Saturday, July 12, 2014

20 Quick Questions for Khorlhossa

I'm a world-builder, first and foremost.  I have tons of settings I've developed that I doubt I'll ever actually run a game in.  The world of halfling wolfriders, animist clerics and elves that transform into treants as they age? Likely never gonna run a campaign in that world.  Steampunk Post-Apocalyptic Arabian Nights world? Maybe, but more likely I'll harvest ideas from that setting for future settings that may or may not have campaigns run in them.  I do that a lot as well; elements I really like will reappear from setting to setting as appropriate; every magocratic campaign setting I've ever developed has had, in one city or another, the Ninefold-Nine Towers of Wizardry as the grandest arcane academy in the land, for example.  Whenever I develop a new campaign, however, one of the first things I do is go over Jeff's 20 Quick Questions for your Campaign.  Let's do that now, shall we?

1.) What's the deal with my cleric's religion?

Your cleric worships the Grey and Silent Lord, a stern and demanding figure that hates all weakness and cowardice and rewards those who exemplify the tenet that "Might Makes Right."  Grab the biggest weapon you can and go smite some weaklings in the Lord's name.

2.) Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

The good news is you belong to a semi-nomadic tribe, and pretty much everyone in your tribe (yourself included) knows how to make most everything your culture uses on a regular basis! Find yourself some leather, some rawhide, a bone needle, maybe some wood or bone and some free time and you (or your friends, or your extended family) can make anything you can think of!

I don't know if this guy's in the market for a suit
of armor, but you can try offering.
3.) Where can I go to get platemail custom fitted to this monster I just befriended?

"Platemail"? No such thing in Khorlhossa.  If you had enough metal, you could presumably craft a metal-scale jorongo for a humanoid creature you've befriended, but good luck getting it (or your use of such valuable material) past your tribe.

4.) Who is the mightiest wizard in all the land?

Many wizards and warlocks are secretive about their power, jealously guarding their spells and abilities to avoid attracting the attention of would-be usurpers.  However, it is well-known that the Chieftain Naschar, a brutal Caliban of the Togaro tribal confederation, is a frequent summoner of Demons, calling them forth from the Unforgiving Dark for consultation and unspeakable congress.  It is said that two-thirds of the offspring of his tribe each breeding cycle are Calibans, sired by his summoned fiends.

5.) Who is the greatest warrior in all the land?

It is said that Karrtos of the Drynnthi can pierce the nose of a rylback with an arrow at 600 paces, and do so so neatly that not a drop of blood is spilled on the ice, while there are those who claim that Darten of the Qemji can so deftly handle a lance while mounted atop a sprinting Sammek that he can pluck a suckling rylback from its mother's teat without the mother noticing.

6.) Who is the richest person in all the land?

A difficult question.  All the warlords who lead confederations of tribes (for example, there are numerous tribes under the Qemji banner, all of whose chieftains report to a singular Qemji warlord) are ostentatiously decked out in armor and weapons of metal, as are their retinues of bodyguards and advisors, but it is said that Warlord Mardek of the Qemji owns so much metal that even his wives and offspring are dressed entirely in steel.

7.) Where can we go to get magical healing?

Talk to your local priest of the Grey and Silent Lord, but be prepared to prove that your wounds were gained in glorious battle, not while fleeing an enemy.

8.) Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

Lycanthropy won't be a problem in Khorlhossa, for most of the rest see your local priest or warlock.

9.) Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

Guild? Not as such, no, but most Magic-Users, at one point or another in their careers, tend to join a cult or coven for a time to petition the Demon for new spells.  It's not uncommon for Magic-Users to use the Summon spell to find unnatural tutors for themselves in the Unforgiving Dark.

10.) Where can I find an alchemist, sage, or other expert NPC?

Beyond your tribal elders? The oldest of the old in Khorlhossan society leave their tribes to lighten the burden, undertaking a pilgrimage to the far north where it's said a colony of sages, the wisest minds on Khorlhossa, exist in meditative contemplation of the universe and the inevitable death of the world.  Closer to home? Many elders don't make it all the way north, settling down as hermits in obscure corners of the ruins, at least until eaten by something larger then them that doesn't care about the accumulated wisdom of the years.

11.) Where can I hire mercenaries?

In addition to the tribal groups working their way around the dead seas of Khorlhossa, numerous bands of unaligned warriors, known collectively as the Tribeless, travel the wastes, selling their swords to the highest bidder in tribal conflicts.  Most of these are members of tribes that have been so severely decimated that their existence as a tribe has been compromised.

12.) Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

The wastelands of Khorlhossa are a lawless land.  Even in the presence of a king, adventurers may draw their swords in anger with little fear of consequences.

13.) Which way to the nearest tavern?

Most tribes, on the move, ferment their own alcohol from the milk of their Sammeks.  It's only during the annual or biannual gathering of clans at the stronghold of their tribal confederation that alcohol is offered for sale.

14.) What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

Many and varied are the monsters that haunt the ruined cities of Khorlhossa.  Of those that have truly gained legendary status, none are more renowned and feared then the Ferroweta, a colossal arachnid beast covered in shifting metal plates, propelled across the icy sands by a dozen powerful, piston-like legs.  It is said that its five soulless black eyes suck the strength from a warrior's limbs, and that it can travel through shadows.

15.) Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

There are near-constant border skirmishes among the ruins between rival tribes as each seeks to expand the amount of territory within the ruins that each tribe can claim as theirs.

16.) How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

Absolutely! Gladiatorial combat is the chief form of entertainment in Khorlhossa, and annual tribal gatherings always sport truly incredible arena events.  As far as fabulous cash prizes? No, not as such, but winners are often gifted with high quality, elaborately carved and inlaid, occasionally enchanted weapons and armor.

17.) Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

You bet your ass there are! Every tribal group is likely to have multiple conspiracies going on within it, ranging from plotters of regicide to insidious Demon-fornicating cults.

18.) What is there to eat around here?

Smoked meat (most commonly rylback, occasionally sammek, even monster flesh is eaten if its available) is the dietary mainstay of the Khorlhossans, washed down with fermented sammek milk and occasionally supplemented with the tough, woody flesh of the fethel-nut when they're in season.  Additionally, most tribes practice endocannibalism - the honored dead of a tribe are dressed, smoked and divided up among the surviving members of the tribe.  In a harsh environment like Khorlhossa, waste not want not.  Additionally, the Togaro tribes practice exocannibalism - given the opportunity, they will feast on their fallen enemies, savoring, it is said, the hearts and brains especially -- not because they believe doing so will grant them the courage and wisdom of their enemies, but because those parts taste best.

19.) Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

To the west lies the Saltmire, the brackish, reptile-haunted remains of the last sea on Khorlhossa.  A day's travel to the north is the ruined remnants of a once-great city, remembered in legends as Quarn.  In the pits of Quarn's undercity, it is rumored that a great king and his entire army were buried, clad in gold-plated armor and bearing great silver swords.  Many have sought the treasure of the King Under Quarn, but none have returned with more then scars and tales of terrifying Demons enslaved to guard the pits forever.

20.) Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

Dragons? No, not in the traditional sense.  There are certainly plenty of reptilian monsters, and no end to the horrors that float shrieking across the night sky.  But European (or even Asian) dragons? None.  As far as Monsters that represent a tremendous haul of wealth, you could always try your luck against the Ferroweta and its steel-plated exoskeleton.  The team of adventurers that brought this creature down would be able to outfit their entire tribe in metal masks and metal-scale jorongos, and have enough left over to forge a falcata for every man, woman and child.  Or you might search out the former center of a now-extinct cult such as the Eaters of Pestilence or the Brotherhood of Atrocity -- cults such as these maintained multiple headquarters, each with an ample treasury guarded by summoned nightmares from the Unforgiving Dark.

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