Developer Notes


A Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy World created by Veriax


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How Iiosia Started

Ever since I was young – and we’re talking twelve or so here – I've loved fantasy and Sword & Sorcery. When I first saw a picture of an orc charging across a battlefield on a huge black boar, I was hooked. From there, I played Hero Quest and other board games, I read books on Conan, Elric, Shannara, and played interactive Fighting Fantasy and Lone Wolf game books. I was heavily involved in playing Warhammer, and then started making my own games.

Along with that, I started to write stories.

The world that these stories were to be set upon started to develop slowly. I’ve always loved maps, and any fantasy story with a map in the first few pages was a hit with me. I started combining maps from different universes into one world. I’d join Allansia from Fighting Fantasy with the Warhammer world and mix and match places to fit with each other, and copy all of the maps by hand and stick them all over a bedroom wall so they fit together into one combined, jumbled world.

This, I suppose, was the first incarnation of Iiosia.

It wasn’t long before I started adding my own maps. That’s all they were, mind – just maps. No real thought or reason went into them. I just laid out what I thought would be cool to have and where it would be cool to have it, and added different names to things with no thought of the people that really lived there.

It was only while my education continued the way it did that I started to learn about tectonics, relief, erosion, evolution, migration and climates. This knowledge, undoubtedly, had a huge impact on the world. I scrapped a lot of things. (There wouldn't be a swamp there! The water basin is over here! And so on.) And it wasn’t long before I started to think about who may live in these places I made, and as I wrote and finished my first ‘major’ book when I was fifteen or so, and set it on one of these maps, I forced myself to think of reasons why things were the way they were. There suddenly had to be a reason why the dwarf city was there, what kind of trees the woods comprised of and what sort of infrastructure the place had. That county was called Magador, and has survived wthin Iiosia to this day (albeit in a heavily modified version)

Over the years, I made Iiosia to be a setting for the stories I attempt to write, and also for the pen and paper role-play game I made to play which is currently known simply as Iiosia RPG (IRPG).

It is an amalgamation of all of my ideas of what I think a fantasy world should be. It is steeped in an epic, yet forgotten ancient history which has made the world as it is. It is populated by (what I hope is) a variety of different races and people.

I do not really feel that I made it, but rather that it is making itself and I am the one who records its progress.

The idea of making a website about the world and displaying it within a web format came to me in 2006. After many failed attempts, re-starts and re-designs, I'm glad I've finally got the site up.

I do have issues with staying on task - I can give up on things, take a break (for a few months) or simply get distracted and not come back to them, so I'm very glad it's completed enough that I can upload it to the internet.

In the future, I hope to write a series of stories about major and minor events within Iiosia, and then possibly Alderon (which is the world that follows Iiosia - but that's a whole other story).

And in the end? Well, I'm dubious that there will be an end to this. The world, despite all my best efforts to stop it, keeps on growing even when I physically shrink it! It is a symbolic testament to my childhood and I think that if I ever completely give up on it, or forget about it, then that's the day when I've finally grown up.

And that, my friends, will be a very sad day indeed.


The Evolution of Iiosia

Iiosia has gone through many transitions throughout its development – not least of which is how the geography and maps have altered throughout the years. Luckily, maps of the older designs have survived to this day, and in this section I’ll be talking about each of them and how they have changed through the years, and how each design led the evolution of the next.

From this point, I will be describing the changes that happened to Iiosia as it developed into what it is today. It is somewhat self indulgent, and is included largely for my own benefit - so that I can look back and see how things have grown.  It also assumes that the reader is somewhat familar with Iiosia in its current maifestation, so is not for  the newer visitors.

The easiest way to do look back like this is to talk about the maps that have been designed throughout the years, how they have changed, and why.

The Early Years (pre-2000)

The very, very first incarnation of what would become Iiosia was, I suppose, when I initially discovered my love of maps I would find in fantasy-style books when I was in my teens. They would always capture my imagination as I wondered of the people and places within them. I would combine maps that had no relation to each other whatsoever, combining the maps of the Lone Wolf books with those of Fighting Fantasy, Warhammer, and several others. I would make hand-drawn copies of the maps (this was in the days before the internet was a major thing, and printing them was not an option), and made a collage of them on my bedroom wall to create one huge mess of a world. Where my creativity started to shine through was when I had to “fill in the gaps” between maps that didn’t fit well together. I’d add a desert here, coastline there, and eventually structured entire new kingdoms to straddle other maps that didn’t fit together.

The very first map I created that was anything more than just that, was of a country called Magador. It was for a set of short stories I wrote when I was 13-14, called Owen the Barbarian. These stories, long consigned to history, borrowed heavily from everything from Warhammer, to a series of books about Paedur the Bard and, somewhat obviously, Conan the Barbarian. They weren’t very good, and yet the land “Magador” persists to this day.

A Huge, Underdeveloped World (2000)

Iiosia in the year 2000

This image is a hand-drawn map of Iiosia from around the year 2000. This was back when the world was called Taleron, a name that I changed later due to a google search resulting in a technology based company. This world, designed to be as big as Earth, was filled with half-developed ideas that in the end overwhelmed me and resulted in me changing a large amount of it in the next design. It was still at the period where I would put things here or there with little thought to what they would be or why they would be there, yet it still set the building blocks in motion for the world we have today. Many of the ideas have been carried through to the current incarnation of Iiosia, and yet some are abandoned completely.

Indulge me, as we take a quick tour of this underdeveloped world

  • Gnoll Country, a large, cold, wild place, filled with, well, gnolls. Purely here for the convenience of a story I wrote around this time called “The Dawning of the Claw” in which the gnolls attack southwards, striking Dalsion Island.
  • Dalsion Island was a frontier land that had been settled by people from neighbouring Northern Kharanda. Named after the man who was instrumental in conquering it, and before it was known that it was not an island at all (I know, kind of silly), it became quite a well developed land with an extensive history.
  • Kharanda is a super-continent divided into several regions. In the north was where dwarves lived, in their capital of Vordaal, and traded with the humans who lived in the same area, especially within the town of Pen Daka, in the bay on the eastern shoreline. Western, Eastern, and Central Kharanda were all entirely undeveloped. Even after looking through some old, hand-drawn maps (which I intend to scan and upload someday) it’s clear I had little idea of what to put in these places. The South was covered in jungle and was the home of a lizard-man archetype named the Sutch.
  • Rune is largely unchanged. Rune was always intended to be the largest and most dominant realm of men, akin to The Empire of Warhammer’s Old World. Not the most original of ideas, I grant you, yet one that I want included anyway.
  • Orondor is here also, though at this time I did not know what to do with it. I knew it was a human realm, and rival kingdom to Rune, but how or why it was unique I had not yet decided.
  • Tanyato was designed to be the obligatory Asian-influenced human realm. That was all I knew about it, and decided not to keep it in later development as I felt it unoriginal and unneeded.
  • Sigurd was a land of a Viking/giant hybrid of people. While I must admit to having a fondness for the idea, I dropped it because, again, it was unoriginal. Of course, some of the contents of Iiosia are unoriginal, but I felt some clichés were best left behind. However, I might bring some of this idea into what is now The Steppes within the current Iiosia.
  • The Wilds was, as you might expect, a large and unexplored area at the north of the world. Ideas from this were later combined with The Outlands.
  • The land of the Ghreal (now Ghrea), is also one of the realms that has changed little, at least in lore, since this first incarnation. The background story of the Great War, Sundering, and portal through to Inferis were already in place at this stage and, though I was still debating about the Ghreal’s appearance at this stage, the idea that their homeland was situated under this portal has never changed.
  • The volcanic, mountainous island of Xakarah is here also. At this stage, I was considering placing more humans here, who commanded steam and metalwork, and they would be a more industrious, mechanised faction within the world. An idea that was later scrapped, but the essentials of which were carried forwards to create the Grellkin.
  • Khánn had a cool sounding name but had little else there of any note. I think I was going to design it as a human realm of some kind.
  • We see Magador at the bottom of the map. A land that I have always thought of isolated and on the edges of civilisation, Magador is just as wild and lawless here as in Iiosia as it is now. It was initially home to many dwarves, also.
  • Maleri, as with the land of Ghreal (Ghrea), is a country which I had already decided much about. In this era of development, it was the lost homeland of the elves (the atia yet to be thought of) which, along with their city of Allyon, was lost during the Great War.
  • Immire, home of the Black Elves – an offshoot of the elves more akin to Wood Elves, and a race only rumoured to exist.
  • Arachnidia is an island upon which the insect life and spiders grown to massive size.
  • Culthumore, later to be named Chkarthamoré to lessen the obvious Cthulu influence in the name, is a land of demons and dark magic much akin to its current form.

A Map finally Completed (2009)

After many years of dithering and not doing much with the hobby (I could blame many things, but really it was laziness), we have this design which I drew around 2008-2009 and which really launched me back into developing the world. At this stage, this map of Iiosia is still as big as Earth. This is the first complete map to ever be compiled of Iiosia, with everything filled in and no huge, blank gaps like with the previous map. In this map, every country has an idea behind it and a direction I want it to go in. I switched things around a bit, though I kept the north much as how it was. I erased much of Kharanda, and deleted Tanyato, and Khaan, as I had no need of any of them. Arachnidia, is gone also, instead favouring that giant insects, especially spiders, could instead be found almost everywhere.

Gnoll Country, Dalsion island, Sugurd, Rune, Ghreal, Chkarthamoré, Immire, and Maleri are all much the same as in the previous incarnation.

  • Northern Kharanda has now become the Dwarf Kingdom, but otherwise remains unchanged.
  • Eastern Kharanda has been replaced with Agniton, the original homeland of the atia. Initially, the atia were supposed to have been formed after the Great War in much the same way as the ghreal. It was in this period that I began to think of the Dark Arc of magic corrupting beings other than the ghreal, which also led to the birth of the gilth. The atia were to have had a large Empire which stretched over much of the landmass they occupied, but had since fallen into decline. The idea of the magic flux was also thought up here, sending magical energies across Agniton, but also weakening the atia physically, making them frail and infertile.
  • Western Kharanda is just Kharanda now. I thought of this as a wild area which was left after the retreat of the atia, leaving many of their abandoned cities behind. I decided that the world “Kharanda” was an atian word, meaning “lost lands” or some such. This birthed the idea of things being named after words of the atian language.
  • Southern Kharanda is divided into the Drywind Desert and the jungles of Zxaneg. Zxaneg is the home of the sutch – the lizard-men. This time, though, I thought of them as ex-slaves of the atia, who had escaped or overrun their atian overlords, and now plotted against them after forming their own sub-culture. The Drywind desert was included for the obligatory desert area. I thought it might be inhabited by a nomadic tribe of horsemen, (too) similar to the Mongols of history.
  • Xakarah has shrunk and I think up the trolls, or grellkin, that inhabit it. This carries onto the current design of iioisa.
  • Magador is still crammed in at the bottom of the map. I come up with the idea of having it next to a land full of the undead, to the south, but this isn’t shown on the map. The idea of the fortress of Viracur pops into my head as a result of this.
  • Oun also appears here. The idea of it being a disciplined warrior state persists throughout the future development of Iiosia. Aside from making the realm itself larger, it changes little in future years.
  • The Vast is a desert that separates Oun from Ghreal. I later removed it because it was placed there purely for convenience, and that it wasn’t all that Vast, really. I like the name, though, so will likely try to include it somehow in the future. An area of huge caverns known as The Beneath lay under it. Similar to the Underdark of Forgotten Realms, I semi-scrapped it later, though kept the basic concept for another area.
  • I have now decided that Orondor will be a “fallen kingdom” but, as yet, I don’t really know why.
  • The Outlands are born, which replace The Wilds from the previous map. They have more identity, though, and I think of them as a birthing ground for mutants, that eventually develop into the Ferian and Halflings.
  • Nethicka is also a new realm, replacing Tanyato. A much more interesting area, the race of the gilth stem from the idea of an area with many long and winding cavernous passageways. They are also heavily influenced by the monsters from the film The Descent.

Beginning to Re-design (2011)

This image from early 2011 shows some further tweaks. I basically remove some of the areas that I do not like and add some other tweaks. The map still shows a region the size of Earth.

  • The Drywind Desert has been removed. Again, I found the Mongol influence as cliché as the Viking and the eastern ones.
  • I add a large landmass under Magador, which I plan to use as The Land of the Dead. I create a history for why this is, also, but am unhappy with it. I was really looking for a nation of the undead, but why would a nation of any great size exist on the extreme south of the world where it’s very cold?
  • Dalsion loses the “Island” from its name.

The Finished Result (2011)

And here we are at the current and, I really think, final design. I decided that, even with the changes I made previously, I still wasn’t happy. The world is too big and too much for me to handle. I set out to delete everything I’m not happy with, slimming down the world and the complexity of it. As I explain in this video, I reduce the size of the map to that of Europe, to make everything scale down and be easier to manage.

  • Gnoll Country has vanished, and I move The Outlands to occupy all the northern realms. This removes the last D&D monster playing a major part in the world, making it more unique to me.
  • I remove Dalsion, instead mixing its ideas with Magador. Because they were both frontier realms, and because the world shrank, I did not need both but didn’t wish to lose the ideas I’d thought for either. As Magador was the realm that had essentially birthed Iiosia, I kept that and removed Dalsion.
  • I moved Ghrea up to border Magador, to keep the idea of it being a country under persistent threat alive.
  • Chkarthamoré is resigned to the extreme south, making it become a remote, extremely hot and dangerous place where few will ever venture.
  • I remove Immire, thinking the race of Black Elves largely pointless. I reason that they can easily be added later, and don't need them as another thing to think about while concentrating on the bigger picture.
  • Because Magador is now no longer under threat with the undead, I needed somewhere else to put my Land of the Dead. Of course, Orondor proves the perfect solution. A “lost kingdom” for reasons I don’t know why, and a Land of the Dead without a place to put it or plausible explanation behind it? Making Orondor the Land of the Dead just worked out brilliantly.
  • The Dwarf Kingdom has expanded rather a lot, in light of changes in the history of the world making them more of an ancient super power, and also to give them a foothold in Magador, which is something I always wanted but was never that plausible in previous map designs.
  • Maleri now becomes the abandoned homeland of the atia. I replace the elves of the world with the atia, which removes the realms of Agniton and Kharanda, as Maleri now encompasses them both; a homeland for the atia and a lost empire full of ancient cities and forgotten treasures. I worked the idea of the Magic Flux artifact into the Great War history as I liked the idea of it so much.
  • I add the regions of The Steppes and The Scar to add areas of unexplored wilderness and hostility.

The Future?

While it is far, far too early to think about such things, it is worth baring in mind that because Iioisa is only the size of Europe now, there are other landmasses out there, possibly with other races and peoples that can be added. But, such thoughts have only briefly drifted through my thoughts. One thing at a time!

   Iiosia © veriax 2010-2015