Lom Shi'Un (LÓM shē-ŪN) is the dominant nation in the eastern Giantdowns, beyond the region controlled by Nasoj. Little-known outside the Northlands, the Lom dynasty has had little involvement in the affairs of other nations. In the face of Nasoj's declining power, however, Lom Shi'Un is expanding its influence in the Giantdowns, and they seem destined to encounter the people of Metamor before too much longer.
Table of Contents
Circa -9900 CR — The Giants rule
The cities which make up much of the core of the Lom dynasty were originally built by giants, some 9900 years before the advent of the Cristos Reckoning. It was during this time that the giant empires were at their peak, though there were signs of the waning that was to come.
Over the next four thousand years the capital city of Tarnianiaas saw a slow but marked decline in the populations of giants that had once held sway over the great forests surrounding their magnificent city.2 The giant empire became a giant kingdom, and eventually Tarnianiaas became a mere city-state.
Circa -4200 CR to -3700 CR — Humans and Moon Elves arrive
Around this time an unknown calamity wiped out the last of the giants east of the Death Mountains. Left abandoned, Tarnianiass was discovered five hundred years later (ca. -3700 CR) by a large refugee contingent of humans that had been banished from Eastern Galendor for practicing forbidden magic. The refugees, who were primarily magicians, sages, and sorcerers, quickly began clearing out the forest that had by now penetrated deep into the vast city. Fortunately, due to the great skill of the giant builders, little of the city was irreparably damaged by the centuries of reforestation, and the vast stone buildings were soon habitable again.
It was not long after this when the human settlers first encountered the elves who inhabited the Forest of Darkness, a vast enchanted region that stood to the south of Tarnianiass. These Ithileledh, or moon elves, were also exiles of a sort, who had left the Elven lands to the south because of their veneration of the goddess Lilith. The Forest of Darkness was one of Lilith's holy places, and the moon elves took up residence there as they devoted themselves to their goddess's teachings. Finding that their home was practically on the front doorstep of a major deific power, the refugees quickly abandoned their ancestor worship and made alliances with Lilith and her servants, naming her the patron goddess of their fledgling kingdom. Lilith was pleased with this and instructed her moon elf followers to accept the humans as equals, teaching them to obey her commandments but not taking them as servants as the elves did in other parts of Galendor.3
Dubbed the Lom ("Lost") by their founder, D’riis Vetah es Lom, the newly resurrected city once more began to grow. Since the majority of the refugees were sorcerers, the primary focus of the kingdom was the practice, recording, study, and growth of all things magic, both the benevolent and the baneful. They used magic to alter the local climate, rendering the inhospitable north into a more temperate and comfortable land in which to live and farm. From the security of their great city, hidden deep within the forest, they began to expand outward. The few clans that had migrated east after the plague that emptied Tarnianiaas were quickly drawn into the growing empire. The giants were offered the opportunity to become free citizens of Lom, in exchange for their prodigious strength for more manual labor.
Bonds between the humans and the moon elves continued to grow, as well. Many of the moon elves' greatest magical scholars moved out of their arboreal cities and settled in Lom, researching into areas of magic their "sun elf" cousins had long forbidden and intermingling freely with the humans, both professionally and intimately. The half-Elves that resulted from these interracial liasons were embraced as equal citizens, as well — again, a stark contrast to the sun elf lands, where all half-humans were considered bondservants of their Elven progenitors.
Circa -3250 CR — Lutins driven west
As the Lom dynasty forged outward, ever expanding its borders and bringing ‘civilization’ to the uncivilized north, they pushed any who did not fit into their societal morés further into the reaches of the north ahead of them. The Lutins, too chaotic by nature and too widely scattered, were not deemed fit to be full partners in the dynasty, and were thus herded ever further from the heart of Lom.
The Lutins learned early on to fear the strange weapons carried by the Lomish expansion forces, for they were strangely different from the bone and stone that the Lutins had used for millennia. The hard, gleaming, gray substance that the humans used held an edge far longer than any bone or stone implement, though it was heavier. It could also shatter bone and pierce hardened leather shields and armor, but it tended to discolor rather swiftly with a powdery red grit. Lutins also learned to fear the primal, unrestrained power of the Lom mages, which scorched the earth without regard for the spiritual balance of things. In the face of these twin threats, many Lutin tribes fled. A few remained, however, to harass the thinly protected borders and raid farming settlements.
It was at this time that the Lom emperor listened to his generals and agreed to cease the three hundred year expansion — which was, admittedly, a slow growth rather than a rapacious rush — as the resources expended in fortifying new limits to the empire were draining the will of the people. Magical studies and progress had become stagnant and it was time for a change. With a measure of relief, the empire laid down its arms and turned its efforts back toward the study of magic, which had always been its first and highest goal.
In this year a moon elf was elected for a high parliamentary seat, the first to have been elevated above the rank of provincial mayor since the creation of the Lom Dynasty.
In this year a dragon, Hiddengathorais Veskis, demanded the right to take up residence in the capital city. After much debate, his request was granted. Very soon many other dragons came to settle in and around the great city of mages and magic, adding their own vast knowledge to the understanding which was growing swiftly due to Lom’s tolerant society.
Consensus vote determined that the greatest number of dragons that were allowed to have residence within the city boundaries was 13.
-2877 CR — Wizardly squabbles
Moon Elves gained control of the empire, and Shern Leyis became the first Elven emperor of Lom. Things change little, however, for the more mortal population of the dynasty. Magical research within the empire's hundreds of mage schools and guilds began to focus more on long-term, protracted research and careful development. Automaton magics came to the fore, and the proponents of these metal beings gained a great deal of political power in certain circles despite the prevalence of Lilith’s churches and collegia, which focused more upon tapping the spiritual force of mortal flesh. A centuries-long rivalry began between these two wizardly schools of thought, the Class Automata and the Class Animata.
-2617 CR — Invasion from the west
Far to the west, a small but powerful kingdom of giants called I'non learned of the resurrection of the city which had once been the heart of all giant civilization. Believing that those who had come to occupy the city (humans, elves, rogue giants) were desecrating the most sacred home of their ancestors — and hoping to make off with the thousands of years of accumulated wealth hidden within the tombs of the city — they launched an offensive against Lom.
Unprepared for a war from such an unexpected quarter, the Lomish were caught totally defenseless. The ‘Spear of I’non’ struck swift and true, directly to the heart of the Lom dynasty. For three years war was fought in the very streets of the city, with casualties falling on all sides. The great war was balanced against the Lomish, for their military might had waned and little of their vast magical knowledge had been tooled for warfare.
Defenses were decimated, and seven dragons were struck down within the first three months of battle. Libraries were raided and sacked, losing thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge. The great treasure houses hidden within the city, undiscovered by the Lomish, were revealed and emptied, carted back to the west by the giants of I’non. 19,000 perished before a vast conclave of mages, working on a ritual incantation, were able to banish the invading giants from their city, sending them back to I’non.
Total losses for I’non: 700.
-2619 CR — After the invasion
Pouring their souls into a vast and hideous spell, five elves, thirty humans, and a dragon sacrificed themselves to lay a devastating curse upon their foes. I’non was swallowed up by the earth in a huge earthquake, buried to the very last stone of its foundation. Those few who survived the city's fall were wracked with an incurable, wasting plague that slew all who had once been part of I’non. Their entire kingdom was wiped from the map, all their recorded history buried beneath hundreds of tons of rock.
In the aftermath of the invasion, many Lomish wondered why their patron goddess had failed to defend them against their enemies. Many prophets of Lilith arose in the following years and provided the answer, which should have been obvious: The Lomish had become soft and passive, two things that Lilith refuses to tolerate in her subjects. They had paid her lip service and offered her sacrifices and rituals, but in the process they had stopped following her teachings and had engrossed themselves in the study of purely theoretical magic and other weak-minded pursuits. The ensuing years saw a resurgence of faithfulness among Lilith's followers and a reformation of her church within the Lom empire.
-2597 CR — Stone Soul
Humans regained the throne of the dynasty in the wake of the I'non attack, and altered the name of the empire to Lom Shievinin Aregus, “Hardened Heart”, which over time was shortened to Shi’un, “Stone Soul”.
Vowing never to be caught unawares by another unexpected enemy, the mages of Lom gathered to create a vast and powerful spell that would encompass all of the regions within Lom’s demesne. Dubbed ‘the Curtain’, it erected a vast, nebulous ‘aura’ over the entire dynasty and all of its holdings, though the use of foci in all village centers, guard posts, keeps, outposts, and other places within the kingdom. Any who entered the borders with thoughts ‘inimical to the dynasty’ in great enough numbers would raise alarms within the strategic centers of the larger towns, cities, and keeps. Should such dangerous ambitions arise in large numbers within the kingdom, the same results would happen.
-1899 CR — Religious persecution begins
The dragon Velmissar became the first dragon emperor of Lom Shi'Un. Loyal to Lilith, he instituted a policy of religious intolerance toward the minority churches of the Aedra, which had kept quiet on the fringes of society for almost five hundred years since I’non had introduced the worship of these deities to captured Lomish soldiers. Velmissar's persecution forced the servants of the gods into hiding while their churches and temples were destroyed. As the number of outspoken servants of the Aedra dwindled, Velmissar expanded his intolerance to include all other faiths not dedicated to Lilith.
-1787 CR — Coup d'Etat
Velmissar was slain in this year by Ye’linit Te, an assassin dedicated to Ba'al, who then seized the throne and the crown for himself. He was aided in his ascension by support from the military and by the use of dark magic. The purge of the Aedra's followers continued.
-1780 CR — The Dragon War
Dragons allied with the Aedra and the sun elves amassed on the borders of Lom with the intention of rescuing the Aedra's surviving followers. They attempted to infiltrate the empire in secret, but the effects of the Curtain revealed their presence and the Lomish dragons moved to counter the incursion. A bloody battle ensued in the skies over the mountains and forests of Lom, with great bodies falling lifeless after clashing with mighty blows between heavens and earth. Seven southern dragons were vanquished, with the loss of only one Lomish dragon.
That battle was the opening to an almost entirely draconic war, which spilled back and forth over the Great Barrier Range, decimating the dragons population throughout the northern half of the continent. Dark magic was employed by the dominant mage classes of Lom, balancing the smaller numbers of Lomish dragons with devastating flying automata and horrible spells.
The war of attrition favored the more numerous southern dragons, however, who were also aided by their Elvish allies flying astride giant eagles and gryphons. Eventually the war began to turn, forcing the Lomish scientists of sorcery to develop more modern techniques as the irreplaceable automata and dragons were lost to the fighting.
-1776 CR — Draconians created
Sorcerers of Lilith, working with captured dragon eggs and fell magic, created a massive force of shock troops: the half-humanoid, half-draconic draconians. Intelligent, brutal, sadistic, and capable of flight and magic, the draconians were the key needed to tip the scales against the southern dragons and their magic-using allies.
This was not, however, the use to which they were put. During the ceremony of their unveiling, which the emperor, his generals, supporters, and command staff were invited to attend, the draconians were unleashed upon them. Every last member of the command staff was shredded before any could so much as cast a single defensive spell.
The moon elf Nenith Aein, High Priestess of Lilith, became empress. The Lomish dragons were recalled from battle, with a single emissary bearing the flag of parley sent to confer with the commanders of the southern forces. The mute messenger, borne upon an injured dragon, delivered only a single, simple message:
“Lom has been liberated. Her war with you is now over.”
Nothing more was stated or offered, and no counter-proposals were accepted or read. All southern emissaries dispatched to the Lomish capital were sent home unrequited, their missives unopened.
The purge of the Aedra's followers was suspended on the grounds that there were too few to continue wasting resources hunting and persecuting. Dragons flying north to rescue oppressed Aedran followers were allowed to do so, though with much verbal harassment.
Upon learning of the existence of the draconians, a third of the Lomish dragons revolted. They managed to slaughter half of the newly-created warriors and destroy much of the hatchery before they were driven from Lom and into exile.
Empress Nenith succumbed to an incurable disease. Attempts to raise her from the dead for continued rule failed. Tanshaan Beth, human priestess of Suspira, was crowned empress.
-1430 to -1108 CR — Decadence
Several centuries passed with rulers alternating between followers of Lilith and Suspira, creating a kingdom strangely occupied with its own self-gratification.
Vampires and other kinds of powerful, corrupt undead freely occupied the city alongside mortal wizards and powerful Hedois (greatly skilled practitioners of sexual magic). Dark sorcery, blood magic, hedonistic debauchery, and power pulsed through the kingdom like a tide. The expected corruption was kept in check by a quiet, unseen group of interlinked rogues' guilds called the Shadowed Hand, who used crime and influence to balance the pride, power, and prosperity of the mightiest of the dynasty.
Draconians proved to be too bloodthirsty for peacetime governance, so they were tasked with border defense and patrols of the dynasty, which suited them well.
The moon elf and Ba’alite mage Tokarth Elveraduun took the throne in a bloodless coup, by wedding the current human empress (Bethis IV) and quite literally loving her to death. Tokarth attempted to subjugate Lilith’s supremacy among the faithful, but the Ba’alite church fails to take root as deeply in the hearts of the common people.
-902 CR — The Dragon King
A dragon, abducted from a city park while in the guise of a human male child, became Tokarth’s latest "lover." The dragon ate the emperor, alive.
The dragon, Nor Gilleasadiaranbor, became the Dragon King. Using carefully husbanded knowledge gleaned over a century and a half of the emperor's debauchery, Nor instituted a purge of all Ba’alish sorcerous activity within Lom. Ba’alite temples and colleges, both open and hidden, were attacked and destroyed from one corner of the kingdom to the other with alarming efficiency and terrible effect. Within a decade, worship of Ba’al was reduced to a level akin to that of the still-concealed servants of the Aedra.4
Dragon King Nor stepped down voluntarily, elevating Garadan Fal Magdiar, a human priest of Lilith, to the throne.
While the fifth of Magdiar's line sat upon the throne of Lom, a great swarm of trolls emerged from the swamps to the west and surged eastward over Lom Shi'Un, devouring all that stood before them. All creatures, great and small, intelligent or bestial, fled before the mindless swarm.
Dragons battled alongside draconians, mages of Ba’al alongside animata sorcerers of Lilith, as all fought in a unified front to throw back the seemingly unstoppable tide. Those unfortunate enough to be caught between the opposing forces were devastated by indiscriminate combatants from both sides. The trolls were all finally cut down, but at a tremendous cost of Lomish lives.
-1 CR to +2 CR — The Mortal Purge
Under the direction of Lilith, the dictatorial empress Bythcheiss ordered that all male children under the age of five were to be slain, regardless of rank or social position. Draconians were dispatched to see that these orders are carried out.5
Civil war erupted as the heel of the empress’ boot became too burdensome for the Lomish to withstand any further.
Lord High Commander Dorvol Dragoneye, faithful of Revonos, took the crown from the severed head of Bythcheiss, crowning himself emperor while her blood still dripped from his sword. His rule was little better than the one before.
Circa 28 CR
Emissaries from the Suielman Empire were rebuffed repeatedly. Affronted by the Lomish xenophobia, they attempted to goad the dynasty into war.
One thousand Suielish soldiers and support set out to engage the dynasty. After encountering 120 draconian warriors, 20 mages, and a single dragon, thirty survivors returned. All further attempts to engage Lom ceased.
Lilith’s faithful regained control of the dynasty, overthrowing the two-hundred year iron rule of Revonos’ host. Vampire Queen Laneth Ru (LÄ-néþ RŪ) took the throne. In a stunning (and very temporary) truce between the two rival daedra lords, Suspira allied with Lilith against Revonos, and her priest Lorn Ru was named the first Consort King.
Trade was established between Lom and the Sorth Republic in the Death Mountains. All other kingdoms south and east of the Great Barrier Range continued to be ignored.
Fearing the loss of his youth and vitality, an aging Lorn Ru agrees to be turned into a vampire by Laneth Ru. This transformation makes him magically bound to obey Laneth and Lilith in all things, effectively stealing him from Suspira's service. The alliance between Lilith and Suspira collapses, and the two churches fall back into their usual rivalry, but Laneth maintains an iron grip on the throne and no remaining servant of Suspira is powerful enough to challenge her.
Circa 500 CR (?)
The Sorth Republic was overthrown by the dark wizard Nasoj, a servant of Ba'al. Nasoj and the Lom Dynasty signed a nonaggression treaty, which freed Nasoj to expand his ambitions to the west and south.
Sensing weakness in Nasoj's empire, Laneth Ru orders her current Consort King to command a contingent of their best warriors north and eastward, capturing the resource-rich mining towns of Da, Loskaei and Rerwek. The western expanse is garrisoned for an expected counter-offensive that never materializes; with Metamor's forces pushing up from the south and the lutin tribes abandoning him completely, Nasoj does not have the power to strike back against anyone.
With the dark wizard's empire withering into near-complete insignificance, Lilith prepares Laneth Ru for a new mission — one that has been taking shape for centuries and is finally ready to bear fruit. Ba'al has discarded his plans for Nasoj, and the Lothanasi are weak, divided, and distracted by their squabbles with the Ecclesia. The time is ready, Lilith believes, for the Northlanders to remember that this is her territory. Soon, people all across the Northlands will call her Goddess once again…
Character & Alignment
The overall character of Lom Shi'Un, as a society, is Neutral Evil. Anyone can achieve just about anything if they have sufficient ambition and cunning, and if they can amass enough power for themselves to avoid getting stepped on or used by someone else. Betrayal and assassination are not punished if they do not interfere with the running of things; such things are considered part of the "survival of the fittest" that Lilith espouses. That's not to say that individual people aren't principled or lawful, and everyone would rather deal with an honest person than a dishonest one — but being honest isn't enough to keep your job if you don't have the power to fend off potential rivals. If you can hold to a personal code of honor and still maintain power, that's respected, because it means that you're essentially handicapping yourself and still winning the game.
The moon elves and humans of Lom Shi'Un aren't evil beings in a genetic sense; they aren't warped and twisted at the core, like the drow of most D&D settings. It's entirely possible for a moon elf to be a good person. The trouble is, very few people who are raised in a Neutral Evil society have much chance of surviving to adulthood and remaining Good-aligned in the process. The Aedra Lords, who espouse the virtues of things like compassion and fairness and love, are little-known in Lom Shi'Un; their religions exist only in secret, meeting in basements and other secluded locations where the Empress's secret police hopefully won't find them. Those who follow the Gods of Heaven have to go through their daily lives pretending to be faithful servants of Lilith, and it's hard to take part in the public worship of Lilith without becoming at least a little tainted in the process.
A worshiper of one of the Aedra Lords whose faith is discovered becomes a candidate for ritual sacrifice. When Lilith's priesthood is in power, as is the case right now, sacrificial candidates are released into the woods with a supply of standard survival gear, including a dagger. They are then hunted down by Lilith's faithful, who must capture their quarry alive; the victim is then taken back to town and sacrificed on Lilith's altar, and his heart is eaten by the priest. Those who manage to kill their pursuers, or evade them for the prescribed length of the hunt, are praised as exemplars of Lilith's ethos and given their freedom, but they are exiled from Lom Shi'Un forever and must leave with only what possessions they can carry.