Remnants of Melith (need help fleshing out a campaign world)

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In my campaign the world is stuck by a major catastrophe which basically sends the world into a period of anarchy. Food supply is short, wild beasts ravage townships and there is no form of government to protect and guide the people. This happens all over the world and causes cities and towns to turn to more savage instincts to survive. Some make pacts with beastmen (any non-traditional race such as gnolls, centuars and giants) others side with cults, guilds and factions previously hunted down before the catastrophe (a town might ask for the thieves guild help since they smuggle supplies which are short on supply). And other less fortunate towns resort to raiding, looting pillaging and in some cases cannibalism.

The cause of the catastrophe is unknown, but is changes landscapes (moves mountains, floods plains, corrupts lands and fertile areas), mutates creatures and kills anyone who have any sort of magical prowess (anyone who can cast spells). Since the world was driven by magic as well as governed by people devoted to it this affects the world significantly.

Because the catastrophe is linked to magic many people have formed a hatred for it. So far I have developed three major factions that influence the campaign world.

The first is “the magistrate” this faction include individuals who were once in power before the catastrophe, their aim is to reclaim what was once theirs. The problem is many hate them and blame them for what they did. However the magistrate has the advantage of many rulers of different provinces wanting them to reclaim the throne, so they can keep theirs.

The second faction is the “burning dawn,” the burning dawn is a faction that was created by segregating themselves from the magistrate. They are totally against magic and have a zealot mentality approach to ruling. Their goal is to take the throne and eradicate magic to prevent any further damage. The advantage they have is that most people believe that magic is bad due to the catastrophe.

The last faction is called the “bleeding pact,” the bleeding pact is a conglomeration of many different guilds, factions and cults that have formed an unsettling and fragile alliance. Factions include the thieves guild, the dark priests and the stone guard. The bleeding pact is a bunch of factions that gained power during the lawless period due to their connections. Many of these factions were persecuted before the catastrophe and see this as an opportunity to rule.

The savage and lawless period after the catastrophe is brief but it leads to the second phase of the world which is rebuilding. Since magic is all but gone, except in individuals born after the catastrophe people look towards technology to solve their problems where magic had once been (irrigation, plumbing, transportation ect). This causes a huge surge in technology, where once the world was in a more medieval period, technology starts to bring the world into a more steam punk theme. Another cool aspect is that the loss of magic causes thing that worked solely on magic remain in disarray(example: a floating castle, that now lays in ruins on the grassy plains flipped on its side, some rooms unreachable).


I would like to develop some more cool concepts for my campaign world but I’m fresh out.

First off I would like to show that technology is on the rise and include some basic yet important technological advances. My first thought was firearms and the printing press but I would like to see what you guys think. I want to go for early stages of technology as this is very much a traditional fantasy world.

Secondly what kind of factions do you think would benefit from the world going into ruins and what types of societies would form? I thought the cannibalistic society was pretty cool but I’d like to see what you guys can come up with.

Lastly, while I do have the magistrate and the burning dawn pretty hammered out, the bleeding pact is way less developed since it is made up of many different factions. Do any of you have ideas on other factions that would be part of the bleeding pact?


I’m really bad at coming up with good faction names so if any of you have suggestions for names I already have feel free to tell me them. Also if you have any questions about my campaign world just ask, I know it’s hard to convey my ideas for a whole world in one post.

Firstly I have to say that the idea of the basically crashed castle is awesome, and i may have to steal that for my own world, I can imagine that in your world it would be and ideal place for those who do have magic to hide out as they are probably some of the only people who can reach portions of the castle by levitation or other magical means.

As for the rest of it i am agog, it sounds like it would be a really fun place to adventure in epically if you wanted to play a magic character.

Steam punk is, in my opinion, ace and i like how you are using it, personally i thing guns would fit in easy. just make them simple and possibly in some cases not entirely safe to use. single shot pistols and muskets would make the most sense but then the only advancement on a crossbow is damage, it is a tricky thing to get right, depending on how far into this second age you are planning to set game play would also likely dictate how easily available they are.

The obvious things that come to mind with steam punk i think would be lots of fun in the d&d world, such as steam powered airships and trains, perhaps balloon travel is not one of the safest ways to travel long distances due to the harsh terrain, if so it is probably likely that air piracy would arrive,

Did all 'magical' creatures die as well? ie griffons, we think of them as magical creatures in our world but in the d&d world they are just creatures i suppose still what about dragons who often wield magic? are they extinct now or just horribly warped by this cataclysm?

Having a good grip on what caused the disaster might help to expand the factions, are the bleeding pact being driven by a god who wrought destruction on the world?

Saying that have the other plains been destroyed? if the tragedy had gotten to the astral sea are the gods even alive anymore? if the answer is no then do the primordials have a chance to destroy the world as they tried to before or were they destroyed too, and if that is the case does that mean that there is now room for new gods? ones that could start out as men and women from the world that lies in ruin? what kind of gods would they make if that is the case?

I feel that i may have raised more questions than answers so sorry about that but i look forward to seeing your world advance from the awesome foundations that you put down!

Basically what I’m calling the catastrophic event is “the sundering.” Ideally what happens in this world is when magic is used it takes the life force of things around you. As you cast spells in let’s say an empty room with no other living things except a plant, you could see the plant begin to wither away. Originally this was the concept, the problem being how would you show this? That is when this campaign idea came into fruition. Instead of having magic where things around you slowly are sapped of their live force the reaction occurs in a parallel plane. Therefore when you use magic on melith(the campaign world) the sapping of life force occurs in a parallel plane instead and it seems to any magic user that magic just occurs. There are however some limitations. For instance life force from creatures cannot be sapped for magical use (humans, goblins, dragons ect) because each creature has a will power to prevent this. To further explain this parallel world was once exactly the same as melith, but as more and more magic was used the parallel world began to become warped. In the parallel world there are only ghosts and spirits of those who passed away on melith (if I had to give a comparison the parallel world is like an ethereal plane).

The sundering occurred because a great magical battle occurred on melith, which basically ripped open a portal between melith and its parallel plane (not so parallel now due to maigc). This portal sent a wave of change over melith that occurred almost instantly. The wave changed the landscape of melith to mimic that of its parallel plane and destroyed all magic users, almost like payment for the debt of life force stolen. The spirits of all the dead magic users of melith now reside on its parallel plane( let’s call it ethrea). and a significant amount of spirits from ethrea slipped into melith. Creatures are mutated on melith via adaptation to the environment and spirits of ethrea affecting them.

The creatures with magic power before the sundering were not killed, instead I would like to clarify that the creatures in existence before the sundering were very much like animals on earth. When the sundering mutation among other things created these new creatures such as griffons. Other creatures that require long rooted history like dragons were not affected due to their affiliation with magic. Dragons give back what they take therefore no penance was needed. This also beings up the point of arcane magic and divine magic. Only arcane users were destroyed since divine comes from the gods and through prayer.

Nothing has happened to any of the gods, the sundering is all man made and the gods do not interfere with mortal beings (if new ideas dealing with gods sounds cool ill incorporate but I like to stray away from immortal and all powerful beings influencing worlds).

Another thing to note is that previously magic was extremely potent and powerful. Imagine the normal 9th level spells being closer to 1st level spells in comparison. I had to add this in order to prevent changes in spells and what not. Spells are unchanged, but if you read history books magic after the sundering in comparison to the old age is weak.

I like that, its very neat and plugs all the holes I have seen, i dread to think how long you have spent on that and at the same time envy you massivly for this work of art!

As i said before i realy think it will be epic when totally finished, if such as creation ever can be.
Another thought just popped into my head, clockwork, its an element already in the standard D&D world but is easily turned to mor complex and intresting devices (probably by dwarves or gnomes) without magic to rely on.
I would not make the destruction of magic users absolute. Drop clues to the players that a few MUs may still be around, hidding. Those who knew of the coming disaster and protected themselves. Maybe now conspiring to contain the anti-magic attitudes and influence the 3 factions. If the PCs help these hidden magic users, promises of great rewards(now obsolete magic stuff) to follow.

Also the rise of the newest god and his/her followers: Technos, the god of technology.
"In your name Technos, I pray my musket loads do not get wet"

Technos is a terrible name 
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