The Domain of Darkon
Darkon is the northernmost domain in the core continent of Ravenloft, and the biggest nation. It touches the Nocturnal Sea on the east, and the Sea of Sorrows on the West, and is bordered by the mists themselves on the north. Darkon is the most “High Fantasy” of the domains of Ravenloft, with a cosmopolitan population and a mashup of cultures. That said, it is definitely a dark setting, having recently been rocked by a series of barely averted apocalypses that have left the landscape notably less friendly. Darkon is ruled by the wizard-king, Azalin Rex, who is normally disinterested, but is currently in the middle of re-consolidating power after disappearing for five years. The iron gauntlet of Azalin’s rule is not cushioned in the “velvet glove” that it normally is, as many of his officials made a grab for power in his absence.
The portion of Darkon the game will focus on is the southwest corner that boarders Lamordia and Falkovnia. This region is blanketed in the Forest of Shadows, a forest said to be so dense that sunlight doesn’t touch the ground. These woods are rumored to be haunted, and only the foolishly brave or truly desperate travel through anything other than the most well established roads. Unfortunately, the established road to the north has the side effect of killing anyone who travels its course, so more and more desperate souls are getting lost in the woods. Azalin has a plan though, he is gathering workers and resources to build a road through the forest. Now if only he had a group to oversee the construction….
The Curse of Darkon
Darkon is subject to a unique curse that mires the minds of those new to Darkon. Outlanders and those from other domains who remain in Darkon for three months (give or take a couple weeks) lose the memories of their homelands and rapidly come to believe that they have always lived in Darkon. False memories seep in to them and those around and stitch together a false past that if not consistent, is enough to get by. This is a clear meddling by the Dread Powers, but few have the opportunity to realize this outside influence. (And they really don’t want to think too hard about it, less their life be shown to be a lie.)
The Eternal Order is the official religion of Darkon, however the beliefs of it’s inhabitants are often a hodgepodge of local deities, hedge magic, and general superstition. One belief threads through all Darkonian religions; one day the dead will rise up and take the land back from the living. Given past experiences, this isn’t that much of a stretch.
- The Eternal Order – The state-sponsored religion, the Eternal Order worships a pantheon of death gods, and focuses on appeasement of the dead through sacrifice and ritual. Since the destruction of Il Aluk in 750 BC, the Eternal Order has been losing followers. However priests still enjoy sponsorship from the crown and immunity from local laws.
- Church of Ezra – The Lady of the Mists is often prayed to for protection and guidance through the various domains of Ravenloft, and Darkon is no exception. The local Church of Ezra is decidedly more apocalyptic than it’s brethren in other domains, with a common belief that the “Time of Unparalleled Darkness” will come in the next twenty years killing all but Ezra’s faithful.
- The Faith of the Overseer – A relatively new religious order in Darkon, the followers of the Overseer seek justice and meaning in the world. The Overseer sees all and all wrongs are made right in the afterlife. The Faith of the Overseer is not prone to vulgar displays of magic, and a “Cleric” showing such powers has yet to be known in the church. A PC could be the first though.
- Shrines & Traditions – Gods from many pantheons scattered across the D&D multiverse can be found at local shrines, often maintained by a single priest with a following that can be counted on your fingers. Since the memories of those that build the shrines are altered by the Dread Powers, the beliefs of those adherents may drift considerably from what would be normal in the lands of origin.