Over the past several months I have been working on a hobby gaming project, based on my love for fantasy adventure. As a kid, I drew a set of over 200 characters for an imaginary land (including detailed cultures, hierarchies, and backstories for them) but after high school, I didn’t go any farther with it. More recently I decided to revisit the land of Reign, and redo the characters.
As I have been working through them I realized I was building a game of some kind, not necessarily a story. At this point, I don’t know what that game will materialize as (an RPG, a boardgame, a strategy game, or something completely new!) but I am open to suggestions and ideas. Below are the details of the characters and world, and please feel free to comment with any insight, ideas, or suggestions. I appreciate input during the creative process!
REIGN is a Fantasy Game, with a lot of world building, characters, and concepts, but no core game defined. This is the Game Lore and Character Guide to various characters created thus far and proposed for the future.
Initial Concept: Create a strategic fantasy game that blurs or challenges the concepts of heroism and villainy – a hero to one culture can be an evil foe to another, and monsters and heroes have weaknesses or faults that aren’t readily apparent. Some examples of these concepts include devoted soldiers refusing to fight after being wooed into pacifism by fanciful faeries, demonic Hell-spawn doing acts of good for the sake of good or a change of heart, and righteous angelic warriors committing heinous acts of war in the name of some misconstrued greater good. Think of it as, existentialism and moral individualism run rampant in a high fantasy game.
The name “Reign” comes from the idea of players acting as leaders in this magical land, and amassing armies of imperfect characters, that may follow orders, or defect, betray, or subvert your leadership entirely through love, money, moral choices, life choices, and any number of reasons. Pretty vague, I know, but just want to capture this big idea and I hope there’s some possibilities to do it.
Ideally the realm has a sense of humor alongside the drama, death, and questionable morality of it’s citizens.
~ CREATURES & CHARACTERS ~
Humans & Humanoids
Humans and Humanoids make up about 1/6th of the Reign populations, and have numerous dwellings in almost all regions. They inhabit hamlets, towns, villages, keeps, and cities and perform multiple tasks from blacksmithing, growing crops, making jewelry, and waging pointless wars. Humans usually are united under multiple flags or causes, ranging from reasons as arbitrary as landscape (The Iron Hill People) biology (Kings of the Boorth Bloodline) or as complicated as schisms of religion (The Kingdom of the Chosen Soldiers). Humans also interbreed with multiple other creatures, resulting in a spectrum of humanoid characters and beings (Elves, Mermaidens, Angels, and Demons). Humans are truly neutral in the spectrum of morality, as some are overwhelmingly good and evil with many in the middle. They also are truly neutral in all other respects and are either frightened, entertained, or disapproving of magic.
A subset of Humans, Druids are a magic wielding clan that dwell in distant forests and secluded caverns. The Druids are predominantly female and ruled by Mystics (matriarchs) or extremely rare Mages (patriarchs). They mainly study Elemental Magic and some Dark and Light Magic as needed. They have a rich inner culture and set of rules that limit outsiders from joining their groups. Various collectives of Druids are peaceful with one another, unlike the petty battles fought by the majority of civilized humans.
Northern dwellers that have an entire culture centered on sailing the high seas. Boreans diverged from the rest of humans in Reign years ago but still maintain an alliance with most groups – to the human’s advantage. Boreans are physically stronger, able to withstand the extreme cold of frozen climates, and annoyingly fair and impartial. You will not see an emotional argument in a Borean port or shipyard, as numbers and facts reign supremely in their practical society. Boreans obey the rule of local elders and exist as one society despite spanning multiple seaways, oceans, islands, and mountains – the few times they have been called to war they are fearsome competitors for their tactful emotionless strategizing.
From the high mountains the heroic chants of victory ring out from the Draconos Brotherhood – dragon-like humanoids with a passion for metal working and competition. They are more an army in waiting then a society of creatures, with all emphasis put on creating a combative aggressive culture of winning-at-all-costs. The Draconos dig deep tunnels into the mountainous regions of the Reign world to gather precious metals for making weapons or armor for war though themselves enslave others to do the tedious and belittling mining. These tunnels then evolve into subterranean cathedrals, castles, cities, and halls where games of skill, strength, and strategy are played. Despite Draconos having strong bonds of loyalty to their own kind, their passion for winning has fractured their population into multiple factions that compete over various mountain regions and with other groups. They often are enlisted to fight in other groups’ wars and always are open to a new challenge if there’s something in it for them. There are no female Draconos, and as such, their reproduction is a great secret to the rest of the world – as the Draconos crest ambiguously explains,” Born of Fire, Reborn of Earthen Flame”.
In the golden dunes of Reign the Talos rule with their vast wealth and resources. The Talos are a militant desert dwelling people lorded over by a wealthy matriarchy which controls the oasis bazars and palaces. Incredibly rich in gold, jewels, water, and other precious artifacts gathered from the sands, the ruling females control almost all aspects of Talos kingdoms as well as commanding a powerful army of loyal servant soldiers. Talos men become warriors, builders, or merchants or leave the society forever. Women are born into the Elite class or are killed. The Talos Elites maintain alliances with multiple other groups but despite their politicking can be temperamental and uncompromising, changing their minds or strategy quickly when they are not adequately appeased.
Deep in the sea is the domain of the Mermaidens, half human half fish women. They exist in individual collectives of up to a dozen or more, which integrate and mix with other groups beyond the sight of land dwellers. Mermaidens have strict roles in each group for soldiers, singers, and leadership that can only change over time based on the needs and desires of the group. Extremely social, Mermaidens often reach out to those on land in playful or disruptive ways, and have founded relationships and strategic partnerships with earth-walkers by way of riding domesticated Giant Crabs. There is no evidence of Mermen, and human / mermaiden relations have resulted in “Sea Witches” which are seen as role-breaking pariahs.
Like humans, Teddies are everywhere in the Reign world. They are resourceful, loyal, competent miniature bear-like beings that seem to thrive wherever they are despite lacking eyes. Unable to logically communicate except with each other, they band together in packs or under the guidance of a more authoritative group (such as Humans, Boreans, Druids, or Draconos) to build cities, dig tunnels, fell forests, or any other meaningless tasks as desired. Able to learn almost any physical skill, they are seen as the workforce of many projects in Reign and have also come to play important roles in various wars over the years. Teddies reproduce when cut or severed, and can only be killed by drowning, burning, disease, or old age – because of this, Teddies seem to steadily increase in population wherever they appear.
The powerful forces of nature sometimes appear as unified super-beings known as Elementals. The quintessential elements of Fire, Earth, Water, and Wind are the most basic elementals seen, but other more humanistic elementals also can be conjured by talented magicians – those include the Elementals of Pain, Rage, Love, Lust, Despair, and Order. Lesser elemental creatures – Golems – are considered elementals by many scholars classification but are much less powerful as well. Notable Golems include those representing Metal, Iron, Gold, Forge, Wood, Bone, and Corpses. Golems serve a master when created, while Elementals serve no one, but still unleash awesome power when summoned or encountered with whoever they cross.
Ghosts & Undead
Multiple undead creatures inhabit the many regions of Reign, with various states of autonomy, morality, and awareness. Depending on the causality of a creature’s undead state, they are in control of their fate or not- as an example, Zombies and lost spirits wander aimlessly without much purpose or aim, while vampires and liches (undead wizards, by way of self-cast Dark Magic) are able to make complex empires or plans to continue their influence beyond their mortal lives. Because of this, spirits and other ghouls are a diverse grouping including many dreadful creatures and cultures. Despite this, nearly all of them align with Dark Magic and the confusing spiritual realms, associated with life beyond death.
Holy beings (Angels) exist not in Heaven but the SkyRealm, a floating kingdom of limestone castles and sunbaked suspended courtyards. While claiming of having God’s grace, the citizens of the aerial empire are simply mortal winged humans harnessing Light Magic and a vast knowledge of restorative spells. Able to live for many millennia, their culture is structured around a respected air of superiority over all things that wander below them on the muddy earth. They are self-ruled by a tribunal of high Angels known as the Seraphim who make decisions on what miracles to fulfill, what kingdoms to honor, and what rules shall be passed down to their mortal followers. Many humans believe Angels are truly the chosen messengers of God, and honor them with monetary gifts, sacrifices, and large monuments for favor. Angels cannot set foot on the Reign landscape and must be summoned by Light Magic in order to do so – once the conjurer that called them has released them (or died a miserable death! Tragic!) the Angel will be forced to leave for the SkyRealm or take flight.
Unholy beings (Demons) live in the bowels of the Reign earth, alongside molten lava in fire-lit catacombs and strongholds. The larger, nastier relatives of the Draconos, Demons are a corrupt horde society with a centralized leadership in the Unholy Kingdom. Warlords, as decided by the King of the Horde, rule over large parcels of the underground FireRealm which stretches under most of the Reign world above. Like Angels, Demons cannot set foot in the world beyond the FireRealm they inhabit without being summoned by a conjurer.
The Shadow Realm is home to the third group of beings claiming to be spiritual in nature, the Celestials. These entities composed of swirling nebulas are most similar to Elementals, but are sentient, self-aware, and exhibit unique individual personal motivations. Not much is known of their origins, as the Shadow Realm is generally un-explorable by any mortal from the stable landscape of Reign. What is known is that Celestials are extremely powerful, manipulative, and harbor a dark sense of humor. Like their Holy and Unholy counterparts, Celestials can only enter the Reign world when allowed entry by a skilled summoner.
Elves, Nymphs, & Faeries
Within forests dwell the Elves, Nymphs, and Faeries; magic-centric beings concerned with life, happiness, knowledge, and beauty. Elves are perhaps the most sophisticated and civilized of all Reign’s creatures, developing a passion for education, magic, exploration, and design. Industrious, wealthy, and refined, Elves cherish the higher things the world has to offer and maintain long healthy lives in tune with nature. Alongside the many different Elven cities and towns co-exist Faeries and Nymphs (lesser forest elementals). Nymphs are immortal pacifists that wield immense knowledge of the land they root in and their mere presence increases the well-being of living creatures nearby. Faeries are fanciful partiers more concerned with making music, drinking, and planning good-natured manipulative pranks on outsiders (usually humans, trolls, or uptight Elves). With all their wonderful goodness, the one fault of Elf culture is perhaps their strict social hierarchy based on biological purity. Half-Elf lineages are stigmatized because of their lack of long life and the transgressions of their parents (sex with goblins, humans, demons, or any other non-Elf group is seen as being led by uncontrollable lust. For shame!).
Other animals, beasts, and semi-civilized creatures inhabit the Reign world, and more are being discovered on every new adventure or campaign. The vast reaches of the land contain Wolves, Man-Eaters, Dragons, and more unimaginable beasts – some good, some evil, and some looking to make a few shillings of gold.
Landscape of Reign
Region Type – General Land types, that favor different characters, creatures, spells, or resources.
Land Type – Specific landscape, made up of one or two regions. As an example, “Moss Caverns” are a blend of Mountain and Forest Regions, and you will likely find Forest and Mountain resources, creatures there. Moss Caverns favor characters like Elves, Draconos, Faeries, Nymphs, and Druids.
As mentioned above, I am looking for any additional ideas or comments on how to develop this into a card game, board game, or role playing game. Thank you for reading!