Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Veiled Society and The Iron Ring

Today is the first look into my home campaign, which is set in Fangsfall. Although the campaign is set firmly in the Scarred Lands, it has not stopped me from importing elements from another of my favorite campaign settings, Mystara. In particular I have used a lot of elements from the kingdom of Karameikos, which shares a lot of elements with the Fangsfall Peninsula. Both are relatively new kingdoms with a ruler that has immigrated from some other part of the world. Both have a native population that has very different beliefs from the immigrant aristocracy. Finally, both are sparsely populated with lots of need of heroes and adventurers to make the wilderness safe.

The first thing I incorporated was the Veiled Society. This is an organized crime syndicate that operates in the capital city. Only individuals from Ledean families are eligible for membership. They are organized into cells, with each cell running the operations for a different neighborhood. The Veiled Society deals primarily with protection rackets, prostitution, and illegal gambling. Some of the cells also deal drugs and run murder for hire operations. Lately they have been tunneling under the city looking for something, but nobody knows just what. The Veiled Society is suspected to be allied with House Asuras, a well connected and well known merchant family. The truth is far more sinister as the Veiled Society is actually led by members of the Asuras family who hope to develop more direct control over the city than they do over Shelzar, Mithral, and other cities.

The Iron Ring is the other thing I incorporated. It is a slavery ring that operates on the Fangsfall Peninsula. They are allied with the goblinoids that live in Fang Quarry and often use them as muscle. However, it is no surprise to anyone that they also kidnap some of those goblinoids and sell them to other customers as well. Nor is it a surprise that the gang is run by a charduni, one of many who were left in the region after the Divine War. What would surprise most people is that the Iron Ring is not as independent as it seems. The group is secretly allied with the governments of Calistia and  Dunahnae, both because they all share a common religion and because those two nations provide great markets for their services.

Well, there you go. Two new organizations to add to you game and use to keep your friends guessing. Until next time, good luck and good gaming.

A Quick Update

Just when yours truly thought my life could not get any more hectic, I have been hired to work a summer internship at the Nevada Attorney General's Office in Las Vegas. So who knows if I will have any chance to update my blog during this summer at all. Until next time, good luck and good gaming.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Do All Reptilians Worship Mormo?

Mormo seems to be big among reptilian humanoids in the Scarred Lands, as nearly every one of the major reptilian races mentioned worships her. However, a lot of the major reptilian races from the core rules were left with no mention what so ever. Now that is not Sword & Sorcery's fault; the original Monster Manual was not finished when the first Scarred Lands books were released. Others were not OGL; although they did get special permission to use the Yuan-Ti. So the question is, who do those other races worship.

Let's start with kobolds. These small draconic creatures are usually worshipers of Chardun. They venerate him for his strength and pray to him for the strength to overcome their enemies. According to the kobold they were created by Chardun from the drops of blood spilled by dragons who sided with Chardun during the early days of the Divine War. They are most often found in Dunhanae where they supervise the goblin slaves that toil in that nation's mines. They also fight in Calastia's armies in the Durrover campaign. Of course none of this applies to Dragon Land kobolds.

Next up are the lizardfolk. Native to the Mourning Marsh and the Swamps of Kan Thet, lizardfolk are followers of Denev. They view themselves as defenders of the balance and protect the swamps where most of Denev's followers are at a decided disadvantage. This also places them in direct opposition with the Asaatthi that make their home in Kan Thet and place the resurection of the Serpentmother above all other concerns.

Finally we look at the troglodytes. Troglodytes are the most likely to worship Mormo of the three reptilian races presented in the core rules.  However, they are more likely to worship Laathsaal, The Crawling One. Laathsaal is the only god to have actually accended and have once been mortal, which is something that troglodytes admire. He is also a savage warrior, particularly in protecting his followers from harm.  Troglodytes often work with asaatthi since their god is an accended asaatthi and his desire is to restore Mormo to power. However, they just as often clash with asaatthi over territory and resources.

Well there you go, three races that are a big part of the core rules but never really made it into the Scarred Lands. Until next time, good luck and good gaming.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dinosaurs and Gladiators: A Great Combination

Calastia is the great empire of the Scarred Lands. Not only has it established a hegemony of vassal states across the southern portion of Ghelspad but they have also begun to expand into Termana. It is also beloved by most of it's citizenry, which seems like somewhat of a contradiction on the face of it as Calastia is a Lawful Evil nation. However, there is a way to make sense of it. Although Calastia is presented as a traditional monarchy, it is much more than that. Calastia is in many ways the Roman Empire of it's world. And just like Rome, the Empire of the Black Dragon has ways of buying the love of it's people.

Bread and circuses, that is what Calastia thrives on. The first way that the empire earns both the love and the respect of the people is by keeping them well fed. A populace that has it's basic needs met are far less likely to revolt than a population of starving people who live in squalor and have no hope of things getting better. In fact, a populist uprising is more likely in Mithral than it is in Calastia. These initiatives to keep the people fed have even been able to win the loyalty of conquered territories like the Heteronomy of Virduk.

The other thing that keeps Calastia happy is the games. Commemoratus is a holiday that celebrates the Calastian military. It is celebrated through mock combat and other martial displays. There is some evidence that the Romans started the tradition of gladiatorial combat from similar mock battles. However, the mock combat eventually spread beyond the Commemoratus observances and became a way of entertaining the people and eliminating political enemies.  The games are a popular way of keeping the people entertained and sending a message about what happens if you step out of line.

I know what you're saying, but what does this have to do with dinosaurs? Simple, one of the draws of the gladiator games were hunts and fights involving exotic animals. Even in a world with fantastic creatures such as dragons or chimera; dinosaurs are going to be pretty exotic creatures. Calastia's presence on Termana means that of all the nations and city states of Ghelspad they are the ones who are in the best position to present their people with dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs wander the Gamalganjus Jungle, the one place on Scarn that could easily pass as a lost world. The Calastians could either send their own expeditions into the Gamalganjus from their base in the Titanforge Mountains to recover dinosaur eggs, or they could buy them from merchants in either Buru or Chukema. The cities are havens for merchants who trade with the Gamalganjus natives. Of course the Calastians are going to use eggs to bring their people a spectacle; adult dinosaurs are just too difficult and dangerous to transport. Now this might not be realistic in the real world; in a world where magic exists it would be much easier to transport and raise dinosaur eggs and infants for such a purpose. In fact, a mage could even keep a few of the eggs for the purpose of breeding new stock so that after a few decades trips back to the Gamalganjus might not be needed at all.

Now I am sure that some of you are thinking that I have finally lost it, but just spend some time thinking about it and you will see the genius behind it. If not, maybe this will change your mind. Until next time, good luck and good gaming.