D&D Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies A D&D 4E Campaign Setting World
Chapter One: Introduction Seven nations of the continent of Khorvaire sent colonists west to the brave new world of the continent of Americus. Dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, half-elves, half-orcs, and humans found a desolate, haunted land of eldritch forests, forbidding mountains, fathomless rivers, and loathsome swamps. Terrible monsters of every kind haunted the dark byways and the remnants of lost civilizations hinted at even darker forces at work.
Dwarves found the northern Acadia Mountains to their liking. Humans claimed Essex County in the north for their own. Elves moved inland to found forest homes. Gnomes wandered south and then west, intrigued by the faerie rings and ancient monoliths they found.
Halflings spread out along ancient waterways, a crumbled ancient canal system they discovered, and into homes built on stilts above the waters of swamps. Half-elves built a colony of traders and diplomats. Half-orcs carved out a martial colony.
While the colonists struggled to build lives in the cruel wilds they met other explorers from the west.
Dragonborn clans migrated from the northern region of the Farthest West, where the Rain of Colorless Fire had destroyed their empire. They cling to small villages along the north coast. Tieflings, having been scattered by the Invoked Devastation in the south of the Farthest West claim small settlements to the south.
Deeper into the trackless woods to the west were the eladrin, mysterious fey beings of magic, pushed out of ancient cities in the west by a horrific evil. Shifters raid along the coast from villages in the far frozen north, their western culture obliterated by a barely remembered race that wanted to wipe out all were creatures. Goliaths compete with dwarves in the ancient crumbling Acadia Mountains having traveled from the west to escape the wars of other races. Devas arrived recently from the farthest west, their agenda unknown.
A great tentacled monster came up out of the Atlantis Sea and destroyed the home nations of the seven eastern races. No sailor will go to explore the ruins of the island homes.
The Rain of Colorless Fire and the Invoked Devastation have ruined the Farthest West. An ancient evil stalks the land, perhaps to pursue the eladrin again someday soon. Races who hail from the west were forced to flee as empires crumbled and madness reigned supreme.
So now the thirteen colonies of these scattered races must struggle to survive in the wilderness while superstition and madness threaten all. And the beings from beyond bide their time to strike again. The world of Kruvil tumbles along its axis uneasily and in the great dark void of the black, insane things awake from eons-long slumber to turn hungry three-lobed alien eyes towards this small, fragile blue and green world.
Chapter Two: History Students with extensive knowledge skills may be concerned with events predicated to come about in just two short years. Events in 655 may hold clues to saving a future for Americus and the people who live there.
From Before Cthulhu (BC) -001 Cthulhu drives the last of the dragonborn, eladrin, shifters, and tieflings east across the Talislanta Sea to Americus. From Americus Dawning (AD) 001 Four races settle western Americus. 006 Baba Yaga begins trading in magic items with the four races. 492 Americus discovered by explorers from Khorvaire. 650 Deva and rakshasa begin appearing in Khorvaire. 655 The Crusades or the Purge against shapechangers by the Silver Flame. • The shifters knowledge of how to stop the Great Old Ones from destroying continents is scattered and presumed lost. • The Church of the Silver Flame denies the knowledge existed at all. 666 As predicted in the Dagon Prophecies, the Great Old Ones invade Khorvaire; Khorvaire destroyed. 667 Deva and rakshasas begin appearing in Americus. 679 Voidgate in Jerusalem’s Lot is activated as predicated in the Dagon Prophecies. 680 Current year. 682 Dagon Prophecies predict Americus will be invaded by the Great Old Ones.
Chapter Three: Guilds Barrier Knights Kept ancient knowledge about the Great Old Ones and worked tirelessly to keep those eldritch horrors confined to ancient dead stars. Betrayed from within, the Barrier Knights fell to the Estoric Order of Dagon. Everyone says that the Barrier Knights are no more.
Esoteric Order of Dagon Group in Innsmouth on to something big, but with a dark grand design.
Graduate of the Eibon Tower Miskatonic University arcane training.
Illuminati A secret group that wields power for a dark, mysterious purpose.
Living Prophets Many times unknowing bearers of an ancient Living Prophecy about how to defeat the Great Old Ones. Etched in living flesh in the form of tattoos, the Living Prophecy is also found in natural formations and other naturally occurring location. This prophecy was carefully studied by the Oracle Tribe of shifters, now presumed destroyed in 655 during a Crusade led by Cotton Mather. The Living Prophecy, however, lives on.
Underground Lightning Rail A secret group dedicated to freeing warforged and sending them far north.
Chapter Four: Religions
The Church of the Silver Flame The Silver Flame is a disembodied force from the lost continent of Khorvaire associated with a former mortal woman and paladin (of a god called Dol Arrah) named Tira Miron, who merged with a silvery pillar of fire and a couatl approximately 700 years ago. Miron, now an immortal known as the Voice of the Silver Flame, serves as the intermediary between the Silver Flame and mortals. The Church of the Silver Flame is dedicated to protecting people against the supernatural forces of evil. The Silver Flame itself resided within the impressive Cathedral of the Silver Flame, around which the city of Flamekeep is built and from which both the church and the nation of Thrane was governed. The head of the church was the Keeper of the Flame, a position currently held by eleven-year-old Jaela Daran. Below her is, in theory, the Council of Cardinals. In practice, the Keeper of the Flame concerns herself mostly with spiritual matters, while the cardinals handle the workings of the church and government, sometimes in conflict with the wishes of the Keeper. Below the cardinals, archbishops ruled the provinces and cities of Thrane. With the apparent destruction of the continent of Khorvaire and the kingdom of Thrane, the church has been thrown into disarray. Desperate colonial archbishops assure followers that the Silver Flame will reappear and must be searched for. Knights have dedicated their lives to the quest for the Silver Flame. The church is divided into three orders: the ministers, the templars and the friars. The ministers provide spiritual guidance to the faithful in every part of the world where the church has a presence. The templars are the warriors and exorcists, in charge of protecting the church by means of arms and spells. The friars, finally, are zealous missionaries trying to spread the faith to areas where the church does not yet exist like Americus. Many paladins belong to the faith and archery is a traditionally important discipline. Followers of the Silver Flame claim to act with compassion, and always with honor and a sense of duty. The church supports a well-organized government that works for the benefit of its citizens. Followers of the Silver Flame may sometimes find themselves faced with the dilemma of whether to obey law or good when the two conflict – for example, upholding a sworn oath when it would lead innocents to come to harm – or conflicts between two orders, such as between their religious law and the law of the local ruler. A real-world example of this conflict came about in the Crusades of twenty-five years ago, what the shifters call the Purge. In an effort to eradicate shapeshifting monsters, the church sent crusaders to Americus and put lycanthropes to the sword. Many shifters died as well. The ramifications of this crusade are still felt today. Cotton Mather is the archbishop of Essex County for the church. He proudly served in the Crusades. He is staunchly set against half-races and monster-like races. He has ranted against half-elves, half-orcs, tieflings, dragonborn, shifters, and even eladrin for their “alien ties to a the terrible twilight realm of the Feywild”. However, his vigilance has stopped many deadly cults from wiping out entire cities and he does get the job of protecting the fledgling colonies done. His current project is investigating and understanding exactly what devas are and if they are blasphemous heretics or guides to the lost Silver Flame.
The Great Old Ones The complete opposite of all the White stands for, the Great Old Ones are alien, insane beings of vast power, intellect, and malice. Locked away behind dead and dying stars, the Great Old Ones are sometimes brought to the world of Kruvil through blasphemous rituals, meteor showers, torn holes in the fabric of reality, magic gone wrong, the coming of the tarrasque, and other cosmic events of doom.
Followers of the Great Old Ones crave one thing: power. Many risk or even embrace madness, mutation, and even death to gain power and, if the Old Ones are appeased, ascendance (or devolution) to a terrible new form of life.
Revelations of Melech The scroll called Revelations of Melech is wound inside a narrow obsidian cylinder whose exterior is scribed with strange star constellations. The following names and associated qualities are scribed on the manuscript inside the cylinder. Acamar: Acamar is a corpse star whose motions and behemoth size send celestial objects that draw too close spiraling to their doom. Caiphon: This purple star is usually on the horizon. It has the guise of a helpful guide star, but sometimes betrays those who rely upon it. Delban: An ice-white star often visible only during winter, Delban might surprise the star-gazer with an impromptu flare during any season. Gibbeth: Better not to write or think overlong on this greenish point in the sky. Hadar: Hadar is the extinguished cinder of a star lurking within the cloaking nebula of Ihbar. Ancient texts whisper that the devas where born on a burnt husk of world orbiting Hadar. When their spirits were reincarnated on Kruvil, the rakshasa and their Great Old One masters followed. Ihbar: A dark nebula between stars, Ihbar is slowly expanding and eating the light of neighboring constellations. Ancient texts warn that this nebula destroyed the home of the deva and that Kruvil is next. Khirad: A piercing blue star, Khirad’s radiance sometimes reveals secrets and gruesome insights. Nihal: Nihal is a reddish star that writhes around the position it should hold in the heavens. Ulban: Ulban’s blue-white light disrupts cognition and the ability to recognize danger. Zhudun: Another corpse star, Zhudun is his¬torically described as shining a baleful light over the Ruined Realm of Cendriane in the Feywild before its fall.
Keiv, the Rimidalv These four deities are the foundation for most faiths on the continent of Americus. Dazhbog is the god of the sun and summer. Mokosh the earth mother is deity of autumn and the home. Perun is the god of rain and thunder. Stribog is the god of winds and winter.
Followers of the Keiv believe the Great Spirit sends angels, ancestor spirits, and animal spirits to aid followers. Spirit clans revolve around one animal including birds of prey, bears, elk, and others.
The clan foundation comes from the idea that the Great Spirit took the clan animal, breathed his life into it, and created the races from the clan animals. Of course, each clan claims that their animal was the first creature from which the Great Spirit brought forth beings in his image, but this rivalry rarely becomes violent.
Carved totems of the clan animals and important ancestors direct followers to remember the Great Spirit and how he guides followers in the Keiv Code: honor, loyalty, courage, self-control, patience, and education. Clan animals or ancestors with influence over many areas have multiple heads to represent these areas of influence.
For example, the carved totem of Svantovit, a great ancestor, located at the Temple at Rugen on the island of Rugan has four heads. Svantovit is responsible for war, good harvests, trade and wealth, and survival. Followers of the Great Spirit who respect Svantovit become generals, merchant captains, farmers, and/or guides.
Wee Ja, the Death Crone This deity of necromancy, undeath, magic, and insanity actively encourages the worship of the Great Old Ones, pursuit of demonology and necromancy, and pursuit of power at all costs. Foul undead, insane wizards, degenerate aberrations, and worse things follow her teachings. The terrible book of power called the Necromincon was inspired by mad visions sent by the Death Crone.
Although Wee Ja has been around for centuries, the rakshasas brought increased reverence for the Death Crone with them when they appeared on Kruvil decades ago. As the Death Crone commands, the rakshasa venerate the Great Old Ones and turn their three-lobed eyes toward this new world.
Not all followers of Wee Ja are overtly detrimental to the societies of Americus, however. Witches that use the title Baba are traders in magic items, potions, and alchemical items. So important is this trade that even Cotton Mather turns a blind eye to the activities of a Baba unless her actions are revealed to be without a doubt truly heinous and horrible.
Babas caught and tried as witches are burned so they can’t return as corporeal undead and are buried in hallowed ground so their spirits can’t return. However, Babas level death curses at their slayers and the results are usually ugly, lingering, and ultimately fatal.
The White The White is Good personified. Some followers believe the White to be a disembodied force while others see it as a manifestation of the one true creator god.
Followers of the White universally believe that man and his allies cannot go it alone, cannot perfect themselves, and cannot not have ultimate victory over evil without seeking the aid of the Divine or a greater force of goodness, justice, and wisdom. They further believe that this great good power works actively for the good of all, if at many times in mysterious ways.
Followers of the White use a simple white circle as their symbol. They do not practice their faith as separate from their everyday life but attempt to incorporate it into everything they do.
Well-learned, traveled, and practicing members of the White are called wisemen and wisewomen. They run the gamut of professions from fully ordained priests in other good religions to religious assassins who kill evil by whatever means necessary to midwives and herbalists who minister to the healing of simple villagers.
Sometimes Babas disguise themselves as wisewomen. Villages can suffer misfortunes for decades while a Baba gains more and more power.
The adage of the White is: check the harvest. This means: is the life of a professed follower of the White turned toward helping those in need, defending the weak, standing for what is good despite the cost, and building up a community? If not, they may well be a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing and must be dealt with harshly.