Well, I can’t believe I finished the D30 challenge. I made a post every day except for the days I didn’t and covered all the topics earnestly except for the ones I thought were silly. I still covered those, just not earnestly. OK, while I may have missed a couple of days and may not have given some topics as much weight as others I did make a post about everything on the list. Except for that one day where I talked about something completely different instead.
The point is, that’s over and done with, but I don’t want to lose the momentum of posting regularly. So I’m going to come up a topic for different days of the week. Maybe not everyday, I don’t know yet. But I do know that Wednesdays will be (just a second, let me turn the echo on here) “Workshop Wednesdays!”
Which will be- (let’s turn this damn echo off again. There, that’s better.). Which will be about world building and campaign design. For years I’ve tinkered with a few different fantasy settings of my own, and a few of them have even seen some adventuring time. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about dusting some of that old material off and writing/rewriting some things, but I haven’t gotten much of anything done. So every Wednesday I am going to attempt to flesh out some world building details here.
Typically when I start thinking about a world, I get bogged down in maps and statistics. I feel like I need to “see” where all these places are, and then I feel like I need to know what their population is, plot the gross domestic product, write down how many head of cattle there are… I tend to bog myself down cataloging nuts and bolts without ever taking an honest look at what I’m building. Maps and some of that other stuff are important, and I plan on revising the most recent one I have (again), but first I want to write something more substantial (less substantial?) down about one of the kingdoms that will be detailed therein. To that end, I am going to write-up a brief snippet of fluff about the kingdom of Vagir. In the coming weeks I will flesh out other areas of the world, and I hope to eventually post a map.
Vagir: Riches in a Sea of Dust
On a peninsula that stretches out into the Shining Sea lies the kingdom of Vagir. Old as the mountains, Vagir’s influence once stretched across the entire continent. Her riches were vast and her armies were legendary. But the desert sands have devoured much of what once was, and Vagir is but a shadow of its former self. Crumbling ruins dot the landscape, watched over by massive ziggurat and broken obelisks, echoes from another time. However, Vagir is far from dead. In the great city of Vagir, jewel of the Southern Coasts, merchant princes still hold considerable wealth and vie for power.
Today, Vagir is little more than a powerful city-state situated on the Southwestern coast of the continent of Al’Tarin. It straddles a great river, and enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Vast stretches of desert and areas of sparse vegetation spread out from the city in either direction. While technically a kingdom, Vagir has little central authority when it comes to enforcing its will on the territories it claims fiefdom over. Those lords who claim fealty to the crown are loyal only so far as such loyalty benefits them, and the monarchy of Vagir would likely think twice before it sought to test these loyalties by marshaling higher taxes or levying troops from such lords.
Indeed, Vagir’s king is little more than a figurehead with very little real power. The real power in Vagir is held by powerful merchant guilds, and the self-described merchant princes who oversee their operations. Most of these men and women are powerful lords in their own right, commanding mercenary forces and riches that the crown could scarcely hope to rival. As such, life in Vagir is often harsh for the common man, with tradesmen suffering under high taxes and serfs being little more than chattel. The cliché “he who has the gold makes the rules,” is nowhere more true than it is in Vagir.
Between the pockets of civilization and outside the boundaries of Vagir’s trade routes lie the scattered ruins of the once great Vagiran Empire. Great riches lay buried in the shifting sands, and powerful storms can bury (or uncover) ancient cities in a single day. Tribes of nomadic herdsman crisscross the deserts and sparse plains, preferring this harsh and meager existence to the bondage of city life.