View Full Version : Stuff what came out of my head and into MS Word [Campaign Setting, D&D]

2007-04-28, 07:51 AM
Something I hammered out relating to humans in a campaign world. Elves will probably be next.


Humans are the most numerous of what are generally known as the ‘civilised’ races, although some among the elves and dwarves would argue that their prolific breeding and expansionistic tendencies disqualifies them from this grouping. The vast majority of this race are citizens of the Empire of Albion, which occupies a wide expanse of territory dominated by hills and plains, as well as outposts in more distant locales. Those who are not citizens of the Empire are usually outlaws or descended from outlaws, although there are occasional families who live in the lands of other races, most frequently dwarves and aventi.
Humans are unusual among intelligent races in that they are divided into two distinct phenotypes; the Daikini and the Askar. The origins of the divide are lost to history, except that the Askar originated in the south-west and the Daikini in the north-east. Whether one is a split off from the other, or both from some original race, is unknown. Askar are identifiable by their white skin, Daikini by their red hair. Askar have all colours of hair except red, with black being most common, Daikini have all shades of skin except white, with a dark olive being most common. Oddly, while Askar and Daikini breed perfectly, their colouration does not mix; any child of an Askar/Daikini union will appear to be one or the other. Daikini and Askar have eye colours ranging over the entire spectrum. Both are equally tall, heavy and long-lived.
Most of the Empire’s territory is comfortably temperate, and human clothing reflects this; being covering but not confining. Day to day wear for the commons is generally a pair of trousers or a skirt, cloth shoes and an armless vest held together across the front by cord. Wealthier humans generally wear more durable, comfortable and sometimes more complex clothes, but the general outfit remains mostly the same. Jewellery is quite common, going from a simple carving hung on a cord around the neck to a complex headdress of diamonds and silver wiring. Piercing is something either done a lot or not at all; with most having none and a few, mostly the wealthy, having more jewellery worn pierced than not. Tattooing is available from halfling troupes, although the halflings’ claims that the process is very painful and requires a full anaesthetic make many humans somewhat suspicious of their motives. A more common form of body decoration is scarification. Professionals of this art can be found even in smaller settlements, and it is quite inexpensive. Particular scars are symbols of membership of knightly orders, and these are often extremely complex to discourage forgery.
Humans are not religious in the sense that other races are. This is in part due to the Empire’s unwillingness to allow other organizations to maintain armies, thus greatly limiting the potential power of cults. For the most part, humans have replaced deity-worship with ancestor-worship, praising long-dead heroes. This is particularly common in the cities, where the most popular object of worship is Arcanis, the founder of the Empire. In more rural areas, some humans worship Ehlonna, Heironeius or Olidammara, depending on whether they are closest to elves, dwarves or gnomes respectively. Others have developed a vague animism, praising the sun, the rain and the earth for growing crops. Spirits of animals are often added to this, with cows, sheep and dogs being the most common recipients. Chickens, for some reason, are never honoured with a patron spirit.
The animal most associated with humans is the dog, followed closely by the griffon. Dogs are mostly used, of course, for hunting and guarding, although they are also used by farmers to control other animals such as sheep. Griffons are the archetypal mount for a human warrior, prized for their wings, strength and intelligence. However, the griffons’ hunger for horseflesh means that humans have never been able to successfully integrate equine cavalry into their society, and human-elf relations have many times grown tense after a griffon has snacked on an elf’s favourite mount. More agriculturally, cows, sheep and goats are the most common animals, not including the ubiquitous chicken, several of which are kept in every home even in urban areas. The vast saturation of chickens in human society has led to them being featured in many aphorisms, mostly in reference to their stupidity, tastiness or lack of brawn. It has also, at one point, caused the slaughter of a town when the chickens spontaneously grew to eight feet tall and began to breath poisonous gas, although the Order of the Silver Fist has made assurances that the taint causing the mutations has been wiped out.
Human society is divided into several ‘classes’, most notable among them being the nobles, the merchants, the artisans and the commons. The commons are made up of unskilled labourers and subsistence farmers, and are distinguished by their utter lack of wealth and influence. They do, however, receive at least a basic education in even esoteric subjects, and their living conditions have several times been improved after powerful individuals have risen from their numbers and demanded this of the nobility. As a result, commoners are extremely accepting of those who might otherwise be viewed as heavily armed miscreants, particularly if they show no sign of being from a high social class. Sorcerers are particularly likely to receive this treatment.
Artisans are skilled labourers and artists who have gained a wealthy patron. They have much better lives than commoners, and make enough money that with luck they could reach the ranks of the merchant class. They tend to be more appreciative of the social order, particularly as the commons serve as an example of how much worse things could be, and therefore are often suspicious of those who seem likely to upset things.
Merchants are those who are not noble, but who nonetheless can make a living without physical labour. They include some guildmasters, who are technically part of the artisan class but in practise spend all their time with administrative duties, and traders who move goods around the Empire. Traders are often very wealthy, but most of this wealth is invested in their business dealings. As a result, they are often willing to go to some lengths to protect their businesses, including hiring powerful individuals to trailblaze ahead of their caravans or hunt down bandits. While internally competitive, most merchants take a dim view of those who would rob from their colleagues.
The nobility are the rulers of the Empire, and control most of the means of production. Every mine, farm or sawmill has a noble patron who pays the workers and organises the distribution and transport of its goods. As this does not take nearly as long as producing the goods in the first place, nobles often have a great deal of free time. This time is most frequently spent either in political manoeuvrings or personal training. A great many nobles, particularly those unlikely to inherit anything of value, learn spellcraft or swordplay and join an Imperial Order, or even go adventuring themselves.
Family structure among humans is highly dependant upon social class, although all classes are matrilineal. The typical commons family consists of about half-a-dozen adults, their parents and their children, living in the one house. Houses take a great deal of time and effort to build, so the more people living together, the better.
Artisan families vary quite largely dependant on what exactly is the trade, and the size of the settlement they are located in. In smaller towns without guildhalls, most artisans generally live in the same building as their shop, and so families tend to be smaller, with only two or three adult members and their parents and children. In larger towns and cities, where goods are sold in a guildhall, families can be larger.
Merchants have the economic power and social freedom to do more or less what they wish. As many tend to travel frequently, but along a particular route, they are sometimes a temporary part of multiple other families.
Nobles have only slightly less freedom than merchants, although they tend to be much more sedentary. Harems are common among the more lascivious of the noble class, but others prefer not to have the distraction and live alone, devoting their time to their domain or to magical or martial studies.
Humans are on fairly good terms with the other intelligent races. The most obvious example are the gnomes, who are also citizens of the Empire and are welcome in human settlements, although most tend to keep to their own communities in the south-east. The typical human idea of a gnome is clever but impractical, due to their fondness for research into esoteric (or trivial, to many humans’ minds) areas of magic.
Halflings, despite not being legal citizens of the Empire, are permitted to freely travel and are therefore well-known to almost all humans. They are generally considered helpful and entertaining, but somewhat untrustworthy.
Elves do not live in the Empire, and are therefore less well known to humans. They are known to be proud and are often considered capricious but ultimately benevolent. Half-elves are generally thought to be full-blooded elves by those who do not know them personally.
Dwarves, like elves, do not live in the Empire, and are even more rarely seen due to the fact that their strongholds are virtually always under siege by the savage races. Among the merchants who trade with them, they are held to be highly honourable and martial, but are ruthless at the bargaining table.
Aventi are the least well known of the civilised races to humans, but also the most similar. Humans who have contact with the Aventi find them reassuringly or irritatingly similar to their own noble class.
Goliaths dwell within lands claimed by the Empire, but Legion patrols are rare in the high mountains and they are therefore mostly independent. Almost all goliaths within the Empire itself serve the Legion as heavy skirmishers.
Orcs, ogres and goblinoids are in a constant state of war with the Empire, and are therefore considered enemies, and little more. Half-orcs, even rarer than half-elves, are indistinguishable from full-blooded orcs to most humans. Ogres captured by the Legion are subjected to a mysterious process and transformed into berserkers, to be dropped into enemy strongpoints prior to an assault.
Hill giants are the only type of giant often found in the Empire, and are often hired by the Legion as living siege weapons.

2007-04-28, 09:57 PM
Added humans' relations to other races.

2007-04-29, 02:08 AM
Stuff about elves. It's much shorter, by about 1.5 pages, and includes some mechanical stuff.


Elves are the least warlike of the civilised races, due to the absence of hostile, intelligent societies nearby. Instead, they focus their martial talents on keeping the forests and steppes of their homeland free of destructive and powerful monsters. They live in small, nomadic bands, carrying little and trading with humans for what they cannot make themselves.
Elves are of average height among the civilised races, being smaller than humans but taller than dwarves. They are also extremely slender; and elf is much lighter than a human of the same height. As a result of their lesser mass, elven males are less visibly muscular and females less visibly curved than other races, making them rather androgynous to the eyes of others. Elves almost always have black hair, deep brown eyes and skin slightly lighter than the average Daikini human. Half-elves share elven colouration, but are less slender and thus less androgynous. Elven clothes are similar to those of humans, although they typically prefer to use animal rather than vegetable products in their manufacture and almost always disdain shoes in favour of boots. Elven jewellery, on the other hand, is frequently made of wood, as they do not mine and reserve the metal they trade for weapons. Elves do not decorate their bodies directly.
Elves generally revere Ehlonna, and in their legends she was the first elf, who planted the forests in ages past. They tend to be very casually religious; they do not generally pray and never build temples, preferring instead to revere her by their guardianship over her forests. They also sometimes instruct human farmers in her worship, resulting in the spread of the cult of Ehlonna in the rural Empire.
The animal associated with elves is the horse. The domestication of the horse by the elves is another event lost to history, although the elves themselves attribute it to Ehlonna. Horses speed the travel of elven bands, carry them into, around and out of battle. A much less common, but almost as well known, elven mount is the giant eagle, which breed in the numerous tall tors in the Ridgeback Forest. They are most frequently ridden by elf warriors who have mastered archery, to extend their effective range and to keep opponents from closing with them.
Elven society is unspecialised, in marked contrast to humans and dwarves. All elves are capable to some degree in basic tasks such as hunting, building and crafting. Spellcasters are slightly specialised, due to the degree of effort required to gain proficiency, but the leader of a band is simply the most capable, and has no particular privileges.
‘Family’ to elves is indistinguishable in meaning from ‘band’. Elves consider their entire travelling group to be family. Bands are generally composed of about four dozen adults and their children. The majority of the time is spent travelling, with a week or two of rest when a tor is reached. The tors are landmarks and places to leave surplus supplies and messages.
Elves do not meet a great many other intelligent races. They are too far from the coast to encounter gnomes and too far east for dwarves, orcs, ogres or goblins. Their relationship with humans is distant but in the elves’ opinion cordial; elves mostly keep out of the humans’ way except when trading. They do sometimes intervene if they come across a human far away from a settlement if they are obviously in distress, but this is not a common occurrence.
They do occasionally meet halflings when a caravan and a band are in the same town, and they have a certain degree of respect for them as one nomadic society to another. They find the halfling’s preference for urban life quite odd, however.
Elves frequently encounter forest giants, and get along well with them. The giants are also worshippers of Ehlonna, although they tend to dislike the elves claiming her as one of their own.

Elven Mechanical Changes

ØElves do not gain proficiency in the longsword or rapier
ØElves do not gain knowledge of the Elven language (this language does not exist)
ØElves are proficient in the shortspear, spear and longspear. If they gain martial weapon proficiency in spears, they may wield them as if they were one size designation smaller (a spear would become a one-handed weapon, for example) and they may apply the benefit of the Weapon Finesse feat to them if they have it.
ØElves have knowledge of the Sylvan language.
ØElves have favoured class: Scout, not Wizard.

2007-04-30, 08:17 PM
It's late, but here's the stuff about dwarves. It's a little longer than the elven entry, and it also has some mechanical stuff.

Dwarves Dwarves are easily the most warlike of the civilised races, exceeding even the Aventi in their martial zeal. This is unsurprising, as dwarves have been embroiled in a total war for centuries beyond counting. Their fortresses in the Smokewall Range are almost constantly under siege by ogres, orcs and goblinoids, and so skill in combat and magic are in high demand. This has also produced a strictly utilitarian aesthetic in dwarven culture, as there is no longer time or resources to spend on decoration or art.
Dwarves are shorter than elves but not so short as gnomes, but just as broad as humans, giving them a distinctly squat appearance. Their skin and hair is typically fair, and their eyes are very light, typically blue. Unlike elves, dwarves have would humans consider to be exaggerated secondary sexual characteristics: male dwarves are extremely muscular and women equally curvy. This does not appear to affect their physical capabilities, however. Dwarven fashion is simple and utilitarian, like all things they create, and tends to be warm and durable. Jewellery is all but unknown, although necklaces of the teeth or other bones of slaughtered foes are fairly common among the higher ranked soldiers. Like elves, dwarves do not decorate their bodies directly.
Dwarves primarily worship Heironeius, although religion is not a large part of their society. They do not tell legends about their god, or even believe that he existed as a real person, but instead hold him up as an ideal warrior, as something for dwarves to strive for. The cult of Heironeius has not spread to humans as Ehlonna has, mostly because the dwarves’ religion is a method, whereas the elves’ is a goal.
Unlike other races, dwarves do not incorporate animals into their society to any great degree, mostly because cavalry is rather ineffective underground. They do, however, farm bats and giant lizards for food and leather.
Dwarven society is organised like a military, because that’s what it is. All dwarves are considered conscripts, and specialise in whatever they are deemed to be skilled at. The lowest rung of society are unranked warriors, who provide ranged support with crossbows when in combat and basic labour when not, generally farming and low skill, high volume crafting (ammunition and backup weapons, for example).
Above them are full ranked warriors, who fight with spears and hammers, and specialists in something other than combat; mostly craftsmen, but also sages and healers. Veteran warriors unable to fight due to age or injury are in this rank as trainers.
The next rank up are sergeants, who also serve as farm overseers. Lieutenants and battle-ready spellcasters are next, and so it goes until the highest rank, Lord Marshal or Lord Militant, is reached. There is generally either one Lord Marshal or three Lords Militant, but different strongholds have varying traditions of leadership.
Female dwarves are discouraged but not barred from pursuing a position in the front lines, mostly because the loss of even a handful of females can cripple a stronghold for years. As a result, master archers and spellcasters in dwarven armies have a very high female : male ratio, and infantry is the opposite.
Family is not an important concept to dwarves; they maintain records of genealogy, but children are not raised by their parents for any great length of time. When their mother returns to battle, children are cared for by other pregnant or nursing women or those too old or young to fight. Dwarven couples, however, can be transferred to other units in order to stay together, although this is a low priority compared to battle effectiveness.
Dwarves have a good deal of contact with humans, as human traders are sometimes all that keeps the dwarven armies supplied. Dwarves appreciate humans’ grasp of tactics and combat, but often find them disconcertingly unconventional and undisciplined. Other than humans dwarves have the most contact with orcs, goblinoids and ogres, but this is mostly hammer-to-skull type contact. Millennia of war has made ‘kill’ almost a reflexive action for dwarves when confronted with one of these races.

Dwarven Mechanical Changes

ØDwarves have weapon familiarity with the Dwarven Battlehammer instead of the Waraxe. Use the same statistics, but the Battlehammer does bludgeoning damage instead of slashing.
ØDwarves have abilities modifiers -2 Dex, +2 Con. These replace the standard modifiers.
ØDwarves have favoured class: Crusader.

2007-05-02, 11:26 AM
Interesting, i would like to know a bit more about the world though

2007-05-02, 10:38 PM
Interesting, i would like to know a bit more about the world though

What specifically are you interested in knowing about?

2007-05-02, 10:55 PM
You have no idea how strange this looks from the main forum link. It reads, "Stuff what came out of my...".


I note that religion in this world is pretty mild, with the humans outright supplanting the gods with animism and ancestor worship and all other races viewing the gods more as ideals than actual beings. What are the ramifications of this in your campaign world as far as other classes are concerned: Do clerics exist at all, for instance?

2007-05-02, 11:22 PM
I note that religion in this world is pretty mild, with the humans outright supplanting the gods with animism and ancestor worship and all other races viewing the gods more as ideals than actual beings. What are the ramifications of this in your campaign world as far as other classes are concerned: Do clerics exist at all, for instance?

Clerics exist as normal, as do paladins. Favoured Souls don't however.

Clerics tend to serve a cause instead of a cult; there are quite a lot of Lawful Neutral human clerics devoted to the Empire of Albion, for example. Ur-priests don't exist, because stealing divine power isn't a valid concept; it's there for the taking anyway, just like arcane (and possibly psionic, I'm not sure whether or not I'll have it) power is. Druids and rangers operate as normal.

2007-05-03, 05:07 AM
Love the flavour, the dwarves are what I think dwarves should be.

2007-05-04, 09:58 PM
Halflings, no mechanical changes.

Of all the civilised races, only halflings do not have their own lands. Instead, they travel in troupes within the lands of humans, trading and selling their skills. They are not considered citizens of the Empire, and are thus not eligible to own land, but their agreement with Emperor ensures their freedom to travel within his lands in exchange for a tithe of soldier when called upon. The Halfling Irregular Skirmishers are one of the Empire’s most decorated regiments.
Halflings are small even in comparison to gnomes and goblins, but their proportions are almost identical to humans’. Typically, they have brown hair, light tan skin and blue eyes, although black or blonde hair is not particularly rare. The main difference between human and halfling physiology, ignoring size, is the shape of the skull; halfling skulls are very slightly elongated, a trait most clearly observable from the side. Halflings dress just as humans do, generally copying the fashions of the artisan class. They are also the only race that has learned to produce tattoos.
Halflings worship Fharlaghn, a communal spirit of protection and luck when travelling. Most troupes will have a Fharlaghn-worshipping seer who will use her magic to divine the safest path and most beneficial destination. Prayers to Fharlaghn are very short, typically limited to a few words. They rarely even mention the deity’s name, usually using pseudonyms such as ‘Traveller’ or ‘Wanderer’. Unlike the other civilised races, halflings believe that Fharlaghn is a real being and is active in the world, and most can recount a story of a lost troupe member guided back by him. Curiously, he is always visualised as a human, normally with plain brown clothes and a wide brimmed hat.
Halflings have adopted domesticated dogs from humans, using them as mounts, and use oxen to pull their carts. Their own contribution to domestication has been ravens, which they use to transport verbal messages, which the birds will not repeat to a non-halfling.
Halfling troupes have a leader, a seer and an armsmaster. The leader has responsibility for the troupe as a whole, deciding where they will go, negotiating with the rulers of human settlements and allocating the troupes’ resources. The seer advises the leader and armsmaster, attempts to divine the future and deals with any magical problems that may come up. The armsmaster directs the troupe in the event of an attack and drills the other halflings in combat.
Rather like elves, halflings consider their troupe to be synonymous with their family, other troupes being analogous to an extended family. Troupes are much larger than elven bands, though, often numbering up to one hundred halflings.
Despite their almost constant contact, halflings are intensely secretive about the inner workings of their society. They do not even speak their language or name their god when a non-halfling might hear. Humans, to halflings, are both defender and potential threat. Their vast numbers, physical stature and skill at arms and magic protect the halflings that dwell in their lands, but equally they could easily turn these things against the halflings should their attitude change.
Beyond humans, halflings have the most contact with gnomes; being the most frequent couriers and general go-betweens for the gnomes and humans. They often mistake the gnomes’ distraction with their magic and machines for elitism and contempt, and the gnomes’ curiosity about the functionality and contents of the halflings’ carts is often met with suspicion.
Halflings very rarely travel into the Smokewall, as unlike human merchants they do not have the ability to request an escort from the Legion. As a result, they very rarely encounter dwarves. They have more contact with elves, and appreciate their respectfulness of the halflings’ privacy.
Being somewhat prone to seasickness, halflings do not travel to the aventis’ Islands in any great numbers. They are the Empire’s main tie to the goliaths, and trade with them frequently. They find the goliaths’ competitiveness incomprehensible and are horrified by the practice of leaving behind those too weak to keep up, but find the goliaths too valuable a trading partner to sever contact on ideological grounds.

2007-05-06, 01:17 AM
Added fashions to the descriptions of each race. I'm doing gnomes at the moment, but I'm not sure whether to go on to the savage races (orcs and goblinoids and ogres, oh my) or to start describing the Empire in more detail. I don't feel like doing the goliaths or aventi yet. Any input?

2007-05-06, 06:23 PM
Gnomes. Very short, I feel as though I've missed something.

Gnomes Gnomes are best described as ‘curious’. Their primary contribution to the world is their never-ending research into magical and natural phenomena. Many of the more subtle or complex spells, as well as a great deal of useful technology, can be attributed to the studies of gnomes. They are a distant second most numerous race of the Empire of Albion.
Gnomes are slightly taller than halflings and quite a bit heavier, due to their slightly denser muscles. They are generally quite dark-skinned and fair-haired, with bright blue eyes. Body adornments, mostly piercings, are popular amongst gnomes.
‘Worship’ is not the right word to describe the gnomes’ relationship with their god, as it is more of an adversarial relationship than supplication. They believe that a being called Boccob has a great library that holds all the knowledge there is, and attempts to prevent others from amassing this knowledge. The gnomes, of course, desire to learn these things themselves, and thus perceive this as a challenge. While they are quite open about their religion, it tends to confuse most other races, so the cult of Boccob has not spread.
While most other races find them irredeemably vicious, gnomes have a knack for taming dire badgers. While they are sometimes used as combat mounts, their most frequent job is the excavation of gnomish homes. Gnomes have a similar connection to other burrowing creatures, and have started experiments on aquaculture, but no other animal has come close to the saturation of dire badgers in their society.
Gnomes have an extremely unstructured society; apart from emissaries to deal with merchants all gnomes are basically equal in rights and responsibilities. The closest to leaders are particularly respected researchers, whose only real privileges are an easier time requisitioning study materials and more chance that someone will listen to their opinions.
Like halflings and elves, gnomes do not usually see a family as a separate social unit.
Gnomes have lived in the Empire for almost as long as it has existed, and get along well with humans, apart from a tendency to assume that humans are as interested in their research as they are. They are also intensely curious about halflings, and are only slightly put off by their sometimes rude rebuffs. While they do not see much of the elves, dwarves or goliaths, as the inventors of the first seaworthy ship gnomes were the first land-dwelling race to make contact with the aventi, and consider them great friends. The problem of how to interact with the aventi in their natural environment without expensive magic is a popular subject among many gnomes.

2007-05-11, 08:02 PM
Changed the dwarven favoured class to Crusader.

2007-05-12, 04:26 AM
Only goblins and hobgoblins so far, bugbears to come later.
Despite their primitive and savage behaviour, goblins are actually equal to the civilised races in intellect. Their apparent savagery is not due to stupidity, but to an inability to focus their minds any great distance into the future. Goblins epitomise the phrase ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’, as they will always choose a lesser, immediate gain over a distant but greater one.
Goblins are small, yellow or orange humanoids, standing slightly taller than halflings but normally hunched over. Their arms are disproportionately long and their legs are typically bandy. They do not often wear armour or use weapons any more complex than rocks unless given them by more industrious races, generally hobgoblins. They can, however, pick up the usage of most weapons very quickly, and are often found scavenging battlefields for weapons. Dwarf-made gear is preferred, despite its size.
Goblins are not a great threat unless organised by another race, or encountered in large numbers. They normally attack with slings and hand-held rocks, or scavenged dwarven or hobgoblin weapons. They are often bribed with weapons and armour by hobgoblins and used as arrow-fodder. Goblins are a main part of the diet of orcs and ogres.

Goblin mechanical changes
Ø Goblins suffer only a -2 penalty when attacking with improvised weapons.

If it were not for their drive to conquer and enslave all before them, hobgoblins would quite likely to be considered civilised. They build permanent structures, encode laws, use money and fight in armies rather than hordes. However, they have no regard for non-goblinoids, and little enough for their own kind. Their society is even more rigidly hierarchical than that of dwarves.
Hobgoblins are tall, dark-orange humanoids, standing about six and a half feet tall. Their most obvious characteristic is that they have no cheeks, and very sharp teeth. Their hair is dark, only grows on the head and is often shaved off entirely. Hobgoblins use weapons and armour that are well-crafted and rigidly standardised; any flaw or error in a weapon results in it being given to goblins.
Hobgoblins are a considerable threat due to their dedication to their cause and their willingness to restrain themselves and conserve their numbers, unlike the seasonal orc hordes. They normally initiate an attack with arrows and spells, waiting for their enemies to approach before engaging in melee unless their enemy is more capable at range. Hobgoblins favour composite longbows, longswords and glaives. They often bribe goblins and bugbears to serve as skirmishers and shock troopers respectively.