Part Six: The Feel of Conclave
The World of Conclave is a high-magic setting, in that great wonders exist in the world like floating mountains, magical minerals, vanishing islands and hundred foot tall giants of soil. The mechanics of the world are magical in nature, due to the actions of gods and spirits rather than electromagnetic forces and atomic structure. These high magic elements, however, are generally out of the reach of mortals to emulate in power. The mortal races can access magic, but with considerably less power (in most places). Low level dabblers in magic are common, but high level casters are rare. Simple magic items like potions and scrolls are common, more powerful items are rare and are often unique.
Although the World of Conclave uses elements that might be considered 'Oriental', such as jade, rice, elephants, unarmed fighting styles and so forth, it is not an Oriental setting. It could be loosely described as being Asian in flavour, but this would include Siberia, the Indian sub-continent, south-east Asia and the Central Asian states. The melting pot nature of the Silk Road countries is a definite inspiration but it is not the only one. Whilst the Empire of Splendour, for example, may take some inspiration from the decadent Manchu courtlife of Qing China, it includes in equal measure the court of Louis XVI, the Julio-Claudian emperors and the Moghul emperors as well as diverse other sources. No nation is designed as a one-one analogy of Earth cultures, and many stem entirely from concepts possible only in a fantastic land.
Technologically, the World of Conclave is slightly more advanced than the assumed setting of the Core Rulebooks. It is closer to late 17th Century Europe in that printing, clocks, oceanwide trade companies, banking and gunpowder are all in use to some degree. Not all nations have reached this level of development, and it is this disparity which helps drive the conflicts inherent in the setting.
There are no over-arching metaplots or singular goals to achieve in the World of Conclave, although that is not to say that there aren't plenty of interweaving plots and plot-hooks to be used. The setting is deliberately created so as to allow different styles of play, according to the desires of the players. For those who like a bit of pulp action, the search for the lost Bird Ships of the Empire on remote tropical islands would suit. For those who like political scheming, the machinations of the Merchants League are perfect. For exploration and discovery, the Outer Continent is the ideal setting. For horror or conspiracies, why not explore the nefarious doings of the Followers of Vuul and their covert war with the Dark Sphere? For gritty urban decay, the mean streets of Llaza and the Black River Society present themselves.
So is there a uniting theme to Conclave? Yes there is, but it is a subtle one of cultures in conflict. Similar to its late 17th Century inspirations, the state of the World of Conclave as we present it here, as a baseline starting point, all is in a state of flux and pending change. Old orders are crumbling and liable to do anything to cling to their last vestiges of power. New orders are rising but have not yet settled on a clear direction. Civil war, power vacuums and moral ambiguity are the likely result. Whilst none of the nations are at open war, there is distrust, skirmish, assassination and political maneuvring that all threaten to combine into open hostility. This can form the basis of a campaign or can simply be simmering away in the background as the player characters go off treasure hunting in distant lands.
Above all, Conclave stands for a sense of wonder and a depth of detail.
We hope you enjoy it.