Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Valderia Ho! - Building a Humanocentric Fantasy Setting

While Moran exists in a pretty typical fantasy world with all the trappings, Valderia itself is a place that is very humanocentric. The empire was forged by humans who settled on the content from across the seas and who carved out first a niche and then a domain for themselves over thousands of years. To this end, both the Valderian and Lynderman humans of the continent of Moran see their hard-earned lands as theirs and give little consideration to other species who would take it.

Moran has even greater reason for it's very human habitation than most of the campaign world as its earlier elven inhabitants abandoned it unknown eons ago and the dwarves seem content to remain nestled in the under realms. Sure, orcs, bugbears, goblins and hobs all litter the landscape, but you will rarely find pointed ears or a beard among the human populations and there is not a fuzzy foot to be found anywhere. But where does this leave players?

Sure part of the appeal of playing in a fantasy setting is the unique opportunity to play something other than man, so when most of the options are removed, what is left. the answer in the Valderian campaign is greater detail of human culture and an accentuation of stereotype and national flare. This is to say that a human from he continent of Moran is more defined by where he is from than what he is. While Valderians are arrogant blue blooded and aloof, Caravossans are boisterous, rowdy and tough. the rustic folk of Tortionne are a stark contrast to the bravos of Capron.

In the Valderian campaign, human region will be given attribute modifiers, bonus languages, and skills as well as possible special abilities based on its national character, effectively making each a distinct "race" in the setting. These, along with the orcs (discussed another time), allow for a mostly human setting with enough non-human spice to punctuate that thematic point nicely.

Here is what I have so far. This is by no means final, but shows you the direction I'm headed.

Reputation: Nobles
+1 INT, +2 CHA, -1 STR, -1 CON, -1 WIS
Automatic Languages: Valderian, Spesian
Bonus Languages: Lynderthal, Dwarvish, Orc, Hobgoblin, Cantolli, Laventine, Elvish, Trade Tongue
Bonus Skills: diplomacy, horsemanship

Reputation: Rubes
+1 STR, +1 CON, -1 INT, -1 DEX
Automatic Languages: Spesian
Bonus Languages: Valderian, Orc, Laventine

Reputation: Bravos
+1 STR, +2 DEX, -2 WIS, -1 INT
Automatic Languages:  Spesian
Bonus Languages: Valderian, Laventine
Bonus Skills: weapon finesse, con

Reputation: Artistes
+1 DEX, +2 CHA, -1 STR, -1 CON, -1 WIS
Automatic Languages: Laventine
Bonus Languages: Valderian, Spesian, Cantolli, Trade Tongue
Bonus Skills: weapon finesse, etiquette

Reputation: Pirates
+2 DEX, +2 CON, -2 WIS, -2 CHA
Automatic Languages: Spesian
Bonus Languages: Laventine, Trade Tongue, Sea Cant
Bonus Skills: wailing, navigation

+1 CHA, +2 WIS, -2 STR, -1 DEX
Reputation: Traders
Automatic Languages: Spesian, Trade Tongue
Bonus Languages: Cantolli, Valderian, Laventine, Lynderthal
Bonus Skills: negotiate, appraise

Reputation: Fighters
+2 STR, +1 CON, +1 DEX -2 INT, -1 CHA, -1 WIS
Automatic Languages: Cantolli
Bonus Languages: Spesian, Lynderthal

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