Setting:Project Democracy

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Project Democracy is a codename for the setting I use in my Dungeons and Dragons games. It, along with Project Afterimage, a continuation of the game and advancement of the "time-line", are player-driven worlds, which allow the player and DM to substitute in whatever they want, and allow for any conceivable situation. Provided is intelligence on the many worlds of Project Democracy, some information on its major power players, and even a few plot hooks. But Project Democracy is a wide world, and anything can happen.

A partial map of Home.
A partial map of Ravenforge.
A partial map of Zantirasis.

Summary - Project Democracy[edit]

In the universe of Project Democracy, great turmoil brews. While the Empire and Technocracy enjoy the support of their people, they are beset on all sides by problems. Some people have begun to discuss a new philosophy called "communism," brought by a purple tentacled "man of the people" from somewhere beyond Home. Such groups actively consider the overthrow of the Empire. Something is riling up the mobs of Orks that roam the hinterlands, and their raids grow more daring and bold every day. The Technocracy stockpiles war machines in response to the growing instability. Worse yet, word has reached the Empire that the Draconic Banking Clans of the Far Side are encroaching to take advantage of what could be a very profitable situation.

You are PCs in this demanding time. Will you save your Home? Watch it burn? Live for yourself? Trouble is nearer than you think, for history has recorded almost a thousand years, and a very old power player has now set its sights on Home, and it is VERY efficient at what it does...

Worlds of Project Democracy - Home[edit]

"Home" is an earthlike planet of circumference 24,000 miles (radius 3,821 miles) and standard planetary gravity (32.2 ft/s^2). It has an extensive ring system caused by the collision of smaller planetary bodies millions of years in the past. It orbits Sanctimonia, a class FV main sequence white star of absolute magnitude 5 (bright). Its orbital period is 372 days.

Average temperatures and climates vary across Home. On the near facing of Home is the Imperial Continent and Hailfire Island. Along the equator can be found numerous tropical rain-forests. Indeed, the capital of the Empire is situated in the middle of the largest rain-forest. Farther north and south, one can find many deciduous forests surrounded by verdant grasslands. While most cities border the forests, it is in the grasslands where a majority of farming takes place. Along natural fault lines, meticulously mapped by the Dwarven technocracy, lie the Mountain Ranges, where the Technocracy conducts most of its top secret research, ranging from airships to weapons tests.

West of the Imperial Continent lays Hailfire Island, a strange island with tropical forests to the south, a desert to the north, bisected by a mountain range, and bordering the frozen north at its top point. While the tropical end holds a resort praised by both man and dwarf, the frigid northern end holds only a Dwarven scout post.

On the far facing of home is the little known Far Side. Being largely desert, with very little natural growth, it is home to the eternal power plays and subtle machinations of the Draconic Banking Clans.

The frozen wastes of the north and south poles are barely livable, dipping below -32 degrees Fahrenheit at times. The Wastes are the only places one can find the crystals integral to the Brotherhood's religious rites.

The most curious feature about Home is the network of sigils and runes one can find engraved into the ground in the patterns of rings and circles. Many are found near ruins of a previous civilization, their temples and buildings still withstanding the test of time. Although the Technocracy and Empire have made leaps and bounds of understanding studying these ruins, no clues as to their strange disappearance have been found. Odder still are records of OTHER long gone races. Dating puts their disappearances within 1,000 years of each other.

Exactly 1,000 years of each other.

The Ruins[edit]

The Ruins littered around Home and Ravenforge are pyramidal in shape, accessed via a central stairwell that leads to a winding interior complex. Some are haunts for undead, others still contain traps. Most have been looted beyond recognition, though some are considered far too dangerous, despite the riches inside.

Most ruins have frescoes, mosaics, and other art inside. While a large majority have fallen away or been damaged due to age, occasionally an intact one is found, often in ruins not yet looted. The display fantastical creatures and peoples, civilizations that have no modern comparison. They all, however end the same way - a flash of light, and a large purple figure with facial tentacles - of which there is no native comparison.

Worlds of Project Democracy - Ravenforge[edit]

Ravenforge is the largest moon orbiting Home. It is a quarter the size of Home, only 6,600 miles in circumference (1,050 miles radius). Due to its smaller size its gravity is roughly half that of Home, only 16.1 ft/s^2. It is a hot, lush jungle world, with a large planetary sea and few large continents. Its wildlife has evolved away from the path taken by the creatures of Home. Gigantic deer covered in natural armor and amphibious stealth predators are the norm.

What is most intriguing are the natives. Carnivorous Elves and feral Eladrin can be found as the two "dominant" races on Ravenforge. They, however, came from Home.

Notable places and ruins on Ravenforge[edit]

Anounabia - Large native Eladrin walled city, consisting of stone buildings surrounding a central temple.

Bael Shamanu - Native Elf "capital," main city, where the leaders of the Elven Coalition live, work, feed, fight in their arena, and maintain their crystalline weaponry and vehicles.

Magas Siralis - Huge native Eladrin "capital," filled with strange temples, aqueducts, and numerous other buildings used by the Eladrin as homes, hospitals, arenas, etc.

Worlds of Project Democracy - Zantirasis[edit]

A swampy, wet-dry moon orbiting the gas giant known to most as Scholar's Light (for the light it provides during long all-nighters). Zantirasis is comparatively half the size of Home, at 12,000 miles in circumference (1,910 miles radius). Its gravity is three-quarters that of Home, at 25.5 ft/s^2. Native life here follows one of two paths - slow and slug-like, or big, purple, and a face full of Tentacle.

It is here where the Illithid Commune resides. Cities dotted across the moon are characterized by the dark, foreboding Mind Flayer Fortresses, and the captured subjects who live in mud huts.

Worlds of Project Democracy - The Nine Hells[edit]

Hell is not a metaphorical place. It is real. Hell does not know it, but it is a planet 7,000 miles in diameter, with extensive cave systems that extend throughout the planet. Its many lava flows complement its shining rivers, and its gravity varies depending on where one is.

The Technocracy succeeded in opening a portal to Hell, and were surprised at what they saw. They were first greeted by a gigantic banner, "No Gods or Kings, only Daemon." Hell is run by objectivists. The comparative strength and abilities of the average daemon is beyond most mortal races, thus allowing the typical daemon to do everything he or she needs, and the environment of Hell shapes its denizens into supreme fighters. It is this delicate power balance that currently allows Hell to work, although cracks are beginning to show among the lesser daemons.

Most of Hell resides in the city of Dis, home of the Nine Hells University. Surprisingly, daemons have a way with numbers, and most find work as businessmen, accountants, and number crunchers within Hell itself or in the Technocracy, who can appreciate such things. Most, however, make their own way. After all, "Is a daemon not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?"

Factions of Project Democracy - The Empire de Sangre Valiente[edit]

The Empire de Sangre Valiente, or Valiant Blood, has been around for almost 400 years. The Empire is a relatively enlightened area, mostly free of racism and discrimination, that enjoys excellent relations with the Dwarven Technocracy, but strained, almost hostile relations with the Draconic Banking Clans of the Far Side. It is run democratically, with a constitution that has withstood many trials and tribulations.

An Emperor is elected for life by the people, and may step down whenever they feel, prompting a new election. A new Emperor, when elected, will often travel the Empire to get to know its people and generally establish a personal connection with its citizenship. After this period of travel, the Emperor will then take his seat at the capital and begin the affairs of government. An open door policy exists, and anyone may gain an audience with the Emperor. Almost nobody tries funny stuff because of the presence of the Imperial Guard.

The Imperial Guard are the fighting arm of the Empire. Blending the ways of magic and swordplay, the average Guardsman is trained under the greatest tutors, and equipped with the finest weapons and armor. The Emperors consider it an honor to lead the Guard, and almost all enter the same training and learn the same fighting styles as the Guardsmen. It can be said that an Imperial Guardsman is a better fighter than a Technocratic Soldier, though the Technocracy makes up for it with experimental equipment.

The previous Emperor, a rotund jolly fellow named Emir P. King, the Man Formerly Known By His Middle Name Prince, has recently stepped down, and through a decisive grassroots campaign, a new Emperor, Delgado Marcion, has taken the throne. The Man Formerly Known as The Man Formerly Known By His Middle Name Prince, Emir King, has now retired to a nearby resort town to let the Alcohol flow.

The citizenry are guaranteed many religious and economic freedoms, though the most pervasive religion throughout the Empire is the Brotherhood. Their Messiah, an enigmatic man known for his scorpion tail crest, was voted into godhood hundreds of years ago, though some question the "Fast Track" he took to godhood.

The Empire's smaller villages sometimes come from under attack from occasional Orkish raids, though the Imperial Guard are often enough to put down most rising Warbosses.

Known Imperial Towns[edit]

Sors Natio - Small forested town whose main attraction is the Imperial University. Contains a Rail Stop.

Surat Thani - The capital of the Empire, and its fortress is the home of the Imperial Guard. Contains a Rail Stop.

Endrythis - Town deep in the southern forest, a center of theocracy. Contains a Rail Stop.

Yhas - A small village consisting of mostly volunteer undead who work the endless fields that feed the Technocracy and the Empire. Contains a Rail Stop.

Factions of Project Democracy - The Dwarven Technocracy[edit]

Established over 250 years ago, the Dwarven Technocracy is an equal-opportunity-employment conglomerate that provides a large number of the technological and magical innovation that the citizens of the world enjoy. They are the ones who run the electric Rail system, and they who built the first airships. All known magic items were first discovered at their centers of learning, and they remain the greatest source of invention in the world. The Technocracy, however, does not share its secrets openly to anyone. The binding rituals that placate the elementals that power great transports are an industry secret, and it is said greater things lie in waiting in the western mountain holds.

The Technocracy is primarily a dwarf endeavor, based in the western mountain ranges, though it is open to any and all applicants, be them a bullywug from the swamps or balors from the Nine Hells. To rise in rank in the Technocracy, one must display mental aptitude above and beyond the rest. Its ruling council consists of a dwarf, an elf, a human, and a gnome, all masters of their respective fields, and all unanimously chosen by the lower members of the Technocracy.

The current masters are Orrin Pok, gnome, who first designed the Rail system that spans the Empire and the Technocracy C. Darwin, elf, chief biologist, who has put forth numerous theories on the origins of life and ecosystems Johnson (first name unknown), human, who advanced the research of many magic weapons and armors Rockfist Fearengine, dwarf, who rebuilt himself with parts of a strange metal hulk that fell from the sky and is rumored to be designing something called a "Spelljammer."

The Technocracy follows the ideals of science and logic, and at its founding, elected their greatest scientist to the pantheon. People often claim their inspiration comes from "Sagan himself."

While your average Technocrat will generally be a jovial and agreeable fellow, NEVER disrespect their equipment, their inventions, or their rituals.

Known Technocracy Towns[edit]

Detanax - Airship port on the eastern tip of the Imperial Continent. You want an airman? You'll find one here.

Flaustin Paradise - The only city on Hailfire Island, known for its near permanent party hard atmosphere.

Motocade - The stronghold of the Technocracy, located deep in the mountains, vast hangars and laboratories hewn out of the rock itself, where the leaders and technocrats of the Technocracy live and work.

Factions of Project Democracy - The Far Side[edit]

The Far Side of the World is an almost unlivable wasteland, were it not for the occasional green oasis in the endless mountainous and desert landscape. The people here are slow to trust and quick to anger, but all quail in comparison to the powers of the Draconic Banking Clans.

There are multiple Draconic banking clans, though the three most powerful at the moment would be the Volcanic, Blizzard, and Monsoon clans. The Volcanic Bankers are hot headed and impulsive, and prefer instinct and action-oriented approaches to problems. The Blizzard Bankers are slow and methodical, preferring plans within plans to overtake their enemies. The Monsoon Bankers are sneaky and underhanded, and most clandestine operations among the Banking Clans are whispered to be theirs, though nothing could ever be proven.

At the moment, Volcanic and Blizzard clans are allied against the Monsoon clan, though such alliances are prone to shifting, and to the people, "We have always been at war with the Monsoon."

Kitab Masaari is one of the few static cities, a coastal oasis of stone and shade that is constantly fought over by the Draconic Banking Clans.

Factions of Project Democracy - The Elven Coalition[edit]

Tens of thousands of years ago, a collection of elves and eladrin figured out how to use the ancient sigils and runic circles to escape their own planned apocalypse. They could not return to home after the fact, and began changing themselves. The Eladrin slowly began to lose their ability of higher reason, becoming savages and taking more ruined cities for themselves. These ruined cities matched the style of those found at Home, but this fact was lost to the Eladrin. While the elves themselves escaped mostly unscathed, a curious problem arose. The elves needed certain chemicals in their food, chemicals plentiful back home, but nonexistent in Ravenforge. To circumvent this, a unique relationship occurred between the elves and eladrin - while at any given time there would be more elves than eladrin, the elves would need to hunt and kill eladrin as a source of food in an almost vampiric system. The elves, seeing eladrin as little more than food, gradually became more debased and callous in their approach, with slaving rings and gladiatorial contests a norm. This Elven Coalition slowly developed easier ways to hunt their prey, using a crystal-based system for power, light, vehicles, etc. While distrustful of outsiders, anyone sharing a common agenda to whichever leader is in power can form a potential alliance.

Factions of Project Democracy - The Illithid Commune[edit]

Every civilization fears the reaper. Art has been found of civilizations brought to heel by some mysterious force, and on a seeming schedule - it seems every 1,000 years, something very, very bad happens that brings the world to a technological and social standstill. That something...is the Illithid COmmune.

It was the Illithids who developed the runic circles across Home. These link Home to Zantirasis via a Planar Teleportation System. It is this system that every 1,000 years the Illithids assemble a grand army. They first send a few scouts, come in the guise of friends and allies, promising the common people the ability to overthrow their kings, rulers, warlords, their "oppressors." Once these are out of the way, they strike, ?purging Home of advanced life, and drag a majority of it back to their moon for food, "farming" them as intelligent cattle.

The Illithids' massive planetary psionic network ensures that what one sees, all see, and insurrections can be dealt with accordingly. This network is a result of their society - other than a Chairman, chosen as leader of the Illithid Armies in times of harvest, each Illithid sees himself as an equal to another. Illithid society is classless. No illithid is inherently better than another. If something needs to be done, the psionic network resonates, and an appropriately skilled illithid takes up the job. This equality, of course, does not extend to the food beasts.

The illithids' mastery of psionics means most of their lifestyle and technology is based off the process. After all, why power a cart when one can move it with your mind? In this regard, Illithid society, culture, and technology have stagnated. There is no need to improve what works.

Notable Commune Cities[edit]

Cerebolograd - the Braincenter of the Illithid psionic network, and Illithid society itself. Buildings of steel and crystal rise high in the sky, defended by exotic psionic weaponry.

Veresuomi - large walled city, filled with sparkling canals and vast markets, mostly used by the lower beings, and policed by mind flayer thought police

Noghred - small administrative center, a swampy hamlet of mud huts and an imposing stone complex used by the Illithids.

Religion in Project Democracy[edit]

Religion is a fluid process in the world. If you want to be a god, gather a constituency, run a successful campaign, and you can be voted into godhood. From the Plane of Gods, the gods guard over their respective constituents, granting favors and boons when necessary. If your constituency is displeased with your conduct, a god can be voted out of office.

There are only two gods that circumvented these processes. One is the Messiah, spiritual leader of the Brotherhood, who figured out a "fast track" spurred by the highest levels of the Empire hundreds of years ago. The average person, however, has more important things to worry about than how their god came to be. The other is the Merchant, who has been around since the beginning of recorded history. The Merchant has always been around, and with that level of recognizability, people don't even see him as a god as much as a universal constant. Some say he predates all the rest, and though he sells just about everything imaginable, his secrets are not one of those things...stranger.

There are other notable gods. One such being was a human known as Sagan, now guardian of the Technocracy, who often gives chosen technocrats divine inspiration. Two Orks - one brutally cunning and the other cunningly brutal - that grew bigger than the others got the rest of them to vote them into godhood, and they can be brought about for a good fight, should the Orks so desire.

Technology in Project Democracy[edit]

Science has always been foremost over magic in the world. Magic is often used to turn impossible scientific ideas into reality. This is evident in things such as the Rail, which uses lightning elementals to power a supersonic transport system that thousands in the Empire rely on every day, and the Dwarven Air Force - Ornithopters, Dromonds, and Spelljammers armed with experimental magic from the greatest Dwarven and Elvish Technocrats. The average Imperial citizen knows enough of technology to get by, and has a basic knowledge of how things work, as well as a steady stream of availability.

Elements like the Dwarven Air Force, however, have never been viewed outside of high level Technocrats. Such a secret weapon only needs a reason to be launched, a reason that as of yet does not exist.

Even the inhabitants of Ravenforge have done what could be considered the impossible. Using a type of crystal found on Ravenforge, their skiffs and weapons can achieve speeds and power rivalling, and in some cases superseding, those found in the Technocracy.

Preview- Project Afterimage[edit]

The Communists are dead. Long live Democracy.

In the universe of Project Afterimage, problems greater than before begin to grow. The Empire, Dwarven Technocracy, Elven Coalition, Volcanic Banking Clan, and some representatives of the Nine Hells have united to form a Global Defense Initiative, to protect Home from threats within and without. The leaders of the Volcanic Banking Clan wish to use this newfound leverage to wipe out its rivals once and for all. The people of Zantirasis now begin to question why they must serve in a defense force that has nothing to do with THEIR home, but can say nothing in front of the united coalition occupying their homeland. The Nine Hells is beginning to buckle under the weight of their objectivist philosophies - after all, what can be expected when the situation is every man for himself?

As a player, you have the freedom to calm the situation, escalate it, or reap huge profits from the ensuing power struggles. Something, however, is awakening, ancient deities from beyond the stars, ones lost from earlier harvests, and they are resentful. What can one do when all the lights in the sky are your enemy?