The Shattered Lands
A Land Shattered
I watched as the land shattered. My world, the verdant Kaltain cracked and broke. Now where once there was a lush planet, small hunks of rock float in the Maelstrom. Only the potent magic of the Wyrm Gods keeps these fragments of Kaltain from flying off into the Black that lies outside the Maelstrom. Not only is the land cracked, but the people are shattered, fragmented into factions that fight for power over the few resources that remain. The fiends who caused this catastrophe are gone, but evil still works to destroy those that live on the remnants of our world. The worst kind of evil, the evil of everyday people who lust for power and greed, who want to control the World Stone, the only thing of value left of our world. I watch, I see this corruption worm into my fellow Kaltainians and I mourn. I fear that we may never be whole again.
~From the Journal of the Witch Sycorax
Welcome to the Shattered Lands, the campaign setting for the Remnants of Kaltain, a world of factions and politics, intrigue and power. The world itself consists of a few hundred fragments of the original planet floating in a magic storm called the Maelstrom that both protects these fragments from the Black, and isolates them. Only the magic of dragons, or a shard of the World Stone allowes those from one fragment to travel to another.
Though isolated, the people of Kaltain still follow a single central government in the Dragon Emperor and the Parliament of Blades. But the great houses who make up this government are anything but cooperative. Other factions seek to gain power through imperial favor, or through rebellion. Though he rules the known Remnants, the Dragon Emperor’s power rests in the Wyrm Lords that watch over Kaltain as emissaries of the Wyrm Gods.
See the side bar for links to the characters, and the adventure logs.
The Remnants of Kaltain is a world of opposing factions working for their own gains. Most often these gains are selfish, but a few factions work toward noble goals. The world echoes the early Renaissance period on earth where magic takes the place of more mundane technology. Though there are still seas to travel; most traveling happens by airships powered by shards of the World Stone which allow them to pierce the shells that surround each remnant and brave the Maelstrom. Gunpowder exists, but is used almost exclusively by those who man airships. Ground wars are still fought with melee weapons, bows, and magic.
Assassins are common in the Remnants; there is even a holiday celebrating the assassination of an Emperor. Secrets and intrigue permeate all dealings in the Remnants. Anyone could be a spy working for the highest bidder. With so much political scheming going on the common people are often neglected. They need heroes to inspire them with hope, an emotion that has become a rare commodity.
The Shattered Lands is loosely based on the book Dune by Frank Herbert with some inspiration from both the De Laurentiis film and the Sci-Fi mini-series. The other Dune novels by Frank Herbert, and those by his son Brian Herbert also offer some ideas on tone. The Kusheil’s Legacy trilogy by Jaqueline Carey offers another compelling story of Machiavellian politics in a fantastic setting. Though there is less magic, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series (book or TV) also offers some flavor for this world. Films like Elizabeth and Elizabeth the Golden Age, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Borgias and The Tutors TV shows, Prince of Foxes, and any of Shakespeare’s history or tragedy plays would offer some ideas on the kind of political machinations that go on in the Remnants. Texts on the Tudors, the Borgias and the Medici could come in handy, as would a copy of The Prince by Machiavelli. Other films for atmosphere include Ladyhawk, Willow, Solomon Kane, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Gladiator, and Hero.