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Premise: So where Shadow of the Sun was 'rise to power in the Border Princes then have some git stab you in the back', Acrozatarim's premise is wider-ranging and larger in scope and scale and a bit harder to encapsulate in a single sentence. Still, I'll try: Navigate the conflicts and politics of a land where young nations jostle for power and the mantle of a dead Empire, while Elder conspiracies and the tides of war threaten to bring down the foundations of civilisation and end the Zenith Age.

Style/Theme: Acrozatarim is a game rooted in D&D, even if it sheds various of the standard sacred cows like the Tolkein races and so forth. However, while there will be dangerous delves and similar, this will (as you've come to expect from me) not be a game of dungeon-crawling; there will be Stuff To Kill but it will be seated in the context of a wider world of nations, people and eldritch beings, rather than free-floating murderhobo underground assault courses.

The game draws a bit on a few wuxia themes - there are areas of lawlessness that need heroes to bring justice and fight corruption; a code of behaviour and morals to live by is important. There is also the concept of the overarching empire and nation; how important is it to belong to that greater sense of a unified people, and to what end is conflict or tyranny for greater ideals justified or wrong.

It's also a game of discovery and mystery, which is pretty normal for a game, I admit.

Beyond that, themes and style will depend on the direction you end up going as characters; it's pretty open, given the wide area involved.

System: 13th Age. This is a kinda hybrid of 3.5e and 4e with some indie input as well. Probably the most significant two elements that are not standard in D&D are the One Unique Thing and Icons. The OUT is something you define about your character that can be utterly unique or strange and aids in defining the setting. The Icons are key powerful figures and groups in the setting; you have some relationship points to spend on positive, conflicted or negative relationships with the Icons, tying your character right into the setting via the movers and shakers that already exist.

Where: The game takes place, initially at least, in the former lands of the Drakkar Empire. Falling apart during the Dawn War several centuries ago, this swathe of landscape is now made up of several bickering nations that are growing up in the void left by the Empire's fall. Covering a vast area from the southern tundra to the arid Myrmec, it is peppered with rising powers, the wreckage and artefacts of the Dawn Era, and things best left undisturbed. As you'll see when you get to the gazetteer, I really need to sort a map for you chaps (and me!).

When: The game takes place several centuries into what has been termed the Zenith Age. Unlike the nightmare tyranny of the Elder Gods in the Dawn Age, the Zenith Age has grown out of the leveling of the playing field caused by the Dawn War, a cataclysm that destroyed much of what came before and shattered empires. The Zenith Age is named so by scholars and historians who believe it is an age of hope, prosperity and growth now that the Races of Man can flourish on their own terms, out from under the oppressive wing of the Elder Gods. This is a young world still, and the echoes and ramifications of its very creation by the Great Elementals are still felt; there is no history stretching back tens of millennia, although it is hard to tell exactly how long the Dawn Era went on for.

Who: All of the 13th Age classes are available to play, as are (currently) the Vanguard, Fury and Elemental Knight classes that I create - though these are experimental and will likely need to be tweaked and rebalanced as we play, so be aware of that. There may also be more new classes and class variants to come. Depending on when we start playing, 13 True Ways may have come out with an additional classes; if someone's desperate to play, say, a druid before then, I'll have to cook up a homebrew version to tide us over.

While there are many weird and alien entities and species in the world, including Elder servitor races and beings with even more obscure origins than that, there are not the usual elf/dwarf/halfling/gnome array. Standard playable species are mostly human-derived: Humans, genasi (earth, air, fire, water, storm), aasimar, tieflings; along with gnolls, draconians and vermen (a very rare species of ratman). Other species like warforged can be playable as part of a One Unique Thing.

Relics of a Past Age: There are plentiful ruins and markers of the Elders' age of power, and their servitors still remain, but three particular examples of Dawn era strangeness are the Umbrals, the Hekatonchiere and the Ordinators.

Umbrals: A seemingly vanished people, the Umbrals (as scholars classify them) appear to have been an inhuman race of expert thaumineers who erected strange arcane technology, including bizarre towers and fortifications. These appear to be even older than the Drakkath Empire, and there's no clear explanation for what happened to the Umbrals, or what interaction with them the Drakkath may have had.

Hekatonchiere: The Hekatonchiere are a disturbing race of Elder servitors, eerie creatures made by Ephras or Hashrukk as servants to enforce their will. Once, the Hekatonchiere strode amongst the Races of Men to distribute the teachings and technology of the Elders; then many fought for their masters during the Dawn War, although some seem to have foreseen the doom of the Elders and instead retreated to their cities and weathered the war with isolation. One such settlement exists in the remote reaches of the Drakkath, and exists there still. Today, their strange influence sometimes extends itself; Hekatonchiere envoys demand knowledge or goods or offer eldritch gifts; sometimes they act with terrifying aggression, and other times are serene and peaceful. If they have an agenda, it is unclear, but they appear to be faring poorly with this modern age after the fall of the Elders.

Ordinators and the Breach: A weapon of mass destruction detonated in the Drakkath during the Dawn War, ripping a hole in reality as it engulfed and demolished a mighty Drakkath city. It's unlikely that anyone involved predicted what would happen later; that the hole appears to have served as a gateway, one through which the Ordinators have come. Utterly alien beings that seem to hold to unknown concepts of law and order, these semi-mechanical beings are slowly building an almighty tower at the Breach, and reformatting the surrounding landscape to a form more pleasing to their orderly minds.

Magic and the Eldritch: There are many forms of magical practice in the region; the blending of science and magic in the form of the thaumineers and the fleshtwisters, the cryomancers of High Kyros, the battlemagi of the Flame Guild, and the sorcerers of Naseria are perhaps the most major. In this flourishing age of civilisation, there are plentiful practitioners of the arcane who wish to codify, dissect and understand the energies that they command and that the Elder Gods wrote into the underlying fabric of reality.

Deities, Worship and the Divine: There are still cults that worship the Elder Gods, generally held as vile and mad in most lands, but their influence is by no means gone; servitor races, ancient abominations and technologies, and even strongholds that still exist like Baalshegarath. Most worship is of the Younger Gods in the form of broad pantheons supported by a spiritual and elemental bureaucracy; the Great Elementals are often shown respect but are not generally venerated in the manner of the Younger Gods.

The Younger Gods, as an array of ascended mortals and divine spirits, often serve as a polytheistic source of worship and spiritualism. There are many of them, including variants and clashing aspects in different regions and cultures. Most people venerate them as a wider whole rather than being dedicated to a particular one, with the exception of most priests.

Technology, Arcane and Mechanical: Technology is advancing in the setting. In the centuries since the Dawn War, advancements have been made and have slowly spread. Now, aided with the magic of inquisitive-minded magi, things are progressing further. There are very rare steam or arcane engines made with thaumineering; the alchemists of Adbar jealoiusly hoard their secrets of chemical compounds but crude versions of gunpowder have been discovered elsewhere. Arcane technology generally is not made in the mindset of industry, nor does it look like industrial stuff; this is an earlier stage of development than that, and lacks the industrial style of design that you might think of when imagining steam engines etc.

The other major source of technology is pre-War tech, the leftover artifice of the Elder Gods and the people of that time. This stuff is weird, alien, often poorly understood but also often very potent. The threat of Sukumvarang's cache of Elder technology is enough to hold back Huron from full-scale invasion, and the notion of a Chariot of the gods is one that could entirely throw the naval balance of power of the region out of whack. Where they exist, remaining pieces of Elder technology are commonly very large, not small bits of technology; entire edifices of strange machinery.

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