The war with the Ancients 600 years ago left most of the vast continent of Leor a volatile, but beautiful landscape, where giant far flung jagged spires of ice and snow steam above red fields of cooling magma, and most of the forests are frozen in perpetual autumn. There are large desert valleys where the bones of the earth seemed to have burst out of the sand, split and cracked, their crevices glowing with manna. There are floating islands linked by the roots of trees that hover above sundered mountains, and deep dark caverns that keep the secrets of a bygone age.
" A Village in the Snow "
"The Floating Isles"
- Bodies of Water and Fire -
Lakes and rivers that are freezing or bubbling with lava are common, and the play between melting ice and fire create landscapes criss-crossed with canyons, ravines, rocky outcrops and plateaus. Often, canoeing is the fastest mode of travel. On land travelers find themselves climbing as much as walking, and maps change at least once every two years because of the shifting landscape.
- Badlands -
The most dangerous lands are where scholars say the most intense battles during the Age of Arcana took place. Here ancient curses still linger, and nature and magic are warped, creating unstable magic fields that shoot out manna burning lightning at warlocks casting spells, or causing mutations the longer one stays in these places.
" Ravager Plains "
- Floating Obelisks -
The Scorched Wastes is where the ruins of the tallest towers built during the Age of Arcana stand leaning, looming high beyond the clouds in a blackened valley full of everlasting bones where nothing grows. There are three floating indestructible obelisks not of this world that have images and runes all creatures can somehow read. These runes is where the common language of Leor originates from and the images and runes carved here recount the final battle that occurred against the Ancients. It includes a solemn warning to vain man not to challenge the Ancients again, or they will rise up one final time and wipe them out.
The weather in Leor reminds people of the wrath of the Ancients. There are blizzards that leave in their wake frozen travelers still standing upright, sandstorms that evolve into clusters of twisting scorch tornadoes, rolling clouds of poisonous mist called miasma in the badlands, and manna storms that thunder with manna burning lightning.
Depending on the weather, characters must take shelter or make Survival rolls to resist bad weather effects. Shops sell magically reinforced tents or spell scrolls that allow one to summon temporary magical shelters that can withstand the bad weather.
- Traveling -
Travel DC = Terrain + Weather
Terrain: Grassland and Plains have no DC. Additional DC: Caves +1, Enemy patrols +2, Monster dens +3. Decreases DC: Merchant road -1, Ally patrols -2, -3 Homeland.
Level 1 (DC 6): hills, forest, savannah
Level 2 (DC 8): mountain, jungle, dessert
Level 3 (DC 10) : glacial, cursed land, volcanic
Level 1 (DC 6): surface
Level 2 (DC 8): deep
Level 3 (DC 10) : seafloor
Weather: Roll 1d4. On a 4, it is a clear or cloudy sky that gives no additional DC. Additional DC: Night +1, Surface Ocean +2, Badlands +3.
How did the journey go?
After the DC has been established, make a Survival roll. You can choose to buddy up with 1 player character where one of you makes one Journey roll with advantage for the both of you.
Success: You reached your destination safely. Fail: Roll 1d12 exposure die.
Travel Exposure Die:
1 = -1 Hp + Complication. Extremely dangerous Encounter. Ambushed by a large band of raiders, hunted by a giant predator, caught in a sudden avalanche, triggered a dormant curse.
2 - 3 = -1 Hp. Dangerous Encounter. Thieves upon the road, stumbling into the den of territorial monsters, sudden ice breaks or magma burts, triggered the old magical traps of a ruin.
4 - 6 = Complication. This is an affliction or accident that damaged gear, vehicles, or mounts, or lost items. Fell off a rocky ledge, ate poisonous mushrooms, strong wind broke off a branch that fell on your back, you feel feverish.
7-12 = +1 Exhaustion. Got lost for a while and ended up spending a lot of effort getting back on the right path, a sudden unexpected change in weather left you dehydrated or chilled to weariness, the hike was challenging and left you with a stitch at your side, something got damaged or someone got hurt and you went this way and that to fix it.
1 Day's Movement (8 hours on foot) = 1 hex in the World Map or 30 km. Woodlands and Hills reduce speed by -1. Mountains and Caves reduce speed by -2. Water reduces speed by -3 unless riding a boat.
Looking for Shelter:
Spend 1 hour and make a Knowledge roll against the Travel DC. Every additional hour spent searching gives +1 to the roll. Please declare how many extra hours you'd like to spend before rolling.
Upon reaching the destination, each player may world build adding something to the place they just arrived in so that there'll will be something in the area that interests them. The GM decides the terrain and size (and wealth for settlements), while players can add historical buildings or monuments, specialty goods, sights and scenery, area threats, enigmatic happenings, mysterious artifacts, etc.
- The Ancients -
These colossal ones are the oldest creatures in Leor. They are sentient, capable of speech, and are known to reach out through dreams and visions. They are said to have tamed an aspect of the world when it was still young, formless, and raging in fire and storms, and out of all of them, six are well known:
"Titan, the Archaean, steadfast as stone
Ramuh, the Fulgurian, sharp as lightning
Shiva, the Glacian, gentle as snow
Leviathan, the Hydraean, relentless as tides
Bahamut, the Draconian, unbending as iron
Ifrit, the Infernian, fickle as fire
Since time immemorial, they have watched over Leor"
During the war 600 years ago, one Ancient fell: Titan the Archaean, whose corpse remains on the ruined city of Fel Thalas. They say that because he is gone, Leor's land has become unstable, as legend's say that it was he who safeguarded the aspect of Land, keeping it from becoming what it was when the world was still young. It is this fear of the world breaking that fuels the oath Templars take to never repeat history and destroy every dangerous relic of the Age of Arcana.
- The Goliaths -
Historians call them children of the ancients, made of flesh like stone, wood, and moss. Intelligent only as far as an animal is. Their eyes aren't normal and they don't eat. They bear a large glowing white emblem, usually on the crown of their heads that are made of runes, the most familiar of them are the names of Ancients.
- The Local Fauna -
The creatures and monsters of Leor are wondrous and strange, ranging from Puffskeins, purring round furry puff balls that are highly resilient to being squeezed and thrown about, a pet adored by children, to the Ventrilantula, a giant spider that mimics voices, drawing in concerned folks who think that a child is hurt or trapped in a sewer.
Prey have been toughened by the world they live in. Herds are always on the watch, making noise when they spot danger, and then coming together to drive off predators with lightning, frost, and fire. The weaker they are, the more they rely on magic to survive, even using illusions and mind tricks to avoid hunters. Meanwhile predators aggressively protect their territory, hunting even bigger predators as a pack when prey is scarce. They are warded off by fire, but the more intelligent ones are warded off by a display that you are more dangerous than they are. To this day, many beasts remain undiscovered.
Most dangerous of all are the demons, evil monsters that come out at night from oozing black pits that blossom out of shadows in the Badlands. The more chaotic ones look for souls to posses and devour, while older demons seek to make unbreakable vows, offering power in return for one's soul or a portion of their lifespan. They disappear when the sun is up, and are warded off by Ifrit's fire and Ramuh's storms.
- Hunting -
You can gain Fresh Ingredients and Alchemical Components from hunting. To hunt, please spend 1 hour and make a Combat or Larceny roll vs the Travel DC of an area. Every additional hour spent hunting gives +1 to the rolls. Please declare how many extra hours you'd like to spend before rolling.
Level 1 Terrain = 1 day of cheer food for 4 people + 1d6 Alchemical. Roll hunting exposure dice.
Level 2 Terrain = 3 days of cheer food for 4 people + 2d6 Alchemical. Roll hunting exposure dice.
Level 3 Terrain = 1 week of cheer food for 4 people + 4d6 Alchemical. Roll hunting exposure dice.
Monster dens give double cheer food and alchemical harvested. The cheer food in the form of fresh meat is only fresh for a day. Preserving it requires a DC12 Artisan roll and 1 hour of cooking.
If you spend 1 hour cutting up your fallen prey, you gain the full amount of alchemical materials it can provide instead of rolling randomly. If you do this in the wild, roll exposure dice again. If you do this in the safety of your camp, no need to roll. The weight of caught prey if you wish to carry it back to your camp is equal to:
6 Alchemical = 2 Weight
12 Alchemical = 4 Weight
24 Alchemical = 6 Weight
This is the possible damage your character received while hunting in the dangerous wilderness of Leor. You always roll the hunting exposure dice whether you succeeded in hunting or not.
1 = -1 Hp + Complication
2-3 = -1 Health
4-6 = Complication
7-12 = Safe
These monster parts are added to your alchemical resources and are used for trade, casting spells, crafting potions, bombs, or as catalysts combined with other alchemical components to create various magical effects.
Meals cooked with Cheer Food give +1 Condition. Condition points are used to heal Hp and Mp. Fresh ingredients are recently hunted meat, caught fish, or poultry. You can cook 1 Fresh Ingredient to make one meal for 1 person.
The experienced forager will find precious herbs in the wilds, some edible, some medicinal, and some with magical properties that make them much sought after by alchemists and magicians. When it comes to crafting, there are three categories of plants: Alchemical, Spices, and Fresh ingredients.
You can forage for these in the wild by spending 1 hour and making a Knowledge Roll vs the Traveling DC of an area. Every additional 1 hour you spend foraging gives +1 to the roll. Please declare how many extra hours you'd like to spend before rolling:
Level 1 Terrain = 1 day of cheer food for 1 person
Level 2 Terrain = 2 days of cheer food for 1 person
Level 3 Terrain = 3 days of cheer food for 1 person + 1 alchemical
The cheer food in the form of fresh fruit, veggies, and herbs is only fresh for a day. Preserving it requires a DC12 Artisan roll and 1 hour of cooking.
These herbs, fungi, and magical plants are added to your alchemical resources and are used for trade, casting spells, crafting potions, bombs, or as catalysts combined with other alchemical components to create various magical effects.
Meals cooked with Cheer Food give +1 Condition. Condition points are used to heal Hp and Mp. Fresh ingredients are recently picked fruits, veggies, and root crops. You can cook 1 Fresh Ingredient to make one meal for 1 person.
+1 to cooking rolls. Cooking bonus doesn't stack. 1 Spice can improve the flavor of 1 meal.
- Mining -
There are veins of precious ores, crystals, and ragnite strewn about the land, and old metal from heaps of gears and ancient machinery in ruins.
You can spend 1 hour and make a Knowledge roll vs the Travel DC of an area to look for veins of precious ores or scrap heaps. Every extra +1 hour spent gives +1 to the roll. Please declare how many extra hours you'd like to spend before rolling.
Level 1 Terrain = 2d6 Metal or 1 small metal scrap.
Level 2 Terrain = 6d6 Metal or 1 metal scrap.
Level 3 Terrain = 10d6 Metal or 1 large metal scrap.
Ruins and caves double the amount of metal found. If the ruins or cave is in the Badlands, the amount is tripled.
You can gain the full amount of Metal if you smelt the scrap in a forge first and turn them into ingots. The weight of each scrap is:
1 small metal scrap = 2 weight
1 metal scrap = 4 weight
1 large metal scrap = 6 weight
- Settlements -
There are roughly three types of settlements in the world of Vault Hunters: Military Outposts, Neutral Encampments, and Raider Camps.
Established since the early years of the Templars, these are huge, well fortified structures and bunkers made of stone and wood strengthened by magic. Most are built around the reclaimed temple ruins of an Ancient, or stand near river crossings and choke points of major crossroads, allowing them to control passages and trade routes.
These are non-hostile civilian communities that are often shanty villages with rudimentary fortifications made up of whatever material is available on hand, and that's usually stone rubble, red-wood logs covered in spikes, scrap metal, and giant monster parts. These communities grew from the safehouses of small bands of survivors just trying to get by and hide from raiders. Their structures were built as needed, often assembled hastily in a hidden place or underground, turning these settlements into densely populated mazes of blocks, flights of stairs, alleys, rickety bridges and raised backyards.
Although not exactly cozy, these settlements offer proper conditions that make them a decent place to rest or make business.
These bandits, gangs, thieves, and marauders reside in various places, often stacking up near roads and neutral encampments, hoping for easy prey and loot. Their structures are relatively simple: mostly huts and shacks, offering little more than primitive shelter, storage,and usually no toilets. Only the biggest groups or the most notorious leaders dare to camp near Military Outposts, harassing the supply caravans of the Templars often through guerilla tactics and posing as civilians to sneak in and establish criminal trading networks inside.
Roving giants shepherding woolly mammoths, gypsies in caravans wandering as a travelling troupe, or a pack of exiled werewolves who follow the migration patterns of their prey, these hardy folk know more about what's going on in the land and are often hired as caravan guards or guides. They have many tales of adventure and travel, and offer a mishmash of exotic and rare artifacts for trade in exchange for comforts and commodities not readily available to them, such as: iron forged weapons, sewing needles, grains or fruit, and medicine.
Once a forest of giant trees sheltered by the last manna tree Yggdrassil, the war with the Ancients left the Arid Badlands a dry steppe edged by a dessert raging with colossal dust storms and fire tornadoes. In the center is the stump of the once great tree watered every now and then by deadly rainfalls that cause living creatures to age faster.
South of the Atlantean is the home of the merefolk and the best maki, sushi, and takoyaki around. Here the people along the coast enjoy a peaceful friendship with these handsome underwater dwellers, sharing their music and culinary culture. It is common to have wet markets literally half submerged in the sea, where the merefolk charm customers into buying their catches, tasting their food with a song and underwater dance in exchange for gold, jewelry, and enchanted items they cannot make themselves. The coastal people are very particular about cleanliness in the shore and seas. And whenever there is a storm, they give gifts to the merefolk and implore them and the storm giants under the sea to lessen the fury of the storm.
North of the Atlantean is an arctic tundra, where flocks of penguins, herds of seals, sea lions, pods of orcas, and packs of polarbear dogs make their home.
Alien and inhospitable for most folk, this stranded land brought into Leor from the demon realm centuries ago is the home of the cursed, the rejected, and those who love to do evil. Above, the volatile weather from the Thousandcuts Badlands covers the land from the north, surprisingly encouraging the growth of unique flora, fungi, crystals, and ethereal streams of magic from the melding of the two realms. Here among the strange growth roam the descendants of odd creatures that were stranded after the war with the Ancients, hunting both demons and the inexperienced wanderer. While underground, those who call this place home have long since lived within fortresses ruled by ever-feuding vampires who seek the power of the demons but refuse to be ruled by them. Here the covens practice slavery and their blood trade in peace, demons hold establishments bargaining power for soul stones and writing up contracts for portions of one's lifespan, while necromancers that have fully embraced undeath as undead pursue their desires indefinitely.
Montagna al Tramonto
A town by the shore where the snow falls gently. It is surrounded by large hills as big as mountains. On some nights during the summer, one can see the southern lights across the sky.
- SPELLS -
To be able to use a spell, your character level must be = or greater than the spell Tier. The manna cost to use each spell is = Tier level. Mechromancers can inscribe the spell in their spellbooks without using up a scroll, allowing them to cast the spell as long as its prepared. Diviners can use the scrolls like an ordinary item, destroying 1 scroll upon 1 use.
x1 Set of Velum Paper and Enchanter's Ink: For inscribing spells in spellbooks, making spell scrolls, or drawing magical tattoos.
Cost: 5 Alchemical
x1 Cantrips Scrolls: See Cantrips list. Pick one, except for "Elvish Chant".
Cost: 10 Alchemical.
x1 Tier I, Ailment Dispel: Remove a number of afflictions = Knowledge within a small area.
Cost: 10 Alchemical
- Factions - " Feel free to make your own factions "
The largest faction in Leor with over 10,000 devoted followers. The goal of the Templars is to prevent history from repeating itself, and so to safeguard the world from the wrath of the Ancients, they seek to destroy dangerous Age of Arcana relics and hunt down mechromancers whose dabblings in magic and machine provoke the wrath of these cataclysmic beings.
Splintered faction with no leader. Bandits are found almost throughout the entirety of Leor. Among the numerous gangs, tribes, and nomadic warbands that make up this feudal society, there are seven clans that have continued to resist Templar domination in their region, each led by a Warlord.
The Godfather of Sanctuary
The Daughter of Giantsbane
King Boom Bewm of the Kamikazee Pyros
The Collective of Underground Ruin Explorers, like minded individuals willing to risk heresy and their own safety in search of the relics of old and a promise of a better tomorrow.
A group of daredevil performers who push the boundaries of performances to dangerous territories. Often regarded as crazy, their performances are nevertheless astounding to look at. Though a troupe, they often travel alone or by pairs but they keep in contact with each other regularly. There is an annual event where you would find most of the Direwolves at, but this event is highly dangerous to watch - but is nevertheless sought after.
The magic in the world of Vault Hunters is similar to Final Fantasy, Warcraft, and at the most 6th level D&D spells, with the hardship of a post-apocalyptic world. So, magic that heals people easily, creates food, shelter, or makes traveling and the quality of life easier, is rare in daily life. Comforts come more from illegal mechromancy machines, the blueprints of which have been reverse-engineered from Age of Arcana artifacts. There is more powerful magic, but these belong to older creatures that are either enslaved or persuaded to share their power for something in return (such as demons), or are found in ancient tomes in ruins that need translating.
When it comes to witches and wizards, about a fourth of any population can do magic, and it is these individuals who have the most influence in society. Since the Salem Witch trials that started the wave of Templar witch hunt hysteria and the condemnation of dangerous artifacts from the Age of Arcana, there are more magicians that use natural magic, which is magic gifted to them by the Ancients that they are born with, or granted after a divine event, and lesser magicians that use spell ingredients and machines.
Magicians that use natural magic are called Divine Magicians, and in Templar controlled lands, families with magically blessed children are generously offered food and security, in exchange for pledging their children to serve the faction as knights who protect and conquer, or as clerics that heal the land and spread the faction's teachings. They are usually taken at the age of twelve, and are sent to different monasteries that worship different Ancients, where they are schooled to respect the Ancients, avoid mechromancy, and are trained in basic warfare until sixteen where they branch out and begin to specialize. Children that can draw out magic from spell components and enchant metal and machines, are branded Mechromancers, and families who have Mechromancer children are forced to give their kids to the faction the moment they show signs, in exchange for food and security, but unlike Divine Magicians who can go home, Mechromancers cannot go back to their families until discipline and loyalty to the faction has been pounded into them. Though they can receive and write letters. These Mechromancers become the most versatile knights in the Templar faction, commanding a wider array of spells than their Divine brothers and sisters, but they are closely watched, and their freedom tightly controlled. Mechromancers that do not serve the faction or threaten to incur the wrath of the Ancients are hunted and burned.
In lands that are free from Templar influence, magicians are usually found in bandit groups who follow them or protect them. Their magic is focused more on destruction, trickery, and enchanting items through the use of machines and demon pacts. Because Mechromancers are given free reign, the magic adventurers can encounter in these lands, is crazier, more powerful, and more unstable. It is this freedom to practice that has led to technological advances that have made the Templar faction fall behind when it comes to quality of life. It is like comparing a medieval life to a 17th century one that has electricity in the form of magic.
In other places with neutral ties to Templars and Bandits, the focus of magic is different. In the Forbidden Forest where the last wood elves reside, their magic is tied to the Forest Spirit instead of an Ancient, since the Ancient of the land had died, and their magic is used for beauty, the arts, and trying to heal Leor from the wounds of the war 600 years ago. In the edge of the Badlands necromancy, vodoo, and demon pacts are widespread, while over at Icecrown Glacier the frost giants guard portals that lead to Jotunheim their home realm, and underground the dwarves and gnomes use their magic to bring back the old Arcana cities, their ancient homes.
There is more in Leor, feel free to world build and add your own.
- Casting Magic -
Spellcasting is always heralded by a gesture, the mutterings of incantations, the burning of a spell component, maybe the appearance of an arcane circle, or the glow of eyes or hands. It's not a subtle thing by default, you have to make a Larceny Skill roll to do it without notice. It also leaves traces that can be spotted by the spell "Detect Magic", and the traces are as complex and unique to each individual as a finger print.
Healing spells accelerate your body's natural regeneration, and makes wounds look a few weeks older. Smaller cuts vanish entirely, but the spell doesn't make big wounds look as though they never happened.
Since it is only natural regeneration, ordinary surgery is still needed to remove arrow heads embedded in the wound, realign broken bones, or reattach severed limbs. Dead characters can be resurrected, but they still need surgery beforehand if they are missing body parts. The kind of corpse that can't be brought back to life are the ones that are decapitated, burned, or missing too many vital organs.
- Soul Stones & Fragments-
Soul stones come in different shapes, colors and smells, but all look like warped pained faces, and they have an unnatural glow and feel to them like holding a dark tarantula with a rapidly beating heart beat in your hand or something slimy and crawling. Demon soul stones for example smell like brimstone and come in shades of blood red. In common shops, these soul stones are taboo, akin to paying with the life of a person, but some black markets and demons thrive on the soul stones made through the killing of the rejects of society.
Soul stones can be shattered to free the soul.
Soul fragments look like crystal glass with a pleasant pearlescent sheen. They have the same unnatural glow as soul stones, but feel warm and peaceful. They do not contain souls, instead they hold the pains of the deceased, allowing the dead to pass on peacefully. In common shops these stones are also taboo because of the disdain surrounding soul stones and demons don't like the taste of soul shards, but most black markets accept them.
Technology or Mechromancy looks like steampunk Final Fantasy with Warcraft guns as the common look, and RWBY and Godeater weaponry for the more advanced weapons. These arcane machines run on Ragnite, which is a glowing blue manna stone that is mined from the earth, and refined into batteries that power these machines similar to electricity, but instead of wires it is connected by rune lines. For communication, there is only radio-like devices called ECHO that can also play and record messages, that uses the magical leylines of Leor to send and receive messages freely. ECHO devices can only be used in areas covered by hidden ECHO towers that are controlled by Bandit Warlords. Submarine like machines do not exist, though heavy air pumped diver suits do. Flying machines are rare, and only the Crimson Raiders allied with the warlord The Godfather of Sanctuary are known to have a large flying zeppelin that serves as the raiders' base and ECHO tower for the two bandit groups.
In daily life outside of Templar lands, the machines one encounters are loud, heavy, clunky, mostly made of clockwork gears and make-shift parts that give out a lot of smoke. The goblins of Windshear mountains are well known for this, polluting the sky and deforesting acres of forest, together with their remote detonated clockwork bombs, and how all their machines tend to explode. Over at southern border of the Scorched wastes, the Kamikazee Pyros bandits are masters of steel, fire enchantment, and are popular for their suicidal bombers, and bullet farms where most gun ammunition are shipped from.
There is also wondrous Mehromancy. Over at Ramuh's Rest where the Orientals isolate themselves from the rest of Leor, their island protected by a unique kinship with sea serpents, rumors say that they have the ability to transform into serpents themselves that fly in the sky through some artifact and that their emperor lives forever. In The Dust, it is well known that the desert cat folk or the Purrsians have a very sought after artifact that allows them to be reborn nine times with their memories. And in the Bloodmoors where the half-demons, vampires, and the cursed and evil can thrive, they say that a necromancer has discovered an ancient crown that allows him to control legions of undead, undead that spew from the Thousand Cuts Badlands and into the Forbidden forest, Windshear and Three Horns divide that the Templars are constantly fighting and trying to keep at bay.
A lot is going in Leor, and the Mechromantic arts born from each discovered relic from the Age of Arcana seems to be causing more harm to the world than good. Yes, there are those who practice it simply for a better life, but there are also those who still have not learned or do not heed history at all and continue fighting for more power.