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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Admiral Squish's Avatar

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    My brother showed me to an updated emulator of Link's Awakening, so blame him if I don't end up posting regularly over the next few days.

    Skype
    Alright, the plan is for the call to take place tomorrow at 3 PM EST.
    If you want to participate, please get me your information by private message before then.
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  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Knights Hospitaller

    Code
    Looks good to me, does anyone else have further commentary?

    Territory
    • Saint Croix Sounds pretty solid to me
    • Saint Christopher and Nevis The city fell into the sea? Dang, yo. Though, I bet that would be a pretty awesome underwater adventure, full of undead villagers who drowned, unclaimed treasure, and aquatic creatures that may have moved into the city.
      Anyways, very cool, I quite like it. Though, if it were so profitable, would the english have given up so easily?
    • Saint Martin Man, I really gotta learn more about the dutch.
    • Saint Barthélemy Maybe it's a sort of 'retirement island' for knights too old to serve in combat? they just hang out there until an administration position opens somewhere in the organization.
    • Auberge de France Quebec sounds good. I thought for a moment that Montreal might ake for a better seat, but then I realized Quebec would be closer to the ocean, and thus to the main force of the knights.
    • Auberge of England Probably about right.
    • Auberge de la Espana Cuba sounds good. I was gonna say maybe Florida for a better spread over the mainland, but the Auberge de Amerindien could project force in that direction easily enough.
    • Auberge de Portugal Sounds good to me. Ooh, perhaps they left something important in Brasilia, some minor relic or similar.
    • Auberge Van NederlandSounds pretty good to me.
    • Auberge de Italiae Solid.
    • Auberge von Deuthchland und das Skandanavien I definitely like.
    • Auberge de Amérindien This is the native langue. I figured the french word for native americans would be suitable, considering the location.


    Relics and Holy Days
    Oooh, that sounds like a pretty awesome relic there.
    Maybe the beheading would be a day of mourning, where the knights pay their respects to their patron?

    Naming
    I like the prefix to the name! Definitely a cool detail.

    Slavery
    I think the knights would probably use slave labor, it was pretty commonplace at the time, though they would only use it to supplement their criminal workforce. I suspect the knights would probably be relatively respectful of the legal status of free slaves. Oh, and they would also probably be very keen on converting their slaves to the church, forbidding practice of African religions.

    Hisatsinom

    Silk Trade
    Well, there are horses, obviously. Oxen were used too. Hmm... I don't think there were any unusual animals at work in fusang.
    You know, a silk bridge wouldn't break, but it might stretch too much to be usable under a very heavy load, such as a fully laden cart pulled by a pair of oxen. Those traveling the silk road may have to travel relatively light, or disperse their load over many animals.

    Disease
    Well, it has the potential to kill that many people, but if they do it right, the new version of the disease only kills a handful at a time. You just feel sick and exhausted for a couple weeks while your body fights off the neutered plague, then you're fine. If the medicine plagues killed tens of thousands every time, it wouldn't be any different than regular plagues, and for the new balance of power to work, we need the center of the continent to keep at the very least MOST of its population intact. Like, 80%, minimum.
    Perhaps they would infect a handful of carriers who they would mark somehow as bearers of the medicine sickness, then have them ride out and purposely infect as many people as they can. The disease not only spreads from the carrier, but also along normal transmission routes between the infected.
    There was significant overlap between the chinese and the european diseases. Prolonged trade along the silk road has exposed both sides to most of the diseases resident in either area. Hence the slightly higher population levels on the east coast after all the plagues, some of the medicine diseases made it there before the europeans arrived and the people developed an immunity to some of the diseases, though others managed to get a foothold before their medicine sicknesses arrived.

    Factoids
    Very cool, Grinner! Thanks for pointing those out, some of those will definitely be useful.

    Plot hook:
    This idea came to me late last night, so it may not be any good:
    The players find a message in a bottle on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean. The note inside simply bears five words: "Still alive. Please send help". It appears to be written in blood. Where did it come from? Who wrote it? Are they still alive? Can they be saved?
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  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Admiral Squish's Avatar

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Okay, the skype call went very well! Six people attended, and we covered a lot of ground, some of it being ground we never actually intended to cover. Overall, it went very well, and I’ll sum up some of the material here:

    Columbia:

    Inter-Colonial Relations
    Overall, we determined that each colony is distinct enough that they may have different takes on various other colonies. In the north, for example, New France and New England are reasonably friendly, though they compete over trade with the haudenosaunee. However Georgia and Florida in the south are contentious, as georgia is driving native populations into spain’s territory. The English and the Papal colonies are not particularly friendly, but they’re not openly hostile, either. An important point to make is that with the delay of orders, the colonies usually act without direction or approval from the European powers.

    Colonial-Native Relations
    The colonies themselves are generally more friendly and respectful to the natives in this setting. This is partially because they make good trading partners, and partially because they are, by the fact that they’re still around, a much more present influence on the colonies. There are still some areas where they don’t get along very well at all, and some will exploit or attack them, but the general look toward the natives is less that of pests and more like a separate nation.
    Oh, and we ran into an interesting bit where the Tuniit and the French colonists are both trying to marry themselves into the opposite culture to create friendly terms, so it’s become a question of who can do a better job of genetically dominating the other.

    Magic
    The colonies have varied takes on magic as well. Most will tacitly support spell casters, due to the fact that their magic is often of great use to a small, struggling colony, but many skill maintain the official stance that arcane magic is evil. Sort of a local level versus government level, but as the government’s grip on the people is relatively loose in such a sparsely populated area, the people usually are able to conceal and support arcanists in their midst. However, this can change if an inquisitor or scarred monk comes to town. A strong, charismatic agent of the church can turn communities on the spell casters in their midst and the power and manipulation they bring to bear can even turn close friends.

    Magical Creatures
    The colonies generally regard magical creatures as they do normal creatures. If they’re harmless, they usually won’t interfere. If they’re helpful, they may have them around. And if they’re dangerous, they might destroy them even if they’re not actively harming them. Church agents may muster hunting parties against powerful creatures in the area, but usually they don’t go looking for them.

    Non-Humans
    Being a nonhuman in Columbia is a risky business. At best, you’re out of place but they will deal with you, they may even make special accommodations if you make it worth their effort. At worst, you’re actively hunted by the people. It’s hard to hide your true nature, especially for some. Some more human kinds, such as giantkin, little folk, and witch bloods, are more likely to be accepted. Others, like spirit-born or coatls, are all but impossible to integrate.

    Rebellion
    One thing we all agreed on was that the colonies are definitely on the road to rebellion. The same groundwork that was present in the real world is present here. It may not happen at the same time, it may not happen in the same way. Maybe only one will rebel, maybe all of columbia will join in the anti-imperialist action, maybe the attempt will be quashed. Maybe they get support from the natives, or maybe the natives side with the foreign powers. However it goes, it’s going to happen, one way or another.

    South America

    Northern Coast
    We debated about this one quite a bit, but eventually decided that the northern coast, from about the southernmost part of panama across, would likely be settled by European powers, mostly Portugal, though Columbia would be largely native-held and loosely allied with the Spanish.

    Amazon
    I hinted at this whole plan of mine in the first post, but I eventually decided that it would be better to make it clear what’s going on. Portugal colonized the Amazon and does simply awful stuff to the people and the environment there. The native biomancers flee deep into the forests, into the deep jungle where the Europeans can’t follow. Over the next hundred years, these spell casters from communities and communicate, bonded together from very different and often warring groups by the hatred of the common enemy. Together, they raise armies of biological weapons, dire and horrid creatures, man-eating plants, river serpents, and so on, and unleash them on anything not native to the area, driving the Europeans out of the amazon and establishing a border around the rainforest region, patrolled by mind-controlled bioweapons on land and sea serpents by sea. I haven’t deided what happens internally afterward, but it’s probably going to either be that the united biomancers create a new empire with themselves as the leadership, a biomagocracy, or the biomancers, once united with their original tribes once again, turn their creations upon one-another, turning the whole jungle into a meat grinder of inter-tribal carnage in a giant battle royale.

    Andes/West Coast
    I also hinted at this one, but I might as well reveal my plans. The biggest change is that with deathless/undead Inca remaining in power for perpetuity, they manage to avoid the whole civil war that allowed Pizarro to step in and make a mess of things. So the empire remains relatively strong. The other point I wanted to focus on was their observatories and their studies of the stars. I feel these studies would dovetail perfectly with divination magic. So the inca empire puts the prediction power to work and creates the most comprehensive and useful link map in the world, allowing them to use the links to practically transport goods and even armies wherever necessary. They also use this to predict arriving ships, so they can quickly dispatch a ‘welcoming committee’ anywhere in the empire as they need it. The welcome is described in the first post. It’s sort of a ‘we’ll trade with you, sure, but we don’t want anything more to do with you, and you don’t get to see anything more than what we show you’ sort of arrangement.

    Southeast Coast
    Everything east of the Andes and south of the Amazon. This area was already largely uninhabited when the Europeans arrived, so it’s entirely possible they would have settled it, but it’s kinda useless land. It’s mostly pampas, a semi-arid steppe environment that’s not very good for agriculture, and a big desert in the southern parts.

    New Material

    Coatl
    These guys got quite a bit of new stuff. The coatl are actually amphibious, and originally lived in colonies in cenotes, where they feed on meat that’s fallen in. They eat human sacrifices, careless wildlife, and unlucky individuals. They live in the vast, interconnected world of these clear-water submerged caves, building homes underwater. They eventually began to make more contact with humans of the region, beyond what they threw into the pits, and some even left their watery homes to live among them. They slowly spread out from the yucatan across all of modern mexico. They now live mostly separate from humans, occupying bodies of fresh water, and serving religious functions in many places. They are the caretakers of the dead. They are living graveyards. They prepare the bodies and eat them, but they also serve the function as gateways to the dead, their priests being able to project spirits of the spirit world into the mortal one, the soul appearing as a translucent shade, usually the head or the head and arms of the spirit in question, pushing out of the snake’s mouth to speak to mortals. They also perform resurrections for sufficient coinage. Oh, and they have ghost-arms instead of telekinetic ones.

    Brute:
    We had bit of a brainstorming session about the naming of the brute. Some suggestions include bruiser, brave, (something involving brawn), and warrior. I’m still not certain about which one to use. Ideally, we’d have a name that indicates strength, combat ability, and utility all at once.

    -----

    Now, that's all that I can think of at the moment, I'll review the recording later to see if I missed anything, or maybe one of the other attendees will remind me of something I've forgotten.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Looks like a good recap.

  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I would suggest going with renaming the Brute class the Warrior, if only because it covers a lot of ground and it's feasible that the different groups in the setting would have different names for a guy who swings around a sword or has a big pole-arm of varying size.
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  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Steckie's Avatar

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Knights Hospitaller

    Territory
    Nevis: Actually in history the city got destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami and there are legends that the whole city sank into the sea but there is not much evidence for it. I figured it would be more interesting if the city had really sank into the sea, for the same reasons you mentioned. Although i hadn't considered undead.
    It was very profitable, that's the reason i thought it would be good to have the Knights take over, they need a solid income. The English wouldn't have given up easily i suppose. But the Knights are a powerfull group and if they send a large group to the Island because their vows tell them they need to help fellow christians, they would be difficult to dislodge. If they claim the English failed to protect the people on the Island, that could give them casus belli to stay on the Island.
    After a few small skirmishes between them it would probably be easier for both sides to make a deal. Especially since around 1690 the Nine Year's War is a thing, with France and Irish and Scottish Jacobites fighting against England. They don't need the Knights on their bad side and would probably just sell them the Island.
    Saint Martin: Basically the Dutch found themselves in a war with England, France and several German states. And divided by internal squabbling. Hence the name 'Disaster Year'. It kinda sucked badly for them. Selling half an Island to the Knights would give them a bit of breathing room.
    Saint Barthélemy: That means that if a Knight were to get orders to 'transfer to Saint Barthélemy', he would understand he's no longer wanted for active duty.
    We probably need to create a school for that Island that can teach the old Knights how to become administrators. The officers probably wouldn't be sent to the Island, they already have experience and are rising through the ranks to a position that requires less fighting anyway.
    Auberge de Portugal: If Portugal still has land in South Vespuccia, they'll probably have their Auberge there. Let's move them away from Saint Christopher to somewhere in current Venezuela.

    Relics and Holy Days
    Beheading of St John: a day of mourning sounds good. Perhaps the day where they remember the Knights that have fallen in service of the Order?
    Nativity of St John: a day of celebration. Bonfires are lit up and on this day all new Knights are sworn in. And all promotions from Knight of Obedience to Knight of Justice happen.
    Right Hand of the Forerunner: i know it's an awesome relic, but i have no idea how to make something of it.

    South Vespuccia

    One question: Where are the borders of Portugal and where are the Biomancer borders?
    I'm asking because somewhere inbetween those is Guyana. And that got colonised by the Dutch somewhere in the second half of the 1600's.

    Disease

    I think i've found a way to tie the magical diseases (absolutely needs a better name), the Hisatsinom and the Great Basin together.
    We've established the magical disease was first discovered by the Hisatsinom when they came into contact with Fusang. And the Fusangese carry many of the same diseases as the Europeans will when they show up. So a lot of the knowledge the Hisatsinom have will spread out and help the rest of the native population.

    But here's the thing: what if their first attempt went horribly, horribly wrong?

    Here's how i see it: The Great Basin natives are being wrecked by diseases. They know the same happened to the natives on the west coast when a strange new people arrived and started taking land. They know the diseases are spreading throughout their land and will continue to spread beyond their land. So they send people west and south to ask for medicine men to help them.
    The Hisatsinom send many of their healers to help, together with the Great Basin natives they create a magical version of the disease that will in fact help them combat the mundane version. The Hisatsinom medicine men go back home, confident that this will help their people as well.

    It blows up in their face. The Great Basin natives get wiped out. All of them. The Hisatsinom are only saved because they learn of this before they are able to spread the disease among their own people. And because the magical disease they created isn't very stable and as soon as it has killed all potential hosts is goes extinct.
    The Hisatsinom are horrified at what they have done, but they still have a huge problem. The mundane disease is still heading in their direction. (Let's make that disease Smallpox, it has a very high rate of mortality) They are again forced to create a magical disease in the hopes of saving their people. This time it goes better. Only about 10-20% of the population dies and the civilization is able to survive.
    They spread the knowledge to nearby tribes with a VERY clear warning.

    Around 1750 the Great Basin is still a massive dead zone, but there are now small settlements within it's borders. Fusang and the Triple Alliance are both creating small mining operations to mine for gold, silver and copper.
    But something strange is happening. People are disappearing. Small settlements as well sometimes.
    And there are reports of pocked humans roaming the area. Are these native survivors of the magical disease? Are they Fusangese or Mexica people that have somehow contracted the ancient magical disease? Or are these even a new breed of humans, forever changed by the magical disease altering their genes?

    Random Idea

    Here's an idea i had today. I got inspired by the Skype meeting yesterday. The part when we talked about Benjamin Franklin the superhero.

    Let's say there's a Nexus somewhere around the Great Lakes area, near the border of English and French territory. And somewhere near the Haudenosaunee.
    Before the Romans screwed up the Spirals around the world it was relatively active and reliable and was the only Nexus nearby that Linked across the Appalachians. After Vesuvius, when the Links across the Atlantic got severed, some of the backlash of that event also severed the Link across the Appalachians. But now, the Links across the Atlantic are starting to come back a bit. And the old Link lines are re-establishing themselves.
    This Nexus is close to Linking across the Appalachians again. Very, very close. It might happen in 1750, if people are lucky.

    The problem is that this Nexus lies on the border between English, French and Haudenosaunee territory. And while it was previously a pretty useless place, it is now quickly becoming very important.
    All three nations are very interested in the trade that this Nexus would bring them. They could Link directly to Cahokia, evading all the Cahokian manned fortresses that protect the mountain passes and where taxes must be paid.
    The three nations have all set up around the Nexus and are all trying to claim it.

    Here's the fun part: all three of them are sending their best scientists and arcanists in hopes of opening the Nexus quickly.
    The English have sent members of the Royal Society, among whom are many Merlinic Wizards.
    The French have merged the Académie française (wich guards the French language) with their own science society and wizard society and have sent members of this renewed Académie française to the same spot.
    The Haudenosaunee don't have any scientists, but they have by far the best and most arcanists. And they are secretly helped by Benjamin Franklin and the Vespuccian Freemasons. The Vespuccian Freemasons are striving for the independane of the colonies and they don't want England or France to control that Nexus. Franklin may or may not be present himself.

    So three powerfull societies of (mad?) scientists and arcanists are trying to open up a Nexus that Links over the Appalachians while simultaneously trying to screw over the competition.

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Here's some facts on the Amazon civilization that may be useful later on

    Also, an idea of the civilizations could be that the biomancers built up great control that had the entire Amazon under the rule of one person for a while, and then that person's death. This individual built up the defenses to the point that no foreigners wish to enter the Amazon. However, after this individuals death, the empire splits among the advisers/generals/friends. Think of Alexander the Great.

  8. - Top - End - #188
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Looks like it was a very productive Skype session. A few questions and historical comments:

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    The colonies themselves are generally more friendly and respectful to the natives in this setting.
    This leaped out at me as a dramatic departure from real history, and I'm not sure if stronger trade relations alone would account for this divergence. Just because the Iroquois were relatively strong and reliable trading partners didn't mean the English didn't take an extremely patronizing attitude towards them.

    At the least, this would vary tremendously between colonies depending on their culture of origin and their relations with indigenous neighbors.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    We debated about this one quite a bit, but eventually decided that the northern coast [of South America], from about the southernmost part of panama across, would likely be settled by European powers, mostly Portugal....
    This also doesn't follow actual history, and it doesn't jibe with what had been discussed a little earlier in this thread, as far as Portugal's near-total lack of stakeholding in the New World. In actual history much of the northern coast was dominated by Spain, with virtually no Portuguese presence or control, and I"m not sure what the rationale or benefit would be for changing this.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    I'm asking because somewhere inbetween those is Guyana. And that got colonised by the Dutch somewhere in the second half of the 1600's.
    Yes indeed, absolutely. Needs to be accounted for, one way or the other.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    ...though Columbia would be largely native-held and loosely allied with the Spanish.
    I think you mean Colombia.



    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Portugal colonized the Amazon and does simply awful stuff to the people and the environment there.
    When and where, exactly, are you postulating this occurs?

    The earliest Portuguese settlements, starting after Cabral's landfall in 1500, were along the southern Atlantic coastline, and the rainforest they initially explored and exploited was the Mata Atlântica--the Atlantic Forest, which is a completely different biome from the Amazon. It's rainforest, yes, but entirely different terrain and a different suite of flora and fauna.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    The native biomancers flee deep into the forests, into the deep jungle where the Europeans can’t follow.
    Again, where would this be exactly? And what would be the barrier to Europeans pursuing them?

    The equatorial Amazon is intimately interlaced with rivers, tributaries, and igarapés, perfectly accessible by small watercraft and even shallow-draft ships. The Portuguese eventually explored the main-channel Amazon from Belém, just south of Marajó, out two thousand miles west to Tabatinga on the Rio Solimões. (This is, in fact, how they leapfrogged the limits set by the Treaty of Tordesillas and established the western extent of modern Brazil.)

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    ...once united with their original tribes once again, turn their creations upon one-another, turning the whole jungle into a meat grinder of inter-tribal carnage in a giant battle royale.
    Again, what would be the timeframe on this? And is divination up to standard D&D par in the Crossroads setting?

    Because a "giant battle royale" among a gallimaufrey of indigenous tribes will eventually result in resource fatigue and a massive power vacuum. I'd expect there will always be a trickle of adventurers into this region, trying their luck the way adventurers do, and between divinations (if they exist in the setting) and the occasional surviving party member, word will eventually get out that the biomancers are no longer united.

    I should also point out that exploiting native divisions was something of an art form among the Spanish adelantados. Just sayin'.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Everything east of the Andes and south of the Amazon.
    Much of this is Patagonia, and it's not all desert. See also: Pantanal.

    Also, again, I think you're conflating the Amazon with southern Mata Atlântica and other ecotypes.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    This area was already largely uninhabited when the Europeans arrived, so it’s entirely possible they would have settled it, but it’s kinda useless land.
    Today there are over ten thousand sheep farms in this region, ranging from 2000 to 200,000 hectares, and their owners would probably disagree with the "kinda useless" assessment. As for native inhabitants, the Tehuelche and their precursors lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers for at least fourteen thousand years before European arrival, and the introduction of horses in the early 1700s allowed them to flourish on the pampas much as the Plains Indians did in North America.

    It's a tough landscape, to be sure, but that attracts a certain kind of folk.



    Originally Posted by Mith
    Here's some facts on the Amazon civilization that may be useful later on....
    Ahh, yes, I remember the media coverage of the terra pretas about that time.

    I've done fieldwork on some of those terra pretas, and I've talked with some of the people who are strong proponents of the terra preta factor in precolombian population estimates. I've cited some of the original articles myself, and there's a lot worth considering, but it needs to be taken carefully and in context.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2014-06-01 at 02:48 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Admiral Squish's Avatar

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Brute
    I'm probably gonna go with warrior, though I'll be keeping an eye out for something better.

    Knights Hospitaller

    Territory
    Nevis: Seems to make sense.
    Saint Martin: 'Zactly, I didn't know any of that, and if the dutch are gonna have a presence I should really get into it.
    Saint Barthelemy: I could imagine there being talk about aging knights being 'ready for Barthelemy', and some knights being quite displeased about getting taken off the active duty. I support the idea of an administration school for these knights, too.
    Auberge de Portugal:

    Relics and Holy Days
    Beheading: Oooh, a day of rememberance sounds good. I could imagine a yearly accounting of lost knights being done on this day, a sort of second funeral for all of them.
    Nativity: I like this. It would be a good occasion to get all the leadership together in saint croix to discuss new promotions and new knights, and their relative merits.
    Maybe it's just like a very powerful augury that tells the knights if the next year will be good or bad for the order as a whole?

    Disease
    This sounds like a pretty good plan to me, though there are a few issues.
    For one, the hisatsinom peoples, namely the anasazi and the pataya, occupied the great basin area, so I'm not certain there would even be a distinct cultural group there.
    If it does exist, I'm not sure if destroying the entire great basin culture is valid. Perhaps a sizable area of it, but it sounds like it would be too deadly to get all through the land before it killed 'em, and just scouring a group of natives off the setting seems problematic.
    Also, 10-20% is still pretty awful. How about 5-10%? The later versions may have much lower mortality, in the 1/100s or 1/1000s.

    I think we could still have sizable 'ghost areas' where the disease was tested which have been historically empty for many generations and are avoided out of fear of a curse or lingering sickness. The recent years could see some people trying to resettle those areas and stirring up the whole 'plague zombies and mysterious disappearances' thing.

    Name:
    I've been using 'medicine disease' or 'medicine plague', and I think that sounds pretty good, though we could probably come up with something.

    New Nexus
    Well, first, there should definitely be link travel across the Appalachians. It may be through 3rd or 4th ring links, making it more difficult to do, but I think it should certainly be possible. If there's no links across the Appalachians, there DEFINITELY shouldn't be link travel over the rockies.
    Secondly, I don't know if it should be a nexus, as each spiral only has the one nexus. Is this one forming a new spiral? Replacing the nexus of an old one? I could imagine a very powerful potential link in this place though, a first-ring, with all the signs that it will open regularly.
    I do like the Freemasons and Ben Franklin supporting the Haudenosaunee, though sounds like a very cool plot hook, or even a whole campaign idea.

    Columbia
    Well, firstly, it's not that they suddenly treat them as equals. They're still immensely patronizing, particularly those fresh from Europe.
    And second, it's not just a trading deal, either.

    In our timeline, they were a vastly reduced shell of their former state, living on the outskirts of 'civilization'. In this setting, they've lost a lot, but nowhere near as much as the other timeline, their numbers in the east coast would be easily 10 times as many as our world. The fact that they have a much larger population makes them much more clearly a powerful people. In our world, they were all around, but in small numbers. In this one, they not only are everywhere, they likley outnumber the europeans in the area. I think over time this increased presence would impress upon the settlers that these people are their own cultures. It would probably depend both on the people in question and how long they've been here. A colonist would probably view them as, whine not equals, certainly, a group worth a bit of caution, but a newcomer from europe might well just write them off as savages.

    South Vespuccia
    Well, this certainly generated some conversation!

    Borders
    Here's an image that outlines the area of the amazon rain forest, as defined by the WWF. I think it might be a bit more expansive in this world/time frame, but it gives you a good general idea.


    Anthropogenic Forest
    That concept was described in great detail in 1491, a marvelous book, which was the first thing to put amazon biomancers in my head. It would sort of be a magical extension of their already existent control over the environment, in my mind.

    Biomancer Government
    I could imagine some sort of alexander or ghengis- esque fracturing of the political environment once the initial boot was sent out.

    North Coast Settlement:
    The previously discussed near-total lack of presence in the new world was based on the idea that they got kicked off the south american continent as a whole, but I didn't account for a more detailed look into south america and the fact the rainforest doesn't actually cover all of the landscape.

    Honestly, I haven't yet had the chance to do a lot of detailed research into it, I'm just saying what we came up with durin' the meeting.

    If the spanish held it, they can probably hold it now, though I'd like to get into the research in a bit more detail before tossin' it in.

    Guyana
    Alright, research says the dutch own it at this point, so that's canon. Their colonies would have been established just before the biomancer rebellion, so they'd be pretty nervous.

    Colombia
    Ugh, force of habit. We should rename this for the sake of things being not-maddening.

    Malta Atlantica
    I did not ever realize there were two rainforests. That does change things, though perhaps not enormously.
    Still, nobody can argue that the colonists didn't do awful, awful things to the natives of the region.

    Fleeing into the forest
    Clearly it can't be all that simple to get into the deep forest, considering we're still encountering yet-undiscovered native groups in the amazon.

    Divinations
    They do exist, but they are relatively rare, if memory serves. We should probably address that.
    The fact that all these groups would be fighting against each other doesn't really seem like it would open the door to foreign conquest. Germany was made of hundreds of tiny states, and france never marched over there and conquered it. These guys are controlling biological entities of incredible strength and durability. I'm sure many of them could sink, or at least heavily damage, a whole ship all by themselves. And they're not likely to forget the kind of crap the last europeans did to them, so I don't think that the spaniards could work their usual 'you and him fight' techniques.

    Plus, this is only one potential outcome.

    Southeast
    Yup, definitely confusing them. Still wasn't aware there were two. Anyways, south of the JUNGLES, then.

    I never said it was all desert, I said it was mostly steppes and had a big desert in the south.

    It might make for good sheep farming, but I don't think that wool is a precious or rare enough commodity that it would be worth the costs of setting up a colony and shipping cross-Atlantic, considering the technology level.

    I suppose a better term would be 'sparsely inhabited'. The guy who brought it up in the chat said it was mostly empty when they Europeans arrived, and I believed him.
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    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Here's an image that outlines the area of the amazon rain forest, as defined by the WWF.
    I'm familiar with the region.

    I'll see your WWF graphic, and raise you a more detailed figure from PNAS, showing the other major biomes of the Neotropics. (Note this figure doesn't show any of the mata ciliar, the gallery forests which extend along the narrow floodplains of rivers in the Cerrado.)

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    I did not ever realize there were two rainforests. That does change things, though perhaps not enormously.
    Most Americans haven't heard of the Mata Atlântica, so no worries.

    I'm assuming you haven't heard of the Cerrado or Caatinga either.



    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Alright, research says the dutch own [Guyana] at this point, so that's canon. Their colonies would have been established just before the biomancer rebellion, so they'd be pretty nervous.
    Also keep in mind that in the mid-1600s the Dutch invaded and occupied a large section of colonial Brazil, which they held for several decades against persistent guerilla warfare from the "native" Brazilians, who at that point were mixed-race descendants of the original Portuguese settlers and local indigenous peoples.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Clearly it can't be all that simple to get into the deep forest, considering we're still encountering yet-undiscovered native groups in the amazon.
    Considering those groups walked there in the first place, it's really not that hard.

    As for penetrating the deep Amazon, the Roosevelt-Rondon expedition is a good example of how far you can go on raw human muscle, even when the watercraft you're using are completely inappropriate for the task at hand--and, most importantly, when you're utterly determined. River of Doubt is a bit of a frothy, overdramatized book, but it does give a sense of how deeply Roosevelt threw himself into the expedition, not to mention how remarkable Rondon really was. Anyone of similar focus, drive and resources could have done the same.

    I would also recommend you look into the quilombos, which were essentially independent city-states in the deep forest, established by escaped African slaves. They'd been taken from equatorial rainforest in Africa, and they were able to adapt to the Amazon well enough for their communities to last for decades or longer.

    .
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    South America

    Borders:
    That was directed to Steckie, who asked where exactly the border would be between the Portuguese and the amazonians.
    That is so much better, I only wish there were a version that covered all of south america.

    Biomes:
    Yeah, I feel thoroughly ignorant, honestly. I know even less about south america than I did about north america when I started this, which turned out to be jack squat.
    But yeah, I haven't heard anything about those two.

    Dutch
    Yeah, I just stumbled upon that while checking out colonial Brazil.
    I was planning to put the amazonian rebellion at somewhere like 1630-1650, about 100-120 years after the first permanent European settlements were established.

    Deep forest
    Perhaps it's less an issue of difficulty to get there, as it is about the difficulty of finding something in the deep jungle that doesn't want to be found. The point is, it's certainly possible to disappear into the jungle if you try, as evidenced by the quilombos. (I had heard about those, though I didn't know the name, thanks to my dear brother)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Non-Humans
    Being a nonhuman in Columbia is a risky business. At best, you’re out of place but they will deal with you, they may even make special accommodations if you make it worth their effort. At worst, you’re actively hunted by the people. It’s hard to hide your true nature, especially for some. Some more human kinds, such as giantkin, little folk, and witch bloods, are more likely to be accepted. Others, like spirit-born or coatls, are all but impossible to integrate.
    Wait ... Are there not native humans in Columbia?? Sorry if that's an ignorant question, but the phrasing here has confused me. I was assuming that there were...
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlanteanTroll View Post
    Wait ... Are there not native humans in Columbia?? Sorry if that's an ignorant question, but the phrasing here has confused me. I was assuming that there were...
    There are native cultures in the Columbia region, significantly more so than there were in our world, but I was specifically referring to the European areas of it. Columbia is characterized by the Europeans and their influence, the native cultures and their norms are covered in other areas.
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    Medicine Disease

    Tribes
    From what i can find about the Great Basin, the Anasazi didn't live there. Sure, they lived just outside the border of it, but not inside it.
    The tribes i've found so far living in the Great Basin are: Shoshone, Ute, Paiute, Mono, Kawaiisu and Chemchuevi. Maybe there are some more, but i'm not sure on that.
    The Anasazi, Mogollon, Hohokam and Patayan are usually lumped together under the name 'Ancient Pueblo People'. I actually figured these were the ones we were referring to when we talked about the Hisatsinom?

    Disease
    I think it's best to have a higher death toll than 1/1000. 1/100 might work for the later medicine diseases. But the first ones, the ones where they only just figured out how to do it should have a higher death toll.
    10% is pretty high but it's doable, it's not society-breakdown-high. 5% is probably too low. Especially if you want a decrease in Native populations.

    Killing the whole Great Basin culture could actually work. If they created the disease in the belief that it's safe and spread it over the whole population, they would all get infected at roughly the same time. An incubation period of a week or so would give them enough time to infect everybody while not yet noticing how badly they screwed up.
    They would all die roughly around the same time as well, making for a terrible shock to the Hisatsinom when they realise what's happening.

    I wouldn't let those disease still linger, without hosts they would probably quickly die out, but the fear of those diseases would run pretty deep.
    Only outsiders like the Fusangese and Mexica would ignore the warnings and start new settlements in the Great Basin. Maybe the Hisatsinom as well if the other two don't get themselves killed.

    Plague 'zombies'
    Is this something you'd want to add to the setting or is it something too similar to some zombie/mutant/whatever movies?
    And would they be people still infected by the disease or a human ofshoot that got changed by the magical disease? Meaning their natural form is a human looking pocked body. Maybe completely hairless?

    Appalachian Link

    A first circle ring would work as well. You're right, there's no need for it to be a Nexus.
    Do you like the English Royal Society and the French Académie française trying to get in on it as well? Or is it mostly the Freemasons and the Haudenosaunee that you like?
    The Freemasons could be a bit of a unifying factor, trying to get the colonies to start a revolution in unison. Not that they have had much succes so far, but they're trying.

    South Vespuccia

    I like the Alexander or Genghis-esque fracturing of the Amazonian Empire.
    A scenario like this would probably mean the Genghixander is a very powerfull biomancer. And his 'generals' would be biomancers themselves.

    North Coast
    The Spanish held the north coast historically, yes. Probably best to keep it that way.
    I do have a solution for the Portugal problem though: French Guiana.
    The French colonised it in 1624, but were forced to abandon it because the Portugese weren't too happy about them being there. The settlers returned in 1630 and were able to establish Cayenne in 1643 only to be driven out by Natives. In 1664 they succeeded in making a permanent settlement.

    If you put the Amazonian rebellion at 1630-1650, there would be some French settlers there during that period. And when the Portugese get driven out of Brazil they flee to the coast. There they either get on their boats and sail somewhere closeby or just walk northwards along the coast.
    They take over French Guiana, and becaue of their relatively large population on a smaller area they are able to witstand further Native attacks.

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    On the subject of 'zombies';

    There's enough historical nasties to populate the world, and if one wanted a unnatural looking dead human, one could throw in a possessing spirit or some sort of more appropriate undead. Plague spirits could be a thing, but they should just be a threat that get mentioned in the same breath as windigoes and the nastier forms of skinwalking creatures; if the party get's involved with them, they are probably around mid-level because the alternative is that some new character sheets need to be drawn up.

    This an't Deadlands, gosh darnit.
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    Medicine Disease

    Great Basin/Hisatsinom
    I found some maps to help illustrate what I'm talking about.
    Here's the great basin cultural area, the brown outline in the map.
    Spoiler: Map
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    And here's a map of the ancient pueblo peoples, the scientific name for the groups we are calling the hisatsinom:
    Spoiler: Map
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    As you can see, the anasazi and pataya peoples both occupied areas that we would describe currently as great basin tribe areas, and if the hisatsinom continued to exist, it's unlikely these tribes would have developed in the region.

    Death Toll
    The whole point is that we don't want to reduce the overall population of the interior too dramatically, as the new status quo of the new world depends heavily on the continued existence of a supermajority of the indigenous population.
    I think somewhere in the middle, like 7.5%, would probably work for the initial plague, decreasing to 1% or decimals in future medicine diseases.

    I don't know, I think the likeliest scenario would be to have a test run escape containment. The magical disease gets out, it's highly aggressive and virulent, and rapidly wipes out the entire village, or possibly an entire canyon-length it was created in. It would still be a terrible loss, particularly if there was any sizable settlements in the area, but I don't think it would have been a total 'wipe the map clean' situation. In the scenario you propose, why would the disease spreaders stop at the edges of their culture? And if the infected take a week to incubate, that seems like plenty of time for at least one of them to trade something to a neighboring culture and restart the process.

    Plague 'zombies'
    Eh, I could imagine a plague spirit, sort of like the Acheri, but plague zombies is probably a bit too much, now that I think about it.

    Appalacian Link
    Sorry, should been clear. I like all of it, but I particularly like the freemasons. I actually have a little book of freemason symbolism and such in my bookshelf.
    I like the idea of the masons trying to unite the colonies, though I think that perhaps they don't have the most honorable of intentions.

    South Vespuccia
    A brief note about this discussion: for now, we should try to limit it to how it affects columbia and the colonies. I definitely want to get into it in full detail at some point, but we're not even gonna detail all that much of south america in the main book, the current plan is for it to be the first supplement to the setting.

    Ghengixander
    I actually laughed aloud at reading that name, and I move we use it to refer to the leader figure until/if we come up with a name.
    Most likely it would be a sort of biomagocracy, with the biomancers controlling their monsters as the military, and using their magic to further improve the standard of living, such as making the trees and crops more productive.

    North Coast
    Okay, I could imagine something like this. Though, if memory serves, at the moment of the rebellion, the northern part of brazil was under dutch control. I think the portugese could still make it north by ship (though they would probably lose a few to sea serpents), but going north overland would be likely a no-go. Where do the dutch escapees go?
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    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    I think the portug[u]ese could still make it north by ship (though they would probably lose a few to sea serpents), but going north overland would be likely a no-go. Where do the dutch escapees go?
    I'm a little unclear about the scenario here, but it sounds as if you want the Brazilian Portuguese settlers to leave the south Atlantic coastline--Rio, Bahia, Recife, et al.--and travel north, around Ceará and Maranhão and Marajó and the mouths of the Amazon, to the Caribbean coast of South America. Is that what you had in mind?

    If so, it will be almost impossible by ship, especially in the mid-1600s. Owing to winds and currents, it was quite literally easier for the colonial trade to make the trip back to Portugal than it was to maintain contact with Maranhão and the far northeastern coastline.

    Also, keep in mind that by the time of the Dutch invasion, the Portuguese settlers were Brazilians, just as much as the British colonists were Americans by the time of the Seven Years' War. Brazil is their home; they fought like hell to drive the Dutch away, and they'd fight with desperate force to keep from being driven out themselves. Most of them would be wiped out before trying the sea voyage to the Caribbean--and if they were pushed entirely off the continent, the survivors would almost certainly return to Portugal rather than venturing a far more difficult journey to the Caribbean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I'm a little unclear about the scenario here, but it sounds as if you want the Brazilian Portuguese settlers to leave the south Atlantic coastline--Rio, Bahia, Recife, et al.--and travel north, around Ceará and Maranhão and Marajó and the mouths of the Amazon, to the Caribbean coast of South America. Is that what you had in mind?

    If so, it will be almost impossible by ship, especially in the mid-1600s. Owing to winds and currents, it was quite literally easier for the colonial trade to make the trip back to Portugal than it was to maintain contact with Maranhão and the far northeastern coastline.

    Also, keep in mind that by the time of the Dutch invasion, the Portuguese settlers were Brazilians, just as much as the British colonists were Americans by the time of the Seven Years' War. Brazil is their home; they fought like hell to drive the Dutch away, and they'd fight with desperate force to keep from being driven out themselves. Most of them would be wiped out before trying the sea voyage to the Caribbean--and if they were pushed entirely off the continent, the survivors would almost certainly return to Portugal rather than venturing a far more difficult journey to the Caribbean.
    Now that's interesting. I would never have known. Would this only apply to the southeast-facing shore of brazil, or is the same issue at work in the northeast-facing shore?

    Anyways, I double-checked everything, comparing a 1650 political map of south america, that very helpful biome map, and a climate map. It turns out the Dutch part includes SOME of the amazon rain forest, but the Portuguese would still be in control of the main part surround the mouth of the river itself and a good ways inland. So, the Dutch and the Portuguese get kicked out of the northeast shore area in the (Uprising? Revolution? Apocalypse?).
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    Medicine disease

    Great Basin/Hisatsinom
    These are the maps i've been using:
    Spoiler: Hisatsinom + Fremont
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    Spoiler: Great Basin Culture map
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    Spoiler: Great Basin
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    As you can see there is a small part of cultural overlap near the Four Corners, but that is not within the geological Great Basin.
    Oh, and those cultural maps are from different dates, i know we can't really compare those correctly. I just want to give a rough image. The first map would be from around 1100 and the second one from after 1500.
    If the Hisatsinom survived beyon 1300, they probably would have expanded a bit into the Great Basin. Most likely scenario is into the Ute and Paiute area but not much further.

    Those Great Basin tribes most likely lived there for a pretty long time, probably a time before the Hisatsinom started builing their cities.
    So either the Hisatsinom take over the lands of these tribes. Or they conquer it and incorporate the tribes in their nation. Actually we don't have much Natives conquering other natives so that might work. So far it's just the Triple Alliance i think.

    Death Toll
    Sounds good.

    Plague 'Zombies'
    Just to clarify, when i say zombies i don't mean zombies Somebody mentioned zombies and i just took it over as a working name.
    Personally i prefer a living, pocked human offshoot. They're no better or worse than normal humans but they get blamed for a lot of bad stuff because they're the offspring of a disease.

    Appalachian Link
    I agree, the Freemasons probably don't have the best intentions. I think a lot of the leadership would love to see themselves in power over the colonies. Either through getting elected or even by setting themselves up as a local king.
    There's no reason to assume that if a revolution happens it's going to be a democratic one.

    South Vespuccia

    Revolution
    How about the biomancer target the Europeans ships first? The Natives know that the ships are what brings the Portugese and takes away the valuables.Targeting them first and cutting off their escape would be a valid tactic. Plus, it takes out a lot of their cannons in one fell swoop.
    Taking away the ships would force the Portugese to walk northward along the coast. If the biomancers come from the deep jungle that could be a logical escape route. Several Thousand Brazilian refugees walking up the coast into French Guiana and setting up shop there would be difficult to stop by the French. Especially with the relatively new and small colony they have there.
    And Guiana is not within the rainforest, so maybe that's out of the range of those constructs? Maybe those constructs can't leave the jungle at all?

    Also, i would remove the sea serpents from all this. The Amazonians are mostly a river and forest people, it would be difficult for them to tame sea serpents. Besides, sea serpents are big creatures. Probably built for the deep seas and those Amazonians don't have seagoing ships able to reach those serpents.
    It would also make sure that the Europeans still control the seas, wich has been a big factor of the setting so far. They would also still be able to control several islands off the South Vepuccian coast and possibly project a little bit of power inland.
    As an alternative to the sea serpents i present you the Amazon River Dolphin. A freshwater dolphin native to the amazon.

    Revolution name
    The Green Death?
    The Walk of Horrors?
    March of the Ents? (sorry, couldn't resist)

    Question: would the medicine disease have spread into South Vespuccia? If the Spanish hold Panama the knowledge would have a hard time crossing the isthmus.




    One other thing: i'm currently reading 1491. How serious am i to take this book? Is it considered closer to pseudoarchaeology or closer to hard science?

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    For the bioconstructs, how about they cannot be out of sight of the forest, since the biomancers must be within the forest and still see the construct in order for them to control the construct. Within the forest, the biomancer has significantly better range.

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    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    So, the Dutch and the Portuguese get kicked out of the northeast shore area in the (Uprising? Revolution? Apocalypse?).
    I can't emphasize enough that by 1650, the Portuguese in the coastal zones were just as settled and entrenched as the British colonists were in North America in the 1700s--and even more so, in fact, because the Portuguese had a state policy of interbreeding with native peoples.

    In 1500, when Cabral made his first landfall in Brazil, he dropped off several convicted criminals whose lives had been spared for the single purpose of creating an integrated Luso-native population which would acknowledge the Portuguese crown as their rightful overlord. The convicts who survived did just this, and once settlement began in earnest there was deliberate and widespread intermarriage between Portuguese settlers and the Tupí-Guaraní tribes of the entire coastal region.

    By the 1650s, the people who considered themselves Portuguese settlers were a genetic admixture of Lusitanian and Tupí-Guaraní. You need to think carefully about what cultural groups the "biomancers" will be affiliated with, because along the southeastern coastline there will be some complicated interrelationships to take into consideration.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    So, the Dutch and the Portuguese get kicked out of the northeast shore area....
    Given what I've said, what you're describing isn't going to be a simple matter of hastily packing bags and hurrying away.

    It will be genocide. That will be the effect of the "revolution" on the Luso-Brazilian Portuguese.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    How about the biomancer[s] target the Europeans ships first? The Natives know that the ships are what brings the Portugese and takes away the valuables.Targeting them first and cutting off their escape would be a valid tactic.
    Not really. By 1650 the ships are for trade and communication, not simply bringing new colonists. Anyone watching the Brazilian colonies will understand there's now a far greater population than could ever be ferried out by ship.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    Plus, it takes out a lot of their cannons in one fell swoop.
    You think that across 150 years, the Portuguese haven't moved a substantial number of cannons onto land?

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    And Guiana is not within the rainforest....
    Where in the world do you get this?!

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    Taking away the ships would force the Portug[u]ese to walk northward along the coast.
    Or stand and fight to the utter death.

    As for the march north, I'm not sure if you really understand the distance or the terrain involved. This will be over a thousand miles, through the extremely xeric habitats of the Caatinga, through the near-desert dunefields of Maranhão and arid Ceará, and across the many mouths of the Amazon, into the unknown rainforests of Amapá and beyond.

    No one is going to survive this on foot--and they'll know this, and they won't have any reason to believe they'll survive the attempt.

    Also bear in mind that while a few geographers may understand the general outlines of the continent, the Brazilians themselves won't. There are Brazilians today, living in the central Amazon basin, who believe that England is another province in South America, somewhere between Guyana and Amapá. I've met Brazilians who think that the United States shares a physical, contiguous border with certain Middle Eastern countries.

    Now imagine how much people would know about the continent in 1650. Most of them won't have any conception that there's anything to walk TO. Their only hope, once their fighting men have been killed or captured, is to flee to neighboring Tupí-Guaraní tribes and beg for shelter and eventual assimilation.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    Besides, sea serpents are big creatures. Probably built for the deep seas and those Amazonians don't have seagoing ships able to reach those serpents.
    If the Amazonian peoples don't have seagoing ships, that's perfectly historical and accurate.

    If there are sea serpents, though, the only thing that would keep them out of the main-channel Amazon would be osmoregulatory issues--saltwater creatures unable to handle freshwater. There are plenty of anadromous and catadromous fish, however, so this likely wouldn't be a barrier.

    That means sea serpents would have the run of the Amazon, from the mouths at Marajó to Iquitos in Peru.

    Why Iquitos? Because today, seagoing cargo ships are able to chug their way from the Atlantic to the docks of Iquitos to take on cargo. If a diesel-powered cargo ship can do it, a sea serpent can do it.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    As an alternative to the sea serpents i present you the Amazon River Dolphin. A freshwater dolphin native to the amazon.
    There are, in fact, two different genera of Amazonian dolphins, Inia and Sotalia. I've seen them both, although getting good photos of Sotalia is extremely difficult and Inia almost impossible, unless you devote many months of your life to it.

    Sotalia are a lot easier to see, although generally from a moderate distance. They especially like the interface of the smaller blackwater rivers, draining the virtually flat Amazonian forest, with the larger tributaries which are "brown water" on account of the sediment load they're carrying from the southern highlands and the Andes.

    Where the blackwater rivers enter into the larger brownwater channels, there's a contact zone where the brown water billows out into the blackwater, like pouring coffee into a jug of dark tea. This is an interface where Sotalia likes to hunt, because river fish are disoriented by the transition and make for easier targets.

    Sotalia also like riverbends in the smaller blackwater tributaries, beacuse the riverbed is deeper there and fish tend to congregate. Kingfishers like these spots too.



    A Couple Thoughts on South Vespuccia

    I think the best thing to do for now is to present the continent as a green-shrouded land of dark mystery, and leave the details for a later supplement. My sense is that some of the things you're proposing simply won't work, not in the way you're intending, and not with the detailed accuracy that's been developed for North Vespuccia.

    The strength of the Crossroads project so far has been the interest in, and historical knowledge of, Native American and European colonial history and culture, supplemented with an awareness of internal European history and some Chinese flavor. With South Vespuccia the conversation is much less grounded in historical and biological fact, and that will show up in strong contrast to the very intriguing and plausible-feeling alternate history you've developed for North America.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2014-06-03 at 10:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    @Palanan:

    Would you find it acceptable to have a border state in the North by Panama (so just south of Central America) that serves as the farthest south one can go at that time, with South V. being developed for a second release?

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    Map
    Okay, I doodled a quick version of the whole-continent map for the new world as it is in my head at this particular moment, I'm sure I've missed a few things, and some of the lines are probably wrong, but I figured it might help people figure out where we are at the moment. If you can't read the little key at the bottom, you'll have to click through to photobucket and zoom in because for some reason it won't actually SHOW the big version. Granted, the big version's pretty huge.

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    Medicine Disease

    Great Basin/Hisatsinom
    Ahh, that a-splains it, we were looking at different maps.

    Still, I believe we can both agree, there is a bit of overlap there, particularly in the southern parts.

    I initially like the idea of the Hisatsinom taking over the great basin, but now I realize it would not be particularly practical. the Hisatsinom were agricultural based, and the great basin is very poor for farming, they would never be able to sustain the villages and farms the Hisatsinom way of life would require. I think they likely would take the southern reaches of the great basin with the canyons and such in the area, but too far north and it's too dry to work.

    Plagued
    Hmm. Would they be monsters, monsters with a playable option, or a pure playable race? Or maybe a feat or something?

    Appalachian Link
    Indeed, exactly what I was thinking. They would see this as an opportunity to start a new country and to insinuate their order into its very foundations.

    South Vespuccia

    Genocide
    Now, this is a big enough issue I thought it should be first:
    Yes, there was a concerted effort to interbreed with the populations of native, and yes these people would view the land as their homeland. But would the rest of the natives see them as 'kin'? They speak Portuguese. They live a Portuguese lifestyle. They would also be party to the various horrors inflicted on the rest of the natives.
    I think a genocide would be viewed as a valid solution to this problem by the natives. If you look at real-world genocides, such as those in Africa or the holocaust, they don't have to have a different skin color, they don't have to live different lifestyles, or anything. The people doing the genocide can justify their targets as 'different' somehow, and in this case, there is actually an easily-noticeable difference between the people.
    Additionally, I think a holocaust situation would be pretty much the kind of feeling I'm looking for. This was a sudden, horrible event that left survivors shaken and nobody's quite sure what happened to those left behind. Plus, as of now, I feel a lot of native societies may be painted with a rosy brush. They don't actually, seriously go to war against the colonists, though they may swat down invading forces or armed expeditions and set barriers against expansion. A genocide in south america would make colonists quite a bit more nervous about their native neighbors, and it would make the readers see them not quite so rosily.

    Ships
    Targeting the ships would likely be a valid tactic, but I think they wouldn't target ships already there, just incoming ones. After all, the goal is to get them out of the country or dead, and destroying the ships would just make them that much harder to dislodge.

    Limited Area
    Thinking about this, the idea has come to me that instead of using mind-controlled animals, what about using plant creatures? After all, the amazonian tribes didn't really domesticate animals in any major way, but they did practice advanced agriculture. So, what if the engineered plant creatures require terra preta to grow? Maybe they have to root in terra preta periodically to remain active? Either option indicates its own sphere of influence, the first being much wider than the latter, though the spread of the former could be made wider if the natives continued to convert soil.
    My initial vision was things like horrid apes, but I think I much prefer the idea of these plants doing the job. Imagine creeping vines that grow feet each day and cling to structures, sending anchor roots into them that either shatter them or give the vines the leverage to eventually uproot or tear them down. Giant gorilla-like tree-creatures. Armies of expendable gourd-men. Bio-weapons that spit bullet-like seeds. Maybe some kind of infectious vegetable parasite that turns animals into plant zombies?

    Name
    Not quite...
    We could just have them refer to it as the 'Amazonas Disaster'.

    Walk North
    The myriad of hostile environments you describe would only apply if they left from the southern coast of Brazil, the north coast would have a much shorter trip, though they would still be traveling through rain forest (speaking of, I can't seem to find a name for any south american rain forest areas other than the amazon) for many, many miles.

    Atlantic Forest
    The atlantic forest is fully distinct from the amazon, and I don't think the uprising in the amazon would have reached them. A brief look into it says 88% of the original forest has been destroyed, though, so I'm not sure if the WWF ecoregion is the current expanse or the full natural extent of it.
    Anyways, this is definitely an important part of the Portuguese colonization, and we will most certainly have to address what happens here, even if it's 'nothing'.

    Brazilwood
    Vague idea: Brazilood's Portuguese name means something like 'ember wood', if I understand correctly. Should we do something with that?

    Sea Serpents/dolphins
    This one's a challenge.
    My original vision of sea serpents was something between an oar-fish and an eel, just made giant, with very nasty teeth. Now that I think on it a bit, though, they are a largely European myth and they purportedly inhabit deep ocean, so you do have a point, they probably wouldn't be used/exist in the amazon.
    I like the dolphins, definitely, but I can't help but think they wouldn't make very good weapons. I do think we should do something with them, though. Perhaps we could have them be sentient and forming their own culture? I don't think they do the pods thing as much as other dolphins, though.
    I think having the revolution happen would require the natives to control the river, though, somehow. Perhaps they enlist the help of a great water spirit, or maybe a south american spirit-beast?

    Land of Mystery
    That's definitely my intention for the book, but we really do need to iron out the details of what happened there. Even if the book only mentions it in passing, the ripple of its effects will have a dramatic effect on how the colonies develop, and the fate of other cultures. It's all interconnected. I do understand there's a lot of learning that needs to be done before the south american region can be treated with the same accuracy and plausibility of the north american one, but I feel that if we don't talk about it, the learning will never happen and we'll continue to build around a false foundation. Even if we do have to drop the whole amazon rebellion at some point, there's still a lot to address that's important to the colonies and the rest of the world by extension.

    1941
    As far as I'm aware, it's just a marvelous book, and quite accurate. I can't find any scientific criticisms of the material presented, and it was quite popular for a while when it came out, so if it wasn't right, it probably would have been called on it.
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  24. - Top - End - #204
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    Dang, that is one extremely detailed map, bro! I'm impressed, and happy to finally see the first-ever complete map of the entire Crossroads setting!

    I've got some questions for you, though:
    • Why would the Mammutcha be completely surrounded by the Subarctic culture? If they're trading with the Tuniit (and there's no way they wouldn't be, since they're the perfect size for Tuniit to ride like horses), then the people between them would see mammoths passing through, realize how useful they were, and adopt the lifestyle. Tuniitaq wouldn't be much of a trade confederacy if they didn't even have access to mammoths.
    • Are the Fusangren completely cut off by the Russians? Aren't they still hanging onto a few of the Aluetan islands, south of Novarassi? If they're hostile with Novarassi right now, then that means they're basically cut off from China, except by Links.
    • I think there's a little bit of Mammutcha that sticks out past the tree-line just north of the Great Slave Lake. Might wanna fix that, but it's pretty minor.
    • I noticed that Aztatlan doesn't border Mayalatolli. I thought that the Aztecs were in the process of conquering the Maya, or just starting to look at them slantwise?
    • No Iroquois League? I realize they're kind of hard to squeeze in between New Britain and Nouvelle Francais, but I feel like they're a force to be reckoned with on their own. Plus, they're really cool, and they wrote the first draft of the Constitution! Or were you thinking that they'd be part of Columbia, because they're more heavily involved in trade with Europeans than they are with the Cahokian League?
    • Why would the French tolerate viking raids at their most vulnerable point, the mouth of the St. Lawrence? I know that's how I drew it in the map I sent you, but I've reconsidered since then. In order to ensure access to their own goods, and for their colonists safety, I think the French need to control both sides of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Though not necessarily the whole thing, all the way around. They might just have armed garrisons on Newfoundland and Anticosti, to provide partial protection against the Vinlanders. This makes sense, because island populations are smaller and easier to conquer and/or convert, and it doesn't keep the players completely safe from raiders.


    P.S. This isn't really about the map, but Tuniitaq proper is basically a blend of Inuit, viking, and mammoth-rider cultures at this point in history, right? Am I understanding that correctly?
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    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    If you can't read the little key at the bottom....
    Yup, can't read the labels at all. Maybe add larger text to the regions on the map itself?



    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    Maybe they have to root in terra preta periodically to remain active?
    This reminds me of the twiggies from Sunless Citadel.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    The myriad of hostile environments you describe would only apply if they left from the southern coast of Brazil, the north coast would have a much shorter trip, though they would still be traveling through rain forest (speaking of, I can't seem to find a name for any south american rain forest areas other than the amazon) for many, many miles.
    I may not understand the scenario you're presenting, then.

    I seem to recall, earlier in this thread or the last one, that it had been decided the Portuguese wouldn't have any New World holdings at all--that they'd been turned away early on and never gained a foothold. Ideas seem to have evolved since then.

    So I'm not sure if Recife, Bahia, Rio and the other historical settlements exist or not--the ones which formed the heart of early colonial Brazil. Belém came later, other settlements in the northeast later still, for the reasons I mentioned earlier.

    Thus, I'm not sure where exactly any of what you've described will be happening, and the where is critical to the what and the why.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    The atlantic forest is fully distinct from the amazon, and I don't think the uprising in the amazon would have reached them.
    Which leaves the question of what, exactly, will be happening with the growing colonies along the southeastern coastline. If there's no counterattack from the biomancers here, there's no reason for the Portuguese to be driven out, and suddenly you have a major Portuguese presence in South Vespuccia. In essence you have an incipient Brazilian nation, more or less contained by the Treaty of Tordesillas.

    This, in turn, means that the bandeirantes would become a factor, along with the story of how Minas Gerais got its name, and much else that follows its historical trajectory. By 1750 Brazil will be Portugal's largest colony, essentially a nation unto itself and a major presence on the continent.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    The myriad of hostile environments you describe would only apply if they left from the southern coast of Brazil, the north coast would have a much shorter trip....
    Also, it doesn't matter if it's a thousand miles or "only" five hundred; refugees on foot with little food or weapons won't make it.

    If their towns and cities are being attacked (wherever exactly this is), then why wouldn't the refugees be harried and hunted every step of the way? These are farmers and townsfolk, traders and craftsmen's wives; most of them won't know how to survive in the forest, and most of them wouldn't even know which way to go.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    A brief look into it says 88% of the original [Atlantic] forest has been destroyed....
    One hell of a lot more than that.

    What remains of the Mata Atlântica are only tiny scattered fragments. I've been there: I've seen the ash floating down from the sky as the deforestation continues. There's virtually nothing left in anything remotely like its original form.

    Bear in mind, however, that much of the destruction accelerated tremendously from the early- to mid-twentieth century onward. In 1650 it's a different situation.



    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    As far as I'm aware, [1491 is] just a marvelous book, and quite accurate. I can't find any scientific criticisms of the material presented, and it was quite popular for a while when it came out, so if it wasn't right, it probably would have been called on it.
    Here's a review from several years ago which seems guardedly positive.

    The fact that Mann is a journalist rather than a scientist makes me instinctively wary; I've read too many books by journalists who care more about dramatic, sweeping statements than getting their facts right.

    That said, Mann seems to have done a fair amount of background research, and this quote from the review hints of grudging approval:

    For a popular work, Mann has done very well, and his narrative should help do what it was designed for. Even specialists will likely learn something, even if, for specialists[,] this is not revisionist at all, but rather a readable and convincing synthesis.

    So, I'd be extremely wary of any broad-brush statements he makes that aren't backed up by specific quotes or sources. Otherwise probably okay.



    Originally Posted by Mith
    Would you find it acceptable to have a border state in the North by Panama (so just south of Central America) that serves as the farthest south one can go at that time, with South V. being developed for a second release?
    This is up to the principals of the Crossroads project. Squish has a point when he says it needs to be worked out, but he also allows there's a learning curve, and at this point my recommendation would be to present most of South Vespuccia as terra incognita, much as Africa seems to be so far.

    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    No Iroquois League? I realize they're kind of hard to squeeze in between New Britain and Nouvelle Francais, but I feel like they're a force to be reckoned with on their own.
    And yes, the Iroqouis would be a nation to be reckoned with, who would have their own periphery of client chiefdoms. Bear in mind that the Iroquois aren't a single monolithic entity, but five (later six) individual peoples, and they gained power and prestige trading with the Dutch, French and later English. They'll need their own space, and plenty of it.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Map

    • Mammutcha The Mammutchadinne are surrounded by the subarctic culture because they were among the subarctic cultures before they diverged enough to warrant a unique culture of their own. Keep in mind, the Mammutcha, subarctic, Inuit, Tuniit and Vinland cultures are all part of the same political group known as Tuniitaq. The subarctic groups between the Mammutchadinne and the Tuniit might well have captured some mammut, and may ride them, but they wouldn't be part of the Mammutchadinne culture, because it's more than just riding mammut that makes them Mammutchadinne. They invented it, and their culture is entirely shaped around it. Also, mammut are not suitable to be ridden by giants, they're large-sized, not huge. They shrank a little in the domestication.
    • Russia Just because Fusang doesn't own the coastline all the way across, that doesn't mean they can't travel across the ocean. Russia might occasionally take a Fusang ship, but there's a lot of ocean out there. Plus, while it might be safer weather-wise to travel near the shore or the islands, they could always go straight across the water to avoid conflicts.
    • Aztatlan I didn't look too close into the timeline for this, I just doodled the historical maximum extent of the aztec empire and added a bit following the rio grande north, because I seem to remember that. I don't think they're touching Mayatolli, but it's entirely possible I'm wrong.
    • Iroquois I did indeed forget about them. So, they would be a little than their historical size. But then, their historical size is a little hard to determine... I'll see what I can doodle up.
    • Vinland I could imagine dropping a few of the little islands around the north edge of Columbia, but I think the big island on the northern end is important.


    Tuniitaq
    Tuniitaq has a lot of cross-pollination of ideas and technology, the groups are less sharply defined than in most places. Inuit, Viking, Mammutcha, Subartic, all blended together a good bit, particularly at the edges.

    Key
    That would probably be MORE difficult. I'm working with microsoft paint, here, and not all of them have shapes conducive to putting words in them.

    South Vespuccia

    The Plan
    The original plan was that all of south america was devoid of European colonization. This was because, at the time, I thought the amazon was all the deep green parts on the satellite map of south america. Were this the case, the map would have been cleared of colonists in the rebellion, more or less.

    Currently
    Now, knowing the amazon is only that one slice, the reality of the situation is much different. The amazonian rebellion would only kick the portugese and the dutch out of the north-east facing portion of what we now call Brazil. What happens beyond that is independent of the rebellion.

    Fleeing North
    Okay, so, it's still a pretty impossible trip. Maybe one or two exceptionally lucky and skilled individuals might stagger up the coast from fringe settlements on the northern ends of the Portuguese settlements, but for the most part, it's not happening.

    Atlantic Forest
    Okay, as of the moment, the amazonian rebellion doesn't have any effect on the atlantic forest and the southern Portuguese colonies. I would like to do something with them, but I'm not certain what. Maybe ghengixander is expansionist, and makes a concerted effort to expand the terra preta areas before his death, allowing amazonian forces to reach into other forests, maybe even expanding the forest itself until the two forests merge? Or perhaps the natives of the atlantic forest follow the example of the amazonian tribes and launch a less-successful revolt of their own, a much more prolonged, drawn out effort to wipe out the Portuguese.

    Invisible Wall
    I can't support the idea of just creating a 'you can't do anything south of here' line. I hate them in video games, and I think that creating such a line in a sandbox setting such as this one would be even worse. with a video game, there are mechanical limitations to consider, but with a campaign setting, saying 'oh, you can't go there' is just laziness.
    I think that discussing south america is very important at this point, as technically speaking, they are part of Columbia, and Portugal and Spain's fate depend heavily on their income from south america.
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  27. - Top - End - #207
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I agree with the fact that it is laziness to do an invisible wall, I was thinking about focusing solely on North V. at this time, sorting it out, than figuring out South V. In terms of releases, you can have the core Crossroads setting start with North V. with an expansion with South V. Sales pitch and all that.

    So perhaps sort out a rough idea so it is known what territories are down there, since the colonies are all along the edges of the continent from my understanding, and then have an expansion that focuses on South V.
    Last edited by Mith; 2014-06-03 at 11:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    That's pretty much the plan, as it stands.

    In the book, I intend to cover South America in relatively vague detail, about the same amount of detail I cover the rest of the continents outside north america with. Then, if the crossroads book works, I will aim to make an expansion, detailing south america more thoroughly.

    However, discussion-wise, we do need to figure out what happens on the continent, how it relates to the current state of Portugal and Spain, and how it affects the rest of the setting. I think now is as good a time as any, especially since it appears to be that we have a South America expert in our midst for the moment.

    Other Stuff

    Brute
    Making progress here. Still lost on the name, I'm writing the class name as [blank] with the intention that I can find-and-replace it once I settle on a name. I dropped brute paths entirely and came up with a whole list of archetype/varieties you pick at first level, that have some relatively minor effects that scale as you level. I'm a little short on class abilities, though. The feats of strength are gonna be cool abilities, but they're not enough to make up for four or five levels. So far I've just got varieties, feats of strength, DR, bravery, and mettle.

    Giantkin
    Just waiting on fluff at this point. Since these guys are replacing the trollkin, I really want them to be as flavorful, if not moreso, and I'm not having much success making it happen.
    I'm considering breaking down the giant heritage options and making it a list you can pick a number of powers from, just so it covers all these different kinds of giants, but I'm somewhat concerned that I'm making too highly-variable races.
    I DID finally make a feat that allows the giantkin to go semi-unnoticed in human societies.

    Witch-blood
    I got a request earlier by PM to add elemental options to witch blood, and of course, being me, now I'm thinking of going down the full rewrite road, with mini-lists for as many as 15 possible heritages, possibly even rolling the spirit born into it.
    I figure they ARE kinda euro-centric at the moment.
    Considering a new name: 'touched', to focus on their identity as humans touched by some inhuman power source that has made them different somehow.

    Fusang Race
    I been thinking on it, and I think that we need at least one Chinese playable race. The Yilong idea doesn't really seem to be working out, does anyone have any ideas?
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    Fusang Race
    I been thinking on it, and I think that we need at least one Chinese playable race. The Yilong idea doesn't really seem to be working out, does anyone have any ideas?
    I don't really think it's necessary; there's already the Húli Jīng, and animal-people as a whole is mostly covered by the Spirit-Born.

    On that note, I would be against a merging of the spirit-born and the witch-blooded. Both fit pretty different roles; while the Spirit Born are the literal decedents from one spirit or another, the witch-blooded simply have a vaguely defined relation to a otherworldly entity. The reason the witch-born are relatively euro-centric is because they simply are; they are the kin of creatures that are not exactly wandering around the place in large numbers, or in the open for that matter.

    If one wished for more options for the witch-blooded, I would generalize the name and open it up with options from elsewhere. I cannot actually figure something for Fusang; the only two things I know that pick human spouses on a regular basis in mythology are the Jinn and the Devas/Asuras, and the decendents of either would probably not end up in the Americas for obvious reasons.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    However, discussion-wise, we do need to figure out what happens on the continent, how it relates to the current state of Portugal and Spain, and how it affects the rest of the setting. I think now is as good a time as any, especially since it appears to be that we have a South America expert in our midst for the moment.
    Ok, so let's start at the basics and see what we have:

    1) Inca Empire
    2) New Spain
    3) Dutch Guyana
    4) Portugese Brazil
    5) Amazonian Biomancers under Genghixander
    6) Whatever is in the Pampa's, Patagonia,...

    Now we just need to ask ourselves what we want in the game that fits historically and geographically.
    Some stuff to consider:
    1) The Inca empire is a huge force, but them staying the same for 250 years would be very weird. That never happened to any nation that every existed.
    2) If New Spain is that much smaller, how will the reduced income and power of Spain affect the setting?
    5) The Biomancers and their (attempted) genocide are an interesting lot. Perhaps it's better to put them in the game?


    Some other stuff:

    Here are two maps i've found that give some more detail about the colonization of Brazil. I hope they're accurate but i can't be sure. There are surpisingly few maps to be found about this subject. These maps show very large parts of the continent that are still uncolonized, but most likely they are already claimed by the nations colonizing the continent.
    The maps are in german, so if there's something you don't understand just ask.
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    Last thing i'd like to ask: can we think about the name South Vespuccia?
    I've noticed that we seem to use the name 'Vespuccia' to refer to either both continents or to the northern part of the continent while we use 'South Vespuccia' for the Southern part.
    Maybe we should just give a different name to the Southern continent. Name it after the guy that discovered Brazil, Pedro Álvares Cabral or something.

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