Paelnor

Paelnor is a land of contrast: where there is no Jungle, there is only desert. And the desert grows year by year. Before the migration of the Akhirs, Paelnor was likely covered entirely in Jungle, save for the rocky wastes of the western province. Deforestation and changes in weather, however, have impacted the climate and enviroment, and for many hundred years, Paelnor has been a land of sands. With the exception of Gazee, built in the Sabrio Valley, and Diirdec on the coast, the large towns of Paelnor are built around desert oases.

Traders are frequently met crossing the deserts of Paelnor. Caravans bring strange goods from the Ortian lands, as well as those things brought in from beyond the seas. The Karkuran horses are often unsuited for making the journey across the badlands of the southern empire. Instead, Camels bred in the provinces of Ortia and Paelnor are used by those making the long trek between Gazee and Solaris.

While Paelnor is part of the Cirsovan empire, it is only scantly administered. Taxes and tariffs from the province are imposed on goods exiting the province from Gazee or Diirdec, and a governor is in place in Kieab, located between Gazee and the Aiki crossroads, whose primary function is to ensure that trade continues on the road. Frolna and Xeln, which are located far to the west of Kieab, within the wastes, are under no governance from the Empire. Goods travel there and emerge from there, and so long as they do, the Empire and the Governor are satisfied. Beyond Frolna and Xeln, it is said, that there are unknowable and unspeakable monuments to the forgotten time, predating by countless centuries even the arrival of the seafaring proto-Akhirs.

 

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16 responses to “Paelnor

  1. I haven’t read most of your encyclopedia entries — how much/do you find ES influencing your worldbuilding? I ask because I’ve spent a lot of time reading ES lore recently, and I know you’re a fan. ;)

    –Dither

    • It’s hard to say. I came up with Cirsova long before I became a huge Elder Scrolls fan. Originally, i’d conceived of the Cirsovan empire to be a lot more powerful, but the more I wrote, more I saw it as kind of a backwards and decadent culture that was losing what grasp it had on its empire, mostly because they became obsessed with luxury goods being produced by the remnant of a culture that holds a sort of orientalist fascination for them. In the meantime, the southern provinces are doing fine on their own, having established trade beyond the seas with countries that are ‘veiled in mystery’ as far as the nominal ruling class is concerned.

      As far as the Cirsovans, they’re almost more like the Macedonians; they arrived as a kind of backwards invader culture, settled down, and were largely unimportant until a single powerful chieftain conquered the neighboring city states and then established an empire. Unlike the Macedonians, they didn’t adopt a more ‘civilized’ culture to spread (Karkuras was hardly Attica) and they didn’t press their military might across the continent, meaning the southern provinces are more vassal states, and consider themselves more or less independent.

      Ethnically, the heartland Cirsovans are your typical fantasy europeans, but lazier and more decadent (so I guess maybe I DID borrow a bit from the Imperials from the Elder Scrolls), the Polarans are an odd mix of norse and inuit, the result of the last of the northern peoples coming together in one last location, unwilling or unable to adapt by moving farther south. The Marshfolk inspired by my own ignorant ideas about real world raft-building peoples. Karkurans are inspired somewhat by nomadic steppe horse peoples, but are ethnically ambiguous. Paelnor and Ortia are mostly influenced by the quasi-arabian fantasy setting of Dunsany’s Pegana.

      • By strange coincidence, I discovered ES places 8-10 major cities and settlements per region, much as I have (though I arrived at the number before digging into ES lore).

        I can say the high-powered ES setting has definitely effected what I would consider a viable “racial trait,” and my sight was already pretty high due to influences from 4e.

        It’s hard to argue that a per-encounter breath weapon doesn’t MAKE the dragonborn, and the entry-level teleportation power of the eladrin makes even the very *first* battle of a campaign interesting.

        I think with a bit more variety — PHB races are a little samey in spite of the above examples — and with a little less fear of game-breakers (energy resistance and saving throw bonuses are situational enough they should make better racial traits than feat choices)…

        …And I think racial options could be less a shoe-in, and more a serious decision. Despite a professed love for dwarves, I don’t think I can forgive WotC for making them the single best race 2 editions in a row.

        –Dither

      • Mostly, I wanted a world that felt big for my players if they wanted to go off the rails and visit anyplace they wanted. In some ways, I think I was influenced by the “Escape From” choose-your-own-adventure series, which featured lots of towns and other locations; while none of them were fleshed out (man, screw that town that you ALWAYS got captured at if you were ever dumb enough to go there), it felt like a genuinely large world that you were making your way across.

        Having not played 4 or Next, I can’t really speak to the racial bonuses, but at level 1, the Dex bonus for elves ALWAYS felt too good to resist. In a low-level game, it always meant having 1st attack in combat, having the best ranged attack bonus, and having an AC as good as the fighter. Considering that mages were allowed bows in 3e, I always felt like I wasn’t playing the best character available if I weren’t running a bow-wielding Elf Wizard with 20 dex.

        This will be the first time in ages I’ve played a human, because having an extra feat seemed nice, especially on top of fighter bonus feats, which made me feel like some kind of feat-king.

      • Racial bonuses to CON and your choice of STR/WIS alone made dwarves a strong contender for more than half of all 4e classes. Add to that racial proficiency with axes and hammers (for classes stuck with simple weapons), and an encounter self-heal as a minor action…

        Yeah, “Boring But Practical” doesn’t even begin to cover it. That doesn’t even touch on the save vs. prone, -1 to forced movement, and ignore encumbrance penalties… or the bonus to save vs. poison which almost guarantees a pass (+5 is nothing to sneeze at).

        In 3e, dwarves simply have the most features. +2 Constitution (needed by all) in exchange for -2 Charisma (common dump stat) make them a good choice for everything except bard or sorcerer (which is still debatable).

        Darkvision, waraxe “familiarity,” +2 saves vs. poison AND SPELLS (including spell-like abilities), and a +1 bonus to attack rolls against two of the most common low-level enemies — orcs and goblins — makes the 3e dwarf a shoe-in for “The Most Likely To Survive First Level” award.

        –Dither

      • In a game that is combat oriented, I can see how +2 STR and +2 CON is hard to snub. The +2 Con in 3e was nice, but if you’re using the 3.5 rules on max HP at level 1, it’s not as huge a deal. I know they had to balance it out somewhere, but I don’t think that out and out declaring that a race is naturally less charismatic than the others makes a lot of sense, especially since dwarves are hella charismatic in a lot of settings (just look at how many ‘followers’ Thorin had!).

        Personally, I think that making distinctions between races at the ability level is more interesting than at the stat level. Might be easier to balance, too.

      • And I’m not saying that humans aren’t also a strong choice. In most cases, where you either don’t need the dwarf’s ability bonus or you find that you absolutely NEED an extra feat at 1st level, human is a good alternate.

        That applies equally to both 3e/4e.

        –Dither

      • I liked the HeroQuest idea of the Dwarf as a tank-rogue. Their cultural affinity for mechanical crap made them ideal for disabling traps. I think they didn’t even need a tool-kit.

        Humans need something to make them stand out. Really, until 3e, humans were the class to be in vanilla. They need something to reflect their resilience, adaptability and ability to cram as much into their short lifetimes as the longer lived races.

      • While the +2 CON at 1st level mostly gives you +1 hp and +1 Fort saves, a higher CON pays out more the higher you go. There are monsters — I mean — MONSTERS — who derive more hp from CON than from HD.

        If you’re averaging 5 hp per level (d8 classes), an 18-20 CON will literally DOUBLE your hp per level. The humble 14-15 will still give you in the order of +50% hp per level.

        Hard to say what a good drawback for dwarves might’ve been. Crafts tend to be DEX/INT-based, but a natural tendency toward recklessness/greed might suggest a penalty to WIS.

        –Dither

      • Yeah, on second though, having 2-3 times the HP of anything humanoid you’re going up against is going to have distinct advantages, especially if you’re dishing out damage that a wild axe swinging fighter is doing.

        Berserker is not a class. It is not a feat. It is not an ability. With those numbers, it’s a play style.

      • …Yeah.

        I’m pretty sure 4e “Constitution -> starting hp / total healing surges” was a direct result of the CON shenanigans of 3e. On the other hand, CON was super-useful in 3e, whereas it has never been quite as useful in other editions. I’m still not sure where my own feelings lie.

        Come to think of it, I should probably make sure that CON modifies the “healing factor” attribute, to make sure there’s incentive to pump it up.

        ((“Healing factor” is an attribute, defined by race and usually in the 6-7 range, which determines how many hp a character receives from a given healing effect, regardless of its source. The current plan is to collapse both fast healing and regeneration into “healing factor,” so you can guess what one of the draws of the Troll race will be. ;) ))

        –Dither

      • Constitution was really only an advantage early game in a lot of older editions. The +s were smaller, and you only got them for the first handful of levels (I think 8 or 9 was the cap) before HP became a straight + x per level. It was good for classes that didn’t normally have a lot of HP, like mage or rogue. Ironically, Constitution wasn’t a bad dump stat if you were playing a fighter or a dwarf, so long as you didn’t let it drop into a negative. I think everything else constitution was for was highly situational and only applied at really high level gameplay (things like how many times can you physical body handle being brought back from the dead before it falls apart and no magic can save you).

      • I have to admit that I’m a fan of “resurrection mishap” tables, but I’ve never played with a group hardcore enough to use them. #LeSigh

        –Dither

      • This will be the first game I’ve played in where anyone was strong enough to resurrect anyone. I’m still trying to imagine what sort of “horror” we’re going to be dealing with in a Gestalt level 12 horror campaign. All I know thus far is that we’re going to be mercenaries for a caravan owner. Which makes me wonder what sort of merchant can afford to hire a party of level 12 adventurers and what he plans on running into that would need that kind of guard.

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