A Broken Sky
A Broken Sky is a D&D 3.5 game incorporating a great deal of house rules and homebrewed content. The setting and rules are designed to feel less like medieval warfare and more like shounen anime, to emphasize the adventurer’s connection to a broader society, and to present a new twist on familiar D&D archetypes.
Ora’s tears are an enormous collection of floating rocks and islands that orbit one another above the surface of an earthlike world. Many islands are too far apart for simple flight magic or the endurance of winged flyers to reach, and so enchanted airships have become the primary means of commerce. The surface world is extraordinarily dangerous and largely uninhabited, with what settlements exist serviced by the same aerial fleets as those on the isles. These airships are powerful magic, but magic shaped and operated by rogues and artisans. Many other such enchantments exist; magic in Ora exists in many forms, not limited to spellcasting. Ruined cities and lost valleys abound, holding treasures accessible to raiders from the air. The courts of the Djinn, and the homes of Demons and Angels are not other dimensions, but remote islands nonetheless accessible by ships.
Dungeons & Dragons heroes require enormous numbers of magic items. These items are more interesting when they have distinctive backgrounds and appearances, but inventing a unique backstory for every single sword and ring is impractical. Instead, Ora hosts a number of traditional enchanting “brands.” Elven Cloaks, Dwarven Sunspears, Drow Ghostblades, and Halfling Bounceboots are crafted in quantity by highly-trained experts. Every culture or city state is known for a half-dozen items, but one must travel widely and scavenge the output of forgotten cultures to assemble a desired kit.
Systematizing enchantment and taking it out of the hands of wizards requires the introduction of magical materials that fuel this industry. The major fuel of Ora’s magic is Anima, a blue liquid derived from the vital energy of fossilized animals. Anima mines and refineries are locations of strategic importance, and heroes may amass wealth in the form on Anima reserves, expending it to fashion constructs and weaponry. More esoteric arts are fueled by energy stones and outsider essences.
Every D&D world is post-apocalyptic. Where else would all the ruins and ancient artifacts have come from? In absolute terms, the disasters that have wracked Ora are not even especially destructive. However, these disasters do sit at the forefront of cultural consciousness. Every major people in Ora was shaped by some disaster, and continues to pursue policy in reaction to that loss. These disasters also contribute to another setting theme: presenting a radically different take on each D&D race from the PHB’s interpretation.