Equinox Mountain Kingdoms (3.5e Campaign Setting)
From D&D Wiki
|This has some sparse information, but large amounts of material are missing. Please help improve this.
What are the rating guidelines in more detail?
Equinox Mountain Kingdoms
Equinox Mountain Kingdoms is a Campaign designed crudely, with no experience, on a Wiki that allows amateurs among its ranks. If you like one element without another, just take it out. Have fun with it and feel free to edit anything you like.
The Equinox region is a mere continent on one planet of one plane in the planescape, but somehow has grasped a cosmic significance. The era draws near when the world will be plunged into war, turmoil and despair, and Equinox is where it will start-unless you stop it.
Races & Classes
The Base races are essentially identical to the standard races. Classes have no changes, although house rules are encouraged.
Some template creatures such as the vortexians and cartoons exist. Vortexians are those who enter the central Vortex of mount Equinox.
Eberron Races are also present in Equinox, except for the Kalashtar (no psionics in this setting.) The Shifters live in a Hunter-Gatherer/agricultural society, while the Warforgde are subscribers to an industrial age and the changelings the information age.
The Elves and Dwarves are considered to embody Chaos and Law, while humans are the spawn of dwarf-elf relationships. Other Races are considered the results of genetic experimentation concocted by evil dragons, but are primarily derived from human DNA and are thus not evil. Dwarves cannot be chaotic and elves cannot be lawful, but otherwise everything goes.
Magical Classes are altered according to the Religion section.
At the core of Mount Equinox lies The Vortex, a Maelstrom of Lawful and Chaotic energy which dematerializes any creature that enters it. Although most inhabitants are destroyed by the Vortex, the creatures that survive emerge enormously powerful. They are called Vortexions.
A Vortexion may, within 10 rounds, dematerialize and reform themselves as different beings. They become any creature of half their original ECL, and their original items are consumed as well, being replaced by objects equal in worth to half the original gp. (original values apply to the first time they used this power) The vortexions may also reform their alignment, and are typically extreme in their alignments. They change alignments often, and only the Good and Evil (or Lawful and Chaotic) characters feel strongly enough about their alignent not to change it.
Needless to say, PCs cannot be Vortexions. this group is primarily for BBEGs. The most notable is the Duke of Pearl, who accelerates his transformation with the use of his soul-binded enemies. (He uses his knowledge of their abilities to help him copy them. They are kept in a string of pearls in his possesion, thus his nickname.
Found in DnD Other, these are the most powerful NPCs in the universe. Often they represent an assortment of various powers that cannot be represented by sheer class, and make use of various oddities. The Class Iconomasters rule the 12 continents on the planet, and often can be found in various wars. Other iconomasters in positions of power may be moer secretive, controling entire planes. A list of major Iconomasters can be found under Iconomaster (DnD Other)
The Equinox region is centered around Mount Equinox a giant mountain forged by the damage of an Epic Living Spell. The region was transformed into a giant volcano, but was then flash-frozen as it erupted. Thus, polar opposites of Fire and Ice decorate the land. The Northern land (and peak of Equinox) is extremely cold land, under the command of Tundra-dwelling blue dragons. The hot south and volcanic depths of the mountain are haunted by the red Dragons. However, these are at totally opposite ends of the island, and along an equator band, civilization thrives. The heat below the ice caps melts some of the snow, creating the Babblybrook River. The river cools some of the Magma, forming large caverns of Igneous rock. And from East to West along the Island is a Lush green region where most of the Fertile Band goes: the region that serves as home to the civilizations of the Equinox region.
Alignment and Religion
Religion is standard for this setting, with the exception of a small monotheistic order similar to Christianity. Although unpopular in Golduria, the Cleric calling himself Percival follows this religion, and the Deity it follows is certainly good. Sumism, the worship of the deity Egosum, only has 0.5% of the world's population.
Although creatures may vary from their given alignment like in Eberron, The forces of Good and Evil are still undeniably present within the world. LE creatures often reside in the frozen North, while the hot southern region is populated by CE monstrosities.
A common theme for alignment is that Good and Evil precede Law and Chaos. The other great theme is that no one stays Neutral Forever.
Although Devourers may seem to consume the soul of their subjects, the soul is never actually destroyed. Ultimately, we are never given final rest until we decide to be good or evil. All druids, slaadi, and Formians must eventually give out.
Also, Demons and Devils are fallen angels.
As this is the philosophy of the founding DM, you may decide not to adopt these ideas. However, Equinox was partially designed as a Campaign for players who wanted these ideas in their Campaign.
Specfics: Class Changes of Religion
This new semi-Christian religion is known as Sumism, the worship of the god Egosum. It's semi-Christian theme makes it hard to play normal DnD characters who are sumists, since some classes (particularly divine ones) are designed to follow different, corrupted spiritual paths. Thus, the Classes are altered slightly in the explanation of how they work.
The Barbarian can continue to be savage, but must also follow the ethical code set out for it, usually dependant on their conscience, and as much of Sumist law as they know (not much). They are of a foreign tradition to Sumism, and the Sumist barbarians that exist usually have been visited by missionaries.
The bards are exactly the same. Egosum has nothing against beautiful music. Why should he? He invented it.
Naturally, Clerics are the most heavily altered class under this system. Although they follow their God as the pagan clerics follow theirs, they do so not out of any desire for power like the others. They accept that sometimes Egosum will not grant their prayers, and approach him not as a tool but as a master. For domains, Egosum has none, allowing Clerics to choose at will from the list. (Though they may not choose Death or any evil domains like that. Egosum may be broad, but he is also purely good.)
They also receive an overhaul, similar to that of clerics. Since druids must worship nature or nature deities, it is impossible for normal druids to be Sumist. However, Sumist characters have a class available called the Steward with exactly the same class features as the druid. The stewards do not worship nature, but recognize they have a duty to Egosum to protect his creation. They too base their spells on wisdom, for their control over the natural world around them comes from a strong inner peace.
Pretty much the same.
Although the tradition of the ascetic has existed a long time outside Sumism, it too has been integrated in. Often their discipline is motivated by the need for redemption and purity in the monk, and thus their asceticism is motivated by humility. Although Lawful alignments are still typical, one out of hundreds may be neutral good. This works particularly well for those who multiclass as stewards.
Paladins convert to Sumism far easier than any other class, and Sumist adventuring parties often come to exist when the paladin evangelizes them. Paladins may not used forced conversion, nor may they persecute good non-Smuists, although the temptation is often over-powering. Instead, they rely on typical forms of casual persuasion to bring people to the faith.
No problem here.
Since traditional Sumist law has a ban on stealing, rogues are an unlikely addition to the religion. Often, though, more skilled ones find themselves still useful to adventuring parties even if they can't steal stuff.
Sorceror power comes from within, like superpowers. They do not tap into mystical forces, and often form fierce rivalries with the pagan sorcerors who do. Egosum forbids the use of mystical forces, as often they come from dark and evil sources.
Having no powers of their own, they are drawn into the use of mysticism more easily than sorcerors. To stay consistant with their sumist belief, they often take the Gandalf approach, or use sources of magical energy which they are already familiar with. An example would be the matrix embedded at the Earth's core.
False Religions and False Gods
Although these are not true gods (there is only one real one) they are tremendously powerful mortals with divine powers who have been brought into powerful positions by fiends. The religions of the world are combinations of worship of good outsiders (which the good outsiders reject but fiends encourage, answering prayers in place of celestials) fiends, or 3 powerful mortals: Pun-Pun, Cassia, and Mammon.
Pun-Pun is the NE false god of power. He was the secret member of the other two cultists, and is the deity of those who prefer strength to goodness or development (like munchkins). He has been toppled by Lord Gary of Gygax, but seeks ever to return. With a League of Dark Optimizers, his ex-familiar the tarrasque, and his servants the dalkyr at his command, he will stop at nothing to conquer and demolish all of creation. He corresponds to the devil. (not Satan, per se, but in the sense of one of mankind's 3 great temptations).
Cassia (CE) is exactly as her entry on the Wiki shows, except that she was briefly a disciple of Pun-Pun. She represents the flesh.
Mammon is the LE dwarf god of corrupted authority. He was a follower of Pun-Pun and briefly Cassia's opposite and partner in the Yin-Yan war. The ruler of society, money, conformity, bureacracy, and other Lawful evils, he treats individual worshippers as cogs in a constantly growing machine of power. His worshippers are usually evil bureaucrats. He corresponds to the world.
Mount Equinox itself is the greatest landmark on the Continent. It is a swirling swath of fire and ice. Half of the mountain is covered in Glacier, while the other is a firey, magma-filled volcano. At the core lies the most mysterious location in the world: The Vortex. An endless swirl of positive energy and negative energy forming a tight tornado, the vortex flows like a whirlpool into its sphere of annihilation center. Every villian on the planet has tried to harness this energy at one point, but to no avail. The most enormous and succesful attempt produced a polar flash of hot and cold, forming the ground around into Mount Equinox. Some foolish people have tried to enter the vortex, only to be destroyed in the next second. The few survivors of this became vortexians or half-vortexians. It's radius is approximately 100 miles, and it can be seen from anywhere on the continent.
The continent is shaped roughly like a diamond (parallelogram) with the mountain in the center. It is approximately 2000 miles wide and 1500 miles up and down. At the two "points" of the parellelogram are Silvaria and Golduria, while Raneheim is built on Mount Equinox itself.
The area between Silvaria and Golduria, about 2000 miles wide and 1000 miles across, is known as the fertile band. Several rivers run off of Mount Equinox into this large area, bringing the same agricultural benefits that the Nile River brings to Egypt. It is thought that these rivers consist of melted ice, a common commodity on a mountain as polarized as Equinox.
The areas to the North and South of the fertile band are known respectively as the fire and ice zones. Most creatures in the fire zone are CE, while LE monsters are based in the north zone (including a variant ice breathing blue dragon). They frequently invade the Fertile band from both ends, trying to expand their territories into new areas to conquer. The southernmost tip of the fire zone (and therefore the continent) is the cape of Trogdor. Although Trogdor has long been defeated, Lord Ludicrous has made it his base in an effort to establish his (weak) rule over all CE creatures. The Northernmost tip is the Grey Hall, a palace supposedly carved from a gigantic icicle. The villianous General Grey lives there.
Other continents are unknown to the typical Equinox dweller, but can usually be infered from the nature of their iconomaster rulers. If a druid rules a continent, you can assume it will be covered in forest.
Although this is skeletal and the wording is awkward, it may serve to aid the DM in establishing the ground rules. It also establishes the answers to some never-answered questions like:
- Why are some races usually evil?
- How come spiritual outsiders seem to have physical bodies?
- What is magic made of?
- How did Cassia, Pun-Pun and Mammon come to be worshipped?
- What created Equinox?
- Who is this "trogdor" guy anyway?
You may not care about these questions at all, but if you do, here they are waiting to be answered.
- 0-the world and outsiders are created
- 1-the first fall, fiends form.
- 30- dragons created, evolve from dominant erptilian species. Instantly master form of technology known to them as machina. After designing a machina powered civilization, including a machina hard drive at the planet's core,
- 40-2nd fall, in which the above sentence is finished and the dragons collapse into evil. Evil dragons tattoo themselves chromatic colors, and use complex machina powered constructs to provide physical forms for the evil outsiders. Although less than their normal spiritual existence, these forms are powerful enough to conquer the central machina hard drive and establish a factory around it as the earth's core.
- 50-1st war. Good Dragons, realizing that it is an abomination to create constructs for the outsiders, cannot bring celestials of their own. When hope is nearly lost, celestials manifest of their own power. The war creates a stable zone in which fiends are barred from outright conquering world. Dragons, however, do to loss of their central machina hardrive, fall into chaos and nearly become extinct. Minor Machina drives implanted in the Earth's crust form a weaker machina matrix than previously existed. As civilization progresses, wizard's find way to access known machina drives and sorcerors find that some of the power has imprinted itse;f into their bloodstreams. Machina is later retermed magic.
- 60-Dragons nearly extinct. Retreat into hiding.
- 100-Elves and Dwarves emerge. Found urban and wilderness societies. The Dragons teach them rudmentary machina, and guide them to form strongest creatures on the planet.
- 150-Humans emerge from a crossbreeding of elves and dwarves. Evil Dragons exploit the genetic oddities of humans to clone tiny dragonmen. The Kobold Race forms.
- 200-Pun-Pun rises to power. By expermienting on his own DNA, creates the Dalkyr, Tarrasque, and Land of Nonsense. As Cult of Pun-Pun is founded, the human Lord Gary of Gygax uses an ancient machina weapon to chemically imbalance Pun-Pun's already unstable DNA. As fiends and dragons try to kill him for his great weapon, he flees into alternate plane where machina does not exist, and he cannot be detected.
- 300-Pun-Pun's dalkyr worshippers create Xoriat, and found Cult of Pun-Pun on Earth. Kobolds end expermientation on themselves, but not before forming the goblinoids. Goblinoids later form orcs, halflings, and gnomes.
- Yin-Yan war. Dwarves abandon true god to worship Mammon, While Elves begin to worship Cassia. As Law and Chaos become pawns in the servitude of evil, the human and gnome missionaries attempt to return them to true faith.
- 360-Great decimation. Last good Dwarves and Elves unite, using their respective strengths and powers of Law and Chaos to destroy High priest of Pun-Pun. As cults of Cassia and Mammon Crumble, the two races finally return to the good side. The Law/Chaos vortex they generate, forms Mount Equinox, and eventually the continent of Equinox.
- 500-Great temptation. Draconic Demilich Trogdor turns the kobolds, orcs, and goblinoids to evil.
- 600-Vortexion Rise. The Duke of Pearl uses his new powers to found the Dark Optimizers, an offshoot of the cult of Pun-Pun. He tries to indoctrinate every adventurer in the world, but is stopped by the great Dashing Swordsman Ilghiehera Ligriv. He later bonds with Trogdor to start the Trogdor War, temporarily becoming a hybrid Dragon-Man who incinerates all continents except Equinox before they destroy him.
- 700-The overuse of the vortex starts the great collision, as the plane of Eberron crashes into the plane of Equinox, causing new continents and races to instantly appear in the middle of the ocean. Trade opens immediately, and the races spread throughout the world.
- 1000-The Age of Iconomasters begins and the Iconomasters divide the world into different nations and economic regions for them to rule. 12th fighter iconomaster leaves to form his own crime syndicate.
After the destruction wrought which forged Equinox, the Gold and Silver dragons established a pact with Humanity by building the cities of Golduria and Silvaria for the colonists coming to the continent, in exchange for obedience to the Silverian and Goldurian Laws. The Pax Dracona lasted for 7 centuries, during which dwarven explorers founded Raneheim in the caverns around Equinox itself. In addition, the Drusicilian forest grew between Equinox and Raneheim. By now, however, the Southern inhabitants of Equinox live in a land ravaged by Barbarism, and themselves become propagators of it. Meanwhile, the Court of Needles has appeared in Silvaria. A deadly assassin's guild, they establish smuggling through the Silvarian port and through the Drusicilian Forest. The sudden emergence of new warlords in the North crushed the hopes and dreams of millions, turning them into the slaves in a new heartless Empire. Today, the land has been carved up into these various good, evil, and still to be determined factions.
The regions of the land in between the city-states are generally untamed wilderness, but some outposts and loose government does exist in the wild.
The largest of these is the Drucilian forest, the most populated region in all of Equinox. A giant forest, it houses not only beings such as elves, halflings and raptorans, but also forest gnomes, humans, and even a few fey villages. Originally created after the primal eruption which forged the island, The fey were the first beings to inhabit it. Although it was under their domain for the first few thousand years of its existence, the conflict with the green dragons invading destroyed their Empire and the were forced to rely on humanoid allies to repel the threat. Thus, the first pioneers began. Among them were a group of forest gnomes, the descendants of whom would one day forge an alliance with the cleric Percival to overthrow the green dragon Empire. About 100 years before the current time, the Utopian forest kingdom was destroyed after the druidic order in the forest was corrupted by Humphrey Lintymann. They welcomed the green dragons back into the forest, convinced that they were required by nature to destroy the Utopian environment. Taking neutrality to the extremes to this very day, they attempt to act as evilly as possible to balance out the goodness of its inhabitants. After the green dragons were fully instated however, they were not willing to reverse the principle to aid the side of good. Humphrey Lintymann was one of the founders of The Court of Needles. To this very day, the forest is a major smuggling network for the court. Yet some good exists in the forest. See the NPC section (currently under construction)
An Ancient City of Lawful Good People.
Specifically, Golduria was the capital of the Ancient Goldurian Empire. It once ruled the entire continent of Golduria, and was destroyed by the terrible War of Trogdor. The city was founded by the gold dragon Guardian when he was a young wyrmling, as a refugee from the Gold dragon poachers attacking from the bluebobble sea. He came to care for a community of peasants there, as they came to him for protection. After years, as new generations grew there, he faded into the twilight, interfering less directly in Goldurian politics. Eventually, by the time he was mature, the city had become a small kingdom under King Boris the Bumbler.
At this point in time, Guardian began instructing promising Goldurians in the ways of paladinhood. This proved useful, for it was at this point that the first skirmishes of Trogdor occured as the malevolent dragon unleashed a legion of his hobgoblin fighters on the East. As they pilaged and burned the land, Guardian's paladins swept into battle. Eventually, they unravelled his army by defeating the most Charismatic leaders. The Chaotic hordes soon disbanded, and the Paladin Emperors replaced the Kings of older Golduria. The greatest paladin in the land would become the Emperor at the death of the previous one. With Golduria the world's first Lawful Good nation, they naturally became very powerful as more and more smaller countries joined for protection. Eventually, the Goldurian Empire covered Half of the continent of Equinox, stretching from Golduria in the East to Raneheim in the West. Then, of course, the War of Trogdor nearly destroyed them. Today, Golduria has been reduced to its original capital city, but is still ruled by the strongest paladin in the land. In this case, the Paladin Iconomaster.
Guardian's Silver Dragon cousin later established a city of his own, placing it on top of a semifrozen crystaline lake called Babble Bay. Using trade with other continents, Silvaria becomes a global economic powerhouse. Its powerful navy and artistic charm keeps rogue nations from attacking it. Due to close location to the Drucicilian forest, it becomes heavily inhabitde by elves, and is widely known as the city of beauty. Most inhabitants are CG, including the original Silver Dragon, living secretly in a giant ice bubble in the bay beneith Silvaria. The Silvarian Dragons, essentially CG Silver ones, shortly hold rule, until they migrate to pursue artistic endeavors and the city is left in the hands of the most brilliant artist. In structure it is similar to Venice.
Raneheim was influenced partially by bronze dragons, but also by the cult of mammon in its rise. Thus, the Dwarven metropolis spends less time policing the world and moer time making money as mercenaries. Located at the base of Mount Equinox, they are in an ideal position for this.
Many corrupt groups dot the landscape. The generic villains sometimes work together, each with those who resemble him on the Law/Chaos axis, but few actually plan for anyone to profit but themselves. Here are the lists of baddies.
- The Grey Lords: Led by the Gruesome General Grey, these villains systematically decimate lands, forests, lives...all to attain the goal of Dominian over the Earth. Some of their plots have included Dominating the Tarrasque, Gaining possession of time-travel devices, and corrupting those under their influence through Programmed Amnesia spells (see the Spell Compendium). All the Grey Lords are Lawful Evil.
- General Grey (DnD NPC), the leader of the Grey Lords, is a fallen Paladin. However, he posseses one trait no other Paladin has: Lawyer Power. After a shock wave of negative energy stripped him of his powerful paladin levels, he turned evil and became a Blackguard. However, he also became a Lawyer (Politico Character Optimization). He currently has a great deal of administrative power. Extremely lawful, he enjoys using his job as a person of prominence in Golduria to exploit people throughout Equinox. He currently has alliances with thousands of mind-flayers, vampires, devils... and is the leader of the Grey Lords. For some reason, his mind is extremely good at plotting, and he has generated thousands of evil schemes for his henchmen. This includes Dominating the Tarrasque, becoming Emperor, assassinating the High priests of rival religions, and bringing about the formation of a second mind flayer Empire. Still, throughout his corruption, he still perceives himself as the epitome of good. Everyone else is evil. His greatest vice-an incredible ego. weak by himself, but invincible in a social setting.
- Purple Swan, a top Monk, frequently clashes with Gadgety Gilbert. She uses only an amulet of Mighty fists, and assorted miscellaneous wondrous items. However, things have changed of late. While assassinating a wealthy gnome to help Grey attain an artifact in his possession, she fell into a trap and contracted a horrible disease. At the time of the Campaign, she is forced to use Gadgety's aid to survive, transplanting her consciousness into a Warforged body. Naturally she is upset with her loss of independence on items and Machinery, but there is a consolation: Grey has hired a group of artificers to build an adamantine clockwork horror into her new body.
- Macro-Tigey, a Rakshasa lich, works as the sorcerer for the Grey Lords. As yet, however, his only real role in the group is that of ambassador to the Nine Hells. He often aids Gadgety Gilbert.
- Gadgety Gilbert, the team artificer, spends his time designing clever devices for use in the complicated schemes of General Grey or Slitheria. He often has some role in just about every plot the grey Lords have, and is currently trying to turn Purple Swan into the Ultimate Weapon.
- The Court of Needles: A Silvarian thieves' guild. NE. founded by Hans Ombvil, but 2nd oldest member is Humphrey Lintymann.
- Hans Ombvil, a villainous Fighter (Evil fighter, not actually Villainous Fighter Class) is the founder and head of Venomia. Wielder of the Sword of Kas (Dm guide) he also has proficiency with several exotic weapons developed by Venomia alone, or mundane weaponry from planes that have no magic but futuristic technology. (He has Proficiency with all Futuristic Weapons, in addition to other stuff.) Powerful, Cruel, and never smiling, he is currently heading a Court project to break into the Ranehiem National Vault, stealing all the lesser orbs. Few know his mysterious background, and he enjoys a certain amount of anonymity. Corrupted through a Programmed Amnesia Spell, he first came under the influence of evil when he obtained the Sword of Kas. He is the forgotten iconomaster.
- The Armpit of Vecna used to work for the king of Silvaria, but turned away to serve Ombvil and turn his great magical skill to evil. You don't wanna mess with this guy. He's a gray elf, and is highly bigoted towards all non-elves, even half elves. His horrible bullying may be the very thing that drove The Hunter of Races insane.
- Humphrey Lintymann is the most powerful druid on the continent of Equinox. He runs a large smuggling operation in the Drucilian forest, and has corrupted the druid order there. The Court currently has him involved in a plot to obtain the Green Orb of Dragonkind. He has a large number of corrupt druids working for him, and is widely believed to be the head of the Court.
- The Unseen is a 15-year old halfling rogue who has already killed half of the Court's Enemies worldwide. The bodyguard of Ombvil, she is the most anonymous character of all. And to date, she is still one of the most vile.
- The Blood Squad are just a bunch of Chaotic Evil Serial Killers who work together only in the loosest possible sense of the word. However, they can be considered allies. Although they cannot come up with any evil plots of their own, Ludicrous has been known to Hijack the Evil Plots of others, and often comes up with sinister gimmicks on the spot.
- Lord Ludicrous is a psycho bard with a penchant for Otto's Irresistible dance. His favorite type of performance is rap music. He also carries a large clock around his neck which he has stolen from the Duke of Pearl. Last seen trying to unleash Trogdor, a draconic demilich, he has since moved on to taking advantage of the Duke of Pearl's plan. He enjoys using mind control to send people into self-destructive frenzies, and makes frequent use of Song of Discord. He once used a Rulership Artifact to level a Dwarven City to the ground by forcing the city militia to butcher the civilians.
- Mr. R, a half-orc barbarian, has spent a good deal of his life smashing everything that makes him upset. Ludicrous has currently entrusted him with a powerful ruler ship artifact, and has set him on a Campaign of terror to south Equinox. The goal: unleash Annihilatrix.
- A serial killer, ranger, and avenging executioner, the Hunter of Races is best known for his variety. A half-elf, he has made it his hobby to kill as many sentient beings as possible- and often makes taxidermy from any particularly fierce victims. His favorite is the head of a halfling paladin that he keeps mounted on his wall. He attended the same private school as the Armpit of Vecna, whose constant bullying gave him a powerful hatred of purebred elves. Last seen convincing a group of aboleths to attack Silvaria, he remains a seriously nasty dude.
- The Duke of Pearl is the most mysterious villain of all. Rumored to have several evil templates (mind-flayer lich vampire half-fiend) he is of an indiscernible alignment. The only things known about him is that he likes to collect his victims' souls in pearls...that he somehow absorbs the power of each person he entraps...that he is an even better schemer than Gray...that he has many allies...and that he owns a portrait of himself that he has never allowed anyone else to see. Perhaps it is his phylactery.