View Full Version : What's your Call?

2007-02-05, 06:42 PM

I have been tossing an idea in my head for the past few days on creating a new campaign setting I can use to play in and allow my friends to use. I came up with a basic idea of the world, but I'm stuck. So here I am here to ask you, my fellow forum-goers, how my world should react.

The basic concept is that this world's history has always gone in a cycle. From a time of life, to decay, to armageddon, to growth, then back to life. A simple cycle that grows stronger with every revolution. Right now the world has come back from its worst armageddon yet; so now the world is overcrowded with life and natural resources that it doesn't have the slightest clue as to what to do with it all.

Keep in mind that the last armageddon has happened so far in the past that no sentinent being can recall it. (There are some ancient texts reserved by a cult of prophets on far off islands, but that doesn't matter right now.)

My question is, what would a world do with so much excess in materials? Would inflation occur? Would so much good qualities of a world bring overpopulation?

Another idea is that Arcane magic is nonexistent due to the fact that all knowledge of magic has been erased with the flow of time. Only magic seems to come from the prophets of a far off island nation, and these anti-druids whose main goal in life is to destroy the prosperous land for their pagan gods. So I am looking for a more material type world. I was thinking of including psionics, but that's still just a thought.

So what would you do with this type of world?

*Sidenote* There will only be a few number of races: Humans, Halflings, and Dwarves.

2007-02-05, 07:00 PM
Where are all these resources coming from? Are they going to run out? I would check out Collapse by Jerod Diamond (same guy who wrote Guns, Germs, and Steel). He details the collapse of a number of societies. A common theme seems to be that when there are several good years in a row (bountiful harvests, few conflicts with neighbors), a society begins to grow and plan as if that will always be the case, then they get into big trouble when there are a few down years, which there inevitably are.

As for economics/inflation, a huge surplus of materials is going to result in the price of the materials going down. This could actually lead to depression amongst people who harvest food (for example, the US gov't often pays farmers *not* to grow crops so the prices don't get too badly suppressed). The farmers probably won't be starving to death, but if there is a large urban or migrant worker population, they could have trouble making enough food to feed themselves (see Grapes of Wrath). Also, farmers are often renting, or even if they aren't they must pay taxes/tribute in exchange for security; if they are unable to meet these obligations, they may well lose their land and become the aforementioned migrant workers or urban poor.

Just because there is a lot of food around does not mean everybody is going to have enough to eat (see Africa).

Generally, however, surplus is a good thing. More food grown by fewer people means that others will have time to develop science (magic?) and industry. However, if the food supply is suddenly hit with famine or shortage (see Ireland potato famine), the population will begin starving to death, resorting to cannibalism, and all other sorts of desperate measures (like say, trusting some mysterious prophets who show up from a far-off island nation).

2007-02-05, 09:04 PM
Thank you for your insights! This gives me some ideas, but I'll wait for more opinions.

As for where the resources come from; I had some crazy ideas coming to my mind. One thought was that the resources are just plentiful, and seem unending. However, that's a little boring so I kept thinking of different ideas on how the resources come about. An idea that I sort of like right now is that everything is a living organism. From metals to mountains, they grow from the ground. Plants are more like molds and fungi that can grow anywhere and everywhere.

Therefor, there will always be a supply of resources and an oversurplus. The catch is that the land that they grow from is just like farming land of this world. Sooner or later the nutrients or whatever is needed to grow everything will run out and cause fallow. Thus Armaggedon happens due to the complete famine of food and minerals throughout the world.

The prophets of the isles see this already happening on their islands and try to preach to those of the maincontinent, but those on the continent have no reason to believe that their reserves of metals and foods will ever run out.

While the anti-druids are worshipping a pagon god that wants this fallow to appear early...

Its an idea...Anybody else want to offer an idea?

Fax Celestis
2007-02-05, 09:19 PM
You say there's al lthis multitude of life, yet there's only three races? That doesn't really make sense.

2007-02-05, 09:21 PM
Since there's a lot of resources, that means that the rich are going to be really rich. And not only that, but they're really rich and can get basically anything they choose, those really rich folks are going to start getting greedy. And depraved. And hedonistic. And there's where a nice plotline twist can come in.

As cferejohn mentioned, science and industry would abound. Not necessarily 21st century levels, mind you, but Victorian sure. Gunpowder weapons would be common, since the raw materials can literally be made by cutting down trees and processing pig waste. With lots of guns, lots of butchery and iron fisted dictators that can oppress their people efficiently at the end of the barrels. And did I mention science? No magic, sure, but alchemy will be booming with practically infinite raw materials to work with. Imagine every Mary Shelly nightmare come to life. Mad scientists creating mutant horrors, chemical weapons, toxic spill zones, new and interesting drugs to keep the masses quiet with. Maybe on the outside some Nicola Tesla-style geniuses might be tooling around with this mysterious force called "electricity", unleashing more horror. It'd be like Lovecraft meets steampunk meets Frankenstein.

Now, if you were the characters in this chaotic and overly hedonistic world, and some cult starts preaching about how the world has become corrupt and needs to be cleansed, wouldn't that start to make a bit of sense?

Saint George
2007-02-05, 09:23 PM
I like this idea. If I were doing it I would make the pagan god not a creature that wants to destroy all life, but a creature that is more of a protector of life. Every time civilization rises too high, it smashes everything to the ground and fixes the world so life can grow again.

You could have huge cities that using resources like candy and killing off forests at a time for fuel. When the resources finally run out, the god awakes and puts everything back to 0.

And I thought I was being original here and then I just remembered this is the plot from Secret of Mana. Make the pagan god a feathery dragon!

2007-02-05, 09:39 PM
You say there's al lthis multitude of life, yet there's only three races? That doesn't really make sense.

You make a good point, but I those are the main races that most people are familiar with here. There will be subraces for each race depending on which quadrant they live in within the world. Think of a farm here where they grow grow corn in one place and peas in the next place. The world will be split up by what grows on it. So there will be lush forests with little or no mountains of stone, while there will be mountains with no trace of trees.

Going with my everything grows from the earth idea; there will probably be races of each resource. Simplified dryads, goliaths, etc.


Now that you mention it...Maybe magic and psionics can take a back seat in this one. (Except for the prophets and anti-druids [I gotta come up with real names for them heh]) I like the idea of an Alchemy-ruled setting, so I'll take that into consideration. Also, a race sort of frankensteins can generate from these experiments.


Hmm, the pagan god wouldn't be a creature per se, but more of a tiny whispher in the minds of its listeners. Hmmm your idea may be fun. Now the anti-druids can take the form of paladins of the pagan god who are out to "conserve life."

Saint George
2007-02-05, 10:03 PM
Well yea, it wouldn't just be a creature wandering around normally. It would be slumbering deep in the earth or under the oceans and only awakes at certain times to cause destruction. Think a creature of "Sin" like proportions if you have played FFX.

2007-02-05, 10:07 PM
Or, dare I say it, sleeping deep under the oceans, a gargantuan horror of the depths that rises when the time is right to rampage across the countryside, bringing destruction and woe?

I'm, of course, talking about Godzilla :P But Cthulhu would work here too!

2007-02-05, 10:13 PM
Heh...instead of a Sin, Godzilla, or Cthulhu creature...What if the god who comes from deep beneath the surface was something that resembles a giant hoe (the farming tool.) I could draw a picture of what I had in mind, but I'll save that if I have time.

Honestly, a hoe is used to uproot weeds, and etc. So why not have the creature be the embodiment of this farming tool? Imagine those who follow him with favored weapons that are deadly rakes! :smallbiggrin:

2007-02-05, 10:58 PM
It would be interesting (but perhaps overbearingly political) to have a group of people show up (perhaps rebels from the anti-druids; umm, I guess that makes them Druids) who preach what is essentially conservation and environmentalism, but they are dismissed as crackpots until it is too late. Perhaps the characters realize earlier than most that the world is in for a fall and end up doing the Captain Planet thing.

I don't know that you need a god, per se. It's kind of more amusingly Brechtian (bet you never thought you'd see those two words together) to have the resources start failing and people start falling on each other; hording, selling their relatives into slavery for food, and in the end, eating each other. So nearly everybody dies (except perhaps a few small sustainable enclaves created by the anti-anti-druids) and all this dead biomass gets subsumed into the the earth, eventually providing the fuel for the next resource boom, much like dinosoar-era biomass is currently harvested as oil. Perhaps as an area is drained of resources what was once rich farmland becomes uninhabitable swamp which spreads all over the world (except for perhaps these hidden enclaves (islands?)). The swamp engulfs all the biomass, buildings, etc, and digests them for hundreds of years, eventually giving way to incredibly fertile land, at which point the people who had been saved by one process or another, get back to the land, but are now ignorant of what had come before (perhaps some very obscure legends).

It's a little bit like the Zion cycle explained (sic) in the second Matrix movie I guess. Some kind of higher intelligence keeps saving just a few of the sentient races and repopulating the earth when it is ready. Which begs the question of what they want and why they are doing it (and why they aren't telling the people that they have to be careful with resources dammit when they release them into the proverbial wild). It opens up the possibility for all kinds of adam-and-eve style "origins" (which have in fact happened more than once).

2007-02-05, 11:12 PM
Which begs the question of what they want and why they are doing it (and why they aren't telling the people that they have to be careful with resources dammit when they release them into the proverbial wild).

Well, and I believe you mentioned this possibility, what if there is no sapient--or even sentient--force creating all the new survivors? What if it's just a bunch of people, like the anti-druids and the island prophets, who manage to escape the destruction? The anti-druids and island prophets managed to flee the main continent in groups and preserve their knowledge while a few scattered survivors remained behind. They needed far fewer resources, and so everything else was quickly subsumed by the planet.

The one remaining question is: Why does the overall biomass of the planet keep increasing? I think you could blame instantaneous conjurations for this phenomenon, since they bring more matter into the Prime Material.

2007-02-05, 11:33 PM
The one remaining question is: Why does the overall biomass of the planet keep increasing? I think you could blame instantaneous conjurations for this phenomenon, since they bring more matter into the Prime Material.

Its late, but I'll try and throw out an idea why it grows ever so large. Now lets make a little timeline that can serve as a mental picture of why the world increases its biomass.

-Lets say one day a god wanted to start an experiment and create a self sustaining plane.

-He makes a dirt pile and plants a little seed.

-That seed grows into a mighty tree and dies.

-When this special tree dies it decays into compost.

-From that compost springs more soil and nutrients to sustain a larger mass of life.

-Now this cycle of life and death then rebirth would grow larger and larger considering how much was decomposed into compost.

-Soon the plane became self-sustaining until races of beings started cultivating the land and using up the resources.

-With nothing left to make nutrients for the world, Fallow occurs and drives the world into chaos.

-A mighty demi-god creature springs forth and tills the land and leaves its followers and some island-goers to warn/teach the next generation of beings.

So basically everything is organic so when the world is destroyed, all it takes is couple seeds to create the world larger than before. Yup I know its weird, but this whole concept right now is just a roughdraft/ brainstorming. Any better ideas?

Inyssius Tor
2007-02-06, 12:06 AM
Consider: Why would anyone ever be unhappy?

If dropping a cake on your floor causes a cake forest to spring up within days, they certainly wouldn't need food.

If gold grows like grass, why would anyone prize it more than grass? If someone stole a handful of your lawn, would you be too angry at them?

One thing the people of your world would never have to worry about: overpopulation. As is reflected by the Earth's current population statistics, people stop having kids when there's any sort of education (and there would be education; without any conflict someone'd decide to be a teacher), long lifespans, and no pressing danger. Babies are just too much trouble which with to bother.

Your people won't stratify into an upper-class, a medium-class, and a lower-class. When all you have to do to survive is grab a cakefruit or two... communism would probably flourish. The people who like hammering beds together will give beds to everyone else, etc., etc... (you know, it strikes me that D&D's class and level system actually lend themselves quite well to communism)

Basically, what you have is a boring utopia. You might want to insert a whole bunch of monsters, and maybe a plague as well...

2007-02-06, 03:07 AM
Very rich soil does not mean "you drop a cake on the floor and it grows into a cake tree". It is still hard work to farm. The real question is how many people can a single farmer feed? According to THE INTERNET (ok the National Cattleman's Beef Association (http://www.gourmetspot.com/know/farmerfeeds.htm)) one farmer can feed 129 people, as opposed to 25 in 1960. I can't find medieval numbers, but given that the vast majority of people then were agriculturalists, I'm sure it's less than 10, maybe less than 5. I mean, we could feed the whole world today, but people are starving, and it's not because there isn't enough foof.