WotBS The world of the Burning Sky
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  1. #1

    The world of the Burning Sky

    Hey all,

    as some of you may know, we recently finished our WOtBS main campaign (yay!). Thing is, my players hunger for more. And I'm trying to sort out some ideas that might or might not work.

    So I'm trying to gather all available additional information about the setting to maybe write a sequel that happens some years or decades later.

    My main concerns are:

    - The material needs to be suited for epic level characters. My boys most certainly wish to keep their crew even if I might give them the opportunity to play as their original character's kids.

    - I don't want a simple add-on. The campaign had a climatic conclusion and came to a proper ending. This is one thing I don't want to spoil. So whatever comes next needs to be engaging and well-crafted.

    - It should be linked to the original setting and storyline.

    One of my players proposed to set the region in some forsaken place in Golarion and give it the Pandaria treatment, which means that there is some magical effect blocking off travel between "region" and "rest of the world" until "some big event" ends said effect. Problem is, I don't know too much about Golarion and I don't want my 21st level players to hunt goblins and boars for some pesky farmers. I also don't want to bombard them with the big problems of Golarion as they are really independent from anything that happened so far.

    So if someone got ideas or additional material about the setting and its background, then I'd be more than happy.

    I already extensively used the Toteth Topec and elemental spirits plot and the other player suggested to maybe do something like an elemental spirit war. My own first ideas were:

    - Dream incursion

    - Expanding upon Stacia's devil and her connections. The heroes of the Burning Sky would be sweet targets and Calanis an ideal place to start intriguing

    - Adding the elemental spirits from the other planes of of Zeitgeist (Life, death, spac, time)

    - A 41 memorial cult that appears to do good by offering people to remove the dark parts of their souls

    - Deception's return. Because he's among the most hated and feared villains. And he's Loki enough to set the world on fire.
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  2. #2
    I don't know much about The Burning Sky but I do know Golarion. It is designed for characters of lvl 1-20 and there are very few area's of it which would suit more powerful characters pretty much the World Wound which is part of the world being invaded by demons with a portal to the abyss, Tar-Bephon the sleeping Necromancer or the land of Nex with it's own Necromancer lord. None of them seem to really fit into a sequel to Burning sky based on my knowledge of it.
    I don't think it has anything more than any other stock fantasy world has to offer and as Pathfinder does not recognise characters beyond lvl 20 there is no support for them. There are the broken and unusable Mythic rules but having used them I must recomend not using them for anything.
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  3. #3
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    What did they do with Coaltongue? or Guthwulf in the end?

    In my campaign both kinda just wandered of into history, but they are both capable of making trouble on some other continent.

    The heroes are celebrated by common people, but the people in charge might want them gone, since they are politically will be a problem for the new world. They might send them on af new mission of the kind that includes that you don't need to hurry back, like in ever. Maybe they decide that the crimes of the flamebringer dragon calls for someone to bring it to justice.

  4. #4
    Coaltongue is still alive, but he's mortal so he will die very soon. Guthwulf on the other hand... well, he's something we might have yet to discuss.

    They are also in a position where they don't really have to answer anyone's call. One of them is trying to rebuild the Taranesti and the other one is probably going to have fun in the viper's nest of Calanis.

    Regarding the Epic Rules... we used a fan made PF ELH conversion for WotW. Without epic spells but with higher spell slots to be filled with metamagic etc. I am also quite comfortable with upping monsters, but I don't know if I want a classic epic progression. More diversity in terms of skills > bigger numbers with niches. (And honestly, I simply wish to avoid giving them more damage dice to be rolled. I already called for median damage numbers every now and then because adding the dice up took too long if you got a rogue with 7 attacks)

  5. #5
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    The closest I can to a 'sequel' for WotBS was when I ran a campaign for the same group that inspired the adventure path way back in 2004. The gimmick was that Rantle had become . . . not emperor, but sort of "The guy in charge who really dislikes people abusing their power, so if you f*** with anyone outside your borders, he'll teleport an army in to wreck you."

    And a villain -- who ended up being Guthwulf's brother Fengbald (*shrug*) -- wanted to trick Rantle into destroying everything, really just out of pure joy of causing misery. So he used the Temple of Echoed Souls to make semi-clones of people in power, then framed those people, and got Rantle to swoop in and blow stuff up. It was very, um, inspired by conspiracy theories about 9/11, if I'm being honest.

    Fengbald was aided by a group of epic level spellcasters who were sorta like champions of their gods (my home game had specific deities, even if the published WotBS didn't), and Fengbald had tricked them into thinking he was a sort of messiah. It had some proto-versions of going to the Gyre, because Fengbald was trying to gather energy from different dimensions to let him turn any of his illusions into reality.

    He didn't really have the greatest motivation as a villain. I mean, after you have "conquer and control the world" with Leska, I guess you can only escalate with "turn the world to rubble," but with hindsight, I shouldn't have escalated.

    Maybe make it more about rebuilding? Something positive and creative, rather than destructive. Not sure how the game mechanics of D&D handle that, though.
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  6. #6
    Some ideas:

    There is still the rift in castle Korstull. Militaristic celestials could invade from the astral plane.

    Shahalesti was one area really untouched by the campaign saga. Depending on who ended up in charge of Shahalesti, there could be an attempted coup, or Shaaladel has grown impatient with waiting for ruling the region. The perpetrators have the celestials come through the rift as a distraction for the region.

    Ostalin could be in chaos at the death of the Khagan and is the other region almost entirely untouched by the original campaign saga.

    Only 3 of four primordial titans now survive (including whoever sacrificed themselves to replace the Stormchaser Eagle. Replacing/healing the Flamebringer dragon is needed to bring the world into balance.

    Having already found the pyromancer's tomb, the heroes could need to locate the tombs of Toteth Topec and the other two tombs of those who aided him.

    If your players were not set on playing the same characters, I could see advancing this many years in the future to a more modern setting that had both magic and science (such as with Zeitgeist or even present day with W.O.I.N allowing mix and match of tech and magic) and having an entirely new campaign in the world where even familiar locations can be new.

    ----------------------------------

    If it were my campaign, I would have it happen relatively shortly after the end of the previous campaign. Shaaladel has listened to Deception's lies and finally cracked, looking to weaken the entire region to bring it under his control no matter the consequences. In the time since the destruction of the aquiline herat, firestorms have raged from the destruction of the Flamebringer Dragon. He launches multiple simultaneous attacks on the rest of the region. Celestials (or devils if celestials are "too good" in your setting) pour into castle Korstull and neutralize the monastery of two winds before tying down Ostalin and Sindaire while some go reinforce Shahales. Meanwhile, the Tidereaver Krakken devastates Seaquen and the Worldshaper Worm lays waste to the underground portion of Bresk, causing the city to mostly collapse under its own weight. Gate Pass is assaulted in a more direct fashion. Most of the refugees from Innenotdar have returned home, but they have been replaced by Shahalesti sleeper cells, leaving the ghettos mostly full. When Shahalesti attacks from the east, the sleeper cells disable key defenses and open gates, allowing the Shahalesti army to invade. After everything is set in motion, Deception leaves.

    Deception wants everything to die. With the destruction of all four primordial titans, the region will be torn apart by ever-increasing storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, and fire raining from the skies until even those cease and nothing, including knowledge of the Song of Forms, is left. At that point, the surviving trillith will live in the desolation. Secure in their belief that nothing can bring their kind to an end.

    Destroying the remaining primordial titans is probably the highest priority given the city-destroying power they possess. Some surviving elder trillith have taken over the Worldshaper Worm and Tidereaver Kraken, causing kaiju-inspired destruction. The heroes probably deal with the Worldshaper Worm first as it terrorizes Dassen before dealing with the Tidereaver Krakken who is heading up the coast towards Kirstan. The heroes have to attack the primordials in a manner similar to Shadows of the Colossus: jump on board, hang on, and kill the titans. When they kill the titans, its freed spirit inhabits one of the heroes, granting them the ability to use the relevant primordial language and reasonably powerful control over the corresponding element. However, the titans deaths cause natural disasters related to their elements to start.

    Gate Pass is under complete Shahalesti control, and the most direct way of freeing it may be to head to Calanis to negotiate for its release (or cut the head off the snake).

    Finally the heroes need to close the rift at castle Korstull. To do that, they need the power of the primordial titans of fire and air. The heroes travel back to the Heart of History, finding the reborn Stormchaser Eagle now under attack by Shahalesti or devils. After the battle, the Stormchaser Eagle shapeshifts into an avatar of the hero who sacrificed themselves. The floating spirit of the Flamebringer dragon is nearby and inhabits one of the heroes, granting them power over fire.

    When the heroes turn their attention to castle Korstull, the celestials have decided that the world is so messed up that they are going to establish a new order on the material plane. The heroes must defeat the celestials with the remnants of various armies, especially Ragesia, to allow them to get close enough to the rift, the source of the celestials' army. The heroes fight their way into the castle and confront the leader of the celestials, realizing that it has been replaced with Deception. Another of the last trillith Fanatacism, has caused the celestials to adhere to their single-minded purpose.

    In the end, the heroes need to destroy Deception and Fanatacism and close the rift. As the rift is closed, the celestials are pulled back to the astral plane. The Stormchaser Eagle explains to the three heroes who have primordial spirits that they need to be reincarnated as the new primordial titans to allow the world to survive. The destruction of the world is averted where it began, at castle Korstull.

    ...or something like that.
    Last edited by Tormyr; Friday, 2nd November, 2018 at 10:11 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Ryan mentioned elsewhere in these forums that Zeitgeist maybe happens in the same world, but on the other continent and ~2000 years later. This lead me to making Harkover Lee, prime minister of Risur in Zeitgeist, to be Pilus reborn in the new body, who kinda tried to start from a blank sheet in the new world. This is the short prologue from his point of view: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...it?usp=sharing

    I'm not sure how would you proceed from that time point though, but, just considering the setting... Lanjyr of that time is an interesting place. Uninhabited, ravaged by a constant battle between primordial titans. These are not the same as Primordial Spirits of WotBS, but more like natural guardians of this land; still Gargantuan and almost immortal though. Canonically (future) king Kelland arrived to that place from somewhere and partly tricked, partly talked, partly fought all 5 titans into submission, forging a pact between human world and Dreaming/Feywild/Primordial powers. I really like Ryan's idea above that maybe after all the fighting the main idea of "the sequel" could be rebuilding, as in literally building a new nation in the new land, so you could play a role of Kelland here.
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  8. #8
    thank you all so much for your ideas and insights!

    First, I will definitely start with rebuilding. One of my characters has dedicated himself to life - protecting, preserving and creating life, especially in the natural world (he's dabbling with some druid magic and some of the history of the lands of Shahalesti and Ycengled gave him that vision of one day reuniting all elven people again). He's also the one most interested in the elemental spirits.

    So using someone who'd like to use other elemental powers/planes beyond those well-known ones (causing another elemental imbalance) would work well.

    Unfortunately, some of the ideas don't really work in my campaign as my players already dealt with these threads.

    I'll put the next part in spoiler tags as I know that a certain someone doesn't want to be spoiled about the story's conclusion:

    Spoiler:

    The Rift in Castle Korstull is closed as the Pyre and Griiat got destroyed when the "true emperor" returned to the throne. They basically asked Magdus to return to Korstull with him and sit on the throne. Bam, worked.

    The Khagan survived, even if his shifting allegiances will make him an easy target in the future. He still got two older brothers out there somewhere who will want to claim Ostalin for themselves.

    Shaaladel is dead. He tried to ambush Magdus inside the Two Dragons Canyon last minute and was killed in front of Shalosha's eyes. She's queen of Shahalesti right now and the main interest of my other player who wants to make sure no one challenges the rule of the Shining Queen. And a certain Admiral isn't really happy about the embarassment Shalosha caused for him.

    They already found the tombs of the hydromancer and aeromancer and their corresponding rings. They also met the spirit of Toteth Topec who gave them guidance before their fight with Leska.

    There are currently only two surviving Trillith left, at least of whom they know: Foresight and Hope. Both are bound to mortals. The remaining ones are part of the new Stormchaser Eagle/Phoenix. Which is basically one of my hooks to bring the Plane of Dreams closer to this world. Also, the lack of "Storm"/ Air influence could lead to another imbalance.


    For Zeitgeist: I've been thinking about this as well, but there are two problems:

    1) I'm a player in our Zeitgeist campaign and don't want to go into spoiler territory
    2) From what I know right now, the two cosmologies are pretty much different (planes and planets, four primordial elements vs. eight, the demonocracy and strange summoning limits).

    So I could borrow some parts of the history that I *do* know and make it an alternate reality. For example, the demonocracy could be a place in the world where demons or, better, devils, rule as someone (maybe Stacia's devil or her kin) had fun corrupting mortals. My players could be interested in this sort of plot as they had much fun fighting arrogant devils. I could also borrow some parts of the World Wound thread there.

    Also... Harkover being a reborn Pilus? That sounds pretty interesting.

    Other ideas I got:

    - One of my players wants to revive his mom who sacrificed herself to create a Mythal around the archives of the Syllith (Syana's disciples who mastered soul magic). This could be a quest of its own and an opened Archive would be the perfect target for my Soul Cult.

    - My players kind of deceived Shalosha when they said that her parents could be reuinted in death as Lady Valiana was used in some devil cultist ritual and her soul is trapped in hell. There are a few people who wouldn't be too happy if they found out what really happened. (another info Stacia's friend could use to drive a wedge between Shalosha and her friends)

  9. #9
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    Am I correct that you're in adventure 5 in Zeitgeist? I definitely don't want to spoil anything for you, but I think that combining two campaigns is more likely that you think (even if they are indeed canonically unrelated). Demonocracy is basically just a local government for the North Lanjyr, primordial elements are actually the same (Avilona, Mavisha, Jiese and, for some reason for you to decide, Urim instead of Shembul), with addition of space, time, dream and death. Perhaps you can talk with your ZG DM (Tizbiz?) about this possibility, and he can give you strict guidelines on cosmology, without spoiling too much.

  10. #10
    One thing I always "struggled with" when running WotBS was whether the continent presented was the entire world in that campaign (on the material plane, that is) or if there was more. And what name is there for those people's "world"? Even the continent itself seems to lack a name.
    I've been writing my ending for the campaign, and several of the NPCs are basically going off to explore those outer islands, especially the ones along the south coast. I wasn't sure if there was anything more to explore beyond that besides of course the Opaline Wastes.

    You can always just jump to planar adventures, but WotBS is so laser-focused on the material plane w/ extraplanar stuff serving more as garnish, that it'd feel like a different campaign.

    EDIT: One thing I toyed with was the vague allusion that the current world may be doomed or headed towards a catastrophic end sometime in the future. I had the gods completely disinterested in the campaign world besides granting spells and blessings to the divine classes.
    And the four prime elementals that created the world were fairly indifferent about the state of things when the players contacted them late in the campaign to find the Trillith dreamworld. I had them mention that they didn't really care what happened in "this world" anymore and had basically moved on (did they create another world? hmm...)
    I don't know if you went that route to explain the utter lack of divine involvement in the campaign. But if you did, trying to save a doomed world from ceasing to exist is certainly an epic level challenge. Not sure how the party would do so, and you'd probably have to shove in some sort of fixing things by beating up monsters, so the non-casters don't feel useless.
    But it's an idea...
    Last edited by StreamOfTheSky; Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 at 06:40 PM.

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