Dragongrin: A Dark Fantasy Campaign Setting (A Primer)
FEBRUARY 28, 2017
Dragongrin: A Dismal Overview
Evil reigns in the realm of Dragongrin. The Dismembered Lord extends his reach, heroes die beneath his steel, and the free lands kneel before his shadow. And though the dark forces rule largely unopposed – there are whispers of those who seek to do the impossible in Dragongrin – and attempt to rise as heroes.
The dark fantasy campaign setting of Dragongrin is located in Arbitron, the official shared-universe of Absolute Tabletop. Arbitron’s known realms are Dragongrin, Enchea, and Erenoth, which are all orbited by three moons (whose names vary depending on the realm you’re in). These realms are separated by a volatile arcane maelstrom known as the Bleak, making travel between them difficult and oftentimes deadly.
Cheating Death in Dragongrin: 11 Grisly Truths
- Lightfall was the death of hope. In Dragongrin, evil reigns. The forces of good were decimated by the forces of darkness, falling to the military might of the Dismembered Lord in a series of catastrophic events known as Lightfall. The hand of the Dismembered Lord extends over the realm even today, and the shadow of his empire spreads like a sickness from the region of Grinn, threatening to snuff out any light that remains.
- Being a hero will get you killed. Heroes are not welcome, as they bring unwanted attention and retribution from the forces of darkness. They fight a battle most consider already lost. By and large, the common people of Grinn do not welcome heroes readily, for they have witnessed the draconian punishments of the Dismembered Lord firsthand. Those who choose to take action against the evils of the land often do so alone. Many are quick to meet their own deaths – or worse. Those resilient enough to persist may catch the attention of one of the few revolutionary organizations that operate in insubordination of the Dismembered Lord – the Copper Jackals, the Peacemakers, or the Undying Light, to name a few.
- Amidst the shadows, a Copper Sun rises. Points of dim sanctuary persist in a land of long, gnarled shadows – the greatest of which is the Copper Sun, a city that floats high above the terrors of the land. It is the capital city of the region of Innes, and though ransacked and cast earthbound during Lightfall, it is being rebuilt in secret. Having achieved flight again, the Copper Sun has risen to become a beacon of hope – though its light in the surrounding regions grows dimmer by the day. If you wander beyond the Copper Sun, you’re subject to either the feral law of the land, or the martial law of Grinn.
- Imminence is the most powerful force that exists, yet is nearly impossible to wield. In Dragongrin, there are three primary sources of magic: arcane, divine, and Imminence. Imminence is a pre-creation energy source of endless potential and raw primeval power. It is a formless, shapeless force from which all creation was birthed eons ago. Its secrets were long lost to history until recently. Now unearthed, its volatile and untamable power holds limitless potential to those who can withstand it. From Imminence comes light, comes darkness, comes good, comes evil, comes everything in between. From Imminence comes all. Those who know of Imminence rightly fear it, and those rare few who command it can become unstoppable.
- The Bleak is a festering magical maelstrom, and the source of arcane power. In many realms, the font from which arcane magic flows is ethereal and mysterious, but in Dragongrin, it is a physical force of nature that mars the land endlessly. Chaotic and volatile, it is an untamable, unforgiving maelstrom that transforms (or obliterates) everything it touches. The arcane energy that makes up the Bleak is believed to be the direct result of a laceration in Imminence itself, bleeding the Bleak onto the material plane from a great planar wound, eons old. The Bleak is more active and tangible in Dragongrin than most realms. Mostly prominent above the oceans of the realm, it commonly brings its unpredictable and destructive tempests to the landmasses of the realm in the form of Bleakstorms and Bleakrifts.
- Eons ago, the world was shaped by a bloody supernatural war. The old stories speak of two godlike, opposing forces that shaped the world: the mighty, inspired Titans, and the potent, elemental Primordials. These immense and powerful beings are said to have emerged from Imminence itself, likely as manifestations of its strongest energies: creation and chaos. As polar opposites, the constructive Titans and the nihilistic Primordials clashed immediately and eternally – their brutal conflict resulting in the First War. No one knows exactly how this bloody “Godwar” ended, but neither race presently exists in the realms, though their advanced technologies and geological effects are evident, even today.
- Relics of the past shape the present. Dragongrin is dotted with inexplicable wonders, traceable to a cryptic, ancient past. Be they geographic wonders such as the ancient caverns of Svir Below and the mechanical labyrinth known as Deepvault, or technological marvels such as the fusion of magic and technology called Archanics or the animated steel repositories of information known as the Tomehearts – in Dragongrin, the wondrous past can often exist alongside the mundane in the land.
- Dragongrin is a graveyard of dragons. The word grin is Titanspeak for “graveyard,” and the superstitious histories of the land have taken root, even in its name. The realm formerly known as Arthunvale is now more commonly called Dragongrin. Legends posit that the central landmass is the final resting place of the scattered and defeated ancient dragons, annihilated in the First War, with the northernmost region of Üldane made toxic and unlivable because of the concentration of long-buried dragon carcasses.
- Dragongrin is the birthplace of the mighty Typhons. The dragons are said to have been formed by the Primordials to enact chaos in the First War. The Titans responded to this threat with perhaps their greatest creation: the mighty Typhons. The Typhons were cunning, powerful, and benevolent creatures, rivaling the wyrms and even the primordials in their abilities. Besting the dragons in the final battle of the First War, no one knows exactly what happened to these powerful creatures, though they have been absent from the realms for centuries. The Typhons are now creatures of myth and legend – but the common folk of Dragongrin still watch the skies, praying for the day that they might return to save them.
- As the Bleak festers, the space between planes grows restless. Like any untreated wound, there are ghastly consequences of the Bleak endlessly seeping into the material plane. Darker, more eternal evils that slumber between the fabric of the realms are beginning to stir, and forces that have not been reckoned with for millennia are slowly turning their immortal gazes to this fissure into the material planes.
- The existence of the gods is unproven. No mortal knows if the gods truly exist, though many in Dragongrin wield power that they believe is divine. Many temples and churches existed and thrived before Lightfall, though they’re now much fewer in number, presumably because of the high risk that comes with proclaiming one’s self as a beacon of faith. Though there is no empirical evidence proving or disproving the existence of deities in Dragongrin, those who believe in the gods tend to do so vehemently, while naysayers posit that anything “divine” can easily be explained by the technology of the Titans, or even simple magic. One thing is certain, however: no matter what one may believe, there are holy warriors in the realm, and though they are few, they are irrefutably drawing their power from something.
What is a Grin in this realm?
Explore the realm of Dragongrin with our digital and physical RPG books here. We have books on traps, races, a super-dungeon (and its surrounding culture), and brand new paramilitary character classes.