The Idea Behind the World
I want to take a bit of time to explain the idea behind the world of Scath. It is a conglomeration of different ideas I had and principles I wanted to attach to one of my fantasy – worlds. The first idea came from Celtic mythology. Reading these ancient, often gloomy and tragic, but always entertaining stories I could not help but notice that our modern pop – culture did not use them to quite the extent that it uses some other mythologies, most notably the Greek, Germanic and (if you want to call that mythology) Biblical ones. There were, of course, some names, like the Dagda or Morrigan, that nearly everyone had heard somewhere already, but there were quite a few facets mostly unknown. One of the things the world of Scath consists of is my attempt to make Celtic mythology, its basic ideas and characters, more familiar to people.
Because those stories were mostly dark, and contained an undercurrent of approaching doom, the world that would be made from them would have to be similar. A dark, scary place, full of mysteries.
Thus the next two elements came into play: darkness and a sense of mystery, a world with ancient secrets, many of them long forgotten. I wanted a fantasy setting whose inner functionality would be as mysterious to the characters as it was to the players, who were entering it for the first time in their lives. That is why I decided to create a world whose history is mostly forgotten, whose past is nothing more than old legends, full of contradictions and exaggerations, with only glimpses of past glory. I decided to create a world that would, in a way, be post – apocalyptic, where most knowledge has been lost, thus giving the players and their characters the chance to rediscover it.
Only armed with these mysteries of the past will they stand a chance to fulfil their task, and obtain victory over the vast forces arrayed against them.
The next element was something maybe best described with two words: fear and oppression. Most fantasy worlds have humanity as the dominant race, with human settlements to be found from the highest north to the deepest south. Usually humans struggle against other, ancient races, that might be as much on the decline themselves as humanity’s star is rising.
I wanted something different. Scath would be a world ruled by inhuman masters, ancient creatures wielding powers beyond mortal understanding, with goals and motivations that man might never truly fathom. It would be a world AFTER the great battle, in which the ancient heroes had faced the hordes of darkness…and failed miserably. Not only that. Every single attempt to organise resistance so far had been brutally and definitely crushed, without even small victories. Thus was the human spirit broken, and only very few sparks of rebellion remain in the hearts of men. And this is what the players and their characters will face: creatures of nearly infinite power, masters of the world. They will have to reignite hope in the remnants of humanity, unite them for one last, all – deciding battle against the creatures that have taken so much from them. And the chances of success are small…
Thus you can see, the quest that lies in front of the heroes is a difficult one. That, however, is also a main part of Scath. Here the characters are not just heroes. They are THE heroes. Where in other settings characters might be adventurers, not bound by national borders or allegiances to any crown, or daring heroes battling evil wizards, explorers or rogues, Scath goes one step further. The one and only quest here is, simply said, to save the world. Quite literally. The future and survival of mankind, even the very existence of the world, are in their hands. And while they might assemble allies and counsellors, gather armies and comrades around them, the ultimate challenge will always be theirs, and theirs alone. The weight of the world is on their shoulders, and many have been crushed by it. The dark powers they have to face are not hidden demon – worshippers or some kind of ancient evil. They are the masters of the world, who have broken all resistance, killed hundreds of thousands, and ruled longer than even the most ancient of villagers can think back.