Twelve Realms: The Worlds Divided

Twelve Realms: The Worlds Divided
#1
Twelve Realms: The Worlds Divided
TWELVE REALMS
The Worlds Divided


There are twelve known worlds, though many do not know of them. From the dunes of Xast to the Vaian Ocean, from the lofty clouds of Aetherium to the dark Underworld, few have roamed the entire constellation of worlds. So vast are the Twelve Realms that no being alive could possibly hope to fully explore them all, and most would struggle to explore even one of them. And yet, over the millennia, people have wandered from one to the other, or breached their way through the firmament with powerful magic.

Still, most of the realms exist in isolation, with one entire world being more than enough for their inhabitants. Many have little idea about the existence of dimensions beyond their own. But those most powerful amongst them, those that shape the realm they walk, can cross the divide, and maybe even change more than one world.

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Twelve Realms is a D&D 5e-based game, where high-level characters will have solo adventures exploring the twelve realms. They will have the power to shape these worlds and grow further in strength, laying down legends that will be remembered for ages to come. I intend to run a regular 5e campaign in this setting one day, which will be set long after the age of these legendary characters has come and gone (provided you don't destroy the realms). Some characters may start with a small ascent arc to either resolve through key scenes in years of study or training, or else explain how they stumbled across such great power, but everyone will either start at or quickly reach level 14, which is the official starting point. Provided you work towards it, your characters could easily advance to max level before the end of the game.

While this is a mostly narrative game, as better befits a forum game, I will be adhering to 5e mechanics, especially for combat and spellcasting. The actual medium of the game is fairly flexible; PMs will be the default, but I am equally happy to do part or all of it in discord side chats (especially for combat, since thats a lot of back and forth), and I could even do a few solo voice sessions here and there if people would like. On the mechanics homebrew side of things, I'm letting people get away with some crazy stuff. The most obvious change is that magic will function differently in each of the twelve realms; certain spells may be empowered or weakened, while recovering spell slots above a certain level may take more than just a long rest!

The Twelve Realms themselves:
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I need to be selective about characters, since this game won't support a ton of players. So rather than just applying in this thread, talk to me about your character ideas in Discord. The sheet below is for people who want to get some stuff down for other people to look at or to keep a record – plus you'll get an actual google docs character sheet with an almost identical form on it.

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#2
RE: Twelve Realms: The Worlds Divided
Character Name: Eris Sylvinite

Appearance: A particularly haggard kobold, with pale blue scales pocked with scars, cracked horns, and a half-missing tail. Particularly short for even koboldkind, at barely over two and a half feet tall. Red eyes filled with an undying fury. Dressed in ragged robes over a set of armor cobbled together from scrap, and lugging a big leather backpack full of god-knows-what. Looks for all the world like she’s ready to tear your knees right off of your body.

Hometown/Home Realm: The kobold warrens of Deepshine - a surprisingly prosperous town in the Underworld (by kobold standards at least), thanks to a mine of magically-infused minerals. Deepshine no longer exists, thanks to an offensive by a group of illithids that scattered the kobolds to the winds. The ones that managed to get away, that is.

Bio: Eris began her life as most kobolds do - born into a maze of twisty little passages deep underground, hiding away from the outside world for fear of being overrun by the innumerable terrifying things that exist out there. The relative prosperity of Deepshine, along with the ready access to magically-useful materials and stolen books (the kobolds had managed to assemble a whole library that way), allowed Eris to study magic, developing somewhat of a talent for artifice. She worked on various useful devices over the years, with the intent of making the unusually prosperous settlement even moreso.

And then the illithids attacked.

The attack came without warning. The illithids had discovered the kobolds and their mines, and had decided, practically on a whim, to move in and take it all for themselves. There weren’t even that many of them, but what are a bunch of kobolds going to do against a half-dozen illithids? The answer is “run, mostly”. Deepshine had plenty of twisty little escape tunnels for the kobolds to use, and several of them successfully got away! The ones that didn’t succumb to the intellect devourers the illithids released into the tunnels, that is. It was a pretty bad morning.

Eris escaped alone, unaware of the fate of any of her compatriots. She ran, and ran, and ran, for as long as she could before collapsing with exhaustion. With a burning desire for revenge, she trekked on through the Underworld, evading countless underground horrors (and not always coming out unscathed) before finally finding a hiding place amongst some ruins in some forgotten cavern. The remains of an ill-fated settlement by the celestial empire of Zhide, long since abandoned. She took over a workshop for her own purposes, and feverishly studied everything the scholars had left behind here - of particular interest were a collection of research notes on the design of autonomous constructs.

Months passed. A plan began to form. Construction of something great commenced - Eris needed only to find the knowledge and materials to complete her work, and then the illithids would pay. A rift to the realm of Zhide beckoned, still stable after all these years. Maybe she’d need to seek out entrances to other realms too, but she had a place to start...

Ascent: Eris is constructing a mechanical dragon body to shove her soul into. This may take some effort.

Contacts:

The Illithids: I guess this isn’t really a contact, but she wants to kill them all and that has to count for something.

Akha Travertine: An old friend and Dragon Sorcerer, who disappeared after the illithids attacked. They managed to flee to the World of Iron, for good or for ill, and currently live there as a scavenger. Kind of pompous and overconfident in their abilities.

Zemi Tectonite: A miner and another of Eris’s old friends. Escaped the illithids and managed to find a new kobold settlement that would take her in. Pretty chill, but also a pretty intense schemer - she has no less than a dozen escape plans in case things go badly again.

Polax Arkose: A craftsman and, you guessed it, another friend. Kind of a grump. He was last seen getting dragged off by illithids, so that’s probably not great.

Sigriea Avareazol: A lizardfolk, hailing from the Vaian Ocean. She’s some manner of Explorer and Planar Cartographer, not to mention a bard, who’s out wandering the realms to chart everything she can. Mysterious, and seems to show up at the most convenient times for whatever reason. What’s she really up to? Eris has no idea.
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#3
RE: Twelve Realms: The Worlds Divided
Character Name: Ten-Volelm

Appearance: Almost pure white skin. Like, if you started as the whitest white and then slightly tanned it, that would be his skin tone. The skin is also always icy cold to the touch too, despite the surrounding temperature of Xast. Volelm's hair is partially brown but depending on the light, his hair has white parts in the sunlight that shift to black in the shade and grey fringes between.

His eyes shift similarly. Grey irises that expand or contract, so when staring at the sun, his eyes are pure white with mere grey dots for pupils but in the shade, an entire pitch black with a misty grey around the eyelids.

Volelm does look slightly elven in appearance, with lightly pointed ears, odd-shaped eyes and a slender, more elongated form compared to your standard human body type. He moves softly too, with a natural quietness to his breath and movements, and when he ceases movement, a passive stillness to his form. If he really does possess an elven heritage, it would explain his odder features he has possessed since childhood, before with his ascension, new odd traits emerged in his appearance, like his shifting eye and hair colour and some strange combination of a corpse like bearings with a eldritch energy about him.

Shadows always played oddly on his features and those that followed his steps, but now his eyes, rather than being a cool grey now seem to radiate an intense alien energy, predominately arising around them when his emotions grow, and permanently rimmed with a thin blood red outline around the eyeballs, like the blood from his face has been allowed to pool there or the abnormal nature of his eyes have wounded that area.

Volelm's official uniform is made up of shades of red and orange robes and tinted white and red burnished metal, with bandaged arms and long gauntlets to focus his magic and a featureless metal mask that reflects and plays with the sun's light, casting a sinister and frightening appearance overall, to strike fear into the enemies of the Sun and elicit awe from the extravagance and elegance of it's design for those who worship the True Sun. Bands of metal suns and red gems also adorn the uniform. One does not fuck around with a cult's appearance after all, no point being shy about things. Typically most of the uniform covers the skin of the wearer, to protect the weak flesh from the burning rays of the true Sun that true worshipers revere. In more casual wear, he wears black cloth with gold trim and iconography of strange symbols of the knowledge he has learned in his research.

On his own person, he always carries a tome of black and gold metal plated binding and strange pages that radiate heat until they're touched and a cool sensation spreads up the flesh, with incomprehensible words that move erratically and rewrite themselves, as if they're the shadows of words on the page, cast from a flickering far light. On the tome, the back binding, just a dark sun's outline with a golden core sends out dark rays on a background of gold, and on the front, a tall black pyramid with a figure atop it beneath this sun overhead. Around the borders of these bindings and on the inside sides of them are fixed symbols that do not change, written in a complex cipher of outer planar languages and dialects mixed with Atekian grammatical structures and icons and symbols of ancient cultural meanings and histories.

Volelm also tends to carry a staff as his weapon of choice, carved ornately with the appropriate genuflections and iconography and prayers of the True Sun, but altered by himself to accommodate his own unearthly blessings. Also some scroll cases and scholarly tools and items, and some occult rings and amulets and other such tokens.

Hometown/Home Realm: The realm of Xast, born in the town of Ten-Duatcher, an ancient town that remained populated since the long fall of the empire whose temples and pyramids now litter the remains a great region of Xast and remains on the far edge of this region standing between the tombs of the old god-kings and the Phantasmagorical mountain Apohia, home of terrible sandstorms  

Bio: Ten-Volelm was born to the town of Ten-Duatcher. A quiet and private town, seemingly just clinging onto existance for generations after generations. The town was rarely visited by it's neighbours, but the people of Ten-Duatcher were known for being excellent priests of the dead for eons, and practioners of odd knowledge and trades. In their name itself of the town, there are ties to the plane of Shadows, Duat, and in it's best and worst rumours of the town, Ten-Duatcher birthed defenders from that realms influence or were far too close to it for good-spirited folk to surely thrive. It was a town on the edge of many things, between the norms of the lands of Xast and strange beings that wandered it's lands nearby, as it was the closest outpost to a lone mountain that no pyramid was to be built in sight of. The mountain Apophia, a silhouette surrounded by fierce sandstorms that stripped the flesh from any that dared to try and push through it's reach, and that monsters and nightmares and other unknown forces resided and travelled from.

Volelm's mother, Ten-Lengt birthed him alone, his father having been a lone wanderer that had passed through a little over 10 months ago, staying for a week to do his secret business with occult experts and antiquarians of the town before moving on and in the process, seeking lodging in Ten-Lengt's household in exchange for foreign silver coin. The family of Ten were rumoured to be as old as the town itself, the name passing down and warping over the generations, but the bloodline surviving and mixing with the people of Ten-Duatcher, but something remained with the Ten family name itself that perhaps had attracted the travel, whom had requested to see the families kept histories and of the private tomes that were kept in the family mausoleum. He was denied of course, no matter how much silver he offered, but perhaps he found something else in the town to satisfy his curiousity, or ignored the offered denial and secretly looked himself without leaving a trace, or he just grew bored and moved on. Once, Ten-Lengt told Ten-Volelm, as he was maturing and old enough to know of such things, that she suspected his father was not as he had appeared to the people of Ten-Duatcher, for when they had laid together they did so in tenebrous privacy and his form had felt odd to her. Not unpleasant or alien, but odd.

He grew up a single child, except for his cousins on his younger uncle's side. There was some shame and scorn at his odd features and the nature of his birth, but no major unpleasantness followed it, for the Ten family were old and proud and could handle far more than petty remarks and ugly rumours and so he grew up reserved but with an inner pride and desire to prove himself and bring greatness to his name. He found himself involved with the worship of the Sun, and began to study it's ways. He had already been well versed in his letter's and various religious matters to assist his grandfather and uncle with the matter of funerals and matters around town, for no matter which god the buried corpse worshipped or which priest spoke over them, the Ten family were the ones that oversaw the burial rites and watched carefully to see no matter what the priest thought, that the deceased was treated properly. Even doing it themselves for those who died with no known god to pray to or priest to lead the ceremony and seeing that no funny business happened to the remains after they were buried.

Volelm worked hard to dedicate himself to the True Sun, finding a fervour in this group and an attraction to this ephereal idea of a God beyond the human masks worn by the more common deities. With convincing and some displays of his skills and willingness, the members of the cult allowed him to join, despite their initial suspicion at his faint paleness and features, that were nowhere near the physical exoticness that was to come. Over time, the leader of the group believed that Volelm was ready to step forward and see if the True Sun would bless him with gifts. He was warned that the True Sun didn't bless everyone, and rarely on the first attempt, and that it could be many more years before a connection could be formed to the True Sun and years after that to begin strengthing that bond, but Volelm was simply happy for the chance. When the ritual reached it's climax though, as the light was summoned down, rather than simply the fading of the magic on an unsuccessful applicant, like the light of the candle burning out, instead the magic seemed to be almost sucked away, snuffed out and the room's presence dipped. In their garments, the acolytes shivered and watched fearfully as the shadows danced strangely in the room, at wrong angles and far too dark in patches, as if there was depth to them. The Leader as he spoke, felt the heat of the True Sun, yes, but it was wrong. In the final moments of the spell, the warm light that remained, already a pale yellow faded to a white colourless light and the warmth on his skin left goosebumps and a freshness to his breath, like that of a run on a cold night. For a moment the last of the light seemed to fade, an instant of the candles at their lowest ebb and a room of barely perceivable faces around them before things suddenly returned to normal again, as if nothing had happened at all.

After this, for a long time, Volelm felt unwelcome in the club. Conversations started and stopped at his presence, and the leader watched him from afar, unknown expressions and thoughts behind his gaze. Volelm doubled down on his research, seeking other methods of rituals to attain a connection to the True Sun. He had felt something there, in a wonderful moment as the leader had forged the spell to see if a connection would hold, but then something had altered that connection, like the flicking of a lens changing the perspective of the world. Perhaps because of his unknown heritage, or some mystery of the True Sun, was why he hadn't been able to bond with the True Sun, not because he wasn't worthy. He searched for rituals that forged pacts with other beings of power, the link between man and divinity and those that sought power from above, and below, he needed to know more of the theory of how these links were made. He understood that the True Sun was more complicated to gain blessings from than other deities, but there must be some similar practices somewhere he could crack this link from. Eventually, he remembered tales of how the Pharaohs of old were innately blessed and tied to the Sun, back when the kingdom of Xast was great and mighty. His family had made matters of Death their business for as long back as could be remembered, and so perhaps some tale of Pharaohs and their powers and connections to the Sun could be found?

So, one night, he broke into his families tomb and found the oldest tomes that remained. Carefully, he studied them, copying notes desperately in what papers he'd scrounged from the society, then returned the tomes and hid the evidence of his act, praying for forgiveness to his family as he did so. Some time later, he deciphered the ancient texts and found strange mysteries. Tales of a Pyramid that had been old since the prime of the ancient Xastian empire, built on the outskirts of the empire in a lone mountain. The mountainous region where the frontier towns now flourished was far from Ten Duatcher and the pyramids of old that Volelm knew of were afar from here, as no pyramid had existed in memory of sight of Apophia. Ten-Duatcher had always been at the edge of the empire of their ancestors. In time, half-mad from a vervant desire of his own belief and self-delusion, he determined that the mountain of Apophia must be the mountain mentioned, but why? Pyramids were to be build to that the sun could always shine upon them. This mystery made no sense, but, still. He began asking those rangers and adventurers who braved the bounderies of the region, about Apophia, of the monsters that inhabited the wild lands, and the dangers of sandstorms. Eventually, he heard tale of a legend that after a particularly fierce time of chaos and danger in the coldest of winters, the sandstorms of Apophia would quiet down, almost in recovery of their screaming frenzies against each other. 

With this knowledge of a potentially safe passage and an untouched Pyramid, Volelm pledged to make his case, for an expedition that would change his life.

Ascent: Tbd (Potentially, a pact made with an unknown being of the outer realms, the power derived from it and some ruthless decisions and the growth of the cult of the True Sun)

Contacts: His mother, Ten-Volelm and the rest of the Volelm family.
"Don't get me started on Henchmen."
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#4
RE: Twelve Realms: The Worlds Divided
Character Name:  Kayin Taiwo

Appearance: Dark skinned, about 5'1"; blonde hair, about three inches long, roughly cut as if by a blade;  grey eyes, soft features. Typically can be seen wearing travelers' clothes underneath a dark green cloak with a red sash around their waist. Carries a blade at their hip and a large pack full of blacksmithing tools upon their back. 

Hometown/Home Realm: The Aryk Monastery. Originally an attempt at a Zhidean colony on Entira, Aryk was immediately separated from its mother-country two-hundred years ago by a celestial disruption which prevented any sort of reconnection. The Aryka managed to survive in the dark of the Great Entiran Forest, scrounging first, then thriving. They emerged as a new culture entirely, eschewing the strict hierarchical orderliness of their homeland in favor of a loose, spiritualist society. A philo-religion formed from their contemplations on the nature of their new home: it was a land dominated by nature. No order was imposed upon it, and yet harmony emerged nonetheless. The only way to achieve peace - real, internal peace - was to embrace the chaos and disorderliness of life, and to find perfection within it. Only by mastering oneself could they see the beauty in this chaos; only by reaching internal perfection could one see the perfection in nature.

Bio: Born to a monk father and a mother who did scouting work, Kayin found themselves drawn deep into Otiellan practice very early on. They would follow their father around the monastery grounds, and eagerly listen to stories their mother told about the world outside the monastery walls. Their faith in nature was soon tested, though, when one day their mother did not come back. She had been killed by a Balrus (a creature with the form of a bear but the tusks and weight of a walrus) and now there was nothing left of her but her blade.

Kayin's father did not take it well. He lost the faith, descended into alcoholism. Kayin took the opposite reaction - these things happened. To try and understand was foolish. To try and insist that random, chaotic deaths had to have a reason behind them was blindness.

Still, even with the faith, Kayin found themself held tight by rage. They were compelled to train with the blade their mother left behind without reason, some deep, unfathomed part of them yearning for revenge. They practiced in the courtyard, near a Wildtree, until one day a woman watched them - a monk. She commented on their poor stance, and poorer sword. Met with Kayin's protests and insistence that it was their mother's sword, she simply responded: "No wonder she died with a blade like that."

Rage filled Kayin's heart, and they took a swing. The woman caught the blade with the flat of his hand. It cut him - but not too deep. Immediately repentant, Kayin first went to bandage him, then noticed the lightness of the wound with shock. Before any questions could be asked, he told the child that if they wanted to master themselves - and the blade - then they would have to first understand it.

And so started Kayin's apprenticeship as a blacksmith. They spent the remainder of their youth training in all things relating to the sword. They found peace, and were taught by the woman - a monk named Adetokunbo - a philosophy that would guide them through life. Internal mastery could only be attained with utter peace. Peace could only be attained through a single method: a perfect blade, a perfect kill, against a perfect opponent, restoring harmony to a world of tyrants. They reforged their mother's sword, offered a solemn goodbye to their father, and gave their master one final bow, making a promise:
They would create a perfect blade; they would find god; and when they found god, god would be cut.

Ascent: Mostly practice. Kayin has been travelling the land, slaying despots, killing monsters, and forging better blades from their bones for years now. Only by putting their life on the line will they ever reach greater heights. They plunge into danger without fear of what comes next.

Contacts: 

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