How do Floating Continents work?

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Big Mac
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How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Big Mac » Sat May 04, 2019 12:15 pm

I heard about Floating Continents a while ago. I didn't know they existed, but Cthulhudrew created a list of Floating Continents nine years ago.

I'd like to know how they work.

In case anyone wants to know, I'm in the camp of people who assume that everything in D&D works, so I'm not looking for real-world scientific theories on "what is wrong with them". I am starting from the position that they work perfectly well and that I just have to figure out why they do what they do.

So what I am actually after is out-of-character reasoning, on how to use them in a Hollow World game...

...as well as in-character reasoning about what NPCs think about them (especially sages that try to explain them).

First off, are there any in-game mechanics for them?

Do they all have fixed heights? Or is each one at a different height?

Do they stay still? Do they move?

If they move, do they all move at the same speed?

Are Floating Continents moved around in the same sort of way as clouds (in the real world)? Can people on continents control the movement of them (with things like sails or rudders)?

Does a Floating Continent have a regular "orbit" like a moon has?

Do they ever bump into each other? Do they ever join or break up?

Do they ever come into contact with the ground? Do Floating Continents "dock" at mountains?

Do they have the same animals and races as the ground, or does each one act like a "lost world" within the "lost world" of the Hollow World?

Has there ever been conflict between people on a Floating Continent and people on the ground below it?

Is there anything else I need to know, to figure out how these fit into a Hollow World game?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Robin » Sat May 04, 2019 12:39 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 12:15 pm
First off, are there any in-game mechanics for them?
I assume you think about the Floating continents of the Hollow world and not the several floating Islands on the Outer world (which are all magicalor Immortal creations)
Yes , or at least to some of the most imortant These were detailed in the Poor Wizard Almanac
http://pandius.com/floatcnt.html
http://pandius.com/lhcltrgd.html
and there exists a map on Pandius
http://pandius.com/Hollow_World_Floating_Continents.png

Do they all have fixed heights? Or is each one at a different height?
No. as according to the HW book they all float in patterns around the sun. Their height might be stable, yet it might also be possible to be a wave pattern. Eitherway, collisions are known to happen (as it did with the floating islands of the Hollow world Gnomes)
Do they stay still? Do they move?
Some smaller ones would be stationary, most will move. It is this movement and current location used to determine time/date, and premonitions for the future in the Hollow World. You need a special skill to do so
If they move, do they all move at the same speed?
No, although several do so, at least the yet the 7 or 8 main continents(see list above) seem to have a yearly pattern. others might go faster or slower , maybe depending on the altitude, or proximity to the Hollow world Sun
Are Floating Continents moved around in the same sort of way as clouds (in the real world)? Can people on continents control the movement of them (with things like sails or rudders)?
Some continentof the smaller size might be controlled in up/down or horizontal movement yet this mostly bodes disaster (like the Gnomish islands (Dragon #162) seem to suggest)
Does a Floating Continent have a regular "orbit" like a moon has?
At least the Hiak-Lor, (HW DM's Guide), Oostdok, Ashmorain (HWA2 adventure), Alphatia (afteer 1010AC), Cassia, Chijioke, Disa, Gowon, Kjell, Resi, Tama
Do they ever bump into each other? Do they ever join or break up?
I suggest especially the smaller and upper ones might do so, and even merge and break there is however (as far as known) no life on these lesser and higher continents. It might be that the larger continents have a sort of forcefiled barring destructive collisions and thus they would cause the lesser one adhere over millenia.

Do they ever come into contact with the ground? Do Floating Continents "dock" at mountains?
As far as I know they don't, yet it might be very possible for a continent to go only up and down over time.
Do they have the same animals and races as the ground, or does each one act like a "lost world" within the "lost world" of the Hollow World?
Many have extinct OW races of plants and/or animals on them, or even (semi-)sentient races. all in the Immortal perspective of a living reservation for the extinct/threatened breeds
Has there ever been conflict between people on a Floating Continent and people on the ground below it?
Yes As soon as Alphatia entered their flying mages had a conflict with several larger nations , and even their own settlement near the hole they drilled in Wrath of the Immortal adventure. I suggest however that thevariant patterns might restrict such conflict to a minimum or even incident happening rarely over time

Is there anything else I need to know, to figure out how these fit into a Hollow World game?
See the above links, and the HW book
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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Robin » Thu May 09, 2019 9:27 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 12:15 pm
So what I am actually after is out-of-character reasoning, on how to use them in a Hollow World game...

...as well as in-character reasoning about what NPCs think about them (especially sages that try to explain them).
Azcan;Based on HWR1 Dm & PC history, Timing(page 13)
Spoken by Tlamacatzequiuaque Pocatheici
The Floating Continents you say, Bicmac my friend and Poctheca Tonalpouqui? Hmm Yes what does history say on this?
As being a foreigner and friend to the Azcan you might have heard some tales yet most details would be oblivious to you. So lets explain something.
What I tell you is dating from before the Winged serpents came, so more than 1500 cycles ago, or maybe even much earlier, for nobody truly knows when Naui ollin ended. For in this time we lived in the world of the moving sun,the Naui ollin or 5th sun where we sacrificed humans to feed the sun and keep it returning.Then a heresy struck among our ancestors, which said to be killed for the gods was not noble or proper but a waste itself. The bloodthirst of the gods went unquenched. The sun weakened and perished. Tzitzimime, the evil spirits from the dimensions of perpetual twqilight came and devoured all they encountered. The Tzitzimime destroyed as they pleased with drought, plague, earthquakes, fire from the sky and famine. in this way the earth became cleeansed of the wicked.To save the sound and well-behaved Atzanteotle took all of them, and rid them to the new world; the world of the Red Sun. In a storm of explosions the old world came to an end enormous fires, impacts, storms and tidal wavews brought by the Tzitzimime swept the world clean. The stones of the old world followed us on our trek, when Atzanteotl curved the world and locked the stones in their movement, never to fall down anew, unless we would again digress. And in the Red Sun there is the Palace and Throne of Atzanteotl, where no mortal can ascend unless called by Atzanteotl himself to never ever return and become one of his proud Quauhtecatlor soul warriors of Atzanteotl in his Palace
The Remnants of the 5th sun still float around and their patterns tells us the thoughts an desires of Atzanteotl, Kalaktatla and Otzitiotl, and tells us time.

Other thoughts will follow as soon as captured ;)
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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Robin » Thu May 09, 2019 10:14 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 12:15 pm
So what I am actually after is out-of-character reasoning, on how to use them in a Hollow World game...

...as well as in-character reasoning about what NPCs think about them (especially sages that try to explain them).
Nithian; Based on HWR2
Spoken by Thad-tut-Among Foreign merchant scribe of Dashur
Really Bik-imac, your questions are rare and difficult, yet the Pharah allowed me to inform you with his wisdom of the past, and for you your future, if you continue your quest of knowledge too far.
As far as history goes, it tells of a time in the ancient days when we Nithians were more powerful than we know now. Only the Immortals and his Pharaoic offspring wielded this power. Then one circle, the very sun itself separated and fell apart, and parts of it came down and rolled across the land,slaying the people. Kepher the Pharoah of Ranak was strong and wise and swift, for he used his Immortal powers to set time slow. The sun burned the land anc scarred it creating the Nithia river, yet the onsloaght was halted, the parts of the sun solidified and float above us by the Power of Kepher. The movements of these stones is still the same as they were before, albeit there is a difference these Planets now are within the the sky, have cooled and slowed down. They float like the seasons, and we see time by them. Each Island is occupied by one of the Immortals and they call them Planes, or Homeplanes and as such they made it to appear their desire. As such it is forbidden to enter these unless invited by that Immortal. A new Rock appeared populated we heard by the race we invited on Mystara so long ago the Alpha-Cypris, (calling themselves Alphatians now). They must have travelled through the void and finally appeared on the world.An Immortal, we suspect Horus, must have guided them here. and made a Plane to save them from the heat of the Sun. They trade with us when their shadow falls on us. Beyond that we are not allowed to speak to them. And magical flight is only allowed in their shade or magic and the heat of the sun will slay.
So all in all the Advice is only to visit The Islnd of Alphatia when the shade falls and none of the others unless invited by the Immortal owning it, else face certain doom.

Other thoughts will follow as soon as captured ;) :o
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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Morfie » Fri May 10, 2019 7:19 am

The concept of the Hollow World is for the Immortals to hide away civilisations at a point in their history, before they were corrupted/destroyed. Kind of like a museum. Most of them live on the land of the Hollow World, and have relatively limited interaction with the others there.
The floating continents (more various sized land masses than actual continents for some of them) are for those cultures that the Immortals wanted no interaction with, so they are more isolated than all of the others. They also act as a cloud cover equivalent and shade and a sort of darkness from the Eternal Sun for the land folk while they float around the place.
People living on them don't really hop/fly from one continent to the other, so they are at different heights. They don't bang into each other either.
I haven't checked any books during this post but I could swear there was a pic somewhere of the orbit-like travel for some of the larger ones that floated around.
This is based on the 1000 AC era. In a WSE later on, Alphatia was controversially placed in the HW as a floating continent. A good idea as they are more powerful than all of the other cultures, but a not so good idea as they still have Airships.

If I was Big Mac, I would have one escape Mystara with a Spelljamming Helm controlling it ;)

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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Robin » Fri May 10, 2019 12:15 pm

I thing I noticed is the following geomatrical aspect
The Hollow worls Sun is a pinhole to the Plane of fire, yet still only a pinhole placed exactly in the middle of the sperical space.
The Wrath of The Immortal writer placed Alphatia in the Hollow World as one of the Highest Floating Continents
They curved the land a bit yet maintained thus most of its original size
Original Size is BIGG Roughly said 30 24 miles hexes =1400 milies wide and 78 24 mile hexes loong =1872 miles long
edging this some what down lets say 1380 miles by 1850 miles.
Then comes the geometry. To measure the shadow size of an object we most easily draft a line along its perimeter to the point of light
Image
The center of the Hollow World is at 1895 miles, and alphatia was placed at 1000 miles, using Pythagoras in the sphere with a lot of calculation, would make a shadow of rougly three times the size of Alphatia (4400x6000 miles)covering 1-16th of the whole surface. as having a yearly trajectory, of 336 day would leave each area 21 days in the shadow!!(see picture RED lines) This would make a winter like effect where plants die of, recede, and have to restart. yet sentient creatures living 21 days in the dark would become depressed. A weird effect not belonging to the indiginous people.
The Immortal (and author) responsible for this would need a kick in the but, for if he would have placed Alphatia in or somewhat above the breathable atmosphere (24 miles) it would have produced a much better and smaller(roughly only 110-120% size of shadow) but for all faster shadow effect, with less side effects to the populace
All in all My opinion as the Hollow World being a reservation to extinct creatures, plants and cultures might be interesting yet also contradictive.
Maybe the Floating Continents are harbouring the salvation to the hollow World, when the Spell of Preservation falters (something that inevitably will happen, yet how and when, if it is regulated or a sudden disaster is still unknown). Yet that is beyond the scope of this topic.
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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Fri May 10, 2019 5:16 pm

That's a very interesting analysis, Robin! It's definitely one that I never thought about, but you are right that it would have had some pretty major impacts to life within the HW as we currently know it. Considering that the Immortals cast the Spell of Preservation specifically for the purpose of "freezing" cultures as much as possible to preserve them from outside change, it definitely seems short-sighted that any of them would be party to moving Alphatia into a place where its very geographical proximity would inevitably result in direct and long-term changes to every culture within the Hollow World in so many ways: changes to their sleeping/waking schedules; changes to their farming cycles; changes to the climate (even considering the regions are noted to have "micro-climates" the loss of direct sunlight would absolutely have to impact this area).
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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Robin » Mon May 13, 2019 6:25 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 5:16 pm
That's a very interesting analysis, Robin! It's definitely one that I never thought about, but you are right that it would have had some pretty major impacts to life within the HW as we currently know it. Considering that the Immortals cast the Spell of Preservation specifically for the purpose of "freezing" cultures as much as possible to preserve them from outside change, it definitely seems short-sighted that any of them would be party to moving Alphatia into a place where its very geographical proximity would inevitably result in direct and long-term changes to every culture within the Hollow World in so many ways: changes to their sleeping/waking schedules; changes to their farming cycles; changes to the climate (even considering the regions are noted to have "micro-climates" the loss of direct sunlight would absolutely have to impact this area).
In fact it is even more intense and flawed
The Hollow world sun is Red light giving a reddish glow. as most colors seem further displayed normal, this gives proof that there are other colors of light imbedded within
https://gpnmag.com/article/red-light-and-plant-growth/
However a Red Sun will give a lower light intensity and actually different light spectrum which will have a fully different effect on Flora and Fauna...exterminating them, over or undergrowth, cancerous effects, alteration/adaptation (yet with clear differences), defertilizing them, are just some effects.
Red light has a way different temperature emission and thus will also effect nature, creatures and plants especially if these did exist under a white light sun like on Mystara.
If the immortals Really intended to safe these plants, creatures or cultures it should have been easier to place them on another Planet under equal light than creating an atificial environment with totally different effects expecting no changes to happen while in effect changes are actually enforced, so the Spell of Preservation is actually a Dud designated to falter soon not later.
Everything originally in the Hollow World would survive the diffferent environment, yet anything added from another environment would either adjust or perish.
And then there is the emotional/psychological effect red light will have on creatures; They would feel warm, optimistic and full with energy, with an enhanced metabolism, increased respiration rate, heightened bloodpressure, and could incite violent behavior
https://www.infoplease.com/color-psychology
https://www.wired.com/2009/02/coloreffects/

And to all of this otherwise extinct plants, animals and creatures are placed close to eachother without affecting them? ok its magic, its the Spell of preservation, yet I can't believe any culture would not adapt when suddenly placed in a world of dinosaurs an plants unknown under a light unacostted, with other culture sometimes predating their own ...this all together would create a hotbed for inciting conflict no matter any Spell of Preservation. any creature bound to see strange creatures eating its food, threatening its life, endangering its offspring or even culture would resist or at least try too

If the sun in the Hollow World would however have the same light as on the outer World most of the detrimental effects could be braced somewhat at least, leaving the historic and environmental(creature/ecology/plants)differences to the spell of preservation

And then I don't even take into account that the Planet itself is a biological organism with its natural processes, suddenly infested with a mass of biological entities(plants/animals/etc) not indiginous to its system., nor I am taking into account the Burrowers and other worms living IN the Megalith. And I wonder if Light thus affects Emotions and Psychology, would it being red not be the source of the spell limitations on the Hollow World?
And lastly the Alphatians a culture based on magic, suddenly placed in an environment with a red sun, where learning magic has become greatly hindered, where most spells commonly used by the culture to enliven that culture; (transportation, summoning, etc)suddenly no longer work or are unknown to the world they live in...Such a overload of (1000 36th level mages not counting the lower levels) using so much unknown magic would thus infect ANY culture, and this would happen before the offspring will be affecting the nation/culture with less mages and less spells.

I think Thanatos laughs in his fist, for nothing the Immortals would do will delay the inevitable...no conservation is possible, everything must change and adapt, or perish. and this will happen soon.
Image
A great series of adventures this will give when the Hollow World loses The spell of Preservation, changes to White light , (or no light at all as suggested in the HWA1-3 adventures), and Thanatos/Death doing actually nothing but waiting, while cultures clash in their bid for survival, in a world filled with different creatures in every different region
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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Raymond » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:00 pm

Do the continents crash when there is no magic for 24 hours?

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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Argentmantle » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:23 pm

Nope, some did dip during the week with no magic, but they a few dipped a bit. Even the Alphatian islands, most notably Ar, were looked after by the Immortals.

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Re: How do Floating Continents work?

Post by Robin » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:29 pm

Raymond wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:00 pm
Do the continents crash when there is no magic for 24 hours?
Actually no to the HW continents
At first I would say yes. But the area above the internal Skyshield is like space, but enclosed by the Planet, around the pinhole gate to the Plane of Fire which is the HW sun.(which did only go out During Nightwail Trilogy, and As far as I know now, not on any day of dread...not even the week of dread in 1009AC)
Thus the islands float stable, without magic...they might have been placed magically, like Alphatia, they do not require magic to float.

As the air is less dense above the HW skyshield, some islands might have an Immortal based shield or a exiting portal to the Plane of Air enabling air to flow in rushing over the island like a drik flowing over a plate.
Both the Shield and the gates could be temporarily disabled, yet the ambient air (though less dense) will prevent most deaths, yet do not try to be active. Normally you can be active 1 round for each Constitution point before becoming fatigued (or 1 T labour/CO) http://pandius.com/corp_ch.html
I would assume to use the 1 T labour/CO point for any actions and combat be totally out of the question (1 round of combat would trigger fatigue, and forces you to make ongoing CO checks to prevent serious fatigue and eventually exhaustion.

Creatures used to live in such airdensity low areas would not have this handicap though...like flying Vipers, Roc, Dragons, Hsiaou, Feathered Serpents, and Fairies. Some other races like the Gnomes from Ooostdok would also not be hindered


As Argentmantle just said...the OW continents dip a bit, as these are all mortal creations (On its quest for Immortality though) and might have been affected afterwards by immortal magic....
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