Lereth: a try at a dark /heroic-fantasy setting (PEACH)
Iíve decided to post this setting Iíve been working on for a while, to see what people think of it.
Itís intended to be a heroic fantasy, but with a few dark elements, tempered by heroic(or whatever the term for a fantasy setting where heroes are likely to succeed, or at least are on par with their enemies, as opposed to most dark settings, where players or characters are meant to be mostly helpless, weak, or fail in the end).
A few bits are a bit rough, and I havenít worked out all of the details of some parts yet, but thatís the reason I wanted to post it here, in order to brainstorm ideas, and see what people thought of it in general.
Lerath(main planet in the setting):
Lerath is home to many continents and lands, and is roughly 5.5 times the size of earth, though it has standard earthlike gravity. It has two moons; Ire and Nathos, each appearing in opposite phases, except on the winter equinox, in which neither is visible
The 14 red winter stars:
The 14 red winter stars are just barely visible behind Ire and Nathos most of the year, notable only by the small red halo they create around the moons much of the year, during winter quarter 7 of the 14 can be seen fully, ringing whichever moon is closest to a new moon, though all 14 are visible on the winter equinox.
The Eastlands(home continents of the countries of Oland, Rasari, The Swartzwald, and The States of Auk):
the eastlands are the collective term for the continents and islands most renown for the countries of Oland(a small coastal country, without much power), Rasari(the largest country, spanning most of the northern eastlands, and possessed of great military power, though it is oddly peaceful, at least currently), Swartswald(a large country, in heavily forested, mountanous terrain in the northern portions of the eastlands), and Auk(a collective term for the many desert city states in the southern portion of the eastlands, as well as a name used to describe an ancient fallen civilization that once dwelt there)
The Mid Ocean Belt(a huge island chain, home to several islands nations, such as the City States of New Oland, The Green Isle, and the merchant city of Tallbridge):
The mid ocean belt consists of a very wide chain of islands about halfway between the Wastlands and the Westlands, that spans the oceans in a line several thousands of miles long, and is home to several small island nations.
The Westlands(home continents of Xiang, Yamato, and The Dragon Empire):
the westlands are the collective term for the continents and islands most renown for the countries of Xiang(homeland of the ogres, and renown for itís skill at metalsmithing), Yamato(a large island nation, and homeland of the fairies, and has become famous for itís skill at gunsmithing, and itís focus on honou), and The Dragon Empire(a violent, and very advanced nation that controls most of the southern westlands, and is aided by powerful magic, and itís tamed dragons, which are unique in that they possess feathers)
The Island of New Oland:
the island of New Oland is a temperate island in the center of the mid ocean belt. It is shaped a bit like an exaggerated crescent moon(Iíll provide a picture) and has a large peninsula on itís northern shore(used for growing crops, and home to the tiny village of Verdan), and a large, but treacherous(due to many large shifting sandbars, and well as many hidden pillars of sharp rock) canal on itís southern face, which feeds into the center bay, which is also home to a volcano called Blackcloud mountain, which continuously emit smoke, causing constant, dark cloud cover in the center of the island, which is contained by the steep mountain range that make up most of the island(all of New Olandís cities are built against the mountains, except Verdan, which is on the flat northern peninsula).
-Maelstrom(a city on the eastern coast of New Oland):
Maelstrom is a small, coastal city, built onto the steep, and often stormy eastern shore of New Oland, and often used as a rest stop on a trip to Stormgate, to which a ferry runs daily. Itís main exports are large seafish and a dark brown clay from the mountains nearby.
-Stormgate(one of the largest cities on Lerath, and the most famous on New Oland):
Stormgate is built into the center bay of new Oland(most of the city is actually build out onto the water) and is used as a trading port by many beings, countries, and factions, it usually has warm weather due to the constant cloud cover, and water warmed by the volcano, though it sometimes sees very light snowfall, and the occasional rainstorm. Stormgate gets most of itís water from extensive aqueducts, made out of either existing streams, or an extensions of them, and many types of fish can be found in the larger canals and near the docks(where the water is usually only about 8-16 feet deep and very slow moving). Stormgateís main income come from seafood(small seafish and fresh water fish can be found year round, as can many types of octopi and several varieties of squid, the city also has a large number of edible kelp and seaweed, as well as several shelled mollusks, such as geoducks and oysters).
Stormgate was originally founded as a military base by the country of Oland, who built a wall to protect them from any invaders, or hostile natives, though in the end the island turned out to be uninhabited, home only to a breed of oddly docile giant boar(now often used as beasts of burden, or for their very thick, fire resistant fur), a species of giant stinging nettle(now often used to make rope), and a type of giant chicken like beast called a Flamespitter(which are said to taste good cooked, though itís a rather impractical food source)
-Verdan(a small farming town):
Verdan is a small farming town on the north of New Oland, itís primary exports are ox-boars, peaches, apples and pears, though many fruits can be grown in it, due to itís relatively temperate and stable climate
A (very)Rough picture of New Oland I made as a map(might as well include it);
Races of Lereth: Humans: humans are one of the most common races in New Oland, alongside only the goblins, and in the Mid-World Belt and Raseri appear in many different builds and skin tones, due to the mixed heritages of those regions.
The elves of Lereth are unique, as they are not native of this world, or even itís universe, having appeared about 800 years ago when their village was sucked through some sort of dimensional rift, which spat them out about 800 feet above the green isle. This disaster killed most of the population and the rift has blurred their memories of their homeland, though now, nearly a millennia later, they have managed to become a stable population, and often act as hired diplomats amongst various countries of Lereth, They are also famous for their love of wind instruments, especially bagpipes.
Lereth elves stand about the height of a tall human, and are usually muscular, though not necessarily lean, They also posses ears which come to a short, squared point, and often have thick hair, with most men sporting muttonchops and a beard or mustache. Lereth eleves usually wear rough, but sturdy, cloth garments, which are usually left undyed, though ones employed as diplomats often wear fancier cloths. Racial Characteristics;
-Lereth elves are sturdier then elves of most other worlds, but due to their short history, arenít as wise as most
-The elves of Lereth are also very skilled fishermen and most have at least some training with bagpipes
-Lereth elves are also very good at reading body language, and due to the early years of their inhabitation of Lereth, they are also good at getting along with minimal supplies.
+2 to Perform(bagpipes), Profession(fisher), Sense Motive, and Survival(these replace the standard elf skill bonuses, and replace the standard elfís ability to detect hidden doors)
other then that, Lereth elves are standard.
The Ogres of Lereth are significantly more intelligent then ogres of most other worlds, possessing intelligence of a bright human. Lereth Ogres stand about 10 feet in height, and have muscular , stocky, frames and skin of a dark blue or purple colour, Lereth ogres also lack most body hair, though they do still possess a head of hair like a human, usually a dark brown or black colour, and some ogre men have small muttonchops. Racial Characteristics;
-ogres are a very large race, and a close relative to orcs
-ogres are strong, tough, and clever, though somewhat slow moving, in addition, ogre skin is very tough, and can protect them from some injuries
-ogres are renown as being very good merchants, and are skilled at smithing, creating some of the finest metal armour and weapons on Lereth.
The Goblins of Lereth are generally good natured compared to goblins of most other worlds, though they do often have a larcenous side. Goblins are also one of the two most populous races, having a population about equal to humans. Lereth Goblins stand about 3 feet in height, and have grey skin, with a texture like very rough stone, they have humanlike faces, but have nostril slits instead of a nose, small, tusk-like canines on their lower jaw(which protrude even when their jaw is closed), and large bat-like ears.
The fairies are a race originally native to the island of Yamato. In their native land, the fairies were mostly organized into clans of either criminals(usually yakuza) or assassins, and many still are, though the clans have spread, and not all fairies are a member of one. Lereth fairies stand about 3 feet in height, and have humanlike bodies, excluding a pair of flexible, moth-like wings, which while too weak to be used to fly, can soften falls. The wings of a fairies are usually a shade of brown or grey, with spots of stripes or white or black, though some also have a marking that is said to look a lot like a face or a skull. A fairieís wings are nearly as important as a limb to one, as they aid with balance, and have vital veins running through them, making losing one nearly as hazardous as losing an arm would be to a human.
The orcs of Lereth are a close relative to ogres, though more primitive, in Xiang they often serve as grunt labor. Lereth orcs are also somewhat dimwitted, though they have an affinity for fungi and plants, and make surprisingly good farmers.
Non Playable Races;
Lereth trolls are divided into three species, the goblins, the troll feras(standard bestial troll), and the troll magus(which look a lot like muscular, 12 foot tall goblins, with overlong arms, these ones are also high intelligent, and prone to sometimes centuries long hibernation.).
-Troll Feras are large, muscular, and rather apelike, resembling a gorilla, albeit a gorilla with a humanoidís posture, and lacking any hair, as well as possessing cat-like teeth. The teeth of a troll feras are also unique due to being almost entirely metal on older specimens. Troll feras can also regrow a several limb over a period of a few weeks, or a missing tooth in a few days time.
-A Troll Magus would be the same height as a troll feras(about 12 feet) if they ever stretched out, though most walk with a hunch, moving along using their knuckles almost like feet. troll magus possess ears and faces much like goblins, as well as sharing the sharp, catlike metal teeth of the troll feras. Troll magus cannot regrow limbs or teeth, but do reincarnate upon death, their old forms turning into stone over a period of about half a minute, and then shattering into stone dust. Upon shattering, a troll magus reforms elsewhere in the world as a small, goblin sized statue, that animates over the course of the next few hours, eventually becoming a new troll magus, though they only usually posses vague memories of their past lives.
Darklings is a collective term for strange beings and creatures that manifest in areas of population in darkness or during the winter equinox(during which they can appear regardless of population level or light), these are thought to be somehow related to the 14 red winter stars, though little is known about them as they vanish--slowly fading over the course of about 10 seconds--in sunlight, and can appear in many forms, ranging from tiny motes of shadow, weak enough to be harmless to anything stronger an ant, to huge house sized beasts, with unearthly levels of intellect, and strength to match the most ancient of dragons. These beings can be kept at bay by lighting areas, and most cities possess plenty of streetlights to keep the stronger ones from appearing, though some may be encountered in dark alleys or abandoned buildings.
Detailed Description of Stormport:
How Stormport Started:
about 500 years ago the nation of Oland sent a small squad of infantry(accompanied by a group of merchants who owned the ship used for transport, and knew the waters nearby) to investigate a recently discovered island(titled ďNew OlandĒ upon landing) and sought shelter in the odd bay in the center of the island, after needing to land to make camp the squadron found remains of some sort of ancient primitive village and the remnants of a wall. The storm that forced them ashore kept up for nearly a month, during which they began converting the ancient camp into a fort, and rebuilding the wall, under the assumption that whoever built these structures might be hostile. Years past, and the island, and fort became a trading post, eventually outgrowing itís original foundations, which prompted the council of merchants(who had obtained the land after Oland officials lost interest, due to lack of resources) to start expanding the city. By this time however the wall had been reinforced enough for it to be impractical to remove it, despite itís lack of use(after a few years, it was found that whoever built the ancient town and wall was no longer around, though it is likely they simply left for some reason, as no ancient humanoid bones have been found as of yet), and so they began the task of building huge supports into the bay, in order to create artificial land to build the town on.
Many centuries later the town has grown into one of the most populous known cities on Lereth.
Stormportís main trading post is itís huge dockside bazaar, which, along with the docks, is kept open constantly. Almost anything can be bought or sold here, though monsters or substances which could endanger the city, or slaves(do to Stormport wanting to stay neutral with as many nations as possible) are prohibited. Thievery is virtually non existent within the bazaar, as most thieves are either fencing their wares here already, or are smart enough to know that stealing from the bazaar could bring down the anger of powerful organizations or entities(including otherworldly beings such as demons or archons)
Stormport is controlled by an elected triarchy, labeled the ďMinister of CommerceĒ, ďGrand AdmiralĒ, and ďHigh DiplomatĒ. The currently elected oficials in these posistions are;
Edmund Smith(Minister of Commerce, a human from a family of silver smiths), Xiao Dai Long(and ogre, and Grand Admiral, also the brother of Jian Dai Long[high ranking noble in Xiang], and Stormportís captain of the guard, he is also much more charismatic then one might expect, due to having grown up amongst nobles) , and Strigga Ethelsdotir(an elf, and the current High Diplomat. Strigga first came to Stormport about 14 years ago as an emissary from the Green Island elves)
The "global" bit was partly because I was tired, and partly because I planned to add more specific aspects of cities...though by the time I finished writing it up I realized it would be easier to start with Stormport first.
And aye the stars were intended to always appear to be behind the moon, as a way of emphasizing their otherworldly/lovecraftion nature.
And ďVictorian London with Venice piers and aqua ductsĒ was what I was going for with the appearance of Stormport, since all of them together seemed like an uncommon, but visually appealing, combo.
I was also pondering giving Lereth a year length of either 360 days or 400 days, split into four quarters of equal length(so 90 days or 100 days per quarter), in order to make time calculations and dates simpler, and to give it a slightly otherworldly feel, which is something I was planning to try to insert subtly, to emphasize itís oddness, by making the odd bits less obvious.
Re: Lereth: a try at a dark /heroic-fantasy setting (PEACH)
Haha, fair enough, we all do things like that.
Maybe if you're going to do that, name them something other than stars? Stars typically move across the sky at a different rate than moons (if it didn't, then the moon would have to be in geostationary orbit so you couldn't have phases or the shifting of the stars that you refer to): you don't need to give it a physical explanation, you could just say "they're glowing lights in the sky, and they always dip in and around the moon". That way you could also make them somewhat bigger and more 'otherworld/lovecraftian'.
Excellent, haha. You realize this means that I'm pretty sure you're obligated to put vampires in the sewers? The whole "giant classy mansion under the city" trope.
I've been thinking of doing something like that for my own setting, but I find in-game my players rarely pay attention to the date: they might pay attention to how many years ago an event occured, but rarely what date it is. I'd lean more towards things that would come up in-game to make it seem otherworldly: you could add floating watchtowers, or iron golem guards in the bazaar. Things the players might interact with, rather than just say "yeah, it's the 75th day of the first quarter". The stars thing is different, because they could always look up at the stars: something intangible like calendar, not so much.
Re: Lereth: a try at a dark /heroic-fantasy setting (PEACH)
I'll probably still call them stars, since it seems unlikely that wizards are routinely traveling to them(though people do notice the "they always follow the moons" thing, but view it as some sort of probably mystical anomaly).
And aye, I'll go with an unstated specific calendar, since players are less likely to notice it.
Also by "other worldly" I more meant in the lovecraftian sense(the darklings are meant to fill a role such as that, do to their inability to be permanently slain and their ability to appear spontaneously in dark, usually abandoned areas), or in general things seeming just slightly off or unnerving.
It's also meant to still be a relatively high powered setting(for example, an average farmer or generic weak npc would be about the power level of a 2nd-4th level dnd/pf character with pc class levels), despite the lovecraftian aspects
Re: Lereth: a try at a dark /heroic-fantasy setting (PEACH)
Fair enough on the stars thing. ~shrug~ Probably over complicates it anyway.
The darklings thing is a little Lovecraftian, but in my experience describing things is much less unnerving then playing things: they add to the setting, but don't overly affect the players (unless you make them a crucial part of the campaign plot). What if they induced nightmares? So the players would have a horrifying nightmare, then wake up, and be surrounded by darklings clawing at them (they'd disperse, but could leave a small lasting effect of 1d6 damage or something).
You could also add in sanity, which seems like it could add an element of Lovecraftian insanity to the game, though I haven't used it so I can't say.