For this game I would like to see everyone create characters they will enjoy exploring over a longer game, characters who "Focus on Fun" for you and the group as a whole. Build a character that will fit in the setting, give them desires and goals, give them some internal or external conflict to work off of. Sprinkle in some normal and mundane aspects to ground your character, try to make them people not power fantasies. And finally make them competent but do not aim to break the system.

Before crating your character for the Shattered Empires Campaign you may want to brush up on the Setting, the Nations, and Gods of the world as they may inform your decisions. There are also a number of custom Class and Race options being available with a focus on the setting.

The game will be starting in The Blessed Lands and each character need a crime in their background, though they may not be guilty of the crime they have been apprehended for it. Some suggestions are theft, murder, blasphemy (being an Elorii or Tiefling almost counts as blasphemy to begin with).

Some suggested articles on building that perfect character if you want to read up or improve, I've personally found Ash's Guide useful over the years.

Ash’s Guide to RPG Personality & Background

Sly Flourish Building a Great D&D Character

How To Create A Compelling (But Not Overwhelming) D&D Character Backstory

Select your Race

Your choice of race will define many things about your Hero. Some races, like Tiefling, face immense prejudice while others, like the val, are privileged by their very birth.

The races for the game include:

Dwarves: A people cursed by the Gods, who now strive to redeem themselves by protecting mankind in a hope that they will prove worthy of lifting the curse.

Elorii: Elemental beings, created as a servitor race who went on to rule their own empire, but were replaced by the humans as masters of the Known Lands.

Human: Numerous, diverse and widespread, human beings rule most of the Known Lands.

Ss’ressen: Making up the bulk of the Ssethregoran Empire’s military might, one egg clutch, the Black Talons, rebelled and seek a destiny other than living and dying under the oppressive coils of their serpentine masters.

Tiefling: Humans tainted with the blood of infernal ancestry, hated and feared by almost everyone they meet.

Val: Humans with a touch of divine essence in their lineage, they are tasked by the Gods with shepherding humanity to a Golden Age.

No core races or races not found on this site will be playable during this game.

Choose a class

The core classes form 5e D&D are all available to play in this game but some are more fitting and well integrated into the setting than others.

Barbarian: There are no national or racial restrictions on Heroes who wish to take the Path of the Berserker. However, the Path of the Totem Warrior is only taken by barbarians from tribal societies like the Hinterlands or the areas outside cities in the Blessed Lands. For other Paths check with the DM for approval and additional information.

Bard: Bards are scattered throughout the Known Lands with no restriction on their nation however as arcane casters of a sort Dwarves (with the exception of the Encali) cannot take this class.

Cleric: The clerics of the Shattered Empires play a pivotal role in their society and worlds, they are the representatives of their gods on earth. Every race, nation, and deity need priest but only their most faithful are blessed with divine magic and become clerics.

Each deity has a unique domains that illustrate their nature as well as provide creeds and tenets to their clerics. Player’s should consider playing one of these before/over a core domain but should a player want to use a published domain get DM approval first.

Tiefling have a special relationship with the gods, in that the Panthion of Man shuns them, all but Anshar ignore their prayers and do not accept them as clerics.

Druid: Calling upon primal sources of power, druids form a middle ground between arcane and divine magic. Some worship specific deities such as ss’ressen druids who follow Jeggal Sag (a demigod figure known as the Master of Beasts). Others like the Pengik shamans follow “The Old Ways” and call upon spirits or primal energies of Onara to do their bidding.

There are no significant changes to Druids in the Shattered Empires.

Fighter: There are no major changes or restriction on fighters in Arcanis. Eldritch Knights must be of a race that can cast arcane magic

There are new combat styles available in the Shattered Empires and a number of Feats specializing in combat schools that may be of interest to a hero playing the fighter class.

Monk: There are no major changes or restriction on monks in the setting. All monk orders are known to be associated with one religious faction or another on the continent of Onara. The Way of the Open Hand is followed by all races but often follow Anshar, Larissa or Althares. Monks who follow the Path of Shadow can only be found in any church that venerates Cadic and only the elorii take the Way of the Four Elements. See Monk for information on particular Orders of Monks.

Ranger: Rangers gain access to all the new combat styles presented under the fighter. Rangers are considered to be Primal casters or may take the noncaster variant Ranger. Most rangers follow Saluwé or Hurrian, unless they are elorii which follow Belisarda. See Ranger for a spell-less ranger variant.

Rogue: There are no major changes or restriction on rogues in the setting.

Paladin: The paladins of the Shattered Empires act as (and are often called) the holy champions of their gods. The reflect the deity and temple they serve much more than the standard paladin. For this game think of Paladins less as chilverous knights, champions of good and consider them more devine warriors. Some like Illiir’s Harbingers of the Dawn will reflect those classic chamipns of light but Cadic’s Twilight Warriors or Neroth’s Deathbringers are a much darker bread than the 5e paladin.

For this game Paladins are restricted to the Orders laid out in Paladin and in the Gods sections, if you wish to use another Oath please get approval first.

Sorcerer: Unlike wizards, who must study the Arcanum to gain a true understanding of its magic, sorcerers encompass arcane casters who pull upon their natural magical heritage or individuals who have somehow been touched by a force which gives them the sorcerous ‘spark’.

See Sorcerer for custom bloodline relevant to the Elorii and War Mages.

Warlock: Usually met with disdain and outright violence,
warlocks are commonly hunted down and killed, especially in the lands of Almeric, Coryan, and Milandir. It is only within the Abessian Dominion and Canceri that warlocks find a level of acceptance, while in the Unsealed Lands, warlocks of the Fiend commonly find themselves in positions of power.

Warlocks bound to the Spirits, such as the Ehtzara, are almost entirely found among tribal societies such as the Yhing Hir of the Hinterlands. Though not always hunted by authorities, those bound to the Spirits are often targeted for discrimination when in ‘civilized’ lands.

See Warlock for information on spiritual patrons.

Wizard: Arcane magic in Arcanis is divided into three distinct traditions. The Eldritch Tradition is practiced by the short-lived races and is an exercise in brute force, sacrificing precision for power. The older races practice the Elder Tradition, a demanding process which requires time but grants unparalleled precision.
None of the wizard traditions found in the core rules are available for play in Arcanis. Most Wizards follow either the Elder or the Eldritch Tradition. See Wizard for details on these traditions.

Wizards seeking to play a tradition other than Elder or Eldritch should speak with the DM for approval and additional information.

Ability Score Point Cost

Score Cost
8 0
9 1
10 2
11 3
12 4
13 5
14 7
15 9

Generate Attributes

You have 27 points to spend on your ability scores. The cost of each score is shown on the Ability Score Point Cost table. For example, a score of 14 costs 7 points. Using this method, 15 is the highest ability score you can end up with, before applying racial increases. You can’t have a score lower than 8.

This method of determining ability scores enables you to create a set of three high numbers and three low ones (15, 15, 15, 8, 8, 8), a set of numbers that are above average and nearly equal (13, 13, 13, 12, 12, 12), or any set of numbers between those extremes.

Level Up

We will be beginning this game at 3rd level, meaning your character has some experience and is a competent warrior, priest, arcanist, or miscreant.

Go a head an level to 3rd before starting the first game, I recommend taking the average HP each level (as listing in your class) but if you want to roll do so in roll20.


Religion is a key part of Arcanis and most Heroes at least pay lip service to one of the major religious factions. Your Hero may not have a patron deity, but they probably grew up learning the lessons and teachings of your parents’ faith. A Hero that professes no beliefs, no faith at all, will face many questions and a not insignificant amount of prejudice and thinly-veiled insults.

The faiths of Arcanis include:

Animism: The tribal peoples of the Hinterlands worship nature spirits, while the people of the Western Lands venerate a group of spirits called the Ulumai.

Belisarda and the Four Elemental Lords: The primary religion of the elorii, some of whom retain memories of walking side by side with their creators.

The Matriarchy of the Fire Dragon: The religion of the Black Talon ss’ressen, who followed visions of their scaled lord to their new home.

The Milandric Orthodox Church: A large sect worshiping the Pantheon of Man, that split from the Mother Church of Coryan in protest of the ‘outrageous’ changes to holy texts.

The Mother Church of Coryan: The primary religion of those who worship the Pantheon of Man, striving to mold itself into a truly unified whole.

See Religion for more information

Starting Nation

The Known Lands are divided between a variety of nation-states, empires and wild regions, and somewhere in that area, your Hero was born. Your choice of race, class, and background all inform your selection of home nation.

If you choose to play a legionnaire, then your Hero was most likely born in the Coryani Empire. It would be unusual for a dwarf to hail from anywhere other than one of the dwarven enclaves. etc.

While more nations exist in the Nations section, not all are well suited for a Hero’s starting nation. If you would like to create a Hero from the Theocracy of Canceri, for example, you may want the exile/expatriate background to reflect your status as an escaped slave or someone who has fallen out of favor with the powers that be in Canceri.

The following nations are those recommended for starting Heroes. Your home nation has suggestions for personality traits, bonds, ideals and flaws that you can use to shape your Hero.

Coryani Empire: Currently, the dominant military and political power in the Known Lands, it is a human dominated society ruled by val. Most of its citizens belong to the Mother Church of Coryan and worship the deities that make up the Pantheon of Man.

Dwarven Enclaves: The ancient homes of the dwarves, these great halls are carved into mountains, some are filled with the sound of sorrowful hymns, while others with merely the clanging of hammers and tongs as they strive to craft the wondrous item that will one day break their curse.

Elorii Nations: Hidden cities, deep in the hoary forests, steeped in mystery and the unknown. Isolated by design and unwelcoming to non-Elorii outsiders.

Free City-States of Almeric: Born of misery and strife, the lives of those from Almeric is one of deprivation and war.

Hinterlands: Homeland of the nomadic warriors the Yhing hir and their powerful shamans. The Hinterlands are is a harsh place that produces harsh and rugged people.

Kingdom of Milandir: A former province of the Coryani Empire, now a proud, strong, and bold nation, always ready to defend the good and the just.

League of Princes: A loose coalition of Five nations and city-states west of Coryan outside the reach or control of the vast Coryani Empire.

Republic of Altheria: Altherians boast to being the most intellectual and knowledgeable people in the Known Lands, but are under constant threat from their neighbors the Ssethregoran Empire.

See Nations for more information

Describe Your Character

Once you know the basic game aspects of your character, it’s time to flesh him or her out as a person. Your character needs a name (your nation or race my influence that name). Spend a few minutes thinking about what he or she looks like and how he or she behaves in general terms.

Using the information in the Personality and Backgrounds section, you can flesh out your character’s physical appearance and personality traits. Choose your character’s alignment (the moral compass that guides his or her decisions) and ideals. The Personality and Background section also helps you identify the things your character holds most dear, called bonds, and the flaws that could one day undermine him or her.

Your character’s background describes where he or she came from, his or her original occupation, and the character’s place in the D&D world. Your DM might offer additional backgrounds beyond the ones included in the Personality and Background section, and might be willing to work with you to craft a background that’s a more precise fit for your character concept.

A background gives your character a background feature (a general benefit) and proficiency in two skills, and it might also give you additional languages or proficiency with certain kinds of tools. Record this information, along with the personality information you develop, on your character sheet.

Choose Equipment

Equipment should be laid out in your chosen class and backgrounds. See Equipment for information on on national armors & weapons and for setting specific weapons.

Review and Refine

Finally look back on what you've made, read through these questions and contemplate the answers for your character. Decide if you're happy with what you've made and are ready to play this character for a while.

  • What options does this character have in combat, exploration, and roleplaying scenes? What benefits does it provide in each of these types of scenes?
  • Does your character have a wide range of options in combat?
  • Does this character fit well into the general themes of the game? Does it clearly fit into a story of a party going on adventures, exploring a bronze age world, and fighting the dangers of that world?
  • What direct benefits and enjoyment does this character provide to the other characters in the group?
  • Does your character create undo conflict with other players/put its self at odds with the party?

Character Image

Pick an image to represent your character, always good to have a visual idea for a character and get it to me so I can make tokens.