Background Info

Races

Human- Humans are still the most populous race in this setting. Humans can come from almost anywhere.

Dragonborn- Dragonborn originated in Arkhosia, and have since spread to other regions of the world.

Elf- Elves are dispersed throughout Arkhosia and much of the rest of the world. A particularly fierce and savage tribe of elves live in Bleakwood.

Dwarf- Dwarves live mostly underground in a massive fortresses. They are a suspicious and xenophobic people, choosing to stand against the Plague Wind alone. Their last fortress on the world’s surface is called Icesong, and is a major hub of trade. Dwarves are rare above ground outside of Icesong, but not unheard of.

Eladrin- Most eladrin live in the Feywild. Interplanar travel is difficult, and few choose to cross over into the blighted land of the mortals. A society of mysterious eladrin are said to live on an island off the coast of the main continent, to the southeast. PC eladrin may have been pulled into the world from the Feywild due to a magical accident of some kind, or they could be from a bloodline that chose to live in the world prior to the first Plague Wind.

Half-Elf- Half-elves are common anywhere human and elves intermingle, including the valleys of Arkhosia.

Halfling- A few tribes of particularly fierce halflings exist in the Howling Hills, but most of the world’s population of halflings choose to ingratiate themselves with the larger races, living and working with them. Some are nomadic. A large number of halflings live in the northern, swampy areas of The Shimmering.

Tiefling- Bael Turath was an ancient island-nation to the west of the main continent. Overrun with devils today, only the most depraved tiefling bloodlines still live there. Most tieflings escaped to the main continent ages ago. Today, they live as mistrusted minorities, scrounging out a living wherever they can.

Deva- Devas are exceptionally rare. Ever since the Plague Wind, divine magic has waned in the world, and immortal beings and other clear examples of divine power are quickly fading from memory. A PC deva may very well be the only of his or her kind.

Gnome- Gnomes are a little more common than eladrin. Some choose to immigrate to the mortal world even in the modern day, seeking to escape fomorian or eladrin masters.

Half-Orc- Orcs are a savage race, scraping out a living through warfare, intimidation, and occasionally, mercenary work. Some are tribal. Half-orcs are rare, but surprisingly face little prejudice or discrimination. Due to the constant threat of Plague Wind, self-reliance is a prized trait in soldiers and travelling companions, so half-orcs are well-respected.

Shifter- Shifters are mainly a tribal people, choosing to remain far from any permanent settlement. Several shifter tribes live in the Howling Hills.

Goliath- Goliaths hail from the Howling Hills.

Genasi- Some of the Plague Wind’s corruption has seeped into the Elemental Chaos. Genasi refugees began coming into the mortal world long ago, apparently finding it preferable to blighted Chaos below. They are by no means common, and have no communities of their own. The soldiers of The Shimmering attack them on sight, believing them to be utterly unnatural beings. They are welcome everywhere else in the world, however.

Drow- Drow live underground, fighting the dwarves for what livable space there is. Surface drow are exceedingly rare.

Changelings- Only the most learned wizards are aware of the existence of changelings. Most blend seamlessly into other cultures.

Kalashtar- In the face of the horrors of the Plague Wind, some obscure communities turn to unknown forces to protect them. Many of these communities end up the slaves of demons, devils, Far Realm entities, or worse. Those who have the good luck or good sense to bond only with forces of good end up as kalashtar.

Warforged- Uncommon, but not unheard of, powerful wizards sometimes create warforged to protect their city-states. The soldiers of The Shimmering attack them on sight.

Shadar-Kai and Revenants- The Raven Queen does not exist in this setting, and these two races have nothing to do with her. Shadar-Kai and revenant PCs will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Shadar-Kai are natives of the Shadowfell, while a revenant PC may be a total anomoly, the only one of his kind to exist in the world.

Githzerai- Like the genasi, some githzerai have moved to the material world in order to escape the blighted Chaos Below.

Minotaur- Most minotaurs hail from the Howling Hills. Some live in obscure, scattered cults, and a few have even joined The Shimmering.

Shardmind- The “Living Gate” backstory of the Shardminds is likely to have very little to no effect on the overall plot of this campaign. You’re free to make a Shardmind if you like, but he or she will probably be the only one of its kind in this setting. You’re free to use the Living Gate as part of your background, or to make up something else entirely.

Wilden- Most wilden choose to stay in the Feywild, but their sense of duty to the land might very well bring them to the material world in order to try and put a stop to the blight of the Plague Wind.

Classes

Ardent- Psionic powers are rare and relatively new to the mortal world. Most wizards are curious about psionically-gifted people, regarding them as test subjects to be studied, rather than true peers or rivals to their power. Ardents may be a little bit feared, due to their ability to influence other people’s thoughts and emotions subconsciously. Elder Avorik would likely keep any ardents in the Cult of Eyes on a tight leash, offering them personal lessons and advice.

Artificer- Artificers are only mechanically different from wizards. In-character, they’re simply wizards that focus on the arts of enchantment and alchemy. Many artificers get their start as apprentices to wizards who delegate to artificers the item-making tasks they deem too boring or trivial to bother with.

Assassin- Due to the Plague Wind, people are reluctant to accept powers from the Shadowfell. Most assassins would be wise to hide their talents, masquerading as martial or arcane heroes. The Cult of Eyes guards the secret practices necessary for training an assassin, and they may be willing to teach them to a promising or good-hearted young initiate. Assassins would likely be taught by Elder Avorik, with additional training supplied by Elder Kulyin and Elder Rodric.

Avenger- Divine power is waning in the world, and very few divine heroes are left. Avengers are somewhat more common, however, do to the extremist nature of both The Shimmering and the Church of Vecna. The ancient covenants and rituals necessary to invest avengers with their powers still exist, some of which are closely guarded by the Cult of Eyes. An avenger would likely be granted his or her powers by Elder Mishka, and trained by Elder Rodric.

Barbarian- Barbarians can be found all over the world, usually in tribal societies. Several primal spirit worshipping communities are scattered throughout the valleys of Arkhosia. Other tribal communities live in the Howling Hills and other remote areas. Finally, the Cult of Eyes may train a barbarian as simply a soldier focusing in two-handed weapons. They may begin as martial heroes, only discovering their connection to the primal spirits after they adventure beyond Pine Reach.

Bard- Bardic magic is uncommon, usually mocked or overlooked by more traditional wizards. The Cult of Eyes knows well the power of song and legend, however, and has acquired several rare scrolls and books on the subject. Elder Mishka would gladly teach any young initiate the arcane arts of the bard, while Elder Kulyin would teach them music, legends, and his legendary poker face. Other bards may have come to the Cult of Eyes after learning the basics from eladrin, gnomes, or more obscure travelling masters.

Battlemind- Battleminds are usually self-taught, though the Cult of Eyes would be more than happy to sharpen their talents with specialized lessons and sparring sessions. Due to the subtle nature of psionic magic, some might mistake a battlemind for a common fighter.

Cleric- Divine magic has weakened since the first Plague Wind, and clerics today are quite rare. Many might mistake them for wizards. The Cult of Eyes understands the value of the cleric, however, and keeps many of the secret ceremonies and religious texts used to ordain them. Other clerics may have been members or even leaders of obscure cults before coming to Pine Reach.

Druid- Druids are uncommon, and enjoy positions of prestige and power in primal societies. Ordinary peasantfolk would confuse a druid with a wizard, while the wizards themselves see druids as either threats to their power or as pathetic hedge-mages. Druids may have been taught by Elder Moriya or another master of the art, or they may have simply been born with a connection to the Primal Beast.

Fighter- Fighters are common and well-respected throughout the world. Those with a bit of training or just a natural talent for swordplay would be welcomed with open arms by the Cult of Eyes, and likely trained by Elder Rodric. The Cult has also been known to hire freelance mercenaries.

Invoker- Invokers are exceptionally rare. A PC invoker may well be the only one of his kind, and would likely be mistaken for a wizard, even by the learned elders of the Cult of Eyes.

Monk- Many monks are self-taught, discovering their talents during some climactic moment in their lives. A few learn their arts in crumbling monasteries, taught by enigmatic masters. The Cult of Eyes has a few select scrolls on the monk’s art. Monks who learn their skills within the cult would likely be taught by both Elder Mishka and Elder Rodric.

Paladin- Paladins are quite rare, like other divine characters. A few still exist, however, either as scattered cults of warrior-priests or as initiates taught from crumbling tomes by the Cult of Eyes. Paladins within the cult likely spar with Elder Rodric on a regular basis.

Psion- Psionic magic is a rarity, and of great interest to mages, including Elder Mishka of the Cult of Eyes.

Ranger- As the ancient highways of the fallen empires of yore slowly crumble, rangers are becoming more valuable than ever. Rangers can be rugged lumberjacks recruited from the population of Pine Reach, stoic defenders of tribal homelands, or initiates drilled in dueling or archery by Elder Rodric.

Rogue- Rogues can be reformed criminals recruited by the Cult for their talents, particularly spry and cunning warriors trained by Elder Rodric, or cerebral locksmiths and security experts taught by Elder Kulyin.

Runepriest- The Cult of Eyes guards the secret knowledge of the runes, and will teach them to interested initiates. Others may have learned their skills from scattered cults or secret forges.

Seeker- Like other primal heroes, seekers tend to be found in tribal societies, defending their brethren and their homelands. Seekers are no different, and the seeker’s art is said to have been created by the fierce elves of Bleakwood. These elves are very unlikely to teach the seeker’s path to anyone but blood relatives, but the Cult of Eyes has developed its own curriculum based on observations of the Bleakwood elves’ technique.

Shaman- Shamans are rarely trained. They are instead chosen by the primal spirits themselves. The Cult of Eyes is interested in protecting and studying those shaman that come to them for aid, however.

Sorcerer- Sorcerers are hated and hunted the world over. Wizards view their natural talents as a threat to their own power, while The Shimmering slays them for their use of magic. The Cult of Eyes is one of the few places in the world where a sorcerer can go to better understand his or her powers. Elder Avorik is himself a sorcerer of cosmic magic. Storm and wild magic sorcerers are likely viewed as threats who need to be contained, people who need to harness their powers lest they erupt unexpectedly. Dragon sorcerers are viewed as blessed or gifted individuals, while cosmic magic sorcerers follow a pattern of study and experimentation rather like wizards or start pact warlocks.

Swordmage- Eladrin immigrants and genasi refugees brought knowledge of the swordmage’s art to the world long ago. Meanwhile, the Cult of Eyes has developed their own style of combat that combines swordplay and the arcane arts, taught by Elder Mishka and Elder Rodric in tandem.

Warden- Wardens are found in areas of the world where primal societies and “proper” civilization live in close proximity. Drawing on primal magic, but fighting with martial discipline and pretensions of honor, wardens live in and protect frontier towns or some of the more “civilized” tribal societies. Self-motivated warriors living with the Cult of Eyes might discover the secrets of the wardens for themselves, either through the tutelage of Elder Moriya or through ancient tomes on the subject of the primal spirits.

Warlock- The Cult of Eyes would not encourage an initiate to enter into a pact, with the possible exception of the vestige pact, which they view as less dangerous due to the fragmented nature of its patrons. Otherwise, the Cult of Eyes may accept them in the hopes of turning their malevolent powers toward a greater good. Fey pact, vestige pact and star pact warlocks would be taught by Elder Mishka, while infernal and dark pact warlocks would be viewed as more “dangerous,” and placed under the care of Elder Avorik.

Warlord- The Cult of Eyes houses many books on the subject of military tactics and history, and an intelligent or charismatic warrior may learn the general’s art from the Elders of the Cult. Elder Rodric may even groom a particularly promising initiate to be his replacement some day.

Wizard- Wizards are some of the most powerful and influential individuals in the world. Unfortunately, very few use their powers for anything other than their own personal advancement. Very few wizards take on apprentices, choosing instead to jealously guard their power. The Cult of Eyes, shrines dedicated to Corellon or Ioun, and the occasional kind-hearted eccentric are some of the few places willing to train fledgling mages.

Background Info

Plague Wind Kinneus