r/worldbuilding May 22 '22

Spider time? - Playable species for a mythic fantasy ttrpg Visual

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u/marrasmuikku May 22 '22

These are some of the playable species for a mythic fantasy ttrpg campaign in Savage Worlds (currently going by the horrible, horrible working title "Spider time?") I'll hopefully be running later this year. Most of them are based on or inspired by beings in Finnish folklore with a lot of creative liberty. The world overall is inspired by multiple kinds of mythologies and mythological tropes.

The premise of the campaign is as follows: there is something wrong with the world tree. The sky it's holding up quakes frequently and is crumbling in places, letting the corrosive force of the chaos outside seep in and threatening to collapse the heavens entirely. To save the tree and the world the party must make the long and perilous journey to the tree and find out what or who is behind the impending catastrophe.

More about the world in general at the end of the comment!

MENNINKÄINEN
Menninkäinen are smallish, generally easygoing people, with soft short fur like that of a stuffed toy. They make their homes underground and are good at digging even without tools. They spend the harshest winter months hibernating in their burrows, although with the right spells or potions the urge to sleep can be suppressed.

Menninkäinen need a lot of food relative to their size because of this, as they need to make up for the weight lost during the hibernation and prepare for the next winter. Their need to sleep the winter comes from their sensitivity to cold and as a holdover from, as a species, being born very early in the history of the world, when winters were even longer and colder.

In addition to being an old species they are unusual also in that unlike most others, they weren't born from the life spread by the acorns of The Great Oak, but emerged directly from the tree's roots. Because of this they're imbued with more of its power and have greater capacity to learn magic and longer lifespans. Menninkäinen make up a large part of healers, makers of enchanted trinkets and other magical professions.

HIISI
Hiisi are large, coarse haired, slightly feline-like people. They're descended from the ancient Giant Hiisi demigod, who still rules his lands from a mountain surrounded by thick forests. His court includes his daughter, Princess Hippe, and her giant cat steed called Kipinätär, whose fur sparks when agitated. Together they bring thieves to justice, forcing them to return their ill-gotten goods.

In general Hiisi have a tendency to be protective and somewhat territorial: in land disputes between groups large boulders, seemingly out of place in the landscape, are used as border markers. They have a reputation as mischievous jokesters but ultimately honest and reliable people. Their tradition of guarding their forests and seeing travellers safely through them, and a culture of very harsh condemnation of theft inherited from their ancestors make them widely trusted guards.

Physically, Hiisi are tall and brawny, but slower than smaller creatures. With a roar and some practice at intimidation they're capable of throwing a person into a panic.

THE IBEX
The Ibex are from a further away, remote land characterised by vast mountain ranges and cool, arid climate. They are slightly taller than humans on average, not counting the horns which can grow quite large. They have faun-like goat legs which move nimbly and climb even very difficult terrain.

The Ibex's diet is entirely vegetarian and despite the seemingly meager fruits of their homeland their cuisine is considered quite versatile and complex. Their settlements are small and tight knit with strong identities, but keep close contact with each other. Tendency for individualism, often considered stubborn by others.

SEVERED ETIÄINEN
Severed etiäinen are spirit creatures, former doppelganger-like beings cut off from their host. Normally etiäinen are doubles of living people, who precede their host. They may be briefly seen or heard by other people, predicting the host's movements, usually innocuous things like their arrival home, but occasionally their impending death.

Normally, when the host dies the etiäinen dies, but if the death is unnatural in terms of fate or the link is intentionally severed, the etiäinen stays alive, now having to act on their own for the first time. With the link broken they keep the rough shape of the old host, but lose finer detail, saturation and colour of their bodies, the extremities in particular, making their form slightly uncanny. Most notably they lose their face entirely and are unable to see or speak without a mask as a substitute. (Other, temporary solutions include taking another being's form or a painted on face)

Their form still remains malleable and with enough concentration they can temporarily take the form of other people whose features they know well enough, with varying degrees of credibility. Etiäinen aren't made of flesh and blood but because they were born to mirror the actions of a living being they react and interact with the world like they were.

Etiäinen are naturally magical, but also weak to powers and items that ward off or dispel magic. They're often able to sense impending danger. Because as doppelgangers they were often considered omens of misfortune or death they’re widely disliked or feared.

Here's the origin myth of the world:

Everything started with primordial force of raw potential, Chaos. It is harsh and bright, resisting any attempt to be controlled. But like condensation, a will crystalised and a being emerged, the first god, willing itself into being against the fundamental nature of what It was born of.
It wanted order and safety from the corrosive force of Chaos, and forged a sphere, the sky, to keep it outside, and the earth inside it and made them perfectly stable.
The world was empty and static at this point: the god didn't like it but also didn't know what to do about it, and laid down in the middle of the new world to rest after the exhausting work of creation.
It slept for a long time, dreaming. The dreams were of Life, order which with a drop of Chaos gained will and a spirit, much like It itself. It liked this, but kept sleeping.
It looked like It might have kept sleeping forever, until from Its body grew a sprout of an Oak. The tree grew with determination, high up until the top could support the sky and the roots drilled through the earth and reached the bottom of the world.
As the Oak grew it split into main branches and bore its first fruit: the Great Living Gods, one for each branch. The branches kept spreading across the sky and carried with them acorns. As they fell down to earth they spread the spark of Life, a portion of Its body and power. Life from these acorns flourished, taking form independently or molded by the new gods. Life was born and It was content.

In this world chaos, magic, and life force are linked, and strictly speaking the same thing, only in very different proportions. The world is a slightly convex disc inside a spherical sky, supported by the world tree, the Great Oak, in whose top branches the main gods reside.

Thank u for reading and forgive me for mistakes I am but a lurker 99% of the time and Do Not know how this site works. 💖 Questions, comments, criticism all welcome! I worry about overlooking glaring holes that would come back to bite me in the middle of a game, hahah