I decided to do some updates to my two D&D campaign settings- because why not. I’m also working on a couple others in the back of my head that I might write up for the hell of it. Maybe I should join the self-publishing craze just to publish a book of my campaign setting ideas through Amazon. I’m normally not particularly interested in self-publishing, and have no intention of trying to get any of my fiction published this way, but this would just be a fun little project.
Tibera is the campaign setting I created for my current in-person 5th Edition D&D campaign. For the basic details on Tibera, check out my previous post on the setting.
The Birth of Tiberan Civilization:
When the seven gods of Tibera fashioned the world from the pieces stolen from other worlds, they stripped the memories from all of the inhabitants they abducted to this world- but imperfectly. They intended for the inhabitants to recall how to build, farm, heal, wage war, etcetera- they merely wanted to strip the inhabitants of their memories of their previous lives and worlds, to convince them that the seven gods had created them. It didn’t quite work out the way they intended. Knowledge of construction perforce came with cultural and regional constructions- one of the stolen souls who had previously lived in a desert city with certain cultural mores regarding hygiene and personal space might build a dwelling vastly differently than an elf who had grown living domed houses from saplings to trees. This extended into every facet of Tiberan lives- they had proven impossible to remake without purging their memories entirely- their lives, personalities, and cultural assumptions were embedded in everything they did remember. Tibera descended into chaos within weeks or months of the creation of the world- but out of the rioting and mass insanity cultures quickly rose up, amalgams of the fragments left to the larger demographic groups of Tiberan inhabitants. The gods, then still tired and weakened by their thefts, were unable to intervene. The early civilizations that rose up were short-lived, most nations only lasting for a few years, but more stable, long-lived nations gradually arose.
The Tiberan gods failed in many respects- one of which was removing all prior relics of civilizations from the worlds they’d stolen from. Ancient temples far older than Tibera itself lie buried under hills. Archaeological relics found in forests resemble nothing on Tibera. Geological formations fail to match up with the rest of the land around them.
A half century after the birth of Tibera, a massive storm rose up. A sort of lingering aftershock of the creation of Tibera, the magical storm blanketed the entire planet. Though in most regions it wasn’t much more dangerous than a storm, in a few locations it shattered the very landscape, contaminating it with magic. The gods quickly quelled it, and buried the contaminated areas, but relics of the storm can still be found by those who know where to look.
Beings still exist who lived on previous worlds before Tibera. Many dragons, elves, and other ancient beings stolen from other worlds still live. Many died in the chaos immediately following Tibera’s birth, and many more died in the Birthstorm, but there are those who still remain. Some of the mightier and wiser of them have even begun to piece together the inconsistencies of Tibera, and a select few have even begun recovering their old memories.
The Far North- Beyond the Transvanth:
The Transvanth: a fertile, lightly forested plain to the north of the Ceylas Region. It has undergone multiple recent waves of settlement. Beyond it to the north, towards the equator, lies an immense jungle, as yet unexplored, though those few who have returned from it speak of exotic spices, rare hardwoods, and valuable medicinal herbs. Empty villages litter the jungle, the inhabitants hiding long before explorers get to the villages, often leaving meals on the tables and cookfires going. Those who’ve penetrated farthest speak of an immense, icy mountain jutting from the depths of the jungle.
The Far South:
To the south of the great forests of Eridane, Far Estevald, and Tyrinan lies a barren, icy tundra, inhabited only by a few hardy mammoth herders, who largely keep to themselves beyond rare trading trips north. Beyond the tundra lies a craggy, canyon filled wasteland, plauged by blizzards and slowly being enveloped by glaciers, which have not had enough time to fully form yet in Tibera’s brief history.
Eastwards and Westwards:
Beyond the deserts of the east lie great kingdoms, and regions as heavily settled as Ceylas. Getting there is an overland trip of months, however.
Beyond Serdan in the west extends a massive ocean, which even the Serdanese have been unable to cross.
Itasoa is the setting I created for my current 5e D&D online game. Check out the original post for basic details on Itasoa.
The icecaps of Itasoa are as unlike as night and day- incidentally, they’re the only places on Itasoa with a day/night cycle, though the lengths of each are particularly unpredictable, and entirely dependent on the irregular intrusions of loose godeggs into polar orbits. The undersides of both ice caps are extremely dangerous- anoxic, oxygen poor sections of the sea pop up sporadically, strange sunhating monsters (including vampires and abyssal dwellers) lurk beneath, and the currents beneath are dangerous and liable to smash one into the jutting ice below.
The northern icecap is inhabited by nomadic tribes, who regularly trade furs, fish, enchantments, and carvings to the inhabitants of Hurdun in exchange for manufactured goods. Attempts to conquer them have been made, but all have ended in disaster- almost every member of the tribes are trained in an odd school of magic not taught to outsiders. They don’t appear to have many powerful mages, but that doesn’t really matter so much with their numbers. Their magic is greatly weakened off the ice, which in combination with their isolationism means that they have no interest in trying to conquer anyone else. In the very center of the northern ice cap is a vast, still, and clear pool held sacred by the inhabitants- the few outsiders who have been permitted to visit it report that the water in the pool is warm and freshwater, and that bizarre fish live in it. Those few merfolk and other seadwellers who have dared cross the dark regions below the ice cap report that they cannot get into the pool from below- it appears to be a lake atop the ice.
The southern icecap appeared to once hold a civilization similar to the northern one, but it has long since perished. The ice is far more treacherous and broken in this icecap, and deep rifts extend to the water below. Fell beasts and the undead wander the landscape, and only the wariest of animals still reside there. Frequent ice quakes occur on the southern ice cap, especially compared to the relatively gentler (though still harsh) northern ice cap.
It’s not uncommon for cities to be ravaged by gallpox epidemics every few decades. The disease is virulent and deadly- as many as one in five people die from it. What makes it especially dangerous is the long incubation period- victims are likely to have been spreading it for as much as a week before the characteristic inflammation, cold sweats, and vomiting begins. Godshells hit by gallpox are quarantined immediately by their rulers- those that don’t face vicious reprisals by any nearby cities, and any ships leaving them are sunk. Waterbreathers are rarely affected by the disease, as it is airborne. Those that do get infected stay entirely underwater to avoid spreading it further.
On rare occasions, godshells fail to hatch after plummeting back to sea from orbit. Usually when that happens, a volcano is formed on landing from the godshell egg crashing back to the seabed. On even rarer occasions, though, the egg merely quenches itself, and lies on the seabed. This results in strange magical discharges, which cause the growth of bizarre plants, mutant fish, and odd floating minerals. These zones are dangerous, but the potential profits attract visitors nonetheless.
The Drifting Labyrinth:
Decades ago, a slightly deranged and senile archmage fashioned himself a tower that floated among the waves before his death. Around the tower is a bizarre maze sculpted of water. It can’t be seen until you get close, when the sea level abruptly drops in straight channels with smooth walls. The channels aren’t especially deep, and pose little more than an annoyance for ships- as the tower drifts along, the labyrinth will gradually push the ship to the edge, where it will be raised back up to normal sea level. At worst it delays ships for an arc or two. A few captains have tried to solve the labyrinth, with no success. Sailing to the tower by ship is the only way to get there- the mage warded every other approach, whether underwater, through the air, or through magical means. There has been little will by anyone to get rid of it, since it is considered little more than an amusing annoyance, and doesn’t stick to one spot for very long.
Itasoa doesn’t have regular seasons, though a Godshell wandering into colder or warmer climes can mimic seasonal change for the inhabitants.