The world itself bubbled up and cracked. While the resulting bulge is amazingly round, the most interesting feature of this planetary pimple is the circumscribed crack in the crust itself. Nearly a perfect circle, the crack plummets so far into the planet's interior that the air pressure is nearly twice that of at the lip, causing a number of alien effects. It is very humid within the crack, especially at Great Chasm's floor, but more mysteriously are the clouds formed halfway up the Chasm's walls by the interplay of temperature, pressure, and humidity. Moreover, the increased pressure has made typical terrestrial lifeforms nonexistent, allowing a strange and voracious family of ambulatory plants to reign supreme. Their collective consciousness transmitted via sprawling networks of vines and tendrils connect their incubatory seeds, cephalic nodes, and more mobile members in chasm-wide hivemind capable of reacting to intrusion collective concert. Many surfacers who have braved the descent into this abyssal chasm have mistaken these strange and alien denizens for a demonic incursion, and a few unfortunate souls have become slave to its will, as well.
I have recently acquired a bottle of Bluemoon Meed from Royal Manor Vineyards and have to say it is awesome. It is 2/3 blueberry fermented with 1/3 honey. It has a strong floral bouquet and a very sweet taste (it's meed, after all). Totally worth trying if you ever get the chance!
Here's another update. I include a map with RL names of places on Venus for reference when I start writing. I haven't worked up fictional Starfall-oriented names yet. I also include a map of the difference in precipitation between seasons with darker colors being high in January and brighter colors being high in July. Lastly are two maps representing temperatures in January and July, with darker being cooler.
If I can either a) write a program that will color the map based on the RGB value of each pixel or b) convince someone else to do it for me, I'll be able to present a climate map of Starfall accurate to the pixel. Otherwise, you'll get a rough guestimation based on my ability to see and guide a mouse accurately (in other words, a crappy rendition that will likely suffice for my own personal needs, but hardly be up to the standards of this map so far).
This is a topographical map of Venus from NASA that I've altered a bit to add in oceans. The vertical strips are teserae and actually look like that. I may still toy with the pallet a little, but for now, this is what I'm working with. The odd coloring you're referring to, is it the brightness in the middle and darkness toward the poles? If so, that was just to give it a rounded appearance and can easily be tweaked.
The main thing I'm trying to go for feel-wise is that sea level rose in the very recent geological past, flooding a number of regions and sinking a lot of islands. Does that sort of thing come across at all? Does anything make sense, considering that?
I have been working feverishly on a new Starfall map, as some of you know. At this point, I have worked up climate through seasonal precipitation and am about 30% through cleaning up landmasses and coastlines. I figured I'd post what I have so far. Neat lines mark out 15 degree increments. A pixel at the equator is 4 miles on a side.
I'm curious to know if anyone sees any features that look interesting or that you're curious about. I have some fantastic locations already in mind, but I'd love some feedback on places that look to warrant further description.
Once I finish cleaning up the land mask, I'll be able to work up the seasonal temperature variations and climate zones.
Strange tangent: not many games seem to be set in the early colonial period. Lots of games get set in faux-medieval Europe and the Wild West is a hugely popular setting for games (Boot Hill, Dogs in the Vineyard, Deadlands, Aces & Eights, etc), but the 16th-18th centuries get strangely neglected - even when you do see games in those time periods they're usually firmly Old World in their assumed setting (En Garde!, Flashing Blades). The closest that I can think of are piratical games (7th Sea, Pirates!), but mainland North America (or its fantasy equivalent) in the earlier days of colonization is rarely seen as a gaming setting. Why do you think that's so?
As a totally uneducated non-history buff type, I'd say it's largely because as Americans, we often view those times in a similar light as the Greeks viewed the Illiad or Odyssey. We almost deify the people surrounding our founding. Moreover, those times are pretty well documented, not leaving much room for creative anachronism. Personally, I think that timeframe might be awesome for a secret magic-type setting, but not a full-on high fantasy. It breaks the suspension of disbelief when George Washington ends up fighting British vampires from the back of his trusty silver dragon, so to speak.
Actually, I've been posting various pieces of material on the wiki for a few months now, focusing in particular on the Golden Principality and its history.
Notable articles: *The Interregnum, a decade-long Ajen civil war during the Cities' War *Thas-Var Fushin Vir-Ivren, also known as Shif Thuar ("It Exhales Death"), the channeler who seized power over the Principality at the end of the Interregnum, and supposedly died on the altar in an attempt to become a telavai (or did it?) *Whitewalls, Thas-Var's signature deed in which the Hearth of Sagacity was turned into a bloodbath, and from which we get the closest saying the Ajen have to "collateral damage" *Virishka, the Traitor, who may be unfairly maligned, but definitely did attempt to conquer the Principality with Iskite backing, only to fail spectacularly, flee the Circle, and end its days in Andar. Though not much more than a decaying lump now, some say it still whispers to those few individuals who wander through the Wilting Garden of Andar... *Thar Zejal, named after Zejal the Besieger (or Szejal Sun's-Arrow, or Szejal High-Hackles, depending on who you are), a military camp outside the City of Orpiment that has developed into a half-ruined settlement on the Black Circle route, where the drink at the Four Princes gondola serves equally well as airship fuel
I'm not sure where the next content push is going to be - probably either the Vars-Umbril in their mountain hermitage or the expansion of various stubs concerning the Netai.
What's still taking up most of my CJ thought right now, however, is adaptation for play. I have some general thoughts on that which I will hopefully be posting soon, because there's nothing quite like dumping your entire thought process into your homebrew thread!
I guess the confusion arises from me thinking in terms of in-universe history, and you thinking in terms of out-of-universe influences? Real world judicial duels do count as a source of inspiration for this setting element.
This, I think. Sorry for the confusion.
From their POV these duels between the champions of noble houses are something that falls outside the proper course of justice, though not necessarily in violation of it.
This sort of thing is interesting to me. It gives a glimpse of the mindset of the people living in the world.
Anyway, the outcome of the duel being accepted as final and binding isn't because it's regarded as "just" of fair, but rather because both sides realize that ending the dispute is ultimately more important than proving who is truly in the right. Which is why they'd be willing to agree to holding a duel in the first place, instead of stubbornly carrying out with the feud.
Again, awesome little glimpse into how they think. It bespeaks a level of cultural altruism, for sure.
Because the champions are practically always swordsmen, common sword types are the weapons of choise. Armour would be negotiated, and if worn would be something light and "court-appropriate", of the types that may be worn by household guards while on duty. Since there are actually no written rules for these duels, deviations from traditional norms is theoretically possible. That said, breaking such traditions would risk incurring a loss of face, and is therefore unheard of.
What is the standard sword? Most societies have only one word for sword and it describes the one they use. Modifications on that sword result in derivative names like "longsword," "two-hander," or "shortsword." What is "sword" to these champions?
The roots are in tribal warfare, not judicial. I thought that my posted description was pretty clear about that?
Yet the duels are used to adjudicate disputes that cannot be taken to a legal trial. It doesn't come off as antiquated warfare so much as how historical duels are largely represented in fiction and media. Those derived from trials by combat. Hence, the roots feel like they are judicial, but there's a heavy dose of militarism involved. I suppose if you were really trying to distance these duels from judicial combat, you'll either need to expand on just how they are not trials by combat, since the descriptions of those duels really sounds a lot like just that. The winner is deemed "right," the loser "wrong." It even draws on the idea of champions fighting for those incapable of fighting for themselves, like women and invalids.
I liked the post, but I guess the post really missed the mark in terms of differentiating these duels from traditional trial by combat duels, except for one sentence that just says, "This is not a trial." Elaborate and this could be even more interesting.