527 – Walk on the Wild Side: 04


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Today is the first installment of background info on the world of Lesser Earth, also known as “Much, Much More Than Anyone Really Wants to Know About This Comic.” As befits Dungeons and Dragons Thursday, all of this material is also appropriate for anyone wishing to run a D&D campaign there. Note that these bits do not always reflect recent events in the comic, as with the information about dwarves below, but are more generally about the world at large. Like the other D&D articles the “About Lesser Earth” blogs will be posted together in a separate section of the site for the convenience of the person I’ve made up in my head who will want to go and look at it.

Brighthaven, Part 1

The Kingdom of Brighthaven was formally established by the human and goblin alliance after their overthrow of the evil elven empire. The goodwill between goblins and humans lasted at least six months more, and ended with the goblin diaspora. The greenies were formally relocated to the far eastern island portion of Brighthaven, primarily because the humans felt the land was worthless. In honor of that fact, the gobbos named their “capital” Naughton, (literally, “Nothing Town”) and then proceeded, in typical goblin fashion, to create the most fertile, productive, and peaceful land in Lesser Earth. (Something they tend to try and keep to themselves, lest it get taken from them too.) Goblins can still be found throughout Brighthaven, though they are considered second-class citizens and do not enjoy all the rights of humans.

Non-humans in general get the shaft in Brighthaven, not being allowed to own land, speak to nobility, possess gold, be drunk, eat or room in human-oriented establishments, or really anything else that anyone with a chip on their shoulder comes up with to persecute them with. Halflings are outright slaves, their small stature and expertise in the domestic arts being seen as a gift from the goddess Berel.

Dwarves are the sole exception to all this nonsense for two reasons. The first is that the dwarven religion of Lageron is still a very popular one amongst the unwashed masses, despite repeated attempts by the more influential church of Berel to squash it. You don’t have to dress up to go to church and they let you drink all you want. The second is that the dwarves have their own kingdom underground in the mountains of the Belt, and no human has any real idea of how many of them there actually are, or how large their army might be.

15 Responses to 527 – Walk on the Wild Side: 04

  1. It’ll all be useful for making sense of the roguelike and the later more graphical CRPGs made out of it, right?
    This first bit seems kinda flat but you don’t want to overdo the world background if you’re sure your players aren’t going to give a crap (like this DM would be).

    • The reason that’s funny, AC, is because this is also the background to the campaign that I’m currently running. However, to be fair, this is only the tiniest bit of it. (I think it’s half of the first entry, in point of fact, and there are bunches of entries.) Maybe it’ll get a little less flat for you as we progress.

      However, two of my players, (and one in particular) never read anything I write and it has become a funny joke of asking them questions about the game world. The best one was when our ranger asked the cleric what god she worshipped. She couldn’t even give him the first letter.

      • Apologies for the implicit insult then, but you spent three paragraphs explaining how these humans are cowardly, oppressive xenophobes. That’s been done before.

        • LOL! It never even occurred to me that you trying to insult me, so no worries. I think that you are one of those people who just says what’s on their mind without much emotional attachment to it. You may very well say something insulting, like, “…but you spent three paragraphs explaining how these humans are cowardly, oppressive xenophobes. That’s been done before.” but you and I have been down this path enough times for me to assume that it’s innocent and meant as neutral commentary.

          In case you’re interested, the point in writing what I did the way I did was not to be the most original guy in the world. If that was my goal I doubt I’d bother to do much of anything. Rather I was simply explaining the laws of Brighthaven, and trying to do so in a manner my players might find funny, and thus actually bother to read it.

          If you are not interested and are no longer reading this far, then I did it entirely to spite you in the hopes that you’d become so incensed over my lack of originality that you’d write about it here, thus allowing me to poke fun at you in public. 😛

          • ….I applaud your light-touch, skillful mockery.
            As far as trying to get your players interested in your world goes, here’s a couple (possibly inapplicable) tricks I’ve used:
            -Don’t try to tell them anything they don’t look to find out, in character explanations should be artistically lensed through character and social biases, and never EVER give a complete answer (unless maybe you’re in a low-censorship cyberpunk world and people have a range of choices to read through in every library). Scarcity and quality concerns can drive up demand, and improve apparent quality. See countless examples, the story of Urza and Myshra in Magic: The Cardboard’s storylines is a particularly striking one where earlier interest in a vaguely, incomplete and fragmentarily delivered story was later eroded by telling too much.
            -Armies on the march, battles, brawls, in-character NPC arguments and assassination attempts are much better hooks for world interest than wikipedia-page entries.
            -Take a cue from the Simpsons’ (first?) episode on Japan and their gameshow host’s explanation of the difference between American and Japanese gameshows: “American gameshows reward knowledge,” host points at his foreheaad, “Japanese gameshows punish ignorance!” and slam fist down into other palm.
            -Keep in mind that people who couldn’t be bothered to keep track of politics in real life aren’t necessarily going to be more interested in fictional politics even if those politics come equipped with swords, spells, monsters and loot.

            ….Bonus points: Explain I am unintentionally patronizing you and add items to my list. 🙂

  2. Is Zobbie definitely a druid now? Not ranger, or wizard? Because as a druid, he doesn’t need no stinkin’ healing from Morty. 😉
    RE: Brighthaven info
    An amusing read. Interesting, so the elves had an evil empire? (Shades of Looking for Group?) Have we actually seen any real elves in the comic so far? I can’t remember. Fleece is half-elf and started out as merely an extension of Martin’s ego, so we cannot draw conclusions from her behaviour.

    Goblins seem to be the new Hobbits. :mrgreen:

    • Fleece first showed up in #29, and in #31, Martin explains to Morty that Fleece is a “harmless” wood elf, and that all of the old elves are extinct. Presumable he meant all of the evil empire elves.

      Not that it matters, but I’m pretty sure that HOLE predates Looking for Group. There was an evil elven empire in some card game even before that, though I didn’t hear about it until afterwards. Naturally.

      I like Looking for group okay, though the art (while still way better than mine) is inconsistent and occasionally takes me out of the comic. Richard also bugs me. He’s funny, but he’s kind of a Mary Sue. It’s a minor point though. I still like and read the comic.

      I really dig Order of the Stick, (obviously) and Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic is also great. (I love Rich Morris’ art!) There are others, but I seem to be threadjacking myself, so I’ll stop here!

      • Wait, Fleece is a wood elf? Where did I get the idea she was half-elf? Hm. 😐

        I agree with your comments on the various other webcomics.

    • Hard to be against the elves when they have Night Elf Mohawk! Mr. T pities you. (great commercial)

    • Then you might be interested in the elves from the setting of Warlord: Saga of the Storm. It’s a CCG that was based on the original developer’s D&D campaign. It eventually came full circle and was published as a D&D 3.5 setting – about a year before 4.0 was announced.

      The elves therein only have a natural life span of about 30 years and can achieve greater longevity only through necromancy. A very interesting twist on the elven longevity so many other settings take for granted.

  3. Somehow this all seems eerily familiar to me…

    “Non-humans in general get the shaft in Brighthaven, not being allowed to own land, speak to nobility, possess gold, be drunk, eat or room in human-oriented establishments, or really anything else that anyone with a chip on their shoulder comes up with to persecute them with.”

    Wow, I guess it REALLY messes with some people to have a noble tiefling, with a keep, tavern and vineyard, piles of gold and other sundries, and who talks to herself, eh?! 😀 ::hums “Lady Ravanna…”:: What are they going to do when/if they find out about this whole demon goddess spider sister???

    • Hmm… who knows? In a week we will be one third of the way through our campaign. That gives us all kinds of time for things to go horribly, horribly wrong.

  4. Brighthaven sounds like my kinda place. But then I’m about the only person I know who always plays a human. And I never liked elves anyway, so yay! The pickle armor comment made me laugh, and then his healing quip made me laugh harder. Kudos.