An aquatic kingdom accessible to player characters via a submarine, Lemuria is in the grip of a deadly civil war between the humanoids who follow King Arvad, who controls the three-faced, sixty-foot tall Bronze King and the lizard-like Lemurians, who have given themselves over dark gods called The Bleak Ones.
It sounds awfully complicated, so I'll let the following screens, concept art, fiction, and the Lemuria trailer explain the whole thing. Just keep an eye out for the giant shark-thing in the trailer, and be sure to coo appreciatively.
There are secrets under the Ocean.
You've heard whispers – children's stories of underwater people, mermaids and naiads. Or myths of ancient civilizations, lost in the depths of the ocean floor. And you've ignored those stories. You've laughed them off as idle fancies. But you'd be wrong.
There are people in the sea, but they are nothing so gentle nor so tame as mere mermaids. They are the Lemurians, the last of an ancient race of cold blooded lizard-men. Once, they worshipped the Bleak Ones, vengeful gods who devoured the souls of their followers upon death. The Lemurians turned from their gods in fear, forsaking also the ability to change shape and trapping themselves forever in human forms. Their own pride sank them into the depths of the Indian Ocean.
Once, they ruled half the earth. Once, you would have bowed in fealty to them. Once, you would have cowered in fear when they went to war. And they went to war often. Their dream was not merely world domination, no. Their dream was immortality, and if they had to conquer all the world to unearth the secret of eternal life, then so be it.
Listen very closely and you will hear whispers. You will hear of a civil war in the ocean trenches, of a king deposed and desperately trying to retake his Kingdom. You will hear of the Mandragalore, a weapon so deadly, so vast, that it destroyed an entire continent. You may even hear that the Bleak Ones have returned.
If you are very lucky – or very, very unlucky – you may be able to convince the captain of the Aegir to take you there aboard his submarine.
Welcome to Lemuria.
The Bleak Ones
They wait in the darkness, as they have for longer than mortal minds can imagine. In that darkness, they plan. They dream of freedom. They dream of fire and blood and broken worlds. They ache for the screams of the dying, for the tears of defeat, for the last broken hope of the fallen.
They are not kind gods, but they are gods. They are the gods who created the Lemurians, from mortal clay and cold fire. They are the gods who gave the Lemurians overweening pride, endless ambition, and terror to goad them. They gave the Lemurians the ability to change shape, skill at magic, and a promise. And what a promise it was!
To the Lemurians they said, You will struggle all your days. You will fight for your glory, your place in the world. And when you die, we will bring you home. We will gather you to us. We will devour your souls in the ever after. You shall be our sustenance.
They howled in rage when the Lemurians turned from them to worship false gods. They exacted revenge and publically tortured the soul of the false prophet upon his death. They laughed to see their Lemurian children lose the ability to change shape. They delighted to watch Lemuria sink into the sea amidst fire and chaos. They have waited, and hungered for thousands of years, as the Lemurians strove for immortality.
They are done waiting. They are calling their children back and offering, in trade, the power of a reptilian form that can live freely under water. They are watching in delight as Lemuria collapses in civil war.
Their promise remains the same because they will never change. They are the Bleak Ones, and they are hungry.
The Bronze King
Once, he was King. He ruled over Lemuria with more wisdom than any one man could ever boast. He was wise, just, and in possession of the vast arcane secrets of his underwater kingdom. That was before he went mad.
But the seeds of his madness were sown long ago. For the Bronze King was no mortal king, was no single consciousness. He was the result of sorcery, science, and human sacrifice. He was never born of mortal woman, but was born, instead, of Civil War.
Tens of thousands of years ago, in Lemuria's last Civil War, a sorcerous cabal captured and dethroned the last of the Priest-Kings. After centuries of strife, they had learned that the gods of the Priest-King were completely false. In anger, they gathered all the false priests and sacrificed each one by slowly lowering him into a magical construct full of viscous green liquid. That liquid disintegrated flesh and bone, freeing the souls of the sacrificed to be gathered and devoured by the Bleak Ones, but capturing all the memories of the dead priests. Last to be sacrificed was the Priest-King, with all of his knowledge of Lemurian history and magic. And that was the birth of the Bronze King.
Standing sixty feet tall, he wore three faces: the falcon, for matters of magic, the lion, for matters of war, and the man, for matters of ruling his people. For thousands of years, the Bronze King ruled well and justly. He carried all the knowledge of the sacrificed priests, but none of their mortal flaws and foibles. However, as magic in the world began to fade, the spell that allowed him to contain the minds of so many people began to weaken. He still retains all his knowledge, but he is completely mad.
The Bronze King no longer rules Lemuria. Two hundred years ago King Arvad took over Lemuria and used his psychic powers to subjugate the Bronze King. It is only Arvad's power that controls the Bronze King, and at that, not perfectly. For so long as Arvad finds him useful, the Bronze King serves as historian and advisor. Arvad has not yet used him as a weapon, but that day will come.
About the Bronze King
The Bronze King is an immense magical construct, driven mad by the many minds he contains. He feels no emotions and will not listen to anyone other than King Arvad. Thanks to Arvad's psychic powers, the Bronze King will obey him, but without Arvad's guidance, the Bronze King could wreak havoc on the world. He is a weapon in his own right, but what makes him a truly terrifying threat is his knowledge of ancient Lemurian weapons. He may well be the only one left on the face of the earth today able to use the Mandragalore. And, should King Arvad lose control of him, there is no way of predicting whether he will chose to do so.