The world of Arles was first conceived by me well before I read or knew anything about TSR's Dragonlance setting - the meteorite strike was independently developed. Since then it has been used as the setting for several of campaigns, and any number of one-off games and abortive attempts to begin campaigns.
Arles was designed for Rolemaster in the late 80's and this still shows in places. Despite this the first game set in Arles that ran for more than a session or two used Mythus (Dangerous Journeys) and was subsequently converted to AD&D2 .
The next time Arles was played upon I used GURPS , but again the campaign was converted to a new rules system, this time HERO (this is not a normal practice for my group, honest). More recently it has been used as a setting for several Chivalry & Sorcery 3 campaigns, some more GURPS games, and most recently some D&D3 campaigns, the most recent of which is still going strong (as of March 2004).
Arles is a world approximately the same size as our Earth, with a similar average temperature. However the climate is not always as you would expect, due to the influence of Arles' geography and the presence of magic and of empirically provable gods (just make an oath to Hecate and renege on it, if you are sceptical), who in the past have meddled with such things.
Geographically Arles is dominated by the large continent that spans the equator and encircles about two thirds of the world's circumference. This continent is also called Arles, and in fact the world is named after it. This is because the dominant peoples on Arles have always been based on the continent and, until fairly recently, they didn't distinguish between the two. The continent of Arles ranges from nearly 60 degrees north to 60 south, and has a correspondingly wide climate range, from deserts to jungle to cold evergreen forests. There are three other significant land masses, a mountainous subcontinent that is really an extension of Arles, an Antarctic landmass, and an Arctic to sub-arctic continent known to the inhabitants of Arles (the continent) as 'The Northlands'. The main features of The Northlands (as far as the inhabitants of Arles are concerned) are its great boreal conifer forests, that it's cold and that its inhabitants like to rape, pillage and burn everything they find along the northern coasts of Arles.
Significant features of Arles, the continent. Arles has two major geographical features that have affected the development and history of its peoples.
The first is the great Inland Sea of eastern Arles. This sea is shaped vaguely like a pear, with its stalk being a straight about 200 miles across. The sea proper is about 2000 miles wide east-west and about the same north-south, and would be considered an ocean if it weren't so landlocked and relatively shallow. It is fed by a number of large rivers, and is not as salty as the World Ocean it connects to. However it is still not drinkable by humans, goblins, etc.
This sea provided first Elves and then Humans with an environment where it was possible to learn the arts of shipbuilding and sailing without being sunk too often. The great rivers also provided Humans with fertile places to farm intensively enough to build cities and nations.
The second is the Circular Sea, which is a relatively recent feature. In prehistoric times (for Humans, anyway) this area was filled with fertile plains and forests, and was occupied by a mighty Human empire. However due to this empire's attempted eradication of all Elves and Dwarfs from the face of Arles the gods destroyed it. The result was a huge sea with a large island in the middle, and a ring of mountains around it. Where the sea opens into the World Ocean the mountains become a thin strip of rocks and reefs, broken only at either end. This sea has had a similar effect to that of the Inner Sea, in that it has allowed the formation and growth of civilisation in a relatively sheltered environment.
Other features are the great deserts that cover the interior of the continent, and the mighty mountain ranges that often delineate dramatic changes in climate and culture.
The current game is set in and around a sleepy little kingdom called Tours, at the beginning of a rather large war.
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This Page was last updated 28JUN2004
This Page and all content not otherwise noted copyright Rupert Boleyn, 1999-2004