GURPS · Worked Example

World Creation 17 – The Eastern Peaks

(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. )

We’re now heading into the Mountains that form the Eastern and North-Eastern border of the map.  Take a look:

World Creation 17 - The Eastern Peaks - Unnamed

Mountains of Moonlight.jpg
Yup, “Monstrous” mountains always look just like this.

Here is a bigger, zoomable version of this map.

Let’s start by exploring most conspicuous feature: that Monstrous mountain region in the East, at the headwaters of the Cairnflood river (which, if you recall, eventually flows into the Rulerun).  What kind of monsters have their dark kingdom here?

(Rolling for Population Type…)

Wolfkin 2.jpg
A rare, distant glimpse of one of the Wolfkin who  rule these mountains.  Shhh!  We don’t want it to hear us!

Some kind of beastfolk.

(Rolling to determine what sub-type of beastfolk…)


(Rolling for Theme)


Ok – great!  It appears that these mountains at the headwaters of the river are exceptionally lovely – but are also controlled by the self-declared Wolf Queen, who rules with an iron fist (tooth?) from the peak of her mountain.  She dominates Wolfkin civilization like the alpha member of a vast, vast pack.  For the most part, the Wolfkin are deeply in thrall to her and very devoted (taking into account the constant testing of status that goes on all the time in Wolfkin society).  In human terms, she’s running a kind of fascist state.

Wolfkin 5.jpg
What do you mean “they hunt by smell?”  How so?

Why hasn’t the Wolf Queen simply used this fascist army to conquer the other lands? Well, partly she’s held at bay by the power of the Hawkmen of Valiroth.  Also, the terrain isn’t good: if she wants to attack the more civilized realms (like that juicy little “safe” Halfling realm, “Haymarch”), she’s got some very tough mountains to cross.

Wolfkin 3
Uh… guys?

Most importantly, though, Wolfkin society is naturally territorial rather than expansionist: for the most part, the Wolfkin simply want to be able dominate the prey in their own territory, rather than expanding to conquer new territories.  Sometimes the Wolf Queen tells herself that one day she’ll send her armies marching down the river to take the civilized kingdoms by storm… but it’s mostly a fantasy – the Wolfkin may be savage, cruel, and fanatical about protecting their own territory, but they aren’t normally interested in conquest.

Wolfkin 9.jpg

What about a name?  Let’s roll on the Evil Realm Names table.

(Rolling for a name…)


That works really well, and sounds very wolfy to me.  What about a name for the moutnains themselves?  Let’s pick up the “beautiful” themee here by rolling for a “beautiful” modifier:

(Rolling for a name… and re-rolling once or twice…)

Mountains of Moonlight 3.jpg
The Mountains of Moonlight by night.  Which, by the way, is an exceptionally dangerous time to visit.

The Mountains of Moonlight.

Well, that’s excellent – wolves love howling at the moon!  What about a name for the Wolfkin City?

(Rolling for a name…and re-rolling once or twice…)

Vol Ungvor, The Devourer’s Defile

Right – well, I’m very happy with those names.  Those wolfkin are looking suitably wolfy now!

Classic Dwarf - ElmoreMoving on from the Wolves…

Now let’s move on to the semi-civilized Region just to the West of Volbad.  Who lives there?

(Rolling for Population Type…)


Fair enough – this seems like dwarven territory.  What about a Theme?

(Rolling for Theme…)


Ahah!  This is the second Dwarven mountain Realm to come up as “dangerous” – obviously these are some tough dwarves!  Let’s say these mountains are so rugged as to be almost impassable – and they would be entirely impassable, but for Dwarven mountain-lore.  The toughness of the terrain is probably why the Region counts as Semi-civilized rather than Civilized – even with all their know-how, the dwarves here are still forced to live in fairly small and scattered bands.

The Trackless Peaks.jpg
The Trackless Peaks.  This is one of the gentler passes.

Now let’s roll up both a Dwarven name for these mountains, and a translation:


Duzundigath, The Trackless Peaks.

Now for some imagining and coloring in.  Because everyone knows  that all Dwarves need both an ancient grudge and a lost homeland to long for, let’s say that these Dwarves long to return to the beautiful Mountains of Moonlight, just to the East, which they consider to have been stolen from them by the Wolfkin of Volbad.

Let’s also say that the Dwarves who remain in Duzundigath tend to be the die-hards and fanatics, who are really bent on taking their ancient kingdom back from the Wolf-kin – those who don’t feel as strongly about it have long ago moved West to share in the riches of Dwimilzund.

All in all, it appears we’re entering a straight-up Dwarves vs Werewolves situation.  Classic.

In ancient times, the Dwarf King ruled the Mountains of Moonlight from his high seat  on the Red Throne.  Here he broods over even more ancient grudges.

What about a clan name for these dwarves?

(Rolling for a name…)


That works – let’s say that the Dwarf-King once ruled the Mountains of Moonlight from his High Seat on the Red Throne – until the coming of the Wolfkin, and the start of the long exile.  That sounds pretty dwarven.

Ok, Next Region!

Moving on, what about the mountainous “Wilderness” Region immediately to the West of Duzundigath?  Take a look at the map again, if you’ve forgotten where we are.  We’re now in the top left corner:

World Creation 17 - The Eastern Peaks - Unnamed

Who lives here?

(Rolling for Population Type…)

Hawkfolk 6.jpg
Hawkfolk out on patrol!

It seems some kind of Beastfolk live there.  But what kind?

(Rolling to determine which kind of beastfolk…)


Fair enough! It seems that the Hawkmen of Valiroth occasionally send patrols up into this area of wilderness.  It’s a long way from home for them, so I wonder why? Let’s not answer that question right away – instead let’s leave it mysterious, since it  sounds like an excellent plot hook, for once the campaign has started….

What’s this Region’s Theme?

(Rolling for a theme…)


Wow, yet another “beautiful” mountain range!  This whole Northern Region is gorgeous, all the way from Mystimere in the West over through to the Mountains of Moonlight in the

The Wistwilds.jpg

An abandoned cabin on the edge of the Wistwilds.

East.  (This makes me even sorrier for those poor old Redthrone dwarves… they’re in exile in the only unattractive mountain Region around….).  Let’s name this Region using a “beautiful” modifier combined with a “Wilderness” modifier.

(Rolling for a name…)

The Wistwilds.

Great – that sounds like a beautiful but largely empty region.  Done!

Last Region for the day!

Ok, moving on to the last Region for today: right at the bottom of this area, there’s a  Wilderness region covered in mountains.  It forms the northern boundary of the Unshapen Marsh, which you can just see peeking over the bottom edge of the map above.

Who lives here?

(Rolling for Population Type…)


That makes sense – let’s say that occasionally Redthrone Dwarves from Duzundigath can be found traveling through here on various errands.  What about a theme?

(Rolling for Theme…)

stone stairs and door
Crumbling stone steps up the mountainside  lead to a forgotten tomb…




That doesn’t seem to fit at all. Let’s roll again…

(Rolling for Theme again…)


Ok, that works – this Region does connect up with Eldervale, after all.  In fact, now that I think about it, this works really well.  Let’s say that in ancient times this Region was home to a series of civilizations, each of which built mightily, both above ground and below, before the world changed and they were destroyed.  Today, this mountainous Region is virtually uninhabited – but it’s dotted with ruins, criss-crossed by the remnants of ancient roadways, and riddled with ancient tunnel systems, tombs, and even underground cities, just waiting to be explored.  In short, it’s an unashamed invitation to Dungeon-crawling!


A brave (or foolhardy?) adventurer steels himself to enter one of the ancient ruins hidden amongst the crags….

This helps to explain why the Redthrone Dwarves come here from time to time: as we just discovered, the Redthrone dwarves are die-hard traditionalists, bent on reclaiming their ancestral homelands in the Mountains of Moonlight from the Wolfkin of Volbad – which means they’re exactly the type of dwarves who would go to great trouble to mount dangerous expeditions into wilderness regions so as to explore ancient dwarven tombs and recover the lost relics of their ancestorsNice!

Dimlight Range 1.jpg

A view of the Dimlight Range  The whole Region is dotted with Ancient ruins.

A name for this Region?

(Rolling for a name…)

The Dimlight Range.

That’s it for this Region.  Here’s how this part of the map now stands:

World Creation 17 - The Eastern Peaks

Here is a larger, zoomable version of this map.

In the next post, we’ll conclude this phase of world creation by fleshing out the last four unnamed regions on the map: the endless ice and tundra of the Frozen North!

(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.


3 thoughts on “World Creation 17 – The Eastern Peaks

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