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The City of the Sun (Recruitment)


Heritage367
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Heliopolis, the Blessed City of the Sun Gods, is a diverse and exciting city on the shores of the Inner Sea (the Marinterno). Founded centuries ago as a small port at the mouth of the River Strobos, it has changed hands nearly half a dozen times between the Five Kingdoms and the Illyrian Empire, and each has left their mark on its streets and its people. A city of great temples, theaters and libraries, but also squalid slums, slave auctions and bloody fighting pits. It is said that you can buy or sell anything in the markets of Heliopolis, even your immortal soul.

 

What brings you to the City of the Sun?

 

This is a roleplay-heavy D&D 5e game that uses the Historical Pantheons from the back of the PHB for extra flavor. It is not a game set on historical Earth, but rather a parallel world known as Yrth. Characters will start in Heliopolis at 2nd level. This is a living document and will be regularly updated. Themes will include intrigue, religion and the nature of the outsider.

 

The Peoples of the Marinterno Region

 

The Dakoi are a resilient mountain people that make their home in the rugged wooded valleys of the Zoltavs, one of the most dangerous places on Yrth. They are divided into several tribes that follow an elected war leader, known as a boyar, but a Council of Druids serve as judges in all disputes. Masters of shape-shifting and nature magic, they are feared by many.

 

The Five Kingdoms are a loose confederation of sovereign states that were once part of the Illyrian Empire: Kophtu, Qirtaj, Alghar, Marak and Saphar. Kophtu is the closest to Heliopolis, and is politically and culturally dominant. The 'Old Kingdom', as it is sometimes called, is currently in its 97th Dynasty, and has largely survived due to the practice of mummifying and immortalizing their rulers while they're still alive. Mithraism is becoming increasingly popular in the Five Kingdoms, especially in Marak and Saphar, as they are the farthest from Kophtu's influence.

 

The Illyrian Empire is a Greco-Roman empire in decline. It still features massive public works, a large military and lots of island colonies, but in many ways it is a shadow of its old self.

 

The Kolak are a nomadic horse clan of the eastern steppes, all sworn to follow their great Khan. Expert archers and riders, they will accept anyone into their ranks who demonstrates these skills, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.

 

The Parnathi Empire is similar to the pre-Islamic empires that spread east from modern-day Iraq to Iran. A nation of warriors, traders and scholars that is unusual for following a singular deity, Mithras, whose followers are increasing daily. The art of magic is held in great esteem in Parnath, and almost all forms are studied eagerly in its marbled halls.

 

Types of Magic by Region

 

Alchemical magic is taught in a number of guild schools around the Inner Sea, and its practitioners are often called artificers. It is also popular among gnomes.

 

Ancestral Magic is common to the Northmen and the Kolak horsemen of the eastern steppes, who trace their bloodlines back to a number of extraordinary creatures. Workers of ancestral magic are usually referred to as sorcerers. Dwarves also tend to follow this tradition.

 

Bardic magic is universal, much like music itself. Bards, skalds and troubadours are found among every people.

 

Hermetic or Elemental Magic is taught in the great universities and libraries of the Five Kingdoms, the Illyrian Empire and Parnath, and is based on secrets handed down from scholar to scholar in the form of books and scrolls, and its study is divided into several schools. Workers of hermetic magic are usually referred to as wizards. Elves also tend to follow this tradition.

 

Pact Magic is the magic of the common folk, practiced in back alleys, isolated villages, on ships at sea, or in the caravans of the Blessed Folk (aka tieflings). Workers of pact magic are frequently referred to as witches or warlocks. Interestingly, pact magic is not looked down upon in Parnath, where it can be studied academically. Halflings also tend to follow this tradition.

 

A NOTE ON HERMETIC MAGIC

 

Wizards study the realm of the elemental forces (Earth, Air, Fire and Water), which shapes the way they cast their spells; this is a unique perspective not shared by all spellcasters.

 

Damage Types In Hermetic (Elemental) Magic

 

The Basic Elements
Earth = Poison
Air = Thunder
Fire = Fire
Water = Acid

 

The 'Pseudo-Elements'
Air + Fire = Lightning
Air + Water = Cold

 

The Purified Elements
Earth× = Necrotic
Air× = Force
Fire× = Radiant
Water× = Psychic

 

Religion

 

The Celts of distant Albion and the Dakoi practice the Old Faith, and their priests are known as Druids; the Old Faith is technically illegal under Illyrian law, but still practiced in secret even in the heart of the Empire. The other religions of the world usually refer to their priests as clerics. They follow one of the other three Historical Pantheons (Egyptian, Greek or Norse)

 

Major Deities of the Dakoi

 

Zalmoxis: sky-god, god of the dead, god of the Mysteries

Bendis: goddess of night and the hunt

Darzalas: chthonic god of abundance and the underworld, health and human spirit's vitality

 

Mithras: Parnathi god of covenants, light, and oaths. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithras is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest, and of the Waters. Life, Light and Order domains.

 

The Deceiver: nameless Parnathi god of suffering, lies and blight. Blood, Death and Trickery domains.

 

Silas the Wanderer: leader of an heretical Mithraic cult (Silasians), the supposed Third Messenger of Mithras. Little is known of the inner workings of this cult.

 

Gruumsh, the Dying God: Orcish god of suffering and perseverance. Grave, Nature and War domains.

 

The Kolak have no uniform religious belief, but many worship their great ancestors ("Ancestors!" being a common exclamation of shock or surprise). Life, Nature or War domains.

 

Other Classes

 

Barbarians and Rangers tend to be more common in the wilder areas of Yrth, especially among the Dakoi and the Orcish tribes to the North of the Empire.

 

Fighters and Rogues can be found wherever blood is spilled.

 

Monastic traditions are most common in the Empire and the Five Kingdoms, but there are rumors of great monasteries in the Far East.

 

Paladins are noble warriors who serve the faiths of the North, South and East. Paladins of Baldur, Amun-Ra, Mithras and Apollo are some of the most respected and admired warriors of Yrth.

 

Languages

 

For the purposes of this campaign, 'Common' and 'the Common tongue' refer to Imperial, the lingua franca of the Illyrian Empire. It is an elegant and poetic language, yet even in its crudest form capable of handling 'trade speak'.

 

Coptic is the language of Kophtu, and exists in a common and liturgical form, the latter still written in traditional hieroglyphs. It is understood throughout the Five Kingdoms, though in the distant lands of Marak and Saphar it sounds very different due to accent drift. It is a very conservative language, and has changed little in several thousand years.

 

Parnathi is the primary language of the Empire of Parnath, and it is known for its descriptive and lyrical properties. Many rare texts on magic are only available in this tongue.


Kolak is the language of the eastern steppes, and incorporates elements of Parnathi into its Far Eastern base (though the two are not mutually intelligible). It has no writing system of its own, but a Parnathi-based alphabet has been adapted for this purpose. Kolak songfolk (bards) can recite epic poems of great length from memory, typically accompanied by various percussion instruments.

 

Non-Human Races

 

Changelings (usually called 'the Faceless' or 'sand-shifters') belong to a unique group of families that have served the Parnathi elite for centuries as assassins, body doubles and companions, though it is rumored some members have left to find their fortunes elsewhere.

 

The dwarven mountain strongholds are some of the most secure locations on Yrth, and contribute to their dwarven reputation for stability and tradition. There are several dwarven banking families with offices in most major cities.

 

While their fortunes have taken them many places on Yrth, in the Illyrian Empire halflings constitute a substantial lower class, and are frequently involved in criminal activity due to a lack of opportunities.

 

Due to their relatively low birthrate, the great Orcish hordes of the North are not a large as they once were. Nowadays many are more focused on herding reindeer than raiding, though they still forge large and impressive weapons that areW admired throughout the world.  Some of the rare half-orcs remain within their tribe, but many choose to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

 

Tieflings (or as they call themselves the Tebarqi or 'Blessed Ones') are a wandering folk who live in caravans at the fringes of society as entertainers, fortune-tellers and (occasionally) thieves. Cursed with infernal markings for betraying their god years ago, they are frequently (and often wrongly) accused of wrong-doing.

 

Warforged were created as the 'perfect soldiers' over a century ago in the Illyrian Empire, though the designs have been copied in both Parnath and the Five Kingdoms. Unlike in some worlds, Warforged are treated as works of art that frequently mirror the styles and taste of the nations who created them, looking more like graceful living sculptures than brutish machines.

Edited by Heritage367
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