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Homebrews (Archived) / the decaying world of Elyden
« on: April 15, 2013, 04:30:11 AM »
Hi all, I’m a new member here so thought I’d post my world for critique (be kind, it’s my first time sharing with a community of worldbuilders…).

Quote from: Quick Info
Title:  the Dying World of Elyden
System: originally the world started out as a worldbuilding project for my fiction, though I’ve started cobbling together some rules based on the D&D 3.5 OGL, though with a focus on skills, no levels, and a completely redesigned spell system (that’s also skill based)  
Theme: a world that’s decaying following the death of its gods (whose regenerative influence is now gone, leading to corruption and natural laws unravelling)  
Tone: gritty, decaying empires, corruption, entropy, and possibly  jet black humour.
 Inspirations:  Hieronymus Bosch, Jack Vance’s Dying World (Elyden’s decay isn’t quite as far along as Vane’s Dying Earth, though it’s getting there), H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos (regarding the dead, and largely unknown and misunderstood gods [Demiurges]), George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series (mainly the politics, this is more or an inspiration than something I’m planning on emulating), body horror, vague steampunk themes (no cogs!).
Technology: at it’s highest tech is early industrial revolution: so the main nations have printing presses, steam engines (though not trains), steam ships with steel hulls, heliographs (cameras). Of course, that doesn’t mean that everywhere has the same technological base. Much like in the present day there are many indigenous cultures living largely pre-industrialised lives (and using classical architecture), Elyden is much the same. Many cultures exist in a pre-industrial state (either having lost their tech or never developed it in the first place). Many technologies date back to a golden age that has long-since been forgotten, and few are those who understand them.    
Magic:  in pre-industrialised societies magic exists in two forms – either the Atramenta or the firmament – which are analogous with generic magic, though the industrialised nations look down on such primitive mysticism, as they have advanced to a scientific understanding of the world, using magic as a resource – so in these advanced cultures magicians (called shapers) are generally equivalent to modern ay mechanics, engineers and machinists, overseeing the magical engines. Elsewhere, clone-bred magically-attuned individuals are bred for specific roles though they are considered tools at best even though they are technically sentient.  
Religion: worship of the demiurges waned millennia past, and that is why the demiurges are now dead. Mystery cults remain in regions, though they are growing more  popular as are apocalyptic cults. Generally, most religions ar corruptions of the original demiurge cults, though few know their own faith’s roots.
Races:  humans dominate the world and common fantasy races (elves, goblins, dwarves etc.) are not to be found. Other races exist in their place, largely the 22 mortal races (one for each demiurge) of which humans are one and the most successful. Most are either extinct or corrupted from their own original forms.
Ecology: nature is waning, and many creatures are now extinct. What remains is either corrupted by the twisted nature of the world or bred into specific roles. Corruption and genetic defects are common, both in the wild and in urban societies. Conjoined twins, cyclocephaly, hydrocephaly, polydactylism, arachnodactylism, ostepetrosis, etc. are all very common.
Geography: the world is dominated by a supercontinent that is divided into three, all separated by shallow inner seas. Farther afield is the sole island continent of Bror, a distant land.

But a bit of history first. The world of Elyden has evolved, like many others I imagine, from a chain of different settings and worlds, the oldest created by myself for a D&D campaign that never took off. The idea for that campaign was a world-spanning city (anyone familiar with Magic: the Gathering might equate it to Ravnica, though my embryonic world predated it by some years), though the logistics and research required for such a (self-contained) world eventually put me off. I abandoned the world and started work on something else – an Egyptian themed setting called Khamid. I spent a long time on this setting, also designed as a D&D campaign world, though by the end I began to feel a bit constrained by the theme. I turned towards the rest of the world, a supercontinent called Sola, of which the Khamid setting was a small part and spent the next few years fleshing out that world…

Sola would eventually evolve into Elyden, though the latter would continue to evolve as my research continued to unearth interesting facts and tidbits from the real-world.

Elyden is a world plagued by the death of its ‘gods’, the so-called Two-and-Twenty Demiurges – worker deities created by a higher divinity to directly shaped the mortal realm and the planes beyond. They created the perfect world, though knowing nothing other than the act of crafting, continued to shape the world after perfection was attained. Long story short, this angered the higher divinity, who punished them, stripping them of their greater powers, where they became leaders to the 22 mortal tribes (each tribe initially comprised of 7-individuals, 3 male, 4 female, of different races  -each race personifying the traits of their primogenitor Demiurge). Most of the demiurges were embittered by this and many fell into despair and madness. Entropy, mutation, Hopelessness and desolation are all products of the demiurges’ feelings.

This is ancient history, happening many ages past, and few are those now privy to such knowledge. Following their chastisement, the Demiurges’ strength became directly influenced by the devotion of mortals, many of whom began to distance themselves from their creators. Some demiurges sank further into despair, using what remained of their powers to craft cyclopean edifices in a bid to increase their renown. Many such structures survive to this day, their monolithic size and incomprehensible symmetry baffling to contemporary men, many of whom grow insane, or whose bodies twist grotesquely at merely glimpsing such forgotten idols. Others instead became monomaniacal, using slave-armies to conquer the weak tribes and races, enforcing worship upon them. A few became ascetics, eschewing the vices that led to their fall in the first place, becoming solitary beings, weak near their siblings.

Slowly, as the mortals grew more powerful and distilled many of their creator’s secrets, the demiurges’ strength continued to wane, with only a handful amongst the Two-and-Twenty maintaining their iron-grasp of their mortal subjects. The others grew weak, their great bodies fossilising as they fell into a deep languor in which many now remain, their dreams and nightmares polluting the world, twisting the laws of nature.

Greatest amongst equals was the Demiurge Rachanael, who not only survived but amassed a great empire around the Inner Sea, though countless other nations and empires existed, most of them ignorant to the existence of the demiurges. But such things could not last and as the grotesque manifestations of the other demiurges continued to grow, Elyden began to die – once immutable laws of nature collapsing, her oceans drying up, the flora that carpeted her skin twisting into fell mockeries of what they had once been. The mortal body was no longer a vessel of perfection, becoming instead a crucible of decay and cankers.

This is the world of Elyden, where nations on the brink of collapse struggle despite the inevitable entropy that surrounds them.

[quick note: though I mention the demiurges a lot here, the setting itself isn't based around them and is pretty realistic. tech-base is roughly analogous with victorian england, though different regions may be better or, more likely, worse (prior to the fall of nations, when everything goes to shit), though i am developing the world at different points in history.

also, i've attached an image i'm currently working on (it's still heavily WIP and the attached map is very compressed - in fact the literally thousands of labels, of which only a small fraction are done, are barely visible as black smudges around the inner sea, in the northern half of the left hemisphere) of the world in its 'golden age' some years ago, before the collapse of civilisation was widely recognised.

The Dragon's Den (Archived) / Hi all!
« on: April 14, 2013, 04:04:37 AM »
I recently joined this site (apparently i joined a long time ago though must have forgotten about it, but anyhow) and hate joining forums without introducing myself.

I come from after asking a question if the site had any worldbuilding partners, as cartography and worldbuilding tend to go hand-in-hand.

Well my name is Nathan, though i go by the odd name of ~Vorropohaiah on 'teh interwebz' I've been working on my conworld 'Elyden' for close to 8-years now and tend to flit from pure worldbuilding to cartography, like an undecided fly moving from corpse to corpse. here's my gallery of maps over on and my blog with variousc artographical and worldbuilding tidbits.

I'm gonna start having a look around now to see if i find anything that takes my fancy...

thanks :)

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