RPG Money System in World of Asdar

June 26th, 2014

This is the simplified monetary system for the world of Asdar. It is simplified because it does not keep track of which currency is in use and assumed a common format of denominations for most monetary systems.

Most monetary systems follow this format and for game purposes are the same.  Players can attempt to determine the state of origin for the coins.  This adds game flavor and can also be useful in role-playing situations.

Gold Pieces
The gold coin is the standard high denomination monetary unit.  It is halved from its standard value in Pathfinder and D&D.  This reflects the fact that gold is rarer in the world of Asdar than the standard fantasy rpg.  This means that the costs and income given in the PF book are halved.  Thus, even though prices are half their gold value, the income and payment one receives is also halved.

Silver Pieces
In the standard monetary system, twenty silver pieces equal one gold piece.  In PF, only ten silver pieces equal a gold coin.  So, any price in silver pieces is not halved.  This of course can lead to confusion.  The important thing to remember is that gold is worth twice as much in the world of Asdar.  Silver pieces are the only thing roughly the same in value between Asdar and PF.

Copper Pieces
These are also changed in value.  In the standard monetary system, one hundred copper pieces are the same in value as one silver piece. This differs from PF where only ten copper are worth a silver piece. Logically, this means that any cost in the PF core rule book given in copper should be multiplied by ten to give its equivalency in the world of Asdar.

I haven’t warmed up to the idea of platinum coinage.  In AD&D, platinum coinage was meant to be the ancient coinage of lost empires.  There are plenty of lost and fallen empires in the world of Asdar.  The Yophenthean Empire loved gold coinage and Yophenthean gold coins are actually larger than standard modern gold coins.  They are also very rare and most have been melted down to make modern coinage centuries ago.  I could have orichalcum coinage from some forgotten empire many thousands of years ago, but I’m still working that out.

This is the exchange rate across the board:
1 gold piece = 20 silver pieces = 2000 copper pieces.

It’s not simple like 1:10:100 in PF, but it doesn’t offend my sensibilities and I figure if I’m up to using PF, then it’s not undoable.

 

NOTE: I’ve since looked at my notes and see that 12 asses (Roman pennies) were equivalent to 1 silver denarius.  This means that 100 copper pieces to one silver piece is way off.  So, I have revised it so that 10 copper pieces equals a silver piece.

1 gold piece = 20 silver pieces = 200 copper pieces.

Currency and Monetary System

June 24th, 2014

I’ve always wondered when I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons and other similar fantasy role-playing games, how much could I relate the costs of goods and services in game with expenses to which I am familiar in the real world.  Gary Gygax mentions in the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide that the cost of goods and services in the D&D world is inflated due to the influx of adventurers’ gold coin, comparable to the inflated price of eggs in the gold rush.  But in the world of Asdar, not every place is stuffed with adventurers dumping their latest hauls of loot into the local economy.  Additionally, the great size of the largest cities in the populous Pallathantic Region in 2750 AS would effectively dampen the effect of the influx of coin.

The technology and monetary practices of the West are somewhere between a medieval fantasy game and the real world.   In a medieval economy, manufactured goods are much cheaper than their modern counterparts because wages are very low.  The exception to this is for very skilled labor, but even then I suppose it could be less than the modern world.  The artisans who did the vast, elaborate, and unending enrichment of the interior of the Alhambra would have cost an exorbitant fortune in today’s economy.  Additionally, modern Asdar (ca 2750 AS) enjoys a certain degree of mechanized manufacturing thanks to titancraft technology.  In the modern world, countries use fiat currency.  In the world of Asdar, all currencies are backed up by gold or silver, even if paper is exchanged.  The gold coin is the de facto standard of wealth in D&D and Pathfinder.  In Asdar, the gold coin is the most widely used currency for purchases of significant value, such as a horse, a house, the skills of a very costly mercenary or master craftsman.

In the real world, the price of gold fluctuates quite a lot, especially as it has in the past six years.  As of this evening today, the cost of one troy ounce of gold is $1315USD.  For some time during my life, the price of gold was more or less $400USD.  At one time in the past six years, the price shot up to nearly $2000USD a troy ounce.  So, even if I convert a gold coin into US dollars, the amount can vary.  Anyone who has regularly bought groceries, knows that the cost of food has virtually doubled in the past six years (2008 to 2014) as well.

Sorry, but I have to get nit-picky here. According to PF (Pathfinder) Core Rulebook, “The standard coin weighs about a third of an ounce (50 to the pound).”  Since 16 times three makes 48, we know they mean the standard avoidupois ounce as an avoirdupois ounce is 1/16 of a pound.  This also means that a gold coin in the PF Universe is smaller than a US gold dollar which 1 troy ounce.  This compares well to the ancient world where the gold coin of the Romans (aureus) was also smaller than a troy ounce.  A troy ounce is 1/12 of a pound. A troy ounce is 1.09714 avoirdupois ounces which means there are 17.55424 troy ounces in a US Pound which I assume is the same as the imperial pound.  That means a pound of gold today on the commodities market is worth $23,083USD.   At the old price of $400USD, a pound of gold would have been worth about $7022USD.   A gold coin in the PF Universe is 1/48 a US pound, so that means it would 1/48 of $23,083USD which is about $481USD.  If the old average of $400USD were in force, a gold piece would be worth about $146USD.

So $480US (353 Euros) for a gold piece.  But this is really not a perfect comparison.  First of all, gold today is not currency. It’s a commodity.  Secondly, the comparison assumes, incorrectly, that the availability of gold in the real world is the same as it is in the PF universe (or in the world of Asdar, for that matter).  Even in the real world, gold can have differing degrees of availability in different regions and in different historic periods.  Compare the availability of gold in pre-Columbian Peru, medieval Spain, post-Pizarran Spain, Medici Florence, medieval Hungary, in the Amarna period in Egypt versus the Amarna period in Babylonia, Alaska during the gold rush, and in the US today.

In the world of Asdar, gold is not any rarer than it is in the real world.  Even if I ‘guestimate’ that one standard gold coin in the Pallathantic Region around 2740 AS is worth about $500USD, I still cannot instantly calculate the price of goods and services in the world of Asdar.  Consider a house.  Modern manufacturing technology and cheap labor from Mexico means that your house in the US could be comparably cheaper than the rough equivalent would be in the world of Asdar.  Additionally, a house in the modern world would have technological conveniences (central heating, central cooling, electricity, natural gas, possibly solar power) which most homes in Asdar would not have.  Indoor plumbing, municipal water supply, and sewage disposal are probably the only thing they would have in common in this regard, and only in the large, advanced cities.  It is possible that some houses could have natural gas (“essence”), but that would only be in larger cities.  So for this reason, I can’t really calculate the price of a house with scientific certainty.  As with all real estate, the location (and thus the desirability) is the most widely varying factor.  An old, but well-kept three-bedroom penthouse in the nicest neighborhood in Trevirs would cost more than a large manor in farmlands of Magdala, about seven miles a way.

What if I wanted to compare the cost of a nice suit in the real world with the cost of the cultural equivalent in the world of Asdar, 2750 AS?  Labor in the world of Asdar is cheaper than in the modern US.  Similar to the real word, most textiles in the world of Asdar in 2750 are manufactured by means of titancraft textile mills, so they are made more cheaply than in a medieval setting.  The suit itself in Asdar would be made by a professional tailor — what is called ‘bespoke’ in the UK.  The equivalent of that in the US is a lot more expensive than an off-the-rack suit.  But there’s no equivalent in Asdar of an off-the-rack suit, except, perhaps, the second-hand clothing market.  A nice tailored suit in the US would be at least $2000USD, and that’s really at the low end of the scale.  A very nice suit would be $5000USD.  The price rises higher if you ask for ridiculously luxury add-ons, like metallic gold stripes in the fabric and with that kind of “Michael Jackson” whimsy, there’s no upper limit to the cost. With a price range of $2000 to $5000USD, the equivalent at $500/gp is 4 to 10 gps.  In the PF Core Rulebook, a peasant’s outfit is 1sp.  PF defines 1 gp as 10 sps.  That means that a peasant’s outfit is worth $48 to $50USD.  PF says a noble’s outfit is 75 gps and a royal outfit is worth 200 gps.  By simple division, the noble outfit is worth $36,000USD (480 x 75) and the royal outfit is worth $96,000USD (200 x 480).  Those prices clearly are for the upper-crust and very well-heeled.  We can safely assume they are made of the very best cloths (wool, silk) with the highest state of the craft (immaculately fitted, richly embroidered), set with fine adornments like gold, semi-precious, and precious gems.  But would it really cost that much?  It’s hard to tell.  The high end wardrobes of Hollywood and the upper crust are due mainly to the cost of the designer rather than the materials. Silk cloth which costed a small fortune in the middle ages is not so costly today.  True, along with fine wool, silk is one of the most expensive textiles, it is however not exorbitantly expensive.  High end silk brocade or very fine suiting wool costs about $300USD a yard.  If you need six yards of the stuff for an outfit, that’s still only $1500USD for the material.  In the PF Core Rulebook, it says 1 square yard of silk is worth 10 gps.  Keep in mind that a square yard is necessarily only 36 inches wide.  The yard in my example at $300USD/a yard is at least 45 inches wide or about 1 1/2 square yards, so six yards in my example make 9 square yards.  I would pay $1500USD in the real world.  In the PF universe, I would pay 90 gps which as a commodity today in the real world would be worth $43,200USD. There’s a big difference between $1500USD and $43,200USD.

According to the PF Core Rulebook, the average starting character wealth is from 70 to 175 gps.  Those 70 gps on earth would be worth, today, (70 x$480) $33,600USD.  The high end amount of 175 gps would be $84,000USD.  If I use the tentative amount of $500/gp, the amounts would be 35,000 and 87,500.  These may in fact be useful figures, but only in relationship to goods and services bought in the PF universe.

So, as you can see, simple division cannot adequately covert the cost of goods in the real world to the cost in an imaginary world.  The use of fiat currency in the real world only complicates matters.  But even without fiat currencies, it would still be difficult to convert the cost of goods and services in the PF universe or the world of Asdar to year 1900 era US dollars (or Euros or Pounds, etc.).

NOTE: The PF Core Rulebook gives 48 coins as weighing a pound, but doesn’t say whether this is a gold, silver, or copper coin. I assumed they meant a gold coin.  The reason this is important is because gold, silver, and copper have different densities and the same volume of gold would weigh less if it were silver.  Perhaps, the difference is insignificant.

 

Summer Solstice

June 21st, 2014

It’s summer solstice on the earth.  Asdar has its own calendar based upon its movements around its sun.  On Asdar, summer solstice is the first day of the common year and the middle of the Arathracian year.  In Aurice, summer solstice is the first day of the games of High Summer.  At this time, the three gibgibsew rider teams play off against each other on their eight-legged beasts on the waters of the Golden Phœnice RIven.  It is a time when the strades (streets) of Aurice are stuffed with visitors from the provinces and foreign countries, lodging is stuffed to capacity, and quite a few people have placed wagers on their favorite team.  Riots are not uncommon after the winner has been determined.

Too Modern?

June 15th, 2014

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).

World Size Comparison

June 15th, 2014

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.

MapWorldSizeComparisonFlanaess

Most Viewed Wiki Pages as of today

June 6th, 2014

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.

 

Main Page 2,004
List of Books and Documents 217
The Isbajutha 178
List of Rulers and Dynasties of Kalama 162
Prince Ulcanov of the Shattered Waters 156
Aurice 153
Pallathantic Sea 132
List of Erechórebese Sunfathers 124
Fifth Geddamin War 119
Pytharnia

Open-Ended Wiki

June 5th, 2014

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

*Arathracian Church

*Republic of Ithatia

*Archduchy of Asbardy

*Chronology of Aurice

*House Bijäl

*Isxinthios

*Union of Pytharnia

Rhafyx

Third Sack of Yophénthë

Tassan Language

Fourth Isbajath

*Twelfth Isbajath

Gnousikai

Archpatriarchy of Ambrasia

Kingdom of Thrain

Third Isbajath

Midretasso

Bahraz

Mäddglows

*Verdida

Eighth Isbajath

*Kalikán

Midretassene Empire

Galdimesan Archguild Museum of Aurice‏‎

Holy See of Yophénthë

Merfolk

Siul

Alascundy

Empire of Medibgö

Beh-Shelub

Kidorn III

Talil

Sixth Isbajath

Medibgóëse Empire‏

Realm of Chaos

Sultanate of Beph-Themesh

Brayand

Book of the Tamdari

Tassan Highlands

Principality of Gonfaloy

Noble Senate of Aurice

Scloye

Sardeichs

Jedhur Dragonwilled

Greater Pallathantic

Kingdom of Dagdoria

Kingdom of Oliblish

Free City of Elmundel

Tiomaire

Kingdom of Themet

Ddwbha

Bardi

Selexis

Golden Empire of Pytharnia

Dzan Kahisa

 

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.

Cities in Asdar

May 31st, 2014

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 is disputed.

Here’s the table below:

d% Town Size Adult Population GP Limit City Modifier
01—10 Thorp 20-80 40 gp -1
11—30 Hamlet 81-400 100 gp 0
31—50 Village 401-900 200 gp +1
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.

 

City of Aurice Map in Progress

May 20th, 2014

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.

 

 

MapAuriceProperWIP

City of Aurice Map in Progress

 

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.

Sense of Scale and Inspiration

May 18th, 2014

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.