A setting submission by Random Goblin
Core Ethos Sentence: Gemstone is a setting of epic fantasy adventure in the world of Palidoria where heroes pit their swords and spells against the advancing hordes of darkness that threaten to destroy the world.
Who are the heroes? Heroes on Palidoria can come from an incredibly diverse array of backgrounds, since one of the key points in the world’s flavor is the incredible diversity in terms of races, cultures, and life paths. Since the main threat is the tide of darkness and evil pouring from the Doomportal, anyone with a reason to fight against it or stop it has a chance to be a hero, from the lowliest halfling farmer to the mightiest of elven warriors. Some examples include Rolling Thunder, a human werebear who has inherited the guardianship of one of the lost Eight Silver Keys. Darinna is a scholar and a wizard who abandoned her studies at the Royal College when her professors began to dabble in and gradually become consumed by terrible, dark sorcery. Colin Northwind is a druid who once lived in as a hermit in the shadow of the northern mountains before he was driven away by the monstrous hordes of darkness. Atlactli is the champion archer of the Lizardfolk, whose empire across the southern Emerald Sea is collapsing from within.
What do they do? Naar the Deranged, a wandering mad elven prophet feared by the common people rants and raves about the the legendary gemstone known as the Eye of Kade. When the Doomportal was torn open by the forces of evil long ago, the god Kade closed it with a gem crafted from his own right eye and sealed the stone in place with eight silver keys. Five years ago, a thief who called himself the Disenchanter managed to steal the Eye from its setting without realizing the gemstone’s significance. He has since gone missing, and evil has begun to flood the land. The Eye of Kade must be recovered and sealed again with the lost eight silver keys before the forces of evil destroy the whole world.
Threats, Conflicts, Villains: The gray robed, porcelain-masked Cult of Oblivion infests the land, with agents and cells nearly everywhere pursuing their evil agenda. On the borders of the Steppe of Shadows, the great alliance of Hobgoblin tribes raze villages and terrorize the people. The blood of the elves grows weak, and more and more of them succumb to madness. In the far north, beyond the great mountains, the Winter King rules his frozen, evil domain unchallenged. The great underground dwarf kingdoms have been torn apart by the internal strife of the Grudge War, and many of the dwarf clans have been corrupted and joined forces with fiendish powers. Deranged Gnomes build huge and terrible machines of blind destruction that are a hybrid of technology and arcane sorcery. Creatures that were evil all along revel in this new age of darkness and terror. Most of this chaos is the result of the Doomportal, a huge magic gate in the far northern mountains that underlies almost all that is dark and evil in Palidoria. The greatest source of supernatural evil in the world, it is a portal directly into the lower planes. Not only do fiends and horrible nightmare creatures pour out of it day and night, but it also has a subtler influence, twisting otherwise good and decent peoples’ minds to evil and darkness.
Nature of Magic: Magic is the raw stuff of creation that flows in the spaces between the planes, like the life blood of the universe. It can be drawn upon and manipulated, either through a studied learning of its nature, use, and properties (arcane magic), as a gift from a deity (divine magic), or through sheer willpower and strength of mind (psionics). Magic operates on a level of laws beyond the physical, since physical laws are merely a result of the outgrowth of magic on various planes.
What’s new? What’s different? The traditional split between devils and demons doesn’t really exist in Gemstone. While there are different types of fiends and they may have rivalries with each other, there’s no Blood War that divides the lower planes. Also, there is less safety among the traditionally “good” races (elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings), since most of them are becoming slowly corrupted by the powerful magic of the Doomportal. Note that not everyone is evil and corrupt; most Palidorians simply do what they’ve always done. However, enough are corrupted so as make the setting dangerous and the sealing of the Doomportal all the more urgent.