Lore and Legends of Level Eater XII


The lost city of Portsbridge roams from world to world, looking to escape the clutches of an evil, hungry god and maybe—just maybe—return the city to its home realm.

Wizards of Portsbridge have teleported the city once again, but have not made it home. Instead, the city traveled to a far and ancient kingdom in ruins. This Lost Land seems to be all that remains of a once-mighty empire. What mysteries and dangers yet lurk amid the ruins?

Our adventurers shall discover that!

This year is a more relaxed adventure of exploration and mystery. (We could all use some time to exhale.) Still, this strange kingdom is perilous. Step lightly, heroes…


Level Eater XII!

The city of Portsbridge materialized in a strange, colorful, but mostly empty land. A land that had endured catastrophe. Whose people had mostly fled, or died, or vanished. A land changed.

The Lost Land.

Our adventure from the spring of 2022 is complete, but the saga isn’t done yet!

Lore and Legends Revealed

When revealed, lore takes the form of insights, quotes, passages, and discoveries made based on the tales of adventurers questing in the land. The more quests completed in play, the more we learn about the Lost Land. Share your tales of adventure with us to reveal more!

Lore is also be shown on Instagram: @leveleater


Lore Discovered

1. A World of Small Gods

Two moons travel the sky of this Lost Land. The larger is silver and smoother, bright and tidy. The smaller is coppery, pocked with countless craters. The inscriptions left behind in this nearly empty land say the celestial gods looked through the moons, down at the mortals below. The moons influenced magic, teleportation, and divination. In the mortal, earthly realm, gods were smaller, regional, simpler beings—but still powerful.

Legends say the alignments of the moons with earthly objects could open pathways and let strangers into the world.

2. Wealth, Power, and Catastrophe

The people who once ruled this Lost Land were profoundly wealthy and powerful—their monuments and ruined palaces show that. It didn’t stop the catastrophe that brought their empire low. Where did these people go? What forces brought this kingdom crashing down? From where did they draw power—and to what end?

3. Two Moons

Two moons travel the sky of this Lost Land. The larger is silver and smoother, bright and tidy. The smaller is coppery, pocked with countless craters. The inscriptions left behind in this nearly empty land say the celestial gods looked through the moons, down at the mortals below. The moons influenced magic, teleportation, and divination. In the mortal, earthly realm, gods were smaller, regional, simpler beings—but still powerful.

Legends say the alignments of the moons with earthly objects could open pathways and let strangers into the world.

4. Swords + Banditry

Few folk inhabit the Lost Land today. Many of the few are bandits, looters, and treasure-seekers, plundering these lawless ruins. Explorers, historians, and scholars also roam the Lost Land but they, too, wear swords to fend off rivals and thieves. The mysteries of this ancient realm attract curiosity and villainy alike.

5. Ancient Tongues

Adventurers from Portsbridge, exploring the ruins throughout the land, have discovered the ancient empire of the Lost Land had many languages. At least one of them, still found in graffiti and formal inscriptions alike, closely resembles our Common tongue, suggesting interactions with other worlds across many dimensions and planes of existence. The empire once thrived with myriad languages, but words alone could not hold it together. Something happened that caused the empire’s people to understand each other less—despite common tongues.

6. One and Many

The empire that once made up this land was itself made up of many peoples. Those peoples were made up of individuals. An individual contains multitudes of emotions, ideas, contradictions, and versions of themselves. No one stays the same forever.

Adventurers exploring the Lost Land report encounters with beings that are more than one creature at a time. For example, the cabal of wizards gathered in the Red Forest—the center of a nascent cult—may be more (and yet fewer) than they appear. But what does this arcane cabal want out of the Lost Land?

7. Reading What Was Written

If you meet a stranger on the road—and that stranger is a floating eyeball in a spheroid body of many branching limbs, ending in colorful leaf-like palms—you may have met a “reader,” one of several roaming the Lost Land. They come from a distant place or even another plane of existence, possibly beyond this world’s two moons. They are here to understand not only what happened here … but what is happening, still. Like you, they are part of this world now. By reading what the precursors wrote, they participate in the meaning of their words. As do you.

(If you meet a reader called Zeer, tell him a story that he might retell to others.)

8. All Shall Be Changed

We are, none of us, here forever. The empire that once filled this land held its survival above all other concerns—above truth, above the land itself. But is any empire greater than the fates of its peoples? What was any of it worth if we do not take heed of the warnings we live through?

Time moves on. All shall be changed. Do not look away.

9. Faith, Broken

Some explorers of this realm say its gods abandoned it. Not the small gods of the land, but the great celestial beings of ancient days; those who offered spells to the priests in their grand temples. Some gods perished. Thousands of mortals did.

Reads one obelisk: “Lo did we offer our sacrifices and services, and lo did we pray and praise, and still did we find our spells in our hearts. Yet still too did the world’s storms grow, still too did past miracles unravel, still too did the gods say nothing or recite only the old words.”

How did it start? Who lost faith in whom? Sayeth the same inscriptions: “Our priests have become purveyors of blame, but cursing the mountain for its river hasn’t stopped the floods.”

10. The Cabal of Misrune

Deep in the Red Forest, in the ruins of a fallen castle, stands a pristine tower of conjured, red stone. It is the seat of power for a cabal of mystics—founders of a mysterious cult bent on resurrecting the magic of old kings and vanished gods. But escapees from the cult tell us the cabal has only one face. His name is Misrune. A cabal of one. Whether divided or duplicated, he now has many forms. And he believes himself worthy of the great power that wrecked these lands once already…

11. Elephantine

Giants travel the Lost Land. Elephants. Aurochs and oxen. Hippos. Look at the murals, the statues, the obelisks, and the temples. You see these creatures there, too, with vultures, snakes, and bears. An empire died here; took so many beings with it. But the land reclaims itself. Elephants roam beneath colossal statues of elephant-headed gods. Oxen wander between broken hulls, where a lake died. Hippos swim through sunken temples. A world is neither made nor unmade, only arranged.

12. The Steel King Laments

He wasn’t the last king alive in the land, but close. His neighbors worried over prayers unanswered. Coffers and lakes were going dry. His fellow kings worried at a growing terror in the eyes of their Emperor, too. The Steel King—fifth of his name—laughed at their fears.

The land was turning hot, the soil going dry, the air boiling with storms. The Steel King’s fortunes were built on ore and coals, smelting and smithing. His villeins made swords for wars and his vassals made ploughs for farms. The wheat fields dried up before the battlefields. The world grew taut and thin around him, and he cried out to Emperor and kin. “Without a need of steel,” he cried, “we will shed our fortunes. Without our fortunes, we will starve!”

The Steel King did not know—said he did not know—that his people were starving already. He did not hear that they were fighting each other, already, because there seemed not enough fortunes to go around.

If the Emperor sent a reply, it did not arrive. The roads were unsafe and the throne increasingly went empty.

And when the Steel King went to flee his own castle and his lands, he found the roads sun-baked and broken and choked with weeds, fallen all apart and useless. When brigands waylaid him in the wilds, the Steel King cried out again and at last, lamenting: “I did not know the state of these lands! I did not know the pains of the people! I did not know!”

The brigands laughed at him. They stripped him naked and set him loose into the woods, saying: “Why, if you call this land yours and these people yours, and you a king—why would you be the last to know?”

13. 100 Tongues

The empire that claimed the Lost Land in old times contained a dozen kingdoms and a hundred counties, cultures, and peoples. Some folk were united by their leaders, some were neighbors, some resided inside the borders but lived as outsiders their whole lives. Perhaps it is this way everywhere.

Professor Aura—a scholar, linguist, and historian from Portsbridge—traveled by mule to study the ruins of a sunny temple site in the eastern reaches of the Lost Land. She found it deep under layers of graffiti, inscriptions, etchings, and flaked paint. There she met a sojourner made of a single eye and a dozen limbs, who floated through the air and spoke with a crisp, theatrical voice. (Somehow.)

Together, they discovered a common interest in understanding the ruins and the languages written upon them. Together, using magic spells, they deciphered many messages into modern Common language. Together, they opened up a sanctum once used by priests of the temple grounds—but used to do what? This was when adventurers from Portsbridge arrived and solved the riddle of the temple sanctum. The temple’s magic poured out into the ruins, giving Professor Aura and her alien friend, the adventurers and later visitors a magical ability to read the centuries of different messages on the ruins columns and walls.

The ancient folk of the empire held onto their own languages and celebrated the messages they left behind for fellow travelers. Pilgrims to the temple, it seemed, came not only to understand each other but to BE understood. To communicate not only across space but time. Their words outlast them and the empire that overshadowed them.

Professor Aura remains at the temple site, transcribing ancient messages.

14. Broken Hulls, Dead Lake

Portsbridge stands, now, in a green prairie of long grass and tall weeds. South of it sprawls a low field of wild reeds and sandy soil. The hulls of old ships lay there, baking in sunshine.

Long ago, that low field was a lake or an inlet of the southern sea. Many of the remains rotting there now were wrecks long before the land grew warmer and the lake dried up. More ships became stranded as the lake grew thin, acidic, and barren.

Inscriptions on nearby monuments—some of them commemorating the lake itself—say that as the lake faded away, the people sought a magical solution to what ailed the world. As they searched, the lake died.

A three-sided obelisk stands on the field of wrecks, etched with old words. On one side, the obelisk condemns the gods for turning away from the land. On the next side, the obelisk proclaims assurances from local kings that fish shall return to the waters “and then to our bellies.” The final face of the obelisk blames wizards and priests of the land for failing to find a magic spell to fix the problem. It seems the kings exiled many wizards and priests in punishment.

15. Tending

A land reclaims all it can.

To thrive on a land, we must tend to it.

To thrive as a people, we must tend each other, too.

16. The Empire at War

The empire imagined it was always at war. The Emperor’s armies stood ready against every neighbor, though many of those neighbors could hardly muster a harvest, much less an army. The Emperor’s knights rode to distant lands on the same ships that carried merchants and trade goods. The merchants sought oddities and foreign flavors to bring home to courts and kings. The knights declared the Emperor’s might and bravery. “The Emperor fears nothing” was a common refrain, even stitched into banners and etched into armor.

The empire believed it needed war. “A realm needs heroes and battle makes heroes,” says one obelisk still standing in the northwest necropolis. Graffiti in the east often quotes a holy text that says “War is as constant as the tide.” The last Emperor is quoted on a knight’s tomb as saying “Vigilance loves battles as the sword loves a whetstone” and “People should be loyal to their kings, not to peace.”

In a hidden chamber in a priest’s tomb, an etched frieze quotes one of the gods as she mocked the Emperor. “The Emperor fears nothing? Why lead such an army? Why dread peace? I say the Emperor fears: Nothing.” By imperial decree, the name of that goddess was stricken from the temples, cut out of the scrolls, forbidden to be said aloud.

The empire was always at war.

17. Those Who Remained

Some say the empire died slowly, like the Emperor on his bed. The celestial and infernal deities departed the land, afraid the dying land would render them weak, drag them down, or see them perish with their followers. Those gods fled across the multiverse, in search of new peoples. New worshippers. Some gods brought followers with them to begin again … somewhere else.

Plagues, famine, and exodus thinned the populace of the empire. Many fled the remains of empire, traveling across deserts and oceans in search of hope.

Those who remained dwindled in power. They told few tales of the prior days. They did not want to keep the empire alive in song. They did not want to relive the past. Much that they learned from ruination was lost.

People were so few across the land in those days that many of the small gods—the gods of riverbanks and mountaintops—lost sight of them.

The empire scarred the land and its people. Some strove to heal. Others strove simply to forget. These are different things.

18. A Rotten Heart

It became popular, in the century after the disintegration of the empire, for people to claim lands and titles for themselves. Few could contest such things. Warlords and grave-robbers claimed lands and treasures in the name of dead ancestors. For a time, it seemed everyone was descended from some diluted regal line.

Artie Numis, a young white human man—a wandering trader—was taught by his father that he was a prince. That whatever he might find in the land was his by right. His to take—or sell. As a child, his father stoked Artie’s pride. As a man, Artie stoked his own greed. He lied, stole, and slew to keep his petty comfort. To keep his pride aloft.

Think of the bandits he praised. Think of the farmers he swindled. Think of the traveling monk he left bleeding on the river’s edge and the lost ranger he robbed of his food. Artie stabbed a rival in the back, left him for the buzzards on the road.

All these deeds were justified, Artie felt, by his royal decree. His palace: a wagon and an ox, teeming with loot. His kingdom: the road. All were beneath him, in his eyes, and so nothing he did was a crime, in his mind.

Evil comes in every size. Artie’s heart is a small and rotten thing.

19. Many Fates of Misrune

The cabal began as five wizards, each seeking to raise up the secrets of the ancient Emperors of the land. The secrets that lent those rulers awesome but corrosive power; the power that led those rules astray.

These wizards believed they had (like so many had before) the right to profound power over the land and its people. Some claimed to descend from distant greatness (as though blood alone could make one great). Some believed they had earned authority through their genius (as though earnings alone could make one wise).

As they chased power, it changed them. The magic of the dead Emperors blurred the wizards into a single gestalt blending their ambitions with the will of the last Emperor. The Emperor was dead, is dead, but his gall and motives haunt like ghosts.

Thus did the cabal became a single face, a single will diffused across a handful of bodies. Each was Misrune. All were Misrune. Proudly combining the divine right of a king and the mystic might of a wizard, Misrune does not regard the five members of the cabal as separate beings. Each is like an appendage to the will of the whole.

Each Misrune holds tight to the tales told of wizards exiled by the last Emperor for not saving the world. Misrune seeks revenge and power, whether they are his to claim or not. Misrune would sit on a throne above the land. He doesn’t care that he has more in common, now, with the banisher than he does the banished.

The wizards of old could not do the impossible, so they were banished. In revenge, Misrune would do the unthinkable, and claim the realm for his cabal.

20. Empty Masks

One of the land’s last kings used his tomb to tell the truth. The truth the Emperor forbade him to speak aloud. As uncovered by adventurers from Portsbridge, the tomb’s final chamber held both the monarch’s final missive and his cremains.

As his empire dwindled, the Emperor made secrets of common knowledge. As waters rose here and dried there, the Emperor banned talk of it. As priests felt their gods departing, the Emperor forbade talk of them, too.

When one of the land’s last kings passed away, he took these secrets to his grave—and bid others to dig them up.

His tomb went untouched until after Portsbridge arrived in the Lost Land. Adventurers who reached his treasure vault found its walls covered in a portrayal of the empire’s pantheon. Fine masks, each depicting a different deity, were displayed upon two huge discs representing the world’s two moons. Some masks were mended with gold. Some were placed over fired-clay depictions of the gods’ faces. Some masks, however, were hung on smooth and faceless molds. Those gods were gone from the world. After they had gone, some folk claimed the gods had never existed. Other continued to collect tithes in their honor.

The king, his Emperor, and their gods all left this land. And already, the small gods and the peoples and the land itself begin to forget them. Palaces turn back into slabs. Slabs turn back to sand.

21. The Devouring Storm

Down, down a long corridor of volcanic glass, deep, deep into unlit rock, far, far beneath a jutting mountain capped with a colossal skull, they buried the bodies of three evil gods. Fearsome visions guarded the path. Acid dripped from the ceiling. A door of lead and jade sealed the bloody crypt. Inside stood three colossal sarcophagi, pried open, and arranged around a great seal in the floor—depicting the night sky with diamonds for stars. The seal did not show the gods buried within.

The ancient hope had been that these gods could be bested, laid to eternal rest in mortal bodies, and denied their power. Then life could go on without them. People could look away, pretend these evils no longer existed—dead and buried.

It didn’t work.

The first of the wicked gods was The Maker of Fear, who presided over fear as a warrior presides over the sword. The Maker of Fear brewed and sold cold horrors and taught its minions they could rule a world drowned in dread. Its sarcophagus was stained with blood and bits and bone.

The second deity was The Wrathful, a personification of rage and revenge. It saw vengeance as virtue and taught its followers thus: Wrath alone persists as an endless cycle—a perfect machine. Its sad and spiteful teachings told bloodthirsty followers that grace came only through vengeance. Its resting place, too, was gross with gore.

The third deity was The Devouring Storm, which the people believed to be an endless, gluttonous hurricane forever roaming and ruining all it saw. This deity taught its followers to destroy what they could not eat, to hoard what they could not spend, that satisfaction was surrender. Its sarcophagus, alone, was empty but for the marks the god made escaping its tomb.

So did the Devouring Storm consume its siblings, with whom it was meant to fester and stay dead. So did the Devouring Storm escape the world, like so many other deities who presided over the Lost Land once.

So was the Devourer born in this land.

And thus does it roam the cosmos, spreading fear and wrath and destroying all that would defy it…

The Heroes

Players have six ready-made characters from which to choose, each favoring a different ability score and made available in PDF.

Danicar the Fighter

Danicar the Fighter

5th Level, Dragonborn

Danicar the brave dragonborn fighter has helped save Portsbridge in the past and remains vigilant against new threats in the world at large.

Mercutio the Rogue

Mercutio the Rogue

5th Level, Wood Elf

Mercutio’s sly and witty demeanor isn’t a front: without a sense of humor, the centuries would be unbearable. There’s a lust for life (and strong ale) here.

Sol the Fighter

Sol the Fighter

5th Level, Human

Courage helped Sol survive many dangers in Portsbridge. Now, with steel armor and a strong blade, they stoke courage in others by showing courage in action.

All character portraits by Ivan Lee.

Memna the Wizard

Memna the Wizard

5th Level, High Elf

For decades, Memna has been a teacher and tutor of the arcane. The mysteries of this Lost Land are too enticing to miss. Go see them first-hand, Memna!

Crane the Cleric

Crane the Cleric

5th Level, Human

A veteran of Portsbridge and its battles, Crane is a personal ally of the Duchess of Portsbridge, dispatched to defend the people as they explore the land.

Wendsor the Bard

Wendsor the Bard

5th Level, Halfling

Author, raconteur, and scholar, Wendsor is here to chronicle the heroics of the party while bolstering allies, to ensure an adventure worthy of a great book.

Bonus Heroes

Additional characters we may yet encounter! These heroes hail from regions bordering the Lost Land, not from Portsbridge, but may become great allies. 

Anktar the Ranger

Anktar the Ranger

5th Level, Human

Anktar came to the Lost Land in search of adventure, hoping to discover lore and legends of the universe beyond the borderlands where he spent his youth.

Lophi the Druid

Lophi the Druid

5th Level, Woodsoul

Descended from woodsy and sylvan folk, Lophi was drawn to Portsbridge by a dream. To Lophi, the people of Portsbridge are the great mystery.

Goa the Monk

Goa the Monk

5th Level, Human

Raised as a foundling by explorers in the Lost Land, Goa’s past is a mystery. For Goa, mysteries exist to show us the way forward. Tomorrow’s always mysterious.

Landscape view of the Lost Land