The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

We left our old worlds, each of us. This is it. We can't go any farther. This is The Edge.
LoZompatore
Stone Giant
Posts: 612
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 8:40 am
Gender: male
Location: Fano, Italy

The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:18 am

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): "Piazzaworld" was an old working title for "The Edge" and is no longer used. This thread is being renamed from "Piazzaworld: a summary and a major revamping" to "The Edge: a summary and a major revamping" for clarity.

To Ashtagon: This thread should be moved underPiazzaworld The Edge sub-forum. I posted it here for the sake of visibility. Please move it when you find it suitable.

Note: This very long article is posted here just for comments and discussion. Before start reading it on this message board I suggest you to download the entire Word document of this same text, with full-sized maps: you might find it more useful. The zipped document with maps (some 2.6 Mb) can be found HERE:
http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0


PIAZZWORLD THE EDGE: A SYNTHESIS


VERSION 1.0
INFO UPDATED AS OF: 6th March, 2010


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. By posting in this thread, you are agreeing to release your own words and creations under the same license. Your work remains your own property, but you agree to share it as long as you are credited and it is not used for commercial purposes without your permission.


Note: I still use the name Piazzaworld The Edge for this fan-created setting, as it seems to me there is not enough agreement about the alternative name of Thalassa so far.

In this long article I tried to synthesize in a coherent frame the many excellent ideas suggested so far by the community, in order to draft a “bible” about this self-produced setting.
The approach I followed was to include every bit of info suggested by fans in the many Piazzaworld-related The Edge-related threads developed so far. I placed those info on a map (which itself is a compromise of the maps suggested so far) and then I tried to merge them in a coherent frame. I was obliged to drop one point or two, but, in my opinion, it is not anything essential to the setting. On the other side, I made add-ons of mine, just to progress in detailing Piazzaworld The Edge.

Being a long article I divided it in a few sub-sections which deal with different aspects of the setting (maps, geographical descriptions, historical timeline, suggestions). When necessary I tried to make internal references between sections in order to make the article more understandable.

Please note that everything shown in the following (maps, names, placements, entries etc) can be edited, modified or entirely dropped if you think it doesn’t fit with the setting (or if you simply have a better idea about the same subject).
My purpose with this work was just to fix the main points and give some material to proceed in the developing phase of the setting. Many entries are very barely outlined, others are more detailed, but I don't think there would be any problem in expanding or modifying any entry accordingly to everyone's contributions.

Notice also that I followed a “holistic” approach in describing the setting - that is, I started with a global map with general info about landmasses, climate, etc, and placed there the suggestions the other forum members wrote in other threads. You may think that this approach could limit future developments, but please note the following:

- I placed not less than 80 entries throughout the world, some of them referring even to large areas, and STILL there is a lot of room left on the map. You can easily see them in the progressive zoom maps to Refuge Point (see the “zooming to Refuge Point” section): most of the maps are actually empty. In every map, including the global one, there is still plenty of space for large cities, kingdoms and empires, even planet-spanning ones. In truth, an Earth-size world is a huge place to fill with details, so I don’t see it a problem to scatter kingdom and civilizations across the world from the beginning;

- In my opinion, starting from the “big vision” and then zooming in to flesh out details will (hopefully) avoid a lot of issues about map making, the coherence of the setting and even the placement of adventures. Mapmaking issues are delved in the “Global map” section. With regard to coherence issues, I believe that even a few lines for a faraway place loosely related to the region you are attempting to describe will do much help in adding details to both places. Moreover, a bare entry about any place on the map could be always modified by adding further “more important” details which diminish the contribution of the previous ones in defining the entry. I firmly think that little info is far better than no info at all (and that a sketched large map is far better than no map at all).


GLOBAL MAP:

First of all, let's start with the suggested global map, as is shown below:

http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/1532 ... pnames.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0

The same map, without notations, is here:

http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/554/ ... pclear.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0


Remarks:

- The map projection is a Dymaxion: think of it as an unfolded d20 dice. This projection has the strong advantage that and hexed grid laid upon it suffers no distortions when it approaces to the poles (that is, a 24 mile hexagon close to the equator is truly equal in surface and side-to-side distance to a 24 mile hexagon close to a pole). As you see in the pictures on the right of the global map, the triangular regions around poles can be pieced together and represented in a top view as a hexagon missing a slice. As in the global map, you can lay a hex grid on these polar views without worrying about distortions. I admit that this general map may seem quite odd and complex with respect to a representation of Piazzaworld The Edge on a rectangular sheet of paper, but the Dymaxion projection really solves a lot of cartographic issues from the beginning and let hex-mapping of the surface far simpler. Moreover, as you will see in the zoomed maps (see the “zooming to Refuge Point” section below), even large scale representations of sections of Piazzaworld The Edge can fit easily in a standard rectangular map (hexed or not).
- Parallels are horizontal lines on the map. Meridians are vertical lines in the central belt of the map but, due to the fact that they have to connect to the poles, they are not vertical on the triangular spikes of the map: in these regions the small red crosses drawn on the map account for meridians separated by 30° longitude.
- The map itself is a merging of the three original map suggested for Piazzaworld The Edge (Earth in the Devonian Era). I added a lot of smaller islands to give more room to isolated cultures and other habitats (and just for the sake of detail).
- Map dimensions depict an Earth-sized planet. I'm sorry but I was obliged to drop the Jupiter-sized planet idea because it would have implied a hollow world in order to keep gravity at a reasonable level (this is quite an issue if you think that Piazzaworld The Edge acts as a collecting point for stranded travellers, see the "Major themes" section below). A hollow planet seemed to me too much Mystara-like so I went for an Earth-like “filled” world.
- The axial tilt is 20°, just to keep things simple. Permanent ice sheets are assumed to extend as far as the polar circles (that is 70° latitude), as shown by shaded grey area on the map.
- I added the main mountain chains and the major oceanic depths (supposing a reasonable continental drift based upon the Devonian era Earth maps). Lesser ridges and isolated mountains can be found almost anywhere but are not shown. Please notice that these details are very rough, as there is not a set of altitude/depth profiles for continents and oceans, as there would be in a proper real world map.
- I included the largest deserts, based on the same assumptions of the real world (they are mostly along tropics, east of a mountain ridge or of a cold surface sea current, supposing a general West-East pattern for precipitations). See the draft map about climate for further details.
- In small-scale maps (global map, 72 mi/hex and 24 mi/hex) I did NOT include rivers, lakes (even major lakes) and forests, as it seemed to me too early to include them at this stage of development. They could be added in a later time assuming the same West-East pattern for precipitations as above and an almost uniform jungle belt from the equator to the tropics (see the draft map about climate fro details). Anyway, I assumed the large bowl east of Refuge Point Mountains to be made of steppes (these would be the Quarren plains, see the detailed entry in the “locations in the global map” below). In large-scale maps (8 mi/hex and the Refuge Point surroundings), instead, I included rivers and lakes as they are major landmarks. Most forested areas are not shown anyway, as they could conflict with future placement of settlements.

Other prominent features:

- The purple circle in the left of the map is "The Edge", an unnatural step in sea level, forming a sudden difference in height of some dozens (or a few hundred) yards which was interpreted as the edge of the world by surrounding land cultures. The region inside the Edge is unexplored: it could harbour uncharted islands or even a small continent (see the detailed description below). I downscaled a bit the Edge diameter to 3500 miles (down to 4000 miles suggested at first) in order to better fit this region on the map.
- I did not place the meridian zero on Refuge Point (see below) because I did not want to mass in this city too much unique features. I preferred to have this meridian crossing the middle of the map. I placed on it an island with a thriving trading city called Nallirah: the idea is that meridians are counted starting from this place due to Nallirah’s importance in world economics and trade (see the “locations on the maps” section for further details).
- The city of Refuge Point is the default starting settlement for adventurers, so I placed it in the middle of a triangular shaped area of the global map. In such a way it would be possible for adventurers to explore a very large region (actually a continental-size map) without having to worry about map cuts between triangular regions in the global map.

ZOOMING TO REFUGE POINT:

From the global map, I made a 72 miles/hex zoom centred on the suggested location for Refuge Point:

http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/3060 ... 2mihex.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0


This map shows the largest - not interrupted in the global map - square area centred on the city. It covers a huge surface, some 4000 x 4000 miles - a whole continent. Whole cross-kingdom campaigns could be set in this map and still there would be room left.
This map was made with a zoom on the global map by a factor of 12 (very roughly I opened the original bitmap file of the global map with the Paint.NET freeware program, I zoomed the picture to 1200% and then I started capturing screenshots, which I cleaned and merged together with Paint). I refined coastlines and added a hexed grid centred on Refuge Point. This process could be repeated for any other area of the global map in order to get the 72 miles/hex map. Notice the map above is intentionally unrefined in many areas to show you the lack of detail of the global map and the many options you have in adding details when switching to the 72 miles/hex scale.

By zooming of a further factor 3 (following the same process described above) I made a 24 miles/hex map centred on Refuge Point:

http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/5912 ... 4mihex.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0

Please notice the map above is mostly empty (as it was in the 72 miles/hex map), even if the world map seems quite populated. Imagine how many 24 miles/hex maps of this size you can fit in the world map and you’ll understand why I think that scattering info on a global map is not risky for the future development of the setting.

As a third iteration I zoomed this map of a x3 factor, in order to have a 8 miles/hex map, useful for local adventures and events:

http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/8382 ... 8mihex.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0


At last, by zooming again of a factor 4 I made a non-hexed map showing the few miles around Refuge Point. A basic sketch of the city layout is also visible, although for a true city map a further zoom of a factor 4 or 5 is recommendable:

http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/1757/t ... 1mihex.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0


This Refuge Point map is loosely based on the ancient city of Alexandria (a map is available HERE: http://www.planetware.com/map/ancient-a ... ancale.htm), but set in a more hilly countryside. Notice that the ancient Alexandria city map shows an urban area of about 10 square miles. It is believed that its population was some 180000 people. Basing from this data I set a proportional surface covered by Refuge Point, whose population is on average about half of Alexandria’s one. In truth I set a larger space for Refuge Point (some 8 square miles), giving the hilly terrain inside the city’s walls and the large internal caravanserais arranged on both sides of the channel which should account as empty space for about half of the year (see below).

Apart from Refuge Point itself, the map shows a few other settlements and farm areas instrumental to Refuge Point wealth, namely:

- Five small forts located in or around the city. They better help in city’s defence instead of a proper military quarter, given the multi-centred setting offered by Refuge Point’s topography (for example, given the fact that the city is divided in two haves by a channel, it would be reasonable to have at least two large garrisons, each one deputed to defend its half of the city). These forts will men a set of smaller keeps/large towers placed on the top of the elevations around the city, acting as an early warning system against invaders.
- A few agricultural/trade villages along the major trade road (in the following this trail is called the North Continental Road, see entry 2) of the “locations on global map” below) each other separated by a caravan’s day of travel (8-10 miles);
- A large village/small town located some 10-12 miles east of Refuge Point acting as a hub for the agricultural settlements of the area; it is also a major stop along river and land trade routes. It could be a fast-developing community;
- A couple of bridges along the major trade road to help caravans’ travel;
- A few “specialized” villages: a woodcutters’ village in the hills north-west to Refuge Point, two fishermen villages east of the city – one is on a small island controlled by Refuge Point – and a stonecutter village southeast of the city, halfway between the major trade road and the stone quarry. These villages will offer basic commodities to Refuge Point people and receive refined goods in exchange. Most of these settlements are also agricultural in nature;
- An “air strip” (the long strip south east to the city). Far from being a true airport, it seemed to me a logical infrastructure to add to the city, given the large number of stranded cross dimensional vehicles approaching the city from the air. The strip would offer to cross-planar refugees a relatively safe place to land instead of barely crashing to the ground (this suggestion would have been likely given to Refuge Point authorities by survivors of early unfortunate landings). The strip could be just a bare concrete-like runaway ending to the lake (just in case a landing went off-course), without any other facilities around it. A smaller round-like concrete pavement could have been built nearby to accommodate vertical-landing vehicles. A fort northwest to the strip would provide an early defence force just in case the newcomers showed themselves to be hostile. The area around the strip would be kept clear of settlements and high vegetation. It could also be possible to “magical light” the runaway during the night or stormy weather (when most cross-planar travellers are more likely to appear).
- A “junkyard” village specialized in scavenging vehicles and equipment from cross-planar refugees who arrived near to Refuge Point. This village is located south east to Refuge Point, between the city walls and the “air strip”. Its inhabitants could make themselves a living by scrapping and recycling metals and other valuables from crashed vehicles (most of the approaching ones, despite the landing strip);
- Two submarine settlements – one is offshore, the other is located inside the large lake - of sea-folks who make business with Refuge Point people and traders along land and sea route. They could also be employed as crews in Refuge Point commercial and military fleets. I did not specify their race on purpose: these sea-dwellers could roam Refuge Point streets and might be used to include also amphibious races playable as PCs.
- A long breakwater extending for more than a mile to the south west (the so called Skeleton Breakwater); this facility helps to better protect Refuge Point external harbour from storms. Most notably, the breakwater is made of those relict ships, mostly coming from other dimensions, which wrecked near to the city. The offshore submarine settlers help in salvaging and towing wrecks to the Breakwater, usually in exchange for a percentage of the ship’s wealth.

I did not include forested area in this map because at this stage of development I wanted to leave room for further settlements and roads. I did include swamps as I saw them as major obstacles in defining the path of the North Continental Road and other trade lanes.
Further details on Refuge Point can be found on entry 1 in the “locations on the maps” section below.


CLIMATE MAP:

Basing on the geographical features of the global map, I made a very rough climatic map showing notable long-distance surface sea currents (warmer and colder than the surrounding sea temperature) and notable wind patterns (evidencing likely monsoonal regions). I used these features as a feedback in order to place deserts and icecaps on the global map. The result gives what it seems to me a reasonable world climatic pattern.
As I wrote above, I did not place rivers, lake and forested areas so far as, at this stage of development, I was only concerned in finding the most arid/frozen regions of Piazzaworld even tough, as a general rule, western coasts of islands and continents should receive more precipitations with respect to central and eastern regions, especially if a large mountain chain run not far from the coast.
The climatic map is here:

http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/2176 ... limate.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0


Places where warm and cold sea currents mix or flow very close to each other could be difficult for navigation or represent stormy areas. An example of this could be found in the long strait separating the northern continent (where Refuge Point is located) and the southern one. Other tricky sea regions could be the strait separating the Northern Chinese continent and the southern continent, or the sea region south-southeast of the Mongolian-like culture (see entries 44 and 71 in the “locations on the maps” section below).
Not highlighted on the maps are the so called “horses latitudes” (two narrow belts centred at 30° and 60° on both hemispheres) where – in analogy to real Earth - global atmospheric circulation lead to a relatively unpredictable pattern in wind over the seas. These patterns hinder sail navigation due to the sudden appearance on those latitudes of long periods of calm.




MAJOR THEMES:

1) Piazzaworld The Edge as an "Anti Bermuda Triangle": The whole planet and the space region around it act as a "collecting area" for people, races and vehicles coming from "Bermuda Triangle Point" in other worlds and Planes of Existence. For unknown reasons, a few regions in Piazzaworld show a more pronounced tendency to collect stranded travellers (as is the area south of Refuge Point). Travellers always appear out of nothing, usually in the middle of a thick fog, a sandstorm, a hurricane, a stormy cloud, a very dark night and so on. Most stranded travellers are just a handful of people with a limited knowledge of the same technology (or magic principle) they are using so, in general, most of them blend with the pre-existing cultures of Piazzaworld The Edge without influencing them too much. A few advanced civilizations managed to handle the dimensional breaches and exploited them to mass migrate to Piazzaworld The Edge or to invade it. Nevertheless, despite the efforts of these superior cultures, the chaotic nature of the dimensional breaches inevitably cut them away from their place of origin after a just few months or years. Those civilizations mostly reverted to a less sophisticated way of life; some of them merged with the existing cultures (someway altering them due to the sheer numbers of migrants) or isolated themselves somewhere on Piazzaworld The Edge.


2) Hidden civilizations: A few races chose Piazzaworld The Edge as a hidden refuge, building their own civilizations in secluded havens and habitats. Those civilizations could be very large (even planet-spanning) but the ecological niche in which they live do not in general overlap with that of human, demi human and humanoid societies, so these hidden civilization are mostly elusive to them. It is possible that these civilizations voluntarily chose to hide themselves; maybe they fled from some unknown enemy, they needed time to recover from a previous catastrophe, they feared competition with more recent races (both because their civilization could have be destroyed or because they could have easily destroyed the fledgling cultures), or maybe they planned to conquer the world as a whole in a single surprise hit and are collecting forces; lastly, they might simply want to be left alone.
A few examples of those civilizations are the Ant-people (Formicoids), the Sea-people (a large non-human undersea civilization), the Fungoids (a race of intelligent, humanoid-like fungi) and the Rani (an amphibious like humanoid race). Other hidden races exist scattered on, over and under Piazzaworld's surface.


3) Moonlands, undeads and lycanthropes: Piazzaworld The Edge is not the only celestial body where dimensional breaches are seen. Even Piazzaworld's The Edge's moon (Piazzamoon) is sometime affected by this strange phenomenon. A major event happened about 1000 years ago, when it is believed that a major dimensional breach let a massive object (A large space station? A very large spaceship? An inhabited asteroid?) to collide with the moon. The impact was clearly seen and recorded by Piazzaworld The Edge civilizations where the moon was high in the sky during that night: a new crater formed in the southern hemisphere and bright streaks of debris crossed the visible side of the moon. The effect was very similar to Tycho crater stripes on the real world moon, only on a slightly larger scale, see the picture below:


http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/1921 ... zamoon.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0


Just to give a temporary name to the event let's call it the Moonbreak. Much debris from the impact fell on Piazzaworld The Edge during the following years, the larger ones being as big as 100 yards when they hit the ground. Apart from a few natural disasters and local meteoric winter here and there on the planet, the fallen stones triggered a more subtle and very odd effect on living and dead creatures. Their strange radiation rose the recently dead around the impact site, preventing them to find their way in the afterlife, and forcing them to roam the mortal world seeking from rest. It is now impossible to die too close to a Moonland without being turned in an undead creature; moreover, clerics are unable to turn or destroy undeads when in such areas.
The Moonstones affected the living beings as well: any lycanthrope (both animal or intelligent creature) when in proximity of a Moonland is suddenly turned into its lycanthropic form, even if it is full daytime and the moon is not full. Such a transformation is permanent and cannot be reverted in any way until the lycanthrope exits the Moonland area (which usually it is not what the lycanthrope wants). Moreover, while inside the Moonland, the lycanthrope is stronger, faster and quite difficult to be killed (and, if killed, it is not turned into an undead). Every Moonland act as an attraction pole for lycanthropes, and most of these lands are contended between lycanthropes and the undead people.
A few centuries after the Moonbreak the Pure Ones, a race of demons from another Plane of Existence, managed to reach Piazzaworld The Edge attracted by the power of the Moonstones. They rallied the undead people roaming in the area around a Moonstone and lured them about building a true afterlife in exchange for service and other benefits due to the Pure Ones. Some undead communities rejected this Pure Ones’ offer, while other embraced it and appointed the Pure Ones as their masters. At present it is not known what the true Pure Ones’ purposes are.


4) Ancient human cultures: Reversing the usual fantasy paradigm about the humans being one of the youngest races in the world, humans in Piazzaworld are an ancient race. They lived there before Halfling, dwarves, elves and humanoids. Though they are not the most ancient race of this planet (the hidden races and a few others being older), humans built a thriving and nearly world-spanning civilization many millennia ago, which subsequently divided and merged with younger cultures. This path was not of a true decadence - many other strong human reigns and empires rose (and fell) from the ashes of this ancient First (Human) Civilization, much like as in the real world - but the unity and the extent of this empire was never regained, as many former provinces were settled by demi- humans, humanoids and other races in later times.
A less altered nucleus of the original First Civilization still exists in the southern continent, not far from the old centre of the ancient empire. This kingdom, a Semitic-like culture tracing back its origins as far as 15000 years before, struggle against its humans and non-humans neighbours in order to keep its independence, helped in this by the ancient knowledge the First Civilization collected during its lifetime. Again, though not a truly decadent place, this kingdom is trying to survive and prosper in an ever-changing world.
Scattered on Piazzaworld's surface, many ruins of the ancient First Human Civilization and of its successors still stand and keep most of their secrets within themselves. Many more ruins were dismantled or recycled by following cultures that used them to build their cities, fortresses and keeps.
In the following the First Human Civilization is called the Birhamian Empire and it is loosely described in entry 91 of the following list.


5) Impending Ice Age: This is a theme I would like to add to the setting in order to give some long term trends to the sub-polar cultures of Piazzaworld. The idea is that a few thousands years ago Piazzaworld entered an ice age. The process is extremely slow, taking millennia to reach its full extent, and climatic patterns in the same region do not differ too much between decades, but the climatic trend versus a progressive global cooling is in motion and cannot be turned with natural methods. Nevertheless, increasingly cooler summers over many centuries already succeeded in causing food shortages to populations living in the regions closer to the icecaps. Scarcity of food could be the leading cause for aggressive behaviour towards populations living in north-temperate regions, a few examples are shown in the following list. For further details see entries for the land-based Norse culture (entry 41), Mongol-like seafaring culture (entry 44), Ugro-Finnic like culture (entry 42), the Northern dwarves (entry 45) and the Thule-like culture (entry 46), and the Neanderthal settlements (entry 80).

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): Image tags have been removed from the URLs of broken images, to allow this post to be reposted.

LoZompatore
Stone Giant
Posts: 612
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 8:40 am
Gender: male
Location: Fano, Italy

Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:21 am

LOCATIONS ON THE MAPS:

Most entries refer to the global map. A few others, which are too close to Refuge Point to be clearly distinguished in the global map, can be all seen in the 24 mile/hex scale map.

Note about cities’ populations: Accordingly to real world estimates, between AD 1500 and AD 1700 there were between 20 and 40 cities worldwide whose population was in excess of 100’000 people, with Baghdad and Beijing likely surpassing 1’000’000 people during this time. Refuge Point could be accounted as one of these cities, its population exceeding 100’000 people during the trading season. In the following entries I added six more cities (Steliden, Lucertur, Mylunda, Lamanul, Nallirah, Dabersef entries 23, 28, 88, 94, 96, 90 respectively) to this list, the most populated one with less than 350’000 people. As you see, there is still a lot of room for placing across the world large and huge metropolis leading thriving civilizations not yet described in the following.



NORTHERN CONTINENT:

1) - Refuge Point: a cosmopolitan 50000-100000 people city on the western shores of the largest northern continent of Piazzaworld The Edge. It is a suitable starting place for basic PC parties, thanks to its multi-racial composition and its adventuring opportunities. A general description of the city surroundings can be found above in the “Zooming to Refuge Point” section. Further details about this settlement can be found HERE:
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=2045
Refuge Point is a warm-temperate thriving sea and land trade stop, notable for its many extra planar refugees. Built on the original site of a large Taltinian colony named Qal Tallon (see entry 59 for information about Taltinis), Refuge Point is a major stop along the North Continental Road (see entry 2), a cross-continental trade route connecting the Celtic Elvish city of Belewir (entry 6) on the western shore to the busy mercantile port of Steliden (entry 23), on the eastern shore of the northern continent. Large caravanserais are built after the main city gates to welcome foreign caravans during the trade season. The city is also a well-reputed regional seafaring power. Its deep water harbour is often an obliged stop for ships crossing the Aberrate Seas (entry 4). Flourishing trade and transformation industries are the main business across the whole region; rough metals and minerals are brought from mining villages in the Dragonback Mountains (entry 9) and turned into tools, jewellery and weapons by the city's artisans. Though nominally just a city-state, Refuge Point actually extends its economical and political control over the surrounding plains and foothills, and a few garrisons and colonies are scattered among nearby islands in order to better control sea trading routes. The settlements of Marvan (entry 12), Dravhad Keep (entry 13), Shmellt (entry 17), Odimanta (entry 32), Alchiray (entry 33) and Valerest (entry 34) are under the sphere of influence of Refuge Point, while Fallstone (entry 3) is an allied community.
Refuge Point is located north of a large area of dimensional instability: many travellers from faraway places and planes of existence are caught in the dimensional breaches and sent in proximity to the city. When possible, rescue teams are dispatched from Refuge Point in order to meet the strangers (if they are not openly hostile) and to guide them to the city. A primitive but large landing strip was built south-east to the city in order to help airborne vehicles to land safely, while a set of lighthouses was built offshore so to help ships (both from Piazzaworld The Edge and from other dimensions) in finding a way to Refuge Point harbour.
Thanks to the tolerant and welcoming climate of the city, many of those stranded travellers chose to merge with the local population, their exotic knowledge, tools and artefacts being most sought assets among Refuge Point people. All these factors contribute to the extreme variability of races and cultures inside the city. Humans, who are the largest ethnic group inside the city (though belonging to many different cultures) account for just 30% of the whole population.
PC parties may find a lot of adventures' opportunities in and around Refuge Point. They could act as escort to merchant caravans and ships, work in a rescue team sent to meet dimensional castaways, help local sages in understanding the secrets of some artefact recently discovered, defending the city and its surroundings from aggressions (both from other Piazzaworld The Edge cultures and from dimensional breaches), explore the countryside of Refuge Point (where more reclusive settlements were built by other mixes of native and extra-dimensional people), help salvaging the relict of a cross-dimensional vehicle that crashed near to the city, and so on.

2) - North Continental Road: a major trade route in the northern continent, connecting the Celtic-like elvish city of Belewir (entry 5) to the European-like human trade port of Steliden (entry 23). Notable stops (among many others) are Refuge Point (entry 1), Fallstone (entry 3), Soralav (entry 19), Vasthole (entry 21) and the Fortress of Khalarad (entry 35). The road is widely used in the north-south direction to move goods from the Celtic elvish culture (entry 5) and the northern islands to the eastern coast of the continent, where they are embarked to the faraway destinations of Nallirah (entry 92), Lucertur (entry 28) and Mylunda (entry 88). On the opposite direction, tropical and exotic goods are unloaded in Steliden from these overseas destinations and distributed along the continent until the sub-polar regions. The North Continental Road is many millennia old, but its path is not fixed in time. Many detours and alternative roads are constantly opened (or closed) as nearby settlements grow and lose in prominence.

3) – Fallstone: a dwarvish trading settlement of 10000 not far from Refuge Point (entry 1). It is an ancient dwarvish spaceship from another world/plane which crash-landed in this point many centuries ago. The ancient North Continental Road (entry 2) was diverted to cross this settlement shortly after the landfall. Fallstone is a close ally of Refuge Point.

4) - Lesser and Larger Aberrate Sea: the two parts of the warm Aberrate Seas. The lesser Aberrate Sea is often travelled by Refuge Point ships, who keep small colonies or commercial outposts on some islands/river outlets.

5) – Celtic-like elves: a confederation of elvish countries encompassing the whole peninsula north of Belewir (entry 6). Their lifestyle resembles that of Gauls, Celtiberians or Gaels. Maybe druids are very popular and influent among them, or they could live an Arthurian-like age. They trade with the southern lands mostly through the city of Belewir (entry 6). Sporadic trade with the northern islands also happens.

6) - Belewir: a large Celtic-like elves (entry 4) community (some 45000 people, 90% elves) at the northern end of the North Continental Road (entry 2). It is also a busy seaport, acting as the main trade hub for the Celtic-like elvish culture (entry 5).

7) - Steel Ogres Valley: a secluded fortified valley home to some 40000 ogres divides in 20 tribes. They descend from an extra planar technological breed of ogres who attempted to conquer the northern continent 531 years ago from their base in the Quarren Plains (entry 8). They lost most of their 21st-century-like technological support when the extra-planar gate they used to get reinforcements collapsed and could not be reopened. The ogres who conquered Refuge Point and surroundings were soon driven out by the populations they enslaved and most of them took refuge in the Steel Ogre Valley (other secluded groups exist in the whole northern continent), where they managed to keep a limited late 19th-early 20th century technological level, always lacking of suitable replacement parts. The Valley entrance is defended by the Keeps of Joganiz and Loxaduun (entries 36 and 37 respectively), while the Fortress of Khalarad (entry 35) defend the North Continental Road (entry 2) from potential aggressions coming from the Ogres’ side. Further details about the Steel Ogres Valley can be found HERE:
viewtopic.php?f=53&t=2045&start=25

8) - Quarren Plains: a vast steppe facing the cold northern winds, populated with dinosaurs, mammoth, sabertooth tigers, giant land turtles, woolly rhinoceros and the like. Somewhere in the Quarren Plains’ core there are the ruins of the original command and rallying point of the Steel Ogres armada (entry 7).

9) - Dragonback Mountains: a long north-south mountain chain east of Refuge Point (entry 1), Belewir (entry 6), Fallstone (entry 3) and the Fortress of Khalarad (entry 35), separating them from the Quarren Plains to the east (entry 8). These mountains are notable for their mineral wealth. Refuge Point keeps a trading road to the small mining settlement of Shmellt (see entry 17). The mountains around Refuge Point are home of bandits (most notably Thoolagh, see entry 15). The Steel Ogres Valley (entry 7) is located on the western side of the Dragonback Mountains.

10) - Howling Mines: ancient, abandoned, mines built by dwarves in the Redrock Mountains (entry 11) long before the Taltinians (see entry 59) migrated in the area. They were discovered again about 80 years ago and now their outer levels are populated by a multicultural community of bandits, outcasts and refugees from nearby lands.

11) - Redrock Mountains: a spur of the Dragonback Mountains (entry 9), likely even richer in minerals than their parent mountain chain but mostly unexplored due to their steepness. The Howling Mines (entry 10) were built there many millennia ago.

12) - Marvan: an agricultural settlement some 40 miles north of Refuge Point (entry 1). It is at odds with kobolds and humanoids living nearby (see entries 13-14), who recently destroyed the defensive settlement of Dravhad Keep (entry 13). Further details about this village can be found HERE: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=2055

13) - Dravhad Keep: a small defensive keep north of Marvan (entry 12). It was destroyed 25 years ago by kobolds (entry 14) and other humanoids

14) - Kobold village: main settlement of the kobolds living in the area, east of Marvan (entry 13). They often roam and pillage the countryside.

15) - Thoolagh lair (placement is indicative): lair of a semi-legendary bandit who is the main source of inspiration for Refuge Point outcasts. Its base is said to be in the Dragonback Mountains (entry 9) foothills, though its exact placement is unknown. Thoolagh seems to be alive since centuries, whether nobody knows exactly its characteristics. It is also possible that "Thoolagh" is just an honorary title among Refuge Point bandits, and actually many people were honoured with this title through time.

16) - Fallen gnomes city-states: A set of mostly gnomish coastal city-states located on the hilly eastern side of the Lesser Aberrate Sea (see entry 4). At present their culture is quite fragmented and declining, due to internal strife and external aggressions. At least one of these settlements was involved in some kind of conflict or civil war which leaded many of its gnomish inhabitants to flee across the Aberrate Seas and settle in Refuge Point proximity (entry 1). These gnomes are pretty dispersed in the countryside, their major concentration being in villages surrounding Refuge Point. They use gunpowder and roam the countryside on very small ponies. Many of them found a job as road patrols between Refuge Points and nearby settlements, mostly guarding the North Continental Road (entry 2). Further details about this gnomish road patrol organization can be found HERE: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=2710

17) - Shmellt: main mining settlement under Refuge Point (entry 1) influence. It is the collecting point of the whole mineral basin south of it and it is the source of most workforces for the area. A very basic mineral processing is done in the village. Raw materials are brought to Refuge Point by river or through a caravan of flying ships/airships based in the city.

18) - Russian-like giants' country: these plains are home to a large civilization of giants whose lifestyle is similar to Tzarist Russia. Whether they are native of Piazzaworld The Edge or they come from another place it is still to be determined. They trade with other cultures mostly by land through the city of Soralav (entry 19), although they also control the northern coasts of the long Monyial Inlet (entry 20) and established there a well-reputed trade and ferry service long ago.

19) - Soralav: a large trading city (for giants' standards) of some 13000 (75% giants, 25% others) on the North Continental Road (entry 2).It is part of the Russian-like giants' culture (entry 18), but it is not the capitol of their country (in case the giants have a centralized government, which is still to be determined).

20) - Monyial Inlet: a large gulf separating the land of the giants (entry 18) from the European-like cultures peninsula (entry 22). Very rich in marine life, it is crossed by ships of many countries.

21) - Vasthole: a 7000 people stop along the North Continental Road (entry 2). It is located in a semi-arid region; most of its revenues come from trade and services offered to merchants. It is built on the internal rim of a mile-wide crater caused by the fall of a Moonstone some 30 yards in diameter, which shattered in thousand pieces. At the time of the impact the area vas scarcely populated, so there wasn't a surge of lycanthropes/undeads as in other places. Merchants travelling the nearby North Continental Road (which was diverted) started searching for Moonstone fragments in the crater, founding Vasthole and repelling lycanthropic/undead invaders. After almost a millennium of continuous trade very few Moonstone fragments are still buried in the crater and nearby lands, invasion attempts ceased and the town went after some decline, moving its business to services and road protection.

22) – European-like cultures peninsula: a very long mountainous peninsula home to many different city-states and petty countries based on some central European-like culture. Steliden (entry 23) is one of them. It is likely that not all of the countries are populated by humans.

23) - Steliden: a very large (125000 people) city-state, capitol of a petty kingdom on the eastern coast of the Northern Continent. It is the eastern end point of the North Continental Road (entry 2) and a very important sea trade hub to the most exotic locations of Nallirah (entry 95), Lucertur (entry 28) and Mylunda (entry 88). Steliden culture could resemble medieval Holland.

24) – European-like cultures archipelago : a chain of a dozen of large (and many other lesser) islands just offshore the European cultures peninsula (entry 22) and inhabited by southern European/Mediterranean cultures. Thanks to its fragmented geography it is likely that most of the cultures in the archipelago are dispersed in city-states. Many of them could not be of human origin.

25) - Halfling Roman-like empire: a large country located southwest with respect to the European-like cultural area (entries 22, 24 and 56), some hundreds of miles south of Soralav (entry 19). It is a militaristic empire run by Halflings, based on real world Roman Empire. It is a relatively young country (a few centuries old, its capital city being founded 806 years ago), mostly land-based and expansionistic. Halflings could have reached Piazzaworld The Edge from a dimensional breach or they could have evolved on this world from some human or humanoid stock.

26) – Germanic-like dwarvish culture: dwarves with a marked Germanic background inhabits the very high central mountain chain splitting the northern continent. Their mountains and plateaux are so high that even if the region is surrounded by deserts their habitat is mostly cold. These dwarves have some difference with respect to the traditional fantasy stereotype: they are harsher, less organized and more "epic" than standard fantasy dwarves. Imagine them as some sort of Nibelungs or Arthurian-like folks. What about having both cultures in this long mountain chain? They could be at war with each other sometimes: the "noble" Arthurian-like dwarves starting crusades and trying to civilize the more "barbaric" Nibelung-like dwarves or the latter trying to invade the former. A few survivor gnomish city-states (entry 16) trade with these dwarves on a regular basis.

27) - Lands of the lizardfolks: a large lizarfolk culture (or many of them) inhabits the south-western tip of the Northern Continent, mostly dispersed in the vast archipelago just south of the equator. The whole region is covered with jungles and islands are separated by relatively shallow waters. Due to the strategic position of these lands - just north of the strait separating the northern and the southern continent - some foreign colonies were founded here by other cultures (though not all survived to the present day). Lizardfolks maintain their own regional sea-trade network (of which the city of Lucertur - entry 28 - is a major hub) connecting the islands of the archipelago as well as the two continents. Lizardfolks living in the north-western area of this region are sometimes in conflict with a large rani colony living nearby (entry 38). Lizardfolk merchants built a few colonies on the shore of the southern continent (see entry 82).

28) - Lucertur: a large trading city of the lizardfolks (165000, 85% lizardfolks), its strategic position at the narrowest point of the strait separating the northern and the southern continents makes it a very thriving place. Even if its climate and environment are not especially favourable to non lizardfolks (the city is built near a set of mud volcanoes) many other races keep here their presence, lured by the wealth generated by trade and by the exotic good and services transiting through the city. The city harbour its own military and trading fleets, mostly crewed by lizardfolks. A strong and well-organized lizardfolks army assures dominion over the inland territory.

29) - Skywood elves Federation: this is a large nation of elves who came to Piazzaworld The Edge some millennia ago through a fleet of hi-tech spaceships. As the Skywoods themselves declare, they are a colonizing/conquering party of a larger space-faring elvish civilization, though no one has ever managed to sneak in one of the spaceships that seldom lift off to the skies and report about this interstellar empire. It is believed that these ships require decades - or centuries - of travelling before reaching the nearest Skywood elvish colony: most of the intruders would die of old age during the trip - this would explain also why there is a very little Skywoods’ spaceship traffic leaving or approaching Piazzaworld The Edge. The Skywoods settled some 3000 years ago in the western coast of the northern continent, later expanding also in the nearby mountains. Tough not an inherently evil race, they are a very advanced (Star Trek-like technology?) expansionistic culture of city builders and planners, and often they find themselves at odds with other races when they try to enlarge their borders or settle a new outpost. Their propaganda is also pretty annoying for other civilizations, as it exalts Skywood culture and accomplishments and affirms that “things will soon change for other races, soon”. Skywood elves are very long lived (a millennium being the average life span) and reproduce slowly, so they are very careful in endangering their lives and overextending their “limited” resources. They very seldom engage in wars, and will always do it with overwhelming firepower, if possible. Their expansion rate, though steady, is pretty slow and will likely require many more millennia in order to become dangerous for other races. Skywoods founded colonies (mostly for trade, research and natural resources exploitation) across the world, though most of them are city-state size. They see their technologic level as a key advantage for the ultimate conquer of Piazzaworld The Edge and do not willingly share it with other cultures. When Skywood elves travel out of their lands they tend to lower the tech level of their equipment (except for a few useful "toys") in order to match that of the cultures they are meeting and to prevent any leakage of strategic knowledge to potential enemies. For some unknown reason Skywood elves hate androids and other intelligent constructs (including golems and the like) and never build them (even if it is well in their technological capabilities). It is believed that in their past they built large numbers of them in order to swiftly conquer other worlds but soon they were forced to wage war and wipe out their same creations because the constructs too often wanted to self-govern themselves. An issue likely related to these events is the strong anti-slavery policy of Skywood elves, which prefer to pay workers or rely on non-intelligent machines for any work to be done.
It is believed the Skywood elves explored the whole area inside the Edge (entry 120) from a safe altitude, making detailed map of the whole area, but these info are top secret and not shared with any other race. Skywood elves never willingly venture near the Edge, anyway.

30) - Cryptic elves colony: (I placed a typical colony on the Northern Continent, many more should exist scattered across the world) this is an albino breed of elves who became stranded on Piazzaworld The Edge when their spaceship fleet (what if it was a seagoing military task force - carriers, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, etc. instead?) entered a dimensional breach on their home planet. Quite oddly their ships were dispersed across Piazzaworld The Edge (even more oddly, most of them fell on land areas) and were all but wrecked. The stranded survivors soon discovered that Piazzaworld's The Edge's sun radiation was too bright to tolerate for them (as their race evolved under a far dimmer sun). Without hope of returning home they salvaged what they could of their technology (likely of a late 21st century level) and buried themselves underground. It seems they succeeded in befriending/negotiate with the Formicoids (ant-people) and were allowed to use the extensive underground tunnel network of this nonhuman race in order to connect their dispersed settlements. In return it seems the cryptic elves improved the tech level of some Formicoid factions. At present the elves have little contact with surface dwellers, except when in need of materials that cannot be found underground. It is said their oldest settlements still bring the names of the ancient ships from which they spawned.

31) Birdmen colony: a medium-size colony of birdmen (see entry 95) in the Dragonback Mountains, built during the Birhamian empire age (see entry 91). It was believed to be the main imperial birdmen settlement used to connect the whole northern continent provinces (however it is to be noticed that at present other birdmen colonies of the area have the same size and importance), for sure it is the oldest birdmen settlement in the northern continent. Birdmen of this colony trade with Refuge Point (entry 1), Fallstone (entry 3) and other nearby communities. Birdmen are a usual presence in Refuge Point which they appreciate due to its air-related facilities. For further information about birdmen see entry 95.

32) Odimanta: A large village/small town settlement along the North Continental Road (entry 2), a few days of travel north of Refuge Point (entry 1) and under this city-state influence.

33) Alchiray: A large village/small town east of Refuge Point (entry 1) and along the North Continental Road (entry 2), under the influence of this city state. It is surrounded by a wooden palisade and act as the main collecting point for agricultural production around the area. River trade with Refuge Point and other communities to the east is also well developed. It is a fast –growing community.

34) Valerest: A large village/small town settlement along the North Continental Road (entry 2), a few days of travel south of Refuge Point (entry 1). It is under Refuge Point control. It holds a strategic position between the coast and the Redrock Mountains (entry 11) so it is heavily guarded and more fortified than nearby communities. A whole company of gnomes’ guardsmen (see entry 16) is deployed here.

35) Fortress of Khalarad: A large fortress guarding the entrance to the Steel Ogres Valley (see entry 7). It was built 490 years ago by a confederation of people living on the area (including the inhabitants of Refuge Point) as an early warning against Steel Ogres’ incursions outside their valley. Soon after the North Continental Road (entry 2) was deviated in order to reach and supply the Fortress of Khalarad. Soldiers from the fortress started patrolling the closest northern and southern branches of the road, granting protection to caravans. In the following centuries the fortress became powerful and wealthy enough to declare its independence from its founders. It also started a little trading with its former enemies, the Steel Ogres. I suppose it would be nice to have a knightly order of some sort based in the Fortress of Khalarad.

36) Joganiz Keep: A Steel Ogres’ fortification on a cliff guarding the western side of the Steel Ogres Valley entrance (entry 7). Loxaduun Keep guards the eastern side of the entrance (see entry 37).The technological level of this fortification is a late XIX century –early XX century’s one. Reinforced concrete was used for most of the fortifications, while the best artillery left from the Steel Ogres invasion is kept here. Both keeps are manned by ogres coming from every tribe on the valley, the repelling of external threats being still perceived as a priority which overcomes inter-tribal feuds. Quarrels among Ogres inside the Keeps are strongly discouraged.

37) Loxaduun Keep: A Steel Ogres’ fortification on a plateau guarding the eastern side of the Steel Ogres Valley entrance (entry 7). It acts as a backup for Joganiz Keep (entry 36), which guards the eastern side of the entrance (see entry 37). A small landing strip for hot air balloons is built near to Loxaduun Keep.

38) Rani colony: one of the many rani settlements dispersed across the world. It encompasses the swampy southern tip of the western peninsula and the islands nearby. It is a large region, anyway, largest than most countries in other parts of the continent. This colony finds sometimes itself at odds with the lizardfolks (entry 27), which competes for the same habitat as rani.


NORTHERN ISLANDS:

41) – Land-based Norse-like culture: a mostly land-based human culture of horse-breeding folks, but with a Viking twist on it. Their land is slowly turning into cold tundra and cannot sustain the whole population living in it (see the “Major themes section” for further details). These changes in weather patterns slowly led this people to depend less on agriculture and more on animal breeding and grazing activities. About a millennium and a half ago the southern portions of the Norse-like people partially mixed with the invading Mongol-like culture (entry 44). The mixing ended in the creation of the Ugro Finnic-like people (entry 42), which soon became hostile to both its parent peoples. The cooling process is also leading Norse-like people to raid southern communities for food, and even to settle faraway lands with “excess people”, adventurers and castaways when a shortage period lasts for a few years. Being a land-based culture, I wonder if this people actually manage to raid distant lands by means of magic. What if Norse-like mages make massive use of "circles of teleportation" sending raiding cavalry parties across the sea to ransack and pillage other settlements? They would be a menace to even temperate/tropical lands.
The bravest Norse-like scouting parties sometimes venture on the northern ice pack (usually in winter) searching for their "ancestors" (actually members of the Thule culture - entry 46 - of the northern icecap, which are likely not related to the true Norse-like people ancestors) who they revere as sacred. It is believed that a few of those explorers know safe routes to this northern civilization, even if this knowledge is jealously kept.

42) – Ugro Finnic-like culture: the most developed human civilization of the area; it is a mix between the Mongol-like culture of the south-eastern archipelago (entry 44) and the Norse culture of the northern lands (entry 41) formed between 1900 and 1600 years ago. Very defensive-oriented, Ugro Finnic-like people are organized in a single kingdom (or a confederation of allied kingdoms) whose warriors must protect the country both from sea and land menaces represented by the “unmixed” Norse-like and Mongol-like people. Their major trade is with the elves of Nightshade (entry 42) and with the Turkish and European peninsula civilizations (entry 22).

43) - Nightshade elves: these elves are reclusive, nature-oriented, wood elves, who claim to be the first elvish race to come on Piazzaworld The Edge through a magical gate, some 8000 years ago. They settled and secured the island where they live at present, with a few dissident groups founding colonies faraway in the following millennia. Their only major diaspora happened shortly after the Moonbreak (see "Major themes" section) where many groups splintered and travelled across the world founding their own enclaves here and there. As a general rule, except for outcasts, adventuring/trading parties, and the occasional army in support of some ally, Nightshade elves very seldom ventured beyond their lands. It seems they knew the Skywood elvish culture (entry 29) long before its arrival on Piazzaworld The Edge, and they quite despised it for its technological bias. It is not known if the two elvish breed are someway connected (Nightshade elves live about 400 years, even though sorcerers and mystics are believed to live far longer and seem a little more prolific, even if they strictly keep their population in balance with the available environmental resources). Skywood elves seemed not to know the Nightshade elves before their landing on Piazzaworld The Edge, but they find Nightshade way of living primitive and superstitious.

44) – Mongol-like seafaring culture: a human culture of Mongol-like people, who adapted themselves to piracy and raiding coastal communities. They live in an increasingly freezing land where glaciers are slowly advancing from the mountains, so their already scarce food supplies are shortening. Mongol-like people supplement their diet by intercepting trade fleets between the Northern Chinese culture (entry 70) and the Turkish-like - Central Islands civilizations (entries 56, 57 and 60). Sea battles between magical-aided Mongol raider fleets and long, heavily-armed Turkish-like convoys are among the fiercest clashes seen in northern hemisphere waters. Mongol-like “excess people” also tend to migrate/invade nearby lands, with two major such invasions recorded. The first happened 1900-1600 years ago in the Norse-like sub continent, and ended with the creation of the Ugro Finnic like culture. The second one, which was also much more military-supported, happened 980 years ago and leaded to the conquest of the eastern part of the Turkish-like civilization sub-continent. It is said that the Mongol-like shamans of the time interpreted the Moonbreak (see “Major themes” above) as a good omen to start the long-planned invasion. Mongol-like people living in the Turkish sub continent still use as their flag the ancient symbol referring to the Moonbreak. The flag is depicted as follows:

http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/4127 ... keflag.jpg
A zipped full-sized picture can be found in the zipped article file HERE: http://sites.google.com/site/lozomparch ... world_v1_0


At present the Mongol-like and Turkish-like cultures are involved in a long set of border and naval wars which drain resources to both people. The Mongol-like people are among the bravest seafarers in the arctic seas and know how to reach (during the summer season) an ice-covered Thulean outpost on an island not far from Thule mainland (entry 46). They believe the Thuleans are dangerous daemons sent in this world to test and tempt mortals, so they tend not to venture too far in their land, except it is to pass some kind of judgment or ordeal set by their shamans.

45) - Northern dwarves: these are scattered communities of cold-accustomed dwarves living in the mountains of the islands around the North Pole. They seem to be a very adaptable people and they adopted most of the cultural traits of the neighbouring human cultures (that is: Norse-like for dwarves living among the land Norse culture - entry 41 - and seafaring for dwarves living in the island of the Mongol seafaring culture – entry 44). They also have peculiar Inuit-like cultural traits that enable them to survive in colder climate with respect to their human neighbours and to move on the ice pack with relative ease. Increasingly cold climate led them to venture for food on the ice pack and to farm food underground (mostly fungi). It is not known if an analogous of these dwarves also live among the thuleans (entry 46), having adsorbed even their cultural traits.

46) - Thule-like civilization: a mysterious culture (likely non-human, even if they could appear demi-human or human in aspect - is it just an illusion?) inhabiting the whole sub continent that lies under the northern polar icecap. Thulean people seem to be accustomed to polar climate (which is in favour of their nonhuman origin) and they rarely venture past the icecap; they do not deliberately avoid contact with other people but due to climatic constraints those contact are rare at best. Moreover, the impending ice age (see the “Major themes” section above) is slowly enlarging their habitat at the expenses of neighbouring cultures. It could be also argued if the Thule-like people actually triggered the ice age some 3000 years ago. Their ice-based (or crystal-based?) civilization seems to be capable of defending itself from external aggression. Thuleans could be another "hidden race" (see the "Major themes" section) of Piazzaworld The Edge.

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): Image tags have been removed from the URL of a broken image, to allow this post to be reposted.

LoZompatore
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:21 am

CENTRAL ISLANDS:

56) – European-like cultures of the large islands: the largest northern islands of this archipelago are inhabited by eastern-European/Caucasian cultures. They trade with the Turkish-like civilization (entry 60) which founded some trade colonies on the most favourable locations. Trade with the Island of the gnomes (entry 57) and with European-like small island cultures (entry 24) is also not infrequent. The easternmost islands show a greater influx of Taltinians influences (see entry 59) as, in the last centuries of Taltinis existence, many inhabitants of this country moved to the European-like islands and settled there.

57) - Island of the gnomes: the southernmost island of the archipelago is known to be inhabited by gnomes since millennia; maybe it is their ancestral place of origin. Whether this theory is true or not, this island hosts the major variability among gnomish cultures of the entire world, thanks to the abundance of micro-habitats (secluded valleys, plateaux, underground cave systems, and the like). It is believed there are at least four distinct gnomish races, which are traditionally associated with the four elements. Other gnomish communities in the world (but not all of them) trace their origins as being a colony of one or more of these four gnomish races. The island is a natural bridge between the eastern part of the northern continent and the central part of the southern continent, so commercial exchanges abound. At least a gnomish sub-race (the water one, of course) is accomplished in seafaring and navigational techniques. An outpost of the Hellenistic kobold kingdom (see entry 86) was founded a century ago on a smaller island of the archipelago, and it is closely watched by gnomes living nearby.

58) - Taltinian sea: the large sea stretching between the Central Islands and Southern China. Named after the Taltinian Empire (entry 59), who once controlled the area.

59) - Taltinis: this is a scattered archipelago of small islands who were once part of the largest metropolitan Taltinis Empire, a vast seafaring human civilization which spread from this area some 5000 years ago and slowly sank to the sea some 4500-3500 years ago (Note: I suggest a slow Maldives-like sinking instead of a sudden tragedy just to differentiate Taltinis from Numenor-Atlantis-Alphatia-Taymora etc.; this slow sinking acted as a spur for Taltinians in mastering ocean-travelling techniques and establishing new colonies overseas). Scholars believe it to be a spin off of the more ancient Birhamian civilization of the southern continent (see entry 91) though Taltinians have always tried to demonstrate their culture originated independently on the Taltinis sub-continent. Taltinian sailors explored faraway lands east and west of their island, acted as the major trading partner of their times and revamped human civilization throughout the whole northern hemisphere (at the time most of the human cultures of the northern hemisphere reverted to a barbaric status due to the progressive decadence of the Birhamian civilization). Following a slow but inevitable sinking of the Taltinis subcontinent (and a likely decay of trade revenues) its inhabitants increased their presence on nearby lands and founded a major colony called Qal Tallon (Refuge Point, see entry 1), which became the centre of their civilization after their ancient capitol sank into the sea. Other settlers from Taltinis founded other city states, among which the most notable is Paradise Hidden (see entry C at the end of the list), which managed in keeping alive the ancient Taltinian traditions through the centuries. Once the greatest parts of Taltinis sank into the sea its people were unable to face the progressive dispersion of their culture. Soon every colony diverged from the original traditions and merged with other populations. At present the little and scattered Taltinian islands are still sinking; they are inhabited by simple fishermen, farmers, herdsmen and petty traders, humans remotely descendant from the sophisticated Taltinians. A few nearby countries, most notably the Turkish-like culture and the European-like cultures of the large islands (entries 56 and 60) - but also gnomes (entry 57) - built their outposts on some of the little islands and tried to salvage or recover what treasures or valuables were left behind by Taltinians during their migrations. A few small birdmen settlements (see entry 95) are dispersed on some islands, believed to be the remnant of a far larger community who lived there when the Taltinians were at their peak.

60) – Turkish-like seafaring culture: a civilized and wealthy country living in the western 2/3 of a large island (actually a sub continent) east of the Northern Continent. Turkish-like people lead a pretty centralized country (an empire, a kingdom or a strong confederation of countries) and are quite a sophisticated population. They are accomplished sailors and established trade routes with the northern lands (mostly with their loose allies, the Ugro Finnic-like people – see entry 42), the European-like cultures (all of them, see entries 22, 24 and 56), the gnomish island (entry 57) and the eastern Chinese like civilizations (entries 70 and 72). Turkish-like culture is viewed by the European-like countries as a middle-man between them and the faraway Northern Chinese culture (entry 70), but actually the Turkish-like lands are the final recipient of most goods sent across the sea from other cultures. Eastward trade is basically leaded by convoys belonging to the Turkish-like people, which find very often themselves attacked by Mongol culture raiders (entry 44). Mongol-like culture is a sworn enemy of the Turkish-like one, having invaded part of the Turkish sub-continent and proceeding to a forced assimilation of its inhabitants. The prolonged set of naval and land conflicts between the two are slowly reducing the wealth of both countries.


NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN CHINA:

70) - Northern Chinese-like culture: this large sub continent is home of a vast Chinese-like civilization. Due to the large latitude extension of this land it is possible that the area is in truth populated by many different Asian/oriental cultures. Some of them could be non human. They could be at war with each other, be organized in a loose federation or they could be ruled by a centralized empire. There is an oceanic trade route between the western shores of this sub-continent and the Turkish-like seafaring culture (entry 69), the trade being mostly led by Turkish-like ships (though the northern Chinese-like culture do possess a strong navy to defend themselves against raiders of the Mongol-like seafaring culture (entry 44) who hits especially the north western coast of the sub continent). See also southern Chinese-like culture entry (72) for further info and suggestions.

71) - Malaysian-like culture: this culture could be placed in the southernmost part of the Northern Chinese-like continent and on the islands between this land and the southern continent. This strategic position led this people to specialize in medium range seafaring, bringing much wealth to the country thanks to a trade network established among the two Chinese sub continents (entries 70 and 72), the southern continent (entry 113) and the other large islands between Southern China and the southern continent. The Malaysian-like culture is quite close to the Edge, so its sailors know many details about it extent and features. They believe it truly represents the edge of the ocean and have never tried to circumnavigate it.

72) - Southern Chinese-like culture: another Chinese-like civilization exists in this sub continent. It could be quite different from the Northern Chinese-like culture (entry 70) or it could be a split/colony of the northern Chinese-like one. I think it would be good to have two different aspects of real world Far East cultures in those two subcontinents. For example if the northern Chinese-like civilization is a centralized empire, the southern one could be stuck in a "warring state" condition, or vice versa; if the first is thriving the other could be decadent. If the first is highly civilized, the other could be relatively barbaric, and so on. Moreover, if one of them is human-led, the other could be populated mostly by non-humans: the two subcontinents may share the same basic oriental features due to a millennia-spanning history of trade and mutual influences. Maybe the Chinese-like features came from the non-human culture and then they were adsorbed by the barbaric human culture of the other subcontinent due to a prolonged contact/domination. The Southern Chinese-like people could trade with the Indian-like cultures of the southern continent (entry 94) and with the islands between them.

73) - Birdmen colony: a large settlement of birdmen (see entry 95) built on the eastern mountains of the northern Chinese island (entry 70). The founding of this colony dates to the Birhamian empire age (entry 91), when this subcontinent was a Birhamian province. It is believed it was the main birdmen settlement of the region, used to connect the subjected territories of the whole region. Some daring birdmen sometime manage to fly over the Edge (entry 120), so they could offer some additional knowledge of the area. For further information about birdmen see entry 95.

SOUTHERN CONTINENT:

80) - Neanderthal settlements: the whole region around the south pole, and the highest mountain chains extending north from there are populated by countless semi-permanent Neanderthal settlements, very adapt to the harsh cold environment. Each village/tribe seldom is over 500 people (though gathering places where up to a dozen tribes meet on given circumstances are known) and while inter-tribal hostilities are usually kept to a minimum, each tribe usually fends for itself. Neanderthals once populated the whole southern continent (and maybe the entire world) but were slowly driven south by increasing competition with humans, demi-humans and humanoids, starting 35000 years ago, not much time after the end of the previous ice age (which ended some 3000 years before). At present, the only lands where they live are too difficult to be colonized by other cultures. As a general rule, a Neanderthal tribe will always try to expel intruders from their territories. If the intruders are (or seem to be) clearly too strong to be expelled, Neanderthals will not fight and instead they will flee and move elsewhere. Northern Neanderthal tribes - the ones more accustomed with non-Neanderthal cultures - are in general more technologically advanced than the southern ones. Some of these northern tribes even implemented basic seasonal agriculture, the use of bronze and iron weapons (though they could not know how to forge them) and horse (dinosaur/mammoth/sabre-tooth tigers?) riding. It is believed that a few Neanderthal tribes reverted to cannibalism (especially against strangers) due to severe food shortages they incurred during their forced migrations. Further problems arose with the start of the new glaciations’ era some thousands years ago. Many Neanderthal tribes believe that the impending ice age is a sign from the gods foretelling a new era of prosperity for their people. A few fanatics believe the Neanderthal tribes should unite under a single leader, rise in arms and regain the lands they lost in the distant past. This leader is often announced by prophecies and omens but, so far, the Neanderthal leaders who rose in prominence among a group of tribes and tried to lead an assault on northern civilizations utterly failed. Due to the large belt of Neanderthal tribes surrounding the southern ice pack, it is not known whether the south pole hosts a Thule-like civilization similar to the northern hemisphere (see entry 46).

81) - Barbarians: this is another circumpolar belt populated by barbaric human and humanoid tribes, just between the Neanderthal lands and more civilized settlements to the north. This belt is interrupted only in the eastern part of the southern continent, where Indian-like cultures and the Birhamian empire border with the Neanderthal tribes. Barbarians usually roam the grassy southern steppes battered by cold polar winds hunting and herding cattle, while some groups who were lucky enough to find a permanent source of water and a sheltered place reverted to a more sedentary lifestyle building fortified villages and city states. There is not a unified government in this area, mostly due to the lack of agricultural resources, the nomadic lifestyle of its inhabitants and the babel of people, cultures and races who were forced to live in these steppes when they were expelled from more welcoming nearby lands.

82) – Lizarfolks’ colonies: these colonies were built by lizardfolk merchants from the northern archipelago (see entry 27), who settled the narrow strip of jungle between the sea and the mountains/desert of the south. They mostly act as trade terminals and slave markets. Many lizardfolk merchants are known to make business by buying humans and humanoid slaves captured in the southern desert. Lizardfolk colonies are not the only settlements known to be in this area (rani have a few small settlements there as well, for example).

83) - North western desert: this is the largest desert on Piazzaworld The Edge, some 1600x650 miles. It is home to human and humanoid nomadic cultures. The northernmost region is sometimes crossed by slavers expeditions from the seaside colonies of lizardfolks (entry 82) and of other races. The southernmost area is populated by pueblo-like settlements of gnolls and kobolds, loosely connected with the Amerindian-like cultures of the south (entry 84). Most of this desert is still an unexplored area, and contacts between its borders are rare at best.

84) – Amerindian-like cultures: the area encompasses the temperate belt of the westernmost third of the continent. It is home to many Amerindian-like cultures, most notably gnolls, kobolds, lizarmen (maybe of a different breed with respect of lizardfolks of entries 27 and 82), humans (though they are a minority in this region of the world) and wood elves (they could be connected to other elvish stocks, for example Nightshade elves, or they could belong to an entirely different race). There is an important trade route leading east to the African-like culture region, which buries underground when crossing the mountain range separating the Amerindian-like and African-like cultures. The underground road passes through the Crypto-dwarves civilization territory (entry 85) and reaches the Birhamian Empire (entry 91).

85) - Crypto-dwarves territory: this is an unique civilization in Piazzaworld The Edge, founded by a group of albino dwarf-like miners who found a semi-permanent dimensional breach while digging underground on their world. The breach connected the mine to a wide set of caves in the mountain range splitting the western half of the continent. The dimensional breach stood open for nearly six decades, letting a large number of dwarves to explore and settle in the area, bringing with them a large number of goods, plants, animals from their world, so they were able to found a proper colony. When the breach disappeared the colonists - who were on the verge of waging an independence war against the metropolitan country, actually rejoiced. Albino dwarves (and the whole ecology they brought with them) soon discovered they could not stand the external sunlight so kept their whole culture underground. Not a fast-growing race, dwarves slowly expanded north and south along the mountain chain underground. When traders from Amerindian-like and African-like cultures sought refuge in the dwarvish cave systems while escaping from barbaric raiders, dwarves realized they could act as middlemen along the trade route or get paid for use of their extensive tunnel system. This lucrative business continues so far.

86) - Kobold Hellenistic-like kingdom: this culture stretches along the eastern coast of the large sound in the central part of the continent. They are among the most civilized kobold populations of Piazzaworld The Edge. Their kingdom, once an expansionistic one, is now busy in merging its subjects into a common society, while expanding its trade and infrastructure network. This process does not imply that the kingdom will stay peaceful forever, and nearby cultures (especially the rich city of Mylunda - entry 88 - and the insular gnomish cultures - entry 57) are closely monitoring the evolution of this country. The kingdom is mostly populated by kobolds (70%) but other races are also present (kobolds are always the ruling elite anyway). Hellenistic kobold seafarers are well known in the sound and in the African-like cultures east of their country, though their merchant fleet is dwarfed by those of Mylunda and Nallirah (entry 96).

87) - African-like cultures: this is a patchwork of petty human and non-human kingdoms, mostly land-based, spreading in the central third of the southern continent. The region is rich of food and mineral resources. As a consequence, most kingdoms are often at war with each other and borders rapidly change. It is believed that humans originated in this part of Piazzaworld The Edge, given the fact that the most ancient traces of human civilization can be found there (even if at present far more sophisticated human civilization exists elsewhere in the world). The average technological level is that of an Iron Age one; local religion is, on average, animistic. The more socially evolved kingdoms are organized as a confederation of city states; a few of the largest countries are organized as centralized kingdoms such as the one which formed around the city of Mylunda (entry 88). In the southern part of the region there is a continent-spanning east-west trade route leading to the crypto-dwarves (entry 85) and Amerindian-like cultures (entry 84) to the west and to the Birhamian Empire (entry 91) to the east. The natural resources of the area lure traders from many places such as the Hellenistic kobold kingdom (entry 86), the northern continent (entries 22, 23 and 24) and the Arabic-like culture (entry 89).

88) - Mylunda: A very large (200’000 people) and thriving seaport on the shore of the central part of the continent. It is mostly populated by humans (65%) of the same stock as the African-like cultures (entry 87). The city is the southern equivalent of Steliden (entry 23), even if it is more exotic and sophisticated in terms of culture. It is also a large manufacturing centre, especially noted for its shipyards which mostly produce large, refined, dhows. Mylunda is often in economic competition with the prominent trade city of Nallirah (entry 96), as both cities try to acquire dominance along the central coast markets. Mylunda is a well-fortified settlement and maintains a good-sized army and navy in order to protect its wealth (especially from the kobold Hellenistic kingdom schemes - entry 86). Though Mylunda is a relatively peaceful country, the land area under its influence is pretty large, as Mylunda’s leaders always perceived a priority to secure enough food supplies for the large and increasing population of the city.

89) - Arabic-like culture: this culture covers most of a large peninsula in the southern continent. This culture could be organized as a single empire/caliphate or be split in a series of petty kingdoms and local city state. As a rule of thumb, the settlements on the coast are more civilized with respect to the people living in the interior (Bedouin-like?), so it is likely that the coastal area has more centralized governments with respect to the more individualistic and tribal south. The city of Nallirah (entry 96) was born as a powerful spin off from this Arabic-like culture. Dabersef (entry 90) is another large and civilized settlement on the coast. The Arabic-like peninsula was one of the latest provinces to declare its independence from the Birhamian empire (entry 91), and it still shares many common traditions with this ancient country.

90) - Dabersef: a large city (110’000 inhabitants) on the Arabic-like culture coast (entry 90) in the southern continent. It is the capital of a mostly land-based country, though a large part of its wealth comes from sea trade with Nallirah's merchants, which seem to have some sort of monopoly on many imported and exported goods. Dabersef is a traditional gate to the Arabic-like cultures living in the peninsula interior. Mineral resources are abundant in the mountain ranges of the interior; the city's administration is in good terms with the hybrid dwarves-gnomes of the west (see entry 93) and a few scattered colonies of miners belonging to this race were founded in the mountains south of Dabersef.

91) - Birhamian empire: this is the remnant of the most ancient human civilization (which brought the same name) left on Piazzaworld The Edge. Its capital is the city of Lamanul (entry 92). The empire is extremely ancient, dating back in time some 15000 years ago. At its height, many millennia ago, it covered most of the world land area, though this phase did not last much (a few centuries at best, then the centrifugal forces won over cultural homologation). After its peak the empire faced an almost steady withdraw from the lands it once controlled, even if the military and moral resources did not follow a comparable decline (in fact the empire successfully repelled most of the external aggressions directed to the bulk of its culture). It is now believed that at least part of this withdrawal was intentional and planned over the millennia by Birhamian leaders, though the leading causes to this behaviour are obscure at best. It is likely that every present human culture which originated on Piazzaworld The Edge may trace its origins back to some splintered group of Birhamian settlers or to some faraway colony of the empire which reverted to barbarism after the metropolitan Birhamia lost interest in their part of the world. A remarkable heir of the past Birhamian greatness was the Taltinain Empire (see entry 59). Thanks to their millennia-old archives, Birhamians own a strong magical and technological lore: they rarely use it in order to defend the lands under their control, and almost never they exploited it to venture in expansionistic campaigns. A recent, noticeable, event involving the Birhamian use of ancient magic was the opening of the Argamhan Sound in the north east of the country some 1300 years ago: facing encircling by barbarian and nomadic tribes - which were settling the north-eastern mountains - the Birhamians evoked powerful magic in order to cause a major fracture in the mountain chain and let seawater fill the gap. In such a way they managed to split the land-based barbarians in half and did not lose access to the sea, an issue the Birhamians believed important at that time. Both the birdmen (entry 95) and the hybrid dwarves-gnomes (entry 93) trace their origins back to Birhamian magical manipulations over their original stocks but the truth was buried by the many millennia elapsed since this time (and by the arranged chaos in the huge Birhamian archives). What is true for sure is that both birdmen and hybrid dwarves-gnomes were used throughout the Birhamian Empire as workforce/infantry and messengers/explorers, respectively. Many of the scattered colonies of both cultures which exist in the world are believed to trace their origin to the epoch when the region was under imperial rule.
Birhamian culture is truly sophisticated and multi-layered. At present it has (among many other influences) some Persian-like flavour, showing connections with both Arabic-like (entry 89) and Indian-like cultures (entry 94) of the surrounding lands (these two regions were among the latest to declare their independence from the bulk of the empire). The southern and western borders of the empire are strongly guarded against barbarian (entry 81) and Neanderthal (entry 80) incursions. A trade route from the west allows for an intermittent flow of goods from the African-like cultures (entry 87), the crypto-dwarves (entry 85) and the Amerindian-like (entry 84). Other very ancient imperial roads ease trade with the Indian-like culture (entry 94) and the Arab-like settlement on the south eastern part of their peninsula (entry 89).

92) - Lamanul: the current capital of the Birhamian Empire (entry 91). Although being located at the core of the empire and being itself a very ancient city, dating its founding well before the Taltinian empire (entry 59), Lamanul is not the original capital of the empire (this position was moved several times in the long history of the Birhamians). It is a very courtly and cosmopolitan settlement, with a population in excess of 320’000 people, of which just 30-40% could be accounted as humans from Birhamian stock. Placed in the middle of the empire, Lamanul is the most important trading crossroad of the country. It is also very well reputed for the very ancient lore that could be found in its huge archives. Although any research is troublesome at best due to the sheer amount of data available and its dispersion among many scattered buildings throughout the city, the Birhamian developed spells and magic able to preserve inanimate objects and most documents well beyond their durability limits, enabling the access to very old documents. Nevertheless, it is to be noted that the information preserved in Lamanul and in other places of the Birhamian Empire is far from being comprehensive, due to the repeated moving of the archives and to the destuctions occurred in tormented epochs of the empire.

93) - Hybrid dwarvish-gnomish race: a large civilization of demi-humans which resembles (and maybe are) a hybrid between dwarves and gnomes, living on a large mountainous region southwest to the Arabic-like culture (entry 89). They are a quite ancient culture, being first registered on the Birhamian Empire archives (entries 91 and 92) some 10000 years ago. The dwarves-gnomes believe to be the by-product of magical experimentations, though it is also possible that they entered on Piazzaworld The Edge through some magical gate in the ancient past and then forgot their origins. Some common habits can be found with both the gnomes of the central island (entry 57) and with Germanic dwarves (entry 26) of the northern continent, but these cultural identities could have been introduced into dwarvish-gnomish civilization in a later time. Whatever their origin, dwarves-gnomes do not reproduce with ordinary dwarves or gnomes, and are actually a distinct race. Dwarves-gnomes trade with the distant city of Dabersef (entry 90) through a long set of middlemen, and with the Birhamian Empire, with whom there is a love-hate relationship: many dwarves-gnomes look with awe at the Birhamians as their "creators", while another faction hates them for the centuries of submission and later disregard when the Birhamian Empire shrank. Maybe these dwarves-gnomes are more technologically advanced than other analogue cultures, with an early steam-punk civilization thriving in their lands.

94) - Indian-like culture: a large region in the eastern third of the southern continent is populated with Indian-like cultures. Their eastern limits are quite blurred, climbing the long peninsula leading to the equator (where Austronesia-like cultures could live, see entry 113). It is also possible that warlike Indian cultures are expanding in that direction (maybe conflicting with the remnants of the fey empire, see entry 110). Their westernmost borders are much more defined by the mountain chain separating them from the Birhamian Empire (entry 91) and from the birdmen enclave (entry 95), the latter being revered as gifted and spiritual people. A direct land route with the Arabic-like culture (entry 89) is impossible due to the Agramhan Sound (see entry 91), so trade is lead mostly by water. A moderate but brisk trade is made with the southern Chinese-like culture (entry 72).

95) - Birdmen mountains: this is the major enclave of the birdmen (as the name suggests, a hybrid humanoid race between birds and men) encompassing an entire mountain chain between the Birhamian empire (entry 91) and the Indian-like cultures (entry 94). Many other smaller enclaves are scattered throughout the world, two notable examples being the colony near to Refuge Point (entry 31) and the northern Chinese-like culture (entry 73). A lost large birdmen colony was believed to exist on Taltinis (entry 59) but now it is reduced to a few scattered villages. Birdmen culture could be Tibetan-like, with peculiarities induced by their flying habits and by neighbouring countries.
Birdmen build their houses on steep peaks, along chasm walls, or in nest-like floating compounds where levitating buildings are connected by a web of ropes, bridges and the like on many levels. Birdmen believe they were magically created by the Birhamians at the beginning of their empire in order to help their civilization to better control faraway provinces and speed up communications with them. An alternate theory is that primitive birdmen came by chance to Piazzaworld The Edge through a dimensional gate placed in this area some time before the ascent of the Birhamian Empire and were absorbed in the expanding country. Whatever is the truth, for most of the Birhamian Empire’s history, birdmen were used as messengers, scouts, explorers and fast-deploying troops, spreading in the world as a result. During the long Birhamian decline, it was said that when a province wanted to gain independence from the metropolitan area the first thing it had to do was to secure the neutrality (or the cooperation) of the local birdmen garrison, so to slow the empire reaction and defend its skies from retaliatory aerial assaults. The birdmen communities described in this entry were the last to declare their independence from the Birhamian Empire, between 2500 and 2000 years ago. Since then, a few of them act as mercenary for the Birhamians. Believing the Birhamians as their creators, they almost never attacked them openly. Birdmen live pretty long and have a contemplative nature; they are most respected by Indian-like cultures (entry 94) as enlightened people. Their country acted many times as a buffer state between Birhamia and the most aggressive Indian-like countries to the east. Some birdmen colonies could act as "cultural scavengers", living on the fringe of some other civilization and prospering on its by-products.

96) - Nallirah: a major city state built on an island which at present is the very centre of the trade network between the northern and the southern continents. Nalliran sailors and ships are among the best in the world, its very large merchant and war fleets being maintained by the huge wealth gathered in acting as the world principal trade hub. Piazzaworld The Edge central meridian was placed there due to the prominence of this country in seafaring, commerce and exploration. The city was founded by Arabic-like settlers some 600 years ago but in a couple of centuries, as trade boomed, the island attracted people from many other places and now the Arabic-like stock accounts for just 60% of the total urban population of 125’000. A small birdmen colony (see entry 95) was founded on a southern cliff overlooking the sea: birdmen are usually employed by Nallirans to scout nearby waters and to contact approaching ships. An alliance was made between Nallirans and sea dwellers (the race is still to be determined) living in the waters around Nallirah's island; these sea dwellers act as underwater sentries, rescue teams, scouts and marines.
It is possible that Nallirah founded or conquered its own trading posts along the world, establishing a dominion over scattered territories as it was done by Venice during the Middle Ages. Though not truly population colonies and not heavily defended, those trading posts would provide logistic services to Nallirah’s ships and a starting base for market penetration for the benefits of Nallirah’s merchants. The introduction of these foreign trading posts would also add some variety to other areas and countries which are too monolithic in culture and population.


EASTERN PENINSULA:

This section refers to the long peninsula in the east of the southern continent stretching from the South Pole to the Equator. The large islands west of it are not detailed. The peninsula itself is really large; it has about the same land area of South America, so there is plenty of space to be described. In the following entries I just suggest some placements:

110) - remnants of a fey empire in the temperate region: this empire could have been destroyed after the Moonbreak, when undeads and lycanthropes overrun the area. Fey people could be also at odds with expansionistic Indian-like countries (entry 94).

111) - a lost world like area in the tropical belt: populated by dinosaurs and giant monsters.

112) - a major civilization of peaceful sentient dinosaurs: (maybe at the core of the lost world area) this culture could be one of the hidden civilizations of Piazzaworld The Edge (see the "Major themes" section). These dinosaurs could have helped primitive humans to develop and then slowly retired in this region following human expansion.

113) - An aboriginal, Australian-like culture: in the equatorial region, that could lead a little trade with the Malaysian-like people (entry 71). What if the aboriginal are actually an aggressive and militaristic culture?


THE EDGE OCEAN:

120) - The Edge: this is a vast, circular, unexplored area in the middle of the largest ocean of Piazzaworld The Edge, about 3500 miles in diameter (I reduced the diameter a bit from the initial suggested value of 4000 miles in order to better fit the circle in the map, hope you don't mind about this modification). The Edge derives its name from the abrupt downward (from the exterior) "step" in the ocean surface along its circular perimeter. The step is many dozens (or a few hundreds) yards high and falling water covers it with a permanent mist, making the step and the ocean underneath difficult to be spotted, so many sailors and explorers actually believed this area to be the edge of the world. Strong undersea currents from mixing waters on both sides of the step lead also to a very difficult submarine access to the internal area. It is possible to fly over the Edge (some birdmen of the northern Chinese sub-continent do it on a semi-regular basis, see entry 73) but the lack of interior known islands until a reasonable distance from the step makes exploration quite difficult. Moreover, most of the explorers which ventured too far inside the Edge never returned. I left blank (ocean) the whole region inside the Edge, even if it could well house islands, archipelagos and even small subcontinents. It was suggested to fill the area with an undead empire, so I placed in the very centre of the Edge a Moonland (see the "major themes" section about undeads and the Moonbreak), supposed to be far larger than the other Moonlands of Piazzaworld The Edge. I suggest linking the undead empire to the existence of a very large (hill-sized) Moonstone which fell in the middle of the Edge and was also the magical origin of the odd "step" effect at its borders. As an alternative, the step could be a magical creation of some very powerful undead lich which wanted to separate the Edge from the rest of Piazzaworld The Edge in order to better rule it; in the latter case the Moonstone could not affect the Edge in a significant way. Notice that if the Edge was created by a Moonstone, then the event is comparatively recent (just a thousand years or so), so it is possible that many ancient races might know about the original lands included inside the Edge.
Notable explorers of the Edge’s borders are the Malaysian-like seafarers (entry 71) and the already cited birdmen living in the North Chinese-like sub-continent. It is believed that the Skywood elves (entry 29) flied over the whole area and made a detailed map of its interior, but this info is classified. Anyway, at present these elves do not venture in the area nor assemble expeditions towards it.
If the undead empire is truly a by-product of the largest Moonstone on Piazzaworld The Edge then it is possible that the Pure Ones firstly manifested themselves there (whether they now rule the undead empire or were repelled by its inhabitants it is still to be determined). Moreover, it is also possible that the undead empire organize on a regular basis suitable expeditions in order to collect as many Moonstones as possible to be brought to the centre of the Edge. These stones would add their powers to the large magical stone in the middle of the Edge and could enlarge the perimeter of the step. What if the undeads keep their own spy network in Piazzaworld The Edge in order to collect as much info as possible about scattered lesser Moonstones and their defenders? Moreover, these undead attempts to gather all the Moonstones in a single place would increase the strain between them and lycanthropes.



TO BE PLACED:

A) - Ant-people (Formicoids): a humanoid race, hybrid between men and ants, which build underground cities connected by continent-spanning tunnels. They could be a hidden civilization of Piazzaworld The Edge (see the "Major Themes" section). They rarely surface above ground, but often when they do they deplete every natural resource in the area, without showing much regard to other sentient races. It is possible that their habitat is somewhat superposed with Mycoid's one (see entry E), and both races could be sometimes engaged in underground wars for land and resources.

B) - High elves: a race of secluded "classical" elves which was stranded on Piazzaworld The Edge. They did not feel at ease in this planet and took refuge in some faraway place.

C) - Paradise Hidden: a city on an island founded some thousand years ago by Taltinians of the First Exodus (the original migration from Taltinis – see entry 59). This community still exists in some faraway place with little influence from other cultures. As a result its traditions are mostly unchanged since the ancient Taltinic era.

D) - Civilization of the tree-men: maybe it could be a hidden civilization (see the "Major Themes" section) of hybrids between plants/trees and men (different from treants, dryads, elves and the like).

E) - Mycoids (hybrid fungi-men): another humanoid mixed race and a likely hidden civilization (see the "Major Themes" section), they could have built their settlements in swamps or in underground alluvial plains and valleys throughout the world. They could be among the most alien and elusive civilizations, their main contact with other races being intermittent wars with the ant people (see entry A) for land and resources.

F) - Undersea civilization: a large (sea or ocean-spanning) deep-undersea civilization, a likely hidden culture (see the "Major Themes" section) and, although loosely humanoid in shape, pretty alien in motivations. Their cities could be placed in the darkness of the oceanic plains, where they built countries and empires. These sea (in truth abyssal) people should be able to see in the darkness, and able to bear very high pressure levels. They would not care much about people living on the continents or crossing the seas, as far as they do not interfere with sea people businesses.

G) - Clockwork men: they could live in their own lands (or maybe just in their own single city state, mostly uninhabitable to other races) or be scattered among other communities throughout the world. The clockwork men could be a creation of ancient Taltinians (entry 59) or Birhamians (entry 91); they could have been built by gnomes from the central islands (entry 57), by the hybrid dvarwes-gnomes of the southern continent (entry 93) or by other ancient races; they could also be part of a stranded expedition of mechanical being who run into a dimensional breach and was stuck on Piazzaworld The Edge.

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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:23 am

A ROUGH TIMELINE:

The following list defines a loose temporal placement of the historical events listed above, with a suggested sequence for the appearing/evolution of some Piazzaworld The Edge intelligent races. Still lacking of a “zero year” of references, dates are referred as years to the present of the setting (a likely zero year could be the Moonbreack: in such a case I suggest to move slightly the year of this event so not to have a chronology too similar to Mystara’s one – that is, the present is exactly 1000 years after the starting of the calendar). Notice also that most dates are approximate:


-??? Nonhuman intelligent races reach Piazzaworld The Edge, far before the human themselves build a civilization here, and settle the planet. Most of them live in different habitat with respect to humanoids and their sophisticated cultures are not clearly visible to them. Other races seem to hide from something that was seeking them, and settled very secluded areas. As a whole, these populations form the "hidden races", which still share the planet with the most "visible" ones (humans, demi-humans, humanoids and the like).
-??? A peaceful race of sentient dinosaurs (itself likely a hidden race) help humans (and maybe other races, such as lizardfolks) in building a civilization. Sentient dinosaurs slowly retire in "lost world" areas as the other cultures spread.
-38000 (approx.) End of the last ice age. Primitive humans and other races increase their numbers, migrate to newly accessible lands and start their rise in Piazzaworld The Edge.
-35000 (approx.) Humans spread from their ancestral land in the African-like area of the southern continent and start to compete with Neanderthal for natural resources; Neanderthals are slowly driven to more and more inhospitable regions in the following millennia, a process that still continues on today;
-15000 (approx.) Origin of the First Human Civilization (the Birhamian Empire), which still exists today. Primitive birdmen are believe to exist at the time on Piazzaworld The Edge, whether created by the Birhamians or arrived by chance through a dimensional gate. Birdmen communities are soon assimilated inside the growing Birhamian Empire;
-10000 (approx.) First entries in the Birhamian Empire archives about the hybrid dvarvish-gnomish race; it is unclear if the Birhamian created this race or if the dvarwes-gnomes arrived to Piazzaworld The Edge from another plane of existence;
-8000 (approx.) Arrival of the Nightshade elves on Piazzaworld The Edge; they are "classical" wood elves and mostly seclude themselves from the rest of the world;
-??? Most Birhamian provinces in the northern hemisphere are slowly abandoned and have to fend for themselves. Many of them reverted to barbarism, both in the Northern Continent and in the Chinese-like sub continents.
-??? Dwarves build the Howling Mines in the Redrock Mountains, long before the Taltinian colonization of Refuge Point;
-5000 (approx.) Ascent of the Taltinis civilization, from a neglected province of the Birhamian Empire which declared itself independent some time before;
-4500/-3500 (approx.) Slow sinking of the Taltinis isles, which forces its inhabitants to master the seas and establish colonies in lands east and west of the metropolitan area (which mostly reverted to barbarism in the previous centuries); Qal Tallon (the Taltinian city which stood were Refuge Point now is) was likely founded at the end of this era;
-3500 (approx.) The last civilized Taltinians who flee their sinking motherland found Paradise Hidden, a city-state on a secluded island where Taltinians traditions are believed to be still in place today;
-3000 (approx.) Beginning of a new ice age. The process is very slow, and it is still in the starting phase as of the present time. Races living around the polar circles suffer an increase in harsh winter and food shortages. Many of them change their living style becoming more ruthless and aggressive towards neighbours.
-3000 (approx.) Skywood elves scouting parties land on Piazzaworld The Edge from outer space and start building colonies on the western coast of the northern continent;
-2500/-2000 (approx.) The last birdmen communities declare their independence from the Birhamian empire;
-1900/-1600 Mongol-like seafaring people invade the southern part of the Norse-like subcontinent due to overpopulation. At the end of this period the Ugro-Finnic culture, a mix between Norse-like and Mongol-like people is born, and it repels further settling by Mongol-like populations.
-1300 (approx.) Birhamian sages and magic-users manage to create the artificial Argamhan Sound, splitting in two an encircling population of barbarians and granting for themselves access to the sea which they still keep today;
-1000 (approx.) The Moonbreak: a large unknown body hit Piazzaworld's The Edge's moon, causing a long-lasting meteor shower on Piazzaworld's The Edge's surface which originates the Moonlands; a struggle between undead people and lychantropes follows for the control of those magical lands; a dissident faction of Nightshade elves split as a consequence of the event and go founding colonies elsewhere on Piazzaworld The Edge. The Edge seems to have been created about this time, too.
-980 Mongol-like seafarers invade the eastern half of the Turkish-like sub continent, starting a long series of border wars which still continues as of today.
-806 Founding of the capital of the halfling Roman-like empire;
-600 (approx.) The city of Nallirah is founded by Arabic-like settlers;
-531 Invasion of the Steel Ogres, spreading from the Quarren Plains in the northern continent; in a few years the invasion is aborted due to the closure of the cross-dimensional gate which lead the ogres to Piazzaworld The Edge. The stranded invading parties lose much of their technological apparatus and retreat in easily defensible area of the northern continent (such as the Steel Ogre Valley);
-490 A confederation of people, including Refuge Point inhabitants, founds the Fortress of Kalharad to protect themselves from Steel Ogres raids coming from the Steel Ogres Valley.
-400 (approx.) The city of Nallirah assert itself as the prominent trade hub in the southern seas;
-80 Accidental discovery of the Howling Mines, an ancient abandoned dvarvish mining complex south east to Refuge Point. Some levels are soon occupied by refugees, bandits and outcasts from nearby areas;
-25 Kobolds destroy Dravhad Keep, a small defensive keep north of Refuge Point;
0 The present;



THINGS TO DO:

While the information given above seem to cover in detail most aspect s of Piazzaworld The Edge, the truth is that they are just a brief introduction to what the setting might become if even a few of the info above would be developed.
There is actually a lot of work left to do and most of it is up to you, your creativity and your suggestions. In the following list I just hint about some of the possible development course fro a further update of this document:

- Names. We need names for almost everything: the setting, the planet and its moon, the continents, seas and oceans, and for most populations, races, countries, cities and the like;
- Maps: Maps provided here should be considered as a starting point. As you noticed, every of them are unfinished and barely detailed. Moreover, many other interesting places could be mapped
- Refuge Point details: a true city map is still missing, as many important landmarks around it (wooded areas being one of them, but also villages, humanoid and monsters lairs, dungeons, ruins from ages past and the like). The city itself needs further details about buildings and notable places.
- Races and countries: most of the info above is not much more than hints and suggestions. Every entry in the list above needs a lot of detailing and refining work. Some entries could be upset, other scrapped, it is not important in this phase, as the scope of this article was to provide you with a starting point with the setting. As I wrote in the beginning of the article, there is also a lot of empty room in the map, which could harbour many other original races and civilization so, please, do not feel obliged to follow the list above.
- NPCs: With the partial exception of Thoolag, there are no known notable NPCs (including villains) in Piazzaworld The Edge. I think the best way to include them in the setting is to follow an approach similar to Mystara’s Gazetteers, focusing on government figures, local villains and other people instrumental in providing services to PCs parties (adventurers, tavern keepers, thieves and merchants, petty nobles and priests, gladiators, sages, teachers of magic and swordsmanship).
- Pantheon: The whole section about gods, deity and the like as yet to be created. As a personal thought, I think that gods’ avatars showing themselves in the mortal world and interfering with their affairs is not a good idea.
- Star system, zodiac signs, and other worlds: Does Piazzaworld The Edge have just one moon? How many planets are in its solar system? Which colour is its sun (does it have just one sun?)? Names should be provided for those celestial bodies. The same should be done to astrological signs and other major constellation (is there any equivalent of the North Star, for example?). Is Piazzaworld The Edge located in the middle of a galaxy? Is it visible as a large strip in the sky as Earth Milky Way or maybe Piazzaworld The Edge is somewhere far from it and see it as a huge spiral in the sky? Are nearby worlds inhabited/colonized by alien or Piazzaworld The Edge races? Could it be that Piazzaworld The Edge is actually (a not very advanced) part of a larger interstellar organization?
- Nearby Planes of Existence: are they the same as standard fantasy world? Is there any different organization among them? Is it Piazzaworld The Edge and its solar system a fragment of the Prime Plane drifting in the Astral/Ethereal/Elemental Planes?
- Dragons: as you may have noticed, dragons do not appear at all in the whole article. Is their role on Piazzaworld The Edge a prominent one? Where do they live? How are they organised? The answers are up to you.
- Giants: a nation of giants is barely outlined in the entries above. Is it a melting pot of the known giant races or is it populated by just one of the classical giant specimens? (Or is it an entirely new giant race?) How giant races interact with other populations? Are flying castles available to cloud and storm giants? Are they used to trade, or to raid land communities?
- New monsters: of course there is the need of monsters peculiar to Piazzaworld The Edge. Many of them would be indigenous; other could come from other planes of existence. It was said that cross-dimensional gates mostly attract intelligent species, but what if some species’ pets or tamed animals escaped their masters and then reproduced in the wilderness? As usual, other monsters could have been created or summoned by powerful mages and priests. The same Moonstones could have brought to Piazzaworld The Edge a few creatures from the moon which managed to survive the atmospheric re-entry.
- Hidden civilizations: each of them is a new race. It needs statistics and details about its organization, life cycle, habitat and habits, just as any new Monstrous Compendium entry.
- New races: What I wrote about hidden civilizations is true for new races introduced so far (hybrid dwarves-gnomes, crypto elves and crypto dwarves, gnomish subraces, rani, birdmen and the like).
- Trade system: it would be nice if Piazzaworld The Edge would have a reasonably working economy (this would truly differ this setting from most of the others): that’s why I added a major land route to Refuge Point and stressed trade information in the entries above. It would be good to define some regions on the world map notable for their valuable goods and resources. Maybe trading rules could be included in the setting in order to provide PCs to some sort of income different from pillaging monsters’ lairs. Other services such as medieval banks could be included in civilized areas. Most sought commodities could be: precious metals, gems, mithril-and –the-like, spices, dyes, timber, exotic fruits, coal, salt, sugar, heating oil (of vegetal, mineral and animal origin), ivory, wool, cotton, silk, copper, corn, rice, wheat, magical ingredients, fine horses, monsters.
- New character classes, talents, proficiencies, specializations: this is definitely for a later development phase but, if the fluff is enough, maybe it would be possible to define some new options and peculiarities for PC in this setting.
- Flags and symbols: every country, population, army, order, city and the like need its symbol to be drawn. There is a lot of opportunities here for artists and illustrators;
- Calendar: how long is Piazzaworld's The Edge's year? How many days a month lasts? How are star signs and constellations connected to the calendar? Referring to Refuge Point region, when the most prominent holidays are held?

This is the end of the article. I hope it could be useful as a draft for building a “bible” of the setting and that it could help other people in throwing in ideas and better develop some entries.
I hope you like the results so far and will add your contribution to these sketches.


CREDITS:

In alphabetical order, here is the list of all the people who made contributions to this article and who expressed their support to the project so far. Further contributions and contributors are more than encouraged.

Allen Varney
Ashtagon
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Big Mac
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BotWizo
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Chimpman
Dread Delgath
dulsi
eldersphinx
galliard
Gawain_VIII
Gecko
happylarry
Havard
hihama
Hugin
Idabrius
LoZompatore
maddog
Marco Fossati
metal
night_druid
OldDawg
ravensmuse
ripvanwormer
Seer of Yhog
slashnull
Thorf
Yellowdingo

:)

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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by night_druid » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:19 am

wow. Naw...WOW. It's all WRONG!!! Map, totally off!

Ok, just kidding. This is frigg'n awesome. Take that back...this is FRIGG'N AWESOME! 8-) I LOVE the map pack; I think you've got every major site we've talked about, perfectly.

Huge thumbs up.
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Chimpman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:57 am

Holy Crack Zomp!

I love it!
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Chimpman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 8:05 am

Hey Zomp,

I'm going through your write-up (not necessarily in the order you wrote it ;) ), and I think I noticed one of the changes you made. Humans are actually the native race of Piazzaworld The Edge - not having come through one of the planar rifts. This places the sinking of Taltinis on Piazzaworld The Edge (and not on some other plane) which alters their history slightly. It's actually a pretty interesting twist that I think I can work with. Before I was thinking that the Taltinian destruction caused them to flee their own world and enter this one... but what if it's backwards. What if something fleeing the destruction of its own world latched onto Taltinian society and slowly caused its destruction - perhaps even caused Taltinas to slowly sink into the sea.

Anyway, I may move this line of thinking into another thread. Thanks for jump starting the project again!
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Seer of Yhog » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:35 pm

I am in awe - this is excellent!
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Hugin » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:00 pm

Incredible! And surprising! It came right out of nowhere! :D

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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by BotWizo » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:40 pm

LoZompatore!


that is just pretty cool, I thought it had kind of died out, what an amazing amount of work you have done.

Great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Havard » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:07 pm

Amazing! :)

Great setting overview, and I really love the maps!

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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Chimpman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:47 pm

I think the project actually needs a document of this nature in order to sustain itself.

I'm still working my way through the document in its entirety, but I have a few quick comments:

1) On the labeled map, I think the polar regions should be numbered as well. It's hard to get a picture of what the national borders at the poles really should look like just by viewing the split triangle sections at the top or bottom of the full map. I'm going through and labeling the southern pole on my own copy.

2) I love the southern polar region and the cultures that you placed there. The Birhamians are great and I love that you've already built in some conflict with the neanderthals living down there.

3) I love the theme of the Ice Age coming on. This is very much in tune with my own thinking, and with building up the neanderthals as a possible threat. I'm wondering how the extent of neanderthal territory has changed over time.

4) I also love the moonstones and how they effect the undead and lycanthropes. I'm definitely going to incorporate some of these ideas into any future work that I do on Piazzaworld The Edge!

5) This is a big one, but if humans are the "native" race of the setting I'd like to see a rough overview of how all of the races/cultures relate to one another. We have the Birhamians being a possible early ancestor to many of the modern human cultures. Perhaps we could have a map of human migrations?

The more I think about it the more I'd love to see some work done on that last point. I might take a stab at things after I'm done digesting the rest of this work.
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by maddog » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:35 pm

Just yesterday I was going to bump the Piazzaworld The Edge forum to see if anyone was working on any thing for it. Excellent work! :)
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Ashtagon » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:46 pm

Couplew of Points:

I had envisioned Refuge Point to be on the south side of the continent you placed it on, in order to better serve as a hub with reasonable access to the interesting cultures scattered across the soutehrn continent.

The Edge was originally intended to go clear to the sea floor, with a "ground" reminiscent of an ocean-lashed rocky coastline.
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Chimpman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:12 pm

Minor corrections:
2) - North Continental Road: a major trade route in the northern continent, connecting the Celtic-like elvish city of Belewir (entry 5)
Should be entry 6. Entry 5 is the reference to the culture itself.
6) - Belewir: a large Celtic-like elves (entry 4) community (some 45000 people, 90% elves) at the northern end of the North Continental Road (entry 2). It is also a busy seaport, acting as the main trade hub for the Celtic-like elvish culture (entry 5).
I think the reference to entry 4 can be removed entirely.


More questions:
21) - Vasthole: a 7000 people stop along the North Continental Road (entry 2). It is located in a semi-arid region; most of its revenues come from trade and services offered to merchants. It is built on the internal rim of a mile-wide crater caused by the fall of a Moonstone some 30 yards in diameter, which shattered in thousand pieces. At the time of the impact the area vas scarcely populated, so there wasn't a surge of lycanthropes/undeads as in other places. Merchants travelling the nearby North Continental Road (which was diverted) started searching for Moonstone fragments in the crater, founding Vasthole and repelling lycanthropic/undead invaders. After almost a millennium of continuous trade very few Moonstone fragments are still buried in the crater and nearby lands, invasion attempts ceased and the town went after some decline, moving its business to services and road protection.
This of course begs two questions - 1) What was the moonstone used for that merchants would want to rush into such an area and mine it. And 2) Where did it all go after it was mined?
29) - Skywood elves Federation: this is a large nation of elves who came to Piazzaworld The Edge some millennia ago through a fleet of hi-tech spaceships. As the Skywoods themselves declare, they are a colonizing/conquering party of a larger space-faring elvish ...
The one thing I don't know about here is the implication that the elves can go back and forth between their home world and this one (even if it does take a long time). I suppose that other planar travel could be two ways, but it seems like for the other cultures we have, even if that works for the short term, in the long term 2-way travel is always cut off somehow. Don't know yet what to make of this part.
The part I do like and think we should explore is the connection between these elves and robots/living constructs. Could they have some connection with the clockwork men (referenced in Taltinia)?
30) - Cryptic elves colony: (I placed a typical colony on the Northern Continent, many more should exist scattered across the world) this is an albino breed of elves who became stranded on Piazzaworld The Edge when their spaceship fleet (what if it was a ...
I really like these guys!
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Chimpman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:14 pm

Ashtagon wrote:I had envisioned Refuge Point to be on the south side of the continent you placed it on, in order to better serve as a hub with reasonable access to the interesting cultures scattered across the soutehrn continent.
For what it's worth, so did I. I'm not saying that the current location doesn't work, but this is probably something we should think about and discuss in more detail. One thing I wanted to do (but haven't done yet) is to examine the sea currents that Zomp set up - they might help explain the placement of Refuge Point better.
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Bonetti » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:48 pm

First, I hadn't looked over any of this material before, and I haven't had a chance to do more than skim it (oooh, pretty pictures! Oodles of text!). Soon, I hope, there will be time to absorb the whole thing, but on its face it's clearly impressive :-)
Chimpman wrote:The one thing I don't know about here is the implication that the elves can go back and forth between their home world and this one (even if it does take a long time). I suppose that other planar travel could be two ways, but it seems like for the other cultures we have, even if that works for the short term, in the long term 2-way travel is always cut off somehow.
One of the little quirks in Dennis McKiernan's mythology for his Mithgar books is that when the lower planes threatened to overrun the upper planes in a time when travel was trivial, the upper plane severed the connections -- except for the "natural" direction. The idea was that if you were not on your home plane, you could travel home-ward, but that was it. So, elves on the lower plane could go to Mithgar, and on Mithgar could go home to the upper plane. However, they couldn't travel in the opposite direction. Orcs, trolls, etc. could go from upper to Mithgar, or Mithgar to lower, but not the opposite direction.

I have absolutely no idea if that's a useful idea or not, or if it's been covered before, but the discussion of limited planar travel brought it bubbling back up :-)
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Chimpman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:41 pm

Ok, just finished reading through the entire article.
C) - Paradise Hidden: a city on an island founded some thousand years ago by Taltinians of the First Exodus (the original migration from Taltinis – see entry 59). This community still exists in some faraway place with little influence from other cultures. As a result its traditions are mostly unchanged since the ancient Taltinic era.
I have some ideas on this one (obviously). I need to look over the map in more detail, but as a first pass I'm thinking that these guys are located somewhere right along the Edge - probably on the western end of it.
G) - Clockwork men: they could live in their own lands (or maybe just in their own single city state, mostly uninhabitable to other races) or be scattered among other communities throughout the world. The clockwork men could be a creation of ancient Taltinians (entry 59) or Birhamians (entry 91); they could have been built by gnomes from the central islands (entry 57), by the hybrid dvarwes-gnomes of the southern continent (entry 93) or by other ancient races; they could also be part of a stranded expedition of mechanical being who run into a dimensional breach and was stuck on Piazzaworld The Edge.
I'm not sure which option I like the best for these guys - all of them have their benefits. Having them be created by one of the native races allows us to create a tie-in with that race, however having them be dimensional travelers is pretty cool too and lets us tie them in possibly with the Skywood elves. Maybe we can have the best of both worlds. The original clockworks were planar travelers, and several races around Piazzaworld The Edge based their own creations off of them. This gives us the added benefit of having multiple "species" of clockworks out there, with an ancient clockwork race that could become another hidden culture.
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by LoZompatore » Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:10 pm

Thanks to everybody for the support showed, but just remember that most of the document I wrote is actually an elaboration of your early ideas, so at first you should congratulate with yourselves... :D

You wrote a lot of feedback, here are my thoughts on the many topics you submitted:

Chimpman wrote:
I think I noticed one of the changes you made. Humans are actually the native race of Piazzaworld The Edge - not having come through one of the planar rifts. This places the sinking of Taltinis on Piazzaworld The Edge (and not on some other plane) which alters their history slightly. It's actually a pretty interesting twist that I think I can work with.
Ooops! This was unintended on my side. My fault, when I read your article about Taltinis I thought this culture was native to Piazzaworld The Edge, so I placed their ancestral lands on a suitable area in the middle of the map. I think the retconning to your original idea would not require too much work at this stage of development. As an alternative theory we could say that Taltinians actually became a major world power thanks to the landfall of an extra-planar population (the "true" Taltinians fleeing the destruction of their motherland, etc., etc.) which merged with the abandoned Birhamian colonists and rebuilt there their civilization (I don't know if it seems too Alphatian-like...). The final decision on this matter is up to you, feel free to rewrite my entries as you like.

On another matter, I had humans as one of the most ancient races in Piazzaworld The Edge just because I wanted to adhere to the "major theme" about them. Anyway, this would not imply that they originated on Piazzaworld The Edge (they could have come there from a dimensional rift so many thousands years ago that their arrival is now long forgotten and that some natural evolution actually occurred on them on Piazzaworld The Edge), nor that every human race on Piazzaworld The Edge was born here. I would not even imply that Neanderthal people are the biological ancestors of Piazzaworld's The Edge's humans: maybe they are two distinct races brought here by dimensional rifts in prehistoric times (or maybe the Neanderthals are the true native inhabitants of Piazzaworld The Edge, slowly being displaced by the "foreign" humans and other races). I would leave open all these points for now, just throwing in some ideas.
Before I was thinking that the Taltinian destruction caused them to flee their own world and enter this one... but what if it's backwards. What if something fleeing the destruction of its own world latched onto Taltinian society and slowly caused its destruction - perhaps even caused Taltinas to slowly sink into the sea.
This is actually a very interesting twist: if you decide to implement this theory you would explain much better the sinking of Taltinis (a few thousands years of sinking is still a short time for any realistic geological process to happen, so an external and partially magical cause is welcomed). Moreover the entity (entities?) which caused the sinking could be still buried somewhere under the now-shattered Taltinian archipelago: a lure for adventurers and explorers!

1) On the labelled map, I think the polar regions should be numbered as well. It's hard to get a picture of what the national borders at the poles really should look like just by viewing the split triangle sections at the top or bottom of the full map. I'm going through and labelling the southern pole on my own copy.
True. I was too lazy to number them myself :P :P :P
Especially the southern continent needs an indexed polar view. If you number them for me I will be grateful, otherwise I'll edit the picture with the next update of the document. ;)
5) This is a big one, but if humans are the "native" race of the setting I'd like to see a rough overview of how all of the races/cultures relate to one another. We have the Birhamians being a possible early ancestor to many of the modern human cultures. Perhaps we could have a map of human migrations?
I had the same thought when I was building the document, an ethnographic map would be pretty useful. I did not include it (actually I did not even sketched it :P) because I felt this was too early a stage of setting development to "freeze" human populations on the map, as many details were yet to be defined. Think about my mistake about Taltinians, for example: now I'm happy not to have explicitly included them in a map of human migrations of some sort, as it would have worsened the whole issue. Other questions to be answered before drawing such a map, in my opinion, would be the status of the Thulean-like and Southern-Chinese like civilizations: are they humans? I know they could be added to the human migration map in a later time, but I think it would be better to have at least a draft about them before going on with human genealogies as, especially the Southern Chinese-like people are placed in a strategic area and they could have influenced many cultures around them.
For these reasons in the article I wrote I explicitly stated just a couple of points about human races:

- Native humans (in the meaning of tracing their origin to prehistoric times on Piazzaworld The Edge) all spawned from some place in the African-like culture area;
- Ugro Finnic-like people are the result of a merging between Mongol-like and Norse-like people happened some 1500 years ago;

The whole ethnographic issue will cover a topic of its own, (maybe more than a topic) I think ;)

Ashtagon wrote:
I had envisioned Refuge Point to be on the south side of the continent you placed it on, in order to better serve as a hub with reasonable access to the interesting cultures scattered across the southern continent.
Actually I had the same idea of you when I thought where to place this city. On a first draft of the document Refuge Point was located where now Steliden is, mostly for the same reasons you told. Then I moved the settlement to its actual position for the sake of climate (it seemed to me too a tropical location for Refuge Point) and of mapmaking (the triangular cut on the world map would interfere with zoomed maps centred on the city: I would like to have the largest uninterrupted area around the PCs default starting place, so they could explore in every direction without worrying about mapping issues). That's why I added the North Continental Road crossing the continent: it would ease the travel to the more interesting lands to the southern hemisphere
Anyway, I think it would be possible to move Refuge Point to the southern coast of the continent without too many troubles. Refuge Point could actually become a tropical city placed somewhere along the coast south of Steliden, so to avoid as many cartographic issues as possible. With regard to the already drawn maps this is not a true problem: I can rotate 90° or 180° clockwise the two more detailed maps around Refuge Point and they will fit with ease with the new position, while the drafts of the 72mi/hex and 24 mi/hex maps can be redrawn with little effort. I think the whole matter of Refuge Point location deserves a topic of its own on Piazzaworld The Edge sub forum; maybe we could also start a poll with the community... :)
The Edge was originally intended to go clear to the sea floor, with a "ground" reminiscent of an ocean-lashed rocky coastline.
Cool! I did not understand this when I first read your article about it, but in my opinion it is a very interesting idea. It would open up a lot of ways to better detail the area. Just throwing in some suggestions:

- If the ocean around the Edge is the Piazzaworld The Edge equivalent of the Pacific Ocean, then its average depth would be some 14000 feet. This would also be the average height of the fall from the sea level to the ground underneath the step.
- Such a step is so high that most of the water falling from the top of it would evaporate and disperse as mist before touching the ground (for comparison see the wikipedia entry for the Angel falls - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Falls -, whose height is "just" 2600 feet). I would exploit this effect by saying that at sea level, at the top of the step, there is actually some spilling of water (due to winds, storms, tidal effects and the like) to the abyss below. This water does not reach the bottom and instead it creates a wall of mists all around the Edge, which hinders the visibility to seafarers.
- Such a mist would slowly settle the bottom of the Edge due to downward winds (see below), creating a very shallow salty swamp-like environment for dozen of miles around the bottom of the step. As humidity settles, going to the interior there would be a progressively arid climate, a desolate rocky landscape alternating with plains of salt.
- Such a sun-battered landscape would generate huge amounts of warm air, which will rise upward at the center of the Edge and would be substituted by colder mist-saturated winds descending from the borders of the step. Such strong downward winds near to the border would make very difficult for flying creatures to exit the Edge once they entered into it, thus acting as an obstacle for explorations.
- Every island that existed in this area before the creation of the Edge would be a sheer mountain at least 14000 feet high. The same would be true for any subcontinent in the area, forming a true separation between a lowland (the former sea floor) and the highlands (any former emerged land). Smaller mountains would be represented by former submerged ridges, volcanoes, plateaus, guyots and the like.
- On the opposite, any former oceanic abyss in the area would be now a hundreds of miles long canyon or chasm, with a maximum depth exceeding 10000 - 15000 feet the surrounding plains and a width of just a few dozen miles (the Mariana Trench is 36000 feet deep at its deepest point and it has an average width of about 40 miles). These chasms would act as another obstacle for land exploration of the Edge and would provide a habitat for monsters and undead people. Maybe the bottom of these canyons is still filled with ponds of very salty water.
- Following such suggestions you can divide the Edge area into four lesser habitats: the highlands (which could be an arid version of the former emerged lands), the mostly flat rocky-salty lowlands, the salt swamps at the bottom of the step, and the abyss. If the Edge is populated by undead people, then different undead species could populate the four habitats. Moreover, the empire they built could be the union of these four different lands. This habitat could become five if you assume that there is a large Moonstone in the middle of the area: this meteor would have created its own large crater (some miles-wide in radius) around the impact point.
- The creation of the Edge would have removed a huge volume of water from the area. This in turn would have very likely increased the frequency of local earthquakes (see for example here in the "Reservoirs" section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_seismicity) as the former seafloor adjusted to a new equilibrium. These earthquakes would continue still today, and they would be a peculiar feature of the region, contributing to making it even more inhospitable to living creatures.

What do you think of it?


Chimpman wrote again:
Minor corrections:

2) - North Continental Road: a major trade route in the northern continent, connecting the Celtic-like elvish city of Belewir (entry 5)
Should be entry 6. Entry 5 is the reference to the culture itself.

6) - Belewir: a large Celtic-like elves (entry 4) community (some 45000 people, 90% elves) at the northern end of the North Continental Road (entry 2). It is also a busy seaport, acting as the main trade hub for the Celtic-like elvish culture (entry 5).
I think the reference to entry 4 can be removed entirely.
You are right for both of them. I'll edit these mistakes in the updated document. ;)

21) - Vasthole: a 7000 people stop along the North Continental Road (entry 2)....
This of course begs two questions - 1) What was the moonstone used for that merchants would want to rush into such an area and mine it. And 2) Where did it all go after it was mined?
I do not have an answer to question 1), feel free to devise a good story for it ;)
With regard to question 2), my original idea was that, upon impact, this Moonstone actually shattered in thousands of small fragments which were collected and sold to many different traders through centuries. These fragments are now dispersed everywhere in the world. Moreover, other fragmented Moonstones (ranging from Moonstones' dust to Moonstones' shards and the like) would come from analogous impact points throughout the world. In my opinion Moonstone trading is a way to introduce them as an available piece of (magical) equipment for PCs, and to create a strain between merchants and undead people/lycanthropes. In my opinion, the attempt to recover a Moonstone shard or to avoid it to be stolen by undead people and lycanthropes is a good plot device for adventures. ;)

29) - Skywood elves Federation: this is a large nation of elves who came to Piazzaworld The Edge some millennia ago through a fleet of hi-tech spaceships....
The one thing I don't know about here is the implication that the elves can go back and forth between their home world and this one (even if it does take a long time). I suppose that other planar travel could be two ways, but it seems like for the other cultures we have, even if that works for the short term, in the long term 2-way travel is always cut off somehow. Don't know yet what to make of this part.
I'm afraid there is a misunderstanding here. I envisioned the Skywood elves as coming from the outer space of Piazzaworld The Edge, not from another plane of existence. That's why their spaceships are able to come back and forth to the planet: they actually travel through space, not through dimensions. The idea is that Piazzaworld The Edge is (very) slowly being encroached in a local stellar empire led by the Skywood elves, who rule on many nearby stars. Just think about the Skywood elves as a plot device which enables the PCs to leave Piazzaworld The Edge and explore other bodies of their solar system and nearby stars. Thanks to the high-tech status of the elves, they would have been able to create small pockets (or entire planets) of habitable lands, filled with alien and exotic species, even in hostile regions of Piazzaworld The Edge solar system, which are maintained by Skywoods' machinery and devices. These habitats would be easily reachable by the average space-ferry which stops in Skywoods lands on Piazzaworld The Edge twice a year ( :D ): PCs could earn a lift on this ship or embark on it as stowaways (and this is another suggestion for an adventure). ;)
In the article I also loosely connected the Nightshade elves with the Skywoods. Maybe even the Nightshades originated in the same plane of existence of Piazzaworld The Edge, the magical gate they used to settle there being some sort of "mass teleport" instead of a true dimensional travel. Or maybe, being the Nightshade presence on Piazzaworld The Edge dating as far back as 8000 years ago, they could have met - on Piazzaworld The Edge - an early stranded party of Skywood elves of which the same Skywoods do not retain memory of (but which lead to a fiasco in establishing a good reputation among the Nightsade elves).
The part I do like and think we should explore is the connection between these elves and robots/living constructs. Could they have some connection with the clockwork men (referenced in Taltinia)?
Why not? Is seems a promising path to follow. Maybe the Taltinians managed to rose from a beleaguered ex Birhamian province to a major power status thanks to an early intervention of the clockwork men many thousand years ago. In turn, the clockwork men could have been a war/explorer/refugee party formerly subjected to the Skywood elves which now acted independently and tried to raise allies for its war against the Skywoods. This episode could be set in the larger frame of an interstellar conflict between the elves and their creations. In a later time the clockwork men of Taltinis could have lost the support of the population they nurtured - or maybe they were dismayed in seeing how short are lifetimes of humans and their creations - and retired somewhere else on Piazzaworld The Edge.


Bonetti wrote:
One of the little quirks in Dennis McKiernan's mythology for his Mithgar books is that when the lower planes threatened to overrun the upper planes in a time when travel was trivial, the upper plane severed the connections -- except for the "natural" direction. The idea was that if you were not on your home plane, you could travel home-ward, but that was it. So, elves on the lower plane could go to Mithgar, and on Mithgar could go home to the upper plane. However, they couldn't travel in the opposite direction. Orcs, trolls, etc. could go from upper to Mithgar, or Mithgar to lower, but not the opposite direction.
As you saw in my reply above, the Skywood elves were not extraplanar travellers, but just "simple" interstellar settlers. Anyway, your idea to include some "rules" to the extraplanar rifts' behaviour is intriguing to me. Until now I assumed the dimensional breaches were mostly a random phenomenon, but I think that adding some general rules of the same kind you wrote above would not impair the unpredictable nature of the rifts. We still lack a planar cosmology for the setting (IIRC it is in the "things to do" list :D), so it is possible to build a multiverse with the rules we like most. Any suggestion? :)

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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Bonetti » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:27 am

As I said, I haven't actually read up on it yet, that just sort of bubbled up :-)

Thinking about it a little more, though -- that premise led to the Impossible Child (a half-elf, which was considered impossible in that setting) who actually could travel both directions between the upper plane and the middle plane. I'm not sure such a restriction would be as solid with a D&D-like system which has half-elves (and half-orcs).

On another note, I commented on the planet size. In hind-sight, it probably should've just been a reply here, since it may not be much of a discussion :-)
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Boddynock » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:03 pm

I have to say I'm very flattered that my minor idea of the Gnomish Mounted got picked up and what you expanded on I loved. So before I congratulate myself I must say, bravo sir. Now I really need to brainstorm and expand the gnomish city states of entry 16 (Name pending a committee.) Also need to purchase a new binder to fit all your great maps and documentation in.
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Dave L » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:56 pm

I have a question about the mapping, or more correctly, future mapping.

The different software programs people use have different sized hexes.

For example, the Refuge Point 24 mile/hex map has to be stretched to fit into the Hexgimp hex grid, but the stretching wasn't proportional.

I had to stretch it to 120% of width, and only 114% of height.

If anyone uses Hexmapper, the hexes are a different size again.

So if different people are mapping different areas, will this cause problems when we try to fit the maps together?

Edit: By the way, I think using a global projection that allows for consistent hex mapping was inspired!

Second Edit: I tried importing one of Thorf's maps into Hexmapper - as he has allowed his hex art to be used, I thought the hex sizes would be compatible - they aren't. I had to stretch 123% x 118% to make it fit. Fine if I wanted to import a map to copy it - not fine if we are trying to stitch together a continents worth of maps using 6 different hex sizes, all called 24 miles/hex.

Another thought - if we all use different hex art and symbols, the maps are going to look like a real patchwork.

I think there might need to be some guidelines for map makers, to avoid confusion later.

I will play around with Gimp a bit - I know an earlier version used Hexmapper art, so there must be a way to change the size of hexes in the grid. It won't be hard-wired into the software, but if there's a way to save say a 100 x 100 hex grid that can be loaded into any paint program, it could save us frustration later.

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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by LoZompatore » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:39 pm

Thanks a lot for the feedback guys! :)
I have to say I'm very flattered that my minor idea of the Gnomish Mounted got picked up and what you expanded on I loved. So before I congratulate myself I must say, bravo sir. Now I really need to brainstorm and expand the gnomish city states of entry 16 (Name pending a committee.) Also need to purchase a new binder to fit all your great maps and documentation in.
I replied on your new excellent contribution about the Gnomish Mounted Regiment in the Piazzaworld The Edge section. Good job! :)
I have a question about the mapping, or more correctly, future mapping.
You actually rise a major point I have never tought about so far. Thanks for your remark. :)
I made my hex grid in order to get more or less regular hexes: I also have a set of symbols wich fits into these hexes, but I usually draw my maps mostly "by hand" using MS Paint and a lot of "copy and paste" commands. Obviously this is not the most practical solution and it conflicts with more specialized mapping softwares such as Hexmapper. Moreover, my hexes have not the same shape and dimension as Thorf's or Hexmapper's ones.

As a general principle I'm afraid that we have to assume that after some time there will be a lot of different maps drawn with various methods and using various symbols. This is because different people will feel more at ease with different drawing styles and softwares. We could try to fix now a set of symbols (maybe Thorf's ones) and a defined shape for the hexes, but I don't think that this standard will be respected by every furure cartographer involved in the Piazzaworld The Edge project.

Anyway, even if hexes coming from different maps are of different size or shape they could be easily matched together if we fix now a reference frame of hexes on the global map.
What I suggest is to lay on this map a very large hexgrid (its scale being maybe 72x3= 216 miles/hex, or even 216x3= 648 miles/hex), which is set once for all and that could be used to draw local and regional hexed maps. Such a reference map would avoid at least the issue of non-overlapping hexes on different maps. I'll try to prepare a draft of such a map to visually explain what I mean. ;)

On another matter, I'm going to prepare un update of the master document. It will pend a couple of polls I'm going to post in the Piazzaworld The Edge forum, and it will include all the contributions and suggestions posted so far by the other members. Said so, I encourage you to post further suggestions and contributions (from a one-line comment to an article about some old or new location) in the Piazzaworld The Edge sub-forum. I'll try to include all of them in the updated document. :)

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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by metal » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:12 am

As a general principle I'm afraid that we have to assume that after some time there will be a lot of different maps drawn with various methods and using various symbols. This is because different people will feel more at ease with different drawing styles and softwares. We could try to fix now a set of symbols (maybe Thorf's ones) and a defined shape for the hexes, but I don't think that this standard will be respected by every furure cartographer involved in the Piazzaworld The Edge project.
Won't this give Thorf a new project to work on when he finishes Mystara? :lol:
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Re: The Edge: a summary and a major revamping

Post by Dave L » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:29 am

metal wrote:
As a general principle I'm afraid that we have to assume that after some time there will be a lot of different maps drawn with various methods and using various symbols. This is because different people will feel more at ease with different drawing styles and softwares. We could try to fix now a set of symbols (maybe Thorf's ones) and a defined shape for the hexes, but I don't think that this standard will be respected by every furure cartographer involved in the Piazzaworld The Edge project.
Won't this give Thorf a new project to work on when he finishes Mystara? :lol:
hehe, I'm sure he'll thank you that thought! ;)

As far as Gimp is concerned, if you have a hex template that can be loaded into the grid layer and symbols to fit it, the "snap to grid" feature can be modified pretty closely to fit. Save the symbols as brushes, and you're away.

Also, if you have a fixed sized "super-grid", any maps using different hex sizes can be stretched to fit the master-map.

I think the idea of laying a large hex grid down at the start will save headaches later. :)

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