Is it already time for a new world design? Well I'll be.
This will be another reference to an old, old post I made on page 172.
Shan Yu is the original home of the Horses, themselves distant relatives to the Unicorns of Valencia. For millennia, Shan Yu has been a sort of backwater- it's even wondered on whether it can properly be considered its own world, depending on who you ask, Shan Yu is simply a world which is culturally and politically bound to Mooshu, even if it is its own territory.
However, such an opinion is, admittedly, a little disingenuous. Back, before Mooshu interacted with this land, it was the home of the Horses. While it might be considered a hinterland now, these vast plains and wide deserts have hosted several mighty Horse empires, the most recent being the Amber Horde that currently plagues Subata Skyway. The Horses themselves are integral to the history of the spiral- they seem to be truly everywhere, and are one of the last races to use Leylines in tandem with Skyways and World Gates for travel. Wherever you go, expect one or two horses to be present, adventuring, scouting, looking eagerly for new lands to conquer...
Lore: Guided by an eagle to the top of the Altai mountains, Tengri was the first Horse Khan. For centuries his people dwelt in tribal conditions, their only other contact being with visiting camels, cows or reindeer from other worlds- and, ofcourse, the wild Ibex of Uriankhai, and the brave Snow Leopards of Urumqi. Tengri united, in those ancient days, all that he saw, the tribes under one banner, and in that moment he became the Eternal Blue Sky that colors the sky of Shan Yu even at night.
Centuries have passed, and empires rose and fell. The Kurultai- a coalition of elected nobles- have traditionally picked the Khans of Shan Yu's various horse factions. Today, three of these horse factions remain.
The Amber Horde remembers how their ancestor, Chingiis Ba'atur, briefly dominated Mooshu, Polaris, and Mirage alike, and had terrified realms as far as Krokotopia and Rajah into submission. Those days are gone, and the Amber Horde has much work to do.
The Sakha sit as a nation of Horses amongst the Tribes of Reindeer. They are humble trader folk with a very strong material culture, and it is their nation that now owns the Uriankhai woods- the only real forest in Shan Yu. It's a valuable land that can't afford to lose its territory- not to foreign Polarian invaders, and certainly not to the likes of the Amber Horde or Aisin.
In the distant east, one finds the vast plains and ports of Aisin. This great territory has traditionally been of little consequence, save for a brief moment it conquered Mooshu itself... it has the Amber Horde to thank for disassembling its brief control over the area. Now, they're becoming a second empire, and the entirety of Mooshu and Shan Yu alike are looking like tempting prizes.
Shan Yu itself is not remotely out of the woods (ironically enough). Imperials from Mooshu, Polarian Cossack Invaders, and even horses from a distant realm once-conquered have all broken back through for a piece of the vast plains and rich mountains. The future of Shan Yu is an uncertain one.
Design: The world is sparse- there aren't many cities here, and the few you do find are all pretty tiny. Mostly, it's Plains, Deserts, and Mountains. In the very center and towards the west, one finds the mighty Altai Mountains, at the top of which one finds Khan Tengri in Otuken Taiga, which doubles as the Commons area here. Descending down the mountains one heads to Urumqi, a mountainous desert with beautiful rainbow formations, and the heart of the Mooshu Occupation, where the Snow Leopards, inhabiting Hunnu lake, have their home.
This area connects to the many regions of the Amber Horde, including the Capital of Samarkand. The Red Plain to the East will lead you to Aisin land, and the Golden Sands, with hundreds of different lakes, sits at the base of Altai. No lake here is grander than Table Lake, which is shallow and wide, and stretches on a great distance. Farther east yet, one comes across the
To the direct north of Samarkand is Uriankhai and the region of Kyzyk- While Kyzyk is a snowy basin firmly under Polarian control, Uriankhai is a growing, if modest, power. These dense woodlands, inhabited by the Ibex tribes, are dense and stretch long. To the very north of this area is the Lake Baikal, a distant place some Polarian Seals call home. This great lake, like a gash on the edge of the world, is also very deep and very diverse.
To the East, through the Red Plains, one finds the Aisin territory- the massive plain of Aisin, which has been farmed and herded on for milennia. It's a flat land, which the Aisin jealously guard- their Banner Armies richly defend. There is a small city here, where Khan Nurhaci plots his next move. On the shores of Lake Taizu, in Aisin territory, sits the meeting place of every other faction- this is where the Kurultai convenes.
Story: Khan Nurhaci of Aisin, Khan Tygyn of Uriankhai, and Khan Jayaatu of the Amber Horde are all in less-than-happy situations towards one another... and it threatens to break into chaos. Likewise, the Polarians and the Mooshu Imperials would like to see this vast realm brought to heel at last.
While this is a fine set-up, I think it's even better as a base for us, the Wizard, to intervene. In search of the arc's big bad, we've come to Shan Yu. In the process, we get sucked into the game of cutthroat politics and imperial ambition, trying to maintain the fragile balance these worlds have struck. To do so, each of the Four Lakes must be reached...
Flavor: Mongolia comes to mind, first. Likewise, Manchuria, Qinghai, and Siberia should also be recalled. Ovoo dot the landscape, and cities are full of yurts and ger. Going to Qinghai, one sees Hui-influenced architecture, while going North one sees a much stronger Tatar influence. In the middle, Yuan-dynasty building clash with modern Yurts, while in Aisin, Qing and Jin dynasty architecture is present. The clothing and styles of the different nations corresponds accordingly- in Samarkand, many of the people wear Deel and long trousers, while in Aisin, the horses wear the Queue. The Ibex tribes, and Uriankhai as a whole, are fond of their pretty dresses and many shiny ornaments, while the Snow Leopards wear Hui-influenced clothing.
The music of the world is heavy on the Throat Singing, heavy on the Jews' Harps, heavy on the Morin Khuur, and heavy on the Yatga or Guzheng. Different regions will show local influence- in Kyzyk, Polarian Vocals take over the Throat Singing role, and the distant sound of horns enforces the oncoming imperial power. In Urumqi, the Erhu makes a surprise appearance in the ensemble, to represent just how close this foreign power truly is.
Spells for this world have plenty of sources. For one, Storm has an easy one that can be influenced by the Mongolian Death Worm- a worm that electrocuted all it came across and killed you with a single touch. Myth may receive Tulpar, the Winged Horses of the region- one part Falcon, one part Horse, these are the embodiments of spirit. Death can call upon the Dark, pig-faced lord Erlik Khan, to sap from their enemies their life essence. While I won't suggest any further, these are just a couple potential ideas for what spells one could find during their adventure in Shan Yu- the stats, as usual, are up to you!
For an official story arc I would like to see something similar to Steven Universe Future. The wizard is literally just a kid when there told to save the spiral and that's probably upsetting. when they get sent to skull island they learn about how bad things are (example: witchdoctors were prosecuted for practicing voodoo, despite wizards being able to do whatever)
they learn cheats from skull island, and they begin to learn that maybe merle ambrose wasn't a very good guy. sending kids to do his dirty work with nothing in return, allowing this to happen, the wizard becomes resentful.
Whatever happens happens but it would be cool to have a "The End" one day and have it be official and I would like to see our wizards have more depth then just a way to maneuver the world. Also I just adore Pirate101.
A world with vampire Transylvania/dracula vibes. So like gothic with gargoyles and other super natural creatures such as werewolves.
a true vampire, if someone has ever read the dracula book written by bram stoker then thats a great place to start building the legendary realm from, but why not include the capathian mountains, and from christine feehan her series dark (carpathain/dark) is also about vampires, but its vampires vs carpathians if you are not familiar with her writtings its simple. carpathians have all the abilities of the vampire including all their weakness but with one major difference they are like humans they can have children too. to make a long story short, wizards would need to get mythical creatures such as the carpathians, lyconthropes, shape shifters any others who fit into the good side of things to battle against the dark side, vampires, werewolves, and yes corrupted shape shifters and even humans who take up arms against wizards, carpathians, shape shifters and lycons, vampires, werewolves and other mythical creature. just to save the spiral from a devistating impending doom if the balance is not restored and the different realms come crashing together in the darkness with only a tiny light of hope that finally begins to blink much like a strobe light.
What about a Mad Max type world or a world where the machines were all against the humans. Maybe a world where there is nuclear fallout and the creatures are all types of critters misshapen or deformed, as to be real creepy.
I don't know, I feel like Asgard should be a thing, we already have Aquila, and I know this is a popular opinion, but a world based on Asgard, maybe an extension of Grizzleheim/Wintertusk would be amazing, imo.
A world where different areas represent different seasons, perhaps? While I do think you might have to work to make winter not seem like Polaris or Wintertusk, I think it would be cool if the world was divided into quarters for the seasons.