Age Of Ascension World Details For Draconic Destinies

This is the world in a nutshell as it pertains to the players in this campaign.

The Heroic Details

What's my Base of Operations?

We will be beginning in a large frontier city called Towering Oaks, in the young kingdom of Northwood. The town itself has only really recently become a city, starting as a small frontier village in the northern forests between the Capitalist Human nation of Ossia, and the Elven lands of Xalliman. It then exploded in size rapidly, becoming a large city in the span of about 6 years. As settlers flooded into the city it expanded outwards and became the focal point of a new small nation, with smaller villages supporting it. The Republic of Northwood itself is just a couple months shy of it's second anniversary when the dragons attack the capital city, and the game picks up the day after the traumatic event. The city is in ruins, and will take a great deal of time and money to restore it to it's former glory; as such, the Chairman is relying on heroes to help, which is where the party comes in.
Geographically speaking Towering Oaks is up north, in between the Ossian city of Wintersmith and the Elven town of Thaywood with a well travelled route to each. It is a boreal forest area, south of a large mountain range. Terrain is a mix of hills, plains, and forest; with mountain and glacier more as you travel north. Soon in to the game you will be given an opportunity to establish an outpost off in the wilderness, but you will be able to count on Towering Oaks for support.

Do I look different from everybody else?

The racial mix in the town is pretty well limited to the standard races.

  • Humans are the most dominant race, being either immigrants from Ossia, or refugees from the civil war erupting there.
  • Elves are the dominant race of Xalliman to the west and traditionally dislike human expansion, though they've learned to mostly co-exist after having served alongside them in the Great Ossian-Grandian war. Several elves, mainly ambitious discontent nobles, have immigrated to Northwood to trade and expand their personal spheres of influence into human territory. Elves in the area are generally either petty, snobby nobles or xenophobic warlike border guards.
  • Orcs are much more common here than would be expected. Orcs were the main aggressors of the Great War as they were the dominant race in Grandia. As the war went on Dwarves started using the Orc prisoners of war as slave labor to compensate for the damages they were taking from the fighting near their properties. Slavery has since been abolished, mostly, and the slaves emancipated, mostly. Unfortunately most ex-slaves can't return to Grandia as they're seen as weak, or worse, traitors and spies; so they take up residence in Ossia or now Northwood, and try to start a life working for whatever they can scrape out. Capitalists generally love them, as they're cheap labour. Communists decry their inhuman treatment and demand fair wage and treatment, though they are guilty of occasional racist acts towards them when Orcs were brought in to take union jobs during a strike. The Greencap Nationalists hate the orcs and think they are a plague on the nation.
  • Dwarves aren't as common up north as elsewhere, but they are around. Most are either immigrants looking to set up a new mine for their family business, communist abolitionists trying to absolve their race's sins by freeing slaves from trafficking operations, or refugees escaping persecution in the Ossian civil war. Recently there have been dwarven immigrants from North of the Wall but these Northern Dwarves are an almost entirely different breed; they are less refined, a little bit crazy, and cannot access magic of any kind due to some kind of ancient racial curse.
  • Gnomes are of two breeds. The first is the standard rock gnome. Rock gnomes are excitable creatures, bursting with creativity, and are found in many areas common to dwarves. They pioneered gem magic, and are masters of making ornate jewelry and wondrous items. Rock Gnomes are also very known for scholastic and religious pursuits and every one of them considers themselves an expert in some minor area of knowledge. The second breed is the Mekkgnome. Mekkgnomes are insane, brilliant, little inventors who originate from the southern continent of Gigantis where they battle giants in nomadic house sized steampunk robots. They are superb gunslingers, alchemists and inventors. They have recently started moving north, spurred to come over due to the Great War, and have since been setting up shop all over the continent in small pockets. They can often be found piloting a steampunk type airship somewhere, or blowing up an alchemist's lab in a city. As well, Mekkgnomes worship humanity, considering them to be the great prime race from which all others descended upon their spaceship crashing to the planet.
  • Squigga - A humanoid squirrel race that is exclusive to the north. They're kind of like gnomes with tails. Exceptional adventurers, but incredibly grating to be around all the time.

How do I make a living?

In this area there are all kinds of opportunities for employment, be it legitimate or less so. For legal activities there is any number of professions needed on the frontier; farming, lumberjack, fisherman, craftsman. As well, it is an uncharted area, so adventurers can get charters from the Republican Council to explore the land for them. A university was recently built in the capital, as well as a Bardic College, so they could also be students. For less legitimate work; there is a bustling dock district and busy trade route that can facilitate smuggling and robbery, as well as extortion and even some gang warfare. It is a young city so gangs are still carving up their territory in the poorer parts of the city and a clear power structure hasn't emerged yet. There is a Morganite temple for any potential members of the clergy, and plenty of spots in the rural area that could use missionaries or medical professionals. Finally, budding politicians and those aspiring to serve with a military can easily find their calling at the Palace, Embassy, Garrison or Military Academy in the capital.

Have I been doing this long?

This is a young area, if you've been adventuring your whole adult life and you're over the age of 30, then you came from elsewhere, probably drawn to the possibilities of fame or fortune in the boomtown.

Are we at war or at peace?

The whole world basically just concluded a World War, that started off as the Ossian-Grandian War, about 20 years ago and has been in an economic slump since; though it is slowly recovering. Ossia itself broke apart in a civil war between Capitalist and Communist factions in the last couple years. Northern Ossia is the Capitalist, traditional, half of the country, and that is your eastern neighbour. To the west Xalliman is a collection of Elven Provinces each ruled by a Prince of a different noble house/race. There is occasional in-fighting between houses, but it is largely stable.

What am I doing with these other guys?

You all answered the call to hunt down the offending dragons together; for whatever personal reasons you have.

How are lives affected by Magic?

Magic has always been present in this setting, though at the current time the amount of practicing wizards and sorcerers has been greatly reduced. Most magic-users in the civilized nations went to war on either side. Those that remained after the war were largely either the few lucky survivors, scholars who never participated, or retirees. It has been five years since the war ended and new magic-users have started graduating from academies and universities and taking on the many roles required of them in Ossian society, as well as a few adventurers. Most magic schools push for their graduates to do work placements in smaller towns to build goodwill between the towns and their organizations; as a result, most Ossian towns now have access to at least some low-level magic for hire. These graduate students often take up a role of some influence in the town, usually as a magister or advisor, and often times end up staying for some time there, providing the town with advice, creating magical streetlamps and whatever else they might need done for them.
Self-taught wizards, unaffiliated with any scholastic organizations and commonly referred to as Hedge Wizards, also exist but are much rarer and often take up the adventurer role. Hedge wizards generally find a hard time getting steady employment in towns as they're less trusted in general than a properly educated arcane practicioner.
Sorcerers, and others whose magical talents are an inherent part of them, are quite common. Most colleges agree that it is because of the pervasive nature of magic in this world, and that sorcerers are typically a magical mutation as a result of their environment or genetics. People with magically infused bloodlines, whether it can be traced back to sorcerer ancestors, draconic blood, or even angelic or infernal blessings, are the most common form of this mutation; however, children carried to term, and even raised into adulthood, in a magic rich environment can also develop inherent ability. This could be as innocuous as a village being built around a fey mushroom circle having a generation of children born with the ability to see invisible trickster fey, or as drastic as the residents of King's Crossing being continually warped by the Chaos leaking up from the trapped Tarrasque's prison. Scholars suggest that it is this mutating, evolutionary, aspect of the pervasive magic in this world that may have created many of the monstrous humanoid variations that are common to it, like Mermaids, Elves and possibly even Orcs.

How are lives affected by Religion?

Religion plays an important part in the world, and it's effects are readily seen, but due to an abundance of gods and churches the presence of divine power and signs has become commonplace. Minor divine acts aren't considered impressive by most beyond the backwoods savages and feral tribes. The one exception is the Forgotten North, up above the northern wall. Before the wall came down gods were virtually unheard of in the north, though devils were constantly feared. This comes from an ancient racial curse on the predominant race of the north, the Dwarves, who were cut off from magic entirely, be it arcane or divine.
As far as players with a divine background go, if none of the provided gods suit your needs you are entirely free to make up your own that do. You can embellish it as much as you want with background, religious orders and myths, or keep it as basic as saying that your character worships a god of criminals.

Who or what is going to try to kill me?

Dragons, dragon humanoid minions, extraplanar outsiders, undead

Where can I sell this loot?

The economy on this continent is incredibly screwed up at the moment due to the constantly changing political environment. The gold standard was phased out for a time, due to the demands of the Great War effort, and Ossia moved onto a paper money system, which unfortunately quickly suffered from inflation. After the economy collapsed and civil war erupted things changed yet again. The northern Ossian Capitalists still rely on paper money with constantly changing exchange rates with other countries. Southern Ossian Communists use a chit system, but most in the areas around Ossia generally use a simple barter and trade system, as goods and labor are easier to deal with.
The elven principalities of Xalliman are a mixed bag, with them using the gold standard primarily, but the borderlands between Ossia and Xalliman are a mix of gold and bartering, as the Ossian chits or papers are generally worthless outside of the country.
The effect this has on the players boils down to availability of goods being much lower than normal. Magic Items were at a premium during the wars and are hard to find; though lower level magic goods are coming back into the markets as the new crop of university students come of age and enter the workplace. Selling items is harder, as not many people have that kind of money on hand, and it's more expected to trade them for equal goods or services. This has led to situations that were previously unthinkable; like glory-seeking adventurers being forced to trade a looted magic sword for a half dozen horses, food, and some farmland.
Characters will need to be frugal with their currency, and make deals for resupplies and more powerful magical goods. Ancient magical weapons are not floating around all over the place, and the best bet to get the use of one would be getting a loan of it from the organization which holds it in their armoury; for instance, performing a quest for the Church of Lux in order to borrow their Holy Avenger Greatsword to fight a Necromancer.

The Mundane Details

Who's in charge?

Who has the biggest army?

Who has the most money and power?

Who maintains law and order?

How hard do poor people have it?

How do people travel, and how easy is it?

What are the best known landmarks?

Why is everybody celebrating?

What do people do for a good time?

How weird does it get around here?

The Scholarly Details

How did the world come to be?

What is the nature of the gods?

What is the source of magic?

What happens when you die?

What cycles or events define the calendar?

What do you see when you look at the sky?

What constitutes cutting edge technology?

Where do monsters come from?

Which is strongest: Gods, magic or nature?

If I drop this off the balcony, what happens?