Sand Dune Blues
All the world is a vast desert. It extends as far as anyone has ever gone in any direction. There are oases scattered about, most of them with settlements centered around them, but a few remain unclaimed out in the shifting sands of the desert.
Life is difficult in this world. With precious little magic to help people get through it, communities are centered around oases. Some smaller communities exist only with the aid of an Oracle to provide for them.
Raiders and bandits are an ever present threat. They can be a serious problem for travelers and smaller communities. While they generally don’t bother larger communities, the hobgoblins of the south are particularly brazen and feared.
There are also nomads, who travel from oasis to oasis, usually bringing water and other commodities with them to trade or sell. Some nomads keep moving because they believe they are safest when those who would do them harm don’t know where they are, but for a few, the nomadic way of life is a philosophical approach to the world.
Travel across the desert is done on foot, with beasts of burden, or on the sailboat-like sand skiffs that skim across the desert surface.
There is even a huge oasis, around which has grown a big city. A center for trade and industry of all kinds.
The gods that were
There were gods at one point. For one reason or another, they no longer seem to play a major part in the course of the world. There are Oracles, but they know not where their power comes from. Everyone says that the Oracles power comes from elsewhere, perhaps new gods, or perhaps something else, but not the gods that were.
Magic is extremely rare. There are fairytales and fables of powerful wizards and sorcerers, and of heroes armed with enchanted or blessed weapons, but in this world, there is no practical knowledge of magic arcane or divine. There are Oracles, but nobody knows what forces govern their powers. Because of their control of rare and mysterious powers, Oracles are revered by their communities and have deep ties to the communities where they settle. It is rarer still but not unheard of for a community to have 2 Oracles present, but one will eventually leave in search of a community that does not have an Oracle in order to serve where they are most needed. Occasionally word passes of an individual with strange and mystical powers somewhere else in the world but these are generally dismissed as rumors or charlatans.
The Lost City
Legends tell of a lost city of Aman El. Supposedly it was a great city; a civilization unto itself. The people of Aman El had wanted for nothing. Some say it never existed, but it is a fairy tale crafted to lead fools to their deaths into the endless wastes. The treasure hunters, when they come back from the wastes with something valuable, say that surely they must have found a sign of the lost city. But the settlements that are, are not necessarily the settlements that have always been. And everyone knows that any success a treasure hunter finds just points to some old settlement or a place where some nomads passed through.
The Treasure Hunters
Called madmen and fools by most, these are people who believe that there’s something great and wonderous out in the desert; be it the fairy tale of Aman El, or something less specific. They go out into the desert and search for treasure. They usually tend to stick to their own areas, but occasionally they convince an oracle to come with them and stay out for as long as possible. For the most part, they come back empty handed. Having done nothing but waste water and time. Sometimes they come back with some sign of civilization like a tool or some bolts of silk. But once in a great while, some lucky treasure hunter will come back with something amazing. Like a blade that doesn’t lose it’s edge, or a ring that protects it’s wearer.
Treasure hunters for whom the hunt has become a way of life. The desert has become a metaphor or perhaps some kind of elaborate game. These former hunters still go out into the endless desert, but usually alone, and where treasure hunters usually stick to one area, scouring endlessly for as long as they hold out hope of finding treasure, wanderers spread their travels out a lot more. Sometimes they hire themselves out as desert guides when they pass through civilization, but they rarely need money, as they tend to be self-sufficient survivalists.
The Black Oasis
“When you’re traveling out in the desert, water running low, and there’s nothing around for miles, you may come across an eerily quiet oasis that looks as clear and pure as the desert sky. When you drink from this oasis, you will feel at peace and compelled to sleep. But those who drink from this oasis, never wake up, and are never heard from again. How do I know? My cousin met a treasure hunter…or maybe it was a merchant(?) who had heard it from a wanderer who has seen it with his own eyes!”
Non Human Presence:
(Just because it’s not listed doesn’t mean it does not exist, just that most people are not likely to have encountered it. If you have a character concept you want to play that involves a race not listed, let me know and I’ll let you know if it’s possible.)
Ranger – (Skirmisher and Trapper archetypes only)
Rogue – (Spell like rogue talents by approval)
Barbarian – (Some rage powers by approval only)