Monsters, with a capital M, are different from generic monsters like ogres and griffons and beholders. They are immortals, mostly primal spirits who attempted to create a “sixth sphere” with The Demon as hierarch. For convenience and clarity, what would be called a monster in other settings is called a beast in Home, and the word Monster is exclusive to this group of immortals.
The original Monster was The Demon, Hiranyakashipu aka Hiran. He was so hated that once he was dead all sentient beings, including his own lieutenants, stripped him of his name. He is only called “The Demon” now. Again, this is not because anyone fears him, or think it is bad luck to say his name. This is NOT a Voldemort situation. His name was taken as a way to insult him. To make him as insignificant as an insect, less even than a pet (which usually gets named).
Hiran bound himself to the world via a ritual known only to himself. He then bound a select few allies to himself and then portioned off the world to them and bound them to their portions. These became the Monster Lords and the whole world reshaped to fit their nature and personalities. Under the Lords are multiple lesser Monsters, all of whom wield immortal power, plus have a bond to the world. Within a Monster Lord’s domain all living beings and the land itself will exhibit tendencies related to that Lord. For example, Lyric is bound to the Monster Lord Dischord who is a manifestation of destructive sound. Just as sound waves have crests and troughs, cities rise and fall, with the falls being more destructive than the rises. Nothing is stable in Lyric, everything is in a constant process of growing or crashing. By contrast Consumption is ruled by the Fire Lord and is constantly in a state of famine and overpopulation, even the land is a desert and food is less nourishing than anywhere else in the world. Killing the Monster Lord would have caused creation to undergo the same death as the Monster Lord as it died (see the council of empowering monster slaying weapons below). Monsters broke creation when they bound the land to themselves in this way and all of the physical world attempts to expel them from reality, thus light, gravity, and space bend around them leaving a trail of warped and distorted objects wherever they go. Living beings that get too close to Monsters feel first headaches, then nausea, then physical pain, up to and including eventual bending and warping of their bodies in potentially fatal ways. All Monsters exist on at least two layers of reality at once, and Monster Lords on all three. They must be defeated simultaneously on all layers in order to be killed, requiring concerted attacks on the material, feywild and shadowfell, all three of which must win. It is for this reason that only one (the Blood Lord) has been truly killed. Several have been defeated however. Oceanus was banished to the moon, Dischord was gravely wounded and has not been seen or felt for generations, RhoDin locked himself into his tower and allowed all but two of his servant Monsters to be slain, and the Succubus was attacked by a collection of her own children and was thought to have been dead for generations, now it appears she was only imprisoned.
As a pseudo-sphere the rule of The Demon did work while he lived, but his protection died with him. Thanatos and Nyx, as co-hierarchs of entropy, agreed to strip power from Oceanus temporarily when he was attacked in the battle that resulted in his banishment. During the Epoch of The Demon this was impossible as his status prevented Hierarchs from taking power away from his Monster Lords. It is not known why the Hierarchs do not strip the Monster Lords of power completely but instead allow them to continue ruling the world and warring against the rest of the immortals. Some scholars theorize that because the Monster Lords are all primal spirits and the Hierarchs are all deities or primordials stripping the Monster Lords of power would violate the treaty that ended the dawn war. Other scholars claim that is not logical as the Hierarchs could simply render all Monsters mortal in a single shot, making any retaliation from the remaining primal spirits irrelevant. And the argument goes on and on endlessly with no end of speculation and no hard facts to resolve it.
The Grey Priest: Dagom (Dogma), the high priest of The Demon and a theocratic tyrant based on the Spanish inquisition mashedup with the Kim family of North Korea and Calligula. He has not moved or acted or spoken since the death of Blood Lord. His servants and church leaders act in his name currently. Dagom is the farthest south kingdom and has harsh winters. It is heavily fortified with all cities built around ziggurats, aztec style, and like the aztecs they perform regular living sacrifices. The Temple of Hiran, in the capital city only sacrifices sentient beings and does so in a never stopping flow. The weapon to kill him is a longsword named Wisdom. It is rumored that Hunters have it, but which tribe and where is a matter of debate. Dagom has the second highest population of any kingdom at 2 million people, and the capital city has a population of 120,000. People in Dagom have no concept of free will, and visitors find themselves much more gullible and obedient the longer they stay. Despite this it is impossible to convince them the teachings of the Grey Priest and his religion are wrong, and visitors more and more come to trust the teachings over time. Repeating key lines of doctrine mindlessly in answer to questions is normal.
LaWarre: Jerli, the land of death. Once known as Orcus the Demon Prince of Undeath, he changed his name upon ritually becoming a primal spirit and being bound to the prime material. JerLi is perhaps the most hellish place possible, worse than most classic descriptions of tarterus, gehenna, hell, or the abyss. Mortals exist only to be food and breeding stock for undead. They are farmed, prevented from gaining an education, hunted for sport, worked to death in slave camps, then consumed as food or used to construct physical undead. Females are forcibly bred as often as possible until they eventually die in childbirth. LaWarre is one of the most powerful Monster Lords and tries often to act as leader in The Demon’s absence. The weapon to kill him is a glass Axe named Springtime. Dragging the blade in a circle on the ground causes life to bloom within. There is no known limit to the size of the circle that can be drawn. Springtime was held by Royals but a foolish prince tried to attack Jerli without a big enough army and lost it. He is now a commander of a ghoul legion in LaWarre’s army, and the axe is thought to be somewhere in LaWarre’s vaults. People in LaWarre are depressed, hopeless, ignorant, sickly and lack creativity. Makeup and drugs are used to make the living look dead. Visitors find their thoughts are muddled and confused and that they take longer to recover from exercise and injury.
Lady of the Web: Webithcorr (Web in the Corner), greatest of all the great spiders, she is the embodiment of fate and destiny. Her husband is Korotiku, one of the most powerful deities of thought and greatest trickster of Home. She has had many other consorts but devoured all of them, only Korotiku has ever survived her. She and LaWarre hate each other, but begrudgingly worked together to create a connection of power lines crossing the world like a web feeding off of every evil act and thought of every living being from which the Monster Lords draw their power now that The Demon is gone. Scholars have mapped out part of this web in every city and village across the whole world. She and her spiders write the fate of the world constantly with their weaving. They efficiently and ruthlessly destroy anyone who looks too closely at their actions or attempts to read the future and change it. She is in a war with the male great spiders and a few select female spiders who are loyal to the primal spirits and never became Monsters. The weapon to kill her is a Torch named Dharma, which lies unguarded in a ruin in the swamps. The ruin is so heavily warded with magical divination, counter divination and fate manipulation that trying to travel to it intentionally is always fatal. People in Webithcorr lack individuality, they look the same, they talk the same, they repeat each other. Behavior is rigid and repetitive. People do not make future plans, they just act as if following a script. Visitors find it harder to think about the future and stay individualized over time.
N’grannek: Imbilot (immobility), one a primordial and “prince of elemental evil”, N’Grannek is slow to move but unstoppable once he does. He sees every challenge and enemy before they become relevant and crushes them without struggling or straining, simply by being ready so far in advance it appears like he is doing nothing. Imbilot is full of dwarves and duergar and has a heavily populated underdark. His seneschals and lesser Monsters are all Giants and Titans with a very few elementals. The whole place is a mountain chain. Time is said to pass slower in Imbilot than the rest of the world. The weapon to kill him is a maul named Stability, it is currently stuck to the knee of a petrified giant right outside his capital city. Rumor has it that the hero who can remove the hammer will kill N’grannek. There is a busy tourist attraction based around this where anyone who wants to can pay 5 silvers to try and pull the hammer loose from the giant. People in Imbilot are lazy and slow and visitors become the same over time. The dead petrify instead of putrify.
The Elder Root: Gallia. Based very loosely on Lovecraft’s Shub-niggurath “the beast with a thousand young”, the Elder Root is an enormous plant-animal hybrid, vaguely like a Sequoia tree an octopus, a kelp forest, kudzu vine, and lichen chopped into bits and reconstructed semi-randomly. While all Monsters are disturbing to look at, the Elder Root induces sickness and nausea far beyond any other. It is constantly in the process of impregnating itself and giving birth/budding off spawn. The weapon to kill the Elder Root is Wasteland, a huge two-handed sword that is rumored to turn any living thing it cuts into a pillar of ash. Wasteland is held by the Royal family in Kentarre. Gallia is a large territory with an out of control population. It has the highest population of any Kingdom, well over 3 million, but the exact numbers are unknown and unknowable. Despite this the population is extremely young because of how often they are killed by rampaging beasts and infectious disease. People in Gallia are reckless, emotional, lustful, and angry. They are more swayed by rhetoric and what sounds exciting than by logic. Visitors more and more become prone to emotional outbursts and lose their logical edge over time.
Fire Lord(s): Consumption. The Fire Lord (or Lords) has five bodies that may or may not be a single entity. The story is that it wished for more bodies so it could eat five times as much. They rule from a basalt castle floating in a sea of lava in the heart of a giant crater formed when a meteor struck Home and pierced the crust all the way down to the mantle during the Dawn War. Fire Lord and several other fiery immortals contained the disaster but preserved the exposed magma as a huge sea of fire. Surrounding this lava field is an extensive desert. Many rivers and springs water it, but it constantly is dry and dead anyway. Magic consumes life from all around, burning it to dust (like the defilers from Dark Sun, but not as harsh). The weapon to kill Fire Lord is a black iron spear with a bird motif named Swallow. It is said to absorb any attack directed at the wielder. Its location is unknown. People here are constantly hungry and greedy for all things. Money, power, lust, food, attention, entertainment, etc. Quantity over quality every time and too much is never enough. Visitors eat more than normal, but lose weight, and find everything more compelling than normal.
Lands Ruled by the Royal Family:
The Demon: Kentarre (Center), the capital city and surrounding lands which The Demon used as a personal hunting ground. Kentarre is the largest city in the world, based on Tenochtitlan plus tlateloco combined at its height with a population of 280,000 spread out over 6 square miles. It is on a natural island with major bridges connecting it to the coastline, but unlike Tenochtitlan it is on the ocean and the harbor is a major trade port. Kentarre has the densest population of any territory, and the third highest of any kingdom (behind Gallia and Dagom). People in Kentarre used to be highly fertile and industrious and stubborn. With the death of The Demon, they lost this, and are “normal” fantasy world people because Kentarre is the only part of the world without a bound Monster Lord influencing them.
Discord: Lyric, the land of music. Dischord looks (when you can see him) like King Ghidorah, or Monster X: a three-headed golden dragon with no arms and extremely thick muscular legs. He moves through water and rock as easily as air. Everywhere he goes the world breaks and crumbles. Lyric is an amazing archipelago with giant trees upon which a huge grassland grows and under the canopy is a perpetually black swamp. The wind blowing through the islands makes constant music. Many plants and animals also are musical in nature. Cities are constantly being built and then crumbling into the swamp over time. A hero took the Lance Anthem, designed to kill Discord, into battle against the advice of every seer, scholar, and military ally. Only two living beings know the full story of what happened that day, Dischord and the lord of the Unseelie Fey Crown of Gold, everyone else on both sides perished. Neither Anthem nor Dischord have been seen in the 11 generations since this battle. The royals are expanding out from their small island to the largest in the Archipelago (based on New Guinea, so it is huuuuge) where the battle happened. Discord is not thought to be dead, but rather badly wounded. They seek to find Anthem and finish him off. People in Lyric are capricious. They seem completely committed to one thing, then switch suddenly and with what appears to be 100% commitment. Everyone sings and most play more than one instrument. Visitors find themselves indecisive and likely to change their minds. Bards have noted that this effect is much reduced compared to the stories of the past.
RhoDin: Suemonom (summoning), the land of good intentions gone wrong. It is Oppenheimer crying about the destructive nature of the nuclear bombs he built. It is the scientist who makes and then watches in shocked horror as his creation causes disaster while all normal folk saw this result and even warned him against it from day one. It is the researcher who tortures and maims with the excuse “think of how many I could save if this works”. It is the ultimate nightmare created when “the ends justify the means”. RhoDin is a demon scholar who doesn’t care about anything but his own knowledge. When the Demon was killed and the Royal Army marched first into his lands, he closed the doors to his Ivory Tower and has never come out again. He abandoned his lesser Monsters (only two are known to live within the tower) most of whom were destroyed when the kingdom was liberated. Suemonom is an advanced territory full of master craftsmen, alchemists, wizards and would-be scientists. It is a confederation of City States each with a mad scientist in charge who uses inventions and magic to maintain order while claiming that the peasants in this town are far better off than those anywhere else… if only the whole world could use these great advances everyone would live in paradise. Nevermind the horrible side effects, it’s all for the greater good. The longsword Compassion was taken into the Ivory tower by a lone hero of the royal family who was slain by RhoDin. The hero’s corpse was flung out a window and the sword is sitting forgotten on a bookshelf being used as a paperweight, because RhoDin doesn’t find it particularly interesting. According to the best divination available, it isn’t even trapped, he literally just put it on a shelf and forgot it exists. People of suemonom are mostly perfect minions, with a few mad scientists. It is rather a lot like the world of fallen Europa from the webcomic Girl Genius. Visitors tend either to find themselves becoming obedient or megalomanic depending on which is closer to their base personality.
Isobelle, The Succubus: Passion. The Succubus originally was the only Monster in her land. She spent all of her time seducing mortals (male, female, and other) to produce offspring. No one knows why, but she rejected every child and turned them loose on the world. Male parents who mated with her went insane and died during her childbirth. Females were all killed by the Monstrous offspring. Even a plant faerie that she fertilized shriveled and died as the seed it produced sprouted. There are rumors that one of her mates lived, but stories constantly change regarding which mate and which child. All of her children are Monsters. Three of her children banded together and captured the weapon to kill her, it is a net named Truth. They attacked her with it and thought they had killed her. They then signed a treaty with the royals that allowed a royal to rule Passion so long as their lands remain their own. Other children attacked the royal land and it broke up into smaller fiefdoms. Now Passion is a collection of many counties and city states with several competing claims to be the king. Only two of the original three children still have their lands, Dale a 12-foot-tall giantess amazonian warrior and The Serpent, who constantly sheds her personality and nature every few years becoming exactly what is most needed for the next few future years still live. The third was a scarecrow-like Monster named Sticks who was killed by a sibling. In that time the number of children had dropped to only about a dozen. The Serpent recently changed from a priestess to a warlord and awoke from her shedding with the knowledge that the Succubus was back. The presence of new children seems to bear witness to her claim. Passion is not just a land of lust, but uncontrolled emotions of all negative sorts. Lust not love; fear not courage; anger, wrath, vengeance not justice, humiliation not humility, etc. Every city is imbalanced sexually with at minimum a 10-to-1 ratio between the sexes. Some cities have more men, some more women, some mostly hermaphrodites, etc. The kingdom as a whole is balanced, but everywhere individually is imbalanced to the extreme. This land is home to many master artists of all kinds, and their work is exported all across the world. Visitors to Passion start to lose control of their emotions over time. The Serpent believes that it is time to reclassify Passion as a Battleground. She and Dale are trying to gather the rest of their siblings and the local royals into a coalition to hunt down and kill their mother.
Blood Lord: Thitstir (Thirst), vampire. He was a glutton who drank and drank but never could be sated. His lands are a constant battleground of warring petty lords who crave power and wealth but can never get enough. Royals and hunters control 1/5 of the land and his three most powerful servants control the rest but battle each other and neighboring kingdoms, making this land a part of no faction. The longsword Decapitare was used successfully to decapitate and kill the Blood Lord, however it was too soon. Angels and good aligned great spiders had been carefully orchestrating events to guide Blood Lord’s personal champion, a vampire paladin, into redemption. As happened in many kingdoms, a hero of the royal family decided that he would challenge the Blood Lord to mortal combat, and he lost even though he was wielding Decapitare. The Blood Lord handed the sword to his champion and went to turn the royal into a vampire slave. In that moment, she saw his evil and the royal’s honor and courage and she struck off the Blood Lord’s head. Three wizards used wishes to ensure he never returns to life, the words of their wishes are preserved in a cursed book hunted by vampires hoping to find a loophole. The champion had her name taken from her in a curse uttered by the remaining vampires, she is now only known as The Betrayer, though scholars can prove her name used to be Alexia, no one can remember this for very long. With the Blood Lord’s death it became impossible for anyone to make new vampires and the number has decreased through attrition. Now there are but 9: Pangillion the vampire dragon who rules the coastline, Bleddyn the werewolf who rules the center, and Bloodhoof the unicorn who rules the north; each of these have two seneschals that are human or elven. Technically the tenth is the Betrayer, but none of the vampires count her among their number. She and Decapitare were last seen as part of an expedition into an ancient crypt to recover some of the pages of the cursed tome with the words of the wish, but the expedition was broken up and forced to withdraw, leaving her and a royal paladin named Yohnny Mott alone inside. People of Thitstir are greedy, always looking for more, they also have an alcohol problem. They often have a single thing they obsess about and fixate on needed more of. Visitors develop this single fixation over time. Recently Thitstir has been invaded on all sides, the swamp of Webithcorr is encroaching in the north, Ocean on the West, Imbilot in the south, and Jerli in the east. A royal named Mathonwy has formed a small province in the bandit ruled east and amazingly gotten a peace accord with Bleddyn so long as he fights the undead of JerLi and does not seek to overthrow the vampires. Nobles in the land are mostly descended from vampires and marked by red hair and some vampiric abilities.
Oceanus (the lesser): Ocean. Oceanus is called the lesser because during the Dawn War there was an original primordial named Oceanus who was the source of all water in creation. Oceanus likes to pretend that he is that primordial, and forces all his servants and people to claim that he is. Many of the people of his kingdom believe that he is, and it is even possible that he convinced himself that he is. Because Ocean is the kingdom of ignorance and secrets and the unknown. Nine generations ago Oceanus was banished to the moon, where he remains trapped in a bubble of sea water inside one of the major craters. It is now known that major immortal assistance was the only thing that made this possible, but at the time the combined efforts of a number of wizards were thought to be what did it. The weapon to kill him is a trident named Soulcutter that it is rumored cannot be wielded in battle. Soulcutter is based loosely on the sword of the same name in Fred Saberhagen’s books of swords, and to wield it unleashes waves of depression and hopelessness, anyone in range just sits down and wastes away, eventually starving to death. It is currently held by a Kraken in the center of an undersea maze that no one can get through fast enough to reach the center before being overcome. Using divination makes the diviner vulnerable to its effects. Ocean is the most unusual kingdom in terms of its people, in that it has all kinds of aquatic races as well as land races on islands. The major hunter tribes in Ocean live on the false islands that grow on the backs of multi-mile giant turtles and other enormous sea beasts. The people of ocean are superstitious and likely to have bizarre beliefs and cults that worship false immortals. They are also often racist and bigoted. Visitors start to see patterns that suggest the local superstitions are true. The territory is a mess of small territories all at war with each other. Hunters, Monsters, Royals, and even Primal Spirits all ruling chunks of the sea, and no one getting along or able to bring peace. The royals hold most power on the border with Kentarre and Lyric, while the Monsters are strongest near Gallia, Imbilot and Faseloo.
Thanks: Faseloo (Falsehood). Thanks is a shapeshifter able to become anything even objects. It is said that even Thanks no longer knows what its original form was. Another story says that Thanks once looked into an enchanted mirror that would always show one’s inner self and it saw the whole of creation all at once. Faseloo is a land not just of lies, but of every possible form of deception including spin, half-truths, euphemisms, double-speak, secret codes, and self delusion. The whole kingdom is a mirage, and most of the people are narcissistic and prideful. This is not just a place of lies it is a place of uncertain reality. A merchant will claim to be selling artifacts that were carved by the hand of Thanks itself, and if she is accused of ripping off her customers she will shamelessly explain that they are idiots and someone was going to take their money; she has children who need food should she make her children starve just so some other family can eat? No. Therefore it would have been morally wrong to make her children starve by telling the truth. The lie was the only ethical thing to do. Everyone knows no one else can be trusted, so they each believe they are the only morally just person in the world. The kingdom is full of dopplegangers, changelings, and shapeshifters of all kinds. Additionally, mental illness in the form of delusions, hallucinations, multiple personality disorder (dissociative identity disorder), and outright possession are more common than anywhere else. Even the terrain is full of widdershins, optical illusions, lingering magical effects, and bent reality. The weapon to kill Thanks is a saber named Silence, that is said to make all thoughts and movement around itself stop thus revealing the reality beneath perception. There are at least four dozen weapons that are claimed to be the authentic Silence. When the royals marched into Faseloo with an army, Thanks surrendered to them formally and let them cut off its head with Silence. The royals set about installing lords and nobles throughout the land and hunting down the other lesser Monsters only to get more and more reports of Thanks all over. Thanks has been killed countless times, but never for real. And no one knows who truly rules in any city. Faseloo, as ever, is a mystery even to itself. Visitors start to hallucinate, more and more over time until they, like the natives, can no longer tell truth from fiction.