Trade Villains

The Dungeon Era has given rise to many unseemly trades, but none is so contemptuous as the profession of Trade Villains, that is, the trade of professional villains. With so many cutthroat corporations vying for position in a flooded market, competition naturally led to the need for dirty work: murders, sabotage, intrigue. But what happens when you’ve used up all your evil schemes? Outsource them to professionals, of course. What began as the clandestine day-to-day jobs of crime bosses and underworld henchmen working for big companies, soon branched out into an industry that now caters to any old Tum, Durk, or Hairy, allowing the common citizen to order up the services of a professional villain at the drop of a hat.

Get dumped by your girlfriend for another man? Just call in an assassin from Just The Hits and have the bloke offed for the low, low price of three eggs and a flagon. All discreet, no questions asked. Are your next door neighbor’s sheep chewing up your yard? Hire a representative from Dreams and Schemes, and they’ll cook up nine dastardly ways to handle the problem for good. All you have to do is choose.

Today, trade villains are in as much demand as plumbers and restaurateurs. If only Trade Heroism was so popular.

The Tricks of Impdom

Imps must always have their tricks. This core mantra is a cultural cornerstone for imps and their sneaky, malign magic. Imps, being naturally tricky creatures possess a tuned mastery of lesser magic–a magic that is born of their blood and most often leveraged as a heightened defense mechanism against both enemies and predators. Imp tricks are as natural as venom to snakes, poison to toads, and the armored shells of tortoises.

Imp tricks frequently surface in dire situations wherein an Imp may find themselves at the mercy of a cruel master or bound for the belly of a hungry beast. Or they can sometimes be activated through some silly, esoteric bodily gesture unique to the individual. Though the physical nature of these tricks varies wildly, from simple disguises to sudden flashes of uncanny light, Imps are not considered to be of any wizardly importance and their marvels are not by any stretch of the imagination linked to the wonders of sorcery. After all, most Imp tricks can be dispelled with a simple sneeze.

The Star and Flame


The Star and Flame of Epoli come with a story most dear and revered amongst those who remember it. In the simplest terms, the Star and Flame represent the same thing: Light, or lighting the way. The way, of course being a metaphor for Epoli itself, but also their idealism, and unique method by which they won the hearts and minds of Eem and her Middle Kingdoms.

The Star and Flame however are not the same, and the selection of their images is tied to the earliest stories of Eem’s discovery. The story has many versions, but each involve the falling of a star towards the western coast of a new world, a world which would be referred to as Eem (the name’s meaning itself being ‘light’, or more specifically the eem of an ember; the glow of an ember’s light). Eem’s fallen star, the Star of Epoli represents both the fallen star or legend, as well as all of the stars that burn in the heavens. Stars hold great metaphorical meaning for many folk in Eem, for despite the darkness of the night sky, stars burn brilliantly and seemingly forever. And should one fall to the earth, the embers spark a fire, or the Flame of Epoli.

The Flame of Epoli represents the burning light cast off by the Star’s embers. A fire that can be carried or sparked again by any mortal hands. Fire horns and flints can cast off the night and bring light to dark places. So where the Star represents the enlightenment that is always with us, the Flame represents our duty to carry that light within ourselves and to the world beyond.

The story of the Star and Flame has other interpretations as well. For instance, in Felmog the symbol of Epoli’s star is represented by an Iron Sun and was adopted as the namesake of the Order of the Iron Sun of Maax. Ancestors of modern Maax witnessed the carving of their valley by a falling meteor. To them, it was a devastating calamity that also brought with it a gift. The fragments of that fallen star bore with it their most sacred material: starfell steel. To this day, though rare the ruling class of Maax and other Felmog Orders trade and craft objects of great value with the last remaining bits of starfell steel.

In the seaside city of Kreeth, the Flame was adopted by the Order of the Black Candle, and is interpreted by reverence for the light of a single candle. In Kreeth, the Black Candle is the ultimate symbol for fealty, and is represented widely by oaths taken to swear their fleeting lives to The Quest. Just as a candle can only burn so long, so do the lives of Knights committed to the hardships of a Quest.