The purpose of this article is an explanation of not just the setting of Shafador, but to help people to understand the world of the chat a little more clearly without having to read through all the info on the wiki. This is, at its root, an out of character perspective and summary of the chat and what we intend with it.
What are the Chronicles of Shafador?Edit
The Chronicles of Shafador began a long time ago as a background for an old character named Elazul Ravencross. It all began as the character’s homeland that he was invading from and from there it just kind of took life. After the original character it was made for had been retired and done with and I had left the chat where it was born, myself and a friend of mine sat down and started working on a custom Dungeons & Dragons setting to play in, and as we went more and more ideas spawned from that original concept. Eventually Shafador was born, and from it came not only a remarkably fun D&D game but also its first incarnation as a chatroom, back in 2006 where the name Chronicles of Shafador was coined.
The chat was the top of its class for quite a long run, especial by today’s standards and had a rather large player base. We ran a few interesting storylines in the room, such as the Lost Tablet story that had multiple factions actively at war with each other and led to some interesting RP conflicts between characters. The chat eventually died off however and went into hibernation. This didn’t mean I ever stopped writing for it however, with a second D&D game taking place in the world of Shafador we decided to progress the world a bit and eventually Shafador became a much different place to live in. The old races were removed from the world and given their own playgrounds while Humans become the dominant focus of the setting, wanting to have a world where the characters could experience the world on three fronts. From the perspective of Humans who believe the supernatural is little more than myth and legend, only not coming to realize they were wrong. From the perspective of the supernatural races living in secret within Shafador and hiding from the Humans, having to live in fear of being discovered and persecuted as monsters and demons. And finally, from the perspective of the races that existed in the worlds beyond Shafador who believed Humans and the other native races of Shafador were mere myths.
It added an interesting mechanic where Human beings were viewed as aliens, monsters, and demons from legend and myth, and allowed for storytelling mechanics I’ve always enjoy; the existence of a supernatural world that exists right under our noses. After 5 years we’ve finally come back to the concept of a chat again and I have been working rather diligently to write up information to make sure this chat may very well be the best written and most thorough fantasy chat ever to be seen on PJJ that wasn’t based on something else. So here we are now…
The real intention behind the Chronicles of Shafador was to create a Fantasy setting that had a little bit of everything in it. The world is a big place and you can find many parallels in it with the real world, however it is not truly based on any real world events. While many Fantasy settings take their inspiration from things like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, or various forms of typical Mythology, such as the Greek or Norse, I chose to take my inspiration from a much different source that is scarcely used in the fantasy world. The Chronicles of Shafador are very much a fantastical look at the tales of the Bible, taking from it many stories and then retelling them in my own way while adding familiar styles of writing. I mean, what Fantasy setting is complete without epic wars, mythical creatures, and vengeful gods? Well the Bible is full of those! Of course it’s not completely analogous with the Bible, as you will notice that many differences are there.
So with that said, what was the final intention of the Chronicles of Shafador? Well to put it simply, it was to go old school. Do you remember the days when people used to RP characters for years, advancing them in seemingly random ways and when every character you played eventually had a whole story that could be told on its own? That was the final intention of the room. Effectively there will be an ongoing and progressing storyline in the chat and it is expected that each play will have a very large impact on this storyline, having their characters progress along with it and become canonized in it for all to read about.
Imagine if you will that you have just stumbled upon the chat and you come in to find a few people roleplaying. To most newcomers these people are of no consequence yet, and probably won’t be unless they actually get in there and RP with them. So you go onto the board to read up on the setting and plot in the chatroom and you notice a name in the history. This name sounds familiar, and you realize it is one of the people playing in the chat right now. So you keep reading and the more you read the more interesting this character becomes. Not because of what they are roleplaying now, or any information in their profile but because they took part in the history of the world. After all, what is more fulfilling than checking up on the Wiki and seeing a post about a recent storyline that took place in the room, and getting to read through it as if it were a part of the world’s history, not just something in the logs.
So this was the intention, and what I still hope to accomplish.
Gaia, WTF is it?Edit
Gaia is a pretty common name for Fantasy worlds, and I’ll admit I wasn’t too creative here. Sue me! In either case it works, and the world itself is unique enough that its name doesn’t need to be. So what is Gaia? No, it is not some weird fantasy version of Earth, though unlike most Fantasy settings it is in fact a planet and not just some plane of existence. That doesn’t mean that planes don’t exist, they do, just not in the same sense as most settings. Gaia is split into three sections, and the primary setting is Shafador. This encompasses what the people of the world call the Old Continent and the New Continent, and is the home of the Human race. In addition to Shafador there are two other worlds that exist on Gaia, and you’ll notice I call them worlds and not lands or continents. This is because the other two locations have been separated from Shafador by powerful magic and technology and are effectively treated like different planes. Each one is completely different from Shafador and is home to vastly different races, they are a place that is foreign and alien to the inhabitants of Shafador in which they refer to simply as Hell.
You’ll notice for the most part there is very little information on these locations on the Wiki or anywhere else really. Likewise there is very little information on the New Continent, and I’m sure you’re wondering why? Well the answer is pretty simple really. It’s because we don’t want you there, not at this time anyways. The world of the Old Continent is large and diverse enough that it should satisfy everyone for the time being, and of course eventually we’ll add more details and these faraway lands. You’ll just have to be patient.
So now that you know what Gaia, and by extension Shafador is, I’m sure you’re wondering just what kind of place it is? Well that brings us too…
What Gaia is likeEdit
First off, it is hard to define the world of Gaia to one singular time period as a reference, and likewise it is just as difficult to define it by any one particular genre. You’ll notice that in each of the different write-ups for the numerous nations in Shafador there is a little section that is like a bio? In this bio you will also find that there is a section labeled as Technology, though it’s not very descriptive. There are three levels of technology in Shafador, to keep things simple: Low, Medium, and High. What this translates to is this; countries that have a Low technology level are effectively Dark Ages. They lack any real technological advancement here for whatever reason, living the lifestyle more commonly found in many Fantasy Settings. Countries with a Medium technology level are slightly more advanced, being considered to be in the renaissance era, or Middle Ages. These places aren’t quite out of the dark yet, but they’ve made some pretty big advances and they have a slightly easier way of living because of it. It’s still pretty much the typical Fantasy setting however, though it’s more like something you’d see in Assassin’s Creed. This is the era that Leonardo Da Vinci lived in, so just keep that in mind. Lastly we have countries with a High technology level. Countries that have reached this level of advancement are in the Industrial Era, and you’re less likely to see people running around with swords or in full plate (though not completely removed yet). These countries have factories, machinery, civil engineering such as sewage systems and plumbing, and even the level of person equipment is more advanced, such as having clockwork devices or even firearms. Places with High tech are basically you’re typical Victorian Steampunk type setting with crazy inventors trying to take advantage of the boom advances in science and all kinds of cool new things… like airships and robots!
The primary setting for the room takes place in a massive city and in a country that has a High technology level, so consider the chat as a whole to be a sort of industrial era sort of setting as that is where they main focus is. However, we’re not limiting people to only playing in Abel, you’re welcome to RP in any country in the world, and we even have information on zeppelin travel around the world for people to get around easier.
Would I say the chat is Steampunk at its roots? Mmm, kinda. I’d more call it Magepunk, because while there are steampunk elements there are also a large amount of contraptions and inventions created by the magically inclined people of the world that are powered by mystical forces and esoteric energy sources. This also brings up however to another bit of information about the room. Is it purely Fantasy? Nope, not really, and you’ll find out exactly why as the plot progresses. Or maybe you already have, depending on when you’re reading this. In either case I have plenty of sci-fi elements written into the storyline and the world itself, some of which are already apparent in the history with the mention of the Shadows behind the World, such as Imperium. It’s all a matter of how this type of thing is presented and in what quantity. Look forward to it in the future!
One confusing aspect of the Chronicles of Shafador is trying to pinpoint an exact time period and fit within that time period. This is somewhat a pointless endeavor as the setting does not fit within one single time period or any sort of norm. In truth, Shafador is very anachronistic. What does this mean, you say? Well basically it means that there are things that might exist in it that would not normally exist in a given timeframe. For example, anyone who has read the section on diversion and entertainment will notice there is a small section discussing music idols, not something you’d see in most medieval fantasy settings? Nope, but I felt the urge to include them so I did. Likewise the style of clothing is not tradition to the setting really (not completely anyways). Normal people will usually conform to the normal apparel for the time and area, but player characters are not so much limited by this. If you want your evil fire flinging mage to walk around in a long leather trench coat and fishnet with black leather combat boots and thick mascara, well that’s cool I guess and you’re totally welcome to do that.
While most technology is at most Steampunk style with whirling gears and steam engines, Magecraft adds a little spice to the world and makes things even more screwed up as it effectively adds electricity to the mix. Where as in most settings Mages are the crazy folks with steam powered technology or all kinds of weird equipment for viewing star alignments and all that, most actual scientists in the setting do that without having to be called Mages. So to make Mages stand out we added Magecraft, which allows the crazy eccentric wizards to have Tesla like contraptions and electrically powered devices. Want a character with an electric guitar? Sure! So long as you make sure to play it up as some kind of bizarre Magecraft contraption that shouldn’t exist in the world. Remember, anachronism allows things to exist out of era but does not mean they belong there completely.
Plans for the futureEdit
As a quick note, there are still quite a few plans for the future. As of right now we have a fairly simple dice combat system that is slowly being integrated into a few different aspects of the setting, such as some of the racial abilities and already exists heavily in the various magic systems. There are plans for further advancing this combat system into something worth of the chat and that can compare with the detail of the magic systems. With it will also be an Experience System that will serve as a sort of currency, where characters will be given experience for certain roleplaying achievements that they can spend to advance their character in certain ways. Likewise I’m also working on four new categories on the Wiki. Archetypes, Bestiary, Tales of Gaia, and NPCS/Adopt-a-Character. Some are probably pretty self-explanatory, good for you if you understood them! In either case, I can’t really speak on what they are for the time being as they’re still mostly preliminary, but look forward to seeing them pop up on the board and in the setting in the future! As this little section grows, it will also be transformed into an Update article that will keep people up to date on changes and updates in the room and on the wiki.
So there you have it, that’s basically the overview of the world and the chat as a whole. I plan on adding more and more to the world as we go and even if the chat room dies, Shafador will always live on as my ever growing pet project. For the moment we’re in Shafador 2.0, who knows someday we may see a Shafador 3.0. Just keep in mind, the key point to this place is to be creative and have fun. Once that stops happening there’s no longer a point for it to exist. Hope you enjoyed the read, and enjoy taking part in the unfolding of the Chronicles of Shafador!