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.
Quick show of hands, who knows what Westphalian sovereignty is? For those of you who don’t want to read through the entire Wikipedia article, it’s the principle that any nation state has the right to govern itself and its internal affairs without interference from other nation states, and that each state is equal under international law. (Though it all frequently plays out differently in practice.) Westphalian sovereignty originated with the Peace of Westphalia, a series of treaties that ended the Thirty Year’s War and the Eighty Year’s War in Europe, who had had so many wars by that point they just gave up on original names. Prior to the Peace of Westphalia, constant meddling in the affairs of other countries was completely normal. It should be noted, of course, that the interrelation of royalty throughout Europe was a big cause of this.
Real quick, I want you to look at a map of Middle Earth. Feel free to look up a higher resolution one if you want, but there aren’t any precisely defined borders on the map- there isn’t any sharply defined line between Gondor and Mordor, other than the obvious geographic features. This isn’t because J.R.R. Tolkien just decided to draw a geographic map of Middle Earth and call it a day- the omission of borders was deliberate. This is, admittedly, speculation on my part- I don’t know for sure that Tolkien was deliberately modeling the nations of Middle Earth after pre-Westphalian states, but it seems extremely likely. The man was an exceptionally knowledgeable student of European history- for him to have included the strictly defined Westphalian state seems extraordinarily unlikely.
And indeed, in a reading of The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, the only borders really mentioned are geographic ones, and nations don’t even pay lip service to noninterference in each others business- which, of course, tends to be rather secondary, since they aren’t novels about nation states, but of good versus evil.
Tibera is the setting I created for the physical 5th Edition D&D campaign I’m running. Here’s the campaign setting for my online campaign, Itasoa, which I posted last week, which is a bit less of a traditional fantasy world.
Tibera is a stolen world. Five centuries ago, seven gods, tired of sharing their worlds with others, conspired to fashion their own world. They severed parts of other worlds, reforging and reassembling them into a world all their own at the farther ends of the multiverse, hiding it from any other gods. The souls of Tiberan dead are treated as currency by the gods.
The clouds of Tibera are like no others in the multiverse- each of them reflects the assorted afterlives ruled by the seven gods. If you look up on a cloudy day, you might see sculpted on the bottom of the clouds any of the assorted hells, heavens, or other afterlives of the Seven, with buildings, landscapes, and souls of the dead hanging above you.
So I’m running a couple of 5th Edition D&D campaigns right now, one in my apartment, one over Roll20.net. (I highly recommend Roll20 to anyone who want to play D&D online, by the way.) This is the world I created for the online campaign, Itasoa. It is, to say the least, very nautical-themed. I originally dreamed it up for other purposes, but converted it to a D&D campaign setting, which necessitated converting the cosmology into a more D&D compatible universe (hence the references to the Feywild, the Shadowfell, etc.), and replacing some of the non-human sentient species I had with D&D species.
Itasoa is an ancient rogue world, spinning alone and adrift in the depths of space. Light and heat come from hundreds of tiny suns closely orbiting the world, and night is almost unknown, except rarely at the poles and in the depths the sea, and occasionally during powerful storms. The surface is almost entirely submerged by a single globe-spanning ocean. The majority of habitable surface on the planet is on the backs of the Godshells, enormous crustaceans miles across that never submerge, with island ecosystems forming on their back as they stride slowly through the oceans.
Itasoa is almost entirely covered in an enormous ocean. There are only two continents- one a little ways down from the equator, and a larger one in the northern polar regions. The larger continent, Hurdun, in the north is ice and snow bound, and about the size of Great Britain. The smaller desert continent, Trine, about half the size of Hurdun, is only lightly populated, thanks to the strange, unearthly ruins filling the hot, arid interior, and the mysterious rocklike beings roaming them. There are also a moderate number of volcanic islands scattered throughout the ocean, though they’re created via the lifecycle of the Godshells, rather than tectonic activity, which is relatively sparse and slow on Itasoa. Water-breather civilization is frequently built up the side of the islands, with air-breathers atop it.
There are also massive kelp mats stretching for miles upon miles- these are largely inhabited by amphibious races, and the occasional barbarian tribe. They are prone to breaking up in godwaves and mightier storms.
Some sections of the ocean floor are riddled with mighty, immense rifts filled with horrifying, incomprehensible beasts.
The higher seafloor between rifts is still immensely deep and pitch dark, and is home to monsters, civilizations of insane, blind, voracious creatures, and the remnants of uncounted ships and rotting Godshell corpses.
There are a few Sargassos in Itasoa- current-less areas with little wind, and infrequent visits from Godshells. Getting stranded in one is not recommended.
I finally did more playtesting on Siegebeast with some friends. I’m finally ready to unveil mechanics and such!
SiegeBeast is a strategy game that uses dice for units. The key mechanic of the game is using the dice sides to keep track of life totals for each unit. There is no dice rolling at all in the game, except for choosing who goes first, or who gets a color of dice/ specific faction if multiple people want them. I’ve checked all over, and I haven’t been able to find any other games that use dice as units like this, I’m pretty proud of it. (I could be wrong. If you know of any other game that does this, let me know!)