EMPIRE CHRONICLES IS USUALLY RUN with a number of variant and house rules. While this may vary depending on the needs of a given campaign, the rules listed here are those which are most generally in effect. Some rules receive more detailed explanation later, but a general at-a-glance overview is provided here.
Empire Chronicles takes inspiration from traditional European fantasy, such as The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire, as well as Welsh, Germanic, Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian mythology. Many of these rules are intended to support a style of Dungeons & Dragons which evokes the feel of such a medieval fantasy world, where magic is rare and mysterious and the world is shrouded by the limitations of Iron Age technology.
Armor & Equipment
While the dwarves, elves, and other exotic races of Empire Chronicles have long practiced their own ways of doing things, the humans of this world are firmly stagnated at a level of technology reminiscent of the High Middle Ages of Europe, ca. 1200-1300 AD. Accordingly, Empire Chronicles uses a slightly tweaked armor chart which differs from that presented in the Player's Handbook (see the Equipment chapter for a full list).
Additionally, due to magic being relatively uncommon and the scarcity of powerful enchanted items, equipment can be forged from special, high-quality, and pseudo-magical materials which help take the place of many magic items. See the Equipment chapter for details.
Finally, there is simply no gunpowder in Empire Chronicles, nor any hope of ever inventing it, whether by scientific, alchemical, or magical means. This is one of the few hard rules for playing in the campaign setting, as guns, gunslingers, and similar RPG tropes are simply incompatible with the style and aesthetic that Empire Chronicles is trying to portray. Guns have no place here any more than steel does in a Bronze Age setting.
The following variant rules from the Dungeon Master's Guide (p. 266-267) are in effect:
Healer's Kit Dependency
A use from a healer's kit is required to spend Hit Dice after a Short Rest.
Slow Natural Healing
Hitpoints are not recovered on a Long Rest. Instead, Hit Dice can be used to recover HP, and do not require a healer's kit during a Long Rest.
The variant rule from the Player's Handbook allowing Feats is in effect. Additionally, human characters use the related Variant Humans profile.
THE WORLD OF EMPIRE CHRONICLES IS home to several of the standard Dungeons & Dragons races, including humans, dwarves, and elves, as well as many strange and savage creatures who live on the fringes of civilization. Halflings, gnomes, and half-elves can also occasionally be seen, having stumbled through one of the world's many planar portals.
Humans are the dominant race in Empire Chronicles, having spread across several continents with a great many cities and castles built in every corner of the world. The elves and dwarves, once masters of their own great empires many aeons ago, have faded into obscurity. Tieflings, aasimar, and other planetouched creatures keep a low profile amidst a largely-ignorant human populace, while the more bestial half-orcs and dragonkin are forced to eek out an existence on the periphery of human xenophobia.
Most characters follow the standard racial rules for their chosen race, but Empire Chronicles has a few additional options, considerations, and background information that can be taken into account if a player wishes.
“Centurion Lucinius! Orders from the legate! The barbarians are faltering, and your unit is commanded to press the advance and encircle their line!” -- Conquest of the North, 17 years prior to the Apotheosis of the Empress
The humans rose to prominence nearly 3,000 years prior to the current date, from the ashes of a crumbling dwarven civilization. As the dwarves retreated into underground holds and abandoned the decaying remnants of their empire, human tribes swept in to occupy the ruins. Quickly developing metalwork from studying what the dwarves left behind, humans built great cities and even empires of their own over the course of the next thousand years. Tribes evolved into kingdoms, and bronze and iron were forged into weapons of war.
The Age of Titans saw humans truly test their mettle against one another as the secrets of magic and power were unleashed upon the land. Empires clashed, eldritch beasts were tamed, and sorcerers of cataclysmic power tore entire cities asunder. By the end of this period, some empires still stood while others had been buried, but there were no true victors. The survivors, however, became the ancestors of the various groups and cultures who now inhabit the continent-spanning Imperian Empire and the lands beyond.
Humans characters can follow the standard human racial rules in the Player's Handbook, using the Variant Human Traits sidebar. Such characters are suited to an individual from any part of the Empire or outside it. However, some characters may embrace their cultural ancestry, and may choose one of these subraces if desired.
Imperians give their name and culture to an entire empire. Most call Imperia and its environs their home, though some can invariably be found almost anywhere in the Empire. They tend to be driven individuals and take inspiration from the great works of the Empire, and many serve a stint in the Legion before moving on to other pursuits in life.
Imperians tend to have fair or tanned complexions and light or dark brown hair.
Languages. Instead of choosing Common and one extra language, Imperians only know Imperian Common – they are masters of an empire, and have no need for foreign tongues or vulgar regional dialects.
Dominus. The Imperian people have conquered the known world, and their language, culture and way of life is the standard by which all others are measured. Imperians have Advantage on checks where Imperian culture is strongly presented (such as an Intimidation roll suggesting the target surrender before the might of Imperia, or a Persuasion roll to negotiate terms favourable to Imperian interests).
Male Names: Amulius, Appius, Caius, Cnaeus, Decimus, Flavus, Gaius, Galerius, Gnaeus, Lucius, Manius, Marcus, Numerius, Oppius, Publius, Quintus, Sextus, Tiberius, Titus
Female Names: Aeterna, Agrippina, Apphia, Caesonia, Cordelia, Cypria, Emelia, Felicia, Fontia, Gloria, Hypatia, Juliana, Lucina, Narcissa, Peregrina, Regina, Thena, Tiberia
Family Names: Acilius, Albanus, Barrius, Caeparius, Duronius, Epidius, Flavinius, Gavius, Herius, Liburnius, Messienus, Naevius, Ostorius, Plinius, Quirinius, Terentius
Achaons are the descendants of the ancient Achaean Empire, one of the most formidable nations of the Age of Titans. Although that great nation is no more, its people still echo that legendary heritage.
Achaons tend to have fair or tanned complexions with darker hair colors, although blond is not unheard of.
Languages. Instead of Common and one extra language, Achaons speak Achaean Common.
Forefathers. The Achaons once had a magnificent empire of their own. Their rich history is full of scholarship, science, and philosophy, and Achaons have Proficiency in the History skill. They also have Advantage on checks involving the lore of the Age of Titans.
Male Names: Acaeus, Acestes, Aegaeon, Alexias, Anaxos, Aristaeus, Brygos, Charmides, Cleandros, Cyneas, Deiotones, Democedes, Eratostheres, Eurydamus, Hippolytos, Lukos
Female Names: Adeia, Aristophane, Circe, Deineira, Eudokia, Iomene, Leucothea, Nikaia, Pherenike, Raisa, Zoe
Family Names: Achaons usually take a surname from their hometown. For example, 'Acaeus of Eurypolis.'
The hardy men of the northern parts of the Empire and beyond are accustomed to rugged terrain, cold climates, and yearly hardship. They are tough, and many trace their lineage back to proud traditions of raiding, conquest, and noble savagery.
Aquilonians tend to be tall, with fair complexions and light brown, blond, or red hair.
Aquilonians represent many of the inhabitants of the north-northwestern parts of the Empire, as well as the Northmen who live beyond it.
Languages. Instead of Common and one extra language, Aquilonians may choose to speak Aquilonian Common, Holman Common, or Kyrric Common. Northmen characters speak Old Aquilonian instead.
Rugged. Aquilonians have proficiency in the Survival skill. They also have Advantage on checks made to deal with cold environments.
Male Names: Adelard, Alberic, Aldwin, Alfgar, Canute, Edmund, Edward, Eric, Grimbald, Harold, Leofwin, Lyonel, Osmund, Thorald, Thrystan, Ulric, Wilfred, Wulfric
Female Names: Acelina, Adaleide, Aelfryth, Ailith, Edith, Gisella, Hilde, Matilde, Millicent, Rikilde, Sigrún, Þuríður
Family Names: Aquilonians usually use patronymics. For example, 'Adelard Aldwinson,' or 'Acelina Alfgarsdottir.'
Aurorans come from tough stock, accustomed to harsh survival amidst the wild forests east of Imperia. While much of Aurora has since been civilized and turned into arable farmland, there are still those whose heritage is that of their wild, barbaric Auroran forebears. Fierce warrior traditions have combined with a communal ethic to create a formidable people.
Aurorans tend to have fair complexions, with brown or blond hair.
Languages. Instead of Common and one extra language, Aurorans speak Dallan Common.
Dallan Warrior Blood. Aurorans are hardy frontier people, and have proficiency in the Athletics skill.
Male Names: Adalbrecht, Adelstan, Alaricus, Athalwolf, Baldewin, Carbo, Eckardus, Emmerich, Fridericus, Gautbehrt, Gerwald, Heimerich, Johannes, Leonhard
Female Names: Alda, Erelieva, Fara, Gerlinda, Grishild, Ida, Isold, Joveta, Reinewif, Roswitha, Sigarda, Willelda
Family Names: Auroran commonfolk rarely have surnames, but may be named after their home. Nobility usually take on their titles and properties as a hereditary family name, for example, 'Adalbrecht von Heimdorf.'
Scoradians are accustomed to heat, sand, and sea. Some trace their ancestry back to old Achaean colonies, while others hail from nomadic desert tribes. They are renowned as some of the finest sailors in the Empire, as well as capable survivalists in the hot desert conditions of Scoradia.
Scoradians tend to have tanned or dusky complexions and dark hair.
Languages. Instead of Common and one extra language, Scoradians speak Scoradian and one of either Imperian Common, Achaean Common, or Lancian Common.
Scoradian Nights. Scoradians have Advantage on Survival checks against desert or tropical conditions and going without water.
Male Names: Aspar, Bomilcar, Carthalo, Dabar, Hamed, Hymeas, Kashta, Mago, Mathos, Naravas, Oarizus, Sabacus, Said, Sargon, Tarik, Tigranes, Tychaeus, Xerxes, Zeteres
Female Names: Aishah, Alyasaa, Asminia, Ayzebel, Chione, Damaspia, Eutychia, Inanna, Karimala, Mayati, Nidaba, Qalhata, Samsi, Stateira, Timat, Zenobia
Family Names: Scoradian naming traditions vary. Some use patronymics, for example, 'Said ibn Tarik,' while others are named for their home, as in 'Tigranes of Eupharhios.'
Of all the men of the Empire, it is said that the Vesperans are most in tune with the Old Magic. The Vesperan people still maintain some ties to their old druidic traditions, though many simultaneously embrace the modern ways of the Empire. Some of the finest exemplars of chivalric excellence come from Vespera, and they are well-known for more than a few famous knights and adventurers.
Vesperans tend to have fair complexions, and light brown, blond, or red hair.
Languages. Instead of Common and one extra language, Vesperans speak Gaertanic Common.
The Old Ways. Although most of the common folk are largely ignorant of such things, heroic adventurers of Vesperan blood tend to be in tune with some small trace of Old Magic. Vesperans know the druidcraft cantrip, which manifests subtly (and may even be subconscious), using Wisdom as the spellcasting ability.
Male Names: Alain, Arthur, Bleddyn, Branoc, Brien, Ceinlys, Coran, Cynwric, Edern, Gawain, Niall, Tristram, Urien, Ywain
Female Names: Arianwen, Branwyne, Eirwen, Guinevere, Gwyneth, Lyonnete, Maerwynn, Rhiannon, Rhoswen, Yseult
Family Names: Patronymics are common in Vespera, as are names taken from one's home. For example, 'Alain ap Bleddyn,' or 'Branwyne of Connagon.'
When humans were nothing more than nomadic tribes of primitives, the dwarves ruled the world. Today, many of their mountain fortresses and colossal subterranean holds still stand as a testament to dwarven supremacy, even if the dwarves themselves have dwindled in number and influence.
Greed, decadence, corruption and complacency eroded their empire from within until it collapsed in spectacular fashion. Torn apart by in-fighting, monstrous creatures, short-sightedness and the threat posed by increasingly aggressive humans, the surviving dwarves vowed never to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors. The descendants of those survivors now carry out a quiet existence, buried deep within reclusive holds which are kept far from the prying eyes of inquisitive humans and belligerent orcs.
Occasionally, however, a dwarf is moved to leave his or her hold and venture out into lands now claimed by mankind. Whether it be due to wanderlust, exile, escape, or necessary evil, a dwarf who takes up the adventuring life is uncommon but not unheard of.
The Modern Dwarf
The once-magnificent Dwarven Empire spanned much of the known realm, although the details are poorly recorded in human history. The dwarves of the modern era are a pale shadow of their former selves, having retreated to only a handful of secluded subterranean holds. From their hidden fortresses, they occasionally foray out to secure what trade they deem necessary with the humans and other races of the world, although such arrangements are often tolerated only thinly, propped up by the dwarven desire for material security.
Like many intelligent races, individual dwarves vary in disposition and behavior, but in general, dwarves tend to be avaricious, loyal, and highly industrious. Their societies tend toward high degrees of communal cooperation, resulting in great works of architecture and engineering. To a dwarf, loyalty to the clan is everything, and every effort is made to build up the group, rather than the individual. Despite this, it is not uncommon for dwarves to have a greedy streak, and once a dwarf’s commitment to the clan is satisfied, a few extra metal ingots “for a rainy day” tend to find their way to private stashes.
Clans are of great importance and influence in dwarven society. Equivalent in many respects to a human noble house, a dwarven clan is essentially an extended dynastic family which acts with singular purpose. Lowly 17th cousins of the ruling Barthaz toil away at menial tasks for the advancement of the clan, while the Barthaz’s immediate family usually serve as high-ranking warriors and advisors. It is almost unheard of for the high-ranking members of a clan to live a life of luxury, as such slothful indulgence is one of the gravest sins in dwarven culture. The status of the clan as a whole is often a more important indicator of an individual dwarf’s position in the social hierarchy, rather than the dwarf’s position within the clan. A low-ranking cousin of a prestigious clan will often have greater influence and standing in dwarf society than the ruling Barthaz of a minor clan, although this is not always set in stone.
Dwarven metallurgy is renowned throughout the civilized world, and the vast majority of magical arms and armor that are discovered are of dwarven make. Many of these items trace their history back to the Dwarven Empire, though only a minority of such finds are truly noteworthy.
Dwarf characters follow the standard creation rules in the Player's Handbook.
Elves are reclusive, aloof, and distinctly inhuman creatures. They are rarely seen in the civilized parts of the Empire, and generally show no desire to interact with humans and their political constructs.
There are two major varieties of elves – the “common” wood elf and the more ancient and austere aldelf, occasionally called “high elf.”
Elf characters follow the standard creation rules in the Player's Handbook. Aldelves use the high elf subrace option, with the additional Immortal rule below.
Aldelves, or high elves, are the rarer type of elf. Few in the Empire have ever seen a wood elf in person, but fewer still even know of the aldelves’ existence.
Austere and eldritch, aldelves are a truly ancient people. Their fire has long since gone out of the world, extinguished aeons ago by the rise of the dwarves. What few aldelves remain are in reclusive mountain retreats, far from the prying eyes of others.
Aldelves are significantly taller than their “common” cousins, and are alleged to have an uncannily haunting gaze. Unlike wood elves, aldelves are thought to be truly immortal, surpassing even their cousins’ long life spans.
Immortal. Aldelves do not die of old age.
Wood elves, although rarely seen in the “civilized” world, are the more common variety of elf. They are so named for their tendency to stick to wooded areas and great forests, as opposed to cleared farmland. Some build cities and villages, often amongst the surrounding trees, while other groups of wood elves are more nomadic.
They have a xenophobic streak and are rarely friendly to humans and other creatures who stray too far into their homes, but usually refrain from deadly reprisals unless threatened. Wood elves are well-known for their archery and swordsmanship, as well as an affinity for magic.
The world of Empire Chronicles is in flux, always feeling the push and pull of magical forces beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. Although the average villager is oblivious to it, cosmic coterminity allows things from planes far beyond this one to slip through the boundaries of reality from time to time. Demons, devils, angels, genies and more occasionally make their presence known, and the descendants of their offspring often take up the adventuring life rather than be ostracized for their supernatural heritage.
Tiefling characters follow the standard creation rules in the Player's Handbook. Aasimar characters use a modification of the sample rules shown in the Dungeon Master's Guide.
Rarer than aasimar, tieflings are nevertheless the second most common variety of planetouched. Most who live in the Empire are planar “immigrants”, since few bother to raise any children. Those rare individuals who are native-born tieflings are usually the illegitimate offspring of promiscuous planar visitors, and almost never have any contact with their planetouched parent. Tieflings rarely integrate with society well, since their inherently fiendish nature tends to pre- dispose them toward antisocial behavior. Not all are outright evil, but even those who aren’t tend to be unlikeable and ostractized unless they are very diligent about blending into society.
Those descended from heavenly creatures or otherwise touched by some divine heritage, while exceedingly rare relative to the population as a whole, are the most common variety of planetouched creatures living amidst civilized society. Most can and do simply pass as humans or half-elves, and some even go their whole lives blissfully ignorant of their own ancestry. Few aasimar publicly advertise their heritage, but those who do often enjoy celebrity, thanks to both the inherent charisma and likeability that celestial ancestry tends to impart as well as a popular perception that such lineage is blessed with good omens for the community the aasimar lives with. Most aasimar, however, quietly content themselves with humble pursuits dedicated to the common good or self-enlightenment.
Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1, and your Charisma score increases by 2.
Age. Aasimar mature at the same rate as humans but live a few years longer. They also tend to age very gracefully, and rarely show outward signs of old age.
Alignment. Due to their celestial heritage, aasimar are often good. However, some aasimar fall into evil, rejecting their heritage.
Size. Aasimar are built like well-proportioned humans. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision. Thanks to your celestial heritage, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light.
Celestial Resistance. You have resistance to acid damage and cold damage.
Celestial Legacy. You know the light cantrip. Once you reach 3rd level, you can cast the lesser restoration spell once with this trait, and you regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Once you reach 5th level, you can cast the daylight spell once with this trait as a 3rd-level spell, and you regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
Languages. You can speak, read, and write one dialect of Common.
THE IMPERIAN CHURCH IS THE OFFICIAL state religion of the Empire and has largely replaced pagan pantheons as the dominant religion in most areas of the civilized world. Its primary tenet is the worship and veneration of the Empress as a deity and as the personified avatar of the Empire itself.
Since its rise as the primary religion of the Empire, the Imperian Church has assimilated a great deal from its pagan predecessors. Great pagan gods of old now populate the Church's collection of revered saints, and many of the ecclesiastical rituals, doctrines, and aesthetics of the modern Church are old traditions given a fresh coat of paint. Often, the line between an adherent of the modern Church and a worshipper of the old pagan ways is a blurry one.
Choosing a Deity
Clerics in Empire Chronicles usually get their spells and abilities from their deity, although deriving power directly from other extraplanar sources is possible in rare cases. Most humans either follow some interpretation of the Imperian Church's teachings or worship older gods in ancient pagan tradition. Adherents of the Church all worship the Empress to some degree, and clerics should choose an Imperian saint to further define their faith and choice of divine domain. Pagans should select a primary deity from their own pantheon. Non-humans such as elves and dwarves usually worship their standard D&D racial pantheons.
The canonically-recognized saints of the Imperian Church are divided into two groups: major and minor. The major saints are generally aspects of the pagan gods once worshipped in Imperian tradition, while the minor saints are usually made up of local pagan deities in outlying regions, assimilated into Church doctrine.
The major saints of the Imperian Church are venerated across the Empire, especially so in the heartlands and among former Achaean colonies. They are the heart and soul of the Church's aesthetic, resplendent in angelic wings, glorious halos, classical togas, and majestic laurel wreaths.
Like most of the saints of the Imperian Church, Victory was once (and in some places, still is) revered as a goddess in her own right. Appearing as an armored, winged, angelic woman, Victory has a central role in Imperian spiritual beliefs. She is the embodiment and personification of Imperia itself, and Imperia is her chosen nation in the mortal world – or so Imperian theologians once wrote. Now, she is conflated with the deified Empress, and the two occupy similar and sometimes utterly indistinguishable roles in the Imperian Church and society in general.
As the personification of Imperia and its victorious conquests, she is generally depicted as a virtuous warrior. Her favored weapon is the spear.
Clerics who wish to focus on venerating the Empress herself or who prefer mainstream Church doctrine should select Victory as their deity.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Domains: Grave, War
Symbol: Laurel wreath / angelic wings
Seer is the saint of wisdom, foresight, and divine inspiration. She is often venerated before a battle or when seeking divine guidance. Like Victory, she is usually depicted armed and armored, prepared for battle with her spear and shield.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Domains: Knowledge, War
An ancient king, Storm is the ruler of the skies and patriarch of the major saints. He projects authority and imperial right to rule, but exercises his displeasure with fits of thunder and lightning. He is sometimes depicted wielding a javelin as though to represent a thunderbolt.
Symbol: Eagle / thunderbolts
Where Storm is a tempestuous, wrathful patriarch, Regina serves as Imperia's more measured and restrained matriarch. Worshippers pray to Storm for power, and then the smarter ones pray to Regina for the wisdom to use it well. She keeps vigil over her domain with a majestic quarterstaff, often feathered like a peacock.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
The patron saint of the sea and those who travel it, Abyss is traditionally seen as fickle and mercurial. Prayers and offerings are made to him in the hopes of a calm sea or bountiful fishing, lest he unleash his stormy wrath. An old bearded man, he is rarely clothed but always armed with his signature trident.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
The patron saint of smiths, craftsmen, metal and volcanic fire. He is a stern but benevolent figure, associated with the common folk as a tireless and virtuous working man. Of course, he is rarely depicted without his trusty hammer.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Domains: Forge, Knowledge
Symbol: Blacksmith's hammer
The consummate soldier, Militant represents the disciplined warriors of Imperia. He is stoic, unflinching, and unwavering in his duty. He leaves the glorious conquests to Victory and the strategic planning to Seer; his mission is to secure peace and order by the tip of his spear.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Symbol: Stylized spear
Grace is the saint of marriage, women and love. She is usually depicted wearing little more than elaborate arrangements of flowers, and she oversees all marriages and lovers' trysts.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Domains: Life, Trickery
Symbol: Myrtle / roses
The patron of mercantile enterprise, travel, and even gamblers and thieves, Merchant is a swift and flighty saint. People pray to him for wealth and good business, and he is seen as a noble defender of accused thieves and liars.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Symbol: Winged staff / serpents
The paladin's saint, Light is the Bringer of the Sun, the Seeker of Truth, and the Banisher of Plagues. He heals the sick and rebukes the liars Merchant so often defends. Many poets and artists also look to him for enlightenment. Often depicted with angelic wings like Victory herself, Light defends truth with his bow.
Alignment: Lawful Good
Domains: Knowledge, Life, Light
Symbol: Lyre / the sun
Light's twin, Arrow shares her brother's affinity for the bow. She is attuned to nature and the wild hunt, guiding hunters to their marks. Arrow communes with the creatures of the forest, and plays the moon to her brother's sun.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Domains: Life, Nature
Symbol: Bow and arrow / the moon
Too numerous to list, different sects of the Imperian Church are littered with personifications of regional traditions, ancient heroes, famous kings, and many of the old gods whose people came under the sway of the Empire. Aquilonian gods often have a saintly aspect in the Church, as do the Vesperan god-heroes of legend. A few examples are provided here, though players should feel free to work with the DM to define a saint inspired by European or Mediterranean mythology. Local Church officials are only too eager to assimilate the pagan beliefs along the borders of the Empire into veneration of the Empress!
A wise old sage whom some Vesperans like to claim was once a personal advisor to the Empress herself. He has power over nature and magic, and is said to have a special connection to the Old Magic of the land. Myrddin is often revered by Vesperan druids and wizards hoping to emulate his legendary power.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Domains: Arcana, Knowledge, Nature
A popular saint in many areas of the Aquilonian north, Eir's winged appearance and preference for the spear often associates her with Victory and therefore the Empress herself. Unlike her southerly sisters, however, Eir heals the wounded and watches over fallen warriors on their way to the afterlife.
Alignment: Neutral Good
Symbol: Winged helm
Even under the religious oversight of the Imperian Church, outmoded and even outlawed spiritual beliefs persist. Old gods too out of favor to be made saints or patrons of outright evil still maintain cults of secretive worshippers. Some, like the old Imperian Master of Time, the god Threshold, no longer answer prayers or provide divine power to their followers. Others are simply anathema to civilized society, forces of such obvious chaos and evil that no virtuous citizen would ever revere them.
A cthonic god of fertile crops and mineral riches. Unlike his Imperian fellows, he was never canonized as an official saint. Worship of Greed and accusations of unscrupulous business dealings or petty corruption went hand-in-hand all too often, and he eventually fell out of favor. Still, rumors persist of ambitious politicians who invoke his name...
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Symbol: Iron nail / crown
An old god of the underworld, too dark and barbaric to be worshipped openly in civilized society. He is the Punisher, tormentor of oath-breakers, but his worshippers rarely discriminate in their sadism.
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Domains: Arcana, Death
Symbol: Ram's skull
CHARACTERS IN EMPIRE CHRONICLES CAN come from all of the standard listed backgrounds in the Player's Handbook. Some of the unique institutions and circumstances of Empire Chronicles can provide for additional background options which may be chosen if a player wishes to portray a character from such a specialist background.
Legionary (Variant Soldier)
The Empire has fallen on harder times, and the Legions have suffered. A few maintain their elite status in some limited fashion, but most have become more watered-down, more loosely-organized formations. Discipline and training remain the Legions’ defining features, but their equipment and knights are not what they once were. Different strategic requirements have turned them from a hard-hitting army of conquest and imperial might into a thinly-spread garrison force, preoccupied with policing discontent provinces and skirmishing with hostile raiders.
Many citizens of the Empire serve a stint in the Imperial Legion, and this can be reflected in a PC with the following variant of the Soldier Background.
Skill Proficiences: Athletics
Tool Proficiences: One of the following: Carpenter, Cobbler, Cook, Leatherworker, Smith, Weaver, or Woodcarver
Equipment: Instead of your class equipment, you get a set of legionary clothing, a legionary cloak, a belt pouch containing 30 gp, a spear, a shield, a mail shirt, and an explorer's pack.
Additional Feature: Legionary Renown
If your character is still an active member of their Legion, you may garner Renown for carrying out your orders and assisting in matters which concern the Legions (such as clearing the roads of bandits or wiping out an infestation of goblins).
EMPIRE CHRONICLES, LIKE MOST OF the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, is a fantasy world filled with wizards, warriors, orcs, and dragons. The standard equipment listed in the Player's Handbook serves as a good, all-purpose collection of fantasy gear, but Empire Chronicles takes some of its inspiration from styles of fantasy and mythology which predate D&D. Although anachronisms abound in EC, the core technology base of human civilization resembles that of Europe ca. 1200 AD. Accordingly, the table of available armor is re-balanced to represent being skewed backward several hundred years - for example, full, articulated plate armor is virtually non-existent, and has been replaced in the armor table by the equivalent armor in use during the High Middle Ages of Europe.
Similarly, gunpowder simply does not exist - and all attempts to create it automatically fail. Anything more sophisticated than a crossbow, a ballista, or a trebuchet is akin to magic, and would be appropriately difficult or even impossible to obtain.
Armor and Shields
Most of the new armors have a logical equivalent or are simply renamed - for example, chainmail is renamed heavy mail, and splint mail correlates to coat-of-plates. In these cases, simply use the EC version in place of the standard version. If you acquire a set of chainmail, treat it as heavy mail, and so on.
A few armors have been re-arranged or re-balanced. Padded armor is now medium and hide armor is now light, for example. Treat the armor as what it indicates, but use the EC stat line instead.
Light armor allows you to add your Dexterity modifier to your Armor Class.
Hide / Cloth. Leathers, furs, and perhaps bone, wood, or other primitive materials which have been assembled to serve as rudimentary protection from the elements. More sophisticated or ‘cultured’ examples may exist, with finely-tailored fur linings adorning elaborate leather-work, but such armor is usually more ceremonial than functional and offers only limited protection from cold steel. Also represents protective cloth and linen garments which aren’t as thick as a proper gambeson.
Leather. Thick, hardened leather purpose-built as protective armor provides some amount of protection for a warrior concerned with being fashionable – or unencumbered by bulky mail. A cuirass, vambraces, greaves, and possibly pteryges offer stylish, if limited protection. A leather or metal helm is also common.
Medium armor allows you to add your Dexterity modifier to your Armor Class, up to a maximum of +2.
Padded. Also known as a gambeson, aketon, jack, and various other terms, such garments are the go-to source of protection for warriors on a shoe-string budget. Although best used as padding underneath proper mail, it is also surprisingly functional by itself and quite protective against swords and arrows alike. Often includes a simple but rugged metal helmet.
Mail Shirt. A mail byrnie is a simple waist-length shirt of chainmail, and serves as a relatively affordable, effective, and highly versatile staple of personal armor. It is often worn over a gambeson, but may also be incorporated into less stuffy traveling garments. Leather vambraces and a metal helm or mail coif usually round out the ensemble.
Scale Armor. Although uncommon in the Empire, complete sets of scale armor are relatively popular among the dwarves and elves who inhabit the more secluded corners of the world. Overlapping metal or leather scales cover most of the body and are often arrayed over a backing layer of mail, and may even be worked into a matching helmet in some cases. Variations include lamellar armor, as well as old-style loricas from Imperia’s past.
Brigandine. For a warrior who wants high-quality protection but without sacrificing too much mobility, a jack of brigandine serves as a fashionable option. A padded or leather coat conceals a semi-flexible shell of riveted metal plates which offers excellent protection for the torso, but little else. Leather or mail additions and a proper helmet are needed to protect the rest of the body.
Heavy armor neither adds nor subtracts your Dexterity modifier from your Armor Class.
Heavy Mail. Heavy mail serves as a catch-all category for complete, heavy-duty chainmail protection. Consisting of a thigh- or knee-length mail hauberk at the minimum, it is usually supplemented by mail chausses for the legs and feet, mail mittens or metal gauntlets for the hands, a mail coif and heavy metal helm, and sometimes additional protection from boiled leather or extra linen padding. Heraldic cloth surcoats and tabards are also popular and fashionable additions.
Coat of Plates. Essentially a suit of heavy mail, further reinforced by a long coat of heavy brigandine to further protect the torso and upper legs. May also include gauntlets, metal greaves, and spaulders.
Partial Plate. The ultimate in personal defense. A suit of heavy mail which has been fully reinforced with solid metal plates, including a breastplate (and in rare cases a matching backplate), spaulders, gauntlets, vambraces, faulds, and greaves. Rare and exotic sets (usually of dwarven make) may include full pauldrons, sabatons, and other pieces to more fully enclose the wearer.
Shields are somewhat cumbersome, but afford the wielder considerable protection. If used with the Shield Master feat, they deal 1d4 + Strength modifier damage on a successful bonus attack.
Buckler. A lightweight metal shield for personal defense, suitable for easy storage and traveling. Small but effective, and ideal for situations which require a shield as a backup defense.
Shield. A larger shield, usually made of wood and either painted or covered with cloth or leather. All-purpose and versatile, shields usually come in round, oval, or ‘heater’ style, with types having varying popularity in different regions of the Empire.
Large Shield. A tall wooden kite shield or full pavise. Difficult to carry and use, but undeniably effective and capable of defending the whole body.
Armor - High Middle Ages
|Hide / Cloth||5 gp||11+Dex||-||-|
|Padded||5 gp||12+Dex (max 2)||-||-|
|Mail Shirt||50 gp||13+Dex (max 2)||-||-|
|Scale Armor||100 gp||14+Dex (max 2)||-||Disadvantage|
|Brigandine||150 gp||15+Dex (max 2)||-||Disadvantage|
|Heavy Mail||75 gp||16||Str 13||Disadvantage|
|Coat of Plates||200 gp||17||Str 15||Disadvantage|
|Partial Plate||1500 gp||18||Str 15||Disadvantage|
|Large Shield||20 gp||+3||Str 13||Disadvantage|
Although truly magical weapons and armor are relatively rare in Empire Chronicles, adventurers can augment their equipment with high-quality craftsmanship and powerful materials. During their adventures, characters may encounter improved items which have an edge over their standard counterparts.
‘Masterwork’ items are finely-crafted by skilled smiths using high quality steel. Weapons treat damage rolls of ‘1’ as a roll of ‘2’ instead. Metal armor ignores 1 point of nonmagical slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning damage per hit. Non-metal items may also be masterwork, represented by fine craftsmanship and materials such as carefully-treated yew or dire animal leather.
An iron or steel weapon can be carefully treated with silver plating to harm creatures vulnerable to silver, ignoring relevant Resistances. Silvered armor grants Advantage on saving throws against some spells and abilities used by silver-vulnerable creatures (DM discretion).
Finely crafted from steel and silver to offer a warrior the best tools money can buy. Combines Steel Masterwork and Silvered, above.
A rare and powerful metal when incorporated into steel alloys. Adamantine armor can downgrade critical hits to normal hits instead. When the wearer is critically hit, the attacker must roll a second, identical attack. If the second roll meets or exceeds the target's AC, the critical hit occurs as normal. If the second roll is a miss, then the original hit is downgraded to a regular hit and does not resolve the extra damage of a critical hit. In addition, the wearer ignores 1 point of nonmagical slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning damage from any incoming hit.
Adamantine weapons have +1 to damage and count as silver. Some adamantine items may have minor magical properties (DMG, 142-143).
Supremely rare and requiring a master smith to work, mithril possesses quasi-magical properties when properly forged. Mithril armor has no Strength requirement to wear and does not grant Disadvantage on Stealth rolls. It also allows the wearer to treat any critical hit as a normal hit instead and ignore 1 point of slashing, bludgeoning, or piercing damage from any incoming hit.
Mithril weapons have +1 to damage and count as silver and/or magical for the purposes of attacking and dealing damage. Most mithril items have minor magical properties (DMG, 142-143).