Tuesday, December 20, 2016

World: General World Information

This is a home-brew world called Ebarra.

This is not Faerun, nor is it Earth - though it has elements of both places. For the most part the world falls in line with typical fantasy worlds (and D&D type fantasy worlds specifically). There are humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes and halflings. There are stranger things like tieflings and dragonborn, and a multitude of different creatures. There are planes (that basically follow the rules of the 5e PHB) though what is found on those planes may or may not be the same (e.g. established cities and such).

The annual cycle also similar in length and seasons work about the same as on earth (i.e. they vary a bit depending on latitude - but most of the continent will be in a temperate latitude). 

The Sky:
There are some important differences in the appearance of the sky. The day/night cycle is pretty similar to Earth’s (roughly 24 hour days) and at night stars are visible throughout the sky, likewise the sun rises and sets and is visible in the sky much like the sun from Earth. However there is no moon in the sense that we have - there are two large celestial bodies visible (besides the sun) which are generally referred to as the Moon (the larger of the two) and the Star (the smaller of the two). 

The Moon: 
This is a large moon that visibly looks a bit larger than our largest harvest moons on Earth and has a bluish cast. It has a relatively fixed position in the sky both day and night. When the sun and the Moon’s paths cross, the moon will appear as a dark circle against the sun. When they are both in the sky (but not crossing paths) it would look similar to the way our moon appears during the day (but bigger).

The Moon doesn’t really have a rise and set, it will vary in position and size somewhat through day and year cycles but in general is a very consistent celestial body. The Moon is often associated with one of the gods of the Trinity in human and gnomish religions.

The Star:
The Star is a second celestial body in the sky that visually looks like a smaller moon. It is commonly referred to as the Star and the word capitalized to clarify the meaning as separate from the small, twinkling stars in the sky and likely stem from the references to The Sun, The Moon, and The Star in the religions of humans. In fact, in the dwarven and elvish languages the word for this object in the sky translates more closely to ‘small moon’. 

Visually it has a far more variable appearance than the Moon. It moves through the sky and sometimes is not visible at all, it’s position in the sky is erratic throughout the year, it’s visible size changes considerably over the course of it’s path, and it’s hue ranges from golden to red at different times. 

Because of the erratic nature of the Star  (specific appearances do not occur at regular intervals - e.g. waxing gibbous) it is not used as a basis for any lunar calendar. Some groups will observe certain repeated appearances of the Star for religious or cultural reasons, but most mainstream religions have fixed these events to seasons to make them more predictable through the year and only followers of the ‘old ways’ will still observe them at times dictated by the appearance of the Star.

In the religious Trinity of humans and gnomes the Star is always less powerful than the Sun or the Moon (see Entry Word: Religion).

Marking the passage of time is important for communication, trade, religion and many other practices that social creatures like to partake in. In this world there is much cross-cultural contact and trade that, over time, most societies across various races have adopted a common language used for marking time. Though individual cultures may have older historical systems that differ, these will be rarely used for day-to-day activities and often referred to only by scholars or used for longstanding religious or cultural traditions. 

A year is about the same length as our year on Earth, and seasons have a similar length and order (summer, autumn, winter, and spring). The day of longest sunlight of the year is the summer solstice (occurring at the peak of summer, as in Earth’s northern hemisphere), the day of least sunlight is the winter solstice (at the peak of winter). The vernal and autumnal equinoxes occur at the height of spring and autumn, respectively.

As mentioned earlier this is a well developed society that is the result of the mixing and intermingling of many cultures and races, thus there is a generally accepted Common Calendar in which the year is divided into 12 months of 30 days each (the actual solar year is slightly shorter than ours on Earth so there are no frigging leap-anythings). Since there is no consistent lunar cycle the months are just subunits of the year with each season broken into three manageable chunks of 30 days each. Note that this is based on the relatively equal length seasons of the oldest societies (as seasons may be longer or shorter as you travel to the far north or south). The solstices and equinoxes therefore fall in the middlemost day of the middlemost month of each season. 

The months are not always divided further (days and weeks are the least consistent units of measure as they are not definitively outlined in the Common Calendar) but the unit of time referred to as a ‘Fortnight’ does generally refer to a period of about 15 days (half of a month) because reasons.

Like with language and time, the many currencies that have existed throughout the land are now mostly indexed to one Common Currency which is comprised of Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Copper coins (refer to the 5e rules on money and remove electrum pieces because nobody uses electrum). In geographically isolated areas you may encounter other currencies but those people will still generally understand the value of a silver coin.

Many races are known to exist in this world, but the most common are humans (by far), elves, and gnomes. Halflings and dwarves are more likely to stay in or near their homelands and so will be found in high numbers in those places, but far less commonly abroad or in large urban centers (which are typically predominately populated by humans and gnomes). Tieflings, dragonborn, and other races do exist but will generally make up only a small percentage of the population of an urban center or folk you may encounter on the road. 

Gnomes live where humans live, and often have vibrant subcultures within existing human towns and cities. Some individuals blend into human culture while others maintain their distinct society within the human-dominated city or town. Visibly very distinct from humans it is hard to miss a gnome, but you could not tell by looking at them what a gnome’s political or religious opinions would be for as many follow the ‘human’ religions and politics as follow the gnomish.
(For more details on each race please refer to entry World: Races).

Political Structure:
There is no overarching governing structure in the land, instead power is collected in various city-states, each of which is ruled autonomously. The heads of state may be Kings or Queens, Chieftains, Clan Leaders, Emirs, Emperors or even a Council of Elders or other group, depending on the specific culture decides the fate of their land. 

Though things like calendars and currencies have been universally adopted across the land, it does not follow that there is harmony and agreement between or even within each city-state, in fact divisions between political and cultural factions can get very complicated indeed. The organizational structures vary, often inspired by tradition but adapted as needed or desired by those in power.
For more details on specific political factions please refer to entry World: Races and World: Geography.

The world consists of predominately one large continent (see below). The size is roughly similar to Europe with the northernmost lands at a similar latitude as Scotland/Sweden and the Southernmost lands at a similar latitude as South Italy/Greece.

(For more details on locations please refer to World: Geography).

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