What Ho, Traveler!
Welcome, this is your introduction to the world of Anaan, the setting for our next campaign. Anaan is an ancient realm, commonly believed to have been abandoned by its creator, a single omnipotent deity after which the world is named. It is a realm that has seen much already and is beginning to wind down cosmologically. Anaan is host to vast deserts, primeval forests, the ruins of empires that rose and fell before the eldest races were young, and more. The land is currently in upheaval, nature itself seems to howl and rage at the remaining bastions of civilization. Overland travel is treacherous, and little civilized remains outside the walls of metropolitan city-states that dot the landscape. More recently, the dead have begun to walk the earth once more, their tireless hunger driving them from decrepit graveyards and necropolises to stalk the walls of Man. Truly terrifying eldritch storms, colloquially referred to as winnowuchs, scour the landscape seemingly at random, any caught without shelter are found as dried husks if they haven’t joined the shambling masses of the restless dead. Those that have not sought the safety of the larger cities live in small fortress-towns, or live nomadically. Any settlement that is neither mobile nor defensible enough is rapidly brought to ruin by the land, the undead, or worse.
The players will take on the roles of heroes who have been summoned by an old friend, Lord Faren, to Blacksands, one of the largest remaining cities. Set atop eponymous black sand beaches and granite cliffs south of the Sea of Salamanders, a gigantic, smoldering caldera marking the location of an ancient volcano that exploded generations ago. Each character has received an invitation to attend a grand celebration being held in Faren’s honor. The campaign will begin as the characters arrive to a city-wide gala, honoring Lord Faren’s election from the House of Lords to the Barony of Blacksands, a type of provincial governor of one of the Wards and Quarters the city is divided into, the first man not born of noble standing to do so in recent memory. As in the wilds, not all is as it appears within the confines of the walls, and numerous factions hemmed in too close for comfort make plays to bring Blacksands more in line with their visions of progress.
The Blacksands campaign will seek to provide ample opportunity for all three pillars that D&D 5e is designed around: intrigue, exploration, and heroic action. A few notes as we set out to create the heroes of Anaan:
- Mysterious Past: There are no remaining Drow on Anaan, and as such they are unavailable as player characters.
- Old Idols Deposed: Druids are practitioners of The Old Ways, a heretical belief that Anaan is not gone, but is merely slumbering in the earth. This particular heresy is punishable by death in Blacksands, making Druids unsuitable for player characters.
- Staunch Isolationists: Elves are a rarer sight in Anaan than in Faerun. This has much to do with a strong isolationist cultural identity, however the streets of Man are filled with rumors that Elven society revolves around ritualized cannibalism and natural selection. Some Elves do leave the safety of their forest enclaves to make a name for themselves among the younger races. Elves are available as player characters.
- A Blind Eye: Some scholars have suggested that the current pantheon favored by most civilizations “bought out” Anaan after he grew bored with his creation, but millenia later also tired of the world’s dwindling promise. Faith is strong still in many parts of the realm, but whatever is true, the gods have grown more distant. There are no shortage of priests and regular clergy, some faiths still have standing Orders of Knights, but those who can channel divine favor are very rare. Clerics and particularly faithful Paladins choose deities from the Religion And Anaan handout.
From here you can learn more about the world of Blacksands.
Some starting points are provided below: