Introduction to the World of Ere

“There is only one rule: Evolve or die.”

The World
Since Saint’s Landing, demi-humanity has gone to great lengths to carve out their place in the harsh environs of Ere. For thousands of years, divinity sparks; naturally occurring phenomena consisting of random manifestations of raw arcane power within an area or a living thing have altered living beings, instilling in them new abilities and birthing the manifold monsters of the world. Because of their influence, the wild places of Ere refuse to be conquered.

Faced with the ever changing threat posed by these random sparks, not just in the creatures of the wild – dubbed ‘spirit beasts’ but within their own people, demi-humanity has been forced to adapt just as quickly. Advances in the sciences, both physical and metaphysical have given rise to a new renaissance and industrial and cultural revolutions.

Society has been shaped by this danger, with every community rushing to find or develop new and better defenses while still trying to earn a living on the land. Nature and civilization clash, often bloodily and the rule above all rules has become ‘evolve or die’. Battle is a realty for all but the most sheltered and coddled of beings.

Morality is relegated to a personal issue, rather than a source of conflict as survival forges strange alliances and friendships. But even in a world where virtue is not in the forefront, it is still honored and valued.

In the constant rush to keep up with the constant, natural refinement of the Spirit Beasts, mighty organizations have stepped to the fore to promote their own methods and agendas. Conflict between these colossi are often just as destructive as the Beasts they were founded to deal with.

In short, life is dangerous and often harsh on Ere, but demi-humanity still seeks to not only survive, but to carve out its place in the world. In the midst of a new age, opportunity for adventure is infinite; from leading expeditions into the spirit beast ridden wilds, to joining archeological expedition, to partaking in political intrigue.

Important concepts
When discussing the World of Ere, there are some very important concepts, unique to the world to keep in mind. These terms and concepts form the basis of the world and are referred to often in setting discussions. These core concepts are noted here:

Divinity Sparks
The single greatest contributor to the nature of the world of Ere is one that could not be seen or detected for the vast majority of Ere’s history. The one thing that has influenced the culture, the attitude and indeed the very ecosystem of Ere is no spell, or being… instead, is it the smallest of all forces – a spark.

Divinity Sparks are random, uncontrollable magical events that spontaneously occur all across the surface of Ere. A single burst of magical energy that causes a chain reaction within living things that transforms them into something more than themselves.

Depending on the timing, and strength of the spark, the results can be minor, such as the color shifting roses that grow along the Rizeni coast, or spectacular, like the mighty spirit beasts that walk the land. In general, the spark awakens mystical power within living things, granting new abilities or enhancing existing ones.

The fundamental changes created by a divinity spark is often hereditary, meaning that parents altered by a divinity spark can pass on the changes to their children or even generation further on. It is theorized that it was this property of divinity sparks that made dragons into the powerful and fearsome creatures they are today. More practical observers point to the existence of inborns such as inborn casters for their evidence.

Spirit Beasts
Spirit Beasts were once normal animals, magical beasts, plants, or elementals that were infected with a divinity spark. Often, they are merely the inheritors of the trait, but newly infected specimens are just as common.

Blessed with human level or better intellect, but often animal impulse, spirit beasts are deadly adversaries and dire dangers to anyone who crosses them. Territorial creatures, such as wolves, apes, big cats and eagles also grow to view larger territory as theirs and seek to remove any humanoids that might be living there.

Still others have more than one spark in their bloodline, each one changing and improving them in mind and body. Known as Greater Beasts, they are the true lords of their territory and are bereft of their former animal instincts. Greater Beasts often lead or tend to lesser spirit creatures of their kind.

Like humanoids, Greater Beasts are prone to all of demi-humanity’s foibles in place of their animal ones. They know hate, pride, lust and greed and sometimes, they act on it. Those that do call on their natural inborn powers to takes what they desire and wreak havoc on settlements. Some even use their lesser spirit kin to do their will.

Just as there are long bloodlines of beasts with divinity sparks, so too are there similar lines of humanoids. Those born with the spark of divinity manifesting in their blood are called inborns. Often, this manifestation is purely cosmetic if not an outright gross deformity (eyes that glow and sparkle, claws, hypertrophied limbs, multihued skin, etc). But then, there are those who are granted powers by their heritage.

Inborn Casters and Shapeshifting Adepts are examples of Inborns nurturing their gifts in the form of class levels. Other Inborns have less spectacular abilities in the form of feats, or more powerful ones in the form of Prestige Classes or Templates.

Depending on their locations, inborns can be widely accepted as gifted individuals, or spurned as cursed or dangerous.

Occasionally, a divinity spark manifests within a person, but not in the innocuous way it does when it forms in Inborn Casters. The person’s mind warps and they may become terribly violent and wreak havoc using the powers bestowed before they can be put down by the people that were once their friends and neighbors.

As Ere does not possess outer planes and as such, the after life is treated very differently. While most souls the cease to inhabit a living body got to an inaccessible demi-plane called the Well of Souls to await resurrection or reincarnation, many persist in the world in the form of spirits. Spirits on Ere, however do not all exist simply as undead ghosts.

Many persistent spirits take the form of fey, elementals and even some types of aberration, relinquishing all ties to their former lives. These spirits have deep ties to the Well of Souls and their powers flow from that place. A fey, elemental or aberration with spell-like abilities that find themselves on a plane that is not adjacent to the Well of Souls cannot use their spell-like abilities.

The Campaign
World of Ere is a high powered, high magic campaign setting for the Dungeons and Dragons ™ role-playing game. In this world, the traditional moral and ethical themes that are prominent in the default cosmology are cast aside in favor of themes of survival, allegiances, and improvement of the self.

Inspired by comic books and anime, Ere is designed around the idea of larger than life characters living in a world that is larger than life. Everything is geared toward being exciting and intriguing while fitting into an internal logic that is unlike that of our own world.

Ere is a campaign where all people face some sort of struggle and a special few take the initiative to change their fortunes. This is what adventurers in the World of Ere are made of.

A campaign in the world is best suited toward focusing on conflicts between factions, the ongoing struggle against spirit beasts, or delving into the rich history of the world more than cosmic battles between good and evil. Additionally, games should be fast paced, tense and unpredictable with myriad twists as loyalties or necessities change.

An important point that must be made about the setting is that it does not assume a Eurocentric or even wholly medieval view of the concept of fantasy. By design, Ere draws inspiration from many different cultures and fuses them into a whole that is not meant to be historically accurate. Even the source materials for such inspiration is likely already romanticized.

As a rule of thumb, so called ‘movie physics’ are in play on Ere. Characters can make 30 foot vertical leaps, wield weapons a normal human couldn’t even hold properly, and generally do the impossible as long as the over all effect is balanced within the rules and is, above all, cinematic.

DM’s are asked to forget ‘standard’ or ‘traditional’ fantasy when running Ere campaigns. The setting essentially presents a sandbox for DMs to stretch their creative muscles and play with new themes and plots not normally associated with fantasy to provide a wholly unique gaming experience.

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