Campaign and World Information
- Origins of Adventurers
- Adventurer Lifecycles
- ECOLOGY OF SETTLED AREAS
- ECOLOGY OF WILDERNESS AREAS
- THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
Origins of Adventurers
Individuals unsatisfied with their lives in their Hamlet or Village can move to towns to seek their fortune. Those already in towns can move to cities. But for some, the desire for something more than their lot in life leads them to take up ‘fortune seeking,’ ‘adventuring,’ or even simple ‘fame.’
Many an individual will achieve a small amount of notoriety or fame, with some achieving only minor accomplishments followed by a choice to settle down once again for a more stable and secure life, applying the things they’ve learned and the skills they’ve gained.
Others, having achieved much, will build a stronghold and ally themselves with others, and protect an area that is theirs, laying claim to the land, and receiving a part of all that is grown or made through taxes, in exchange for extending their protection. A very feudal system to be sure, but there is very little in the way of Noble bloodlines when empires tend to rot from forces both without and within, leading to their collapse and chaos. When collapse occurs, it tends to be swift, merciless, and complete; leading to a mass exodus where a once strong and populous civilization is quickly overcome by wilderness.
Those who build strongholds and become a part of the minor nobility through their accomplishments do not build and rule over domains that are close to where they once began their journey. Building far from the region of their origin and birth makes it easier for them to lift themselves above their original station. These individuals may build a small stronghold and give feudal loyalty to a stronger patron, and then raise their family and rule their domain. Others may continue on, eventually selling their fortress, tower, or keep to another, and seeking a land to tame; offering those who are strong enough and powerful enough, the opportunity to become minor nobility within their new domain and to share a piece of it in exchange for their fealty; a domain where they are the first to settle and to bring protection to those who follow them seeking new land to farm, new pastures to graze, and new communities to build.
It is these ‘newest’ settlements that struggle the most with the wildness of the wilderness that has reclaimed the land for hundreds or even thousands of years. But in this struggle can be found opportunities to uncover the riches left behind by collapsed civilizations. Sometimes communities continue to exist in the wilderness after the collapse, other communities are cut off from civilization when attempts to settle the area under a strong Noble (hailing from the ‘Adventuring Class’) fail, and those who followed him and survived continue to scrape out a meager existence; sometimes with the aid of nearby benefactors or non-human civilizations.
However, in areas of civilization, the biggest threat to Nobility has always been the Middle Class, and buttressed by magic the Middle Class can survive and thrive, while the ‘Adventuring Class’ wields that magic much more masterfully and forms a counterbalance to both the Middle Class and the ‘old-line’ Nobility. The equilibrium between all three classes is constantly changing; and at times of tremendous imbalance and competition, the circumstances become ripe for chaos and possibly another cycle of collapse if not rectified. The Middle Class and the Adventuring Class can make inroads into Noble station (‘new-line’ Nobility), while treachery and incompetence can lead elder Noble lines to collapse and be replaced.
ECOLOGY OF SETTLED AREAS
How can the wilderness that surround human (and other) settlements be so powerful you might ask? The answer is, “Ecology.”
With a year being 20 months long, and having 28 days per month, the season for growing is long. Foliage grows fast, and upon this foliage feast large numbers of small animals that make up the bottom of the food chain. This rich foundation allows for predators to scale up, one upon the other, to VERY high levels. Furthermore, a whole underground ecology, both of fungi and of creatures that burrow from below and bring some of the bounty from above downwards (only to be hunted by predators beneath), exists in parallel.
The winters are strong, but none too terrible, although there is a reason that Fall is referred to as “Ogre Season” as the more sentient creatures seek to stock up on foodstuffs where they are already concentrated – in the hands, barrels, and strongholds of humankind.
While Elves, Gnomes, and Halflings have chosen to live within the forest environs, Man and Dwarf have chosen a different route. One clears the forest to raise plants and meat animals, while the other in the mountains harvests the earth’s bounty of minerals and metals. This trade is strong between Dwarf and Man, while the humans and Elves have much less interaction, although half-elves attest to pockets of significant populations mingling together.
In human areas, large beasts, providing meat, constantly eat at the encroaching larger plant life, while farmers have large insects and medium sized animals to keep their farmland clear so that they can grow their favored foodstuffs. With this abundance of food, also comes large families, and with magic and the healing arts being as advanced as they are, human populations grow quickly, which allow them to recover from collapse and chaos. Once a human foothold is firmly established, the population swells, and with this comes different types of predators, and War.
Often this War is as much against the encroaching wilderness as it is against other humans, or rarely another humanoid race.
ECOLOGY OF WILDERNESS AREAS
If civilization is about order and mutual interest, then the wilderness is a place where evil and the forces of chaos plant their seed, taking the opportunity to collect and exploit the buried riches left behind from the previous collapse. Fallen keeps and strongholds, both above ground and below ground, contain the items quickly abandoned before their collapse, and evil has made them their abode, turning them into dangerous places. Places where the strong adventurers, the future defenders of society, can be waylaid and killed before they become strong enough to lead civilization back into the re-settlement of the wilderness.
Another local resource used by evil and the chaos of the wilderness is found in abundance: The (un)Dead. With such large populations, and such swift, sudden, and horrific demise of many, it is just another resource that opposes the ‘life’ that grows within civilizations.
As much as gold and other valuable minerals are being continuously being mined and brought in from the wilderness, and as much value is being created by society and its skilled craftsmen and merchants, one might think the economy would eventually be adversely affected by the ever growing influx of gold and wealth. However, the cost of fighting against the wilderness is only a part of the reason that the economic balance is mostly stable. As societies become more powerful, and the wealth more abundant, corruption begins to sap at the economic vitality that came before it during the early building stages.
Yet the one thing that acts as the greatest balance to this potential abundance of wealth is the key character flaw found in many of the Adventuring Class. For when one has a personality quirk that grants them fantastic success, it usually means that this quirk is so extreme, that once having achieved that success there is no way to ‘turn off’ the quirk that brought the good fortune and success. So many of the strongest will abandon, or even not build, their stronghold, but they will instead go further and further a field. They move beyond the wilderness, to other planes of existence where they either succeed, or meet their end; never returning with the wealth and power they took with them.
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
And this is the world where you are born, and is the world where you will begin your adventures. You probably start out in Vittorio, the largest city in the area.