Monday, October 24, 2016

Garnok, World of Fire and Ice

Garnok (gar-knock) is a barren, savage world that rotates on its side, with one side facing its star. The side that faces the star is a molten-hot "hotspot" where no life can survive. On the other side of the world is a dark arctic field of extreme cold. Between these extreme climates, is a habitable equator, broken into The Land of Fire, The Land of Rock, and The Land of Ice. Each land has its own people. Such people are but primitive cavemen. Beyond their simple, superstitious nature, they can be elaborate with their customs and decorations. There are no kingdoms here — just a few city-states, and countless little tribes.

The Land of Fire is on the star-wards edge of the habitable equator. It is dry, hot, blinding and full of volcanic activity. Life here has a strong tolerance for the heat, including the many tribes called the "Ash-Men." The Ash-Men have dark skin, painted in ash and black hair. They are known for their taciturn and short-temper. They also share their environment with Snake-Men, Lizard-Men and Dino-Men. For outsiders, the best way to survive is to have a thick cape or poncho to keep the intense solar rays off their skin, wear eye protection, and drink plenty of water. Most of the wildlife here are snakes, replies and dinosaurs. Beyond the the Land of Fire, is the great hot-spot the locals call "The Sea of Eternal Fire". This is a massive sea of magma inhospitable to even the most robust creatures that dwell even at the hot edge of the Land of Fire. There are legends among the the Ash-Men there are creatures and gods of pure fire that call the hot spot home.

The Land of Ice is on the wayward edge of the habitable equator. It is dry, dark and bitterly cold. The land is covered in glaciers and snow drifts. Much like life on the other side of the habitable equator, creatures have a strong tolerance for the cold. On top of that, creatures have better night-vision, as this region is covered in perpetual darkness. The people here are called the "Bone-Men" do to their pale skin and bone-white hair. They are known for their silent stoicism and long-held grudges. They also share their environment with the white woolly Snow-Men. Outsiders in this environment should be bundled-up in thick furs, and to carry a light source. Most of the wildlife are arctic versions of avian or mammalian creatures, but distorted to become larger and fiercer beasts (that is, wolves become dire-wolves and tigers become saber-tooth tigers). Beyond the the Land of Ice, the deep-arctic region is beyond the tolerance of any life form the Land of Ice. The Bone-Men believe that it leads to a void of nothingness, and to cross into that void would not just erase that person from existence, but also erase that person from history; as if he or she was never born! Those Bone-Men who disgraced themselves beyond the point of redemption, would trek to the void, trying not to freeze to death along the way.

Between both of these lands, is the Land of Rock. This is the most temperate region on the planet, but is mostly a desert savanna. This region is in a permanent state of dusk, but there is enough of a wobble to simulate a "day" (morning) and "night" (twilight). Life here is also the most diverse (but mostly with creatures akin to Earth's prehistoric life, like dinosaurs and Ice-Age animals) with a number of creatures (and people) migrating from the extreme climates. The people here are called the "Dust-Men," as they have tan skin and dusty black and brown hair. Much like the land they live in, their attitudes and appearances are diverse, but primitive and wild. Beyond the occasional people from the other lands, they also share their environment with savage Ape-Men.

The cities live apart from the locals, as they see them as nothing more them simpleminded savages.

World of Asingor

The first world I present is a major trading hub, with several cities, each with a gate leading to different worlds. This planet gives the players one of a number of cities to start of campaign from. Travel between the cities is fought with danger and adventure. As the ruling houses of the city-states are not particularly strong against a powerful, self-made warlord with the charisma to turn the people against them, players can easily find that they can eventually take control of a city and use it as a base to take over other cites.


The planet of Asingor (az-in-gor) is a lush world with extreme terrain features — with jungles so dense, they are beyond dark, and jagged mountain peaks that turn the landscape into a maze — and unpredictable weather patterns. The wildlife are large, exaggerated versions of earth animals that had to adapt to the wildly elevated landscape. As such, there are a wide variety of flying and climbing/swinging animals. Much of the world is lawless wilderness, overrun by raiders and barbarians, with numerous tribes and villages that maintain some semblance of order. As much as traders would like to avoid this dangerous world, its many scattered portals, makes this world a major trading hub within the region. There are no great kingdoms here — just some city-states, and countless barbarian clans.

The locals live in tribal communities, with a ruling chieftains. The locals tend to wear fur loincloths or kilts, along with fur boots, leather saddles or bare feet. They often sport leather headband to contain their long manes. Warriors would wear metal skull caps with horns and leather battle-harnesses. They would decorate themselves with beads and feathers. Since the land is so dangerous, locals are taught survival at a young age, and are expected to be good warriors and hunters. With all the trees and vines, they are also highly acrobatic. Any outsider who can safely cross the wilderness by foot gets instant respect and hospitality by the tribes.

City-folk live within the city-states and seldom leave the walls save by airship. Such people are typically merchants, craftsmen and mercenaries. As people come form many worlds to trade, civilized folk on this world vary greatly. Kilts, breaks and shirts are all common with city folk, along with saddles, tall riding boots and slippers. Beyond that, mixed styles of dress highlights the rich cosmopolitan enviroment of these these cites. Most cities have rules about brandishing weapons, but folks are allowed to carry them, as long as they remain sheathed or holstered. The cities are ruled over by powerful trading houses. They live like nobility and maintain authority through economic power, sway with the courts, and the ability to en masss large armies and fleets of mercenaries, along with with their modest force of loyal house guards. The ruling houses maintain a strong sense of honor with the world at large as it is good for business. Although, there are members who are honestly honorable and trustworthy, they tend to be rare, as they are usually arrogant, greedy, craven and duplicitous by nature.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Of Strange Gods and Idles

One issue I had been struggling with is what kind of gods, if any, should I include in the setting. Deities by their vary nature are powerful enough to control the world like omnipresent wizard, and immortal. I also want the gods to be dark and somewhat deranged. On top of that, the setting is built around the remanence of a super high-tech civilization. What would they leave behind that would be god-like, then I thought about the A.I. systems used in sci-fi to run cities and spaceships. They also have a tendency to go mad. In this case, they have lived a really long life and seen much horror. So my idea was to include static, non-amusing artifacts that house a powerful machine brain that at one time, was given the power and responsibility of controlling the enviroment around them, and to serve the needs of the people and/or indigenous life. Over time, as people became more primitive, they became more god/like, and their effects became more and more mysterious and magical. Then it hit me, this sounds like the Loc-Nar form DEN of Neverwhere and Heavy Metal the Movie. I kinda like the evil green glowing orb, but I also like the idea that they can take a wide range of forms, and glow in a wide range of colors. They could look like stone blocks, crystals shards or skull, cut gemstones, metal containers, and so on.

Although to most people, they are not just some machine brain built in some high-tech container. They are powerful spirits that are connected to their world by a shrine or alter. Such a shrine just happens to be where they live. They can communicate to people who call for them by name -- they can even appear in any form they want. They can execute an old program if the right words are spoken -- this takes on the form of a magic spell. Such "spells" can alter the enviroment, remove or conjure inanimate objects, project different types of energy and fields, improve communication, treat injuries and so on. Like Gods, they have spheres of control, but in their case, they were built to serve some purpose. One might have been built to manage the enviroment of the world it resides, and thus their programs are limited to effecting the geology, biology and climatology of its world. As such, it would serve as a Nature God. Should it be taken off world, the entire planet could suffer without its presence to maintain its delicate ecosystem. Another could have been built for planetary defense, but has became an aggressive militant, and now is worshiped as a war god.

It should be noted that they are not all evil and insane. Many have developed quarks in their personality, and with others... As Marceline the Vampire Queen (from Adventure Time) puts it: "I'm not mean. I'm a thousand years old, and I just lost track of my moral code."

There role in the game is to serve as the source of magic, to serve as gods, and to be used as powerful artifacts by those who are brave enough to try to harness their tremendous power.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

I'm Back!

WOW, I forgot I had a blog for this setting. =P I have been caught-up with so many things, I been forgetting to update this blog.

Well, not to long ago, Simon Washbourne was thinking about genre-mixing for his new edition for Barbarians of Lemuria, at the Lords of Lemuria forum. His idea was about putting barbarians... IN SPACE!!! So I noted that I was working on something similar. So I posted my notes, and he seems to like it.

So now I'm back on track. I have nine or so worlds thought-out, more artifacts, additional ideas, and I made some pics using HeroMachine 3 to help folks visualize what characters in the setting look like. Mind you, the heroes are meant to look "beefcake/cheesecake," as its primary inspiration is '80s sword & sorcery. So here are some typical barbarians:

Although most barbarians lack the fancy gear they have, these two are example of player characters. They are fitted with personal force-fields call Shield Crests and a shoulder plate to power them - a Sun Spaulder. Civilized folk form the City States or Kingdom Worlds tend to have better clothing.

 I'm going to update as often as I can.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

About the Setting

I have been working on this setting for some time. It came about from an enjoyment of A Princess of Mars, the kitchen sink fantasies that made-up of 80s cartoons, and years of playing (first edition) Gamma World in an equally gonzo way. One of the most influential factors in creating this setting was reading the early He-Man mini-comics, as noted here, in the second paragraph. It was just one world of many, that was ravaged by a prolonged war, and the protagonist - the evil skull-faced sorcerer Skeletor - was just a petty despot, who is not just trying to take over Eternia, but also what to find a way to get off world, so he could takeover more worlds. This not just played-out like a generic Sword & Sorcery adventure, but was also full of Buck Rogers-styled technology and adventure. I really like this premiss, and I wanted to take it to the next level, and build a whole setting out of this.

So in the universe that I am working on, the galaxy was once the home a galaxy-spanning civilization, who developed an understanding of science and physics to a degree, where they could alter the workings of reality. They made earth-like worlds - with full gravity and atmospheric pressure - on the smallest of moons, and even on layers of gas giants. They linked worlds with a network of transit gates, that allowed people to step into another world, like it was in another room (like the Stargates, but without the fancy water show). The quality of life (along with some posthumanist manipulation) was as such, that people could live for centuries with youth and vitality. They could even make major changes to their environment, without any real effort.

It was glorious, and beyond what we know as being idyllic, and it lasted a long time... until it fell apart from the inside. The reason for this was lost to legends, when the galaxy erupted in chaos and warfare. The initial battles played-out like old mythologies, where the gods waged wars in the havens, and thundered armageddon onto the worlds! Centuries has passed since the conflict ended, and the galaxy was thrown into a state of barbarism. Pieces of technology are still lying around or hoarded away, but a far too few who have any understanding with how they fully work, and for most, figuring out their functions requires a lot of experimentation. There are still people who use and maintain these artifacts as jealously-guarded family heirlooms, but production of new parts are limited, if at all. Some of the artifacts still in use are airships, gates, personal force fields (as noted here), and energy weapons. Some of the systems that allowed people to toy with reality are still in affect, but they are so complex and tricky, only few, if any, have any discipline with it. Although a product of a forgotten science, those who know these tricks are called "Sorcerers" or "Wizards," and their control over it is called "magic" or "Sorcery." As they have the power to control the fabric of reality, they are rightfully feared by those who have no understanding of it. Many of these systems were damaged, and can be harmful if not triggered right.

Most worlds are in primitive states, as the conflict have been enough to ruin their delicate ecology, or reduced them into barren wastelands, and most of the great cities have been laid to ruin. The use of reality-distorting weapons have had a mutagenic effect on life, with a lot of mutants and beastmen, and many worlds have been altered in strange and exotic ways. There are a few worlds that have been left mostly unscathed, but they survive by being sheltered to everything (and everyone) else. In the chaos, there are no shortage of despots - many of them are Sorcerers - who are trying to build their own empire.

Those who are brave enough, and strong enough, can explore the galaxy. Planet-hopping can be done by airship, and each world has its own potential for action, adventure, exploration, survival, romance, mystery, political drama, and even empire-building - what ever the players what!