Before I go into classes, I should define a few characteristics of the setting. It’s a continent, roughly the size of Europe, but runs north/south, instead of east/west, roughly. Geography beyond that isn’t really important. I decided on the name Vaalbasa for the continent, and consequently the setting.
I’d like to set the world at the height of the Renaissance. Magic is rare, but known. There will likely be at least one school devoted to magic. There are two major powers in the world. The Holy Church of the Vaalicine, and the Trade Consortium.
The Holy Church
The church is the primary religion in the world, and has churches in nearly every major city in the world. All Clerics are members of the Church, as are the Inquisitors. The church isn’t the only religious power, however. The druids are a small minority, and exist mostly in the wilderness, or on the outskirts of society. Recently, a group has sprung up that disagrees with the Vaalicine interpretations. Known as the Heretics, they are a small but very vocal group. They are currently the primary target of the Inquisitors.
The Trade Consortium
The Consortium, as it’s more commonly known, is based in a group of city-states, but they have offices in nearly every port and major city across Vaalbasa. They are focused on trade, and their currency is the primary accepted form of payment in all civilized lands.
One of the recent philosophies concerning campaign settings is the “points of light” idea. Simply put, it means that the world is mostly dark, unexplored wilderness, with a few points of civilization interspersed throughout the world. In a Renaissance era campaign, this doesn’t really fit, but in the past I’ve adapted this to mean that the heroes are few and far between, and the darkness threatens to overwhelm the world. I’ve handled this a couple of ways, myself. I prefer non “good vs evil” campaigns, instead focusing on other options, like “law vs chaos” or “light vs shadow”. I’m not really sure what the primary “darkness” in this setting will be, however.
I’d be tempted to make the church the bad guys, making the game similar to the “Three Musketeers”, where the church is corrupt and evil, or possibly using the Consortium as the bad guys, making the game about overcoming corporate greed and corruption. However, both of these seem too easy, and I’d prefer to make it more realistic in that there are good, and evil people in both organizations. The problem is, that doesn’t really give a “Big Bad” kind of villian to stand against, just a lot of small ones. Unfortunately, I’m at a loss, here.