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16:29, 18th July 2024 (GMT+0)

Primer: Lore.

Posted by Dungeon MasterFor group 0
Dungeon Master
GM, 7 posts
Time zone: EST
Thu 6 Apr 2023
at 15:39
  • msg #1

Primer: Lore

This thread will contain a whole bunch of background information regarding the world of Ourea. None of it is required knowledge but knowing it's here if you're interested. Some PCs may find the info useful for in-game decision making, and I may copy/paste bits from these posts into the game as needed.

A Note regarding the Game Map: The Game Map link that RPOL uses is limited in its functionality for the purposes of a game in the West March style. Those maps that are posted here on RPOL are not guaranteed to always be accurately updated given the new exploration that characters complete. I'm still working out what might be the best way to handle maps - of the Hexploration, Dungeon, and Combat varieties.

The Golden Rule: "Just ask". I'm sure there are countless things you or your character would like to know about the setting. If it's not covered here already, let me know what I've missed. Discovery is a big part of a game like this, but players also have to have baseline understanding of the world in which their characters live.
This message was last edited by the GM at 17:59, Wed 12 Apr 2023.
Dungeon Master
GM, 8 posts
Time zone: EST
Thu 6 Apr 2023
at 15:43
  • msg #2


  1. This campaign attempts to successfully implement the sandbox style of the original tabletop roleplaying games popularized by the Old School Renaissance (OSR). I fondly remember playing in such campaigns in my youth, and have been nostalgic for that feeling since it seems to me that modern groups focus more on storytelling and adventure paths.
  2. My intention is definitely to not bite off more than is chewable. I plan to start small and work outward as necessary.
  3. I imagine that this game will involve only myself as DM and will be populated by a number of players ranging from maybe five to fifteen on a rotating basis - West Marches / Living World style.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:33, Thu 06 Apr 2023.
Dungeon Master
GM, 9 posts
Time zone: EST
Thu 6 Apr 2023
at 15:45
  • msg #3

Acknowledgements & Useful Links

Useful Links:

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:50, Sat 08 Apr 2023.
Dungeon Master
GM, 10 posts
Time zone: EST
Thu 6 Apr 2023
at 15:49
  • msg #4


  • Elder Scrolls and Betrayal at Krondor/Antara (video games)
       Open-world exploration, plenty of local quests.
  • Fable 1 (video game)
       The Heroes Guild, mentors such as Maze and Thunder, quest cards, and the interconnectedness of the world with those institutions.
  • Torchlight and Diablo (video games)
       Randomness in loot and dungeons, mega-dungeon in town, Ember as a magitech resource (sparking an Aether-punk style revolution).
  • Greedfall and Expedition: Vikings (video games)
       Spirit of exploration, simultaneous technological and magical advancement, downtime activities.
  • Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Chicks in a Dungeon (anime)
       (Meta) Openness of character sheets, mega-dungeon in town, and familia of adventurers led by patrons.
  • Conan (various media)
       Gritty survivalist setting, the Hyborian age of heroes, and magic is costly and rare.
  • Firefly (TV series), Tombstone (movie), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (movie), and Trigun (anime)
       ‘Western’ setting, Perilous and mostly lawless frontier, plenty of local quests/bounties, scarce resources, most folks are armed and at least moderately capable of defending themselves.
  • The World of Lone Wolf (book series)
       Atmosphere, technology and magic level, bordering evil.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the GM at 16:35, Thu 06 Apr 2023.
Dungeon Master
GM, 12 posts
Time zone: EST
Thu 6 Apr 2023
at 18:34
  • msg #5

Overview of the Setting: World Level

The planet is called Ourea (meaning ‘mountains’). In terms of physics it’s pretty much similar to our standard Earth in most ways, the exceptions being the classic fantasy elements of the genre. There are only a few small continents known to exist on this world; those being the Old Empires plus the one newly discovered continent that is the focus of this campaign. It is thought that only about one third of the world is known, since none have ever returned after journeying out onto the vast oceans that surround all.

The Old Empires are the historic parents of the new land but have had little meaningful contact with the colony for some time. A conflagration of pandemic-level plague and opportune political squabbling has thrown those old lands into a long period of hardship and inward focus. Thus the colony in the west is independent at this point though occasional shipments of resources do help the colony prosper. Naturally, few residents have desired to return to the conflicted shores of the east. However, with rumors of the recent discovery of Ember - a new magical energy source - there might soon be renewed interest in the colony by the old powers.
Dungeon Master
GM, 13 posts
Time zone: EST
Thu 6 Apr 2023
at 20:18
  • msg #6

Overview of the Setting: Region Level

The mostly unexplored western continent is Lekesiz, The Untarnished Heart or simply The Heart. It was hoped that this vast land would provide salvation to the dying kingdoms of the east in the form of riches beyond wonder. However, with how dangerous this land is, only a single colony survived long enough to be considered successful. It is rumored, naturally, that the interior of the continent still hides its fabled cities of gold and the unplundered tombs of the gods. No explorers have yet found evidence of such abundant sites, but in recent months some lucky adventurers have uncovered other valuable finds.

Interestingly, the continents of the Old Empires are fully explored but the boundaries of The Heart are not known. It is thought to be a large continent, but explorers have yet to successfully navigate far around the coastlines. It is widely believed that since Ourea is a (obviously) a flat planet, that the interior of The Heart probably reaches the edge of the world. Of course, no other edges have been discovered either, but it’s theorized that they lead to alternate planes of existence - such as the realm of the dead.

Folks that are familiar with the old school BECMI setting called The Known World or Mystara might recognize some similarity between it and Lekesiz. That’s for a good reason - because I simply used that set of Gazetteers as the base and added the colonies as a substitute for the northern region that had been called the Heldann Freeholds. This is all barely important at all to the process of this campaign, but it is useful to know that some elements of the Known World setting have indeed been borrowed.
This message was last edited by the GM at 20:21, Thu 06 Apr 2023.
Dungeon Master
GM, 14 posts
Time zone: EST
Thu 6 Apr 2023
at 20:24
  • msg #7

Overview of the Setting: Kingdom Level

The focus of this campaign takes place in and around the frontier colony of Maret, The Nightmare Land (from a rough old-world translation). It’s a mostly desolate stretch of land established as a series of mining colonies of the Old Empires. Maret was originally settled by adventurers years ago as a foothold to a vast new continent, and the villages that exist there now are the domains of those successful and now retired heroes.

These colonies proved to not be very wealthy in terms of natural resources, so nowadays they are known primarily for the influential adventurers’ guilds that sprung up during the boom of expansion. The guilds provide the highest concentration of current and future talent in the known world and folks flock here from all across the known world to learn.

The climate in this part of the world is quite cool, similar to Earth's northern Canada or Scandinavia. Not too far north from Maret is Ourea's arctic circle.

The campaign begins in Gamma, the hub of the five settlement-districts in the colony. The other four districts (Segin, Ruchbah, Schedar, and Caph) were each founded by one of the [legendary heroes] and they are now the centers for the multitude of different Guilds for which Maret is famed. The climate in this part of the world is cool/cold and mostly dry. Wildlife varies aplenty but there are notably no horses available locally - thus, other beasts serve as common pack animals and mounts.
This message was last edited by the GM at 22:36, Sat 08 Apr 2023.
Dungeon Master
GM, 15 posts
Time zone: EST
Thu 6 Apr 2023
at 20:26
  • msg #8

Overview of the Setting: Generally Held Beliefs & Alignment

In Maret and The Old Empires, the following outlooks are held almost universally:
  1. Enslavement of any intelligent creature is evil and thus illegal. Domination spells and the like definitely fall into this category. Effects that beguile rather than outright enslave (such as charm person) are only slightly less illegal and will still generally be regarded as undesirable by most people.
  2. The undead are the enemy of the living and are thus, evil by default. Bringing evil into the world is an evil act and thus illegal. Mindless undead absolutely fall into this category and so the casting of spells such as animate dead is an evil act. There are cases of individual intelligent undead proving to be not evil, but that is indeed rare.
  3. Demons, devils and similar entities are (usually) irredeemably evil. Bringing evil into the world (even temporarily via summoning magic) is an evil act and thus illegal.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:10, Sun 09 Apr 2023.
Dungeon Master
GM, 31 posts
Time zone: EST
Mon 10 Apr 2023
at 17:34
  • msg #9

The Heroes Guild

The Heroes Guild is a collection of professional and educational adventurers that represent the ideals of the original legendary Heroes of the Nightmare Land. Physically, the guild is five separate campuses each in a separate district of Gamma City. The Heroes Guild provides training to neophyte and veteran adventurers alike and caters to all creeds and classes.

It’s likely that no matter where your character comes from, they know a little about the Heroes’ Guild even if adventuring isn’t directly related to your background or personal history.

Guild Membership Fees: 100 sp per week.

Services Provided:

Non guild members may still avail themselves of Heroes Guild services - albeit at an upcharge.
  1. Education and information: Services can be rented per the regular prices given on WWN p.34. Sages and experts of every stripe call the guild home and most are willing to lend out their time.
  2. Access to research facilities: The guild is primarily an educational institute and so research of all kind is a cornerstone of their philosophy. All campuses house laboratories, foundries, training yards, etc. that can be utilized by individuals to pursue their personal goals.
  3. Quests: Folks from all around request the guild for aid and the currently available quests are posted regularly on boards in the courtyard. Members can commit their names to undertaking these various jobs and turn them in when complete for rewards. Quests are the primary means for Guild Members to acquire wealth and renown.
  4. Lodging and Boarding: 200 sp per week (Equivalent to a ‘Rich lifestyle’). Some guild campuses are equipped with living quarters that can be rented. Heroes without a Familia often reside on campus - typically novices awaiting to be accepted and veterans with an independent outlook.
  5. Access to The Spiral:
  6. Healing:
  7. Hirelings: Standard rates on WWN p.34. ½ share (negotiable) of treasure for Guild novices. The Heroes Guild has connections with just a wide variety of skilled and unskilled folks in Maret. Though they do not specifically retain a staff of hirelings to be ready at all times, they can make recommendations to find reliable accomplices. In some cases, guild novices themselves may be available and willing to adventure beyond the safety of Gamma City.
  8. Guild Quartermasters:
    1. Magical item exchange: The guild is possibly the only known entity that can distribute magical items. The prices to simply purchase such items of power are naturally exorbitant, and the practice is frowned upon. Rather, the guild prefers to bestow them upon worthy members as rewards for services rendered. The Heroes Guild does, however, compensate adventurers looking to ‘donate’ magical items to the cause.
    2. For adventurers simply looking to liquidate loot, the Heroes Guild will typically pay 30% of the value in GP of a magical item. Thus, a generally more efficient practice is to simply endow or tithe such unwanted items for the XP.
    3. Ember exchange: ///Pending///

  9. Funerary and retirement arrangements: 100 SP per HD (paid posthumously or in advance). Though the guild does not perform funerary services or rites themselves, they do have experience dealing with the local experts in the field. Guild Members can expect that at least the basic considerations will be given to their mortal remains if their adventuring career is cut short.

Joining the Heroes Guild

It’s pretty easy actually to become a Probationary Novice. All you need is to show up, express interest, and prove that you're not a liability. Often this is done by finding a sponsor or at least someone reliable that can vouch for your ability and/or character. Then, there's minimal paperwork and fees - but if you don't have the cash on hand they'll likely extend you credit.

If you want to experience the membership process in game, that's definitely a possibility. If you wanted to say that happened off-screen already, that's fine as well - just give me some backstory about how the process went for your character - you can be creative.

Guild Names

Upon shedding their probationary status, novices of the Heroes Guild adopt a new, official (and often cooler) moniker. This is a tradition begun by the founders who did not themselves adopt Guild names, but did bestow them upon the first graduating class of new guild members.
  • Some famous names in the guild history: Sun Eagle, Sparrow, Dragonborn, Calamity, Rhubarb.
  • Some of the current members: Meteor, Oak, Burnsides, Grey Jack, Iceman, Prism.
  1. Note that if at that point your character does not specify a Guild Name for themself, one will be chosen for them by the guild veterans.
  2. If you (as a player) object to this new name, it can be arranged that your character's current first or last name sounds cool enough for the guild veterans to simply choose that.

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:33, Fri 14 Apr 2023.
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