Brenak Campaign Setting

Discussion in 'BOARDANIAN ROLEPLAY GROUP' started by Ba, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. Ba Lord of the Pies

    The Creation of the World

    In the beginning, there was the void. There was no form, there was no magic. There was only chaos. Then came the gods.

    Prane was the first. Always travelling, he discovered the void, and decided to stop for a while.

    After a time, his siblings came looking for him. They were Varilia, who was kind and gentle, and Valx, who rarely spoke. They stayed there for a time, until Prane spoke.

    "There should be something here," he said to them. They asked him what, but he didn't answer.

    While they wondered about this, another came. It was Storna, the goddess of crafting. She had followed Valx and Varilia to see what they had been looking at. She saw potential.

    She immediately began to work, separating the chaos into order. The others watched, and offered suggestions.

    It was Varilia who suggested Storna make the sun, so that there would be a warm fire for anyone who came. Prane suggested the stars, so that travelers could find their way. Valx suggested she make a world.

    It took many ages. Sometimes the three siblings would watch. Sometimes one or two would wander off. But they always came back to see what the world was becoming. In time, they found mates, and had children.

    Varilia and Ertro had Tranal and Paxan. Prane and Frena had Felderon, Ostena, Baralos. Valx and Eran had Trakla, Ba, and the twins, Calatrin and Avarin.

    Soon the world was made. Now it needed people and things.

    They worked together creating mountains and valleys, rivers and oceans. It soon became clear that they favored different places. Baralos, so wild and angry, made his home in the oceans. Storna liked the mountains she had crafted, putting tunnels and caves, and seams of rich gold. Prane enjoyed every place, and he traveled back and forth all over the world.

    But there were problems arising. Tranal and Paxan often argued with each other. Tranal, older, tried to control his free-spirited brother. Paxan rarely heeded Tranal, and so they would fight. Tranal would often seek help from Felderon, and Paxan would ask help from Ostena. Trakla would ingratiate herself with whoever was winning. Storna supplied weapons with which to fight. Calatrin and Avarin took what they could from the others; Calatrin by guile, Avarin by force. Ba reveled in the destruction. Ertro urged everyone to be kind to each other. Varilia soothed the wounds of the injured. Valx quietly measured all of the combatants, and carefully manipulated his children for his own gain. Eran urged her children to cause more pain. Frena fretted over the damage to her beloved wilderness. Prane thought hard for a solution, for their fighting was sure to destroy the world.

    He knew that the other gods needed something else to focus on, something that would keep them from fighting directly. It was then that he created the first people.

    The first people weren't very well defined. They had legs and arms, but their skin was soft and doughy. They stretched and shrunk as they walked, and were never quite the same height.

    Prane left them with no instruction, and so they began to wander. One wandered into Storna's workshop. "A good solid workman," she thought, and it became the first dwarf, and to him she taught the working of iron. One wandered by Calatrin. "There's a little thief after my own heart," he thought, and it became the first goblin. So it went until all of the races were born (it is said that humans were only given a passing glance, and this is why they are so pliable). The gods forgot their fighting and began to watch these new creations, leading them, guiding them, or goading them, whichever was their preference. And so it is today.
  2. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Basic list of the Gods:

    Ameso (CG): Ameso is a half-orc who ascended to godhood after facing Tranal in honorable combat, impressing the god of valor with his bravery and skill. He is the god of the half-orcs, teaching them to make themselves strong and remain always free. His domains are strength, war and protection. His favored weapon is the glaive.

    Avarin (LE): Twin brother of Calatrin, Avarin is the god of ambitious war, greed, and gain at the cost of others. He is worshipped by hobgoblins, bandits, and those who take from others by force. His domains are Evil, War, Destruction, and Strength. His favored weapon is the spiked chain.

    Ba (CE): Ba is the god of corruption and undeath. He takes great joy in twisting life and death to suit his own purposes. Quite insane, he talks about himself in the third person. He's worshipped by necromancers and mad wizards. His domains are Death, Madness and Destruction.

    Baralos (CN): Baralos is the god of the oceans. His anger is swift and sudden. Ruled by his passions, his oceans are just as dangerous. He is worshipped fearfully by sailors, though his favor is fickle. His domains are Water, Chaos, Destruction, and Weather.

    Calatrin (CE): The twin brother of Avarin, Calatrin is the god of theft and murder. He's the god of everyone who takes from others by trickery and betrayal. His domains are Trickery, Evil, and Chaos.

    Eran (NE): Eran is the goddess of pain and torture. She is the wife of Valx, and the mother of Avarin, Calatrin, Ba and Trakla. She is worshipped by sadists and those who gain power through the misery of others. Her domains are Pain, Tyranny

    Ertro (NG): Ertro is the god of compassion. He is the husband of Varilia, and the father of Paxan and Tranal. He is worshipped by many good humans and some halflings. His domains are Good, Protection, and Sun.

    Felderon (LN): Felderon is the god of revenge and justice. He is worshipped largely by humans, though he accepts the worship of any who accept his black-and-white view of right and wrong. His domains are Law, Strength, and War. His favored weapon is the heavy mace.

    Frena (N): Frena is the goddess of nature, animals, wilderness. She is the wife of Prane and the mother of Ostena, Felderon and Baralos. She is worshipped by druids and rangers. Her domains are Plant, Animal, Air, Earth, Water, Fire, and Weather.

    Ostena (CN): She is the goddess of magic, knowledge, and luck. She is worshipped by wizards, sorcerors and some bards. Her domains are Magic, Knowledge, and Luck.

    Paxan (CG): Paxan is the god of cleverness and quick thinking. He has an afinity for fire. He is worshipped by good rogues and elves. His domains are Trickery, Luck, and Fire.

    Prane (N): Prane is the god of the crossroads. He is the husband of Frena, and the father of Ostena, Felderon and Baralos. Of all the gods, he is the one who travels the mortal world most frequently. He constnatly travels, going from one place to another, rarely resting for longer than a day. He is worshipped by those who travel, particularly gnomes. His domains are Air, Knowledge, Travel, and Fate.

    Storna (LG): Storna is the goddess of smithing. She is the only deity not related to the others. She prefers the mountains, and is said to live in a cave deep inside the world. She is worshipped by smiths and dwarves. Her domains are Craft, Earth, Good, and Law.

    Trakla (LE): Trackla is the god of power and ambition. She is worshipped by evil politicians and those who wish to gain power through clever words. Her domains are Strength and Tyranny.

    Tranal (LG): Tranal is the god of righteous causes, justice, and valor. He is worshipped primarily by paladins. His domains are Good, Law, Protection, and War. His favored weapon is the Longsword.

    Valx (NE): Valx is the god of Secrets. He is the husband of Eran and the father of Trakla, Ba, Calatrin and Avarin. He is worshipped by evil mages and those who use hidden knowledge to harm others. His domains are Knowledge, Mind, and Mysticism.

    Varilia (NG): Varilia is the goddess of farming, home, and the hearth. She is the wife of Ertro and the mother of Tranal and Paxan. She is worshipped by farmers, halflings, and healers. Her domains are Good, Plant, Healing, and Earth.
  3. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Map of Brenak

    Kingdoms, Countries, and City States of Brenak

    Brenten Alliance

    Brenten is a hard, hilly kingdom ruled by King Nortren. It controls the largest army on Brenak. They've had a long history of conquering their neighbors, though they've never attempted to hold that land. The population is mostly human with some halflings. They are allied with the United Duchies and the kingdom of Argenos

    United Duchies
    The duchies of Temin, Arilen, Balt, and Strul have long been banded together. Though they resent the many times that Brenten has overrun them, they take a perverse pride in it. They banded together with Brenten and Argenos for increased protection against the kingdoms of Khalra and Telmath. The duchies are primarily human and halfling, though there's a sizable population of gnomes in Strul.

    Arganos is ruled by King Nalor. Their relative isolation has given them more peace than most countries in Brenak. However, as the Thristen desert expands towards them, they have begun to look south for new lands. To this end, King Nalor allied himself with King Nortren. Arganos is mostly human, with some half-elves.

    Western Alliance

    Khalra is ruled by Queen Anra. Khalra and Brenten have been mortal enemies for hundreds of years. Khalra allied with Telmath when Brenten allied with the United Duchies. Khalra has a fairly large population of halflings, though the majority is human.

    Telmath, under King Landos, is the other major bar to Brenten. Landos is more politically crafty than Queen Anra or the Councillers of Standa. Closer to the mountains, Telmath has a small population of dwarves, though they maintain close connections to the mountain clans. The rest of the population is human and halfling.

    Standa has a large number of halflings, who are more than half the population. It is governed by a ruling council of merchants. It allied itself with Khalra and Telmath mostly for trade reasons, and also for regional pride.

    Southern Alliance

    Tendal, ruled by King Randus and Queen Terilee, is smaller than its neighbors, but has a stronger military. It uses its army to stamp out the brigands that live in the Hard Downs, and keep its independance. It was stronger in past years, but lost territories to both Standa and Felmoth in times when its military was weaker.

    Felmoth is ruled by Duke Casha. Its mostly human with ten percent of its population gnome. It contains a fair amoung of the Baintrale forest, and uses a lot of its resources in keeping down bandits there and from the fardowns, as well as fighting the monsters that still live deep among the trees.

    Hilan is ruled by three barons. Like Felmoth, it worries from bandits from both the north and the south. They also worry about the "barbarians" of the north, being distrustful of dwarves, drazai, half-orcs and elves.

    Ardale, ruled by Duchess Baxa, is mostly concerned with keeping peace with its two neighbors and keeping an eye on the monsters, cultists, and bandits in Baintrale.

    Caltrax, ruled by King Alard, is only nominally a monarchy. Alard has very little actual power. The church of Felderon is the real power. The people of Caltrax were looking forward to the next war, but have become distracted by the discovery of air ships. They see it as a way to make certain other countries worship Felderon as they do.

    Wendus is ruled by King Phabus. They've tried for years to try getting control of Pax Bay, but they have yet to succeed.

    Baintrale Forest

    Baintrale Forest is mostly wild. There are a number of forresters eking out a living there. However, there are also a number of bandits and monsters there as well. It's now said that only the mad become forresters in Baintrale. The monsters are now fighting for their lives, as the forest has shrunk so much in recent years. The bandits prey on anyone weaker than they.

    Hard Downs

    There are a number of bandits in the Hard Downs, but also a number of farmsteads. The farmers tend to be large, boisterous humans who learn how to fight from an early age. They hold their land very preciously. There are some clan patriarchs in the downs who would have the power of petty lords.

    City States
    Most of the city states are fairly similar. However, here are the two alliances of city states, and some of the more important ones.

    Northern City States
    Tendak, Bentarl, Raveca, Ondara, and Mendak

    Southern City States
    Endrok, Evern, Natari, and Pagadaros

    This halfling city state is home to the largest market on Brenak, functioning as a central hub for the eastern section of the continent. They bring dwarven and drazai goods down from the mountains, elven swords and horses from the desert, and goods from the various city states. The merchants rule there.

    Mendak is the closest city state to the mountains. They have a strong amount of trade with the dwarves, though they don't get along so well with drazai. They have a distrust of magic, and see the drazai as incautious meddlers.

    A coastal city right on the lip of Pax Bay, Enrok is mostly home to humans and half-elves, though there are halflings and gnomes as well. Drazai, elves, and even dwarves and half-orcs come to trade for food. Because of its control of Pax Bay, the only safe place to fish off Brenak, Enrok has long been the object of jealousy by its neighbors. It has maintained its independance by the fairly unique strategy of holding itself hostage. Whenever threatened, Endrok sends its fishing boats out into the bay and threatens to burn them, while others set about sabotaging any boats sent out by other cities. Because its neighbors depend on the fishing, no one dares attack.

    Dwarves and Drazai
    In a general sense, the dwarves and drazai are at war. In a more practical sense, the clans of dwarves and drazai are intertwined in complex agreements, treaties, and alliances, so that no one but the dwarves and drazai are actually sure who's fighting whom.

    In the center of the Aralech's mountain range is Mt. Sharnech. This mountain is where the initial design of the airships was refined. It contains the Tranmitz clan of drazai and Thunderaxe clan of dwarves, who have formed an uneasy partnership with themselves and the Southern Citystates for a joint airship expedition.

    The drazai of Mt. Artrin to the north are allied with Brenten for their own expedition.


    The half-orcs are the only relic of the old Orcish wars. Products of rape, half-orcs were the slaves of the orcish armies. The Great Alliance freed them prior to the final battle. After the orcish armies were defeated by the Alliance, the remaining orcs were hunted down by the half-orcs. The half-orcs were given the surface of the Aralech's Mountain Range, where they farm to help feed the drazai and dwarves. They also trade their services as mercenaries, fighting on one side or the other. They are widely acknowledged as some of the finest fighters in Brenak.

    When two half-orc tribes have to fight each other in the dwarf/drazai conflicts, they fight with blunted weapons, counting coup on each other. Whichever side loses gives up their mission (protecting or stealing a resource, guarding or assaulting a vital mine entrance, etc.), letting the other take the area with no bloodshed. This is accepted by both the dwarves and the drazai as the cost of hiring half-orcs, especially since they guard the mountains against kobolds, goblins and giants.
  4. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Races of Brenak

    Humans are, of course, the most common race in Brenak. They live in most countries, and are the most flexible. They follow the basic rules for humans as laid out in the Player's Handbook.

    Dwarves are the same as presented in the Player's Handbook. They live throughout the Aralech's mountain range, and some communities near it. Despite similar alignments they don't get along with drazai, distrusting their magic and competing with them for resources.

    Halflings are more like hobbits than kender. Most are homebodies, not caring to leave their farms and homes. Still, there is the occasional halfling with wanderlust, who has to go out and explore the world around him or her. There are three different types of halflings, as described here.

    Gnomes are the gypsies of Brenak. They wander from town to town, offering their services as tinkers, entertainers, and traders. Distrusted, gnomes keep a certain amount of mystery about them. No one else can speak gnomish, and they never reveal their true names.

    Half-orcs are, as explained previously, the only remnants of the orcish race on Brenak, having wiped out the orcs years before. They've since thrived as a race. They are somewhat different from the half-orcs described in the Player's Handbook. They do not gain orcish as a language, instead gaining either dwarfish or draz (player's choice).

    +2 Str, -2 Int
    Half-orcs are strong, but tend to be poorly educated compared to other races. Because there is no stigma on their race, they're as outgoing as any other race.
    Racial Familiarity (orc double axe): Half-orcs may treat the orc double axe as a martial weapon. On Brenak, it's simply called a double axe.
    +2 to either diplomacy or intimidate (chosen at first level)
    Fast healing (3 points per two levels per night, instead of one per level per night)

    Half-elves are made the same as they are in any world. They're more common in human lands than elven lands, if only because few humans care to travel in the Thristen desert. They tend to have olive skin and dark, straight hair.

    Elves live in the Thristen Desert. They are (barely) organized into tribes, with rights to various oases. However, they change tribes with distressing regularity, and children are always fostered to another tribe, making certain that no family can ever be completely wiped out by a single accident. Stat-wise, they are identical to elves except for the following:
    +2 Dex, -2 Str
    Racial Proficiency scimitar and shortbow.
    +2 Racial bonus on Handle Animal and Ride checks.
    No bonus to listen.

    Drazai live deep in the mountains of the Aralech's Mountain Range, where they fight for metal ores with the dwarves. They are known far and wide as celebrated magic users, being among the best wizards in Brenak. They are constantly experimenting with new magics.

    Personality: Drazai are often cautious, though they are not afraid to take risks once they've identified a potential gain. They constantly experiment and try to learn more about their environments and their comrades. Living in tight warrens as they do, they have little or no sense of privacy. They see nothing wrong with going through a companion's bags, or walking into a privy that's in use.

    Physical Description: Drazai are small, lizard-like humanoids. Their colors range from light bronze to nearly black, with colorful strips and crests in blues and greens. The males stand at three-and-a-half feet tall, with the females standing slightly taller and broader. Their clothing tends towards thick, leather robes.

    Relations: Drazai get along well with humans and gnomes, in whom they see fellow explorers and experimenters. They see elves as being too chaotic to be interesting. Halflings are nice, but don't always make enough effort to find out new things. Half-orcs are useful mercenaries and allies. Dwarves are too obsessed with gold, and waste iron and other valuable ores by turning them into weapons.

    Alignment: Drazai are usually lawful, with a tendency towards good. They believe in a strong, unified community, with various members working for the good of the whole. However, they have a strong individualistic streak as a group, making them resist other races who try to impose their ways on them.

    Religion: The drazai don't worship the gods. Instead, they engage in a peculiar form of ancestor worship focusing on the mythical hero Trechnar, who wrested the secret of iron from the gods.

    Language: Drazai speak Draz, a language that uses the Dwarven alphabet, but has both Terran and Draconic roots.

    Adventurers: Drazai feel a strong compulsion to explore and discover new things. A drazai adventurer is either looking for new magic (or other learning) or else is looking for something to strengthen the community. A very few drazai adventurers are outcasts who were unable to fit into the rigid mold of Drazai society. Generally, other drazai look at them with pity, rather than scorn or anger.

    Drazai Racial Traits
    Low-light Vision
    Small Size
    Base Speed 20 ft.
    +2 Int, -2 Str: Drazai are clever, but not very strong.
    +2 to craft checks involving metal objects. Drazai are adept at working steel and iron, having perfected their work over the centuries.
    +2 to climb checks. The claws on the drazai, though not very long, are good for helping them find handholds and footing.
    +2 racial bonus to saves vs. confusion. Drazai have very well-organized minds, and are less prone to being confused.
    Claws: Drazai do not normally have natural attacks. However, they do have claws, and when they make an unarmed attack, it does slashing, rather than bludgeoning damage. It is in all other respects like a normal unarmed attack.
    Spell-like Abilities: Detect Magic and Amanuensis 1/day, Caster Level 1st Light 3/day, Caster Level 1st
    Favored Class: Wizard
    Automatic Languages: Common and Draz
    Bonus Languages: Any (except for secret languages like druidic)
  5. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Set-up for the Adventure

    For as long as anyone can remember, that has been no way to travel to other lands. Between the storms and the monsters of the sea, going across the oceans is impossible. Only the dragons are able to go from one land to another. They've become traders, bringing goods from one area to another. They long ago realized that they could get more gold that way than by razing the countryside. They are ruled by a council of elder wyrms who oversee younger dragons to make certain their rules are obeyed.

    This was the status quo. Dragons went from land-to-land, acting as intermediaries.

    Then the drazai invented an airship. Its taken them over a year to get everything right, but they're finally ready to try for an expedition to another land.

    Two expeditions, in fact. One is sponsored by Endrok, the other by Brenten. You have signed onto the Endrok expedition. You are going to be a scout. For a percentage of the profits (plus anything you can pick up along the way, you will scout around the ships landing, looking for anyone who might be willing to trade, as well as any place settling might be an option.
  6. Ba Lord of the Pies

    House Rules

    These will be added as they are created.

    Because of the way this game is being run, initiative will be simplified. Initiative will be rolled for the party. The initiative modifier will be the average dexterity modifier of the party, +1 for every person with the improved initiative feat. Same for groups of monsters. Yes, Ba is aware that this is not realistic, but it's practical, which is the main consideration here.

    Saved Skill Points:
    It is possible in this game to save skill points for later levels. However, only four saved skill points can be used each level. They can only be used when the character is levelling up.

    New Characters:
    If a player's character dies, when they create a new character, it must be a new race and class.

    This isn't precisely a house rule, but rather an official rule that Ba will be enforcing. Certain classes have restrictions on multiclassing. Paladin and monk are good examples of this. Unless the player wants to spend a feat to allow adding another class, they're going to lose the ability to level up in those classes.
  7. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Ba will not update until two thirds of the players have posted. Avgi, Myn, Hsing, where are the posts?
  8. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Accidentally posted this to the wrong thread. Also including Garner's reply.

    New houserule: Charisma does not affect a character's appearance, and vice versa. One can be outgoing and confident and look like an old boot, or be pretty as a pearl but still utterly forgettable. Appearance is entirely up to the player.

  9. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Under the current system for diplomacy, a second-level character with good charisma and the right skill selection can move virtually any hostile creature with whom he or she shares a language to indifferent, half the time, without even needing feats like skill focus (diplomacy) or persuasive. By level eleven, this character can do it at any time. This, clearly, cannot be allowed.

    Therefore Ba is going to use Rich Burlew's system of diplomacy, found here. This is not to penalize characters with ranks in diplomacy, but simply to provide a more sensible system for the use of that skill.
  10. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    eh, no offense to anyone who's a burlew fanboy or anything, but that system isn't exactly 'better'. granted the 3.5 system as written is rubbish, but from what i see, burlew replaces it with a system that's no less abstract and no better suited to foster role play, all for the sake of making things more difficult.
  11. Ba Lord of the Pies

    It's better in the sense that one is not guaranteed success at higher levels.

    Picture this. The group is fighting an evil lich. Bedge makes a diplomacy check. If he gets twenty-five or higher, the lich becomes indifferent instead of hostile. He no longer cares enough to hurt the party. The fight is over, they can leave. There is no system for making the DCs higher because the lich hates their guts, or is going to be severely inconvenienced if the party succeeds.

    Under the current system, once Bedge gets his diplomacy skill up to twenty-four (not hard to do by level nine or ten) he can't help but stop any combat. The party never has to fight anyone with whom they share a language.

    It gets worse when one gets diplomacy up to the point fifty is attainable (not impossible by later levels, especially with an artificer in the party). Now Bedge can make the big bad evil guy helpful. Not only does he no longer want to stop the party, he wants to help them succeed! In fact, the epic rules state that a roll of fifty acts as the spell [i:9b1f012028]Suggestion[/i:9b1f012028], but with no save allowed.

    That is the current system. There is no limit on who it can affect, and no system to increase DCs for people who really dislike the PCs. There is no such thing as a stubborn target.

    Burlew's system limits what one can do with diplomacy (paring it down simply to getting people to accept/refuse deals) and gives DCs that one is not guaranteed to meet. Yes, it's harder, but does Garner really want the current system where a roll of the die can prevent nearly any combat in the game?

    Ba had two choices, essentially. He could go with a new system for diplomacy, or he could scrap diplomacy entirely. That would penalize people who put points into diplomacy. As well, Ba likes having a system in place. Otherwise, frankly, it's going to come down to whether or not Ba wants them to be able to succeed, and that's not fair to the players either.

    Roleplay, in this case, would be used to get people to be friendly/not friendly towards them. There is no longer a die roll for that. Does Garner object to that? Does he object to needing to roleplay to improve NPC attitudes? No, Ba knows Garner does not object to that. Garner likes having to roleplay instead of leaving everything to the dice. So Garner has to do some roleplaying to make people like him or dislike him. The die roll is now only for convincing people to take a specific deal. Their attitude is used to influence this, instead of the other way around.
  12. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    if the DM allowed a diplomacy check against a lich in the first place, then it's pretty evident to me that the flaw is NOT with the rules but the DM.
  13. Ba Lord of the Pies

    As written, so long as the lich shares a language with the PCs, it's possible. A rule that the DM has to correct is a bad rule.
  14. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    what about Rule 0?
  15. Ba Lord of the Pies

    Right, Ba has explained this to Garner. In case anyone else didn't want to read the description of the new diplomacy rules, it works like this:

    Diplomacy affects very little in social situations. How people feel about the players depends entirely on what the players do and what they say. It is all roleplayed. Diplomacy comes into effect only where players need to get an NPC to accept a specific deal. At that point, they roll diplomacy. Ba sets the DC based on the NPC's level, wisdom, and conditional modifiers. That's how it works. Okay?

    Also, changed the half-orcs to make them a bit more balanced against the other races.

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