Thyressa - American Magitech


Homebrew and House Rules


I think this is my most complete version of my campaign setting ever. The basic idea is a magitech campaign setting with flavor based off of North America. It is intended to handle both heroic fantasy games and gothic/dark fantasy/horror games, which can be done by tweaking PC power levels, adjusting how optimistically/pessimistically people and events are being portrayed, and adjusting the atmosphere and storytelling themes of the adventure taking place. The adventures in this world revolve around professional monster hunters in the employ of the Crown, who handle threats that are too powerful for the city guards or military patrols to fight. Currently, I have one region of one nation detailed, because I wanted to take the approach of building regions as I need them, rather than building everything at once. I haven't really explained the ethnic groups much, because my setting document is at 8 pages in Word (don't want to overwhelm players) and I don't really have anything to write that doesn't sound horribly canned and cliched. I use Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, so hopefully players have enough data to understand cultures from the names (Leontins aren't really much different from the French). I plan to actually flesh them out at some point, but I just don't have the inspiration right now.

How does it look? Is it too much information for a player new to the setting? Too little? Is there anything you want to know that isn't provided? Could you comfortably write up a character in this setting? Other comments?

The map

Premise:
Thyressa is a magitech setting that focuses on a North American flavor. The game takes place during a magic-fueled industrial revolution that began in the wake of a Great War that ended with the gods dead. Prior to the death of the gods, arcane magic was uncommon, but when the gods died it flooded the world, greatly increasing the power available to human spellcasters. Since Thyressa was the continent least touched by the war, its nations have taken over as the richest in the world.

Games set in Thyressa focus on monster hunting and dealing with rogue mages. When arcane magic poured into the world, it greatly increased the power and number of monsters in the world. The best humanity seems able to do is keep the monsters at bay. The only reason people in Thyressa live as well as they do is because of the warriors to fight and die every day so that the average citizen can go about life without having to worry about some beast coming for them in the middle of the night. That’s where the player characters come in. Even in densely settled areas, it seems like the undead, lycanthropes, fae, and other monsters never stop turning up. When they do, skilled professionals like the player characters show up to end the threat they pose. They also handle those mages who abuse magic, because the skillset and experience level necessary is similar and they pose just as much a threat. In essence, the player characters are the ones who face death on a daily basis so that everyone else doesn't have to.

Magic and Technology:
Thyressa has fairly advanced magitech. Alchemy is the most common form of magic by far, with Alchemists outnumbering every other magic using class. Wizards and Machinesmiths come next in terms of commonality. Witches practice an ancient form of magic that still has some practitioners, but they aren't common, and most people learn the secrets of witchcraft from family. They can be arcane or divine (arcane witches have spellbooks, divine witches familiars). Divine spellcasters get their power by making deals with angels, demons, or spirits, or by the sheer power of their convictions (Paladins) and have always been rare, with Paladins being the rarest of the rare in the setting. Summoners are divine. This setting does not ban any Paizo base classes.

Mass production is a thing. Most of the clothing people wear came out of a factory, and the same applies to household and recreational goods. Canning and freezing have been mastered, and food can easily and cheaply be transported worldwide. Weapons are easily to make, but armor takes a bit longer because it has to be reasonably well fitted to the wearer. People generally have access to internal plumbing and electricity, though battery technology is very poor. We do have rotary phones, cameras (no motion pictures, though), and the printing press, and literacy is very common. Medical care is mostly administered by Experts or Alchemists.

Trains, fueled by alchemical engines, are ubiquitous for travel between cities. For travel within cities, bicycles and cable cars are dominant, though the horse is anywhere near obsolete. Alchemical engines are powerful, but they are also extremely dangerous, and a trained professional has to be present at all times during operation. Flight is even more dangerous, and only magic users can pull it off at the moment. We don’t have any passenger vehicles that can fly. Ships use alchemical engines.

Firearms exist, and are relatively common, but have not overtaken the bow or crossbow. This is because soldiers tend to fight in scattered formations to avoid offering an enticing target to magical artillery. Volley tactics are a militia thing, so the arquebus is a weapon of the militiaman, city guard, hunter, or rancher, while soldiers and guardsmen with sufficient training use bows or crossbows fitted with mechanical spanners, because these weapons make less noise, don’t throw smoke everywhere, and can be fired faster.

Important Places:
Tyressa: The continent the campaign setting encompasses.

Rydessa: A continent to the east of Thyressa, across the Garin Ocean.

Merundia: A continent to the west of Thyressa, across the Tsinbao Ocean.

Vendalia: Vendalia is a kingdom on the western coast of Thyressa. Lijun was the first country to colonize it, about 300 years in the past now, but Castara was always a backwater, with colonies closer to Lijun getting more attention. Later on explorers from Castillana and Leontiny arrived, prompting a fight between the three countries over who would control the region. Lijun abandoned the struggle pretty quickly, judging a backwater colony to not be worth the effort, leaving the other two nations to duke it out in a wider regional struggle. Eventually, a deal was reached that gave Leontiny the northern part of the region, named Vendalia, and Castillana the southern half, named Telestia. Both colonies prospered, and following the Great War they both formed their own kingdoms, which are two of the world’s economic powerhouses.

Castara: Castara is a province of the Kingdom of Vendalia. Castara was the first region of Vendalia to be heavily settled by colonists. It is the second most populated region of the kingdom, and an important shipping, cultural, and industrial center. On the coast, the climate is warm and foggy in the summer and cool and rainy in the winter, while the interior areas have hot summers, cool winters, and a dry climate. Castara is both mountainous and hilly, with coastal marshlands and dry woodlands and scrubland forming the rest of the climate aside from an area of relatively dry plains in the southeast of the province. The majority of the population lives near the coast.

Valetta: The most populous city in Castara, and the most famous worldwide. Sometimes called the City of Rainbow Hills, after the popular practice of paining the skinny row houses that populate its rolling hills in vibrant colors. The city is famous for its restaurants, and also boasts an incredibly busy port district, the nation’s largest shipyard, the Academie Valetta des arts Magiques (a high ranking magical academy, the only university in western Thyressa where one can study the ancient art of witchcraft), the Universite Veletta (a high ranking university known for arts and the humanities), and the large number of artists, musicians, and authors who call the city home.

Perides: The provincial capital and second most populous city. Notable for the Universite Perides (very good art, engineering, and architecture school), its large factory district, the Academie militaire de Perides (a school for military officers and nobility), and an active port district.

Montagnes Sarett: A mountain range with abnormally high peaks for its size, often reaching over a mile. The only part of Castara that has snowy winters (a few of the other mountains have snow, but not much, and the rest of the region never gets snow at all). The snow makes it a popular tourist destination in winter, but outside of that it isn’t heavily populated outside of Temara, a small city that popped up along the only rail line that crosses the mountain range.

Vallee Tampeno: The main wine producing region of Castara.

Vallee Voltara: An agricultural region known primarily for orchards. Also boasts some ranches.

Foret Lutani: A hilly forest primarily populated by Teutaran elves. Known for its gorgeous treehouses and artisan works. It is the only racial enclave Castara has, and do to diaspora has a larger elven population than Teutara does.

Brousse Chivella: Shrubland mostly used for ranching.

Prairie Lujon: Relatively dry grasslands important for farming grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Basic Vendalian Politics and Military:
Vendalia is a monarchy, split up into provinces that are ruled by noble families and cities and towns ruled by mayors and councils elected by popular vote. The nobility and the king do not get along at all. The king is trying to break the power of the nobility and create a strong unitary state, which the nobles dislike. He is trying to portray himself as a populist working against those elitist nobles for the good of the commoners, and the nobles are getting scared, because he has been somewhat successful lately. Vendalia has a massive immigrant population, which is supported by the king, so nativist opposition to immigration tends to be associated with the nobility.

Urban law enforcement falls to the mayors, who establish city guards with the authority to enforce the law and try criminals. The provinces handle law enforcement and security outside the cities, and could take over for a city guard if they so desired (which does not make people happy). The kingdom is responsible for the nation as a whole, and has taken over the handling of most higher level threats. The soldiers and sailors who handle those threats are Gendarmes (military police), and they are the player characters. A Gendarme unit is generally assigned to a specific province, though there are a couple roving units. In metagame terms, if a monster or caster is above Challenge Rating 4, the Gendarmes are usually the ones who track it down and kill it.

Common Ethnic Groups:
Vendalia is a very ethnically diverse country. The vast majority of the population is made up of immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Most immigration is from a handful of nations, but Vendalia has at least a few people from almost everywhere. The national language is Leontin, but it is very common to hear a wide variety of immigrant languages.

Rydessan Peoples

Leontin:
Third largest ethnic group. Make up every social class of Vendalia. Tend to be light or light brown skinned, with red, brown, blonde, or black hair and blue, green, brown, or grey eyes.

Names

Castillaran:

Fairly small ethnic group. Most of Vendalia’s Castillarans moved to Telestia after the Leontins and Castillarans divvied up the land. Most Castillarans living in Vendalia are fairly rich. Tend to be light or light brown skinned, with red, brown, blonde, or black hair and blue, green, brown, or grey eyes.

Names

Telestian:

Moderately small ethnic group. Telestia and Vendalia are both prosperous nations, and very close allies. Has had a fairly large emphasis on Vendalian cuisine. Ethnically Telestians are mixtures of Castillaran and various ethnic groups, thanks to a concerted effort by Castillara to interbreed the natives into complacency. Most Telestians living in Vendalia belong to the wealthier classes. Tend to either have medium or dark brown skin and medium or dark brown or black hair and eyes, though a few are mostly Castillaran in appearance.

Names

Listadian:

A people from the city states of Listada. They have been in this country as explorers ever since the beginnings of colonialism. Second largest ethnic group, heavy emphasis on cuisine and architecture. Make up every social class of Vendalia. Tend to be light or light brown skinned, with red, brown, blonde, or black hair and blue, green, brown, or grey eyes.

Names

Teutaran:

Moderately sized ethnic group. A people from Teutara. Aside from the diaspora of Teutaran elves to Castara, the arrival of large numbers of Teutarans is a recent phenomenon, with them forming a large portion of Vendalia’s current wave of immigrants. Tend to belong to the poorer classes. Tend to be light skinned, with red, brown, blonde, or black hair and blue, green, brown, or grey eyes. Lighter hair and eyes are more common than darker hair and eyes.

Names

Merundian Peoples

Lijunian:

The largest ethnic group in Vendalia. Split between families that have been in Vendalia for generations and recent immigrants. Belong to every social class, with recent immigrants usually being in the poorer end.

Names

Minokan:

A moderately sized ethnic group. Some families have been living in the land since shortly after the arrival of the Lijunians, but the majority are more recent immigrants. Tend to belong to the lower or middle class.

Names

Meianese:

A fairly large ethnic group. The vast majority are recent immigrants. Tend to belong to the poorer social classes.

Names

Vendalia’s native peoples have very little presence in Castara. For the most part, they either died of disease or were taken by Castillara as slaves. Nowadays, there isn’t much anyone left from the original inhabitants. Vendalia’s surviving native peoples come from tribes that live a good bit further north than Castara.

Races:
Humans come in a lot of different races. All of them have about the same natural lifespan. The most common races in Vendalia are:

Magni: The most common race in the world. Make up the majority of the population in Vendalia by a large margin. Use Pathfinder Human stats (In this world, the term Human refers to humanoids as a whole, not to one race in particular).

Elves: The only elves common in Vendalia are the Teutaran elves. These people left Teutara en-masse after repeated violent land spats with the nobility, and claimed the Foret Lutani for themselves. They are a people who value innovation, artistic skills, and education, and consider community a lot more important than money. They have no particular problem with other races, but tend to value their race’s independence. They mostly live in moderately sized towns, with treehouses being the traditional dwelling. Rail infrastructure isn’t particularly good, but the elves like it that way. A lot of elves attend university or a magical academy at some point in life, paid for by the elven government. These elves usually attend schools in one of Castara’s cities. Among elves who do not attend higher education, it is considered acceptable to spend a couple years living outside the Foret Lutani to gain some experience of Vendalia outside the Foret Lutani (an elf always likes to understand her surroundings). The Kingdom permits the elves to rule over themselves in a similar manner as a province, but for royal taxation and military purposes the Foret Lutani is considered a part of Castara. Elves do actually sleep. They are pale skinned (very often with faint stripes or spots), have a wide range of hair and eye colors, have large, pointed ears, are slender and average about 5’3” tall, and have little difference in physical build between men and women. They have scalp hair like other human races, but the rest of their external body is always hairless.

Dwarves: Vendalian dwarves are mostly from the highlands and mountains of southern Teutara, and were historically known as shepherds, miners, and craftsmen. Their culture is known for it’s generally informal attitude, welcoming attitude towards outsiders, love of beer, elegantly curved and twirled beards, and dedication to maintaining a reputation for fine craftsmanship to the point that they’ll often (though not necessarily always) forgo profits that could be made by lowering standards. They don’t much farm or brew, preferring to get their grain, produce, and beer through trade with the Magni. Most dwarves in Vendalia live in cities, and are mostly recent immigrants.

Vendalia has a few Kagora dwarves, who are slender and pale mountain dwellers from Minoka. A lot of them have red hair, but black and brown is also common. Like so many other dwarves, they are skilled craftsmen, and are often miners, loggers, artisans, and fishermen. They have been trading with other races for centuries, but their rulers forbid them from forming personal relationships with non-Kagora, and require them to cover themselves among other races. Their culture stresses propriety and has strict rules on how to address people of different social rules, often based on the situation at hand. They have their own king, a feared autocrat who preaches rigid and unerring adherence to social rules, xenophobia, and draconian punishment for deviants, and tries to run peoples’ day to day lives. A lot of Kagora have fled, but those who remain in Minoka are hunted as traitors, so a great many have made for Vendalia, hoping to be beyond the reach of their king. They often have a hard time learning to socialize outside of their strict societal rules, which gets them stereotyped as shy, bumbling, and socially awkward. They tend to be glad for their freedom and want to work hard to build a new life, but have little knowledge of how the world outside their civilization works.

Catfolk: Most are from Lijun or Meian. Culture and stats are as listed at d20pfsrd, appearance is as Bestiary 3.
Tengu and Kitsune (Minoka), Nagaji and Vanara (Meian and Lijun) are as listed on the d20pfsrd.

Seraphim: Seraphim are a people native to southern Rydessa, such as Castillara and Listadia. They are about 5’10” on average for males and 5’6” on average for females, and tend to be sturdily built. They have well tanned skin, metallic or jewel colored eyes, brown or black hair, and magnificent feathered wings, usually white or brown (other colors are not unheard of). Each wing is about as big as the Seraphim is tall. Seraphim used to be able to fly, but the gods stripped that from them centuries ago for an offense nobody knows the nature of. Now, their wings are heavy and don’t curve enough for proper lift generation. Many have turned to magical and technological solutions to this problem, but have only found solutions that work for rare and very skilled individuals, not something that can be applied to the race as a whole. As a people, they are intelligent and learned, very open with friends and family, quick to form new relationships, and energetic. They usually live in cities and have good relationships with other races, and their closest friends are usually thought of as cousins, aunts, and uncles, regardless of race. They are commonly scholars, engineers, lawyers, alchemists, or wizards.

Stats

-2 Dex, +2 Con, +2 Int (Seraphim are well learned, and carrying heavy wings around all the time has built up their endurance quite a bit, but the wings do impede their agility.)
Medium Humanoid
Speed 30 ft
Hardy (+2 saves versus poison, spells, spell like abilities)
+2 to Charisma based skills
Vestigial Wings (+4 Fly checks)
Emissary (Reroll Bluff or Diplomacy 1/day)

Lifestyle:
Vendalia is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and Castara is one of the richer areas of Vendalia. In the cities manufacturing tends to form the backbone of the economy, followed by the service industry. Elsewhere, agriculture and mining are important, with the advent of farming machinery making the profession both more lucrative and less populated than it used to be. The majority of the population lives in the cities. Poorer citizens (such as factory workers, unskilled tradesmen, lower ranking military members, some constables, or members of the service industry) can generally afford to feed and clothe themselves (though not necessarily well) and pay for cramped apartments, but not much else, and they tend to be city dwellers. Middle class citizens (such as factory workers, skilled tradesmen, artisans, most mages, gendarmes, some constables, higher ranking military members, or members of the service industry) can typically afford nicer apartments or houses and a fair amount of luxury, and the upper classes (large business owners, some mages, the highest ranking non-noble government officials, nobility, royalty) own what catches their eye. A slim majority of people in Castara are middle class, followed by the lower class and then the upper class. There is a considerable amount of bleed over between lower and middle class in some career fields, which offers a decent amount of social mobility between those two levels, but between middle class and upper class social mobility is fairly poor. Higher education is the purview of the middle and upper classes, and can take the form of trade apprenticeships or university. The lower class has a much harder time getting access to education, and a member usually ends up having to have family who work horrific hours to pay for it or get sponsored on the basis of showing considerable merit.

Castaran cuisine is largely composed of ethnic dishes modified to fit readily available ingredients and fusions of multiple ethnic cuisines. The most common ethnic cuisines are Lijunian, Leontin, Listadian, Telestian, Meianese, Minokan, Teutaran, and Mikeian, but Castara is a very diverse land, and you can find cuisine from almost everywhere. The culinary arts are taken very seriously, and cafes, bistros, and fine restaurants are staples of the Vendalian lifestyle. Castarans are also very, very big consumers of coffee, with cafes being pretty much ubiquitous anywhere people live. Tea is also a major beverage that is available in several forms in pretty much any cafe, and teahouses are a common sight in most settled areas. When it comes to alcohol, Castarans partake in a diverse variety of beverages, with most liquor being served in cafes.
Taverns are mostly associated with Teutrans. Castarans are mostly wine drinkers, except for Teutaran immigrants, who drink a lot of beer, and Minokan and Meianese immigrants, who drink both beer and wine. Other popular liquors include a very wide variety of rice liquors (such as baijiu, ruou de, and sake), brandy (including fruit brandy), tequila, rum, amaretto, limoncello, anisette, and absinthe.

Lower class fashion is mostly practical in form, with conical hats, stocking caps, or bush hats, dungarees or either long or medium skirts (usually plain blue or brown in color), long or short sleeved shirts closed with laces or buttons (plaid patterns for shirts are extremely widespread), plain fleece or woolen sweaters and vests, and durable but simple coats and boots. Upper class fashion is much more fluid, and is the fashion of the upper classes. It goes through yearly fads, so giving a general description of it is very difficult, but it is almost always elaborate and expensive, and often includes expensive versions of middle class clothing. Currently, fashions inspired by Merundia are popular, as well as military style clothing in vibrant colors (the Vendalian military currently uses burgundy for dress uniforms and tan for field uniforms). Middle class clothing styles are the purview of the middle class, and usually consist of clothes that provide a mixture of comfort, durability, and style. Slacks or dungarees, medium length skirts, peacoats, double breasted coats, greatcoats, frock coats, plain fleece or woolen sweaters and vests, berets, boaters, stocking caps, bowler hats, coppolas, long or short sleeved shirts with laces or buttons, and a wide variety of boots or shoes. Vibrant colors are common, but not ubiquitous, and plaid is also fairly common. Buttons are usually wooden or bone, unless one is rich, in which case they may include jewels or precious metals.

One of the most common pasttimes is sports, especially soccer, volleyball, and tennis. Swimming, surfing, hunting, fishing, bicycling, and hiking are popular where the environment allows. The vast majority of Vendalians are literate, and there is an endless variety of reading materiel published. Theatres are reasonably popular among the middle and upper classes. Like any culture, music and art are important to Vendalians. Bathhouses are common places for socialization and relaxation, and there are establishments catering to every social class. With the advent of internal plumbing, they serve a purely recreational role. Boardwalks are very popular places for entertainment, boasting attractions such as rides and games, restaurants, and shopping.


Camila Marina Garrido Espinosa wrote:
How does it look? Is it too much information for a player new to the setting? Too little? Is there anything you want to know that isn't provided? Could you comfortably write up a character in this setting? Other comments?

Looks good, but might be awfully overwhelming to a reader. Might I suggest creating a document with pictures, maps and different letter-sizes for headlines?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

If you're doing any kind of write up, you should put it in a document stored on a cloud, like Google Drive. It makes it easier to read, and if someone wants to use it, they can print or export it. Additionally, you can't change your post, so it's best to post a link than put the content directly on the post. When I post stuff, I tend to post a link and then give a summary in my actual post.


I could do a Google Doc, but it might take a bit to find time to format. Pictures would be a problem, given that I can't much draw.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Much less time than putting everything into BB code tags.


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Dot

edit: didn't mean to FAQ. Sorry.

Shadow Lodge

also dot


Cyrad wrote:
Much less time than putting everything into BB code tags.

Oh, I've got that. It's making it all nice and adding (and acquiring) pictures that I was referring to as taking time. Google Docs link.

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