Pyrrhia is a true low-magic campaign. Be cautious while giving out any sort of magic item, as they'd be very rare. Also be cautious about letting your PCs play classes with access to spells, and if you do, make sure to bring up lots of roleplaying challenges. It's always fun to surprise the PC who uses Mage Hand to carry groceries and make him or her face an angry mob of fearful commoners.
Although this is set in Pyrrhia, it is now your world. If you want, you can play through the Great War and alter its outcome, or kill the dragonets of destiny as hatchlings and see how different the world would be. Altering the past is a difficult job, even more so if you let the PCs use time travel spells (hint: don't do this unless you like insanity). But it is your world, and you can do with it whatever you want.
Advised Rule Modifications and DM RulingsEdit
We strongly advise you to alter the maximum stat caps according to racial modifiers. For example, if you are a NightWing, your maximum for Intelligence would be 24, making NightWings the best Wizards out there, but your maximum for Strength would be 17, making them some of the worst Fighters. This is to reflect the more innate nature of the various tribes.
We also recommend informing players that if they play Sorcerers, they have to be prepared to have their beloved characters go insane. (Wisdom save of their new Sorcerer level each time they level up.) An insane character would often become a NPC, but if the player wants to remain in control of their now-mad character, try having them play out their new insanity! Having a lunatic in a party can be extremely fun.
When an ability (such as the Trip Attack) says it will only work on, for example, Large or smaller creatures, replace that with "character size category +1."
As for Warlocks, while playing them is going to be very weird, be sure to make them roleplay out their personalities as much as possible. Additionally, we recommend adding the gate spell to the warlock spell list, because that is what warlocks do!
Additionally, you should use the variant rule about gritty realism, described in the Dungeon Master's Guide.
Talons of PeaceEdit
The Talons of Peace are a loose group of radical pro-peace dragons. They consider war inherently bad for society, and consequently try to end it through any means necessary. They have little cohesion, and most members are under deep cover as spies. No member knows every other member, so that even if captured and tortured, he or she cannot betray the rest of the organization.
After the end of the World War, the Talons stayed in existence, though they were much less active. Their primary goal became preventing another war, still at any cost.
Motto. "Peace is more important than anything. Give us your service, and we will give you and your dragonets and your dragonets' dragonets a peaceful world."
Alignment. Talons are usually good in alignment, though many are neutral. They tend towards neutrality on the axis of Law vs. Chaos, believing both in a strong society and many individual rights.
Beliefs. The Talons' beliefs can be summarized as follows:
- The needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few.
- Few want war, and many don't want it.
- Therefore, war must be ended and prevented.
Goals. Remain secretive, promote peace, acquire agents in all parts of Pyrrhia, and monitor everything. Only act openly if necessary. Kill if necessary, but do not do so lightly. Stay loyal even under the most trying periods. Above all, work to foster friendship or at least acceptance between tribes.
Typical Quests. Typical Talons quests include ensuring that diplomatic peace talks are not interrupted, killing a powerful being in case he or she causes damage later (whether or not he or she is a risk now), infiltrating a tribe to gain secrets, and stealing or destroying dangerous knowledge.
The FreeWings are a group of activists and advocates for NightWing sovereignty. They range from assassins to commanders to scientists to politicians. Nearly all of them are NightWings, but sympathetic members of other tribes have joined. They seek to at least liberate the NightWing tribe and hopefully gain reparations. Some members secretly desire to seize the rainforest themselves. Most non-NightWings disagree with imposing new control, and even many NightWings are against it.
Their methods involve diplomacy, politics, subterfuge, assassination, espionage, and any other tools available, though they usually try nonviolent methods first.
Motto. "It is only logical to conclude that each tribe will operate best if it is sovereign."
Alignment. FreeWings tend, like most NightWings, to be Lawful Neutral. Their non-NightWing members usually share their alignment.
Beliefs. The FreeWings' beliefs can be summarized as follows:
- Dragons should have equal rights.
- Tribes should ruled by members of themselves.
- Peaceful action is preferable to violent action, but violent action is acceptable if necessary.
Goals. Acquire equal rights for NightWings, establish a NightWing ruler over the NightWings (preferably of the royal line), gain reparations from the time spent subservient to the RainWings, find land for a New Night Kingdom, and establish this New Night Kingdom as a major world power.
Typical Quests. Typical FreeWings quests include organizing a protest in favor of NightWing sovereignty, assassinating a powerful RainWing opposed to sovereignty, gathering foreign allies for a rebellion, and attacking IceWings preemptively.
Global Alliance of Scientific PersonnelEdit
The Global Alliance of Scientific Personnel, better known by its acronym G. A. S. P., is a notoriously fanatical organization of scientists and their assistants. They value scientific knowledge, research, and education. However, they have been linked to numerous assassination attempts and are recognized as a terrorist organization globally. Membership was illegal in the Sand and Sky Kingdoms (but is no longer), though it remains a cause for heavy suspicion in every kingdom.
Motto. "Science is golden."
Alignment. Members of G. A. S. P. can be of any alignment, but they are most often lawful or true neutral. Science does not involve morality, only logic.
Beliefs. G. A. S. P.'s beliefs can be summarized as follows:
- Politicians and royalty are not necessarily smart, so they are inefficient.
- Scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and their ilk are the most intelligent, so they are the most efficient.
- Consequently, an overthrow of all royalty must be achieved to maximize progress for society.
Goals. Gain recognition as an independent country, create atomic and biological weapons of mass destruction, recruit other scientists, pick sympathetic queens, establish a technocracy, and most importantly, advance science in all ways.
Typical Quests. Typical G. A. S. P. quests include helping a scientist around the lab, finding unusual materials for an experiment, assassinating a particularly problematic noble or queen, or protecting valuable equipment in transport.
The Shadow Cloaks are an elusive group of dragons who want to rule Pyrrhia. As there are many other groups that also want to rule Pyrrhia they have a great deal of competition. Their methods are subtle, though they have gained some powerful allies. Currently, they are aiming to finish their mind-control technology.
Motto. "We are the darkest shadows in your mind, and what you fear becoming."
Alignment. The Shadow Cloaks desire domination, a decidedly Lawful Evil trait, but they also value pragmatism, in line with True Neutral, and simple obedience to the laws, as with Lawful Neutral. All three alignments are common.
Beliefs. The Shadow Cloaks' beliefs can be summarized as follows:
- With no government, life is nasty, brutish, and short. Anyone can do anything to anyone.
- Government ends this world of anarchy and violence by instituting laws.
- Consequently, a government should be as ruthless as necessary, to prevent society from collapsing back into anarchy.
Goals. The Shadow Cloaks seek to dominate the world in order to maintain order and prevent a future collapse of civilization. They see the FreeWings as antithetical to their goals, and want them destroyed. They want every government under their command, to ensure that their orders are carried out equally across Pyrrhia.
Typical Quests. Typical Shadow Cloaks quests include finding a magical secret of mind control, tracking down telepaths, killing competitors, and recruiting new agents.
In order of frequency:
Barbarians are very common in the world of Pyrrhia. Berserkers are much more common than Totem Warriors, as magic is rare, but Totem Warriors are not unheard of. IceWings and MudWings are the two tribes most likely to become Barbarians.
Bards are rare in Pyrrhia. The College of Lore is favored by NightWings, and the College of Valor by SeaWings. They're about equally common globally, but Valor is much more common on the mainland. NightWings, SeaWings, and especially RainWings are the most likely to become Bards.
Clerics are very rare in Pyrrhia. Channeling the power of a god is quite hard when no one believes in any gods to channel. However, as all tribes worship the three moons, they take the place gods hold in more traditional campaigns. The first moon is associated with the domains of Tempest, War, and Nature. The second moon is associated with Knowledge, Death, and Trickery. The third moon is associated with the Light and Life domains.
MudWings, SkyWings, and IceWings follow the first moon most. SeaWings, SandWings, and NightWings usually favor the second moon. RainWings are the only tribe that strongly follows the third moon.
Druids are more common than Clerics, but still rare. Far, far, far more dragons enter the Circle of the Land than the Circle of the Moon. Most dragons can't imagine ever leaving their enormously powerful form, as they're already apex predators. Those of the Circle of the Land usually pick the territory they are from, with hardly any picking the Underdark.
RainWings are frequently druids, despite their low Wisdom scores. Aside from that, the class claims a few members of each tribe.
Fighter is the archetypical class for a dragon. Learning to put their bodies to even greater heights than before applies wonderfully to their egos. There are more fighters than every other class combined. The Champion is the most common subclass at more than half of fighters. The Battle Master gets most of the remaining fighters, and the Eldritch Knight is rare.
Every tribe but RainWings have many fighters. SkyWings, IceWings, and MudWings are the most common Champions. SandWings and SeaWings are often Battle Masters. NightWings are the most common Eldritch Knights, although they're still rare.
Monks are uncommon for a dragon. Those who become Monks usually do so purely for the speed they will gain. By far the most common subclass is the Way of the Open Hand. The Way of the Four Elements is mostly forgotten to civilization, but a few isolated sects still practice it. The only dragons in Pyrrhia who know the Way of Shadow are the NightWings and whatever rare students they've taken.
Paladins are the most common conduits of divine magic. Rather than drawing upon nature or the moons for power, a Paladin draws upon the sacred weight of their oath. The Oath of Vengeance is the most common, with the Oath of the Ancients second and Oath of Devotion third. Oathbreakers are very rare. Most Paladins have a deep sense of honor, and would not break their oath for any reason.
RainWings are the most likely to take the Oath of the Ancients, given their harmony with nature. NightWings and IceWings frequently take the Oath of Vengeance, because of their mutual hatred.
Rangers are uncommon in Pyrrhia. Those who do become Rangers are almost always Hunters and not Beast Masters. Dragons typically feel too arrogant to waste their time on training a pet, whereas a Hunter becomes ever better at predation.
IceWings are the most common Rangers, with SandWings second. As they both have vast tracks of land, they need wanderers who are capable of tracking down their enemies.
Rogues are common in Pyrrhia. Most dragons are alright with lying, stealing, and killing, so the common ethical problems with being a Rogue are essentially nonexistent. Assassins are the most common, as nearly every non-RainWing dragon has someone they want dead, and many are willing to pay to get someone else to do it. Thieves are less common, but still fairly widespread. Arcane Tricksters are rare, but more common than Eldritch Knights.
Every tribe has rogues, with NightWings having the fewest (from their love of Law), and SandWings having the most. RainWings aren't often rogues, but when they are, they become truly amazing at it, from their exorbitant Dexterity and excellent Charisma bonuses.
Sorcerers are truly rare in Pyrrhia. They're called animus dragons, and they're legendary to the point where some dragons doubt their existence at all. The Draconic Bloodline is very different from a typical campaign, as all characters are dragons. Instead, the Draconic Bloodline means a closer connection to a particular element. However, Wild Magic is more common, and their magic is unpredictable. Because dragons are already so powerful, this added power is too much for them. The more they use it, the more likely they are to go insane.
No tribe is more common than any other. They're rare enough it's typical for each generation to have one, maybe two animus dragons between all the tribes.
Even though they are known of, Warlocks don't actually exist in Pyrrhia. They have existed, but unless your character happens to be living in just the right time, no one alive is one. Warlocks combine the extraplanar issues of Clerics with the exotic magic of Sorcerers, adding on to the fact that no entity in Pyrrhia corresponds to the Archfey, Fiend, or Great Old One. They gain their power from pacts with extremely powerful beings from other planes of existence who are virtually unknown to any but the most learned sages. Because they are so rare, they are feared even more than animus dragons, simply because they're so unknown.
The only tribe that, as far as anyone knows, has ever had a Warlock in it is the NightWings. They've had about a dozen in their long, storied history. Their have been rumors of Warlocks outside the NightWings, but they're unconfirmed. Any non-NightWing warlock would probably need access to the legendary NightWing libraries, because knowledge of such extraplanar entities is carefully confined there.
Wizards are by far the most common wielders of arcane magic in Pyrrhia. As they don't rely on innate powers, music, or extraplanar aid, but only study and knowledge, anyone can become a Wizard. It takes years of study to master the secrets of magic and even be able to light a candle. The workings of magic are known to the sages of every tribe, so anyone can become a Wizard.
When it comes to schools of magic, every tribe has its particular choices. MudWings and SkyWings love Abjuration and Evocation, for protecting allies and annihilating enemies, respectively. SeaWings and NightWings love Enchantment and Divination, for twisting the mind and revealing the truth. IceWings favor Conjuration to create resources in the barren North. RainWings usually specialize in Illusion, because they love pretty things. SandWings typically learn Transmutation, primarily to turn sand to water. No tribe specializes in Necromancy, though NightWings are the most common Necromancers.