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Brave, New World

Chapter 4: Shattered Kingdoms and Dark Realms

by Charles Dunwoody
Jan 12,2005


Brave, New World

Chapter 4: Shattered Kingdoms and Dark Realms

By Charles Dunwoody

Paul Mitchner really got me thinking with his response to last month's column. He doesn't like worlds overrun with fantasy races. I agree, but the current trend set by Wizards is to try to include a little something of everything from the Player's Handbook. Choosing to deny players options or not should be left up to individual DMs I think. DMs who don't want gnomes or halflings have that option.

However, I wanted to downplay the role of gnomes and halflings a bit in Dragonsuns. So I put their former kingdoms in the area the Blight now infests. Gnomes and halflings are rare in Dragonsuns as a result; the unfortunate inheritors of shattered kingdoms.

Rule Option

Gnomes and halflings were destroyed by the Blight or decimated so much that they are believed to be extinct. Although the default assumption in Dragonsuns is that gnomes and halflings exist, in this variant world option they are destroyed instead.


The gnomes once inhabited hills east of the dwarven mountains and west of the halfling plains. A leader of the people, called the Storyteller, was picked based on his or her skill, wit, and cunning.

A prosperous gregarious people, the gnomes lost it all when the sun god fell and the Blight grew in the area where they once lived. The race of gnomes almost became extinct.

Surviving gnomes were those outside the kingdom when the sun fell from the sky. Almost all survivors lost family and friends, purpose and direction.

Rumors that the gnomes and halflings that once lived in the area now known as the Blight were all changed into goblins and kobolds infuriate the gnomes. Whether an individual gnome believes this legend or not, all gnomes are taught how to fight well against goblins and kobolds.

Gnomes are a people with two heritages. One, the laughing storytelling tricksters they once were. And the shattered, angry wanderers they now are. Gnomes cloak their true feelings and intentions behind well-chosen words, illusions, and misdirection.

Some gnomes truly do keep a strong sense of self and remain determined to do well and succeed. Others use singing or alchemy or other skills to hide the rage and anger that now define them.

Gnomes no longer worship the sun god. Instead, they believe in the Perfect Jewel, a philosophy of possessing knowledge, honing magical skills, being one step ahead of everyone else, and being willing to do whatever it takes to survive. Gnomes who follow the philosophy of the Perfect Jewel can choose from the following domains: Knowledge, Magic, and Trickery. They do not use holy symbols, instead possessing a gem of at least 25 gp value that is used as a divine focus.

Some gnomes, desperate to reclaim their homeland whatever the cost, have taken to worshipping the dark goddess. They make pacts with aberrations and are willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to reclaim a homeland.

When other races encounter a gnome they do not know what to expect. People of the Dragonsuns world widely believe that gnomes are capable of anything, from altruism to downright wickedness. And no one can tell from one moment to the next what a gnome will do. Gnomes are distrusted and even scorned or feared by many people because of their hidden motives and agendas.


Once wanderers of a plentiful plain, the halflings are nearly gone from the world of Dragonsuns. Their homeland was destroyed when the sun fell and the Blight has covered their lands.

Because halflings travel so much, many survived the destruction of their realm. However, halflings always had roots in the soil and traditions of their land to sustain them while they wandered. Now, that sense of security is gone.

Halflings have become an insular, sullen people. Only a few retain the powerful energy and drive of their ancestors. Most distrust other races and many halflings envy the wealth, prosperity, and possessions of others. Halflings are still collectors, the last vestige of a proud heritage. However, many halflings have seen their desire to collect become an obsession to possess and own whatever they desire, no matter who gets hurt to make that happen.

Halflings no longer follow the sun god. Instead, they follow a way of life called the Way of the Wanderer. Halflings clerics teach their people to be athletic, stay healthy, to travel and not put down permanent roots, and to take whatever they need to survive. Halflings who follow the Way of the Wanderer can choose from the Strength, Travel, and Trickery domains. They do not use holy symbols, instead choosing an item from their collection worth at least 25 gp as a divine focus.

Optional Rule: Endurance Domain

A better domain than Strength for halflings is the Endurance domain from Complete Warrior. With this optional rule, the Endurance domain replaces the Strength domain as an option for halfling clerics.

The Drow

Ken Tompkins really wanted dark elves to worship the dark goddess. So here they are.

The drow are elves who have taken their grief into realms of madness. They would rather serve the dark goddess than live in a world in which they see no hope. They have turned their back on other elves, whom they consider weak and without worth.

And the dark goddess blessed them. They are a race unto themselves now, dwelling in the Blight and spreading evil and madness wherever they can.

The drow of Dragonsuns worship the dark goddess and consort with aberrations (not spiders). They keep pet chokers and form alliances with mind flayers and aboleths.

The drow desire to serve their goddess and rule the lands. They want to put to death all elves that are not drow. They glorify madness and mutation, darkness and death.

Optional Race: Dracha

Ace Calhoon really wanted dragonfolk in the game playable from 1st level. So here they are.

Monte Cook has designed a race for his Arcana Evolved game that would fit perfectly in the world of Dragonsuns. The dracha are a race magically created by dragons to be humanoid dragons. I think a race like this one is essential for the world of Dragonsuns. DMs who do not want to use this race can use the half-dragon template instead.

Next Month

More on the dragon kingdoms and how the Dragonsuns work.

May you always roll a 20 when you need it most,

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