The Broken Sanctuary
my dear friends, to Raen. This is a setting that has been formed and reformed many times over the years, as often happens. It began with my first forays into worldbuilding in my early teenage years, survived an ill-advised attempt at making my own game system, and after a long hiatus arrives to you now, back in line with the general ouvre of D&D 5e.
Because of this, there is a lot of deep lore for me (and you!) to draw upon, but there is also still a tremendous amount of blank space: When building your character, I highly encourage you to make shit up, run it by me, and see how we can fit it in to the world. (Please... I could use the help.)
A Sense of Something Lost:
The cultures in the world of Raen, as in many fantasy settings, (and, y’know, the real world) are built on the bones of civilizations long lost. (Where the hell else would we get dungeons full of treasure?). In this world, however, this truth is both pervasive and mysterious; the many great civilizations of millennia ago were seemingly wiped out all at once, and myths describe the world as long ago having been broken or shattered in some fundamental way. It would be one thing to have an allegorical myth of a simple fall from grace, but to the people of this world, the bones of their proverbial Eden are present and real; ruins and strange sites dot the landscape, full of magic and otherworldly mystery.
A lot of the “feel” of this setting is based loosely on very ancient Celtic, Norse, Zoroastrian, and East Asian myth, and so there is a pervasive cultural sense that the world outside our towns and cities, our towers and fiefdoms, is not wholly our own. The forests are dark and deep, the sea wide and dangerous, monsters stalk the night, and a wrong step in a Wild Place could land you in another realm entirely. To the ancients, our world stopped at the edge of the firelight, or the gates of the town, and so it is here; the Otherworlds (particularly the * Sitha *, this setting’s dark and dangerous Fey Realm) press close against ours, and in some places it is hard to tell what is of this world and not.
For all of this, though, there isn’t a pervasive amount of “high magic” in Raen. There aren’t floating cities or airships or magic item shops readily in the world (at least not now). Both Arcane and Divine casters are rare enough that most folk in a remote village would never have encountered such “Cunning Folk”, save in stories.
Let's get in to it, shall we?