Welcome to No Books of Men! We are a modern alternate history board set in a magical school nestled in the Columbiana Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Students of the Collegium Illustrata Columbiana (commonly called simply The Academy) are free to explore their wildest imaginations in learning the mystic arts, so long as it does not jeopardize the ongoing Shadow War with the Exarchs. How will you live up to the legacies of Merlin?
darkkenchild is the Head Admin here at No Books. He enjoys long walks on the beach and debating the metaphysical underpinnings of reality, so any questions about your character , the plot of No Books, and/or how magic works on the site, please do not hesitate to ask him.
Squeeji is the head of “Human Resources” here at No Books, and responsible for pretty much everything related to our contact with the outside world. Advertising, orientation, and just about anything to do with bringing in new blood is in her wheelhouse.
Note: This is a basic idea of the key events which pertain to the characters of Columbiana. This incudes information that occured across the globe, but are events most members of a given group would be aware. If you wish for more detailed information (from a Mage perspective at least), Click Here.
Key Black Text - Mortal Events (Everyone has access to this information)
Dark Blue Text - Mage Events (Known to Mages)
Light Green Text - Wyrdling Events (Known to Wyrdlings)
23 BC - Cult of Thoth Founded
437 CE - Cult of Thoth Renamed the High Council
971 CE - Titus retreats to Atlantean Archipelago, Declares himself independent of the Council, forms the Exalted Order with himself as Emperor.
1338 CE - Black Death's first victim is recorded, would spread quickly and by 1353 claim over 100 million lives.
- Exalted Order accused of creating the ensuing plague, Schism Wars Begin
1639 CE - First Recorded Scourge Incident
1853 - The American Accord was created to find fair and peaceful resolutions to inter-species conflicts, as well as promoting the general peaceful and mutually beneficial community for all supernatural entities in North America.
1994 - Lawn Art Irregulars form their first Art combine, welcoming Mortals and other "friendly and artistically" minded supernaturals to "live free of the disguise" and live openly among Aware Mortals.
2006 - After decades of relative peace between the Exalted Order and the High Council, the Order attacks the Colony of Ys and destroyed both it and its Enlightened College. Survivors scatter to other Council colonies across the globe.
2008 - “The Columbiana Incident,” a series of bizarre events occur over the span of months (stormclouds raining blood, radio and television waves disrupted by messages from other universes, temporally displaced individuals arriving from past and future, etc). At the center of this “storm of wyrdness,” the Columbiana Valley was walled off from the outside world starting in May of the year and remaining until the early part of the following year.
– The High Council in N. America is in disarray once the barrier rises, as most of its leadership was within the Valley when the barrier appeared. As no word could reach anyone lost and no message came from within (and no one could enter or leave), this left a power vacuum which the Council was only partially able to fill. As a result, the Exalted Order’s influence rose considerably within mortal society across the continent.
2009 – “The Columbiana Incident,” ends in March of the year.
– When the barrier falls, no one remembers anything of what transpired within. Thus, the leadership of the High Council in North America essentially “woke up” almost a year later to find its position tremendously weakened and the Exalted Order’s agents far more numerous and emboldened and with no memory of what had led to their own absence.
– When the barrier falls, most Wyrdlings merely shrugged and went on with life. After all, lost memories and temporal displacement are all too common to these individuals. Unfortunately, their nonchalance led to little notice being taken when a few months later (the earliest considered abduction taking place in November of this year) Wyrdlings begin to disappear from all across the North American continent, especially in the areas surrounding the Columbiana Valley.
- In the wake of the Incident, a few scattered groups (later labeled “cults”) arise in and around the Valley. Some claim to worship an entity known as Baalaphron and give this creature credit for the Incident; the more extreme of these groups wish to restore the barrier or expand it to encompass the world. Still others claim to have contacted “gods” which seek to prevent the Incident ever happening again, and they aid these entities in using the Incident to bring in a “new age.” Still others have stranger or less obvious goals. Regardless, these groups become larger and more common in the years to come.
2016 – The Seasonal Court, led by the Duke of Winter (the current Seasonal Lord as discussions began in December), begins an open investigation of the increasing numbers of disappearances of Wyrdlings in the area surrounding the Columbiana Valley. The investigation uncovers that such “vanishing” has become extremely common throughout the United States and Canada (Mexico’s reports were inconclusive due to open warfare between Wyrdling groups there) in the preceding few years, but had gone unnoticed due to the splintered and independent nature of Wyrdling society.
2017 - Bizarre, seemingly ritual, murders become more frequent. Beginning with animals being found mutilated and flayed (seemingly while still alive), the killers rapidly escalate to human victims. No one is charged, due to lack of evidence, but many in the Valley are convinced that one or more of the increasingly common Cults should be blamed and this should act as impetus to eradicate said groups.
– Strange stones have been appearing in places of power throughout the Valley (and beyond). Their purpose and powers are unknown, but those who have investigated have found temporal and dimensional distortions to be quite common in their vicinities. One such obelisk appeared during orientation this year and many of the incoming students were forcibly transported to a hellish, urban landscape where they were stalked by shadowy creatures until a group of professors and helpful volunteers were able to return the victims to our world. Other stones would later be connected to other incidents, such as the transportation of the World’s End Tavern to some dark dimension or the sudden appearance of “refugees” from other times and places (both of this world and “elsewhere”). The increasing level of activity in the Valley (as well as incursions from the Exalted Order) has lead the A.R.E.S. Initiative to increase its presence in the Valley.
– Investigations unveil that the disappearances have been perpetrated by a group calling itself “The Foundation,” a group claiming itself to be scientifically minded and seeking to understand and control the growing supernatural powers in the world. Its membership, location, resources, and influence remain unknown.
2018 - A pair of Briarwolves, a powerful creature from the realms of Arcadia, appeared on the University’s campus. Dozens were injured and one was permanently maimed before a collaboration between both Mages and Wyrdlings were able to drive the beasts off. A later investigation done by the Seasonal Courts revealed that the pair were only a small portion of a pack which all came through together. The fact that as many as half a dozen seem to have entered our world and left together would indicate that the attack may have only been a distraction from other purpose. Unfortunately, this concern was overwhelmed by a new string of disappearances…
- A coalition between Council leadership and the Seasonal Courts convened, resulting in mutual promises of aid in the increasingly uneasy climate (between disappearances, cults, and increasingly political strain within both groups).
- The two celebrated their alliance with a grand party attended by major players of both groups, held at the World’s End Tavern in early September of the year. The Gala event was horribly disrupted by the appearance of a lone figure, claiming membership in S.E.L.F. The individual, a mage, claimed to have unveiled a deep rot at the core of Mage society and that only by destroying the leadership of the Council could the rest of the world see the depth of the corruption present in its leaders. Using his magic, the Mage summoned a horrifyingly powerful creature (which he called an “Angel of Wrath”) which cursed everyone in attendance, regardless of rank or species.
– In the wake of the chaos surrounding the Gala, the Wyrdling community has been divided between those calling for revenge (largely those of the Summer Court) and those who feel that they must look past the “one lone nutjob” and see the value of the help the Mages present regarding the “Foundation” as outweighing this new strife. The debate rages while the disappearances continue…
– In the wake of the chaos surrounding the Gala, the Mage community is in turmoil. The leadership of S.E.L.F. has shifted in the weeks following the incident, with its former leader ousted and disgraced (though followed by his loyal followers). The new leadership has denounced the incident, but also acknowledges that it was perpetrated by one of its own (albeit with the caveat of previous poor leadership taking advantage of its membership). Meanwhile, the local Council is divided in how to handle the perpetrator when he is found. Some wish to punish him to the fullest extent (extremist opinions including soul-lobotomy), while others emphasize that none were permanently harmed in the incident and push for mercy...
- While both Wyrdling and Mage societies real from this latest shock, other groups (most notably, The Gardeners) report that the larger concern is increased agitation and aggression amongst the Cults and caution that the larger concerns should be focused on over petty political squabbles.