Saturday, 9 July 2016

The World of Sahana: Basics

First things first, I should explain what this is.
This is my own custom Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 setting.
Like most grand projects, it spawned from a very simple thought and very quickly spiralled into something else entirely.
And that opening thought was simply 'What if traditionally evil races, like the Drow and Goblins, weren't evil? What if everything else was more or less the same, but from a more Neutral perspective?'
And so I started from there.
Roughly once a week I will showcase the background behind Sahana, such as the various Races, Countries and Gods. I've also altered the mechanics behind some Classes, so they'll be getting posts too. But this first post will be an overview-styled, introductory post.
First off, what is Sahana?
Well, Sahana is the name of the world turtle.
Like this, only at a much larger scale.
Due to my love of a certain fantasy book series, I chose a world turtle as an homage. The turtle itself is huge, with a total surface equalling twice that of our planet covering its' back.
No elephants though, that would just be daft.
And I chose to name it after a co-worker, because why not?
The cosmology and the Gods will get their own post later, because it's quite complicated.
So, where does the main campaign take place?
Well, it's mostly within the Northern Islands, in a country called Ardale, which is roughly the size of modern day Germany.
The Shires

The Cities
It of course has quite the history. For now it's only really worth knowing that Aedon is the capital and that Ardale is the main economic powerhouse in the region.
So, let's skip straight on to the Races available to players.
The common races.
These races are everywhere. Common people won't look twice at them.
As generic as possible.
You should all know what a human is, since it's probable that you either are one or know one. They're the prevalent race in Ardale, making up 65% of the population. They are adaptable, able to flourish as members of any class and without any particular weaknesses.
In dire circumstances, some Dwarfs have been known to drink wine.
Dwarfs are another race every Fantasy fan knows about. They are tough little blighters who tend to be straightforward. In truth they have mixed with humans the longest and are therefor just as varied in their personalities.
High Elfs
If he's not wearing a cape, he's not a High Elf.
High Elfs are the most common type of Elf in Ardale. They have natural grace and agility better than the majority of humans, but are often frail. Due to their natural advantages they tend to become arrogant in their adolescence, but after being humbled a few times they usually grow out of this.
One of the most adorable races.
Gnomes are a diminutive but tough race. Some kind of wiring inside their brains leads them to be exceptionally curious. Due to this, a lot grow up to become Wizards, in order to peer behind the veil of reality. This usually causes explosions. As do most things Gnomes do.
Because DnD can't call them by their proper name.
A short but dexterous race, Halflings are a laid back people who would usually prefer to live their entire lives inside their own homes. Stories of adventures are popular among them however, and many set out into the world shortly after their adolescence. Most get bored and return home though.
Guess where I got this idea from?
The Keltani are a short race of Minotaurs native to the Keltanishir region of Ardale. They are a sturdy race, similar to Dwarfs in temperament. Tending towards hot-headedness, they are always eager for a fight. The Keltani boast having the oldest continuous civilisation in the region, dating back several thousand years of written history. As such, they are masters of philosophy, although discussions usually end up with the two philosophers butting heads. In a more literal sense than usual.
Uncommon Races
These races are less common. People will turn their heads to look at them in the street, though there's rarely any outright hostility directed towards them.
Recycling pictures, because it's easier.
Larger cousins to the Keltani, Calflings are a Medium-sized variety of Minotaur. They're native to lands slightly North-East of Ardale, but their ancestral home was conquered by Orcs roughly half a century ago, leading to some racial tensions. Unlike their smaller kin, Calflings are generally peaceful folk who'd rather settle their problems over a cup of tea.
Cyan Elfs
This was literally the only decent picture I could find
Otherwise known as Aquatic Elfs, Cyan Elfs can breath underwater with no problems. There is a Cyan Elf nation to the West of Ardale and all Cyans within Ardale are descended from immigrants. They invariably live near the rivers. They don't tend to interact with outsiders much, usually preferring to live off of the land.
Wild Elfs
Once again, this was simply the best picture.
Living deep within the many forests of Ardale, Wild Elfs are invariably insular. They're one of the most secretive races, often laying traps to prevent outsiders from discovering their treetop villages. A few members discover an interest in the outside world however, and they're encouraged to explore these desires, but only upon taking an oath to never reveal the location of their home. 
Grey Elfs
Elves always get such good pictures.
If Wild Elfs are insular and High Elfs are arrogant, Grey Elfs are both of those things to an extreme. Living in mountaintop cities in an Eastern country, Grey Elfs spend most of their time studying arcane lore. When a member leaves a city, it is for life, since none are ever allowed re-entry. They have a (Well-deserved) reputation for being perfectionists, but once you impress one you will have their respect for life. Considering how high their standards are, this rarely happens more than once a decade.
It says a lot that almost every picture of a Drow is an assassin.
Despite an old myth about the Drow being a cursed race of Elf, the Drow respect honour above all else. Drow villages are scattered all throughout Ardale and their members are honest folk, taking pride in everything they do. Their culture is heavily based on Samurai.
The original and best version.
A gruff and seemingly uncultured race, Orcs live on the other side of the Eastern mountains. Despite a reputation as barbaric thugs, Orcs can be just as tender and caring as any human. They just tend to respond to insults in the most direct route possible. There are actually two major Orc nations, neither of which like each other. The Northern country have enslaved many Calflings, seeing them as little more than cattle. The Southern country view this as a despicable act and so the two are currently locked in a tense stalemate.
Now this is a race with very little artwork.
A very military-centred race, most Hobgoblins live immediately to the North-East of Ardale. Their two respective countries are ancient enemies, having seen more wars between each other than any other two nations. For the last century however, there has been a fragile peace. Relationships have improved recently due to their habit of smuggling Calfling slaves into Ardale from their Eastern neighbours.
Googling Cute Goblin does not yield many results.
Another Small race, Goblins are very similar to Gnomes in personality. Whilst not as tough, they are more flexible, providing an advantage when tinkering with devices. Their outlook on life is generally a positive one.
Yeah, Pixies can be badass.
Pixies primarily hail from Pixie Lake, for which the City of Pixton and the Shire of Pixshir are named. While they welcome visitors to their islands, very few ever desire to leave it. Pixies are known for being incredibly persuasive, though they rarely use this ability in a malicious manner. While their wings allow them limited flight, they are delicate and prevent the wearing of anything too restrictive.
Rare Races
These races are highly unusual in Ardale. Any member of these races walking the street will be stared at and will find themselves explaining what they are to small children. Some people will act in a hostile manner, including a few members of the guard.
This kind, because this isn't an anime.
Catfolk come from two different places. To the South of Ardale are the Barbary Plains, where nomadic tribes of Barbarians sometimes hassle the villages of Ardale. To the West is a xenophobic nation of Catfolk, who view all non-Catfolk as potential invaders.
The few Catfolk who venture into Ardale with peaceful intent are often curious about the different way of life, asking many questions.
Because Foxfolk isn't weeaboo enough.
Few people know where Kitsune came from, but even fewer care. These days they live as wandering Caravanserai, travelling from village to village selling their wars and telling fortunes.
Most of what I've come up with for Sylphs is based on this picture.
A distinctly 'otherworldy' race, Sylphs are believed by many to be from another Plane, but they are in fact Mortal. Their outlook on life is very unusual, valuing secrets above everything else, no matter how inconsequential. 
This picture actually belongs to me.
A aquatic, green-skinned race Sirine's are known to live far North of Ardale. Sirine's are obsessed with beauty in all its' forms, from the traditional to the esoteric. A Sirine may find beaaty in a human face, or a great song, but they can just as often delight in the trajectory of an arrow fired from a masterwork bow, or the blood spraying from someone's neck, as long as the deathblow was delivered with skill.
Not as many pictures as the Tiefling.
While rare, it is possible for a Celsestial being to breed with a Mortal. No matter which race the parent is from, the resulting child will be an Aasimar. The child will often inherit physical traits from their unusual parentage, the most common of which is alabaster skin. Their outlook on life often mirrors that of their parent, wishing to do good in the world and protect the innocent.
There's no shortage of Tiefling pictures to choose from.
In the same way a Celestial may breed with a Mortal, the Daemonic races may do the same. The main difference is that Tieflings rarely pick up an evil nature from their parentage, instead inheriting a rebellious outlook. Other people rarely trust them, however, due to their fiendish appearance.
Chaond on the left, Zenythri on the right.
Good Outsiders create Aasimar and Evil Outsiders create Tieflings. However, there are Lawful Outsiders and Chaotic Outsiders too. Chaonds are descended from the Chaotic Slaad and are often very strange-looking. Zenythri descend from Axiomites and look like normal humans, except for an uncommon skin colouring. Both tend to inherit an outlook similar to their parentage.
Monkey-men, basically.
Hailing from far away across Oceans, the Vanara are a strange race. Known for both Wisdom and eccentricity, Vanara who are willing to travel to Ardale do so to fulfil a spiritual journey. Those few Vanara that have been born within Ardale tend to feel spiritually lost, struggling to find their place in a country both foreign and home.
These are just here because I love them.
Not a true Mortal race, a Warforged can be one of two things. The most common has an artificial soul, created by a spellcaster with a yearning for offspring that they cannot fulfil for some reason. The second type has a soul transplanted from another Mortal, one who feared death and the afterlife enough to give up part of their mortality.

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