Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Direction Change: Back to the Isles

It's been a while since the last post. A crushing blow of work and life circumstances, along with a deep plunge in my creative energies, put the kibosh on my sandbox attempts. Until I can rekindle my drive on it, I think I'll table it for now and re-devote myself to a previous conversion that received significant traction elsewhere.

Harbinger poked me to do some more work on my Council of Wyrms stuff, since I hired him to do some actual editing work on it. Some complicated legalities prevent me from attempting to submit it for consumption on the DM's Guild, at least for any attempt at profit, but I may do so at a later date. I've been making updates to the conversion doc, and Harbinger's prodding has encouraged me to develop another component.

The setting provided to us previously only gave the lightest touch of the setting's particulars. A couple of introductory adventures, some flavor regarding the Council and its environs and antagonists, as well as a handful of clan descriptions were all that was provided. That's not a condemnation, I actually like when settings do that and don't bludgeon you over the skull with so much setting material that you don't have any room to make your own without performing generous reductive surgery.

To wit, I've been working on developing an interpretation of the setting for consumption. It takes some of the elements of the core Council of Wyrms setting and examines them through a new lens. It's a bit messy still, and I need to do some cleanup, but here's part of what I'm working with thus far.

The Council Aerie on All Clans Island is still the center of Council society and government, but even with the might of dragons it's difficult to truly contain and govern the whole of the species. It's a messy business, and though all dragon clans pay homage to the Council, they have fractured into a number of territorial nations comprised of multiple breeds sometimes forced to work together under chafing circumstances.

This is a lot of dragons to govern from one tiny island roughly the size of Maine.

The dragon nations each have composite forms of government, usually working together in matters of trade and defense, and all owing allegiance to the Council (who enforces its will through Io's divine mandate, a well-trained group of spies, and a substantial military). For example, the Icy Reaches are fairly remote in the island chain and are made to work together against regular raids by the frost giants from the northwest, who slay dragons for their hides and their treasure. White, crystal, and amethyst dragons will put aside their differences temporarily to work in tandem to repel these periodic invasions before returning to their isolation.

By contrast, the much more intertwined Exaurdon League, comprised of gold, green, and topaz dragon clans, have a well-connected nation of city-states and clan holdings. Gold dragons maintain universities and legal centers whose advocates are sought across the island chain to mediate disputes, while the greens manage a thriving lumber trade and the topaz clans deal in pearls from giant clams and control the fishing industry. All three breeds are threatened by violent fey creatures led by mysterious Wild Gods from the island's interior, who seek neither peace nor parley with the wyrms, only their eradication.

Other nations, such as the Starshine Principalities, the Azure Sea Compact, the Burning Isles, the Fireshore Republic, and the Giantbane Archipelago have their own unique cultures and melting pots of dragon clans that I am working on developing as well.

This project has helped rekindle my creative spark and I will be sticking with it for the foreseeable future. That's not the say the sandbox stuff has been abandoned, but until I feel inspired by it again, it will sit on its shelf for a bit. Apologies to any who were holding out for it.

Anyway, this setting concept has some kinks to work out and it's definitely a deviation from "canon" Council of Wyrms. It has a lot more modern sensibilities mixed in, and I'm eager to hear any feedback or suggestions regarding it.