Thursday, August 28, 2014

Witches of Ix

Art by Ian Miller
It is likely you will never have cause to visit the land of Ix, and in this, you should consider yourself lucky. The only exception might be those who have the misfortune to live in blighted, ghoul-haunted Noxia. To you Noxians an oft cold and mostly gloomy land of forests, bogs, and mountains, infested with goblins and ruled by witches, may not seem so dire. Remember though that you must cross the toxic badlands of the Waste to get there.

Ix has only one town worthy of note, and it cowers in the shadow of Hexenghast, an impossibly large and sprawling castle built beyond the memory of Ixians. Hexenghast is large enough to accommodate the four Great Houses of Ixian Witches and their various servants, mercenaries, guests, and prisoners. In fact, it is so large it houses these individuals and still has a great many halls and rooms that are unoccupied and perhaps unexplored for centuries.

Art by Yoshitaka Amano
A grand coven of the leaders of the Great Houses rules Hexenghast (no mean feat, given all the infighting and intrigue). The management of the rest land is done by lower level witches with mundane human and goblin subordinates. Mostly they are concerned with the collection of Hexenghast's due in taxes and farm goods, but they also suppress any unauthorized practice of magic and promulgate state propaganda.

There is an order of witches known as the Witchfinders. These cloaked figures appear within a day of the birth of any child in Ix. Every newborn is examined, and if the child bear some witches' mark, it's whisked off to Hexenghast and given over to one house or another to raise. When the children come of age, they cross the flickering Ghostlight Bridge that spans the chasm between Hexenghast proper and the sub-castle of the Scholomance. There, they are tutored in the dark arts until they are ready to assume their adult role in Witch society.

It has been the custom for new graduates of the Scholomance to spend some time abroad before settling into Hexenghast, engaging in the sort of infamies that youths who are schooled in the Dark Arts and confident in their own superiority are wont to engage in. This was the context in which Angvaine and Nocturose crossed into Noxia all those years ago.

Art by Yoshitaka Amano


Desdichado said...

Hexenghast--what a great name!

iemattias said...

A Peake-ian RPG fantasy setting...sounds like fun!

Great selection of artwork. I've always been a particular fan of Miller's Gormenghast work.

Jack Guignol said...

Now you're speaking my language!

Trey said...

Thanks guys!

@Jack - I figured you'd dig it the most.

Dale said...

Love it! Haxenghast set the tone perfectly

Timmy Crabcakes said...

Well, this set my brain on fire.
Thank you!

Simon J. Hogwood said...

An above-ground megadungeon . . . neat! And I, too, think it's a great name.

Trey said...

Thanks, guys!

@Simon - I didn't mention it in the post for brevity's sake, I didn't mention the layer's of catacombs beneath Hexenghast, either.