Ten Thousand Empires
Alrighty, let’s start getting some campaign information down so we can start this beast!
First, I want to say that while this is a home brew, I’m brewing it based on a few core ideas, not on some grand idea. I don’t know the names of all of the emperors of old. There’s nothing in stone that says who the ancient evil is, whose daughter he wronged 12,642 years ago, and what he plans to do to exact his revenge on the world. The local blacksmith’s name, however, is Fellows, the local Tiefling banker and gold changer’s name is Lucius Northright, and he’s a daughter named Rieta (quite a tom boy, much to her father’s chagrin). I believe it’s important to build local and work our way out.
That said, I do have a few big key beats we will (hopefully) be hitting, and a few driving things I’d like to change from the core universe. If we play for a while, we will see some interesting stuff.
Second, the world in general. I like the “points of light” concept a great deal, so we’ll be taking that and running with it. Centers of civilization; villages built of groups of farms, towns, cities, are spread amongst a vast and unforgiving countryside. The roads are Not Safe™. The countryside off the roads are Pretty Damn Scary™.
This world is ancient, well maybe Ancient is a better word. The title of Ten Thousand Empires was originally “Shadows of Ten Thousand Empires” but that sounded morose and too long. There is evidence of ancient civilizations turning to dust, which were built upon even more ancient civilizations. Evidence of powerful cultures exists everywhere. Villages, towns, and even mighty cities are built in the ruins of vanished and forgotten giants.
Third, I’d like to tackle one of the great anachronisms that very frequently gets into fantasy RPGs. Unless you tell somebody about it, there is no communication. There are no news papers, there are no history classes. Compared to the real threat of the wheat harvest not feeding your family this autumn, why do you care what ancient race built the structures your village is now living in? Who cares how long the empire who built the bridge or tower of Titus lasted, or when they disappeared, or why? They’re gone, we’re here, now go slaughter the chicken for tonight’s dinner, or stop those rampaging Kobolds from kidnapping poor Rieta.
In addition to communications and history, the scientific method is right out as well. I mean, really, anybody who thinks a feather falls as fast as a rock is a lunatic.
Also, remember that the PCs are essentially mass murders. The world is not a nice, safe, happy place. Don’t expect to be the only people who tend to think with knives before tongues.