Player’s Startup Guide to

:

Tribulations of the Masks

A Campaign Setting by: Rex L. Hansen

Everything Players need to know about the world in which they are about to step.

Table of Contents
WORLD OVERVIEW ............................................................................................................................................ II THE CITY OF KELL .............................................................................................................................................. III THE CITIZENS OF KELL ......................................................................................................................................... V GUILD LIFE.................................................................................................................................................................. V MASKS...................................................................................................................................................................... VI THE GOVERNMENT OF KELL ............................................................................................................................ VIII FIRST TIER POLITICS ................................................................................................................................................... VIII SECOND TIER POLITICS ............................................................................................................................................... VIII THIRD TIER POLITICS .....................................................................................................................................................IX ISSUES OF THE SYSTEM ..................................................................................................................................................IX THE WORLD OF KELL ......................................................................................................................................... IX CHARACTER CREATION...................................................................................................................................... XI CHARACTER BACKGROUNDS ............................................................................................................................ XII

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World Overview
It is thought, and generally accepted, that before the current history records; there was a world event, known only as The Rising. Although there is a lot of speculation, nobody can be sure what The Rising actually was. All that is known is that the last bastion of mortal civilization now resides in the Valley of Kell. The old world, commonly referred to the Outlands, is views as dangerous, nebulous, and is shrouded heavily in myth and legend. In the beginning the city of Kell was governed by a king, and the nobility ruled with strong traditions. However, eventually the worker class became significantly higher in number than the nobility and so began the Secret Revolution. At the time guilds were starting to form in the worker’s society. Although they were but a glimpse of what they would eventually become, they were significant to the worker’s lives. Since

the Secret Revolution was driven by many prominent figures within the guilds, revolutionaries took to wearing masks to protect their families and fellow guild members. Through the extreme efforts of the revolutionaries, the Secret Revolution never became reached the point of outright war, and the nobility and their king fell silently. Once the workers were free from the oppression of the nobility, the revolutionaries reviled their identities and were honored. The masks they wore, once a sign of deception, became a symbol of the new order and law within Kell. So it was that the guilds of the city banded together and signed into existence Guild Law. Now, nearly a thousand years after the Secret Revolution and countless years after The Rising, the city of Kell has become a much different place than even the Guild founders could have imagined.

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The City of Kell
The city of Kell, in its nature is a difficult place to understand, and even more difficult to explain. It’s chaotic, and ever changing. Its culture, architecture, and people are so varied that mere blocks from one’s home could seem like another part of the world.

Topographically the main city, where most of the populous resides, is in the main valley, known as the Lowlands. The main valley is 7 miles long, and only 1 mile at its widest point. The valley walls of the Lowlands are on average half a mile high. Because the city could not grow out, as the population increased, it had to grow

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up; so the city’s buildings over the many years became immense towers and the streets became bridges. Eventually the Lowlands became a honeycombed maze of alleys, bridges, and walkways. They even started building into the valley walls. Some areas in the city have completely become void of daylight; these areas are known as the Underdwells. Any area that sees sunlight, even fleetingly momentary sunlight, is considered part of the Skywalks. The Midlands are east of the main valley, in a plateau which is not as deep into the valley floor as the Lowlands. The Midlands are not nearly as crowded, or changing, as the Lowlands. This is where all the government buildings, and Guild Houses, reside. Above the valley wall, to the north, is known as the Highlands. In the beginning the Highlands is where the nobility lived, but it has sense become vast farmlands and is the main food source for the city. While there are

some who live in the Highlands it is not generally seen as a positive place to reside. Above the valley wall, to the south, is known as the Roughs, and nobody lives there. Because of its very rough terrain it is of little use other than grazing lands for mountain livestock. There are, however, a few mines in the east, where the terrain becomes too mountainous for livestock. The entire valley, including the Highlands and Roughs, is surrounded by impassible mountains. The only passage into the Outlands is blocked by the Grandgate. The Grandgate is a towering wall that is built from the valley floor and towers over the valley wall. Where there were once passages to the top of the wall, and it was once manned, nobody has braved the traitorous climb in generations. There is no longer a living memory of what lies beyond that wall and the massive adamantine gate that blocks the only passage.

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The city is heavily crowded and through impressive engineering there is at least cold running water throughout most of the city; however all other resources such as food, coal, and textiles are heavily regulated. Families are even restricted to one child.

foundation, and future of every citizen of Kell. When a child reaches adolescents, and is no longer considered a baby, they are initiated into their Guild. From that point on, throughout their entire childhood, the Guild provides their education and upbringing; the family has little control over the child’s life. Thus the Guild dictates the entire foundation of the kind of person the child will become. At the age when an adolescent becomes an adult they go through the Ceremony of Choosing. This is when they choose their Faith. Each Guild is made of inner factions, called Faiths. During the three month long ceremony the adolescent vies for Faith membership. The Faith provides the tests and determines at the end of the three months if the youth will be admitted into the Faith, and thus becomes an adult. Those who fail rarely survive to try again, but if they

The Citizens of Kell
The culture of the people is so widely varied that one can never be sure what to expect from an area in the city. There are countless dialects of Common, Elven, and the Dwarven languages. There are, however, several common traditions that tie all the citizens of Kell together. Guild Life A person’s life is ruled by their Guild and Faith. These things define every aspect of their lives. They dictate how one lives, and how they think. The Guild is intrinsic to the family unit,

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do survive they are allowed to attempt again in a year. While it is not illegal, it is unlikely, and frowned upon that one should pursue a Faith in a Guild they were not raised in. If this should happen, they renounce their original Guild, and are now seen as a member of the Faith’s Guild. Chances are that any Faith would make the tasks for this kind of applicant all but impossible, and deliberately deadly. Once a person is a member of a Faith, the Faith dictates what they are likely to do with the rest of their life. While this could be anything from being a laborer, merchant, or craftsmen, it is always meant to aid the advancement of the Guild as a whole. Masks Aside from Guild life, the only other joining aspect of culture for the citizenry of Kell is the use of Masks. Every single person in the city wears a Mask. Being seen “barefaced” by

someone who is not of the most intimate closeness is the most taboo of acts. Most people go their whole lives with only a small number of people seeing their faces. There are several kinds of Masks that a person wears throughout their life. The first Mask they wear is the Birth Mask. These simple white masks are worn almost from birth to the age of adolescence. When a child enters the age of adolescence, and chooses a Guild, they gain their Learning Masks. The Learning Mask is still somewhat simple, but covers more of the face. It’s the first Mask to show any markings, and they adopt the color scheme of the Guild they chose. The Guild Mark is also on the

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mask, and some prominent families may have a Family Mark as well. The Trials Mask is worn during the Ceremony of Choosing. These masks cover from the cheekbones, over the forehead, and hair. They are always bright copper in color and featureless. Copper on Masks is seen as the color of choosing, therefore no other Masks use copper in their design. When the Ceremony of Choosing is completed the person gains their Life Mask.

Life Masks are not really a singular type of Mask; it’s more a stage of one’s life. Once a person is at the Life Mask stage, they are no longer limited in the design of their Mask, and they may possess as many Masks for as many purposes as they choose. Typically there are three major

characteristics of a person’s Life Masks; a person’s mask displays their Guild and Faith. These Masks are symbolic in nature, and generally will be designed in a manner that showcases any honors, or accomplishments from that person’s life. The final characteristic of a person’s Mask is its style. The amount of skin that a mask covers is a personal preference. Some may cover just the face, but others can cover the whole head; although only ceremonial Masks are likely to cover the mouth in any way. Because there are very few animals to be found in the city rarely are they depicted in the

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style of a Mask. Generally a person uses one style of Mask throughout their entire life; this will allow anyone to know who they are even when wearing a new or unfamiliar Mask and that style is the common factor within all the Masks they wear.

similar style dictated by Guild Law, if that Guild wishes to have Charter Membership in the City Council. First, to be a Chartered Guild, a Guild must have a Council of Faiths, with no less than forty Faiths. The Council of Faiths is made up of the Leaders of each of Faith. This is the most stable level of government in the city, because while each Faith has different approaches, they are all working to the betterment of the Guild. Funding for the guild is obtained by monthly Guild dues from their members. Second Tier Politics Each Chartered Guild is allowed to place an Advocate in the City Council. The city Council is the major governing force of all of Kell. It’s wrought with infighting, and deception, as the Guilds vie for political power. Every year there is an Annual Accounting. During this time is when new Guilds may apply for Charter

The Government of Kell
Over the many years since the original signing of Guild Law the document has been added to, rewritten, ratified, and amended so many times that it would be difficult to say what the exact original document contained. The easiest way to understand how the government works is to break it down into three different tiers of rule. First Tier Politics This level of government involves the workings of each individual Guild. While each Guild is likely different from the next, they are all built in s

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status. This is also when Council standings are announced, and each Advocate learns how much political power is awarded to their Guild. The other side of the Accounting is Council dues. In order for a Guild to maintain Charter status, they must pay dues. Any Guild that cannot make the payment is disbanded, and its members must apply to new Guilds. Third Tier Politics The Top 9 Guilds in the City Council make up the Inner Council. These Advocates are the true power within the city. They dictate who in the City Council are assigned to what areas of government. While the Annual Accounting can change the Inner Councils membership when Political standing is announced, this is a rare change. Matter of fact one of the only three Guilds, that have survived since the original Guild Law was signed, is head of the Inner Council. The Ringilders have spent most of history in this seat of power.

Issues of the System At every Annual Accounting, tasks and responsibilities change hands. The greatest of issues to rise from this practice is the records of History. Every year, when a new Guild takes over the Archives, they are likely to implement a new system of cataloguing, but a year is never long enough to implement such changes. So when a new Guild takes over, they attempt to implement their own system. Vast quantities of information have been lost to this practice over the centuries. The greatest of scholars may have wildly varying takes on history. Even which edition of Guild Law a particular Guild follows could differ greatly from the next.

The World of Kell
Aside from the ceremonies tied to Guild membership, and Masks, there are not many holidays in Kellen culture. The Annual Accounting is a very big deal, but is not really seen as

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a holiday. Birthdays are not even commonly celebrated. There are, however, three holidays of note. There is the Celebration of Enactment, which celebrates the day Guild Law was signed. This is a three day festival where nobody is allowed to work, or even exchange money. The main aspect of this holiday is the reading of the original preface of Guild Law. The other two holidays are Ulday and Elday, which are the shortest and longest days of the year. Elday, the longest day of the year, takes place the day after the Annual Accounting, and beckons the New Year. Ulday is seen as the milestone to the year. Neither of these two holidays sees much ceremony, but they are marked

by the prohibition dealings.

of

political

The Kellen calendar has 342 days, 26 hours a day, 6 days a week, and 4 weeks in a month. The Annual Accounting, which takes a week, is not considered part of the calendar; therefore the calendar has 14 months, plus the week of Accounting. There are two moons; Isid [aye-zid] and Demn [dem]. Isid, the larger of the two reflects a bluish light, and has a 25 day cycle. Demn reflects a deep red light, and has a very long, changing, and unpredictable cycle. In the known history of Kell, Demn has never been seen full without Isid also being visible in the sky. Even if Demn is full and Isid only a sliver, Isid’s light still washes out that of Demn.

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Character Creation
The following are changes made to the core rules, and additional information regarding character creation for this campaign setting.
         Books: This game is limited to only Pathfinder books1. Race: Players are restricted to Core races, Monster races will not be allowed. Half-Orc is substituted with Half-Dwarf2. Class: Druid and Gunslinger are prohibited3. Level: We’ll be starting at level one. Age: Your character age should be the normal starting appropriate for your class. Alignment: Evil alignment is prohibited, all others are welcome4. Ability scores: Stat generating will be at a 25 point buy system5. Guild: All characters will be members of the Mappers. Skills: All characters have these class skills and gain one 1st lvl bonus skill point o Read Mappers Map [INT] ○ Craft (Mask) [INT] 6 o Interpret Mask [WIS or INT] ○ Navigate City [WIS or INT]7 Traits: All characters may select two traits, but must be backed up by character story. Languages: Common, Dwarven, and Elven languages are automatic. But the Linguistics skill may be needed to understand some Dialects. Normal Starting Gold.

  

Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Magic, and Ultimate Combat. Orcs are unknown to Kellens. Half-Dwarves are just as common as Half-elves. 3 The druid restriction should be obvious. The gunslinger restriction is because gunpowder doesn’t exist. 4 YOUR ALIGNMENT DOES MATTER AND I WILL HOLD YOU TO IT. 5 Page 16 of the Core Rulebook. 6 Choose which stat you want the skill to be at character creation, it cannot be changed afterward.
1 2

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Character Backgrounds
The Mappers are of middle standing in the City Council. Most Guilds, after all these years, rarely do what their name implies, but the Mappers are an exception, and are 1 of 5 prominent map-making7 Guilds. Because the city is ever changing, so must be the maps. Map making is a fierce competition, and each Guild fights hard so that their maps are the most accurate for the longest period of time. As Mappers are a fairly old Guild, they have a rather large number of Faiths8, so the methods that the Guild implements to keep their maps up to date may vary greatly. While some Faiths feel the best option is to employ an army of cartographers, another Faith may feel it best to

sabotage the maps of another Guild. Some Faiths may even attempt to subvert the changing nature of the city in an attempt to prolong the accuracy of the map. Either way all Faiths work to improve, or prolong the, accuracy of the Maps and to subvert the accuracy of the competition. All players are a member of this Guild, but you may invent any Faith that you feel fits your character. The only stipulation is that you cannot be a major player in Guild, or city politics. Character Masks: Please try to give your character’s Masks as descriptive detail as you possible. If your Mask has symbolic aspects, explain the reasoning of them. Remember this is an extremely important part of your character. All masks should be functional in design.

7

Obviously they do not make maps of the Outlands, as nobody leaves the city. 8 At last Accounting there were 64 Faiths.

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