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Land of the Koblians

posted Apr 05, 2013 20:38:23 by DanTrue
I will also make a write-up of my campaign. It has been going on for about 6 months, so the first couple of posts will simply try to catch up to the current point. But first, a bit of setting background (this is going to be long, so you are warned).

Background

The Campaign takes place in a homebrew setting (map: http://runequill.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/World.png), build loosely on iron-age times. The technological level is more akin to early medieval, but this is mostly because I did not want to use the technological to bring feel. So there are crossbows, books and half-plate.
If Mythic Briton had been out when I started, I would likely have made it more low-magic, more gritty and more technologically accurate. However, I didn't wan't to make things too weird and specific, as all but one of my players are interely new to d100/RQ.

There are three main cultures and the campaign focusses on the cultural excanges between these cultures - the causes for war and distrust, and the ability to overcome this.

Estrians: A people modelled on Etruscans and Romans. They control an immense empire through their mastery of bureaucracy, roads and organised military. They hail from Estria, a peninsula which was granted to them by their gods almost seven centuries ago. They have domiated for hundreds of years, but their time is passing. Their nobles are decadent, their politicians lazy and their armies content with holding the frontiers. Because of this, contact with the provinces furthest from the are slipping, often months or even years go by without ships arriving from Estria. As a result, local governors and commanders have established local dynasties, official posts more often passing among the same family than to appointees from Cortho.

The Estrians worship the Father Savi and the mother Bihot - two legendary snakes, who together raises Estria from the sea floor and granted it to their worhippers. The religion includes the third snake Astúc - the ambitious son - whose limitless ambition and cunning has been a driving force in the earlier expansion of their empire. However, he is not worshipped publically anymore, as too many massacres, purges and military failures have been blamed on rash decisions and unthinking ambition. He is however worshipped in secret, by those who will stop at nothing to fruther Estrian ambition. In addition to the major gods, the Estrian religion have many minor spirits and deities which they revere to some degree and for specific domains - some of these have been incorporated from conquerored peoples.

The Estrians are present by a provincial city Cortho, a town Spina and various smaller villages on the southern edge of the Koblian lands. They arrived here roughly a century ago and quickly displaced the Ianese nomads. However, the colonisation was never powerful enough to gain enough momentum to take on the Koblians. As such, the Ianese were displaced and a few border skirmishes with Koblian farmers but an uneasy peace quickly settled down, and has pertained throughout the century. During this century the Estrians have fortified and spread. Their villages have taken over further Ianese territory and are moving into Koblian-controlled areas. Their growth have created unrest among Koblians but have not been enough to spark a war.

Koblians: The Koblians are the native people of this area, modelled over Celts. They live in the clan holds Bredal, Aédhome, Ardford and Firdal. They are culturally united, but not politically. Each hold is ruled over by a clan, who in turn is simply the strongest of multiple clans in that area. Some holds perform clan-based democracy, holding Things to solve major disputes. Others do not. The different clans are in varying states of Estrian influence, the southernmost seeing some degree of cultural and technological influence, the northernmost strictly keeping out Estrian influence.

The Koblians have a strong connection to the land they inhabit. Those who live in the great expanses of forest, worship the spirits who reside there. There they hunt and live as they have done for millenia. On the plains and in the towns, they also revere the spirits, though they directly worship the sun - who is seen as the mightiest of the spirits, and the one most worhty of praise, as the bringer of life and crops.

In addition, the Koblians also have a Death cult - the guardians of the dead. The Death Cult does not directly worship any god, but are the very strict guardians of grave customs. They are responsible for keeping the various graves and mounds in their local area. They construct graves, maintain them and guard them. Where the lesser members are naught more but educated gardeners, the greatest are architectual masterminds, fashioning great tombs for the greatest of people, guarded by magic and mechanism. These greatest of Death Cult priests are not bound to a local area, but wander among the tombs they have built. It is not unheard of that sometimes when agreat chieftain or hero dies, a wandering priest comes walking out of the night and immediately start making arrangements for burial and tomb construction. This is one of the greatest honours a Koblian can aspire to.
They also directly guard the tombs they protect - tracking down grave robbers and assuring their punishment and return of grave goods. The greatest sin one can commit in their eyes, is the creation of the undead - a sin which, if legend is true, results in the punishment of having one's soul used as fuel for the very enchantments that protect the greatest of graves.

Ianese: The Ianese are a nomadic people, who for as long as they remember, have wandered and sailed the coasts of this land. They live out their lives on small islands, reefs and on the beaches, gathering clams and fishing. They worship the god of the sea, Ooska, who is the bringer of storm & rain, but also the bountiful bringer of the gifts of the sea.

However, the Ianese way of life is threatened. Many of the stretches of land they have wandered for centuries, have not been colonised by Estrians. In addition, over the last century, many Ianese have taken to living in Estrian towns, creating a new sub-culture in Ghettoes, working what trades they could. These city-Ianese are often found serving as sailors in the Ianese navy, mercenaries, fishermen or manual labour. Their language, history and culture is slipping from their collective minds and they are becoming more and more Estrian. A few have fled further inland, into Koblian areas, but these too find themselves in a land they have no connection too, guests among the Koblians who have lived there for millenia.

The Ianese who have not bend their knee to their conquerors, live in the less-bountiful areas of their former land patches - along the Grey Coast to the west and the northen coast to the East. Here there are fewer inlets, fewer fish, colder and more stony and they have left behind their ancient burial sites and religious gathering areas. But they are intent on enduring and remaining true to their way of life.


The party
The campaign starts in Spina at the end of Quintilis (July), and consists of:

Alaya (Argail) Aetius: A woman of noble birth. She comes from one of the five great families of Corthe - Aetius. However, in a very non-Estrian manner her father married a Koblian, of the Argail family from Bredal - a lesser noble family, but who have since all but merged with the ruling Móchan clan of Bredal). She is visiting her uncle and cousin in Spina, which is a common sommer refuge for young Estrians of noble birth. Alaya is skilled in various forms of lore, history, herbalism etc. but have also been trained as Estrian cavalry as most nobles are when growing up. In addition she once payed an exotic woman with a wandering circus, to teach her acrobatics and how to use the long bladed weapon she performed with in the ring.

Decimus Fabius Tranguilias: A run-down and broken man, though still young. Decimus is an Acolyte in the Estrian Priesthood and have until recently been attached to the 6th Estrian Legion (the only legion in the area), which is common for martially-minded priests-in-training. However, the things he have witnesses of corruption within the leadership, the methods used against Ianese "bandits" and when removing Ianese from newly-settled lands have left him a wreck. After dismissal from the army, he took to drinking... heavily. When the campaign begins he has recently been fired from a job on the Spina docks, which a friend at the temple got him. He is drinking himself into a stupor.

Mikel: Mikel is Ianese, though he has lived his whole life in Estrian society. To call him integrated would however be wrong, as he has a strong hatred for the people who have so raped his culture and land. He is secretly part of the active resistance movement against the Estrians - though it is especially successful. When not justifying his actions as sabotage, he is simply living his life by theft and various other misdeeds in Estrian towns and cities. When the campaign begisn he is in a cell in Spina, caught for theft and awaiting punishment.

Unai: Unai is an Ianese mercenary, who don't seem to give much for his heritage, though he is not directly disrespectful. He has lived all his life among Estrians, have served in the Estrian navy and has until recently been hired as a mercenary by Estrian merchants as escort. He is now spending his salary in Spina, until the next escort job takes him onwards.

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[Last edited Apr 05, 2013 20:47:34]
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7 replies
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Antalon said Apr 05, 2013 20:54:02
This is good world building stuff. Did the setting precede RQ6? How have you found the RQ rules when developing your campaign world?

Antalon
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DanTrue said Apr 05, 2013 21:02:13
This is good world building stuff. Did the setting precede RQ6? How have you found the RQ rules when developing your campaign world?


No. I played Legend before that, and then when I decided to move on to RQ6 I needed a world.
I found the system fantastic. All those little hints and advice in the magic chapter especially really helped me a lot when flushing out the magic rules and the cults. At some point I will post the cultures and cult rules on my blog.

Even though I intended for it to be a low-magic setting I also decided on magic Folk Magic universal, simply to try it. I never used it in Legend and all my players are from d&d / world of darkness, so the idea of universal magic were alien enough that it might just work... and lay the groundwork for a future Glorantha campaign :)

- Dan
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Dreameister said Apr 07, 2013 19:13:15
Koblian Death Cult sounds like a very intriguing concept. May I nick it for my games :)? Almost reminds me of a story a friend of my sister told me about her travels around USSR when she was a kid. Once their hosts took them to a city of the dead in North Ossetia. The dead were interred into tombs built like houses with "windows" to allow the dry wind to blow through it and mummify the corpses.

On another note, did you model Ianese on any particular people as the others, or did you made them up to fill the nomad niche?

Cheers,
Marko
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DanTrue said Apr 07, 2013 19:46:09
May I nick it for my games :)?


Sure, go ahead. Their rules are:
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CULT SKILLS
Devotion, Exhort, Mechanisms, Engineering, Lore(History).
FOLK MAGIC
Alarm, Avert, Cleanse, Find Object(Stolen grave goods), Lock, Slow, Preserve, Witchsight
THEISM
Extension, Fear, Fortify, Lay To Rest, Leeching, Sever Spirit, Spirit Block, Trap Soul
Trap Soul
Duration(Minutes), Resist (Willpower), Rank Priest
Trap Soul snares the spirit of a corporeal creature so that at the moment of its death, it can be trapped within a specially prepared object or location. The magic can affect targets with a POW up to twice the Intensity of the spell. Unwilling targets may attempt to resist nefarious use of this spell.
Only those beings that die before the Trap Soul spell ends and whilst still within its Range have their souls imprisoned, unable to depart for the spirit world or afterlife until the object containing them is destroyed, or the spell concludes.
Souls trapped in this way can be used to power miracles (usually extended), with each POW of the trapped soul giving 1 MP.
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They could also easily be modelled as a Sorcery cult, which I thought about doing. But Theism won...

On another note, did you model Ianese on any particular people as the others, or did you made them up to fill the nomad niche?


The Ianese are mostly modelled on the idea of "Eskimos in temperate conditions". I think I may have had a bit of inspiration from the Iron Islands of Game of Thrones, but only to get the idea of worshipping water itself. Their names and language are built on Basque - simply to have a language group which isn't truly Germanic or Latin (which is used by the other too).
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Thalaba said Apr 09, 2013 03:06:09
I like the cults! Other than the historical sources you mention, what other sources of inspiration drive this setting?
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DanTrue said Apr 09, 2013 07:03:14
There's an overarching theme of "needing to stick together against common foes", which I'm building atm. Basically it'll end up as the classic "Evil is rising again - stop it" campaign. Except it'll likely be more sandboxy and allow for players ability to ignore stuff or fuck it up (they've been close ;) ).

As such, other than the historical base I've let a lot of the story be developed by player desires and story needs. For instance I am currently working on a people to live beneath the Barrier mountains to the north, and I basically thought:

"I want people living in caves under the mountains."
Hm, that will mean darkness, cold and a lack of food - how would they manage those problems? and why?
"They've been there for centuries, they know nothing better. They cope using magic."
Okay, hm, what magic?
"Details to be developed, but I'm thinking at least darksight. Sorcery or Theism will likely be the best fit - but why would a "beneath-the-mountain"-god grant darksight? Maybe they've taken the god with them from the surface? hm... I'll go with sorcery."
Okay. So they cast Darksight all the time?
"Hm, no - they also know how to enchant, and their father and/or mother enchants darksight on them (bound with tatooes or something similar) when they've survived to a few years of age. They've likely also invented other 'buff-spells' to enchant directly into them."
Okay, so who taught them to do this?
"A sorcerer who came with them when they first went below the surface (why did they do that?) and taught them sorcery to survive. He is now revered as a prophet of sorts"
So they all know sorcery?
"most.. there is an underclass in their society (those not initiated into the cult), of those who have either committed taboo (which is?) or are simply too dim-witted to perform basic sorcery."
So advancement in the cult is based on sorcery knowledge?
"Yes, very likely. You're initiated when your father or mother enchants darksight on you. After that your advancement is based on your ability to learn more spells and enchant them into your body - making you a better hunter / gatherer (what do they hunt and what do they gather?), warrior, parent etc."
..... and so on.

And so the world is formed around what needs I have, which is a pretty classic way of doing it. I try to avoid Tropes and things merely borrowed from other settings - they should at least have some twist or fitting applied. But of course it's impossible not to borrow extensively from real-world historical inspiration and fantasy tropes.

- Dan
[Last edited Apr 09, 2013 10:39:15]
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DanTrue said Apr 10, 2013 15:26:23
This topic has been migrated to the new forum. I'll throw a new update soon - right now I'm busy getting the adventure generator 0.1 up to scratch ;)

- Dan
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