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Thread: The Shadowend Campaign Setting
Friday, 11th January, 2008, 11:51 PM #1
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
The Shadowend Campaign Setting
THREAD UPDATED 10/28/2012
- Added 3 new posts: The Dalerain Overview, Dalerain III - Adosil, the Feuding Goddess, and Dalerain IV - Maebd, the Queen of Celebration. (Sif & Uller, Dalerain I & II respectively, are on page 3)
- Edited this post (yes, this one, no linky here) to cut down on the proper nouns and make it a little less overwhelming.
- Edited this post to include the stuff I cut out of here, but cleaner.
- Added a description of the Tefplanz and two locations/adventures within it, The Sign of the Three Pigs and The Spectre of Ylg Bridge.
Back to your regularly scheduled post.
Theme: Civilization vs ruin is something that threads through alot of the Shadowend - and civilization is losing. The forces of ruin aren't always evil (though some are), but they are amoral and uncaring. Civilization isn't always good (though some are), and it's often domineering and restrictive. I'm not sure who I'm rooting for. There is magic. There was stronger magic in the past, but while that magic is currently lost, it is not inaccessible or unusable.
Fey and monsters are strong elements in my campaigns, as well as resurrected leavings of the Amerite Empire like the Fallen and the Black Legion.
Geography: The Shadowend is a mostly temperate region in the northeast corner of what was once the Amerite Empire. To the south lies the Shimmering Plain, a vast grassland dominated by the arcane ruins of Nekkarn. The Shadowend Forest fills the east, a trackless expanse not even the elves have fully explored. The Kameurhorn Mountains define the northern border: beyond the Horns lies the High Ice and the frozen dominions of its vassals. West is the Shattered Sea, and beyond that the once-mighty nations of Amatheir and Bherune.
History: The rule of Law peaked in the Shadowend nearly a thousand years ago, with the rise of the Amerite Empire. When the Dragon Throne weakened, the peoples of the Shadowend were among the first to tear free, beginning a long period of anarchy and conflict as petty warlords, princelings, and kings fought for control. Eventually, the kingdoms of Larenyss, Arramor, Dore, Sarn, Sieriven, and Asavar coalesced from the chaos. That respite was brief, however, as Sarn fell to goblinoid hordes, and Sieriven to the divisive manipulations of the Crone Goddess Kajalla. Arramor split apart, its western reaches forming the country of Roen, Romagna, and the Forest of Eoghin.
The Second Speaking of Te ushered in a new Age of the Wyrld. Divine bonds were casted off, and many remnants of past Ages surfaced for the first time in millenia. Asavar fell to a plague of monstrous creatures. Innergild seceded from Dore, and Dore was reducing it to a shadow of its former self by orcish hordes. The fey Queen of Larenyss disappeared, then reappeared, unaged, forty years later, instigating a war of revolution that irrevocably weakened the Griffon Throne and sundering Larenyss. The sidhe returned to the Shadowend, bring a new complication to the lives of elves and men alike.
The Hundred Kingdoms remained relatively unchanged this whole time, insofar as that change and revolution was the order of the day. Petty states rose and fell, eventually leading to the current major realms - most of which will no doubt be eclipsed and forgotten within a generation or two, as the those before them were.
I'll throw the campaign map in here for completeness (for a larger version click here)
Last edited by Nellisir; Sunday, 18th November, 2012 at 09:30 PM.
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Friday, 11th January, 2008, 11:53 PM #2
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
The Black Legion
The Black Legion
aka, the Fourth Amerite Legion
Motto: Nos es Nex (We are Death)
Patron: Orod, Lord of Souls
Summation: The Fourth Legion had a long and accomplished history before entering the Woodmarches, where they easily defeated the local forces (homegrown since the fall of Illendia a few hundred years before) and establishing a local government accountable to the Amerite Empire. The Autumn Kings were invested as the governors of the region, and the Fourth Legion continued into the forest through their territory, and disappear from history.
What's Known to the DM:
- The Black Legion disbanded after the Woodmarch campaign; most recruits and conscript were filtered back to society via the Autumn Kings. The core of the Black Legion was wooed and won by Pyritheus, a powerful Typhos known as the Herald of Umoth. Pyrtheus promised the Legion veterans unending life, an offer they found attractive after years of dealing death.
- The Legion had established a camp near the gnomish village of Wyl Arden; they excavated a number of large vaults with the aid of summoned pech, and entombed much of their equipment therein. The equipment included a large quantity of iron ingots, weaponry, 50 clockwork steeds, and a number (10?) of iron-clad minotaurs.
- Despite, or because of, the Legion's divine patron, the Legion had no dealings with undead or necromantic magic beyond the mundane. Instead, dealings with the semi-divine Smith's Wife gave the Legion arcanists considerable knowledge of constructs, including clockwork steeds, iron-clad creatures, animated suits of armor ("armors", aka helmed horrors), and possibly/probably early "proto-type" Fallen (aka relentless).
- The Black Sorcerers of Tuonela. They have begun creating Fallen, but flawed and weaker than the true Fallen. They have part of the Fourth Legion's notes/instructions, and are looking for more. The Black Sorcerers have goblin minions in the Shadowend, implying an alliance (manipulation) of the goblins of Sarn, and possible alliance with the Three Sisters of Brindish.
- The Three Sisters of Brindish are looking for anything to bolster their forces. Weapons, ore, and iron-clad creatures are all welcome. Their army includes many crossbred humanoid creatures.
- The iron dwarves/duergar are allied with (?) the azer. The azer are followers of Pyritheus, who has become more active following his release and Umoth's arising.
- The city of Shalanholt is looking for anything it can find to help against the Brindish army.
- The "priestess" of the Smith's Wife wants any Black Legion information on creating constructs destroyed.
- The Fallen archmage Whisper wants something, and opposes the Sorcerers of Tuonela.
Assorted Thoughts and Ideas:
- The Nightwatch in Shalanholt are "armors" left or gifted by the Black Legion to the Autumn Kings. A "Daywatch" is rumored to exist, but has not been found.
- Pyritheus was imprisoned shortly after his bargain with the Black Legion; he was released twenty-years ago, at the Second Speaking of Te, as was Umoth.
- Pyritheus did hold up his end of the bargain; the Black Legion veterans are immortal, not undead (though they may not be properly living either). Their trail leads to the Underdark and ends at a gate of iron and silver.
- An aspect of Pyritheus (or Umoth?) is somewhere near the gate; this may be a goal of the azer.
- The duergar have, or are looking for, Black Legion material on constructs, for obvious reasons. The Black Sorcerers may have acquired their partial notes on creating Fallen from the duergar, who could have gained their information from pech.
- The Sorcerers of Tuonela are linked to the original Black Legion? A splinter group? Links to the Hielarn?
- Pyritheus corresponds to the vestige Aym.
Last edited by Nellisir; Friday, 26th October, 2012 at 03:53 AM. Reason: added link
Friday, 11th January, 2008, 11:58 PM #3
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Won from a clutch of dragons, Dragonsden was intended to extend the dweorhin’s reach even further into the depths of the earth, but the maddening nature of the shimmering ebony caverns proved stronger and more intractible than the wyrms it had housed. The dwarves fell to fighting among themselves in bitter conflicts that grew more and more depraved, until one clan sought an alliance with the duergar of Temâthdrêllur. The coordinated dark dwarves swiftly conquered the fractured smallhall, and have held it against repeated assaults from Diamondsdelve. The original dweorhin clans survive, though many among them secretly believe they are no longer worthy of life. The fact that they have become duergar themselves is meaningless beside the knowledge what they did in madness.
Favored Feat: Drakeblood
Hammerscale – Smallest of the Dragonsden clans, the dwarves of Hammerscale resisted corruption in vain. Their skill in manufacturing weapons and armor from the bones and scales of powerful creatures is steadily turning to necromantic avenues, avenues first ventured upon with the bones and teeth of their fellow dwarves.
Favored Skill: Craft (weaponsmithing)
Izakorn – A minor clan in Darkhome, saddled with tasks of administration and accounting, the trueborn duergar of Izakorn clan grabbed at the opportunity to move to Dragonsden. They rule Dragonsden in the name of Temâthdrêllur, taking every opportunity offered to flaunt their power over the native clans and the Darkhome duergar soldiers stationed here. Few will admit that the transformed dwarves of Bàdrül frighten them, and fewer still will confess to the twisted thoughts that come more and more frequently in their own minds, tortured thoughts of blood and madness.
Favored Skill: Appraise
Favored Class: Rogue
Murkhelm – Miners and delvers, the Murkhelm dwarves fell furthest into depravity, slaughtering members of the other clans and feasting on the corpses. Now Murkhelms have withdrawn into their own clan, avoiding all contact. The few Murkhelms that still venture among the other dwarves don’t speak, and wear sealed great helms of black iron. A sinister aura surrounds them, and even the trueborn duergar of Darkhome give Murkhelms a wide berth.
Woestone – Loyal guardians and protectors, the Woestone did their duty too well – in their madness, they sealed their children and elders in impenetrable vaults of stone for protection. When the duergar arrived, only withered corpses and gnawed bones remained in the vaults – while the Woestone fighters had gone to war to protect their children, the children had starved to death. The Woestone clans guard the vaults as sacred places, and leave living sacrifices for the hungry ghosts.
The Ebony Vault – The last dragon of Bàdrül fell here in darkness, and the vast cavern is the heart of the Dragonsden smallhall. (5/Path of Madness/XX)
The Woestone Tombs – Imbued with power by the deaths of the Woestone innocents, a few Woestone casters have turned the tortured stone to their advantage. (1/Revenant’s Path/Hungry)
Saturday, 12th January, 2008, 12:03 AM #4
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
The Shadowend may be split into four sub-regions: the Near North, Utgard, the Woodmarches, and the Hundred Kingdoms.
The Near North includes:
- the Voriskoghn, wherein dwell the Vorisk and the Vanar;
- the city-state of Gaidrilar, the City of Coins;
- the mage-city of Innergild and the realm of Dore;
- the dwarven greathall of Arthringlaur and its tributary realm of Kameurgard;
- the horsebonded Keldruag tribes of Keldru;
- the ruthlessly mercenary citadel-city of Coldstone and its' iron-fisted ruler, Druhtinaz Kolya Volovskil
- the eastern Kameurhorns, home to orcs, giants, dragons, and less friendly things;
- Tuonela, the realm of the Black Sorcerers;
- the wasted land of Kaulderzhun and its' deathless ruler, The Wight King Iscio;
- Jarnwold, the stronghold of the Iron Witches;
- countless miles of swamps, fens, forests, mountains, and moors.
The Woodmarches are in many ways the front lines of civilization against the forces that would bring ruin, and include:
- the noble kingdoms of Larenyss, Arramor, Roen, and Guanes;
- the near-fey realm of Shalanholt and its' ruler, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Aliana of the Griffon Throne, Althane of Larenyss, High Warden of the Woodmarch;
- the goblinoid stronghold of Old Sarn;
- the hag-held ruins of Asavar;
- the dwarven greathall of Tarandrellur;
- Dolgarrog, the illusion-cloaked underground realm of the svartneblin;
- the remnants of the elven realm of Illendia.
Finally, the Hundred Kingdoms of the Taras Penninsula are the gateway to the civilized west, and include amongst their number:
- the fey redoubt of Wythin Wood;
- Blackgate, the City of Secrets and the location of the most powerful artifact in the Shadowend, the sinister Black Gate;
- the matriarchal tyranny of Orbor;
- imperial Triumport, still courting Amerite favor;
- the stronghold of the ruthlessly neutral College of War;
- wizard-ruled Starfell;
- the slave-trading merchants of Chollor.
Last edited by Nellisir; Friday, 26th October, 2012 at 04:58 AM.
Saturday, 12th January, 2008, 12:09 AM #5
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Hungry spell template
This template can be added to any spell that targets a single creature. The spell inflicts 1 point of Constitution damage in addition to its normal effects. The target gets a Fortitude save to negate this damage (this save is in addition to any the spell normally allows). The spell takes on the negative energy descriptor. If it already has the negative energy descriptor, it inflicts 2 points of Constitution damage instead of just one point. If the target lacks a Constitution score or is protected from negative energy effects, the caster must make a Fortitude save or lose points of Constitution as though he had been targetted by a hungry spell.
Cost: The caster takes 2 hit points of damage.
Saturday, 12th January, 2008, 01:03 AM #6
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
Sunday, 13th January, 2008, 01:42 PM #7
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Treasures - Sammineth
+3/+1 eagle totem quarterstaff
Properties: +3 enhancement bonus to attack and damage / +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage. Sammineth’s wielder can speak with animals three times per day as a druid of the equal level; gains a +3 circumstance bonus on all reaction rolls when dealing with eagles; and gains a +2 enhancement bonus to her Strength once per day. The bonus lasts a number of minutes equal to her level, and activating the bonus is a free action.
Description: Sammineth is a curved oak staff, just under six feet tall. The staff is engraved with images of eagles and feathers, and a magically hardened egg is bound to the head of the staff. The engravings are skillfully done, and depict a variety of eagles in flying, hunting, and perched. The base of the staff bears a worn iron cap shaped like a closed bird’s foot.
History: With the fall of the Amerite Empire and the final withdrawal of troops from the lands outside Amatheir, bandits, brigands, and worse came to the Keirunark Highlands. Trade on the Great North Road between Amatheir and Turkel slowed to a trickle, and Amerite merchants were still accompanied by Amerite soldiers, but travel on the Dark Road to the north of the Highlands seemingly doubled or tripled every year, and none of the cities along the route cared to patrol more than a day’s journey outside their walls. Caravan guards were as likely to rob their charges as the brigands they were hired to fend off, and the rude keeps of bandit lords dotted the Highlands like carrion crows around a battlefield.
Veraza dauh’Izolla was the daughter of an Amerite footsoldier and a Keirunark tribesman. Blessed with her mother’s rigid sense of duty and order, and her father’s intuitive bond with the land, she swore to drive the villains out of the Keirunark Highlands. She united the fractured Keirunark tribes behind her, and forged an alliance with the great eagles of the Highland peaks. Sammineth was a symbol of the bond between the tribes and the eagles.
When the Highlands were finally cleared, Veraza gave Sammineth to the eagles, and urged them to remember the alliances they had sworn. The eagles have acted as guardians and caretakers of the staff since then, gifting it to worthy druids and rangers who swear to protect the Highlands. Now, Blackgate rises as the dark center of an foul new empire, and only the Keirunark Highlands stand between it and the rich plains of Behrune.
Wednesday, 16th January, 2008, 10:24 PM #8
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Thank you! I'm supposed to show examples of creativity "in my everyday life" for my grad school portfolio, and I took "Presentation Drawings for Landscape Design" as a class last spring, so this was the perfect opportunity to try out the new stuff I learned on something fun.Originally Posted by RichGreen
And I really needed a new map anyways.
Wednesday, 16th January, 2008, 10:28 PM #9
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
Local Map - Roen, Everglass, Romagna, Eoghin, and Eldewode
Names aren't done, and I'm not sure if I'll color it or not, but it's worth putting up anyhow. This is a subset of the main map, covering Roen, the Forest of Eoghin, Everglass, Romagna, the Eldewode, the Warding Hills, the Little Hills, some other hills that I may or may not have named yet, a smidgen of the High Moor (?), and a bit of Asavar and Coedalan. Larger picture here.
Wednesday, 16th January, 2008, 10:30 PM #10
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
It might also be worth noting that I'm going through all my various notes and scribblings and assembling all my throw-away little bits of information into one document. It's just an outline right now, but it's 8 pages long (ok, 7 if you don't count the list of names that aren't assigned but might be cool for something).