Welcome to Wildemount
Two armies clash on a fog-shrouded battlefield, heralded by the sound of trumpets and drums on one side, and by an eerie, chirping whistle like countless thousands of wailing crickets on the other. A raven, its ebon feathers spattered with blood, alights on one of the fallen corpses and gently raps its beak on the soldier’s helmet. The raven looks up, curious, and flies into the sky. A land embroiled in war expands beneath it, and yet, within the shroud of conflict, the raven sees twinkling pockets of light.
The raven sees souls that shine bright with courage, kindness, and determination. It sees souls lustrous with greed, fear, and anger. And most of all, it sees souls radiating with a desire to discover their place in the world. The raven sees Wildemount.
A New D&D Setting
Wildemount is a new setting for your Dungeons & Dragons campaign, originally created by Matthew Mercer as the setting for the second campaign of the hit series Critical Role. Though it’s just one continent in the larger world of Exandria, Wildemount is teeming with varied cultures, locales, peoples, and monsters. It is home to both avatars of evil and paragons of good, but it is defined by the common people who exist in between these two ideals.
This book is for D&D players and Dungeon Masters of all experience levels. It is for newcomers and for hardcore fans of Critical Role alike. If you’ve watched every episode of Critical Role to date, this book will still contain surprises for you, as there are corners of Wildemount that even the Mighty Nein weren’t able to explore in their adventures.
If you’re a Dungeon Master, this book will help you create a D&D campaign set in a land of war, intrigue, and swashbuckling adventure. You could set your campaign entirely within one of Wildemount’s four regions, or you could follow the example set by Critical Role and create a campaign with a constantly evolving tone as the adventurers journey across the continent. You will also find brand-new monsters and introductory adventures that can help you start a campaign in any of Wildemount’s four regions.
If you’re a player, this book contains new options that will help your character fit in perfectly with this strange new land. You can use the heroic chronicle system to create a backstory that firmly roots your character in the lands of Wildemount. You’ll also find new subclasses as well as new magic items that will help you attain greater and greater power as you travel the continent.
Nations of Wildemount
Wildemount’s various regions are described in greater detail in chapter 3. Here’s a quick overview of the major civilizations of Wildemount.
The raven soars over a massive city, sprawling outward from a somber, monolithic palace. Soldiers and war machines pour from the city, stretching across the land like innumerable grasping arms, greedily encircling the continent. The raven notes this hungry behemoth and alters course.
The Dwendalian Empire is a young, ambitious state borne from decades of strife in Western Wynandir — the heartland of Wildemount. Its austere lands are dotted with tiny villages, ruins of ancient civilizations, and pockets of uncharted wilderness.
Campaigns set in the Dwendalian Empire are bound to involve elements of war and political intrigue. The empire is at war with the Kryn Dynasty, a nation of surface-dwelling drow which occupies Eastern Wynandir and the wastes of Xhorhas. This war allows various Dwendalian factions, such as the power-hungry Cerberus Assembly, to vie for political dominance.
Westward flies the herald of the Raven Queen. It bursts through the clouds above the western mountains and emerges into a land blessed by sun. A sea of lush jungle stretches out beneath the raven, until eventually green gives way to golden sand, and then to a boundless, sapphire sea. Ships swarm on that sea like a cloud of gnats, engulfed by flames and the sound of cannon fire. They fight for freedom.
The Clovis Concord is a republic of city-states lining the Menagerie Coast, the westernmost shore of Wildemount. This tropical region is rich with history and known for a lively, free-spirited culture that contrasts sharply with Wildemount’s other, politically narrow-minded nations.
Campaigns set on the Menagerie Coast are often nautical, exploring the conflict between the law of the Clovis Concord and the chaos of the Revelry pirates. They can also investigate the jungles that line the coast and the ancient ruins hidden within their verdant boughs.
Tribes of Shadycreek Run
The raven, battered by ice and snow, sees petty warlords lead bands of slavers across the snowfields and understands that no law but power rules the north. It sees smugglers and thieves flee beyond the grasp of civilization and into the unknown. It sees the vast, roiling wilderness act with a fell will of its own, claiming the lives of those who dare attempt to grasp power beyond their ken. They fight for survival, glory, and greed.
The Tribes of Shadycreek Run are a fragmented coalition of thieves, slavers, and scoundrels who managed to amass power in the frigid backwater of Shadycreek Run. While they struggle to enrich themselves through crime, however, they fail to realize that malign, primordial powers are creeping into the north underneath their noses.
Campaigns set in the Biting North often involve morally gray characters butting heads with equally amoral organizations in a struggle to survive — and then explode into chaos as forces beyond mortal imagination make all these petty conflicts seem insignificant by comparison.
Finally, the raven flies east. It sees beings that would be slain on sight in the other civilized nations of Wildemount, walking side-by-side with humans and gray-skinned elves. The raven sees that these people have a light within them — and it sees that, far to the east, there is a mighty fortress that contains a light unseen since the dawning of the world. Here, they fight for the revelation of the end of the world.
The Kryn Dynasty is an empire made up of dark elves (drow) and other humanoids typically considered to be monsters by the other nations of Wildemount, such as minotaurs, goblinkin, and gnolls. The Kryn Dynasty rules over the wastes of Xhorhas, a land once blighted by the rule of the Betrayer Gods when immortals still walked the land. The Kryn safeguard a secret; if your players haven’t seen any of Critical Role, revealing this secret could mark the turning point of a campaign.
A campaign set in Xhorhas will doubtless involve the war between the Kryn Dynasty and the Dwendalian Empire, but it can also include traditional dungeon crawls, political intrigue within the courts of the dynasty, or even wilderness exploration that could unearth secrets lost since the fall of the Betrayer Gods.
What’s in This Book?
Chapter 1 of this book introduces the big ideas you’ll need to know before creating a campaign in Wildemount: its history and its gods.
Chapter 2 presents the major political players that shape daily life in Wildemount: its factions and societies. Depending on the choices made by your party of adventurers, these organizations might become their allies or their enemies. Some characters might begin play with a history of involvement with one of these factions, and several backgrounds are included later on to represent this allegiance.
Chapter 3 contains the Wildemount gazetteer, which details the cities and points of interest in each of the continent’s regions. The gazetteer includes NPCs, background information, and even plot hooks that you can use as the seeds of your own adventures. It also gives a brief overview of the other lands of Exandria beyond Wildemount.
The final chapters of this book, chapters 5 through 7, give DMs starting adventures they can use to kick off their campaigns as well as new magic items and monsters to include in adventures of their own design.
The continent of Wildemount is a powder keg about to explode. Tensions between the Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty have just erupted into open war, and everyone in Wildemount, including the adventurers, must contend with the fallout of the conflict between the continent’s two imperial superpowers.
The War of Ash and Light
The war is only as important as you make it. If you place either the battles of the war or their consequences front and center, the war will be of chief concern to your players. If you keep the war and its consequences distant, then the characters will be free to interact with or ignore the war as they see fit. With a little bit of creative tweaking of the setting, you could create a Wildemount campaign where the war has been called off or never even happened!
If you want the war to be an important part of your campaign, you need to give your players a reason for their characters to care about it. The easiest way to get buy-in from your players is to discuss out-of-character how big of a factor they want war to be in this campaign. You can even dial the importance of the war up and down over the course of the campaign, depending on how you and your players feel over time.
Bring It On!
If you and your players find war to be dramatic and compelling, urge your players to create characters with strong ties to the conflict. For example, patriotic (or even jingoistic) characters will always fight for king or queen and country. Likewise, greedy characters will fight for profit and glory. Once they’ve given you their reasons, turn those motivations into plot points in your campaign.
In the Background
The adventurers don’t have to be active combatants for the war to affect their lives. See below for a list of adventure options that touch on the consequences of war without directly involving mass warfare.
No War, Please
If you want the war to be completely absent, simply dial the timeline back by a year, or even just a few months. All the political tensions between the Dwendalian Empire and the Kryn Dynasty still exist, but now they’re just simmering instead of at a full boil.
Not all campaigns set in Wildemount need to deal with the war directly. That is, the characters aren’t expected to conscript with one army or another, or even serve as mercenaries. The effects of war are far-reaching and multifarious, and loose-cannon adventurers are the perfect people to get involved in the countless conflicts sparked by war. These schemes could include:
Crime. In times of war, criminals and smugglers take advantage of lax law enforcement. Petty criminals and crime syndicates like the Myriad will need help moving illicit goods in and out of Dwendalian and Xhorhasian cities, and Revelry pirates will need loyal crew members to raid unprotected towns.
Disaster. When a town is destroyed by advancing armies, or by a landslide caused by artillery, the common folk need help escaping. This could involve escorting noncombatants through no-man’s-land to a nearby town, or carving out a new settlement from the wilds.
Law. When officers of the law are conscripted as soldiers, local lawmasters suddenly find themselves in need of mercenary aid. Lawful characters might find great adventure in flushing criminals out of cities and busting their wilderness hideaways.
Military. Obviously, characters can choose to join up with one of the sides in this conflict to embark on missions and take orders from a commanding officer. This is a good option if you want to run an episodic campaign, where most game sessions begin with a stated mission that the players must accomplish and ends with a reward and another mission.
Upheaval. The explosions of artillery and the pounding of boots against the plains can spook monsters, and invasions can cause even powerful monsters such as giants and dragons to flee their lairs. Whenever an upheaval occurs, soldiers and commoners alike find their lives in danger — and only adventurers can deal with the threat.
Trade. Like the crime syndicates, opportunistic traders know that war is a chance to become rich. Adventurers are the perfect pawns for trade barons looking to sell high-value goods, especially if they have to cross dangerous land to reach their buyers.
How to Run a War Campaign
If there’s one thing D&D adventurers hate, it’s being told what to do, but serving in an army is all about following orders. It’s up to the Dungeon Master to make sure the characters are aware of what they’re getting into if they decide to enlist. Similarly, if you force your players to join a military unit and then discover that the characters actually want to go on self-directed adventures without a commanding officer ordering them around, you and your players should talk out-of-game to figure out a way to turn the campaign around.
Since D&D is primarily a game about a small group of characters going on adventures alone, it can be difficult to simulate massive battles using D&D combat rules. Because of this, it’s generally best to keep the characters away from mass battles. However, huge conflicts with thousands of combatants are a cornerstone of epic fantasy, and your players might be disappointed if your war campaign doesn’t have at least one climactic battle.
To solve this problem, you can break down your mass combat into manageable chunks. Find a significant location that the characters can either defend or conquer with minimal reinforcements, like an overrun citadel. Then, have the major battle proceed in waves that guide the characters from one cinematic encounter to another. You can think of these encounters like rooms in a dungeon; some rooms have multiple doors that the characters can choose from, while others only have a single passage.
For example, after capturing the ruined fortress, the characters learn that a garrison of soldiers has arrived to help hold onto the fort, and the characters are needed elsewhere on the battlefield. You could present them with just a single urgent target, such as an enemy warlord, or you could offer them options, such as three different allied battalions under attack.
If you need to depict a lot of both allied and hostile NPCs battling in the same encounter as the players, you can simplify the encounter by ignoring dice rolls entirely and deciding when a creature dies based on your own instinct. This can work once in a while, but try to avoid doing this all the time, since seeing you simply decide the result of combat without dice can damage the believability of your game world.
WHEN DOES THIS BOOK TAKE PLACE?
This book is set in a certain moment in the history of Wildemount, and thus setting a campaign in a different era — or even in a different decade — could make some information in the gazetteer invalid. The present year is 835 PD ("Post-Divergence"). The history of Wildemount is described in more detail in chapter 1.
From a real-world perspective, this book is set at a certain point during the adventures of the Mighty Nein in Critical Role’s second campaign. Thus, the point at which the adventures you create using this book diverge from canon is at episode 50 of campaign 2. That’s okay! Look at it another way: by creating your own Wildemount adventures, you are boldly creating your own canon, from which all the events of Critical Role diverge into myth and rumor.
Calendar and Time
Keeping track of time using the Exandrian calendar can make your game world seem more realistic. It can also allow you to align game sessions with important in-game dates, such as holidays. A monster attack on a rural village is a horrible and thrilling event, but the stakes are much higher if that monster attacks on the day of the Harvest’s Close festival, causing previously joyful commoners to grab their children and flee to safety.
The Exandrian calendar year is divided into 328 days, grouped into seven-day weeks over the course of eleven months. This calendar was originally established by the elves in an ancient age, and their names for the months and days of the week have stood the test of time.
The names of the seven days of the week are Miresen, Grissen, Whelsen, Conthsen, Folsen, Yulisen, and Da’leysen. Each day is 24 hours long.
|Horisal||29||New Dawn (1st), Hillsgold (27th)|
|Misuthar||30||Day of Challenging (7th)|
|Dualahei||30||Renewal Festival (13th),|
Wild’s Grandeur (20th)
|Thunsheer||31||Harvest’s Rise (11th),|
Merryfrond’s Day (31st)
|Unndilar||28||Deep Solace (8th), Zenith (26th)|
|Brussendar||31||Artisan’s Faire (15th),|
Morn of Largesse (14th)
|Fessuran||29||Harvest’s Close (3rd)|
|Quen’pillar||27||Hazel Festival (10th),|
Civilization’s Dawn (22nd)
|Cuersaar||29||Night of Ascension (13th)|
|Duscar||32||Barren Eve (2nd),|
Wildemount is a chilly continent — with the exception of the sunny, tropical Menagerie Coast — and each of the regions experiences the passing of the seasons differently.
Western Wynandir suffers from dismal, rainy springs and bitter winters. The Menagerie Coast enjoys a long, balmy summer, but must endure a vicious, typhoon-rich winter. The Biting North is always blanketed by snow, but temperatures drop to deadly lows in the winter, then let up for a rainy, relatively mild summer. Finally, Eastern Wynandir enjoys level, temperate weather all year long across its lowland regions, save for the cutting winds that rip across the plains in spring and autumn.
The different nations of Wildemount celebrate different holidays, though some of the gods’ holy days are consistent across the land. Notably, the Dwendalian Empire has banned the worship of certain gods within its borders, and thus only celebrates the holidays of legal gods. These holy days are listed in chapter 1 of this book, along with the gods they celebrate.
Holidays unrelated to the gods celebrated across the continent in some form include:
Zenith. Summer begins at high noon on the 26th of Unndilar and is celebrated with games, displays of magic, and black powder fireworks.
Harvest’s Close. Autumn begins on the 3rd of Fessuran and is typically celebrated with feasting in rural regions and with carnivals in the cities.
Barren Eve. Winter’s longest night, the 2nd of Duscar, is a day of mourning for those lost in war. Come victory or ruin in the war between the Dwendalians and the Kryn, countless candles will be lit on the next Barren Eve.
Moons of Exandria
Exandria has two known moons that orbit the planet. Catha, the larger and closer of the moons, is the herald of night travel and shines a bright white when visible in the sky. Catha is considered to be intrinsically tied to Sehanine, the Moon Weaver, and is regarded by some as a creation of the Moon Weaver to watch over the just and hide those who require obfuscation. Ruidus, the second moon of Exandria, is much smaller and farther away. With a slower rotation around the world and dark red-brown coloring, Ruidus is often difficult to see among the stars of the night sky and nearly impossible to spot during the day. Little is known of Ruidis, though older cultures and texts speak of it as an omen of ill tidings, or even a remnant of a Betrayer God plot left abandoned and unrealized.
Daily Life in Wildemount
Certain aspects of daily life in Wildemount remain the same across nearly all cultures. Any character native to Wildemount would be familiar with their nation’s currency, languages, and relationship to technology.
The nations of Wildemount all mint their own coins, and though some slight regional differences exist between currencies, all regions readily accept gold, silver, and copper coins. Spending money of Dwendalian mint in the Kryn Dynasty might turn heads, but a gold coin is still a gold coin.
Platinum and electrum coins are rarely minted by modern nations, but enough of both of these currencies survived the Age of Arcanum that both are considered valid tender across the land.
All the typical languages found in the Player’s Handbook and the Monster Manual are fair game in Wildemount. While Common is used across the continent and typically associated with human empires, it is not the language that most humans spoke in Wildemount before the rise of Dwendalian Empire three centuries ago.
This setting has three languages unique to the human cultures of Wildemount: Zemnian, Marquesian, and Naush. A human character can learn one of these languages instead of a skill or tool proficiency granted by their background, class, or variant racial traits. Each of these languages is described below:
Zemnian. This ancient language was spoken by the people of Zemniaz in the Age of Arcanum. That ancient culture has long since crumbled, but its language and its people live on in the Dwendalian Empire. Many ancient scrolls were written in Zemnian, but it is a language now largely spoken by farmers, as Common is the default language of the empire.
Marquesian. The Menagerie Coast was settled by colonists from the arid land of Marquet, and their language now holds an unusual position in the Clovis Concord. It is the language of high society, as many Clovis elite are descended from Marquesians, but it is also the language of piracy, since countless lower-class Marquesians defected from the Concord and formed the Revelry pirates.
Naush. Originally spoken by the Ki’Nau islanders native to the Menagerie Coast, Naush is a thriving language within the multicultural cities of the Clovis Concord. Even sailors who only speak Common incorporate dozens of Naush words into their nautical jargon.
The level of technology in Wildemount is generally consistent with the technologies found in the Player’s Handbook. However, Dwendalian scientists in Hupperdook and Concordian tinkerers in Port Zoon have made incredible advances in black powder technology. Cannons, mobile war engines, and even handheld pistols and muskets have begun to be used as weapons of war.
Black powder weapons are not common, nor are they available to the general public. Only military engineers and special regiments within the Dwendalian armies and the Concordian navy have access to these powerful weapons, though some aspects of these designs are now finding their way into the Xhorhasian military. Statistics for weapons such as black powder barrels, pistols, and rifles are provided in chapter 9 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. All items listed as "Renaissance Items" on the Firearms and Explosives tables exist in some form in Wildemount. Since these items can’t be purchased in a normal store, characters can only obtain them through theft, military service, or a quest of your own devising.