The world changed in ways no one could imagine when the Sundering occurred. Other universes merged with our own, magic shifted and warped, and even the boundaries between the lands of the living and the lands of the dead grew thin or merged in places. The mortal races flocked together against this overwhelming change, and many, many nations died – either in seconds, or over the decades.

On Fey most cities vanished over the next 100 years; either by being abandoned by their inhabitants as trade routes became blocked, fear took hold, or the natural resources they relied on vanished, or by being scoured from the face of the planet. Irin, always the centre of the planet’s humans consciousness, attracted refugees by the literal millions, and although it initially almost collapsed under the influx, the new arrivals – many drawn from far away – began to build onto the ancient city, drawing strength from its legendary indomitability and ancient power.

In the year 2480, Irin as a separate city is ancient history, for it is now the name of the central ward of the vast fortress city of Unifica Primae – the gargantuan, 1,200 mile across super-city of the Unified Order (also called Unity, Unifica or Heartwatch). It is home to billions of humans, dundorin, vyrleen, ghaerduun, warforged, and, since the signing of the Five Races Accord in 2027, small communities of aelwyn – though of course, multitudes of other races not recognised as of the Five Accord races also dwell there.

Unifica is a gas lit world all of its own; a foggy, claustrophobic universe all and unto itself. It is a place where the Unified Order hold strong sway, and the worship of “unlawful” gods is forbidden. It is a place of terrible slums and glittering palaces; a place of artifice, ingenuity and blackest arcane horror. It is a realm of gentlemen and nobles, cut throats and murderers, and things that defy logical or sane analysis.

It is a wondrous cesspool of magic, evil and heroic endeavours; the stalking grounds of fell necromancers, daemonic entities and worse (yes worse). It is a place of industrialisation, magical mass production and polluted air, rife with civil and political unrest. It is the haunt of terrible conspiracies, organised crime cartels of terrifying power and a corrupted and increasingly detached ruling order. Poverty, plague and hopelessness are rife amongst most, their gin soaked minds barely able to comprehend what it must be like to be of noble blood – the industrialists and ancient magical families – and to live in the floating palaces of golden crystals above the Irin Ward.

And beyond the walls of this “sanctuary” – if the Order are to be believed, and the few adventurers (like Sir Ghaelen Vorde) that return from that place sane – is a terrible world of barbarism, wild magics, dimensional horror and lawless madness. The land itself is sundered; tortured by dimensional stresses and the transposition of this world with other alien dimensions, and only the most insane or desperate would seek to enter it.

Unity may be a depressing place (for all but the privileged upper classes of course), and a dangerous one, but out there…

…Out there is only death…

…Or worse…

Or at least, that’s what the Order says…

Maybe those madmen who are proposing an illegal race around the world will be able to confirm or quash those tales. Maybe, in their blimps and other sky engines, they will be able to show the Unified Order as the controlling liars they truly are.

Or worse, maybe they will find that the Order have been telling the truth the whole time, and the fabulous nightmare that is Unifica Primae truly is the best this world now has to offer.

A LITTLE ABOUT WHERE THIS COMES FROM

This campaign is the latest addition to 23 years (and counting) of D&D in this universe. The Gatespace realm was my creation back in 1988; a place for my AD&D 1st edition and D&D games, and Arbel / Arbel’Verdaniss was the main stage and launch pad for the various epic adventures that ran there.

This campaign represents the most fundamental re-design of this well loved and hard played universe that my players will have ever seen, and I hope it captures the wide eyed sense of exploration and wonder that our first games together did all those years ago.

My Groups

At the time of writing (March 1st, 2011), this campaign is a long way off from starting. I currently run two regular games, set in this world. Each game has players new and old to the world, and each have wildly different feels. I am hoping that players from both these groups will opt in to play in this new campaign, and that the very different feel of it from the usual stuff will make for a memorable and worthwhile time for all!

My World’s “Feel”

I run a very dark horror / fantasy game, and do not baulk from some pretty grim and gritty stuff. If you are interested in my current campaigns (be warned, minors should avoid) then CLICKY. I enjoy running a game that feeds off its own history, and that exists apart from the groups heroes – though obviously, they can and do impact on it (the sundering was actually caused by one of the current groups “accidentally”). A living, breathing universe that operates faithfully by its own internal rules is, I think, damn important, and although like any humans I make gaffs, I aim to keep to this premise to help the games retain their sense of “believability” (is that even a real word?) within its own context (that sounds more pretentious than I meant it to :D ).

I draw inspiration from a mad array of sources, but obvious ones are fungi, Brian Lumley’s Necroscope, Lovecraft, Warhammer’s universes (both 40K and fantasy), my own nightmares and those creepy moments when you are not quite sure if you are awake or not…

Anyway, hope you will stick around and follow the games when they kick off. I hope to get the ball rolling about December this year, or January 2012.

(massive thanks to the Sanctions of the Athar page for the template used here :)

Tortured World

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