Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

7 May, 2012

Welcome to My World

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

I’ve spoken a bit about world building, and my D&D world specifically, before. I am not currently running a game, and am unlikely to find the time and energy to do so any time soon, but the world for it is still swirling about in my head, wanting to get out, so I’ve decided to indulge this desire by posting a bit about it here. Killing two birds with one stone, this will also help me codify some of my more nebulous thoughts.

Like I said in that previous post, my D&D world is based heavily on the default D&D world found in the 4e source books, but that isn’t really a world in and of itself. The books contain broad strokes and some few specifics, but leaves huge blank spots for each DM to fill in. It is intended more as a framework for sparking creativity, and that’s how I’ve ended up using it – taking the bits of the framework that I liked, discarded the bits I didn’t, and filled in the blanks with stuff both of my own devising and stuff filched from other sources.

One of my favourite ways to give an imaginary world the illusion of depth is to refer to and quote from imaginary texts internal to it, a text that an inhabitant of the world would have access to. As a result of this, my descriptions will probably take on a similar flavour, of something produced within the world itself – that’s just the mindset I like to get in while writing things like these.

Right, I think that’s enough preramble. I’m just going to dive into a little explanation of the geography and background of Arkhosia, the dragon empire.

When speaking of Arkhosia, it seems impossible not to begin with the Iorostákhi river, because that is both the beginning and the heart of the realm. Along the banks of the red river lie the seven cities that birthed the realm, and it remains the main vein of travel and trade on the Arkhosian plains.

Mythology tells of the dragon god Io, who did battle with a primordial monster called the King of Terror. The monster killed the god, carved him in half with a single stroke. The two halves then sprang to life as the gods Bahamut and Tiamat, who together killed the King of Terror, but Io was dead and his blood spilled on the ground. Pious Arkhosians will tell you that the battle happened above the Blood Mountains, and that the god’s blood pouring down upon them formed the river that still runs there to this day, and hence bears the name Iorostákhi – Io’s blood.

A more prosaic person would say that the Blood Mountains in fact get their name from the red clay which is so abundant in them, and whose presence in the watershed is also the cause for the river’s distinctive colour – which in any case is not nearly so red as the poets would have you believe. The myth of the river which is still in some way the literal blood of the creator of dragons is too strongly ingrained, however, for that interpretation to have much popularity outside certain academic circles. Untold generations of Arkhosians have seen the river as a sacred and tangible presence of the gods in the world, and the conception of Arkhosia as the holy land is buried deep in society. Though Io is dead, he still plays a significant role in Arkhosian religion, and the bathing festival held every three years in the city of Zeïár is a good example of this. When the dragonborn race appeared, it was generally assumed that the power of the river was in some way responsible for their creation, though the details surrounding their genesis are unknown.

Regardless of whether the mythical battle really occurred above Arkhosia, it is certainly true that the area had a much higher population of dragons than the rest of the known world, though that is no longer the case. When the seven cities formed, the dragons were the ones who ruled them. Though Arkhosia is often called the empire of the dragonborn, it was always ruled by dragons even after the dragonborn became the most populous of the races in it. The dragonborn clans themselves were always organised around a single dragon leader.

The Arkhosian plains cover a large area, but they are centred on the river. Even as the empire grew to encompass a full quarter of the world, the river never lost its place as the heartland, the life blood of the realm, and the seven cities always maintained their position of power. As for the circumstances of their founding and forging into a single civilization, that will have to wait for another time.

A map of the Iorostakhi region

I'm not great at making maps, but it's not like I can afford to pay people.


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