It’s World-Building Wednesday, and I want to post more content here. I mentioned in a previous post that new content would be coming soon, and I feel like this is a great opportunity to introduce another project on which I’ve been working – another homebrew campaign setting I’m calling Caldon.
This new place came about because I was playing around on Inkarnate.com and suddenly had a continent. It’s about the size of North America (and, apparently, similar to the shape). I like to think that this continent shares the same planet as Muluth does…so, like, they sit across the ocean from each other. Perhaps they even do trade.
I’m currently going through and building up each of the locations seen on this map, each with its own document file outlining what the place is like, the type of people that live there, and so on and so forth.
Caldon is divided in half by a large, sprawling mountain range (that is as yet unnamed). Two countries make up the two halves: Vost to the north, and Qurn to the south. The culture and people of these two countries are wildly different, and are often at odds with one another.
I picture Vost to hold more to traditional medieval aesthetics. Sprawling 14th-15th Century cities, more tyrannical ruling governments, heavily militarized capitals, and social-class based feudal systems. Smaller towns resemble ancient Scandinavian times, with Viking-like lifestyles and similar legends of old brought to life by the wandering monsters throughout the wild. Vost is made up of humans by a significant majority, and a racism toward non-human races is prevalent throughout the country.
Whereas Qurn is much more laid back and open. The country, on-the-whole, is a much warmer climate than Vost, especially in the southern deserts. The main, larger cities are all about trade, growth, and light flavors of socialism. Farmlands stretch for miles outside of the cities, and large amounts of coin are available for sellswords who work to protect them. Parts of Qurn would resemble Middle Eastern bazaars, or Indian villages, or even areas of the American Midwestern plains. Qurn is home to all sorts of races of people, who typically get along well. The more “free” lifestyles of Qurn cause its citizens to frown upon how the ruling classes of Vost treat their people.
The two countries do not typically get along. They work together out of necessity, but often bicker and argue over trade agreements and tariffs. This unwillingness to cooperate stems from a long-forgotten conflict between the two countries that either side still blames the other for.
Further, there exists a city in Vost called Felgate. Beneath this city lies a dormant portal to terrible planes through which unspeakable monsters used to emerge and wreak havoc on Caldon. Adventurers of ancient times then found and apparently sealed this portal, ushering in an era of peace of mind that the Vostans continue to hold over the Qurnians’ heads. The leaders of Felgate constantly remind the rest of Caldon that they cannot guarantee for how long the portal remains sealed. This annoys the Qurnians to no end.
I’ve been having a lot of fun working on this world. I think I am going to include it on the same planet as Muluth, just to bring everything together, and to give the two continents excuses to have foreign trade and things like that. It could further complicate things politically as well, which is just the kind of complexity and realism I want in my world.
Speaking of…I should come up with a name for this planet. I’ve considered putting Muluth on Toril, which means you’d be able to sail from my homebrew land over to Faerûn for adventures in the Forgotten Realms. I like that idea, for if ever I want to run published campaigns with characters from Muluth – or vice-versa.
The problem with that is, even though I tried, it feels like Muluth nowhere nears the feeling of sheer age I get from Faerûn. And, I mean, I get why. Faerûn has been around for decades IRL, and has countless stories published within that world. But I still feel like the disappointing feeling of “non-antiquity” I get from Muluth stems from my own inexperience as a DM or amateur writer.
Anyway, this is what I’m working on – along with Muluth – in my spare time. Here’s a bit of what I’ve written for one of the cities in Vost, Staalmount:
A vibrant city that sits at the fork of the Kandar River, which joins here from the northwest and northeast, and spills southward toward the sea. Staalmount serves as the unofficial capital of Vost, and is the first major, metropolitan city after crossing the borders. It boasts the largest population of any of the Vostan cities.
The city’s architecture is made up of tall, narrow buildings of wood frame and a tudor-inspired design. Wood beams, white plaster walls, and tall, pointed and angled shingled rooftops, with many buildings containing a spire, or pointed conical top.
Right at the crux of the fork in the river sits a massive capital district. High-class society takes residence in this district, as well as a higher end market square and businesses. Seated farther back from the shore rises the great Staalmount Fortress. Protected on all sides by a sturdy outer wall, and shielded from behind by a steep cliff, the fortress not only serves as the houses of the lords and ladies of the realm, but also as the northern border of the city.
Directly across the eastern fork of the Kandar River from Staalmount Fortress is another small mountain spur, up which the city stretches with closely built homes and businesses, and atop which stands a grand cathedral of the goddess Waukeen known as The Golden Spire. As Staalmount grew, its political and religious leaders praised Waukeen – the goddess of trade and wealth – and built the temple in her name. To this day, clerics and paladins of Waukeen take residence and umbrage within the Golden Spire.
Staalmount spreads out around the forks in the Kandar River. Settlements, boroughs, districts, and neighborhoods can all be found on the various banks. City walls are constructed around those parts of the city on land, and there are even additional hamlets and farmlands beyond those walls. While Vost’s main port is in Mardgate, there are docks and a port district along the Kandar. Since the river is so wide, a ferry service runs during daylight hours to carry people across to the other banks.
The city has it all. Nearly every profession imaginable conducts business within Staalmount, including those of the unsavory variety. Yes, there is a black market, and, yes, members of the city’s governing council are corrupt. The city’s guard – the Golden Phalanx – are a mixed bag of the just and true, and the bribed and unfair, earning them the nickname “the Gilded Phalanx.” The head of the guard, Lord Forar Yarmouth, oversees the policing of the city from within the Golden Spire, and makes frequent visits to the Staalmount Fortress. There, he vies for more power and control of the city with the ruling council. Yarmouth believes the council to be too corrupt to have the city’s best interests in mind, and would enforce harsher laws on the populace to ensure the safety of everyone.
The Staalmount black market and undercity is a dark place in which to be involved. Known as The Garden, the black market is conducted in secret, and does not exist in one central place. Rather it is operated by trusted individuals who are put in touch with interested buyers/sellers, and then move the goods as needed. These individuals are called Speakers, and report to guild leaders. There are seven guild leaders. These guild leaders do not like to meet, but will every month or so to conduct business, and present their earnings and ledgers to three powerful representatives known as Proths. These three Proths answer to the mysterious individual in charge of the Garden. No one knows his or her identity, but in these circles this person is referred to as the Gardener.
So I’m doing things like this for each location, so I have a base off of which I can build for when I’m ready to prep for Adventures – if that time ever comes.
Perhaps I’ll juggle between Muluth and Caldon on World-Building Wednesdays as I develop them both. Hopefully that’ll provide enough variety of content on this blog.
Feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts or suggestions for Caldon, or questions about the continent or its people and history. I’d love to get engaged in a conversation about it to get my brain thinking.
Until next time, Well Met!