The Drylands (Pathfinder)
The premise of the initial campaign is that players are coming to work as commissioned agents on a ranch that captures, raises, breeds, trains, and sells a wide variety of unusual creatures. It tries to be as ‘open world’ as possible, allowing players an increasing variety of potential choices as they advance in level and acquire reputations from their involvement with the ranch. The ranch itself can act as a home base that develops dependent on player actions, with its growth affecting the land and people around it. While doing that, you’ll run into lost secrets to discover or ignore, politics to meddle in or avoid, and issues from your backstory to resolve.
The world is set in the Pathfinder universe, but on it’s own world. It has its own history and populations that are more amenable to the core game concept than the stock Pathfinder mythos. Part of that concept is unique cultures and family structures that allow for a different angle on old RPG tropes.
There are two intro blurbs below. If you want the standard high-fantasy good vs evil blurb, scroll down a bit. If you want a blurb about catching a giant porcupine with a net, read on. You can also go to the summary page for a quick who’s who and what’s what of things going on.
You’re tired of your life. Whatever you’ve been doing, whatever you’ve been trying to do, it’s hit a brick wall. You need a change. You need a drastic new direction in your life. You need a well timed help-wanted ad that sends you spinning on a series of fantastic adventures with a motley crew of unlikely compatriots.
So…… when you saw a poster advertising for a position on an exotic ranch, looking for people who have that same unfulfilled potential that you do, you jumped for it. It read:
Creature Capture and Resale Location seeks new talent. Explore exciting new places. Discover exotic new creatures. Become rich and powerful.
No experience necessary, will train. Bodily integrity not guaranteed.
Must have demonstrated potential in one of the following fields:
Alchemist, Barbarian, Bard, Cavalier, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Gunslinger,
Magus, Monk, Ninja, Oracle, Ranger, Rogue, Samurai,
Sorcerer, Summoner, Witch, Wizard, or similar lesser known field.
If you have that spark of specialness and want to develop your gift in an entrepreneurial adventuring environment, this is your chance.
We don’t care if you’re good or not, lawful or not; although adherence to contract is required, so if you glow in the dark under a ‘detect chaos’ spell, you may wish to carefully consider this offer.
The poster gives a time and place for interested parties to apply at, so off you go! The Dire Porcupines await!
In the Pathfinder universe, there are many worlds with many peoples. Some of them are well known, some of them are esoteric even by divine standards. One of those worlds is The Drylands. It’s a world mostly filled with water, but the cartographers came from the desert, and they got to name the thing.
The Drylands have a bit of a problem. It’s a good news, bad news kind of thing. A long long time ago, another world became completely infested with evil and tipped the karmic balance. The good news is that world fractured into a separate pocket of reality called a demi-plane and the evil became trapped within it. The bad news is the demi-plane is collapsing on top of the Drylands. The good news is that a race of tiny friendly creatures called the Kval have largely cleaned out the evil before it collapsed. The bad news is that the collapse is taking place over centuries and is being very noticeable to anyone who has an interest in interplanetary expansion. The good news is that at least the forces that watch over reality warping events gave a warning to the people living there. The bad news is the types of people the Drylanders get warned about are rarely peaceful sightseers.
So it’s been the better part of a thousand years since that all started. There’s a history in the wiki about what happened each time the Drylands got noticed and what new group of headaches showed up. Things have pretty much settled down, and a few new aliens like humans and elves have joined the existing society of insectoids, amphibians, and sentient mold. The game begins with the players applying for a job at a time of economic expansion (see, it’s a fantasy game), and trying first to better their own lives, and then maybe to have a place in larger events.