First, give your players a copy of the Boundaries Sheet. This will enable them to see areas that are present in the world setting, and they can mark items that you can, if you collectively so choose, skip over.
“You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart always will be elsewhere.
That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”Miriam Adeney
Characters on Wyrlde are exclusive to Wyrlde – the normal D&D 5e rules won’t work here, and as of this writing there is no support for a digital record out there.
Your character, on Wyrlde, is likely somewhat different from characters in other realms, because world is a different kind of setting: it is an open world, sometimes called a sandbox setting.
One of the key things about an adventure on Wyrlde is that you have to choose what to do. Even if there is a story that is to be told, or an adventure to be taken, the most that your DM is able to do is provide you with Hooks – things that lead to a story. It is entirely up to you if you choose to take the bait.
At its heart, Wyrlde is meant as a place for you to explore, to learn about, to engage with, to become a part of. Your adventures will happen, without doubt, but they happen on your timetable, not the DMs. However, there are reasons to want to get connected to a story – you cannot advance in levels if you are not advancing a story, although you can advance many other things in your character’s life if you choose not to.
Wyrlde is intended for people who have the capacity to deal with the darkness that lies in others’ hearts, the recognition that vile things can happen, and the awareness that a stout heart and a strong will can turn a tide.
Wyrlde involves emotions, role playing, `and bad things can happen. There is slavery on Wyrlde, and there is rape. There is racism, and there is discrimination. These things lie beneath some of the larger conflicts – but don’t jump to a conclusion just yet.
As a result, Wyrlde is intended for people who are mature enough to handle these things. The Author feels that 16+ is fine, but your players and your group may feel that is too low.
For now, though, let’s get the rag up on this cantata…
The Game System in use is D&D 5e, with significant modifications and additions to work with Wyrlde. No standard Race or Class published in the game is used.
Books required by the Players consist of the Player’s Handbook, Codexalia Wyrldica, and Incarnalia Wyrldica.
Optional Rules used are described in the Wyrldica books.
Standard Rules dropped are any covered in the Wyrldica books.
Modified Standard Rules are included in the Wyrldica books.
Original Rules remain as they are unless the Wyrldica books explicitly override them.
Character Growth & Advancement is done by milestone points using a modified system that is closer to experience.
Player Narratives are the domain of the player and include player actions and reactions.
Player Agency is a primary driver of Wyrlde – Players are responsible for identifying potential adventures and exploring the world, as well as beign familiar with the lore of the world.
Where are the rules written down and collected? In the Codexalia Wyrldica, the Incarnalia Wyrldica, and on the Wyrlde.com website. Rulings which change the rules and alter them, or which add additional material will be included on Wyrlde.com.
How can they be accessed? Through PDF and website, by mobile device or PC.
How much time, if any, should be spent to check a rule during play? Three minutes.
How are challenged rulings handled? A challenge should be noted during play, but discussed after the session, and will apply going forward, not retroactively. When questioning a call a DM makes, it is acceptable to say that you disagree, but arguing about it will happen after the game. The goal is to keep play moving along. Questioning a call regarding an NPC generally isn’t allowed, any more than questioning the actions of a player as their character.
When can a situation be taken back, redone, or retconned? When all players and the DM agree, unless it is part of a storyline.
How much can player knowledge overlap with character knowledge? This depends on the nature of the PC. However, the lore of the world is available to all Players.
Metagaming limits and freedoms. Until the release of the Critteralia Wyrldica, knowledge of the capabilities of creatures is going to be difficult to obtain, and there is only one section in the books that is considered metagaming on the part of players, and it is explicitly noted as such. In general terms, a Player should know the place their character comes from and possibly those areas nearest to it.
Genre(s) of the Setting. Wyrlde is a Fantasy setting with elements of comedy, mystery, thriller, adventure, western, horror, and other genres.
Theme(s) of the Setting. The theme of Wyrlde is explorations.
Tone of the Setting:
16 to 72
Sandbox or Plotted? Wyrle is a sandbox game, player driven – it is up to the players to follow clues and storyline pieces, but this is not the only possible thing they can do, as they have the whole world to explore.
Linear or Non-Linear Campaign? This is a linear campaign that features timed events and occurrences.
Importance of Magic? Magic is important; this is a high magic world, and a great many things within it are magical, supernatural, paranormal, and otherwise odd.
General Level of Technology? Wyrlde is pre-industrial, and does not use magic for technology (magic appears to hate that and react poorly). They do not have much in the way of an ability to deal with very small components, and certain Powers prevent the advancement of certain areas. Nearly everything iis handmade, hand shaped, and built through individual labor and effort.
Notable variances from Earth Normal Science? The Powers That be sometimes compete in how best to limit technology, and do not keep this a secret. It has not prevented guns from arising, nor has it kept airships from being developed. It has stopped gunpowder from working, and it has enabled some minerals to be easier to find and use, while others have strange tendencies to function in unexpected ways. As an example, plutonium is not radioactive.
Understanding the World
Wyrlde is an expansion on 5e rules, with a different system for handling magic, a different approach to psionics, and completely new classes and races. There are many rules that it expands on, creating what some call a “crunchier” or more involved set of rules that can guide play.
On the surface, Wyrlde is a fairly generic pseudo-medieval kitchen sink fantasy world. Arabesque takes extreme umbrage at that description. It is not a version nor is it based on a version of a medieval Earthly world. It is not Earth. It is not a regular D&D world, even though it might look like it on the surface. This is important: things that might work a certain way on Earth, for example, will not work the same way on Wyrlde. The physics are different, the geology is different, the chemical properties are different. It is exceptionally difficult to metagame on Wyrlde, to bring in ideas for technologies and such, because they don’t always function – and as a default expectation, do not think they will or that they could. Physics that you understand do not work the same on Wyrlde. Chemical reactions that you understand do not work the same as on Earth. The level of technological advancement does vary but is slightly different because of the above. Above all of this, there is a reason for it to be so.
Adventuring is a job on Wyrlde, a profession with multiple specialties, and it is considered the most dangerous work that one can do. Adventurers are not hee strongest people in the world at high levels – leaders who have attained high levels of responsibility and authority are often able to enforce that.
There are two empires that are constantly at war, one of which has the ability to do sneak attacks on the other pretty much anywhere. There are cyclic Crusades, and ruins and monsters abound everywhere.
Wyrlde is an Open World concept. This means that the story of any campaign exists but is something that the Players must find for themselves. It also means that part of the set-up is to find a way to survive in the world. Unlike normative D&D, it is not a world where there are riches beyond value at every turn, it is a world where things must be paid for, be it barter, coin, or in kind. There are vast hoards and piles of gold coins, but they are difficult to find, and even more difficult to claim.
Wyrlde is often said to resemble isekai style anime and manga in many ways, as there are Adventurer guilds where you can find little jobs to do – but it also does not stop you from taking a job that is too difficult or that could kill you.
Because it is open world and player driven, there are consequences involved for actions one takes. Consequences can be good or bad or indifferent. At higher levels, the actions of the Players will have an impact that expands as they grow, and any campaign is expected to have an impact on the world that alters the future. While the Bright lands do not have Slavery, they do have Indenture. The Dread lands do have slavery. Women are treated poorly in Sibola, and men are treated poorly in Aztlan. Most of the people of Wyrlde have darker toned skin than one might expect.
Technically, Wyrlde is a science fiction world that has degraded and been altered by beings of such great power that that they are able to rewrite existence and nature with a whim. A long time from now, it is colonized, and even later from then it is removed entirely from the universe as a whole. The Firmament – the dark sky of the night — is a solid mass beyond which there is nothing. The stars are burning orbs of hydrogen, but they are placed there by a will and with an intent, and some imprison living beings.
These great powers take an interest in those who worship them – and it is key to realize that most people do not worship them. Only about a quarter of the people on Wyrlde genuinely worship the Powers That Be. The rest wish they would just go away. Especially if they show up for dinner on a weekday night. Unannounced. As they do.
Wyrlde’s people and creatures are not robots, nor are they generally lacking in creativity. As a rule of thumb, if a party of adventurers does it, then a party of Foes will do it.
Elements of the Game World that may challenge Boundaries are highlighted on the Boundaries Sheet.
General adventuring environment? Wyrlde has a very marked difference between civilized area and the wilds., or Crofts and Boonies. Civilizations surrounds and area roughly 24 to 30 miles out from any given settlement larger than a Steading, and out to roughly 6 miles from a steading or smaller settlement. Beyond that area, one is in The Boonie, and so in the wilderness and subject to the vagaries thereby, including random encounters and the like.
Significant known threats? Although Dragons have been seen and rumor speaks of their terror, no one has ever brought any verifiable evidence of a dragon, and no one knows where dragons are. There is more about potential threats in the Codexalia Wyrldica.
What questions do the Players have?
Understanding the Story
A typical Campaign for Wyrlde will be a combination of reactions to the Player’s actions and activities and the particulars of a larger storyline that continues around them, shaping the world and changing things.
Any official published module requires some significant effort to change to fit the world, and anything written for a place other than Wyrlde will have similar challenges, but the effort is always well worth it. A Wyrlde campaign can consist of any of them – we are particularly fond of Phandelver (which is usually based near Antilia) and the assorted heist adventures.
Adventures and campaigns written for Wyrlde, however, will often have a genre, theme, and structure that includes a change to the larger world and offers a mix of side quests and main plot hooks that can slowly build up over time into a larger overall scheme.
A full campaign will employ multiple different genres, including Mystery, Detective, Epic Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy, Western, Mafia, Action, Coming of Age, Horror, Thriller, Supernatural, Travel, Comedy, Noir, and Madcap, all of them linked together in some way to tell a larger story while still being self-contained stories in their own right.
Among the things that should be discussed at the earliest part is if there is any desire for Romance sub-plots relating to the characters, how establishing a family works, and if there are any additional custom rules relating to how the campaign will go, as well as the style of play that is to be agreed on.
Wyrlde is not particularly gritty, though it has elements of it, and it is not particularly suited to generic play.
As the use of Hero, Milestone, and similar points will ultimately indicate, Wyrlde is meant to reward and invoke a sense of the PC’s as heroic characters who struggle with their own personal challenges while facing overwhelming odds and helping others.
For Wyrlde, character creation is best done as a group activity. Although Wyrlde is 5e based, it uses new ability scores, new ways of doing things, and has different systems. A collective effort allows everyone to explore that process together and helps the DM when it comes time to create encounters.
It also enables them to determine skills and styles and other factors that will maximize their ability to survive a world that is often challenging and not safe.
Fundamentals. Every character has five rules they must abide by. It is the player’s responsibility to create characters that abide by these.
- Your character has the ability to work with a team.
- Your character has the desire to work with a team.
- Your character has a reason to adventure.
- Your character has a reason to put their life at risk.
- Your character is part of the world when they are present in it.
For item 3, there is a list of possible reasons we will get to in the section on character.
Disallowed Character Concepts. Wyrlde generally does not support, encourage, or work well for those who seek to play traditionally “evil”, narcissistic, or solo characters.
Special Character Concepts. Character concepts are best derived from the setting itself, as opposed to being pushed into the world. Classes and Races normally found in 5e do not exist here. This is not Earth, so archetypes which are grounded in Earth generally will have a hard time.
That said, consult with the DM; odds are pretty good that as Wyrlde was designed by a DM from player desires, there is a good chance something close to what is sought can be done, as long as it is still based within the general fantasy core.
Expectations of Characters. Evil, gimmick, uncooperative character are not successful in a world where a party needs to stick together and rely on each other. Creating a character that is always off on their own doing their own thing, or someone who attacks without provocation is going to create friction and likely die early. It is the responsibility of the player to create a character than can work with the other characters in the party.
Grounding in Setting. All characters have to be grounded in the setting. As you will soon learn, beign grounded in the setting is startlingly easy in many cases, but the goal remains to have a grounded character that is either learning about the world as it is or is part of the world as it is.
Collaboration and Teamwork. Parties which do not work together and collaborate are less likely to succeed in tasks and survive, as the setting is structured to make challenges and encounters that turn violent very difficult. Not all encounters are violent, and even violent encounters may be able to be swayed. As a Player driven, heroic action supporting setting, creative problem solving, tactics, and strategy are often rewarded and overcoming an opponent dos not mean that they need be killed in all circumstances.
Player vs Player. Wyrlde is not structured for Player vs Player, and generally does not enable nor encourage such. As noted above, this is a game where folks need to get along – when creating characters, they should be focused on that, as opposed to creating characters that do not fit well with others.
Death. Death is a possibility at all times, but Wyrlde does have spells which are relatively easy to find and engage throughout the game, even if at a cost (such as a Temple or shrine, or through payer) that can overcome and temporarily defeat death. What matters most, should a PC die, is that in game the party is able to get those people to a place or are able to do themselves some form of magic to bring them back to life within a week of time, and that the Player of that character is willing.
PC actions. Every action a player takes has a consequence in the game. From an immediate one to one that might not show up for a few sessions to one that changes the shape of the world as a whole, the setting is built on the nature of consequences and outcomes, and some of these cannot be as readily undone as certain dice rolls or through the use of magic.
In this game, a character can and will die as a result of their actions.
This is not a game where monsters are evenly matched;
This is a game where a lucky blow from a low-level monster will take you out,
and where a casual sweep of a high-level monster can erase an entire party.
In films, novels, and fairytales, the hero must work to overcome things that are always more powerful than they.
For this game, that is the standard in use.
Assume you can die in any encounter if the Fates (dice) so choose.
If you are so invested in your character that you cannot allow them to die, you need to play a different character.
Environmental. There are consequences to travel and existing in the environment, and Fatigue is a major factor in the game.
Chance & Fate. The dice are the dice, and the Sisters let them roll where they may. Note that Wyrlde offers all characters the possibility of changing their fate – see Destiny Scores.
Plot Armor. PCs do not have plot armor, even in their own subplots.
Raising, Resurrection, & Reincarnation
Raise Dead, Resurrection, Reincarnation. Each of these spells has a different sort of structure to them, with all working best within one week of a PC death. After a week, only Resurrection or Reincarnation is possible, and after a couple months, only Reincarnation is possible.
New Characters. New characters can be introduced at any time, but a player may only run a single character in game at a given time unless the DM allows otherwise. They will be the average level of the party to start
Coming In. New players can join so long as a majority of players and the DM allow it.
Creating Characters. New players may create characters at the average level of the party to start.
In-character disagreements should be handled in a manner that remains in-character, and do not lead to violence among the party members, as PVP is not permitted.
Out of Character disagreements should be held away from the table and during off times, not hashed out in front of the entire player group. If a DM is involved, it must be as the referee and moderator.
If the disagreement is with the DM, it should be handled in between sessions.
Wyrlde does not handle PVP, and PVP is strongly frowned upon. It is whispered that parties who engage in internal conflict may be struck by mysterious lightning bolts.
The group of Players should decide what language is acceptable and what language is not acceptable. These rules can apply to in character, out character, or both.
In terms of terminology, it is suggested that during roleplay, terms revealed in the lore be used.
45 second turns: On your turn, you have 20 seconds to decide, then 25 seconds to do rolls and be ready for your next turn. This was instituted to stop people from doing the pause and decide thing that is common in most circumstances. It is very common for Players to decide on common tactics they will use and writ ehtem down for their own use.
Establish ground rules and expectations.
The Boundaries sheet lists several sensitive topics with a degree of permissiveness and allowability after each item. Spaces which are highlighted are spaces where such information may appear within the game as a whole. These are broken down into elements which are going to appear in Play, which do appear in the Lore, and which may happen in lay but out of direct sight.
For the other Boundaries, a Player can choose what items are allowed when, with the understanding that Lore can only be ignored somewhat, and that in some cases the DM may have to change an entire encounter.
Note that the element of racism does not apply to real world racism or even analogs to real world racism. Wyrlde’s racism exists in a different way and to a different degree than that of Earth and may not (and likely will not) be immediately visible, but rather something that people become aware of over time.
Not everyone is what folks think of as able bodied. Nor is being able bodied any kind of requirement.
Wyrlde has, since its earliest years, sought to provide assistive devices to those who needed them, and so there are people with clockwork limbs, clockwork wheelchairs, and other features. These are treated as if they were a part of an able body normally, with exceptions noted under gear.
Note that Wyrlde does not use Conditions named Blindness, Deafness, crippled, and so forth. Instead, it uses sightless, soundless, silenced, and other terms. You can see them further in the section on Conditions.
These, then, can be aspects to your character. They are not seen as limitations, but neither do they come with special abilities – you cannot suddenly have Keen Senses because you are blind. Conversely, a club foot does not inherently limit speed or motion, and a peg leg is going to be more common than an ornately carved clockwork limb.
Disabilities are linked to skills in terms of their impact in play. A person with a not quite fully working leg may take a penalty to Athletics, for example.
On Wyrlde, prosthetic Limbs are common for those who have been subjected to loss of limb. They do not change the functionality of the character and do not have an impact on play.
Mobility Disabilities can be addressed through the creation or use of something such as a wheelchair. In looking at wheelchairs, look to modern examples, not historic ones, and the only real difference is that there are no powered options for such.
Sensory disabilities can be addressed through penalties – limited eyesight penalizes Perception checks relying on vision, vision distance reduction, and similar.
The key is that each case needs to be taken individually. Disabilities do not grant abilities – they remain disabilities, but they do not deny a character access to the world or to the task of being an adventurer.
There are no hard and fast rules presented because there is no “one size fits all” approach to how people deal with or handle their disabilities, and they are expected to be handled primarily through role playing.
Of note is that encounters must be adjusted and adapted when there is a disability to account for such and enable such. That is on the DM, however, to do.
Wyrlde includes, built into the core fabric of the world, adult themes. They may or may not have an impact on adventures, but the backdrop in which they take place are still going to include such things.
Ogres are the products of rape, for example. Women are treated poorly in Sibola. Themes of oppression, discrimination, and cruelty exist within the world. Gender Diverse people are a basic and core part of the whole, and people have many different kinds of issues. There is slavery and indenture, and a harshness to the legal system that does not often choose to use prison or jail, and never tries to solve the reasons behind crime.
It is a world where the highest crimes are those against human rights, and where humanity is far more than merely human.
Starting Character Level: New campaigns start at 1st level.
Backup Characters: A backup character is suggested for all players.
Creation Process: The Incarnalia Wyrldica address the process of character creation.
Collective and Collaborative Creation: Characters should be created together – Wyrlde has multiple new points and features, and changes some elements, so it is best if the entire process of character creation is done together – this will also facilitate the introduction of Imbroglios, or Character Sub-plots, into the larger world.
The First Question
The first question is: Are you an Outworlder or an Intrinsic?
Not everyone on Wyrlde is from Wyrlde – though they are never able to do things they once could in the elsewhere, no matter how they arrived. Wyrlde sits alone and is inviolate – you may arrive any time you would like, but you cannot leave.
These are things you should decide – either on your own for you, or as part of a team effort with your fellow players. Because these answers will subtly alter the way you play your character and add to the entirety of the setting and the gaming experience.
Intrinsics are people who were born on Wyrlde and have been caught within the Cycle of Rebirth among the Seven Mortal Planes. If you are an Intrinsic, carry on as normal and learn what you can about the place you come from and the world you are part of now. This book is great for that, so take time now and again to glance through it.
The stuff about how you should role play or make your character is a gentle suggestion, since it could have an impact on the side quests and the main questline, since at least one of the major elements involves each character as a person and their hopes and their dreams and their fears and their terrors.
Outworlders are people who were reincarnated from outside The Known Universe, often from an age long ago, muttering about Truck-kun, damned game masters with real magic, mirrors, tornadoes, woods at the edge of the world, wardrobes, peculiar doors, tears in the fabric of space and time, tesseracts, and other strange ways for one to find oneself here.
In short, not everyone on Wyrlde came from Wyrlde. Some people, a rare few, such as Arabesque and Saint Benedict, were people who somehow came here from somewhere else and found themselves trapped, or perhaps were reincarnated here.
If you are an Outworlder, your character may have been one of these people who came from elsewhere. It is not an experience everyone goes through, but it is possible for you to have such a thing happen. However, a few points to delve into a little deeper occur:
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”Anais Nin
Outworlders can be Incarnates, Summoned, or Incorporates. Give these things thought and consideration, as here one can be a hero from anywhere. Even you, yourself.
Something to keep in mind: at the start of the game, you will be between 18 and 28 years old, according to your choice. As we go through tis, we will reach a point where you are at those ages before the veil is lifted and you will have arrived.
Most people are born in this world. Some may have memories or recollections from their prior life, but they will seem as drifting and faded things, perhaps only seen in dreams or during great trauma. Incarnates are folks who were reborn upon the world as an infant. In most circumstances, you will have been at least raised or taught much about the area into which you arrived or were born, and you may have an additional language from your past life that will fade as you move forward in this life. There are a few basic Questions here.
- How did you die?
- Did it hurt?
- Do you have memory of your death?
- How traumatic are those memories?
- Do you still have most of your old memories?
It should be noted that Incarnates do not gain their full memories back until sometime between 5 and 8 years of age, as the brain develops enough to function around them. They will have early childhood memories at that time, as well, but there are no babies that fully understand languages they have never heard before.
Incorporates are folks who are only partially here. Some folks exist in this world only from time to time, frozen in place when they are not around, seemingly dead or intangible, like an illusion you can pass through. These people do not always have a clear idea of what they are capable, and find the world shockingly confusing, often not even fully understanding their own abilities, or attempting things from somewhere else that they find never works.
- What happened that you became stuck here, unable to find your way back?
- Is this world an immersive VR video game for you?
- Is your real body still back on Earth?
- What are you doing in order to incorporate?
- Do you still have most of your old memories?
It should be noted that folks from times long before Wyrlde and times long after world can all find themselves here. However, Wyrlde is not connected to other worlds, and so things which rely on external capabilities will be absent here. While Incorporates have often tried to create things or make changes using knowledge from that other place, things never work the way they expect them to work, Ever. Physics is not the same, the rules that govern physical properties are not the same.
The Summoned are people who were summoned here from elsewhere. Summoned beings arrive naked, in a ritual circle. They have no magical abilities, and they are usually unable to use special abilities they might have had at one time, and so they must start again. As summoned beings, it means that at least one person knows their True Name and has the ability to summon them again.
The location of summoning is always taken as the Homeland of the Character. Most summoned beings face one of three immediate fates: Death, Indenture, or Enslavement. As a result, desperate escape is a fairly common reason for them to be wandering around.
- What happened? How did you come to be here, unable to find your way back?
- Are you in your old body or was a new one crafted for you?
- Do you still have most of your old memories?
- What were you doing when you were summoned?
- Who summoned you?
- How did you escape?
It should noted that Summoned beings have the greatest trouble. During the Age of Myth, a Wizard summoned a being they did not expect, with some long and confusing name. This “Mordy” person was also a wizard, and he was most startled that on his arrival not only had he been summoned, but he was naked and none of his magic as he knew it worked at all. He went mad and was confined in a cell until he vanished mysteriously one day following a visit by Ululani’s Ikon.
This is a session conducted somewhat during the creation process but is fully engaged once everyone has created their character and the DM has created the Foils for them or any potential romance leads.
The role of the DM here is to essentially say what’s possible and what is not – the rest is entirely driven by the PCs with the following core rules to guide it:
Each Player must choose two of the following five questions to answer to the larger group.
- What is a strength your PC brings to the team?
- How does your PC benefit from the team?
- How important are the members of the Party to your PC?
- Dragon or Unicorn?
- What is a strength of one of the other PCs that your PC admires?
While role playing rolls are allowed, there is no combat rolling here – this is a session about how the characters all meet and end up in the starting place for the Campaign to come. It is not a task for the DM. The DM will provide guidance, referee, and perhaps finer points to assist to suggest alternatives, but otherwise give out:
- Where they are.
- What they are doing.
- Why they are there.
- Their condition.
Players then describe how they all meet and arrive at the designated point in a pure roleplay session.
The characters must know each other.
The characters must all be together at the same place at the end, so the game can start.
It is wholly on the part of the players to create this, with the DM only supplying the location and nature of where they end up.
The default expectation for the initial Campaign is that they will all be at an Inn in Dorado, preparing to accompany a caravan into the Sand Sea, heading from Durango proper to Derier and then on to Deseray.
Please mark which of the following things are difficult for you to deal with and to which degree you can deal with them.