CHIMERA: World Map

EDIT: reduced the number of city-states from 5 to 4.  In working on a post for the factions, I had close to 200 factions . . . Which was far too many for me just yet.  50-60 factions works better.

Maps of fictional worlds hold a special significance to me.  In my opinion, they give the fictitious world a legitimacy of sorts; they display a land within which the imagination can run wild, and the possibilities for adventures can flourish.  In short, they follow in the footsteps of Tolkien.

When you create a World Map, you aren’t just saying “these are the kingdoms of men, and over here there be monsters”.  No, when you create a map, you’ve also created an undisclosed history.  Even if you never reveal that history, by their very nature, maps imply that other stories, as yet undeveloped by the imagination, can take place.

Here it is folks, the map of Chimera:

 

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The website that I used to create the map: http://mewo2.com/notes/terrain/

Each of the four largest circles in the above map is a City-State. Each of the smaller circles and squares are the towns and largest villages, respectively.
Those towns and villages with the same color as a particular City-State exist within that city’s sphere of influence, and pay tribute to it (in one form or another).  In a happier, more prosperous time, they would probably be grouped together into kingdoms and nations, but such times have long since passed.

Keep in mind, the intended distance between the cities, towns, and villages closest to each other is considerable.  Chimera is meant to be a “points-of-light” setting, where the gatherings of civilization are separated from each other by vast wilderness.

Pyrog and Hylar for instance, are something like 1-2 weeks away from each other.

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CHIMERA, Introduction and Material Structure

It’s official, folks!  Later this month, I’m going to be running my first D&D session for a group of people.  I pray I do well.

My homebrew setting is going to be strongly influenced by Dark Sun.  I love that setting, and I want to share it with other people.

so, without giving away too much information, time to introduce my setting to the world at large.

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A DYING WORLD
Once, the world of Chimera was beautiful and green; water was so plentiful as to be taken for granted.
But that was eons ago. For untold ages, the world has been a near-endless desert of rubble, abrasive sand, and lingering dust. The crumbling ruins of once-glorious cities dot the landscape, their names and histories long since forgotten by the winds of time.
The oceans are gone, having either evaporated altogether or else shrunk down to the size of lakes. The forests are few and far between.
Rain comes only a handful of times each year, and is often little more than a humid mist.

RESOURCES ARE SCARCE
Millennia of senseless squandering, constant warfare, and dark magic have robbed Chimera of things plentiful on other worlds.
Most armor and weaponry are now made from some combination or another of bone, chitin, leather, stone, or wood. Iron is so rare that weapons made from it are considered magic.

THE GODS ARE SILENT
Eons ago, the gods abandoned Chimera, turning their attention to other, more prosperous worlds. With the absence of the truly divine powers, other forces now hold sway, chief among them the elemental spirits of air, earth, fire, and water.

CIVILIZATION IS OPPRESSED
What remains of human civilization is dominated by the great city-states of Aurak, Baaz, Bozak, Ledek, and Sivak.
Sadly, urban life is no less harsh than the wilderness; laws are draconian, slavery widespread, and each city is dominated by a brutal Mage-King (or Queen) of immense power . . .

Charming, huh?

 

MATERIAL STRUCTURE

Chimera is located on the Material Plane (duh), and is the second planet in its solar system.

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SUN – Main Sequence star, slightly smaller than our own sun.  From Chimera, the sun  looks dark red in color.

BASILISK – First planet in system.  Uninhabited.

CHIMERA – Second planet in system.  Inhabited.  An ancient, war-ravaged, and desolate planet abandoned by the gods.  It is orbited by two moons: Scylla and Seps.

ECHINEIS – Third planet in system.  Inhabited.  A much younger and fertile planet than Chimera, and the one to whose inhabitants the gods (and celestials and fiends, etc.) have turned their attention (lucky sods, the lot of ’em).  It is orbited by a single moon roughly equal in size to both of Chimera’s moons.  This moon is known as Ophion.

GELMIR and THURSUS – fourth and fifth planets in system, respectively.  Uninhabited Gas Giants.  Astronomically, Gelmir has four moons which are visible at night through a telescope, while Thursus has only one moon which is visible at night through a telescope.

Far out beyond THURSUS there exists the inner surface of the CRYSTAL SPHERE.  This sphere protects the solar system from the energies of the PHLOGISTON, Which is basically Star Wars Hyperspace/Star Trek Subspace.  What the inhabitants of both CHIMERA and ECHINEIS perceive as stars are actually imperfections on the inner surface of the crystal sphere that refract the light of the phlogiston.

The crystal sphere that contains Chimera within itself is not alone in the phlogiston.  Other crystal spheres exist, the most prominent of which are the ones containing the worlds of Toril (Forgotten Realms), Krynn (Dragonlance), Oerth (Greyhawk), Eberron, etc.

BREAKING NEWS

The biggest problem with working on a homebrew D&D setting is that I disappear from this blog for a long time.

this saddens me.  No, I’m not suggesting that this a high-quality or even popular blog.

it isn’t.

but it is my blog, so long stretches without posting on it make me sad.

BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT.

According to Comicbook.com, WOTC will be releasing two new products this summer, both serving as an introduction to a different D&D setting outside of the Forgotten Realms!

According to a survey report that WOTC did recently, Forgotten Realms is the most popular of their settings, with Planescape, Eberron, Ravenloft, and Dark Sun, all equivalent to each other in second place, with Dragonlance, Spelljammer, and Greyhawk all sitting comfortably in third.

And then you have this, which popped up recently, and which some people (myself included) think represents the new “map of settings”.

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MY OPINION:

Top Left (first) — someone on EN World speculated that this glyph is meant to represent the tears of Selune,  the Moon-Goddess of the Forgotten Realms.

Top Right (second) — With the Curse of Strahd adventure, Ravenloft became the second campaign setting officially supported by D&D 5e.

Center Right (third) — Eberron.  This glyph looks similar to part of the old 3.5 Eberron logo.

Lower Right (fourth) — tricky.  Most likely Greyhawk.

Bottom (fifth) — Dark Sun.  Seriously, of all the glyphs, this one is an almost perfect resemblance to the old Dark Sun logo.

Lower Left (sixth) — Dragonlance.  It looks like a flag attached to a spear to me, which would be thematically appropriate for Dragonlance.

Center Left (seventh) — Mystara.  See those two openings breaking what might have otherwise been a circle, and the smaller circle inside it?  The Mystara setting takes place on (and inside of) a hollow world.

Center (last) — Planescape or Spelljammer.  With regards to the different planes of existence, Planescape is supposed to be at the center of the cosmos, while the idea of Spelljammer was that you could actually get in a sailboat and fly from one material plane to the other (Forgotten Realms to Greyhawk, etc.)

Quasi-Spelljammer

My dad has been DMing for our new D&D group. Recently however, he has expressed a desire to play again.
Which means I’ll probably be DMing for a group in a few months.

As much as I enjoy running a Dark Sun-style game for my dad, I realize that won’t work for this group of players. I need something more . . . Vanilla.
At the same time, I didn’t want it to be just another standard Tolkienesque fantasy.

And then it hit me: Science Fantasy.

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Guardians of the Galaxy + Star Wars + Star Trek + Moana + Lord of the Rings.

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Space is an Ocean, one you can sail across in a rowboat.

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Every planet is an island.

I’m gonna call it THE ASTRAL SEA OF ECHINEIS

As far as the overall space-map is concerned, I picture something like a disc, with the idea being that the closer you are to the center, the higher the overall gravity and radiation levels.

For simplicity, the galactic structure of Echineis is divided into four regions: the Core, the Ring, the Void, and the Boundary.

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THE BOUNDARY
The Astral Sea of Echineis isn’t infinite like our own universe. Travel far enough in any given direction, and you will eventually encounter the Boundary.

Exactly what will happen if you successfully navigate the boundary is anyone’s guess.  Some believe you will cross over into a parallel universe, while others believe you will fall out of the Astral Sea and into the Ethereal Plane.

 

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THE VOID
Encircled by the Boundary (and itself encircling the Outer Ring) is the Void.
Think of the Void as something like the open ocean.

There are only a handful of solar systems out here. Each one has only a single planet.
For all intents and purposes they are solitary islands of light in the darkness, separated from each other by vast stretches of apparent nothingness.

 

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THE RING
Encircled by the Void (and itself encircling the Core) is the Ring.
If the Void were the open ocean, the Ring would be a veritable archipelago of planets and stars.

The Ring is where most of the action will take place.

 

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THE CORE
And finally, at the very center of the Astral Sea, you have the Core. Dominated by the supermassive black hole at its center, the Core is full to bursting with deadly radiation, spatial anomalies, dragons, and more.

Confirmation

I’d love to say that I was shocked by the comments recently made by Donald Trump towards Haiti and the continent of Africa.

But I wasn’t.

Outraged, like so many other people?  Yes.

But not shocked.  2017 taught me a few things, the most important of which was that the current president of the United States of America is a racist.

Seriously, why else would he refer to non-Caucasian countries with such hatred and disdain, while treating predominately Caucasian countries with rather better behavior?

Slightly off-topic, but nevertheless relevant, why would someone from Norway want to immigrate to America?  The murder rate in Norway is something like 1 a year, they have a healthcare system far superior to our own, and their educational system makes ours look like a sick joke.

gods of the 8th world

My D&D homebrew setting is called the 8th World.
So, just for fun and to give it some kind of countdown aspect, I decided that there would be 7 gods:

Chema, Goddess of Disease
Jahl, God of Courage
Misla, Goddess of Mercy
Palad, God of Light
Reio, God of Creation
Sargis, God of Violence
Zeboa, Goddess of Nature

These are the only gods in the 8th world, and their place is fixed. They cannot be overthrown or destroyed.

Most importantly, all of these deities possess (in their own way) both positive and negative aspects.
Which, frankly, is more true to real-world polytheism, when compared with the “divine alignment schism” often seen in fantasy.

Take Chema for example.
Every symptom of every illness inflicted upon mortal creatures is from Chema, but similarly, those who recover are thought blessed by her.
In any other settings, she would be an evil goddess of disease, and would almost certainly be opposed by a god or goddess of healing.

But this viewpoint of her being evil is wrong. Chema isn’t evil, any more than she is good or even “neutral”.
To a certain extent, Chema IS sickness. Sickness and physical debilitation.
To the dwarves, she is a “cruel trickster” of sorts, existing for no other purpose than to remind mortal life that no matter how powerful they are, they are not invincible.

Most often, clerics of Chema are those afflicted with incurable diseases, but who possess a degree of emotional and spiritual maturity rarely seen in other, healthier individuals.
Their reward for such wisdom is Chema easing their suffering (but not removing their disease) and granting them the ability to cast divine magic.

Playable Races, Drow

The elves of the 8th World are divided into three Peoples: the Drow (dark elves), the Eladrin (true elves), and the Malenti (sea elves).

The dark elves that live in GELMIR are different from the standard dark elves in the Player’s Handbook, just as they differ from the dark elves of CHIMERA and ECHINEIS.
For one thing, they don’t live underground.
Instead, they prefer an above ground, arboreal existence (similar to the Vulkoori tribe of drow in the Eberron D&D setting).

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HISTORY AND ECOLOGY
The history of the drow is a source of pride to them.
Soon after the elven people crossed over into Gelmir, the Giants came against them.
While the Eladrin and Malenti were conquered and enslaved, the Drow were able to remain independent and preserve the traditions of their ancient culture.

When the current ice age swept across Gelmir, the drow retreated not into the Underworld, but into hidden valleys deep within the forests of the world.
These valleys—which the dark elves now call home—are long, deep, and relatively narrow chasms, with people living in the gaps between the cliff walls.

Imagine that someone drained the Mississippi River system, dredged out the river bed to make it even deeper, sprinkled pools of molten lava on the floor every two miles or so, covered the whole thing in banyan grove trees with a canopy so thick that it acts like a blanket (insulating the interior of the forest), and then covered the rest of North America in snow and ice.

By concentrating their population into these “rivers” of fog, vegetation, and heat, the drow have survived.
Caves and tunnels dot the sides of the canyons, many of which lead down into the Underworld.
In this way, different tribes of dark elves across the world are able to intermingle with each other, and also remain in contact with those humanoid races forced to flee underground.

SAMPLE TRIBES
Drow tribes are typically named after forest dwelling animals. The monkey, the spider, and so forth.

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The Monkey drow would be the barbarians of the elves.
They are chaotically-inclined, delight in plunder and pillage, and are definitely not cultured by the standards of “High Society”.
They ride girallons into battle, and believe the yetis to be the Elder Race.
Venerating the monkey . . . Well, let’s just say that when you get a group of them together, they’re gonna throw a party, they’re gonna make a mess, and (if you’re lucky) the whole affair will end in a glorious food fight where literally anything can be used as a missile.

 

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The Spider drow would be your standard D&D dark elves, only above ground.
Most of them are evil, due to their society falling to the worship of demons, but a few of them are decent and kind-hearted folks.
The nobility of the tribe are all Driders (half-spider monsters somewhat similar to centaurs), so the noble background is not permitted for adventurers belonging to this tribe.
They employ ettercaps as guard dogs, and use phase spiders in place of war horses.
Venerating the spider, they are reknowned for their skill with the fishing net as a weapon.

 

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The Toad drow are a decidedly unusual, possibly whimsical, variety.
They employ Bullywugs as dimwitted (but very loyal) servants, bodyguards, and foot soldiers.
They use froghemoths as war elephants and banderhobs as cavalry. It’s both humorous and terrifying.
Venerating the toad, they put a lot of emphasis on throat-singing during their religious ceremonies . . . much to the great annoyance of their neighbors.

SUB-RACIAL TRAITS
After reviewing the rules on thrown weapons in 5e, I’ve changed the drow from Strength to Constitution.
Not being a melee weapon, you can use your Dexterity modifier on attack rolls using a net.

Ability Score Improvement. Your Constitution score increases by 1.
Drow Weapon Training. You have proficiency with the rapier, net, scimitar, and shortbow.
Additionally, when you equip yourself with a net, the normal range for you becomes 15 feet, and the long range becomes 30 feet.
Mask of the Wild. You can attempt to hide even when you are only lightly obscured by the surrounding environment.
Extra Language. You know one extra language of your choice. The most commonly taken extra languages are Bullywug, Undercommon, or Yeti.

 

My Setting. The 8th World, do-over

Due to life getting in the way of things, I haven’t been able to be part of our regular D&D group.

It sucks, by the way, not being able to play with them anymore.

So, with no other option available, I’ve started DMing for my dad.
I created a world, factions, NPCs, a players handout, even a history of sorts, and we are now five sessions into my homebrew setting.

I’ve decided to share some information about it.
No spoilers for my current campaign though, dad doesn’t like them.

THE COSMOS
There are eight planes of existence.
First is the Abyss, realm of the vanquished Titans.
Second is the Overheaven, realm of the victorious Gods.
Third is the Ethereal Plane, the Worlds Tree.
Fourth is the Elemental Chaos, the substance between Ether and the Abyss.
Fifth is the Astral Sea, the fluid between Ether and Heaven.
Sixth, nestled on the first branch of Ether, is the Shadowfell.
Seventh, nestled on the opposite branch of Ether, is the Feywild.
Eighth is the Material Plane, standing between Shadow and Fey.

THE MATERIAL PLANE
Unlike the other planes of existence, the Material Plane is not a singular reality.
There are multiple variations of it. Parallel universes, even.
The two most well-known parallel universes are CHIMERA and GELMIR.

 

imageChimera is a desolate, god-forsaken landscape ravaged by sorcery.
The oceans have either evaporated altogether, or else shrunk down to the size of lakes.
Civilization still stands, but the great cities suffer under tyrannical Mage-Kings.
It’s basically Dark Sun.

 

 

image Gelmir on the other hand, is about two hundred years into a brutal, one thousand-year ice age.
In order to survive, civilization has fled into the Underworld.  Only the bravest, or foolish, or most experienced adventurers emerge from underground to explore the surface.

Crisis on Earth-X

A long time ago, back when the Flash was in production, I was a member of a Comic Book web forum, where I announced that it would be amazing if the CW managed to . . .

  1.  Do a CG Gorilla Grodd
  2. Create more DC Superhero shows
  3. Recreate the Justice Society for the Arrowverse, seeing as how Smallville did a fantastic two-parter featuring the Justice Society back in its 9th season.
  4. Somehow pull off a good old-fashion Crisis Crossover (Crisis on Earth-2, Crisis on Earth-3, etc.)

My posted thoughts were met with some uncertainty.

No one else on the forum believed that the CW would ever attempt Gorilla Grodd.  Spoilers: we’ve had Grodd since season 1, and he’s awesome.

Everyone was sceptical that we would see more shows set in the Arrowverse.  Spoilers: we do.  Legends of Tomorrow is particularly enjoyable.

Everyone wanted to see the Justice Society, but they wanted to see them back in the 1940s, and had no idea how the CW was going to make that happen.  Spoilers: Time Travel.  We got to see the Justice Society back in their glory days of the 1940s.

It being the Flash and all, everyone was hopeful that we would see Jay Garrick . . . But no one was giving any thought to seeing a Crisis on Earth-so-and-so.  One guy even posted that I was better off forgetting about this one.

Spoilers: I have been proven right on all my hopes for the Arrowverse.

We have Grodd, we have Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, we’ve had the Justice Society in the 40s, and we’ve had a Crisis on Earth-3-type storyline in the form of The Flash Season 2, and we’ve even had a Justice League-esque event in the form of last years CW’s Dominator Invasion.

which makes Crisis on Earth-X the THIRD TIME we’ve had a good, old-fashioned Crisis Crossover.

SUCK ON THAT DOUBTERS!  GUESS WHAT?  MY FORUM POST LISTING MY HOPES AND DREAMS FOR THE CW’S FLASH TV SHOW FIVE YEARS AGO WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!!!

Some pictures I found

In my wanderings of the internet, looking for fantasy art pictures to help me develop my own D&D campaign setting, I have encountered many an excellent piece of artwork.

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^A Cleric, Druid, and Wizard verses a Warlock.

 

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^High-level adventurers at the end of a successful campaign.  The barbarian still hasn’t forgiven the elderly wizard for embarrassing him on their very first dungeon crawl.

 

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^With Dragons, it’s easier (and far less destructive) to ask for permission than forgiveness.

 

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^Halfling Fighter with Sage (Teacher) background.  “Remember class; those who fail to remember history–” *wham!*, *thud!*, “–are condemned to repeat it.”