The Luminous Procession of the Thirteen Signs
I’m going for a campaign that I think should be fun which will include crazy magical technology, conspiracies & mysterious, fucking epic shit all over the place, and shit loads of things to blow up.
The primary world it takes place on has just emerged from the Draconic Wars (where Tiamat slew Bahamaut and exists as five immortal avatars) and is undergoing a scientific and intellectual renaissance; both were fueled by the shifting of Ley Lines making this world the focal point of the known universe (and what lies beyond). No one has a complete picture of what’s going on with the underlying structure of the universe and even fewer know that the shift has even occurred. To the elites, the future has never been brighter, but to the lay folk, there is only grimdarkness.
Free from the destruction of the Draconic Wars and fueled by the creative energy of the Ley Lines, Arcane, Alchemical, Astrological, Archaeological, Psionic, Mechanical, and Philosophical knowledge exist in post-Singularity states. Recent inventions in transportation (airships, submarines, teleportation circles) have enable the discovery of hitherto inaccessible ruins which contain a trove of ancient, powerful, and dangerous knowledge. Medical knowledge has advanced to the point where functional immortality is a possibility; physical augmentation (mechanical and symbiotic) occurs at a much broader level. Weapons and spells of genocidal potential are held by the strongest nations. The Dwarfs have invented Warforged to help them in their sacred charge. Elementals can be summoned and trapped to be used as energy or weapons.
Few elites know of the chaos which is about to consume the world, but the common people know even less. They still live a bleak-meager existence staking it out in a city or on their own: fantasy monsters, disease, starvation, and each other are still common threats, but recently rumors of strange occurrences have begun to circle the kingdoms. Rumors like: strange lights, crop circles, mutilated livestock, abduction and experimentation. Naturally the authorities ignore and deny all of these rumors when confronted. Most who earnestly believe such are labeled disturbed, attention seeking individuals. A surge in the number of undead is also troubling.
Also playing a large roll will be the organizations which create the conspiratorial feel of the campaign. Such organizations will include secret societies (The Illuminati, The Majestic Council of 12, Masonic Lodges, Tiamat’s Red Hand, etc), guilds & colleges (or Magic, Alchemy, Engineering, etc), intelligence organizations (political, mercenary, etc) political divisions (Kingdoms, Empires, Nations, Communists, Militias, etc), organized crime (syndicates, cartels, gangs, etc), exploration companies (The Deep Lantern Guild, aviators, mariners, etc), merchants guilds, trade guilds, religious organizations (established, cults, Theosophists, etc), knightly orders (The Knights Templar, Raven Guard, etc)…
Zodiac shit will also play a role. I’m currently thinking it will give people who choose a sign some sort of magical ability based on that sign, but make the person who does influence by the ley lines.
Dwarfs (The Starless) Draft
Locked in a centuries long battle with Illithids, two philosophies have come to prominence among the dwarfs. One favors embracing and drawing strength from extreme emotions and the other favors mental fortitude and control. A grim fatalism also holds sway in dwarf culture and death cults aren’t uncommon. Above all else, a dwarf must serve society by carrying out the edicts of the Soul Binder (the title given to the head dwarf, who must renounce their clan in order to lead all dwarfs). Those who fail in their mission are ostracized – they may choose to take to the Underdark and die with honor or take to the surface, never to return (though their offspring may). Since dwarfs are rarely born on the surface, it is uncommon for them to have a zodiac sign.