New to the forums & the Arcania project

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New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:29 pm

Hi guys. Just joined the forums.

My original discovery of the "Known World" was back in the early 1980s when I got the original Expert set and module X1. I was immediately enchanted by the map of the Known World and its descriptions of the lands therein (I actually didn't know it was called "Mystara" until recently). It was immediately obvious to me that this would be a great "natural" world for a D&D adventure. The mapping system was easy to duplicate, and the world had a certain logic to it that was appealing. The various nations had reasons for existing and relationships existed between them that could provide the basis for adventures. I certainly believe that the Known World is superior in conceptualization to Faerun, and far better than Greyhawk. It wasn't until Krynn that TSR got its head together and created a product that had more to offer in it, but consider the vast amount of resources poured into the Dragonlance line and you will see that it was inevitable that Krynn would be something great. And yet... Krynn was a specialized world, with very specific themes dealing with the aftermath of catastrophe and the loss and regaining of hope and faith. It made for a great campaign, but if you wanted a more generic campaign without those themes, you needed something more generic. So the Known World still stood forth as a decent place to put your campaign.

I was aware of the subsequent material published for the setting but as a kid I never had a lot of money for gaming. Then I and D&D parted ways back in the late eighties as I switched to other games. So X1 sat on my shelf until I recently dusted it off and looked at it again.

While I always appreciated it, there seemed to me to be a few problems with the world, and I figured it might be fun to re-do things a bit.

Now I know that some of you guys have put a huge amount of work into the world of Mystara as it is, and what I am doing here probably won't be compatible at all with what you guys have. But nevertheless I figured I would share on the off-chance that people might be interested.

-----

So here are the things I am addressing with this project:

1. Scale
The original map from X1 shows a variety of nations in what looks like a wide variety of climates. It looks like you have a cold north and a hot south. But actually the scale of the map makes it not a very large region. Either the world of Mystara is much smaller than Earth or the entire map is set in the warm temperate and subtropical regions.

I think that the original intent of the map was that the map wouldstretch from the subarctic to the tropics. The Heldann Freeholds are described as being "like Iceland" and I think it was envisioned that they were at a similar latitude as Iceland as well. With the bottom of the map having jungles on it (such as the Isle of Dread) that would constitute a wide range of climates.

Now I know that there have since been a bunch of things published about lands off the original map, like Norwold and Wendar, which extend the continent up into the far north. I think that someone at TSR realized that there was a scale problem, and rather than trying to make a correction they just rolled with it and added more land. But I think this diminishes the flavour of the original map.

My solution is to change the scale of the original X1 map from 24 miles per hex to 60 miles per hex. The map is 72 hexes high which makes the total distance 4320 miles. I envision the top of the map to be at around 55 degrees north latitude and the bottom of the map to be approximately the equator. That distance on Earth would be about 3950 miles so we're in the right ballpark - this would make Mystara slightly larger than Earth, or I could shave off a bit and say the Equator runs through the Isle of Dread instead of being to the south of it.

2. "Scandanavia"
The coastline of Vestland and the Soderfjord Jarldoms seems to be drawn with Norway as an inspiration, with the coastline littered with fjords; one town is even called "Soderfjord." But a fjord is created when a glacier digs out a trench as it descends from the mountains into the sea. When the glaciers melt a mountain valley called a fjord is left behind. But in Vestland and Soderfjord, the mountains are far away and the coast is adjacent to a broad plain. This means that the inlets along the coast are not fjords at all; they are simply bays.

In order to preserve the Norwegian "flavour" of these regions I decided to have the mountains stretch all the way to the coast, making these inlets into actual fjords.

Doing this also resolves one other geographic anomaly, which is the altitude of the Ethengar Khanate. The altitude of the coastline is all the same; that is, sea level. But if you go inland up a river, every point on that river will be uphill, a higher elevation than anywhere downstream, because water flows downhill. If you follow the Streel River up into the Khanate (follow the easternmost branch), you will see that the source of the Streel is only one hex away from the coast in northern Vestland. In order for that to be the case, not only does the land need to plunge downward sharply over that hex to return to sea level elevation, but it has to do so in a way to prevent the Streel from just flowing down the nearby hills and to the coast one mile away. Putting a range of mountains along the coast would accomplish this.

3. The "Empire" of Thyatis
Thyatis is described along the lines of an imperialistic state along the Roman model. And yet, Thyatis has no real natural enemies on the map. While they may need to guard their northern border against raiders from Ylaruam (a region which would never be worth conquering by the Thyatians because it is a desert), they otherwise have little need of a standing army and seem to lack the aggressiveness that kind of state ought to have.

Now I know that once the world was expanded the Thyatian Empire was spread overseas to include huge areas (relatively speaking) on the Isle of Dawn and elsewhere, but if Thyatis was capable of conquering those huge areas why does it have so little territory on the mainland? They even gave away their westernmost province to one of their dukes who wanted to go on an ego trip. If Thyatis could conquer half the Isle of Dawn they surely could have taken Minrothad and Ierendi, and perhaps marched past the Malpheggi swamp to take Darokin.

Thyatis is also described as having a strategic location along a "canal" (though it looks like a natural waterway to me) but on the map from X1 if you wanted to avoid Thyatis you could simply spend a couple of extra days going around the cape by boat. I wanted to increase the "strategic value" of Thyatis' location.

Since I do like the idea of the Empire of Thyatis and wanted that Idea to work better, I decided to give Thyatis some more natural enemies, and put the extra land needed to create it at the end of the big Island south of Thyatis (which is unnamed on the map). This basically forms the western end of a new continent, making the Thyatis passage the only way to travel from eastern sea to southern.

4. Ylaruam
The Emirate of Ylaruam is another region that I like the concept of. It isn't especially original but its basis on Earth cultures makes it easy to populate with details.

Yet it bugs me that the Arabs live right next to the Vikings.

Culturally this seems like a very bizarre clash. Climate-wise this seems kind of strange too. While the Emirate is placed within a clear rain shadow caused by mountain ranges, this creates some additional problems. If the prevailing winds are from the west or south the Ylaruam will indeed get little rainfall, but then neither will Soderfjord or Vestland. If the winds come from the north then Soderfjord and Vestland get rain but then Thyatis should also be desert. It seems unlikely that Ylaruam would be the only arid country in a region surrounded by moist ones.

The easiest thing to do was to move Ylaruam. Since I was already creating a new Eastern continent I decided to move Ylaruam there. The region where Ylaruam was would have to be populated with more European-like nations. This also helps the issues with Thyatis (above).

5. The Lands of Chaos
Thpough there's no actual campaign world introduced in the original basic set, the "Background" section in module B2 Keep on the Borderlands has this to say about the world:
The realm of mankind is narrow and constricted. Always the forces of Chaos press upon its borders, seeking to enslave its populace, rape its riches, and steal its treasures. If it were not for a stout few, many in the Realm would indeed fall prey to the evil which surrounds them. Yet, there are always certain exceptional and brave members of humanity, as well as similar individuals among its allies - dwarves, elves, and halflings - who rise above the common level and join battle to stave off the darkness which would otherwise overwhelm the land.

This is a really great intro and after seeing it you want to jump right in and battle some orcs. It's a great "feel" for a campaign world.

But in order for that to work there have to be significant areas of the map that are held by the forces of chaos. This doesn't really seem to be the case; humans "and their allies" have filled up all available space, leaving only the broken lands as a home for orcs, goblins, trolls and whatever else, since it seems like the Broken lands aren't actually worth anything.

Where is Mordor? Where are the dark empires or barbaric lands full of monsters threatening to overwhelm civilization? There don't seem to be any. Human civilization seems pretty well secure.

I decided that the territories of chaotic creatures needed to be expanded to pose a genuine threat to civilized folk. Of course, in the case of barbarous monster-infested regions, there is no reason why a Lawful nation would need to recognize its sovreignty and large areas of monster infested areas might be claimed by civilized lands even if they don't police them (much like Karameikos). But there needs to be a lot more "room" for chaotic creatures.

-----

Okay, so those are my goals. I've downloaded Hexographer and I've started working on a new map. This version of Mystara I'm calling "Arcania" as a way of distinguishing it. I'm happy to post it here if people are interested.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby Dragon Turtle » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:56 pm

Moved to the main Mystara forum.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby Chimpman » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:29 pm

Hey peet, and welcome to the forums! Your ideas are a little different, but I think there's plenty of room on Mystara for everyone ;) Looking forward to seeing more of your posts.

peet wrote:My solution is to change the scale of the original X1 map from 24 miles per hex to 60 miles per hex. The map is 72 hexes high which makes the total distance 4320 miles. I envision the top of the map to be at around 55 degrees north latitude and the bottom of the map to be approximately the equator. That distance on Earth would be about 3950 miles so we're in the right ballpark - this would make Mystara slightly larger than Earth, or I could shave off a bit and say the Equator runs through the Isle of Dread instead of being to the south of it.

Actually this is close to the truth anyway. The map from X1 was never meant to be a complete world map (and IIRC the equator does run near through the Isle of Dread). That map is also missing several continents - Davania to the south (which takes up most of the southern hemisphere) and Skothar to the east (not to mention the Isle of Dawn and Alphatia in between). Then there is the Hollow World... but let's save that for another time ;).

If you want to get a better overall view of "canon" Mystara you should check out Thorf's project in the Geographical Mapping section. There you can find a replica of just about every map ever published for the world of Mystara.

There were a few other projects on these boards that dealt with re-arranging the nations of the known world. Some may be similar to yours... others not... but I thought you might be able to pull some good ideas from them.

Kal's World Map
Anondson's Rearranged Known World [Update: Great Waste]
A rearranged Known World

There may be others, but this is what a quick search turned up.
Visit the Exiles Campaign Setting (a Mystara / Spelljammer crossover)
Visit Mystara 2300 BC

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby Justinov » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:32 pm

Hi Peet and welcome.

I think you are quite right that the original "known world" is very crammed with copies of historical cultures in very close proximity to each other. As a setting Mystara have been built outwards with time, so it make some borders seem more and more weird with time (as the Viking-Arab border you mention). But it was the center where it all started and to sell the Gazeteer's you wanted as varied cultures as possible.
There have been made background information to explain these weird occurrences, some that works very well and some less. But Mystara has a rich background and with features pretty original compared with other campaign worlds.....the Hollow World for instance and place of Immortal's being created through sponsorship of other immortals instead of Gods. Quite a lot of people/beings are in reality extraterrestrials coming from other Dimensions.
So that gives it a unique flavour. There is less battle between forces of good and evil here. Many realms are very much different shades of grey - Glantri being an example of a nation of dangerous wizards (where priests and dwarves are illegal - for the common good off course) and Karameikos a nation on the verge of ethnic civil war.

You are right about the lack of Thyatian expansion west doesn't really make sense. But it could be explained firstly that they really are nothing worth having there really (Darokin excepted) and secondly in 1000AC that Duke Stefan Karameikos is only Duke because he is a vassal under the Thyatians (according to the Thyatians). Furthermore Thyatis needs all it's forces to hold the mighty Alphatian Empire, so if they attack west they could quickly end up in a losing two-front war.

You can also note that after the "War of the Immortals" (1004-1010AC) a lot will change (Alphatia disappears for instance) - and then there would be really no one to really stop Thyatis.
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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:56 am

Thanks for the encouragement, guys.

Right now I am learning to use Hexographer and am starting to get the hang of it. I am still trying to figure out how to make a coastal hex that is half water and half land; I have drawn the coastline of the mainland but when I try to put stuff in the hex it shows on both sides of the coast. Am I supposed to use the line function to draw in more ocean?

So far this is what I've got for the area where Ylaruam used to be. I'm liking the way the coastline turned out. I still have some islands to do and the coastal terrain issue needs to be finished when I figure out how to do that.

Image

I am aware that the original X1 map was never meant to be a "world map." How could it when land trails off two edges? But I do think that the original map was meant to stretch from Equator to near Arctic and the designer didn't check his scale - he just assigned an arbitrary number which seemed reasonable for play scale but turned out to be less than half of the comparable area on Earth. So if you are using my adjusted map scale then the "known world" takes up a much much larger part of the continent of Brun. So there is no Wendar or Norwold in Arcania because the Known World map now covers up those areas.

I do know about the other continents Davania and Skothar though that is probably beyond the scope of what I am doing here. I am likewise not using Alphatia or the Isle of Dawn. In particular I am only drawing on the original map for geographic resources. In my mind the Isle of Dawn and Alphatia were created because of the problem with Thyatis that I listed in my original post - they existed to make Thyatis into a genuine "Empire" and to give Thyatis an enemy to fight. I honestly haven't read anything about those areas and if I do read things I like about them I may steal them. But right now I am just not worrying about them. I have enough to do already.

I know about the whole Hollow World thing too and it is a neat idea, but I don't really know anything about the hollow world aspect aside from the fact that the inner world seems pretty savage... which is par for the course since the clear inspiration for the Hollow World is Edgar Rice Borroughs' Pellucidar series, and Pellucidar was quite primitive. No reason to say that Arcania is not also hollow but that's another thing I'm not going to worry about.

Maybe Mystara doesn't have such a good and evil focus, and I am totally for settings with moral shades of grey and imperfect cultures. But the background passage from B2 was really compelling and I do like the idea of the "precarious security" that it suggests. The idea that the heroes might be forced to save the world even though most of the world does not exactly deserve saving is a decent basis for a story. So I am ramping up the power of the chaotic demi-humans and their evil human allies.

Anyway, that's all for now... I'll follow up soon.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby agathokles » Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:05 pm

Welcome! As others said, it is always good to see a different take on Mystara.

Regarding Hexographer, I can't be of much help (I use a different program for my maps), but IIRC Bruce Heard is using it for his maps of Alphatia, so you might want to check his posts here or on his blog, maybe something useful will pop up.

Regarding Vikings and Arabs, I'll just point out that I'm writing this post from a place that was, within three centuries, first a Byzantine dominion, then an Arabic Emirate, and finally a Northman county and then kingdom.

GP

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sat Aug 10, 2013 1:48 am

Hey guys...

We seem to be wandering way off topic here.

We don't need an explanation about why Mystara could end up the way it is. This thread is for a variation of Mystara called Arcania.

If you want to go into details about how the Northmen ended up with territories in subtropical Mystara, great. But that probably deserves its own thread. No offense, but it doesn't really belong here, having nothing to do with Arcania. You don't need to 'defend' Mystara to me - my idea is not an attack on it. I'm just changing aspects which I don't personally like or don't make sense to me and making a homebrew version, and sharing the details.

If you had ideas about how Arcania could work, great. But in Arcania the northeast coastline IS the homeland of the northmen, as much as Scandanavia is the homeland of the northmen here on Earth. The Heldann Freeholds will be later settlements, settled by younger branches of clans or clans who chose exile over submission to an outside king.

What I would like is feedback on the map and tips from anyone who is good with hexographer on how to make the coastline look right. What I am going for is a darker "cutting edge" line along the coastline and the sea a slightly lighter colour. I'm not totally sure how to accomplish that yet but I'm working on it.

More to follow.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:36 am

----

As far as basic GazF info on the countries on the map above, here are some details:

Regional info: The region is divided culturally into two regions, east and west.

The inhabitants of the Eastern part are related to the "northmen" and their original settlement area was the area around Castellan. They spilt into two groups, one migrating northward and forming the "northmen" cultures, while the other group moved south (who became collectively known as the Koromani) into modern-day Urmark. As they moved south they came into contact with the northern fringes of the Empire of Thyatis, which at the time controlled Alcaire, Ealdmark, Nagyoria, and southern Urmark. Thyatis had conquered the primitive Gadali and Cemiri people who lived in those regions. The Koromani gradially exerted pressure on Thyatis as their population grew, and frequently the Thyatians would bribe one tribe of Koromani to fight the others. Eventually during a period of Thyatian corruption and dissolution the Koromani entered the empire and took over Alcaire, Urmark, and Ealdmark. Many Koromani settled in the Northern reaches of Thyatis and some even tried to attack the capital, though none were ever successful.

Kingdom of Alcaire - (based on medieval France) Alcaire is the most "civilized" nation in the region, and is united under a fairly strong King, though many powerful vassal nobles rule the various parts of the kingdom. Alcaire adopted many of the traditions and institutions of the Thyatians, whose remnants made up the literate class in early Alcaire. Alcaire is a powerful and growing nation and many believe that its star may eclipse that of Thyatis soon.

Empire of Urmark - (based on medieval Germany) Urmark is a collection of petty Kingdoms, Duchies, and Counties who are technically united under an emperor who leads the nation when exposed to external threats, but practically speaking the Emperor of Urmark has little actual power beyond his immediate domains, and the lords of the various estates mostly do as they please. Because most of Urmark was never a part of the Empire of Thyatis, the literate influence that partly defined Alcaire was never felt here. Urmark is seen as more primitive than Alcaire, though this is most notable in the areas of Law and the Arts, in which Urmark seems much less refined. Technologically the Urmarkers are at no disadvantage against the Alcairi.

Ealdmark - (based on medieval Austria) While the people of Ealdmark are largely of the same stock as those of Urmark, they have a much more artistic bent thanks to their Thyatian influence and the nation is known for its music and architecture. This is not to say that the Ealdmarkers are effete - they have often been ravaged by the Ethengari and Nagyori, never mind having to wage war periodcially against various lords of Urmark. While technically Ealdmark is a part of the Empire of Urmark, Ealdmark is a large enough domain that the Emperor has little sway there, and recently Ealdmark has become allies with Nagyoria; the two royal lines have intermarried. With Nagyoria as a staunch ally the nation of Ealdmark can afford to ignore the Empire of Urmark when it suits it.

------

The western half of the region is dominated by the influence of the Ethengar Khanate. Periodically, people from the Ethengar Khanate would move down the pass through Rockhome, and while the dwarves of Rockhome often trade with the Ethengari and charge a toll for travel through the pass, when large armies came south they would simply shut their gates and let the Ethengari pass by, knowing that they had no skill at siegecraft and posed no threat to the dwarves. While not as large as Ethengar, the lands of Walazia and Nagyoria possessed decent grazing lands for the herds of the Ethengari and made a decent "headquarters" for the Ethengari while in the region. The Ethengari periodically raided Thyatis and other regions in the area. Other Ethengari went west through the pass to the Selenical region, and a few even went through the passes in the Cruth mountains into Karameikos. The inhabitants of this region are considered to be ignorant and superstitious by Easterners, but then there are plenty of wild areas where many dark things could lurk.

Nagyoria - (based on medieval Hungary) Nagyoria was the primary headuarters of Ethengari groups and as a result the Nagyorians have significant Ethengari blood. The times when Ethengari chiefs used Nagyoria as a base and threatened Thyatis are remembered fondly and many Nagyorian children are given the names of the great Ethengari Warlords of legend when they are born. Nevertheless, despite a strong cavalry tradition Nagyoria is an agricultural region like any other in the region, but the Nagyori do not reject the brutal and the savage the way other nations do. The nations of the East look down on the Nagyori a brutish and ignorant people, but they still fear the Nagyori cavalry.

Walazia - (based on medieval Poland) Walazia is another region that was frequently dominated by the Ethengari, though the Ethengari rarely used Walazia as their central "base," preferring Nagyoria for that. As a tributary nation to the Ethengari the Walazians were often oath-bound to their overlords, and the Walazians value honor very highly. They traditionally refuse to break their vows, even when it is in their interest to do so, and many other nations consider the Walazians to be stupid for the lengths they seem willing to go to fulfil their oaths. Much of the history of Walazia contains stories of how various Walazians were trapped or tricked into making oaths which were not in their interest. Walazia is often under pressure from Urmark, and many Urmarker nobles see the invasion of Walazia as a good way of expanding their domains; some of the Eastern reaches of Walazia are dominated by Urmark. Like the Nagyori, the Walazians are seen by easterners as ignorant and superstitious, but Walazians are much more open and willing to deal with outsiders.

Vlakenia - (based on medieval Transylvania) Vlakenia was often a region where Ethengari armies passed through on their way south from the passes of Rockhome, and the people of Vlakenia sometimes submitted to the invasions sullenly, and at other times resisted fiercely. The rugged nature of Vlakenia helped them in this regard, though they were often defeated by the superior numbers of Ethengari. Vlakenian leaders have a reputation for brutality, a price the Vlakenians have paid to have lords capable of leading them against the mighty hordes of Ethengar. But even this was not always enough, and it is said that many Vlakenians made pacts with dark forces for aid against the Ethengari. While a Vlakenian village may seem like any other during the daytime, at night the Vlakenians bar their doors securely and do not travel outside after dark. They tell travelers tales of Werewolves, Vampires, and other fell creatures that roam the lands at night, and implore such visitors not to go out after dark.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby Gecko » Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:12 am

Welcome to the Piazza Peet!

peet wrote:Vlakenia - (based on medieval Transylvania)


Following your scheme I thought for sure this was going to be based on midevial Bulgaria. I think it would be neat to have a Tsar Kalojan "the Thyatian Killer" and his brothers, or the descendants of Qaghan Krum drinking from a cup made out of the skull of Nicephore Antonian or some other (more recent) famous defeated Thyatian.
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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:47 am

Gecko wrote:Welcome to the Piazza Peet!

peet wrote:Vlakenia - (based on medieval Transylvania)


Following your scheme I thought for sure this was going to be based on midevial Bulgaria. I think it would be neat to have a Tsar Kalojan "the Thyatian Killer" and his brothers, or the descendants of Qaghan Krum drinking from a cup made out of the skull of Nicephore Antonian or some other (more recent) famous defeated Thyatian.

Good Idea!

No reason why not; I could certainly combine the two. There's certainly not enough room to include every Baltic nationality so some of them will combine elements from more than one country. I hadn't really thought much about the period when Thyatis controlled Nagyoria but it would certainly make sense that the Vlakenians resisted the Thyatians successfully. Or perhaps they invaded Thyatian-controlled territory from further north like the Bulgars did to the Romans & Byzantines.

I did want a region that was believed to have vampires and werewolves, the same way that we mythologize Transylvania. Certainly a Vlad the Impaler kind of leader may have lived there at one point. I had envisaged him as a more recent leader, fighting against some Ethengari tribe or other that had come down the pass. But Vlakenia could very well have a tradition of bloody rulers.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby Dragon Turtle » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:17 pm

I have moved the posts about Northmen in Mystara and the Real world into a separate thread.
Lets respect the Original Poster's wishes and keep this thread about Arcania. :)

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:34 pm

Thanks Dragon Turtle.
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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:26 pm

OK, here's another image.

This one shows the area covered by the original X1 map in red, and for comparison the approximate area of the Arcania map in light blue.

Image

As you can see the area is much more significant.

I think I want to retain the overall shape of Brun so I might add a large land mass south of the Atruaghin clans that connects to the main continent off the map to the West since that region (the Sind desert?) would now show up on the map otherwise and this would distort the shape of the continent if I left it out. I don't want it to get too close to the Thanegioth Archipelago though so I may crop that little peninsula (Serpent Peninsula?) or move it further west.

Actually now that I look at it I may have to shuffle the Arcania map a bit to the east to avoid the Serpent Peninsula and leave more room for that the Sind desert area. Though if I use Sind I plan to move it off of Brun and to the East somewhere.

BTW, is the "Lost Empire of the Kopru" ever described in any source material other than X1?

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sat Aug 10, 2013 11:07 pm

Here's another one... it's ugly and muddy but it illustrates the point.

Image

I pushed the area east a bit so as to leave some room for the Sind Desert, which some of the Arcania map will have to be edited to include. I may turn much of the Sind Desert area into savannah and make it a home for the Rakasta. The eastern coast is pushed out and overlaps with the Isle of Dawn, which I am redoing anyway (sort of). The Thanegioth Archipelago now goes right from the Serpent Peninsula to Ochalea(?) so I might move it a bit to fit those in.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby agathokles » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:56 am

peet wrote:BTW, is the "Lost Empire of the Kopru" ever described in any source material other than X1?


One of the Player Crucible supplements, "The Sea People" has information about the Kopru.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Thu Aug 15, 2013 1:14 am

agathokles wrote:One of the Player Crucible supplements, "The Sea People" has information about the Kopru.

GP

Thanks!

That was actually quite helpful. I had never seen the creature crucible supplements before and "The Sea People" seems very useful for undersea adventures. Searching for that led me to a bunch of other stuff I now have to read through.

I did notice that there aren't really any details as to what the Kopru empire was like though, or when it was, or what territory it occupied. Anyone know any more about that? Or are there fan-written materials for it?

I am reading up on the Hollow World stuff now and it is pretty interesting, though I have a hard time imagining a party from the outer world ever being more than "visitors." The spell of preservation seems like it would interfere with most long-term goals of players.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby Chimpman » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:38 am

peet wrote:I did notice that there aren't really any details as to what the Kopru empire was like though, or when it was, or what territory it occupied. Anyone know any more about that? Or are there fan-written materials for it?

Sharon Dornhoff hints at what this kopru empire was like in some of her Hollow Moon material. I took some of those ideas and have been expanding on them for my own BC 2300 projects. I also posted some old e-mail conversations I had with Sharon on the subject in this thread: [Hollow Moon] Kopru Comfort.
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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby Ashtagon » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:27 am

I notice that your edited map removes the Isle of Dawn? Do you plan on keeping that island? It is a very important factor in the dynamics between Alphatia and Thyatis, as well as playing an important role in the history of Nithia.
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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:27 am

Ashtagon wrote:I notice that your edited map removes the Isle of Dawn? Do you plan on keeping that island? It is a very important factor in the dynamics between Alphatia and Thyatis, as well as playing an important role in the history of Nithia.

Well, with the second map the Isle of Dawn could be fit in but I would have to widen the gap between Brun and Skothar a bit to fit things in.

However, I am right now only using the material from the old X1 module as "canon" that I have to put things in line with. So there may or may not be an Alphatia in the world of Arcania. I haven't decided yet. If there is it probably won't be an Island.

What there will be is that the land mass that occupies the area where the Isle of Dawn would be is larger and extends further south, east, and west, and may connect to other land masses (such as Belissaria and Ochalea - not that they will necessarily have those names). The land mass will also connect to the southern tip of the big island south of the City of Thyatis, so the only sea route from the Sea of Dread to the Western Sea of Dawn (the eastern seaboard of the continent) will be through the narrow channel that Thyatis is on. Either that or go all the way around to the south of this as-yet unnamed continent.

I guess the easiest way to deal with it would be to essentially take Alphatia, Belissaria, and the Isle of Dawn, and have a land bridge area connecting them around where the Sea of Aquas is. All bets are off though as far as who might live there. Ylaruam will be there, for example.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:56 am

OK, here's a quick rundown on the increased chaotic forces at work in the known world area.

I don't think this disagrees with Canon that much.
Image

Jotunheim - exactly what it sounds like, a land of giants. Since it's in the far north it's mostly frost giants with a smattering of other types. Also white dragons, lots of trolls, and any chaotic demi-humans that like the cold. The wizards of Glantri periodically have to fight them off, and arrogantly assume that they will always be able to do so, though sometimes they only manage to turn back the hordes by the skin of their teeth.

Western Incursions - off the western edge of the map I am envisioning two major chaotic groups that threaten the known world. One will be a savage horde of barbaric people, probably with lots of orcs, which seeks to simply plunder and destroy. The other will be an organized and oppressive state often known as the "Iron Empire" that seeks to enslave and conquer. Part of my idea is that the Atruaghin Clans were once much more civilized but retreated into barbarism in order to survive the attacks of these cultures, fading into the hills and forests and only fighting by ambush. The Republic of Darokin constantly has to be on the lookout on this front also. Slavers from the Iron Empire are always looking for more slaves, and they may trade with some of the southern nations that have the institution of slavery.

I haven't decided if Hule will exist and if it will be off this edge of the map or not. From the descriptions in X5, Hule didn't really sound that scary. If I do use Hule I think I'll have to jazz it up a bit.

Central Barrier - it seems to me that the arm of the Altan Tepe mountains that runs north of Alfheim ought to be overrun with orcs and other demi-humans of the same groups that inhabit the broken lands; not only are these areas adjacent but it seems like Darokin (who supposedly owns them) has no ability to actually enforce anything up there. The demi-humans probably avoid the Khanate as once they get out in the open they will likely get ridden down, but in the hills and mountains they have some cover.

At the south end of this range I envision a fallen dwarven city of Rockhome that is now inhabited by chaotic demi-humans.

Kobold Kingdom - centred around the volcano in the middle here is a kingdom of kobolds. Though they are small they are organized and numerous and therefore they are a greater threat than might seem at first. Another fallen city of Rockhome would be the capital of the Kobold land, and there may be dragons of various types ruling the kobolds.

Southern Wilds - the area in the upper Duchy is pretty wild, as are the Cruth mountains. I don't think this differs much from canon. The elves of Alfheim keep the trail to Selenica clear but beyond the trail all sorts of critters seem to have the run of the place. The positioning of the Keep on the Borderlands so fr into the mountains seems kind of strange to me as the keep is not really "defending" anything so far up the river as it is basically completely surrounded by hostiles. Is this Basic D&D's Den Bien Phu? I would be inclined to move the keep downriver towards the more forested areas, which also matches the terrain around the keep in the original module.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:15 am

At this point I've basically decided to put a limit on the range of Human civilization on Arcania. Essentially the "Known World" will be the Known World because it is the range of the human race. The areas to the West of the map will not be inhabited by humans (with the possible exception of Hule) and Brun will mostly be the home of various goblinoid races.

The subcontinent (which occupies the same basic area as the Isle of Dawn but is way too big to just be called an Island) will be dominated by humans, but lands to the East such as Alphatia and Belissaria may or may not... probably not. If I do use Alphatia in Arcania I think I will emphasize that they are a non-human race; though similar to humans they will be noticeably different. On Skothar anything will go - no humans there at all.

The northern coast of Davania as well as the tropical ends of Brun and the subcontinent will be dominated by conventional Lizard-Men. The jungle inhabitants will be pretty primitive but in the interior of Davania in the warm temperate region there may be some more advanced Lizard-man cultures.

The area north of the Serpent Peninsula will be savannah and will be inhabited by nomadic Rakasta. There may be some concentrations of more "civilized" Rakasta here and there, as described in "Rage of the Rakasta," but the canon description has them as nomads. I can envision a Japanese-inspired culture that is also nomadic, so that's what they will be like.

There may be isolated pockets of humans here and there but overall once you get out of "human territory" you won't see them any more.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:43 am

OK, I did up a sketch map of the area around the known world. It's ugly but it gets the point across as to what I'm trying to do.

Image

Thyatis is roughly in the middle of the map. The nations of the known world are mostly marked out with vague borders.

As you can see the Isle of Dawn has been substantially increased in size in the lower portion, which has been widened. Ochalea and Alphatia have been connected via land bridges. I did this by increasing the distance between Skothar and Brun a bit to make room. I suppose I need to come up with a new name for the land mass that comprises the former Isle of Dawn, Alphatia, and Ochalea. It's pretty much a subcontinent at this point.

Ylaruam will be on this land mass on a plain adjacent to the bay between the two peninsulas on the northern part of the Isle of Dawn section (not the Alphatia part). This part of the land mass is quite dry, naturally. The Thothians will be there too, though on the west side of the Isle instead of the east side. Since Ochalea ought to be tropical jungle considering the latitude, I moved the Ochalean culture to the area where the Thothians originally were. The Sind are on the other side of the mountains to the west. I hate having nations based on India and China being so small compared to their Earth counterparts, but I didn't see a lot of choice there, and I doubt most campaigns would remain in those lands for long.

You will note the green lines surrounding the known world area and the lower part of the subcontinent. There's also a green line around Hule and a little city in western Brun. This is the extent of human habitation in Arcania. Everyone beyond this will be demi-humans of some sort. Many will be savage, though some will be enlightened and civilized. Depends on where you are. Davania will be the primary home of the various reptilian races, though some have come north. Skothar will likely be the home of a variety of insect races like the Thri-Kreen, though Skothar's a big place and they won't be the only ones there.

I'm still not entirely decided as to what I'm doing with Alphatia. It would be a shame to throw away all that material but I don't think I can use the material straight. First of all, I have more of a "natural" history in mind for Thyatis, with the current Empire of Thyatis being only a shadow of its former glory. In Arcania The Thyatian empire once ruled all the southern coast all the way to Darokin and all the islands of Ierendi and Minrothad, along with a sizable chunk of the subcontinent. In the description in X1 it is described as being similar to the Byzantine Empire, so that fits more with the description.

My idea is that since the Alphatians are actually from another world they won't be entirely human, though like Elves and Dwarves they appear similar to humans. Since they have an affinity for air and the sphere of thought I am imagining them to be much like the Slyphs in Pathfinder: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/advancedRaceGuide/featuredRaces/sylphs.html and they have used their magic to dominate the indigenous races of the region. The pale-skinned and copper-skinned Alphatians may actually be different subspecies.

Anyway, chipping away at the project gradually... more to come.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:12 pm

Haven't posted in a while but I've been working on this lately and felt like sharing my progress.

Here's the southwestern part of the map:
Image
I haven't filled in any of the land areas here but west of Ierendi there sill be free cities along the coast and mostly desert inland.

Here's the southeast:
Image
You can see the new position of the Emirate of Ylaruam now.

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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby Ashtagon » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:59 pm

It looks like you have a major river forming the border between Ylaruam and Thothia. It's your world of course, but in real life, desert nations tend to follow rivers rather than be divided by rivers. You'd be far more likely to see an upper/lower river divide than a left/right bank river divide.
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Re: New to the forums & the Arcania project

Postby peet » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:04 am

Ashtagon wrote:It looks like you have a major river forming the border between Ylaruam and Thothia. It's your world of course, but in real life, desert nations tend to follow rivers rather than be divided by rivers. You'd be far more likely to see an upper/lower river divide than a left/right bank river divide.

Actually the major river is entirely within Thothia. The red line is the border, not the blue one.
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