Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gods of the Frost-Bitten Lands

There are various gods worshipped by the population of the Frost-Bitten lands, from the Lawful monotheistic god Svarog, through the triune Zorya to the numerous Lords of Chaos (AKA Demon Lords). Alignment is more important in matters of religion than in any other aspect; Lawful characters worship Svarog; Neutral characters can worship any god; and Chaotic characters worship the Lords of Chaos. Clerics must be of the same alignment as their god(s).

Svarog is the Lawful god, a smith-god who, according to legend, forged the world out of molten iron and rock. Is was originally a Dwarven monotheistic god, but Dwarven missionaries have brought this faith (as well as literacy and the knowledge of steel-working) to Humanity after Mankind was liberated by the Dwarves from the bondage of the Dark Elves. Clerics of Svarog admire craftmanship and technology, grudgingly accept the older Zorya worship and Lawful or Neutral Arcane magic, but must make an effort to root out the Lords of Chaos wherever their cult-worship emerges. All Dwarven Craftpriests worship Svarog and are, thus, Lawful.

The Zorya are three Neutral goddesses: Zorya Utrennyaya (Morning Star; the Maiden), Zorya Vechernyaya (Evening Star; the Mother) - and Zorya Polunochnaya (Midnight Star; the Crone). They are always worshipped together as three parts of the Cycle of Life. This faith is very tolerant - even outright supportive - of most Arcane magic, except for necromancy, grudgingly accepts the Svarog worship, dislikes the Lords of Chaos (but is far less zealous about destroying their worship compared to the Svarog clerics) and dislike technology when it interferes with the natural order. Most priests of the Zoriya are female, usually Bladedancers (ACKS Core) or Priestesses (ACKS Player's Companion) while priests of the Cleric class are rarer.

The Lords of Chaos are legion, all Chaotic to the core:
Berstuk - the mad god of Forests and Wild Beasts (think of a 'male' Shub-Niggurath).
Chernobog - the Black God; the Patriarch of Chaos (think of Cthulhu or Arioch).
Marzanna - the goddess of Death, Winter and Nightmares.
Baba Yaga - goddess of Sorcery; not as evil as the other Lords of Chaos.
Blud - god of Madness and Debauchery.
Chort - Lord of Demons; Master of Possession.
Koschei - god of Undeath.
Poludnitsa - goddess of Summer and Madness; sometimes sacrifices are made to her to bring solace in the harsh winter.
Likho - the one-eyed goddes of Misfortune.
Tryasavitsa - goddess of Plagues and Illnesses.

Each Chaotic Cleric worships one of the Lords of Chaos and does his or her utmost to spread Chaos in the world. The Evil Shrine of Chaos in B2: Keep on the Borderlands is dedicated to Marzanna.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Updated Campaign Map

Here is the updated Campaign Map, showing all the Class III Market Cities in Vorkono.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Population Densities

I'm thinking of the population densities in my campaign, as not all areas have the same fertility.

The Elven Confederation, for example, is mostly forested and has quite a low population density; I'd say about 25 Elves/square mile (150 families per 6-mile hex or 2,500 families per 24-mile hex). The same goes for the mostly Steppe-Forest Principality of Tagorsk.

The mountainous Dwergerhold and Dwergerberg, for example, are mostly mountains and have quite a low rural population density, but, on the other hand, they're quite urban; so I'd say about 40 Dwarves/square mile (250 families per 6-mile hex or 4,000 families per 24-mile hex).

The Three Principalities (Norokh, Vorkono and Gironov) are the breadbasket of the region, with a population density of 80 people per square mile (500 families per 6-mile hex; 8,000 families per 24-mile hex).

The Two City-States of Zagadur (Igorgrad and Shakhtar) contain mostly mountainous terrain and forests, with some arable land, so their population density would be 50 people per square mile (300 families per 6-mile hex; 5,000 families per 24-mile hex).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Map Key

Here is the key to my map from the previous post:

Rebirth in our New Flesh!

This blog, once used for my old Wounded Gaia setting and then for the City on the Ice-Choked Sea setting for LotfP (which is now on hold), now sees its second rebirth - this time to house my new setting for the Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS), a new quasi-D&D ruleset perfect for world-building and adventuring over varied power levels.

This is my new campaign setting for the Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS), which I've pre-ordered in hardcopy along with its Player's Companion and for which I already have the PDF. It is set in a northern realm of a world in the throes of an ice age, inspired by my previous Wounded Gaia attempts but liberally re-interpreted to suit ACKS. The above map is the preliminary campaign map, 32x32 hexes with each hex being 24 miles across. So far I've only marked the capitols on it; later I'll add smaller cities as well (though, as per ACKS, small towns won't be shown on such a large-scale map).

Note that Dwarven domains get Germanic-sounding names while Human realms get Russian-sounding realms; these are approximations for the Human language (which is a bit similar to Russian) and the Dwarven tongue. Slavic and Nordic myth will be a major source of inspiration for this setting - expect a lot of fey (both Neutral - the Seelee and Chaotic - the Unseelee).

Also note that flora, fauna and climate follow (in rough terms) Earth's latest Glacial Period - mammoths (some tamed by nomads!), sabertooth cats, auruchs, woolly rhinos, cave bears, dire wolves and so on in addition to more mundane beasts such as grizzly bears, horses and sheep.

The main religion in this lands is the worship of Svarog, a Lawful quasi-monotheistic god, originally a Dwarven world-forging smith-god and now the main Lawful god of Humanity as well. The older Human faith is in the Zoriya - the three Neutral goddesses of twilight, midnight and dawn; some Humans still worship them. Chaos has a larger number of deities, such as Koschei the Lich God, Marzanna the Frost Goddess, and Chernobog the High Lord of Chaos.

More to come. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Moment of Inspiration

I've had a moment of inspiration.

I was reading Beedo's Dreams in the Lich House post about Threat Analysis in a Weird Setting, where he discussed a campaign set in quasi-historic Reformation-era Europe and based on the diary of an inquisitor when a moment of inspiration has struck me. I have been thinking for some time about a post-Revolutionary city where conspiracies, both mundane and occult, abound, but now I had a framework for my campaign: the PCs would be agents of the City's equivalent of the Committee of Public Safety charged with investigating various threats to the new Republic.

Not only will this give the PCs a lot of freedom and a powerful patron, but also a reason to adventure: to investigate an root out conspiracies, secret societies and cults of all sorts, not to mention monsters.

I'll talk to Hani about this - she has a keen interest in revolutionary history, so this might appeal to her...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A New, Revolutionary Direction?

First and foremost, after purchasing Vornheim from LotFP, I've decided once more to go for a city of 100,000 people rather than a small town. I think that my mistake, so far, was to try and detail each and every part of the city/town, rather than paint it with very broad strokes; this meant creating a lot of stuff which won't be useful in actual play. Vornheim has inspired me to think bigger, all while keeping away from all the details that might burden me without contributing to play.

That said, I had some interesting and radical thoughts about this setting. In short, I'd like to set it a few years after a major revolution which has deposed the city's ruling Duke, as well as large parts of the nobility, and won independence for the Zagadur Peninsula from the mainland kingdom. Vive la republique!

Why a revolution? Because that means instability, factionalism, monarchist conspiracies, revolutionary conspiracies and all the attendant chaos - in short, a TON of adventuring opportunities as well as openings for ambitious players to gain wealth and power.
Revolutions also mean an opening to all sorts of radical new ideas to be put to play, from mad scientists (Frankenstein!) to steampunk to particularly weird magic.

Inspiration will come not only from the French Revolution but also from other revolts and revolutions in history, from Dolcino's revolt through the Hussites and the German Peasant War to the English and American Revolutions to the Paris Commune. All of these mean a lot of ideas, plots, factions and conspiracy. Like the game deserves.

The New Faith will survive the Revolution, but sectarianism will intensify inside it, leading to secret religious wars conducted in the dark with cloaks and daggers, especially between the Forge (conservative) sect and the Anvil (reform) sect, both worshipping the same God, but sharply disagreeing on how to interpret the holy word.

The Revolution will also work well with the Stonehell megadungeon module; the Duke used to dump his opponents into Stonehell, and now that his reign is over, promises of gold and glory - as well as potential rescue missions - draw intrepid souls to it.

In short, a lot of chaos and infighting. And conspiracies. And much, much darker things emerging from the cracks of old society to haunt the new one.

What do you think about this? Will it work?