View Full Version : New Campaign World Idea

2009-02-16, 12:52 AM
I've seen many styles of campaign world, but recently there has been one I've wondered about quite a lot. What would happen if the world itself was essentially flat? Not just 'the world is flat and you fall off at the edge.' flat, but literally flat to the point of ten foot hills being considered mountainous terrain.

Therefore, I'm creating my new campaign world. I'll will do my best to go along Rich Burlews line of campaign reasoning.

Miles of Nowhere Campaign Setting

Campaign themes and Ideas

Genre: Knights of the round table, Medieval Politics
Thematic Priorities: Travel, War, Politics, Trade, History
Magic Level: Moderate
PC Races: See Below
Human Precentage: 30%
Primary antagonists: Raiders, other Nations, Environment
Geography: One single contenant
Primary Religion: Varies
Cosmology: Unknown
Politics: City states
Advanced Classes: Unknown
Campaign Name: Unknown

Note: Both Classes and Races are subject to sudden and random changes.

Probable Classes

-Fighter (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30692)
-Mage (although some editing will exist for mounted casting)
-Psionic Classes
... Possibly more ...


-Elves (thinking about getting rid of this one. After all, no forest for the elves. Maybe Elves live in the grassland?)
-Drow and Aquatic elves will be the Same Race

Small size
30 foot land speed
+2 dex -2 wis Goblins are skilled and agile, but tend to be cocky and foolish
Ride giants- A goblin may ride mounts an additional one size category above their size.
Gifted sprinter- ....

-Halfbreeds (Half Orcs, Half Giants, Half Elves, etc...
... Possibly more ...

Terrain and its place in the campaign

In the campaign world the most common dictating factor of terrain will be the water table. A higher water table will allow for more prevalent plant life but prevents construction downwards and reduces construction upwards.

Plains- More than 50% of the naturally occurring terrain will be plains. The water table is roughly average and grasses growing at a decent rate. This terrain is home to most races and the most prevalent for safe trading.

Grasslands- Most grasslands will transition into grassland in small locations in areas where the water table is higher or the ground soil is lower. These areas are varying in size, from several square feet to tens of square miles. They are generally avoided, but provide cover for camping at night and tinder for a fire.

Hills- Hills are most commonly populated by Dwarves, who live in camouflaged holes. They often use ambush tactics as their short legs prevent them from traveling for long distances or at fast speeds.

Swamps- Swamps act as transitional spaces between underground water and land. They are populated by merfolk quite often, but other natural animals are also serious dangers to travelers.

Tundra- Tundra is a common form of terrain in norther climates. Due to weather, it is very dangerous for mounts. In winter months, it is often heavily covered in snow, and in summer the permafrost may melt which will cause swamplike conditions. However, the tundra provides much more potential for mining than most other environments, because only a thin layer of permafrost prevents one from mining, as opposed to an entire underground water system.

Desert- In the desert the water table is greatly reduced compared to that of most other environments. High heat and a lack of water prevents most mounts from traveling in these areas. Those that do, such as some donkeys and most camels, must zigzag between infrequent oases. Many oases even charge a fee for use of their scarce water. The one advantage of deserts is similar to that of tundras: You can dig down and build up much more easily.

An extended study of combat on a long stretching plain

The way I see combat on an entirely flat plane there are two things that are important. Speed and Sight. Sight compromises a major factor because of its control over how long you have to react to an opponent. A well camouflaged opponent could reduce your reaction time to a few rounds. While this time allows you to down a few potions if need be, it doesn't allow you to don armor, lay traps, strategize, contact allies magically for help, or prepare yourself in other ways. Therefore, The most common raiders will have some form of cloak or tent which they can cover themselves and their mount with if they see enemies approaching. To provide an adequate example, I now will go through a combat plan involving a well equipped goblin raiding group of five to ten people versus an unprepared human caravan.

The goblin raiding group has a hired spotter, either with naturally longer vision or a crude telescope. They see their targets at ten miles out, while their targets will only be able to see them at one mile. The caravan is traveling in such a way that it will run perpindicular to the caravan, therefore the goblins must travel in a curve to get in front of the caravan. The goblins are riding light ponies, which allow them an extra two miles per hour at a slow trot. Therefore, they close diagonally as much as possible before preparing to cross in front, as when crossing in front of the caravan they will leave tracks. They ride at two miles away from the caravan to the side gradually gaining distance until they reach their maximum visual distance of ten miles. They then prepare the crossing to in front of the caravan, making it entirely horizontal as to avoid their targets seeing diagonal facing tracks before the raiders. They travel roughly thirty feet past their tracks toward the caravan and make any preparations. Accounting for the caravans speed they have at least three hours until they must be covered up to hide from the caravans. They lay caltrops, don armor, ready their weapons, eat and drink lightly, catch a small amount of sleep, use the restroom, and other such preparations. At the one and one half hour mark they cover themselves and their mounts, and they wait. When the caravan gets within a half mile of the caravan, last minute preparations are made. Potions are drunk, alloted snipers prepare their longbows, etc. If sky blue cloaks are prepared and soil quality and weather permit them to be useful, then they are used to surround the enemies. The enemies land on the caltrops, crippling their mounts and damaging their wagons. In the same round or slightly before it, snipers quickly strike any guards they can. The caltrops were previously establish in a series of lanes, allowing the goblins to rush through, reach caravans and slaughter any remaining defenders. The trap has been a success.

Obviously this situation is slightly flawed as it allows for a strikingly badly equipped caravan running through dangerious lands. Not to mention how well equipped the goblin raiders are. But, it shows the critical strategies of a raiding force. On the other end of the spectrum, a caravan might have a spotter and be able to see enemies beforehand. A caravan in this situation would have a much different strategy, based significantly on its level of armament and preparedness.

In this situation, the mounted combat has a spotter, and they see the goblin raiders from five miles, or when they approach diagonally. The caravan would immediately begin emergency preparedness for when the eventually of the raid trap would occur. They would begin by spotting to see how heavily their enemies were armed. Assuming the enemies were well equipped for raiders (that is, well equipped, but focusing more on being quick and effective than being armed to the teeth) they would prepare as follows for an unprotected caravan. An armed caravan could easily dispose of the raiders with archers and their own surprise against the surprise. An unarmed caravan would have to play an elaborate waiting game, acting as though nothing had happened while preparing for a strategic disassembly of their caravan in preparation for the raid. When the raiders finally reach their point of ambush and begin waiting, the caravan would unload from behind. They would pull a cargo drop, and if possible they would bury the cargo and put the location on a map. Civilian passengers would begin to travel in the opposite direction and would be able to be out of sight of the spotter within six hours. Any light horses would be taken unless that would alert suspicion. If the caravan itself was pulled by light mounts it may simply be immediately disassembled, but then a mount endurance battle would occur, as noted later. Meanwhile, the caravan would continue on with stuffed dummies in the saddles. Obviously, mounts would have to be trained in a manner similar to the gold carrying wagons of the 1800's. They would continue in a ray until a command word was given. Attackers against the now disassembled caravan would believe they had successfully killed those on horses and driving the caravans, especially if the draft animals came to a halt through use of a hushed command word. The under cautious attackers, believing they had made a successful kill, would rush to the scene to begin the raid. If guards were stationed with the caravan, they would then stage their counterattack. Bursting from the hidden innards of the caravan formerly filled with goods, the guards would slaughter their assailants in the surprise round and most likely kill the remaining enemies in the next two rounds. The attackers would most likely panic, falling into their own caltrop trap and crippling their mounts. Enemy survivors would be minimal, numbering between zero and three.

As you've probably noticed, both of these plans stipulate a relatively flat terrain with little or no obstructions and obstacles. Also, the situations made assume that neither night nor bad weather obstruct the attacker or defender in each situation. These situations will attempt to theorize events in terrain that provides cover and for night and fog situations.

In a night situation (Excepting well lit nights near the full moon), the options for both the caravan and the attackers increase greatly. There are still two options for the attackers and three for the defenders. The defenders may fight, flee or wait, while the attackers may either fight or wait. During the night, vision is heavily restricted and fires are necessary for both the attackers and defenders. In order to retain the element of surprise. Defenders must retain normalcy while attackers must retain secrecy. Therefore, defenders will be the most likely to have a campfire. From this situation, the defenders are exceedingly vulnerable, even with a fire. However, a defending group also has the most opportunity to flee in this situation. By simply leaving a fire running and empty tents, a group will have most or all of the night to flee from attackers in any direction. Should the defenders choose to attack, there are two forms of attack they could use. They could take their civilians and cargo with them, or they could leave them behind to establish the camp. The second one is almost suicide for the civilians in the caravan, because of the high probability of enemy attack. The second, however, uses both unorthodoxy and strategic planning to its advantages. By separating the civilians from the point of most hazard and going on the offensive when least expected, an attack has either of two results: The attack could successfully ambush the enemies, or pass by the enemies on their way to attempting to attack. Either can be considered a net gain.

Manmade buildings and cities

In flat plains with a high water table, the ability to build stone buildings is greatly decreased, not to mention the fact that the amount of dirt needed to build a firm foundation for a building is such that a building needs at least fifty percent of its space in addition to its normal space dug up. Therefore, a large city would have to have massive moat, large lakes or a canal system. An additional problem in the construction of buildings with a lack of stone or wood as a building material. Some of these materials could be conjured by wizards, but the sheer limit on spells per day seriously limits the feasability of this tactic. Perhaps the tactics for creating woven buildings have improved. Either that or the prevalence of building materials such as clay have become better quality. Another theory is that the desert runs an export trade of rich minerals for use in metals and glass.

Nations- Rough ideas

In this system I decided that nations should work on city states with large towers. A tower in this world symbolizes power for two reasons. First, a tower allows you a much greater range of influence to the surrounding countryside, effectively increasing your control and power over your realm as a king or duke. This is also important because the cost and effort required to create a tower is amazing, giving new emphasis to wizards towers and such.

How should nations be created in this setting

'Loose Establishment' vs. 'Monarchy' vs. 'Nomadic' vs. 'Guilds' vs. 'rule of the wild' etc...

Heres how I think it will go down.

Tundra- What little population there is mostly runs on rule of the wild, with a little bit of Guilds where rich mineral resources are.

Desert- Also runs mostly on the rule of the wild. Trading Guilds have a much larger sphere of influence, though. Not only because of the value of travel between the two divisions of the world, but because of the the value of minerals.

Swamp- The lack of ability to establish a tower makes the rule of the wild very prevalent. However, Merfolk tend to establish their rule in the borderlands of swamps. The grasses that live in swamps tend to also be the thickest and strongest, providing the material for nomadic houseboats.

Plains- The open plains tend to vary greatly. If a tower is established, law is well established. If roads are cobbled and roadside stations are enforced, then trade is established

Grassland- Grasslands are the most common place for farming to be established if they are large enough. However, the risk of attackers sneaking in is greatly increased.

Hills- Hills are mineral rich mining areas and the most common locations of dwarves and halflings. These small creatures are built for the hit and run tactics required for hunting or combat in such areas. Another race prevalent in hills and swamps is giants. They tend to hide in the valley of a hill and press their ear up against the ground to search for oncoming animals or people.

How the Flat earth works

The Coin Flipping Idea- In a flat earth system, the face of the earth could 'flip' like a coin. Or, if you prefer to think of the earth as in a fixed point, the sun moves around in a straight line. With a small amount of wobble, you could even account for seasons. Not to mention the fact that the line the sun traveled would act as an equator. The only thing is that there would be a second equator as you approached the centermost part of the earth.

Political roles of Separate nations

2009-02-16, 06:01 AM
Kay, I have monday off today so I figured I'd bump after pulling an all niter editing my original, adding stuff and watching TV...