Limitless Worlds

Limitless Worlds

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Age of Iron: Anahuac Pt.2

So after some long thinking, I believe I have figured out what Anahuac is going to be, and it's mostly going to be an area of necessity.

In all honesty, I don't have the time or energy to fully flesh out every Native American nation, and this project is long overdue as it is. However, I'm going to try my best to do where Warhammer kind of skimped out.

The nations of Anahuac are, as stands:

Dinetah: My North America/Naggaroth. While the siabra do dwell here, they don't control nearly all of the continent. Much of it is still inhabited by native Anahuacans, but they are often either in hiding or fighting losing battles. The siabra so far haven't expanded past the Grandfather River (Mississippi-expy) in a nod to post-revolutionary America, and much of that remains wild though the siabra inch ever closer.

Aztlan: My South America/Lustria, this one is pretty close to the Warhammer source material. The aztlan are going to be a bit more explicitly alien and not outright hostile to humanity, but very few people want to venture into the jungles regardless. Like Dinetah there will be native tribes, but they tend to have a more neutral relationship with the lizardfolk rather than the hostile relationship Dinetahns have.

The Wracked Sea: My Caribbean analogue, this one is a bit new to the setting. This is not only going to feature pirates and Europan colonials, but also my version of the Vortex - making the Wracked Sea a convenient place to have Pirates of the Caribbean-type pseudo-fantasy adventures. Undead pirate crews, voodoo cults, etc.

At least until I change my mind, that's how Anahuac stands at the moment. By far the 'smallest' of the continents, but the vast stretch of it is supposed to be unexplored and mysterious to easterners who are journeying west for fame or fortune. These areas are gonna come about heavily in the descriptions, but I think they'll work out well

Next time is the last stop on the tour, which are regions that don't really fit into a single continent, but it should be a pretty small entry.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Age of Iron: Anahuac Pt. 1

So the final continent of Age of Iron that will be covered is the far western (or far eastern depending on how you look at it) landmass of Anahuac. Anahuac is supposed to represent the Americas, and despite two distinct landmasses they are considered one continent.

Now Anahuac I have probably had the most trouble with in regards to what do with the setting. Not very much is known about America during the medieval times - partly because there were very few concrete 'nations' in America then and partly because colonialism and imperialism probably destroyed what records did exist. Many Native American cultures had oral records rather than written records, and of course those change and disappear as time goes on. So for a fantasy game, it's hard to pin down more than generalities.

I also encounter the same issue faced with Ifri, which is one of privilege as a white male writing about marginalized cultures. But once again unlike Ifri, pre-Columbian history is often shrouded behind a fog making it hard to just base areas on literal historic analogues.

I've thought of a few approaches on how to handle Anahuac, which I'll detail now.

Approach 1:  This is kind of a more 'simplistic' approach and most in line with what WFRP had. The regions would basically be siabra in the north, aztlan in the south, a Caribbean-analogue and a Native American refugee region somewhere in between.

The main issue with this is the Native American region, tentatively titled Hah'nu'nah. There are literally hundreds of Native American tribes that still exist today, and that number only increases as you go back in time. Hah'nu'nah would be very hard to generalize without the broadest of broad strokes. Obviously I wouldn't be offensive, but I'd risk being uninclusive.

Approach 2: This is similar to Approach 1, but I break the Native American nation up into multiple regions. These would be based on major cultural areas and not specific tribes, so there would be a Plains Native area and a SW Native area.

This would provide a more detailed approach, but it would also increase the chances of me getting something 'wrong' unintentionally, which is also something I don't want.

Approach 3:  Similar to 2, but it would focus exclusively on pre-Columbian agricultural civilizations - mainly the Pueblo, the Mound Builders, the Inca, etc. This would probably be easier to do justice to than Approach 2 and more detailed than Approach 1, but it'd still be a significant project.

Approach 4: The final approach, Approach 4 would be to just not cover Anahuac. Instead Tellus would be restricted to the "Old World", i.e. just Ifri, Europa and Aswai. Anahuac would exist, but as a myth or a scientific possibility rather than an adventuring area. I'd then transfer the siabra, aztlan and pirates to nations in the east.

This solves the problem of not doing the Americas justice by just eliminating the problem, but it would reduce the WFRP-ish nature of Age of Iron and kind of make it something more like Conan. Not entirely a bad thing, but it'd just be different.

That's kind of where I am right now with Anahuac, and any ideas or suggestions you all could make would be much appreciated. Obviously I'll make a decision eventually, but what that exactly is yet remains to be fully seen.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Age of Iron: Aswai

Now we head from the deep south of Tellus to the far east of our Asia analogue - Aswai! Aside from the Old World, the Far East is probably the 'best' detailed region of the Warhammer setting. Even then, that distinction has diminishing returns. Either way, medieval Asia is a pretty exciting and distinctive time period, so I of course had to include it.

The Great Steppe (name potentially changing) is my Eastern Steppe analogue, based partially around the Golden Horde Mongols. This is more Scythian than Mongolian, plus there will be hobgoblins a plenty.

Gurkani is my India/Ind region. Much of Gurkani was once under the control of Avalon but they've shaken off most of the shackles - now it's divided between a not-Delhi Sultanate and the southern not-Hindu kingdoms.

Kombuja is my Khuresh/SE Asia analogue. Khuresh is inhabited mainly by serpent people, and while those do exist in Kombuja they are not the main focus. Kombuja basically exists after the fall of the Khmer Empire, with many small successor states being led by god-kings trying to recover from disaster.

The Land of Darkness (name potentially changing) is my Darklands/Persia. Instead of basing it on Mesopotamian/Assyrian Persia, the Land of Darkness will be more like the Timurid Empire or Ihl-Khanate - where foreign invaders suppressed the native Persians and had basically a reign of terror over the region for around two centuries.

The Ogre Khans is my Ogre Kingdoms/Chagatai Khanate region. Ogres once ruled over all of Aswai much like Mongolia did, but the death of the Great Khan shattered the empire and drove the Ogres to inhabit the Mountains of Heaven, aka the Himalayas.

Yashimi is my Nippon/Japan analogue, and is fairly firmly entrenched in the Warring States/Shogunate era. Yashimi is also extremely isolationist, and mainly only Aquilla is able to trade with them in a reference to the Nanban trade (though that fudges the timeline a bit, which to me is fine).

Zhongguo is my China/Cathay region. I don't know if Cathay was ever based on a specific era of China, but Zhongguo is mainly influenced by the fairly short-lived Yuan dynasty (which immediately followed the dissolution of the Mongol Empire). Yuan China was probably the largest China has ever been, having conquered Mongolia, large parts of Tibet and even Korea. They even attempted to invade Japan once or twice, but subsequently failed.

Now for the maybes: I definitely want a region based on Austronesia, but I'm divided on whether it should be the location of the Fomorians, another human nation, or perhaps the realm of the 'sea elves', spun off from the high elves and given their own civilization.

I've also considered divorcing Korea from China but I think its kind of too minor of a country at this point in history to get highlighted as such. Korea really comes into its own when Sejong ascends to power, but that's not for a few 'real world' centuries. 

I've also considered doing Australia as kind of a southern Chaos Wastes, but I think that can be lumped into my regular Chaos Wastes analogue.

But anyway, there's Aswai. Next time we'll head west to Anahuac (aka the Americas) and get into a lot of debate on what to include. It's probably the 'roughest' continent content wise by far.

Age of Iron: Marcher Baronies

The Marcher Baronies 
Inspirations: Frankokratia Balkans/Turkey after the fall of the Byzantine Empire but before the rise of the Ottomans

The Marcher Baronies was once the most populous and famous region in perhaps all of Tellus. At it's height it was the glorious crownlands of Aurelia, but the Green Death and the subsequent occupation by the skrzzak reduced Aurelia to nothing. It wasn't until the Vermin War that the region was liberated, but the damage had already been done. Since then, the Baronies have been split up between dozens of minor kingdoms, crusader states and petty rulers who claim Aurelian lineage - all asserting their dominance for the privilege of ruling an empire of dirt.

Lay of the Land 

The Baronies straddle Europa and Aswai, located on two relatively dry and rugged peninsulas separated by the small Aurelian Sea. The peninsulas are bordered by the Middle Sea to the south and the Umbral Sea to the north, meaning farmland and fishing is relatively plentiful. The Baronies are separated from Europa by a branch of the Spine of the World, but the land approaching the Barrens is wide open - causing the more southern Baronies to be prone to raids while the north enjoys a relative amount of peace. However, the north's many ruins and harsh terrain make banditry a common occurrence.

Politics and Government 

There is little political unification in the Baronies - each barony stands alone, and many barely rule more than a fortified town and a few surrounding acres of farmland. The 'barons' come from all walks of life - some claim they are from Aurelian royalty, others are crusader kingdoms created after the Vermin War, and still others are adventurers or exiled nobles looking to establish their own nascent states for themselves. Lygos technically has suzerainty over all the Baronies, but its more a fealty bound by tradition - King Bylbos does not have an army big enough or lands sprawling enough to enforce his will outside of the city's walls.

People and Culture 

People from the Baronies tend to have an independent streak - many are refugees, rebels, and adventurers who do not have any where else to go or they refuse to be held in by the laws of more 'polite' society. Even when Aurelia stood, the residents refused to back down until the very last minute. People from nearly all heritages and all cultures can be found in the Baronies, so beyond the unity of freedom its hard to generalize them any further.

Locations

Lygos is one of the largest and most populace cities on all of Tellus. Often called the City at the Center of the World, Lygos has attracted people from all across Europa, Aswai and Ifri to trade, learn and live with each other. Though Lygos is still an impressive fortification, it's glory days as the capital of Aurelia are long gone, and much of the city remains in disrepair and ruin due to the many sieges it has experienced.

Osman is a quickly growing barony on the Aswain side of the Marcher Baronies. Osman was originally a nomadic tribe from the Land of Darkness, but increased pressure from the dvergar caused them to flee west. Led by Osman the Great, this group of nomadic warriors has slowly been building up its strength over the years, with some believing they hold the intention of assaulting Lyogs

Rodos is a large island off the coast of the Baronies and is currently held by the Knights of Mithra - a legendary group of crusaders who have managed to hold the island since the height of the Vermin War. The Knights have served as vigilant defenders against potential attacks from the sea, and even despite their relatively small size some Knights have even journeyed west to Anahuac in hopes of expanding their reach into the new world.

Nymphaion is probably the largest of the Baronies, and currently poses the most significant threat to Lygos. Ruled by King John Karameikos III, he claims to be an exiled Aurelian noble who rightly deserves to reinstate the glory of Aurelia. Nymphaion has even assaulted Lygos a time or two in the past to varying degrees of success, but so far the city has stood up to the invasions - but probably not for much longer.

Conclusion

So here is the first post in the revised gazetteer for Age of Iron. I was hoping to get one of these done a day, but my schedule is just too hectic for that. Every few days is more likely, I feel. I also plan on doing more Age of Iron posts than just gazetteers - religion, timeline, calendars, etc. Hope you enjoy it, because this was pretty fun to write and I look forward to doing more.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Age of Iron: Return to Form

So after some more brief considerations, I've decided to once again use Blogger to better elaborate out the whole of the Age of Iron setting. Remember the old 300 Years War posts? Well I plan to reignite those in a pretty similar format. I think I'm going to go about a similar layout to the previous entries, but I might strike the Current Events entry - kind of puts too much metaplot in the setting so I don't see the point.

Hopefully I'll start doing those again tonight or over the weekend - meaning yet another revision of Couronne. Regardless, I think it will be fun, and I hope you stick around for it

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Age of Iron: Quick Thoughts on Ifri & Europa

I've just had some considerations about Ifri and Europa, and I thought I'd illustrate them here.

So I'm something of a 'numbers' person - I'm trying to balance a good variety of nations in the game without blowing the number of them out of proportion. However, I also like good round numbers or groupings that 'make sense' in my head.

So I've done a little shuffling around as well as idea expansions that make the 'numbers' for Europa and Ifri fit.

For Europa, I've pretty much decided the British Isles will be the domain of the high elves - I think it just makes more sense for them to be an international, 'benevolent imperialist' force rather than the weird isolationists they are in Warhammer.

This brings the 'nation count' in Europa up to 11, but to make it a nice round number I will 'transfer' The Barrens to Europa. The Wasteland will indeed be rolled into Aquilla, and Troll Country will just be part of Ruthen.

That makes Ifri have only five nations, which I will 'fix' by adding Ntotila - indeed splitting up Central and Southern Africa into two different places. Ntotila is going to be pretty Darkest Africa and mainly focused on the Kingdom of Kongo, while the Ivory Kingdoms will be renamed Vanhu and mainly focus on the Mutapa Empire.

Most of these ideas are ones I've sequestered away so they aren't new, but writing for sure has helped me materialize them better. Hopefully my ramblings make some sort of sense.

Next time we'll get back to normal programming, and we will be covering Age of Iron's Asia: Aswai!

Age of Iron: Ifri

We go from the northern climes of Europa to the slightly balmier southern reaches of Ifri: Age of Iron's version of a fantasy Africa!

Africa has very rarely gotten its fair shake in fantasy settings. Some good examples stand out - Nyambe, Midgard's Southlands, Spears of the Dawn, Ki Khanga - but most of Africa is often described as dark jungle inhabited by primitive tribes, when that is patently not the case either geographically and historically.

But also I understand where some designers are coming from - as a white American male, I have little first-hand knowledge of even modern Africa and its problems, let alone a medieval Africa. I realize I am writing from a place of privilege, and I am going to try my absolute best to treat these regions of the world as more than just the mysterious jungle lands. I don't promise I'll be perfect, but I'll try to be better than my fore-bearers.

Anyway, on to the nations!

Al-Hilal is my Araby/North Africa/Arabia analogue. I initially thought it was ridiculous for Araby to be positioned as such, but after doing research into Al-Andalus and the Almohad Caliphate I realized it wasn't so far fetched. Al-Hilal is pretty standard Arabian-style fantasy, though its currently fractured with no ruling caliph. I did move some more classic Arabian locations here (aka a Mecca analogue), but I feel its a minor change.

The Barrens is my version of the Badlands, orcs and all. It was previously inhabited by the Dumari Empire, which draws some parallels with early Arabic caliphates, though the Barrens occupies the spot after the region was sacked by the Mongols. Humans still exist here to an extent, but orx and kobolds dominate. Most 'Arabic' culture has been ported over to Al-Hilal.

Habesh is new and is based on Ethiopia/E Africa. I had struggled with this one for a while, between making it 'stone dwarves' to a very religious place. I've come to the conclusion of basically making Habesh take over the Wasteland's role as a trading powerhouse. Ethiopia was extremely important to international trade due to their location on both the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. They brought goods from China and India to Europe, plus Ethiopia was never conquered by invaders until WW1 I believe. I'm pretty satisfied with where this has gone.

Khmet is my Egypt/Nehekara and basically functions in the same manner - undead hellscape, though some human outposts exist (including a Courronne crusader state). Not much new here, though I did tint it with some Mamluks.

The Ivory Kingdoms are new and they represent south and central Africa, mainly states that formed out of the Bantu migration. This is probably the closest you'll get to a 'Darkest Africa' since the Spirit Rainforest (aka the Congo) is located here, but I'm really trying to keep away from the lost world thing at least in Africa. The Zulu are a bit too advanced for the timeline, but things like Kongo, Mutapa and even the Swahili Coast are present. Also going to add a slight colonial influence, but that's not the main crutch of the area.

Mande is brand new, and takes up the role of the West African empires - mainly Ghana and Mali, though a bit of Songhai, Yoruba and Dahomey made it in too. These empires were hyper-modern and even had a governmental structure more similar to a representative government than a feudal society, plus they are exceedingly wealth. Overall a very cool place I think

So that's Ifri. I really don't have too many 'maybe' ideas about this one - the only one being maybe separate Central and South Africa into two different places, but I think that's splitting hairs.