I decided today that it was due time for another development post but I wasn’t sure what to write about. For the past week or so, my mind has been buzzing with ideas not about the setting itself, but how I would like to play with it in the near future. I’ve decided that I will be developing over the next little while some adaptations to the FATE system, rather than D&D 4E which I’ve been using, partly to explore the possibility and partly because I think the system is neat and I want to play around with it.
I’m hoping it won’t turn out too much like Legends of Anglerre, but having that as a reference material means I can do my best to break away from it where I think it’s necessary. I’m currently hoping the magic system will be fun to look into and playtest.
Without further ado though, I’ll present a few little details that have grown over the last little while.
If I’ve not mentioned before, the setting is now more generally known as the Old Crown, since it was previously a monarchy stretching several hundreds of miles. The old capital was Queenstown, the last handful of rulers having been queens rather than kings. Kingsmead was a village that grew to a town after it gained a royal charter to produce mead for the Royal Household. It retains this fame despite the last monarch disappearing a few hundred years ago.
The de facto ruler of what is now the Queenstown city-state is Margrave Hawksmoore (so I suppose the suitable term is ‘Margravate’). It encompasses Queenstown, the great plains inland to Kingsmead and beyond, despite being rugged wilderness interspersed with some farmland up until the foothills and mountains of the Dragonspines to the west. Across the mountains are the lands of the Wick, who are fierce horsemen. Little else is known about them, other than their subjugation many many centuries ago by the old Dragonkin Empire far to the west.
The Dragonspine mountains curl north, so they also for the northern border. The most northerly town that could be considered part of the city-state is Raethmoore, though it fields its own militia at a border point with the neighbouring Northern Imperial Republic. This is also the home of the largest magic academy in the Old Crown region.
To the south of Kingsmead stretches the sparsely populated Slateleaf Forest, which eventually becomes slightly more populated Redwood. There is a road south from Queenstown to Redwood, bypassing Slateleaf, though Redwood itself long ago stopped paying tithes to Queenstown.
Further south again is the Darkling Swamp, said to be home to all manner of exotic magics and races. The Darkling Tribes skirmish frequently over land issues, though they all control a sizeable area. These areas are normally called ‘farthings’, and mint their own interchangeable currencies. More on that shortly.
Queenstown is a busy port, and often has traders sail north to the ports of the Northern Imperial Republic, south into the ocean bound for the Spice Islands, or East towards the sunrise until reaching the City of Festivals.
That’s all I had on general geography, other than the old warring Dragonkin Empire and the Devilkin Kingdom being far to the west, and any members of those races in the area being wanderers (with the s bringing having a gypsy flare to their culture).
I suppose I should mention the list of races currently in the setting:
Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes (without the invisibility power), Dragonkin, Giantkin (Goliaths), Devilkin (Tieflings), Crowfolk (Kenku), Darklings (Shadar-Kai but wasn’t too sure if they needed more tweaking), Goblins, Kobolds, Orcs, Ratlings (Nezumi from the old Oriental Adventures), Shifters, Warforged, Toadfolk (Bullywugs) and Vanara (also from Oriental Adventures, humanoid monkeys).
Languages got more complicated too. The different areas (Queenstown Margravate and Northern Imperial Republic) had different versions of Common, since the latter was based upon Elven. The common trade tongue was Dwarven, and in fact all dwarves in the area had come from across the sea. Gobber, the language of goblins, had infiltrated certain tongues, such as the Crowfolk Creole. The Wick spoke a language based upon Draconian, and the Devilkin all had their own form of Common which many travelers used as it picked up concepts from all over the place.
Coinage was also an issue. I had originally thought of making the coinage similar to the British system before decimalisation in the 1970s. That would mean 240 pennies to the Crown (as I’d decided the name to be). Also, it was a silver standard, much like Britain used to be.
In the end, for ease, I made 100 pennies to the Crown, but added in coins of varying amounts, such as the Half Crown, Florin (quarter Crown), Shilling (five pennies), pennies and even ha’pennies (for certain goods, such as gruel or water). Hammers, a Dwarven coin worth four Crowns, and farthings (occasionally seen outside the Darkling Tribes) only worth a quarter penny in Queenstown. A Half Crown was literally a half coin, and a florin could be either half of a half crown, or a coin with about as much silver as that.
As you can see, some of the details I’ve gone into get a bit deep, but I was trying to make a deeper, richer setting as best as I could. I’m going to try and take a step back and work away at a FATE system incorporating as much of the above as I can. Races will likely be an important factor, as will how to handle the various flavours of magic currently in use (Arcanery, Divinity, Elementality, and in some ways primal forces and Chi made an appearance).
If anyone would like to hear more on these pretty disparate topics, please contact me in the usual ways. Feedback on the above always encouraged. I expect the next post will deal with the geography of Queenstown, in order that I have a bit more time to get a handle on some of these new rules.