Core Ethos Sentence: When friendship is refused, disaster follows.
Thematic Elements: Fear is the greatest enemy & friendship the greatest strength.
Setting Elements: 1001 years ago Tarkondi arose and strode across the land destroying all of civilisation in its path. As it strode the land the different empires and kingdoms each made their own plans for contending with it; some hid and closed their doors, some attempted to fight, some used magic to grant them power to turn the beast away (though that did not work), some fled to other realms, all were changed by its passage. Tarkondi was eventually laid low by the Maid of Ortean, leaving the small human port city to be the first to rise from the ashes of Tarkondi’s ruinous passage. Adopting the faith of Kelamar the Protector as their only religion in honour of the Maid the port city rapidly transformed into a theocracy leading to its rise as the religious heart of the world. The Protectorate of Ortean has spread and other lands have grown more civilised again as well, though the light of civilisation does not burn as brightly as it did before Tarkondi.
Now a new threat comes from across the sea, savage raiders and armies of the distant land of Kathari, gnoll and minotaur cultists dedicated to a dark god of destruction while in the shadows of Ortean the Cult of Tarkondi grows…
Who are the heroes?
The heroes are those people who use their abilities to protect the lives and freedom of others, either by intent or consequence of their actions.
What do they do?
They explore, fight monsters, uncover plots, unite disparate groups in a common goal and through their actions protect the freedom of others.
Threats, Conflicts, Villains:
Threats range from localised criminal organisations to bandit gangs to monstrous marauders all the way to invading armies and Tarkondi itself.
Conflicts happen between those who wish to cooperate in the face of disaster and those who wish to use the disaster for their own gain or those who reject cooperation out of fear of bringing disaster on themselves. Conflicts are driven primarily by survival and community vs fear and greed and happen on personal through to kingdom scales.
Villains include Tarkondi, the ultimate enemy, to the gnoll and minotaur armies of Kathari. In addition many classic DnD monsters play a villainous role in the setting including drow, mind flayers, dragons, demons & devils, and undead.
Legendary Creatures the setting will specifically acknowledge the regional effects of legendary creatures including dragons and a unicorn forest lord.
Nature of Magic:
Magic is composed of 6 elements; Earth, Fire, Air and Water which are tied to the great barrier between the world and the Great Planes and Wood and Metal are tied to the Reflection Planes that stand close to the world inside the great barrier. The ability to perform minor magics is relatively common, including the ability to create madojin, small objects that act like magic batteries. However the knowledge, arcane or faith, required to perform greater spells is rare and as a result people who can wield it are sometimes met with fear.
Madojin create a means of incorporating a range of technology into the setting without creating a conflict between magic, setting and reflection on real history for the development of technology. For example firearms which use madojin shells instead of gunpowder or other pseudo-alchemy, or lanterns that “burn” madojin like a modern torch uses batteries.
The Ravaged World proceeds from the idea that the Tarrasque (Tarkondi) actually destroyed several great empires/kingdoms in the past. This destruction reshaped not just the political boundaries of the world but the people in the world as well and their cultural relationships. Ruins are ancient and common not because of crazy mages building dungeons and such, but because the Tarrasque ravaged the world. The ancient civilisations were greater, not out of some wish that they were, but because they were not recovering from their own near extinction.