The Current Icons
The Icons are the world’s major powers, each leading huge organizations and possessing vast authority. Most of the Thirteenth Age hasn’t seen many major wars, since most Icons are allied in such a way that nation-destroying wars breaking out would be inevitable. And that just might be the case…
The Icons who hold sway over the world are:
The Archmage: One of the world’s most powerful spellcasters, the Archmage heads the Imperial College of Mages and has sworn allegiance to the Imperial family. His magical wards are what has often kept the more dangerous Icons from inflicting damage to the Empire. The title of Archmage is passed from one heard of the College to the next; the current Archmage is a Dark Elf by the name of Zurin Silver.
The Crusader: A Tiefling Paladin sworn to the Gods of Tyranny and War, the Crusader is a one-man army who might be a threat to civilization. Fortunately, his preferred foes are demons, and there are a lot of demons. The Crusader has done his part to make the Empire safe by cleansing the world of the denizens of the Abyss, but the Emperor watches him warily, since he’s never sure how far the Crusader would be willing to go to achieve his goals.
The Diabolist: She appeared out of nowhere one day, a host of demonic servitors at her beck and call. Though the Diabolist claims that her binding of the foul things is a service to the Empire, since the demons only follow her commands and won’t rampage, no one really trusts her. It doesn’t help that most of her magics are based on the theories penned by the previous Diabolist, who is widely considered to be one of the worst tyrants in history.
The Dwarf King: King Adaman Ironblade III is the current dwarf king, and one of the deadliest warriors alive today. He earned his throne by smashing all other contenders to the throne, while at the same time fighting off the orc hordes which constantly threaten Forge, the dwarves’ ancestral home. He rules with a tough but steady hand, and is known for dealing fairly (but not for his kindness).
The Elf Queen: Ruler of the elves since the Eighth Age, a span of time much longer than any elf could live (some believe that she discovered the secret of immortality, but she’s not telling). While she presents a pleasant exterior to the world, the Elf Queen also commands the loyalty of the Drow; anyone who can do that is no one you really want to mess with.
The Dragon Emperor: The current emperor is his majesty Septimus Draco, a man just entering his middle age. He enjoys popular support among the citizenry, especially after he personally led several military campaigns against several different enemies arrayed against the Empire, including orc bands and undead legions. He is most well-known for personally slaying a black dragon which had been threatening several marsh communities; his personal battle armor is made from the scales of that dragon.
The Great Gold Wyrm: The oldest and greatest of the Metallic Dragons, no one has ever seen the actual body of the Gold Wyrm, since he spends all his time in the Abyss, destroying every demon he can get his claws on. He does send visions to others who he feels can help keep the surface world clean of their influence, and as such has inspired many demon-slaying organizations.
The High Druid: The younger sister of the Elf Queen and as long-lived, the High Druid has always felt that civilization is a corrupting influence on the natural world. At first, she turned her wrath on the dragon overlords of her age, but afterwards she began ordering creatures to attack cities as well. Luckily, her sister has managed to keep her more destructive impulses in check, but the High Druid can only hold back for so long. Ironically enough, her favorite animal is the Owlbear, which is about as unnatural a creature as you can find.
The Lich King: Formerly known as the Wizard King in the first age, the Lich King ruled an empire as impressive as today’s Dragon Empire. His kingdom fell when the original Orc Lord rampaged across it with a host of orcish legions and demons at his command, but Wizard King survived by inventing a ritual that would allow him to survive his death. He spends his time now plotting to take back what he sees as rightfully his; unfortunately, what he believes is rightfully his happens to be the entire world.
The Orc Lord: A force of destruction, there have been several Orc Lords throughout the ages. It is a title given to the greatest warchiefs who managed to rally the various orc tribes, though previous Orc Lords have also been known to command the loyalty of all kinds of creatures. The current Orc Lord has only just been named, but his hordes grow by the day. All he needs is an excuse to send them screaming across the land, burning and pillaging everything in sight.
The Priestess: While before, the churches of the various Gods tended to squabble and war with each other, for the first time there is relative peace among them. This is because of the Priestess, a holy woman who has managed to become the High Priest of no fewer than 12 Gods. For once, the followers of the Gods appear to be united, which is a good thing; with all the threats abroad, the last thing the Dragon Empire needs is a divinely-inspired civil war.
The Prince of Shadows: A thief among thieves, the Prince of Shadows is an enigma. No one even knows what his real name once was, almost as if he stole it from the collective memory of everyone. The Prince is a wild card; he’ll aid the Emperor one day, then steal something for the Diabolist the next. No one’s quite sure what his ultimate objective is, or if he even has one beyond looting everything he can. The Prince of Shadows has existed as an Icon since the First Age, but no one’s sure if he’s immortal or if the title is passed on the greatest thief of each age. The Prince certainly isn’t telling anyone.
The Three: The Three were once known as the Five, the oldest and strongest chromatic dragons in the world. The Green is currently ensorcelled by the Elf Queen and hidden away, and the White was killed by the Lich King and reanimated as a Dracolich. The remaining Three, however, are forces to be reckoned with. The Black acts as the group’s spymaster and assassin, the Blue as the master of magic, and the Red as the conquering general. The most surprising aspect is that the Three appear to be working in perfect concert with each other, with none of the infighting you’d expect among 3 ancient dragons. Their plans appear to be stalled, since the Blue is currently under a geas of the Archmage, but if anyone could figure out how to dispel a magic curse, it would be the Blue. So the question is, is she really imprisoned, or is she merely biding her time?