Tag Archives: Cobrin’Seil

The Origin Of The Word ‘Orc’

The term for a cultural group, as a name, is its demonym. In Cobrin’Seil, demonyms are words from the culture in question. There are some political contentions there – the Eladrin consider themselves more legitimate Elves than Elves, but Elves are called Elves and Eladrin don’t call themselves Elves because they do not want to be considered the same thing as Elves. This is a long standing beef between the kind of people who own libraries older than most countries. But notably, these words are in the languages of the Elf and the Eladrin. Drow is a word from the same language group, a term that the Drow chose for themselves and use for themselves. The Kai of Shadar-Kai are named after their fortress home, which is, again, an Eladrin word, but they’re all from the same cultural group and choose the term.

The term ‘Beast’ in common comes from ‘Beastfolk,’ which is to say a generic term for a scary thing from the forest. But Beasts are named after Beastfolk, and Beastfolk, again, named themselves. The Beastfolk formed a coalition, made a common language, and then shared that language amongst themselves, developing the term bhehst which evolved over time to Beast, and when they needed a term to describe the coalition, Beastfolk was the result.

Common did not impose this name on them, it learned it from them.

Consider the word ‘Goblin’, a word from the Goblins, is notable because the way the word is used and structured, in language, it’s a possessive. Whose land is this? Goblin. Where are we? Goblin. Who are you? Goblin. What are your people? Goblin. This incredibly flexible term, with its overwhelming ubiquity, also plays into the way goblins are perceived as speaking a strange and confusing language. It’s more that they have multi-purpose words are build their language on trust and social intuition. This is why Goblins will often drop a conversation exactly when they know you’re getting frustrated, because they can tell you don’t actually care and need time to process what they said.

In Cobrin’seil, heritage names are largely entirely self-chosen demonyms. Oh sure, there are names for Orcs that Orcs don’t use, but those words are largely considered slurs, or are often inexact – Bugbears, Hobgoblins, Goblins and Orcs were all for a time treated as the same culture and named interchangeably by outsiders who did not interact with them (which means some of these ideas remain codified by the Eresh Protectorate and Dal Raeda histories). A proper cladistic chart can rejoice in how interesting it is that yes, Bugbears and Hobgoblins are extremely closely related, and yet Hobgoblins and Goblins are so distant as to be functionally alien to one another. Humans are closely related to Hobgoblins, but not to Goblins, and Orcs, while closely related to Humans, are extremely different to Hobgoblins, such that they don’t even recognise one another’s common cause.

And if you think Humans are racist against Orcs, you should hear what Hobgoblins think of them sometime.

But what is an Orc? Not culturally – linguistically, what is an Orc?

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Player Characters Of the Szudetken

Oh yeah, I talked about the Szudetken, right? That peninsula that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, and is full of these awful horror-inspired daylight-horror Christian ideas, with a dash of Bloodborne and The Locked Tomb for players to work with. But how do players interact with them? Especially with no mechanical information?

Well, that’s what this lengthy mechanical article is about. Yes, two thousand words of just ‘different perspectives on living in these cursed places.’ It’s not going to have a dramatic conclusion, it’s just character options. Note that these aren’t the backgrounds you get in the Szudetken. You can be an Artisan or a Merchant or a Military background character from all across the Szudetken: those backgrounds still show up just fine. These backgrounds just represent some of the more prominent experiences unique to these specific parts of the Szudetken.

Also, these backgrounds are presented as a way to try and give you, the player, a vision of what life is like when you have this background. Things that are familiar to you and normal to you, and what big, prominent things that are normal to other people aren’t necessarily normal to you.

Where a Background says ‘Associated Skills,’ that means you can choose for those skills to either be added to your class skill list, or you can have a constant +2 bonus to those skills. When it lists a ‘benefit,’ that’s something else.

And now, on with tools for making a Szudetken character, which may be of use to you if you’re just… grabbing these cultures and dumping them into your world!

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The Worst People Unalive

For years now I’ve been holding back on penning this description of one of the worst places in Cobrin’Seil, and only because it’s the worst in a different way to you’d expect. Oh it’s a tightly controlled city with a gaggle of liches trading favours at the top making the whole place a necromantically controlled undead polity, but the real problem the city has is its housing rates and fad technology bubbles.

Welcome to Uxaion.

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Piton, Jura, Carpathia, Northumbria

You hear the term, in most any discussion of the nations of Cobrin’Seil. You’ll hear the phrase The Halfling Trade-Ships, or sometimes, Halfling Hulks. They’re a feature of the world and its politics, something so important that cities care about them, even though they aren’t, officially, part of that country at all.

The experience of the Hulks is pretty standard. Depending on which port you are in, wherever you are in the world, every few weeks or so, or perhaps once every few months, a single vessel cruises into the port, parks in the harbour in a space set aside for them, and spends a week completely unloading, then reloading up. These giant boxy vessels are often described as a totally different kind of ship to other vessels on the sea. They’re larger than even the largest naval ships, and they command small armies of people to manage and maintain, and all that money, all that profit they make just moving things from port to port, just sits in what, great and dreadful vaults, owned by ‘The Halfling Trade Houses.’

It’s more complicated than that.

Of course.

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The Sporekin

The term ‘Sporekin’ refers to any of the number of humanoids who can symbiotically link with and connect to the forest known as the River of Madness from the nation of Mosetto. Officially, the efforts to contain this forest are absolutely successful and there’s no growth from the forest outside of the ravine, and there are no people living in there – only dangerous plant life and symbiotic living-seeming things from inside the forest.

There’s nothing in the River to worry about and the whole affair is contained.

What do you mean you’ve seen people coming out of it? You must be mistaken. The spores cause madness, after all. Do you need to sit down? We can take you in for medical examination. Anything in the name of containing the River, you know. No? Then you best stop with these rumours.

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Skyjacks and Sporekin

It’s a growing concern when I write about the world of Cobrin’Seil that I’m creating a vast and sprawling set of locational information that is not interesting for a player to engage with and not detailed enough for a world nerd to truly love. Part of it is really that I’m filling out a map, and each place I fill out, I want to be both a real enough place with an economy and a vision of everyday life, and yet I also want each country described to be its own place with a reason for it to be its own place. When there are multiple countries that are like one another in a reasonably close proximity, Europe style, I tend to think of them as ‘provinces’ of a larger body politic.

What’s more, I feel like I know what I like to see in a Nation writeup but I also know the things I need in a Nation writeup. A Nation writeup is a hook, a place to belong, and I want you to give me ideas like how my life as a person in that space might be a thing I can feel and inhabit. A Nation writeup is also a thing a DM needs to be able to check for useful data with signifiers quickly, because it’s a place to come from but also a place to go to. Basically, it is a dessert to consume but there are vegetables to have first.

Presented in a book, I know that I’d be presenting a big splash graphic, with sidebars, and mechanical references in nice formatted popouts. Not so here, where the only visual material I can generate is either icons, stock art, or morphed/warped pictures of similar locations from the inspirations. The rest, all I can do, is with words, words, words.

Come with me to learn of Motesso, the Skyjacks, the Sporekin, the Citadel Ironsky, and the River of Madness.

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Werekin in Cobrin’Seil

Cobrin’Seil, being a magical setting of my own devising, has its own range of shape-shifting creatures known for various titles of ‘were-something.’ Werebears, weregoats, wereboars, all that kind of thing, grouped together under the community title of ‘werekin.’

The word ‘werekin’ comes from the Erd language, as do the phenomena of the werekin themselves. The actual condition is comparable to a kind of magical medical symbiosis; a bit like a long-term medical condition but not seen, generally, as a kind of illness.

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When Eternity Is Your Strategy

Some cultures in Cobrin’Seil are nations. The Eresh Protectorate, with its connected string of city-states, boasts a half-billion souls across all its cities though if you believe the bookkeeping is another affair. Some cultures are very small — mostly homogenous little groupings like the Orcs or the Dio Baragh or the Gnolls. Even amongst those, there are large communities with thousands of members, from which adventurers can start their stories.

Some cultures are pretty small, though, and sometimes that size is a function of material concerns. The example today is the city of Torrent, nestled as it is around the Doval monastery. The material concerns are the town’s resilience against any kind of external authority, the city’s ready access to lightning powered magical technology, and of course, the way that a portion of the population are violently immortal.

It’s a bit of a conversation kick off.

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What’s A Gold Piece in Cobrin’Seil

The economics of D&D worlds are weird, and silly, and silly-weird. Normally conversations that start like this start out with talking about the way that adventurers’ economic presence in a town or city’s space is much like a small moon springing into existence with roughly the same kind of public safety impact. That is a perfectly fun conversation to have! Go ahead, make fun of the way that D&D writers don’t have any sense of scale.

I don’t wanna do that though.

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Queerphobia In Cobrin’Seil

Everyone in Cobrin’Seil is queer to any extent that word can mean anything in talking about my D&D setting. This is not because when you make a dude in that setting part of the character creation setting is ticking the backstory box that, at some point, he has sucked some dick or whatever, but rather is instead because Cobrin’Seil is a world where heterosexuality as you understand it was never invented.

And boy oh boy that right there opens a door, doesn’t it.

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The Cow People

Who you are is often as much about who knows you. It’s possible, in Cobrin’Seil, for you to grow up on an archipelago of connected island city-states, with diverse food and music cultures, in a state that respects art for its own good, and ensures the widespread development of parks and proper protection of the seas, which creates great public artworks, and which even has the largest bridge in the King’s Highway running through it, and for you to live your whole life thinking that people must surely know your homeland as the place of elemental magic, physical duels that test the body against the body, and a theatre culture with explicitly fictional gods. What you wouldn’t necessarily expect is for your first dealings with outsiders to end with ‘Oh, the cow people.’

Such is the lot of the people of the sprawling island nations of Kyranou (pronounced kai-ran-ow).

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The Szudetken Empires, Part III

This is a continuation of the previous post describing the Szudetken Empires peninsula in Cobrin’Seil.

The Bernean Lodges

Where the forests weave in tight against people and farmland is hard-fought from its ownership, there are the night-time howling stands of the Bernean Lodges. Tall, narrow houses, with tightly angled roofs to slough off the snow and rain, the people of the Bernean Lodges isolate themselves from other communities, because they are keenly aware of the way that Szudetken is full of monsters that look like humans. In response to the threat of werewolves, ghosts, changelings, cultists and other horrors, the Bernean people opt to threaten and endanger almost everyone who moves around in their spaces,

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The Szudetken Empires, Part II

This is a continuation of the previous post describing the Szudetken Empires peninsula in Cobrin’Seil.

Voolfardisworth, The Glimmering Net

Where the land becomes mountainous, the castles of Voolfardisworth start to jut up on various cliffs and high peaks, overseeing inevitably, valleys of small communities beneath them. Sometimes known as the Fard, the Fooly or the Fanged States, Voolfardisworth is an aristocratic nation composed of many different, widely distributed noble houses that would rather you not admit they’re vampires (and may even do something to make it so you can’t).

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The Szudetken Empires, Part I

The largest single nation on the Cobrin’Seil continent of Bidestra is Dal Raeda. That is, at least, for those who measure around the edges of the nation, following its perimeter along each distinct shape, and measuring out the distance there. Of course, this does not accommodate for a measurement where an observer takes the furthest points of the nation, at all of its edges, and maps the space that contains; if one measures by that means, then obviously the largest nation on the continent of Bidestra is the Eresh Protectorates, a set of city-states strung out like beads on a string across the King’s Highway. A box, drawn to contain all of those cities, thanks to their distance between one another, could almost contain the entirety of the continent. A third method of measuring exists, where one looks for the area dictacted within the boundaries of the land mass, and composites together that space, such that deep canyons and tall mountains can exert influence on the scale of the nation.

By this metric, as uncertain a measurement as it can be, then the largest single nation on Bidestra is easily one of the six empires that occupied the peninsula known as Szudetken (pronounced schoo-det-ken).

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Dredging Up Schmavenloft

In the maps of Cobrin’Seil, up and on the right someplace, there’s a place called Kryphaneos. Setting aside that that name is very close to The Kingdom Of Mal-Bad, Kryphaneos is definitely one of the signs of an unrefined worldbuilder’s ‘that’ll do.’ Kryphaneos was my all-purpose place for horror stuff, dark magic came from there, there was an ostensible kingdom with supposed capitals and places and purposes and that was all a thing but it was a thing that happened over there. Kryphaneos was very much a ripoff of Ravenloft, as written by someone who didn’t read any Ravenloft books — a kingdom of nothing but dark horror, divided up by foggy lines, where the most notable detail ever provided about it was that nobody wanted to be there.

As time goes on and I keep trying to refine these ideas I meant to write down someday, I figured it was time to confront this space of grim and dark horror, and write down what I wanted it to be. But this isn’t that, this isn’t a writeup of the place, as much as it is instead, a consideration of what I want that place for. What do I want to have in this part of the world, and why do I want it to be different to just any old existing space.

Basically, if I have an Evil Country, why do I have it? What’s it for? And why is it there, and most of all, does answering those questions make my world a place that sucks to exist in?

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The Beastfolk, As People, Part 2

This is part three, effectively, of a long form examination of the political coalition of the Beastfolk of Cobrin’Seil – which is basically ‘how furry can I be in this setting, conveniently?’ The answer, broadly, is ‘pretty furry,’ with things like werewolves and werebears available, but also, this is where you get rats, monkeys, dinosaurs (I made mistakes googling ‘anthro raptors’ for this article) and of course, the vitally important presence of bnuy.

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The Beastfolk, As People, Part 1

I talked about the origin of the term beastfolk in Cobrin’Seil, and how it represented a political coalition of  different people whose shared commonality was the origin for the term beast. What I didn’t really talk about there, though, were the actual cultures that made up that grouping, and what kind of options you have presented to you as a player, nor really what those cultures meant in their place in the world. Plus, in the overview of the Beastfolk, I kind of gave a list and that got me thinking about the cultures as a whole.

And well, I like talking about the cultures in the world of Cobrin’Seil. I like talking about their peculiarities, and about ways to encourage players to see their place in the world, and about the spaces they create by what they imply.

So then:

The Beastfolk of Cobrin’Seil, more or less, as worldbuilding entities, with an important detail about how to consider them as a player.

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Us Beastfolk

I am of the opinion as a designer that D&D settings are more interesting when you consider the diegetic language of the setting, and that language is best served when you do not pre-emptively position players to be racist. It may sound like a lot is loaded into that, but, as I’ve said before, consider the term ‘halfling.’ In the context of a universe, that term is almost certainly a slur, if it’s not a term chosen by the people themselves, since it positions them entirely in their relationship to the other, larger people saying that term. If the term ‘halfling’ is to not be a slur, it needs to be a term the halflings use, and then the question follows: half of what.

I’ve talked about this at length in the article on the halflings, and now we’re moving on to another term that players are going to need that I want to try and make sure isn’t a term that naturally implies every character speaking naturally is a bit racist. That term is beastfolk.

If you’re not familiar, beastfolk is a term used in a lot of D&D settings for ‘furries and near-furries.’ It’s for your anthropomorphic animals, but also for humans with some animalian traits. Often these traits need to be centered around the head; for example, Raptorans are kind of more like elves with wings, but despite having wings and talons, they’re generally not seen as ‘beastfolk.’ In a lot of ways, it’s about the face.

If beastfolk is a term the default observer imposes on the group, then that brings with it ideas of colonialism, the idea that the group doesn’t have a way to centre their own identity, and they didn’t get to choose their own name. That sucks. But on the other hand, I don’t think it’s a great idea to tell the players ‘okay, you know this term that’s in the game books and is in the fiction and is definitely a simple handle for what you, a human, can definitely use to describe these nonhumans? you need to stop using that and now use a more complex term that’s probably not as good.’

No, the solution, in my mind, is to come up with a story.

The story of why the beastfolk call themselves the beastfolk.

Art by Anja Jesske
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The Glimmering Spires of Visente

Cobrin’Seil is a place with culture, a place with languages, a place where people make books and exchange culture and share popular media just like in the real world. Places have their styles and preferences and they absolutely have their own trash. Trash novels, for example, cheaply made on pulpable paper, are traded around in bulk between different cities, and a surprising number of them, the really cheap ones about sleazy sex and dangerous romance? Chances are they deal in the stereotype of the glitzy and hedonistic lifestyles people imagine is common in one of the glimmering cities of Visente (pronounced vy-zent).

Art by Adam Paquette

This is going to be a nation write-up! If you want to read the structure, and how it’s to be used, here’s the link to the structure. I did use some resources to help me build this and get over the things I find the most difficult. Particularly, I punched ‘random city name generator’ into duckduckgo and got this link, and the art that informed the concept is from the Streets of New Capenna set from Magic: The Gathering.

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The Circle Highway in Dal Raeda

Okay, hit the ground running fast: In Cobrin’Seil, I had a quandrary to solve. I knew that Dal Raeda (Big Irish-like Empire) has a section of the King’s Highway in it. This presented a problem, because Dal Raeda is a peninsula, and to have the highway in it would require that highway to connect two parts of the Eresh Protectorates. That meant the only options are:

  • The Eresh Protectorate don’t build their highways between their cities and might build one into Dal Raeda for convenience, which I didn’t like
  • There’s an Eresh Protectorate city inside Dal Raeda, which would be politically surprising
by Tyler Edlin

What follows here is the story that flows from addressing that question and thinking in terms of how pieces of infrastructure get built and maintained.

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A Giant Paradigm

I’ve talked about the Goblin and Kobold cultures in the context of Cobrin’Seil, and done some fairly deep delves into what I think of as the framing context of the other player character options, but the thing is, when you start looking at these cultures as like, cultures, you kind of run into a problem.

Art Source

See, like if Goblins and Kobolds and Orcs merit that deeper context, then that kind of brings up the question of what about gnolls? What about grimlocks? What about derros, and tareks and hobgoblins and bugbears and shifters and duergars and bladelings and —

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The Meat Invasion of Glotharen

I speak of Cobrin’Seil in terms of its people and their homes; this means that more often than not, I am talking about cultures and cities; so many features that are large and inexplicable are usually only mentioned when they are cities, like the Dragon Palace of Amenti. I sometimes feel that this means that the image of Cobrin’Seil, as a world, is that it’s a place where you spend your time engaging with civilisations, of negotiations between people, and it’s not really a space where you can just go out in the wilds and get into a fight.

On the one level, good. I don’t need a roaming empty wild space with dozens of underdeveloped weird humans like Bullywugs and Goblins and Frost Goblins and Bugbears and Hobgoblins and Orcs and Pistos and Half-Orcs and Gnolls and Greenscales and Kenkus and Shifters and Lizardfolks and Grimlocks and Orogs and Tannaruks to fill the world. I’d much rather make cultures that have a lot of variety rather than a few dozen things that are meant to be fully sentient humanoid creatures living their lives. Like, yeah, some of these exist, but they’re not the default thing you find when you wander off a path, just having a culture out there without ever being noticed.

This can create the feeling that out there, in the world, there’s just nothing you haven’t seen before in a city. That’s not true; setting aside that almost any given city doesn’t have the same people with the same reasons for being out there, there are also places with things out there, sites and zones that present mysteries.

For example, there’s a forest that’s slowly turning to meat.

Art by Rocky Schouten.
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Bill Of Elf, Part 2

Yesterday I talked about the world building I have explaining the basic foundation of elves in the setting, and in the process, described a set of different ‘elves’ that players have access to for building their own characters. But that was more a sort of top-down cladistic vision of them. What are those elves like, what does it mean to be a member of those elven cultures? How do they view one another and what kind of characters do they allow?

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Bill Of Elf, Part 1

I’ve written about elves in Cobrin’Seil, but it was writing that was largely about addressing them as an origin. What I wanted to address is the question of why elves can make half-elves, when they’re not quite like half-orcs. I even established there that elves are less a heritage and more a group of heritages, all drawing from the same singular space.

Of course, the language around this is complicated. After all, I call these things elves, but one of those types of elf is called elves. And I’m not doing this in the vein of Moon Elves and Sun Elves and Sand Elves and Dust Elves and Song Elves and Wood Elves and Winged Elves and I only had to make up one of those. But the general fantasy of ‘elf’ is something players love, but also it means a lot of different things. The distribution of ‘elves’ is a whole question unto itself, and I kind of needed to decide what I wanted them to do and what character fantasies are enabled.

Plus, that creates a question of how the world relates to the idea of the Elves, and well…

That’s a world building question.

Art by Randy Vargas
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Legal Systems in Cobrin’Seil

Let’s talk about the complicated way people in a D&D setting find justice.

Understand that a body of this thinking is a byproduct of watching this Burgerkreig video. I’m summarising some points and his overall structure, and I’m trying very hard to not just copy his metaphors and jokes. This kicked me into realising that I had, in fact, actually done this for part of my setting, which meant I had something useful, a default.

Having the Eresh Protectorate as a central setting component is very handy, because they help to standardise things across the entire vast continent of Bidestra. Not that they impose a singular standard per se, but because when there’s one cultural marker spread across a region, other cultures can point to it and say ‘we do it that way’ or ‘we don’t do it that way.’

Art by Santeri Soininen

What I like about it in this case specifically is that when we look at the legal system of the Eresh Protectorates, it is ridiculous and full of uneven, inadequately distributed systems for stupid reasons. But those reasons are all to some extent realistic and create points of tension for when I run the game, and give players a meaningful relationship to the systems in the world.

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Nations, States and Countries in Cobrin’Seil

To build a country is hard.

I’m not just referring to making maps, where I’m garbage. I have been writing Cobrin’Seil as a setting for twenty years and I have drawn three maps. There are some of y’all gifted with an ability to craft a visual representation of all the different things you could want to visit. Me, I get in a weird space where I worry if I don’t put things down on the map right, when I need to come up with a location for things, my players may go ‘well it wasn’t on the map.’

Which is dumb.

Anyway, I also don’t mean the way that it’s a very challenging thing to invent countries – which is part of what I’m doing, to fill out my world. That’s going through stages, which I’m not sure about yet. Mostly it’s things like ‘would this be a cool place?’ based on a picture, then struggle to come up with names.

What I’m thinking about right now is how, in universe, it must be challenging for countries to even get to exist.

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Bad Maps And The Vast Forests of Corrindale

North of Dal Raeda, the first landmark most obviously seen is the vast, sprawling city of Eresh, the centre and capital of the Eresh Protectorates. The heart of the highway system that crisscrosses the continent of Bidestra, it serves as a gateway towards the dragon ruins of Amenti in the west and the dread realms of mist to the east. No highway leads directly north though –

For north of Eresh lies the forest of Corrindale.

The vast, spreading, deep and uncharted woods of Corrindale, reaching far enough north to encircle ancient mountain cities, to taste the snowy skies and paying host to its own mysterious community of druids and kobolds, host to cities of Orc and Elf and uh

and uh


There’s lots of stuff in that there Corrindale forest. And it’s uh

It’s real big.

Right like just the top part of that map?

Yeah it’s all Corrindale Forest.

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Buried Gods: Reconcepting Dragonborn

I have spoken already about the challenge of integrating the Dragonborn and Dwarves into the setting of Cobrin’Seil. These two extremely strong, heavily supported character heritages, so I don’t want to take them away from players, but they’re also hard to integrate into the world the way I want it to be. For dwarves, the problem is that they didn’t bring anything to the world that humans didn’t, and I solved that problem by reconcepting them as what I’ve called a ‘pocket heritage’ – small communities whose biological oddness is explained by a feywild origin.

Dragonborn’s problem is a little more tricky. They provide some things I do want (mechanically robust heritage that can be used for a variety of classes in interesting and distinct ways) and some things I don’t care about (fuckable dragon people). They also bring with it some worldbuilding questions, which the default setting answers with a shrug of ‘a God Did It,’ and what’s more that god is Bahamut, against whom I will never not have a grudge. I know these days he’s changed his names and now he’s a monk, no, really, he was always a cool guy, but Bahamut is still always going to be a Lawful Good God who’s meant to be Super Powerful but Doesn’t Fix Things because That Would Be Hard.

He’s also very much defined by his Faerunian depiction, and that world’s gods are awful.

Dragonborn can’t just be transplanted wholesale into another species group, or remade as like, bear people, because their mechanics have all been very good about reinforcing the flavour of being ‘a dragon that’s like, a guy.’   That means they have wings, breath weapons, bites, specific references to elemental energies through their scales, and relationships to other species based on ‘being a dragon.’ Whatever I choose for the dragonborn still has to be possible for any given player to grab their existing dragonborn character art and, more or less, plonk it into the world without feeling like they can’t ‘be’ the way they want to be in the world.

Also, there’s an added problem: Kobolds. Kobolds are an extant heritage in Cobrin’Seil, and they’re popular, and they’re useful for showing something about dragons and the world as it is. I like Kobolds a lot, and when looking at the world as a whole I had to answer the question: Why Aren’t Dragonborn Just Big Kobolds?

That was a thought, for a while there. I did seriously consider Dragonborn as like, Kobolds who had been selected to be defenders or guardians and were changed somehow, but that process seemed something I didn’t want in the world as something common enough entire heritages got it. Plus, it did open a balance door, of like, well, why can’t dragonborn and kobolds share feats? That seems strange, and lords I didn’t want to give dragonborns more options.

Here then are the parameters for defining the Dragonborn of Cobrin’Seil:

  • Allow players to feel like existing Dragonborn work,
  • Open up to more options that are more appropriate to the world
  • Don’t make Bahamut a requirement
  • Have a new, clear hook as to why a player might want to play one
  • Not Just Big Kobolds

Let me tell you about an empire of the sun.

Let me tell you about the children of the scale.

Let me tell you about the Dragonborn of Cobrin’Seil.

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Too Much Fun: Reconcepting Dwarves

I wrote earlier this year about how I don’t like the ‘dwarf’ as conventionally presented by 4e D&D. I don’t like the implication it has in the world, I don’t like the space for human culture it eats, I don’t like the baggage from Tolkein and World of Warcraft and I really don’t like the way dwarves are so bloody good if what you want is the mechanical portfolio to build a tough hard to move character in 4th edition D&D.

The Dio Baragh, Baragh for short, are the Cobrin’Seil replacement for the Dwarf. Mechanically, they are exactly the same, but they’re not the same fortress-building, ancient-artifact-having, Jewish-stereotyping squat Scottish humanoids. Instead, the Dio Baragh (from a Scots term meaning ‘The Outcasts’) stand apart from the dwarf, on their magnificent goaty legs.

Let me tell you about a culture that was born in magic, and made itself real.

Let me tell you about people who were kicked out of the Feywild for partying too hard.

Let me tell you about people of hammer and oak and axe and thorn.

Let me tell you about the Baragh.

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