This campaign will take place on another world in the same universe as Helyanwe. The following is a collection of journal articles written by a tavern owner as the prologue begins to develope.
It’s been over two month now since the great comet in the sky fell to the lands in the south. What we once thought as a beautiful sign in the heavens has slowly become the great herald of the end times, or so we’re told. In the days following, the world as we knew it began to change. Great hordes of animals from the south began to move terrified through our lands and proceeded to the north. Our seers and sages began to go mad and were banished or in some cases . . . killed. Weeks went by and we began to see vast groups of refugees who smelled of sulfur and death. I stopped a man in our tavern and asked him what had happened. He told me that weeks previous he had been working in the fields when he saw the great comet hit the earth beyond the mountains to the south. At first the sky was painted like a giant canvas with all sorts of wonderful colors. But slowly all they saw was red. The mountains themselves began to burn and slowly the great fire moved closer. The town’s elders, sages, wise men, and wizards tried everything they could think of but in the end no one could stop the coming destruction. Hoping to outrun the coming flames, the man fled with his family to the next town, and then the next town, but the flames that seemed to stretch the southern horizon continued to move northward. If the flames were not enough, horrible creatures have moved out from the flames and have begun feasting at night. These creatures of black fire moved out and slowly would steal those whom they could and bring them to the wall of flame. The man explained that these creatures stole from him his family and now he was all alone. Talking to other refugees, I began to hear similar accounts of destruction. How long until we too are forced to move northward? Until we are engulfed in the coming flames? I do not know but in the meantime . . . I’m making a killing in bar food and drinks! Is it wrong for me to be happy about that? Nah, drink and be merry! Here’s to a new business opportunity!
The half of the people of the town have decided to head to Besithda Garrison to the north. The great city where the king of the northern most kingdom of our continent resides there, and where we hope that we can live while he finds some way of saving us. The others feel that the great fires move too slow and will have to die out eventually. Surely they cannot continue moving northward forever . . . I hope they are correct. Last month we had an incident where the people began to panic and martial law was enforced. Many died in the confusion but thank goodness the Templar Astude stepped in and resolved the matter. Orcs escaping the fires and hoping to take advantage of our situation, attacked in the night in order to gain access to our food and horses. Not a pleasant site. I think this is why so many are willing to leave. The fortified walls of the garrison must surely be safer than our small town. As for me, I think I’ll stay here. Someone has to manage the tavern as people move through the paths leading northward. Oh that reminds me, we also implemented a new rule: no charging townsfolk. While we need to keep up appearance to the outsiders, the wizard who lives up in level 6 and me decided we could keep the masses happy if we served them whatever supplies we had for free. In exchange we share what we have and look out for one another. So far so good. Though I do admit that furry creature the master wizard has roaming around scares me. I can’t imagine what dogs used to look like before the great war decades ago, but this creature looks like a cross between a dirty mop and a wolf. That’s another thing that surprised me. A traveler the other night told me that he had seen someone with a dog near the city that lived in too. But judging from his description it sounded more like a piglet if anything. I guess the elves failed in killing them all after all huh? Anyway, the mangy beast is staring at me again . . . I wonder if it knows what I’m writing? This is why no one goes up beyond level 5. Damn scarey wizard and his creepy creatures. Suddenly I don’t feel like writing anymore . . .
Only 5 families of the original town remain. Everyone else has fled to the garrison. Meanwhile I’m stuck here aiding those on their journey northward. The air has begun to grow heavier and it has started carrying an odd odor. It’s not a “bad” odor really, just strong like a bad cologne. The others seem to be worried but when you’ve made a living cleaning up after travelers, its really not so bad. The fires continue to burn and what appeared as just a fine fiery line and slowly grown bigger and bigger. Looks like no one has solved the problem of how to stop the fires yet. The wizard upstairs has been working weird hours. I hear him at all hours of the day and night fiddling around up there. No one has actually seen him since last month. Two weeks is a long time to not have human interaction. In fact the only time he opens his door anymore is to let his hound in. Otherwise I’d be afraid he summoned something nasty up there which killed him and is running amuck.
Trading has become an interesting thing around here. While at first the exchange of coin was good enough for me, I found that their value has dropped dramatically and that I’m forced to exchange goods for my services and hire temporary help in order to accommodate those passing through. Of course, I’m the only one who keeps the key to the food storage and the brewery. Can’t trust the non-humans you see. That’s the other thing that shocks me, the non-humans are just as scared as we are. I’ve gone my whole life without seeing anything but a human and now I see all sorts of races. Dwarves, halflings, gnomes, you name it! Oh the goods they bring along with them with are to die for! Also helps that many are willing to hunt for me in exchange for lodging. Not sure what I’d do about food otherwise. Though I am a bit cautious. The other night, a dwarf killed a halfing in my bar with a crossbow. When I asked what had occurred, he told me that the little bugger had robbed me and that he couldn’t just sit around while Halfling used their dirty magic on me. Did I mention that I love dwarves? Smell like crap but they have hearts of gold and stomachs of iron. I pray the good times last!
“One month” is what he told me. “We have one more month until the flames are upon us.” The wizard upstairs finally showed him face to me last night after being up there alone for who knows how long. I’d forgotten how youthful he had once been. Too bad all the stress of the fire (which is starting to make the sky dark all the time and the air smell like a bad cigar) has added years to him. Decades even. I told him to give his dog a haircut, and the beast which was hiding beneath a nearby table began to give me a low rumbling growl. Scared the crap out of me. I guess I’ll do what I can in the time I have left. Two of the five families left last month and with the news of our impending doom I guess we’ll all be heading off soon enough. Not too many travelers come through here anymore. Oh excuse me, a group just came in.
- a series of odd scribbles, lists, numbers, and calculations are seen next*
So what a week! As I was writing last, a group of elders came in and told me that a huge collection of peoples just made it in. They were the last stragglers of the southern peoples. Cutting it a bit close right? Who can blame them though, I’m still here right? Anyway, I had at least 100 people in here the last few days and I’ve been very busy. I rejoiced though as I got to serve adventurers for the first time in months! A group of “heroes” came in and began asking questions about a nearby cave. I told them what I knew and they went on their way. They came back last night with some treasure that appeared to mean something to the others. I didn’t get to see it but I know that the elders wanted to go up to meet the wizard after getting it. Oh and something really creepy happened. The dog which usually scares people off and is mean to anyone who goes near it approached an odd looking traveler who was talking to some of my customers on level 2. What was even creepier is that it even let him pet him. He was an outlandish man looking man despite being dressed in the garbs of the others. The poor fellow just looked lost. Apparently he had suffered a blow to the head and has had amnesia. Well he was nice enough and insisted on learning all he could from me about the town and local area. Damn weirdo. Anyway, I’m starting to run out of ink and guess I won’t be writing again until I hit the garri
- The rest of the page is torn and covered in blood as is the desk in which this page and the book which holds it rests upon. Whatever happened here last night must have been terrible and it’s a good thing you weren’t here to experience it!*
You are one of the last few survivors from your respective villages. As of a few months ago, the world as you know it was changed forever when a comet that passed by your world suddenly changed course one night and smashed into the far south of the world. Since then a giant wall of flame as big as the southern horizen has slowly moved forward destroying everything in its path. At this point, 1/3 of the entire world has been destroyed. The continent that you will be starting on is fairly large and strattles the equator. The southern 1/3 of the continent has already been destroyed. As a result many are fleeing northward to the Besithda Garrison, the home of the ruling king.
As of 50 years ago, the kingdoms of the fey and of the greenskins on the continent have been almost entirely wiped out. While no one knows exactly how the war began, it is known that the elves and their fey-blooded allies that survived have left the continent, and the greenskins that survived have returned to tribal clusters. As a last ditch effort to survive, most of the other smaller kingdoms joined the human empire of the north and have fallen under their king's rule. So you will still see dwarves, and halflings in large numbers throughout the continent. One of the results of the war is that many well known forests are now dark and scarey places and most will not travel through them unless they have to. Also in a last ditch effort to hurt the humans, the elves created a plague that would wipe out all domesticated dogs in the human lands. These creatures were used heavily by the humans during the war and helped turn the tide in hiding the enemy whereabouts. While wolves still remain, the domesticated dog is functionally exstinct.
There is a continental gold system in place for trading though bartering has become common place in light of the disaster. The kings law resembles that of a feudal lord of medieval time and had required most people without rank to submit to the local authorities where needed. In light of the disaster, most of the local authorities, tax collector's, ect. have fled northward in hopes of securing a place to stay but leaving those in town helpless. The kingdom does have a road system but not until you get closer to the main human lands in the north.
In regards to religion, there is believed to be a force known as the light which is considered good, the dark which is considered evil, and nature which considered neutral and chaotic. While there is no clear figurehead for any of these, some cults and churches dedicated their ideals may refer to these forces in a type of anthropomorphic way. In other words they might say, "Mother Moon", "Dark Lord", "The Light", "Great Earth", ect. The human kingdom's religion thrives around having the current king being a god himself and therefore to question him is to go against the divine nature of the world. While many do not believe in a personified deity of any kind, most will acknowledge there are divine and natural beings of great power (angels, demons, spirits, ect.) and they should be given as much respect as they hold power. In response the cultural believes as to whom one can worship will vary greatly from even the family unit level.
Character Creation Rules:
Now onto what most of you just want.
Common Races: Human, Dragonborn, Dwarf, Golaiths/Half-giants, Halfling, Drow-Vryloka-Kalashtar-Tiefling-Shadar'Kai (seen as types of humans), Kobold (race of slaves), Mul
Rare Races: Bladeling, Bugbear, Bullywog, Half-elf, Half-orc, Hobgoblin, Both Shifters, Minotaur, Shade, Thri-kreen, Duergar
Classes: All classes are allowed in this setting. Due to your characters being from such diverse places and culturals, what is taught can easily be explained with DM assistance. It should be noted that those who use magic (divine, arcane) are considered blessed and are often looked highly upon in society. Since the forests and wilds have become such a dangerous place, those wanting to play a primal class should see me first to have me explain the state of the world in order to give you some RP advice and instruction.
Stats: Point Buy, Array, or 3d6 7 times to be rolled at first session.
Item restrictions: None.
Backstory: After reading everything, let your imagination start to wonder and come up with some basic ideas. I'll then sit down with you and help you craft a backstory for your character.
Starting location: The little town described in the story one week before the attack. *hint hint, you'll be playing as the "heroes" from the story*
Campaign concept: You are some of the last travelers making your way north from the far reaches of the south. The group of people you are traveling with number roughly 100 people and may include people you know, love, are related to ect. Before making your big journey north towards the human kingdom's capitol, you stop at a small village known for its good food and hospitality.