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BelGareth
2013-01-15, 04:25 AM
Inmerisas bellum

Idea
My idea here is to have a campaign setting for high level play, 18-30+. Countless times I've wanted to run a high level game, or been in one, that lacks direction or established groups, locations for play. More often than not, the gods are involved (and lets be honest, when are they not, they are the psuedo-defacto default protagonist), at epic level, its annoying having to do deal with gods. So I want to make an established campaign setting that will cater to the higher levels, with locations and organizations biting at each others throats for the characters to explore and become a part of.

My first thought was planar, it has to be planar, possible the best way to allow the PC's visit hundreds of worlds on the prime and allow them interaction with the multitude of planar baddies (whether they be good or evil)

This also allows for the gods to be nonexistent in the campaigns designs, they can be present, but doing something else other than pulling the strings. The main antagonist and scene of the campaign is the never ending struggle between the aligned planes for balance. (or lack of)

And so here it is, Inmerisas bellum: Endless War.

Factions
Every alignment descriptor is going to have a faction, either a warband, particular powerful creature in charge of minions with its own motives or an actual organization that has it's own internal machinations. These will all be vying for power and trying to sway things.

This setting will detail these groups out, allowing DM's and Players to utilize the information and incorporate any of it into any high level game.

Religion and gods
Most NPC's and factions worship the ideals of their alignment, adhering to it almost zealously. While those who worship gods and dieties exist, they are much rarer, most worship the ideal that is their faction incarnate and the spectrum of their racial gods.

Factions -

TN, Outlands
True Neutral faction that believes the planar cosmos requires balance, that in actual fact it moves to that very purpose by itself, it is the natural order of things and they strive to maintain it. They mostly achieve this through subtelty, sowing discord and confusion among lesser races and beings. (everyone)

Elementals
Rilmani


LN, Mechanus
Lawful faction believes that pure order is necessary for the planar cosmos to exist, otherwise it will inevitably destroy itself. They strive to ensure peace and compliance with the planar laws set down by the Prime

Modrons
Inevitables
Formians

Organization: Sapphire hierarch


CN, Limbo
Chaotic faction believes that order will bring the cosmos to a stand still only bringing entropy and destruction to reality. They move to counter LAW in all its purposes. They have an organization, realizing it to be necessary to counter the actions of there counterpart.

Slaadi
Githzerai


NE, The Gray Waste, Gehenna
Evil faction is hell bent on doing as it will, having no inclination on the planar comsos affairs and only entering the fray if it would serve them with riches and plunder, or just because they want to.

Yugoloths


NG, Elysium
The Good faction seems lazy in comparison to others, wanting only to live in peace, grow and prosper. However when these things are threatened they go to war to defend them, entering the fray to defend these thigns for themselves and other goodly creatures. They see their role in the planar cosmos and actively seek to keep the balance of good, countering any Evil counterparts with fervor and action.

Guardinals


LG, Mount Celestia
The Lawful Good faction sees the worth of protecting those weaker than they of the perils that may befall the cosmos if the evil factions or worse those that seek to send everything into turmoil, would win. They activley seek to thwart. They can be overzealous in their actions sometimes. (like chain ganging Modrons and Formians to be sent to jail to be judged.)

Archons
Aasimons
Devas


CG, Arborea
The Chaotic Good factions see the actions of the evil groups to be offensive to them and dislike the idea of forcing the cosmos to an overarching lawfulness. They seek to free all things from oppression seeing it as the ultimate evil. They have been known to tussle with the Archons and love the Guardinals but dislike their laziness.

Eladrins


CE, The Abyss
The Chaotic Evil faction has one purpose: the blood war. They want nothing else but to win the Blood war, to rid themselves of the Devils and to rage across the planes as they wish. They hate everyone, including each other.

Demons (Tanar'ri)


LE, Baator
The Lawful Evil group wants everything, they want the stupid blood war to end, the Archons to suffer for their impudence and casting them out, endless souls, to rule everyone, etc.

Devils (Baatezu)

Notes
blagh
This is obviously very WIP, and is constantly in flux as I change things. If you have comments, feel free to PM me until finished.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 04:26 AM
Pendulum
True Neutral

The main antagonists of the setting. Pendulum, as the other factions have called it is a sublime group, hardly a group at all, but a collection of individuals, wills and beings who strive to cause as much conflict and strife within the other factions, worlds and planes to keep them at each others throats.

To what aim?

The very balance of the cosmos.

The Pendulum believe, primarily, that the cosmos must retain its neutral state, otherwise be torn asunder and reality as we know it be destroyed, with even the great Overgods and Sidereals themselves being powerless to prevent it.

The Pendulum is an interesting group, they have no official group, no official leader, nothing, they work as a combined will, being directed by the very will of the cosmos to uphold the balance.

This is of much cause of concern for those who seek to destroy them, and there are those, several groups devote themselves to the destruction of the Pendulum believing them to be the cause of many atrocious acts and to the future cause of the cosmic destruction, as seen by seers and revelators.

Pendulum works in covert ways, striving to maintain balance at all costs, they send their agents, usually one at a time, powerful Elementals, Rilmani or others who are chosen by the Cosmic power, capable of extreme subterfuge, who lay the lines to guide those lesser in the right direction. Whether this be by causing a powerful nation to wage war against another on one planet, or to subvert a whole nest of golden Dragon eggs to evil on yet another, the Pendulum leaves nothing to chance.

Due to this, they are hated by all, every single group loathes them, as they seem flighty and non committal, except for their singular mission of planar balance.

Few individual agents are known, and those that are known of are extremely powerful, and they are but the field agents of the Pendulum.

[insert list of known agents]

[insert list of unknown agents]

[insert list of unknown Cell leaders]

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 04:28 AM
The Sapphire Hierarch
Lawful Neutral

The Sapphire Hierarch are one of the most organized factions of the endless planar war, with an advanced organization that spans dozens of planes.

The Sapphire Hierarch is a devout organization that adheres to the Lawful Morality to the extreme. To most they are known as the Planar Police, or at least that's what they call them.

To this end, and to emphasize this moniker they outsource dozens of mercenaries as enforcers across the planes. They use these enforcers to enforce what they see as the cosmic law, keeping balance as they see it. These mercenary companies go through thorough inspections and tests to prove their worthiness of becoming a Sapphire Hierarch enforcer company.

The vast majority of them hire themselves out to those who can afford them to keep the peace, it is not unusual to have an advanced race rich enough to do so, have such a company guarding the streets and keeping the peace on a remote world. Just as much as it would be to see them keeping the peace on a planar market place. They are literally everywhere.

Their agents act as guardians of Law, judges, Lawyers and Enforcers of contracts.

The actual organization itself, is made up of high level cleric/Incarnum users, they main body of the Sapphire Hierarch is an extremely powerful body of Law devotees who pursue it with a fervor matched by the Pendulum. They reside upon the Rock, a massive planar hoping fortress that houses the upper echelon and acts as the roaming Headquarters.

Other than the Rock, they have several major Fortress-Commands on several high traffic areas to include: Sigil, the City of Brass, The Center on Mechanus, Mount Clangeddin on Abellio of Arcadia, Cabal Macabre on Ocanthus by Wee Jas' graces of Acheron, Citadel of Stars on Lunia by the grace of Barachiel of Mount Celestia, and the Iron City of Dis on Dis by the patience of Dispater of Baator.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 04:30 AM
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-dV3-PuBslQc/UPU0-Wg5gFI/AAAAAAAACb0/UM9sGVm2YX0/s309/The%2520Alabaster%2520Knights.jpg
Lawful Good

The Alabaster Knights is an organization of zealous Paladins, Soulborns, Goodly Monks, Exalted creatures, Archons, Devas and Angels.

They view it as their mission to protect the weak and meek, those that cannot defend themselves from the tyranny of injustice, be it the cruel arm of the Pendulum or the enforcers of the Sapphire Hierarch or the deprivations of fiends and demons alike.

And they have their work cut out for them.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 04:33 AM
Legion
Neutral Evil

The Legions of Aulmpiter the Nycaloth is simply known as Legion.


~~~

The Children of Gith
Neutral Evil

The Children of Gith follow a leader who is the supposed Gith of legend who has escaped the Iron City of Dis.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 04:40 AM
The Hidden Ones
Chaotic Evil

Eltab has returned to the 248th layer of the Abyss, The Hidden Layer. He has cowed his former lieutenants and reformed his power base.



~~~


The Hounds of Astaroth
Chaotic Evil

Astaroth has been resurrected, and he is angry. No one knows how he managed to circumvent the Hellfire Gargauth ignited in him, but he has, and he is on a campaign to seek vengeance and retake his stolen divinity.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 06:28 AM
The Stygian Depths
Lawful Evil

Levistus has broken free of his icy prison, whether it is by Asmodeus' will or by his own doing he is free and seeking new power.



~~~


The Cabal
Lawful Evil

Not much is known of this group, except that they exist, they are Illithids and they have a hidden agenda that the Pendulum oppose fiercely.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 06:36 AM
The Hordes of Bazim
Chaotic Neutral

Bazim-Gorag has managed to flee his earthly prison of Faerun at last, he is rampaging across the cosmos causing as much destruction and chaos as he can.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 06:37 AM
The Celestial Pride
Neutral Good

Talisid the Celestial Lion personally leads this group against those that would impede upon the glory of Elysium and those who reside there.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 06:39 AM
The Fury of Arborea
Neutral Good

Gwynharwyf actively seeks out those who would cause harm to those goodly creatures of the cosmos. She is currently concerned about the apparent release and wake of destruction that Bazim-Gorag is spreading.

BelGareth
2013-01-15, 06:40 AM
(ok, im done, no more posts, I swear!)

Go ahead and post any comments or whatever you want...

SamBurke
2013-01-16, 10:42 PM
I"m interested! What do you need assistants to do?

Golden Ladybug
2013-01-18, 08:21 AM
So, rather than a Campaign Setting cut from whole cloth, its an expansion of the material from Planescape (and associated Planar works), but scaled up to Epic Level play? Neat.

Well, I'm happy to help out. Anything in particular you want us to do besides post comments? Because I'm totally going to do that, post by post, over the next...stretch of time :smalltongue:

Lets start with the first post...


My first thought was planar, it has to be planar, possible the best way to allow the PC's visit hundreds of worlds on the prime and allow them interaction with the multitude of planar baddies (whether they be good or evil)

This also allows for the gods to be nonexistent in the campaigns designs, they can be present, but doing something else other than pulling the strings. The main antagonist and scene of the campaign is the never ending struggle between the aligned planes for balance. (or lack of)

A lofty goal, to start off with. But, the problem with Planar Campaigns is that...well, the PC's visit hundreds of worlds and interact with lots of different planar baddies :smallannoyed:

Logistically, its a nightmare, because of the sheer amount of work you need to put in. Every Plane has its own flavour and unique (hopefully) feel to it, and all the effort that goes into creating all that verisimilitude is lost if the Players don't bite, or go somewhere else (which, considering its a Planar Campaign, they probably can with ease). Speaking from my own experience, that was why Planescape was such a hassle to run, and all the work is done for you creating that already!

So, since the overarching theme of this Campaign Setting seems to be along the lines of "struggle for control over the way the multiverse runs" (you've got the various aligned factions striving for control, after all). So, maybe simplify things; the focal point of the setting is a new Plane, manifesting aspects of the major entries from the Great Wheel. Lets call it McGuffinland.

So, McGuffinland is the "keystone" of reality, the centre of the Great Wheel. Which, of course, is a different centre than the Spire and Sigil on top of that. Its Infinite and Planar, don't question it. But unlike the City of Doors, where the Lady rules and hedges out the Divine, and anything can be found and everything is connected, McGuffinland is a disconnect. It is incredibly difficult to access [maybe change to leave? or remain in? Anyway, reason!] by all but the most powerful of creatures. However, its importance is paramount. Control over McGuffinland would grant the Ruler unparralled influence over the Planes, by shaping and reshaping the Great Wheel.

So, we localise the conflict; we still have the exact same concept, with the most powerful exemplars of these various factions, philosophical concepts and races vying for control over the universal destiny, but we place it in a single big, new location where it can all occur. It gets the Epic Level adventures in a venue where it keeps some semblance of narrative consistency for the lower level parts of the setting (The twin issues of "Why doesn't Elminster fix it" and "How'd we get this far if everything is so dangerous?").

It also means that everyone gets to chip in and make a patchwork world filled with drastically disparate landscapes, environmental conditions, creatures and people, and have it all make perfect sense. And that's awesome.


Factions
Every alignment descriptor is going to have a faction, either a warband, particular powerful creature in charge of minions with its own motives or an actual organization that has it's own internal machinations. These will all be vying for power and trying to sway things.

This setting will detail these groups out, allowing DM's and Players to utilize the information and incorporate any of it into any high level game.

Always with the Alignments :smalltongue:

Anyway, maybe split it up even more than that; there's more than one way to play Lawful Good, more than one way to play Chaotic Evil. Perhaps there are various sub-factions representing the various aspects of different alignments, or bleedover factions that don't quite fit in. So, while we have the Paragon of Virtue and Good representing one side of Lawful Good, there is also those who bear the burden of responsibility to do the right thing (Compare and Contrast Captain America and Spiderman*)

Or, since that has the potential to become bloated and unwieldy, how about the concept goes from "Alignment-based philosophical factions" to "Philosophy-Based Factions who have attached themselves to certain alignments due to Membership, PR or [Other]". Maybe I'm just arguing over semantics here, but I'm of the opinion that loosely attaching your factions to the alignment concepts is going to be more healthy than having them being shackled to them. So, the ethical and philosophical aspects of each faction, and the opinions/goals/schemes of its membership that determines what Alignment they attach themselves to.

It also opens up the possibility of adding an unaligned faction or two.

Regardless, one of my favourite** aspects of Planescape and the like was the way Alignment was handled, especially with the creatures affiliated with the various planes. A Demon/Tanar'ri is inherently Evil and Chaotic, but the way that is expressed may differ greatly, and the way it acts may or may not be characteristically Evil or Chaotic. Even though it is a creature made of Evilium(TM) and Chaosium(TM), that isn't the only thing that defines it actions.

*Please, nobody start an debate about what alignment these characters are. I don't think I'd be able to handle it.
**Actually, no Alignment debates period. Please. I beg of you all :smalleek:


Religion and gods
Most NPC's and factions worship the ideals of their alignment, adhering to it almost zealously. While those who worship gods and dieties exist, they are much rarer, most worship the ideal that is their faction incarnate and the spectrum of their racial gods.

This caught me off guard a lot, but I suppose it makes sense. The Planar beings are not typically worshippers of most gods (at least as far as I'm aware), even though they may respect or pay homage to deities. Most of the worshippers of the D&D Gods come from the various Prime Materiums, and coupled with the Planar themes and high-power level (and not being explicitly associated with the Forgotten Realms, and the Wall of the Faithless) its quite possible that the characters that are being played might have "outgrown" the worship of Deities.

A high level Wizard is able to bend reality to their whims, much less an Epic Level one. An Epic Fighter is a master of combat, able to perform feats of martial prowess beyond comprehension. An Epic Cleric is on par with the Deity they worship. Do such powerful mortals need Gods?


Notes
blagh
This is obviously very WIP, and is constantly in flux as I change things. If you have comments, feel free to PM me until finished.

Well, I'll be commenting until I'm out of stuff to comment on, and then probably still comment after that.

Do you mind if I post my ramblings in the thread, or would you prefer comments to be in PMs?

GuyFawkes
2013-01-26, 11:52 AM
Okay, so I don't really know a lot about epic and the planes, but I'm gonna try.

I think the McGuffinland idea is nice. It is a great avenue for epic characters that removes the matter pointed out by Golden about establishing settings and then just have the players hop into another plane on a whim, or worse, destroying it entirely.

Here are some additional ideas I want to add to what are already presented by Golden:


Make the place hard to access, but easy to leave. In fact, make it easy for one inside it to access any plane in existence. But once you leave, it's hard to return. This makes the place very crucial for any of the factions. For example, if the evil or chaotic factions were to establish themselves in this plane, they could have an unstoppable launching pad to attack any plane they had their eyes set on. That makes the good guys then want to establish themselves in the plane so that the former could be averted.

I'm thinking the difficulty of access is fixed with respect to the time frame of McGuffinland. When you leave, it takes a specific amount of time to pass in McGuffinland (and ideally costly rituals or other hard prereqs) before you can return. This tones down the plane hopping aspect.

The difficulty of returning is affected by the level of attunement of the person to the place. This can be increased/decreased depending on the level of interaction you had while inside the plane (time spent inside, things made/done, or some other mechanic). Or this can also apply to whole factions. Once a faction has established itself, maybe it would be easier for its members to enter/return to McGuffinland. Maybe there should be some event that needs to be done in regards to setting how "established" one faction is.

Have the whole place be a mirror of every plane. Everything in existence is inside it. You can be "in another plane" just by travelling through this plane. This makes it like Planescape, but in one plane.

Possibly, the actions done by those in this plane echo into the real planes. This is another thing to make the plane important.


For other aspects such as the factions, I don't have any preferences on either based on the alignments themselves or based on ideals/philosophy.

BelGareth
2013-01-28, 08:40 AM
Thanks for the input guys!

I'm trying to create the basics needed to allow a DM utilize them for allies/enemies and so forth. What I'm looking for is the fluff behind the leader, group and their activities.

I am planning on designing all the major NPC's from each faction, detailing each faction with known locations with maps and cities layouts etc...

So yeah its involved, but nothing that can't be made up with some good writing skills (and a little bit of google-fu)

What I would need from you guys (or others) would be to write up the fluff like I have already done with a few.

On the matter of the new plane, that is quite an interesting concept, and I like Guys idea of having it be hard to leave but easy to get to. Aligns everyones goal quite nicely.

GuyFawkes
2013-01-28, 11:06 AM
For the Pendulum, I'd recommend reading on the Guardians from the Chronomancers AD&D sourcebook, if you don't already know of them, for the organizational structure and methods. I am seeing lots of parallels with them.

Also, actually my idea was hard to get into, very easy to leave. :smallwink:

As for the fluff for the organizations, I am not particularly good with making stuff out of nothing, but if you can give me outlines for them, I can work something out.

SamBurke
2013-01-28, 11:47 AM
Also, actually my idea was hard to get into, very easy to leave. :smallwink:


This amuses me.

Could you two explain the reasons why being harder to enter or exit the plane would be good? Because exit makes it seem like a death-trap, and enter makes it seem very risky as an investment.

It needs to have some sort of resource that's really, really, worth it.

BelGareth
2013-01-28, 08:58 PM
This amuses me.

Could you two explain the reasons why being harder to enter or exit the plane would be good? Because exit makes it seem like a death-trap, and enter makes it seem very risky as an investment.

It needs to have some sort of resource that's really, really, worth it.

You mean like, Unobtanium? :smallsigh: we could insert a native species who have a capital city right above the main deposit. :smallyuk:

Or how about, Itcostsomuchium, Cantgetenougheide, lol, no seriously though, you have a point, there must be something worth while there, maybe the plane is still in its infant state and can be modified still, allowing those who control it for it as they see fit? Or perhaps a constantly shifting plane, formed to the will of the controller like a godly realm, but with no god.

GuyFawkes
2013-01-29, 07:06 AM
Well I stated that in my first post. The idea was to have the place very hard to get to, but once inside, you have very easy access to ALL planes in existence. So, at least for the baddies and the chaotic ones, to be able to establish a nexus to all the planes would be very, very, enticing. For the good guys, same, as well as the undeniable burden of stopping the other side from being able to do so.

Another thing I put down that would make it worthwhile to take into McGuffinland is it being able to affect all the other planes as well. I imagined it to be an infinite plane that contained mirrors of the other planes inside, and whatever you do inside has some sort of trickle down effect into the real planes.

Another thing would be to have huge space left for vast nothingness, where the factions could make something out of, to further their cause, as Bel stated above.

Or somesuch things.

Golden Ladybug
2013-01-29, 07:25 AM
Could you two explain the reasons why being harder to enter or exit the plane would be good? Because exit makes it seem like a death-trap, and enter makes it seem very risky as an investment.

It needs to have some sort of resource that's really, really, worth it.

Sequestering MacGuffinland from the rest of the Great Wheel is, at least in my mind, a great way to keep Narrative Consistency. Since the Campaign Setting is designed as an Epic Level Playground, I'd want to make it a separate "zone" to the campaign previous. This answers a question that I feel would come up a lot: "Why aren't all these Epic Level characters interfering with other planes?"

Its the Elminster Issue, but taken up to eleven. We've got enough Epic Level Characters to stage a fight for the very fabric of existence, unbound by the whims of Gods. Why haven't they messed up everything in the Great Wheel yet?

Because they're in MacGuffinland, which is so difficult to A) enter that leaving risks losing access to it forever or B) leave, so once they get in, they're not coming out until they've gained control of the plane.

Also, the "Resource" is control of the Multiverse. The native species living on top of it are Neutronium Golems (http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x230/ExarKun4321/1210695483931.png)

On the other hand, I can also help write fluff for important NPCs. When I next get a spare moment (AKA, not going back to school and realising that putting off all my holiday work to the last week was a horrible, horrible idea), I'll try to put some work into some of the Factions.

Are you married to the Lore heavy Factions, Bel, or are you open to others? I don't have that much knowledge of the specific characters of any campaign setting besides Eberron, and even then I'm pretty patchy. Some of the names are very evocative, but I have no idea who the people mentioned are :smalltongue:

BelGareth
2013-01-29, 08:32 AM
Sequestering MacGuffinland from the rest of the Great Wheel is, at least in my mind, a great way to keep Narrative Consistency. Since the Campaign Setting is designed as an Epic Level Playground, I'd want to make it a separate "zone" to the campaign previous. This answers a question that I feel would come up a lot: "Why aren't all these Epic Level characters interfering with other planes?"

Its the Elminster Issue, but taken up to eleven. We've got enough Epic Level Characters to stage a fight for the very fabric of existence, unbound by the whims of Gods. Why haven't they messed up everything in the Great Wheel yet?

Because they're in MacGuffinland, which is so difficult to A) enter that leaving risks losing access to it forever or B) leave, so once they get in, they're not coming out until they've gained control of the plane.

Also, the "Resource" is control of the Multiverse. The native species living on top of it are Neutronium Golems (http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x230/ExarKun4321/1210695483931.png)

On the other hand, I can also help write fluff for important NPCs. When I next get a spare moment (AKA, not going back to school and realising that putting off all my holiday work to the last week was a horrible, horrible idea), I'll try to put some work into some of the Factions.

Are you married to the Lore heavy Factions, Bel, or are you open to others? I don't have that much knowledge of the specific characters of any campaign setting besides Eberron, and even then I'm pretty patchy. Some of the names are very evocative, but I have no idea who the people mentioned are :smalltongue:

Regarding those names, no most of them are vaguely referenced in WoTC books here and there, but, for the most part they don't have a lot of fluff written about them, however most have a little. Stuff I pulled off googling them, so its not a huge issue.

Golden Ladybug
2013-01-29, 08:45 AM
Well, I do remember that Gwynharwyf was in the Book of Exalted Deeds :smallconfused:

In any case, if there isn't actually much fluff to be found for all of these guys, I'll hit up Google before I start writing and just use the prompts you've set out as a baseline :smallsmile: