Saleh'Alire in its first and most original form, initially began as just a simple homebrew of the world of Exandria
- the world created by Matt Mercer
for the Critical Role
campaign I'd introduced my husband to Dungeons and Dragons through; he'd fallen in love, and really wanted to play. It made sense at the time to try and play within the setting he'd fallen in love with.
In order to understand where in the world my campaign would take place, I searched high and low for a map- finally finding a screenshot from one of the episodes (Campaign 1, episode 103, to be exact). From there I created a rudimentary map and even got feeback from Matt Mercer himself about where he envisioned the various areas being... After that, I began the work of adding my own continents.
In the beginning, Saleh'Alire was actually a single continent named Demora that I inserted beneath Tal'Dori, and separated by a string of islands called The Shards. Later I went on to add another continent (Asecia) that my players could visit- though I kept the worldbuilding minimal, as I didn't expect them to be visiting any time soon; just a few kingdoms and a general sense of what was "over there".
For the most part I used Google Docs and One Note to host all of my world information. But I found the systems cumbersome and annoying overall; they were fare too simplistic and didn't give me the kind of organization or formatting that I needed in order to really have an organized world that I could quickly access information through.; it's at this point that I started really looking for something better to host the world on.
I found World Anvil shortly after, and started toying with the idea of putting my modification of the setting online. I even did- at least there for a little bit, anyways... Eventually, however, I chose to wipe the slate clean and start again; despite the maps being widely accepted by the Critical Role
community- and more than enough requests by others to use my maps in their own Exandria
campaigns- I simply wasn't comfortable with the idea of modifying such a well known world so heavily (and the potential backlash that fandoms are generally known for).
Saleh'Alire 2.0 went from being a footnote in the world of Exandria
, with all of the bells and whistles of the world Matt Mercer had created for Critical Role
.... To a single continent: Tolara
It was still heavily influenced by Critical Role
, of course, as that's what my Husband wanted from our campaign in the first place. But it was no longer a part of the world of Exandria
itself. Instead it existed in its own world, divorced from the lore of Critical Role
in the grander sense- now incorporating only what I chose to, and allowing my a much greater freedom for modification.
The original iteration of Tolara had six unique kingdoms, an in depth (and slightly overly complicated) guild
system, and was originally meant to be the only continent that my players could even experience. This was
intended to give me time to worldbuild the rest of the setting. This quickly changed, however, when I began actively recruiting additional players and decided to allow them to be from any
continent in the world.
Of course, allowing players to be from any continent means they immediately want to know about their
homelands... So needless to say 2.0 didn't last very long; suddenly I had to actually make at least some basic
version of all the places they had chosen to be from.
I got around quite a lot of this new need for worldbuilding by simply allowing the players themselves to tell me what they imagined about their characters- and about their homelands. And What they came up with was pretty wonderful. So I took it, adapted it to what I already had in mind, mushed them all with other ideas; thankfully it was an easy feat, as much of what they had in mind so perfectly matched elements I'd already put in place. And where it didn't, they were understanding enough to work with me to modify it appropriately.
It's at this point that Saleh'Alire is truly
born: An amalgamation of the creativity of so many
people who've influenced the setting in a number of ways- both known and
unknown ... Though many elements of its original iterations still exist.
For instance, Tolara
is still the primary continent, and the continent on which both of my campaigns have taken place. But instead of being the well developed continent that it was in the second iteration, it is now only a recent discovery of the world; A strange new land found when The Golden Duchess
shipwrecked on what is now the region of Gwyn Tira'Kie on its western coast.
Likewise, the heavy influence of Critical Role
is still present within the setting... Though much of it is now primarily contained to the continent kingdom of Castrillis
. Other inspirational sources have also joined the fray, such as The Witcher
games that my Husband
loves so much- and the Elder Scrolls
games whose lore I've
Since then, Saleh'Alire has continued to grow and expand- both as my players interact with the world (and use their new fangled Plot Points
to worldbuild themselves during active play), and
as the World Anvil community itself
has added to it both through routinely writing flavor text for me to add life to the articles, and
through inspiring me in an incountable number of ways.
Whatever Saleh'Alire is and wherever the inspiration comes from, it's truly a labor of love- and one of the greatest love letters I have ever written ... Dedicated entirely to my wonderful Husband and the amazing players that have joined him; I am both blessed to have created it for him, and later them- and honored to share it with the World Anvil community (and, perhaps, the world at large).