Anima Basic Information
A world ruled by humans... Although it wasn't always like this. About 550 years ago, a young man called Abel appeared in the world. Calling himself "the Son of the one and only God", he united all of humanity within a single creed, one that preached that all supernatural things were evil. Only a few chosen ones had powers given by God, powers that put them apart from normal people and allowed them to fight the supernatural. Alongside with his Apostles, Abel-Christ, as he was called, conquered almost all of the continent of Arcadia, also known as the Old Continent.
He only had to conquer the old Empire of Solomon, an empire in decadence that had resisted his attacks. But the night before his final attack, one of his Apostles, Iscariote Sith, betrayed him and sold his life in exchange for thirty pieces of black metal said to contain the forbidden knowledge that created the Empire of Solomon, the knowledge that, once lost, started the decadence of Solomon.
His other eleven Apostles proceeded to conquer the city of Solomon in a single day, and although they couldn't find the traitor, they recovered the body of their master, entombed him within the city of Solomon (now called Arkangel) and decided to create eleven Holy Kingdoms. Each of them would rule one of this Kingdoms, and they would defend humanity from the supernatural. Pietro Giovanni, favorite of Abel, named his Holy Kingdom after his master, and built the capital of his Holy Kingdom on top of the city of Solomon, giving it the name of Arkangel.
About 250 years after it, the Holy Kingdoms had to face the greatest of threats. Rah Sith, last descendant of Iscariote, attacked the Holy Kingdoms allied with members of other races and supernatural creatures. He and his generals had powers far above those of normal individuals. Closer to demigods than humans, each of them could destroy entire armies. The only one man that achieved some victories against them was Zhorne Giovanni, Pietro's grandson. The Giovanni lineage had been touched and altered by Abel, and each one of them was not only as powerful as the Apostle, but they were very long-lived.
Nobody is sure of what happened, but Zhorne somehow managed to win the war. The war affected the supernatural, weakening supernatural entities. Zhorne united humanity under the banner of what he called The Holy Empire of Abel. He rebuilt Arkangel, founded an Empire and managed to eradicate or expel anything supernatural. With the help of the Inquisition, who destroyed supernatural entities and exterminated members of non human ethnicities wherever they found them, and the Templars of the island of Tol Rauko, who collected supernatural items for study and preservation until a time comes when humanity is ready for the supernatural, Zhorne fulfilled his dream.
About 700 year later, The Holy Empire of Abel was ruled by Lascar Giovanni, direct descendant of Zhorne and Pietro Giovanni. Unlike every other Giovanni, however, Lascar was both a terrible emperor and person. After countless atrocities, the kingdom could no longer take it. Elias Barbados, one of the four Lords of War that controlled a quarter of the military power of the empire, decide to launch a coup. The coup was relatively bloodless and even the church and Tol Rauko turned their backs on the emperor. In an act of spite Lascar forces his son, Lucanor, to kill him before he could be captured. For some reason, this action condemned the heir and he could not take the throne. Alias Barbados, the most direct descendent of the title, was declared the new emperor with the support of the other three Lords of War and the Supreme Archbishop (AKA Pope) Augustus.
At first, Elias was on awesome emperor, but then things started going down hill. First, his wife died giving birth to his daughter Elisabetta. His grief was overwhelming, which caused him to blame his daughter for his wife's death. Unable to be around her, he left her to be raised by her bodyguard, Kisidan. Then Elias's close friend and ally Supreme Archbishop Augustus died. As the Holy Emperor, it was his job to appoint the next one, but he found all the applicants unimpressive. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a young abbess named Eljared appeared. Elias was so impressed with her, he appointed her Supreme Archbishop, an act that contradicted every ecclesiastic tradition.
Much of the church and many principalities protested, citing that her genitals were the wrong shape (or some such nonsense.) Not only did Elias not give a fuck, he pretty much gave Eljared all the power of his position as well. When the Prince of Remo accused her of bewitching Elias (in the magic sense, not the being hot sense) she essentially burned his entire principality to the ground. Many of the other Princes and Lords were upset by this, so she declared war on all of them as well.
Lord of War, and close friend of Elias, Tadeus Van Horsman implored him to stop the madness, but Elias suggested he shut his trap or be accused of treason. Feeling he had little choice, Van Horsman staged a coup like the one Elias had staged not that many years ago. Paranoid and crazed, Elias accused his daughter of being the cause of all his problems and sorrows and tried to execute her. Kisidan, her bodyguard, stepped in and ended up killing Elias.
With Elias dead, Eljared disappeared. Van Horsman put himself under the command of Elisabetta, and at the age of 12, she was declared the first ever Empress of the Holy Empire of Abel. As you can imagine, everyone lost their shit. The other Lords of War and many of the principalities proclaimed themselves sovereign nations and separate from the Holy Empire of Abel. To make matters worse, the Church has not acknowledged her rule and has appointed a Supreme Archbishop without the Empress's consent.
In the west we have the New Continent. It roughly represents the Americas. There are cultures there ranging from the plains Indians to the wild west with swords to the Aztecs. We are not going to worry to much about that continent right now. In the East is the Old Continent. It is called the Old Continent because it is the first one the Holy Empire of Abel conquered. Anima pulls heavy inspiration from the real world but, obviously, alters it heavily. Some examples: Lannet and Shivat in the far east are inspired by Japan and China. Haufman and Hendell are inspired by the Nordic countries. Alberia is kind of like the British Isles in the times of the Celts. The Dominion is a giant sized version of the Vatican. Kushistan is the middle east and Stygia is ancient Egypt. Nanwe is Africa. Either Kashmir or Baho are inspired by India.
A form of pseudo-Christianity is the main religion of the Empire. The empire has managed to spread the religion all around the world, but the further one gets from Abel and The Dominion, the more people have clung to their traditional religions and cultures. Besides the regular church, which goes about feeding the poor and holding mass, there is the Inquisition, which spends all of its time hunting down demons. And by demons, I mean any sort of magic use or anything that looks like magic use, and occasionally an actual monster here or there.
The technology of the world ranges from pre-middle ages to just before the enlightenment. Much of the world is in what we would call the dark or middle ages. To get an idea of what some of the newest, most cutting edge technology in the most advanced provinces (such as Abel) are, here is a list of newly invented items: eye glasses, telescopes, flintlock pistols, fireworks (ancient china style), and pocket watches.
Our story is going to start off in a little village in Alberia, so I am going to expand on this Province. Alberia is in the North West of the Old Continent. It is nick-named "the kingdom of eternal rains" and is loosely based of Celtic Britannica. It is technically ruled by a prince who democratically leads a parliament of twenty leaders elected by the people, but many people live in self contained villages so Province wide politics don't really matter in their daily lives. The primary languages are Ailish and Latin (the language of the Empire). The primary religions are Lillium and Christianity. Lillium sounds like a most druidic religion based around the spirits of the forest and such. Over the centuries the people of Alberia have blended the two religions and many people follow both. Technologically, the people in Alberia live in the dark ages. The only city in Alberia is the capital and even it isn't very big as cities go. For the most part the province is covered in forests and surrounded by seas and mountains. They export a little bit of lumber and ores from mining but have little trade with the outside world. One thing that Alberia is famous for is its traveling bards. Unlike most places, where traveling musicians are looked down upon. Bards are always welcomed and highly respected. Every three years there is a competition held called The Competition of the Voice, in which the winner is proclaimed the Bard of Alberia, one of the most prestigious titles in this province.
Nairn is the little Alverian village in which our adventure starts. Nairn is a small, self sufficient village in the northern part of Alberia across a river from the Forest of Eternal Night. The village has farmers, herders, hunters, and even a few families that fish the river. There are probably a couple of skilled workers, but probably not a blacksmith. Most of our characters probably grew up in this village, but someone could definitely play a traveling bard, a roaming ranger, a Lillium Priest/ess, or anything else that might be passing through the village. (I hope this doesn't feel too limiting. I didn't want you guys to feel like you had to learn about the whole world to make a character, so I was going to have things start small. If you really want to go in a different direction, let me know, and I am sure we can figure something out.)
The Forest of Eternal Night doesn't just have a scary name, it is actually a bad place. Not surprisingly the forest is dense enough that allows no light in, and the trees are all black. Rumors are that deep into the forest, the streams run red with blood and the darkness looks peers back at you. There are stories of villagers' ancestors having gone to the center, but they are most likely stories. Almost every villager has gone in at least a couple of miles, however. There is an ancient ruin of black stone and metal about an hours hike in.
All of the adult characters carry a small piece of black stone from the ruin incorporated into a piece of jewelry or attached to their weapon or belt. When the children ask, they tell them that they will get one when they become a man or woman and that they are forbidden to go into the Forest of Eternal Night. Meanwhile, older siblings and peers will tell them that they have to go to the ruin and get their own stone. Eventually the child will come to realize that they must choose to be an adult and not wait for someone else to declare them one. Then they will sneak out one night, go to the ruin, and grab a small piece for themselves. Most make it back alive, but one or two every generation do not.
As for dangers, once or twice a year a big dire wolf will wander out of the forest and the village will have to put it down before it kills anyone. Every decade or two something worse will wander out. It usually gets pretty ugly, but has made the villagers tougher and more capable than most.
I was going to have you guys come up with character concepts without worrying about things like stats and then help you figure that out. Some things you are going to want to think about when coming up with ideas, however, are as follows.
None! There are plenty of heroes that get by on their pure strength, skill, and wits. Whether you want to play a warrior, a thief, or something else. You can get by with absolutely no supernatural powers.
Ki! Ki abilities are the types of things you see people do in Kung Fu movies. Ki abilities are about combining your physical and spiritual power to do superhuman feats. The best Ki users tend to be Fighters and Martial Artists, but all characters will develop a small amount of Ki power over a long enough period of time.
Magic! Magic allows a wizard to do everything you think it would by tapping into the Soulstream. Throwing fireballs, healing people, making walls of ice, and flying. Magic is divided into 11 paths. (Light, Dark, Creation, Destruction, Necromancy, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth) Magic-users can study one path or divide their attention amongst multiple different paths.
Summoning! Summoning is partially tied to Magic, but they can be used completely separately as well. On top of summoning, controlling, binding, and banishing spirits, summoners can establish a close bond with a being and have a familiar that grows in power along side its master. In case that wasn't enough, Summoners are also able to temporarily summon powerful beings for a very short period of time. The being will provide a powerful attack or ability before disappearing.
Psychics! Instead of tapping into the Soulstream, Psychics use their force of will to accomplish impossible things. Psychics can move things with their minds, read people's thoughts, set fires, and enhance their physical abilities. In addition, they can control ice and pure energy.
Elan! One final source of power available to characters is synchronizing with one of the 7 Beryls or 7 Shazads. These beings are god-like creatures that have been worshiped in many forms throughout history. The beings do not need to be worshiped directly or even worshiped at all. Some of the Beryls grant powers to followers of the Christian religion or others that hold up the virtues of light. The Shazads give powers to many dark characters, but to many others as well. What is important is that the person up holds the virtues that the being considers important.
Some people are not born with human souls. Instead, they are born with the soul of one of the long lost races. These people tend to have dreams of their past lives and have exceptional abilities. The downside is that they level up slower.
Humans! Humans are not Nephilim. Most people are just regular people. I just wanted to make sure everyone knew that being human is a perfectly acceptable option.
Sylvain! Also known as light elves. Sylvain Nephilim have hints of eleven features like slightly pointed ears. They tend to be patient and are always attractive. They are more resistant to things like poison, magic and such than humans. They tend to find Light magic easier to learn than dark magic. They heal a little quicker than humans and need less sleep and food. They also have the ability to detect other Sylvain (or Duk'zarist) present although that doesn't mean they can identify them as such.
Jayan! Jayan were a type of giant, mostly human in appearance but much larger. In addition to being larger than normal people, Jayan Nephilim sometimes have bumps on their foreheads that appear as if they are beginning to grow horns. Jayan Nephilim rarely have dreams of their past lives. On one hand, Jayan are bigger, stronger, and tougher than humans, but on the other, they are more susceptible to magic. In addition to these other things, Jayan have access to spirit vision due to the residual power of their species Third Eye. Jayan can close their eyes and see spirits and other beings invisible to most people.
D'Anjayni! D'Anjayni are perhaps the most mysterious Nephilim because people tend to forget about them after they are gone. D'Anjayni Nephilim are rarely noticed by other people, even if they go out of their way to draw attention. When walking barefoot, they leave no tracks and after having interacted with someone, a mystical power erases them from their memories. Even magic has a harder time detecting them. On top of that, they are never exceptionally attractive or ugly and have a hard time speaking above a whisper.
Ebudan! Ebudan are reborn with a purpose. They constantly dream about their Sue'Amon (purpose) until they have fulfilled it. Even magic can not make them forget about it. Unfortunately, until they complete their Sue'Amon, they are gifted with no other power. After they have, however, they become extremely powerful. Once their purpose has been completed, Ebudan are complete invulnerable to natural damage. They can only be harmed by magical attacks. In addition, they can summon two energy wings at will that allow them to fly. Ebudan often have mystical marks on their bodies that are reminiscent of the tattoos that cover their species bodies. Luckily, these can usually be covered up by normal clothes.
Daimah! The Daimah were cat people, and their Nephilim are what you would expect. Their eyes are slightly almond-shaped and their ears a little pointed (sometimes with tufts of hair on them.) They tend to be cheerful, carefree, and prone to boredom. They rarely dream of their past lives, but when they do, they become very curios, until something else distracts them anyways. They can sense if beings have elemental or spiritual ties, and can sense the general feeling of nature around them (such as the first being calm, afraid, etc). They heal more quickly in the forest and can move through it unhindered by underbrush and the like. They tend to be slightly smaller than the average human.
Duk'Zarist! The dark elves. In many ways, the Duk'zarist are just like their cousins the Sylvain. They are always attractive and have slightly elven features. Where Sylvain are patient and kind, however, Duk'Zarist are competitive and admire strength in others. Like Sylvain, they are very resistant to things like poison and magic, but they find dark magic to learn easy than light. They heal quickly and are unlikely to pass from near death to death without a killing blow. They need less food and sleep and can detect other Sylvain and Duk'Zarist souls, just like their cousins. Unlike the Sylvain, the dark elves have limited night vision, an aptitude to fire psychic powers, and a severe allergy to iron.
Magic largely disappeared from the world after the war with Rah Sith. Most of the other races disappeared as well as many of the monster. Most magic users and the like lost their powers. None of these things were totally gone, but the remaining ones went into hiding. For the past 700 years or so, most magic users have either kept to themselves, found one of the few secret societies of magic users, or convinced the church that their gifts are from God. People with magic powers "from God" are called Saints. Many powerful people of the Empire and the Inquisition are Saints. There are still monsters around, especially in the far corners of the empire, but not in the numbers there were before. Also, there doesn't seem to be an crazy powerful ones around. Different Provinces have different feelings towards non-Church sanctioned magic. Near the capital and places where the church is the strongest, they will burn anyone showing any kind of power unless okay-ed by the church. In places that never really believed in Christianity and the church had little control, it depends on the local beliefs. In Alberia, where we are playing, it is somewhere in the middle. If someone shows powers that either make sense in the context of their religion (largely nature magic and healing and such) or are superhuman warriors (move to fast, hit to hard, jump to high) they people will probably be a awed. Eventually word might get to the Inquisition, and they might come looking for the person, even if the average Alberian citizen doesn't think it's evil powers.