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    PirateGuy

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    Post Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Greetings!

    Probably not the best request for my first post to these forums. Although I've been a long time reader of Oots (started just before page 200 was posted), I've never actually taken a look at the forums here until I stumbled across a creature in the homebrew design section via google. I must say, I'm impressed! Such a large, creative community here!

    Not feeling comfortable posting such a vague request in the Homebrew design section, I decided it's best to ask here. If anyone is willing to submit their own custom creations for a private roleplay world setting, it would be much appreciated! I'm looking for unique works that do not exist anywhere else.

    The setting I've been working on for some time now is called Tattered Earth. It's a one off roleplay world set in a combination alternate reality / fantasy setting. There are no elves, dwarves, dragons, etc here.. Everything, including races, languages, and so forth are unique. The best way to describe the setting is to have you imagine the late 1800's. Now remove the ability for anything liquid or otherwise to combust / explode. This means no firearms, explosions, or even combustable fuels are possible. Steam engines exist, along with primitive electricity, with a splash of modern music and complex politics in a widely untamed world. The few cities that exist are far spread, and the sentient races compete with each other for territory and more.

    Creating everything from scratch yourself is a challenging project, so I'm looking for more filler to make the world more alive and unique. All submitted works will be credited to their author. I'd ask for a detailed description of how everything appears, and if applicable the general mentality, and other features. Bonus points for anything with an image submitted. While I still hold distant hope of this setting growing in popularity, I do not see that happening without years more work.

    Should you have any questions, feel free to post them! (And if I've broken a forum rule in posting this, I fall to my knees and beg of you not to let Belkar decide my punishment.)

    Richard H.

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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarss View Post
    Now remove the ability for anything liquid or otherwise to combust / explode. This means no firearms, explosions, or even combustable fuels are possible. Steam engines exist, along with primitive electricity, with a splash of modern music and complex politics in a widely untamed world.
    You may have better luck in the World Building sub-forum.

    A few comments though:

    If there are no combustible fuels, how is steam generated? Geothermal power?
    I assume there's also no trees (because there's no combustible wood), which implies you need an alternate form of oxygen generation for your world.

    Presumably the inhabitants are all limited to bronze with cold forging techniques, since there's no way of refining or smelting anything else?
    I also don't see how electricity can be generated on a non-curiousity scale without the advances in metallurgy that you've removed.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarss View Post
    Steam engines exist, along with primitive electricity, with a splash of modern music and complex politics in a widely untamed world. The few cities that exist are far spread, and the sentient races compete with each other for territory and more.
    On top of the above why exactly is there competition when the world is mostly untamed and civilizations are far removed from one other? How are they

    1. Fighting such protracted battles

    2. Over what are they fighting when land and thus resources seem to be not exactly at a premium

    3. How are your races "unique"?

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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarss View Post
    Not feeling comfortable posting such a vague request in the Homebrew design section, I decided it's best to ask here. If anyone is willing to submit their own custom creations for a private roleplay world setting, it would be much appreciated! I'm looking for unique works that do not exist anywhere else.
    Welcome! While I understand your trepidation, that forum would be more appropriate and you're probably also more likely to get more good responses if you post there, so I'd recommend asking a mod to move it over (which they might do anyway).

    When it comes to world design, it's difficult to give advice without more specifics on the world and your intentions and so forth, but there are a few principles to bear in mind. Firstly, you say you're going to have unique races. It's worth considering whether this is a necessity or is in fact just a gimmick. See Red Fel's first post in this thread: if you're not creating anything truly original, and your people are really just reskinned traditional fantasy archetypes, you're probably better off just using those.

    Of course you don't have to use them at all. There's nothing wrong with all-human settings and some settings are the better for it.

    Another piece of advice I tend to give is to consider the boring nitty-gritty stuff that makes a setting function below the surface, rather than just the cool stuff you want to see on top. Economics, demographics, political development, even climate, all this stuff has a serious knock-on effect on everything else. Things in human history tend to have happened when they did for specific reasons which made those changes possible and desirable at the time, where someone else trying something similar even fifty years earlier would most likely have met with failure, rather than because the ideas themselves are inherently awesome. Of course there is a degree of luck and ingenuity involved, but it's worth considering what being in the right place at the right time actually means.

    As such I think it's worth sitting down and working out answers to questions like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    On top of the above why exactly is there competition when the world is mostly untamed and civilizations are far removed from one other? How are they

    1. Fighting such protracted battles
    2. Over what are they fighting when land and thus resources seem to be not exactly at a premium
    What is the agricultural infrastructure which supports the cities? What sort of population density are you dealing with? Why are the cities so far apart? What spurred the invention and development of steam power and electricity? What are the social structures and how have they developed?

    The same principle applies to everything. The questions to be asking aren't so much "what" as "how" and "why". With an element you want to include, try to think about why it would have developed from an in-setting perspective; why someone would have come up with it, how it operates in this setting, why other people would have found it useful and necessary, how it would have impacted on the rest of the world and people around it, how long ago it was introduced and the effect it could have had in that time, how it's pushed development in a different direction (or the same direction), and so on. Dozens if not hundreds of questions really, but if you can come up with half-plausible answers to all of them you're well on your way to a convincing setting. People don't mind having to suspend their disbelief occasionally, but you don't want to be forcing them to do it more than necessary.

    There are of course also the purely scientific questions to consider, like Brother Oni's above.

    Of course, you could cheat, and say that this is a "fallen" version of RL Earth (or a very close simulacrum) where the various technologies and their power sources etc. are the legacy of a former, more advanced civilisation, and that the stuff you describe is people trying to keep the lid on things and simulate the world still operating as it used to rather than its having developed that way. Which can work, too.
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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    What is the agricultural infrastructure which supports the cities? What sort of population density are you dealing with? Why are the cities so far apart? What spurred the invention and development of steam power and electricity? What are the social structures and how have they developed?
    Those are questions to ask sure but if they are actual cities and not little villages then one would hope they have a rather large agricultural bounty to turn to. The rest about power sources are simple enough to answer, because civilizations will strive to make work easier and powered farming tools are better than non-powered farming tools.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    The same principle applies to everything. The questions to be asking aren't so much "what" as "how" and "why". With an element you want to include, try to think about why it would have developed from an in-setting perspective; why someone would have come up with it, how it operates in this setting, why other people would have found it useful and necessary, how it would have impacted on the rest of the world and people around it, how long ago it was introduced and the effect it could have had in that time, how it's pushed development in a different direction (or the same direction), and so on. Dozens if not hundreds of questions really, but if you can come up with half-plausible answers to all of them you're well on your way to a convincing setting. People don't mind having to suspend their disbelief occasionally, but you don't want to be forcing them to do it more than necessary.
    The How and the Why don't exist separate of one another. Why they're doing it isn't really in question, resources or ideological differences are the most common form of division and strife so it's not like that won't factor into city states warring with one another. Plenty of history to support that. Why they're coming into conflict when there seems to be plenty of land isn't really in question either because ideology doesn't require land when "We hate them, let's kill them" is the reason for the war.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    There are of course also the purely scientific questions to consider, like Brother Oni's above.
    Sure but he handled them and I'm less concerned about the science. That can be hand waved, the sociopolitcal stuff can't as easily.

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    You've all raised some excellent points, and I've failed to properly summarize the setting I've imagined.

    Below is a brief description of the history for my project, meant to grab interest and invite others for a deeper look.

    "Nearly a thousand years have passed since the the gods shattered the moon, plunging us into darkness. Upon a time, ‘Earth’ had had its continents, oceans, islands, seasons of winds, suns, rains, and snow. It had species galore, and over seven billion people between the races. They had magic, grand machines of flight, and used science to experiment with eradicating weakness; working closer to try and become gods themselves. While the secrets of how the body works had not yet been discovered, still they understood the basic elements of life and disease. They had long since mastered the forge and metalworking; they had vast engines of destruction and control of elemental power all at the touch of a button. All in all theirs seemed a bright, if not frightening future, whose explorers probed into distant lands to seek new worlds.

    But that was before the remaking. And now, almost a thousand years later, the gods have stirred from their slumber."
    I believe this will help answer some of the above questions, while bringing forth so many more.

    It's become frustrating at times, working on something like this. I had made progress at one time, but a lost flash drive and downed website have set me back some ways, forcing me to remake what was once completed. Just a great reminder to always backup, and in multiple locations!
    Last edited by Scarss; 2014-12-04 at 05:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarss View Post
    I believe this will help answer some of the above questions, while bringing forth so many more.
    It doesn't answer much really. There was magic or is that just who ever is giving us this sound bite being mistaken? Because magic can bypass a lot of the hard science stuff pretty swiftly. It also doesn't answer why everyone is fighting over the rather plentiful land when they're not really near enough to make border conflict a problem. If it's simply because this world is "Post Apocalypse" it's ignoring the fact that civilization doesn't tend towards entropy, it tends towards betterment. Else we wouldn't be here talking over the internet on a message board.

    Also this all sounds oddly familiar to me. A world stricken by the "Gods" and having lost combustion engines and the like. I'm not sure the world but this isn't the first time I've heard this song and dance. Just can't place the IP that I've heard it from.
    Last edited by Razade; 2014-12-04 at 05:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Those are questions to ask sure but if they are actual cities and not little villages then one would hope they have a rather large agricultural bounty to turn to. The rest about power sources are simple enough to answer, because civilizations will strive to make work easier and powered farming tools are better than non-powered farming tools.
    In the former case, that's fine so long as the world as written actually supports that. It is however common in amateur (and indeed some non-amateur) fantasy settings to see cities existing almost completely in isolation from anything else, surrounded by vast tracts of infertile wilderness, which raises a lot of questions about why it's there, how it feeds itself and so on. One would indeed hope they have that, but it still needs to be considered by the setting writer, which is basically my point.

    As to power, it's not always that simple. Powered tools are, all things being equal, probably better than non-powered ones, but it's rarely such an obvious and straightforward dichotomy. Powered tools require fuel, so you need to have a system in place for producing and transporting that which is sufficiently advanced and efficient to make the cost of running the powered tools worthwhile, on top of whatever capital investment is necessary, not to mention any skilled labour necessary to operate and repair the machinery. In order for an industrialised society to have arisen and continue to function, you need at least the following, just on a relatively basic level:
    • A society that enables sufficient numbers of people to have the time and education to invent the machinery
    • Sufficient, preferably rising demand, for any capital investment to be worthwhile
    • Sufficiently developed infrastructure to make fuel and raw materials accessible and affordable, as well as to
    • A society structured in such a way that the people whose invention and investment is required can actually make money out of it
    • Labour to be insufficiently plentiful and cheap that industrialisation is a more economical investment


    That last is a key one. There are a number of examples of people coming up with inventions or ideas that the world they lived in at the time just had no need for, only for the same sort of thing to be reinvented or rediscovered centuries later and to change the world. The idea of using steam as a power source has been around since at least Roman times, but so long as population density (and hence demand) was relatively low and labour was sufficiently cheap, nobody really had a use for it, so it didn't get picked up and developed until the 17th century by which time the world had changed such that it was now in a position to catch on. A key reason the southern US states didn't really industrialise in the antebellum period was because they just didn't need to: they were better off using their cheap labour to produce raw materials and ship it off for processing elsewhere; indeed this was economically a roaring success and it took the war and emancipation to render the system unsustainable (it might have happened anyway in the long run, but then again, perhaps not). Because industrialisation has happened, we tend to think of it as inevitable and as an unqualified improvement (in economic/productivity terms at least) on what went before, but it's not necessarily the case.

    The How and the Why don't exist separate of one another. Why they're doing it isn't really in question, resources or ideological differences are the most common form of division and strife so it's not like that won't factor into city states warring with one another. Plenty of history to support that. Why they're coming into conflict when there seems to be plenty of land isn't really in question either because ideology doesn't require land when "We hate them, let's kill them" is the reason for the war.
    But as you suggest later, if land is plentiful and border conflict isn't a problem, and everyone has access to sufficient resources to prosper, there's little reason for people to fight unless they've fundamentally rejected the model of settled civilisation and prefer to run round taking other people's stuff. Which would be valid from a world-building perspective, but in that case that needs to be there. While wars have started over "we hate them, let's kill them" it's not as common as it might seem, and is more often an excuse for war than the actual reason for one. Coincidentally, those people tend to have something you want, whether it's their money, their land, or their people themselves - moreover if that actually is the motive it implies a war of extermination, rather than conquest or raiding, which is something else to consider.
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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    Sure but he handled them and I'm less concerned about the science. That can be hand waved, the sociopolitcal stuff can't as easily.
    Well hand waved to a degree. If the scarcity of the materials for bronze is the same as the real world, then there would be plenty of conflict for those materials, especially since they can't get anything more advanced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarss View Post
    I believe this will help answer some of the above questions, while bringing forth so many more.
    As Razade said, it doesn't answer anything really as all it's done is wiggle its fingers at my questions and say 'a wizard fixed it'.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2014-12-04 at 07:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Points taken. So let's make some changes to the setting, make it more feudal and less convoluted..

    "TE is a custom world in which Humans are the minority, and survive among such races as the Treacherous Nebari, ingenious Episidies, or the massive Lokkan. There is little magic here. Rudimentary science and the strength of steel are the true sources of power.

    Imagine the world of the early 1300's, with dashes and tidbits of technology from throughout the next six hundred years. Now remove any sort of controlled explosions. This means firearms, cannons, grenades, and even fuel driven internal combustion engines are not possible. A crude form of electricity is available for the extremely wealthy, with the horse and the steam locomotive being the primary means of land transportation. The sail still powers ships across the oceans, while massive steam engines spin the turbines that illuminate cities."

    I'll have to tackle more of your questions later this evening.

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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    I would like to add that metabolizing food is technically combustion.
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    Default Re: Request for unique creatures, settings, and other works

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarss View Post
    Imagine the world of the early 1300's, with dashes and tidbits of technology from throughout the next six hundred years. Now remove any sort of controlled explosions. This means firearms, cannons, grenades, and even fuel driven internal combustion engines are not possible. A crude form of electricity is available for the extremely wealthy, with the horse and the steam locomotive being the primary means of land transportation. The sail still powers ships across the oceans, while massive steam engines spin the turbines that illuminate cities."
    Okay, so it sounds like gunpowder and oil/gasoline are out. That leaves coal and wood for viable fuel sources for the trains. Cities might also generate electricity through geothermal heat and hydroelectric dams, assuming any are still standing.

    That also makes good points for conflict. Coal mines would be extremely valuable, as it sounds like any large-scale trade between cities would need to be done by train, which needs coal as a fuel source. Control the coal, and you basically own inter-city trade. The old hydroelectric dams, assuming they still partially function, are equally valuable. Electricity is a luxury item, and something the size of Hoover Dam can generate enough to power large portions of the US Southwest. Even if most of the generators were broken and unusable, you can still power a small medieval-sized city. And due to the nature of it being a dam, it's also a massive source of water, which means a good spot for agriculture.

    And if you want petty reasons for war, let's assume that the hydroelectric city is selling power to the others. They've got enough for all of their citizens, since it's where it's created, but due to the large amount you lose through transmission lines (I'm assuming they don't understand advanced electric theory on how to send power long distances), the other cities barely get anything, and are charged a premium for it. So, they get jealous and want to take the city of wealth and illumination for themselves.

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