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Offline Scrasamax

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Fantasy Fantasy realm
« on: November 10, 2004, 09:56:54 AM »
It would be easy for this Fantasy Fantasy realm to explode out of proportion and become a series of continents dominated by dozens of nations great and petty, infested with a dozen different races. Such an endeavor I feel is doomed to tail simply by the sheer size of the project. It becomes overlarge, and a 'white elephant' that would get along for a while before succumbing to the bane of all threads...apathy.

Therefore the boundaries of this new realm are going to be set down in the begining, and considered chiseled in stone. This may seem harsh to some readers but for considerations of practicality it is mandatory. The first consideration is that of the physical realm.

The easiest way to accomplish said task is to make the realm an island, bounded by ocean on all four sides. It is a viable idea, most early civilizations (Crete, Greece, etc) were founded on islands as they had natural defense against rampaging barbarians. Unfortunately this feels artificial, and severely limits what can be done simply to the size of an island, and as much as I like the word archipelago, games and game systems set in island chains inevitably make me shudder.

A single Continent on the other hand is too large, and invariably leads to the next step of the next continent, which leaves me searching for a middle ground between the two. And there is one, the subcontinent. There is only one on Earth, India.

This idea has taken a strong root in my mind. India gives alot of ideas to simply grow out of. It sets a basic mindframe of basic geography, as well as giving a real world example of a biosystem inhabited by a large number of animals not usually seen together, IE Elephants, Tigers, bears, wolves, crocodiles, cattle, sheep and goats, cobras and mongeese. Jungle Book without the singing animals and people in red diapers.

Therefore the starting slate is a subcontinent, well insulated from the outside world by barriers that are less inviting to explorers that wide expanses of ocean. The northern barrier would be mountains of the massive, sky-ripping variety created by the slow collision of the subcontinent with the main continent. The peaks remain snowclad year round and aside from ascetic monks, and yeti the region is unpopulated and harsh. Those who might survive cross these mountains very well would perish in an attempted return crossing.

The Eastern border is vague defined by deepening jungle inhabited by ferocious animals that have both large teeth, and poison (Snakes and tigers) as well as being loaded with a variety of lethal diseases carried by mosquitos and rodents. Expeditions into the east usually end with fits of delerium, or the belly of a predator.

The Western Border is an expanse of rocky desert that stretches on and on until there is nothing but blasted rock, scrub and the undying mountains, extensions of the Northern Wall. This would be a place of rapacious barbarians, stinging and poisonous monsters and evil spirits.

The south is the easiest. The coastline offers a panoramic view of a stormy and treacherous ocean, the Indian in our world. The idea of expansion beyond the natural borders is constrained by the fact that land is not so scarce as it is in our Eurocentric world view. Ships exist, but not much more than small fishing boats, and skiffs for pleasure boating by the nobility. India went through a considerable period where there was almost zero maritime activity. They are a land centered people, as opposed to the sea centered British, Spanish, or Italian.


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Offline Scrasamax

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Races
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2004, 10:12:38 AM »
On the next topic, the population of this new realm would be limited to four, and only four races. There wont be any of the race-trees like the elves of popular fantasy, if one elf has blond hair and the other has brown, they are both elves, not two different races. Humans can look different, and all still be humans while the other races of fantasy get chopped out into family trees. What if orcs and goblins are the same race, but it is physically like comparing a Korean and Sudanese?

Anywho.

The four races

Humans - This is us, well most of us.

Ork-kin - The goblins, orcs, bugbears etc. Predominantly situated in the western region where conflict between human and orc settlers and nomadic orks is common. These would resemble the demons of hindu mythology, grotesque by human standards but no less in the eyes of heaven. Orks have no overwhelming advantages over humans, but are nomidic rather than settled. The Orks might have something to do with trade through the desert, but that is up in the air. A common theme of the Ork-Kin is that of freedom. The orks are not tied down by the bonds that come with civilization, such as needing to farm the land year round, maintain settlements and sanitation. If they hunger they hunt, if they want they take, and if they are strong they prosper.

Elves - standard fantasy stock, the elves live in the forests and jungles of the east, keeping their secrets from the humans. Some humans could follow elven beliefs in the manner of new ager cults and such, or followers of a saintly figure. The Theme of the elves is that of the higher self. The elves seem immortal, always beautiful and possessing an otherworldly demeanor. They are detached from the base nature of life. I mean has anyone seen a fat elf, or an elf running to the toilet because he is about to crap his pants?

Dwarves - the laborers and makers who toil away in the mountains of the north, sometimes friends sometimes foes of the humans. They have developed technology, at the expense of magic but their arts are shrouded in mysticism and religious trappings. The theme of the dwarves is slightly different, it is that of motivation and of labor. They work and build but for no other function that it is what they are driven to do. Industry, a strong sense of socialism and the greater good, or at least the dwarven interpretation of the greater good.


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Fantasy Fantasy realm
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2004, 05:20:01 PM »
When I read the sort of Hindu Indic Sanskrit (I could go on like that) feel that you're providing, I thought: "Sweet, something new."

When you mentioned elves in the jungles and such, I suddenly imagined this:
A huge ancient pyramid in the jungle, plants growing all over it, and at the top, a big statue of some god. Before the statue stands an elf, eyes blazing, in violet silk robes, arms outspread, as joyous human converts howl in bliss.

When you mentioned orks were mentioned in the desert I got this image: Orks with shaven heads except for topknots, wearing breastplates of bone tiles. They're wielding huge, wide-bladed scimitars decorated with images of their god, Shavamma, the Wheel of Fate. Each has curving tusks and an animalistic face, and roars as they charge at the disorganized remnants of a trader's caravan. (I don't know if Orks worship Shavamma, the Wheel of Fate, or not, I was just trying to move away from the usual bloodthirsty orkish gods of war.)
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Offline Scrasamax

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Fantasy Fantasy realm
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2004, 07:27:37 AM »
YES! I love it. I want to keep the feel of the subcontinent with its myriad of gods and also strong Buddist/Shinto feel without becoming ensnared in the massive population, caste systems, and other muddy of real india. I mean I want it to be a mix of fantasy, with the subtext that would come from the people who wrote the frickin Kama Sutra.


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Offline Scrasamax

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The Five Kingdoms
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2005, 06:57:11 AM »
The Southern Most Kingdom
 - Occupying the southern coast of the Subcontinent, the Southern Kingdom is strongly associated with Water, and the ocean. It is a weak kingdom, as there is no strong maritime tradition, and no ships of great size to lead them to power. They exist due to the ease of defending their territory, and the good fishing that can be found in the region. Men of the southern kingdom, despite their lack of renown for combat, are considered some of the best musicians, while the women of the south are well known throughout the realm as some of the most exotic and beguiling.

The North-Western Kingdom
 - The Kingdom of Fire, it is a land of dry stone, where the ocean meets the desert. There are a number of large cities, all well defended against the tribesmen of the deep desert, the orcs who worship their own goda, and the Wheel of Fate. They are warriors without peer, and only the constant vigilance against the orchordes have prevented them from bringing war and domination to the rest of the realm. Their men are strong and virile, while they women are rumored to be hideuos compared to other women of the realm.

The Northern Kingdom
 - The Realm of Wind, this kingdom is the smallest of the five, but it is stout of heart, and wise. Their king claims the longest lineage of rulers of the five, and also considered one of the most spiritually enlightened men alive. The Northern kingdom is host to great numbers of miners and metal workers, and has a large dwarven population. The Northern kingdom trades with the dwarves who come up from the bowels of the earth, as well as fending off the unclean things, such as the cannibalistic wendigo and yeti. They are best known for keeping the art of writing alive, alongside oral tradition, as well as keeping the holy writ of the divinities.

The Eastern Kingdom
 - The kingdom of Wood, this land borders the primordial forest of the East, where the decadent and alien elves dwell, swathed in jewels and ivory, silk and supple leather. Trade is brisk, but the elves allow no forays into their wooded realm, save for those who are geased to serve the elves. Those who go with them are never seen again, and "gone with the elves" is the same as commiting suicide, but the elves have silver tongues and wily glamours.

The Central Kingdom
 - The Kingdom of Metal, physically the largest kingdom, as well as having the greatest population. The Kingdom of metal is divided between many potent Lords, as well as the leaders of the great temples who weild similar powers, wealth and soldiery. Only a very strong king can hold this kingdom together. It is often the source of much romantic literature and dance, fueled by the constant politicking between the greater lords and lesser.


Stout Lagerale of the Dwarven Guild
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

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