Fontia! d20 - A literary excursion into the world of the etymologically absurd
1. A preamble
Fontia! d20, is Jason's third homebrew setting, behind Shin Maseiki Tokyo and War of the Roses. It's a tongue-in-cheek, typography inspired setting, a land filled with kingdoms named for the shape and flavor of the fonts so commonly seen in word processing programs and populated by people with the characteristics of such, from the slightly loopy, but well meaning citizens of the Holy Empire of Garamond, to the bold and narrow utilitarians of Upper and Lower Arial.
The premise of the Fontia campaign is a simple one. It's all about having fun, and doing it in silly and creative ways. And the more often you break the fourth wall, the better. Most Fontia adventures are casual dungeon delving enterprises, though there's often more to the game then meets the eye. As they say in most mystery stories, and especially in a world so heavily inebriated with text as Fontia, the plot often 'thickens'.
2. Yea Pertinent Setting Info
a. Let us begin with a treatise on the nature of Fontia, it's Gods, and its diverse workings.
"In the beginning, there was the Word. It was probably something along the lines of "Oops!" or "****!" or, quite possibly, "Pantsdamnit!", but it was the Word, regardless. It was followed, shortly thereafter, by Schrodinger's Cat, Dogs Playing Poker, and the Gods, who sent the dogs scurrying with a rolled up copy of the Times."
Who, then, were these Gods, these inscrutable, impossible, and quite possibly irresponsible beings? Let's start with a bit of enumeration.
i. Times New Roman, the Bold, Italicized and Underlined: He is the canonical deity of the Holy Empire of Garamond and patron of Holy Knights of said. One might consider him a deity in three distinct parts, governing the domains of War, Law, and Healing respectively, while his Mostly Holy Knights are also capable of invoking this tripartite god's Sunny disposition. Needless to say, most worshippers of Times New Roman are typically do-gooders of the meddling and annoying variety.
ii. Wingdings (font not replicated to preserve your sanity): Best known as HE WHO SYMBOLIZES STUFF. The god of the Dwarves and those of a warlike persuasion, including, but not amounting to, pot helmeted and hot headed warriors. He is the god of expletives (Wingdings be praised, be damned, etc), of signs, portents and gestures (lewd, rude, or otherwise). Wingdings controls the domains of Earth, Protection, Strength and War.
iii. Yea Divine Typesetter: The enigmatic god of printing presses, texts, and innovation. Worshipped by Gnomes and those in the more linguistic line of work. His word is considered sacred, widespread and self replicating. Edessans worship an aspect of Yea Divine Typesetter, especially where it pertains to fine print, hocus pocus, and the use thereof. His domains are Knowledge, Luck, Magic, Travel.
iv. Typo: A dark entity worshipped in Arial and parts of Maiandra. Typo is the god of Upper and Lower Arial. Typo governs misinformation, subterfuge, the promotion of illiteracy and erroneous spelling, and the promulgation of propoganda. Typo sows Chaos, Destruction, Fire and Trickery wherever his priests roam.
v. The Stacks: A pantheon of small gods that sustain and nourish Fontia. The Stacks have no discernible gender, and are worshipped by elves, especially in Batang Che. Presumably, The Stacks manifest themselves in all things that form the basis of the written word, in the bark of trees, in the skins of goats, in ink, and so on. The Stacks govern the domains of Air, Animal, Nature and Plant.
vi. Bud Wiser: The god of harvests, good food, good drink, and good weed. Bud Wiser was an aspect of The Stacks, elevated to godhood by the worship of clannish treehuggers and animal lovers in Batang Che's backwater holdings. These salubrious, oft intoxicated individuals (called 'hippies') travel the land, spreading Bud Wiser's message of love and peace, extending his bounty of alcoholic and soporific substances to all who turn to his worship. Bud Wiser's portfolio include Nature, Plant, Travel and Water.
A cleric in Fontia may worship any of the abovementioned Gods, gaining access to the domains listed in said God's entry. Additionally, a Good or Evil cleric may choose either the Good or Evil domain instead of one of the domains listed above. Clearly, their alignment must correspond to the chosen Domain.
b. The Kingdoms of Fontia
Now, a brief look at the kingdoms of Fontia, the nationalities therein, and their national colors.
i. The Holy Empire of Garamond - Ruled by King Garamond the Next, Garamond is a largely good, well appointed, and well-kerned nation sitting right smack in the center of civilization. Garamond's capital San-Serif rests on a sliver of rock in the center of a large lake, and its other holdings dot its shores. It makes the bulk of its income from trade and bossing others around, and its Holy Knights have made it a relatively strong military power. It is a cosmopolitan nation, and peoples from any and all nationalities might be found here.
ii. The Archduchy of Arial - Arial is the second largest country in Fontia, and a longstanding rival of Garamond. Arial's citizens are largely Human and Half-Orcish. It has mastered perpetual energy, and possesses a superior air fleet. Arial forms the quintessential Steampunk power in any typical Anime style setting. Arial's presidency is held by a powerdressing, high-heels toting Archduchess named Ming Liu.
iii. The Baronet of Batang Che - A relatively forested region, full of pansy Elves and eco-friendly treehuggers. Batang Che is primarily agricultural, and boasts logging and pharmaceutical industries. While there are regular protests, it remains one of the biggest exporters of paper in Fontia. While Batang Che is considered third world by most standards, it grows good weed. Gulim, the Baron of Batang Che, is known to be a staunch supporter of hippie rituals and witchcraft.
iv. The Coronet of Colonna - Colonna is a strong sea power, with a fleet that puts the East India Trading Company to shame. It's citizens are primarily human, and its industries include fishing, piracy, freight and trade. It boasts Victorian era technology. Colonna has a rather unpleasant reputation. Tales abound of sea monster and alien worship, flashing, spinning lights, crop circles, and much probing. Count Comic of Colonna has attempted to quash these rumors, to no avail.
v. The Empire of Edessa(font not available, but it's quite cursive) - Edessa is fairly cosmopolitan, though humans remain the majority. It is a society that thrives rather heavily on magic and despises technology. Alchemy is a common practice, and magic replaces the bulk of technological advancements. Citizens of Edessa enjoy speaking oddly in annoying rhyme and playing word games as a pastime. Estrangelo, the Emperor of Edessa, is considered Fontia's greatest poet.
vi. The Freehold of Forte(a fairly impactful font) - The Freehold of Forte is a primarily Dwarven and Gnomish kingdom, with mining as its major industry. It also hires out its services in architecture and the processing of resources. Forte is one of the most heavily industrialized nations in Fontia, with technology resembling closely that of Industrial Revolution London. It manufactures technological weapons, innovations, printing presses, and other such curiosities. Forte is a democracy and governed by Senate, a rather forward looking kind of view considering the stubbornness of Dwarves and their tendency to hit things about the head with axes.
vii. The Helvetica Highlands(it's not available in the drop down box :o ) - An area clad in perpetual snows, filled with ruddy cheeked Dwarves and Halflings who favor vodka. In addition to doing a brisk tourist trade, Helvetica also export liquors, furs and desserts such as chocolate. This country is primarily industrial in nature, and automates much of their processes. Helvetica is ruled by a business conglomerate, attesting to the power of mega corporations in the modern world economy.
viii. The Marque of Maiandra - A small border province, Maiandra is primitive by most standards, having missed out on the Industrial revolution. It remains pretty much a country of knights and castles stuck with middle ages technology, rife with superstition and magic. Elves and humans live here. Maiandra is famed for its swordsmen and swords, the stupidity of its folk, their tendencies to go 'hurhurhur' instead of laughing in a normal way, and their curiously Alan Rickman-esque ruler, Marshall Martlett.
'twas splashed all over yon headlines - "Who killed Sir Robin?", printed BOLDLY and brightly, in guady RED.
It was an open and shut case, or so the papers reported; a violent death by misadventure in which one of the Mostly Holy Knights had been, rather unceremoniously, rubbed out while doing his thing in the potty.
"One min', 'e was deh upright an' da nex, he was deh lyin' in a puddle o' 'is own piss wid' an arrow stickin' oud o' 'is behind". a witness claimed, attesting to the fact that a stray shaft had indeed done the straight and narrow knight in. Said witness also alleged that a group of hippies who were holding a camp out in the vicinity were responsible for the crime. " 'e was dellin' dem hippies smoke weed elsewhere an' dey got into an argumen' or sommat," he noted.
Suffice to say, the hippies had been picked up, albeit in inebriated form and various states of undress, and carted off to the watch house. Sir Robin's funeral was quickly done with and his body cremated. All was well and good.
The very next morning, Sir Fly, another Mostly Holy Knight, was found dead. Face down in a wash basin, no less, with his glass eye still sitting in the cup where he'd put it in for a rinse. And this time, there were no convenient witnesses, or hippies to blame.
Since then, there have been three more deaths - a tailor, stapled to a curtain shroud, a grave digger, brained by a shovel, and inconveniently buried, and the Colonnan Ambassador; a porcine individual smelling oddly of fish, who had been poisoned consuming the same.
Of course, the Garamond Watch hasn't found any leads.
Afterall, there aren't any incentives for them to risk their hides, their donuts and their coffee breaks on a string of clearly unrelated, and potentially dangerous murders.
Afterall, the reward posted by the Church of Times New Roman is only a meagre 10,000 crowns, from which civil servants such as they are not tax exempt. 'twas better, as old Wiggs from the watch house was quoted as saying, "to leave it to all them dicks crowding round the city".
Soon to be very rich dicks, quite possibly, such as yourselves... or perhaps others, who might have a vested interest in getting to the root of this matter.