Ways To Homebrew - Creation Kit Pt. 2
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Check out what's included in the Redsky 5e Conversion Book here.
Welcome to Part Two of the Community Content Creation Kit! While Solar Studios has solid plans for a steady release of official adventures in Dema, we have no doubt you'll be able to take the lore in the conversion book and come up with tales just as exciting. So, Ken has put together this comprehensive set of prompts for characters, sub-factions, and their potential backgrounds. Check out Part One of the kit here for how to name a character using the lore flavor of Dema. Be on the lookout for Part Three, where we'll provide a handy list of tables based on Elemental Dualism for brainstorming the traits of your heroes and homebrews.
Ways to Homebrew
Origin - Everyone has a place they call home. Where did your character grow up? Click at the bottom of this link's page to zoom in on each location.
Due to their Aether culture, humans tend to grow up in tight-knit communities. Whether in their native Light Plains or in the many settlements across Dema, humans are normally found close to each other. Some key questions to ask when making a human character would be:
What is their family like?
Who were they close to growing up?
Are they a part of any religious groups?
Examples of Human Origins:
Scintilla - Capital of the Solar Hegemony and holy city for the Church of Sola. Humans from this city generally are the most entrenched in The Hegemony's culture. Citizens of Scintilla have a strong military tradition - almost anyone who grew up here has likely served the legion in some fashion, whether as a soldier or making the supplies to support the legion.
Deonar - The main coastal city of humans, overlooking the northernmost reaches of the Gilded Sea. It is home to world renowned shipyards, and many who live here follow in that tradition, as well as a unique culture that was only suppressed by the Hegemony’s rise. All manner of trade goods pass through this city, and the Krypteia does what it can to keep this from affecting the people too much.
Abresia - Surrounded by sculpted earth and precisely engineered farms, Abresia is the hub of the Hegemony’s worst institution - slavery. The city had been rebuilt culturally after being broken by the legions during the nobility's rebellion. Citizens from Abresia are often fanatically devoted to the Hegemony’s religion and dutifully serve the human empire to thank the Solar Throne for their second chance.
Mundi - The cosmopolitan city at the center of the world has always had a unique culture. Humans from here are more likely to adopt foreign customs and ways of thinking. Even after the Solar Hegemony’s conquest of Mundi and the formation of the Hominid Dominion, they remained different from their cousins in the Light Plains.
In Exile - An iron fist sometimes squeezes so tightly that what you are trying to hold slips through your fingers. The Hegemony forced many humans to escape persecution, enslavement, or execution. You can find pockets of humanity all across Dema, keeping alive Homa traditions that were lost when Remus declared himself Emperor.
The Void culture of the Nightriders lends to a common belief in self-betterment and initiative. If a Nightrider believes something must be done, then they are the first one to start doing it. Many Nightriders live nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyles as they follow their convictions. Some key questions to ask when making a Nightrider character would be:
What does your character believe in?
How do they see themself? How do others see them?
What is their interpretation of their people’s traditional beliefs?
Examples of Nightrider Origins:
Dawnraider - Tribes loyal to the Dawnraiders make their name raiding the communities at the edge of the Moon Realms. Occasionally, these Nightriders will leave behind their least ambitious and lazy member of their bands at the Osghal villages that pay them tribute. The King of Darkness came from this tribe in the late Heroic Era, unifying the other tribes for the legendary Dayraid of The Light Plains.
Hardhooves - Based in the stone city of Yaras, this tribe was the first to give up their nomadic lifestyle. Their beliefs followed this, transitioning into an ideology of self-accountability. Up to and through their occupation by the Hegemony, Hardhooves stubbornly kept their ways along with their ancestral city-guard, the Ten Hundred.
Freesteeds - Resembling the most nomadic of family ties, tribes that owe fealty to The Freesteeds can range beyond their borders to follow the herds or for war. These Nightriders hold claim to following the same traditions as their people’s mythical hero - Vella Montura. Shamans of every tribe meet at festivals this tribe hosts, where any Nightrider is free to compete in ancient contests of virse-riding, archery, and wrestling to honor Caypelach, the great moon spirit.
Cairnkeepers - The tribal ‘Houses’ based out of Tallon stem from the original families that were exiled to the Tenaybre. These Nightriders are as tough and unforgiving as they land they call home. Cairnkeepers are always expected to prove their worth, continually proving that they deserve their station in society. Many orders of hunters and warriors have sprung up from the old Houses, specializing in different trades of warfare. Notably, the Redeemers travel far from their frozen homeland to hunt monsters and bring wealth to Tallon after the Uprising Era.
Lost Kin - Not all Nightriders grow up under the Wandering Moon. Even before the Hegemony’s enslavement of resisting tribes, the Nightriders’s wanderlust brought them to all corners of Dema. Mundi has a long established community of Nightriders along the city’s western bank, home to a thriving and unique culture after the Hominid Dominion’s founding.
Guided by their intuition, the Featherfolk follow their feelings to understand the mysteries of the world. This feeling leads some to explore the world to confirm their instincts about truth and leaves others to debate nature endlessly. However, most Featherfolk return home to their families to raise a clutch or at the end of their lives to share the insights with the youths. Some key questions to ask when making a Featherfolk:
Does your character have any assumptions about how the world works? Are they right?
What is your character’s relationship to their clutch? Their family/house?
How has your character changed? What made them change?
Examples of Featherfolk Origin:
The Auric - The Hundred Houses compete at every level of social, economic, and military station in the city. In the Jewel of the Gilded Sea, thousands scramble to escape poverty through any means possible. Whether it be joining the Auric’s proud navy, one of the city’s many mercenary companies, risking it all on a business venture, or indenturing yourself to a more powerful house, there is always a way to make some coin.
Hollowfalls - The path a tutored Featherfolk takes can lead them all over the Gilded States, but they will always remember their home closest to the sun. A city of scholars, warriors, and artists - things are never dull in ever buzzing debate halls and public pavilions. Home of the Tutor Islands, Hollowfalls boasts one of Dema’s three most prestigious learning institutions. Its students travel far and wide to investigate the mysteries of the world.
Panacea - All manner of free-thinkers and radicals escape to Panacea to start their own communes or followings, and some of them succeed! Home to the greatest diversity of plants and animals, the markets in this city are the envy of every alchemist, chef, and doctor of Dema. At the edge of civilization and wilderness, devout cultists hope to entice travelers to the many villages among the trees much deeper into the Midlands. Panacea is also home to the famed Apothicants, renowned herbalists and doctors keen on curing every malady.
Sunbleak - The most ambitious Featherfolk often sojourn in the deserts. One lucky expedition can bring enough wealth to live comfortably elsewhere - or fund one more dig site or dungeon crawl. Dominating life and trade, the ruthless Resource Barons dole out water and food in exchange for interesting finds. Outside the safety of the oases, the local Whudi guides are necessary for travelers that wish to return with their wealth. In a northern sub-region, deadly to all but a brave few lay the nightmare wastes of The Red Desert.
Far Roost - Encountering a Featherfolk from any of the expatriate communities in the other major cities is common. Plenty of explorers, merchants, and mercenaries have settled across Dema when they found their place in the world. These Featherfolk are eager to join their new home’s culture with a twist of their Air based ideologies. Some of the greatest blades for hire come from these far away nests, willing to fight any foe for the right coin.
Ever pragmatic and empirical, the Sporespawn value discovery. Their different biology and lifestyles often lead to them remaining among their own, sharing truths through their unique mind-melding ability. Those who do brave the world of the Overlanders are often overwhelmed by the possibilities of learning in the best way possible. Some key questions to ask when making a Sporespawn:
How does your character approach something they cannot immediately understand/already know?
How does your character react to finding out they’re wrong about something?
What is your character’s relationship to their hive/colony? What made them leave?
Examples of Sporespawn Origins:
Freespawn - The Freespawn of Ikhish cherish their freedom and fight claw and carapace to keep it. Whether in the great hall of Consensus or one of the many splinter hives, the Freespawn work to make the best of their form and their homes. Spending their whole lives in one profession they were practically made for, these Sporespawn are justly proud in their works beneath the surface.
Refugee - The tyranny of Unrul drives a lucky few to escape The Allspawn’s grasp. Many of these refugees avoid Sporespawn society in general, striking out into the world on their own or with those they escaped with. Still determined to find their place in Dema, they often integrate with other societies as specialists in their trades.
Liberated - Breaking free of the Tohol swarm is easier than one would expect, but remaining away from it is even harder. Those born within the Overmind’s control never developed a personality of their own. However, they do come into the world with the skills they were made for. Some ex-drones also retain foggy memories the Overmind hidden inside them of times long before they were grown, making them even more desirable for reclamation.
Agent - The supremacy of Tohol's Overmind and the iron grip of Unrul's Allspawn are the goal of many beings. Plenty have absolute loyalty in their hearts for these causes, truly believing them the best way for the Sporespawn to be. These devotees are entrusted to interact with the surface world and bring the will of their peoples to the rest of Dema.
Colonial - Fungi are capable of growing in any climate, and the Sporespawn have taken full advantage of this. Pockets of independent Sporespawn are found in nearly every city of Dema and in areas the other sentients would consider undesirable. These Sporespawn often do not know the horrors that lie below the earth, enjoying a peace under the sun that so many do not.
The Archivists’ Water culture is often considered dull and reserved, but that is only to outsiders. The controlled and deliberate lives lived in the Athenaeum are rich with introspection and dedicated focus to their crafts. Archivists are a common sight outside of their homelands, questing for Eldertech artifacts and following their path of Zenyecroat. Some key questions to ask when when making an Archivist:
How does your character keep their composure? How well does that work?
Who is a role model to your character and how well does your character emulate them?
What type of Eldertech fascinates your character most? How did they study or venerate it?
Examples of Archivist Origins:
Aegis - The Aegic are highly disciplined martial arts masters. The best warriors of the Athenaeum are forged here, honed against every human force that passes through Snow’s Edge. They feel humanity’s ire most frequently. Aegic Archivists are always taught to be ready for hostility outside their home city after generations of war, embargoes, and general discrimination from their neighbors to the south. However, they accept the lives spent to advance their people further on The Million Step Path.
Etherea - Originally a small shrine nestled within the Mountains of the Moon, now the most religiously devout Archivists may originate from the massive city and subject territories. Life here is sustained by a miraculous Eldertech device, known as the Archicon, that produces what can barely be described as food. The temples of this city have legendary reserves of Eldertech venerated as tools of the Etherean’s ancestors and as the key to reuniting with them.
Luminos - Hidden away at the edge of Dema are the fantastical laboratories united into a city. Believing the study of Eldertech to be their sacred duty to Zenyecroat, the Luminosi have some of the few engineers and researchers capable of activating non-functioning Eldertech. These Archivists dedicate themselves to their crafts, becoming experts in the use of the widest range of artifacts. The greatest wonders of Eldertech are in this city, and they hope to keep it that way.
Missionary - These Archivists and their descendants have put down roots in the farthest reaches beyond The Athenaeum. Actually walking along the Million Step Path takes great dedication. Many missionaries can barely remember their homelands, if at all. They are tasked with collecting and returning Eldertech to their home city, passing it along the network of others to deliver it home. They often never return home, enjoying the freedoms and warmth of lands other than the Athenaeum hold.
Pariah - Zenyecroat is a very demanding set of beliefs. To prepare the world for the next repetition is a task that leaves some wanting and others screaming. Those who fail to embrace the ancient Eltayan beliefs and traditions are cast out from their homes, sent to die unprepared for the return back to the next life. Archivist exiles live shorter, more passionate lives than their families that still abide by their Water based culture. Disallowed from even interacting with missionaries, they are forced to work odd jobs or sell their knowledge to survive.
Known for their iconic size and grandiose lives on the waves, the Wakewalkers embody the Fire element. Life on the islands in the Midnight Seas is brutal and often short, so it is necessary to enjoy life while you have it. Anything else would be squandering what you have. Some key questions to ask when making a Wakewalker:
Who were your character’s heroes growing up and how will they surpass them?
What is your character’s relationship with fear?
What brings your character the most pleasure?
Examples of Wakewalker Origin:
Clan Kahr - These giants expect you to make your name by ripping it from the world. Great hunters slay Deep Ones, great warriors dominate the battlefield, great athletes shatter records - whatever it is that you do, they expect greatness. Members of Clan Kahr search far and wide for their chance at legend, some even leaving their lands until they have proof of their deeds. The most legendary of all leave their names on their family’s Eldertech diving suits, known as Depth Rigs or Shakahr.
Clan Hiremai - In the darkest edge of the Midnight Isles, the enormous worshipers of the Terminarch live their lives to the fullest. From their magnificent works of art to the daring defenses of their home, all of their works are done in the service of the god who lives beneath their island. They export masterly crafted idols, paintings, and sculptures in exchange for Eldertech, often causing clashes with the Archivist missionaries.
Clan Jana’ haki - Exiled from their home waters, the malevolent Clan Jana’ haki prowl the waves in search of the sea’s bounty. They are outcasts, criminals, aberrants of all kinds - there is little that is beneath them. These Wakewalkers raid, trade with, and enslave any ship they come across and few realize which one it will be before they’re contacted. The only power they trust is in that of the blade, most exemplified by their great hero - the Corsair King.
Underclans - Many dozens of small underclans pay fealty to one of the three main clans, adhering to their cultures with some distinct twist that makes them a separate entity. Each possess their own clothing, food, rites, and taboo, they fight to keep their ways from being erased by the larger three. Some do this through isolation, others through dutiful service, and few through active resistance.
Exoclans - Small underclans may leave the entire region long enough that they no longer resemble the main clans. Even lone individuals unbound to the rules of any tradition can be found in the most unlikely locales, striving to the best of their ambitions. Mercenaries take lands granted to them after winning a war in the mainland, Jana’ haki make the best of being castaways by establishing themselves along the Midlands, and Hiremai heretics hide among seas of sand, snow, and grass. Later in Dema’s history, many turn to the Exoclans as the Midnight Isles sink.
What Is the Simulacrum?
A Note From Tyler and the Team
After expending an unfathomable amount of energy and resources, The Overseers are able to recreate digital simulations of the events of an entire hull cycle after its Redsky has finished. From the smallest single ripple of water to the ultimate fate of a species, the histories, cultures, even individual thoughts of every inhabitant of Dema can be simulated and replayed countless millions more times.
Alterations can even be made, seeing how a cascading effect on one changed action can exponentially radiate out down the entire timeline and remold what is functionally a new reality. While philosophically it is uncertain if these many alternate versions of Dema’s inhabitants are alive, they certainly think and feel as though their lives are concrete and have meaning. New Dema characters can be inserted into cultures, creating vastly different outcomes to politics, adventures, and warfare. New locations and even insertions of peoples and places from other cycles are experimented with by The Begetters tasked with nurturing these worlds.
For the community, we’d like to think this means almost any fun, creative story you and your friends tell that deviates from the ‘hard canon’ of the lore we create still happens in some capacity. At minimum, your stories are an entire branch within The Simulacrum with ideas so meaningful, The Overseers themselves thought it merited spawning a reality. We hope you enjoy using this sandbox we’ve created.
Who knows? If a person, place, event, or idea is shared among the community, and resonates enough with both devs and fans, plenty of official additions to the ‘hard canon’ of Dema’s prime story would be our privilege to add.
In the coming days, there's going to be a lot of exciting stuff going on
(including play-test sessions!) over on the Official Redsky Discord!
The community is rapidly growing, and we'd be lucky to have you!
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