The Halls of Dwimmermount
The Initial Fluff
Great and glorious credit given to Messir James Maliszewski of Grognardia for inspiring and serving as source for much and many of these ideas, and for sharing his labor of love with us in the greatest tradition of the hobby.
It’s Humanocentric Pulp Fantasy. This means that the humans are the most numerous and/or important people. This means that it’s old school fantasy that gave rise to the latter half of the 20th century. It’s got a heavy historical basis. The game itself has a fairly consistent internal logic, the game system provides for a lot of economic context. The themes of the game are things like exploration, mystery, weirdness. The main characters are delvers and explorers of the unknown, questing for glory and riches, who might seek to become kings or lords by their own hands. They do not have time for men of lesser ambition, they will learn quickly or die. They can be compared to pulp heroes like Conan the Cimmerian, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, or even John Carter of Virginia (Later, of Mars). If you’re interested in where the game is coming from, I can pass on a reading list.
The story takes place on a mainland continent with a climate much like Europe, on a world that people usually just call “The World.” There are other worlds, planes or planets depending on who you ask. Wisely learned sages know some about them, like Areon or Kythirea. But, for most, the world not more than fifteen miles from their house is all they know. The world has a technology level that’s somewhere between our world in the ninth to the thirteenth centuries, depending on where you are. A lot of technology has been lost since the fall of the ancient empires. The Thulian Empire, now gone for hundreds of years, once spanned this continent and much of the others. The Thulians overthrew another, older empire, the Eldritch empire, to found their own. The land is dotted with the ruins of these empires’ great accomplishments. On their collapse, these empires turned to individual city states and petty kingdoms. Our story happens in a frontier borderlands of this continent, on this world, between two city-states. The City-State of Adamas, ruled by the Despot of Adamas, is the larger. It occupies and controls a large territory through military might and a system of feudal hierachy that mimics the older Thulian structures. The other state, Yethlyreom, controls a smaller territory. Yethlyreom is ruled by a council of Necromancers, wizards who use their power to raise the dead to ensure that their work force is cheap, and simply, doesn’t have to be paid. Within their city, there are no gods nor priests. The borderlands between these places include a wild range of mountains and rivers, a stretch of high plains, moors, and forests that could be readily settled if not for the dangerous beasts and beastmen that inhabit it. There are scattered hamlets, but only a single true bastion of civilization in the Keep of Muntburg. The prefect of Muntberg claims control of the borderland, but in reality controls little beyond thirty miles of his keep. In the heart of these mountains, near a Thulian ruin, sits the Dwimmermount, hollowed and made into a fortress by Thulian magics. But you’ve read already of why you’re going there, and with whom…
Humans: Humans are the most populous denizens of the world, they control the great nations and cities, they are the traders and peasants. They tame wildernesses and go adventuring. They claim this, their greatness, is due to their faith in the gods. Other races think men to be fools, for no other creatures worship gods such as men have. Nevertheless, men continue their ways, and continue to dominate the world.
Elves: The immortal elves have inhabited the world since Eldritch times. Their race is dying, though no-one knows why, and the Elves no longer have children among them. Adventuring elves are usually of the last generation, born around two hundred years ago.
Dwarves: Dwarves are a hardy people who live underground, for the most part, in societies of their own apart and far away from men. They lust after precious metals, gems, and stone, because that is the way their race procreates. Each dwarf carves his son out of stone, and most spend their lives and fortunes creating such sons. The sons, then, spend their lives paying their fathers back for creating them and carving sons of their own.
There are other demi-humans in the world, such as Gnomes and Hobbits, but races such as those have far too much sense to go adventuring.
The others, Beastmen such as Orcs, Kobolds, Goblins, Ogres, Hobgoblins, and such, are monsters created in ancient times and consigned to the dark recesses of the earth.
The Fighter or Fighting-Man is a warrior who triumphs through strength of arms. Fighters are exclusively trained in the arts of combat and war. They are soldiers, gladiators, raiders, and sell-swords. They could be from nearly anywhere. Their primary ability is Strength.
The Mage or Magic-User studies the mysteries of arcane magics and learn the complicated formulas of spells. They have limited combat training, but over the course of their careers can learn to cast fantastically powerful and dangerous spells. The mages of Dwimmermount are either country hedge wizards, members of the Mages’ Guild of Adamas, or Necromantic adepts from Yethlyreom. Their primary ability is Intelligence.
The Cleric is a priest-errant of his god, separated from the lowly orders by broad mandate from the church to go forth in the name of his deity, or separate from the church structure entirely. They learn magical traditions said to draw upon the power of their deity, as well as some martial skills. They have broad powers against the undead. There are a few deities prominently worshipped in the region of Dwimmermount, such as Typhon of the Iron Hand or Tyche, lady of luck. Their primary ability is Wisdom.
The Thief is a man who lives in the shadows and learns a wide variety of skills useful to adventuring. They learn to disarm traps and pick locks, as well as where to stab a foe so he won’t get up ever again. In the Dwimmermount campaign, a thief might have ties to the thieves’ guild of Adamas, but could just as likely be someone striking out from the city-state so the guild won’t cut into his profits. Their primary ability is Dexterity.
The Assassin lurks in the shadows and kills by ambush and treachery. Many are members of the Adamas’ thieves’ guild, but the Order of Assassins is said to still be active in Yethlyreom. Their primary abilities are Strength and Dexterity.
The Bard chronicles adventures and knows the ancient lays and legends. In Dwimmermount, Bards are likely graduates of the university in Adamas, or wandering minstrels and adventuring rogues. Their primary abilities are Dexterity and Charisma.
The Bladedancer worships mighty Asana, goddess of strategy, heroism, and science. They are trained from a young age as fanatic defenders of the faith, and sometimes sent out as adventurers to prove themselves, atone for sins, or bring glory to their goddess. Their primary abilities are Wisdom and Dexterity.
The Paladin is a mysterious traveling warrior who serves the cause of Law. Paladins worship no gods, and insist that lawfulness is synonymous with goodness. Paladin do not shun those who do not share their beliefs, instead seeking them out and hoping to sway the wayward through virtuous living by example. Their primary abilities are Strength and Wisdom
The Explorer or Ranger is a frontiersman who is both a scout and tracker. Perhaps an army light infantryman, a barbarian hunter, or a brave settler. Their primary abilities are Strength and Dexterity.
The Dwarven Vaultguard is the primary warrior of the dwarves, trained to fight and excel in skill of arms. From time to time, one will take up a warrior’s pilgrimage to bring glory, honor, and sons to his clan. Dwarves of dwimmermount are often from the dwarven holds of the far northeast frozen country. Their primary ability is Strength. They must have a Constitution of 9.
The Dwarven Craftpriest tends to the crafts of the dwarves. They have magic and powers much like a human cleric does, but claim their magics come from runes and the spirits of their ancestors, not esoteric and mysterious gods. Their primary ability is Wisdom. They must have a Constitution of 9.
The Elven Spellsword is trained in both magic and the fighting arts. Blending the powers of a human wizard and fighter in a way that only an ageless and immortal race, with hundreds of years to train, could hope to accomplish. Their primary abilities are Strength and Intelligence.
The Elven Nightblade is an elf trained to blend magic and murder. They are similar to both a human assassin and mage. They come from an ancient and mysterious order, said to have served the emperors of a long forgotten race. Their primary abilities are Dexterity and Intelligence.
So you know, I’m only accepting Demi-Humans if you intend to have that as your main character. They’re rare things, so we’re keeping them rare.
The Alignments These are your character’s position in the great metaphysical struggle in the universe. Or, well, your character’s position that your character could care less.
Chaotic: Team evil. Inimical to civilization and often reality itself. The alignment of demons, fae, and otherworldy entities. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
Neutral: Team Me & Mine. I’ll stick with those I trust, my family, kin, or nation. The alignment of the vast majority elves and dwarves.
Neutral Balance: The idea that a balance between law and chaos is necessarry for the cosmos. The alignment of the mysterious druids.
Lawful Good: The idea that civilization and order exist to benefit all members. The alignment of philanthropists and the rare few.
Lawful: Team Good Guys. The idea that civilization and order are generally the correct method of living. The alignment of most humans.
Lawful Evil: The idea that civilization exists for the benefit of order, and that those who are strong enough (mentally or physically) to rule civilization should be allowed to benefit from that position as they see fit. The alignment of most governing bodies, but especially of Adamas and Yethlyreom.
The Gods of Men: There was once a great priesthood that united all the gods, but that has long since disappeared in this part of the world.
Anesidora- Goddess of law, marriage, fertility, and grain. Has few clerics. Lawful Good.
Asana- Goddess of strategy, heroism, and science. Has bladedancers instead of clerics. Lawful.
Caint- God of medicine, poetry, and dance. Has many itinerant clerics. Lawful Good.
Donn- God of the dead. Has a small priesthood and almost no clerics. Neutral Balance.
Mavors- God of warfare. No organized priesthood, but many clerics. Lawful Evil.
Tenen- God of craftsmen and merchants. No organized priesthood, very few clerics. Lawful.
Tyche- Goddess of fortune, prosperity, and destiny. Some doubt this god. Neutral Balance.
Typhon- God of judgment, discipline, and trade. Large priesthood, many clerics. Principal deity in the City-State of Adamas. Lawful Evil.