View Full Version : Campaign setting – Three worlds – The Pretender Wars

2013-02-08, 02:59 AM
For a good long time I've been wanting to create a campaign setting. As a DM I like working with my own worlds over other campaign settings because I want to know more about the world then the players.

The Problem is of course there is only so long you can work from scribbled notes until you start contradicting your self (wither the players notice or not) or they go to an area you really haven't worked on and is only realy a name on a map.

thus the Three Worlds Project of mine.
I'm posting here because I want comments, Ideas, suggestions. at the bottom of the first post should be a list of various ideas that I'm trying to bring into the world, if you want to post your own idea for the "role" Please do. I intend to compile the entirety of it into a document much like the ebberon campaign guide.

Central storyline/Mythos

The elder gods created the worlds the plains the seas and seasons but grew tired after many long millennia of creating. so they in turn created those known as the creator gods. The first was Dracus ans Nerca. Nerca became the mother of all plants and Dracus the father of all beasts and the Elder gods were pleased. but soon they tired of the simple beasts and plants. So they commanded Dracus to create a new breed of beast. One that was cunning, intelligent, and powerful. In time Dracus created the metallic dragons. A kind to dominate each form of land and sea. The dragons proved to be exceptional hunters, incredibly intelligent and even used magic. Nerca however became jealous and stared creating powerful creatures to challenge and kill Dracus' dragons. In response Dracus created the celestial and tasked them to hunt these creatures.

The elder gods looked on at the growing conflict and were entertained. Emboldened by the elder gods lack of action Nerca took some of Dracus' dragons and celestial and created twisted versions of them. Thus the deamons and chromatic dragons were born. They were given an eternal hatred of their half-brothers. Dracus and Nerca watched as the world became a battlefield for dragon vs dragon and celestial vs deamon. After centuries of war the dragons were nearly all destroyed and the land had suffered horribly from the energies released by the celestials and the deamons in their fight. The land was cracked the air was scorched and the oceans boiled so great was the magics used. The end came when Nerca took the field. Dracus fearing for his creations blocked Nerca but in doing so left himself vulnerable to attack by the deamons which they exploited. And for an instant Dracus was defeated and dispersed, the elder gods however had been looking on with growing concern as their creations, Terra, Gaea, Jord burned, and Dracus lies dead. They grew very angry with Nerca.

They acted freezing time. And discussed for what may have been millinnia on how to deal this this problem. They were all in agreement of what needed to be done. They created Two new realms one Called Celestia the other, The Abyss. To Celestia they sent the Celestials, and to the Abyss the deamons. The realms were created to take on the dominate traits of the inhabitants and soon, Celestia was a paradise fortress while the Abyss had divided into many cursed sub-realms. Nerca was punished harshly for her role in Dracus' “death”. Her essence was split into four components, and hidden away upon the three worlds, and in the places in between. Wanting to repair their worlds but unwilling to destroy their children's creations, they chose instead to create a race of mortal creatures and imbue them with a small portion Dracus' creative power. They then created the gods who lacked this ability to guide the work, and placed Dracus over-top of them, sealing away his power unless Nerca should escape.

For many millennia Mortal and god toiled together, and revived the forests, rebuilt the mountains, returned life to the seas. Over time the Mortal race, known as the First Ones, began to take on traits that help them survive, thrive and care for their region. In time the Elves, Dwarves, Minator, Halfling, Orc, Lizard Folk, Cat Folk, Raptorian and Gnome, became separate species. Each contented with their lands and purpose. Some of the First ones had not taken on any of the traits as they wondered from land to land. When the work was complete the elder gods gathered up these ones pronounced them Humans and created a new god called Man in which to watch and guide them. With their work complete the Elder Gods left the worlds to do other tasks and to create other worlds.

Many years passed. Nerca's intelligence was trapped within the spaces between the three worlds, and soon the Races began travel these paths between the worlds, Nerca began to whisper to these travelers offering them power, and knowledge. All that was required was to travel to a certain location and invoke a simple spell, one within the power of even the simplest of Mortals. Most of the Mortals of the elder races disregarded these whispers, but the Humans who were born last had no land to call their own, were sorely tempted, most took the matter up with Man their God. Some however investigated these whispers and soon, Humans had Magic that none of the others had, soon they had acquired lands, thru war, diplomacy, and mercantile means.

Thus the Equilibrium was broken, Humans, occupied lands that belonged to others. Soon the others races were in conflict. As more and more races entered the conflict more and more entered the pathways. Nerca again, and again offered them power and as the conflict escalated more and more mortals turned to Nerca for power. Every time the Spell was invoked she made a stronger and stronger as she connected to her split pieces. Soon she acted cutting the connection between the realms and the inattentive elder gods. And while she was power less to act in any other way at that moment, she was content to draw together her disparate parts over time believing Dracus still dispersed, for surely were he still alive he would have acted.

Soon Each world began to take on its own character, and soon the Gods noticed a change in their followers. As each race stabilized and became more fixed in appearance and traits the more and more creative energy they had left over, and worship seem to confer the use of this energy to the Gods. Soon the Gods themselves entered the race wars and in the end only Mankind, as Humanity had become know, showed any growth. In time new gods formed from this left over energy, much like scavengers seeking left over food. These new Gods were different, and unattached to the Rules left by the elder gods. They sought dominion over aspects of life, rather then the aspects of the land or people.

On Terra Humanity Dominated forming the Empire that conquered the entire planet. The Elder Races were gathered together and new nations formed called protectorates. With a Legion from each of these Nations, and ten Legions from Humanity, and together they rule the world.

The World of Jord went thru many changes, and at one time spent much of their time raiding each other and the other worlds, now things have stabilized into power blocks as the rise of Magic Technology of the Gnomes, and Mundane technology of the Dwarves becomes more and more common place, and began to combine the two. Widely reputed to be the most powerful of all worlds collectively.

On Gaea, No single species gained dominance, instead each community became their own nation. Each species gain a healthy respect for each other, yet this does not stop them from raiding each other. To limit casualties Adventures began forming guilds for their own protection and the protection of their host cities.

The end of the race wars came unexpectedly. When a group of wizards some how found a way to ascend to godhood. However these new gods soon discovered that their power and life force was directly tied to their worshipers. These New Gods called pretender gods began to fight for worshipers and soon a new war began. This War is known as the Pretender War, and has been raging for hundreds of years. Destruction has been keep-ed low by the need for these new gods to covert new followers to their cause for them to gain power. The Race Gods' existence is not tied to the number of worshipers and remain immensely powerful.

New Race Ideas.
On each of the three worlds there is a race unique to that world. On Terra there is the Lifeless (a race of Neutral undead.) on Jord the Warforged (pretty much the Ebberon version of them) while on Gaea there are the Etherials (a Race of living illusion magic). While the Warforged are Identical to the ebberon version, the other two are untouched besides the base idea.

New Class Ideas
The Weapon Mage, uses Magic to summon weapons and armor on the fly, (swift actions). The Weapons/Armor are stored in a trans-dimensional space until needed. The Weapons and Armor, themselves are Magical constructs, and can be altered once a day with a “reforging” process, requiring a Craft Weaponsmithing, or Armorsmithing. (work in Progress)

The Channeling, creates a temporary bond with a daemon or celestial or other outsider, taking on parts of the form, and many of the traits (work in Progress)

Other Ideas
The Enchantment Zones. Law/rule based areas - An example would be an enchanted zone that bans necromancy, or that changes all damage into non-lethal damage. Viewing this as similar to magic circles. (work in Progress)
Meta-Magic Circles - A Magic circle that applies meta magic, Currently experimenting with this in our current campaign. (work in Progress)
Rune Magic - Concept based on drawing painting or engraving runes to produce a magical effect. Campaign wise intended to be for dwarves. (work in Progress)
Character Creation reworking - Adding Steps during character creation (complete with small bonuses) to account for, Birth status, Childhood, Training, and Hook. Ex - Dwarf, Orphan, Human-foundling, Blacksmith, Destruction. would could translate out to a Orphan Dwarf that was taken in by a human Family. Who was apprenticed to a Blacksmith, but took to adventuring after a orc war-band raided his village and destroyed the smithy he owned. Haven't decided what orphan would mean, but Human-Foundliing, will changing things like base languages he would know, what gods he would likely worship, and would translate into a small penalty when dealing with other dwarves, (since he is missing a host of cultural clues), Being trained as a blacksmith provides a +4 to Profession Blacksmith, and a possible +2 to Craft Weaponsmithing, and Armorsmithing. Destruction, gives the reasion he is out adventuring. I know needs work its a --> (work in Progress)

2013-02-09, 12:49 AM
As mentioned in the Above Mythos, the various races "belong" to certain terrain types. This is not to say that by the time of the Pretender Wars, There isn't other races in the world as well. but more on that later.

Elves - Forest
Dwarves - Mountains
Minator - Plains
Halfling - Desert
Orc - Tundra/Arctic
Lizard Folk - Swamp
Cat Folk - Jungle
Raptorian - Air (There are many Floating Mountians/Islands which they care for)
Gnome - Hills

In the Seas there are Merrfolk and other Aquatic species. All the above races are meant to be playable, where ever possible I'll be using existing races from the various books to fill the role. For example the Arctic Orc, from the UA. I will be adding things to the various races (mainly survival and knowlage bonuses in their "Home" terrain)

Humans are not listed since they were created after the "Elder" Races had formed.

Another Race that will likely not be intended as PCs is First Ones. Occasionally, one in a million, chance a first one is born to any of the races. These ones are revered by most races, as a sign of good luck and divine Favor (althou Divine favor had little to do with it) The pretender gods are highly interested in these ones and wouldn't hesitate to start a war or two if they thought they could capture one alive. First ones are Gender Neutral but two of them together can produce children of any race they desire, and even create a new race, via a process that requires divine insight.

2013-02-09, 05:55 AM
I like the idea.

2013-02-09, 04:51 PM
Thanks Zireael, any particular part of the CS or just the entire concept?

The Gods of the Three Worlds

There are Four Catagory of gods in the CS.
The First and most powerful are the Creator Gods, Dracus and Nerca, Both who are restricted from acting by the rules left by the Elder gods. These gods could remake any and all the worlds at any time should they wish it, (and where free to do so). Dracus receives few worshipers, While Nerca is seen as the Origin of magic (even if she is not). and Receives far more worship, although nothing more then shrines exists.

The Second are the Old Gods (also know to some as the Race Lords) These gods are almost universally revered, but their worship is fading. They are Powerful in their given domain. But outside that domain they would be powerless. Their only concern is the care of their lands, no who lives there nor how many of them worship them. They can accumulate and store the creative enery of their followers, and use it when they wish, so a small number of worshipers suit them just fine.

The Third are the New Gods. Born out of the creative energy left over once the races stabilized they clung to aspects of life, which in turn led them to become the God over the Virtues and Vices. In total 14 of them. Those who are acknowledged as demonstrating these Virtues or Vices give some power to these gods, while some People do worship them.

The Last are the Pretender Gods, These Gods are Mortals that became gods, or are Gods directly created by Mortals. Their life force and abilities are directly tied into the number and fervency of their worshipers. (I intend to list the ways Heros/Villians can become a god in their own right) They tend to be very active where ever their worshipers are. and while powerful they still tend to use Mortal magics to accomplish their goals.

Another facet of this world is that the Old gods do not live on separate planes like they do in a traditional setting, (nothing precludes the New gods and the Pretender Gods from this however). Most gods actually inhabit their primary temple, and can be seen on a daily basis. (making attacking or thievery a VERY risky Business). Several of the Old Gods tend to wonder their domains, althou, most will only show themselves to believers, The exception is Man.

Man wanders all roads in any human kingdom (and some times beyond, if there are Humans living in the realm), and will show himself to any one. Al thou he usually maintains the guise of a wizened old man, or an Orphan child (gender doesn't Matter). While so disguised he tests those he runs across. if he likes what he sees he rewards them, and if not punishes them usually in the same manner he was treated, both in a disproportionate amount. Kindness to Kindness, Pain to Pain, Fairness to Fairness and so on. Examples of this include, Gems left in payment for a free meal, or a band of Bandits that attacked him set upon by daemons, or a merchant that traded lodging for work would likely receive a large and beneficial trade contract. These Avatars are apparently disposable and at one time reports say that more then ten separate encounters happened on a single day across the three worlds.

2013-02-19, 03:12 AM
Meta Magic Circles

Meta Magic Circles are an idea that I've been playing around with for a while now. I've actually used it in our current campaign and they seem reasonably balanced so far.

Currently it requires the Feat, Meta Magic Circle Creation, as well as a meta magic feat to to make a circle, but any one using magic inside it will "benefit" from it. Ex, You need Metamagic circle creation and Maximize Spell feat to make a Maximize Metamagic circle or Metamagic Circle and Enlarge for an Enlarge Circle.

The Actual creation can take three forms, Two temporary and one Permanent.

The First Temporary method is with Silvered, or Gold Paint (that is Paint made with actual silver or gold) the creator of the circle spends four hours to paint the circle onto a large flat surface (min 5 by 5) This increases by a factor of two for every size increment, (eight hours for a Large size circle, and sixteen for a huge size circle, standard work day applies). These Circles will stay until used, Silvered Paint ones will work twice before burning out, while Gold ones will last four times. the Silvered paint costs 100gp per 5 foot area, while the Gold paint costs 200gp per 5 Foot area.

The Second Temporary method is using an Item called a Nimbus Quill. (name needs work, am taking suggestions :) ) this item can draw in the air, and is anchored to the user (stays within 5 feet relative to the user of the Quill). This allows with a spellcraft check of 25 or higher to create as a full round action a quick metamagic circle. useable only once before dissipating. I'll be posting the item next with additional rules.

The Permanent method is known as engraving, usually in stone, but any hard non metal heat resistant surface will do. the Creator of the Circle engraves the shape into the material. but this is not enough. He or She must then Pour Silver, Gold, or Platinum into the engraving around 10 pounds worth. this typically takes eight hours to do for a 5 by 5 area. (50g of silver 500gp of Gold, 5000gp for Platinum) it also takes a small investment of the creators Knowledge of Magic to create the circles permanence. (This is an XP cost based on the Level cost of the Meta Magic that the circle emulates, 100xp per level for example Maximize would cost 300xp). The Material used determines how often the circle can be safely used per day. Silver = 3 times Gold = 5 times, Platinum = 7 times. A Circle can be used more then its limit. but there is a 50% chance of spell failure with a 5% cumulative effect per use. On Spell Failure there is a 50% chance the spell will backfire and its effect will target the caster, Area effects spells are confined to the circle itself.

2013-03-01, 03:13 AM
There are many relics left over by the Celestial war that was fought in the preceding era.

Currently my idea is that there are two different types of sites. Song sites, Built by the Celestials, and Blood sites, which were built by the Deamons (all Evil Outsiders).

Song Sites, as the name suggests are activated thru ritual songs. these melodies are not your traditional folk songs, but are actually a form of Truenaming. Any one can with a high enough perform can activate the site and direct its use with a specific song. The most basic of which are healing shrines and can be activated by something as simple as a singing voice. while the most complex of these sites require multiple and specific types instruments to be played in concert. one thing is common while in use these songs are deadly and damaging to Deamons of all sorts while used within these sites. While the inverse is true for any good aligned beings using the site.

The more basic songs can be learned from most of the celestials, at the cost of some service by the mortal, or occasionally as a boon for good deeds. The More complex types of songs require more, usually some form of divine inspiration. Some times however the songs are left in written form (usually Engraved Stone Tablets). the instruments used are often exotic however, causing a -4 on any preform check made by a non-good outsider with the exception of the Voice component.

Song Sites can be used for any thing from Healing shrines to weapons of mass destruction (usually targets only evil but not always). Most Song sites can only be used once in a specific amount of time. Once a week, month, year, decade and so on.

Blood Sites as their name implies requires Blood to activate. The Early Deamons, (not that much has changed) hated each other almost as much as they hated the Celestials. So when they created these monuments they created them to feed of the most powerful source of energy they had available to them at the time, Each other. And while both Celstials and Deamons would be reborn after a time if they died, their death still created massive amounts of magical energy.

Basic Blood sites can use any type of blood as their "fuel" requiring a ceremonial sacrifice of some thing living, and capable of feeling pain. Mechanically this is based of HD. Anything with an intelligence of 3 or less only provides half its HD to the Blood sites HD Requirement. While Celetials provide Double their HD to this requirement.

The Most powerful of sites, have additional requirements the Most common one is that the creature sacrificed must have a sentient soul (that is a creature that was born with a sentient soul not a creation of magic). Other requirements can include, purity, youth, willingness, and some times even awareness, among many other requirements.

Blood sites preformed much the same roles as their Celestial counterparts, From Healing (more or less transferring health) to powerful weapons. The is no limit to the amount of times between uses.

While most folk regularly use Basic or lesser Song Sites, Basic Blood sites are still used from time to time, the users of which are not necessarily evil.

2013-03-03, 03:00 PM
What happens if two sites overlap?

2013-03-04, 03:20 AM
The way I see them nothing, they use two separate methods to gather "magical Energy" to do what they do.

Song sites basically passively charge based on the amount of life around them. Blood sites are charged by deliberate killings at a specific location. Its actually possible to accidentally set off a blood site while song sites Usually require deliberate action to activate.

The only possible way two sites could co-exist is if there was some sort of natural font of magic that the sites make use of.
During the Celestial War, the Deamons and Celestials often destroyed each others sites. but either side was more or less even in strength. with their mutual hatred i don't see them leaving an active site belonging to the opposing side functioning.

in the "Present" time only a small group of Celestials and Deamons know how to build these sites, and would not willingly build over-top one belonging to the other.