On the Topic of Race

August 4, 2009

Ah, such a hot button issue: how to fit your list of accepted races into your world. To be honest, in the Dagdaeard and the rest of the land on it’s little world, I think everything should fit and have it’s place. I just don’t think I’m prepared at the moment to handle it all.

Let’s just say this and get it out of the way (and borrowing a bit from Eberron here): Everything in D&D can and likely does exist in the world with Dagdaeard. I may mention things at times (like Elves are likely to be more at home in Talamh Ainmhi, Eladrin in Kraj Magia, Humans in Cwena Scire, and Half-Orcs in Talamh Codagh) but really, it’s one big melting pot.

Don’t get me wrong! There are racial tensions, even among the known children of the All-Father – I just haven’t worked them out yet. But one thing to ponder on: there’s probably a lot more religious and regional tension. After all, the Chosen of Macha had probably been raiding their neighbors for centuries before the Revelation – in fact, I think this is canon, I just haven’t written it down yet – and I think Kraj Magia is going to have quite the undead problem. They’ve repeatedly had to ask Cwena Scire help out with and they haven’t paid up for the help recently (or ever).

The City of Onmiddan

August 3, 2009

The city of Onmiddan is the capital of all the All-Father’s lands. Home to the religious center and ruling body of the continent, it also serves as the one true melting pot of all the cultures brought forth by his Aspects and as the single largest trade hub on the continent. It is situated on and around a river that flows through or from each of his lands. (For those who can’t believe this: there are several large tributaries that meet up with the God River in or very near Onmiddan.)

Onmiddan has existed since before the Dagdaeard was known as the Dagdaeard, before the All-Father made his presence known. In those days, it was still a massive trade hub, but that trade was largely relegated to the 3 annual fairs and the merchants who passed by on the river on their way to trade. There was a small native community that saw to the upkeep of the various trade squares, and these people still exist. After the revelation of the All-Father, these people have believed themselves to be his own Chosen. None of the other nations believe this though, and that independent “nation” of people have since been relegated to a ghetto inside of Onmiddan and a shanty town outside.

Present day Onmiddan is a thriving metropolis, with a large trade and governmental center as the focal point. Surrounding that, in the areas that most closely border their own lands, each Aspect’s people have their own areas. The council attempts to keep these areas equal, but there are always boundary disputes. Inside each of these areas are shops that serve the specialty interests that each Aspect is best-suited for: hunting and survival supplies, as well as classes to learn survival techniques in the Path of Cernunnos; Magical item creation and sale, as well as musical supplies in the Library of Weles; training in the latest fighting techniques, military strategy classes, and weapons can be found in the Barracks of Macha; while healing, first aid, and counseling can be found in the Temples of Alaea.

There also exists a largely unexplored cavern network under the city that was only discovered after the Revelation. It contains within it art and scripture of the All-Father. All magical attempts at dating the artifacts and writing become confused – they actually return results that vary from test to test on the same piece. Scholars believe this indicates either an obfuscation spell on the age of the pieces, or that they are actually living artifacts of the All-Father – existing and changing in all times at once.

The Chosen of Cernunnos

July 31, 2009

As I mentioned previously, the Chosen of Cernunnos tend to choose themselves first. They venture into the dense jungle and thick forest of Talamh Ainmhi (I’m dropping the special “i” – it’s too damn annoying to go back and copy it everytime) seeking a challenge and come out changed or not at all. Usually this leaves them ready to take a calm but powerful stance towards the nature that surrounds them (Druids, Shaman, Wardens), other times it can draw the anger, the rage, that was deep inside them and pull it to forefront allowing them to become the berzerker (Barbarians).

All of these Chosen know they have been gifted with the insight and focus of Cernunnos. They are to protect the wild, but also to submit it’s power and let the flow of nature guide them. They are never to be weak, however, as weakness in the Land of Beasts leads to death. This insight affects each of the Chosen in a unique way:

  • Barbarians are relentlessly assault by the things that anger them most, triggering their rage. That rage is then granted focus by Cernunnos and directed at those things that endanger the wilds.
  • Druids learn the advantages of beasts as they gain their shapeshifting abilities, but are also taught that their natural form is powerful as well. Once Cernunnos grants them their magic.
  • Shaman are granted their totem animals (and thus, spirit companions) in a vision. The animal grants the use of the spirit of their species to the help the Shaman survive his ordeal.
  • Wardens must learn to take parts of the wilds into themselves and reflect them outward in order to survive. They learn to take on many forms and aspects, just like the All-Father does but on a mortal scale.

The All-Father’s aspect of nature, the hunt, and the cycle of life (yes, I know, largely the same profile as Balinor), Cernunnos, Lord of Beasts, teaches respect for all in his domain. He teaches the route of harmony to his followers, showing that they should take only what they need and use as much as possible of what they do take. In process, he shows that not all are created equal: only the fittest survive his harsh jungle and dense forest in Talamh Ainmhí. Those not up to the challenge of surviving such environments are not worthy of his favor. This makes those concerned for their family’s safety often leave his lands, while those seeking a test of power, cunning, and determination flock to his side. This means that most of the Chosen of Cernunnos chose themselves before this Aspect could choose them himself.

His tenets are as follows:

  • Use what you take.
  • Living is not enough, one must prove that they are able and willing to survive.
  • Luck favors the prepared. Survival abhors the unprepared. Be prepared.

Cernunnos is Unaligned.

Edit: His domains are: Change and Wilderness.

On Geography in General

July 28, 2009

So, we have 4 parcels of land on our continent. In the interest of theme, I think the landscape of each will be tied to the aspect. All of the lands need to be viable in one way or another as well.

In the Land of Light, Cwéna Scire, I envision gently rolling hills throughout a radiant grassland. Sure, there are forests – I imagine there’s a reasonable amount of woodland, no extreme overgrowth. I think this will tie into a very pastoral culture for the area – peaceful but not naive.

The Land of Battles, Talamh Codagh, I see as being a rather sparse country punctuated by mountains. I’m thinking the near deserts of the world – sure there’s rainfall, but it’s just enough to keep the land alive. Civilization has gathered near the rivers and tributaries that flow through the land. The blood of Macha (the rivers) keeping the people alive, but hungry. That would definitely tie them closer to a war-like nature: they need the resources of their neighbors to do anything more than survive, but their own resources are harder to get at.

The Land of Beasts, Talamh Ainmhí, nature rules. It’s a dense jungle in the more tropical regions, blending to ancient forests to the north. Given the worship of Cernunnos in this area, I can see the locals having built villages that blend in extremely well.

The Land of Magic, Kraj Magia, is very similar to the Land of Light for the time being. Instead of radiant glow to the lay of the land, however, there’s a dark (but glimmering) glow of magic. The land is fairly dry, except in areas where the Chosen and Priests of Weles have used their powers to conjure water for the purposes of producing crops and maintaining potable water supplies.

I imagine this land being situated in on a continent that stretches from it’s planet’s tropical zone in the south to the northern portion of the temperate zone in the north. This would, to my mind, have Kraj Magia covering the northern most areas, spreading to the east. Cwéna Scire touches it and moves toward the western portion down south, while Talamh Codagh is south of the Kraj Magia and west of Cwéna Scire. Both of those largely border Talamh Ainmhí to the south. They all join and border each other in one small stretch land that is the site of the city of Onmiddan. But all of this, excepting the general location of Onmiddan, is subject to change at this point.

Naming a Kingdom

July 24, 2009

Let’s give our kingdom a name. This is actually a rather difficult process, mostly because the possibilties are endless and it can be difficult to get it right.

For this we want something easy to remember. We don’t want a situation where the players can’t remember the name. However, for flavor purposes, I’m going to throw in some “hard” names. I don’t expect the players to actually use them regularly, though if they did that would be amazing.

First, let’s name our Aspects. I’ll give the names first and then go into the layers behind it.

  • Alaea, Lady of Light
  • Macha, Mistress of Battle
  • Cernunnos, Lord of Beasts
  • Weles, Master of Magic

For the purely Divine, we have the Aspect Alaea. Nothing particularly historical behind this name – it’s a kind of Hawaiian Sea Salt, but mostly it’s a name that someone I care for dearly uses frequently. Macha, Aspect of War, is named after a goddess from ancient Ireland. Cernunnos, Aspect of the Primal, shares a similar background with Macha, having been a Celtic God. Weles, Aspect of Magic, takes his name from the Polish form of the name Veles, who was a god of magic (and also music, which is appropriate given that bards are Arcane Leaders). If, after reading this paragraph, Fionavar is on your mind, I wouldn’t blame you. I just got through re-reading it. If it isn’t, I think you have your work cut out for you.

From there we get the names of the lands. Forgive any mangling of languages. They are, respectively:

  • Cwéna Scire
  • Talamh Codagh
  • Talamh Ainmhí
  • Kraj Magia

The first is in Old English, the next two in a form of Gaelic, and the last in Polish. They all are basically a combination of “Land” and some variation on the Aspect’s domain.

For our central capital, and the entire kingdom, I’ve settled on using All-Father and Dagda interchangeably. That leads to me naming the land Dagdaeard and the capitol Onmiddan. Though it doesn’t translate as such, I think the capitol will also go by the name “The God’s Heart” or “The God’s Core”.

Again, we have even more detail now. I think some readers may even have enough to build a full adventure path from!

Let’s start from our basic setup. Four guilds/organizations (they might even be religions) with different methods that originate from 4 different regions.

These are all united in a central city, and ruled over by a some form of governing body.

I’m going to take the idea that these are all religions and run with it: each power source represents a single aspect of the god who’s worshipped in the kingdom.

1000 years ago, maybe more, the people of this continent worshipped 4 separate gods, each one prevailing over a given area. Then a single being who was: man, woman, soldier, priest, wizard, and protector of nature emerged. He spread the word (and was believed, in large part due to the miracle of his personal existence) that each of these deities was but an aspect of the all-father, and that they should join together. Prior to that there had been varying periods of bloodshed and hard peace between what would become the states of a much greater nation.

Now they were to be govern by a ruling council: one councilor for each aspect of the god (generally, high priest of that aspect). A fifth would be elevated from one of the aspect’s priesthoods, to be high priest(ess) of the god himself.

Voilà! We have the beginnings of a past and a government!

Edit: This published about 5 hours early. It’s intended to be tomorrow’s (July 23) post. Enjoy the earliness, but you won’t get an extra post out of it.