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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default AMA about Noefra so I can get inspired to write more details



    Full-resolution https://wiki.admiralbenbo.org/images...-political.png

    This is for a D&D setting I've been working on and playing in for about 6-7 years now. The main play area is the western side of this continent (roughly 3k miles by 1.5k miles), located in the eastern part of the northern hemisphere of the planet Quartus. Located well north of the equator, it spans between about +30 deg and +60 deg.

    The western edge of the continent is dominated by the Nocthian Caldera, the remains of an ancient super-volcano. The caldera floor is ~8k ft above sea level, and the peaks of the range are in the 11k - 14k range, while the Lupaus Plain to the east is only about 1k feet above sea level, and the Lost Coast to the west is even lower.

    I know pretty well what's all in the western area, from about the Tuura Adam west. I have a vague idea of what's to the east, labeled as names with about 1 sentence of description. And with the pandemic, it looks like I won't have as many parties to range about forcing me to go more in depth. So I turn to the playground. Help me figure out what's both there and in other places by asking questions. The more specific the question, the better. I'll try to answer them. You can also ask about the western parts--there's always more to polish and clean up there as well.

    Black labels are generic descriptors, white labels are specific nation/polity names.

    Setting notes: this is a 5e, intentionally kitchen-sink setting. One goal is for all the "main book" player races to be present, along with as many of the non-playable ones as I can fit in. But to have it all make sense. Populations are pretty small right now, as they're only a few hundred years past a massive cataclysm that killed ~70-80% of the population over a few years and reshaped the landscape (for instance, that massive bay on the north side was a nation before that, and the mountains hemming it in on the south and west were small hills). Overall tech level is schitzoid D&D. Only the most basic magic items can be made, generally, but a few nations are experimenting with something closer to magitech.

    The link in my sig is likely outdated now that I've moved to a wiki--that can be found at https://wiki.admiralbenbo.org
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2020-09-20 at 11:46 PM.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: AMA about Noefra so I can get inspired to write more details

    What do the Dust Tribes call themselves, and why do outsiders call them by that name? How far do they range, and how do they subsist?

    Who are the hags that give the Hagfen its name, and how do they deal with outsiders- particularly the Nirda? How do they maintain control of the Fen?

    Along each of their borders, what keeps the Jinse Empire from expanding? How do they treat natives of the lands they control? (Is 'empire' a description, or just a title?)

    Is Bel's Kush a weed reference, and if not, what is a Kush? Who is Bel?

    Are there gods that are worshiped in the East that are not worshiped in the West? If so, how do they think of foreign gods?
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: AMA about Noefra so I can get inspired to write more details

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    What do the Dust Tribes call themselves, and why do outsiders call them by that name? How far do they range, and how do they subsist?
    TODO on exact details, but I expect it's varied (as to internal names). Outsiders call them that because they're tribes that range in a wide rocky (and thus dusty) desert. I'm thinking it's more like the high desert of California or the scrubland of Wyoming, sparse grass and sage brush, little or no trees, arid but not sandy.

    The tribes themselves are numerous and varied. The unifying factors are that they all got pushed over the last few centuries (or further back) into land no one really wanted. None of them are large, none of them are welcoming to outsiders. I'm guessing most of them keep sheep and/or goats and range with the herds, truly nomadic. Some horses, but mostly walking. Stone-age tech, with a heavy nature-magic focus (ie led by shamans and druids). Trade for metal tools and weapons at Shaadval for the ones close to that, then others raid those (more settled) tribes. Fractious, hardy, and xenophobic.

    Tribes have elaborate rituals when two tribes meet (usually at one of the good oases/watering holes) to prevent violence. If they're compatible (racially and culturally), they may trade children (exogamy). If not, they'll do a mock battle/duel to decide who gets first crack at it. Outright warfare is rare, because no one has people to lose. Coup counting, livestock raids, bride (or bridegroom) thefts, these are common. War isn't, except against outsiders. If anyone tries to invade in force, multiple tribes will ally together to push them out using guerrilla warfare.

    Who are the hags that give the Hagfen its name, and how do they deal with outsiders- particularly the Nirda? How do they maintain control of the Fen?
    The Hagfen isn't where the hags live, it's where the ancient Heart Tree that creates hags is located. It's a trade, you see--the would-be hag (or oni, the male version) gives up their human heart and replaces it with a seed of the Tree in a ritual. The hag gains power and long life, at the cost of their humanity. Instead, their obsession with one particular facet of humanity (that obsession that drove them to seeking an audience with the Heart Tree) dominates their existence. They must feed the seed by experiencing that facet of humanity (often an emotion such as jealousy, envy, rage, possessiveness, etc--the more positive emotions rarely dominate to the degree required without becoming perverted into their negative counterparts). If they don't, or if they experience true contentment, the seed dies and so do they. The Heart Tree siphons off this experience, because the Tree is a fey. Probably the most powerful one in existence at this point. Hag candidates make pacts with the tree from a distance through rituals; most never even approach the Hagfen physically (at least at first, many make pilgrimages later in their twisted existence).

    Nirda doesn't invade, because the entire Hagfen belongs to the Heart Tree. It's rather the reverse--Nirda has to expend resources to keep the Fen from growing into their lands. The druids and groups who are under the sway of the Heart Tree (who have become brainwashed by it) and the Nirda fight back and forth--it's mostly a stalemate at this point, but both sides poke and prod. Nirda is pretty isolationist--they'd rather just be left alone but the Hagfen and the Abantu won't let them.

    Along each of their borders, what keeps the Jinse Empire from expanding? How do they treat natives of the lands they control? (Is 'empire' a description, or just a title?)
    Jinse, by this point, is decadent. It once (before the Cataclysm) controlled the entire eastern side of the continent. It doesn't expand because it's focused inward and long since gave up more than the pretense to control. The outer satrapies/districts are mostly independent and are largely focused on winning power from each other. And Jinse's real masters, the Diabolical Families, don't particularly care about it expanding right now. And there's too much in-fighting in the Astral for one side or another to solidify control. So mostly it just muddles along. They get raided by the Abantu (who are a pirate/raiding culture), but most of that energy goes into fighting the Shanti, who broke off from Jinse due to not liking the whole devil thing. Shaanti and Jinse are at peace, because the Abantu are more of a threat. Shadval is a trade center--the last civilized place before the Dust Tribes. It's basically Switzerland without the mountains, and everyone takes pains to keep it neutral.

    Is Bel's Kush a weed reference, and if not, what is a Kush? Who is Bel?
    The name means "The Peace (or Unity) of Bel". Bel is (part of) the name of the ruler--an Adult silver dragon, who along with his two compatriots (also adult dragons) overthrew the former corrupt rulership about 150 years ago and have taken the city-state as their collective hoard. It is a shining city, free of crime, poverty, dissent, a city where everyone knows their role in society and their place in the hierarchy. Where the powerful protect the weak and the weak respect the powerful. If that doesn't give you creepy vibes, well, it should. Really, the rulers are very Lawful Good. SUPER Lawful Good. And they've spent generations molding and shaping the people to fit their vision of what that means. There's no dissent, because the dragons eat anyone who does. And the malcontent's neighbors and families will cheerfully turn them in. It's a police state, without the police. Probably only sustainable as long as those three (especially Bel) are around. And not very expansionist, as they're nearly at their limit for keeping track of everybody as it is. They are single-minded in keeping the state going. No ego, no self-dealing. But it ends up being oppressive to anyone who doesn't buy into the attitude.

    Are there gods that are worshiped in the East that are not worshiped in the West? If so, how do they think of foreign gods?
    There are Ascendants (worshiped as gods) that differ, but the true gods are world-wide. Before the Cataclysm (and the new set of gods that resulted after the old ones were depowered in that event), the entire population theoretically worshiped the God Emperor of Jinse, the god-in-flesh who acted as priest and emperor and servant of the Four Who Watch (a one-in-four and four-in-one god noted mainly for its lack of direct interference with mortality). After the Cataclysm, the Four Who Watch were the only gods left standing, because they got absorbed into the over-god (the Great Mechanism that maintains the universe) to serve as its interface with the new gods. They're not responding to calls right now (or ever).

    But ascendants arise whenever someone is worshiped/revered/honored enough after their death to sustain themselves in the Astral. So even the Dust Tribes have ascendants (ancestor spirits) who watch over them. They're limited in power by their worshipers and can't grant true cleric access, but they can directly meddle (which the true gods can't). So they accept the same True Gods, but worship different subsets + other powers. Ascendants tend to be greedy for worshipers, while true gods mostly don't care. They get their power elsewhere for maintaining their domain and answering prayers. Plus there are the devils who control Jinse. They'd rather that people turn to them to have their needs met, because that gives them more power. But if they interfere too much, they might draw negative attention from other ascended or powerful beings. So they mostly just propagandize and advertise, rather than outright condemning other forms of worship. Think underhanded political disfavor, not open attacks. Just...churches tend to find it hard to get good temple locations due to paperwork, the inspectors find more issues, etc.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Oct 2020

    Default Re: AMA about Noefra so I can get inspired to write more details

    Why did the super volcano to the west of your current portion of the built world form?

    Where else did any potential super volcanos form, and if so, what other terrain features might have led to the current world's shape?

    The Earth apparently used to have two super mountain ranges, maybe three: The Alps, The Rockies, and The Himilayas, so what if any of these anciently huge yet weathered ranges might exist elsewhere on your world?

    That Eastern area looks like a massive bog at first glance, are barges common there? If so, how do they move? Are sailing ships able to ply those waters?

    Does the area to the east of that continent, so inundated with swamps, bogs, and marches and the like favor or use more steam powered vessels? Seems a decent starting spot to justify a more "modern-ish" take on sea and water travel.

    Any other areas of interest for you?

    What about the rest of the world, and, if it's +30 degrees to +60 degrees, what is the overall longitudes involved? And, which set of lat/long coordinates is the +30 to +60 measuring, specifically?

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: AMA about Noefra so I can get inspired to write more details

    Going to answer these out of order:

    Quote Originally Posted by Turgin View Post
    What about the rest of the world, and, if it's +30 degrees to +60 degrees, what is the overall longitudes involved? And, which set of lat/long coordinates is the +30 to +60 measuring, specifically?
    This is a (very rough, very small because the original is 5k x 2.5k pixels) climate map of the whole world. Noefra is the NE continent (assigning east and west arbitrarily). The other continents are:
    • SE: Soefra
    • NW: Oelfra, home of dragons, giants, and dwarves. Among others.
    • SW (central, more circular): Perdatos
    • SW (further south): Aenimos


    Spoiler: Rest of World
    Show




    So roughly Noefra extends (east-west) from about 40o east to about 55o east, taking the terminator (arbitrarily) at dead center in the image. Nobody thinks of it that way, since the existence of the western continents is myth and legend (except for a few sages). It's been roughly 1k years since anyone in western Noefra had the tech and stability to send expeditions that way. I think that there may have been more traffic from the east, using those two little islands as springboards. And some from Soefra have probably made the trip, as they're the Ship Folk, the ones who have the best deep-water craft and expertise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turgin View Post
    Why did the super volcano to the west of your current portion of the built world form?

    Where else did any potential super volcanos form, and if so, what other terrain features might have led to the current world's shape?
    I know of 5 super-ish volcanoes (large enough to shape landforms on a large scale).

    The Nocthian Caldera (in western Noefra) is the second-largest and the second-most ancient. Right now I know that it hasn't erupted "since the First Age". New idea: it was formed and manipulated as a weapon by Wyrm during the First Titan-Wyrm War of the First Age and was instrumental in the defeat of the Titans. Basically, the wyrm (proto-dragons, but way more powerful) blew up the former titan homeland, ending the war. At that point, the three -fra continents (Oelfra, Noefra, and Soefra, plus that unnamed northern island) were all one continent. It's very dormant, but there's a smaller volcano in the center that used to be active, but the spirit that caused the volatility has been tamed.

    The Prison of Behemoth is the oldest, largest, and the only one still active. Located on Aenimos, down at that "waist" area, it dominates and shapes the entire continent. Unlike the Nocthian Caldera, it's still mostly intact. In its (much smaller) caldera is imprisoned Behemoth (the ur-terrasque)--the lava keeps it from constantly regenerating and devouring everything. It's been there since the Dawn War, when it (along with its mother Echidra and two of its siblings) were imprisoned there because their side of the Dawn War, the creation war), lost. Echidra, Zhi'gor, and Anzu were all freed recently, on condition that they don't cause problems for everyone else. Behemoth was deemed too dangerous and is still bound in sleep.

    The central island has a super-volcano (the ring structure on the eastern side). Likely an echo of the forces used to move the continents. It's thoroughly dead, and acts as the home for the only remaining Cysgor (shadar-kai...sort of) creche. It's the smallest and newest, and most thoroughly dead.

    There's a large volcanic cluster on that landmass off the north coast of eastern Noefra. I currently don't know anything about it other than that it's elemental-focused, probably housing a portal to the Plane of Lava.

    The smallest of the super-volcanos is that light-green dot on the island in the big bay of Oelfra. All I know about it now is that it's dormant (but not dead) and has a city built on it--the only "neutral" ground for giants and dragons to meet.

    As for the world's shape, it's mostly due to unnatural forces. The two SW continents were created after the Dawn War as prisons for the losing side, and have been sealed off until just very recently (ca 50 years before present). The other three were once one continent, but that's gotten split twice. Once after the aborted Third Titan-Wyrm War (splitting Oelfra off) and once after Moon's Fall (a literal moon impact from the smallest moon, which formed that half-ring dead center on the southern coast of Noefra), forming Soefra. Both of those splits were done with a pair of primal artifacts, the Eyes of Qa'desh. The smaller-scale shape is mostly Titan work back in the day, now just weathered. No plate tectonics here. A more recent change (creating the Sea of Dreams and reshaping some of the coastline/mountain ranges a bit, plus creating that "bog" to the east) was the Cataclysm 250 years ago, which caused a misalignment of the elemental planes and rippled into natural disasters. The Sea of Dreams used to be a low-lying nation--the land connected roughly between the top of that knob and the small island to the east.

    Note: the Sea of Dreams isn't marked, but it's the big bay in north-central Noefra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turgin View Post
    The Earth apparently used to have two super mountain ranges, maybe three: The Alps, The Rockies, and The Himilayas, so what if any of these anciently huge yet weathered ranges might exist elsewhere on your world?
    Major mountain ranges are

    1. the Giant Spine Mountains which separate eastern and western Noefra. Spurs of that extend all the way out to the Hagfen (forming the north and south walls) and along the Dreamwall to the west along the southern shore of the Sea of Dreams.
    2. The Barrier Ranges (formed by an impactor) in south-central Noefra
    3. The "Boot" (working name) that runs down the spine of Oelfra.
    4. The Riftwall, with spurs forming the walls of the Solar Highlands to the south, in Soefra. That one's interesting because one side of it is almost entirely sheer across its entire length. It cuts the continent in half, with the southern half being much higher and the northern wall being a 10k-15k sheer drop down into low-lying jungle. There are mountains to the north along the sea coast, but they're lower. That whole jungle area is called the Great Rift (for obvious reasons).

    That Eastern area looks like a massive bog at first glance, are barges common there? If so, how do they move? Are sailing ships able to ply those waters?

    Does the area to the east of that continent, so inundated with swamps, bogs, and marches and the like favor or use more steam powered vessels? Seems a decent starting spot to justify a more "modern-ish" take on sea and water travel.
    It's a bit deeper than just a bog in the larger channels. You get lots of low-draft ships, including outriggers and Polynesian-style canoes as well as oared galleys, but you also get a fair amount of larger sailing vessels. The Abantu are a slave culture, so lots of slave labor (stolen from the Shaanti and Nirda but mostly bought from Jinse).

    I'm not willing to do steam power or any other "modern" tech. My hard-ish cap for "mundane" tech is Early Renaissance, but no gunpowder (that's a fixed point I will not allow). Beyond that has to be magitech, of which the world has seen a couple types. So if there are powered vessels out there (or anywhere), they're powered by elementals Eberron-style rather than "mundane" tech. My current vision for the Abantu is that they're not particularly tech-focused, being slavers and raiders. More of a "the only proper work is fighting, slaves do everything else" culture.

    I do need to have maritime cultures that aren't pirates/raiders/slavers--I can see a theme developing there. Because the other culture known for maritime prowess is the Ship Folk who live between Noefra and Soefra. And "pirate/raider/slaver" describes them as well. Sigh. Stupid ruts.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; Today at 11:54 AM.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: AMA about Noefra so I can get inspired to write more details

    What's up with the roughly rectangular section of land between the Windwalker Goblin Confederation and the Serpent Dominion? Is that area inhabited by more of the Scattered Tribes? Why haven't any of the neighboring states attempted to claim it?

    Is the text "Abandoned Clans" meant to be associated with the white dot (which presumably indicates a city) north of Shinevog, or the brown shaded region southwest of Tuura Adam? What is the other one supposed to be?
    Last edited by InvisibleBison; Today at 12:24 PM.
    I'm making a webcomic, featuring absurdity, terrible art, and alleged morals.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: AMA about Noefra so I can get inspired to write more details

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleBison View Post
    1) What's up with the roughly rectangular section of land between the Windwalker Goblin Confederation and the Serpent Dominion? Is that area inhabited by more of the Scattered Tribes? Why haven't any of the neighboring states attempted to claim it?

    2) Is the text "Abandoned Clans" meant to be associated with the white dot (which presumably indicates a city) north of Shinevog, or the brown shaded region southwest of Tuura Adam? What is the other one supposed to be?
    1. The borders are somewhat aspirational, especially for the Windwalker Confederation. Because that's less a nation than a treaty zone, where the Windwalker tribe has convinced other tribes to let them handle security and interactions with outsiders, in exchanges for following rules (mainly about interactions with each other and with outsiders) and material support. At the present, they're stretched pretty thin. Move too far from the main roads (the relevant one goes to Asai'ka in this instance) and their influence runs pretty thin. So some of those further out tribes haven't really dealt with the Confederacy much, if at all.

    The Serpent Dominion is moving into that territory (which is inhabited by scattered tribes of goblins, were-creatures, and monstrosities), but it's slow going. In part because they've got lots of "domestic" frontier, but largely because that whole jungle area (known as the Blood-thirst Wildlands) is quite hostile. It used to be under demonic influence (a demon prince associated with distortions, mutations, and disease)--that influence is still felt pretty strongly. So there's lots of weird mutant creatures there. Most of which are quite territorial. So the "civilized" influence there is limited mostly to the coast, where settlements have been started. Explorers have gone further in, but most never came back. It's only been in the last generation that they've expanded even that far.

    2. The Abandoned Clans is the brown region. I didn't mark the 3 cities there...probably for scale. They're dwarves, but have diverged from the rest of dwarven society pretty heavily due to isolation and malign outside influence (which only recently changed). They're pseudo duergar (less darkness and hate and more just tough and mean and brutal). They were left behind when the rest of the area's dwarven clans moved south to escape the Cataclysm, hence the name. And the bad blood between the two. They're now starting to produce minerals and finished metal goods for export (importing the luxuries that are really scarce in those high, harsh mountains and valleys)

    The white dot is the city-state of Zhapai Karmap, a pretty-much brand-new (last 40 years) city built around an ancient dwarven hold retaken from mind flayer dominance. ZK (aka the Wild Hold) is...wild. Basically, it's a libertarian dictatorship. Do whatever you want, just don't hurt anyone without their consent. Transgress the few, very bright-line rules and die horribly (death by torture is the nice form of execution). They don't care who you were/are elsewhere, as long as you don't break things here. They'll harbor wanted criminals, evil creatures, as well as refugees. The rulers are both quite evil (of the I don't care who or how I hurt people to get my way) and very disinterested in other people breaking things for them. And they are way too lazy to look outward. Recently, they've started being a trade hub for the region, because shipping things via the Sea of Dreams is much easier than overland. One of their few quirks, oddly enough, is that sexual exploitation is the quickest way of ending up dead, and badly. So there are brothels (of all types), but they're scrupulous about being entirely voluntary and the workers are highly paid and respected.
    Dream of Hope: a 5e setting. http://www.admiralbenbo.org
    PhoenixPhyre's Extended Homebrew Signature
    5e Monster Data Sheet--vital statistics for all 693 MM, Volo's, and now MToF monsters: Updated!

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