Characters of the Steel Realms

Steel Realms

The Common Experience: Most folk have some knowledge of the larger world, legends, and history. Common tales serve to buoy the morale and instill awe, with local traditions the center point of focus and productivity for communities. There is a robust trade in stories and news from bards, skaalds, rangers, troubadours and travelers, many of whom are part of a World Watchers community. Few go no further than a few miles from where they are born, and rely on larger institutions and groups for political guidance and stability. There is no universal formal education system in the realms; Bards and World Watchers provide common cultural elements through their purposeful efforts. Over time, species have found their niches or died off. A few were exterminated or went extinct. Some are currently being driven out. At several points though, populations have been devastated (sometimes globally) by natural disasters and mystical events, and cooperation or tolerance begins anew…

  • STARTING FUNDS: 200 Silver Crowns (= 1 {Cost Portion}) for buying items – This is what the average starting PC manages to beg, borrow, earn and steal to start their life with. You are assumed to be ready with your own gear when you meet others.
  • Only characters part of the same shared cultural experience and back story and brought up together can pool their starting resources.
  • Additionally, a character will start with a single implement of what they are known for: One item the character relies on that defines them… arcane focus, holy symbol, or primary weapon and munitions. It will be the most meager and basic version of it, likely the one they learned with, i.e. if a sword, it will be a short sword.

The role of PC’s

PC’s are not inherently exceptional; they rise above through their actions to become that. PC types are common in the sense that many from every place in the realms, in every walk of life seek and all genders to make a fortune for themselves – leaving friends, family, home and hearth… and most die. Most common folk will see them as the source of trouble and potential concern. Items of power, adventure, perilous travel, and violent encounters of the kind of thing most adventurers seek out are something commoners wish to avoid. In some places, ‘adventurers’ (PCs) are overcharged, under-served, and even ushered out of town by angry citizens hoping to prevent the delicate local balance of power from being upset. Some PC’s may have a Patron (a Lady or Lord, or Institution; see Factions of Power) which give them authority and respect to avoid such local animosity.

The Divine: [Pervasive Level of Establishment] The gods take an active role, and are the bastion against the Unholy Trio. It is the most accessible means of transcending the fears and pressures of the dangerous world. The Godspeak Accord prevents the deities from direct confrontation.

The Kinesthetic: [Aware Level of Establishment] This is the world and thought-space most live in.

The Occult: [Prevalent Level of Establishment] The average folk are aware of and fear the Occult – it is mysterious and dangerous and its practitioners suspect. It takes a brave soul to command such forces outside of alliance with a god, and they are to be feared.

The Psychogenic: [Hidden Level of Establishment] Witches and Warlocks are the name of such – Seers, and truth-tellers. Those capable of pure thought-magic were long ago run to the ground.

PC Races

The race and class system of ©DnD has been matched to the Steel Realms of the IVerse.

Why is there not super-diversity in The Steel Realms? Humans are the Dominant Species in the Steel Realms. Top level predators don’t willingly abide by each other unless their resources are outside each other’s needs – otherwise they compete. Additionally, few species allow outsiders into their society as if they were part of it as equals. Competition for resources must either cause conflict or be managed by careful population, settlement, and resource control. These ideas are not generally present in any fantasy setting, and represent pinnacle achievements of more advanced ones. Not that it cannot happen locally, but it requires a high degree of cultural and social self-awareness and means for all parties. With the right back story and GM approval, anything may be possible – though PCs are still subject to the stigmas and racial prejudices defined in the usual species relations.

Aasimar/Celestine: The ancient Celestine of Helca had many minor offspring. Most have been wiped out in their countless wars before the coming of the Blood of Saemon from their dying world. Once this happened, their numbers went into hiding. A few exists still, and the Celestine continue to breed true, albeit slowly and through uncaring indifference as they involve humans in their machinations. In The Saelish and Nakria the bloodline evinces itself still, sometimes randomly.

Drow: The drow have no direct correlation in the Steel Realms, other than the Faey, as well as the fallen ones that dwell in the underlight and persist by blood – Faet m’un. In their fall though, they typically become infertile. Madness consumes almost all of them eventually, and they will shun the light and heat of the sun – driven by the ritual in which they sunder their soul gems and pledge themselves to the shadows.

Ducateon: Caste society of under earth dwellers.

Dwarf (all): “Dwarf” is a mix of Ducateon( caste) and a Human or half elf – they gather unto themselves in Enclaves. A Ducateon/Human mixed breed. Over time, pockets of these have bred true and produce Dwarf offspring.

Faerie races in the Steel Realms > (High Elf/Wood Elf) Ynthian Elves/Wyld Elves

Skraeling/Gnome: Known as Skraeling; Strange diminutive folk of field and grass. Always laughing, possessing a child-like wonderment which, as reality chips away at it, causes them to age and wither. These creatures are different culturally [mechanically nearly the same] but they never live underground, only in the outdoors.

Grollen/Gnoll: Grollen; The dog-men, powerful and chaotic warriors. There may be a few Grollen mix breed, but they do not generally exist beyond a single generation. They have given up their evil ways in service to the moon goddess.

Half-Elf: Half-Elf (mixed Faerie) – their alien angular features, odd coloration’s and temper make them pariahs in most places. They generally stick together in their own large communities. An edgy mixed breed that make good loners due to their volatile temperament. Some of the best scouts into the Darklands are of this stock.

Half-Ork: Half-Ork (mixed blood Ork); hated worse than half elves for their violence, stench, and abrasive personalities. They generally stick together in their own small households or as wards of faiths or individuals owing a debt. When the Orrish are raiding, more half-orks result. Generally not accepted in many places, tolerated at best. These hulking mixed breed is the only one that can stand toe-to-toe in raw power against a Grollen. Goods and Services are often more expensive for them, and they may be outright forbidden, shunned or attacked where they go – depending on the place.

Halfling > Lightfoot Halfling (3 tribes across the realms) A Skraeling/Human mixed breed. Over time, pockets of these have bred true and produce Halfling offspring.

Human: Human (Faelen) – Everywhere!

Merovin – few small families north of the borderlands, most organized by tribe in Nakria.


  • Sangire (Dhampir): Because the Lich Lords of Dundaria have total control of undead (through The Cold Embrace) these cannot be a PC race.
  • Dragonborn: Extinct; All were hunted down after the dragons returned to slumber. Any remaining live far away and in fear; in most places they would be killed on site. There is serious (rightful) fear around this race as harbingers of dragon-kind.
  • Gnome: Never existed per PHB (see Skraeling).
  • Goliath: Nearly Extinct; Goliath are the offspring of human and the ancient builder-giants of the south that are long extinct. Misunderstood and hunted to extinction except a few in the wyldes of the far north.
  • Kobold: Their meager population and affliction of the Sun-Bane make them exceptionally rare.
  • Tiefling: Never existed (feral or not).

 /  Key Historical Events/Places

Education: Most folk are not taught the events of the Full Campaign Reference… a few famous and local events are all most people know.

  • Recent Battles: The Deep Pranin, Raelin’s Fall, Crimson Crosstop
  • The Return of the Rosewood Vase
  • The Gwinnish Invasion of Tarmysia
  • Storm Times

The Time of Celestine Wars: CY > Before the “modern” age, there was the time of Nakria. Tribes of shapeshifters dominated the warmer southern lands, and the celestials led them in constant war against each other. It is said there was a reason for it all, but it ended with the coming of Saemon’s Blood.

The Coming of the Blood of Saemon: CY > From a terrible place of war came The Blood of Saemon – a myriad of races and peoples that were fleeing destruction and marched through the Bloodgate to arrive in Helca. The Orrish pursued them, and an endless battle costing millions of lives took place in The Valley of Sighs.

The Unholy Trio’s War: CY > Pursuing The Blood of Saemon, came the trinity of darkness. The Bloodgate barred them, so they came on a piece of their world, through the void of empty space, to hunt down Saemon’s Blood in their anger. The Interloper – a broken off piece of their world floats now in the sky as a third moon of Helca – is their refuge and vantage point. They have sworn to destroy all life which does not follow them.

The Wyld Awakening: CY > The world of Helca gave birth to the gods of the natural order. A mighty host of beast, plant, and elemental powers awakened in what would become known as The Fertile Crescent, and marched to end the tidal wave of death the Unholy Trio was unleashing. The combined Wyld and Celestine forces stopped their advancement, but the land was dying from the overwhelming evil of Everdark’s hate.

The Ascension of the Lightbringers: CY > Three beings of Light to match the dark trinity, were beseeched and so came the Lightbringers. The earth trembled and grew corrupt as the gods and great spirits fought for no gain. The Godspeak Accord was formed, and the gods limited their war to speaking to their followers and not direct engagement. The population had been decimated, and it was almost too late.

The Coming of the Cold: CY 5600 The rise of the Lich Lords marked the end of a long period of peace. The Fall of Dundaria – The Winter Host of the Lich Lords steals the power of Djerduth the god of death and conquers the north.

The Balance of the Gray: CY > The Tear Gift

The Sundering (of nations and faith): CY 5000 Fall of the southern lands and Sea King empire. To stop the tide of demonic creatures of the Lords of Darkness, the powers of the realms causes a great chasm to open from the sea to the mountains in the south. The coasts of the realms are shaken and many of the Sea Kings cities and settlements fall into the sea, bringing death and ruin to their empire in a day.

The Fall of the First Kingdoms (East): CY 6200 Sun Bane (the ___ Star Dimming)

The Slow Sunset: CY >

  Laws of the Land

Education: Most folk know the basics of the spirit of the law through word of mouth and a few formal proceedings they may have witnessed. Only in places with formal education is it specifically taught. There is no universal formal education system in the realms to teach laws. The Law of the High King exist and generally governs all interactions with institutions and people – its basics are common knowledge; This is often adjudicated by members of the World Watchers.

  Factions of Power

PC’s may not be familiar with all of the factions, but some are known across the entire breadth of the realms well, while others are known only to those of related class or backgrounds.

The Gods – A Violent Past: On Helca, in the time of celestials and the early days in the fights against the gods of darkness, the gods walked the earth and directly interceded for their followers and minions. This caused great ruination and magic that warped nature. This was going to lead to nothing but a heap of ashes, assuming there was a victor. The Godspeak Accord took the gods off the battlefield directly, though they can easily be invoked (and countered) for small magics by any follower with enough Conviction. In Umbak they have a saying that “a man not friendly with the gods is a man who should not marry” (implying he will be dead soon!). All divine powers take a direct interest in followers and their actions, in as much as they have the ability to affect the prominence and power of the faith. Followers will be expected to actively work against enemies of the faith and usually be vocal in local affairs representing the faith.

Perspective on Power

  • Life is not fair; beings will do whatever it takes to advance their own cause at the expense of others and commoners are caught in between.
  • The average person just wants to live and has no agenda – they leave politics and war to their liege/ruler and faith.
  • The common person is superstitious, untraveled, illiterate, and uninformed – and kept that way by forces conspiring to control or conquer them.


Most PC’s must find the protection and enter into the service of a Patron. Patrons take an active role in the direction of the actions and development of characters. A patron WILL (its a question of when, not if) demand service and an accounting of their servants/bannermen/followers/brethren.

  • Secular: Secular patrons cannot take away any powers or knowledge once given.
  • Mystic: Characters learning magic from a source other than the divine have a debt to be paid typically; the knowledge was given or taught because the character believed in common goals and directions the patron pursued. They were given their powers to further these.

Info/Languages of the Steel Realms

PC’s may not know all the languages, but most are aware that there are multiple, and traveling means they will likely have to learn a few.

This leads to a Character Concept, and Stories which will allow a character to move beyond the common perspective.

These are unique and specialized character options.

Grollen in the Steel Realms

Approximately 2m – 2.3m tall, @RP Impact: The [contentblock id=playlink1] is the defacto starting point for and races of the . Where the appears notes a Role-Playing challenge/opportunity. The of the realms a fierce, prideful peoples. They are descendants of ancient Gnolls but consider themselves a separate race. At one time they ranged across the […]

Grollen Dark Spirit Totemic Warrior

Under the surface of their choice to walk out of the darkness lurks a defiant, savage spirit so fierce it defied the gods of darkness. In becoming Grollen, they burned away that darkness but its embers still burn deep inside of them. This often happens when a tribal member goes feral, insane, or is cut […]

Elon Characters in the Steel Realms

Approximately 1.5m – 2m tall, @RP Impact: The [contentblock id=playlink1] is the defacto starting point for characters and races of the Steel Realms. The Human Elon of the Steel Realms correlate to the Human race of DnD. Elon culture require different options. The Elon (traveler) folk of the Steel Realms are the equivalent of modern […]

The Great Foes

Orrish It’s been 4 decades or so since any major incursions by the Orks and Goblins into the Steel Realms. In that time, The Deeping, Hungerdouse, the raids of rape, fire and blood have been pushed into distant memory. The machinations of human politics have filled the gap – stability and prosperity as far a distant memory as the evils of the dark. It’s hard to impress the evils of the long darks upon those who didn’t live through it. Not knowing when the night may erupt with a foulness that takes all life – family, flock, and crop. A taste in the back of your throat so vile sometimes you could not eat for days. Violence was something known to all, and peace but a moment’s respite. Then came the Long Summer, a summer that lasted a half year. The Curtain of Darkness retreated, just a little bit. And after, the Lands of Darkness grew quieter. Sure, there were battles in the passes where they were always fought, but the tunneling under the lands of light and night raids beyond the Curtain of Night have gradually vanished.

Undead: No matter light or dark, the hunger the undead have for the living never ceases. The Lich Lords took the Death God’s power and encased the ancient kingdom of Dundaria in snow and ice. Ever since they have been trying to extend it. Additionally, their minions stalk across the land – literal eyes and ears of their masters, finding times and places to slaughter entire hamlets and settlements and spread fear, violence, and the stench on undeath wide and far.

Realm's Aptitude Powers: Divine, Occult, and Psychic