The Scale (3.5e Campaign Setting)
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Compatibility with other settings
In its vanilla cosmology, The Scale doesn't interact with or assume the existence of other popular D&D settings; this is mainly because I don't care as a DM for universe hopping outside of planar travel. However, If you do, this section will aide in incorporating other settings into the cosmology of The Scale.
there are few ways that you can incorporate other settings into The scale:
- The other setting is simply another scale on the great dragon - This is the simplest method of incorporating other settings, where the material plane of the setting is a scale somewhere on the great dragon. While this exports the setting to the great dragon, it has some wider implications to the cosmology that you would need to account for: how are the deities transferred? is there another nearby group of celestials exclusive to this scale, or are you adding more to the current celestial plane, which would affect the Scale to some extent. questions like that will need to be considered.
- The Cavern can be found somewhere in Wildspace - Most official D&D settings nowadays have some place in what remains of the spelljammer setting, being different bubbles of wildspace, or crystal spheres, within wider space of Phlogiston. This allows the scale to have its separate cosmology while allowing other settings to lightly interact.
- The cavern is part of the material plane of your choice - If you size the setting down to a massive degree, you could potentially have the great dragon as simply a dragon within the material plane of your setting. This is somewhat weird but can work.
This section will go over the races found in the players handbook (PH), the Races of Fâurun (ROF), some Monster Manual races (MM) and some homebrewed (HB) races and explain their places in the scale.
Most races of the scale are fairly standard fantasy fare, though please don't come with too many assumptions based on that. While aelves are graceful vegans with long lives, that is (hopefully) where similarities should end. Especially on how their cultures are, don't assume you will know how things work because you are versed on fantasy tropes.
The races of the scale have a highly sympathetic relationship with the land on which they wake; innate magical forces affect populations from slight visual changed to complete physiological changes. (certain theologians & and cosmologists believe that all of the sentient bipedal races (humans, aelves, dwarves, etc.) are derived from one true creation of the dragon and populations splitting over thousands of millenia have led to different races. This is not the same as evolution, mind, as these aren't necessarily useful in any regard but more just the energies and nature of a place affecting the races in a strictly magical sense; there is no evolutionary reason as to why the dwarves of Mikhrandir have iris' made of crystal that can change type depending on affiliation, but it makes sense in context of the place they live and the structure of their society.)
While this section goes over only most races from 'The Races of Faerûn' and the players handbook, that is not to say you should feel limited to just these races: there is many a secret passage that doesn't quite make physical sense and unexplored place for any race to exist technically on the scale, let alone the countless potential races that inhabit the other scales that serve as other material planes. The races listed below are merely the ones that are accounted for in the setting of the scale.
Note: the concept of race within scalic societies is slightly different to that of Earth; Within most of the scalic societies, you are considered what you are mostly. for example, if your character was born of a half-aelf and an aelf they are considered a full elf, both in regards to stats and socially (feel free to use half-breed stats if you prefer). Notable outliers include the 'touched' races (Muta, genasi, etc.) where as a result from their highly segregated & oppressed societies, any drop of blood is enough to be considered one of these races. Ethnicities are also very fluid to most inhabitants of the scale: humans have ceased to even keep track of ethnicities anymore (mainly due to those who benefit from racial divide being either deposed through the war of assimilation or have moved to more obvious divides; goblinoids in dast are a much easier scapegoat than other humans, etc). & the aelvish ethnicities are mainly as a result of travel difficulties across the scale; nearly every person is free to move around from a legal standpoint and scalic societies will generally accept those with open arms, though the difficulty of travel is only really alleviated by either money or magical prowess. The main driver of conflict between the different groups are not of ethnicities or race but of ideology, class or cultural norms (the war of assimilation was initially sparked by the new human population farming animals for food, and not because they were some weird other, though the rhetoric of 'the other' was used to rile up the general population).
The stats for each of these races are in either the player's handbook, Races of Faerun, Monster Manual or are homebrewed. If they are from book, use the 'Racial Traits' section for the stats, disregarding the 'automatic languages' part as they are derived from the culture rather than inherent to a race. Any differences other than that will be stated.
Homebrewed races will have a subsection in their article.
The aelves of the scale are as numerous as they are varied, with their one through-line throughout being their natural grace. their faces tend to be thin and angular, with sharp jawlines. however, their proliferation throughout the scale has led to this being their only true visual trough-line; even their distinctive ears have notable regional types.
Note: These are general ethnicities and do not necessarily show the complete picture of the aelves of any region; while most peasants do not have the means to emigrate anywhere, those with the means (nobles, ex-adventurers, etc.) will sometimes do so and are more often than not accepted into whatever group they join if they follow local tradition.
The Endrath'ni are the mostly nomadic aelves that populate the southern portion of the mainland, with pockets of them being found along the Southern Peninsula of Dast all the way to the Fungal Dales and parts of the Free Plains of Mjarbuk. They usually stand at the usual aelven height of around the 5 foot mark and have a dark brown skin tone. Their facial structure is similar to that of the Mjarlbuk'ni but their ears
The most common ethnicity of aelf on the scale, Mjarlbuk'ni share the most blood with the other races within The Great Plains. As such, they generally have fairer skin than other aelves, tending to reach a light caramel tone at the lightest, and are generally more stockier in build, though they are still obviously aelvish in nature. Mjarlbuk'ni tend to be on the extremes of aelven height, with some only growing to the lower end of 4 feet tall while some can end up at 6 feet tall by the end of their first century.
The hair of a Mjarlbuk'ni is generally straight to slightly wavy with a ruddy blonde coloration; it will usually end up sun-bleached in the summer. Unlike the other ethnicities of aelf, both facial and body hair grows not dissimilar to a human rate, though the general stereotype of hairless aelves leads to many, though not all, shaving this hair away (waxing is more common with those who have the means to do so).
Their ears are fairly standard aelven fare, though somewhat smaller than other aelven ethnicities; they are usually 3-4 inches from lobe to tip.
Ghamad'ni are the primary aelven ethnicity of the ashlands. usually standing at roughly 5 feet, their most notable attribute is their black as pitch skin. While dark skin is the norm for aelves, the skin of a Ghamad'ni is said to have an almost purple or blue tint to it, as if they've had their warmth drained from them. They are generally slightly more weighty than other aelves as the extra few inches of insulation has saved the lives of many a Ghamad'ni.
Their ears are comparable to that of the Endrath'ni, tilting both outwards and slightly downward; they are usually between 5-6 inches from lobe to tip.
As with their skin, the hair of the Ghamad'ni has been sucked of color and warmth; it is generally thin & lacking in volume, usually ending up frayed and knotted without any proper maintenance. As such, most Ghamad'ni usually keep their hair short and opt to wrap up warm. Their hair coloration is usually on the greyscale; dark grey is the most common, though the ruling class usually prefers to enforce hair on the extremes for their servants (either pitch black or pure white) which has led to dyed hair becoming common. Outsider groups have recently started to use these hair dyes for non-standard colours (maroon & purple being common) as an act of small rebellion.
The Laharen'ni are an odd outlier within the aelves as they are an almost entirely aquatic subrace of aelves, though there are some above ground settlements (see Laharen'ni culture section). Most notable of their many notable features is their rich dark teal skin.
The original race of aelf that populated the mainland of the scale. the Gara'ni aelves are the closest to the et'ealf both culturally and physically. dead race
Dwarves (or Dwarfkin) are a subgroup of humanity that were brought along during the coalescence. due to their place in the conflict, they now mainly populate the Free Plains of Mjarlbuk and Mikhrandir. The throughlines of the two groups are their build, which is most often stocky and wide, and their height, which spans from 3.5 - 4.5 feet. they have roughly the same amount of natural hair growth as humans (women grow the same amount of hair as men), though their cultural norms usually leads to none of their hair ever being cut, which has led to the misconception of them being a very hairy race of people. They live for roughly the same amount of time as humans.
The most common kind of dwarfkin and the closest to their human cousins pysiologically. They stand closer to five foot tall and are well built, though not cartoonishly so. In fact, their isn't much difference between a standard mainland dwarf and a somewhat short human. the primary difference between is what is known within Dwarven circles as "the calling":
Mainland Dwarves aren't especially suited to their above surface enviroment: one will always feel more comfortable within a dark and cool room than the wide open of most scalic conditions. Many dwarves feel this pull away from the surface at a young age, leading many to leave home at an early age seeking a more desirable life. some dwarves follow this call all the way to the scales core while some simply build their house into a nearby hill. while it effects every dwarf differently, its presence is truly universal over all mainland dwarves.
other than the calling, the other primary difference between humans and mainland dwarves is the matter of hair: a dwarf has naturally rougher and straighter hair that will grow all over the body, regardless of sex: it is not uncommon to see a female dwarf with a full beard; quite a lot of them, however, shave in order to conform with more human/ aelvish centric beauty standards.
The crystal dwarves are a recent subrace of dwarf that have grown to dominate the Dwarves of Mikhrandir. they stand at the shorter end for dwarfkin and are of darker skin than their mainland counterparts: the generations of living in an area of eternal daylight has led to their skin tone being heavily tanned and dry. their clothing conventions have also led to harsh tan lines, which in turn has also effected fashion to some extent: intricate patterns of tanlines are commonly found on arms in leu of tattoos.
The defining feature of these dwarves is the beautiful crystalline iris' that glow softly in the dark. the type of crystal of the iris is a good way to see what family the dwarf belongs to. (family is more a social term in Mikhrandir rather than one of blood) and is known to shift upon adoption or marriage (which are effectively the same thing due to the relationship structures of Mikhrandir)
(needs detail added)
Crystal Dwarves are known within dwarfkin circles to have a much less extreme calling than their mainland siblings. this is mainly because all their inherent needs are met usually in makhrandir, though the ones that feel the calling usually will head to the mainland due to the natural nakedness and brightness of the crystaline peaks leading to feeling over exposed.
nod'bvir (orcs) PH
The nod'bvir are a race native to the plateaus in the south-east wildlands, though they have spread across much of the mainland. they were originally created as a warrior race by a higher figure they named Hin'roth and fulfilled the role orcs usually filled in other fantasy settings. Since their Hin'roth abandoned the people after a schism shortly before the War of Assimilation, the race has mellowed to a generally non-violent group of nomads.
physiologically, orcs still harbour their history as constructed for violence: though not are all strong, their bodies are naturally lean and show their muscle mass. They stand at roughly 7ft tall at the smallest with the tallest reaching a few inches above 8ft and their wide shoulders gives them a naturally imposing image. When born, orcs naturally grow long body hair, though with their coming of age they usually malt most of their hair save for the head. from then on, they don't grow any body hair naturally bar some southern populations that have mingled with humans and Mjarlbuk'ni. They can, however, grow a full head of hair, for their entire life. Males do lose the ability to grow hair on their sides beyond a short length roughly a year after their coming of age. their hair type varies between the populations, though the most common types are dark and loosely wavy.
Their skin at birth is a somewhat muddy green and it lightens throughout their life. The darkness can sometimes hide pigment patches that, once their skin starts to lighten after their shedding, become more obvious. These patches are somewhat like a reversal of vitiligo visually, having a similar shape for these patches of dark green pigmentation.
One aspect of contention in regards to scholarship around the nod'bvir is that of their life span. for a long time, it was believed that they were a short lived race, more so than humans, mainly due to their coming of age ritual occurring at the age of 12 and their oftentimes young death due to their original culture. this, however, has been proven wrong post coalescence as the race hasn't been in any form of warfare after the war of assimilation: Not one nod'bvir has died of old age in the 500 years since, leading modern scholars into believing they have a comparable life span to aelves. In truth, they can naturally reach a little further than a millennia old and the oldest nod'bvir currently alive are still middle aged and their hair has only just begun to grey.
The most unusual aspect of the nod'bvir is that of their sex and perception of gender. when they are born, they are born without any primary sexual characteristics at all and are covered in a thin layer of hair to keep them warm in their natural habitat. this hair stays up until their coming of age at the age of 12. this period is ended with a ritual in which all their hair, including head hair, is shaved away and they are to meditate for the next 12 days. upon finishing this meditation, the young nod'bvir is expected to choose both their sexual characteristics and gender (these can be separate as some characteristics that are traditionally seen as male in other society, such as lactating breasts, are neutral in their society. they can also choose to have multiple of certain elements.). this then leads to a final ritual in which they begin their puberty and both primary and secondary sexual characteristics will begin to form. Puberty takes an additional 12 cycles to complete fully, whereupon they will be fully mature in the eyes of their society.
their are three commonly understood social genders, with two subcategories within each, for nod'bvir.
- male (nodan)
- female (nodir)
- third gender (nodon)
these are purely physical and relate to potential partners rather than their standing in their society. The sub categories are spiritual and physical. the spiritual relates to the individual's gender and the physical relates to their sex. most nod'bvir are naturally pansexual in that they take what they can get; reproductive compatibility isn't a large factor in courtship as their isn't much need for young due to their long lives and the lack of social stigma around having multiple partners, being seen as, while not the norm, it is common enough as to not cause a stir. a common philosophy around courtship is 'if you roll the dice enough, your bound to get 12's eventually.'
the stats for the nod'bvir are on [page 18 of the PH. Alternatively, you can use the stats for any kind of orc in ROF, though the negative to intelligence could be kinda eugenics-ey.
Lizardfolk ROF 
The half-folk of the scale are technically a subgroup of aelf that stand between two & three feet tall. They mainly populate small towns & hamlets within the dunic hills and the surrounding drained fenland in a pastoral life near the southeast coast of Gul Rueada.
Sometimes, those devout enough within celestial worship are gifted with
The Muta (tieflings) of the scale are much more numerious than those of other well known settings, mostly due to them being a native race for the most part. Along with the standard but less common 'newblood' Muta, 'racial' Muta are deeply ingrained the culture of the scale.
Muta who can trace their lineage back to the Muta of summermarble rather than a specific fiend. These Muta often have heavily diluted blood and, as such, their appearance only really hints at their fiendish ancestry. They have roughly the same skin tone, height and build as their parents, though their tongues are commonly slightly forked and have sharpened teeth. Less common are horns and tails, which rarely appear as stubs.
This is inverted by the racial Muta of summermarble: their insular communities ensure that their fiendish blood isnt diluted often and their ritual horn fights and mating rituals have made their horn often larger than even newbloods for the most part. Their skin varies from a dark ashey tone to deep reds with flecks of white and they are usually more lithe due ritual fasting being a feature of blood queen worship.
A Newblood tiefling is one with the relatively new addition of fiendish blood, after the Muta of summermarble became established (this name is somewhat archaic as the scales contact with other planes becomes further into the past) . They generally have more noticeable fiendish features, with bulky tails, crimson to blue skin, large horns and cloven hooves being very common. Culturally, their only defining feature is their lack thereof due to their rarity. Sometimes, they are adopted into racial tribes but they mostly live as outcasts to whatever society they're born into as adoption is exceedingly rare.
The Tanin of the scale are exceedingly rare, with their numbers likely being below 500. This is due mainly to their circumstances of birth: the Tanin of the scale are not born of other Tanin but rather of two parents and a freak influx of magical energy during the gestation period. It is considered a great honour to be parents of a Tanin; those parents that do are often venerated within the community, even though they do not raise said children. The children, if born under the Gara'ni (and their proxy states) are immediately taken at birth to be moved to secluded training halls or one of the magical academies throughout the scale, which they won't leave till fully trained as guards or court mages for high ranking Gara'ni administrators. This training process incurs a heavy dose of propaganda for the young Tanin; after all, a person born after the image of the great dragon would provide a great threat to the religious and political status quo of the Gara'ni culture if they decided to break off from the church.
Tanin born into areas free of Gara'ni jurisdiction usually end up living relatively free lives or as outcasts due to their "freakish" visage. Unfortunately, even those born free can't bring the race into any prominence as all Tanin are born without sexual characteristics. While a Tanin will usually end up fitting into standard gender norms socially as they are brought up in heavily gendered societies, it is not uncommon (roughly 40% of them) for Tanin to forgo any gender norms (or gender itself for that matter) that their culture pushes upon them.
Visually, Tanin resemble a dragon, were it vaguely humanoid in shape. This carries over to their faces, which resemble that of dragons were the snouts less prominent. Decorative features like horns and head fins will develop over the course of a Tanin's life and are an easy way to get a general view of a Tanin's age as they don't show physical signs of aging once fully grown or till their final year of natural life. Once fully matured, Tanin can stand anywhere between roughly 6' - 7'6 feet tall, with tall frames and wide shoulders. They have large digitigrade feet with thick scales and clawed hands. Their hands, feet & chest are covered in thick, armour-like, scales which have either a metallic sheen or matte quality and skin having a somewhat leathery quality to them. The colouration of these scales & skin relate to their type (see table below) A Tanin will generally have a comparable lifespan to that of an aelf, though it is hard to truly gauge their maximum natural lifespan as most will die in combat beforehand.
As mentioned above, the Tanin are separated into multiple different types, relating to different forms of dragons. As the Great Dragon is constantly shifting with time, the type of dragon that a Tanin is born resembling the most is dependent on what month of the year the 6 month mark of the pregnancy occurs on, as that is when Ensoulment occurs. The resemblance includes: skin tone, scale colour and placement, decorative items such as horn and fins and size. See table below for details. I will use the Gara'ni season names as most Tanin are born into Gara'ni controlled Land.
|Ensoulment within sé'suné will usually lead to Tanin born holding the characteristics of Black, Green or Copper dragons.||Example||Example||Example|
Quick note: the type of visual resemblance doesn't affect allignment, despite the popular belief of the folk of the scale. this had led to certain days becoming taboo for courting just in case of the potential child bein a Tanin.
As Hin'roth abandoned the orcs, his whims went further into violence. He took his most fervent of followers from his first creation, the orcs, & twisted them further till they were a violent caricature of even the original orcs. These "Žah'roth" would stand up to 7 feet tall were they not terribly twisted & hunched, usually preferring to walk on their fours. With this posture they stand roughly as tall as a dwarf, roughly 4 feet tall. They are as stout as a dwarf, too, with thick layers of muscle & fat coating their bodies. These bodies are usually covered in artistic depictions of figures from their mythology, usually attained through scarification rituals (this is derived from similar orcish rituals, though Žah'roth aren't as adept as their orcish counterparts). Their hands & feet are large, being large enough to enclose themselves around a human head & strong enough to crush said head outright. This is true of both sexes.
Their faces, as with the rest of them, are hideous contortions of that of an orc, twisted through the lens of a hog & anger. They have many rows of thick fangs that grow constantly throughout their life (Žah'roth do not die of old age but rather have their fangs grow slowly into their skull, killing them. though it is considered a social taboo to do so, some Žah'roth cut their fangs as to avoid death. they are subsequently clubbed to death by a disgusted tribe). They don't seem to have any nose or ears with the holes left with their absence being covered by skin flaps & have large orange eyes that glow sharply in the dark which they like to dwell. A Thick head of black matted fur covers their heads.
Due to their magically tainted body, their is not many high level Žah'roth within their society, those that do attain levels are usually either barbarians, as tribe leaders or fighters of renown within the community, sorcerers, feeding off their strong inherent magic, or clerics in service to Hin'Roth. The Barbarian is the only class that really plays to their strengths however.
The stats for the Žah'roth starts on page 124 of the races of faerun.
As this race is both rare and has a high level adjustment, it is not recommended that players play this race
While the concept of half-x is alien to the aelves of the scale, the idea was natural (& ingrained into their pre-coalescence societies) to the humans. As such, the concept of half breeds has become, while not accepted by the aelves completely, a not unnatural way of viewing those born of mixed lineages. As perception & belief are some of their core tenets of how magic affects the worlds (see section on magic for more detail), those born to mixed parents started to become somewhere in-between. These half breeds are most common in regions with high human populations, such as the Dastian Empire and the Free Plains of Mjarlbuk, for the most part due to the reason stated above, but also the higher sex drive of the human population in comparison to other races.
This covers all half-Aelf ethnicities (bar the two below). That being: Gara'ni, Endrath'ni and Mjarlbuk'ni; as the concept of half races is a human invention, in addition to the mainly human perception of aelves as a singular force, these half-aelves exhibit their aelvish in a very generically aelvish way, regardless of their aelvish parent's lineage. The most common form of Half-aelves is that of a human and an aelf, though there are exeptions of half aelf, half halfling/ Dwarf. these are oddities rather than a major portion of the half-aelf population. Regardless, their stats remain the
Usually, a half-aelf will look just like that, half an aelf. They are generally slightly taller and slightly wider than an aelf, with a generally darker skin tone than most humans. their faces are usually more resembling that of a human, though their ears and eyes will betray their aelvish lineage. As stated earlier, sometimes the other half of a half-aelf isn't human but of something else. In that case, they will share certain traits (height, natural weight, etc.) with the other race of your choosing.
A half-aelves stats are the same as the half elf stats in the players handbook (pg. 18)
The rarest of the half-aelves, Half-Laharen'ni are the result of a very small band of human travelers (roughly 6 of them) that managed to make their way to the northern peninsula of the ashlands, where coastal cities of Laharen'ni have existed a closed off existence for millenia, unaware of the wider world's development, roughly 50 cycles ago. The Laharen'ni assumed the humans to be aelves of some unknown ethnicity and they were taken to the grand palace at the center of the city to be learned from and, over the course of the next few decades, they gained prominence as advisors to the court, with one actually gaining membership.
As a result of this, the six eventually became ingrained enough to marry into Laharen'ni families. Only two did, however. But they had many children (for Laharen'ni at least) and there was consequently a small number (roughly 15 between the two families) of Half-Laharen'ni were born into the world, roughly 30 years ago.
Visually, the Half-Laharen'ni look mostly human, were it not for their teal skin and slightly webbed hands. their ears also are slightly sharpened, where the distinctive Laharen'ni fin-like ears begun to form but never fully shifted. They share a love of the water with their aelvish parents, though it is uncertain as to whether this is due to nature or simply growing up in the heated pools of Jharana (the capital) gave them fond memories of swimming free.
As they share the aging rate of their human parents, these Half-Laharen'ni are now considered adults in there parents eyes and have nearly all taken up their parents roles as envoys and ambassadors to the Laharen'ni; they have travelled around the world without much issue due to the neutral party that this new faction acts as. As such, they haven't entered combat for quite a while and could conceivably start within the first tier if a player decides to play one of these, though I would recommend introducing these as 2nd tier PC's.
Due to the unique political situation of the Laharen'ni within the scale (being so new to the political climate that most people barely know of them), it is unlikely that any more families of Half-Laharen'ni will sprout up within the next century. There is the posibility of the two existing families interbreeding at some point in the future but that will only delay the issue by a generation; unless the Laharen'ni manage to spread themselves out of their country, these half-breeds will soon become a distant memory.
Half-Laharen'ni were given easy to pronounce forenames of Laharen'ni origin, perhaps in prediction of their future role as ambassadors. Though surnames aren't a thing within Laharen'ni culture, their human parents insisted on them retaining their family names. As such, they either have the family name of "Vogel" or "Engel".
The stats for the Half-Laharen'ni can be found on page 61 of the Races of Faerun.
When creating your character, you have an additional 15 language ranks to allocate to any language you want in addition to any you are given within your stats, reflecting your nature as an emissary.
A Mutt has a bit of everything in them, being born of many different racial lineages. Their skin tone, height, hair colour, ear shape and even tooth form is completely inconsistent with others of their kind. Although they've existed to a lesser extent on the scale for as long as there have been sentient races, Mutts have seen a large growth in their population with the coalescence and the relentless lust of humans for anything that moves.
As the Dastian empire started to introduce various races into their working population, the humans within those groups started to intermingle. After a few hundred cycles, a good portion of the working class had the blood of so many different racial lineages within them that the nobles of Dast ceased to see them as a form of human, like how half orcs are principle seen as orcish rather than human.
Due to their mainly poor upbringing, Mutts are often hardy folk who revel in the grime that nobles look down upon them for; you wouldn't be suprised to find one messing with engines or tinkering with discarded toys.
homebrew to be added later
I've split each area into three subsection. that being:
- Topography is the general lay of the land. this will give an overview of the geographic features of a land.
- Regions will go into each individual region of the larger land, this goes over the general climate as well as the description of the land.
- Settlements goes over each individual settlements placement and relationship to the land. it will also describe its placement in the land. these are only brief descriptions so see the settlements, see the settlement section for further details.
A small but contested island between The Dastian Empire & Gara, Eisen is situated just east of the entrance of Gul'rueda. It is currently experiencing a brief restbite from any physical conflict at the moment, though tensions remain. Each faction refuses to relinquish their claim on the island, either due to political stubbornous or the large deposits of iron under the surface. This has led to a compromise, where the island shares ownership between the two factions. This is a unique situation between the two and, as such, whenever any calls for politicking are heard, this is where talks often occur as a neutral ground.
There is a distinct political divide between the two purveying factions of the island. This divide is unofficial, however, as the island is legally under joint ruling between the two factions. Each faction does have certain areas with more political and demographic influence due to where their populations lied at the end of the war of assimilation. The divide is roughly one of north to south.
Eisen is the Dastian name for the island. the region they control covers the northern half of the island in addition to some coastal land on the southwest of the island. This is the purview of The Dastian Empire.
Jazira-don is the Gara'ni name of the island. Their region covers the rest of the island, with most populated elements surrounding the southern bay.
the ruins of an ancient city set upon a flat region of the southern cape. It is unkown if it's the ruins of a vertical city or something aelvish.
2. Qariat kalij/ Küster
the main town of the island
a small village teetering on the edge of the cliffs of the coast, with some of it being supended directly against the edge.
Summermarble is a relatively small island situated roughly halfway between the western tip of the mikhrandiri peaks and the pirate isles. It is characterized by expansive deserts, ancient cliff-faces and deep caverns that span all the way down to the where the ground turns red from proximity to the dragons scale (one of the entrances to the underdark)
Originally, what is now summermarble was populated exclusively by various touched races (which is interesting because it means some form of humans could've existed on this scale pre coalescence before their blood became mixed with various other extra-scalar races), most commonly Muta, genasi and kenku. Due to how extra-scalar races work, there never were any half Muta or anything. This culture of touched races had a long oral history that detailed their history all the way back to their creation up till their present day.
When the Gara'ni ælves came to summermarble in 300'915 PC, they saw demon people who worshipped something from deep below the ground so, naturally in their religious zeal, struck many down where they stood. The native population lost the majority of their oral history that day alone. Since then, native culture became the backdrop what is now the religious center for scalic society.
Since its official formation in 300'912 PC by a religious sect of the Gara'ni ælves, Summermarble (Suno'ko) has been the center for the cult of the great dragon and its affiliated power. Summermarble enjoyed a long peace (internationally at least. The native peoples didn't enjoy that they'd been invaded and regular raids continued for a few centuries) until the Coalescence where religious tensions were high: the newly introduced human and dwarven peoples didn't follow the religious doctrine that constituted life for most major cultures Before Coalescence.
The wars that raged on summermarble, like the rest of the scale, were long and bloody through the human lens. But, through the eyes of the elvish, they were swift and surgical, lasting a mere 60 years. (See the war of assimilation).
Post Assimilation, roughly half the human population (the Free Peoples of Mjarlbuk) and a small sect of Dwarves (who assimilated into wider Scalic society) officially joined the cult of the infinite dragon and its intertwined systems. By present day (800 PA), its not uncommon to see both humans and dwarves within the bureaucratic structures of the cult of the infinite dragon.
The name, summermarble, is actually a translation error that so many people used it became common in speech. It came about by a dwarf trying to translate the island's elven name (suno'ko) to common; he was apprenticed to Dagnal Iphulker, who didn't know the humans tongue at the time. Suno was translated to summer (somewhat rightly, though it misses its most obvious element, being a place of fire) and the ko element was translated to marble. While ko (most directly meaning holy place) was translated to marble due the translator: as a native dwarf speaker, he viewed the relation between holyness and marble as a natural connection that happened automatically to him.
Khazukon was once a large empire that spanned almost half the scale, with its borders spanning all the way around from the heartland of Khazukon (still marked as khazukon on modern maps as it hasn't been recolonized to a significant degree) to what is now the Ashlands. Nowadays, a good third of their empire is now the forest of dreams, another third is the ashlands and what remains is a cold and frozen over wasteland.
Most of Khazukon is on a slow slope, with its highest altitudes being on the south portion of the region. This altitude slowly lowers, with some artificial plateaus carved out where the vertical cities once were. it is hard to say where the coast is as there is a good mile after the coast where the sea is frozen over with the same uniform snow covering it completely.
most of the region is covered in a deep shadow due to the tall mountain range to the far south. unlike the rest of the mountains that encase the south edge of the scale, these peaks are almost completely stone. In the hey-day of Khazukon, stone was extracted from there to make the massive vertical cities whos ruins now pepper the wastes of the ashlands and khazukon. As a result of this massive amount of mining, the mountains are structurally unsound and are mostly held up by thick veins of ice that act as a glue for cracks in the mountains.
The far eastern edge of Khazukon, Kubiri is an isthmus between the main area of Khazukon & the mainland, leading to the forest of dreams. It starts with similar terrain to the rest of Khazukon before grass starts to grow, though trees continue to be sparse throughout the region. There is a frozen over sea to the south of Kubiri which has a small crack to the far south of it. On the celestial plane, there is a waterfall derived from this crack. The fish that once populated this sea were a delicacy for the Khazukon Empire. The northern peninsula of Kubiri has the ruins of a vertical city near the coast.
the south bit w/ mountains
were the coast ends and theres a mile of ice
the far west area where some Mikhrandiri have settled
While this area is almost completely uninhabited, the ruins of the cities still stand tall in the snow, as well as some minor settlements under the control of Mikhrandir spouting up in recent years.
Forest of dreams
The Southern Peninsula
the Dastian Empire
The Free Plains of Mjarlbuk
pre coalescence humans & dwarves
the old wildlands (Coluna'no)
orcs of the wildlands
The natives of Summermarble are mostly populated by Muta who live in small tribes that travel within a region of summermarble. most of their culture is put towards the worship of the blood queen
The vampire covens of the scale are both widespread and highly secretive. The first vampires started to leave their native land of summermarble as stowaways on Gara'ni ships as supply ships came and went to fuel the war effort; they didn't stay hidden on these ships for long due to their hunger. Oddly enough, this vampiric expansion is one of the main reasons that the Gara'ni forces destruction of summermarble's natives wasn't complete. Since then, vampires have proliferated themselves throughout the scale, indiscriminate of race. Nowadays, vampires form small covens that situate themselves within the high ranking roles of the society they're in or, alternatively, seek complete isolation from wider society, mostly the former due to their lust for power, and blood.
Dastian vampires have situated themselves in silent positions within the landed gentry. They will usually stalk the night in search for the 'sweetest' prey, though they will often be forced to settle for working class folk due to a mix of their insatable hunger a reluctance to draw ire with other nobles if they are found stalking any 'fair maidens'. This coven is widely a group of land/ factory owners just in case they need to feed low for a while. These vampires are all male presenting, though not all cis.
Summermarble's vampires still often fulfill their original role as matriarchs and religious servants to the blood queen within their tribes, who now guard the last of their holy places with their lives. The strength and age of these few vampires ( with only 5 currently known to be in summermarble as a whole) has led to these places being resolute through time and scalic domain. These vampires are all female presenting, often with cherry red skin, tall, jagged horns, hooved legs and snaking tails, displaying their very old tiefling blood that has been diluted by the mortal Muta for over 200'000 cycles.
Upon the free plains, most vampire covens have been driven to the point of extinction by the vampire wars that occurred 500 cycles ago, with many groups being reduced to one or two vampires by Wells half-eyed, the grand inquisitor of the Hanali Kingship. As such, these groups steer clear of the wider populations of the different monarchies and empires that form the free plains of Mjarlbuk, making their home in abandoned homesteads and castles of long dead kingships, only feeding every decade or so on the odd adventurer or wanderer. These vampires will cling to any resemblances of the luxurious life they once led, as they also cling to the anachronisms of their times. (These groups are the most similar to the traditional gothic portrayal of vampires)
Languages & Scripts
As with reality, there isn't just one universal language that everyone speaks. As stated earlier in the races section, languages aren't inherent to people, but is rather taught during childhood or later study.
The Aelvish tongue is the most widespread language of the scale, being the primary language of Gara, The Free Plains Mjarlbuk and Summermarble, with notable dialects for the settlers in Dael Anramad and the Endrath'ni travellers. while colloquially referred to as aelvish, not all native speakers are aelves nor is every aelf fluent in this language.
aesthetics and real life comparisons
Most vocabulary of aelvish (and subsequently naming conventions, place names, etc.) are based on a mix of arabic, aramaic and some limited vocab from latin. This is mainly as a placeholder so I can continue with my work on the orcish language without worrying on this too much. Hopefully I will build a conlang for the 'standard' of the language however the aesthetics of the language should be similar.
Baž'Dol, Baž'Roa & Tor'Hat
This group of very interlinked languages is the native tongue of the orcs. They are all mutually legible for the most part but certain vocabulary and systems can only be found in one or two of them. see the section below for conlang details
- Baž'Dol (first words) is the most basic form of the language and forms as a basis for the other two. It is not spoken much as the other two are more extensive.
- Baž'Roa (respectable words) is the version of orcish used by tribe leaders and follows the rules set by Baž'Dol as perfectly as possible. It is considered incredibly formal and only used either by a tribes leader or when speaking to said leader; it is usually taught during education. Most foreigners who learn orcish through study learn Baž'Roa.
- Tor'Hat is the informal and more day-to-day form of the orcish language. It follows less to the strict and regimented rules of the prior two, opting for speed and shorthand over formality. Most orcs speak this during a normal day.
Religion is a core aspect of nearly everyone's life on the scale: It has been a fact of life for most people that worship is an expected norm that most will fulfil as it is seen as simply normal. While not mandatory (there are many areas where religion isn't as prevalent as others). As a player or DM making a character, consider the context of your character (notably cultural and geographic) when deciding their religion (or lack thereof) and incorporate that into them accordingly. Religions are more of a commitment than other D&D settings: regular worship is often expected culturally.
this section will be split between the the religions themselves and the deities of each religion:
- the religion section will go over the context of the current state of a religion, how the religion works, any specific practices not related to any deities and holy books (if any).
- the deities section will go over exactly that, the deities that exist within the religions of the scale. the history, outlook and interactivity of a deity will be discussed here.
The Cult of the Great Dragon
This is the most common religious family on the scale. There is a lot of shared elements between the separate religions so I'll keep them within this shared section. While every practitioner of these religions worships Oamacas as a rule, most practitioners also have taken to worshipping certain celestials as lesser deities. these celestials usually only work as regional deities, with the exception of their patronage of adventurers
Mostly practiced by the Gara'ni aelves. this religion worships Oamacas exclusively as a single true deity. Within this religion, Gara was the first landmass of the scale and all others, including other races, arrived by coalescence-like events or were derived from the et'aelf, though the Gara'ni view themselves as closest to their shared ancestors.
The Great Dragon
The day of fire (Suno Anhalian)
- The Great Dragon
While not celebrated as a deity, there are a few dates where Festivals are in Sugaor's name, made to ward him away from the scale.
- The Opposer
- Sugaor D'qiarcia
All the religions that worship Oamacas have a lot of shared elements. one of these shared elements is their holy books. While they are not unique
A form of pantheism native to the island of Narcaroth
a drastically different cosmological view of the universe that is common to the Mikhrandiri dwarves. it views the material plane as a plateau on a mountain that is slowly growing to the edge of existence. The coalescence was two peaks colliding and bringing the two worlds together.
While the official stance on religion for Dast is that of Atheism, many of the common people have a highly complex religion that is based upon a the many folk traditions of pre-coalescence human societies and other various diasporas that are a part of the Dastian Empire. This religion is slowly dying out, however, as, in order to hold a position as a Dastian official (be it soldier or clerk) you are not allowed to be tied to a deity: the Dastian ruling class view it as a distraction from their work. Therefore, you are only truly likely to find permanent shrines in areas like The Gutter or the southern peninsula (the large region of farmland that supplies Dast with food) where working class life is either too dense or too sparse to control effectively.
All the sects of this religion hold a core set of beliefs that are universal. those being:
- Polytheism - The Dastian religion is polytheistic, worshipping many gods. It is split into three core 'pantheons'; those being that of fire, dirt and metal; see later for details. Individuals will often dedicate themselves to one of three pantheons rather than worshipping the full number of gods.
- Worship of progress - While originally a nature religion, Vielegott has progressed from worshipping natural growth to artificial growth, progress through mechanical means, as technology became more and more prevalent within Dastian culture.
- A shared history - Vielegott has a universal set of myths that seek to explain the reasons for the coalescence and the many deities co-existing. these are all collated in the "Eisenbuch", a collection of core myths etched onto iron sheets and held within a large box, usually also of metal. Most shrines will only ever have one or two sheets as the full book is understandably cumbersome.
Deities in Vielegott
As Stated previously, The wider pantheon of Vielegott is based upon the many distinct pantheons of the pre-coalescence societies that led up to modern Dast. This isn't exclusive to humans and dwarfkin, but also the various pantheons of goblinoids, Orcs and the scant few aelves that found themselves within Dast. As such, this vast number of deities has had to be boiled down to their base elements and sorted into three smaller sub-pantheons. While most worshippers agree that many of these gods are the same deities, most prefer to use the name from their original culture or language.
There are three sub-pantheons within Vielegott, each one is a collection of deities that hold a similar attitude towards worship and the world.
- Zorn - The pantheon of fire worships the traditionally warlike deities, such as Hin'Roth, the original deity and creator of the orcs. Their purpose, however, has been dulled somewhat in order to be accommodated into the religion. Within this pantheon, the worship of growth is taken as the worship of expansion. As such, many of these worshippers find their religion taking them down the path of either combat, joining the army expanding north into the wildlands, or building. In fact, followers of this pantheon are well known in The Gutter as the providers of makeshift housing, digging both down and building up as the land surrounding the city is owned by the landed gentry of Dast (and to break the law against the gentry is effectively a death sentence).
- Vuil - The pantheon of dirt stays closest to the nature religions of pre-coalescence human religions. Followers of this pantheon worship the small amount of greenery that remains in Dast. While mainly farmers, the most interesting demographic of these followers is that of those in the Gutter, where valuable water is sacrificed for small gardens and small green-dens (a vuil shrine). Some old aelvish deities (outside of the cult of the great dragon, Endrath'ni specifically) are some of the notable deities of this pantheon.
- Stahl - the pantheon of metal worships complexity above all else. Deities such as Tokee (known as Uhr in veilegott), the Clockwork God belong to this pantheon. This is the most niche of the three pantheons, with the least gods and the least worshippers as the technology that it worships is incredibly new; clockwork has existed within gnomish lands for millennia, hence the deity existing, however the common Dastian mindset has increased their usefulness greatly. "The world is becoming clockwork" is a common Stahlite saying and, if you never grow up to see the border of the Gutter, that has been increasingly true for decades now. So, why not worship this new and exciting progression?
Worship in Vielegott is both highly unique to each deity and highly generic across the religion. unique in that certain dates on the calendar are dedicated to specific deities with highly specific practices to be completed on that day. Generic through the day-to-day practice of most members of the religion.
A standard tenday of a practitioner is just like any non religious person; they will go about their occupation for most of the day like anyone else, with maybe a brief prayer before bedding after a long days work. most practitioners couldn't be picked out from a crowd. One of the only ways to find this type of practitioner is they might have a holy symbol of their preferred deity somewhere on them.
There are two notable exceptions from this rule:
- Shrine Tenders are a small group of worshippers that build and maintain small vielegott shrines within the back alleys and nooks of the Gutter for different pantheons. These people don't have any job or occupation beyond this and rely on the charity of those who leave offerings to the shrine. (contrary to popular belief, the offerings are to give thanks to both the Tender and the Gods. the Tender will often eat any food offered as part of their worship) Tenders are often seen as authorities on Vielegott practice and lore, and often are, though their main duty is to the shrines and not to knowledge.
- Most Stahlite practitioners are relegated to the the lower levels of the Gutter.
Summermarble Native Religion
The religion of the Muta is an omnipresent aspect of their culture, even for the tribes outside of Summermarble. It is a primarily monotheistic belief system that sometimes is expressed through pantheistic practices.
The entire religion is built upon the regular worship of their deity Chì-Obara (either translated as "the blood queen" or "the queen of life", thussri pti nackor is also a commonly used name with a similar meaning) which they veiw as a personification of the world in which they live.
Religions are never truly distinct and this is most apparent in the deities worshipped throughout the scale: Many deities hold positions in many pantheons that they aren't native to (with cultural mixing being common). Therefore, in-stead of repeating deities within each section, this section will go over all deities worshipped within the context of the religion section.)
Many deities have multiple names or vary in other ways throughout different cultural traditions. As such, each deity will have a list of common elements; there will be parentheses specifying if any elements are unique to any religions. To avoid cultural-centrism, multiple names will be alphabetized in a list. for the sake of brevity, the first name in said list will be the name unto which they are referred to as during their section.
Tokee, Tokle, Uhr
Originally a family deity for the half-folk house of Gnome, before they expanded out to a group of towns, the god Tokee is the patron god of clockwork within both the half-folk ancestor religion and the pantheon of metal within veilegott, where he has gained prominence as the oldest member of the pantheon. With this small surge of popularity from the gutter, his nature has begin to shift: His originally jovial nature as an ancestor deity has started to fade as a more esoteric and cold nature has started to form, though much of his original nature remains.
creation and origins of worship
Tokee was a prominent figure with the early settlers to the Dunic Hills as the head of the House of Gnome. Despite his small figure in comparison to the other Et'Aelf, he was well loved by his family and well known for his contraptions, though they were never more than contraptions, of clockwork. Upon his death and subsequent veneration into a minor deity, he became vastly popular within the house of gnome and remains the main god of the house to this day.
Tokee's worship within Veilegott originates from shortly after the the nation of Dast's creation. A small group of half-folk emigrated to the island as part of the preamble to the war of assimilation, where his worship was slowly incorporated into the wider religions of Dast over the course of centuries. As the upper and middle class of Dast started to become more influenced by atheism, Tokee's worship became only noticeable within the gutter, where Dastian forces couldn't reach.
Magic & alternate systems
Regardless of type or school, magic within the cosmology of the scale is based principally on force of will & belief. the driving force of magic is the will of practitioners and less any specific spells; spells are merely incredibly specific exertions of will. Belief is the driving force of reality: the only reason the cosmology of the scale is a physical dragon is because the largest & oldest religion on the scale truly believed it for so long that it became real. As a general rule of thumb, things only work on the scale because enough people believe it will work. By this logic, if a great enough upheaval of social norms was to occur that, say, the Dwarf-kin of Mikhrandir & their religion where to become the dominant & most populous force on the scale, reality would shift to suit their cosmology (see section on the Mikhrandiri religion). Gara'ni religious heads are completely aware of this and this is why the Gara'ni aelves are so strict with their doctrine, or work to incorporate new aspects (such as celestial worship) into their doctrine as to not upset the status quo.
These forces aren't exclusive to practitioners of magic; see the section on folk magic & also the introduction to the races section for more details on this.
Standard D&D Systems and Circles
For many sentient peoples, the desire to categorize and order all that is is nigh on inherent. This is also the case for magic. Many mages throughout the years have tried to organize magic in various ways but in recent years the need for strict subjects with the rise of learning halls for the arcane has led to a uniform set of 'schools', each named after the 8 specialist academies dotted throughout the scale. All forms of standard D&D magic fall to some degree into these schools. Quick note: The schools say nothing on the magic's source but are artificial categories made by human & aelvish minds.
Schools are universal to all magic sources (and are a social construct in a sense), and are a way of categorizing all the specific exertions of will that constitute the D&D spell list.
The Arcane source is one derived completely from will, rather than belief. This form requires a strong mind and iron will. practitioners of this source include wizards & sorcerers.
The Divine source is derived from fervent belief, usually projected into deity worship, who they belief casts the spells on their behalf. Though Druids & paladins don't necessarily project their worship onto deities, the core tenet of belief is still there. Practitioners of this source include Clerics & Paladins.
The inherent source of magic is the flow of magic within a being. This acts as the source for spells you might get as part of your racial traits and magical parts of the landscape. In a sense, this is technically a form of the divine source as it is rooted in belief rather than will (Muta can only cast darkness because common belief says so) but common interpretations and arcane academies separate it out. While technically arcane casters, the root source of a sorcerers magic is of the inherent source.
Soft & Folk Magics
As stated in the introduction to this section, levelled characters (wizards, clerics, etc.) aren't the only practitioners of magic on the scale. As a projection of will, a large enough group of fervent believers can concentrate enough willpower to enact physical change on the scale.
History & Myths
As reality is shaped by belief on the scale, there is no real discernable difference between factual history and myth. As such, this section will go over the generally accepted history of the scale by most scribes. I will use the After Formation (AF) and the Pre/After Coalescence (PC AC) cycle counts as these are the primary ones used over the years by scribes (very early texts would have used a different date count but for the purposes of ease I will only use these two counts.
quick note: As the major political force, the 'official' history of the scale is highly Gara centric, which also bleeds into the fantastical elements being explained through the lens of Unsahalia. If your campaign is from a different cultural perspective, keep in mind that the perceived history of your cultural norm will be different from this timeline. There will be a subsection later giving a brief outline of any completely separate histories, such the fairly isolated history of the Laharen'ni or Narcaroth. One timeline of note will be the pre-coalescence humans and dwarves: while most of it has been lost as humans and dwarf-kin were uprooted from their home, the principle myths and socioeconomic situation of just before the coalescence is integral to understanding the events leading up to the war of assimilation.
- 0 AF, 9548 PC
The formation of the cult of the red dragon (CRD) is often seen as "the beginning of history" by many. On this date, the first known sect of CRD was now open enough publicly to hold a written record (at the time it would be clay tablets and a stylus rather than parchment). The group wasn't large but had enough of a following to be bringing in revenue in the written record. At the time CRD was merely a few small groups within one of the major settlements of the et'aelf home island of Gara. Not much is really known about this earlier period of history either culturally or geographically, though the placement of cities is relatively the same as it is on modern Gara. The records do have some note of other religions and related religious movements but they aren't really of note. The group remained relatively small for the next few decades until the next major event.
- 34 AF, 9514 PC
The Et'aelf prophet Sadiqa came to prominence.
This setting is built to as compatible with the rules as possible, however, some things that are a part of 3.5e don't quite work with the Scale as a setting. the list below documents the changes I've made to the rules and the reason[s] as to why. Its up to the DM to implement this if they want (playing vanilla won't break the setting, these are mere recommendations)
- I've opted to scrap the preferred class system as it can lead characters down a pigeonhole into archetypes. As this will effect how fast the party progresses, consider giving the party more XP to compensate this.
- Rather than counting languages as proficiencies, languages are counted as skills. All language skills are based on intelligence. at 5 ranks you can hold a conversation in the language and by ten ranks you are completely fluent in the language and automatically succeed on language parsing checks. When starting a game you start fluent with two languages and with 5 extra ranks for different languages. If you are trying to parse from a language (see section in languages) in the same family as another language you have ranks in, you make the check with a modifier of half the language modifier. (keep in mind you can't speak a language through this means)