Yes, I have to give props to Wyrmsting. I was about to volunteer my 8th grade level of Paint for a map, but this seems to be much nicer.
I'd be happy to help. I am decent at paint (for what its worth) and have always used custom realms.
Interesting that you mention that elves and dwarves have different nations than humans, and how this is possibly Tolkein’s fault. However, with the slants that you wish to take on racism, I believe that's what you'll largely end up with. Elven kingdoms whose gods encourage them to enslave other races war with each other for the right to pillage nearby human and gnome settlements. Gnomish empires that are held together by the will of their cabalistic councils, told by their gods that other races are pagan heretics or are wild savages. Imagine highly classical dwarves, perhaps a democracy of Hellenists, defending their mountain city-states from barbaric elves and humans who wish to rob them of their precious metal mines. Of course, humans have their own gods who have conflicting messages about how to accept other races, but in such a society, it’s likely that non humans would be second class citizens at best.
What about dirty underprivileged halflings? Forced to eke out a living as destitute nomads, constantly fleeing superstitious and suspicious farmers, they are sometimes chased out of an area with rods and shovels by angry distrustful locals. Taking to a life of larceny by little more than the need to survive, they worship their mysterious gods in secrecy and isolation.
This may cause problems in a game that you do not wish to focus on more than the dungeon or the dragon’s hoard, but in a roleplay intensive environment, having to flee a city because the party keeps company with one of those thieving cheating scoundrel low down squash stealing halflings, it is endless entertainment for DM’s everywhere.
Anyway, if you want more thoughts, just let me know. I can do this all day long.
any maps I provide, anything at all I provide, will not be by me. I don't have an artistic bone in my body or hair on my arm. I'm an hunter-gatherer of graphics
It's all public domain and out-of-print, out-of-copyright stuff that Utan and I have collected over the many yuears we've been playing. A lot of it doesn't even have names on the artwork for reference or credit. Our map library is currently still growing, but at the moment we have approximately 300+ maps of business, buildings, warehouses, inns, castles, temples, dungeons, docks, islands (more than we thought), tatto parlors, bakeries, fish-mongers, work-houses. houses of ill-repute, etc.
And 6 books full of nothing but traps (the Grimtooth Series).
I also have the complete boxed sets of Undermountain, City of Greyhawk, City of Waterdeep, etc, all of which have from 8 to 20 (24" x 36") fold-out maps ...
And we're still gathering more. Haven't figured out what to do with a lot of it until now.
This is some of the ideas I've come up with about the main PC races in this setting; this is by no means set in stone, but merely the ideas I have so far. It's been really cool, by the way, reading the ideas put forth by everyone - the wheels are turning in my head. Thanks for the interest and posting, everyone.
without further adieu...
Humans – Men are one of the versatile races, and as such have progressed much and accrued much wealth and land in the course of history. While in ancient times humans often shared their settlements with dwarves, elves and other such demi-humans, when humans began their investment in empire-building, such races were seen as a hindrance. As such, a racist philosophy of human superiority developed – one which did not wane until the fall of the Braudian Empire.
Humans can be compassionate and humble, or arrogant and violent to the extreme. Their relations with other races, as such, as strained, and old wounds still remain from the days of human oppression. As such, opinions of them are mixed – they are considered formidable allies (or opponents, depending on whose side you’re on), regardless. And because of their penchant for technological progress, nation-building and expansion, humans dominate as far as influence on the continent goes.
Dwarves – A fierce warrior-race, the dwarves are a cross between the Spartans, the Vikings and the Ferengi from Star Trek (). The dwarves have a proud culture and have many clans; what clan you belong to is important to a dwarf. The dwarves have few nations; most are unions of various clans or their mountain city-states. Dwarves have an honor-code, but they are still brutal warriors and can be obsessed with their material goods and wealth.
The honor-code of the dwarves is subject to interpretation, and often varies from clan to clan. Some view it as dishonorable to lose a battle, some believe the most honorable course of action is to fight even when the fight seems impossible. Some believe that war is a sacred undertaking and must be waged very carefully; others think that the slightest insult is grounds for a long, bloody conflict. As such, the dwarves have interacted in seemingly conflicting ways with other races throughout history. When the Braudians sought to conquer the dwarves, they began by attacking the most populous dwarven city-states. The valiant dwarves fought on, but the Braudians enacted the “ram has touched the wall” policy (i.e. – once the battering ram has touched the wall, no quarter is given to those inside the fortress; this is to discourage defenders from trying to hold out as long as they can in a siege, because of the knowledge that their women and children will be killed). As such, many other dwarven states joined the Empire willingly – some claimed it was honorable, as they avoided defeat by doing so. Others claimed that they wanted to join the Empire and that their decision had nothing to do with fear of death, a claim that many said was simply to save face. In the modern age, many dwarves see the defeat of the dwarves and submission to the Braudians as a ‘black spot’ on the normally proud history of dwarven honor; while many dwarves profited from the Empire, most saw the act of joining the Braudians as a cop out.
Dwarves can interbreed with humans, gnomes and halflings.
Elves – The inhabitants of woodlands everywhere; elves. Elves, for the most part, shy away from large cities and civilizations. As in most campaign settings, it’s worth designating a difference between “high elves” and “wood elves”; the former, while they do not embrace expansionism, do not so conservatively hold on to the idea that true elves must live a Spartan life in the forests. Elves are usually described as having the oldest civilizations in the world – in this setting however, they were one of the last races to begin nation-building, mostly doing so for the purposes of defense and trade. Still, most elves are nomadic or druidic peoples with a strong connection to nature.
Elves are divided in their relations with humans – some are distrustful, others believe that the past should stay in the past. A minority are hateful and antagonistic towards them. Elves are territorial: they range from being fiercely territorial and xenophobic to being simply generally protective of their lands.
Elves are not immortal, and do not live terribly long – their lifespans range from twice as long as that of a human to about three times as long.
Gnomes – The gnomes are the close cousins of the dwarves; they are more reclusive, more concerned with technology and wealth, and less war-like. They often address dwarves as ‘brother’ or ‘cousin’, and their languages could be considered dialects of the same tongue. Often, in any given dwarven settlement, one might find one gnome for every ten dwarves; the reverse is true in gnomish settlements. Gnomes are excellent crafters, and often work with dwarves in the forging of their mighty weapons.
Gnomes are usually hoarders – they profited greatly in the Braudian Empire, and joined it without a fight. Gnomes also made contact with modern-humans very early on, and have been trading with them for thousands of years. As such, the relationship between humans and Gnomes is very cordial.
Halflings – The halflings are often the ‘innocent bystanders’ of the world. They’re peaceable as can be and very hospitable to all-comers. They have no ill-will towards men (most of them), despite the many atrocities committed in the past. As such, they often find themselves invaded, massacred, or made an example of. Halflings can be pacifistic, but most are simply ‘libertarian’ in their outlook on the world: live and let live. Sometimes, halflings find themselves organized into militias in order to fight for a particularly important cause, though this is somewhat rare.
Halflings are perhaps the most utopian of societies and races in this campaign setting (despite what you’re going to see in Drasnia, not everything in this world is dark and brutal…)
Well, yeah! Especially since I got lucky enough to actually play in this little world of yours, Lou, and seem to be getting so wrapped up in it, I'd looooove to help out where I can.
I've got a smidge of artistic ability that I'd glady loan out and help get your 'custom maps' done, if you like (e-mail me a rough sketch or whatever and I'll photoshop the dickens out of it or something )... Got some ideas brewing about some elven 'sub-races' that might be fun... other ideas about other regions of the continents than what has been touched on in game (and in the Q&A) thus far... blahblahblahyaddahyaddahyaddah...
Lemme know what you want me to squish in and I'll get to it.
This Mith'Ganni race has proven to be pretty interesting so far - perhaps we could find a way to work them in. My only concern would be infringing on the intellectual property of Tek.
I'm working on a timeline for this world (and have been for the past week or so); and I have a general idea of the outline of a few historical events.
As stated before - this place is going to have a LOT of history. This is not only because I find that interesting, but also because I think it would be cool to have the ruins of long-dead cities at various places in the world, each of them with distinctive histories.
It makes for a lot of interesting quests, and some neat dungeons...
In truth, the idea of the Braudians and their Empire was fairly new, but I've taken pieces from various campaigns/adventures that took place in custom settings or settings that were not entirely fleshed out that I've done and I'm trying to integrate them into a single picture.
Completely agreed... Tek's mith'ganni are indeed fascinating but, as you said, I'd hate to 'steal' anything from him. Perhaps a rehashing of the concept (which is what grabbed me to begin with) to have something "similar but not exactly identical" is the way to go there... I've got some ideas of my own, of course, and, as we go, they'll likely work themselves into something less plagiaristic.
Tek's not been around for a while, now, and has never been the best about answering PMs very quick-like, but I will be sure to let him know that I've "borrowed his ideas" (at least for the Drasnia game) and, maybe get a bit of a blessing from him to 'go ahead and expeirment with/modify' for a Braudian version. ... Never hurts to ask, right?
Was wondering how much has been worked out on the slave issue?
I know there certainly are slaves, the majority being elves that were taken during war. I've been kind of thinking about the issue, partly due to Cay's past, and partly due to my interests. I happen to be a history major and have done research both on slavery in the Americas as well as slavery in ancient societies such as Rome, Greece, and Egypt. If you'd like I could put together some potential ideas on the market, the culture and the legal issues concerning slavery in our little world. Of course any thing you have already decided/considered would be beneficial.
During the time of the Empire, slavery flourished.
I would liken the slavery of this time to the slavery of ancient Rome - it is a commonplace thing. Few in the Empire even stop to think of the 'moral importance' of slavery - it is just an everyday thing. In addition, there are many types of slaves - house slaves, body slaves, and slaves that are put to work in labor camps.
Slaves would also be of many different backgrounds. Elves would make up a large quantity of the slaves, but thieves, murderers and other human criminals who have been sentenced to slavery would also make up the slave populace. I'd imagine that there would be quite a few orcs, goblins, ogres, giants, (etc., etc., basically every monster race you can think of) in labor camps or conscripted into the Imperial Army. Halfling, Dwarven and Gnomish slaves are rarer, but not non-existent. I can't remember how much history I posted up, but this is because after 'making an example' of the halflings in a great massacre, then conducting brutal sieges on the dwarven fortresses, most of the 'little folk' surrendered without a fight; one of the terms of this was to protect their women and children from slavery.
I like your idea of a slave mark - I would imagine that this would apply to a certain kind of slave, however. Perhaps a lowly labor slave. I doubt that a noble would want his house slaves marred on their face, though I'm sure it would vary from noble to noble.
Additionally, as long as you're a citizen, you can own slaves. Therefore, many merchants, shopkeeps and tavern owners probably have a small number of slaves on hand.
And, like in ancient Rome, I'd imagine that slavery (especially the flooding of Elvin slaves on the market following the great war) has probably created some problems on the workforce - the Romans had many problems with plebeians being put out of work by slaves. Caesar gained great face with the people when he passed laws requiring certain percentages of the labor force to be freedman or citizens, which is one of the reasons why he was so popular. However, the Braudians have not had a 'Caesar' - their rulers are avaricious to the core, and have profited greatly from the cheap labor force they've gained, at great cost to the common man.
So those are my general ideas on the subject. I welcome anything you have to offer - any ideas, anything. Everything in this world is still in development. As you can see, I've kind of imagined the Braudians to be a mix between the Roman Empire and your standard medeival kingdom. They're more medeival in feel, but their laws and outlook on the world is pretty Roman - "we're the superior, divine race destined to conquer the world". Anyway, post up some of your ideas, I'd like to hear 'em.
Posted on 2008-06-12 at 18:50:47.
Edited on 2008-06-12 at 18:54:14 by Cap'n Lou
Pending a nod of approval or somesuch from Tek, the Mith'ganni will certainly be receiving an overhaul to fit into this setting (names may change, etc), and I've got concepts for at least 3 more elf-variants that should be ready for some sort of review in the next few days... Also been playing with some custom maps and such that might be useful at some point (mostly of Port Drasnia based on descriptions, etc, that Lou's already provided) and, if those turn out decently, I'll pass them along for your review, Cap'n.
Eol, to work in collaboration with the Elvin subraces you're designing, here's some of the notes I have on the elves so far in this setting that might relate to some of the work you're doing...
As usual, these are my ideas; and they're just that: ideas. I want to work with you and your ideas to create something collaborative.
As stated before, the Elves here aren't as long lived as elsewhere - I would think that specific lifespan would vary according to subrace, but I wouldn't think that the most long-lived among these subraces would live much longer than 300 years or so; the shortest lived would probably only live to be about twice the lifespan of an average human (approx. 140-150 years).
Additionally, I would think that the Elvin subraces would be as different as human peoples are from each other. I'm open to exceptions on this. However, for example, I would think that the main difference between, say Wood Elves and High Elves would be that the Wood Elves embrace the wilderness, avoid large cities and establishments, and tend towards druidism, while the High Elves dabble in magic, build civilizations and have more thorough laws. In other words, these are cultural and lifestyle differences that may have led to minute differences in general build, lifespan and abilities, but not enough to constitute a separate species altogether.
Elvin civilizations in this setting are not ancient in the same sense as the humans, dwarves and other "PC" races. I'm tending towards the notion that "High Elves" and Elvin nations did not arise until a good millenia or two after the first human nations. This does not mean that elves did not have a culture, but rather that they tended towards nomadic, simple lifestyles and preserved their culture through oral tradition. As such, Elvin artifacts from these periods would be rarer, and Elves would be regarded as more mysterious, especially by early man, who would have few dealings with them.
Even when conquered by the Braudians, the Elves were not fully under their control. While vastly enslaved or conscripted, it would be next to impossible for the Empire to patrol every corner of the continent. They might, for example, have a colony in an Elvin wood and have their leaders under arrest in order to keep the local slaves in line. However, patrolling and policing the entire forest would be nigh on impossible. For this reason, many provinces are controlled by the Empire in name only, and are still 'wild'.
Both before and after the time of the Empire, most of the elves eventually split into two ideological groups - Wood Elves and High Elves. While not all elves might live in the woods or in a city, the terms have come to apply to almost all of Elvinkind. The term Wood Elf loosely refers to an elf who prefers to remain either nomadic, or in touch with nature. While these elves might live in communities, they don't build cities at the expense of the natural world around them. Magic is scarcely used by them, and hunter/gatherer societies are common among them - small agricultural communities might remain. Meanwhile, the High Elves embrace the project of nation-building, magic, technology, etc. This isn't to say that they are "out of touch" with nature; however, they have determined that to live in a world with other races, especially humans, it helps to have an entity including a government and an army.
As stated before, some don't fit into the strict model of Wood Elf or High Elf, but still would be on one side or the other of this ideological divide. The Mith'Ganni, for example, would be on the "Wood Elf" side, despite the fact that they don't live in the woods.
This brings us to language - since the terms wood elf and high elf don't universally apply, I have come up with some Elvish terms to describe these two types of elves.
Teh'Shiri - "High" Elves, i.e. Elves of the cities, nation, etc.
Sheh'Shiri - "Wood" Elves, i.e. hunter/gatherer, nomadic, or druidic elves
I imagine that the Elvish language would be 'flowing', so I'm staying away from harsh sounds. Since Mith'Ganni, is, I'm assuming, Tek's word, I think we should come up with something different for the campaign setting - I don't think we should change it for the Drasnia Campaign itself, however, as the term has already been used. (Your thoughts on this?)
Historically, the first Elvin nation was Sheh'Shier, in the forest of that same name. A union of Elvin communities and hunter/gatherer societies, it was founded as a formal entity in order to create a safehaven for Elves, so that they would have their own state, and make them a nation that could engage in trade and defend itself.
Sometime later, a brief civil war was fought amongst the Elves (the details of which I will elaborate on later), resulting in the forest being divided into two nations - Teh'Shier and Sheh'Shier. Later, the Teh'Shiri elves would migrate north, and found a nation along one of the great rivers running through the continent, and near the northern coast. Sheh'Shier would then be renamed Lyr'Galad.
The next major conflict would be the Braudian campaigns, which would result in both of these nations being conquered. In the time after the Empire, a Elvin new nation, Min'Shar, would be founded near the south.
I'm pretty sure that these three would be the main 'nation-states' of the Elves as of the 'current year', which I'd imagine would be somewhere around 1350.
And, on another note, I'm going to post up a rough timeline in due course, maybe in the next week or so as I flesh out some of these ideas.
Also, I'd love to see any maps of Drasnia, Eol. The descriptions I gave were really the only parameters - I'm not very good at map making when it comes to cities, so I'd be thrilled to see some things fleshed out a bit...
I think I get where you're coming from on the elvin sub-races, Lou and, my thoughts on the Mith'ganni (as it stands right now, anyway) would be that they are, essentially, 'wood elves'(Sheh'shiri) with 'Mith'ganni' being a dialect-specific name that that particualr tribe/nation/whatever might use to refer to itself - I've always leaned towards the notion that the wood/wild elves would be something akin to the 'tribal folk' of our own reality, in a way... Whether Sioux, Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, or whatever, 'we' typically generalize and refer to them en masses as 'Native Americans' or 'American Indians', right? Kind of figured the same thing might apply with the Sheh'shiri (and maybe even the Teh'Shiri to a certain extent) where they're commonly/generally referred to as "Wood or Wild Elves" but, in each individual tribe/clan/band, may refer to themselves as something different.
As to changing the Mith'ganni name in the story itself, I do not, in any way have a problem with that at all. I'm sure I can come up with a new name, etc, and editing it in throughout the posts wouldn't be a major effort i don't think... As I mentioned earlier, it was the concept behind Tek's mith'ganni that attracted me to begin with, not so much the name and, since we're 'building up from baseline,' I'm sure that a more setting-specific variant can be done - Might actually be better that way as we can avoid stepping on any of Tek's intellectual property (as you've already established the nomadic nature of the wood elves, here, and that (coupled with a preference for the plains/steppes) was my biggest 'pull' to the mith'ganni, anyway. (Thoughts?)
I'm still toying with the Port Drasnia map - lots of blank space, yet - but should have something available for you to look at in the next couple of days. Did you mention somewhere that you had a rough map of the continent available? If so, I'd like to get a peek if I could, to kind of give myself an idea of the coastline and/or location of Port Drasnia in relation to the rest of the continent... not that it should make much differnce to the city map itself, but it might help me to orient a couple of things and perhaps even give a name or two to some streets, etc...
The Diamond Spider Tavern
The Grey Minstrel Inn
The Brass Orchid Tavern
The Longtooth Lounge
Macauley's Gambling House
Skywhite's House of Lavation
Gillian's Fantasies in Wax
Larkspur the Leech
Kolat's Emporium of Miracles
Professor Fyber's Taxidermy and Museum
The House of Thelesha Moonscry
Sleaz's Tattoo Parlor
The Gateway (maps, charts, etc.)
Doc and Sardin's Warehouse
Sails of the Everpresent Journeywind (sailmaker)
Ew's Wood and Bone Shop
Cap'n Bill's Bait Shop
The Pearl Trader
Bron Arvo's Armory
Blades by Tor
Red Earth Leatherworks
Findar's Stable and Smithy
Widow Rohl's Bakeshop
Slimon's Strolling Salmagundi Wagon
Robab's Fish Market
The Scotch Woodcock Fishery
The Bellmen's Guild
The Customs House
Van Iverson's Lite
The Mariner's Fellowship House
The Palace of Peaceful Repose