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Teraum

Table of Contents

Introduction

Teraum is a tragically funny fantasy world.

This document was written by me, emsenn, in the United States. To the extent possible under law, I have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this document. This document was created for the benefit of the public.

Data

(setq teraum-data '())

People

Anadini, Jenos

(push
 '(anadini-jenos
   (name . "Jenos Anadini")
   (description . "Jenos Anadini is a middle-aged human man who works for Honeyfern Laboratory as an archivist.")
   (inventory
    (easy-smoking-pipe .)))
 teraum-data)

Places

Gloaming


Belcaer

(push '(belcaer
(name . "Belcaer")
(description . "Belcaer...")
(location . gloaming))
teraum-data)

Caliper Street

(push
 '(caliper-street
   (name . "Caliper Street")
   (description . "Caliper Street runs through the Brass Ward, in Ack.")
   (nav
    (114 . twisted-alembic)))
 teraum-data)

Twisted Alembic

(push
 '(twisted-alembic
   (name . "Twisted Alembic")
   (description . "The Twisted Alembic is one of the oldest pubs in the city of Ack. It has a reputation for being where the city's more eccentric engineers and chemics spend time.")
   (nav
    (south-door . caliper-street)))
 teraum-data)

Green Delta

(push
 '(green-delta
   (name . "Green Delta")
   (description . "The Green Delta is a fertile region, dense with farms and small villages.")
   (nav
    (east . central-plains)
    (southeast . gloaming)
    (south . widewoods)
    (west . optic-ocean)))
 teraum-data)

Things

pipe, easy-smoking

(push
 '(pipe-easy-smoking
   (name . "easy-smoking pipe")
   (description . "The easy-smoking pipe is a wooden pipe which emits an intoxicating smoke. The magic comes from the pipe itself; anything burnt in it produces the same effect.")
   (location . anadini-jenos))
 teraum-data)

Species

humans

(push
 '(humans
   (name . "humans")
   (description . "Humans are a sapient but mundane species of upright ape."))
 teraum-data)

Timeline

(setq teraum-timeline '())

Prehistory

(push
((concat
(teraum-read-name 'gods) " from around the multiverse create the " (teraum-read-name 'worldkeep) " and then buid teraum around it.") . (50000bc))
teraum-timeline)

The Great Wars

43pc

Summer, 43pc
21st of Summer, 43pc
(push
 '(43pc (Summer (21
 (concat
  "In " (teraum-read-name 'pled) ", "
  (teraum-read-name 'anadini-jenos)
  " is born."))))
 teraum-timeline)

Functions

Read Records

Read Record

(defun teraum-read-record
    (subject)
  "Returns the list representing the record of SUBJECT."
  (cdr (assoc subject teraum-data)))

Read Name

(defun teraum-read-name
    (subject)
  "Returns the name of the SUBJECT."
  (cdr (assoc 'name (teraum-read-record subject))))

Read Desc(ription)

(defun teraum-read-desc
    (subject)
  "Returns the description of the SUBJECT."
  (cdr (assoc 'description (teraum-read-record subject))))

Read Nav(igation)

(defun teraum-read-nav
    (subject)
  "Returns the nav items of the SUBJECT."
  (cdr (assoc 'nav (teraum-read-record subject))))

Read Nav(igation) Item

(defun teraum-read-nav-item
    (subject item)
  "Returns the record of the ITEM in the SUBJECT's navigation list."
  (cdr (assoc item (teraum-read-nav subject))))

Read Location

(defun teraum-read-location
    (subject)
  "Returns the location of SUBJECT."
  (cdr (assoc 'location (teraum-read-record subject))))

Make Records

Build Results

Reference Books

Arathel Gazetteer

Introduction

Overview

Arathel is the human-populated county seat of Arathel County, in the northwest Green Delta. First settled in 478bc as a logging community, Arathel is one of the larger towns in the community. It is governed by a council of local commercial leaders. its primary exports are wool, limestone, and cokeberries. Notably, Arathel was the capital of the Astar Empire.

History

Founding of Arathel

The town of Arathel was first settled by humans in 478bc, on a hill south of the Kaiper River. The town first grew around the Reinhard Lumber Mill, built in 477bc by Osmits Reinhard. Its prosperity was aided by trade with the fisherfolk of Ack, who always needed fresh lumber for their ships.

In 474bc, the community built a church in honor of Povator, a god of woodlands.

In 470bc, Osmits Reinhard built a small estate northwest of town, closer to the Kaiper River, and began taxing the residents in exchange for maintaining a small armory and militia.

Early Growth of Arathel

From 470bc until 460bc the town continued to grow at a reasonable pace. Osmits Reinhard constructed a watchtower on the road southwest out of town, toward Ack, while the road southeast toward Pled became dotted with wheat farms. The town began to export the local limestone to Ack, who was using it construct the many estates its growing noble class required, and wool to Pled. In 464bc, the church to Povator was expanded, and in 462bc, Osmits Reinhard commissioned the planting of what became known as the Borderwood, a strip of pine forest which separated Arathel from the countryland to the southwest, between it and Ack.

As Arathel grew in size it became more of a target for bandits in the area, which pushed Osmits Reinhard to grow the size of the local militia, drawing on the labor force of his lumber mill.

Arathel’s First Recession

The expense of the militia, and reduced workforce at his mills, caused Osmits Reinhard to fall behind in paying wages to his men, and in the summer of 460bc, he was hanged in the town square. Control of his mill - and subsequently the town - fell to a self-appointed council consisting of local tradesfolk. The tradesfolk immediately commissioned the construction of new wells and agreed that a sizeable portion of the late Osmits Reinhard’s seized assets should be used to again expand the Povator Church.

Unfortunately the expenses left Arathel unable to maintain a militia, and bandits moved into the countryside, suppressing trade between the town and Pled. The town council attempted to negotiate a tribute to the bandits, but were attacked and fled the region.

Absent a government - who also were many of their skilled craftsmen - the town fell into a deep recession. The region was fertile farmland, so population continued to grow, but the town’s trade with Ack and Pled slowed to a trickle.

Arathel and the Founding of the Astar Empire

Without trade routes to raid, many of the local bandits settled down near the road to Pled, which extended southeast out of Arathel. Some formed a little suburb past the town’s wheat farms and in 454bc they built a small church to one of their gods, Siggrit, of earthworms.

In 442bc, Povator’s worshippers in the area constructed a significantly nicer church on the crest of a hill north of town, overlooking the Kaiper River, and several families in the area began to construct large elegant estates. These works encouraged local industry and again, trade with the neighboring communities of Ack and Pled.

As the population grew and industry began to revitalize, a reformed gentry grew in the town. A notable member of this gentry was Henri Astar, who by 440bc owned many of the farms that had been built in Arathel and the area around it. In 438bc, Henri used his wealth to organize a militia which attacked the humans living south of the Green River, in the Indenon Empire.

The attack quickly escalated into a continued war, which encouraged local industry and formalized Arathel as the capital of the new Astar Empire.

Areas

Old Arathel
First Church of Povator

First constructed in 474bc, the First Church of Povator is a historical church in Old Arathel, originally serving as a place to worship Povator, a god of woodlands.

Reinhard Estate
Reinhard Lumber Mill

The Reinhard Lumber Mill is a lumber mill in the town of Arathel first opened in 474bc.

Second Church of Povator
Siggrit Temple

Adventures

The Crown of Idbol Bark

Teraum is a tabletop role-playing document in which the party attempts to arrest an upstart “king”, usually taking two to four hours to complete.

This document was written to be played with the Brave Old World ruleset, but can be adapted for any system.

This document is ready to be used, but it isn’t finished. Things might be unfair to players, or unclear for narrators.


Danger is never far in the Gloaming, where marshes and mesas give home to bandits and beasts. The lone trade road through the region is a gauntlet for traveling merchants.

The town of Belcaer is a haven for those travelers. The same magic-users who built the trade road built the town as a fortress. On top of a limestone mesa, the town now exists to serve travelers. Residents offer meager services, hoping to win the travelers’ coin.

Recently there haven’t been many coins to take. A bandit calling himself “King Brag” has been mugging travelers. Now, farmers are reporting missing livestock.

A local official named Abeth Harbrook believes she has found where the “king” is hiding: Jacob’s Folly, an tower built and abandoned in the forgotten past.

She’s offering to pay anyone who captures the “king,” and the party has gathered at her office.

{{bow-adventure-question}}}

{{adventure-era(Reconstruction Era)}}} {{teraum-define(reconstruction-era)}}}

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To the extent possible under U.S. law, the author of this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

{{teraum-readmore}}}


Before beginning the session, your party should know:

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{{adventure-narrator-warning}}}

Exposition

Settings
Cast

The Plot

Scene One: Receiving the Quest

The members of the party are to meet, together or individually, with Abeth Harbrook, at her offices in the Guildhouse. She is the highest-ranked local official of the Chandlers Guild, a commercial organization based in the distant city of Ack.

They rely on trade coming through the Gloaming, so have recently invested in the region and the town. Much of the trade road has been recently covered in gravel. In town, they built the Guildhouse, a massive pine structure that sticks out over the edge of the mesa, held up by a lattice of timber.

Abeth Harbrook has kept the party waiting, and now comes out to meet them in the waiting room. She apologies for addressing them as a group, if they aren’t already associated.

Two seasons ago, Abeth Harbrook first heard rumors of a “king,” from travelers that claimed they were mugged on the trade road. At first she dismissed the claims as exaggerations. She thought they wanted to get out of paying guild tariffs.

Last season, livestock began to disappear from local farms. Barns and silos were painted to say “King Bark Was Here” and “Idbol Bark Is King.”

Recent attempts to arrest the “king” failed, but revealed the location of his hideout: Jacob’s Folly, a short tower built eight miles outside of town.

How does the party plan to capture King Idbol Bark?

If the party risks interrogating Abeth Harbrook, she may include that victims claimed the bandits were exceptionally tall and wore masks. She withheld this information because she thought it was an exaggeration.

An adventurer knowledgable about goblin culture may recognize “Bark” as a goblin surname.

Scene Two: Travel to the Tower

Jacob’s Folly is approximately eight miles from Belcaer. Six of those miles are northwest along the trade road, The final two are through shallow marsh, broken by massive limestone outcroppings.

How does the party get to Jacob’s Folly?

If traveling at night or in inclement weather, the party risks getting lost, though knowledge of navigation would help.

If the party travels quietly (such as at night or in inclement weather,) as they approach the tower, they will remain undetected until reaching “Scene Three.”

Otherwise, they will be met by a group of “bandits” on the road, who declare, in sqeaky rough voices, that declares they are in the territory of King Bark, and must surrender their money and supplies.

Each bandit is actually two goblins in a long cloak, one standing on the others shoulders and wearing a mask.

How does the party handle these “bandits”?

If the party has horses or other livestock, the goblins will attempt to steal these even if the party refuses to surrender. Otherwise, they are more inclined to run than fight. If captured, they will happily give the party directions to Jacob’s Folly, saying that King Bark would be happy for them to come bend the knee.

Scene Three: The Tower Exterior

The limestone outcroppings in the marsh hide Jacob’s Folly until the party is nearly there.

The limestone tower is three-storeys, and approximately twenty-five feet tall and ten feet across. It is in a clearing about fifty yards across. The tower’s entrance has been sealed with the same limestone bricks as the tower. There are a couple of windows near the top. Pine planks, five on each side, are shoved into the mortar. They form an unstable ladder up to the windows.

Goblins are working around the tower, tearing grass out of the muck and stuffing it into sacks. There is a burnt-out bonfire with horse bones in it.

How does the party get into Jacob’s Folly?

When a member of the party moves into the clearin,g any goblins near them will quietly move toward the tower, informing others on the way.

Some goblins will remain outside the tower, hiding behind rock outcroppings in the field and throwing stones and debris at the party. If the party risks engaging with any of those goblins, goblins at the top of the tower will have time to start burning straw on the roof the tower, which they will drop on the party when they approach the bottom of the tower.

If approaching in the evening, the party risks being noticed by an owlbear mother that nests on the top of the tower, who will swoop down and harass them, making the goblins aware of them. The owlbear mother will attempt to carry any small (<120lb) adventurer into its nest, where two hungry owlbear hatchlings are waiting for them.

Placing more than 120lb on any single rung of the goblins’ improvised ladder is risk, with every 20lb making it riskier. Depending on the result, a rung could loosen or break. The adventurer might gain a fear of heights, or could fall, and even break a bone.

An adventurer who gets to the roof of Jacob’s Folly would be able to take those hatchlings and raise them, but unless the mother is killed, she will follow her hatchlings to the ends of the world and try and get them back.

Scene Four: The Tower Interior

The inside of the tower is dark, stinky, and beginning to fill with acrid smoke.

When the party enters the room at the top of the tower, through the window on the third storey, they’ll find an empty room with some sticks, dry piles of dung, buckets, and a large brass dish that’s clearly been used for fires, and might still have straw burning in it. The goblins will retreat down underneath the trap door on the ground floor.

There are two other “floors” inside the tower, though they are empty except for more dirty straw and dung. There is a large, heavy wood door in the floor at the ground level.

Once the party has entered the tower, all the goblins are underneath this trap door, and have removed the ladder normally placed under it. To get to the floor below is a seven-foot drop.

Smoke rises through the trapdoor, filling the tower with thicker smoke that makes every risk riskier.

If the party is on the ground floor during the daytime, they will see light entering the room through cracks in the filled-in doorway. A strong character might risk knocking the mortar down, letting the smoke out of the tower.

Opening the trapdoor exposes the party to further harassment from the goblins, but provides an opportunity for dialog. The goblins will call the party cowards, and say that if they come down there, King Bark is going to get them.

How does the party get to King Bark?

Scene Five: The Tower Basement

The room is circular, a bit wider in diameter than the tower above, and is full of farm tools and preserved foodstuff and grains.

Among the approximately two-dozen goblins in this room is one wearing a “crown” made of twisted-together silverware: Idbol Bark, leader of this group of goblins.

How does the party capture King Bark?

The goblins have no further means of retreat, so will fight until unable. King Bark has no exceptional combat skills, and no goblin is armed with anything more than farm and kitchen tools.

Epilogue

Once King Bark and his goblins have been captured, disbanded, or eliminated, the party should return to Belcaer and tell Abeth Harbrook what happened, and potentially turn over custody of King Bark and other goblins to her custody.

Essays

What Is Teraum?

At its heart, Teraum is a fiction. It’s been a part of my life since I was a young child: it was the place where adventures were set. It was always kind of a silly place, with wizards who liked to play pranks, and knights who fell in the mud when trying to mount their horses.

As I grew, so did the place where adventures were set. I wrote stories set there: short, long, funny, mysterious, scary stories. The fiction became more concrete. Cities gained names, empires were assigned histories, and heroes learned about themselves.

The world itself gained a name, Tero kun thaum. Butchered Esperanto and freshly vulgarized Latin, the name means “Earth with magic.” Eventually it was shorted to “Teraum.”

Much of what was concrete about Teraum was lost in the chaos of early adulthood, but in recent years I’ve had an interest in coming back to it.

Teraum’s Calendar

The calendar used by most everyone on Teraum has 365.25 days each year (just like ours,) 12 months each year (just like ours,) and the annual seasons (just like ours.)

A Brief History of Teraum

Around 54,000 years ago, the gods from across the multiverse got together. They were having an issue managing the various creatures, plants, artifacts, and other such creations that came from being gods. They came up with the plan to store their excess and unwanted creations in, essentially, a vast zoo and museum. This would keep the things and creatures out of the way, while still letting the gods show them off to one another.

As the museum was a rather industrial-looking place full of corridors and different habitats and archives, the gods decided to build a proper planet around the museum, with oceand and continents, pine trees and salmon, a sun and moon, that sort of stuff. The world was named Teraum, though the etymology in Earth languages is coincidental, and the museum underneath it was named the Worldkeep.

It didn’t take long before the gods got bored of the Worldkeep and stopped visiting. The complex began to fall into disrepair. About 30,000 years , the walls between the Worldkeep and the rest of Teraum began to fracture. The first creatures to escape the Worldkeep were giant spiders.

Soon more creatures followed, setting up homes for themselves across the geography of Teraum. With them, magic, a physical substance imbued in the Worldkeep, began to enter the world, working its way through the ground like veins of ore.

A Very Brief Summary of Teraum

Magic is a physical substance, and there are lots of magic creatures on the planet that got there from the Worldkeep, a museum-zoo buried deep underground. There are humans too, but they’re not magic. But, they learn to use magic. Then they cause an apocalypse for everyone but themselves and are struggling to deal with that.

Narratives

Tales from Teraum #1: “The Man with Light”

Scene One

Ben didn’t dislike his job, even on days like this, when it seemed like the clouds were working overtime to pull up the ocean and drop it on his head. The pay was enough to keep him living on the north side of the river, and just last week he’d let out his belt another notch.

The work was simple enough: maintain the lampposts on the few blocks he had been assigned to. Usually that just meant refilling the oil and replacing wicks. If a lantern was damaged, he would mark it with a stick of chalk.

Ben’s route took him through the back corners of the city’s Brass Ward, where bureaucrats and craftsmen maintained the industry that supplied the ward’s high street with goods for sale. He preferred it to the busier streets, and with today’s rain, the streets were nearly empty. #+END


One of Ben’s favorite buildings on his route was 114 Caliper Street. A lean wooden building, its black paint put it in contrast to the brightly painted workshops of jewelers and offices of accountants that surrounded it.

Unlike many buildings around, it had no banner or sign, except its numberplate, and its windows were shuttered closed. For the past few months, cerulean light had leaked through those shutters, and on rainy evenings like this, the brick street cast the light back up, giving every passerby a pallor.

Scene Two

114 Caliper Street was the home and workshop of Dr. Altar Sendvogue. He, himself, had been a lampworker in the Brass Ward as a younger man. But he hadn’t enjoyed his job as much as Ben did, and was always looking for shortcuts. He’d created the small gears that let him turn a screw to lengthen the wick, and he had been promoted.

In the time since he’d invented better glass panels.

Supplements