Our playtest group has been trying out D&D Next for quite some time now, but we are a bit of an eclectic group that met mostly through the RPGA. Many of us began with OD&D or the red box (I played my first game at the age of 6), while some of us came in at the end 3rd edition with the heyday of Living Greyhawk. These diverse experiences have led us to a play style that focuses heavily on role-playing with some expectation that most of us are also power-gaming min-maxers. We sometimes jokingly say that you might want something for everyone in an adventure, we want everything.
It is with this in mind that our group has decided that most of our playtesting will take place in the world of Ravenloft; a favorite of many of us. However, not everyone in the group has the loving past experiences of this horror-filled world while others know every detail. All of us are also familiar with the problems seen in LFR when a lore-keeper of Realms minutia sits down to play with those who have never read word one about the Realms and just want to play their warforged vampire from Elturgard. In order to deal with this, we decided to create our own Ravenloft cluster, cut off from the rest of the demi-plane in the Sea of Sorrows. Called Teuralia, this cluster is socially and scientifically advanced to increase our chances for drama and role-playing and so far has steered us to some great stories.
In this blog entry I will give a very brief overview of the cluster that you may use your own games, and in the coming weeks I will detail each of the three domains of the cluster.
The Teuralian cluster has only recently appeared in the demiplane, though its inhabitants believe it to have been there all along, simply cut off from the rest of the lands of the Core. In the last three years, intrepid sailors braving the mists have crossed upon Teuralia's temperate shores and found it to be a relatively advanced triad of cultures, rivaling that of most domains in the Core. This has brought a new influx of languages and trade but still, those visits have so far been rare and outlanders are nearly unheard of within its borders.
Each of the three domains in the cluster, Dunkilwald, Vildessette, and Sullenworth; remain civil toward each other with small amounts of trade, but each with their own significant troubles causing such interactions to be limited. When rare events require the domains to come to some sort of an accord, each country sends a delegation to the island in the middle of Lake Tabllyn, which is central to the cluster where the three domains meet. This has not happened for more than a century and now few visit the lonely ruins that dot the isle. The ruins and others found throughout the cluster are covered in complex writing referred to as High Teuralian and suggest that the three domains may share a common ancestry.