Guild training, you can also
improve general abilities. When you study Mind, Body, or Spirit, you improve
a wide variety of related skills. In general, Mind is the focus for mental
abilities commonly used by Mystics, Body is the sum of the physical
attributes commonly used by Fighters, and Spirit encompasses the spiritual
channelling techniques used commonly by Healers and Spiritualists.
While each realm of study is primarily oriented toward a single Guild, there
is no reason a member of another Guild can’t improve and broaden the other
areas, too. A Healer who studies to improve Body can eventually become a
decent fighter (though not as good as a “real” fighter), or a Fighter who
improves his mind might find himself better able to use Mystic-created
Exiles, out from under the oppressive thumb of the Ascendancy, often form
cooperative social groups called “Clans.” Clans are illegal (and punishable
by exile) on Shan Deral, and technically are illegal on the Lok’ Groton
island chain as well — but the local sheriff (also an exile) is more
interested in keeping the peace than in enforcing laws from the West.
Karma is a numerical measure of the good and ill will you’ve accumulated
from other players in the world of Clan Lord.
Other players give it to you. If you’re nice to them, they’ll probably give
you good karma, and if you’re rude, you’ll probably receive bad karma.
Karma has almost no effect on the mechanics of the game. However, the
reactions of others may be based largely on your karma. Some clans, areas,
and merchants might be limited to people with good net karma. It might also
affect what happens to you when you are killed and depart your body.
As your character’s deeds are noticed by others, you’ll receive Karma. In
addition, Karma decays naturally over time, as your deeds are forgotten.
Reasons to give good karma
It’s a good idea to give good karma whenever you want to say, “Thanks!” For
example, if someone:
give them good karma.
- answers your question
- rescues you
- rescues your friend
- makes you laugh
- role-plays especially well
- instructs a newbie
- is charitable
- makes you happy
Reasons to give bad karma
It’s a good idea to give bad karma whenever you’d like to say, “Hey! Don’t
do that!” For example, if someone:
- asks you the same question repeatedly
- gives away secrets
- yells repeatedly
- harasses someone
- gets you killed
- is rude
- uses foul language
- won't leave you alone
- refuses to answer a question
- makes you swear
- makes you grumpy
- annoys you
go ahead and give them bad karma.
You can’t find out who gave you Karma. Karma is anonymous. Sometimes you can
guess, but it’s often a better idea to turn the other cheek than to make a
big deal about it.
Why does my karma go down sometimes?
Karma decays gradually over time, as people forget tales of your previous
deeds. The more you have, the faster it drops. Eventually, your Karma will
mostly settle on a level that gives some idea of what other people think of
If karma doesn’t affect anything, why should I care?
Some people might only help others with good karma. Some clans or guilds
might require good karma to join. Or maybe you just want to feel good about
Clan Lord is a community game, and your own well-being is inextricably tied
to the well-being of your friends. One method we use to represent this is a
concept called “sharing.”
Here’s how it works. You can pick five people with whom you “share.” When
you are sharing with someone, every time you learn something — and gain
experience — they get a little portion of that learning.
Sharing is kind of like storytelling. Say you fight a giant lizard, and your
character learns a special trick to cutting at it after its mouth closes.
This experience helps you, but it also helps those to whom you tell it.
The best part about it is that sharing doesn’t cost you anything. You don’t
lose experiences by telling someone else about them. In fact, you gain more
experience by sharing.
Of course, the storytelling part is all assumed. It’s all represented by
imaginary “experience point” numbers that get passed back and forth.
In general, experience points are gained by accomplishing tasks or by
fighting difficult monsters. When you gain experience points, you get them,
the people you’re sharing with get 10% of them, and then you get a 1% bonus
for each person you’re sharing with.
It’s good to share!
You can share with up to five people. When you share with a sixth, the first
you shared with is automatically “unshared.”
In general, it’s good to share with people who might help you, like Healers
or Mystics — that’s how they get the majority of their experience (since
they tend not to kill many monsters).
In the world of Clan Lord, death comes in many different forms, and is far
from the final end we’re familiar with.
If you get injured, eventually you will fall. At this point, you aren’t dead
— you’re what we call “fallen.” You can still talk, and shout, but you
can’t fight or use magic. Though you can’t do anything besides talk, you
really aren’t in such bad shape.
If you’re Fallen
A competent Healer can revive you relatively easily. Monsters will ignore
you if they see a more dangerous target.
Over time, your condition will worsen, and Healers will have more trouble
reviving you. Or it’s possible that monsters may continue to attack your
Eventually, your Fallen body might deteriorate into a worse state: Dead
If you’re Dead
Your body can no longer sustain your mind and spirit, and you depart your
What happens next is something of a mystery. Back in the Ascendancy, dead
people tended to stay dead, but this island chain seems to have some special
The recently departed disappears, along with all possessions. Some time
later — maybe minutes, hours, or even days — they reappear, dazed and
confused, near an ancient altar.
Reports of what happened between vary.
Some claim to have wandered a mystical land with no features, seeing
occasional flashes of light and other beings.
Some report agony and torture.
Some report no apparent lapse: They were there, on the ground, and now
they’re back in town.
Whatever happens, the process tends to leave the deceased shaken, and
incapable of learning or improving for a while.
It’s also possible to bring a departed person back with the proper
combinations of Mind and Spirit magic.
Clan Lord attracts a substantial number of female players. We’ve worked hard
to make it more than a kill-kill-kill bloodfest.
In particular, the healing, the communities, the quests, the secrets, and
the societies seem to appeal more to women than mindless bopping of monster
We think that female players enhance Clan Lord dramatically, so we work to
keep them happy.
So be nice to the girls you meet — but be careful not to overdo it and
Flirting is OK, to or from either gender, but once your advances have been
sternly rebuffed or ignored, don’t press the issue. If you start getting bad
karma, that’s an excellent sign that you’ve gone too far.
One of the most fun things in Clan Lord is that there are always new things
to learn and discover. As you explore, odds are good that you’ll find things
that few — if any — people know about.
Your first inclination might be to tell everybody in the world about your
discovery. Before you do so, you might consider how much fun it would be for
them to discover it themselves. Don’t ruin it for them!
Instead, you might drop cryptic hints about what you’ve found. Give them
something to search for. Or take one or two close friends to a private area
and whisper your secret to them. Or, perhaps best of all, just keep your
And don’t assume that just because you and your friends know all about
something that everybody does. Even relatively obvious things in the middle
of town are new and exciting to those who’ve just started playing. Let them
feel special, too, like you did when you started.
The same thing goes for web pages and whatnot. Try not to ruin the thrill of
discovery for anybody by publicly posting maps, passwords, or puzzle
There are people in the game who will watch for “blabbermouths,” and make
note of who they are. And if they have a secret to share, you can bet they
won’t share it with someone likely to leak it to the whole world.