Marriage of Serpents

On the Problem of the Dragon by Ruádha, Sorceress Queen of the High Kingdom:


You darkness that I come from
I love you more than the flame that confines our world,
for flame only shines a circle so those
inside are blind beyond the light.


But the darkness welcomes… everything.
Shapes and flames,
animals and me,
how it swallows them:
People and Powers.


And I have the feeling some vast presence is stirring all around us.

I have faith in nights.


The Background

In the last decade, the Five Forests have grown closer together in spite of logging – which has risen to an all-new high with the import of blackglass axe-heads from across the Tower Sea.

The Godwoods have become liminal places of terror such as they have not been since the arrival of the Five Kings; many have reported the Gods walking the world in mortal guise, interfering in ways they have not since the rise of the High Kingdom and the Síocháin Rí, the High Peace..

The Dragon (coiled asleep in the sacred burning under the Island of Mawr) and the Serpent (wrapped around Mawr under the sea in all directions) and their erstwhile cousin, the Mistlord, have emerged from a generation of slumber to battle in a way to bard’s tale recalls. Their most recent destructive meeting culminating in the apocalyptic sinking of the island capitol of the Kingdom of Ternyn.

Magic has been loosed like wildfire in the Kingdoms. The enigmatic grey Builder structures have come to life, changing, expelling their denizens and swallowing others. No Siar (speaker of the Gods) can explain it, and everyone blames the secretive magical kingdom of Cahál for at least not stopping it. The easy barbarity of the Lesser Kingdoms, and the genteel barbarity of the High Kingdom of Foraoise, are strained over this and other problems to the breaking.

Strangers come from beyond the Endless Sea not to harry or rob, but only to disappear into Mawr, their races and appearances strange enough that they should be a stir among all the peoples of the 5 Kingdoms… and yet… not after port sightings, be found.

Tuhál sees Vulfen in numbers in the southern plains of the lost kingdom of Alae. The secretive cat-people, the P’ntri, are seen spying at the edges of the Teinwood – the rightful demesnes of the Tuhál and Cahál.

The ocean kingdom of Ternyn enters civil war in the wake of its sunken Great City.

On the Five Kingdoms, by the Siar Belliosas:


In a marriage of serpents, everyone gets bitten.

The Story

You are a unique and excellent person of the Kingdoms (in that the sense of person refers to any self-aware creature). Some worldly or otherworldly Power has engendered you to band with other heroes of Mawr, to gather at the House of Light between Foraise and Tuhál. Perhaps you were sent by a great Lord, or tapped by a wise old bard to come, or named by a siar from disturbing visions, or have some secret knowledge in yourself that led you to the Convocation.

The Five Kingdoms have sent a party of the Great along the northern coast to meet a delegation of the P’ntri – the first such meeting ever in Mawr’s history.

What burdens are you carrying? What secrets bind you? What knowledge and history weighs your steps on the paths of Mawr?

What will the Convocation hold? What does it intend to reveal. Revelation requires Attendance….

Why were you chosen?

How much do you love the 5 brother Kingdoms of the Isle?

Background Reading

Arwr: The Makings of a Hero

What manner of arwr (hero, literally: man who pulls a plow alone) are you? Wise? Strong? Long-Laboring?

What are your special capacities? Lord-Born? Are you Blessed by the Dragon? Cursed by the Serpent? Favored of the Mistlord? Lost among the Builder Structures? Get of the Gods?

Construct for yourself a sentence describing your hero of the form:

I am a(n) adjective type who actions.

e.g. I am a Ban Draoí who Walks the Path of Flesh (this is a formal wizard (ban draoí) who has power over the body – perhaps a shapeshifter)


The Adjective is simple, like: brave, smart, charming.

It gives you a one-time bonus, and limitation for your character; e.g. Charming: “Trained (Charm/manipulate), Inability (general socialize)”


The Type is one of:

  • Monger: one who works with their hands (e.g. a Fíanna warrior, a bronze monger, a glass maker)
  • Boga: the name of the old messenger guild of the High Kingdom that eventually was folded into the territory of the Filidh (the bards), Bogas get things done in the world – either by themselves, or by others.
  • Draoí: (“drEE”) the wise ones who walk the Paths – the wizards, the sorcerers, the bards, the servants of the gods


The Action is something descriptive of what makes your character unique, and whence their power comes; eg:

  • Bears the Teeth of the Serpent
  • Masters Weapons
  • Burns with the Fire of the Dragon
  • is favored by the Day House
  • Wields the Curse of the Night House

When your’e ready, you can send me some character schtuff here!


We are going to be using one of the Cypher systems. If you have access to any of those books, they can be a source of inspiration. If not, don’t worry about it!