GURPS · Worked Example

World Creation 13 – The Mysteries of the Deep

(Note: this post is part of my Example of World Creation series.  For a full index to the series, head here. )

(If you want to see where we are, the full world map is here. )

Today we’re heading out to sea, to see what mysteries lurk in the briny deeps.  Here’s the portion of the map we’ll be exploring:

World Creation 13 - The Oceans - Unnamed

You might not be able to see this very clearly above, but there are actually three ocean regions here.  The two big ocean regions are obvious – the northernmost is “semi-civilized” (and even has three towns, however that works!) and the southernmost is “monstrous”.  Less obvious is the tiny region right in the middle of the semi-civilized Northern ocean.

Believe it or not, that little Ocean region is “civilized.”   I wonder how?  Why?  What’s doing?

The little “Civilized’ Region

Let’s start with that tiny “Civilized” Ocean Region, jut because it’s so intriguing.  Is it an island?  An undersea civilization?  An archipelago?  And what kind of “civilization” does it house?

(Rolling for Population Type…)

Evenimmar 1.png
A mysterious haunted island.  (This is fantasy, remember, where no implausible  topology is too extreme!)

Human.

(Rolling for Theme…)

Haunted.

Well, well!  It seems we have some sort of mysterious haunted island out here.   I’m very intrigued by this. Yet  I don’t want to invent too much about it just now, since this island starts to seem like the kind of mystery that ought to be resolved in play.  Let’s roll up a name – I think a “Magical” proper name together with a “Haunted” nickname should do nicely.

Evenimmar.jpg
Ok, this is a bit more plausible.  A distant glimpse of Evenimmar, the Starless Isle…

(Rolling for a name…)

Evenimmar, the Starless Isle.

Very mysterious!  I like it.

What about the Ocean Itself?

The Ocean Region that surrounds Evenimmar is huge.  It’s semi-civilized, and even has three Towns (?!) so there’s obviously someone out here.  Who is it?

Merfolk(Rolling for Population Type…)

Merfolk.

(Rolling for Theme…)

Beautiful.

Right! So it seems that we have some good merfolk up here in the north, to balance out the evil ones who rule Kilgorm down on the south coast.  This means that this Region’s three towns are probably underwater – let’s say they’re the traditional meeting-places of the Merfolk, who otherwise live a fairly nomadic existence, traveling around the ocean in scattered hunting bands, following seasonal routes laid down by their ancestors. Presumably the merfolk avoid the haunted isle of Evenimmar, though we’ll see.

Now, what shall we name this Merfolk realm?  Sadly my naming system doesn’t include a table of merfolk names – what a terrible oversight!  But I know that it ought to be something both pretty and really hard to pronounce.  Maybe if I combine a bit of Elvish with a bit of Orcish, since I have both those tables?  This is an odd idea, but we’ll see if it works…

(Gulp… rolling for a name….)

Merfolk 2
Apparently, the Mermen of Mithilgur are known for being devoted fathers.  Who would have thought?

Mithilgur.

Hey, that’s not too bad!  I’d like to claim this as a massive victory for my naming tables, but in all honesty, I think I just got a bit lucky with that one – I could just as easily have come up with something awful.

The Ocean surrounding Mithilgur is breathtakingly lovely (“beautiful” theme) – it has some of the unearthly allure of the Merfolk who live there, and many a human ballad has been composed about longing for it.  So let’s name it accordingly, with a “beautiful” themed name.

(Rolling for a name…)

The Sapphire Sea.

Great!  Very pretty.

This is all well and good, but quit stalling!  Get to the evil ocean down South!   Evil is Fun!

Fair enough!  Let’s head south to the huge “Monstrous” ocean down there.  What sorts of monstrosities lurk in the deeps?

(Rolling for population type…)

Merfolk.

Again!  Man, these dice love merfolk today.  Well, that seems good, really – obviously these guys are a dark, twisted reflection of the good merfolk of the Sapphire Sea.  The aquatic peoples of the north and the aquatic peoples of the south are now mortal enemies!  I assume these new, evil merfolk are also the same evil merfolk who control Kilgorm, which is on the coast right next to here.  Now that I realize that they control the whole southern ocean, too, I think perhaps some of these merfolk are Sirens who use the unearthly beauty of their songs to enthrall sailors, and then lead them to their watery deaths.

Evil Merfolk 3
The evil undersea kingdom of Dimrach Gorm.   Beautiful but deadly….

What about a Theme for this Ocean?

(Rolling for Theme…)

Religious.

It appears the sirens take the enthralled sailors captive, so as to offer them up as sacrifices to their dark aquatic gods. Nice!

Now we need names.  The Realm name should be Evil.

(Rolling for a name)

Dimrachgorm.

Ah! That’s really odd, but it matches “Kilgorm” from earlier really nicely – it appears that  in the language of the evil merfolk, “Gorm” means something like “Kingdom” (Literal translation: “A Place We Dominate.”)

I like that coincidence, so I’m keeping the name.  “Dimrachgorm” is a real mouthful, though.  Maybe if we split it into two words: Dimrach Gorm?   Yes, I think that’s better.  Named!

What about a human name for this monstrous ocean?  Let’s roll up a name modifier appropriate to the “Monstrous” theme.

(Rolling for a name…)

Rending.

So now we have The Rending Sea, ruled by the evil merfolk of Dimrach Gorm. Not bad.

And that’s it for the Oceans!  Here’s how they look now:

World Creation 13 - The Oceans

Here is a bigger, zoomable version of that map.

In the next post, we’ll head back to shore to finish off the very southernmost part of the coast.  There are some semi-civilized regions down there – and they’re very isolated, cut off from the rest of civilization, and surrounded by evil.  I wonder who those poor folk are?  Stay tuned to find out!

(And as always, here’s the big world map again, in case you want to see where we’re headed.)

Worked Example - Stage 7

Here is a bigger, zoomable version of the map.

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