The Sundering, a new campaign book designed for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, boasts a Black creative team that has designed a world ripped from its original ocean and magically transplanted anywhere a tabletop RPG group wants.
Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, The Sundering: The Nation Beneath our Feet comes from the pairing of comic book author Hannibal Tatu and actor Damion Poitier, who has appeared in Marvel’s Avenger films and played a recurring villain on the live-action Flash series. According to a press release, both “wanted a more Black experience in DnD” that also created plenty of space for inclusion at any table where the book is used.
Much of the new material takes place within the Zwari Nation situated on the Ghezmaux continent, which mysteriously vanished off the map when a god crashed into the nearby ocean. This fantastical event makes for good worldbuilding hooks but also sets up players and facilitators to drop the missing continent anywhere they choose - the designers specifically wanted to grease the wheels of fitting their book within official D&D settings, homebrew games or any other high fantasy universe.
The Sundering will include all of the material folks have come to expect from published campaign settings, including variant class options, character origins and unique spells and abilities. The book pays particular attention to the various pantheons that dictate religious life within the Zwari Nation - West African Orisha, Kemetic gods from the Egyptian region and more beyond the expected Norse, Greek or Roman inspirations typically found in this genre.
Exploring the wider world of the divinely orphaned island will bring groups into contact with new species, such as the enigmatic, insectoid Zyca and a broad range of ideologies amongst their societies, but a central tenet to all Zwari inhabitants is inclusion - the team brought special attention to the matriarchal trio who run the nation and a host of character concepts designed to resituate marginalised experiences and identities as commonplace, accepted and celebrated.
Other sections of the book will explain The Sundering in detail, providing instructions on adding the Zwari Nation and the rest of the continent to an existing game, as well as how to transport players’ own characters into new adventures. Quest hooks, encounter tables and adventure modules make up the back half of the book for easy session planning that the team claims can support a long term and involved campaign.
The rest of the team includes publisher Unlike Heroes Studios and Brian Lambert, Laurie Foster and John Pence as editors. Turkish artist Moonee leads an art team comprising Jon Kutzer and Katy Rewston, and Sarah White and Erek Foster will hand design.
The Kickstarter campaign for The Sundering will be available through September 8th. The book is available as both a digital PDF and a physical hardcover edition for $20 and $50, respectively. The publisher says writing is mostly completed and expects the project to ship to backers by December of this year.