The History of Saleh'Alire in Saleh'Alire | World Anvil

The History of Saleh'Alire

How it came to be, and what inspired me

Saleh'Alire » Non-Loric Content

  Saleh'Alire is, perhaps, the world that I'm most well known for despite once having others that I was far more proud of; it's been featured in World Anvil promotional videos for the site, and in many streams- and it's even featured around various areas of the site in order to help attract new members. I've even been the topic of an interview on World Anvil Radio when it was still running, after winning the Item category with one of its articles during WorldEmber 2018; its CSS has been praised in every iteration its existed. Its writing has been praised. It formatting has been praised. And its received nearly critical acclaim from the World Anvil community as a whole.   Or at least it was / did before I nuked the entire setting in order to fix egregious errors leftover from its original iterations ... And then before I had a disagreement with the site owner and left for a bit- then returned when I realized there weren't any other good campaign tools out there ... And before I got sick and had to abandon it for a while; so many things have made Saleh'Alire (and I) drop in our original status- and I'm ok with that. But it's still famous in the history of World Anvile, it still gets talked about a lot, links still get shared, and whispers still spread. So what is it, and how did it start?  

Humble Beginnings

Growing up, Dungeons and Dragons had been a huge part of my teenage years, spending summers several cities over with my friends; I started playing when I was roughly 12 or 13 years old- but I fell out of playing when I fell out with the friend group who introduced me to it around 2010 ... When Critical Role aired (supposedly in 2015), however, I started playing again.   My Husband, however, had a conservative upbringing and so had very minimal exposure to the game in his youth (by which I mean he was exposed to it exactly once, and by way of a wholly negative and stereotypical experience). When I started playing again he was intriqued, but had no idea what I found so interesting about it; without any other way to explain it, in 2017 I finally made him watch Critical Role- explaining everything the best I could as the episodes went on.   He was hooked the second he saw Travis Willingham playing, and decided he wanted to play himself after writing it off for so long... With extreme social anxiety, however, he didn't feel comfortable playing alone with people he didn't know. So we started looking for games that we could play in together as a couple on Role 20. Sadly we were unsuccessful in finding one that not only fit for us, but also worked with our incredibly limited time schedule; we either didn't care for the groups themselves, or the story they were telling.   After nearly six months with no luck (and one failed campaign)... In a minor fit of madness brought on purely by the love I have for my Husband... I decided to DM a game for him instead. Thus Saleh'Alire was born... Sort of.
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First Iteration

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).  

Second Iteration

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.  

Third Iteration

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 always enjoyed.
  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).


Author's Notes

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I absolutely love getting feedback on my setting and its worldbuilding. I love it even more when people poke and prod at it, and ask questions about the things I've built within it. I want both. I actively encourage both. And it makes me incredibly giddy whenever I get either. However, there's a time and a place for critique in particular- mostly when I've actually asked for it (which usually happens in World Anvil's discord server). And when I do ask for critique, there are two major things I politely request that you do not include in your commentary:   ➤ The first is any sort of critique on the way I've chosen to organize or format something; Saleh'Alire is not a narrative world written for reader enjoyment... It's is a living campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. To that end, it's written and organized for my players and I, specifically for ease of use during gameplay- and our organization needs are sometimes very different than others'. They are especially diferent, often-times, from how things "should be organized" for reader enjoyment.   ➤ Secondly, is any critique about sentence phrasing and structure, word choice, and so on; unless you've specifically found a typo, or you know for a provable fact I've blatantly misued a word, or something is legitimately unclear explicitly because I've worded it too strangely? Then respectfully: Don't comment on it; as a native English speaker of the SAE dialect, language critique in particular will almost always be unwelcome unless it's absolutely necessary. This is especially true if English is not you first language to begin with. My native dialect is criticized enough as it is for being "wrong", even by fellow native English speakers ... I really don't want to deal with the additional linguistic elitism of "formal english" from Second-Language speakers (no offense intended).   That being said: If you want to ask questions, speculate, or just ramble? Go for it! I love talking about my setting and I'm always happy to answer any questions you have, or entertain any thoughts about it. Praise, of course, is always welcome too (even if it's just a casual "this is great", it still means a lot to authors)- and if you love it, please don't forget to actually show that love by liking it and sharing it around. Because I genuinely do enjoy watching people explore and interact with my setting, and ask questions about it, and I'd definitely love to hear from you... Just be respectful about it, yeah?

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