The notes below are designed to spark the imagination and act as guidelines for whatever adventure-scenarios or free-role-playing kids would like to create at camp. Feel free to ignore or change or add to the notes below; every year the history grows and changes based on the stories kids create in their heads on on their feet while at Adventures in Cardboard.
The Elder Migrations
The Wyddic peoples or Wyddans came in many separate waves from a land now lost in the distant west and they were first to establish Houses in The Realm. The House of Hart and The House of Drake are the most ancient surviving Houses according to the Annals of the Elder Days. Each House had independently acquainted themselves with the natural history and innate magical properties of the Realm developing schools of knowledge in the magical arts independent from each other.
The Iztani came later. Called the usurpers, Iztani Paladins came in low, squat, iron ships from across the southern seas. Sent by a vast and foreign empire bent on dominating and controlling the magic of the Realm, these mercenaries of empire could not be more different from the people of early magic. The remnants of the Iztani, sundered from empire, eventually formed The House of A’quila. The descendants of these early warriors in the House of A’quila are known as The Paladins.
The Elder Wars of Empire
While the people of Drake remained hidden in deeper geographies of The Realm, the eldest families of Hart resisted the Iztani invasions for a time before eventually falling to their rule. In the centuries that followed conquest, the Iztani and the the Wyddic peoples of Hart grew more alike; the conquering Paladins took on the culture and traditions of the earlier houses, while the Wyddic peoples of Hart adapted to the new feudal order of their foreign lords.
But from the eldest families of Hart the resistance to Iztani rule continued unabated; the Bracelet of Knights was first formed in secret. The Annals report that the sundered House of Drake, living free and wild in the great forests of The Realm, emerged to assist The Bracelet of Knights driving The Paladins back into the sea. However, The Knights, distant brethren of Drakians, now spoke a changed language and seemed a mirror image of their conquerors.
The Elder Wars of Resistance lasted nigh a generation before the empire from which the Iztani conquerors issued suddenly fell into ruin, leaving The Paladins alone and unaided in the new world.
But as the strongest families of the House of Hart began to claim the mantle of empire for themselves, new invaders from across the Eastern Seas arrived with fresh spears of iron and a fresh determination to claim the elder lands of magic.
The Age of Newcomers
The first “newcomers” were the Goddi and Khodé people from lands east of The Realm. They were refugee warriors and farmers in search of a new home. They were lured by the stories of magic and fallow land from earlier Goddi mercenaries who had been invited into The Realm by the Iztani during the Elder Wars of Empire. The Goddi and Khodé were people who spoke different languages from the Wyddan-Iztani of The Realm. All newcomers had vastly different cultures from the Elder Houses and worshipped entirely different goddesses and gods.
The Goddi eventually turned on their Iztani hosts and took land for themselves. They were visited by a sigil bear and carved out a kingdom under The House of Arko. As Iztani cities crumbled, Arkan farms and Mead Halls grew amid their ruin.
In time, these new Arkans took on some of the traditions of the Wyddan-Iztani world and later joined blades with the Elder Houses when their cousins the Khodé arrived to plunder and colonize just as they had done a generation earlier. In an ironic twist, the Khodé had come to escape the same plague that had destroyed the crops and livelihoods of the Goddi, but when they arrived in The Realm their long-sundered cousins met them with spear and sword.
Life was hard for the Khodé, but they were a tough people with an unwavering will. By sheer dint of determination and skill in battle they carved out territories from Arkans and Wyddan-Iztani. These were lands nearer to the wilder places still left in The Realm. And in these wild forest marches the first generation of Khodé were visited by a sigil beast and created a kingdom under The House of Sanglier: the House of the Wild Beast. Separate from all others in The Realm, the new Sanglierans never forgot where they came from or who they were. If it was the strength of the old gods and goddesses that had carried them through then it was the old goddesses and gods they would venerate, forever.
The last wave of Easterners to crash into The Realm came from the cold and furious north. These Ikkerik warriors were sea-faring masters and seemed like Goddi and Khodé warriors from an even more ancient age. But their ships and machines were cleverer than any ever seen, even by the High Wyddans and Iztani. At first the Ikkerik, speaking in ancient ways, landed wherever they would and took whatever they wanted cutting through resistance with ease.
Soon however an allied force of Harti Knights, A’quilan Paladins & Arkan Huskarls mobilized a defense to the Ikkerik invasions. This alliance was occasionally aided by the House of the Beast and occasionally hindered by it. Recently, however, the alliance managed to wall off the first wave of northern invaders and contain them, somewhat, along the Grey Shores. The Ikkerik set up villages in this new won land. And The Realm sent a toothy sigil from the seas to visit their dreams, whereupon The House of Hákarl was born. The Hákarla began to settle, somewhat, and to establish trade, somewhat, with a few of their neighbors. But it was always an uneasy and walled-in truce. And the wilder Ikkerik from the north outside the House of Hákarl still raided the shores of this new and magical land with near impunity.
Note on forgotten clans: There were other Houses lost and forgotten to the records of the sages. Sometimes their members make re-appearances for effects in the games. Here are some of the names of the forgotten houses: Arlsan, Toorth, Luop, Araignee, Nathair, Tiberon, Sanglier, Leok and Kryskrys.
Note on non-human civilizations: There are also civilizations beyond humanity that make appearances in the game or sometimes even ally with the warring clans; these are mainly the Dwarvenfolk, the various clans of Elvenlaik, and the three Ogrekin (Orc, Goblin and Ogre). Even more remote dwell the sylvan fawns, faery folk and centauri.
Certain Houses of humankind have kept a historical friendship with some of these civilizations. The Wyddans have kept contact with the Elvenlaik for millennia, The Arkans have a friendship with certain hill-clans of the Dwarvenfolk; Dwarven homes have long been on the fringe of Arkan lands. And the House of Sanglier has long held a partly-amicable truce with the warlike Orgrekin that camp and hunt on their borders.
As yet, however, the Ikkerik and Iztani have distanced themselves from these civilizations.
You as a character in the games may choose to play a non-human ally in your own Esteemed Houses if you wish, or anything else for that matter! Imagination always changes the rules!