Bones of Babylon
Between the fall of Conan the King, and the rise of the ruinous seas, was an age undreamed of. And, unto this age, legends were born, to seize their destiny and decide the fate of their world. I, their chronicler, cannot tell this tale alone. Let us tell you the days of our adventure!
Cities of primitive splendor and forbidding ruins from even earlier times, scattered across a vast continent of trackless wilds—lush forests, towering mountains, gloomy fens, scorching deserts, golden grasslands—this is Hyboria, savage and spectacular, a world of wonders and terrors.
A young humanity struggles to reclaim its dominion from the land; and the recrudescent horrors of old. Giants tread the earth these days; serpent things and savage beasts, star-demons and sorcery. The blood of the ancients who survived the doom of the old kingdoms flows thinly through the brightest and strongest men and women. So too did the ancients bequeath their magic for those with the wherewithal to seek it—but none of the wisdom to wield it. All too often, the magic of the old world falls into the hands of tyrants and madmen. Most folk are rightly suspicious of the occult outside of the blessings of their religion’s priests.
This is a time of suffering and sorrow, violence and cruelty, where lives mean little. Wars are fought for pride and plunder, and corpses litter a thousandfold fields. It is a matter-of-fact in statecraft and strategy to crush your enemies mentally and physically.
In the wilderness, roads are few, and tribes of nomads and villagers eke out a precarious existence. Beasts—many immense and terrible—have not learned to fear man. Bandits pillaged unchecked; killing for fun and flesh—or in the name of dark deities. Plagues, storms, floods, and fires can erase a village in an instant, leaving nothing to evince its people’s existence.
The cities are scarcely more civilized. Bloodsports and executions entertain the throngs, “justice,” when enforced, is brutal, arbitrary, and unequal, and does little to deter the worst offenses of man. Warlords and despots rule until the day someone more treacherous takes their place. Even the benign religions require blood sacrifice, animals, if the local virgins are lucky. Slaves are traded and treated little better than beasts, and most people would laugh at the idea of a “human right.”
And Unto This Age…
Heroes, such as they are. Mercenaries, mostly, freebooters, tomb raiders, and other opportunists. This is not an age of crusades for abstract ideals. Though some adventurers possess a noble code of honor, most are in it for power, gold, and glory. Those with the steel and courage to set out for adventure may be “rewarded” with temples, ruins, and vaults of bygone peoples—human and otherwise—all but swallowed by the jungles, mountains, and deserts. Within these crumbling, ancient edifices, eldritch creatures and vile cults lurk, guarding wealth, the masterpiece arms of the ancients, and magical prizes—treasures that tax both body and soul.
The greatest of all legends, our saga’s heroes, arose from humble beginnings as prisoners, slaves, and vagrants in the oasis city of Zamboula in the Kharamun Desert, but their fate is uncertain, and has not yet been recorded.
What will draw these champions together?
What dangers will they choose to face?
How will they carve their own place in the misty annals of legend?
Will they forsake humanity to perish in the Deluge…
…or lead it to the next age?