"...Avattos stretched out his wings, covering the kingdoms of man, and Maneka fell into darkness..."
In the last age, three vast kingdoms ruled the land of Maneka. They were Kanta, Makso, and Usania, and no other lands of that era rivaled their glory. Each were filled with multitudes of people, riches beyond imagination, and awe inspiring magics. Lacking want, they erected displays of their bounty, chief among them being glass spires that could pierce the heavens. The Manekai were proud of their works, and dreamed to stretch their power further.
Man aspired to reshape the beasts of the earth to their liking, unlock the mysteries of the cosmos, and even tame the forces of nature. But, from their divine abodes, the true lords of the cosmos watched as their children grew in strength and number. Despite all the wondrous gifts they gave to man, the gods were regularly spurned and mocked. To teach them humility, the masters of creation bestowed three curses upon mankind, each worse than the last.
The first was the curse of darkness. The magics of men failed, and their brilliant crystal cities were cast into endless night. The second was the curse of division. The minds of men became flesh, as countless people were transformed into different races. The last was the curse of fear. The nightmares of men entered the world, and they spared none in their senseless slaughter. In those days, the waters ran red, and the cries of men filled the heavens.
So terrible was the suffering of Maneka, the gods almost lifted the three curses. But, doing so would have allowed men to go astray once more, and so they made a compromise. The creators revealed themselves to their children, gifting them with new magics, all on the condition that they would not fall back into their old ways. This was the beginning of the new age, an age of swords and sorceries, heroes and monsters, and epic quests and legends.
Much time has passed since the Revelation, and much has changed in the land of Maneka. New kingdoms have risen up to replace the old empires, rumors of strange beasts and alien magics have spread, and the gods have slowly become more distant from their children. Some even say the gods have abandoned the land, while others say they have been usurped. Whatever the truth may be, Maneka is in desperate need of new heroes and protectors.
It is the only constant, and this fact rings ever true in the land of Maneka. From the lowest peasant to the highest king, each person has the power to alter the course of history. Whether by blade, guile, or magic, they will choose what the future holds for them and their fellow Manekai. Now, at the edge of a new era, the shadows of a bygone age towering behind them, each person must decide what they wish to preserve from the coming change.
The three great empires of old have long crumbled away, and any potential successor kingdoms that might have replaced them were utterly lost in the wake of the three curses. Ever since, Maneka has witnessed countless struggles and wars, each waged for as many reasons as the number of conflicts themselves. In the present age, violence still rules much of the land, whether its cause be the seeking of power, wealth, glory, or something else.
Though almost no physical traces of the previous era remain, much knowledge of the old world remains. It is not well preserved, however, and quite a bit of it has been altered, destroyed, or lost over the years. But, secrets still lurk within the surviving ruins of ancient empires, waiting for intrepid adventurers to risk life and limb in the pursuit of the long forgotten. Whether they will be found, let alone put to good use, is up to the people of Maneka to decide.
Since the Revelation, the inhabitants of the land have been gifted with the capacity for supernatural power. Though, this might is beyond the reach of the common people, and is so rare that one can go their entire life without ever seeing a magician. Beware those who delve too deeply into the mysteries of the cosmos, however, for it is rumored that there is more to the world than powerful gods, the races of men, and the monsters that lurk in the shadows.
Maneka stretches from the pole to the equator, and covers thousands of miles to the east and west. The land is filled with enormous forests, vast plains, frigid tundras, scorching deserts, epic mountains, steaming jungles, and more. Much of it was abandoned in the wake of the three curses, and both nature and monsters have reclaimed the territory as their own. Though, one can still find small villages of tribal peoples throughout this wilderness.
Playing in Maneka
The Manekaen Dawn is a Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition campaign setting that uses a wide variety of sourcebooks for both inspiration and content. For players and dungeon masters without many sourcebooks, don't fret! The Manekaen Dawn can still be played with just the content found within the System Reference Document, which can be found here or here, along with homebrew content designed specifically for this campaign setting.
It also uses the Epic 6th ruleset, which can be summed up as follows: PCs advance traditionally, until they reach an Effective Character Level of 6. Once they reach this point, they cease to gain levels, hit dice, or templates, and instead acquire a bonus feat for every 1000 XP. This keeps the game down-to-earth and gritty, but still lets player characters expand their capabilities, whether by specializing or expanding their retinue of talents.
Unlike traditional E6, The Manekaen Dawn has the premise that PCs are treated as epic level characters once they have 10 bonus feats beyond an ECL of 6, and can take feats from the Epic Level Handbook for which they meet the prerequisites. This replaces capstone feats and other rules changes that can be found in the traditional E6 rulset, opens up a world of possibilities for both players and dungeon masters, and simplifies the game.
We have an IRC chat room set up for discussion on the setting. The channel is #maneka, and it's located on the Foonetic server. For easy access, just click this link, type in a username, and hop on in!
Last edited by WhatThePhysics : 11-17-2012 at 01:43 AM.
The only thing I'm particularly nit-picky about (rules-wise) is the epic feats. An example would be something like Epic Toughness, which would double the hp of most characters with a single feat. Not to mention it can be taken multiple times .
For the fluff, I'm (un)patiently waiting for more. I truly think this is an awesome idea.
Do not read.
If your are reading this, you have lost a few seconds of your time and are never getting them back. Why do humans look for something when they're told not to?
Thanks! I figured they would be better at quickly describing feel of the setting, rather than giant walls of text. Not to say that fluff is a bad thing, of course.
Big news! mad_brewer will be joining me in designing the setting!
Even more news! I've edited the Introduction section, adding in a part explaining how the setting can be run if all you have is the System Reference Document. As fun as borrowing material from sourcebooks may be, not all gaming groups can afford throwing down enough time, money, or effort into getting every book. More details on this concept will be put into the Campaigns section.
We're looking for people to assist with the description and design of the setting, along with one or two people who can make decent maps. If you're interested in joining the world-building team, feel free to mention it here, or send me or mad_brewer a private message about it!
Hi! I am TheAlchemistGuy, and I am very interested in becoming a contributor to "The Manekaen Dawn" world setting. I am a friend of mad brewers who first told me, and invited me to this awesome setting! So I registered in the forum and here I am posting! I have played 4th edition and Pathfinder, and am activly online. With mad brewer we are togeather creating our own Pathfinder campaign which is coming along smoothly and constantly evolving. I already have a head full of ideas for this awesome setting and would love to participate!
I like what I see so far, although I'm withholding further comment until I see more about the world. I don't think I can help, but if you really like my work and think my ideas are worthwhile I'll see what I can do; although I'm too busy to be a serious contributor.
Thank you to Ceika for the signature and Pink Haired August for the avatar.
Sons of the Fallen (My nation of cannibalistic giants) is here, please comment on it and let me know if you have any desire to use it.
(WIP) So I was thinking that the lake area of Altaroc could be an area strongly conected to the spitit world. The area would be very primal with few or no people in the region. It is where the spirits and beasts reside, namely the were or lycanthrope clans. There would include werewolf, werebear, werebeast, wereheron, wereeagle and mabe a few others. These are humans decandant from animal spirits, and are technicaly spirits themselves. They are very primal and are protected by an order of Druids/Shamens called "The Order of the Oaken Staff" These are level three and lawfull neutral. They and the clans protect the land from the vampires from the north during the winter and the ferral clans from the south the rest of the time. Only the cheftans of the clans would have swords (credit to mad brewer). Check spoiler
~DC 25 nature/history check, the Druids/Shamens are actually the oldest, fiercest spirits and are conected to the land~
So, I figure I might as well spill the beans on this project, since we've got enough people to get it going. The following is a number of major secrets in the campaign world, so it's up to you to spoil the surprise for yourself.
A Revealed History
In the last age, three vast countries ruled the continent of North America. They were Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and few other countries of that era rivaled their glory. Each were filled with millions of people, incredible wealth, and sophisticated technology. To display their bounty, they built many prestigious skyscrapers. Humanity was proud of its accomplishments, and dreamed to stretch its power further.
They sought to genetically modify species, discover the origin and true laws of the universe, and change the climate and surface of their world. But, entities much older and powerful than humanity came across our world, and changed it in ways that we couldn't conceive as being possible. There were three major changes to the local laws of the universe, each of them much more bizarre and extreme than the last.
First, artificial electricity no longer worked, and our technologies failed; our cities became dark as night, and deadly to inhabit. Secondly, humans across the continent were shaped into different species, some horrendously troubling to look at. Last, the collective unconscious of our species was given physical form, as fragments of our religions, history, works of fiction, and superstitions suddenly became as real as the humans who knew of them.
Less than one percent of people living in America survived, due to disease, exposure to the elements, starvation, and death at the hands of others, themselves, or monsters. Those who remained worked together, and soon discovered the existence of supernatural forces that could be tamed. Magic, faith, mental abilities, alchemy, and so on were tried until perfected, used alongside conventional skills like engineering and chemistry.
It has been centuries since the Revelation, and North America has been forever changed. New forms of government have replaced Canada, Mexico, and the United States, such as a republic in California, many kingdoms in Dixie, and clans around the Great lakes and in the Pacific Northwest. Creatures and magics have begun migrating across the continent, while cosmological shifts are happening again. North America needs heroes.
So, there you have it. Maneka is a post-apocalyptic, low-fantasy world. Why keep that a secret? Well, one of the setting's major themes is discovering mysteries, so it's best if this one is revealed as a major reward to the players, endgame plot point, or grand finale to your campaign. We will aim to make the setting in such a way that only the most knowledgeable of players will figure this out. The two main ways to do this will be changing names via Chinese whispers and dialect shifts, as well as intentionally mixing up facts about the old world.
Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about another aspect of the setting: modularity. I believe that campaign settings are best enjoyed when they can easily be redesigned to fit the tastes of many gaming groups. So, even if the entire land of Maneka is detailed, you can easily ignore and change all but your favorite elements of the setting. How will this work? Well, here are some ideas:
1) You can play in this setting with just this thread and the main books of 3.5 Edition. But, we'll have sections here and there devoted on what changes could be made if you have any supplemental sourcebooks and magazine issues.
2) The world is less of a single campaign setting, and more of a set of smaller, interchangeable settings. If you want to mix and match regions to your liking, or place them inside of your own campaign worlds, we'll provide suggestions on how to do that.
3) We'll have variants to the setting's aspects even in regional descriptions. Some ideas include alternate versions of factions, organizations, races, and so on. It's possibly we may even include alternate versions of an entire region itself.
4) Faith will be simplified for both DMs and players. Clerics can still get spells from any deity/pantheon, even if they don't actually exist as real entities in your campaign's cosmology. This simplifies the "too many gods" problem I've seen mentioned before, and gives all sides of the table more freedom and options.
Last edited by WhatThePhysics : 11-13-2012 at 01:08 AM.
I think your spoiler point is going to be hard to keep hidden; if it's the north american continent, any large scale maps, or certain medium scale maps, will be instantly recognizable. The Great Lakes look like the Great Lakes from any direction, Manhatten is easily recognizable, and Florida is... Florida.
Are you going to say that certain environmental effects have taken place to throw off players? Waters rising due to pollution, shifting climate regions, erosion and tectonic shift? How long after this massive transformation has it been?
That being said, your use of miles makes me think you're an American; as a bonus point to my CV, I'm north of the border and have been east, middle, and west, so if you're unsure of Canadian topography I can probably provide some insight (does not really apply if you're from, say, Alaska, Vermont, or Michigan).
As a random suggestion, maybe make the Greater Golden Horseshoe and other regions bordering Lake Ontario and Eerie a collection of city-states, based on farming the stupidly fertile land and fishing the large freshwater lakes, broken up by the ruins of towers that once touched the sky (CN Tower should be an evil wizard's lair!). You've also got the Thousand Islands to make a really good collection of micronations. They could easily be a modular bit on their own.
I've DM'd several homebrew campaigns of my own creation, and I've never been involved with a community project. I'd be open to contributing on a semi-regular basis (probably in the middle of the night when I need to procrastinate, like now). I'm capable with maps, such that they're intelligent and information full, though rarely that artistic, and can probably send you a sample if you want.
[EDIT 3:34 AM, PST] Removed something I'd left in the main post
[EDIT 4:09 AM, PST] Modesty check
Last edited by vither999 : 11-13-2012 at 07:11 AM.
Yeah, that's part of the reason for smaller maps, as opposed to one giant map of the continent. Most low-level campaigns I've been involved in were set in relatively small regions; it'd take about one or two weeks via light horseback to go from edge-to-edge. Given that Maneka is highly populated with monsters, we can assume that highways will be a rarity to all but the most civilized and peaceful of regions.
We can say that climate change, along with nature's recovery, altered the landscape of the continent a bit. With sea levels rising by 10-20 feet, many coastal cities will be submerged, and coastlines will shift quite a bit. As an extra hand-waiving, we can say that local geographies were changed alongside the laws of the universe. As for how far after the change this will be, we're looking at anywhere from 400 to 600 years.
You guessed right on me being an America, and I'll definitely appreciate any insights you can offer about those regions!
As of right now, California's Central Valley is the region with the most "official" work done on it. Altaroc is the current name for the Great Lakes region, and TheAlchemistGuy has taken up with working on that area. So, feel free to chat with him about the topic.
We're in desperate need of someone with map-making skills, so I'd be more than happy to get a sample of your work. Consider yourself on the team!
Update: I've added a link to our chat room in the second post. We don't have any official times for meet-ups, though. I'm free most days, however, so don't hesitate to send me a message if you're up for a chat! My time zone is GMT -8, while mad_brewer and TheAlchemistGuy are located in GMT +13.
Last edited by WhatThePhysics : 11-13-2012 at 08:54 AM.
Makes sense on the small maps bit. What about highways from current civilization? Considering we still have roman highways, wouldn't most major highways be (in various states of repair) a valid way of moving around?
Well, if you're working on California's Central Valley, and Altaroc is working on the Great Lakes (too slow on that one I guess), I can work on either the Lower Mainland and Seattle Area or Maritime areas: do you have a preference?
I've PM'd you about the sample.
I'm not sure how much I'll be available for chat, and it's probably easier to PM me.