Let’s Build a World: Part Six: Cosmology and Mythology

With the establishment of our pantheon complete, the chapter moves on to the cosmology and mythology section.

Normally I don’t do much with this one but I felt it would be interesting to have a look at for the purposes of giving the guidebook a thorough examination.

The cosmology section has charts so you can roll to determine such things as the astronomy of you system, the number of planets and moons, their sizes and types.

Firstly there is the astronomy to deal with – the laws of physics that govern the separation of the worlds from the void.  Does it follow real physics, does it have Wildspace as in Spelljammer, is there an aethereal void, as in light and air goes on forever, or is there something else, subject to the DM’s creation.

On a D8 we roll 4 – Wildspace with spheres.  So as per Spelljammer.

Next is system organisation – is the sun (or suns) at the centre of the system, or is the primary world at the centre with the sun (or suns) revolving around it.  Is the world a flat earth or is there something else, subject to the DM’s creation.

On a D8 we roll 1 – Heliocentric, 1 sun.  There is only one sun in the system, and that is at the centre of it.

After that we roll a D12 to see how many planets there are, and for each planet D8-3 for the number of moons, with an additional D8-3 if you roll a natural 8.  And after that you roll for each planet and moon to figure out what each world type is, according to the general AD&D view of worlds.  Are they earth, air, fire or water worlds, or something else, which could range from para-elemental, quasi-elemental or anything else according to your imagination, such as giant world-trees or the body of dead deity.

And when you have done that you roll to see the size of each of the worlds and planets.

That is a lot of work and a potentially a lot of dice rolling for what is essentially background information that may never actually impact upon your campaign, which is why I don’t tend to do it.

But for the sake of completion, I am going to do it for this setting.

The dice say there are four worlds in the system.

World One – Enormous (80-100K mile diameter) Air Planet.  A gas giant.  It has two moons, a tiny (800 mile or less diameter) earth world and a terrestrial (800 to 16,000 mile diameter) earth world.  This later one falls into the size range of most campaign worlds, the size of which can be rolled for back in the worlds and planetology chapter.

World Two – Terrestrial Air Planet. Another, small, gas giant.

World Three – Terrestrial Water Planet.  That looks like it is our campaign world.

World Four – Tiny Fire Planet.  It has two moons, a tiny water world and a terrestrial other world.

This last world seems a little weird, with a strange moon orbiting around a tiny world of fire, almost like a tiny second sun, and that strange moon is larger than it.

But I think I can make something of it, tying it in to the mythology of the system that we generated with the pantheon.  It reflect the battle between the pantheon and the Darkness, in miniature.  The fire world represents the sun, the water world the pantheon and the other word the Darkness.  It is a shadowy world of darkness and the fact that it is larger than the water world reflects the relative strengths of the two sides, that the Darkness is, right at that stage, the stronger party.  As the balance between the two sides ebbs and flows, so too does the size of the two moons relative to each other.

After the section on cosmology, the book goes on to discuss planes and myths and legends.

There are no charts here to roll on, just a series of suggestions for outer planes and creation myths and divine myths and sagas and the like, and what they may or may not contain.

Is that kind of detail important?  Possibly.  It does depend on what type of campaign you are running and the type of players you have.  If they are hack and slash dungeon delvers then maybe it won’t come up much, if at all, but if it heavily based on the intrigues of temples and political manoeuvrings between religions it may be very important.

Given the nature of the world as it has developed so far (and my delusions of being a writer) I will, over time, be actually making up a lot of this over time.

And with that done, in our next part, we shall be moving on in the chapter to history.

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