The Lost Marches
Over fifteen hundred years ago, three forgotten Empires united together as one. Together they were known as The Great Compact. The borders of this realm extended far beyond those of the lands today. It’s said that several wars, and too rapid of an expansion took its toll upon the populace of The Great Compact. This, and other matters, led to the inner collapse of the Compact and the time of The Fracturing.
A millennia later, a handful of successor Kingdoms have had time to heal and grow. Once again humanity has reason to spread and retake some of the lands that were lost during The Fracturing. With this return to expansion, some fortunate settlers have found ancient riches among the ruins of the Compact.
Those with a poor chance of inheriting, or with a sense of wanderlust, now travel to the border of the Kingdoms. From the border, these Settlers and Adventurers strike out into the wreckage of the once great Compact.
If their luck holds, Adventurers many be able find a lost horde, or they may be able to establish themselves as Nobility over the reclaimed lands. With no law enforced, these lands are full of opportunity, and even more danger.
The Civilized Lands
Over the past century with no wars, and much milder winters, the surviving Kingdoms have seen a large population surge. The harvests have been bountiful and new fields have been plowed with each generation.
In years past the main concern of a Farmer was planting enough food to see their family through the harsh winter. For more than two generations, this problem was replaced with ensuring that a Farmer has enough land to award upon a child when they reach adulthood. Family plots have become smaller and smaller, and the the next generation will likely be the last where all children may inherit.
Likewise, the Nobility have always ensured that they had Heirs to spare. Least a war or machination claim their bloodline. With stability that has been unknown since the Great Compact, no war or major plot has thinned the ranks of the Nobility for ages. Brash young nobles that once led hosts against their neighbors now sit idle at home. Now, it is not unheard of, for a Duke to see a half dozen children reach adulthood. Dowries, and suitable titles must be found for each, often at great cost.
A decade ago, the greatest Houses of Confersus began to encourage that second and third children travel to the borders. Showing foresight they now rally the young to resettle the lands of the Great Compact.
Reaching The Marches
The Lost Marches are found on the northern side of two mountain ranges, The Barriers and the Shieldmounts. Separated by natural borders, the nearest of the human Kingdoms is that of Confersus. Access to the Marches is difficult without leave from the nearby realms of the Dwarves, as they control the pass through which a cart may pass North.
The Dwarven Halls of Barak Dur, act as the gateway to The Lost Marches, much as they did in the days before The Fracturing. By ancient treaty, and enforced with Axe and Hammer, any man or woman may passes North through Barak Dur’s gates at no cost. To cross into the South again, the Dwarves charge a steep fee; one thousand pieces of Gold, or their like in gemstones, for every man woman or child.
The Town of Limen
A decade of concentrated migration has settled the lands of the First Valley. The town of Limen is the only settlement that offers any true protection in the Lost Marches. Founded sixteen years past by the Baroness, Limen is placed upon a bluff that overlooks the First Valley and bookends Barak Dur.
On a clear day a resident of Limen can stand atop the high granite walls, looking to East one will see the gates of Barak Dur, to the South they will see the First Valley, and North lies the Second Valley.
As commerce is driven by settlement, trade tools and weapons are easy to buy in Limen. Whereas comforts and exotic goods that are common in the Kingdoms are attainable, but costly, in Limen.
Law and Order in Limen, and it’s immediate surroundings is all but indistinguishable to that of the Kingdoms. While not a title granted by the King of Confersus, the Baroness of Limen acts as the Feudal overlord of Limen. The Baroness is unchallenged in her claim, and the church of Pelor recognizes her rights over all citizens of Limen.
Beyond Limen and the Second Valley lies the hinterlands. Few hearty souls have made their homes in the vast wilderness since the return to The Lost Marches. With no law and order beyond a day’s ride of Limen, only Adventurers risk such a distant base of operations.
While no formal tally is kept, at least a dozen Adventurers have returned to Barak Dur, paid the Dwarves their thousand gold, and then still had coin enough to buy estates and titles of Nobility in the Kingdom of Confersus. The rumors hold that each found riches in the ruins of the Great Compact, but no two stories agree.
Race & Class Options
The Lost Marches are in a world that is being reborn after a dark period. Considerable knowledge was lost with the fall of the The Great Compact, and some options are limited because of this.
Unknown Races and Classes
Gnomes, Dragonborn, Tieflings, Monks, and Sorcerers are simply unknown in the lands that once belonged to The Great Compact.
The elder races watched the Great Compact crumble, and they have maintained a certain distance from the survivors. Dwarves and Elves, are unlikely to travel with Humans into The Lost Marches. They remain within their own realms, and generally refuse to discuss the world that once was.
Differences in Classes
Fighter – Fighters are prohibited from using the Eldritch Knight Archetype.
Paladin – Paladins are prohibited from following the Oath of Ancients.
Ranger – Rangers used the Revised Ranger from Unearthed Arcana.
Rogue – Rogues are prohibited from using the Arcane Trickster Archetype
Warlock – The only Archetype that Warlocks may use is that of The Great Old One, who’s name is Vecna (detailed below).
Sword Coast Adventurers Guide – All Archetypes are acceptable unless noted above.
Since The Fracturing, the Pantheon of Gods that actively respond to the prayers of Clerics has dwindled. This has caused a fundamental change in society, with Pelor’s acceptance as the defacto religion of all of the human Kingdoms. The Gods who are known to have active Clerics are:
Pelor – The sole God worshiped by ‘Goodly’ people. Pelor the Lightbringer is the God of Justice, Light and the natural world.
Domains: Light, Nature
Alignment: Lawful Good
Ioun – The Goddess of knowledge, magic and study. She remains neutral in all things except her hate for Vecna.
Domains: Arcana, Knowledge
Raven Queen – The Goddess of the dead and dying. Goodly people only turn to her during funeral rites.
Domains: Life, Death
Bane – The God of war and slaughter. Bane’s power has been on the decline for over a century.
Domains: Tempest, War
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Vecna – The God of evil secrets and the Undead has been all but forgotten due to his silence.
Domains: Knowledge, Trickery
Alignment: Neutral Evil
One of the few bastions that survived The Fracturing was the Academy of High Magic. All but a few rogue Wizards belong to the Academy, and they maintain a stranglehold upon higher magical learning. When a Wizard reaches second level they are restricted to the three Arcane Traditions listed here:
School of Lucrum
- The School of Lucrum focuses upon magic that protects and informs. Wizards who join this School wear white clothing to identify themselves as defenders. Wizards of Lucrum may learn spells from the following schools:
- Lucrum Savant
- Beginning when you select this school at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy a Abjuration or Divination spell into your spellbook is halved.
- Starting at 2nd level, you can weave magic around yourself for protection. When you cast a spell of 1st level or higher, you can simultaneously use a strand of the spell’s magic to create a magical ward on yourself that lasts until you finish a long rest. The ward has hit points equal to twice your wizard level + your Intelligence modifier. Whenever you take damage, the ward takes the damage instead. If this damage reduces the ward to 0 hit points, you take any remaining damage.
While the ward has 0 hit points, it can’t absorb damage, but its magic remains. Whenever you cast an spell of 1st level or higher, the ward regains a number of hit points equal to twice the level of the spell. Once you create the ward, you can’t create it again until you finish a long rest.
- Projected Ward
- Starting at 6th level, when a creature that you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction to cause your Arcane Ward to absorb that damage. If this damage reduces the ward to 0 hit points, the warded creature takes any remaining damage.
- The Third Eye
- Starting at 10th level, you can use your action to increase your powers of perception. When you do so, choose one of the following benefits, which lasts until you are incapacitated or you take a short or long rest. You can’t use the feature again until you finish a rest.
- Darkvision. You gain darkvision out to a range of 60
feet, as described in chapter 8.
- Ethereal Sight. You can see into the Ethereal Plane
within 60 feet of you.
- Greater Comprehension. You can read any language.
- See Invisibility. You can see invisible creatures and
- objects within 10 feet of you that are within line of sight.
- Spell Resistance
- Starting at 14th level, you have advantage on saving
throws against spells. Furthermore, you have resistance against the
damage of spells.
School of Aequus
- The School of Aequus focuses upon magics that conceal and empowers it’s practitioners. Students of this School don grey clothing to show their commitment to walking a middle road. Students of Aequus may learn spells from the following schools:
- Aequus Savant
- Beginning when you select this school at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy a Evocation or Illusion spell into your spellbook is halved.
- Sculpt Spells
- Beginning at 2nd level, you can create pockets of relative safety within the effects of your evocation spells. When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell’s level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws
against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.
- Potent Cantrips
- Starting at 6th level, your damaging cantrips affect even creatures that avoid the brunt o f the effect. When a creature succeeds on a saving throw against your cantrip, the creature takes half the cantrip’s damage (if any) but suffers no additional effect from the cantrip.
- Empowered Evocation
- Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to the damage roll of any wizard evocation spell you cast.
- Illusory Reality
- By 14th level, you have learned the secret o f weaving
shadow magic into your illusions to give them a semireality.
When you cast an illusion spell of 1st level or higher, you can choose one inanimate, nonmagical object that is part of the illusion and make that object real. You can do this on your turn as a bonus action while the spell is ongoing. The object remains real for 1 minute. For example, you can create an illusion of a bridge over a chasm and then make it real long enough for your allies to cross.
The object can’t deal damage or otherwise directly harm anyone.
School of Nocens
- The School of Nocens focuses upon magics that summon forth or steals power from another. Servants of this School dress in black as a deceleration of their ambition. Servants of Nocens may learn spells from the following schools:
- Nocens Savant
- Beginning when you select this school at 2nd level, the gold and time you must spend to copy a Conjuration or Necromancy spell into your spellbook is halved.
- Minor Conjuration
- At 2nd level, you gain the ability to reap life energy from creatures you kill with your spells. When you kill one or more creatures with a spell of 1st level or higher, you regain hit points equal to twice the spell’s level, or three times its level if the spell belongs to the School of Necromancy. You don’t gain this benefit for killing constructs or undead.
- Benign Transposition
- Starting at 6th level, you can use your action to teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see. Alternatively, you can choose a space within range that is occupied by a Small or Medium creature. If that creature is willing, you both teleport, swapping places. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest or you cast a conjuration spell of 1st level or higher.
- Inured to Undeath
- Beginning at 10th level, you have resistance to necrotic damage, and your hit point maximum can’t be reduced. You have spent so much time dealing with undead and the forces that animate them that you have become inured to some of their worst effects.
- Durable Summons
- Starting at 14th level, any creature that you summon or create with a conjuration spell has 30 temporary hit points.
- Edit #1. – Saturday 11th of March, this is most of my first draft, I may refine it tomorrow.
- Edit #2. – Sunday 12th of March, refinement and expansion have begun with more info for the players added.
- Edit #3. – Sunday 12th of March, edits after feedback from S.M.