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Campaign Setting: Politics & History, Pt. 3

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Now that we have all four landmasses more or less on the same page, we can move forward again. We set Year 0, and we have about 100 years' worth of happenings already. While we could go on forever creating history, I don't want to get too hardlined into things before we've even gotten to the point of defining nation-states and cultures (which will obviously shape history quite a bit in and of themselves!). So for right now we will simply put out a rough outline for perhaps the next 100-200 years in our world.

I think just by the nature of what we've already written that <East> will be pretty isolationist, probably not unlike the US in the early 1900's. The dragons would be wary of their former subjects in <West> and would probably be more prone to keeping an eye on them from afar than getting involved in anything just yet. But there are going to be information leaks, rumor-mongering, and culture bleed anyways, so at near the end of this period <East> tenuously opens its borders to non-dragons with some stiff restrictions.

<West> is likely to have at least one expansionist empire at some point, as well as numerous border disputes. I don't think we'll touch upon the racial animosity (orc vs. dwarf/elf, for example) because that wouldn't apply unless there was some kind of genocidal movement--and since that would undermine one of our fun assumptions with this world we'll just leave it out for now. With the multiple races living more-or-less together there is bound to be some disharmony, so I see one nation-state with some kind of social stratification. Lots of culture bleed here, obviously--and probably on the whole at least some attempt to expand out onto some of the larger island and maybe even <North> and <South>. Somewhere during this time period a technology revolution with begin, and will provide our fun little magic vs. technology argument that DMs can play up or play down in their campaigns as they see fit. I see goblins and gnomes on the side of technology and elves on the side of magic, probably with dwarves and kobolds equally likely to be on both sides. Fun politics for another blog post!

I really like the merchant culture I touched upon in <South>, so that will definitely stay and be the driving force for that whole landmass. Very wealthy, probably has the best navy as well to promote fast and secure travel of goods all over the place. MAYBE, there is even a loose confederation of pirates and ne'er-do-wells that get compensated under the table by the ruling class here to disrupt the trade operations of competing merchants or even non-<South>-based trading companies. That actually sounds nefarious enough to make sense. Naturally this merchant culture would be the primary source of rumors and culture bleed between the landmasses as well, and I see the dragons of <East> having a real kind of love-hate relationship--even moreso since there are some dragons still actively a part of things in <South>! I really want to integrate some kind of desert on this landmass as well, so we can say that through rampant use of something (and maybe a natural disaster) a portion of the continent turned into a desert. Still some kind of savanna, and maybe a small jungle rumored to hide untapped resources or something. I'll wait to figure this out until we get to the point of making a map--maps can solve lots of problems all at once, which is great.

<North> I'm drawing a little bit of a blank on because I settled on the gnolls being the most "true to Core" of the monstrous humanoid races. We also decided on them being Viking-like, so they will have a decent navy although not as good as the merchants on <South>. Given our timeframe I think it would be fair to say that a gnoll warlord unites the disparate clans and they experience some kind of "Golden Age" that lasts for a generation or two before some kind of internal strife leads us back to similar but different city-states. Definitely some kind of conflict with explorers from <West> too, since I'm picturing my gnolls as being very territorial. Of all the cultures, the gnolls are going to be the most distrustful of dragons--seeing all of them as schemers and manipulators--but that by the end of this period there is some kind of very loose alliance or arrangement with them.

I think that is about as much as we can do before we start defining things. So we have ~300 years from our world-defining point, and a good amount of general history to work with. We still need to define our technology vs. magic argument (probably the next blog) and then we start making maps!

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  1. Ao's Avatar
    Seems to be coming along so quickly. I'm really interested in the gnoll viking culture and seeing how it develops.

    I also think you could fit in a cult of Gnome Supremacists...
  2. Rodgin Kemph's Avatar
    I was just going to say, if you're worried about your Viking's seafaring abilities, you can just run the old "quality vs quantity" route. I would think that a viking based culture would have to be good seafarers. In there day there was no one better, and even for quite some time after. Even still, versus the overwhelming fleet of the <South> they couldn't hold up, even if they were individually better.

    If you ever care to pick my brain on anything feel free. I'm loving watching this come together and I find I have thousands of useless facts up here I think might help.
  3. Aerthos's Avatar
    Bring on all the ideas you can think of--seriously. I might use them, or just reading them might spark something equally interesting in my head. Either way, it certainly can't hurt.
  4. Darren's Avatar
    As I mentioned to you in IRC, you are probably going to need to stretch out the timeline a bit, as otherwise you are going to get into issues with the longer-lived species having lived through your entire history.

    Not to mention of course populations only grow so fast, and wars tend to depress that growth substantially. But it's easy to turn 20 into 50, 100 into 200, and 200 into 500 without having a lot of effect later on.