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Insect Adventurers - Guardians of the World Tree

   
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Old Jul 19 '18, 9:09pm
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Insect Adventurers - Guardians of the World Tree

Insect Antiquity: Guardians of the World Tree - Forum
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e

It's what it sounds like - the smallest campaign setting you've ever likely played in. Everyone at this scale is either an insect, or worse, and a lot of things are different. The bugs have created a civilization upon the World Tree known as Yoni, and have prospered there for many generations. At this point in the timeline, many queens and dynasties have come and gone, and the world has become much more settled and connected. But at the same time, the age of the culture is beginning to show. Corruption and Lawlessness are everywhere - and there is a general listless and wistful attitude among the people. And in the religious world, many different creeds and doctrines have long since been interacting, creating a wonderful array of conflicting syncretisms. The general feeling is not at all unlike that period in our own world which we know as Antiquity. Anything you could expect to find in Ancient Rome, Greece, or Egypt, probably has an equivalent of some kind in Yoni.

I have a lot written privately about the setting and the goings on that may or may not concern the character, but at this stage not everything is fully pinned down. I encourage potential applicants to be bold with their vision for their character, and we can work together around that to integrate both of our ideas into the setting.

I'm not opposed to issuing house rulings on specific issues, and if we run into problems I may choose to rule them according to convenience and agreement rather than the strictest RAW. That being said, I am quite familiar with 3.5 mechanically, so I do encourage everyone to create builds that are strong and fun for them. Just keep in mind that if as a group everyone is way above the curve, naturally the obstacles will have to scale to that level. Weaker and more simplistic characters may receive a helping hand from me to remain relevant, or find other strengths in different areas. We are starting at Character Level 6

Roleplay is much more important to me than Rollplay. Secrets, mysteries, and hidden knowledge will play at least as much of a role in this game as conflict and shows of force.


I still have plenty of prep to do, so we have a good amount of time to flesh out our characters. Game start will be about 2-3 weeks from now. I will probably be accepting 4-6 players, depending on what kind of applications pop up. I figured now was a good time to get this out there and let people start considering what kind of angle they want to take.

Game Description:

Those in the world of men think they have known suffering; that they have known the depths of war; and through it all their civilizations have persevered and conquered. But just below their feet, at a scale fifteen thousand times smaller, there exists a world far more ancient and unspeakably more horrible. Here war has raged on for eons, never ceasing. There is a race of beings here, shaped by malice and necessity, unafraid of monsters, and willing to die without question for his comrades. The ants. They struggle to maintain their territories against the beasts of the wild, their rival tribes, and the cruel forces of nature. This world is an insane and malicious hell, and there is no mercy anywhere. Ever has their fight dragged onwards. It has seen mountains rise and fall, it has remained unchanged by the dizzying procession of the stars marking ages - long enough to see the whole earth covered several times over with the bodies of antkind. The soil itself was formed from the mass of their dejected bodies. It seemed that this nightmare would never end until even time ran itself dry. It was their duty to fulfill the consequences of this curse.

But, as chance would have it, a new age would yet dawn for their kind. Four hundred lives of ant ago, a legendary Goddess Queen figure named Ilana set out with a small group of allies to found her own nest. But the ground was harsh and covered with competitors, and she had not the resources to wage a war against a more established queen. And so the group set out on a great expedition, the likes of which has never been seen since. Her company conquered the grasses, the desert, and even the great waters, meeting numerous gods and demons along the way, and facing trials that are still relayed in songs and old witches' tales to this day. But as the stories go, they eventually found the Garden. It was a land of green and abundance, but even here, the grasses were treacherous. Queen Ilana asked for guidance on what to do, and went into the wilderness alone and fasted. Eventually she came upon an enormous serpent wrapped around an even greater tree, whose dark shimmering scales reflected the light in a dizzying way. When he asked for a reason why he should not destroy her, the now aging queen told him every detail of her long story. And when she had finished, she had won the creature's heart. He revealed his name to be Set, and revealed to her secret knowledge pertaining to many things. He told her to found her empire not on the earth, but on the surface of the very tree where she found him. The enormous barkd world system would be called called Yoni. Next he presented her with the Four Great Gifts that would come to determine the lives of every one of her descendants.

First, the Amber Crown, which had magical powers.
Secondly, the Seed of Manna, which would be the foundation of her kingdom.
Thirdly, the Adamantine Font, the source of a miraculous metal that was hard enough to shape wood and rock.
And lastly, Ilana's Flame, that would be the light and furnace of her people.

The amber crown greatly expanded the queen's mind, and gave her the power of reason. Suddenly the nature of her existence, and the world she was born into, became clear to her. She saw the endless past unroll before her like a scroll, and in the future, a distant light. She and all her people were forever changed and separated them from their blind kinfolk who ever waged war on the ground, not understanding the nature of Good and Evil. The company made their way to Yoni, and they founded the city of Shi-yon. The Seed of Manna was planted on a great bed of leaves, and it bore fruit. Now antkind had agriculture, and was freed from the curse of cannibalism and flesh eating. Metal from the adamantine font was used to create great tools and weapons. The tools carved the labyrinthine underbelly of the city, and constructed a great wall around it. A magnificent temple was built just outside the center of the city for the founding queen, and in it was placed Ilana's flame, where it was to be kept burning at all times. After Ilana's death, the amber crown was passed down to her chosen daughter, who was made queen after her. It became the ultimate symbol of authority in the land, whoever had it, was the ruler of Shi-yon.

That is how the story goes, anyhow. Over the generations much legend has been mixed with fact, to the point that it is impossible to tease out the truth. One thing is for sure, though. This place was not the idyllic paradise that the ant forefathers dreamed of. The land has become overrun with beasts that ravage the wilderness between cities, and the unsteady peace between the races of Antkind is quietly betrayed on every side. Other types of insects have become awakened over time and started their own civilizations in far flung areas of Yoni. Notably, a colony of spiders have covered an ever-growing area of the World Tree in web so thick that the whole territory is locked in perpetual dusk. Several generations ago, the Legionary ants waged a war against the spiders to try to counter their growing forces. Millions perished, but neither side was totally destroyed. Relations between the Ilan-yo and the Legionaries have been strained ever since, for the former's refusal to aid in the conflict.

Even within Shi-yon, all is not well. Each new generation changes in new and unexpected ways, and there are ants around today that would seem totally alien and bizarre to the insects of Ilana's day. The Queen has not made any public appearances in over a year, but her ministers rule the kingdom with supreme authority. The nation has become so full of conflicting religious cults and institutions that the people have become irrevocably divided. The ministers have attempted to address this problem by oppressing minority religious groups, with mixed success. Corruption rains unchecked in the private sector, and Aristocrats get away with murder behind the closed doors of their underground estates. The Crown has openly promoted an unpopular alliance with the Pale Mother, the ruler of the Harvester Ant colony, drawing extreme ire from the free greyfellows who make Shi-yon their home.

And now, the ministers and their contractors are sending out a quiet offer through all of their backchannels - looking for warriors-for-hire, ants of discretion, and those of unique ability who are willing to answer some secretive mandate of the Queen. It is a strange circumstance for the normally insular organization, but these are strange times. The pay is good - enough to keep an ant off the streets for months, maybe more; but the position is only open to those with an unfaltering resolve. Those who have already proved their grit on more than one occasion.


Last edited by Olive_Branch; Jul 20 '18 at 12:44am..
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I really like the premise and fluff of the campaign, O_B.
I couldn't find it in the guidelines or house rules, so I'll ask here:
Do the bugs have class levels as well? If so, what level are they. Thanks!

Thanks! I appreciate the input.

Yes, the bugs have class levels. They should only have class levels, as far as I can tell. I didn't list LA or HD for any of the races I statted out in the character creation guidelines.

Im probably blind, but I cannot find what level they start out at. Only 28 point buy and HP...

This looks awesome. I love the idea of D&D as a bug game.

Some of the races do look better than others. Spiders for example get much better physical stats than ants, even if they do come with a social penalty. Could totally see a Praying Mantis Monk or Swordsage, though, and the ants-as-Romans idea is really cool.

Hey, thanks - I appreciate your comment. I must admit that I too have considered the Praying Mantis Monk while contemplating this game

About the Spider's stats, I actually think it's a bit of a toss up. An ant can get better physical stats than a spider if he chooses the Centaur base and applies one of the templates that suits his character, but then he won't be working with four arms. A spider gets four arms too, but if an ant chooses them he gets full use of them right away with their racial feat. It's possible that even considering this that the race is a little overturned. I'm open to scaling them down a hair if they would be more balanced that way.

Haha, I wish you luck in your endeavor. I'm more than happy to help if you have any questions about the system or if you need help building your character. That goes for everyone. If you have a strong idea of what kind of role you want to fill, there is a way to make that work in 3.5. The rules are quite sophisticated. I'm sure we can find a mechanical solution to your vision between the two of us.

I am suddenly struck with the idea of a insect who is a drunken master - just the imagery that comes to mind amuses me to no end. Not to mention I think it would be a blast to play. Not sure which insect yet, though; maybe a beetle of some kind.

. . . Any chance that could be a possibility?







 

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