Buried Kingdoms (5e Campaign Setting)

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Rating: 2 / 5
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Buried Kingdoms[edit]

A century and a half ago, the world was the victim of an apocalypse that fell from the sky, rendering the world above uninhabitable. Though this tragedy was the end of life as it was known before, it was not the end of all things. The peoples of the surface world retreated beneath the earth, spreading themselves throughout caves and tunnels, making new lives underground. In the years that have passed since then, some semblance of civilization has returned, as the caves have been artificially expanded to accommodate towns and cities. But still, it is a dangerous place, and dark things lurk underneath the earth.

Religion[edit]

The majority of humans belong to a henotheistic faith, meaning they only believe in one god but don't deny the existence of other deities. The human god is a Lawful Good god known as "The Allfather", or simply "God", and his domains are life, light, protection, and strength. The faith of the Allfather is a patriarchal faith which reveres the Allfather as a bringer of life and light and a protector of the faithful. Additionally, the religion honors strength in all forms (physical, mental, and moral), when personal strength furthers a cause that is just.

Geography[edit]

Dwarven Highways[edit]

The famous dwarven highways allow for quick transportation between major settlements and other important sites, provided you're close to civilization. The highways are long, paved tunnels, typically 60 feet wide and 30 feet tall. The middle 40 feet is divided into two lanes intended for wagons or carapacus-mounted riders, while the last 10 feet on each end are sidewalks allowing pedestrians to walk around without risking getting crushed. Most highways are regularly patrolled by heavily armed bands of dwarves tasked with keeping the highways free of troublemakers and monsters. Purely for pragmatic reasons of course, because safe travel is good for business. The downside of travelling by highway is that the dwarves run toll stations where you must pay to pass through, at swordpoint if it comes to that. After all, building and maintaining these roads isn't cheap.

Epicos[edit]

Epicos is the center of human civilization. It is a vast cave, divided in two by the Epicos river, a deep river which is so wide that people have to take boats to cross it. Each half of the cave is divided into three main levels naturally by a sudden sharp increase in elevation and artificially by a fortified stone wall which travelers can only pass through well-guarded gates. Thus, the cave, home to some 250,000 souls, is divided into six districts. The most wondrous thing about Epicos, however, is "the New Sun", a product of a divine miracle. The New Sun is an artificial sun which hovers in the ceiling of the cave (approx 1/4 mile above), providing true sunlight on the city for 12 hours of each day, then going dark when it is night. As such, Epicos is the only place underground where there is a true day/night cycle. The light of the New Sun is sunlight for all intents and purposes, making wide-scale farming within the cave easily feasible and harming undead, etc. just like a real sun can.

Goblin Land[edit]

The goblin lands are a nearly lawless, loosely-organized patchwork collection of lands ruled by dozens of continually infighting goblin lords, each of which have carved out their own fiefdom in the caves. Much of the goblin economy is driven by the slave trade or by crimes such as smuggling or piracy, which are not merely condoned but often sponsored by the goblin governments.

Norngard[edit]

Norngard is the home of dwarves. It is built on top of a series of molten lava ducts, providing a constant heat which the dwarves love so much. The dwarven government is a corporatist/fascist state where industry leaders also assume the role of executers, enforcers, and writers of law. However, dwarven judges have considerable power to interpret the laws and still fulfill a vital societal role. The dwarves of Norngard are the most technologically advanced race, being widespread users of firearms and steam power. Their mining machines in particular have allowed them to build the dwarven highways and make regular commerce between the underground nations possible.

The Silent Sea[edit]

The silent sea is not actually a sea, but rather a very large underground freshwater lake with a number of sea-like characteristics such as constant winds, rolling waves, thick mists, and nigh-bottomless depths. It spans a vaguely circular area some 400 miles across, and it is dotted with islands. The Silent Sea is a good place to go fishing, and it is plied by many ships from different nations, carrying all manner of cargo and passengers. Flora and fauna not found elsewhere in the underworld can be found in the silent sea. Some, such as the giant squids, are quite dangerous. It is rumored, but not proven, that a few of the islands are alive, and they somehow "eat" ships which steer to close. Piracy is thriving in the Silent Sea too.

The Dead Kingdoms[edit]

The living are not welcome here. The dead kingdoms are an isolationist confederation of states, each solely populated and ruled by undead.

Races[edit]

To be included: Undead, spider-folk (?), some kind of plant race, magicians, big folk/trolls

Humans[edit]

Humans like our real-world selves exist throughout the world. They have adapted to underground life the best they can. They are a bit hardier than they are in other settings because they have to be tough to survive in a strange, alien world.

A human character possesses the following traits:
Ability Score Increase. Your ability scores each increase by 1.
Ages. Humans reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century.
Alignment. Humans tend toward no particular alignment. The best and the worst are found among them.
Size. Humans vary widely in height and build, from barely 5 feet to well over 6 feet tall. Regardless of your position in that range, your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Skills. You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
Feat. You gain one feat of your choice.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one extra language of your choice. Humans typically learn the languages of other peoples they deal with, including obscure dialects. They are fond of sprinkling their speech with words borrowed from other tongues: Orc curses, Elvish musical expressions, Dwarvish military phrases, and so on.

Dwarves[edit]

The dwarves came out of the cataclysm very well compared to other races, with their fortunes very much intact. As they already lived underground, they were safe from the worst in their ancestral homes. The dwarves have been indispensable as miners, lawyers, construction workers, and merchants, and are regarded in many parts as the de facto authorities.

A dwarf character possesses the following traits:
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom scores each increase by 2.
Ages. Dwarves mature at the same rate as humans, but they're considered young until they reach the age of 50. On average, they live about 500 years.
Alignment. Most dwarves are lawful, believing firmly in the benefits of a well-ordered society. They tend toward good as well, with a strong sense of fair play and a belief that everyone deserves to share in the benefits of a just order.
Size. Dwarves stand between 4 and 5 feet tall and average about 150 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet. Your speed is not reduced by wearing heavy armor.
Darkvision. Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Dwarven Resistance. You have advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and you have resistance to fire and poison damage.
Dwarven Combat Training. You have proficiency with firearms.
Tool Proficiency.You gain proficiency with a tool set of your choice.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Dwarven.

Ghosts[edit]

The reanimated, incorporeal spirit of a humanoid. Ghost adventurers often hail from the dead kingdoms, as they are often looked upon suspiciously by the living.

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom and Charisma scores each increase by 2.
Ages. Not counting their previous lives, ghosts can be nearly any age. Ghosts don't age, and won't die of old age until the magic keeping them alive collapses.
Alignment. Ghosts are usually neutral, though evil or chaotic skeletons are common.
Size. You are whatever size you were in life. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet. You can hover up to 5 feet off the ground.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Ethereal Form. You may move through objects and creatures as if they were difficult terrain. Ending your turn in a square occupied by an object or creature causes you to be pushed to the nearest unoccupied square and take 1d10 force damage.
Poltergeist. You can move or manipulate objects weighing less than 10 pounds within 60 feet of you by thought. If an object isn't being worn or carried, you may manipulate it as an action. If an object is being worn or carried, you must make a Charisma check contested by that creature's Strength check. If you succeed, you pull the object away from that creature and can move it up to 30 feet in any direction but not beyond the range of this feature. You can hurl an object you are manipulating at a creature hard enough to cause damage, provided it is hard or dense enough to be useful. If you do so, the creature must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC = 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus) or take 1d6 damage of an appropriate type assigned by the DM. The damage of this feature increases by 1d6 at 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).
Undead Nature. You are immune to disease, being poisoned, and poison damage. You do not need to eat or breathe. Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You do not dream in this state; you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
Possession. You gain the ability to possess a humanoid within 5 feet of you. The humanoid must succeed a Charisma saving throw or become possessed. You then disappear, and the target is incapacitated and loses control of its body. You now control the body but you can't deprive the possessed target of awareness. You can't be targeted by any attack, spell, or other effect, except ones that turn undead, and you retains your alignment, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma scores. You otherwise use the possessed target's statistics but you don't gain access to the target's knowledge, class features, or proficiencies. The possession lasts until the body drops to 0 hit points, you end it as a bonus action, or you are turned or forced out by an effect like the dispel evil and good spell. When the possession ends, you reappear in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the body. The target is immune to your Possession for 24 hours after succeeding on the saving throw or after the possession ends. You regain use of this trait once you have completed a long rest.
Incorporeal Form. As a bonus action, you may step into the Ethereal Plane, becoming incorporeal. While incorporeal, you loose the ability to realize any physical actions, such as basic/weapon attacks, and you become resistant to non-magical damage from creatures in the material plane. As a bonus action, or if reduced to 0 hit points you re-enter the Material Plane.
Undead. Your type is undead, not humanoid.

Goblins[edit]

Goblins are lazy, cowardly, greedy, and untrustworthy creatures. Most other races rightfully dislike them. Goblins have brown to green skin, long, sharply pointed ears, beady eyes, and sharp teeth.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength, Intelligence, and Charisma scores each increase by 1. Your Dexterity score increases by 2.
Ages. Goblins mature in half the time humans do, becoming adults by the age of 8 or 9. They have somewhat shorter lives.
Alignment. Goblins tend towards evil, being selfish and having few compunctions against cruelty.
Size. Goblins vary widely in size and shape, even more so than humans. All of them are ugly and disgusting. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Nyahaha You can't catch me! Opportunity attacks against you are made at disadvantage.
Sneaky. You gain proficiency in the Stealth skill.
Underhanded Tricks. You can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature you hit with an attack if you are hidden from that creature, if that creature is surprised, or if it is otherwise unaware of you.

Imps[edit]

Imps are petty fiends hailing from the lower planes, sometimes summoned into the world of the buried kingdoms. Physically, they resemble diminutive humanoids with leathery bat-like wings. Other than that, their fiendish nature is visible in different ways from imp to imp. Their skin ranges from human skin tones to unnatural red, yellow, or green colors. Some of them have horns. Most imps have mouths full of sharp teeth.

An imp character possesses the following traits:
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity and Charisma scores each increase by 2.
Ages. Imps reach maturity at around 5, and live for an unknown amount of time.
Alignment. Imps tend to be evil due to the taint of the lower planes on their souls, but some manage to overcome their nature.
Size. Imps stand 2-3 feet tall and average 25 pounds in weight. Your size is small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 20 feet. You also have a flying speed of 20 feet.
Devil's Sight. Accustomed to the darkness of the lower planes, you have no problem seeing in darkness. You can see in dim light or darkness within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, even magical darkness. You can discern color in darkness.
Fiendish Resistance. You have resistance to fire and poison damage.
Fiendish Tongue. You have proficiency in the Deception skill.
Throw Fire. You know the fire bolt cantrip.
Imp's Bane. You take double damage from weapons that are silvered.
Familiar. You can enter into a contract with the terms you specify to serve another creature as a familiar, forming a telepathic bond with your willing master. While you and your master are bonded, your master can sense what you see as long as you are within 1 mile of your master. While you are within 10 feet of your master, your master gains a +1 bonus to AC and to all saving throws. If your master violates the terms of your contract, you can end your service as a familiar, ending the telepathic bond. A creature who violates the terms of your contract cannot form another bond with you for 1 year.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Black Speech.

Skeletons[edit]

The reanimated, completely decomposed corpse of a humanoid. Skeleton adventurers often hail from the dead kingdoms, as they are often looked upon suspiciously by the living.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma scores each increase by 2.
Ages. Not counting their previous lives, skeletons can be nearly any age. Skeletons don't age, and won't die of old age until the magic keeping them alive collapses.
Alignment. Skeletons are usually neutral, though evil or chaotic skeletons are common.
Size. You are however tall you were in life and weigh significantly less. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. Thanks to the fact that you have no eyes, magic was necessary to give you sight. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Restoring Limbs. You can restore any limb after it being detached or destroyed by simply finding a suitable replacement, then using your action to attach it.
Skeletal Nature. You are immune to disease, being poisoned, and poison damage. You do not need to eat or breathe. Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You do not dream in this state; you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
False Appearance. You may, as an action, collapse your form into a pile of bones. While you remain motionless, you are indistinguishable from a normal pile of bones. In this state, you are prone and your speed is 0.
Undead. Your type is undead, not humanoid.

Trolls[edit]

Trolls are a physically powerful but primitive and simple-minded race, particularly suited for heavy labor. They are gentle giants, although they tend to be fiercely devoted towards their friends, family, and employers, gladly using force and intimidation to protect them. Trolls are easily amused and big fans of simple pleasures.

A troll character possesses the following traits:
Ability Score Increase. Your Strength and Constitution scores both increase by 3.
Ages. Trolls reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century.
Alignment. Trolls prefer neutral alignments, due to being unimaginative, unambitious, and not particularly philosophical.
Size. Trolls average 9-10 feet in height and 500-700 pounds in weigh. Your size is Large.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Reach. Your reach is 10 feet.
Slam. You can roll 2d4 in place of the damage of your unarmed strikes.
Strong Back. Your carrying capacity is your Strength score multiplied by 60.
Tough Skin. Trolls have thick sin. While not wearing armor, your AC is 13 + your Dexterity bonus. You can use a shield and still gain this benefit..
Toughened. Trolls are infamously hard to kill. Your maximum hit points increase by 2, and your hit points increase by 2 whenever you gain a level.
Languages. You can speak Troll, which has no written form. You can speak, read, and write common.

Zombie[edit]

The reanimated, recently deceased or otherwise relatively intact corpse of a humanoid. Zombie adventurers often hail from the dead kingdoms, as they are often looked upon suspiciously by the living.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength and Constitution scores each increase by 2.
Ages. Not counting their previous lives, zombies can be nearly any age. Zombies don't age, and won't die of old age until the magic keeping them alive collapses.
Alignment. Zombies are usually neutral, though evil or chaotic zombies are common.
Size. You are whatever size you were in life. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Restoring Limbs. You can restore any limb after it being detached or destroyed by simply finding a suitable replacement, then using your action to attach it.
Undead Nature. You are immune to disease, being poisoned, and poison damage. You do not need to eat or breathe. Instead of sleeping, you enter an inactive state for 4 hours each day. You do not dream in this state; you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal.
False Appearance. You may, as an action, fall over and play dead. While you remain motionless, you are indistinguishable from a normal corpse. In this state, you are prone and your speed is 0.
Slam. You can roll 1d6 for the damage of your unarmed strikes, which can inflict piercing damage instead of bludgeoning damage if you choose to bite. If you hit a creature with an unarmed strike, you can make a grapple check as a bonus action.
Zombie Fortitude. If damage reduces you to 0 hit points, you must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC equal to the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, you drop to 1 hit point instead.
Undead. Your type is undead, not humanoid.

Classes[edit]

Barbarians

Some people live apart from civilization on their own or in like-minded tribes, growing strong from testing their will and strength against the harsh wilderness of the underworld. For some races which lack the discipline to become fighters, such as trolls, the way of the barbarian is the common path for warriors to follow.

Fighters

Fighters are essential to maintaining the tenuous order that makes the buried kingdoms livable. Whether in the military, as a mercenary, as a guard, or a bounty hunter, an able-bodied individual who can wield a sword can make good money.

Gunslingers

Gunslingers are a new breed of warriors, usually either dwarves or trained by a dwarf in the art of wielding the pistol and rifle.

Paladins

Most paladins are humans, members of the militant branch of the Church of the Allfather. With the power of light, they fight for God, king, and country.

Rogues

Crime is still a problem in the buried kingdoms, not that the goblins are helping matters. Rogues are resourceful robbers, smugglers, and pirates, using their skills for deceitful gains.

Undead Summoners

Undead summoners are a power typically in the employ of the dead kingdoms, but they are sometimes encountered elsewhere. Wherever they go, undead summoners are feared for their necromantic abilities.

Monsters[edit]

Carapacuses[edit]

As horses are all but extinct in the buried kingdoms, carapacuses are commonly used instead as mounts and beasts of burden.

Giant Roaches[edit]

One of the most commonly-encountered life-forms in the tunnels, giant roaches are a perpetual nusiance.


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