Wyrmspire: The Merchant Quarter

Yeah, so’s your mother.

Anyway.  Onto the merchant quarter.

The keyword for the merchant quarter is diversity.  The merchant quarter, moreso than any of the other quarters, revolves around money.  (the noble quarter revolves around poshness, the temple quarter around piety, the arcane quarter around intelligence, the dwarven quarter around basic street wits, and the old quarter around lack of money).  And money is a pretty damn universal language.  So, you can find basically every race, with the notable exception of the Amen-Kathar, wandering around the merchant quarter selling things, buying things, stealing things, or just people-watching.

The merchant quarter is fucking crazy. If you know where to look, you can find anything in the merchant quarter.  Recently, the city watch was involved in a busting a dragon-smuggling ring.  Not dragon eggs, or wyrmlings, or drakes.  Full grown fucking dragons.  Being smuggled in rough-hewn wooden boxes.  Yeah, we’re not sure what the people that thought that up were smoking.

It was, however, probably Varith (check that transition motherfuckers).  Varith, the powerful hallucinogenic herb alternately said to be harvested on tropical islands far to the east, an innocent-looking herb that just grows in people’s gardens, or something the fucking wizards made up, is arguably even more popular here than in the noble quarter.  That’s because, when it gets down to it, there are not that many people in the noble quarter.   There are a fucking lot of people in the merchant quarter.  And the more people, the more potential Varith addicts.

Of course, all legitimate business in the merchant quarter is controlled by the merchant’s guild.  This guild is basically one giant mountain of red tape, with many, many levels of regulations for what can and cannot be sold by whom, when, where, and while wearing which color dress (fish + red = no, apparently).  Most of these regulations are summarily ignored  by everyone, because the merchant quarter is fucking huge, and there’s no way to honestly control everything.  Health ordinances are usually paid attention to, though, because people appear to actually care about things like that.  Go figure.

The city watch has a very active role in the control of the merchant quarter – moreso than any of the other quarters (the old quarter doesn’t technically count as them ‘controlling’ it).  They enforce laws on controlled substances, and whack the people that don’t listen to them with sticks.  Big sticks.

The merchant quarter is, of course, home to the vast majority of the middle class in Wyrmspire, as most of them are, well… merchants.  They sell shit.  Blacksmiths, tailors, and bakers are all forms of merchants in my opinion, of course.  Long as they sell their own shit.  Which they do.  The people of Wyrmspire are very open to things like that.  So you can wander into a blacksmith’s shop and they’ll be all like ‘o hai wat wuld u liek gud sir’ because obviously they’re uneducated.  I mean… they’re blacksmithing.  Also tits.  It’s 12:55 AM and I think my brain just popped.  I shall attempt to finish this cohesively…

The youth of the merchant quarter have recently figured out a new and exciting way to disappoint their parents: through competition in a game called ‘Tak’.  Originally a minotaur invention, ‘Gartak gí Túl’ was a very complicated game involving several inflated sheep’s bladders, many hoops, complicated rules, incredible technique, and occasionally something being set on fire.  It was taken to the human lands, and their delinquent children simplified it to a point where there’s one ball, one hoop, barely any rules, and more brutality than technique.  Fortunately, there still remains the possibility that something gets incinerated.  Tak is played between rival neighborhood gangs, often in the middle of crowded merchant squares full of other people.   The basic goal is to pass the ball through the hoop to a teammate on the other side – bonus points for catching the other team’s hoop-pass, or for hoop-passing using only elbows or something silly like that.  Also you win if the entire other team is incapacitated.  I may do a whole post on Tak sometime in the future.

The merchant quarter is truly an amazing place, full of diversity and richly-dressed members of all races.  However, it’s a lot less interesting than many of the other quarters, and thus kind of hard to write about.  Which is why it took me two weeks to get off my ass and get it over with.  Fuckers.

Important Residents of the Merchant Quarter:

High Merchant Tadaran Knopwhick is the leader of all commerce-type-objects in the merchant quarter.  He is one of the most serious merchants in the merchant’s guild, leading to the utter hilarity of the fact that he is, in fact, short as all hell.  He’s an underfoot.  A really, really short underfoot.  So, when he dresses in his resplendent robes of sable and black (those of you that get the joke there get a cookie) he looks, to be honest, like a damned fool.

Tadaran is, however, a very dour figure.  He has crazy jowls and close-cropped silver hair.  He also has a bit of a beer-belly.  If you find yourself laughing at him, you will in all likelihood soon find that the joke is on you, as he will enact an ordinance entirely to fuck with you.  He once banned horns from existing on one’s body in public due to the fact that a minotaur pointed at him and cackled.  Of course, there are rumors that he had a crazy youth, full of Varith smoking and hot underfoot babes.  Most discount these rumors, as… seriously.  Just no.

Rumors also abound of him secretly being an incredibly kind person, and keeping up the serious facade as a front for some underground illegal charity thing he’s doing.  Of course, no one can figure out what the hell could be both nice and illegal enough for him to be that much of an ass to cover up for it.  It’s possible that he’s part of the Grey Dawn, but what could his position be such that he needs so much secrecy?

Commander Thestle is the commander of the city watch of the merchant quarter.  Presumably he has a first name, but he doesn’t really share it.  Y’know… ever.  Thestle is a man matching the dourness displayed in Tadaran Knopwhick.  He hates everything, a hate many think springs from a childhood encounter with a dragon.  Or maybe he’s just an ass.  It’s unknown.

‘course, if your line of work involved foiling smugglers every single fucking day for over thirty years, you’d end up being a bit bitter too.  Just last week he took down a dragon-smuggling ring, a slave ring, a small pocket of Varith smugglers, and one crazy man on a turtle that thought he was Black Hundriss.

Thestle is a medium-sized man with gray hair, slightly balding, and with bitter black eyes.  He gives you the impression of being a pig without actually being fat, which is quite an accomplishment.

Duke Narax is the face of the Shatva in Wyrmspire – of course, using the term ‘face’ to describe the head of a secret organization dedicated to selling hallucinogenic herbs is… interesting.  Narax is a minotaur, black-furred, with one horn broken off at the base.  He’s not really a duke, of course.  Nobody with his pedigree could get anywhere near any royalty, ever.  Narax is a mutt – a street urchin who rose to his position through sheer brute force and continues to enforce his power similarly.  He’s been known to cut off the thumbs of those that fail him.  Adding to this mystique is the fact that he’s missing his left thumb – the thought is that, perhaps, he once failed himself?  Who knows.  We certainly aren’t asking him.  He may cut off our thumbs.

Narax, while an important figure, is by no means head of the worldwide Shatva.  They wouldn’t risk their shit like that.  Narax reports to an enigmatic entity known only as The Darkened One, and it’s unknown if even he (she? it?) is the highest rung of the Shatva ladder.  It’s entirely possible that the Shatva is even more evil than most suspect.

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Wyrmspire: The Dwarven Quarter

You’re walking along serenely through the Merchant’s Quarter when, all of a sudden, everything changes.  You’ve been stopping and chatting with all the richly-dressed men and women you’ve seen on your way, but those men and women are now significantly shorter.  And they’re wearing chainmail and carrying axes instead of wearing died linen and carrying licenses to sell anything and everything.

This is Wyrmspire’s Dwarven Quarter, undoubtedly the shortest of all quarters.  And also, most likely, the most populous.  Of course, that’s arguable.  The Old Quarter may be the most populous, but they seem to resist census attempts by stealing the census-taker’s shoes and selling them for food.  So it’s really not well known.

The Dwarven Quarter was established shortly after the dwarven city of Irongate made an alliance with the old human empire, around the year 400 or so.  The dwarves moving to Wyrmspire to trade with the humans and blacksmith for them realized that there were enough of them to just set up a little mini-city.  They did just that.  The dwarven minority is without a doubt the most influential in Wyrmspire, as without them the city would be severely lacking in blacksmiths, miners, cheese merchants (dwarves have a thing for cheese), and drunkards.

Which brings us to the next point: the disparity in morals between the dwarves of Wyrmspire and the dwarves of Irongate.  Irongate is a long-standing city which has not been breached or, indeed, changed, in nearly a thousand years.  The Dwarven Quarter is a subsection of a city full of humans.  There’s a difference.  The dwarves of Irongate are very conservative.  Basically, if you break a rule in Irongate, there’s a chance you’ll get banished forever.  Or have your pinky toe cut off (that particular rule stems from a mistranslation of an ancient dwarven equivalent of the Magna Carta, but don’t tell any of the Irongate dwarves that).  In a stark contrast, the Dwarven Quarter is full of what, for a lack of a better word, I will call party dwarves.  They get drunk, they hang out with elves (gasp!) and they go off on adventures with humans.

Note, however, that these are not the scientifically minded Wind Dwarves of Below.  No, these are still Cave Dwarves (as they are called so mockingly by their Wind Dwarf cousins) for the most part.  There is, of course, a small Wind Dwarf minority, but for the most part, the Dwarven Quarter is made up of bearded, helmet-wearing, bear-drinking motherfuckers.  As opposed to the Wind Dwarves, who are often clean shaven, with close-cut hair, leather headguard things (reminiscent of airforce flying caps from WWII) instead of helmets, and who honestly prefer Scrim, an odd drink distilled from a root that hangs down from the underside of the world, whose taste is vaguely reminiscent of beets, and whose alcohol content is enough to drug a rhino.

Of course, the dwarven elders look down on all this froo-fra, this fraternizing with other races (they’re considering declaring the Wind Dwarves another race, just to cheese them off) and all this… adventuring.  Good dwarves sit at home and quietly contemplate the will of Archus before getting married off to a cousin.  But the dwarves of Wyrmspire are having none of this.  While both studious religion and arranged marriages are commonplace in Irongate, the Wyrmspire dwarves are having fun.  Which may or may not include a) gratuitous drinking b) kicking someone’s ass at a local bar or c) marrying whoever they damn well please.  Bam.  Take that, elders.

Said elders make up the entirety of the government of the Dwarven Quarter.  They have a council, and on it are nine incredibly, incredibly old dwarves.  They make all the rules in the Dwarven Quarter, and then get incredibly irate when they realize they have no way to enforce them because the only people that listen to them are old farts.  So they basically just sit in a building and gripe about how these young dwarves don’t show any respect for their elders.  And things like that.

One of the most disturbing events in recent times in the Dwarven Quarter, for both the dwarven elders and all those who enjoy their buildings nice and un-destroyed, is the resurrection of the dwarf mountain clans of old(in old dwarven – duarv dak’tanik kalnt).  According to most histories of dwarven culture (that is, the ones that don’t involve Irongate being created from the corpse of a giant bird named Gâr who fell to earth and then coalesced into a city – there are some weird dwarf cults), before the formation of Irongate and other dwarven cities, dwarf culture consisted of many roaming mountains clans, both in the Dragonmaw Range to the west and the Frostfell Peaks to the north (I named the mountains!  Finally!  Wee!).

These clans were savage and fierce, dressing in animal skins and fighting each other tooth and nail for land, hunting rights, mines, and women.  Most of the uncovered remains of ancient dwarves have been found with gaping holes in their skulls, or missing limbs, or still clutching their axes, or spread over an area of several dozen square feet.  Occasionally the tomb of a clan chieftain has been found, and while they’re usually better treated, buried with jewels, well-crafted battle axes, and yeti skins, they still have been found dead with battle wounds.  According to certain magic dating techniques, the oldest ancient dwarf found was just over eighty years old, an incredibly young age compared to the 200 a dwarf can live to if he eats healthy.  From certain drawings, it has been deduced that the ancient dwarves often wore blue face paint into battle.

Eventually, several thousand years ago, these dwarf clans coalesced into several city-states, including Irongate, in the Dragonmaws, and the Moon Dwarf Empire in the Frostfells.  The Moon Dwarves’ face tattoos are natural progressions from the ancient face paint of the dwarf clans.

All this was for the most part forgotten by all but historians.  Until recently.  A dwarf mage discovered a way to trace one’s ancestry back to the dwarf mountain clans.  Shortly after this, it was discovered that most of the dwarves in the civilized lands, whether Irongate, Wyrmspire, or Below, are descended from one of two clans: Clan Axebreaker and Clan Lakedeath.  This is most likely evidence that the two clans made a pact and essentially killed everyone else at some point in dwarven history.  Whatever the historical reason, this has led to a huge surge of clan patriotism among the young dwarves or Wyrmspire, who really needed something to believe in.  Thus, Clan Axebreaker and Clan Lakedeath have reemerged, though as little more than street gangs.  This has caused no end of trouble for everyone in the Dwarven Quarter, as random fights break out between the clans.

Of course, troops have been sent in to the Dwarven Quarter to attempt to put down the fighting.  This has been ineffective, as fights always seem to break out on the exact opposite side of the quarter than whatever soldiers are wandering around at the moment, and by the time said soldiers have arrived the dwarves are in such a frenzy that they can’t really be stopped.  After the fight is over, the soldiers usually mop up the exhausted dwarves (there aren’t often actual deaths) and throw them in jail.  Of course, this has led to the jails full of short, hairy men.  You just can’t win.

Clan Axebreaker is the larger of the two clans.  Its name in old dwarven is Kaln Ak’narruk (as you can see, both the common word “clan” and the common word “axe” are derived from dwarvish).  Clan Axebreaker was the first of the old dwarven clans to officially reform, though there’s evidence that Clan Lakedeath was an underground organization for months before the official formation of Clan Axebreaker.  Dwarves of Clan Axebreaker paint their faces in much the same way their ancestors did.  They wear their hair and beards in long, thick plaits.  While they do this to adhere to the look of their ancestors, they usually don’t wear animal skins, opting instead for dwarven chainmail.  As a result of their distinctive style, plaited hair gone essentially completely out of fashion among Wyrmspire dwarves other than those of Clan Axebreaker, as it is regarded as a clan mark.  Clan Axebreaker fight most often with handaxes.  While the most skilled fighters dual-wield them, most simply use one in whichever hand is their dominant one.

Clan Lakedeath is slightly smaller than Clan Axebreaker, but perhaps more dangerous.  Everyone agrees that “Lakedeath” sounds kind of silly, but the literal translation of their old dwarven name, Kaln Uth’fâthen, is “Clan of Those Who Bring Death and Live On The Lake”, and everyone agrees it’s just better to call it Lakedeath.  Most also avoid mentioning Lakedeath’s perceived silliness near any Lakedeath dwarf, because they will kill you.  Lakedeath dwarves wear blue facepaint like their Axebreaker counterparts, but that’s wear the similarity ends.  In stark contrast to the plaited hair of Axebreaker dwarves, Lakedeath dwarves wear their hair unbound, unwashed, and unkempt.  This, along with the fact that they more often wear animal skins than the Axebreaker dwarves, gives them an incredibly scraggly look.  Lakedeath dwarves traditionally use massive poleaxes in battle.  They are very, very deadly with these, often spinning around like tops before stabbing any enemies that remain in reach with the point of the weapon.

Important Residents of the Dwarven Quarter:

Elder Kharat Karandul is the highest elder of the elder’s council.  By which we mean that he’s the oldest, and thus the others defer to him in all manners of judgment and stuff.  He’s incredibly, incredibly old.  His hair is pure white, and his skin is pale and incredibly wrinkled.  This, combined with the fact that he most often wears pure white robes, make him look like a shining beacon of light.  Then you notice the squint in his eye, the scowl on his face, and the fact that he’s using his cane to beat aside the cat that was sleeping in front of him.

Kharat Karandul is, without a doubt, the most conservative and miserly dwarf in the entirety of Wyrmspire.  He is the last scion of an ancient dwarf family, one that will be dead after his death.  So he spends his time attempting to control every other dwarf’s life, and enacting absurd rules like a sunset curfew and a limit on the amount of alcohol an establishment can serve on any given night.  None of these are paid attention to in the least.  It’s assumed that Karandul will just keel over and die any day now, so nobody really bothers with giving him any notice.  Of course, the next-oldest dwarf on the council is prepared to take over the moment that that happens.  However, the tradition is for the nine oldest dwarves in Wyrmspire to be on the council.  As it turns out, the current tenth oldest dwarf is a Wind Dwarf.  So the entire council would really appreciate it if Karandul would at least stick around until they can pass that legislation declaring Wind Dwarves not dwarves.

Jaris Underbreak is, arguably, the most influential Wind Dwarf in the city of Wyrmspire.  He heads up a research facility in the middle of the Dwarven Quarter – it’s actually a kind of funny sight.  In the middle of a bunch of squat, dirty buildings is a large, almost tower-like structure with a domed roof and all sorts of gadgetry emerging from various windows.  The facility is, in fact, the tallest building in the Dwarven Quarter.   It is devoted to discovering a way to utilize the Wind Dwarve’s wind-powered inventions in non-windy areas.  So far, they aren’t getting very far.

The dwarven elders hate this facility with a passion, as it employs Wind Dwarves, several underfoot, and a few humans.  Which is just unacceptable.  Also, the chief researcher at the facility is Karag Narath, the tenth-oldest dwarf in Wyrmspire, and heavily resented by the soon-to-be-eight-member council.

Ran Axebreaker is the head of the Axebreaker clan.  It’s unknown what his name was before he took his clan’s name as his surname.  During official functions, he is often referred to by his old dwarven name, Rân Ak’narruk.  Ran is a fierce warrior, but at heart a politician.  He has headed up many appeals to the elder’s council in his time, most of which deal with the immediate and permanent banning of Clan Lakedeath.

Ran wears a suit of half-mithril armor combined with leather that has been died black.  This contrast, along with his plaited hair and blue face, makes him look really kind of scary.  His hair is died in streaks of black and white, with his natural brown showing through in places.  His eyes are black.  In battle he uses two adamantine handaxes.

Hardin Lakedeath is the leader of the Lakedeath clan.  His old dwarven name, most often shouted at enemies during battle, is Khard Uth’fâthen.  Hardin is fucking crazy.  He fights with an absolutely gigantic weapon that appear to be a battleaxe mounted on a longspear.  No, we’re not sure how the logistics of that work.  In battle, he is fond of decapitating people from a range of ten feet.  Occasionally, he even throws his weapon, with deadly accuracy.  We’ve no idea how that works either.  There’s a chance there’s some kind of magic at the root of his seemingly godlike strength.

Hardin wears nothing but a tunic made purely of dragon hide, a tapestry of blue, green, black, red and white that easily sets him apart from the rest of his clan.  His hair is more unkempt than even most of his followers, with what appears to be small dead things wrapped in it.  His eyes are a soul-piercing blue, and oftentimes are the last thing an Axebreaker dwarf sees before death via gut-spewing.

Writer’s Note:  I wrote a lot of this during class today.  In this paper, written randomly, were two things: “I’m on another planet with you” (lyric of a song I was listening to at the time) and “yooglepoop”.  No, I don’t know either.

On Alara (Philosophies on the Continuation of Alara)

Okay. Upon reading that title, many of you probably thought “oh noes, oh noes, he’s ending alara, burn his house and rape his women”. This impression is wrong on two counts: one, Alara is my baby and ending it would be akin to feeding a spawn of my blood to a ravening howler. Two, I have no ‘women’ as such. More sadness for me.

NOTE: that introductory paragraph was written before I retitled this post from just “On Alara” to its current title, so as to prevent reader heart attacks.  I’m keeping the first paragraph because quite frankly, I think it’s fucking hilarious.  The end.  Bitches.  /NOTE

No, the purpose of this post is not the ending of Alara. Rather, ’tis the revitalization of Alara. Put shortly, I’m starting up with the updatefulness again. Why? Because fuck you, that’s why. I loves my Alara, and while I may have spent the last month or so attempting to update in ways that interest people who don’t have time to read several dozen posts on world creation, quite frankly it occurs to me that that’s just a shitty way of doing things. Alara is back, bitches. With a vengeance, and several new philosophies.

The introduction to these new philosophies is thus: D&D 4E is coming out soon. If that didn’t give you a fangasm, you shouldn’t be reading this blog. Now, D&D 4E has had a lot of shit thrown its way. This is mostly by people who haven’t read the introduction books. Read them. Now. They’re worth your time. Here‘s a link to one, (technically illegal, but so is half the shit I do) and here’s a link to some excerpts from the other, which hasn’t been internet-loaded yet. That second one might require you to sign up for D&D Insider, but if you still have problems with signing up for random shit on a whim late at night on the internet, just get a damn gmail account already. Fuck.

Anyway, D&D 4E is supposed to do a lot of things. Among them is making things easier for DMs, something I wholeheartedly support, as the only role I would really be playing in any D&D session is that of a DM, as I am a mad creationist. By which I mean I enjoy creating things, not I believe God created the world in six days. Funny how those things get confused.

Damn, I keep tangenting. Oh well, it probably makes for a more amusing read. I hope. The real point of this entire post is thus: D&D 4E uses a world-building concept that they refer to as ‘points of light’. The basic concept is thus: the cities, civilization, etcetera in a D&D world are ‘points of light’ in a blackness of uncivilized savagery. Like the night sky, only instead of the void, the darkness is you being raped by monsters. This may seem to be a fairly obvious concept, but it’s really brilliant in its simplicity, if you think about it. As someone who basically spends all of his free brain-space on world-building, I know exactly how tempting it is to lay down borders for all the various factions in one’s world. The problem with that is it essentially removes every little bit of mystique from a created world. If we know exactly where someone’s lands end and someone else’s begin, the assumption is that that area is civilized enough for that border to be consistent. This sucks the life out of the base D&D ‘wander five feet from a town, get raped by goblins’ concept. Because if there was a unified country, you’d better be damn sure they’d get rid of those damn goblins before anything else.

So, I am going to be using the ‘points of light’ concept in the creation of Alara. Wyrmspire is, of course, the greatest point of light, followed in no particular order by Elenaiar, Irongate, Below, Tartaras, and Argan Vas. Traveling between these, however, is a great risk. There’s the occasional village along the way, and there are of course smaller cities that are still pretty big by the standards of whatever region they may be in, but the fact of the matter is that most of it’s untamed wilderness. Of course, you move north to the Wastes or west to New Aldar or Requiem, and the blackness becomes almost absolute. Places of safety become few and far between.

Even places of safety are not that ‘safe’, oftentimes. Wyrmspire is pretty safe, after all, as long as you don’t get mugged in the Old Quarter, captured and forced to sell Varith in the Noble Quarter, sacrificed by cultists in the Temple Quarter, burnt to a crisp by a rampaging demon/wizard/magically-enhanced-rooster in the Arcane Quarter, caught in a crossfire of dwarven mountain clan street battles in the Dwarven Quarter, or… ummm… merchanted at in the Merchant Quarter. Oh, and don’t go into the Undercity. Ever.

Also, I dislike the rigidity of politics in Alara. It’s the Alliance versus the Twelve and that’s that. Boring as fuck. How ’bout we make things more interesting. Of course, the Twelve are all crazy warlords, so they’re perfect for random falling-in-on-each-other-ness. So obviously there’s large-scale wars between them commonly. As Argan Vas is essentially the capital city for the twelve, this would make it a very, very war-torn city. Maybe various parts of it have been under control of various warlords at different times over the years, and thus the city is riddled with various half-torn-down walls from when the landscape of control was different. Since humans are such avid builders, they often build right over these walls, stealing materials from them to build other things, etcetera. Which would make Argan Vas a city of ruins that still has a vibrant community and is filled with people. I like this. Especially since Argan Vas didn’t ever really have a ‘look’ of its own. I always imagined it as a huge black fortress, but that’s sort of silly. I like the walls idea better. Maybe it’ll be near a cliff overlooking a river or something. Something really medieval.

So, that’s the Twelve. But even the Alliance should have some strife every now and then. After all, if they were all always agreeing, wouldn’t they just call it an empire and be done with it? No, the alliance should war every now and then. Maybe the conservative Irongate dwarves decide to teach that new-fangled Wyrmspire to stop moving forward so quickly, or maybe a xenophobe takes temporary control in the elven senate and decides to genocide some motherfuckers. Maybe Below builds an army of wind-powered constructs that get twenty miles from the edge and just stop working in a hilarious mockery of an actual army. The point is, none of the Alliance really trusts each other, though they still send their representatives to do business in the council.

New Aldar is more complicated, as it’s hard to have political strife among a bunch of hive-mind squid-things. But they’ve got the Phoenix Guard fucking with them, and the Hand of the Alliance playing the Phoenix Guard off the Amen-Kathar, and a bunch of bandits running around looting and pillaging too. So it’s still a political buttfuck.

The point is, things can go off at any moment, and anyone can attack anyone. Of course, everyone still gets together in their major factions when big wars happen, so big wars are usually the Alliance versus the Twelve versus New Aldar. But everything is unstable when there aren’t any major wars.

All this sets up a world rife with conflict, and with adventure around every corner. Perfect for, oh, I dunno… a D&D Campaign Setting. Which, I am announcing right now, is exactly what I will be turning this world into once 4E comes out! Now, you may be saying, “but Tusked, o benevolent and wise maker of worlds, what’s the difference between a normal created world and a D&D Campaign Setting”? Well, stereotypically unintelligent stock question asker, the difference is that Alara: Campaign Setting will have actual game stats for many things! Such as races! And classes! And specific characters! And stuff! And that means that, with a minimum of effort on your part, you can make your own campaigns, set against the wonderful backdrop that is Alara! Weeee!

Anyway, I am going to begin the Alara Campaign Setting Transmogrification Process ™ as soon as 4E comes out. Which translates roughly into “as soon as the core rulebooks are available for wide-scale pirating”. There’s a chance I’m a cheap bastard. Until then, I shall continue building the world of Alara. I think I’ll finish up Wyrmspire, and then move on the some of the shit happening in the far west. It’s gonna be fuckin’ crazy.