Showing posts with label Worldbuilding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Worldbuilding. Show all posts

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The South-Western Woes and Rues

The city of Nace is a fair city, one that sees travelers come from all over the Peninsula to trade for magical goods. It is the second city of the Empire, only surpassed by the Capital itself. However, it is not without it's own troubles.

A Worldographer map of the South West Corner of Nace. 
Unlike the Capital, this city was of entirely human design. The Empire has been building cities for centuries, but usually with the assistance of gnomes. Since the city was built to meet the needs of those fleeing the Port after a particularly hard hurricane season, there was no time to send for the gnomish guilds. From the base camp, the two main roads were extended 360 yards north and south, east and west. Each road was 30 feet wide slashing the town into 64 (technically, less than that.) even squares. As the walls were built, the aqueduct was brought into the east side of the city.

Perfect!

Wrong.

Under the South-Western walls was thick layer of clay which the engineers covered with stone to support the roads, walls and towers. Some careless planning caused the fountains and cisterns to be irregularly placed on the north side of the city. Compacting the clay soils walls caused the natural flow of water to be disrupted which was exacerbated by the incorrect placement of water features. The backwash flooded the south-western side of the city. The walls held, the towers held, but a sea of mud and sewage bubbled up from the roadways, fountains and cisterns.

The town came up with an a hoc solution. Install large gravel filled berms along the western wall to absorb the overflow. In order to do this, the South and West Walls, towers and all needed to be moved back 30 or so feet. It was expensive and it cost the town it's planned regular shape, but it solved the problem.

Now the natural course of the water has not been restored, but floods an area several hundred feet west of the city. That area runs riot with all kinds of flowering plants and shrubs which sweetens the air. Additionally, this area makes travel by wagon and horse difficult, so it also holds off raiders. The trails along the west wall have formed from years of inspection and people venturing out to gather wild berries and flowers.

Since each 30 by 30 area of land is based on the overall planned area of each insula, these areas are overpriced. Additionally, the worry of possible flooding limits those desiring land from building along these walls. As a consequence of this mess, people refer to these walls as "The South-West Woes". Woe Street runs north-south and Rue Street runs East-West along those walls. 

A Worldographer map of the Western gates. In the north eastern corner of each insula should be well or fountain.
Note how irregularly placed they are. 

Towards the center of town, just on the edge of the Forum is an area called Hopper Town. The local brew-masters banded together and purchased much of the land and have planted gardens and orchards to support their trade. Most houses have a small herb garden but the use of large tracts of lands for growing, outside of the city's official gardens, is prohibited. The reason that the brew-masters have gotten away with this is beer. It's a huge tax base and general balm against insurrection.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Science Fiction - 000 Armor

This evening I read Population of Loss and was struck by the character Signalman.

He is a sort of mystical entity in a steampunk world. That is epic.

The image to left is a rendition of suit of armor from a reoccurring dream I used to have in the mid-1990s. While I believe my dream was trying to represent a version of me inside a high tech suit, all of my recollections of it are colored by a demented sort of dream-logic, which can seem a bit mystical.

Being from a dream, the suit does not have a name, but for the purpose of this post, I will call it the 000 Armor.

There are three tanks on this armor. The two tanks on the back of the armor contain a substance which is much colder than absolute zero. It shouldn't make sense, but mathematically, that substance should be hotter than hell while the area around it is intensely cold. To regulate that power, the small tank on the front contains an anti-matter reactor. It doesn't provide power to the suit, it keeps the irrationally cold meta-material in check. That work provides the power to the suit, mostly as an afterthought. The wearer's eyes are closed because he is frozen. Only his brain is working at incredible speeds due the cryogenic coursing through him.   

Being frozen, moving fingers are impossible, so the hands are protected by a pair of cestus-like weapons. The wearer cannot "see" light, but the suit is pouring in data from all across the em-spectrum. Moving in a traditional sense isn't really possible. The suit shambles like a zombie when it has to, but it's main motive power is provided by the super cold, meta-material. The suit possesses a property of non-locality. It simply shifts from one place to another. It can't sit idle, it tends to shift from place to place like the disruption of circular waves on a pond by a second rock. Seemingly random, but not really.

The suit's energy needs are met by the differential of temperature between it and the environment and this is moderated by the anti-matter reactor. Its meant for space but on the surface of a planet, it is barely balanced for basic operations. There is an area of alternating bands of temperature which has tendency of destroying everything around it. Plus, the suit is dumping hard radiation into the environment. Most things which come into close proximity to the 000 Armor are vaporized and rain down as an ash-like material over a vast area.

The suit takes moments to put on, but requires an incredible amount of technology to remove. The process takes weeks and is often fatal. While it can handle air, it has great difficultly when contacting solids, vapors and most especially, liquids. Falling in a body of water can drain the entire suit in short order, killing the occupant.

Should the suit start to fail, the operator can open their eyes. Ominously, the 000 Armor's heads up display will show a series of recordings, usually by loved ones, urging the user to fight to stay alive. You would think that this messages would be a digital and wholly fictional creation, but they are not. The operator is required to attend the recordings, so they understand that they must fight or die in these circumstances. 

The suit is tasked with fighting large robotic entities. Picture a city bus standing on its tail and mounted on top of very large tank in place of the turret. These robots have all manor of lasers, grenades, machine guns and missiles, which can wreck a city block or aircraft carrier in moments. It has 2 dozen missiles which are very peculiar in operation. They lay flat inside the main body and are forced out the top of the robot, at any angle. Picture a vertical launch tube on a submarine that can project a missile in any direction from straight up to completely flat. The robot has a small dead zone around it where the missiles cannot strike. Perhaps 40 meters around. The secondary weapons guard this area.

These weapons are all ineffective against the mobility that the suit provides.

The robot entity contains and carries a massive swarm of locust-like drones, which are supposed to collect data and repair damage. They also provide the motive force for the missile launchers.

It turns out that simply ramming the 000 Armor with drones is more effective than any of the robot's  weapons. In the image, you can see that the armor has been knocked around a bit by the drone swarm. The main reason is the swam can cover an area larger than the suit's non-locality function.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Session 3 preview - North Market

The mapping of my town continues. This is the North Market area, which is "north" of the forum. This area is a mixed use zone, where row houses have popped up in a rather regular way in the North East section of this insula. However, down in the South West quadrant, the row houses are rather rough. 


The southern row houses look ruder because they are older, not because the people that live there are poor. It was a slap-dash build for people looking to get into the city fast. As you can see, there are a couple of rich villas right in with the row houses, separated by some green space. This is just a little off of the center of the city, so its still high society.

I am really loving this software and this style of map. It allows me to cover huge areas quickly, so that I can spend a few minutes mapping each day.

Each area has it's own little story in my mind and I can come back and add details later. I am probably not making the best use of Worldographer using the battlemat like this, but this town is hardly organic. It is relatively sterile and uniform as opposed to a town that sprung up from a chance placement of one house, or town square.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Bird's Eye View of Worldographer Map - City of Nace

I am having a wonderful time with Worldographer, by Inkwell Ideas. I have been kicking out maps for my current campaign using the software. The image below is my campaign map (in progress) for just one city. 


The City of Nace is made up of 64 insula, or blocks. I made a mistake by creating this as a battlemat. My reason was to have square blocks, rather than hexes. By completing a map in this fashion, what I will actually have is 64 individual maps. (Actually, 63 because the forum takes up two insula.) Each insula is 180 yards across, north to south and east to west. By the time I am done, my players will have over a square mile of gaming locations and I will have at least a vague idea of what is happening... everywhere.

I have barely scratched the surface of what Worldographer can do, but I figure this practice will help me master it someday.




Saturday, September 7, 2019

3rd Session Preview Part 2 - Tyranny's End.

This week's update can be blamed on a mistimed cold and an unfortunate swimming adventure. School started back up this week on Tuesday which meant I needed to catch a summer cold on Monday, so I would be completely ready for school. By this morning, I was having trouble breathing regularly, so off to the doctors. I am taking a course of steroids plus some other stuff to fend off the pneumonia and help with laryngitis. In retrospect, swimming with my class on Thursday was not a good idea.

My next gaming session has been delayed until I can speak again. 

So, let me tell you more about the city of Nace. In the previous post, I detailed the Forum and the two insula due south of the center of the city. Today's post is about the first section of the city built, the only two insula surrounded by walls. 

The Empire has herbal products which are not only unique to it, but are the basis of their competitive exports. Verbena is a magic herb that will stanch all wounds, restoring 1d4 hit points. Emperor's Valerian is a deep purple flower that will cure blindness and head injuries, including lost eyes. Flaming Yarrow is the third herb produced solely by the Empire. It restores damaged and decayed teeth, reduces fever and if prepared correctly, can induce sleep. 

These magical plants require a magical ecology to grow. When the town moved from the port to this location, the first insula to be constructed were the magical gardens. Each garden area is protected by a low, 4 foot wall and four arches as entry points. Since these are the only insula in the town with walls of any kind, they are called Palisade North and Palisade South. Collectively, they are called Tyranny's End.  

The North Palisades
The North Palisades contains 3 manor houses or villas for the families who cultivate herb crops in the two gardens, in addition to a small grove of trees to support the growth of mistletoe. The gardens have tiny non-functional houses or follies, to represent a small farm. They are maintained as if they were real as this is a part of the magic of this place.
The South Palisades 
The South Palisades is much the same, except there are 3 houses and one shrine. The Shrine is a memorial to the Defender of the Port Gardens, the druid responsible for maintaining the weather inside the original gardens. Her entire line perished protecting the gardens when they were located in The Fortezza Port di Nace. Without their sacrifice, the largest gardens for these sacred planets would have been destroyed. The new Druid lives in a stone structure at the southeast corner of the South Palisades. 

This druid and her kin employ magics beyond what spellcasters can imagine. To support the gardens, everything except the weather must free within the boundaries of the Palisades. This is the origin of the name "Tyranny's End". 

The walls are not a defense for the gardens, but a warning. The weather is always controlled to the needs of the plants. This would be danger enough inside the confines of the town, but the druid's authority over the weather requires a sacrifice of all other worldly control within the walls. Any agreement wrought by man can be ended here. Emperors have come to the garden to abdicate. Any slave that enters the walls are immediately freed. If horses or other beasts enter, they are no longer the property of anyone. Arranged marriages can be nullified here, but never marriages of the heart or conscience. 

There are interesting cases where animals enter and then return to owners of their own free will. Some of the most epic tales of the Empire revolve around couples attempting to end an arranged marriage here only to find one, the other, or both really loves their partner. If these couples stay together, blessed by the gardens with fame and fortune. 

There is a legal issue for slave owners entering the walls. The magic will instantly set all of their slaves free. Sometimes the owner and slave will receive the same blessing as the couples mentioned above. Technically, it is illegal for a slave owner to set all of his slaves free all at once, but if he or she receives no apparent benefit to it, a blind eye is turned. However, many Usurpers has attempted to reroll fate by setting vast numbers of slaves free. If that becomes apparent, the punishment is always death. 

For slaves entering the gardens, the circumstances are different. If they were ordered to do it by their master, that slave becomes a free client of the former master, a nearly familial relationship where favors are traded back and forth. If the slave enters the garden to escape a cruel master, the authorities will view all that that former slave's statements as absolute fact and WILL legally pursue the master, usually to the most extreme limits of the law. This fact causes the slaveholders of Nace to act on their best behavior. 

There are very few cases where a slave would accidentally enters the gardens. In those rare instances, if the former slave asks forgiveness and it is accepted, they become an adopted family member to the master and both receive a title and small stipend from the Emperor. If the master does not accept the apology then the former slave may, at his or her choice, enter the household of the Emperor as a paid servant or enter the military. This is where the Empire gains many of their trusted messengers. The alternative choice of military service grants a low officer rank. If the slave refuses to ask for forgiveness, he or she is still free but exiled from Nace. The masters of the gardens may provision this person as they see fit, but they cannot accept anything from anyone else in the city. 

The six houses that care for these lands are made up of both hereditary post holders and those who have enter the gardens in an effort to end some sort of loss. Many a widow, orphan and widower have entered the gardens seeking to end the heartache of loss and find salvation in service to these houses. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

On the Same Wavelength

Yes, I wear this cologne
This week, I have been thinking about villains. Personally, I love human or demi-human type villains. People that aren't going to turn into a snake, demon or dragon, because they are worse that any of those things. I also love making the villain equal or lower level than the PCs because the players never think to look down.

Of being on the same wavelength, a new podcast was introduced this week: Adventure Design Sessions. It's hosted by Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor. This week's guest is Joe The Lawyer. You can follow them on MeWe. ADS can be found on Spotify, Anchor and all the great podcasting networks.

Since I am plugging things, why not plug my cologne company? My favorite colognes appear often on my blog, usually for the bottle styling but also for the great, sometimes witty names. My favorites are Villain, Perversion and Whitechapel. My wife wears Bitches Love Unicorns, Eat Me and Cheshire Cat. Check out Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

(This is not a sponsored ad, I just love all of these products.)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Solar System files - Background Information on Unnamed Project

I think I have crossed over to the point where my unnamed project is going to need a name. Its writing itself.

The characters are colonists of the Epsilon Indi system. I collected some data on this solar system, and it does seem to be a real solar system with planets and stuff. Pretty interesting, but also complex.

As of right now, Epsilon Indi has 3 known objects in orbit. There are a pair of brown dwarfs at 1460 AU from the star and hints that a Jupiter-like planet orbits the star. The most recent data indicates this Jupiter Analog is between 8.5 and 16 or 17 AU from its host star.

Heaven help me if they discover more companions to this star, because I went and invented a bunch of my own.

This is a chart of my fictional system:

This chart obviously has no scale and is wildly different than the actual system. I decided that the colonists have named the planets after Roman gods, specifically from the list Di selecti by Varro. The brown dwarfs are named after Sabine gods, as Varro was of Sabine descent. This has created an in-universe problem where if the colonies wish to continue the practice, they must reuse some names of the Earth's Solar System. That would be confusing, so the naming process stopped at the seventh planet. 

The characters are bound for the eighth unnamed planet. Their ship's AI thinks that the humans are being dumb and cheekily names the eighth and ninth planets Urbian-Adams and Kawal, for astronomers responsible for discoveries in our Solar System. It wouldn't do to have an adventure around an unnamed planet. 

The system is full of tiny planets, only Iuno Regina, the Jupiter Analog and Urbian-Adams are bigger than Earth. The smaller bodies in grey are airless. The blue body is Terra Mater. It has a earth-like atmosphere, made up of CO2 and nitrogen. There is a small moon, Bacchus which has a very dense nitrogen based atmosphere at a higher pressure than Earth's. 

If you would like to use this template for your writing or your games, feel free to download the Google Drawing from my drive.