Re: Gazettes in the works?
Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:51 am
It seems a fun and simple adventure that would be easy to play several times with slight variations before the players realized they were going on the same quest. It reminds me of In Search of the Mungies' Gold from Warlock 5.
What does "+1 Axe" mean? In standard FF it would probably mean +1AS, but in AFF +1 damage roll might be more usual. By the way, several of the creatures in your list of "undead" aren't undead. The Night Stalker and Earth Demon are living monsters, for instance, and the Nightgaunts are demons. This doesn't make any difference to gameplay, of course, it's purely a matter of terminology.
A Thousand Clans
The splitting of the lands partitioned the colossal prairies owned by the horse nomads of Irritaria between the three continents, sinking a great portion of them beneath the waves in the process. The cataclysm brought an end to the age of the unstoppable mounted tribes, for now it was every man for himself. Gradually, the nomads gathered into family groups, then warrior bands and finally clans, bound by loyalty and intermarriage and each led by a hereditary Khan. For the most part, these people knew little of writing or science; all the skills they needed to ride, hunt, find water and fight were passed down in the oral tradition and the harsh lives they led left little time for anything else. The exceptions were their shamans who acted both as conduits to the gods and repositories of the occult knowledge revered by the superstitious clansmen. Many of the shamans were descended from the stargazing civilization which used to inhabit the lands that had become Deathmoor and their mastery of astrology and other methods of divination helped to guide their clans through the dangers that beset them every day.
At this time, the centre of Khul consisted of rolling grassland enclosing stretches of rugged moors crossed by gently-flowing streams. Game was plentiful and as the clans grew in size, the Orcs, Kobolds, Ogres and suchlike became less likely to seek a confrontation. There were no large permanent settlements and the clans were by nature migratory, so although various Khans rode on thunderous journeys of conquest, they were unable to hold territory and the next clan simply took possession when they left. One such conquering Khan was Vasylai, who assembled an alliance of dozens of clans and swept across the savannah, scattering all before him. Vasylai had seen the young villages of Tak and Ashkyos at the far southern and northern extremities of his tour and resolved to create his own. He chose a location near the middle of the territory he considered his own and announced in 1463OT that it was to be the new seat of his power. The site was not actually that good in terms of natural resources or fertile ground for farming, as the great Khan had no experience of settled living, but it was easily defensible and possessed natural springs to use as a source of potable water.
The new outpost was called simply Ka (a Kabeshian word referring to a place of importance, loosely translated as city, capital or land), and took some time to establish itself. Vasylai's alliance soon fell apart, as such coalitions are wont to do, but he persisted in his attempt at static life and eventually managed to carve out a small empire. Trade was initiated with Ashkyos and the new village of Rahasta sprang up where the route changed from overland to river travel. To the east and south, other clans sought to emulate Vasylai and founded the villages of Remara and Varese, although the great Khan's capital was always pre-eminent amongst them. Vasylai's grandson Oleyir adopted the title Pasha from the northern dialect spoken in Ashkyos, although his people continued to use the written language handed down by the clan shamans. The village grew into a town and eventually even a small city, becoming a place where the other clans could come in safety to trade with each other and the strange foreign merchants who visited periodically.
By the 1600s, a web of obligation and friendship existed between the many clans, which allowed Pasha Kafolyr to inspire a sense of national identity in those who came to his capital to trade. In 1634OT, the cunning ruler learned that King Peleus of Dar had not been blessed with any sons, but did have a daughter of marriageable age. Kafolyr therefore sent an embassy, offering his own son Gyolaic as a suitor. Realizing that this was merely an attempt to conquer his kingdom without bloodshed, Peleus refused and Kafolyr turned the imagined slight into a source of indignant outrage which he used as a pretext for war. So successful was his scheme that the Pasha did not need to recruit Khans to join his cause; they clamoured to be part of his grand army.
And so the mounted horde charged over the hills and across the plains towards Dar. Most settlements (including the independent city-state of Gundobad) surrendered in the face of such overwhelming force and the defences along the River Scamder were defeated in just a day, 15th Man's Harvesting. The mountains provided more of an obstacle, but by the end of the month, Kafolyr's forces were arrayed around Peleus's capital. The King of Dar was confident that he could endure a siege, as Dar was a port and his enemy had no ships to enforce a blockade, but the Khans knew nothing of siege warfare and proceeded immediately to a frontal assault. Warlocks and wizards standing atop the city walls caused massive casualties, but still the attackers kept coming. The battle for Dar lasted three days and on 2nd Forests Golden, the unstoppable host of horsemen breached the gate and overran the city.
King Peleus and many of his retainers escaped by sea to take refuge in the northernmost castle of his realm. For a week, the nomads sacked the city, carrying off thousands of saddlebags of treasure, killing hundreds of citizens and enslaving hundreds more. The looting was eventually stopped by the Pasha, himself. He had looked at the fine architecture and elegant adornments of the town he now occupied and compared it with the rude dwellings and unimpressive public buildings of his own capital, quickly deciding that he preferred the former!
Kafolyr renamed the city Kalamdar (Northern Capital of Dar) and decreed that his former home would be henceforth be known as Kabesh (Southern Capital). Some of the clans that had accompanied him chose to stay, but most returned to the steppes, to recover from the losses they had suffered through their leader's lust for power. The Pasha lived in Kalamdar from Forests Golden to Land's Awakening each year, avoiding the oppressive heat of the summer by spending the warmer months in Kabesh. Each time he returned, he brought skilled artisans and craftsmen with him, giving them the task of transforming the southern capital into a city worthy of his empire.
The deposed royal family wasted no time in suing for peace, and since they were ensconced in a fortress in the middle of the northern desert, only readily accessible by sea, Pasha Kafolyr the Conqueror graciously agreed that they could become client kings, giving up all claim to their former territory. So ended the Old Kingdom. For those outside Kalamdar, life went on much as before. Taxes were now paid to the Pasha's men rather than the King's and the gods revered by the horse nomads, such as Hunnyunhan and Fourga, became more popular, at the expense of those previously worshipped, but by and large, the empire did not interfere in the lives of its new citizens.
This changed over the next three hundred years, as a succession of Pashas realized that they could tax the settled lands far more easily (and heavily) than the nomadic clans whose independent spirit made any attempt to exert authority over them fraught with danger. This came to a head with the exceptionally rapacious Pasha Vulfolaic the Vicious, who found so many new ways to raise funds that the imperial tax collectors took to travelling with heavily armed bands of warriors to protect against disgruntled citizens. Taxes on pedestrians, on mounted travellers, on vehicles, a ninety-five percent duty on foreign coinage (including that issued by Vulfolaic's predecessors), fees for getting married, penalties for being unmarried, payments to avoid military service, the list was never ending. For some generations, the Pashas had been living exclusively in Kabesh, by now an inspiring city of monumental buildings and imposing architecture, leaving Kalamdar to decay into a provincial and parochial second city.
One thing that did not change was the Trial of Kingship practised in Gundobad. On 18th Land's Awakening 1897OT, King Gunderbock XVI became the father to twins, Lothar and Clovis. For the first time, two heirs would compete simultaneously for the throne. Lothar showed aptitude for magic from a young age and trained with the city's most learned wizards to achieve fame as a powerful warlock, whilst Clovis became one of the greatest warriors of his day. In 1917OT, one of the brothers recovered a Sacred Gem from the volcanic Isle of Orcmoot to claim the kingship, going on to name his son and eventual successor after his twin. Unfortunately, due to the confusion of the Great War against Evil, the records are unclear as to whether Lothar came first, followed by Clovis, or vice versa. What all records agree is that the two rulers were amongst the greatest the city has ever had, guiding it through the difficult period of Vulfolaic's reign of avarice.
Illustration Suggestion: A tricky one, this. Perhaps John Blanche's Imperial Tax Collector from §25 of Clash of the Princes: The Warrior's Way would suit.