The krakens, leviathans, aboleths and dragon turtles slowly disappeared from the oceans of Arcanearth after the Compact ended the Godswar in mortal realms. As the ferocious monsters were removed from the seas, men expanded into them. These first explorers were the ancestors of the Lanun.
Danalin offered these men his guidance, and they formed friendships with the otherwise elusive Aifons (merfolk), the children of Danalin. Island communities of Lanun developed, each with their own customs, but all shared a love of freedom and adventure, along with a flexible sense of honor.
When Kylorin solidified his rule of Patria and began to incorporate neighboring kingdoms into his empire, by force if necessary, the distant Lanun openly pledged fealty to the new empire. However, they only bothered to enforce those laws they agreed with. Fugitives were allowed to flee aboard ship and seek their fortunes across the waves. Occasionally a Lanun city would be punished, but their trade routes made them too valuable to risk a serious intervention.
Patria soon collapsed as wars broke out between the wicked mages and their foes. The Lanun happily aided both sides, taking fleeing mages across the waves only to later sell passage to the Patrian priests of Bhall pursuing them. Then their world was rocked by the gods as Bhall’s fall from heaven and Mulcarn’s conquest brought civilizations crashing down. As the Age of Ice set in, huge icebergs made even once-tropical oceans too dangerous to sail. Some Lanun communities were completely isolated by the encroaching ice. The Lanun priests lost contact with Danalin. Their rituals began to behave in unexpected ways, preventing control of the winds and weather which had been so critical to Lanun dominance of the waves. Those few Lanun crews still willing to brave the seas found great fame and wealth trading between distant tribes, though this often made them a target of Mulcarn’s blizzards.
The Lanun were reunited after the banishing of Mulcarn at the hands of Kylorin and the Godslayer. Each Lanun tribe had evolved quite different outlooks and values during the Age of Ice. This wasn’t a problem for the Lanun. Each seagoing tribe lived by the rules of the wind and the wave. The sea captains were the real power in Lanun waters, for captains outrank provincial governors. The only superior authority a Lanun captain acknowledges is an admiral appointed by a grand council of captains.
As the Age of Ice gave way to the Age of Rebirth, strange creatures emerged from the depths, only this time there was no priesthood of Danalin to deal with them. The god of the waters had retreated from the multiverse after the loss of his beloved creations, the Aifons. The archangel of Mammon, Hastur the Unspeakable, begin to whisper to the sleeping god, causing nightmares which materialized in the mortal realm as monsters, disasters and other horrors. A few men were sensitive to the echoes of this cosmic colloquy. Most were driven insane, but some few maintained a tentative grip on reality. These fanatics established a new religion on Arcanearth, a twisted and evil version of the old Danalin worship of wave and water. The Octopus Overlords use the Lanun to advance their goals of world conquest. The Lanun captains find it hard to resist the temptation of power promised by the zealots and speakers of the Overlords.
Some Lanun captains retain the carefree spirit of their people despite these new challenges while others, like Hannah the Irin, embrace the darker turn the seas have taken. The pirate-lord Falamar sees himself as a dashing rogue. He tends to spare the victims of his raids so that they might ‘donate’ again in the future. Hanna is everything he isn’t. She is the storm personified, temperamental and powerful. She has had entire cities razed for a perceived insult and rules not by charm, but by fear. Which view will prove more effective in the Age of Rebirth has yet to be seen, but as always there is room in the Lanun for each captain to choose his or her own path.
~ 1% Other
60% Chaotic Neutral
8% Chaotic Evil
6% Neutral Evil
5% Chaotic Good
Adult population Lvl 1 or higher: 3%
Warlock: 10% (Pact: Old Ones or Hastur the Unspeakable)
“Release me at once or taste steel, cur!”
Falamar gazed at Rhoanna in mock anguish. “Milady is displeased by the accommodations? You are welcome to leave at any time, of course, and I’m injured by the insinuation that you are anything but a guest.”
“I have business too urgent to put up with your pranks.” The lady paced about the Captain’s quarters, armor clanking with every step. “Return me to my vessel, or I am as good as your prisoner,” she said, glaring at the waves. “Or did you expect me to walk?”
“You know, I’ve seen that done, and it isn’t all that impressive.” The Lanun picked up one of two goblets on the heavy wooden table and took a delicate sip. “The magic helps, sure. But the real trick is to not look down.”
“Do not—” Rhoanna paused and clenched a fist tightly as the ship swayed on the waves. “Dragons take you and your seas! Don’t change the subject! I need to be aboard my own vessel on my own course.”
“Ah, well, it seems that one just can’t buy good help these days. No sooner had we brought you-—and that delightful air conjurer—aboard, than they headed for the horizon. Without telling me where they were going! Although I do suspect I’ll see them again, considering the captain is my brother-in-law.”
“Is there no honor on the seas?” the Hippus queen moaned, as she slumped into the chair across from Falamar.
“Do try the wine, my dear; our fall 157 vintage takes the edge off the sea pangs. As for honor, I’d wager mine against any sell-sword from the steppes… present company excluded of course. We have our own rules on the waves, ‘tis true,” Falamar rose and walked around the cabin, picking up a large bottle which contained a replica of the Maiden’s Delight, his flagship. “But I think you’ll find them to contain a certain measure of honor. A captain’s word is law on his ship, but a crewman is free to leave at any port. We may have a wife in every port, but our mistress, the sea, is eternal. A man makes his fate with his own two hands, but we all wind up in the drink eventually. A Lady’s virtue remains sacrosanct—unless she can be persuaded to set it aside like a suit of armor, soon to be made worthless by the sea air.”
Rhoanna pulled out a dagger from a sheath hidden in the plates of her armor. “Fascinating. Pray tell, what are the rules of the sea with regard to eunuchs?”
“Galley slaves, usually, and it’s good to see the sea hasn’t robbed you of all your spirit. Speaking of robbery, you did want to return to land eventually, did you not?”
She glared at him for a minute, then sighed, and said “Name your price, Sea-King. I need to reach my company at the Grigori border. Our contract has been…renegotiated, and if I don’t inform my sergeants, the honor of the Hippus will indeed be worth little more than that of sea thieves.”
“There are a few trade contracts which could only draw us closer… as nations, of course. Awaiting just your signature here, dear lady.” Rhoanna looked them over, muttering about extortion, but made her mark.
Falamar watched as Rhoanna and her companion bounded down the harbor, away from the Maiden’s Delight and towards her duty. “Where to now, captain?”
“Not just yet, Sharwin.” He kept watching, eventually a frown playing on his normally implacable visage. She was almost out of his sight. He began to reach for his spyglass.
Rhoanna slowed at the edge of town. Slowed then stopped, and almost against her will, certainly against her better judgment, turned around. She gazed at the Lanun ship for several minutes, the wind pulling her hair towards the sea. Then she returned to her quest.
Falamar smiled. “They always look back. Always. Sharwin, head for Calabim waters. They have a vintage that should be ripening now.”
“How dull is land, that you should go to sleep and wake up in the same place. Give me the currents
of the sea that I should ever awaken in new lands.”
—Falamar on Seafaring
Hannah the Irin
Dreamers, worthless vagrants whose only use was receiving the visions of the Overlords, lay around the periphery of the chamber. Each reclined in a shallow recess with 27 thin bone needles piercing them in different places. The needles were hollow and filled with wax from whale fat and unholy religious oils, while in each a wick burned. As the wax melted, it seeped down the needle into the dreamers’ blood. This was what induced the visions.
Most of what they said was gibberish, nightmares or twisted memories of their past lives. They repeated verses to old lullabies, held conversations with imaginary people, and talked in languages no one could recognize. But occasionally there was more.
These dreams were always preceded by screaming. New Zealots always considered opening themselves up to receive the dreams directly, to speak directly with the Overlords, until they heard the screams.
Then the voices came, a variety of voices but never that of the dreamer. The Cultists would faithfully record the message. The dreamer was always mentally scarred by the contact. Most were only good for two or three visions before becoming catatonic or raving mad.
But there were rules to dealing with the dreamers. They were sacred conduits to the outer realms. Their food was specially prepared, they were kept clean and groomed and they weren’t exposed to any sound or sight that could distress them. Until Cinnia.
Cinnia was a favored dreamer of the Overlords, having received seven visions and all the Cultists except Koun of the Ninth Ring agreed she was fit to receive more. Her eighth vision was her last. The Overlords spoke through her in three voices. One yelled in outrage, threatening a great wave would destroy the city if atonement was not made. Another spoke of the future, of a human terror that would lead and destroy men, the ‘Eater of Dreams’. The last voice screamed in pain only to be cut off halfway through the messages of the first two. The Cultists were never able to decipher the message of the screaming voice.
For weeks the Cultists debated the meaning of the voices. Koun argued that Cinnia should be killed, that her sacrifice was the atonement the first voice demanded. Each day they watched the sea, fearing a destructive wave. Then the Cultists noticed that the sea was beginning to recede, to pull away from the city. The water was gathering somewhere distant. The wave was coming.
They rushed to the chamber, worshipped beside Cinnia, asked for guidance on how to appease the Overlords. One noticed Cinnia’s stomach had expanded slightly. A sorcerer confirmed it: she was pregnant.
The rest of the day was chaos. A dreamer had been befouled, and only Cultists had access to her. Under threat and coercion they found who had done it: Koun of the Ninth Ring.
Koun was sacrificed at the beach and the wave never came. Cinnia was taken from the chamber and tended to. She died shortly after giving birth to twin girls. One was stillborn, the other survived.
The Cultists decided that the child was too dangerous to be kept in the temple. She was given to a Lanun ship captain to raise. He named her Hannah the Irin, after being told she was a twin whose mother and sister died in childbirth.
Hannah became as temperamental and powerful as the sea itself. At the age of 16 she led a successful mutiny against her own father. The newly renamed Desecrated Vessel was soon feared by military and merchant ships alike. When the time for war came, pirate captains flocked to her flag. Despite being unaccustomed to central rule, the Lanun follow Hannah. They are too afraid to do otherwise.