Shatterworld: Behind the Scenes

Welcome guests! I hope you've enjoyed exploring Calabria thus far. In this corner of the world, I'll discuss some of my ideas behind the creation of Shatterworld, and where I see it going. My hope is that some of you will choose to use Shatterworld as your RPG campaign world, and enjoy many hours of gaming there.

I also welcome comments, and would love to know what areas of Calabria you would like to see developed more fully. Here's the Index, if you are looking for something in particular: Index

I've also created a sister blog, Shatterworld: Behind the Scenes, in which I talk about the philosophy of gaming, game mechanics, and other meta-discussions.

First let me say a bit about the feel of adventuring in Shatterworld. Particularly in Calabria, which is where our story starts. I am heavily influence in my ideas of fantasy from novels I read as a teen and in my early 20s. They included Middle-earth, Shannara, Thomas Covenant, Earthsea, Narnia, and Xanth.

However, moreso I have been influenced by traditional folk tales along the likes of the Grimm brothers, The Ulster Cycle, Andrew Lang, and various songs and poetry. In these stories, there is an eerie otherworldliness to encounters with creatures such as elves, dwarves, and such. It is this feeling I am trying to evoke, rather than have a clone of any specific fantasy world.

More to the point, my sensibilities are more Victorian than say, attuned to Mr. T's Night Elf Mohawk. The upshot is that rather than having players play non-human characters (which in my mind tend to become humans that are short or have pointy ears), the non-human characters should be encountered, and their alien nature discovered through play. That is not to say that players should never be permitted to play non-human characters. But all parties should keep in mind that the goal for Calabria is to avoid a "Star Trek: TNG" feeling of familiarity with all alien species. ("He's not really an elf. He's just wearing prothetic ears and he's really good with a bow"). Suffice it to say that it is DM's discretion as to what races (s)he allows for player characters.

Calabria (That island right in the middle of the map with the forest and hills) is over 300 miles across, or over 100,000 square miles. To put it in context, that makes it a little smaller than Germany. England, the setting for the Pendragon campaign and all the Arthurian legends, occupies only 50,000 some square miles.

The Known Lands of Shatterworld
So before you go yearning to know what lies on the Islands outside of Calabria, explore what is before you. There is ample time to expand the world. Right now, a sketch of surrounding lands exists. Dwarves to the north, Elves the southeast. Another human kingdom to the west. Halflings to the northwest. Gnomes are far west in a primeval forest, and Orcs dominate to the south. That should be enough to get you started.

If you haven't been able to tell from the area descriptions so far, Calabria is intended to be a low magic setting, where most people have never even seen an orc, a giant, a dragon, or a magic spell being cast. I think it would be a perfect setting for an E6 campaign (D&D 3.5 variant) E6 Sourcebook.

Happy Adventuring.

All the text and maps on this blog are mine. All of the artwork should be public domain, although I make no claims. Feel free to use this for your own non-commericial settings, and let me know of your adventures.

-Arthur Brill

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