Ravenloft: Prisoners of the Mist

Public (OOC) => Roleplay and Gameplay Resources => Ravenloft Setting => Topic started by: MAB77 on November 25, 2021, 10:01:38 PM

Title: Native Hazlani Role Play Guide
Post by: MAB77 on November 25, 2021, 10:01:38 PM
Native Hazlani Role Play Guide

Greetings Fellow Prisoners of the Mists,

With the introduction of the Church of the Lawgiver and Red Academy as official factions in Hazlan, this guide has been created to encourage more players to roleplay native Hazlani characters.

Disclaimer and Introduction

A reminder that this is merely a guide to understanding the background of playing a character from the domain of Hazlan. Generally, player characters are extraordinary examples of characters from a setting. To paraphrase from DMs of the past "This guide is just that; a guide. Our intention is not to tell someone that they must roleplay their Hazlani "this way." However, there is a setting, and there is a local culture with strong beliefs. The setting and the local culture will react in an -IC- manner to any native Hazlani who is perceived as behaving outside of their local culture's norms." With this in mind this guide will touch on the general outlook between the human ethnic races, Hazlik's apprentices (often referred to erroneously as "Red Wizards"), and a brief section on the small demihuman population in the realm.

The Mulan and the Rashemi

The human population of Hazlan is broken up into two ethnic groups, the ruling Mulan and the servile Rashemi. Generally the Mulan people are deeply proud and quite hard-edged with most raised within the Church of the Lawgiver. The Mulan are quite aware of the fact that the Rashemi outnumber them nine to one; this only feeds the Mulan's paranoia and obsession with protecting their place at the top of Hazlani society. The Rashemi are much more of a practical and gruff people, usually preferring actions to words. Years of submission under Hazlik's cruel eye have made both groups distrustful and suspicious of others. There are however two things both groups are equal in: the first being that they both devote all their efforts to pleasing Hazlik in fear of punishment for noncompliance, death or even worse a trip to "The Tables" where Hazlik and his apprentices perform their most gruesome experiments. The second is that both ethnic groups can become one of Hazlik's apprentices without prejudice; the Mulan do not understand nor agree with this "betrayal" of their superiority.

Things to consider as a Mulan

Things to consider as a Rashemi

Serfdom/Slavery in Hazlan

There has been changing, and at times contradicting, accounts over the years on the status of slavery in Hazlan. The official server stance is this:

:arrow: Serfdom is the closest form of slavery in effect in Hazlan, largely represented by the indentured servitude of the Rashemi to the Mulan.
:arrow: Nonhumans living on Mulan owned lands, usually halflings or gnomes, are also likely to be serfs to the Mulan and treated as badly (if not worse).
:arrow: Nonhumans are not hunted down on sight to be made slaves. They will however be mistreated, refused services, discouraged from entering Hazlan or mingling with other races, and (based on one's OCR) being chased away on sight.

The Rashemi are a poor and downtrodden folk, with nearly everything they work to produce taken to support their Mulan masters. The Governor's Council has divided the entire countryside of Hazlan between Mulan families, and each Rashemi must pay taxes to one of these governors. Of course, the Mulan own most of the land and resources in Hazlan, so Rashemi seeking to meet these exorbitant tax demands must usually find employment with the very Mulan who collects their taxes. Rashemi effectively become serfs, working the fields and tending the livestock of their Mulan overseers. Their labors are enough to offset their tax demands and provide them with enough additional funds to survive, but such labors also subject them to the Mulan's harsh whims. Serfs who are judged disobedient or incompetent are whipped and beaten liberally, sometimes to death. It is perfectly legal for a Mulan to kill a Rashemi in his employ if he can provide sufficient cause.

The Church of the Lawgiver and the Arcane

One of the interesting conflicts within Hazlan is the strict difference between the Church of the Lawgiver's dogma and Hazlik's policy on the arcane. The official stance of the Church of the Lawgiver in Nova Vaasa is that arcane magic is an agent of myttery and its practice punishable by death, which was the official stance in Hazlan for a quarter of a century. However, after the Great Upheaval, Hazlik claims to have received a divine revelation from the Lawgiver and now encourages all Hazlani humans to study the arcane, including the Rashemi. This position has been taken up by Hazlani clergy who now claim that the Lawgiver returned following the Great Upheaval and gave Hazlik a divine revelation that magic would be crucial to protect the faithful in the future, though only Hazlik knows the specific nature of that revelation. This divergence is a point of contention between the Hazlani and Vaasi clergy to the lawgiver. While most Mulan were pleasantly surprised by this chance of stance on the practice of arcane magic, a few are suspicious of it, though none would dare say so openly. Hazlani are overwhelmingly religious; whilst Church of the Lawgiver membership is not mandatory, it is strongly and often forcefully encouraged. Despite this, some Rashemi secretly follow other faiths, such as Hala. When playing a Hazlani character it is essential to consider their views on faith and the practice of arcane magic as that interplay is key to the realm as a whole.

The Forfarian

Forfarmax is a Forfarian hamlet, but is actually within the borders of Hazlan. It was founded in 688 BC by Hoder MacGranin who stumbled through the Mists and led his settlers to discover the ancient Castle Forfarmax of their ancient relatives in Forlorn. The anarchic nature of Forlorn and the haunted nature of Castle Forfarmax led Hoder and his followers to settle across the border and establish the hamlet of Forfarmax. They have little in common with the Hazlani and do not participate in Hazlan's culture. They live very remotely, their concerns focused on the land of Forlorn.

The Nonhuman population

Unlike most of the Core, Hazlan has a small but significant nonhuman population in the form of Gnomes (3% of the population) and Halflings (4% of the population). Gnomes are often taken in as jesters or tutors for Mulan families. They are taken as tutors because it is deemed a menial task beneath the Mulan, and the Rashemi are illiterate. They also take tutors from other lands. Beyond that, both races are actively discouraged from mingling with their human "betters." Since the return of arcane practice caliban births have begun to rise in frequency, though they are no more tolerated than in other parts of the Core.

Frequently Asked Questions

- Why are Red Academy graduates not called Red Wizards?
The Red Academy functions differently than the Red Wizards of Thay. Hazlik founded and shaped his academy to fulfill his own unfathomable goals, not to recreate the quarrelsome organization of his homeland. More importantly, the land of Hazlan is not a copy of Thay. They may share some elements but they remain distinctly different. To the people of Hazlan, there is only one Red Wizard and that is Lord Hazlik himself. The origin of that title is unknown to all, but is widely believed to be tied to their lord's reputation. They would not use that title to designate anyone else.

- What happened to the title Zulkir?
The term Zulkir has been replaced by the term Müdür, which in Turkish means director/manager. The former term represents a ruling class of wizards in Thay, which Hazlik does not want to recreate fully here since he's the only lord in Hazlan. The role of Zulkir is thus divided between Vrayloks and Müdür in Hazlan, though Red Academy Mulan graduates tend to become Vrayloks and some of them may join Hazlik's council of governors. Long-term, it's possible that the ruling class of Hazlan will be comprised mostly of wizards, much like in Thay, but they would still bow to the only Red Wizard, Lord Hazlik.

- Why are they called Rashemi instead of Rashemani?
The term Rashemi is the one used in the first three iterations of the Ravenloft campaign setting. Arthaus, the licensed publisher of the 3rd edition D&D Ravenloft, used the term Rashemani instead due to copyright issues. Our module reconciles the lore of 3rd edition Ravenloft with that of previous editions. Since Hazlan is loosely based on the Faêrunian land of Thay, which is populated by Mulan and Rashemi, it was decided to revert back to the original spelling.

- Are the Church of Bane and the Church of the Lawgiver the same thing?
Not quite. These are two different churches, from two different worlds, though dedicated to the same deity, despite significant differences in their respective practices and beliefs. In former editions of Ravenloft, the Church of Bane was clearly mentioned as the state religion in both Nova Vaasa and Hazlan. However, copyright issues prevented the publisher Arthaus from using the name Bane for 3rd edition Ravenloft and thus renamed him the Lawgiver to avoid legal complications. They nonetheless retained the core precepts of the Church of Bane on the Demiplane of Dread: that he is the highest of all gods, that those who rule do so through his divine providence, and that he punishes most severely all who would attempt to reach above their station. As such, it remains the same faith as in previous editions. Whilst its tenets differ from those of the Faêrunian worship of Bane, it remains an ideal of tyranny and the differences can be explained through the theological shift which affects all religions after a significant period of time on the Demiplane of Dread. From an in-character perspective, whether or not Bane and the Lawgiver are the same deity is a philosophical debate left for characters to ponder. The Church of the Lawgiver considers Faêrunian priests of Bane as highly unorthodox if not borderline heretics, but recognizes they make excellent converts when they can reform their "misguided" ways.

- Why can't we use Hazlan lore from the 5th edition Ravenloft setting?
5th edition Ravenloft discarded most of the lore and game mechanics from previous editions. It is in effect a vastly different setting with its own rules and lore that are difficult to reconcile with our own continuity. Hazlan lore from previous editions is also significantly more detailed. A decision was made to build upon the existing lore and to ignore that of 5th edition.

Helpful and Related Links

 :arrow: Hazlan Native PC Overview (https://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=2020.msg50750#msg50750)
 :arrow: Forfarian Native PC Overview (https://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=2020.msg50748#msg50748)
 :arrow: Church of the Lawgiver (faction entry) (https://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=6519.msg709465#msg709465)
 :arrow: Church of the Lawgiver Roleplay Resources (https://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=12803.0)
 :arrow: The Red Academy (faction entry) (https://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=17133.msg604087#msg604087)

Sources & Further Reading

Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume I - pp41-61; Ravenloft Third Edition - pp15,18,20,110,121-123; Secrets of the Dread Realms - pp7,26-27; Domains of Dread - pp67-68; Ravenloft Campaign Setting: Domains and Denizens - p17; Tales of Ravenloft: The Glass Man - pp265-280; Realm of Terror - pp72-73.