Phylactery of the Bleeding Heart
Culture and Magic
All in all, you live in an agrarian culture. Many citizens of all races were farmers, or their fathers were farmers. Life has been hard, but Estlewild’s trade has made it easier. It’s a boom town, rumors of wealth drawing people from far reaches. But reality is not always so shiny. Travel is difficult and fraught with danger of pirates, bandits, monsters, and worse. But because so many come from so far, those who make it to Estlewild — with their cargoes intact — stand to make fortunes.
While most people are aware of the existence of magic, few understand it. To learn magic arts or to buy magic items is not so simple as walking into a city and asking for the wizard’s guild. Most magical knowledge is stored in secret or difficult-to-reach locations. If you want potions, scrolls or magic weapons, you’ll have to know whom to ask and where to go. Within the city, most magical items are sold on the black market. Simple and low-level items are somewhat easier to obtain, but a known contact in a known city is generally required. Higher level items require a trusted contact or an adventure.
Among the general public, spellcasting is viewed with some suspicion, but usually not enough to incite an angry mob. Wealthy merchant guilds and ships often employ druids and diviners, but the ship’s crew separates themselves from these strange folk. Traveling mages (“mage” is a common term to describe any spellcaster — arcane or divine) have been known to visit farms and villages throughout the countryside, offering their services. Some heal and cure in exchange for a bed and a hot meal; others perform parlor tricks, fleecing peasants for their life savings, never to be seen again.
Since the Emperor took power, spellcasters have more and more often been the victims of persecution and arrest. Many have fled the city, and few flaunt their magical gifts or knowledge.
All the major races have ancestral homelands nearby. Dwarves inhabit the western (near) side of the mountains, Gnomes the east. Halflings farm the arable lands between the mountains and the sea known as the White Plains. Elves inhabit many of the forests and islands along the coast, while half-elves and humans often take up residence on the isolated fjords, bluffs and inlets abundant in the region. Half elves are reputed to be the best sailors and ship captains, and many of the wealthiest trade guilds claim mixed elven and human heritage.
In general, I will allow any item, feat, spell, etc., from the Core and APG books. Things from other source books may require approval, and/or a special in-game achievement (like a quest).