Archive for February, 2014

Werewolves.

Ok, now that you’ve read that how many of you immediately went to the sexy werewolf zone? Even if you didn’t go there at first, you still know what I’m talking about, and it’s ok. Genre fiction that’s popular is usually a very good thing for the nerd community as a whole, even if sexy werewolves are not exactly your thing. That being said, they are not my thing. Neither are werewolves as normal folk who get amnesia about their transform into raging killers during the full moon. I’m trying to uncover a new way of thinking about them in Exploration Age.

There’s so much more to this guy than simple sex appeal. He’s not a piece of meat, people.

A History of The Brotherhood

A little less than 400 years ago, a secret cabal of elf werewolves formed in Taliana. The Brotherhood of the Moon had one mission – to propel their race up the evolutionary ladder by giving the gift of lycanthropy to every elf in Taliana.

At first The Brotherhood of the Moon was a few roving werewolves, who would seduce non-lycan elves into accepting the gift with promises of heightened senses and increased physical prowess. But as they grew, the werewolves developed a more formal organizational structure with a leader, called the Moon King or Queen, and chapters that were secretly operating within Taliana’s major settlements. In the beginning these chapters focused on voluntary recruitment. As their numbers grew, The Brotherhood of the Moon hatched a more sinister plot.

They began to target members of Taliana’s ruling Parliament. Many of these members were extorted and blackmailed into becoming werewolves. As their influence spread, so too did public knowledge of the cabal. They grew too bold and Taliana began hunting these lycanthropes down. The Brotherhood of the Moon took this aggression as an act of violent discrimination against werewolves and responded by raiding villages and infecting the population with their gift. Many elves would rather die than become a werewolf, and the Brotherhood of the Moon was happy to grant that option.

After many deaths on both sides the cabal was brought under control. The remaining members of The Brotherhood went into hiding, until a lich attempted to seize control of Parliament and declare himself King of Taliana. Trivarch Leroux enlisted The Brotherhood’s help by promising to help fulfill their mission of wide-spread lycanthropy once he was in power. Trivarch’s plan was successful and he covered all of Taliana in the eternal night of a full moon to help The Brotherhood regrow its numbers in exchange for enforcing his harsh rule.

Trivarch wasn’t in power for long. A group of vigilante halflings calling themselves The Mothers of the Field destroyed him and restored the rule of the elf Parliament. (It is important to note Trivarch’s phylactery was never found.) The Brotherhood of the Moon went into hiding once again to escape the justice of Taliana’s Parliament. (One more note: the Mothers of the Field are still operational and will take on any authority they believe is corrupt or unfit to rule. Some see them as heroes, others as terrorists.)

Roughly 200 years ago, The Brotherhood of the Moon hatched another plot to increase the werewolf population of Taliana – they began seducing and mating with unsuspecting elves by order of the then Moon King. The werewolves had always stuck to their own kind for breeding, believing in keeping their own blood pure. Two werewolf parents produce werewolf offspring though their chances for conception are lower than most other humanoids. The thought was  a single werewolf parent would produce lycanthrope children and increase chances for conception by mating with a more fertile non-lycan partner. The Brotherhood soon found they were incorrect. Werewolf and elf parents alike were shocked to find themselves literally birthing a new race – the shifters.

Shifters doing their thang! You do you.

A Note on Shifters

I won’t go into too much depth here, since this post is supposed to be about The Brotherhood of the Moon, but as you can see the two are related.

Shifters were born outcasts. Many were killed as babes, their parents too horrified to look upon them. To many elves they were monstrosities and to many werewolves they were an evolutionary misstep and deserved to die. Many of the shifters who managed to have a parent kind enough to let them live were still kicked out of the house at an early age or orphaned when their parent was murdered by bigots or committed suicide after learning they had consummated with a werewolf.

These abandoned shifters found each other and formed communities of wandering vagabonds who make a living performing, swindling, and selling crafts. Today these communities exist all over Findalay and many look forward to the circuses and carnivals the shifters provide. Others feel the shifters have been short-changed and try to help these beings find a more established life in Findalay. Some fear the partial werewolf race avoiding and shunning them. The truly fearful seek out and kill these half-breeds.

The discovery of Verda has opened up new possibilities for the shifters, a place where they may have a home of their own free from persecution, stares, jeers, discrimination, violence, and the ever-looming Brotherhood of the Moon.

Brotherhood of the Moon Today

Today The Brotherhood of the Moon is operating in Taliana and scheming up ways to bring the gift to the inferior elves. They have also made it their mission to hunt and kill shifters, since the werewolves believe this evolutionary mistake is theirs to correct.

Currently, Moon Queen Elvira Selene rules The Brotherhood. Little is known about her plans. Recently werewolf nests have been found in some of Taliana’s major cities. While they have been destroyed, it begs the question how many undiscovered dens of lycanthropes remain? Has The Brotherhood mobilized once again or have these hideouts been in existence for years and just now being discovered? Are they planning on taking over the cities of Taliana from these nests? Are they engaged in smuggling orange spice (ooo more on that in another post)? Are they on an intelligence gathering mission? Whatever the reason, the discovery of these nests has the people of Taliana on edge once more…

Werewolf. With a sword. Yep.

Werewolf. With a sword. Yep.

So how’d I do? Do you like this new spin on werewolves, as racial supremacists convinced that non-lycanthropes are fools resisting the natural progression of life and evolution on Canus? I hope it terrifies and intrigues you!

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

A block of villains! I’m going to begin a few posts here that will all be about potential villains my campaign world might have. I’ve talked about the importance of having some bad guys who are pure evil in a world of gray. First up, The Sleeping Ones.

I’ve mentioned these creatures a few times in the past. They are half-aberrant, half-devil beings that have the alien mind and feeling of entitlement to Canus of the former, and the cruel and cunning mind of the latter. Indeed these creatures are tough, smart, and powerful. They also hold a belief that Canus was a land their ancestors dominated long ago before it was stolen from them by lesser beings. They wish to take back their world back from these unworthy usurpers.

Yep.

Yep.

A History of The Sleeping Ones

Long ago when the metallic dragons fought the aberrants for control of Verda, the dragons summoned legions of devils to aid them in their cause. Some of these devil escaped the dragon’s thrall and sided with the aberrants. The devils and aberrants produced a horrific offspring, with the abilities and strengths of both of their bloodlines. To their parents and dragons this race was called morchia.

As it became clear the metallic dragons and tieflings we’re going to achieve victory, the pure-blood aberrant and devils sacrificed themselves so their beloved children could retreat to Verda’s Underdark. Still many morchia died in the final days of The Dragon Aberrant War. Those that lived, recovered and began to form their own society deep below Verda.

Thousands of years later the morchia came forth from The Underdark of Verda. They fought with tribes of monstrous humanoids and humans on the surface slowly reclaiming their lost lands. The morchia were called The Awakened Ones by the tribes who did not know the history of these strange creatures. The tribes knew only that the beasts had awakened from somewhere deep within Canus, hence their new title.

While the morchia were powerful, the tribes were far more numerous and their superior numbers helped them survive – for a time. It became clear that eventually The Awakened Ones would win out against the tribes.

However, the tribes were not Verda’s only inhabitants. The tieflings saw the way the war was going and for a time remained safe in their Spires. But the tieflings feared correctly they would be the next to fall if something was not done. So they began to research all of their tomes. They search every last aberrant ruin they could find. They spent all of their energies trying to find a solution while the tribes of Verda were slaughtered.

Finally, the tieflings used ancient magic unlocked deep within the ruins of Verda, and combined these old rituals with spells taught to them by the dragons. The ritual took hold of the morchia and opened the ground beneath them. As The Awakened Ones fell deep into The Underdark, a deep slumber overcame them. The powerful ritual, referred to as The Reckoning Spell, consumed many tieflings in the process of its casting, but the morchia had been defeated. Any that had not fallen to the ritual were quickly killed off or ran deep into Verda’s jungles. The tribes took to calling their defeated foes The Sleeping Ones – a warning to themselves that these creatures might someday return.

The Sleeping Ones Today

Oh man. Oh man.

Oh man. Oh man.

The people of Verda have a long memory as far as The Sleeping Ones are concerned. Nightmarish tales are passed down through generations about the horrors the tribes endured at the hands of these beasts. Most of the people in the tribes have never actually come face to face with these creatures, but they still speak their name in a soft whisper. These tales are not the kind used to scare naughty children. Oh no, they are the kind that make grown adults retch and cry out in the night.

The tieflings broke apart and hid the scroll that detailed the components of The Reckoning Spell. They thought a tool so powerful should be one difficult to retrieve and one they be tempted not to use. Now the scroll lies in five pieces in various parts of Verda. A piece might be entrusted to a tribe chief of an obscure but powerful clan or deep within and ancient ruin or somewhere in Verda’s uncharted territory. Each piece’s location is known only to one tiefling. Thus the knowledge is spread across five individual tieflings and their identities are known only by The Grand Council. They only come together and reveal their information if The Grand Council calls upon them, which has not happened… Yet.

Some of the morchai escaped into the jungles of Verda and remain alive and awake. These villains rarely show their faces though sometimes an individual will cause mischief. Enslaving a tribe to cause havoc and destruction is a favorite activity of these vagabond morchai. They also search for ancient artifacts left behind by their ancestors, slaughter lesser beings to prove their dominance, and seek others of their kind to keep reproducing.

There is a darker truth being uncovered in Verda. Many morchai have come together and plan to wake their sleeping brethren. They believe The Reckoning Spell can be reversed and have made it their mission to seek out the scroll and revive their kin. Then with Reckoning Spell in hand, they will lay waste to the lesser beings on Canus and take back their home.

Abilities and Appearance

Just. Wow.

The morchai runs the gamut in appearances. They all have features that point to their devil ancestry – horns, tails, claws, sharp teeth, and fiery eyes. Their more random features are the aberrant ones. Some have the tentacles of a mind flayer or otygyuh, or the eyes of a beholder or mouths of a gibbering mouther or the beak of a grell, etc. Some have more than one of these features. The combination of these alien and devilish features is grotesque and at times mind-bending.

As far as powers go, The Sleeping Ones are resistant to fire and poison and damage from non-magical or non-silvered weapons. Those resistances come from their devilish lineage as well as a claw attack and a flame projectile attack.

From the aberrant side, The Sleeping Ones have a powerful domination ability that allows them full control of an individual’s body. Since their appearances vary based on their aberrant lineage, so too do their powers. I can roll on the table below to generate these random abilities.

Roll 1d12 and add an ability to the base morchai.

  1. Tentacles (grant a grab attack that deals damage)
  2. Eye rays (multiple eyes grant the creature a few unique eye ray attacks)
  3. Beak (granting a bite attack)
  4. Gibbering mouths (horrendous sounds may nauseate enemies)
  5. Mind blast (an attack that can stun enemies)
  6. Extra crab claw (grants a grab attack that can be used as part of another attack)
  7. Flesh wings (grant a fly speed)
  8. Shapeshifting (can shapeshift into any creature of the same size)
  9. Sonic scream (attacks all enemies within a particular radius)
  10. Enormous maw (can swallow creatures whole)
  11. Supersized (creature is one size category larger and gains a trample attack)
  12. Roll twice on this table, if this result comes up again, roll three times on the table.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

Round Table 6 is up!

Posted: February 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

The next Round Table Podcast is up here. In this podcast I sit down with some new panelists (and old friends) who have just finished their second ever session with D&D Next. We get to hear how these oldhat D&D players feel about the new edition.

Also, during the conversation (towards the end), we reference a chart about advantage and disadvantage one of the panelist made. Check out the mathematical genius of Andrew Timmes.

Nerdin' out to the max!

Check it out. Debate! Discuss! Which is more interesting? Which is better for play?

If you’re digging on the blog or podcast, please share it around, leave me a comment, or follow me on Twitter. Keep on rolling!

If you do a Google image search for “tiefling” the images you get run the gamut of character archetypes. Bards, wizards, warriors, thieves, and impractically clothed, sexy women appear in a crazy number of artistic styles. This is a clear indication that this PC race has captured the imagination of many players. Here’s one of my favorites from Dragon Magazine 368 illustrated by Steve Argyle.

Step off me, bro.

Step off me, bro.

And here’s some others I like.

by Matthew Batchelder

by Matthew Batchelder

by Dave Allsop

by Dave Allsop

by Mirana Reveier

by Mirana Reveier

All of these artists have different styles, but you can see the one thing that shines through in all of the tieflings – their devilish nature. It’s not just the horns and tail. The eyes of these tieflings seem to burn red or gold, their expressions display moody emotions like anger and sadness, they dress in darker colors, and when magic is involved it is of a fiery variety.

What makes  tieflings interesting to me is that they have to either embrace or deny the devil within their very soul, and it’s a constant battle. They can’t just deny or embrace their inner devils once and be done with it. Rather, they must keep the devil bottled up until the time is right to release it or, perhaps even more interesting, visa versa.

Tieflings in Exploration Age

On Verda, tieflings are the descendants of part of an army of devils summoned to Verda by metallic dragons to fight the aberrants. In many ways this move by the dragons was a mistake, as some of the devils formed alliances with the aberrants, and even produced offspring with these creatures creating horrifying devil-aberrants who are still a threat today (more on that in a later post). However, many devils did choose (or were bound) to serve the metallic dragons. After many generations on the material plane, these devils evolved into tieflings. They aren’t humans with a little bit of devil ancestry, as in most settings. They are what devils became after hundreds of thousands of years on the material plane.

Tieflings have lived through a lot in their time on Verda. They’ve driven the aberrants underground, experienced plagues and wars, seen the rise and fall of The Tarrasque, and the creation and desolation of other races. For the most part, Exploration Age’s tieflings try to hold back their devilish nature, remaining mostly isolationists, studying the world, and always trying to better themselves.

Culture

Almost everything the tieflings in Verda do is about bettering themselves. They believe that overtime they will lose their devil urges altogether as a people if they continue to resist them. The tieflings may be right, after all look what millennia of living suppressed has done for them so far.

To that end tieflings are constantly at work to better themselves individually and as a society. As young children, they are constantly taught lessons in science, magic, history, planar lore, literature, arts, philosophy, and skill at arms. The last is an especially important discipline to tieflings, for they must learn to control their devil bloodlust in battle and how to harness and focus those urges when necessary for their own survival.

When a tiefling comes of age, he or she is brought before the individual’s Spire Council. The Council and the tiefling together discuss the individual’s best possible career path and how the young tiefling may better serve the community as an adult. The tiefling is assigned a discipline and leads his or her life in that trade. At anytime a tiefling may appeal to The Council to change careers.

As adults tieflings mainly value discovery and invention. A sound mind and body are important to bettering oneself, so soldiers still spend time studying and meditating while scholars still find themselves training and exercising.

Some of Canus’ most beautiful music, most powerful spells, most informative tomes, and greatest arms and armor are made by tieflings and some of its greatest warriors and mages come from that same race since they are always training, discovering, and inventing in the name of betterment.

The Spires

Tieflings live in settlements that spiral up into the sky. These Spires are surrounded by walls on the lowest levels and the private tieflings often keep their gates closed.

If travelers are allowed into the city, they are often confined to the lower half of the Spire, where most of the shops and services reside. The upper half of the Spire are the residences, military, academic, and government housings. The very top of the Spire houses The Council Chambers and a magically enhanced lookout post which allow a tiefling mage known as The Spire Guardian to look out 50 miles in all directions, day or night.

The Seven Spires are spread up and down Verda’s West Coast and connected to each other via linked teleportation circles and crystal balls. Each Spire is governed by an elected council of seven tieflings. Elections occur every ten years. Each council chooses a tiefling from their Spire to serve a ten-year term on The Grand Council, which gathers in times of crises to determine the best course of action for its people.

The Seven Spires are each named for a different gemstone. Each tower specializes in a different school of magic and fighting style.

  • Amber Spire – Specializes in Abjuration Magic and Great Weapon Fighting
  • Amethyst Spire – Specializes in Evocation Magic and Sword and Shield Fighting
  • Emerald Spire – Specializes in Enchantment Magic and Archery
  • Jade Spire – Specializes in Transmutation Magic and Two-Weapon Fighting
  • Moonstone Spire – Specializes in Illusion Magic and Polearm Fighting
  • Ruby Spire – Specializes in Conjuration Magic and Thrown Weapons
  • Sapphire Spire – Specializes in Divination Magic and Unarmed Fighting

Dragonborn

Only since the recent discovery of Verda have the dragonborn learned of the tieflings’ existence. The tieflings, however, have long known about the dragonborn. The dragonborn race is a creation of the metallic dragons, who were once close allies of tieflings. When they created a humanoid race in their image, the tieflings felt threatened and misplaced. They prepared for war against this new race and the metallic dragons. The metallic dragons, knowing they had hurt their old allies, sent the dragonborn across the sea to make amends, but the damage was done and the relationship was irreparable. The metallic dragons stopped meddling in the affairs of the mortals of Verda and retreated deep into their lairs.

Now that the dragonborn have returned to Verda the tieflings are less than happy to see them. The dragonborn often come to Verda, seeking out metallic dragons and books in the libraries of the tieflings to learn more about their roots, but they will find that in The Seven Spires they are at the very least unwelcome.

Exceptions

Not all tieflings fit the description above. Here are two groups that break form.

  • The Spireless – It is rare, but when some tieflings come of age, they are deemed undisciplined and a danger to the community. It is believed they will embrace their devilish nature and succumb to the evil and immoral temptations of their ancestors. These tieflings are sent out of the community and forced to make a life for themselves in Verda. They are known as The Spireless. Many of these tieflings will give into the darkest parts of their souls, profiting through evil schemes and manipulations. Others will try to find a more righteous path and hope that they can be accepted back into the society of their people.
  • Bloodstone Spire – The Seven Spires were once Eight. The Bloodstone Spire still stands, but during the day it’s gates and windows are shut tight. The Spire of tieflings that specialize in Necromancy and Stealth Tactics experienced a vampiric scourge a little over three hundred years ago. Now every tiefling within Bloodstone Spire is a vampire. At night they pour forth from the city, looking for tribes of humanoids to feast upon and bring back as slaves and livestock.

Tiefling Adventurers

Tiefling adventurers can be found in Verda and parts of Findalay and Parian. Though often isolationist in their actions, tieflings like to keep tabs on the other folk of Canus. Many are sent into the world when they come of age, to observe and learn more about a culture, or map uncharted lands, or serve as a diplomat.

A tiefling adventurer could also be one of The Spireless. For some reason he or she was deemed unfit for society and has to earn his or her way back in. Or perhaps a Spireless tiefling has forsaken his or her people and is now out for personal glory, wealth, or darker intentions.

Or perhaps a tiefling has become an adventurer of his or her own free will, despite a lucrative opportunity and career path back at home. This could be an interesting back story for a character indeed…

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I’ve already said that I want the world of Exploration Age to be accessible and interconnected enough that a party could experience all or most of Canus in a level 1 – 20 campaign. I also mentioned I wanted countries to be rich enough that a party could never leave one of their borders and complete a level 1 – 20 campaign. To do that means providing some adventure sites which are flexible. Meaning PCs could spend part of a single level interacting with a few of the NPCs and monsters in a given area or they could spend many levels in or returning to that same given area.

It’s confession time. I watched the Fox series Prison Break. Not only that, I watched the direct-to-DVD epilogue they made for it as well. Now, I know it’s not a great show by any stretch, but it is appealing to me in that I love prison break stories. I love documentaries about them, I love movies about them, and I love TV shows about them. Recently my girlfriend went to San Francisco for work and brought me back this comic book…

Ain't she the best?

Ain’t she the best?

So I have a weakness for prison break stories (and any entertainment involving a shark, but that’s another story….). I bring this up, because I’m going to talk about stealing another idea.

Prison Break Spoiler Alert!!!!

This isn’t so much a steal as it is an inspiration. The oft panned Prison Break‘s even more oft panned third season, centers around some of the main characters being thrown into and escaping a Panamanian prison after a few months after escaping an American prison. (I know… I know.) There’s a big difference between the Panamanian prison, Penitenciaría Federal de Sona, and their first  penitentiary, Fox River State. In Panama the guards have lost control of the inside of the prison after a violent riot. Now the guards man the walls and merely keep the prisoners contained, and anyone on the inside must fight for survival in a lawless world of criminals. Those in the prison have a life sentence, no matter the crime, thanks to the conditions.

So What Am I Stealing Exactly?

Essentially, I am taking the concept of Penitenciaría Federal de Sona, a prison with walls run by the guards, but with an inside that is a semi-anarchist city of criminals, and bringing it into Parian. I’ve been further fleshing out the nation and I was trying to think of some landmarks that would be interesting adventure sites beyond the normal ancient ruins and monster lairs. This seemed like a great idea. The adventure possibilities are numerous and unique. I’m taking the concept from Prison Break, but the rest of the story will be all mine! Mine!

 Welcome to Ragorn Zhul

Ragorn Zhul is a Parian prison in a deep desert wasteland. It sits atop an enormous 3000 foot tall mesa that has sheer cliff sides. The journey out into the desert is usually made by airship. One of the first things a traveler might notice about the adamantine lined walls of Ragorn Zhul are the huge, mounted arrow turrets, made to fire rapidly without having to reload. The second thing one might note are the enormous braziers along the walls and on top of each guard tower, which light up the perimeter like the sun during the harsh desert night.

The guards that walk the perimeter of the walls are armed with heavy crossbows or longbows that shoot poisoned ammunition. Each guard is also outfitted with a special explosive lightning projectile to use in case the prisoners try to rise up together (lightning would hurt the inmates, without compromising the integrity of the prison’s structures). Trained giant scorpions carry the guards to the top of the wall and up the side of the mesa each day from the small village that serves as their home.

Inside the walls of the prison, chaos reigns supreme. Various gangs protect, punish, and provide for their own, each with their own unique structure. Loners don’t last long, unless they have unique skill or service they can provide while remaining neutral. Even so, the gangs will try to absorb those with any special or magical skill to work exclusively for them.

The gangs war for territory and supplies, form alliances, backstab one another, and engage in debauchery. The prison is unisex, so men and women can be found in the walls.

Surprisingly, Parian still throws criminals in the prison, particularly, those who need to disappear forever. The empire even takes prisoners from other nations and throws them beyond the gates of Ragorn Zhul – for the right price.

How Do It Come to This?

Ragorn Zhul wasn’t always this way. It was once the most secure prison in all of Canus. Some of the world’s most dangerous criminals ended up within its walls as well as political dissenters or suspected rebels.

In Parian, the Emperor rules and is worshipped as the God of his people. His rule is total and absolute. However, Emperor Quan is, in actuality, just a human.

Quan’s brother, Jiang, was appointed Governor of Security. During an inspection of Ragorn Zhul, a plan hatched by some inmates allied with guards led to the capture of Jiang. This plot was masterminded by an ancient elf wizard who was caught planning to assassinate Quan. Mistress Xalian Feyora hates the rule of Quan and would do anything to stop him.

Feyora demanded the guards leave and the prison and after freeing the inmates, she and the Emperor are at a standstill. Quan will not give into many of the demands Feyora has, but he also will not storm the prison for fear of his brother being killed. Feyora will not kill Jiang, since the Emperor’s brother is the only bargaining chip she has, and keeps her hostage hidden away, sending proof of life to Quan once a month in exchange for food and supplies delivered to Ragorn Zhul. Feyora wants her freedom and, ultimately, for Quan to step down, but will not kill Jiang to make a point, lest she lose her clout with the Emperor. Quan wants his brother free, but isn’t sure how to accomplish that without risking Jiang’s  life.

Feyora’s clout makes her an unofficial leader of Ragorn Zhul, but she despises tyrants and thus she lets the gangs run wild. They do respect her however, and they know she keeps the supplies coming into Ragorn Zhul. The gangs are all in agreement – Feyora is to be left alone and given whatever she needs when it is requested.

The Worst are Still Locked Up

While the gangs run around Ragorn Zhul, and Feyora tries to negotiate with Quan, there are others in Ragorn Zhul who are still under lock and key. Beneath the mesa is a network of tunnels where the worst of the worst and most powerful prisoners are kept.

Kept alive by ioun stones that remove their need for food and water, in magically silenced cells that prevent the casting of spells, these prisoners are kept below ground behind many trapped, secret doors. They’re meant to be forgotten. For one reason or another, these men and women were not killed, but needed to be shut away forever. But should they ever be discovered and released… things could become disastrous.

Prison Quest Ideas

So if I’ve done this correctly, this should be a place where I can have quests large and small play out. Here’s just a few ideas…

  • Agents of Parian’s government ask the adventurers to do some recon and find the location of Jiang, so that a rescue plan can be hatched.
  • The PCs are part of the above rescue plan.
  • The PCs need information from one of Ragorn Zhul’s inmates – they must get inside and find the individual, earn his or her trust, and get out.
  • The PCs must free someone from Ragorn Zhul. Perhaps one who was falsely placed there?
  • An ancient lich held below in the secret tunnels of Ragorn Zhul has finally had her phylactery uncovered. It seemingly cannot be destroyed. The PCs must enter the prison, find her, find out how to destroy the phylactery, and the end the lich’s life.
  • The PCs get thrown in the prison and must survive.

So there you have it. A nice place to visit, an even nicer place to stay. If I can have a few interesting locations like this spread throughout the world, it should make Exploration Age a world where folks will want to keep bringing their characters so they can uncover something new each campaign.

Now onto my idea about a school of sentient warlock sharks…

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

The next Round Table podcast is up on The Tome Show. In this podcast, Rudy, Alex, Vegas, and I discuss the Tyranny of Dragons announcement, magic items, and healing in D&D Next.

The Round Table comes out pretty regularly on Fridays during the month and has players of various backgrounds discussing the latest D&D news. If you like it, you should check out all the other great content on The Tome Show.

As always you can reach me by leaving a comment or following me on Twitter.

I’ve already mentioned that the religions of Exploration Age don’t have gods who intervene. They exist in the minds and hearts of the people, and perhaps even have a form somewhere beyond the multiverse. Something divine is granting spells to the clerics, so in some ways there is proof of their existence. However, just because these gods do not show their faces, does not mean the people of Canus do not act in their names, which certainly lends to the real world feel of Exploration Age.

There Were Only Drow

Until a little over ten thousand years ago, there were no elves on Canus. The time of the drow goes back more than half a million years. The elves have existed for a fraction of the time drow have been in Canus.

The drow worship two sister goddesses. Meliko is goddess of light, nature, healing, and arts. Fana is the goddess of dark, civilization, science, and war. To drow, light and dark do not have the connotations that they might to us modern-day real world folk. Darkness is good, it provides stealth and protection from their enemies who cannot see through its piercing blackness the way the dark elves can.

The drow believe Meliko and Fana work hand in hand. Meliko provides the spores and Fana provides the darkness so their mushrooms might grow. Fana leads the soldiers to war and Meliko binds their wounds. The drow believe they give both of these goddess equal footing.

Then The Division happened. Aberrants, driven below ground by dragons, regrouped and began multiplying in The Underdark. They overwhelmed the drow, destroying many of their kingdoms. But the drow eventually regrouped and fortified their remaining lands. Some of the drow hatched a plan to take back their lands in what was sure to be a violent and risky struggle. Other drow did not want to further risk the lives of their people and headed to the surface world, where eventually, their skin lightened, their eyes grew accustomed to the sun and they became the elves Canus knows today.

Religious Justification

The drow who left for the surface world to become the elves had their reasons for leaving their brethren behind. Many simply wanted to avoid a violent struggle, which is ironic because their struggle with their own kin continues to today. The drow who left begged their kin to follow. The drow who remained claimed that by running, their brethren were not honoring Fana in turning their backs on the war to reclaim their homeland.

The drow who left, upon hearing that argument, claimed that their left-behind kin were not properly worshipping Meliko by staying underground and in the dark, rather than living on the surface world, where the day/night cycle honored both goddess equally. Furious with one another for the accusations of defying The Sister Goddesses’ will, a war between the two camps of drow broke out that continues even today. The elves vehemently believe the drow are wrongfully worshipping The Sister Creators and showing Fana too much favor. They believe Meliko and Fana have given them a mission to bring all their brethren to the surface world and that their elf form is the one they were always intended to have. Meanwhile, the drow, who still have not liberated their stolen kingdoms from the aberrants, believe the elves are cowardly, traitorous, tradition defiers who do The Sister Creators ill and must die for those crimes.

Much like in the real-world, religion in Exploration Age is sometimes the catalyst for an event and sometimes it serves to complicate a problem which already exists. Either way, the goddesses themselves are not directly involved, and two groups with the same religion have a slightly different idea of how one should worship and that has lead to bloodshed and war. This happens all the time in the real world.

Just for fun, here’s a more slightly more fleshed out description of Meliko and Fana I’m working right now.

The Sister Creators

Meliko and Fana are the goddesses worshipped mainly by the elves and drow of Findalay. Though these races share the same goddesses they honor them in slightly different ways, which is part of the reason the two races are in a violent struggle. Other races on Findalay may worship The Sister Creators, particularly the duergar, deep gnomes, and halflings who live amongst the drow and elves.

Clerics of The Sister Creators often dress in a bright color and dark color to show their appreciation of both goddess and carry two holy symbols or create one that is a combination of both sisters’ symbols. Services in honor of The Sister Creators are elaborate in The Underdark, often involving weekly two-hour long prayer sessions and displays of divine magic. On the surface world, The Sister Creators are honored in smaller, less public ways, usually at home shrines where individuals or families will pray twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening for a few minutes.

Meliko

Meliko is one half of The Sister Creators. She is the goddess of light, nature, healing, and arts. Legend has it that Meliko created Canus. Her favored weapon is a longbow. She is often represented in drow art as a beautiful drow woman carrying a torch, and her holy symbol is a flaming torch wrapped in moss. In elvish depictions, she is an elf holding the sun in her hands and her holy symbol is an arrow who’s head is on fire.

Fana

Fana is one half of The Sister Creators. She is the goddess of darkness, civilization, science, and war. Legend has it that Fana created the drow, dragons, and aberrants. Her favored weapon is a long sword. She is often represented in drow art as a hooded drow woman carrying a scroll, and her holy symbol is an Underdark city skyline. In elvish depictions, she is a hooded elf holding a black orb in her hands and her holy symbol is a long sword with a pure black blade.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

I’ve said a few times before that my players prefer a world that feels more real and that means a place where morality isn’t usually black and white. In the real world, it seems most governments, organizations, religions, and cultures are not perfectly good or evil. Often, this is because people are usually not purely motivated by the desire to be good or evil. They have other desires that are motivating their actions. Tradition, prosperity, and self-preservation are all motivators that can drive one’s actions. The morality of those actions are in the eye of the beholder. The most interesting antagonists usually are not evil for evil’s sake, but have another force motivating them. Similarly this applies to protagonists and good. Think of these examples in pop culture.

  • In Les Miserables, Javert is so dedicated to the law of the land that he doesn’t care about Jean Valjean’s moral character.
  • In The Punisher comic book series, Frank Castle seeks to give criminals a taste of their own medicine by mercilessly murdering them. He is both a damned criminal and savior.
  • In Game of Thrones, most of the characters without the last name Stark (and some with that last name) perform questionable actions in the pursuit of their goals. Several people believe themselves best suited to the throne for the sake of Westros, but only one of them may wear the crown and thus leading to violent and ugly actions on everyone’s part. (I’m trying intentionally to be spoiler free.)

Defining Gray

When we talk about morality being gray, it’s not usually a matter of half the time an entity is good and half the time that same entity is bad. A Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde situation isn’t relatable or sympathetic for most players. Often a world that is morally gray puts entities into situations in which there is no clear cut good or evil choice. Perhaps some are a shade darker or a lighter, but most cannot point to another and say with 100% confidence, “Well clearly, you should have done this instead.”

For instance, in Bragonay, the warforged were built as slaves for the dwarves. Bragonay has an entire economy who’s foundation is placed on the backs of these beings whom the dwarves created for just that purpose. However, these beings are completely sentient and turn out to be people in their own right, many of whom do not want to be enslaved. The dwarves are in a tricky spot. Freeing the warforged might be the morally right thing to do in many people’s eyes, but the dwarves will lose much and risk their country falling apart if they do free all these beings. The choice isn’t so easy, especially since, in many of the dwarves eyes, this is what the warforged were built to do. If not for their slavery and use to Bragonay, they would never exist in the first place.

Bragonay also recently tried to conquer all of Findalay, because they feel that Aeranore, Taliana, and Marrial were taken from them. Some might say the dwarves are correct. They settled all of Findalay first and welcomed the other races to their lands. As these other beings began to expand and took more and more of Findalay for themselves, the dwarves felt as if their hospitality had been taken advantage. So they retaliated and war began. The other nations united and defeated Bragonay, carving out pieces of the continent for themselves. To this day, that stings for the dwarves and they have tried multiple times to take back Findalay for themselves.

So to be a Bragonaian dwarf does not necessarily mean being a power-hungry slaver. Nor does it necessarily mean being on a crusade to take back the lands that were once Bragonaian. It could mean one or the other or both or none. It might mean being proud of one’s heritage and defending the choices of the dwarves while fostering a grudge towards Findalay’s other nations. Or perhaps a dwarf is more progressive and wishes to see the end of Bragonay’s slavery and a true peace within Findalay. All of these beings can be found within Canus and therefore the world is deeper and more complex. An argument could be made to support the actions of any of these people, though you or I may personally not agree.

That’s just Bragonay. Questionable actions in desperate time have been committed all over Canus. Fearing the end of their farming exports as other nations began to produce more food, Taliana poisoned the crops of other nations secretly, forcing them to buy from their people. The Metallic Dragons feared the aberrants, so they opened a portal to The Nine Hells and released a horde of devils upon the land. In response to a mad king’s purging Aeranore of gnomes, a group of gnomish wizards forms an organization of deadly assigns to kill the king and all his servants, who continues operating even after the success of their mission. Two rival guilds of mercenaries fear the other stealing work and resources and begin a bloody gang war. These are the kinds of events that make up the history in Exploration Age. They have lasting repercussions and give the world layers where the characters can take a stance.

A Pinch of Black and a Dash of White

In a fantasy world, it often helps to have a few entities that are, at least, trying to do the right thing, as well as to have some forces motivated purely by selfish, destructive desires. The small white spots in the world make PCs feel like they are in a world worth saving. Likewise, a dark force that can unite two entities with a strained and complex relationship is also a good thing to have on hand. Two parties who don’t trust one another working together for the greater good can be a very rich story indeed.

The goodly folk are the little people. Kindly farmers, halfling vigilantes, another party of adventurers, a waitress in a tavern, etc. Rarely are these good guys all together in some type of organization and they never makeup an entire army. This keeps the interactions with good people on a more intimate scale and it helps the PCs believe there is something worth fighting for. Since there is no army of purely good guys, they’d need to take up that standard, should that be the road they choose to take. Perhaps they will laugh at the kind farmer and thief with a heart of gold, call them naive, murder them, and take their loot. That is the other extreme certainly, but their interactions with these people could fall anywhere on that spectrum. Either way, these good guys have a purpose – to show the PCs there are people other than themselves worth fighting for.

In Exploration Age, I’ve tried not to overload the world with dark entities, and I’ve let them be in stasis mode at the start of the campaign, so that I can use them as little or as much as I want. Here’s some examples.

  • The Tarrasque, a terrible, iconic D&D engine of destruction, was defeated and imprisoned in a mountain by minotaurs on Verda 400 years ago. The minotaurs built a city atop this mountain and serve as guardians, should the Tarrasque ever be released.
  • In Taliana, a lich tried to take over the nation with the help of a cabal of werewolves known as The Brotherhood of the Moon. Though she was defeated, her phylactery was never found and the Brotherhood of the Moon still operates within the country’s borders.
  • A group of brain controlling parasites, the mystuak, seek to conquer every living being in the land and make Canus their new home.

Let the Players Decide for Themselves

When it comes to the actions of the players, I’ll let them decide for themselves if they want to be pure good, pure evil, or gray. However, because of the nature of Exploration Age, they will be placed in situations where the choices aren’t easy. That’s part of the fun of the world. Maybe a PC is being forced by a government to cooperate because a family member has been imprisoned and the PC’s service is a chance to reduce that family member’s prison sentence. Maybe the party seeks to overthrow a slaver, but that slaver has a family of ten mouths to feed, and freeing his slaves may actually result in a violent riot, since the slaves themselves have a psychotic, rebellious leader.

The important thing as a DM to remember is that a decision does not always have to be one thing or the other. That’s the beauty of D&D. Characters may do anything they might in the real world – there isn’t computer code telling them they only have two dialogue options. Always be prepared for your players to try to manipulate a situation to their advantage. Just remember all actions have consequences, and sometimes those consequences cannot be foreseen. That’s what makes a rich, complex, gray world.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

All right, it’s time to talk about a piece of real estate on Findalay that is near and dear to my heart – The Damned Lands. That brilliant little piece of world that is unexplored on the map. We can tell from its name, The Damned Lands, that things are… well, pretty bad. But what exactly is going on over there?

Keep the Mystery Alive

So there’s a few problems with writing about The Damned Lands, namely they’re supposed to be unexplored and mysterious so I want to leave a majority of their description to the imagination. Why do this? Well for one thing, Exploration Age needs some areas to be explored. I like the idea of having Verda be the habitable, resource rich area that has new life. It’s wondrous and beautiful as well as dangerous and exciting. The Damned Lands are a different kind of exploration – grueling, horrific, and alien. The rewards here need to be potentially even greater than in Verda to get adventurers to consider entering The Damned Lands. Mystery is a big part of the atmosphere and legend of The Damned Lands. It will help keep the frightful anticipation levels up while traveling there and keep players on their toes while adventuring in its depths.

However, enticement is also a big part of mystery. You need to have some information in order to make an area feel intriguing. For instance, many of us have played the popular childhood game Bloody Mary just to see what would happen. We played this game even though the best case scenario was nothing happened and the worst case scenario was an evil, psychopathic ghost of Queen Mary appeared and devoured your soul. Someone really should have done a cost benefit analysis there, but because rumor had it other kids had successfully invoked Mary, you went and tried it just to see what would happen. The danger of The Damned Lands will be enough to entice some.

When it comes to experimentation and risk-taking, I find many players are more cautious with the lives of their characters than they were with their own real lives when they were kids. This actually makes sense. Most PCs are adults and as adults, most of us don’t play Bloody Mary because we’re aware that at best and definitely-most-likely,  it will yield no result and waste our precious time while at worst and probably not-going-to-happen we lose our soul. So we need to give just a little more information about The Damned Lands and that is – there’s some pretty cool treasures down there… and some people who spend a lot of time in The Damned Lands develop special powers.

The Other Guys

So there’s another issue with The Damned Lands. The idea of crazy, dangerous wastelands is not breaking new ground in D&D campaign settings. Eberron has The Mournland and Forgotten Realms has the Dread Ring. Heck, all of Dark Sun’s Athas is a horrific wasteland. I’m trying to be somewhat original here, but I must admit that the idea for The Damned Lands is stolen from these places.

So what makes this place different? Well, a few things as you’ll see in the description below, however I’ll point out a big one here. The Damned Lands have always been a mystery and yet the people of Findalay have always known they were there. Constantly drawing curious and fearful eyes, these lands have never had another name. They were always The Damned Lands and have forever been a mystery.

Another thing that makes The Damned Lands different is the crushing madness that can grip anyone who stays within its borders for too long. Known simply as The Madness, there is a real, palpable, nigh incurable insanity that can grip all but the strongest minds who choose to venture there. The Madness usually takes hold before any sign of developing a special power occurs, so often these powers come to an individual at the price of their sanity. Thus The Damned Lands have a few residents who once desired powers and are now broken and full of dangerous psionic energy waiting to be unleashed.

What Do We Know

More than half a million years before the start of the campaign, it is believe that within The Damned Lands there existed a peaceful race of advanced psionic beings. This mysterious race of people was able to erect a psionic shield around their entire nation which kept out the aberrants. The aberrants and dragons were so busy with their own war, that they paid the isolationist race very little attention as they tried to kill one another.

Then in roughly 300,000 BF the psionic shield was dropped and the entire country glowed hot with energy for hundreds of thousands of years. Even at night The Damned Lands could be seen glowing in the distance beyond The Deep Orc Mountains. Any who tried to make their way beyond The Damned Lands’ borders quickly became violently ill and died, their bodies cooked in harsh burns from the strangely irradiated landscape. The Damned Lands earned their name and the people of Findalay learned to respect that and steer clear.

Slowly, overtime, the glow of The Damned Lands began to soften and cool. Strange creatures, unlike any ever seen with weird psionic abilities began to appear in The Deep Orc Mountains. Then as the lands began to lose their glow altogether, animals and creatures resembling those from Canus’ modern day Material Plane began appearing with strange mutations and psionic powers. They were often crazed and violent.

Once The Damned Lands cooled, Findalayans began to explore the region cautiously. That’s when they began to discover ancient ruins of this once great civilization and its many unique treasures. Powerful magic items, certainly, but also rare bioorganic items that meld with an individual’s mind and body to grant him or her unique powers. They seemed to do everything from help with mundane chores and hobbies (such as a wrist implant which can make ones hands resistant to heat while cooking or an ocular implant that allows one to better appreciate the details of sculpting) to rarer more powerful implants (granting abilities such as growing detachable, projectile spikes out of one’s arm or a prehensile tail to aid in climbing).

Stranger still, when an extended period of time was spent in The Damned Lands, the folk of Canus seemed to unlock strange, psionic abilities within themselves. These abilities included mind-reading, telekinetic powers, flight, enhanced speed, enhanced strength, mind-control, regenerative properties, the list goes on and on. The more time spent in The Damned Lands, the more powerful these abilities seemed to become. However, the more time spent in The Damned Lands, the harder The Madness becomes to resist.

And that’s the big problem with exploring The Damned Lands. The Madness grips an individual like a vice, squeezing slowly and constantly until he or she cannot get free of its grasp. Not to mention the strange monsters that roam The Damned Lands infected with The Madness and the freakish weather effects that are harsher than anything one might experience anywhere else in Canus. The treasures above are difficult to come by – even those most seasoned adventurer is far more likely to find death or insanity than wealth and power. And considering the time it takes to develop a special psionic ability within The Damned Lands borders, it’s nearly impossible to gain a power without first meeting one’s doom.

Still, isn’t it tempting…

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This weekend I sat down to make the timeline of major events in Exploration Age that lead up to the time of play. I found that I still had a lot of thinking to do. Mainly, how did Canus and the folk of Exploration Age go from literally nothing to being what they are now?

I don’t necessarily have to describe how the world came to be, since medieval fantasy RPGs are somewhat based on our own world’s actual past. Back in the day those folks weren’t sure how our world came to be (though they did have theories, but that’s another post). However, I do need to describe how the beings that populate Canus came to be where they are now. History is very important. Big actions have big repercussions that are felt for long periods of time. For instance…

  • During prohibition of alcohol, the American gangsters are born and continue to operate even after it becomes legal to drink again.
  • During WWII Germany invades the Soviet Union. After WWII, Berlin is occupied by the Soviets until 1990.
  • The Americas are discovered and a whole bunch of countries rush to colonize.

You get the idea. My point is – the actions being taken that greatly affect the folk of Canus are those which deserve to be written down on the timeline. The players are not going to care to read every little detail of when a specific plant came into being or care when a local organization of farmhands was formed. I only put that kind of thing in if I know it’s going to be important to the plot. The rest of the stuff, can be big, broad strokes to give your players the idea of the history of a people or government or culture, etc. Most of the time, these will be actions taken by a specific group or individual. The only time pure nature makes it on the timeline is for something really crazy – like a meteor causing the end of the dinosaurs, an earthquake swallowing a city, or ice covering the planet.

Remember that, in general, you care more about the history of the world than your players do. “Why do the warforged hate the dwarves?” they might ask. “Because they kept them as slaves,” you reply. For some adventures and for most players that will more than suffice.

Starting the Timeline

Before I began the timeline, I had to figure out how old Canus is, or at least how far back its significant history begins. Since I want the world to be frame by the Findalayan point of view, I decided that it’s been 700 years since Findalay’s Founding (FF), when all nations of Findalay officially recognized each other. Before that, Aeranore, Bragonay, Marrial, and Taliana all came into existence, but they constantly at war with one another. For thousands of years! So when they decided to put down the sword and begin trading, that was a big enough event for them to begin counting the years. Now that’s not to say there haven’t been disputes and wars in those 700 years, but each nation is now officially recognized by the others.

However, more important than those 700 years are the years which came before. Those years, Before Findalay (BF) have had a huge influence on what happens in the world today. So I wanted to go back and in broad strokes think about the world and how each nation of people got its start. How each race came to be and what actions led to where they are. And of course, since this is a fantasy setting, I wanted to make sure there was plenty of magical flavor to all of it, since that’s what we love.

Before Dwarves, Elves, and Humans

So before our PC races made it onto the scene there were great forces walking the earth, just like in the real world there were dinosaurs before us. I wanted Canus to do something different for originality’s sake, so I decided the first beings to populate its surface were aberrant creatures. Beholders, illithids, umber hulks – all the bizarro creatures that normally live underground, well their ancestors lived on the surface of Canus.

Just some mind flayers hanging out, thinking about their ancestors.

I like the idea of picturing these creatures’ surface-dwelling ancestors. I like thinking about what their great civilizations might leave behind. This gives us a way to spread similar, but mysterious ruins all over Canus. It also gives the aberrants a reason to abhor surface dwellers once they are driven underground (more on that below). That’s my first beat on the timeline and it has a bunch of question marks next to it, because no one sure how far back the aberrant civilizations go.

Now, I don’t know about you, but my dragons are pretty important to me. They’re old and mystical and have been around almost since the beginning. More importantly to me, chromatic and metallic dragons are part of the material world. Think about it, dragons have all this magic at their disposal and for the most part they choose to stay in the material world. They must really like it there. I decided that on Canus, dragons are drawn to staying in the material plane because they are literally part of the world. The first dragons were incubated in Canus’ core and birthed out of the ground. For whatever reason, the metallic dragons ended up in Verda and the chromatic dragons ended up in Parian and Findalay.

So the aberrants are doing their thing when suddenly the first dragons hatch from beneath the ground. The dragons think to themselves, “It’s time for us, baby. These crazy-looking dudes got to go.” War that rages for years with neither side having a clear victory. So second timeline beat – dragons hatch from the earth and war begins. This is around 500,000 BF. Broad strokes.

You didn’t know I was down here, didja? DIDJA?

Now, when the dragons hatched from the ground, the spaces and tunnels their bodies made became The Underdark. The chromatic dragons bled for their efforts, lacking the finer scales of their metallic kin, and their blood became the drow race. This is also part of the second beat.

Third beat on the timeline comes when the dragons gain their advantage around 300,000 BF. The chromatic dragons create a new race to aid them – the giants. With the help of the giants they destroy many of the aberrants and drive the rest into The Underdark. Meanwhile in Verda, the metallics have a different plan and open a portal to the Nine Hells calling forth devils to kill the aberrants. This only half works, as some of the devils create alliances with the aberrants, creating a horrifying half-fiend, half-aberrant race who eventually become The Sleeping Ones. In the fourth beat on our timeline, around 100,000 BF the devils who remain on Verda and side with the metallic dragons eventually evolve into the tieflings.

The pattern here with the beats is that they get closer together and more specific as they continue. More significant history exists closer to the time of the game. In-game there would also be better historical records for more recent events.

The PC Races

So you can see above where tiefling and drow came from, but we still have a bunch of races to define here. I’ll give you the bullet points for each.

  • Eventually, the giants get tired of their chromatic dragon oppressors and create the dwarves and gnomes to help them rise up. Their bloody revolution is not so successful and dragons and giants, now few in number are scattered across Parian and Findalay. Some gnomes and dwarves retreat to The Underdark and become duergar and svirfneblin. Some stay on the surface and begin to found their own civilizations.
  • The aberrants regroup for thousands of years in The Underdark and then invade the kingdoms of the drow. After a few thousand years of war, some drow grow tired of the war and retreat to the surface. These drow evolve into elves, the drow left behind feel betrayed and the hatred begins.
  • When the elves retreat to the surface some of the svirfneblin come with them, who evolve yet again over the course of time into halflings. So halflings and gnomes are related in this campaign.
  • Metallic dragons create the dragonborn race to help populate Verda, but the their allies, the tieflings become jealous and so the dragonborn are sent away on ships and eventually come to land in present day Marrial.
  • In a cycle of slave creation learned from their masters, the dwarves create the warforged.

I’m a big fan of evolution apparently.

It’s obvious there are some races I’m choosing to leave out of this list. I think the only races that need a big explanation are the ones that have their heritage impacted by their creation and evolution. Orcs, minotaurs, etc. formed organically over time and scientific evolutionary processes. Or magic if you like. Or divine intervention. Their origins are not as important as their actions, which do end up on Exploration Age’s timeline.

Human might be the most obvious race missing from the list, but that’s because I think the big questions of why are we here and how did we get here are part of the human experience. I think it will make the humans of this world feel natural and relatable to sort of just appear without fanfare one day and through survival, suffering, and hard work build a civilization.

Action!

So once the races are established the timeline gets pretty interesting. The Bragonay dwarves have all of Findalay under their control and then the other races begin trying to take their land in a crazy struggle that has alliances forming and breaking everywhere. In the midst of it all, earthquakes, plagues, inventions, magic, and the like happen. Meanwhile on Verda the half-fiend, half-aberrant problem persists with a host of other failures and successes on the part of its people. There’s some big events that lead up to the time of play, like the discovery of Verda that I’m excited to share in the future.

Looks like the world is coming together! I’ll probably divide the timeline up into different ages such as Aberrant Age, Draconic Age, etc. and have the time period of play be known as… you guessed it. Exploration Age.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!