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Thread: Apr/May '21 Lite Challenge: Tavelren's World

  1. #1
    Guild Expert rdanhenry's Avatar
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    Default Apr/May '21 Lite Challenge: Tavelren's World

    "I am providing a shape and I want you to make a landmass map out of it. Scale is your choice. This could be anything from an island to a continent." Oh, Bogie, you aren't thinking big enough. I'm making this a world! (Albeit a small one, but I could have made it much, much larger.)

    Of course, it certainly isn't suitable for just slapping on a globe, so I'm not going to do so. No, Tavelren's World is a fantastical world in the Spelljammer setting. So, here's some lore, followed by an early WIP (so far, all work done in Krita).

    Tavelren’s World: Lore

    Report to the Admiralty from Captain Laertis Truespear, commanding the Armada Magnificence:

    The fifth major body in the crystal sphere holding the provisional name “Cyclespace” has been given a provisional designation of “Tavelren’s World”, having been initially sighted by Boson Tavelren, who had yet to receive the honor of a planetary namesake. It is something of a curiosity, as the following description shall make clear.

    Tavelren’s World is an earth-body approximately one thousand miles square when looked at from above the habitable side or its reverse, though it is a square much eaten away, so that overall area of habitable surface is considerably less than one million square miles. The habitable surface is largely plains and hills, with only a few true mountains. From its borders, sheer cliffs fall approximately fifteen miles to the body’s plane of gravity. In stark contrast, the opposite side continues with sheer cliffs for a mere three miles before the far surface presents a bleak landscape of black stone mountains resembling spires or straight fangs. On this uninhabited side, mountains may rise as high as seven miles above the surface (and hence ten miles above the gravitational plane) near the center of the surface area.

    Both sides of this unconventional flat world experience weather, providing water that fills various small, but deep, lakes on the uninhabited side and three major lakes on the inhabited side. However, our hydrological experts estimate that at least half of the world’s water exists in a belt encircling the body around the gravitational plane (though with waterfalls, mists, splashes, and various unclassified movements ensuring that while the belt is concentrated around the gravity plane, it spreads across the edges of Tavelren’s World from one side to the other. This appears to serve the same role in the water cycles of this planet as oceans do in more conventional worlds.

    Perhaps the most unusual feature is the “Sea of Fire”. The largest lake-like body on the inhabited side is not any of the three true lakes mentioned above, but an enormous fiery sea that appears to consist not of lava, but actual fire filling a great valley. The surrounding region is for some distance, scorched rock, ash, and soot. Smoke does rise from the Sea of Fire, but much less than one would normally expect from such a conflagration. The depth of this fire sea is, as yet, unknown. As to its nature, there are three possibilities suggested by my crew.

    Chief Planetologist Loxkoldra has put forward the hypothesis that the Sea of Fire is, in fact, a sort of meteorite, being a smaller fire body (or the remnant of such a body) which collided with Tavelren’s World in the distant past. This would explain its self-sustaining nature and its localization in a single (if large) valley, as it represents a phenomenon essentially alien to this world.

    Junior Planetologist Tolvis Otterfriend offers the alternative hypothesis that there is, somewhere below the surface of the Sea of Fire, a connection or connections to the Elemental Plane of Fire, feeding the fire sea. Unlike Loxkoldra’s hypothesis, which provides an exact origin for the Sea of Fire, this suggestion leaves open the question of how these connections appeared in the first place. However, given that various items, spells, or acts of gods could cause a long-standing interplanar nexus to form, this is not an implausible scenario.

    Finally, Ollenstern the Knobby-Fingered, eldest of my crew and the most widely-traveled, has suggested that the source of Sea of Fire might be a creature. It would have to be of enormous size and power, of course, possibly such as to be classified as divine, though Ollenstern has also suggested that the entire sea might be a single fire elemental of unprecedented size. While the notion that some entity is or is the direct source of the Sea of Fire cannot be dismissed out of hand, this appears to me to be considerably less likely than the hypotheses presented by the planetologists.

    Along one edge of inhabited side of the world are two thin peninsulas stretching out in opposite directions. These are lands of snow and ice. The apparent cause of this cold is the geography, leaving fairly thin strips of land between precipitous falls to the water ring at the gravity plane. Icy winds from the depths below, especially on the sheltered side where little light ever reaches the water ring, are believed to produce these icy barrens. Because of the geocultural biases of myself and my ranking officers, we have arbitrarily designated this side of the world its “north”.

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    Guild Expert rdanhenry's Avatar
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    Between these two icy peninsulas is the most rugged hill region of the inhabited side, including a few true mountains. This presents the greatest areas of exposed rock, and it is here that I propose to collect geological samples when we perform a fuller survey. Most plant growth here is low-lying plants, hardy lichens, or patches of the coniferous forest that is common in the “north”.

    The rivers of Tavelren’s world are extensive and provide a trade and communications network that may allow for fair-sized nations despite a somewhat-backward state of advancement. There is only a single town large and developed enough to be termed a city, on the edge of the largest lake. For the most part there are small towns or large villages around each lake and along some of the more substantial rivers. Elsewhere, small villages are common, but not larger settlements. Of course, we have as yet no knowledge of what degree of civilization may exist underground. There is certainly room between the surface and the gravity plane for a substantial subterranean world.

    As noted, the northern part of the world has substantial coniferous forests. The rest has deciduous forests. Otherwise, it is mostly grasslands, though cultivated fields also appear. A few areas are bare, leaving exposed rock. There are no true deserts, except possibly the ice peninsulas. The area about the Sea of Fire is a wasteland, but except for that area and the far north, the entire land is fertile.

    While it is too early to state conclusively whether we have found a new Elvish civilization to bring into our great empire, the “southwest” region appear the most promising place to look. Here the thick deciduous forest grows tall and preliminary observations have identified possible elevated towns similar to those built by our people on many worlds.

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    Community Leader Bogie's Avatar
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    Nice work rdanhenry, welcome to the challenge ! Great backstory too!

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    Guild Expert rdanhenry's Avatar
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    This is where I am now. Not going to work on it for a bit. Creative priority at the moment is a Mothers' Day card.

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    Community Leader Bogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdanhenry View Post
    Creative priority at the moment is a Mothers' Day card.
    You sir, have your priorities correct!

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    Guild Expert rdanhenry's Avatar
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    "Looking at the system masterchart, you will immediately observe that there are no major fire bodies, those existing being minor satellites of the larger outer worlds. The central point of the sphere is occupied by a fairly large air body. There are, therefore, very few light sources except for the crystal shell itself. However, this particular shell offers more than glittering stars to the worlds within. The name 'Cyclespace' has been given as a provisional name due to the regular cycle of day and night that is system wide. The interior of the crystal shell periodically brightens, illuminating the whole of the space within, then fades again into star-speckled night. This is clearly adequate to support life on several worlds, though the nature of this light is yet to receive a rigorous analysis.

    "It should be pointed out that this appears to present no hazard to travel, as the light is not quite blinding, even approaching the surface of the shell. While the shell becomes warm, it is nowhere near the heat of the typical system-illuminating fire body. I have already confirm through experiment that the phenomenon does not interfere with movement through the crystal sphere, either back out into the Phlogiston or from the Phlogiston into the interior of the sphere. The phenomenon cycles over a thirty-six hour period, with twenty hours of light and sixteen of darkness. It is hypothesized that extended observation may find that this ratio varies to provide seasons, but that is not yet confirmed."


    I have added a simple representation of the inner bodies of the system to my map, and this may be the final touch. I need to figure out what Utopia looks like.

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    Community Leader Bogie's Avatar
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    Very Cool!

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