I once had a well-developed game world called Thaedra and ran an active GURPS campaign there for several years. The original materials, both digital and hardcopy, are now lost. For several months now, I have been thinking about creating a new version of the world and starting a GURPS campaign again. I will have to create it again, but that is not a bad thing. There was a lot about original Thaedra that I could have done better. Working from memory and all that I have learned in 35 years of gaming, I will build a new Thaedra.
In order to walk the talk, I have created this document to track the process and record material as I develop it. Once I had created enough of the world for people to play in, I will see about starting a campaign.
Like all self-respecting game worlds, Thaedra has a mysterious lost civilization, which was called Pa’al. The Pa’aleen people achieved great success in the magical arts and were even able to control the unstable geology beneath their feet. Until the day they couldn’t. In the end, they failed, and hundreds of years of crustal movement happened in hours. The landscape and the people of modern Thaedra are the result of this failure.
Thaedran geology is defined by the great basin in the center of the continent and by the Godwall Mountains that constitute the northern border of the continent. The habitable areas are largely around the edges, and the major cities arose there. The stuff in the middle is scary and dangerous.
Magic is a major force in Thaedra. As a story line point, the primary stabilizing entity in Thaedra is the Mages Guild, which is above local politics. Located in the city of Mithrannon, the Guild observes all that goes on in Thaedra and strives to keep any faction from gaining too much power.
Thaedra is a high-magic low-tech world. In GURPS terms, this is Tech Level 3 (medieval). Gunpowder is cutting edge, dangerous, unreliable and difficult to do. For people who prefer tinkering to thaumaturgy, the Mechanician specialty is available. Not an easy career path, but full of surprises for everyone.
NPC races in Thaedra are defined partly by classical Tolkien literature and partly by local conditions. Case in point: the Swamp Hobbits. These are nasty people, shaped by an environment dominated by Swamp Orcs. Their answer was to master the potential of the incredibly poisonous frogs of the region. “Toto, I don’t think we’re in the Shire anymore.” There are other anomalous races. Happy to you when you find one….
Who runs the place…
…. depends on where you are. Humans dominate most of known Thaedra, but Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, Dragons, Orcs, and others control specific regions.
This is the largest and oldest of Human cities, and it has the widest reach and influence of any Human city
This is the home of the Mages Guild and the seat of their power. It was built on the most powerful mana fountain ever discovered in Thaedra and its alignment was deliberately slanted by its founders to be primarily Lawful Neutral. The Archmage leads the Council of Mages and strives to maintain independence and stability for everyone in Thaedra.
The name translates to “Fortress of the Dwarves.” The Dwarves are not fond of outsiders, and visitors should have really good reasons to knock on the door. If you don’t have official business, then look for Dwarves at ….
The universal ‘city,’ so-called because it isn’t really a city so much as a neutral place where the various races can meet to trade, learn from each other, etc. It has been around long enough to have its own police force and other trappings of government, but it clings to the original notion of impermanence.
Once a year (in late Spring) the Grand Bazaar is held. If you have anything to sell, or want to buy anything, or want to meet a representative of any race, this is the place and time to show up. Just be careful who you talk to about what….
The Elven Home
Elves don’t do cities. Their municipal organization defies Human comprehension. If you really need to deal directly with the Elves, travel north from Jhin until you are sure someone is watching you. Then make camp and wait for contact. And don’t light a fire if you value your life. Be polite when they appear without your noticing.
You seriously want to talk to a dragon? Okay. Dragons will talk to you if they decide that talking to you is more useful than just eating you. Remember that they eat horses as snacks.
If you are determined to speak to a dragon, travel north to the Godwall mountains and climb until you are certain that someone is watching you. Then sit down and speak in a clear voice to the air why you are trespassing on a dragon home. Suitable messages might read like “I come bearing news of a threat to all living beings, including the Wurmkind.” This should get the attention of whatever dragon first noticed your approach. Whether the dragon believes you is up to the Game Master. Be advised….
So you want to play here.
Okay. This world runs on GURPS 4th Edition. To reduce the pain on both sides, it will run on the GURPS Lite rules and supporting material. This is all free to download from Steve Jackson Games, so nobody has to pay anything. I have already downloaded all the PDFs and will make them available here once I figure out how to do that.
The Lite version limits some options, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to understand as a player and run as a GM. The material components are some paper, a pencil, and three six-sided dice. Dice of other numbers can be useful, but are optional. All the necessary paperwork can be had as free PDFs, so you don’t have to buy anything to play. Well, you need dice, but you are a gamer, right?
What I don’t remember
I did point out that I am reconstructing Thaedra from memory. I could remember anything at any time. Just so you know.
Well, I have also remembered things that I have not decided yet to add to the world. That’s for the future.