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My Fantasy RPG World, Feedback and Ideas appreciated

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Scalenex, May 17, 2019.

  1. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    No feedback on the cyclopes :cyclops:, so it's time for a new topic. A very BIG new topic.

    [​IMG]

    THE SEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So I have the idea that the undersea world is a very different world from the surface below. To the intelligent undersea denizens, the gods have different names and personalities.


    Again I’m turning to Werewolf: the Apocalypse as inspiration. Werewolf has a very in-depth cosmology. The main book covers things from the werewolves’ view. There are also wereravens, werecoyotes, werecats, werebears, weresnakes, wererats etc. Each of the supplements covers cosmology from one of the other were-creatures points of view. Usually the core story is the same, but they paint their own group in a good light. The weresharks on the other hand. Their take on cosmology is radically different from what the land based were creatures believe. It’s barely recognizable as the same thing. Like an alternate universe comic series.

    And the weresharks’ cosmology is beautiful. The biggest difference is that the land based shapechangers generally considered, Gaia the spirit of the Earth, as their mother and patron while the weresharks consider their mother to be Sea. They call the land Unsea. As far as they are concerned, Unsea is a younger, smaller, weaker sibling/child of Sea. Every major godlike being is defined by their relation to sea. The sky is called Oversea (the only male deity the Rokea recognize). The land is Unsea, the ocean floor is Undersea, the sun, moon, and stars are wounds inflicted on Oversea. Oversea’s blood (light and heat) ultimately nourish life in the world. Sea, Unsea, Undersea, and Oversea are pretty much nonreactionary deities. Most of the action comes from the Three Daughters, Kun (the mother of fishes), C’et (the mother of hard shelled sea creatures) and Qyyrl (the mother of squids and cephlapods). I could not find the full story on White Wolf’s wiki and I don’t think it’s practical to type out the whole story, though I think it’s amazing.


    Okay I cannot resist.

    Genesis

    In the beginning there was Sea. An infinite amount of water and nothing else. Sea is life. Sea did not need a mate to reproduce with. When she desired children she churned her waters and created the Three Daughters, Kun, who would one day be the Mother of Fishes, Qyrrl who would one day be the Mother of Cephalapods, and Ce’et would would one day be the Mother of Hard Shelled sea creatures.

    The Three Daughters immediately distrusted each other and fought. Their conflicts and interactions changed Sea such that there were now places that were Sea and places that were not Sea, Unsea, Oversea, and Undersea.

    The Daughters Swim on Unsea

    One day, Kun the most adventurous of the Three, asked Sea for permission to swim on Unsea. Sea granted Kun permission, so Kun stretched out her fins and clambered onto Unsea’s surface. It was dry and inhospitable. Kun loathed the experienced. She was about to turn around and leave when Unsea spoke to Kun.

    She said, “Please, do not leave! I am lonely and want the company.”

    Kun replied, “It is too dry here, if I linger I will die, but I will speak to Sea to see if she can find a solution.”

    Kun relayed the situation to Sea and Sea thought and thought. She contacted Oversea and asked for help. Oversea was happy to help because he would not exist without Sea. Oversea took on the essence of Sea holding moisture in the air and occasionally raining it down upon Unsea. Now that air was moist, Kun could comfortably swim upon Unsea for long periods of time. Kun visited Unsea often and the two became friends.

    Ce’et appreciated the solidity of Undersea and yearned to explore Unsea. She asked Sea for permission to swim on Unsea and Sea granted Ce’et the permission. Ce’et clambered on to the shore and then cried in despair.

    “I am too heavy I cannot move about on Unsea despite how much I wish it!”

    Unsea didn’t want to see her new friend to suffer, so she came up with a solution. She reshaped her body to collect rain water, forming rivers, lakes, and ponds. What the weresharks eventually referred to as Small Seas. This was not as much as Ce’et wanted but it was better than nothing and she did not want to appear ungrateful. She thanked Unsea and explored the land as well as the Small Seas allowed her to do so.

    Qyrrl wanted to swim on Unsea but she was too proud to ask Sea’s permission, so she just went. When she met Unsea, she lied and said her name was Kraken. Unsea had no means to see through this deception and accepted her name without question. Unsea asked her new friend Kraken if there was anything that Unsea could do to make her visit(s) more comfortable. Unsea spoke.

    “I am terribly shy and wish places to hide.”

    So wherever Sea and Unsea touched, Unsea mixed the two to create murky waters. Kun would swim around Unsea, Ce’et would clamber up on the shores of the Small Seas and Qyrrl spied on her sisters from the reeds and murk of the shoreline.

    Oversea’s Wound

    Qyrrl wanted to swim on Oversea. She leapt into the air and grabbed on to Oversea with her many tentacles. Oversea cried out in pain.

    “Let go!”

    But Qyrll responded by biting Oversea and clamping on with her beak. Oversea’s pain increased a thousand fold. Oversea’s blood (light and heat) flowed onto Sea and Unsea. Sea caused herself to rotate so no single part of her would be exposed to the heat of too much of Oversea’s blood at once.

    Unsea quaked in fear then shaped herself to form mountains for Qyrrl to easily step down from, but Qyrrl would not relent. Sea was furious and washed over Unsea immediately learning of Qyrrl’s Kraken deception.

    Sea formed a whirlpool and reached up and grabbed Qyrrl threatening to tear her apart if she didn’t let go. Qyrrl relented and retreated to the deepest trench to hid and nurse her embarrassment.

    Oversea continued to cry out in pain from his Wound where Qyrrl bit him, which humans call the sun. Sea and Unsea created a salve to soothe Oversea’s pain. By day, clouds would act as the salve, by night the moon would. Sometimes there is lots of salve and sometimes there isn’t. On nights of the New Moon when the Wound is almost entirely covered, the stars are visible. These mark the places where Qyrrl’s tentacles grabbed on to the sky. What humans call the stars, weresharks refer to as Small Wounds.

    Weresharks would not exist yet, but when they would they divided themselves into the auspices of Brightwaters, Dimwaters, and Darkwaters. Brightwaters are born during the day when the sun is unclouded or the moon is full, they have lots of Rage. Dark Waters are born at night when the moon is not visible. They have very little Rage and are the most contemplative of weresharks. Most weresharks are born during cloudy days or on nights between the new and full moon. These are Dimwaters who fall in between the two extremes.

    Sometimes bits of Oversea’s salve fall to the world, still holding Oversea’s pain. The weresharks call this material moon’s blood. Humans call it “silver.” It is baneful to weresharks because it is imbued with Oversea’s pain.

    The Creation of Life

    One day Ce’et and Kun observed tiny creatures that resembled Qyrrl swimming in the reeds near the shore where Qyrrl once lurked. Sea and her sisters eventually tracked Qyrrl’s hiding place down and questioned her. Qyrrl reluctantly admitted that she mixed the essence of Unsea and Sea with Oversea’s blood to create life.

    Ce’et and Kun were intrigued. Sea relented to give the other two daughters permission to create their own life. Unsea and Oversea were willing to cooperate as long as Ce’et and Kun would create life to swim on Unsea and Oversea as well.

    Kun created all matter of fishes, large and small, beautiful and ugly. Thousands and thousands of species. To fulfill her promise to Unsea and Oversea, she created amphibians and reptiles and eventually birds and flying reptiles. In addition the mighty dinosaurs there was a race known as the dinosaur kings. Dinsosaurs who walked upright and created tools and built.

    Ce’et created clams, crabs, lobsters, and a wide variety of hard shelled sea creatures. She was the most prolific creator of life on Unsea and Oversea creating huge swarms of insects and spiders.

    Qyrrl continued creating new species of cephlapods. On Unsea, she created snails, worms, and all matter of gross slimy things. She wanted to create creatures that could swim on Oversea, but Oversea told her that she came close to him again he would open his wound fully. Qyrrl could not survive this. She secretly vowed to close Oversea’s Wound and remove her eternal shame and embarrassment.

    Qyrrl wars with her Siblings

    Qyrrl created giant monsters on Sea and Unsea to attack the creations of her sisters. Her biggest attack was volcanoes.

    When hiding at the bottom of the deepest trenches, Qyrrl learned that Undersea had blood much like Sea, only thicker. She burrowed into Undersea which caused Undersea to erupt. These eruptions blacked out the sky and caused many deaths but they could not fully close Oversea’s Wound.

    Kun was concerned. If Oversea’s Wound was ever closed, nearly all life would cease. She wanted to create something against this contingency. On Unsea she created mammals to hopefully survive the cold. Warm-blooded Creatures that kept their young inside them for warmth. She created hybrids of mammals of fish, whales and dolphins. These were noble creatures of great worth, but they were not the ultimate survivors Kun wanted. For reasons the weresharks never understood, Kun created the mer people.

    Eventually Kun decided that the classic shark model was the best baseline for an ultimate survivor and empowered the Rokea, aka weresharks though it would be many thousands of years before they actually shape changed much. It wasn’t until much later when Qyrrl started meddling with the human race (who at this point didn’t exist yet) that the Rokea decided to finally use Kun’s gift of shapechanging and take human form.


    On the surface world, Mera is the goddess of the sea. I could make Mera the queen of under the sea, but that’s boring. Mera is so gentle and nice that if she was the ultimate ruler of the sea, the undersea world would be too happy and cheerful.

    Mera is the goddess of water for surface dwellers. She is primarily concerned with two things. Helping land creatures find safe drinking water and helping sea travelers traverse the surface of the sea on boats safely.

    When Turoch created the world to feed on, he didn’t put much detail into the ocean. It was basically a reserve of water to feed land creatures which was what Turoch ultimately fed on. In the Age Before Ages, there was no intelligent life in the sea. There might not have even been fish.

    When Turoch died, one of the many effects of his death was the ocean becoming salty. This made life in the sea harder. Most of the Nine focused on the land. I’m going to look at the Nine the way sapient sea life would look at the Nine (merfolk for short).


    Hallisan (LG) is the patron of metal work and his dominion over nature is the minerals of the earth. This would be of very little interest to merfolk. You cannot work metal without fire. He’d probably be the least important deity to the Sea.

    Phidas (LE) guards the barrier to the Void. This is important to merfolk because Void Demons can swim, but the barrier to the Void is something merfolk wouldn’t think about very much. Between the ocean and the Void is at least a half mile of solid ice. Merfolk cannot get remotely close to the Barrier so they probably take it for granted. Phidas also is a creature of the earth much like Hallisan. He would probably not be a very important deity to the Sea.

    Khemra (LN) is the sun goddess. The sun does warm the sea and most of the areas of the ocean where creatures live dwell in the sunlight at least indirectly. But I cannot imagine the Sun is as important to Merfolk culture as is to human culture. She is also the goddess of writing and history. I could invent some kind of sea ink, but even then I doubt writing would be as important to merfolk as humans. She would probably not be a very important deity to the Sea.

    Nami (CN) is the weather goddess. As a man of science, I know the ocean has a huge impact on weather, but as a man of metaphysics I’m not sure ancient and medieval people believed this. Among other things, Nami is first and foremost a wind goddess. Her primary followers are nicknamed Rovers on the Wind. Wind is associated with travel and freedom which are also part of Nami’s portfolio. Arson and alcohol consumption are hard things to do underwater. Freedom, prophecy, madness are things that would be easy to associate with the sea, but I do not see Nami being a very important deity to the Sea.

    Zarthus is the moon god. The moon doesn’t have much to do with the Sea. In the real world it impacts tides, but not in Scarterras. Zarthus tries to expose evils and dangers hidden in darkness and the sea has a lot of darkness. He can still be a patron of arts, orphans, half-breeds, and self-reliance, but I do not see Zarthus being a very important deity to the Sea.


    This leaves Maylar (CE), Greymoria (NE), Mera (NG), and Korus (N). I like the idea of the sea being more Neutral than the land, where Law and Chaos are less important, so I’m going to shove Maylar out of the in-group. Three is a good number for metaphysics, and I like the idea of the three Daughters of the wereshark cosmology.

    Korus is male but when I was drafting out my pantheon I was on the fence whether to make Korus male or female. Much later, I decided to make Korus a sort of patron of non-heteronormative lifestyles. In the real world, a lot of naturalistic pagan religions had holy men and women crossdress or engage in other gender bending actions, so Korus can bend genders too. So under the sea, Korus is considered a goddess. In the Scarterran seas, Korus, Greymoria, and Mera are considered The Three Sisters.

    In terms of the greater cosmology of the world as a whole earth, sea, and sky, it’s just that Korus, Mera, and Greymoria are more interested in meddling in the Sea whereas the rest of the Nine don’t bother very often. They are they are little bit, if only to keep tabs on what the other deities are doing, but it’s more of a hobby than a vocation.

    I may or may not use this formula for developing the Underworld where a triumvirate Phidas, Hallisan, and a third deity are the only deities that bother actively meddling in the underground, but that is a subject for another day.

    Korus, Greymoria, and Mera are the primary deities of the Sea. The other six deities are considered minor deities by merfolk. I haven’t figured out what gender the others will be. Maybe all the minor deities will be male, maybe all he Sea deities will be female. Who knows?

    Undersea, the Nine are all going to have different names, but I’m not going to include them here. First off, I haven’t come up with the Nine’s alter egos yet. Second off, dual names would make casual readers of my thread very confused, so when I refer to the Nine by their aquatic alter egos I will just put “Sea” in front of their name. So allow Sea Scalenex to continue.

    I haven’t figured out who is Mommy/Daddy. Maybe Daddy is Turoch (with a different name) and Mommy is the Sea itself. Maybe Sea can be both parents. I’m going to use birth order stereotypes. Sea Mera is the oldest sister. A little snooty, but determined to set a good example just like Mommy wants. Sea Greymoria is the bratty younger sister always causing trouble for attention. Sea Korus is the stoic middle sister trying to keep the peace, sometimes she is a little too accommodating.

    So that will be my baseline for developing the Sea Realm. Three sisters are frenemies and their antics shape the nature of what goes on in the Sea Realm. For the most part the Sea goddesses barely give the surface world much thought. Sea Korus prefers a near complete separation of the Sea Realm from the Surface World. Sea Mera occasionally wants to foster peaceful symbiosis between land and sea, and Sea Greymoria (much like Land Greymoria) sometimes thinks it’s funny to drown a bunch of surface dwellers).


    I think the general separation is a good idea. Stories of Merfolk in media from the twentieth century onward nearly every story involves pollution or the encroachment of man on nature at least as a subplot. I know pre-industrial humanity had an impact on the sea, but I’m not sure that sort of thing makes good fantasy storytelling. Both humanity and Mer-humanity view the other group as a fanciful story.

    I created Scarterra by starting with the gods and working my way down. I will do the same with developing Scaraqua. Once I have a good picture for what Scaraqua looks like, then and only then will I put serious thought into how the creatures of the land and sea interact.


    More on Scaraqua will surely follow...
     
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  2. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Major Departure from PHYSICS Alert.


    And why does the Moon not have an effect on tides??? Fact check:
    • There is a visible moon?
    • It has no noticeable effect on Ocean tides?
    • But (!?) there are tides?
    • This moon it appears to be spherical? an orb in the sky?

    A simple handwave ...no tides... has (can have) major repercussions on the nature of this solar system.

    Weirdly, I like Scaraqua 10x better as a name than Scarterra. I cannot give a rational reason for that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  3. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I covered before that the tides are an echo from the First Unmaking when elementals ran amok. Earth and water elementals constantly fought along the coastline and the tides represent the ebb and flow of these ancient battles.

    As for the moon itself, I basically thought of it as source of light and little else. Especially given that Zarthus the moon god's followers call themselves Lanterns and display a lot of lanterns around their temples.

    There are some supernatural properties to the moon. Moonlight will pierce some disguise illusions and the full moon reveals lycanthropes for what they really are. Dopplegangers experience headaches and dizziness on the night of the full moon. They usually stay inside because they can barely maintain an assumed shape during the full moon.

    Tangent. I figured in Scaraqua, Zarthus could be the god of bioluminescence.

    This means that there were no tides during the First Age. What would the reprucussions in Scarterra and Scaraqua be when there was no tides at all? If it's too implausible, I can always reinstate lunar tides and make Zarthus a god of the tides. Given that Zarthus is in love with Mera and Mera rarely reciprocates I could link the moon and the tides to Zarthus' and Mera's love triangles.

    Upon the first reading I thought you meant that you prefer the lore of Scaraqua over Scarterra and I sort of became sad. Scarterra has hundreds of pages of lore I came up with over years. Scaraqua has two pages of lore I came up with yesterday and today.

    As for names, I think I like Scaraqua slightly better too. It flows off the tongue better at least.
     
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  4. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    About the werewolves: I also like the approach that there are not only werewolves but also wererats, werebears and the like.
    As almost always D&D 3.5E was right up my alley in that, they also had those.

    As for your mythology:
    Uhmmm yes. It looks pretty well thought-through.
    I just... I think it is too mythological for me.

    About intelligent life: unless I missed something while reading through it (at work so I didn't have too much time) you plan on having only one intelligent species living under the sea?
    So no Sahuagin or Kuo-Toas?
     
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  5. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I plan to have at least four or five intelligent humanoid sea creatures. It's just hard to pick what races make the cut and which ones don't. D&D alone has well over a dozen. The vast majority of them all have their own god. I need to pick races that the Nine would consider creating (or could conceivably slip through the cracks).

    About half of dragons can live underwater, so they are in the creature roster. At least one aquatic First Age servant race of the giants will have survived into the Third Age (I'm leaning towards aquatic giants). I am not sure if I want to have a dynasty system. The Second age was dominated by X, the Third Age was dominated by Y. I maybe want to do something different. Maybe even give Scaraqua a different age system.
     
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  6. Scolenex
    Temple Guard

    Scolenex Well-Known Member

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    Look what came out just as you were pondering sea creatures...



    I expect Scaraqua to have some pineapples under the sea.
     
  7. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Do ^ that.

    Because:
    No tides ... no gravity.
    No gravity ... no reason for a moon to orbit.
    So No Moon.
     
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  8. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Before I get into the grand mythology of Scaraqua, I want to get some nuts and bolts out of the way.

    If I make Sea Zarthus the god of the tides that would make Sea Zarthus more rules following and less Chaotic than regular Zarthus. Might be interesting to give Zarthus a more severe split personality than the other deities.


    Zarthus: The moon, light, exposing the corrupt, finding the hidden, music, art, self-reliance, community, bastards, half-breeds, orphans, freedom, vengeance, trickery to reach objectives, centaurs, Nation of Apseldia

    Maylar: Disease, decay, hunting, animal husbandry, murder, debauchery, cunning in battle, war, strength, toughness, Darwinism, terror, orcs

    Nami: Weather, freedom, prophecy, madness, arson, theft, travel, merriment, chaos, unorthodox wisdom, warlocks, humor, orcs, gnolls

    Hallisan: Stone, minerals, metalwork, mining, chivalry codes, bravery, just war, oaths of service, strength, protection, life stones, dwarves, nation of Kantoc and many smaller nations

    Phidas: Defense against the Void, oaths/contracts, commerce, legal cunning, disguises, pragmatic ruthlessness, protection, life stones, subteranean monsters, nation of Uskala

    Khemra: The sun, literacy, history, law, oaths of fealty, hierarchies, translators, traditions, travel, regulation of the Nine as a whole, grandeur, royalty, nations of the Elven Empire and Khemarok

    Mera: Sea travel, fishing, purification, drinking water, protection, peace, medicine, family, hearth fires, inter-group cooperation, gnomes

    Greymoria: Magic, wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, monsters, necromancy, poison, drowning, darkness, secrets, spite, jealousy, spiders and spiderlike monsters, Gilgren Kobolds, fear, nation of Kahdisteria

    Korus: The seasons, predator/prey balance, forests, fishing, agriculture, plant creatures, horses, compromises, prophecy, centaurs

    Animals and Heraldry

    It’s not required but I think its good idea for every deity to have at least one or two iconic animals if not a full menagerie. Among other things, if I decide I want to create a sea-race that primary worships a particular deity they are probably going to have physical traits of that deity’s favorite animals or at least showcase that animal in their decorations and heraldry.


    I see no reason to not associate Sea Greymoria with cephalopods. Cephalopods are traditionally associated with bad guys. Werewolf the Apocalypse makes Qyrrl the undersea villain. The Little Mermaid gave the sea witch Ursula squid traits. Even Cthulhu sort of has a squid face. In the real world, octopi and squids have so many neat special abilities (ink blasts, superior camouflage, regeneration, problem solving) they are the closest thing the ocean has to wizards which fits with Greymoria too.

    Since I already decided that Sea Mera is going to desire peacefully joining the Scarterra and Scaraqua together as much as she can, I think I will associate Mera with marine mammals, especially dolphins. Sea creatures that breathe air and have to live near the surface. Dolphins also have a good reputation in fiction. They don’t deserve their reputation in real life in my opinion, but I can run with audience expectations in this regard. Also, seals were already mentioned. I might throw sea turtles into the mix because they hatch their young on land and sea turtles are also often depicted as good guys.

    It is very important that I have some iconic animals for Sea Korus, since Sea Korus is such a big player in Scaraqua. The problem is almost any fish would work. I’m having trouble narrowing it now. Korus is considered a horse god, so it makes sense that Sea Korus would showcase Hippocampi and sea horses, but I kind of what to give Sea Korus something more universal in addition to sea horses.


    Sea Phidas and Sea Hallisan are going to be hard to differentiate. Both Phidas and Hallisan help nourish the subterranean ecosystems of Scarterra with life stones. The real world has chemical vents at the bottom of the sea which support ecosystems in areas with no sunlight. That seems like a good fit for Scaraqua. Sea Phidas and Sea Hallisan can be minor deities that are associated with feeding the remote deep places of the sea.

    Phidas is the masked god because Turoch savaged his face. It just so happens that any of Phidas’ unmasked spirit servants tend to be very ugly. Sea Phidas may or may not be associated with masks, but I would say that a whole bunch of deep sea fish qualify and being ugly and gross looking. Sea Hallisan, I am even less sure of. I don’t know if there are any deep sea fish considered to be brave or noble. I could adapt Hallisan being the patron of armor smith by associating Sea Hallisan with hard shelled creatures. Also, crabs would be good for Sea Phidas. That seems a little corny, but I guess Sea Hallisan is a minor deity. Maybe I can lean into the fact that Sea Phidas and Sea Hallisan looking and acting similar. They could be paired together as comically feuding brothers in a way that Korus, Greymoria, and Mera are seriously feuding sisters.


    Khemra’s primary job is being the sun goddess. I don’t see why Sea Khemra wouldn’t be a sun deity as well. It’s hard to find an iconic fish. Mola mola fishes like to sun themselves but they don’t really radiate Khemra’s power or majesty. I could also run with the fact that a lot of Khemra’s minions are golden by making koi the official spokefish for Sea Khemra. Again, hardly awe inspiring. It might be an interesting twist to make Sea Khemra much more modest and humble than regular Khemra. Maybe Sea Khemra is like a helpful sidekick supporting the other deities as opposed to a blazing empress imposing decrees on them.


    Sea Maylar is very easy to come up with an animal for: sharks. Maylar is about the strong dominating the weak and is a patron to hunters. That’s very shark-like. I probably want to create at least one perennially hostile race that either has physical shark traits or considers sharks their spirit animal. D&D has Sahuagin which can qualify as shark-like in spirit if not in form. Still, I’m not super impressed with Sanhaugin fluff that I have read so far. They are little more than “like orcs, but with fins.” The Little Mermaid had Sharkanians which were played for laughs because all the bad guys were G-rated, but with some tweaking the concept would be scary.

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    Fire and Water

    So fire for us land humanoids is good to prevent cold based death. Fire is good for cooking to make food safer and tastier to consume. Fire also allows for metalworking.


    Merfolk can probably eat raw fish and seaweed without any health problems. Sorry Bob, you got teat your crabby patties raw. They can probably handle colder temperatures much better than most service people, but what about metal weapons and tools.


    1) They don’t have metal goods unless they trade with Scarterrans.

    2) They use magic to shape metal without fire

    3) They use magic to create pockets of dry air where they can work with fire

    4) They use magic to generate metal shaping heat in the water and use magic to survive the heat themselves.

    5) They have a metal substitute (that probably has a supernatural component). Perhaps superior obsidian stone like the Lizardmen. Maybe they shape hardened coral into blades for instance.


    Going back to Cyclops. If I have Seaclops they could handle most of Scaraqua’s metalworking needs. If I got by the Percy Jackson series rules for Cyclops anyway where Cyclops are completely immune to the dangers of extreme heat and they can breathe water as well as air. If I decide to use option four, I’ll probably use Seaclops. Perhaps they can use undersea volcanoes as the bases for their forges.


    Land Mera is the goddess of the sea and the goddess of the hearth. As a goddess’ power is sufficient to make a hearth fire that burns underwater but that is not something Mera or Sea Mera has the power to do all the time. If Scaraqua has magical everlasting fire that burns underwater, it would probably be a scarce resource that is hotly contested.

    I do like the idea of magically shaped coral being the basis for tools and weapons. I guess some Scaraquans are going to have access to magically forged metal, some trade with Scarterrans, some use magically forged coral, and some basically have to make do without metal equivalents. I’m not a fan of Scaraquans magically forging metal without extreme heat involved somewhere.


    Combat

    Barring supernatural means, I think ranged combat underwater is difficult. In modern times we have spear guns and that’s about all I can think of besides submarine based torpedoes. A very high powered crossbow could function as a medieval fantasy spear gun, but it would probably be very time consuming to crank up. I think combat would be mostly close quarters.

    There might be some creatures or equipment that is bound to scuttling or being dragged across the sea floor, but most underwater combat would be three dimensional. That would make formations like the phalanx a lot less practical. Formations would be smaller and looser like formations used in modern aerial combat. As an aside, when I toyed with writing science fiction I figured sapient life that evolved under the sea would be very good star fighter pilots because they are evolutionary hardwired to think and fight in three dimensional environments.

    Thrusting weapons I think would be the most common. Daggers, short swords, and spears would allow fighters to strike relatively quickly. Swinging a scimitar is going to get a lot of water resistance. Slashing weapons would be mostly beings with claws and teeth or beings mimicking claws and teeth such as wearing wolverine style claws on their wrists. I don’t think there would be much in terms of bludgeoning weapons besides swimming over opponents and dropping rocks on them. I think nets would be fairly commonly used by troops fighting in teams. I see a spear as superior to a trident unless you’re fighting something much smaller than you are.

    If Scarterrans fight Scaraquans, the goal of both sides is to net or harpoon their opponents and drag them into the water or out of the water. Force your opponent to fight out of their element (and probably drown or asphyxiate). I think the overall advantage goes to the Scaraquans he could probably kill a lot of surface dwellers by puncturing the hulls of ships below the water line and sinking them.

    Dragons that are fully amphibious would be terrifying opponents. They pull down Scarterrans into the water and drown them or pull Scaraquans to the surface and asphyxiate them. Also, the enemy has to deal with being clawed and bitten while they are struggling for breath. A dragon that takes to the air is pretty much impossible for a Scaraquan to fight. Scarterran dragon hunters should try to fight dragons far from water bodies. Scaraquan dragon hunter should try to corner dragons in the deep sea.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
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  9. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    I like everything about ^ this.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Now that the contests are set up and the political issues of the day have been addressed, it's time to return to my fictional world...


    Scarterran versus Scaraquan views on history.

    So Scarterran ancient history goes like this with a three age system:

    The dragons were the dominant race for many generations. Then a dragon queen overreached and accidentally unleashed millions of mad rampaging elementals who killed ~90% of all living things and wrecked ~95% of buildings and artifacts of civilization.

    This was called the First Unmaking because it was sort of a hard reset for the gods.

    Then the elves were the dominant race for many generations. Then an elven king overreach and accidentally unleashed millions of rampaging Void demons who killed ~95% of all living things and wrecked about ~80% of buildings and artifacts of civilization.

    This was called the Second Unmaking because it was sort of hard reset for the gods.

    Now humans are the dominant race. Now lots of people assume that the Third Unmaking is going to show up as soon as king or queen does something greedy and wreckless. King Drosst is being watched especially closely.


    The first thing I'm going to do to separate Scaraqua is to throw out the three Age system. During the First Age of Scarterra, Scaraqua had less biodiversity than the land. Also, the First Unmaking didn't hit Scaraqua as bad. Maybe one in four aquatic creatures died during the First Unmaking. Very bad, but not enough to cause a hard reset on everything.

    My justification for this is a rampaging water elemental is not going to do as much damage to a water breathing creature and the water elementals mainly wanted to attack the land to fight earth elementals. Scaraqua had very limited issues with earth elementals rampaging through. Zero fire elementals. The biggest killer would air elementals deoxygenitating large swaths of water. Hybrid elementals, while rare would be brutal to Scaraquans. We know water pokemon are vulnerable to pikachu so lighnting elementals would be deadly when they choose to go swimming. Steam elementals would cook aquatic creatures alive. Ooze elementals could suffocate aquatic creatures. As I said, hybrid elementals are rare, but when they show up, they are deadly.

    The Second Unmaking would have been roughly as bad to Scaraquans as it was for Scarterrans. Void Demons do not have to breathe and they have enough rudimentary shapechanging ability that they can morph their wings into fins if they choose. I haven't dived into the details of the Void Demon assault on Scaraqua, but I'm going to again borrow a concept from White Wolf publishing Blood Dimmed Tides: cold based magic is terrifying to sea creatures.

    Besides the damage from the cold shock, if you can magically freeze the water around a creature's gills, they will suffocate. Even if you miss the gills, if you hit their fins or tails they can be immobilized. I already established a land based Void Demon that specializes in cold attacks, Winter Demons. So Scaraquans are going to call "the Second Unmaking" the "The Time of the Death Ice." But as horrific as it was, the Scaraquans do not assume that the Second Umaking was part of a recurring cycle and that another disaster like it is inevitable.

    The seasons are less pronounced in Scaraqua than Scarterra. Khemra, who is the goddess of history is much weaker in Scaraqua than Scarterra, so calendars are less universal. Scarterrans view time as a series of recurring relatively predictable events, Scaraquans have a less rigid view of time. The Sea is, always was, and always well be. If a Scaraquan talks about a past event, whether it was last month or five hundred years ago, they are going to usually preface it by "some time ago..." If context is is important they will say "Some time ago, before X and after Y."


    Populating the Roster.

    So I reviewed the more common D&D intelligent sea humanoids. I'm not a huge fan of any of them. My favorite two are merfolk and sea elves. I could have Sea Elves be the dominant race during the Second Age and Merfolk be the dominant race during the Third Age mirroring the dominance of elves and humans on land, but I already figured that I'd prefer not to give Scaraqua a system of history that mirrors Scarterra too closely.

    I don't think I want a single Scaraquan race to be clearly dominant over the others. I think I will have at least five or six feuding races. And I think I will homebrew most of the races rather than lift the from other source material. Merfolk are iconic to underwater fantasy a century before Gary Gygax published Dungeons and Dragons, first edition, so they could be grandfathered in.

    I think I'm going to make most of sapient Scaraquans humanoid versions of sea creatures. Sharkmen, squidmen, etc (only with more flowery names). I don't have specific yet but I think this is a good starting point to figure out all sorts of things.

    The base animal could determine what each race's powers are, such as turtle people having natural armor. Squid people would probably have genius level intellect, etc.

    This can also help shape personality traits and life philosophy. Real sharks' gills are such that they literally have to keep swimming forward or they die. Even if Sharkmen do not have this physical limitation, they would have the spiritual essence of a regular shark. "Keep moving forward or die." Sharkmen would probably culturally value risk taking, exploration and ambition.

    Scaraquan Linguistics

    I see four ways for sapient Scaraquans to talk.
    -They could just talk like land people do, they just have voiceboxes adapted to project sounds underwater.

    -They could rely on sign language. This would cause some issues for communication when it's dark, but if bioluminensce is a common power, creatures could use blinking lights as part of their sign language and language would almost be like Morse code.
    -They could be magically or psionically telepathic.
    -They can communicate with eletctrical impulses, which is sort of like telepathy but with a dash of SCIENCE! This was what weresharks and their closest spirit allies did part of Werewolf the Apocalypse. That makes more sense for weresharks because sharks actually have a hyper evolved ability to sense electrical impulses and even send them, an ability very few other fish possess.

    I guess I don't have to give all Scaraquans the same basis for communciation but I don't want too many different intelligent species literally incapable of communicating with each other.



    Again I'm hoping to solicit feedback. Especially on the fire section of my last post. How should Scaraquans get their tools and structures? How many tools, weapons and structures should they have relative to Scarterrans?
     
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  11. Scolenex
    Temple Guard

    Scolenex Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    There is are two types of a clay like substance quarriable from the floor of the sea. They are very pliable but when mixed together they harden relatively quickly. Scaraquan metal sculptors will craft weapons, tools, and sometimes armor this way. It just needs a cool fantasy name. You could even have one sea deity form the blue clay and one deity form the yellow clay and they could either be partners, lovers, and/or rivals cooperating and competing for the credit for being the goddess of toolcraft.

    It's not as hard or durable as steel weapons that Scarterrans make but it is the best metal readily available to Scaraquans. They would call metal forged by Scarterrans "terrestial metal" which would be a highly valued treasure...unless it's a type of metal that rusts rapidly in seawater in which case it's garbage.
     
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  12. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    gettyimages-462641284_slide-e909360608210f63fbc56d5b9cdf408609ec98aa-s800-c85.jpg
    I like your explanation for Sharkmen behaviour.

    For Squidmen it could be that they are very curious, quite intelligent, and maybe a little bit greedy (some squids like to gather stuff IIRC)

    Again I am the voice of the mundane I guess.
    Using sounds just feels right to me. Many sea creatures are using sounds. In fact sounds work better in water than in air because of the higher density so sounds are a good idea.

    For the rest: it would be interesting how far down your sea dwellers live. The deeper they live, the more viable is light as a means of communication IMO, additional to, or replacing sounds.

    As for the tools: I like the Greenstuff idea, and I agree about the metals. Most metal made in a medieval world probably sucks under water, unless it is either of a special quality, or magic. IIRC magic items of low quality that basically do nothing special except not get rusty should be not too uncommon in your world, so that should work.
     
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  13. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    You have already established that there are ore fountains underground? Most of which are the basis of dwarfly mining ops.

    There must be sites like that on the sea floor as well.
     
  14. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Is that Katy Perry? I like that her eyes say, "I am reconsidering all my life choices that led up to this point!"

    I guess most Scaraquans can just talk. No sense overcomplicating things just to be unique.

    That is along the lines of what I was thinking.

    Within the game rules of my RPG system, alchemy is not magic. It's an advanced skill that few possess but it is still a skill much like any other. Like the medieval equivalent of being a rocket scientist. But some of the creations of alchemy would qualify as magic to modern audiences. It would be relatively easy for a skilled alchemist to transmutate ordinary metal to make it relatively water proof. In raw materials, a water proof sword would cost three to four times what an ordinary sword costs, plus whatever fee the alchemist charges the customer if any. Neshik is a skilled alchemist but he's such a nice guy he has done all his alchemist work at cost.

    It's hard to give the player characters treasure when they are so selfless....

    Not neccessarily. When your excuse for "How did these wellsprings get here?" is "A god did it!" I could say that none of them put these in the Sea. I can also say that it occurs below the water level of the sea floor so no one notices, they just maybe notice that certain areas are rich in ore.

    They is also the issue of new liquid ore being brought up not staying liquid for long because it's almost instantly cooled by the water. Much like how lava turns to rock upon being cooled by the sea.

    Well this next part is VERY mythological.

    So, on Scarterras the Nine are equals. As far as Scaraquans are concerned, the main deities are Greymoria, Korus, and Mera and the other six deities are sidekicks.

    Greymoria, Korus, and Mera are associated with the Sea. They are all considered goddesses which makes Korus gender flipped from his land counterpart.

    Zarthus and Khemra are associated with the Sea. They are considered gods which makes Khemra gender flipped from her land counterpart.

    Phidas and Hallisan are going to be deities of the sea floor. Maylar and Nami are going to be X-factors that have no fixed location, they are agents of chaos and change. I have not decided on whether they will be gods or goddesses in the eyes of Scaraquans.

    Some time ago, the Primordial Sea gave birth to three daughters: Korus, Greymoria, and Mera. The Three Sisters often quarreled for there were no other beings but themselves. As they struggled against each other the Sea bent under their actions and it created new primordial entities beyond itself. The Sky, the Land, and the Ocean Floor.


    Some time ago, Mera looked over the expanse of water and said “This is truly beautiful but it is sterile and empty. There should be something here besides this.”

    Greymoria said “There is beauty in emptiness. This is adequate.”
    Korus said, “This can be better than ‘adequate,’ we should create life.”
    “Where will we get the power to do this?” Mera asked.

    Korus sensed great power in the dark sky. The sky held a mysterious power known as “Fire,” but the sky would not share its fire with the Land and the Sea. The Sky tried to hide its fire, but they could not hide it fully as pinpricks of light bled through the dark shroud hiding the fire.

    Korus said, “Great Sky, please share with some of your Fire.”

    The Sky did not answer, because like the Sea, it was a primordial force and could not be reasoned with. Nevertheless there was an answer.

    “I am Khemra, son of the Sky. You shall not have our fire! I forbid it.”

    Korus and Mera were saddened. Greymoria, was initially indifferent to her sisters’ plan to make life from Sky’s fire, but she hated to be told “no.” She thought it was odd that Sea had three children and Sky only had one.

    The world was dark, but Greymoria created a cloud of ink to become darker, so that even the light of the stars would not touch her. She swam in to the Sky cloaked in darkness. It was uncomfortable to swim somewhere so dry, but eventually she found what she was looking for, Khemra’s younger brother. Greymoria removed her cloak of darkness so she could shine in the starlight.

    "I am Greymoria, who are you handsome one.”
    “I am Zarthus” the silvery brother of Khemra said nervously to the beautiful stranger.
    “I was hoping to find one like you. I am lonely in the Sea.”
    "You are from Sea, how is it you came here?”
    “With sheer determination,” she said proudly.
    “How do you like the Sky, beautiful one.”
    “It is lovely here, but I am cold.”
    “I will bring you some fire!” Zarthus said eagerly.

    So Zarthus stealthily stole some fire from his brother and presented it to Greymoria.

    “Thank you for this generous gift” Greymoria said.

    “I am warm now, but now I am also dry. I must return to Sea, but I will be back to visit you soon,” Greymoria promised with no intent to return.

    Zarthus has yet to give up hope of Greymoria’s return. Every twenty-eight days, he presents her a torch of silvery fire to invite her back, which slowly fades away before Zarthus reignites it.

    With the fire, she brought warmth and light to the sea, and she began to create life forms. She let her sister join her but only after she got a head start creating creatures. She invited her sisters to join her to gloat her success over them. She did not say the fire was stolen.

    “Where you have failed, I have convinced the sky to share its fire with us!”

    But very shortly after Korus and Mera arrived, the stolen fire began to wane. Fire cannot last long in the waters of Sea. As the stolen fired died out, so did the creatures the Three Sisters made. They became the First Dead.

    “No! What is the point of life only to have lost it so quickly!” lamented Mera.

    Greymoria was initially disappointed but she believed perhaps death could serve her purposes too. While Korus pondered and Mera wept, Greymoria secretly stole away the First Dead while none was looking for her own dark purposes later.

    Mera swam into the lower reaches of Sky. “Please, give us more Fire, so that we can have life again.”

    Khemra blazed red with fury. “Now the thief has become a beggar. You have stolen my fire and now ask for more!”

    Mera insisted there was no theft, so Khemra and Mera had a circular argument.

    Korus suspected what Greymoria had done, but he avoided the subject. “Perhaps we can barter for Fire, what is you want?”

    Khemra was taken back by this offer.

    “It is dry here, you are hording all the Water,” he replied.
    “If we share our Water, will you share your Fire?” Korus asked.

    So the three daughters worked to move water into the sky creating clouds and rain while Khemra rationed Fire to rain down light and heat upon Sea, warming Sea and allowing life to bloom. Khemra provides so much fire during the day that the stars and Zarthus’ torch can no longer be seen, but every twelve hours night sets in as Khemra ceases providing Sea with fire so she could can properly collect the moisture offered up to her.

    And more stories like the above will follow because I like writing them. I hope you like reading them.
     
  15. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    That's a nice story! :)

    Edit:
    And yes that's Katy Perry's famous Super Bowl show. One of the sharks IIRC had a problem with his costume and couldn't see anything, so he danced around a bit weirdly and funny. The "left shark" became a meme.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
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  16. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Ordinary sea life

    I don’t have a lot of things on my humble creature roster that could live in Scaraqua. I figure most real world sea creatures can also live in Scaraqua.

    Going back to the fluffy story. Once Khemra gave the residents of the Sea several hours of sunlight every day, life as we know it could begin in earnest.

    Korus was the most prolific creator of new life creating all sorts of plants, but the plants grew continuously and began turning the sea green and choking all light, so Korus made fish to eat the plants, but the fish ate all the plants, then starved to death (or the fish nearly ate all the plants and barely avoided starving to death). Mera didn’t like all the starvation.

    Greymoria introduced predators and this conjures or Maylar, or Greymoria will somehow bring Maylar into Scarqua who then creates the first sea predator. Either way, Maylar will be the Scaraquan god or goddess of predators. Once we have plants, herbivores and predators in balance, the animal of kingdom of Scaraqua will ressemble that of Earth.

    Korus is not going to be picky, creating sea creatures for all niches. Maybe he has a slight bias towards deep water creatures. Just like on land, Korus is associated heavily with plants, he will be the creator of most sea plants.

    Greymoria is going to be especially fond of cephlapods.

    Maylar is going to focus on creating predators. His/her favorite species is going to be sharks.

    Mera is going to focus on sea life that loves the surface of the water. Most if not all aquatic mammals are going to be her creations.

    Phidas and Hallisan are going to focus on things that scuttle along the ocean floor.

    Zarthus is going to be biased towards bioluminescent creatures. Maybe he’ll be the creator of swordfish because his land persona is fond of rapier swords.

    Khemra and Nami may or may not create any sea life at all, I have yet to decide.

    One quick thing here because I’m not sure where to put it. In the real world, most sea creatures live in the areas where the sunlight penetrates the waters, and tropical waters tend to have more sea life and more diverse sea life than polar waters. Same thing for Scaraqua.

    [​IMG]
    So most of the creatures in Scaraqua live in the area contained by the perimeter of the major Scarterran, with the biggest cluster near the equator and Mera’s Lake. There would be very few Scaraquans living on the outside edges of the major continents and towards the poles. At some point I will get around to making a map of Scaraqua or I’ll wait for @Warden or @pendrake to draw a map for me and then claim it as my own ;).

    But before I can get to maps I need to settle more details. Also to make the map more interesting, and more relevant to Scarterra, I want to connect the sea to underground water sources, rivers and lakes.

    Scaraqua shouldn’t just have a flat ocean floor. There needs to be mountains, hills, valleys, trenches, coral reefs not to mention fantasy features like sunken cities, magic nodes, springs of metal ore, Fairie Realm gateways and other fantasy goodies. In other words, I want to have a better idea of who and what is swimming down below before I start sketching maps.


    But really ordinary fish and water invertebrates are not that interesting, even if they are necessary. What about monsters and humanoids?

    Fantasy Sea Creatures

    I got various elementals, spirits, and void demons that could survive underwater or can be made aquatic with very minor tweaks, but they don’t really live in the material plane, they visit it. My creature roster only really includes two things that can live in Scaraqua, aquatic dragons, and aboleths. Aboleths have really cool lore, but I’m not sure if it’s compatible with my cosmology. I originally just wanted to use Aboleths as a nasty First Age monster created by Greymoria that might be able to take down a dragon. Now I’m thinking of Aboleths being a relic from Turoch somehow.

    So I need to come up with a lot of magical creatures and monsters. I think the easiest and probably best way to populate the roster is to start with real world sea creatures and modify them (though Aboleths have no real world counterpart it is possible to create fantasy creatures whole cloth).


    Fantasy Cephlapods

    Greymoria is definitely going to have Mother of Cephlapods under her divine portfolio. Greymoria’s children, be they land based or aquatic are likely to reflect Greymoria’s talent for arcane and/or reflect her petty and spiteful disposition. Two obvious concepts occur to me. Kraken and cephlapod based humanoids.

    The Kraken

    So there are other interpretations of “the Kraken” or “multiple Kraken” but just so we are all on the same page, I am picturing a giant squid here. I know there are interpretations of Kraken that are not cephlapods, but in Scaraqua, Kraken are going to be part of the cephlapod family and that is not negotiable.

    I like the idea of Greymoria trying to gain dominance over her two sisters with either an army of kraken or a single kraken of ludicrous kaiju size. This obvious gambit only united the creatures of the Sea against her minion(s), so she opted to create a smaller, subtler race of servants later.

    There would be little reason to have a backstory of ancient Kraken without having some form of modern Kraken. Modern Kraken could be smaller and/or less numerous, though still of terrifying size, capable of sinking a large wooden sailing ship with effort.

    Greymoria is the godly pioneer of Undeath, so the fallen ancient Kraken could be reconstituted as some form of undead.

    Sealed Evil in a Can is a staple of ancient mythology and modern fantasy. I like the idea of a Cult of the Kraken that is trying to liberate, wake up, reconstitute, or resurrect the ancient Kraken of yore.

    I think I’ll go with option D: “all of the above”. There are lesser Kraken, most commonly called simply “Kraken” because the greater Kraken are only vague legends. Lesser Kraken are terrors of the deep roughly as large as real world giant squids though a smidgeon stronger and smarter. Ideally a lesser Kraken will be just powerful enough that the difference between whether a Kraken can or cannot sink this sailing ship depends on if the ship in question has competent heroes aboard.

    Then there will be some kind of Undead Kraken. There are so many options I can hardly choose. They could be big tentacle zombies, powerful but clumsy and lumbering. They could be stealthy energy drainers, they could be spectral menaces. That’s only scratching the surface. I know I want some kind of undead cephlapod monster but I'm not sure what sort of undead cephlapod monster I want.


    Cephlapod Based Humanoids

    [​IMG]via Imgflip Meme Generator

    I plan to call these creatures something cooler, but until I think of a better name, I will refer to them as squidmen. Vaguely humanoid, roughly human mass. Probably give them a mass of tentacles in place of feet or back fins like Ursula from The Little Mermaid to go with relatively human-like arms and hands.

    If I give Squidmen everything they would have logically have, they would be godlike with genius intellects, the ability to shoot ink, mild shapechanging powers, fantastic camouflage, regeneration, keen senses, an aptitude for arcane magic, high dexterity, super contortionism, multiple functioning limbs to wield several weapons at once, poisoned beaks, amazing multitasking ability, and/or a powerful constricting attack.






    I don’t have to give the Squidmen everything or I can create subspecies that have different power sets. The most obvious would be a small brainy subspecies and a big dumb bruiser subspecies (squig ogres or Squogres!) though that’s not the only way they could be subdivided.

    There are no obvious weaknesses for squidmen. Maybe they are squishy and cannot take a hit as well, but I’ve never heard of real cephlapods being especially vulnerable. Sure, they aren’t thick skinned as crustaceans and other creatures but real cephlapods aren’t really made of glass.

    Besides an inability to control and manipulate fire, one thing that kept real world cephlapods from overtaking intelligent primates such as ourselves is their short life spans. I could give Squidmen a lower life span relative to other intelligent species. That would also push them to make their mark more aggressively, kind of like with Skaven in Warhammer fantasy.

    This is not intrinsic to real world cephlapods but if Squidmen pick up Greymoria’s jealous, selfish, and spiteful nature they would be bad at intergroup cooperation. I kind of like. Squidmen are individually more powerful than nearly every other humanoid Scaraquan, but their inability to cooperate with their own kind long-term has prevented them from becoming the dominant power under the sea. Not that it would be impossible for Squidmen to cooperate. They probably would be very effective in small units, but if an individual Squidman tried to create a Squid Empire, any self-proclaimed emperor or empress would face constant challenges, assassination attempts, or coups.

    I could have one race of Squidmen with lots of political, religious, and philosophically splits or I can have several subspecies. I’m leaning towards one or a small number of physiological races of squid based humanoids, but I would like to come up with many cephlapod based monsters of various sizes, power levels, and cinematic auras.


    Fantasy Cetaceans

    Whales and dolphins are really cool. But dolphin-men and whale-men freak me out in a way that shark men, squid men, and turtle men do not.

    I like the idea of whales being paragons of majesty and wisdom. I think it’s a cool idea for a hero faltering on his journey to get timely advice from a sage whale. If whales are supernaturally wise, but not much more powerful than real world whales this means you can tell a lot of interesting stories based on the simple “Save the whales!” slogan.

    With that end goal in mind, I have different paths to get there:
    -I could create a wise and gentle intelligent monster using whales as the template and giving them magical powers.

    -I could create a class of whale spirits and/or Fair Folk that enter and exit the material plane at seemingly random intervals. If you see a whale, it’s probably just a whale but it might not be just a whale.

    -I could say that the one/some/all of the deities of Sea have the capacity to essentially possess and speak through whales.

    -I could just make all whales smarter, more long lived, and capable of overcoming language barriers. Other than that they are whales.


    Some people think real world dolphins are as smart and empathetic as humans. They have helped humans for no personal gain. They do seem playful, but if they have true human empathy and intelligence that makes them murderous because they seem to kill things just for fun and if they have human ethics, than their mating practices can only be described as horrific.

    Maybe I can lean into the dichotomy of dolphins. What if dolphins are the literal or figurative avatars of Nami, the Chaotic Neutral wildcard that sort of serves as bridge between Scarterra and Scaraqua.

    The same things I said about whales apply to dolphins, although dolphins would be more capricious and embody the concept of the trickster rather than the sage.


    What do ya’ll think? How do you think I should expand on cetaceans for fantasy?


    Fantasy Sharks

    Sharks are going to be the main symbol for Maylar’s aquatic persona. When it comes to monsters, sharks work as monstrous threats without adding anything.

    Both Game of Thrones and most Dungeons and Dragons settings include dire animals living alongside ordinary animals. Dire wolves, cave bears, sabertooth tigers and the like. There are megalodon sharks in prehistory that make great white sharks look like cute little guppies.

    It’s not set in stone, but I want to avoid giant sized animals on both land and sea. Dire animals works in D&D and other level based systems but hit points don’t scale. Even if say my player characters advanced their characters after 200 sessions, they still couldn’t survive a single bite from a megaladon shark. Beyond game balance issues, giant predatory animals would overtax local food supplies. They also would be relatively easy for humanoids to hunt to extinction which they almost certainly would want to do, for their own protection, for glory, and to free up the lands and resources that the monsters are bogarting.

    If I want to soup up sharks, I don’t want to just keep making them bigger. Souped up sharks could be smarter. Souped up sharks could have armor plates, or electricity attacks, or supernatural acute senses, or super speed.


    But anyway, shark men. I am near certain that I want Scaraqua to have some kind of Sharkmen and that they would be Maylar’s favored people. Maylar might create a few undersea monsters here and there, but the sharkmen are probably going to be Maylar’s only real undersea children, since Maylar is a relative light weight in Scaraqua. Along those lines, Sharkmen will probably be one of the younger humanoid races of Scaraqua. Maylar would create Sharkmen because s/he believes that the races created by Korus, Greymoria, and Mera are soft and weak. Causing calling people soft and weak is kind of what Maylar does.

    So they are going to be kind of like orcs in that they are the race that nearly everyone considers an enemy. As mentioned before I’m going to take the shark’s physiological limitation of “Swim forward or die” as their cultural credo. “Always move forward.” They value risk taking and expansion. They are also going to be consummate predators and they are not going to be above eating people. They may or may not be disdainful of farming and civilization. I don’t want to make them stupid or cruel, I prefer they be cold and ruthless. Even if they are physically capable of standing still, they almost certainly will be nomads who do not build cities, whereas I picture most other aquatic humans will be more territorial.

    They don’t eat people because they get a perverse thrill out of it. I want them to be cold and dispassionate. They eat people because they don’t differentiate between the value of their life and an ordinary fish.

    There are lots of different species of sharks to draw inspiration from. There are two options I like best. Either draw inspiration from all the sharks (so sharkmen would come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes), or concentrate on hammerhead sharks. Why am I favoring hammerheads? Because hammerheads are the only sharks that regular travel in schools and I don’t want to make Sharkmen loners. They also have the most acute senses in the shark genus and their bite attacks rely on precision more than brute force. That seems like a good bridge to evolve into a sapient species capable of using tactics.

    Since I want them to be one of the last humanoid races created under the sea, I cannot go too deep into the weeds without knowing what the first humanoid races look like.



    I’ll cover crustaceans and assorted fish categories later, and I will want to revisit cephlapods, sharks, and cetaceans in greater detail later. Until next time, I will end this post with a major question I have writer's block on.


    If Maylar’s sharkmen and Greymoria’s squidmen are a response to the races that came before them created by Korus and Mera, what should the first aquatic humanoid look and act like?
     
  17. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    A thing you need to decide on is:

    Exactly How Big is this Cylinder World?

    A practical experiment you should try. Get a Pringles tube. Print your rough map on ordinary letter size printer paper. Wrap it around the tube. Ponder whether the result is: all wrong, just right, a bit off...

    ...and get back to us with details. Is that Cylinder too tall and narrow?
     
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  18. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    I like option three the best.

    With the notion that the different races trade and cooperate to get metals forged. You need one race that does the forging (This is perhaps Mer-people who speak Mermish). You need one or two or three other races who can dive deep to find the ore beds, they bring the raw materials up to where the Mer-people operate.

    Raw ore is traded for finished articles. Some sea-races are well connected in this trade others are not. Perhaps sharkmen mostly make-do with bone weapons, Narwhale tusks for Spears.

    Go with Mer-people who shape change when they are out of the water as in certain Disney flicks and medieval legend. Forges can then be set up on remote islands in open air, or in sea caves in settings like Captain Nemo’s super secret submarine base, or spots like that hideout The Man With the Golden Gun was using.

    There is always trade with land-based mariners as a secondary possibility. Mariners need food and have metals / Mer-folk can catch food stocks easily but need metals. Trade with passing ships happens.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2019
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  19. Warden
    OldBlood

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    I really like this idea. It would look like those old artistic drawings of ancient china: tons of mountains, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, hidden temples, paths, streams, trees, orchards, all on a giant rolling landscape.

    Except underwater.



    I like the idea of squid/octopus people. Something cultural keeping them from uniting as a unified whole would be good. They seem to inherently have very few weeknesses, but as a culture they are perhaps one of the weaker "nations" compared to the other great underwater powers. I also like the idea of some leftover old kraken empires (the smaller krakens of course, a cult to a massive one they are trying to resurrect would be cool too).

    Some shark tribals would be sweet. Some are smaller, some biggers. Hammerhead sharks work in packs I think, as do tiger sharks?

    I like the idea of using whales as a "fey folk" who perhaps don't have much in the way of a true civilization, but are wise and revered, and way too powerful to be messed with by any of the other nations. Maybe they are nomadic, drifting in and out of the planes? Large repositories of ancient knowledge? Maybe they can be the traveling historians of the sea. All-knowing (almost) but since the concept of time is different in the sea, using their knowledge is often a matter of knowing what question to ask first.

    I could see dolphin packs as helpful and benevolent civilizations, but with a hedonistic streak. Kind of like Eldar lore from 40k, or even elves. Kind and helpful, ties with surface dwellers, but sadistic to their enemies and sometimes each other.


    What about the deep dwellers? The crab and lobster people? The Krull or Chull or something I think they were called in D&D. Builders, maybe they make huge movable houses like hermit crabs; fortresses that scuttle on the ocean floor that do battle with the other bottom feeder empires. Now that I think about it, any map of Scaraqua may have to be in multiple levels: an empire that occupies the middle-ocean may have a whole different empire above them, or multiple empires below them in the trenches or the ocean floor.

    Maybe some flounder-like fish people (some really slimey ones) or some bioluminescent dudes with lots of teeth? Or some sponge people, truly alien horrors leftover from the ages lost of the Primordial Sea? Aboleths or horrors like them could also fall under this group; who knows what lurks in the Deep Dark?


    - really enjoying this stuff on Scaraqua by the way, been a few days catching up but I have been following along with my phone. Love it.
     
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  20. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I have a lot of trouble making up my mind about this! But it is pretty easy to arrange my map into a cylinder.

    I sketched out my map of Scarterra by hand on a standard 8.5 x 11 inch piece of printing paper. 93.5 square inches. That means it's about 78% as wide as it is long.

    The surface area of Earth is about 196.9 million square miles. The Circumferance of the Earth is 24,901 miles. I would prefer Scarterra not get bigger than this. If I made the circumference of Scarterra 22,000 (because it's easily divisible by 11) than one inch is 2000 miles. Scarterras would be 17,160 miles north to south for a surface area of 377,520,000 square miles (a sphere is a lot more effecient in generating surface area than the a cylinder with the top and bottom cut out). That's still more than the surface area of Mars.

    If I made an inch represent 1000 miles, the we have a 11,000 by 8,580 for 94,380,000 square miles, just shy of double Mar's surface area.

    If I made an inch represent 500 miles (which is close to what I had in mind before I started drawing). The world would be 5,500 by 4,250 for 23,375,000 square miles which is about half as much as Mars. That's about as small as I'm willing to go. That may seem small but it's based on those numbers that I used along with this medieval demographics tool. Basic envelope map figures that Scarterra has about 150 million sapient life forms in civilized lands and about 50 million barbarians and intelligent monsters on land. That is plenty of people to have thousands of adventures and stories with. I'm going to run with this as the planet size until and unless someone comes up with a compelling reason to make the planet bigger.

    Scaraqua has no real world history or science to pull up logical medieval demographics from because we have nothing like it in the real world. On one hand, an aquatic person would probably require more space to produce or find enough food than a land person. On the other hand, the ocean has more space because, at least in theory they have three dimensional space to live and work in.

    Without anything to base this on, I figure Scaraqua would have 33% to 66% of Scarterra's population and have about a roughly equal proportion of agrarian versus nomads. I have even less idea for how big Scarsubterra should be, but the underground biome will certainly be the smallest subdivision of my setting, probably 10-25% of Scarterra's population. I'm not even 100% sure I want to make Scarsubterra a separate realm. One thing at a time.



    I did not measure this but my goal when I sketched Scarterras was to have more land than Earth. Roughly 50-60% water as opposed ot the 71% water that we enjoy on Earth. I guess if sketched Scarterras on a CAD or some similar program I'm too lazy to work with, I could find out exactly what the land-to-water ratio is.
     
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