Idea Guild > Fields of Challenge

Map Challenge #1: Decathros

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Dozus:
Excellent, I can work with that. Thanks!

I'll get the map scanned once it's more or less done.

Forganthus:
Can I have Area 14?  I promise to be good to it.

Area 14: The Longest Land, or Hesurach

Area Overview

Everyone knows that when we die, our souls travel to the Longest Land, where they ascend through the clouds to their ultimate fate.  The scholars and wizards of the world call it Hesurach, but those that live there know that it truly is the longest land, passing through this world and into the next.    You do not have to spend much time in the Longest Land to realize that the land is not meant for mortals.



The land is old.  The cyclopean ruins that dot the landscape are huge, and have been made for something much, much larger than a human.  The labyrinths beneath them are immense, and only the shallowest of them have been excavated or explored.  Gigantic highways still run across the land, forty feet across, built by the same extinct forerunners.  In  many places the flat stones that make up the road have been pried up and sold in the lowlands.  Water is still transported by an ancient system of canals.  The entire plateau is crisscrossed with canals and aquaducts, many tens of thousands of them.

The land is haunted.  They are commonly seen, by merchant caravans as well as scribes.  Ghosts, phantoms, spirits--there are many answers, but the phantoms seem to defy explanation.  There seem to be two kinds of spirit.  The first are called "husu", and are sometimes described as headless elephants that travel across the land in slow-moving herds.  But they are so indistinct, that there is little agreement about what they truly were in life.  The other type are called "Hro-yen", and they are the ghosts of giants.  Their crypts have been found, hidden deep inside the earth, and many hundreds of mummies, each twenty feet tall.  In bad winters, it is not uncommon for irreverent individuals to burn them for heat, and the giant bones are ground up to make black paint and dye.  Called "Giant's Black", the paint is one of the Longest Land's most famous export.

The land is wet, cold, and flat.  Cold rain falls on the plateau 200 days out of the year.  This water is collected in the canals and to irrigate the fields.  The entirety of the Longest Land is flat.  With a few exceptions, such as Mount Thorn, the elevation across the plateau only varies about twenty feet or so.  The entire plateau is almost perfectly flat.  This immense flatness drives those not used to it to madness, called "staring sickness" by the locals.  The canals are so frequent, that travel across the plateau is frequently done in small in a small type of sailboat called the jatho.  In the eastern half of the plateau, where the canals are more frequent and better maintained, it is more common to see sailboats are more common than wagons.

The land is somehow a contraceptive.  Conception is difficult.  Couples try for years to have a child, only to fail again and again.  For this reason, the people of the Longest Land are vegetarians, even if they don't wish to be.  Cows never give birth to calves.  Chickens lay empty eggs.  Meat is a rare, expensive delicacy for those that indulge in it, and even they risk condemnation from their neighbors.  Eating meat is seen as the most arrogant thing you can do.  Another consequence of the near-zero fertility rates: nearly everyone is an immigrant.  The people of the Longest Land are extremely diverse and open-minded.  At least, the city-dwellers are.  The Blue Tongue People are a different story.  Because children are so rare, it is seen as a huge boon to have one.  Children are a status symbol.  For this reason, parents frequently bring their child with them at all times, so that everyone can see how heaven has favored them.  Not only do blacksmiths keep their child near the door to their shops, but merchants, lawyers, masons, and even soldiers.  In fact, it's not uncommon to find an entire family together at "their" occupation.  And lastly, there is a thriving market for fertility charms and potions.  The people of the Longest Land are known for eating all sorts of weird things in an attempt to increase their virility, or to get pregnant.  Everything from iron shavings to tiger penis.  There is even a style of cuisine, called "sungatham", that is intended to maximize your chances of pregnancy.  There are even restaurants that only serve sungatham food.  Everyone knows that pregnancy isn't biologically possible on the Longest Long, and so any children who are born do so only through the direct intervention of a god.  All sorts of traits are ascribed to these children: they are all beautiful, they can perform miracles, their parents will never die in poverty, etc.  These children--the native Longlanders--are called "Blessings".  Only an ignoramus calls them Longlanders.  If your wife was born in the Longest Land, she is a Blessing.  You have a Blessing wife.  It is still seen as something special, and Blessings in distant parts of the world frequently seek each other out.

The food is strange.  Normal crops don't grow well in the Longest Land.  They suffer from the same infertility as the rest of the species.  Instead, the most common grain is called tasselgrass.  Tasselgrass is a pale plant that seems to be in the same family as wheat.  However, the stalks are very rigid, and grow over ten feet tall.  The stalks are as tough as bamboo, although they lose their rigidity when dry, and cannot be used as building materials unless specially treated.  Tasselgrass takes two years to grow to maturity, and is semi-translucent when young.  By the first fall, the stalks have begun to turn milky, and by the second year the tasselgrass is white or pale yellow.

But but many elements are still normal.  The people of the Longest Land are sorted into a handful of semi-independent city-states that have--incredibly--coexisted peacefully for their entire existence (although there have been exactly TWO bloody crusades waged in Hesurach, more on this later).  They have harvest times, taxes, and militias.  But unlike the rest of the world, the cities are small.  Tiny.  What is called a city in the Longest Land would be called a town anywhere else.

The closest thing that the Longest Land has to a capitol is the cathedral of [YOUR GOD HERE], built and maintained by the church of [YOUR GOD HERE] in [YOUR CITY HERE].  The cathedral is the final point of that religion's pilgrimage.  Building and maintaining the cathedral is an honor to them, and a point of pride in their identity.  They can proudly show the rest of the world this magnificent manifestation of their faith.  Except for Mount Thorn, the cathedral is the tallest structure in the land.  Naturally, an entire secondary economy has sprung up around it.

BLEARGH I'M TIRED AND REALLY @!#$ING HUNG OVER SO I'M GOING TO GO TO BED NOW AND FINISH THIS WHEN MY HEAD STOPS EXPLODING BUT I TOTALLY PROMISE I WILL COME BACK AND MAKE THIS PLACE INTERESTING LATER


Dungeons



Items


Lifeforms



Locations

The land is beautiful.  The Longest Land is too large to call it a plateau, but most of it is more than 1000' above sea level.  The cliffs in the west, where Hesurach meets the ocean, are called the Heavenly Step and are regarded as one of the most beautiful things in the world, and hundreds of painters have traveled there to create their own vision of the cliffs.  They are perhaps the most painted subject in the world.

Mount Thorn is the tallest object in Hesurach.  Like much of the rest of the plateau, the mountain seems shaped by some tremendous, ancient process.  It is symmetrical, and tapers up to a steep pinnacle.  From a distance, it looks much like the thorn of a rose.  The flanks of the mountain are covered with black-needled pine trees and small red flowers called ladysblood.  The mountain is home to one of the few wild animals that live in Hesurach--a large, hardy breed of goat (although some claim that is a deer).  They are called Ollerhorns, and although the meat is savory, they are bad luck to hunt, because of the child-like screams they give when they are wounded.  There are certain stars and wandering celestial lights than are only visible when on the mountainside.  These secret, local stars are called thornpyres, and the higher up one goes, the more stars become visible.  At the summit (which few have attained) the sky is clotted with millions of them.  However, those that attempt to study the thornpyres invariably go mad.  These madmen burrow into the mountain, and are never seen again.

Purgatory is one of two cities that claims to be the one closest to the afterlife.  It is not any larger than it's surrounding towns, but it has the distinction of being on a main road into the plateau.  It is ruled by a woman called Governor Gesta Barlahan.  The office of inherited, and she become governor only after her two elder brothers died.  One fell into a canal on his way home from a party and drowned, and the other was killed when a shingle fell on his head.  When she became governor, the young Gesta promptly cancelled her engagement and enacted several reforms.  For generations, Purgatory had been using the subterranean catacombs of the mummified giants as their warehouses (like all cities in the Longest Land), but Gov. Barlahan outlawed the practice, causing many warehouses and grain silos to be built and many businesses to leave the city.  She also began construction of a series of windmills in the name of modernization, but with the loss of business and funding, much of the construction is delayed indefinitely.  She has blamed the cities misfortunes on the long-dead giants, and seems desperate enough to hire anyone who claims to be a ghost hunter or spirit talker.

The Elephant's Teeth are the largest group of the few surviving above-ground giant dwellings in the Longest Land.  They are square buildings built in two long, parallel lines along a cracked and overgrown canal.  Most of these dwellings have collapsed into rubble, but a large number of the Blue Tongue People seem to have settled in them, eschewing their normal vagabond lifestyle.  This is the closest thing the Blue Tongue People have to a city, and some merchants come here to trade with them.  The Blue Tongue People have built their markets in the hallways made for giants, and have built their houses under their stone benches.

The Poison Bowls aren't are a trio of lakes on the south side of Hesurach.  Like all six of the small lakes in this plateau, the Poison Bowls are nearly perfectly circular.  However, they are unique in one respect: the central lake has dams that control the flow into the two, much smaller lakes along side it.  The dams are huge, and extend deep underground.  Some theorize that the two structures meet together under the central lake, as part of a much larger construction whose significance they have not yet divined.  The water in the Poison Bowls is safe; the name comes from the diverse and deadly breeds of water snakes that make the lakes their home.  The druids of the lakes are proud of claiming that there are 24 species of snake, each with a different deadly venom and uniquely brilliant skin.

NPCs


Plots


Society/Organizations

Shadoweagle:
Welcome aboard Forganthus! Your land of long-dead giants and infertility sounds great :D

And may I just take the chance to say to everyone that each and every area is awesome: i love how eachlocation is so different and each hold their own charm - and mystery! From the reclusive, elitist hypoten and vartanadel to the boggy swamps of Swynmoor and all I between. Good job all around!

Wulfhere:
No promises about when I'll get to detailing it, but I'll take Area 12:  Zuch Thechi'ua, The Flame Peaks of the Dead Gods.

Overview Dominated by volcanic peaks reaching far higher than any explorer has traveled, Zuch Thechi'ua is a land of hellish extremes.  Rains of frozen ash and toxic gases drift down from peaks named after the malevolent spirits said to dwell upon them.  One broad valley is dominated by the caldera of Sem-tsu ("The Cauldron of Souls"), a sea of scalding, ever-shifting stone, deadly fumes, and strange fire spirits.  In nearly-inaccessible valleys sheltered from the mountains' wrath, grow forests of towering fern-trees, plants seen nowhere else in the Fourteen Lands.  Strange lakes glow with the colors of the aurora, their waters reputed to hold mysterious magical power. 

Inhabitants Isolated tribesmen wander the region, herding the hardy beasts of the mountains.  Reputed to be hideous and freakish in appearance, these folk reportedly possess razor-sharp tusks and shaggy coats of long golden hair, the result of congress with the mountains' vile spirits.  Wandering traders and the few civilized inhabitants of the region report that these tribes eagerly bargain for comely slave children, who are raised to represent the tribes in their dealings with other regions. 

The Veni'chi are a primitive people said to possess the heads and feet of goats.  Skilled shapers of stone, these folk trade items of carved jade, lapis, and hematite for pottery, glassware, and food and drink from the lowlands.  They arm themselves with razor sharp blades of obsidian, refusing to use metal weapons or tools. 

young0ne2:
This seems like a nice creative idea so I'm going to through my hat in here and take the last place...

Area 13 , shale be called Idaina-hugrland, "The Great Spirit lands"


--- Quote from: young0ne2 on March 04, 2013, 12:31:33 PM ---13 - Low to mid elevation area, warm, humid climate. Two large lakes lie within this area. A rainforest lies to the west. Neighbours area 12 to the northeast, area 9 and 8 to the north, and area 14 to the west.
--- End quote ---

Overview

Idaina-hugrland is a land of great spiritual beliefs and superstitions. A primitive land with primitive law, the land is filled with farmers, hunters, and great warriors. Most of the settlements of the region are composed of tribal settlements,which are broken down further, into one of two cultural beliefs (one is of old Shinto belief, the other of the old Norse). This belief difference does cause fighting among the people of Idaina-hugrland, sometimes to the degree of all-out war.
The settlements are where the majority of the farmed and hunted goods come from. Farmed crops such as fruits, grains(rice & corn), and tobacco's are widely available, as are assorted meats from game animals. Each Cultured tribe produces its own goods and services based upon their belief and culture.
(ex: Shinto Cultured tribes would have rice more available then a Norse tribe, as such a Norse tribe would have more meats and animal products available than the Shinto tribes.)

In the center of the land, between the two great lakes, is the capital city,ruffly translated in to common as Cloud-Tempest, one of only two areas of the region that are known to be peaceful between both cultures. This is not to say that the capital doesn't have its gangs with their little turf wars, but compared to the tribesman and the wild, its sanctuary.  More later in the "Locations" section


Culture/people

As previously described, their are two cultures in the region. As Lore tells us, these inhabitants where nomads, made up mostly of Barbarians, assorted other warriors, and Shaman, seeking a place to call their own. As time went on, and the tribes settled, a power struggle began between the Strongest members of the tribe and the wisest. The eventual shattering of this tribe caused the formation of two new groups. These groups developed into the cultures of the land today.

People of the region are reflective mainly of their culture. Their are very little to no humans in the area. Those that are have been seen in both cultures and show no favor in one of the other. Orcs would be the most plentiful group. Like humans, they are seen in both cultures, using their natural strength to their cultural needs. Gnolls are also present in these lands. Believed to be cursed individuals from both Cultures, Gnolls are shunned and sometimes hunted. Both Cultures believe that those who have angered their Deity, or the spirits of the world, are cursed to become Gnolls. The Curse is so great that it effects all your future Lineage, forever changing them into Gnolls. The only Believed cure for this curse is to complete a quest for the being that cursed you, usually involving one to learn a GREAT lesson, or complete a life threatening task.
All this aside, Gnoll's have been seen in both cultures, usually at the bottom of the society.
The other Races of the region resemble a cross between humanoid and beast and tend to be culturally based.

Large Bull like people, Minitors, are mostly seen in the Norse Cultures, along side Wolf and Grizzly-esk humanoids. The belief is that these individuals are those whose bloodline has been directly blessed by their Deity. These individuals seeking to exemplify their Deity's and appease them with great feats of strength and might. it is very common to hear tales of these warriors going into a reckless, almost Blood-thirsty, rampage's when in battle.


Likewise, the people of the Shinto belief also reflect their culture. Panda, Fox, and Boar like people are known to be found in these tribes. The belief behind these people is that long ago, their ancestors where Shaman to the old world, people who communed with the spirits. Because of their devotion to the spirits of the world, these shaman were blessed with the gift of "Spiritual Form", granting them the appearance and powers of the spirits that helped them. Today, these tribes practice many different forms of meditation, such as martial arts and bending rituals, in order to commune with the spirits and learn from their teachings in order to live harmoniously with the world around them. Some are rumored to even commune with the Elements of the world.

Locations

Capital: Cloud-Tempest
Capital of Idaina-Hugrland, Cloud-Tempest is the only actual settlement large enough to be considered a city. Its one of two known locations where the residents of the region live in peace. The city is a blend of both Shinto and Norse Architecture, home to both Great mead halls and Shinto Spirit Gardens. Both cultures sell and trade all goods here in their market, both can pay homage to their respected Deities in their great temples, and can benefit from the cities wide assortment of services.
Work in Progress

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