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

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Gender
    Male

    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    The link in my sig is likely outdated now that I've moved to a wiki--that can be found at https://wiki.admiralbenbo.org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

    Join Date
    Jan 2017

    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

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Corvallis, OR
    Gender
    Male

    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!

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