The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Need help fleshing out a world

    Quote Originally Posted by MossyMeow View Post
    They killed the last person who suggested it stood for Best Friends Forever.
    You could make any acronym you want. Make it an oath, a prayer, or the secret word only other assassins would recognize.

    In fact, I wish I had thought of that during the writeup. "What does it stand for?" might be a recognition code and giving the wrong answer might mark the character as a fraud with a blade other assassins want.

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Need help fleshing out a world

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    You could make any acronym you want. Make it an oath, a prayer, or the secret word only other assassins would recognize.

    In fact, I wish I had thought of that during the writeup. "What does it stand for?" might be a recognition code and giving the wrong answer might mark the character as a fraud with a blade other assassins want.
    Ooh, I like it. Iím almost certain my play group will automatically guess it stands for Best Friends Forever, and suffer the consequences.

    I think Iíll make the final dagger be a phylactery for a lich or dracolich, as part of a larger theme for the campaign; the ancient empire of Aboukir was actually ruled by gold dragons in disguise, and the players will have to fight the last empress of the empire, a dracolich driven mad by the loss of her eggs. Iím not sure if the dagger will be her phylactery, or that of an unrelated lich. Iím thinking the latter, as sort of a subtle hint towards the ending of the campaign. This is exciting!
    Like Star Wars, ponies, and/or unabashed silliness? Check out my YouTube channel, Nothing In Particular, for a healthy dose of absurdity. It's just what the doctor ordered!*

    * Surgeon General's Warning: May cause chronic hideous laughter, eye rolling, or beleaguered sighs. Not intended to prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Need help fleshing out a world

    I've been meaning to post on this for a while now...but here goes.

    Box o- ideas

    if dwarven ideas are not working...have their cities be remnants of a Sumerian inspired system. Lots of epic stonework, ancestor tie ins etc...close enough to feel classically "Dwarf" but also different enough to be not copy and paste.

    Goblinoids....how about them being refugesss or survivors a mass migration that has dispersed. With Goblins being based on Swamp Arab lifestyles (lots of floating platforms, otter assisted fishing, water buffalo etc)...perhaps make them resistant to malaria/parasites to explain their ability to survive there so much better (as a play on filth classic "Goblins" live in)...Have the Hobgoblins be based on the Hill tribes mentioned above...Again lots of classic traditionalists, strongly combative ideas, can twist lots of the social structure...they would mostly be small scale communities but could be turned into a horde if needed...which gives the world a greater degree of flexibility. And Bugbears...they are the goblins who went into the forests and went from there.
    olitical neutrality,

    Tieflings....what if instead of just deamons they (or some) were connected to night...the fire protection etc is from their cooling effects of the night as much as a bond where fire sees them as kin. They bonded to protect themselves from the raveges of the sun.

    Environment...whenever you have a setting dominated by a single biome it generally makes sense to break it up....When you deal with a lot of it the differences really start to matter...So savanna, scrub forest (Look for Angolan Thorn Forest, Arizona Mesquite Forests, or the old Cedar etc Forests that covered much of the middle east until the last were cut down near Petra to build the Instambul-Mecca railroad), badlands, erg, etc all would tell you a lot about how many people can live in various areas and how they do so. Also much of what most westerners thing of as "Desert Civilizations" are based either around Major River Systems or mountains...

    Also see if you can scrounge up some of the older edition DnD stuff that you can use for ideas and materials...2e and 4e Dark Sun, 3.5 Sandstorm and Unearthed Arcana (which has a "Desert Elf" section that you may find very useful for example)

    Also may I suggest you get a feel for how the "nomads" live...are they pastoralist (probably)
    Elves: okay how do they eat....herd camels and goats etc? Would be classic "Desert Nomad"...but there is a lot of variation in this kind of thing. While the Bedouin would be the most likely source of inspiration with their political neutrality etc...but how do you make them interesting from story/adventure building? It could be tempting to make them more classically traders and caravanserai in the mold of the Taureg of the Sahara but those people generally have home bases (which totally could be pretty isolated) and would also need to have at least a sketch of where they get goods from...somewhere off map? it seems to be a rabbit hole of expansion that you may not want to go down.

    As for the Deities aspect...assuming you have low contact deities (no communion, no absolute knowledge etc) you may find looking at powerful outsiders as "lesser" deities really useful...There is plenty of basis for this if you just expand how deamon lords are treated as minor deities...just toss in various others...and you'll have a basket of easy to adapt raw material. Especially if you also cover up alignments and give the "everyone follow deities they think are good" that Ludic Savant showed good examples of.
    Also speaking of deities brings me to priesthoods....Priesthoods were massively important social and knowledge centers in ancient Egypt...one way to reflect that may be to combine the more classically middle ages guild system with the priesthoods. Gods associated with various crafts basically control the production and trade of that item as well.

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Breccia's Avatar

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    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Need help fleshing out a world

    Quote Originally Posted by Corneel View Post
    Salt was an important substance
    I can't believe I missed this earlier.

    I've now run three different campaigns in which silver/gold were not the standard, because the world was in such trouble that people had more important things to worry about -- like eating. Depending on what edition you're using, salt and silver seem pretty comparable in value-per-pound.

    Alternative currencies are not just allowed, in a fantasy world they should be expected or even encouraged. Granted, your average PC isn't going to see a 50-pound sack of flour and say "Check it out, one-half a gold piece! I'm rich!" but give one to a level 1 farmer and that's half a day's wages or more. To use US minimum wage, that's about thirty dollars. Tip your waiter/waitress $30 and see what happens.

    Sorry I got distracted. Where were we? Oh, right, portable wealth. Salt's good, but after level five or so PCs stop worrying about silver. Spices can fill the need till gems hit the ground running, but don't hesitate to add other goods. What might the artisans, the nobility, the alchemists and the spellcasters need in your environment, that could be fun to add?

    Here are some examples I've seen and/or used before.

    1) Seashells, valued by appearance, intactness, and rarity. Imagine the PCs enter an NPC's home or office and see a collection of conchs, cowries and plate-sized scallop shells. "Wow," they might think, "this is a desert environment a hundred miles from the sea, and these things are rare even on the coast." Not only is it a blatant display of wealth, if the PCs find any such they have a buyer lined up.

    2) Certificates of compliance or immunity. Think "get out of jail free" card. While not likely in a strict lawful situation -- I think a lawful society would require those who commit the offenses suffer the consequences -- but a neutral good society might allow sufficient public works of service or donations to bypass a lesser infraction, while an evil-bent society might just let people buy pardons and hand them out like Halloween candy to their minions. It could also have religious use in a heavily religious area.

    "Even visitors to our city must attend the Ceremony of Communal Consent, at least the first five hours. Also a tithe is required."
    "Oh, um, this paper signed by the head priest says I already donated. Just ignore the bloodstains."

    3) Letters of trade or credit. High-ranking merchants or merchant guilds might have (magically notarized) IOUs that trade like cash in town.

    4) Dragon scales. This will be easier to explain if you used a more traditional Bahumat/Tiamat.

    Speaking of which!

    Quote Originally Posted by MossyMeow View Post
    I guess this is just another example of D&D taking a name without transplanting the actual meaning.
    To be clear...I despise that idea. Or at least, I usually do. If I bite into something called "dark chocolate" I don't want it to be a blueberry muffin, even a good one. However, in this case, you brought up Bahumat being some kind of sea monster, so I'll give you, person clearly undergoing a massive project, the completely irrelevant one-time-only pass for not getting one tiny detail not 100% to my approval, which I know means everything to everyone, also I'm being sarcastic.

    But mix that with:

    Quote Originally Posted by MossyMeow View Post
    I was thinking something similar as well- a sort of counterpart to the elves.
    What about some kind of water humanoid? I'm sure you can find some kind of sea elf, half-sea-troll, sahauginkin, whatever, out there or make your own. Perhaps major cities would have fountain/aquaduct heavy areas where such races collect? And, if they're truly sea-based...well, that could explain the constant, pressing value for salt, right?

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Need help fleshing out a world

    What do you get when you mix a dwarf and an elf?

    Gnomes are the joke-race of D&D, but were actually one of the better playable races. Their natural affinity for illusion magic and their lack of negative ability modifiers made them an excellent choice for multiclass characters.

    But they rarely found a place in the adventuring party. So I propose a new backstory for gnomes.

    In ancient times elves and dwarves lived and worked in close proximity. Because of this, at least eight times royal dwarves and elves intermarried, and their offspring were hybrid elf/dwarfs.

    But there came a bitter war between the races and they went their separate ways. By the end of armed conflict there was hatred of the other so strongly entrenched that the hybrid children were cast out.

    Thus the eight royal families founded eight hidden refuges and called the half-bloods to them. This is the foundation of the gnomish race.

    They appear, from time to time, in human lands as traders and adventurers, but speak nothing of their homelands, which remain secret. Many humans guess that they live in the hilly or mountainous regions of the land, and a few guess that they are not a distinct race, but so far no one has proof, and the gnomes aren't saying.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    DruidGirl

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    Default Re: Need help fleshing out a world

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    What do you get when you mix a dwarf and an elf?

    Gnomes are the joke-race of D&D, but were actually one of the better playable races. Their natural affinity for illusion magic and their lack of negative ability modifiers made them an excellent choice for multiclass characters.

    But they rarely found a place in the adventuring party. So I propose a new backstory for gnomes.

    In ancient times elves and dwarves lived and worked in close proximity. Because of this, at least eight times royal dwarves and elves intermarried, and their offspring were hybrid elf/dwarfs.

    But there came a bitter war between the races and they went their separate ways. By the end of armed conflict there was hatred of the other so strongly entrenched that the hybrid children were cast out.

    Thus the eight royal families founded eight hidden refuges and called the half-bloods to them. This is the foundation of the gnomish race.

    They appear, from time to time, in human lands as traders and adventurers, but speak nothing of their homelands, which remain secret. Many humans guess that they live in the hilly or mountainous regions of the land, and a few guess that they are not a distinct race, but so far no one has proof, and the gnomes aren't saying.
    Unlike their dwarven and elven ancestors, gnomes are rarely treated with respect, much less fear. Their names are long and difficult to pronounce, they talk unbelievably fast, and they have a penchant for illogical and occasionally defective inventions. However, all these qualities stem from a rich cultural history. Much like elves, gnomes choose their own names upon reaching adulthood, combining syllables to create a unique appellation. However, gnomes are given a name at birth by each of their immediate family members, or by close family friends; the chance to bestow a name upon a child is considered a great honor in gnomish society. Because of this, gnomish names are usually very long, since an individuals often choose to incorporate many of their favorite childhood names into their adult name. Of course, outsiders almost never understand the meaning of this tradition, and instead refer to gnomes by much simpler names. Gnomes rarely take offense to this.
    Like Star Wars, ponies, and/or unabashed silliness? Check out my YouTube channel, Nothing In Particular, for a healthy dose of absurdity. It's just what the doctor ordered!*

    * Surgeon General's Warning: May cause chronic hideous laughter, eye rolling, or beleaguered sighs. Not intended to prevent, diagnose, or treat any disease.

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Need help fleshing out a world

    Somehow, I like the idea of transplanting a mountainous race to canyons or mesas.

    It may serve as a nice visual to have a hidden city carved on the side of a canyon, hidden below the horizon of a dusty desert. Maybe have ziplines or gondolas for travelling on either side of the city. For a gnomic (or techy) feel, you could even have suspended structures in-between the deep opening. The bottom of the canyon could be unaturally deep, holding some special ressources and dangers, or even ruins.

    Or a layered city built within a single mesa. Maybe this works particularily well with clan-based dwarves ?

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