This is where the Player’s resources will be gathered, in pages and in links to Blog posts.
First – Setting the tone
This campaign is (hopefully) not going to be cookie cutter. I am looking to push the Pulp angle to the fore, with elements of Gothic and Eldritch horror. I do not want this setting to look and feel like the “standard medieval England with some monsters and people in funny suits”.
Check out Appendix N on the blog, if you haven’t already. Two pieces are, to me, most essential to understanding the atmosphere of the setting. Fred Saberhagen’s Empire of the East, a collection of three short novels of a post-post-apocalyptic future; and Conan the Barbarian, the 1983 film, are the best examples of what I am trying to convey in this setting.
Yes, both of those titles are campy and a little cheesy and dated, BUT, they tell a great story and have outstanding descriptions and visuals of both characters and their environments.
For the inhabitants of the World of Weirth it is a dark and dangerous time. New lands claw for survival in the ruins of old Empires and magic is a mostly forgotten art. The land and the settlements of the starting campaign area look more like Greece and southern France than the more traditional settings of England, Germany and northern Europe.
Keep in mind the setting is a dangerous place.
- Every hamlet, village and town is walled, with at least a ditch and log palisade.
- Settlements are protected with hexes, enchanted totems, runes of power and phylacteries.
- Merchant caravans travel under heavy guard, with trained Merchant Guild soldiers.
- Cantrip-like magic and Knacks are fairly common.
- Mid- to High-level magics are quite rare, and are provided by powerful entities such as Godlings or Demons.
- Combat uses the abstract unit of Hit Points to track damage/injuries/stamina. Being reduced to 0 HP means that you can no longer fight effectively, and will start taking severe injuries that may become fatal, or if healed, permanent problems.
- “Ancestor Veneration” is part of all cultures. They can be called upon for advice and guidance (usually cryptic), through magical means. Resurrection? Not so much. Though it is important to have a memorial service for a dead person, so their soul may move on to the next world.Those who die unremembered come back as some form of undead. Yes, that means after a battle the victors and vanquished lay down their arms and build memorials to the dead. So there are megaliths and shrines all over, especially around cities.
- People are afraid of forgetting things, as magic is already being forgotten. It is one of the deepest taboos to harm a blacksmith, woodworker or stonemason. These crafts are essential to civilization and have been held sacred since time immemorial. Some of the best and brightest gravitate to these fields, creating poetry and song, as well as crafts of metal, wood and stone.
- Charm bracelets and necklaces are ubiquitous, with small castings or carvings as mementos of loved ones, songs, stories or places.
- Children’s Rhymes are used to tell instructive stories or moral lessons. Mental disciplines have been created to aid memory, like mnemonics and memory palaces. Of course, writing, drawing, painting, even carving memory poles in town squares are used to maintain group memories and important knowledge.
- The Gods are real, they are known to walk among us, and Clerics have real power affecting everyday life. To the layman the Gods are effectively equal, and though they may have a favorite or a patron deity, all people propitiate whichever God for assistance in their sphere of influence. Some churches are built around the worship of several gods at once. A farmer may have a shrine to Nyx, Goddess of Agriculture, on his land, but may pray and sacrifice to Ekalwyn one morning before going out to hunt or fish. Later that farmer may sacrifice to Orphune for favorable prices on the harvest. Clerics, therefore, are a very important part of everyday life as they are known to speak directly with the Gods. Due to their special role clerics have outsized social influence. (+1 to initial Charisma score, +2 whenever dealing with co-religionists).
- Faeries are real and are to be treated with respect, as there was a terrible war with Faerie long ago and they have not forgotten, nor forgiven the Mortal Races.
Other details that may help set the scene:
- What is there to eat around here? Mostly goat and pork, some beef for the wealthy. Fresh fish near the river or dried fish away. Wild birds (ducks, geese, pheasants, prairie hens, crested chickens) Wild game (Bison, Knife-horn Antelope, Dowsing Antelope, Prairie Deer, White-tailed Deer, Spotted Gazelle)
- Where can we go to buy standard equipment? Most towns and villages have shops that can cover the basic needs of farmers, huntsman, soldiers and the like. More unusual or esoteric items can only be found in cities.
- Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended? In a larger city, which is to say Laralasbol (or the Blacksmith Academy at Zan’s Forge). It will be hideously expensive.
- Who is the mightiest wizard in the land? The God-Queen of Zygaria, an immortal (?) wizard
- Who is the greatest warrior in the land? One of the Knights of the Order of the Golden Lion
- Who is the richest person in the land? Count (Telantean name – Ignaz Manz) of Laralla
- Where can we go to get some magical healing? A Nurdiyan’s Grove, the Holy Order of Krones ♄, possibly an alchemist or apothecary or wizard’s tower
- Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath? See above, there is no known cure for death or undeath, and lycanthropy is a special case TBD
Second – What does it look like?
A short video clip from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger:
Here are a few pictures to help set the scene, from landscapes and the Conan movie(s):
You can see the Character Creation guide here.