I don’t know if I’ve made this clear, but I create a ton of different systems and variants of systems for tabletop roleplaying games. Most of them stay at a conceptual stage, but many come to functional point (although not one that I could publish). And here’s another one. It’s based on an attempt at another fantasy world, and hopefully slightly less weighed down by stereotypes and such. Here’s just a short rundown on the basic premise so that I can post interesting things like classes, rules, and setting information.
The main central area is a large theocracy, where the sun-god is revered. The religion has slowly absorbed other nearby religions as lesser gods under the Golden Monarch, and is widely spread across the lands of the empire. The great empire officially controls almost every country on the continent, but that is only a half-truth. Many regions are more or less self-ruling, and even though the empire has many soldiers, it has even more land. The once iron-hard rule is withering, just like the power of the empire. The command is gilded iron, that’s rusted beneath the gold leaf coverage. However, there’s still power in old habits, and old dynasties. Revolution is far from a certainty, and not even necessarily a possibility. Why overthrow something that works?
Other Regions of the Empire
There are some regions of the empire that haven’t succumbed as much to the dominant culture. These two are prime examples of such areas.
In the northwest, lies a small country. The only reason that it hasn’t been long conquered is that no one wants its desolate, worthless lands. The only major source of fresh water is a large lake, polluted by toxic metals and other, unspeakable things. Foreigners drinking from it get sick, some eventually pulling through and being able to function, albeit with stomach problems and common periods of additional sickness. Those who drink it since their childhood adapt somewhat, becoming sickly, pale and withered, but ironically get the strongest known resistance to poisons and disease. They live shorter lives than other people due to their overconsumption of the tainted water, but as their own deity teaches: “suffering grants strength, and death is inevitable”. Their main resource is bog iron, that is collected from the bottom of the lake. This produces cheap iron of questionable quality, but the country’s own smiths can be quite adept at avoiding or harnessing the large amounts of impurities in it.
To the east lies a kingdom spread across the archipelago. It’s people are a curious bunch, according to much of the rest of the empire. There everyone is trained to be warriors: male or female, peasant or noble, it matters not. Status is determined by martial prowess, which have led to aristocratic families being some of the most powerful warriors about. Everyone are supposed to follow a harsh code of honor, that disallows fleeing and breaking one’s word. Failure to do so means suicide, which disturbs many other armies but helps with discipline. The other side of the coin that is this country, however, is their ideals of beauty. People, especially full-time soldiers, are expected to be able to sing, compose poetry or paint. The already flashy (compared to many others) red and blonde hairs of the people are well taken care of, and sometimes even augmented with additional colorations. Washing is a daily ritual, and they look down on the filthy pirates that sometimes pass by their coasts. These very same pirates are also used as practice targets by young warriors. Their ship-building are the best in the world, and their shallow ships can sail up many rivers that other would deem impossible to pass through.
Adventure in the Empire
There are many opportunities for those looking for fame and fortune in the empire. Caravan guards, tomb robbers, mercenaries and similar professions are all viable careers. The wildernesses are riddled with forgotten cities and ancient temples, monsters lurk at the edges of civilization, and intrigue lurks inside the cities. People from different backgrounds band together for their own goals, and sometimes find true kinship with each others. It’s not unheard of for adventuring bands to become famous and/or rich. Well, those that manage to avoid a violent death.
So that’s it for this one. Hopefully this kind of sets the tone of the world. I plan to release more info and rules later, and this may very well devour the “D&D that isn’t even D&D any more” project. We’ll see. This world is exciting though. I might even bring this to a state where I can release it on the internet, which would be fun. Oh well, until next time!