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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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    I never thought of that :(. What do you believe the ocean would look like or the view from a tall peak on a clear day if the world is a straight cylinder?
     
  2. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Well suppose there were three ships on the Ocean on a clear day.

    One anchors. Ship Two sails East and at some point begins to disappear over the horizon. Ship Three sails due North (toward one of these voids) but never dissapears, it gets smaller and smaller but with a sufficiently powerful telescope it will always remain in view.

    In theory, standing on the glacier at the edge of the Southern Void and looking North the glacier at the edge of the Northern Void would be in LOS. (Weather FX would spoil it in practice; Sea and Sky would visually merge in a band of haze grey, ...I think.)
     
  3. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I should probably go down to the copy store and spend the 50 cents to a dollar to scan maps. I tried to base the world's land masses to look vaguely like the Mediteranean. My major land masses roughly circle a central sea.

    My world used to have a pangea like continent with a central lake in the middle. Much like @Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl 's world here. When the world split the land masses that followed still roughly circled the original lake.

    I'd like to populate the world with supernatural features. The first idea I had is Mera's Lake. Near the spot where the central freshwater lake used to sit is a patch of ocean that is never salty because Mera the water goddess preserved a piece of the original lake. Sailors sometimes detour to Mera's Lake so they can stop up at fresh water in the middle of the sea. Drinking the water is said to have healing properties, but whenever someone tries to test it, it's just ordinary water. The water is tasty and clean but not possessing any true powers or magic. The reason why Mera's Lake seems to sometimes have healing power is because Mera's healing spirits like to hang out there, and most of these spirits can become invisible at will.

    To get back to your horizon comment, this means most of the time if you are looking far north or far south at sea, you are going to hit land which will block your theoretically infinite view.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  4. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Supernatural feature #2 howabout...

    The Spire of Calendarva

    a Spire that is so tall it pokes its way out of the atmosphere or at least so high an ordinary man cannot breathe ...? Could be an artifact or a natural (looking) formation or some of each. Needs to be located in a mountain range.

    ~~~~~~

    The Lake in the Sea is a nifty idea. I imagine there would be a color change in the water at the boundary. You could even have a ragged boundary of plants, some species that floats, likes fresh water, but the patches of it that cross the boundary are browned on the outer edge because the Salt kills those parts of the plant.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  5. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Supernatural feature #3

    The Cursed Table of the Giants of Olde

    It is a enormous flat slab of stone with three legs. It is big enough to build a cottage on. The proportions of it are huge, the three menhirs forming the legs are rough unhewn Sarsens of unusual size and height. The location of this strange monument is never known with certainty because ...it walks! It is enchanted or cursed or something and at random times it lumbers across the landscape rather like a stone golem. An enormous, headless, unstoppable, directionless golem.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  6. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Science!

    During the First Unmaking, thousands, perhaps millions of elementals ran amok and reshaped the world forever.

    Mountain Ranges and island chains

    There is a rumor that mountain ranges are the result of tectonic plates pushes against each other. These same forces push up chains of islands. Tectonic plates are a myth. Known science tells us that during the First Unmaking when elementals ran amok, earth elementals clustered together marching in straight lines created all the world’s mountain ranges. This same march created new lines of islands as the elementals marched to the sea where their momentum gradually dissipated.

    Underground rivers and aquifers

    There is a rumor that underground caves and rivers are the result of erosion. Gradually rain water seeps underground carving stone over thousands of years. Erosion is a myth. The world is not old enough to support erosion on a large scale. Known science tells us that underground rivers were formed when water elementals invaded the earth.

    The Tides

    There is a crazy story that the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun creates the tides. No idea how that is supposed to work. Zarthus and Khemra control the moon and sun respectively and they cannot affect the tides all the way from the sky!

    During the Unmaking, earth and water elementals battled endlessly one every shoreline. Eventually this was imprinted on the land and sea itself. While the elementals are long gone, the earth and sea still mimic the elementals fight for dominance. This ebb and flow creates the tides. The deities Mera and Hallisan eventually stabilized the tides to make regular and predictable.

    Hot springs and volcanoes

    According to some crackpots, below the crust of the earth, the world is filled with liquid magma. If the world was filled with liquid, why hasn’t the world sunk in on itself? Ridiculous! Anyway these pro-mantle crackpots say these mythical “geothermal forces” create volcanoes and hot springs.

    Much as the tides mark areas where earth and water elementals once fought, fire elementals also fought their brethren (though not nearly as often). Volcanoes are the result of where fire elementals and earth elementals fought protracted battles. Hot springs are where fire elementals and water elementals fought protracted battles.


    In a sense, volcanoes and hot springs are magical sites. While magic created the mountains, islands, and tides these things are so common they aren’t really that special.


    Advanced Magi-Science

    There are three natural features in Scarterras that Earth does not have.

    Eternal Rains

    The first is pretty easy. Eternal Rains. Where water and air elementals fought, it NEVER stops raining. I haven’t decided if these should be permanently rooted down or if they should slowly drift around. This is a fairly benign magical feature. They could cause flooding or make an area too wet and cloudy for farming but it’s not hard to survive these areas. I figure more Eternal Rains would be floating over the sea than floating over the land.

    There are two ideas I have to make Eternal Rains relevant to RPGs and stories as a plot device and not just a curiosity (or as my friend and I call interesting things that have no impact on the story at large, “Ta-Da! Moments”).

    I figure Eternal Rains are filled with ambient magical energy and ambient magical energy can justify all sorts of plot points.

    First, I believe magical items should have mini-quests built into their construction. One such quest would be, “To complete the sword, you must cool it in the water of Eternal Rains” after forging. Collecting water from an Eternal Rain is a much easier request. Such water would qualify as a regent. Regents are a catch-all term for the stuff that is collected to make magical items from simple potions to mighty flaming swords. If it costs 10,000 gold to make a magic sword, it doesn’t mean you magically sacrifice a pile of gold (cough cough 3.5 D&D). It means you spend thousands of gold for bezoars, alchemically purified silver, mandrake root, pickled eye of newt, etc.

    Second, I figure Eternal Rains would be a good place for land mortals and merfolk to talk to each other. I am aware that creatures with gills cannot breathe in the rain but you know, magic. I’m going to have put a pin in that for later because while I know I want to have merfolk and other aquatic races, I have not figured out the details. Since my world is still in the beta stage, filling the ocean with exciting creatures can wait until more of the land is developed.

    A big question I have to figure out is if the aquatic races are tightly bound to the surface dwelling races or if they have their own self-contained adventures and rising and falling dynasties that almost never intersect with those on land.

    Earth and Air, aka Flying Islands

    So the first idea I had for what happened in areas to mark areas where Earth and Air elementals fought en masse is floating islands.

    I’m not sure how to make these something other than a Ta Da! Moment. They are novelty and little else.

    Even if flying islands are pretty much novelties, EVERYONE would want to claim it. Dragons, kings, wizards, and more types of people all would love their lair, castle, palace, or chantry to be literally above everyone else.

    I’m open to ideas how to develop this concept further. My current thought is that the flying islands are no more in the Third Age. They eventually fell from the sky leading to mountains and hills showing up in extremely odd places. Because flying islands used to be coveted lairs of powerful people, if you can find the landing site of a former flying item, they probably are veritable treasure troves.

    Another thought is that former flying islands are still “lighter” than regular stones and earth. This could create floating islands that drift across the sea. That’s a little less crazy that islands floating through the sky.


    Fire and Air

    Fire and air. The only combination of elements not explored (besides combining three or four elements in one place). There is precedent in fantasy lore for the fire and air to create lightning when combined. I do have lightning elementals as rare composite elementals (along with ooze, magma, hail, steam, and dust elementals) but lightning makes a poor example for a permanent landmark.

    So my idea for a land mark is the Fire Plains. A biome where fire occasionally rains from the sky. I had a long discussion with Eron12 about whether humanoids or ordinary animals would be able to survive such a place. Basically, if the Fire Plains are completely uninhabitable you cannot tell stories there. True, you can put up an anti-fire spell and walk around but then it’s just a gimmicky place where wizards can hang out.

    So step one, to letting flammable creatures survive in such a place is to make the fire rains predictable. Either they occur at the same time every day (or every week) or the sky turns thunderous and smoky for hours before the fire rains down giving everyone an obvious warning to run to shelter.

    Step two, is to provide shelter. Stone houses, caves, and burrows. There we go. A place like this could support a subsistence level pastoral existence.

    Still I’m not sure what story purpose a Fire Rains Plain would serve…Ta Da!


    I'll happily talk about anything in my fantasy world. I like to teach people about Science! But my short term goals are to develop the nation of Fumaya into a interesting place to RPG.
     
  7. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    In my mind The phrase “Fire Plains” conjured up an environment where geysers of flame erupt from the ground periodically. Lots of jagged but basically linear fissures. Sheets of flame. Or point source geysers.

    Salamanders are the apex level predator in the biome.

    But Fire Giant like the area also.
     
  8. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I've often thought "Fire Plains" might not be the best land but "Land of the Fire Rains" is a little bit clunky.

    I haven't decided my world has salamanders or fire giants. I haven't decided my world doesn't have salamanders or fire giants.

    Everything needs to have a purpose before it's included. One thing I keep changing my mind and going back to Square One a lot.

    So what's set is that the center of the earth has a core of concentrated elemental energy that feeds the fire, water, earth, and air on Scarterra. Elementals live there when they aren't summoned (either deliberately or all too often accidentally). After the First Unmaking millions of elementals ran amok reshaping the world. Besides reshaping the landscape, I was pondering different ways for lasting fall out.

    1) Fonts of elemental energy are established that gradually alter the creatures in their area, creating among other things salamanders and fire giants. This is my least favorite solution in my heart but the easiest to apply.

    1) Elemental energy leaks into the Fae realm. This gives the Fae creatures elemental powers but also warps their nature. Eventually they form elemental based courts. This steals borrows from Exalted.

    3) The elemental disruption altered the impersonal elemental core of the world in a way no one else realize. The elements gained a limited degree of sentience. Either there would be one Grand Elemental Force or four Grand Elemental Forces (Fire, Earth, Water, Air). While initially it/they started as an animal intelligence, it/they gradually grows into intelligence creating a godlike being(s) independent from Turoch and the Nine.

    I really like this idea but it's very hard to implement. I don't want the elemental deity to just be another deity, I want it to be a true alien deity. It doesn't care for good or evil, law or chaos, but they think in terms of fire and water, earth and air. Obligatory TV Trope link to related subject.
     
  9. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    If it is a D&D world how can it not have **Fire Giants? (I could see not having Orcs... smelly things, always squabbling... complex backstory whoever you read on the subject.)

    **Make the Salamandyrs BIG instead of smallish diminutive things that dance in camp fires have them be big enough Fire Giants dare not try to tame or tide them. (Apex Predator)
     
  10. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Ideas are clattering around in my head faster than I can type them.

    So I will simply list them before I forget them...
    1. The Lake of Mera (Scalenex)
    2. The Spire of Calendarva (see above)
    3. The Cursed Table of the Giants of Olde (see above)
    4. The Sunken Gardens of Nabylob
    5. The Plains of Endless Rain
    6. The Dragon’s Teeth
    7. The Eye of the Deep and the Scour
    8. The Chessmen of the Gods
    9. The Coldcano of Thröndwyn
    10. The Isle of Deadly Calm

    Do you want to stop at seven? ...is twelve better?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  11. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Supernatural feature #4
    The Sunken Gardens of Nabylob

    In a shallow part of the sea there lies a sunken city. It is submerged to an average depth of 100 feet but the ancient site was sprawling, hilly, and terraced so depths vary significantly. The submerged portions are home to corals, seaweed forests, and at deeper depths Sea Serpents in a variety of sizes. The portions above the surface including several ziggurats or pyramids are the main base camp of...

    The Dark Fish Goblyn Tribe

    These goblins sail the seas and raid coasts using ships with flat bottoms (like junks) drop ramps at the bows (like landing craft) and twinned stern posts which are always carved in the form of fish tails. One commodity they raid for is timber. They have built a ramshackle timber city on and above the ruins of Nabylob, half of which is floating: rafts, pontoon causeways, and semi-permanently lashed together hulls. But additionally they have overbuilt the stone ruins with towers and halls of their own design.

    One pyramid they have not dared to build much on is...

    The Fount of Fire and Water

    At the top of this pyramid there is a large square pool of fresh water, it has four exits, one on each face of the structure. Fresh potable water cascades down to the sea, waterfalling level by level, past broken serpent carvings and sculptures. The goblins use this as their source of drinking water.

    At the very center of the pool there is an eternal flame of blue fire that seems to erupt from the burbling surface of the pool. The goblins harvest the water much further down and generally do not dare approach the upper levels, for fear of angering what ever ancient magic still operates in this place.

    [ @Scalenex think a half-submerged Lizardmen City, now occupied by sea-faring goblins, who keep fed by harvesting the abundant fish under the site, and themselves feed the sea serpents who are the local Apex predators. Luckily, goblins are prolific. ]
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  12. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Supernatural feature #
    5. The Plains of Endless Rain

    ...Flank either side of the Demon Strait. Because of the continual rains, the plains are almost completely washed down to a craggy underlying rocky surface. There is little topsoil. The only soil left is held there by a plant species that favors the dim light, intense rain, and rocky conditions. The seeds of this plant are thought to have magical properties. (Perhaps imbued by the magic quality of the rain...sages debate this.)

    Because of the massive amount of water draining into the strait the current there flows outward to the sea, often violently, in both directions (North and South). The strait is almost like a massive fresh water river and sea level near its middle is always at least a coulple of feet higher than elsewhere. It is significantly less salty than standard seawater.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  13. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    Supernatural feature #
    6. The Dragon’s Teeth

    This is the Southern terminus of the Demon’s Strait where it meets the inner Sea. The strait narrows to such an extent and the underlying sea bed falls in elevation so much that the last 3 miles before the Sea is reached has the appearance of rapids on a fast flowing river. Endlessly supplied with water from #5 the sound of it is deafening continuous thunder. Where it finally reaches the Sea there are a series of craggy rock formations jutting from the seabed arranged in a ragged arc across the mouth of the Strait. They are said to resemble the teeth of a vast and mighty dragon. The water frothing and misting its way out to Sea gives the appearance of the dragons deadly breath.

    Supernatural feature #
    7. The Eye of the Deep and The Scour

    ...are located at the Northern terminus of the Demon Strait. Each one is a whirlpool, located to either side of the mouth of the strait, they constantly War back and forth for dominance. When one grows in size the other shrinks. They are very different in character. The Eye of the Deep is evidently located over a tremendous sinkhole or underwater canyon. Its waters disappear into a descending funnel of doom no ship has returned from. The scour is a shallower whirlpool, at its center sometimes the seabed is almost exposed, revealing a ship killing seascape of boulders and rocks which will tear the bottom out of any vessel that is ever dragged to the center of the gyre.

    Together, #’s 5, 6, & 7 make the Demon Straits unnavavigable to ships.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2019
  14. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I'll address th second part of your comment first. My backstory for orcs is not that complicated at all, especially compared to kobolds (I guess the lizard in me is biased towards kobolds). The Kobolds have THREE backstories ad the three tribes that emerge think the other two are blasphemers.

    Kobolds were one of the first races specifically created by the Nine after the Rebellion. Most Kobolds claim to be the first race so created or at least the oldest one still around today. Given the similarities between them and Dragons, as well as their innate talent for sorcery, all kobolds proudly declare draconic heritage. Most kobolds fall into one of the three broad cultural groups: Tiamalans, Laershin, and Gilgren.

    Most Kobolds live in tight knit clans. Clans sometimes these clans operate on their own but they usual band together to form larger tribes. The clans in a larger tribe periodically meet to exchange marriage partners and trade but this is not strictly necessary.

    Each tribe and clan has their own culture and norms, but nearly every Kobold clan belongs to one of the three major tribes Tiamalan, Laershin, or Gilgren. Kobolds of all stripes tend to be migratory and their race has been on Scarterra for so long that all three Kobold cultures can probably be found somewhere on every major continent or region.

    The three groups are virtually biologically identical. Despite this common ground, it is rare for the three Kobold tribes to ally with each other or intermarry, the Gilgren and Laershin haven’t worked closely together since the Second Unmaking when all Kobolds had to close ranks to avoid their race’s extinction. There are no written or oral lore of what the three tribes did during the First Unmaking. Some assume the three tribes haven’t solidified by the time of the First Unmaking. In any event, during the First Unmaking, Kobolds had to avoid the dangers of natural disasters. During the Second Unmaking they faced an actual attempt at genocide, so their need for cooperation was much greater.

    Like the Dragons they claim kinship with, Kobolds seem to have little if any issues with inbreeding. Due to the Kobolds deliberately mixing up their eggs, Kobolds do not even know who their biological siblings. Kobolds claim that primal instincts prevent Kobolds from accidentally mating with their siblings. Some scholars who study Kobold culture theorize since a large portions of newborns fail their birthing trek, unintentionally inbred Kobolds seem to weed themselves out.

    A single clan can go several generations without bringing in foreign marriage partners to no ill effect. Also like Dragons, gender roles in Kobold society are mostly androgynous. There is no division of labor or status along gender lines. Generally deference is given to elders and to some extant raw competence (those with heroic ability). Kobolds are generally communal in outlook. They tend to sleep in mass huddles and they raise their children collectively.

    Kobold are generally monogamous. A small number of tribes with more status differentiation than the norm have some leaders who practice polygamy and polyandry, but this is rarely exceeds two or three mates. Widows and widowers rarely take new mates, but there is social pressure to do so if the Kobolds in question are still in their reproductive years during a time when tribal members are low in numbers. Each Kobold is expected to serve the best interest of the tribe to the best of his/her abilities.

    Females in a clan tend to go into heat at roughly the same time, so eggs are laid at about the same time and they hatch at about the same time. Eggs are placed in communal nests and left some distance away from the tribal encampment. The mothers leave pheromone trails from the nest to their tribal camp. After hatching, newborn Kobolds will instinctively follow the scent trail back to their people.

    This is the first and most important rite of passage in a Kobold’s life. In Kobold society, a Kobold isn’t truly a Kobold until they proved they can survive the journey known in Kobold society as “the birthing trek.” Many die on this trek. Kobolds take no action to aid their hatchlings versus natural hazards, believing they need to succeed or fail on their own merits, but they will viciously defend their trekking hatchlings if an outside force is interfering.

    Kobolds have very efficient digestive systems. They can digest almost any animal or vegetable matter. They can safely consume, but not digest, a wide variety of inorganic matter. In small doses, it is both healthy and therapeutic to clean their insides that way. Many have tribes have ritualized these often going to the same site at regular intervals, and use rituals and traditions to pick just the right stones to eat. Since dragons are famous for eating inorganic material, these cleansing ceremonies often involve telling stories about their draconic forebears.

    Kobolds speak Draconic but the Kobold dialect is considered to be simplistic and primitive by most other Draconic speakers. Some say the Kobold dialect lacks nuance. This is untrue. Kobolds can add a wealth of subtext to their communication via pheromones and scent glands. Dragons have the olfactory ability to pick this up, but they still have interpret these smells. If a dragon wants to learn the Kobold “dialect) he or she will probably take a few years of study. Apart from dragons, most Draconic speakers don’t have the acute sense of smell necessary to fully comprehend the subtext of what Kobolds are saying even with training.

    Geographically disparate tribes of Kobolds may have mild accents and a few different words for things that emerged after the First Age, but their ability to understand each other is remarkable compared to other cultures with similarly geographically dispersed populations. This is because the Kobolds facility with Draconic (and scent based modifiers) is as much instinctual as learned.

    Unlike many D&D settings, Scarterran Kobolds have no beef with Gnomes. Kobolds have no racial enemies really. If a particular clan is competing with Dwarves for living space than that tribe has a problem with those Dwarves. A few hundreds of miles away, another tribe of Kobolds could be friendly trading partners with a Dwarf stronghold.


    Tiamalan Kobolds

    According to the Tiamlan’s stories, the Dragon queen Tiamat and her followers somehow betrayed the whole Dragon race and the Nine. As punishment for their sins, these Dragons were turned into the first Kobolds. The most common story is Tiamat tried to resurrect the Traitor. Kobolds can reclaim their ancient heritage through atonement.

    According to their believes, Kobolds who live well are reincarnated into Kobolds with luckier circumstances. Kobold sorcerers or favored souls are considered the epitome of a positive reincarnation. Kobold sorcerers and favored souls who live well are reincarnated as Dragons though the standards are very high indeed and more end up losing their powers in their next incarnation than becoming Dragons.

    The Tiamalans also believe that any change in their incarnation effects their family members to a degree and to even the whole Kobold race to a further extant. Personal responsibility is important but a Kobold who lives well is a credit to both her family and her people. Tiamalans believe that in order to redeem themselves and the Kobold race, they have to win the favor of each of the Nine.

    As the highest possible living incarnations in Kobold society, much deference is given to sorcerers and favored souls. Tiamalan tribes follow the leadership of Favored Souls above all else for spiritual guidance. They tend to rely on sorcerers for physical concerns. Sorcerers usually lead their war parties, defense forces, and resolve disputes. Sorcerers and favored souls do not usually rule absolutely. Elders are held in high esteem and handle most day-to-day decisions. It’s a rare sorcerer or favored who doesn’t take the advice of his tribe’s elders seriously.

    Tiamalan tribes strive try to serve whichever of the Nine has sent them a favored soul most recently. If a tribe goes more than two generations without a favored soul they declare Phidas as their patron (since Phidas has no favored souls).

    Sometimes a larger clan has two favored souls at one time. When this happens the tribe takes it as a sign from the gods that the time has come to split into two clans. The one value they hold universally regardless of who they are following is a strong sense of loyalty. To their families, tribes, and race as a whole.

    Tiamalan Kobolds tend to migrate a lot, even compared to other Kobolds. They will put down roots temporally if a favored soul believes doing so well help their current divine patron. For instance a clan following a favored soul of Hallisan might hire themselves out to humans as miners.

    Tiamalans get along well within other Tiamalan tribes when they meet even if their divine patrons are at odds with each other. Tiamalans try to stay out of the way of other races though occasionally they will try to integrate with them or oppose them if a favored soul believes that will help serve the cause of one of the Nine. They generally believe that spreading the will of the Nine to the other races (especially Humans, who are theoretically the chosen champions of the Nine in the modern age) will help them relieve their collective karmic debt faster.

    Because Dragons represent the highest level one can reincarnate to on the material plane, most Tiamalans will listen to whatever a Dragon says. There are enough campfire stories of Dragons taking advantage of Kobolds, that Tiamlans won’t serve Dragons unquestionably, but a subtle Dragon can push a Kobold tribe pretty far to advance his/her goals.

    Tiamalans believe the Gilgrens narrow following of Greymoria’s anti-social tendencies just digs them deeper into a karmic hole. This weakens the Tiamalans efforts to spiritually better the Kobold race as a whole. They may pity the Gilgrens, but this doesn’t cause them to lower their guard against them. If they aren’t following Greymoria, Korus, or Phidas at the moment, Tiamalan tribes tend to give Gilgren tribes a wide birth and sleep with one eye open when their violent kin are near.

    Tiamalan Kobolds view Laershin Kobolds as slightly misguided cousins, but cousins none the less. Laershin Kobolds worship Phidas or Mera, and Tiamalans follow Phidas and Mera fairly often. They believe when Phidas is ready to redeem the Kobold race that the Laershins and Tiamalans will unite. They try to outreach to Laershin when they meet. Laershin are generally not very welcoming but the Tiamalans don’t give up. They believe their spiritual quest won’t be complete until all Kobolds redeem themselves. If they can bring the Laershin into the fold, they feel that they will be in a better position to rehabilitate the Gilgren.


    Laershen Kobolds

    According to the Laershin, pair of Dragons worshipping Greymoria willing spawned hundreds of Kobolds instead of a litter of Dragon hatchlings (each dragon sized egg held about a dozen Kobolds). The Dragons willingly did this so that Greymoria could have new race to assail the Dragons who didn’t worship her. The first Kobolds bred as much as they could but they died in drove. It typically took at least a hundred Kobolds to bring down even a young Dragon.

    The Laershen Kobolds believe that their descendants are those who rebelled against the cannon fodder role assigned to them. They took their name after the legendary Kobold hero, Laeresh who showed them there could be a better way. Laershen Kobold assume other Kobolds are either willing pawns of Greymoria (the Gilgren) or ignorant pawns of Greymoria (Tiamalans).

    Laershin are not very spiritually deep. Laershin favored souls are rare (Some of them end up leaving the tribe and joining the Tiamalans). Clerics are all but unheard of. Religious observances (what little they have) are usually carried out by the elders. Those who live above ground tend to gravitated towards worshipping Mera, those dwell primarily below ground gravitate towards Phidas. Laershin Kobolds spend a single day a year honoring the rest of the Nine, except for Greymoria. They tend to view Greymoria as the source of all their woes and do not pray to her at all.

    Laershin respect the strength that PC class holders bring to the tribe, but they don’t give them obedience. They provide their unique abilities for the good of the tribe just like every other Kobold should do with his or her talents. Laershin tribes are either led by the eldest member or a council of elders (depending on just how confident and charismatic the eldest member is). The elders usually appoint a war chief. The war chief is usually the highest level tribe member as long as said Kobold does not possess a reckless streak. During times of crisis, the elders usually give the war chief is typically given full control of the tribe, but tensions can rise when the war chief and elders disagree on when a crisis begins or ends..

    Laershin are very territorial, and the least prone to migrating. They are the only Kobold culture that commonly builds permanent settlements whenever able, usually underground. Even migratory clans usually have a semi-permanent winter encampment and very predictable migration patterns.

    The Laershin are acutely aware that the Kobolds are not political power players in Scarterra. They give other races a wide berth when possible. They are willing to negotiate with other races and are not too proud to pay other groups tribute. They are not high minded to not demand tribute if they have the upper hand, but this is rare.

    They prefer to negotiate with non-Human and non-demi-Humans whenever possible expecting less prejudice. It’s common for a Laershin tribe to serve as a Dragon’s eyes and ears in exchange for protection from a Dragon (in both the benevolent and mafia definitions of “protection”).

    As fellow descendants of former Dragon slaves, Laershin Kobolds tend to get along well with the Dragons other former slave races. They are one of the few races that Beholders will lower themselves to work with (though the Kobolds know they have to lay flattery down pretty thick when treating with Beholders). The Laershin are pragmatic and are not proud, but they are not cowards and will defend their territory versus interlopers by violence if don’t believe they have a better option.

    While not overtly hostile, the Laershin view the Tiamalans as naïve fools. “If you try to follow all the Nine you end up finding none of them” sums up their beliefs. Laershin generally rebuff the friendly overtures of their Tiamalan “cousins,” but they will work together in dire situations. If a tribe of Laershin Kobolds is ousted from their home and unable to retake it, the homeless tribe will often seek out a tribe of Tiamalans and briefly join them in order to get some strength in numbers until the Tiamalans migrations chance onto a new area suitable for a new home for the Laershin’s to put down roots.

    Under normal circumstances, if a clan of Tiamalans happen to migrate near a settled Laershin clan the more territorial Laershin will politely ask Tiamalans that they meet to move along fairly quickly. While cooperation between Laershin and Tiamalans is fairly rare, violence between them is rarer still.

    There is no cold politeness extended to Gilgren Kobolds. The Laershin view the Gilgren as willing slaves of Greymoria and traitors to their race. In addition to the ancient grudge, the Laershin believe that the Gilgren give the Kobold race a collectively bad name. All Kobolds look alike to most other races, and the Laershin believe (with good reason) that the Gilgren are ultimately to blame for the hostility most Humanoid races hold for Kobolds in general. If the Laershin find Gilgren in their territory they will try to gage the interlopers’ strength and either kill them, drive them away or hide, calling in favors with allies if necessary. Sometimes they’ve managed to eke out temporary get along to go along agreements when two tribes’ clans meet, but Gilgren and Laershin have not worked together amiably since the Second Unmaking.


    Gilgren Kobolds

    According to the Gilgren, the first Dragons may have helped Hallisan and the other Nine save Scarterra from being eaten by Turoch, but the first noble Dragons descendants were corrupt bullies. The Kobolds are the second oldest race alive today because the Dragons exterminated all the new races that emerged after them.

    Greymoria couldn’t stand for this. Working with Phidas and Korus they fashioned a new race from the flesh of the corpse of a particularly despotic Dragon king, Gilgraesh (who was eventually murdered by his own son). Greymoria reanimated his flesh into the first Kobolds. With the cunning and power of their Dragon blood they were able to avoid the Dragon’s notice until they grew numerous and organized enough that they could survive a genocide attempt. They even managed to kill no small number of Dragons by the time of the first Unmaking.

    They Kobolds helped weaken the Dragons enough to allow the other races to flourish, including the Elves. The Elves, in their hubris, hunted the kobolds and other races besides in their attempt to emulate the Dragons and rule the entire world with an iron fist. They faced an Unmaking just like the Dragons did. The Humans are no better and will fare the same in due time. The Kobolds survived the end of Age of Dragons, they survived the end of Age of Elves, and the Gilgren Kobolds intend to watch happily as Human civilization collapses.

    A few Gilgrens believe that they can rule the next age, but most are settling for surviving and continuing to be the world’s second oldest race and watch from a distance as the next dominant race also collapses. A few Gilgren tribes speak of an age where no one race dominates and the races live in their own territories leaving each other alone: not ideal, but a vast improvement over the current situation. Gilgren Kobolds gravitate towards Greymoria who they view as their creator and patron. Korus is also fairly popular. While the depth of worship of Korus is far less than Greymoria, they are more likely to pray to him on a daily basis (often praying to find food and avoid dangers) as his purview includes the natural world that they need to survive in.

    Of all the Kobold cultures, Gilgren most closely resemble the beligerent pests most D&D players know. They hate most other races and generally attack them, rob them, enslave them, and eat them whenever they perceive the odds are in their favor.

    Because of their raiding lifestyle, the Gilgrens are the most nomadic of all the Kobold cultures just by necessity. They regularly have to move on because they’ve depleted an area or have become a large enough nuisance to the other races that they warrant an organized response. They tend to suffer more violent deaths than other Kobolds and this has affected their society. They put less effort on mating for life and more emphasis on the importance of continuing their race. They still observe the birthing trek ritual that all Kobolds do, but they generally place their nests a lot closer to their camp than the Laershin or Tiamalans do. Indecently close, so say the other two Kobold cultures).

    Gilgren tribes tend to follow the leadership of whoever is most personally powerful, usually the most potent sorcerer. It’s noted that Gilgren tribes have noticeably more sorcerers than the other Kobold tribes. The Gilgren’s themselves claim it’s due to Greymoria’s blessing, but a few scholars who have studied Kobolds have established that Gilgren sorcerers tend to be fairly weak physically. Among other Kobold tribes, sorcerers-to-be are often the last ones to make it to camp. It is speculated that a disproportionate number of would-be sorcerers die on the birthing trek.

    Gilgren are generally hostile to other races, but they are not mindlessly hostile. They will try to scout out potential targets near them. They will weigh their options gaging the strength of their potential targets, the potential for loot, the potential for reprisals, and make sure to have an exit strategy. While their avenues to make contact are limited, Gilgren Kobolds will try to establish trading relationships with mercenary minded non-Kobolds to fence things they steal that they can’t immediately use. They also have allied directly with Greymoria friendly groups but these alliances tend to be short-lived.

    All other factors being equal, they will attack a non-Human before a Human. This isn’t because they like Humans, but this is because Humans are more numerous than the other races and more likely to have retaliating kin. They figure as the dominant race Humans will be hard to topple until the Third Unmaking hits. After (or during) the Third Unmaking, the Gilgren plan to really let loose all their pent up hostility and let Humanity face their well-deserved wrath.

    The Gilgren love to hunt Dragons, but they rarely have the power to make a serious attempt at Dragon hunting unless they can isolate a very young Dragon. Sometimes young Dragons escape, and come back to wreak vengeance on the Kobold tribe generations later. By this point the Kobolds might not even remember why this Dragon is angry at them, and it looks unprovoked. So the embittered survivors now have one more campfire story about how awful Dragons are and the cycle of hate continues.

    Historically, Gilgren Kobolds would attempt to recruit tribes of Tiamalans they met if they are currently following Greymoria or one of the Nine currently friendly with Greymoria, but they were prone to attack them otherwise. In lieu of a direct attack, Gilgren are well known to attack a powerful non-Kobold force and then attempt to frame the nearest Tiamalan tribe for their own atrocities.

    In recent generations this enmity has softened. Nowadays, Gilgren Kobolds are more likely than not to give Tiamalans a free pass. Serious losses fighting the Humans in recent generations has convinced most Gilgren leaders that they can’t afford to fight their own kind. Unless Mera is a particular Tiamalan clan’s patron in which case all bets are off.

    The Gilgren have also reduced their hostilities against the Laershin Kobolds. The Laershin have long memories and are not about to forget all the times they suffered due to the actions of the Gilgren either directly or as a result of being blamed for Gilgren atrocities against the other races.

    Because the Laershin are so territorial, they usually have the home court advantage and sometimes have local allies with an anti-Gilgren/pro-Laershin understanding. Even the most far-reaching nomadic Gilgren tribes tend to make a note of where all known Laershin territories are, so they can avoid them. If they willingly enter a Laershin territory, it’s usually in great force of arms to discourage Laershin attacks, or with a substantial bribe to buy temporary peace.

    I only wrote 547 words about Orc history and culture so far. The short version is below.

    Maylar and Nami had the godly equivalent of a wild night on the town and when they came out of their haze they realized they created orcs. The closest thing I have to an accident baby among the gods.

    They tend to be on the hostile side towards others but they are much more level headed than WHF orcs. You can negotiate with them. They are aggressive compared to humans but they generally only fight when they have something to gain. They don't (usually) start scraps just because they are bored.


    Back to Fire Giants. I believe the concept of Fire Giants is creation of D&D writers or some other recent fantasy writers. Frost Giants are an integral part of Norse mythology, the shock troops of Fimblewinter, but Fire Giants are the result of a modern writer saying "If we have Frost Giants I bet we could have Fire Giants too!"

    So far in my backstory the basic origin of giants is that they were draconic "thurakel" in the First Age. Modern scholars and modern dragons debate the best Common (English) translation for "thurakel". It's somewhere between "lowly slave to the dragons" and "honored vassal of the dragons."

    During the First Age, there were more giants than there were dragons but they suffered disproportionately high losses during the First Unmaking than the dragons. The surviving giants had greater difficulty coexisting with the Second Age elves than the surviving dragons and the giants suffered disporportionately high losses during the Second Unmaking.

    The two giant subspecies that survivived in great number numbers are the Brute Giants and Scale Giants. I am likely to add one of more varieties of Sea Giant later, but that can wait till I opt to populate the aquatic biomes.

    So far I have brute giants, big giant sasquatches that used to be grunt labor for dragons. Considering their size and strength, they are cowards. Humanoids have been able to intimidate and subjugate brute giants with relative ease, though they usually push too far and eventually provoke the brute giants into finally fighting back, usually the moment where their would-be masters have grown over confident. Threaten their young and they stop acting so docile.

    The scale giants would never agree to serve a humanoid. They have humanoid bodies but dragon like scales. They used to be grunt troops in dragon armies back in the First age. Tribes live in the deep wilderness until their population swells too big for the local hunting to support. Then the chief opts to make up for this short coming by raiding human or demihuman settlements. This goes on till eventually they overextend themselves and the humanoids fight back killing several giants. Once their numbers are roughly cut in half or less, they retreat back to their original hunting grounds, kill the old chief for leading them into a horrible loss (if the chief isn't already dead). Then they rebuild their numbers slowly.

    Rinse and Repeat.


    I guess if I wanted to have Fire Giants or Frost Giants the dragons could have sought out thurakel that can survive in extreme temperature conditions or they could be ordinary giants that absorbed a lot of elemental power as a result of the First Unmaking.

    While the brute giants and scale giants live on every major landmass, Game of Thrones plethora of humanoid races that are slowly grinding towards extinction made me consider that I could have some groups of giants that barely surivived the Second Unmaking and only exist in a single region.

    One concept I adapted from the D&D 3rd edition's Monster Manual III is Death Giants. I had to tone them down a lot powerwise, but the basic concept is the same. During the Second Unmaking, the last survivors of a near extinct giant subrace were cornered by powerful Void Demons. They offered their eternal service to the Void (and their descendants eternal service) in exhange for their lives. The Void Demons usually just eat mortals who make similar offers but in this case their leader saw a rare opportunity and accepted their offer. Besides a giant's soul is no more nutritious than a humanoids so they were far more useful as soldiers than food.

    They have regretted this ever since as their new masters reshaped them body and soul. Death giants live in constant pain which is only temporarily relieved when they snuff out mortal souls. They are very powerful beings but EVERYONE wants them dead, so the only survivors are in the frozen north of Western Colassia. There are a few dozen death giants at most and each generation sees fewer children than the last.

    I could easily create some regional based giant groups that aren't Infernalists.


    I'm not stopping till I reach 200! Though I'm assume most magical features are not world famous, they are locally famous.

    Life Stones
    One broad category of magical sites is Life stones. These are rocks imbued with life giving magic from the gods that let fungi and subteranean plants grow at supernaturally fast rates. This allows the underdark to maintain larger populations than it realistically should. The most powerful and famous of these stones is the Great Stone of Meckelorn, which according to dwarves is the very stone that the first dwarves emerged from.

    The dwarves lost control of the Great Stone centuries ago and then liberated it much later. In response, the dwarves now have a pan-national knightly order, The Guardians of the Stone, whose sole purpose is to defend the Great Stone and defend dwarf pilgrims visiting it.

    They have a secondary purpose they didn't ask for: keeping the dwarf nations from declaring war on each other. Meckelorn and Stahlheim both wanted to be the adiministrators to the Great Stone. To avoid this point of contention, the Great Stone and the temples built nearest to it were declared a separate nation despite it's tiny size (like the Vatican but for dwarves).

    Former Demonic Prisons
    During the Second Unmaking, most Demon Lords acted like they simply wanted to snuff out all souls, all Life. One Demon Lord, known as the Successor took a different route. He constructed vast prisons and imprisoned elves and goblins as well as other mortals. He forced his prisoners to breed so Void Demons could harvest their souls in a controlled manner. The Void's version of keeping livestock.

    These prisons were also the site of gruesome, unholy experiments to create new warrior races and weapons to serve the Void. Their greatest success, the creation of the new disease of lycanthropy.

    When the Successor and his minions were finally destroyed, these horrible prisons/labortories were destroyed brick by brick. These sites remained cursed, shunned by anyone with an ounce of sense. They carry a legacy of pain and madness. Over a thousand years later, It is said that the very stones still cry out in pain and night.

    Still working on names for these places. Whatever I come up with feels lame.


    Desert of Tears
    Void Demons turn into a pile of salt when they die. A lot of large deposits of salt mark major battle sites between mortal and demon armies. The most famous is the Desert of Tears where the Demon Lord known as the Exterminator was destroyed.

    Most demons are non-discriminatory with their targets. If a creature has a soul, it needs to die. The Exterminator preferred to target mortal races with the smallest populations, wipe them out to the last man, woman, and child, and then move on to the next largest group.

    Very often, the Exterminator failed to wipe out a race or species entirely but would bring them so low they no longer had a viable breeding populations. This created a lot of embittered survivors that were literally the last of their own kind. Highly motivated and extremely vengeful, these Last Scions were among the most powerful fighters and spell-casters the Second Unmaking had ever seen. These Last Scions joined with an adhoc army of elves, kobolds, and spirits of the Nine to eventually destroy the Exterminator once and for all, though at the cost of their own lives.

    Many spirits wept for the loss of so many honorable races. And it's known science that gemstones are formed from the tears of spirits, so the Desert of Tears is a treasure trove for gemstone miners...if they are willing to deal with all the undead that are naturaly drawn to the latent Void energies.

    Black Water Wastes
    I'm not 100% sure I want to keep using this idea. This idea is based heavily on the 2007 version of Flash Gordon that the sci-fi channel. In this setting, most water was tainted by an ecological disaster creating "grey water" which mutates and disfigures humans who drink it.

    Based on this, Black Water is water poisoned by the Void that mutates humanoids and animals who drink it. The Black Water Wastes marks Ground Zero for the Second Unmaking. A foolish elven king tried to capture a piece of Turoch's essence and shape into a weapon so he could seize godhood for himself. The Black Water Wastes marks the spot where he too a large portion of the Void's energy into the material plane and attempted to forge a weapon out of it.

    Then I watched The Hills Have Eyes 1 and 2. A few sleepless nights later, I thought, "Maybe I don't want Black Water mutants."
     
  15. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    @Scalenex ...wonders #4 — #7 have been finished** up, and good news! (?) I have thought of two more.

    **You’ll need to scroll back up the thread.
     
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  16. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    That's a cool concept, but we need to figure out who built it and why. Now the Dragons made a bunch of spires and towers in the First Age but they pretty much all fell down. I figure a sideways tower would make a cool basis for dungeon ruins.

    That's a very good idea, but I'm not 100% on board because I am somewhat petty and stuck on my original idea. My original idea was that Mera's Lake is virtually invisible. If you don't read your map and star chart right you might unwittedly scoop up a delicious cup of salt water from what you thought was Mera's Lake.

    But I guess if I want to make it a magic site, it should probably look special.


    Not a bad idea.
    I like stories of Charbodys and Skylla, but I may have to draw the line here. It was never my intention to make the Demon Straits unnavagiable. I was going to add the complication that the Demon Straits have few deep water harbors but I never wanted to make it a death trap.

    This sort of ties in with Feature #4. I like it a lot, but sadly my players made it clear they are not really interested in a sea epic and I didn't want to force a sea story on them. I suppose when I get around to writing Scarterran novels I am likely to have a lot of sea epics, but until then sea stories are going on the back burner.


    In other news, I paid $4 to go to the copy store and scan my hand drawn maps. I should have asked for Microsoft paint instead of PDFs. If anyone knows how to transfer PDFs of images to something I can post on L-O, please PM me and I can email you my maps.
     
  17. DeathBringer125
    Carnasaur

    DeathBringer125 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Scalenex but my spelling obsession requires me to inform you that they are spelled Charybdis and Scylla
     
  18. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    They could be spelled different in his realm.

    Only one of them was a whirlpool, the other was a big stationary monster..?
     
  19. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    ...Raises Feathery Claw/Talon...
     
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  20. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

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    There is an easy fix.....seeing as you have a whole world (of some shape) to fill out.

    Move #5, #6, #7a and #7b to a different sub-continent. The Endless Rain zone (5) can feed numerous raging rivers, these all drain into one of two fjords, usually at epic waterfalls, and where the two separate fjords meet the sea: there’s 6 & 7.

    Then the strait can be as already envisioned.
     
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