A living world in an original setting inspired by D&D and modern fantasy works. With character and event driven plot, the campaign aims to give participants the opportunity to freely build and explore as they wish. All players are able to run adventures if they desire, and passive experience gain ensures even social characters can move forwards. 🔞
The guardian is Known by all peoples of Unknown. A force that seems to work in concert with gods, its actions are most often attributed according to the beliefs of those whom have encountered its influence. The Guardian will very rarely intervene on the behalf of a mortal under threat, but such intervention is rare, and seems more common for some than others. The guardian is generally worshiped as an aspect of another divinity.
The guardian may be invoked by any player at any time if they are made uncomfortable by events that are transpiring or about to transpire in character. Once invoked, the player should decide how the invocation resolves for their character. Characters experiencing such divine intervention will only be aware of a soothing divine presence, one that often bears resemblance to a suitable deity or spirit according to their personal beliefs.
The players character is surrounded by sacred light, and..
- Teleportation. The character is transported to a safe place. This could be a campsite, a temple, a home, or anywhere else the character feels secure.
- Incorporeality. The character is becomes incorporeal to the source of tension. The source of discomfort cannot affect the character directly or indirectly, and the character cannot affect the source in turn.
- Invulnerability. The players character is suspended in the air, they are incapacitated and unconscious. They do not age or need to eat or breathe during this time, and nothing can interact with them or move them. When the discomforting situation has passed, the force departs and they are restored to consciousness.
- Reversal. The flow of time locally reverses for the character, restoring them to a state before the discomforting event occurred. Characters forget events that transpired.
- Amnesia. The troubling event is erased from the characters memory. Such memories can only be restored by a wish or greater restoration spell.
Abuse, or overuse of the guardian, as well as selective use to gain an unfair advantage over other players, will result in the entity ceasing to intervene on a specific characters behalf.
Iktomi are kindred to the myriad crawling and buzzing creatures of the world, taking forms that combine many of the traits of insects and arachnids with those of humanoids. A cooperative people, the bonds of clan and community are of chief importance to most Iktomi and many never venture far from the lands of their birth. Iktomi mature by the age of 12, and rarely live past the age of 50, with matriarchs having potential lifespans sometimes surpassing 500 years.
Physiology and Psychology
The Iktomi resemble humanoid arthropods, but the details of their appearance are quite diverse. Individuals typically stand from four feet to eight feet in height, and their builds can vary dramatically within this range. Iktomi each posses four arms, a primary pair and a secondary pair that lacks a dexterous grasp. Many Iktomi posses Antennae, mandibles, and compound eyes. They tend to favor clothing according to the culture of their clan, which is itself often influenced by neighboring humanoids.
The appearance of an Iktomi is strongly influenced by their heritage. Each Iktomi is descended from a Matriarch whom has taken on an Arthropod totem, and incorporated its aspects into the appearance and habits of her clan. In this way some Iktomi might resemble spiders and focus on weaving silk, while others may resemble bees and tend to extensive apiaries. The morphological diversity of the Iktomi is such that some might mistake different clans and castes for entirely separate races.
Each adult Iktomi is unique, shaped by their diet as larvae in addition to their clan heritage and caste. If an individual feeds on other creatures at any point during their early development, they may manifest physical and psychological features resembling those beings. These traits extend to aspects not normally present in arthropods, causing Iktomi children to develop into a hybrid of whatever they consumed and the traits inherited from their clan. These traits are nearly always cosmetic, and rarely enough to obfuscate the matriarchal lineage of an Iktomi.
Other races often find the Iktomi to be quite alien in both their outlook and behavior, for there are many things that the Iktomi comprehend differently from their humanoid peers. It is commonplace for the Iktomi to eat whatever food is available should the need arise, with this extending to the remains of enemies, humanoids, and even other Iktomi, with no taboo against this among their people. Many Iktomi consider it foolish to allow materials to go to waste, therefore it is the aspiration of most hives to use all available resources for sustenance, crafts, or cultivation. This behavior can be benign, in harmony with the natural world, but some hives are more akin to locusts, stripping the land of its resources for the glory of their clan. In addition to their eating habits and resourcefulness, the Iktomi custom of inspecting individuals with their antennae can be disconcerting to the unfamiliar, as Iktomi are suited to living in close quarters and have weaker concepts of personal spaces.
Society and Culture
Though they often build their nests away from other humanoids, the Iktomi are exceptionally adaptive and make their homes wherever they can. Hives almost always develop as a tightly knit group under the leadership of a Matriarch, and sometimes such groups simply coexist near or within the settlements of other humanoids. Iktomi settlements are often single communal structures, but can take any form and are frequently influenced by the structural habits of other humanoids in the region. Iktomi dwellings are notable for the ubiquity of insect life and the shared nature of their interiors. Creatures such as spiders and insects, are often cultivated like pets or livestock, herded towards specific tasks in a settlement and even raised en masse to feed the hungry mouths of the clan. Prosperous Iktomi hives are often ostentatious in their expression, taking on aspects of neighboring cultures in an effort to integrate with the local milieu.
Iktomi are born as the sons and daughters of a clan Matriarch, whom holds a position analogous to the queen of an ant or bee hive. For most Iktomi their lives begin and end within their clan, and few things can supplant this dedication. Each Iktomi bears an natural inclination towards cooperation and familial association, creating a strong bond among their people. Failure or ambition can sometimes lead to exile, as few matriarchs are willing to abide an aberrant element among their brood, and the inter-reliance of the clan makes such distinct individuals difficult to accommodate. Despite this, the struggle to survive nearly defines the nature of Iktomi society, and such exiles often prosper within whatever groups they gravitate towards. Small groups of Iktomi sometimes form collective units outside the clans, though these pockets of Iktomi are the exception and far from the norm. Such groups generally lack the benefit of a matriarch and have great difficulty expressing their identity and fostering respect among the clans.
The Iktomi easily settle into relatively primitive lifestyles when isolated, but local cultures are often adopted when clans come into contact with other races. Philosophical and political ideas are also often learned from others, and over time the culture of a given clan might resemble an amalgamation of Iktomi values and the habits of their neighbors. Due to this, the culture within a given clan is often distinct from that of another. Politics between clans and hives is therefore always a major element of interactions between Iktomi, as individuals are divided by both morphological and ideological differences.
Matriarchs and Dynasties
Matriarchs are the mothers of the Iktomi, continuing to grow in size and fertility for their entire lives. Each Matriarch is able to lay eggs prodigiously, acting as a singular parent to generations of her clan over the course of her lifespan. Taking on the aspects of an arthropod totem upon her ascension, an Iktomi Matriarch passes the traits of her totem on to all of her offspring. Such totems are frequently related to the queens own heritage, and through this, dynasties of Iktomi become associated with a specific type of insect or arachnid. Totem creatures usually become incorporated into a clans diet and habits, being farmed, nurtured, and eaten in their settlements. This is done for resources as much as identity - in the same way other humanoids might take pride in their heritage and traditions. As a result, each clan is unique, related individuals are similar, and traditional allegiances clearly shown through physical heritage.
Some powerful matriarchs style themselves as queens, and send their heralds into the world to bear their agenda to nearby settlements and other Iktomi clans. Truly ancient Queens may spawn dynasties, taking the title of Empress and holding dominion over multiple clans that share her lineage, each with its own Queen and differences in visage. Such dynasties from the foundation for fierce political jockeying among the Iktomi, for while loyalty to the clan is of foremost importance, each Iktomi bears the potential to become a matriarch and many bear the burden of this ambition.
Every Iktomi carries the potential to become a matriarch, and the process is as simple as it is perilous. Consuming one of a matriarchs four hearts will invoke a metamorphosis in the Iktomi that causes them to shed the traits of their caste and clan, allowing them to develop into a matriarch themselves. This transformation begins after a day has passed, and takes a full week to complete during which time the would be matriarch is ambulatory, but loses all benefits of their subrace. Gender is no obstacle to this transformation, which leaves the individual forever and thoroughly altered in both body and spirit. Matriarchs nearing the end of their lives often arrange for their chosen successors to be nearby as they near their end, educating them and giving their bodies over to the future matriarch after their demise, thus allowing them to ensure the clan does not end with their death.
Many Iktomi attempt to curry favor with elder matriarchs in order to gain the right to succession, while some unscrupulous Iktomi plot to overthrow their leaders with murder and sly tactics in the hope of becoming a Matriarch themselves. Ambitious matriarchs sometimes even aspire to become an empress by having her brood raid other hives, and promoting those whom fed on the defeated matriarch into the leaders of their own clans.
The Quiet, The Silent Pall, Hollow Lands, there are many terms for the deadening of magic that occurs within the geographic area roughly analogous with the region of Unduar. Within these realms magic fails and, more rarely, twists beyond control. Spellcasters find their abilities hindered by a profound absence, a disconcerting nothingness that seems to interfere with the powers of the arcane, and the forces of faith in equal measure. Those whom find a rare pocket where magic functions are quick discover that such invocations take a rapid toll on their being.
Scholars debate the origins of the Quiet, with legends about its cause varying wildly. A popular story describes the curse of a nameless god, as it spat its dying words against the heroes of the Hith. What is known, is that the affected region is like a tremendous cloud, waxing and waning over the course of years. Those whom study the Quiet exclusively fear that the affected region is gradually expanding.
Quiet areas function much like a space encompassed by the spell Antimagic Field. Such areas are divorced from the magical energy that suffuses the multiverse. Within the Quiet, spells can't be cast, summoned creatures disappear, and even magic items become mundane.
Spells and other magical effects, except those created by an artifact or a deity, are suppressed in the area and can't protrude into it. A slot expended to cast a suppressed spell is consumed. While an effect is suppressed, it doesn't function, but the time it spends suppressed counts against its duration.
- Targeted Effects. Spells and other magical effects, such as magic missile and charm person, that target a creature or an object in the area have no effect on that target.
- Spells. Any active spell or other magical effect on a creature or an object is suppressed while the creature or object is in the area.
- Areas of Magic. The area of another spell or magical effect, such as fireball, can't extend into the area.
- Magic Items. The properties and powers of magic items are suppressed in the area. For example, a +1 longsword in the sphere functions as a nonmagical longsword.
- Magical Travel. Teleportation and planar travel fail to work in the area, whether the area is the destination or the departure point for such magical travel.
- Creatures and Objects. A creature or object summoned or created by magic winks out of existence in the area, banished to its realm or origin or inexplicably vanishing. For this reason spellcasters are loathe to bring familiars into areas of Quiet, though such vanished companions are known to reappear nearby when their summoner leaves the Quieted area.
Areas under the influence of a Hallow or Unhallow spell seem to have some resistance to the Quiet should they become encompassed by the phenomenon. Within such combined areas magic continues to function, yet each spell and magical effect activated brings with it peril and chaos. Such areas are exceedingly rare, mostly restricted to ancient sacred sites and aging temples.
Each time a spell would be successfully cast or magic item activated in such a place, the result is unpredictable. In both cases, the invoker suffers as the very fabric of reality seems to leech the life from them. The following things happen each time a spell or magic item is activated within a sanctified area of Quiet:
- The invoker Suffers a level of Exhaustion.
- The invoker must roll on the Wild Magic Surge table, as if they were a sorcerer of the Wild Magic origin. Results universally manifest in a malign manner. Any targeting choices are made by the DM or at random. Healing leaves scars, spells are unstable, summoned creatures are sickly, and transformations and magical effects are physically or mentally agonizing. Should the result cause a minor or inapplicable effect, the caster is instead left with a sense of foreboding dread.
Artifacts and the powers of deities function normally. Magical potions function, but always cause scarring, disfigurement, or pain in addition to their normal effects.