Bardic Magic PHB == Players Handbook Cantrip Besetting Dance Blade Ward (PHB) Discordant Ethereal Instrument It
To keep information a bit organized, I've included a series of links that groups posts, pages and other content by tag. Please follow these links to get to organized breakdowns of selected content.
The Northern Continent is home to a civilization that draws heavily from Xuanxia and Xuanhuan as its backdrop. Its a place that features magic, demons, ghosts, immortals, and a great deal of folklore/mythology drawn from multiple sources.
The setting includes the idea that regular humans can achieve supernatural ability through martial training and internal energy cultivation. Some special few even attempt to defy the heavens and cultivate to Immortality, seeking eternal life and the pinnacle of strength through mysticism.
At the same time, the continent is in Mearoc, the previous game world. Fifteen moons live in the sky, Faerie, dragon, Titan/Jarl and myriad other exotic and strange gods, beasts, and races exit. In the Northern Continent, the presence of that multitude has always been rare. Not only are they far geographically from the other continents, but the continent itself has fashioned a natural formation that suppresses divine power and the natural powers of Faerie, Dragon, and other powerful beings in Mearoc.
The continent being, well, a continent is an "open" secret of sorts. Common man neither knows nor cares. Educated ones know but equally don't care.
Same goes for the Faerie, Dragons, ghosts and other beings common to Mearoc. They are there but not in any numbers on this continent. Its utterly dominated by the Immortals vibe and unlike the rest of the world.
Heavens and the Divine Tree of Immortality
Its unrecorded how the first mortal stumbled onto the path of immortality. What is recorded is a rough time period. In the old system, humanity progressed from the Age of Dragons to the Age of Legend when the oceans smashed the land and pressed the mountains into being on the northwest side of the continent. The earthquakes and catastrophes from this event shift the land across the entire continent, forming the Sun-Moon-Stars Sea in the continent middle and threw the land masses into the sky that became known as the Ten earths and Nine heavens.
This change turned the continent into a giant natural formation that concentrated what later was called immortal power. The first recorded cultivators were actually monsters, though humanity quickly came second and eclipsed them. This power greatly enhanced humanity and these cultivators as they were called grew very powerful. The heavens defined that this power must be ordered according to their will and began to cut down on the numbers of immortals by testing them with heavenly tribulation, be it fire, lightning, temptation, or other trials. As cultivators who survived the tribulation grew strong enough they learned to congeal massive amounts of immortal powe to truly attain immortality, with power rivaling that of demi-gods and in some cases, even the gods.
Alarmed, the gods enforced their will again, reducing the high end of immortal power by forcing it into the Divine Tree of Immortality. This tree would grow, bear fruit, and then wither, only to reincarnation and repeat the cycle. Its fruit, the Dao Fruit of Immortality would be given to those cultivators that survived tribulation. Given only a few fruits were grown each century, this allowed the gods to control the amount of Immortals. This chained the path of progression to Heaven's will. It also severed the path for many, as more candidates existed than fruits. No longer did surviving tribulation give one a path to Immortality. It was controlled by the heavens.
Heaven Severing War
As time progressed, this act by the Heavens led to strong dissent but not revolt. It was only when during the final tribulation of Immortal Rithol atKor that the Divine Tree passed on the knowledge that it was actually enslaved by the Heavens. As the divine fruit of immortality was given to Rithol, so too was the knowledge that only a few fruits that it bore were actually given to the prospective immortals. The rest were taken and enjoyed the gods to further their own power. Equally, it did not live on a cycle but was butchered and lobotomized regularly, pruned back to a mere stump to grow again. Effectively, it died regularly and often but each death allowed its spirituality to grow slightly more until it gained the reasoning ability to tell its spiritual children, effectively, all the Immortals what was happening.
Its open to debate what stirred the Immortals and Legendary Heroes to rebel more. The plight of the tree or the realization that the Heavens was only allowing less than 1% of them eligible to become Immortal to ascend. Either way, a mere few years after this knowledge spread the Immortals and Legendary Heroes rose up in rebellion against the gods.
The battle lasted an eternity. Truly. Fourteen Immortals cut down the gods of time and fate, shattering the temporal grip of reality on the world. In the frozen afterlife of a timeless space, humanity and its Legendary Heroes and Immortals faced off with the Heavens.
A final, climatic battle was waged in the Eternal City. At its conclusion, humanity won, casting down the avatars of the gods and slaying all their minions in the world. The Divine Tree absorbed the fallen avatars of the gods and restarted the world, restoring time and allowing for destiny.
After the war, a new calendar was established, with the first day after the war counted as day one. Much of the population of the continent was annihilated in the battle. The vast majority is centered around the Eternal City in the southwest, with small cities and pockets of civilization in the rest.