And now for something a little different, from a different setting. This is a setting based on Dungeons and Dragons (mostly 3.5e, a little Pathfinder and Modern), so there won’t be a lot in the way of species descriptions. Instead, there will descriptions of nations, places, planes, and such.
The setting is conceived as a D&D 3.5e setting, though I’m not sure if I’ll ever actually use it in a real D&D game. However, I’m not just drawing from 3.5e sources. My primary source is the RSRD along with UA, but I’m also taking a fair bit from the PRD and a little from the MSRD. The three Tomes of Horrors are also a significant source, and I’ve taken a few things from MM2. There’s also some influence from other sourcebooks such as DMG2, MotP, and Draconomicon, mostly just inspirations.
There’s a rough map of the continent here. It’s not really to scale though, as the east half is a little squished; at some point I’ll probably redraw it. The continent as a whole is called Tarosir, and the most notable features are the two mountain ranges — the Backbone bisecting the continent, east from west, and the Dragon’s Teeth cutting off access to the far north.
Mazonia is the second-largest nation on the continent, controlling a vast swathe of tropical rainforest, a huge area of swamp, the rolling plains of savannah, and the foothills of the Backbone. The official boundaries of Mazonia stretch all the way from the western shore to the Backbone, including the entire stretch of the south shore. To the north, it borders Ethagias and Atlartica. However, truly controlling such a vast area is not easy, and the jungle denizens in particular tend to be left to their own devices, most of the time.
There is at least one active volcano buried within the jungle, which overflows every five to seven years but rarely undergoes a violent eruption. The volcano’s peak exceeds 20,000ft, meaning climbers have to worry about altitude sickness due to the thin air. When not in the middle of an eruption, the central crater is generally free of magma but is kept warm by volcanic vents. Not much lives or grows here, though, for the vents regularly let out poisonous gasses1.
Lake Texacocol is a particularly large lake on the savannah, comparable to some of the Great Lakes of Canada; it’s large and deep enough that ships can sail across it.
Mazonia is the multicultural centre of the continent. As a result, you can find pretty much any intelligent race here if you look long enough, especially in the capital city of Elyria. Even orcs, goblins, kobolds, and other similar races are sometimes seen travelling in peave; on occasion, individuals of these races have even been known to enlist into Elyria’s town watch. However, not all races are equally common.
Humans are very numerous in Mazonia, almost enough to be called the dominant race. Dark-skinned humans are common here, especially in the jungle, but pale-skinned ones are also quite numerous.
However, the most numerous race is definitely the halflings. Lightfoot halflings live all across the savannah, either in the Shire, in numerous small villages, or on farms; tallfellow halflings reside in villages bordering the jungle.
The eastern hills of Mazonia boast a tunnel leading to Gathmôr, the underground nation of the drow. As a result, drow are not an uncommon sight in Mazonia, though they’re not often seen outside during the day, due to their sensitivity to the light. As Gathmôr practically has a monopoly on the darkwood industry, Mazonia’s location gives it more ready access to this resource than any other nation.
The deep jungle is home to jungle variants of the standard races2, though the jungle orcs and goblins are not very numerous. Jungle halflings and goblins tend to live in small villages nestled in clearing, while jungle gnomes live on the water, lashing rafts together into a floating village. They navigate through the many rivers and lakes that wind through the jungle. Jungle elves live a semi-solitary life in high treehouses. Jungle dwarves and orcs tend to be more nomadic, never staying in the same place for more than a months or two. There are also lizardfolk and wild elves in the jungle. The lizardfolk live in the southern reaches where jungle fades into swamp, while the wild elves are nomads like the jungle dwarves and orcs.
There are more unusual intelligent races lurking in the jungle, though.3 Vanaras are a highly intelligent subspecies of the common spider monkey, who lives almost their entire life in the jungle canopies, building simply dwellings high above the ground. Saurians are an intelligent variant of the common deinonychus, a little larger and with the brightness component of their colouring reversed. Saurians live in small settlements but often range far out from them, only returning after a month or more.
There are some anthropomorphic races too.3 Pocals are anthropomorphic ocelots that are equally at home on the ground and in the trees; they tend to be nomadic, but occasionally gather in small settlements. Ganeshans are anthropomorphic elephants that live a semi-solitary life, building houses in remote areas and living usually as a family group; sometimes two or three houses may be situated nearby. Kurkadis are anthropomorphic iguanas, and varans are anthropomorphic monitor lizards. — pocals, ganeshans, kurkadis, and varans.
The jungle also boasts a few treants and dryads, and couatls particularly like the Mazonian jungle. There are even rumours of reclusive giants lurking deep in the jungle.
The savannah is dominated by the humans and halflings, but there are a few other intelligent races that are likely to be found here. For example, there are several locations that are home to guardian nagas. Ganeshans are also relatively common on the savannah; similarly to their jungle relatives, they prefer to stay out of the villages, instead usually living on farms.
The slopes of the volcano are inhabited by jungle kobolds2, who live even up near the peak where the air is thin, though not in the crater itself. They don’t built houses, instead living in natural mountain caves.
Several types of anthropomorphic animals roam the swamp.3 There are ammites, anthropomorphic crocodiles who roam through the waterways on barges, often living their entire life on the water. There are rhinefolk, anthropomorphic rhinoceroses who build small villages on some of the more solid areas of the swamp. And there are rakshasas, tiger-like native outsiders with a penchant for mischief; they tend to remain solitary. Some saurians also venture regularly into the swamp where it borders on the jungle.
While not technically part of Mazonia, there are settlements of sahuagin and aquatic elves in the south seas who submit to the rule of Mazonia in some respects, such as appealing to Mazonian justice in some cases where they fail to resolve a situation on their own. These (and other sea creatures) will be covered in more detail in a later post.
Mazonia is a republic governed by an appointed senate. The size of the senate varies a little as members resign and new ones are appointed, but it never drops below thirty or exceeds fifty. Typically it has between thirty-five and forty-five members.
A member may be expelled from the council by unanimous vote (in other words, every member other than the one being expelled needs to vote in favour of the expulsion). These votes are openly done in a council meeting (no anonymity), generally with the member being expelled present at the vote, though this member does not get to vote on the matter of their own expulsion.
A member is appointed by the other members of the senate. First, the prospective member must be nominated by at least three current members. Then, the senate spends some time (usually not more than a day or two) discussing the merits of the prospective member, after which a vote is made. Ties are broken in favour of the prospective member; that is, if the vote is tied, the prospective member is admitted to the senate.
All decisions by the senate are made by vote. The senate does not have a prime minister; all members are considered equal. If a role akin to a prime minister is required for a particular function, a member will be selected just for that function by nomination, discussion, and, if necessary, vote.
Mazonia has a diverse selection of flora and fauna, especially in the jungle. Many kinds of creatures roam the jungle — digesters, girallons, ettercaps, monstrous spiders, and faerie dragons are some of the more fantastic creatures that roam through the jungles. Many more mundane species also live in the jungle, including but not limited to: vampire bats, gorillas, orangutans, capuchin and spider monkeys, pythons, anacondas, tigers, jaguars, iguanas, monitors, parrots, badgers, black bears, eagles, kites, capybaras, toucans, poison frogs, geckos, iguanas, chameleons, army ants, jungle elephants4.
Of course, there are more fantastic variants of some of these mundane animals, like dire variants (bat, ape, tiger) and giant variants (bombardier beetle, chameleon, gecko). There are also several types of dinosaurs in the jungle, including deinonychus, compsognathus, ankylosaur, and parasaurolophus.
In the swamps, there are manticores, shocker lizards, and stirges. There are two types of dinosaur: iguanodons and spinosaurs. There are mundane animals such as crocodiles, alligators, giant crocodiles, and other species typical of tropical swamps. There are dire crocodiles and giant variants of mundane animals: dragonflies (and their nymphs), frogs, leeches, mosquitoes, and slugs.
On the savannah, there’s a lot less in the way of fantastic creatures. There are, however, several types of dinosaurs: tyrannosaurs, brachiosaurs, pachycephalosaurs, and stegosaurs. Giant fire beetles are numerous. More ordinary wildlife is also common: baboons, lions, hyenas, cheetahs, plains elephants4, rhinoceroses, antelope, axe beaks, vultures; wild horses, donkeys, and swine5. There are dire lions and hyenas as well.
In the rivers live hippopotamus and electric eels. Rumour has it that at least one water orm lives in Lake Texacocol. In the foothills of the Backbone, you can find pteranadons, disenchanters, pugwampi gremlins, giant frilled lizards, giant vultures, and phase spiders.
There is some dangerous plant life in Mazonia. Tendriculos and assassin vines live throughout the jungle, especially in the northern reaches and on the slopes of the volcano. Xtabay grows across the savannah, though the halflings and other intelligent races do a pretty good job of keeping it under control.
For epic creatures, Mazonia may boast devastation beetles or legendary tigers in the deep jungle. Mu spores are also a possible deep jungle hazard.
Elyria is the capital city of Mazonia, a sprawling cosmopolitan metropolis with three sets of old city walls marking the former boundaries of the city. If you can see any race in Mazonia, it’s triply true in Elyria. More than that, it’s quite common to hear people conversing in foreign languages (ie languages other than Common), with Halfling, Dwarven, and Undercommon being particularly notable.
Elyria is filled with temples, churches, shrines, guild halls, shops, houses, and all manners of interesting stuff. Every one of the well-known humanoid deities has a temple, church, or shrine dedicated to it in Elyria, even the evil ones; some even have more than one. Of course, that doesn’t mean there are publicly visible cults to the evil deities; their shrines are mostly used to pray that the subject of their domain doesn’t come to pass. There are countless guilds in Elyria; pretty much every significant craft or trade has an associated guild.
Particularly notable is the thieves’ guild, which is more public than thieves’ guilds in other places. The guild is tolerated as long as theft doesn’t spike too high, though the guild still keeps their base secret from most non-members, in case the city council suddenly decides to purge the guild from existence. In order to identify each other, members of the thieves’ guild wear a bracelet of braided threads in black, green, and light blue; this identification mechanism is also kept secret from non-members, and would be changed if it became too well-known.
The town watch is also quite notable, having multiple barracks throughout the city and an office in the Inner City (within the oldest set of city walls). They are widely known for their tolerance — anyone who has a modicum of fighting ability and no debilitating injury or sickness will be accepted, regardless of race. On occasion, even orcs or trolls have joined the Elyria Watch; however, despite the tolerance, it’s predominantly humans in the Watch. Halflings on average seem less interested, and other races just aren’t as common overall.
Elyria is one of only four cities west of the Backbone (the others being Belhaven, Skymouth, and Stoneforge) to have a dedicated airship field. Airships are a relatively recent discovery, having been brought by foreigners from a land beyond the sea. Trading airships occasionally travel between Mazonia and the distant land, bringing back exotic goods.
In addition to alcohol and other common drinks, taverns in Elyria usually serve a drink which they call “chocolate”. It’s not much like modern hot chocolate, more like the Aztec drink xocolatl — the beans are toasted and ground, then adding water and spices, usually including chili peppers or vanilla. Sometimes honey is also added. Each tavern has a slightly different way of preparing chocolate, with a different blend of spices, and some residents of the city always go to a specific tavern solely because they like its chocolate blend. Coffee is unknown here, and tea is known but uncommon.
This is only a small taste of what there is to see in Elyria. It’s a big city with many things in it. At some point, I may make other posts on significant buildings, organizations, or people of Elyria.
The wild swine are not as ferocious as their forest-dwelling cousins and would use the stats of domesticated pigs (such as seen in the Familiar entry in Pathfinder Bestiary 3, though a gore attack could be added, perhaps 1d6) rather than boars. ↩