We recently posted a new update for our Suntarynn Campaign Setting Maps. We updated ten map, if my count is correct. Some of the updates were small – just a few additional town/city locations here and there. Some of the updates, though, were quite large. We added an entire new section in Southern Suntarynn, a section that will eventually become a region similar to the real-world African Savannah, with deserts and other such landscapes along the eastern border. We also moved two kingdoms and made room for a region that will eventually become an area of vikings – pillaging, land raids, long ships, and mead halls.
I wanted to take a few moments and think back on the World of Suntarynn. I can honestly tell you that this world has been a beast to create, and it has changed form too many times to count. It all started several years ago, somewhere in the very early 2000’s, maybe 2002 or 2003. This was even before Questing Heroes had been created; at that time creating a new game system was not even a concept in my mind. I was playing Dungeons and Dragons with a group of friends from college and I had finally learned enough to attempt being GM. The only fantasy worlds I had any knowledge of then were old TSR worlds – Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Ravenloft, etc. I didn’t feel strong enough in my knowledge of any of those to set a game within them, though. I already had plenty of experience creating fantasy worlds. I already had one world that was very rounded out. It was quite a large world, with 20+ pages of maps, 300+ characters living within it, and a rich and full history that went back several thousand years.
So, I decided I would create my own campaign setting for my first game as GM. The region of Suntarynn known as the Retorn Basin was born, though, again, it looked entirely different. The history really has not changed, however. I immediately came up with the idea of the world being torn apart and put back together. At the time, the reason was still vague. It was possible due to powerful mortals fighting, or the gods fighting, or something similar to that. I called this new world TornWorld.
I found out last year, in 2016, that Tornworld was already being used by a company who publishes online. I contacted them to ensure they were current in their publication, which they were, so I had to change the name of my world. Back in 2002, the name was TornWorld.
I had a very good reason for creating the history of Suntarynn as I did. To be completely honest, I didn’t want to have to come up with a rich, full history as I had had to do with my first fantasy world. I didn’t know how long we would be playing within this new campaign setting, and I didn’t want to put a ton of work into it if it wasn’t going to last for very long. The idea that the world was torn apart and put back together was perfect. It wasn’t such a cop-out that it seemed cheesy, nor was it impossible to explain why this tearing had happened, nor impossible to create a believable backstory for that event. Since then, this history of the world being destroyed, torn apart, and put back together has taken on a life of its own and thrived and has become almost as rich and full as a “real” history for a fantasy world would be.
I have also discovered one nice side effect of a history such as this. It leaves a lot of room for GM’s to make Suntarynn their own place. Sure, there are currently kingdoms with current kings and queens and heirs and such. All of that goes back only about five hundred years, though. If a GM wants to create a timeline that can be traced back before the Reshaping (as it is now called), they have all the leeway they need to do such a thing. This could be done with Elves and Dwarves, especially, since those long-lived races might have had a handful of individuals who were alive before the Reshaping.
So, I had the idea for a campaign setting and I drew out the maps and started naming things. At first, the scale for Suntarynn was enormous and, had I kept the original scale for the current geography of the world, it would most certainly be impossible for any of the peoples inhabiting the world to accomplish anything meaningful, much less have any real interaction with their closest neighboring regions or kingdoms. At the time, the scale worked out well because it left plenty of open space for the adventuring party to move through wilderness and encounter wild creatures and find hidden dungeons that existed before the Reshaping.
(to be continued in Part Two)