This setting was built from making 100 statements of a few sentences each by a group of cool gamers and myself over on MeWe. I love when a collaborative project actually works out. :D
A GM can add to or ignore these statements as they wish and run the setting in their own way. Most of the statements are systemless and left a bit vague. Have fun with it.
Thank You: Brian Boring, Cassius Lucious, David McGuire, Gregorious 21778, Jason Beardsley, Mazirian the Magician, Rod Thompson, Stephen St. John, Yenz Maelstrom, Yusef Masudi, and Zeus Johnson.
Everburn: Life Under the Blazing Skies
1. The upper layers of the world's atmosphere are churning constantly in a state of burning conflagration which hides the stars and sun.
2. As astrology is not possible, the main method of fortune telling is interpreting cloud shapes. Cloudseers perform this for a modest fee.
3. The Haerobi people have 16 rites of adulthood that involve the removal and burning of small patches of flesh in various shapes which are meant to sanctify and purify them so that their angry gods don't torment them in the afterlife beyond the skies.
4. Large slug-like creatures with 8 leg stumps that never sleep have been tamed for hauling large quantities of goods from settlement to settlement. Most of the land-based trade guilds use them, but a few insist on using smaller more sure-footed beasts.
5. Without stars to navigate, mines where natural magnets can be found are greatly sought after. Tamed sea monsters that know the ocean currents, and can innately tell direction have become a great boon to the sea-going folk.
6. Because the continuous fires rage ever overhead demonstrating the fury of the Gods of Light: Moira, Our Lady of Darkness, leads the pantheon of good Darkness deities.
7. Ramaayar, The Dancing Shadow in the Sky Firelight, is the Trickster god. She taught the people how to protect themselves from the destructive fire falls. She is also the one who lit the sky on fire in the first place.
8. A major coastal trading city by the name of Olnesh rests on the delta of the powerful Jallna River. People from all over the world reside there in relative peace and prosperity. Discipline is handed out swiftly by the red-clad Dinaal Legion who has all authority in judging and convicting criminals.
9. There are 6 seasons: Spring (Malhama), Monsoon (Sheshil), Summer (Vellara), Fall (Somnaya), Drought (Krelsht), and Winter (Gahrenn).
10. The Green Wizards rule over their mountain kingdoms, hereditarily passing rule, knowledge, and consciousness using highly coveted logic crystals.
11. The aquatic Khaenii people, have created an expansive trade network that uses the world's lakes, rivers, and streams to move goods. Their rivals that use overland trade routes often sabotage them, and both organized groups fight each other in small skirmishes.
12. Those few magical folk who have traveled to other worlds and returned with stories and illusory pictures of sun, moon, and stars, are either revered or mocked as fools.
13. Local gods and goddesses are said to dwell in each field that is tilled for farming, and farmers make blood pacts and offerings so that their crops might flourish. Some farmers are more devout than others.
14. The primitive Zharrgite people bring gifts throughout the year on holy days to the Green Wizards to assuage their wrath. They believe them to be half-divine.
15. There are only four varieties of Dragonkind in the world, and they are: Red, Pyroclastic, Styx, and Tarterian dragons. (MM and Draconomicon).
16. In a rainy and fog-covered mountainous land, magically created hybrid apemen fight petty wars with each other and ignore the outside world.
17. The Green Wizards work to complete the Monsoon Fountain ritual over the course of millennia, which they believe will extinguish the Sky Fire and bring peace and tranquility to the land and everlasting power to themselves. The Khaenii oppose them in the belief that doing so will cause the rivers and oceans to run dry.
18. The herds of the reptilian Thrurr beasts, are followed by hunters from many peoples and kingdoms. A roaming "town" follows their migrations, and most kingdoms have accepted their chaotic travels as part of the natural order of things and give them no trouble.
19. There are those who believe a great swarm waits outside until Ramaayar's light in the sky goes out. They also believe there are agents of the swarm who work within the nations of man to bring down the sky fire, in order to bring the swarm its newest feast. Green Wizards are known as prime suspects.
20. Since there is no sun, those races and species which usually live underground because they cannot stand sunlight in other settings (orcs, drow, etc.) may move freely above ground with no penalties. They may prefer their underground abodes, but are not stuck there.
21. Due to the conflagration above, there are no arctic zones. The poles get a little chilly at best (50°F/10°C). As a consequence, Cold Magic is not only very rare, but quite devastating.
22. Giant Kikho birds kidnap humanoids, drop them from great heights, and then weave the fresh corpses into their nests for their young to eat.
23. The gods of other realities occasionally drop in to have brunch with the gods of this world. They do so at a particular tavern, that is well known, and widely avoided.
24. The pub in question (see #23) is The Flying Swan in Brentford. Don't go there during Happy Hour.
25. Deep underground lie the peaceful and temperate lands of the dwarves and the goblin-kin. Their kingdoms squabble among themselves for resources but forget all differences at the first sign of intrusion of the conflagration-influenced surface dwellers into their subterranean paradise.
26. There is a crystal atop a mountain that when energized (struck by sky-fire), causes those who gaze upon it to go insane with rage, and zombify when killed. Even the gods are unsure who placed it there, and though many people have attempted to destroy it, none have succeeded.
27. The Brethren of the Faelgromm perform monthly rituals in their hidden grottoes that allow the pure of heart to see a vision of the world without the constant firestorm. Those who see these vision can enter a mystic trance at will thereafter, which allows them to detect falsehoods spoken in their presence.
28. Sages in the city of Carson Water have tracked the Thurr beast migrations for years. They report the allosaurs that prey on the Thurr beasts are increasing attacking the hunting parties instead. They posit the allosaures are becoming more intelligent.
29. There are 2 well-hidden caves, each on the opposite side of the world from the other. In one cave is a laser rifle with 10 power packs. In the other is 1,000 power packs with no laser rifle. Each cave has directions to the other written in a magical (futuristic) language none can decipher save with Wish or Miracle.
30. Great spiraling winds like hurricanes occasionally appear. When one appears while the great conflagration is at its peak it can catch fire and rampage across the land. It is only extinguished when passing over a body of water.
31. One of the world's oceans (Vlestara) wraps around the whole world, while the 2nd (Clentosh) is landlocked in the largest continent.
32. During Krelsht (Drought season, see #9) the Panuuna people of the Firepeak Mountains trade magic crystals for sentient beings to sacrifice. Many lowland traders hire new 'apprentices' for the journey to the mountains.
33. On the Isle of Thell, erosion from the ocean waves has revealed mass graves of enchanted blue-green bones from a forgotten civilization. The sand on the beach sand is mixed with bone chips.
34. The larvae of the Dlakka moth through a difficult 5 step process can be turned into a potent drug that enhances magical abilities.
35. In the myriad underlevels of the largest city in the world (Shengh'lasha) there is said to be a pool of light green water with an egg submerged deep within in. The water heals all maladies, but the pool is protected by a thieves guild named Ungfa (The Broken Fist) who charges for its use.
36. In the Great Garmush Swamp, there lives the very small, very rare, and quite poisonous Uth Frog. But if the frog is caught, washed in the Falls Of M'lish G'naq (many miles away, but it feeds Garmush), and eaten alive, it will permanently imbue the person with great strength and immunity to all poisons. It is highly sought after by the kings of the world.
37. Yivvin Traglov is a tribe of assassins, raised that way from birth, who believe the Uth Frog is sacred. Their sole purpose in life is to protect the Uth and it's habitat from all intruders.
38. The fisher-folk of Gorinsk, on the southern shores of the inland ocean, harvest not only fish, but the pliant tendrils of the great kelp forest. These are then woven underwater in a secret pattern, followed by a painstaking series of alternating drying and soaking phases. Upon completion (at least six months, and up to two years), a rope of incredible strength and very light weight is produced, resistant to cutting and fire.
39. To celebrate a successful fishing season, the Gorinskers will use a very long kelp rope, woven with the bladders of the Vafroka fish, to raise a portion of their catch into the upper heights of the atmosphere. These conflagration-smoked fish convey a limited protection from fire to those who partake of them.
40. A dozen fisher-folk are chosen after the feast to confront the pyrolisks that threaten the shoreline villages, drawn down from their mountainous lairs by the scent of drying fish.
41. The Festival of Sheshil's Demise (Monsoon Season, see #9) is a grand affair and many cultures celebrate the end to the constant rains. It is a festival of preserved foods and often consists of large groups of people repairing damaged homes and buildings from the floods.
42. During Gahrenn (winter), the polar regions are said to experience fire falls and fire blizzards, when the very flames of the sky freeze and fall as snow. Travellers in those regions are told to look carefully at the snow crystals to distinguish fire snow from regular snow. The fire snow spontaneously ignites when the temperature rises.
43. Forges fueled by fire snow can be used to craft magical weapons that deal both cold and heat damage. Given the unstable nature of fire snow, this can be a dangerous endeavor even to those who possess the required knowledge.
44. About an hour East of the city of Shengh'lasha a series of stone humanoid statues move every time you blink to form new acrobatic formations. No one has ever seen them move, but those who visit the site feel like they have witnessed a miracle of stone.
45. Every spring the unmarried young men of Shengh'lasha enact an acrobatic performance based on the statues recorded movements the previous year.
46. The Reshurian Emperor made the City of Shengh'lasha her capital after she let loose a shadow plague that blinded and made mute the entire original populace. Her soldiers wiped almost all of them out before brining in settlers. Small pockets of the original dwellers plot deep below in the underlevels.
47. A figurine of cracked jade known as The Heart that Mourns burns with a dark flame, and absorbs the life force of most who get too close to it. This artifact is said to be the urn of a forgotten dead goddess, and it is worshiped by an unnamed death cult in the bowels of the City of the Honored Dead.
48. A species of blood parasites has infected the royal families of the Kingdom of Quellnassa, and controls prominent members that control most of that rich country.
49. The abandoned lands of the old Slentauthians is a dust bowl without a single blade of grass. The cabal of wizards which ruled the land unleashed demons upon their own people (instead of on their enemies as they had planned). Desperate scavengers brave the wastes to escavate the bones of the possessed, as they have residual spiritual energy which can be harvested for ritual casting.
50. The mountain chains of the world are ancient and have been weathered by eons of time. Powerful half demon /half trolls lie dormant beneath them awaiting for the right time to rise and rule the weaker beings once more as they had in times forgotten.
51. The dreaded necroswamp of Mal'vur, with a dense forest of bonespruce and the fleshwillow trees, is teeming with fetid unlife and half-dead creatures; someone or something calls it home.
52. In some rural communities a tradition of planting new tree seedlings in the skulls of loved ones that have passed on has provided protection from the undead which shun those areas. Weapons made from the wood of these trees also seems to damage them more than it should.
53. The great Kingdom of Yenz'lund resides upon the vast plains and light forests of Yenz'lund. The people have had very few troubles, and are known for their plentiful harvests and their love of donkeys. Their military primarily consists of militia, though the nobility do provide knightly shock troops. Their King keeps cordial relations with his neighbors as best he can. Magic is heavily regulated, as are most things when done in public (in private, it is the reverse).
54. The mercenaries of the Isle of Prote are known for their accurate archers, and their ability to go days without sleeping. Many royal honor guards have at least a few of these elite soldiers.
55. The Ever-changing Abode of Arlus the Wyrm moves every day when the sun is at its zenith in the noon sky. Each time this massive arcane lair travels it takes on a new form for its half-draconic owner who is cursed to never to live in the same place.
56. Khrelnost Forest has a myriad of trees that live nowhere else in the world. Several varieties of these trees emit poison gasses that keep harmful insect and bird populations low. The colorful "fog" above the forest is breathtaking during a Summer sunset.
57. The yubindo, small simians of the Khrelnost Forest, have adapted a natural immunity to most poisons from their constant exposure to the poisonous tree fogs.
58. The yubindo are identical in appearance to the harufta-monkeys used in most royal courts as food-tasters to foil assassination attempts. Unbeknownst to most, the guild of assassins periodically sends out expeditions to capture young, trainable, yubindo.
59. Meteor storms bombard the world every 88 years like clockwork. Weapons made from them are innately magical and make the sharpest weapons.
60. In the Holy Umbral Temple, the priests of Moira drop great screens of wood and cloth over the temple courts and walkways everyday. Only the most faithful worshippers are allowed in the temple precincts during the ceremony to experience the mythical time of day known as "Nightfall".
61. In the secluded Valley of Ch'trith, there is a vineyard which produces the best wine in the world. It is because a leviathan died there many millennia ago, and its still decaying flesh fertilizes the ground -- unbeknownst to those living there.
62. Many kingdoms over the years have stolen shoots from the Valley of Ch'trith, but could not understand why the wines eventually made from their fruit do not taste as good as those directly from the valley. Spies have been sent in to discover the secret, but none have been successful. The investigation is ongoing.
63. Shards of Sylnathian Crystals are said to be anathema to fey creatures and the undead. They grow at the bottom of lakes and in still pockets of rivers. Divers harvest them and sell them to merchants who bring their wares to the strange and haunted places of the world. Amulets of the crystals provide protection, and weapons made from them deal vicious unhealing wounds against Fey and Undead.
64. Triple-headed poisonous and vibrantly colored snakes are worshiped as gods by the short hairless Llembla people. The discarded snake skins are wrapped around the arms of these people and considered luck charms.
65. Buried in the walls of the Temple of the Unknown Gods are preserved saints who hear the prayers of the local populace. They put their pious spirits together to sway the events of the nearby lands to aid these people.
66. Unknown anyone, the Leviathan of Ch'trith is the larval stage of a new god. Pupation takes tens of thousands of years before the new deity emerges from the ground, a being of cosmic strength and intelligence paired with an uncertain temper.
67. The purple-and-black-capped Skigazia mushroom can be found in nearly all climes of the world. Ingesting it will induce a trance-like vision state in sentient beings that cannot be ended without powerful healing intervention.
68. In the land of Ketrinn is the Temple of Unbridled Pleasure. Any vice can be found there, and enjoyed for free. But unbeknownst to anyone, any who partake are actually selling their souls to an unknown god, thereby increasing its power. Eventually, that god will attempt a coup to take over the world.
69. The gnomes of this world, through a genetic quirk, are able to control the trance-state of the Skigazia. It is a jealously guarded secret that, while in this state, they can pierce the veil of the perpetual conflagration and see the universe beyond. They have a vast hidden lore of astronomical knowledge as a result. However, other peoples see the gnomes as mushroom-addled halfwits and treat them with either contempt or pity.
70. Every 88 years, as the meteor storm approaches, the dwarves of the deep open an embassy to the gnomes. The gnomes share where the largest meteors will strike, so that the dwarves can retrieve as much of the previous ore as possible. There is a legend of one dwarf clan who attempted to enslave the gnomes instead of trading for this knowledge; that clan was wiped out in a large meteor strike that year. Perhaps coincidental, but no dwarf had disrespected a gnome since that time.
71. There is a connected system of trees in the Hybrin Forest that allows the order of Druids that dwells there to teleport from tree to tree. These trees are said to be inhabited by the spirits of Druids long dead.
72. Gateways to the Hobgoblin Markets appear in seemingly random places, and they never appear twice in the same location. The items there have strange costs, such as the memory of a mother's laughter, a deep regret, a final tear shed for a fallen King, etc. Often the items have a boon and an equal bane. Those that commit violence in that extraplanar locale can never return.
73. Illiatarmeno (The Final Crescendo) is an epic and tragic song written by a mad bard who was found dead on the pages containing the notes of it penned in his dying blood. When played the bodies of musicians cannot stop performing it, and their blood begins pouring from their torn skin. Those who hear it often die as well, or they are driven mad.
74. A generation ago, meteorite that feel from the sky cracked open to reveal an ox-sized, irregular ember-like crystal with a pulsing glow coming from its inside. With a radius of about 7 miles, people are struck by painful seizures when they try to engage in violence. Those within 700 yards of it suddenly understand each others language, even if they do not, but only do so while at least this close. Those that come within 7 yards will -experience- the thoughts of all others that are within 7 yards as well. A monastery had been build around „the Skyember“, and a small town around the monastery by now that is called „Skyember“ as well. The monks of the monastery have developed strange yet mighty powers of the mind, and may people do their biding without telling it. They, who are called „the Silent Will“ regulate access to inner sanctuary, where the Skyember rest in the pit it made for itself upon impact. The town of Skyember is a place full of philosophers, seekers of peace, fugitives from harm... and much poverty and hunger, as the few villages around could not really feed the town even if those inside had anything to trade. The buildings are crude and simple affairs of bricks made from backed sand.
75. Gorinsker youth dare each other to attach themselves to the long kelp ropes and a many Vafoka fish bladders to ascend into the sky and "see beyond the horizon". Occasionally these ropes break causing the youths to ascend uncontrollably and be fried in the sky fires. Prevailing winds cause their bodies to be dropped among the cannibals of the Islands of Lonely Trees. The cannibals refer to these as "Crispy Sky Nuggets."
76. Beware the silver whakaata trees on the hilltops and mountain sides. When the wind blows, their heat reflecting leaves may focus on and burn objects up to 50 feet from the tree itself.
77. Another danger of the hillsides are the thursinials. These highly territorial bears can grow to twelve feet in height and have vicious appetites in the warmer seasons. In late summer and early fall, they grow a thick, long coat of insulating fur. This protects them from the heat of the whakaata trees; in drought season they will feed on the leaves, whose properties will keep them warm through winter hibernation. Drought season in these regions is known for the pervasive scent of singed bear fur.
78. Lately, more and more people became suspicious of the disappearances of apprentices from lowland trade caravans that travel towards the Firepeak Mountains during Krelsht (see Statement #9, #32). The traders by now have problems to find new apprentices, and others simply left their masters in the middle of the night right before the or during the last drought season. The lowland reacted by founding a guilt by now, and ruled that an apprentice “that flees the contract with his or her master” would be punishable by having the tongue cut out and being reduced to a menial laborer for the rest of the "apprenticeship“. Furthermore, it has been made known that fine bounties will be paid to those that return „runaway apprentices“ before and during the coming Krelsth (Drought Season).
79. Living boats and ships are created by coaxing the roots of the fast growing Thlell plant to grow according to the shipwright's will. It takes a week to grow a small boat, and up to a decade or more to grow a massive ship, which is grown from 100 or more plants simultaneously.
80. The Piper has been seen countless times on the beaches of the Sienoth Sea playing love ballads and dirges to his long lost lover. She was killed by seafaring raiders and her body was dismembered and hurled into the waves to taunt her father the king. His loss has somehow made him immortal.
81. Changeling assassins have three factions that plot and war against each other through rival kingdoms. Their eternal fighting has caused countless innocents to die. Life is a game and people are only pieces on a board to them.
82. Members of the Herront Trading Guild have mastered a form of subtle hypnosis and suggestion that is comprised of 4 quick hand motions. Their merchants are renown for always getting the best deals, and for being very persuasive.
83. Colonies of various forms of vegetation absorb toxic gasses from bogs and float up to a houndred miles away through the lower atmosphere.
84. The Sienoth Sea is haunted by a wraith of haunting dismembered beauty. She was murdered violently to enrage her royal father (see #80). Only the sounds of The Piper calm her severed limbs from dragging victims below the waves.
85. The largest desert on the planet Yar'los (literally boiling sky) is named this because any rain clouds that would pass over the area are boiled away due to the great conflagration being especially low and active in this area.
86. Some believe that the center of the Yar'los desert is the site where the great conflagration was originally ignited. And possibly the source of what keeps it fueled. Traveling to the center is an extremely dangerous prospect however.
87. There is a hardy species of intelligent and small Insectoids that act as guides for the foolish who want to explore the desert of Yar'los. The Yarimbe have biological filters in their lungs that absorb water moisture from the air, so they can go a week without drinking a sip of water.
88. Due to the recent increases of allusaurus attacks on the hunting parties that are after the Thurr beasts (Statement 28), there is a growing number of hunter groups in "The City That Follows" that advocate to kill off the allusaurus. Not just -hunt- them for flesh, leather and bone but to kill them off, destroy their nests and offspring, till they are culled. The most vocal among them is a young but capable hunter named Naran. It is said that he even pays people with gains from successful Thurr Beasts Hunts to join hunting parties under his own command that set out with the sole purpose to slaughter allusaurus. He seems to actually hate them with abandon.
89. The Gnomes of the world (see #69) have dug out many protected underground highways between the largest cities. Often guards from the cities will post guards to help protect them as well. They provide mostly safe passage to those who can afford the tolls at the checkpoints.
90. In the great encircling ocean, the Lebnorach people have formed great floating cities out of the kelp and seaweed of the ocean. They are all connected by rarely used walkways ("Only the old and infirm choose to walk instead of swim!") which keep them from straying too far away from the others. Due to the weight, the tallest buildings can only be two stories high, and only the most wealthy live in them. There is one main city in the middle, with 10 others distributed concentricly around it. The whole thing is caught in a circular current and never goes near land. The people are not aware of the outside world, and the outside world knows nothing of them -- yet.
91. The Lebnorach people are great swimmers and can easily hold their breath for up to 20 minutes, even at great depths. They have an uncanny knack for finding the largest pearls, which they use as currency.
92. In the Hybrin Forest (See #71) a cabal of Fungal Cultists who use their flesh to grow mushrooms have begun a secret feud with the Druids. So far they have been able to leech away life from the trees, and absorb the energy of the teleportation rings. They have been studying the magics used in the root system and have duplicated it on a much smaller scale.
93. Hidden deep underground in a massive cavern, is the great city Detran. This city is actually futuristic. Vehicles fly through the air, robots clean the walkroads, screens flash advertisements to passerby. Any who enter have a choice: stay or die. That is how they keep The Secret of their existence. That, and technology that can cancel magical scrying.
94. The Haerobi (see #3) and Khaenii people (see #11) have forged an alliance by marriage recently, and bands of Haerobi warriors have been helping to defend the Khaenii water trade routes against the raids and sabotage caused by other trading companies.
95. The War Shamans of the Zharrgite people (see #14) have developed a technique of rupturing skin and tissue with guttural chanting. They leave a path soaked in blood and littered with bodies on the battlefield. Their Death Chant kills them and any in a nearby radius unlucky enough to hear their final notes.
96. A tribe of three-eyed Orcs (See #20) have been fighting other rival Orc tribes and Drow, and they have bound many others under their banner. Their Nechtgruk Empire has been making exploratory missions to look for weak points to expand their subterranean territory on the surface.
97. In the center of the Isle of Thell (see #33), at its highest point rests a small portal that takes those who stand on it down to the depths of an expansive religious structure devoted to ancient gods and godesses: Felnastia the Chalice of Flesh, Szoltash the Binder of Dreams, and Belgarnin the Opener of Lost Gateways.
98. A prophet called Vlaktal (The Rejuvinator) has entered the Mal'vur necroswamp (See #51) with a group of devoted followers. Their mission is to destroy the Undead or to convert them to their Master's teachings. They have also begun making sturdy bridges and pathways there.
99. Every 9 years, a brood of flying and biting insects called The Nervrall emerge to devour the bark of trees, often killing large swaths of forests. They will bite any animal or humanoid that gets between them and their next tree. These bites bring a malady of diseases and infections that are sometimes fatal.
100. Every 1,000 years, a particular god spends a lifetime walking the world, so he doesn’t lose touch with his people.