Pixie in the Playground
The Wounded Hemisphere: Age of Discovery Setting
The Wounded Hemisphere
The Mood: Imagine a world in an Age of Discovery. However, certain factors make the need for discovery more urgent. With a supernatural threat looming, and the world recently coming out of a thaumaturgical mega-disaster, people are looking abroad for adventure and resources. Of course, humans will be humans (despite a few changes), and even nations nominally allied with each other might start infighting.
II. Allowed Races
V. Notes on Gear
IV. Campaign Styles
The history of the continent of Silea is a long one. One thousand years ago, the nation was naught but city-states and warring tribes. Eventually, one of those city states, Genoa, had created an empire that unified the continent. A standard dating system, Before Foundation (BF) and After Foundation (AF), was adopted with reference to the empire’s founding.
The earliest reliable oral records of tribes go back to 1000 BF or so. Genoa had united the modern-day region of the same name around 500 BF. By 1 AF, the continent of Silea was unified. A few centuries of peace ensued, but internal corruption and barbarian raids destroyed the Empire by about 500 AF. The barbarians settled in the region of Lunther. Several centuries of dark ages followed.
Proto-nation-states formed around this time period. Fighting for land and resources was not uncommon between these fledgling nations. However, an external threat would cause the nationalist lords to consolidate their powers further. Around 900 AF, a fleet from the far eastern nation of Khitan would land on the island of Aire. Using bribery and promises of wealth on the local tribes, Aire became the first colony of a foreign power in Silea.
To date, however, Aire has been the only foreign colony in Silea. The Khitanese have shown more interest in building up Aire as a trading outpost. The hope is by showing how successful Aire is, other nations will eventually join themselves. While regional lords expected the worst, the Khitanese seem more interested in economic developments. However, the Khitanese have allegedly used Aire as a base for their feared zeppelin fleets, and have been conducting spying missions on nearby nations. More than a few skirmishes had broken out as a result, but none have significantly altered the balance of powers in the region.
A worse threat than Khitan was soon to emerge, however. The event that started it was called the Impact. One night in the spring of 950 AF, an object of unknown origin fell from the sky. What appeared to some as a meteor slammed directly into the capitol of Ys. Fragments also hit Genoa to the south, Lunther to the east, and the seas all around. Parts of coastline were blasted underwater. The reigning queen of Ys, Marie III, was killed in the blast. What was even more disturbing was the fact she, and virtually all in the capital city, arose again as undead.
The newly crowned “Lich Empress” began to expand her domain to fill all of Ys. Her attempts to spread undead rule beyond her borders were stopped by an alliance of the other powers in Silea. The Ysian War lasted from 951-956 AF. The resulting conflict devastated most of the continent, even with Khitanese help. Due to the efficiency of native troops, Aire was given a greater degree of autonomy from Khitan.
It has been about forty years since the war ended, and an uneasy peace reigns. In the first generation after the Impact, humans have been born with strange abilities and deformities. Some find niches in society, using their powers to endear themselves to their nations. Others are feared and distrusted, and have turned their backs to society. Both humans and their new cousins, however, realize the need for tolerance if civilization is to survive.
Another grim realization has come across Silea. Ys has likely been gearing up for another war. The specter of Khitan still looms over all. The smaller nations realized they needed access to more raw materials to even stand a chance against Ys. With most of the world unexplored, many of the world’s nations decided to build colonial empires of their own. Khitan, though mighty, has apparently stopped to catch their breath. Now is time someone might be able to rise, challenge them, and perhaps even replace them. However, that day seems a long way off. For now, nations still have to explore before they colonize. The call is going out for explorers, whether they plan to seek gold, glory, or spread the word of their God.
II. Allowed Races
Humans are the dominant race in Silea, with several offshoots due to the Impact. The following races are allowed, and their names in the setting are in parenthesis:
Humans, from PHB
Half-Elves (Faeborn), from PHB
Dwarves (Scrapers), from PHB
Elves (Insomniates), from PHB
Gnomes (Mound Dwellers), from PHB
Halflings (Rippers), from PHB
Half-Orcs (Bruteborn), from PHB
Adventi (Kazari), from Stormwrack
Neanderthals, from Frostburn
Illumians (Biblomancers), from Races of Destiny
Elan (Resonators), from Expanded Psionics Handbook
Spirit-folk (Harmonics), from Oriental Adventures
Warforged (Soulshells), from Eberron Campaign Setting
Asheranti (Sanddivers), from Sandstorm
Aasimar (Ascendants), from Races of Destiny
Tieflings (Sulfurites), from Races of Destiny
Other Races: Some mutations were more radical than others, and the Impact produced several strange results. These more rare mutants might be elves, dwarves, orcs, or something close enough. Check with your DM if you are interested. Be sure to explain their back-story, however. It is also important to take into account their relations with humans and more “human looking” subspecies. The less human one looks, the more likely they will be discriminated against. It should be noted that all characters, even humans, must choose a nationality.
Humans: The standard race in the setting. Humans have several nations, and can be both welcoming and xenophobic of the new “sub-races.” They live in all the nations, even Ys.
Insomniates: Note all of the mutations caused by the Impact were beneficial. The Insomniates are one such example. They were robbed of one of the most precious gifts of all, sleep. Insomniates are named for the fact sleep is no longer required by them, and their bodies’ metabolism has dramatically accelerated. Due to changes in their metabolism, they no longer can achieve deep sleep, though they require some rest. Such periods of “rest” often entail the Insomniate attempting vainly to relax, as their nervous system now is thaumaturgically attuned to even the finest details. Due to a fast metabolism, they appear as thin, gaunt parodies of normal humanity. Their primary concerns are eating, drinking, and reproduction, in that order. Many are faster, but lack internal strength. They are often found in Skye and Lunther.
Faeborn: The Faeborn are a sub-race with a knack for arcane magic. Many can innately use it, while others must study it. Many also feel connections with nature, often live in the country. They are most common in Skye, but exist in all nations.
Scrapers: Some communities in Lunther relied mining as a village profession. During the impact, many communities took refugee in their mines, isolating themselves from the outside world. A generation later and some arcane run-off later, the results are apparent: Stocky, shorter individuals with gruff mannerisms and plagued by inbreeding. Since most remote villages were not very diverse, it was only a matter of time before inbreeding effected them.
Mound Dwellers: In some places in Silea since the Impact, strange mounds are formed in the ground, with reports of strange lights and humanoids around them. Many of these mounds are perfectly round, and seem hollow inside, but few enter these. Since the Ysian Wars, the number of strange mounds has increased dramatically. The so-called mound dwellers have also adapted to life underground in confined spaces. The mounds were originally used as ad hoc shelters from the Impact, but contact with something strange belowground made the mutations more common than anticipated.
Rippers: The Rippers are another example of harmful mutation. Due to a failure in the digestive system, they need to consume fresh meat from other organisms. It is this savage dependency on meat that gives them their name, as less moral bands of them have no qualms about cannibalism. They often inhabit the most remote parts of Kesan, feared by even the hardy nomads. More ethical ones often raise cattle and sheep to be slaughtered, but resort to necrophagy in dire straits. The more feral ones often have little intelligence, and make clothing out of the skins of their fallen foes. As one explorer said, “They’ll eat us alive, rape what’s left, and stitch our remains into their clothing. And if we’re lucky, it will be in that order.”
Bruteborn: The Bruteborn are one of the most discriminated against offshoots. The Impact deformed them physically, and caused mental retardation in many cases. However, they are renowned for physical prowess, and a few have overcome their own mental shortcomings. They are fairly evenly spread throughout Silea.
Kazari: The Kazari hailed from the region of Kazar, which was a part of Genoa near Kesan. During the Impact, a meteor fragment blasted their homeland underwater. By some strange effect, the survivors gained the ability to breathe underwater. One of the first offshoots, the Kazari have set up a number of underwater settlements, and often trade with both Kesan and Genoa.
Neanderthals: The Neanderthals are not so much a new offshoot as a resurgence of an old one. There is some debate whether pockets of Neanderthals have remained in artic regions before the Impact. Opinion is divided between those who believe the Neanderthals are survivors of the age of cavemen, or some mutation that coincidently resembles earlier humans. Regardless, Neanderthal tribes inhabit remote regions in the northern parts of Skye and Lunther.
Biblomancers: The Biblomancers were an example of one type of offshoot that banded together for mutual survival. The origins of the Biblomancers is uncertain, but a common rumor circulates as to their origins. The story goes that after the Impact, a few humans in Ys managed to survive both the meteor and the undead. Venturing to the impact site, they found a strange building within the meteor, and a library full of tomes of some unknown language. While they initially could not read the tomes, when they were examined again, they were immediately comprehensible. Soon afterwards, they devoted themselves to studying the tomes, and became like they were presently. Many Biblomancers have obsession with literature, writing, and related pursuits. Some have even created worlds from literature, using the strange language that birthed them. Biblomancers are rare, but spread fairly evenly throughout Silea.
Resonators: Many Genoans born shortly after the Impact exhibited psychic powers. Using such powers came instinctively, and many turned attention inwards, instead. Musing on the mysteries of life and countless philosophical questions, many saw advantages in augmenting their bodies in psychic energy. Since it gave them strength and conviction, many turned their philosophies into a source of strength. Resonators normally are ardent in their causes, as it is what literally sustains them. Even those who “lose heart” are able to hold themselves together. Many have long since migrated to other areas of Silea, but most reside in Genoa.
Harmonics: The Impact saw the influence of otherworldly materials crashing onto the planet. It is not unsurprising many felt that harmony with natural elements would comfort them. Even before the Impact, there was a magical ritual that allowed one to merge minds with nature spirits. The result was an entity sympathetic to a particular element of nature. After the Impact, the number of people doing this ritual skyrocketed. Due to the high number of druids in Skye, most harmonics reside there.
Soulshells: In Khitan, arcane magic is technology. Using arcane magic, it is possible to transfer the soul between forms. It’s unsurprising that someone had the idea of creating a metal body to house a human soul. Using a variation of the Magic Jar spell, one’s consciousness can be transferred to a new metal form, often called a soulshell. Of course, a walking, sentient construct is strange enough to human society. It is mainly those truly obsessed with machines and survival that undergo the procedure. Soulshells are more robust than biological forms, but have social stigma at not being very “human.” After the Impact, many people in each nation did this procedure to avoid the biological effects of mutation.
Sanddivers: Much of Kesan’s eastern portion is desert. Many nomadic tribes inhabited the region, but some strange mutations happened after the Impact. Some infants were born with the ability to swim through the sand like water. At first, many tribes were fearful, but soon realized how useful such abilities were. Some Sanddivers congregate in their own groups, having been exiled from fearful tribes. While most common in Kesan, they can be found emigrating to other regions.
Ascendants: In many Silean nations, religion states that it is possible to achieve enlightenment transcending human. It is said many, though prayer and mediation, can allow an angel into their bodies. The celestial entity and the host mind then become one, allowing for a human mind to briefly “ascend” as the angel gives it wisdom. After the Impact, many found religion, and this process is more common. Sometimes, however, the angel is a fallen one…
Sulfurites: If it is possible to let an angel into your body, than the reverse is presumably true. Many demonic and diabolical cults claim the Impact and Ysian War was a sign of the coming “Age of Evil,” and have allowed demons share their consciousness. The sulfurites’ names comes from the fact many often reek of brimstone and sulfur, even without a fire present. Sometimes, even a demon or devil sharing the mind of a person might attempt to redeem itself…
Depending on your DM, any class from any book can be allowed. However, some classes have been altered superficially to better fit with the setting. Many classes, as described below, often come from different nations. Keep in mind all classes are found worldwide, but many often come from a single region.
Feats: Simple Weapons Proficiency now adds both the pistol and musket from DMG.
Base Classes, from PHB:
Barbarian- Most come from remote parts of Lunther, Skye, Kesan, frozen north, or the eastern steppes.
Bard- Often spies and envoys in Skye, storytellers in Kesan, and also used as clerks and record-keepers.
Cleric- Common worldwide, and can use belief in ideals in place of deities.
Druid- Most common in Skye.
Fighter- Common worldwide, especially in Lunther.
Monk- Can now use both pistol and musket from DMG, and “Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering)” is added to skills list. Often come from around Silea to train in Aire’s monasteries, which instruct both martial arts and mechanics. Multiclass artificer/monks are not unheard of.
Paladin- Standard, except in the case of Kesan. Kesani paladins often prefer lighter armor and desert mounts.
Ranger- Common in the wilderness of Skye, Kesan, and Lunther.
Rogue- Can now use both pistol and musket from DMG.
Sorcerer- Found commonly in Ys and Skye.
Wizard- Often trained by top magic schools in Aire, Genoa, and Lunther.
From Eberron Campaign Setting:
Artificer- Can now use both pistol and musket from DMG. Mainly trained in Aire’s arcane schools, and multiclass artificer/monks are not unheard of.
From Expanded Psionics Handbook:
Wilder- Especially common in Genoa, but smaller numbers exist in Lunther.
Psion- Especially common in Genoa, but smaller numbers exist in Lunther.
Soulknife- Especially common in Genoa, but smaller numbers exist in Lunther.
Psychic Warrior- Especially common in Genoa, but smaller numbers exist in Lunther.
From Complete Psionic:
Lurk- Especially common in Genoa, but smaller numbers exist in Lunther.
Ardent- Especially common in Genoa, but smaller numbers exist in Lunther.
Divine Mind- Especially common in Genoa, but smaller numbers exist in Lunther.
From Complete Warrior:
Samurai- Renamed “Landsknecht,” a warrior sworn to one of the warlords of Lunther.
Swashbuckler- Common, especially among the Ysian refugees and Genoans.
Hexblade- Common among Ysians.
From Complete Arcane:
Warlock-Very common among Ysians.
Wu Jen- Renamed “Elementalist.” Often represented by exiles from Khitan who live in Aire.
Warmage- Top warmage academies are run by both Aire and Lunther, though a few smaller ones have started elsewhere.
From Complete Adventurer:
Scout- Often found among the Kazari at sea, but many live in Skye, and lesser numbers in other nations.
Ninja- Renamed “Infiltrator,” a more generic specialist in stealth and sneaking around.
Spellthief- Common in Skye and Aire. Many Biblomancers seeking arcane items take this class.
Psithief- More common in Genoa, but otherwise same as the spellthief.
From Complete Divine:
Shugenja- Renamed “Theologian,” a sage who studies the primal flows of magic.
Favored Soul- Most common among Ascendants all around Silea, or individuals who received visions.
Spirit Shaman-Common among Neanderthal tribes, highland clans in Skye, and Kesani desert nomads.
From Heroes of Horror:
Archivist-Common in Lunther and Aire.
Dread Necromancer-Very common among Sulfurites.
Several nations make up Silea. While Ys is the threat they primarily face, Khitan also hovers ominously offshore, with intentions unknown. Each character should select a nationality. It is important to keep in mind that just because a character is ethnically from a nation, he does not have to obey the stereotypes of that nation. Perhaps the reason they are an adventurer is that they must support eccentric habits. Even those who constantly roam often favor one spot more than others.
Government: Meritocratic Bureaucracy
Summary: Despite being a colony of Khitan, Aire is practically autonomous. Since Khitan is half a world away, Aire to has joined the exploration and colonization game to ensure it can defend itself locally. Aire is the most “advanced” region of Silea in terms of technology and magic. It was here that gunpowder weapons were first mass-produced. Production of all sorts of arcane machines goes on here, from self-propelled ships, to zeppelins, to strange submersibles, and all sorts of wondrous machines. In terms of politics, civil servants and leaders are selected based on a set of grueling exams. Khitan intervenes little, as most people support their relationship to their motherland based on cultural ties. Aire, after all, is merely a microcosm of what Khitan is.
Demographics: The middle class is the largest class here. The efficient education system ensures even the common people have some sort of technical and arcane knowledge. Recently, Aire has been more friendly towards Silean powers. Without their technical expertise, installing sewers and running water in other nations would’ve been impossible. Most people here have both Silean and Khitanese heritage. Some of the original Aire natives still live, but they are becoming increasingly assimilated into the new Aire culture. Many soulshells also reside here, as this is a place well suited for them.
Lifestyle: Most citizens are born, study hard as children, study harder as young adults, and hopefully end up near the top of the social pile. Running water, magical appliances, and arcane industries ensure they have items most Sileans would consider exotic. To Aireans, it’s simply mundane. Citizens often live in close quarters with each other. Thankfully, hygiene is a top priority to most, and some of the most cantrips are hygiene-related.
Commonwealth of Genoa
Government: Psychic Confederacy
Summary: Genoa is one of the oldest nations in Silea, experiencing more ups and downs then a stage coach riding on a rocky road. Since the fall of the Genoan Empire, the region has been a place of warring city-states. It was in city-states when the Impact occurred. The following generation had several individuals to develop psionic powers, which caused allowed a psychic, aristocratic elite to rise. This warring elite eventually yielded to the strongest psychic, who hailed from the city of Genoa. Backstabbing and covert plans for rebellion continue, though in extremely complicated ways, since most leaders have psychic powers and telepathy. Many Genoans see potential for a new overseas empire, since Khitan has paused. Likewise, if one city-state was to acquire foreign colonies, it would be in a position of dominance. Many leaders here are masters of propaganda, even without mind-control. After all, how does one know what one “really thinks” when ideas can be manipulated like clay?
Demographics: Most Genoans are a blended lot. Some have fair Lunther complexions, while others have darker skinned Kesani heritage. Psychic powers are very common, and allow citizens to read thoughts. Due to this, Genoan society is often open. It does not matter what one looks like, but one thinks like. Of course, some leaders have set up “secret police” to read the minds of suspected dissidents. However, total thought control of a city-state is something impossible for all but the most powerful psychics. Thankfully for Genoa, no such psychics have lived, yet.
Lifestyle: With psychic powers being common, most citizens are aware of what their neighbors are thinking, and most attempts to mind control someone. Lifestyles and day-to-day routines often depend on what city-state one lives in. Some might be developed and modern, others might be rural and filthy. Likewise, one might live in fear of one ruler, but in adoration of another. While total mind control remains unfeasible, careful suggestion remains something not uncommon.
Government: Theocratic Monarchy
Summary: A kingdom somewhere between deserts and fertile plains, Kesan was forged by the Sultan and his elite Janissaries. Since the Impact, most citizens have moved into underground cities. Originally used as catacombs and ways to escape the desert heat, the former necropoli were used as shelters. Since then, the Sultans have traditionally defended their domain and expanded into the desert somewhat. Due to overland trade routes, Kesan is right along the primary road between Khitan and Silea. They charge high rates for overland transport, so they gain profits as middlemen. Before the Impact, they were rivals with Genoa for trade routes and outposts. Now, they are ardent supporters of the alliance against Ys.
Demographics: Kesan is a diverse kingdom, both in terms of ethnicities and offshoots. The Sanddivers originated here, and often are hired as guides for trade caravans crossing the desert. The Sultan has imported elephants for use in his armies, and often uses them to haul around gigantic cannons.
Lifestyle: Day to day life in Kesan is surprisingly comfortable for a desert land. A chain of Sultans well informed on public works has made life easier, especially the aqueducts and sewers installed with the help of the Aireans. Most people are acclimated to the heat, and it is only the deep desert nomads who undergo day-to-day struggles for survival.
Celestial Bureaucracy of Khitan
Government: Meritocratic Bureaucracy
Summary: Khitan is unquestionably the most powerful nation in the world. With a culture that stretches back to before most Silean nations had writing, the most brilliant wizards and scientists in the world, and the largest population, Khitan is truly a titanic power. Khitan, oddly enough (but perhaps thankfully for Silea), has little interest in militaristic expansion. Even when Aire was being colonized, Khitan used a combination of bribes, economic deals, and treaties with the locals. Aire has approached other nations with similar deals, but so far, most have declined. While Aire is autonomous, it is still only a microcosm of Khitan’s full power. In terms of politics, ancient soulshells fill many government positions, creating an environment where ancient, intricate plots for power are constantly set in motion. Such conspiracies rarely end in bloodshed, though. Compared with Genoan politics, however, Khitan’s own plots are larger, but far “tamer.” Instead of assassinating a rival minister, for instance, there might be a plan to have him step down by publicly revealing his illegitimate children.
Demographics: Khitan is ethnically homogenous, for the most part. However, as they gained colonies, ethnically diverse people were added to Khitan. Over time, most were assimilated, though many times, locals struggled to retain their culture. Khitan normally allowed “cultural reservations” for small pockets of such cultures, while most members were ethnically absorbed into Khitanese culture.
Lifestyle: All the development of Aire is nothing compared to Khitan. Compared with other nations in the world, Khitanese citizens live in the lap of luxury. There are social welfare programs, infinite resources conjured from nothing, and nearly limitless magical energy. However, most of the Khitanese middle class is politically apathetic, as the government is a benevolent despotism. Executions are rare, as magical-rehabilitation is used on most repeat offenders. However, the nation’s rise seems to have slowed for a moment, as it turns inwards to build even more infrastructure.
The Lunther Principalities
Government: Feudal Commonwealth
Summary: Lunther, like Genoa, is divided among several regional warlords. While Genoan city-states prefer political wrangling to outright war, the various rulers of Lunther prefer war. Infighting is constant and common in Lunther, but less so since the Impact. Lunther itself is a patchwork of feudal terror Tories who elect an emperor or empress (“Kaiser” in the local dialect) after the previous one dies or resigns. Until recently, the post of Kaiser has been an impotent and largely ceremonial one. Recently, however, this has changed. A former princess and female Kaiser has taken the post, and has taken steps to unify her country. However, with Ys becoming more powerful, serious opposition to her is nonexistent.
Demographics: Lunther is a diverse territory, stretching from the frozen north to a more temperate climate. The people, however, do not have much of a unified sense of “Luntherian,” and often introduce themselves as being from their respective principalities, rather than simply saying “Lunther.” The new Kaiser, however, has changed this in some of the more developed cities.
Lifestyle: War, skirmishing, and combat training make up a chief concern of Luntherians. Even if there are no real foes, one had better be prepared. Even if the princes and princesses finally unified, there’s brigands and barbarians that often raid from the eastern steppes. Lunther, however, borders Ys and often supplies experienced soldiers to defend the borders. It is said Lunther is not a country with several armies, but several armies with a country.
Druidic Isle of Skye
Government: Magocratic Oligarchy
Summary: Skye is perhaps the most ardent supporter of the alliance. Skye itself has several problems. As a very ecologically minded nation, Skye limits population growth and urban expansion. Several sewers from Aire were added recently, but only with the utmost care to preserve local ecosystems and environments. The leaders are a council of arch-druids, who ensure a balance between growth and nature. While their cities and towns pale in comparison to others, they often are the cleanest and lack smog. In addition to this, the druids that Skye provides are a great help in healing land destroyed by the Impact, as well as calming seas for their allies’ ships, and other environmental projects. The rangers and scouts often help expeditions into unknown terrain as well.
Demographics: In addition to humans, Skye has a significant populations of faeborn and harmonics. These three groups often find solace in nature, and prefer rural living. Widespread use of magic makes communications much easier. This, as well as understanding of camouflage and guerrilla tactics, makes a force of soldiers from Skye a combat strength disproportionate to their actual numbers.
Lifestyle: Much of life in Skye revolves around wilderness and proper veneration of the environment. Even people who live in Skye’s few cities often are taken into the woods for long portions as a child. Few in Skye avoid the outdoors, though those that do often move to other nations. Aire is just off their coastlines, after all. Ys, however, is right across a channel from them, so a strong navy and use of magically tamed sea monsters help keep the coastlines clear.
The Undying Empire of Ys
Government: Despotic Magocracy
Summary: Ys is perhaps the most feared nation in Silea. It is a land so utterly transformed by the Impact, that the few humans who inhabit this blasted landscape are as evil as the undead monstrosities that rule it. That is the propaganda that the other nations of Silea often tell themselves. And it’s mainly true. Some parts of Ys superficially resemble pre-Impact terrain, but often have things subtly wrong with them, such as even small animals transforming into monstrosities. Such sites are often used to fool any invaders into lowering their guard. The government of Ys is the Lich Empress, who often works through other sapient undead nobles.
Demographics: The vast majority of Ysian population comprises non-sapient undead, such as zombies. Few humans live in this harsh land. Those that do normally made some pact with the fell powers that rule here. Humans exist below non-sapient undead, but are necessary as they increase the population. The top is run by the Lich Empress and nobility. Below even humans are vampires, who must beg humans for blood and often live in shantytowns and hovels near human settlements.
Lifestyle: The few humans here are literally bred to death, then slaughtered and reanimated into non-sapient undead. A small human “nobility” exists, who are transformed into sapient undead upon death. Such “nobles” are normally either native Ysians or traitors from other nations who helped Ys in combat or other ways. Human nobles normally have most physical and emotional desires tended to.
The Silean Defense Alliance: This is an often uneasy alliance and mutual defense pact against Ys. Aire, Genoa, Kesan, Lunther, and Skye are the primary member states. Khitan is an observer member and no friend of Ys. Technically, Aire is not allowed to make treaties on its own, but no one in Khitan protested when Aire joined the alliance. The regional autonomy is a bonus for them, since it helps keep potential rival powers friendly and an even worse threat contained. While the occasional skirmish might erupt between member states, the threat of Ys remains constant and apparent. Now, many allied states are competing with each other to settle and colonize new lands. While Aire is a colony itself, Khitan has allowed it to set up a ring of “defensive outposts” and has been very liberal with the language. Ys, however, is rumored to be trying to explore territories on its own…Their symbol is a circle with six smaller rings on it, each representing a member nation.
Followers of the Almighty: The largest religion in Silea and Khitan. It is a monotheistic religion, though not in the classic sense. There is no centralized clergy, no rituals set in stone, and no deities other than a single creator, called the Almighty. The theology of the organization is essentially deism. The basic idea is that the Almighty created the universe, but does not intervene because It desires all sapients to help each other. The Almighty is referred to as an “It” because human ideals of male and female are seen as “artificial constructs.” The logic is a being beyond human comprehension would also be beyond narrow gender stereotypes. The Followers are run by a circle of democratically elected, highly-ranked philosophers. Their symbol is the
Children of the Machine God: This is the closest thing to a “religious bureaucracy” in Silea and Khitan. Originally a group of Khitanese engineers, the group set up in Aire and began to recruit from the locals. Eventually, this group became official, and became the chief agency for inventing and manufacturing arcane technology in Silea and Khitan. Their monastery-factories train both monks and artificers. Overlap between the two is not uncommon. They are most common in Aire, but have made inroads to Lunther. The theology of the group holds that the laws of the universe are mechanistic, the Almighty is a ‘supreme clockmaker’ of sorts, and one can understand, utilize, and bend these laws through study and practice. They work closely with the Followers when facing possible Ysian infiltration. Their symbol is a gear with eight points, and an eye in the middle. They have eight core virtues: Adaptability, Creativity, Focus, Honesty, Logic, Moderation, Restraint, and Versatility. Monks in this order increase strength by augmenting themselves with arcane machine parts, but are statistically identical to normal monks.
Real World Analogs: For languages and names, use the following languages for an easy reference for names and words.
Aire and Khitan: Mandarin
Skye: Gaelic or English
V. Notes on Gear
-Black powder weapons are allowed, and considered covered under the “simple weapons proficiency.”
-The Arms and Equipment Guide has the arcane vehicles that Khitan and Aide manufacture.
-The “katana” is renamed the “moon-blade,” and is considered an exotic weapon.
-Characters are considered to have “basic gear,” such as a change of clothes, personal hygiene items, journal, etc. Assume this gear is part of each character’s starting equipment, but is of inconsequential value and the weight is negligible.
-Gear, equipment, feats, and prestige classes from the following books are allowed, though background information might have to be altered to fit:
-Dungeon Master’s Guide
-Player’s Handbook I and II
-Monster Manual I, II, and III
-Expanded Psionics Handbook
-Eberron Campaign Setting
-Heroes of Horror
-Oriental Adventures (DM permission needed, Chinese flavor preferred)VI. Campaign Styles
(Notes: This assumes your characters are working for the Allied nations, rather than Ys. Perhaps instead, you can play group of Ysian infiltrators if you dislike the Alliance. Of course, you need good reasons for betrayal…)
There are several ways to have a campaign, but here are some questions to ask about your characters and group, first:
-Who is your character? Where are they from? What is their story? How do they feel about other nations? Just because their nations are in an uneasy peace does not mean they’ll get along. Perhaps your Genoan character dislikes Luntherians because a loved one was killed in a skirmish?
-How are the other characters? Where are they from? Any prejudices?
-What does the party think about colonization? Is it right to invade other countries for resources? Or perhaps they prefer mutual gain and gradual cultural diffusion? Will they prefer long term friendship and stability, or short term land grabbing? How about thoughts on “civilizing” the locals? Do native cultures have merit, or are they rightfully the prey of stronger nations? If so, by whose law?
-What are their thoughts on religion? While most people are deists, deism is an extremely versatile religion. Any two clerical domains can be added, conceivably, so long as they have a consistent “theology” behind them.
-Are they one of the human offshoots? Do they have pride in what they are? How did people in their homeland treat them? Respectfully, or cruelly, or perhaps both?
-Where is the focus of your campaign? Will you venture forth to the unknown, stop Ysian border raids (or vice versa), visit Khitan halfway across the world, explore a new trade route, uncover more facts about the Impact, or perhaps all of the above?
-If you are going on a colonization mission, where are you going, and how are you getting there? What will you do with any natives? What if the natives are friendly? What if they’re hostile? What if they’re isolationist? What if they’re more advanced? What if they’re primitive?
-How will you colonize? Make beneficial deals with the locals, kill anyone who looks at you funny, or a bit of both?
-Perhaps another nation’s already established a colony where you want to settle. How do you handle it? Invade them? Compromise with them? Gradually work to build their trust and then backstab them when they least expect it?
-How will the other nations react to a new colony? Establish a joint colony? Work to grab nearby land to stop a rival’s expansion? Perhaps Ys will take advantage of the infighting between Alliance members, and work to build a colonial empire of its own?
-Keep in mind different ways to travel to new lands: Land via foot or vehicle, Underdark caves via foot, sea via ships, sky via airships or magic, and teleportation via magic. Airships and teleportation are probably expensive for a low level party, though they might be hired as scouts on a larger expedition.
-What kind of new land awaits the expedition? What sort of people inhabit it? If you are the DM, you should work this out carefully. Perhaps a bid to colonize a land fails when the inhabitants decide to colonize the party’s homeland instead…