My Vornheim- World Building and Collaborative Creation

This is a part three in a series of posts that will outline my homebrew campaign that utilizes the Vornheim Complete City Kit.

Part I and Part II.

World Building and What I Want

When reading Zak S Vornheim book one of the first images I saw was a sad child looking at passers by, filthy, covered in soot. This is a bustling city, a city of advancement, enterprise, and of inequality.

While I definitely wanted to capture the feel of Zak’s book and use it in my campaign, I wanted to make Vornheim mine and not just the one that is used in I Hit it With My Axe. I started looking at what I wanted to do when creating this world.

I wanted:

A) A dirty/just developing Steamtech that is now starting to revolutionize Vornheim. This is largely inspired from Final Fantasy VI’s introduction .
B) To have a single point of light (at least in the beginning) for the players to call home and have a dynamic relationship with (Vornheim).
C) The “Weird” fantasy feel illustrated in Vornheim and Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
D) Horror and Danger
E) Engaging Setting that challenged the player’s characters morally, intellectually, and physically.
F) Sandbox-ish style and Collaborative Creations (Aside: Chuck over at Geek Life Project and I always yak about this and usually are on the same page, as you can see by his post here).
H) Apply Broad Brush Strokes to keep thing simple yet active/reactive to the players actions (Ala Chgowiz).

So my vision is Alice in Wonderland meets Dungeons and Dragons, Steampunk, and Cthulhu.

Once I had that that outlined I decided to tackle races. I wanted to use the familiar races and keep them somewhat in line with what the players know. The familiar helps ground us, and while my world will turn enemies and standard everyday stuff on their head, I felt the races will have some semblance of their origins.


*Fleshlings*- These strange beings come from the “Melting Pot” where scientists and Mages work together to see what new things they can create. Some show sentience and are spared while others are killed and examined to see what makes them tick. The ones that are less or non-sentient are offered as pets, zoos, or used for further experimentation.

Some sentient Fleshlings have the misfortune of being sold into bondage/servitude. Some serve whore houses that serve particular clients, others are manual labor. Many Fleshlings are treated as oddities, stared at, or as second class citizens.

*Racial Traits*- Choose one animal and gain according stats (Sundered Skies).
Fleshlings have had to learn to fend for themselves, they start with a d6 in spirit instead of a d4.
Due to their construction Fleshlings aren’t as hardy. -1 to Toughness.
Due to their primordial make up Fleshlings start with a d4 in a skill of their choice.

*Dwarf*- Once a proud race of underground stone crafters and jewelers, the Dwarfs now live in Vornheim in fear of the outer world just as everyone else. It is rumored that there are still pockets of underworld Dwarven settlements, but none have ever been found.
Most Dwarves busy themselves in the technology arena. It was through their innovations
that steam technology was discovered to the betterment of all Vornheim.

*Racial Traits*- Low Light Vision- Dwarves can see in dim conditions.
Dwarves have stubby legs- Their Pace is 5”.
Dwarves are a sturdy people. They start with a d6 in Vigor instead of a d4.
Dwarves start with a d4 in repairs.

*Elf*- The gypsies and fortune tellers. The dregs of society. Elves often spout stories of a grand empire from thousands of years ago, but no one honestly believes that Elves could have ever had a kingdom. They are too flighty, too wrapped up in their illusions and games to have controlled anything.
Elves are great at telling stories and performing tricks. Those that can, and are willing to display their magic openly, are very adept at weaving illusions.

*Racial Traits*- Elves are agile and start with Agility at a d6 instead of a d4.
Elves just seem to be lucky and can get out of sticky situations. They start with the Luck Edge.
Elves can choose one of the following: d4 in Arcane skill or d4 in Persuasion.
Elves aren’t a stout people it takes 2 points to raise their vigor at character creation.

*Halfing*- Many people fear Halflings. They are connivers, vindictive, and smart. It is rumored that Halflings rule the criminal world of Vornheim. The fact that Halflings have formed a weird brother like bond with the fierce Orcs of Vornheim has only enhanced their reputation further.
Halflings are small, standing at roughly 3 1/2” feet tall, but their drive and determination more than make up for their small stature.

*Racial Traits*- Due to being short Halflings Pace is 4”.
Halflings are very smart and cunning. They start with a d6 in Smarts instead of a d4.
Halflings really don’t take guff from anyone. They start with a d4 in Guts.
Halfings start off with an Orc Ally loyal to them. The player and GM need to come up with how this bond formed. If this Ally dies the Halfling can gain a new one through a role-playing encounter.

*Orc*- Orcs have been known for centuries as vicious fighters and tacticians. Their ferocity is matched by their ability to watch the tides of battle and exploit the weakness of their foes.
Many Orcs are spiritual and believe in honor to friends and family. Many Orcs serve as mercenaries for merchants going through the portals or as guards for Vornheim. Others turn to lives of crime and serve as guards and thugs for Halfling cartels.

*Racial Traits*- Orcs are incredibly strong. They start with a d6 in Strength instead of a d4.
Orcs are extremely large, standing up to 8 feet tall. They gain +1 to toughness but must wear special clothing and armor tailored to them.
Many Orcs have strategic minds and flourish in combat. They start with the Command Edge.
Many people are intimidated by Orcs. Orcs suffer -2 to Charimsa.

*Humans*- Humans make up the vast majority of the population of Vornheim. Many of the other races refer to them as “upright rats” since they are hard to kill and seem to breed so fast.
Humans seem to thrive in any environment and situation, much to the consternation of others.

*Racial Traits*- Humans start with one extra Edge.
Humans start with +1 Skill Point

Most of the races have some part of their “standard” feel, but I wanted to add a different flare to them. Fleshlings are pretty much Wildlings from Sundered Skies, but I think that the idea was so cool and wanted to include it.

I’ve tried to make each race feel unique and that they have a place in the Great Graveyard and in Vornheim.

Tomorrow- World Building- Territories of the Great Graveyard and Group creation.

Author: wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn.

8 thoughts

  1. Can’t wait to hear where your players go with all this. I’m using a similar flavor for my Dominium City, the centerpiece to my campaign setting. Vornheim is awesome, I plan to use bits of it as well. Have fun!

    1. Lol. It kind of already has. The idea of the world being a shit storm and dangerous is a mix of the Mournland from Eberron, every apocalyptic setting, and Runepunk. Also the idea of making Vornheim span a very large area (hundred miles or more) is from Runepunk as well.

      After that there really isn’t much more I want to pull from it. More high fantasy than I’m wanting to run.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s