Alcon (5e Campaign Setting)
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This campaign setting operates on the supposition of natural abiogenesis in the absence of divine intervention while maintaining a fantasy setting. In other words: there are no gods, magic is just part of physics. It then goes on to explore the idea of a world where evolution is influenced by magic as a force of natural selection. It is named after the planet the setting revolves around. The biggest difference is that all races are actually subraces of humans; there are no other valid racial options in this setting. It also uses an additional set of rules which define the nature and mechanics of magic in tighter detail than the core game, as well as adusting specific spells for functionality in a setting which lacks the core rules' assumed cosmology. The setting has a mixed "fantasy future" vibe to it, with the lower classes wallowing in pre-industrial feudal or tribal filth, and the wealthy residing in futuristic towering cities of silver and glass with flying chariots and traffic police officers carrying 12-shot reloadable wands.
Alcon has had only one evolutionary line to develop intelligence, much like Earth, and this species closely resembles humans in a superficial way. (Though their biological structure is dramatically different, as it is with all life in the setting) The "races" of Alcon are all simply different breeds, or subraces, of human. These breeds are remarkably varied, with a few being nearly fully speciated. Magic increases the rate of speciation substantially, which causes the rise of bizarre monsters and a range if diversity unheard-of in reality. Each subrace of human simply forgoes the normal ability bonuses in favor of a special ability.
The Nomadis are, as far as can be determined, the direct descendents of the original human species, from which all of the other species diverged. All that has changed since their ancient exodus from an equatorial jungle, is that they have gotten somewhat taller on average. It is unknown what, exactly, caused humanity to become an invasive species, but some 200,000 years before the current age, humans began to spread into surrounding regions. These wandering caravans would, over the course of 10,000 years, eventually develop a single, continuous migratory path covering the entire planet, which various cultures still use and maintain to this day. There are colossal megalithic markers, predating history, which they constructed all along this route. The exact technology behind their construction has been lost to time, and matched only by advanced magic; they are one of the greatest mysteries of the world. As the migration period went on, many groups tired of travelling and settled in various lands. With each generation dwelling in a given area, the settled humans became more adapted to their local environment. The Nomadis who continue to live a nomadic life are recognized and respected by most nations, and have become a sort of international trade market and caravan, carrying news, goods, and wealth around the world. They are rarely involved in politics, and few nations dare attack them for fear of the trade consequences.
To play a Nomadis, simply follow the rules for playing a human, as described in the PHB, ignoring the section on Forgotten Realms names and cultures.
Nadalisians settled in a region covered in dense forest, with incredibly tall trees, and fairly even land, with a great quantity of food available, and some of the world's most vicious predators. Because larger people tended to fight off predators better, and there was plenty of food and land available, they were able to grow in size considerably. The average Nadalisians is approximately 10ft tall. For a long time, they used their great size militarily to conquer surrounding nations, but were surprisingly defeated by the diminutive Declairians a mere century ago.
If you play a Nadalisians, you do not get any ability bonuses. You are large in size.
The Declarians are a shorter breed of people who have adapted to life in a harsh mountainous region. The windswept crags are mostly barren, food is scarce, and predators are ferocious. The people took to dwelling in caves, then took to sculpting subterranean dwellings of their own. Smaller folk took to the limited food and restricted environs better, do after a few thousand years, most of their people are under 4ft tall.
If you play a Declairian, you are small in size.
The Helioans adapted to a dense forest region with extremely complex ecosystems. Predators were huge and fed on herds of diminutive, evasive creatures. In order to survive, they had to become intensely aware of their surroundings, both to find prey, and to avoid predation themselves. Helioans have intense, large eyes, with wide pupils, able to see good detail at great distances and in the dark. Their ears are pointed and mobile, allowing them to pick up more subtle sounds. Their noses are flared with complex sinus passages making their eyebrows appear to be a sharp ridge. Their tongues are long and forked, like a snake's, with the ability to detect subtle traces. Helioans are awash in a world of aesthetic sensation, and the musics and cuisine of other cultures often come across as offensively overwhelming and barbaric to them, while other cultures find Helioan aesthetics to be bland and nondescript due to their great subtlety.
You have proficiency with perception and insight.
At level 10 choose either proficiency or insight; your proficiency bonus is permanently doubled for this skill. (Temporary effects which affect the senses, such as blindness, still work)
Rihitians are native to a region known as the burning swamp. The vast wetlands are home to a micro-ecosystem which creates great clouds of combustible gasses. The larger flora and fauna have evolved to utilize these gasses. Plants which defend themselves with gouts of flame, and animals which detonate explosions with a spark are common wildlife in this region, and parts of the swamp are eternally aflame. As a result, the native Rihitians have adapted to endure heat and flames far better than other human breeds. This adaptation has coincidentally turned their skin bright red.
The Vekans, sometimes called Oroci by the cultures of the Althan valley, are those men who settled in the volcanic rift during an event known as the riftwalk. The riftwalk was a period of unprecedented volcanic stability in the rift, which allowed humanity to expand Northward out of their home ecosystem for the first time. While most continued on into Alth, and further North past the Tyhrian mountains to begin the Nomadis migration, a few chose to settle in the rift. This is a land of heavy volcanism, with earth as black as night, plants which appear to be more metal or mineral than organic, and rivers of lava. There is very little inland water, and it is an extremely dangerous place to live. It is a land of overwhelming death and decay, where many species travel to die, and disease lingers in the air everywhere. Aside from turning their skin a deep, neutral, opaline black, they have become highly resistant do rot, decay, fungus, and infection. Their people were the first to discover metalworking, and to this day are the most technologically advanced metalworkers in the world.
The Quona hail from one of the smaller continents at the farthest Southern tip of the mega-coral barrier between the red and yellow seas. Because their diets consist almost entirely of seafood, and the red sea is red due to the creatures which live in it, most Quona have bright red skin. If a Quona grows up eating a more normal diet, they will have normal-colored skin. The creatures of their landmass use disorienting high-volume, high-frequency noises to stun their prey. The people have adapted to have incredibly small ears, flattened against their heads, to the point of almost not having ears. They can hear most sounds in the normal speaking frequencies, but higher pitched sounds are outside their range.
Disadvantage on checks to hear very quiet or high-pitched sounds.
A race of humans with prehensile tails.
+1 Object interaction.
A race of people with horns.
Natural Weapon: Horns. Piercing damage.
The Fanayans have four arms.
+1 Bonus Action
The Lacusians have four legs, arranged somewhat like a centaur.
The Shivakan have two heads.
You have two classes with equal level. You may only use the features of one class during your turn. You use the lowest HD between the two of them for level up.
The Shiavonan are native to the flying land masses and have grown angel-like wings.
The Anticostans live on the opposite coast from the Procostans across a vast inland sea. The Anticostans have abnormally long, mobile necks.
The Coroseans are native to Corosea, and have grown gills, allowing them to lead fully amphibious lifestyles, though they are still land-dwelling and primarily human in appearance.
The Murd dwell in dangerous lands where even the vegetation is predatory. They are barbaric and live in squalor, being reduced almost to animals. Their hands have adapted to become bladed claws, making it difficult to hold objects or do fine tasks with their hands.
Natural weapon: Claws. Cannot safely hold anything with bare hands.
The Laseans are native to Lasea. They have adapted to a fully aquatic lifestyle with webbed digits and fins on their forelimbs and backs. They do not have gills, however, and must surface for air.
Native to Nemasea, the deepest sea on Alcon, the Nemaseans have displaced their legs with 8 octopus-like tentacles. They are primarily aquatic, living on the slopes of the marine cliffs and mountain ranges in the region.
The Baldorans are covered in protective scales.
The Junon are an extremely hairy folk, resembling sasquatches, though more human in posture and gait. They are native to the frozen southern mountain ranges, where the snow never melts, making the hairiest folk the best adapted to survive.
The Emolec are covered in feathers instead of hair, though they have no other bird-like features.
+5ft speed. Climbing and swimming speeds are equal to normal speed.
Antlers? Function absorbed into Nafrasian. Needs renovation.
The Ocumin have exceptionally long arms, allowing them to place their palms to the floor while standing upright.
Melee reach +5ft.
Unicorn? Function absorbed into Nafrasian. Needs renovation.
Superior flight, but lack hands. Must use their feet as hands. (May simply remove this. Flight is already offered as a flat bonus. Why choose a penalized version?)
The harsh Gunaeans are a race of nomadic raiders who were cast off by the Nomadis millennia ago. Banding together, they survived by raiding caravans and settlements. The centuries of violence have warped their form, making them into hulking brutes, hairless, with rough, armor-like skin and short tusks protruding from their lower jaw.
The Phion have four eyes arranged in a 2×2 grid. The lower eyes are slightly smaller and less expressive, lacking eyebrows.
The threshold for a critical hit on attack rolls and checks reliant on eyesight, is reduced by half your character level. (So a lvl20 character gets a critical on a natural 10+)
Unlimited super flying. Tiny size. (May remove flying? Being tiny has as many advantages as disadvantages.)
The Mudoyen have suction cups and sharp claws on their fingers and toes, allowing them to climb nearly any surface without difficulty.
Climbing DCs reduced by 15, any surface may be climbed, even upside down and moving.
The Shenseans, native of Shensea, are reviled as being repulsive, for they are coated in a thin layer of transparent slime. This slime is a defensive coating which protects them from the corrosive excretion of creatures in their homeland.
The Thrad are one-eyed people.
The Isphie do not have faces; their head is barren below their brow. They lack facial features such as a nose, ears, or mouth.
Faceless. Sensory Psionic reliant.
The Kionan are partly mineral, having crystal projections instead of hair, and a sandpaper-like skin texture partially composed of solid mineral deposits. They are a strong, hard, patient folk.
Natural damage reduction equal to half character level.
The Usorians are covered in 6" long quills, something like a porcupine.
Piercing damage equal to half character level dealt to anyone who successfully lands an unarmed strike or grapple on this character.
The dudoclan have a thick lobster-shell-like carapace covering their bodies. This natural plate armor makes them look slightly bug-like.
Natural unarmored AC bonus = character level ÷2.
The procostans are hairless, but have a tall crest-like ridge from the center of their scalp.
They have 6 short tentacles around their mouth.
Their skin has no color whatsoever.
Bulging globular eyes. Gollum-like. Cosmetic.
Their skin sparkles as though they bathe in glitter.
Skin is covered in bioluminescent patterns.
Their skin radiates bright light for a distance equal to half their level in feet, and dim light out to a distance equal to their level in feet.
Natural Weapon: Bite.
Clerics and paladins still function. Although Alcon does not have gods in the traditional sense, there are a number of powerful entities which have decided to take that role for themselves. Like real religions, they all have dramatically conflicting values and origin stories, but it is far harder to say "your god is false" when that god then appears before you and says "no I'm not". The spells granted to a cleric are based on the deity they pay tribute to; they are a gift as payment of service and the tool of their trade simultaneously. Few of Alcon's gods have a coherent "sphere of influence" as posited in a common D&D setting, giving their worshippers whatever they think is most useful to their cause.
I guess this is supposed to be a guide to the cosmic or extradimensional structure of the setting? Alcon is a single universe with no extradimensional planes of existence. Anything in the core rules which utilizes another specific plane, (such as the astral plane or the far realm) does not work in this campaign setting. (Note that this does not prevent one from creating alternate planes, such as demiplanes)
Alcon is a planet ~4× the size of earth. Gravitation is generated by a magical effect, not mass, and Alcon's gravitational effect is actually unusually weak for its size. One Alconic rotation takes ~24 earth hours, though its people divide this into 16 "phases" which roughly equate to 1.5 earth hours each.
Alcon has three moons, each of different sizes. The smallest is made almost entirely of liquid water and is the nearest. The second is also the largest, and has rich iron and substantial water, giving it a bright rust red color. The third moon is the farthest and is a barren dust ball. All three moons spin fast enough that their rotation can be seen if you look very closely at them in the sky for a while. They all orbit Alcon on roughly the same axis, but at different distances and speeds.
The complex lunar cycle results in elaborate tidal patterns which, in certain years, culminate in a catastrophic global storm.
Alcon orbits a young, volatile, hyperactive star at a wide radius, well within its green zone, though the "sun" appears rather small in the sky, somewhat of a pinprick of intense light.
There are a number of other planets in the system, but they hold no practical importance for the purposes of playing the game.
For detailed cosmology in the setting refer to Cosmology (MyCampaignSetting Setting).
Although there are no gods in the sense of "creators of the universe", there are several species of pure-magic creatures which are essentially equivalent to gods. Certain individuals in these species have taken it upon themselves to influence the lives of mortals.
Alcon is 4 times the size of Earth and has no axial tilt. Its days are divided into 16 hours, each of which are equivalent to 1.5 earth-hours. (So a single 16 Alconic-hour day would be equivalent to one full 24 earth-hour day) Because there is no axial tilt, the day is always exactly the same length, every day of the year, with equal time spent in daylight and night. Sunrises and sunsets are brief. There are no seasons, not hot, cold, dry, wet, rainy, or anything else of the sort; instead, climates are formed by temperature bands, with the hottest climates aligned by the equator, and the coldest climates at the poles. The polar regions are dominated by titanic glaciers which extend all the way to the sea floor, making literal continents of pure ice. Where these glaciers have extended into the temperate regions, they behave like thermal vacuums, siphoning heat away from the surrounding water and air and generating unusually cold regions for the band. Where seas which cross the equatorial band touch the glaciers, they have been melted back, carrying warm water far into otherwise frigid regions, creating vast expanses of shattered ice fields, filled with icebergs of all sizes. During the planet's formation, the polar regions of the planet cooled first, forcing almost all volcanic activity to the temperate and equatorial regions. As a result, the middle lands of Alcon have dramatic variation in altitude, with towering mountain ranges unlike anything seen on Earth, and frequent volcanos. Rivers are driven entirely by the nearly constant precipitation at higher land altitudes in the two temperate bands, North and South of the equatorial hell. The world-spanning seas cross multiple temperature bands, which generates phenomenal forces in the planet's weather system, producing huge storm systems which can last for centuries. Individual storms wander the seas in relatively predictable patterns, following the sea and air currents which drive them. Inland flora exist only from water swept inland by the colossal storms generated by Alcon's mighty seas, and the rare river. There are no blooming or seeding/fruiting seasons; almost all plants bloom and seed at a regular pace. Many plants can be both blooming and seeding at the same time. Very few animals migrate. Those that do, follow their own schedule or pattern, which has no relation to time of year. Navigation can be difficult. Latitude is determined by measuring the angle of the sun from the horizon and adjusted by angle of sun direction from North as given by a compass. Without a compass, accurate navigation is impossible, and sea voyages would be near suicide. There is no commonly present "North Star" to discern North at night. Years are tracked by watching star constellations, without which it would be impossible to even know that there is a cycle of any sort at all. People on Alcon do not value the passage of time anywhere near as much as we do on earth; they use it as an organizational tool to keep track of the regular pace of history. Because such knowledge has no other practical use on Alcon, it is otherwise ignored by the vast majority of people. Constellations are not given special importance, meaning, or myths, and astrology is barely a practice beyond simply identifying constellations. It is impossible to know the month during the day.
Overall, the absence of an axial tilt, and the presence of such magnificent bodies of water, have made for an incredibly violent, dangerous world- but also an incredibly predictable one. Unlike Earth which is typically safe except when it unpredictably decides to kill people, Alcon is mostly dangerous in the same ways at the same places almost all of the time.
For detailed geography in the setting refer to Geography (MyCampaignSetting Setting).
Alcon was a planet formed from the dust of a supernova of a star born from the dawn of the universe. After billions of years of hurtling through space, it cooled until liquid water and gaseous oxygen could mix with hydrogen and carbon to form complex molecular structures. These structures are part of an ongoing chemical reaction called life, which, assuming the continued power supply of the sun, will never stop. After millennia, individual instances of the reaction have become increasingly complex and specialized, until the relatively recent arise of individuals which are capable of recognizing and understanding their own existence. Then they started making music, killing each other, building stuff, and in general just wasting time while they ponder what purpose they have in a purposeless universe.
For detailed history in the setting refer to History (MyCampaignSetting Setting).
Uh... isn't that what campaign settings are? I don't know what to do with this category.