Fire Rifts: Death and Destruction
Beasts rest in a glade, sipping sweet water from a trickling stream, soothed by birdsong from boughs high above. And then a glowing, orange slit opens in thin air, waves of searing heat pulsing from it in all directions.
Small volcanoes rise from the ground as grass and soil burn away, leaving cracked, ashen bedrock. Ungerground gases poison the tress, the smell of sulfur seeping between withered roots. Where once brooks flowed, trees bloomed, and life abounded, this Fire Rift brings streams of lava, charred stumps, and the smoldering corpses of every living thing caught in the inferno.
Every rift carries the threat of death and planar invasion, but the incendiary magic released by a Fire Rift consumes everything. Monsters rush from the rift, roaring like a flame, eager to waste the land and roast the innocent in their homes.
The Plane of Fire: Fields of Flame
The Plane of Fire is a broken and cracked expanse of sharp rocks and blasted mountains, valleys obscured by smoke and ash. Volcanoes rise thousands of feet into the methane sky, spewing rivers of molten rock into seas of fire that the plane’s denizens walk upon as if it were harmless soil.
Razor shards of stone carpet the scorched plains, where fire elementals and ifrits clash together in a riot of joyous violence. Demons fly between the jagged peaks, plucking goblins from their lairs in handfuls to gorge upon.
Tainted by Fire: Devouring Hordes
The creatures that come to Telara through Fire Rifts make up for a lack of subtlety with pure ruthless aggression. Goblins have lived in Telara since the Age of Dragons, and every mother scares her children with tales of the goblins’ vicious cruelty. Recently, the Gedlo priests have joined their lesser goblin cousins, honing anarchic tribes into war-bands that harass and butcher even well-armed patrols.
Invaders from the Plane of Fire overwhelm their victims with bursts of devastation, but this does not mean they are stupid or without foresight. Tall and beautiful in their monstrous way, Devils can incite victims to mindless fury, or enter such a state themselves when one of the lesser races has the nerve to pose a threat. If bested, they may fall on their own swords in arrogant spite, denying their lessers the honor of ending such elegant malevolence.
Dragon of Fire: The Flame Sire
The red dragon is chaos incarnate. Any goals beyond sowing turmoil and ruin are a waste of his time. While many of the other dragons of the Blood Storm have additional motives controlling Telara, Maelforge sees anything beyond the cycle of annihilation, regrowth, and new destruction as decadent self indulgence.
A creature of rapacious lust, the Flame Sire would tolerate no other Blood Storm participating in the destruction of the world, and so he turned against his fellows. Unlike Regulos, who seeks to end all creation once and for all, Maelforge would let the world regrow, only to return and burn it again and again, an endless cycle of fiery torment.
Cult of Maelforge: The Wanton
The Wanton revel in senseless violence and brutality. For these cultists, the only goal of conflict is more conflict. Devastation, fire, and chaos fan the flames of the Wanton’s passions, their dearest desire to sow mayhem. Every person killed, every town destroyed, every forest burned is a sacrifice to Maelforge.
The least organized but most fanatically loyal dragon cult, the Wanton ranks boast many monstrous humanoids such as goblins or dragonians. In Telaran communities, cells of Wanton can rise up suddenly, burning and despoiling in huge swathes before dying out. Many cultists seek to emulate the brutal centaurs: doing violence without honor, seeking a meaningless death, a body-count their only contribution to the world.
Ritual sacrifice is common among the Wanton. The dismembered limbs and spilled gore of their victims fueling the cultists’ hideous magic. As the Flame Sire decrees, death sows the seeds of new destruction.
Ranger-Captain Dio Booras (newly-promoted) on the destruction of Diokesi Village,
Captain Gaiane broke ranks and rushed the smoking ruin. I suppose she could no longer stomach the screaming. As if to counter, the ground broke in her path, magma welling in the cracks like blood in a fresh cut. Her legs a blur, she cleared the lava, dodged gouts of flame, then leapt, spear twirling, into the smoke.
A huge clawed hand plucked her from the air and dashed her against a blazing hut. The captain jabbed into the smoke, but the beast only chuckled as it stepped into view. It had wings and cloven hooves, and its forearms were twisted inside out, bone over muscle. But none of this mattered. Its bestial maw split crosswise, ear to ear and nose to jaw, to reveal a second set of humanoid teeth at the end of bleeding gums… It shoved the captain in there up to her waist and bit down, twisting its head to the side…