Welcome to Duermar
For ages, Duermar was the cursed land of Frall, devoid of any Celestials to bless it: No one desired to claim the region even though, at first glance, it looked to be uninhabited and up for anyone’s grasp. Yet, appearances can be deceiving: Hostile Fey plagued the area, creatures spawned from nature itself and haunted by the Ghosts of those who had died within the region’s borders, leading to the claim that the land was forsaken. The unpleasant company of these supernatural, enigmatic creatures and the strange phenomena they’ve caused have also given rise to an infamous saying about the region: Only a true madman can survive among the erratic Fey and the wailing Ghosts of Duermar.
Only recently, to be exact, 121 years ago, the region’s reputation changed drastically when two new Celestials revealed themselves in Duermar: Svea and Yldrem. As these two appeared, it spawned a wave of mass immigration, first by Gnomes from all over Frall, as they had previously no home in any other region and thus were keen to follow the known first Gnomish Celestial called Yldrem. They were soon followed by countless Humans from Lorra Sangus who fled the Warlords’ neverending bloodshed and desired to build a more peaceful society. These two disparate populations started to grow Duermar at a rate beyond anyone’s wildest imagination, as the Gnomes established mutual respect with the Fey, while the Humans learned how to appease the Ghosts and how to transition into a peaceful afterlife.
Yet, Duermar’s golden days were short-lived and the region’s lofty ambitions to establish itself as a long-lasting power to be reckoned with vanished, just like their Celestials. After 101 years, neither Svea nor Yldrem showed themselves to their faithful followers, which marked the beginning of truly dark times in Duermar. Fey became unpredictable once more, Ghosts pestered the mortals anew, and a strange disease, called the Corruption, began to spread. This affliction has ravaged a population desperately waiting to be saved by the return of their beloved patrons, who haven’t been seen in 20 years now.
What to expect from this setting
Duermar, as a setting, presents the idea of deteriorating characters, while allowing them to grow stronger at the same time. To achieve these opposing goals, we introduce a couple of new custom rules: First and foremost, Insanity, which represents the Corruption disease that ravages the region. Secondly, Metamorphosis, which is the effect that Corruption is having on Humans, causing unspeakable transformations. Then Wild Magic, which is the Gnomes’ way to connect to nature, allowing them to call upon their magical talents, which can also be tainted by Corruption and thus grow more unpredictable. These new mechanics are triggered by characters suffering through emotional, psychological, and physical traumas or face personal challenges that shake them to their core. While characters level up, they also tend to accumulate more Insanity, which leads to them losing control over their abilities and themselves, the more Insanity they accrue, causing harm to those around them. Hence, Insanity is the primary mechanism representing the Corruption growing within the people of Duermar and illustrating how it spreads through the region, from one afflicted to another.
Due to the Duermar setting introducing three new interlinked mechanics simultaneously, this setting is aimed at more experienced groups of players or groups with an experienced GM guiding new players. While these new mechanics were designed to be applied in tandem with each other, two of the three can be easily disjointed from each other and the setting, thus they can be easily exported to a plethora of different settings. A later chapter details and gives guidelines on how to implement Insanity and Wild Magic outside of Duermar.