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The Meta of Corive

Motivation

Why am I, Lyraine, creating this world?

I want a D&D setting that's mine, where there aren't pre-existing lore from books about the setting, and therefore player expectations of living through those books or in the aftermath. A bit of arrogance, but I don't like the idea of researching a whole setting before playing in it so I can place my players' mindset into a specific block where everything around us has been "nailed down" and "I can't do that because in Such-and-So Novel by Big Author, this event happens at the time we're doing that." My D&D games are in my world, not the world of some other author.

What do I want out of Corive?

If a book gets written out of this, sweet, though that's not a primary motive.

Worldbuilding is an entertaining wish-fulfillment. I want to make a world, and I enjoy it.

What is the Hook for Corive? What makes Corive unique?

I'm not sure I'd really say Corive is unique, more that it's mine. I try to worldbuild by taking what's that standard and playng with them. For example, it's common in fantasy settings for a pantheon of deities to exist, but to go by different names in different regions. That never made sense to me, since as a player, I'd just call all of teh deities by the same name, regardless of where my character is from. In response to that tradition, I have multiple pantheons with different view points, and therefore multiple pantheons. I suppose a reason for the One Pantheon Many Names trope is because an author can decide on one "origin" for the world, but I like the mystery and conflict of multiple pantheons with multiple versions (maybe right, maybe wrong).

Literary Analysis

What is the genre of Corive?

Corive is an Early Rennaisance-based Fantasy World where I have a melding of Clockpunk and Early Steampunk with Magipunk (Arcanepunk? Aetherpunk?).

What is the mood of Corive?

Corive is, to me, a Noble Bright setting, but I play with the dark reflections of the Noble Bright. I once described one city as being a "Bright Beacon of Higher Education," but is, underneath the bright shiny plating, also the home of the most corrupt government officials in the region.

What level of Character Agency is there in your world?

The first adventure resulted in the party unleashing an ancient Priest who wants his power base back, and they did it by accident because not releasing him was going to cause a lot of other difficulties. I also didn't mention the dude in the tree to them, since he'd been in there for thousands of years.

My intention is that Characters Matter. What specific scale of the choices mattering depends on the level of the choice. Deciding to pickpocket a guard to feed a prisoner convicted of desertion while on a battlefield will most likely not result in "Oh, you gave me stolen food while I was imprisoned, so now I can give you this soft obscure knowledge that I know for no reason."

Well, Mass Effect did that, though it was more that a whole bunch of other events in combination with that one guy turning out to be an asset.

However at this time, because I have so much of my world that's under construction, my players are limited in their freedom of action, and also in the feeling of "we did a thing and changed things!"

What is your scale

I am primarily writing about the Soplas subcontinent. The world is Corive because I have places that are not a part of Soplas, but I am writing about Soplas most of the time.

Soplas has five major regions ruled by governing bodies giving those regions their current names. Theydim, Tormyra, Goltheris, and the Five Cities Region, all of which surround the Contested Lands.

From the Player Perspective, what is the world scale?

At this time, my world likely feels very small and heavily under construction for my players. I'm literally building things just before they get there, nailing down ideas before I forget them (and sometimes forgetting them anyway).

What is the theme?

. . . Pardon me while I go scream in Teacher.

I refuse to believe any world is just one theme. I refuse to accept the idea that for any world, there is one answer to this question that is the right answer. For me, I have several points of exploration, which is the way I personally interpret Theme. I encourage anyone who walkd through my world to find themes that resonate with them as being true to the world

  • History Repeats

  • Coming of Age

  • You Are Not Your Ancestors/Previous Incarnation

  • Becoming Your Own Person

    • The previous three could be merged into one theme - the Developement of the Individual and the Impact of that Person on Others

  • The Value of Souls

As for which themes are likely a priority that gets nailed down multiple times while I am writing, I'd say History Repeats and the ones that build into Individual Development and Impact

 

The Meta

You may ask that I pick 3-5, but I have a hard time picking from the list unless I just write down what I have for each category. I refuse to accept being concise.

  • Government Presence - The government's precense varies from region to region. In one, the local king has more impact and loyalty than the high king they answer to. In another, there is the ruling family and a ruling caste of mages who determine the power distribution across the lang. In another region, the government is the city and the city is the ruling family and everything must work just right, or else the great machine of the city will fall apart. In yet another, the government only impacts you based on the role of the guild and the guildmember you are speaking to would impact you. In between all these regions is a fifth that is existing as a melting pot of chaos as borders shift and change before developing into a regional sense of apathy towards whoever is claiming to rule them this week.

  • Rule Of Law - I've been playing with the role of laws in societies based on who lives there. In one land, mages are generally treated with distance if not fear and have sanctions on what is and is not appropriate uses of magic. In another, the mages are a ruling class, but there are again laws on what type of magic is legal or illegal leading to the development of magical-dampening devices to halt or slow down active magic in a location with a higher number of mages. Most of the law is enforced by city or town guards in the case of violence, but civil law is generally dealt with between the individuals and a local leader or priest. Sometimes disputes are simply resolved in a tavern brawl.

  • Social Services - My world is based on the early Rennaiscance era, so here are certain social services such as schools to teach children, but those are limited to teach children as much as they'll most likely need or use. Children of exceptional aptitudes may be sponsered by wealthier persons towards furthering their talents and careers. But social services are generally handled by the neighbors. If a farmer's field is burned because of bandits, their neighbors will do hat they can to help because the farmer had likely or will help them in turn. If multiple neighbors are suffering, then the town will send someone to ask the local government bodies for aide. Road maintenance varies, but is generally managed by people of wealth (road maintenance actually came up in a session).

  • Economic Strength - There is a strong basis of bartering for goods - three chickens for a rat-hunting dog or similar. Coin is generally used by travellers and people in the cities, but the local economic strength is heavily based on events such as war. During times of war, when the farms are being worked on by fewer people, the economy is weaker, for example. Overall, the economic strength is not evenly distributed. I am also using a TTRPG's ruleset, so coinds from hundreds (thousands) of years ago are (supposedly) just as viable as current currency, but that's more for current ease of storytelling on my side.

  • Wealth Distribution - The wealth is not evenly distributed. The ruling powers may not be the wealthiest and have other means of maintaining their position, but generally, the ruling powers are wealthier than those they rule.

  • Agriculture And Trade - Agriculture is a major aspect of my world, as is trade. But I feel I've answered this point more in the previous two points.

  • Race Relations - I'm working on this. Soplas has Humans, Elves, Tabaxi, Orcs, and a number of other species. I do have my Dwarves splitting into two societies with their own prejudices towards each other do to a cultural rift based on xenophobia/xenophilia and superiority in technology.

  • Class Relations - I have two regions that I'm building as an exploration of class relationships. One near-caste system is on the cusp of tearing itself apart as magic is becoming more commonplace in their usage and availability. The other is a system of the far-distant ruling elite who has little to no communication with the lower classes unless the rulers are inconvenienced, and even then the ruling class sends out servants in their stead.

  • Gender Relations - My world is less inclined towards judging a person based on their gender. I have a Half-Orc warlord whose enemies will first insult her for her orc blood and nontraditional way of subverting a region from their Arle long before saying anything about her gender and sex organs. A major reason for this vagueness is because gender relations in real life is a topic I need to more heavily research. I almost just roll a die to determine the gender of a person who is leading a group, write their gender down, and then mark it as a point of consideration for world building. Well, no, not a consideration. It's just there as fact.

  • Sexual Orientation Relations - I admit to a bias on my part for this. I forget to think about romance and sex because they're not a major part of my own life. This, like Gender Relations, is another topic I need to more heavily research.

  • Military Influence - I'd like to say the military influence is strong in my world, but only one region places a value of being strong in battle. Another would rather outwit and outthink their enemies and use magic to do, while their neighbor prefers to act from teh shadows and win crushing victories. Or rather, I'd say Technology influences militaries more than militaries influencing technology.

  • Religious Influence - At this point, I intend for religion to be a major part of the world, but I have to "nail down" the finer details. At this time, I have one region preaching the value of balancing between two extremes, one region ruled by guilds who each claim a specific deity as their patron and to serve as counter to another Guild and their repsective deity, one region where the ancient empire has been erased except as a reminder of when mortals go too far into the realm of the divine, and one region where the gods may or may not be a tool for the ruling class to keep the lower class down.

  • Technology Influence - Technology is a major impact. Developments in technology means certain forms of magic are becoming for commonplace and less exclusive to the elites of wealth or magical society. Where one region rejects the trains of another, they instead have great mechanical steeds.

  • Arts and Culture Influence - Art styles are varying. Tormyra and Goltheris utilize art styles of the fallen Adrakian Empire, much as they have kept fragments of the Empire to build their own cultures - their religions are based on a multiple of three major deities. Theydim, however, had developed an extreme iconoclastic stance towards the remains of the Adrakian empire, and so their art seems less developed, less realistic. For these regions I wanted to explore the idea of one area destroying its own history to start over, while other regions build upon the ruins. The Five Cities is an exploration of how far I could take the idea of corporation. The influence of art as a means other than political commentary is something I've always struggled with getting, while I understand how culture influences art because art is how a culture expresses its views.

   

The Drama

What are your major conflicts?

Allow me to point back to the History Repeats theme for a moment.

  • The drive to determine a new High King of Theydim, mostly being done by conflict between two individuals of uncertain leadership qualities or an uncertain claim to the title

  • Goltheris is becoming like the decadant Adrakian Empire, as the frenzied lust for wealth and power threatens to burn out the government and people.

  • Tormyra has a semi-caste system of Mages, but as those few in power become set in their ways, new developments into magic threaten their grasp and to deliver magic into the hands of the masses.

  • The Adrakian Empire's influence appears to be returning to the world.

  • The Warforged were created to fight in the Great War, but when they began to show signs of being alive, the war came to a standstill as the moral dilemma of forcing artificial children to fight and die caused a rise of insubordinance within the ranks.

  • The great Rifts carved into Soplas have been growing deeper, beyond the Dwarves' own city depths, and should anyone be curious enough to look, they'd find the hollowed core looking ... smaller than they expected, and something almost magical seems to be fleeing the core while very little of the same material seems to be going back.

    Show spoiler

    Souls, the core of the world is made of souls. Magic-stuff is soul-stuff, and if one pulls too hard to grab for more magic than they already have, they can start to rip the world. Corive is already hemoraghing souls at the current time, and the souls are not all being "returned" to the core.

 

Setting

What are the rules of Corive?

    Show spoiler
  • Corive is a hollow world and the core of the world is made up of magic. Magic is the core of the world, but Magic is also souls. All souls have magic to them, allowing for anyone to have the ability to learn some kind of magic by default. Some souls just have more magical affinity than others

  • Corive is a dream.

  • There is magic, and magic users cna teach each other. Some mages have an easier time teaching certain mages than other kinds of mages.

  • All Pantheons are True

    Show spoiler

    . . . as long as they're remembered.

What is the cosmology of Corive?

Allow me to laugh nervously for a moment.

In Corive, all pantheons are true. No one has the recorded "start" of the world, and the deities have been generally unspecific about the start of the world as a whole and more about the start of their preferred species.

Show spoiler

Corive is a dream of the World-Dreamer, and waking the World-Dreamer would result in the destruction of the world, and then the creation of a new one when the World Dreamer resumes their sleep. Whatever happens to the occupants of the Plane of Dreams - the form of the World-Dreamer themself - is uncertain. Deities who have been forgotten wander the Plane of Dreams, losing fragments of themselves until only the core of their identity remains, and then begins to fade away.

What is the geography of Corive?

Soplas is a subcontinent, Oshrar is either a large island or a piece of another continent. To the distant north of Soplas, the sinking remains of a broken continent are being forgotten by history.

All across Soplas, there are massive rifts that look as if someone drew a map of Soplas before stabbing it as if the map were Julius Ceasar before the Senate. Northern Soplas, Theydim, is a colder region with flat lands between the rifts and a handful of mountains before the western coast of the subcontinent, where a mountain range climbs up to see the world. Eastern Soplas is a damp swamp-like region leading into the Northern Sea, leading to the region's cold water. Southern Soplas is a warmer region that used to receive more rain in the ancient days of the Adrakian Empire, but is now turning into a wasteland as the inhabitants turn towards technology to keep themselves alive. The South-Western region of Soplas is a mountainous plateau tha has been magically made into a region that would be suitable to lower elevations. Under Soplas, is the deep homes of the Dwarves.

I mostly keep myself vague about these because I'm still working on trying to make a world map that I like.

Initial size of the campaign?

My players began in Oakenfield and the Citadel of Kaygys, and then we went to Bastadina before returning to Theydim. So the initial size was a town and a ruin. My current plan is to stick with two provinces of Theydim for now.

People and their History

Who used to live in Theydim and Tormyra, and what’s their history?

  • Theydim used to be a part of the Adrakian Empire. It is now mostly human-occupied, but humans have a tendency towards wandering and exploring places, so humans have spread out from Theydim into the other regions. There are still Adrakian Empire ruins, but there are also some ruins that seem older and of different cultures. Thydians generally consider themselves as people of their province before thinking of themselves as Thydians, unless out among non-Thydians. Theydim has rarely had a High King, feeding into the disassociation between older individuals struggling to call themselves Thydians before thinking of their respective provinces as the name for their identity.

    Show spoiler

    Humans originally came from the sinking continent to the North, but when they landed on Theydim, they found it unoccupied, but with signs of having once been occupied. As they found no one, they started building their own homes. At some point, the Adrakian Empire took over.

    • Feroia- a province of Theydim, there are Adrakian ruins, but also ruins of seemingly elven origin in the southern parts. Feroia as a province has a history of being a battlefield between Theydim and Tormyra, as it shares its southern border with Tormyra, so the people have a more relaxed view towards magic when Tormyra is a magical-based government, but like Theydim, it has a strong anti-Adrakian Empire bias. The land is heavily forested as the province goes in the north-western mountains of the range along the western shore of Soplas. The people of Peroia generally do not pay more than lip service to the High King of Theydim - when there is one - nor to their own Arle, Tigh Turlan as the High King was responsible for managing a war, and the Arle does little for his people and instead allows for alternative leaders to take his role.

    • Felkhath is a province to the north of Feroia. The land is generally flat and occupied by farmers and herders. Historically speaking, Felkhath is a relaxed region in regards to outsiders because it is a bread-basket region for Theydim in general, and merchants are often welcome, though preference is given to Thydian merchants, and among the Thydian merchants, Felkhath residences prefer fellows from Felkhath. The people of Felkhath generally adore their Arle, Nunciel Great-Cook because he has generally chosen to care for his people and recognize his rule only exists for as long as the people he governs consent.

    • North Sea Province is the provice to the north of Felkhath, named for the fact it borders the sea to the north of Soplas. North Sea has ancient ruins seeming to predate the few Adrakian ruins in the province of unknown origin. This region is currently not very well defined yet by me.

  • Tormyra also used to be a part of the Adrakian Empire and is ruled over by their royal family. In the ancient past, the Elves migrated from the low lands to Tormyra, though the reason has been forgotten under the rule of the Adrakian Empire, as well as records of who had lived in Tormyra previously. A number of humans live in Tormyra now, leading to a high population of Half-Elves. Elves tend to live long lives, and so their population is smaller than the population of Humans and other peoples who live in Tormyra, but they are generally the species seen in positions of power and rank. Tormians are generally wary of drastic changes, but their high elven populaiton has led to a general consensus that caution is the best direction for survival, not brash action.

What do the peoples of Theydim and Tormyra need from each other?

Generally, they need trade and resources. The majority of the conflict between Theydim and Tormyra has been in regards to academic topics, the legal uses of magic, the borders, and who was responsible for the fall of teh Adrakian Empire - Saint Antral as the Thydians preach, or champions of the Great Goddesses and the aid or rebelion leaders as the Tormians teach.

What do the people of the provinces within Theydim need from each other?

Feroia is a border region, and has been reliant upon other Thydians for maintaining its defense against Tormyra. It may have grown lax about that need, but the other regions need Feroia for trendy Tormian items that gain favor with the nobles of Theydim.

Felkhath is a more central region, and a more agrarian and sheep-based region, and while some parts have been destroyed by wars and recovering slowly, Felkhath is a mostly stable province in Theydim.

North Sea needs more defining by Lyraine.


Articles under The Meta of Corive


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