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Echoes of the Mourning

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Dragon Magazine 359-89
Dragonmarks: Echoes of the Mourning
Publication Dragon Magazine issue #359
Date September 2007
Publisher Paizo Publishing
Type Game mechanics
Author Keith Baker
Illustrator James Zhang
Pages 106-110
Edition 3rd ed. (3.5)
Series Dragonmarks
Preceded by Fragments of the Prophecy

'The Mourning is a shadow hanging over Khorvaire. An entire nation was destroyed and worse still, transformed into a realm of horrors more terrifying that even Droaam. The Mourning killed more than a million people and created hundreds of thousands of refugees scattered across Khorvaire. Fear brought an end to the Last War - sheer shock and terror. During the century of war, most soldiers clung to the belief that the struggle would lead to a new and better Galifar. Now the heart of the old kingdom is gone, replaced by an abomination. And no one knows why. No one knows if it could happen again. Even in this time of peace looms a feeling of impeding doom, uncertainty, and lingering dread. In some cases, this has led to hedonism or a collapse in moral values, as those who believe the world is ending have no fear of the consequences of their actions. Other believe the Mourning is the wrath of the gods and have become even more austere and ascetic in the hopes their purity might save the nation. Both players and DM should consider the impact of the Mourning when designing characters. Has the Mourning touched the character in any meaningful way? Is he afraid of it? Fascinated by it? Or does he believe it was a freak event, a piece of history best left forgotten? How does he feel about the Cryan refugees found across Khorvaire? Does he pity them, sympathizing with these people who have lost everything without even knowing why? Does he despise them, hating his monarch for sheltering these people who once fought against him? Or is he a Cyran himself, a man whose home and family were destroyed by this magical cataclysm? How does he live with the horrors he has seen?

Cyran nationality provides many opportunities normally impossible for PCs: a noble knight born into a family of tremendous wealth; a wizard and heir to one of the grandest libraries of Khorvaire; a rogue born into the most powerful crime guild in Metrol. Gold, arcane knowledge, criminal influence - all has been stripped away by the Mourning, leaving only the bitter memory. Of course, there is always a chance that some measure of this past glory can be regained. Perhaps the mystic library remains intact at the heart of the Mournland, but can the PCs recover his birthright? Can the young crimelord find other survivors of his old guild and rebuild his family in Breland, Aundair, or Stormreach? The mourning might have taken away everything from a player character, but such a tragedy gives the player an immediate goal - although one that might take years to accomplish.

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