Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Groups and Factions of the Spires

This part of the Spires' background was put together using Monte Cook's notes about Ptolus, the Complete Book of Eldritch Might and Ghostwalk Campaign Option mainly.

Some Noble Houses

A number of noble families of the Host still exists and wields influence over the Spires, usually through their prodigious remaining wealth. A list of the more prominent noble houses includes:

Abanar: A mercantile house, Abanar is very wealthy but not well thought of.

Dallimothan: Often said to belong to "House Dragon," the members of this house dress in dragon armor, use dragon regalia, and are whispered to truck with dragons themselves. Kirstol Dallimothan is the current head of the house.

Khatru: Famous for its military leadership and martial prowess, House Khatru is made up of arrogant boors and self-righteous warriors. Lord Dorant Khatru is the current master of the house.

Nagel: House Nagel, led by Lady Fransin Nagel, is an enemy of House Sadar.

Sadar: A foe of House Nagel, Sadar is sometimes called "House Shadow." Ren Sadar, the head of the house, was recently assassinated, and his people are looking for someone willing to perform a true resurrection. The Inverted Pyramid, a group to which Ren also belonged, seeks his slayer, an elf named Daersidian Ringsire.

Vlaadam: This house has a vile reputation, and a very ancient one. Iristul Vlaadam is the current master of the house. They are frequent allies of House Sadar.

Groups and Factions

The Delver's Guild is an organization constantly growing in power. It facilitates the exploration of the dungeons of the Spires, including most notably Ptolus' Undercity and Laelith's Maze. The guild holds a wealth of information about the underground networks running under the Spires and has even established waystations in a few major locations of the Long Dark.

The Keepers of the Veil maintain their base on Center Street in Ptolus' Midtown district, but they also possess a fortress, the Siege Castle, on the edge of the Necropolis. They strive to eradicate the curse of the undead from the world forever. They form a faction among the Knights of the Quiet (see below).

The Forsaken are the opposite numbers of the Keepers of the Veil. These despicable outcasts embrace death and the undead. A subgroup within their ranks, called the Licheloved, carries out the will of dark death gods in ways that -- it's said -- even the other Forsaken find difficult to stomach. It's unclear whether all the Forsaken are living people who consort with the undead, or whether some of them are actually undead themselves. The Forsaken are mainly active in and around Ptolus.

The Fallen are the allies of the Forsaken who dwell with them in the Necropolis. Not much is known of them, but they are said to be immortal demons or half-demons residing permanently in the world. Like the Forsaken, the Fallen are mainly active in and around Ptolus.

The Brotherhood of Redemption operates mainly under Ptolus, but maintains a surface structure in the Guildsman's District. This order of monks believes that no evil is irredeemable, and they seek to give any evil creature a chance to repent. They also pay adventurers for any evil creature captured and brought to them for redemption.

The Healers of the Sacred Heat are located in the Temple District of Ptolus and near Laelith's Lazaret (houses of healing). They offer inexpensive healing. It's said to be painful, however.

The Inverted Pyramid is a mysterious and ancient guild of arcanists. The group's headquarters and membership are shrouded in mystery, but its members carry a lot of weight in both Ptolus and Laelith.

The Knights of the Golden Cross is a mysterious group of powerful people who oppose evil at every turn. Their tower-fortress lies in Ptolus' Old Town.

The Vai is an assassins guild dedicated to death. Rumor has it that each member swears to take the life of an intelligent being each day.

The Knights of the Chord form a military order of honorable warriors using bardic arts as weapons and banner.

The Flaming Fists form the military faction among the servants of the Silver Flame, the Fire cult of the Church of Lothian. They are under the command of Andares d'Astradeen, Princess Consular of the Host.

The Golden is the main thieves' guild of the Seven Spires. It's main rules are to never draw the first blood in a confrontation, unless it is for defense, and to not rob thieves.

The Blue Garter is a courtesans' guild. It is for hire, but usually follows its own agendas when choosing to contract with this or that patron. The goals it tries to fulfill remain uncertain, though.

The Guild of Morticians originated in the Skull, the earth cult of the Church of Lothian, but quickly grew into an independant faction. Its goals are to take care of the dead of the Seven Spires. Usually, it involves the organization of the travels of corpses and relatives to Manifest where the Gates to the Underworld lie.

The Piran Sedestadel is another guild of magisters. It is not directly opposed to the Inverted Pyramid since it cares for study, particularly related to the dead and their Ghosts.

The Yisa-Khardomas enforce the laws of the Land to the Ghosts and spirits of the Spires. Most Ghosts live in Manifest, but a few are known to dwell in other cities like Ptolus. Where Ghosts dwell the Yisa-Khardomas follow, generally.

The Knights of the Quiet or Quiet Knights are strongly opposed to anything that would blur the frontier between Life and Death. This includes representants and emanations of the Old Faith such as the Undead, Ghosts and Darkbonds (more than Greenbonds, but still).

The Necromancers of the Night Alley form yet another guild of magic users, this time dedicated to everything related to death and the undead. Needless to say, they are the sworn enemies of the Quiet Knights.

The Mercantile Guild is the association of all the major merchants and business players over the Seven Spires. This is a powerful lobby often said to oppose the Morticians. But this seems to be a bit of an overstatement, since the Morticians try to keep their travels and business strictly related to the dead and not so much economical goods or resources.

Regions of the Seven Spires

Look here for a map of the political regions of the Seven Spires.

On this complete map of the Seven Spires you can also see the different cities and regions of the Spires.

"The Seven Spires" is a name commonly used to designate the area north of the peninsula. This area (basically everything north to the city of Serathis) once formed the kingdom of Osterande ruled by the Great Host of humans, giants and sibbecai that saved the region from what is remembered as "The Lost Kingdom".

Only a few tales circulate about the Lost Kingdom. Most of them speak about inhuman warriors building cyclopean cities of stone which ruins still can be found in the deserts and jungles of the South. The Lost Kingdom tried somehow to defeat all the other races of the peninsula at an ancient time prior to the Spires themselves.

The inhabitants of the Spires, mostly men, litorians and faen would have been wiped out if it weren't for the coming of the Great Host from the north. The Host came and decided to help the people of the peninsula against the Lost Ones. They vanquished them and founded a unified kingdom, Osterande. But the golden days of the kingdom of the Host did not last much more than a few centuries.

Soon the leaders of the Church and fiefs of Osterande grew complacent and arrogant. The Consul of the Host himself concentrated all the powers of faith and politics into his own hands. Skirmishes between low nobles of various remote areas of Osterande soon became wars that would determine the kingdom's fate. The Consul was unaware of the tragedy that was going to occur, kept from the suffering of the world in his gigantic palace, some say, while other think he was directly reponsible or tried to avoid the catastrophe.

Whatever the motivations and actions of the Consul of the Host, the Punishment occurred. The land trembled in anger and the peninsula was torn apart. From the central plains of Osterande, traditional lands of the Litorians, very few remain. Most have been sank and replaced by the lakes commonly known as "Altalith's lake" and "the High Waters". Some cities disappeared, others were dramatically changed, like in the case of Laelith which became a huge inclined plateau broken by the Inlam's tumultuous flow. The landscape was torn apart, the most obvious change

Then the Dark Ages of the Spires began. The Church of Lothian exploded in four distinct cults of the elements and the title of Consul was severed into two different leaders of the Host, the God King who would remain its spiritual father, and the Prince Consular who would be its temporal leader. There was no more political leader for the kingdom, as there was no more united kingdom to rule. Various warlords and politicians took control of their regions, and in the next centuries, after many feuds, battles and all the bloodsheds one could expect, some new Fiefs joined the Old to form a new political map.

The various regions of the Seven Spires are now:

The Duchy of Harmoria, probably the most feudal of all the surrounding nations of the Spires. The Duchess of Harmoria is at the head of a complex hierarchy of Lords and Servants of the Flaming Fist, a knighthood developed around the Church of the Silver Flame (the fire cult of the Church of Lothian). The Church here holds a true, tangible power behind the scenes, and its Templars are known to deal death whenever they hear about acts of the Devilry. .

The Arm of Eomund is part of the Duchy. It is a no man's land inhabited by various types of primitive and barbarian humanoids such as goblins, inshons and chorrims. Most of its Everfading Coast is a collection of bogs and swamps changing every days with the tides and weather. It is a chosen region for the training of the Knights of the Fist and various treasure hunters seeking relics from ruins dating back from before the Punishment.

The Frozen Deeps are inhabited by the Uladhrim, a human blue-skinned ethnicity whose nations have long been hunted down by the Verrik. The Uladhrim are comparable to Inuits or other native Americans to some extent. Forced to exile by the Verrik, the Uladhrim were given back the Deeps by the Giants who helped them during these difficult times and still guard the plains of Ulthaar surrounding Al Jha'arna.

The Plains of Ulthaar are the lands of the Hu Charrad, the Giants guarding the city of Al Jha'arna. Today, the guard tends to have been forgotten in favor of more opened business relationships between the Verrik and the Hu Charrad.

Mortegrève is the main port of the Seven Spires. It is one of its most important strategical spot, where the lands of Al Jha'arna join the lakes, and the lakes join the cities of the South and the River of Ichor. It is a grim city with many misteries lead by a few hereditary families of fishermen, carpenters and merchants sitting on one bench of the King's river. A single bridge stands above the stream leading to the Forbidden City of the north bank, a collection of ruins and catacombs dating back from the Host's days of glory, before the Punishment. Nobody knows what roams there, but it's access is severely sanctionned. Only fools try to go there at night, the Mortevains say.

Ptolus is a city bursting with life and variety but not as much as Laelith does. A Commissar directs the city's affairs and is assisted by a Council of representatives including several members of old noble families of the Host. Ptolus is a political (through its Senate and Families) and religious (aside of the Cult of Lothian) center for the Spires. Many pilgrims wishing to avoid the God Kings' edict on Faith and Religion go to Ptolus to worship thousands of different gods each with their own established shrine within the city walls, but the city is still officially recognizing the God King as its "spiritual patron in matters of faith". Words with not much consistancy to tell the truth. The Old Senate of the Host still stands within Ptolus' walls, but the senators spend most of their time on private and national rivalries rather than caring about a title without any political meaning by today's standards.

Ptolus is also one of the only cities of the Spires, along with others like Laelith and Ogrebound, to still have a cemetary, despite the existence of the Gate to the Underworld below the city of Manifest. Ghosts are still considered emanations of Devilry in Ptolus but a few live there anyway.

Between Ptolus and Mortegrève rise the Seven Spires themselves. They are a testament to ancient, heroic times. Legends talk about the Dread One, Eslathagos Malkith, trying to cover the world with Shadow from his citadel of Jabel Shammar, and how he was banished from the surface of the earth, thus creating the Spires as they stand.

Laelith is often referred to as the Holy City. The God King of the cult of Lothian and the elements reigns from this metropolis bursting with life. Religious powers are especially strong here. The use of magic is strictly reglemented, much like in Ptolus but not to the paranoid extent of Harmoria's policies.

Kazum Athreleb and the Iron Crown, the mountain ranges surrounding it, are lands of mystery. Kazum Athreleb is supposed to be one of the last standing strongholds of the Meinedd Sidhe, the stone fey, but no evidence either confirms or refutes its actual existence. Travellers and settlers there look upon rocky hills, valleys and high mountain tops with coniferous forests, but nothing shows any sign of ancient or advanced civilization. Mines are the main resources of the few inhabitants of this region.

The Verdant Coast is made of many forests of either coniferous or deciduous trees. This is a far more hospitable region than the Iron Crown. Many human and litorian settlements can be found in this area. Its warm healing springs and waterfalls are reknown all over the Spires. This region is officially under the jurisdiction of the Church of Lothian (i.e. the God King of Laelith).

The Margravate of Halduura is a martriarchy governed by witches holding power over the land. They are wisewomen and shaman, while men are traditionally warriors and hunters of their Clan (Think Rashemen from FR, and you're there).

The Thousand Glades is a vast territory of wild temperate forest. Many Faen communities are said to dwell here, but few travellers ever made it back to tell the tale. Natural predators such as boars, wolves and treants are known to live within their depths.

The Plains of Amaranth are the original location of the last battle between the Great Host and the Lost Ones. Nearly every fighting being present on the battlefield on this day died from the resulting butchery. Once a desert of heavy sands, a forest of blood trees with crimson foliage now reminds the Spires' people of the region's name and its signification for ages to come. It is inhabited by spirits and horrors from the ancient times, and many adventurers seek treasure and adventure there.

The Arkhanian Vale stretches along the Altalus River. There, the pilgrim can find the city of Manifest where the Dead walk down the streets among the Living. Most settlements and cities of the Spires do not have any cemetary. Instead, parties of pilgrims are sent regularly to the city of Manifest assisted by the Temple of the Skull (the earth branch of the Church of Lothian), along with the remains of their loved ones. There, they can talk a last time to the spirits of their relatives and lovers and say their last goodbye. This makes of Manifest one of the main cities of the Spires, with most of its population being temporary pilgrims within its walls.

Caras Calaedhon is easily the biggest, wildest forest of the Spires. Its depths are mostly unknown. Sidhe, fey people, are said to reside there, but they did not give any sign of life for centuries. Perhaps its main settlements, Ethel Daoine and Ethel Lledrith are now tombs with unimaginable reaches to be taken from the dead? No one knows for sure. There is a deep sense of respect and fear for the inhabitants of the Spires toward Caras Calaedhon, and very few adventurers ever tried to brave its forests. From time to time, there are some claiming to have returned from Caras Calaedhon, but the stories are so inconstitantly varied that it is hard to know what is fact and what isn't.

The Holy Lock seperates the two lakes which are at different levels. From the High Waters, ships are carried down to the Altalith lake by ruddimentary cranes and magic. This is the property of the Soothing Stream, the water Temple of the Church of Lothian, and every captain wishing to be taken up or down the lock as to pay the tax going to the poor of Laelith.

Serathis is a ruined city that just has been discovered by the settlers of Cauldron. This was probably a settlement of the Lost Ones, but nothing is sure at the moment. Giants have been ordered by the Senate of Ptolus to keep the area under the Law of the Host. We will see if they are successful.

The Lost Kingdom is now a desolated area where ruins of towers and cities abound. Its only well-known civilized city is Cauldron, built within the crater of a Volcano. It is probably with Al Jha'arna the only city that doesn't officially treat the God King as its spiritual leader. Instead, it has various shrines for various Saints of the Church, like St. Cuthbert and St. Helm. No one in the north knows much about Cauldron or Serathis for that matter. Both cities can be reached by sailing up the Stream of Ichor that flows to the South coast of the peninsula.

Known History of the Seven Spires

Here is a short known history I originally put together from Monte Cook's notes on Ptolus and mine on the Seven Spires and Behemoth (the world).

You live in an ancient Kingdom unsure whether or not it has toppled a millennium ago.

A few years ago, the first men and women who would one day be called “delvers,” returned from exploring the regions below the city of Ptolus. They were laden with gold and magical treasures. A few months later, others started to plunder the Maze under the holy city of Laelith. Today, hundreds of new would-be delvers pour into the cities of the Spires each month, hoping to strike it rich like others before them. Most end up dead, but they keep coming. Entire industries have evolved quickly to service the needs of these “adventurers.” In the shadow of seven ancient spires with a very dark past, rising impossibly high above the western shore of the Altalith lake, a whole new form of economics, politics, and social structure struggles to be born.

Creatures and individuals that normally remain in the shadows are drawn to these large gatherings of adventurers and magic. The needs of the adventurers prompt renewed devotion to magic, science, and religion. As the old nation of Osterande dies, Ptolus -- for years a backwater town on the edge of civilization -- is quickly becoming the center of something much larger than itself and is now able to compete with Laelith itself. Rumors of omens and prophecies and children born with strange birthmarks and abilities emerge from both cities with increasing frequency. No one knows just what yet, but something is happening to the Spires.

An insignificant port-city -- until recently -- Ptolus was originally built around a fortress, Dalenguard, which was erected to watch over the area once controlled by the dark master of an army of evil creatures. Ptolus is built over Dwarvenhearth, the ancestral home of the Meinedd Sidhe known as the Stonelost.

Called the ‘City by the Spire’ (since one of the Seven Spires rises strictly above it) Ptolus lies in the shadow of strange rock formations surrounded in mysterious legends and rumors. These tales tell of even older battles waged and cities erected on the site -- much of which might actually be at least somewhat true, for recent developments have revealed that vast complexes lie under the city.

Of late, Ptolus has become a city of adventurers as treasure-seekers have flocked there to explore and plunder the labyrinthine structures beneath the streets. If the stories are true, these catacombs involve the sewers of the city, the remains of an older settlement (and its sewer system), Dwarvenhearth, and even more -- plunging impossibly deep below the city.

Ptolus lies in a cool, rainy, costal area with harsh winters. It serves as an important port on the Altalith Lake and was part of the ancient kingdom of Osterande. With the collapse of its government in the years that followed the Punishment, Ptolus now maintains an independent status, ruled by a council dominated by Royal representatives.

Laelith has long been the siege of Faith over the Spires. It was the residing place of the Consul of the Host, and now remains the place where the God King guides and enlightens the believers of Lothian's Church.

Laelith streches over an ancient plateau now inclined towards the Altalith lake. It wasn't always this way, but when the old faith was exposed by Saint Lothian, the Punishment shook the holy city more than any other location of Osterande. Blood rain and ash fell over the world. When the Punishment was over, many blocks of the city, even whole districts, lay in ruin. The whole city was tipped more than thirty degrees towards the lake. This happens ages ago, it seems, but still in some parts of the city you can see the scars left by this cataclysmic event.

Today, Laelith fully recovered. Each year, it attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the Spires. These pilgrims often visit the palace of the God King and the temples of the elements under the supervision of the Church of Lothian (the Cults of the Elements are part of the Church of Lothian from which the God King is the highest ranking representative).

Under Laelith spreads its Maze, a collection of ancient galleries dating back to the days before the Punishment and more recent excavations from all sorts of inhabitants of Laelith and denizens of the Long Dark (also known as the Underdark). This means some of the tunnels and rooms of the maze are tipped towards the lake while other, more recent tunnels are not. It sort of constitutes a web or grid of caves and corridors with various levels and inclinations.

The world

A single silvery moon hangs above in the night sky. There are stories of other, ancient moons which existed prior to the Punishment and fell from the heavens when the Host committed crimes to the face of the divine.

It is uncertain for the inhabitants of Spires whether the world, called Behemoth, is round or flat. Many assume it is flat, with the Spires lost in a sea changing into Mist to trap the unwary and make them from the Edge of the World. Some scholars think Behemoth is in fact round. According to these eccentrics, one could travel from one side to come back by the other in a straight line, but so far no noble house supported this theory. It is more and more known and popular with each passing decade, though.

Learned folk know that the world is made up of matter and energy (the essence of both of which can be expressed as fire, earth, water, and air) and that matter is made of particles smaller than a person can see. Magnetism, lighter than air gases, and other basic aspects of science are not unknown, either.

Most people know that the Ethereal Plane is a magical place that shares the same space with the world but is apart as well, or ‘out of phase.’ The Elemental Planes are conceptual places based around the fundamental building blocks of matter and energy. Whether Heavens and Hells exist or not is unknown, but the existence of divine beings of good or evil essence has been proven many times by holy priests and terrible acts of devilry.


The history you have been taught as a child centers around the existence of Osterande and its Fiefs. You know that many centuries ago there was a great war of the Lost Ones against the Verrik and the Uladhrim, and you know that the Great Host of Men, Sibbecai and Giants came from the North to save the day. You do not know what was the nature of the Lost Ones, nor the traditions of the Lost Kingdom. It is one of the great fascinations of the people of the Spires (similar to the fascination Egypt was inspiring at the end of our 19th century), and many scholars devote their entire lives to the discovery of facts and artifacts related to the Lost Ones.

When the Lost Ones were defeated at the Battle of Amaranth, Osterande was born. Men, Giants and Sibbecai, along with their Litorian, Verrik and Uladhrim allies created new Fiefs to administer the land. The powers were concentrated in the hands of the Consul of the Host, both the spiritual and temporal leader of the Spires’ peninsula.

But soon the lieges and lords of the Spires grew complacent and vile. The Old Religion of Cathain was explosed by a Saint going by the name of Lothian, and soon he was arrested and executed. The earth trembled and the heavens grew angry. The Punishment then occurred, shattering the land, creating the Lakes, killing many inhabitants of the known world. When darkness fell upon the world, it was to remain for the following centuries.

In the years that followed, the Gate to the Underworld was discovered in the Arkhanian Vale and the city of Manifest was built. The few cemeteries remaining in cities and villages to this day have been built before the Punishment, even if they are still in use (which is extremely rare but is the case in Ptolus and Laelith).

Countless wars between the old allies of the Host occurred concurrently. The old Throne of the Host was broken. Two distinct titles replaced the former Consul in the years that followed the Punishment. The God King of Laelith would forever hold Lothian as his true God and rule on the spiritual realm in his name while the Prince Consular of Ptolus would stay at the head of the state.

It worked for a time, but a time only. Soon, the relations between the two lords of the Host became tensed, and when Prince Consular Zaphram Sedais declared the use of magic could now be officially practiced anew (it fell into disuse in the years that followed the Punishment for fear of further revenge), the God King declared it spiritually unacceptable. The Edict of Devilry was ordered by the Lord of Laelith, and most followers of the Prince Consular and the Senators of Ptolus were hunted down by the faithful to the Church of Lothian.

What was unknown to the God King at the time was the impact it would have on the popularity of the Church during the next centuries. The Church of Lothian, after a sudden period of glory was soon said to be corrupted and inhuman. Many new spiritual movements challenged the Edict of Devilry, and after a reform of the Church leading to the creation of the cults of the elements, it was abandoned altogether by the spiritual authorities of the Spires.

With years and generations, the Old Senate of the Host fell from grace. No true lord would now see the need to discuss their own matters of state in the Senate of Ptolus. The Fiefs were not the same friends anymore. The title of Prince Consular still exists though. Its present holder is Princess Andares d'Astradeen who also happens to be Duchess of Harmoria. She never attended a single session of the Senate but does not miss an occasion to remind visitors and diplomats of her rank in official business.

Both the God King and Andares are very ambitious people, and both are contemplating the possibility of bringing back the title of Consul from the past. This would create a rift both spiritual and temporal among the fiefs of the shredded kingdom of Osterande. Whether the Spires need this conflict or not remains to be seen.

Some Base Campaign Concepts

There are several things to point out about the Seven Spires campaign:

- Races described in the D&D Player's Handbook do not exist as gamers know them. Orcs do not exist. Gnomes and Haflings do not exist.

Elves and Dwarves do exist, but they are not the tolkienian "elder races". They are outcasts born from humans, and actually are both variations of the race known as Changelings (as per Eberron Campaign Setting). In fact nobody knows for sure what they are: are they the result of magical experimentations gone wrong? Are they the emanation of some greater power? The doom of sentient species? Nothing is sure but people assume a lot, particularly regarding their "inherent wickedness" and the fact most are "thieves and spellswords for hire with no honor or dignity whatsoever". This is of course a racist cliche, but many inhabitants of the Spires, and not only the ignorant ones, hold them for true.

The races of Arcana Evolved are used as written.

- This is a D&D world. D&D is everywhere. There, goblins and hobgoblins walk down the street among humans. The occasional Ogre Mage buys apples at the corner of a street. A Minotaur may start a fight in a tavern. But there is no "evil" race as D&D defines it, which makes the Spires "even more D&D-like" because everything can be seen in plain view or nearly. Doesn't mean people don't have opinions and preferences. Goblinoids, Chorrim and Rhodins are usually despised and/or feared. Litorians are looked upon as uncivilized barbarians. Faen can be viewed as annoying or pure emanations of Devilry, depending on the place where you plan to spend the night.

There seems to be exceptions to this - the Undead/the Dark and Abominations, which are viewed as evil by nearly everyone around the Spires. Making an alliance with the Dark is viewed as pure Devilry and an act of defiance toward Creation itself. Exile is usually the best you can hope if your association with the Dark is noticed.

Likewise, all elements that make D&D what it is are known to exist and rather common. Adventurers are known known to exist and a frequent site all over the Spires. Lost tombs, underground forts, the Underdark and complexes one could qualify as "dungeons" are common locations. Minor magic items are sold on markets and created by gifted craftsmen, wizards and priests. Major magic items can possibly be found by delving adventurers. Artefacts and Reliques are known to exist. Minor spells are used regularly. People know wizards are able to Scry, for instance. Protections versus Invisibility are fairly common for merchants and nobles. And so on, and so forth.

- Professions and races do not mean you know what the character is made of in terms of game mechanics. Priests of Lothian can be Clerics, Fighters, Magisters. A learned scholar may be a Greenbond, Darkbond, Sorcerer, Bard or Akashic. There is no given regarding profession of the game world versus rules used to represent them. A particular character may be working in a field completely different from his/her innate specialty and experience, but most people do. What makes a character eligible or recognized in a profession is his/her skill at what s/he does, not his/her hit dice.

- Most people in the world are 1st to 5th level, but all levels do exist. Most adventurers will range between 1st and 10th level, 10th level being an expert recognized for his accomplishments in the Known World. It doesn't mean that 15th+ level characters don't exist. They do, but they really are the stuff legends are made of.

What this means is that at 6th level, characters may be recognized in taverns, are known for their actions and so on. They are not beginners in adventuring, nor are they absolute legends of the Spires. They are somewhere in between, like most heroes of Sword and Sorcery novels are. Think about the Grey Mouser and you get the idea.