Hello adventurers, and welcome to "The Magebound Tree"!
The Magebound Tree is a campaign setting that's been in development for the last year, in line with the rumours and impending release of D&D 4th edition. Designed to fit the "points of light" approach discussed during 4e's playtesting/development, I've spent the last week reviewing my notes and revising some details about the world to better accomodate the races, classes, and locales mentioned in the 4e core rulebooks.
I was originally stressing about the inclusion of (and possible exclusion of, as a result) dragonborn characters within the setting; I didn't really have a place for them, in terms of storyline/necessity. Now that they've arrived (along with everything else), they aren't all that impressive, at least in terms of unbalancing the game. I still don't personally think they have the right flavor for D&D, but as Keith Baker pointed out, what exactly is the "flavor of D&D"? 3rd edition was a very different animal from 2nd edition, and 2nd edition was different from 1st edition. 4th edition is a new face on the old block, and it's forced me to rethink a great deal – whether I had wanted to or not.
Still, I am looking forward to using this new rules system, and after careful consideration, I am allowing all of the elements from the core rulebooks to exist within my campaign. At this moment in time, everything fits well with the setting and story I've developed; most of the details will remain in the dark for the time being…leaving it up to the players (and their characters, with all due respect) to explore the world and discover its many secrets, solve its many mysteries, and learn it's deep and vibrant history.
Of course, everyone sitting at the table has a hint of what's to come: The brief inkling featured on the main page, regarding The Magebound Tree – a once vital artefact featured in various origin myths, better known as The Tree of Life. For hundreds (possibly thousands) of years, this great tree was protected by the secretive and fraternal order of Druidhs…agents of nature and her Old Gods – Gaia, the Mother Earth; Pan, the trickster and Patron of Spring; and the Horned God…the deer (sometimes goat) headed guardian of wild beasts and Patron of Autumn. No longer significant, this druidh's circle has past into legend…and their gods with them, lost in the annals of mythology.
...but the Tree of Life lingers on, sustained now by the artificial energies of magick, whose ribbons of unnatural power bind and constrict the limbs of the great tree.
Or so the legends go, anyway. Few mortals have dare traversed the dire landscape now known as the Broken Tablet – a harsh and savage desert of cracked and crumbling soil – where the tree is rumoured to exist. Eight human kingdoms – formerly provinces of the great Imperium – now border that vast, decaying realm, themselves mere ghosts of their former glory, rapidly descending into poverty, despair, and, ultimately, demise.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Our story begins not among the worried kings, huddling together 'neath the destitute limbs of the Magebound Tree, but rather far to the east, past the Black Mountain and its obsidian skin, to a quiet and forgotten valley nestled deep in the mountain's shadow…in a small town known as Fallcrest.