A vote was held last week on what we wanted to play next quarter. The decision was that everyone wanted to play a new D&D-style campaign set in the same world as the old one. So, while it looks like we’re not going to be revisiting the adventures of our former party of characters, we do have an interesting collection of new ones to see through this crazy land of mine. We’re playing Pathfinder instead of D&D this time, since after a cursory review of the books it seems that Pathfinder is pretty much D&D 3.5 except with most of the annoying little problems fixed.
Before we begin playing, however, we need to figure out where in the world the game is going to be set. I asked my players, and the response I got most often was either “I don’t care” or “I don’t know enough about the world to choose a place.” This post is devoted to fixing that latter problem.
The following is addressed to the players.
On the continent of Lorin
The Illarym Empire: You guys know this place. You trekked all over it during the last campaign, from the northern border to Tahmoor. Big, corrupt, imperialistic and religious. The original Illarym people, the desert tribes who banded together and began expanding to form the Empire, bear the distinction of being one of very few peoples to avoid being conquered and enslaved by the elves of the Zancharian Empire, long ago.
The Shattered Lands: To the north of the Empire. Formerly the kingdoms of Old Maltin, Talidor and Vos Desperante, before the elves came across the mountains and threw down those thrones a thousand years ago. Now a land of broken soldiers, warlords, ghosts and old magic. Main exports are refugees, plagues and counterfeit money. You guys spent a lot of time here last campaign, mostly hunting down the various bandit lords and murderers who’d pissed off the Empire enough to earn a bounty.
The Protectorate of the Blood: To the north of the Shattered Lands. Brutal and haughty, claiming dominion over all the world but receiving respect only from those within arm’s reach. Widely regarded as part of the Shattered Lands by most outsiders, though not by those who actually live in the Shattered Lands.
The Sunset Jungles: To the south of both the Empire and the Kingdom of Merdallan. Brightly colored vegetation, lots of poisonous stuff, tigers and mad tattooed elves.
Verdan: To the west of the Empire, home of steampunk and magic. Plays host to both the Monks of the Ascension and the city of Veras, both of which were founded by and are mostly comprised of outsiders to the island. The natives are rumored to be cannibals. You guys went there last campaign, but not for long.
Arun: Island/continent to the southwest of the Empire. Land of insane cultists, time-ninjas, machine-gods and centuries-old blood feuds. Main architectural and clothing style is sort of Chinese, with an emphasis on masks and poisoned needles. Weird place. This is where that assassin guy who Strider shot through the head on the pirate’s airship was from.
The Kingdom of Merdallan: To the east, and sworn enemy of, the Illarym Empire, thanks in large part to the Kingdom’s former status as a slave-state of the Zancharian Empire a thousand years ago. This is a land of dark forests and old castles and old nobility, with heavily-armored knights in the north and skilled duelists in the south. This Kingdom has fought several wars with the Illarym, and while they haven’t always come out on top, at the very least they’ve never been conquered. Currently, Merdallan is a kingdom without an actual king, the royal line having been exterminated in a bloody failed coup almost a century ago. The Chamber of Nobles keeps the peace, for the most part, but the entire place is a powder-keg waiting to erupt into civil war. Why it hasn’t already remains a mystery.
The Merchant’s Water: To the east of the Kingdom, the Merchant’s Water is a collection of four (or so) major city-states situated on a couple of major islands. Ships laden with wealth greater than empires’ sail across the dark waters here, sticking tight to their established routes and keeping a wary eye on the unexplored islands and the depths below. Bitter trade wars are fought in silence every day, black magic is practiced by islander shamans and merchant princes alike, and gold can buy damn near everything. The major city-states are Buron-on-the-Water, Arypso of the Golden Towers, Lomar (home of the Craftsmen’s Guild assassins) and the exotic Tyb. Much of the Water remains unexplored and unmapped, with old Zancharian ruins littering the islands seemingly at random.
Ver Arcana: A city situated to the north of the Kingdom, in land that the Merdallans only recently stopped trying to claim is theirs. Ver Arcana is a university town, built around the University Arcana, where students are trained in the mystical arts in an attempt to better understand the fabric of reality.
Elsinier: Home of the frost elves and, in their eyes at least, the last bastion of true Elfkind. The frost elves, unlike their jungle cousins, remained true to their ideals when the Zancharian Empire fell during Old Jack’s War. They believe that they are the superior race, that all other races were made by the gods to serve them, and cannot understand why no one else takes them seriously. They spend most of their time building palaces out of ice and magic, conspiring against each other and fighting the various barbarian tribes that perpetually raid the edges of their land.
The Dead Continent: Formerly Zanchar, seat of the High Elves and homeland of an empire that stretched across the known world. The entire continent was blasted to dust and glass during Old Jack’s War, about which little is known. Now home mostly to necromancers and things too foul to find a place anywhere else.
Deslocke: This continent is to the north of Zanchar. Not much is known about it.
I was thinking about starting the new campaign in the Merchant’s Water, but if anyone else has any preference feel free to chime in. I’ll take a vote and we can decide where to start playing when we come back to school in a week.
In the meantime, some art. Click to embiggen.