The Mountains of Morpheus
Classes in Drau Mura
Each class in the D&D Player’s Handbook is represented in Drau Mura, though their perception and concept may vary by region, ethnicity, race, and faith.
Barbarians are stereotypically associated with the more “primitive” Eastern Tribes, as well as a few dwarvish clans in the northern hinterlands. However, certain martial disicplines exist among farmers, and other poor, rural folk in Kala Anar and the Sibarii, compensating for a lack of equipment with passionate rage. Barbarians who follow the Path of the Berserker are often admired — from afar — as bloodthirsty folk heroes. Barbarians on the Path of the Totem Warrior are faithful devotees of the druidic Old Ways, and can expect respect (and requests for aid) among other believers.
Probably than any other class in Drau Mura, Bards share a rapport with each other surpassing petty ethnic or political divides. This is because, in part, they are seen as perpetual half-outsiders: popular wherever they go, but rootless, unworthy of lasting trust. Bards of the College of Lore tend to make friends and connection in Mercadia, Mordai’s Landing, and Tsinnamarch, which have thriving, rumor-mongering festival communities. Bards of the College of Valor are most welcomed among the fortresses of Kala Anar’s Sky-born nobles, or gatherings among the Eastern Tribes — though wherever there is battle, a bard’s skills are welcomed (as long as she can sing the stories about the right heroes and enemies).
Clerics are very much associated with Ashoum among humans, the Vanir religion of half-elves, and dwarvish ancestor worship. Less often, clerics follow a pagan deity, predominantly the God of War, Talos, and the Great Hart. The Old Ways lack clerics; other pagan deities just don’t have the necessary numbers or the martial tradition. Although their goals are hardly monolithic, clerics do hold a privileged position — though some would say a self-appointed position — as warriors that fight the undead.
A cleric’s available divine domains are determined by her deity:
- Ashoum: Knowledge, Life, Light
- Dwarvish ancestors: Knowledge, Life, War
- The God of War: War
- Great Hart: Nature
- Vanir: Life, Light, Nature
- The Serpent: Knowledge, Trickery
- Talos: Tempest
Druids are very much associated with the Old Ways, though not every one is an orthodox believer. They are common across Drau Mura, and although they may cooperate locally, apathy, infighting, political allegiance, and good old xenophobia have always prevented total unity. (Certain traditions prohibit conflict between druids, but with druidic politics and influence being local, these traditions can be flouted with little consequence. The prohibition against teaching the druidic language to outsiders is the only rule widely respected.) Pessimistic druids suspect that as civilization and Ashoum expand, their numbers will dwindle with each passing generation. Most druids belong to the Circle of the Land; the few who belong to the Circle of the Moon are loners and hermits. However, most elvish druids, due to the peculiarities of their version of druidic religion, belong to the Circle of the Moon.
Fighters are everywhere in Drau Mura, though their arms and fighting styles vary. The Arius favor a precise style of swordplay where the utmost motion is conserved; dwarvish fighters prefer disciplining the body to endure the most grievous wounds. Eldritch Knights represent new innovations upon martial and magical techniques, brought over from faraway lands.
The origin of monks and their superhuman abilities is hotly debated, as both the religions of Ashoum and the Old Ways have had loyal orders of monks for many generations. Most living in monasteries are devoted to a specific craft or area of scholarship; only a few truly master the arts of the monk class. Ashoumite monks tend to take up the Way of the Open Hand; Old Ways monks tend to take up the Way of the Four Elements. Both types have long incorporated techniques and philosophies from outside Drau Mura.
Many monks — perhaps one in three — eschew the religion of the masses in favor of personal enlightenment and self-perfection. They tend to wed philosophy with pragmatism, often working as enforcers, spies, and killers for local powers that be. In the Tesia, monks often serve as the right hand of a high-ranking merchant or magistrate. Their numbers include both natives and foreigners, and overwhelmingly favor the Way of Shadow, a deadly and exotic art regarded by followers of Ashoum and the Old Ways as a dark, profane reflection of their ways.
Often admired as champions, often despised as clueless, self-righteous meddlers, paladins usually represent one of several Ashoumite order of holy warriors, though a few sects devoted to the God of War exist too. These paladins take up the Oath of Devotion, and see it as their duty to protect their people from supernatural threats. Fighting such threats is obviously dangerous, but often unprofitable as well. These orders see a lot of turnover, and usually rely on an aristocrat or king’s patronage, inevitably leading to some degree of politicking and compromise. They are most common in Kala Anar and the Arius Kingdoms; the Azna and halflings somewhat distrust them. Paladins who take up the Oath of Ancients are rare and exotic warriors, usually elvish, from the far northwest or across the sea.
Paladins who take up the Oath of Vengeance are a dangerous — and sometimes egomaniacal — lot, but Drau Mura feeds on cycles of vengeance. Small, secret orders of these paladins exist among commoners hoping to overthrow their oppressors. However, the Oath of Vengeance is most popularly associated with Upan, the god of death and the underworld: When a warrior experiences a grievous loss, she may privately swear her life and soul to Upan in exchange for dark blessings. These paladins may be noble in intent and deed, but rarely disclose their spiritual allegiance, lest they be seen as even more monstrous than their enemies. Even those who are honest about their “calling” are pitied by their holier counterparts as hopelessly bitter and obsessive.
Rangers are everywhere in Drau Mura. In the town and country, some rangers may work alongside rogues as bandits, thieves, and killers — or defend their communities from them. Ironically, in the wilderness of the Mountains of Morpheus, rangers fear the land like no one else does: The most experienced of them, who have a primeval awareness of the landscape, occassionally speak of … something — a great force or consciousness — that resides within the Mountains, and to trouble it is to perish, go mad, or become enslaved to its will.
Drau Mura has no shortage of thugs, “people’s bandits,” peasants who resort to raiding in lean times, and opportunistic thieves; some of these people become rogues in full. Rogues are also in demand among rulers, and there is much collusion between the upper classes and criminal families and societies. In the Tesia’s seaport city-states, the traditional thieves’ societies are dwindling in power, as the most talented rogues tend to work for (or openly lead!) “legitimate” guilds and governments.
The Sky-born aristocracy of Kala Anar hardly has a monopoly on sorcery, but it’s indisputable that some of the greatest sorcerers come from the kingdom, and that there are proportionally more sorcerers than anywhere else in Drau Mura. (That’s still a small proportion: Exact figures are unavailable, but maybe something like one in ten Sky-born have some magical aptitude, and less than half of them actually have the sorcerer class, since the rest pursue other talents, or just don’t turn their knack into full-bloomed power.) Racial ideology in Kala Anar tells that this sorcerous ability is the legacy of draconic ancestory among the Sky-born people, effectively making them a separate race from other humans. Thus, sorcerers among the Sky-born enjoy a good deal of prestige and attention, along with all sorts of pressures and expectations to faithfully serve their Monarch. Soil-born sorcerers exist — actually, quite a few of them, thanks to illicit sex between the two castes — but their practicing magic is prohibited. Elsewhere in Drau Mura, sorcerers don’t enjoy as significant a reputation. Some devotees of Ashoum and the Old Ways even see it as unnatural or unholy in some way, and are thought to attract bad luck and curses. Sometimes, a young person travels into the Mountains of Morpheus, and returns with sorcery at her beck and call.
Almost all sorcerers from Kala Anar are of Draconic Origin. Sorcerers who have gained their powers from dreaming in the Mountains of Morpheus tend to have the Wild Magic Origin.
In Drau Mura, warlocks usually choose a deity as a patron. To most, this is just a matter of course, though a few insist on unraveling the theological intricacies. (Perhaps the gods grant different powers to the two classes because they have different purposes for them. Perhaps the two classes acquire their power from different aspects of the same divine being.) Clerics and warlocks who follow the same deity may well be allies, but not every deity has associated warlocks. Also, those warlocks who have turned to Upan as a patron would do well to conceal their faith from Ashoumite eyes. Non-religious warlocks may contact ghosts, spirits, archfey, demons, and mythical deep-sea beings for power.
The god-patron correspondence is as follows:
- Great Hart: Treat as Archfey pact
- The Serpent: Treat as Great Old Ones pact
- Talos: Treat as Fiend pact
- Upan: Treat as Great Old Ones pact
Drau Mura, infamous for its dream-warping Mountains, has always favored the magic that is intuitively mastered, that calls out to otherworldly forces, that brushes with the godly and transcendent. It follows, then, that wizards are somewhat underrepresented in this part of the world, whereas in other realms. Wizardry is seen as somewhat narrow-minded, obsessively rational, and unable to adapt to change — though much of this reflects the opinions of Kala Anar’s sorcerous nobility. Often, their thirst for power and knowledge gives them a reputation of hubris and untrustworthiness. Often, wizards from other lands travel to Drau Mura hoping to exploit the powers of the Mountains of Morpheus, contributing to the popular image of a wizardly, wealthy, up-to-no-good foreigner.
Wizards are often taught by an older relative, or a neighborly mentor. Although a wizard sometimes moves to another kingdom, settles down, and offers his services to a ruler, the actual societies of wizard are small and local. Usually, they are families (with at least a fair sum of wealth), agents of a king or powerful noble, or a combination of the two. Thus, two wizards from different backgrounds are more likely to see each other as rivals than friendly peers. Necromancers are favored among the rulers of the Arius Kingdoms, while the most talented diviners and illusionists dwell near Koreth’s Staircase among druidic sects. Wizards are uncommon in Kala Anar; they are not popular among the Sky-born, and it is illegal for the Soil-born to use magic. The cities of the Tesia see quite a number of wizards from other realms, though the merchants’ guilds are attempting, with mixed success, to regulate arcane magic.