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D&D 3E
Introduction -- Game World Overview -- Four Worlds Campaign Series 
24th-Sep-2004 10:40 pm
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Hey again. I said I'd put up some stuff, so here we go. I should say that this is only the beginning, since putting up everything I've come up with all at once would be far too daunting a task. This first post is just to get readers familiarized with the game world as I've set it up. Well, that, and to offer this very broad summary of what the series is about:

"Four Worlds" refers to the four main realms of the game world in which each campaign takes place. They are (in chronological order): Seraphaeon, Tyrracore, Delfaer, and a fourth realm that I haven't named yet. As you'll shortly see, only the middle two have been fleshed out, since those are the only two that are currently being played. The main story being told throughout the series is the creation of the D&D pantheon. As my campaigns got underway, I shortly realized that the gods were becoming major players in my storylines. After borrowing a friend's Deities & Demigods book, I was surprised to find out that there was very little information about the origins of any of the gods. "Origins?" you might ask. Yeah, that's kind of the premise of the whole series: gods were not there at the beginning of creation, and many gods were, in fact, mortals at one point. I'll probably talk more about world creation when I post about the (currently unrealized) Seraphaeon campaign.

But now, on to the world map! Still interested? Then take a look by clicking on this thumbnail....



....and follow me on into the cut ...

The first thing you'll probably notice is that the world is very circular. More accurately, it's spherical ... kind of like our own little planet, but instead of the land being on the outside of the sphere, the land sits on the inside. I've tried to sketch a representation of this in the upper left. The terrain continues up along the edges on the world until it becomes practically vertical and meets with the sky, which continues overhead in a great big hemisphere. The sun and moon are actual discs (not spheres) that circle just outside the perimeter of the world sphere, rising overhead, and disappearing beneath the ground where they travel beneath the world back to the other side.

The figure in the bottom left attempts to give you some idea of the overall size of the world. Yep, you're reading it right. The extent of the sphere isn't much larger than the fine state of California, about 1000 miles. Theoretically, an adventurer could cross the world on foot in about 50 days. The exposition of major game world locations below is meant to begin the process of establishing why that simply isn't feasible (geopolitical boundaries, among other things).

I'll go over each location in the order listed.

Seraphaeon (realm)
The western realm. It wasn't always just a bunch of islands. More on that later.
Prominent races: Halflings, Gnomes, Goblins, Dwarves

Tyrracore (realm)
The southern realm. In the forests here is where humans really began to flourish (we're talking geological time scales, here). Also, magic becomes more common the further east you go. Bounded by the wastes to the west, the dangerous wilderness to the east, and the perilous seas to the north, Tyrracore was the extent of the known world for many races over quite a long period of world history.
Prominent races: Humans, Dwarves, Centaurs

Delfaer (realm)
The eastern realm. At its peak, an area of high magic and exquisite engines of war. An historical war to the south made travel outside the region inadvisable, as sea travel out to the west was still as treacherous as ever. Probably the realm that had the highest number of visits from deities.
Prominent races: Elves, Orcs, Kobolds

??? (realm)
The northern realm. ...... yep, that's about all I know so far. As the last campaign in the series, you can bet that something really cool and cosmologically important happens as part of its endgame.

Toreleis (human nation)
When you think of the traditional fantasy kingdom, think of Toreleis (... or maybe that should be the other way round). Most of the monarchical nation consists of fertile countryside manors, speckled with keeps and trade routes. It is said that the country was forged under the leadership of St. Cuthbert himself, and the sentiment among the commoners is that Toreleis represents the most advanced nation in Tyrracore. Traditional foot soldiers and cavalry round out the standing army, though the use of magic increases throughout the nation's history as the humans start to learn wizardry from their neighbor elves. Most Toreleian locations derive their names from historical figures. The nation capital is Tor'balain. The dwarven realms of Medriln and Moradin lie beneath Toreleis.

Auralia (human nation)
When you think of the traditional elven kingdom, think of Auralia. What's that, you say? Auralia is a human nation? Right you are. Auralia has the humble distinction of being the cradle of humanity. Though quite a few steps above barbarism, the country is heavily wooded, and its people stay closely tied to the land. Only border locations are heavily fortified (especially on the west, bordering the wastes), and most establishments are well-integrated into the woodland ecosystem. The most common class is ranger, though the military system actually breaks this down into subclasses, each with its own specialty. The rare Goldcloth Rangers are the country's only native source of magic. At its northern boundary, fishing is a booming business, and the Auralian navy is unrivalled. As visibility can be very poor on the sea and in the woods, the primary means of long distance communication for Auralians is the bell tower; there is, in fact, an Auralian musical language for communicating with bells. There are no dwarvenholts beneath Auralia, as the native people are slightly suspicious of anyone who's never fought alongside them (the gnomes and Toreleians are a few notable exceptions). Most Auralian locations derive their name from some literal meaning about the local surroundings. The nation capital is Aeorwood.

The Twilight Wastes (goblin region)
The infamous wastes have played host to a wide variety of evil creatures that have been shunned away from the more civilized regions of Seraphaeon and Tyrracore. Though desolate, goblins have flourished here and are often driven by scheming leaders to wreak havoc on their sworn enemies, the gnomes. For this reason, the gnomes assisted the Auralians in constructing an amazingly long stretch of wall that protects the woodlands from the savage races of the wastes.

The Land of Dawn (elven nation)
The sprawling wetlands of Tyrracore plays host to the equally sprawling settlements of elves. Known for their exquisite artistry and keen science, the elves of the eastern marshes have kept an isolationist stance with respect to the rest of Tyrracore. Half-elves are thusly uncommon, and especially disrespected within the Land of Dawn. Elven society takes shelter within the enormous Dawnroots that snake through the wetlands in massive coils. Their magical homes form one side of a symbiosis with the roots. The nation capital is Inanoé.

The Terran Realm (dwarven region)
Nestled into the towering mountains to the south, this region plays host to a wide variety of creatures and could be thought of as a microcosmic world in itself. Skirmishes between barbarian encampments and troglodytes occur frequently, all the while dwarves pervade the underground, harvesting the rich mineral deposits of the area. Only the trade city of Berdion offers a safe haven for visitors from the northern regions. The dwarven realm of Minlin lies beneath the Terran Realm.

The Deadlands (orcish nation)
Of course, that's only humanity's name for it. Said to have been carved into gnarled spikes by big Mr. One-Eye himself, the Deadlands are the home and origin of all things orc. These expansionist baddies keep their neighbors vigilant with persistant, if uncoordinated, attacks, which usually are driven back by the compulsory set of do-gooders (PCs and the like). Most often, the orcs get used as a tool for a more abstract, even godly battle, with the Deadlands often acting as the battlefield. Beneath the Deadlands lies the realm of Yuan-Ti.

Merridor Island (neutral region)
Often thought of by humans and dwarves as a faroff wilderness, this island is far from it. Inhabited by a good number of magical creatures, including dragons, gnomes, and kobolds, Merridor has also come to be a great studying place for adventuring mages. Unfortunately, it's also a convenient throughfare for orcs on their way to make war with the northern elves ... or vice versa.

Willowdyne Woods (elven region)
Your standard evergreen spread. These woods serve as the western gateway to the elven nations of Delfaer, and are guarded by the tenacious Willowdyne Clan of druids. Groves intersperse the forest, offering respites for weary travellers, though a crossed Willowdyne druid could end up being just as dangerous as the local wildlife.

Shadowrock (elven nation)
The domain of Corellon Larethian, and his promised land for his people. The Vale of Shadowrock is an immense elven city at the heart of the forested country, of the elven race, and of magic users the world over. Led by Larethian's sole disciple, the queen, the nation of Shadowrock is matriarchal, with elven men often devoting their entire lives to the study of magic, while elven women become paladins and fighters, making up the bulk of the elven defense. The sparse ranger circles scout the perimeter of the forest, often making contact with druid clans on either side of the nation. The nation capital is the Vale of Shadowrock.

Cedarbane (elven region)
The forest of Cedarbane is the home of an evil druid clan of the same name. Forging an unholy alliance with gnolls, these elves are led by devils, and the Cedarbane nobility is defined by those who sport a devil bloodline. Secretly a proxy to the grey elves of the northeastern mountains, these druids are often found in odd places, running devious errands around Delfaer. Those born in the clan are put through a rather primal birthing ceremony, which is in part magical, and thus all Cedarbane elves have a metallic tint to their eyes.

Ilmire (human nation)
The compact nation of Ilmire is known throughout Delfaer as an eclectic mix of tradition kingdom, dwarven architecture, and elven magic. Its political integrity, though historically shaky, is highly polarized towards good, and a great following of Heironeous resides there. Ilmire is not a strict monarchy, and noble families in the city are perpetually intertwined in a complex, sometimes stomach-turning political dance that ultimately does a great job of preserving the civil freedom of Ilmireans. Often attacked by orcs, and just as often celebrating victory, the country seems to be held together steadfast by pride and national spirit. The nation capital is Sironesis.

Etherholt (dwarven nation)
Built into the towering peaks of southeastern Delfaer, the Etherholt dwarves like to keep this bastion of engineering elitism open to any paying customer. The outlying stations often serve as camps for both the dwarves and humans, as they have historically coordinated the defense against the Deadland orcs. While not as xenophobic as dwarves usually are, the citizens of Etherholt are plenty proud of their heritage and wouldn't necessarily ask for help from a non-dwarf even if their life depended on it.

Ganron Sea (underwater region)
The black waters of the Ganron are seldom traversed, for beneath its choppy surface lay a morass of underwater civilization. Kuo-toas, locathahs, and merfolk are just a sampling of the vast array of undersea nations that remain largely unseen by those on the surface. A kraken attack or two, however, is all that is needed to remind a topside captain to steer clear of the deeper waters.

The Lesk (neutral region)
Essentially an enormous step hanging onto the side of the world's eastern edge, the Lesk is an arid but temperate desert, hosting only the most resilient of creatures. It's rumored to be a favorite hangout of brass and blue dragons.

Towers of the Sun (elven region)
These towering mountains house the reclusive grey elves, masters of the art of darker magics. While necromancy never seemed to catch on with the more barbaric evil species, these elves have challenged the borders between life and death. Their constructs are amazingly lifelike, yet for all their power, they have not felt a great need to exercise it and become more dominant players in Delfaer. Some grey elves may descend the great stairways to join the Cedarbane druids, if any crazy escapades should occur there, but for the most part, the Towers of the Sun are looked on as nothing more than majestic peaks standing high above the hazy outlands.




Okay. That's all for now ... as if it wasn't enough. -__-;

Sooo, join me next time, when I'll be giving you non-existant details about the Seraphaeon campaign and related history!

.... if anyone's still interested by then. ::cough::

~Dev
Comments 
25th-Sep-2004 02:50 am (UTC)
*cough*

*cough*

Promising start. You leave a lot of possibility. Thats good.
27th-Sep-2004 02:06 pm (UTC)
I have a question. Did you draw the main map by hand (or mouse) or did you use some sort of map program to assist? I am asking because I am looking around for a good mapping program.
27th-Sep-2004 02:47 pm (UTC)
It was done by hand, scanned, and then edited quite a bit in Photoshop. Didn't take all that long, so if you have any dire need that wouldn't be too much work, I'd be happy to help you out if and when I get the free time.
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