Frequently Asked Questions
Okay, so they’re not asked all that frequently, but these questions should help to flesh the world out some more for you.
What climate(s) does the continent have?
Oceanic, resulting in mild summers and winters.
What degree of settlement does Aurora have?
Settlement is moderate in Aurora. There is actually a long stretch of land that starts at the central sea between the 2 continents (Sea of Horses) that is largely barren and uninhabited by the higher races – it is mostly home to orcs, kobolds and the like. This stretches for about 75 miles before giving way to a much lusher region that is moderately settled, mostly by humies but a mix of all races (dwarves and gnomes are rare here however). Eventually, this green land turns into a gigantic forest that is mostly home to elves, with few established villages.
What degree of settlement does Vesper have?
The west is also moderately settled. Most of the settlements are concentrated on the eastern side of a large mountain range that nearly cuts the land in half. On the western side is a large desert with few settlements inside of it, and more along the coasts.
What kind of flora/fauna for Aurora?
In rough order of population: Humans, Elves, Halflings, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, lesser races. There is a stretch of mostly barren land, followed by incredibly lush and arable farmland, then an extremely rich forest that is home to all kinds of animals and beings from the Monster Manual. On the other side of the forest is a mountain range that drops off into the ocean, with a decently-populated island a few dozen miles out.
What kind of flora/fauna for Vesper?
In rough order of population: Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Half-Orcs, lesser races. There’s roughly 200 miles of decent plains with farms scattered all throughout, followed by a huge mountain range and then a desert that stretches almost all the way to the western coast.
What is the history? How long does it go back?
Recorded history on this continent is not extensive, and only goes back about 400 years. Around that time, the original human settlers of the land arrived. There exist signs of older civilizations, such as ancient ruins and tales of old artifacts, but there is no public information about anything that happened on this continent before 400 years ago. There is also very little information about the land that the settlers came from. For all intents and purposes it is outside of the scope of this campaign.
What folklore exists?
Because of the run-down ruins of civilizations past, people have developed theories about what could have possibly happened to their inhabitants. The one thing in common between all the theories is that some catastrophic event wiped them all out.
What is the general level of technology?
Generally low-tech, much the same as medieval Europe. Castles and crude siege weapons exist. Some areas are higher tech than others. The dwarven/gnomish capital of Mount Magnus is probably the highest tech level you’ll find, and it’s combined with magic to create basic automatons.
What is the general level of education?
In general low, but universities do exist for the upper class and anyone rich enough to afford it, particularly in Aurora. Most of the populace is generally uneducated, and thus probably pretty superstitious.
Is writing common or not?
Among the wealthier population it is, but commoners will not know how to write and would employ a scribe to do all their writing for them.
What political entities are preeminent? What governments do they have?
There are 2 major entities: The Kingdom of Vesper in the west and the Auroran Republic in the east. Vesper is ruled by a human king, who oversees the gnomish and dwarven lands but for the most part lets them do their own thing. The Auroran Republic is an oligarchy, where the most educated in the land tend to call the shots.
How are lesser states handled? Are they independent or are they tributary?
They are largely tributary, but Avi Island is an independent state that is on peaceful terms with the other nations.
Is there a common currency?
Yes, the usual platinum/gold/silver/copper of 5e. Much of it is mined in the Magna Mountains on the western continent, and then delivered to a very large banking/minting city in the Sterile Sands where the coins are created. It is then delivered back through the mountains to the rest of the world. This is actually a well-known trade route often called the “River of Refinement”, and there’s a whole desert culture behind it.
Were there any civilizations before?
There are signs of previous civilizations in the form of ancient ruins, but within the past 400 years of recorded history there is nothing. If anybody knows of previous civilizations for sure they have not made it common knowledge. The people most likely to know are the scholars in Aurora.
To what extent do nations wield naval power?
The navies for both of the nations are pretty light. The land is small and so it’s relatively quick to get around on foot. The navies are concentrated in the Sea of Horses, and each nation tends to house enough ships just to counter the opposing nation, so they can feel protected.
What political tensions, if any, exist?
Things are tense between the west and the east. The Kingdom of Vesper generally frowns upon magic, viewing it as a crutch and a cheap way to get around doing actual work, while the Auroran Republic relies heavily on magic, and appreciates the finer things in life. Try as they might, it is difficult to get the two to see eye-to-eye on their differences. However, no all-out wars have broken out recently, thanks in large part to the current Vesper king, Simon Rex IV, who works hard to maintain friendly relations with the Aurorans. He turns a blind eye to the rampant use of magic in the east, in exchange for the abundance of food they are able to import from Aurora.
Are language barriers a thing?
Yes but not a big deal. We will be using all the normal languages from D&D, such as common, dwarvish, elven, etc. Many people of the land speak Common but you will occasionally find groups of other races that do not speak the common tongue.
What are the major religions?
All D&D religions are present in the land. In Vesper, the major religions are Pelor, Moradin, and Kord. In Aurora, the major religions are Corellon, Erathis, and Ioun.
How strongly does religion factor into the lives of the masses?
In Vesper, religion plays a fairly large role. Churches are the center of many towns that dot the countryside, and many of the regular folk worship a god and pray to them regularly. Religious fanatics are few and far between, however.
In Aurora, religion is not nearly as prevalent. Small towns are still often formed around churches, but some will have no church at all, and in the cities there are some libraries and government buildings that are larger than the churches there, which is much rarer in the west.
Do nations have generalized economies or are they specialized?
The two nations are generalized, with some differences. The Kingdom of Vesper generates almost all of the coinage used throughout both nations, and a large portion of all of the metals and precious gems, since it houses the Magna Mountains. The Auroran Republic, on the other hand, produces much more food than they need, and often trades it westward with Vesper. They are also the center of art and magic.
Are there guilds, and if so, how strongly do they factor into politics and culture?
There are tons of smaller guilds in towns and cities all across Dormia, none of which have a huge impact on anything outside of their local economy. In the Kingdom of Vesper, there are 2 important guilds: The Mint, which creates all of the coin throughout the land, and The Stonehands, which are located in the city of Mount Magnus and produce high-quality metal and stone goods. In The Auroran Republic, one guild that stands out is the Freeflow Arcanists, a gathering of powerful wizards dedicated to understanding of the arcane. Many of the Freeflow Arcanists also call the shots in the Auroran government.
How strongly does magic factor into the world? Is it rare?
Magic is not rare but only few people (in the larger scheme of things) can do it, say 1%. Anyone living in a city or large settlement has likely seen magic first hand. Those living on farmsteads or out in the wilderness have likely never seen it but heard about it and believe it exists.
There is 1 atypical D&D thing about the magic in this world though: abjuration magic specifically is nearly unheard of. For the most part is simply doesn’t exist in the world, and it will have a mechanical impact on players as well, in the form of a concentration check any time someone tries to cast an abjuration spell.
Are there class/caste systems? Is there a big disparity between poor and rich, in general?
There is a large disparity, the majority of people are poor all across the land, but the disparity is greater in Vesper than in Aurora. Both sides of the continent have class systems. Vesper is more traditional, with a king who rules the entire land with the help of his council, and nobles who govern individual cities and areas. Aurora is ruled by a council, and many of the members rule the different areas of the land as well. There are still nobles who govern but are not part of the council.
What level of patriotism do citizens hold for their nations?
Vesperians are generally very patriotic. Their day-to-day lives don’t often involve defending their country, but if they are called upon to do so they would answer proudly. The dwarves and gnomes of the Magna Mountains are the exception to this rule, if a war broke out then it would be phenomenal for their economy, however, as they would likely be providing most of the armor and weapons.
Aurorans are less patriotic. They are more interested in enjoying life and living as an individual rather than committing their lives to their country. If called upon to do battle, they would be reluctant to do so.
To what degree is the world considered “explored” vs “unknown”?
The “world” as it is in the campaign is rather small (about the size of New Zealand), so much of it has been mapped, though not necessarily explored. For instance, people know where some ancient ruins or landmarks exist, but may have not delved into them.
Have there been attempts to explore the rest of the world?
There have been some expeditions out into the ocean in various directions, but none of them have revealed anything of importance.