View Full Version : Syllenari: Building the World (help requested)

Fiery Diamond
2011-04-25, 09:37 PM
I am working on my campaign world Syllenari, which I'm designing for my personal use. I have a number of details about the cosmology and so forth figured out already. What I don't have are details on the maps, or any of the politics of the various countries. I plan to build the world as needed rather than all at once, but I do want to iron out details about the continent I intend the game that I may be running soon to be on (at least for the first portion).

So, I've got the world map with continent outlines:


The geography and and climates of this world are ... er ..., well, the specifics are completely undecided yet, but they follow different norms than the real world. Rivers still follow gravity and such, but since the world isn't a planet orbiting around a star with continents formed by plate tectonics, the normal rules for climates don't apply. The world is a giant cylinder that wraps around east-west and has spooooky-weird magic at the north edge and south edge.

Instead, we have clime nodes. These are supernatural, immovable nuggets buried in the crust of the cylinder that directly influence the nearby geography and climate, allowing for all kinds of strange juxtapositions. This neatly circumvents the need for real-world realism for placement of forests/deserts/etc.

More details are provided in the labeled spoiler below (though they are incomplete, since I wrote them months ago and didn't finish; I'm just starting up again and haven't written any more yet).

Here's the part I need help with at the moment.

I need the terrain types (forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, plains, moors, hills, etc.) filled in on the starting continent of Meyyra. I've got the outlines of the countries (though they will probably be further subdivided into provinces and such) on there already.

Normally I have no trouble whipping up landscape terrains, but I have always done things on a much smaller scale before... say, the size of the notable islands in the world map as my normal size for "continents." I'm having some kind of brain blockage or something. So, I need a bit of help. I have a few things I want to make sure are included, which are listed below, but other than that, I just want as much creativity as possible! I'll add in the more detailed political things once I have the geography.


This continent should be primarily temperate, but with occasional cold or warm/hot locations. Keep in mind the size of the continent: the measure in the corner is miles. I can fill in even more detail at the local level once I have the macro level.

What I want included:
Stuff to make the boundaries make sense: This is one of my main difficulties. I know mountains and rivers are good, but I'm having trouble placing them.
Mountains: Wherever they make sense for boundaries, maybe some additional ones.
Forests: At least one forest in each country - forests that span multiple countries qualify.
Rivers and Lakes: Wherever they make sense for boundaries, trade, and wherever.
Plains: At least a couple
Deserts: At least one, maybe more
Hilly Area: Some, probably near mountains
Open, non-specific space AKA moor
Not included: Jungle

And for those who want details on the setting, here's what is typed up so far
Physical Form of the prime material plane

-The world is a giant cylinder whose circumference is larger than its height by a ratio of greater than 3:2. The prime material plane is the outside surface of the cylinder. Gravity and other physical forces behave identically everywhere along the curved surface, irrespective of their distance from the center of the cylinder.

-The flat north and south ends of the cylinder follow different physical rules than the curved surface. They are known as the Great Vortexes. Magic is strong and non-magical physical law seems not to apply, nor does time seem to flow at the same pace. Anyone who sails over the edge and into the vortex finds himself moving at incredibly fast speeds, unable to tell up from down, left from right, or front from back. Such a person may end up deposited back on the curved surface at any point touching the vortex if he is lucky or be sucked down into the inside of the cylinder if he is unlucky. Maintaining sanity in such a situation is commendable.

-Along the surface of the cylinder, climate and weather are dictated by proximity to Clime Nodes, strange magical lumps embedded into the crust of the cylinder. They are not normally movable or affected by antimagic. Different Clime Nodes produce different effects on the weather and landscape, creating strange geography and weather patterns.

-The cylinder is stationary in the space around it, which consists of a vast unknown plane called the Nether Void. In the Nether Void exists Syllenari (“the world/the prime material”), Lusella (“the moon/the lunar plane”), Tsionas (“the stars/the stellar plane”), and Solisia (“the sun/the solar plane”). Scholars say that other planes exist within the Nether Void as well. Solisia appears to circle around Syllenari, creating night and day. Parts of Lusella are visible during the day and night, though what part depends on the time of year. Tsionas is visible at many different points, unlike Lusella, which can only be seen appearing in one location in the sky at a time, and Tsionas is usually only visible at night.

-If one attempts to dig into the surface of the cylinder, the earth becomes more and more resistant to being moved, even by magic, the deeper you go, until it becomes completely impenetrable and impassable at a depth of 100 miles.

Time, Seasons, and Geography of the prime material plane

-Each year is made up of thirteen months. Each month is made up of four weeks. Each week is made up of seven days. Each day is made up of day and night, which together are twenty-four hours. Each hour is made up of sixty minutes, 600 moments, or six long moments. Each long moment is made up of ten minutes, or 100 moments. Each minute is made up of sixty seconds, or 10 moments. Each moment is made up of six seconds. Put another way (second=sec, moment=mnt, long moment= lmn, minute=min, hour=hr, day=d, week=wk, month=mo, year=yr):

1 sec=1 sec
1 mnt=6 sec
1 min=10 mnt, 60 sec
1 lmn=10 min, 100 mnt, 600 sec
1 hr=6 lmn, 60 min, 600 mnt, 3600 sec
1 d=24 hr, 144 lmn, 1440 min, 14400 mnt, 86400 sec
1 wk=7 d, 168hr, 1008 lmn, 10080 min, 100800 mnt, 604800 sec
1 mo=4 wk, 28 d, etc.
1 yr= 13 mo, 52 wk, etc.

-Moments and long moments are used primarily in magical notation (where in game terms we would say rounds or ten minutes), so that spells might last 1 moment per mana swell (caster level) or 1 long moment per mana swell.

-There are five possible seasons for an area to experience, which, when all seasons are experienced, take place in the following order: Spring, Summer, Nox, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Each season except for Nox spans four months (two summer months prior to nox and two summer months after nox). Nox lasts for one month (the seventh month), and is present in every area in the world, regardless of the number of seasons.

-Nox is a month during which a dark wave of energy from the Nether Void washes over the world. During this month, days are darker and the stars cannot be seen at night. Magic relating to positive energy and light is weaker, while magic relating to darkness, shadows, and negative energy is stronger. Most monsters become more aggressive during this time and natural disasters are more common. People with a natural predisposition for evil have fewer inhibitions. Spirits and otherworldly creatures have been known to appear.

-Syllenari has eight major continents and a number of major islands, which are all surrounded by ocean. Each continent has multiple Clime Nodes, and the major islands each have at least one Clime Node. Some Clime Nodes are also hidden underneath the sea. The salinity of ocean water varies depending on nearby Clime Nodes; some areas are fresh water while others contain deadly levels of salt.

List of Planes and Associated Deities

Syllenari: The prime material plane; the cylindrical world. There is no patron deity.
Lusella: The lunar plane; the moon. The patron deity is Luna, the moon goddess.
Tsionas: The stellar plane; the stars. The patron deity is Stella, the star goddess.
Solisia: The solar plane; the sun. The patron deity is Sol, the sun god.
Nether Void: The empty plane; the void. The patron deity is Vorago, the god of the void.
???: The elemental planes; the core. The patron deity is Chanera, the goddess of change.
......incomplete (though I do have more worked out)......

Edit: Suggestions are great. Even better would be if you took the image and tinkered with it to draw the terrain and posted the upgrade.