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2013-01-31, 08:20 PM
Last Update: Tuesday April 31, 9:37 PM

After tossing various thoughts and ideas about, I've decided to finally nail down the details on my foundational world and flesh out areas that are lacking.

Regardless of what I might have had posted here before, I hope to field enough lore and legends so that this setting may present various eras for players and GMs to choose from. Of course, my primary goal for now is to develop the current era to a point where I have a living, self sufficient setting before working further on the small details of its past and future.

If you like the concept that I've presented with some region, tell me! I'd love to have a sense of direction with what to develop next!

Note that this setting is being conceived within the restraints of a soft E8

Also, this setting (and some locations) desperately need good name, which I'm hopelessly searching for...

With the development of this campaign setting, I desire to create a world with a respectable assortment of natural and fantastic (as per fantasy) locales. I am hoping to give each region and kingdom a defined personality, a living history, current events, and possible futures. With such diversity present over the many, many miles, it is my hope that players will find the setting more immersing and enjoyable to explore than a casually presented world.

Currently planned regions include:

The Old World: political tension, a history of wars, varied kingdoms, and a splattering of traditional fantasy elements.
Khayar: A promised land beyond the mountains, now nearly complete with an (artificial) lack of anything not human. Don't ask about those history books, you'll be better off with our revised edition. Ahem... as for the north, we haven't finished cleaning it up yet.
Bereth Isles: No glossing over this, its a miniature japan of sorts, with more fantastical elements of course.
Cursed Lands: For you zombie slashing, vampire stabbing, lycan hunting horror lovers. Also great as a place of origin for a rising necromancer.
Orc lands: In case the DM needs a big ol' horde of orcs to invade the somewhat peaceful Old World
The Big Forest: For housing bandits, scary critters, and further in elves and druids.
The Desert: Ancient empires, pyramids, surviving empires, mummies, etc. Also popular for locating gladiator arenas.
Mountains: For separating regions, explaining geographical phenomena, housing dwarves, and all manner of mountainous and subterranean adventures.
Jungle: Located very out of the way, complete with poison wielding natives and creepy ancient ziggurats.
The outlands: beyond the other lands, who knows what you damn might well find here?
Dragon Strands: Here there be dragons, great for dragonslayers lusting for genocide or a DM who wants to pull a bunch of dragons out of the blue.

A note on creatures and races
Humans are the most populous and prominent race in most regions of this campaign setting. Diverse as they ever are, and just as susceptible to greed, lycanthropy, and interracial nighttime activities >.> to name a few things.

Yes we have elves here, yes they are located deep in the forest, yes we rarely see them... Unfortunately I haven't developed most of their regions yet so a unique culture is currently lacking. I am hesitant to exclude them entirely from the setting but as of yet I still have some internal logistics questions to answer as to why they should be here.

Orcs, goblins, and co.
You'll find pockets of them scattered about, with hearty helpings towards the far west in the orc lands, or in the other untamed parts of the world.

I'm also feeling the same way about dwarves as elves. They certainly are capable of adding something to this setting if place properly and sparsely enough, given they will be keeping to their fortresses and their mining for the most part. But I wonder if they are truly a good thing for this setting.

Racial stats

tweaks and suggestions welcome, not sure on LA
+6 str +2 con + 2 cha
Dragon Type
3 natural armor
powerful build
darkvision 60ft
30ft move speed
+2 LA

Common feats: dragon wings, improved dragon wings and/or draconic breath*, Dragon breath, draconic claws**. To give them flight and/or breath weapons and serviceable natural weapons.
I don't have too much in the way of lore and history for the drakes as of yet, but they appear to be a promising homebrew race for this setting. The fearsome dragonmen of the southern lands, these proud creatures often make their homes on ledges and in caves carved out of canyon or mountain walls. Their society is often tribal, their culture possesses a strong militaristic bent. Agricultural practices are at most small scale. Tribes are relatively isolated and range from mildly to fiercely territorial, with a separate range of tolerance for travelers and traders. They also revere dragons as chosen of their deity (big surprise).
Currently I'm thinking of making 5 distinct breeds corresponding to the chromatics...

Vyrek (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=15073757#post15073757)

Dragons, a staple of fantasy, are portrayed in a rather selective way by DnD 3.5 and other editions. I absolutely adore how the chromatic dragons come across as the stereotypical "western" fire breathing, gold hoarding, flying lizards who will very happily roast Tom the farmer for the meager sack of gold he has buried just behind his house. As for metallics... they just meander along, behaving more like "eastern" dragons with their quirks and personality trends.

Chromatics as DnD presents them are wonderful spices to liven up the countrysides of this world, or drop in the nearby mountains, and so on and so forth. Metallics, meh, as (relatively) benign as they are presented, I feel they need a good deal of work to earn a place in this setting.

Among the random thoughts and recollections I've been having, the following has surfaced...

I recall at one time or another, reading somewhere of a (homebrew) setting in which dragons were not Evil because they were Chromatic, rather the other way around. If a good dragon slips towards evil, its scales change from metallic to chromatic, and vice versa.

Also, shape-shifting dragons are going to be an "exception rather than the rule" sort of thing. This and other choices are being made to keep those creatures that shape-shifting is integral to unique and different.

On the Gods, the State of the Plane, and a bit on Magic

Gods, great gods (what shall be done?)

As a generality on how things currently stand, the gods that the people of this world acknowledge will be distant ones that are rare to send aid or advice to their faithful worshipers. Unremarkably, it wasn't always like this way. Some imitations of divine magic have survived to this day and age, not to mention dozens of holy trinkets and a handful of artifacts (as per e8 terms).

Interaction with the planes is almost nonexistent, summoning is practically unheard of (outside of powerful, closely guarded rites). Teleportation is known only to the highest of magi (and they only have a weak grasp on it), and those fortunate enough to possess such rare tools that permit it.

Magic that turns one thing into another (some spells from transmutation) is exceedingly rare and hard to master.

The Old World
Corynth Lawful Good
Capital: Chael, a grand fortress city on a hill
• Geography: mostly a mixture of plains and lazily rolling hills with a smattering of trees.
• Formal, respectful, honorable, dignified…
• Renown for its horses and horsemen
• Often in conflict with LE region
• Border trouble with forest raiders: bandits
• Initially polite to those they are not prejudiced against, but disrespect / blatant intentional breaking of traditions / laws puts one in a place hard to recover from.
• Paladins (of sorts) are held in high esteem throughout the lands, title is bestowed by king and high bishop. Potentially favored by a holy god
• Utterly intolerant of dark arts and “dark” creatures, and lawbreakers, strong dislike of dishonorable persons
o Many honorable bounty hunters who operate in the name of the crown, only act on orders received in warrant form
• Weaponry and warriors not in service to the crown are kept track of, magic users, if not thoroughly bound to the crown and kingdom, are watched very carefully.

Maryn Lawful Neutral
Capital: Vernalt, an advanced coastal city with locks and docks.
• Geography:
• Moustaches and goatees
o Goatee is worn by head of household
o Moustaches: more branches = more important, king has most elaborate moustache. Specific orientations and patterns have meaning
o Facial hair is held in high regard. Kept properly trimmed and tailored. The worst insults and injuries often relate to facial hair.
• Home to many brilliant seamen, merchants, sailors, shipwrights, and prominent ports.
• Like to think they know more about the world than they do, ever more so common with individuals who are particularly skilled in a specific field.
• Are grand storytellers, also many famous travelers and explorers were Maryners.
• Maryners are generally a talkative lot, within their own communities and with other Maryners, however foreigners may find themselves excluded from conversations based on any manner of reasons (more than a few of which relate to the state of their facial hair).
• Magic users and others are tolerated so long as they refrain from being destructive/disruptive, etc.

Ghaesa Lawful Evil
• Capital: Ghaesyf, a tightly guarded, segregated fortress city.

• Dark Fortress: prisoners, slaves, military, mages.
• Geography: plains leading to hills, decent distribution of forests.

• Highly and rigidly structured society.
o Those of higher social stature communicate with lower persons through use of one or more servants, never speaking to them directly.
• Slavery, indefinite indentured servitude, meticulously worded and exploitative contracts, etc.
• It is an insult (bordering on crime) for a low person to speak to someone too far above them; however there are rarely direct legal ramifications. The higher person just takes the time to make the life of the one who insulted them miserable, and possibly acquire them as a servant or slave.
• The high lords shroud themselves with palanquins, attendants, and masks when they travel in public. Lower persons avoid looking directly at lords.
o The king is ever more so a case of this, with lower persons forcing their eyes towards the ground ere they incite the king’s wrath. To speak directly to the king without proper stature is a death wish.
• Practically all of the higher lords are either half fiend, have fiendish ancestry, or are (rarely) full blown fiends. Of course, this fact is a well kept secret, given their numbers and the rarity of their public appearances.
• Practically everyone has plans and schemes for something, those that don’t are either dead or serving miserably as slaves. Generally this cultivates a sense of paranoia and mystery alongside hopelessness and loss.
• Foreigners are treated with veiled distaste and impoliteness, and are often required to pay “bribe taxes” or suffer legal consequences over various matters. Those who appear to be more important or powerful are taxed more heavily and more often.
• Military prison city for training of the armies, mages, and the managing of slaves and prisoners.

The Tradelands Lawful Neutral
Capital Oninhan, a sprawling, bustling city
• Geography: Diverse; deciduous forests, plains, rolling hills, some swamps.
• Generally, residents of this region are skilled at and enjoy a good loud barter. Trade is the lifeblood of this region, and the people know it. Everyone is out for a profit, but very few lack the morals to squeeze every customer for their last copper.
• Most people belong to one or more licensed guilds or trade associations to which they pay dues. These organizations afford their members some protection from competition, a network of like minded individuals, and access to a larger broader scope of the market.
• Magic is generally free to prosper, given the approval of the Mage’s guild, however the dark arts are strongly prohibited.

The Highlands Neutral Good
Capital ________, An old, proud, and homely fortress city carved into the mountain
• Geography: generally mountainous with trees and/or snow.
• Known for their grand spirits (both living and imbibed)
• Master craftsmanship of weapons tools and similar.
• Generally hard working, “do it right” mentality.
• Take pride in physical strength and accomplishment, but look down upon rash actions and displays.
• Have a good relationship with the nearby dwarves.
• Generally don’t collect possessions just to have them, everything has a purpose and excess is avoided.
• Magic users, while rare, are usually held in high esteem.

The Midlands Neutral
• Geography: mostly rolling plains and smatterings of forest.
• Generally a disconnected, ungoverned, self content land of farmers and small tradesman neither wanting to bother anyone or be bothered. However trouble always seems to creep in at places.
• Many important products come from this region: dyes, pipeweed, textile materials, and foodstuffs.
• Magic users are few and far between, either treated with great respect or serious distrust, the same for seasoned warriors.

Other Locales:

Cursed Lands Neutral
• "Some may say these lands are cursed, and who am I to argue with all the werebeasts, scheming vampires, and same day cremations for granny so she doesn't shamble back into town to have a bite? I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, just ask some brat running the streets what their mum says to watch out for at night."
• Communities are invariably walled settlements surrounded by farmland, with sentries posted day and night, a strict curfew, and a strong distrust of foreigners.
• Where there is one town, no doubt many others have fallen. Such unlucky or foolishly located fortress towns now lie in ruin, some overrun by undead, others picked clean by the werepeople.
• Of all the population centers, few may be called cities, and all are extensions of the few castles that had not been abandoned long ago. The land around such cities enjoys a marginally safer, busier life with the horrors of the land diminished for its people, but ever always looming.
• Magic users in this area tend to end up dead or “lost” very quickly, given the populaces’ distrust of magic and the peculiar corruption that seems to only afflict the magic users.

Bereth Isles Lawful Neutral
• The Bereth Isles are composed of one long main island with smaller ones dotted around its coast
• Northerly lands with mild mountains, a moderate helping of forests and swamps, and rolling plains well suited to farming, when they aren't flooded by the rains.
• The communities here are organized around local warlords who themselves are subservient to the lords of the land. The society is strongly stratified, and only the warrior caste or higher may possess and wield weaponry. (thinking feudal japan yet?) honor is valued, etc...
• Magic is often viewed as witchcraft and the villagers take according measures, however some rulers find it convenient to have such "witches" aid them in various efforts, both short and long term.

And so far the most developed section of my setting... (need to get everything typed out still)
~~~An Abbreviated History of (what would come to be known as) Khayar~~~
Vyrek Perspective
In the beginning, or at least before the humans arrived, the land was populated by one kind of sentient being, the Vyrek. Of the various breeds that banded together in a tribal sort of culture, there were a handful that generally would develop great magical prowess. Thus these kinds of Vyrek came to dominate others, forming massive tribes and factions that inevitably came to clash with one another.

Then Felren arrived, a god among Vyrek. Various legends speak to his origins and his grand deeds, but it is given truth that he, with his grand power, cowed all the tribal lords (annihilating those that resisted), and united them all into one grand empire centered in the northern half of the continent. It early was during Felren's "Thousand Year Reign" (the length of which is still debated, but always held to be no less than two and a half centuries), that elves came from eastern islands, eventually settling most of the lower half of the region. The later days saw the arrival of humans in Khayar, the newcomers carving out a place for themselves out of the lands both elves and Vyrek found unsuitable. The (Vyrek) lords and their descendents remained silent throughout those long years, their resentment of the great lord fading as society became more complacent and rigidly stratified. In fact many of the lords benefited from the peace and stability that came with Felren's reign.

Without warning, Felren vanished, leaving behind friends, family, and a nation for his eldest son E'Nomar to rule. After a few years, or decades, or perhaps even as long as a century, it became clear to the lords that E'Nomar was a lover of knowledge and self isolation, wedded to his studies as Felren had been wedded to his vision of the lands unified. The lords began to amass armies once more, skirmishes and battles eventually broke out after a few decades amongst the lords and with other kingdoms, but once some intangible breaking point was reached E'Nomar intervened, striking down the warring lords, dispersing their armies, and stepping back into the politics of his empire. Echoes of this pattern repeated a few times throughout the rest of his rule, with E'Nomar's response harsher and the trespasses of the lords smaller.

Towards the end of his rule, the second king came to be characterized by his paranoia, his ever more so detached nature, and many held him to be quite mad (it was not unheard of for Vyrek of his power to go insane). The third was and is recorded in the annals of history as fact shortly predating his ritualized suicide and the penning of his legendary death poem (on which grand tomes, theater productions, and nursery rhymes would be based).

By the time of E'Nomar's end, the humans had been unified under one man, Taruk A'mul, the dread warlock. His demise came some twenty years into his reign, and the rebellion's leader was crowned as the new king. Surprisingly, the new empire lasted for many centuries.

After E'Nomar came Manth, a new king sharing his father's disinterest with politics but not his scholarly inclination. The lords, having learned from the mistakes of those that had come before, planned and successfully orchestrated a coup, assassinating Manth and butchering his (supposed) dozens of wives and hundreds of children, as well as the rest of the royal family and many of their supporters.

Thus the lords came to power, reaping their spoils and tightening their collective hold on the lands. Little more than a decade or two had passed and already they were scheming for more, their gaze wandering south to the lands occupied by humans and elves. Would they have set aside their distrust of one another, the ruling lords might very well have conquered the entire span of Khayar, but it was their disunity that eventually allowed the combined forces of Man and Elf to shatter them and their hold over the Vyrek lands.

Those that remained surrendered, ceding borderlands and reparations. And so the Vyrek people drifted apart for many years, clinging to their identity as part of a town, or a walled and well defended city, a hollow mockery of the great times before. Wars between rulers grew common, but rarely did they make the mistake of angering their powerful southern neighbors.

And then the dragons came from the east, settling the central northern mountains rather rapidly. This new threat proved to be a unifying factor within each race, but the wyrms' arrival did little to unify the races. After years of struggle and a pronounced devastation of the elven lands, the human magi, wielding the fell staff of Taruk A'mul: Necriev, lay a curse of eternal frost upon the mountains. The remaining dragons were few and weak, generally to be hunted for sport.

With the end of the dragons came a vacuum, hundreds and thousands of soldiers now lacking a purpose, both Vyrek and human. The wartime leaders remained in power, and turned their gazes to their neighbors. War erupted. a final war, and the human magi turned hesitantly to Necriev once more. Joining divine magics with their arcane, they blasted the Vyrek people from the face of the land, leaving the northern lands as little more than forlorn wastes. In channeling such power, the magi sacrificed their lives, and Necriev disappeared for some time.

The wastes served as a land of punishment for those banished, notably the practitioners of dark arts and adherents of forsaken gods.

And hence Khayar has been ruled by the humans...

Human Perspective

The first human settlers of Khayar were little more than men in exile, dishonored men, those whom had displeased the lords of old, and other persons seizing the chance for a better life. But other recollections describe them as a wise and brave people who, on the principle of a prophecy, traveled to these lands to await a grand leader and his everlasting empire.

The land beyond the mountains, the rolling southern plains of Khayar, proved to be far more promising than expected. Villages were settled, grew into towns, and within a few decades the beginnings of the grand cities were in place.

For decades, conflict was minimal until armies arrived from the old lands. War burned again to the southwest, and the old monarchs sought to carve out new holdings in this bountiful land. The old colors seeped in, replacing new banners with old, local rulers with foreign despots, peaceful lands with vigilantly watched and (violently) debated borders.

And then a hero arose, a grand leader as the prophecy had promised. Wielding the divine magic of light and healing, he led bands, then armies against the old colors. Years and campaigns later, the land was free of the old once more, and the leader was crowned king. His reign lasted for half a century at the least, sages attribute this to the powers that those above had bestowed upon this man. The king passed with no children, but he left a relic with some of his power invested in it for his successors to wield.

Gradually, the kingdom drifted apart, the peoples' love of freedom was shared by their benevolent kings who all proclaimed, loudly and softly, that the people knew what was best for themselves. Generations passed, and the man Taruk A'mul clawed his way to power, overwhelming the kingdom's capital with his mastery of necromancy and other dark arts. Fortunately, as many historians note, his rule only lasted a brief 20 years, owing to the actions of a hero very similar to the first king. This hero also accepted the crown at popular demand, not at all surprising considering only one in fifty survived A'mul's reign at best.

The artifact that had proved invaluable to Taruk A'mul in his conquest, the fell staff Necriev, disappeared to places unknown, later to resurface...

Seasons passed, the land healed, the population grew once more... Decades, perhaps generations later, the Vyrek invasion began. Truly, their numbers could not compare to he hordes that Necriev had raised, but this was undoubtedly worse. However, the humans were prepared, if only mildly, this time. Again, the invaders' disunity was their undoing, and the united Khayians proved victorious.

Dragons, their arrival shattered what many considered a lasting peace. Back again were the armies, the legions of men devoted to the protection of the homeland and the annihilation of all else. Against this common enemy the peoples of the land united and were victorious: the great mages of the time placed an enduring curse upon the mountains where the dragons had taken refuge, a curse of ice, perpetual winter, death. The remaining beasts were hunted down for sport... but peace was not to follow.

The Vyrek lords, confident with their triumph over the dragons, turned their massed forces on the humans. In face of this combined Vyrek offensive, the humans turned, some say in desperation, to the recently uncovered Necriev. With the combined might of divine and arcane magics wielded through this dark artifact, the Vyrek were blasted from the northern face of the lands. This effort resulted in a terrible backlash that killed all those involved in the casting effort, and is presumed to be largely responsible for the gods falling silent.

Khayar's Locales
Capital: Kel Anor
• Kel Anor is a formidable fortress city with farmland and peasant districts surrounding it for a few miles in every direction. Directly to the north is the First Wall, a product of the magic of ages past; it spans the border to the waste from coast to the foothills of the mountains. On the coast, there lies a sizable array of docks and seagoing vessels with all the necessary infrastructure to support it; despite its size, it is still considered a part of Kel Anor.

Mage City: Dal Kyan
• Located in the vast expanse of forest just south of the eastern wastes.
• Home to an academy of magic, headed by Dal Victor Alacahn.
o All prospective youths are sent here to learn magic, and be registered as magic users.
o Mages answer to Dal Victor or his subordinates first and foremost, those tasked to other areas answer to the designated leaders so long as word from Dal Kyan doesn’t say otherwise.
• Despite this, Dal Victor does not appear to be interested in leveraging his hundreds of magi to gather power for him.
o Unlicensed magi are hunted down and detained or assimilated.

Secluded town: Urmon’s Dais
• Located deep in the central mountains, far from any beaten path. To find it, one must be extremely lucky, determined, strong, a combination of those, or have a guide.
• Home to a secretive organization that trains what are basically ninjas. Generally, students are not accepted, rather chosen from just about anywhere. Those who are selected are rarely seen again; those who fail the trials are rightly presumed dead.
o Few know the leader of this organization; Xaien Chen is a man of mystery and untold years. Some sages have postulated that the name is merely a position for the man who currently leads these creatures of the shadows, and there are those who suspect darker arts may be at work, preserving a man of centuries still in his prime, and working extraordinary feats through his minions.
• Whispers of Vyrek flit around here, ancient words with meaning lost to the common tongue. Perhaps the town has adopted tidbits of its former resident’s culture, or maybe the area never changed hands after the cleansing.

Central Mountains: (needs a name)

These mountains divide all but the northernmost section of the upper half of Khayar.
Cursed to a deep perpetual winter towards the end of the dragon war. Temperatures never rise above freezing, blizzards are common, and even the best equipped travelers are likely to be frozen by its curse.
Of those who have survived a journey in these parts, the sighting of a frozen victim, be it man, beast, or rarely dragon, often makes its way into their recollections.

2013-04-05, 04:12 PM

2013-04-05, 04:42 PM
reserved yet again, hopefully I'll be using this soon.