In 2002 I created the world of Hyracanum for my most ambitious D&D campaign ever, The Edge Campaign, and liked it enough to use it for four subsequent campaigns: Realm of the Five Duchies, Dragon Isles of the Xanthium Sea, Zenobia and the 3 Queens setting created for the podcast series B&B (Bards & Ballads – Not a Bed and Breakfast Podcast). The last three are all running concurrently.
- 3 Queens (2019 – current) – created for the B&B (Bards & Ballads – Not a Bed and Breakfast Podcast) game setting.
- Zenobia (2019 – current) – an Empire presided over by a Gold Dragon, this is the supergroup of eight players plus DM.
- Dragon Isles of the Xanthium Sea (2018-current) – My return to gaming with the release of 5th Edition rules.
- Realm of the Five Duchies (2015-17) – actually two campaigns set in the Duchy of Dunsany.
- The Edge Campaign (2002-05) – for which the world was created, epic adventures that reached as far as the Inverted World and the moons.
The discworld of Hyrcanum coalesced millennia ago when the four elemental planes came into perfect harmonious balance. The Plane of Air created a vast bubble of space where the Plane of Earth manifested as the mantle of Hyracanum. All the water in the world comes from Aqualiths – mountains hundreds of miles tall whose flat tops are huge portals to the Plane of Water, forever overflowing into Hyracanum.
The Plane of Fire is locked inside the mantle of the world, but breaks through the ground of the Inverted World on the discworld’s underside where endless ranges of volcanoes hurl their fire into space. The discworld is orbited by seven moons, known as the Seven Sisters, and each day of the week derives its name from the dawning moon of that day: Coraday, Noraday, Doraday, Miraday, Maraday, Faraday and Saraday.
Hyracanum’s sun is launched from a cannon in the firmament many thousands of miles beyond the eastern edge of the world. The sun flies over the world in an arc that terminates in a well at the far side of the firmament. The sun travels close enough to burn the moons and singe the equator of the discworld, creating the Equatorial Desert and its infamous 400-mile wide “Searing Zone” where surface life has no chance of survival.
Hyracanum has no seasons, but the 360 day-long year is divided into four quarters called “months” known as Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. A year is the time it takes for the constellations in the firmament to revolve around Hyracanum.
All of the forests and jungles of the world overlap with Elfland, which is what the Feywild is known as in Hyracanum, and all Fey creatures have the ability to pass between both worlds as a bonus action if they are in an appropriate setting at the “magic hour”, the time before sunrise and after sunset, when conditions in Hyracanum match the eternal twilight of Elfland.
Elves, gnomes and goblins are considered quasi-Fey and share this ability. They also know where to make crossings that bypass the time distortion effects listed in the DMG. Their kinship with a place where time hardly moves accounts for their long lifespans and few are anything more than tourists in Hyracanum.
The Gods of Hyracanum
There are many, many more gods in the worlds than can be listed here, beings who govern various aspects of life and death, but across the world it is acknowledged that the most powerful of them reside in the stars like a zodiac of twelve major constellations that are visible even during the day. This more-or-less universal list covers them by their most common names.
- Bered (NG) – Life, Light
- Celestia (LN) – Knowledge
- Derneth (N) – War
- Hyra (N) – Life, Nature
- Jenro (LE) – War
- Kibel (CG) – Life, Trickery
- Lancorra (LG) – War
- Mati-Mali (CN) – Tempest, Trickery
- Michimalto (N) – Knowledge
- Pethamor (N) – Light
- Samas (NE) – Knowledge
- Tanetar (CE) – Tempest, Trickery
Alignment is one of my favourite aspects of Dungeons & Dragons. It is the moral and ethical compass that is supposed to inform your character’s decisions. Many DMs don’t use Alignment but I love playing with notions like Good and Evil, Order and Chaos. At lower levels, Alignment is largely inconsequential, but if one goes to the outer planes of existence it can have an effect.
Here is a chart compiling examples of the nine different alignments in D&D, as taken from movies, shown on a spectrum. Some of these characters have widely differing interpretations in different media, so the specific context of the image and that characterization is important to remember.
Good characters believe in the welfare of everyone, in helping and healing and protecting the innocent from harm. Good characters wage eternal warfare with Evil. Good holds that peace and prosperity are goals to be achieved through the destruction of Evil and its threats. Hope and love are the meat and drink of Good.
Evil is sadistic and malicious, cruel and hateful. Evil characters are forever engaged in destructive conflict with Good, always seeking to unmake the labours of Good and bring maximum suffering to as many as possible. Sadistic nihilism is the credo of Evil.
Lawful characters believe in order and progress, valuing structures and systems as the best means to achieve their goals. Lawful characters are champions of The Establishment. “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
Chaotic characters are intolerant of rules and are suspicious of authority. Chaos places the ends before the means and rejects any kind of proper procedure. “Let the chips fall where they may.”
Neutral is the middle way. Good and Evil are as useful and as problematic as Law or Chaos. Characters inclined towards Good will ally as easily with Chaotic or Lawful characters in their war on Evil, and vice versa. Similarly, a character devoted to Law or Chaos will view Good and Evil as either tools or distractions in their quest.