I have been reflecting more and more over the past year or so that the ‘modern’ world of Asdar or the time for ‘now,’ the year about the year 2750, is too modern for the genre of a fantasy world. There’s plenty of magic and orcs and secret cults, so I suppose, it still falls within the sphere of a fantasy world, but it’s not a traditional world. Titancraft engines and the huge cities (as much as one million inhabitants in a few cases) are not typical of fantasy worlds such as Forgotten Realms or World of Greyhawk or Golarion (I’m not sure about Eberron). Titancraft vessels of the sea and of the sky mean that the vast distances from one side of the supercontinent of Asdauria to the other can be traversed within much less than a month. I set 30 mph as the top speed of most titancraft vessels. It may not seem like much, but if one takes into account that a titancraft sky vessel could be flying continuously in nearly a straight voyage and that the distance from Bryndyd which is in southern Pytharnia all the way to Vakyathubwo in eastern Sungo is 133.6 ddwmir (16.7 karusagda) ( (8755 kilometers or 5440 statute miles), the aerial voyage would be less than eight Asdaran days. The world of 2750 Asdar is smaller than the world was in the age of steamships. Titancraft makes the modern world of Asdar much more similar to steampunk than to sword and sorcery. I’m not sure I like that.
There are some balancing factors. Titancraft sky transportation is rather expensive and reserved for the wealthy. In the context of a table RPG, low level characters would not be able to pay for it. It’s also dangerous unless the craft is flying over a friendly country. Central Asdauria is not civilized and all sorts of hazards such as pirates, disturbances in the panstream, flying beasts, and competing corpora mercia can arise. The Empire of the Saikusahi, a civilization inspired by medieval Japan, only dwelling in skynesses over the Tatsurochio Sea to the northwest of Sungo could exact a tariff to vessels passing through and could impound the vessel permanently for study by their imperial wizards.
Combat is also complicated. There are two additional kinds of weaponry: dwarvenfire (gunpowder) and titanarms. Titanarms are essentially energy weapons. Dwarvenfire can be negated and protected from special kinds of anti-dwarvenfire magic.
I am considering developing an RPG setting at an earlier time in Asdar’s history, such as the Middle Ages (about 1200 AI to 2300 AI).
Here’s a comparison of world sizes. The rectangle on the right half of the map is the region of Gary Gygax’s “Oerth” known as the Flanaess or more commonly as the ‘World of Greyhawk.’ To be fair, the implied size of the globe, Oerth, is much larger, probably the size of the actual Earth. The world of Asdar is about the size of Earth also. I’m indulging in a bit of my-world-is-bigger-than-your-world. But in fact, if I just look at the part of the world of Asdar that I most focus on, the Pallathantic Region, it’s really not bigger than the Flanaess. My world of Asdar map doesn’t adjust for a spherical surface and I assume the Flanaess map doesn’t either. As I take into consideration skycraft and titancraft vessels in ‘modern’ Asdar, travel time could be short from one side of the Pallathantic Region to the other.
Here’s a quick look at the most viewed pages as of today. I suspect I am the user in over 99% of these viewings.
The wiki is open-ended. There’s never a point at which I can say: It’s done. It’s a labor of love or attention deficit. Almost all the articles I write are short even by Wikipedia standards. Very few have I labeled not as “stubs.” On the special page there’s an option to see how many ‘wanted pages’ there are. I counted nearly five thousand. That means that there are nearly 5,000 links to pages which don’t exist. The most referenced ones are places because they are indicated in the geography template that I use on several pages. If I look at just the non-geography ones in the first 201 on the list, I see
*New Kalikán Empire
*Republic of Ithatia
*Archduchy of Asbardy
*Chronology of Aurice
*Union of Pytharnia
Third Sack of Yophénthë
Archpatriarchy of Ambrasia
Kingdom of Thrain
Galdimesan Archguild Museum of Aurice
Holy See of Yophénthë
Empire of Medibgö
Realm of Chaos
Sultanate of Beph-Themesh
Book of the Tamdari
Principality of Gonfaloy
Noble Senate of Aurice
Kingdom of Dagdoria
Kingdom of Oliblish
Free City of Elmundel
Kingdom of Themet
Golden Empire of Pytharnia
All the other ones were the ones that appear to be called up by the Atlas template which is why the first ones in the list are linked as many as thirty three times. Most of these are state names, cities, and names of Isbajutha. A few are institutions or historic empires.
EDIT: As I add new articles, I place an asterisk (*) beside the namesake to indicate so.
Sometime back, I took the table for generating cities provided with D&D 3.x and expanded it to include cities up to the population present in the world of Asdar. Since Asdar is somewhere between the middle ages and modern earth in technology (namely through titancraft), I created cities with populations as much as one million or slightly more. Ancient Rome was said to have had over one million, although this was disputed.
Here’s the table below:
|d%||Town Size||Adult Population||GP Limit||City Modifier|
|51—70||Small Town||901-2,000||800 gp||+2|
|71—85||Large Town||2,001-5,000||3,000 gp||+3|
|86—95||Small City||5,001-12,000||15,000 gp||+4 (roll twice)|
|96—99||Large City||12,001-25,000||40,000 gp||+5 (roll three times)|
|100 (1-10 on d20)||Metropolis (I)||25,001-50,000||100,000 gp||+6 (roll four times)|
|100 (11-13 on d20)||Metropolis (II)||50,001-100,000||300,000 gp||+7 (roll five times)|
|100 (14-15 on d20)||Metropolis (III)||100,001-250,000||900,000 gp||+8 (roll six times)|
|100 (16-17 on d20)||Metropolis (IV)||250,001-500,000||1,500,000 gp||+9 (roll seven times)|
|100 (18-19 on d20)||Metropolis (V)||500,001-1,500,000||5,000,000 gp||+10 (roll eight times)|
|100 (20 on d20)||Metropolis (VI)||1,500,001+||25,000,000 gp||+11 (roll nine times)|
I simply took the last percentage out of one hundred and divided it into six possibilities, from Metropolis (I) to Metropolis (VI). I haven’t ever actually used it, but it makes sense to me.
The city of Aurice is the imperial capital of the Noble Republic of Aurice. It’s directly inspired by Venice and there’s no coincidence that the two names end in -ice, in English, at least. The map of Aurice is an ongoing project and is less than a quarter complete. To add to the mix, I have chosen to redo much of the original work to add a jagged, and thus more realistic edge to the islets. The ‘jags’ represent the various borders of one ‘palazzo’ or edifice from another. The city of Aurice by medieval standards has a rather high population, 630,000 souls which is deemed seventh most populous in the known world.
The green swaths on the map are areas that I haven’t yet filled with palazzi, tenement houses, markets, and one of a dozen other possible constructions.
I intentionally made Aurice larger than historic Venice as Aurice becomes in the world of Asdar something that Venice never really accomplished on Earth. Aurice is the Constantinople that never fell, ruling the continental hinterland and governing colonies abroad (namely Skaligdæ and Bijälenland). She has all the pretenses and sophisticated power of an empire. The development of the Roman Republic provides loose inspiration for the development of Aurice’s aristocratic republican government.
The city of Aurice is an exciting and busy emporium at the heart of the Aurician Empire. Foreigners and locals are largely safe from pick-pocketing in the better neighborhoods thanks to the vigilant gendarmes, but risk getting swindled by cut-throat Aurician merchants. That being acknowledged, you can buy just about anything in Aurice from the services of hard-up Sungotinians to illegal euphorium. In Aurice, you can meet imperial governors and their retinue, colonial representatives, foreign merchants in all their ethnic variety, ambassadorial representatives from Pytharnian states, Corundy, visiting magistrates from Johaulia, dwarven expatriates in the Thrynnish district with all manner of dwarven manufactures, uhlak “foster” princes held in residence in the capital city, students from throughout the Aurician Empire attending one of several prestigious and not-so prestigious institutes of higher learning, and local Auricians of all sorts busily at work. You’ll hear the local Auricese dialect of the Goscundian variety of the Throvian Language. In the mix, you’ll find speakers of Tassan, Jaithan, Ferruvicarese, Ersercese, and a dozen more from even further afield. Higher-ranking diplomats can be found speaking the Medibgóëse Language. You can entertain yourself with street puppeteers and other market follies. A visit to the Wizards’ Pavillion at the Magitechnic Institute of Aurice may find a dramatic magitechnical demonstration on late summer evenings. If you are a guest or a local, you’ll finish your late summer evening with the custom of the broge. If you’re brave enough to deal with the insanely thronging crowds on New Year’s Day (Summer Equinox), you can catch a glimpse of the Games of High Summer where hardy athletes ride on the backs of eight-legged water-walking giant reptiles called gibgibsews in an odd ball game that requires no understanding to enjoy thoroughly in the watching. Avoid the working class districts afterwards as riots between rival fans often break-out and the innocent bystander can fast become a victim of a few blows to the head and theft. If you’re more culturally inclined, you can visit the spectacular Temple of the Golden Phœnice, the center of the Aurician State Cult of the Golden Phœnice, introduced by Grand Duke Stalcast Bijäl. The holy sword, Wanewake, is on display. A trip to the Galdimesan Archguild Museum of Aurice will garner you a gander at their rich collection of antiquities, especially from the period of the rule of the Dark Prince, including the Teltagurn Fresco. You may find a visit to Thornopal Theatre the highlight of your visit where you could enjoy a night of drama or opera. Dark Aurician opera is world-famous. If you have the right connections, you can be admitted to the gallery of the Great Curial Hall where you can view Aurician Noble Senators in their finery sitting atop high thrones conducting the governance of their empire. A favorite with titancraft spectators is the Skyport Illuminite Airfield where you can see the latest innovations in titancraft vessels of the air and the vessels of the considerable Aurician skyforce. In the Holy District, you can view ancient temples of the Old Religion, including the houses of the gods Heliops, Magdaia, Parkia, Midretta, Zando, and others. A bit of history and contemplation can be found in a visit to the Basilica of Saint Gidhoniel, named after the hero who slew the Dark Prince in the Fifth Isbajath. In the early spring, you can see the gala of boats and ships on the high rivens of Aurice as part of the pomp and gaiety of the Aurician Festival of the River Gods. It could be raining, so bring an umbrella and a good cloak.
If you eventually tire of Aurice and her continual crowds, you can pay for an excursion to Goscundy on the mainland or return to your homeland by speedy windship or titancraft vessel for the well-heeled. You may be happy to have visited the imperial capital and perhaps even happier to return to the quiet of your home country.
There’s a sense of scale that I wish to convey. Place and time reach over great extents that compare to the real world which is the ostensible source of all inspiration for the fictional world of Asdar. The size of the globe of Asdar is nearly the same as the Earth. My emphasis of development is on the western portion of the old world which is basically one huge mass of continents glued together, plus outlying Orrhymby.
My frame of reference for history is since the decline and end of the Ice Ages on Earth. On Earth that meant a series of coastal inundations. Like Earth, Asdar is now also in an interglacial period. On Asdar, there were two major floods with global impact on all coastal areas, the Great Flood (Flood of Aturyanda) and the Flood of Karuthaya. Both have Kalaman names. In the west, Kalaman civilization is one of the prestigious ancient cultures with a very long tradition about the past.
I focus on the nations of the Pallathantic Region within the past five centuries and especially the past two. It’s analogous with focusing on western European history in modern times. Thus you may suppose that the world of Asdar is rather derivative. Very broadly, it is derivative. For the Earth, we experience a definite, but progressing ‘now.’ The word ‘now’ for a fictitious world can be troubling for Asdar’s timeline which does not have a direct correspondence with Earth’s timeline.
There’s an implied spectrum in conworlding that answers to the question: How much like Earth is your world? Is your story simply set in modern-day Earth? Is it alternate Earth? Is it a world with earthlike qualities but a different topology and progression? Is the focus culture human or a different species? Is your scope a language, a country, a region, a world, a cosmos? The spectrum has most Earthlike on one very definable end and most unearthlike on the other, rather undefinable end. Both ends have merit. Earthlike qualities provide a stable frame of reference for the visitor to your creation. Familiarity helps ensure understanding and can be comforting and accessible. It can also be very boring. The other end isn’t really an end at all, but a frontier, and that’s how unearthlike the conworld can be. This is the place where bizarre aliens, strange landscapes, and unimaginable cultural practices take form. It’s a frontier because there’s no point at which you can say you’ve reached the end. The unearthlike inspires and intrigues the imagination. It can also be horribly inaccessible. A story about a race of eight-limbed fungi creatures would possibly challenge even H. P. Lovecraft and at least he would include humans in it. Without humans, such a story would make a great exercise, but probably not satisfy many readers. I’ve found my own middle path, probably more on the Earthlike end of the spectrum. Humans using magic and humans interacting with humanlike entities ensures that the world is accessible to humans but makes for situations and outcomes inconceivable in the conventional world.
My preference is for inclusion. Asdar is really just Earth pressed through the sieve of my imagination. This taps into my own subconscious thoughts about the world and I expect it does for the reader. The landmass of the old world is not immediately recognizable as Eurafrasia, but that’s what inspires it. There are East Asian-looking people in the far east, Dravidian-looking people in the south, African-looking people in the far south, and European-looking people in the west. It’s Eurocentric, I suppose, in the same way that you would judge Middle Earth or Westeros (Game of Thrones) to be so. I find my cultural identity in the European past rather than in the brief span of European occupation of North America. I’m one of those Americans who finds the rich architectural and cultural wealth of Europe irresistible. I can say the same to a lesser extent for the marvelous civilizations of north Africa, India, and China. A world without different ethnic humans and exotic locales is inconceivable to me. A world with only European-looking people would be very different than a world with all the ethnic groups we see today. The principle of duality requires both tolerance and racism in such a world.
Of course, Asdar is a fantasy setting and I have included inspirations from original Dungeons and Dragons which borrowed freely from Tolkien, Moorcock, H.P. Lovecraft, and others. There are elves, dwarves, halflings, orcs, giants, goblins, trolls, and countless other “races.” These creatures, brought to the forefront by Tolkien, were in turn taken from European myth and legend. Scientific moderns see these humanlike creatures as nothing more than the fables of over-active primitive minds. I see them as oral artifacts about the distant past when barely modern humans shared this world with other humanlike creatures, such as Neanderthal. How close the Scandinavian tales of trolls compare to modern Bigfoot sightings we may never completely know.
Great floods and giants are more than just bible stories and they have global currency. They are accounts of ancient experience during a time before Archimedes said “Give me where to stand and I shall move the world.” A nine-foot tall giant human is no less plausible than a twenty foot, three ton ground sloth (Eremotherium). In fact, giant humans may have been the norm for a long, long time before our brief historic present. Schliemann proved that the ancient myths of Homer corresponded to a tangible geography. The discovery of Göbekli Tepe compels us to contemplate a human past twice as long as historians teach us. The questioning of the historic past is still in full swing and, in time, a new generation of academics will accept that Atlantis is a corrupted memory of a prehistoric advanced civilization. The institutions of science and religion are too specialized and ideologically self-serving to accept the details of human past at present.
I finally established my “homepage” for the World of Asdar website. It’s been nearly a year as I launched the site in September or October of 2013. Before that time, I used tiddlywiki to collect the data into one html document. Due to java issues and other limitations, I made the jump last year to a dedicated website, http://wiki.worldofasdar.com, where I can write articles about the fantasy world of Asdar.
I will share my insights, thoughts, and challenges in the ongoing creation of Asdar in this blog. Thank you for reading.