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View Full Version : Feedback Wanted - The Framework of My Campaign World (D&D)



RoninFrosty
2012-11-22, 11:00 AM
Hey guys! I posted this on Reddit previously, but it occurs to me that that format probably isn't the best for getting ongoing feedback for things, so I figured I'd cross-post it here to get some preliminary feedback, and then I can come back and talk with you guys and answer questions and update you guys on my progress.

I'm looking for honest criticism; if it's boring or seems uninspired, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I don't need my ego boosted, I need to know if I'm on the right track. For system questions, assume D&D 3.5, but I'm trying to keep it (for now) system neutral in case I decide to switch to DDN.

Synopsis

The Day and Night campaign setting takes place primarily on a small demiplane called Tagaya. Here, the sun and moon move very slowly, so that a day lasts approximately 200 hours, and a night likewise. My ultimate goal is to thoroughly explore the ramifications of such a system, such as trees with massive canopies to absorb as much sunlight as they can during the day to store energy through the night, or animals that exist on 400-hour cycles.

Cosmology

For eternity, the cosmology of the Day and Night setting consisted of six eternal and infinite planes: The Elemental Planes of Earth, Fire, Air, and Water, and the Positive and Negative Energy Planes (which double also as Celestial and Demonic/Devilish Planes, as well). The four Elemental Planes were stationary, self-contained planes. They existed in close proximity to one another, but never overlapped. The Energy Planes orbited the Elemental Planes together, one on either side of the static formation but on the same orbital path.

During an extremely rare cosmological event, the Positive and Negative Energy planes were so aligned that none of the Elemental Planes were between them. The Demonic hordes of the NE Plane seized upon the opportunity to attempt to invade the PE Plane in an attempt to disrupt the balance of Positive and Negative Energy. They filed into the area between the four Elemental Planes in an attempt to cross directly into the Positive Energy Plane. The Celestials of the Positive Energy Plane marched into the void as well to meet them. Unfortunately for all of them, the balance between the four Elemental Planes was a delicate one, and the disruption of the void also disrupted this balance. The boundaries of each Elemental Plane erupted into the void, sending vast quantities of Elemental Fire, Water, Earth, and Air into it. The Demons and Celestials were wiped out immediately, and the Elemental Planes pushed against each other for several thousand years before the balance was restored.

Once it was over, the Elemental Earth left over from the cataclysm formed the earth, the Water formed the seas and lakes, the Air formed the firmament, and the Fire formed a Lifespark, causing life to erupt everywhere.

Geography

Something I've been stressing out about for a long time is how to make a campaign world with realistic geography. I wanted to figure out how plate tectonics worked and ocean currents and precipitation patterns, and frankly, that's a ****load of work. So instead I've opted to go with the fantastic and that will be reflected here.

Because the material demiplane is essentially a void containing the spillover from the Elemental Planes, it will be affected by their influence (and to a lesser extent, the Positive and Negative Energy Planes' influence). Since I'm going fantastic, I've decided the world itself will be basically a big flat square, as opposed to a globe. In each corner will be a rift to one of the Elemental Planes (which will be sufficiently difficult to traverse, but that will be possible), and the proximity to a given rift will have an effect on the geography of that area.

I think to have an easy reference guide, I draw a grid map of the world, and use the distance in squares from each rift to calculate the geography of each world. The downside is that it might make the world a little boring since the geography will be fairly predictable (a solution for which I may have, I'll post it below), but at the same time, there's no rush to figure out what each area looks like, as I can fill it in as needed by looking at the grid.

Now the biggest concern I'm having is the rifts themselves, and what they'll do. The Fire Rift is easy for me: temperature. The closer you are to the Fire Rift, the hotter it gets. The Earth Rift is similarly easy for me; proximity to the Earth Rift results in increased elevation. I really like this one because the idea of a massively imposing mountain range dominating a corner of the map and gradually decreasing into foothills and then rolling plains is extremely appealing to me for some reason. I've considered putting these two on opposite sides of the map, but I haven't decided yet. That would make the mountains extremely cold, which isn't bad, I don't guess.

The Water Rift would reflect presence of large bodies of water on the map. The corner with the Water Rift would be a massive ocean, and as the elevation changes along whatever border it shares with the Earth Rift, we might see rivers spill into the heart of the map (which is sufficiently different, as our rivers end in oceans, not start from them). I'm not 100% sure on this one (I might make it precipitation, from which I can say bodies of water have accumulated over time, blah blah).

Air was originally going to be precipitation, but I'm thinking now it might be wind. The only downside with that is if it's opposite the Water Rift, I don't know how the precipitation is going to get moved around the map. I might come up with something novel but for now I'm kind of stuck on this.

One idea I really like is the idea of elemental anomalies, to give a little flexibility and variation in designing any given square. So say a square is between the Earth and Water rifts, but pretty far from the Air and Fire rifts. Normally that would indicate maybe islands, as the mountain range tapers off into the sea, with fairly low temperature and low winds. But an elemental anomaly might exist, say a fire anomaly causes the plane of fire to have more influence here than it normally would; the temperature goes up. Or say a water anomaly exists and it causes a lower influence from the plane of water; maybe precipitation is lower here than normal, so the sea level is a little lower and the islands are more like plateaus sticking out above the sea. The idea is that these wouldn't be complete game-changers; proximity is still the biggest factor, but these might change any given element's influence +/- 10% or so.

Thoughts? Any unforeseen problems with this method? I understand I've already accepted the fantastic and I'm OK with handwaving to a degree, but I'd like there to be some internal harmony within this geography system so the players' suspension of disbelief isn't too stretched.

Amaril
2012-11-22, 04:12 PM
I actually really like this idea :smallbiggrin: Remember, there's nothing wrong with high medieval fantasy as long as it's done with an original spin of some persuasion, which this certainly seems to have. I'd like to see more if you've got time.

Zireael
2012-11-23, 02:48 AM
I like the use of the four elements. The world seems nice, too. What about the races? Any major cities? Countries?

RoninFrosty
2012-11-24, 01:40 AM
Races are something I've been thinking pretty hard about. I'll list my thoughts on that so I can organize them a little better.


I really want to use Genasi, but make it so that instead of being descended from quasi-elementals, they were created when the Lifespark interacted with the leftover elemental energy from each rift. Thus, they're directly elementals. I need to rework them to be LA = 0, though.
I'm not sure what to do about humans. They clearly need to be there, but I don't have a good origin story for them. Maybe they sprang up where the elements were balanced and the Lifespark hit.
I don't want Elves or Gnomes. Probably not Orcs either.
So, as a baseline, I only have humans and Genasi. I want to give players more options, but I need to figure out exactly how I want to do that. I want it to make sense, so maybe when the Lifespark hit whatever region, the life that sprang up there was well-adapted to that particular region. So like when the Lifespark created life in the mountainous region, maybe Dwarves, suited to living in and under mountains, sprang up instead of humans. If it works out so that there's an arctic-type region, maybe Gnolls, or some other hairy/furry humanoid race. This is going to be pretty heavily contingent on how I decide to arrange the rifts, as that is going to necessarily inform what kind of areas I have to play around with.


Political boundaries have yet to be determined. I'll have to figure out what to do with races, and decide a broad history of interaction between the races before I decide how the nations look. I do think human nations are going to rule the center of the map, where all the elements are relatively "normal".

the_david
2012-11-24, 02:54 AM
I Like your Genasi idea, but I feel Genasi are too generic. You could try substituting other races and giving them an elemental vibe. Dwarves could be the earth race, humans are indeed the balanced race, and then you'd need a few more... You could have more than one race per element, even combining 2 elements into one race.

I can already picture your world. Towards the plane of earth you'll find the highest mountains, volcanoes will border the plane of fire, the ocean starts from the plain of water and cities will fly near the plane of air. Maybe a flying race for air, such as the raptorans or the avariel?