Monday, September 9, 2013

Fianyarr: A Tale of Five Villages

Some villagers grow up within older fortifications.
(The Witcher)

One of the often thrilling, sometimes bone chillingly irritating, parts of creating a fantasy world is creating a number of consistently interesting yet semi-realistic settlements for the players to peruse. This can be extra problematic because you normally have no idea how long the players will actually stay in a settlement or what they will do while they’re there. While we don’t have enough time to do a massive write up of each of these villages, I thought you might like to read a few basic breakdowns of five distinct places in Fianyarr.

Crumbelina Village

Nicknamed for its crumbling curtain walls and ramshackle fortifications, this Nixie stronghold has blossomed and overtaken this old Gremlin stronghold. Built to be immense to the short-statured Gremlins, most of these rooms and corridors are about house-sized, which is just fine for the Nixies. The Nixie additions and embellishments are made from wood and woven river reeds of a particular species that is as strong as wooden when woven correctly and often look a bit like scaffolding and construction work. Still there are some absolutely astonishing artworks hung here and there, glorious tapestries and fantastic riverstone mosaics that really capture the spirit of this fun and freewheeling place.

A number of the old tunnels and cellars built by the Gremlins have been flooded with water over the years and the Nixies have shored up such locations, blocking off most that led to deeper places, lining some walls with mosaics and installing special bioluminescent plants that provide light for those who decide to go for a swim. There are some gated doorways down there that require people to enter certain codes through the touching and moving of magnificent mosaics (often having to bring certain shaped crystals with them to insert) which allow entrance to some of the inner sanctuaries that exist within little pockets of air refreshed by another breed of semi-intelligent insectivore plant that looks like a sunflower and acts a bit like a lazy cat.

Mud Huts of Absolution

These round mud-packed woven reed walls with fur-lined rooftops have a single fur flap for entrance to rooms that are quite plain other than the brightly coloured woven rugs with different coloured concentric rings. The Beastfolk who live here on the plains have a tamed species of bison that they live alongside and new houses can only be built when at least three of these bison die of old age. While most people presume that they are a primitive people, there are tales that they actually moved here decades ago as part of an archaeological dig and that despite their simple lives they have access to advanced technology that they disguise as artwork. The strange musical notes that emanate from the nearby Whistling Caves support this rumour.

Na Bella

This village contains a fair smattering of Aasimar alongside it’s largely Djinn populace due to the Sphinx that guards the central courtyard to whom pregnant mothers beseech for blessed (Aasimar) chidren. The buildings are made from sandstone, though such stone isn’t local to the area (granite is), due to deals made with a particular stonemasonry company who own a sandstone mine and several teleportation portals. The portals can still be found around the courtyard though their connections have been adapted to other locations, mostly, allowing fast travel to other Djinn-run territories. The buildings themselves are relatively square and angular and a number of ever burning torches in large braziers provide heat and light all year round.


This matriarchal Gremlin village is nestled in a valley between a pair of mountains is controlled by seven elderly women and it’s military base is largely female as their favoured mounts – a special breed of manticore – will not allow a man to ride them. The menfolk focus on industry, mining and science. These Gremlins have found a way to mystically create a transdimensional wombspace so that when pregnant their babies co-exist within themselves and several large eggs, which entirely prevents the risk of miscarriage. In the event of the mother’s death, the babies are transferred wholly to the eggs and continue to mature – though this final transference also means that the egg must crack to release the child and so is rendered useless. As the manticores allow far ranging in very little time, the mothers are home often enough to breastfood and assist with the communal child rearing of their young. Their homes are all carved out of the walls of the valley with fur flaps covering the doorways though they don’t range very deeply due to the hard nature of the rock here and the ghostly denizens not far within.


A Human and Yuki village named after the rather bitter-tasting yet edible grasses that grow in this generally snowy tundra where this village exists. The homes here are built of an ice-like crystal carved by a nearby friendly dragon that gives the impression of beautiful ice palaces. These crystals are shaped by the dragon as a community project and so they range in style yet all are unearthly wondrous in appearance. The village retains its rather ugly name in order to distract from their good fortunes and to show the local spirits that they aren’t so foolish as to become arrogant. The tundra around their village is riddled with traps (pit traps, magical traps, etc.) though friendly travellers and traders are quickly shown the way through. The reason for these traps is that there are a number of cannibalistic cults that roam the icy wastes not far from this village.

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