Introduction to Aetaltis

Welcome to our first content post for the World of Aetaltis. Every week we'll share new materials from our upcoming World of Aetaltis campaign setting books. This first post is a brief introduction to the setting, and it will give you a hint of what's in store.

Hi Everyone!
Welcome to our first content post for the World of Aetaltis. Every week I'll share new materials from our upcoming World of Aetaltis campaign setting books. This first post is a brief introduction to the setting, and it will give you a hint of what's in store. Enjoy!
Marc Tassin
More than three hundred years have passed since the fall of the Atlan Alliance, and the people of Aetaltis have finally brought order to their fractured world. Fledgling nations have grown into powerful kingdoms, thriving merchant states have re-established old trade routes, and the priests of the Enaros have rebuilt their great temples. But in this time of hope, the shadow of an ancient evil is rising once again.
Deep beneath the surface of Aetaltis lurk the armies of the fallen god Endroren. For centuries, an order of holy knights known as the Warders of Alantra maintained powerful mystic seals that held the forces of darkness at bay, but when the Alliance fell, so did many of the ancient orders—including the Warders. Now, after centuries of neglect, the wards are failing, and the dark ones have returned.
For the first time since the Age of Darkness, orcs, goblins, trolls, and a host of other fiendish monsters threaten the good people of the world. They strike with unrestrained cruelty; attacking, killing, and destroying all that lies before them. The recently reborn holy orders have combined their divine strength with the temporal power of the new kingdoms to face this growing threat, but the dark ones are many and the defenders are few.
But, there is hope!
Lord Drakewyn of New Erinor has called upon the brave men and women of his land to take up arms against their common foe. In response, a small army of independent heroes, known as adventurers, has joined the struggle. These stalwart men and women fight the battles ordinary soldiers cannot fight, go where the holy orders dare not go, and serve as beacons of hope in a world growing darker with each passing day. From hardened dwarven warriors to crafty cheebatan rogues, from fleet-footed fey scouts to enigmatic newardin wizards, these brave souls provide what ultimately may prove to be the only hope for the people of this troubled land.
Will you join these brave adventurers in their quest? Will you put spell and blade to the test in defiance of the Dark Hordes? If so, if you have the courage to take on this burden for the good of all, perhaps there is still hope, and perhaps you will become the next…
…Champion of Aetaltis!
Welcome to the World of Aetaltis, a heroic fantasy campaign setting designed for use with the Fifth Edition (5E) ruleset for the world's most popular roleplaying game. In the World of Aetaltis, stalwart adventurers confront a rising tide of evil in a world balanced on a knife edge between order and chaos. Along the way they’ll face hideous monsters, ancient evils, and the temptations of Dark power, but if they remain strong and stay on the true path, fabulous treasure, lost secrets, and glory beyond their wildest imagination awaits them.

Our Plans for Aetaltis

Everything we're sharing with you here will eventually appear in the Aetaltis campaign setting core books. The core books will include:
  • The Adventurer’s Guide: Discover the secrets of Aetaltis in a comprehensive guide for Aetaltan adventurers. Commissioned by Lord Drakewyn and compiled from the notes of Eathen Winswood by the scholars of the University of Erinor, it holds a wealth of information in a narrative format that will help you to survive the many and myriad dangers of the Amethyst Sea basin.
  • The Player’s Guide: A complete set of rules that brings Aetaltis to life in your Fifth Edition RPG campaign. Includes six new races (plus new takes on your old favorites), variant rules for arcane spellcasting, comprehensive equipment lists, and more!
  • The Gamemaster's Guide: Everything a gamemaster needs to run a campaign in Aetaltis. From a horde of new monsters to a host of optional rules you can use to add classic fantasy RPG flare to your game, it's a comprehensive collection of Aetaltis rules and background information for GMs!

The Setting

The information contained in the first set of core books will focus on a region of Aetaltis known as the Amethyst Sea basin. The Amethyst Sea is a roughly circular body of water around 1500 miles (2400 km) in diameter. In the northeast corner of the sea is a secondary, smaller body called the Windsinger Sea while to the southeast is a third body called the Pinnacle Gulf. At the center of the sea are a collection of islands commonly referred to as the Lost Coast. These islands are all that remain of the great island of Atlanor, the capital of the Atlan Alliance before the explosion of the world gates shattered the island and sunk most of it beneath the waves.
The map above is the story map from the anthology CHAMPIONS OF AETALTIS (Art by Mike Schley)
Along the north central coast sits New Erinor, a beacon of hope in a world faced with an uncertain future. To the east of New Erinor, where the Amethyst Sea meets the Windsinger Sea, one finds the magocracy of Selenthea, home to one of the most respected magical colleges in the region. Far to the south, on the Pinnacle Gulf, sits the city state of Port Vale, where thieves lurk, slavers traffic in human misery, and more than one unlucky soul has met their end in the city’s amphitheater. Along the southwestern shores one finds the merchant run city states of Callios, while on the northwestern coast sits the idyllic Halfling Dalelands. Wedged between the Dalelands and New Erinor is the ironically named Free Kingdoms, where countless petty warlords and would-be kings partake in a seemingly endless struggle for personal power.
This is a sample of the map that we're preparing for the campaign setting books. (Art by Nathan Mangion)
The sea is also home to miles upon miles of untamed wilderness. From the magically warped forests of the Elliyan Wilds that dominate the sea’s entire eastern coast to the dense and unforgiving rainforests of the Zhamayen Jungle to the south, huge swaths of the land remain untamed and largely unexplored. Meanwhile, to the north, lie the deadly Donarzheis Mountains, and beneath them lay the monster infested ruins of one of the greatest dwarven kingdoms ever to rise on Aetaltis. Over the Stonegate Mountains to the southeast lays the razorgrass choked plains of the Blade Sea, while beyond the jungle to the south roll the endless deserts of the Scythaan Wastes.

The Time Period

As we share material here on the site, we'll cover a wide swath of Aetaltan history, from the legends of the world’s creation to the "modern day" Aetaltan world—at least when we discuss how things came to be. That said, the "modern day" world of Aetaltis is when your adventures will take place, and most of the materials we release will be in reference to this time period. At this moment in Aetaltan history, the Amethyst Sea basin is culturally and technologically comparable to Earth during the middle ages, with elements reminiscent of Renaissance, Minoan, and Impreial Roman culture. It is a time when the future is in flux, and any person with the drive and courage might carve a legend for themselves.

Seven Things Every Person on Aetaltis Knows

Since we're releasing new materials each week, you might have to wait to get a full picture of Aetaltis. To help you get a better picture of the world right away, we've put together a list of things every person living in the Amethyst Sea basin knows.
  1. The Deeplands are filled with monsters. A millennium ago the gods of Aetaltis defeated the mad deity called Endroren. They chained their immortal foe to the core of the world and used powerful wards to imprison his monstrous followers in the vast network of caverns known as the Deeplands. To this day, the Deeplands are filled with monsters of every kind.
  2. The dwarves hate the gods. When Endroren fell, the dwarves expected to return to their Deepland homes—that is until the Enaros used the subterranean halls to imprison Endroren’s followers. The furious dwarves renounced the Enaros, and 1000 years later they still have not forgiven this betrayal.
  3. Magic is as frightening as it is vital. Magic is an integral part of life on Aetaltis. Magical healing saves lives, enchanted objects make difficult tasks easier, and the spells of wizards drive off dangerous foes. At the same time, when magic goes wrong, the results are catastrophic and can wreak havoc on anyone nearby. Even worse is the knowledge that magic originated with Endroren, the fallen god who eventually become the master of Darkness. Arcane spellcasters insist that their magic is still pure—but what if they’re wrong?
  4. Humans, newardins, cheebats, and orogs came from another world. These four races came to Aetaltis 400 years ago by way of powerful arcane devices called world gates. They were known collectively as the Atlan Alliance, and they helped to bring peace and security to the Amethyst Sea basin.
  5. The Cataclysm destroyed the Alliance and trapped the survivors on Aetaltis. 300 years ago the Alliance’s world gates exploded bringing a swift and terrible end to the Alliance’s time on Aetaltis.  Unable to rebuild the gates, today the descendants of the Alliance survivors have made Aetaltis their home.
  6. The ancient wards are failing and the Dark Hordes have returned. Since the end of the Great War, encounters with orcs, goblins, trolls, and other monsters have been rare. Recently, however, their numbers have grown and strange new threats have emerged. Now, Aetaltan scholars have confirmed the cause—all across the Amethyst Sea basin the Deepland wards are failing.
  7. Adventuring is a respectable occupation. Unable to effectively defend his people against a foe that can appear anywhere at any time, Lord Drakewyn of New Erinor declared adventurer as a legal occupation. Anyone may arm themselves to fight these monsters wherever they appear, without securing the permission of the crown. Most of the kingdoms around the Amethyst Sea have followed suit.

Seven Things Experienced Gamers Want to Know

Are you a veteran gamer looking for the basics? Want a crash course on the meta-game elements that define Aetaltis? Don't worry! We’ve got you covered.

  1. Races: Aetaltis features many of the traditional fantasy roleplaying races, including elves, dwarves, halflings, and humans. It also introduces a number of new races, including fierce drothmal, brutish orogs, magical sprites, flighty fairies, otherworldly newardin, clever cheebat, and reptilian scythaa. Finally, the backstory of the world provides ample opportunity to introduce your favorite roleplaying races in a way that fits into the story of the setting.
  2. Classes: All of the standard classes are available for play in an Aetaltis adventure. The book also offers new classes unique to the setting and new takes on the classics that help create a game that takes full advantage of the Aetaltis setting.
  3. Arcane Magic: Arcane spellcasting is relatively common on Aetaltis, but the people of the world are never completely comfortable with it due to an ancient tie between magic and the Dark god Endroren. Aetaltis uses a point based system for arcane spellcasting that provides flexibility along with new options such as rules for ley lines, crystals that store spell points, and more. It also uses a skill based spellcasting system that allows spellcasters to push their limits, but opens the door to catastrophic failure.
  4. Divine Magic: Divine magic uses the standard spellcasting rules for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. This quickly differentiates divine and arcane spellcasters. While arcane spellcasting is uncertain, variable, and laced with danger, divine spellcasting is secure and simple, if a bit rigid.
  5. Monsters: All of the traditional Dungeons & Dragons monsters are found on Aetaltis. Some of their origins vary slightly to better fit the story of the world, and in a few cases we have unique takes on old standbys, but everything from dragons to owlbears are there to challenge the players.
  6. Many Styles of Play: In the typical Aetaltis adventure, your characters are everyday heroes who decided to make the world a better place. They know there is great risk in doing so, but if they don’t stand up to the forces of evil, who will? While this is the typical format for adventure, the design of the Aetaltis setting provides adventure hooks for a variety of play styles, including horror,  epic fantasy, swashbuckling adventures at sea, and more.
  7. Reasons to Say “Yes”: One of the primary philosophies behind Aetaltis was to create a world that gives both players and dungeon masters reasons to say “Yes” whenever a question comes up about what the setting will support. Whether you’re a fan of psionics or you desperately want to play a warforged, Aetaltis offers ways to make that happen within the context of the world’s story.

Discover Aetaltis...

To learn more about the World of Aetaltis, check out a full index of our past content posts here!

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