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- Join Date
- Oct 2008
Ideas and Details are Two Different Things
I came up with this a long time ago. I haven't had time to come up with the mechanics, mostly because there would be a lot of new mechanics to come up with or appropriate from some obscure rulebook for some obscure game somewhere.
Here are the basics.
The world is known as Vaelhamast. The known continents are four, with a panoply of island chains and still-unexplored territory. They're not particularly big, except the western one. It's not known if there are any beyond that.
The northern continent is the second largest, and known as Fyrszen, or "Fire-blood." It's inhabited by the Sarkuth and Talai-ku barbarians, who are furthermore divided into various smaller entities-the Stone-Water and Wavefurrough of the Sarkuth being the biggest ones. The Talai-ku are much more mysterious, regarded as both brilliant horsemen and deadly assassins. That's a little bit of a generalization, though they do have strong cavalry-nomad and lone-killer traditions--assassins being traditionally used to creep into the enemy's night camp and kill them then, cavalry being used to kill them when they're awake.
The Stone-Water clan: Very militaristic and traditional. The positive side is a strong sense of unity and a very prevalent martial honor. Their infantry is considered excellent. Their culture is based around the smaller fiefdom/chiefdom, but there is a strong loyalty to the king, provided he doesn't interfere too much. They are almost always participating in inter-fiefdom war games and athletic contests, which serves the purpose of preventing their military from being just a group of clannish militias. Every year, there's a massive contest held near a huge mountain known as the "Old Fang," which further drives home that whole "united military" message, and helps build discipline, skill, and morale. They have a little bit of rich farmland, and they're surrounded by good mining territory and good timber, so resource-wise, they're not badly off--and their culture has remained largely unique and distinct for a long time.
Wavefurrough are less fleshed out. They're along the coast, mostly, and trade more--not necessarily richer, but more cosmopolitan. Better navy.
The Sarkuth are biologically different from the "norm" (whatever that is.) They're larger, and have dull-reddish eyes. They're considered primitive by other nations/races, but they're less primitive than they are unencumbered by unnecessary aspects of civilization.
The central continent is inhabited by three distinct races and too-many-to-list distinct civilizations, although a notable one is the remaining fragment of Tyrann, a huge empire that conquered vast tracts of the world a while ago--and then fell (many years later) after a series of close defeats. The major religion in the continent (called Thelhane) is a kind of institutionalized Nihilism based on the Idea that one most accomplish a great deal in life because there is no life after death and no ultimate purpose--a sort of "sear your name across the world" attitude, brought a long time ago by a self-styles prophet--who also happened to be an excellent military leader and astute politician. Hence the reason the religion lasted so long.
The races that originate or are powerful there include the Kan (Pronounced sort of like "Khon"), who are rather lean, have a skin color that varies from swarthy to slate-grey, and are very enduring--they're considered natural marathon runners, even in high heat, and tire very slowly--and possess very good distance vision. They founded Tyrann, and tend to have the most attachment to the Nihilistic religion.
Then there are the Quele, who have aquatic origins, although didn't live underwater long enough to evolve away their essentially humanoid traits--they just happen to have pale-to-bluish skin, and have impressive proprioception and sense of space-resulting in impressive balance and co-ordination. They've maintained their own polytheistic religion, and they're considered the other very large sea-trading society, eagerly colonizing and conniving. They're almost pathological schemers--a result of a rather byzantine culture and a psychology suited more to a three-dimensional, utterly complex, and predator-rich environment. (The ocean). They're not necessarily untrustworthy, but they have what amounts to a compulsion to plot and plan just in case.
The third are the Baelz. They are an offshoot of the Kan (apparently--it MAY be the other way around). They're a little neanderthal in build--little shorter, stockier, more sure-footed than others. They believe in a version of the standard nihilistic religion that assumes the only truly amazing unique thing that intelligent species do is invent and build and organize. Not an analogue of gnomes/dwarves exactly, though--they've founded a stabel society that often hires out professional mercenaries to others (rather like switzerland), and the level of organization and engineering is rather more roman than rube goldberg.
The eastern continent (and its' surrounding seas) appears to be the origin-place of the Quele. It's much smaller than the others, and it's terrain is more unforgiving. There's a sort of pirate empire in the island chain linking it and Thelhane. It's called various things, and is mostly referred to as "T'Ghal." It's had a lot more contact with the Talai-ku than with the Sarkuth, since they're its' immediate northern neighbors. It has very, very unusual cultures by Thelhane's perspective. Haven't figured out much beyond that yet.
The western continent is home to the only known very-nonhuman-looking species. The Tssakh. They are an intelligent, cold-blooded reptilian species whose major traits include a ruthless but tranquil outlook on life (they aren't particularly warlike: pretty polite, generally, but if they decide to kill you they won't feel an ounce of guilt), and a variety of religions and outlooks--the main civilization that's known is the central sort of "Tssakh Empire"-the first emperor was a leader who seized power, united them, and defeated an extraordinarily skilled Kan general and his highly professional army when the western continent was first discovered--by Tyrann. The second essentially made peace with Tyrann after they had been defeated, shored up the sense of unity, and welded the empire--sometimes brutally--into a single entity. He was considered a political genius where his predecessor (and apparently, great friend) had been an incredibly charismatic and effective military leader. The Tssakh don't need much food (and can digest vegetable matter if it's cooked right), have a good sense of smell, and while actually not as physically large as most other races except the Quele and some Baelz, are, pound-for-pound, no slouches. While they are notoriously hard to offend, they react angrily to being considered "Proud and Honorable Warriors" or anything of the sort. They think of themselves as "Humble and Conniving Predators." Judging by the example of the Empire, they seem to be honorable in a somewhat Machiavellian way--(partly their biological origins, partly the example of the second emperor)--they'll kill you without mercy, but only if there's a pretty practical reason. Their society appears somewhat meritocratic. The emperor wields incredible power, but bad emperors tend to be summarily slaughtered by their citizens--and, in practice, the selection of an emperor is a decision by the populace rather than a hereditary, set-in-stone affair. They're hatched and raised communally, so while they know who their biological parents are, they identify less with immediate relatives and more with the other people they were raised with, considering them their family.
(They arose when I thought "I'm damn tired of elves and dwarves! I'm going to come up with a relatively unique race, dammit! One that actually thinks about the world very, very differently from anything a human would understand! And then I was all like, they is gonna be lizards, and I was like Oh Snap! And then they WERE. Herpetology's a hobby, could you guess?)
Anyways, there's more, but it's late and I need to eat. Tell me what you think, and if you have any suggestions for how to stat the races, by all means, give me a tip. I'm not proud."One must be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves." -Niccolo Machiavelli
"We have no dreams at all or interesting ones. We should learn to be awake the same way — not at all or in an interesting manner."-Friedrich Nietzsche
"There's a lot of things you could use to kill a guy with. You could probably beat a guy to death with the Sunday New York Times!"-George Carlin