Danarbi

Original Ludewood Territory Map (1985)

Here is the original version of the territory around Ludewood.

Original Ludewood TerritoryOriginal Ludewood Territory Map

This map was the basis of my modern rendition of the same area.

Map Key can be found here.

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Original Danarbi Maps (from 1984?)

I have found and scanned a few more old maps. These are from the Danarbi continent.

Original Danarbi - WestOriginal Danarbi West Map

Original Danarbi - EastOriginal Danarbi East Map

(Compare with the modern renditions of these maps: West Danarbi and East Danarbi.)

These were drawn sort of stream-of-consciousness style. I only had a vague idea of drawing “not-Europe” at the time. It was not until after the map was drawn I even came up with the name Danarbi.

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The Sons of Jaki and The Sons of Zuwal

Here is something Danarbi-related that I wrote up almost a year ago, but never quite finished. A pair of new monster types with an interrelated history. (What they really need is some random tables of bodily features to make each individual different. Maybe the mutation tables from Mutant Future or Gamma World?)

“The Sons of Jaki and The Sons of Zuwal
(September 9, 2013)

The Sons of Jaki and The Sons of Zuwal are humans that have been corrupted by Chaos. They have been mutated into forms that mix human and animal features, the result of generations of inbreeding and worshipping dark and sinister forces. As an individual grows in power, he changes further and further into a Chaos-spawn, eventually losing the ability of reason and becoming a purely monstrous horror. Although generally referred to as Sons, they may be either male or female. Sons of Jaki and Sons of Zuwal are mutual enemies, and will always attack each other unless some more powerful force prevents them from doing so.

The Sons of Jaki mix human and bat features, while the Sons of Zuwal mix human and snake attributes. There are several general categories of Sons, based upon individual power levels and sharing a certain similarity. At the highest levels, however, the power of Chaos introduces an ever-increasing amount of randomness of appearance, so that two individuals of similar power may differ wildly in numbers of limbs, tails, and even heads.

INITIATE: This lowest category of Son is the result of a ritual performed upon a pure human, or the offspring of an Initiate and a pure human. They appear as humans, except for one or two cosmetic animal traits. They may have large, furry ears; fangs; spindly hands; scaled skin, etc. These features do not grant any special abilities or attacks. 1HD.

FOLLOWER: This second category of Son is the result of a ritual performed upon an Initiate, or the offspring of two Initiates, or the offspring of a Follower and a pure human. They will have one or two major animal features. They may have bat wings instead of normal arms; the head of a snake; the head of a bat; the lower body of a serpent instead of legs; etc. These features will grant some form of special ability or attack. They may gain the power to glide, a bite attack, echolocation, etc. as appropriate. 3HD.

SON OF [JAKI or ZUWAL]: This third category is result of a ritual performed upon a Follower, the offspring of a Follower and an Initiate, or the offspring of a Son Of and a Follower. No longer do they deign to mate with lowly humans. The animal form is dominant at this stage, with one or two human features. They may have a human head; human arms; human legs; or a human torso, but with all other features of an bat or snake. They gain special abilities and attacks as appropriate. Flight; a venomous bite; sonic attack, etc. 5HD.

CHOSEN OF [JAKI or ZUWAL]: This fourth category is result of a ritual performed upon a Son Of, the offspring of two Sons Of, or a Chosen Of and a Son Of. At this category, they appear as huge examples of bats or snakes (mass about twice that of a human), but still maintain human-level intelligence. They have all the abilities and attacks of the animal, with extra effects due to their size. 7HD.

ELDER: This fifth category is normally the offspring of two Chosen Of, although rarely the result a ritual performed upon a Chosen Of. In appearance they retain the basic form of a gigantic (mass about four times that of a human) animal, but Chaos has manifested itself. They may have two heads; an extra pair of wings; several tails, etc. Their ability to reason has fallen to sub-human levels, so they often act on instinct. 9HD.

ANCIENT: This sixth category is almost always the offspring of two Elders, although it is possibly the result of a ritual performed upon an Elder. In appearance they are further mutated, with multiple extra limbs, heads, tails, wings, and at least one feature from some other creature entirely. They may possess certain spell-like abilities. They mass about six to ten times that of a human, and are purely beastial in mind. 11HD.”

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Reflections on the Danarbi setting

There are a few more things in my old notes about Danarbi, some adventure ideas, some myths/ rumors etc.

However the setting was never played in. Apart from the issues with me living in area of few gamers, and taking a 9-year break from the gaming scene, there are obviously some issues with the setting.

First off, it was first thought up in about 1984-85. I was 15-16 years old at that point. Obviously I have had a lot more exposure to fantasy literature, world history, etc. in the intervening 30 years.

The original concept for Danarbi was to make something that was not “pseudo-medieval Europe.” So it was kind of a hodge-podge of fantasy versions of Africa, South America, North America, and Australia. Or at least how a 15 year old conceived of them back then.

So it has “fallen empire sort of like the Aztecs” bordering “sort of India”, “sort of Mordor (but hidden in a giant swamp)”, and “sort of The Land of the Lost.” Plus “sort of Plains Indians” and “sort of Polynesian islands (with pirates!)”. Then I added in some colonies / outposts of the “pseudo-medieval Europe type place across the sea.”

There is really too much stuff just thrown into the mix. “Everything and the kitchen sink mashup” may appeal to a teenager creating his first large game setting, but Danarbi was so unfocused I could never pare the description down enough to convince anyone to play there.

On top of that, the entire world situation was sort of a giant railroad, involving gods, demons, cataclysms, and the need for mortal heroes (probably the PCs?) to show up every few centuries to set things right. I suspect this was about the time of my first exposure to Michael Moorcock’s work. Probably some Dragonlance influence in there as well.

So I then got detoured and spent years working on the “pseudo-medieval Europe type place across the sea.” More focused and based more upon history classes I was taking in college. Holothom is a another whole story however.

Anyway, I am thinking that the whole reason I am posting any of the old stuff is I am trying to see if there is anything that can be salvaged and put into a new game setting.

So I will start with pulling out what was the critical usable concept of Danarbi. Distilled down, I think “Vikings & Mayans” about sums it up. Maybe toss in “Dinosuars” as well.

So maybe I will start trying to make up a new campaign setting based upon the concept of “Vikings & Mayans & Dinosaurs.”

Stay tuned.

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Ludewood: Languages & Religions

Here is the last part of the “Ludewood & Surrounding Territory” document I had typed up 2000 from earlier notes. See “Ludewood Area Map Key,” “Ludewood Random Encounter Charts” and “Ludewood PC Origins / Backgrounds” for earlier sections.

Languages

There are several languages commonly used within the territory. The human common tongue is Svndalish, the language of the Kingdom of Svendl in Holothom. The folk of that land came to Danarbi over 50 years ago. (NOTE: Characters who have the “immigrants from the colonies” origin will probably have a different native tongue, such as Banli or Duvra. They must use a proficiency slot if they want to speak Svndalish. Children or grandchildren of immigrants are assumed to know Svndalish as their native tongue.)

The other prominent human tongue is Ujali, the language of the Ujola, Tivalean, and Wayglath Nomads. These folk have roamed the plains of Danarbi for hundreds of years. (NOTES: As noted above under “Origin Abilities,” nomad characters have Ujali as a native language, and must use a proficiency slot to speak Svndalish. The only exceptions are the Elarites, whose settled lifestyle and long contact with Ludewood allow them to know both languages as their native tongue without spending a proficiency slot.)

The demihuman languages, Elvish, Dwarvish, Gnomish, and Holba (the halfling tongue), are less widely used, except in those regions inhabited by those demihumans (Borantin, Inkon Mountains, Jumor, Shunoff). (NOTES: Demihumans with the “exodus clan member” origin speak the appropriate racial tongue as their native language, and must use a proficiency slot to know Svndalish or any other human language. Demihumans with the “immigrants” or “descendants of immigrants” origins may choose their native tongue, but it must be the appropriate racial language, Svndalish, or another human Holothonian language. If they wish to speak a language that has not been chosen as their native tongue, even if it is the appropriate racial tongue, they must spend a proficiency slot.)

Various monster tongues, especially those of types common to the territory, are generally known only to the monsters and some sages and adventurers. Such languages include: Goblin, Kobold, Orcish (although not the same as Holothonian Orcish), Gnollish, Bugbear, Lizard Man, Dragon, Hill Giant, Centaur, and Treant.

Religions

There are also several religions observed within the territory, notably two human religions and two demihuman religions.

The two human religions are the Asgardian (Aesir) and the Ujali. The Svndalish and their descendants follow the ways of Odin, Thor, and Loki. The various nomad groups follow the ways of the Four Brothers (elemental spirits of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water). (The Four Brothers are: Earth Brother Ulok, Air Brother Satar, Fire Brother Azar, and Water Brother Terant.) The Tivaleans tend to revere the Earth Brother and the Air Brother more than the other Brothers. The Ujola tend to revere all the Brothers about equally. The Wayglath strongly revere the Fire Brother above the others. The Elarites revere the Earth Brother and the Water Brother, but are careful to show respect to the other two Brothers.

The two demihuman religions are the Elven and Dwarven. The elves (and many humans of Gyaalese or Duvra descent) follow the ways of Monshalla (Queen of Stars), Lamor (Father Moon), Valam (Brother Sky), Jandara (Sister Ocean), and Pelemor (Cousin Forest). The dwarves follow the ways of Udon Lawgiver, Kargan Stormbreaker, and Makal Stoneshaper (who may be the same Powers as some of the Aesir, but in different forms for different races).

Gnomes and halflings may worship any of a number of religions. The gnomes of the exodus clans tend to follow the Dwarven gods, while the halflings of the exodus clans tend to follow the Elven gods (although some reverence is given to the Ujali Earth Brother Ulok due to the influence of the Elarites). Immigrant gnomes are just as likely to worship the Elven gods, because the Garum gnomes of Holothom lived nearer to elves than dwarves. Immigrant halflings may worship the few halfling-specific gods that have developed followings in Holothom in the centuries since the exodus, or just follow the Elven gods as their ancestors did.

In general, any religion is culture-specific, and not followed by others. Worshippers revere all the gods of a religion, but clerics are bound to one only.

It is important to note that only the most prominent and widely worshipped gods are listed above. There may be other gods worshipped for some religions (especially the Aesir, who have a full pantheon described in Legends and Lore.)

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