Category: University

Honours Blog #17 – More Provinces (Dragon Coast, Lorentish Approach, Gawedi Moors)

So when I was writing that previous post about Anbennar lore intro I realized that its pretty hard to convey info without proper maps, so I changed up my worldbuilding/modmaking process a bit: instead of fleshing out Lencenor completely I decided to fill out the rest of the main parts of the map, namely where Gawed and The Empire of Anbennar would be.

This post details some of the provinces I’ve done just now, namely Lencenor’s northern neighbour: The Dragon Coast, the Lorentish Approach which is the border between Lorent and Gawed as well as the Gawedi Moors, a moorland area where a bunch of rebellious moor lords against Gawed would rise.

Hopefully this post will show a bit more in the processes I undertake when adding new provinces.

 

General Overview

Terrain Map

In short: Green = Flatlands, Dark Green = Hills, Brown = Mountains, White = Mountain Peaks, Blueish = Marhsland

Provinces Map (with new provinces)

So as a general overview here’s both the terrain map and the provinces map. Since the terrain for this region is pretty much sorted I can use it to influence where I place provinces in addition the rivers map which you’ll see below.

The Dragon Coast

The Dragon Coast

The Dragon Coast is named that because when I randomized the terrain a bit it like a dragon or some sort of beast at the western end (see the jaw?) and I decided to just roll with it – I figured, like the Dameshead, that any cartographers (mapmakers) would see the similarities and just go “Oh it looks like so-and-so so lets name it that”.

This region was mainly inspired by the highlands of Scotland so you can see the majority of the region is hilly along with the smaller shattered islands like the Hebrides. From my research apparently this was because of the ice age, and as glacial ice melts we get mountainous and jagged-coast environments like this – which is the same as how you get fjords over in Scandinavia.

In terms of lore I decided that the Dragon Coast would have some sort of hill-dwelling folk. I opted out of just regular hillsmen humans and I looked into the Forgotten Realms wiki and realized that fantasy creature kobolds would fit the bill.

I also read that kobolds were the main enemies of gnomes, so decided that gnomes could live in the lower hilly areas as well as the flatlands. From that the gameplay element/objectives came in: for gnomish players they would have to fight back the kobolds and unify the Dragon Coast.

With that I added history around this, that the entire region had been controlled by the Gnomish Hierarchy before the Dragonwake (when dragons woke up essentially, more on that later!). But when the Dragonwake hit it also woke up the kobolds (who were often servants of dragons and reptilian themselves) and they ended up invading the gnomes, destroying the Hierarchy and banishing the majority of them outside the Dragon Coast to Portnamm and Nimscodd (which are already existing countries as seen before).

When creating provinces for this I decided that it shouldn’t be as dense as for example Lorent or The Empire, so provinces are generally larger. There is a higher concentration of provinces in the flatlands (as you can easier develop urban areas there, see Italy’s northern flatlands) with a lower concentration of provinces up in the hills and mountains.

 

The Lorentish Approach

To the east of that dark dark blue river is the Lorentish Approach

Across the Widderoy River (that dark blue river) is the Lorentish Approach – which is basically named for what you’d expect: to get into Lorent you need to go through this place.

This area is also part of the Small Country (ie halfling land) but instead of being part of Lorent its part of its rival, Gawed. I figured as Gawed is a less urbanized and not as rich as Lorent that the provinces here would be bigger as well. Lorent had owned the majority of the Small Country for longer (as this is their native land of Lencenor) whereas Gawed’s gains in the Small Country were from failed invasions of the past so I figured they wouldn’t have as much time to develop their provinces.

At the top of the Lorentish Approach and at the tip of the Dameshead is that little dark green provinces with a river going through it: that’s Vertesk.

Vertesk is Gawedi by culture but their ties to the rich Dameshead sea and the other city states there made them align with the Empire of Anbennar, so they are an imperial county instead. This adds a hook for Gawedi players as they will start without any sea provinces, but conveniently there is a very rich naval city-state right on their southern borders which will surely drag Gawed into war with The Empire.

 

Gawedi Moors (The Westmoors)

The Westmoors (with transparent provinces so I can see terrain)

Above you can see a slightly different view, with shows my provinces being slightly transparent. This is my default view when I’m adding provinces so I can use the terrain as well as the rivers to influence where the provinces lie.

Generally if a province is a border between two countries I’d stick to natural borders such as rivers or mountains (as you can see in the Lorentish Approach above, Lorent and Gawed’s border is the Widderoy river) but this also goes for just generally distinct areas. So here in the Westmoors the provinces go where I put the blueish marshland province color, as the Moor Lords are very territorial against their Gawedi kin.

My main inspiration for Gawed was England, specifically the North of England (and I guess in proxy, The North in Game of Thrones). It’s a gruff land full of gruff people. I read Wuthering Heights back in school so this was the main inspiration for the Westmoors: a vast track of land that can be barely controlled by man (and therefore the Gawedi King).

 

 

 

Honours Blog #16 – Bay of Wines

With the Lencenor region being essentially the entire Kingdom of Lorent I decided that to help balance out the game I needed to include some rival independent lords that would stand in the Lorentish King’s way. In Europa Universalis 4 France is sometimes regarded as the “big blue blob” as they often become very powerful and take over a lot of provinces and countries (becoming a huge blue blob on the map) – however this is delayed for a few years as France in 1444 is not fully united:

France in the 1444 start
  • -The Duchy of Provence owns 4 provinces within France proper, as well as a Personal Union (meaning they control) the 2-provinces of Lorraine in Germany
  • -The Kingdom of England owns 7 provinces in the north and south of France, a remnant of their Angevin Empire and also acause of the Hundred Years War
  • -The Duchy of Burgundy owns another 6 provinces and 3 minor countries in the Netherlands
  • -Brittany still remains an independent nation and not part of the French Kingdom at all

With this France has to first finish the Hundred Years War and take back land from England, as well as figure out how to deal with Provence and Burgundy to take all the lands in the French Region under their control. In addition they’ll have to decide whether to take on Brittany (and whomever their allies are) and create the modern French borders we know.

 

With consideration to this, I decided to do the same with Lorent! Lorent on its own is even more of a powerhouse than France will be, as the region in my world is even larger and full of more provinces: so I’ll have to bring this divided kingdom theme up to 10.

 

The Wine Lords of Lorent

With this I was adding trade_goods (such as grain, iron, or wine) to provinces and remembered that one of France’s main exports is wine! So I decided to play around with that as a reason for powerful lords to rise up against their King: The Wine Lords of Lorent.

I knew that many famous wines were essentially named after their home region (Champagne, Armagnac, etc) and decided I could kill two birds with one stone: I was having issues with naming provinces and now I can put a name to a Wine Lord!

With that I went through various names to essentially find out what kind of fictional wines worked best. By then I had already created the Duchy of Sorncóst (meaning Southcoast in my version of Elven) and decided that a “glass of Sorncóst” works pretty well. I also had another country (not in Lorent but might as well) Pearlsedge and decided having a white wine called “Pearl” sounds cool too, and thus the “Pearl Vintage” and “Pearl Modern” was born, and with it the provinces of “Old Pearlywine” and “New Pearlywine” respectively.

I also had a prominent river running from Lorentainé (the capital of Lorent, meaning Lorent-by-the-river) westwards to Deranne that had more wine lords such as Rubenaire (meaning Ruben’s City), Madelaire (meaning Madaléin’s City) and Eilísin (meaning Eilísbrook) that were dotted along the river.

Though I did have an issue at first: the river flowed west and up and the Bay of Wines was south – so how did that add up?

I ended up moving the river to flow south and exit at the Bay of Wines instead!

Development Map essentially shows how rich a province is, green meaning richer (note how the Bay of Wines is much richer than the other provinces nearby, such as the Lorentish Flats to the west near Parma)

 

Trade Goods Map showing the Bay of Wines

Note the wine-making provinces along the Bloodwine River (that flows through all the major cities above) and the poorer trade good provinces that make grain in the Lorentish Flats to the west.

The same political map as shown before

Of course the Wine Lords aren’t much of a threat if they are relegated to just the Bloodwine River and the Bay of Wines, so I gave them other provinces throughout Lorent.

Here we can see Rubenaire flow south into the lands of Sorncóst (a Wine Lord that has no power in the Bay of Wines, which will be a possible objective for them) as well as provinces to the north of Rubyhold up north. Eilísin also has provinces west in the Lorentish Flats as well as some within the Empire of Anbennar itself right next to Wesdam. I also made Madelaire a Personal Union partner of the Imperial Duchy of Wesdam so that Lorent will have to fight their former allies, Wesdam, as well as The Empire of Anbennar if they want to truly unify all Lorentish lands.

Other players in the Bay of Wines include Wineport, the richest wine city of them all ruled by merchants who export the other’s wine above, as well as the Minaran Temple – a religious group following the Minara, the Goddess of Celebrations and Lust, who have also been an active player in the wine business. The Minaran Temple came about as I was looking at the history of wines and realized that many monks made wine in their spare time, with the most famous being Dom Pérignon.

 

References

Amerine, M. (n.d.) Wine, Encylopedia Britannica. Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine#toc66640 (Accessed: 26 October 2017).

Big Blue Blob – Europa Universalis 4 Wiki (2017) Eu4.paradoxwikis.com. Available at: https://eu4.paradoxwikis.com/Big_Blue_Blob (Accessed: 26 October 2017).

French wines and wine regions of France (2017) About-france.com. Available at: https://about-france.com/wines.htm (Accessed: 26 October 2017).

 

 

Honours Blog #15 – Anbennar Setting Intro

Anbennar is a fantasy setting set in the world of Halann. The world exists within the low fantasy genre, focusing more on a grounded and realistic environment that is influenced by magic and other fantastical elements but not driven by it. In general, think The Witcher or George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire instead of Lord of the Rings or Eragon. The setting will focus on the political machinations or its inhabitants, and the strife and conflict that it will cause.

Anbennar earns its namesake from the elven word for “communion” or “unity”, and has since become a term to refer to The Empire, a once-dominating force of the land ruled by the magic-using magocracy.

The main land of focus is Cannor, the equivalent to our Europe, and is a place where many of the world’s greatest events and wars have and will take place.

The setting will focus on the gunpowder fantasy subgenre, which will explore: “What happens to a fantasy world when we surpass the Middle Ages?”

 

Elvenkind and the Divine Regency

The sky goes black. Ashes cover the known world. Floods occur, volcanoes erupt, empires collapse. It has everything in it as an Omen of the End Times. But it wasn’t.

This was the Day of Ashen Skies. The day that the world shook. The day that the dwindling magics of the world was reborn in new fire.

1000 years after that fateful day, the mysterious elves arrived right in the middle of feudal Cannor. The elves helped the feudal lords fight back against the evil sorcerer King of Castanor (named the War of the Sorcerer King) and won the respect of the human, halfling, gnomish and dwarven inhabitants of the land. (this is essentially your typical war between good vs evil that typical fantasy settings have)

Over its short life in Cannor the elvish culture and language began to dominate the courts of kings and nobility, and such many of the nobility themselves have elven blood within them, becoming what we regard as ‘half-elves’ in normal fantasy setting. In Anbennar being a half-elf means you’re nobility, more often than not.

For a long time the elves had believed in the concept of Divine Regency, in which their history traced back to when the gods had created dragons as their regents on Earth, and after their fall the elves were chosen to succeed them as the new rulers of the world – but with the collapse of their old continent and empire that clearly wasn’t the case.

 

Anbennar and the Magocracy

Along with the elves came a greater understanding of magic and with it the practice of magic was spread to their newly found neighbors. Over time many powerful mages banded together to stop the period of strife known as The Interregnum, when various petty warlords had ruled and squabbled over the land, and created a new Empire in which the various petty lords were to fall under as vassals, or else. And such the Empire of Anbennar was born, and with it a new age of stability.

With the advent of Anbennar came a new thought to the concept of Divine Regency: what if instead of race, it is the ability to wield magic? Dragons wielded magics, and elves too, so what if that was the common denominator? With that the Regent Court rose as the new religion which mixed the concept  of Divine Regency with the Cannorian Pantheon of old.

Eventually many realised that having mages to rule wasn’t a very good thing, as they would often spend more time being mages rather than rulers. The Wars of Rule occurred between the Magisterium, the ruling body of Anbennar, and the various half-elven noble families of the land. Eventually an accord was met: the leadership of Anbennar would be split into two: The Emperor, a noble of magical blood – and The Grand Magister, the magical and religious representative that would guide the Emperor himself.

In the end, Anbennar was no longer an Empire ruled by magical peace, but instead just another squabbling realm full of upstart nobles and dynastic feuds like all-time before.

 

The 1444 Start

In the year 1444 in which the game starts there are two major events that have happened within the world of Anbennar.

 

The Lilac Wars

Simply put, the Lilac Wars was a dynastic war of succession over who would become the next King of Lorent (a powerful kingdom that lies west of The Empire of Anbennar). The war was between the Grand Duchy of Dameria, one of the most powerful imperial duchies of Anbennar and also its Emperor, and the Kingdom of Lorent itself. The war lasted nearly a hundred years and is seen as the “final medieval war” much like its Hundred Years War equivalent in real history.

In the end, the Grand Duchy of Dameria lost its Damerian Emperor and was set upon by both Lorent and its former imperial allies. Dameria was destroyed with its only remnant being the Duchy of Wesdam which had fought against it during the war (as Wesdam had closer ties with Lorentish nobility than Imperial)

A new age beckons, and the greatest power of them all, Dameria has fallen, and many nations will seek to fill the vacuum it has left.

 

The Greentide

In 1424 the Eastern Kingdom of Castellyr (the remnant of Castanor of Sorcerer King fame) was beset upon by the greatest orcish horde the world had ever seen. Orcs emerged from all corners of the Serpentspine Mountains, seemingly done with destroying the remains of the old Dwarven holds that lingered there, and set upon human lands.

With the Lilac Wars in full force the eyes of the world was turned away from the Greentide and Castellyr was destroyed within days; and many fled to the safety of Anbennar to the west, bringing its economy to its knees. It was only until 1444 (our start year! And 1 year after the Lilac Wars) that Corin, an orphaned girl from the advent of the Greentide, rallied the first wave of the Lilac War veteran Marcher Lords and destroyed the Orcish Vanguard that was heading straight into the heart of Anbennar.

While Corin’s victory and sacrifice may have destroyed any semblance of unified orcdom, the entire eastern portion of Cannor still lies in the hands of orcish invaders.

The eastern corpse of Castellyr lies ripe for conquest. Many adventurers flock east for a new life after the Lilac Wars, for fame and fortune, or even just to push back the orcish threat.

This war will be a long and hard one, and will make the 100-year Lilac Wars seem short. The advent of gunpowder approaches: will that turn the tide once and for all?

 

The Balance of Power

Will the orcs unify and conquer the known world? Or will new adventuring factions and kingdoms rise in the ashes of Castellyr? Surely, whatever comes out of the Greentide will surely affect the balance of power against the old nations of Cannor.

Oh, and soon, an unlucky explorer will rediscover the ruined continent of the elves. What mysteries will this new land unlock? And what colonial ambitions will it ignite?

 

 

USPs

  • -Fantasy world focusing on the post-medieval timeframe
  • -Themes include the Divine Regency, which offers obscurity on what the gods have planned for the world and noone really knows who’s actually “in the right”
  • -Other themes include the Technology vs Magic and the Fading of Magic itself as the mundane takes over
  • -Elves are new. Instead of being around since forever, elves in my setting pop-up during medieval times. How will feudal lords react?!
  • -The Greentide is the call to adventure: its a place where your typical adventuring stories can grow, and it offers a common enemy to fight
  • -The Greentide is a game changer: it is the battlefield where guns earn their fame, and it is the battlefield where new empires will grow and shatter the balance of power
  • -The New (but actually old) World: Colonial ambitions can grow as usual, but there is a personal vindication to elves and half-elves to re-explore and re-discover their ancestral lands and figure out what actually happened

 

 

References

High Fantasy – TV Tropes (2017) TV Tropes. Available at: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HighFantasy (Accessed: 26 October 2017).

Low Fantasy – TV Tropes (2017) TV Tropes. Available at: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LowFantasy (Accessed: 26 October 2017).

 

Martin, George R. R. (1996) A Game of Thrones. New York: Bantam Books.

Paolini, C. (2013) Eragon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Tolkien, J. R. R. (2007) The Lord of the Rings. London: HarperCollins Publishers.

 

CD Projekt RED (2015) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – PC [Video game]. CD Projekt.

Honours Blog #14 – Fleshing the game out + Lencenor Overview

I’ve been working for the past few days on fleshing out what I had shown in the Progress Presentation, namely adding custom provinces and some more custom countries in the Lencenor region (aka that section I have in the map thats filled in right now)

Map shown in the Progress Presentation
Map with modified provinces and new countries

Western Cannor/Lencenor Region

For this post I’ll talk about this region of the world: Lencenor (or as its known in modern-times, Western Cannor – Cannor being the continent equivalent to Europe). The region encompasses the land to the west of the Dameshead (which is that little inland sea with the island to the right of Wesdam, it looks like a woman’s head)

This region is dominated by the Kingdom of Lorent and before that was a region ruled by the Damerian Republic (essentially the Roman Empire proxy in this world) whom the Lorentish peoples were subjugated under. The region is pretty homogeneous with the vast majority of the humans being of Lorentish (aka Lencori) descent, and the northern part of the region populated by halfling peoples. Religiously the land follows the Cannorian Pantheon wholeheartedly.

Geographically the land is filled with farmlands and various temperate woodlands distributed across, with the most notable being the Redglades Forest in the center of the region. To the southwest lies the Lorentish Flats, a vast region of flatlands and farmlands in which the Lorentish love for horsemanship was born. There aren’t many mountains in this region besides the Ruby Mountains (occupied by the dwarves of Rubyhold), other than that most of the land’s rivers flows from further up via the Dragonheights (located above Nimscodd on the map). The Bloodwine River flows through the southern portion of Lorent, originating from the Ruby Mountains, and ends at the Bay of Wines – where Lorent’s main economic export flourishes.

In the northern half of Lencenor lies the Small Country, the land of halflings that has since been divided between Lorent and its rival Gawed (barely seen in this map). The Widderoy river forms a natural boundary between Lorent and Gawed and flows out into the Dameshead near Beepeck. The Widderoy’s sister, the Portroy flows westwards instead, forming Lorent’s other northern boundary, which flows to the Western Seas as the Gnomish city of Portnamm (the light green on the map)

 

Recent History

In recent history the region was a battleground between the Grand Duchy of Dameria (from the Empire of Anbennar that surrounds the Dameshead) and the Kingdom of Lorent during the Lilac Wars, a set of dynastic wars of succession on over who should be the new Lorentish King. Lorent eventually emerged victorious and Dameria was destroyed by its Lorentish enemies and its Imperial rivals, with its lands partitioned between them.

However the recent end of the war in 1443, a year behind the game starts, has vastly weakened Lorent and has shown the world that this once formidable kingdom is a shadow of its former self. The House of the Seaflower, the Dukes of Deranne, stand rebellious and more powerful than ever and have refused to swear alliegance to the Lorentish King. The Wine Lords of Rubenaire, Eilísin and Sorncóst along the Bloodwine River grow fat and powerful and too refuse the King’s calls; and the Imperial Duchy of Wesdam, the surviving fragment of Dameria (and a former ally of the Lorentish against their own Damerian brethren!) has recently acquired the Wine Duchy of Madaléin, taking former Lorentish lands into Imperial hands once more.

Lencenor at the 1444 start is a Kingdom Divided and the nations within will have to fight it out and unify Lorent once more, though the northern powerhouse of Gawed and its Lorent’s Imperial neighbours to the east might have something to say about that…

 

 

 

 

Honours Blog #13 – Progress Presentation

I had my progress presentation yesterday on Thursday where I delivered my PowerPoint of what my idea is as well as what i’ve done (which is mentioned in the post before this)

 

Overall the feedback was good but there was some confusion over the dissertation which was fair enough as i’m not that 100% on it either, perhaps a shift is needed away from the mechanics side and more to the limitations and processes of actually worldbuilding for games

 

On the dissertation

  • -Is it really about mechanics? Maybe more about limitations of the game and how it affects worldbuilding rather than mechanics itself
  • -Focus more on the worldbuilding aspect? How does the history, social constructs, culture etc at the time period influence the world i’m making?
  • -How do I implement and cultivate historical interactions in the world -> this goes essentially to: how do I set up an interesting and tense introduction when the players start

 

On the EU4 mod idea

  • -Good idea to narrow scope to making a fleshed up vertical slice (equivalent of Europe size in EU4 than the entire world)
  • -Very dense presentation (for a dense game!) but good that there’s actual quantifiable progress rather than just theory and ideas

 

Random notes and next steps

  • -Look into Video Games Set in the Middle Ages Academic Article by Cesar San Nicolas Romera
  • -Do some actual research on Europe in 1444 to see what the political mood is and how it can influence my setting’s political mood + maybe see how fuedal systems work (I mean I already know but a post explaining it will help) – Lorent in my world has a lot of vassals and is a powerful decentralized realm
  • -Look into Narrative Designer processes, reach out to them possible
  • -Get more Academic Resources from Abertay Library (eg, search Worldbuilding)
  • -EU4 taught more about geography and history than reading books ever did: can it translate to teaching someone about my world?
  • -On Limitations affecting Worldbuilding, the game is about owning provinces and filling out your map borders with your color – you have to consider making the map look good visually so this will influence the setting meaning “Lorent owns this now so the borders look better, or Lorent’s name shows up better on the map, etc” (though bordergore was realistic so…)

 

Here’s a link to my PowerPoint:

Progress Presentation Jayhant Saulog 1400116