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Author Topic: Endless Horizons - Fantasy, Action-Adventure, Exploration  (Read 1355 times)
The Captain of Crunch
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« on: January 01, 2012, 03:18:11 PM »

Note: Where has Three Worlds gone?

My setting used to be named "Three Worlds". After much inner turmoil and consultation of others, I have reduced the cosmos down to two worlds, and "Two Worlds" doesn't have a good ring to it (it's also a video game I believe). "Endless Horizons" won out as the setting's name. I am taking a new look at it from the ground up, but I am now establishing what I post as Version 1.0, and it will be official canon for once.

Thank you for all your support.
Endless Horizons is a world of magic and wonder, where the map is not yet filled in, civilization is still new, and conflict rages between the forces of Order and Chaos. It is a world where one's assumption's may still fit, yet they have been re-imagined. Endless Horizons is a setting couched in the trappings of the fantasy genre, inspired by myths of the East and the West (with everything in between), but crafted with the guidance of science fiction. It explores what our world would be like with a trio of others: magic, other humanoids, and another world. The stories within it, though, are firmly fantastic, action-packed, adventure.
   Endless Horizons focuses upon the exploration of two grand worlds, the politics of a dozen races, and the interplay of the mortal and the spiritual. Its worlds are ancient, but most of its people are relatively new. Endless Horizons picks up only eight years after the greatest of wars, which culminated in the deaths of its most powerful goddesses. Their deaths shattered the very fabric of the planes in an event known as The Joining, and have opened more connections between the mortal world of Terran and the spirit world of Avalon.

Terran is the mortal world, the home of humans, elves, dwarves, and more. Terran is a familiar world in the end of its medieval age. It covers a vast area, with several lands separated by grand oceans, filled with many peoples each with their own faiths, history, and culture. In this world, though, myth and legend are undeniably true; spirits live within every thing, fantastic beasts and monsters fill the land and sea and sky, warriors push the boundaries of mortal feats,  and wizards can harness the very elements of the world. Terran is a world where all of mankind's wildest dreams and nightmares come alive in a vivid, but true-to-life fashion. As a player, it is your job to put yourself into your character, to imagine the world around your character is real, and to respond as a real person would.
   Terran is a world of dualities, where the struggle between Light and Dark, the Civilized and the Wild, and the New and the Old dominate. The history of the common races is relatively new, but the world abounds with signs of older civilizations, be they the mysterious ancients, the fallen reptilian races, or the antediluvian mad ones. It is where these dualities combine that adventures are found. Adventurers in Terran will focus upon exploring the wide world and its past, getting caught up in the politics of the various nations and races, and helping to defend against enemies both new and old. The actions of your characters will shape the world itself.

Avalon is the spirit world, the home of the ancient sidhe. Long has the spirit world existed along side the world of mortals, but until recently that connection was tenuous at best. Avalon is a world of extremes, with untamed wildernesses alongside grand citadels. It is an exaggerated reflection of Terran, with much of the world in the same place yet somehow different. A grand mountain on Terran is taller and more grand in Avalon, a vast desert is seemingly endless, and a human city is the sacred home of its ancestors. Avalon does not obey the laws of nature as Terran knows them, be they distance and size, or even time.
   The sidhe are its chief humanoids; they are the ageless progenitors of the elves, both beautiful and terrible. Goblins, reside here as well. It is also the home of the spirits, both the spirits of nature and the spirits of the dead, including gnomes, salamanders, undines, sylphs, nymphs, angels, devils, and all manner of fairies. The most powerful of the spirits are the deites; here on Avalon reside their true form, far greater than their mortal forms on Terran. Since the Joining, opportunistic mortals have begun seeking the riches of Avalon. Adventurers in Avalon take on a more fantastic nature than those on Terran, where realism flies out the window and absolutely anything can happen.

Races in Endless Horizons are numerous, but only ten are counted amongst the civilized. They have their differences, but members of these races are welcome in most every settlement players pass through or adventure in. Most commoners have seen members of these races, and everyone has at least heard something about them. Some may illicit an amount of fear (hobgoblins, ifrits, and ogres), or wonder (elves and spirit-folk), or seem quite different (tritons and valkyries), but they are all given a chance to prove themselves as individuals. These races are all from Terran, as Avalonian races are largely unsuitable to play.
   Dwarf: The people of the earth, creations of the Earth Dragon. Dwarves are short yet broad, stoic and unyielding like the earth that birthed them. They are known for their skilled artisans and craftsman, their savvy businessmen, and their fearless warriors. Their skin is rough and they have dark or light markings over their eyes. They have plentiful hair, with full manes on their head and the back of their neck, and magnificent beards upon the faces of their men. Most dwarves live deep underground, whether under the mountains or in the foothills.
   Elf: The people of the wilds, descended from the sidhe of the spirit world. Elves are free spirited, living in small tribes throughout Terran, with many different cultures in many different biomes. They are reasonably peaceful with all of the civilized races, but they are distant and withdrawn, having little trust in the "younger" races; even though they are technically a wild race and get along well with many of the other wild races, their disdain for war and wide conflict makes them welcome in civilized lands. Their hatred of goblins binds them to the plight of the civilized races, though. They are well known for their music and poetry , as well as their enjoyment for mead and wild revelries.
   Feyborn: Though they are often called half-elves, they have the mixed blood of humans and the sidhe of Avalon in their veins, not that of an elf. Feyborn possess an unearthly beauty, but they are far more grounded than the otherworldly sidhe from who they descended. They have a potential for magic (all possess some measure of power), and a connection with nature spirits, but they are vulnerable to iron. Many live as intermediaries between Terran and Avalon. Although they are of mixed blood, most are now born from other feyborn. They are known for their social talents and enigmatic natures.
   Halfling: Nomads and travelers, halflings are short and slender with soft fur-like hair, large eyes, brown to black skin, and long monkey-like tails. Originating from Draconia where halflings lived a wild and nomadic life, civilized halflings have turned their survival skills into opportunism. Halflings lack their own major settlements or their own language (their accent is a lazy lower-class dialect of the Human's language), but they have their own wards within human cities. Some halflings live as wandering nomads, gypsies of the planes that are not quite welcomed wherever they go. Halflings are known as liars, thieves, and sneaks, and they seem to enjoy fostering these opinions.
   Hobgoblin: Born from a union of goblin and human, hobgoblins are crafty and shady (literally). Their skin ranges from dark green to nearly gray, their eyes are pitch black orbs, and their features possess sharp angles. Their hair is dark and fine, though baldness is common. When they do not come off as fearsome, they are often seen as dangerously handsome or beautiful. They possess the ability to blend into shadows, and their own shadows seem to be darker and fuller. They frequently face distrust from others, but they are also prized for their intelligence and cunning.
   Human: The descendents of the ancients, humans possess great regional diversity. Two-thousand years ago, the humans of Krellshah were slaves to the giants before five legendary heroes fought and defeated the giants and freed humanity. Elsewhere, humans struggled to establish a foothold in the wild world without a chief deity to protect and foster them. They are well known for their racial destiny, capable of achieving greatness or falling to corruption.
   Ifrit: The people of the hot jungles and deserts, creations of the Fire Dragon, ifrits are people with dry and cracked scaly skin, fiery eyes, menacing spines, short fangs and claws, and a pair of small horns jutting from their brow. They are a passionate, religious, and artistic race, strong in both physical might and presence, steeped in tradition and possessing overwhelming emotions. They are well known for their capacity for awe inspiring expressions of hatred, anger, or love.
   Ogre: Ogres are the offspring of humans and giants. The first ogre was Huner, the man who killed the giant king and freed humans from their enslavement. It is this history alone that allows ogres to walk the streets of human cities without coming at odds with the guards and soldiers. Ogres are less welcomed in the cities of non-humans, and ogre adventurers learn quick how to prove their value and valor. Ogres are known for their mighty strength of arms and strength of magic, and their tie to the elements is strong.
   Triton: The people of the seas, creations of the Water Dragon, tritons are genderless amphibian people with smooth and shiny blue or green skin, large eyes, no outer ears or noses, and webbed hands and feet. They are at home on land and in water, and are skilled in invention and ship building. Tritons come from open communities with little rules and regulations, where friendships bind others together rather than contracts. They are known for their inventiveness and their openness.
   Valkyrie: The people of the sky, creations of the Air Dragon, valkyries are tall winged people with large eyes and vaguely beaked faces; the more common females (who make up the leaders and warriors) have dull colored feathers, while the rare males (who are sheltered and treasured) are brightly colored. Most other races assume that the valkyrie are all females as that is all they see, or they are uninformed about the coloration differences. When they are not migrating or fighting their own wars, valkyrie warriors serve as mercenaries for other nations. They are swift and athletic, and revel in battle and sport for the challenge and adrenaline rush. They are known as skilled warriors, and most armies fear their attacks from above.

The Five Elements are the base of existence in Endless Horizons: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Æther. Everything can be traced back to these foundations of reality. Even non-magical mortals owe their strengths to the elements: a mortal's strength and presence comes from fire, their toughness and willpower from earth, their quickness and wit from air, and their precision and reason from water. Humans, halflings, elves, and most of the other races are balanced in the elements, but dwarves, ifrit, tritons, and valkyrie are creatures of a single element themselves. Magi can influence and wield these elements by entreating the spirits, or binding them, to their will, while others learn to influence the elements aspects within their own bodies.
   Air: Agility and Cunning. Air involves quickness, travel, illusion, and wind and thunder.
   Earth: Constitution and Willpower. Earth includes protection spells, creation magic (making or altering objects), magic that wards and binds, and magic related to stone, soil, plants, and metal.
   Fire: Strength and Presence. Fire includes strength and destruction, magic of the emotions, the power of light and darkness, and fire and lightning.
   Water: Dexterity and Reason. Water includes transformation magic (shape changing), illusions, healing and death, and water, cold, and acid.
   Æther: Æther is the emptiness the elements that binds them together. It has no attribute, but it influences luck and potential. Æther deals with divination and the mysteries of the world.

Creatures of Terran are different from our world, and one of the most noticeable differences are the lack of familiar animals. Terran lacks dogs and cats, for instance, and no whales swim through its seas. Many strange and alien animals fill the roles of ours, such as large domestic rodents filling in the role of dogs and tall flightless birds filling in the role of horses. Other creatures like terrestrial cephalopods and mobile carnivorous plants make the world a place much different from ours. Birds and reptiles are quite common, as well as an animal group unique to Terran: Drakes.
   Drakes are a group of bird-like animals possessing six limbs; four legs and two wings. They lay eggs and have feathers while small; larger ones typically only have feathers in their youth, and as adults lack all but ornamental feathering. Unlike birds, they have long tails and they have teeth instead of beaks. Many drakes are small, the size of house cats, but the most famous are large: griffins, wyverns, and the dragons.
   Terran also possesses creatures of magic: the spirits. Though most spirits are native to Terran’s sister world, Avalon, they can be found on Terran near their bonded objects frequently. Famous spirits include the dryads who are bound to great trees, sprites who are the spirits of wild flowers, and nymphs who are spirits of fresh water bodies. Other common spirits are the elemental spirits (Gnomes, Salamanders, Sylphs, and Undines) and moral spirits (Angels and Devils). On Avalon, these spirits are part of the world, but they are rarely found on Terran outside of magical study. As every object and plant has a spirit, there are many kinds of spirits, though not all can leave their object or are even sentient.

Endless Horizons operates under a number of core assumptions, some of which are different from the standard fantasy world.
   The World is a Fantastic Place: While the world is fantastic, it is written with a casual nod towards believability. Floating islands, rivers that run upstream, and endless tempests may exist, but the mundane still operates normally.
   The World is Young, but Ancient: All of the common races, except for elves, have short histories; humans have only been free from their enslavement for two-thousand years, while the other common races have histories that do not extend much further. But the world is obviously far older than these races, with remnants and artifacts of the Ancients, the ruins of the reptilian empires, and terrible echoes of beings from beyond the stars.
   The World is Known, Sort of: The civilized lands are well known, but the wilds are dark and mysterious. Common folk don't dare to venture beyond their home towns, and traders and diplomats typically travel with retinues of guards. Explorers abound, but many never return to share their discoveries.
   Monsters are Rare, Animals are not: The term "monster" does not apply to fantastic animals like drakes, behemoths, griffons, or the various wild humanoids. Monsters are terrible and feared.
   Adventurers are not Unique, Beautiful Snowflakes: Adventurers are not the only people possessing great power. What separates adventurers from others with great strength is their drive. Adventurers are the ones willing to put their lives at risk, be it for wealth or what is right.
   The Civilized Races Band Together, Sort of: While the civilized races are not universally enemies with each other, they are not always peaceful. Conflict and war happens. The people of Terran are generally cultured enough to not hold an individual of a race responsible for the actions of their race, but characters should expect animosity and bad assumptions from time to time. What does bring the civilized races together is their shared struggle with Goblins, Ferals, and Draconians.
   Magic is Natural, and Minor Magic is Everyday: Technology is relatively simple because minor magic makes advancement unnecessary. In wealthy regions, streets are lined with magical light, minor magic items are sold, and rituals are commonly practiced. True masters of spells are rare, but reading a scroll is only a matter of following instructions exactingly.
   Gods Reshaped the World: Long ago, the Ancients ruled the world, but they forsook their gods. Zion, the last of their gods, destroyed them for their sin, but she was forced to sleep for an eternity afterward. While she slept, she gave birth to three daughters and four sons, the Elementals, who brought the world back to life and created dragons and giants. The world also has its creations, and there are still echoes from the ancient past.
   Deities are Active, but not All-Powerful: Terran is an animistic world. Every natural object has a spirit, and these spirits have power based on the importance of their physical form (the spirit of a mountain is stronger than the spirit of a stream) and the reverence they receive from mortals (the spirit of a sacred hill is stronger than the spirit of an unknown hill). The most powerful of these spirits are deities, but they are not omnipotent. Deities are separated into the benevolent gods, whom are worshiped to receive their blessings, and malevolent demons, whom are worshiped to redirect their wrath; also, there is a distinction between the nature spirits of the mists and the ancestral spirits of the shadow. Most people offer prayer and veneration to many deities and spirits. Spirits are only a short ritual away, and if one were to travel to their world you could meet and speak with them. Most deities have physical forms (the spirit of a forest might be a great oak tree served by a harem of dryads, while the spirit of a lagoon might be a massive shark), and while they are ageless they can still succumb to death's pull.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 03:22:19 PM by Xeviat » Logged

Endless Horizons: Action and adventure set in a grand world ripe for exploration.

Proud recipient of the Silver Tortoise Award for extra Krunchyness.

The Captain of Crunch
Gelatinous Cube

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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2012, 03:18:50 PM »

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Note: Classes

Classes are likely to change as I lock down a setting. Since I keep finding myself drawn back to D&D, I'll probably end up using 5E when it comes out. Any talk of classes will remain nebulous and abstract.

-The New World
« Last Edit: January 11, 2012, 02:31:27 AM by Xeviat » Logged

Endless Horizons: Action and adventure set in a grand world ripe for exploration.

Proud recipient of the Silver Tortoise Award for extra Krunchyness.

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