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Old 10-11-2020, 07:50 PM   #1
Astromancer
 
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Default Ideas for Yrth

Basically, this thread is about possibilites for Yrth, either big setting modifications or campaign ideas or things inbetween.

I'll go first.


This idea is set in Caithness. The two major rivers of the Kingdom connect but only within the borders of a hostile state. Trade and comunication between northern and southern Caithness have long been limited and Deneral's long struggle to be king exploited that.

But Deneral has recently died and Conall has declared a young and charismatic cousin his heir. Baroness Bronwyn, long loved by Conall, has died of a fever, and Conall has sworn celebacy. The new heir, Cerdic of Deerwood, has found an opportunitty to build closer ties between the separate parts of the kingdom. That opportunity has come in the form of Robert Del a Pole, a Mage and Engineer with a plan to build a cannal between the Smoke and the Conn.

What few people know is that Robert is not from Yrth, he comes from an Earth more or less like Merlin-1. (see GURPS: Technomancer) and he is closely allied with the underground engineers that Baroness Bronwyn and her son Wardell had been protecting. Robert sees the canal as part of a long term plan to promote modernity and economic developement.

The canal would run through Durham, Photius, Oakwood, and Donlis. Durham is of course all for the canal. Oakwood had a coup against it's former Baron a supporter of Deneral, the canal would bring properity and stability, the new ruler favors it. The church sees benifits from the Canal going through thier lands will bring both wealth and political advantage to the Church. Donlis fears a loss of independence, but needs the trade and ecconomic benefits.

Conall, Cerdic, and their supporters like the canal. The remnants of Deneral's rebellion are ambiguous towards the canal. They fear a loss of independence, but Meglos is a threat too, and they've realised that a weak kingdom is a threatened kingdom. Conall can't subdue them but Meglos and the Hospitallers could. Meanwhile, Meglos and the Hospitallers hate the idea of the canal. A richer Caithness with better internal lines of communication and trade does not please them at all. Meanwhile the Dwarf kings of Zarak favor the canal as a way of both improving their trade and stabilizing a buffer state against Meglos. The Elves want the attention of Meglos focused toward Caithness while they improve their defences against Meglos.

PCs can be spies assigned to either protect or hinder Robert Del a Pole with building the canal.

Note:Robert Del a Pole is an IQ 17 Magery 7 mage with a non-descript ring that lets him cast Earth College spells as if the local manna level was normal. The ring also has power enchantments that reduced the fatigue cost of ant Earth College spell by three. Assume that all Earth College spells useful to building a TL4 canal are known to Robert Del a Pole at skill level 25. Robert has skills in Engineering, Geology, and Hydrology, at QI+2.
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Old 10-11-2020, 10:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Ideas for Yrth

Hm...

Anglish seems to cover too much of Ytarria. It's also a little weird that an empire formed by a Byzantine has no Greek... So:

-> Pontin, a language popular with the Megalan court and south of Megalos. Learned by many who seek to advance socially. Descended from Pontic Greek.
-> Jutt, common north of Megalos and in parts of the Nomad Lands. Descended from Norse.
-> Anglik, common west of the Blackwoods and in most of Caithness. Descended from Old English.
-> Axon, common between the Blackwoods and Emperor's Forest, as well as Western Cardiel. Descended from Old Saxon.
-> Caltan, common along the Mare Medium. Descended from Catalan.
-> Provensal, which replaces Aralaise (though Aralaise is still the demonym), and is also common in Eastern Cardiel. Descended from Occitan.
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Old 10-12-2020, 07:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ideas for Yrth

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Originally Posted by TGLS View Post
Hm...

Anglish seems to cover too much of Ytarria. It's also a little weird that an empire formed by a Byzantine has no Greek... So:

-> Pontin, a language popular with the Megalan court and south of Megalos. Learned by many who seek to advance socially. Descended from Pontic Greek.
-> Jutt, common north of Megalos and in parts of the Nomad Lands. Descended from Norse.
-> Anglik, common west of the Blackwoods and in most of Caithness. Descended from Old English.
-> Axon, common between the Blackwoods and Emperor's Forest, as well as Western Cardiel. Descended from Old Saxon.
-> Caltan, common along the Mare Medium. Descended from Catalan.
-> Provensal, which replaces Aralaise (though Aralaise is still the demonym), and is also common in Eastern Cardiel. Descended from Occitan.
This change may be a matter of where you stand depending upon whihc hat you're wearing.

If I put on my worldbuilding hat I can say 'Yes, this is more realitic and about as likely as anything else.". This point is conceded with remarks about Real World Europe being even more complicated.

Then I put on my characterbuilding hat and groan. I can only take one of these as my Native language but I potentially need all the others (plus Arabic with possibilities for realistic dialects there as well as Elvish). So that's 5 languages at 2 pts apiece (assuming they'll have little written presence) for Accented Spoken level. Then you add 2 more for Written Latin at the same level and 8 more for spoken and written Arabic and Elvish (again at Accented).

That's 20 pts spent just for being able to speak and use social Skills without penalty. That's quite a cp tax on a far-travelling face man (who's given up on Sahud and those snooty Dwarves). It's also not quite enough to break even on Language talent.

So this is an example of the root of 3e's solution of cheap languages or the "common" (pun intended) of a universal language seen in most other systems. While wearing the chargen hat this is just too many points spent on languages. Soem sort of heavy-hitting warrior from the Nomad Lands can stick with his Native tongue (forcing some one else to translate for him or just pointing and asking "Bashen noo?") and buy 2 more levels of ST.
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Old 10-12-2020, 08:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ideas for Yrth

What you do is you say "Anglish is the common language, and all important people speak Anglish. But the common people in various areas speak other languages." A bit like koine worked in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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Old 10-12-2020, 09:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ideas for Yrth

A couple of new wrinkles on the canal between the Conn and the Smoke.

1) If we allow a river that can be made navigatable by the addition of TL4 locks to within a few miles of the Church territory of Photus, to create a ecconomic boom in the Barony of Durham, and then give Robert Del a Pole the twin problems of digging a canal tunnel through a ridge and draining the swamp on the other side of the ridge, our Engineer/Mage is stuck in one place for a while.

The PCs have the problems that A) the dwellers in the swamp, choose some one that's a serious threat like an inhuman hag, or a demon cult leader, and B) a couple of minor lords in Durham want the canal rerouted either to their benefit or to prevent a neighbor from getting rich from the canal.

2) Another possibility would be set in Donlis which we are told is swampy. One Sir Henry of Mershall, a mage trained by Robert Del a Pole and weilding a magical device that reduces the cost of Earth College Spells by one fatigue has been building Polders. These polders are drained by pumps powered by windmills. These unassuming pumps and windmills are TL5. Sir Henry is also an Underground engineer from a world much like Tales of the Solar Patrol.

Sir Henry has gotten halflings from Oakwood to settle the polders (which are generally a few square miles). The halflings have planted breadoaks and fruit trees, dairying and beekeeping are major occupations. The halflings sell cheese, butter, Bread Acorns, honey, and wax. THe local swamp dwellers are divided between those afraid of losing their homes and those eager to have Sir Henry build polders for them. The swamps being shallow it's a tech level 3 job to build the polders.

Sir Henry is eliminating the feudal ecconomic order slowly but firmly in Donlis. This will lead to violence.
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Old 10-12-2020, 01:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Then I put on my characterbuilding hat and groan.
I'll freely admit this might be an overreaction. But from a pure world-building perspective things look really silly; Megalos has less linguistic diversity than 18th Century France despite being far larger. Languages follow political borders obsessively.

From a balance perspective, looking at populations and how they relate to the languages mentioned in the book:
-> Anglish, 25 million (Megalos, Cardiel, Caithness)
-> Arabic, 11 million (Al-Wazif and Al-Haz)
-> Sahudese, 1.8 million (Sahud)
-> Aralaise, 1.5 million (Araterre)
-> Northlander, 1 million (Northlands)
-> Tredroy Patois: 200 thousand (Tredroy)

The Latin and Ladino are harder to estimate. Latin is probably some small percentage of the 26 million Christians, Ladino might be something like 1% of the world's population.
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Old 10-12-2020, 01:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TGLS View Post
I

The Latin and Ladino are harder to estimate. Latin is probably some small percentage of the 26 million Christians.
It's likely that the number of native Latin _speakers_ is near zero. However, it's overwhelmingly likely that for any literate persons Banestormed to Yrth from Europe in the original wave Latin is the language that they read and write and I would expect this to be self-perpetuating for any world as conservative as Yrth. That's why in my accounting I didn't allot any points for _spoken_ Latin.

As for realism I conceded that point from the outset. I'm just cringing at how expensive it is for the PCs to do this thing that the GM wants them to do. Languages in 4e are probably overpriced in their comparative utility to other things of the same price.
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Old 10-12-2020, 01:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
It's likely that the number of native Latin _speakers_ is near zero.
I dunno, maybe I'm being overly generous to Church Latin as spoken language. Though I agree it's probably the written language for Christian Yrth.
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Old 10-12-2020, 02:13 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ideas for Yrth

Note that Cardiel has a fair number of people who speak Anglish as a second language, and have some Earth language as their native tongue. Also, they use Arabic as their language of scholarship, not Latin.

Bilit Island and other remote parts of the archipelago also speak 'non-standard' languages.

While I agree that languages following political boundaries doesn't make that much sense, especially in the border between Megalos and al-Wazif, I do think that for playability the languages as they are are good enough.
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Old 10-12-2020, 02:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ideas for Yrth

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
As for realism I conceded that point from the outset. I'm just cringing at how expensive it is for the PCs to do this thing that the GM wants them to do. Languages in 4e are probably overpriced in their comparative utility to other things of the same price.
That fact that you felt someone would need to buy them all suggests that their utility is quite high.

The problem is that they don't do much cool on their own (aside from when being the only person able to read some old tome turns out to be cool) - they enable other skills and remove penalties from other skills. Thus they end up feeling like a tax on social skills, because you don't generally need to pay extra to use your axe on Orcs vs Humans, but you do to use you social skills.
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