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This post was number 500. I decided I'd try to post something a little creative and perhaps interesting for number D (instead of just posting, "woot! 500" in one of the milestone threads).

Right then, in a **different thread I posted these words:

... [what if] this world has a Polar Forest instead of a Polar Icecap?? (and an uninhabitable equatorial region so hot that it is ruled by Efreets...)


I kept thinking about what such a planet might be like as far as climate zones and weather. I find it intriguing because I like the notion of habitable worlds that are clearly not Earth-like (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Old D&D, possibly Eberron, they're all knock-offs of Earth). I find something more original appealing. So far, the idea has developed into one sketch on an index card and a digital graphic:

 

or34.png

 

  1. The Wood Atop the World (the polar forest cap; giant redwoods, forest Dragons,...)
  2. The Temperate Lands (assorted kingdoms with a typical summer/winter climate...)
  3. The Forest of Eternal Rain (tropical Jungle Belts)
  4. The Boiling Sea (extremely brackish; no outlet; high evaporation rate...)
  5. The Desert of Brass (very hot desert; Brass Dragons; legends of a City of Brass...)
  6. The Cloud Ocean (surrounds the world; blots out the stars; obscures the sun...)
  7. The World-Rim Mountains (a ring of peaks and plateaus right round the equator; Kingoms Ruled by Ereeti; too hot for human inhabitants...)
  8. The South End of World ( not shown; no one in the North knows what lies at the opposite end of the world.)

 

Notes (or what I've got so far):

Zone 1 has cool summers, cold winters, but the enormous lakes along its southern verge do not usually freeze over.

Zone 3 is belts of forest rather than absolutely solid rain forest; there maybe some tethered floating mountains in places; there are deep gorges, rift valleys; waterfalls.

Zone 4 is the biggest body of water in the North of the world. Inflow barely keeps up with evaporation and it is a large part of why most days are 95% overcast in the Northern hemisphere.

Zone 8 is a great mystery that sages ponder.

I don't have a name for the entire place, the locals call it: The World.

 

**Inspiration and background:

There are a bunch of posts scattered in two other threads in this section that inspired this somewhat. Particularly this post of mine and one or two from a certain goblin (Buglips) concerning not over-developing a campaign setting.

 

If some one wants to suggest some good names (Eberron is taken) this planet could use one. If somebody wants to swipe the idea so their party of Spelljamming adventurers have a new place to drop in on feel free (but post something? about how it went). Comments needed on what I have left out / or should leave out appreciated.

 

Does anybody else have some homebrew worlds to work on? (Feel free to post a different one.)

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This is my campaign map. I wasn't kidding when I said I keep it simple.

 

buglipsmap_zpsf623a746.jpg

 

 

Everything I need is right there. We have the town, which is situated between the rival human kingdoms and right on the edge of the Darklands. And also on the old road that leads through the darklands to the elf and dwarf places.

 

This makes elves and dwarves rare, but they have to come through that town if they bother to make the journey at all. The town also serves as a place for rival groups of humans to travel and meet. And it's on the edge of a vast swath of uncivilized land filled with who knows what ancient ruins, monsters, and treasures.

 

And when this lonely space station town discovers a wormhole there's loot in them thar wilderness, then activity will pick up distinctly and starfleet our heroes will find themselves in all kinds of interesting adventures from politics, shapeshifter infiltrators lycanthropes, and maybe even a war or two where they have to make peace with the klingons and romulans get the humans to unite against the dominion the big bad guy and his horde of evil.

 

Doesn't have to be complicated to be good. That's a map a 4 year old could draw, but it's dripping with tension and opportunities for things to happen. And, yes, the dwarf and elf place are still without names. None of the dwarf or elf players have bothered to name them yet.

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And when this lonely space station town discovers a wormhole there's loot in them thar wilderness, then activity will pick up distinctly and starfleet our heroes will find themselves in all kinds of interesting adventures from politics, shapeshifter infiltrators lycanthropes, and maybe even a war or two where they have to make peace with the klingons and romulans get the humans to unite against the dominion the big bad guy and his horde of evil.

 

And the local tavern is run by a disreputable halfling with particularly large ears?

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Nope. He runs the general store. The inn is run by a henpecked man who talks like Captain Picard.

 

My campaign is a mash of bits I stole from Lord of the Rings, Deep Space Nine, and Naruto. Lord of the Rings provides the overall feel and tone, because everybody's seen the movies and then knows what "heroic good fantasy campaign" means. Deep Space Nine provides a handy "western" template (it was, after all, The Rifleman in Space) for the overarching main plot. And Naruto gave me the means to construct highly dramatic personalized fights against weird people who always have another trick (jutsu) up their sleeve. (And also proved handy as a way to revisualize how spells work)

 

And even if they all know what the source material is, so long as I adapt it within the context of this world and their characters, nobody should ever catch on that the battle against the medusa queen (who has mastered the secrets of life and death) is copped from orochimaru vs. the third hokage. Because it's not. That's an example of a pretty cool fight with some dramatic tension. So the medusa gets some creepy powers to reveal as the battle progresses, and instead of the dramatic backdrop of master vs. student it's the culmination of the elven bladesinger's story arc and the fate of her dead brother.

 

How these three things (plus the world's own developing story) interact can't help but make something completely new. I stole the blueprints to make a self-running world engine out of it. Once in motion, all I have to do now is keep track of consequences and make sure to keep it oiled.

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I have two worlds in my head. One is split according to current DnD moral compass: North is Chaos, South is Law, West is Evil, East is Good. All the broad cultural brush strokes follow this, down to an essentially Heaven / Celestial Empire over the Eastern ocean (hi Narnia!) and in the cracked and broken desolation of the distant West... hellscape. If you dig deep enough you arrive in something akin to Hades occupying the flipside of this flat, 2D world.

 

In the other one, magic, monsters and immortals exist because of the Dream. Goblins are born of children's nightmares. As you go down through the layers of dungeon and cavern you begin to cross through the ill-defined regions of the Veil between the waking and the sleeping world. Things a bit like DnD deities and mythical heroes exist because, well, for example:

 

For a while, you are just a brave champion of Law fighting back the creatures spawned into the world by nightmares. But soon, you are a figure who fights against nightmares, with Courage. And as you interact more with the Dream, you and also become more famous, people begin to dream of you, specifically, when they dream of a brave person. Eventually, people dream of you when they dream of Courage, period. You symbolise Courage. A dream with you in it? The wise woman says that's a dream about bravery. Prophets say its a harbinger of brave deeds. Your name becomes synonymous with Courage.

 

Your name becomes Courage, and as long as people dream of bravery, you will live - and as long as you live, people will dream of bravery.

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For non-earth like worlds I'm a fan of Brian Lumley's "Source" world in the Necroscope series of books. It's another planet linked to ours by two wormholes but the gist of the planet is that one of its poles faces the sun. So one pole is constant desert burning heat, and the other is constant frozen wastes with a habitable strip around the "equator". There is a mountain range that blocks the sun and casts shadows constantly on the far side of the habitable zone, that's where the vampire things live.

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My current campaign world is a homebrew that got its origins in a world I created back around 1996-7 when we hit the end of Dragonlance. This phenomenon is also known as Dragonlance the Fifth Age. So, we grafted together a mish-mash of things we liked from all the campaign settings that had gone before, and in true High School fashion it was horrible. So, so bad. You can pretty easily tell what I was reading at any given time by the blatantly bad content. About a year ago when I started trying to run a PBP I got the idea to resurrect it. I wanted to go back, and rebuild the content to make it more generic. I also wanted to retcon some of the more horrible parts. So far all I really have is the primary continent where everything to this point has taken place. It's relatively young, so there aren't many highly developed places or urban locations. The ones that do exist are mostly only a spot on a map at this point. I'll develop them as I need them, or as I get time.

 

The basic history isn't hard to keep track of because the world is so young that it's mostly still being written. Everything of any significance that's happened before involved previous players.

 

World map, such as it is:

 

https://picasaweb.google.com/100894667121585122545/Renascentia?authkey=Gv1sRgCJWx6Nqlr_nQpgE#5881025177583073986

 

 

Rough backstory:

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ld2GRJjlLzJCUBsR-Tsd4GyMrPb0XmRLDw-QpczXJhc/edit?usp=sharing

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I like your world design, it feels plausible. It isn't the first polar forest though, the Earth of Marvel comics has a polar forest (jungle) full of dinosaurs, and home to Ka-Zar and Shanna.

 

The tidal locked planetary concept is one I like as well, even if it really doesn't seem feasible. The heat on one side would vaporize any moisture, and as air circulated, it would gradually drift and accumulate on the dark side, where it would crystallize and leave the atmosphere, eventually removing all life-giving moisture from the air. I think it could only work in the short term (a geological short term that is). If some massive calamity befell a hospitable planet like the earth, like say a massive enough body passing by, maybe striking the moon out of orbit and causing the earth to become tidally locked, then you could have your twilight world along the circumference, but I think it would be a dying world, moisture slowly vanishing as more hazardous substances are introduced into the air amidst the molten surfaces sunward. And yes, I have given this way more thought than necessary.

 

Of course for fantasy worlds I'm a big fan of the truly fantastic. I love Skartaris, created by Mike Grell and inspired by Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidar. Grell's thoughts on mapping seem close to buglips, this from the wiki page for Skartaris:

 

While Grell never drew a map of Skartaris during his tenure on the book, one was created towards the end of the original volume's run, and the illustration appeared in Warlord Annual #4 (1985). In an interview from Comic Scene in 1983, he says: "I did things like moving my character around the countryside; I never drew a map so I could move him from one side of Skartaris to the other just for the sake of the story." In a later interview with Comic Book Resources Grell said, "Anything that can happen in fantasy happens in the lore and it’s one of the reasons I always refused to draw a map of Skartaris. Year after year after year went by, and I was always hounded by the editors, 'When are you going to have a map?' The reason I refused was because once you draw a map, you establish boundaries. And why would you want to put boundaries on your imagination?"

 

Still, I like the map they did publish (all the best maps have sea serpents and various terrible beasties drawn on, otherwise, how would adventurers know where to go?):

 

Skartarisdcu0.jpg

 

And then you get more fantastical, another one of my favorites is Terry Prachett's Discworld:

 

A__Tuin_and_the_Disc_World_by_theyoungto

 

And what do you get when you remove the planet itself? Larry Niven gives us the answer:

 

1351777162010.jpg

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Thanks. (I have also read Integral Trees and a handful of the Discworld books...have you ever read The Shattered World? [M. Reaves] )

 

Can a tidally locked planet keep one pole pointed at its sun? The Moon is tidally locked to Earth but that means its Poles must always be perpendicular to the line connecting the centre of the Moon and the centre of the Earth. The Moon keeps one FACE pointed at Earth by rotating on its axis (which passes thru its poles) once per orbit.

 

The Poles are simply the points where the axis of rotation is. To keep a pole pointed at a sun the axis of rotation would have to be constantly changing. I guess with a Fantasy world the physics of angular momentum could be 'chucked out the airlock...'

 

I like your world design, it feels plausible. It isn't the first polar forest though, the Earth of Marvel comics has a polar forest (jungle) full of dinosaurs, and home to Ka-Zar and Shanna.

 

The tidal locked planetary concept is one I like as well, even if it really doesn't seem feasible. The heat on one side would vaporize any moisture, and as air circulated, it would gradually drift and accumulate on the dark side, where it would crystallize and leave the atmosphere, eventually removing all life-giving moisture from the air. I think it could only work in the short term (a geological short term that is). If some massive calamity befell a hospitable planet like the earth, like say a massive enough body passing by, maybe striking the moon out of orbit and causing the earth to become tidally locked, then you could have your twilight world along the circumference, but I think it would be a dying world, moisture slowly vanishing as more hazardous substances are introduced into the air amidst the molten surfaces sunward. And yes, I have given this way more thought than necessary.


[ ... ]


And then you get more fantastical, another one of my favorites is Terry Prachett's Discworld:

 

A__Tuin_and_the_Disc_World_by_theyoungto

 

And what do you get when you remove the planet itself? Larry Niven gives us the answer:

 

1351777162010.jpg

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I haven't read The Shattered World or the Brian Lumley series The Inner Geek mentioned, but I should track them down. I love truly alien environs when they are well thought out. I read War of the Wing-Men by Poul Anderson when I was nine and it really ignited a fire for that sort of thing. I remember the author spent time explaining how a planet could develop an environment where a race of intelligent man sized creatures could fly, I was more interested in that than what Nicholas Van Rijn was doing. I want to re-read the book, but I'm afraid to, I'd hate to ruin a wonderful memory if the story doesn't still hold up (it was first published in 1958, I read it a few times between '74 and '76 - I'm old).

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I haven't read The Shattered World or the Brian Lumley series The Inner Geek mentioned, but I should track them down. I love truly alien environs when they are well thought out.

 

Reaves wrote two books using the same setting:

  • The Shattered World --Michael Reaves on Amazon
  • The Burning Realm --Michael Reaves on Amazon

 

511NJg-cu1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Cover gal's name is, IIRC, 'Ardatha Demonhand'.

 

_______

 

For an Alien environment that is really "well thought out" you ought to look for:

  • Mission of Gravity --Hal Clement ( aka Henry Clement Stubbs ) the main character is named 'Barlennan'.

It is Sci-Fi rather than fantasy.

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The closest thing to what you describe that we know of is Uranus (no giggling, we're supposed to be adults).

 

Other planets can be visualized to rotate like tilted spinning tops on the plane of the Solar System, whereas Uranus rotates more like a tilted rolling ball. Near the time of Uranian [/size]solstices, one pole faces the [/size]Sun continuously while the other pole faces away. Only a narrow strip around the equator experiences a rapid day–night cycle, but with the Sun very low over the horizon as in the Earth's polar regions. At the other side of Uranus's orbit the orientation of the poles towards the Sun is reversed.


But what we know of planets is sure to be the teeniest tiniest fraction of what there is in the universe (multiverse? why yes, I have been playing in a planescape setting!), so I would say "Sure, it's totally possible for a planet to tidally locked with one pole pointed at the sun!" Plus, you're the DM, this is D&D, you son't have to explain stuff. Should the players ask. Edited by redambrosia
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