The Midnight Campaign setting book (MN01) was first released in 2003. It proved popular enough to drive the release of several expansion sourcebooks as well as adventure modules. The Second Edition Midnight Campaign setting book (MN11) was released in 2005. It expanded upon the material in the first book and incorporated material from the sourcebooks.
The setting of Midnight is that of the fantasy world of Aryth 100 years after the dark god Izrador wins his war of domination. The game world centers on Eredane, a large continent with varied geography and inhabitants. It is generally an evil-dominant world, with the Church of the Shadow and its Orc minions controlling the lives of the downtrodden Humans. The Elves and Dwarves are hunted mercilessly, while the Gnomes toil for the Shadow and Halflings are often enslaved.
The Odrendor, commonly called Orcs, are a fey race that serve Izrador loyally as fighters. They are large, muscled humanoid creatures with black eyes, thick dark skin and large jaws sporting tusked canines. They have been known to sire halfbreed children with dwarven women, which are called "Dworgs". These unfortunate outcasts suffer a life of scorn and violence.
The Church of the Shadow worships the god Izrador. Thrown down from the celestial kingdom, he has cast his veil of evil and corruption across Aryth, sundering the world from all other gods. The various Orders of Legates hunt those who resist his power, aided by intelligent beasts who can sense magic and disloyalty to Izrador. A legate enjoys a greater quality of life than the average human, but must serve under strict rules for life: those who go "Pale" and flee their vows are hunted and captured by seeker legates. The Church prohibits literacy, magic, and weapons. To be found in possession of any of these may result in death or slavery.
As the world became covered with the magic "Veil of Izrador", the planes of the afterlife were blocked from Aryth. Now the spirits of the dead can no longer depart in peace. At times, they become attached to the recent dead, and walk the land as "Fell". Fire is commonly used to safely prevent the bodies of loved ones from returning as the walking dead. The Fell survive on the living flesh of their victims, and can survive grievous injury.
Based on the Dungeons & Dragons rules, and using the Player's Handbook as a basis, Midnight alters the standard rules in some fundamental ways. Magic is more difficult to cast and harder to learn, the magic system has been replaced for a feat and spell point based system. As a result, many of the standard classes have been removed, with alternates in their place.
One major factor that separates the Midnight d20 game system from other fantasy games is the choice of a heroic path as a major determining factor in the creation of a character. As magic is proscribed, these paths which must be chosen at 1st level give spell-like abilities to players. As the characters advance in levels, they might get new spell-like abilities, skills, or feats.
Three types of magic are found in the Midnight d20 world: "divine", which generally is connected with Izrador; innate magic sourced from within, generally found in elves and other fey creatures; and channelled. The latter is using the energy of Aryth to powerful effect. This is a feat-based system, and thus all character classes can cast some spells at appropriate levels. Only the Channeler character class truly specializes in it, however. Due to the magic changes in the game, Midnight does not have the monk, ranger, or paladin character classes.
Midnight is different from normal D&D crawls in that there are NO simple +1 swords, etc... All magic in the world is tracked and watched. So items are not as blase as they are in normal D&D worlds. They still function similar but the meaning and rarity are different. There are two magic item types. Covenant Items & Charms.
Covenant Items are the true magic items of D&D with a big difference, they grow with the user. Only those with the touch of Heroic Path (villains can also have this) can activate their power and their powers unlock as the wielder grows in level. These can be weapons, armor, cloaks, etc... similar to normal D&D items. They are also subject to detection from the Legates and the Shadow in the North when they are activated. There are Covenant items that span from the first age through recent times, growing more powerful as they are more ancient. PCs will tend to get only 2-3 maximum covenant items at any one time. These are more in-tune with being "destined" to fall into your hands.
Charms are magic items of less power. All but True Charms are one shot items. True Charms can last longer but may fade in time. Charms usually have small bonuses given them. Charms are NOT detectable by the enemy and actually only empowered normal items and trinkets. Characters may have several charms at any given time and are sometimes used in trade for goods.