Blood and Thunder
Lhoban is a land of high mountains and deep valleys. Crossing it isn’t easy, because very few passes are open, especially in winter, and only the local guides know them. Basically, Lhoban is a land of mountain men who live in small villages and lead a simple, hard life, tending yaks and goats. In truth, there is much more to Lhoban.
First, in the low valleys the climate is milder and terraced farming is extensively practiced. Second, Lhobanmen love trading and their two main border cities, Heaven’s Door and Lhobanport, are bustling with activity. Lhobanmen produce excellent wool and their weaving techniques are the best in all the Dominions. Third, Lhoban is a land of high spirituality. Although each village is ruled by a council of elders, the monks are the true ruling class, as well as the cohesive force of this wide country. Lhoban monks are basically philosophers who follow a doctrine of self-improvement and enlightenment. They live in secluded monasteries, but often visit the villages, protecting the commoners from dangers and bringing the word of their master, the Enlightened One, the true ruler of the country.
Indeed, Lhoban has its fair share of strange creatures (among which the elusive Lhoban Dragons) and dark creatures that only the spiritual powers of the monks can stop. In addition, many valleys are isolated or still unexplored, so nobody truly knows what lurks within them.
Seekers of the Black Light
Several centuries ago, a new philosophy spread among the monks: true enlightenment cannot be achieved through spiritual purity, but only through its opposite, perpetual evil. According to this belief, only in deepest chaos can the true adept find his real self. This new sect of monks became the mortal enemy of the traditional one, following the path of darkness and trying to unleash the forces of evil onto the world. Naturally the good monks rose against this abomination and a terrible war was fought. In the end, the Order of Light, as the monks following the true philosophy are called, triumphed, and the Seekers of the Black Light were defeated. But evil is resilient and, like bad weeds, the evil monks survived and regained strength. They are now a secret order, living in hidden monasteries,
walking among the common people or, even worse, hiding among the good monks to spread chaos, corruption, and disorder. Rumor has it that their evil schemes are extremely far reaching and even involve faraway states.
Umberto Pignatelli. (2011). Beasts & Barbarians, pp. 24-25. Studio 2 Publishing.ISBN 978-8393179657