Arrun: the Lost World
This project is dedicated to all of the people, of all kinds, over the entire planet, and throughout all of history, who have been victimized by the horrors of colonialism. I do not seek to tell their stories, I only seek to learn from the lessons their stories teach, and to use what I learned from their lessons to create a reminder of just how apocalyptically dangerous human beings who do not respect the humanity of every single person on Earth can be.
Also, I would like to thank my D&D crew. The players at my table are dear friends and amazing roleplayers. They are my primary inspiration, my muses, for this project.
A summary of this campaign setting:
The Humans, Dwarves, and Halflings of the old world, along with their Orc slaves, have used a new invention, the steamship, to push through the great Windless Sea. On the other side they discovered Arrun, a continent full of magic unknown in the old world, and a myriad of strange peoples like Beetoids, Sasquatch, and the elephant-like Loxodon. The Elven and Hobgoblin civilizations stand the tallest in this new world, while the old world races were completely unknown here before first contact.
The old worlders seek to exploit Arrun using their superior technology, like what they did to the land of the Orcs decades before. What they don't know is that the magic that infuses everything in Arrun, the very magic they have come here to exploit, will bring about a great many unexpected difficulties for the newcomers.
The party will be playing natives, and old-worlders gone native, trying to prevent the old world trading companies from destroying their way of life.
TLDR: It's a game about colonialism and magic.
A Meeting of Worlds:
57 years ago the first steamship, the SRS Malifa, flying the flag of the Republic of Syrassia and Captained by the famous explorer, Captain Reginald Fairfield, crossed the Great Windless sea. They made land on the Northwestern shores of Arrun, near what was at the time a small Hobgoblin fishing village called Triant. The Hobgoblins cautiously approached Fairfield and his landing party, and after some awkward introductions were made, they traded a spear and twenty dried fish for three jars of colorful glass beads, a folding pocket knife, some fancy looking papers, a little colorful flag, and a thick, indecipherable book with tiny print and impossibly thin pages.
Little did the Hobgoblins know, they had bought decades of upheaval for all of Arrun with this trade.
The spearhead they had given the explorers was made of Mizzium, a metal with magical properties that is only found in Arrun. Arrunians, for millennia, had been using the notoriously difficult to mine metal to make magically enhanced weapons and armor.
The Syrassians soon discovered some of the amazing properties of the metal. Not only did its use dramatically improve the power of engines and firearms, but it was found that people with no latent magical abilities whatsoever were able to manipulate the arcane with a mizzium-tipped wand and only a little training.
The Mizzium Rush was on. The great mercantile companies of Talam led the charge, and the Syrassian West Arrun Trading Company quickly became the most dominant among them.
More and more steamships started coming, carrying with them thousands of Humans, Dwarves, Orcs, and Halflings, races never before seen in Arrun. They started establishing colonies and pushing into the territories of native peoples as they discovered more resources to exploit.
The companies brought with them their guns to secure their ventures, and their Orc slaves to build and mine for them.
Today, the Western coast of Arrun is dotted with settlements, a couple of them starting to grow into cities, and they are starting to push inland. The companies mostly try to maintain at least the appearance of peace and friendly intentions with native Arrunians, but for some years rumors have been surfacing that they have been enslaving some native populations, and slaughtering others who resist them.
Talk, everywhere, is about these uninvited visitors, and arguments are common about their quickly growing power and the disruptions they make wherever they go.
In light of this, the Council of Black Rock has sent the call out for representatives of every people to come to Black Rock City, for a great moot on the subject of this disruption spreading across Arrun.
Basic Geography of Arrun:
The continent of Arrun stands alone in this part of the Southern hemisphere, aside from a few smaller islands, in the middle of the great Windless Sea. The continent is about 3000 miles from North to South, and about 2000 miles from East to West, if you count the outlying mountains. The Equator lies a few hundred miles North of the Northern shores of Arrun, and the Northern part of the continent never frosts, while the southern tip stretches into an icy sea.
North of the continent lies a chain of tropical islands, called Smuggler's Paradise. These isles stretch into the Windless Sea, and the many reefs and sandbars make it notoriously hazardous to navigate.
Arrun itself is bisected by a formidable mountain range running down the middle of the continent, dividing it into East and West and producing a variety of natural climes.
In the tropical Northwest lies the impenetrable Emerald Rainforest. Dinosaurs roam and hunt under the dense canopy and along the many waterways, but the deep, dark heart of the jungle is said to hide even fiercer creatures. The Lizardfolk are the masters of the jungle, but they share it with Waterbugs, an amphibious race of Beetoids.
Crossing the jagged pass to the East, you will find a high desert of mesas and canyons, leading down to a great, hot and arid valley called the Starfall Desert that stretches all the way to the Eastern coast. The Yellow River comes down from the mountains and snakes across the Starfall desert, where it has cut the spectacular Painted Canyon into the desert. This canyon is the heart of the Sylvan Republic, and it is home to more elves than anywhere else in Arrun.
South of the Starfall desert, weather systems carry in more rain. Rich, black soil washes down from the Blackhearth Hills to bring life to the Great Plain, a sprawling temperate grassland broken up by small woods and lush river valleys, and dotted with Loxodon villages. The rivers lead down to the Gulf of Minotia, at the center of which is the lush temperate island Minotia, the greatest landmass outside of mainland Arrun.
In the center of the Great Plain, where Black Rock River empties into the Gulf of Minotia, lies Arrun’s largest settlement, Black Rock City. This multicultural city is a major hub of trade and Arrun’s oldest living city. It is run by a council made up of representatives from all of the peoples of Arrun. The city is built around and atop a striking natural monument, the Black Rock, a conical black basalt tower with a flat top. The monolith rises almost two thousand feet up from the plain below, and it is topped with spectacular buildings and formidable defenses.
South, past the Great Plain, one crosses the mighty Dragon’s Tail river and finds themselves among the rugged trees of the Greatwood Forest. The forest climbs into the southern mountains, and it covers the Southeastern peninsula of Arrun, broken up by lakes, rivers, and snow-capped peaks. The winters here can get bitter cold but it is a lush ecosystem, if one knows where to look. The forest is dominated by stands of Greatwood Pines, mighty conifers that grow to well over 500 feet tall, and it is home to a great many races including Elves, Gnomes, Beetoids, Kobolds, and even the elusive Sasquatch.
Going West from the Greatwood Forest, one finds oneself in the cold and inhospitable Dragontomb Mountains. This mighty range extends all the way to the Southwesternmost coast of Arrun, and terminates in mighty cliffs rising hundreds of feet above the crashing surf far below. Among the jagged peaks and protected valleys of the range, the Dragonborn have built their spectacular and foreboding stone castles.
To the South, a series of jagged ice and rock islands stretch across the sea to the horizon. And from the highest cliffs of far Southwestern Arrun, it is said that on a clear night one can look to the West and see the glow of Hell Island’s ever-burning mountains.
Going North along the Western shore of Arrun, one will soon find oneself in the land of lakes, farms and temperate forests known as the Golden Coast. The temperate climate, abundant water, and rich soil of the area give it some of the best farmland in all of Arrun. At the hands of the native Hobgoblins it has become the most developed and populated area of Arrun. The Golden Coast is considered to end at the Whitesnake River, where the menacing jungles of the Emerald Rainforest start to loom dangerously close.
Some Basic Facts About This World:
Magic is rare in the Talam, but not unheard of. A rare few are able to develop some magical abilities. Arrun, meanwhile, is alive with magic, and many races have mastered its use.
Talamians have discovered a magical metal in Arrun, called Mizzium, and its use has enabled their development of powerful magitech technologies.
As for the gods, the divine order of the universe does not make itself so obvious as it does in some worlds. There are a great variety of faiths in Arrun, as opposed to one big pantheon. Many of them are contradictory, but the truly faithful, whatever the faith, are sometimes able to call on divine magic.
Regarding long-lived races, the life expectancy of long-lived humanoids is much closer to a human's life expectancy.
Elves, for instance, being the longest lived race, can live up to 300 years in rare cases. Gnomes can live to a little over 200, Dwarves tend to fall to the ravages of time at around 180 and a Halfling can't be expected to live past 150. Other long-lived races have similar age adjustments. Races with a lifespan of 100 years or less remain unchanged.
The colonization of Arrun is being driven by the discovery of Mizzium ore and other valuable resources. Most colonial settlements are not loyal to a nation, but to a mercantile company.
Friendship between Old-Worlders and New Worlders will be difficult, but not impossible, and a party mix of both should be fine, so long as you all share compatible goals.
There are two versions of Common in this world. If you grew up in an Arrunian Society, you speak Arrunian Common. If you grew up in a Talamian Society, you speak Talamian Common.
Arrun is what the people of the "New World" call their world in the common tongue. They refer to the "Old World" as Talam or the Upside-Down.
Talam is what the people of the Old World call the world in their common tongue. Arrun is most often called New Galatia in Talamian Common.
Humans, Dwarves, Halflings, Orcs, and Half-Orcs only existed in Old Talam before first contact, while the other races only existed in Arrun. Half-Elves are a new development, and are starting to pop up in both Human and Elven societies.
Talamian society has achieved a level of societal advancement, in the most developed areas, that compares to the industrial revolution. Arrunian society, at its highest point, has reached a level roughly comparable to Republican Rome.
Steam engines are a big deal in Old Talam, railroads are starting to cross the landscape, and the billowing clouds of coal smoke on the horizon foretell, to the people of Arrun, the arrival of another steamship full of uninvited guests. The Upside-Down People are starting to strip mountains to mine coal and carve paths through Arrun to lay down railroads.
While Old Talam is neatly divided into nation states, for the most part, Arrun is divided more by the territories of its different races. Each race has their own ways of managing their territories, and inter-species conflicts are not infrequent.
Seafaring in Arrun:
Ships and boats driven by wind and oar were common off the coasts of Arrun long before first contact, and some of these vessels are quite sophisticated. They rarely venture far from the coast, however.
Arrun is surrounded, on all sides, by the Great Windless Sea. About 500 miles off the coast of Arrun, the wind and sea lies still for thousands of miles. Any sailors unfortunate enough to find themselves in the windless sea would find themselves stranded, with slack sails, while the current pulls them deeper and deeper into the deadly still sea. If they are not fortunate enough to be devoured by the great monsters said to be lurking under the glasslike surface, they will inevitably fall to starvation, dehydration, or cabin madness.
The Windlesa Sea was impassable, from either side, until a Syrassian steamship, with its powerful engines and steel clad hull, was able to push and fight its way to Arrun. Now the steamships cross regularly as a matter of course.
Few native vessels are able to successfully challenge the steamships. Their cannon and armor make them formidable foes, and they can outrun most sailboats in all but the perfect wind.
More About the Talamians:
The Talamians, or Upside Down People, have been arriving by steamship in Arrun for about fifty years.
They have circumnavigated the continent, and many coastal peoples have made contact with them, but they have not explored inland very far.
Usually, contact between Talamians and Arrunians is peaceful. Goods and information are often traded. A great many native Arrunians view them with suspicion.
Most of the new arrivals are from the continent Galatia, and primarily composed of Dwarves and Humans, with some Halflings in the mix. They bring with them thousands of Orc slaves, from the conquered Southern Continent where the Orcs once ruled a mighty empire. Now the Orcs are forced to slave away, stripping their homeland of resources to ship off to Galatia, and they are carried all over the world to provide cheap labor.
Some Humans, Dwarves and Halflings come to Arrun as adventurous explorers, while many more come as prisoners, sentenced to transportation or labor in a work camp. Most of the free people, however, come as employees of the Syrassian West Arrun Trading Company, often called "The Company." The Company runs most of the settlements in Arrun, and is focused at the moment primarily on finding coal to expand their power in the new world, and finding sources of Mizzium, which is worth a fortune back in Syrassia, and which has already allowed them to build the most technologically advanced and powerful military in the old world.
There are several major religions in Syrassia, but the most common is Galantism, a monotheistic religion revolving around a martyred prophet.
Their settlements are primarily located along the Western coast of Arrun, with the biggest two being Smokestack Bay, among the coal-rich mountains of Southwestern Arrun, and Fort Antonio, at the delta of the Goldrock River. The Syrassians there have allied with a local Hobgoblin Ruler, King Grassulston, and it has become The Company's primary trading hub and local seat of operations.
Other colonies have started popping up wherever valuable resources can be found. While they usually seek peace with the locals, they are known to sometimes respond with cruelty and violence. There are rumors of entire villages being slaughtered because of the theft of a sack of flower, and other rumors of local people disappearing, thought to be captured for slavery or worse.
Groups of explorers and prospectors often can be found traveling, sometimes setting up temporary encampments while they explore an area, then moving on.
A railway between Smokestack Bay and Fort Antonio has just been completed, and has accelerated the Company's growth on the West coast. New settlements are popping up along the line, and massive steamships full of goods are shipping home on a weekly basis now, with new ships coming with Syrassian passengers and goods to replace them.
Syrassian technology could be compared to that of late 19th century America. Black powder, cartridge loaded firearms are the primary weapons of Syrassians, and their advanced steam engines power their factories and vehicles. A discovery in its infancy is electric power, which is starting to be used to power telegraphs, electric lights, and factory machinery, but its use is not yet widespread.
The discovery of Mizzium has enabled a new technological boom in Magitech, allowing Talamians access to Magic which, unlike most native Arrunians, they do not have a natural affinity for.
The weapons they make with Mizzium are terrifyingly effective.
Rumorsbare even claiming that a strange flying machine has been seen near Fort Antonio at night, but they have not been confirmed.
Available Races for PCs:
Sasquatch (uses Bugbear traits)
Beetoid (use Simic Hybrid traits)
The Peoples of Talum:
The Humans of Talum are native to the Western continent, Gailan, though their ambition and ingenuity has spread them around the globe.
The nation-states of Gailan are all ruled by Humans. The most powerful of them, Syrassia, is the wealthiest nation the world has ever known, and is the dominant military force in Talam.
Most of Gailan has become heavily urbanized and industrialized. Clouds of smog choke the sky, while people distract themselves from the grime and the toil with colorful amusements and manufactured comforts.
While Humans rule Gailan, and in most nations only humans can hold the full rights of citizenship, Dwarves and Halflings live among them, and a great many have fully integrated into Galatian society.
Orcs, on the other hand, are used almost exclusively as slaves by the Galatians. They are considered a savage race, and a great deal of thought has been wasted justifying this horrific practice.
The primary religion throughout Galatia is Galantism, a monotheistic faith that follows the martyred prophet of old, Saint John Galant.
The Eastern continent of Talam, Hrothgar, is home to the dynastic Dwarven Empire.
The industrious Dwarves have invented most of the machines that have powered the rise of Galatia, but infighting and disorder, the result of generations of misrule, have fragmented the once-mighty empire and left it struggling to keep up with Galatia.
Dwarven economic and war refugees have been pouring into Galatia recently, and they are starting to find themselves increasingly unwelcome.
The Dwarves largely follow Hroden and his children, a pantheon of Dwarven gods that bears similarities to the Norse gods
The diminutive Halflings are used to living in the shadow of humans, and they like it just fine, thank you very much.
They liked it just fine, at least, until their quiet little valleys started filling with smog, the railroad brought with it far too much bustle and noise,their quiet meadows were turned into stinking stockyards, and the hillsides around the village started being skinned and stripped for their coal. It was decidedly less fine after that.
Now, a great many Halflings find themselves with little choice but to work in a city or a mine, and the companies offer entirely inadequate lunch breaks.
As such, a great many Halflings have set off for Arrun, in hopes of finding a quiet and peaceful life that doesn't seem possible in Galatia any longer.
Most halflings follow Galantism, though their sects tend to have a much different interpretations than the dominant human sects, as Halflings tend to be far less evangelical and rigid in their faith.
The mighty Orc kings once ruled over the entire Southern continent of Gr'ash, but they were, in the end, too fragmented and insular. They became the first people to fall to Galatian colonialism. The slight but ferocious humans descended on their homeland with powerful machines and terrible weapons.
Seventy two years ago, at the end of the twelve year war, the final great Orc king of Gr'ash was conquered. His people were forced into slavery and the resources of his homeland were ripped from the ground and shipped North, like had happened in every other kingdom before his.
Gr'ash is now a conquered continent, and while a few isolated tribes of resistance fighters still live in what remains of the bush, the free people of the continent are almost exclusively Galatian.
The rest of the Orcs, millions of them, were forced into chattel slavery, where they have now lived for generations.
Orc slaves are not allowed to practice their own religion, but a great many have incorporated many practices and beliefs from the Old Faith into their practice of Galantism.
The Peoples of Arrun:
Sun Elves are the most populous people in the Eastern part of Arrun.
Most Sun Elf settlements are part of the Sylvan Republic, a semi-democratic and often squabbling institution, not entirely unlike Republican Rome, which claims as its territory the entire Northeastern quarter of Mainland Arrun down to the Black Rock River. The Sylvan Republic is a society of institutions and law, and they tend to make generally good neighbors. While they maintain a powerful military, they are not known for starting wars.
Sylvan town and cities tend to be fairly multicultural, with people from all over Arrun living and working there.
All peoples within Sylvan borders are afforded basic rights under law, but most are not afforded full citizenship. Native born Sun Elves or Rock Gnomes are granted citizenship at age fifty. People of any other race can attain citizenship only by special dispensation or service in the military.
Traditional Sun Elf homes are made of a highly refined process similar to adobe, or carved into the mesas and canyon walls using stone-shaping magic.
Sun Elves are considered to be the greatest masters of the arcane in Arrun. People travel from all over the continent and pay a tremendous amount of money to study at Sylvan universities.
While they highly value academic pursuits and the arts, Sun Elf society is quite diverse.
While they are not generally a highly religious society, many do have faith in a pantheon of gods not dissimilar to the pantheon of Ancient Greece. Most towns and cities will have at least one temple, and the practice of other religions is not prohibited.
Wood Elves primarily make their homes in the Greatwood forest. They tend to live in small, more isolated communities, built in and among the trees.
Wood Elves tend to have fair skin and brown or blonde hair.
They live a lifestyle much more in tune with nature, and their religion is a shamanistic one.
While all Wood Elves consider themselves a part of one unified people, individual communities govern themselves through a matriarchal tribal council.
They are distrusting of most other races, though they are generally not aggressive. The Forest Gnomes, however, are generally considered friends and allies. It is not unusual to see a few Gnomes living among a Wood Elf tribe, or vice versa.
The Gnomes of Arrun can be divided into two very distinct subraces.
The Rock Gnomes of the Northern Mountains are a friendly and industrious people. They can be found happily living and working alongside other people throughout Arrun, but most notably in the Sylvan Republic, where they are treated as equals by the elves and make up a significant proportion of the population.
Rock Gnomes often organize their own communities around a particular trade or industry, and they are known throughout Arrun as successful merchants and traders.
Most Rock Gnomes have tan to olive skin and dark hair. The men's moustaches and whiskers grow quickly and their beards can reach impressive lengths. Elaborate beard and moustache styles are very popular.
Religion has not traditionally played a large role in Rock Gnome communities, and most are irreligious, but many follow the Elven Gods, while others take on other beliefs.
Living deep in the Greatwood Forest, and in isolated tribes sprinkled throughout the woods of Arrun, one can find the Forest Gnomes.
More reclusive than their Northern cousins, the Forest Gnomes prefer to live simple lives, close to nature. They are largely hunter-gatherers and a great many tribes are nomadic, following herds of game on their yearly migrations.
They get on well with their Wood Elf neighbors, and it is not unusual to see them happily living and working in Wood Elf communities.
Like the Wood Elves, they tend to have a deep reverence for nature, and their shamanistic religion reveres the natural world.
Forest Gnomes tend to have fair skin and blonde or red hair that they will often dye wild colors and the men have very little facial hair.
Because of their tendency to retain youthful features well into middle age, Forest Gnomes are frequently mistaken for Elven children. Most gnomes find this quite insulting.
The Hobgoblin population of Arrun is concentrated in the Golden Coast, divided into feudal states and numerous monarchies.
They are, by and large, a plain and hardworking folk with a strongly martial culture. They are forever squabbling amongst themselves.
They are also a highly religious society. Zealous even. Most Hobgoblins follow a monotheistic religion that has split and schismed into dozens of sects. Most of their petty wars are over religious differences.
They tolerate other races in their societies, but the open practice of other faiths is generally prohibited. People of other faiths are often looked down upon and sometimes persecuted.
Quite a few Hobgoblin apostates find themselves unwelcome in their homeland, and set out to find a home among other people, or to make one for themselves.
It is generally considered ill advised to debate religious matters with a hobgoblin.
Goblins can be found all over the continent, either burrowed into the hills and mountains, or living in the shadow of other civilizations.
They are generally a disorganized and short-sighted lot, and are considered a nuisance most everywhere they go due to their uncouth nature, lack of self-control, and carelessness, though they are not generally considered dangerous.
Some goblins do take to banditry, but most draw the line somewhere right above petty theft.
They are generally irreligious. They have no religions of their own, but occasionally they will follow other faiths they come across.
Goblins are prolific engineers and inventors, though they don't seem to be very good at it. Their janky contraptions usually work, somehow, but their safety standards are often lacking and their construction methods are often inexpert and hasty, leaving one wondering how the damned thing hasn't fallen apart already.
A lot can be said about Minotaur society. Minotaurs are the sole inhabitants of Minotia, a large, lush island dotted with cozy little villages, each led by the oldest and wisest cow in the herd.
Very few others get to experience the pleasantries of Minotaur society, however. To the rest of Arrun, they are known primarily for the legendary territorial rage of the bulls.
Minotaur bulls are perfectly able to participate in polite Minotaur society with cows and other bulls. In fact, they have a strong protective instinct towards other Minotaurs. When they are among cows or calves they consider their herd, however, the appearance of any creature that could possibly be considered a threat sends them into an uncontrollable and murderous rage.
As such, other people find it nigh impossible to live alongside Minotaur communities.
Minotaurs do travel outside of Minotia, but they only travel with their own gender in greater Arrun.
Minotaur cows are generally accepted in other societies, and they often travel and trade with other peoples, but it is uncommon for them to establish a home on the mainland.
Minotaur bulls are usually met with great caution wherever they go, and many communities will not allow them in their towns. They often make a living as mercenaries, as a bull who has learned to tap into his rage on command is a truly terrifying foe to face.
The Minotaurs largely follow a monotheistic religion worshipping the sun as God, but many have taken up the peaceful Seeker religion, particularly bulls, who may use meditation to control their rage.
The Sasquatch (use Bugbear traits) Are shy and secretive denizens of the Greatwood Forest. They tend to live in small, isolated family communities and they are rarely encountered when they do not want to be.
They construct simple and cozy homes hidden away in natural caves or fallen trees. They are hunter gatherers and their religion is a form of ancestor worship that calls upon the spirits of the dead.
Very rarely, a Sasquatch will get an itch to explore the greater world. When they do so, most people don't know quite what to make of them, as they are mostly unknown outside of the Greatwood.
No one quite knows where the Tieflings originally came from, as they don't have and don't seem to want a homeland.
They are a nomadic people, and travel all over Arrun in caravans. They usually make their way as traveling bands of entertainers. Tiefling Bards are considered the best in the world, and their stage magicians utilize illusion magic to delight crowds. Their fortune-tellers are also famously effective, and rich and powerful patrons will often seek out the best among them.
This allows most communities to tolerate their presence in spite of the Tieflings' reputation, not unearned, for sticky fingers. For a time, at least.
A Tiefling caravan knows when it is time to move on, and when it is time they will pack up and leave in the middle of the night without telling a soul.
They follow a celestial pantheon, and astrology is central to their religion and divination practice.
The Draconic people, or Dragonborn, populate the rough mountains of Southwestern Arrun, where their ancient castles and keeps stand guard over their cold and rugged domain.
Most Arrunians believe that Dragons went extinct aeons ago, but the Draconics insist that the dragons still live, slumbering deep under the Dragontomb Mountains until their time comes to rise again.
Their religion revolves around the worship of their dragon ancestors, who were revered as living gods.
Draconic society is divided into city-states, ruled by Jarls, and relationships among nobles are maintained with elaborate rituals of etiquette and chivalry.
Draconic society freely trades with its neighbors, and though they will viciously defend their territories from any threats, the only people they regularly come into conflict with are the Goliath raiding parties from the Frozen Isles, which terrorize the Southwestern shores of Arrun.
Often, a noble-born Draconic will go out into the world on some elaborate and difficult quest, in order to improve their standing in Draconic High society.
Interpersonal affairs between Draconics are often settled by duels, which are held according to a highly ritualized set of rules and etiquette.
Refusing a challenge to a duel is considered the greatest insult one can give a Draconic noble. If one is ever challenged to a duel by a Draconic noble, one should know that Draconic duels do not always end in death, but Draconic grudges always do.
The peaceful, elephant-like Loxodon are the masters of the great plain. They live in simple wood and brick farming villages. They are a devoutly religious people, and they build great stone monasteries where their priests and monks meditate and study their religion, which centers around the personal search for enlightenment. Many non-loxodon have taken up the peaceful Seeker religion. It is especially popular among the Minotaur and the Tabaxi peoples.
Wild elephants roam the plains with the Loxodon, who revere and protect the creatures. The elephants are believed to be reincarnated Loxodon ancestors who have achieved a high level of enlightenment. They do not allow them to be hunted or domesticated, and the gentlest methods possible are used to keep roaming herds away from crops.
Though they have built no large cities of their own, the great and multicultural Black Rock City is in their territory, around and atop the Great Black Rock. Many loxodon live there, working often as manual labor or guards, as their imposing physicality makes them well suited to both.
Their communities are simple family affairs, often directed by the oldest and wisest in the clan.
The Lizardfolk of the B'ssat Empire are the lords of the Emerald Rainforest, and along the rivers they live in ancient stone cities built around massive stone temple pyramids.
They defend their towns with their mastery of martial tactics, bolstered by their command of nature magic. Mostly they must defend from the beasts and monsters of the jungle, but occasionally they must fight off Yuan Ti raids as the foul creatures slither up the rivers in search of spoils and slaves.
Their religion centers around a pantheon of powerful and monstrous gods, connected to various natural forces and appeased through offerings. There are rumors that some Lizardfolk cults practice humanoid sacrifice and cannibalism, and the practices were widespread centuries ago, but Lizardfolk now will tell you that they have long since moved past such savage practices.
They are often sought out for their powerful and well trained saurian mounts and beasts of burden. A Lizardfolk team driving a herd of dinosaurs out of the jungle and towards Black Rock to trade is a truly spectacular sight.
The elusive Tabaxi are scattered across the mountains of central Arrun, in small family packs usually run by an alpha male and female. They have simple lives of hunting and gathering, in the mountains, but many have found a place in other societies and taken on many of that society's ways.
Their old religion is a form of ancestor veneration, but the Seeker religion of the Loxodon has grown in popularity among them, and it is not unusual for second and third generation Tabaxi in other societies to take on local beliefs and customs.
Tabaxi bandits are not uncommon in the mountain passes, and many urban Tabaxi find that their natural talents lend particularly to burglary. This has given them a bit of a shady reputation, but their generally friendly and genteel nature usually allows others to tolerate them.
Kobolds are small, frail saurian people. They closely resemble the small, predatory dinosaurs they are thought to have descended from.
Averaging around 20 inches tall and weighing under twenty pounds, a single Kobold seems little threat to anyone, but their pack tactics are legendary. Many clever Kobold clans have outwitted and defeated much stronger foes.
Many centuries ago, the Kobold clans lived in the shadow of the Lizardfolk empire, occupying whatever hidden little cave or hollow tree they could make a home of. There was occasional conflict between the two peoples, but since the Lizardfolk hunted the waters and the Kobolds hunted the forest floor, there was little competition between the two.
When the Yuan Ti appeared, slivering up from the depths, they came in greater numbers than the Kobold clans could deal with. While the Lizardfolk were able to defend against the worst of the initial onslaught, the Kobold were quickly sniffed out and fell before the slithering horde. Many Kobolds were slaughtered, and many more were taken as slaves. Others wisely fled the rainforest, and made their way to other lands.
Now, Kobolds who are not slaves of the Yuan Ti are unheard of in the Emerald Rainforest.
Elsewhere in Arrun, through the tropics and down to the temperate climes of the Great Plain and the Golden coast, Kobold clans have settled in whatever hidey hole they could find. These clans are notorious for livestock theft throughout Arrun, and are known to be capable of darker crimes.
Other clans settled among other societies, often finding their home in the seedier underbelly.
While Kobolds are often regarded as thieves and criminals, they are certainly not all untrustworthy. Kobolds who have proven their loyalty and trustworthiness are sometimes considered some of the greatest messengers and spies in Arrun. Many clans, in fact, make their living trading in information.
Kobolds who have not adopted other faiths usually follow the Old Ways, a shamanistic religion that regards the great dinosaurs of the Emerald Rainforest as living gods, avatars of great natural forces.
Hidden away in the quiet corners of Arrun are communities of insectoid people, called Beetoids for their obvious resemblance to their tiny cousins. There are three distinct species of Beetoid:
The Wood Borers, who live in the Greatwood Forest, have wings which give them the ability to glide from tree to tree.
The Waterbugs, who live in the waterways of the Emerald Rainforest, are amphibious, and are as comfortable on land as under water.
The Burrowers are more widespread and cover the whole continent, though they tend to prefer higher elevations and rocky terrain. They are nimble climbers, in order to navigate their labyrinthine hives their clawed feet allow a climb speed equal to their walking speed, and they can easily climb most surfaces with ease.
At Fifth level, a Beetoid molts and gains another adaptation, depending upon their role in the hive.
Grappling Appendages: Your mandibles grow larger and more dexterous, allowing you to grapple, make an unarmed attack, or interact with objects with them.
Carapace: You gain an armored carapace that provides a bonus to defense.
Acid Spit: Exactly what it says on the tin. All species of Beetoid use this to dig their hives.
The Beetoid language consists of a complicated combination of pheromones, body language and buzzing produced by rubbing their carapace. It is a hundred times more efficient than vocal communication, and a conversation that would take other people an hour only takes them six seconds. Two Beetoids passing in the street don't just say hello, they share life stories. A Beetoid writes using her own pheromones, and their writing is ten times denser than most. Other species lack the physical ability to understand or speak their language without magical assistance.
Beetoids must be within five feet of each other to use their pheremones and speak at full capacity. Communication between Beetoids using just vocalization and body language is only about ten times more efficient than spoken language.
Beetoids may also leave invisible pheromone trails and messages that are only “visible” to other Beetoids.
Beetoids can mimic the speech of other species by vibrating their carapace. They can mimic other sounds as well, but it comes out tinny and buzzy, and not easily mistaken for the original.
They are highly social creatures among their own kind, and live in densely populated hives, sharing resources and responsibilities in a deeply co-operative way. An individual Beetoid does have a sense of self and an individual personality, but also functions as an extension of a hive. Because of the way they communicate and cooperate, Beetoids of a hive share everything with each other, and thus carry all of the knowledge and will of the whole hive.
They are much less comfortable among the four-limbed folks. They find communication with them slow and inefficient, and have trouble understanding their ways and mores. If you make a friend of a Beetoid, however, you will have won her undying loyalty and will be accepted as a member of her hive.
Beetoids tend towards lawful alignments, and they tend towards mores that other people would consider neutral, but some hives are more aggressive or chaotic than others.
Their names are short stories about their hive and their place in it, but for the benefit of the four-limbed folk they take on nicknames that they feel describe themselves.
All beetoids have a chitinous carapace and six legs. Their faces consist of two huge multifaceted eyes atop their large mandibles and mouthparts. Atop their heads are two antennae, essential to pheromone communication.
The Wood borers are taller, at about 7 feet tall, and they are more lightly built than other Beetoids. They have brightly colored carapaces with wild patterns and a metallic or iridescent sheen. Their wings fold under their carapace when not in use.
The Waterbugs have wide, flat bodies and carapaces of flat, dull, earthen tones. They stand about 6 feet tall.
The Burrowers are shorter, at around 5 feet tall, and much stockier than other beetoids. Their carapaces are black and come in a wide variety of textures, from thorney to smooth and shiny, and everything in between.
All Beetoids walk on their back four feet, and their front two feet have dexterous claws that serve quite well as hands.
The males tend to be a little smaller, they have large mandibles, ornamental horns on their heads, and more elaborate patterns on their carapaces than females. During mating season the hive can be a little less orderly than normal, but both sexes serve all sorts of roles within the hive.
Beetoids serve all sorts of roles within a hive. A Bard would serve to foster communication and cooperation between hives and among other races. A Wizard would be a collector and keeper of knowledge, seeking out knowledge and secrets that can strengthen the hive. Some rare Beetoids develop innate magical powers and become Sorcerers.
Most Beetoid hives have Clerics who worship the goddess Sun Mother who Mated with Moon Father and Laid Arrun (The name of this world) Egg and… Her name goes on for some time, most of the soft-skinned people just call her Sun Mother. Some hives worship Sun Father or Arrun Egg.
Paladins would serve as stalwart protectors of the hive, and their power usually comes from their devotion to their hive.
Other hives might have stumbled upon other… entities… and produced a Warlock.
Beetoids live very close to nature, and as a result Druids often serve as healers and shamen, and Rangers are not uncommon as hunters and scouts. (Circle of Spores Druid in GGR might be a good fit)
Beetoids never steal from their own hive, it is entirely unnecessary, but some hives are known to have little respect for the property of other peoples and will send out Rogues to "collect resources."
Beetoids produce metal armor and weapons, and Fighters and Barbarians wield them to serve as soldiers, scouts, and the general muscle of the hive.
A hive may also employ Monks, beetoids who have, through careful study and practice, mastered the art of using their natural weapons and armor.
Draft Animals and Mounts of Arrun
Horses: 200 gp
Horses are a new introduction to Arrun, having come over with the Talamians. They are somewhat common on the West coast and their use has started to spread among the hobgoblins of the Golden Coast. They are very uncommon in Eastern Arrun, and quite expensive anywhere in Arrun.
Dram: Pack: 8 gp, Draft: 50 gp, Riding: 75 gp, Mini: 30 gp War: 400 gp
Native to the High Desert, the hardy and docile drad are the favored mounts and pack animals of the Elves of Arrun. There are several breeds, from heavy pack dram, to sleek and swift riding dram. There is even a breed of miniature dram favored by Gnomes. Dram are tall, wooly camelids, with long necks and large erect ears. They look much like large llamas with big ears. Other races have also adopted their use, but they are most common in Eastern Arrun.
Hadrosaur: 100 gp, and Triceratops: 2000 gp
These feathered duck-billed dinosaurs from the Emerald Rainforest are common mounts throughout the Golden Coast and Great Plain areas. Though they do not thrive in the desert or in snowy climes, they can be kept in such environments with careful care. Hadrosaur are the single largest export of the Lizardfolk Empire. The Lizardfolk are masters at domesticating and training dinosaurs, and the Triceratops they also sell, for a modest fortune, are highly sought after war mounts across Arrun. It is said that the Lizardfolk also train fearsome predators, but they never sell them to outsiders.
Mountain Drakes: 600 gp
These slow to breed and long-lived draconic creatures are highly prized by the Draconian people. Though they look quite fierce, a well-trained drake is much more like a dog in personality, and not nearly as fierce as their wild cousins. Mountain Drakes are mostly bred and owned by Draconic nobles, and passed through families rather than sold. They are stocky, and look something like wingless, draconic dogs the size of a horse cut off at the knees.
Auroch: 75 gp
The use of the huge, hearty aurochs as pack and draft animals has spread across all of Arrun, as well as their use as meat livestock. Originally from Minotia, the creatures are huge, strong oxen. Though they make excellent pack and draft animals, able to carry or pull twice what a horse can, they are rarely ridden, as they do not tolerate a rider well.
Draft Ants: Sled colony: 50 gp, Sleigh colony: 150
These rat-sized ants can be quite a worrisome sight if you come across one of their large, roving colonies. In truth, though, these large ants are quite harmless and feed on fungus and vegetation. Beetoids have domesticated the ants, and are able to quite precisely control a well trained colony. They are used to pull special all-terrain sleds and sleighs, connected to the colony by hundreds of strings.
Firearms from Talam use black powder cartridges and produce significant flash, smoke and noise when fired. While firearms and cased ammunition are not damaged by water, an attack with a firearm has disadvantage when firing under water. After firing a firearm under water, roll a d4. On a roll of one the firearm is destroyed.
A feat is available called Firearm Expert. It functions exactly like Crossbow expert, except it's for firearms.
Any feature that gives you crossbow proficiency gives you the corresponding firearm proficiency:
Carbine/shotgun for light crossbow
Handgun for hand crossbow
Rifle for heavy crossbow
Firearm ammunition cannot be refired, but with a reloader kit you can reload spent cases if you collect them.
Cost: 75 gp
Damage: 1d10 piercing
Properties: Ammunition, (range 80/320), loading, two-handed
Cost: 75 gp
Damage: 3d4 piercing
Properties: Ammunition, (range 20/80), loading, two-handed, heavy
Cost: 225 gp
Damage: 1d8 piercing
Properties: Ammunition, (range 30/120), loading, light
Cost: 150 gp
Damage: 1d12 piercing
Weight: 15 lb
Properties: Ammunition, (range 100/400), heavy, loading, two-handed
Carbine/handgun (20): 2gp, 1lb
Shotgun (20): 5gp, 2lb
Rifle (20): 5 gp, 2lb
Gunsmith's Tools: 50gp, 10lb
Reloading Supplies: 30gp, 8lb