D&D 5E Morningstar: Age of Majesty; a campaign setting for 5e.

RSKennan

Explorer
Way back when Wizards held the Setting Search that produced Eberron, my own golden age setting, "Morningstar" was one of the 11 chosen to move onto the second round. It was later published by Goodman Games. It had a very small but loyal fanbase, but it never really made a splash. I bear most of the burden on that- I was a young and inexperienced writer. There are parts that I'm very proud of, but other parts that I cringe at, to this day.

So, I'm calling a Mulligan.

I've learned a lot since then, and I will be rebooting the world for D&D 5th Edition. If you want to know more about my plans, I wrote a blog post about it here.

For those of you who remember the setting, I'm very interested to hear what you liked, but especially where you feel the original fell short. I want to get it right this time, and make sure it meets the needs of everyone who uses it, and that it inspires epic gameplay for years to come.

If you aren't familiar with the setting, but have read the blog post (My Mission Statement, or sorts), feel free to post about things you want to see, or hope to avoid with such a setting.

Don't worry about hurting my feelings as long as you're cordial about it. :D I need to know these things.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Paraxis

Explorer
One of the things I liked about the Eberron campaign guide was the "Ten things you need to know about Eberron" section, I think that kind of thing puts a spotlight on what makes your world different than every other high fantasy campaign setting without having to read chapters of fluff.

Any chance you could put up a "Ten things you need to know about Morningstar" to give us a breakdown of what makes Morningstar, it's own place.
 

jadrax

Adventurer
If you aren't familiar with the setting, but have read the blog post (My Mission Statement, or sorts), feel free to post about things you want to see, or hope to avoid with such a setting.

I think you are possibly focusing on mechanics rather than setting a bit to much. We already know that variant healing rules and crafting rules are coming in the DMG, so I would hang fire on those.

So instead, setting wise, I would like to ask about Arril.

Specifically, what does it add to the setting?

I know you can't travel there. And nothing mentioned seems to come from there. Does it have astrological connotations? Did something live there in the past? Are there insane cults who want to move there? Do wizards draw arcane power from the sentient pools of ooze that dwell upon its surface to power their spells? Does it effect Thraxis' gravity and weather patterns?

At the moment, it is in the first line of your introduction, but it does not seem to really be contributing much.
 

I remember hearing about your setting, which had the misfortune to have a similar-sounding setting, Dawnforge, in both the setting search and released afterward. I always thought the golden/mythic age was a great change from most fantasy settings, which typically take place in a fallen age when technology/magic/hygiene have taken a real nosedive.

That said, none of the stuff that I think is cool about that requires crunch. I'd take a page from Green Ronin's Pirate's Guide to Freeport and consider making a setting-independent corebook with the rules material in a separate, smaller volume. That insulates you from edition changes and allows you a potentially much bigger audience. (Why sell to just 5E DMs, when you can get Pathfinder, OSR, 3E, 13th Age, Savage Worlds, GURPS, Toon ...)
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Huh. Originally thought this was about the D&D5e software thingy (also called "Morningstar").

But I am a fan of settings.

The biggest question I have is this: why would I play in your setting as opposed to any other setting? What sells it? What's special? What can't I get anywhere else?

Related supporting question: What are the PC's meant to do? What's the antagonist? What change should the PC's expect to enact?
 

RSKennan

Explorer
The original submission's one line summary said: "Morningstar is a world of epic fantasy, where Heroes fight to preserve a Golden Age of magic."

Hoepfully the following list will help you see what kinds of things you can do in the setting, and what your motivations might be, and if not, I'll explain further in a later post. Number 6 should also answer the questions about Arril, upthread.

Ten things you need to know about Morningstar:

1. It's broadly based on the ancient world (relative to its cultures) rather than broadly based on the middle ages. Cultural inspirations include Greece and Rome, India as depicted in the Vedas, The Kingdoms of Africa, ancient China and Cambodia, The great Mesoamerican empires, particularly the Inca, Maya and Aztecs. It's a bronze age setting, only the dwarves have any steel, and there is no plate mail. There are magically enhanced replacements for many missing things, however.

2. There is more magic here than in a typical setting. Magic is drawn to consciousness on this world, such that life, unlife, and every animated thing in between draws its own flavor of magic. This magic pools in places of power called Nexuses; each a unique mix of energies based on the blend of souls that attracted it. Nexuses reinforce certain types of magic and weaken others. Like attracts like, so if an area is overrun with demons, it tends to stay that way. Strengthened magics are called "signature" magic, and the weakened ones are called "countersignature". For example, in a Nexus with an "Ignan" signature fire magic is enhanced, while some other form of magic, such as "Necrotic" or "Aquan" magic is countersignature and is reduced in effect by a like amount. There are no firm rules as to which Signatures are paired with which Countersignature, allowing for widely varied places of power that will give each of them a unique twist.

3. Humans are dominant (on the surface), but only barely. There is a Fey empire called Ynnidon, a mystical dwarf empire called Kharkon which is unlike what you may have seen before, and an empire of dragons locked in a lasting civil war. The largest empire by far is Hrum Vaat- a subterranean realm with filaments that span the entire globe which encroaches on every other empire.

4. There are no Paladins. Chivalry never existed here, and so the Paladin class is replaced by the Idol; a Hero of the people with the favor of the gods. The likes of Hercules, Rama, and Gilgamesh are the inspiration for this class, which has powers based on glory, the awe of the people, and weaving Fate itself in their own favor. One such ability is Aegis- which protects the Idol from harm when he or she wears as little armor as possible.

5. Morningstar has its own flavor of Artificer which makes the Golden Age possible. While Artificers can make magic items for personal use, their greatest impact is to create constructs that serve society and do drudge work or serve as vehicles, and to contribute to the creation of Wonders- Artifact level edifices that grant their effects to large numbers of people.

6. Thraxis is part of a binary planetary system with the planet called Arril, and a magical black hole called The Wheel is equidistant between them. This system is the engine that drives the setting. Arril appears the size of a dinner plate in the sky- it positively looms over everything and causes daily eclipses. Without Arril, there would be no Wheel- It formed as a result of both worlds trying to draw magic from each other. Without the Wheel to accelerate the flow of magic, Thraxis would be a much more mundane world. It is because of the Wheel that the much smaller, and much less vibrant world of Arril suffers from a deficit of magic. It simply gets pulled away too quickly.
Arril threatens the world in many ways. As Arril's orbit approaches contact with the atmosphere of Thraxis, massive earthquakes have begun to wrack the work, cracking the earth and unleashing the denizens of the aberrant empire of Hrum Vaat to create chaos. Volcanoes spring from the sea and land, unleashing devastation and allowing creatures of fire and earth to run amock, and immense tsunamis are a daily occurance in some parts of the world. Only great magic holds society together, and no one can predict what will happen when the Wheel actually touches Thraxis' atmosphere.
Furthermore, Arril threatens Thraxis directly- as an enemy. The Mother Spirit of that world hates her sister, the Mother spirit of Thraxis, and wishes to destroy her. She has tried many times, and nearly succeeded. It's said that she created the Living Prophecy called "The Canticle of the Morning Star" to sow chaos in the many civilizations of the world. Her Lawful nature requires that she be honest, but she is ever cryptic in the Verses of this prophecy. This Prophecy can change when it is thwarted, and any written representation of its verses changes to match.
Her agents include cultists, creatures composed of the stuff of the wheel itself, and those touched by the Canticle, such as the Scriven- Mages who have the ever-changing verses of the Canticle carved into their flesh.

7. Teleportation magic is dangerous when Arril is in the Sky, unless you are travelling from one type of Nexus to a Nexus with the same Signature. If you roll a mishap, you are redirected to the center of the Wheel and are lost. Teleportation works normally when Arril is on the other side of the world.

8. Worship fuels a god's power directly. There are many gods and pantheons of gods. Native gods form pantheons which an individual Cleric pays respect to as a whole. Each pantheon is cultural, they are not typically seen as different forms of the same few beings. They are distant and manifest most frequently as forces of nature or miracles in accordance with their Domains.
Usurper Gods come from other planes, drawn by the easy power and worship energies available to them on Thraxis. They tend to make more of a show of manifestation, which is why many worship them- after all, you rarely know if a native god was even there.
Godlings are gods-on-the-rise, and include powerful demons, elder things, fey, celestials, and even mortal Zanoeen Priests- clerics who worship themselves and actually gain power from it.

9. Again, there are Construct Vehicles in Morningstar. These range from enhanced suits of armor to ships that row themselves, to golems in the forms of ferocious animals which are animated by their spirits.

10. Certain cultures in the setting have begun a magical space race. Surmising that the only way to explore Arril is to fly there the long way around, different cultures have begun developing magically powered ships to do so. This will link the setting up to a larger meta-setting called Mystic Space if a group desires to do so. Mystic space is unlike Spelljammer in that space is like our own universe's version of space (with the addition of magic), but the solutions to the problems of spaceflight are solved with magic. What this means for the setting is that there are Golden Eagle ships from the Greco-Roman Empire of Brekas that dare to fly higher every day, and immense space station-like Vimanas from India-inspired Hajir that are about to take flight.
 
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jrowland

First Post
To echo some others: what's in it for me as a player? What's in it for me as a DM?

Given the blog, I think you mean for the player characters to be like the epic heroes in our own world: Arthur, Hercules, Gilgamesh, etc. The setting seems to certainly lean in that direction. That would certainly grab my attention. Who is the main antogonist? Epic Heroes shouldn't be fighting sewer rats (well perhaps legendary sewer rats of the Rat God!). The wheel could be the realm of a Tharizdun-like entity that seeks to devour the worlds. Perhaps Death Giant servants or something...but we need an enemy.
 

RSKennan

Explorer
Just a few Enemies

Arril herself is an enemy, as described above, and all of her minions (Scriven, unnamed Void-things (I'll be naming these soon), Cultists, Aberrations) will stand in the way of a final confrontation that may or may not be possible in a given campaign.

Evil Usurper Gods- ancient deities deposed on their own world, find new life on Thraxis and threaten the native faiths in pursuit of their often bizarre goals. These include "The Strangers", who rule their domains utterly, causing the world to reshape itself to follow the laws of dream logic, and who can only be defeated by playing their individual games.

Hrum Vaat- The vast empire of aberrations which seeks to change the entire world to the Aberrant Signature. Among them are the Lreans; wormlike masterminds that can disguise themselves as a member of any race using magical suits of armor (with weaponry) that they create.

Ijamvhul- A human empire of nihilists broken down into criminal syndicates. They escaped the dragons that once enslaved them, and now seek to enslave the rest of the world. Or maybe they're just misunderstood.

Colossi Great Spirits made flesh that form spontaneously at powerful nexuses and which must be put down before they cause major problems.

Other Nexus-empowered creatures. There will be templates.

Any number of beings from other worlds that come to Thraxis to seek power from the Nexuses, and carve out a niche.
 


GX.Sigma

Adventurer
I think you are possibly focusing on mechanics rather than setting a bit to much. We already know that variant healing rules and crafting rules are coming in the DMG, so I would hang fire on those.
I don't know anything about the Morningstar setting, but I would like to second this. As a DM, I already have my own preference for HP systems, magic systems, etc. I'll use the mechanics that give me what I want mechanically, and I'll use the settings that give me what I want thematically. If a setting comes with mechanics, they should be very important to what makes the setting unique.
 

shadow

First Post
I remember picking up then 3e Morningstar book back in the day. There were some neat concepts, but I felt too many things weren't explained enough (for example, the nexuses) and there weren't enough details about the different nations and cultures. So, if the 5e version manages to explain too explain things better and flesh out some of the details, it might be a setting I would consider picking up.
 

RSKennan

Explorer
I don't know anything about the Morningstar setting, but I would like to second this. As a DM, I already have my own preference for HP systems, magic systems, etc. I'll use the mechanics that give me what I want mechanically, and I'll use the settings that give me what I want thematically. If a setting comes with mechanics, they should be very important to what makes the setting unique.

I should clarify this; In the blog post I mentioned variant rules I'll be posting on my site, such as the aforementioned Healing rules. These would not be part of the Morningstar Setting, per se- they're just some rules I wrote for my own, medieval game.

Worlds Workshop isn't a company- It's just me and my projects. There will frequently be diverse things there, but everything will be labeled. I will also make a submenu for each project as work gets done.

As for the mechanics I will be including in the setting- they will all have a part to play in making the themes and logic of the setting work. I made the mistake of including things just because I thought they were cool (without regard to how well they fit) the first time, and I won't do it again.

Thanks for everyone's input. It's very helpful.
 

RSKennan

Explorer
I remember picking up then 3e Morningstar book back in the day. There were some neat concepts, but I felt too many things weren't explained enough (for example, the nexuses) and there weren't enough details about the different nations and cultures. So, if the 5e version manages to explain too explain things better and flesh out some of the details, it might be a setting I would consider picking up.

I will do my best. I'll be as clear and detailed as I can. I also plan to give each empire a full treatment this time around.
 

RSKennan

Explorer
I've updated the blog with a new post giving more detail on the setting. I tried to emphasize the action and potential for conflict. Also included is a preview of the world map I'm making.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
To echo some others: what's in it for me as a player?

You need more reason than a class designed to let you look like this?

leonidas.jpg

This is madness.

RSKennan: have you considered completely separating M:AoM from any one RPG? I believe they're doing this with Dragon Kings. I'm just not sure if it would expand or reduce your market.
 

RSKennan

Explorer
I have considered it, but it really delves into the idea of the Golden Age that came before a typical D&D setting, and presents a world that never moved on. There are a lot of D&Disms in it.Something to think about though.

edit: typoes on my iphone. En World isn't displaying properly.
 
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RSKennan

Explorer
I’m really sorry for necroing this thread after so long, but I just got an email asking me to update it with my new site’s address from someone who wanted more info after finding this thread. You see, during a cross-country move there was a technical issue I couldn’t solve in time that got my last site shut down. I started a new one, which really doesn’t have much Morningstar material on it yet.

Regardless, the email was asking about Morningstar: Age of Majesty, and as a result of it and other recent inquiries, I’ll be looking into the feasibility of getting this book out. I had stopped work on it as a result of an apparent lack of interest from the potential audience, but I think it might have been a mistake. I have a friend who will be helping me determine whether that’s the case. He has experience with publishing and with fulfilling Kickstarters.

As for work on the project, I have the hard part done already, which for me, was the setting-specific crunch. That’s why this thread had a crunchy focus on my end- it was the part I had to finish first. There’s not an unreasonable amount of it, and it all directly works to fill out the setting. I’ll be putting some of it online in the coming weeks, on my new site, Yetzirahgames.com. Thanks for reading.
 
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Dennis Pascale

Villager
I’m really sorry for necroing this thread after so long, but I just got an email asking me to update it with my new site’s address from someone who wanted more info after finding this thread. You see, during a cross-country move there was a technical issue I couldn’t solve in time that got my last site shut down. I started a new one, which really doesn’t have much Morningstar material on it yet.

Regardless, the email was asking about Morningstar: Age of Majesty, and as a result of it and other recent inquiries, I’ll be looking into the feasibility of getting this book out. I had stopped work on it as a result of an apparent lack of interest from the potential audience, but I think it might have been a mistake. I have a friend who will be helping me determine whether that’s the case. He has experience with publishing and with fulfilling Kickstarters.

As for work on the project, I have the hard part done already, which for me, was the setting-specific crunch. That’s why this thread had a crunchy focus on my end- it was the part I had to finish first. There’s not an unreasonable amount of it, and it all directly works to fill out the setting. I’ll be putting some of it online in the coming weeks, on my new site, Yetzirahgames.com. Thanks for reading.

Thank you for the update. I came across this thread thanks to your last post. I also linked up to your new website. I for one, (I know that's not a lot yet but it's a start) would really look forward to seeing this setting get a 5e update. I purchased your 3rd Edition version pdf and have enjoyed reading up on the setting. It's something different yet familiar. What drew me in was your inclusion of the cultures we don't get to see too often in standard D&D, such as your take on cultures from India and Africa, as well as the Greek feel to the campaign. My group is playing in a homebrew world currently and I've included those same cultures into my world, but we haven't really scratched the surface yet. I look forward to seeing what develops.
 

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