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From:     RJPugh@???.com
Date:     Mon, 7 Nov 1994 14:06:52 -0500
Subject:  Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers
This message was sent to the list several days ago, but was bounced with an
error message.  So, after a slight delay...

-Richard [mod]
_______________________________________

Before I sent this out to the list, I performed the time honored ritual of
reading it over.  As I read, it occurred to me that, were this a list where
flames were common, I might get bawled out for being "uppity" or
"patronizing", primarily because the idea involves setting myself up as an
arbiter of sorts.

So, let me preface this with this statement: I do not claim that I should
be arbiter for any mental, emotional, or experiential advantage I may or may
not have over you, your mother, or your whole generation.  In the following
idea, I present myself as arbiter because I thought of the idea.  There.
 That should be enough for any list except for ADND-L ;).

Now, also in proof-reading, I came across an error in the idea.  It
involves setting up an arbiter for a debate about groundlings and
spelljammers!  Since I prefer free-form debates myself, I don't want to
formalize this one.  Besides, there's no better way to kill a good
argument than to require a formal process with it (ever watch college
debates?  Unless the debaters relax out of format a little, they are
dull.  M-O-O-N, that spells Dull).

So, let me clarify.  I'm only giving a world that you can use specific
examples from, rather than rely on differing views of our real world's
history, which is muddled to begin with, and never had magic anyway.  I do
NOT intend to judge the results, comment on who's right, or anything else.
 I'm only giving a tool.  Whenever you feel compelled to point out some
obscure historical fact of our world, my idea states, use this world instead,
and DO it, don't SAY it.

 All that said (any of you still reading this?), here's the idea:

-----

Idea - since everybody argueing the topic of groundling spelljammers seems to
disagree totally on the history of the real world (something I've noticed in
authorities, too, so I'm not flaming you ;), why use the real world at all?

So here's a world.

For the obvious reasons, I can't post the entire world to the list
without earning much wrath, so instead I offer another option.  I'll post
the general world (with enough detail that you can draw a map if you need
it).  If specific details are needed, such as "how much money does human
kingdom x have?" I'll provide them when they are needed.  I will be giving
specific details on one human kingdom, which is the one that got hold of a
spelljammer ship.

This has several advantages:

1. Common viewpoint.  If you argue, you argue with the same information about
the world (since we all apparently have lived in entirely different economies
your entire life ;).

2. Realism.  I will provide as much realism as I am capable of.  If something
silly comes up, let me know, and I'll try to fix it if sufficient reason is
given.  For example, if it is pointed out to me that 2 billion gold wouldn't
even FIT in a king's treasury, much less have occurred in nature, I'll lower
it.

3. Along with realism, neutrality.  This world pre-dates your debate,
and is controlled by someone who doesn't give two figs one way or the other
about whether or not spelljammers work in groundling empires.

4. Magic.  Unlike our real world, this world has magic as a predominant force
already in it.  It presupposes that mages are as intelligent as they claim,
and that spells are as easy as the system makes them.  It presupposes, for
example, that every culture that has had access to Cont. Light for more than
3 centuries (the estimated time needed to afford the changeover) has CL
Lanterns lighting the streets of their cities.

5. Detailed references.  If you want to say that "assassination would just
destroy the usefulness of spelljammers", then you can demonstrate with a
ready-made world, and we can see what you mean, instead of using references
to obscure cults like the Thugee, that half of us may not have heard of (not
to mention the fact that the Thugee never encountered a spelljammer, so it's
not a historically backed statement).

6. Religion.  Keep in mind, people's religious beliefs are backed by cold,
hard fact in this world.  The amazon warrior-priests can transform into
jaguars, cause the jungle to *eat* trespassers, and call upon their goddess
for judgement of erring mortals.  I heard a quote a long time ago (can't
remember the source, if someone remembers, tell me), "With language, follows
dispute."  In this world, it will be treated realistically.

7. Final source.  I hate to say it this way, but in this world, I play Game
Master to the debate.  I.e. - instead of having conflicting statements on
whether or not the Thugee could take out a full crew of  a spelljammer, or a
Nazi sabatuer could.. well, rather than have   conflicting statements, I can
step in and say, "yeah, a full contingent of armed and enspelled drow, rising
out of the earth near the landing site on the night-blind human crew and
elven mage in the helm could most definitely steal the ship and slaughter the
crew."  Then the argument  will shift to whether or not this type of ambush
could be prevented or not.  Final source only applies to the most basic,
elementary, and common sensical of conflicts.  In the above example, if
you're argueing whether the drow would win, you're on the wrong track, so the
final source serves to bring you back.

Anyway, enough long-windedness.. yes, yes, I'm shutting up now.  The skimover
of the world follows, along with details on the kingdom that got the 'jammer.

NOTE: If you want to add something to the world, such as a cult of
madman assassins, let me know and I'll see if (1) it makes sense, and (2) it
will fit into the world.  If need be, we can also change a few things around
to test different hypotheses.  It's a world I never got to use, so I'm not
too attached to cementing it.

Oh yeah, and in some cases, what you want to add may already be there, so I
can just tell you ;).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--

There are six major States on the main continent, and two major
States on the secondary continent.  In addition, there is one extremely large
island which has its own State.

Main Continent:

The main continent is a large crescent, like a new moon, with both
'sharp' tips pointing north.  It arcs a full 120 degrees.  Thus, you can
draw your own copy for reference.  Use a scale of 1 inch to 100 miles. If a
line were drawn from one tip to the other, the line would span 900 miles.  If
a line were drawn through the center of the crescent (dividing the whole
thing into two 60 degree crescents), the line would span 250 miles.  Assume
that the curve is relatively smooth, with a few odd bumps and cracks.

Along the entire inner side of the crescent is a mountain range.  These
mountains are bunched up, and are the tallest near the center, reaching as
high as four or five miles high.  In addition, if you measure 80 degrees
along the crescent from the east tip, there is a relatively straight mountain
range there as well.

The eastern crescent, all the way down to the dividing wall of mountains, is
dense rainforest.  The rest of the continent is originally forest.  The west
tip and 30 degrees down the crescent is almost entirely softwood forest.

The jungle is composed of a primitive amazon culture, who ride large jungle
cats and use short bows with frightening accuracy.  They are human, but their
priests (who worship Tezachul, or Jaguar) are "natural" werejaguars.  They
have a priest-empress who rules the entire State by mystical communication
with her priests.  Males exist in the society, but are kept in their place as
pets, sex objects, and occasionally, food.

The mountains between the amazons and the rest of the continent are filled
with all manner of semi-primitive humanoids, and are dangerous (even
foolhardy) to traverse.  The humanoids compose their own anarchic State, made
up of hundreds of tribes and clans and families, who constantly war with one
another.  They avoid the jungles and the forests out of superstitious fear.
 On one side they are assaulted with powerful magic, on the other by
werebeasts, fierce women, and the powerful nature spells of the priests.
 They also avoid the undermountain regions, although caves there are
plentiful, because of the ewekeli (evil elf dudes).  They don't
precisely avoid the northern crescent regions, because there's "just dwarves"
there, but the wars have not been won, so they haven't moved in yet.

To the west of the humanoid territories are the hardwood forests,
slowly cleared by humans in that region.  There are some dozen small kingdoms
there, who try to maintain an uneasy balance between farmland and forest.
 They maintain the forests primarily because of the immense faeyrie
population in the forests..  The humans are at medieval technology, but have
strong access to magic.  The faeye have no technology, and can't abide the
touch of iron, but have extremely powerful magic.  The two species have
gradually become interdependant on one another, although
neither would admit it.

In the western tip, and throughout the softwood forests live the
elves, in nomadic 'families'.  They trade greatly with the humans, with magic
and magical training in return for technological goods.  The elves have
Princes who rule large clusters of families informally, although these
Princes have little actual authority.

Along the entire northern mountain range, almost never seeing the
surface except to trade with the humans, are the dwarves.  A withdrawn,
isolationist race, they work their metals and trade fantastic weapons to
humans in return for harvest and timber (notably, this makes them less than
popular with the human's comrades, the faeye).  The dwarves exist as a single
State under the rule of a single hereditary dwarven King.

Deep below the entire continent are the ewekeli, evil elves who were driven
below the surface thousands of years ago by the surface elves.  They have
since adapted admirably to their environment, and live in a rigid, cruel
society of alternating sadistic hedonism and power plays.  They are as
magical as the surface elves, and trade occasionally with the dwarves. The
ewekeli are ruled by a classification of family and city.  There are three
cities under the continent, and usually close to a hundred families in each
city.

Below even the ewekeli are even more caverns, but these are rumored to house
things even darker, driven below the surface before any other species had
even awoken to the world.


Secondary Continent:

This continent is football shaped, and fairly smoothly curved (for
purposes of drawing).  It is a full 500 miles long, and 200 miles wide.
The football's length stretches north-east to south-west.

The entire surface is relatively smooth, with hills near the center,
very light mixed forest covering it, and a sizable swamp at the south-
west tip, and covering one fifth of the continent.

Living in the forests and hills are halflings, and some minor faeyries,
like brownies.  The faeye aren't particularly important to the halflings,
and vice versa - for the most part, they simply ignore one another.  The
halflings live in shallow burrowed towns (think Hobbits ;) with a Mayor and a
Council ruling each individual town.  Very community centered, with only
about a hundred or so hobb.. halflings per town.  Marriage between towns is
fairly common.

In the swamps live the kobolds, foul creatures who have been slowly trying to
expand the swamps that they call home further north.  They are too anarchic
to really organize, however, and tend to die in petty wars amongst themselves
a great deal.  They also often have a great deal of disease, which they blame
on the winds from the north-east, which carry "vapors" from the unhealthy
glades there.


Major Island:

This is somewhat round volcanic island, the volcano long thought extinct. It
is roughly 50 miles in diameter.  It is covered in softwood jungle, turning
to volcanic rock and ash near the center.

The island itself is relatively unpopulated, except by a few tropical
animals.  In the sea around it, however, is a thriving community of
merfolk who can travel on land when they need to (it is uncomfortable for
them).  They live under the rule of a Trident Emperor, who is selected by
(you guessed it) the Holy Ivory Trident.  They are an extremely religious
empire.  The merfolk can travel to deeper waters, but remain around the
island for the twin advantages of safety and access to its products.


Distances by Sea:

Main Continent to
 Secondary Continent: 9 months east, 14 months (better winds) west
 Major Island: 6 months south-west
 Secondary Continent to
      Main Continent: 7 months (better winds) west, 16 months east
      Major Island: 14 months south-east, 12 months south-west
 Major Island to
      Main Continent: 8 months north-east
      Secondary Continent: 13 months north-west, 16 months north-east


Human Kingdom:
Located in the dead center of the main continent, and surrounded by
three other kingdoms (one of which borders the dwarven regions), Acaci (ak
ash ee) is an upper-middle rich kingdom, as kingdoms go.  It has as a
treasury roughly 1,200,000 gold annually, which it spends in totem to various
projects or maintainance.  It is ruled by Cole the Younger, a 34 year old
king who has lived a mostly royal life (no class levels).  He has a 14th
level wizard as an advisor, who in return has access to 50,000 gold a year
for research, high living, and so on.  He also has a royal guard consisting
of 50 elite, 3rd level fighters, and 2 ranger/scouts of 5th level each.  His
personal bodyguard, a shadowy figure named Damarin, is a 5th level fighter
dual classed 8th level thief, who functions as both special guard and an
assassin.

The kingdom costs roughly 800,000 to maintain the military, equipment,
castle, forts, roads, pay for all the servants, and so on.  The elite
military costs an additional 10,000 gold, the mage costs 50,000 gold, and the
assassin costs 40,000 gold.  There is 300,000 gold which is generally
converted into necessary trade goods to travel to nearby kingdoms in return
for material goods the kingdom needs.

The dominant religion in this kingdom is similar to Christianity, but
actually worships two dieties, Tala (the Mother) and Tora (the Father), and
many hundred thousands of saints.

Specific details on request, of course, as I'm not sure what is desired.

The king recently acquired a spelljammer by one of several methods.  Each
method will have far reaching effects on the debate.  Personally, I suggest
number (1), as it is closest to the soul of the argument.

1. An adventuring party landed and Cole, seeing the opportunity, had them
killed, then revealed the ship to his people as a "pet project" of his mage.
 This choice means that it is unlikely that any spelljammers beyond this one
will ever come into the world, and becomes a case study for the effect that a
single 'jammer would have on a world.

2. Cole the Younger purchased it from the Arcane, for 400,000 gold.  This
will hurt the kingdom financially for the first three years after the
purchase, putting the kingdom into the slightly poor category.  It also means
that anyone in the world can get a 'jammer for similar prices,
and other devices may worm their way into the world, like smoke powder.

3. The mage actually DID develop the spelljammer, in a rare fit of
genius.  This will allow the kingdom to build spelljammers at a cost  of
120,000 gold apiece, but with a 3 year building time.  Other kingdoms  will
be able to try to steal the technology, and Cole will likely want to  protect
it.

4. Some merc from outer space came and offered his services to ole king Cole.
  He may be hired away by another kingdom, and he costs 10,000 gold at the
very beginning, plus a percentage of the profits, plus skimming off the top.
 Assassination here will result in a scenario similar to (1).


Whew!  That's pretty much it, folks, the whole idea.  Let me know whatcha
think, and feel free to do what you want to the world.

Thomas Weigel
"You asked for a quote, lady.  This is it."




Previous Message: Re: Lost KIDS (fwd)
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Month Index: November, 1994

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
Groundlings and Spelljammers    RJPugh@???.com    07 Nov 1994 19:06:52
Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers    Michael Sandy    07 Nov 1994 21:10:00
Groundlings and Spelljammers    RJPugh@???.com    08 Nov 1994 01:16:08
Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers    Michael Bauser    08 Nov 1994 05:31:36
Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers    Michael Sandy    08 Nov 1994 07:02:00
Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers    Michael Sandy    09 Nov 1994 08:18:00

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