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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Phaunia and the Twilit Between

    In the setting I'm currently working on, I have multiple universes/dimensions/planes I'm calling realms. Between realms is the Expanse - a chaotic maelstrom of unformed reality that it is highly recommended to avoid. This is why, in the realm of mortals, beings like angels and demons aren't wandering around all the time but can show up. However, some realms are connected and crossings can form between them. Artificial crossings require extremely rare and powerful magic and are always short-lived. Natural crossings on the other hand pop up relatively frequently but unpredictably, some being more stable than others.

    The primary realm of the setting is a bit of a crossroads in the sense that it is connected to several realms. It is the home of humans, dwarves, giants and beastfolk but not elves (or orcs or a bunch of others for that matter). These instead come from other worlds and wound up in the primary realm, usually by accident. I've been working on the home realm of the elves - which is a place that travel to and from can happen - and several artifacts and materials will come from. It's expanded a lot beyond my initial ideas, though I imagine a lot of this stuff will be for my own sake unless the players are up for a kind of "expedition to an alien world" type game. It's a bit different (I hope) and very much a WIP, so if anyone has the patience and time to read through this (or any part of it) I'd appreciate any notes on how much sense it makes - is it weird and interesting? or just plain weird?



    The Realm of the Elves

    The flow of creation is stronger in the realm of the elves than it is in the realm of humans. This has made the realm a place where nature is more intense, life more vital and magic more powerful. On Phaunia - the native planet of the elves - flames burn hotter, winds blow stronger and lightning strikes more readily. Trees grow to astounding heights, forests can emerge in seasons rather than years and monstrous beasts not possible on other worlds roam the land. Mages wield forces otherwise limited to more powerful individuals, entirely new kinds of spells can be formed and one's tolerance for the mystical grows too. Thus, as a matter of their origin, elves are strongly in tune with nature, long lived and innately gifted with magical matters.

    However there are many realms and even more races who fit this description. Yet Phaunia and its elves are truly unique. Phaunia orbits a green sun and is in turn orbited by three moons - Rage, Despair and Desire. It is tidally locked with its sun, so that one half is always facing the sun, experiencing unrelenting, scorching heat and the other is always facing away, experiencing an eternal, frozen slumber. However, there lies a comparatively narrow band around the planet, only a few hundred miles wide, that sits between these two extremes. Here, one finds a gradient of habitable, even temperate environments. This is known as the Twilit Between or the Great Ring, and this is the ancestral home of all elves.

    Life in the Twilit Between is rather unusual. Time is not divided into day or night instead being a continuous crepuscular constancy. This is likely a contributing factor to why elves have such a different sleep cycle to others. Whether the Ring is experiencing an endless dawn or an endless dusk is a matter debated endlessly by academics on other worlds that Phaunians frankly couldn't care less about. There is little meaning to terms like north or south here, since latitude does not correlate with changes in climate and one can easily travel over the poles. Instead, the function of north is fulfilled by "sunward" - as the direction of the sun is always constant. The opposite direction to sunward is "darkward". Looking down on the Ring from the perspective of the sun, if one were to travel clockwise then one would be travelling "deosil" and if one were to travel counterclockwise then one would be travelling "widdershins". The point that lies closest to the sun is called the Burning Zenith and the point that lies furthest away is called the Frozen Nadir. The Zenith and Nadir are perhaps the least hospitable environments on the planet of Phaunia.

    On account of the intense temperature differential on either side of the Ring, the climate is characterized by frequent, turbulent windstorms. These are especially common over the few great salt lakes that span the gap between the darkward glaciers and sunward steaming flats. There are no true oceans as such on Phaunia. There are other bodies of water, but none large enough to be considered oceans. Even in the lakes, there is typically a section of the water that is shallow enough to be forded - though that is not to say some do not contain deep abysses. Some believe the lakes form a global ocean, connected by deep water-filled tunnels. However, these claims remain unverified as those who brave the depths tend not to return - eaten by the unspeakably horrific leviathans that call the tunnels home... presumably. On the sunward side of the Ring, there is an abundance of light and heat, so the landscape resembles something like a tropical rainforest. However, the darkward side is more of a boreal taiga. Not all creatures have a tolerance for all of this variation and some do have an even more narrow habitable band as a result.

    Phaunia does experience seasons, they are just not caused by the planet's axis being out of alignment with its sun's. Well, not exactly. The three moons of Phaunia have very strong interactions with the planet. They follow erratic orbits and their pull is such that parts of the moons have broken off and fallen to Phaunia, leaving each of the moons scarred and incomplete. The pull of the moons periodically causes the planet to teeter on it's axis - though this happens at fairly irregular intervals. The cycle of seasons lasts the equivalent of several years, but not always the same number.
    Spoiler: Elven Myth of the Moons
    Show
    In elven legend, Phaunia once had day and night. Both day and night had fallen in love with the elves' progenitor, however their advances meant that they lingered too long, turning the land into a searing wasteland or a frigid tundra. So the progenitor courted the moons and convinced them to change the cycle of the heavens themselves, so that the elves could thrive in the twilight. Of course, once the moons understood they were being used, they didn't take well to being spurned. Rage seeks brutal vengeance. Despair was overcome with misery and is eager to share it. Desire schemes to reclaim what was lost. All three refused to leave their newfound closeness and in an attempt to rejoin their lover grew too close to the surface, shards of themselves breaking off and raining down upon Phaunia.

    When the world wavers, part of the Ring grows closer to the sun. Then the forests of this part are set ablaze by the intense heat of the green sun. This turns into an immense wildfire that stretches across the entire width of the Ring. The intense nature of the realm means that the flames burn incredibly hot, burning unhindered even in the icy, darkwards taiga. Spurred on by the intense winds and blown across even the salt lakes, the wildfire will crawl across the entire Ring. It leaves a landscape of black ash in its wake. The ash proves to be a fertile foundation for the growth of new forests and the cycle begins anew. This is has had a great impact on how the elves build their structures. If they wish to make a permanent structure, they must do so atop mountains, under water or deep underground - but even with the aid of magic, they cannot bunker down in these structures during the great conflagration. The smoke, fumes and heat require the elves to flee, rather than enduring weeks in the heart of an intense wildfire. For temporary structures, they must build quickly and building with material resistant to burning would be wasteful. So the elves developed the magical art of tree singing to shape the rapidly growing flora of their world into homes.


    The Cycle of the Seasons and Elves

    The elves are inextricably linked to the cycle of the seasons. Should one ever travel to Phaunia one would find many kinds of elves. It is typical for most to assume that these are distinct, separate populations of the elves, each their own subrace or ethnicity with a distinct heritage. This is of course, incorrect. There are seven types of elves and seven seasons. The season an elf is born into determines the kind of elf they become. This is not a culturally enforced division, but a matter of biology responding to the environment. The time of an elf's birth is connected to them in a deep way both naturally and magically. The season of their birth grants them different gifts to use in the aid of their kind's survival in such a harsh world. However, there are traits common to all elves. In stature, they are tall and lithe with long, narrow faces. Their eyes and ears are almost feline in shape. Many have eyes or hair with metallic coloration, much unlike humans, orcs or dwarves. It is often said - among humans at least - that the elves possess an otherworldly beauty. This is quite literally true, when one considers their origins.

    The Vermilion Season and Charnel Elves
    During the Vermilion Season, the world burns. The Ring is set alight by the glare of the great, green sun when the moons’ orbits cause the planet’s axis to waver. None know exactly when or where the great conflagration begins nor which direction it will move in, but once it arrives it starts to rampage across the Great Ring and continues until it returns to the scorched lands where it began. This marks the beginning of the cycle - the Vermilion Season. In this environment the charnel elves are born. The charnel elves are uniquely equipped to guide and protect the elves in the most violent and dangerous of the seasons. They can withstand the flames and magically hear the final cries of those who die violently, granting warnings of dangers yet unseen. The more painful a death, the more likely a charnel elf will hear the cries from a great distance and be able hear it well after the death occurred as the pain lingers on. They have unusual, jagged ears with several peaks. Superstition connects this to their ability to hear the recently dead. Their skin is often a cold but vibrant tone that stands out in the flames and smoke. Their wispy hair always seems to be moving as though in a light breeze.

    Sable Season and Seer Elves
    The Sable Season of Phaunia follows the incineration of the Vermilion Season. The land is covered in pitch black ash and the skies are shrouded by it. The temperatures drop and those creatures that survived the blaze are almost certainly powerful and hungry. The elves find or build shelters across the land and it is the seer elves, born in the darkest of times, who act as scavengers and watchmen in this time. The seer elves have a tolerance for the cold that other lack and have far superior sight, even in the landscape of endless, obsidian sands. The seer elves have dark features with grey or silver patterning on their faces typically radiating from their eyes. These eyes are completely black, lacking irises or sclera. Their hair is almost always a dark color.

    Amber Season and Harvest Elves
    Though the dunes of ash are a harsh land to survive, they also bring fertility. In the Amber Season, this fertility returns bounty to the Twilit Between. At an amazing pace, the dunes give way to meadows and forests. Huge open grasslands covered in wildflowers and fruit-bearing shrubbery coat the landscape. It is during this time that the harvest elves are born and are of most crucial use to their Phaunian kin. The harvest elves are intimately linked to the vibrant energies of the resurgent flora. They can guide, enhance and hasten the process with ease thanks to an inherent, magical gift. The harvest elves shape gardens, farmsteads and the seeds of the elven cities for the new cycle. They weave elven kind into harmony with nature. The harvest elves are sometimes derided as meek pacifists and treated poorly, especially during the more severe seasons, but the wise know of how crucial they are and would never do anything to undermine their destined duties. In appearance, harvest elves have deep, bronze skin. Their eyes and hair are often the most vibrant and luminous of shades.

    Harlequin Season and Wild Elves
    As nature reasserts itself in the now fertile and secured soils of Phaunia, the shrubbery and grasslands give way to great, towering trees. In the Harlequin Season, the land turns into a vast twilit forest where the elves live beneath and among the branches. None live among the branches more that the wild elves. Born in the Harlequin Season, these elves are fiercely independent, and their intrepid spirit firmly secures the elven place among the pathways of high branches between the colossal trees. The wild elves do not build like the harvest elves, nor do they shy away from a fight. Instead, the wild elves are the elves who stalk the edges of elven society, connecting loose networks of rangers from across the world to the great settlements of their people. In appearance wild elves have coloration to conceal them in the twilit forests. They are the least likely kind of elf to have metallic colors in their hair or eyes. They have a more powerful build than many yet retain the ability to disappear into the background – they do this so well that many speculate they have a magical talent for such things. They grow claws and depending on the individual, they may also grow more bestial fangs.

    Azure Season and Noble Elves
    The Azure Season follows the Harlequin Season. As the giant forests cover the terrain, in the deep shadows of the leaf-litter, strange blue growths emerge. This is witchwood, also called witchweed by many elves, which is a strange plant or fungus like organism that seems to grow without need of sunlight. Witchweed grows rapidly and seems to draw nutrition from other plants. From these strange plants, glowing, blue motes are released. These spores spread the witchweed rapidly but also bring light to the undergrowth. In this environment the noble elves are born. Witchweed is seen as a harbinger of the challenging times to come and the need for the elven people to come together. Considering their fiercely independent nature of the elves, this requires some doing. The noble elves fulfill this role as natural leaders. The noble elves are not leaders not because of an inborn wisdom or proven merit but because of an irresistible, magical charisma. They can in fact enchant others with their charms. As unnerving as their powers are, the noble elves are essential to the survival of the elves as they prepare for the times to come. In general, noble elves are seen as beautiful or handsome according to the observer’s tastes. This is the result of a natural glamour that noble elves constantly project and if it is interrupted by some other magical effect they appear much plainer in their appearance. In general, the noble elves will have metallic hair colors or highlights on their skin. One who is unfamiliar with the noble elves might consider them to always be wearing expertly-applied, tasteful make-up.

    Amaranth Season and Vitiator Elves
    The witchwood grows old. Some breeds of witchwood species which grow slow but strong will soak up the blood of creatures that run afoul of their thorns. In time their blue bark turns a deep purple from the staining of this blood – a colour that never fades. These purple thorns are unnaturally strong and sharp, and so have come to be used by the elves as blades - arrowheads, spear tips and even swords if they are large enough. The spread of such growths marks the rise of the Amaranth Season. Most of the changes of this season are not very clear. There is a different sense in the air as the creatures of the Twilit Between turn to careful and deliberate preparation rather than freely wandering. The nutrients of the ash from the previous Sable Season has been spent and the natural world responds in turn. The elves born in this strange time are the vitiator elves. These are the mystics of the elves. Vitiator elves have strange powers that can be used to twist the nature of magic and turn the natural, vibrant energies of the realm into a malleable resource. The vitiator elves are often feared by the other elves, not simply because of their powers but because of the nature of their usage. The power of a vitiator elf is typically tapped into through pain and the spilling of blood. This can be unnerving for the elves who typically value independence and the pleasures of life very highly. Pain is magnified for elves relative to humans and others, so it is possible that elves view vitiators as tapping into a realm of experience they deeply and instinctively fear. Vitiator elves who use their power are covered in scars and or burns but these may be difficult to identify among their natural web of pale markings and deep grey features.

    Crimson Season and Hunter Elves
    The creatures of the Twilit Between know instinctively when the next Vermillion Season is likely to come – despite the periodicity of this cycle being highly variable. In the run up to the next great conflagration, the natural flora puts its efforts into ensuring the rise of new growth after the flames die down. In this time the forests of Phaunia complete their transition from the abundance of the Harelquin and Azure Seasons, through the decline of the Amaranth Season and into the downright austerity of the Crimson Season. Just as the Amaranth Season takes its name from the spilling of blood, so too does the Crimson Season. However, while the previous season saw blood spilled by thorns and brambles that stained the strange, porous witchwood, the Crimson Season sees blood spilled by claws, fangs, talons and blades. The most fearsome beasts of the lands are driven into a blood frenzy. This is a necessary part of the Phaunian biosphere’s natural cycle. These creatures would starve without a compulsion towards aggressive risk taking, even in the extreme form that it may manifest as among the larger carnivores. This also limits the population of many species ahead of the Vermillion Season, ensuring that at least some of each of the diverse species survive to see the forest rise again. Many creatures may disappear in this season, having other methods of preparing for the flames such as hibernating on lake beds or burrowing deep, deep underground. The elves born in this season are not filled with the wild aggression of the season but rather a cold, rational response to it. The hunter elves of the Crimson Season would be a natural fit for a culture’s soldiers in most environments, but in the Twilit Between their foes are not other warriors but monsters filled with bloodlust. So, they are hunters with such creatures as their quarry. They tend to have broader frames than other elves. Of their skin, hair and eyes, one is likely to have a blood-red coloration.


    Moonrises and Moonfalls

    Because the moons of Phaunia are so close and clearly experience an intense gravitational pull with the planet, one might expect these tidal forces to have a drastic impact on the surface. However, the erratic moons' orbits usually wind up spread out around the planet - so their gravitational pulls mostly balance each other out on the surface itself. There is still an impact on the gravity, but it is rather slight - not dissimilar to the tidal forces that cause the ocean tides one might be more familiar with. However, there are occasions when the moons are not spread out, when they come relatively close together in the sky. These events are called moonrises because the gravity experienced on that part of the Twilit Between beneath the moons can experience greatly reduced gravity. Elves being already light and strong can leap through the air over great distances. There are a variety of species on Phaunia who take advantage of moonrises to wreak havoc across the forests.

    This havoc is may be partly the influence of the moons themselves though. The names of the moons are not simply symbolic. The three moons are composed of strange, mutagenic, metallic ores that have an intense impact on the psyche. Rage causes intense, bestial anger. Despair leaves a creature feeling intense hopelessness and irrational fear. Desire turns someone into a shameless and unencumbered hedonist, while turning one's desires towards ever more destructive behaviors. During a moonrise, the influence of the moons can sometimes be felt by the creatures and elves in the area affected. Some will be more strongly affected by one moon or another and lead to extremely abnormal and dangerous actions as though brainwashed. A few, tragic cases sees individuals driven to irreparable madness by the overlap of all three influences.

    When the moons align (nearly) perfectly the event is called a moonflight because the part of the Ring directly beneath this alignment experiences a period of micro-gravity. Previously earthbound creatures cannot merely leap, but soar. This is extremely disorientating, especially since the twisted influences of the moons becomes far more potent, and there is a legend of an extinct subrace of elves that was born during moonrises or moonflights who guided their people in these events. They are described as having wings and as beings of purity resistant to the mental and spiritual taint of the moons' influences - resembling angelic figures. This has led to all manner of speculation by scholars of the divine about the nature of this now lost subrace of "elves".

    The moons of Phaunia are broken, as has been noted. What hasn't been noted is that they are continuing to break. Shards of the moons occasionally break off and fall to the surface, scattering across the landscape. These events are called moonfalls and are extremely rare - far more so than moonrises. However, when they do happen, they are catastrophic. The larger impacts leave great craters - sometimes creating new lakes in the process depending on the location of impact. They spread dust from the mutagenic ore across the world. If one is caught in a "mooncloud" the effects can be devastating. Most simply die, but some are twisted and born anew as monsters feared by all elves - the Moontouched. Fallen shards of Rage turns elves into monsters in the simplest sense. Their forms seem to blend with that of bears, wolves and tigers and they are driven entirely by bloodlust while possessing the intelligence and cunning of unaffected elves. Should they get into a community of elves alive they will have little difficulty indulging their homicidal urges due to their incredible strength and speed. Fallen shards of Despair turn elves into scaly, weeping, amphibious creatures. They are drawn to elves, as though they draw comfort from their presence, but also rightfully fear their rejection and so hide themselves near their communities. Initially, they simply cause the elves to grow lethargic, but over time can cause the elves to grow terribly ill, fall into comas and die. One might express some measure of sympathy for these creatures and not see the malice in what they do, but they will ruthlessly murder anyone who would reveal their secret hiding places and feel no regret at the cost they extract, immediately moving on to the next community. Fallen shards of Desire turn elves into feathered creatures that can enchant other elves into brainwashed sycophants. They force their enthralled slaves to sate their every whim and if the illusion is not dispelled they can accrue enough power to form de facto kingdoms where the ordinary people are worked to death in order to satiate their master's desires.

    Following the devastation of a moonfall's initial shockwaves is a period of recovery the elves sometimes refer to as Grey Seasons. These periods are marked by paranoid fear of moonclouds, severe famine, disease and a scramble by competing factions to mine the moonshards. Why anyone would want to mine these horrific materials may not be apparent to the more innocent, pure-hearted reader. The process is exceedingly dangerous and even with extensive and thorough protective measures, there is always a risk of a miner being mutated into a monster and destroying the entire operation. But such materials become extremely effective weapons. It is possible to refine these ores into blades, shackles and torture devices that have less powerful mutagenic properties. They can be used to fill warriors with obscene strength, bind prisoners mentally as well as physically and leave victims lacking the will power to resist torture. There are some truly horrific empires that have risen to power over Phaunia's history with the power of such devices. This power rarely persists over the cycles though, as these objects require proper storage and so must be left behind in vaults during the vermilion season. This leaves them vulnerable to a heist from an opposing faction - often leading to empires falling into complete chaos after a few cycles. Elves live far longer than this, and so notions of heredity - at least when it comes to material property or social status - are rarely relevant. The nature of Phaunia also means that when multiple empires exist at once the territories they claim tend to be parallel bands around the Twilit Between. These narrow loops sometimes give them the name Ribbon Kingdoms. The cruelest kingdoms come to be described as "frayed".The Empress of a frayed empire that fell a hundred years ago may still be circling the Ring, evading capture by those who seek her for crimes against elfkind - she may even find a surprising amount of supporters scattered across the communes of Phaunia.


    The Lost Elves

    In the ancient past, even by elven standards, there was an apocalyptic event where shards from all three moons fell simultaneously, in a triple moonfall. The destruction far surpasses anything that has happened across all recorded history and the elves very nearly fell extinct. The grey season that followed lasted for a period of several cycles and is now known as the Age of Monsters because it is thought that most living elves of the time became Moontouched. During this Age, a crossing opened up to the realm of humans. Legend says that elven refugees were guided by the image of a complete, silvery moon most unlike the sickened and scarred orbs in their own sky into a new world. Here the elves that crossed over could live in peace and prosperity but there was a cost. Separated from the inherent magic of their native realm, the elves experienced shortened lifespans, now living to only three centuries of age. The worst of it came only in the following generations, when they had been trapped in this new realm without a way to return. They found that without their connection to the Cycle of Seasons their children were born as something... else. These were the first lost elves.

    Unable to return to the natural order of the elves and with their culture evolving rapidly away from that of their forebears on account of their short lives, the lost elves now make up the majority of the elves in the realm of humans. They are considered a tribe that is lost to their home by the Phaunian elves and regarded with pity. That said, the lost elves have their own abilities that are nothing to laugh at. Being torn between two worlds, the lost elves have the unique ability to slide along the edge of realms, becoming ghostly and ethereal at will. While in this state they are weightless, slightly transparent, glow and faintly hum and while metal, stone, flesh, bone and living wood remain solid to them, they can pass freely through timber, textiles and loose soils. They have built grand cities of living trees like their ancestors but with doors replaced with solid blocks of harvested wood. A unique feature is their palaces which are complicated structures of silk and tapestries. There are no clear doors or windows in these places, instead requiring one to navigate them in an ethereal state using handholds of metal or bone spread throughout the structure - leading to a new usage of Ribbon Kingdoms as kingdoms with capitals containing such palaces. They can be made return to and remain in a physical state by silver from Phaunia, apparently because the metal resonates with their home realm forcing them out of their ethereal forms. They also have the strange ability to alter their physical appearance gradually. It is almost as though their bodies are still looking to find the right season to shape them, and with practice a lost elf can use this malleability to gradually change their body types and faces. This has led to the lost elves being viewed as artisans of the beautiful and alien while also being seen as experts in deception and thievery.

    Elves of other kinds outside of Phaunia are typically visitors, or sometimes first or second generation immigrants. They are often frayed fleeing justice or refugees fleeing frayed. Very rarely an elf will be born with the properties of one or even two of the original subraces to lost elf parents. This is rare and is taken as a portent that a significant crossing will soon open at the location of the child's birth. Lost elves flock to such places in order to maintain what little contact they can with their Phaunian cousins but they have also become important economic hubs. Witchweed - which is sold as an ornamental plant much to the Phaunians' confusion, the monstrous beasts hunted for their pelts and captured for menageries or to be trained as beasts of war and countless other products from the alien world are all in high demand among humans, dwarves, giants and other inhabitants of their realm.
    Last edited by GaelofDarkness; 2018-08-25 at 09:46 AM. Reason: Clean up and added details

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Phaunia and the Twilit Between

    This is a fascinating setting! I love the alien visuals it produces, and the new take on how elves can be “connected with nature.”

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Phaunia and the Twilit Between

    Thank you! It's very much appreciated.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Phaunia and the Twilit Between

    I think people like things that are unexpected, if they're not expecting it then it'll likely be a pleasant surprise as opposed to the same boring, mundane things they see or hear about in fantasy literature all the time. I'd recommend thinking about not the setting but the execution, execution is paramount to an interesting story and world.

    If you've seen LOTR, Star Wars and Harry Potter then you know they all have a similar premise. But there are weird, quirky things about them that separate them and make them interesting concepts to explore. You're using the original LOTR races but there's no reason why you can't make them into your own weird and interesting things in a wildly different world if you wanted to.

    Interesting stuff though! :]

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Phaunia and the Twilit Between

    In terms of execution I was thinking of using Phaunia as an origin for many of the magical weapons and artifacts players find in the primary realm. They might find a sword of monster slaying that comes with a brief description like "This blade was created for the mighty elven hunters who slew monstrosities in the bloody Crimson Season" and leave it up to them to guess what the Crimson Season is until they can get more details or seek out specific research. Just dropping in evocative terms like that or "moonflight" or "mooncloud" or "Burning Zenith" to give them a sense of another world with it's own dynamics.

    If they were to travel to Phaunia, I'd probably not warn them ahead of time about the fact that north, south, east and west are not used - letting the directions they get give them that perception on their own. Depending on their level and how long they wanted to stay on Phaunia for, I can think of a bunch of scenarios that could work. Maybe they are sent to retrieve and item from an elven city only to find that the city has been abandoned because of the encroaching flames of the great conflagration - meaning they need to get what they came for and get out on a tight time schedule. Arriving at a vault/temple/keep that can only be accessed during a moonflight and doing some zero-g puzzle solving on the clock could be fun. Maybe they arrive in the Azure Season and get more of a bountiful, prosperous, fey-like experience and return in the Amaranth Season for a more creepy, gothic experience they weren't expecting. They might arrive in the at the tail end of the Vermilion Season and need to get to a cache of artifacts or weapons before their rightful owners return to claim them from the ash-covered wastes.

    If they wanted to do an entire campaign in Phaunia, I think seeing how the typical adventuring tropes play out in the changing and extreme environments of the Twilit Between over the course of a Cycle of the Seasons - facing moontouched and dealing with moonrises or a moonfall along the way - could be interesting. Maybe they have to travel to the Burning Zenith and Frozen Nadir to retrieve two halves of a powerful artifact at high-levels in order to travel to the dark tunnels beneath the surface to face some aquatic, lovecraftian abomination that has been corrupting the minds of the surface-dwellers from it's hidden lair.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Phaunia and the Twilit Between

    This is really creative. It's a great and well-executed idea for a setting.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Phaunia and the Twilit Between

    Oh, thank you very much! I haven't been as active on here this last week so I'm just seeing this now.

    I'd thought the thread was dead but I'm always open to criticism - what people like or don't is always good to know.

    EDIT: Should have said this in my earlier reply - but the reason there's the standard LotR races is just because they're a familiar core to work with and I like taking the archetypes of more generic fantasy and creating something that's a bit different. The elves and orcs are familiar but work a bit differently than is typical which I find let's players who are happy with their familiar character archetypes play that and the ones who want to discover something new to do that too. The elves don't revolve around the high/wood/dark cultures here but you could still play a "high elf" by taking a noble elf or a "wood elf" by taking a wild elf. The dwarves and giants are actually cousins in the setting - the creations of two factions in the same greater pantheon who were trying to stave off draconic dominance in the mortal realm (the giants are more solitary while the dwarves' lives center around clan and kingdom), so the giants and dwarves are rivals with a lot of similarities who really hate dragons (familiar to the generic dwarves and giants of modern fantasy, but just a tad different).

    Beyond that there's some weird creatures thrown in for players to encounter or play as that are my own creation. Off the top of my head:
    A race of bird-people that ingest metal to make feathers of iron or copper or silver from a gas giant planet with islands of metallic ores floating on magnetic "rivers".
    A race of people born with only half a soul so they need to tap into external spiritual energies to stay healthy (cavorting with demons can literally be doctor's advise with this lot).
    A race of reincarnating spirits that can sometimes tap into memories and skills from past lives with some effort.
    A race of plant people where every individual is a symbiosis between what is essentially a talking squid made of vines (they put their vine tentacles into a humanoid form to walk and pick things up) and a lumbering, ever-growing tree creature that is slow but strong and can be used as a mobile shelter (kinda like a vardo) or placed somewhere to act as a spy/lookout ala it's telepathic connection to the squid part.
    A race I'm working on is a kind of weird fey-ish race themed around dreams inspired by the "Gates of Horn and Ivory" literary image (which is probably super obscure but I just really like the imagery). Think of something like the faun in Pan's Labyrinth but four-legged and with some abilities themed about communicating or planting deceptive ideas with dreams or nightmares.
    Last edited by GaelofDarkness; 2018-10-25 at 10:56 PM.
    According to easydamus, I'm a 4th level CG elf wizard. Str 9 - Dex 11 - Con 9 - Int 18 - Wis 14 - Cha 16.

    Homebrew setting (or part thereof): Phaunia and the Twilit Between

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