Points of Light
The “First Age” is lost for the most part, Myth and History merge and confuse themselves, no true records survived, but many legends contain a bit of truth. Magic was Primal, Wild, Mythic. Beings of incredible power lived, fought and died. These wars wracked the world, and left ¾ of the world in ruin. Only small isolated areas were untouched, these were the seeds of the next age.
The “Second Age” is marked by large kingdoms, and a large push to explore the world. Those small isolated areas started to grow, slowly and carefully. Mighty magics were deemed the cause of so much sorrow, so Magic was divided into classes, and then sub-divided again and again. The idea was no one person would have the ability to cause the damage like before.
This lead to new knowledge not being shared, and then trade slowed and each area turned into themselves. Isolated like this, when events came natural or not, each area had to overcome or perish, most did not survive.
The “Third Age” is better defined as more records survive, and lessons that should have been learned. This is when the Great Guilds were founded, another attempt to control Magic as it was still blamed for the fall. The Guilds were not constrained in what areas they delved, but most did lean towards an area and dabbled in the others. Great strides were made, the Mana Crystals were made and refined, not only did this improve life for the Guilds but even the commoners had access to items, the middle class grew the lower classes were improved. Plows that were 200 years old and were handed from father to son used the Mana Crystals, to stay strong and plow through even rough ground with an ease never before seen.
All aspects of life used the Mana Crystals, buildings used them to be taller and to reduce the need of repairs. Even armor and weapons were modified, the Guilds applied fees to recharge and replace crystals, as any item built to contain Crystals lasts for centries the magic holding it together, most items are built slowly as demand is low. To charge the Crystals there are a few main ways it was accomplished, one way was to have a Talent to transfer the power form them to a crystal, though fast it was at first one Crystal at a time, later skills came about to allow 4-12 at a time to be charged, but this still was not enough. The preferred way was to locate a Node, an area where magic will collect and pool, here stacks of Crystals can be placed, it takes longer but in a few weeks from a larger Node a few thousand Crystals can be charged. Some Guilds had covert wars to secure Nodes, many natural areas was ravaged. Many primitive cultures were displaced to get to a Node. Then the odd weather started, stronger storms, lasting longer. Snow and Ice came earlier each winter, then the Spring and Fall shortened with Winter and Summer being harsher. The Guilds matained that it was just a period that was on a large cycle and was natural. Others worried that the drain on magic was the cause. The other Races pulled back and away from each other, trying to find a way to keep themselves alive. Then the Crystals refused to charge, Magic became erratic not like the old Wild Magic, just it failed more often than worked, within 10 years most all Crystals failed. This caused all the tools to fail, and worse all the tools that made tools to fail, food production dropped to almost nothing, Guilds fought Guild for food, with the failing the Kingdoms and Nations collapsed.
Then as chaos was raging, Orcs, Trolls, and Goblins among others started to push back after centuries of being beaten back. Between starvation, war, and lack of magic the world was mostly destroyed. A few of the Mana Crystals, now called Shards became something more, these produced little pockets of help, these few Shards create Points of Light in a world of darkness. With the huge drain of magic halted, magic flowed back again to fill the void.
Now we have the “Fourth Age” or as many call it the “Last Age”. Magic is full and powerful, the Shards provided a sort of shield to the natural disasters, causing them to skip these areas, crops grew well, sickness was quelled. Not all these Shard areas made it to now, some were over run the Shard stolen, other Shards seemed to fail on their own. This is your world, ruins of civilizations all around, Greenskins and worse roam in huge bands, Warlords some just most not, these hard men and women try to cut out Kingdoms in what is left. Large cities are a thing of the past, even large towns are rare, most Shards have dimmed, their work done. It is time for heroes to rise and shape the new age.
It is your time, will you answer the call?
I know playtime will be hard to come by, but I think we can at least get some Role Playing in and then use Fantasy Grounds or Battle Grounds for the combats, if pushed we can use a web came.
The Past Ages are on the main page, they are brief but should give an idea of what has wracked this world.
Before Characters I would like o do something Elaine did for her game long ago, (that was really a lot of fun).
If you would be so kind, create a culture that your PC will come from, within the limits of the world of course.
Race or mix of Races?
Did a Shard help your area through the darkness?
What type of political system do your people use?
How is Arcane Magic viewed, Divine, Primal and so on?
How are the social classes in this area, is there mobility, are you born and stuck?
There are many more as you can see to be asked and answered.
Please keep the area smallish unless you can really backstory it well, to fit into the Points of Light overall.
Example: Kardun Dwarf Trade Post The Dwarfs roll out the goods in a cleared out area near the entrance to the town, here all trades and commerce is conducted with outsiders. The few folks who hold the title dwarf friend, do their business inside the town itself at rumored better rates.
The Dwarfs trade for foodstuffs, hop, barley, and grain mostly, in return they supply refined ore, a few weapons, ale, and by special request armor.
Few Dwarfs ever leave the town, though it happens from time to time.
The Hold’s leader is Prince Caldur, Son of Belgar, he has inherited the Hold from his father. Prince Caldur though unlike most races royal family, still works many days in the forges, (too few if you ask him) at the ripe age of 89 he is still young for his race, his father passed away at age 275, and that life was cut short by a invasion of trolls. His Grandfather lived to 520 years which even for a dwarf is a long life, Caldur’s son, Delgar has listened to all the stories of what the world was like before the “Failing”.
These stories and an innate wanderlust to see the mountains of these tales has led the young dwarf to press to help with an expedition into the unknown. The tales from the River Rat Holden have done a fair amount of prodding as well, the old hafling trader shows up three times a year on the Queen, a huge river barge that travels some thousand miles to bring news and goods to all.
Holden has formed such a bond with the Dwarfs that they have improved his Queen many times, as have the Gnomes of Costburg and many others that the Halfling trades with. For at this time the Queen roams the lands farther than any other source.
To add to this I would do a quick map of the area, perhaps naming a few more Dwarfs and Haflings. Then expand into more deatil.
From the start as a GM I know that the Dwarfs are on or near a big river, and the Halflings are the river folk in this area, they have a good working arrangement, and somewhere on the route are Gnomes.
As the GM I would take all of this and find a suitable place in the world I am building, as I get more input I’ll add more and tweak a few thing here and there, but will try and keep it close to the spirit and idea that you have come up with.
I will be using the 4th Edition of the D&D to run the game.
The rules are a bit more Everquest than D&D was before, but in the game I ran for Elaine, Bryn and James (before he left us to go back to Texas), we played about 6 sessions.
We found the game to flow very well, and combat to actually be more fun as you had a host of Heroic actions you could do.
As well one could adjust the moves to be what you wanted, an example like this.
If the Attack does Damage from your main weapon, and then lets you shift 2 squares (your Dex Mod), this could play out very different in a combat due to the situation and the players preference.
A Dwarf Fighter might: I strike the Orc with a mighty blow staggering him, and while he gets his wit back step here and here to protect the Priest.
A Elf Rogue might: I spin around quickly building momentum and then lash out at the Orc with my sword, then let my motion carry me to here before the foul beast can react.
And so on, in one move against goblins Elaine’s Ranger actually used one to do a hand stand over the runt while gutting him and his friends to either side.
I see the powers as the stand now as Heroic flourishes, movie moments if you will.
It is not D&D that we used to play, but it was some great Fantasy Role Playing, with a quick and fun combat system as well.
Casters will like how Rituals are done now, they take time to cast, but some are useful and many are great role playing points.
I hope you will enjoy it.
So far I am using PHB 1, PHB2, Martial Powers, DMG, MM, and will add the Arcane Powers book due out soon. Also I have access to all the Dragon Mags post 4th edition and there are a few more classes and races, but if there is a specific race you would like to play just write it up, most anything is doable.