The Nightmare Before the Dream
The setting for “The Nightmare Before the Dream” is a dark one. The world as a whole suffered through a prolonged period of abuse at the hands of a twisted offshoot of the elves known as the fey. Humanity is emerging from slavery perpetrated by the orcs and goblins, and the dwarves and roden have been fighting since time began. The one beacon of light within the historical midnight is The Kingdom of Man.
Man’s kingdom is relatively young, no more than fifty years old. Its King, Roderick Gantry is known as a fair man, a just ruler, and a peerless commander. It was Roderick Gantry that threw off the shackles of slavery and shattered the orcs’ cruel and broken empire. King Roderick’s realm has thrived in its youth, reaching out to the races of the southern continent of Sorand to build new and surprisingly healthy relationships.
The world has become considerably more unified since man claimed its Kingdom. However, King Roderick, now in his eighties, hasn’t been seen in years. His closest advisers, a group known as the Inner Circle has run the kingdom in his public absence, though their grips on the reins of control are slipping. Human nobles throughout the kingdom have flocked to Endenmere – the capital of the kingdom – to make their bids for the crown known. There is no end of scheming and plotting amongst those that crave power, turning much of humanity against itself.
In the meantime, the kingdom’s peripheral territories struggle against the wilds, receiving little to no aid from their ruler. Orcs and goblins, possibly noting the lack of a true military presence within the isolated settlements, have increased the frequency of their raids. The gnolls of the west have begun to move eastward, and rumors persist that horrors only believed to be myths have crawled out of the swamps in the south.
The period of rebirth and enlightenment sparked by the rise of humanity seems to be at an end. This is where the game begins, amidst turmoil and budding chaos.
A Note about Atmosphere:
I intend this setting to be serious and realistic (as realistic as a fantasy setting with magic and monsters can be). Killing isn’t common, even amongst those individuals that call themselves adventurers. As characters engage enemies, unless players specifically say they’re using deadly force, those enemies will cling to life upon being “dispatched.”
Permanent injuries and player death are very real possibilities. That being said, I would also like to imply a certain level of power amongst the characters. All player characters from first level on will be exceptions to the rule. Of course, with great power (and heroics) comes sacrifice. Be prepared to give to get.
For more on character construction and additional help establishing a background please read the CHARACTER PRIMER.