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    Default My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Shoquertai

    (The Place of All)


    So, this is a world building project inspired by 'A complete N00bz first try at world-building.' I draw inspiration from most of the world-building projects going on right now, LotR, and a variety of other fantasy sources (which I'll name as they pop into my head).

    Anyways, here's a brief and very interesting tidbit to introduce the world.

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    The First One opened his eyes, and stared in wonder and awe- before him stretched a vast desert. It lay, pristine, having never known a mortal's step, or the touch of the wind. The First One's talons dug into the sand, relishing the warmth- the first he had ever felt.

    Then he heard the voice. It came, softly, along the wind. It was at once a deep hum, an angry roar, and a fearful buzzing. In the sound was the first waterfall crashing into the rocks below, and the first bird singing its song. And the voice said to the First One,

    You wake.

    The first one opened his mouth, and felt his first words coming to him. As he spoke, he tasted each word, learning it and feeling it.

    "Who are you?"

    I do not live, and so I cannot be. You, my creation, can.

    "You have made me?" The first one held his claws up to the light, flinching as the sun struck them. How great, he thought, must be the one who could create something so perfect as him.

    Yes.

    "Why?"

    That you may make others yourself. Fashion, my creation, from the flames and the earth and the seas, life. Mold my earth to your will; fill it with creatures of all callings and creeds. Make, from a dry clump of rock, a masterpiece.

    The First One stood silent.

    Will you do this?

    "I must."

    Then I need say no more.

    The voice died away, and the First One knelt down. He let his claws run through the sand, then took hold of it. For ten days, he molded the grains, spitting upon the earth and crafting from the mud another being. For ten days he labored without food or drink, and when he was done, he stepped back and saw his creation. A creature, like him. Perhaps less perfect, a bit shorter, with duller scales, but that was no crime. He was pleased with his work and he called it 'Quissan,' meaning 'First and Greatest.' And though he would make many hundreds of others, he would never surpass his first heights.

    -The Origin of Shoquertai, according to the Quissan tradition

    Last edited by Othesemo; 2012-05-12 at 11:33 PM.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it)

    Intent
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    Simply put, to create a complete world for my current and future campaigns (and possibly for other's as well).

    In past games, I've noticed a certain degree of unity between all fantasy cities. There's a tavern with a nice, old-englishy name (like 'The Hog's Head,' for example), a city guard that arrests all wrongdoers, a criminal code identical to ours, and a local lvl. 20 artificer for all of your magic item needs. One of my hopes in creating this world is to take this trope, snap it over my knee, and then feed the bits to a pack of rabid koalas. Or something like that.

    To the greatest degree possible, I want to give a ‘pocket of civilization’ feel. I want the enormity of the world to strike the players- they may spend time in a civilized pocket of the world, only to leave one day and discover the vast and natural life that covers such a great degree of the world. I want to avoid notions of certainty or safety- moral, historical, or religious.


    Geography
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    Telemtai (Holy Place)- This is the land of men. Here, bands of humans have formed, and together have fought back the wilderness which once encompassed the land. It is a place of deadly creatures and treacherous landscapes, punctuated on occasion by towns, and the rare city (which some critics hold to be deadlier than the land was originally). This is the largest body of land of Shoquertai, and occupies a large portion of the eastern hemisphere.

    Mraztai (Cold Place)- The land of giants. It is a sheet of ice and rock, scarcely populated and never visited. Only the hardiest can have a hope of surviving this land, and gatherings of more than fifty creatures are all but unheard of. This is the smallest land mass mentioned here, and lies far to the north west.

    Lastai (Dry Place)- The Land of the elder races. In this vast desert live the Quissan- the first race, and the Sendasti- their slaves. They are an alien culture, devoted to the pursuit of ‘ideals.’ They will accept those who seek to join them, but will kill those who seek to speak or trade (Or, in their eyes, use them). Only a few tales exist of this land, and few of them are flattering. This land is slightly larger than Mraztai, and lies to the south west.

    Mrazea (Sea of Ice)- A depthless sea so cold that a man who falls in loses even the strength to hold his lifeline. Beneath flows of ice is a kingdom of deadly and sleepless predators, waging eternal battle. Rarely is it traveled.

    Seltea (Sea of Nothing ; Empty Sea) A flat ocean. Throughout its waters permeates supernatural calm- the product, it is claimed, of the wizards of old. It is only where this ancient magic wears thin that one need beware. Here, the sea boils in indignant fury, and short-lived tempests break down the sturdiest of boats. These spots, however, are rare and easily avoided.

    Unea (Sea of Death) Far to the north, a myriad of bizarre and deadly creatures fight beneath the sea, beyond the eyes of humans. Here, they make no secret of it. Krakens haunt the coast and islands, devouring those that come close, while Upoka will bring swift death to any who stray out to the depths of the sea.


    Cosmology
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    The Prime Material Plane lies at the center of the cosmology. Superimposed over it is the Plane of Shadow, a dark and twisted mockery of the true material plane. Both lie over the Astral Sea, an enormous (some say infinite) and amorphis plane home to creatures of all types. The elemental demiplanes are found scattered here. Beyond this lies the far realms- a truly infinite and alien place, home to all manner of bizarre creatures- gods, angels, devils and demons. A mortal cannot access these realms without the will of its inhabitants.

    Only humans know and follow the concept of Gods, hailing them as their creators. Most other races simply find the concept somewhat confusing; The dwarves know that they came from stone, not the gods.


    Races of Shoquertai
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    Telemtai

    Humans- Although immensely common in Telemtai, humans are found only rarely elsewhere. They have lived too long to remember their own origins, but nonetheless claim that they were created of the sun god’s flesh, fallen to earth. There are two main denominations of humans- River Folk, who live in small villages along the southern end of Telemtai, and City Folk who populate larger settlements (or even countries) in the center of the continent.

    In game stats- identical to the Player’s Handbook (this might be changed if I decide to make the denominations a stat difference).

    Dwarves- The oldest race of Telemtai, they were fashioned from the earth and given life by the First One. Greedy and paranoid, the dwarves amassed all of their treasures and fled beneath the earth. Only the dwarves banished from their own species come to the surface, giving other surface races a dramatically inaccurate perception of the people.

    In game stats- replace -2 cha with -2 wis, remove magic resistance, and increase darkivision to 120 ft.

    Raptorans- A young race of Telemtai. They were made from cloud, fashioned into a creature. It is said that once they lived on the tops of clouds, but saw once the world below and, fascinated, fell to the ground. They are a free race, as inconsistent as the clouds from which they were made.

    In game stats- Remove CL bonus to [air] spells, increase spot bonus to +4.

    Shifters- Telemtai, it is claimed, was once filled with all manner of beasts- hulking, six legged wolves who would tear a man to pieces in seconds. Oxen near fifty feet tall, a charge from which would destroy a city. Now, such creatures are but legends, hunted to their death by humans. However, it is claimed that the wise among them realized the death they would soon face, and so learned to take on the form of man. They still hold claim to their bestial ancestry, however, and woe betide he who angers a shifter.

    In game stats- As in RoE

    Poziar- A rare sight in Telemtai, the Poziar came from across the sea of ice. They are a bestial species, resembling two-legged boars with bright red bristles. In each of them burns a real fire, and it is from this undying flame that they draw their incredible strength. Once the slaves of the giants of Mraztai, a number of them escaped centuries ago to Telemtai.

    In game stats

    Halflings- It is claimed (by humans) that when the first men were made, they fell to fighting, and cut each other to pieces. These pieces, however, rose again of Pelor’s will. Each had half the bravery of a man, for they were twice as small, but twice the wit, for they were half as strong. The halflings themselves make no claim of their origins.

    In game stats- Replace athletic bonuses with a +2 to Persuasion, Bluff and Sense Motive, and replace the +2 Dex with +2 Cha.

    Mraztai-

    Jotuns- Are by far the strongest and most prevalent race of Mraztai. They are found in clans of some 30-40 giants, along with 10 or so slaves, led by their Jarl.

    In game stats- as Frost Giant

    Neanderthals- While humanoid in appearance, these creatures are not biologically related to actual humans. They were created as a parody of the races of the east- Nasty, brutish, and exceptionally tall. They live in small, densely populated clans, fighting for the right to life. Jotuns have long ago learned to avoid the ‘little people with spears.’

    In game stats- as Frostburn

    Poziar- The slaves of the Frost Giants. If you find a poziar in Mraztai, he’ll be in chains.

    Lastai

    Quissan- The first race, according to their folklore. They have lived for ages untold- even they do not pretend to fully know their history. At one point, they covered the world. As the other races were made, the gradually retreated to their homeland, finally closing themselves off to the outside world. They worship what they call ‘the ideals,’ a set of past heroes who all of their race try to aspire to. Each one exemplifies a certain skill, and quality, both of which are expected to be matched to the best of the Quissan’s ability.

    In game stats- as in Mythic Races

    Sendasti- Essentially, a domesticated race. They were originally an independent species living in tribes across Lastai. However, they have since been largely enslaved by the Quissan. Although the Quissan’s control was tenuous at best, dozens of generations of selecting for docility and endurance have fashioned the Sendasti into the perfect slaves- tough, strong, and utterly incapable of living without their master’s protection.

    In game stats- as in Mythic Races, except +2 Con, -4 Wis, No Weapon Proficiency or Save Bonus

    Asherti- The sands given life, the Asherti are an independent culture covering Lastai, both above and below the sands. They place incredible importance on the bonds of family- to betray someone that you’re related to by blood is a crime worthy of death. They do not, however, grant such degrees of loyalty to any who are not of their species- to kill an Asherti, even in self-defence, will earn the enmity of all who hear of the deed.

    In game stats- as Sandstorm

    Bhuka- A scarce and fantastically long lived race. They rarely form communes of any sort, each individual Bhuka preferring silence to the company of others of its kind. They are quiet, but nonetheless fierce to protect that which it perceives as being either its or under its protection.

    In game stats- Replace favored class: Druid with Bonded Shaman


    Magic
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    Long ago, magic was great. With it, the mightiest of men could rain fire from the sky, alter the flow of time, or make life in their name. And as these men and women inevitably rose to power, they found new excuses to test the bounds of their might. Gathering in Marektai, a land protected by all manner of magics to make it fertile and forgiving, the made between them a pool of life. Souls, they reasoned, must leave our world after death, for we do not see them after. Release enough, and so great shall be their passing that we can see and follow them to a land of greater magic.

    And so, they gathered between them 1001 slaves, and in a single ritual they slew them all. As the ground ran thick with their blood, the wizards all reached out with their magic, groping after the souls, trying to follow.

    Their magic succeeded, in a sense. as the souls passes from this world, the wizards found and held the gate through which they flew. Working swiftly, the greatest among them worked to bind the gate open, that they could follow.

    Unbeknownst to them, however, the gate was open to denizens of both worlds. From it streamed hundreds of demons, cackling madly, pulling the wizards from their pedestals and into the Far Realms that they so coveted. For every death in that place, a demon spilled forth, and when the 1001st stepped into our world the gate snapped shut, forever sealing the mages who had so longed to pass through it.

    The 1001 demons tore across Marektai, their very presence unraveling the magic that had kept the land so idyllic. And though the armies of man fought back the beasts, they had done their damage. Their mere existence, however short, had torn the magic of the world. Marektai, now called Arektai, The Desolate Land, could hold no magic, and even those lands the demons had never touched strained under their influence. Magic could be called, yes, but not with so much power as before. The greatest of mages could bring under bear nothing more powerful than could a simple teacher of old.
    Last edited by Othesemo; 2012-05-23 at 07:13 PM.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it)

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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP/PEACH)

    Alright, I'm done.

    So, I suppose that I should say what I'm hoping for, right? Thus far, I've got a loose geographical idea for all three places, and I'm mapping out Telemtai. What I'd like to focus on, at least at first, is any ideas for establishing the inhabitants of the world. I've got a dandy list of races and such, but it's far from complete. I'd like to try to figure out what all goes where, and how they interact. I also haven't worked very much on the Cosmology, so any cool ideas about that would be great (I don't mind if it's different from what I've already written down. That's what drafts are for).

    For convenience sake, I'll make a list of stuff.

    1) Working on the human kingdoms/city states in Telemtai.
    2) Establishing societies for the other races in Telemtai (particularly dwarves).
    3) Creating/Finishing the map. [Done]

    So, what should be done first?
    Last edited by Othesemo; 2012-05-13 at 01:44 AM.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it)

    Behold, my glorious and half finished map!

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    Two things about this map-

    1) I made this in about a day.
    2)This is the first map that I've tried to make.
    3) No, my handwriting hasn't improved since 6th grade- -Three things about this map.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it)

    Behold, my glorious and considerably more completed map!

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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    And here, after about two hours of downloading and messing about with photoshop (and calligraphy books), is my final map, drawn, edited and written by me, which I'll be putting in the OP. I'll make changes according to any new decisions or addition to the world, but for now this is my (fluid) final draft.

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    Last edited by Othesemo; 2012-05-13 at 01:30 AM.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    I seems very interesting so far, and I'd love to see more about the cultures in this world. Still, for a setting in which there is an intent for wilderness beyond belief, you have a lot of ocean and not so much land to wander.
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Fair enough. Not included in the map is Arektai (which is mentioned in the Magic section, and whose location/size is currently undecided) as well as... well, just about anything. I left most of the 'ocean' uncolored so I could add stuff in as it came up.

    And thanks, I appreciate it. I'm thinking that I'll either start with humans or dwarves. Do you have any preference?
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Go ahead and start with humans. Always good to start with them, as it gives you a middle ground.
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Alright, humans it is.

    So, my first thought is that countries- at least, large countries- probably aren't that common, if they exist at all. Humans are an established race, but not so well established that they can take care of a sprawling kingdom. I think that most humans would live in either city states or small countries, simply because they can't manage anything larger.

    Next, I think that humans would be largely focused in the center of Telemtai. Go too far north and you've got to contend with hypothermia on a daily basis, whereas the marsh-like southern area is impractical for any big settlements (still fantastic for farming, though, so I'd guess that a large number of village type locales would be present there). Meanwhile, the area around the deciduous forests seems like it would be more or less ideal for human habitation. Not as extreme in climate, access to fresh water, and at least functioning ground for agriculture. So, although humans are technically everywhere, most of them would be centered near the middle of the continent, and most of the remainder would be to the south.

    On culture- A large emphasis would probably be placed on accountability and dependability as the chief virtues, whereas sloth or greed would be considered the worst of vices. Small settlements in particular would probably require every person in them to contribute to the community, at the threat of kicking them out. Larger cities may not be so draconian in their measures, but an us-against-them mentality is still present.

    They are, however, only human. Although in small communities, efficiency is necessary for survival, cities and countries would try to put on shows of decadence, as if showing of everything that one can only have because of them- conveniently ignoring the fact that an umber hulk could probably destroy the residential quarter, if it so chose.

    Now, this would naturally create a discrepancy between the two. Smaller communities would likely demonize the laziness and hedonism of such cities, as people inevitably do when their ideas are challenged. Meanwhile, large communes would regard these backwater thorps as backward and miserly, having never known nor cared to know comfort or pleasure. It could get, I think, to the point where each of them perceives the other as just as much a threat as the wilderness. Whereas a grizzly bear threatens to kill your family, those of opposite culture threaten to kill your ideals and ethics.

    So, it seems that two main distinctions would exist between humans- there are those living in central or south Telemtai, and there are those who live in either villages or cities. I mentioned earlier that the south probably couldn't manage any large cities, so why not combine the two distinctions? We end up with two people- the southern 'River People,' who live off of the food they farm themselves, and who have likely never seen more than 100 people in the same place. This in contrast to the northerners, who have grown accustomed to what conveniences are offered by city life, and who wouldn't last a day in the wilds.

    One thing I want to avoid like the plague, however, is the association between 'big city/country' and 'castle.' I want to avoid a people who are immune to nature's whims, and have completely mastered the land. When I say 'big city,' I thus want to evoke a city with wooden walls, a market, and three separate districts- the people don't have to worry about the flood coming a week late, or about stories of a bear wandered down from the mountains, but large thunderstorms still pose a threat of property damage, and heavy hail could tear a town to pieces.


    Huh. That took about 45 minutes without editing. I'll see if I can think of anything more over night. In the mean time, any feedback or ideas about what I've made so far?
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    I'm not familiar with the Quissan - are they a draconic race, given the reference to "talons" and "scales" in the OP, or are they more similar to lizards? And also, is the mapped area a large percentage of the world? Or just the fragments of one continent over, say, a North American-sized area of land?

    EDIT: I ask that second question because you could easily add in another continent to the west and call it the "place of wilderness" or something.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    The Quissan are from the 3rd party book Mythic Races. Here's a picture-

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    As for the second question, I'm thinking that the mapped portion is a sizable chunk of the world, but it's not complete. I know for a fact that I've got quite a few islands and a barren wasteland to add in, and I'm considering the addition of another (life supporting) continent.
    Last edited by Othesemo; 2012-05-14 at 12:13 PM.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    You have some great thoughts there, and I like the conflict as well as the geographic explanation. Now I wanna hear the dwarves too, and how they interact.
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Alright, on to dwarves.

    So let's begin with what has already been established. Dwarves have sealed themselves underground, meaning that the only dwarves that most people will meet are those dwarves that have been banished from Dwarven society, but not deemed worthy of death (and their descendants).

    I'd like to focus on the most obvious thing in need of clarification here- when and why the dwarves went underground.

    As for when, it should be a long while ago- at least, long enough that nobody on the surface maintains an accurate idea of what a (normal) dwarf is like. In terms of normal years, I'd say that this happened at least a few centuries ago, possibly more. Most people realize that dwarves once lived on the world, as they did. However, they probably don't realize that they still exist at all, unless they've personally met a dwarf (which most of them probably haven't).

    As for why. In the 'Races of Shoquertai' section, I mentioned a combination of greed and paranoia. However, the fact the the dwarves lived for a long while on the surface suggests that this combination was not always present (or at least, not so obvious). Mistrust doesn't spring from friendship, but from enmity. Thus, it would seem that the dwarves' relationship was originally of the former variety, and shifted to the latter.

    So, there are two possibilities for how this shift occurred- either a gradual shift (for example, a growing disgust for other cultures on the surface), or a sudden shift (for example, if war was declared upon them). I think that, to a degree, both of these would have been involved. The dwarves would never have been overly fond of other species, and a final, dramatic act (the straw that broke the dwarf's back, as it were) might cause them to leave in disgust.

    What these two constitute also needs to explain why the dwarves would choose to go underground. If it were simply a matter of humans insulting them or the like, they could simply migrate north, to lands that they can weather but humans cannot. If it were a matter of violence, they would fight back.

    So, my idea is this. Dwarves were always reclusive. Some years prior to their mass exodus to beneath the earth, a clan of dwarves was attacked by a group of bandits, who managed to pilfer many of their goods, and who fled to a nearby city. When the dwarves demanded that their goods be returned and that the bandits be turned over to them for justice, they were refused. The conflict escalated to bloodshed on both sides, and both sides called for outside aid.

    Now, dwarves, as it happened, were considerably more united by their racial identity than humans. The city was sent a few militiamen as a token of good will by neighboring towns, whereas the dwarves united beneath them half a dozen clans, each fully armed and trained. Needless to say, the dwarves won, and they took both compensation and justice- all the goods of the city that had stolen from them, and the lives of those who tried to protect it.

    This sparked a great deal of racial enmity. Dwarves were not particularly well understood in the first place, and this act of violence gave birth to dozens of stories of heathen, violent and greedy beasts who fall onto villages at night and kill everyone. The humans grew in unity, and began to refuse dwarves at their gates. Pushed by zealots, human governments grew increasingly hostile to the dwarves.

    The dwarves 'snapped,' as it were, when the cities surrounding them, egged on by the fearful and the superstitious, ordered a full quarantine of dwarven communities, confident that the beasts couldn't be trusted without the eye of the law upon them. Rightly incredulous, the dwarves collected. Unwilling to risk more bloodshed, but similarly unwilling to tolerate the insufferable arrogance they perceived in humans, they agreed to leave. Indefinitely. As a species, thousands of dwarves streamed into the caves and tunnels beneath the mountains, and collapsed the mouths behind them.


    This being the history of the dwarves, I'm trying to think of the society that would rise from such a history, and I'm mostly drawing a blank. Anyone else have any ideas or suggestions?
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Cool project!

    Some thoughts:
    If your intent is to make this seem like a huge world with a lot of stuff to explore, I think a hexcrawl is your quickest, dirtiest solution. In my Blackwood setting, I was really worried that the size of my world was too small. Then I made a series of random encounter tables and threw a hex grid over my map, and now I think I made it reallllly large. With a random table, you can transform a large area with some vague definition into a playground with almost limitless possibility, no matter how large or small your scale. In my Blackwood Campaign, I feel like the players have discovered a lot of content, but the two parties haven't even traveled 12 miles between them! If you'd like, let me know and I'll pm you a link to the tables I created.

    I like the flavor of the world so far. The names aren't difficult to pronounce (THANK YOU), the races deviant from the standard, and you've got a good grasp for revealing the world through flavor text.

    I'm really curious to see where you go with some of your flavor. For instance, you've got at least two bodies of water that feature creatures battling beneath their surface. Most settings don't even touch underwater adventuring, but I think there's a lot of potential there.

    Also, I want to give a little advice about your cosmology. When building a world, I try to stick to a simple philosophy: if I'm not going to use it, then I don't need it. I may make mention of something like an afterlife, but I make no attempt to flesh it out or categorize it unless I plan on allowing the adventurers to go there.

    Even if I have a location that's on the prime material but is noticeably different from the typical locale, I might approach it as though it were a separate plane. Your underwater and subterranean adventures might benefit from this approach.

    I'm excited to see what you come up with!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    Cool project!

    Some thoughts:
    If your intent is to make this seem like a huge world with a lot of stuff to explore, I think a hexcrawl is your quickest, dirtiest solution. In my Blackwood setting, I was really worried that the size of my world was too small. Then I made a series of random encounter tables and threw a hex grid over my map, and now I think I made it reallllly large. With a random table, you can transform a large area with some vague definition into a playground with almost limitless possibility, no matter how large or small your scale. In my Blackwood Campaign, I feel like the players have discovered a lot of content, but the two parties haven't even traveled 12 miles between them! If you'd like, let me know and I'll pm you a link to the tables I created.
    I hadn't actually heard of a hexcrawl before, but it looks interesting. It sort of remind me of the overland map in NWN 2 (Storm of Zehir). A link to your tables would be awesome, thanks.

    I like the flavor of the world so far. The names aren't difficult to pronounce (THANK YOU), the races deviant from the standard, and you've got a good grasp for revealing the world through flavor text.
    Thank you! And you're welcome. I decided that naming things would be easier if I actually had etymology in mind (and tried to draw from real languages).

    I'm really curious to see where you go with some of your flavor. For instance, you've got at least two bodies of water that feature creatures battling beneath their surface. Most settings don't even touch underwater adventuring, but I think there's a lot of potential there.
    That wasn't something that I had originally thought of, but now that you mention it, it sounds like an interesting idea. I'll give some thought to that.

    Also, I want to give a little advice about your cosmology. When building a world, I try to stick to a simple philosophy: if I'm not going to use it, then I don't need it. I may make mention of something like an afterlife, but I make no attempt to flesh it out or categorize it unless I plan on allowing the adventurers to go there.

    Even if I have a location that's on the prime material but is noticeably different from the typical locale, I might approach it as though it were a separate plane. Your underwater and subterranean adventures might benefit from this approach.
    That's more or less what I'm trying to do by combining just about every outer plane and merging it with the far realms, and then merging the elemental planes with the astral plane (and yes, I do actually want to work out the shadow plane's version of this world, but that will probably be far in the future).

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I want to work out the locales other than the surface. I'll probably want to work a good bit more on the surface first, but after that, underground/water adventuring would be fun to work with.

    I'm excited to see what you come up with!
    Thanks! If you have any more ideas or suggestions, feel free to drop in and post. The more, the merrier.
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    I think the dwarves would turn out highly militaristic and vigilant. They don't want to be snuck up on again. However, they would be seeking out alliance with other peoples and animals where possible. They want to be sure of their friend's loyalty. They would have mandatory service in the town guard on coming of age, and once you left you would be considered a reserve in case of emergency. These Dwarves would also seek some advantage over their enemies, which could be technology, or maybe they ended up like the Drow in traditional D&D and found a dark god to worship and gain powers from. These dwarves also wouldn't be against Arcane magic like the others, and would fight dirty. They'd also have extra secure bunkers to hide away in case another catastrophe happens. Add in some spies on the surface watching out for mining plans from the upperworlders, and I think you have it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omeganaut View Post
    I think the dwarves would turn out highly militaristic and vigilant. They don't want to be snuck up on again. However, they would be seeking out alliance with other peoples and animals where possible. They want to be sure of their friend's loyalty. They would have mandatory service in the town guard on coming of age, and once you left you would be considered a reserve in case of emergency. These Dwarves would also seek some advantage over their enemies, which could be technology, or maybe they ended up like the Drow in traditional D&D and found a dark god to worship and gain powers from. These dwarves also wouldn't be against Arcane magic like the others, and would fight dirty. They'd also have extra secure bunkers to hide away in case another catastrophe happens. Add in some spies on the surface watching out for mining plans from the upperworlders, and I think you have it.
    I like this. I think that it could be interesting to have the dwarves focus on arcane magic- with +2 Con and -2 Wis, they'd make for excellent wizards and sorcerers. For some reason, the notion of a militaristic, arcane, subterranean order of short people appeals to me. Other than that, I think that this is good for a start. Unless anyone has something they'd like to see about the dwarves, we should be good on that front for now.

    Anyone have a preference for what they'd like to see next?
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Well, I can't sleep at all right now, so I might as well think of something for this.

    Raptorans

    To begin with, raptorans are young. In the cosmic sense. The race itself hasn't existed for more than a few centuries- possibly since after the dwarves fled underground. Due to this, their culture has little to do with 'tradition' or 'history,' simply because there hasn't been enough time for them to come up with any. This implies a considerably more anarchic worldview than normal- these creatures act as they do, not because a law commands it, but because their conscience does.

    This would likely make interactions between the raptorans and other races a bit tense, since the raptorans might not be too quick to follow the laws and dictates of the societies they visit. They would likely be seen as irreverent and arrogant. I don't think, however, that this enmity would extend to actual hostility- raptorans might flagrantly disregard laws about public drunkenness or curfews, but they're no more likely to kill or steal than a human.

    The raptorans would largely inhabit mountains, forming communal aeries with others of their kind. The raptorans view themselves as entirely free- more so than any other race. Particularly important to this worldview are their wings. The raptorans see their wings as both literal and metaphorical representations of the fact that they can and will go beyond any other species, to discover and do what others can hardly dream of. Gaining the ability to fly unaided would be an enormous milestone in a raptoran's life, and the mutilation of one's wings would be seen as a fate worse than death in some cases.

    So, how does this society in which the principle good is freedom deal with evil raptorans, without breaking their devotion to doing as you like? I think that this would be resolved by a fairly simple 'legal code'- "Do as you will, but harm none." Should a raptoran act as the other raptorans deem unfit, he is not punished in a strict sense. Rather, he would simply be told to go bother someone else, and be promptly exiled from his clan. This would likely be the extent of the law in most raptoran societies.


    Alright, I'm finally getting tired. This isn't really complete, so if anyone has questions or suggestions for the raptorans, post them and I'll see what I can come up with.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Heyya this looks really good man. I really like the description of in the beginning!!

    I personally have been doing a lot of world building myself as i'm relatively new to DMing and its become my favourite part of it. Through world building i have been developing my map drawing techniques and due to my love of Lo Res pixel art i have been drawing a lot of maps in a program called pixen. so heres a little something ive been working on since seeing this thread.

    PS its definitely not finished but if you like it i will finish it :D and update it when you know where all the cities will be and stuff.

    Spoiler
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    grrr just realise i don't know how to get the picture on here :| so if this doesn't show up forgive me...

    do i have to upload it to another website first??
    Last edited by hcp111; 2012-05-19 at 05:24 AM.

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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Hey, thanks. That looks really good. It'd be great if you could finish that (especially since the trial version of photoshop that I used to make the first map runs out soon, and I doubt that I'll have everything finalized by then). If you don't mind nit-picking, there are a few things that I'd like to point out.

    In Telemtai, I tried to make the ground get lighter and lighter as you went north to reflect that it got a good bit dryer. I'm not sure if you can do that in Pixen, but if you could that'd be great. Oh, and could you make the mountains in Telemtai a bit more obvious? They sort of blend in.

    Also, Mrazea is more ice flows than a solid sheet. Everything that I actually wrote in is solid ice, but the rest of the white space isn't. Oh, and on Mraztai, the ice is pretty thin near the southern border (by which I mean, several feet thick), which continues between the mountains (which is why there are actually some coniferous forests there). If you could put in the mountains and forests, that's be great.

    Oh, and before I forget, the river mouth at the southern tip of Telemtai is a delta.

    Other than that, though, this is fantastic. Let me know when you've got it finished and I'll put it in the Geography section.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    So, I've had a few more thoughts on the dwarves.

    Dwarven society is ruled, not by the most charismatic or wise of them, but by the strongest. To take up the dwarven crown requires one to prove peerless might in battle. Thus, a dwarven king is succeeded only when he grows too old to decapitate those who would take his throne. Similarly, when the dwarves go to war, it is their king who commands their armies, and it is their king who wades out into the fray before any other. From the perspective of the dwarves, there is nothing lost in the death of a monarch, for a monarch who dies is not worthy of the title.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Dwarven society is ruled, not by the most charismatic or wise of them, but by the strongest. To take up the dwarven crown requires one to prove peerless might in battle. Thus, a dwarven king is succeeded only when he grows too old to decapitate those who would take his throne. Similarly, when the dwarves go to war, it is their king who commands their armies, and it is their king who wades out into the fray before any other. From the perspective of the dwarves, there is nothing lost in the death of a monarch, for a monarch who dies is not worthy of the title.
    What's stopping an assassin from just going in and poisoning him? That's not the sort of thing one can take care of in single combat, or that can be defended against with anything less than paranoia. It might not even leave a champion for the throne to pass to, and then where's the monarchy? What happens when the king gets murdered in battle (not the same thing as when he dies in battle, although I guess the question remains either way)? Does his killer ascend to the throne despite the treachery involved? And what happens when the king is a crazy f**k who just won't die and his kingdom gets the short end of the stick in the meantime? Is someone supposed to come in and die in single combat with the hope that the royal nutcase dies first? This is exactly the problem the Klingons had, right down to "killing your boss to get his job".

    It's a great concept, I just want to say, it's just got some plotholes. (Or, if you play them right, adventure hooks...)
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    bump to alert OP of my previous post, please ignore.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Good questions. I'll go ahead and address them individually.

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    What's stopping an assassin from just going in and poisoning him?
    The most reasonable answer would be '+2 Con and +2 vs. Poison.' Secondly, the king wouldn't be in a position to be assassinated by anyone other than another dwarf, and dwarven society would look upon such a thing with exponentially more disdain than we would. Although it is strictly possible, it is no more likely than it would be for any other race (and probably less).

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    That's not the sort of thing one can take care of in single combat, or that can be defended against with anything less than paranoia. It might not even leave a champion for the throne to pass to, and then where's the monarchy?
    In such a case (where there is no determined successor to the throne), the new leader would be established in the most logical way possible- by establishing who among the surviving dwarves is the strongest and best trained. Which brings me to my next point-

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    What happens when the king gets murdered in battle (not the same thing as when he dies in battle, although I guess the question remains either way)? Does his killer ascend to the throne despite the treachery involved?
    Such a crime would be worthy of banishment or death, thus rendering the murderer as ineligible for the crown as a raptoran. The dwarves pride strength, not cunning, and a dwarf who kills the king with the latter would not be accepted within the society. As a result, the new king would be determined by the tournament style thing mentioned above.

    And what happens when the king is a crazy f**k who just won't die and his kingdom gets the short end of the stick in the meantime? Is someone supposed to come in and die in single combat with the hope that the royal nutcase dies first? This is exactly the problem the Klingons had, right down to "killing your boss to get his job".
    Dwarves age too. Barring epic feats, age penalties will catch up with everyone. As the dwarf grows older, younger dwarves are likely to challenge him in increasing numbers. After a while, it's not unreasonable to expect that he would die of cardiac arrest if nothing else. Incidentally, the death of the challenger would not be necessitated, making challengers not uncommon.

    It's a great concept, I just want to say, it's just got some plotholes. (Or, if you play them right, adventure hooks...)
    Thanks! I'll be sure to try to do just that, then.

    ________________________________________

    After writing this, I got to thinking. The dwarves seem to place emphasis on strength rather than cunning, and yet they still utilize arcane magic heavily. My idea is this- dwarves do not possess any formal study of magic. However, there are still those among them who are born as sorcerers (or similar, if I decide to use homebrew classes). Once this talent is identified, the dwarf is pressured into developing it further (in no small part by bribery- even a dwarf in the slums could make his family rich in a fortnight if he is found to be a sorcerer). They are trained largely by more experienced sorcerers (as well as themselves). Once their talent has matured to the point of usefulness, the vast majority sign on to assist their city- there are few ways to earn so much coin, and the actual threat is reasonably low. Although some cities may force this procedure, dwarves in general find that a content sorcerer is far more likely to fight for his or her city than one who spends each night plotting its downfall.

    Thus, families with particularly strong predispositions toward sorcery are held in high regard, and are likely some of the highest nobles of their city. Meanwhile, even incidental sorcerers live in comfort, if perhaps anonymous comfort. However, these nobles (like others) are called upon to defend their city often- perhaps even more often than mundane nobles- and no sorcerous talent can redeem a(n ex-)noble who has refused to aid his city when called upon to do so.
    Last edited by Othesemo; 2012-05-23 at 07:08 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    The most reasonable answer would be '+2 Con and +2 vs. Poison.'
    I guess that works, although a backstabbing or a relatively subtle poison applied over several weeks might also work. (an assassin looking to use poison would be rather dim, as he'd need it to avoid detection long enough to work around the resistance). Of course, just blowing up the palace might work, especially if the king is secluded enough to preclude a street stabbing or a sniper's arrow shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Secondly, the king wouldn't be in a position to be assassinated by anyone other than another dwarf,
    Protip: when you finally debut this setting to a group of players, don't have an NPC tempt fate like that in front of them unless you want them to attempt the assassination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    In such a case (where there is no determined successor to the throne), the new leader would be established in the most logical way possible- by establishing who among the surviving dwarves is the strongest and best trained.
    In hindsight, a nationwide tourney is the perfect thing. (Assuming no items, dwarf only, Final Destination, of course). On that note, magic is banned in these tourneys, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Which brings me to my next point-

    Such a crime would be worthy of banishment or death, thus rendering the murderer as ineligible for the crown as a raptoran. The dwarves pride strength, not cunning, and a dwarf who kills the king with the latter would not be accepted within the society. As a result, the new king would be determined by the tournament style thing mentioned above.
    If, to my mind a big if, they are caught. (the chaos of the battlefield can be a very, well, chaotic place in which to hide a murder among casualties) Although a suitably conniving dwarf would probably not make it through the tourney in any case, barring some very far-reaching cheating and some uncharacteristically-dwarflike corruption present in any all the referees, both of which would require foresight known only to highly-powered entities and poorly-written villains.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Dwarves age too. Barring epic feats, age penalties will catch up with everyone. As the dwarf grows older, younger dwarves are likely to challenge him in increasing numbers. After a while, it's not unreasonable to expect that he would die of cardiac arrest if nothing else. Incidentally, the death of the challenger would not be necessitated, making challengers not uncommon.
    Are we talking human-level lifespans, longer, shorter, or what? And faced with a suitably mad king, they might risk a charge of treason and summary execution (again, we're talking about a hypothetical mad dwarven king here) rather than adhere to the "rules", as it were.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Thanks! I'll be sure to try to do just that, then.
    Never underestimate the ability of a plothole to open up adventure hooks. I've intentionally engineered several into my setting as a basis for the metaplot (SHAMELESS PLUG), although they might be too subtle for anyone but the author.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    After writing this, I got to thinking. The dwarves seem to place emphasis on strength rather than cunning, and yet they still utilize arcane magic heavily. My idea is this- dwarves do not possess any formal study of magic. However, there are still those among them who are born as sorcerers (or similar, if I decide to use homebrew classes). Once this talent is identified, the dwarf is pressured into developing it further (in no small part by bribery- even a dwarf in the slums could make his family rich in a fortnight if he is found to be a sorcerer). They are trained largely by more experienced sorcerers (as well as themselves). Once their talent has matured to the point of usefulness, the vast majority sign on to assist their city- there are few ways to earn so much coin, and the actual threat is reasonably low. Although some cities may force this procedure, dwarves in general find that a content sorcerer is far more likely to fight for his or her city than one who spends each night plotting its downfall.

    Thus, families with particularly strong predispositions toward sorcery are held in high regard, and are likely some of the highest nobles of their city. Meanwhile, even incidental sorcerers live in comfort, if perhaps anonymous comfort. However, these nobles (like others) are called upon to defend their city often- perhaps even more often than mundane nobles- and no sorcerous talent can redeem an (ex-)noble who has refused to aid his city when called upon to do so.
    Of course, they can make magic items to sell in their spare time, or they may be required to do so in peacetime, as a way of curbing their power. Of course, they get to sell these items at a highly preferential rate to the standing army (I'm assuming the dwarves have a standing army, given their other emphases on physical prowess), and to the population at large if the item in question has very little use as a weapon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zap Dynamic View Post
    I want to create a world that is full of possibility, and one of the best ways to handle it is by creating a bunch of stories that haven't yet been finished.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    I guess that works, although a backstabbing or a relatively subtle poison applied over several weeks might also work. (an assassin looking to use poison would be rather dim, as he'd need it to avoid detection long enough to work around the resistance). Of course, just blowing up the palace might work, especially if the king is secluded enough to preclude a street stabbing or a sniper's arrow shot.
    It is hypothetically possible, yes. It wouldn't exactly be a staple of pre-PC dwarven society, though.

    Protip: when you finally debut this setting to a group of players, don't have an NPC tempt fate like that in front of them unless you want them to attempt the assassination.
    Point taken. Still, I meant largely in the physical sense- dwarves are the only assassination-capable creatures around. If a group of humans were to come into one of the cities, they'd likely be surveyed 24/7.

    In hindsight, a nationwide tourney is the perfect thing. (Assuming no items, dwarf only, Final Destination, of course). On that note, magic is banned in these tourneys, right?
    With final smashes turned off, yes. It would strictly be a measure of physical might. I'm actually considering whether or not a particularly buff sorcerer would be allowed to participate on the condition that he not use magic.

    I'm thinking that sorcerers wouldn't normally be allowed to compete, but a few of the more arcane cities may change this rule.

    If, to my mind a big if, they are caught. (the chaos of the battlefield can be a very, well, chaotic place in which to hide a murder among casualties) Although a suitably conniving dwarf would probably not make it through the tourney in any case, barring some very far-reaching cheating and some uncharacteristically-dwarflike corruption present in any all the referees, both of which would require foresight known only to highly-powered entities and poorly-written villains.
    In short, playing the system would be more or less impossible for anybody lacking the ability to do just fine without breaking the rules.

    Are we talking human-level lifespans, longer, shorter, or what? And faced with a suitably mad king, they might risk a charge of treason and summary execution (again, we're talking about a hypothetical mad dwarven king here) rather than adhere to the "rules", as it were.
    In terms of lifespan, the dwarven equivalent of a centenarian would be a 125 year old or so. The average dwarf would die either in battle or around 90 years old. And yes, I suppose that if the king could be convicted of a crime which would render him ineligible for the crown, he could be deposed of without any (mandatory) fighting.

    Of course, they can make magic items to sell in their spare time, or they may be required to do so in peacetime, as a way of curbing their power. Of course, they get to sell these items at a highly preferential rate to the standing army (I'm assuming the dwarves have a standing army, given their other emphases on physical prowess), and to the population at large if the item in question has very little use as a weapon.
    Magic items wouldn't be a universal trait among sorcerers. Largely due to the dwarf's almost non-existent study of arcane magic, being able to cast spells wouldn't necessitate being able to make magic items.

    Magic items would be created to supplement the dwarf's standing army first, and only when that was deemed adequate would they turn toward civilian items. They would be paid richly for both, not only because magic items are expensive but because most cities would make a handsome profit in taxes off of the sale of such expensive items.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    In short, playing the system would be more or less impossible for anybody lacking the ability to do just fine without breaking the rules.
    That makes sense, yeah.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    In terms of lifespan, the dwarven equivalent of a centenarian would be a 125 year old or so. The average dwarf would die either in battle or around 90 years old. And yes, I suppose that if the king could be convicted of a crime which would render him ineligible for the crown, he could be deposed of without any (mandatory) fighting.
    So there is some sort of impeachment procedure. That goes a long way toward cutting down on any dwarven Caligulas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Magic items wouldn't be a universal trait among sorcerers. Largely due to the dwarf's almost non-existent study of arcane magic, being able to cast spells wouldn't necessitate being able to make magic items.
    Why not? Enchanting seems like a very low-risk way to practice spells, wherever it appears, and what are magic items but enchanting mundane items?

    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    Magic items would be created to supplement the dwarf's standing army first, and only when that was deemed adequate would they turn toward civilian items. They would be paid richly for both, not only because magic items are expensive but because most cities would make a handsome profit in taxes off of the sale of such expensive items.
    Instead of it being federally mandated, have it such that sorcerers get preferential rates from selling their wares to the dwarven armed forces, as "adequate" becomes a very hazy level of magical force multiplication when in wartime or when preparing for wartime (as I imagine this dwarven society would do in peacetime). Also, it sounds like it's a matter of honor to do everything you can for your city/country, and selling at "name your price" to dwarven governments would certainly allow them to fulfill the honor portion while also fulfilling the creature comforts portion. The sorcerer gets a profit off the sale of his items, without being forced to sell to a particular market, and the government get the profit of the item itself plus the taxes on the items he doesn't sell to the government, and the average civilian customer gets the item at an elevated rate. Everybody wins.
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    Default Re: My First Campaign World (you really should look at it) (WIP, PEACH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Why not? Enchanting seems like a very low-risk way to practice spells, wherever it appears, and what are magic items but enchanting mundane items?
    Well, I imagine that crafting magical items isn't as intuitive as casting spells for most sorcerers, and the Level requirement on the Craft _____ feats would prevent the vast majority from even taking the feats.

    Instead of it being federally mandated, have it such that sorcerers get preferential rates from selling their wares to the dwarven armed forces, as "adequate" becomes a very hazy level of magical force multiplication when in wartime or when preparing for wartime (as I imagine this dwarven society would do in peacetime). Also, it sounds like it's a matter of honor to do everything you can for your city/country, and selling at "name your price" to dwarven governments would certainly allow them to fulfill the honor portion while also fulfilling the creature comforts portion. The sorcerer gets a profit off the sale of his items, without being forced to sell to a particular market, and the government get the profit of the item itself plus the taxes on the items he doesn't sell to the government, and the average civilian customer gets the item at an elevated rate. Everybody wins.
    Alright, I'll do this. Thinking about it, it does add a greater element of honor for the crafting of magic items to be the choice of the dwarf in question (sort of like how joining the military is a lot more noble than getting drafted).

    _____________________

    So, I'm thinking about dwarven nobles. I've already said that dwarves are ruled by kings, but I've also mentioned the presence of nobles. I'm thinking that 'being a noble' would represent social influence rather than political influence, simply because nobody could overrule the king. Thus, to say that somebody was a noble would simply mean that they were rich and well known. This also means that who is or isn't a noble is a bit subjective, and generally determined by the crowd rather than the government (for example, the richest of social pariahs wouldn't be a noble even if he owned half the city). Through this, many sorcerers (particularly the powerful ones) would be considered nobles because A) They have a fat paycheck, and B) they're getting that fat paycheck by doing what most dwarves consider the epitome of good. Meanwhile, you could also become a noble by leading a powerful merchant's guild or by having made a horde for yourself while adventuring in the tunnels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Someone Else
    *sycophancy*

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