Here’s a super brief history of the world to now:
A long time ago, there was a place in what is now called The Ancient Lands that was where everyone was. At that time, the only people and people-like folks around were humans. They lived pretty happily for a long time, until something happened and there was this big ass fight between Gods that is called The God’s War.
Hey, I didn’t say the people on Wyrlde were creative with names.
The God’s War went on for five hundred years, ending badly for five of the many Gods. They are called the Dread Gods. The nine of them who made it end badly for them are called the Bright Gods
In the time of that war, though, some humans served the different Gods, and from them came the other races. We call them Elves and Dwarves and Goblins and the like, and you’ll learn a lot more about them soon enough. They were never really able to form their own communities, their own “homelands” as they have in other Realms within the Prime Material Plane, so they don’t have some of the things most people might think they have.
The God’s War took place in what are called the Ancient Lands, now a vast desert where nothing grows and nothing lives, haunted by the ghosts of the millions who died in the five hundred year war.
After the War, the survivors wandered for decades, until the founding of Prussia by the survivors who fought for the Bright Gods. There were not many. Some say the total count among all the races was barely ten thousand souls.
There are several Ages of Wyrlde. It helps to recall that a year on Wyrlde is 3.805 Earth years long.
The first era was 55 years long, the Age of Dreams.
The second era is the Age of Myth, lasting about 100 years. It is during this era that the Gods showed up, that magic was discovered, and that the world was a blessed paradise.
The third era is the Age of Legend. It runs for 245 years. The world was explored and exploited, and there are legends about this time.
The fourth era is the God’s War. It lasted about 500 years.
The fifth era is the Dark Age, lasting around 65 years. It is the era between the destruction of the ancient lands and the founding of Prussia.
The sixth era is the current one. It is the Age of Cities. It starts reckoning about 265 years ago.
That is about 1000 years of Wyrlde history, in Wyrlde years. In Earth years, however, it is 3,805 years. The God’s War was 1900 Earth years long. In terms of human memory, the Age of Myth began around the time the Pyramids were built. The God’s War threw Wyrlde into the stone age. It has been a long, slow, grueling road back.
The Dread Gods and their servants are the bad guys. For all these years, the Bright Peoples have fought to ensure that the Dread Gods never rise again, and that their servants are given neither quarter nor space.
You know that they have a base up north, a massive city teeming like an insect hive with the most vile and horrible of the servants, the Goblins. Goblins do not only live there, though — they are creatures of the night, hiding in shadows and roaming out there.
The Dread Gods names are never spoken. There are five of them, and so they are called The Five. They are absolute evil, and they were overthrown by The Nine, the Bright Gods.
There is rumor that there are other Gods as well — they are called the Seven, or the Shadow Gods. But they have no temples or towers in the cities and towns. One might find a shrine to one in the wild places, beyond the walls.
The vermin that are the stuff of children’s horror stories are the Goblins. They were forged by the Dread Gods, created from people who once served them in the God’s War, and they have the appropriate ideas from that, as well as a strong appetite for the flesh of the Bright Races, whom they see more as cattle. They eat people. They rape and pillage and raid and engage in mayhem. They are vile creatures with a stench that is instantly recognizable, though you haven’t smelled it.
Most people are aware of Goblins. Goblins typically travel in Bands, of between 15 and 50. They are always doing the bidding of the Dread Gods or the Dark Lord in Hellania. They steal, they defecate in graniaries, they poison water, and their blood is poison to all who touch it.
They are oviparous, laying clutches of small, black eggs that grow to be two feet high and bout a foot in diameter at the thickest part from a single, eight inch tall egg over the course of a week. They lay their eggs in massive chambers, a single goblin clutching as man as a dozen eggs. Entering a sealed clutch will cause them to hunt people to the ends of the earth.
When Goblins rape (which they do with gleeful abandon), they will sometimes have a victim who has a child. On these occasions, the women will birth an egg. From that egg will come an Orc, a half-goblin. Orcs are hairy, deformed, broken things that are feral and vicious and are better off dead.
That Child is an Orc, and there are only a handful of known cases for an orc’s birth to not have killed the mother. Possibly because the egg really doesn’t fit will with people. Goblins use Orcs as slaves and will often capture women to use as slave breeding stock.
When an Orc on a raid rapes a woman, you end up with a half-orc, who does not come from an egg. Goblins will always try to kill half-orcs, one of the few things most People agree with them on.
Goblins often work closely with Trolls and other Fell Fae, who are nightmares from the deepest pits of horror. Oozing, dripping, terrifying creatures that hide in places where people shouldnt go. Under bridges, in caves, in the scary places.
But no one you know has ever seen one, so they are probably a myth.
Goblins do not get along with Kobolds for some reason.
Kobolds are six limbed, blue, furry, mammalian looking, four armed, bad tempered,ballsy little dudes, usually around four feet tall, like a spider met a wild badger and got along. Picture in your head Stitch from Lilo and Stitch. Six limbed, large mouth, antennae, blue, furry – that cute little guy. Got it? Now make him more like a Honey Badger – or just a regular badger – and then give him a reason to hate pretty much everyone. Give him a terrifying look, and suddenly you have what are the Kobolds of Wyrlde.
They are smarter, faster, stronger, and they are rumored to not serve the Dread Gods, though how that’s possible isn’t known. They grow as they get older, with King Kobold, the reported leader of all of them in their stronghold of Gilead standng a full eight feet tall.
They love metal — they will steal any metal they can, especially iron. They live in dark burrows, and it is said they are were made by the Dread Gods to be spies. They can climb up damn near anything, are fast, furious, and prone to being drunkards. They love music, and are famed for holding vast feasts where the central feature is an adventurer run through with a spit and slowly roasted over an open firepit, stuffed with chesnuts and cheese.
They are rumored to make Goblins seem downright tame and gentle beings.
Prussia is where the coins come from, and where the King lives. Prussia is like a beacon for everywhere else – they have lights that do not burn, and they have books that are for everyone.
Thule was next, and it is where the Prince of Thrones is. They are a weird people, but their stones are amazing and pretty and very valuable.
Aztlan came after that, deep in the jungles, where the medicines are.
Then came Durango, where they honor the past.
Then came Dorado, where the mines are.
Then came Shangrila, where the magic comes from.
Then there was a war in Aztlan, and Lemuria, where the grains are, was founded, though there are still fights there, and lots of pirates.
Beyond the mountains are wild, feral tribes of half human animals that no one ever returns from.
To travel, you must have a Guild Pass, or a Knight’s Mark or better, in order to enter a city or town.
Cities, Towns, and Villages here are walled. Starting your own village (which grows to become a town and then a city) is even encouraged in most places. Not so much Aztlan, but they have reasons – the rebellion of Lemuria and the threat of Islandia.
These walls are essential: the world is not a safe place. Especially at night. The world left after the God’s War has plenty of critters malign and benign who just aren’t healthy to be around. The only safe place at night is a walled compound. There are monsters in the world that will prey on travelers. From warmachines to Godsbeasts. This is why all the villages are a day’s ride away, or there is a walled Tavern House.
This is why the fields are walled as well. Traveling beyond your home is a dangerous thing, and even though the merchants talk tough and all, ever notice how rarely you see one come back through?
Typically, a City will support a few Towns, each of which supports a few Villages. The walls are huge. They encircle the fields and crops and even the cattle at night, called in.
When you create a character, you will have the option of coming from a City (there are a few), a Town (not as many) or a village. If you choose a village, you get to name it.
The Cities of Wyrlde are scattered. Prussia, Durango, Thule, Aztlan, Lemuria, Shangrila, Islandia, and Dorado are the cities, and each City has its own culture and within them elves, dwarves, humans, etc. all pretty much just live as people of that place. This is called Ethnicity.
So, where you come from has as much impact as what you are here, in terms of role playing, backgrounds, and more. The campaign has pulled from other settings to increase the possible options for backgrounds, traits, ideals, trinkets, and the like. Those tables and options are presented here.
There are classes that are only available if you come from some places. Magicians of various sorts may find that they need to come from Shangrila, which tends to have a lot more support for that kind of thing, while certain Fighter subclasses will find themselves coming from Prussia, which is still the heart of the Civilized World, as much as the other cities roll their eyes at them.
Each City influences the culture of the Towns and Villages beholden to it – typically because that is where the people came from (limited space inside cities that are walled), but also because of the assorted ways in which laws and governments work around them.
The Gods tend to favor certain cities, as well, and this has manifested in physical qualities about them – notably complexion, hair color, and eye color. Folks – human, elf, dwarf, etc – who come from one city tend to have similar coloration traits, regardless of race, that vary slowly change when the people move to a different region.
Starting in Dorado, running south to Thule, where the railway splits towards Shangrila by way of Prussia on one Line, and down to Durango along the other Line, the Doradan Railway is the wonder of the world, and has changed all manner of things while also creating a host of unforeseen problems. Among them is the wealth afforded the Syndicate of Rails, which maintains a monopoly on it. Their Greymen are known to pursue thieves and vagabonds to the end of the earth, and are often former adventurers themselves, often armed with magical and even legendary gear.
There are four tracks running side by side throughout the world, and each track carries at least one Engine and as many as three dozen carriages. Most of those carriages are filled with trade goods, but at least one carriage always has passengers, typically the wealthiest.
Once a Locomotive is moving, it only stops in the Villages, Towns, and Cities along its route – some of which have sprung up entirely around it going there. There is always a stop every day, typically around ninety miles (three days ride), and the Locomotive is made of wood and stone enchanted with a hundred different spells – including anti-magic ones.
Still, that much potential wealth, no matter how fast it is moving, tends to attract those who want a piece of it for themselves. Even moreso since one of the reasons for it being so favored is that it is described as safer than a caravan, and able to carry much more.
A single Carriage interior is typically twelve feet wide by thirty-six feet long and twelve feet high. The walls of a given carriage are usually around four inches thick. They can carry a lot of cargo.
Being able to move three times faster than a single person on a mount, the Locomotive is often a way to travel across large chunks of the planet, but it is not the only way.
Going only from City to City where there is a Gantry – a tall, stone and wood building typically five stories high – the various airships that fly out from Shangrila are universe to themselves. The airships vary in size from small private craft, typically owned by the wealthy and nobility, to the vast monstrosities that are reportedly able to fend off the Dragons themselves, the size of what we would call football fields.
The Airships are often described as being held aloft by large fabric bags of special airs, though not all of them have such, and while airships were used to devastating effect a thousand years ago, it has taken many centuries to recover the secrets that allowed them to return to the skies.
Because that history is still well known, airships are not always trusted, and looked on with suspicion by most folks. It is rumored that there are pirates, but no one would confess to such, and the Gantries are well controlled, so even if there were, where would they dock?
They provide trade between the rebels calling themselves Islandia, Lemuria, Aztlan, Prussia, and Dorado, but do not travel to Durango, where they are outlawed, or Thule, where they are likely to be stolen.
Shangrila is the home of the Airships, and the place where they were reborn. There, the Sky Syndicate controls them, and strives to be as controlling as their competition on the ground.