Before beginning, it is worth mentioning Ray's First Rule of Dungeoncraft:
Never force yourself to create more than you must.
To begin with Ray suggests developing the hook for your setting; what is it that makes this setting unique among all the settings already out there? He goes on to show the five possible categories for setting hooks: culture, environment, class/race, opposition, and situations.* Icosa will be a combination of environmental and situation hooks with a fair amount of the opposition hook thrown in for good measure.
The main environmental hook is that the world is divided into 20 separate regions (so now the image in these posts should make a little more sense). Each region is segregated from the others by a ridge of high, impassible mountains. Each region is isolated and has developed it's own unique cultural elements. I'll start with one region and expand from there. This patchwork approach to the world will allow me to have a variety of settings within one framework.
Unpacking this idea a little further, the isolation wasn't always this way. I imagine that the dwarves once had extensive roads and tunnels connecting each of the regions. However, this is no longer the case as they've long since closed their doors, leaving their surface dwelling brethren stranded. This is also an excellent source of dungeons to explore.
So, isolation is part of the situation, the other part is the battle between Law and Chaos. Picking up some of the ideas from earlier posts, I want to explore the idea of these two cosmic forces in play on Icosa. By keeping it Law vs. Chaos, I'm divorcing it from any sense of morality. I feel that both sides can be as noble or corrupt as the mortal behavior allows. In this way, Alignment in the game is allegiance to one of these forces, tacit or explicit, and not a mode of behavior. This is in keeping with the philosophy of Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP).
Picking up the last idea from my previous posts, the Lovecraftian Mythos will be a major force for Chaos on this world. Along side the minions of madness will be the endless hoards of Elementals. These forces will become the primary opposition to the characters in the game. This, again, is in keeping with LotFP's element of horror or weird fantasy.
Keeping the First Rule of Dungeoncraft firmly in mind, this is enough to get started. Which leads us to Ray's Second Rule of Dungeoncraft:
Whenever you design a major piece of the campaign world, always devise at least one secret related to that piece.
So since this blog will be open to all my potential players, I'm going to go make some secret notes now. I feel it is important for the players to discover the secrets as they go; be back in a moment.
I'm back (bet you didn't even get a chance to miss me). I've added three secrets to Icosa at this time, but have refrained from elaborating on them so that I stay in line with the First Rule. This is a good start and a good place to end this post. Next time I'll look at some inspirations for the environmental and opposition aspects of this setting.
Follow Your Bliss,
* I'm not going to go into explaining these here since Ray does such a excellent job in his article. I recommend readers check out the article for yourselves.