[Points of Light Setting] The Residuum Must Flow (updated 6/24)

doseyclwn

First Post
Reading through your original post again, I had a few more ideas I'd like to run by you.

Residuum - I am not keen on adventurers being able to create vast wealth out of magical armor and items. What I would propose is that you have a chance to create residuum out of disenchanted magical items, but it's value would be worth no more than the price of the residuum, and it would have to be processed (maybe create a "craft residuum" skill or something along those lines. There would be a chance they would get no residuum, or they may get very little, or they may mess up when it's processed (like if the person doing the processing is corrupt or something). This way, you can keep the PC's from going around disenchanting magic items all over the place.

Warforged - I'm still not sure I like the idea of them in this setting. Maybe they're just about to be discovered or something, possibly remnants of an ancient empire until "reawakened" by residuum or something.

The Worm - I want to have something like the worm from dune, something that makes residuum mining dangerous as hell, something that low level pc's would NOT be able to defeat.

Non-human races - I'm thinking noble houses here: each race could have their own noble house, humans may have several. Have you decided on a number of noble houses?

Start of the campaign - How to get them involved? I'm thinking something along the lines of the treachery that took place in the first DUNE book, maybe the PC's have ties to that house, either by blood or otherwise, but have that house get basically screwed over by another house during one of the early levels and have the restoration or vindication of that house be the initial object of the campaign.

Any thoughts?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Andrew D. Gable

First Post
Something I think would be very neat is a sort of corruption, or at least alteration, resulting from residuum exposure (a la the Mentat in Dune), in the long run. This would be interesting as it could have it that very high-level wizards are somehow not right. Even mundane members of the guilds/families could develop minor magical abilities.

Perhaps Sandworms could be some sort of magivore similar to an uber-Nishruu or Hakeashar. Absorbing spells and maybe healing from them, that kind of thing. Most mining crews don't have a mage escort, as it just wouldn't do them much good should a "Worm" show up. I could see use in high-risk area mining crews of golem workers, as they're seen as more "expendable" than mortal miners.

I may use this idea in my games. It would fit well with my world.

I'm with Terwox; I never much cared for Dune, but this idea makes it seem OK to me.
 
Last edited:

Very cool idea. :cool:

clark411 said:
They are political and cultural juggernauts, but they have their chain: residuum. Although divine rituals can be performed using Sanctified Incense, few temples within civilized areas do, accepting gifts of residuum from the Noble Houses and any others who wish to donate the precious dust. In exchange for donations, the Church provides services for the Noble Houses, Barony, and the Imperial Throne, and promotes sermons that maintain order within both the community and between these groups.

If you want the Church to have a real stake in the flow of residuum you only need it to be required for one ritual, Ordination. Like the connection between the Reverend Mothers and the Water of Life, no residuum, no new clerics.
 


Kaodi

Adventurer
Why not just substitute " Dragon " for " Worm " ? Maybe Residuum is a residue that is left over on things that have been touched by their breath weapons...

While this is obviously meant to be a tribute to Dune, I would like to suggest that it not be entirely parallel. Yes, there are Houses, but the political situation should not mirror Atreides and Haarkonen I think. And no singular Paul type character. Every one of the PCs should be able to be equally central to the story.
 


clark411

First Post
Lots of points to cover!

1. My first post was simply a framework for applying a concept to the preexisting parts of DnD (portals, rituals, points of light, residuum). The work that I've done since then has been history work, and a little information on the non-human races that aren't integrated into the Empire. I'll share it- but it's less of a framework and will probably be of less value.

2. Glad to see that there's lots of "We need to add.." posts! I'll be leaving the origins of the leylines, the lodestones, and the consequences of residuum use to the imaginations of others- I'll have my own too.

3. The automatons, which the Warforged are only a part, are there primarily to help with the balance of power and explain where a lot of the residuum is going (Meridia). Most Houses have somewhat limited resources to run their militaries... even if they're spending considerable sums to establish new farmlands, carving them out of the wilderness, the holdings are bubbles of civilization that impose considerable limitations on each one. Even feeding a small army is a dubious proposal, so Houses may have dozens of Warforged soldiers in torpor, ready to sprinkle residuum on them to wake them up in an emergency. The framework is certainly modular enough to allow for the complete removal of any individual component, I think- so do away with them as needed.

4. I left Shai'Hulud out of the equation because... well it's clear- Some people think magic = dragons, while others say worms fit the vibe of Dune. You could argue that the Underdark itself is the Worm... that Torog, the Beast that Burrows, is very jealous of his domain, or that Tiamat- whose portfolio covers the hording of wealth, requires covenants with each Holding. It's ultimately up to the scale and direction of your campaign and your personal interests... if we put in Level 28 Worms or Dragons, there's two issues that sprout up: 1) we clearly define residuum mining as the stuff of epic legend (and imply to the players that they should find other things to do for 25ish levels) and 2) we make it very hard to believe that Solanthis could have established control of even a single Lodestone, per the default. In Dune, the nations use Ornithopters to scout for big bads and clear out their harvesters with time to spare... in this feudal setting, the Houses build giant fortresses atop their Lodestones and establish permanent tunnels that no other can access directly. A 30 year construction of a castle atop a purple worm may cause issues.

5. I hadn't even thought of requiring residuum for ordination! Given that Solanthis was a Theocratic nation prior to discovering residuum, It might cause a little logical disconnect... Religion and ritual existed long before residuum was found through means other than the Disenchant Magic Item ritual. Additionally, there are nations beyond the Empire that also have divine ritual use but no residuum. I had hoped to leave residuum as the overused, dominant "alternative" option to give PCs a chance to play different, but your tastes may vary.
 
Last edited:

doseyclwn

First Post
First off, thanks for the inspiration, Clark411. I'm definitely using this as inspiration for my first 4e campaign. A lot to think about. Let's see...

1) I don't think it would be of less value. I'm not going to use your ideas verbatim, but I like the way you think so far, and it's definitely sparking my own creativity. I'd be interested to see what you have done on the non-humans.

2)Good. I have a bunch of ideas already for those.

3)I dunno. Maybe I'll have non-warforged automatons and warforged will come later or something. Haven't quite figured that out. One idea I had was to use some sort of automated Guild Navigator (a machine instead of a human) to pilot the airships. Though airships having to use residuum-mutated navigators is an interesting thought...

4) I see what you mean. I'll have to give that some thought. I'd like to have some reason to send folks into the wilderness, but we'll see.

5) I think residuum as required for ordination is a bit much, but maybe some ritual like the Spice Agony ritual to attain higher levels or become an exarch or something like that.

Again, thanks for all the great ideas. I'd love to hear more about what you're doing with it.
 


mrrodgers

First Post
Who is the cheif patron of the Empire? My thoughts are below.

While the capital of the empire is built around a temple of Pelor, it makes sense in my mind that they would revere Corellon and Ioun more, due to their strong connection to arcane magic and thus residuum.
 

clark411

First Post
6/24 Update

Time Periods
Expansion

After the discovery of the first lodestone, the wizards of the Kingdom of Solanthis developed a means by which they could detect and follow the leylines of the world. Some research on the matter already existed—the great cities of the eladrin were believed to travel upon the leylines. One great scholar, Hemedices, had created charts of the appearance locations of these cities. The tome was considered, at the time of its writing, an interesting but generally useless book of facts and dates—the eladrin cities did not appear with the regularity of the phases of the moons, but instead exactly when and where the eladrin wished them to appear. While Hemedices had intended to find a routine of appearance for each city separately, he did not attempt to combine his data sets upon a map. When the wizards of Solanthis did this, a very clear pattern emerged—a map of the leylines.

The last king, Gosus II, commissioned an expedition to the nearest possible lodestone. The journey would take them well beyond the natural borders of Solanthis, and through regions that humans had dared not venture since Pelor himself had granted the kings their Sun Crown. The legends of Pelor shining his radiant, protective light upon the great downs of Solanthis’ verdant domain had explained the fertile region, and why humans had long ago come together and claimed the land, forsaking many of the more harsh wild regions, but had resulted in a healthy degree of paranoia when it came to venturing into the dark forests and ancient ruins of the fallen empires. The hostile, and sometimes even outright spiteful monsters that paced in the shadows gave credence to this belief.

While previous expeditions into the wild had used large military forces, and long, heavily guarded supply trains, the wizards’ plan called for foraging, the guidance of amiable wilderness cultures, and the construction of permanent teleportation circles. The first expedition was able to make fast time through the uncharted forests and marshes of the wild, and established the first waystation three hundred miles from the border of Solanthis. This construction tested the expedition harshly, for while a wooden garrison was assembled in the span of days from the clearance of the local forest, the construction of the teleportation circle met setback after setback. All told, three months had passed before it was finished, and the numbers of the expedition had dropped considerably as foragers went missing, and sickness took its toll.

When it was completed, a portal allowed many members of the expedition to return home to Solanthis instantaneously. Replacements were brought to the waystation, and the expedition continued. Many had argued that the expedition had spent more time building than marching.

The first holding was constructed by Telsis, the first son of King Gosus II, upon a high hill on the far edge of the aptly named Trollmere that the first expedition crossed. Within five years, the second lodestone location was uncovered, and Solanthis’ production of residuum doubled. In honor of the goddess of civilization, the second holding was named Erath.

The Foundation of the Empire
Gosus II was ailing by the time the first Holding was in complete operation. The noble houses of Solanthis were at that point actively competing for the rights to own land in proximity to the holding, their eyes looking to unclaimed lands in proximity to a vast undertaking—the construction of the holding’s castle town. Managing the noble houses would fall on the shoulders of Telsis, not Gosus II.

Upon word of his father’s failing condition, Telsis returned to Solanthis as quickly as the messenger had arrived via the holding’s teleportation circle. He had born an iron crown in his holding, and one advisor argued that the Sun Crown be remade to reflect that the Kingdom of Solanthis now consisted of two points—one of gold and another of iron. Telsis declined the Sun Crown entirely. He declared that he would grant one of the noble houses the right to continue his work at the holding in exchange for a large percentage of its residuum production. He also declared that no noble house would truly own a holding, but would reside there so long as they obeyed his edicts.

Thus, an empire was born. During Telsis’ reign, two more lodestones were discovered. Through a series of edicts, all of which are still viewed as the keystones of Imperial civilization, Telsis gave conditional power to the noble houses which both showed the greatest loyalty and, perhaps more importantly, showed the greatest competency when it came to managing their holdings. While the noble houses of the Kingdom of Solnanthis were constantly in turmoil, unable to expand beyond the safety of the downs and into the wild, now there was only peace—openly at least, as each house sought to curry favor with the Emperor.

The Eladrin Issue
When the wizards of Solanthis had studied Hemedices’ works intent upon the expansion of the empire across the leylines, they must have realized that doing so would mean that any future empire would be an entirely porous territory, especially to the eladrin. Their beautiful, high-spired cities of ivory followed the trade winds of the feywild, appearing momentarily in the material world, sometimes with no regard, or no knowledge, of the claims of other kingdoms. Although never openly hostile, the eladrin were an utterly foreign culture, and almost no success had been made with any efforts to establish diplomatic contact with any of their cities.

When Telsis’ son, Mardol II took the throne, it became clear that the eladrin would be needed for further discovery of the lodestones. The scope of Hemedices’ work, while commendably vast, and even more commendably profitable, had only revealed the location of four lodestones along the intersecting points of four leylines. The options were grim: either follow the leylines blindly for months through hostile terrain teeming with hostile peoples and beasts, or deal with the eladrin.
The wizards of the empire took to developing a ritual, the Loremaster’s Bargain, to contact the seasonal powers of the Feywild. In exchange for a series of pacts within one of the Arcane Colleges, the seasonal powers gave the humans a means of contacting one of the eladrin cities.

After much diplomatic dalliance, the eladrin city of Vesulathi agreed to help Emperor Mardol II find additional lodestones. Modern scholars are still uncovering the many subtle prices of this agreement.

Portal Troubles
By the end of the second century of Imperial expansion, the Skyfleet of Barony coursed across the forests and mountains of the land, looking for the telltale signs of lodestones—exotic locations, odd weather patterns or temperature changes, and the ribbons of light that appear with the waxing of Sehanine. Expeditions no longer risked land travel, and the alliance with Vesulathi lost much of its luster as the ever evasive eladrin were slower to commit to facts than the lookouts of the Skyfleet. It was during this time that the Skyfleet would earn more of its political leverage, as the plotting of the Githyanki came to threaten the entire Empire.

A race of militaristic builders who reside in the Astral Sea, the Githyanki watched with interest as the Empire developed in the middle world. Their agents, disloyal Imperial citizens, had been able to produce the names of several minor noble families in each Holding that made regular use of teleportation circles. After having procured hostages, the Githyanki made simple demands of the nobles—use the circles, and record exactly each location’s circles. The families complied, unaware that other families across the Empire were doing similar things. The hostages were retained until the Githyanki plot was put into motion.

Traditionally, teleportation circles are considered a poor manner of transporting military forces. Even an only moderately competent garrison can resist an invasion through a teleportation circle, given adequate preparation. The githyanki were no ordinary invading force however, and most forces, through continuous applications of the Planar Portal ritual were able to overwhelm and take control of the teleportation circles of the Holdings across the Empire simultaneously. By the time the Imperial forces had congregated at secret portals, most of the circles had already been the subject of Forbiddance rituals, and a grueling battle for the holds was waged, each hold left to their own devices. Although the githyanki were eventually fought off, with some conflicts lasting weeks as remaining githyanki took to hiding, the dangers of the portals became clear.

Today, most teleportation circles have been dismantled and relocated beyond the curtain walls of the holdings. Teleportation circles are given to the Church for the purposes of guardianship, with Angelic forms constantly in the rafters of most cathedrals that cap the portals deep within their sublevels. Also, the Arcane Colleges and Orders now deal with the Githyanki to maintain a steady peace. Although many would consider it simple protection money, the Githyanki have taken to sharing some information with the Arcane Colleges about the terrors of the Astral Sea that the Githyanki face using Imperial weapons and armor. Although the politics of the Astral Sea are utterly foreign to many in the Empire, the highest orders of wizards still discuss the dangers of giving the Githyanki the means they need to spread their conquests farther.

The Civilized Races
Humans

First, it is important to note that the humans of Solanthis are not the only humans of the continent. This was learned as the expeditions followed the leylines and came across other human cultures.

Second, it is important to note that the humans of the Empire are no longer simply the humans of Solanthis. Traders from unknown kingdoms arrive on the outskirts of holdings periodically, and those traders who venture through the wilderness return to their distant, unknown kingdoms with stories to tell of great cities of stone that rise above the dark forests of the world. When those travelers return, they often come with people who want to see these places, and very often those people are humans from other cultures.

Finally, it is important to note that the humans of Solanthis did not develop as an isolated race. When Pelor shone his light upon the clear downs, races traveled for hundreds of miles, following it across mountains, through forests, and even from the islands off the coast. Elves, Halflings, Humans, Dragonborn, and Tieflings came to the downs. Pelor bestowed his crown upon a human King, but many scholars argue that was based on the merit of the individual, not his race. Although the line of leaders has forever been human, the council chambers of the kings of Solanthis, and later the emperors, have hosted dwarves, elves, half elves, Halflings, dragonborn, tieflings, and eladrin. Twice, the same dwarf councilor stood regent to the throne in times of war, and the well-known Celval of Reedriver, a half-elf, was in line for the Sun Throne for three generations.

Dwarves
There are five known dwarven clans, and of them the Ironhelms alone have allied themselves with the Empire. Sat upon a throne of granite, dwarven kings act as ordinators, adjudicators, and executor sfor all of their clan. Dwarves of Solanthis often turn to the dwarven high court of the Ironhelm Hall to deal with their affairs, rather than trust in the courts of Solanthis, even if it means they must wait for months to present their arguments.

The Ironhelms control the Fourth Lodestone, which they had discovered long before the Empire had been established. Although not a holding, decades of trade and exchanges that mirror the relationship between the Imperial Family and the great houses effectively makes Ironhelm Hall an informal member of the Empire. The dwarven craftsmen of Ironhelm Hall enjoy the demand for their wares, and at the same time, the farmers of the Solanthis province sell their excess at premium rates to dwarven traders.

Elves
As the humans of Solanthis crossed the wild, they came to find the moon elves good friends. Although their tree-top cities are known for their beauty, the elves build upward because of the dangers of the forest floor first of all. The elves live upon the razor’s edge in the wild, settling where human nations could never take root, in the forests they call the Dark Above. Although elven cities are as far spread as human holdings, they maintain regular contact through Nature based rituals.

Unknown to the Empire, the elves have known of the leylines and lodestones since before Pelor cast his light upon the downs, and have fought the drow for control of the leylines since the schism of their race. To the drow, the leylines are the web of Lolth, stolen from the Underdark, and currently twisted into a natural force that fuels the life of the world above. To the elves, the leylines are rightfully where they belong, in the place between the Dark Above and the Dark Below, and so long as the moon is Sehanine’s, Lolth’s children will not come to control the leylines. Although the works of the elves do not center only upon their seemingly endless struggle with the drow, they do have sufficient reason to worry, that all elves are taught to survive the Dark Above so that they can one day venture into the Underdark.

Eladrin
While the elves seek to maintain the leylines through the natural forces of the world, the Eladrin have turned their attentions towards the politics of the Feywild. Engaging in constant dealings and strife with the cyclopses of the Feywild’s Underdark, the Eladrin’s battle strangely mirrors the elven struggle for control with the drow.

Dragonborn
Long ago, Arkhosia the Ashen Dragon turned upon the Dragonborn and destroyed their lands. A proud warrior culture, the Dragonborn traveled across the wild, and for generations they lived as nomads, moving from land to land, selling their blades and scales for enough supplies to move on. When they arrived at the Imperial Palace of Solanthis, the Emperor saw their value, and invited them to remain as permanent members of the Imperial military forces. As another generation passed, many gained citizenship in Solanthis, and some spread out to the Holdings. Today, the Imperial Throne still maintains an elite group of Dragonborn, who are referred to as the Ashenscale, a sort of twisted homage to the ancient dragon that destroyed its own kingdom in a maddened rage.
 
Last edited:

RabidBob

First Post
Wanted to add my "this is really good" comment. A very nice tying together of different ideas and very flavourful.

I'd don't think adding something like purple worms defending lodestones is a good idea, it would be over doing things a bit.

If you're after some ideas for halflings, I thought adding them as canal boat traders/transporters would be a cool idea; canals would be a lot cheaper than sending things on flying ships for bulk goods. Clearly this would only be within a settled area! They could have a disreputable aspect to them as well.

The flying ships reminded me a lot of Cecilia Dart-Thorton's "Bitterbynde" books, powered by magical lodestone, as well as the feeling of very dangerous terrain between outposts of civilisation.

Excellent work sir!
 

doseyclwn

First Post
I like the idea of halflings as boat traders. I also kinda like the idea of purple worms in some places. For myself, I want to show my players that you shouldn't fight everything. I think they would get just as much a thrill out of getting away from a Purple Worm as they would killing one.
 

doseyclwn

First Post
Okay, any of the players in my game in Richmond, VA playing at Joe's house in Bill's game stop reading right now........

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.


Here's the first adventure I'm running. I run this on Sunday night. I have 5 players: 3 experienced (2 of them have been playing since the mid '70s, one since about 1999), and 2 relative newbies (both friends of mine, but neither have played much at all since 1st edition).

The PC's (they haven't all made characters yet) are working for one of the Noble Houses, House Nerath (remnants of the old empire, my version of House Atreides), and they are sent on a mission to retrieve the third son of the Current Emperor, a free-spirited lad whom the emperor views as silly (but in reality is not that silly. He's sort of a Scarlet Pimpernel type character). The mission is a ruse, faked by one of the other houses. This house (haven't decided on the name yet) is the big bad (can you tell I'm a buffy fan) for the Heroic Campaign Arc. They've hired a band of mercenaries, a respected organization that's been splintered in recent years (haven't decided why yet), and told them the PC's are trying to Kill the Imperial Prince. The PC's are travelling to the Prince's supposed location on a small airship, when they are attacked by (what they will think) are bandits on 3 small air skiffs. This is where it gets a bit interesting. What happens next will entirely depend on what the PC's do and how it works out for them. If they manage to win the fight and capture one of the bandits, they will learn what that merc organization believes. They could travel to the merc headquarters for a skill challenge with the Head of the Organization or they can try to fight them (although they will be seriously outnumbered). If their airship is forced to land (which is what the bandits are trying to do), depending on how the PC's are doing, they will either be captured and taken prisoner, they can try to fight back (they may or may not win, they will be outnumbered). Or the entire group will be attacked by a Purple Worm (my equivalent of the Spice Worms). Here they have a great opportunity. Unless circumstances prevent it, one of the bandits will ask for the PC's help in defeating/avoiding the worm. If the PC's help them, they will gain allies, perhaps powerful ones depending on how the subsequent skill challenge with the Merc Leader goes. Of course, one option if the PC's bypass all of this is to go to the appointed place, where they will find the Imperial Prince on a hunting expedition. This could cause all kinds of confusion (we'll see what my players are in the mood for), could gain them an ally, make them an enemy, and they could do all sorts of things here. I'm trying to be ready for any eventuality.

Meanwhile, their holding is being attacked by Imperial-looking soldiers (I don't think I will actually make them Imperial soldiers, but I may. At the very least, they will look like Imperial Soldiers). Depending upon what point the PC's come back, the attack may be at the beginning, middle, or end. There are literally hundreds of things the PC's could do here. I feel like I'm an experienced enough DM that I can improvise and handle whatever happens. I know all the major players and what their actions/motivations independent of what the PC's are doing are, so it should be easy to see how they would react to the PC's. I hope to give my players a feeling that what they do really matters.

Any comments, questions, or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

On a side note, I have been thinking about hosting some sort of blog space or webpage with info about this campaign. If there is interest, I would love to open it up to some of y'all as well to post your stories, thoughts, etc.. Of course, I'll want Clark411's blessing and will give him full credit for my version of his ideas.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top