Flat World design


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Gilladian

Adventurer
The obvious point is that those falling exploding star-crystals might leave behind fragments which would make for great magical treasure which Adventurers might be sent out to recover - and who knows what else might be attracted to such powerful objects - crystal elementals, star-touched monsters?

Are the Star-crystals used to power advanced Magi-tech, can mortals absorb their power?

The Dragons could act as patrons to the Adventurers (and once PCs are high level Rivals), or perhaps the Star-Crystals are the only thing that can hurt Dragons and Mortals are using them to overcome their Draconic rulers.

I know I want the Star-crystals to be required for any and all permanent magic item creation (this will be a 3.5e campaign, using E8 rules mods that I've developed). I'm also sort of thinking that the "raw" crystals are mutagenic - being exposed to them for longish (months) periods of time is what creates weird monsters. This would be a fairly well-known side effect, so PCs could easily avoid being exposed by finding safe ways to transport them. I'm not wanting to spring weird mutations on my players without them knowing it well in advance.

So yes, they would make good quest items. They are also dangerous, and normal folk want nothing to do with them. Having them be what is needed to kill a dragon is an interesting idea, too. Maybe the mutagenic property prevents dragons from healing, for some reason, so normally even a "slain" dragon can heal, but by using a raw crystal sword, for example, would inflict permanent wounds. But be very dangerous to the weilder!

I hadn't thought about the dragons recruiting adventurers. That's a good idea; maybe they can be sent into other dragon domains to spy on them, and can go adventuring as a sort of "cover" for their spying. That would appeal to my players. I'm officially stealing this.
 


Zaukrie

New Publisher
Heh, Athas is one of those things I've never read, so any resemblance is totally coincidental.

Mostly I pointed that out so you could check out some Dark Sun stuff on line to help you. Admittedly, it sounds a little like it......in terms of the dragon rulers.
 

Questions: Seasons? What's "up there?" and "down below"? What does the source of a river look like? Are there other planes? Is there an underdark? Is there a "backside" to the world disc?

For what's down below, I'm thinking maybe more wraparound. If you dig deep enough you reach the place where the antipode would be if your world were an azimuthal projection of a sphere

Is there really even a "disc" if there's a wraparound effect?

Sort of? Maybe? I think it comes down to the mountains at the edge being a ring and circles not being able to evenly tile a plane.
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
For what's down below, I'm thinking maybe more wraparound. If you dig deep enough you reach the place where the antipode would be if your world were an azimuthal projection of a sphere



Sort of? Maybe? I think it comes down to the mountains at the edge being a ring and circles not being able to evenly tile a plane.
Ummm... I'm not so worried about circles and planes... I'm just thinking if you existed on what was effectively a mobius strip, would you think of it as a circle? No matter how it could be drawn out? I'm thinking maybe there are two discs; upside and downside. One is the opposite of the other in many ways, and the only ways to get from one to the other are:
1) drilling through the mountains to appear on the "other side" of the "other disc".
2) going through the hole, against the "current" (at least from this side to the "other side" that I haven't even begun to think about yet) through the Light of the World volcano.
3) magic.
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I know I want the Star-crystals to be required for any and all permanent magic item creation (this will be a 3.5e campaign, using E8 rules mods that I've developed). I'm also sort of thinking that the "raw" crystals are mutagenic - being exposed to them for longish (months) periods of time is what creates weird monsters. This would be a fairly well-known side effect, so PCs could easily avoid being exposed by finding safe ways to transport them. I'm not wanting to spring weird mutations on my players without them knowing it well in advance.

So yes, they would make good quest items. They are also dangerous, and normal folk want nothing to do with them. Having them be what is needed to kill a dragon is an interesting idea, too. Maybe the mutagenic property prevents dragons from healing, for some reason, so normally even a "slain" dragon can heal, but by using a raw crystal sword, for example, would inflict permanent wounds. But be very dangerous to the weilder!
Side note Re: Star crystals

My 4Ed dwarven Starlock was a member of Clan Skyhammer, whose stronghold was atop one of the highest mountains around. Their duty was to defend the world from incursions from the Far Realm. The incursions they monitored most closely came from “seeds” that resembled false meteors. So they scanned the night sky with telescopes and divinations nightly, seeking them, and sending out parties to investigate and destroy likely candidates.

Origins like that would explain the mutagenic properties of your own Star crystals.
 

aramis erak

Legend
One big consideration about flat worlds: Visibility.

The vision limit varies by weather, but the maximum is really about 250 to 300 km for any useful information, with a peak acuity of about 0° 0' 28".... or a width of 0.000135748×Distance per "pixel"...
So, at 1 km, that peak sensitivity "pixel" is roughly 0.14m; At 5km, it's roughly 0.6m, which reduces a man to about 1x3 pixels, with a separation of two men in ranks basically being about the same.

A 20m tower is limited almost exclusively by the vision. It won't see individuals. It will see units at about twice as far as on earth, if not further.

On earth, the 30m is diminishing returns... not so much on a flat world.

Large troop movements can be seen from tall towers... and taking a trebuchet, but making the cup a swinging bucket for a man, and 20m trees, you can easily get a man 30m up....

you can even put that on a stone tower or earthen motte 10m high, to get 40-60m up. On earth, the curve makes that less useful, but on flat world.... spot the neighbor's army at 50km...
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
One big consideration about flat worlds: Visibility.

The vision limit varies by weather, but the maximum is really about 250 to 300 km for any useful information, with a peak acuity of about 0° 0' 28".... or a width of 0.000135748×Distance per "pixel"...
So, at 1 km, that peak sensitivity "pixel" is roughly 0.14m; At 5km, it's roughly 0.6m, which reduces a man to about 1x3 pixels, with a separation of two men in ranks basically being about the same.

A 20m tower is limited almost exclusively by the vision. It won't see individuals. It will see units at about twice as far as on earth, if not further.

On earth, the 30m is diminishing returns... not so much on a flat world.

Large troop movements can be seen from tall towers... and taking a trebuchet, but making the cup a swinging bucket for a man, and 20m trees, you can easily get a man 30m up....

you can even put that on a stone tower or earthen motte 10m high, to get 40-60m up. On earth, the curve makes that less useful, but on flat world.... spot the neighbor's army at 50km...

That's cool info to know! I wonder, since I'm planning to use dragons a LOT in this world, what a creature a mile high in the air could see? How far? Maths is my absolute weak point, so I can't even try to work it out...
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
That's cool info to know! I wonder, since I'm planning to use dragons a LOT in this world, what a creature a mile high in the air could see? How far? Maths is my absolute weak point, so I can't even try to work it out...
Well...
“An eagle can see something the size of a rabbit at more than three miles away.”

]

I’d use that as a benchmark for dragons.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
That's cool info to know! I wonder, since I'm planning to use dragons a LOT in this world, what a creature a mile high in the air could see? How far? Maths is my absolute weak point, so I can't even try to work it out...

That's really going to be dependent more on the visual acuity of dragons...and intervening weather, etc. Hawks are believed to have an acuity about 10x that of humans, so maybe 50km for an aerial predator like a dragon?

Another thing to keep in mind is that signal towers, especially with even crude telescopes, will be very effective. (see the Clacks in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.)

EDIT: Another limiting factor will be moisture in the air. Even if we wouldn't call it a "fog", it tends to "grey out" the stuff behind it, if you're looking through enough moist air.
 
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aramis erak

Legend
That's cool info to know! I wonder, since I'm planning to use dragons a LOT in this world, what a creature a mile high in the air could see? How far? Maths is my absolute weak point, so I can't even try to work it out...
Given that 250 mi/400km is considered maximum clear air visibility... past that, the inherent haziness of air (as opposed to pure air-content gas mix), everything past is progressively blurrier. Mountains like McKinley can be seen for several hundred miles on earth, but it's blurry towards the ends...

And, while the eagle's eye is human-eye sized, it's angular resolution appears to be about 6× that of humans at the fovea... so instead of 0.5" of arc, about 0.08333" of arc... so that 14cm per km becomes 2.3 cm per km.
So, looking for a 2m cow, that dragon can probably, if looking, be (using same units, thus meters, and the 1:1000 for range) length/resolution:range:: 2/0.023:: around 85 units, thus 85km as a single pixel. ABout 40km to note it as a life form (being 2 wide and 1-2 tall).... and about 30 km to note it as a bovid...

Note also, the angular resolution is for the peak visual acuity... peripheral is more than 5x worse...
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
One more thing I am now contemplating. A moon or moons....I have noidea how they could work.

Well, you have this dome...maybe the inner surface, or some other layer, isn't solid. The moons, and even aurora or planets, could float along in that liquid layer. If you're having gods and the like, maybe they are disruptions caused by some past event.

Edit: Heck, what if the moon is just the sun on power-saving mode. During the day, the whole dome is lit by it, but at night it powers down to the white-ish disc we all know.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Well, you have this dome...maybe the inner surface, or some other layer, isn't solid. The moons, and even aurora or planets, could float along in that liquid layer. If you're having gods and the like, maybe they are disruptions caused by some past event.

Edit: Heck, what if the moon is just the sun on power-saving mode. During the day, the whole dome is lit by it, but at night it powers down to the white-ish disc we all know.

oooh...depending on your cosmo-theology:
The moon/sun is a giant wheel, stuck in a sandwich layer of the dome. A Titan is imprisoned in the wheel and doomed to push it forever, but a goddess took pity on him and he only has to push it half the time. When he pushes it, the massive friction lights up the whole sky and creates tremendous heat that we call the day. When he rests, the wheel cools and shines much more dimly, which we call the night.

This could give you a really weird astronomy, plus seasons! The sun moves during the day, some fraction of the way around its track in the sky (this would be 1/365 for Earth). Then it stops at night, the moon remaining stationary, but in a different position, each night. One loop around the wheel-track takes a year, and summer (for your part of the disc) is when the wheel is closest to your portion of the disc, winter is when its farthest. Over the course of the year, the wheel would trace an ellipse-y shape in the sky. Near the center of the disc, the ellipse would be more circular.
 

Gilladian

Adventurer
Hmmm.... I already have a pulsing volcanic eruption creating day and night... it both creates the "force" sky and the energy that makes it glow during the day. I have small "star crystals" that slowly get pushed further "out" over time as the daily eruption cycle happens. I suppose the moon could simply be a much larger chunk of crystal-stuff (maybe different material). It glows more and more brightly each day until it reaches peak brightness, and then suddenly darkens after giving off a single brilliant flash of light. This could happen every thirty days or so. There would, of course, be myths involving various gods that explains why it happens.

But that would mean the moon is essentially fixed in one slowly shifting spot in the sky, and, like the stars, would eventually reach the mountains at the edge of the world. It would then either be pushed down behind them, or get stuck, or something...

I guess there could be more than one Moon, thus providing moonlight fairly evenly across much of the world. Some areas might even be double-lit by two moons and be extra bright all night.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Hmmm.... I already have a pulsing volcanic eruption creating day and night... it both creates the "force" sky and the energy that makes it glow during the day. I have small "star crystals" that slowly get pushed further "out" over time as the daily eruption cycle happens. I suppose the moon could simply be a much larger chunk of crystal-stuff (maybe different material). It glows more and more brightly each day until it reaches peak brightness, and then suddenly darkens after giving off a single brilliant flash of light. This could happen every thirty days or so. There would, of course, be myths involving various gods that explains why it happens.

But that would mean the moon is essentially fixed in one slowly shifting spot in the sky, and, like the stars, would eventually reach the mountains at the edge of the world. It would then either be pushed down behind them, or get stuck, or something...

I guess there could be more than one Moon, thus providing moonlight fairly evenly across much of the world. Some areas might even be double-lit by two moons and be extra bright all night.

Well...You've already got the daily eruptions. Maybe the moon is even more inconstant than on earth. Like every 30 days or so the volcano belches out <something> that sticks to the sky and slides down to the edge of the dome over the next few weeks, getting dimmer/smaller as it goes. Sometimes it takes too long in between and you have moonless nights, sometimes it happens too rapidly and you have two moons at once. "In the time of my Great Grandfather, they once had three moons for two nights. Old folks said you could almost read outside at night." or "Sometime the moon is big, sometimes small. Grandpa says once when he was a kid, the moon was so big and bright that nobody could sleep for a week."

It would be a benchmark that people would use to mark time in the absence of our regular astronomical means. "Before the double moons of Hannon's reign." or "Born under two moons."

Also, just thinking out loud. It might be visually neat if "sky-stuff" trickled up from the volcano all night.

I once did a flat world a long time ago. But it was infinite, archipelagos of islands on an infinite sea. We had "Weather Towers" that generated the local weather for a couple hundred miles. Legend was that ancient druids had built them and raised the Islands. But if they still existed, they were far off on the "edge" of the archipelagos. Some of the weather towers had gone haywire, and when they did, they attracted appropriate dragons. Day and night just happened, but some folks said that there was a great island in the "center" that had a huge tower that made day and night like the weather towers made weather.
 


aramis erak

Legend
The Moon could also be an eternally bouncing ball moving in the opposite direction to the star rotations...
or a plate on a wheel that turns the world at the rim.... half the time below the mountain.Or be two such plates...
 

Cyan Wisp

Explorer
This video describes a potentially interesting gravitational effect on a flat earth. See 0:30 - 2:00. Seems closer you get to the edge, the "steeper" it seems.
 

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