Author Topic: Valachan resources?:  (Read 899 times)

Silas Rotleaf

  • Dark Lord
  • *****
  • Posts: 930
  • Space cat!
Valachan resources?:
« on: September 29, 2018, 04:32:32 PM »
I know it's a minor, lesser played and lesser known domain in the realm of dread but I was looking at Valachan again (because I'm playing a cleric from there) and stylistically & aesthetically from Gazetteer No. 4 and from what I can scrape from the forums out of things like the Valachani incursion into Sithicus from the old IC timeline... it seems largely a combo of Haida Indians, Amazon and mesoamericans, sort of a precolumbian mishmash.

So does that mean for holidays Valachani would do something like hold a potlach?
I wanna use some of that colorful fantasy native/aboriginal culture to spice up my role plays on this guy and was thinking maybe the lesser known/played from domain could use a bit of love.

What kind of symbols would Yutow clerics use, can we add some into the module if there aren't any or would I be able to adapt ones we already have using palette recolors?

These guys would probably carve totem poles if you stop to think about it and would use musical instruments like wooden pan flutes, rain sticks, that kind of thing.

River travel is said to be kind of important for commerce between the Valachani, Sithicans and Mordentish folk for stuff like fur trapping, food trade and logging as their economy goes...
So it's not a big stretch of the imagination to figure that canoes are definitely a fact of life for the Valachani or at least factor into things for the ones who live near the big rivers and do commerce along them.

That weird combination though of Pacific Northwest with Amazon means you have large jungle cats and also giant sequoia style redwood trees which means expect weirdly mismatched ecology among the mundane plants and animals before we even get into the magical ones and monsters.

Is anybody else willing to throw in here? There's not a whole lot else to go off of so all we can really do is speculate on it.

What have we got to work with?
As far as source material goes there isn't a lot but what we do have to be able to get to draw from for role playing characters from and the culture of this domain is as follows: A chapter in Doomsday Gazetteer volume IV, references from one skirmish event from the server's past, two in-game items (Redwood longbow and Cat's Eye amulet), and a few older forum posts.

Update: 12/30/18: Okay, so I'm looking at Pacific Northwest First Nations art styles and storytelling as well as digging into Mesoamerica's lore for some real world influences to borrow from in order to fill in the gaps.  Valachan is a funky mixture of stuff.

The church of Yutow itself is also a peculiar syncretic fusion of monotheism on top of what seems lorewise to be suggested even earlier shamanic/animist roots.

OOC I know it is a tool of control devised in the form of folkloric myths by Valachan's dark lord in order to misdirect his subjects but IC most Valachani commoners and even the majority of the priests outside his innermost circle aren't likely going to be aware of this hidden dark truth.

Now, as for the country itself, as depicted on PoTM you once in awhile have had them pop up as these brutal waves of iroquios style bersekers as an exotic bad guy or monster of the week/flavor of the month human creature-feature once, maybe twice so far in the server IC timeline.  We understand that geographically Valachan is situated as the westernmost domain in the core with Mordent to its north, Sithicus to its south and Verbrek to the east.  The topology of Valachan is varied, being full of fjiords and river rapids but also forests of unnaturally massive/tall redwood trees.  The fauna doesn't strictly follow any real world pattern since you've got rainforest animals like jaguars and leopards coexisting with other stuff they normally wouldn't ecologically hang around in the same clime as.  It (Valachan)'s got both temperate and tropical or sub-tropical regions. 

I'd compare this handling of the natives to the role the Klingons served in Star Trek: The Original Series vs. the next things which came after once you found out more about the at one point Federation enemies in depth as a people through characters like Lieutenant Commander Worf (The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine).

There's potential for having a lot more to these fictional people as a playable character ethnic group of humans than just oh, here's a convenient aboriginal fantasy bad guy you can use in skirmishes of Cowboys vs. Indians and I'm hoping players who choose to roll a Valachani character keep that in mind.

Would I love to see Valachan added directly somehow as a playable domain in the module on the POTM server? Yeah.
However, I know that would be a major undertaking and that it has been played with the idea of a few times in the past yet ultimately dropped from lack of sustained interest which yes, means it would not be likely to be officially added in anytime soon.  That doesn't mean that in the meantime we can't still roll a Valachani character whom the mists yanked from the Western part of the core and dumped into Barovia though you know.  There's also Church of Yutow and some Valachan information kicking around in the forum if you know where to look too.

1/3/2019: In addition to the three major cities there are smaller towns and villages called Thorpes. A Thorp is I guess like a burg sort of?

Clan structure: What’s weird about Valachan is their dark lord and ruler is male but they are described to be a communal matriarchy which suggests women tend to dominate day to day politics.  Therefore clanmothers have a significant role in economics and the social structure.

Errata: Once a year the cities are drawn from in a bridal lottery. A maiden is chosen to be essentially sacrificed to the ruler since it’s pretty much a death sentence to be his wife. They rarely last through the full year and only live in the castle for a handful of months.  Something horrible always happens to the baron’s wives.  The few that do escape alive run away and were driven mad.

Church of Yutow: The Church of Yutow is the official state sponsored religion.
Yutow is classified as a Lawful Neutral nature and fertility god but is in actuality one of many mind control schemes by Baron Kharkov to keep his subjects subjugated. His lore and mythos directly spin into and reinforce Valachan’s false history. The favored weapon of clergy orders devoted to Yutow is the sickle.

Baron Ulrik Von Kharkov, II: Valachan isn’t a terribly large country in the core and it is nestled between Sithicus and Mordent. Its temporal ruler and dark lord are the same guy, Kharkov.  Kharkov is a nosferatu vampire panther. He has a human form he prefers which is not perfect, his hands feature retractable catlike claws and are covered in thick black fur (Usually he disguises his hands in public by wearing leather gloves), also his eyes are catlike instead of more human.* He can create vampire spawn but also transmit werepanther lycanthropy.

Valachani cultural dislike toward book learning and wizards goes back to their dark lord’s origins. Kharkov was originally an experimental creation of the Thayan Red Wizard Morphayas. Then after that he served as an agent of the Kargat (necromancer king Azalin Rex’s Darkonian secret police) for 20 years. Then after becoming the lord of his own domain Kharkov got into a nasty feud of sorts with another wizard named Felkovic, one which continued well after Felkovic died and was a Geist... they still curse each other???  Kharkov faked his own death during this conflict and emerged from it claiming to be his own son Ulrik Von Kharkov the second.
So bottom line is he is not crazy about wizards and has trained his people to share his pronounced dislike towards the arcane.  That’s why in their religion arcane magic is listed as a strong blasphemy.

Kharkov is a fighter who wields a composite longbow for ranged combat and in close melee utilizes an enchanted longsword in his main hand and enchanted shortsword for his offhand weapon. He can’t turn into a bat, swarm of rats or wolf... his alternate forms are mist and a panther.

Spy network: A combination of extensive shallow feeding, informants and vampire thralls keep the Baron in the loop about goings on both in his country and beyond it elsewhere in the core, plying him with relevant information.
His “Cat’s Claws” are the secondary eyes and ears of the Baron.  They are very mysterious and only whispered about in Valachan. Some people think these elite spies are wind elementals in Kharkov’s employ lifting secrets off the uttered lips of would be dissidents and passing it along to the Baron but they are actually just yet another deliberate misdirection on his part. He has many, many people hypnotized, charmed and dominated.
Kharkov also has the power to possess any feline in Valachan and see/sense through it. He doesn’t physically control them but it works a bit similar to the advanced necromancy spell “seeing skull”... just it is through living cats.

Spin doctor: Kharkov has explained away signs of his shallow feeding upon the population with a fabled folk disease they call “white fever”. It is claimed to be a mosquito borne anemia wherein pairs of giant insects make incisions at a major artery at night while you are sleeping and the victim presents the next day with physical symptoms of anemia.

Helper: Kharkov’s faithful and terrifying second in command is a sadistic silvanestri elf nosferatu named Lady Adeline who as head of the Black Leopard militia enforces tax collection, punishments, the bridal lottery, etc.

*When the Baron is angry his pupils turn into slits the rest of the time they are round but no matter his state his irises are always bright yellow.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 06:02:24 PM by Silas Rotleaf »