Round 2: Design a country

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Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

"Land of a Thousand Ziggurats"

Drenched in sweat, plagued by clouds of insects, the explorers have journeyed for weeks through the trackless depths of the Viridian Jungle. As they hack through the last clinging vines, the myriad birds and chattering monkeys fall silent, the only sound the constant dripping of water from the canopy high above. Before them, a majestic ziggurat towers into the sky, its tiers inlaid with jade and lapis lazuli and veiled with moss and creeping vegetation. They are the first men to tread here in thousands of years, gazing upon the ancient tomb with wonder, excitement, and trepidation. Behind them, unseen in the shadows of the encroaching jungle, something moves…

Alignment: LE
Capital: Jhansi (pop. 9,700)
Ruler: Her Most Regal Majestrix Sephrilara Bai, Rani of Iskandria
Government: Autocratic magocracy

A subtropical land of lush rainforest, Iskandria forms a triangle between the Sea of Serenity, the Banshar Kush mountain range and the Jangala Wastes. Broken only by the Erm Hyar Mountains, a spur of the mighty Banshar Kush, the vast Viridian Jungle covers most of the country. Forest gnomes, elves, and monkey goblins dwell in the jungle, as do dinosaurs, although the latter have been hunted over the years to a fraction of their former numbers. Of more interest to adventurers and explorers, however, is the multitude of ancient, monumental ziggurats hidden deep within the primeval forest, seemingly untouched by time.

Isolated and protected by natural barriers, Iskandria languished for millennia under a succession of god-kings, each of whom commissioned the construction of an extravagant temple that would serve as his tomb after his death. Maintained for centuries by a caste of bureaucrat-priests, these magnificent temple-mausoleums are scattered across the landscape of Iskandria in mute testament to forgotten kings. Furthermore, legends say that in the darkest depths of the Viridian Jungle lie the ruins of Lost Yaduu, the first city of the Iskandrian god-kings, full of treasures beyond imagination. Demons and other ageless guardians now stalk its vine-shrouded alabaster streets, and many would-be seekers of the ancient capital have never returned.

Recent History:
Iskandria’s venerable traditions abruptly ended a decade ago when Zbad VII, last god-king of the ancient Aqubayyid dynasty, was slain by the sorceress Sephrilara Bai. With the aid of a mercenary hobgoblin army, Sephrilara easily defeated the demoralized Aqubayyid troops, seized the capital city of Jhansi, and usurped the throne. After purging the priestly bureaucracy, she proclaimed herself Rani of all Iskandria. Fearing any who could oppose her on equal terms, Sephrilara rounded up anyone with sorcerous powers. Those sorcerers who weren’t banished or killed outright were forced to swear fealty to the rani and register with the government, licensed to practice their art only under strict regulation.

Notable Settlements:
Rani Sephrilara reigns from her opulent palace (formerly Zbad VII’s personal ziggurat) magically suspended in the sky above Jhansi, itself famous for the never-ending Spring of its exotic gardens. Other settlements include the port of Muiu Thral (pop. 17,200), the City of a Thousand Streets; Sadhrakand (pop. 7,300), a bustling trade city nestled between the Viridian Jungle and the Sadhar Plain; Almudin (pop. 3,500), home of the yellow-habited Charlatans of Almudin; and the dwarven city of Uttar Keferet (pop. 2,200), which guards Khunakar Pass, the sole gap in the imposing wall of the Banshar Kush. And from Bonemaw (pop. 700), a grim fortress built within the towering, bleached ribcage of some forgotten behemoth in the heart of the Ossuary Barrens, the elite hobgoblins of the Vermilion Legion ride forth with their trained krenshars to enforce order and quell dissent throughout the realm.

Current Situation:
By royal decree, any girls in Iskandria who display sorcerous talent are taken from their families and brought to Jhansi for training. There they are inducted into the ranks of the Cerulean Sisterhood, an order of multiclassed sorceress/clerics dedicated to the rani and her dark god of tyranny. These fanatically loyal disciples of Sephrilara form a small but powerful aristocracy, overseeing the remnants of the old professional bureaucracy, administering the daily affairs of Iskandria, and scouring the country for any unregistered sorcerers.

Although wizards are tolerated in Iskandria, many fear persecution from the Cerulean Sisterhood and so keep a low profile. The Charlatans of Almudin, however, are in open rebellion against Rani Sephrilara’s rule, and have thus far repelled all attempts by the Vermilion Legion to suppress their revolt. As the last god-king of Iskandria perished, so too did the people’s faith, and clerics from across the world have begun reappearing in Iskandria to attract new converts. And with its ziggurats no longer sacrosanct or protected by the priests of the god-kings, many adventurers and fortune hunters are flocking to Iskandria in hopes of plundering their ancient riches.

DM Secrets:
With the demise of the last of the god-kings, the seals and wards protecting Iskandria’s countless ziggurats have begun to fail, not only opening them to plunder by tomb-robbers, but also releasing their forgotten guardians. Rumors have begun circulating of strange, never-before-seen creatures roaming the jungles and advancing ever closer to civilized lands.

The sorcerer Raj al’Afalani leads the Order of the Rainbow Serpent, an underground resistance organization of fugitive sorcerers, freedom fighters, and a few Aqubayyid loyalists dedicated to overthrowing Rani Sephrilara. Believed to be hiding somewhere in the Jangala Wastes, the Order has made several overtures to the Charlatans of Almudin, but has so far been rebuffed.

Marshal Nayagar, general of the Vermilion Legion, has thus far been content to follow Rani Sephrilara’s orders and take her gold. But the crafty hobgoblin warlord has no plans to serve her forever, not if he can conquer Iskandria and take the wealth of its tombs for himself. For now, he is content to play the role of loyal henchman, but he and his commanders are secretly making long-range plans to seize power when the time is right.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Submission checklist:

Submitted on time? Check.
Submission is a "country"? Check.
Submission contains all of the mandatory content as required by the contest rules? Check.
Submission is within the word limit? Check. 979.
Submission is free of inappropriate content in violation of the "taboo" guidelines? Check.
Submission does not use content from a source other than those listed? Check.
Submission does not reference a published campaign setting? Check.
Submission does not include maps or art? Check.
Submission is a suitable setting for roleplaying with the d20 system? Check.
Submission is not a "joke" or otherwise completely fails to meet the minimum requirements of the competition or other contest rules? Check.

The Exchange Kobold Press

YES! This is great, pulpy adventure fodder for a hard-fighting, all-looting party to sink their teeth into.

Your design choices are SMART: recent history and current events! Not to mention, DM Secrets that suggest immediate adventures, plus the sexy magocrats. And the name is cool and fun to say.

One of my favorites so far. I want to make sure my party visits Iskandria very soon. With a 1000 Ziggurats to visit, anyone could base a campaign here for years of play.

I'd offer a critique if I had one. Honestly, this is the kind of material editors love to find in a slush pile. It's a gem.

Recommended for Top 16.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I am coming to like the paragraph of italic descriptive text at the very top of the entry. It's a good design choice and I've seen it enough times to know that it really works. The words "viridian" and "myriad," while extremely clever in the real world, are sort of dime-a-dozen in RPG circles, though, so I had to wince a bit at that. I blame the decade of D&D slush piles, though, not you!

The opening description paragraps set the scene wonderfully. I don't know what a monkey goblin is, but I'd like to. I appreciate the lyrical writing and the concept of Ancient Egypt by way of Sumeria in the tropical jungle is an interesting approach, and of course one loaded with possibilities for fantasy adventure.

Readers should compare the first third of this submission with the first third of others in the contest. Notice how many start out with dry summaries of governments or minutia of ancient history unlikely to come into play in a modern campaign? Notice how this one doesn't do that?

In general I like the names in this entry, but Aqubayyid stood out as too difficult to pronounce and a touch sillier than it needs to be. I think you should watch out for that sort of thing, and always remember that these names are going to be pronounced out loud around the game table. That's a little different than in a short story or something, where it really doesn't matter how the word sounds or is pronounced.

The Notable Settlements section certainly lived up to its name. I want to know more about all of those places. Incidentally, "vermillion" is one of those gamer words like myriad and viridian. I'd avoid it if possible in the future. Oh, Cerulean is also one of those words. Way to rack them up!

The DM Secrets were pretty solid.

Overall this is a well-above-average submission, in my view. It's not my favorite so far, but it should easily sail through to the next round and it has my full-throated endorsement in doing so.

Good luck!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Fluff (writing, grammar, style, evocative prose, etc.): A+
The Good: Beautiful, evocative, powerful. Does a lot with a little.
The Bad: None.

Crunch (basics, rules issues, depth of the setting, details, etc.): A-
The Good: So much is implied here. I love it. Forest gnomes, monkey goblins, god-kings, temples, Lost Yaduu, yellow-habited Charlatans of Almudin. Awesome.
The Bad: I could have used some game crunch—NPC stats, something.

Design (choices made, format, naming, originality, theme, balance--ie, is the submission heavy in one part but lacking in another?): A+
The Good: Great, great name. I can’t say enough about that. And excellent naming of other locations. Excellent format use. It’s so good I lost count of good things to say. Great theme and design.
The Bad: What is it with everyone and hobgoblins?

Play (setting for adventure? campaign? is there conflict? are there play limitations?): A+
The Good: Great, great opportunities for adventure and play. This is a very strong element of your submission. The “recent history” and “current situation” makes the conflict and play possibilities very immediate. Nicely done. This gets gamers to the table and lets them play, play, play!
The Bad: None.

Tilt (my personal take, is it evocative? do I want to play there? does it capture my imagination?): A+
The Good: This just says lets have fun playing D&D! I love this setting. Very pulpy and old school. There are dungeons and monsters and lots of reasons for them.
The Bad: Not a thing.

Overall: A+
What is there to say that my grade hasn’t said already? This is an impressive submission. Excellent.

Strongly RECOMMENDED for top 16.

On a personal note, I was not that high on your wondrous item. I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away. I am glad I trusted Erik on this. He said you were an “easy jump into the next round” and he is right. And Wolfgang though you did some good things. You absolutely repaid their trust in you with a truly world-beating entry. I hope we have a few more that are this good. Well done! I do note that your wondrous item, like your avatar, and like your country entry all share a Egyptian theme. I don’t want you to fix what aint broke, but I wonder if you can break out of that comfort zone.

I'm evaluating the countries out of order because I figure a lot of people will be going from top down or bottom up.

What a pleasant first country to begin evaluation!

I like how the author placed the country in a hidden area and then made no further references to those boundaries. This could easily be an island or have a bordering desert. Yes, its unlikely that rain forest would border a desert, but the point is the text doesn't force you to accept the boundaries and that's a good sign that the author was keeping his readers in mind.

Another good sign is the recent history. I have a grudge against 10,000 year histories where 9,000 of the years can be summed up as "not much happened". Those kinds of histories can potentially lock down a DM and they do it unnecessarily.

A sorceress queen with an all-girl army of high charisma spellcasters? They even live in a jungle so it's pretty hot out all the time. Somebody was thinking about what the cover art might look like! I have no real strong feelings about this, but it was avoidable (just include the lads) and its clear pandering. While the author has clearly demonstrated an ability to keep the (majority male) audience in mind, there is such a thing as subtlety.

Points are gained for the DM secrets not being a mere list of dungeons. I was a little worried that people would do that. I would have liked to have seen more NPC motivations. The reference to the monsters being released into the world is nice though, that basically gives the DM license to throw out everything from dinosaurs to flumphs.

Thumbs Up

Scarab Sages

When reading these entries, I am doing my best to keep my years of GMing and reading gazeteers in mind. The entries I have used in my own games are always those with "quirks" or "hooks", that one thing your players will remember 10 years from now reminiscing when they think back on the games you ran for them. The hook on this one, "Egypt in the Jungle", is wonderful in that it takes something that is a know commodity for most players and tweaks it in a way that will keep things grounded in a way players can handle, but lets GMS have enough leeway to really knock their socks off.


You have my vote.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

Judges, thank you very much for the comments. I've really enjoyed reading them, and I'm looking forward to reading the comments of my fellow Paizonians. And thanks also for the opportunity to enter this contest. I've had a blast so far, and I hope I can do more in the near future. This contest is really a great idea, Paizo. Kudos.

Enjoy, everyone!

SargonX wrote:

Judges, thank you very much for the comments. I've really enjoyed reading them, and I'm looking forward to reading the comments of my fellow Paizonians. And thanks also for the opportunity to enter this contest. I've had a blast so far, and I hope I can do more in the near future. This contest is really a great idea, Paizo. Kudos.

Enjoy, everyone!

Strong writing, and while not the most original entry, it's well crafted and comfortable--and interesting. I admit that the use of throwaway dinosaurs likely keeps this my second choice, but there's solid potential on this one and I look forward to what you do in future rounds.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6 aka Core

I'm almost done reading through these and this is my 2nd favorite one (after Zavaten Gura). As with Zavaten Gura, probably one that is actually likely to be plundered for material by wanting DMs.

My only criticism is the use god-kings, little cliche. Overall very strong though. Good stuff.

Core wrote:

I'm almost done reading through these and this is my 2nd favorite one (after Zavaten Gura). As with Zavaten Gura, probably one that is actually likely to be plundered for material by wanting DMs.

My only criticism is the use god-kings, little cliche. Overall very strong though. Good stuff.

I immediately thought 'Iskenderun' from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade...but that was just the village where Marcus Brody was brain has random thoughts. Interesting...

I like it!

I'm not a big fan of obviously Egyptian and Middle Eastern themed lands. Nothing wrong with it, just my personal preference. Once I got over it and read the entry I was very impressed. The possibilities for adventure here are fabulous.

This is by far the best presentation I've seen so far. Even though I was pretty underwhelmed by last round's coin belt of beguiling, I think it's pretty safe to say that Rob will be getting one of my 5 votes this round. Still have a few countries to read though. :)

Clark Peterson wrote:

Play (setting for adventure? campaign? is there conflict? are there play limitations?): A+

The Good: Great, great opportunities for adventure and play. This is a very strong element of your submission. The “recent history” and “current situation” makes the conflict and play possibilities very immediate. Nicely done. This gets gamers to the table and lets them play, play, play!

This is my favorite of the submissions for the very reasons Clark articulated. I am fine with the names, as they fit with the theme, perfectly. While reading this, I was already thinking of how awesome it would be to have Iskandria at my game table before I finished reading!


Don (Greyson)
Nyrond Triad - PoC

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

Very impressed by this entry. It's interesting, it's well-presented, and it gives me some ideas for my own writing. Good stuff, and stands out in the crowd.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

This is one of my favorite entries so far. I like the Pulp feel and thus portability from fantasy to a more modern-ish game.

It is also very well written.


Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Jungles and Egypt aren't my favorite settings, but this was very well-executed and I can see myself using it for a side trek or three, if not an entire campaign. Barely squeaks into my Top 5.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:
The opening description paragraps set the scene wonderfully. I don't know what a monkey goblin is, but I'd like to.

I just had to be a pain in the @55. Especially since my writin sux!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka SmiloDan

This isn't Egyptian!!! It's Indian!!! Jangala is the Sanskrit root for jungle; rani is a Hindi term.

But it is pretty dang awesome.

I personally can't wait for the cover art.

You have some evocative choices here. They work well together. I have points off for excessive use of French-derivative colors in front of names and for not going far enough with reworking what appear to be Middle Eastern placenames. (Umayyid or Samarkand anyone? That said, I apologize if that's not what you did, but I saw two examples that seem to suggest that.) I'm marking this down for a reread tomorrow after I'm through my initial list because several entries have ziggurats, and I fear that's affecting my review.

This was one of the first entries I read, which was unfortunate for everyone else. In my notes, I have several entries which read "Good, but it's no Iskandria." The flavor text grabbed me. Thousand ziggurats? Awesome. Sorcerous cultists, monkey goblins, and Bonemaw? Man, if you don't happen to win this contest, publish this country and I'll preorder right now.

I like this country so much that I considered forgoing my other 4 votes, so that I didn't risk bumping Rob off with one of my other votes. Then I realized that he's not going to have any trouble making the top 16.

Great country, Rob. I can't wait to see what's next.


I like the fact that we have Indian-style names, Ziggurats, and Jungles. Throwing things together like that really create something new, and it shows here.

It didn't click for me the first time, but when I read the judges' comments, I looked at it again, and caught some things that I missed. It's on my tentative list, now.

The thing that I really liked is the inclusion of a female-only sect of sorcerers. I like it; I've played with a lot of female gamers, and I know quite a few of them would love coming across this piece of trivia in the game world. I could see the problem with this turning into a simple rationale for "nice art pieces", but that's easily fixable if you make the garments of the sorceresses, uh, realistic and not "boobtastic".

That was the thing that really stuck out for me.

Like the names. Like the adventure possibilities.

The "Rainbow Serpent" doesn't mix well with me, though - not a fan of anything vaguely Coatl.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Good stuff. I've read about half the entries and saw people keep referring to this one and I hadn't gotten there yet, so I figured I should go check it out.

At first I wasn't so sure. The opening paragraph was a little too pulpy-feeling, movie trailerish, but why the heck not? Especially in a gazetteer, it does help set the mood and bring the reader in. I like Egypt, I like India, I like Mesopotamia, I like Jungle (okay, jungle isn't capitalized, but still)--this is right up my alley. The more I read, the more I like, and perhaps best for stealing purposes it is eminently portable into any world or situation, but without feeling generic. This is one of my more favorite ones.

And FWIW I liked the Coin Belt of Beguiling too.

P.S. What is up with all the hobgoblin love in this competition? Maybe I should've put some in mine just on principle. :)

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Hmm...maybe this is were the ancestors of Mohenjo-Daro went...

Had to vote for this one. Liked the Coin Belt of Beguiling as well.

So it's...Mulhorand/Unther? Very well written though.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Damn. I'm glad that we're not limited to a single vote, because I'd have to pass on my own write-up.

Brilliantly done.

Ok, it's wonderful pulp scenery so what can I, known enthusiast for trashy exotica, say. Lovely, and very probable entry to get one of my votes.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

SmiloDan wrote:

This isn't Egyptian!!! It's Indian!!! Jangala is the Sanskrit root for jungle; rani is a Hindi term.

But it is pretty dang awesome.

I personally can't wait for the cover art.

There's an example of being thrown out of phase by a name. I saw 'Rani' and went in a completely different direction. but I love the setting

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 aka Fatespinner

I'll be honest here: I like this entry. I'm voting for this entry.

However, I will say this: You do such a fantastic job with the imagery and evocative descriptions that I didn't really give a crap about the government, the politics, or the history. This could be a ruin-filled jungle populated with nothing but trolls and dinosaurs and it would still be cool. It reminds me of Chult in the Forgotten Realms... but with more ruins (always a good thing, IMO).

I don't know if that should be a mark for or against you, but it got my vote, so that's worth something. :)

Jungle choking the pyramids. Bugbears roasting tapir. Sorceresses swearing oaths of allegiance. Great stuff.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka Sir_Wulf

I love "pulp" adventures and this setting is an excellent one for that type of campaign. It had a great "lost empire" vibe going for it, with the beautiful sorceresses ruling the place, the ancient ruins, and jungles infested with strange humanoids and dinosaurs. I really like this place!

Of course, I'm deeply envious. The cover art for your country would feature scantily-clad enchantresses before a background of jungle-hidden ruins. My country's cover art would doubtlessly feature iron-working dwarves in rust-stained woolens.

At least I could model for my own cover art, if I grew my beard back. (sigh...)

Liberty's Edge

I really like the sorcerer inquest idea. I'm liking this one a lot.

Ziggurats in the jungle? Surely that's Central American - not sure why people see that as startlingly original. I was interested to see that people didn't find the names in this to be 'difficult' as there are many complaints about namin conventions in other entries, where I had no trouble with the names. These just sort of made my eyes glaze over. Not a favourite of mine, but then I am out of step with a lot of opinions.

Sounds like a mix between Jakandor and Deserts of Desolation. The writing was nice, not really original enough for my tastes but a good entry. I was kind of laughing that the city of 1000 streets only had a population of 7000 (7 people per street), unless I read that wrong.

The name sounded very familiar so I googled it. It's out there.

Good solid entry, good luck!

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

My favorite so far, lots of adventuring opportunities.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

I like this one, high pulp, reminds me of Kingdoms of Thryacia.

Liberty's Edge

Jungle Ziggurats. I find this to be a very strong entry, with excellent and evocative writing, and a strong and interesting setting that I want to play in. Definitely on the short list.

On the downside, some of the concepts I thought were bordering on clichéd, but not enough not to vote for the entry. The dinosaurs seemed a bit of a throwaway line, and for me don’t fit all that well with the rest of the concept (I would have preferred to see giant carnivorous apes in this sort of setting). And more hobgoblins! That’s in no way a point against, but they seem to be cropping up in a lot of entries.

Take the above as constructive criticism – despite any of it, this is a really strong entry, and fun to read.

Oo, nice. This one is getting a vote from me.

This got a lot stronger after a reread.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Pure pulp, which is a good thing. People are right about the cover art, which is also a good thing.

Kush is also evocative of the subcontinent, as in Hindu Kush.

Plenty of adventure to be had here, and you don't have to work to find it.

Strong maybe.

Ragwaine wrote:
Sounds like a mix between Jakandor and Deserts of Desolation.

God, you know, you're right. Primarily the Jakandor bit.

As someone who LOVES Jakandor (yeah, I'm that guy), that really ups my level of interest in this one.

Really, though, it's #6 on my list. Though I really hope this one makes it through to the next round (in fact, I'd be surprised if it didn't).

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

Instant top 5. You have scantily clad sorceress-spooks hunting down the rani's enemies. You have dinosaurs. Dinasaurs are great because they cause damage and have hit points, and that's all. Your can have a crunchy combat that the party takes seriosuly, but also that they can use a host of special abilities against and really show their stuff. Anyone can fight a dinosaur.

Okay, a beguiler should not fight a dinosaur. But anyone else can.

My first coutry idea had some similarities, then I fired the jungle concept. mine was more a continent anyway, and I became concernec that there would be this glut of jungle nations as everyone tried to think outside the european mold.

Anyhoo, I say this because I played with the images and words that could describe a setting like yours and so yours really struck a chord.

My favorite DM secrets portion of all the entries. I find myself wanting to work for the traitorous hobgoblin warlord.

Fantastic entry. I want to agree that your villain should not have any sort of Egyptian ties, but then if you keep writing like this...who cares?

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

You had me at Ziggurat...

This is my #2 vote!

Obviously by my name/icon I'm an Eberron guy...This country could easily find it's way into my campaign. Possibly on one of the islands near Xen'drik. I agree it just seeeeeths pulp!

In evaluating the countries, I think the DM Secrets are the things that impress on me the most. Iskandria delivers in full in this regard. My favorite is the idea of the escaped guardians now wandering about -- heck, the sorcerous nature of the place suggests that these guardians could be ANYTHING. Each ziggurat might even hold an entirely different type of guardian... well, it sounds like an incredibly fun monster hunt, if nothing else.

I'm going to echo the judges here and say that this looks like a fun, pulpy setting that is ripe for adventure and bursting with flavor.

If you can continue to produce this level of quality, you might just win this contest yet.

The Exchange

Love the country and I'd like to know which one of the guesses on background is right.

My guess is the Ruined Kingdoms in Al-Qadim, especially with the sorcerer/clerics mentioned.

Rob - this submission is one of my favourites.


Grand Lodge

I love this entry and it could possibly be my top choice. I WAS disappointed that I didn't learn more about Monkey Goblins though... but I'm hoping that is going to be in the monster submission.

Also, I love Iskandria (and voted for it) cos it basically means Alexandria, which means it was founded by Alexander the Great.

Basically this entry makes me want to play here or run a game here.

Dark Archive

You had me at god-kings. :D

Edit: Will there be a god-king PrC?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

This is a wonderful pastiche of classic fantasy/adventure elements. I think it might be bordering on too "over the top" for my tastes, though. I guess when every third sentence has something new and cool, I have to ask, "Is there anything normal about this place?"

It's very well written, which certainly helps. I also appreciate the thematically appropriate themes, though some of them do look and sound a little odd.

Great work, Rob.

Marathon Voter Season 9

i can never get enough jungle countries...
(Also, the creator is playing in a PbP that I'm in, and as i'm only a kobold rogue with 6 hp, I would rather not make him mad! Oh, wait, he's only a halfling sorcerer with 5 hp. Nevermind, then)

Dark Archive

An awesome region, and I particularly like the part about wards failing and strange new creatures roaming about. It's possibly on the cusp of epic change, for players who want to do that sort of storyline, and the ruler could hold onto things for decades more, if they just want to run around and bash monsters, making it a versatile setting. The pseudo-Egypt feel totally hooks me. (I'm so over faux European settings...)

Limiting myself to five votes is going to be really hard, I see.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

This is very, very well done. In fact, I think it's so well done, it seems you've set yourself up as a possible frontrunner for future rounds of the contest.

I'm completely intrigued by the sorceress who overthrew well as the hobgoblin mercenary who placed her on the throne and secretly plots behind her back. Either would make a great villain write-up in the next round.

And, looking further than that, if you stat up a monkey goblin and a couple guardian creatures from the unsealed tombs...I'd be interested in seeing those in the monster round as well.

My two-cents along with my vote,

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