The Western Fringe and the Eastern Hearth, Part 1

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By: Fealtytokhorne

Hi there,

I am currently working on a world for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign, which is somewhat inspired by Brian McClellan’s Powder Mage Trilogy and the period of history known as the Westward Expansion. The entire theme of the world is exploration, with conflict and intrigue mixed in. Below is a small outline of the world, including a small, detailed description of one of main countries. All other countries, as well as other powers, will be mentioned in my next post.

The World:
The terms the “Western Fringe” and “Eastern Hearth” describe the two main bodies of land in my world. The former describes a large continent, where two main superpowers (Lanius and the Lands of Divinity (L.O.D)) duke it out. Connected to the Fringe via the Iron Horse (see below) is the Eastern Hearth, which is the homeworld of the Lands of Divinity. Along with these two powers are the Company, which is supposed to be loyal to the L.O.D, but serves itself, as well as the Deaths Merchants, a group of two-bit rogues who hire themselves out to do shady services.

What is above is only a small description of the world. Below is a more detailed description of the Lands of Divinity:

Lands of Divinity

  • Government: Theocracy
  • Population: 10,678,070

The Lands of Divinity are composed of one main island and two small colonies. The state is ruled by three priests of Elinsth: God of Trade, Invention, and Industry, and two priests of Talin: God of War and Righteous Death, and is subjected to the considerate influence of the leader of the Company, Sandford Fleming. (The Company and Sandford Fleming will be explained in my next post). The third priest of Talin, who publicly resisted the influence of Sandford, has recently died as a result of very mysterious and very natural causes

The Lands of Divinity has ascended to its current position of power as a result of two gifts, given by Elinsth and Talin respectively. These gifts are the Iron Horse and Deaths Dust, which allows warriors to kill from afar.

Alwyn Beren and Alton Underbough the 2nd

customlogoBy: fealtytokhorne

Alwyn and Alton are two characters whom I have created for Dungeons and Dragons. Below are their backstories, which I decided to share so you can know more about the process of creating a character for D and D.

Alwyn Beren:

Alvyn Beren is a scheming gnome. Or, more appropriately, was a scheming gnome. Born to a pair of gnome nobles, Alvyn lived a life of intrigue. Alliances shift, enemies become “friends,” friends are never friends, and a dagger may be at your back. Alvyn survived by his constant manipulation, but even with his endless blackmail and bribery, he knew he wouldn’t live for long. And so, when his death came, Alvyn was ready, but he had regrets. Plenty of them. In the Hells, he schemed against Death himself. He was outmaneuvered, of course, but his effort amused the reaper. And so, he was given a year of life, but he came back with a “gift,” wooden dolls and puppets, things he controlled, to remind him of his constant regrets, and make him feel guilt every minute of his mockery of life. Alvyn adventures to set things right so he can feel at peace when he returns to Deaths embrace…

Alton Underbough the Second

Alton was born to an adventurer, someone who did great things. Alas, Alton’s father, who went by the same name, wasn’t destined to live that long. A noble family saw something in Alton, and took him off the streets, whisking him off to their life of money, power, deceit, and treachery. Alton rebelled instantly, attempting to run away. He was caught many times. Soon, he stopped trying to run away, and adopted a different tactic. Every night, he would don dark clothes and track down and arrest one of his family members. Alton felt no guilt about this. After all, he knew just how corrupt his foster family was. After every member of his foster family was in jail, Alton took down other corrupt nobles, until he came into contact with a travelling bard, a member of the College of the Herald. Intrigued, Alton began learning more about the art. Soon, the halfling began using the tools of blackmail, deception, and magic to root out corruption. Alton has begun his adventuring career in hopes of tracking down and taking on more formidable targets..

Mind you, this is not the backstory Alton tells everyone. Depending on who he is talking to, he might paint himself as a grizzled mercenary captain, a slave who led his fellow captives to victory and overthrew his captors, a gladiator fighting for sport in an arena, a leader of a cutthroat thieves guild, a renowned scholar, or a acolyte who serves his god to the very last breath.

Building a Random World. Part 4: System. By Yasadu De Silva

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Hello all,

As you know, the world I am creating is for a tabletop RPG (see Part 1 if you don’t know what a tabletop RPG is). Thus, I need to decide what tabletop RPG (or system) I’m going to use to play the world. The system is important because the character options and rules can dictate the setting. For example, the world’s most popular RPG, Dungeons and Dragons, is a RPG of high fantasy with flashy explosive spells. If I use D&D in my world with no modifications, my world will eventually become something closer to high fantasy, which is not what I want. So before I do anything else, I will decide my system. Below is a list of systems I considered, and their pros and cons.

Name Pros Cons
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying: 2nd Edition WFRP2 has a grim feel, which is good for low fantasy. In addition, it has many rules, including optional rules for armor layers and hit location (stab the torso or the right arm, etc.). It uses a d100, which I’m familiar with. WFRP2 assumes that you are using the Old World setting, which affects some of the rules (equipment, races, monsters, etc.)
Harnmaster  Harnmaster is a low fantasy RPG. It also has detailed rules for armor layers and hit locations, which are more detailed than WFRP2. It has low magic, being near-mundane. It uses a d100, which I’m familiar with. The complexity is mostly in character creation, but it might scare my friends away from playing. In addition, the only races are human, dwarf, and elf.
Runequest 6  It uses the same basic engine as another RPG, Call of Cthulhu, which is one of my favorites. One of my friends and his group is also familiar with CoC, so they might like RQ6. Has rules for health per hit location. Apparently, this book is poorly organized. For example, sprinting is mentioned on page 58, but finally elaborated upon on page 438.

After deliberating, I have chosen to use WFRP2.

Thank you,

Yasadu De Silva

Building a Random World. Part 3: Sociology: Races. By Yasadu De Silva

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By: Yasadu De Silva

Hello all,

I’ve recently begun building a world for a tabletop RPG. To see what a tabletop RPG is and what I will use to create the world, look at my Part 1 post.

Sociology is important because it is the people and races that inhabit the world. Without it, my world would literally have no sentient life, which isn’t good for the RPG I want to play (it may be interesting to play non-sentient life in a rules-light system though). To develop sociology in my world, I followed these steps.

First, I need to decide what races inhabit my world, and which ones are major, minor, and dominant. I need to roll a d3 (or d6 divided by two) and subtract 1 (d3-1 in short form). I get two. Then, I roll for major races. Rolling d4+2 gets me four. Finally, I roll for minor races. Rolling 4d4 gives me four minor races. Then I need to roll d100s to find out which races are in my world. I get: giants and humans as dominant; elves, halflings (hobbits but without copyright), lizard men, and gnolls (hyena people) as major; and hsing-sing mammals (here: http://www.lomion.de/cmm/hsingsin.php), doppelgangers, arakocra (bird people), and dwarves as minor. Now, I need to create subcultures for some of the races. Let’s pick: humans, lizard men, giants, and elves. After rolling, I find that: giants have 3 seperate subcultures, humans have 4, elves have 3, and lizard people have 2. I will flesh out these subcultures later. But first, I should decide where these races live. After rolling, I find that: giants tend to the mountains, humans to the forests, elves to rivers, halflings to the northeast, lizardmen to the southwest, gnolls to subtropical regions, hsing-sing mammals to the jungles, doppelgangers go wherever, aracockra to the southeast, and dwarfs to the grasslands.

Next time, I will be taking a look at a system, then I will be returning to Sociology for kingdoms.

Thank you for reading,

Yasadu De Silva

Building a Random World. Part 2: Geography and Seismology. By Yasadu De Silva

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By: Yasadu De Silva

Hello all,

I’ve recently begun building a world for a tabletop RPG. To see what a tabletop RPG is and what I will use to create the world, look at my previous post.

Geography is important in a world because it can shape civilizations. For example, the first settlements were built near water sources. Land formations such as mountains can make a nation difficult to invade. The steps below show my process in fleshing out the geography for my world.

I need to create a map of the world. For this map, I am using the free version of a program called Hexographer. The map is divided into 20 triangles, called regions. First, I need to decide my world shape. To make it simple, I’ll choose sphere. Then, I must find my world size. Rolling a 100 sided die (referred to as a d100. Six sided die are referred to as a d6, Four sided as a d4, etc.) I get a 39. If you don’t have the necessary fancy gamer dice, use this dice roller: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/dice/dice.htm. The 39 gets me a 4800 mile diameter (For reference,  Earth has a 8000 mile diameter). It also means that one hex on the world map equals 300 square miles. After finding the world size,  I need to find how much water there is. Rolling a d100, I get 71. Looking at the table, that means that the world is 80% water. I begin to add in the amount of land needed. Then I roll 4 d4s, or 4d4, to find the number of plates. Rolling a d6 for each plate size, I get: 5, 2, 1, 1, 6, 2, and 3. Adjusting for the inaccuracy of drawing, I get this: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1lnBRWcjbSBN2puOUVGYnExVkk/view?usp=sharing. Then, I roll for plate movements and earthquakes/volcanic islands. I get this:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1lnBRWcjbSBN3ZuZFpmeVFneEk/view?usp=sharing.

Next time, I will be looking at political geography, or the various races and kingdoms that inhabit my planet.

Thank you for reading,                                                                                                                         Yasadu De Silva

Building a Random World. Part 1: introduction. By Yasadu De Silva

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By: Yasadu De Silva

Hello all,

Recently, I had the idea to start a new tabletop RPG campaign. A tabletop RPG is where a group of friends sit around a table telling stories about characters they made up. All the major points of a story are there (setting, plot, etc.) However, there are two major points in which tabletop RPG’s differ from collaborative storytelling. Firstly, what the characters can do in the story is determined by rules and dice. There can be many rules; for example, RPG’s like Pathfinder or Shadowrun, or very little rules, for example RPG’s like Risus or Dungeon World. Secondly, the setting and the non-player characters are controlled by one person who does not have a character, called the GM. Sometimes, most of the setting is included in the rules, sometimes, the GM makes the setting by his/herself. For me, this is the case. I want to make a dark, low fantasy (low to no magic) setting for a RPG. I haven’t decided specifically which RPG, but most likely, it will be a RPG with many rules.

To do this, I have employed the aid of a book called the World Builders Guidebook, by Richard Baker.

Image result for world builder's guidebook

It is now out of print, but you can find many copies floating around on the internet. There are many random tables inside, which I will use to build the world I want.

Thank you for reading,

Yasadu De SIlva.