There is a great continent known for its untamed wildernesses, massive nations, and vast inland sea. Only in the past several hundred years have the peoples of this land recovered from a terrible dark age which followed a magical holocaust that crushed the great warring empires of legend. The nature of this Cataclysm has severed most ties the world had to the sources of magic, leaving few crossings for magical energies and beings to enter and such resources finite. On this continent lay the three great nations of The Republic, the Wedemar-Mankir Confederacy, and the Kingdom of Orsinai. Also present are emissaries from the far-off Dynasty of Zhu-Long-Qi, and the subterranean power known as The Deep. All the while, supernatural powers lurk in shadows.
Magic has mostly left the world, depleted like a logged forest. In the Republic, magic is strictly controlled and industrialized, serving as everything from a power source, to weaponry, to an object of worship. Unlicensed practitioners are tried, convicted, imprisoned on work detail, or killed. In the Wedemar-Mankir Confederacy, magics are allowed, but are rare and inaccessible to the common people as the energies used to weave spells are continually drained and sequestered by the Republic. On civilization’s edge, magic users without ties to the Republic and her ever-expanding borders are hunted down by Republic agents, killed, and have their energies siphoned off to fuel her growing industries. Despite the best efforts of mankind toward peace, the growing conflicts between the great powers of the world threaten to once again cause a great destruction, this time with the potential to destroy everything; the wheels are turning, the chess board primed.
Welcome to Carterys; The last frontier.
This campaign is a pulp-adventure mix drawing from Cold War spy thrillers, Manifest Destiny territory disputes, English Industrial Age labor struggles, Teddy Roosevelt’s America, frontier folk tales, Lovecraftian mysteries, post-apocalyptic fiction and environmental exploitation. The focus rests squarely on factional politics, unknown supernatural and political powers, and plunging into the uncharted, rather than epic fantasy. When considering the tone of this campaign, it is better to draw from the wellspring of Westerns, spy movies, pulp adventure novels and political struggles of the 18th-early 20th centuries. There is much to discover and explore on Carterys and beyond, and much that is radically different from more conventional D&D worlds. The wellspring of it all, though, stems from your characters and their relationship with the world. Hopefully, by reading this campaign bible and crafting a character that you can breathe life into, we can call this little world our own. I know I’m excited to.
Ten things to remember about Wayfarer:
1 – If it exists in D&D, it has a place in Wayfarer. A race, monster, class or magic item from the core rules and any supplemental material might have a twist or two, but if you can find it in the core rulebooks, it fits somewhere on Carterys.
2 – D&D with a twist. This campaign fuses traditional D&D fantasy with themes from the tense days before World War I, when empires grew heady and fat on exploited peoples and resources in the name of “progress”. Many good-aligned forces take evil actions, and many sinister creatures may aid you. Alignment is blurred, so it’s possible to find an evil paladin or known and respected vampire. Nothing is ever black-and-white on Carterys.
3 – The world is political. The three Nations of Carterys are in a state of cold war, each taking subtle action to advance its own ends to the detriment of the others. The dark elves are in a time of civil war that is bleeding up to the surface world, and traders from the far off lands of Zhu-Long-Qi are beginning to spread to Carterys. What you play in terms of race and class is just as important as where you are from and whose goals you support.
4 – Magic is dying. Each arcane spell depletes a bit more of the magical energies that pervade the world. These forces leave a residue that contains a remainder of that power, but once consumed even that energy is lost forever. Magic is an oil well, and it is drying up.
5 – The Gods are dead. The mortal races have voluntarily ended the presence of divine energies on this plane, and locked their spirits in great magical repositories called Soulbound Stones. These stones are the only unlimited magical sources in the world, and much effort is going toward strengthening and harnessing that power.
6 – The world has ended once before… The ancients were compelled by the Gods to war, ending in an earth-shattering Cataclysm. What civilization has recovered from that war has grown quickly in one select region, leaving much of the world unexplored. Pristine ruins and scarred landscapes both abound, and treasures unimaginable from that bygone age are ripe for the picking.
7 – …And it might end again. Even though the age of the Gods has ended, their energies remain, weaponized and primed for war. The more technology advances, the less territory remains, the stronger the Soulbound stones become, so the closer Carterys comes to a new Cataclysm.
8 – Civilization is pushing southward… The Nations are sending homesteading parties south for the first time in ages, rediscovering ancient lands and new territories alike. The Frontier is the future of Carterys, and everyone wants a piece of it.
9 – …And the wilderness is pushing back. The animists that live in-and-outside society are willing to die and kill to defend the sacred earth. Terrorist action against the Nations is common, and fear and suspicion abound.
10 – The social contract. Good campaigns have moments where the heroes feel like they can’t fail as well as moments where everyone is out to get them. I trust you to roleplay those ups and downs well and always act towards the fun at the table, and you can trust me to support and foster that sense of fun. Even if things look bleak, I am on your side.
PORTAL LINKS — LEARN MORE ABOUT CARTERYS
Portal – Nations and Organizations: The governments of Carterys and beyond.
Portal – Magic and the Supernatural: Dying power, and surviving divines.
Portal – Important Figures and Locations: The places and the powerful of Carterys.
Portal – Races, Rules and Classes: The heroes, villains, and equipment of Carterys and beyond.