Svarog: Volcanoes, Lava, and Ash

I've spent the last few days finalizing the basics--and that's an oxymoron, I should think--of Svarog, the fire-themed level in The Regret of Vitrerran. This is the first level I started working on sometime early last year, and it's crazy how different it is now than when I first started.

So, time to show it off!

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Svarog was the first area I started detailing. I wanted the creatures there to be dragonesque, similar to the Draconians found in the Dragonlance novels. A fantasy affair needs dragons. Thus, the Drax were born. A harsh looking set of creatures called for a harsh environment, so Svarog turned into a run-down city built into a series of active shelf volcanoes.

Svarog is dirty and poverty-stricken. The Drax export and work metal, but the place they call home is mostly inhospitable, the severe heat keeping wildlife away and making it hard to grow crops. The volcano runoff has turned much of the surrounding water into poison, turning the place into a kind of desert.

The government is a totalitarian affair run by a group called The Guild. They keep the citizenship in control through power and food rationing, for food and water are scarce and in need of close monitoring. Security is high as the Drax aren't allowed to leave unless under strict orders. Svarog cannot empty.

But most of the Drax don't want to leave, for Svarog is a special and captivating place:

This is Svartota, the lake of fire. Svartota is special in that it's an unnatural land formation built by someone or something long ago. To the people of Vitrerran, it has always been here, and to the Drax, they have always lived around it and tended it with powerful magic.

It's a volatile lake that needs to be kept over and watched lest it expand and destroy the surrounding area. It needs to be guarded by those who might seek the inherent magic within. It must be studied and scrutinized, for a thing of this size must have a powerful purpose.

Many of the Drax believe there is a sleeping dragon beneath it, one of their forefathers, and so they stay and tend, living in a harsh place and worshiping an unspoken duty while they suffer for the good of Vitrerran.