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  1. - Top - End - #661
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Wow, it's been a week since I've posted.

    Two things:

    One, centaurs. We've got some big open plains in Soleh. They could mesh - or conflict - with the Piloti nomads there.

    Two, drugs. Remember that plot arc with the denner resin and the dragon-thing in Name of the Wind? Let's see what we can do with that. I challenge all readers and contributors to come up with one fictional narcotic. That means what the material is, method of dosing, plant/animal/whatever of origin, addictive qualities and effects, and whatever else seems appropriate.
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  2. - Top - End - #662
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    I am posting this idea with little to no understanding of Goliath culture.

    Spirit Vine is a sacred plant of the Goliath people. They use it in a variety of ways, and with a variety of results. Their shamans dry the vine and burn its leaves, which allows them to commune with their nature gods. Hunters and raiders from the various tribes grind the pulp of the vine and combine it with spring water to create a powerful brew. It is said that every living thing is rimmed with colorful light after the concoction sets in, and it gives them the fighting spirit of their greatest warriors.

    This plant (and news of its properties) has reached the people of Patria, though it has not been well-received. Religious groups consider its consumption to be a pagan ritual worthy of damnation, and political figures across the whole of the realm see it as a barbaric indulgence that weakens of the mind and poisons the blood.

    Those few in Patria who have managed to work with the vine have discovered amazing things, though nothing so powerful (or useful) as the Goliaths have devised, if rumors are true. No, the only effects the folk of Patria have produced are dreamlike states when once sees dancing colors and other fanciful things. It is considered to be no better than a drug without a greater understanding of the methods of the Goliaths. Those who have tried it consider it to be a powerful experience, but it is an entirely mental experience, and does nothing to encourage the people of Patria towards thrift and honest labor.

    Repeated use of Spirit Vine can cause a dependency in its users, and abstaining from the drug causes intense mental pain for weeks afterward.
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  3. - Top - End - #663
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Perfect! I like it. It fits with the Goliaths pretty well, too.

    What are your thoughts on centaurs?
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  4. - Top - End - #664
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyntonian View Post
    What are your thoughts on centaurs?
    I don't know anything about the Piloti you are thinking of matching them up with, but in general I'm not the biggest fan of Centaurs. That said, your world seems to be pretty diverse, and plains would suit the centaurs well, so it seems like a logical decision.
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  5. - Top - End - #665
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Well, the Piloti are a group of nomadic herders and hunters in the rolling hills to the West of the cultivated edge of Soleh, but still within its borders. They are culturally distinct from the Solerians, and may have their own religion. I haven't decided. We've got two ancestor-worshippers, two monotheologies... A pantheon seems like a lot of work for such a small group.

    In the past generation or so, they have been receiving missionaries, doctors and teachers from the Church of Soleh. In return, they have been sending warriors to fight alongside the Solerian armies as some of the best light mobile cavalry and scouts Patria has to offer. They also guard the southern border of Soleh from escaping Torei, the west from Goliath raids and the north from the Vallheim.

    I feel like having either some competition for resources or a symbiotic alliance with a slightly more mysterious group like the centaurs would be a nice touch, but I can't decide which way it should go.

    Goliaths are coming up next, then Solerians after that, then Runes. The map, too, is on the list.
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  6. - Top - End - #666
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyntonian View Post
    The map, too, is on the list.
    I predict a map will appear in this thread... before Friday!
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  7. - Top - End - #667
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    Guess who's good at avatars? Thormag. That's who.

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  8. - Top - End - #668
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Well, have the Piloti believe in Father Earth and Mother Sky, then, with the ocean being foreign and evil to the plainsdwellers. Tadah, (small) pantheon made!

  9. - Top - End - #669
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    WOOOOO!!!

    I like dualistic pantheons, and I don't have hardly enough.
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  10. - Top - End - #670
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Would it be too terribly stereotypical to make the centaurs somewhat-kinda Native American influences? I've studied the history of the high plains tribes, Lakota/Sioux (Black Elk Speaks is about the best book ever), Shawnee, Arapahoe, etc., and I feel like I could do an ok job with it.

    What are your thoughts on that?
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  11. - Top - End - #671
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    I feel like I should do something for the other races as well as just Goliaths...

    Appearance - Much as in Races of Stone, Goliaths range from 6.5-8.5 feet talll, and weigh 250-350 pounds. Their skin is grey-tinted, ranging from a chalky off-white to an earth brown. They do not grow hair on their bodies or heads.

    At about ten years of age they develop small hardened patches of thick skin on their chest, joints and other important areas. Many important arteries, tendons and organs are covered by these lithoderms (Fluff for their +1 nat ac).

    Shortly after birth, Goliaths are covered in tattoos, the meaning and process of which are explained later. Adult Goliaths are covered in patterns of black on their grey skin, with their chest as a sort of personal, focal point of their markings with great significance.

    Language - Goliaths speak Gol-Kaa, which for our purposes sounds similar to Maori. It is rather hard for others to learn without the proper size and length of the vocal chords that Goliaths have.

    Out of time, so I'll post more later.
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  12. - Top - End - #672
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Geographically, the Goliaths live in the Elder Mountains to the West of the Nations, and in the mountains that form the border between Sunshan and the Dotze Affariata.* The terrain there is mostly pine forest, similar to the Cascade Range in the US, though not quite so high.

    They live in large, semisubterranean longhouses during the harsh winters in the north, while the more mild southern winters warrant only sturdy log cabins. Each winter village ranges from thirty to a hundred people. They are generally built into hillsides, to give some shelter from the rain and wind.

    For defense of these villages from humans, other tribes and animals, and to fence in their livestock, a circle of upright trees is connected with a palisade of smaller trunks, woven with vines and saplings. This gives some camoflage to the wall as well, at lease from a distance.

    During the summer, the tribes generally travel around the Elder Mountains. Every ten years they convene to intermarry, share stories and hail new tribe chieftains, as well as perform religious rites.

    Goliath males are required to kill an animal of some description without a ranged weapon to become a man and a full member of the tribe. Those that kill more impressive or dangerous animals, like bears, wolves, mountain lions, or dangerous magical beasts gain status over those that hunt elk or other creatures. Those that do so unarmed gain even more status.

    Goliaths do have a complex, semipictoral written language, that is generally used in art or religious inscriptions. For messages, however, they use complex, intricate braids, each colored strand of which says a different meaning. These braids can be used to convey messages over long distances by bird, or be left as warnings or signs.

    Their artwork favors animalistic and natural topics. They affix fearsome masks to the outer walls of their winter villages to ward of evil spirits. (Note that in this setting, and as close as they are to the Fogbound River, which is the Veil between the mortal realm and what lies beyond, this is more than just superstition)

    Goliaths have long warred with gnomes over the southern parts of the Elder Mountains, and due to human intervention and slave gathering in the Dotze Affariata's territory, are winning.

    Goliath warriors gain immense status from attacking human settlements. They generally carry massive yew longbows, generally with a draw of over 150 lbs (most human war bows are 60-80), slings, throwing spears, handaxes and long, two-edged swords.

    There is little iron or coal in the Elder Mountains, so most metalwork the goliaths use is made of bronze. (I plan to waive the mechanical penalties)

    Much of goliath religious belief is related to spirits and the possession of people by them. Their religious leader may be mages, mageborn, totemists or binders. When they defeat a warrior in battle, they trepann the skull to let the spirit escape. They do not, however, consider humans to have spirits in the same sense. The exception to this is spellcasters. In the goliath worldview, the only truly magical spirits are those of the Goliath people, or of other spirits. Therefore, they trepann human casters to let these spirits out, not out of regard for the "nonexistent" human spirit.

    Oh, and trepanning is drilling a hole in the top of the skull. They do this to their shamans during their lives, too, to allow their spirits to enter and leave them more freely.

    *We'll have a map shortly, Zap's doing a wonderful job with it so far.
    Last edited by Wyntonian; 2012-04-30 at 04:07 PM.
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  13. - Top - End - #673
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    That was fun. Solerian military coming up next, then more runes.
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  14. - Top - End - #674
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    I'll be honest, I'm not entirely happy with the Solerian religion at the moment. For something so powerful, so monolithic, so... institutionalized it seems pretty sparse.

    As it is, we have the stars as demons, just so we can have some conflict with the Vallheimers who believe them to be manifestations of the souls of their ancestors.

    Now, conflict is good. So far, nothing wrong with this.

    Then, I had another idea. What if the stars weren't demons, but angels? Instead of the tiny lights who are scared off each day by the Sun's light, what if they were Saints? People, who through their great faith in Tuhan, were granted the honor of being the sentinels that protected us all in Tuhan's absence?

    But then... how dare those Northerners? Not only do they refuse the divinity of our Lord Tuhan Sky-Father, but they claim his Sentinels, those Who Stand Against the Great Dark, are nothing more than simple warriors!

    Also, it lets each Solerian character have a patron Sentinel.

    Note that the Sentinels are definitely not a reflection of saints. That would violate the boards policy on real-world religions, and I wouldn't want to do that.
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  15. - Top - End - #675
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    To be honest, I think that would be a lot less effective at bringing in conflict. If you have the church saying that the stars are demons, you have a direct insult towards the Vaihalain angels (I know they aren't actually angels, but it's close enough), whereas you have the church claiming that star is just a different person. Less of an insult, more of a argument about who is the star in the sky after all.

  16. - Top - End - #676
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldest View Post
    To be honest, I think that would be a lot less effective at bringing in conflict. If you have the church saying that the stars are demons, you have a direct insult towards the Vaihalain angels (I know they aren't actually angels, but it's close enough), whereas you have the church claiming that star is just a different person. Less of an insult, more of a argument about who is the star in the sky after all.
    Agreed. In the latter case, the two cultures would probably only have a simmering rivalry. In the former, you've got the making's of an endless feud.
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  17. - Top - End - #677
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Agreed. In the latter case, the two cultures would probably only have a simmering rivalry. In the former, you've got the making's of an endless feud.
    So the question becomes, do I sacrifice something pretty dang cool for a facet of an endless feud?

    Note that Soleh needs only boredom and a word sent to the local priests to get an entire nation stirred up for war. Also, there's the whole god thing. Like, Tuhan Sky-Father gives our kind divine right, and you reject that? And you pray to your ancestors?! And..... Nature spirits? What the hell do you mean, the small gods? The one and only god is Tuhan! And there's no wight in your field, it's just a pile of dirt! And how dare you compare a holy Sentinel to your Gramgram!

    So, yes, having the Ancestors be demons in the Solerian mythos would add some controversy, and it's pretty obvious, but I can always add that in elsewhere.

    Also, this way I can add factions to the Solerian church. Those that follow the stars, and those that watch the sun.
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  18. - Top - End - #678
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Welll, have the Solehians tried crusades before? Because trust me, just one of those things give enough animosity for a lasting resentment. Maybe have the land inbetween the two nations having changed hands so many times, with each nation now having a great claim to the land. They both say they had the land first, which is a problem since the original border is right in the middle of the land. Then the Valheimers think that the Solehians started a war over religion, while the Solehians think the Valheimers launched a raid once and managed to take the land. Throw in some divine inspiration from both sides, with the gods and wraiths saying that you should take back the land, and some rare reasources in the area, and you have a lasting hatred.

  19. - Top - End - #679
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    That sounds good. I'll hash out the details later.

    Also, I could make a difference about how they view the night sky. The Vallheimers could see it as a sleeping mother figure goddess sort of thing, calm silent, contemplative, holding the spirits of our honored dead, whereas the Solerians see it as terror from beyond, held back only by the Mask of Tuhan during the day, and the efforts of the Sentinels by night.
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  20. - Top - End - #680
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Here's a question.

    Do you think I ought to change the Solerian language from being based on Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian, etc., to being more western European. Less "Strażnicy" and "războinic" and more "archbishop" and "sentinel".

    I think that would serve to make the world more accessible, when you're not having to mentally translate something from a linguistic tradition you're utterly unfamiliar with.

    Plus, "Sentinel" sounds a little better to a Western ear than "războinic".
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  21. - Top - End - #681
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    I know I'd appreciate it. I only speak english et francais.

  22. - Top - End - #682
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyntonian View Post
    Here's a question.

    Do you think I ought to change the Solerian language from being based on Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian, etc., to being more western European. Less "Strażnicy" and "războinic" and more "archbishop" and "sentinel".

    I think that would serve to make the world more accessible, when you're not having to mentally translate something from a linguistic tradition you're utterly unfamiliar with.

    Plus, "Sentinel" sounds a little better to a Western ear than "războinic".
    For my money, I think there's a continuum of accessibility vs. authenticity. At the end of the day, you're creating this world to share it with others, and adding interesting words can make the world all that much more appealing, but it's definitely possible to go overboard. For example, I try not to ever come up with any words that require a special character, if only because it takes a LOT more time to type the word.

    In general, I try to stick to the fairly common "two letter sounds." Silent Js make more sense in "fjord" than in "jager." The "sz" that comes up in eastern European languages is a little harder to grasp, but certainly easier than some other things.
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  23. - Top - End - #683
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Sounds good. I'll salt it with Eastern European, but not overboard. Mostly place names, probably.

    Keep weird dipthongs to a minimum, and use translations whenever possible. Got it. I may want to go back and change some titles and such. Thanks, guys. I'm about halfway done with Soleh's military, I'll have it up soonest.
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  24. - Top - End - #684
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Here comes Soleh!


    Soleh

    Methods of Recruitment:

    There are four methods of recruitment in the Solerian military.

    First, each noble-priest is required to maintain a standing cavalry unit proportional to their land. They draw from the orphanages of local churches, making the men both intensely religious and fervently loyal to the noble that “saved” them. These men are also frequently the bodyguards of their noble commander. As heavy lancers, they are both the heaviest hammer the Solerian army has, and require intense lifelong training. They carry longswords or sun-headed maces, heavy lances, kite-shaped shields and full plate armor or chainmail hauberks.

    In larger villages and forts there is a standing garrison of army regulars, full-time drilled infantry. They serve as police when necessary, and make up the rank-and-file Solerian military. They carry large round shields, two throwing spears and a short sword, and wear either chainmail byrnies or breastplates with arm and leg guards.

    When the local garrison and the lord’s knights aren’t enough, the church bells ring and draw out the militia. Local troops are rarely pressed into military service outside their immediate area, save on a crusade. They rarely have any worthwhile armor beyond an occasional scale vest, and are issued spears and small round shields upon conscription.

    Lastly, there are the Piloti. The Piloti are nomadic tribes that live in the plains west of the edge of cultivation. In recent years, the Solerian church as stopped outrightly persecuting them for their non-Tuhani beliefs, but have instead sent doctors, teachers, merchants and missionaries to reach out to them. The tribes that send the most warriors to join the Solerian army get the most benefits. These warriors are almost born in the saddle. They are some of the best scouts, mounted archers and light cavalry in Patria.

    Nobles on the Battlefield

    Priest-Lords are expected to lead their troops into battle, and many generals are nobles. They are frequently in command of their *Need a name* Knights.

    Troop Breakdown

    The Solerian military is predominantly footmen. There are as many regulars as a nation that collects both taxes and tithes can reasonably support. However, their cavalry is some of the best in Patria, between their screens of deadly skirmishing Piloti and their heavy lancers. In combination with their sturdy infantry and their solid discipline, they are deadly.

    Use of Magic in Warfare

    Soleh has the most flashy magic of the Patrian armies. The Dawnbringers, elite priest-mages who command fire and light, sometimes accompany generals, occasionally leading a retinue of lesser priest-mages to provide literal firepower, nonphysical scouting, removal of enemy leadership and sickeningly effective prisoner interrogation.

    Siege Tactics & Existing Fortifications

    Soleh has some very extensive fortifications. They have a large tax base to support a variety of castellated noble fiefs, frontier forts and fortified monasteries. In a siege, their regulars storm the walls with rams and ladders. They have a very minimal siege engineering force.

    Medical Units

    Soleh also has some fairly talented doctors, mostly associated with the priesthood, who provide the training for stretcher-bearers or field medics. They intersperse their medication and minor field surgeries with prayer and perhaps an overabundance of cauterization as a means to close wounds, but it doesn’t seem to do much harm.

    Weaponry

    The janissary-style knights and noble-priests ride into battle on warhorses, with full plate armor or chain hauberks, carrying longswords, sun-headed maces, long, heavy lances, and kite shields.

    The regular infantrymen generally use spears, javelins, shortswords and large round shields. They wear breastplates or chainmail byrnies for armor.

    The militias generally wear padded or light leather armor, if anything, and are issued spears and small shields upon conscription. As a social class, they are strongly discouraged from any weapon training.

    The Piloti volunteers from the western plains ride smaller, lighter horses than the heavy cavalry’s big-boned destriers. They wear light armor, with boiled-leather breastplates sometimes sewn with metal plates and similar arm and leg guards. Those who have fought with the Solerian armies for a while may have picked up a light chain vest .They carry short horn and sinew horsemen’s bows or javelins, small round shields and handaxes or sabres.


    Formations

    Knights act like one would expect them to, following their lords on charges against their mounted counterparts or into the flanks of enemy infantry.
    Regulars are often used in garrisons and as road patrols, and are well-drilled. They are capable of quickly changing formation at a command, and supporting one another in combat. Their general battlefield formation is a large square, from which they can throw massed javelins or quickly switch to a dense turtle-shaped formation, for defense against missiles.

    Militia generally huddles and occasionally charges. That’s about it.

    The Piloti fight like a swarm of bees. They’re too mobile for most cavalry to catch, and they have the endurance to where, given space to run, they can hand at the edge of bow range and pepper you till they get bored. They frequently ride parallel to infantry and harass them with bows and javelins before striking at their flanks, retreating, regrouping and repeating.

    Battlefield Communication

    Soleh uses horns like many Patrian armies, but favors brass trumpets over the cowhorn pieces of the Vallheimers. They have also perfected the use of heliographs (sunlight off a mirror) over longer distances

    Discipline

    The Knights are possibly one of the most loyal and disciplined forces in Patria. That’s all.
    The Regulars are, in many cases, also well disciplined. In some frontier areas, though, away from the watchful eye of the church, they are more... relaxed. The militia range from rabid wolves defending their homes to quivering and unmotivated when pressed into a crusade.

    The Piloti tend to chafe at close observation, and do their best when told “Hit those guys, let us know if someone comes from over there, do your thing.”

    Questions?
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  25. - Top - End - #685
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Now that we're apparently done with militaries for the moment, let's look at something a little more... concrete. Runes!

    Wait, what's that? Zap? Hey, what's up?

    NO WAY! A working physical map of Patria? That's great! But what if it had a grid on it so we could talk about where to put borders and cities and interesting locations and such?

    Oh wait. Done.

    Boom.
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    Physical? Done. Onwards and upwards to politics!

    And most importantly, a round of applause for ZAAAAAAPP..... DYNAMIC!!!!
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    A Campaign Setting more than a year in the making, Patria!

  26. - Top - End - #686
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    Eldest's Avatar

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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Open spoiler, see nothing...

  27. - Top - End - #687
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    Zap Dynamic's Avatar

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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    Here's a direct link to the map:

    Patria Physical Map

    There should be an option to download the map from DeviantArt, which will allow you to view it at full size.
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  28. - Top - End - #688
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    This should work.... It's also in the OP.

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    Guess who's good at avatars? Thormag. That's who.

    A Campaign Setting more than a year in the making, Patria!

  29. - Top - End - #689
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    Zap Dynamic's Avatar

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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    I'll start off suggesting names! I didn't realize it, but there may not be enough rainfall to account for the rivers east of the Elder Mountains. Here's what I propose:

    E3 should be called the Stormgate (whether it's named after the mountains or the bay). Where storm clouds often break on the Elder Mountains, this gap acts as a funnel, and the northern lands receive much rain and snowfall. Much of this runs off into the northern river, whatever its name may be.

    The southern river could start off as a wide network of natural springs in the southern Elder Mountains. Springfed River? Springsong River? Springtree River? Plain ol' Spring River?
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  30. - Top - End - #690
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    Default Re: A complete N00bz first try at world-building...

    I like the Stormgate and Springtree names!

    For the island north of the Vallheim, in I2, I like Holmark. An umlaut on the O would by cool, if we label it on the map. I see it kinda being a backwoods thinly populated area, mostly wild, with some Wolf Clan hunters and fishermen around the coast and not much else.

    The northern river... The Greyflood? Greywash? Highspring?
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