View Full Version : Laying down the foundations for a new world

The LOBster
2013-01-14, 04:07 PM
Okay, so I've been coming up with a setting that's intended to be used in 3.5 It's inspired mostly by Eberron and the Elder Scrolls, and has races from all over D&D, many of them modified. I even have the core character classes laid out for it - Problem is, I don't have a name for the setting.

Anyway, the basic gist of the setting is that the world is in an effective state of cold war - the Holy Empire of Zarus (Yep, the same Zarus from Races of Destiny) has recently lost a large chunk of its territory due to a successful insurrection which lead to the birth of the Nation of Freemen. The Nation of Freemen are now actively forging alliances other nations such as the Dragonborn Empire, the Dwarven Armada, the Elven Dominion and the Orc Clans and Werefolk tribes, in the longterm goal of toppling the Holy Empire.

As for the races/nations, the Nation of Freemen are human refugees and rebels who've taken back a continent conquered by the Holy Empire of Zarus long ago. They display great diversity in skintone and build, but they all share one thing in common - they were deemed impure by the Holy Empire of Zarus and forced into slavery. They're pretty close to a democracy, with a culture that's an even mix of various real world cultures - different Freemen city-states will often have different beliefs, traditions and cultures.

The Holy Empire, on the other hand, are Lawful Evil and loosely based on Ancient Rome, the Holy Roman Empire, and the usual "Fantasy version of Nazis" trope seen in the Imperium of Man from WH40K. They have a rigorous caste system and are led by a Holy Emperor and a council of high priests.

The Orc Clans are basically Blizzard Orcs. Bigger and stronger than the other races, Orcs have a clan-based government. Every clan has a Clan Mother, the oldest female orc in the clan. Her firstborn son is the clan chieftain, and he's the leader of their warriors. Unlike standard D&D orcs, they receive a standard "plus two to two ability scores, minus two to one other" - namely, plus two to Strength and Wisdom and minus two to Charisma - while they aren't hideous, most other races don't consider them to be attractive. Orcs actually have an agricultural society - however, most of the livestock they raise are vicious beasts that also double as mounts if they have to fight.

The Dragonborn Empire is essentially an East Asian-influenced empire that has a strong focus on rigorous, honorable combat. Every Dragonborn is trained to be a warrior from when they hatch, and despite their culture glorifying battle, they refuse to fight unless they're provoked first. Naturally, they still have border skirmishes with the evil Empire of Zarus. They revere and protect the few remaining dragons in this world - the dragons were slaughtered en masse by the Holy Empire of Zarus, and few of these majestic and mighty demi-gods survive.

The Dwarven Armada are basically your standard Dwarves... But they live on the high seas in massive metal, steam-powered ships. These ships actually are also mining vessels, capable of drilling in shallow water for ore and other things. Most of their tech was based on reverse-engineering technology from the long-extinct Gnomes.

The Elven Dominion are based politically on the Athenians - a democracy, they influenced the Nation of Freemen in choosing that path. They love to debate - not argue - with others, and value the arts above all else. They're less proud and haughty than your standard elves, and are in fact the race who suggested the idea of an anti-Zarus alliance to the other nations. Basically, elves in this setting aren't jerks just because I'm tired of the usual "elves are pricks" trope.

The Shifter Tribes are nomadic wanderers, and have a distinct gender dimorphism - the males have more canine features (they look like the old Universal Wolfman, just less ugly) while the females are more feline (they look like this picture (http://jrinaldi.deviantart.com/art/Shifter-Sketches-94475786) of a Shifter by JRinaldi that also influenced the general artstyle of the setting)They're hunter-gatherers, and are generally a carefree and easygoing people who take the role of halflings... They're just less of a Tolkein knock-off.

There's also rumors of a seventh race, another race of elves called the Drow. However, the Drow are a dying race, since their racial god was killed and the Demon Queen of Spiders, Lolth, took them under her "care" and twisted the vast majority of Drow into subterranean, cannibalistic monstrosities that are called Deep Drow - they're basically the Falmer from Skyrim with the standard greyish-black skin of Drow, and with eyes. There are rumors that some are evolving to their former glory, and are planning to lead their animalistic cousins to a raid on the surface world.

The ten core character classes are Barbarian (pretty much unchanged from 3.5 aside from a few buffs I'd like to see you guys suggest), Bard (Basically themed even more to be a Musical Assassin), Cleric (Nerfed a bit compared to CoDzilla - still good at healing and combat, but the more ridiculously overpowered spells are nerfed), Fighter (Essentially the Warblade from ToB), Monk (A Ki-powered warrior that can gain unarmored and unarmed bonuses equal to good armor and weapons through their inner ki - has some caster-esque abilities through Ki, and is a bit slower but more sturdy than the standard Monk - in essence, it's a Monk that doesn't suck), Paladin (Basically a buffed 3.5 Paladin, similar to PF's version), Ranger (Basically a buffed Ranger with a focus on being able to switch from two-weapon skirmishing to ranged sniping on the fly), Rogue (Pretty much a buffed Rogue with all sorts of neat tricks involving acrobatism), Shaman (Essentially replacing the Druid, it's a Primal Caster that lacks the Druid's Wildshape but has the ability to summon spirits), and Wizard (A mix between the Sorcerer and Wizard - as a Wizard gains levels, they can cast spells two levels lower than their current level without preparation. However, most of the Game Breaking spells don't work.)

As for the tone of the setting, despite how nasty the Holy Empire of Zarus is, it's generally a bit more light-hearted than most fantasy settings nowadays - it focuses on having a world that's a great place for adventurers, and a pretty decent place for common people (if you aren't a low-caste in the Empire of Zarus).

The world of the setting, Aerth (which is a working name) is... Weird. I mean, really weird. Two moons (you can tell I was influenced by the Elder Scrolls yet again), and an earth-like climate with semi-realistic climate zones disguise a very strange and alien world with all sorts of strange plant life and creatures. While many of the fauna are similar to earth animals, they're only similar in the same way banthas from Star Wars are basically giant desert musk oxen. There's a lot of cases of calling a Smeerp a rabbit, really :P

2013-01-16, 08:06 PM
A very interesting read. I liked your take on the dwarves, a lot :smallsmile: It really works with their typical sterotypes on a few levels, and opens the gate for steampunky awesome dwarf tech :smallbiggrin:

The werefolk distinction between genders is also quite cool; it's very obvious in one way but and I don't think I've seen it done before either, so bonus points are awarded to you for catching that idea :smallsmile:

I hope you have fun playing it :)

The LOBster
2013-01-20, 08:53 PM
I've decided to remove the Drow (aside from Deep Drow) and make Elves a bit more unique - while they're still Athenian politically, their general looks are based even more on the Celts and Picts than most elves. This means that Elves often have tattoos and markings similar to the Celts... And also that Elves are actually descendants of Fair Folk who willingly made themselves mortal. Elves also borrow a bit from PF gnomes in that they need to seek diversions to avoid bleaching - while it's non-lethal for elves, it does make them very ill. Fortunately, their society places so much emphasis on the creative arts it's rare. Being severed from the Feywild has, however, made them live only slightly longer than Humans and slightly shorter than Dwarves.

Werefolk are now just Catfolk - the males have the more obviously leonine features (resembling mig cats a bit more) while females are a bit more human in appearance, looking like dark-skinned elves with tufts on the ends of their ears, flattened noses, a thin layer of fur over their body, tails.

I've also decided to add some more unique classes - the Privateer class is the favored class of Dwarves, and is essentially a PF Gunslinger of sorts. Privateers have skill with martial weapons and primitive firearms. Of course, with the majority of the class being Dwarves, their firearms don't run the risk of exploding (Dwarven work is VERY sturdy and built to last), and instead of swords, they usually use axes or hammers. I'm thinking they'd have d8 hit die.