I recently started playing a game called Sentinel Comics RPG run by my friend Jared Rascher. It is a newer superhero system with an interesting structure to its combat, a deep amount of lore, and a somewhat randomized character creation which calls back to the feel of classic Marvel Superheroes RPG without being so random as to make the characters silly. The lore of the game is also based on the board game called Sentinels of the Multiverse. I made a character called Paladin, because his abilities were supernatural and began to resemble paladins from D&D. I created a lose history for the character, but I realized after playing him I needed to do something more.
Paladin’s name is Brian Bulfinch, a historical martial arts enthusiast, who ended up in the world of Orien. This was back in 2001. He was nineteen and traveling the world to study historical martial arts. While at a demonstration in Mongolia, he stumbled upon a long and forgotten temple. He explored a bit and accidentally fell through a portal to a fantastical world. While there he used his martial arts skills to become a hero. He tied himself to a god in the world, gaining his powers and abilities. Paladin eventually was drawn back to the world of his birth during a multiversal crisis called OblivAeon. Now he is back in his home 20 years later with all his magical and martial abilities. He decided to use them to be a superhero.
When I was playing the character, I wanted to reference his experiences in the world of Orien, but I hadn’t really defined the world. Being the nerd I am, I have decided to correct that by at least loosely defining the world, so I know better what I am referencing. I am sharing it because it is content.
Ten true things about Orien
When making a new homebrew world, one technique that is particularly useful is establishing some truths about the world as anchor points to build out from. They form the skeleton of that world, and you add details from there. Here are the ones for this world.
- The Gods walk in the world. In Orien, the gods walk among the people. They are powerful immortal beings who inherited the power of the Old Gods in the first age of the world and founded civilizations
- There are many races in the world, each shaped by the gods who live among them.
- The Shining Lord is a god who shaped humanity. His champions are the paladins of light.
- The demons are mystical infestations that infect mortals making them monstrosities.
- Wizards exist in the world but are live apart constantly searching for new secrets to give them an edge against other wizards, sometimes leading to disasters like the demons entering the world.
- The elves were shaped by the Green Queen and have an empire of a mystical wood.
- Dwarves are nonbinary and shaped by the Architect. Their kingdom uses magic like technology.
- The Archen, or the Fallen, were beautiful winged and horned people who were shaped by the Wild Hunter. Their sky city was where the demon infestation began and most of them have been infected to become demons. Few other still exist.
- There was a great upheaval when the Demon War began, it ripped a continent in half, drowned the first city of the Dwarves, and burned the heartland of humanity, and untold millions died.
- The Demon War was near ending when Paladin returned. A coalition of the free people of the world had driven the demons and their infestation back over decades of conflict.
A Brief History of Orien
Orien was a garden world once. Then came the Old Gods. They were gigantic beings of immense power that traveled the cosmos. They shaped the life on the world and created intelligent life. The first people were humanoid but were decidedly not human. Each Old God picked one of the mortals to invest with their power. Once this was done, they largely disappeared from the world. It is said they will return to judge their world someday, but that may be a myth.
Each of the gods left in the world settled in different regions. Their living among people altered the race that existed before to more reflect the gods living among them. The Shining Lord’s people became what we would recognize as humans. Short lived and passionate.
The Dwarves were purposely shaped by the Architect to be increasingly durable. They developed a mystical connection to the material world and great works were shaped by the Architect and their dwarves. They lived a life of craftmanship and invention, making wonders.
The Elves were shaped by the Green Queen beneath the branches of the God Tree, which was created by the Old Gods before they left. Elves are as eternal as the forest and slow to change. Traditionally, they never carried anything of worked metal but used only things shaped from the Elf Home Forrest. This became less the case as the Demon War waged.
Then there is the tragedy of the Archen. They were beautiful, vibrant free spirits who called the skies their home. Led by the Wild hunter, they were predators but also artists who held beauty as the highest virtue. When the demon infestation began, it began with them. Most of them fell to the corruption and now are the bulk of demon armies.
The Demon War
Fragments of the Old Gods tools and power exist and often center in stories of disasters or triumphs. One such fragment, the Eye of Doom, was what the wizard Brasten discovered. Brasten was investigating the Eye when he released the demons on to the world. Being the first infected, Brasten became known as the Lord of Blights. He used the power of the Eye to spread infections and crack the world.
His forces of demon altered any life they infected and nearly conquered the world, but the Shining Lord and his Paladins formed a bulwark against the demonic horde, delaying for the rest of the world to rally to battle. Each paladin carries a fragment of the Shining Lords essence. It is not done lightly and each one is chosen for their proven valor. They made a difference.
How Brian became Paladin
This is the world Brian Bulfinch found himself in when he fell through the portal. Scared and not speaking the language, he found himself amid a war. It was only his training that kept him from immediately being a victim. Instead, he charged in to save strangers in danger earning him a place with the Paladins.
Brian began his training and built on his existing martial arts skills even further. Once he mastered fighting in the armor of a Paladin and proved himself to his brother Paladins, he was granted the honor of receiving a piece of the Shining Lords divinity. The burning light would always come from within him now. With it, he could burn evil or heal the weak. He committed to mastering this gift and to be the best Paladin, to help as many as he could.
For nearly two decades, Brian served with distinction among the paladins. He was a hero even among heroes and was often known only as the Outlander. After turning the tide at the battle of Mechanis, he was granted the right to wield Luminos, the holy mace carried by The Shining Lord. It was shaped by the Lord himself in the first age.
Brian led the combined forces fleet against the heart of the demon forces, past the Maelstrom, and to the feet of the Blight Tower itself. It was a fierce battle which rained magical attacks down on the battlefield. There was so much power flowing at the battle that it was unsurprising that rifts began to open. No one involved knew that it was a side effect of a much larger fight going on for the fate of the multiverse.
During the tumult Brian found himself tossed through such a rift, landing on a city street. The OblivAeon event was raging across the multiverse. Brian, soon to be known as Paladin, saw only people in trouble so he helped save lives, even if the battlefield changed.
After the crisis passed, all the Rifts were closed. Paladin was back in the world of his birth, if not home. He no longer was like other people. He was a veteran of a 20-year war, invested with magical powers, and someone who lived his life for a noble purpose. Finding himself a stranger in the world of his birth, he tried to live up to the code he lived by in Orien. He was a Paladin still.
Orien certainly looks like a typical D&D realm at first blush and that is intentional. It should feel like a familiar D&D style world, but I made it different enough to be very much not that. Instead, I peppered it with comic book tropes to fit the game world using Jack Kirby worldbuilding tropes. It is an abbreviated world made with broad strokes and cheesy names. The OblivAeon event mentioned is from the Sentinel Comics timeline as their large-scale crossover event.
Will I do anything else with this world? Probably not. It was more of an exercise to stretch the mental muscles. I am certainly not going to tell people they need to do this level of work for their backstories.