A Couple of Suggestions for World Builders

Just on the off chance that someone hasn’t discovered these useful tools yet, I have got a lot of mileage out of a series of books by Mark Rosenfelder.



The World of Testudo

In addition to my world of Domibia (currently sort of languishing) I also have the world of Testudo which I created as something to work on while burned out of Domibia.

The world is on the shell of a gigantic turtle (though the inhabitants don’t really know that). Each of the different plates of the shell are separated from each other by a phenomenon known as the Veil, a magic cloud bank that is filled with wraith-like creatures that drain fatigue and magical energy.


The outer edge of the shell abuts an ocean, but the Veil blocks most folks from doing any real exploring.

Long in the past the world was discovered by a race called the Alezer (sort of like high tech Melnibonean elves). They explored and colonized this clearly magical world and imported humans as servants. Over the course of a thousand years or so, the humans came to outnumber the Alezer and ran most of the day to day business. Then about 50 years ago the humans revolted and a war was fought for the next 30 years until the humans defeated the Alezer.

Each of the different “shards” have a distinct feel and their own gods that oversee that particular realm. A couple of the shards were never really settled by the Alezer and were used as a sort of pressure valve for human groups that didn’t make useful servants (like the Roman legion that they gathered from Dalmatia circa 300 AD).

My campaign has been limited to the southern most shard, called the Saltlands (Bumanzshur) and one of the only places that was ruled by humans before the great war.

area_7 copy

It is about the size of New Mexico and Arizona together, and is somewhat like Ethiopia/Somalia as far as terrain and climate goes (the primary reason the Alezer never settled here).

Like I mentioned, it is home to groups that made poor slaves to the Alezer. The following description is taken from my player handout for the campaign. Player Handout

There are five major cultures in the Saltlands.
◦ The Ruzina, who are the dominant group (think a less stratified Roman culture with a thing for privacy [emotions and such are not advertised]). There are about 1.5 million in the lake basin and river valley.
◦ The Eagle People dominate the central mountain range (the Eagle Mountains). They are not numerous (188,000 or so) and are loosely Tibetan. They speak U-Tsang and are divided amongst different monasteries, each of which teaches a different martial art. The monastary nearest your land is the Fangshido temple.
◦ The Oamoon culture is loosely pre-Islam Arabic. They speak Luaith and have been mostly pushed to the periphery of the region. They are mostly nomadic but there are several towns and a small salt & fishing city on the eastern boundary (part of the ocean is within the Veil). There are around 130,000 on the eastern side of the Eagle Mountains.
◦ There are numerous “barbarian” tribes that are scattered between the lake and the western boundary. They are made up of outlaws from the Ruzina kingdoms and immigrants from beyond the Veil (there have been many mercenary types that have known only war and have taken to banditry). There are around 500,000 in a variety of tribes and “kingdoms”.
◦ The Zulu are a separate tribe from the other “barbarians” and try to interact as little as possible with the other cultures that are around them. They speak isiZulu and number around 30,000 (mostly nomadic shepherds). They are somewhat feared by their neighbors for their height, black skin and skill as warriors.

I made up naming languages for all these cultures (based on their original tongues), which you can peek at here:
word list

I also made cultural mini-templates for each culture as well as professional templates (heavily modified from Dungeon Fantasy on the Cheap) and the various Martial Arts styles that would be common.
You can check that out here: Testudo templates

That is all for the moment.