Oerth -- The New Frontier (3.5e Campaign Setting)
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Oerth, the only known inhabitable planet in the Prime Material Plane, is soon to be plagued by war once more. Tensions are high, and political ties are falling apart.
Just 21 years ago, in 444 C.Y., there was a great war that ravaged all of Oerth. The Dwarven homeland of Moradriel, led by Lord Dwovin, began building its army so that it would rival the armies of the Elven nations Ehlone and Corella. Tensions grew more and more, and when a Half-orc from an organization called "The Black Eye" assassinated the Duke of Kord, Kord declared war on Gruumshiek, and soon all the countries on the continent of Eora were engaged in a vicious battle (not including Heiros and Hextos, who have constantly been waging their own private wars for centuries). As continents oversees began to get involved, they discovered internal conflicts of their own rising up. Yondar split into two countries, losing some of its land to a rogue-packed country which called itself Olidamm (and has yet to set up its capital). The continent Magus, which once possessed enough wielders of good magic to hold back the Wastes of Nerull, was suddenly infected with the plague of evil. The Wastes of Nerull even expanded to the lower continent of Andis. Erythyus, also known as the Great Wastes, grew to envelop Kord and form a barrier between Kord and Gruumshiek, and even the land of the Gnomes, Garlold, was hurt.
The war lasted 4 years -- longer than any war in the history of the Prime Material Plane. Millions were killed, and nearly every single country's border was shifted (with the sole exception of Kas-Vec, a land that hasn't changed for thousands of years), earning the title "The Great War". In the aftermath of the war, 448 C.Y., the Treaty of Amanodel forced Moradriel to pay for the costs of war for each country, and shut down its army. The Dwarves of Moradriel were nearly politically exiled from every other country. So they waited...
15 years later, a Dwarven leader known as Morduri Theril came to power and established an organization known as the Olor Sammans (OlSa -- National Shieldbrothers in Common). They began persecuting all of the populace in Moradriel who didn't worship Moradin, and have just recently begun expanding their empire, taking over parts of countries like Peloran, Ehlone, and Erythyus. The adventurers begin in this time period, about 20 1/2 years after the end of The Great War. But the upcoming war isn't the only interesting thing here...
Psionics. The New Frontier; the new battleground. As the need for new ways to fight gets greater, new formats of war are developed. People who call themselves Psions are coming out from literally nowhere and claiming mastery of something called Psionics. As these people become more and more common, the countries of Oerth are quickly learning to add Psionics into their military, and new ways of using these Powers are being developed. Already, extremely emotional people have honed their emotions to manifest powers (Wilders), while others have added their Psionic Talent to physical prowess (Psychic Warriors). Finally, the most exotic of the new classes is the Soulknife: A person with the power to take their mental energy and give it physical form.
The adventurers start off as members of a relatively small squadron of trainees for the war. As they gain levels, they take harder and harder missions until they're active members of the war effort, potentially even leading armies into battle, or taking the fight to other planes.
(A picture of a map of Oerth):
The races are widely varied, with some being more common than others:
- Humans -- They're found everything... like, literally everywhere. Humans come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, with different skin tones and hair tones and eye colors too. They're the most changeable of the races. The primarily human countries are Peloran, Heiros, and Hextos.
- Elves -- This race lives in Ehlone and Corella, primarily. They stick to their private homes, mostly, being quite isolationist most of the time. The coming war has pressured them to ally with Peloran, though they haven't expressed much enthusiasm towards the subject.
- Dwarves -- Dwellers in Moradriel, Heiros, Hextos, and Garlan primarily, this race is also found in the Lands of the Lawful. Dwarves have a strong empathic bond with each other, and when Moradriel was persecuted in The Great War, many Dwarves fought against their homelands in support. However, mixed feelings about what is known as Moradin's Genocide split the Dwarves nearly in half now.
- Halfling -- Dwellers mostly of Yondar and Olidamm, the Halflings are more or less impartial to the war. However, other nations hardly hesitate to travel to their lands and try to obtain raw materials, so the Halflings must side with someone. Much of Olidamm is consists of freelancers, while Yondar is split about 75-25 against Moradriel.
- Gnomes -- The little tricksters that inhabit most Eura are constantly picked on by their neighbors. Garlan, the Gnome's country, was the first to be taken over by Moradriel. Because of their worship towards Garl Glittergold, many Gnomes have died in Moradin's Genocide. They have no choice -- the must support the Dwarves.
- Hobgoblins -- (Data for this race is taken from the Races of War 3.5e Sourcebook. Favored class can be anything.) Hobgoblins, like humans, are adept at just about whatever they put their mind to. They're also hairy bandits, and are commonly persecuted by most of the other common races.
- Half-orcs -- (Data for this race is taken from the Races of War 3.5e Sourcebook) The Half-orcs, unlike their orc predecessors, are cunning as well as cruel. They don't waste time and are incredibly well-versed in the ways of dragging information out of people. They can be hired as professional killers (or killers training to be professional)
- Drow -- (Data for this race is taken from the Races of War 3.5e Sourcebook) The Drow are a secretive race, having lived below ground for hundreds of years. In the darkness, they're veritable masters, and their extra dexterity only adds to this potential. However, it takes a lot to pull a Drow out of the Underdark and into modern society. Something very interesting needs to happen, or something very disastrous.
- Xephs -- an isolated island in the Arborean Strait has produced a humanlike race with great agility and psionic talent. The Xephs are a happy-go-lucky group of people who aren't enthusiastic about war. Nevertheless, as countries begin to try to take their people for study, the Xephs are beginning to fight back.
- Orcs -- (Data for this race is taken from the Races of War 3.5e Sourcebook) The Orcs, who eat anything and everything, brawl for any reason, and are more or less hated by just about every other intelligent race in existance, live mainly on the plains of Erythyus and in Gruumshiek. Tribes of Orcs band together every so often and join either side (whichever one will get them the best short-term advantage). Orcs join out of desire to smash things, and conscripts aren't common.
- Goblins -- (Data for this race is taken from the Races of War 3.5e Sourcebook) The Goblins, who dwell mainly in the Great Wastes of Erythyus, are hardly a common sight. Most are cowardly, and Erythyus doesn't have enough organization to implement and effective draft. However, some the richer Goblins who can afford a Worg become riders (such as Knights), and others can become successful Rouges, who may join either side for whatever reason.
- Maenads -- The Maenads are a race who hail from secluded areas of the Outlands (the center of the Outer Planes). Their emotions and natural psionic talent makes them formidable fighters.
- Elans -- Despite how recent Psionics are, humans have already taken to the ideas with a passion. A certain group of humans, who call themselves Elans, have undergone rituals that make them naturally psionic and nearly immortal. Elans make for some of the best psions, and it is believed that humans living in the Astral Plane were the ones who brought the secrets of Psionics to Oerth.
- Half-elves -- It does happen every once in blue moon. A curious elf and a passionate human come together and bring forth children. These people, who find no peace with any other race, wander alone. They develop skills due to spending their lives this way, and don't like to affiliate with others. Half-elves need to be caught during their travels and conscripted, or could join the army out of curiousity. But its certainly not a common sight.
- Synads -- (Data for this race is taken from the Complete Psionics Handbook) Synads, natives of the Plane of Shadow, live on Oerth mostly in secret. Rumors of their race are widespread, causing great hostility towards the race. Because they can be so easily recognized, Synads try hard to not use all of their psionic power each day so that they are not discovered. However, they excel in just about anything they attempt (much like humans).
- Aasimar -- (Data for this race is taken from the Races of War 3.5e Sourcebook) The Aasimar are those of just about any race who have a trace of otherwordly beauty in their bloodline (meaning that Erinyes and Mariliths can yield Aasimars as well, so not all Aasimars are good). This overcomes just about any other racial traits that they otherwise would have, and makes them quite striking. Aasimars with non-good Outsider ancestry have Anti-Paladins as a favored class, instead of Paladin.
- Tielfings -- (Data for this race is taken from the Races of War 3.5e Sourcebook) The Tielfings are the chaotic and not-so-good-looking descendents of Devils and Demons (other than succubi-like creautures, Erinyes, and the lot who count as Aasimar instead). They're commonly unaccepted by others, and keep a tight isolationist policy in the ways of relations to just about anybody else. They also have a second-nature knowledge of the species that they descended from, and gain a +2 to all Bluff, Diplomacy, Sense Motive, and Spot checks agaisnt that creatures of that kind.