History of Magic
Magic and magic items are available, but they are rare, and finding something magical is likely to result in tolls, fees and possibly violence if you don’t handle them “responsibly” (which would mean finding a Hildana representative and handing the thingamabob over…). Traditionally, all magic crafted contained a spark of sentience, more or less prominent. You’ve all heard the stories of magical swords (the kinds that have names) and magical symbols and artefacts that can guide their wielder. Sentient magic items are incredibly rare these days, however. (Be a spell caster and roll for Arcana to find out more. This is specialised knowledge.) Everyone knows that the science of magic is built on the blood of the innocent and although a court of law might in all fairness make a sharp distinction between whether an accused was a druid, drawing on the sentient power of nature itself, or a mage, drawing on the dark heritage of the kemlek mage-smiths, the common people would have no idea how to distinguish. While everyone knows that magic exists and that it is a natural force, magic still carries a social, cultural and historical stigma and is associated with mass abductions, killings, nefariousness and slavery. Oh, and with bringing the upheaval upon the world and slaying millions of sentient lifeforms in the process. …So slinging spells in the middle of the day in everyone’s view might not be the best plan. The likely result would be either panic or torches and pitchforks.
Kemlek is a reddish, liquid mineral found deep in the bones of the earth and the basis of the magic craft of the Hildana.
The first casters of magic were the dwarves who were the first to encounter the kemlek mineral in their mountain homes, probably thousands of years ago. The terrible goddess of kemlek mage-smithing guides them; to what end is uncertain. Dwarves are seen in Palisade (your home city) on occasion, but never without official escorts and much finery.
The dwarven goddess of mage-smithing, Hilden, is the dark entity that all the dwarves supposedly sacrifice to. …Sacrifice slaves to. Slaves they abducted in droves, whole villages at a time, to sweat and suffer and die in the kemlek-mines. What Hilden’s dark goal is, only the dwarves know, but what everyone else knows for a (sort of) fact is that dwarves are shady, dangerous bastards who brought the upheaval upon us with their magic, and dealing with them is a very delicate matter if you want to keep your innards internal.
The Hildana Nation
Not much is known by outsiders about the Hildana dwarves. It is said that their nation is not even a place in actual geography, but a gigantic city, simply named Fortress, that glides unseen on the currents of raw magic and can appear anywhere to attack, destroy and steal innocents away as slaves. In the city of Palisade (your home), the imposing house, called the Hildana Rock, in Old City, functions as a sort of embassy for the Hildana dwarves, though what goes on there, who they mingle with, if any, or why they maintain this relationship is unknown to you. …best avoid it. Blame the dwarves!
Opposition to the Hildana
Over the years, there have been stories and rumours of ancient families and secret bloodlines that have opposed the Hildana. How, who and why they do it changes with the storyteller and very little fact is known. But most of these stories revolve around artefacts of ancient power which have intellect and sentience. How these secretive people oppose the Hildana, what their end goal is and how they strive to achieve it is so far best left to the imagination of bards.