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Feb 28, 2021

Eden: Argaenothruzil Re-imagined

Have I got a crazy story for you.

Remember this map that I posted on here two years ago after making it? I forgot that I did this, but I posted that map online on the Inkarnate database just for other people to see it. Little did I know that this map would be the inspiration for an alternate reality of Argaenothruzil born in the head of a completely different person!

A guy named Nitsuj (presumably Justin, which is an oddly similar name to mine as well) wanted to create a homebrew D&D world but lacked the skills to make a world map, so he looked around online. He stumbled upon my map on a Pinterest board and decided to use it as a base to craft his world, "Eden," around. He made up backstories and lore for each location on the map and build a large group of people (West Marches style) on his Discord channel.

He eventually deep-searched me looking for the creator of the map and showed me his work. It was crazy to introduce myself to his players as the original creator of the map they all played D&D on, and weirder still to hear the stories he came up with for each location. Below are the locations and the differences between them in this shadow-world of his:

Ae'brinthil

  • Argae: The primary human center of civilization, though the population of civil elves has risen exponentially as wood elves from the Sheral Woodlands join it as citizens. One of the largest cities in Argaenothruzil.
  • Eden: The human settlement and where the server takes place in. It's the most diverse country and is ruled by a human king known as Leoford Bonapart√© (pretty close).

Waelis

  • Argae: A beautiful tourist county where nobles go on vacation.
  • Eden: A nation of dwarves and gnomes and part of the Dwarven Empire. A constant rival to Ae'brinthil, and a place where money talks and business owners make the political decisions.

Amber's Hand

  • Argae: A small fishing city, home to some secret societies who use the town's humble nature as a cover. A key location in Alfred Shortstaff and the Cavern of Time.
  • Eden: A democratic merchant town of dwarves and halflings that focuses on craftsmanship. Along with Waelis, it makes up the Dwarven Empire. 

Sheral Woodlands

  • Argae: A forest full of small wood elf tribal villages and many human bandits who often attempt to capture them as slaves.
  • Eden: A magical forest and home of the fey folk, and a direct gateway to the Feywild itself. Once inhabited by orcs and wood elves who fought each other so much that neither wanted the forest as a home anymore, so the fey took it over.

Sylphanos

  • Argae: The capital of wood elf civilization, named after the giant tree at its center, which is said to be the seed-bearer of all other trees in the world.
  • Eden: The original home of the orcs, who began their existence living a druidic culture much like elves do now. Fiendish corruption now threatens it.

Coma Lake

  • Argae: No established lore, but I think maybe drinking the water put some famous hero in a coma for some time (a throwback from a location of the same name from my original Hard Lands Warcraft setting).
  • Eden: An underwater city that is home to tritons.

Wind Barriers

  • Argae: A ring of windstorms that encircle the entire planet created by the god Henaeros. They prevent Argaenothruzil and Eredathios from interacting with each other and halt the corruption of Eredathios from spreading any farther.
  • Eden: The name of the sea surrounding Eden.

Wyvern Cliffs

  • Argae: A mass of steep, impassable rocks that rise out of the sea that are completely infested with wyverns of all types, who use the rugged area as a network of breeding grounds.
  • Eden: The location of a volcano and an area ruled by the kingdom of the orcs that live in Sylphanos.

Huichtli

  • Argae: A jungle island full of ruins, treasure, rare fruits, and valuable resources. It is largely uncharted and full of beasts, evil cults on the run from civilization, and cannibalistic humanoids.
  • Eden: A vast island populated by half-trolls, bugbears, and orcs.

Ziccao

  • Argae: A city-state owned by Abelhawk the Archmage. Also the name of the tower that stands in the middle of it, where Abelhawk himself lives.
  • Eden: A holy land originally owned by the orcs, but taken over by Ae'brinthil after a war. Named after Godfrey Ziccao, who reclaimed the land after the Demon War and died.

Malgwyr

  • Argae: The Quarry Kingdom of the Dwarves, an ancient mountainside city that (some say) has tunnels leading down into the core of Argaenothruzil itself, where dwarves were first forged by the god of greed, Moeki.
  • Eden: A ruined borderland destroyed by an army of powerful creatures. The magic used to destroy the creatures has left the land uninhabitable, but in future centuries the residue may wear off and allow life to thrive there again.

Nerolanth

  • Argae: A gray island over which an ash cloud from one of its local volcanoes floats, and the home of the advanced, nocturnal wampyre civilization. Recently discovered by mainland Argae, and exports of fine tobacco have given the wampyres a trade motivation to create embassies and trade routes with Orovion. 
  • Eden: A tropical island populated by two warring clans of tortles.

Orovion

  • Argae: The holiest city in Argaenothruzil and the ancient site of countless crusades from the demons of the Dungeon Realm. Ruled by a council of all the religious leaders of the six gods of Argae. A colorful town full of trade and a veritable melting pot of every race in Argaenothruzil.
  • Eden: Known as the City of Stars and one of the richest nations in all of Eden. Crime runs rampant there, as the leadership of Orovion focuses more on business and economy over social issues and order. A mighty naval nation as well.

Broken Lands

  • Argae: Once the location of a powerful and vast dwarf and human civilization called Orthni, but every trace of it and its capitol of Aktulus were wiped out by a cataclysmic earthquake that broke the land and sunk huge parts of it into the sea. Little is known about it, as it is full of miles-deep canyons, ruins, loathsome beasts, and impassable outcroppings of ruined earth.
  • Eden: A trio of kingdoms, Meiyo, Megin, and Damu, established by wood elves, pirate humans, and orcs respectively.

Ilrauros Desert

  • Argae: A largely uninhabited desert, but some secret societies have secret lairs there. A single, guarded and taxed trade route runs through it, cutting off a long travel around it at an exhorbitant price. Named after the god of fire and hatred, Rauroth.
  • Eden: Broken into two kingdoms, the West, populated by yuan-ti, lizardfolk, and dragonborns; and the East, populated by leonin and tabaxi.

Rocklands

  • Argae: Desolate and uninhabited except for tribes of primitive herdsmen. The Cavern of Time is located there, as is a monument to St. Alfred Shortstaff, the last Timewalker, who saved the world's past, present, and future from destruction.
  • Eden: An uninhabited swath of borderlands where people are exiled.

Rahez, Nothwez, and Vingomir

  • Argae: Collectively called the Northlands, these are three allied kingdoms of viking-like seafaring men, sea elves, and their half-elf progeny. Their kingdoms used to be one kingdom called Vingomir, but when the son of the god Bezzoan went mad and plunged the legendary Corona Blade into the top of the mountains, the ground split apart and separated the kingdoms into three islands, which eventually developed cultural and political independence from one another. The disaster forced the kingdoms to focus on naval trade and conquest by necessity, and have been the world's most feared navy ever since.
  • Eden: Collectively called the Ice Legions. Nothwez is a nation hidden deep in the mountains that focuses on naval weaponry and architecture; Rahez is a less advanced religious dragonborn nation; and Vingomir is the home of goliaths and giants, who live alongside each other in anarchy.
_________
It's a very odd feeling to know that dozens of D&D characters are walking the lands of Argaenothruzil, calling its cities and locations the same names, but having completely different experiences than they would in my own canonical world. And speaking of canon, a part of me can't help but try and think of some way that literary word can always remain speaking the truth: perhaps Argaenothruzil was abandoned by its gods and its people replaced by new ones who call it Eden?

Overall, this very unexpected experience has shown me just how interesting of a thing creativity is. Isn't it amazing how a setting fairly rich with lore (with its own novel that takes place in it) can be completely re-imagined with only the names of its cities when placed as a seed in the head of someone else?  Wow.

Feb 24, 2021

Adventures in Coding, Part 2

It's been a couple of years now since I made this post about my coding accomplishments helping facilitate being a Dungeon Master, and I think it's high time I gave an update on those projects and a couple new ones I made. After all, my coding course and externship are long behind me, and now I actually have a coding job! It's been a long journey, and though coding isn't my first career choice, I feel blessed to have it.

Character Generator


I updated the appearance of this generator to fit into a theme that the others follow, and I simplified the UI a little bit. Other updates include bug fixes, displaying the gender of the character before the name (works well for ambiguous dragonborn names and stuff), and adding a bunch more names. I also added new races that have been added to 5e, such as warforged, leonin, and yuan-ti, complete with human names that fit their civilization style (i.e., Mesoamerican for yuan-ti). You can generate family information on this generation, but it's super janky, and I'm not sure if it's just bad luck in random number generation or genuinely flawed tables in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, but I swear every other time I test this, the character is the middle child of 7 children with two twin sisters that have the same name or something stupid like that. I hate to say it, but I may need to completely overhaul this if I want it to work correctly. I was very nooby when I first made all these nested if/then statements, and I think it's probably time I pay the price.

Town and Place Generator


I haven't changed this one a ton because it works so well already, but I have added a few new features and words in the word banks. Now you can have five different types of places instead of two. Here are the basics of what types of place names they generate:
  • Location: Frigidgrass, Deathcaster, Staroak, Dayglass, Cursebone
  • Landmark: Sweetwake Port, Spearcrane Morass, Stoutshire Way, Blastglen Forest, Bladeridge Castle
  • Descriptive: Wood River, Bane Way, Ice Shore, Twin Hollows, Five Moors
  • Mystical: Murk of Light, Tower of Wick, Barren of Bush
  • Possessive: Marie's Peak, Reynard's Landing, Dead Man's River, Erhart's Beach, Arnold's Strait
Location and Landmark work as before. Descriptive was inspired by locations that feel more like a description of an actual thing in the area and a lack of ownership. Mystical... well, I'm not really sure what I was thinking with Mystical. It's pretty bad, I know. Possessive is more about ownership when naming the areas, and uses the same name banks as the Character Generator for the possessors, as well as a few others like "Old Man's" and "Lover's."

Maybe someday I'll smooth out some of the ways the names fit together or something, but this is the lowest on my priority list because like I said, it just works so well already. I'm proud of it.

Treasure Generator


I'm proud of this one, and I think it has a lot of potential. This is a great tool for rolling on the treasure tables in the Dungeon Master's Guide. You simply designate the Challenge Rating of the encounter, and then choose one of the following options:
  • Individual Treasure: Just a number of coins that you find off of a particular enemy.
  • Hoard: A collection of coins, gems, art objects (complete with gp values), and magic items.
  • Pickings: Garbage, interesting trinkets, and adventuring gear.
  • Unique Magic Item: A random magic item with an interesting property like "fiend-crafted," "elf-sized," or "heavy."
  • Up for Purchase: A sort of auction block of magic items with suggested prices or the highest guaranteed bid.
I had a number of bugs I had to work out with this tool, including stopping it from giving a whole bunch of duplicate potions, and it was more complicated than simply transferring all the tables into code form: I had to make lists for random spells for spell scrolls and specific weapons for enchanted weapons and stuff.

The Pickings option was my favorite. I gathered together all kinds of useless junk, trinkets, and items with little gold value but lots of story potential, but I also included adventuring gear, trade goods, sets of artisan's tools, musical instruments, and spell components, because why are magic items the only things you should be rewarded with? This is a really great button to click when your players look around somewhere where there should be something, just not anything with value.

I also really like rolling for Unique Magic Items. When you play D&D too long, all the magic items seem to be same old-same old, but adding an interesting modifier to it (some taken from the DMG, others added just to make things interesting) like "heavy" or "dwarf-fitted" limits the item a bit and breathes new life into it.

Combat Calculator


This one isn't for creative purposes like the others; instead, it's to facilitate large groups of mobs in combat, which are an element that really should be used more often (at least in my games). On the Mob Attacks version, it calculates the number of creatures in a mob that manage to get a hit on a creature with a given AC. The Mob Saving Throw version uses the same math, but to find out how many creatures in a given mob succeed on a saving throw against an effect that targets all of them. I used the DMG's mob damage calculation methods, but I changed them a bit thanks to some tips from Sly Flourish to make them more percentage-based. In other words, a +1 bonus to attack won't sway a huge percentage of the mobs one way or the other—it'll be more gradual.

Eventually I should probably add a couple things like Advantage/Disadvantage checkboxes, and maybe some quality of life updates like specifying the name of creatures or something. But either way, this is an indispensable tool that I have really enjoyed using to speed up games with more mobs.

Well, that's it! I've come a long way, but there are quite a few things I can do to make these better. Maybe I'll give another update in a couple years and see if I finally get that Character Creation thing all ironed out. These are fun things to work on during slow times at work.

Feel free to use all these tools, and let me know if you find any bugs or have any feedback while using them!

Feb 17, 2021

Recreating the Voice Lines from Warcraft II

I was listening to the album Legend of the Boar Knight by Careless Juja over the past week or two (really awesome and recommended, by the way—the type of thing I'd love to make myself some day), and in an intermission track in the middle, the narrator imitated the voices from Warcraft 2, and it made me want to try my hand at it.



It was a lot of fun to try and capture the essence of each voice line through intonation, voice style, and special effects using Audacity. I definitely don't have a great range, so the deep voices and the high voices were definitely my weakest ones, but I think I nailed the ogres (including Dentarg) perfectly, if I do say so myself.

As usual when recreating things, I grew to appreciate these lines so much more while looking extra closely at them. Some (like Grom Hellscream and the Death Knights) were just too well done to succeed at doing, but I did my best. There were some shortcuts the developers took; for example, for the goblin sappers, one line was recorded, and then two more tracks were overlayed on it: one that was slightly higher-pitched and one that was slightly lower-pitched.

Overall, a super fun project, and if I get enough time (or if enough people want it), I could release a compressed folder of all the sound effects to write over those in Warcraft 2, so you could have a full game voiced by me!