Godbound: The Ravaged Lands


GODBOUND: THE RAVAGED LANDS

Heaven has fallen. The world is broken. The Throne is empty. More than a thousand years ago the Former Empires ruled in glory. Wonders beyond imagining littered the nations of that ancient age, even the least of men and women living in luxury. Hunger, sickness, ignorance, pain… all the blights to which mortal bodies are heir were banished by the marvels of the Former Empires. 

The agent of this mercy was the might of theurgy, the terrible High Magic uncovered by restless scholars of the old realms. With the secrets of theurgy at their disposal, sages were able to lay impious hands on the very levers of creation, manipulating cosmic powers far beyond the birthright of mortal humanity. The deep powers of the Creator were at their disposal at last, ready to glorify their kindred and exalt their causes. And they had many causes. 

Bereft of material want, the Former Empires found other reasons to struggle. It was no longer enough to have a full belly and healthy children. The newfound might of theurgy would help them bring righteousness to neighboring realms that disputed the wisdom of their ways or the justice of their laws. Evil and corruption would be purged at last, and all the grieving sorrow of their misguided or malevolent neighbors would be healed by the light of their glorious truth. Of course, every one of the Former Empires had its own truth to uphold. Their people wanted for nothing, but their material wealth simply left them to crave more intangible things. It was not enough that a neighbor was willing to keep the peace; the neighbor had to agree with them, had to submit to their laws and their ideals. And if this submission made their former neighbors into new subjects of their rulers, was it not a fair reward for a valiant pursuit of justice? 

No one knows how long the wars tore open the nations of the old world. Some say they lasted centuries, others think it was only a few years before the ancient theurges sought to end matters. There would be no more fighting. The theurges would use their arts to ascend to Heaven, and there put their causes before the One. God alone would determine the true way that humanity was to live. The angels fought desperately to keep back the invading theurges, but they were too few to withstand the human sorceries. A hundred-odd armies marched at the theurges' sides, great engines and terrible war-beasts grinding the celestial legions before them. Countless mortals perished, but the angels were driven back at last, forced to flee from Heaven and seek refuge in the fires of Hell below. 

The triumphant theurges approached the holy heart of Heaven, the Throne of God where the creator of all would answer at last. And yet when the great doors were opened, when the thousand Names were spoken, when the burning wings of angels no longer veiled the sanctum, the Throne stood empty before them. God was not there. The theurges scattered in confusion and wrath. Some were bitter, and swore that the Creator was never there at all, and that the One was merely a trick of angels. Others wept in terror, crying out that their impiety had led to God's abandonment of them. Most, however, saw not an emptiness, but a possibility. If God was no longer on the Throne, was there not room for another? The Last War below did not cease, but it changed. 

Throughout the Former Empires, theurges and theotechnicians labored to forge new gods, Made Gods, fabricating them from shards of plundered celestial engines and stolen artifacts from the house of God. Unimaginable power was poured into these hollow shells. Holy exemplars of their nations' ideals were enlisted to embody this force or fuel the golem-gods they created, and in time these Made Gods strode forth. The destruction they wrought was incalculable. God after god stormed the halls of Heaven, searching for more power in its crumbling engines and broken wonders. They fought each other on earth, churning up nations, and battled each other in Heaven's gardens, breaking loose shards of the celestial city. As they scavenged the celestial engines, the world began to crack beneath them, the Former Empires splintering into scattered realms that drifted away from each other in the darkness of Uncreated Night. A few reckless Made Gods even attempted to seize the Throne itself, but their sacrilege left only their bones. They were not prepared to usurp the place of God. There was no last battle. 

There was no ultimate struggle that marked the end of the Last War. There was only a slow winding-down over centuries as the Made Gods died. Some perished from the perils of Heaven, slain by vengeful angels or destroyed by powers they did not understand. Others were killed in battle, slaughtered by rival Made Gods or undone by the energies of mighty mortal weapons. A few simply became lost, trapped or hidden away in a shard of broken Heaven, far away from their home and their people. 

The Made Gods are gone. Now there are only the heritor nations, the crumbled fragments of the Former Empires eking out a meager existence in the far-scattered realms. The wonders of the former age no longer function, and the theurgy that once shook Heaven is now a brittle, capricious art wounded by the very destruction it caused. Kings and commoners alike must live in a world that no longer welcomes them. Every year, things grow a little harder. The celestial engines among the shards of Heaven are often broken and always ill-kept, now that the angels have fled. Seasons grow uncertain and nature grows whimsical or malicious. Sickness comes at strange times and monsters are birthed in hidden places. 

Sometimes the skin of the realm puckers and splits, a Night Road erupting into the realm from some fathomless depth of Uncreated Night. Creation unwinds slowly, but without halt. But there is a new thing in the realms. Ordinary men and women are being touched by ancient power. The lost Words of Creation are igniting within the flesh of common humans, imbuing them in a stroke with the power that once required a Made God's shell to contain. It started only a few short years ago, but these "Godbound" are said to be blessed by the descending fire of the fallen Made Gods. Their holy workings and celestial bindings are falling free from their dead husks, and descending to the earth to catch on mortal souls. Heretics of the Unitary Church whisper that it was a plan of God that it should be so, that these Godbound will redeem the sins of their ancestors and restore the world that was broken. 

Others say that they are merely cursed ones, damned to relive the terrible Last War that destroyed the Made Gods before them. Yet in the present hour they are only men and women who have been given something more. 

CHARACTER EXPECTATIONS

You number five, third level characters. You are normal, if above-average people in a desolate and ruined world. With the advent of Godbound, people with Divinity within their very being, chaos and terror has reigned. Nations and empires fight for sovereignty against these nascent gods. Wielding their unimaginable power, majority have little care for the weak, wreaking havoc. You are a survivor of such an event, perhaps the only survivor. A deep anger and hatred dwells within you for these Godbound and the destruction they cause. The event, the Godbound (Plural or singular, even one Godbound is a force to be reckoned with) that caused it, and further details are up to you. If you have any questions, please let me know. You are not allowed to be evil, or evil adjacent.

The following can all be found at

https://5e.tools

Of the playable races published in official D&D content, I will allow you to play:

Human Variant (Human is banned), Tiefling (including MToF and SCAG subraces but not the winged subrace), Aasimar (VGtM version)

Of the playable classes published in D&D content, I will allow you to play:

Artificer (2019 UA version), Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Rogue, Wizard.

In addition to the above classes, the Gunslinger Fighter subclass, written by Matthew Mercer, is available for use, with one change: The Ability Score for Grit points is Intelligence. The PHB Ranger is replaced with the following revision, named the Versatile Ranger. A class of my own design is also available, the Spellblade. The PHB Sorcerer is replaced with the Tweaked Sorcerer, given below. The PHB Warlock is replaced with the Omega Warlock, with the following addendums: Your spellcasting ability may be Intelligence or Charisma, Pact Weapons use your Spellcasting Ability for  attack and damage rolls, and you may bond with artifacts, but not sentient weapons.

Gunslinger

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-iQ4d-yspA9MjoflCMxoDRqDQoxJ9Bga/view?usp=drivesdk

Versatile Ranger:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10bKFc91oA-YxKyJiIfDJQVZLHDjpMm3P/view?usp=drivesdk

Spellblade:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/14oer3lMLji7BoO6FkjPyEGCdqofvli-Bw64VFl1Dlf4/edit?usp=drivesdk

Tweaked Sorcerer:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10CTshsOCO3uTbiGKXGDcyECbiXDy6C0B/view?usp=drivesdk

Omega Warlock:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FEQQjQVgDub_b2B_pxhEIKgUGvX2s7pS/view?usp=drivesdk

In regards to ability scores, you will be expected to roll on server, using the provided dicebot. If you have more than three scores below thirteen, none above fifteen, or no scores with a negative modifier, then you will reroll until you fulfill these thresholds. Additionally, you gain 1 feat of your choice. If you are Human Variant, you gain two. There may not be more than two tieflings/aasimar in a party.

Additionally, while in appearance and mechanically, you are a Tiefling or Aasimar, lorewise, you are a cursed/blessed Human. There are no other races in this world, save for humans.

You will start with fifteen gold pieces each. This may not seem like much but in my setting, the currency system is adjusted. Additionally, an implication of this setting detail is that anything in the books which costs gp (not magical items, which I have my own system for) therefore costs 1/10 of the stated costs.

GUIDES FOR NEW PLAYERS.

If you're new to DnD 5e, I would advise reading the basic rules, then DMing me so we can work on a character concept: 

http://dnd.wizards.com/products/tabletop/players-basic-rules

This is also a fantastic guide.

https://www.nerdolopedia.com/articles/2018/4/12/a-step-by-step-guide-to-dd-5e-character-creation

I would also advise watching the videos on Ability Scores, Ability Checks, Death Saving Throws, Armor, Weapons, Combat, Advantage and Disadvantage, Skills and Backgrounds.

If you're a spellcaster, I would advise watching the spellcasting basics video. These are 3-5 minutes long, so don't worry about having to sit through virtually an entire movie.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1tiwbzkOjQyr6-gqJ8r29j_rJkR49uDN

CHARACTER SHEETS:

Here are character sheets for you to use! You may also use D&DBeyond. The MPMB character sheet is very useful. It's by no means compulsory to use it, but it's an automated sheet! It has all official content. However, it requires you to use a computer and have Adobe PDF reader.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=105gj1PB_d_bLwDUpiCiYR7TKyIAujBhW

MONEY

– CP, copper pieces. In this setting, called “cores”, “crows”, and “coppers” depending where you are in the country (worth 1 CP).

– SP, silver pieces. In this setting, called “stars” (worth 1 SP). 

– AP, aluminium pieces. In this setting, called “shields” (worth 1 AP/10 SP).

– GP, gold pieces. In this setting, called “crowns” (worth 1 GP) and “suns” (worth 5 GP).

– PP, platinum pieces. In this setting, called “swords” (worth 1 PP) and “comets” (worth 10 PP). 

GAME EXPECTATIONS

You are mortals in a world walking with gods. You are human. 

This game might be hard. You have to survive in a world where nigh-godlike beings exist, in a world that is broken. You will have to survive against all odds, in a battle against the divine. Your goals as a character are up to you, but remember that you are a party, a group, and that success in your endeavours requires teamwork and cooperation, as well as trust.

WORLD MAP

The Nations:

Ancalia: A kingdom fallen in on itself after a calamitous otherworldly invasion, plagued by warlords and worse.

Atheocracy of Lom: A land embittered by the Shattering, ruled by the fearsome priests of True Reason and their magic.

Bleak Reach: A ruined exile-land where the refugees and outcasts have scratched out a hard, unlucky existence. 

Howlers: Nomadic raiders of a lost empire who plunder neighbors and guard the poisonous words of their sires. 

Kasirutan Archipelago: Pirates and traders of the hot southeastern islands, the finest sailors in all the realm. 

Nezdohva: A nation of serfs, artificers and quarreling golem-nobles under the rule of the mechanical Iron Czar.

Oasis States: Pyramid-dwelling inhabitants of the desert grow much under the mad eye of the God-Pharaohs.

Patrian Empire: A martial state long locked in combat with Dulimbai, dependent on heavy infantry and slave labor.

Raktine Confederacy: A patchwork of city-states and rural domains with dark, potent wizards and a ferocious independence.

Regency of Dulimbai: Vanguard of an ancient invasion, proud of its erudition and art and convinced of its right to rule all.

The Thousand Gods: A god-plagued land of countless tribes who wield ancient magic in service to their deities.

Toba Plains: Proud riders who serve the holy monks of their ancestor-monasteries and the armies of Dulimbai.

Ulstang Skerries: Witch-viking raiders from cold northern isles who enslave the dead to drive their bone-prowed ships.

Vissio: Former Patrian colonies turned independent city-states of merchants, artists, poisoners, and poets

A GUIDE TO THE REALMS

Ancalia

Five years ago Ancalia’s peaceful, civilized monarchy was shattered by a massive outbreak of Night Roads opening throughout the country, disgorging waves of abominations and raising those killed by the Hollowing Plague. The survivors huddle in coastal redoubts and inland enclaves, aided by the ragged remnants of Ancalia’s famed knightly orders

Atheocracy of Lom 

The Voice of Reason rules this chill and cheerless land with the aid of his anti priest acolytes. The people are but pawns to their master’s theories and schemes, yet they fear to pray to the gods that so utterly abandoned them in the past.

The Bleak Reach

A thousand years ago this was an advanced and powerful nation. Now the land is cursed, a refuge for exiles and those no other land can tolerate. Reacher folk are hard, canny, and ruthless in their will to survive.

The Howlers 

Savage raiders, peerless poets and famed beast-tamers, the Howlers shun writing of all kinds as a curse that destroyed their ancient nation.

The Kasirutan Archipelago 

The finest sailors in the realm call these volcanic isles home, though they’re feared more for their pirating than for their ruthless mercantile dealings.

Nezdohva 

The mechanical Iron Tsar and his automaton nobility rule this land of impoverished human serfs. Their human Artificer’s Guild has the best automaton-builders in the realm, and a liberty born of the tsar’s dependence on their arts. His patronage of their talents is all that keeps his fractious, ambitious mechanical boyars and autocossacks in line.

The Oasis States 

Pyramidal city-arcologies rise amid the red sands, a wealth of spices and drugs grown within their hydroponic gardens. An inbred nobility cultivates their bloodlines for physical and magical power, while outside their walls the “sand prince” raiders pillage spice caravans and foreign goods.

The Patrian Empire 

The Patrian legions are the best heavy infantry in the world, their armored ranks and steely assegais a bulwark against their ancient rivals in Dulimbai to the south. Their senatorial families scheme for influence over the plebian classes, while swarms of bitter slaves toil in their mines and finely-built homes.

The Raktine Confederacy 

This patchwork of city-states, demesnes, and free towns was once a battleground divided between Patria and Dulimbai. In desperation, the sorcerers of Raktia unsealed the forbidden Black Academies in the mountains and used their secrets to conjure beasts to drive out the invaders. It came at a price; even today, Raktia is plagued with monsters.

The Regency of Dulimbai 

Greatest of the nations of the south, Dulimbai’s mandarins came as an invading force a thousand years ago. Their Regent still pledges loyalty to a long-lost emperor, and their magistrates keep to old ways.

The Thousand Gods 

Once this steaming jungle was a favorite site for arcane research by the other nations of the realm. Now the descendants of those arcanists are tribes of god-enslaved cultists ruled by artificial divinities of cruel and capricious nature.

The Toba Plains 

Nomadic clans of herdsmen ride the broad plains, congregating around the massive stone monasteries of their revered lamas. These monks are proud and wealthy, and their disputes often leave the nomad clans divided and troubled.

The Ulstang Skerries

These icy islands lie under the cold hand of quarreling witch-queens, who send their sea raiders faring forth with dead men at the oars. Their warriors are mighty and pitiless, dreaded all along the northern coasts. Their robbery is bad enough, but all know that the corpses of the hapless souls they slay are taken north to be slaves… or worse.

Vissio 

Home to the richest financiers and most ambitious artists in the realm, Vissio is a proud land of rival city-states and scheming patrician families whose deep rivers and seaports see most of the trade of the western realm. Their clockwork artificers are superb, and work many marvels for the merchant-princes and the assassins of the Order of Redactors.

LANGUAGES.

The languages given in the PHB are replaced by these.

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