The Grey Veil
Beneath every deep, a vaster deep unfolds.
Maritime Trade War and Land Grab in an emerging realm of Law vs. Chaos
Here is what you know about the campaign world; map, geography, landmarks, climate, cultural centers, political system, economy, coinage, brief history, etc.
THE GREY VEIL:
The “known world,” essentially a collection of islands and larger land masses, is bordered by a vast and dense fog called the Grey Veil. It is utterly featureless and has no known end; ships that sail into it rarely find their way out again.
Hawkenyork: Largest human city and the center of trade; has an underwater district that is the diplomatic meeting point between the air-breathing world and the aquatic world.
Kordachi: Part casino, part prison. A series of karsts rising from the sea. Ruled by a gambling lord known as The Sharp.
Orcs’ home turf is a large island with the geography of the map of Nithia but with totally different cities/landmarks.
Elves’ home turf is a land mass that butts directly up against the Grey Veil, on which is a forest analogous to the Margreve
Dwarves’ home turf is another large land mass with topography like that of China, that rises in successively higher steps (each with their own order/purpose? What?) until at the highest plateau (ref: Tibet) it butts up against the curve of the Grey Veil. There is spiritual significance to each of these geographic steps, and great mystery surrounding the highest step, where the wisps of the Grey Veil create areas of unusual activity/significance.
Magic in the Grey Veil is not as ubiquitous and powerful as in other planes. Nothing beyond 3rd-level spells is available in the standard form. Magic beyond 3rd level only exists in the form of incantations (UA), rituals that always involve special circumstances, rare ingredients, and dealing with unpredictable powers/entities. Incantations are slow, difficult, dangerous, and unpredictable. Anyone can attempt an incantation, though casters are much less likely to botch them.
Item crafting follows the above parameters: Craftable Items are more readily available, whereas more powerful items are significantly more rare, on the level of unique objects/artifacts.
The dwarves practice a unique form of magic called The Sublime Way (Tome of Battle). It is an integral part of their culture and philosophy.
Binders make pacts with various lesser chaos creatures, demons, fey, and other strange entities collectively known as Vestiges.
Rather than Good & Evil being the primary axis of religion in the Grey Veil, Law & Chaos are the predominant powers. The Lords of Law and Chaos are not so much worshipped as they are petitioned (or appeased, as the case may be). There are a handful of individual deities worshipped by cults, but they are not taken seriously by society as a whole.
Law and Chaos are the primary powers that operate in the Grey Veil, and form the foundation of most spiritual and magical activity. From time to time there will be upstart cults who profess the power of all manner of individual “gods,” but such worship is looked upon with amusement and/or derision.
A group of shipcaptains is sanctioned and governed by the Coalition of Captains, empowered along the lines of letters of Marque which can be revoked at will, to patrol the seas in defense of threats to both cities and ships… what? Sahuagin? Aqualithids? Aquatic creatures like evil whales? And as escort to trade ships. Various entities can buy into membership of a coalition, entitling them to the services of the enmarqued patrol ships. The ships are otherwise hands-off in the affairs of non-members. They are essentially corporate police. Perhaps the PC’s start out embarked on one of these ships? These ships have some leeway in their activities, which independents do not. They’re like the cops in a way. Each has a contingent of marines aboard; these marines are the responsibility of the individual shipcaptain, rather than being provided or governed by the Coalition. There can be vast differences in the marines from ship to ship, according to who that captain chooses to employ and how they are equipped and trained. (How are these ships designated? A yellow flag? A special lantern or pattern of lights?)
The Coalition of Captains is sort of like a board of directors. “One study determined that the optimum size for a decision-making group was seven people and that for each person added above this, the group’s decision making effectiveness was reduced by 10%.” So, there will be seven captains at any given time.
WHAT THE PCs KNOW:
What the PCs know about what each race is doing in Hawkenyork:
- Humans are primarily involved in all aspects of maritime trade
- Dwarves’ primary presence there is the monastery that also serves as a diplomatic embassy
- The elves, being isolationist, do not have any diplomatic presence in any territories outside their own (they have allowed a human settlement on the coast of their continent, but if human envoys are allowed inland travel at all it is only with an escort; any adventures into the elven interior are going to be “covert ops” – unless some kell or tribe is aiding the PCs so as to maneuver against another kell/tribe).
The climate is generally Mediterranean. Temperatures only occasional fall below the freezing point and snow is seldom seen.
In and around the elven lands, there are unnaturally extreme seasons, from a vividly green and fecund spring to a a biting, snowy winter. The winds and currents in the vicinity of the elven shores are known to change in seemingly unpredictable patterns.
Evergreen trees: such as pines, cypresses, and oaks
Deciduous trees: such as sycamores, oaks, and buckeyes
Fruit trees such as olives, figs, citrus, walnuts and grapes
Shrubs: Bay laurel, ericas, banksias, and chamise
Sub-shrubs: such as sages, artemisias, and sagebrush
Grasses: grassland types, Themeda triandra, bunchgrasses; sedges, and rushes
Herbs: such as fragrant rosemary, thyme, and lavender.