Wait what? I was looking for a topic to write about this morning, you know, as you do, and I read something that I missed before:
“People live on the land, which is a big, flat
disk surrounded on all sides by ocean.”
13th Age, pg.257
Aristotle is very displeased with this idea. We know this is fantasy, so it’s acceptable to have things like this be fact, but for me it almost seemed kind of silly. At first glance, anyhow. Looking at it a little deeper, I actually find this quite fascinating and opens up a great deal of possibilities in the extra-planar department. First thing that this tells us is that the Land is more than likely finite, which also tells us that both the Underworld and Overworld are also finite. Even more exciting, is that the map of the Dragon Empire doesn’t depict the shelf that would exist in a flat world. That’s exciting because maybe in future books we can see an expanded map of what the land actually is in regards to planar borders and such.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of a millions of planes that exist in most fantasy settings. One world is definitely enough to keep track of, no need to tack more stuff on. However, what I think of instantaneously with this specific description of 13th Age’s Land, is Yggdrasil, the world tree from Norse mythology. In most artistic depictions of it, it literally has the world as a flat disk smack in the center of the tree trunk. See where I’m going with this? You can literally create Norsemen as a culture in 13th Age. As someone who celebrates pagan history and mourns its destruction, this makes me really happy.
The puzzling thing truly with this understanding of the way the Dragon Empire’s cosmos works is where the hell is the Abyss? If the Underworld is underneath the Land’s structure, and the Overworld above it, is the Abyss even under the Underworld? It must be, but then again there’s a huge rift that opened up in the southern part of the Empire. If it’s visible from the surface, as both the map and the literature around it leads us to believe, you have a long way to fall before you actually reach the Abyss. If you use the term “rift” as it’s used in games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, it also implies a crack in space and time rather than just a physical hole. Maybe the rift at the bottom of the empire is more of a portal than a crack?
With that latter definition of the rift itself, that means that the Abyss is not in the Underworld and exists elsewhere. I could go down this rabbit hole with ridiculous amounts of speculation, but the simple theory could be that the Abyss is simply beside the physical world rather than above or below. But then again, this does lead us to believe that there’s a long spot of open space between the edge of the Land (or Underworld, depending on how elevated it is in relation to the rest of the cosmos) where there’s nothing. Space, maybe, depending on how you’d like to define it. What’s fun about this idea is that the Dragon Empire is now a viable setting for any game system you want to run. Not that it wasn’t before, but now there’s a planar way to explain it! How cool is that?
That idea works backwards as well, making it sort of sensible to jump between the Dragon Empire and other previously created worlds like Grayhawk or the Forgotten Realms. It’d be really fun to start a campaign in a world as fantastic as the Dragon Empire and jump down into the mud and grit of the Forgotten Realms. Certainly an interesting idea to explore as characters. Perhaps it’d be more fun to do it the other way around, but hey, I’m just speculating over here. Most important: What do you guys think? Leave a comment here or on my new Facebook page, reach out on Twitter or Google+. I’d be really interested to see what kind of crazy ideas this spawns.
Stay Metal \m/