Contents of introductory email:
You don’t have very much in common, except that your grandparents all died in the Faerie War.
That’s right, friends, I’ve got a world in mind. I’d like to run a 4-6 session DnD 4e campaign in January and February on weeknights, with an initial mid-December session or two to develop characters, and a bit of setting, as a group.
Prima is a world still scarred by the Faerie War, a culture and environment-shaking/defining event two generations ago. Creatures of the Realm of Faerie attempted an invasion of Prima, and were finally repelled after years of bitter, bloody conflict. Since the mages all “burnt out” in the closing days of the Faerie War, no one’s seen any arcane magic in Prima- after all, that comes from the Feywild- but now, a few individuals are awakening to latent magical talents, and old weapons are starting to glow again…
This will be a pretty character-driven, role-playing heavyish campaign. There’ll almost certainly be some combat (it’s a shame to build 4e characters and not have them fight at some point, plus there’s a lot of great faerie monsters- i hope you like fighting swarms of pixies), but there may be some sessions of just exploration, conversation, character development, etc.
What does a culture shaped by a faerie war look like? How do rural villagers respond to the re-birth of magic- the same kind of magic that almost destroyed their world, but also the same kind of magic that saved their cultures from invasion? How did the last war end? Who’s still got allegiances to Faerie, and who “crossed over” during the war and stuck around?
That’s some of what I have in mind. First-level kind of stuff- in many ways a cross between a standard DnD campaign and a nice Unknown Armies game: shit is getting weird, so how do regular folk respond? (Not that your folk have to be that regular…)
following email with more info:
“Swords beat the faeries.”
-McCutcheon, Proprietor of McCutcheon’s Smithy
“We out-queered them, that’s how we won.”
-Mad Jim the Mayor
“The faeries will enslave you. But they will also set you free.”
“Waste not, want not.”
-the last words of General Fanhorne, Hero of the Faerie War
One of the only things you have in common is that all of your grandparents died in the Faerie War. That, and you’re all members of the Blue Daggers, an organization which might be called a smugglers’ gang in certain quarters. However, out in the Northern Staghorn Mountains, in the village of Blue Spring, there’s nobody to stop you from trading in whatever you like. Often, it’s materials that might be illicit in more civilized parts of Prima: artifacts “appropriated” from former Faerie raiding camps and fortresses, old and secret information, books of spells that don’t work any longer, gemstones of questionable origin, moonshine, and the like. Since there’s not much government to speak of, way out here in the mountains, you’re also the folks that are most often called upon to drive away the goblins or wolves, to put out fires, and to poke around in scary holes. it’s a small-time town, and you’re small-town adventurers. Until the magic starts coming back.
Pretty much everybody in Prima was formed by the Faerie War, if not literally than at least culturally. A war encompassing an entire generation, against mysterious powers that wielded the very natural world against its inhabitants. Thousand-foot tall acorns dot the landscape, and the occasional miles-wide tree trunk, now inhabited by displaced settlers. Many of the citizens of Prima live with some very real “scars” of the Faerie War, and you are no exception. Perhaps your parents were in the fall-out of a weapon-ized season attack: huge swathes of autumn or spring that still shape the countryside. If they were caught in a winter-bomb, for example, you might have a bit of cold-resistance and a pale-blue tint to your skin. Maybe some ancestor had a nasty incident with a dryad, and now you’re a little extra sturdy and have a taste for maple syrup.
As for races and classes, the Blue Daggers takes all comers, at least if they have any skill with a sword or a crossbow (or with a bluff, with the natural world, or if they have a knack for reading minds or healing wounds). The people of Prima generally understand there to be a kind of “spectrum” of races, from the Races of Iron to the Races of Green. (It’s unclear whether this particular conception existed before the Faerie War.) Farthest on the Iron Side are the most technological races: dwarves, tinkering halflings, half-orcs and dragonborn, etc. Farthest on the Green Side are the Faerie Natives: eladrin and wilden, and then the more-wild races of Prima: elves, gnomes,* and the like. (You can play any race or class in the three Players’ Handbooks.) Humans are perfectly in the middle of the Green-Iron spectrum, and they’ve become much more influential in Prima since being the key players in the Faerie War- they were most able to combine the tactics of the Green with the tactics of Iron, the combination which ultimately repelled the Faerie invaders. If you play a Wilden, an Eladrin, or (sometimes) an elf (and especially a half-elf, see below) people will greet you with some suspicion. However, they know that many of the Eladrin, etc., that still live in our world were traitors against their own kind on behalf of Prima, so there’s that. (This would more likely refer to your parents or grandparents, however.) Elves are sketchy because they’re somehow related to the Feywild/Faerie in most people’s minds, but they held up their end of the fight in the war. Half-elves are more suspect: many human babies were lost in the War Years to changeling-swaps, and so hybridity between the Human and the fae (or the elves) is looked upon as a little questionable. And as for gnomes? Gnomes are the most common house-pet in Prima. Perfectly intelligent and capable as pc’s, but if you are a gnome, people will treat you like people in our world might treat a cat or a dog. Until you light them on fire or stab them in the face, of course.
The Blue Daggers certainly has a use for someone of any class, but arcane magic hasn’t been seen in these parts since the end of the Faerie War, long before you were born. You can still play an arcane character, but every time you use a new spell for the first time, it’ll be a little more dangerous, a little more powerful, and way freaky for anyone who sees you do it. Note that arcane magic is not universally despised, as it is in, say, Dark Sun. It’s considered to be dangerous, certainly, but everyone knows that arcane magic was also a crucial aspect of the successful repulsion of the Faerie invaders. So dangerous, but also potentially salvific.
And speaking of dangerous and salvific: people in Prima are very… hesitant about sexuality. The Faeries launched their invasion by seducing individuals, swapping children with changelings, etc. And many of their powers were fueled by romantic and sexual energy. So people are careful about these things, and respect their power, generally. Different individuals and cultures deal with this differently, as you might imagine.
That’s Prima for you. It’s a beautiful world, but it’s full of many a danger, physical and otherwise.
Hope you don’t destroy it.