Sunday, March 1, 2015

Crafting a Continent

The designers of Questworld intended that place to be similar to Earth in terms of “the rotation period, the gravity, the length of year, the average temperature, the salinity of oceans and the fertility of lands.”  Significant differences  in those factors might preoccupy the referee and players from the true point of the game.  “Ultimately, playing an FRP game should be more interesting than bookkeeping.”

Despite their desire for similarity, the Questworld designers expressed their disappointment with the arrangement of continents on Earth.  “If moved north or south...,” they muse, “[Australia] might receive better rainfall” and not be as barren.  Also, Earth's “land masses bar the line of the equator.”  The designers wanted adventurers to be able to “circumnavigate Questworld by hooking onto the equatorial current, feeding themselves with fish from the fecund seas and methodically catching the abundant rain of the equator.”  Finally, with regard to Africa and South America, the Questworld designers “would turn them around, so that the broad portions of each continent would be in temperate regions, and so that only the tips of Argentina and South America would have desert zones.” Of course, “The Andes mountains...would need to be leveled to allow proper rainfall...”

Questworld was intended to be an 'open world'; nonetheless, the designers opted to detail one of the continents, Kanos, at least in terms of terrain and weather.  Below are some examples of the features described in the Questworld introduction.

The Sunspike Mountains are on the east side of Kanos.  In the center part of these mountains is “an enormous maze of tablelands” called the Checkerground.  There are many mesas separated by deep canyons.  “Any largish mesa can be a self-supporting fortress for a reasonable number of folk, succoring bandits, exiles, weird cults, sorcerors (sic) seeking real privacy, and assorted monsters.”  North of the Checkground is the “Pit of Karag, the worst desert on the planet...Summer temperatures average 115°” (Fahrenheit I suppose).

In the center of the continent is “The Long Scarp,” which “has reached a sheer height of several thousand feet in places.”  North of the scarp are...
the great canyons, within which whole empires can be tucked away – canyons and mesas as elaborately terraced as south China.  The kingdoms there may be occasional foes or lackeys of the plains barbarians above.  The river south to the sea will be frozen in winter.
On the other side of the bay into which the river flows is “No-Air Mountain, so-called because climbers literally would have to climb out of the breathable air before they could reach the top.”  What mysteries lie in its crater?

North of No-Air Mountain, between Voli Bay and the Dogolian Sea are a group of islands called the Lothings.  “If you like Vikings, the Lothings are a natural place for them.”  Even if you don't like Vikings, I guess the Lothings are appropriate for them.

Above the western arm of Kanos lies Nokobli Island, where carnivorous emu-like birds rule.

Finally, “Everywhere in the continental interior are grassy plains fillable with sinewy barbarians and unabashed damsels with flashing eyes.”

1 comment:

  1. I loved the Checkerground. I started a campaign using the Moathouse from T1 The Village of Hommlet, set in one of the myriad canyons of the Checkerground, and it ran for about a semester of college. It worked extraordinarily well considering the lack of supplementary material.