5E Seeking Help/Critique on a Setting
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  1. #1

    Seeking Help/Critique on a Setting

    To cut a long story short, I'm trying to put together a homebrew setting for D&D 5e. Always having problems seeing the finer details - can't see the trees for the forest, as it were - and just generally not having the faintest clue how to rectify my many shortcomings, I'm desperate to ask:

    Is this is the kind of thread where I can get help with a project like this?

    So far, what I have is:
    • A solid plan of the setting's core precepts.
    • A solid, if rough, outline of the "Main Land" segment of the setting, ala the Sword Coast, Khorvaire or the Tyr Region.
    • A rough outline of the world as a whole.
    • A list of the races I plan to include.
    • One-sentence minimum outlines for each race's place, purpose and identity.
    • A defined cosmology to use as a backdrop.
    • Fragments of overarching history.


    What I need is: People to talk to. Well, I suppose, if you want to be pedantic, I specifically need:
    • People willing to critique the things I write.
    • People willing to voice opinions when I ask questions.
    • People who can point me what sub-aspect of the project to tackle next.


    So... am I in the right place? Can I start unloading the material that I've actually created and bringing up some of my issues that I want to discuss, or is this not the place where I can talk about stuff like this?

    If it's not... where the hell can I go? Because I can't do this alone and I don't have a live group to work on it with me.


    Edit:
    Thanks to all of the help that the users here have been giving me, I now have a Google Doc setup with all of the information I've created, revised and am developing through your continued assistance. This should hopefully help me and us in figuring out what gaps I still need to fill in order to bring this setting to life.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...6K9Nzf-s/edit#
    Last edited by QuietBrowser; Tuesday, 5th December, 2017 at 09:44 PM.
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  2. #2
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    First, you can upload stuff here and i think it will be discussed.

    On your specifics:
    You did it alright up to now. All of this things should be common knowledge eventually so present this knowledge to your players upfront, best before session 0.
    What you Need next is a starting area. Do not detail out everything and all playces in advance but be pretty specific in your starting area.

    Thsi can be anything, vanilla is your small village complete with shop smithy temple etc, but it can be a dungeon where the Players Need to escape instead or any other place. If you want to restrict your Players from travelling around in the beginning Limit the possibilities (Island, Oasis, snowed in mountain Valley etc)

  3. #3
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    In addition to using us, use your players. Our group usually gives homework assignments--three allies, three adversaries, three contact. Sometimes three items, three events, three locations. They're usually only a few sentences each and provide the players and GM with some sort of hook.

    We have an understanding that the homework that's turned in is inspiration and help for the GM. Nothing turned in is guaranteed to appear in the game. And the GM is free to alter whatever's turned in to suit their game. I would ensure your players understand this ahead of time so they won't get upset if their creation goes in a different direction than they wanted. (If the player really wants some part of their homework preserved, I imagine a simple agreement with the GM would suit.)

    At the end of this you have a more fleshed out world with help from your players and you have elements for the game that they care about.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Coroc View Post
    First, you can upload stuff here and i think it will be discussed.

    On your specifics:
    You did it alright up to now. All of this things should be common knowledge eventually so present this knowledge to your players upfront, best before session 0.
    What you Need next is a starting area. Do not detail out everything and all playces in advance but be pretty specific in your starting area.

    Thsi can be anything, vanilla is your small village complete with shop smithy temple etc, but it can be a dungeon where the Players Need to escape instead or any other place. If you want to restrict your Players from travelling around in the beginning Limit the possibilities (Island, Oasis, snowed in mountain Valley etc)
    Quote Originally Posted by Wednesday Boy View Post
    In addition to using us, use your players. Our group usually gives homework assignments--three allies, three adversaries, three contact. Sometimes three items, three events, three locations. They're usually only a few sentences each and provide the players and GM with some sort of hook.

    We have an understanding that the homework that's turned in is inspiration and help for the GM. Nothing turned in is guaranteed to appear in the game. And the GM is free to alter whatever's turned in to suit their game. I would ensure your players understand this ahead of time so they won't get upset if their creation goes in a different direction than they wanted. (If the player really wants some part of their homework preserved, I imagine a simple agreement with the GM would suit.)

    At the end of this you have a more fleshed out world with help from your players and you have elements for the game that they care about.
    I appreciate the both of you and your commentary, but there is something I should have mentioned in my opening post - in my defense, it was late and I was really tired:

    I don't have any players. Not a one. I have no group, and I will not be having a group any time in the forseeable future. The invention of this setting is more of a personal project. I have nobody else I can talk to apart from anyone willing to communicate with me on this thread, which is why I'm coming across as so desperate: I AM desperate.

    Also... in terms of uploading the things I have put down in relatively concrete terms for this setting, where do I start? And can anyone provide suggestions for how I should go about naming this setting?

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    I'm certain you could get feedback on your material here. I don't think there are too many particularly "shy" folks sitting behind their keyboards here. hahaha.

    I would say, most importantly, for those of us who will read it, is to give us the rough outlines of the "big" stuff first...the cosmology/gods, history fragments (which is all you want anyway so you have the flexibility, as DM, to insert or change the timing on things as the story requires in-game), flavor/style you want to evoke. Then maybe the major nations, the area or town you'd want PCs to be starting out, etc... So, when reading your other detailed stuff, we don't necessarily have to question why this is this way or that is that...if we can, ourselves, see/find the reason within the larger framework.

    Does that make sense? I feel like it makes sense...but re-reading sounds kind of...well, makes sense to me.

    I'd say next -after that- is just start picking elements (races, classes, kingdoms, ongoing or potential conflicts you want happening in the world, etc...) and post 'em up. See what folks have to say about them. Obviously, particularly in these threads, tangents happen and having concise self-contained discussions of a particular topic/element will be difficult. But I'd think you could sort it all out.

    LOVE world-building. Hit me/us with what you've got!
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuietBrowser View Post
    I don't have any players. Not a one. I have no group, and I will not be having a group any time in the forseeable future. The invention of this setting is more of a personal project. I have nobody else I can talk to apart from anyone willing to communicate with me on this thread, which is why I'm coming across as so desperate: I AM desperate.
    I wouldn't stress it. You don't have a pending first session deadline so don't feel desperate. Take your time to brainstorm and collaborate here and then firm up your concepts either when you're happy with them or when you get a group and collaborate with them. Or both!

    Quote Originally Posted by QuietBrowser View Post
    Also... in terms of uploading the things I have put down in relatively concrete terms for this setting, where do I start?
    steeldragons has good suggestions for starting it. But also don't fret over proper processes. Throw up your brainstorms while they're fresh and go from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by QuietBrowser View Post
    And can anyone provide suggestions for how I should go about naming this setting?
    I would call it The Quietus because it's ominous and sounds like your screen name.

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    @quietBrower Having looked over several folks settings/adventures in an informal editing capacity, I will offer one word of advice: Don't dump pages upon pages of material all at once. Start with something specific that you're struggling with or mulling over, no more than a couple paragraphs to a page. Targeting info this way really helps "editors" help you.

  8. #8
    Firstly, I want to thank you all for the warm welcome you've given me here. It's been a while since I dared show my face on this forum.

    Secondly... in the face of what you've all said, I really don't know where to begin! I want to share what I have, but I don't want to overload you all, as Quickleaf wisely warned. Hmm... alright, I'm going to take a stab at the "essentials cliff-notes", and then explicitly state what I want to try and focus my struggling attention on first.

    Finally, thank you for suggesting "The Quietus" as the setting's name, Wednesday Boy; the more I think on it, the more I like it, especially because it ties into a cosmological quirk of the setting.

    World Notes:
    The basic idea of this setting is a Points of Light style setting inspired by a combination of Eberron, Warmachine/Hordes, and early-edition Warhammer Fantasy. The "setting outline statements" I have currently established are as follows - I'm happy with these, but precise wording could maybe stand for a revamp.

    • Weird Fantasy: Unconventional races, nontraditional depictions of races, trappings not associated with "standard" D&D. This world is not Faerun or Greyhawk, and so will break some of the "rules" of D&D.
    • Sword & Pistol, Smoke & Spells: This setting makes use of the "Dungeonpunk" and "Magitek=Industrialized Magic" aspects first employed by Eberron. The overall aesthetic is "Dieselpunk", with technology roughly analoguous to WW1-era technology, where it's available. Pistols, radio, combustion engines and similar gear take their place alongside the traditional swords and spells.
    • Science is Sorcery: Technology is based on magic made industrial, and even the most advanced science still takes its roots from sorcery. Engines fueled by alchemical elixirs or elemental energy, for example.
    • War Without, Rot Within: This is an age of turmoil and strife. Conflicts abroad weaken civilization within, the old empires struggle to maintain their grip on their vassals.
    • Chaos Breeds Opportunity: Whatever your tastes in adventure, you can find them here. Gather your own army and rise up to topple the powers of old? Protect the interests of your nation? Seek out and opposes corruption within the highest reaches of society? Lead a social revolution? Or simply grow fat by plundering the no-man's-lands, dead cities and battlefields of the world? The choice is yours.
    • Gray vs Grey: Everyone is a hero in their own eyes. In this bloody age, unconventional heroes can take the stand.
    • Savor Your Victories: Don't be overwhelmed by the wider scale of suffering and despair. Focus on what you can do. A victory today is no less a victory for what tomorrow may bring.
    • Many Stones Do An Avalanche Make: Change is possible, it just isn't easy. Your actions can make a difference, and you can succeed - if you're willing to do what it takes.
    • Pulpy Influences: Savage, untamed jungles filled with primeval beasts, alien worlds whose influence is sometimes felt on this one, life in the depths of the earth; pulp novels have their influence here as well.



    Cosmology:
    In very brief terms, this setting will use the World Axis cosmology of D&D 4th edition - to reiterate, The World/Prime (physical universe); Feywild (Land of Faerie); Shadowfell (Land of the Dead); Astral Sea (Land of the Gods); Elemental Chaos (Land of Creation) and possibly the Abyss (Land of Corruption/Evil/Madness).

    One unique aspect of the setting is the presence of "The Netherstorm", a planar phenomena created by ancient, epic-tier magic that impedes travel between the World and the other planes. This is something I'll touch upon when the thread shifts to discussing History.


    Rough World Map:
    I don't have the ability to draw a map, but, from a conceptual level, I do have the world of "The Quietus" basically plotted out. There's room for further refinement, but this is what exists so far:

    • "The Known World": The central "hub" of the setting, analogous to the Old World of Warhammer, Khorvaire in Eberron, the Tyr Region (Tablelands?) of Dark Sun, or the Sword Coast in Forgotten Realms. Humanity's continent, as well as perhaps that of the Gnomes, but almost every other race has enclaves here.
    • "The Sea of Destruction": Western sea bordering the Known World. Wracked by storms, violent weather, monsters; extremely difficult to cross. The Hordelands lay far to the west, with the Isle of Catastrophe in between.
    • "The Sea of Fate": Eastern sea bordering the Known World. Far more docile than the Sea of Destruction, but can turn just as nasty. Home to the Dark Continent, and possibly the Mu Peninsula.
    • "The Hordelands": Homeland of the hobgoblins and the ratfolk. Heavily scarred by industry, progress and agrarian domination.
    • "The Isle of Catastrophe": Australia-esque mini-continent in the Sea of Destruction. Heavily polluted because of all the failed, driven back or destroyed hobgoblin transport machines and armies that've either collapsed here or washed up here. Stronghold of the ratfolk.
    • "The Dark Continent": Homeland of the gnolls and their hutaakan masters. The Sun Elves also live on this bit of land.


    I have a more detailed (though still generalistic) writeup of the Known World, but I'm not sure if I should post it here - I'm already worried I've gone and put too much info in this post already.


    Race Summary:
    Fair warning, there's going to be a lot of races in this. I've never really shyed away from including what I like. As a general rule of thumb, races can be divided into "Major" and "Minor", referencing their influence on the world stage - because of what inspired me to do this setting, I've never been able to quite shake the perspective of envisoning it as a war game. Anyway, I really hope this isn't overwhelming folks...

    Humans: Cosmopolitan jack-of-all-trades race. They're not the oldest or the most individually powerful race, but they get on well with others and are definitely a major powerholder. Basically rule the Known World. Organized in "The Republic", which is a less overtly semi-feudal basis on the Empire.

    Cog/Tek Gnomes: Masters of "Science" - or, rather, the industrialized magic that passes for science in this world. Ruled over by the most intelligent of their race, inventing and improving magitek is their racial religion, and is in fact how they survived the Netherstorm that devastated the souls of all Worldy fey when it was activated. Reclusive and withdrawn, but prone to somewhat erratic behavior. Basically Krynnish Tinker Gnomes if they were competent and with a dash of Girl Genius.

    Wild Gnomes: A profuse array of gnomish subspecies who, rather than bonding themselves to magic itself, healed their souls by bonding to nature. They come in many varieties based on different terrains, with each variety being a subculture all to itself. From mounted nomadic Plains Gnomes to illusive, stealthy Forest Gnomes, to amphibious Wave Gnomes, they come in many shapes and forms.

    Hobgoblins: Disciplined, organized, highly militarized race from the so-called "Hordelands". Believe it is their manifest destiny to conquer the world. Magitek capabilities roughly equal humanity's, but look more primitive due to aesthetics and the hobgoblin mentality. Have tried to conquer the Known World multiple times, but have never established more than an isolated foothold along the western coast.

    Moon Elves: Descendants of a thriving elven colony who settled on the moon eons ago during the days of the Ur-Elven Empire. Retain the purest form of elven civilization, but never found a way to counter the effects of the Netherstorm cutting off their spiritual link to the Feywild, leaving them spiritually hollow and a physically dying race. Still make expeditions to the planet below for various reasons.

    Sun Elves: Descendants of an elven colony dedicated to studying the unique pharmaceutical and alchemical possibilities of the Garden of Death, a lethal jungle region on the Dark Continent. Attempted to cure the Hollowing with alchemy, the results were... mixed. Are now a species of warlike, vital barbarian-amazons, who rely on mysterious alchemical rituals to procreate without the need for males.

    Goliaths: Primitive humanoids from the northern mountains of the Known World.

    Dhampirs: The result of one province of the human republic spending centuries under the reign of vampire-kings.

    Mortif: The other result of the reign of the Blood-Kings and Night-Queens.

    Shyfters: When the mad wizard-king who created the first werebeasts was defeated, his curse was weakened, but not broken, leaving the former therianthropes weakened, but still seperated from humanity.

    Minotaurs: Literally just the Minotaurs from Nentir Vale; a fallen civilization struggling with their spiritual temptations to become savage beasts.

    Tondi: An all-female race of mantis-folk who resemble orchid mantis, this is a minor race native to the Dark Continent.

    Hutaakans: A race of jackal-folk necromancer-priests who reign as the dominant power of the Dark Continent. Devoted to savage demon-gods in the vein of Urgathoa, Lamashtu, Slaanesh and Mordiggian, they are fanatical zealots and also dark hedonists, who view all the world as their eventual domain to hold.

    Gnolls: Matriarchal hyena-folk who were created by the Hutaakans and have since been enslaved by them. Their cruel treatment by their masters has bred resentment into them, and the "present" of setting is seeing a plague of uprisings and rebellions sweeping across the Dark Continent. That said, if they oust their masters from their place of power, they may not have the fortitude to avoid falling into the same lures of dark pleasures once they sit the thrones themselves.

    Ratfolk: Former rats who evolved from the arcane pollution of hobgoblin dumps. Proudly individualistic and with a natural anarchistic streak, they are bitterly opposed to the authoritarian hobgoblin regime. Their culture has literally been born from scavenging, rebuilding and reverse-engineering hobgoblin technology. They can be found on both sides of the Sea of Destruction, and are even nominal allies to humanity, but their own stronghold is the Isle of Catastrophe, where they openly rule the polluted and hostile land. Basically non-evil, non-hideous Skaven with a dash of Mad Max by way of Fallout.

    Haffuns: A race of bunnyfolk based upon American homesteaders; a peaceful and easy-going people of farmers and ranchers who have turned their agricultural skills (aided by their rulership lying in matriarchal druidic cabals) into a position of economic power. Allied with humanity for protection against the more warlike hobgoblins, they can still defend themselves with grit, guts and guns. Strong traditions of magic, in particular Storm Sorcery, Luckbending, and "Hucksterism" - faerie & fiendish warlocks.


    What Do I Want?
    There are four major things I want to tackle at this particular point, and which I could use help with deciding what to focus on. Any opinions?

    History - At the moment, I have barely three or four notes of historical features, and no real clues for even beginning to proceed on this.

    Mapping the Other Lands: The "Known World", or Daggerland as I'm tentatively calling it, has a rough but decent outline available to it. The other lands should probably get a similar level of treatment at some point.

    Fleshing Out Races: As you can see above, I've got a lot of races in this setting, but at most I have cliff-notes of each. I'd like to pick one and start fleshing it out some more; anyone interested in a particular topic?

    "The Inner World?": I had a thread elsewhere about an Inner World sub-setting that, sadly, crashed and burned. I'm wondering if I can try to salvage it by grafting this pulpy sub-setting to the Quietus. I'm not set on doing so, but I'd like to discuss the possibility at some point.

  9. #9
    I'm really worried that this is overstepping myself, but since it's the biggest dose of concrete lore other than what I posted above, I figured I should put it here for critique. Maybe I can spoiler-block it for size or something...

    Climate:
    The Known World is predominantly a Temperate environment, growing more sub-arctic in the furthest north and more sub-tropic in the furthest south. There are some environmental anomalies, as a result of ancient magical cataclysms or wars, but for the most part the Known World follows a reliable pattern of warm, gentle springs, hot summers, cool, wet autumns and snowy winters.

    General Terrain:
    The Known World covers a vast and sprawling array of terrain types; mountains, hills, grassy plains, forests and rivers make up the bulk of territory. The Known World is sometimes known as the Daggerland, because Republic maps have established their continent occupies a roughly dagger-like shape; the Known World proper occupies the "blade" of the continent, whilst the "hilt" is uncharted territory blocked off by the World's End Mountain Range. At the far south, the "blade" gives way to the Woundshoal; a sprawling subtropical delta of treacherous swamps, mires, marshes and meres that give way to a little-charted archipelago. The Woundshoal is rife with disease-bearing insects, swampy predators, treacherous terrain and dangerous coastlines, whilst the World's End Mountains have defeated all serious attempts to press through them so far. As such, the inhabitants of the Known World know far more about the lands on their eastern and western fronts, and expeditions to head north or south are rare feats of eccentricity. The western sea is called the Sea of Destruction, whilst the eastern sea is called the Sea of Fate.

    Government:
    A loose republic style, based on the Sigmarite Empire of Warhammer Fantasy; each of the Provinces has an Elector Count (the one universal title of the Republic), who represents his or her province in matters relating to the Republic as a whole. A singular authority figure is chosen from amongst the Elector Counts to serve as the ruler of the Republic as a whole, although terms do not pass down through blood lineage and there are some constraints on this "Emperor's(?)" power.

    Provinces of the Republic:
    Bitterland: The northernmost province of the Empire, butting up against the World's End Mountains. This is a rugged, inhospitable and rather barren land of hill-country, valleys, steep mountains and dense forest; its inhabitants live close to, if not beyond, the subsistence level, depending entirely on hunting and foraging to supplement small house-gardens to provide for themselves. The humans of Bitterland are infamous in more southerly provinces for their circumstance-based tendency towards inbreeding, leading to many cruel, bawdy jokes on the topic (though never told where a Bitterlander can hear it). Aside from that unfortunate business, Bitterlanders are known for their strength, their ruggedness, and their skill at hunting and foraging. Internally, they conduct all trade on a barter level; coin flows to Bitterland only due to the fur trade, a small trade in Bitterland liquors (mostly mead and mushroom-laced ale) or the rare visit from big game hunters after the notorious beasts of the Bitterland. Most Bitterlanders quickly squander any coin they have on ostentatious goods, especially favoring guns from the south. The Bitterland has a surprisingly diverse population; alongside humans, it is home to families of both Forest and Mountain Gnomes, and clans of Minotaurs, Goliaths and Shyfters. The Bitterlander humans take their demihuman neighbors in stride, and the joke goes that a Bitterlander's wife is either his sister, his dog, or his cow.

    Murkenwood: Stretching on from the southwestern border of Bitterland, the Murkenwood is a densely forested region shrouded by a single unbroken expanse of green - the titular Murkenwood - whose dense boughs regularly fill with eerie mists. Murkenwood settlements tends to concentrate on the branches of the Mother River that flow through their province, granting them somewhat greater access to the riches of the south than their northern kin. Still, it remains a fairly backwards and primitive place, where isolation is the norm for most villages. Many clans of Forest Gnomes inhabit this region, and it's also known to be host to a number of Moongates. Shyfters prowl the woods or live alongside humanity. A comparatively small but growing population of Haffuns is also entrenching itself into this province, having migrated from their home in the Grassy Ocean to the southwest. Much of the Murkenwood's trade comes from hunting, fur and timber, and its denizens are renowned for their archery, their skill at navigation, and their propensity for illusion and enchantment magic.

    Hellfire Crags: A mountain range girded by forests that stretches from the southeastern border of Bitterland. The Hellfire Crags are home to the Cog Gnomes, who claim this massive range - it stretches almost the length of the Daggerland's blade, but is broken up at several points along its expanse - as their sovereign domain. The human population mostly lives in the lowlands, trading timber and agricultural goods to the gnomes, who exchange metal and forged goods in trade for this boost to their own agricultural efforts. As a result of generations of human settlement, much of the lowland has been reduced to plains country, to feed the need for timber. Whilst the Crags themselves are recognized as an allied sovereign state, the lowlands of the crags are considered a Republic Province, Smithholm. The Eversmoke, the capital city of Smithholm, is one of the great cities of the Republic, and is the hotbed for the Republic's military teknomancy and battle engineering; the vast bulk of the Republic's guns are manufactured here, and they eagerly trade with (or steal from) the Cog Gnomes to keep ahead of demand of technological innovation.

    Heartland: The central region of the Daggerland is a vast, agrarian landscape of plains and sparse forest. With the Mother River forking most prominently here, it is a literal center for trade throughout Daggerland, receiving goods from all corners of the Republic. Its capital city, built at the largest nexus of waterways from the Mother River, is the official heart of the Republic; it is here the Elector Counts meet and where the Emperor holds court. This is, without a doubt, the most cosmopolitan region in all of the Daggerland; every race that walks its surface can be found here, and even some from lands beyond the Known World.

    Gloomlund: This dark, southwesterly region of dense forests and marshes stretches on from the southern tail of the Hellfire Crags down to the Woundshoal proper. This province has a reputation for dark, evil magic; the dead do not rest easily here, and fiend-cults have long been a problem. Witch-kings and even vampires have openly reigned over this province, each leaving its own stain on the province's history. Although no "Dark Lord" currently claims dominion over the region as a whole, its political influence has waned drastically; only its enveloping of the main pass to Gildshore keeps it at all politically relevant. Humanity is all but gone here; dhampirs, vryloka, shyfters, tieflings, mortif and other children of its dark past claim this province for themselves.

    Gildshore: The eastern coast of Daggerland is seperated from Heartland by Gloomlund, which combined with its trading connections to the Dark Continent gives it a reputation for being sinister, amoral and avaricious in the rest of the Republic. Despite this, it is just as cosmopolitan as Heartland, in no small part because of the Water Gnomes who live and thrive along its reach.

    The Grassy Ocean: The midwesternmost province of the Daggerland is a huge expanse of rolling, gentle plains. It is surprisingly underpopulated by humans; instead, the bulk of this land is held by the rabbit-like Haffuns, whose agrarian culture gives them a surprisingly large influence on Republic politics; it is considered by many to be the biggest breadbasket in the Republic. The other major population are nomadic clans of Plains Gnomes, who variously trade with, ignore and raid their bunnyfolk neighbors. On the downside, the Grassy Ocean is the last border of defense between Heartland and Hordelands, and the Haffuns are not a militaristic people; they rely heavily on their human neighbors for protection from Hobgoblin raiding parties.

    Viltheed: The western coast of Daggerland is contested territory, conquered several generations back by the hobgoblins of the Hordelands, far across the Sea of Destruction. Whilst the efforts of brave Republic armies and Haffun militias pushed them back, they were too well-entrenched to remove entirely without a hideous contest in life. Thus, a restless sort of peace has descended upon the region; both Republic and Hobgoblin forces constantly skirmish with each other, but full-scale war has not been declared. This region's populace consists predominantly of Hobgoblins and slave-races from the Hordelands, along with a restless array of guerrilla natives - Humans, Haffuns, Water Gnomes and Ratfolk - that constantly do what they can to push back against the goblinoid conquerors.

    Ulderholm: The southernmost province of the Republic, Ulderholm claims to be the oldest settled province of them all. It is practically a reflection of the Daggerland in miniature, with small mountain ranges, forests, plains and rivers ultimately giving way to the marshes of the Woundshoal at its southern end. Whilst thoroughly populated and with a thriving economy, in comparison to Bitterland, Ulderholm is seen as a somewhat backward and rural region in comparison to Heartland. The capital of Ulderholm is home to the oldest magical academy in the Daggerland, and is the center of magical traditionalism, which does not help with its reputation. Whilst any race is welcome here, Ulderholm is dominated by humanity in sheer numbers.
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  10. #10
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    What Do I Want?
    There are four major things I want to tackle at this particular point, and which I could use help with deciding what to focus on. Any opinions?

    History - At the moment, I have barely three or four notes of historical features, and no real clues for even beginning to proceed on this.
    I think you have quite a lot, and a beautiful amount it is, of history. You have the major races in their places, both homelands and conquered areas. You have the reasons why they are there. If you want to "flesh out" some of those details, pick a name for some great battle or whole war that led to one set of folk being someplace or some form of magitech being found in one land but not another.

    I've found, in developing (and endlessly filling in) my own homebrew setting's History, it helps a great deal to bite off manageable chunks...for yourself, I mean.

    Start, somewhat obviously, with the world's current day. The period of time in which and player characters are going to be dropped. What is happening in/around the world right then? What has happened in the past...ten years? The past fifty? A hundred? What were the major battles/wars, any major migrations (happened and/or still occurring?), big trade deals created -or fallen through, and naturally any particularly rising evil and/or adventurous opportunities that might be goings-on in which a group of PC's might be interested.

    If there is some major catastrophe that has altered the world in the more distant past, stick that on your timeline somewhere (whenever you like to make sense) and then work on sections in either "Pre-catastrophe" or "Post catastrophe" blocks. As you develop major happenings, stick them on the timeline. Then work on what happened, for example, "from the end of the Battle of Trolls until the election/rise of the current Emperor-elector-guy (and who he/she is).

    And, really, for history (the more ancient/forgotten, the longer blocks of unknown time and larger amounts of unknown information) just knock out chunks of time that are relevant to what you need. If you don't have any immediate need to figure out what happened 500 years before the current day...then do yourself a favor and just don't bother until you need something.

    Mapping the Other Lands: The "Known World", or Daggerland as I'm tentatively calling it, has a rough but decent outline available to it. The other lands should probably get a similar level of treatment at some point.
    Personal note, I just really dislike "Daggerland." It makes sense. I get it. The continent is shaped like a dagger. But it just rings of "I'm just copying the Sword Coast. But it's not the same thing cuz it's a Dagger!" I know that's not what it is. It's just how it hits my ear/brain.

    I think the more remote and foreign a land is, the less you need to worry about it until you have players who are trying to go/adventure there. You have, from the above outline, perfectly good and full frameworks with which to begin anything. The Hobgoblins come from the Hordelands, have a powerful militaristic empire making magic techs (do they make guns too?), and being general meanies as hobgoblins are want to do. The extent of their industrialization, the size and scope of their empire, how they are governed, religion, regional cuisine, etc... doesn't really matter unless/until you have players going there and/or want to produce a world setting book or special regional sub-manual for just "The Hordelands."

    The Isle of Catastrophe, I just have images of a landscape of junkyard mountains and canyons with interspersed landfill swamps of unnatural "magical/alchemical fallout" colored mists and random explosions of mixing magics. Not-Skaven-Ratfolk live there because, well, it's an continental island sized garbage dump...with stringent recycling policies, I'm sure.

    The Dark Continent, I have to say, I like a LOT. The ruling class of jackal-headed necromancers (arcanadaemons?) with gnoll minions and poisonous jungles with hidden tribes of Sun elf amazons. Love it! Love everything about it. If I were a player in this setting from the Known World, I would immediately be egging the group on to go there. But, again, until you have need to fill out cities and geographic hazards, personalities and internal strife, the outline you've given for the place is enough for now.

    Fleshing Out Races: As you can see above, I've got a lot of races in this setting, but at most I have cliff-notes of each. I'd like to pick one and start fleshing it out some more; anyone interested in a particular topic?
    Ok. With whom would you like to start? I'd say, since you have taken the effort to come up with this distinct regions of the Republic, and want this as a humano-centric world, how about some physical descriptors for what humans from those regions generally look like? The average/most common hair/eye coloring. Skin tones. How do they dress? You kind of hint at what each region's culture is based around...dig into that a bit more. Maybe a religion or particular holiday/festival important to the region -if not the whole republic.

    Then do the same for whatever non-humans are in each area. You've already mentioned the distinctions among the various nature-bound gnomish types. After humans, you could flesh out your terrain-gnomes (also love that element of this world, btw, especially the idea of "Wave Gnomes").

    "The Inner World?": I had a thread elsewhere about an Inner World sub-setting that, sadly, crashed and burned. I'm wondering if I can try to salvage it by grafting this pulpy sub-setting to the Quietus. I'm not set on doing so, but I'd like to discuss the possibility at some point.
    I see no reason this couldn't be done at any point you choose. Want an "Inner World" beneath your current one? *Poof* Guess what? It's there now. It'll be there whenever you get around to working on it. For now, looks like you have plenty of stuff above ground to work on, but can make notes on elements you'd want to use in the Inner World as they occur to you. Maybe the Hobgoblins (have the access but not the means to take control of it) and the Arcanadaemons (have the means but can't find a suitable access point) are in a race to get to and conquer it, while the humans are even aware of its existence yet...but whoever ends up controlling the Inner World can -quite easily and literally- usurp the Republic and control the human's "Known World."

    But I digress and that's all distraction. Work on the Known World, then move out in expanding bands to the adjacent lands. Then worry about what's to be found in the Inner World.

    So there's my twenty-two and a half cents on all of that.
    XP QuietBrowser, Wednesday Boy gave XP for this post

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