Project 2: Building a Fantasy World

I’m taking a bit of a break from Transcendence and Xenomega to work on something different and get my creative juices flowing. This is going to be an update to a campaign setting I started years ago, bringing it up to date with Pathfinder rules, and putting together a complete wiki so other Gamemasters can run their own campaigns in this setting. Ideally, it should include everything needed, all rules, all setting information, art and descriptions.

So with that begins Project 2: Aerinwohl.

The Premise: Aerinwohl is an ancient world that was once fully populated and tamed. The gods created the world, created the various lifeforms, and for the most part, left them to do as they wished. Most of the humanoid races found in the Pathfinder RPG were present, but alone among them were the elven mages. While most of the races had religion and divine magic, arcane magic was known only to the elves who refused to teach it to other races out of fear that they would not be able to control it. Their caution was well deserved.

Eventually, one elf taught a single, trusted human how to cast wizard spells. He in turn taught others and it spread across the globe. The genie was out of the bottle. Human wizards developed methods of war and technology, creating magitech devices. Dwarves focused on trade and mercantile means of exploiting it. The gnomes worked on gates and planar travel.

Within a few decades, the world was networked almost completely with portals. Dwarves consolidated their mineral wealth into their citadels in the mountains while building outreach banks in major cities to allow others to store and access their personal wealth from any nation. In most capitol cities, traveling from one continent to another was as simple as walking through a doorway. Cities were given fresh water with direct conduits to the Elemental Plane of Water, and in turn, sewage and waste was sent the Plane of Fire. While there were still a few remote, unexplored regions on the planet, most of it was inhabited and settled.

Then it all went to Hell. Literally.

A group of gnome engineers, their names lost to history and their intent unknown, opened a portal to Hell. While they may have thought they could control the denizens there, the gnomes were far underpowered to deal with the Archdevils that came through. The gnomish city, Bildipdool, was overrun almost overnight. Not a single living soul was left within its walls. The armies of Hell spread out from that northern bastion and the forces of evil threatened the whole world. Much of the world was scorched with hellfire as the mortal souls were harvested. Desolation was left in their wake, and the sky turned black.

The elves, under the leadership of Mythkael and under the patronage of their god Illshanafiir, fought back. As the devils were perverting every gate they came across into a portal to Hell, more and more forces of evil were arriving daily. Mythkael, a legendary wizard in his own right, used his mastery of portal magic to affect the portals of the world, turning them essentially into devil traps. He perverted the magic of the portal network to allow one way travel only, and each time a devil tried to use a portal, they were rerouted to the moon. Though it took decades, most of the devils were removed from Aerinwohl, though now stuck orbiting the planet instead.

In a final bid to eliminate the horde and remove the chance of them returning, Illshanafiir sacrificed himself. As the moon was his domain as well as magic and the elves, he sacrificed himself to destroy the devils and their Archdevil leaders. Concentrating all his power and essence into one final attack, he destroyed all the devils at once. But his might was great and an arcane backlash swept through the portal network as well, destroying them with explosive results. With the focus of his deific might aimed at the moon, it was destroyed as well and Illshanafiir died, leaving the elves godless.

With the moon now in millions of fragments, pieces of rock infused with magic or evil, sometimes both, rained down on Aerinwohl. It was as if thousands of meteors hit at once and some of them carried magic or connections to other planes, thus furthering the destruction. Much of civilization was destroyed in the aftermath, leaving ruins, corpses, and essentially erasing much of the knowledge of the past.

The elves were now enraged, having lost their treasured god to an act of foolishness on the part of the gnomes. The Magehunt began. Utilizing specially trained forces, Magehunters set out to find and remove all non-elven spellcasters were tracked down, eradicated, and their spell books destroyed. No longer trusting the shorter lived races, the elves brought terror and destruction to the world. While the devils were heartless and careless in who they killed, the elves slaughtered every spellcaster and removed any trace that would allow others to learn the arts of wizardry.

They thought themselves successful after nearly one hundred years of hunting. Mythkael, however, was not finished. he took it as a personal oath to punish those who had brought this destruction to the world. While there were no more arcane casters to make new portals, he vowed to remove the source of the problem, the gnomes. With a small contingent and not backed by his peers, Mythkael spent the next century performing genocide of the gnomes. His soul turned darker with each gnome killed, and with the included proximity to arcane and devil sources, his body was warped as well. Though the exact source and method is unknown, with the death of the last remaining gnome, Mythkael was transformed into a demigod: Mythkael, Gnome Slayer.

The rest of his contingent was transformed as well, their souls and skin turned dark, and the first drow were born. They soon went into hiding beneath the surface and turned from elves into legend and myth.

With the world destroyed, the remaining races began to rebuild. The former worldwide connections were gone, though some two door portals remained. The link to the outer planes was damaged, leaving only a tenuous link to the inner planes. While the dwarves still had their banking network and empire, it only allowed nonliving material to pass through. There are still some hidden portals out there though, hidden in ruins and buried in rubble, forgotten to the annals of time. Human-built magitech still exists, though no more new technology can be made or developed, leaving much of it to decay on the roadside with no way to maintain it.

Shortly after the removal of magic, a new skill started presenting itself in new births: Psionics. It seemed to show up randomly in any race, and in a few decades, it was fine tuned and mastered. Academies of psionic teaching sprung up in remote areas, teaching both mastery of the body and mind. While not allowing the same planar mastery arcane magic allowed, it was still used as a tool for the commoners to create and survive. Whether it was due to the energies from the destruction of the moon, or some rapid force of evolution in the presence of a destroyed world, it appears it is here to stay.

High above the world’s surface, a ring of moon debris circles the planet. It seems linked to the elemental planes and changes color with each season. Once every few decades, some of the debris falls to the ground, bringing destruction as the arcane infused rocks explode on impact. Depending on the season, the damage can be fire, acid, cold or electric.

It has been three hundred years since the rise of Mythkael. The state of the world now is one of recovery and rebuilding. There are a few large cities, but not many. The spaces between cities may still have ancient roads built thousands of years before, but very few patrol them. Trade is limited, knowledge of the past has vanished, and the wilderness has taken over much of the world.

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