So Game Fans, this is the 300th article i’ve published to my site. I thought a long time about what kind of article i wanted to put together and i came to a rough idea of what i thought would be neat. First off, thank all of you, old readers and new alike for wandering down these roads with me, and i hope you’re here around Christmas when Article 500 is published (I kid, maybe). Today i’m going to talk about two things that i enjoy, World Building, and the tools that make world building easier and add more fun to the mix. Let’s hop in the Rambler and see where we end up today.
First, a huge and awesome shoutout to the Cartographer’s Guild and a bunch of other cool folks on twitter that turned me onto Inkarnate which is one of the coolest toolkits i’ve seen for creating big sweeping area maps. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the interface worked, and i was able to put together a map for part of the continent i built my homebrew around. The entire process was mostly painless once i figured out which buttons did what, and that i couldn’t color the ocean with texture. Seriously, the whole thing took about twenty minutes from start to finish, and i am extremely happy with the results. Want to see? Sure you do.
So this is the Amber Sea for my Lakeport setting (sorry to all of you that may have been hoping for a sea made of ale, no dice). The Amber Sea is a vast open plain that is separated by two rivers. In the northern and central plains, the Horse Lords roam wild and free in vast tribes that number in the thousands. The region is rich in grain, herd animals, and everything that the Horse Lords would ever want. Occasionally the Horse Lords gather all of their tribes in a valley near Brandenport, and the Halflings watch with quiet terror about whether or not this is the day the Horse Lords roll over their city with a million horsemen. The Horse Lords are one of the most numerous groups in the region, but are generally a peaceful people who live their nomadic existence in quiet prosperity.
Their closest neighbors and trading partners are the Jumars, rabbit folk who roam the Amber Sea in great caravans moving goods and coins from place to place. The follow regular patterns of migration, and their neighbors are almost always happy to see them roaming. The other group that makes the Amber Sea their home are the Hobgoblin tribes of Gethrok. Warlike, but honorable, the Hobgoblins have built a small wall of settlements along the northern edge of the Amber Sea, isolating the old ruins of the cities the giants built.
The largest city in the known world, Brandenport is the adopted home of the Halflings. They built the city with help from several otherworldly powers and have made it their capital since the end of the war against the giants. The 12 Halfling Banking Clans rule from here, and Brandenport is the center of finance for the known world. Brandenport is also a city of industry because of the Halflings fascination with steam power. Rival workshops of inventors engage each other in the darkened alleys of the city with steam powered cars and primitive firearms. The crown jewel of Brandenport is Ace’s, the temple of the Halfling God Lucky Tenfingers, and a massive casino resort complex.
If we look at our map, we see four or five village type constructs just north of the foothills that surround the Ironstone Mountains. (By the way, those are the Shattered Hills, they used to be mountains before the Fey War flattened them). Each of these villages and the areas around them represent a very small city state occupied by a variety of people. Each one has a Baron(ess), and they are feudal monarchs who got their economic start by working as mercenaries for the Halfling Banking Clans.
Each of the Clans has a vested interest in at least one of the Baronies, and they routinely trade with them. This trade usually requires Airship travel because the Horse Lords are not impressed with the idea of roads. Rather than bother their quiet neighbors, the Halflings built Airships to move cargo and wealth back and forth. This also helps with travel to the Dwarven and Gnome holds deeper in the mountains.
The Hills and Mountains
Before the Fey War, this region was dominated by the Ironstone Mountains. Huge chunks of mountains were laid low during that conflict, and the entire region was devastated in that final cataclysmic battle that ended the war. The hills on the outer edge near the Baronies are the Shattered Hills, and the inner ring of hills are the SIlverstream Hills. The Innermost mountains (The Ironhearts) are home to the grand underground hold of Mournestone Hall. The entire region is crisscrossed with Dwarven and Gnomish Holds, and underground roads connect each of the holds. There are rumors that the Ironheart mountains replenish their veins of precious metals and gems every year, and all the Dwarves need do is dig it out again. The Silverstream Hills are full of sheep and goats that the Gnomes and Dwarves use as beasts of burden, food sources, and clothing.
Somewhere in the Amber Sea is a valley that is hidden from casual view by terribly powerful magic. It is rumored to be where the Goddess of Life and the Goddess of Time continue their ancient argument over which is a more powerful force. Ancient creatures from before the coming of the fey roam this valley alongside monstrous evolutions that won’t see the world outside of it for another hundred million years. The magic keeps things inside, most of the time.
Now that i have a map in hand, i need to figure out how to put in little boundaries for the Baronies, add some text for the terrain pieces, and maybe consider doing the forest half of the map. Now you’ll note that there isn’t a “1 inch equals X miles” note anywhere on this map, and that’s semi intentional. I have decided on a scale yet, but this is a massive region and there are probably hundreds of little things to look at and explore. Trust me, the Forest is bigger and has more crazier things in it. That’s a much deeper look at the world i’m building, i would love to see what yours looks like. Game on, Game Fans.