Author Topic: Mystara  (Read 29545 times)

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Red Steel - Atlas of the Savage Coast pt. 9
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2012, 08:39:42 PM »
Shazak, Ator, and Cay

The western end of the Savage Coast is home to three races of lizard kin: shazaks in the Kingdom of Shazak, gurrash in the Kingdom of Ator, and caymas in the Kingdom of Cay. Each of the races was created by the mages of Herath, who intended them as servants and slave-warriors, but all three proved unsuitable and were released into the Bayou or nearby areas. Since that time, the lizard kin have struggled upward to varying levels of civilization.

The Kingdom of Shazak

The oldest of the three races of lizard kin, shazaks are very similar to the lizard men described in the Monster Manual. Ancient Herathian records indicate that these lizard men existed in the region at least 3,000 years ago, when they were servants and slaves to the human and elven mages who founded Herath while the araneas were disappearing from the region.

The mages later performed experiments to improve the primitive lizard kin. The results were less than satisfactory, and the Herathians eventually abandoned them in the Bayou.

Few of those first lizard kin survived, but those who did grew tough and cunning. They gathered under the leadership of a warrior named Shaz, eventually taking her name as their own ("shazak" means "child of Shaz"). With perseverance and some faith in the Immortals (especially Ka), the early shazaks became more advanced. Later lizard kin were adopted into the tribes of shazaks, and the tribes grew stronger as the toughness of the swamp dwellers was combined with the learning of those who had lived in Herathian cities.

Centuries later, the shazaks were forced to leave the Bayou. The gurrash, another abandoned Herathian experiment, began to displace them. The shazaks adapted to the forests north of Herath, which was a positive factor in their evolution as a species. No longer confined to the wetlands of the Bayou, they developed primitive art forms and a written language.

It is because of the gurrash that the shazak tribes eventually united behind a single war leader almost 250 years ago. Their leader is known as the Shaz, honoring the race's ancient guide. The role of Shaz is now hereditary, much like a king in human society. A Shaz usually has at least one Wokan and one Shaman acting as advisers.

Herath has long been a quiet ally of Shazak because the shazaks form a buffer state on Herath's northern border, keeping the goblinoids and rakastas away. Some caravans even travel all the way to Ah'roog to trade with the shazaks. The Herathian traders then return with pelts, pottery, feathers, rare woods, bat guano (a great fertilizer), live monsters, and such. Some nobles of Herath also hire shazaks as mercenaries. While not as ferocious as gurrash, shazaks are more dependable. Herathians have traditionally used them as expendable front-line troops in times of war. Though Herath is currently at peace with Bellayne, this policy intensified the conflict between Shazak and Bellayne over the forested area between Ah'roog and Bellayne's Marches of Wyndham.

Rakastan war parties have been known to raid into Shazak as far as the battle site called the Rakasta Grave. During the past fifty years, several battles have taken place in that vicinity, within as little as a mile of each other. The shazaks have never been able to really threaten Bellayne's border because of the ominous presence of the hated gurrash to the west. Gurrash incursions into Shazak are as common as they are savage.

In the past century, shazaks have learned to domesticate huge bats found in the caverns under the hills of T'lak between the Shady and Gatorbone Rivers. One or two bats can usually be found in each village, with more in Ah'roog. Shazak has a corps of Beast Rider "knights" who use these huge bats, which are also sometimes used as mounts by important Shamans and Wokani or by the Shaz.

The Kingdom of Ator


The gurrash were a dismal failure on the part of Herathian wizards, at least as far as the wizards were concerned. It was hoped that a cross between shazaks and alligators would produce a tougher warrior race to fill the ranks of Herath's armies. This mix resulted in the creation of the gurrash. The gurrash turned out to be very tough, very tall, and quite bloodthirsty, while remaining very crude and totally unruly. Early specimens had a tendency to turn against Herathian human troops. They were also absolutely incompatible with shazak troops, whom they viewed as tasty food.

A few attempts at developing a more controllable breed took place, but a large batch of the creatures escaped from the laboratories, forming an uprising and wreaking havoc among the Herathians. After this bloody episode, the surviving gurrash fled into the Bayou despite Herath's frantic efforts to eradicate the whole species. Herathian rulers hired bounty hunters to rid their area of the frightening gurrash threat. It made bounty hunting a booming business for a few decades, but the gurrash quickly outbred the hunters, causing the hunt to become increasingly perilous.

Once the bounty hunters had been discouraged from preying upon them, the gurrash quickly turned against the shazaks, who populated the Bayou at that time. Within a century, shazaks had all but abandoned the Bayou. Fortunately for the shazaks, the gurrash stopped their territorial expansion at the edges of the Bayou, preferring to remain in the murky waters of the wetlands. Since then, the gurrash population has stabilized. Diseases, parasites (many introduced by Herathians), and limited food cause weaker hatchlings to perish.

Occasionally, when the number of gurrash increases beyond what the Bayou's ecology can sustain, the creatures go on a massive rampage into one of their neighbors' territories. Gurrash Shamans usually incite these raids on behalf of their patron Immortal, Goron. The raids are now sacred ritual in which a warrior supposedly gains Goron's favor by spilling the blood of foes in the most savage ways imaginable. Bringing back food is of course useful to the community, but the Shamans secretly understand that the true goal is to limit the gurrash population lest they learn to feed upon one another.

Gurrash monarchs establish themselves by savagery and cruelty. Their rule is based on fear, brutality, and support of the Shamans. A gurrash who equals or bests the current ruler in savagery during a raid as attested to by at least three Shamans can challenge the current ruler. A challenger who defeats the current ruler establishes a new hereditary dynasty (until another challenger comes up). This is what recently happened when Ator defeated King Osh III. She killed the aging king and crowned herself Queen Ator I, thus supplanting the Oshite dynasty with her own Atorite dynasty. She then renamed the nation after herself. She has ruled for 25 years. Should she die unchallenged or undefeated, one of her heirs would become King or Queen Ator II.

Some trading does occur between the gurrash and their mysterious neighbors of the Wallaroo Grasslands. A gurrash Shaman once noticed that if he left something at the southwestern edge of the swamp, the next day something else might be there, usually something of use. After a century, gurrash have come to believe that Goron takes these goods and repays them with something else.

Of course, this is just myth. In fact, wallaras (chameleon men) inhabit these grasslands and conduct the trade. The first "trade" was accidental; when a wallara found a gurrash's huge stone axe, he was so surprised that he left his backpack on the site and walked back to camp with his discovery. Over the years, wallaras found out that if they left something of value after picking up a gurrash item, soon more gurrash objects would be found there. It has led to a regular trade with the unwitting gurrash, and spots have become known for the kinds of items expected there. In some areas food is traded, while in others it could be weapons, shells, or ornamental stones.

The Kingdom of Cay

The last creation of the Herathians was nearly a success. Abandoning attempts to create gigantic and deadly servants, Herathian wizards produced the small caymas. They were bred to become slaves and builders, smart enough to understand construction plans, agile and quick enough to do the job well and without delay, yet small enough to make them weaker than their guards.

The plan almost worked, but the caymas were terribly pretentious and not as bright as expected. Their pride got in the way when a construction flaw needed correcting or when the caymas simply disagreed with the architects. Endless bickering ensued between caymas and their Herathian masters. In the end, caymas deliberately allowed flaws to remain in the Herathian monuments without alerting the architects. Exasperated by a rash of catastrophes, Herathians gave up on all lizard kin experiments and dumped the caymas north of the Bayou.

The tastes of modern caymas are unusual. Never bred to become architects, the caymas still attempt to build things to prove themselves. They lack understanding of sound architecture and engineering, leading them to erect such dubious structures as the Great Citadel of Cay. While these constructions get in the way of raiding gurrash, they would not last long against the experienced military of Bellayne or Herath. However, that is unimportant to the caymas, who are still very proud of their accomplishments.

The people of Cay copied the social structure of other kingdoms and established their own monarchy. Queen Ssa'a presently rules and has been behind the cayma expansion into the open lands north of Cay. The caymas have learned a very primitive way of raising herds of wild aurochs. For herding, they have domesticated small lizards, which they harness to tiny war chariots. Caymas trade some of their auroch meat with the shazaks. They also trade a little cinnabryl from a mine near Hwezzah. Cayma forging and metalworking is quite primitive, but they are learning.

The gurrash never raid or even dare venture into the grasslands, for they believe the region to be Goron's home, taboo to all upon pain of death. The wallaras recognize this taboo and use their camouflage ability to preserve the gurrash beliefs. This provides them with some wealth and a precious immunity against the gurrash's fearsome raids.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:26:07 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Red Steel - Atlas of the Savage Coast pt. 10
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2012, 08:57:18 PM »
Herath

Herath is known by most people as the Kingdom of Mages, and rightly so; roughly three-quarters of its population are wizards. The country has other nicknames as well: the Lands of the Great Magus (because its ruler is a powerful sorcerer) and the Land of Equality (because all races are truly equal there and people are measured only by their magical prowess).

The nation of Herath accepts few visitors from outside its borders, but people who have traveled there report a very egalitarian society. Gender is not a status issue in Herath. Neither does race seem to be a status issue. In Herath, lupins, rakastas, shazaks, humans, and others all live in apparent harmony. Though members of a particular family are almost always of the same apparent race, communities mix race freely; rakastas have no subculture, for example.

Originally inhabited by monstrous, intelligent spiders known as aranea, Herath is now inhabited by human and demihuman wizards. Herathians have slowly established a magocracy over the region of modern Herath. Four domains arose, each ruled by a powerful wizard, who in turn swore allegiance to the "Great Magus in the Forest." Today, the overall realm stretches from the western borders of Bellayne to the northern edge of the Dark Jungle on the Orc's Head Peninsula and reaches an average of 140 miles inland from its shore on the Western Sea.

The people of Herath are accustomed to thinking of their ruler as a quiet and reclusive wizard who stays in his tower at the heart of the dark Forest of the Magus. They have had no reason to complain about their treatment. On occasion, the Great Magus visits, of course the towns and courts of his vassals. Most of Herath's dealings with visiting dignitaries from other nations are done through envoys of the Crown or vassal nobles. So far, no monarch abroad has had reason to suspect anything unusual in Herath at least nothing that is not in keeping with a magocracy. Further, the Forest of the Magus is off limits to all uninvited people. Of course, none of the local folk would enter the forest anyway since it is rumored to be haunted and infested with monsters (a perfect place for wizards).

Herath maintains peace with its neighbors because war would simply be too costly. The Great Magus is far more interested in political intrigue and magical influence than in open warfare. He maintains a delicate balance among his nation's neighbors. The presence of Terra Leãoça, a small Vilaverdan colony, is useful to Herath since the colony is a pain in Bellayne's flank. The Magus quietly supports the colony, in exchange for which Herathian merchant ships can sail through its territorial waters without interference.

The Orc's Head Peninsula

The Orc's Head Peninsula is a vast area that is home to a number of interesting countries and peoples. A brief overview of the most important ones follows. The manscorpions, enduks, and wallaras are all part of the background of the Red Curse; special attention should be paid to them.

The Wallaras

The arid, grassy outback of Wallara is the homeland of the primitive wallaras, who may be among the eldest races on Mystara. Also known as chameleon men, these tall, spindly beings have lived on the northern coast of the Orc's Head Peninsula for many centuries. The wallaras of Wallara are different from those of other lands, being slightly less primitive. Once a proud and wise race, the wallaras were reduced to their current primitive state through the action of the araneas.

Wallaras

Related to dragons and once the companions of the Immortals, the wallaras degenerated into a more primitive society due to a Herathian spell gone awry. Today, they have struggled back from a nomadic hunter-gatherer existence and have begun to relearn from the past. Many wallaras have settled in small villages, but most now reside in the ancient city of Risilvar, where clues to their past abound.

Appearance: Wallaras are humanoids of many colors whose 7-foot height is emphasized by their extremely slender build. They have spindly arms and legs and walk with a gangling gait that appears awkward to other races. Their skin is slightly scaly with multicoloured mottled red tiger stripes, interrupted by blue, yellow, green, orange, brown, black, and white spotting. Hair is found only on their heads and may be a single color or as mottled and colorful as their skins. They wear loincloths or simple shifts, usually carry net or kangaroo bags with their personal necessities, and occasionally don jewellery.

Personality: The wallaras are a wise people who value the land and their place in it. They are physically active, sometimes walking all day while hunting or gathering food. They are also meditative and spiritual, honoring their Immortal patrons through dance and song. Wallaras can be quite serious but most of them have a humorous side as well, laughing at themselves as easily as at their fellows. Level-headed and practical though they may be, wallaras can be very superstitious, following rituals and customs that seem nonsensical to outsiders.

Wallaras are usually good, but quite a few are neutral. A very few of them are evil. Because most wallaras follow tribal customs and taboos, lawful alignments predominate.

Lifestyle: Wallaras can be nomadic hunter-gatherers, settled villagers who raise crops in addition to hunting, or residents of the ancient city of Risilvar. The latter study the old paintings and try to piece together clues from their past in addition to their other pursuits. Each village has a population of 20 to 80 wallaras led by a headman chosen for his wisdom. He rules along with a council of elders.

All wallara settlements have a magical site known as a tookoo. These special caves, grottos, singular rocks or ancient trees radiate magic and provide the wallaras with a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls.

Risilvar supports over 9,000 wallaras who live in the remains of buildings and caves composing the ancient city. They are ruled by Bakaloo Sunskin, the overchief of all wallaras. There are no female wallaras; new generations are budded from the cast-off skins of elder wallaras and reach maturity in just eight weeks. Often several generations of wallaras from a particular line will live close together and make up a family grouping.

In addition to food gathering, hunting, and fishing, wallaras make their own tools, weapons, and clothing. Some carve or paint stones, and many are honored for their storytelling abilities. Those who live in Risilvar have taken their turn at mining at one time or another. All wallara are expert trackers and can survive in the wilderness near their homes for weeks, even if abandoned with no food or water.

Each tribe claims kinship with either an animal or a plant, which they believe guards them and grants them wisdom. They believe that their ancestors walked the earth along with the Immortals, but when evil times came, some of them grew afraid and changed themselves into animals, birds, rocks, or plants to escape destruction. Most wallara see it as their duty to care for their changed brethren who no longer walk in the original shape the Immortals gave them.

Wallaras revere their elders, and leaders are chosen for their wisdom, proven ability and adherence to wallaran customs. Those who disobey the elders and chosen leaders of their tribes bring evil down upon all in the form of a punishing spirit known as the kurdaitcha man. This terrifying "bogeyman" kills those responsible for failures and may wreak havoc until it is appeased and sent back to the nightmare lands.

Land is very important to the wallaras, but not in the sense of ownership. What is provided by the spirits is to be shared by all and no single person can own the land. Furthermore, though some tribes of wallaras are nomadic, they stay within certain defined territories in their wanderings because those lands are believed to house the spirits of their own changed kin and the ancestors from whom they sprang. Individual wallaras, however, sometimes succumb to a form of wanderlust known as a walkabout. Those on walkabout travel wherever their fancy takes them.

Possessions are few and considered a necessary burden, for even settled villages uproot every few years and move to more fertile ground. For this reason, homes are not built to last. Most are crude bark shelters or huts known as wurlies.

Wallaras have a great sense of fun and fair play. They enjoy games of all sorts, particularly races and war games that show off their weapons, skills, and agility. Even their feuds and wars are conducted like games. When a disagreement arises between two tribes or villages, they meet to decide the issue, choose a certain number of people to fight, and provide them all with the same kinds and numbers of weapons to be used. Then everyone else forms a circle around the combatants to watch their adeptness.

Strict rules are followed in war. Each side begins standing behind a line drawn in the sand. Each warrior receives six of each type of weapon to be used. From behind the lines an individual warrior throws a spear at his counterpart, who tries to deflect it with a shield. After all the spears have been thrown once, the warriors throw boomerangs at one another. These are meant to be jumped over by the warrior on the other side. If a wallara actually throws the boomerang to harm or kill, all present set upon him for his unfair behavior.

When all the boomerangs have been thrown, the warriors may cross the lines and engage in hand-to-hand combat with their nulla-nullas (war clubs). As in the previous weapon matches, each club may be used only once. Warriors must drop the club after one swing whether they land a blow or not. Once all the weapons have been used or whenever anyone is seriously hurt the war is stopped. Whichever side is in better shape is declared the winner and the dispute is settled in their favor. The wounded are now cared for, and everyone joins in a corroboree (a celebration that includes dancing, singing, and storytelling).

Not all of their practices are so light-hearted. There are strict procedures for entering a village or city of the wallara. Strangers are expected to announce their presence by clapping two boomerangs together or moving downwind and carrying a lit branch from an aromatic tree or bush. Once the strangers have been noticed, they are to sit within plain sight of those in the village, but far enough away to make attack difficult, and wait for a delegation to be sent out to meet them.

It is also considered very bad manners and gravely insulting for visitors to approach or enter the village smiling. Since visitors have no way of knowing if illness, injury, or some other difficulty has befallen the village, they should keep a grave expression until they learn that all is well. To do otherwise shows both disrespect and a lack of caring for those who would offer hospitality. Once it is clear that everything is well, smiles and greetings may be exchanged.

Three other matters are considered very serious by the wallaras. First, the dance steps, chants, and sacred objects used in their rituals must be shown respect by all present; these may not be seen by the uninitiated. All steps and rites must be performed correctly.

Secondly, pointed sticks or bones are items used in laying curses; they engender great fear and hostility. Wizards with wands should take particular care not to point them toward wallaras.

Finally, the wallaras have a superstitious dread of other beings' shadows. From the earliest age, young wallaras are taught to stoop or to stand far enough away from someone to keep their shadows from falling on anyone else. Most consider it a harbinger of bad luck to come and believe that those who carelessly let their shadows cover another person deserve punishment.

Flora and Fauna

The land of Wallara lies to the south of Trident Bay, which is known to the wallaras as the Great Billabong. White sand beaches along the shore give rise to dunes and to grasslands where most of the wallaras' small villages are located. Though Wallara boasts several beautiful and surprising geological features, most of its terrain consists of a long, temperate plain covered with tall grasses and small clumps of forest. At intervals, the gnarled branches of a lone baobab or gum tree offers shade in the middle of the outback.

For the most part, the plains area is dry, with small streams, seasonal rivers, and a few ponds and watering holes providing most of the accessible water. During dry seasons streams disappear, rivers become trickles, and smaller ponds dry up. No large rivers flow through Wallara itself, though the Xingá River forms part of Wallara's western border. The indigenous animals and wallaras know how to locate many underground sources of water, and several artesian wells, available for all, have been marked across the grasslands.

In rainy times, the grassland comes alive with dozens of varieties of wildflowers. Spreading colorful carpets across the face of the outback, they attract small animals and insects to the area in droves. Streams fill out. Ponds overflow their banks, and gullies among the few rocky hills become access ways for seasonal brooks and tiny waterfalls.

Farther inland lies a light woodland, primarily of eucalyptus trees, with mountain ash, acacias, mosses, and ferns proliferating where the woods grow more dense. Known as the Kookaroo Forest, these woodlands border the Forbidden Highlands. Farther east, the forest becomes more dense and is called the Woods of Mullawong.

Though this stark land might seem to be desolate and all but uninhabited, several types of animals and birds make Wallara their home. Noisy flocks of galahs (pink and grey parrots) and budgerigars (brightly colored small parrots) flit through the grasslands, gathering at watering holes. Crocodiles lurk beneath the surface of the billabongs, awaiting the unwary. Brightly colored cockatoos abound in the forested areas, while game birds live in the grasslands alongside tiny insect eaters. Snakes, shingleback lizards, and scorpions bask in the fierce sun. Kangaroos leap through the grasslands and forests. Small rodents swarm through the grasslands, especially during rainy seasons. The most feared predators of the outback are dingoes, the wild dogs that form vicious packs and attack travelers and even small villages.

The Forbidden Highlands are mostly sandstone, laced with the forgotten caves of the ancient wallaras. The red sandstone of the highlands is striated with gold, orange, black, and brown, creating an ever changing panorama of round domed hills and jagged, upthrust rock formations. The mountainous expanses thrust up from the forests below or rise in stark splendour from the cracked, rocky desert that forms the foothills.

Some vegetation struggles to grow in the rocky hills of the highlands including patches of porcupine grass, saltbushes, and rare, stunted trees. These take advantage of the fresh water that occasionally flows close enough to the surface to feed the plants' roots. The source of the Forbidden River, the main provider of water in the highlands, lies in salted grounds. Its muddy, brackish water remains inadequate for consumption.

A few creatures survive in the water-starved highlands by adapting to the arid conditions and lack of greenery. Lizards, snakes, insects, birds, and small rodents gather wherever food is available. Most lair underground or in the tangled foliage of dwarf bushes or trees, emerging as the afternoon sun begins its descent.

The Lost City of Risilvar

The lifeless landscape of tortured sandstone formations and crazed, broken wastelands that are the Forbidden Highlands have long served as a holy ground for the wallaras. This is the setting of the ancient lost city of Risilvar. Located above the Kookaroo Forest and north of the Forbidden River, Risilvar was built by the ancient wallaras as a link between them and their Immortal patrons.

Taking advantage of a natural network of caverns, the ancient wallaras built much of their city below ground. Though they linked several central caves together via easily traversed tunnels, most outlying caverns were left separate to provide private quarters or meditation areas. Many wallaras believe that Risilvar once served as the place where their ancestors could meet and walk with the Immortals. They theorize that the city was actually more like a great temple, where only Mendoo dwelled.

Many of these caverns contain quartz and opal. Unlike the minerals found in the nearby mines, these have never been harvested, nor will they ever be. They emerge from the surface of the cave wall and have been polished to bring out their beauty. The wallaras believe that they are the thoughts of the Immortals given solid form and, as such, are not only sacred but serve as foci for Mendoo meditations. As light is brought into the caverns where they grow, the polished crystals and gems glitter and flash.

Where these are not in evidence, ochre-colored paints were used to decorate the walls with such eclectic artwork as the outlines of dozens of hands and elongated figures like wallaras with rays emanating from their heads and hands. Whether these are depictions of their Immortal patrons clothed in wallara form, drawings of ancient, wise leaders, depictions of spirit creatures, or pure fancy, no one now knows.

As in their villages, some cave complexes house several generations of wallaras, living as an extended family, with the elders teaching the youth. Unlike in the villages, however, a great many Mendoo dwell in Risilvar.

In ancient days, the small city of Risilvar served as a place of worship and learning. The ancients painted runes and symbols in their caves and homes that depicted stories of spirits, sky heroes, and Immortals. They complemented the stones already in the caves by decorating with quartz shards, gold nuggets, and polished opal, which they uncovered in the mines at Tooburra and Wirrawa.

Lost along with the wallaras' memories, the city of Risilvar was rediscovered by medicine men on walkabout and today serves as a hallowed place where all the tribes may visit. Indeed, the largest tookoo or sacred place of the wallaras can be found in Risilvar. It is a glittering upthrust rock in a quiet cavern where pure, cool water bubbles up around it. Bakaloo ("Sunskin"), leader of the wallaras, rules from the city and serves as the chief Mendoo for his people. Thousands of other wallaras have taken up residence in the city as the first step to reclaiming and relearning the wisdom from their past.

The Phanatons

The thickly forested land of Jibarú is home to the monkey-like phanatons. These small, furred humanoids live along the Savage Coast, especially the territory around Jibarú, and protect the wilds they inhabit.

Phanatons

Phanatons have long inhabited the Savage Coast and other areas, but only within the last few centuries have they achieved any measure of civilization-gathering into tribes, using tools, and so forth. The phanatons of Jibarú have formed a tribal confederation, developed religion and art, started using tools, and made initial steps toward a system of laws.

Appearance: Phanatons are furred humanoids about three feet tall. Looking very much like monkeys, phanatons have slender bodies, humanoid hands, dexterous toes, and four-foot-long prehensile tails strong enough to support their body weight. Membranes of skin stretch from arm to leg, and are used to glide. The creatures' fur has markings like those of a raccoon: brownish grey fur with a black "mask" around the eyes and a ringed tail. Phanatons have eyes of bright green, fiery red, or shiny yellow. They almost never wear clothing, but might wear jewellery of wooden beads.

Personality: These spiritual folk have a great love of nature. Though normally peaceful, they strive to protect their forest homes and can fight well when pressed.

Phanatons lead a relatively harsh existence, so they tend to be rather serious. Still, they take joy from life; not jokers or boisterous carousers, they have a quiet sense of humor. Phanatons are cautious and not prone to panic, nor are they easily awed by shows of power.

They tend to be good or neutral and are rarely evil. Most are independent, so chaotic alignments are more common among them than lawful ones.

Lifestyle: Phanatons are settled hunter-gatherers. They live in small tribal villages, groups of family huts on platforms high in the trees. Each village has a chief who meets periodically with other chiefs to discuss policy. Because the village of Itucuá is the oldest and largest in the land of Jibarú, its chief is considered first among equals; he settles disputes among other chiefs.

Being careful not to deplete their supply, phanatons gather fruits and roots from the area around their villages. They have made only minor attempts at agriculture, sometimes guarding a favored tree or planting a small vegetable patch. They trap more often than they hunt, with fish and small birds their most common source of meat, and giant spiders a favored delicacy.

Gathering food is the most common task of phanatons, but religion, learning, and a few crafts are also vital parts of phanaton culture. Most phanatons tend to do things for themselves and their families, but they do cooperate on such major projects as building and village defense.

The family is very important to phanatons, and two or three generations often share the same living quarters. Elders are greatly respected, and the young are cared for and taught by the whole family.

They have their own language. In addition to human-type sounds, the language uses hoots, chatters, and clicks.

Phanatons are wary of most other races, because their forests have often been harmed by them. The exception are the wallaras, whom the phanatons generally like. They tend to distrust wizards and Herathians of any race as Herath has an aggressive policy against phanatons -- for no reason the forest-dwellers can fathom. Once past initial reactions, phanatons generally like elves, especially those from Robrenn, but dislike gurrash; all are dealt with as individuals.

Equipment: Phanatons do not make metal weapons, preferring wood and stone. Though they are technologically primitive, phanatons are not awed by technology; they may be unfamiliar with some of its aspects but are willing to learn about it, if unwilling to use it.

Flora and Fauna

Jibarú lies inland, to the south of Trident Bay. Its eastern border abuts Wallara; to the south it edges the Forbidden Highlands and the kingdom of Nimmur, and to the west, its lofty forests are halted by desolate unclaimed territories.

In the northernmost area, the land is quite similar to that of Wallara. No phanatons make their homes here, though a few hunting bands stalk the kangaroo and emu that wander in from Wallara as well as their native boars and roe deer. They trap chipmunks, rabbits and small birds. Foxes, squirrels, badgers and small wild cats share scrub areas with lizards, butterflies, bees, colorful orioles, woodpeckers, red birds, crows, and owls. Smooth snakes and insect-eating bats appear at night.

The portions of this area fed by the Xingá and Jururú Rivers form wetlands that are home to frogs, turtles, and otters. Ducks, grebes, kingfishers, and reed warblers all make their homes in the reeds along the rivers' banks. Perch, sticklebacks, and piranhas live in the rivers, and dragonflies, mosquitoes, and gnats buzz above the waters. Green, yellow, and brown reeds line the riverbanks, broken by grassy embankments and the few hemlock and weeping willow trees that lean out over the water. Hunters often come to the wetlands to provide variety to their catch.

Most of Jibarú is covered by forest of various types of trees. The mixture includes the more arid varieties found along the border with Wallara, the many types of deciduous trees that comprise the bulk of the country's forested area, and others that tolerate the higher elevations near the Forbidden Highlands. Unlike its neighbor to the east, Jibarú is well-watered, with the Xingá River in the eastern portion of the land, and the piranha-infested Jururú River in the west.

At ground level, the forest is strewn with old leaves and sticks, debris left over from previous falls. This carpet of dry tinder makes it doubly difficult to move silently at ground level. Scattered through this carpet, ferns, flowering bushes, and creepers take advantage of the dappled sunlight that pours down through the branches. Game trails crisscross the area giving evidence of the small bears, porcupines, wolves, and deer found within. Raccoons, squirrels, and birds of all sorts live side by side with the larger animals. Streams and rocky rivulets cut through forest, developing into deep pools, trickling down rock faces, and occasionally pouring down from elevated heights as thin, sparkling waterfalls. Because of the heavy tree cover, rain is frequent and early morning ground mists are quite common. Though it is not hot enough to be tropical, the area is a temperate rainforest.

Mimosa, redbud, dogwood, magnolia, crab apple, and flowering cherry all provide colour, along with the low, shrubby rhododendron. Nuts can be gathered from the hickory, pecan, and black walnut trees, while fig, apple, cherry, and the occasional plum and peach trees provide abundant fruit. In the hills near the Forbidden Highlands, evergreens such as spruce, pine, and fir mingle with the deciduous trees, although the forest itself is less dense in that area. Dozens of varieties makeup the bulk of Jibarú's forest. White birch, oak, beech, ash, alder, and maple are found in profusion, with the mighty oaks serving as "home" trees for phanaton villages more often than not.

Phanaton villages and outposts dot the landscape, though little evidence of them exists at ground level. The small tribal villages consist of groups of family huts built on platforms high in the trees. Phanaton druids persuade the trees to intertwine their limbs so as to provide support for the platforms and huts and train the leaves to help shield sight of the villages from prying eyes. Vine bridges strung among the branches give access from one area to another, though the phanatons' gliding ability makes use of them more as a matter of taste or convenience than necessity. Consequently, many are not repaired regularly. In any case, heavier beings should only trust their weight to the largest of these flimsy crossways.

The City of Itucuá

Itucuá, the capital of Jibarú, is situated in a huge grove of giant oak trees in a bend of the Xingá River. Hundreds of platforms on several different levels are connected by a network of vine bridges and swinging vines. Most platforms have vines or rope ladders that can be dropped to lower levels or to the ground at need. Many of the sturdy wooden platforms hold large huts, though some appear to be mere way-stations among the bridges.

Some are single huts, housing only one phanaton. Many are large huts capable of supporting whole families. Usually the larger huts among the latter are those of the original family. The smaller ones are for sons or daughters and their spouses and children. Many are guest quarters. A few serve as schoolrooms where younger phanatons can learn various crafts and skills. Though families are very close-knit, all the adult phanatons of a village take some interest in and responsibility for teaching the children and seeing to it that they get in no trouble and come to no harm.

Phanatons come and go in dizzying groups walking, gliding, sliding, and climbing among the levels of the city. As one group leaves on patrol, another arrives fresh from a successful hunt. Even some of the busy spider-breeding pens are visible in Itucuá and form a sort of suburb on the eastern side of the city. There, dozens of large and giant spiders are kept as breeding stock and poison reserves. They are well cared for and spared from becoming the main dish (except on certain high feast days). Phanaton children are taught quite early how to feed and care for the spiders. Over time, they learn spider-wrangling, and may eventually be included in raiding parties into Herath in search of new breeding stock.

The "palace" is notably larger than any other platform, once it can be spotted (a difficult proposition at ground level due to its camouflage). Both the platform and the interconnected huts comprising the palace have been constructed of variegated wood and stained with various colors to blend in with the natural foliage of the giant oak. An ingenious series of vines with wooden buckets has been installed in various parts of the city so that clean water may be hauled up from streams below or harvested as drippings from the giant leaves.

The Manscorpions

The fertile kingdom of Nimmur, once home to the noble enduks, is inhabited by the brutal manscorpions, who treacherously usurped the Kingdom of Nimmur centuries ago.

Manscorpions

Present day Nimmurians are manscorpions who usurped the land from its previous occupants, a race of winged minotaurs (enduks). The current Nimmurians are vicious, ruthless, conniving creatures filled with hatred. Pity and remorse are unknown to them. They crave the sun but they also fear it, for, due to Ixion's curse, the sun incinerates them if they are not protected from it. Ruled by an overking but split into several dominions or city-states, the manscorpions are in constant strife for personal and regional power.

Appearance: Manscorpions have a human torso and a bony-plated, arachnoid body with eight legs. Their spines stretch out to form a long tail with a wicked stinger on the end of it. Their hands have two thick fingers and a long thumb, giving them the appearance of a scorpion's claws. Though bald, they wear elaborate wigs of shoulder-length dark hair and beards (for the males). These are styled into elaborate, curled rows. The wigs are easily kept coiffured and were based upon the styles popular with the enduks.

They used to be relatively dark skinned, with sandy-colored tails and lower bodies, but their long tenure underground and the curse imposed upon them by Ixion has turned them horribly translucent, so that their black hearts, ichor, and internal organs now show through in a repulsive vision of nature gone awry. This is not usually apparent to other races because the Nimmurians cover their bodies with a thick makeup to protect themselves from the lethal effect of the sun. Makeup ranges from brown for the lower castes, to red for warriors, and gold with embellishments for the nobility. Priests usually cover their entire bodies with silver runes over black makeup, without which they couldn't cast spells under the sun. When outside, all manscorpions wear masks featuring monstrous grimaces. The masks provide a visor and dark lenses to protect their fragile eyes.

Clothing (usually thin wool) and armor are designed to be worn over the makeup. Most manscorpions wear elaborate shawls or tunics edged with fringes. Filets to keep their elaborate hair in place are popular for both males and females, as are necklaces, earrings, armbands, and bracelets.

Personality: Manscorpions are greedy, self-serving, and brutal. From the enduks they acquired a veneer of civilization, but the curse that afflicts them made them a paranoid, secretive, and frustrated race. They fear to let others know of their vulnerability to sunlight, though they crave its warmth and illumination. They are warlike and care little for the lives or comfort of others.

Manscorpions are usually neutral and evil in alignment, though some few have a personal code of honor or still worship Idu (Ixion). It is not impossible to find ones such as these who are both lawful and good, it is simply unusual. Though they often appear aloof or reserved, a fierce, angry spirit forms the core of every manscorpion, and competition and aggression burn brightly in each heart. The best of them use these traits to perform great deeds, while the worst give way to their basest instincts.

Lifestyle: To some extent, the manscorpions' lifestyle is dictated by the curse laid upon them by Idu when they drove out the enduks. The Immortal made sunlight excruciatingly painful for them. Normal clothing is insufficient to stop the curse's effects. Only protective makeup and armour can shield them from the deadly rays and the pain. Direct sunlight blinds them unless they wear dark lenses to protect their eyes. Artificial light doesn't affect them.

Because they must constantly shield themselves from the sun, most manscorpions live underground. The cities of the enduks lie atop vast underground networks of manscorpion tunnels, pits, and chasms. Only those manscorpions who have business in the overcities reside there, and even they usually have retreats below ground.

On the surface, manscorpion cities consist of a great many mud brick houses, storehouses, slave quarters, and shops that lie at the feet of a grand palace, a series of monuments (some ruins, some intact), and a great ziggurat that serves as a place of worship. The ziggurat is usually decorated with several colors and has green trees and gardens on some of its levels. Many manscorpions live in these overdwellings, and most visitors assume that the surface picture of the city is the true one. In fact, the surface city usually only holds a fraction of the manscorpion population of the city. The majority of them live in the vast caverns underneath the structures. These are reached by tunnels and sloping ramps constructed under the houses and shops, the palace and the ziggurat. Visitors are discouraged from inquiring too closely about the interiors of these structures in order to keep the underground section of the city secret.

The manscorpions employ large numbers of slaves for raising food, manufacturing fine oils and perfumes, and tending sheep. Manscorpions are omnivorous. Though they prefer meat when available, they can survive on carrion, if necessary. They are soldiers, artists, traders, administrators, and seekers of ancient knowledge-most particularly of lore regarding the ancient star devices, weapons of potentially great destruction, found in many Nimmurian cities. Though not quite as likely to be in positions of authority, a good number of female manscorpions rule dominions and serve as priests, administrators, or troop commanders.

The functional star device in Er and their vast underground warrens are secrets the manscorpions wish to preserve as much as they want to hide their usurpation of enduk land and culture. For these reasons, though they have recently begun to tolerate foreigners in their overcities, they go to elaborate lengths to keep these outsiders away from their ziggurats and the monuments that are the star devices.

The manscorpions adopted the customs, history, and even language of the enduks as their own. They so wished to assume the cultural identity of the enduks, in fact, that they destroyed a great number of the enduks' artworks and historical writings to mask the truth concerning their arrival in Nimmur and their treachery. Though almost everyone calls them manscorpions, they themselves prefer to be called "Nimmurians." Ever since they assumed the ancient Nimmurian cultural identity, they dropped their old tribal structure and in its place created a new dynasty of kings. Today, King Anupalassar II rules over smaller manscorpion provinces owing fealty to the throne of Nimmur. Provincial governors have the hereditary title of prince. The present king earned his nickname, the Firebranded, when his helm was ripped open during an ambush by the orcs of the Dark Jungle. His face was scarred by the sun's rays.

Nimmur is an ally of Herath, although the Nimmurian clergy believe that some day the manscorpions will rule the entire peninsula. On the other hand, Herath hopes to steal the secret of the ancient Nimmurian star devices. Right now, the Nimmurians still have a problem with the unyielding orcs to the south. These orcs are savage creatures that have adapted to the thick jungle of the Orc's Head Peninsula. Nimmur also faces a dilemma with the encroachment of foreign settlers, especially lately as the affluent Herathians move into the city of Er. It is becoming difficult for the clergy to keep unwanted visitors out of the ziggurat quarters in their cities. The manscorpions hope to take the northern coastal lands but mosquito and killer fly infestations have decimated settlers and sheep flocks there in the past.

Equipment: All manscorpions cover themselves with heavy makeup to protect them from the sun and wear clothing or armour. Scribes and other officials might possess clay cylinders with official designs imprinted upon them and stylus and clay tablets for recording transactions or events. Soldiers own their armor and weapons (see below).

Nimmur's Armies

Nimmur maintains permanent, professional troops trained and paid according to precepts laid down by ancient Nimmurian generals. Although nobles compose most of the upper ranks in the army, effective authority is based on actual military rank, not social status.

Towns of a thousand people or more are walled. Most structures are made of dried mud brick sealed against the water by being painted with bitumen. Each town pays for its own army. The troops are disciplined and organized. Each unit of troops wears the same armor and tunics within their respective armies. Conical helms with bronze masks are predominant. Manscorpion armour costs three times that of its human counterpart because of its complexity (larger abdomen and eight leg pieces, tail and sting remaining unarmored). Nimmurians do not use mercenaries.

Flora and Fauna

Nimmur is an agricultural treasure land. Approximately half the country is covered by rich farmland and pasturage. Though the large rivers are to be found farther east, the western and central portions of the country are watered by numerous streams that flow down from the foothills to the north. Nimmur is able to produce enough food to feed itself and sell its excess to other lands. For the most part, the farm and pasture lands are tamed and free of large predators. Rabbits, field mice, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and hawks are plentiful, as are songbirds, owls, and insects. Occasionally, wolves emerge from the woods to harry the sheep that provide food and clothing for the manscorpions.

Land not under cultivation produces another necessary commodity-mud. Almost every building in Nimmur is constructed of dried mud bricks coated with bitumen. Slave laborers industriously turn out mud bricks for new buildings and repair those that have been damaged.

Light forest covers much of the rest of the country, with a small patch of heavy forest near Ennamasur. Many of the older hardwoods and other deciduous trees have been felled and replaced by orchards of apple, cherry, peach, and even orange trees. Many other trees are valued for their aromatic resins or the rare spices they produce. Again, because this area relies so heavily on agriculture and crops, there are few large predators. Bears and wild cats have been encountered along with wolves in the more northerly woods and foothills, and raids from phanatons seeking to keep their borders safe from encroaching manscorpions are an occasional threat.

The coast offers a few good harbors for traders, most especially at Porto Escorpião, the Vilaverdan trading port, which has claim to the best harbor in Nimmur. This fortified trading center also features a marvel: the Lighthouse of Porto Escorpião.

The City of Er

Er is the capital of Nimmur both because of its size (it was the largest city of the enduks) and because it is here that the fleeing enduks failed to fully dismantle their star device. The star device consists of two strange looking columnar monuments that stand in the courtyard of the great temple of Er. From that point, a curious pattern is formed by a series of monuments extending throughout the city.

The city itself is a rough circle, with crisscrossing streets and numerous dwellings and businesses and a central market area. Dominating the whole is a walled area that encloses the palace and the tall, colorful ziggurat of the great temple. Foreigners are becoming a more common sight to the manscorpions of Er, but the elaborately painted, masked, and garbed manscorpions remain strange and unreal to visitors.

Um-Shedu

The small city of Um-Shedu has recently been liberated by a determined band of enduks, ee'aar, and non-evil manscorpions. During a recent orc uprising, the group traveled to the Forbidden Highlands and struck down into the city, taking the defenders by surprise and driving them out. They flooded nearby tunnels and blocked others with strategic cave-ins, rendering them useless to the manscorpions. Using the engineering skills of the enduks, the new defenders of Um-Shedu constructed a stone and mud-brick barrier that blocks access to the city from the south, west, and east. To the north, the elevations of the Forbidden Highlands provide protection from creatures that cannot fly.

The defenders have kept their patrols frequent and well-armed. Spies have failed to infiltrate their councils and manscorpion chariots and soldiers are stymied by the barricades. Siege maneuvers do not work against creatures who have merely to fly elsewhere and return with edibles, and the city is served by an artesian well. Manscorpion spellcasters are countered by ee'aar and enduk spellcasters; despite their best efforts the manscorpions have been unable to dislodge those in Um-Shedu. The defenders hope to fortify the city so it can be used as a staging area from which to launch attacks against the rest of Nimmur.

Denizens of the Dark Jungle

The deep and forbidding jungle that covers the lower part of the Orc's Head Peninsula is home to several savage orc tribes and their ruler, an ancient vermilion dragon known as Pyre. Though often at odds with one another, the tribes cooperate rather than face the dragon's wrath.

Orcs of the Dark Jungle

Although they may seem unintelligent to outsiders, the orcs of the Dark Jungle are cunning, ruthless warriors. Organized into several tribes, the orcs raid caravans, prey upon passing ships, and constantly seek to expand into Nimmur and Herath.

Their success in keeping the more civilized countries from overcoming them can be attributed to their cunning use of the jungle as cover for their attacks and as camouflage for their strongholds, and to the guidance of an ancient vermilion dragon named Pyre.

Appearance: Though they resemble orcs from other parts of the world, orcs of the Dark Jungle have very different modes of dress and decoration. They cover their bodies with the sap of certain plants to turn their skins green or brown and their shamans often draw lines or paint stripes on warriors' bodies to imitate the foliage in which they hide. These dyes leave stains on the skin for several weeks even under rainy conditions. Sometimes the orcs add leaves or mosses to their camouflage. When engaged in warfare, many paint death's heads on their faces. Besides their tusks, many also file their teeth to sharp points.

When not raiding, they frequently adorn themselves with brilliantly colored feathers and clinking jewellery fashioned from shells, river rocks, and stained wooden beads. Among female orcs, scarification of the arms is common, as is tattooing of the chin and brow ridge. Males who have achieved a certain number of kills or who have achieved status in some other way tattoo their entire faces.

Many of those who raid the seas adorn themselves in captured finery and outland weaponry. In general, however, blistering hot temperatures and constant moisture take their toll on fine materials, rendering them useless after even a few days of wearing them in the jungle. Many orcs clothe themselves in woven grass and reeds for everyday wear.

Personality: The orcs respect strength and disdain weakness. Life in the jungle requires toughness and resiliency. Those who cannot survive on their own are preyed upon, abandoned, or killed. Even their kings change frequently, as younger, stronger orcs challenge their elders for the right to rule. It is unusual for a king to rule for more than 12 years.

The orcs know very well that they would not be tolerated elsewhere along the Savage Coast and have no chance of ever living peacefully with their neighbors. What might seem like aggressive, ruthless behavior is mere practicality to the orcs. The jungle provides them with plenty of food but little in the way of luxuries-for those they must raid. That this is also Pyre's bidding is only greater incentive.

Because cooperation within the tribe is essential to their survival, whether hunting, gathering food, or raiding, they are mostly of lawful alignment. Their cruel actions and disdain for sentient life, however, mark most orcs as evil. Some, though, hold to a personal code of honor and almost all can be reasonable if offered something beneficial.

Lifestyle: Several factors determine the lifestyle of the orcs of the Dark Jungle. Most notably, they live in a rainforest. Heat and humidity are extremely high, making heavy armor or clothing a burden rather than a blessing. What sunlight penetrates the upper and lower canopies of the forest is filtered and green; many areas remain dark even at the brightest part of the day.

Perhaps the dark, oppressive atmosphere lends itself to superstition and dread but the orcs believe that the spirits of the dead remain in the trees of their jungle. For the orcs, however, evidence that their beliefs are real is not difficult to come by. Indeed, it is not rare for ebon statues of warriors or influential tribal members thought lost in the jungle to be discovered on some remote trail. The shamans say that the forest spirits have captured their souls.

The orcs build great wooden forts, especially near the entrances to their ancestral caverns. They cut down trees in some areas, haul the trunks to the top of forested hills, and build the structures among the growing trees. These fortifications are very difficult to spot until one is quite close to them. Shamans often direct the builders to carve on the forts' logs the screaming, demented faces of tribal ancestors known to have been taken away by the forest spirits. There are often hundreds of faces for each tribe, some dating back several centuries. Shamans also take the ebon statues found in the jungle and incorporate them into the walls of the forts and temples. This is part of the orcs' ancestral lore.

About half of the Dark Jungle population lives in caverns. These caverns connect to the ancient caves of the Sohktars and to those of the Herathians. The connecting caverns are fortified and heavily guarded by the orcs and the forces at the tunnels' other ends. Because invading one another's territories through these tunnels is virtual suicide due to the heavy guard each race posts, there is very little raiding back and forth through what would seem to be the perfect conduit for waging warfare.

Their success in ambushing Nimmurian and Herathian caravans stems from their ability to conceal themselves cunningly within the foliage along the caravan trail. Dark Jungle orcs have the ability to hide in the forest as a thief can hide in shadows (30% chance either individually or in groups). If the orcs have enough time to set up an ambush, if they use all camouflage usually available to them, and if they remain perfectly motionless, their chances go up to 60%.

Nuts, fruits, roots, and tubers are easily gathered by the non-warriors of the tribe, and dozens of animal species make for fine hunting. Several varieties of fish, frogs, and turtles live in the streams, minor rivers, pools, and small lakes found throughout the jungle. Some tribes even feed on the large insects that infest the lower canopy. Much of the tribes' time is spent gathering and hunting the bountiful food the forest provides. When they are not engaged in food-gathering activities, the orcs make weapons, hold mock fights, dance, plan raids, and prey upon caravans and ships.

All of the major tribes are independent of and to some extent competitive with one another. Dozens of sub-tribes owe fealty to the kings of one or more of the larger ones. Despite the jungle's abundance, resources within the tribal areas cannot keep up with the demands of burgeoning populations. This results in some fierce competition among neighboring tribes for resources or potential booty. Major efforts from Herath and Nimmur to reduce the orcs' power have prompted tribal kings to ally against outside threats, however.

Because of the constant need for warriors most of the orcs are able to fight well. Though females are generally accorded little respect among their society, some few do rise to the rank of warrior or shaman and most can fight when necessary. Though there is inter-tribal raiding and minor warfare, major altercations are deterred by the cloud of Pyre's wrath. The dragon looks unfavorably upon those chiefs who engage in large scale, inter-tribal warfare; both chiefs involved in such are usually executed for their foolishness.

Most of the tribes are sea raiders, sailing out to attack coastal shipping in giant outrigger canoes utilizing both sails and paddles.

The tribes living along the shores of the peninsula have acquired a cunning knowledge of the sea and maritime weather. Their shamans have been granted the magical ability to predict weather. Within the past decade, the substantial increase of merchant traffic between the Texeiran Colony of the Horn, Nimmur, and Slagovich has greatly encouraged the orcs to practice piracy-so far with great success.

Their giant outriggers can hold up to 120 warriors, each of whom paddles when necessary. Fully manned, such war canoes can easily reach twice the speed of a large sailing ship for a short time. The orcs' knowledge of tactics and wind conditions allows them to capture ships easily. Once seen from the shore, the passing ship is hounded by swift-moving orc outriggers taking positions both fore and aft of the ship to block escape maneuvers. Once in place the war canoes come close enough to fire the powerful ballista-mounted harpoons that stick in the ship's hull and rigging. The orcs then tug on the lines attached to the harpoons, pulling themselves closer to the ship. Under scores of arrows fired from the canoes, the target ship's sailors cannot effectively sever the harpoon lines. Eventually, all the canoes come close enough to mount a boarding action. Those on board usually do not survive, though occasionally some are taken as captives for torture or for slaves to give to Pyre. The orcs then quickly plunder the cargo, scuttle the ship, and return to the safety of their jungle lagoons.

The only defense against their raids is either to set out with several well-armed ships or to stay out of sight of the coast. The orcs' ambushes at sea can be as swift as they are unexpected. They operate both in broad daylight and in the middle of the night, homing in on the lanterns of unwary vessels.

The final determining factor in the orcs' lifestyle is their overlord. Pyre has subjected all the orc tribes to his power. Every moon, tribal kings pay tribute to Pyre, in slaves, food, and treasure. In addition, when Pyre desires it, the tribes unite and conduct massive invasions against their northern foes. Pyre plans many of these successful raids as well as helping the orcs defend themselves from those who would steal their land. Their apparent unity and success, therefore, owe a great deal to the dragon's planning. Without Pyre, they might return to their old feuds and defeat themselves, laying the Dark Jungle open to exploitation by Nimmur or Herath.

Language: The orcs of the Dark Jungle speak Yazug, one of three related goblinoid languages. About half the words in this language can be understood by someone who speaks Yazaka, the language used by the goblins of the Yazak Steppes. Many orcs know snippets of Herathi and Nimmurian, learned from captives. An orc who can speak Common is extremely rare.

The Overking

The overking of the orcs is Pyre, a huge, ancient vermilion dragon. Exclusive to the Savage Coast, and possibly unique, vermilion dragons are red chromatic dragons that have been affected by the Red Curse and ingested cinnabryl. Rather than gain only one Legacy, these dragons gain several and hold off the side effects through the cinnabryl they've eaten. They even have the advantage over others in that the acquired Legacies cost them nothing in terms of their abilities. They lose no Strength, Intelligence, or other assets when a new Legacy is gained. Furthermore, even after leaving the area affected by the Red Curse, the magical nature of the dragon combines with the cinnabryl to make the change permanent. They breed true once changed.

Though they still require cinnabryl occasionally, the dragons can live outside the affected area and maintain their powers. They even live longer than normal dragons. The main penalty for them seems to be a tendency to sleep for longer periods of time in between awakenings and to sleep more deeply when at rest.

Pyre was once a normal red dragon with the ability to cast spells. Originally from Robrenn, Pyre gorged himself on cinnabryl when affected by the Red Curse and contaminated himself with the substance in order to gain powers like an Inheritor but without incurring any bad side effects. Because he still has need of cinnabryl, Pyre frequently demands that his orcs raid caravans and ships carrying cargo including the metal or goods that can be easily traded for it.

Flora and Fauna

The Dark Jungle is a teeming cauldron of life filled with hundreds of kinds of trees, insects, birds, and animals. It is always hot, humid, and rainy. During the dry parts of the year, the two great rivers that snake through the area remain mostly within their embankments. During the rainy season (the winter months), it rains daily, sending the river waters flooding across the flat portions of the jungle and covering some areas up to 16 to 20 feet deep for miles on either side. Trees, vegetation, and animal life have all adapted to this yearly inundation.

The rivers provide homes for dozens of varieties of fish, including piranhas and hatchet fish. The latter are the only true flying fish, as they flap their fins and rise out of the water in pursuit of flying insects. Lizards, frogs, and turtles live along the river, as does the dreaded giant black caiman, an aggressive crocodile over 18 feet long. Wading birds like the scarlet ibis share the river with gentle manatees.

Hundreds of types of birds-most boasting bright plumage that the natives use to decorate themselves-and small creatures such as beetles, bees, and butterflies make their homes on the bark or in the leaves of the great trees. Capybaras (large pig-like animals) and anteaters move along the game trails, spotted cats laze upon the branches of the lower canopy, and bluewing butterflies flit in the few beams of bright sunlight that filter down through the overhead canopy. Army ants forge their ways through the detritus on the ground in columns that are miles long and hundreds of feet across.

The trees themselves are giants, towering as much as 100 feet before spreading out in branches and leaves to form the lower canopy. At this level, the branches stretch out toward one another to provide a solid, nearly unbroken trail along which many of the jungle's animals travel. Shallow-rooted, the trees form large buttresses of their roots to anchor themselves in the soil. Twined around and hanging from most of the trees are lianas, thick, strong vines that help the trees anchor themselves together near their crowns. Travelers should beware of the lianas, however, for many are actually large jungle snakes such as the anaconda.

It is impossible to travel far in the jungle without having to cross streams or pools of water. Many of these backwater pools are filled with giant water lilies. Piranhas tend to congregate in these areas. Clouds of fog and mist hover above and among the trees. The rainfall, absorption by the leaves, and hot sunshine conspire to create a damp haze over great portions of the forest.

The central area of the jungle is a cloud forest. The area is a combination of jungle and deciduous vegetation atop hills. The higher elevation means that the air is slightly cooler, with the resulting ever-present fog. In the midst of that area lies a lower elevation along the path of the Forbidden River. This region lies below sea level and stretches to either side of the river in a bog or marsh. Cattails, reeds, and other marsh plants grow in abundance, as do mosquitos and other insects. Mangroves raise their roots above the water, providing homes for poisonous spiders and snakes. Turtles, crabs, and fish live in the bayou waters, while cicadas and warblers sing without pause from the grasses along the banks. This area is also home to the green slime raised by the Green Slayer tribe.

The Colony of the Horn

The Colony of the Horn consists of the small village of Bom Jardim and the Fortaleza da Boa Vista, a combined fortress and prison. Located on the extreme tip of the sandy arm of land that juts out into Trident Bay, the Colony of the Horn is a dumping ground for Texeiran misfits, criminals, and political dissidents.

Half the population of the colony are prisoners, many of whom are afflicted with severe physical deformities due to their forced removal from lands affected by the Red Curse and the confiscation of their cinnabryl. They provide the labor for the colony, from building structures to hauling in fish and attempting to farm what little fertile ground exists there.

Their guards and administrators are little better off. Whether lazy, inept, corrupt, or just plain stupid, these Texeirans have earned their placement in the "pit of misery" known as the Colony of the Horn. Like the prisoners they guard, they have undergone the painful withdrawal from the Red Curse and its protective cinnabryl. Unlike the prisoners, most of these were given the benefit of magical healing to ease the transition and recoup their lost abilities.

Nonetheless, they realize that they, like the criminals they oversee, are for all practical purposes exiled to this backwater. Most are too old or too debilitated to risk returning home and once again undergoing the stresses of the Red Curse.

The village of Bom Jardim arose around a missionary clinic founded to provide relief to the Afflicted or immigrants from the lands in which the Red Curse is active. The priests there help to reverse the horrid transformations and cushion the recovery from the curse's manifestations. Unfortunately, though they would like to be able to offer their services for free, they cannot do so. Texeiras will not fund them because those in charge have no wish to see the dregs of their society return to their homeland-much less will they spend money to "coddle" criminals and misfits.

Porto Escorpião

Almost a quarter of Nimmur's foreign business passes through Porto Escorpião, the Vilaverdan colonial enclave and best port facility in the country. Paying the manscorpions 15,000 nuggets of red steel for the privilege, Vilaverde acquired a promontory near Asur, which overlooks a protected cove. There they were allowed to construct a trading post, a colony of Vilaverde, to which they hold full ownership for a century.

A stone stronghold has been constructed as well as a lighthouse. Several Vilaverdan soldiers and scribes under the command of Don Jorge de Vilaverde (elder son of Baron Jorge, ruler of Vilaverde) maintain order and conduct the business of the port. Porto Escorpião was granted independence two years ago and most of its troops recalled. Some stayed loyal to Don Jorge and remained. The baron recently gave complete control over the holding to his son. Vilaverde and Porto Escorpião maintain cordial relations and tra
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:31:04 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Red Steel - Atlas of the Savage Coast pt. 11
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2012, 09:00:10 PM »
The Arm of the Immortals

West of the Orc's Head Peninsula, across the sea, lies a long finger of land called the Arm of the Immortals. As mentioned, the main civilizations of the ee'aar and the enduks reside on the Arm. A couple of colonies, sponsored by powers on the Savage Coast, sit on the eastern shores of the peninsula. The kingdoms of Eshu (the land of the enduks) and Aeryl (run by the ee'aar) are located inland on high plateaus in the mountain range that dominates the centre of the Arm of the Immortals. On the far side of the Arm, at least according to the tales of seafarers, lie several states dominated by "demi-ogres," huge humanoids said to be descended from the offspring of humans and ogres.

The rest of the Arm is mostly wild and unexplored. Vast expanses of forests, untouched by humanoids, cover the north, while huge jungles dominate in the south. The Arm covers several climates and numerous geographical features, with a wide variety of wildlife, including many sorts of monsters. In addition, rumors insist that ancient and powerful sites are hidden within the landscape of the Arm. It is even said that the Immortals themselves can be approached through secret portals high in the mountains of the Arm. However, few have explored the Arm and returned, so the facts of the matter are largely unknown at least for the present.

The Enduks and the Ee'aar


The high mountains of the Great Immortal's Shield are home to the winged elves known as ee'aar.

Ee'aar

These winged elves, known as avariel or al-karak-elam in some areas, are not native to the Savage Coast, so they are rare as player characters. Ee'aar come from Aeryl, a kingdom on the Arm of the Immortals, a peninsula several miles to the west of the Orc's Head Peninsula.

Appearance: Ee'aar look much the same as regular elves, but appear even more delicate with more angular facial features and slightly larger eyes. Ee'aar also have large, feathered wings with a span of 12 feet when unfolded. When folded, the wings stretch from their heels to a few inches above the head, and they cannot be concealed except through magical means.

Ee'aar usually have white or silver hair, though some have hair that is black or a shade of grey; ee'aar wings are about the same color as their hair. Their eyes are amber, violet, or deep green.

Personality: Typical ee'aar are reclusive, preferring the company of their own kind. Those who choose to adventure on the Savage Coast have overcome this tendency enough to associate with others but still tend to be very private. Ee'aar are curious and regard all nature as wondrous and worth protecting. They pity those who cannot fly and do not understand people who voluntarily spend time beneath the ground, away from sky and sun. Most ee'aar are very vibrant, full of humor, and unafraid to show their emotions.

Ee'aar tend toward good and chaotic alignments, with few lawful individuals and even fewer who are evil.

Lifestyle: An ee'aar on the Savage Coast is away from home, where beautiful, fragile looking cities rise to great heights among the mountains. They are accustomed to cold and all forms of weather but only the most daring fly during storms and high winds.

In ee'aar society, male and female are considered equal but there is another dichotomy. About half of the ee'aar have trained for combat and hold to a strict warrior's code. The others know little of war and concentrate more on art and philosophy. It is generally the more martially minded ee'aar who seek adventure on the Savage Coast.

Neither type of ee'aar completely ignores the other side of their personality and it is common to find warriors with artistic talent and thinkers who can defend themselves. Similarly, all ee'aar tend to be very religious without trying to serve as missionaries to the unenlightened.

Ee'aar buildings are composed mostly of glass and are open and spacious. They usually have tall foundations of glass or stone, with open living quarters that can be accessed only from great heights. They seldom have doors, just wide openings for ingress and egress.

Ee'aar sometimes bond in a ceremony similar to marriage but that can be dissolved if both partners agree. Children are cared for by both parents and are rare and therefore precious to both the parents and the community.

Equipment: Technologically advanced in the field of architecture, ee'aar are skilled glassworkers and they create buildings and weapons from glass, which their most powerful wizards enchant with glassteel. An ee'aar character, when created, can purchase weapons of enchanted glass instead of metal, such as a glass short sword or a spear with a glass head. These weapons cost the same as a normal weapon of that type, if purchased by an ee'aar in the ee'aar homeland.

The Kingdom of Aeryl

Aeryl lies among some of the highest peaks of the mountains known as the Great Immortal's Shield. It consists of four clans and royal lands belonging to the throne of Aeryl, which together surround a grassy plateau called Oethrun. The plateau is part of a commonwealth available to all citizens of the kingdom and serves as both a garden and hunting grounds for the ee'aar, the greatest source of food in their kingdom. They maintain a careful balance between hunting and gathering and tending wildlife in order to avoid straining Oethrun's fragile ecology. Because of this and their need to remain flight-worthy, ee'aar never consume more food than is necessary for their health. It is unheard of for an ee'aar to be overweight.

Royal responsibility includes defense of the nation from monsters and invaders. King Enerin is also the clan leader of Mythror, which he rules from Ithuín. His present task is to waylay the explorers from Porto Maldição who are searching for a way to get across the Great Immortal's Shield. The former Vilaverdans, who have now claimed their independence, are seen as loud, greedy, overfed wastrels who will eventually cause trouble for the quiet kingdom of Aeryl.

Troops serve on a voluntary basis for one year every 20 years, which means that 5% of the whole adult population is serving in the army at any time. Clan nobility commands the troops. Armies break down into battle wings of 50 troops and five giant eagles, which then break down into hunting wards of 5-10 troops and one giant eagle. The capital has 12 such wings. The other four cities of Aeryl rely on another eight wings each, for a total of 2,200 ee'aar warriors and 220 giant eagles. For every 50 troops, five commanding nobles ride the giant eagles and carry short bows and swords; 20 fight with the clan weapon of their city (nets, bolas, and so on); the remaining 25 fight with normal swords.

Flora and Fauna

The high peaks of the ee'aar homeland radiate outward from the central plateau. The plateau is covered with grasslands and trees reminiscent of an alpine meadow environment with various nut trees, berry bushes, and a few fruit trees providing food for both the ee'aar and some of the animal inhabitants. The ee'aar also grow hardy grains on part of the plateau and gather honey from the bees that have adapted to the region's cool air. Deer, small pigs, and mountain goats all provide meat for the clans, though many goats are kept for their milk to make goat cheese. Game birds such as pheasants live in the area and the upper lakes are a stopover point for migrating wild geese.

Predators include bears, foxes, mountain lions, and giant eagles. Trees are deciduous rather than tropical due to the coolness.

Above the plateau, the mountains rise above the tree line and are often ringed in clouds; below, the mountain slopes descend into heavy growth forest.



The Kingdom of Eshu

The high plateau of Eshu serves as the homeland for the displaced enduks, winged-minotaurs driven from their original home in Nimmur by the dreaded manscorpions.

Enduks

Enduks are winged minotaurs, the only "true" minotaurs according to their history and legends (others are cursed versions that lost their wings when they turned to evil). Like the ee'aar, enduks are not native to the Savage Coast but come from the Arm of the Immortals, so they too are rare as player characters. The enduk homeland is the Kingdom of Eshu. Enduks once inhabited the Kingdom of Nimmur, but were betrayed and displaced by the manscorpions.

Appearance: The enduks look like minotaurs with wings. They are humanoid, appearing to be furred humans with heads like those of bulls. Their fur is usually light brown, ranging to black but a very few have creamy-white fur. Enduk wings are feathered black, white, or a shade of grey or blue-grey. Hair (and beard, for males) is coifed into curled rows.

They stand 6 to 7 feet tall and are often well-muscled; enduks who are taller than 7 feet are considered Large creatures and take damage accordingly. Both males and females have horns; these stick out from the sides of their heads (rather than curling close) and are usually ivory-white, though some are yellow, light brown, or grey. White-furred enduks have pearly horns. Horns are 1d6+12 inches long. They typically have brown eyes, though some have black irises.

An enduk's foot has only two large toes, both with hooflike coverings. Their hands look human but have thick, black nails. Enduks are carnivores and have sharp teeth.

Personality: The typical enduk is a religious individual; most are lawful good. They are not very trusting and seldom make friends among the wingless. Enduks are honorable and go to great lengths to keep any promises they make.

Lifestyle: The land of the enduks is closed to most other folk. Once they ruled Nimmur and welcomed all peoples. They opened their kingdom to manscorpions, and later were betrayed by those creatures. Enduks in general want to recapture Nimmur and most enduks who adventure on the Savage Coast try to organize missions to Nimmur to spy on and harass the manscorpions.

Because of their experience in Nimmur, enduks are distrustful of most strangers. The ee'aar are exceptions and are viewed as friends. Enduks hate manscorpions and wingless minotaurs. With most other races, enduks are hesitant and tend toward distrust, but they are generally willing to give each person a chance. Once befriended, they tend to trust more easily; once betrayed, they never forget.

The Kingdom of Eshu is on a large plateau surrounded by towering mountains. The ruler of the land is a priest-king who guides his subjects in religion and in secular life. Eshu is a peaceful land, but is always ready to defend itself against enemies. Most common enduks are farmers, scholars, and artisans, but all are part of the militia.

Enduks walk about as much as they fly. Though they often fly to battle and use flight for strategic advantage, they prefer fighting on the ground.

They live in stone structures close to the ground. Their homes are simple and practical but tend to be large, with huge doorways, because of the enduks' size and wingspan. Enduk buildings have doors, but these are left open unless strangers are present or in the case of some threat. Most enduk structures also have trapdoors on the roofs.

Enduk priests choose lifemates for their people. An initial "marriage" takes place when the enduks are about 12 years old, though the pair can put off cohabitation for as much as two decades, to give them time to get to know one another and to seek adventure if they so desire. Once the final ceremony takes place, the enduk couple bonds for life. Any children are cherished and raised in a loving, deeply religious household.

Equipment: Enduks are usually equipped with a footman's mace or club, a net, and/or a flight lance. They have leather armor or bronze plate mail and carry net bags for personal effects, hanging them from their belts to leave their hands free.

Eshu's Armies

The organization of Eshu's armies is similar to that in present day Nimmur, since the manscorpions copied enduk practices. Armies break down into battle storms of 100 troops, in turn splitting into tactical warbolts of 20 troops. The capital city of Sardon has 12 storms. Erdu and Gildesh have six storms each, and Masur and Enveh have another three each, for a total of 3,000 soldiers.

Flora and Fauna

The land of Eshu occupies a vast plateau similar to Aeryl's Oethrun. It is a heart-shaped grassland that slopes down toward a northern bottleneck, the Gildesh pass. Eshunite rivers drain toward the pass, eventually forming a very high waterfall at the eastern edge of the Great Shield of the Immortals. High mountains surround the kingdom, preventing neighbouring populations from reaching Eshu.

Like Aeryl, the region is rich in farmland and hunting areas. Although it is very well watered, thus having richer soil, Eshu supports almost exactly the same flora and fauna as Aeryl.

The Western Orclands

Spread along the eastern shore of the Arm of the Immortals lies another jungle area known as the Western Orclands. The Ghonam, Yamekh, and Sulkar tribes of orcs rule this jungle. They prey upon ships brought too close to the coast when the navigators become confused by the ee'aar's controllable light spells (this has earned the Vilaverdan port its gloomy name, Porto Maldição, or Port Malediction).

Originally from the orc tribes of the Dark Jungle, the three tribes that inhabit the rainforests of the Arm of the Immortals are the descendants of smaller tribes who refused to be subjugated by larger and more powerful ones or they spring from orcs that were lost at sea in their giant outriggers during raids. Because of a shortage of female orcs among the western orc tribes, females are held in high regard by the tribes and often serve as tribal chiefs or advisers.

The Sulkar tribe claims the southern jungle that lies below the Grubb Nest Marshes. Though there are two good grassland beach areas where ships might land, they are divided by an area of hidden reefs and sand bars that have wrecked many fine vessels that sailed too close to the shore. Much of the rest of the Sulkar lands are forested hills, which form part of the eastern framework for the mountain range known as the Great Immortal's Shield.

The Sulkar have no main fortress, relying on quick strikes and moving their villages to keep the Yamekh from gaining mastery over them. Their current chief is Tookala One Eye, a savvy female who rules by right of having slain the last chief. The best approximation as to the Sulkar population is 1,000 orcs.

The Yamekh tribe to the north also claims an area of coastal grasslands and interior forested hills. Their land lies just north of the swamp and includes several mountains, including Mt. Ej-Täar, an active volcano, and a mine that produces gold. Foreign captives and orc slaves from other tribes are put to work in the mines, while especially intriguing captives may be reserved for sacrifice to the spirit of the volcano, to appease its hunger and keep it from doing more than smoking.

A small jungle area just to the west of the marsh is disputed territory, which both the Sulkar and the Yamekh claim as their own. Both tribes hunt in the area. Both lay traps for the others' hunters, and border clashes between the two are frequent. Like their cousins to the east, the Yamekh have constructed a wooden fortress-city called Yamekh-Pyrr.

The leader of the Yamekh is Furul Fire-breath, though younger challengers are threatening this older orc's position almost daily. He rules from the fortress of Yamekh-Pyrr, which is set among the hills north of the mines. There are approximately 2,200 orcs who claim to be Yamekh.

The Ghonam tribe is the largest and has the most land. Unlike their brethren to the south, the Ghonam's land is mostly low altitude rain forest and a few miles of hilly jungle in the interior. Their main fortress is Ghonam-Pyrr. Led by the half-orc priestess Sutunu, the Ghonam number about 3,000 orcs.

The Ghonam must also contend with a foreign colony along their northern border. Mato Grande and Porto Maldição together form an enclave of civilisation. They serve as trading posts for goods to and from the Kingdom of Nimmur, the Colony of the Horn, and many of the countries that makeup the Savage Coast. The Ghonam have repeatedly tried to overrun either the fortress and village of Mato Grande or Porto Maldição for the riches the colonial port represents. The rest of their northern and part of their western border are formed by the Rot Swamps.

At one time, the Ghonam tried to find a way onto the Eshu plateau. The resultant Battle of Urduk cost many hundreds of orcs their lives. Though many would like to expand into the grasslands to their southwest, the memory of the battle of Urduk is fresh in their minds, and they have given up the idea of trifling with the enduk kingdom.

More recently the Ghonam have been trying to extend their southern border a little farther south, in order to directly threaten Yamekh-Pyrr. They believe that if they can take the fortress, they can subjugate the Yamekh and take over their lucrative mines for themselves. Also, when the Yamekh are no longer in the way, expansion into Sulkar lands will be much easier.

All of these orc tribes have been being pressured to submit to Pyre's overlordship. Thus far, representatives of the dragon have attempted to urge their acceptance but the tribes have been resistant. Though the dragon seems far enough away to ignore, Pyre has simply not stirred himself to action as yet.

The Unclaimed Territories

Stretching along the western coast of the Orc's Head Peninsula from Nimmur to the Colony of the Horn is an area collectively known as the Unclaimed Territories. The Wind Flats is an area of sparse grassland that Nimmur hopes to claim soon. Aided by a new treatment against the black killer flies that infest the region, the manscorpions plan to use the grassland as pasturage for their flocks of sheep.

Low, barren hills partially screen the Wind Flats from the Grey Swamps. The swamps derive their name from the silvery-grey reed that grows abundantly along every water course. The reeds, known as grey slicers, have sharp edges that easily cut through clothing and skin, leaving a thin, painful slit. Slime mold, which coats the reeds and gives them their distinctive color, enters the wound as it is made. A powerful decaying agent, the slime causes the wound to fester and become infected within mere hours.

To the north of the swamp area is another region of sparse grasslands known as the Mosquito Land. Heavy rainfall in this area creates many pools of stagnant water. Mosquitoes breed so quickly and abundantly here that there are hordes of these insects, which literally look like dark clouds moving across the sky. They carry disease in their bites, most notably "the fever," which causes alternating periods of high fever and terrible chills. Many victims of "the fever" suffer periodic bouts of the illness, debilitating them terribly and eventually causing death if left untreated.

Lastly, there is a large territory called the Land of the Shifting Dunes. This stark, sandy area holds miles and miles of nothing but sand and scorpions. The few sea grasses that manage to survive are hardy, but poisonous. No one has officially laid claim to any of these territories as yet.

Porto Maldição

Once a Vilaverdan trading post, Porto Maldição proclaimed its independence when Porto Escorpião became autonomous. Since this small fortress and village were very far away and unimportant, Baron Jorge raised no objections. It is a rundown, seedy port filled with lowlife searching for a quick profit and not too squeamish about how they get it.

Grubb Nest Marshes

The best thing that can be said for the marsh is that it provides a marvelous wetland sanctuary for hundreds of birds and small creatures. The sea hydras, who also make this area their home, prey upon passing ships and the occasional luckless adventurer who strays into their territory. Rot grubs, for whom the swamp is named, infest much of it and usually kill those that the sea hydras miss.

Rot Swamps

Although one might think that this swamp was also infested with rot grubs, it is named for the miasma that hovers over the area. Horrible sulfuric odors, decay, and dead fish combine to create the nauseating stench that permeates the swamp. Those who enter the swamp must successfully make saving throws against petrification upon first entering and every hour thereafter for the first three days of travel, to avoid collapsing into retching. Quicksand and vicious black caimans (crocodiles) are the swamp's other attractions.

Gombar and Suma'a

These two nations on the other side of the Great Immortals Shield have been settled by a race of civilized demi-ogres (mixed human Tanagoro blood) from Tangor. Their kingdoms are made up of merchant-principalities more interested in sea trade than overland exploration. They know of the strait between the southern end of the Arm of the Immortals and Davania that leads to the Western Sea. They haven't settled it because they think only savage nations exist beyond.


The Yazak Steppes

The Yazak Steppes run from Hule in the east to the region north of the Orc's Head Peninsula. These are actually several different, disconnected sets of steppes. Once home to rakastas and lupins, the steppes have been taken over by goblinoid tribes.

The five "great tribes" of goblinoids in the steppes are dangerous to the coastal lands only when they unite into massive hordes that sweep down to raid for food and treasures. The five tribes are the Hupkur, which consists of hobgoblins and ogres; the Huptai, composed of hobgoblins and goblins; the Dankut, mostly orcs with a few trolls; the Kuttai, which includes orcs and goblins; and the Gosluk, made up entirely of goblins. Many of the members of these tribes are Beast Riders. Like lupins, the hobgoblins of the steppes ride dire wolves; goblins ride worgs; and orcs and half-orcs ride specially-bred boars (which sometimes make tasty treats for the worg mounts).

The Hupkur tribe which occupies the lands north of Renardy, Bellayne, and Herath is the strongest and most well organized of the five tribes. A recent alliance between the Kuttai and the Dankut, the tribes closest to the Savage Baronies, provides a substantial threat.

Several small tribes are not allied with any of the larger groups. Of these, the most important is the Tai-luk tribe, a group of goblins occupying a small territory north of the Bayou. The Tai-luk goblins are important only because no other tribes inhabit that rather inhospitable area and because of their proximity to Cay, which could lead to a conflict if the goblins raid the caymas' aurochs.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:34:37 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Red Steel - Miscellaneous
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2012, 10:40:24 PM »
Cultural Inspirations:

Vilaverde and Texeiras (inspiration: Portugal in the 1500s and 1600s, respectively)
Torreón and Narvaez (inspiration: Classic 1500s Spain and Spain under the inquisition, respectively)
Gargoña, Almarrón, and Saragón (inspiration: late 15th century Granada, colonial Mexico, and Moorish Spain, respectively)
Guadalante and Cimmaron (inspiration: colonial Argentina and 19th century Texas w/16th century technology, respectively)
Robrenn and Eusdria (inspiration: Gaul c. 200 BC and the Frankish Kingdom c. 800 AD, respectively)
Renardy and Bellayne (inspiration: 16th century France and England, respectively)
Orc's Head Peninsula, Arm of Immortals, Yazak Steppes, etc. (inspirations: Nimmur - Babylon; Wallaras - aboriginal Australia; Jibaru - Amazon jungle; Colony of the Horn - Australian penal colonies)
(Yavdlom inspirations: Ulimwengu and the Karimari - African pygmies; Karutunda - African bushmen; Urdukkabilas - North African Berbers; Yavi - Swahili/Bantu)
(City States inspiration: Yugoslavia/the Balkans: Hojah - Albania; Slagovich - Croatia; Zvornik - Hungary; Nova Svoga - Bulgaria and Slovenia; Zagora - Romania)
(Hule inspiration: Ottomon Empire)

Table 17.1: CALENDAR OF THE SAVAGE COAST

Days of the Week
Lunadain
Gromdain
Tserdain
Moldain
Nytdain
Loshdain
Soladain

Months (season)
Nuwmont (midwinter)
Vatermont (late winter)
Thaumont (early spring)
Flaurmont (midspring)
Yarthmont (late spring)
Klarmont (early summer)
Felmont (midsummer)
Fyrmont (late summer)
Ambyrmont (early fall)
Sviftmont (midfall)
Eirmont (late fall)
Kaldmont (early winter)

Despite these commonalties and shared backgrounds, no political ties remain between the Savage Coast and the Known World. Communication and trade between them is sporadic at best.

The Savage Coast is also the point of origin of several cultures that have spread to other places. The araneas had their start on the coast, as did the three races of lizard kin, the wallaras, and tortles. Minotaurs are descended from their winged kin (the enduks), while the winged elves of the Savage Coast (the ee'aar) are an offshoot of normal elves. The origins of phanatons, rakastas, and lupins are unsure, but it seems likely that these three races came from elsewhere, spreading simultaneously to the Known World and the Savage Coast. Ironically, many of the so-called savage races of the Savage Coast (phanatons, tortles, wallaras, caymas, gurrash, and shazaks) are less primitive than their cousins in other parts of the world. Similarly, lupins and rakastas have true civilisations only on the Savage Coast; in other places, they have nomadic tribal cultures. It should be noted that the native races do not consider the area a "frontier," and that term is certainly a misnomer in regard to their cultures. Only the humans and demihumans of the eastern coast think of the region in those terms.

Swashbuckling


The swashbuckling style is important in the Savage Coast lands. Renardy and the Savage Baronies give rise to that type of person: hot-blooded, dashing, witty, and skilled with the rapier or sabre. Adding spice to the campaign, Swashbucklers are found everywhere as wanderers, special army units, heroes, and pirates.

To encourage the swashbuckling style, several weapons and skills from the rapier and wheellock to the two-weapon style specialisation and Panache Point system have been consciously added to these rules. It is possible to build several different types of swashbucklers, from seafaring privateers to forest-dwelling archers. However, even with the skills and weapons available, it is still necessary for the DM to encourage the proper attitude among the players.

One way to do this is to allow a bit more freeform play. Encourage the players to have their characters swing on ropes or chandeliers, try to fight two opponents at once, and so forth. Promote the use of individual trademarks, from a "K" made with a rapier to a rose left at the scene of a battle.

The DM should also note that tumbling is a bonus proficiency for all true swashbucklers. By widening the definition of tumbling, or by simply using a Dexterity check, the DM can encourage daring feats. Whenever a character wants to do something unusual that depends on Dexterity, roll a simple check to see if it succeeds. Add a colourful description and the game becomes more fun for all involved.

Also, remember that a swashbuckler's style is largely dependent on his charisma. Do not be shy about making reaction rolls or Charisma checks, but foster role-playing as well.

Above all, let the players know that whatever they want to try has a chance to succeed if it is done with style.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:35:41 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Red Steel - The Red Curse & Legacies pt. 1
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2012, 11:04:07 PM »
The Red Curse and the Legacies

Though the Red Curse is potentially devastating, ways have been found to channel its magical energies; to some individuals the curse is almost a blessing. The Savage Coast is also home to two unique magical substances, vermeil and cinnabryl, and the latter can be used for protection from the Red Curse.

Basic Effects of the Curse

The fundamental effects of the Red Curse are twofold. First, every person who spends time in the cursed area begins to manifest an extraordinary, magical power, known as a Legacy. Second, if preventative measures are not taken, the affected individual usually suffers a change in physical appearance and an attribute loss. Various side effects of the Red Curse exist. For most people, the acquisition of a Legacy means a loss of health, degeneration of mental or physical prowess, and other equally unpleasant physical manifestations.

For example, someone who receives a Legacy of great strength might gain it only in one arm, which could grow to huge proportions, leaving the rest of the body relatively normal. At the same time, the person would lose Intelligence, forgetting those things once learned and possibly even losing the ability to learn.

However, the magical substance cinnabryl prevents the worst effects of the curse, while allowing individuals to enjoy the benefits. Cinnabryl and other magical substances are used to manipulate the curse's magic to beneficial purposes, even allowing some people to gain more than one Legacy.

Origins of the Curse

No mortal is completely sure of the Red Curse's origins. Indeed, many people search for its cause, sure that once it is found, the curse can be lifted. However, many people enjoy the benefits of the curse, from the personal Legacies it gives them to the chaos it imposes on the region, allowing a clever person to rise to great power.

Following are a few commonly held theories concerning the origins of the curse. Each of these circulates the region periodically as legend, but sages study them all.

The Dragonfall

According to this legend, many years ago, dragons roamed the lands and were often seen in the sky. The dragons met in great conclaves, where they decided how they should be governed and how they should relate to other races.

Then, the dragons began to war among themselves for reasons lost in the mists of time. It is said that the leader of all the dragons was saddened by these conflicts; he had believed that the noble dragons were above the petty conflicts of other races.

Eventually, the dragon leader was able to find out who started the conflict, but doing so cost him greatly, for he had to battle other dragons. Grievously wounded, the dragon leader left the scene of the battle and flew to find the instigator, leaving a great trail of his blood.

The great dragon finally found his hated enemy, a powerful human. They fought for many days. In the end, the dragon won, but only at the cost of his own mortal life. As he lay breathing his last, he laid an eternal curse on all the lands where his blood had fallen. So great was his curse that, in effect, he gained immortality. The red vermeil that blows on the winds is the living remnant of his blood, a reminder of his pain. Because of it, the curse is eternal.

The Araneas and Wallaras

Another tale claims that the wallaras, known to many as chameleon men, once had a great and powerful civilization. Descended from dragons, the wallaras were altered to have smaller forms so they might interact more freely with the human and near-human races and spread the wisdom of dragons to them. They brought many great things to the world.

Then came the araneas. They were evil spider beings who, in their arrogance, conducted strange magical experiments on wallaras, releasing a plague that almost destroyed the wallaras completely. The Immortal patron of the wallaras, the dragon known as the Great One, tried to save his chosen people, but his magic was twisted by the araneas and their patrons. In the end, the wallaras devolved into the race of spiritually rich, yet technologically primitive, people that they are today.

The Great One's wrath was terrible. He brought all his magic to bear and laid an aura of magic over the land. The magic was meant to give every living being in the area a magical power, that they might use it to resist the araneas. Alas, the araneas and their patrons again interfered, altering the magic so that with the power came a curse. All who gained the arcane power would be twisted by it.

Still, the Great One fought against the forces of evil and chaos in a battle beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. He fought the enemy until both sides were exhausted by their efforts, but still the Great One persevered. He knew that he would be unable to act for a long time, too late to save the people doomed by the magic he had initiated. With a great effort, the Great One pulled a bone from his body and smashed it above the area that would become known as the Savage Coast.

The blood that rained down dried and became the powdery vermeil, while the pieces of his bone fell deep into the earth, where they turned into the deposits of cinnabryl, the substance that protects from the curse and allows the Great One's blessing to function properly.

Now the araneas are a hated race, nearly extinct. Those few who still exist hide from the sight of all who care for good and order.

The wording of the curse was such that all who lived in the area would suffer, becoming twisted relics of their former selves. The curse was also to draw the greedy and the power-hungry to the area, leading them away from the rest of the world to a secluded place where they would eventually destroy themselves.

Nimmur and the Manscorpions

This legend states that many centuries ago, beings that were half man and half scorpion roamed the land that would become the Savage Coast. They became friends with the ancient people of Nimmur, the ancestors of the enduks. At first, the manscorpions were friendly, even helpful, but they hid a deep and abiding love for chaos. Eventually, they turned against the good people of Nimmur and against the Immortal patron of both races, Ixion, ruler of the Sun.

Ixion was angered, and he took his blessing from the manscorpions, making them vulnerable to the light and heat of the sun. Wherever they stood, manscorpions burnt to piles of red ash, which we now know as vermeil. The power of Ixion was great, and it sank into the land. Now, all people who live here gain power from the land.

Now, the red ash from the manscorpions flies through the air, poisoning all who live near it and giving them bizarre Afflictions unless they dig to find the receptacles of Ixion's power, the magical metal cinnabryl.

The truth of the Red Curse may never be known; it may contain bits of truth from one of the above stories, or all of them, or none of them. Only the Immortals know for sure, and they aren't telling. It is also unknown if the curse can ever be lifted.

The Magical Substances

As mentioned earlier, the Savage Coast is home to several inherently magical materials. Two basic magical substances are found in the region: vermeil and cinnabryl. Both are useful in several ways and can be used to create crimson essence, red steel, steel seed, and smokepowder.

Vermeil

The most obvious non-living manifestation of the curse is vermeil, a reddish dust found in the soil and air of the region. Vermeil is sometimes referred to as dragon's blood. The substance radiates magic, and since it is omnipresent along most of the Savage Coast, detect magic and similar spells are all but useless there.

Vermeil glows very slightly, enough that it can be seen in the dark, but not enough to light an area, unless in great concentration (which is rare). The presence of vermeil in the air causes strange effects at times, such as glowing winds. Because it is extraordinarily difficult to keep vermeil out of metal during processing, coins and other metal items made on the Savage Coast glow slightly and radiate the same hazy magical aura as vermeil.

Vermeil is unavoidably ingested by anyone living in the area, and many blame the substance for the Red Curse, even referring to affected people (those changed physically or suffering from great attribute loss) as being "tainted" or "under vermeil's curse." However, ingesting the substance causes no harm, and by itself, vermeil has no properties other than its hazy magical radiance and those properties common to normal dust. It does not dissolve in water.

Vermeil is a necessary component of the potion crimson essence, as well as of smokepowder, both of which are described in subsequent entries. Because it is a sort of "generic" magical dust, vermeil is also useful as a component of various sorts of magical dusts, powders, and inks, helping other substances to hold enchantments.

Cinnabryl

Cinnabryl is a rare, slightly glowing, shiny red metal. It is smooth and feels almost slick to the touch, leaving a slight residue, reddish in color, when worn next to the skin (just as a copper bracelet leaves a green-blue residue). Cinnabryl does not hold an edge well but is easily shaped with hammer and heat. It has a density slightly less than that of gold and almost exactly twice that of steel.

When worn next to the skin, cinnabryl protects the wearer from the detrimental effects of the Red Curse. Fortunate (or wealthy) people wear jewellery of cinnabryl to protect themselves from the curse. The metal radiates magic and also gives off a slight reddish glow; its radiance is necessary to make crimson essence. A protective item made of cinnabryl is typically called an amulet, while one designed for the creation of crimson essence is called a talisman.

After being worn by a living being for a while, however, cinnabryl's magic becomes depleted; it no longer protects from the curse. Strangely, the metal's weight decreases as its magic depletes, so someone able to test the material's weight and displacement (a jeweler or alchemist, for example) can determine how long a sample of the material will last before becoming fully depleted. Since its usefulness has a time limit, cinnabryl must be replenished periodically. Consequently, it is in great demand and hunted almost constantly. Depleted cinnabryl is called red steel (see the subsequent entry).

Cinnabryl also has effects harmful to those not suffering from vermeil's curse. This keeps most people from taking cinnabryl away from the Savage Coast. When cinnabryl becomes depleted, these potentially harmful effects disappear as well. See "Effects of the Red Curse" below for full details regarding depletion of cinnabryl and the substance's various effects.

Cinnabryl is found in deposits in many places along the Savage Coast, but only in that region. The deposits consist of clusters of rounded nuggets of pure cinnabryl. These nuggets are generally found in reddish clay, and small deposits of steel seed (see subsequent entry) are often found with them.

Unknown to all but the most learned of wizards and sages, cinnabryl is self-perpetuating while in deposits of red clay. That is, the metal produces more nuggets of itself while in that material. (The Nithians designed cinnabryl to be a self-replenishing supply of magical metal.) This replenishment is a slow process, and it is possible to over-mine deposits, which means the metal might some day disappear from the Savage Coast.

Red Steel

When the magical protective effects of cinnabryl have been completely depleted, the remaining substance is red steel. This is a lightweight, dull red metal (it does not glow like cinnabryl and vermeil). Red steel is hard without being brittle, holds an edge very well, and weighs only half as much as steel. Thus, it is in great demand for the making of weapons.

Because red steel is inherently magical, weapons made from it can strike creatures normally hit only by enchanted weapons, as well as those normally struck only by silver or cold iron weapons. Red steel also holds enchantments well, so along the Savage Coast it is the preferred base metal for magical armor, weapons, and other devices. The metal's popularity is spreading wherever it is traded, but most red steel remains on the Savage Coast, due to the efforts of the Inheritors.

It should be noted that red steel does not conduct electricity well. Thus, it is not considered a conductor for shocking grasp spells or similar effects (though it has no real effect against such powerful electrical forces as lightning bolt spells).

Armor of red steel can also adjust its shape when a Legacy is used.

Crimson Essence

This substance is a potion that grants Legacies to the imbiber. In most cases, the power gain is random and temporary, but some people learn how to control multiple Legacies and use crimson essence to possess extra Legacies permanently.

Crimson essence is a liquid medium created from vermeil and other substances. Once the liquid has been prepared, it is carried close to the body and bathed in the radiance of cinnabryl for a time. Some people create cinnabryl talismans with special holders for carrying their potion vials. When ready to be used, crimson essence glows red and sparkles with reflected light.

Creation of crimson essence requires two months (for an Inheritor) or six months (for anyone else).

Steel Seed

Steel seed is a silvery-red, granular substance found with deposits of cinnabryl. Alchemists and sages have determined that steel seed is cinnabryl that has been depleted of its magic before having been mined. These same wise folk have not determined how the substance becomes depleted, however, because it seems to be different from the organic depletion that changes cinnabryl to red steel.

In any case, steel seed is a somewhat hard, slightly brittle substance that radiates magic in a manner similar to vermeil, but steel seed does not glow. It is something like crystallized red steel, but it cannot be forged into weapons or items as that metal can. Steel seed is an important component in smokepowder and may possibly be useful in other magical preparations. The material is found in small amounts wherever cinnabryl deposits are found. The only known large caches of steel seed are found in the cinnabryl mines near Smokestone City, in Cimarron County of the Savage Baronies.

Smokepowder

In the SAVAGE COAST campaign setting, smokepowder can be created by combining vermeil in a specific proportion with steel seed. In all other respects, smokepowder conforms to the description in the DUNGEON MASTER Guide. It can be made only by someone with the appropriate skill and materials. Smokepowder is relatively common in Cimarron County, uncommon in the other Savage Baronies and Renardy, and rare elsewhere.

Note that detonation of smokepowder can affect the depletion rate of cinnabryl.


Effects of the Red Curse

As mentioned, the Red Curse is actually composed of three different enchantments. The people of the Savage Coast group all effects together, believing the affliction to be a single curse (so they never refer to the "Red Curses"). However, certain terms are used for different effects of the Red Curse. This section of the rules describes each component of the effects of the Red Curse, the time factors involved, and the details of protecting oneself from the curse's detriments.

Generally speaking, the Red Curse affects only intelligent beings. However, animals and monsters have been known to acquire Legacies. Some of these suffer the detriments of the Red Curse as well. Almost all animals of the cursed lands are affected by at least the side effects of the Red Curse.

Benefits: The Legacies

The Red Curse has precisely one beneficial effect: the Legacies. Since this is always accompanied by some malign effect, the people of the Savage Coast never refer to acquisition of a Legacy as a blessing or benefit, but always as part of the curse. The name "Legacy" hearkens to the bane on these lands, for an arcane power gained is considered a legacy of the Red Curse.

The Legacy is the first effect of the curse to manifest. A Legacy is a magical, spell-like power; its use is essentially automatic, but limited, for the user. Legacies are usually directly beneficial to the user but can sometimes be used to aid another.

Detriments: Loss and Change

After a person acquires a Legacy, he begins to lose points from a particular ability score, such as Constitution or Intelligence. The precise number of points lost is variable; the DM should roll 2d4 to determine how many are lost (note that wearing cinnabryl prevents most of this loss). The ability score affected is dependent on the exact Legacy acquired, and is usually more or less the opposite of the arcane power gained. For example, a character who gains a Legacy of Strength loses points from the Intelligence score.

In addition to the ability loss, the character receives another detrimental effect related to the Legacy acquired. In most cases, this is a physical deformation. For example, characters with a Legacy of Armor might grow ugly and uncomfortable scales over their skin.

An individual who suffers ability loss and physical change is referred to as an Afflicted.

Side Effect: Coloring Change

People living in the cursed lands gradually acquire a red tint to their skin and hair. For humans and humanoids, this reddening begins well before adulthood in the Savage Baronies, approximately at adulthood in other lands. The reptilian races, tortles and lizard kin, first manifest redness around the edges of their scales, or in webbed lines through their skin or shells. Furred races like rakastas and lupins gain a red tint to the ends of their hair strands. The winged races ee'aar and enduks redden first at the tips of their feathers.

In all cases, the coloring spreads, eventually causing the whole body to appear red if the character lives long enough. After the initial reddening described above, hair usually colors next, with that on the head acquiring a deep red tint after some time. The exact rate varies, though the rate of spread is rather slow for ee'aar, enduks, gurrash, and caymas; it might take several years for a character of one of these races to acquire red skin, scales, or fur, and they might never get red hair. People of Herath, Renardy, Bellayne, and Shazak redden slightly quicker but never acquire a complete reddish cast. Thus, it might take two to five years for a lupin's coat to turn red, but the color would be limited to the tips of individual strands. In Eusdrians, the skin tone changes little, but a Eusdrian's hair turns a fiery crimson rather quickly, usually over the course of a few months. Wallaras never show any sign of coloring at all.

The people of the Savage Baronies start coloring early, and the process continues rather rapidly. Eventually they acquire a deep, reddish tone to their skin, while their hair often appears to be the dark, blackish-red color of dried blood.

The acquisition of Legacies accelerates this reddening process. A person colors relatively quickly when a Legacy becomes enabled, often serving as a clue that the person has gained the power. In addition, an individual who has acquired a Legacy receives an additional side effect: They begin radiating a slight magical aura. Even those who gain the detrimental effects of the curse but do not gain a Legacy (as with ee'aar, enduks, araneas, and wallaras) acquire this aura. The basic effect of this magical aura is that it befuddles most detection spells. The more Legacies a character gains, the greater the aura.

Characters not native to the cursed lands begin the reddening process when they acquire a Legacy, which gives them a clue as to what is happening to them. Non-natives never color completely, even if they manage to become Inheritors with several Legacies.

The exact amount of coloring a character endures is left to the DM and the player. This should be something of a role-playing choice, influenced by the character's origin and how the player wants the character to look.

Manifestation of Effects

The following text describes the Red Curse's effects on a person not protected by cinnabryl.

For natives, the reddening of skin and hair is typically the first thing to manifest, starting well before the character reaches adulthood, particularly in the Savage Baronies. For all characters, the base starting age can be considered the approximate age of adulthood though most races mature slightly sooner than that.

Most people gain a Legacy when they reach maturity; some develop earlier, while a few gain the power later. Despite what any sage or church might claim about fate, a person's Legacy is essentially random, though related people tend to have related Legacies, and some Legacies are more common in certain regions. In some very small villages, virtually all the people have the same Legacy. The Legacies of the character's relatives and neighbors should influence the choice of the character's initial Legacy.

People who travel into a cursed area after reaching maturity also gain a Legacy unless they belong to a race that does not acquire initial Legacies (araneas for PCs, ee'aar, enduks, and wallaras for NPCs). Non-natives are completely unaffected for a number of days equal to their Constitution score; one day later, the Legacy manifests.

The first indications of the manifestation of a Legacy, in both natives and non-natives, are increased reddening of the person's skin or hair, a tingling in the extremities, and a subdued sense of euphoria and power. This "Time of Grace" lasts for about a week, during which time the person can activate the Legacy once per day. Natives are well acquainted with the symptoms and know that Legacies are activated by force of will. They immediately seek to obtain cinnabryl. A non-native will not automatically understand what is happening and might need to consult a local. Still, the Legacy might be activated in times of stress if the DM deems it appropriate. For example, a non-native whose Legacy has manifested might unconsciously activate it when threatened by a monster. This would certainly be a clue that something strange has happened to the character.

After the Time of Grace, the Legacy becomes fully enabled, and the user can activate it the standard three times per day. This coincides with the beginning of the "Time of Loss," which lasts for 2d4 days. Each day, the person loses one point from the ability listed for the Legacy acquired. If any ability score other than Charisma drops to a score of 0 or below, the character dies. A Charisma of 0 or less simply means that deformation has rendered the character extremely ugly.

After the Time of Loss, the "Time of Change" begins. It is during this period that the physical detriments of the curse manifest. In most cases, the body of the affected individual begins to change in some way. As with the ability loss, this physical change depends on the exact Legacy gained and is detailed with the description of the Legacy. The Time of Change lasts about a week, during which time the body of the affected person transforms slowly. If the person has a Legacy that does not cause a physical transformation, the other detriment(s) begin to slowly occur over this period of time.

Those races who do not gain an initial Legacy still go through the rest of the process the Time of Grace, the Time of Loss, and the Time of Change. As indicated, they do not actually gain a Legacy. However, the DM does determine which Legacy the person would have gained; this dictates the ability affected during the Time of Loss and the physical transformation that takes place during the Time of Change.

Those individuals who have suffered ability loss and physical transformation are referred to as the "Afflicted." Afflicted are considered hideous mutations; they are hunted and destroyed by some people, though their friends might try to obtain cinnabryl to reverse the effects.


Protection: Cinnabryl

When a person's Legacy first manifests, the individual has a few days to obtain a cinnabryl amulet to hold off the detrimental effects. The amulet should remain in contact with the person, which means either touching the skin or separated from it by no more than a thin layer of cloth.

People who do not obtain cinnabryl deteriorate slowly, as detailed in the previous text. If they begin wearing cinnabryl during the Time of Grace, they lose only one point from the designated ability score, shortening the Time of Loss to one day, but this ability loss is permanent. An individual wearing cinnabryl from the beginning does not go through the Time of Change.

Cinnabryl can also counteract detrimental effects that have already occurred, provided not too much time has passed. If a person begins wearing cinnabryl after the first day of the Time of Loss, the loss of ability score points is halted. The process of loss is reversed, and the character regains ability score points until only 1 point below the original score.

Regardless of when a character begins wearing cinnabryl, 1 point is always permanently lost from the ability score. The loss of that point cannot be reversed by cinnabryl.

If an individual begins wearing cinnabryl during the Time of Change, the progress of the transformation halts immediately. Regardless of how long the character has been changing, the time required to reverse the change is 1d6+4 days. The transformation is slow and rather painful.

If the character stops wearing cinnabryl for a time, the detrimental effects of the curse can occur again. A new Time of Grace begins, lasting only one day, after which the Time of Loss and the Time of Change begin, occurring simultaneously. At such a time, the affected person loses the full 8 points from the designated ability score, a process that requires eight days. The transformation requires the same amount of time, and is quite painful. As with the standard Time of Loss, a character can die (or become exceptionally ugly) because of ability score loss. During this combined Time of Loss and Change, the process can be stopped if the character begins wearing cinnabryl. As with the other times when cinnabryl is worn, the process of loss and change stop immediately. However, after this discontinuation follows a period of stasis; the character remains at the ability score as adjusted and in the state of transformation reached for a period of 2d4 days. After this, reversal begins. The ability score returns at a rate of 1 point per day, again until the character's ability is 1 point below the original score. The reversal of the transformation takes longer, 2d4+6 days.

If the processes of loss and change are ever completed, the person is considered fully Afflicted, and special measures must be taken for restoration. See the following section on "Recovery from Affliction."

Everyone with any common sense considers it important to wear cinnabryl from the moment the effects of the Red Curse are first detected. Naturally, this makes cinnabryl a valued commodity. Most people wear an amulet of cinnabryl, simply a piece of jewellery designed to place cinnabryl near the skin. Inheritors wear cinnabryl talismans, amulets designed to hold a vial for production of crimson essence.

Someone who has been affected by the Red Curse, acquiring a Legacy and suffering the loss of an ability point but using cinnabryl to hold off further change, is considered "Tainted" or "Balanced." The former term is used mostly by the common folk, the latter by Inheritors.

Depletion of Cinnabryl

Whenever cinnabryl is worn next to the skin, its magical properties become depleted. One ounce of the material will deplete in a week (seven days), so if an amulet weighing eight ounces is worn, its power drains in eight weeks. It is the amount worn that is important, rather than the number of items worn. A character wearing two bracelets of cinnabryl, each weighing eight ounces, is protected for 16 weeks. Both items are depleted equally, so if the person removes the bracelets after wearing them together for eight weeks, each would be good for four weeks alone. Since the depletion rate of cinnabryl is so vital to the people, they tend to wear one item at a time, usually an eight-ounce item that has been tested and is guaranteed for eight weeks, or a one-pound item guaranteed for 16 weeks.

Note that the weights mentioned here are for cinnabryl that has not been depleted. As mentioned previously, the substance's weight decreases as its power diminishes. The actual weight of cinnabryl, compared with its mass, indicates how long the cinnabryl item will last. This testing of a cinnabryl item can be performed by jewelers, alchemists, smiths, and some merchants and traders. A player character can learn to test cinnabryl without the alchemy skill, but scales and a marked container for water are required, as is knowledge of the simple equation for the test. Only a truly nasty person would mislead another as to the time a cinnabryl amulet can be expected to last, but such a thing has been known to happen.

Note that detonation of smokepowder can increase the depletion rate of cinnabryl. Fortunately for most people, this affects only cinnabryl worn by Inheritors, due to the odd interaction between the magical substances and the Inheritors' bodies, which have been imbued with the magic of multiple Legacies. A smokepowder explosion within two feet of an Inheritor causes the instant depletion of a week's worth of cinnabryl. The amount of smokepowder that explodes does not matter, as long as it is at least enough to propel a bullet from a wheellock pistol (about one ounce).

If the character is not carrying at least a week's worth of cinnabryl, the amount carried is instantly depleted, and any time left over is applied to the Time of Loss and Change (as detailed previously under "Manifestation of Effects") as if the character had stopped wearing cinnabryl. Thus, an Inheritor caught by a smokepowder explosion while wearing less than an ounce of cinnabryl will experience perhaps several days' worth of the Time of Loss and Change, all in a few seconds. Because of this, and the pronounced effects of cinnabryl deprivation, Inheritors try not to allow themselves to be caught wearing less than an ounce of the metal.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:37:50 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Red Steel - The Red Curse & Legacies pt. 2
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2012, 11:12:22 PM »
Recovery from Affliction

Some people become fully Afflicted, either from never wearing cinnabryl or from ceasing to wear it. To become fully Afflicted, an individual must complete both the loss and the change. After this occurs, reversing the detrimental effects of the Red Curse becomes very difficult. Though the remove curse spell normally has little effect on the Red Curse, it is vital in helping an Afflicted recover. The Afflicted must be the recipient of a remove curse spell; the spell does nothing more than make it possible for cinnabryl to be used to reverse the condition. The Afflicted must begin wearing cinnabryl immediately after the remove curse is cast.

During the first week thereafter, nothing happens (except that the cinnabryl depletes at the normal rate). At the end of that week, the Afflicted recovers 1 point lost from an ability score. The character then continues to recover lost points at a rate of 1 point every third day.

Once the ability scores have returned to normal (that is, one point below what they were when the character was originally created), the Afflicted must receive another remove curse spell. This causes the character's physical transformation or other detrimental effect to begin reversing itself. The character must make a DC 15 Fortitude save. If this roll fails, the character can never recover any further and must permanently suffer the effects of the physical change, but if the roll succeeds, the individual's transformation reverses in a process taking 2d4 weeks. The reversal process is very painful and actually causes damage to the character, at a rate of 1d4 hit points per day. Thus, the recovering character will probably require a few healing spells during this period. Natural healing occurs at the normal rate, and the healing proficiency helps as is standard.

A Cure?

As discussed, cinnabryl can protect people from the worst effects of the Red Curse and can even reverse some of these effects. However, no complete cure exists for the Red Curse, only prevention and continuous treatment. It is possible, though more dangerous, to come closer to a cure by leaving the cursed lands and going beyond the safety of the Haze.

Leaving the Area

It is dangerous for a character to leave the Savage Coast after being affected by the Red Curse. Once a person leaves the lands marked by vermeil, nothing unusual happens for a number of days equal to the character's Constitution. However, at the end of this period, the character suffers the loss of any and all Legacies. When this occurs, the Legacy or Legacies activate automatically. Each activation has its maximum effect and duration. After one finishes, the next begins, until the character has used each of his Legacies the maximum number of times allowed. In this fashion, the Legacies "burn out" of the character's system.

After all the Legacies have run their course, the character must make a DC 15 Fortitude save. If this save is successful, nothing else happens, but if it fails, the character loses all but 1 hit point and immediately falls unconscious for 1d4 hours. No healing magic less powerful than a heal spell can help the character during this time.

An Afflicted who leaves the cursed lands regains lost ability points at the rate of 1 point per day (though the initial point lost is still not regained). If the character has undergone physical transformation, this condition is not reversed. However, when the character is outside the cursed area, a remove curse spell cast by a 9th-level priest or a 10th-level wizard can restore the individual's body to its natural state. If the detriment was something other than a physical transformation, the effect ceases when the Legacy is lost. The red tint the character acquired while in the lands of the Savage Coast gradually declines over the course of the next year, leaving the character's hair and skin their original colors.

Any character who wears cinnabryl after leaving the cursed lands suffers the loss of 1 point of Constitution per day. This condition is often referred to as the "red blight." It continues until all Constitution has been lost (at which point the character dies), until the cinnabryl depletes completely, or until the individual stops wearing the cinnabryl.

If characters such as this ever go back to the Savage Coast, they are considered non-native persons entering the region for the first time in regard to the time until the Red Curse takes effect again. Legacies possessed before are not automatically regained. If a character remains in the lands long enough to gain a Legacy, he has a 50% chance of obtaining the same Legacy as was initially possessed and a 50% chance of obtaining something else entirely. In either case, the manifestation of symptoms follows the usual course, including the permanent loss of another point from an ability score.

The Haze

Not all of the red lands are visited by the Red Curse. Vermeil extends beyond the cursed lands into the area known as the Haze, eventually fading out completely. The City-States, Hule, Yavdlom, The Arm of the Immortals, most of Orc's Head Peninsula, and several miles of water all around the coast lie within the Haze.

The Haze creates a type of buffer zone around the cursed lands. Both those with Legacies and Afflictions and those from other lands can enter the Haze without danger. Those with Legacies do not run the risk of losing these powers or suffering from the "red blight." People from other places should be wary, because though they will not become Afflicted or gain a Legacy by entering the Haze, they will not know where the actual borders of the Red Curse begin and could wander into a cursed area accidentally.

Because the red coloring reaches beyond the cursed areas, it is almost impossible to detect exactly where the Red Curse actually begins. To make things more complicated, some even say that the Red Curse shifts periodically, places that were once thought safe suddenly becoming cursed.

The Legacies

As mentioned, the sole beneficial effect of the Red Curse is to grant magical powers, or Legacies, to nearly every intelligent living being that enters the cursed area. These powers draw on the same energies as wizard magic. Even Yazi goblinoids are assumed to suffer all the effects of the Red Curse. Some tribes consist only of Afflicted, while others are able to obtain cinnabryl to protect themselves.

Using Legacies

For the most part, the use of a Legacy is automatic; the character wills it to happen, and it does. The character never has to make an ability check to use the Legacy, nor is any expenditure of points required. However, a Legacy can be used only three times each day, and the exact effects, such as duration or damage, are often based on the character's level.

Most Legacies cause no change in the user's body, but a few require temporary changes. For example, to use Amber Paralysis, the character need simply concentrate, but using Entangle requires that the user's hair or fingers grow and move to entangle an enemy.

For the most part, Legacies are treated exactly like spells. The detect magic and dispel magic spells react with Legacies as if they were spells. The remove curse spell has no special effect on individual Legacies. Since Legacies are like spells, their effects and restrictions are quite similar. For instance, elves are 90% immune to the sleep spell, so they are 90% immune to the Sleep Legacy.

The names and effects of the Legacies are too numerous to list here. Typical Legacy effects mimic spells like fireball, water breathing, charm person, etc.; or a physical effect like sprouting wings to fly, fangs to bite, or scales to act as armor.

Inheritors

Members of any PC race can choose to become Inheritors, pursuing a life path that will grant them more Legacies.

An Inheritor's initial Legacy is gained in the same manner as that acquired by anyone else. As with most abilities, the extra Legacies are gained according to character level. Inheritors acquire a second Legacy when they are initiated at 1st level. They use crimson essence to gain an additional Legacy every third level thereafter. Just as a wizard must achieve 3rd level in order to cast 2nd-level spells, so must the Inheritor reach 3rd level before gaining another Legacy; it is a matter of learning to control the energies. As explained, crimson essence normally grants a Legacy only temporarily, but the Inheritor learns to focus the magic of the potion.

Because of their extreme sensitivity to cinnabryl deprivation, Inheritors are particularly careful to maintain their supplies of the metal. They have even developed special societies, the Inheritor Orders, to control the flow of cinnabryl.

Many people view Inheritors as a sort of "curse police" who control the trade and sale of cinnabryl and red steel. Most known cinnabryl mines are in and around the Savage Baronies (one in Cimarron, two mines and scattered deposits in the Red Lands near Vilaverde, Texeiras, and Torreón), though there is one in Cay (near Hwezzah) and one in each Renardy, Bellayne, and Herath. In addition, Slagovich has a cinnabryl mine, which exports most of the material to the Savage Baronies in return for red steel. Except for the mine in Slagovich, Inheritors have taken controlling interests in each of these mines, and they prevent overmining and artificial inflation caused by nonexistent shortages.

However, most people know only that Inheritors have cinnabryl, charging high prices for it. In some ways, this makes cinnabryl protection an elitist thing, available only to the wealthy. On the other hand, the fact that it serves to keep peasants from ever trying cinnabryl can be viewed as a good thing. Cinnabryl is simply too rare for everybody to use, and the evil effects of the Red Curse are much worse for someone who uses cinnabryl and then stops.

Though Inheritors try to educate others about cinnabryl and the Red Curse in general, it is difficult. Some Inheritors just do not care about what others know, while many folk are not willing to listen to explanations. It is difficult for people to care about economic realities when someone they care for has been transformed by the Red Curse. Many people blame the Inheritors when relatives or friends become Afflicted. These problems lead to difficulty for Inheritors, but they are certainly compensated with ready access to cinnabryl and extra Legacies.

Inheritors have been around for many years, though they went unrecognized and have only recently begun organizing into Orders. Now they are almost always recognized, some regarded as heroes, others as villains. Though villains are avoided, everyone still enjoys the notoriety of having one in town; it is very much an "Old West" sort of attitude, as if Inheritors were notorious gunslingers. In the Savage Baronies, challenges between Inheritors are relatively common, and many Inheritors have flashy nicknames (the Red Avenger, The Crimson Kid, Lord Flame, and so forth).
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 02:44:50 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Red Steel - Inheritor Orders & Other Organizations
« Reply #31 on: March 18, 2012, 10:46:02 PM »
Inheritor Orders

The Order of the Ruby

Inheritors belonging to the Order of the Ruby, once known as the Brotherhood of Order or the Lawful Brotherhood, usually seek to end or reverse the Red Curse. Ruby Inheritors believe that knowledge and control over all matters pertaining to the red curse is the key to removing the curse altogether, and that by gaining Legacies they will better understand the Curse and how to fight it.

Their focus on controlling such things has also led them to gain a strangle hold on the only two cinnabryl mines around Texeiras and Vilaverde, carefully monitoring its output and its distribution. Also, the philosophical ancestors of the Order of the Ruby, the Lawful Brotherhood, founded the LB Trading Company in Cimmaron, a now thriving and powerful business trading in cinnabryl, red steel armor and weapons, smokepowder and the finest firearms in the Savage Coast. Because of this, the Ruby Inheritors are by far the richest of the three Orders and carry the most political sway.

The Order of the Ruby is well known for its controlling of cinnabryl operations. While in Vilaverde and Texeiras there is plenty of cinnabryl for everyone, in areas where cinnabryl is less abundant or harder to purchase, the Order of the Ruby are seen as greedy cinnabryl hoarders. The fact that they are indeed the wealthiest of the orders and that they are concerned about controlling and monitoring cinnabryl trade leads people to believe that they are very hesitant to share cinnabryl and makes Inheritors in general very unpopular amongst the lower class, especially those afflicted by the Red Curse. These accusations of greed are in most cases false, as the Order of the Ruby have a well ordered and fair cinnabryl distribution method to local lords in Vilaverde, Texeiras, Cimmaron and even Saragón who take any real blame for not sharing out the cinnabryl. In Slagovich, Ruby inheritors are despised by the public who believe they are cinnabryl thieves, and in Torreón they are thought of as self important bigots, being put on the same level as Narvaezans. However, the higher class of citizen should treat these inheritors with more respect than those from the Crimson Order or the Order of the Flame, as they relate better to the upper class.

The symbol of a Ruby Inheritor is a large ruby with a rune etched into it, indicating the characters status and rank within the organization. Upon advancing within the order, the inheritor is decorated with additions to his ruby symbol. This ruby is also used as a personal mark, unique to that particular inheritor and is often worn on the left breast or index finger of the left hand. Sometimes, the ruby doubles as a signet ring or sealing stamp, especially so for the Ruby Chroniclers.

Ruby Chroniclers

The Chroniclers are the official research wing of the Order of the Ruby. They are based solely in Boa Mansão, on the third level of the Great Museum in Mansão Square, but also have several rooms dedicated to them at the Mansão Library. They carry out experiments, research and compile information on all aspects of the red curse, cinnabryl, red steel, the afflicted etc. However, the information is not shared with other inheritor orders, and much of it is carried out in secrecy behind barred doors and guarded halls. The head of the Chroniclers, The Chronicler Sage, is always a priest or cleric and holds much influence in the Ruby High Council, having privileges of speech far beyond his/her rank. This elevation of status is also true even for the newest Chronicler members, who are chosen by the Chronicler Sage during their initial training. Chroniclers are always treated with utmost respect by order members because of their important role in reaching the goals of the order. Any mage or priest within the order who learns all the required spells becomes a chronicler, serving either within the library or museum of Texeiras or adventuring throughout the land in search of new information.

The Crimson Order

Once known as the Neutral Alliance, most inheritors of The Crimson Order believe that the Red Curse is a test from the Immortals, both of faith and of peoples handling and use of great power. Good Inheritors of this order believe that Legacies should be used to help others, while those of true neutral alignment believe they must be used to support the balance of nature, and those of evil alignment think the legacies are curses that should be used to test others. The goals of the Crimson Order are focused on helping civilized races survive the Red Curse and bringing awareness of the effects of the curse to the people. Crimson inheritors usually believe that unity is the key to success of these goals, and that by worshiping the immortals people can be protected from the curse.

A Crimson Inheritor's symbol is a length of crimson silk, three inches wide and up to two yards long. This is worn visibly upon their person, either upon the waist, the arms, the head or the shins, but never around the thighs, chest, neck or hands. Higher ranking members have either two lengths of silk, or a wider length, up to one foot wide for Crimson Fathers/Mothers.

The Crimson Order and the Church

The Crimson Order is very closely related to the church and about half of its members are monks, clerics or priests, serving the order from temples or churches (except in Torreón and Narvaez). In Saragón, Gargoña, and Almarrón, even through they are not strongly religious the Crimson Order is more accepted. However, the general view held by the public is both one of fear because of their association with the afflicted and the frightful appearance of their leader, Audra "The Masked", and one of respect because of their willingness to help afflicted and commoners alike. Some believe their religious ways and methods are unnecessary and obsolete. The Crimson Order also takes care of small settlements of the afflicted, dispatching priests weekly to check on their condition and dispense small amounts of cinnabryl.

The Crimson Order also has close business ties with the Mariners Guild, receiving a tax discount in importing cinnabryl from Slagovich, Cimmaron, Vilaverde and Texeiras. Its funding comes mostly from donations, several alchemical businesses and the selling healing services and potions. Further, its adventuring members usually donate most of their gained wealth back to the Order. Also, in Saragón, the Crimson order secretly receives funding from Baron Balthazar de Montejo y Aranjuez and Don Luis de Manzanas.

Because of its ties with the church, most common peoples do not recognize the Crimson Order as being inheritors. Many believe they wear the red sash as part of church ceremony, others believe it is out of respect for the Crimson saints. Thus, members of the Crimson Order less frequently suffer the prejudice of societies unfortunates.

Saints of The Crimson Order

In AC 1000 Cimmaron County's only cinnabryl mine was claimed by an alliance of Yazi gnolls and Chiriquis goblins. The resulting cinnabryl shortage spread throughout Almarrón, Gargoña and Saragón leaving many poor peoples to die from affliction, or be subject to the time of loss and change. It was at that time that a small group of three inheritor priests in Almarrón removed their own cinnabryl to give to the afflicted, sacrificing their own health to save the most needy victims of the red curse. This act of extreme selflessness was heralded as being Saintly, and from that day on, these people have been known as Crimson Saints.

One of the first three saints was Audra Macan, the current Lord Father Crimson, who broke away from the traditional Lawful Brotherhood with his friend Luis to found the Crimson order. Audra had already led a 9 year adventuring career, and continued adventuring for another 5 years after the Inheritors split. He successfully established a reliable (but mediocre) cinnabryl source for the Crimson Order through trade with Slagovich, though it barely meets the Orders needs. More important was his discovery of new clerical spells to combat the red curse, listed in the Red Steel Campaign Book.

Cinnabryl is still in short supply to the Order now, AC 1011, and move will need to be made soon to counter the imminent cinnabryl shortage. The Crimson Order, unlike the Ruby and Flame, owns no cinnabryl mines, instead buying much of its cinnabryl from the free city state of Slagovich, and smaller amounts from Cimmaron, Texeiras and Vilaverde, which are owned by the other inheritor orders. The serious cinnabryl shortage within the order has led to the rise of Crimson Saints.

The Great Conclave

Lastly, the Crimson Order is responsible for organizing the sacred Great Conclave, an event where all inheritors, regardless of their order are invited to come together to discuss arising problems of reducing the number of afflicted, cinnabryl mining shortages, trade of red steel and crimson essence and the sharing of new knowledge about the Red Curse. Conclaves are held annually in the third week of Flaurmont, as spring breaks. Crimson Inheritors often act as mediators between inheritors of the Flame and Ruby, who tend to disagree.

The Order of the Flame

The Order of the Flame is the smallest of the orders. It has also been called the Friends of Freedom, the Chaotic Alliance, and (in some places) the Chaotic Sisterhood. Its philosophies are built around power and freedom. They believe that each man shapes his destiny by his own actions, and that ones destiny is actually a road to power and understanding. Laws are for those who wish to be controlled, boundaries are for those who wish to be trapped, and order is just a facade for suppression. The Flame inheritors also believe that power is necessary to achieve freedom, so that one may battle the 'evil' authorities . Flame inheritors care little about control, and more about having enough freedom and possessions for themselves and their friends. Each member of the Order of the Flame is encouraged to be strongly individualist and gain legacies in order to free those under the iron hand of order. This had led to some rather fanatical behavior.

The symbol of the flame inheritors is a round, red steel disc with an embossed flame on its top. To any non-order members who inspect this, it is solid but strangely lightweight. However, it may be opened, and contains flint, steel, tinder and often crimson essence. These materials are often used in Inheritor initiation and funeral ceremonies. It may be worn anywhere on the body, but during a Conclave it must be clearly visible. Because the Order of the Flame is relatively small, there are no formal markings for rank, as it is made known by the carrying station papers on ones person and word of mouth. However, with the Orders expansion into Torreón, a new marking may be designed.

The Mystery of the Order of the Flame

The Order of the Flame is viewed by the public to be a mysterious cult of some sort. Few people understand their motives or what they stand for but do associate them with having a disregard for laws and boundaries and recognize that they are generally individualists who rarely fit into commoner society. The lack of understanding and the mystery that surrounds the Order of the Flame, generally makes them feared.

Cinnabryl and Holdings

The Order of the Flame has a large influence on the cinnabryl mines in Cimmaron and although they do receive a large percentage (about 23%) of the cinnabryl mined, they do not maintain a strangle hold on the mines like the Ruby inheritors would. Few of the people within the towns of Cimmaron even realize that their cinnabryl is being split between the inheritors, the LB Trading Company, the alchemists guild, the noble families and other factions before it even reaches the merchants.

The Order of the Flame owns several lucrative businesses in Cimmaron, Saragón, Torreón and more recently Texeiras, giving the small order a wealthy income. Businesses include brothels, casinos and taverns. They also have ties with the thieves guild and many alchemists, with whom they trade information, money and cinnabryl for discreet services.

Duties in the Order of the Flame

Duties in the order of the flame are carried out by a small group of people in Smokestone City, including the Great Flame, 20 trusted Advocates and about as many Licentiates again. All other members are told to go out into the world and adventure. The very words spoken at the end of their training days are "Go out and spread the flame, for wherever it burns there will be light!".

Torreón has become a new place for Flame Inheritors to thrive thanks to the Ruby's cinnabryl mine monopoly. A backlash and carefully timed propaganda has led some people to join the Order of the Flame in retaliation. This has opened a new area of growth for the order.

Source: http://pandius.com/inheritr.html
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 02:35:42 PM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - The Skies and Stars
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2012, 04:01:43 PM »
The Skies and Stars

The Skies

The Flying City of Serraine
Ruler: Mayor Santarian Keltander


This city is actually a remarkable flying machine, kept aloft by permanent levitation enchantments and adaptations of ancient Blackmoor jet-thrust devices. Serraine is roughly oval, nearly a mile long, and 3,000 feet wide. One "corner" of the oval points outward instead of being rounded, and a long landing strip has been added to the opposite long edge of the city. Serraine is built in two levels, the city above and the under-city. Serraine, founded and dominated by gnomes, is home to many races, several of whom are interested in the exploration and exploitation of the air.

The population consists of 1,498 gnomes, 125 nagpa (vulture headed-humanoids, see the entry for Varellya, above), 250 tabi (small, intelligent creatures resembling winged monkeys), 10 sphinxes, 80 faenare (winged, bird-like humanoids), 120 pegatuars (elven-featured centaurs with wings, see the entry for Floating Ar, above), 30 harpies, 40 gremlins (3-foot tall humanoids fond of pranks and meddling with mechanical devices), 50 kobolds, 20 orcs, 6 ogres, 100 humans, 70 elves and one cloud giant.

Interesting sites here include a Top Ballista Flying School, a university where piloting skills are taught, and Science Park, a museum of gnomish inventions.

History: In 251 BC, a legendary gnome craftsman named Glimreen Gemeye discovered a jet engine artifact of the destroyed Blackmoor civilization. He and his descendents learned how to use the device in concert with other intelligent races. Over the centuries they constructed an enormous frame, attached flight engines to it, and built a community on it. In AC 39, the flying town made its maiden flight.

Although originally Serraine could stay aloft only for short periods of time, its creators ulitmately learned how to keep it aloft indefinitely. Today, Serraine cruises over the Known World, crossing over settled lands only when those lands are proven to be friendly to the gnomish technicians and their works.

The Stars

The Skyshield

Mystara's Skyshield is a bubble of transparent energy that holds the planet's atmosphere in and makes it difficult for objects to attain outer space. Small objects (with Tonnages up to 1 ton) can penetrate it with little difficulty. Most flying ships capable of reaching the Skyshield at an altitude of 80,000' -- are slowly deflected when they get dose. There are ways for determined adventurers to penetrate the Skyshield, however (see below).

Reentering the atmosphere is much easier than leaving. Ships can break through the Skyshield with little difficulty. They fall rapidly to an altitude of 20,000', then slow to normal Air Speed.

Vortigern's Vortex

The Skyshield occasionally suffers a temporary rip or tear. This my be caused by the passage of objects (meteorites and skyships, as examples) or by natural but unexplained fluctuations in the Skyshield's strength. Whenever a tear occurs, atmosphere escapes into the Void with incredible force. The swam of air creates a freak tornado, known as a Vortigern Vortex (named after the Alphatian wizard who first studied the phenomenon), a whirlhole, or a ripstorm.

These vortices are easy to distinguish from real tornadoes. In clear skies, they appear as shimmering, dancing funnels extending upward as far as the eye can see--all the way to the Skyshleld. They rapidly suck any clouds directly beneath the tear into a ferociously whirling spiral.

If a pilot is crazy enough to sail right into one of these vortices, skilled enough to keep his craft pointed in the direction of the whirling wind, and has a ship sturdy enough to withstand the wind's battering force, he and his ship will be able to penetrate the Skyshield from within the tornado.

Rips in the Skyshkld are temporary and not dangerous -- except to objects caught In the whirling winds. The Skyshield repairs itself, "healing" 100 square feet of tear (a 10'x10' hole) per round. The largest vortex reported was the result of a hole 300' in diameter; It lasted a little more than an hour.

Tubular Breaches

A tubular breach is a reversal of gravity that causes billowing funnels of clouds to rise toward the Skyshield. (An anomaly in Mystara's gravity field causes these dangerous turbulences.) Tubular breaches are temporary, vary greatly in strength, and occur only at very high altltudes (20,000' and above). (A tubular breach was observed once at the peak of a very high mountain in Glantri. Although relatively weak, it picked up rocks and gravel that showered a nearby monastery when the breach ended.)

A tubular breach can be used as a door to space. First the adventurers must find a breach, usually by watching the upper layers of clouds. Their ship must then enter the breach while performing a barrel roll-a perilous maneuver requiring a crack pilot.

If the breach is long enough to penetrate the Skyshield, the ship reaches space safely. If not, the breach flings the ship out into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, and the ship begins a crash dive.

Of course, all sailors and equipment must be properly secured to survive passage through a tubular breach. Few heavy warships or cargo vessels can perform a barrel roll.

Other Routes into Space

Ships may also be enchanted with a spell called reverse gravity to carry them above the maximum altitude allowed by their Lift Capacity.

Would-be space explorers may be brave enough to use magic to create an artificial hole in the Skyshield -- causing a ripstorm in the process. A disintegrate spell will create a 10x10 tear In the Skyshield. Other damaging spells such as fireball or lightning bolt will create a 100 square foot hole for every 40 points of damage inflicted in a single turn.

Other magical means through the Skyshield include traveling ethereally, teleporting across the barrier, or wishing the ship onto the other side.

Space Perils

Two primary dangers face travelers in the Void -- extreme cold and lack of air. A well-designed ship with an airtight hull helps protect against these dangers. Enchantments that provide resistance to cold and a fresh supply of breathable air are essential for any extended travel in space. Ships quipped with create atmosphere and climate enchantments are especially suited to travel through the airless Void between worlds.

Suffocation

Air-breathing creatures caught in space without adequate air supplies may suffocate. In the absolute airlessness of the Void, characters may die much more quickly than they would in the thin upper reaches of an atmosphere. A character can hold his breath for a number of rounds equal to his Constitution score -- half that if exerting himself. After that, he must make a DC 18 Fortitude save each round or suffocate.

A character who has suffocated can recover if air and medical attention are supplied within a number of rounds equal to 1/2 his Constitution score.

Neutral gravity (a type of cosmic glue -- see below) and friction work to counteract the physical effects of the lack of air pressure In the Void. There is no danger of explosive decompression on Mystara's Material Plane.

Freezing

Although the Void between Mystara and its neighboring planets is not at absolute zero, it is colder than an arctic glacier in the middle of a long winter night. Characters exposed to the cold for more than one turn must make a DC 18 Fortitude save each subsequent turn or suffer 1d6 points of cold damage. Heavy winter clothing adds a +1 bonus to the roll. The resist cold spell adds a +2 bonus to the roll, and decreases any damage suffered that turn by 1. Heated environments -- suits, ships, etc. -- can negate these cold effects.

Gravity

Gravity works differently on Mystara's Material Plane than it does in our own universe. Although planets, moons, and asteroids exert gravity in proportion to their mass, objects smaller than 20,000 cn (1 ton) exert no attraction to other objects. Therefore, smaller objects are always attracted to larger objects.

On Mystara's Material Plane, the direction of gravitational attraction depends on the shape of tiie object. Gravity on a roughly spherical body is directed toward the center of the body. If the object is not significantly curved, it has a gravity plane. Unless they have their own propulsion, things that fall off a gravitational object continue falling in a straight line through space until they strike something.

Neutral Gravity

There is another important gravitational effect called neutral gravlty. This is a weak gravitational force that any object weighing over 2,000 tons, such as a large ship or a planet, generates. Neutral gravity simply keeps an object from breaking up and drifting off into the Void of space. Friction does the same for smaller objects, such as ships that are nailed or pegged together. Neutral gravity does not affect anything on an object's surfaces, either outside or inside (in tunnels, on the lower decks of a ship, etc.). Neutral gravity has no equivalent in the common laws of physics affecting other game worlds. Think of it as "cosmic glue."

Planets, Moons, and Other Worlds

Mystara, the site of the Known World and the Hollow World, is only one planet in an entire solar system. There are other planets in the system, and some might be inhabited. There are asteroid fields, rogue comets, and similar wonders to explore -- or to avoid! And right next to Mystara herself are two perfectly good moons for Void travelers to visit.

Matera

This moon, well known to anyone living on the outer surface of Mystara, is a silvery, lifeless, crater-marked satellite. Like the moon of our Earth, it waxes and wanes in a predictable pattern, controlling the tides and lycanthropy, but it isn't very interesting to Mystaran adventurers -- unless, of course, they know of the gateway to the Immortal City of Pandius located in one of Matera's large craters. As of AC 1000, the moon has remained unexplored.

Patera (Myoshima)
Ruler: Emperor Kitahara
Inspiration: Edo Period Japan


Mystara has a second moon, unknown to all but its inhabitants and a very few other mortal creatures. The Immortals call this moon Patera; its inhabitants call it Myoshima. The moon can't normally be seen by anyone outside its Skyshield, due to its core's unusual light-bending properties. It is small, with a circumference roughly equal to 3,000 miles. The central core of Myoshima is extremely dense and magical, allowing a gravity comparable to that of Mystara.

This moon completes a full revolution around Mystara in three days and twelve hours (or two revolutions per week). Myoshima follows an exact polar orbit above Mystara, so that the moon passes above almost every point on the globe. Myoshima does not have a rotation of its own. One hemisphere (nearside) always faces Mystara, and viewers on the opposite side of Myoshima (farside) never see the world they orbit. The pattern of day and night cycles on Myoshima is thus very complex because of Mystara's axial tilt, which provides its seasons. The sun appears to wobble back and forth across the sky over a 3½-day period as it also appears to travel around the Myoshiman globe along a great cycle every 336 days, Mystara's year. (Myoshiman calendars take a year of study to be understood, and its inhabitants have no fixed cycle of wakefulness or sleep.) Nearside usually receives a small amount of light reflected from Mystara.

Full daylight on Myoshima is not as bright as on Mystara, being more like twilight. The sky changes color during a "day," ranging from fiery tones at noon to tamer red and purple hues at dusk or dawn. This happens because Myoshima has a light-reflecting shield at the immediate edges of its atmosphere. This shield bends light rays except at the extreme ranges of visible spectrum. In effect, this causes the planet to be nearly invisible from the outside and allows little light to filter in (only Mystara, Matera, and the sun can be seen from Myoshima's surface). Myoshima's core generates the light shield's effects.

Myoshima is mostly covered by steaming jungles and earthquake-prone volcanic mountains that surround three freshwater seas. Rain clouds cover a third of Myoshima at all times, and precipitation is abundant. The two polar areas of the moon offer at worst a temperate climate.

The vast majority of the sentient population is made of various breeds of rakasta. Unlike the earthly species, these all have darkvision good to 60 feet.

Myoshima is divided into three major political blocks. The largest and potentially most aggressive is the Empire of Myoshima itself, a nation of feudal provinces controlled by daimyos, with a single emperor who rules them all.

Next is the nation of Rajahstan, made up of twelve allied realms. Each realm is a sovereign state ruled by holy gurus (who handle law, education, religion, and internal politics) and maharajahs (who handle the economy, military, and foreign politics). Together these form the Spiritual Council to run Rajahstani affairs as a whole.

The third block consists of many loosely allied petty kingdoms and principalities. Among the more prominent territories are Kompor-Thap (a valley of a thousand hidden temples), Selimpore (a mercantile matriarchy), Malacayog (a nation of headhunters), and Surabayang (fierce island pirates). These territories are politically aligned with placid Rajahstan against imperial Myoshima -- when they are not fighting each other.

Prince Haldemar of Haaken is known to have visited Myoshima, and the Heldannic Knights have apparently had unfriendly contact with the Myoshimans, but Patera has not been visited by Mystaran diplomats or scholars since Prince Haldemar, in AC 965.

Mystaran Solar System

Ixion - The Sun
Valerius (similar to Venus)
Mystara
Vanya (similar to Mars)
Asterius
Tarastia (similar to Jupiter)
Khoronus (similar to Saturn)
Ordana (similar to Uranus)
Protius (similar to Neptune)
Thanatos (similar to Pluto)

Beyond Thanatos is a disk-shaped world created by the Immortal Terra.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:40:58 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Underground Realms
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2012, 04:40:50 PM »
Underground Realms

Shadow Elves' Territories
Ruler: King Telemon
The shadow elves rule an estimated 500,000 square miles of caverns and caves, interconnected by tunnels, cracks and elf-built canals. These underground territories are roughly 6,000 below the Known World on the continent of Brun. Over the millennia, shadow elves have adapted to their strange environment, and have molded and shaped that environment to their own needs. Shadow elf spellcasters have researched strange magics that allow them alter the living rock, grow crops (primarily fungi) in the absence of sunlight, and protect the shadow elves from the intolerable heat of the lava pools and rivers that run through portions of their lands.

Thousands of caves and tunnels -- some stretching for hundreds of miles -- riddle the Shadow Elves' Territories. Some of these passages lead to the surface in Glantri, the Broken Lands, Darokin, and even more distant lands. There is also a tunnel purported to lead to the fabled "Land of the Red Sun." The shadow elves spend considerable time working on these tunnels -- enlarging them and making them safer and easier for travelers. Many tunnels are flooded with rivers (some navigable by boat). Others are wind shafts and bring fresh air in from the surface. A few are filled with molten magma, and may be home to the prized lava fish.

The shadow elves tend and harvest vast stretches of fungus forests created by a combination of naturally-occurring fungus species and magically-adapted species that the shadow elves brought into the area centuries ago.

The shadow elves' capital, the City of Stars, is built on the ceiling of a vast natural cavern. Within this cavern, gravity operates very oddly. A wafer-thin gravity null plane approximately bisects the cavern horizontally, and gravity pulls at uniform strengths in opposite directions from this null plane. This unusual effect is apparently local to the cavern. Within the City of Stars lies the temple of Rafiel, the center of shadow elf spiritual life. The Great Cavern is also the site of two shadow elf towns, the acidic Ebon Lake, and the Mines of Torgord.

Other sites of interest within the shadow elves' territories include Dragon Lake (said to be inhabited by a dragon turtle), the Cavern of Continual Rain, the Warrens (a veritable maze of tunnels and passages home to fearsome maggot-like creatures called the "Boneless"), and the desolate Desert of Lost Souls.

History: Some 2,700 years ago, elves living in what would later become Glantri found and accidentally detonated a powerful explosive device from ancient Blackmoor. Fallout irradiated the elven survivors and drove them underground to seek shelter. These surviving elves lived in the caverns beneath the earth for centuries. They built Aengmor, an underground city, but were driven from it by their treacherous patron Immortal, Atzanteotl.

Eventually the shadow elves found the Great Cavern, with its unusual gravity. On one of its walls they discovered the Refuge of Stone, 14 verses inscribed in the rock by the Immortal Rafiel. The Refuge of Stone promised protection and formed the core of the shadow elves' religion. The elves founded the City of the Stars (named because, when viewed from the cavern's opposite "floor," its lights look like the stars of the heavens that the shadow elves left behind so long ago) and prospered as much as the harsh environment allowed. By AC 1000 there were half a million shadow elves, yet their civilization was barely the ghost of a rumor in the Known World.

The shadow elves' first expedition to the surface ended in disaster, and they soon stopped upward exploration. In AC 330, however, a group of humans exploring deep underground found the shadow elves. The shadow elves' interest in the surface world was rekindled, and they soon sent daring agents to the surface. Over the centuries the shadow elves built up a sophisticated spy network that reached deep into the heart of Alfheim, home of their surface-dwelling cousins. In AC 1007, shadow elves invaded, conquered, and settled Alfheim, renaming it Aengmor after their lost city. In AC 1010, shadow elves exploring in the other direction discovered the Schattenalfen elves of the Hollow World and opened diplomatic relations with their long-lost relatives.

Graakhalia
Ruler: Graakhalia is ruled by a 12-member council (6 elves and 6 gnolls)

This underground society lies beneath the Plain of Fire (also known as the Great Waste), a vast desert west of Sind. It is unusual in that it is shared equally by elves and gnolls.

The Graakhalians' unique society blends aspects of both gnollish and elven culture. But the mix of customs and philosophies has not been even. Gnolls have much shorter lifespans than elves. Because youngsters adapt more quickly than adults -- and pass those adaptations on to their own children -- the Gruugrakh gnoils have been more influenced by elven ways than the other way around.

Life in Graakhalia is harsh; even the thousands of miles of tunnels and caves can support only 25,000 Graakhaiians. The majority are gnolls. Sheyallia elves make up 20% of the population.

Each band of Graakhalians elects its own leader-someone they trust who will protect them from Graakhalia's danger by strength of arms, quick wit, and experience. Bands camped near one another form larger communities that elect their leader the same way.

In addition, the Graakhalians elect a council of twelve members -- six gnolls and six elves. These councillors are almost always individuals who have spent a great deal of time living with and learning the ways of the other race and who have proven their wisdom and
valor. The council decides such things as the guilt or innocence of those accused of serious crimes (murder and abandoning a fellow Graakhalian to his fate in a dangerous situation are considered serious crimes). as well as things that effect Graakhalian society as a whole.

All decisions are reached by majority vote. In deadlocked cases, the council ceremoniously decides by the roll of a sacred wooden die.

Many Graakhalian custom stem from survival techniques the gnolls developed over the first few centuries they occupied Graakh. Others came with the Sheyallia elves. Some of the most important social customs practiced by the Graakhalians evolved during the early years when cooperation between elves and gnolls took concerted effort on the part of both races.



The Graakhalians train giant horned chameleons as beasts of burden and to help in giant insect hunts. They also train giant foot-pad lizards to accept riders. The Graakhalians raise and train blue-furred giant weasels as pets and hunting companions. Some keep more exotic pets (bats, snakes, and the like). Most animals of Graakhalia are looked on as potential food. The really dangerous ones are avoided whenever possible.

Graakhalians cremate their dead amid great ceremony. Family and friends of a deceased elf or gnoll collect flammable plant material and build the funeral pyre beneath a ventilation shaft. A solemn procession of Graakhalians accompanies the pallbearers on the journey from the camp to the pyre, with scouts providing an honor guard and protection against scavengers. Traditionally, at least one family member and the deceased's best friend make short speeches. Everyone who joined the procession stays for the cremation, chanting and singing songs in honor of the dead. When the fire has burned out, friends and family members gather the ashes and carry them to the lower levels of Graakhaiia. There they scatter the ashes, which will be swept by the annual floods.

Every Graakhalian child's education includes the Venallya, or "time of sharing," when the child leaves his own family to live with one of the other race. Traditionally, the Venallya lasts for at least a year. Some children choose to stay longer. The custom helps ensure greater understanding between elves and gnolls, which leads to greater peace.

Formal education in Graakhalia concentrates on survival skills. Very young children learn which areas to avoid; ways to detect dangerous plants, animals, and terrain; and what to do when they get lost. (Stay right where they are unless there is immediate danger; wait until they hear the scouting parties shout their name before doing anything that might attract predators.) Older students learn basic Graakhalian geography, zoology, and botany. Adolescents learn the nitty-gritty rules of survival and how to hunt.

Many parents teach their children to read and write in the elven script, As well as other, more artistic skills.

"Civilized" visitors may be disgusted by some of the things Gnakhalians eat. But Graakhalians must make do with what they can find Staples in their diet include insects, various types of fungus, pale-fleshed fish from the underground waterways, and animals such as snakes, bats, and giant slugs.

The Graakhalians have a strict code of honor. It governs their behavior towards one another -- especially when interacting with someone of the other race -- and towards strangers. Above all, it stresses the need to remain calm and free of passionate emotion (anger, hatred, jealously, etc.) which may lead to hasty judgements. "Wait and see" is the rule of thumb in any situation where someone's intent is not immediately evident.

Graakhalians thus show a degree of cautious tolerance when they encounter creatures that seem even semi-intelligent. They refrain from attacking any obviously intelligent creature without provocation. On the other hand, creatures that have proven themselves to be enemies in the past may be attacked without warning, with no loss of Graakhalian honor.

One simple offshoot of this code of honor is the custom of keeping to the right when passing someone, especially In narrow tunnels. Right hands -- the usual weapon hands -- are thus kept as far from the other person as possible. Failing to observe this custom is not only a breach of etiquette; it may be taken as a sign of hostile intent.

The Graakhalians strictly forbid intermarriage between elves and gnolls. After the disaster with the Tanagoros, due in part to intermingling between elves and humans, the Sheyallia elves were not wiling to risk the consequences if gnollish and elven blood mixed.

Gruugrakh gnolls practice polygamy, although this isn't as prevalent as it is among other gnolls. Males and females -- among both races -- take equal part in personal relationships and in protecting and providing for the community.

History: When the Gruugrakh gnolls first came to the Plain of Fire (a little after BC 1000), they discovered a strange world of caves, tunnels, mutated plants, and unusual creatures beneath the desert. Having nowhere else to go, they moved in.

Their unfamiliarity with the new environment exacted heavy tolls in the first few years. Many of the strange plants -- and some animals -- proved poisonous to gnolls. The caves and tunnels were themselves treacherous, with cave-ins and rockslides common dangers. But there was plenty of water in the form of underground rivers, streams, and pools -- once the gnolls discovered which water sources were contaminated and which were safe to drink -- and enough food to provide for the tribe. They stayed.

Through successive generations, the Gruugrakh gnolls explored the realm they named Graakh (“Harsh”). Trial and error-often fatal-taught them which foods were safe and which areas to avoid. Over the centuries, Gruugrakh shamans and wokani discovered magical and alchemical properties inherent in various rare minerals, plants, and animals in Graakh. These soon became part of the gnolls’ magical techniques and lore.

Occasionally, humanoids from the Black Mountains stumbled into Graakh while looking for new territory or on their way to raid Sind. The Gruugrakh gnolls tried to ensure that no survivors took word of Graakh back to the humanoid tribes in the Black Mountains.

The all-out Invasion the gnolls feared came at last, hut from an unexpected quarter. In BC 528, three thousand Sheyallia elves fleeing from the Serpent Peninsula stumbled into the Plain of Fire and discovered the intricate networks of caves and tunnels beneath.

At fist, they thought they’d found the perfect solution to their troubles; an underground wonderland with plentiful water and abundant plant life. The elves were puzzled by the stone bulldings they discovered in some of the larger caves, but the area seemed abandoned and there were no signs of the mysterious inhabitants. Trusting to their luck and skllls, the elves settled in and began exploring their new home.

The elves soon learned why there were no animals in the area. In one dreadful afternoon, hundreds of elves succumbed as thousands of yellow mold colonies released in deadly clouds their annual load of spores.

The survivors fled deeper into Graakh's labyrinth. They encountered the Gruugrakh gnolls, who attempted to repel them in a series of bloody skirmishes. But the elves had three very important advantages: superior weapons, superior magic;, and some precognitive abilities that had not yet faded.

A number of elves decided to settle in and stick it out. They scouted out areas the gnolls avoided and temporarily camped there while they explored their environment and familiarized themselves with its dangers. Gruugrakh gnolls continued to attack them, hut the elves held them off. Eventually, gnoilish attacks slowed to occasional raids. Eventually both sides saw the need for negotiation. Slowly, with much mutual distrust and a few near disasters, representatives of the Gruugrakh gnolls and the Sheyallia elves tried to learn one another’s language.

At first, the elves and gnolls settled on a compromise that kept the two cultures in separate territories. As the years passed, many elves and gnolls realized mutual cooperation could benefit both races. Elven magic was a powerfui tool for survival, as was the gnollish knowledge of Graakh in all its moods. But distrust between the elves and gnolls remained a constant problem. Leaders of the two communities finally settled on a drastic soluticn. They ordered their followers to cooperate in a number of joint enterprises, with good behavior ensured by an exchange of hostages. For every gnoll harmed or killed by a violent elf, an elven hostage would suffer, and vice versa.

This exchange of hostages proved to be the key to peaceful interaction between the two races. It also served to expose each race to the customs and ways of the others. Hostages gradually ceased being prisoners and became guests instead. Within a century of the elven arrival, some hands of gnolls and elves had taken to camping together. The leaders of both groups encouraged an exchange program in which children of each race spent a year or more living with families of the other race. Hostages as such were no longer needed.

Life in Graakhalia, as the elves called their new home, settled into an ever more steady routine. Elves and gnolls gradually merged into a united Graakhallan society based on mutual cooperation and peace. Members of the two races lived and hunted side by side, their daily life interrupted occasionally by encroaching humanoids or the everpresent dangers of Graakhalia itself.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:44:13 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Hollow World
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2012, 03:26:57 AM »

The planet of Mystara is not a solid ball like our Earth is. In fact, it's hollow. A tiny sun hangs in the center of the hollow, and vast polar openings permit travel between the inner and outer worlds. The interior landscape is called the "Hollow World," a place of ancient mystery.

The polar openings leading into the Hollow World are so huge that their curvature is very, very gradual. That, combined with the fact that these regions are perpetually shrouded in fog, means that people can travel from the outer world to the inner (or vice-versa) without being aware of it.

The interior red sun sheds daylight at all times in the Hollow World; night never falls, and creatures susceptible to sunlight (such as vampires) are rare indeed. The red sun gives the Hollow World a very different look than the outer world. To the first time visitor, colors seem darker, skin hues seem redder, colors are more vivid and seem somewhat unrealistic. This perpetual daylight affects the way people think of time. People sleep when they're tired and eat when they're hungry. Weather is also different in the Hollow World: there are no seasons. Temperate lands are always mild, deserts are always hot, jungles are always warm and humid. But even without the forces that drive weather patterns on the outer world, the Hollow World experiences storms. Once every few sleeps, a storm rolls over a given area, dropping lots of rain or snow.

Satellites ranging from boulders to worldlets the size of large islands orbit the sun, casting their shadows on the Hollow World's surface. The movement of these Floating Continents help the natives of the Hollow World tell time. Some orbit in the airless Void; others orbit within the atmosphere. Many of these "floating continents" support life and may be populated by interesting life forms. Adventurers can find unusual civilizations on these satellites.

Because the Hollow World curves "up," as if the viewer were standing at the bottom of a bowl, rather than "down" (as the outer world does), the Hollow World has no horizon. Someone in the Hollow World staring off into the distance would see land continuing off into the distance as far as the eye could see, until atmospheric haze blurred his vision and he could see no farther; nowhere would he see a crisp, clear horizon as one has on the outer world.

The interior world has long been hidden from the outer world—the few outer-world explorers who have found it have either died there, stayed there willingly, or returned without publicizing their discovery. To this day, the existence of the Hollow World is not generally known in the outer world.

The Hollow World is home to monsters, animal species and cultures that have long vanished from the outer world. Every prehistoric animal species is common in the Hollow World. Here, too, are nations that are ancestors of many of the outer world's cultures.

The Hollow World was set up by the Immortals of Mystara. Their influence, primarily through a powerful enchantment called the Spell of Preservation, has kept the cultures they have planted here virtually unchanged; each culture remains frozen at the cultural and technological level it had attained just prior to being brought here. The maps below show several nations of the Hollow World, all of which lie on the great continent of Iciria.

Important Note: On maps of the Hollow World, the directions of East and West are reversed, an effect of its unique configuration. Therefore, if North is at the top, then West is to the right and East is to the left in the Hollow World.

The Worldshield

Although Mystara is smaller than our Earth -- as well as being hollow -- its gravity is the same. This is due to a layer of magical molten rock that runs through the center of Mystara's crust. Called the Worldshield by the Immortals, this layer of lava produces a gravitational field that pulls things toward it from both sides. Thus, on the interior surface of the Hollow World, "up" is toward the internal sun and "down" is toward the Worldshield.

Not all of the Worldshield is molten. The lava has hot spots and cool spots, and in some areas it's solidified. Natural tunnels and caves -- and a few artificial passages and mines -- can penetrate the Worldshield in these areas. There are even a few spots where the Worldshield remains solid all the way through Mystara's mantle. Tunnels through this solidified lava can provide access between the Hollow World and Mystara's surface. Gravity tends to work in strange ways in these areas, though. "Up" and "down" are erratic at best, shifting with the slow movements of the still-molten Worldshield that surrounds the cooler, solid areas.

The Worldshield is strongly anti-magical. Mortal magic generally does not work within 300 miles of the lava layer. (There are fluctuations to this effect, but they tend to be localized and temporary.) This anti-magic effect extends across both polar openings in a band 600 miles thick.


Magic in the Hollow World

The Spell of Preservation and the Worldshield strongly influence magic in the Hollow World. Not all spells work the way they do in the outer world. (If a spell does not work in the Hollow World, neither do magical items that simulate the spell.) The following types of spells do not work in the Hollow World:

Spells of divination and communication such as Detect Chaos, Detect Evil, Detect Good, Detect Law, Speak with Dead, Commune, Contact Other Plane, and Detect Thoughts.

Spells of summoning, including any spell that summons up any sort of monster.

Spells of instantaneous transportation, including Word of Recall, Dimension Door, Teleport, Greater Teleport, and Gate.

The War of the Immortals weakened the Worldshield. Some spells the Worldshield once prevented from working now work in the Hollow World. For example, lodestones now point to the center of the closest polar opening. The following types of spells now work when cast in the Hollow World:

Spells of holding, such as Hold Person.

Spells of charming and commanding, such as Geas/Quest and all of the various charm spells.

Spells of immortality, including Raise Dead, Resurrection and Reincarnate.

There are many spells that do work in the Hollow World, but are simply unknown to the native inhabitants. These include many combat spells such as Magic Missile, Sleep, Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Confusion, Polymorph Any Object, Cloudkill, Telekinesis, Power Word Stun, Power Word Blind, Meteor Swarm and Power Word Kill.

Immortal and artifact magic is not affected; Immortals can cast all spells normally.

Common Traits of Hollow World Characters

The Common Tongue

Almost every culture in the Hollow World has its own language. However, there is a "common tongue" which every intelligent being in the Hollow World speaks: Neathar. It is an ancient, simple human language, spoken by the Thousand Tribes of Neathar. Many modern languages known on the outside world (including Traladaran, Thyatian, and others) are descended from Neathar.

When Hollow World residents meet outsiders, they try  to speak to them in Neathar; if the outsiders don't respond to any known tongue, the Hollow World residents usually try to teach them Neathar first (because it's invariably a simpler, faster language to learn than their native language).

The World

Most residents of the Hollow World simply call it "the world." Some use the Neathar word for earth, terat, to give a name to the world. Others call it "the world of the eternal sun."

Measurements

Distance in the Hollow World is usually measured in paces, flights, and marches.

A pace is about three feet.

A flight is the maximum flight of a longbow shaft -- 210 feet, or 70 paces.

A march is the usual amount of distance a character travels between sleeps, which is about 20 miles (or 500 flights).

Time in the Hollow World is usually measured in beats, sleeps, and circles.

A beat is roughly the beat of a ceremonial drum -- or a calm, healthy heart. It represents approximately one second of time.

A sleep is the time from the start of one "night's" sleep to the start of the next. Though someone may sleep a few hours, work a few hours, sleep many hours, and then work many hours, in a very anarchic pattern, a sleep averages out to be about 24 hours, just short of an outer world day.

A circle is the time it takes the Floating Continents to go through all their revolutions around the central sun, and corresponds to exactly one outer-world year; that's the way the Immortals arranged matters.

The World-Change

Most cultures in the Hollow World believe that they have been transported to an entirely new world. They tend to elaborate on this belief: They were denizens of their race who were so noble, so great that the Immortals chose to save them, and the Immortals destroyed the true world -- or made it uninhabitable.

Now, this leads to some confusion when members of two different cultures come together, one of whom was more advanced than the other when it was transplanted from the outer world. If he is well-versed in the history of his culture, one will inevitably say to the other, "Yes, our history speaks of your people, a proud race utterly wiped out by disease a thousand years ago; no, the other world still flourished for a millennium after you died out, and was destroyed after we were brought to the world of the eternal sun..."

The other fellow will then think one of four things:

 :arrow: The speaker is wrong: he's from some entirely different world, and is just remembering his history wrong. (An argument usually results.)
 :arrow: The speaker is lying. (A fight usually results.)
 :arrow: The speaker is just misinterpreting history. The world really was wrecked after the earlier race was saved, and the speaker belongs to a degenerate culture which rose pitifully up from the ashes afterwards. (The speaker's to be pitied, really; best not to shatter his illusions.)
 :arrow: The speaker is telling the truth. (This last result is pretty rare; it usually takes an open-minded scholar to come to that conclusion.)

However, even that exchange of opinions is pretty rare. People in the Hollow World don't have much of a sense of history; few ever received the formal education necessary to become a scholar in ancient history. Most people tend to think that they came from teh real world, and every other culture came from somewhere else.

Clothing and Armor

Because of the Spell of Preservation, characters native to the Hollow World always prefer their own culture's clothing, weapons, and armor. This preference is called the cultural bias. But what does it mean?

Firstly, a Hollow World-born character, even a player-character, must refuse to regularly carry and use a weapon or type of armor which is unlike one of those found in his culture. He could use one in an emergency, but would not want to carry it with him or become proficient with it. If he uses a piece of armor or weapon that is like that of his own culture, but looks a little different, he must try to alter it to make it look more like that of his own culture.

Second, a character must refuse to wear clothing unlike that of his culture unless he is physically forced to do so. (Friends do not force friends to do this; it ends friendships quickly.)

Characters in the Hollow World can defy this restriction to a point, but if they do it too much and for too long they will become outcasts to their people. If a Hollow World character leaves the Hollow World, the Spell of Preservation will slowly fade over time.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:50:01 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Hollow World - Geographical Overview
« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2012, 04:04:12 AM »
Geographical Overview of the Hollow World

Azcan Empire:
Inspiration: the Aztecs


This ancient civilization of copper-skinned folk is dominated by jungle and slash-and-burn farmlands. The majority of its population lives in farming villages, but the empire has a number of large stone cities featuring ancient-style stepped pyramids. Although most of the people are of Neutral alignment, the empire is ruled by wicked clerics who obey Atzanteotl, an Immortal of the Sphere of Entropy (Death). Strangers are normally captured and sacrificed in this land, which is much like the Aztec Empire at its height.

Gentle Folk:

These forests are home to pacifistic elves. Their culture is basic (but more advanced than the Neathar) and their society unspecialized; the elves live by themselves or in small family groups. Neither Neathar nor dinosaurs willingly enter the lands of the Gentle Folk. Adventurers may find these lands a haven in which they can rest.

Jennite Lands:
Inspiration: Indo-Scythians

In the plains south of Tanagoro and west of Nithia dwell nomadic barbarian hunters, who follow large herds of aurochs (an ancient breed of oxen). They are fierce mounted warriors with copper skin and brown hair who scorn non-cavalry cultures. They war with both the Tanagoro and the Nithians.

Kingdom of Nithia:
Inspiration: Ancient Egypt


This nation, in the southwestern regions of the continent of Iciria, strongly resembles the real-world setting of ancient Egypt. The Nithians are a brown-skinned race of monument-builders. They are a very reverent people, and their ruler, a Pharaoh, is always a cleric. They are also a wealthy people, grown rich on the grain they export and the gold they mine. The Nithians are the perpetual enemies of the Milenians, even though great stretches of wilderness and hostile tribes separate the two empires.

Kubitt Valley:

Lying south of the Schattenalfen and north of the Milenian Empire is Kubitt Valley. Adventurers who go there tend not to come back. It remains a place of mystery.

Malpheggi Swamp:


This primordial swamp is inhabited chiefly by lizard men with an early Iron Age culture. Their tribal society is matriarchal, and they follow the Immortal Ka. They often guide Azcan and Schattenalfen raiding parties across the swamp to war upon each other. They are otherwise very territorial and, especially, will kill Nithians (their ancient enemies when both lived on the Known World).

Merry Pirates:
Inspiration: the Caribbean during the 1560s

Shipping in the seas off the equatorial coasts of the Azcan and Milenian Empires is often raided by the Merry Pirates, who live on islands many miles to the west. At times, the pirates will land and raid whole towns, and they sometimes raid each others' base towns as well. Their cheerful bluster is legendary, as is their daring. Their culture is much like that of the buccaneers and pirates of the Caribbean, except that there is no gunpowder.

Milenian Empire:
Inspiration: the Roman Empire and Greece under Alexander the Great


Similar to Classical Greece at its height, this empire is protected by hoplite soldiers with crested helms, bearing long spears and sort swords. It controls much of southern Iciria. Its people are well-known for their architecture, building great homes and public buildings of marble, exquisite statues and columned temples, strong roads and defensive walls. Their perpetual enemies are the Nithians and the Schattenalfen, though they are often raided by the Merry Pirates as well.

Neathar Lands:
Inspiration: Cro-magnon humans in Europe during the Ice Age


These prehistoric plains, forests, and jungles are thickly occupied by small tribes of stone-age humans, called the Thousand Tribes of Neathar. The tribes often fight one another, but will ally with one another to drive out an invader. This region has many dinosaurs and other ancient animals per square mile. The Neathar language spoken here is the Common tongue of all the Hollow World.

Schattenalfen Caverns:

Subterranean elves live in the mountains between the Azcans and the Milenians. These are descended from shadow elves who found the Hollow World by accident. Actually taking damage from sunlight (1 hit point/hour), they hate anyone who can withstand the sun. Many follow the evil Immortal Atzanteotl . . . a fact which doesn't prevent the Schattenalfen and Azcans from warring on one another whenever they choose.

Tanagoro Plains:
Inspiration: Zulus of South Africa


West of Nithia dwell the Tanagoro tribesmen. They live in scattered villages, where they herd cattle (aurochs) and grow grain. The warriors are tall, black, and fierce, holding their own quite well against the Jennites, and destroying occasional invasions by both the Nithians and Milenians. Their culture is much like that of the Zulus of Africa.

The Floating Continent of Alphatia:
Inspiration: Atlantis

Alphatia is a mighty continent of magic-users that once lay to the east of the Thyatian Empire; it sunk beneath the waves during the War of the Immortals but was rescued and brought to the Hollow World by the Immortals as a floating continent.

The floating continent of Alphatia is a broad, rich land divided up into numerous interdependent nations. The southwestern regions, the areas best known to visitors from foreign lands, are sunny and temperate, good for farmlands and pastures. The northwestern regions are chilly and mountainous, far wilder and less settled than the south. The northeastern section of the continent is also chilly wilderness; it has few human settlements, but is dotted with wizards' towers and the summer villas of Alphatian nobles. The southeastern part of Alphatia is flatland with rich soil, thick with farms. The central regions of the continent feature deep, dangerous forests where monsters thrive, where dangerous elves live free, and where the most evil of magic-users conduct their grisly experiments.

Eriadna the Wise is the ruler of Alphatia. Raised from childhood to be a ruler of men, she seized the imperial throne from her own father when the man launched a costly, failed invasion of Thyatis and the Alphatian grand council of wizards threatened to remove the imperial throne from her family line. She magically maintains her appearance at 30, though she is actually 80 and has five adult children. Eriadna was killed by the Sundsvall Maelstrom during the War of the Immortals, but she was wished back to life by the Immortal Alphatia once the continent of Alphatia was recreated in the Hollow World.

The Alphatians are not native to this plane. Their original home, far away in another plane, was destroyed in a war of opposing magic schools. The Alphatians came to Mystara and settled, building a new empire based on magic.

There are two kinds of Alphatians: common and pure. Common Alphatians have coppery skin and brown (sometimes red) hair. Pure Alphatians, a distinct minority, have very pale white skin and dark hair. Neither race has a social class advantage in the empire. In the empire, all spellcasters are considered nobles; nonspellcasters have few rights. Spellcasters and nonspellcasters live under different sets of laws, laws which (naturally) favor the spellcasters.

The Floating Continent of Alphatia is nearly identical to the land-bound version previously rested on the surface world: it is as immense now as it was then. With its lofty orbit of Hollow World and its being encapsulated by its own atmosphere, the continent is a world within its own right. Upon its surface rest all of the pre-war kingdoms, each bearing its previous attributes and geographical features. One will notice that certain scars do exist, denoting damage sustained during the sinking. Strangely enough, the common masses know nothing of the sinking or Alphatia's previous existence on the surface, so most afford the damage to memories of some massive earthquake and the resulting fires.

For most Alphatians living upon the floating continent, their memories have been altered to remove any traces of their existence upon the surface world. Only Alphatia's more knowledgeable and experienced citizens retain the true memories of Alphatia's past. For the unaware, Alphatia has always been in Hollow World and the sinking has been replaced by false memories of massive earthquakes and fierce firestorms. This has also done much to explain missing friends and family members: either killed during the war, killed during the sinking and not revived, and those stranded on the surface world.

Antalians:
Inspiration: Vikings c. 500 AD


The Antalians live in rugged, sub-arctic lands on the shores of the Ostzee, at the foot of snow-capped mountains. The Antalians are a grim, fatalistic and stern people, made hard by the lands they live in. They are a pale race, most having golden hair, though brown and red are not uncommon. Both men and women wear their hair long, with men also having beards. Blue, grey, green, and brown are their eyes. They dress in heavy garments of leather, wool, linen, and furs to protect themselves from the cold.

The Antalians are a hard-living, rough people who lead short lives. They hunt and fish their lands, but like the Traldar they most enjoy raiding and piracy, sailing the seas to sack neighbouring settlements with wild abandon. The highest aspiration, it is said, of an Antalian is to command his own pirate vessel, raiding the coasts until brought down at a young age by either hordes of enemies in overwhelming numbers or by an enemy so strong it is deemed an honour to be slain by it.

Traldar:
Inspiration: Bronze Age Greek city-states


The Traldar share some things in common with the civilized Milenians, but they are a feuding and squabbling people. The Traldar live in rugged, forested mountains along a series of peninsulas that jut, like stubby fingers, into the Atlass Ocean.

The Traldar people look like Milenians, but with slightly lighter skin, with brown and red hair being common but also some blond-haired members, which are regarded as special. Both men and women wear their hair long, with the men often sporting beards or moustaches, and the women wearing their hair in tails if married but unbound as maidens. Both sexes wear tunics and sandals, with the men's garment reaching their knees but the women's worn like a gown, all dyed in bright colors. The Traldar speak a language somewhat similar to Milenian.

The Traldar nation is divided into numerous squabbling petty city-states, each ruled by a tyrant or king. They make their living growing crops, herding, fishing, exporting wine, olive oil, and wool and raiding each other and their neighbors. Their culture resembles the Heroic Age of Milenia from the time before the empire in that they, like the Antalians, revere foremost brave and great warriors, and the virtues of the hero, and their epics and bard's tales center on the deeds of these heroes.

Oltecs:
Inspiration: the Olmecs

The Oltecs are a people living in mountaintop communities, of superficial aspect they are similar to the Azcans, but their culture is unique.

The Oltecs have carved their hillsides into ledges and steps upon which they plant their crops. This style of agriculture is unique to the Oltecs, but it is also uniquely suited for this hilly region. The hills here, like those of the Kogolor dwarves and the Schattenalfen, are riddled with caves and caverns going deep into the earth. There are also many canyons and crevasses where the Oltecs can find safety from rampaging dinosaurs. The Oltecs have marked their territories with huge heads of carved stone. These they place around their cities and towns, which are always built on hilltops.

The Oltecs look a lot like the Azcans, being a copper-skinned people with dark hair and eyes. Both men and women wear their hair long, the men binding it with decorated headbands while the women wear it in ponytails or bind it up with combs. The Oltecs wear shift-like tunics, often belted, of dull tan (though the wealthier sometimes dye it in brighter colors).

Shahjapur:
Inspiration: Mughal India


The Shahjapuri inhabit an island realm, and are noted for the rigidity of their social classes and the extreme poverty of the commoners combined with the wealth and power of the rulers. They are a priest and cult-ridden society, a theocracy like that of Nithia.

The Shahjapuri are dusky-skinned natives, slightly lighter skinned than the Nithians, with black hair and eyes. Most Shahjapuri are very thin, starving wretches. Wealthy Shahjapuri are more robust, with physiques like that of the Azcans. Most Shahjapuri wear very little-cotton nappies or simple wraps around their groin, but the richer persons wear fine, colourfully dyed garments of silk.

Most Shahjapuri lead constricted lives, rarely venturing outside of their own neighborhoods or thinking much about philosophical matters (the exception being the samdus and priests). Few leave their communities, except once or twice in their lifetimes for a religious pilgrimage, and discussion of civic and political matters is not engaged in. The Shahjapuri are organized into a rigid social hierarchy, their caste system. Priests are on the top, followed by the rulers of the land and their administrators and soldiers, then the landowners, merchants, and craftsmen form their own caste, followed by the common laborers. Forming another layer of society, not officially considered a caste but in effect suborned below them all, are the untouchables, the unclean ones who are limited to doing the worst jobs and relegated to living in filthy shantytowns outside the cities. These can never interact directly with those of a higher caste. Gender equality does not exist in patriarchal Shahjapur.

Lands of the Brute-Men:
Inspiration: Neanderthals


The Brute-Men live in a wild and untamed region, but are themselves a gentle, even timorous people.

The Brute-Men appear somewhat like humanity, but with heavy hair (almost like fur), sloping foreheads that give them an appearance of stupidity that belies their craftiness, and large jaws and mouths like an ape's. They dress in animal skin vests and loincloths, and speak a rough and barbarous language. They live as hunters and gatherers, simply and without any trace of civilization. But they do have arts and an awareness of the Immortals, painting the caves and rock walls with simple but expressive motifs depicting hunts and honoring the Immortals.

The Brute-Men are remarkably gentle and pacifistic, fighting only when threatened or attacked. They live in caves, moving occasionally if the hunting goes badly or the tribe grows too large. They follow the Immortal Ka-gar, but some are said to follow a darker Immortal known as Tha-to. The shamans who act as priests of these Immortals can be very powerful.

Kogolor Dwarves:

The Kogolor are a mountain folk, dwarves who live in the vales amid the peaks of the World Spine Mountains.

The Kogolor Dwarves who inhabit this land are a stout and robust folk, hearty and gregarious. They dress in tunics dyed in bright colors, wearing coats to protect against the brisk mountain air. They wear doeskin shorts held up with suspenders, which they call lederhosen, and top off the outfit with a short hat with a feather in it. Both men and women wear this outfit.

These are an outgoing, cheerful people, given to feasts and brewing and drinking beers, ales, and mead. They embrace travelers as if they were long lost cousins, feting them, inviting them on hunts, and encouraging them to regale the dwarves with tales of their journeys and exploits. The Kogolor Dwarves are good fighters, but unlike the Azcans or the Antalians, they are not obsessed with fighting. They live as loggers, craftsmen, trappers, herdsmen, and brewmeisters. The males govern, but they allow their women to fight and own property.

Krugel Orcs:


The Krugel Horde lives similar to the way of the Jennites, though they do build some towns along the muddy riverbanks in their blighted lands. They are a bestial, but disciplined people, thriving in their rugged environment.

The lands of these orcs are a scarred and blasted wasteland, more desolate than most of Nithia, fed by long and meandering rivers (the Great Mud and its tributaries), but these rivers are not as fertile as the single River Nithia. None the less, they do provide the lands with enough moisture to sustain life as the inhabitants live it; as pastoralists and in towns, rather than as farmers and in large cities.

Within these lands live the orcs of the Krugel Horde. They have sickly, yellowish-brown skin and heads shaped somewhat like those of the Brute-Men. The Krugel orcs, both male and female, wear their dark hair long. They dress in leather garments over which they wear a rough cloth cloak that they call a tabarko. Topping off this somewhat ridiculous outfit is an equally outlandish hat, with a broad brim. This does have the advantage of keeping the sun out of one's eyes, however.

Like the Jennites to the far south, the Krugel orcs seem almost born in the saddle. They use a bow much like that of the Men of Jen, but their national weapon is a long spear or lance, used from horseback in a mass charge which can be quite fearsome. For the Krugel Horde is a militaristic kingdom, its people organized like a cavalry army. They maintain permanent towns, rather than being nomads like the Jennites, and these towns are ordered like military encampments.

Lands of the Beastmen:


These are a brutal and barbarous race of twisted monsters living in an ice-bound land. The lands of the Beastmen are, if anything, even more harsh and forbidding than those of the Azcans. They reside among the mountains and in lands of tundra and snow near the northern edge of Iciria. This is an icy land, often made even colder by strong winds and blizzards that blow out of the north.

These are not people as such, they are beasts who resemble the form of men in some ways. Their features vary widely, however, with no two looking alike and none resembling even their parents. The Beastmen are true savages, being cruel and brutal in their ways and unsophisticated in their crafts. They have only three interests: surviving the severe environment they live in (and their still more severe fellows), demonstrating their physical might over others, and breeding more Beastmen. They do not seem to think about wider questions, and I doubt they have ever produced a philosopher or scholar among them. Some Beastmen wander into the southern lands to prove their mettle over others, but most are content to stay in their own lands.

The Beastmen live in dome-shaped dwellings made out of ice, which there is plenty of in their lands. They hunt and they fish, and live simply. Though a cruel people, if approached in peace they do not attack first. Instead, they often invite a traveler to dine with them and stay for a sleep, in exchange for telling them stories. These often end up leading to challenges, however. Still, this is the most civilized custom the Beastmen have.

Icevale Elves:

The Icevale elves live in sub-arctic mountain and hill country, always covered in snow. Pine trees and other evergreens cover the hills and the slopes of the mountains up to the tree line.

These elves, like the Schattenalfen, are a vigorous race of warriors, but unlike the dark and malevolent Schattenalfen they are bright and fun-loving. These elves are tall for their race, hardy and strong. Most are light in complexion and blond of hair, with eyes of blue or green. The men cut their hair short and go beardless, while the women wear their hair long. Among the Icevale elves, the sexes are considered equal, with no distinctions among them. The elves wear firs and deerskin garments, with boots lined with down to protect against the cold.

Though they are capable warriors, the Icevale elves do not devote their lives to combat and warfare. They live as hunters and trappers, subsisting mostly on meat, though they also fiercely protect their forests and mountains against despoliation. They travel by dogsled, snowshoes, or by ski. They also use these as forms of entertainment and sport, holding skiing and dogsled races, as well as archery contests.

They like to perform mischievous pranks on unwary travelers, hiding from view while doing so. Some of these pranks can be quite dangerous, as when they destroy provisions, but they seem to mean no harm by them, and if the wanderers take it in stride and do not become enraged, the elves may invite them to guest with them.

Blacklore Elves:

The Blacklore Elf Valley, near the southern polar opening to the Hollow World, is a deep, sheltered crevasse between huge clifflike walls of black rock. A wreath of fog hangs over the length of the valley, obscuring it from view. Tales are told of elves who dress is bizarre fashions and live in metal box-like buildings, and surround themselves with constructs so intricate it would make a gnome perplexed. Obviously, such tales are hard to believe.

Hutaaka Valley:


Nestled between the World Spine Mountains and the Jaws of Ranivorus, the Valley of the Hutaaka is largely isolated from the rest of the Hollow World. Aside from the treacherous mountain passes, the only easy access to the region (sometimes known as the Valley of Dogs to outsiders) is via Lake Menkor. As the lake's only sailors are the occasional Nithian fishermen, visitors to the valley are rare. This, of course, is exactly how the inhabitants of the valley like it.

The Hutaakans are tall, slender, furred humanoids. They look very manlike except for their jackal-like heads and their narrow, clawed hands and feet. Socially, they are divided into three classes: Priests, functionaries, and workers. The priests are the rulers of the Hutaaka; the functionaries are the middle class; the workers do all of the hard labor.

The Hutaakans are pacifists and only fight in self-defense. The only real relations are with the Nithians, who are viewed as inferiors, though at least well-meaning, unlike other humans and non-humans, whose motives may be impugned. At the same time, the Nithians greatly respect the Hutaakans, which further encourages the arrogance and ethnocentrism that they display in their relations with others.

Makai Islands:
Inspiration: Hawaii before contact with Europeans

The Makai are a chain of volcanic islands, which are a virtual paradise. The main island is quite large, with a variety of terrains. From pristine beaches, to rainforest and hills, the island rises to become more mountainous, and is crowned by Mt. Kilethani, an active volcano over 10,000' high. There are plenty of lesser islands, too, all with their own unique charm. It rains here on a daily basis (and in fact, this is how the natives keep track of time), but it is a comfortable rain, and usually not a torrential downpour.

The Makai are a primitive tribe, considered to be Neathar, although they are not anywhere nearly as warlike as those tribes. They are very peaceful, but will fight if threatened. They are amorous and affectionate, displaying their feelings openly, and without shame. Both men (or kane), and women (wahine), wear only breechclouts or skirts, without shirts, or even shoes. Flowers are used to decorate their persons, in their hair, or as necklaces, called leis. The people make their living off of the land, and especially, the sea. They are skilled pearl divers and fishermen, using unusual canoes, called outriggers, to travel the waters. They also gather fruits and nuts from the forests and grow sweet potatoes and taro in small gardens. The root of the taro plant is use to make poi, one of their staples. Personal possessions amongst the Makai are few, and those that they do have seem to be considered tribal property. Items are freely taken (borrowed or stolen) back and forth as needed or desired between tribesmen. And none of them mind at all. This free exchange of property is their natural way of things.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:02:02 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Hollow World Timeline
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2012, 11:04:13 PM »
Hollow World Timeline

BC 10,000: The Brute-Men race is on the decline in the outer world. They are gradually being replaced by hardier, more adaptable races- the Neathar men, dwarves, elves, and halflings. (PWA1012)

BC 6000: The Hollow World is very sparsely populated. Many regions are inhabited by giant reptiles which are now extinct in the Outer World; the only sentient race in the Hollow World is a species of Neanderthal-like near-human. (HW)

BC 5500: Powerful burrowing monsters created by Thanatos infiltrate the Hollow World and begin to corrupt the Brute-Men culture there. (HW)

BC 5300: The Brute-Men tribes begin to fall upon one another in savage, irrational wars. These wars rage, off and on, for three centuries. (HW)

BC 5000: The Immortals destroy the corrupt elements of the Brute-Men culture, and then cast their Spell of Preservation on the Hollow World; now, sentient races placed within the Hollow World will always retain their distinctive characteristics. (HW)

BC 4000: With the situation on the outer world relatively stable, the Immortals confine themselves to placing a few human tribes and a few animal species within the Hollow World; this is a time of comparative peace there. (HW)

BC 3500: A large number of Neathar tribes are placed in the Hollow World so that the original Neathar culture will be preserved. They are placed to the north of the great equatorial mountain range, away from the Brute-Men. They swiftly grow in numbers and spread in all directions through the northern hemisphere. (HW)

BC 3300: Ka now implements Korotiku's ideas for a massive centre of mortal knowledge in the Hollow World. He instructs certain very wise beings of all sentient races to travel to a very secluded mountain valley; there, they are to interact, to build a great library, to accumulate and exchange knowledge. This secret library, protected by Ka all through its history, is to become the Lighthouse. (HW)

BC 3000: The Blackmoor explosion catches the Immortals off-guard; they cannot summon enough power to prevent its most harmful effects. The Blackmoor civilisation is eradicated before they can preserve any part of it. The Oltec and Azcan races are threatened with imminent extinction by the changing climate brought about by the Rain of Fire, so large numbers of both tribes are magically whisked to the Hollow World. They are placed in the land to the north of the great equatorial mountain range; the Azcans are located in the forests next to the sea, which they name the Aztlan Ocean. The Oltecs are placed to their southeast, with a great swamp separating them and the Azcans. Both races encounter the numerous Neathar tribes; the Oltecs leave them alone, while the Azcans wage war on the Neathar, always trying to expand their borders. (HW)

BC 3000-2500: Ka and his ally-Immortals must spend hundreds of years and incalculable magical energy to prevent the sudden change in the planet's axis from destroying whole regions of the Hollow World. The Immortals create new, gigantic, fog-clad openings to the outside world at the location of the new poles, and seal up the former (smaller) polar openings. They also work madly to preserve numerous Known World human tribes from extinction; these include some of the Tanagoro tribes. The Tanagoro are placed in the plains south of the great equatorial mountain range, south and west of the Brute-Men; the Tanagoro think of those races as monsters and keep well away from their hills and mountains. (HW)

BC 2410: It is obvious to the Immortals that the southern elves are doomed, but this leaves them with a quandary. They want to preserve that elvish culture, but not the technologies which nearly destroyed the world. They settle on a compromise: They will magically alter the devices upon which the elves have grown so dependent, so that these devices will operate in only one certain valley in the Hollow World. That way, the dangerous sciences of Blackmoor cannot infect any other part of the Hollow World. Many of the elves of the southern continent are transplanted to the Hollow World. They are placed in a warm, volcanically-heated series of valleys near the southern polar opening, far away from any of the other Hollow World cultures. (HW)

BC 2400: The Immortals are intrigued by the Beastmen. Since they are now beginning to breed in recognisable strains, the original "chaotic" race is threatened with extinction. The Immortals take a few Beastmen tribes, magically restore them to their original chaotic state, and lead them to the Hollow World. They don't magically transport the Beastmen into the Hollow World; they inspire one leader/coloniser to lead followers northward, and those Beastmen eventually wander their way into the Hollow World. They settle in the icy lands near the northern polar opening. (HW)

BC 1800: The dwarves transplanted to the Hollow World, who mostly belong to the Kogolor clans, thrive in their new lands. They have been placed in eastern mountains just north of the great equatorial mountain range, fairly distant from other sentient races; they have occasional contact with the Neathar tribes to the north and west, but are largely left to their own devices. (HW)

BC 1722: The Immortals Odin and Thor have sent whole Antalian tribes into the Hollow World, placing them in icy lands south and east of the Beastmen territories. The Antalians thrive in their new home, happily fighting among themselves, with the Beastmen to the north and with the Neathar tribes to the southwest. (HW)

BC 1650: A surviving clan of Glantrian elves from the outer world finds its way to the Hollow World through thousands of miles of subterranean passages. The tribe emerges in lands thickly occupied by hostile Neathar tribes and dinosaurs; they migrate northward, to lands similar to frozen Glantri, and settle in the mountains south of the Beastmen and west of the Antalians. They call their new land Icevale. (HW)

Atziann, elf-king and sole survivor of his clan, emerges in the Hollow World near the Azcan capital; fascinated by them, and using his magic to move unseen among them, he stays with the Azcans for several years before embarking on his own path to Immortality. (HW)

BC 1600: The Immortal Tarastia preserves several clans of the self-destructing Jennite culture, choosing to save only the more traditional horde. She transfers them to the Hollow World, placing them in the southern hemisphere, south of the forests and plains occupied by the Tanagoro tribesmen. The Jennites begin a fierce rivalry and occasional warfare with the Tanagoro men. (HW)

BC 1500: The elf-king Atziann, now calling himself Atzanteotl, achieves Immortality in the Sphere of Entropy and begins his plans to corrupt the Shadow Elves and the Azcan race. He begins whispering to selected Shadow Elves and Azcan rulers of the power and glory he can bring them, and lures them away from their faiths. Increasing numbers of Shadow Elves (especially those of the Schattenalfen clan) turn from the worship of Rafiel to that of Atzanteotl; likewise, many Azcans turn away from Otzitiotl and Kalaktatla. (HW- note that Shadow Elves didn't begin to worship Rafiel until finding the Refuge of Stone in 1104 BC- see GAZ13)

BC 1494: A terrible plague strikes Chitlacan, killing almost two-thirds of its population. Atruatzin, himself a survivor of the disease, is driven from Chitlacan by his rivals, who are secretly supported by the Immortal Atzanteotl. Atruatzin and his loyal followers retire to the mountain fortress of Quauhnahuac. (HWR1)

BC 1484: Driven by the whispers of Atzanteotl, and his own fears that Atruatzin may reclaim the throne, the treacherous new Azcan emperor leads a massive assault on Quauhnahuac. Everyone found in the fortress is slain or sacrificed, but of Atruatzin there is no trace. The priests curse the land on which Quauhnahuac is built, and sow salt among the ruins. (HWR1)

BC 1470: The Chochomecs (an Azcan tribe) desert Atacalpa, migrating to Oltec lands of the east. (HWR1)

BC 1468: Atruatzin and his followers find a resting place, where they build a temple to the old Immortals. They name it Mictlan, after the legendary land of the dead. (HWR1)

BC 1420: The underground elven wanderers stumble upon Mictlan, and overthrow the humans. Those elves who have been seduced by Atzanteotl declare that the temple is sacred to him, and he has given them victory over their enemies and a place to call home. These elves become the Schattenalfen. Most of the elves are uneasy about this alien Immortal, but they are weary, and so they settle and build the city of Aengmor. Atruatzin escapes alone. (HWR1)

BC 1400: A colonising party of Shadow Elves, mostly Schattenalf followers of Atzanteotl, retraces the path of that earlier, lost expedition, and finds the Hollow World. They emerge just north of the great equatorial mountain range, right in the middle of the Kogolor dwarf territory. They immediately begin a war against the dwarves, whose lands they want. The Immortal Kagyar causes Denwarf, the former leader of the Outer World's dwarves, to help the Kogolors against the Shadow Elves. (HW)

BC 1395: The Schattenalfen are badly beaten by the Kogolor dwarves and must break off the war. They continue travelling west, to an area not infested with dwarves, and settle there. But due north of their new lands are the Azcans, whose culture and architecture are disturbingly and insultingly like theirs (a result of Atzanteotl's guidance of the Schattenalf culture, though they don't know this); the Schattenalfen hate these people, whom they see as a mockery of their culture, and begin an ages-long war with the Azcans. (HW)

Kagyar places Denwarf in a state of suspended animation, transferring him to a cavern deep beneath the Dengar caverns of Rockhome. (HW)

BC 1290: Atzanteotl surrounds Aengmor with lava, slaying many underground elves. The survivors flee into the deepest tunnels and recesses below the Broken Lands. (GAZ13)

BC 1000: In the wake of the humanoid invasions, the Immortals are quite busy selecting endangered cultures for preservation in the Hollow World. The Traldar and many other cultures are preserved in this fashion. The Traldar are placed on the coast of the Aztlan Ocean right where the great equatorial mountains reach the ocean; they call that body of water the Atlass Ocean. They're south of the Schattenalfen and north of virgin territories. They quickly spread out to inhabit all their mountainous seacoast lands. Not co-operative enough among themselves to form an empire, they occupy themselves with pirate raids into Azcan territories. (HW)

Many Makai are transplanted to the Hollow World to preserve their culture in the face of Nithian assimilation. Placed in an archipelago south of the equator, they resume their carefree, peaceful existence. (HW)

Meanwhile, an expedition of Shadow Elves leaves the City of Stars in an effort to find the path to the surface world. Instead, they find their way to the Hollow World, where they are fatally poisoned by the rays of the eternal sun. Some of them make it back to the City of Stars with news of their voyage, but all soon perish. (HW)

BC 900: Atruatzin visits Quauhnahuac. (HWR1)

BC 896: First Shadow Elf exploration to the surface world ends in disaster with few survivors. They find only a fiery, deadly, red sun. (GAZ13- note similarity to BC 1000 entry above)

BC 795: Atruatzin completes the Path of the Polymath and achieves Immortality; he joins the Sphere of Matter. (HWR1)

BC 500: The Immortals gather up great numbers of Nithians, those untouched by the evil of Thanatos and Ranivorus, and transplant them to the banks of a great river similar to the River Nithia in the Hollow World. They swiftly rebuild their civilisation. They are near only to the Tanagoro warriors and Jennite riders to the west; they begin on-again, off-again wars against the Tanagoro and Jennites to seize their fertile plains and acquire slaves. (HW)

With the destruction of the Nithians, the Immortal Pflarr, insulted by the Nithians' betrayal, turns his back on the outer world. He turns his attention to the Hollow World Nithians, and sets up a colony of Hutaaka in a sheltered valley of the Hollow World- west of the Brute-Men, north of the Nithians. (HW)

The Immortals also cure and transport remnants of the Malpheggi lizard men race to the Hollow World, placing them in the great swamp between the Azcans and the Oltecs. Both the Azcans and the Schattenalfen find mercenary allies among the Malpheggi. (HW)

Kepher becomes the first Pharaoh of Nithia in the Hollow World. (HWR2)

BC 492: The Immortal Karaash takes pity on a band of particularly valiant orc-warriors led by their chieftain, Krugel. Trapped by dwarves during their assault on Rockhome, surrounded in the Sardal Pass, and in imminent danger of being wiped out, they demonstrate ferocity and gallantry unusual in orc-warriors. Karaash transports them to the Hollow World, to the arid plains north of the Kogolor dwarves. (HW)

BC 450: Krugel, leader of the Hollow World orcs, dies. In his lifetime, he has transformed a couple of hundred followers into a well-trained, well-motivated, well-supplied horde of conquest minded plains riders, who now take his name to honour him. They will be called the Krugel Horde. They continue to attack and sack communities of the Neathar to the west and the Kogolor dwarves to the south. They do not want to conquer lands; they want loot. (HW)

BC 322: A Schattenalfen attack annihilates the southern Azcan city of Axateotl for the seventh, and last, time. (HWR1)

BC 250: The Immortal Korotiku, charmed by the cleverness and ruthlessness of the pirates of Thyatis, transplants several communities of them to the Hollow World, establishing them in equatorial islands not far from the territories settled by the Traldar. He has conceived an interesting experiment for the Hollow World. He's decided that it would be interesting to populate one area of the Hollow World seas with pirates, creating a new culture which is exclusively piratical. (HW)

BC 100: The newly-transplanted Milenians begin to reforge their civilisation along its original lines. Placed on the virgin seacoast far south of the Traldar lands, they have the warlike Tanagoro and Jennite races to their east. They build their empire on the coast and in lands seized from the Tanagoro and Jennites, who become their recurring enemies. (HW)

AC 50: An Alphatian wizard, by magical experimentation with wood-imps and pixies, creates a small humanoid race he calls the Kubitts. They average a foot and a half tall; he gives them their name from an old Milenian word for the measurement a foot and a half. He makes them independent and strong, but when he tries to force them to perform deeds against their wishes, they rise up against him and kill him. The Immortal Vanya, smitten by these diminutive warriors, transplants the entire race to a hidden jungle valley in the Hollow World. (HW)

AC 319: The Battle of Antistis is fought. (HWR3)

AC 322: The Battle of Thessamera is fought. (HWR3)

c. 400-500 AC: The Flamaeker gnomes of Serraine, while test-firing a new steering device for the flying city, accidentally tear off the section of the city housing their clan, and rocket into outer space. They are rescued by the Immortal Garal Glitterlode, who transports them to the Hollow World. There, removed of their memories of the event, they are placed on one of the small floating islands that orbit the Hollow World sun. Eventually, they create a device that will allow them to steer the flight path of their new home. (PWA1010)

AC 422: The Battle of Corisa is fought. (HWR3)

AC 425: Minrothad traders unwittingly introduce lycanthropy to the outer world nation of Sind. Shapeshifters already present in Sindhi society seize the opportunity to ally with the lycanthropes, and begin to take over the nation. Fearing this would irrevocably alter the Sindhi culture, the Immortal Ka transports nearly half of the population to the Hollow World, on an island in the Anathy Archipelago. They name their new nation Shahjapur. (PWA 1011, CoM)

AC 431: The Battle of Philipponia is fought. (HWR3)

AC 442: The Battle of Hierophrastes is fought. (HWR3)

AC 490: Kobolds invade gnomish holdings in the Falun Caverns, in the outer world nation of Soderfjord. In danger of being utterly destroyed, the Immortals transport several of the gnomish clans to the Hollow World. One such clan, the Valoin, is placed upon a tiny island orbiting the Hollow World sun. There, they are free to experiment with their flying gas bags, eventually inventing a device that allows them to steer the course of their flying island. (PWA1010)

c.500 AC: Phaistos is born in the town of Pharos. (HWQ1) Hutaatep, last of the southern Pharaohs of Nithia, rules in Ranak. Upon his assassination, the palace of Turak is sealed. (HWR2)

AC 500: Korotiku now transfers whole pirate villages of Ostlanders to the Hollow World, placing them among the other pirates. Within a few generations, the Ostlanders merge with the other pirates. (HW)

c.527 AC: Phaistos receives a vision from Halav, and makes a pilgrimage to a magical fountain. Upon drinking from the fountain, he becomes the oracle of Halav. (HWQ1)

AC 515: The Battle of Epithon is fought. (HWR3)

AC 535: A fleet of Merry Pirate vessels pillages the town of Pharos. The Imperial Navy of Milenia manages to intercept the pirate fleet, and traps them in narrow waters where they lose the advantage of their speed. The Merry Pirates are destroyed in the Battle of Pharos by the Milenian Navy. (HWR3)

AC 612: The province of Pelai attempts to secede from the Milenian Empire. Outraged, the Emperor and Senate agree to send the full might of the Imperial legions upon the rebels. The secession is quelled at the Battle of Pelai, though anti-imperialist sentiment remains to this day. (HWR3)

c.650 AC: The female king of the Northern Delta in Nithia passes on. There will not be another female king of the region for nearly 350 years. (HWR2)

AC 657: The Battle of Platea is fought. (HWR3)

AC 658: The Battle of Palleas is fought. (HWR3)

AC 659: The Battle of Cythera is fought. (HWR3)

AC 672: Bergeya is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 687: Rollodir is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 700: The Immortal Korotiku adds Hin (halfling) and human pirates from the Ierendi islands to the area he calls the Merry Pirate Seas. (HW)

c. 768 AC: The Blood Brothers, Koresh Teyd and Simm of the Grasping Dark, are created by the dark magicks of a Nithian sorcerer. (HWA3)

AC 772: Catriata is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 778: The steering mechanism that allows the Flamaeker gnomes to control the flight path of their flying island jams, sending it on a collision course through the Hollow World skies. It smashes into the flying island of the Valoin gnomes, inextricably linking the two islands, and destroying the flying mechanisms of both. The new flying continent of Valoin-Flamaeker is forever stuck in its new orbit. (PWA1010)

c.795 AC: The Blood Brethren have managed to bring the Nithian Empire under their control, through the use of powerful magicks. The Nithian Pharaoh himself bows to their will. (HWA3)e

c. 800 AC: The Blood Brethren are forced to flee the Nithian Empire while being pursued by a Nithian mob. They manage to escape to the outer world in the belly of one of Thanatos' annelid burrowers. (HWA3)

AC 800: Caryldian is born. (HWAdv)

AC 814: A massive Schattenalfen invasion is turned back at the Battle of Huixtla. (HWR1)

AC 815: The attempt to carry the war onto the Schattenalfen lands ends in ambush and disaster at the Battle of Wondyviel. (HWR1)

AC 867: Olynthos is born in the town of Demtor. (HWQ1)

AC 883: Olynthos becomes a professional wrestler in the Milenian Empire. Though a talented athlete, he is eventually expelled from the Games for cheating. Disgruntled, he joins the Imperial Army. (HWQ1)

AC 899: Olynthos, now a gifted politician, manages to be elected Senator. He serves several terms before finally being elected Emperor of Milenia. (HWQ1)

AC 900: The Immortal Thanatos begins to spread his influence among the Shahjapurans, through support of such sects as the Kirtanta, a group of assassins. (PWA1010)

AC 902: Bifric is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 920: Eriadna is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 935: Manpac Sun Watcher is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 940: A boatload of refugees from the Stonecarver culture, driven ashore by a titanic hurricane, found the town of Colima. (HWR1)

AC 942: The Azcans defeat the Schattenalfen at the Battle of Ploiec, and are consequently able to maintain the Tepetitlan gold mines. (HWR1)

Chupicuaro is born. (HWR1)

AC 944: Kiuss is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 946: Irila Kaze is born. (HWA3)

AC 947: Amnethon is born. (HWR3)

Strabos is born. (HWR3)

AC 948: Xanthipon is born. (HWQ1)

AC 949: Birth of Moctitlapac, future Tlatoani of the Azcan Empire. (HWR1)

AC 950: Adronius is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 952: Necco the Black is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 954: Kjodar Triudar's Son is born. (PWA 1012)

Al Fatmah Nikita-Ahmed is born. (HWR2)

AC 957: Pythion is born in the city of Dophius. (HWR3)

Caracanomnos is born in the Valley of Night, in the Milenian Empire. (HWQ1)

AC 959: Amnethon becomes the youngest student ever accepted into the Imperial Academy of the Arcane. (HWR3)

c. 960 AC: Permon, future Vizier to Ramose IV, is born. (HWR2)

AC 960: A group of Heldannic Knights, exploring outside of Mystara's Skyshield, discover the northern polar entrance into the Hollow World. After crash-landing in the anti-magical zone around the entrance, they manage to drag their ship through the opening until it is able to fly once more. After exploring the new world, they find and settle a small island in the Anathy Archipelago which they name Stonehaven. (PWA1010)

Strabos' father is killed and his family sold into slavery for the harbouring of a fugitive. (HWR3)

Al Fatmah Nikita-Ahmed is drafted into the army of Nithia. (HWR2)

Djemun, future nomarch of Menkara, is born. (HWR2)

AC 961: Zorok is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 963: The Azcans discover the Stonecarvers at Colima, and send a small troop to wipe them out. The Colimans prevail, however, and maintain their way of life. (HWR1)

Moctitlapac's eldest brother falls down the length of the Pyramid of Atzanteotl, breaking his neck and dying. None suspect it was no accident. (HWR1)

Dogrel is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 965: Haldemar of Haaken, captain of the Princess Ark, enters the Hollow World through the southern polar opening. He and his crew embark on many adventures therein before exiting once more through the southern opening. (Dragon Magazine #161)

AC 966: Jan Hembeek is born. (PWA 1012)

Al-Belak, future king of the Southern Delta of Nithia, is born. (HWR2)

AC 967: After the last of his brothers dies in an "accident", Moctitlapac becomes the single claimant to his father's throne. (HWR1)

Tythus is born in Corisa. (HWR3)

AC 968: Krameos is born into one of the wealthiest families of Milenia. (HWR3)

Malinalxoch, daughter of Moctitlapac, is born. (HWR1)

AC 970: Ramose IV is born. (PWA 1012)

Tibernos is born, in Tyrnus. (HWQ1)

Senkha is born. (HWR2)

AC 971: Ug-Rum is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 972: Moctitlapac is installed as Tlatoani- Emperor of the Azcans. (HWR1)

Anna von Hendriks is born. (PWA 1012)

Dagos is born. (HWR3)

AC 973: Myrina is born to a wealthy family of Corisa. (HWR3)

AC 974: Helentia if born, the daughter of a wealthy Citizen of Corisa. (HWR3)

Hestios is born. (HWQ1)

AC 975: Korolo Togoro is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 977: Raya is born. (PWA 1012)

Amnethon is elevated to the status of High Magus of the Imperial Academy of the Arcane. (HWR3)

AC 978: Heldannic explorers in the Hollow World become aware of the existence of the gnomish nation of Oostdock, on the floating island of Valoin-Flamaeker. They covet the hot-air powered dirigibles of the gnomes, and make efforts to conquer the island. (PWA1010)

Geredek is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 979: Karl Hundkopf is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 980: Adronius is elected Senator. (HWQ1)

The Battle of Tihuantepec is fought, in the Azcan Empire. The Azcan general, Otziltipac distinguishes himself in his defeat of Neathar invaders. (HWR1)

Al Fatmah Nikita-Ahmed joins the medjay (secret police) of Nithia. (HWR2)

AC 98: Zorena, daughter of Zorok, is born. (HWAdv)

AC 982: Azcotica is born. (PWA 1012)

Na-Do is born. (PWA 1012)

Tiradon is born. (PWA 1012)

AC 984: Dagos is initiated into the priesthood of Halav in Corisa. (HWR3)

Tythus' father is assassinated by a political rival. Disgusted, Tythus joins the Imperial Army. (HWR3)

985 AC: Adronius is elected Emperor of Milen. (HWQ1)

Trudar is born. (PWA 1012)

Kano Arrow's-Whisper, son of Queen Doth of High Gobliny, is born. (HWA1)

987 AC: Emperor Adronius and Myrina are married. (HWR3)

Chupicuaro is appointed Huitlaktima Teohuatzin- Atzanteotl's High Priest of Huitlaktima. (HWR1)

Tassia Red-Hair is born. (HWQ1)

Udan Axe-Thrower, son of Queen Doth of High Gobliny, is born. (HWA1)

989 AC: Rathkya is born. (PWA 1012)

990 AC: Krogada the Itchy is born. (PWA 1012)

992 AC: Tythus, now an officer in the Imperial Army, leads a garrison of troops against an invading Jennite army. Despite being outnumbered 2 to 1, Tythus leads his men to victory. (HWR3)

993 AC: Following a series of victories against invading Jennite hordes, Tythus is promoted to the rank of Lord High General of the Imperial Army of Milenia. (HWR3)

994 AC: Kleom is born into slavery in the town of Portos. (HWQ1)

995 AC: Dagos becomes the youngest high priest of Halav in the history of the Milenian Empire. (HWR3)

996 AC: Krameos of Tyrnus is elected Senator. (HWR3)

997 AC: Helentia becomes the youngest high priestess of Milenia in the history of the Milenian Empire. Shortly thereafter, Helentia and Dagos are wedded. (HWR3)

Myrina becomes the leader of the Cult of Matera. She is given the secret nickname of "Matera's Handmaiden." (HWR3)

1000 AC: Haldemar of Haaken returns to the Alphatian Empire with his ship and crew. He meets with Empress Eriadna and informs her of his journey to the Hollow World. Shortly thereafter, she begins to make plans to dig a tunnel down to this new world; the island of Aegos is chosen as the site for the tunnel. (Dragon Magazine #164; WotI)

Tassia Red-Hair is inducted into the order of Halav. (HWQ1)

1,001 AC: Tibernos is elected Senator. (HWQ1)

1,004 AC: A Heldannic skyship arrives at Corisa. Trade negotiations are begun in the Senate, but personalities soon collide. The Milenian leaders realise the Heldanns are bent upon conquering all nations of the Hollow World. Talks end with the skyship impounded and its crew imprisoned. (HWR3)

1,005 AC: The Heldanns brought an invisible menace with them- plague. Thousands of Milenians perish before the disease runs its course. Heldannic spies arrive to investigate the disappearance of the skyship. They find allies among the "Kings of Milenia" and agree to support a revolt. Long sympathetic to the Kings, the people of the city of Pelai revolt, declaring independence from the Empire. Weakened by the plague, imperial forces are driven from the city. (HWR3)

The Immortal Thanatos, working together with his minions the Blood Brothers, attempts to corrupt the Spell of Preservation in the Hollow World. His plans are thwarted by a group of adventurers, aided by the Immortal Asterius, and Thanatos himself loses much of his power and influence among the Immortal hierarchy. (HWA series)*

1,006 AC: Kleom is granted his freedom. He moves to the town of Corisa in search of his mother. (HWQ1)

Backed by a flotilla of Heldannic skyships, the rebel army grows, sacking the city of Laroun and taking the Island of Amora. The Empire nears collapse as minor revolts spring up in other border provinces. However, Emperor Adronius fully recovers from the plague, as does the rest of his massive army. To regain the confidence of his people, Adronius takes to the field of battle himself. Zealous Milenian phalanxes storm the cities of Pelai and Laroun, reclaiming them. The Heldannic flotilla retreats in defeat. (HWR3)

1,007 AC: A year of relative quiet and restoration follows. Though tension remains high among the formerly rebellious provinces, the Milenian Empire is whole once again. (HWR3)

1,009 AC: As a side effect of the doomsday machine of the Brotherhood of the Radiance, the Hollow World's sun is extinguished for one sleep. The people of the Empire panic. Riots, murder, and madness grip Milenia. (HWR3)

During the Sleep of Darkness (as the Milenians term it), Emperor Adronius is slain by a mob while en route to an emergency session of the Senate. (HWQ1)

A Zargosian sorcerer named Caracnomnos appears before the Senate and forces them to elect him Emperor of Milenia or else the Zargosians will not return the sun to the sky. (HWQ1)

Sometime after the Sleep of Darkness, a mysterious new continent appears in the skies of the Hollow World. All attempts to visit this new land are met with failure. (PWA1010)

Hestios travels to the Shrine of Glory and becomes scribe to Phaistos the Oracle. (HWQ1)

1,010 AC: Senator Tibernos of Milenia arranges for a party of adventurers to recover the Milenian Sceptre so that Emperor Adronius can be restored to life. Caracomnos is overthrown, and Adronius is proclaimed Emperor of Milenia once more. (HWQ1)

Abbreviations: CoM = Champions of Mystara boxed set; Dragon = Dragon Magazine (Voyage of the Princess Ark); HW = Hollow World boxed set, HWAdv = Hollow World boxed set (adventure book); HWA1-3= Hollow World Modules (Nightwail, Nightrage, Nightstorm); HWR1= Sons of Azca Gazetteer; HWR2= Kingdom of Nithia Gazetteer; HWR3= Milenian Empire Gazetteer; HWQ1= Milenian Sceptre Module; PWA = Poor Wizard's Almanac.

* Date for this series of modules (the HWA series) is based on the age given for Koriktodeva Raya in HWA3 (28 years old) and the birthdate given for him in the Poor Wizard's Almanacs (977 AC). As the module series probably takes place over several months' time (given the travelling to and from across the Hollow World), a suggested timeframe is to set HWA1: Nightwail and HWA2: Nightrage in 1004 AC, and HWA3: Nightstorm in early 1005 AC. This way, the modules take place around the same time as the beginnings of the Wrath of the Immortals stuff (when things are sufficiently chaotic for Thanatos to make his move), but not too far into things, when Immortal action is really high.

Source: http://pandius.com/hllwtime.html

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Blackmoor
« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2012, 02:42:18 AM »

Before there was Karameikos -- before there was Thyatis -- before there was the land of Norwold -- before the cruel Nentsun built their longships or the Four Kingdoms fought their deadly wars -- before the dread Alphatians fell from the sky -- before all this, there was Thonia.

Not the Thonia of present day Mystara (1019 AC). No. That barren, frozen Thonia is but a pale shadow of the Thonia that was, and the mind can but weep at the sightless vision of its past glory. Full 4,000 years ago, and 3,000 years before the crowning of the first Emperor of Thyatis, whose coronation marks the beginning of the current age, that elder Thonia was torn apart and half drowned in the vastest cataclysm Mystara has ever known.

Fearful was that time -- a waking horror when the earth shook and the skies burned. And when it was done, Thonia was no more. The land existed, yes, but its cities were tumbled, its pride humbled, its culture a poor tattered thing lacking the will even to continue. A few survivors sailed to a new land, which they called Thonia in memory of all that they had lost. But it does not bear and never bore the least resemblance to the waking dream of elder Thonia -- The Golden Empire.

In the far north of what was elder Thonia, where for half a millennium a vigorous border province called Blackmoor had dominated the affairs of the empire, the gray seas lapped unbroken save for a few islands that were once uninhabited peaks. Of the towns and castles of the Northlands, there was -- nothing. All were swallowed up by the sea. And when the land again rose up from that vast deep, it had been scraped clean. What was not destroyed by the waters -- the mountains and riverbeds, the cliffs and lakes -- were soon buried under a half a mile of ice, as climatic changes wrought by the catastrophe made the Northlands into a howling glacial wilderness. When the climate again shifted to more or less its original pattern, the very face of the land had changed. It was as if, said men, a curse from an angry and vengeful Immortal had utterly and purposefully obliterated Blackmoor and all her works. And the name of Blackmoor, itself, became a curse.

It was in Blackmoor, you see, where the cataclysm originated. Not a cataclysm of nature, but a cataclysm wrought solely by the hand of man. For a thousand years, first as a half-forgotten province, then as an independent kingdom, then as a keystone of a faltering empire, Blackmoor had followed its curious destiny. There, far from the ken of the great wizards of the Thonian capital, men discovered wild magic, stronger than any at the empire's center. By blending this magic with the arts of science, they forged tools of awesome power, devices to tame seas and raise mountains. It was these that gave them a place of pride in the empire. It was these that were their undoing.

None in the present day know which of the devices of the Blackmoor philosophers set off the chain of disasters that destroyed the land. Even the names of such machines have been lost. All that is known is that some accident occurred, and Blackmoor sank beneath the seas, its shattered shores becoming a broken wasteland.

But of the sinking of this fabled land -- another time! Now we speak of other things. Of a time a thousand years before the cataclysm. Of a time when Thonia was still master of the world, and Blackmoor but its least and newest province. Of a time when men were just learning to use the wild magic, and the new science was but a glimmer in the mind of a petty baron in the wilds of the North.

Four thousand years before the Emperor of Thyatis donned his crystal crown and built his petty dominion upon the body of Mystara, the Great Empire of Thonia was already in decline, not for the first, but for the third and final time. For a millennium, the degenerate, perfumed Emperors of All had sat upon their silk-lined thrones and dribbled precious stones and provinces through their fingers with equal alacrity. Like squalling peasant brats who play at princelings and smear their gruel amid infant locks, these poor excuses for rulers had squandered with no thought for the morrow the strength their forebears built with sweat and blood. Yet so great was Thonia in its time, that it had taken a full 1,000 years of such rulers to bring it to pass where men could see the ghostly outline of the ending of its days.

It was in the third month of the fifth year of reign of the Emperor Iyx that a message came to Mohacs, the capital and greatest city of the empire. There was movement in the west -- a great migration of wild hillmen pouring from the high, cold lands of the Goblin Kush across the Plains of Hak and toward the empire. At news of this event, the Emperor of All yawned and ordered slaves to bring him a cooling ice to cut the pall of the summer heat. The movement of some raggard tribe of skin-clad beggars across a trackless plain not even part of the empire was of no importance to he who ruled Thonia.

Thus, offhandedly, was the empire doomed and the spark of rebellion struck in the tinder of the Northlands.

It seems that the Immortals did not intend for Blackmoor and the North to long remain free of conflict and carnage. And so, the western Afridhi barbarian tribes began their eastward march under their religious prophet Toska Rusa.

The Afridhi, the Children of Fire. For, in their legends, fire is the gift that allowed them to live in their high, cold land. Without fire, there would have been no Afridhi. And fire was the gift of their great Immortal, Zugzul the One. Consequently, the Afridhi worshipped Zugzul with a fervor foreign to most lowland cultures, where the life was easier and such simple gifts less appreciated. So great was the Afridhi awe of their Immortal that they made his high priestess (called the Mistress of God) the head of their state and accepted her word as law.

Thus it was that when the new high priestess who took the bride name Toska Rusa (Rosy Dawn) pronounced that it was Zugzul's will that the Afridhi leave the mountains and pursue their further destiny in the lands to the east, the wild hillmen began to move. No undisciplined savages, these; they had for long years been subject to the iron law of Zugzul and his high priestess. Thus, while they had the individual warrior traits of great courage, stamina and weapon skill found only among wild peoples, they also had the sense of order and discipline common to more civilized troops. This marriage of strengths made an unbeatable combination.


The Northern Barons took note of this movement, informed by mundane spies, but did not yet consider it a true threat. The Afridhi had hundreds of leagues, and several other nations, to cross before they could make to threaten the North. The barons shrugged, put a few more sentries on the western border, and returned to more immediate troubles.

By 1005 TC (Thonian Calender), the Afridhi had conquered the Vale, crossed the plain of Hak, and threatened the western borders of the Duchy of Ten. Their clan soldiers covered the land like a tide; Toska Rusa and her disciples wielded divine magics like none the North had ever seen. They hunkered down for the winter, but everyone in Ten, and beyond, knew that the siege would come with the first spring thaw.

Indeed it did, and the Afridhi struck hard. It would be unfair to the valiant efforts of the Tenian forces to say that the barbarians’ victory was easy, but with each assault, each push into the duchy, they retained just a bit more land, the defenders a bit less. Blackmoor watched these events unfold through spy and spell, and grew concerned indeed.

As the barbarian advance continued, Baron Uther of Blackmoor and the other Northern lords petitioned the Empire for permission to aid Ten in their struggle. When their reply arrived 1008 TC, they found they had been rebuffed. Even as the Afridhi advanced, showing no willingness to coexist with others, Thonia insisted the North hold back while the Empire attempted to negotiate.

In what is now known as the “Terror in Ten,” the Afridhi completed their conquest in 1013 TC. Entire villages were sacrificed to the dark Afridhi Immortal Zugzul. All temples to the Thonian Immortals were destroyed or defaced, and most of Ten’s population — with the exception of a few scattered resistance fighters — pressed into service of Toska Rusa. Suddenly, Blackmoor had a vicious enemy sitting right on its border, something Uther and the others had desperately tried to prevent.

When the Afridhi made their first incursion into Blackmoor territory, it took the form of a lightning raid against the Barony of the Lakes. The baron was able to repulse the attack, as it seemed intended more to judge fighting strength than to actually acquire land or resources, but he determined that warding off the Afridhi was not sufficient. Against the wishes of the Empire, but with the support of nearly every northern baron, he launched a counterstrike that destroyed an Afridhi border community.


The Empire responded by sending a force to arrest him for treason, a force that was met at Booh by the armies of Uther and other barons. The Imperial troops were forced to withdraw, only to return months later in greater numbers and drive Uther and his loyalists completely out of Blackmoor city.

When the Thonian military grew distracted with other matters — such as the siege on Bramwald by orcs led by Funk II — Uther returned to Blackmoor at the head of an army of loyal supporters. Working from within, the Cabal used spell and sabotage to cripple the Imperial forces’ ability to fight. Uther had reclaimed Blackmoor without a drop of blood being shed.

Standing once more at the forefront of the Northern Barons, and by this time completely unconcerned with the desires of the Empire, Uther led the combined forces of the North against the next Afridhi advance, meeting them in the infamous Battle of the Neck, by Lake Temperance. Cabal wizards and arcane warriors marched as part of that army. While Uther technically lost the Battle of the Neck, being forced into full retreat, it was a pyrrhic victory for the Afridhi at best. They lost over 10,000 soldiers in their “victory,” far more than Uther lost in defeat, and proved unable to advance any further. Fuming, the Afridhi retreated back into Ten.

Uther and the Northern Barons had gone too far for the Empire ever to forgive them, and they knew it. Taking the bull by the horns, Uther declared himself King of the newly founded Kingdom of Blackmoor, a region fully independent from the Thonian Empire. In a ringing declaration, he called for "all men of conscience, who would fain see their loved ones in the chains of tyranny and injustice stalk the land" to join him. The Baron of Glendower and the Baron of the Lakes immediately rallied to his call. They were soon joined by a handful of other men, some noble, some mere adventurers, who swore to defend the new crown to the death.

The commanders of the new army were called the King's Companions. They included some of the greatest warriors in the entire history of Thonia -- and together, they wrought a miracle. It took five years of steady campaigning to end the threats to the new kingdom. Twice, the empire was beaten back from its borders, the second time losing most of an army in the Crystal Peaks. Twice, the Egg of Coot's minions ravaged the northern coast only to be beaten off by one of the King's Companions. The Skandaharians and the Afridhi each fought the kingdom once, the Afridhi getting all the way to Blackmoor before being sent reeling back into the Duchy of Ten.

In the end, Blackmoor prevailed. Toska Rusa decided to bypass the Northlands for the present and resume her march south of the Dragon Hills. Blackmoor's other enemies licked their wounds, and peace returned to the North.


With peace, came the real fruits of rebellion. New lands opened up. Settlements were planted between the Crystal Peaks and the Wurm River. Commerce again began to yield profits. Most important, the new king was able to realize a dream first nurtured by his father. He started a new university at Blackmoor to be a center of learning in the North. Here, he invited not only humankind, but elves and dwarves and halflings, all of whom had allied themselves with Blackmoor during the rebellion. The first tentative steps were taken toward a union of the four races that now shared the North in peace.

Yet the kingdom still had enemies. In the capital of the Thonian empire, they called the new king Black Uther, and he was hated by the emperor with a special hatred reserved only for members of his own twisted family. In his Great Nest north of Blackmoor, the evil Egg of Coot counted his losses at the hands of Blackmoor's army, and he too decided that he hated the new king with a special hate. In Blackmoor itself, wizards who for generations had held secret their arcane knowledge saw that the new university must make knowledge available to all and, thus inevitably, lower their position -- and they, too, hated Uther and formed the Wizard's Cabal to utterly throw him down.

It is in this time period, when the kingdom was new and had not yet embraced the science and wild magics that would cause the cataclysm, that characters may come from Blackmoor.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:05:56 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Blackmoor - Maps
« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2012, 02:48:22 AM »
The Blackmoor region


Mystara at the time of Blackmoor (4000 BC)

« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:08:17 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Blackmoor - the Kingdom of Blackmoor
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2012, 11:14:26 PM »
The Kingdom of Blackmoor

The Kingdom of Blackmoor stretches across a large portion of the North. With its capital in the city of Blackmoor, the realm stretches west all the way to Lake Gloomy, home of the Baroness of the Lakes. To the east, Blackmoor stretches to the North Sea’s shores. The southern side of Rat Lake, bordering the Dragon hills, marks the kingdom’s southernmost. This broad expanse of land encompasses most of the Westryn realms as well. However, the kingdom of Blackmoor has only limited ties with the Westryn, and Blackmoor does not lay claim to their lands. The Westryn ignore borders and rarely venture beyond their forests.

Blackmoor’s reigning government is a monarchy. Blackmoor is a hard land and requires a sturdy and capable leader. Leadership in Blackmoor comes in the form of its king, Uther Andahar. The baron of Blackmoor when it was a part of the Thonian Empire, Uther rejected the Thonian Emperor’s mandates to pursue peace with the Afridhi even as they pressed closer to Blackmoor’s borders. As the Afridhi forces crossed the Misauga River, Uther rallied his forces and repelled the Afridhi invasion force. The Afridhi suffered heavy losses, forcing them to retreat back across the river —where they remain to this day. In light of Uther’s impressive leadership, the region’s other barons supported his claim to Blackmoor’s throne. They swore fealty to him and his promise to defend Blackmoor from invasion.

Currently King Uther controls his lands through a system of baronies.

To avoid continued bloodshed after repulsing the Afridhi, Uther secured peace with Blackmoor’s major races. The kingdom of Blackmoor recognizes the sovereignty of the Cumasti, dwarven, halfling, and Docrae nations and landholdings (even those that lay in areas
claimed by the kingdom) in exchange for a tight alliance that emphasizes mutual defense and open trade routes. The only major races missing from this alliance are the Peshwah and the Westryn elves. The Peshwah continue to search for their own solution to the Afridhi advances. This search is costly, and rumors say that a Peshwah alliance with Blackmoor is inevitable. The Westryn maintain no animosity or belligerent intentions toward the North’s other races, but they prefer to stay neutral as they are mired in their own conflicts.

The Regency Council

The Blackmoor Regency Council manages the North’s intricate alliance. One representative from each allied race sits on the council, along with some luminaries from Blackmoor’s academic circles. Each major culture sends a group of potential council members to the king so that he may handpick his advisors. Many appointees adventured and fought alongside the king and have earned these esteemed positions because of their abilities and proven loyalty. Uther trusts the council completely. In fact, he has ordained that the Regency Council shall take control of his kingdom should something untoward befall him.

While the council is meant to provide an open forum for all participants to air grievances and create or rescind legislation, the king has the final say on the council’s actions because of his strong bond of trust with the membership. The other races place high value on his leadership and his wisdom and have come to view him as their honorary leader.

Baronies in Blackmoor

Blackmoor’s powerful barons are responsible for maintaining peace as well as expanding Blackmoor’s borders by further settling the frontiers. The Thonian emperor originally established the baronies to encourage nobles to leave their established lands and settle the northern wilderness of Blackmoor. Settling such a wild area proved a considerable — and often deadly — task. After many decades, the seeds of infrastructure planted by those first barons have begun to mature. While Blackmoor is still considered a frontier, some areas show considerable growth and robust economies.

The barons are charged with collecting taxes, encouraging trade, and expanding their lands through the growth of settlements along the frontier. In exchange for this service, the barons are awarded large pieces of land and the right to rule in their regions. The barons raise and maintain armies to assist in this effort. The baronies and their leaders are listed below.

Blackmoor’s Current Baronies
Newgate - Great Svenny
Glendower - Bascom Ungulian
The Lakes (South Pim) -  Rissa Aleford
Dragonia  - Peshwan na Shepro
Archlis  - Wolper Gannet
Maus  - Piter Rall
Bramwald  - Bram Tagus

Uther's Decree

When Uther Andahar became Blackmoor’s king, he issued a decree to the region’s nobles. Because of the dangers of living on a frontier, Uther and the Regency Council mandated that all nobles of all races loyal to Blackmoor are required, upon reaching maturity, to spend five years traveling throughout the land in service to their people. Only after a noble completes this test, called “validation,” can she assume power.

The decree was designed to encourage communication between traveling nobles of different races, and it serves as a rite of passage into nobility’s upper echelons. This decree has an interesting effect — it is responsible for keeping the nobility’s growth to a negligible amount, as many have proven unable to survive for even five short years in Blackmoor’s wilds. Those who do survive are much wiser for it and become well known as strong and reputable leaders. Uther is praised for this decree and for providing the common folk with such ready access to their future leaders of Blackmoor. The Peshwah and Westryn mock and ignore this order, as they have their own rites of passage. They see the test as weak and pathetic since no real danger comes to those who travel carefully out of harm’s way.

Life in Blackmoor

City Life

A typical Blackmoorian city resident is a hard-working laborer. With the frontier’s land-owning opportunities, many Thonians left their homes to settle Blackmoor and increase their wealth through the land’s rich lumber and natural resources. Blackmoor’s harsh winter sent many of these immigrants into the cities where they now serve nobles or assist in the local economy as merchants, barkeeps, or entertainers.

Many skilled craftsman also inhabit Blackmoor’s towns and cities. In the largest cities, craft guilds require such craftsmen to obtain membership in order to practice their trade. These guilds charge administrative fees to the craftsmen; in exchange, they prevent non-guild craftsmen from taking work in the area and thus competing with the members. Some cities employ local craftsmen to expand the settlement’s defenses as well as build homes and shops.

Wooden houses are common in Blackmoor. These dwellings are often roofed with slate shingles, but may be crafted of lesser materials depending on the proximity to the frontier and the fl ow of trade through the region. Homes are built in very proximity to each other, with just a few feet of space separating them. A typical Thonian’s home is populated by his immediate, and sometimes extended, family. An entire family often serves a single noble. Such a family may be housed within servants’ quarters on the noble’s estate.

One of the challenges facing city-dwellers in Blackmoor, and one which they can unfortunately do little to alleviate, is the frequent shortage of goods. Supply and trade routes are long and dangerous in the North, and orc and beastman raiders destroy or steal goods bound for cities. In Blackmoor’s most remote regions, these raiders also attack outlying farms; these raids have caused extreme food shortages on more than one occasion. Entire cities depend on the success of a single crop in order to feed the populace. Most cities have a network of rural farms that provide their produce and livestock. Should these resources fail, the community’s survival is jeopardized.

For protection, most cities keep a small complement of warriors under the local baron’s command. Larger forces garrison some border settlements. The taxes a city raises are used to better fortify and protect the settlement with new walls or small keeps, as well as to maintain the warriors and guards. By royal decree, each baron must improve the city’s defenses in any year in which the community shows a profit.

Education

Extended formal education on a frontier like the North is uncommon. Education’s particulars are left to cultural demands. Elves, dwarves, and halflings all provide formal education for their children as they mature as part of their social contracts. Humans, the most recent inhabitants of Blackmoor, put little emphasis on education. Many villagers rely on travelers and wandering clerics to teach them the most basic skills of reading and writing. Some barons provide minimal education to the children in their lands. A barony’s warriors often trade portions of their pay for formal education. Those who live in cities can send their children to the local temple of Odir for edification. While not complete in any sense, this jumbled schooling leads to a reasonably educated, literate populace.

Education for the nobility is much more extensive. Nobles are taught geographical and political subjects, as well as foreign languages and the customs of the land’s various cultures. Nobles also receive basic combat training so they can participate in their holdings’ defense. This education is designed to prepare them to occupy their positions in a dignified and effective manner.

University of Blackmoor

The University of Blackmoor provides a home for scientists and researchers to continue their studies alongside the more traditional history and humanities. The University’s libraries are expansive, but pale in comparison to their counterparts in the Thonian Empire. The majority of the University’s students are of noble background or are the children of prosperous merchants. The rest are from various allied races and lower class individuals. Most hail from the immediate region, but others travel from far away to learn the fine skills of clockwork engineering or the sciences of alchemy, biology, and physics. Fletcher William oversees the University of Blackmoor and prevents the students from causing trouble in the city. He also informs the king of new discoveries made at the University.

Life on the Frontier

By far the most dangerous place to live in Blackmoor is the rural frontier. Those who seek to become landowners risk their own lives, and the lives of their families, in the wilds. The frontier is saturated with monsters and undead horrors that frighten away all but the most stubborn or bravest settlers. Some frontiersmen are able to establish quick settlements with other like-minded individuals. Barons and local temples subsidize these settlements with horses, tools, and materials. Nobles seeking appointment often sponsor settlers in an effort to expand their own lands and to garner favor with the king.

The typical frontier inhabitant lives in a log cabin or thatched hut, homes that can be built swiftly so that the inhabitants may focus on other matters. Settlers sponsored by a temple quickly build shrines for protection before they build permanent shelters.

Life on the frontier is a daily struggle for survival. Constant raids reduce the numbers of settlers, as does the search for food. Hunters find plenty of food for their families, but are likely to encounter trouble with the beasts and monsters that share the land’s resources.

If a rural settlement grows to a population of thirty and shows promise, a baron may grant the settlement an official name and appoint the founder as the settlement’s sheriff. The baron provides the new sheriff with a small complement of warriors to help protect it’s the village’s continued growth. Though still a dangerous task, frontier settlement can be a tempting mechanism change in a common Thonian’s life. Each year many such settlements are founded, but most are destroyed before they can establish a foothold.

Magic in Blackmoor

While magic is a common element of life in Blackmoor, the ability to manipulate it is not. Commoners do not fully comprehend the use of magic and are afraid of it. In an effort to avoid trouble, where common folk may witness them, wizards are very careful to avoid spellcasting, beyond minor tricks and harmless chicanery, unless absolutely necessary. Some spellcasters are not so reserved and must deal with the area’s magical authorities if they are caught.

In recent days, the presence of magic-users has led communities to form “sorcerer gangs:” vigilante squads that openly seek and attempt to capture sorcerers and renegade spellcasters. Many magic-users have been carried away during their daily spell preparation and stoned to death on the mere suspicion that they might cause trouble or bring horrid monsters to the area. Magic-users learn that drawing attention often draws trouble as well.

The Wizards’ Cabal

With the formation of the Wizards’ Cabal, Skelfer Ard determined that one of the organization’s responsibilities would be the protecting the populace from harmful or dominating magic. Over the years, its influence has waxed and waned, but today the Cabal dispatches arcane warriors to police various regions and cities in the North. These warriors have the authority of the Cabal and King Uther to regulate and control magic in populated regions. While many still fear magic-users, they respect and welcome arcane warriors and view them as the chief defenders against renegade sorcerers.

The Cabal also requires all of their graduates to spend one year serving one of Blackmoor’s nobles. This service allows the people to see the mages’ work firsthand and makes quite a difference in the populace’s perceptions. The people have begun to trust the Cabal’s representatives, though they still hold strong fear and prejudice toward those who do not openly belong to that organization. This unfortunate reality causes a number of sorcerers to hide their magical abilities from their families and friends. Many sorcerers deny their abilities completely in an attempt to maintain a normal life. Those who refuse to do so find themselves facing the Cabal’s arcane warriors or, worse, inquisitors.

Sorcerer Gangs

In towns where anti-magical sentiment runs high, groups of local townspeople fear magic and hate renegade spellcasters. Calling themselves “sorcerer gangs,” these groups search the local areas to find and identify renegades in their midst. These gangs often become ruthless mobs that stone suspected spellcasters to death rather than await the presence of the Cabal’s arcane warriors or inquisitors for true identification. Sorcerer gangs are responsible for the deaths of many people, most of whom were not magically inclined at all. The local authorities have different approaches to these mobs differently. Some ignore such activities or even take part, while others oppose them and jail the offenders for breaking laws and acting without authority.

Engineering and Technology

The rise of academic magic in Blackmoor has recently been overshadowed by rapid developments in technology. Mechanical men are employed as guards in some freeholds, and occasional nobles keep mechanical animals as guards and even pets. Most recently, dwarves fielded a steam-powered war machine to repel a large orc army near the Dragon Hills. This extraordinary machine shook the ground and sent the orcs fleeing in panic. Such technological wonders astonish all, particularly the common folk who fail to comprehend steam technology and clockworks.

Magic has incredible power in the land, but the rise of science and the scientific method’s implementation allow for these remarkable creations to move from concept to reality. While some of these inventions are truly impressive, others are dismal failures. Many inventors give their lives to their creations in the pursuit of knowledge.

The two main divisions of current technology are steam and clockworks. Though other technologies, such as wind power, are in development, none have yet proven their worth. Most technological developments stem from dwarven or High Thonian scientists. While most believe that gnomes made the earliest and most direct advances in understanding the precise nature of clockworks, the raw wealth at the disposal of the High Thonians and dwarves allows them to create or purchase the components required to complete their inventions.

Every major city in Blackmoor has a shop that caters to inventors. These shops sell expensive components and complete inventions. While some of these contraptions work flawlessly, merchants make no guarantees on their products since a single misplaced component can cause the entire mechanism to break or jam. They offer to attempt repair on anything that someone has purchased from them — for a fee, of course.

Steam power

Some decades ago, dwarven scientists harnessed the power of steam to help in their mining efforts. While they have long been masters of the forge and learned to manipulate steam quickly, the dwarves needed assistance to manipulate the intricate clockwork control mechanisms used in greater steam inventions. This skill is a seemingly innate ability for gnomes. A symbiotic relationship formed and grew into a great friendship. Today gnomes and dwarves work hand-in-hand in all major dwarven settlements.

The first major steam-powered machine was called the “ steam bore” (De. “Komo Burm”), which drills through mountains, exposing rich veins of mithral, silver, and gold. When the steam bore’s construction began, the more traditional dwarven leaders voiced opposition, claiming the project was a waste of time, money, and labor that could be used for mining. The traditionalists were unconvinced that a machine could ever prove superior to strong dwarven backs.


Construction continued on the bore despite this opposition. When it was finished, the first public demonstration was astounding. The steam bore cut through 30 feet of solid rock in its first hour, a feat that would have taken 72 hard dwarf-hours with conventional tools. Even the staunchest opposition fell silent at this incredible productivity. Dwarves now use steam bores to open large tunnels in mountains, granting access to the minerals within; these mines often grow into intricate networks of crosshatching tunnels. While steam bores continue to expose valuable ore, they are also prone to breaking down. The general expectation for a steam bore engine is five to seven hours of consistent use before some component fails. While these breakdowns cause delays, the bores are consistently able to outwork common dwarf miners by a hundredfold.

After the steam bore, the next advances in technology took much longer to manifest. Content with the functionality of the steam bore, the dwarves attempted to employ their newfound power for their other major love: war. Dwarven leaders designed a steam-powered machine that could rid them of the orcs near their mines. On a regular basis, orc hordes rained down upon mines in the Stormkiller Mountains and the Dragon Hills. While the dwarves were always able to repel the orcs, they could never soundly eliminate them.

After a couple of years, the first dwarven war machine made its debut. In anticipation of the demonstration, the dwarves sent out advance parties to skirmish and roust the orcs to battle. While pretending to retreat from the orcs, they lured them in for the kill. Soon a swarm of orcs surrounded a major mine in the Dragon Hills. When the orcs moved halfway up the mine’s road, the dwarven engineers let loose their war machine. The mechanical monstrosity rolled down upon the orc horde like a landslide. Its massive
wheels crushed so many orcs that a streak of green blood and bone splinters stretched behind it for hundreds of feet. The machine’s colossal sound was so great and terrifying that most of the orcs fled instantly. Those who foolishly chose to fight or could not escape were ground into lumpy paste. The massacre was so resounding that the dwarves renamed the road “Oorku Waumuk,” which means “Orc Road.” Many say that this decision was made as a joke — since so many orcs put their lives into the road, they should
be acknowledged for their contribution. Since that great battle, the orcs have not returned to the Dragon Hills.


Clockwork


Complex clockwork inventions comprise Blackmoor’s other major technological field of study. Scholars at the University of Blackmoor construct expansive laboratories filled with precise gears and springs that can be used to construct a great many machines. While the dwarves have utilized clockwork within their machinery, the High Thonians have proven to be the masters of clockwork. The main research in this complex technology continues at the University of Blackmoor. While most inventions fall under the University’s control, a number of affluent nobles employ engineers and inventors to construct impressive machinery for their own amusement and, in some cases, protection.

Initial research into clockwork produced the discovery of the pendulum and its use in precise timekeeping. This innovation proved an important advance in the field but was limited by the amount of time that a pendulum can continue swinging. Further advancements led to the discovery and creation of an escapement mechanism that maintains a pendulum’s swing for much greater periods.

The pendulum is still used in clockwork inventions but is considered an old technology compared to the modern oscillating wheel and springs that move and control shifts in gears. Wheels and springs provide a more efficient way to run clockwork inventions. Tiny pendulums allow inventions containing fragile clockwork to be more easily protected and operated for prolonged periods. Currently, the limitation of most self-contained clockwork inventions is that they are dependent upon the amount of energy supplied through winding a spring. When the spring depletes its energy, the mechanism stops functioning. To overcome this limitation, inventors use multiple springs to increase the amount a device’s power.

Some of the more interesting clockwork inventions include prosthetic limbs, designed at the University of Blackmoor. These limbs are expensive but provide maneuverability to those who have lost legs or arms. Other impressive clockwork inventions include mechanical men and animals. Though unable to act independently, these constructs prove useful for completing simple tasks and impressing the guests of wealthy nobles.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:11:10 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Blackmoor - People of Blackmoor
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2012, 12:14:21 AM »
Races of Blackmoor

Many races and empires have risen to glory and fallen into dust throughout Blackmoor’s long history, many. The legacies of these peoples continue in present-day Blackmoor. Many races are found in the charted and uncharted areas of this enormous world, and each of these races is rich in history and lore.

The primary races that can be selected as character races are Cumasti and Westryn elves, halflings and Docrae, High Thonians and Thonians, dwarves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and Peshwah. Each race hails from a different region and their members have special abilities to aid them in their adventures.

Dwarves

The dwarves of Blackmoor are an industrious and proud people. For generations they have created beautiful and awe-inspiring crafts, as well as immense cities of stone. Dwarven cities are wondrous to behold, yet outsiders seldom see them. Rumors say that the entire City of Blackmoor could fit within the Regent of the Mines’ mighty stronghold. As the chief miners in Blackmoor, the dwarves play an important role in procuring the precious metals gold, platinum, and mithral. While these metals are valuable, the dwarves also control the major locations of the raw gems needed to create spell foci. This makes the dwarves an important ally for the Wizards’ Cabal, which often stations arcane warriors near dwarven settlements to keep an eye on the mines.

Dwarves in Blackmoor have also applied science to their industrious efforts. They have mastered great steam engines that assist in mining, helping them delve deep into the hearts of Blackmoor’s mountains.

Personality: Dwarves are proud of their heritage as well as their handiwork. They are quick to boast about themselves and their people. Fond of good drink and fine food, dwarves are often drawn to the art of cooking. They are fiercely loyal to their kin and slow to befriend outsiders. At times, a dwarf may dub a foreign companion “Dwarf-Friend” — creating a lifelong bond between the dwarf and his ally. This bond transcends simple mortality and often passes on to such a friend’s family and heirs. It is not uncommon for dwarves to adopt the immediate members of a Dwarf-Friend’s family.

Relations: Dwarves are leery of other races, seeing them as possible threats until proven otherwise. However, dwarves get along well with gnomes, who share their love of earthly living as well as a fascination with treasures. Dwarves and gnomes are also both interested in machinery. They often live symbiotically in this regard, as gnomes have the fine dexterity to craft and manipulate small mechanical parts for the dwarves’ large iron machines. On the other hand, dwarves have a strong distrust of Cumasti and Westryn elves. Dwarves believe that elves take advantage of other races and try to exert their power over others. Dwarves also have a fiery hatred of orcs and goblins and attack them out of hand. Orcs and goblins are ancient dwarven enemies that continue to threaten dwarven settlements to this day. A dwarf must summon great control to restrain himself from attacking such enemies.

Dwarven Lands: Wherever mountains stand in Blackmoor, dwarves are found. Some barren mountains may not currently be inhabited, but proof of prior dwarf residency is certain to be evident. Dwarves seek out riches below the mountains and construct giant cities in their depths.

The dwarves’ main settlement is the Halls of the Regent of the Mines near Mount Uberstar in Eastern Blackmoor. The Regent united and controls the dwarf clans. Within the dwarven strongholds, all clans are sworn to the service of the Regent. The dwarves have a nominal king, but that title holds no value among them. In fact, dwarven kingship is actually a mark of insult thrust upon a particularly lethargic or unproductive dwarf. Many times this so-called “King of the Dwarves” is sent out to negotiate with those with whom the dwarves have no real interest in dealing.

Elves

The Cumasti elves and the Westryn Elves comprise Blackmoor’s elven population. Once a single elven culture, an alliance with humans resulted in a betrayal and curse that caused an irreparable divide between the elves of eastern and western Blackmoor. Numerous efforts have been made to restore the culture to a single elven race, but to no avail.

Blackmoor’s elves are as diverse and changing as the many tribes of man. Due to their low birth rates and the loss of much of their ancestral lands to humans, orcs, and other humanoids, elves are beginning to die out. They have begun looking into magical avenues to extend their race’s longevity and to help slow their attrition rate.

Cumasti Elves


The Cumasti elves have a long and rich history. Their race dates back to prehistory as one of the first good races to walk the world. They possess an inspirational ability to perform great works of magic, art, and music. Until modern humans came to the world, elves ruled the lush forests and plains. The elves aided men in establishing themselves as a good race but the humans ultimately betrayed them.

The betrayal of the Cumasti split their society into two opposing factions. Cumasti loyalists sought to mend the wounds left by the human betrayal, believing that humans choose their paths as individuals, not as a collective race. The other elves, later to be called the Westryn elves, retreated from the world, scarred by the human betrayal and vowing never to trust any other race again.

Personality: Cumasti are intelligent and willing to experience life in all its facets. They follow the traditions laid down for them so many centuries ago by the first elves to walk the world. They love nature and all that it offers. Cumasti are trusting and friendly, living to experience the diversity of the peoples with whom they share. They hold no hatred for any good race, though they find dwarves too dirty and crass for their refined sensibilities. They view each person as an individual whose deeds are weighed on a scale
larger than the elf’s ability to judge.

Physical Description: Cumasti elves are short and slender. They stand between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 feet tall and weigh between 80 and 130 pounds. Cumasti men are typically heavier and taller than Cumasti women. Cumasti have light-colored hair, ranging from honey to ash blonde, and have eyes of rich green, deep blue, or soft brown. Other races view Cumasti as nearly ethereal — hauntingly beautiful and graceful. Cumasti skin tones are light, even after hours in the sun. Cumasti reach maturity at 100 years old and live for over 800 years. All other physical attributes of the Cumasti mirror the elf racial entry (see the PHB, Chapter 2: Races, “Elves”).

Elven Lands of the East: Most Cumasti live in the Forest Kingdoms of the East. These lands are made up of the Elven Forest and three smaller forests. The four Forest Kingdoms of the East are Redwood Court (located in the Red Woods, with its capital city of Ringlo Hall), Potter’s Down (found in Potter’s Forest, south of Dirk’s Cove), the Noris Kingdom (located in the Noris Wood, south of the Root River and north of the Crystal Peaks), and the Wurmthrone (found in the Wurmwood, west of the Black Hills and south of the Regent of the Mines).

Half-Elves

Blackmoorian half-elves are rare since they come only from the union of a Cumasti elf and a human. Half-elves often feel lost, not knowing where they fit in. They wander the world, looking for a home where they can live in peace. Humans use the term “half-elf” to describe this race. Cumasti call them Ni’ssillin (“Lost Ones”) and Westryn call them Do’rioa (“Cursed Blood”).

Personality: Half-elves are a very accepting people. They do not judge individuals, even half-orcs, by their race. They realize that circumstances can sometimes create strange outcomes. Because of this, they tend to take their time when making decisions and are outwardly slow to warm up to others.

Westryn Elves


Once part of the greater elven race, the Westryn elves have branched away from their Cumasti cousins since the Black Queen’s fall and her father’s curse on the Forest Realms of the West.

The “Black Curse,” as the Westryn call it, has made it impossible for the Westryn to produce viable offspring with any other race. This fact coupled with a policy of isolation has alienated them from other races and cultures.

Personality: The serious and rarely smiling Westryn elves are the sourest bunch of grapes on the good races’ vine. Westryn elves have large chips on their shoulders and are extremely xenophobic. They rarely trust any race outside of other elves, and those few individuals that they do trust have won that prize only after a hard-fought struggle. Westryn are quiet but quick to anger, are blunt and brusque with other races.

Physical Description: Westryn are slightly taller than their Cumasti cousins. They stand between 5 and 6 feet tall, with no difference in height based on gender. They are powerfully built and swarthy — are not slight or of pale complexion like the Cumasti. Westryn eyes range in color from dark green to deep blue, and their hair varies from greenish-blonde to shimmering raven black. All other physical attributes of the Westryn mirror the PHB elf racial entry (see the PHB, Chapter 2: Races, “Elves”).

Elven Lands of the West: The Westryn rule over the six Forest Realms of the West. This dominion is actually the origin of their racial name; human explorers could not understand the thick Elven accent of these people when they called themselves the “Peoples of the Western Woods.”

The Forest Realms of the West include the Western Realm, the Wild Realm, the Greenwood, and several minor regions. The Westryn capital is in the Western Realm, located within the Westwood’s confi nes. Most Westryn live within the Westwood, keeping close to family, clan, and king. The Wild Realm, within the Wilds of Ten, borders the Duchy of Ten. The Wild Realms’ king laid the Black Curse, and the Black Queen is said to hail from this dark land. The Green Realm is found in the Greenwood north of the Tower of Booh; sadly, the wood’s southern portion was lost to undead long ago.

The final three realms are minor realms, which Westryn consider backward and rustic. These realms are located in the Westwood, Pelham Wood, and Unicorn Wood. Ruins of a small Westryn realm are found in the Bloodwood, on the western shore of Blood Lake, north of Boggy Bottom. The Blood Realm, as it is now called, is fi lled with elven undead — cursed by a powerful wizard for some unknown crime.

Gnomes

Establishing themselves as learned engineers and skilled craftsman, Blackmoor’s gnomes earn their living working cooperatively with High Thonians and dwarven engineers. Gnomes love to solve puzzles and their mental and manual agility make them welcome company.

Personality: Gnomes are an open and trusting people whose lives revolve around their work. While kind to each other and their patrons, gnomes are easily annoyed by individuals who needlessly distract them from their precious work. The definition of need is of course up to the gnome in question. As such, gnomes are often chided for their blunt behavior. Nobles who need their skills tolerate them, but revel when they are free of them. Left to themselves and their work, gnomes are pleasant. They work hours at a time on their precious gadgets and are driven to complete every project they start.

Relations: Due to their abilities and knowledge, gnomes have good relations with most races. They are found in most human settlements and dwarven strongholds. Gnomes carry the disdain of many people, though, as they have poor manners in public. They are nonetheless tolerated because of their valuable skills.

Gnome Lands: Originally Blackmoor’s gnomes hailed from Southern lands, but in the last 200 years gnomes have embedded themselves into the cultures of Blackmoor’s residents. They are frequently found in affluent areas populated by learned people. The
largest gnome populations are in the City of Blackmoor and in the halls of the Regent of the Mines.

Halflings of Blackmoor

Blackmoor’s halfling races have a long and storied past. They are kind friends and stalwart allies of all good beings. When Uther Andahar revolted against the Thonian Emperor, the halflings of Booh fought alongside him against the Emperor’s forces. Many halflings aided in the fight against the Thonian Emperor’s forces at the Battle of Root, contributing to the Thonians’ defeat and the subsequent declaration of Andahar as King of Blackmoor.

Halflings are generally liked, though orcs and men subjugate some halflings in southern Blackmoor. A sizeable group of halfling-like beings escaped during the Afridhi invasion and refused to allow themselves to be dominated ever again. They named themselves “Docrae,” which means “fighter” in their language. Unlike other halflings, the Docrae are a defensive and untrusting people who mostly keep to themselves.

Halflings

Halflings are the most welcome of visitors throughout Blackmoor. They bring stories and goods to trade and are free from other races’ mistrust. Halflings are uniquely able to obtain secret information, a trait which has made them important friends in dangerous lands.

Personality: Halflings are kind and friendly folk who love to tell stories and eat. They are known throughout the land for their ability to entertain. While they are friendly, they are also skilled traders and drive hard bargains, using their natural charisma to influence their dealings with others. Halflings are industrious and quickly adapt to the customs of the lands in which they settle.

Relations: Halflings are welcome in all of Blackmoor’s lands, and their shops can be found in every major town. Halflings are known for their ability to obtain items and information. Docrae, while friendly to halflings, think that they are naive and too trusting.

Halfling Lands: Halflings call no single place their home; instead they find themselves guests in the lands of others. The largest halfling settlements are found in Booh and Ramshead. Halflings have opened shops and inns on the War Road and welcome guests of all types. Halflings also make their homes in human cities.

Docrae


The Docrae are a race of small humanoid beings with a long and troubled past. Old legends mark them as a race of fun-loving and curious folk, each with the appetite of two men. Some say that they are curious and enjoy comfortable homes near their large and long-lived families. Yet these legends are mostly relics of the past. Even before the Afridhi invasion, other races preyed upon the Docrae, enslaving them and manipulating their trusting nature to their own ends. Many Docrae escaped from the main Afridhi invasion force and headed north in search of an area where they could live peacefully and separately from those who would do them harm.

Personality: Today the Docrae are a hardy and wise folk who have cultivated their warrior nature from the need to protect themselves and their families from exploitation or violence. Despite their small physical stature, Docrae are formidable opponents and are masters of ranged and melee weaponry. While not as strong as their human counterparts, Docrae use their dexterity and cunning to deliver critical strikes capable of besting much larger opponents.

Physical Description: Docrae stand about 3 1/2 feet tall and weigh between 35 and 40 pounds. Their skin is very similar to that of humans, and their hair is normally black and straight. Docrae usually have black or brown eyes, though green eyes are not unknown. Docrae men braid their hair into intricate patterns, often attaching small jewels or similar decorations to their braids as signs of their strength and status in Docrae society. Docrae women wear their hair straight and reasonably short. Docrae society prohibits women from braiding their hair unless they have earned the right to do so through a brave or heroic act. Docrae wear comfortable and practical clothes. Docrae warriors are always ready for battle and wear strong armor while on patrol.

Relations: While Docrae are wary of outsiders, they have begun to open their settlements to other races again. A sense of relative safety has come to the Docrae, and some of them have fearlessly rekindled the traditional celebrations of their heritage. The Docrae have found a kindred relationship with the men of Blackmoor, who have proved themselves trustworthy. These humans are welcomed in Booh and given better treatment than members of other races. The Docrae have learned to make a living selling their wares, and also offer lodging for travelers on the War Road.

While they are willing to do business with other races, Docrae are slow to befriend them. If a member of another race saves a Docrae’s life, he becomes a member of the Docrae clan and remains so until death.

Docrae Lands: Docrae have settled the lands near the main halfling settlement at Booh, moving as far east as the base of the Peaks of Booh. These mountains are located to Blackmoor’s southwest and were named by the Halflings who use them as a backdrop for their main settlement. Stories tell of deep natural cave dwellings that Docrae inhabit within the Peaks of Booh. Rumors maintain that wards created by Docrae shamans protect these caves and that the stonework rivals some of the lesser dwarven
settlements. Most dwarves scoff at this. No reliable outside reports of these caves, or the manner in which they might be protected or hidden, yet exist.

Half-Orcs

On the Blackmoor frontier’s far reaches, orcs raid human settlements in search of wealth and food. These raids have in turn generated offspring in the form of half-orcs. Half-orcs who do not exhibit clear and distinct human traits are often allowed to remain within the orc culture. Orcs slaughter those who are obviously part human or who fall out of favor. Some half-orcs manage to escape and spend the remainder of their lives hunted by both men and orcs, which forces many half-orcs to live away from civilization, in small bands or on their own. Often they seek some sort of belonging with others and adventure for the respect and acceptance that can come from the skilled use of a battle axe.

Personality: Half-orcs have little patience with others, a trait that may be the result of years of abuse and rejection. They love to fight and greatly value what friendship they can find. They enjoy good food and drink and are always open to reveling. They tend to overcompensate for the lack of positive attention they received over the course of their segregated, hunted lives.

Relations: Every day is a fi ght for acceptance for a half-orc. Many races, including dwarves and their own orc kin, seek to slay them outright. This prejudice makes the struggle for acceptance a constant concern in the half-orc’s mind. Some spend time as servants in human households in order to prove that they are not dangerous. Others use their size and power to intimidate others into leaving them alone.

Half-Orc Lands: Half-orcs are a nomadic people at best. They travel together for mutual protection and make no claim to a land of their own. They wander throughout Blackmoor, looking for some sense of safety.

Humans

Blackmoor’s human races occupy a wide range of areas. The Peshwah have long lived on the Plains of Hak. The Thonian peoples of the north have spread throughout Blackmoor by ship and horse. In the past, the Thonian emperor claimed rightful control of Blackmoor, though most other races simply ignored this unjustifi ed claim to their lands. Today, the High Thonian barons serve the king of Blackmoor.

High Thonians


The High Thonians are members of the highest, most powerful human social caste within Blackmoor’s borders. While High Thonians tend to come from advantaged backgrounds, not all of them have the stomach for politics or fighting. Many use their family names and backgrounds to pursue science and other academic matters. Several teachers at the University of Blackmoor are High Thonians from important families.

Personality: High Thonians are studious people and excellent entertainers. They spend their time learning and finding new and interesting ways to entertain themselves and their wealthy friends. Noble Thonians spend their money freely to impress others or to purchase necessary parts for their inventions. They are kind and gentle to others but are venomously possessive of their expansive libraries and eccentric inventions.

Physical Description: High Thonians stand 5 to 6 feet tall and weigh from 135 to 265 pounds, with men noticeable taller and heavier than women. Their skin is fair; their hair tends to be blond or brown. To demonstrate their excellent grooming, most High Thonian men do not wear beards. High Thonians are long-lived by human standards, with life spans reaching well over 100 years. Some attribute this longevity to breeding, but others suspect a magical source.

Relations: High Thonians are receptive to doing business with other races. They barter and trade for books and needed supplies for their inventions.

High Thonian Lands: When the Valley of the Kings stood strong, the High Thonian nobles ruled much of present-day Blackmoor. The bloodline’s fall, as well as invasion and civil war, eroded much of what was once the unified kingdom of Blackmoor. Many High Thonians are preparing to use their technology to reclaim some of the lands they believe have been stolen from them. Most High Thonians live in Blackmoor’s immediate vicinity.

Thonians


Thonians are the everyday citizens in Blackmoor and its surrounding vicinity. The noble caste rules them, and many take jobs as servants in High Thonian houses. Many long for better lives and strive to find wealth and power.

Personality: Thonians are very much normal humans. They are well-tempered but sometimes show disdain for their lot in life. Thonians do not share in the privilege or money that they see all around them. Thonians also are angered that they cannot join the nobility, regardless of their financial status, without a direct appointment from the king. The are family-loving people who try to better themselves.

Physical Description: Thonians stand 5 to 6 feet tall and weigh 125 to 250 pounds, with men noticeably taller and heavier than women. Their skin is dark, and their hair is black or brown. Thonians do not share the longevity of their High Thonian rulers. They achieve adulthood at age 16 and typically live into their 70s.

Relations: Thonians stay at home and only have exposure to other cultures in their town centers. They stay away from strangers but are happy to peddle wares and offer lodging to travelers who do not appear dangerous.

Peshwah


Not so long ago, a tribe of humans settled the Plains of Hak, bringing their horses with them. This tribe is known as the Peshwah. The Peshwah are gentle and nomadic souls who enjoy the feel of life from the back of their horses. Until they met the Afridhi, they knew no war or serious conflict.

As the Afridhi drove these peaceful people in front of them across the plains, spilling their blood and killing their fathers and sons, the Peshwah grew hard and fierce — proving that even a horse will turn to face the lion. After the combined forces of the northern barons and the other good races halted the Afridhi’s advance, the Peshwah once again settled into their windswept homeland. This time though, they have a purpose: the vengeance pounding in their collective heart.

Personality: Peshwah are a well-meaning people. They have pleasant natures and are willing to help their own kind without asking for anything in return. Peshwah mistrust outsiders, including the other human races, but they are rarely hostile toward them. The burning racial anger they hold in their hearts is for the Afridhi alone.

Physical Description: After riding across the wind-swept Plains of Hak for generations, the Peshwah have become a dark-skinned people. Though of human stock, Peshwah are shorter and stockier than their northern Blackmoor brethren. Their features are hard, and culminate in large, straight noses. Their hair is dark brown or deep red; curly hair is uncommon.

Peshwah Lands: The Peshwah claim the Plains of Hak as their own. Large and windswept flatlands are key to their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Some Peshwah have begun settling in fixed communities, and cities and towns are beginning to sprout up on the plains.

Afridhi


The Afridhi are a frightening race of humans who hail from the most inhospitable parts of the Goblin Kush Mountains. Powerful warriors, the Afridhi have survived for centuries in these cold mountains by force of will and discipline.

The Afridhi are a dark-skinned people with fl aming red hair. They are slightly shorter than other humans, only 5 feet on average, but make up for their vertical shortcomings with great physical power. They wear strange clothing marked with symbols of their Immortal, Zugzul.

While campaigning over the last seventeen years, the Afridhi picked up new skills and abilities as they amalgamated different cultures and military tactics. In their eastern conquests, they learned of heavy infantry from the valley dwellers at the foot of the Goblin Kush, light cavalry from the Peshwah, and heavy cavalry from the Duchy of Ten. Under the leadership of their high priestess, Toska Rusa, the Afridhi have recently begun to delve into the creation a great artifact to destroy the Kingdom of Blackmoor.

Afridhi are fierce in combat, never showing cowardice and rarely leaving the field of battle. They use all manner of weapons, but since leaving the Goblin Kush, they favor longswords and longbows more than their traditional axes, slings, and spears.

Skandaharians


Skandaharians are a race of tall, pale-skinned, blue-eyed, blond-haired sea rovers. From their secret homes in the frozen north, they sail in long ships to raid the coasts of the Thonian Empire. In recent years, they have concentrated on Blackmoor instead, which they unsuccessfully tried to invade during Blackmoor’s rebellion against the empire. Many Skandaharian warriors died in that fiasco, and the barbarian raiders carry a burning hatred of Blackmoor because of their humiliating defeat. For this reason, they make common cause with the Afridhi and the Thonian Empire against Blackmoor. This has not totally prevented them from raiding either of those countries, but it has made them much more discreet when doing so.

Skandaharians are noted for their greed, destructiveness, and cruelty. In this regard, they are often compared unfavorably with orcs. All Skandaharians speak their native Skandaharian. Drummers, captains, expert raiders, and clan leaders all speak Common, as well.

Skandaharians are ruthless combatants. They sometimes raze entire towns, murdering every man, woman, and child. However, few clan leaders allow such gross orgies of destruction, except against towns and villages that put up a strong resistance. Skandaharians use many techniques to inspire fear and terrorize their enemies. Many towns evacuate upon hearing the drums and horns of the Skandaharian long ships, and return to fi nd their homes and shops pillaged or destroyed.

Few men can equal a Skandaharian in single combat. Their strength and maniacal assaults make them difficult opponents. Wielding vicious battleaxes, they wade through the mayhem of night battles by firelight. A Skandaharian rarely uses ranged weapons; only when closing amidships do they pepper an enemy vessel with arrows before boarding her with axes waving.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:17:17 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Blackmoor - Lands Beyond Blackmoor
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2012, 02:21:39 AM »
The Lands Beyond

The Duchy of Ten

The Duchy of Ten (formerly known as the “Duchy of the Ten Heroes”) was founded when outcasts and rogues from the northern edges of the Thonian empire fled across the Misauga river to form an independent state on the northwestern edge of the fl edgling barony of Blackmoor. Initially, the empire completely ignored these people, which earned them the nickname “the Unwanted.”

Eventually, the struggling people mastered the harsh lands drew attention as their power grew. In time, the imperial government decided to reign in the northern wild lands. Their attempts to crush the growing power of the Unwanted did not merely fail, they failed spectacularly. The empire’s efforts succeeded only in offering the region’s formerly disparate pirates and a common foe, inspiring them to unite in a powerful independent state. In the wake of the “war for independence” (or the “pirates insurrection,” as the Thonian scribes call it), the people of Ten came to be ruled by a governing council led by ten of the war’s greatest heroes.

Proclaiming their independence from the Thonian Empire, The Duchy of Ten became the first free republic in the land, recognizing the authority of no king or emperor. Unfortunately, that which was born of this union was lost with the coming of the Afridhi’s murderous hordes.

Today Ten’s entire political fabric is sundered, its brilliant political system lost to history, as the land now lies under the cruel Afridhi’s iron-shod boots. Still, to understand the lands of Ten, one must know something of its unique history. While the Afridhi have tried their best to destroy the duchy and enslave its people, the Tenians still strive for their freedom. Even in the midst of the Afridhi occupation, the Tenians’ desire for independence grows and swells. One day, they are sure, the Afridhi yoke will be raised from their necks and they will live free in the North once more.

While the nation is known as the Duchy of Ten, “duchy” is somewhat misleading as the governing system of Ten was not beholden to any ruler. No single duke has ever ruled the land, for no one person has ever won the hearts of the entire population. As the land of Ten was formed by a hasty union of rebellious rabble, the duchy’s leadership was forged in a similar manner. Nine men (some of whom had held offi cial titles as noblemen in the Thonian Empire) and one woman rose from the Unwanted to become great heroes of the rebellion. In the wake of the violence, they formed a ruling council, each taking the title of duke or duchess to show that none would sit higher than any other. They maintained control of Ten’s wild lands until the Afridhi invasion.

The loss of Ten to the Afridhi is a long and painful story, full of suffering and tragedy. The Afridhi incursion reaches from the southwest (well beyond the far-flung trading outpost of White Horse and the lands of the Peshwah) to the banks of the Misauga River in the east, and as far as the mouth of the Firefrost Channel in the north. They now control of the cities and towns in Ten. All that remains of the free peoples of Ten are a few small groups of bandits and outlaws trapped in the region’s hills, forests, and swamps. Only the swampy border with the kingdom of Blackmoor held back the Afridhi, and some say the horde is even now massing along the eastern frontier, ready to push through the Great Dismal Swamp into Blackmoor and complete their conquest of the North.

At present, the (former) Duchy of Ten represents the largest portion of occupied Afridhi land. With the complete defeat of the duchy’s forces, all travel and commerce along roadways in the region is under Afridhi control. However, as they come from a landlocked homeland, the Afridhi are not as yet a skilled seafaring people. Ten’s many small rivers and cove-pocked coastlines are the nation’s last remaining portions that still provide a limited degree of free travel and trade within Afridhi-occupied territory.

The Afridhi have chosen to make their new eastern capital in the castle of Starmorgan, the duchy’s former capital. Very little is known of the Afridhi’s ruling structure. The most reliable reports identify their leader as a powerful female cleric named Toska Rusa, alleged to be the bride of the “one god,” Zugzul. He has supposedly chosen to make the entire North a wedding gift for his new bride, and thus her people storm across the land to make their great god’s word into truth. (None have yet discovered how Toska Rusa and her zealots managed to gain such control over the Afridhi warleaders.)

The present Afridhi theocracy is composed primarily of women who belong to a religious caste known as the Handmaidens of Zugzul, deadly warriors and powerful sorceresses who place enchantments on their soldiers to assist them in combat. The Handmaidens enter deep trance-like states, induced by obscene ceremonies conducted before the sacred fi res of Zugzul. Much of their decision-making relies on visions and dreams they experience while in these states, visions they believe are sent by Zugzul himself. These savage ceremonies involve several distinct forms of human sacrifice, each designed to please the evil Immortal Zugzul and to petition for his infinite insight.

Within the Afridhi-controlled lands, brave men and women still oppose the Afridhi’s savage rule. Some of Ten’s more prudent residents escaped before the invasion’s full force fell upon them. One rebel group makes its home to the northwest of the great Barrier Swamp, in an area known as the Empty Lands. Led by the former Duke of Oktagern, an army of two thousand stands ready to retake their lands. Afridhi forces constantly comb this area, seeking to find and eliminate these rebels.

The Brothers of the Greenwood is another group that opposes Afridhi control. Serving as spies and saboteurs, this group claims to have a membership of over eight thousand. The Brothers are composed of a substantial Tenian militia who fi ght to retake their lands. Rumors persist that the kingdom of Blackmoor supplies this group with weapons, and on this basis the Afridhi claim that they must subjugate Blackmoor’s Barony of the Lakes in order to protect their “rightful god-given lands.” The Brothers of the Greenwood use guerilla tactics of infiltration and subversion to hinder the internal workings of the Afridhi state. They have developed into a dangerous force and now pose a substantial threat to the stability of the Afridhi occupation.

The Kingdom of the Westryn

The Kingdom of the Westryn is composed of five forest realms distributed in Blackmoor’s western reaches. Though they are technically within the borders of the Kingdom of Blackmoor, Blackmoor presses no claims on these lands — and the Westryn would ignore such claims in any case. The Westryn’s forest realms are found in the Westwood, the Wilds of Ten, Unicorn Wood, Pelham Wood, and the Greenwood

Though little is known of the Westryn and their culture, most know that individual kings historically ruled each of these forest realms. In current times, a single King of the Westryn makes his home deep in the secluded forests of the Westwood. Princes loyal to the crown rule the remaining forest realms, valuing secrecy as the highest priority in protecting their people. The Westryn borders are heavily guarded, and sentries often eliminate unwanted visitors without warning.

Since the split between the Cumasti and Westryn elves, the Westryn west of the Peaks of Booh have managed to maintain at least some contact with one another, leading to the formation of a single interconnected network of land and culture. However, since the massive influx of humans from Thonia to the North, the Westryn lands have been divided. The forest has been cut to make way for cropland, and the timber from the edges of the wood has been turned into ships, charcoal, and palisade walls. What was once an enormous deciduous forest, stretching from the Misauga to the Root River, is now dissected by roads and human-controlled areas. At present, while Pelham Wood, Unicorn Wood, and the Greenwood all contain populations of Westryn elves, only in the Westwood — the former capital of the unified Westryn lands — does a Westryn kingdom truly remain. Woe to any man, dwarf, or orc who sets foot within, for if the wood’s many hostile creatures do not turn him into a snack, rumors say that the Westryn themselves will fill his body with so many arrows he will be full more of wood than blood.

No non-elven ambassador has ever returned from diplomatic missions to the Westryn. Knowledge of their government comes from Cumasti travelers who do not openly speak of their distant brethren. Visitors reveal limited details about a fierce “spirit war,” waged by the Westryn against abnormally powerful undead residing in the North. This private crusade draws their attention away from the petty land disputes of humans and dwarves. The Cumasti believe that this conflict with the undead is of prime importance, but the Westryn refuse all offers of aid. As a sign of support for the Westryn, the Cumasti nevertheless send monthly wagon trains of supplies and leave them just within the borders of each of the Westryn realms.

The Lands of the Cumasti

Elves have lived in the forests northeast of Thonia for as long as any living scribe can recall. Records of their habitation long predate the North’s fi rst human settlements; folk-tales and legends place them in the region for as long as the even the most ancient of the trees among which they have chosen to live. Once, a mighty elven nation (its name now long lost to the tongues of men) ruled all the North, and a single grand elven culture spread from sea to sea. Over many centuries the elves’ power waned, and none are more cognizant of this fact than the Cumasti, the last heirs of a great and proud tradition that existed before the dawn of human history. The tale of the elves’ downfall and their eventual displacement by the “lesser races” (as some Cumasti refer to men, orcs, dwarves and other short-lived people) is a long and difficult one. Even the Cumasti no longer know the story in its entirety, as it contains many points about which debate still rages, and perhaps always will. What is clear is that modern Cumasti make concerted
efforts to rejuvenate their failing culture in the hope that they can prevent their noble society from degenerating into the unrefined and base ways of the Westryn. While the Cumasti honor the Westryn as their kindred, they do not respect the simple, harsh life of hunting and gathering to which most of the Westryn elves have become accustomed. Culture, family and history are the three most prized possessions of any Cumasti. Without these “Three Pillars of Eternity,” an elf is naught but a hollow shell, like a dry log through which sap no longer runs.

The days at the Cumasti high court are filled with beauty, but it is an empty beauty, evoking only memories of what was. Religious leaders conduct endless ritual performances dedicated to heroes whose names can no longer be pronounced. They hold such ceremonies on holy days for distant gods who have devolved into little more than elemental spirits, barely remembered by those who once revered them. These rituals are impressive, but not even the performers themselves — who often seem almost entranced, lost in the magic of their art —remember what they mean. While the high court settles matters of law and is the seat of government, the court is first and foremost a center of Cumasti art and performance. Even those Redwood elves who dwell in the small manors spread through the great forest return to the court at least once a year to watch the beautiful dances, listen to the entrancing music, and participate in the awesome rituals.

Every Cumasti’s bloodline is recorded in great detail, and each Redwood elf knows her family history back at least eleven generations. Given that a Cumasti generation lasts almost four hundred years, many living Cumasti trace their bloodline to the most ancient progenitors of their race and sometimes even back as far as the oldest of the elven gods. While Cumasti know the names of their ancestors, they no longer understand the traditions that made them a great people.

No human can truly understand the Cumasti’s ways. They live their lives so fi rmly lodged in the past that those without vast historical knowledge are constantly at a loss to interpret their actions. Some few Cumasti recognize that no matter their efforts to preserve their lineage, they will not last forever in this world. They are ready now to tell the story of the rise and fall of the elven nation to those with the wisdom to ask the right questions and the patience to hear the answers.

Cumasti lands are sparsely populated, with over two-thirds of the Cumasti living within and around the citadel of Ringlo Hall. While most of the Westryn prefer to live in small settlements spread thinly throughout their forestlands, the Cumasti have become a centralized, urban people. Of course, “urban” has quite a different meaning among the Cumasti than it might in Thonia or Maus, as the city in which the Cumasti dwell is a living part of the great Red Wood.

The Hak

The horsemen of the Peshwah lay claim to the plains of the High Hak and the Eastern Hak southeast of the Valley of the Ancients. The Afridhi incursion forced the Peshwah to settle the Eastern Hak where the cold winters have taken a toll on their people.

Because of the Peshwah’s nomadic nature, their government is centered on the ancestral clan structure that has shaped their culture since their ancestors Horghast and Herutu were born onto the windswept plains of the Hak. The strongest clan’s leader is appointed the Peshwah’s ruling chief. This chief is called the Sirk am Peshwah, meaning “Center of the People.” The ruling Sirk is Sirk na Jota, who currently faces open challenges from other clan lords. The title itself is only of moderate value, as even in war each of the chiefs may decide on his people’s actions, and the Sirk am Peshwah has only influence, never authority, over the other chiefs.

Following the Sirk are the Peshwan na Leado. These lesser chieftains rule the individual clans and report directly to the Sirk. Each Leado is responsible for clan’s wealth and well-being. When a clan is in need, its Leado is held responsible for the lack and often assigns duties to the clan’s men in order to find the needed resources. The Leado hold onto their positions much more tenuously than Blackmoor’s barons and lords. In order to continue to function as a Leado, each clan chief must constantly display his wealth and power to the other members of his horseclan. For this reason, most of the Leado wear elaborate headdresses created from the rarest materials they can find (feathers, gold and gems are particularly favored). Battles for the position of Leado are not infrequent, but
as a chief has invariably demonstrated his ability to fight successfully for his position, it is mostly the young and foolish who challenge the Leado. This custom is the reason that Peshwah society claims fewer foolish young men than other human settlements.

The Hommett are the final rung in the ladder of leadership among the Peshwah. These men and women are their people’s religious leaders and spiritual centers. They champion their people’s causes to their Leados and cast inscribed horse bones to interpret the portents they reveal.

The Peshwah have rebuilt their numbers and are eager to charge back across the plains against the Afridhi. To maintain an appearance of strength in their period of exile, they raid supply caravans and rob travelers in Blackmoor’s southern baronies. King Uther has appointed Peshwan na Shepro as the Baron of Dragonia in the hopes that this appointment will help curb the raids. He also hopes that when the Peshwah see a kinsman acting as a powerful member of the Blackmoor government, they see it as a gesture of peace between the nations. While this situation is possible many Peshwah and Blackmoorians regard one another with great suspicion.

The Peshwah are divided up into a dozen traditional divisions that outsiders know as horseclans. The clans evolved from a totemic system that the Peshwah have long forgotten. These clans structure most aspects of Peshwah society and are of great importance when parents choose their sons’ marriage partners. No Peshwah may marry within his or her own clan, and in most cases brides are selected from only one particular clan. This makes meetings between all twelve of the horseclans necessary in the springtime, when the Peshwah frequently celebrate marriages. While the Peshwah as a whole share a culture, each of the horseclans has its own particular characteristics. Coming of age rituals, horse breeds, and arrow fletchings are the most distinct aspects of the horseclans. The nomadic nature of some horseclans makes locating them difficult without a Peshwah guide. With a good knowledge of the stars and information about the Hak’s weather, a good Peshwah trailblazer can fi nd any of the twelve horseclans in only a few days. Some young Peshwah men wander far beyond their traditional ranges and pride themselves on the ability to journey to some of the least accessible and most inhospitable locations known to man.

Lands of the Regent of the Mines

The history of the lands of the Regent of the Mines is written in stone — literally. More than half a millennium ago, the great Uberstar Khazakhum laid out an ambitious plan to conquer the mountains of the North. He and his stout company faced the wilderness’ perils and fi nally came to settle in the range now known as the Crystal Peaks. There he established a great city named Obramdu, buried in the belly of the mountain his people named in honor of their great leader. And so it was that mount Uberstar became the seat of the Regent of the Mines.

Centuries passed as the dwarves toiled without regard for the concerns of the neighboring Cumasti or humans. Dwarves live to work and fight, and for some time their work was their greatest undertaking. The mines’ undreamed-of mineral wealth is renowned throughout Thonia and beyond.

After nearly 600 years of mining, the mines’ wealth and power is formidable. The dwarves understand the need that people have for their precious resources — and the power they wield by controlling those resources. They have spent years fortifying themselves and pursuing technological advances that promise to improve the outputs of their efforts. The dwarves assisted in the Great Rebellion that saw Uther Andahar become King. While a noble cause unto itself, the dwarves also saw an opportunity to increase the sales of their mined goods. This trend of relative openness between the North’s main cultures continued for some time. In an attempt to better his relations with his neighbors and potential customers, Khazakhum learned to speak Cumasti and made frequent visits to the Redwood.

Recently, Khazakhum has gone missing while out on a hunting mission and is believed dead at the hands of the Orcs of the Black Hand. In his stead, Lortz Kharnundrum was appointed Regent of the Mines. Lortz maintains his loyalty to the Regency Council and King Uther, but the Congress of Clans hinders him. This Congress is composed of old and decaying remnants of the older, xenophobic dwarven culture that prefers isolation. This development delays the plans that have been underway for decades to create a new confederacy between Blackmoor’s elves, dwarves, and men.

The Realm of the Egg


Another constant threat to region resides in a magically constructed spur of land to Blackmoor’s northwest — an area known as the Realm of the Egg. Ruled by the Egg of Coot, little is known beyond the physical borders of these inhospitable lands.

No kingdom has open dealings with the Egg. Most rulers desire to defeat the mysterious Egg and remove it from power, though none have yet risked a direct assault on the Realm of the Egg. At least, none remember doing so — but since most people who enter the Realm of the Egg and manage to return have no knowledge of the place or of having been there, perhaps such an assault was attempted and forgotten. In fact, many members of the Wizards’ Cabal believe that multiple failed assaults have been mounted against the Egg. This would lead them to wonder why, with such great power, the Egg has not yet invaded the remainder of the North. To date, these questions remain unanswered.

Valley of the Ancients

Blackmoor is partially protected from a direct Thonian invasion by a deadly natural barrier known as the Valley of the Ancients. Surrounded by tall cliffs and sharp escarpments, this wide expanse of salt-flat desert is the remnant of an ancient inland sea, long since dried up to produce one of the least hospitable regions on the continent. The last of the waters from the long-gone sea are found near the western edge of the great salt flat in the form of a large, stinking puddle known as the Sink. No natural creatures are able to live within its viscous waters, although it is known as a gathering site for salt mephits.

While the valley floor is flat, punctuated only by a few dangerous sinkholes, a twenty-mile chain of volcanic hills lies across the region’s center. Among the various bits and pieces spewed forth from these semi-active volcanoes are deposits of high-quality obsidian and a beautiful, blue volcanic glass. At this range’s southern edge stands a tall tower carved out of large blocks of the blue glass. Rumors say that a cabal of mad wizards, belonging to a vanished race, constructed this shining tower. Legends of these extinct wizards and the evil schemes they set in motion make popular tavern stories throughout the North. The wizards in these tales lend the Valley of the Ancients its name.

Other than the tower, only one other permanent structure is found in the valley: the Shrine of Axmouth. Large piles of smooth, blue-gray rock transform this place into a natural amphitheater. Within this rock-lined bowl, a curious nomadic group of humans known as the sand-folk hold infrequent tribal gatherings. No sane person would attempt to cross the valley without the help of the sand-folk, although in times of need Peshwah are known to pass along the southern edge. The journey across 160 miles of scorching desert takes a toll upon their herds, and they only make the journey under the direst circumstances.

While few living things enter the valley itself, several groups of heat-loving creatures make their homes in the surrounding hills. Salt-encrusted, dusty trolls and naked, black-skinned hill giants live in the hills to the northeast and prey on any who seek to enter the valley. Further south, along the east side, one finds rugged ridges known to the Peshwah as the Persa na Shilotan (“Spine of the Dragon”). Red and blue dragons make their homes throughout this region. To the south stands the great Mount Kurrkatoa, an active volcano inhabited by a vicious fire giant tribe who keep both pyrohydras and hell hounds as pets. This area is the center of the Shokai religion, a poorly-known fire cult that may be related to Zugzul. Only one man, the powerful wizard known as Robert the Bald, has conquered one of the hills surrounding the valley. All feat his fortress, Cloudtop, at Mount Kergwailin’s summit; even dragons avoid it.

The City of the Gods


Five winters ago a great comet burned in the night sky. The elder sages and royal magicians predicted doom, and declared that the comet portended the return of the army of the Coot, or a defeat of the dwarf-friends in the spreading Orc-Dwarf war. Instead, this bizarre alien structure appeared in the Valley of the Ancients.

The local sand-folk refer to it as "the City of the Gods," though no one has any reliable reports of who or what dwells there. Alarmed, King Uther has sent several expeditions to investigate the City of the Gods, but all of them have vanished without a trace.

The Great Dismal Swamp and the Cult of the Frog


Between Blackmoor and the Duchy of Ten lies a region almost universally recognized as one of the more dangerous areas in the entire northwest. Warm, still puddles of muck and thick, tangled vegetation conceal all manner of vicious and venomous creatures that lust for nothing more than the sweet taste of soft, civilized flesh. The swamp’s edges are innocuous, and that is part of their danger — those new to the region can unsuspectingly walk into the swamp, fi rst plagued by nothing more than a few mosquito bites and wet boots. The first few minutes of travel into the mists may turn out to be the last few minutes of life for those unprepared for the swamp’s dangers.

Upon entering the swamp’s depths, one is immediately surrounded by a constant barrage of buzzing insects, oozes, slimes, and other foul vermin. Dangerous as these are, they often prove even more hazardous as distractions, for patches of deadly quicksand lie concealed beneath layers of leaves and mud. Exiting the swamp is often far more difficult than entering, as mists close in around the unwary, cutting visibility to 30 feet even on the brightest of days. After an hour within the swamp, a living creature takes a –2 morale penalty on all Fortitude saves due to the constant nips and bites subject. Many adventuring parties have tried to take shortcuts through the swamp — only to find their numbers, not their travels, cut short.

Home to all manner of abominations, the Great Dismal Swamp almost throbs with an evil life force. Sometimes desperate bandits lurk on the outskirts, as they know no sane person would follow them into the swamp. As often as not, they end up the prey of the more sinister creatures that dwell beneath the waters. As the whole dank mass of terrain is positively teeming with life (mostly of an amphibious nature), the chance for random encounters is double standard. Creatures with soft, bloated, wet bodies thrive within the swamp’s stale waters. Aboleths, curious froglike humanoids, and giant leeches all dwell here in great numbers. However, the swamp is not only the home of the living, but also an abode for the dead. Rot-infested zombies and wailing banshees are found within
the swamp, most often among the ancient ruins that lie beneath the waters. Rumors tell that under the swamp’s waters lie the remains of a great civilization that collapsed long before mankind knew Blackmoor. Some say that feverish madmen now work tirelessly within the depths of the swamp in the hopes of resuscitating an ancient evil, lying trapped beneath the mud.

These madmen belong to a bizarre religious sect. The sect’s theology is peculiar, at best, and it had never attracted many adherents. Basically, it preached that the existing sentient species were all too weak and unadaptable for long-term survival and must be supplanted by a new intelligent species bred from — frogs. The sect’s "great work" was to ceaselessly labor to create this new species. Once success was attained, the church hierarchy would govern the new race of amphibian "superbeings."

Since the sect had, until recently, been discreet in its activities, none could gauge its size. In fact, little was known about it save that it was militant, mysterious and ruled by a clerical brotherhood that resided in a frog-shaped temple somewhere deep in the Great Dismal Swamp. The name of the sect was the Order of the Frog. Its leaders called themselves the Monks of the Swamp.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:21:21 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Blackmoor - Organizations
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2012, 03:45:41 AM »
Organizations & Power Groups

Blackmoor's Regency Council:

The Regency Council of Blackmoor was established by Uther to ensure stability throughout the region, and manages the routine business of the North. More than just an assembly of scheming barons or a council of sycophant advisors, the Regency Council holds great power and the absolute trust of the king. So important is the council that in the event of Uther’s demise, he has decreed that its members should assume a joint stewardship over the kingdom.

One of the most important policies to be affirmed by the Regency Council is Uther’s Decree requiring all nobles within the borders of Blackmoor to spend five years adventuring upon reaching maturity. In addition to ensuring that all nobles have a first-hand understanding of the lives of their people and that the weak and uncourageous might be weeded from the ranks of leadership, this policy was put in place to encourage cultural interaction between nobles of different races.

Though King Uther makes the final decision on larger matters, many smaller issues and potential conflicts are resolved solely by the Regency Council’s decision, with Uther signing off only as a formality. Major legislation passed by the council includes the establishment of dueling academies throughout Blackmoor and the unofficial Barony of Dragonia, the Svenson Assessment that allows the council to send adventurers to negotiate and dispatch smaller conflicts within a region, and the formation of a uniform trading tax for foreign merchants. The idea of the Regency Council has caused some in the land to hope that the council will one day supplant the need for a king. Those who still fear that Thonia might attempt to retake Blackmoor have begun to state publicly that a republican government would be the best means of defense against Thonia’s archaic oppression. One of the biggest proponents of a council-ruled society is Ustran Worraps, a powerful and wise wizard rising quickly through the ranks of the Cabal. However, his public show of support conceals darker ambitions.

Organization

The Regency Council’s primary function is to make sure that every barony, culture, and faction calling Blackmoor home receives a fair voice in the political process. Each of the major races of the region gets one seat on the Regency Council. Seats are also allotted to the Wizard’s Cabal, the University of Blackmoor, and some of the larger baronies. Though they have been invited, the Westryn elves and the Peshwah have no seat on the council as yet. Of the two, the Peshwah are close to joining, and many believe it is only a matter of time before Peshwan na Shepro elevates his role from council consultant to full member.

Within the council, several established subcommittees take responsibility for some of the most important aspects of life in the North. The council created its first subcommittee on arcane studies in 1020 after the Vestfold revolt, during which a band of underground rebel wizards attacked the city. The Cabal’s Vestfold headquarters was nearly destroyed in the assault, and many of its members were killed. Though the attackers were eventually put down, an investigation by Spellwise Sildonis, Fletcher William, and Svenson suggested that the revolt was heavily influenced (and perhaps funded) by the Eldritch Underground. Adventurers managed to arrest several of the Underground’s leaders, including Quentin Garos, one of the founders of the group and a noted fugitive responsible for several terrorist attacks on the Cabal.

Along with the arcane subcommittee, there is also a subcommittee of trade consisting of Svale, Svenson, and Menander Ithamis, and a subcommittee studying natural resources consisting of Svale Highfellow, Timothy Curlytop, and Uberstar Khazakhum. Lortz Kharnundrhum has taken his father Uberstar’s place on both the council and subcommittees since his disappearance, and has also assembled an informal subcommittee with Svenson and Menander to locate and retrieve his father. At present, the council has three bands of adventurers searching for the Lord Regent, in addition to freelancers looking for fame and the warriors sent by the dwarves.

Given the enormous amount of work that comes before the council, each member has no fewer than three assistants to deal with referendums, petitions, proposals, and meeting requests. Most of the subcommittees’ research is done by assistants, who are also in charge of keeping track of the exploits of adventurers throughout the North and maintaining records of those who might prove useful to the kingdom.

The King's Companions:

No single decisive battle won Blackmoor its sovereignty from Thonia. Rather, legions of brave men and women fought the drawn-out war of freedom, with countless warriors giving their lives in the name of Uther Andahar. In every part of Blackmoor, one can hear tales of those who used their last breath to curse the Thonian Empire and acknowledge Uther as their true king.

Despite the many hearts that have pledged an oath to Uther, eleven individuals are closer to the king’s cause than any others—those who have been given the title of King’s Companions. They are not a formal order per se; in fact, some have never even met each other. Rather, they are a group of brave men and women who have gone above and beyond their dedicated oaths, in some cases losing friends, family, and loved ones in the process.

Unlike other organizations, there is no way to join the King’s Companions. Their legend has already been cemented. However, those of great bravery or fortune might be able to gain enough favor to be taken in as an apprentice of one of these legendary warriors. Those who successfully complete such service are informally and collectively called Fellows of the King’s Companions.

Organization

The King’s Companions are the eleven individuals who aided Uther in his quest to free Blackmoor from the control of Thonia. An informal order, the companions have no levels of advancement or degrees of achievement.

As the King’s Companions have reached the end of their adventuring days, they have begun training apprentices to become the future heroes of Blackmoor. In time, several of these young champions came together and realized how much of an asset they could be to one another, organizing under the name of the Fellows of the King’s Companions. Many of those who have long since passed their apprenticeship now serve Uther’s court directly, and help to vet and train new apprentices to the King’s Companions.

The Brothers of the Greenwood:

The Brothers of the Greenwood oppose Afridhi control of the Duchy of Ten. Serving as spies and saboteurs, this fellowship claims over eight thousand members fighting to retake their lands. Rumors persist that the Kingdom of Blackmoor supplies the group with weapons, and the Afridhi have used this claim to threaten subjugation of Blackmoor’s Barony of the Lakes in order to protect their "rightful god-given lands."

A dangerous force that has grown to pose a substantial threat to the occupation of Ten, the Brothers of the Greenwood use guerilla tactics of infiltration and subversion to hinder the internal workings of the Afridhi state. The group is based in Croc’s Nest, a small trading community halfway between Lake Gloomy and the Tower of Midges on the War Road, and maintains temporary campsites and equipment caches throughout Ten.

Organization

The Brothers of the Greenwood consists of two groups: the intelligence corps (or spirits) led by Baron Oric van Rijin and the guerilla soldiers (or trees) led by Baron Finneas Hubal. Their respective missions are summed up in the maxim, "Spirits watch; trees march." Each branch has different requirements, and characters who join both branches are referred to as spirit trees.

Intelligence Corps (‘Spirits’)

Members of the intelligence corps are charged with infiltrating Ten to gain information on Afridhi activities, most commonly troop movements. Many spirits pose as Tenian slaves within the Afridhi camps, although particularly skilled individuals are given short-term assignments involving impersonation of higher-level Tenian slave-officials or even Afridhi troops. Members of the intelligence corps are also used for counterintelligence assignments within the guerrilla soldiers.

Most spirits are rogues or bards, although members of other classes (notably sorcerers and clerics of the Trickery or Obscuration domains) are not uncommon. Members of the intelligence corps base their ranks on incorporeal creatures, partly to strike fear into the Afridhi. “Ghosts are haunting you” is a message commonly left behind when spirit spies have finished their work. Many of the older members of this corps are former thieves and cutthroats who have turned their talents to more useful ends in these trying times.

Guerilla Soldiers (‘Trees’)

The trees are led by Baron Hubal of Rusagern (the Old Oak), and are focused on taking the fight to the Afridhi in the hope of reclaiming their homeland. Most of their operations are built around information obtained by the intelligence corps, and consist of fast hit-and-run tactics against supply lines and other critical targets. The guerilla soldiers are run in a much more organized fashion than the intelligence corps, and their membership is far less secretive. The soldiers’ ranks are named after the trees of their occupied homeland.

The Court of the Rapier:

When a citizen of Blackmoor has a legal complaint against a fellow citizen, he takes it to the local magistrate to be heard and ruled upon. When nobles want to air their grievances, they do so at the Court of the Rapier— the only recognized dueling society in the Kingdom of Blackmoor.

Organization

The Church of Sacwhynne (Immortal patron of duels, whose worshipers include nobles, fencers, duelists, and warriors) acts as the dueling society’s official sponsor. For the court’s public face, its members profess to share a love of fencing and dueling. The Court of the Rapier’s true purpose, however, is much more than it appears. True to its name, the court is a place where disputes, accusations, complaints, and vengeance are settled with steel according to the arts of the duel. Rival noble and merchant houses send their progeny to the court to train in swordplay, and to eventually represent them when the time comes.

Unlike informal dueling societies and their often-fraternal camaraderie, the atmosphere in the Court of the Rapier is as cold as Sacwhynne’s breath. Its members respect each other, but all who hold a rapier know that relationships can end quickly depending on the rules of the duel. The noble houses of Blackmoor hold the court in high esteem, remembering how noble houses at odds used to fight openly, damaging their reputations and resources.

The Temple of Sacwhynne serves as the Court of the Rapier’s main headquarters. Each noble house of repute must have three representatives in the Court of the Rapier in order to take part in the organization. Conflict between nobles is brought to the attention of the judge-maestro, the head of the court.

By random drawing, the judge-maestro chooses twelve duelists from outside the disputing houses to serve as his jury. Upon hearing the terms of the dispute, the jury chooses which two duelists will settle the matter. Ostensibly setting aside personal feelings, jurors are charged with choosing duelists based on how their skill with a blade relates to the strength or weakness of the case. The judge-maestro then determines the rules of the duel, which depend on the severity of the noble challenge.

Challenges run the range from first blood to a fight to the death. Whenever death occurs, the losing noble house brings in another hopeful to go through the training process, though it could take as long as five years under the DeMarke sisters for even a talented warrior to develop the potential for greatness.

As nobles duel within the hierarchy of the court, they increase their stature and rank. Five duels won translates to an increase in rank within the court, at which time Judge-Maestro Artaban Von Enstrin rewards the winning duelist with knowledge parted from the Codex of Blade and Ice. This holy work of Sacwhynne is said to describe the goddess’s own fighting style, or at least a version which mere mortals are able to emulate.

Ranks within the court are named after the components of a rapier: white pommels, purple quillions, black hilts, silver ricassos, and golden blades.

The Gen’ri:

The elves have long been the chroniclers of history and lore. The records of the Cumasti nation predate the settlements of humans in the North, and tell of a single grand elven nation. With the encroachment of other races into the Redwoods and the dwindling of the elven people, the need for Cumasti agents with connections to the politics and temperament of their non-elven neighbors has never been stronger.

Organization

The internal security and intelligence force of the Cumasti elves is called the Gen’ri. The organization has several levels of membership, beginning with entry-level agents tasked with basic record keeping and courier work. By increasing their ability for gathering information and their knowledge of the local area, members of the order become seasoned master- and elder-level agents. The gen’ri are provided stipends and tools relative to their standing in the organization, including disguise kits, elven cloaks and boots, and other items of stealth and subterfuge.

Gen’ri agents meld into their surroundings, easily gaining information and trust through the local inhabitants living near their assigned post. Often these agents take on the role of local shopkeepers, tavern owners, or any other vocation popular with the common folk and likely to overhear local rumors. It is believed that every city, hamlet, and thorp in and around the Redwood has a member of the Gen’ri in residence.

The House of the Five-Thorned Roses:

Of the many informal dueling societies scattered across the north, the House of the Five-Thorned Roses is the most untraditional. Its members are the defenders of love, seeking revenge for those who have been wounded in its name.

Organization

The Five-Thorned Roses is a revenge society whose duelists are hired to exact retribution for those who have been spurned by those they loved. Members take no payment for their services, as they believe that the common folk are always in need of champions. Unlike assassins, members of the Five-Thorned Roses always challenge according to the proper protocols of dueling.

Members of the order are typically hired by those who have had their spouses or lovers stolen, issuing a challenge to the offending suitor. If the challenger declines (which is likely), the members of the House of the Five-Thorned Roses endeavor to make the transgressor’s "cowardice" public knowledge by spreading the word in taverns and distributing embarrassing handbills. The purpose of such tactics is to goad the challenged party into the duel when the humiliation grows too great. As a constant reminder, the assigned duelist leaves a red rose with five thorns tacked to the target’s door each night until the challenge has been accepted. All duels are to the death, and any duelist slain in such a manner is buried in a casket filled with roses.

The members of the House of the Five-Thorned Roses typically wear dueling attire in black (to symbolize mourning) and red (to symbolize love and revenge). Many become devotees of Phellia, the Immortal patron of lovers. The house’s membership roster of duelists is on the rise, and all have a tragic story of their own to tell.

The Howling Lords of the Midnight Hunt:

Among the many druidic circles of the North, the Howling Lords of the Midnight Hunt have a legendary— and sometimes dangerous—reputation. While many druidic orders dedicate themselves to protecting nature, the Howling Lords pay homage to darker, more
primal forces.

Organization

The Howling Lords of the Midnight Hunt believe in the primal order of nature—that the strong shall lead while the weak follow. The overall order is composed of small circles known as packs. Each pack consists mainly of druids, but barbarians, rangers, and shamans who have proven their worth in strength are sometimes allowed to take part in the Midnight Hunt’s traditions.

The hunt is a sacred ceremony—a display of dominance by one beast over another, with members of the pack embracing their animal instincts. The Howling Lords base their sacred hunts and select their pray according to the cycle of the moon. Druids within the pack take on their wild shape forms when on the hunt, fighting with tooth and claw. Others wear beast masks and the hides of animals they have slain, hunting with wooden spears they have crafted themselves or specially designed clawed gauntlets. Members of the hunt also venerate Elgath’s aspect as the Archer. Many within the packs take up the bow, constructing their own weapons from wood and bone.

Members of the Midnight Hunt venerate the beasts, both natural and magical, that Elgath created and brought onto the world. They painstakingly train beasts to accompany them on their hunts, making them a part of the pack. Some of the druids and rangers within the Howling Lords are able to take on more than one animal companion, becoming a pack in their own right.

The Howling Lords of the Midnight Hunt can be found in any of the forests of the North. Each pack adopts a totem animal represented in their dress, their animal companions, and their preferred wild shape. Their survival skills make each pack thoroughly self-sufficient, and only rarely will members of a pack choose to interact with traders and other emissaries of civilization. Though territorial, however, the Howling Lords will usually assist travelers lost within their woods. The world is meant for the strong to lead, but leaders have a responsibility for protecting those destined to follow them.

The Knights of Ten:

The Knights of Ten are a most unorthodox order— bandits and brigands who have elevated a rogues’ code of honor to that of a knightly calling. In the aftermath of invasion, they are the true spirit of the Duchy of Ten.

Organization

The current Knights of Ten are a second-generation version of the earlier order of that name, composed of both high- and low-born brigands emulating warriors of legend. These new knights have retained some of the titles and ranks of the knights of old, but such traditions are more surface than substance. They dress well (though they keep their faces hidden), are well mannered, and prefer the use of threats to violence. “Stand and deliver” and “Your money or your life” are their standard greetings, but the tactics of these robber-knights are focused solely on Toska Rusa’s minions rather than innocent travelers.

Slowly, the Knights of Ten are taking back the roads of that land by ambushing Afridhi caravans, cutting off the invaders’ communications, provisions, and weapons. Stolen goods are dispersed among the duchy’s downtrodden, and the cunning and generosity of these devout patriots give the order a central role in the struggle to win freedom for their land.

The Knights of Ten have no great hall where they meet to tell tales of their exploits or plan strategy. Rather, the order is organized as a collection of what are essentially local gangs. With their intimate familiarity with the roads of the duchy (well-traveled and otherwise), these skilled riders have established a sophisticated system for delivering missives and messages. They are spread throughout the land, able to conceal themselves in the general populace when not doing their duty on the Tenian roads. Their brigands’ code of honor very much reflects the oaths sworn before them by the knights of old.

The Code of the Knights of Ten

A Knight of Ten will not steal from the people of Ten and the orphans that have been left in the Afridhi’s wake. However, any Tenians that have conspired with the Afridhi to save their own hides will not be spared.

No harm is to come to a woman, unless that woman worships Zugzul.

All copper, silver, and gold gets taken as tithing on the road, and will be distributed equally among the poor in the nearby villages. Jewels are given to the local women among those poor, at a knight’s discretion. Knights may keep wealth for themselves only for personal upkeep of their equipment.

If the code is knowingly broken, the Knight of Ten must atone for his misdeeds [see the atonement spell in the PHB]. Until the penance is completed, he can no longer call himself a knight nor perform any of his duties under the banner of the Knights of Ten

The Thieves’ Guilds:

At every port, settlement, village, and city throughout Blackmoor, eyes are watching. The agents of the thieves’ guilds lurk in the shadows wherever honest merchants sell their wares or more illicit transactions take place. They move unseen, disguised as workers, vagrants, and shopkeepers. Some are even prominent merchants and politicians in their own right. Everyone within the guild works toward the same goal—to ensure that the thieves’ guild receives its share of any commerce, and that rogue agents do not mess up big scores and ongoing plots.

Thieves’ guilds have existed in the lands of Blackmoor since the founding of Thonia, and the need to control the criminal element has always been an important aspect of maintaining the rule of law. A thieves’ guild manages all criminal activities where profit is to be made, from petty crimes like burglaries and break-ins to major operations such as smuggling and assassination. One of the major commodities members barter is information. Guild members always have their ears to the ground for details of the goings-on within a community.

Members of a thieves’ guild must be crafty and honorable at the same time. The guilds have stayed in business for centuries because of the cunning of their higher-ranking members and the loyalty of those beneath them. If not for its members’ allegiance to the creed of "honor among thieves," the guilds would have long ago devolved into the chaos of infighting and financial ruin.

Membership in a thieves’ guild has a number of perks. Guild members receive discounts off purchases of items and equipment related to the activities of the professional rogue. This includes thieves’ tools and other specialist equipment, but also includes magic items such as potions of invisibility and wands of knock.

Organization

Beyond wealth, a thieves’ guild is primarily motivated by its dedication to hierarchy and organization. Thieves’ guilds are unified throughout Blackmoor, sharing the same hierarchy, dues structure, and ranks via the United Thieves’ Guilds of the North. Members begin with the designation “lower tier” and move up in the ranks as they bring in more profits.

The United Thieves’ Guilds of the North only allows its members to earn coin through specific types of crimes. Crimes of vengeance or extreme violence are strictly prohibited by the guild, as are unauthorized crimes against guild members or particular merchants. Lower-tier thieves are told that their status prevents them from marking certain businesses as targets, but the truth is that the owners of most such businesses are members of the higher-ranking concerned citizens.

Members only gain benefits within cities with an active thieves’ guild. Most thieves’ guild members are not interested in rank, and so do not seek membership beyond the lower tier where the benefits are high, the responsibilities are low, and the profit is reasonable.

Bardic Organizations:

Bardic organizations in the North come in all sizes, and can be as well organized as a priesthood or as informal as a handful of good friends. Some of the more well known bardic circles of Blackmoor are detailed here, but this list should not be considered complete. In order to avoid scrutiny by the Wizard’s Cabal, most members of these circles use their nonmagical skills exclusively when performing in public. However, adventuring bards are well known for using any and all power at their disposal.

Brothers of the Dark Vision

The Brothers of the Dark Vision is more of an honorary organization than a formal bardic circle. Membership is reserved for those who can tell a ghost story well enough to raise the hair on the back of the neck and keep an audience jumping at shadows for the rest of the evening. Although one may apply for membership, a recommendation from a current member is the quickest route into the organization. Most members of the brothers belong to other bardic circles as well. Members of the Brothers of the Dark Vision wear a pin in the shape of an eye with a smoky moonstone at its center.

Dwarven Songmasters

The Dwarven Songmasters have perhaps the most stringent requirements of all the bardic circles of the North. In order to become a member, one must memorize more than a hundred dwarven poems and songs. Many of these are long epics covering dwarven history and mythology. The entry examination is harsh and stringent, and even minor errors can kill an aspirant’s chances of success. For this reason, the dwarven oral histories are considered some of the most accurate in the known world. Dwarven songmasters wear an intricately fashioned gold pin in the shape of the Dwarven rune meaning "music."

Jocular Jongleurs

The Jocular Jongleurs are professional entertainers specializing in humorous and stunt-filled performances. They juggle, take pratfalls, and tell jokes and ribald stories for a fee. “Anything for a laugh,” is their motto. Although primarily made up of gnomes and halflings at its inception, the order welcomes bards of any stripe as long as they are willing to take a pie in the face. The jongleurs are perhaps the most organized of the bardic circles, with a headquarters in Blackmoor that auditions new members and organizes traveling companies for tours of the larger towns of the North. The current president is Boramy Barristan, a Halfling with a sharp eye for humor and a keen head for business. Members of the Jocular Jongleurs wear a gold ring with the outline of a smiling mouth as its signet.

Northern Collegium Musicum

The Northern Collegium Musicum is dedicated to identifying and disseminating the very best of new Northern poetry and music throughout the realm. They are closely modeled after the venerable Collegium Musicum of the Thonian Empire, but the Northern version champions new compositions rather than promoting classical works as the Thonians do.

Being a young nation, the North has little artistic tradition except that of the Thonian empire they so recently rejected. Members of the Northern Collegium work to give the North its own cultural identity distinct from the empire’s. They come from all races and backgrounds, but High Thonians make up the single largest group within the circle’s membership. To become a member, one must first find a sponsor within the organization. New members must undertake a one-year probation before attaining full membership. During this time, they are judged on their willingness to promote and perform the new music of the North.

Northern Heralds

The Northern Heralds are dedicated to the propagation of information and lore, stopping in the tiniest villages and the largest towns to pass along royal proclamations and news of national and regional importance. Northern Heralds are highly recognizable in their white tabards with a black herald’s trumpet embroidered across the front. They travel far and wide from the Plains of Hak to the city of Maus, and even into the northernmost reaches of the Thonian Empire.

King Uther has called the heralds the glue that holds the North’s alliances together. However, though they maintain a professional demeanor, it is well known that many Northern Heralds will share spicy gossip and rumors for the price of a drink or a hot meal.

Order of the Sun and Harp

The Order of the Sun and Harp is dedicated to spreading the gifts of Baldin, the Immortal patron of light, music, and poetry. One does not have to worship Baldin to join, but members always begin their performances with a succinct prayer to the Immortal as a reminder that he is the source of their artistic gifts. Members of the Order of the Sun and Harp are generally less interested in solo performances than in leading groups in song. They enjoy teaching unfamiliar songs to new audiences, and are always on the lookout
for suitable pieces alive with the cheery light of Baldin. Members wear a small metal clasp in the shape of a holy symbol of Baldin on their collar or cloak.

The Royal Society of the Lyre and Lute

The Royal Society of the Lyre and Lute is open only to bards of Cumasti elven descent. Menander Ithamis founded the society in part to address concerns that increased contact with other races was causing the dilution and erosion of the unique Cumasti cultural heritage.

The society was founded to preserve and spread Cumasti poetry, drama, and music. Members are encouraged to support the continued strength of their culture by performing ballads and epics in the language in which they were written, rather than translating them into lesser tongues. Members also support and perform the works of current Cumasti composers who are true to the traditional Cumasti style. Members of the Royal Society wear a bronze medallion on a sky-blue ribbon. The medallion is stamped with the image of a lyre and lute, with the elven name of the society engraved around the edges.

Silver Circle, Blue Circle

Silver Circle, Blue Circle is primarily made up of alumni of the student auxiliary program of the University of Blackmoor’s Keepers of the Peace. Fiercely loyal to the Fetch (as Fletcher William, dean of Blackmoor, is called), these students continue to work as the eyes and ears of the Keepers of the Peace long after their formal association with the university has ended.

From all across the North, members of the silver and blue send back news of unusual occurrences or suspicious activities. Entrance to the organization is most easily gained through Ruda Malefor, assistant to Fletcher William. Silver Circle, Blue Circle is named for the official colors of the University of Blackmoor. Members of the group are given a pin consisting of two side-by-side circles, one painted white and one painted blue. However, because of the somewhat clandestine nature of the organization, the pin is usually not worn openly.

Society for the Preservation of theNorthern Record

Members of the society are dedicated to promoting accurate spoken and musical histories of the North. They identify and vilify those bards who engage in exaggeration or hyperbole, and champion those who compose epics and ballads whose facts have been researched and verified. They believe that the truly heroic deeds of the North need no embellishment, and that they can stand on their own as art and entertainment without resorting to the irresponsible act of distorting the truth. The society was originally founded at the University of Blackmoor, and though its members are few, they wield enough influence to make life uneasy for a bard who spices things up a bit too much. Members of the Society wear a scarlet sash while performing.

Voice of the People

Although not an exclusively Peshwah circle, the Voice of the People is based on ancient Peshwah traditions. Among the Peshwah, public criticism and questioning of leadership is considered in poor taste and disrespectful unless one does so through poetry or song. The philosophy behind this tradition is that when one takes the time to write in verse, thought and effort must inevitably be put into the process. This prevents hotheaded rhetoric and promotes thoughtful reflection before words are spoken in council.

The Voice of the People brought this tradition to the larger North, using rhymes to both report and comment upon their leaders’ actions. Members of the circle traditionally wear an iron medallion on a leather thong. The medallion is in the shape of the iedro, the Peshwah symbol for peace and tranquility.

The Monasteries of Blackmoor:

Almost a century ago, the Order of Mystics came from civilized lands to found a monastery dedicated to discipline and knowledge. They built a simple keep on the edge of the Valley of Ancients, living as ascetics in order to train their bodies for challenges both natural and unnatural. The only luxury they allowed themselves was a library of books and scrolls. Members of the order claimed (with perhaps a little too much pride) that the combined knowledge held in their library and in their minds exceeded that of all but the gods.

Then a star fell from the sky into the valley below them, and the order fell into dissent. Some took the star as a sign that their knowledge had been exhausted, and that they must journey out into the world again to gain more. Some felt that the order’s knowledge should be shared with all, while others felt that knowledge was a secret and powerful thing to be given only to those who had earned it. In the end, all but a few of the order made their way into the wider world. Influenced and changed by their travels, many eventually stopped to establish monasteries of their own, founded upon their new knowledge and beliefs.

The Order of Mystics

The successors to the original order still reside in their monastery overlooking the forbidding Valley of Ancients. Those who come here for training are required to test themselves against the valley. Aspirants who fail these tests do not return. Though rare, travelers sometimes come seeking knowledge, but even these seekers must be tested in their beliefs and discipline before knowledge is shared. Outcasts from the Peshwah journey here, as do half-elves and half-orcs, the black sheep of noble families, and those whose personal beliefs have forced them to break from their land and people.

The High Llama who leads the Order of Mystics is known as Snake Eater. He is a Westryn elf who came to the monastery before the star fell, remaining there after the exodus. He is disdainful of monks trained by other monasteries, and when they arrive seeking aid or knowledge, they are given tougher tests than other visitors. Snake Eater is frequently gone from the monastery on spiritual journeys, leaving his deputy, a human woman named Hawk, in charge. Though in her seventies, Hawk appears to be merely middle-aged.

Training at the monastery grants levels in the standard monk class of the PHB. Most who seek such training become worshipers of Yoosef, though other faiths are tolerated.

Clan of the Great Stone

One group of wanderers that left the mountain citadel was principally made up of dwarves and others who saw the earth as the source of all significant knowledge. To them, the star from the heavens was an assault upon the earth, and they dedicated themselves to strengthening and protecting it. Their monastery is a large natural cavern in the dwarven realms. The order consists primarily of dwarves, but they welcome others who seek them out and pass their tests of belief and strength.

The followers of the Great Stone specialize in grappling combat, and train for maximum strength and toughness. Individual combat is the test of their ability and discipline. The current leader, known as Nogare the Immovable, recently defeated his father Taroo the Tough. Though he leads the clan, Nogare continues his training, as he has the hubris to hope one day to wrestle the dwarven Immortal Hemgrid.

Followers of the Cloud

This monastery was established by another splinter group that left the original order. Primarily elves, they have been given permission to abide on the border of the Northern Downs and the Elven Forest. In a small wood a short distance from the elven frontier, the Followers of the Cloud have built a series of treetop structures linked by vine bridges, hoping to get as close to the clouds as possible.

When a fragment of the falling star struck the Sink, the original founders of this group saw the steam that rose up as a sign—a message to change their ways and journey out to spread the word that all significant knowledge comes from the air. Most of the members of this order worship Aeros. The current leader (known as the first wing) of the group is a Cumasti elf named Lumines. She is often away exploring planar connections to the Elemental Plane of Air, leaving the day-to-day running of the order to her second wing, a male Cumasti known as Phantacee.

Order of Redemption

The existence of this monastery is known only to Docrae, halflings, and a few gnomes. The small folk who founded it saw the destruction caused by the falling star as another reminder of how those with strength often seek to destroy the weak. The skills honed at the monastery center around avoidance. Its members strive to be impossible to hit, or to flow with successful blows as if they were water.

Members of the order attempt to avoid conflict when possible, and to outlast their opponents when they cannot. They excel at teamwork, and often act as the trusted bodyguards of physically weaker spellcasters. The current head of the Order of Redemption is a male Docrae named Gradius. He dedicates his time to training others, sending his more proficient followers throughout Blackmoor to act as protectors for the small folk.

Society of the Dark Heart

The original Order of Mystics considered themselves above the politics and capriciousness of the world around them. When the star fell into the Valley of Ancients, some saw this as a sign that they should use their knowledge and discipline to seek worldly power. Many of these monks were Afridhi, and they journeyed back to their homelands to establish themselves as a secret society dedicated to the worship of Zugzul and personal power. Their members operate in the background among the Afridhi leadership, acting as advisors and sometimes protectors. Though almost all members of the society are Afridhi, the order will sometimes kidnap children of other races to be raised and trained in their ways and beliefs. These monks are then sent to be spies among their own people.

Members of the order will often mix their monastic training with levels of fire elementalist or cleric of Zugzul. This is an exception to the normal restrictions on monks as multiclass characters. All members of the Society of the Dark Heart must be lawful evil, although more than a few former members have been so repulsed by the deeds of their fellows that they have abandoned the order and adopted a more lawful neutral outlook. The current leader of the Society is a male Afridhi known as Rakhul. He is a cousin to Toska Rusa, and the two often work together.

The Lawgivers

The final group to splinter from the original Order of Mystics were the descendants of nobles who took the falling star as a sign that they should return to the cities of the land. To them, the destruction wrought by the star was a reminder of how close the monastery itself had come to destruction, its lore and history lost for all time. In the cities, they would establish places of training for any who wished to learn discipline and truth. Though the Lawgivers still consider themselves members of the Order of Mystics, they feel that enlightenment is worthless unless it is shared by all.

There are small monasteries dedicated to the Lawgivers in most cities in Blackmoor and Thonia, and they will train anyone who is able to maintain the discipline. In Blackmoor City, the monastery is located next to the university and is run by Campbell, a descendent of the long dead King Robert of Geneva. Many noble scions are sent to the order to learn the basics of self-discipline, knowledge, and justice. Many adventurers who do not have the drive or desire to seek out one of the more far-flung monasteries also train here.

The Eldritch Underground:

A loose alliance of outlaw sorcerers and rogue wizards, the Eldritch Underground seeks to accomplish what few arcane societies or barons dare dream: thwarting the draconian rule of the Wizards’ Cabal.

Opinions of the Underground and their work vary by community and social class. Peasants living in the outlands of Blackmoor tell stories of the mysterious Eldritch Underground to frighten misbehaving children. According to these tales, agents of the Underground can transform themselves into mere shadows and are capable of casting deadly spells forbidden by the Cabal. Superstitious peasants and common folk looking to contact members of the Underground bury offerings at the point where two country roads cross. Whether or not the Underground answers the request is said to depend on the virtue and intent of the petitioner, reinforcing the belief that its agents can see into mortal hearts.

For their part, the nobility and landed gentry of Blackmoor dismiss the Eldritch Underground as a product of old legends and pranksters. After all, how could a band of unschooled sorcerers succeed in standing against the might of the Wizards’ Cabal? When questioned about the recent string of sorcerer disappearances in Jackport, the barons are quick to point out that a sorcerer committed to living in defiance of the Cabal receives only what she deserves.

Organization

The Eldritch Underground is not as powerful as the superstitious are led to believe, but neither is it as quickly dismissed as Blackmoor’s barons would like. The truth, known by few outside the Underground and the Wizards’ Cabal, is that the Underground survives by concentrating on just one goal: protecting and defending the sorcerers of Blackmoor. The Cabal works tirelessly to ferret out agents of the Underground, but for every agent captured and tortured in the Cabal’s dungeons, two more will rally to the Underground’s call for justice.

Key to the Underground’s success is its establishment of scores (if not hundreds) of cells scattered across the land. Each cell is independent and self-reliant, and has contacts to only a handful of other cells. In this way, a captured agent can reveal little or no information regarding the extents and operation of the organization as a whole. There have been recorded instances of single-minded Cabal inquisitors succeeding in infiltrating cells, but even aided by magic, such tactics can only go so far before the tenuous relationship between connecting cells collapses. Meanwhile, the friends and families of captured sorcerers seek out agents in the hopes of joining Underground resistance, fueled by their vendetta against the Cabal’s iron fist.

Despite the myths and legends surrounding it, much of the Underground’s work is surprisingly mundane. Agents of the resistance typically construct boltholes and safehouses to conceal wanted sorcerers, and arrange routes for smuggling outlaws in and out of cities. One cell’s work might be to simply keep a fresh horse always at the ready so that a fleeing sorcerer can trade out mounts on a moment’s notice. Other cells specialize in preparing travel packs, replete with rations, potions, and scrolls.

More ambitious cells might actively seek out sorcerers before they manifest their talents, saving them from the attentions of the Cabal. In cities, cells are rumored to run orphanages and workhouses where all the children are secretly sorcerers in training. Very few cells promote rescuing captured sorcerers, since this risks drawing the immediate wrath of the Cabal. However, certain heroes of the Eldritch Underground are renowned for their courage in the face of danger.

The agents known as the Sworn of Angvile are the exception to the Underground’s rule of steering clear of the Wizards’ Cabal. Driven by the tales of their legendary founder, the sworn actively work to thwart the Cabal, and many Underground cells have been wiped out when a charismatic leader convinces his fellows to take up the fight with sword and spell. Those cells that do survive a brush with the Cabal most often do so only by luck, or because they have been infiltrated by Cabal agents.

The Sworn of Angvile refuse to stand by and watch fellow sorcerers suffer at the hands of the Cabal. However, more than one sworn agent has died beneath a hail of magic missiles when an attempted rescue turns out to be a Cabal ambush instead. It is believed that the sworn were responsible for organizing the ambush that led to Skelfer Ard’s disappearance. For this reason alone, every inquisitor and arcane warrior of the Cabal has orders to kill sworn agents on sight.

The Sworn of Angvile are rumored to be active in many cities of the North, especially Maus and Blackmoor City. They can be identified by the brand of a dagger hidden somewhere on their body. Once branded, agents are never permitted to leave the ranks of the sworn, and very few agents live to die of old age.

The strength of the Underground’s secrecy is also its greatest weakness. With only a handful of allies to turn to in emergencies, each cell is expected to handle any trouble that comes its way.

Any agent with knowledge of the Underground above the level of a single cell is known as an initiate. The order is believed to be composed of seven circles of initiates, ranging from lowly operatives to those at the upper levels responsible for orchestrating meetings between agents. The most trusted initiates are those charged with eliminating traitors to the cause.

Most initiates are sorcerers, but all have taken up other professions to aid in maintaining their public personas. Many play the role of the skald, the mercenary, or the common rogue. Initiates all swear to embrace death before betraying the Underground, with some scarred by magic runes designed to reduce an agent to a feebleminded simpleton in case of capture. This effect is mimicked by the sworn, though their version is far more macabre, transforming the agent into a raging killer who is automatically slain when the effect ends. Such magic is one of the reasons inquisitors and arcane warriors alike tread carefully when on the hunt for agents of the Underground.

Those seeking to parlay with agents of the Eldritch Underground are often stymied by the order’s secrecy. A search for contacts in the Underground commonly consists of asking obtuse questions of disreputable sages, leaving messages in smoke-filled gambling dens, or bribing backalley dealers in forbidden magic and wicked idols. If a seeker is persistent (and passes the Underground’s obligatory checks into his identity and motives), he might be invited to a late-night meeting on a lonely beach, or in the back of a musty library.

For those needing to find the Underground in a hurry, nothing works better than drawing the wrath of the Wizards’ Cabal. Many a character has found herself suddenly aided by a member of the Underground while being chased down by a pack of stone-faced inquisitors. However, such characters are always thoroughly vetted and investigated before being allowed any contact with even the lowliest Underground cell.

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Blackmoor - Religions
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2012, 04:03:53 AM »
Immortals of Blackmoor

Format is [Blackmoor name] - [True/Current name]

Thonian Pantheon
Baldin - Baldin (vanished Immortal)
Fornaus - Pax
Hersh - Korotiku
Henrin - Henrin
Kadis - Ouranos
Khoronus - Khoronus
Mwajin - Sinbad
Odir - Odin
Pacuun - Ixion
Phellia - Valerias
Sacwyhne - Sacwyhne (vanished immortal)
Sollus - Sollus

Peshwa Pantheon
Calelrin (evil) - Demogorgon or Arik
Hadeen (dead) - Hadeen (dead)
Hak - Odin
Raelralataen - Raelralataen (vanished)
Yoosef - Ka

Dwarves/Gnomes
Charis - Ka
Koorzun - Kagyar
Dhummon - Dhummon (one of the original dwarven immortals, now extinct)
Gorrim (evil) - Thanatos
Hemgrid - Ouranos
Kela - Kela (later vanished trying to map the Vortex)
Mieroc - Garal
Pathmeer - Ssu-Ma
Shau - Shau (vanished)

Elven Pantheon
Aeros - Elemaster of Air
Dealth - Dealth (perished in the GRoF)
Faunus - Faunus
Ferros - Kagyar
Fiumarra - Elemaster of Fire
Hydros - Elemaster of Water
Ordana - Ordana
Sylvian - Ninfangle
Terra - Terra

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002

Bluebomber4evr

  • Head DM, Developer and Ravenloft Trivia Guru/Community Council
  • Administrator
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 20692
    • http://www.nwnravenloft.com
Re: Mystara - Blackmoor - The ComeBack Inn
« Reply #44 on: March 31, 2012, 04:32:27 AM »
The ComeBack Inn

One of the most famous locations in Blackmoor is the ComeBack Inn. The proprietors and patrons of this incredible place regale its visitors with tales of legend and magic that cannot be found elsewhere. Many adventurers frequent the Comeback Inn when in Blackmoor City, and participate in the tale-telling and negotiation of typical adventurer business.

The ComeBack Inn is a solidly constructed, L-shaped building. A sturdy stone foundation supports four stories of stout oaken timber for the public house and lodgings. The west wing is a two-story wooden structure, which contains the stables and hayloft. From the outside, the inn, although of fi ne workmanship and impeccable upkeep, appears normal; in fact, to some who have traveled widely it appears suspiciously average. Once characters enter the inn, passing the pair of well-groomed guardsmen stationed on either side of the front door, evidence of the potent enchantments that are woven into the place’s structure slowly becomes apparent.

Within the inn is a large public hall, containing numerous tables, booths, and a long oaken bar. Hanging about the place, as decoration above the booths, are tokens left by past guests of the inn. While many of the objects (primarily helms, shields, brooches, and tabards — never weapons) appear familiar, among them are several objects that, while ordinary in general form (i.e., an object that is obviously a helm), are completely out of the ordinary in terms of style and fashion.

When pressed about such objects the barkeep or any of the barmaids reply that they are from “visitors” and that the inn has always attracted “people from all over.” Local rumors (DC 14 Gather Information) attest to the fact that the inn is often the source of new fashions. From time to time, oddly dressed and equipped persons stop at the inn, and sometimes the local folk fi nd that the newcomers carry superior equipment and clothing.

Food and drink are plentiful, high quality, and inexpensive. For this reason the inn is almost always filled near capacity, especially around mealtimes and in the early evening (providing a +2 circumstance bonus on Gather Information checks). Those who return at different times of the year find that the food stays remarkably consistent in quality from season to season. This stability is due to the enchanted cellar, which, at the stroke of midnight, magically regenerates all foodstuffs (animal or vegetable) within it. The bones and scraps of leftover meat become fresh hams and whole, plucked geese, while the few vegetables left in each of the produce bins duplicate themselves until each bin in full of fresh carrots, cabbages, and potatoes. Similarly, the kegs refill themselves with fresh, crisp ale and rich, creamy stout (depending upon the keg, of course).

In addition to the magically-enhanced mealtimes, the inn is under several potent protective enchantments that help make it a safe place in a wild land. Of primary importance is the fact that no one (other then the owner and his direct employees) can leave the inn of his own accord. Attempts to walk out through either the front or rear door fail, causing the character to be instantly teleported back into the place (as greater teleport), turned completely around. Similarly, a character leaping off the roof or out the windows lands in the middle of the main hall. Magical means of transportation, such as teleport and dimension door, only move characters about within the inn (and sometimes into others’ rooms).

The only known way to leave the place is for someone from outside the inn lend a hand and pull the individual out. In general, the innkeeper only instruct the guards at the front door to let you out if you paid your bill and he is happy with your behavior while inside the inn. The innkeeper and his direct employees are immune to this enchantment and may leave freely.

Some believe that the ComeBack Inn exist in many worlds simultaneously. It is rumored that deep within the inn’s basement stands a shimmering, rippling, black, vertical surface that serves as the opening to a magic gate. Peering into the surface provides little information. The gate leads both to nowhere and to almost everywhere (although each and every “everywhere” to which it leads is within the basement of a comfortable inn). It is said that scholars have discerned several features about this gate. First, it is not always open, and under certain circumstances attempts to enter the gate prove fruitless. Second, the gate’s opening cycles are associated strongly with the moon and planets. Certain celestial alignments portend more substantial voyages. Third, a character can influence control over the outcome of a journey through the gate with powerful talismans, constructed specifically for the manipulation of gate travel. These talismans must be constructed from rare combinations of metals, such as a bronzelike alloy made from copper and platinum. While this portal can be used to leave Blackmoor, it is also a likely place from which adventurers from afar might emerge, arriving in the cellar of the ComeBack Inn or from another plane simply by coming right through the front door.

The ComeBack Inn in Modern Mystara

Whatever magics used to construct the ComeBack Inn allowed it to survive Blackmoor's utter annihilation and survive the ravages of time into the present day. It also somehow inexplicably moved from the continent of Skothar to the continent of Brun.

The ComeBack Inn now lies atop a tower of rock in the Broken Lands. Local legends in Darokin refer to it as "the Inn Between Worlds," and all sorts of fanciful legends have been made about the place, from tales of treasure to stories of it being an interdimensional prision to it being the home of heroes destined to save an empire. There is some truth to these tales, of course. The portal in the Inn's basement still functions, and it is possible to travel from the present day to the era of Blackmoor through this portal (and back again) under certain conditions, as mentioned above.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:23:54 AM by Bluebomber4evr »

Bluebomber4evr: The Justice, not you, since 2002