NOTE: The official, up to date source for this setting is now its wiki.
Va'ita is a magical fantasy world. There you'll find an ancient empire going through an industrial revolution, zeppelins navigating the skies, wood-dwelling chameleon people and other wonderful creatures, or even magical rock music elevated to the status of religious worship.
Unlike some of the other, more traditional fantasy worlds covered on my website, Va'ita was designed from the beginning to be something original and personal, a world that would, hopefully, take on life of its own, almost, and last for a long time. Va'ita is a place suited for epic and magical adventures. Many monsters and mythical creatures inhabit the wilderness.
Va'ita, in the Urufa language, simply means 'world'.
Three major species inhabit the continents of Va'ita. (Species is the correct term here, rather than race, as they have evolved in very different ways, and cannot interbreed.)
- Uruha are what we generally call 'human'.
- Rateeha are large felines.
- Peveha are a wood-dwelling chameleon people.
A primitive reptilian people known as Vaha inhabit the northern island of Vaga'ova. There is also a mysterious spectral people known as Rafa'oha, which are only ever seen in moonlight and appear to be entirely oblivious to the existence of other beings.
In addition to these humanoid species, there is, of course, a wide variety of wondrous beasts, from regular animals to rare, even unique, monsters, that inhabit the many corners of the world. Descriptions of just a few of these can be found in the Va'ita Bestiary.
Three continents form the bulk of Va'ita:
- Uruva, in the southeast, is the home of the Uruha, and of the ancient and great Urufa Empire, arguably the greatest nation of Va'ita, as well as the desert realm of Uda'odava. South of the continent is the island Ra'olava, home to the subterranean Vulaha.
- Eguva, in the northeast, is the home of the Rateeha, and the many wild beasts they hunt.
- Sada'ova, in the west, is the home of the Peveha, a land of jungles and forests.
(Click map for larger version. A black and white version is available in PDF form. Note: the unit of measure on the map, 'uh', stands for ufaha'oba, '1000 strides', which is, for sake of convenience, equivalent to a kilometre. The inscription says: 'Map of the World - Royal School of Urufada Press, 3117UO.'
ERRATA: The island south-east of Uruva should read Eruulava. Corrected in the PDF version.)
There is a force that flows throughout the world, called Bevala ('the flow' or 'the river'). According to the Peveha it is the very soul of the planet, sometimes referred to as Ta'abusa (loosely translated, the 'growth of the planet' or 'life of the planet').
Some people have the natural ability to see or feel the Bevala. With practise, they can direct its flow and shape it into various effects. A person with the ability to control Bevala is called Bevalaf (plural Bevalav).
Magic is a living force and requires a living person to manipulate it. Enchanted items don't exist (though Bevala can, of course, be used in the creation of items of superior quality).
The people of the Urufa Empire have harnessed the power of steam and are on the way to industrialisation. The use of steam power has proved most significant in the field of transportation. Zeppelins have revolutionised travel, although they are expensive, due to the limited amount of heavy fuel they can carry, forcing them to rely on Bevalav for heat. Cheaper vessels use sails for propulsion, but are limited in speed and manoeuvrability.
Firearms have existed for a few hundred years. Progress in metallurgy and mechanics during the last century has led to the appearance of revolvers and lever loading weapons. Hand-to-hand combat and weaponry have persisted relatively well, though, and have regained popularity a little after the emergence of the zeppelin. Due to their value it is often preferable to capture them intact. Hand-to-hand combat also has a great cultural importance for the Rateeha, and the Peveha generally avoid use of firearms on principle.
(It should also be noted that the most talented warriors frequently have some level of Bevala ability, which they are able to use to increase speed and sense coming attacks, the very best being even capable of parrying bullets. This, to some extent, levels the field between firearms and conventional weapons.)
It is the 32nd century UO (Urufa'o Oba, 'Urufa Time'). While the history of the Urufa Empire is full of internal and external conflicts, the most crucial turning points in Va'ita's history are undoubtedly the beginning of overseas exploration about 1000 years ago (and the subsequent colonial wars), the beginning of industrialisation in the 31st century, and most recently a brief war between the Empire and the Peveha nation, which has left the Empire in political (and financial) turmoil, as well as destroyed the once glorious Peveha capital.
Music is, by many, seen as the most pure form of worship. A special kind of 'spirit music' (vuu otaga) has evolved on Otagelava, the 'Isle of Music', off the shores of Urufa, which is spreading rapidly throughout the civilised world.
This music is generally performed by a small group centred around a Bevalaf, who amplifies the group's instruments and provides other magical effects, designed to transport audiences into a kind of trance. The tradition isn't a religion as such, but aims to produce a general 'spiritual' experience, not competing with other religions, but rather complimenting them.
An RPG campaign set in Va'ita is currently underway, titled Tales from the Teya'o Iva. More information here.
Some general guidelines for role-playing and character creation may be found here, and some preliminary thoughts for a Fudge-based system here. A draft character sheet for Fudge may also be downloaded here (PDF, A4).
I have run 'musical' sessions as part of the campaign, Tales from the Teya'o Iva, with a selection of original songs. Home-recorded 'soundtracks' are available in my music section.
My aesthetic and narrative landscapes have of course been shaped my many works. Below is a (very incomplete) list of various works of art that I feel share something with my vision, although the likeness in many cases may be less than obvious.
- Final Fantasy video games
- Girl Genius web comic
- Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind by Hayao Miyazaki (the comic rather than the anime)
- Dungeons & Dragons (yes, echoes of traditional dungeon crawl are still present)
- The TV series Firefly
- Pirates of the Caribbean movies
- James Cameron's Avatar has influenced my vision of the Peveha, alongside Tolkien's Lothlůrien
(A whole plethora of other works have of course inspired plot elements in my campaign, including such diverse elements as film noir, the music of Bal-Sagoth, or Doctor Who.)
The material on this page is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license. You are granted permission to distribute and modify material, as long as you credit me, Ben B. Bainton, as the original author and distribute it or any derivative works under a similar license.