Friday, March 9, 2012

Baria Day—A Brand New (Old) World

Baria, circa 1991
I first started working on my own campaign world back in 6th grade, pounding away on my mom's old typewriter on an adventure I called "The Curse of Sekamina Caves." It was a total homage (rip-off) of "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth." The adventure wasn't all cave crawling though... the inside front cover (I built my old adventures using manilla folders as the wrap-arounds for the maps, just like the old D&D modules worked) had to give Sekamina Caves some context. And so I mapped out the large nation of Eltrun on a sheet of hex paper, putting Sekamina up near the top (by an equally remote location called Chimera Cove) of the map, so that the PCs would have to walk all the way across the nation in order to get to the dungeon.

Over the next few decades, I would expand the nation of Eltrun to a continental level, filling out the land of Baria not once... but at least four times between the mid 1980s and the early 2000s. I've lost the first few maps, alas (I think I know where the 2nd one is, but the 1st continental map's gone forever, alas), but I've still got the one I drew when I was a senior in High School on a big sheet of poster board, and also still have the version I created using Campaign Cartographer in the early 2000s. As you can see, things changed between settings (I redrew the continent more or less each time D&D's editions changed), but overall the basic world itself stayed the same.
Baria, circa 2001

Baria is a pretty standard fantasy RPG world—it's got equal doses of Gygax, Fritz Leiber, Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard inspiring a lot of it, resulting in something that, thematically, was really pretty similar to the World of Greyhawk. And since I used a LOT of the names from Baria for regions in Golarion... it turns out thematically that Baria's pretty similar to the official Pathfinder Campaign Setting as well. Fans of Golarion should be able to pick out a LOT of familiar names from the tags on the maps below. (Both of these are photos taken from printouts; I'll try to get a scan of  the MOST recent map of Baria, complete with lots of city locations, up here on the blog soon!)

SO! That's Baria! Over the past 30 years, I've run seven campaigns and countless adventures set in the world. I've pretty much stopped active work on Baria today, with all my world design efforts going into Golarion... but I gotta say... working on Baria since the early 80s has really turned out to be some of the best job-preparation training I've ever had. MUCH more helpful than that FORTRAN programming class I took back in college! Anyway, now that I've established the scene for Baria Days, expect actual Pathfinder game content in the Fridays to come!

Baria Campaigns I've Run include...
  • ..."The First Campaign" (1984–1985: A campaign I ran for my younger sister. It was )
  • ..."The Demonfall Saga" (1986–1987: A campaign I ran for several friends in high school; a 7 part campaign that started with the above-mentioned "Curse of Sekamina Caves" and ended up being a fight against an invasion of demons led from the Abyss, led by demon lord known as Obox-ob who had gained control of an artifact that let him reconcile the bickering of all the other demons and recruit them into one army.)
  • ..."Night of Worms" (1991–1992: A heavily revised "Demonfall Saga" I ran back in college that culminated in defeating Obox-ob from manifesting physically in the Material Plane during the Night of Worms. During the campaign, one of the players accidentally awoke an evil wizard named Karzoug from stasis.)
  • ..."The Icelands" (1992–1993: a campaign set in the frozen lands of the Shoanti that played out in 3 acts—the Shoanti PCs becoming heroes among their own cultures, the Shoanti PCs uniting the bickering tribes to defeat colonization by the gun-wielding expansionists from Drolaer, and the Shoanti PCs defeating an uprising of drow that ended up with a trip to the Demonweb Pits. In a short super-high-level sequel to this campaign, two of the players invaded Baba Yaga's hut to defeat Karzoug, who had trapped Baba Yaga and was trying to claim her dancing hut as his own trophy.)
  • ..."Rise of the Imperium" (1994: A mini-campaign in which two heroes got captured by an ancient vampire, were tricked into blowing up an ancient temple of Desna, and accidentally released the bound souls of several powerful necromancers from an ancient empire—the PCs escaped control and managed to defeat the leader of these necromancers, but the others took over several regions of the world anyway.)
  • ..."The Flowquake Saga" (2003–2004: A campaign in 3 acts. In Act 1, the PCs defeated the cult of Ydersius from healing their decapitated god. In Act 2, the PCs dealt with a civil war started by Queen Ileosa. In Act 3, the PCs fought the Cult of the Canker and defeated a plot by the proto-outsiders of the Deadlands hidden within reality from assassinating gods and unraveling magic.)
  • ..."Savage Tide" (2006—2007: I transported this campaign, published in Dungeon magazine in issues #139–#150, into Baria; it would end up being the last Baria campaign I ever ran, with all those to follow being set in Golarion.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow after reading this it is crazy how many of the APs seem to be based of your adventures that is awesome.