This book is formulated a kind of Primer, an education in the world that only a few are privy to and fewer grasp the importance. Years of history and culture and growth and destruction as seen through the pedagogues – people whom the Powers That Be have chosen to guide you — who have been here and there, poking and prodding the spaces and crevices of the world and brought it all back to you. In this tome you will find the particulars and useful bits of the Wyrlde laid out before you in a way that few others will ever have it given to them.
The Core Assumptions for Wyrlde, in keeping with the DMG, are as follows.
The Powers That Be
They oversee the world. They are many, but most are not personifications of something, or manifestations of some idea or concept. They each have chosen a realm of the world instead. They are just as likely to strike down an unbeliever with a lightning bolt as they are to grant them some grand and terrible power.
When they send a message, it could in person, it could involve a messenger, it might be in the form of a sequence of events, it could be dreams, omens, portents, and signs. It is always through the presence of magic granted to priests of various sorts. They created the Planes, and their progeny dwell within them. The Powers did not create Humans.
The Powers betrayed the people once, and this betrayal has them struggling to win back the people who have turned from them. For despite all their power, they did not make Humans. The Powers That Be are indeed Gods. They are not, however, omnipotent, omniscient, or ineffable. In terms of the System, The Powers that Be are all Greater Deities, the Old Ones are Vestiges, there are Quasi-deities who have power even over the Powers upon the Material Plane and within the Primae, and the Planes themselves are filled with Demigods and Titans and their descendants and creations. Most significantly is that every plane has a duplicate world four times over, with the People there subject to those being as if they were Powers themselves.
The World is Untamed
Immense City States hold most of the population in each realm. Dependent Towns supply and assist them, often three days out from any City by swift horse. Villages, hamlets, steadings, and camps dot the countryside, the people their doing their best to carve out livings in a place where horror, raids, and more mundane terrors can happen. World does not have huge populations.
Between these places travel Merchants, always in armed and guarded caravan of wagons, or using the Skyships or the Train, or the Riverboats or Ships. Lone travelers fear bandits, often derived from destroyed steadings or hamlets, and the worst that could happen is being waylaid by a Dragon or a Beholder. The Wilde is not a safe place, and to help make it safer there are those who seek to protect and defend the world, as well as those who seek to end the threats and promote trade.
The World is Old
The world we are most familiar with now is about 1000 years old. There is around 1500 years of stuff before that, with a third of that time spent in a war that was waged among the Powers That Be with people as the fodder for it. That time, called The God’s War, is when and where the Elfin were created, the Dwarfs came to be. It filled the world with monsters and brought Magic to the world. The remainders of the world that was lie in ruins, and there are many of them.
Conflict Shaped History
The God’s War is not the only conflict that shaped history The hundred years after it were filled with surviving disasters and raids on the rag tag survivors, with some breaking away and others never even knowing there had been an end. Conflict among people led to the creation of new cities, and the developing idea that it was a great and grand Empire, but even that idea is fraught – and the God’s meddle in everything.
There are entire peoples who sole purpose is to restore the order from before the God’s War, to return the vanquished and to conquer the world. Others seek to only build their own realms, and force others into service to them.
There is always conflict here, and the forces that shape it are both similar and not similar to what you may know as a player. Here there are no savage and uncivilized people, no mindless hordes. Here there is a reason for everything.
The World is Magical
History says that a thousand years ago, at the Cataclysm that ended the God’s War, magic entered the world and suffused everything – but not everyone can use it. Indeed, most people are outright terrified of it. Magic is an uncontrolled thing, and no one knows who may have the ability and who may not. Magic altered the world as a whole in ways which no one fully understands, not even those who have had it the longest: The Powers That Be.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the workings of Imps and Wizards, in the ruins of the ancients warped and changed by the release of magic, in the cunning cruelty of Thyrs and Clerics dedicated to the service of Belial.
Humans, Demihumans, Humanoids, and Semihumans
Wyrlde is inhabited by People.
People is a broader term for the different kinds of beings that live in the world. Here, things are very different from other worlds you may have heard of.
Humans are the most populous, most in power, most common and typical and present of the People. They have mostly shades of brown for eyes, hair, and complexion in coloring, and are typically noted for a lower variance of height and weight than we are, five and a half to six and a half feet tall (66 to 78 inches tall). It is from Humans that all Demihumans and Humanoids are descended, hence the terms for them.
Demihumans are the Elfin, the Dwarfs, the Gnome, the Fay, the Sprights, the Seraphin, the Cambion, the Tritons, and the Ogres. All of them are descended from a small set of Tribes during the God’s War, each changed by the Powers they served.
Humanoids are the Therian, the Goblin, the Thyrs, the Imps, the Gremlins, the Kobolds, the Merow, and the half-blood Orcus. All of them are descended from a small set of Tribes during the God’s War, each changed by the Powers they served. It would be a mistake to consider them all Evil, for the Therian never took part in the God’s War by design, and Kobolds simply opted out.
Collectively, all these beings are called The People, even though many humanoids would never acknowledge that, many humans and Demihuman would agree. Perhaps the one place they can all get along.
Humanoid is not based on what they look like, but on what they come from. So Fairy beings and the creatures of the planes are not Humanoid or Demihuman – though they may be Human.
In the ages since the God’s War, there has been a change in the peoples. Among all of the Human and Humanoid sorts, there are new and strange hair colors, and eye colors, and even complexions that have emerged. No one knows of the humanoids having similar issues.
The Powers may not have created Humanity, but they have absolutely changed it.
To help you come to know the world better, you are going to be given a Pedagogue, or a teacher, who will help to guide you through the assorted parts of the world. Note that she does not know everything, and that she, too, has biases and prejudices, that she is a part of the World and is ultimately in service to one of the Powers (even if she did not choose it).
She has her own ways. But she will help you going forward.