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Help with worldbuilding? Please please please?


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As a follow up of my previous question: What fantasy trope do you feel is a "must have"?  Normally, I would consider this something critical to the plot, but it could just be something that you just love and want it in there.

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  Is organized crime a thing in the major cities? Are there actual thieves' guilds? How about pirates on the waters?

 

Also, what would be the legal penalty for feeding a mule fermented fruit and then letting it loose in the public marketplace? (Just asking... no reason...<whistles innocently>)

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Mad Jack said:

 

  Is organized crime a thing in the major cities? Are there actual thieves' guilds? How about pirates on the waters?

 

Also, what would be the legal penalty for feeding a mule fermented fruit and then letting it loose in the public marketplace? (Just asking... no reason...<whistles innocently>)


This sounds like an incident, that happened ‘back when...’, that resulted in “a series of calamities“, that leveled a building or two right on The Old Market square, where now stands the new* tavern...

 

The Drunken Mule
 


 

 

 

*it’s been there at least 30 years. ::):

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20 hours ago, TGP said:

Is this world shaped like…

 

a) planet …a near-sphere

a) cylinder

the) discworld

a) ringworld

an) escher polyhedral object

a) cube

an) inner earth or dyson sphere

a) table world with four corners

 

?

 

Earthlike spherical planet with a number of moons I really want to be inhabited if I can convince myself to have Spelljamming lol (for gaming purposes it is located in its own crystal sphere, though goodness knows I never get fat enough along a campaign for that sort of action).

 

19 hours ago, WhiteWulfe said:

What kind of horrors plague the larger villages (or cities), and at what kind of frequency? Are they spectral, are they plant based?  What do these horrors, I'd they exist, do if they manage to break into the village, and what kind of means can be used to sate them, or even offer them final rest? 

 

Can woodchucks chuck wood? 

 

Are beavers a massive, horrifying enemy that's built up, and tamed the moose to ride into battle? Do their eyes glow that fiendish colour? If so, what colour? 

 

Monstrous races are constantly raising and eating along the old borders of the elven lands, and undead are a particular problem in places in the same area--and everywhere else--civilization bumps up against the ruins of the past. The great city of Kihalis resides under an impenetrable dome deep in the borderlands, its crystal surface often fogged and clearing seemingly at random and revealing to passersby scenes of a city in perfectly preserved order but sometimes also strange, otherworldly figures clearly not counted amongst the living. A terrible adventure awaits whoever can find a way within the musical barrier encapsulating the ancient place.

 

Recently too came rumors from the edge of the world in Rothen's End, far west in human lands where the mountains become impassable and civilisation ceases altogether, of the discovery of a strange artifact that, removed from its resting place encased in strange metal collected from meteorites, corrupts and consumes its wielder's very life, giving him power over the dead. An intrepid band of adventurers arose to challenge one held thus in thrall and narrowly avoided greater catastrophe, at least for the time being.

 

Any wise person knows better than to tell a woodchuck what wood or whatnot he could chuck if he wished to chuck some shtick and stuff.

 

Beavers are pretty innocuous, but keep am sure on the otters. Every since they adopted the principles of Richard Dawkins they've been a real pain in the butt.

 

6 hours ago, ManvsMini said:

 

 

What is the geography and weather of your world? How many continents do you have, or do you base your campaigns on? Previous answers suggest several scattered areas of warm/tropical areas at varying latitudes.

 

Are they called Summer Isles because they have a warm climate? And what are they to the north of?

 

The main drag of the world is in a temperate sort of zone and comprised of a supercontinent--or two relatively recently separated supercontinents, really--running for thousands of miles east and west across the northern hemisphere. The western continent drops to the south and west through desert and then equatorial jungle; the eastern runs south and east and is mountainous and forested and wild.

 

Far south in the southern hemisphere lies a great desert continent, and to the north lies a polar continent home to a feudal human kingdom bound in honor and tradition. The Summer Isles are the southernmost lands associated with this landmass, where much of their food is grown, etc. Lot of hobbits there.

 

On the other side of the planet, between the two main continents, lots a vast ocean rendered impassable by magic. Some say dragons rule a continent deep within its mysteriously impenetrable bounds, but all attempts to navigate those waters had ended in confusion, disappearance, of disaster.

 

tbh I'm probably not smart enough to lay out a sensible weather and climate pattern for a while planet, but we'll see. Eventually. Maybe.

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Does your world have aquan races and, if it does, what is their society and cities like?  What's their stance towards the land dwellers?

 

Does your world have dragons?  What is their society?  Do they interact with the humanoids as a race or as potential food sources?

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20 hours ago, Marvin said:

On the other side of the planet, between the two main continents, [lies] a vast ocean rendered impassable by magic. Some say dragons rule a continent deep within its mysteriously impenetrable bounds, but all attempts to navigate those waters had ended in confusion, disappearance, [or] disaster.


What say you to the legend: there is a vast cyclonic eyestorm at the middle of that Ocean?
 

What say you to the epic tale of an ancient war between the Dragons and the Eldest civilization, a sea-faring race of old,  who ruled an empire from a third continent that now lies sunken beneath the waves of that howling, storm wracked ocean, true or false?
 

There are even Bards who spin tales that this War rages on even today, that this fuels the great storm, and that the remnants of the Dragons still hunt their foes who have become Mer-creatures, adapted to life in the sea, a livelihood built around cities in the Deep, surely these are but lies and imaginings??

 

Can this be the explanation for why no ship ever returns from there?

 

Are all Spelljammer crews sworn to keep secret whatever they’ve seen from on high??

 

Are any of the navies of the existing seafaring powers strong enough to go find out?

 

What is the strongest Navy? and what sort of ships are at the top of its line-of-battle? 

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What is the currency? What forms (coins, bills, etc.) and increments (for instance, 1, 3, 5, 10, etc.) does it come in?

 

What are some of the more popular urban legends?

 

What are some of the popular music instruments and genres?

 

Do javelinas  exist?

 

How big is the largest bug and what is it?

 

How small is the smallest bug and what is it?

 

What are some of the common sicknesses and the remedies?

 

What are some of the common board games?

 

What is the favored weather?

 

What kind of stealthy organizations (or loners) are there?

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On 7/11/2020 at 4:47 PM, TGP said:

What is the highest technology developed so far?

 

Is technology developing at some pace or is it mostly stagnant?

One of my questions was along those lines too.

  • What is the highest "common knowledge" technology? I'm not talking about the mad gnome's clockwork horror that defies real science. But rather steam engine science being well understood. How about windmills, or waterwheels?
  • Highest level of science and culture? These could vary from nation to nation or by race. Dwarves could have mining and metallurgy notions that could reach 20th century knowledge. Or something like Venetian glass making that was basically a state secret for ages. The simple printing press had a huge impact culture.
  • General awareness of the rest of the world? Average folk remain in the same area they grew up in all their lives and have little knowledge or interest about the rest of the world. Does your world have something akin to the Silk Road or the discovery of the Americas that opened up horizons?
  • Firearms. How common/rare or well understood.
  • Religion. Single pantheon? Multiple parallel pantheons (Greek <> Roman)? Completely different ones (Norse vs Egyptian)? Human vs non-human deities? Or one all-mighty being with multiple patron saints for different facets of life? Do they play nice with each other?
  • Language. How common is "common"? How many regional languages are there? Just the English language within the UK varies a great deal. And when you hear Irish or Scottish English spoken with a heavy accent, you'll be saying "What?" many, many times. Then you have Welsh, Cornish, Gaelic, etc. and you're still on the same island!
  • Nations and governments. How many and how varied? A few mega-empires? Tons of kingdoms? Theocracies? Monarchies? Democracies?
  • How many nations or cities of old still exist today in a new form? Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire fell long ago, but their presence is still there.
  • Non-human civilizations. How common are dwarves, elves, halflings. Treated as visible minorities, or do they have empires that rivals those of humans.
  • Racial planet of hats trope. Do you have some races as stand-ins for real life historical parallels? Are orcs your equivalent of viking raiders? Or hobgoblins the same as the Mongolian Horde?
  • How many lost or mythical cities or empire? Atlantis? Shangri-La? El Dorado? Avalon?
  • Geography. How much of the continent is civilized with well populated farmlands and many trade routes and relatively few monsters vs mostly unexplored untamed savage lands (that may or may nor contain forgotten civilizations).
  • Natural resources. Some nations may have very fertile soil, but poor mineral sources. Lots of forests, but no iron. Everyone wears gold, but the land is barren desert with almost no water.

World building is a rabbit hole well worth exploring.

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On 7/11/2020 at 3:47 PM, TGP said:

What is the highest technology developed so far?

 

Is technology developing at some pace or is it mostly stagnant?

 

And I forgot one other possibility when listing the different possible shapes of worlds up above: Is your world a Square And Stationary one?

 

The gnomes are constantly tinkering with steam-powered machinery and the like, but it's notoriously unreliable and generally dangerous. Natural gas had been harnessed for simple purposes here and there. Magic is a more reliable, if often difficult, means of achieving things beyond simple machines and horsepower and the like, but advancements in science and technology often seem right around the corner.

 

On 7/11/2020 at 6:28 PM, redambrosia said:

Does chocolate exist in your world? :huh:

 

Oh yes! I'm not trying to create a dystopia here.

 

On 7/11/2020 at 6:34 PM, strawhat said:

As a follow up of my previous question: What fantasy trope do you feel is a "must have"?  Normally, I would consider this something critical to the plot, but it could just be something that you just love and want it in there.

 

Elves and dwarves and something to fight, I guess. Adventuring. I like it pretty standard and traditional in a lot of ways, tbh. I really want to explore individuals' stories. The earliest bit of the world started out in an idea of following a number of dwarves' lives through seven years of a war with the elves, and it just kind of grew from there.

 

On 7/11/2020 at 7:13 PM, Mad Jack said:

 

  Is organized crime a thing in the major cities? Are there actual thieves' guilds? How about pirates on the waters?

 

Also, what would be the legal penalty for feeding a mule fermented fruit and then letting it loose in the public marketplace? (Just asking... no reason...<whistles innocently>)

 

Organized crime and thieves' guilds and the like tend toward mob activity in the big cities--protection rackets, drug markets, unsavory gambling events, human trafficking, tax-dodging, etc.

 

Pirates are a definite thing. Bandits and the like on land.

 

Intoxicating a mule is generally regarded as a victimless crime, unless it's someone else's mule, in which case it could be punished along the lines of theft. Turning it loose in public could lead to financial liabilities if damage is done, and imprisonment for disorderly conduct. The elves are particularly fond of forced labor in such situations.

 

On 7/11/2020 at 10:15 PM, BadgersinMeadows said:

Are any moons made of cheese?

 

What are some common slang terms? Does each city have it's own set of slang or is there slang that is universally recognised?

 

No cheese moons in the known universe. Alas. At least one of the planet's moons is a desert, and another is almost entirely ocean. A third has no atmosphere but sees a surprisingly high amount of activity, some have noticed.

 

Slang is a work in progress and kinda just gets cooked up as it comes along. It pops up regionally and racially, some staying local and some spreading wide. Dwarves living belowground often refer to others above as "sunners" and elves as "fruits." Halflings often call humans "shanks." Elves generally aren't given to slang unless they're borrowing it from other languages.

 

In the Dwarven city of Undergate having a beer or ale is often referred to as "taking a bath" or "dive" after a famous tragedy involving drowned brothers. In the city of Waypoint the many towers and spires of the well-to-do are often referred to as "picks," because, uh, well. Halfling women are often called "buttons" and men "eyes" among their own people; the origins of this had sparked quite a bit of debate.

 

On 7/12/2020 at 6:48 AM, Kangaroorex said:

Does your world have aquan races and, if it does, what is their society and cities like?  What's their stance towards the land dwellers?

 

Does your world have dragons?  What is their society?  Do they interact with the humanoids as a race or as potential food sources?

 

There are small populations of sea elves deep in the oceans, far from land, who never interact with those above. Not a lot is known about them, but rumor says they build domed cities near magma vents and spend much time producing weapons and training in air and water alike for a war only they know lies ahead. Much larger populations of sahuagin in the warm southern oceans, where they are a particular hazard to those sailing through their territories. Mermaids are not unheard of.

 

Dragons are largely aloof from mankind, with only lesser and younger such interacting with the lower races by way of raiding and looting and carving out territories and the like. Little is known of their workings, beyond rumors of their hidden continent and the occasional legend, myth, or drunkard's tall tale of having a run-in with one of the majestic creatures looking for mortal assistance in some seemingly trivial affair. Betrayal and larger schemes often figure prominently in such stories.

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Are there knights in your world? What does it take to become a knight? Can only kings/lords/holy orders bestow such an honor, or can any knight confer it to anyone who proves worthy?

 

Similarly, are there regulatory bodies for magic users that require individuals to prove their competency? Or is it more of an individual study pursuit, or master to apprentice education?

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On 7/12/2020 at 7:23 AM, TGP said:

What say you to the legend: there is a vast cyclonic eyestorm at the middle of that Ocean?

 

The existence of an enormous whirlpool has been speculated by some of the more fanciful storytellers, but the utter calm of the waters, along with the myriad other phenomena surrounding it, leads most to believe it's nothing so mundane. Those who've ventured into its reaches and made it out again inevitably suffer from an inability to remember more than fractured, feverish bits of visions and memories that may themselves be false.

 

On 7/12/2020 at 7:23 AM, TGP said:

What say you to the epic tale of an ancient war between the Dragons and the Eldest civilization, a sea-faring race of old,  who ruled an empire from a third continent that now lies sunken beneath the waves of that howling, storm wracked ocean, true or false?

 

The elves believe themselves to be the oldest race, and while they believe they hold some special history with dragons the dragons don't seem to feel the same. They are as aloof and indifferent to the elves as any other race. Some humans believe the dragons were the gods' first creation and that they later had a hand in shaping the lesser peoples. Some dragon cults, especially among the northern continent, believe dragons one day will take control of the world and enslave mankind, but that war is yet to come. If a war between dragons and lesser mortals has occurred, the stories have been lost to history--though the longer memories of dragons surely would remember were it the case.

 

On 7/12/2020 at 7:23 AM, TGP said:

There are even Bards who spin tales that this War rages on even today, that this fuels the great storm, and that the remnants of the Dragons still hunt their foes who have become Mer-creatures, adapted to life in the sea, a livelihood built around cities in the Deep, surely these are but lies and imaginings??

 

Surely! Stories do circulate about the dragons' having some relationship with the deep-dwelling elves, but little is known what that relationship might be.

 

On 7/12/2020 at 7:23 AM, TGP said:

Are all Spelljammer crews sworn to keep secret whatever they’ve seen from on high??

 

Travel into the stars is incredibly rare, unheard of for most; those who told tales would be greeted as either the most fanciful of bards or most hopeless of madmen.

 

On 7/12/2020 at 7:23 AM, TGP said:

Are any of the navies of the existing seafaring powers strong enough to go find out?

 

What is the strongest Navy? and what sort of ships are at the top of its line-of-battle?

 

The elves are by far the most powerful naval force, though the humans have caught up well enough to maintain free shipping lanes and the like in a relatively short amount of time. Frigates and ships of the line are generally the backbone of their fleets, with various smaller ships used for maneuverability in raiding and so on. Historically the elves controlled the northern sea, with the polar kingdom maintaining respectable forces--fishing is such a part of their lives that any ship is likely to be converted for war on short notice. The humans and others plying the southern ocean largely copy and transform elven designs in their shipbuilding, though they seem to prefer smaller, faster ships and tactics that work with them accordingly.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

What is the currency? What forms (coins, bills, etc.) and increments (for instance, 1, 3, 5, 10, etc.) does it come in?

 

Coin rules the realm. The dwarves developed a system of flat, square coinage running from copper to silver to gold to platinum, with electrum between silver and gold, and humans adapted such, largely minus electrum pieces, to a round format with holes in the center so that the money can be carried bound by string. Dwarven money is called lucre, and stolen money "filthy" lucre, which is the origin of the phrase in the common human tongue. Gold is lucre proper; gold pieces often are called "hammers," electrum pieces "picks," silver "veins," and copper "wires." Platinum pieces often are called "wholes." Humans often call their coppers pennies or pence or bits, silver dollars, and gold crowns or sovereigns. Few enough people ever see a platinum coin, though some refer to them as "plats."

 

Coinage has become standard in weight from realm to realm with widespread commerce, but the elves do differ significantly in their production. Their cones and slender bars, often called "bolts" by the other races. A gold in their language is a "kingdom," silver a "duchy," and copper a "baron."

 

A banking system does exist, with various holdings issuing credit notes redeemable at other locations, but it's of little use to the average person.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

What are some of the more popular urban legends?

 

The elves and humans alike of the Northern Point tell stories of a terrible figure called the Frostfire Man, made of both ice and fire, who destroys isolated villages. Sailors in Waypoint believe in a mermaid who found a way to walk on land and every full moon stalks the streets of the port town disguised as a harlot, luring men in to be slaughtered and consumed. in the jungles of the southeast catfolk and humans alike tell tales of interdimensional shapechanging frogmen who pollute the drinking water and corrupt the children. Nearly all believe in the Fairy of the North, a spirit who comes at the start of the year on the winter solstice to bless or curse every person for the year based on their deeds of the last.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

What are some of the popular music instruments and genres?

 

Lutes and harps and other stringed instruments are very popular across the lands, along with flutes and panpipes and the like. Drums are not unheard of and much more popular to the southwest. The piano has been gaining in popularity in human realms, where shorter and more riotous tunes are popular among the lower classes particularly. The elves are quite fond of operatic storytelling utilizing orchestras and choral arrangements, and this has been adopted by the humans as well.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

Do javelinas  exist?

 

They are not unheard of.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

How big is the largest bug and what is it?

 

How small is the smallest bug and what is it?

 

Bugs run from earth-standard to giant-sized. The largest known bug outside magic intervention is the "towering flea," a rare creature that can grow as large as a watchtower. The smallest is probably yet to be discovered.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

What are some of the common sicknesses and the remedies?

 

Plagues of many sorts are unfortunately common. Malaria and dysentery are common in some areas. Measles is pretty well widespread and usually experienced in childhood but does little damage where cleanliness is maintained. Witches and herbalists and plague doctors abound with homemade remedies for all manner of ailments, some working better than others. Rumor is currently spreading of a strange ailment bringing cough and a fever--and indeed the disease is spreading just a step behind the rumors.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

What are some of the common board games?

 

Board games are a rarity among the elites of the world--they're difficult to produce regularly, and rather expensive. The elves do enjoy a particular kingdom-building type game called Empire," however, and the dwarves are known for a game called Shafts & Chambers in which players roll dice to find their way through a mine system from beginning to end to win.

 

Dice games, dominoes-type games, and card games are a lot more common.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

What is the favored weather?

 

Most everyone likes sun, I guess. Farmers are always praying for rain,  and the farther north one goes the more the people long for the warmth of summer.

 

On 7/14/2020 at 11:55 AM, MusicalFeline said:

What kind of stealthy organizations (or loners) are there?

 

Most kingdoms and rulers of an import will maintain some form of intelligence operation. Perhaps the most advanced among the humans is the Free Lances, an order of spies formed and operated, loosely, by the Confederation. Beholden to no specific ruler or city or state, the Lances spend their time rooting out elvish and criminal plots and chasing down those who would seek to rise up and take control of their fellow man.

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