New Points of Light! (And Dark!)

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The new premise for standard D&D adventures is less on world-building, and more about building fantastic, isolated locations and points of civilization so that much of the world remains undefined, unexplored, and ripe for adventure. I'm going to periodically submit ideas for new adventurous locales that could be dropped into any 4e-friendly world, and hope others do the same. Together, a thread like this could generate limitless possibilities for danger and excitement.


The Waywood: A mobile forest of semi-sentient Oaks and Redwoods that roams the plains on animated roots traveling from place to place for reasons understood by no man. The trees seem to be driven by a host of dryads that have left the Feywild, and it is rumored that there exists a cult of dark druids near the center. Sometimes the Waywood passes civilization without incident; other times there are strange deformations, and tales of men and beasts being grafted together or transformed in ways that seem to defy nature.

Steelvein: An outdoor site sacred to the Scythrian warrior-Horsemen. A tribe of militant centaur-archers that survives by raiding and tribute from settled lands. Steelvein is a circuit of roads and racetracks where ritualistic combat and races are conducted by the Scythrians during semi-annual religious festivals. Adventurers that fall into their clutches are made to undergo grueling regimes of endurance, agility, and combat along the tracks, under the watchful eye of centaurs a match for any elf in archery. Those who sruvive are taken to the glittering aurora that shines on a mound at the center of the circuit, where they may be judged by the ancestor spirits of the Scythrians; it is whispered that death along the tracks may be the better fate.

The Singing Sea: A body of water that fades in and out of the Feywild on an erratic schedule. The waters amplify the alluring powers of a host of aquatic fey with mind-controlling abilities, and when the Singing Sea appears, travelers are lured from miles around by dreams of delight planted in their minds by Fey powers. Those that reach its shores are captured and used as playthings until the Fey tire of them, a fate that is usually fatal. But if one can travel there and resist the magical lures of the amoral fey, the waters can be used to brew any sort of magical potion with no other material components needed with an enhanced level of power. But those that drink the waters suffer a great penalty to resist charm effects.
The Sea of Dead Hope: A lake deep in the Underdark. A sun (actually a magical orb that hangs in the "sky") shines a dim light that seems somehow cold. Water drips from the distant ceiling. The lake is a ship graveyard. Ships are taken by a portal from a Bemuda-Triangle sort of area on the sea. The water gives off a faint light and smells like rotting fish.

There are two factions for new arrivals to deal with.

The Survivors: Those who have managed to stay alive down here. They live in Slaughtertown, built from the wreckage of different ships. They are bloodthitrsty and insane. Any new arrivals will be picked clean if they can't fight back (and might even be eaten (fresh meat is scarce on the Sea of Dead Hope. Living in this terrible place has started to change them. They start to become pale and fishlike, their teeth fall out and are replaced by razor-sharp needle-teeth, and their fingers and toes become webbed.
The Survivers cling to a mad religion of fire and blood and hate and fear. They will destroy outsiders. They are mad mutant cannibals living in a town built out of shipwrecks.

The Aboleth (and its Kua Toa follwers): This intruder form the Far Realm seeks to bring the world into phase with the mad that gave it birth. The Aboleth hates the men of Slautertown and will stop at nothing to see them destroyed.


How's that?
The Aboleth (and its Kua Toa follwers): This intruder form the Far Realm seeks to bring the world into phase with the mad that gave it birth. The Aboleth hates the men of Slautertown and will stop at nothing to see them destroyed.

It sounds adventure-licious, but wouldn't aboleths from the Far Realms get a warm fuzzy inside at the thought of otherwise rational humans reduced to mutant cannibal madmen?
The Bloodpines: The small village of Thistlevale would otherwise be indistinguishable form any of a hundred other villages, largely forgotten by the world, save for it's unique commodity. Several rich population centers send caravans on month long journeys to Thistlevale to trade for Heartsblood, a deep, rich red dye the color of (as the name implies) heart's blood. The dye can produce an unfading color in fabrics, and can also be made into paint, stains for wood, and is also rumored to have magical properties.

Thistlevale guards the secret of Heartsblood fanatically. The truth of the matter is that a day's journey into the forest from the village lies an ancient grove of pines warped by the feywyld. The pines are rich in red sap, and the locals tap the trees (similar to tapping maples for syrup) and concentrating the sap into the Heartsblood dye.

When the trees begin to bleed, it's time to harvest. But the locals know that the trees do not bleed until the grove tastes blood. Fortunately for the citizens of Thistlevale, many interested parties have sent their agents in search of the secrets of the Heartsblood, and those who have found it have carried the secret to their graves.
The Harp and Dove Inn: A well fortified but otherwise oddly seemingly undefended inn sits along a road, ahandful of farmsteads operate nearby. It is the only spot of civilization on the road between two towns. The proprietors, Mairk and Hansaa (along with their five children, who operate as the staff), seem friendly and charming, though they evade any questions about how their inn managaes to survive in the monser infested wilderness, and there is always a fire with a bubbling stew pot above it.

The proprietors of the inn, and the local farmers, have a secret, however; they actually serve dark gods far older than even those served by the now collapsed empire. Their gods demand blood sacrifice on a regular basis and many a lone traveller who has had the misfortune to stop at the inn as the new mooon approaches, has found himself the guest of honor at a cannibalistic ritual to the ancient gods.
The Reach

So named because it lies beyond the reach of the nearest civilization, Gosserin's Keep. Composed of wood-thick hill lands stretching out to the coast of an inland sea, the Reach has long been filled with mystery, monsters, and malevolence.

The only settlements here cling to their existences as free places, hoping each day for another short respite against the dark. The settlers are remnants of a vassalage effort put forward by Sir Lord Tamil Gosserin seventy two years ago; he promised the protection of his retinues of knights and men at arms for any people that established manorial towns in the nearer portions of the reach, provided they paid tribute taxes on the gold to be earned from the ample woodcutting efforts. The Reach was supposed to be perfect for this, full of Yew and Ash trees perfect for use in longbows, wood that the Gosserin family intended to sell to other nobles in order to expand their status in the small realm.

Unfortunately, politics are what they are, and the Gosserin fortunes diminished following a disastrous war against their fellow nobility. The family remains an independent fortune, but can no longer police the lands they had hoped to in the Reach, and have abandoned the Reachtowns to the dark forces that move through the trees and the hills of the lands beyond. The towns still trade with the Gosserins, enough wealth coming their way to keep the settlements in existence, and to hire the occasional band of heroes to try and keep the harvesting paths clear for the woodsmen...
Iceforge: The north has always been a frozen waste, but the grandfathers of the grandfathers of the Northern Dwarves remember a time before the cold got deeper and the horrors of the ice came. For genration upon generation, the Northern Dwarves kept to their mountain holds, for any attempt to travel to the Southlands meant death.

About 75 years ago, a volcanic eruption 5 days south gave the dwarves hope. A caldera was formed, and the hot springs created there gave hope of an outpost. The first dwarves to settle there built a fort they called Iceforge, and a small settlement has grown in this microclimate within the frozen waste. Today, instead of a journey that means certain death between the dwarves mountain holds and the south, potential travellers can make two perilous journeys, with a stop at Iceforge between.

Of course, Iceforge is attractive to others as well, offering the promise of warmth, and food, to the horros of the ice.
The Battle of GravenRidge
Centuries ago, in a battle to defend against a long-dead empire, a warrior-general (warlord) swore a dark oath to hold the plateau fortification of Gravenridge beyond the point of death. For some reason, a dark power heard and was able to answer his plea. The Defenders gained the power to return from fatal wounds as undead warriors - and so too did the enemies that they slew - two armies of skeleton warriors locked in eternal battle at the base of the fortress; a hazard to all who come near. The undead reanimate soon after being destroyed, and the Pass became unusable to either side, so the Oath was fulfilled beyond death. From a high minaret of the fortress, each day a maiden in a red gown casts herself off the top to fall to her death - yet each evening she returns to the tower to commit suicide yet again, forevermore. Some say she is the Warlord's mourning lover, others that she is a captive queen seeking death to escape her gilded cage; others say that she is a witch now trapped in undeath as a consequence of her own sorcerous machinations.
The land of Therûn has prospered for generation after generation. It seems that the kingdom is immune to plague, drought, and famine. Clear sparkling water runs down the foot of Mt. Kismet. The food that the land provides has made them strong and healthy beyond measure. Crime is unknown, and any disagreements (which are very rare) are resolved quickly and fairly. But this prosperity comes at a price. On the first new moon of the year, those past their 30th year and have begot children may participate in the Kalibar. Over the course of a month, the ritual selects ten men and ten women for their strength and endurance. On the second new moon of the year, the twenty that win have the honor of taking the Trek of Clouds.

Perpetually concealed by dark storm clouds, the summit of Mt. Kismet looms over the kingdom of Therûn. Believing the sacred mountain to reach into heaven itself, the strongest eagerly climb on this moonless night to the top to commune with the gods and bring yet another year of prosperity. They are assumed never to come back down from the mountain…either killed by the rigorous trek, or taking their place in heaven. The fact that they prosper year after year, generation after generation, proves that at least some of the chosen ones have always made it to the top and have been accepted into heaven.

Deep in the heart of Mt. Kismet is the home of a community of illithid that conduct experiments in teratology for their own alien pleasure. The abundance of the kingdom and surrounding land is an illusion, the populace nothing more than mind controlled human cattle for the mind flayers.
The Black Seraglio

The Emperor of the ancient city state Lugalessi once had a legendary contest. 1,000 women of exceptional beauty where chosen from around the kingdom to compete for the honor of becoming Empress. These women were taken from their homes and bound by law from ever marrying another man - to prevent any possibility of an outside claim on the throne. But the Emperor became enamoured of an elven ambassador and chose her instead, rendering the contest invalid. The women were trapped on an island and forbidden to ever leave. Some of them forged a dark pact with the Nine Hells in a desperate bid for revenge. Every woman was transformed into a half-beautiful, half-monstrous form that they use to entice male visitors to a grisly death. The monster-women began breeding with devils to create several innumerable varieties in a sustaining population. The Island of the Black Seraglio also attracts young women who wish to learn the dark arts of the Warlock in the same tower where the first women were once cloistered.
The Grave of Tella Th'un.

Four hundred and eighty years ago, a kingdom rose and fell in the lifespan of a single man.

Cisalgu has always been more of a region than a country, for as long as men can remember at least. Yet there was a brief, shining time of thirty two years that it was more, so much more.

The Algus were scattered settlements of tiny human farming communities. The people lived simply not out of a desire, but because the land was so hostile and unforgiving that it was impossible to live otherwise. Ogres and goblins and beasts even worse prowled the forests beyond, and the more organized troupes of these creatures often raided and demanded tributes of the peoples of the Algus. It was a life of generation after generation of subjugation, until the rise of Tella Th'un.

Th'un was a mercenary, skilled with the bow, his short, curving sword, and with a horse. In time he discovered there was greater profit to be had raiding the goblin villages than in escorting caravans through the region, and in very short order he had gathered a handful of like minded warriors around him.

Bolder and bolder grew their raids, until the time that his brave ninety horsemen and he turned a tide against a raiding force of three hundred hobgoblins, their swift maneuvers catching the inhumans completely off guard. Distributing the defeated invaders' weapons among the town, he demanded a levy of twenty warriors in payment for the rescue, with a pledge to return should the town ever need him anew. They went to the next town and repeated the gesture, his army swelling in size with each stop.

The Cisalgu Riders became a legend in the woods, roaming ceaselessly between towns in bands of thirty or forty warriors, swiftly bringing word of hobgoblin movements from point to point and rallying the greater number of the horsemen to moments of crisis. Within ten years, Th'un was king in all but name, and two more brought him even that title.

Three major campaigns were launched to "purge" the dark hills and forests beyond the towns, and town militias were raised as standing, local forces to compliment the nomadic Riders. Raids fell off and all but ceased for the duration of his time on the throne.

And then, as humans tend to do, Tella Th'un died. His warriors, in accord with his instructions, took his body to a secret place in the woods he had so long defended and laid him to rest, swearing their fealty in a sacred rite that burned the memory of the Grave's location from their minds.

As the years passed, the Riders split apart, some leaving for lands beyond in search of new wars, others fighting against eachother in a bid to control the Algus, and just as many dying in the renewed raids that Th'un's death had brought. In time, the kingdom itself split apart and dissolved into memory. Many of the Algus themselves remain as a virtue of their standing militias and small bands of riders still associated with them, but the dream of Cisalgu as a nation-state is all but dead save in the hearts of a few romantics and dreamers still living in the towns.

As to Th'un's grave, it has never been discovered. His wondrous sword and bow, which never needed sharpening or replacement, are lost with him. What treasures might he have been buried with? What secrets lie in the lost grave? Was it a Caern, as was the custom of the Algus, or was the foreigner buried as the legends suggest, beneath a riverbed briefly dammed, and then allowed to flood over the burial?

What secrets await the brave who seek out the Grave the Riders forgot?
Point of dark...

A conjunction between Shadowfell and Feywild...
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Hey, I need it as a power source for my shadow magic druid, come on!

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Campaigns and Characters:
Zendikar: Covenant of The Forgotten Relics
- Cylonea: Merfolk (Elemental Priest) Shaman(World Speaker)/Artificer --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff
- Vurokk Dahvre: Shade (Escaped Slave) Blackguard of Fury --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)
Nature's Allies
- Carwyn Sihderfein: Half-Elf (Tuathan) Blackguard of Domination / Binder of Gloom --> Sheet, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)

This has been taken from the campaign I am planning. In all likelyhood my players will never go to Daaken Falls, so i thought I would hare it:

Daaken Falls

The mighty river Daaken River flows from the Gyldenholm Mountains, forming the northern border of the Grydd Tribe. The river terminates at the Misty Chasm a huge great tear in the ground. The river flows straight into the Chasm, forming the Falls, the spray and mist the Falls create give the Chasm its name.

It is believed that the Chasm has no bottom and that the Daaken River falls either forever, or forms a gateway to the Elemental Tempest. The truth is that the river falls into the Underdark forming a great lake in the darkness.

The Falls are well known and due to the dangers few travel the river close to the Misty Chasm. On the very edge of the river, overlooking the Misty Chasm itself is the town of Daaken Falls.

The town is the Thanehold of Powtyr Clan, a minor clan within the Grydd Tribe. The Powtyr are an isolated clan and one that has become wary of outsiders. The constant roar of the falls reverberates through the town and is said to be the cause of the inhabitant’s strangeness.

In ancient times the inhabitants would sacrifice children and the old to the Falls, throwing them into the Chasm. This practice was thought to have been stopped over a hundred years ago by the then Penthane of the Grydd. In the place of humans animals were sacrificed. Though frowned upon, the Powtyr were allowed to continue this practice.

Over a year ago strange lights were seen on cloud covered nights, from deep within the Misty Chasm. This was accompanied by strange dreams amongst the inhabitants of the town, prompting them to return to their old sacrifices. This has been kept secret from outsiders and so far only the sick or deformed have been thrown into the depths.

Somehow one of the sacrifices survived the fall and his broken body was found by the koa-toa that live in the lake and taken to their aboleth master. The abomination read the child’s mind, learning about the town above. Plans have begun to invade the human settlement.

The increased Underdark activity has been noticed by the Powtyr. They often dream nightmares involving water. Also now when the lights are seen in the darkness they appear accompanied by the sound of distant drumming. The Powtyr are now thinking of increasing the number of sacrifices.
Dragonwatch

Standing on the shore of the mainland, one can just make out upon the horizon the faint outline of a small barrier island, known as Dragonwatch.

Centuries ago, Dragonwatch stood as the first line of defense against voracious dragons, flying in from their isolated islands to plunder and feast upon the numerous villages that once dotted the mainland coast.

The great lighthouse of Dragonwatch held its unflinching eye upon the sea for over 200 years, guiding the island's numerous balista towers to their targets time and time again. However, as any sage knows, time changes all things...

No one has seen a dragon over the island for generations, or in the whole region for that matter. Its sense of purpose floundering, Dragonwatch closed its great lighthouse 75 years ago on this day. The once thriving fort-city which the island supported has been largely abandoned, its population swallowed up by the same coastal metropolises that consumed the small villages Dragonwatch defended long ago.

With its lighthouse snuffed out, its balista towers in disrepair, and its fort-city left dark in the night, Dragonwatch has been largely forgotten. After all, over a hundred years without sighting a dragon is a long time; or so thinks the short-sighted man. On this the 75th anniversary of the lighthouse's last flicker, the thunderous bellows echoing across the ocean mist would seem to disagree...
(snip)
Eye of The Storm

This ancient fortess seems to have been constructed thousands of generations ago. Little is known besides the fact that a select few now in habit it constanstly defending. All who come must prove their worth against the encrouching golbinoids. As a rite of initiation you are taken to a sacred inner pool, that holds many secrets among them this:

"I hath sealed the powers of the Divine, the chosen, who shoulders my burden, will become one anew, the Divine hand upon this world."

The defenders fanatically wait for the hand but, who's hand will be visited upon the world?
Sunsorrow Watch:

The fortress of Sunsorrow Watch is the point of the spear, sitting atop the high cliffs of a peninsula that guards an approach to a sheltered bay, watching for any intruders beyond the sea.

So named for the constantly foul weather that rakes in from the south, Sunsorrow Watch is far removed from the greater glories of civilization, and the men who walk its walls have little contact with the outside world, save for a string of pathetic fishing villages that huddle in the shadow of the cliff.

A post at Sunsorrow, so far from anything else, is tantamount to exile for most, but there are men who have reason to stray from the guiding light of the distant kingdom, and they find a secure but distant shelter from the world at Sunsorrow.

The keep maintains a garrison of approximately 100 men, including 15 rangers and the crew of a single small Ketch stationed at the fortress and moored at the docks at the base of the cliff. The fortress also currently has a single spellcaster, a young acolyte of the church named Ethan Van Dyre.

While Sunsorrow Watch is typically a peaceful outpost, and the Ketch is used to rescue imperiled fishermen more than anything else, the nearby villagers have begun to whisper of strange happenings: of dead things washing ashore with the tides with a gritty black ooze in place of blood; of fresh catches of fish spoiled rotten by the time they are dragged ashore' and of a strange, heavy mist that is encroaching from the south, having already swallowed a small island there so completely that the fishermen swear the island no longer exists...


Dust Falls and Downtown:

Hundreds or thousands of years ago, the place now known as Dust Falls was a great lake fed my a mighty river. Over time, however, the current of the river and the weight of the lake eroded the bedrock around the mouth of the river of this high-mountain lake, until it crashed down into an undiscovered series of labyrinthine caves below. Over and over again, the rush of water crushed the roofs of the caves below it, eventually carving out a mile-wide, ten-mile deep hole in the world. The river has long since dried up, and now only a small trickle of dust falls down from above, giving the place its name.

Standing at the lip of the hole is a town that takes its name from the place. It acts as a launching-off point for the perilous journey down the chasm by way of a series of branching caves and ledges that winds its way down into the darkness. Thanks to the surrounding mountains, little sunlight ever reaches the town of Dust Falls, and more than a mile or so into the chasm, even that dwindles to a faint glow from above.

Ten miles below the surface, at the bottom of the long trail leading down the chasm, travelers come to the gates of Downtown, a fortress city that guards the opening into a vast cave in the deepest reaches of the pit. Though the road to Downtown -if it can be called a road- is perilous enough, the people of Downtown know that they guard the entrance to something far worse, for the cave they stand at the mouth of is a direct connection to the Underdark and all the horrors it contains.

Both Dust Falls and Downtown are cosmopolitan places, and while neither is a safe place for anyone who doesn't know how to handle a weapon, Downtown is far worse in that regard: its residents fight a constant war against the encroaching darkness from below, and violence between the town's defenders is as common as battle with Downtown's would-be invaders. Downtowners live in a deadly, benighted place forgotten by the light world above, and they know it. Still, the opportunity of finding the ancient, untold riches of the world below attracts enough new blood to keep the city alive.
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
Ri Thuk is an ancient Tiefling city long destroyed, which was rebuilt by a powerfull Pit Fiend who uses strength and fear to bring civilization back to the harsh area. Meny people follow his rule, believeing his lies about being an anciend Tiefling king, those fiew who know the truth are afraid to speek about it. He uses vice and slavery to tempt and corrupt, and has no shortage of customers.
Dunharrow Keep
"Two worn doorposts upon the hill," the children sing. A full moon sees myriad windows light in an invisible mammoth, the "Manor-Upon-the-Hill." Now the earthly posts sport ghostly doors. Enter! See! The lights, and now the manor, are visible from the inside, and the formorian masters are busy cooking yet another magical beast in their giant kitchens. "Will you save the beast?" The cooking creature asks, unicorn, dragon-child, or whatever it be. "Lift me from the pot, and fortune will be with ye; let Dunharrow see you, and might as well get in beside me."
Sigil.

It's my favorite place in Greyhawk, and I can't think of the amount of inspiration I've drawn from that floating ring of a city.

I've always dreamed of runnig a Stargate-type campaing, with some sort of arcane device that can be used to proel the PCs to any number of locations within the multiverse - I'm working on th eidea, but it's never been really deployed (to my knowledge(

But if you want to draw another aspect of popuar science fiction into the mx, then all I have to say is that Sigil looks a lot like a Halo.

Sigil: a city lost to the multiverse, greater than all - even the great City of Brass. Ruled by the mysterious Lady of Pain, it drifts so high above the Astral Sea that it is sometimes mistaken for a star. But in reality, it is a weapon of such awesome power that if anyone where to gain control of it, they could destroy entire civilizations at a touch. But gaining control of the most magical objct in the multiverse might require a little bit of effort - the Lady of Pain has been in charge for millenia and it doesn't look like she plans on giving up her power anytime soon.

(makes it sound like the PCs are actually trying to take control, rather than just backstory...)
A point of light (or dark??) from my own world, actually the place in which I got the campaign started...

ROS' HAVEJ: Flower of the Desert

Situated in an arid but mostly calm and tranquil spot, Ros 'Havej is a secluded shrine constituted by wonderful, tall limestone buildings and temples, perched on two spiky heights of eroded magmatic rock, last remains of a long-dead volcano.
The two rock bodies are called the Dragon's Horns, and the hot water spring at the base of them is said to be heated by an ancient draconic or fire spirit inhabiting the ancient depths below the rocks.
The simple but graceful buildings, often linked up from one spike to the other by solid bridges, are home to monks and priests who worship a celestial deity that they often claim to be the only real god.
This for 9 months a year. Then Ros' Havej is said to give birth to its baby: the near river of Lanasur starts to bring water from the fertile north, quickly transforming the surrounding into a green heaven of high grass, bushes, cereals and flowers.
And tents and abodes too.
In fact, the blooming of vegetation also starts the blooming of commerce, and caravans from south, north and east, join seafarers from the near west coast, reaching Ros' Havej and starting to build up all kind of temporary and quick installments as well as occupying abandoned stone-carved refuges that quickly become dormitories, inns, and bordellos.

IMAGE(http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/8705/roshavejlk6.jpg)

Radiating from the center marked by the so called high-city built on the two rock spikes, the caravan-city attracts people from all the near world, and rich viziers and pashas engage on a gold-riddled battle with the local priests and with each other for the best central buildings in which reside with their courts to attract the best artists.
Big annual events are organized after the installment of the colossal local arena, with seats for thousands made of immense nets of thick rope attached to high wooden structures. At the center of it, violent combat or breath-taking concerts become a sensational experience thanks to the big crystals that sprout out of the underneath rock, the biggest among the many ones found in Ros 'Havej, which a tribe of the east know how to synchronize with the minds of mage-musicians in order to produce otherworldly sounds and vibrations that can instill powers into those who experience the trance inducted by the music.
So a large number of people manages to live well in the area thanks to the ancient but still functioning sewers which lie below a vast area circling the high-city. They are said to be linked with the river and with the even deeper caves and tunnels inside and below the Dragon's Horns mounts.
Besides the commodity lies the danger: the sewers are probably the cause of an always increasing annual loss of children, who enjoy exploring the places but many times never return.
Mothers tell children not to venture there because the dragon will eat them, but priests are secretly worried that something worse could be happening to the ones lost in the ancient depths. The shrine was always said to be a point of contact with the "celestial worlds above", with its spiky form scraping the sky, but the loremasters know that this "world contact" facility could be used for dark purposes if ancient artifacts and rituals could be summoned in the right places of the complex.
A warning for the priests that someone might have had plans to do it came this year, with strange illnesses striking many people, but strangely more authorities, priests and voluntary guards than artisans, women and traders.
The increasingly high notoriety and prestige of a once mediocre pasha from the near east also represents the exciting news of the last year for many, but also the freshest and spiciest rumors among the courts and puzzled worries among the priests...

Converting it to 4e, Ros' Havej could be a last resort or ancient ruin of the dragonborn empire, and its underground could lead to a mirrored place in the Shadowfell from which an evil NPC is trying to use Ros'Havej to summon devils from the Nine Hells...

Join the Zendikar D&D Campaign Setting group: discover the fantastic world and contribute to make Zendikar a playable setting!
   - Warning! Spectacular visuals and lore ahead! ... Take a look...
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*All my latest rolls!*

Campaigns and Characters:
Zendikar: Covenant of The Forgotten Relics
- Cylonea: Merfolk (Elemental Priest) Shaman(World Speaker)/Artificer --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff
- Vurokk Dahvre: Shade (Escaped Slave) Blackguard of Fury --> Sheet, Obsidian Portal's, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)
Nature's Allies
- Carwyn Sihderfein: Half-Elf (Tuathan) Blackguard of Domination / Binder of Gloom --> Sheet, Fluff, Blogs (1, 2)

Slightly silly, but a nice location if you need some comic relief. . . on the other hand, it could also be a great location to start off a campaign that begins light and happy then quickly takes on sinister tones.

Tarasville

This town seems like a perfectly ordinary trading hub: ruled over by a minor duke, the city is prosperous, although not particularly large. Its major economy is based on the river that runs through the center of the town, crossing a major trade route between two kingdoms.

Sharp-eyed adventurers may notice a strange trend in the city's tastes towards civic art: a twenty-foot statue of the Tarrasque dominates the city square (taken straight from the 3E monster manual). Bas-reliefs of Tarrasques dominate the friezes of civic buildings. The city courthouse has a statue of a blindfolded Tarrasque out front holding a pair of scales in one claw and a sword in the other.

When the adventurers first arrive, they are just in time for the most popular holiday in the city: the annual celebration of Tarrasquemas! On this day, the happy citizens of Tarasville take the day off of work. People dress up wearing stylized Tarrasque costumes, eat Tarrasque-shaped cookies and pastires, and take to the streets for the official Tarrasquemas Day Parade, with the giant Tarrasque leading the way (think Chinese New Year dragon masks, and you've got the right idea). Children will go to bed that night knowing that if they were good that year, the Tarrasque will fly through the air and give them gifts. Bad little boys and girls, however, will be snatched up in its massive claws and swallowed whole for 2d8+8 crushing and 2d8+6 acid damage a round.

Depending on the tone of your campaign, this could simply be a whimsical celebration or something far more sinister: perhaps the town culminates its celebration of Tarrasquemas by sacrificing an unlucky citizen in a ritual attempt to prevent the Tarrasque from attacking the town. Perhaps it is a reference to an event many years ago when the Tarrasque did come to town and devour hundreds of children before being driven away.
City of Calkis.

A chalk escarpment dominates the land, standing as the only dry land in an area of marshes. A ravine has been carved into the escarpment by a winding river; the walls of the ravine are hundreds of feet high and sheer.

At the head of the ravine, about four miles from the entrance, the ravine widens into a small valley. A huge waterfall fills the valley with mist and on a hill in the centre of the valley lies the fabled City of Calkis.

Calkis is built upon the ruins of an older civilisation, fashioned of pure white stone. The city has only 200 inhibitants, but all of them are lords of their own great houses and are scholars. Each person in Calkis is attended by an entourage of undead, for the waterfall behind the city is enchanted and animates any corpse placed into it. The corpse then obeys the first person to touch it without any magical knowledge being required. The corpses are destroyed if they leave the valley for more than a few days but are animate until destroyed otherwise. They do not rot or smell (as a permanent gentle repose spell) and are clothed by the Calkians to cover their nakedness and wear beautifully crafted masks. The Calkians refer to them as the ancestors and they accorded respect. They cannot speak but can understand humans but obey their masters without question. Only Calkians may animate the ancestors upon pain of death and a large number of undead guardians prevent access to the falls. Indeed, the valley is only open to those who the Lords summon and any others can be slain for disturbing the piece of the ancestors.

There are more than 2000 undead in the valley, including a giant undead snake and a school of undead eels that are 7-8 feet long. They all obey the Lords of Calkis, most of whom are level 1-2 experts. Calkian scholars trade with other city states to obtain knowledge and the library of Calkis is one of the last of its kind.

The Lords of Calkis regard it as their solemn duty to protect the lands around their city and now farm their valley with undead servitors and pass out the food to the marsh people, who are constantly preyed upon by lizard folk and other creatures of the marsh. They also send giant undead eels out into the marshes to protect the marsh folk at night.

The small villages of marsh folk live by simple fishing and also cut reeds for making paper. They send the reeds and all their dead to Calkis as a tribute. There is a market town called Namir in the middle of the marshes because a major river flows through the marsh out to the sea and the marsh people sell salt in exchange for wood and grain from PoLs further inland. Namir is mainly halfling with about 45% humans.

Calkis arose two centuries ago when a group of scholars found the valley. The scholars were fleeing the destruction of their former PoL and one of them; Calkis; met an Eladrin spirit in the moonlight while walking in despair. The Eladrin was long dead but told him about the waterfall and that a sacrifice was needed to activate its power. So killed himself in the waterfall to save his companions from starvation. He arose as an undead and now lives at the bottom of the waterfall. He animated some of the dead buried in tombs carved into the chalk and the undead saved his companions from death by starvation. It is he who truly commands the undead and he loves knowledge and his fellow men more than anything else.

The players will begin in the marsh town trading port of Namir. They will only gradually discover the secrets of Calkis over the course of the campaign. The Lords of Calkis may become their patrons, but the PCs may have a hard time accepting that the lords are benevolent. This could eventually lead to conflict when the PCs discover the true nature of the ancestors.

Adventure sites in the surrounding lands will include lizard men lairs, ancient tombs in the chalk, giant snake attacks, and raids by a tribe of humans (the Sandmen) ruled by Druids who view the Lords of Calkis as monsters and their practises as abberations. According to the world view of the Sandmen, the Calkians are interrupting the cycle of death and rebirth. They burn their corpses and hate the rites of Calkis. They have spies in Namir and seek to find pawns they can manipulate into destroying Calkis. But all is not as it seems because Gurdrel, the leader of the Druids is under the thrall of an Aboleth...........
The Mushroom Kingdom: For untold centuries civilizations have risen and fallen, each built upon the ruins of the last. In ages long past, when the foundations for these cities were laid, powerful magics forged portals in the deepest parts of their waste aqueducts. The wisest sages have never found the exits to these portals, and would be deeply disturbed were they to find out the truth.

These portals were all tied to one gate from whence all manner of filth flowed into the sea. Over the centuries, the algae blooms and life that they attracted formed a basic reef, and then an island, then a small continent, at the center of which is a slow oozing volcano of filth.

Wild and bizarre are the inhabitants of this great isle, from the noseless dwarves that work the soil, selling fertilizer back to the cities that produced it along with mushrooms of all shapes, colors, and textures, to the giant dung beetles that roam the surface crust.

Most newcomers to the island arrive by accident. If they survive the trip through the gate and out the volcano, they must then deal with sicknesses wrought by the filth. Barring disease, there are still other threats, like strange turtledoves and living mushrooms of only base intelligence, the minions of the great fire-breathing orc shaman, who controlls much of the mushroom kingdom.

Some resist Bowser, the great orc shaman, like the humanoid survivors that litter the island or the more intelligent diminutive race of living mushrooms, like the more adapted nose-less, hairless dwarves, who wear giant mushroom caps as hats and look much like toadstools in the right light. These inhabitants worship a porcelain god, and believe that one day the filth will all be flushed away.

Adventurers who happen upon the mushroom kingdom are often recruited to help fight the orc shaman and his minions, though will most likely spend much of their time searching for the portal that will return them back to their homelands.

It is rumored that the orc shaman, Bowser, keeps a human woman hostage, who is rumored to smell delightful, like the scent of peaches.
Strongbadia A small kingdom ruled by a king who wears a red mask and gloves. The peasants of the land are currently at the mercy of a large mutant red dragon named Trogdor. www.homestarrunner.com
I am White/Black
I am White/Black
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both orderly and selfish. I act mostly for my own benefit, but I respect and help my community - Specially when it helps me. At best, I'm loyal and dedicated; at worst, I'm elitist and shrewd.
 The Best in Gaming!
Strongbadia A small kingdom ruled by a king who wears a red mask and gloves. The peasants of the land are currently at the mercy of a large mutant red dragon named Trogdor. www.homestarrunner.com

Trogdor was a man. He was a dragon man. He was a dragon. Which means he is either an advanced half-dragon or some sort of dragon shifter/therianthrope. Really his accomplishments include burninating small villages and peasants, and in the video game, armored soldiers were able to defeat Trogdor the Burninator.
Hearing about the D&D experience kobold adventure inspired me to create a town--and an adventure hook--connected to it.

Auren is a small farming community located on the Aurenmir, one of the tributaries of the Black Mountain River. It's a peaceful, mixed race community, but it has a kobold problem. The little bandits have been a pain for years, stealing tools and food and whatever else they can get their hands on, but lately they've been getting bolder. They're now stealing sheep and cattle, and maybe even children. It's almost as if they've got a new, and bigger, mouth to feed...
Trogdor was a man. He was a dragon man. He was a dragon. Which means he is either an advanced half-dragon or some sort of dragon shifter/therianthrope. Really his accomplishments include burninating small villages and peasants, and in the video game, armored soldiers were able to defeat Trogdor the Burninator.

True, but during burnination (a rage-like effect in which his breath weapon recharge time is extemely short, and the damage is maximized) he is impervious to attack.
I am White/Black
I am White/Black
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both orderly and selfish. I act mostly for my own benefit, but I respect and help my community - Specially when it helps me. At best, I'm loyal and dedicated; at worst, I'm elitist and shrewd.
 The Best in Gaming!
What an awesome thread. With the DDI game table, we could potentially be playing in each others' campaigns, and have a chance to explore this all.

The Coppermount Dwarves
This is a new settlement that was formed fifty years ago, largely by dwarves, but humans and halflings have found homes there too. Gnomes and kobolds have been discovered indigenous to the region. Elves and dragonkin are rare here, except occasionally passing through, resting on their way to another destination.

Copper was discovered in abundance in these mountains, and a small expedition of dwarves set up camp to mine it. Caravans were organized, families moved in, and the outpost grew into a bustling settlement. Now there is never a shortage of work for metalsmith, miner, or adventurer.

Gnomes and kobolds have lived in these mountains for generations. The gnomes welcome their new neighbors, and the possibilities of trade and cultural enrichment. The kobolds are not so welcoming, except for a rare few. Most have been known to attack poorly-guarded caravans, though occasionally a kobold craftsman or merchant will set up shop -- under the watchful eyes of the rest of the settlement.

A portage camp is set up twenty miles to the south, at the nearest river, and this river takes the Coppermount trade goods to the more civilized places in the world. The river and the camp are both simply called "Portage." The river originates within the mountain, though no serious expedition has been mounted to explore it fully...yet!

Since Coppermount is a new community, most people know each other, and laws are nonexistant and unnecessary. The hundred or so permanent residents police themselves. The most lawlessness comes from the occasional gnome dissident who does not care for new neighbors; thieving, sabotage, and even a rare assassination or two. It is not known if there is an organized force of gnomes behind this terrorism. Some have speculated a different race of gnome is behind it (svirfnebli?) or perhaps an unheard-of alliance between gnome and kobold. Could the few kobold merchants of Coppermount be acting as spies? Are all the dwarves so law-abiding as they let on? And there are rumors of an even more sinister evil pulling the strings from deep beneath the mountain....
The Cardiff Wastes
Past the snow capped peaks of the Deep Mountains the land gradually levels out into a barren desert full of large stone structures. The air here seems almost unnaturally still, and few creatures of a non-magical nature are ever seen in the wastes. Giants are known to hold the Cardiff Wastes sacred because oral tradition states that this was the site of their greatest empire in some long forgotten age, before an angry god decided to punish their queen for spurning his advances. According to legend the spiteful deity destroyed the giantesses kingdom by unleashing a plague of "elemental chaos" upon the land. In any case the area has a well deserved reputation as a haunt for both elementals and demons.
Today many giants travel to the wastes during the hot summer months on a pilgrimage to see the "Weeping Lady", an enormous rock formation near the exact center of the Cardiff Wastes which they believe to be the petrified remains of their long dead queen. On the night of the Summer Solstice each year the titanic eyes of the shattered statue (which is far larger even than a titan) seem to shed tears which are said to cure any ailments both natural and magical. Many adventurers are lured to the site each year, but very few manage to evade the throngs of giants surrounding the Weeping Lady, and fewer still are able to bring back any of the precious fluid.
Taurvalis, Isle of Minotaurs, Isle of Gold

The halfling looked out over the railing at the lump of blackness in the shimmering moonlit sea. He could see no lights to suggest the isle was inhabited. He moved back to the cook fire near the center of the deck. The night was cold enough that he found comfort in the heat of the flames. "It doesn't look like much," he observed, holding his hands up to the heat. "I don't think anyone lives there now: minotaur or otherwise."

The old dwarven sailor took a sip from his mug. "They're still there, believe you me. They just don't make much fire. Some say it's because they burned all the lumber on the isle centuries ago, others say they can see in the dark. Either way, they're still there."

The halfling looked doubtful. "Supposing they are there, how did they get stuck on that island."

The dwarf smiled, eager to tell the story. "They didn't get stuck there. It's there home. All of this was theirs." The dwarf made a sweeping motion with his free hand, indicating the surrounding sea. "All the isles of the Serpentine Sea, and most of the coastal settlements. This was all once a great empire, and they were the masters. And that island there," the dwarf paused to point in the direction of the dark isle to starboard, "was the center of their civilization. Taurvalis, they called it, Taurvalis the Island of Gold. Legends say the entire island was one huge city, a city of gold--because that's where they took all the spoils of their conquests."

The halfling was interested. He'd heard about the ancient empire of Taurvalis before, but he suspected that only part of the legend was true. "Minotaurs on ships? Great big bull men with little hooves for feet? How would they manage a ship? How would they climb the rigging to raise or lower sail?"

The dwarf took another sip. "They weren't always minotaurs, that was before the curse."

"The curse?" The halfling asked.

"Yes. They were cursed," the dwarf replied, continuing the tale in a practiced manner. "In the days of their conquests, they were men; but they were cursed by their own cruel god. You see, it was their god that gave them the victories, the conquests, the slaves, the treasure. But he demanded of them in return. But the legends say they grew proud of their glorious empire, felt they no longer needed their cruel god. They discontinued the sacrifices and observances he demanded. And so, he cursed them. On their highest holy day, they all woke up and found they had been transformed: half man, half bull. They were too large for their ships, too clumsy for their riggings, too heavy to float in water. Having lost their mastery of the Sea, they soon lost everything, everything except their great island city of Taurvalis."

The halfling looked back into the night. The dark spot of land was still slowly moving out of sight. He found himself relieved to see that the ship was putting some distance between him and the isle. "So they just live there, they never leave?"

"Mostly," the dwarf replied. "Sure, every now and then one leaves the isle for some reason, but most of them are afraid of the water, terrified of the idea of sea travel."

"But how do they live? What do they eat?" The halfling knew some of the story must be true, but he still wondered how much was just sailor's tales.

"Oh, they still have their wealth, or at least some of their wealth. There are captains in these waters who'll go anywhere for gold. Slaves is mostly what the minotaurs want, and they've got plenty of gold to buy them." The dwarf paused to take a sip. "Slavers, pirates, and worse still lower anchor at Taurvalis. They keep the minotaurs supplied with all the slaves they need. The Taurvals were always a warrior race, you see: conquerors who lived off of the work of others. They've got slaves on that island to raise their crops and herds... and to provide them with sport."

"Sport?" The halfling was not sure he wanted to hear the answer.

The dwarf shook his head, as if not sure he wanted to tell the tale. "Some sort of game they play with the strongest and fastest of their slaves. I don't know all the details, but they play it in the great maze." The dwarf took another sip, letting the tension build.

"Legends say the Taurvals built a huge maze underneath the city, to guard their greatest treasures in the golden age of their empire. Soon after the curse, raiders came to search the maze for hidden treasures and the minotaurs would enter the maze to stop them. Over time, it turned into some sort of sport. Now, they throw slaves into the maze and allow them relative freedom if they can find the treasure and escape with their lives. I suppose it's like their own version of gladiator games."

"Sounds terrible."

The dwarf nodded. "I once met a dragonborn who'd survived the maze to win his freedom. He claimed they let him keep the treasure he found, and they let him leave the island on the next slaver ship."

"Really?" The halfling again wondered about old sailor's tales, but there was something in the old dwarf's eyes and the tone of this voice that said otherwise.

"By all reports, they are not without honor. They respect strength, skill in combat. If a slave can show such strength and skill, he is no longer a slave. He is free to leave, or even remain on the island as one of their equals." The dwarf drained the rest of his cup and let out a yawn. "Well, that's enough talk for me." He turned and made his way to the passengers' quarters below deck.

The halfling looked out at the lump of blackness still receding in the shimmering moonlit sea, thinking of monsters and mazes and hidden treasures. "Taurvalis," he muttered under his breath.

He turned and made his way below deck.
This is how I plan to start my campaign. And although I call it the center of the world, its only important that the residents think its the center of the world.

Oh, and I'd really like to be able to present some art with this when I start. If you draw me something it will probably be worth some XP. (Asumming XP bribes are still in 4E)

Lingston Market

After the fall of the Human Empire, the center of civilization’s remains is ironically a mid-sized Halfling town. Lingston is located on an island near the center of a placid sea. Surrounding the sea are three regions that were once important administratium. These are named for the rivers that run through them, Heltarg, Fimedu, and Paraisal. Lingston, the major center of inter-administratium trade, is filled with shipyards and markets. Also, due to the constant flow of traffic, it’s the center of news, message services, and paying jobs for souls with a taste for exploration and danger. Lingston is the unlikely center of the world and yet something apart.

Lingston proper covers the eastern half of the island. The town was originally built by humans and has all the usual architectural conceits of a Heltarg town: a market square, streets radiating in the eight directions, and a skyline dominated by a large temple. The shipyards are clustered around the northern coast, and on the southern coast, the overwhelming occupation is trade. Some ships come in and some sell items right off the boat while most have their goods unloaded on to carts and taken to the market square or one of the city’s many warehouses.

The character of Lingston is undeniable The Halflings keep the city well maintained, but in their own camp philosophy. For example, each “owner” of an apartment (squatting is a recognized institution in Lingston), will put an ingenious but temporary fix to any damage. The next owner insufficiently impressed with the ingenuity of the previous owner makes her own fix. The end result is that bits of wood, worn out pole-arms, and even kitchen utensils have come to intermix with marble shipped in from ancient and distant quarries. Any drunk no matter how blitzed he was would recognize his location the instant he woke up in a Lingston gutter.

The western half of the island has wide beaches and a small forest. Also, the island is dotted with Halfling camps. Here the Halflings can be close to nature and far from the unfortunate necessity of adventurers. There are also roving bands of Halfling hunter-fishers made up of Halflings and Eladrian. These hardy souls patrol the whole island and make sure no raiders can make a landing and no beast can crawl up from the sea and through the earth. Lingston Island is probably the safest place in the world, if you’re a Halfling.


Hiring Sword and Dagger,
Hiring Bow and Wand


The role of the adventurer in Lingston is very peculiar. The Halflings would much rather to have the island to themselves to better keep their affairs private, but passage over the sea is difficult and the long stretches of uninhabited land along the river are even more treacherous. Far too many crews were dying. Boat leaders starting hiring adventures to protect the cargo and crew during their journeys, but they are and always will be considered an unfortunate necessity.
This is based off a unique take of something said in an EN world post.

The Caravan of Ang Harpin
Not all Points of Light are stationary. Some survive best while on the move. The elaborate, fantastic Caravan of Ang Harpin is like a moving town. A jumble of circus performances, merchant traders, scouts, mercenaries and even nobles, thieves and assassins. Those who are visited by the caravan see it in mixed lights. It brings exotic spices, much needed goods such as gold, silver, steel and lumber in addition to bringing a hope through entertainments such as strange, enormous creatures with single tentacles drooping from their tusked faces and large lizards with sharp claws to fire-breathers and sword-swallowers.

But at the same time, Ang Harpin is a moving political mess. Moving guilds such as the famed Ang Harpin Assassin's guild and the infamous De'muvie Guild of Burglary can bring all new threats to a place. Even the noble families that travel and rule the caravan can upset the local authorites with their extravagant requests, odd behavior and foreign attitudes. Parents fear the caravan for children often run off to join the crowd as it walks away into the distance, perhaps never to be seen or heard from again.
The Shroudmist Forest

South of the placid town of St. Clarice is a forest shrouded in a gossamer mist. This is a fell place, where the wind seems to whisper blasphemous secrets in a long-forgotten tongue, and screaming, tormented faces form in the fog, only to vanish just as quickly. Local rumor links the appearance of the mist to the discovery of a series of linked tunnels known as the Halls of Nightmare, for anyone who enters them returns haggard and unable to sleep properly. These unfortunates shriek and moan in their sleep about eldritch horrors, the likes of which men cannot comprehend...
56816218 wrote:
What I find most frustrating about 4E is that I can see it includes the D&D game I've always wanted to play, but the game is so lathered in tatical combat rules that I have thus far been unable to coax the game I want out.
When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray
One hundred years ago, the insane rebel druid Voranix The Maw decided to put into practice his fanatical belief that the highest spiritual purpose for any creature was carnivory and predation. With a distortion of druidic magic, he raped from the Earth a plague of locusts that ruined all arable cropland for hundreds of miles; in a gruesome bid to force the farming peasants to 'realize their potential' and turn to lives of carnivory and cannibalism out of desperation. Those that perished in this madness deserved to be weeded out of nature; Voranix believed.
The consequences of his murderous magic were mollified by a circle of benevolent druids known as the Summer Sisters; who permanently imprisoned the spirit of Voranix in a great old Oak, then attempting to heal the land. But the Spirit of Voranix The Maw cannot rest. The nearby forests are home to deers, songbirds, and other unnassuming creatures that have been magically mutated into terrible carnivores. The bite of these creatures can inflict a cannibalistic madness (Will save 15-20 at DM's discretion) similar to a Confusion spell as though cast by a 17th level Sorceror, those afflicted will use physical force to kill and consume anyone in their path.
The Tree of the Maw is easy to spot from afar, through the mild forestation and flat country, but the traps laid by lycanthropic cannibal cults are less so. Those that persist to the Tree of the Maw have the option of sacrificing living flesh to the gory, gaping mouth with thorns for teeth - in gratitude the spirit in the tree willl cast beneficial druidic magic, and even award magic treasures from the stockpile of Voranix. The greatest treasures will be awarded if the tree is fed the living body of a sentient being that has cannibalized his own kind.
The Enclave: Deep within the August Wood lies a safe-haven for travelers simply referred to as The Enclave. It was founded many hundreds of years ago by an elf named Leon, who has not been seen in many years. It is managed quite well however by a venerable elf by the name of Vithrias. A hearty meal and a brief respit from travel can be found here, though most are encouraged to leave if they stay more than a few days. While a rather peaceful place, it has taken upon itself the duty of policing the rest of the forest. This has infuriated the residents of the nearby town of Thornvale which aspires to increase its influence in the region.
Village of Dunlop

I have developed a community based around an escarpment. This escarpment runs east/west for as far as the eye can see and is quite arid. (Think what the area around the Grand Canyon looks like.) There is a major river that runs through the center of it, running roughly North/South, and this river cascades down the escarpment in a series of fantastic waterfalls. (Guess where the Dwarven kingdom is based.) Below this escarpment is a lake formed by the waterfalls, and a fast moving river. This river is surrounded by a largely unexplored forest which will be home to the Elves and Fey. The PC's will be from a largish farming community, the village of Dunlop, that is south of this escarpment/waterfall, is along the banks of this swift flowing river. There will also be a few hamlets and thorps surrounding this town, but nothing else is nearby, human wise. The major city/capitol is more than 300 miles away.

The village of Dunlop- named after the family that settled the area with their kinsmen- is comprised mostly humans, with elves and halflings the next most populous, followed by half-elves, dwarves, gnomes- I guess you could supplant gnomes for tieflings but in my world the tiefling race has been blamed for the shadow that fell on the world-, and then misc races. The Dunlop's settled here over 200 years ago as a land grant given to people who would brave the wilderness, clear the forest, start farming, and live there for 7 years being productive . They were more than successful and were made lords after 10 years. To this day, their family spends more time working the fields than they do playing at lord. There are also 2 other important family's in this village, one family deals with all sorts of livestock and the other deals with orchards and vineyards. (These 3 families make up the ruling class, with the Dunlops as the Lords of the land. The Dunlops are the ones that eventually answer to the Baron of the city 300+ miles away. There are other people that comprise the ruling board but the 3 original families are the ones with the most influence.) There are also other professions present here and need to be detailed as of yet. But first and foremost the roots of this village are in various farming aspects. I still need to create names for all the geographical areas.

The only other place I have started work on is a hamlet which will be composed of mostly orcs and half-orcs. The constant wars with the humans have taught this tribe one thing, they will never beat the human race. Years ago, the leader of this tribe decided that they would be better off trying to live in peace with the humans and the other races than constantly warring over land, food, pretties, etc... So he came bearing the flag of truce and proposed his plan to the leaders of Dunlop. In exchange for knowledge on farming techniques and other necessary professions, they would patrol the outlying areas and protect those who live there. The leaders of Dunlop agreed and since that time have lived peacefully with the tribe. (I'm figuring this happened about 100 years ago roughly.) There were some misgivings on both sides but now there is a mutual and strong bond there. (Though there are still prejudices.) This is definitely not the norm for the other nonhuman tribes in the area. This has obviously caused some interesting reactions from the other orcs/ nonhuman tribes in the area that are not quite as peaceful.

My heavy influence for this town is coming from Jack Whyte's The Camulod Chronicles.

Deities

What I may possibly do for gods in my campaign:

... and it came to pass that the gods from above fought the gods from below for supremacy of the world of Eiliath. In all their zealous ferocity, they forgot about that which they fought over and the wrath visited on each other spilled over onto this world and sent Eiliath into darkness...

Basically a meteor hit the world, which then caused earthquakes, tidal waves, huge dust cloud which then cause a new ice age, mass death, plagues, etc... Pretty much a bunch of natural disasters. The gods are the stars and their light going out from the dust cloud was considered their life force dying. By the end, only the moon and the sun was even faintly visible. (Luckily they are the 2 main deities.)

This way every race is affected by the same thing and it would take many, many years to recover from such a disaster.

This is the event that caused the Age of Darkness. Before this, there is an Age of Myth and Legend, but little is known from that era. I will be starting up the characters as they will hopefully be going from the end of the Age of Darkness into the Age of Enlightenment. Well actually the age of darkness has been over for awhile, the races have been expanding, rediscovering each other, the world, and that which is in it. It is still a dangerous place, and many places stay secluded.

Not every area got hit really bad, though some areas were completely laid to waste. It was these pockets that were not as bad off where life survived and then eventually thrived again. These pockets are where the gods protected their children from the worst of their "war."

I am placing the town, Dunlop, where the players will be coming from near an escarpment. This escarpment was caused when one of the gods from below tried to force his way to the above. I also have a large forest where the elves , fey, and eldarin can come from. The escarpment is where the dwarves will be found. I can also place any other creature needed in the area and come up with logical reasons as to why they would be there. I really haven't figured out what to do with the Tieflings yet, though I probably won't start them out as a pc race. The thing I am thinking about doing with them is that they were the last great race that had a world empire before the darkness came. Since they had become pretty nihilistic, hedonistic, etc... Their race gets blamed for what happened especially since they seemed to be aligned with the powers from below.

Most people will see the war of the gods as a cleansing of the world by the good gods to get rid of the evil that was taking over the world. A kill them all and let the gods sort out their own type of thing.

Well, this is just a beginning thought process. I am still not 100% sure on what I will be doing. I think there may be a few trains of thought.

I still need to work on my gods for this realm but this is what I have so far:

I would have a patron deity for each "point of light". There could still be other deities worshiped at each point, but only one main god(dess). For example, a farming community producing corn, wheat, veggies, etc.. would have a major deity that would probably be a nature/fertility aspect, say Elhonna. But maybe the next town, still a farming community grows grapes and makes wine. Their patron would then be an aspect more like Dionysus. A city might have a patron dedicated to law and good, where the Orc tribe has an aspect dedicated to chaos and evil.

Of course there may be more popular deities that reside over more than just one point of light. There would also be clerics of other deities trying to get a foothold into different places that they do not have control or influence. Makes for some really fun intrigue for the cleric, monk, paladin, holy person, etc.. This can also lead to secret societies, with all sorts of hidden sanctuaries, ways to recognize each other, and other fun things along that nature. (Illuminati)

You would be more likely to find multiple aspects in cities, but small shrines could be found just about anywhere, especially if there is a god(dess) of travel, luck, the brave and the foolish, etc...

In my campaign I will have a pantheon, but they are just aspects- or multiple personalities- of one divine being. The fracturing of this divine being happened so long ago, that the races of the land no longer remember that at one time there was only one divine being.

The interesting thing is that if I go with the war of the gods causing the darkness and the single god theory with the multiple personality disorder it basically means the god had a fight with himself. (Think the Narrator and Tyler Durden from Fight Club.)

Well, this was long. Hope people enjoyed reading it.
The province of Galvanna

Ruled from the walled city of Galvantar, this region is one of only a handful of scattered remnants of the last great human empire. Ruled by a self-appointed hereditary regent, this far-flung corner of a once-mighty empire survives only through the iron will and tenacity of its ruling class, seen by some as staunch guardians and by others as vicious power-hungry tyrants (and who is to say that both views are not in some way correct?). Located on what was once the northern borders of the empire, the terrain consists primarily of mountains, pine forests and expanses of tundra, populated with people both hardy and independent by nature.

Some threats exist, but what remains of the northern legions are tasked with protecting the province, and the regent is known for lavish rewards to those who deal with more persistent menaces.

Trade and diplomatic relations exist with Elves, Dwarves and Halflings in the region, but other races are fewer and further between.
Here's a point of shadow I worked up for my Temple of Elemental Evil game:

Moanhollow
Moanhollow was once an eladrin outpost, but it was long ago abandoned. Human refugees, seeking safety from the rampaging armies of elemental evil, moved into the elegant wood and stone homes built atop a small plateau and ringed by a grove of trees.

Soon, the refugees learned this place's terrible secret. The eladrin had left the town's center, a series of temples and other marble and wood buildings, ringed by a hastily built stone wall. Within were hundreds of eladrin zombies, shuffling about in a horrid parody of their lives. The humans were too few in number to attack the zombies, and the walls kept the undead trapped, so they settled there. The alternative was death and starvation in the wilds.

Soon, the humans discovered that their dead, too, returned to unlife. The zombies could be slain, but an hour after their "death" they arose again. The people of Moanhollow, a pragmatic lot if there ever was one, simply threw their dead over the barricade.

Slowly but surely, the ranks of the walking dead grow greater. Yet, the last time orc raiders attacked, the folk of the town simply opened a gate in the barricade, let the zombies tear the orcs to pieces, and then carefully herded them back into their enclosure with long pikes and lassos, taking care to throw the dead orcs over the wall when they were done.

Adventurers sometimes slip into the walled off portion of the town, for rumors persist of great treasures hidden there, but the people of Moanhollow consider it their graveyard. They have a gallows pole in the town square reserved exclusively for grave robbers...

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Answers to rules questions are meant to be helpful advice or insights, not canonical R&D dictates. Treat them as unofficial, but (hopefully) useful.

I have a point, but it could be a point of darkness or light, depending on the needs and tendencies of the DM.

The Tulanis River
Flowing out from the woods in the east is a riverbed that is on the average day as dry and empty as the surrounding grassy countryside. On the days when the river runs, however, it is advised by the people in nearby villages to stay away. Their rightful caution of the bemagiked waters is so great that none yet have set out to build a bridge, for who would be foolish enough to cross that river while it does run?

It is said that the river is a beautiful, yet frightening, thing to behold. The river reflects the rays of sun, moon, and starlight in an almost otherworldly way, exuding a brilliant aura even when clouds obscure the sky. The babbling of the water on the rocks is entrancing, and is said to bring to mind the image of a playful whispering maiden in the night, beckoning you closer. Even up close, to the untrained or underly-cautious eye the river seems to still retain an otherworldly beauty; however, under the surface of the water, those of keen senses will notice the outlines of swimming creatures that resemble something like fish yet are completely alien to this world. More than a few unsuspecting people have had their minds trapped by the river, and were unsubstantially consumed by her ravenous river-rovers.

Loremasters familiar with the entomology of the river's name, or who are otherwise familiar with arcane workings, may notice something peculiar. The "Tulani of Singing Stars" is the name of a high ranking Eladrin noble, who's power is comparable to the Bralani or the Shiradi. Indeed, it does appear that this river is in fact the Tulani's. The Tunlani lives in a small, shining tree city on the edge of this river in the Feywild, and as the world blends with the Realm of the Wildwood, her home and her river are transported into the mortal realm, where they continue with their lives unfettered until they shift back into their world.

The Tulani of Singing Stars is both cautious and intrigued by adventurers. She is not overtly violent with those that enter her realm, and is actually quite pleasant to those who seek her wisdom or song, but those who she finds "unsatisfactory" are removed from her land by her servants. Intruders she finds particularly unsavory she will let explore her lands, while she turns her home unseeable as she partakes in one of her beloved pastimes: hunting.
Let your voice be heard! Tell WotC to Publish D&D 4e under the OGL!
The Kingdom of the Hand of Victory
Also known simply as, The Hand. Centuries ago the seat of a Hobgoblin dynasty reknowned for its cruelty. The Hobgoblins of the area believed that the claw-like mountainous peaks which ring this fertile valley was in fact the remains of a lost goblinoid deity who promised dominion of his people over the material plane; but was betrayed and imprisoned by the deities of the elves. But the betrayal of the original hobgoblin kingdom came from within.
The wholesale enslavement of so many people of other races was half from the need for labor, but equally due to that streak of cruelty indulged in by this regime. The Hobgoblins tormented slaves of many races, until at last death in revolt became a far sweeter cup than even one more moment of servitude. The struggle lasted for weeks; but the newfound freedom of the hodge-podge of slaves seemed short-lived. A well-organized hobgoblin legion ten-thousand strong was on the way, determined to quench the flames of freedom beneath their blood-drenched boots.
Though terribly outnumbered, the dwarves, humans, tieflings, and elves came together in a coordinated front that used the natural defenses of the ringing mountains to maximum advantage. The peaks, foothills, and valley drank deeply of blood, sweat, pain, and steel as the hobgoblin legion was methodically, completely destroyed. The victory was so total, so overwhelming that the power of the hobgoblins was broken for a generation in the area.
Today, the five craggy peaks that ring this fertile valley symbolize a triumph of hope over oppression, the hand of a slave rising up in triumph over his masters. And the tiny, close-knit kingdom has settled into a comfortable equilibrium. The mountain passes are patrolled and fortified by stout dwarf clans that combine their own knowledge of fortification with the natural advantages of the narrow defiles to create a stalwart defense. Human farmers in the valley ensure self-sufficiency with a rich, diverse crop that more than nourishes the population. The city of Victus, at the valley's center is where tiefling merchants add to the kingdom's wealth, and elven artisans carve wonders of living wood that attract admirers from miles around.
The people of the Hand consider themselves a separate culture, but welcome peaceable visitors from all races. From within their numbers, each race selects a public official known as a Vox, to speak for their needs. The king is selected from among their ranks.
The Hand remains a light of hope amidst a wild, savage territory and is an excellent home-base for many adventurers. But beware its seeming security; within the deepest mountain crevasses there are still hobgoblin tunnels where even the dwarves are wary to tread; the former rulers may still have left trap-guarded bastions of their cruelty nestled deep in the rock to ensnare the unwary.