Once a whole planet, now thousands of floating earthmotes. A group of ascended Dragons created the world as a refuge for their species, populating the world with all of the various dragon types and related species, along with the flora and fauna they required. This first group of ascended became the pantheon that govern the various magical domains. They do not directly rule the inhabitants of the world, but they are heavily involved behind the scenes, manipulating and scheming in many cases, to ensure the purpose of the world as a refuge for dragons is maintained.
Species from all over the multiverse eventually discovered and migrated to the world through planar travel. The dragons were merciless in dealing with any group that threatened their world order, but some groups learned to coexist and their numbers grew. 531 years ago, a powerful human wizard king objected to the influence enjoyed by dragons and challenged the dragon deities; he was defeated. The final act of the wizard involved a massive ritual spell that was poorly countered by the dragon gods. The ritual was corrupted and its power boosted through wild magic, resulting in the fracturing of the planet and the complete annihilation of the human race. This also caused the connections to the outer planes to be severed... the material plane can only access the Feywild and Shadowfell, which are echoes of the material plane, the Etheral and Astral planes, and the four elemental planes. All other planar travel has been blocked, nobody yet knows why.
The core of the planet remains as a small solid sphere of various metals and stone. It is completely covered by water, which is much saltier than the original planet's oceans. The surface of the core ocean is about 500 miles below the surface of most islands. Earthmotes range in size from a few hundred square feet up to about 500 square miles. Each earthmote is held aloft through the power of mote crystals. These crystals are rare, so there is much less landmass now than before the shattering. Only areas with mote crystals survived the shattering. Naturally occuring mote crystals are incredibly toxic to all forms of life, so they have only been studied from afar, or through magical observation and protection. All attempts to mine natural mote crystals have resulted in catestrophic failure for the miner with no visible effect on the crystals. Larger earthmotes contain large forests and mountains where mining still occurs. However the bulk of lumber, metals, and ornamental stone are conjured rather than gathered.
There are no longer any seasons. Earthmotes at/near the poles are frozen, those at the equator are hot and humid. Very few earthmotes are desert or arid. Water evaporates at the core, becoming clouds at roughly the altitude of the earthmotes, which rains down on most of them as usual. Winds are generally gentle unless a thunderstorm is in progress. Storms can occur over land or void without much reason or warning.
Travel between earthmotes is accomplished through airships, kept afloat by Aetherium gas. Aetherium is a naturally occuring gas formed in large plant bulbs found all over the equitorial tropical islands. Airships are sometimes captained by a magic weilder who is able to affect the movement of the ship through magic. More commonly, airships consist of a mishmash of sails, wings, and steam powered propellers. Coal fuled steam engines are used in older ships, but the larger and more modern ships use magic to create steam or otherwise power the propellers. Airships with high value cargo/passengers are protected through magic and/or various kinds of ballista. Pirates are rare, since a single Fireball can disable and likely destroy an airship in a matter of seconds.
Gunpowder does not explode in this universe. It does cause a thick smoke and can be used to make smoke "bombs" that do no damage when used. Gunpowder is known as smokepowder in all know languages. The result of this quirk is that firearms do not exist in any form; no pistols, rifles, canons, rockets, etc.
Earthmotes, especially the smaller ones, travel slowly around in the void. This is known as The Dance. Occasionally they come close to other motes, sometimes (very rarely) causing collisions that devastate one or both of the earthmotes. These types of collisions are normally detected well before the event happens and steps are taken to avoid them. Some communities have connected tiny motes together through iron chains and bridges, and some have added sails and kites that aid in steering tiny motes, though this is very dependant on prevailing winds and the mass of the mote. The mote crystals in the larger earthmotes are formed in large clusters rather than as a single crystal. One of the properties of mote crystals is a kind of field similar to magnetism that prevents them from getting too close to other mote crystals. The larger the crystal/cluster, the greater the distance. Kind of like magnets repelling each other.
The world is populated by many flying creatures adapted to the vast voids between earthmotes. Most fly via wings, but some swimming creatures adapted to use lighter-than-air bladders for floatation. These use their flippers/tails to provide slow propultion.
The dieties of Shatterlands are ascended dragons. The seven gods and goddesses represent different aspects of the world, not necessarily the dragons themselves. The gods are not immortal, they participate in conflicts that can sometimes result in their death.
When a position becomes vacant, any ancient dragon that feels so compelled will compete with the others for the right to ascend. Sometimes this competition spills out onto the world, involving thousands of mortal creatures. Normally however, if any mortals get involved it's only a handful of champions aiding one or another dragon in the competition.
All thinking beings on Shatterlands are very much aware of the gods, but none are compelled to worship any of them. Some people may say prayers for protection or fertility, but it is known that such prayers are not answered by gods directly. Churches are very rare, occuring only on very large earthmotes with large populations.
Clerics are the exception, of course, as well as some Paladins who choose to dedicate themselves to one or more of the deities. The devine domain chosed by a cleric dictates which deity they channel their spells through. If a specific deity has died and has not yet been replaced, the cleric simply focuses on another diety within the same domain.
|The Mother||Goddess of Life, Fertility, and Nature||Grave, Life, Light, Mote, Nature||Green Dragon|
|The Father||God of Justice and Charity||Light, Order, Peace||Silver Dragon|
|The Warrior||God of Courage, Protection and Discipline||Order, Tempest, Twilight, War||Red Dragon|
|The Maiden||Goddess of Wealth, Love and Beauty||Life, Mote, Nature, Peace||Gold Dragon|
|The Smith||God of Crafting and Strength||Forge, Light, Mote, Twilight, War||Copper Dragon|
|The Crone||Goddess of Wisdom, Foresight and Trickery||Knowledge, Trickery, War||White Dragon|
|The Stranger||God of the Dead, Cruelty and Deceit||Death, Grave, Life, Trickery, Twilight||Black Dragon|
Short rests are 30 minutes instead of 60.
Any time your character can increase attributes or pick a feat, you must always pick a feat. Half-feats are the only way to increase attributes (baring rare magic).
Player characters must be good or neutral. No evil characters, which means no evil Warlock patrons either. If you want to be a necromancer, we will need to work out how that works with the alignment restrictions.
It is not necessary to track normal non-magical ammo, such as darts, arrows, bolts, etc.
All casters must have a focus or component pouch. All spells which have non-consumable material components instead use the focus, even if the spell notes a cost for the component. Spells which consume the material component do still require them and the component must be tracked on the character sheet.
All items have a Quality and Rarity value. Qualities are Low, Poor, Average, Good, Fine, Exceptional, Pristine, and Flawless; rarities are Common, Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, and Unique. Magic items that are labeled Legendary and Artifact fall under the Unique category.
Most items are conjured and made available in public centers, these are all considered to be Common, though quality can vary depending on caster level. There are also many common magic items such as fire wands, camp stones, animated brooms.
Rarity does not automatically determine value. A Very Rare but Poor quality diamond could be worth much less than a Common but Flawless emerald. The following table gives a rough converstion from GP value to Quality, assuming Common rarity.
|Relative value by Quality - For reference only|
|Low||1cp - 1sp|
|Poor||1sp - 1gp|
|Average||1gp - 10gp|
|Good||10gp - 50gp|
|Fine||50gp - 100gp|
|Exceptional||100gp - 1000gp|
|Pristine||1000gp - 10,000gp|
No evil alignments! No really big secrets between the PCs and absolutely no PvP!
There are no "half" races, no half-elf, no half-orc, etc. Even before the shattering, cross breeding between races didn't exist. It's just not biologically possible. Magic could create unique hybrid individuals, but the cost of creating such a creature would prevent it from being allowed to go adventuring.
No multiclassing unless there's a VERY good reason to do so. Must be discussed before leveling up, out of session. In general, if allowed, you must have at least five levels of a class before you can multiclass into another one.
All characters get a feat at level 1, that must be tied to the chosen background. This is in addition to any other starting feats the character might get from their class.
You start with max hit points, plus con bonus, at level 1. Hit points after level one are max plus con bonus.
Attribute array: 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10
Attributes can be generated randomly by rolling 5d6 and keeping the three highest results. Roll six times and assign the results to your ability scores in any order.
The max attribute value at level one is 18, counting the starting array, racial bonuses, and starting feats. Only one stat can be 18 at level one.
Warlocks cannot choose the Celestial, Fiend, or Undead patron sub-classes. See Warlock class changes below.
There is no currency... gold, silver, copper coins do not exist except as collectors items. Any class features that require items with a specific "gold piece value", spell components for example, will need to be handled on a case-by-case basis.
A robust bartering system exists for trading magic items, luxury goods, property, and airships. Gems are still mined and cut/polished, jewlery is still crafted, fine furniture that requires an artistic hand, etc. Most citizens do not care about these luxury items however, and even between collectors these items will vary a great deal in relative value.
Humans no longer exist.
Autognome - From Spelljammer: AiS
Dragonborn (Fizban's version)
Dwarf (Hill, Mountain)
Elf (Eladran, High, Wood)
Forged - Basically Warforged but created by mages as guardians, using the Create Forge Core spell.
Giff - Base race from Spelljammer: AiS, modified below.
Gnome (Forest, Rock)
Hadozee - From Spelljammer: AiS
Halfling (Ghostwise, Lightfoot, Stout)
Myconid - homebrew
Plasmoid - Base race from Spelljammer: AiS, extra details below.
Spriggan - homebrew
Thri-kreen - From Spelljammer: AiS
Replace the Firearms Mastery trait with the following:
Crossbow Mastery. You have a mystical connection to crossbows that traces back to the gods of the giff, who delighted in such weapons. You have proficiency with all crossbows and ignore the loading property of any crossbow. In addition, attacking at long range with a crossbow doesn’t impose disadvantage on your attack roll.
Plasmoids only need to eat once per week. Normally the consume food items through osmosis, but they can form mouths in which they shove food, in an effort to fit in with humamoids. They do have to stay hydrated; failing to maintain moisture levels results in a dry outer layer forming and the plasmoid falls into a state of hybernation until enough water is absorbed to regain functionality.
Plasmoid live in very small groups on Earthmotes at the equator that consist mostly of swampy or tropical rain forest terrain. They have no societal heirarchy, preferring to live solo or in pairs unless the location is small, forcing more of them to live in closer contact.
Plasmoids are genderless; reproduction occurs when two plasmoids merge pseudopods, formed specifically for the purpose of mating. DNA is passed to the larger of the two plasmoids, who then splits into two with the partner's DNA combining in one of the two halves to create a new individual plasmoid. Plasmoids do not have a childhood, they are formed as functional adults but without any of the experiences of the parents.
Plasmoids are ageless. Baring injury, they will live forever. There are many who have lived since before the shattering.
Sorcerers can choose WIS or CHA for their main stat.
Warlocks can choose INT or CHA for their main stat.
Warlocks are not evil by default, most of the patrons that make pacts with Warlocks are good or neutral. Warlocks are not shunned by society, they are just as welcome as any other arcane caster.
Warlocks can choose their subclass from the following:
The Archfey - Powerful fey lords/ladies.
The Dragon - Homebrew. Choose any non-evil dragon type: Brass, Bronze, Copper, Gold, or Silver.
The Fathomless - Ancient and huge leviathans of the deep, now living in the air near the core.
The Genie - Dao, Djinni, Efreeti, and Marid... maybe one or two more.
The Great Old One - There's only one of these, and it only makes a new pact when an existing GOO Warlock dies.
The Hexblade - As you might imagine, there have been MANY artifacts created over the milenia and the Shadowfel has been active manifesting sentience in many of them.