- Character Customization
- Pirates! (with Spellbound bonus)
- Agents of Faith
- The Complete Guide to Beholders
- Dark Lore
- Blood and Guts
An 19-paged, Dark Lore preview can be downloaded at the end of this page. The following text and illustrations are just a sample.
Krynas – a stricken world
The world of Krynas is a dark place. It is a world of blasted heath, murky bogs and desolate moors. Thick clouds cover the sky and little light gets through. Rain and storms govern the people more than any laws imposed by petty rulers. This is a world engulfed by darkness and wracked by powerful winds and strange multi-coloured lightning. It is a strange, hostile world where the forces of nature have been spun out of control, disrupted by magical forces. Dark magics are encroaching and there is a feeling of impending doom.
In the past, mere centuries ago, the petty Gods of Krynas made war upon each other and took the lands of man and kith as their battlefields. The Gods raised great armies of men to fight their enemies. They melded their divine powers into destructive forces to smite their foes, and the cities of their enemies. And caught in the middle of this war was the men and kith of Krynas, suffering the vanity of the gods. The time following this war is known as the Shattering. The world seemed to have been torn apart by the power of the magic unleashed by the Gods and their followers. Even now, approaching half a millennium after the wars, the world is still battered by the aftershock.
No one knows why the Godswar ended. One day the skies turned black at noon, and ripped with fire and ice. The earth shook violently and many cities were rained with rocks and reduced to rubble. Some claim a greater, older, power rose up and unleashed hell to destroy the Gods so that kith and man may live on their world as it was made for them. Some claim this was the creator returned from the stars. Druids claim it was mother earth, awakening to destroy her infection. Some say there was a final battle, and the Gods destroyed each other, although are divided on whether it was the power used or the destruction itself that sundered the earth and skies. There are even a few who claim the downfall of the gods was of human origin. They believe a powerful wizard or heroic warrior, or more likely a group of mighty heroes, mastered strange powers to banish the Gods.
However they went, the Gods left a legacy. A world wracked by strange magical storms. A world where the sun never breaks through the thick cloud cover and the brightest light is akin to what you or I may understand as twilight. This has become known as the Cloak of Acheron, a darkness that engulfs the land, making it barren and unable to produce enough food for its people. More darkness has come with this enshrouding darkness. The lands have become plagued with the walking dead. New magicians – wizards – have arisen, and are being slowly driven mad by their failure to control the forces of magic. In jealousy, they hunt down sorcerers, the inheritors of the True Magic. The Cloak of Acheron has become used to describe all malign forces that are growing in power as the world seemingly approaches its end. But worst of all is the Maelstrom. When the Maelstrom forms, the sky turns dark black and purple lightning flickers across the base of the clouds. Slowly, a hole opens in the clouds to reveal the black and purple swirling Maelstrom. The Maelstrom rips a hole through the clouds and thunders to the ground, crackling with magical energy. It twists and forms a powerful magical whirlwind. No sage, no matter how wise, understands the nature of this power. The villagers in the regions where it strikes most readily say it feeds on man and kith, often changing direction to avoid a house or animal where it can instead pick a human.
The clerics of the old Gods still roam the world. Many are hated or feared as they preach of their God’s return. They are left devoid of magic and powers, but passionate in their beliefs. Some say their God was banished by another, evil, God and when they have built up their power they will return to the world. Others say that their Gods were the victors in the final battle, and left the world to its fate without their guiding hand. They claim that the people deserted their God in His time of need and he will return when the people have repented and will bring back the sun. Whether they use the carrot or the stick there are two things that they say in common: that the gods will return, and that it is the fault of the people that the world is in the state it is in today. New gods have arisen, too. The people have begun to worship the servants of their fallen gods, the angels and demons of the heavens and hells. There are thousands of cults in the world. Each with its own patron creature, granting limited magical powers to their few followers.
The world has changed much since the time before the Shattering and the Godswar. Mighty empires once ruled across continents, but now many of the greatest of the world’s cities are left as rubble for treasure hunters or sunken below the frothing seas. Once, Krynas was a place of trade and bold sea travel that circumnavigated the globe. Now the oceans are too treacherous to travel, and with no sun or stars to navigate by only a fool would try. The Krynas of today is a land of small kingdoms and independent city-states. Many rulers are petty, grasping at what little power they can hold on to. Wars between neighbours are common in all levels of society. Resources are scarce and there is much competition to claim a sizeable portion of what is a small pie. The world is one of conflict and adversity. Where nature does not destroy, the armies of man will surely follow.
Krayn – a beacon of hope
On the continent of Krayn, the remnants of the empire from which it takes its name still exist. There are societies and factions that have remained to this day, travelling across the wilderness and keeping lines of communication open at all costs. Many such groups maintain guilds and Waystations in the cities and villages of Krayn. Some groups are open about their comings and goings, but others are more secretive. In the cities, rumours are rife about secret societies. For every rumour you hear expect at least half to be unfounded paranoia.
Krayn has suffered less than other continents. Its vast size has meant that there are prairie lands sheltered from many of the rainstorms. The cloud cover is much less thick, enabling a passable crop to be grown. The merchants’ networks are well established and the trade between nations is fast and organised. Alliances and minor empires have been forged here, and it provides some semblance of civilization in a barbarous time. Here on Krayn, the fight for survival is still with us, but is much less ferocious. The cloud cover is much less thick, enabling a passable crop to be grown. The merchants’ networks are well established and the trade between nations is fast and organised. Alliances and minor empires have been forged here, and it provides some semblance of civilization in a barbarous time. Here on Krayn the fight for survival is still with us, but is much less ferocious.
Conflicts are still present, and rule the way of life. However, it rarely comes down to desperate measures. Hence communities, cultures, kingdoms and technologies have been able to develop. The need for tools of war has fuelled new technologies and organisations. Magic has become a deadly weapon of war, with many schools training Wizards for the battlefield. Cannons and muskets have begun to appear in some quarters. War has become a very bloody and costly affair. Many rulers don’t have the resources to wage regular war, and political intrigue has become the mainstay of the larger courts of the land. And this is a game that the societies can compete in on an equal footing with the largest Kingdoms.
The political world is changing before the eyes of the people of Krayn. The balance of power is shifting. The ordinary man is gaining influence and respect as simple crafts and goods become as important as gold and steel. The rulers of Krayn need to grow in savvy and cunning, as subjects become citizens. Merchants and thieves are growing in power, as they no longer require huge armies to carve out their empires. There are many scrambling for the spoils as old powers begin to die out and new ones rise from the dregs.
Krayn is also rife with monsters. The tracks between the cities are preyed on be many bands of raiding parties; Orcs and Goblins are common. More sinister enemies lurk in the night: evil undead monsters secretly move amongst men and kith, forming their dark plans and growing in dark power. For more experienced characters, there are the demons and devils that remain, uncontrolled by any evil Gods they seek The campaign primer
This preview introduces you to the world of Krynas and the DarkLore campaign setting. The first product ion this line will be the Campaign Primer. This is a short but free supplement to kick start your adventures in the DarkLore World. It provides you with all the basics to begin adventuring. Within you will find details of the player character races, basic classes and a beginning selection of Career classes. There are new systems for magic and to represent your character’s growing political influence. The world of DarkLore is introduced, and you are provided with brief introduction to the lands, peoples and powers of the world. Combined, this information should give you the bare minimum to begin adventuring in our world. Further supplements will cover the different areas of the continent of Krayn in greater detail, providing different areas of the continent of Krayn in greater detail, providing new classes and other game material alongside details of the major players and important locations of region. We will also unveil the story arc of the campaign, as the Cloak of Acheron descends upon the world. You will have the chance to play out the roles of the chosen heroes of your own fantasy novel, customising and shifting the story arc and moulding it to meet the needs of your own game. Look out for the forthcoming supplements for The DarkLore World from Malladin’s Gate Press and expand the Campaign Primer into a whole new game experience as you explore this dark fantasy world, and save Krynas from the encroaching Cloak of Acheron.
The DarkLore game is an entirely new concept in D20 Role-playing. The system is a based more closely on D20 modern than the original D20 fantasy rules. Generic base classes are used, which can be freely multiclassed, and combined with a wide selection of Career classes to boost your expertise. Combat is deadly, and parties must combine their abilities to survive. Threats come from more than just rampaging monsters, with many political factions vying for power. One wrong step can make you a very powerful enemy. There is little magic in the world, and fewer magic items. Wizards are driven mad trying to control dark arcane forces, whereas sorcerers are hunted down and becoming a dying breed. This creates a darker, lower-powered game world, where your characters struggle against powerful enemies with limited magical powers and items. Instead you must rely on your wits, and your ability to play the game of intrigue.
The atmosphere of the DarkLore game is one of hardship and struggling against overwhelming odds. The borders between good and evil aren’t as clearly defined as in other fantasy worlds. Intrigue, by its nature, encourages a softening of morals. Chivalry is becoming a forgotten practice. Characters in the DarkLore World don’t merely need to worry about the evil sorcerer and his Orc horde, as they will have just as deadly enemies to contend with in the market place or the court. The main theme is conflict. Nearly everywhere the characters travel they will find some form of battle. From a simple border dispute between farmers that turns ugly, to the ten thousand-strong armies of the Mage Lords uniting to march on the Dürmanian upstarts. However, this is also a time for heroes. There is tyranny everywhere, and much opportunity to fight for good. There are greater plots afoot behind the petty wars and squabbles, and it can be down to a small few to save the world from the impending doom of The Cloak of Acheron.
There is also a large degree of paranoia for the characters to get to grips with. How do they know that they aren’t secretly being manipulated into defeating one evil baron, only to the benefit of a much greater power? There are wheels within wheels in the DarkLore world, and secrets within secrets. As the game develops and story arc develop through future supplements, the characters will uncover more and more of the secrets of the world. This discovery will move the game forward. There are large changes imminent to the political landscape of the continent, if not the entire world, and your characters can play a large part in deciding the outcome… if unknowingly.
- Visit the Malladin’s Gate website
- Download the 1,471KB DarkLore World preview .zip.