The hidden land of Jadea is far away from anything else on Delyria; Jadeans are very rarely seen outside, and vice versa. If anywhere in Delyria leans more toward the alien, it's there; Jadean architecture is weird, geometric, and unlike anywhere else, and their language and customs are hard for anyone else to understand. The Jadeans have insect-like anatomy, although they can have anywhere from 6 to hundreds of limbs and their bodies are vertebrate, covered in smooth skin instead of chitin.
A dark cavern full of bat-folk is Halloween-appropriate, I think. They're called the Sotzil, and they're one of the descendant branches of the lost continent of Aezo. There's no one Aezite homeland any more; they were scattered centuries ago and developed in their own directions. The Sotzil in particular practice a branch of magic largely unknown on the surface that lets them manipulate time, mass, and gravity. Other Aezites include the lapine Jacalpans and the stubborn rumors of talking mice.
1. Ark of Moonlight, a single-character story about how the demons were driven back and modern Delyria took form.
2. Prism of Dreams, JRPG-styled and taking place in the same era as Spellshocked (+10-15 years or so).
3. The New World, the tabletop game about companies of adventurers heading out into unknown places to uncover their mysteries and trying to build something lasting.
Ark of Moonlight will be the first one finished. It's got a pretty coherent plan, I just need to get it going.
I've been thinking some about what form Delyria should take. I've had lots of ideas for it over the years, not just as a worldbuilding project but also occasional trial runs at a game engine, and I think I've settled on a plan. There are _three_ main Delyria projects, each of which covers a different part of that world's history. I won't tackle them in order, necessarily, but I need to walk before I can run.
Currently, the brightly-colored Aulians live in the tropical south of Delyria on an archipelago rich in fruit and fish. They celebrate music and storytelling, holding a yearly festival at the world-renowned Empatheatre to see who's capable of evoking the strongest moods in an audience. Historians say there used to be other groups of birdfolk (the long-lost Tenjonese, for instance) who would've been related to them, but where these others migrated to is a mystery.
Just some sketchy renditions of our last three Delyrians, trying to figure out how many heads tall looks right for them. 4–5 seems about right (Tyn there isn't nearly as short as I've drawn him; he's really Esme's height), depending on one's particular heritage. This lends some credence to the idea that I should be stylizing more, keeping shapes simpler and more distinctive.
To what degree is a world or character tied to their home art style? I think about this a lot with Elseways, and it's come up again with Delyria. If you were really there in person, would everyone — including yourself — look as if I'd drawn them, or would everyone look realistic? Is realism even what I should be shooting for here, or is there some other style I can lean toward that would draw people in better? I'd really like the latter, but it'll take some trial runs to figure that out.
The forested land of Levend is home to the Levendish, who get variously described as foxes, weasels, bears, raccoons, or even seals. They're all one folk, though, and their shapes span the whole range of Caniforms and all between. Levend's forests provide the ships that send fleets of traders and colonists across Delyria, and they're adaptable enough to take root anywhere they land. The Levendish are social, friendly, and as fond of clockwork as they are of feasting and singing in chorus.
Delyria is the kind of place where the land itself can be magical, and in places like Ambaron it's enough to nudge the shapes of anyone conceived there. Ambaron is ancient, though; places with more recent and high-powered magical fallout like the Sundered Hill neighborhood of Almanaque will change people's shapes more extremely. At its peak, it can have more of an effect on a child's shape than their own parents.
The distant desert lands of Ambaron are home to Delyria's feline folk of the same name. The ancient magic of their land carried their explorers across the seas in a long-past age, but Ambaron itself is a fallen empire, its old colonies now living on their own. That same ancient magic gives the Ambaron (or anyone conceived there) a greater chance to be born with extra limbs, which they still regard as a blessing and a sign of higher esteem in the gods' eyes.
The continent of Ertset is known for tall granite spires in the north with plains and lowland forests in the south. The Ertsetans are all centauroid, based on hoofed creatures, with the northern unicorn kingdom of Rinnock laying claim to a wide span of territory. The duchies don't mind sending taxes north for protection, but the border of the kingdom is hard to define and Meracchia has also claimed a lot of the same land. The magic-heavy ruins of Tenjō are in this contested area.
What is a "fantasy race", anyway? A lot of settings with animal-folk make them match species, but that's not how Delyria works.
I used to have a list of dozens of them, all based on mythical creatures I liked, and it grew into the dozens before I realized that I could group them back together into something more coherent while keeping all that diversity inside each one. But I never liked the term "race". It's imprecise and calls back the wrong parts of human history. What to use instead?
It's impossible to capture the people of the continent of Zem in a single picture. The reptilian Zemrin are not just Delyria's most populous group, but also the most diverse, consisting not only of a wide range of lizards, snakes, turtles, and dragons but the aquatic Vanagantans, the avian Xeraphandi, the dinosaurian Tximisti, and possibly others. There are more kinds of Zemrin alone than other worlds have kinds of people, so here's just one of the many.
The music of Cirque du Soleil is a good example of something in the same ballpark. Sometimes the lyrics are in a recognizable language, sometimes they're (probably) meaningless nonsense, and they draw from musical traditions from all kinds of times and places.
Also, there are Cirque songs that would absolutely belong on an RPG soundtrack, and "fantasy RPG" is what Delyria keeps trying to become. The problem, of course, is that is a very very wide space of possibility.
The motto I used to hold myself to is that Delyria should feel foreign but not alien. I'm not trying to create an entire planet like so many other worldbuilding projects are, with a fully fleshed-out and original ecosystem and a whole conlang for people to speak and so on. There's a place for projects like that, and I have a deep admiration for them, but ... again, it's not what I'm doing here.
That zodiac is a good example of the Delyria world-building ethos at work. It's obviously a copy of the standard Western one, but with extra stuff added to it. "Real worldbuilding", in my mind, would be to generate an entirely original set of constellations and give them all deep lore and associations, but that isn't what I'm going for. I don't know what I'd call what I'm doing; it's not out of laziness, but a desire to stay halfway familiar and halfway weird.
This server's admin. Manages the interface between the real world and all the strangeness that goes on inside. Also posts about his own life sometimes.
The official server of the City of Elseways.