Tales of Midbough
Though at this point in history, everyone knows Midbough is a world that stands alone, a number of legends are found through its history. These legends create a cosmology for the planet that some of the stranger cults of society still believe in and as such, these things will be referenced through the campaign despite their antiquated place in reality.
Hundreds of years ago, it was believed that Midbough was merely one branch of a gigantic tree called the Yggdross (hence the ‘bough’ suffix. Now, people know that the world is round, not merely an expanse of bark on a giant tree. Yggross had seven branches and two roots.
Midbough Midbough—as the name implies—was found halfway between the highest and lowest boughs of the Yggdross. It is the believed homeworld of the humans.
Aesbough The highest branch of the Yggdross, Aesbough was once believed to be the home of the Lost Gods. It was once thought that when the most virtuous died, they would ascend to the Aesbough to join the Gods.
Vanibough Vanibough is the home of the demigods known as the Deva, and their servants, the Eladrin. Old legends say that while the Gods were content to sit silent in the Aesbough and watch the rest of the Yggdross, they handed commands to the Devas, who interacted with the various races of the other branches through their emissaries, the Eladrin. The Eladrin were also once believed to spirit the souls of great warriors to the higher boughs when they died in battle.
Alfbough People once believed that the Alfbough existed above Midbough, and that it was home to the descendants of the Eladrin, the Elves. It was thought that the Alfbough was created as as sort of a waypoint between Vanibough and Midbough.
Svartbough The first branch below Midbough, Svartbough was the fabled home of the Dwarves, Gnomes, and other smallfolk. Though it was believed that most of the bough itself was underground, there are some—namely, the Goliaths—who believe that tunneling deeper into Midbough will eventually lead to Svartbough.
Jotunbough Jotunbough is the fabled home of the Goliaths; a world of gigantic creatures and other sinister beasts. Many of the creatures of the Untamed Lands were once believed to have come from Jotunbough.
Muspelbough A fiery, desolate branch, Muspelbough is believed to be the home of the Wyrmborn, who once climbed up the tree to protect humanity during the earlier Black Wars. Muspelbough was a branch beset by great elemental furies, and even in the legends, anyone who journeyed there died
Nifelbough Nifelbough was believed to be the home of the horrible monsters known as the Kin after they destroyed it while travelling from Lowside. In the legends, it was an empty, ruined place, held in check by the powerful Wyrmborn of the Muspelbough and the savage lands of the Jotunbough.
Helbough The deepest of roots, very little is known about Helbough, except that the legends say it is a place of suffering even greater than the ruination of the Nifelbough. It is the antithesis of the Aesbough, and once believed to be the resting place of only the worst souls. Though demons are a myth, it was believed that this was their homeland.
In addition to the Boughs, the branches of the Yggdross were believed to be held together by a number of gigantic wooden bridges known—fittingly—as the Branchbridges. It was once believed that each bough held a Branchbridge that stretched to the adjacent boughs, and that the entrances to these bridges were guarded by the Shardminds, maintained by the Wildenwards, and traversed by the Gith. It was said that the Gith flew massive Leafboats between the worlds, ferrying people from one branch to another.
The Black Wars
Though the last Black War was believed to have happened roughly 500 years prior to the start of the campaign, no history remains of them aside from oral stories.
The Black Wars themselves were a series of centuries-spanning conflicts with a race of creatures known as the Kin. At the same time, the stories say that the Kin were less a species and more an embodiment of evil; though some took physical forms, Kin could also be areas of land known as Deepgloom, or even an extension of magic itself. The Kin were though to come from Lowside—an area on the opposite side of the Midbough. In every story, the Kin are eventually destroyed by a group of great warriors known as the Kinhunters. The Kinhunters were a branch of the Church of Callim, though even the meticulous Church has no records of such people ever existing.
In all of the stories about the Black Wars, the races of Yggdross band together with the humans of Midbough to push back the Kin and defeat their leader, the Kinlord. Every time, the Kinlord has a specific weakness—only one thing can kill it. Most of the stories revolve around the Kinhunters trying to find the weakness of the Kinlord.
To date, there are four legends of Black Wars, though three of them were millenia ago. The most recent Black War was less an invasion of the Kin, and more the even that caused the fall of the Noh Empire. At the time, the Empire controlled all of the known world in Midbough, but in its fervor to gain more power, it tapped into the dark powers of the Kin, known as psionics. The result was the destruction of Noh and in response, the formation of Grand Docen, which led to the Noh Empire being pushed back to the limited country it is now.