Saturday, January 26, 2013


Now that we have the continent sized area more or less resolved, it's time to zoom further down a layer and focus on Kingdoms and Sociology.  Again, since the World Builder's Guide allows you to approach world creations from a couple of different angles, I'm skipping the first chunk.

The first real decision I need to make is "Cultural Archetype."  Not surprising, it's pretty hard for most of us to come up with a really unique and different fantasy culture and unless you already have a really strong idea, you're probably better off just stealing from history.  There's a chart, but this is a no-brainer for me--Dark Ages Europe.

Next is races.  At this point something hits me--I have no idea how big of a Kingdom I wish to focus on.  The WBG tends to divide the available states into Small, Medium, and Large Kingdoms, or an Empire.  I really have no idea what I size I want the Kingdom I'm focusing on to be.  I mean, I can see my "dark ages" community being anything from a tiny duchy to part of a vast, if heavily decentralized realm, similar to Charlemagne's Empire.  So, let's leave it up to a die roll.  I got a 3--so I'll be dealing with a Large Kingdom.

Moving on to races, a Large Kingdom should have 1-3 Primary races and 2-9 Secondary races.  Each primary race makes up 25-50% of the population, with each secondary race being 1-10%.  Now, I haven't really picked where this Kingdom will be, but I know I want it somewhere in the Human dominated North-west peninsula's.  As such, Human will definitely be at least one of the Primary races.  Rolling some dice, I get: 3 Primary and 4 Secondary races.  Hmm, these results somewhat surprised me, as I didn't view this kingdom as being a racial hodgepodge--if anything I thought I'd see more Secondary Races.

Well, let's see where this takes us.  I know Human will be one of the races, as it's the dominant one in the area.  I flip back a few pages and roll on the race tables I used for continent map.  For Primary, I get: Humans and Orcs.  Hmm, that's two Human groups.  Well, ok--one group is descended from the barbarian conquerors, and the other, now serfs, are the natives who have lived here since the days of the Elven Empire, if not before.  The Orcs are apparently the dominant bad guys in the area, based on their numbers.  It also opens the door for Half-Orcs as a PC race--I might even bust out my old Complete Book of Humanoids and allow Orcs as a PC race.

Next, I have 4 Secondary Races to focus on. Again, going back to the race chart, I end up with: Goblin, Human (another group!), Dragon, and Dwarves.

Hey, check it out, Dwarves finally make an appearance in my setting.  My gut says that the Orcs took out their ancient fortresses and drove the Dwarves to the surface.  The Dragon's may or may not be a fully populated Race--one particularly powerful beast may be all that's there.   The Goblins--probably the toadies of the Orcs, though...I might do something slightly different.

I've always liked the idea of Spontaneous Generation--the idea that creatures just develop from the world around them.  I especially like this when it comes to monsters in D&D as I believe that some monsters should just be monsters--evil, vile things that need to be wiped out.  When our heroes bust into a cavern after killing a dozen Orcish warriors and see two dozen women, a dozen kids, and a half dozen grandparents--well, suddenly, our PC's aren't so heroic, are they?  Now, this can be used to add flavor and nuance to the world, and to add elements of morality and politics and the like.  But, I also want there to be just straight up monsters, so I'm going to say now that Orcs dervice from Spontaneous Generation, growing deep in the darkness among the dead where horribly tragedies took place.  Goblins are their immature versions--if they get enough meat and time, they eventually "grow" into Orcs.

I'm not entirely sure what to do with the third group of humans.  If group A are the barbarian conquerors and group B are the conquered peasants, what to do with Group C?  The ancient, original inhabitants, eking out an existence in the fringes?  Decedents of ancient alien explorers, cursed and blessed with psychic powers?  Gypsy like wanderers who can move between the armed baronies?  Highly civilized and cultured folk who have taken refuge in the few remaining cities?  I'm not really sure what to do with them yet...let's see what develops as we progress.

Random Scene Challenges for Vampire

I recently got a copy of the 5th Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. One of its elements that stood out to me was a narrative approach to ...