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Tabletop Game / The Chronicles of Aeres

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The Chronicles of Aeres is a third-party campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition created by Dueling Dragon Adventures and published in 2021. In its creator's own words, the setting is a love-letter to the Heroic Fantasy and High Fantasy books of the 80s, seeking to recapture their feel of more heroic, old-school fantasy.

Aeres is a relatively young world, and the game itself is set several months after the draconic protector of Aeres, Saeyos the Silver Champion, was awakened by an unlikely team of heroes and led the forces of good to overthrow the evil powers arrayed behind the Dragon of Darkness. Adventurers now take a key role in rooting out the lingering agents of evil and helping to rebuild civilization, all fueled by the hope of a better tomorrow.

In its corebook, its themes are summarized as:

This setting includes examples of:

  • Alchemy Is Magic: Alchemy in Aeres is a unique magical field that focuses on using the Three Primes of Sulfur, Mercury and Salt, channeled through Geometric Magic, to manipulate the underlying magical nature of physical matter. Potion brewing is a side effect skill learned as a result of this practice, which focuses much more on changing one thing into something else. It has its downsides, compared to regular magic, most notably in that it has a more limited field of tricks and its more potent powers have a risk of literally blowing up in the alchemist's face.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Goblins are literally what is left behind when all of the goodness is magically wrung out of a gnome or a halfling. Zigzagged in that the book does acknowledge it is technically possible that you might encounter a good goblin or orc, but they would face so much prejudice that they would be practically unplayable. The Drauglir gnomes basically exist as a way to play a "good goblin".
    • The Horg from Astreas are basically goblins with the forms of beastmen; they were humans, before the Mad God Drakmorla shattered their minds and ate their souls whilst warping their bodies into half-man, half-beast monsters. They are so dependent on her to function that when she is killed, they all instantly turn to stone.
  • Animorphism: A good portion of the beastfolk on Aeres started out as humans who were later transformed into half-animal hybrids, either willingly or otherwise.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The Imperium, a human empire led by a once-good king named Lancathir, who went mad and became obsessed with stamping out all magic — secretly a ploy by the ancient evil known as the Witch Lord to siphon off vast quantities of aether to revive the Dragon of Darkness. The Imperium has largely been wiped out, but remnants linger, especially in the deeper parts of Hesmoor. Both the Witchfinder Duty and many of Lancathir's Imperators still survive and continue their bloody battles against mages and nonhumans.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: The setting's animal races, mentioned below, are both described and depicted as never wearing shoes.
  • Beast Man: The Wilderkind are a collection of races created by the Immordran Tolgamyr, producing humanoid animals. There are 10 Wilderkind races in total; Bjornvir (bearfolk), Ekornvir (squirrelfolk), Grevinvir (badgerkin), Kaeninvir (rabbitfolk), Klovir (catfolk - specifially wildcats), Mustvir (weaselfolk and otterfolk), Raevir (foxfolk), Rattevir (ratfolk), Ravenvir (ravenfolk) and Ulvir (wolfkin). Despite the similarities, the Draconvir are not considered to be Wilderkind, having been created later by the dragons. In-game, most wilderkind are mechanically sorted into one of two races, with only the rattevir and ravenvir having distinct mechanical profiles. The bjornvir, grevinvir and ulvir are lumped together as Stalwart Wilderkind and ekornvir, kaeninvir, klovir, mustvir, and raevir are grouped together as Fleet-Foot Wilderkind.
  • Burn the Witch!: The human kingdom of Hesmoor still has a large number of people who hold onto unwarranted superstitions about witches and magic-users, often fueled by propaganda from the kingdom's cruel leaders. A group of brutal witchfinders scours the land hunting witches and magicians on a regular basis.
  • Cat Folk: The Klovir are a wilderkind race based on wildcats. Little more is known about them beyond that fact.
  • Character Alignment: It's noted in the sourcebook for Astreas that the "pentacle of morality" was a key cornerstone of designing the sub-setting, with the five races of Astreas each representing one of the five facets of morality; Good, Evil, Law, Chaos and Neutrality.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Despite being unwilling transformed into monstrous dragon-like hybrids, a race called the "Tainted Draconvir" in Aeres are able to fly, breath fire, and have superhuman resilience.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite the presence of evil in the world at large, few humanoid races are totally irredeemable, and thus even some races with very sinister appearances can be found on the side of good.
    • Stygian kobolds are literally characterized as "grim, brutish, aggressive, stoic and taciturn". Despite this, they are actually a race whose hat is "Good is Not Nice", being a warrior branch of the kobold family who have long dedicated themselves to battling goblins and other monsters.
    • Drauglir are gnomes who foolishly served the evil Vulgraks during the Great War, which resulted in them being so warped they now look like goblins. Having been tricked rather than willfully evil, they have turned their backs on the powers of evil since the fall of the Dragon of Darkness.
    • Tainted draconvir were literally created to be foot soldiers of the Vulgraks, and many of them are trying to turn their backs on their former masters... not always successfully.
  • Draconic Humanoid: The kobolds are small, dragon-like humanoids created by the Immordran Lornifas, who resembles a cross between a dragon and a couatl. Draconvir are larger humanoid dragons created by warping humans to possess draconic forms and abilities. Both races are divided into two subraces.
    • Mystic Kobolds were the first draconic humanoid race to exist in Aeres. Excitable, friendly, and curious, they love magic and revel in beauty, and are typically found living in caverns filled with enchanted crystals. They tend to be brightly colored and sport patches of fur or feathers.
    • Stygian Kobolds are more warlike and aggressive than their Mystic cousins, having migrated from their crystal cavern homes to the poisonous, predator-filled swamp of Grimgril. Darker colored and more overtly reptilian than their cousins, they are active predators.
    • Argent Draconvir were created by imbuing human supplicants with the mystical essence of the Silver Champion to create blessed warriors who could better battle the forces of evil.
    • Tainted Draconvir were human slave-warriors twisted into dark dragon-like creatures by the black magics of the Vulgraks, and used as elite regiments in the Great War.
  • Dream Weaver: The Dreamcaller class is an entire class who draws its power from a deep mystical bond with the dreamworld and its natural patterns of aether. Their powers include some minor illusion and mind-control spells, the ability to invoke certain archetypal nightmares, and the power to summon "Espers", which are manifesetd archetypes from the dreamworld.
  • Enchanted Forest: There are two enchanted forests in Aeres, one called Thuldruun to the west where the magical Twilight Elfs live, and one called Gruncrist, which is home to gnomes and animal people. Unwanted visitors to either forest might find themselves wandering them aimlessly, looking for a way out.
  • Evil Overlord: The history of Aeres saw the rise of multiple evil overlords, like the "Witch Lord" Olhogim, who tried to conquer the world twice with armies of goblins, and also the Vulgraks, fiendish Skeksis-like creatures who dominated Aeres in a past age. They lived in a desolate wasteland to the east called Astreas, and ruled atop a twisted black tower called Blysvar.
  • Fire Purifies: The great Silver Dragon, Saeyos, breathes a purifying silver flame with the power to banish evil. The Argent Draconvir, his gestalt draconic followers, can do the same thing.
  • Frog Men: The froskvir are a race of people who were changed from humans into humanoid frogs by the Dying Curse of Drakmorla that inhabit the southern-most swamplands of Astreas. Unlike most Frog Men, they are characterized as a friendly, gentle-natured and wise people, who have embraced mysticism and spirituality in contrast to the animalistic bloodlust of the sliskvir or the arrogant aloofness of the orinvir. On the great pentacle of alignments in Astreas, the froskvir are even stated to represent the facet of Good, with the Atrathian humans being Neutralit, the Horg being Evil, the orinvir being Law and the Sliskvir being Chaos.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Humans are able to successfully crossbreed with both dwarves and elves in this world, creating distinct hybrids. Half-elves and half-dwarves are collectively referred to as "half-bloods".
  • Heroic Fantasy: The Chronicles are characterized as a bright, optimistic world in which evil is real, but so is good, and good is winning.
  • Hobbits: Halflings in Aeres were created by the Immordran known as Gipta, Maiden of Fate, as part of a far-reaching plan against the coming of the forces of evil. They split into two subraces based on their reaction to when their homeland was invaded by the dark armies, as was destined.
  • Lizard Folk:
    • Mystic Kobolds are cutesy-looking and gentle-natured reptilian humanoids with Eastern Dragon features.
    • Stygian Kobolds are literally Darker and Edgier kobolds with features more akin to crocodiles, predatory lizards, and snakes. They're even referred to as lizardfolk in-universe, due to their physical and social differences from their mystic kobold precursors.
    • Sliskvir are a Hot-Blooded race of humanoid Deinonychus who inhabited the southern wastelands of Astreas.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: And how! There are a total of 9 races in the setting, in the form of humans, dwarves, elves, half-bloods, gnomes, halflings, kobolds, draconvir and wilderkind, but that's only if you don't count the subraces, whereupon it explodes into a whopping 27 races.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Aside from the standard spellcasting classes, Aeres is also home to Alchemists (who manipulate the fundamental essence of matter, often explosively), Dreamcallers (who summon living dreams into the waking world), and Witches (primal spellclasters).
  • Magic Knight: Alchemists, also known as Thaumaturgists and Elementalists, use Geometric Magic to alter physical items, and so specialize in melee combat where they can apply defensive and offensive tweaks to their arms & armor on the fly.
  • Non-Human Humanoid Hybrid: Subverted. It's explicitly noted that only humans, elves and dwarves can crossbreed, and that's because of the very similar nature of their spiritual makeup. Other races are just too alien on a spiritual level to be capable of crossbreeding. Even the Wilderkind are incapable of breeding with anything other than another Wilderkind of the same subrace.
  • Non-Mammalian Mammaries: It's not explicit, these are books with a PG-13 rating after all, but it's subtly implied that kobolds, froskvir, sliskvir and orinvir all have breasted females. The non-kobold examples make more sense, because they started as humans and were transformed by Wild Magic.
  • The Ophelia: It's noted in the corebook that "Dreamcallers seem to fit the stereotype of starry-eyed, pale, bookwormish, self-absorbed magicians", as a consequence of their permanently being pulled between reality and the Dream Land.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: There are two dwarven subraces in Aeres. Gray Dwarves are basically archetypal. The Frostvaegyr are slightly more unusual, being descended from dwarven mystics who went west to study and ultimately master Frost Elementalism.
  • Our Elves Are Different: Silverleaf elves are fairly typical wood elves, largely concerned with protecting the forests. Twilight elves are more mystically inclined, being masters of illusion and naturally inclined to the path of the Dreamcaller. Both were created by the Immordran Ardrisyr.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: The original gnomes, also known as the Draemyr, were an attempt by the trickster-god Brena to recreate and "improve upon" the elf races created by her fellow Immordran Ardrisyr. They resemble child-sized elves with hair the color of leaves or flowers and a single random bestial trait, such as horns, a tail, or wings. A significant number of gnomes were tricked into allying themselves with the evil Vulgraks during the Great War, and were transformed into the Drauglir, or "dark gnomes", who combine a goblin-like visage with an increased aptitude for trapcraft and the ability to temporarily assume a form of living obsidian.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: These are the result of draining the souls from gnomes or halflings, leaving a warped, distorted caricature of its former self with a shattered mind retaining nothing but its darkest instincts and drives. The process is irreversible.
  • Our Gods Are Different: They're called "Immordrans", and most of them materialize as giant beasts rather than as humanoids.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Orcs in Aeres are also known as "goblin kings"; they're goblins that have lived a long life and subsequently have grown from their original diminutive stature into larger, more powerful beings. They're still Dumb Muscle, but considerably smarter than their near-mindless goblin underlings.
  • Physical God: The Aeres pantheon, called the Immordran, were once completely physical creatures who walked the surface of the world.
  • Power at a Price: Being a Dreamcaller comes with a case of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity; having one's mind permanently attuned to the Dream Land comes at the price of being inherently out of step with reality. This is is restricted to flavor text rather than mechanics.
  • Raptor Attack: The sliskvir are themed after Deinonychus and similar raptors, complete with sickle-like toe-claws they can use to rip open their victims. In contrast to the standard crocodilian-featured Lizard Folk of Dungeons & Dragons, who are largely defined as logical and unemotional, sliskvir are Hot-Blooded to the extreme.
  • Rat Men: Rattevir are a race of ratfolk who live in and around the largest city on Aeres. Subverting expectations, they're actually quite friendly and resourceful. They seem to be influenced by The Secret of NIMH.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Despite the fact two centuries have passed since Drakmorla's Dying Curse warped the three nations into froskvir, sliskvir and orinvir, none of those who were alive that day have perished of old age yet.
  • Screw Destiny: The "Hinterfolk" subrace of halflings descend from those halflings who, seeing their lands were destined to be invaded, chose to stay and fight — and promptly won. Because of this, they believe that fate is not immutable, and that it is possible to choose one's own destiny.
  • Shout-Out: There are a lot of homages to 80s fantasy settings and stories, some of them openly stated by the sourcebooks, and subtler ones to other Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Standard Fantasy Races: The fundamental races of the setting are humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes and halflings, with each having at least two subraces. There are also half-elves and half-dwarves, collectively known as "halfbloods".
  • Sword and Sorcery: The sourcebook "The Doom that Came to Astreas" is set in the titular continent, which has more of a Sword and Sorcery flavor compared to the Heroic Fantasy of Aeres.
  • Talking Animal: Talking forest animals are common in an enchanted forest called "Gruncrist," in the northern part of the world. Despite being intelligent and able to talk, they aren't civilized.
  • Unequal Rites: The "classic" wizard, warlock and sorcerer classes tend to not get on too well with the witch, alchemist and dreamcaller classes. Witches are looked down upon as "primitives", especially for their theological beliefs about the intended usage of magic, whilst witches scoff back about the lack of discipline in the "younger" styles. Alchemists are both resented for their greater ease at hiding from persecution and feared for the destructive instability of their magic. Dreamcallers are envied for their strong connection to the dream world, which grants them an intuitive grasp on powerful magic, but at the same time they resent the way that other mages gain power without having to sacrifice their sanity for it.
  • Uplifted Animal: The very first wilderkind were created by Tolgamyr taking ordinary animals and using his divine magic to grant them humanoid forms and sapience. Talking Animals were created in the same way, and are either animals that didn't want the whole package or a kind of Flawed Prototype.
  • Was Once a Man: The Beast Man races of Astreas were originally humans until they were transformed against their will by an immortal witch-queen.
  • X Meets Y: A very simplistic way to describe the setting would be "The Lord of the Rings meets Redwall, with a dash of The Dark Crystal".
  • You Can't Fight Fate: This is the core belief of the "Wanderlings", a halfling subrace descended from the fatalistic halflings (largely its diviners, oracles and prophets) who chose to flee their homeland when they foresaw it would be invaded. They are much more superstitious and oracular than their "Hinterfolk" cousins as a result.