General Campaign Setting Notes
For the most part, the setting for this campaign is a fairly standard D&D universe, with the various standard races inhabiting the civilized areas of the world. The main difference is that the wild areas of the world are not just wild, they are Fae. The mortal and Fae realms exist side by side, and anyone can walk from one into the other. That deep dark forest beyond the river is not just a stand of trees: it is a Fae realm where sprites and eladrin and monsters dwell.
The Mortal Realms
The known civilized world consists of three regions: Wessen, a large temperate region dominated primarily by human kingdoms, which will serve as the base and starting point of the campaign; Ruath, a rough desert badlands to the south; and the exotic East, which is accessible only by long sea routes and no known land routes.
- The Kingdom of Riba
- Kingdom of the Andyr
- The Broken Clans
- The Weald
- The Felling Heights
- The Heartlands
- The Azure Isles
- The Tranquil Sea
The Great Northern War
There is an ongoing conflict between the Kingdom of Riba and the Andyr. This 40-year long land war has resulted in a lack of law and disruptions in many parts of Riba, and it is in this troubled kingdom that our campaign will begin.
The Common Races
Cities in Wessen tend to be quite racially diverse. Humans currently hold the bulk of political power in Wessen, and are the most numerous, but a blend of races tends to be the norm rather than the exception, at least in larger settlements. The various races tend to hold their own specialties: most smiths of any skill are dwarves (especially those that make arms and armor), many alchemists and enchanters are gnomes, every respectable mercenary band tries to include orcs in its ranks. The halflings are known as performers and thieves, a brand that, whether deserved or not, has earned them plenty of resentment and tends to make folks uncomfortable if they hang around too long.
While dwarves are welcome in every city, their own holds tend to be populated almost exclusively by dwarves. The most concentrated collection of mountain dwarf holds are known as the Broken Clans, and are nestled below the Felling Heights.
Halflings often form nomadic bands, traveling from city to city and bringing goods, news, and entertainment with them wherever they go. They have learned the hard way not to overstay their welcome, however, and tend to move on to the next settlement after a while.
There are two distinct branches of elven culture: the wood elves and the high elves.
Elvenkind was once a branch of fey that grew comfortable living in the mortal realm. The wood elves cling tightly to their fey heritage, and tend to stay secluded to their deep woodland homes, which they guard with a fierce territorialism. The wood elves are not cut off completely from the other races, however, and enough individuals are allowed to visit their settlements for trade to make stories of the wood elves’ home fairly common. The Greenwood is home to the largest wood elf population in Wessen. This ancient forest occupies a twilight zone between mortal and Fae.
The high elves have integrated much more tightly with the cultural and political world of the other races. While they can still be aloof at times (as evidenced by their formidable arcane academies and remote monasteries), high elves mingle freely among human settlements, and some hold high political positions, especially in the southern states. The maritime republic of Miran is home to large numbers of high elves, who make fantastic merchants, sailors, or mercenaries as the whim strikes them.
Gnomes can be found all over the civilized world. Their natural curiosity helps them seek out new opportunities, and their talent for magical creations makes them welcome most places they go. There are a many small gnomish villages scattered across the land with little regard to political boundaries, and gnomes who have already seen much of the world often settle down in these small communities to raise their families. Due to their small stature, however, gnomes are sometimes lumped into the same stereotype and prejudice as halflings, especially in Riba, where sentiment towards small folk is at its worst.
Orcs are the least common race among the central and southern states. Most of the remaining orc tribes live in the rugged northern expanse of the Felling Heights, where they constantly vy with each other for resources and influence. Many of the orc chieftains have good standing relationships with the Kingdom of the Andyr, and often fight alongside the Andyr in battle. For this reason, orcs are welcomed in this northern kingdom. Through the rest of Wessen, folk tend to be frightened of orcs, though they universally respect their strength and fighting ability.