Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nerd in Need!

Calling all nerds, geeks, and worldbuilders!

My buddy Nils over at Enderra.com/ is in need of place naming assistance. Check it out and lend a hand or tongue.............oh shut up, it's not even dirty!

I'm doing my part with the following:

Donjon - Complete Fantasy Generator

Behindthename.com - Random Name Generator

These are a couple of regular name gennies I use all the time. Donjon is great for a number of things - I especially like the Random Weather Generator because it provides a day to day feel for any story. Just imagine the grumblings of a sodden dwarf ringing out his beard as a halfling splashes in puddles. Meanwhile the elf is bemoaning wet bowstrings and the human adventurer complains of rusting armor. The ranger/druid loves a refreshing spring rain because it's the closest they've come to a good wash in weeks.

Behind the Name is great for all sorts because it gives the history of the name, alternates/roots, famous bearers, and frequency. I love this because I'll pull bits an pieces of famous bearers and use them as parts of the character who carries the same handle.

I'll post other favs and resources in the future, but Nils admonished I not squander them all at once.

Nils, I hope this helps.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Mad Lands

I slept on it and I think I may still include this last piece in Schiehallion. I never had a name for this island beyond The Mad Lands. I know, it sucks. It was a minor part of the story that I'm not sure if I'll use or not.
Here it is:
It's nothing spectacular, just Australia spun a bit. The idea was that there was some sort of toxic spore emitted from within the earth that would drive any living organism mad. People, animals, fish, plant life, anything alive. It was a rather weak story point known as the Time of Madness, or simply Madness. The idea behind it is that the wicked, jealous earth god sought to wreak havoc on the things living on the surface because they are all by products of the benevolent sky god. It sounds rather Biblical when I say it like that, but I'll cover that more later.

Anyway, whether I keep this as The Mad Lands or not is what has me stumped. I could see how it goes keeping with the idea that it's this cradle of blight. Or I may make it the homeland of the reptilian Thissians and bring them in from another world - Vastmorlund - the same world of the Armans, Sumaka, Mantu, and Torongo. I'll have to give it some thought. Vastmorlund was never a favorite of mine, just a happenstance that came with practice.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Knorr'd and Landen

These are basically the last of the maps for Schiehallion. There was going to be one more, but I may discard it however well it fit the planet, tectonically speaking. These two were kind of the beginning of the end for this world. I made them because I felt I didn't have enough....then decided maybe I'd done too much. Once I had totally overwhelmed myself I stepped away for a while and began fiddling with other worlds. I thought that using maps others had already created would give me less to do with worries about topography and I could focus on people, monsters, locations, etc. Then I just never really returned to Schiehallion until I started this blog to give me reason to go back.
This is Knorr'd. It's eastern coast was once butted up against NW Schiehallion and Western Galedon (the Carvetti region). It has now drifted westward in a slightly polar motion making the northernmost island nearly uninhabitable, but prime whaling and seal hunting territory. The largest landmass is much like Norway with extremely rugged coastlines and deep fjords. A mainly fishing/seafaring people the Knorr'ds (another obvious name used in Skyrim) are modeled very closely after Vikings but without the tendency to raid and pillage foreign lands. They mostly fight amongst each other over fishing rights and who builds the best boats. The hostilities aren't so brutal, but there is many a slugfest if peoples from the rival communities have a few too many.
This is Landen. It used to be one very large continent until an asteroid slammed into what is now the eastern sea area and broke the land into two. The following earthquakes and upheavals brought more ocean pouring in and swallowing over half the land Atlantis style. This is where I stopped.

Another world I developed shortly after this was Vastmorlund, but that will be my next post. I'm now considering pulling in cultures from that world to place on/in Landen. They would be the Mediterranean like Arman Empire and the rival jungle peoples of Mantu and Torongo. But if I do that then I may also have to transplant the Thissian lizardfolk and the Arabian-style Sumaka as well. We'll see, since only the Arman and Sumaka were even human.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I give this one a question mark because I don't know that I like the name anymore. They were going to be called the Romons, but c'mon, really? I didn't think so either. And now that I look back Aeglars doesn't grab me like it used to. I know what I want the culture to be; nearly polar opposite from the Caldonii. Where the Caldonii are more or less peaceful homebodies who can raise guerrilla hell when pushed, the Aenglars are militaristic conquers who fight in heavily ordered regiments. Take my original inspiration - "barbarian" Briton tribes against "civilized" Roman legion. Geography has always impacted how I write. It defines the culture in the way the land requires people to live, it will only allow certain lifestyles before you're fighting an uphill battle against dwindling resources. Carrying capacity folks, it's where it's at. And speaking of battle, topography greatly dictates fighting style, which in turn is evident in weapons, armor, architecture, and so on.

None of that means a great deal because these are very basic, blank outline maps, but trust me it's all there.....I just have to get around to it. So enough jabber, here's Aengland....

If it isn't really obvious, this is England. Just England. Not the entire United Kingdom. There is no Wales, Scotland, Isle of Man, or North Ireland. It's pretty blah with no rivers or terrain features......but that makes this even more of a bonus!

It's not the greatest copy ever, but this was the result of hours of effort on behalf of my cousin-in-law Kara. Thanks again Kara! I know it probably wasn't as hard as I imagine for a professional to polish the amateur crap I gave you and actually make it look like.....well, a map. I still think it's impressive. Not my work, yours.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


This is Farnoria, the aboriginal homeland of mankind. This is where it all began....for the humans at least. This was "home" ages ago when men were first learning to craft and forge. Barbaric, tribal clans were the peak of development.

I don't have any grand or concrete ideas about this place. I had decided a long time ago that I wanted the Caldonii to be a race of wanderers and that they would have come from somewhere before leaving Galedon for Schiehallion. The reason for the exodus from Galedon was war with another people, the Aenglars (more on them later). The question that is burning in my mind now is "Are the Aenglars human?" When this began they were. They were in fact modeled very much after the Romans that invaded Brittania and tried to subjugate the Picts and other Britons. I had this notion for the "advanced" militaristic society to invade with superior armor, weapons, tactics, etc. But now I think 'that's been done to death before'. 

What really troubles me is Bethesda's "Skyrim". I started all this years ago before I'd ever even heard of Elder Scrolls or played Oblivion or even cracked a D&D book. Now I find myself surrounded by such inspiring distractions because they're part and parcel to being a fantasy geek. And Skyrim is the worst of them all because it's the best of them all. It's so well done and amazing that I spend way too much time with a controller in my hands, making new characters and wandering them around and thinking up their back story, time I should be spending at the keyboard doing my own stuff. As anyone who has played it knows, the Nords (a fairly standard name I'd used for my Vikings on yet another map) are the hearty scrappers seeking to free their homeland from the very Romanized empire. I don't want to do that yet again in my story. So I'm seeking to adapt. Maybe the Aenglars possess magic that makes them better at war - they can fight from a greater distance meaning simply more of them walk away from a battle than those that meet blade to blade.

I'll have to delve more into this and see what bubbles up. Until now the only race that was going to have magic in the world was faeries. Hmm.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Galedon and Bro'kuhn

Stepping away from mainland Schiehallion, these are the northeastern and southwestern continents of Galedon, the homeland of the humans, and Bro'kuhn the current home of the giants.
Galedon is the ancestral home of the Caldonii - taken directly from Caledonii, the Roman name for early Pictish tribes. It means "the people of Caledonia". Caledonia basically means rocky/tough/hard land. It's thought that the Romans didn't bear much respect for the enemies they sought to conquer - but isn't that how a conquering/invading army usually works? A lot of name calling on the part of the "super power" while the infantryman or auxiliary conscript forced to face off against a native foe on native soil may nod a begrudging respect to their indomitable spirit. Anyway, the Romans unwittingly paid them quite a compliment that is remembered to this day by naming the Caledonii as rocky/hard/tough people. All of this came about when a light bulb went off in my head while researching a final paper on Hadrian's Wall for my Frontier Studies class. It was just the creative spark I needed. And now I can't seem to stop world building. I'm addicted!

The rough size of Galedon is about 1.8 million square miles. Each of the three "horns" was home to the Caldonii tribes of (east to west) Carvetti - a friendly lake land, seafaring people of good neighborly relations with the Caldonii (middle) and the more remote and standoffish Gothos. The central Caldonii are modeled after highland Scots and the Carvetti are like the Irish and Cumbrians. The Gothos were a hearty Viking like people who mostly kept their own council and were not overly concerned with the affairs of the outside world. Going way way back to their aboriginal homeland, Farnoria (coming next time), the Gothos are most like the very first humans to wander and take to the sea. To give an idea of what the terrain and climate of Galedon is like, picture a mix of Alaska and the Scottish Highlands.

This land of giants takes it's name from literally being broken off from the mainland and heaved farther out into the sea. The islands of the east coast make the waters between them and the reaching southwestern fingers of mainland Schiehallion quite treacherous. This is compounded by the fact that giants in this world are notorious rock chuckers who love nothing better than splintering a ship on the crags with a well thrown boulder. I'm still working out why the giant(s) tore off a corner of the continent and cast it away. Perhaps they were tired of the persecution they suffered at the hands of other races.
If I can come up with a good name/translation for "one who rends asunder" that could be the giant who flung away the piece to make his own hiding place across the waves. It took all he had to do it, but he wasn't able to distance himself enough. So now he sits exhausted on the shores of Bro'kuhn staring back at the home he can never return to. Both lands are his, but he may only claim a small scrap of what was once a grand paradise. I may incorporate a story about the smaller islands being created by the descendants of the cast away giant who had a boulder throwing contest to test their strength/pay homage to their forefather. Over time the channel became choked with more and more islands from these games.
I love how ideas like that just come to me as I'm writing. Giants, yes they're big and mean and will huck rocks at passersby....but why? There has to be a reason for their angst and aggression. Even if their victims don't understand that maybe in the past the giants themselves were driven away by stoning, it lends a sadness to the inner character of the race that only the reader gets to bear witness to. Poor "monsters". Bro'kuhn is about a quarter the size of mainland Schiehallion, or approximately 750,000 square miles.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Schiehallion Map

These are some very basic, very rough maps of the main continent of my original world. I have no idea what to call the whole planet/world itself, I have only ever referred to it as Schiehallion, which is in fact only the very northern part of this continent. 

I decided to use Ireland because the shape itself has a lot of character and potential. It's also because the majority of names for people and places comes from Gaelic. The actual mountain Schiehallion is almost dead center in Scotland, but I used the Scotland map as the ancestral homeland of the humans in this world. The top center has been modified a bit to house what was originally in my head for the terrain. This may change as time goes on and the story develops, but seeing as how this was the first of 8 continents and they all fit together (or did in the very distant past) like Pangaea I would most likely have to change a lot of other stuff if I modify this. 

Here is some pencil work I was toying with once I had the full continent in shape. Only the northern third (above the dotted line) has spent any time getting really developed, the rest was just an idea for filler. Looking at it now I don't think the landmass will be big enough to encompass an equatorial region. Although it may have to because I always pictured a large southwestern island (that map will come later) as being like a tundra. We'll see.

 To give a loose idea of scale, the map takes up a full sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. If 1 cm = 100 miles it would be approximately 3,000,000 square miles. This would seem more like a continent roughly the size of the US or Europe. Or if 1 inch = 100 miles it would be considerably smaller at about 630,000 square miles - roughly twice the size of Texas. I think for the variety of climate, terrain, and time taken to travel distances that I originally imagined, it would be better served to have the whole landmass America sized and the immediate area surrounding Schiehallion mountain (the large cone near the northern coast) would be about Texas size. 

I'm eager for any input in case there's something I haven't considered. Nils I'm kinda talking to you here ;)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In the beginning

This is my second post on my second blog, but it really should have been the first on the first.

Way back when (something near to 3 years now) I decided to start writing. Not anything complete, not anything that I thought I might eventually publish, it was just for fun. Mostly it was to fill time between and during college courses when my brain had had its fill of anthropology studies.

I had been a fan of Tolkien - namely the Hobbit - since early high school, but it was really the Lord of the Rings movies that grabbed my imagination and started the wheels turning. I have read and enjoyed other fantasy authors as well; Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, R.A. Salvatore, to name a few. My interest in fantasy writing became a fun outlet for all of the years I had spent studying history, mythology, anthropology, and archaeology. I loved the way humans of different cultures changed (or not) through time. I loved how they sought to explain the unexplainable. I loved how they learned and built and modified their world. And I thought, I can do that!

Thus began Schiehallion. My first ever attempt at world building or fantasy. 

It started with bits and pieces, mostly names for places and characters. Dwarves here, elves here, gnomes/halflings here. I tried to make each part unique so I wasn't rehashing what D&D had already been doing since the 70s. At the time I knew nothing of D&D or Pathfinder or Warhammer. I only knew "that stuff is for nerds." As time went on and I ventured farther down the path into the deep dork forest I found that compared to lots and lots of other people I was a HUGE nerd myself. Once you realize that and embrace it it's oddly liberating. That was the first hurdle.

The next was what to call what I was doing. I didn't know what "world building" was. I didn't know what to do with this new hobby. I didn't know how to describe it. I didn't even know what to call this world I'd created. It wasn't until my final year of college that I came across the name Schiehallion. But I'll explain more about that later because that's what really kicked things off and got the ball rolling. It's been rolling ever since. More to come...