Lurraki Literature

For me, part of the fun of world-building is trying to imagine how the people in the world actually see themselves. Lists of important people, cities, organizations, and factions are important. But to really flesh out the world, you sometimes need to focus on the little things that are easily overlooked when thinking about game mechanics, combat systems, and quest lines.

Think about how much the works of Shakespeare influenced Western culture. Consider how much of what we perceive as Hell doesn’t come from the Bible, but rather Dante’s Inferno. Think about the idioms we use today that everyone immediately recognizes even if they never read the books.

“That loan is an albatross around my neck.”

“Chasing that promotion is his white whale.”

“I wear my heart on my sleeve.”

One of my favorite things in Elder Scroll games was finding books and reading the content (not just for the occasional skill boost). Those little weird glimpses into the cultures of Tamriel add a new level to the game for me. I’ve always been that person who reads every NPC note, stopped to check out every readable plaque on statues. Because those little tidbits make the world feel real.

These fictional titles are provided to inspire players when they develop their character backstories by providing those little tidbits of insight into the cultures of Lurrak.

They can also serve as a tool for game masters to use when sharing information with players. When someone makes a knowledge check regarding a topic, instead of just providing a dry answer, the GM can reference a book the player would be familiar with. Instead of saying “vampires can’t cross running water,” regarding a knowledge check for the undead, the GM might say “You recall from Tales of the Hunt that Blackstake was once chased across the plains by a pack of vampires, but the creatures were unable to follow him when he swam across the raging river.”

The Big Book of Short Jokes

Author: Gladius the Gladhearted

First Published: unknown

It is unclear how old this book of bawdy gnomish jokes is. The copy found in Pallamax’s hoard was handwritten. It is possible it was written for the dragon, as there was a dedication on the title page that read “Thank you for not eating me! I would have hated to give you indigestion.” But considering that the dragon was believed to be well over a thousand years old at the time of its death, that doesn’t narrow down time much. Though many of the jokes do not make sense without some historical context, the translated text is still popular with the masses.

Folly of the Gods

Author: Fenderethri

First Published: 1E 327/327 AC

The oldest known document to have survived in the centuries after the Divine Cataclysm. Folly of the Gods provides fragmented insights into the final years of the war that led to the Divine Cataclysm and the immediate aftermath of that event. Though a complete copy of the work has never been discovered, the fragments that have been recovered are routinely republished and distributed across Lurra. In both Lautanda and Mortuko, the book is a required read in schools. Even outside those kingdoms, the book is widely read, and most educated people have read at least some of the published fragments. Discoveries of authentic fragments of the work are major events. The last fragment to be authenticated was found in 5E 944/4944 in the ruins of Castle Starkholme, on the border between Ohanea and Mendiak.

Stark’s Folly

Author: Thomas Allerian

First Published: 2E 200/1200 AC

Known as The Bard of Maldorn before the kingdom’s fall to Lautanda, Thomas Allerian was a playwright best known for his tragedy regarding the destruction of Starkholme in 1E 900/900 AC. The tragedy tells the story of a wizard named Daeminus Stark who made a deal with the demon Barthantizan for magical power. The demon granted him the ability to enslave several orc tribes with magic, who he then forced to build him a huge castle. But Barthantizan demanded a thousand sacrifices in exchange for the power he granted, so after the castle was built he began sacrificing his slaves to appease the demon. The orc warlord Aeron Bloodoath raised an army against him. Stark fled before the castle fell and managed to convince other human warlords that he was the victim and Bloodoath the aggressor. The combined army attacked the orcs and slaughtered them all. Unfortunately for Stark, the deaths in battle did not count toward his quota. Before he could enslave more people for sacrifice, Barthantizan reveals Stark’s treachery to the other warlords, who execute him on the spot. The play ends with the demon dragging Stark’s soul to the Abyss while the other warlords, filled with shame over what they had done, declare the land cursed and abandon it.

There was a castle Starkholme and there was a major battle involving orcs and humans there, but there were few survivors and even fewer historical records of the event, so much of the tragedy is believed to be fabricated for dramatic effect. More contemporary research, however, indicates that Allerian’s version of events may have been closer to the truth than was previously believed.

The Rightful Proper Path to Ascendancy

Author: Majandavi Yora Alo-Davi

First Published: 2E 500/1500 AC

Presented to King Cheros the Crocodile at the celebration commemorating the completion of the Palace of the Sun, this book formalized the various Mortukan codes and believes regarding the Paths to Ascendancy. Arguably the most important book to Mortukans, the teachings in this book fundamentally influence every aspect of life in the Kingdom. Divided into three seconds, The Path of Self-Reflection actually takes up half of the book because, to quote Alo-Davi, “to become a god, one must first know who they are.” Part holy scripture, part self-help, the Path of Self-Reflection drives people to identify their strengths, acknowledge their weaknesses, and recognize their own intrinsic value.

The Path of Perfection and the Path of Ascension comprise the second half of the book. One of the key elements of the Path of Perfection is “Your refusal to put forth your best effort blocks the way for others to achieve greatness.” The great sin of the Path of Perfection is doing the bare minimum required. The Path of Ascension is the most esoteric and dense of the three sections, dropping the more pragmatic language of the other sections in exchange for more cryptic imagery.

The book is required reading in Mortukan schools. Those that wish to business within the kingdom’s borders are often advised to at least be familiar with the Path of Self-Reflection, which is often published as a separately. An annotated version of the first half of the book is often found in booksellers and libraries outside the kingdom,

Tales of the Hunt

Author: Roland Blackstake

First Published: 3E 175/2175 AC

Blackstake was a renowned hunter of the undead, particularly vampires, and one of the most well-known heroes from the Age of Heroes. Much of his fame is attributed to his own chronicles. Originally meant as an educational resource for other undead hunters, his flair for the dramatic lead to the installments becoming popular reading with the masses. Tales of the Hunt provided detailed information on the various undead that plagued the land during the 3rd Era and served as a valuable historical guide as Blackstake took great care to detail the lands he visited.

While most of the horrors described in Blackstake’s work are believed to no longer exist, the knowledge that they once did is often enough to give a traveler pause when going by an abandoned ruin.

The Adventures of Captain Darkwaters

Author: Esther Darkwaters

First Published: 3E 200/2200 AC

The author of this 3rd Era collection of stories claimed to be a direct descendent of the fabled Captain Issak Darkwaters, the first person to sail around the entire continent of Lurrak after the events of the Divine Cataclysm. The stories are based on fragments of the Captain’s own journal, as well as letters he had written to friends during his travels, documents left behind by various crew members, and official court reports of his discoveries. The author filled in the blanks with “family lore” she claimed was “passed down through the generations.” Resulting in sometimes contradictory stories. Most scholars agree that the larger facts of the book are correct, but the details are most likely embellished or fabricated for dramatic effect.

Regardless of the accuracy of the book, it is still widely published and a popular read with those that long for a return to the Age of Heroes, and it is not uncommon for theaters to perform plays based on various stories told in the collection.

Dragon-Blooded: The Tale of Saint Tamerus

Author: Trillian Tarventius

First Published: 3E 500/2600 AC

Considered the definitive biography of General Tamerus, it chronicles his rise through the Imperial military, his first confrontation with the dragon Thormaxial, and his last battle with the blue dragon Malandov. The book includes not only details of the future Saint’s life, but also comprehensive information regarding dragon physiology and how the general was able to use this information to defeat dragons.

For centuries, it was required reading for those who sought to hunt down and face dragons in battle. Even after the last dragon died, the book is still taught in Imperial schools and commonly found in libraries across the continent as an important historical work.

The Death of Kitshu

Author: Lacca of the Whispers

First Published: 4E 215/3215 AC

During the construction of Fort Tamerus, a journal was found that documented the siege of the capital from the perspective of the people who lived there. As it did not paint either the Lautandans or Mortukans well, it was ordered destroyed. Somehow it ended up in the hands of a trader, who eventually sold it to a book seller in the city of Armadale in Padura named Waylen. His daughter Vanessa found it among her father’s personal affects after his death and decided to publish it.

The writer was a monk of the Order of Whispers, a monastic order that had served as tutors and historians for the doomed kingdom. Extremely popular in Padura and Ohanea for its tragic but brutally honest depiction of the war, the work was originally condemned as “hateful propaganda” by the Empire and as “libelous lies” by Mortuko. Possessing a copy of the book was a crime in the Empire up until the reign of Radu II. Though it is no longer illegal to own in the Empire, booksellers do not stock it as it is considered unpatriotic to do so.

Mortuko has taken a different approach. Under King Narandi the Crane, the book became required reading in 5E 985/4985. In the royal declaration he proclaimed, “If we are to become the greatest version of ourselves, we must exorcise the worst version first. One cannot exorcise a demon that they refuse to see.”

The Fall of Gruhkrag

Author: Antonia Hale

First Published 4E 314/3314 AC

First performed as an epic poem during the tenth anniversary of Daniel II and Empress Natalie’s marriage, the story describes in breathtaking (though exaggerated) detail the final battle between Daniel II and the possessed orc shaman Gruhkrag. It is a romantic poem, however, in which it portrays the Emperor as fighting so that he can return to his beloved and marry her, and the poem includes several sections where the Emperor reflects on his love for Natalie to find the strength to keep fighting.

Still extremely popular in the Empire, the poem is considered mostly Imperial propaganda and nonsense elsewhere, particularly as the marriage to Princess Natalie of Cardiff was an arranged married to secure the Empire’s control of the kingdom.