Trumps of Winter
Lokva is an old land. For much of its early history, it was a land of feuding clans holding small fiefs or wandering the steppes.
The Rusdrakkr were the first to unite the nation. They were a clan of brigands and raiders that gradually turned to heroes as well. Rusdrakkr influence is still seen in scarred old forts, military ruins, and cairns holding the bones of great champions. Their dynasty came to an end long ago, when the Kinslayer Tsaritsa began eliminating her rivals for the throne, causing a war that ruined and scattered the Rusdrakkr.
The Luskrin dynasty reunited Lokva when the Rusdrakkr disintegrated. They were a clever family of builders, and actively sought ties with the wizards of the land. The Luskrins built infrastructure — enduring roads, carefully planned city centers, strategic watchtowers, sturdy bridges, wide dams and beautiful lakes. Their dynasty collapsed when the last Luskrin tsar attempted to ensure his immortality by outspending his predecessors and bankrupted the throne. He was deposed and forced to abdicate both the throne and his family’s claim.
The Tyurinov dynasty was the last to hold the Grand Tsardom. They were a very wealthy clan even then, and managed to restore the empire’s wealth while ensuring the continued profits of their own family. Like many rich families, the Tyurinovs were patrons of the arts. They remodeled palaces and temples to be more grandly decorated, and founded museums and galleries across Lokva. Their dynasty lost their hold on the throne when Grand Tsar Buresk the Mad, in order to stave off a rebellion, made the Disastrous Draw. Tsar Barakir Torevich Tyurinov hopes to reclaim the capital and restore the Tyurinov reign, but there are rivals to the Grand Tsardom, and Lokva is in chaos again.
The Disastrous Draw
Three years ago, Grand Tsar Buresk the Dragonslayer was losing his hold on the throne. He had become increasingly erratic and tyrannical in the last years, and several tsars rebelled. When they marched on the capital of Valgrad, Buresk remembered the powerful deck of cards he had wrested from the dragon’s trove. It was a grand artifact, painted by a mad artist and reputedly infused with the power of both Heaven and Hell. Deciding that he had to have the greatest blessings of the deck at any cost, the Mad Tsar decided to turn over every card at once.
The release of power splintered apart the capital. The Valgrad palace was lit with the fires of a thousand spells at once. People in the streets, whether civilian or soldier, defender or invader, were turned to stone or glass, burned to ash, or transformed into beasts. Buresk vanished, and the survivors abandoned the capital. The cards themselves shot into the night sky like rising stars.
But they fell to earth again. Some dropped to earth like meteors, somehow searching for a will that could wield their power. Others appeared in the summoning circles of mighty adepts. Some simply appeared in the pockets of potential holders.
Yet the power of these cards could not be used by just anyone. Some would channel such destructive power that they would shatter their holders’ bodies. Some presented such compulsions that only the strongest mind could retain free will while holding them. Over time, each card found its way to someone that had the ability to use its power, and the strength to not be destroyed by it.
These twenty-two holders, from humble peasant girl to terrible dragon, are the Trumps. They possess powers unlike any other in the land. Those heroes who set foot into their rivalries, who choose to aid some Trumps and oppose others, will shape the fate of Lokva.