Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Sarterra I See Before Me

I know many of you are wondering how the creation of our fantasy world, Sarterra is coming along. Well, I like to think that anyway! I f I were to run into you however, say, at Fall-In! or something and you were to ask, my answer would be a resounding, "Swimmingly!"

Over a year ago I first posted on this endeavor. The four of us sat down with a copy of the incredibly cool game, Dawn of Worlds at hand and began to give birth to a planet. We have tinkered on this thing, both full-time in earnest, and part-time off and on since September of '09, and recently we've picked up steam and are fleshing it out further.

In the large map above you've got a glimpse of the whole Mars-sized planet. We've got continents labeled and major cities listed. The next step is to take one small part of the overall map, "zoom in", and complete just a single area. This will include all of the lesser cities and towns, and smaller landforms that wouldn't necessarily be seen "from orbit" per se.

Before I go any further I should point out that all cartography is done by our resident artist Chris "Biscuit" Miller and he continues to amaze us all. He takes sketches and notes from us sitting around the table, hemming and hawing over mountains and rivers and cranks out full color maps I wouldn't even expect to get in a professional product. As a free plug for him, he does do commissions and I'm sure he'd love to hear from you. cmgillustrations "at" gmail.com

In the 'zooming' process we've tackled two separate regions for two separate campaigns. The one on the top is a portion of the much larger overall continent of Talamh. In this case the western area of Talamh is the country of Bresia. The lower focus area is the continent of Arhun. We're still working on Arhun and it's yet to have its borders broken down further into political boundaries. Three races prominently call this continent home, so I will suggest to the guys at the next session that three countries in this case ought to do the trick.

The country of Bresia, the continent of Arhun, and everything in between can all be found on a wiki-type page we've been compiling since the beginning. We've got a couple of dozen races, just as many organizations and orders, deities, avatars, major heroes, and more. Here's the link to the Sarterra wiki. Also, loosely linked to all of this are the many battles of Song of Blades and Heroes (another awesome ruleset) we've fought over the last year or so. These SBH battles technically take place in the world of Sarterra as well.

Bresia; inhabited, governed, and settled by the Romanesque human empire known as the Averni. Bresia is their foothold into colonizing beyond their home continent of Avernia. Its capital city of Port Valens is the hub of commerce and trade.

The continent of Arhun features a wide variety of flora, fauna (ahem, Dinosaurs!), and landforms. Three prominent races call Arhun home with many other minor races also present. The good and noble Dragonborn have built their capital city of Itova on a gigantic chunk of floating rock and earth raised a thousand feet in the air held in place by giant chains to the land below. The Dwarves have carved out a kingdom from the river's edge and the deep forests. Their technology is without equal not only in Arhun, but in all of Sarterra and they have subsumed the mighty Minotaurs of the land under their sphere of influence. Last of the prominent races in Arhun are the primitive Teotzin. These humans live in cyclopean pyramids where they practice the arts of embalming and exhibit an astounding knowledge of astronomy.

I hope you've enjoyed being a spectator to this world creation process. It's still a long ways off from being completed, but it's maps and info like we have so far that get me energized to see it through. Check out those links, and especially the wiki, there's a lot of creative juices in there and it's the culmination of four experienced gamers to boot, it's pretty much world creation "done right" if I may be so bold to state.

Mind you, it's not just us, the game Dawn of Worlds is what puts you in charge and gives you such an easy-to-use system that covers so much ground, both literally and figuratively. Not only is it efficient but it's an absolute blast to do with your friends, and it can be played as a standalone game without attaching such a ambitious project to it as well.

I also mentioned Song of Blades, which regrettably we haven't played in ages. By taking such a solid fantasy skirmish ruleset such as these, then follow up on a Dawn of Worlds game and you've got a one-two knockout punch combo on your hands that will knock you and your group's socks off.


  1. Mik,

    I think this is all just fantastic. Reading your posts on this has gotten me to thinking about getting some of my friends together for a similar project that we would then bring to the internet using the Neverwinter Nights 2 Toolset.

    On a side note can you shoot me Biscut's contact info so I can talk to him about the banner for my new blog.


  2. Beej, collaborative projects among friends are the best. Pursue that NW2 idea, that sounds cool.

    I think you've got Biscuit's contact email by now since you were all over the mini-contest on the Minions blog, congrats!


  3. This is beautiful. Love it.

  4. Yep I already wrote him, thank you though :)

  5. Awesome!

    A few months ago used Dawn of Worlds here to create my new original Roman era fantasy campaign world. Coded all the rules into a random generator that would "take a turn" for each Avatar/race and the end result was a fresh and exciting new campaign setting.

    Good to see this being used elsewhere as well!

  6. @D Collins: That sounds incredibly cool (and complicated), do you have a link? I'd like to check that out.

    This DoW-Sarterra creation thing has been one of the more enjoyable roleplaying experiences of my adult life as a gamer. There's really not enough good things I can say about it. Just stay tuned for more.

  7. Thanks for sharing this Mik! Awesome map and world you have created. Really nice looking.

    Have not heard of Dawn of World, need to check it out.

  8. No problemo Mats, Dawn of Worlds is very awesome, it's worth checking out and I think it might be free even? This map was a blast to create collaboratively, and we even zoomed in on one of the countries and populated it with something like 15-20 cities, ports, and the like.

    Sadly, Sarterra never took off like it should have, there is so much potential here, err, there.