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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Broken Damaged Worthless

    Default [3.5, Campaign Setting] Traveler's Guide to Zaaman-Rul!

    In darkness, each light shines all the stronger for the darkness. In the darkest of all possible places, any light, no matter how feeble, is all the stronger for it. Zaaman-Rul is among the darkest worlds in the multiverse, a realm steeped in melancholy, draped in gray cloths. Most races are stagnating, things are hard everywhere. Each hero that rises burns all the brighter because of it, and each of them can change the world in ways that a hero from anywhere else could never dream of doing.

    The world is in shambles. Intolar is locked in a perpetual war with Khavghotan. Alykandor has internal problems and is warring with Orlyndol over borders. Orlyndol has a culture that lends itself to endless deliberation where little gets done. The only free continent in the world, Xortal, wants to kill everything that sets foot on it. There's little hope of a bright future for the common folk of the world.

    Now is the time for heroes. Now is the time for the light to burn the brightest.


    Welcome one and all, to the discussion and brainstorming thread for my personal campaign setting, Zaaman-Rul! Zaaman-Rul is a dying planet, the powerful magic that sustains it is slowly failing. The nations of the world are wracked with strife, each dealing with a paradigm shift about how to view themselves and one another. If ever there was a time for heroes, brave souls able to step forth and make their mark upon the world and upon history, now is that time.

    Are you that bold soul? If so, welcome. A dark future awaits the revealing light of your destiny.

    The World Map of Zaaman-Rul:
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    Courtesy of Zeta Kai, who wins at everything forever for his kindness here.

    Not shown is the Edge, which is the edges of the map. The Edge separates the face of Zaaman-Rul from the back, and is called the terminator line in astronomy.


    World History, Abbreviated:
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    The calendar used in Zaaman-Rul is the Imperial Date System, established by The Intolian Emperor 11 in the Year 1 of Our Majesty. Every other civilized nation has their own system, but the global standard is accepted to be the Intolian one, and it is what we will use here. Years are given as #OM (year # of Our Majesty).

    Approx. -1,000,000 OM: A passing extra-galactic entity discovers a nugget of malevolent shadow magic in the core of the second planet of the star Zar. This entity separates the nugget into two portions, and stores half of it in the moon of the second planet.
    Approx. -51,000 OM: The Fathers move Golenih into orbit around Zar.
    Approx. -50,000 OM: The Illithid Sorcerer-Kings begin their war against the Fathers.
    Approx. -41,000 OM: The Sundering begins, ending the Illithid Sorcerer-Kings' society. The Tears of Life come to be. The Fathers begin the seeding of Zaaman.
    Approx. -22,000 OM: First records of the draconic society of Tharkrixghantix are laid down.
    Approx. -20,000 OM: The Fathers enter hibernation.
    Approx. -19,000 OM: First mortal civilizations begin to flower on Zaaman. The avians, serpentes, and aquians all flourish.
    Approx. -17,000 OM: The avians ignite a global war with the other three races. The dragons begin research into shadow magic, and discover the separation between Zaaman and Rul.
    Approx. -16,050 OM: The Catastrophe occurs. Several rogue dragon mages, hoping to end the raging world war, use powerful gravitic magic to call Rul down on the surface of Zar, annihilating the avian and aquian societies utterly, and knocking the planet out of its natural orbit. Zaaman-Rul becomes a one-face world, and nearly loses its atmosphere. The serpentes sacrifice their entire race in a magical ritual to secure the shadow magic in Z-R's core and to retain the atmosphere of the planet. Finally, the connections between Zaaman-Rul and the planes, always precarious, are shattered permanently. No planar magic functions again on Z-R.
    Approx. -16,000 OM: The dragons of Tharkrixghantix take a blood oath to never again directly interfere with the workings of lesser creatures. They emulate the Fathers and begin the rebuilding and reseeding of the now crippled planet.
    -10,158 OM: The records of the true elves begin with their awakening deep below the surface of the planet. There are some indications a single clan broke away and moved deeper.
    Approx. -9,000 OM: The goblins of what will be Khavghotan organize into clans and begin warring with one another. A warlord named Vghotan unifies the clans into a single empire, and later ascends to godhood, marking the first known deity.
    -8,761 OM: The illithids of Orlyndol, seeded there by the last surviving Sorcerer-Kings, awaken from stasis and begin to try and piece together who and what they are. They found Orlyndol and the city-states that comprise it.
    Approx. -6,000 OM: The goblin empire of Khavghotan disintegrates violently when a jaded terrorist mage releases a magical mutagen into the goblin population. 90% of the population dies in agony while the other 10% spontaneously and rapidly evolve into different forms, creating hobgoblins, ogres, varags, tasloi, gnolls, kobolds, ibixians, and unknown other species. The continent is plunged into endless civil war, with several genocides taking place. The tasloi evacuate to an unknown southern continent, and are not rediscovered for 7,000 years.
    Approx. -4,000 OM: Humanity arises for the first time in what will become Intolar. They form a primitive hunter-gatherer culture.
    -2,891 OM: The Elven Schism begins. The Technologists war against the Classicalists for control of the society.
    -2,391 OM: The Schism ends, in a Classicalist victory. The Dark Prince issues an edict that the Technologists are to walk the surface and never to return to the depths, on pain of death. The Technologists are to evolve into the pale elves, and surface at what will become the first island of Alykandor.
    Approx. -900 OM: The first Emperor of Humanity is born and given the name "Intolar", meaning "bringer of peace". He begins the long process of unifying the minor kingdoms and fiefdoms of humanity under one banner.
    Approx. -115 OM: The illithids of Orlyndol perform the first recorded space-flight since the days of the Fathers. They discover the Tears of Life and visit all the planets of the Zar System. They are violently repulsed from Tholfa and Corrant, prompting them to foreswear space travel.
    0 OM: Emperor Intolar 11 founds the Intolian Empire, which is to become to longest lived of all lesser mortal empires, standing for over 3,000 years. He lays down the edicts and policies that direct the course of Humanity for the next 31 emperors. He also is credited with the discovery and spread of the worship of the Nine Faced Lords.
    351 OM: First contact with the qualnargan from beyond the Edge. The qualnargan scout is captured by an Alykandor skiff, but escapes and returns to his people.
    Approx. 600 OM: The Khavghotani goblinoids reestablish their society with some semblance of order.
    1,000 OM: Emperor Intolar 21 takes the throne in Intolar, and enacts the First Great Genocide, slaughtering the entire gnomish race in one blood-soaked night.
    1,200 OM: Emperor Intolar 23 takes the throne, and seeking to emulate his predecessor, enacts the Second Great Genocide, this time eliminating the entire halfling race.
    1,300 OM: Emperor Intolar 24 begins the first of the Crusades of Light to exterminate the goblinoids in Khavghotan. Save for a brief truce, Intolar and Khavghotan are locked in war from this date forth.
    1,576 OM: Alykandor is unified as a nation for the first time ever. They begin diplomatic relations with Khavghotan and Orlyndol.
    1,981 OM: Orlyndolian explorers discover Xortal and the tasloi that immigrated there 7,000 years ago.
    2,000 OM: Emperor 31 begins a societal renaissance in Intolar towards increased magical and scientific theory. It dies out after his reign, but the 100 years of focused scientific effort produce the current crop of Intolian weapons and armor, far ahead of other works of their time. Impeller Rifles and Imperial Combat Armor dominate the Khavghotani goblinoids for centuries afterwards.
    2,591 OM: The dwarves are discovered in the Irontooth Peaks. Their hive-mind culture proves to be far too resilient for either the goblinoids or humans to eradicate.
    2,642 OM: Orogs are sighted for the first time near the Edge. The stories of bestial figures are dismissed as cabin fever and left at that. Only the Orlyndolians take heed, and begin war preparations.
    2,753 OM: Tharkrixghantix is rediscovered as existing behind the northern mountain chains. The native dragons, unchanged in over 18,000 years, discourage further exploration of the northern continent.
    2,900 OM: The Shadowstar Wars begin. The qualnargan, leading their absurdly massive orog armies, sweep into every nation on Zaaman-Rul from every direction around the Edge. Each nation is caught off guard, except for Orlyndol, which had been preparing for centuries. The wars are brutal, with no declarations made, no offers of surrender proffered, nothing. Simply unknown brutal foes hell-bent on eradication of life.
    3,000 OM: The Shadowstar Wars end, due to a mistake by the aggressors. Intolar was reduced to one city, Orlyndol was close to cracking, Alykandor was short on resources, and Khavghotan was conquered entirely. The qualnargan, judging that victory was at hand, regrouped, and assaulted Tharkrixghantix, breaching into the draconic aeries for the first time since the Catastrophe. The draconic counter-attack was crushing and thorough, eliminating the attacking armies, and flooding out over the face of Z-R to burn away the remaining Shadowstar armies. In the aftermath, several large armies of orogs surrendered and began forming their own civilization on Jor'koth, and at least five qualnargan ascended to godhood through unclear means.
    3,001 OM: The Shadowstar Treaty is enacted. This states that there will be complete peace for the next 100 years while every race rebuilds. It also stipulates that the agents of Tharkrixghantix, the trepek, will have diplomatic immunity in all nations for the next 250 years. Additionally, it includes a global provision for a Council of Action, formed from one member of each major race (recognized as the goblinoids, the illithids, the pale elves, the humans, and the dragons) in case of further qualnargan aggression in the future. Finally, the Treaty affords the remaining orogs Jor'koth as their own nation and status as a free people and gives the continent of Northwind to the trepek people.
    3,076 OM: The first sighting of Arthindol, the Terraseer occurs. He claims he is a serpentes reborn to guide all living beings back to peace. The illithids begin worship of this being almost immediately for the knowledge he offers. This prompts a divine war between Arthindol and Illesine (the traditional deity of the illithids) that ends in a truce between them both, permitting shared worship.
    3,081 OM: The Underground, a global movement towards greater unity between nations and peoples, begins in Intolar. Disillusioned humans begin preaching tolerance and peace. They are brutally suppressed, and eventually forced to begin preaching quietly underground (literally and figuratively).
    3,101 OM: The Shadowstar Treaty's peace ends. Intolar immediate resumes aggression against Khavghotan in the 13th Crusade. Khavghotan annexes Jor'koth. Alykandor and Orlyndol begin heated debates concerning their borders.
    3,111 OM: The illithid and elven border disputes erupt into skirmishes. Orlyndol, Alykandor, and Intolar begin the Contention Wars for control of Xortal's resources. The native tasloi stay out of the way.
    3,126 OM: The current year. The 14th Crusade of Light is well underway, sparked by an assassination of a member of Emperor 41's court. The Orlyndol/Alykandor border skirmishes have come to a halt with the Treaty of Betralia. The Contention Wars in Xortal still rage between Orlyndolian, Alykandorian, and Intolian forces. Orog airmen have noticed strange galleys by the Edge, but so far have kept their observations to themselves. The trepek continue their bizarre missions with diplomatic immunity, much to the consternation of the Intolians, who host the largest non-Northwind population of trepek in the world. The Underground continues its campaign to change the prevailing attitudes in the world, to little success.


    Rough Timeline of the Shadowstar Wars specifically:
    Spoiler
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    2,900 OM: The qualnargan strike suddenly into Z-R. The Siege of Xanteld is the first incident of war. Entropy sends a message to every government, announcing the war. Pundits christen it the Shadowstar War. The qualnargan Entropy is revealed.

    2,900-2,904 OM: The war has not been on long and already it has ground into an ugly stalemate. The qualnargan have set up in-between Intolar and Khavghotan, occupying the center stretch of that continent, and engage in naval warfare with Alykandor and Orlyndol. The qualnargan that would become the Dark Five, Daggoth, Zasz, Nargil, and Kagg, are revealed. Araq's existence is mentioned, but he is never seen.

    2,904-2,915 OM: Slowly, bit by bit, the orog armies led by Impulse and Revenant push deep into Khavghotan. By the end of 2,915 OM, only Theactgkatic and Thijis remained free. The qualnargan Impulse and Revenant are revealed.

    2,915-2,928 OM: Alykandorian politics begin to degenerate at a rapidly accelerating pace. It is discovered by Queen Myshella that the qualnargan Memory had infiltrated their government. After a brutal fight with the Alykandorian Royal Guard, Memory is repelled from Kahlai. Alykandor stabilizes but loses ground in the naval war with the qualnargan. The qualnargan Memory is revealed.

    2,928-2,944 OM: The wars are slow and little progress is made until the end of 2,944, when Inferno and Efreet reveal themselves and blitz Khavghotan's final lines of defense. Khavghotan is conquered by the end of 2,944 OM. The qualnargan Inferno and Efreet are revealed.

    2,945 OM: The Dark Five infiltrate Shining Intolar City through secret passages deep beneath the city and confront Emperor Intolar 40 directly. The conflict is unclear, as there are no witnesses to it, but the Dark Five escape with a spark of the Emperor's divinity. They are not seen again for the duration of the war.

    2,945-2,957 OM: Unable to break Alykandor and Orlyndol's naval defenses and having difficulty pushing into Intolar, the qualnargan resort to trickery. Phantasm and Dream infiltrate Intolar and Alykandor respectively, and alter army placement orders to open vulnerabilities in their defenses. Chontian and Sorana fall to the orog armies, and only the most desperate actions of the Alykandorian and Intolian militaries halt the qualnargan advances. The qualnargan Phantasm and Dream are revealed, though their presence isn't realized for several decades.

    2,957-2,958 OM: The illithids, tired of the defensive and feeling secure in their own borders, stage a counter-offensive against the qualnargan. In the Second Battle of Chontian, Orlyndolian forces manage to defeat the qualnargan Entropy and drive back the qualnargan lines almost to the mountains. The illithids withdraw before the Intolian forces arrive.

    2,958-2,988 OM: For the next thirty years, Phantasm and Dream continue to subvert the defenses of Alykandor and Intolar, but the internal auditors of both nations track them down, manage to uncover the qualnargan infiltration, and expel them. The war stalls for the time being.

    2,988-2,999 OM: A wave of fresh orog warriors from the Edge arrives, as large as the first wave of warriors in 2,900 OM, led by Horror. The defenses of Zaaman-Rul are weakened from almost a century of warfare and Horror's new soldiers break them. Alykandor is reduced to Kahlai and Bakra by 2,990 and just Bakra in 2,999. Intolar is reduced to just Shining Intolar City by 2,999. Orlyndol's resources are stretched to the breaking point and they estimate that they'll be unable to continue the war effort in under two years. The qualnargan Horror is revealed.

    3,000 OM: The qualnargan unify and breach into Tharkrixghantix, ending the war when the dragons respond by nearly eradicating the orogs and their masters with a purification by fire. The qualnargan Echo and Shadow are revealed.

    3,001 OM: The Shadowstar Accords are signed by the surviving nations. Emperor Intolar 40 leaves the throne and Intolar 41 ascends to the Golden Throne. The war is ended.


    The Solar System of Zaaman-Rul:
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    Zar: The lifeblood of the system is old. Really, truly, unbelievably ancient, Zar is approaching the end of its life. Normally, a star of Zar’s age would have blown up into a supergiant by now, but thanks to the mighty magic of the ancient race called the Fathers, Zar’s lifespan was extended dramatically. However, the magic that sustains the star has recently begun to fail, and Zar’s stolen years are catching up to it. Soon, in planetary terms, Zar will begin the expansion process, and Zaaman-Rul will be consumed. This fact is not widely known by the inhabitants of Zaaman-Rul, but is suspected by the most learned and powerful of them. Only the dragons know the true extent of the issue.

    Tholfa: The first planet of the system, Tholfa is a tiny iron-rock ball that is very close to Zar. Tholfa’s orbit places it squarely in Zar’s halo, bathing it in all manner of unpleasant radiation and temperatures. Save for a number of non-breathing or non-living creatures (like undead, constructs, and elementals), nothing lives or moves on the surface of Tholfa. There is a race of elemental sorcerers that live deep in the mantle of Tholfa, but little is known about them.

    Zaaman-Rul: This is the main planet of the system. Once a single planet with a large moon, Zaaman being the larger and Rul the smaller, a magic induced apocalypse caused Rul to impact into the surface of Zaaman, tossing megatons of dust and soot into the sky, fragmenting Zaaman. Over time, they coalesced into a single body known by its current moniker. The dust never truly settled, and cloaks the planet in a twilight even today. Every major race lives on or in Zaaman-Rul somewhere.

    Golenih: The third planet in the system, Golenih means “mother” in the tongue of the Fathers, for it is where the Fathers originated, and still reside today, though in much reduced numbers. Golenih is a world of ash and fire, coated in a deep red color by its strange atmosphere’s interaction with light. Golenih was once the center of the Father’s society, but the bulk of their race was slain during the war with the illithid sorcerer-kings. Afterwards, those that remained took no hand in the affairs of mortal kind, and have gone into seclusion on the world of their birth. Beyond this, little is known about Golenih, as the Father’s have blocked divinations and expeditions to the planet.

    The Tears of Life: Reminders of the awesome and terrible power of the Fathers, the Tears of Life were not always so. Once, this was a planet inhabited by a race of wise and powerful sorcerer kings resembling the mind flayers of the current age. Though wise, the kings were arrogant, and when the Fathers discovered them, the sorcerers delcared war on the other race. Eventually, the Fathers used great magic to sunder their planet into millions of tiny fragments. Now fragmented, the Tears are home to little, save whatever can endure in the frozen void of space.

    Corrant: The fourth world of the system, Corrant is a verdant blue world with much life. Most of the world is water, with aquatic creatures such as aboleths, krakens, merfolk, locathah, sahuagin, and aquatic elves are common. There is some land, but it is mostly uninhabited, left to the few air-breathing creatures that evolved on Corrant. Some mad sages believe that Corrant is home to a population of serpents descended from the snake-like progenitor race, the serpentes, but such speculation is unfounded.

    Delia: The fifth and final planet, Delia is a small, icy world with little population of anything at all. Really, the only things that live on Delia are creatures of extreme cold, such as ice elementals, polar worms, and remorhazes. The illithids of Orlyndol postulated establishing a colony here, but the conditions and distance from Zaaman-Rul made it an untenable proposition.


    The Cosmology of Zaaman-Rul:
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    The cosmology was always precarious in the Zar system. The planar connection here wasn't strong to start with, and when the Cataclysm occurred, it sundered all connections entirely. Only though sheer determined divine effort have even a few been reestablished. The actual cosmology is that of the Great Wheel (I suggest Planescape's rendition of it, thought D&D 3.5's view works as well) with a few changes. The Inner Planes include the Para and Quasi-Elemental Planes along with the Elemental Plane of Time. The Outer Planes are unchanged. The Ethereal Plane does not exist, with the result that no magic pertaining to it exists. The Astral Plane exists, but cannot be reached by any means, meaning all teleportation magic/attempts fail (as teleportation uses the Astral, it doesn't work here). Notably, no planar travel functions either. All attempts to call or bind creatures fail, and such magic does not exist. Summoning magic does though, as it creates the creatures fresh from nothingness. Such created creatures cannot be outsiders though, as knowledge of such creatures does not exist in Zaaman-Rul. Any summoned creature, if spoken to, has nothing to say, as it knows only what it has seen and done while summoned. It is worth nothing that all above restrictions are only while on the Prime Material Plane. If someone on the Outer Planes has access to a teleport or plane shift and wishes to use it while on the Outer Planes, it works fine (though one cannot plane shift to the Prime Material Plane).

    There are only two functioning planar connections. The first is a connection for the souls of the dead. When a living creature in Zaaman-Rul dies, its soul is collected by what is called the Spirit Wind, a breeze that only souls can feel. This wind functions as a divine conduit, transmitting the soul to its god for judgment. The second is a connection between the Plane of Shadow and the core of shadow magic at the heart of Zaaman-Rul. The nature of this connection is unknown, but it probably isn't good.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2011-05-07 at 09:59 PM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Broken Damaged Worthless

    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    The Most Holy Divine Empire of Humanity, Intolar

    Population: 3,580,360 (human 95%, trepek 4%)
    Government: Theocratic Monarchy
    Capital City: Shining Intolar City
    Religion: The Nine-Faced Lords, The Dark Five (in secret only)
    Imports: Orlyndolian artwork and music, steam technology, wood
    Exports: Mercenaries, grains, raw metals, unworked stone, herd animals
    Alignment: LN, LE, TN
    Language: Intolian, Common, Arcanic

    A desolate and cold country, Intolar stands as the sole bastion of Humanity against the onslaught of foreign powers and marauding fiends. Or so it claims, anyways. In truth, Intolar is an oppressive theocratic regime that preaches xenophobia and isolation and wars constantly with its only land neighbor, the southern Khavghotan. The populace is vastly ignorant of the true state of the world, and even when presented with facts about the other nations just dismiss them as superstitious nonsense at best, or treasonous and heretical talk at worst. Magic is heavily regulated in Intolar, with all children who show arcane magical aptitude taken from their parents and indoctrinated into the military from a young age, that they may better serve the gods and their people. Those who show skill with the divine are shown into the priesthood, where they learn to minister to their people and to preach the light and wisdom of the gods. Intolar is an old nation, with a rich history, especially of their governance. Though the aftermath of the catastrophic Shadowstar Wars is yet to truly fade from the collective consciousness, the resilient and determined Intolian people have restored their nation to a semblance of its former glory, and look forward to reaching and exceeding it soon.

    Industries: All citizens of Intolar are employed by the state, and as such Intolar has a powerful economy. They produce all of their own food and a healthy surplus aside, and they use that surplus wisely, either as trade fodder for required goods from the heretical, yet needed, other races or as backup in case of hard times or warfare. They have a thriving manufacturing sector, and produce all of their weaponry, armor, and mechanical goods from native metals, gems, stone, and ceramics. They even make their own textiles from locally grown plants and herd animals. What the Intolians lack however is the creative sector. They make almost no artwork or literature, lending a bleakness to Intolian cities and towns.

    The military is a massive institution in Intolar, and many citizens choose that life instead of a life in the civilian sector. The military is further discussed below.

    Intolar uses their own coinage, made from non-precious metals. The conversion rates and names follow:
    {table=head]Type of Piece | Abbreviation | Intolian Name | Equivalency/Value
    Tin | tp | Flip | Copper
    Iron | ip | Flat | Silver
    Brass | bp | Shine | Gold
    Steel | sp | Solid | No direct equivalent to default D&D. Value is 5 gp.
    Tungsten | up | Precious | Platinum[/table]

    Life and Society: Intolar is a prosperous, powerful, and mostly peaceful nation. Beyond the constant warfare with Khavghotan, the country is peaceful and quiet, with no one going unfed, unhoused, or unclothed. All citizens have meaningful work to do, free healthcare courtesy of the priesthood, and are given a lay education in literature, language, mathematics, and other basics. The life of an average Intolian citizen is not a bad one, though it is hardly plush with luxury. Indeed, they waken, eat a morning meal of bread, perhaps with a fruit or a sliver of jerky, and a mug of mead, then trundle off to their place of employment (often a mass farm or a manufacturing plant). Children go to school for half the day and help in the fields and plants the other half. They come home, have an evening meal of pasta or bread with roasted meat and hearty vegetables with another mug of ale, then have several hours to themselves (which are almost always spent either in religious contemplation or telling stories and singing songs with one another, depending on the day).

    Of course, for the military, this is very different. They wake before lightening, drill until brightest, eat a spartan meal of bread, meat, and ale, train in live-fire combat until darkening, eat again, pray and contemplate, then sleep for a few short hours before doing it all again. This harsh schedule instills a sense of duty and resilient, durable skills into the Intolian soldiers, and is imitated by the priesthood and arcane institutes.

    Intolians are not free per-say, but they have the freedom of choice of profession and choice of location. Many move to the larger cities, such as Intolar proper, Chontian, or Xanteld and become laborers in the larger manufacturing plants there. Others choose to enter the military, or even the arcane institutes, where they learn to shape magical energy, and if they cannot, they still learn how to control magical devices for the glory of the gods and Empire.

    Government and Politics: The government of Intolar is sprawling and massive, with layers of regulations and restrictions heaped upon each other. Luckily, the government of the empire is handled by the clergy, who understand that piling restrictions upon the populace is an unwise way to go about running a country, and so they make things as easy for the common folk as is possible. However, the paperwork of running an empire is no small task, and so the empire runs slowly, even with the volunteerism of the priesthood.

    The Emperor himself deserves discussion though, as the process of becoming and being Emperor of Intolar is unique. Unlike other monarchies, where individuals are elevated to rulership, the Intolian Emperor is run by a single individual in an unbroken line of succession, namely, the Nine Faced Lords. When an Emperor dies and ascends to serve the gods, a new human takes their place and is named Emperor. The gods directly work through the Emperor, turning them into a vessel for divine will. Emperors rule for 100 years exactly. Upon Imperial Coronations, there is a nationwide celebration that sees a truce with all enemy powers for a period of 10 days as the Intolians celebrate the joyous occasion. To the Intolians, the Emperor is the manifestation of the favor of the gods, and is a hero in and of their own right.

    Power Groups: Intolar has more different groups of influence than an outsider would see at first glance, mostly since to outsiders, it all looks the same. They're all human, after all.
    • The Church of the Nine-Faced Lords: Discussed in more detail below, the clergy have extreme power inside Intolian borders and have great influence on the government. Since the clergy handle the paperwork of the empire, they function as the link between the people and the empire itself. The clergy has access to the Imperial Treasury, to the Imperial Army, and to the Emperor himself, giving them enormous power to get things done. Seeing as the Nine-Faced Lords include several evil gods, the Church is not always benevolent. The ruling patriarch of the Church (not counting the Emperor, of course) is High Inquisitor Darrius Alexander (NE male human Cleric [Pyaray] 15/Entropomancer 10). Under the High Inquisitor, the Church has pursued a looser set of morality in terms of dealing with those who question them. Darrius is rumored to be pursuing a method of extending his life so that he may make a play for the throne when Emperor 41 ascends.
    • The Imperial Army: Charged with the defense of humanity by the Emperor himself, the military is the Emperor's right hand in all matters and has jurisdiction over any of Intolar's borders. Despite the name, the Imperial Army is in fact every branch of the military, including the army, the navy, and the various special operation forces (one of which is discussed below). The Army is vast and far reaching, employing almost 800,000 souls to fight in and fuel the war effort. The current High General of the Army, Robert Hathron (LN male human Zealot 19) is fiercely loyal to the throne, and has spurned the High Inquisitor on several occasions when he requested actions of the Army that contradicted the throne's dictates. Hathron is no fool though, and foresees the coming internal battle for political control.
    • The Specter Corps: The left hand of the Emperor, the Specter Corps is a band of psionically and magically empowered warrior assassins that live and die at the Emperor's command. Though nominally under the care of the Imperial Army, the Specter Corps in practice obeys itself and the Emperor only. Each Specter is handpicked and trained from birth under the very best the Empire has to offer, and each is capable of toppling nations and undermining armies if so commanded. More frequently though, the Specters are used to police the Church and the Army for corruption and to keep everyone on track serving the dictates of the Emperor and securing the betterment of mankind. The leader of the Corps is a shadowy figure called the Eldest (LE male(?) human(?) Psychic Rogue 5/Specter 10/Assassin 5).
    • The Arcane Institute: The forced conscription of all those with sorcerous talent in Intolar into the Arcane Institute creates an organization with a massive amount of power behind it. Each member of the Institute is an arcanist of some variety, and though they've low numbers, the nature of arcane magic makes the Institute powerful and influential. The Institute often loans members to the Church or Army for special assignments, and even offers their services to the Specter Corps for rigorous training exercises (always live fire, so only experienced and powerful mages are permitted to serve in the Corps). Like the Church and the Army, the Institute reports directly to the Emperor in theory but runs itself in practice. The Institute is led by Master of the Arcane Oliver Gilbert (NG male human Focused Conjurer 5/Master Specialist 10/Archmage 5). Master Gilbert has been fending off the High Inquisitor's advances at absorbing the Institute under the guise of Arioch's faith, and has been casting out his net for under-the-table solutions.
    • The Underground: A movement in the shadowy corners of the nation, the Underground is comprised of disillusioned citizens of Intolar, expatriates living in hiding, and sympathetic outsiders in Intolar for personal reasons, such as trepek and ambassadors of one nation or another. Together, these varied groups are trying to effect change in Intolar, mostly a large reduction in the humanocentric viewpoint of imperial doctrine, but there are other causes the Underground advances, such as a cease-fire with Khavghotan, a stronger colonization drive in Xortal, and free trade with the other major nations. Imperial propaganda proclaims the Underground as terrorists and seditionists, and for what it's worth, tends to be right. The Underground is composed of so many disparate groups that don't work together that in many cases acts of terrorism are claimed by someone or other who has links to the Underground. Not every cause has terrorists, and not every terrorist has a cause, but enough are both that the Underground is regarded as a dangerous and subversive organization by the government. There is no true structure to the Underground, but there are dozens, if not hundreds, of cells all through Intolar, each of which has its own leader and goals. Some cells work together, others war with one another, and still others are inscrutable in their methods and purposes. The general rule is that if you seek the Underground, they'll find you.


    Religion: Religion in Intolar is dominated by the worship of the Nine-Faced Lords. The principle human gods rule Intolar through their proxy, the Emperor, and administrate the empire through the clergy. Each of the ten faiths has its own strictures, temples, methods of worship, and attitudes towards everyone else. These are detailed a little below, along with how each of the ten faiths is seen/interacts with the common folk.
    • Ean, Keeper of the Sands: The faith of the Father of Mankind is a small and quiet one. Ean preaches that a life spent in contemplation and the search for understanding is the wisest way to live one's life, and his faithful act accordingly. The priests of Ean are often called upon to mediate between the other faiths. Many fortune-tellers are drawn to Ean's role as the maker of fate and the ruler of time. To the normal citizen, Ean's priesthood serve as the face of the government, functioning as recordkeepers and functionaries who keep the wheel of government turning through their hard work. The priests of Ean wear white and blue robes, and carry his chosen weapon, the quarterstaff.
    • Donblas, the Justice Maker: The militaristic arm of the Nine-Faced Lords, the worship of Donblas often spills over in the Imperial Army. The faithful of the Righteous Vengeance drill constantly, and remain vigilant at all times against foes both real and perceived. They multi-class between Fighter and Cleric freely, as needed for their duties. Donblas' priesthood often serve as peacekeepers for the common folk, policing the lands with a strict, yet fair, hand. The priests of Donblas wear shining silver garments when they aren't wearing armor, which is always a brilliant silver, and they carry the weapon of their god, an axe with a shield.
    • Pyaray, the Octopus: Perhaps the most chillingly inhuman of humanities gods, Pyaray embodies the passionless murdering drive all men harbor, and that most suppress. Those who do not either find themselves on the wrong end of a blade or in the faith of the Eight-Armed Death. Pyaray's priesthood consists of the darker side of society, the side that no one likes to acknowledge but is actually useful to have around. Assassins, mercenaries, killers for coins, these are the bulk of the Octopus' faith. However, many sailors pray to him for succor in weathering the storms that plague the Intolian coast, and many gravediggers and morticians give voice to his prayers, that he bless and keep those in their care. Pyaray's faithful wear dark blue and green robes, and carry his favored weapon, the greatsword.
    • Xiombarg, the Devourer: Refreshingly direct, Xiombarg represents all that is primal and foul in human nature. Shunned by the other Lords and their faiths, the worshippers of the Insane Fury function in secret as long as they can, sacrificing who and what they can to their dark god, though their rapacious natures always see them caught and pressed into service in the Army, where they are used as insane berserker shock troops. To the common folk, the priesthood of Xiombarg are dangerous psychotics The faithful of Xiombarg wear anything they want, as long as it has been used as sacrificial vestments at least once. They often try to wield his favored weapon, the scissors sword (Savage Species, pg 45), but since most of his faithful lack six arms, they use anything and everything that has a few too many spikes (spiked chains, barbed chains, barbed wire, whatever they have on hand).
    • Slortar, the White: The god of healing and life has a quiet and reserved priesthood that focuses on traveling from place to place, doing good works and asking nothing in return. The priesthood of the Giver of Life is far larger than those of his elder brethren Pyaray and Xiombarg, but has much less of an impact on the public consciousness, due to Slortar's dictates to remain out of the public eye. To the common folk, Slortar's priesthood are the healers, the givers of care and tenderness, the helpers of the downtrodden. Slortar's priests wear pure shock-white vestments and carry his favored weapon, a wand of cure light wounds.
    • Jhaelen, the Scarlet Prince: The priesthood of the Liquid Courage believe in living life as richly and fully as possible, and in enjoying those material comforts that show up along the way. Jhaelen's faithful roam from town to town spending coin freely, earning it through their advising skills. The priesthood is seen by the common folk as a bunch of decadent hedonists, but generally good people that mean little harm. The priests of the Scarlet Prince wear their sobriquet and carry rapiers, just like their patron.
    • Arioch, the Shadow: The least of the dark human gods, Arioch is also the least malevolent of them. His priesthood focuses on the acquisition of knowledge, through any means necessary, often unlovely methods. They are a secretive and private faith, and the common folk know little about the Shadow's methods and scriptures. The priests of Arioch wear black and grey robes, and carry his favored weapon, the double dagger.
    • Hawkmoon, the Master: The faith of the Master lends itself well to militaristic work, and Hawkmoon's faith often goes hand in hand with that of Donblas and the Army. However, unlike those groups, the priests of the Lord of Blades offers training to anyone who asks for it and can pay in either coin or goods. This makes Hawkmoon's priests very popular with the common folks, and rare is the common man who hasn't trained under a priest of the Master at some point. The priests of Hawkmoon wear a simple brown garb, and use either of his favored weapons, the longsword or magically created weaponry.
    • Scyllua, the Earthmother: The smallest of the Nine-Faced Lords in faith, Scyllua is one of the most widely loved of the gods. The priests of the Earthmother walk the earth, helping farmers and common folk with their struggles with the land. The priesthood wears green and brown robes, and carries Scyllua's favored weapon, the scythe.
    • Elwher, the Walker: The last of the Nine-Faced Lords, Elwher is the most mysterious of the group. His priesthood says little about him, save that they are to walk to land, bringing the word of the Traveler to all who listen. Elwher is regarded as the patron of all those who are mercurial and random in nature. The priests of Elwher wear anything they want, and use any weapon they wish, since the god is mute as to preferences.


    There is a small hidden following in Intolar (often directly connected to the Underground) of the Dark Five, though they keep silent about their worship, since worship of anyone but the Nine-Faced Lords is a treasonous offense in Intolar.

    Major Settlements: There are only a few major settlements in Intolar, but those there are are massive in scale, matched by little else in Zaaman-Rul.
    • Shining Intolar City (Metropolis, 134,000): Named for the mythical Emperor 1 who began the process of bringing together the disparate towns of humanity, Shining Intolar City is the capital of the Empire and the seat of His August Majesty, the Divine Emperor of All Humanity, Inheritor of Intolar, Emperor Intolar 41. The city is administrative in nature and serves to run the entire Empire, both in fact as well as in spirit, as it is the religious heart of the nation. Located in the very center of the nation, it is from Intolar that the Empire is overseen by His Light and the court of nobles that serve him. Additionally, the military has a powerful chapter here which report directly to His Light. Intolar City is the only bastion of humanity that has never once been conquered or breached by non-humans, and to gain access to the golden gates that serve as entrances to the city is considered a divine honor by the general populace. To set foot in the Throne Room of His August Majesty is said to be rapturous. To date, it has never been entered by non-humans, nor has a non-human ever laid eyes upon the Emperor himself.
    • Chontian (Metropolis, 41,550): The core of the Intolian Military is housed in Chontian, and as such it has a thriving mercantile sector. There are countless bars, taverns, inns, and other such dens of ill repute scattered throughout the haphazard and poorly designed city, all of which are choked with off-duty soldiers looking to spend a little coin. Chontian is also the home of the largest weapons manufacturing plant in the Empire, and so draws many workers from the countryside to staff it. Chontian has a reputation for being dangerous and almost lawless, and though that is not true, it is true that Chontian is a home for a large Underground base of operations. If the military could root them out, it would be a severe setback for the Underground.
    • Xanteld (Metropolis, 59,900): Known as the City of Prisons, Xanteld is both the center of the Arcane Institute of Intolar and the main prison complex of the Empire. Xanteld is a prison in more ways than one, and the city itself shows this. It's harsh, cramped, closed, mostly underground, and heavily patrolled by the military. Despite its flaws, Xanteld draws a large civilian base to run the various services in the city and to police the convicts.


    Adventuring in Intolar: There's three primary kinds of campaigns in and/or around Intolar. The first is the Imperial Campaign, where all the PCs are members of the Empire (so, human) and probably form a specops team of some kind, tasked with special assignments by the Emperor or the Imperial Court. This can work excellently, but the PCs should probably be on board with this style before the game begins, since it necessitates fairly harsh attitudes on their part towards non-humans, making it a fairly mature style (there will be lots of racism towards non-humans, atrocities committed against them, etc; if someone isn't alright with that possibility, another style should be looked at). However, this campaign has lots of potential. Perhaps the PCs are an anti-corruption unit? Maybe they're shock troopers in the border war with Khavghotan? Perhaps they're wrapped up in the political intrigue that surrounds the capital city? There are many options here.

    The second is the Underground Campaign. This would focus on a mostly human party that is part of the Underground, fighting against the empire from the inside. This has a great "plucky hero against long odds" sort of feel, and can be turned into a very noir game if desired. Additionally, the possibility exists for non-humans to be involved through the Underground, lending a "hunter/hunted" aspect to it as well. Lots of potential here as well.

    The third is a War Campaign. This would be a very heavy combat campaign, mostly focused on the war between Khavghotan and Intolar, and would probably stray between the two countries quite a great deal. There's options here, though this is probably better folded into the above suggestions.

    For smaller adventures, Intolar is not the best location for most parties. Seeing as how most parties have non-humans, it'd be hard to actually visit Intolar without sneaking in and risking death just by showing up. Still, through the Underground and PC creativity, options exist for non-Intolian parties to explore Intolar and interact with the empire on their own turf. It is suggested the DM include non-human sympathizers in this situation, just so the party has a non-hostile individual to serve as a home base, but it's not required.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2011-03-15 at 10:32 PM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Broken Damaged Worthless

    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    The Furious Anarchy of Strength, Khavghotan
    Population: 11,851,935 (goblins 35%, hobgoblins 21%, ogres 12%, orogs 10%, gnolls 9%, varags 6%, kobolds 4%, motramr 2%)
    Government: Loose Tribal Confederation
    Capital City: Theactgkatic
    Religion: Vghotan, Kor'tel'ress
    Imports: Wood, worked metal weaponry, high technology, experts in various fields
    Exports: Mercenaries, raw metals, herd animals, gems, steel bricks (see below)
    Alignment: CE, CN, NE
    Language: Khavghotani, Common, Low Elven, Intolian, Orog

    A rocky disaster of a country, Khavghotan has seen better days. The natives are unwelcoming, the weather is a misery, and the landscape is hellish. If it weren't for Khavghotan's seemingly endless mineral wealth, no one civilized would care about it. As it is, Khavghotan has such an abundance of metals and gems that they could mine for a thousand years and not even come close to running out, and indeed the native goblinoid peoples have done just that. Khavghotan's other major contribution to the world is the endless border war with their northern neighbor, Intolar. Whereas Intolar wants to wipe Khavghotan out, the goblinoids don't really care much about the Intolians and have been fighting a war of attrition and delay tactics for centuries.

    The Khavghotani are a hardy bunch since the weather is miserably cold all year-round, never breaching 55 degrees (Fahrenheit). Crops don't grow in Khavghotan, forcing the natives to raise the hardy snow rothe that provide their meat, drink, clothes, tools, and half of their civilization. The only exception to this are the hobgoblins, who have learned the art of farming in caverns, and the kobolds, whose extreme isolation gives them a unique perspective on such matters.

    Khavghotan is a rocky nation, with many emptied strip mines and spontaneous valleys and mountain chains dotting it. There are relics of the ancient goblin empire strewn about the landscape, though little has survived the millennia. Internecine wars rage between the goblinoid clans on a regular basis over this slight or that, and on occasion an Intolian warband pushes through the Irontooth Peaks and is set upon by ravaging hordes of goblins or gnolls.

    Still, through the flurries of snow and battle, a fortune can be made if one knows where to look. Khavghotan might be bereft of high civilization, but it has opportunity in spades.

    Industries: Khavghotan has almost no higher industry. The natives, being fairly warlike, have no real time nor inclination to practice industry on a wide scale. Still, there are a few occupations of note in Khavghotan.

    First is the cattle industry. Since the vast majority of Khavghotani rely on snow rothe for food and drink (meat and milk), there are entire clans of goblins and gnolls that do nothing but herd snow rothe and/or protect the herds and herding clans from other clans or invaders. The business of herding rothe has made at least several clans extremely influential, and to say that you can afford Jelthota rothe meat (the most expensive and esteemed of the rothe clans) is akin to saying you are royalty in power and wealth.

    Second, the varag trade consortium. The varags, being low in number, not especially powerful in either magic or martial skill, and having few natural assets beyond speed, long ago turned to inter-clan trading to make their name and earn a place on the tribal council that runs the country (see Government and Politics below for more details). Now, the varag trading companies rule all inter-Khavghotan trade and much of the trade done with other nations through the orog state of Jor'koth.

    Third, the metal and gem mining operations. Khavghotan's mineral deposits are so vast that they've been mined continuously for thousands of years and show no signs of running dry any time soon. Most of the metal is formed into the unique metallic bricks that the Khavghotani use on the war front with Intolar, but much of it is also forged into metal weaponry for the hobgoblin and ogre forces or into parts for orog airships, with the unused surplus being sold to Alykandor or Orlyndol through the varag traders. In addition, gems are very common in Khavghotan, so much so that cut gems are used as coins in place of metals (a table is spoilered below).
    Spoiler
    Show
    {table=head]Type of Piece | Abbreviation | Khavghotani Name | Equivalency/Value
    Amethyst | ad | Grut | Copper
    Sapphire | sd | Suat | Silver
    Emerald | ed | Koal | Gold
    Ruby | rd | Joth | No direct equivalent to default D&D. Value is 5 gp.
    Diamond | dd | Droque | Platinum[/table]

    Each of these "coins" is called a disc, and is approximately one inch across and a five millimeters thick. The Khavghotani names are in Khavghotani.

    It has been suggested by outside observers however that the true currency of Khavghotan is in trust. This is dismissed by most as the paranoid delusions of the cynic, but many long-time visitors of Khavghotan agree with the thought, lending it a kernel of truth.


    Finally, the orog transportation business. Jor'koth has begun a very successful airship transportation business. For the right price, anyone can grab a ride from any dock to any other one, and quick too. On average, an orog airship makes a stop at each dock on its cycle every day, meaning that if a rider is clever, they can go from a dock in Khavghotan to a dock in Orlyndol stopping in Alykandor for a change-over in a single day, all by timing the schedules of the airships in advance. This facilitates quick, if very expensive, travel. The orogs also run a fleet of ships for more traditional expeditions. These ships take longer to get around, but are quite useful in their own right, often being chartered for months at a time to supplement national navies or for extended journeys to distant locations (Xortal is a common destination). The orog transport fleet hubs out of Jor'koth.

    Life and Society: Life in Khavghotan is entirely dependent on what race you are and what role in your racial politics you fill. Each race will be discussed below.

    Goblins: Tribal in nature, goblins are furious and angry people. They are accorded few rights by the Khavghotani Council, they have been granted the worst of all the land in the country, the empty wastes, good for nothing but large-scale warfare and herding snow rothe. The goblin clans are an unruly bunch, all fighting one another in a chaotic roil of craziness and fury. Goblin society is patriarchal, with the biggest meanest oldest goblin male running things and giving orders, which are obeyed only out of fear. When the ruling male grows old, he is replaced through bloody fights, and a new goblin takes his place. Goblin society can be likened to an amoeba, crawling onward, ever changing but ever the same.

    Hobgoblins: Vastly more ordered than their lesser cousins, hobgoblin society exists in the chasms that run across the landscape of the country, centered around the three great cavern-cities they've constructed in the chasm walls to facilitate mining endeavors. To an onlooker standing at the edge of one of these great tears in the earth, it looks as though a hive of insects has hollowed out the interior walls of the crack and turned them into a bustling center of activity. Hobgoblins live in their fortress cities, mining the gems and metals that drive the Khavghotani war machine and living the paranoid lives that fuel their psyches. Hobgoblin cities are clan-based, much like their lesser cousins, but instead of each clan having one city, each clan has a single section of a city, and participates in a city council that makes the final decisions about city-wide issues. This leads to endless "silent" internal clan wars to determine who controls what districts of each city. Hobgoblins form the core of most Khavghotani armies, since they're well armed and well trained.

    Ogres: The most religious of the goblinoid races, the ogres live in large, well-ordered camps in the plains of Khavghotan. They farm their own rothe, have developed a strand of grain that can somehow grow in the frozen soil and snow-covered landscape, and seem content to preach the word of Vghotan. Of course, since Vghotan both demands blood and converts, ogres can be found all over the nation and the world, preaching the good word to any who will listen to it (and a lot who won't). Ogres, due to their intimidating size and stature, are powerful creatures, and when they extort weaponry from the hobgoblin smiths, are terrors on the battlefield, howling Vghotan's name while reaping souls for his pleasure. Other races tend to fear and shun ogres, since their religious mania tends to translate directly into battle fervor. Ogres, as the religious authorities of the race, are often asked to serve as mediators between other clans (when clans actually decide to talk issues out, a rare enough occurrence).

    Kobolds: The most reclusive of the true goblinoids, kobolds have long lived in the natural caverns underneath the Irontooth Peaks. Naturally suspicious of other races and individuals, kobolds have lived in quiet seclusion for centuries, only emerging into the public arena at the behest of Vghotan's preachers to share their magic and their knowledge with the other goblinoid races. Kobolds are natural masters of fire magic thanks to their story environment and of necromantic magic thanks to the limited resources in the underground environment. The kobolds offer little to Khavghotani greater society beyond the alchemical substance called darkfire and their magical skill. Kobold society is warren-based, with each warren controlling a specific region of the Razortooth cavern system. Trade between warrens is complex and heavily regimented. Inter-warren relations are very ritualistic and restrictive, as are all kobold relations to other races.

    Varags: The varag people were once mighty warriors who roamed the plains of Khavghotan killing and pillaging anything they found. When the other races banded against their depredations, the varags faced extinction. They sued for peace, and realized their talents could be put to use as merchants. Going from cutting throats to cutthroat business tactics didn't prove to be that much of a change for them, and so they've remained the main merchant group in Khavghotan for centuries. Today, varags range far and wide, peddling goods from all over Khavghotan and selling information of all sorts. As a popular saying goes, if you want it, a varag is selling it, be it goods or words.

    Gnolls: More bestial than the common goblins, if such a thing was possible, the gnoll clans live in the foothills of the Irontooth Peaks. Gnolls often serve as the native buffer to Intolian invasions, much to the dismay of the gnolls themselves. Gnolls are given the short end of the stick in Khavghotan, looked down on and derided constantly by their brethren. Recently, a proposition has come before the Khavghotan Council to examine the gnolls to see if they are worthy of their true goblinoid status. To the gnoll clans, already suffering and barely eking out a subsistence level existence, this would spell certain death, and so they've been looking for definitive proof of their goblinoid blood so that they are not persecuted by their brethren.

    Motramr: The least in number of the races by a pretty wide margin, the reclusive goatfolk live in the Irontooth Peaks proper, technically putting them outside the domain of Khavghotan's borders. Still, they're accepted as being members of Khavghotan, so much so that their superior metalworking skills are called upon frequently by warriors and adventurers the world over. Even in Intolar motramr metalworking is respected, for it is of top-class workmanship in all respects. The motramr population lives on the highest, coldest, most inaccessible peaks of the Irontooths, and sell their work to anyone who can reach them. All motramr work is by commission only and they have an extensive knowledge of many rare and difficult to work metals and materials. It was a motramr mastersmith who devised and shared the secret of the Khavghotani metal bricks that are now commonplace on the battlefields between Intolar and Khavghotan, and it was another motramr mastersmith who first discovered and worked the electro-metal called hizagkuur. To Khavghotan at large, motramr a reclusive and secretive folk, to be treated with great respect and to be avoided if at all possible.

    Orogs: Though not goblinoids, the orog island nation of Jor'koth was annexed into Khavghotan as a political move to both protect the orogs and to gain access to their fleet of airships and their naval forces, bolstering the pitiful Khavhgotani navy in the process. Almost entirely independent, Jor'koth sits off the eastern coast of Khavghotan, around 300 miles out, and is only reachable via magical means or via the airship fleet the orogs run out of it. Orogs are a hardy folk, which has helped immensely in settling the difficult and treacherous isles of Jor'koth. Their funds from fare collection with the airship business has been plowed into terraforming Jor'koth, but the process is slow and expensive. For now, Jor'koth is a rocky and difficult place to live, with a small population of native orogs. Most of the isles are used for maintenance of the airship fleets, which make the best of the rocky peaks.

    Combined: As a single melting pot culture, Khavghotan is in many ways the most and the least civilized nation of Zaaman-Rul. Most because any traveler who keeps his weapons to himself and spends his coin in the nation is welcome, and least because the natives aren't especially nice to each other or to outsiders. Violence is rife in Khavghotani cities, and the only law is the law of strength, leading to it's appellation by other countries, the so-called "Furious Anarchy of Strength". Khavghotan is a nation where anything and everything can be had for a price, which often won't be in coins but in what the locals call "blood debts", where the buyer performs a service for the seller, and when the service is complete, the seller provides the object or service requested by the buyer in return. Khavghotan is a nation of extremes, from the weather (which is often stormy, involving lightning strikes during blizzards and hailstorms, called white lightning by the locals) to the attitudes of the local inhabitants (which can range for warm and welcoming to violently furious in a matter of seconds, depending on the guest's actions). Travelers to Khavghotan are suggested to either visit Jor'koth instead of the mainland or to meet someone on the mainland they already know and can trust.

    Government and Politics: Khavghotani politics are... complex and unpleasant. Politics come in three levels: intra-clan politics, inter-race politics, and national politics.

    Intra-clan politics are those within a clan or race. Intra-clan politics are broken down by what race is in question, as each race has somewhat differing politics. Goblins rule by might, kobolds have a clan elder who decides who's boss, and varags use the caravans to determine social standing.

    Inter-race politics are the interactions between races, and is where the real meat of Khavghotani politics tends to be. The racial tensions in Khavghotan are strong, and the racial politics reflect this. Each race jockeys against each other constantly, both through political action and through militaristic action for political means. The natural resources in Khavghotan are so sparse that most races have to duke it out for those resources. The lesser races, such as the gnolls and goblins, are on the short end of the stick with racial politics here, leading to a lot of hatred and anger towards the empowered races, the hobgoblins and the motramr. Khavghotan appears unified on the surface, but delve into the racial politics and you'll find that it's far more fractured than first glance indicates.

    National politics are last, and it is here that the image of unity is created. Centuries ago, Khavghotan decided a unified body was needed to represent the entire nation's interests, and so the Khavghotani Council was formed. The Council has one representative from each race recognized as true goblinoids (the orogs have a seat as well, due to financial contributions to the Council's warchests), making a total of 8 seats on the Council. One member is elected Council Head, and arbitrates over the discussions of the other seven. The Council commands the respect of each race that comprises it, and has been responsible for saving the entire nation on several occasions, due to quick action. The Council serves as the face of Khavghotan to outsiders, and is based in the capital city of Theactgkatic.

    Power Groups:
    • The Hurd: A group of religious fanatics, the Hurd believe that their god, Vghotan, wishes them to exterminate all those would dare to challenge the strong. Normally, such a group would self-destruct, as internal challenges would whittle the membership down to a pitiful amount. In this case however, the Hurd have such aggressive recruiting policies that they manage to not only maintain but boost their numbers with each passing raid on clans and settlements throughout the wilds of Khavghotan. The Hurd serve as a kind of crack soldier force that preys on both goblinoids and Intolians. Politically, they are powerless, but militarily (often the same as political power in lawless Khavghotan) they are strong, and are frequently maneuvered into the path of known Intolian warbands.
    • Darnizhaan's Raiders: Led by a charismatic ogre warlord named Darnizhaan, the Raiders are pirates of the worst sort. They were once conventional pirates, the scourge of trade waters between Khavghotan and Alykandor, until they managed to force an orog airship to land and surrender. Darnizhaan realized the opportunity at hand, and seized the airship as his new pirating vessel. Now, Darnizhaan and his Raiders have a small fleet of seized airships that he uses to raid and destroy any target he wants. Today, Darnizhaan is more feared than he ever was, and Jor'koth is frustrated. Attempts to find the dock for the Raiders have proved fruitless.
    • The Khavghotani Council: As befits the official ruler of Khavghotan, the Council wields enormous power. Each of the eight members has their own agenda and each frequently hires adventurers and/or funds their own private army. The Council, by its nature, has deep pockets, large goals, and frequently hires for dangerous tasks that it cannot be seen to fund directly, making them a major funder of adventurers the world over.


    Religion: Religion in Khavghotan is a big deal, with the entire nation fervently worshipping Vghotan, the warrior god said to have founded the nation in prehistory. In reality, Vghotan was a mighty shaman who brought unity after the goblin mutation and collapse of empire, and upon the adoration of his people, ascended to godhood, where he has watched over his charges ever since.

    Vghotan preaches that the law of nature is supreme, that the weak are not to be tolerated. Anyone who can't survive a little bit of cold or a dagger to the gut weren't worthy of power to begin with, and the goblinoids are better off without them. However, Vghotan is not a monster, and understands that strength comes in many forms, magical, physical, spiritual, social, and many other forms besides. He preaches that the goblinoids must master all forms of strength, and only then will they be strong enough to take their rightful place as the rulers of Zaaman-Rul.

    The priests of Vghotan can be found everywhere, in every corner of the nation and of the world, preaching the word of their warrior god, spilling blood for him as he demands, and seeking converts both by the blade and by the word. They dress in crimson, often blood-soaked, armor and/or vestments and wield his favored weapon, the spiked axe.

    While Vghotan is the favored god of the goblinoids, the orogs worship someone quite different. They call their god Kor'tel'ress, but Kor'tel'ress is not a true god as most understand the concept. Instead, Kor'tel'ress is an aggregate collection of every single orog soul to have ever existed. As orogs were created by the qualnargan centuries ago, they had no god and their souls drifted on the Spirit Wind upon their deaths. Eventually, there reached a critical mass of aimless drifting souls, and they coalesced into an aggregate being that called itself Kor'tel'ress (which is Orog for "the Life After Death"). Kor'tel'ress made itself known to the orogs, who immediately began fervent worship of it, as it truly cared for them in a way that their cruel qualnargan masters never had. When the orogs were abandoned, Kor'tel'ress was there to provide comfort to their spirits. Today, worship of Kor'tel'ress has never been stronger. Kor'tel'ress has dominion over death, life, peace, and orogs. His priests wear half black and half white garments and wield his favored weapon, the double dagger, often painted in black and white.

    Major Settlements: The major settlements of Khavghotan are few, but several of note do exist.
    • Theactgkatic (Metropolis, 653,000): The largest city in the world at over half a million souls, Theactgkatic is a roiling pit of sinfulness and virulent infighting. The home of the Khavghotani Council, the secondary dock for the ships of Jor'koth, and the center of the varag trade routes, Theactgkatic squats on the coast line and sprawls for a mile in every direction. The city is massive beyond reason, and most visitors are overwhelmed by the haphazard and confused nature of it. The saying in Khavhgotan is that if you want something, Theactgkatic has it somewhere, just beware the finding. Truer words have never been spoken.
    • Jor'koth (Metropolis, 46,500): The heart of the orog state, the city of Jor'koth covers the entire island of the same name, the largest of the chain that composes the state of Jor'koth. The city is cosmopolitan and business-like, with two districts, one for visitors and one for orogs. Non-orogs are automatically classed as visitors and housed in the visitor district, which also houses the airship spire-docks and the naval yards. Jor'koth has harsh but fair laws for visitors and orogs alike, and is a generally peaceable city, friendly and welcoming without being soft or weak. Jor'koth is the recommended entry to Khavghotan for those visiting from abroad, and nearly anyone can be found inside its walls, from Khavghotani Council members to Intolian Dukes to Orlyndolian master artisans. Everyone who has somewhere to be gets there through Jor'koth.
    • New Intolar (Small City, 11,750): Believed by Intolar to be a threat, believed by the common man to be a myth, and believed by those who know of it to be dangerously unbalanced, New Intolar is a lot of things to a lot of people. In reality, this hidden and difficult to locate city exists in a massive cavern deep beneath Theactgkatic and can only be reached by trekking two days away from the capitol, descending over a thousand feet into a cavernous rift called Vghotan's Stroke (named after a legend that says he rent the earth there with a single sword stroke), and then moving towards Theactgkatic through the network of tunnels and caverns in the earth. New Intolar is the hub of the Intolian Underground and serves as the single largest cell of the Underground known to exist. New Intolar is a close-minded and harsh city, with few welcome at its walls. The goal of New Intolar is to violently overthrow the established theocratic order of Intolar and to establish what the residents call "the Third Order", though the exact meaning of the order they wish to create is fuzzy and unclear, since they're not talking. Adventurers that gain entrance to New Intolar find that the natives have all manner of unique weapons and armor for sale and are always happy to take outsider money.
    • Thijis (Metropolis, 456,040): The largest of the three hobgoblin city-fortresses, Thijis occupies almost a half-mile worth of the walls of a rift in the earth near the western coast of Khavghotan. The Thijis Rift (as the city is also called) serves as the heart of the mining operations for the hobgoblin state of Khathijis ("Kha-" is nation in Khavghotani, thus "Khavghotan" means "nation of Vghotan" quite literally) and is the largest exporter of metals in the world, supplying multiple nations with vast portions of their metal supply (with the other hobgoblin kha's, Khajukaiw and Khavebthor, supplying the rest). Thijis is, like the other kha's, a close-minded and harsh city, but if you're here to buy, you're always welcomed.


    Adventuring in Khavghotan: Khavghotan is ripe with adventure possibilities. Unlike its northern neighbor, Intolar, Khavghotan can support almost any conceivable adventure. Examples include undercover work for the Council, a silent war against New Intolar or allied with them, working in a varag caravan, journeying to the motramr mountain strongholds, fighting in a full-scale war, tracking down Darnizhaan's Raiders in the sky, and maneuvering the complex political waters of the clans and the Council.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2012-02-07 at 04:04 PM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    The Triplicate Isles of Alykandor

    Population: 3,333,000 (pale elves 93%, true elves 3% trepek 1%, orogs 1%, illithids 1%)
    Government: Divine-Right Monarchy
    Capital City: Kahlai
    Religion: The Techlord, the Dark Prince, the Leaf King (archaic)
    Imports: Raw metals, gems, adventurers
    Exports: Steam-tech weapons and armor, steam golems, music, glass sculpture
    Alignment: CN, CG, TN
    Language: Low Elven, Common, High Elven, Arcanic

    Perhaps the most confusing and misunderstood of the nations on Zaaman-Rul, Alykandor has a lengthy and rich history and is steeped in paradox. Alykandor is a contradiction between its tradition of naturalism and the new movement towards high technology. The Triplicate Isles are indeed just that, a series of three large islands (each approximately the size of England). Unlike other such nations, Alykandor does not rely on naval travel to get around, since they've created a series of massive bridges that unite each island into a single whole, so that it's possible to walk an entire circuit of the nation by following the bridges. Indeed, the Alykandorians love their bridges so much that the capitol city and the Royal Palace is built on the intersection of the bridges between the three islands.

    The northern isle, Bakra, serves as the army and naval center of Alykandor. Bakra is the largest of the three isles, and has a warm and inviting tropical climate. The naval yards at Bakra's capitol, Bakra City, are the largest naval yards on Zaaman-Rul, and have permitted Alykandor to surge ahead of its neighboring nations in seafaring.

    The southern isle, Loheb, is the main center for learning, magic, and technology in Alykandor. Loheb shares the tropical climate of Bakra, but suffers from worse weather, due to the magical and alchemical emissions from the experiments that take place there. Loheb is not a very pleasant place to visit, due to the rapid bouts of bizarre weather that strike near-constantly. Through the foul weather though, Loheb still is verdant and heavily forested, similar to Sorana.

    The smallest of the isles, Sorana is the eastern island, and serves as the center for religion and agriculture in Alykandor. Sorana also is the main vacation spot in Alykandor, due to the wild terrain. At some point in the past, Sorana was shattered magically, and large chunks of the island were hurled and hung magically in the air above the island, giving the whole place a very surreal and somber feel. Today, these floating megaliths drift in predictable patterns above Sorana, and have been settled by the elves. Each megalith has its own particular character and houses anywhere from 100 to 1000 elves comfortably. Sorana is a bit more temperate than its sister isles, but is pleasantly warm and green.

    The biggest draws to Alykandor are the geography, which between the national bridge system and the Soranan megaliths, is among the most fantastic in the world, and the technology, which other nations snatch up greedily. The Alykandorian elves are fantastic smiths and magicians, and having turned their eye to steam technology are doing amazing things with it. However, there are forces in elven society that would rather turn to the old ways, and with the 17th Element Controversy exacerbating old feuds, it is clear that a civil war is brewing in Alykandor. Should it erupt, the trade patterns and political situation in the world would shatter abruptly, and could well escalate into a much larger conflict, one with world-changing ramifications.

    Industries: Industry in Alykandor is simple. Since the Triplicate Isles are almost entirely self-sufficient, it stands to reason that the elves perform all of their manufacturing, produce all of their food, construct all of their own weapons of war, so on and so forth.

    Bakra, in addition to serving as the military center of the nation, also houses most of Alykandor's manufacturing section, which takes raw materials from the isles and from trade with Khavghotan (for metals and gems) and transforms them into weaponry, worked components for the scientists of Loheb to piece together into new steam-powered devices of some sort or another, and into the superior naval forces that make Alykandor so powerful politically. The forges of Bakra have even produced the spans that make up the bridges of Alykandor.

    The famous Alykandorian produce that stays fresh for up to a week after being picked and commands exorbitant prices in other nations, the same produce that is served in thousands of homes across Alykandor every night, that is grown in the breadbasket which is Sorana. Sorana produces enough food per crop to feed all of Alykandor for an entire year, plus have quite a bit of excess to ship overseas for sale (even Intolar purchases Alykandorian produce). This massive bounty is possible due to centuries of magically assisted breeding programs to create plants that give large amounts of fruits and vegetables per season.

    The only thing that Alykandor doesn't naturally produce are metals and gems. The elves have a pathological racial fear of underground places (dating back to their banishment from the underground by the Dark Prince after the Great Schism), and so do not mine. In fact, it took decades for the surface elves to muster up the courage to hollow out parts of the Soranan megaliths for habitation, and even then, every room can see the sky and feel the breeze. No closed spaces exist. It's worth noting however, that the elves do quarry stone for buildings on occasion. The Alykandorian quarries are open-air quarries and serve a double purpose, being on Bakra, as training arenas for live-fire combat drills where no property will be damaged (open rock doesn't count as relevant property in Alykandor).

    Alykandorian currency is based on living things, and is detailed below:
    {table=head]Type of "Coin" | Abbreviation | Elven Name | Equivalency/Value
    Seed | s | Thulol | Copper
    Berry | b | Qetha | Silver
    Bark Square | bs | Shulpa Juf | Gold
    Leaf | l | Bapi | No direct equivalent to default D&D. Value is 5 gp.
    Cone | c | Zvoiah | Platinum[/table]
    Each piece is called by its common name by most outsiders. Each piece is magically hardened and preserved, so as to resist basic degradation over time. Still, Alykandorian money has to be replenished far faster than most currencies. The species of plant that produces all five pieces is a unique breed cultivated for this purpose alone by the monarchy of Alykandor. Knowledge of it is a closely guarded state secret. The seed is approximately the size of a chestnut. The berry looks identical to a cherry. The bark is a 1 inch square. The leaf is about the size of a palm, and rolls easily. The cone is a pine-cone-looking object 4 inches high, 2 inches wide at the base and half an inch wide at the tip.

    Needless to say, Alykandor accepts all currencies, at a favorable exchange rate for the house, of course.

    The Element 17 Controversy: Part of elven culture in Alykandor focuses around the 16 known elements, taught to all elven children at an early age in school. The 16 recognized elements are Fire, Water, Air, Earth (known as the Prime Four), Ice, Ooze, Smoke, Magma (known as the Mixed Four), Dust, Ash, Salt, Vacuum (known as the Negative Four), Radiance, Lightning, Mineral, and Steam (known as the Positive Four). Between the four sets of elements, all elves have a basic knowledge of the substances in the multiverse. All Alykandorian science has been based on this ancient knowledge and the act of combining the 16 elements to create new and ever greater things (for instance, a steamblade can be understood as a combination of Steam and Mineral, with Fire, Water, and Earth serving as the core base of the object). Unknown to all but the most respected and powerful of Alykandorian royalty and scientists know that the 16 Elements are based on the planar cosmology that none can access for unclear reasons. The elves discovered an ancient serpentes text millennia ago, and upon deciphering it, were enlightened about the elemental and energy planes, and the concept of planes in general. While they did not entirely understand the idea of planes, they did understand the concept of the 16 elements, and using the grimoire's spells, they managed to create 16 very small portals to the elemental planes, through which pure samples of each element could be drawn, though nothing else could enter or exit the portals. To this day, those 16 portals remain active, permitting the Alykandorians to acquire raw elemental material for experiments, though each can only produce a minor amount of material before lapsing into dormancy. This is a closely guarded secret, and not even the dragons of Tharkrixghantix are aware of these 16 minor portals.

    Recently (about three years ago), a leading scientist on Loheb undertook an experiment. He requested, and was granted, samples of all 16 elements, and using powerful magical techniques, successfully combined all 16 samples into a single cohesive whole. This new creation, dubbed Element 17 in absence of a better title, took the form of a greenish-grey rock, shot through with orange and black veins that seemed to pulse of their own accord. When experimented upon, it was revealed that Element 17 has two unique properties. First, it is highly reactive, with a fairly light bit of heat or mild shock being enough to cause it to combust violently (for our understanding, 1 lb of E17 is the equivalent of 10 kilotons of TNT, 2/3s the power of Little Boy, the nuclear device dropped on Hiroshima; the way the Alykandorians kept such an explosion secret was that they detonated 1 lb of E17 inside of a small box made from 1 layer of inter-woven obdurium and adamantine, 1 layer of pure force, another layer of the metal weave, another layer of pure force, then a layer of pure vacuum that took the elves almost a year to gather and construct, and finally a prismatic sphere enclosing the entire thing as a failsafe; the explosion ripped through everything but was defeated by the vacuum). Second, E17 releases a unique wave of magical devastation that was unpredicted. This wave of radiation desiccates and destroys all plant life it touches, slowly losing strength as it does so. Luckily, this wave is far weaker than the explosive power of the substance, with a single pound of E17 producing perhaps a 20-ft radius of desiccation.

    When these results were released (as all science is released in Alykandor), the response was overwhelming. The two dominant political parties in the nation, the Technologists and the Traditionalists, took radically differing stances on the use and creation of E17. The Technologist stance is that it should be further experimented with, since it's potential as an energy source is incredible and cannot be denied. The Traditionalists argue that E17 is a danger and should be outlawed immediately. Some Technologist radicals claim E17 should be used as a weapon against the enemies of the state. Today, the E17 controversy and arguments have galvanized the public of Alykandor to such a degree that old slights and arguments are becoming more and more apparent, and has precipitated the current unstable political atmosphere.

    Queen Myshella has made no statement concerning E17 yet, preferring to let the public discuss and decide before giving an edict on the topic. Many believe that even her honored and respected word can no longer settle the debate and bring peace again, and that civil war over E17 is inevitable. For his part, the scientist responsible has vanished, and his current whereabouts and activities are unknown.

    Life and Society: Alykandorian society is two part, as befits the current political crisis, but it has been divided for many years prior to the E17 incident. However, despite the rift, every citizen of Alykandor has certain rights and privileges, provided and enforced by the monarchy. The most prominent of these rights is the right to education. All citizens of Alykandor (classified as pale elves exclusively, true elves are not considered citizens) are entitled to as much education as they wish, up until the age of adulthood (elves reach adulthood at age 55). This education details most forms, basic math and science, an introduction to classic literature of the pale elves and other races, and culminates in both the creation and training of the elf's personal steamblade or steambow, and a job placement for the new adult. Most elves stay in this job for the majority of their lives, though such is not required. Alykandor has a strong and clear set of personal rights which are heavily enforced. Crime, while not unknown, rarely involves the restriction of freedom of an individual, meaning murder and kidnapping are taboo subjects in Alykandor.

    The Traditionalists, in addition to being a political party, are also a lifestyle. Traditional elven living preaches living with the land, being in harmony with nature, shunning "high" technology (anything beyond basic metallurgy to some, others include basic steam technology), revering the divine, and upholding "traditional elven values" (which varies depending on who you talk to). Traditionalists are rarely found on Loheb, since most of them are farmers, priests, or politicians. Traditionalists do not shirk their duty to the nation though, and are found serving in the military quite frequently. Traditionalists come in one of two flavors, the Radicalists and the Moderates (called the Apologists by the other faction). The Radicalists are the extreme end of the Traditionalist way of life, shunning all technology which they can't build from raw materials with their own two hands, living purely off the land in small hunting bands, existing in a near-savage state. Nevertheless, the Radicalists are considered citizens in good standing, often serving in the military as rangers, scouts, trackers, and commandos, using their large knowledge of nature as a boon. The Moderates are just that, more moderate compared to the Radicalists. They live in society, and are more of a political entity than a lifestyle.

    The Technologists also have a unique lifestyle, and are also broken into an extreme and more moderate faction. The Moderate Technologists are quite reasonable about their life, mostly living on Loheb and making use of technology in all facets of their lives. An average Technologist makes use of steamtech for cooking, home cleaning, combat, daily tools, even such minor things as kitchen utensils and writing implements. The Extreme Technologists are much more radicalized in their use of steamtech and other, more experimental, technology, often using it over more conventional methods, regardless of utility. For example, an Extreme Technologist would use some complex widget to prepare meat for a meal, instead of the much simpler and easier knife, or even a steamknife, preferring a device that looks like the bastard child of a guillotine and a meat grinder and takes up an entire counter. Of course, even the Extreme Technologists pale before the criminal sociopathic society called the Nihrain, who are detailed in Power Groups.

    Government and Politics: Alykandorian politics are complex and unpleasant. The nation is ruled by a divine-right familial monarchy, and has been for the entire 1,550 year existence of Alykandor. There have been five rulers so far, and the royal family shows no sign of running dry anytime soon. In Alykandor, the monarchy is advised by a political entity composed of representatives of the citizenry called the Body Politic. The Body Politic has nine members, three from each isle, and serves as counsel for the monarch. Each member of the Body Politic serves in a specific role in the government, and each has a department beneath him that serves to help fulfill that role. Though each member of the Body has authority over their role, they can always be overruled by the monarch at any time, as is the monarchs right, though in practice the Body Politic serves to run the nation with the monarch serving to keep all the wheels turning. The nine positions of the Body Politic are as follows: from Bakra come the Captain of the Guard, General of the Army, and Admiral of the Navy; from Loheb come the Master of the Arcane, First Techmage, and High Chancellor; and from Sorana come the Imperial Ambassador, Head Farmer, and Lord of the Faith. Each of these nine positions has dominion over one aspect of society in Alykandor and advises the monarch as to their duties and results. Together, these nine positions make all of the daily decisions of Alykandor's governance.

    Recently, the once fairly unified political landscape was shattered thanks to the creation of E17. Now, the Body Politic is split nearly perfectly between the two dominant political parties, the Technologists and the Traditionalists, each of which is jockeying for a majority in the Body Politic, or 2/3s of the body. At the moment, the General of the Army, Captain of the Guard, First Techmage, and High Chancellor are Technologists and the Admiral of the Navy and all the Soranan positions are Traditionalists. Only the Master of the Arcane has not taken a position on this political spectrum, making his position the subject of debate and back-room deals as both sides attempt to force the current Master of the Arcane, Solith Kajuth, to take a side. So far, Solith has kept very close to the Queen and denied taking a side. Should one side control the Body Politic, they would be able to control the other political party, which could have drastic consequences both in Alykandor and abroad.

    Power Groups: There are several power groups, both obvious and less so, in Alykandor.
    • The Nihrain: Considered the most heinous of criminals in Alykandor, the Nihrain think of themselves as pioneers and trailblazers. The Nihrain are the most extreme possible expression of the Technologist perspective on life. The Nihrain philosophy is that flesh and blood are weak and are just a stepping stone to the mechanical perfection that awaits those with the fortitude to seek it, no matter how grisly it might get. The Nihrain replace limbs, organs, bodily fluids, bones, and everything else with mechanical and technological parts, both their own and those of others to check a part before including it in themselves. The Nihrain are almost entirely sociopathic murderers, with no regard for others. As one captured Nihrain once said, "Emotion, like flesh, is a crutch to perfection, and like flesh, must be replaced. Flesh with machine, emotion with logic, blood with oil. We are the future. You are temporary. We are eternal."
    • The Monarchy: The royal family of Alykandor, which the nation is actually named after (they are the Kandor family; Alykandor literally translates to "House of the Kandor"), has ruled since the nation was created. The current matriarch of the family is Queen Myshella Kandor (NG female pale elf Diviner 15/Archmage 5/Loremaster 10), and her reign has been long, almost 450 years, the longest reign in Alykandorian history (almost 1/3 of the nation's history). She endured through the Shadowstar Wars and her heroism in personally defending Kahlai is now legend, helping to cement the love her people hold for her. Recently, there has been a dearth of public appearances by the Queen, giving rise to the fear that she is ill. Though her spokespeople say otherwise, Myshella is indeed sick, having contracted a fatal disease that sometimes strikes elves in the twilight of their lives, and has not two or three years remaining. Should she die before the current crisis is abated, the resulting political storm would be devastating for the nation, especially because she has no living heirs (her only child died during the Shadowstar Wars). Now, she quietly seeks an heir designate through her agents, and ideally, wishes the elusive inventor of E17, a man of conscience and dignity, to take the throne. However, he has vanished and cannot be found (see below).
    • Professor Daruth Xavix: Professor of Magitechnical Combination and High Elemental Theory at the Loheb Academy of Magic and Technology, Daruth Xavix (TN male pale elf Techmage 3/Wizard 3/Nihrain 10) has been missing for almost a year now, thanks to his creation, Element 17. Xavix invented it as a work of pure theory and had no ulterior motive, merely to see if it was possible. When the political firestorm ignited around his ears, Xavix went underground and vanished into the world at large, seeking a quiet place to renew his experimentation without interruption by the outside world. Daruth is a quiet and reserved individual who loves science and magic for their own sakes, and has no political affiliation. From his hidden complex in the Xortal jungle, he lives a quiet life of experimentation and theorizing, aided by a small network of loyal former students who are now his lab aides and contacts with the outside world. He is aware that the Queen is seeking him, but not why, causing more than a few unpleasant incidents between his students (all powerful wizards and techmages in their own right) and her agents. Further unknown to all, Daruth has access to Nihrain implants and techniques, though he keeps his technological "improvements" internal and does not share their aggravated philosophies, merely wishing their knowledge of combining magic and technology into a single whole. Daruth often hires adventurers or mercenaries through his students to either throw the authorities off his trail or to procure hard to acquire reagents and materials for experimentation.
    • The Xasotectics: Where the Nihrain are the epitome of logic and emotionless behavior, the Xasotectics are everything that the word "emotion" can possibly encompass. Anarchists to an absurd level, the Xasotectics are a relatively new society that has arisen in the face of the tumultuous political situation in Alykandor. They have looked at the nation's turmoil, at the global political scene, and decided that the whole thing needs to come tumbling down, ideally non-violently, but whatever works. They are militant about their anarchy, and barely stay on this side of the law (by removing themselves to the countryside of Sorana, where no one cares about them). Still, many live in cities in poverty of their own choosing, using their poverty as a weapon and as a statement to the established regime. Already one crazed member made an attempt to kill Queen Myshella, and another pair of brothers attempted to assassinate the entire Body Politic. These attempts both failed, but that the public did not raise much outcry about them shows that the Xasotectics's message of anarchy through force is gaining ground as the political situation deteriorates in Alykandor.


    Religion: Faith in Alykandor is split into a few camps, mirroring the political instability. The major faith is that of the Techlord, a relatively new emergent deity. However, there is a small but growing contingent of pale elves that worship the deity of their birth, the Dark Prince, and the worship of the Leaf King has never really gone away.

    The Techlord, god of elven technology and the spirit of invention, is a young god, even by mortal standards. Said to have once been a mortal that was shown favor by Arthindol the Terraseer, he ascended not 200 years past, and since then has grown in worship like wildfire. Today, he is the official faith of Alykandor, and perhaps half of the populace pays his name homage. He is a distant god, always looking to the horizon, always creating new inventions and looking for innovation anywhere he can find it. His priests wear work smocks, often stained with oil and hydraulic fluids, and most of them aren't even clerics or adepts, instead choosing to worship through creation as techmages. His symbol is an elven hand holding a spinning gear, and his favored weapon is the steamblade.

    When the Elven Schism occurred, the Dark Prince exiled the pale elves to the surface, never to return to the depths. However, as he was a loving parent, he couldn't in good faith banish his children without any guidance whatsoever, and so he split off a fraction of his personality as a new deity to guide and watch over them. Thus was the god now called the Leaf King created. At first, the nascent deity was simply the watchful guardian of the pale elves, but as their history progressed and they evolved and grew, he began to nudge them back towards a state of harmony with nature. The idea was that since the Leaf King was only a partial god, he wished to rejoin with the Dark Prince and form a single being again. However, to do that, the edict against the pale elves had to be lifted, and that would only occur if they mended their ways and returned to nature, like the true elves lived. So, the Leaf King began a quiet and subtle, centuries long, campaign to push the pale elves back towards nature, and to a degree, it worked. Elven society split yet again, but this time it was a peaceful and harmonious division. Part of the elves felt that nature was supreme and should be loved and respected, worshipping the Leaf King as nature incarnate. The other elves felt that nature and technology should work together as a whole, and they worshiped the Leaf King as the guardian of their people, but not as nature's guardian. The god grew despondent when the Techlord ascended, since he realized that the balance of elven society, always precarious, was going to radically shift, and soon. With the Techlord's growing influence, the Leaf King decided to fade away, rather than risk a catastrophic conflict which could destroy the pale elves forever. Today, the Leaf King still lives, but is quiescent, slumbering until needed by his children once again. His priests, almost entirely of the Traditionalist political faction, dress is earthen tones, greens and browns, and preach harmony and love of nature. His symbol is a broad green leaf, and his favored weapon is the longbow.

    The Dark Prince, the true progenitor of all elves, has a long and mostly unclear history. His origins are unknown, but since elvenkind has existed in any form, there have been records of his existence. It was he who gave the true elves the gift of darkvision, who taught them the secrets of cultivation, who endowed them with a love of the balance. The Dark Prince has always been on the front lines of the wars of his children, defending and protecting them always. Some among the true elves believe that when the Schism occurred, the bigger threat than the event itself was the effect it had upon their god, for the Dark Prince blamed himself for the error, and felt as though he had failed his people in some monumental fashion. For centuries, he was withdrawn and quiet, barely responding to prayer, as though he was ill. Suddenly, around 500 years ago, there was a massive resurgence in his activity, as though he discovered new purpose and energy, and today the faith of the Dark Prince is stronger than ever among the already heavily faithful true elves. Those few true elves that have ventured into the lit realms of Alykandor, as their ancient ancestors did long ago, have brought worship of the Dark Prince, and his love of all elven kind (despite their long division from him) with them. Some pale elves, realizing that their society is in turmoil, have taken to worship of their old parent, hoping he will save them in some fashion. The Dark Prince's faithful dress in drab tones, grays, blacks, and browns, the better to blend into his favored realm, the caverns of the elves birth. His symbol is a black cloak, and his favored weapon is the dagger.

    Major Settlements: There are three settlements of global note in Alykandor, though the nation holds a large number of decently sized cities and towns.
    • Kahlai (Metropolis, 127,580): The capitol city of Alykandor and the home of the Royal Family, the Body Politic, and the Alykandorian University, Kahlai is noteworthy for quite a few reasons, not the least of which is it's wild and crazed geography. Kahlai is not built upon land. Instead, at the center of the three islands, where the bridge system of Alykandor meets, sits Kahlai, built upon the nexus of the bridge system and at the physical center of the nation. In fact, the construction of the city was so precise that the physical throne for the monarch of the nation is at the exact physical center of the isles, so that the ruler may be said to be the heart of the nation in more ways than one. Kahlai is a large city, with many districts, and is quite welcoming of trade and travelers. Since it sits above the sea, the docks are beneath the city (literally) and outsiders are a common sight, and Kahlai even has some of the best seafood in the world. Currently however, the city is awash with strife and division, as the political situation deteriorates. Travelers are advised to use caution in Kahlai right now, as even the slightest comment can set off a firestorm of violence and anger.
    • Stular (Small City, 7,500): A small and quiet town on Sorana, Stular is not what one thinks of when one thinks of Alykandor. It's a small farming community, with little of international note. However, what makes Stular of interest to the outside world (those who know of it, anyways), are the caverns outside the city's walls. Stular claims the only access to the underground caverns that honeycomb Zaaman-Rul in all of Alykandor, and it is through these tunnels that the original true elf exiles came. Stular was their first settlement, its name literally meaning "Exile" in High Elven. Of almost no relevance to most pale elves for a thousand years, Stular has existed quietly since the first days of Alykandor, even weathering the Shadowstar Wars due to isolation and lack of anything relevant. Today though, Stular is of great interest, for the true elves have rediscovered the passage to Alykandor, and have set up a small camp of perhaps a hundred individuals outside of the city, living off the land and quietly learning about their long estranged cousins. Stular is slowly growing reintegrated with the true elves, and is a new breed of elven city, one where both races exist peacefully, learning of the other and living quietly. If Stular is any indication, Alykandor could be taking its first steps towards unification with the true elves.
    • Bakra City (Metropolis, 176,400): Normally, the militaristic center of the elven state wouldn't be a good travel destination, due to all the army and navy and whatnot. However, recently Bakra City has decided that, in lieu of the political crisis brewing in Kahlai, they would sponsor training courses for outsiders, in an attempt to show the world that the crisis is nothing serious and that Alykandor is so strong and secure that the military has nothing better to do than to offer training courses for anyone who can pay! While this might seem shaky logic, it appears to be working, since a flood of travelers with ready coin have come to Bakra City and enrolled in the new training courses. The courses are rigorous and dangerous (since many higher-level elven training exercises are live fire), but are educational. They're also very very expensive. In truth, Bakra City enacted this policy because the military is flat broke. The political crisis has disrupted funding, the expansion into Xortal is expensive, and the recent border war with Orlyndol took its toll as well, nearly bankrupting the military, forcing them to take drastic measures to garner funds. Bakra City is a military fortress, and is heavily controlled, with outsiders only permitted in certain areas, even if paying for training exercises. Still, there's nowhere better to spend coin and garner such services in the whole world. Rumors persist that, for the right price, elven military units can be hired for covert operations. The military denies this, but rumors of elven units far outside Alykandorian jurisdiction continue to crop up, giving the theory strength.


    Adventuring in Alykandor: Travelers in Alykandor can find dozens of opportunities for adventure if they look for it. The political and social unrest in the nation create a lot of exploitable situations for those that wish to engage them. The Nihrain are always in the market for adventurers, since adventurers provide them with a steady stream of corpses and magic. The Queen has been quietly looking for trustworthy foreign agents to seek Professor Daruth Xavix. The political parties of Alykandor would welcome foreign adventurers to help them win their fights, both publicly political and privately physical. Further, each isle has adventure possiblity. Loheb, Alykandor's science and technology center, always needs expendable adventurers to acquire exotic components or serve as security for dangerous experiments. Sorana, still mostly a untamed wilderness, appreciates adventurers clearing out nests of monsters and helping defend minor towns. Bakra's interest for adventurers is obvious. Alykandor is welcoming to outsiders and has plenty of adventure opportunities.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2012-02-27 at 12:07 AM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    The Most Enlightened City-States of Orlyndol

    Population: 2,826,190 (illithids 61%, servitors 31%, trepek 3%, elves 2%, orogs 2%)
    Government: Unity of City-States
    Capital City: The name can't be directly translated. Loose translation is "Beacon of Understanding".
    Religion: Illesine, Arthindol, the Dark Five
    Imports: Raw metals, art objects, high technology, experts in scientific and technological fields
    Exports: Artwork, educators, experts in every field
    Alignment: LN, LE, LG
    Language: Qualith, Common, Low Elven, Arcanic

    To a Khavghotani or Intolian, Orlyndol looks like paradise. The lush and verdant rainforests of the continent is pierced intermittently by the staggeringly tall and impossibly slender glass spires that each form one of the illithid city-states. Orlyndol would appear to be a social paradise as well, as the natives are welcoming and accepting of all viewpoints and opinions. In Orlyndol, racism and discrimination are taboo as outsiders understand it, since illithid society is based around understanding and knowledge, and shunning uncomfortable opinions and individuals is not conducive to that goal. However, this seeming paradise is a facade for the dark business that takes place behind closed doors and inside closed minds, the business of plumbing the depths of knowledge with no bounds. Orlyndol is indeed a paradise, but the unwary run the risk of being eaten by it.

    Orlyndol is an enforced wilderness. While most of Zaaman-Rul is ecologically bland, Orlyndol is a verdant and lush paradise with vast amounts of bio-diversity. There are species in the Orlyndolian jungles and mountains that have never been seen by outsiders and are maintained by the illithids.

    Orlyndol is a bi-part nation. There is the outsider city of Tzu, where outsiders come and interact with the illithid city-state of Tzu and are supervised on their trips to Orlyndol, and there is the rest of the nation, which holds secrets and views undreamed of by the outside world. For a non-illithid to earn an invitation to the inner section of Orlyndol is a rare honor, one that is not bestowed lightly.

    Industries: Orlyndol has no industry as the rest of Zaaman-Rul might think of it. To the Orlyndolians, industry is beneath them, so their servitors are tasked to the basic mass production of tools, food, currency, etc. Orlyndolian "industry" is focused entirely on the production of luxury goods and of the art of learning.

    From the age of ascension forward, each illithid selects a single specialized field of study and devotes its life to that field. Given that ascension is at the age of 20 and the lifespan for illithids is 126 years, this gives a lot of time to specialize and perfect their crafts. In fact, there are known examples of illithid artwork, music, metalworking, weaponry, and mindsculpting that have taken decades to complete, and to this day are considered the finest in the world. For an illithid artist, rushing is the greatest sin that can be committed.

    It's worth nothing however that what the illithids choose to focus on varies wildly. It's true that most illithids choose a style of high art for their life's work, but what the illithids call "industry" ranges from sculpture to weaponsmithing to baking to spell-crafting (the act of making new spells) to sailing. There are even rare illithids who choose to focus on learning a little bit of everything, taking up the path of the savant.

    Orlyndolian currency is unique, in that there is only one real "piece" of currency, a greenish crystal about the size of a human fist. These crystals are engineered so that they can be broken into successively smaller pieces, changing color as they do so, and recombined through simply willing them to do so, permitting a very easy to transport and flexible currency system. Crystals are often kept in a special pouch that automatically splits and recombines them as verbally requested, making it easy to keep track of the crystals (created because keeping track of the .08 oz crystals was a pain for most illithids, but they were economically useful).
    {table=head]Weight/Color of Piece | Outsider Name | Equivalency/Value
    ~.08 oz/Matte Brown | Invisible | 1 cp
    ~.8 oz/Shining Silver | Sliver | 1 sp
    ~8 oz/Scarlet | Full Split | 1 gp
    ~16 oz/Navy Blue | Half Split | No direct equivalent to default D&D. Value is 5 gp.
    2 lbs/Lime Green | Full | 1 pp[/table]

    Life and Society: Illithid life depends on a few things. First, how old the illithid in question is. Second, their chosen field of study. Third, what city-state they're a part of. Finally, the heavy bio-engineering of the illithids has touched almost every single part of their society, including the creation of the servitors, the engineering of the biosuits, the solution to their odd dietary requirements, and more. All of these points will be discussed below.

    Age is a major factor for Orlyndolian society. Illithids before the age of 20 are considered second-class citizens, afforded no rights, and expected to follow the standard path of studying all available fields of study in preparation to select one at the age of ascension. Between the age of 20 and 120, illithids are expected to participate in city politics as much as possible and to dedicate their lives to their study in preparation for what the illithids call their "masterwork years". At the age of 120, an illithid enters seclusion from the city, dedicating the next 4 years of their life to the completion of a single work, called their masterwork. An illithid's masterwork is understood to be their crowning achievement, the one piece that encapsulates their entire career, personality, and existence. To look at or interact with a masterwork is to understand, on a fundamental level, the nature of the artist that created it. In their final two years of life, the illithid is allowed to do whatever they want, be that work more, simply enjoy the fruits of the labors of the city, or travel. Near the end of their 126th year of life, illithids are called back to their home city by a psychic call, and there they undergo the secret ceremony of reabsorption. The nature of this ceremony is unknown, as the illithids themselves don't know what it entails, only the elder brains of the cities know, and they don't share. What is clear is that the ceremony of reabsorption is the end of an illithid's life.

    The field of study an illithid takes also plays a role in their daily life, obviously. There are no classes or anything so mundane in Orlyndol, but the study an illithid undertakes determines what they spend their time doing. High artists spend most of their time in contemplation and education, working on their pieces slowly, taking plenty of time to learn the history of their art form and deciding what direction to take their personal style. Scientists delve into the fundamental nature of things. Magic-users research new spells, practice against one another, and so on and so forth. The more esoteric studies lead to more and more unique daily lives. The Oonai spend their time traveling the world, killing as they go. The Drinji Bara travel from expert to expert, trying to unify everything into a single comprehensive theory of everything. The politician studies spend their time far afield from their home cities, working their trade.

    Spoiler
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    An illithid scientist, hard at work. Credit to ScytheDusquene for the image.


    The home city of an illithid plays a role as well, and deserves some discussion as to the nature of illithid cities. There are 16 illithid city states, each one a glass spire exactly a mile tall and a half-mile deep in the ground, for a total living space of 1.5 miles. Each spire is about a quarter mile wide, and has a massive, 30-40 mile wide radius of webbed tunnels beneath it. These tunnels are used for the servitor population of the city, and for all the dirty and mundane tasks that cities run on, such as food production, waste removal, servitor dormitories, etc. In the spire proper (ie. the above ground portion) there are 352 floors (each 15 ft high). 100 of these are used for communal tasks, such as meeting halls, dining halls, guest rooms (for visiting outsiders or illithids from other cities), quarters for young illithids etc. 250 are used for living quarters for the citizen illithids, divided into as much space as is needed for each illithid's living space and work space, and so these layers vary wildly. It is not uncommon to have an arcane laboratory and a kitchen next to each other, or some other such absurd combination. Finally, the top two floors are used for the elder brain of the city, the top-most floor being it's personal domicile and the second-most being the antechamber for the elder brain, which visitors to it reach. No outsider or illithid is permitted egress to the top floor of a spire-city, save for illithids summoned for the ceremony of reabsorption. The elder brain of a city serves as a combination security system/library for the city, and can be contacted by either telepathic or vocal queries at any time in the city. Further, the elder brain of each city is connected to all the others, permitting a great deal of intercommunication and coordination between cities. The underground 176 floors of each city are used for storage of materials, manufacture facilities, and for potentially dangerous studies (such as arcane rituals that pose a potential security risk, as determined by the city's brain). The servitors of each city are governed by the city's brain, lending Orlyndolian spire-cities a surreal feeling, as everything simply *functions* in a perfectly ordered and utterly silent manner. Most outsiders report that Orlyndolian cities are unnerving, at best.

    Finally, the historic trend of the illithids to fiddle with their own biology and with the biology of creatures around them has impacted their society in very strange ways. For instance, the creation of the servitors. Once, illithids were forced to perform their own labor, but they eventually tired of such and so created a new species from their own genetic stock to do labor for them. The servitors appear much like normal mind flayers, but with a smaller cranium, somewhat shorter, much more muscular, and with a pair of extra tentacles growing from their shoulder blades. Servitors are a pale white color, and do not wear clothing above the waist, since clothing interferes with the heavy physical labor they're intended to perform. Servitors have little will of their own, and must be commanded to act by either an illithid or the city-brain itself. Another instance of illithid bio-engineering is in their odd dietary requirements. Illithid brains do not produce a vital enzyme, and so they are forced to consume the brains of other sentient beings once per month, or slip into a coma and eventually starve to death. Since this is an issue for most species, who'd rather their brain remain in their heads, illithids used to breed a unique sentient (though absurdly stupid) race to fulfill this dietary requirement. Eventually, a wave of reform swept through Orlyndolian society, prompting the release of the enslaved race and the creation of an alchemical version of the enzyme that illithids could consume in place of sentient brains. Today, all illithids consume this substance, called brainfuel by the few outsiders that know of it (it's a racial shame, and illithids don't talk about it to outsiders), once a month. The released species of sentients live in the jungles of Orlyndol today, but seeing as how they're sentient in the same way that a dolphin might be called "sentient", most people dismiss them as mere beasts. Finally, even war has been altered forever by illithid bio-technology. In the past, they relied on steel and wood weaponry, much like anyone else. Eventually, the illithids advanced to more and more complex technologies, such as light-weight plastics and ceramics. Around 100 years ago, an illithid bio-technician developed a new substance, called living steel, that has since become commonplace. Living steel is a flexible, piable, shapable, 100% organic material that can be treated with any one of dozens of chemical treatments to harden it, sharpen it, fire-treat it, or perform any other desired effect. The end result is a material that can be used for basically anything required. The illithid biosuit armors, bio-tech weaponry, the internal walls/doors/mechanisms of the spire-cities, and even such minor things as eating utensils, all of these are made from living steel now. Of course, other materials have their advantages over living steel in some respects. Living steel requires food, and while that's normally just nutrients absorbed from the surrounding air (or water), should living steel be deprived of air or water, it will starve and die rapidly. Most illithid cities keep a store of ceramic and adamantine weapons and armor, along with traditional steel and wood supplies, on hand just in case an enemy force somehow negates their living steel tools.

    Government and Politics: As one might expect, the political scene in Orlyndol is... complicated. While there are relatively few illithids that choose to enter the political arena, there are enough that issues arise. Politics is a field that demands someone "win", and since Orlyndol demands that each illithid be the best they can be at their field of study, the political wars between cities are intense, to say the least. Cities have been known to wage *actual* wars between themselves over relatively minor issues, such as scheduling conflicts for traveling artists, so tense is the political situation. Furthermore, the perfectionist nature of the Orlyndolian mindset demands that any illithids that enter politics create an environment in which all possibilities have been accounted for, paperwork-wise. This creates a bureaucratic nightmare, one that can take months to process something relatively basic, such as travel to a nearby city or a large economic deal, much less something complex, such as the logistics of performing a mindsculpting concert in three separate cities in a short time period, which can take up to a year to process. Compared to Orlydolian politics, every other nation in the world appears snappy and highly responsive.

    Orlyndol, as a nation, is governed by the entire illithid populace through the telepathic network created by the elder brains of each city. When a national issue comes to the attention of one of the cities, that city informs the other 15 of the issue, and requests a vote be taken on the issue. A vote consists of the elder brain of each city polling the entire city at once telepathically. Illithids age 20 and over are permitted to vote on the matter at hand. Once each city has the results (a process that takes approximately 5 minutes once a vote has been called), a decision is reached. If there is no national consensus (understood in Orlyndol as 65% or greater of the voting population at the time), then each city calls a city-wide council. These councils are the action of drawing all voting citizens of the city into a single chamber, where the issue is debated amongst all citizens until an internal consensus is reached. Then, a second vote is taken amongst the cities, each with a single vote (the results of the councils). If there is no majority decision (7 or more cities in agreement) in the second vote, then the process is put to a global vote, and all citizens abroad are recalled for councils in their home cities. Should THAT vote fail (an absurdly rare event; there have been four global votes ever, and only one has failed to produce consensus), then a national assembly is called. All citizens of Orlyndol meet in a central location (which is a closely guarded secret) and debate the issue at hand until a majority decision is reached. The national assembly lasts until a decision is reached. In the only known assembly on record, the assembly lasted for 3 weeks, and was finally decided by a single vote. Orlyndol rarely gets past the primary vote, since most national matters are simple enough to not require such deliberations.

    Power Groups: Orlyndol has relatively few overtly powerful groups, though several do exist. Among them are the Oonai, the Drinji Bara, and several others.
    • The Oonai: Incorrectly called assassins by other nations, the very small and elite group of artists called the Oonai are not assassins. Assassins ask for money and work for someone else. The Oonai work for no one, and ask for nothing. They are the darkest aspect of Orlyndol's strive for perfection in all forms, artists of the purest form. The Oonai call themselves "death artists", their medium is killing, and their skill is fantastic. To be marked by the Oonai is to be a walking corpse. To date, none have ever survived an Oonai mark. There are 21 Oonai at any time, no more, no less. They are not considered criminals in Orlyndol, though they are forbidden to work there, since they are pursuing knowledge just like anyone else. Indeed, the Oonai only mark the most powerful and tempting of targets. The most prominent example of Oonai prowess was some centuries ago (pre-Shadowstar Wars), when the ENTIRE Khavghotani council was marked for death (only 7 members then, since the orogs weren't known yet). The first five council members died rapidly, and the two remaining members, the ibixian and hobgoblin representatives, took care to ensure their protection. The 21 members of the Oonai scythed through the Councilmen's private armies with little trouble, and slew the two final Council members in a single night, losing one two of their own. All told, the death toll was tallied at almost 100,000 souls, of which only two were Oonai. The Oonai are so successful as artists that they most frequently die of old age, not of death in battle. Those who die in combat are accorded the highest of honors, as they gave their lives for their art.
    • The Drinji Bara: Also called the Unifiers, the Drinji Bara are considered an aberration by Orlyndol at large. Still, as they are obviously working for the benefit of all illithids everywhere, they're not shunned or discriminated against in any way. The Drinji Bara believe that all disciplines, all art forms, all science, magic, and technology, it all can be combined into a single all-encompassing discipline they call Unity. Unity is incomplete currently, since not all knowledge is possessed and since most of the illithid population thinks they're crazy. The Drinji Bara strive at all times to bring everything together under Unity, and believe that once Unity is achieved, all questions possible to ask will be answered once and for all. The inner circle of the Drinji Bara believe additionally that Unity is the pathway to ultimate cosmic power, and that one who achieves Unity ascends beyond godhood, to a realm of existence they call Perfection. Obviously, this view is somewhat heretical to both religion and to the more pragmatic and grounded viewpoint of Orlyndol, and so the Drinji Bara are quiet about their quest for Perfection.
    • The Gashtek: The only known example of Orlyndolian terrorists, the secret society known as the Gashtek lives in scattered pockets around the world, hunted by agents of the spire-cities of Orlyndol. The Gashtek believe that the elder brains that run the nation have an evil aim, and seek to slowly erode and destroy the illithid people through the destruction of their free will and initiative. The Gashtek have founded several spire-cities in other nations (including a fairly large one in Xortal), and though they're much less complex and impressive than the Orlyndolian ones, they are run by the illithids themselves. The Gashtek have also discovered the nature of illithid reproduction and death, and count among their number at least one individual of almost 130 years of age. These secrets they keep very quiet, for fear of destabilizing illithid society before they are in a position to ensure the survival of their people. Obviously, the Gashtek aren't exactly liked by the elder brains, who portray them as subversive and destructive. To be fair, the Gashtek do have a bad habit of violence against the elder brains, so their image isn't entirely unwarranted.
    • The Elder Brains: Clearly, the rulers of the 16 spire-cities are going to wield enormous power. However, the elder brains are sessile, and their only real agents are servitors, which don't make for very good creative thought in tough situations. This leads the elder brains to frequently hire adventurers through proxies for jobs that their cities need done elsewhere but cannot be seen having a hand in. Examples include the sabotage of competing business concerns (Orlyndolian and elsewise), tracking down and killing known Gashtek members, and simply acquiring tough to procure materials and objects for the city.


    Religion: The religion of the illithids is a funny thing. Most outsiders would believe (and be quite correct in thinking) that Orlyndol is a secular state. That's entirely true. Orlyndol is quite secular. However, religion, just like anything else, has a place in Orlyndol. Every illithid alive is religious, since it's folly not to be. After all, the gods are quite real, so why deny their existence (except for those philosophic illithids who deny them because to deny them is to acknowledge their existence in just another way, which is the entire idea behind the denial). There are three main beliefs in Orlyndol, though a shrine to every known deity exists somewhere on the continent.

    First is the seminal illithid deity, Illisene. The history of Illisene is a long and complex one, beginning in the mists of pre-history, when the illithids were a race of great beings that warred with the Fathers for supremacy in the stars. They lost that war in a disaster that precipitated the creation of the Tears of Life. However, not all the sorcerer-kings were killed. Indeed, two survived. One fled for deep space. The other, realizing that their people were doomed, created a lesser version of the race and seeded them on Zaaman, to await the time of their awakening. These "lesser" illithids became the illithids of today, and the sorcerer-king that seeded them later ascended to divinity and became Illiseme. Illiseme is a kindly deity of psionics, illithids, and flight, and loves to appear to the truly devout and aid them in a time of truest need. Illiseme also has domain over all that the illithids create, and is known to the servitors and to the unnamed race that was once a food source for the illithids.

    The other main god of the illithids, who has been gaining ground against Illiseme, is Arthindol, the Terraseer. Once a serpentes who refused to give his life for the web that sustains the planet, he instead journeyed to the Outer Planes, seeking immortality. Well, he found it in a dying god whose spark he acquired, instantly ascending to godhood. Arthindol realized that with this new-found power, he could return to Zaaman-Rul, and attempt to repair the damage done to the world, moving to towards a state of peace and tranquility, such that no incident akin to the cataclysm would occur again. He found little worship for millennia, until the illithids noticed his teachings. They began to worship him in his role as an educator and teacher, and still do to this day. Arthindol has domain over knowledge, magic, and peace, and teaches his followers to seek out all three in all aspects of their lives.

    Finally, the illithids are the most pronounced race in their worship of the Dark Five, a pentad of ascended qualnargan. Understand though, that the worship of the Dark Five is terribly small by any standard, but more illithids worship them than anyone else in the world, just as an experiment more than anything else. The Dark Five preach that one should crush one's enemy and drive them before one, and preach that ascendency in all things is the greatest goal one can strive for, a dogma that speaks to many illithid strongly. Almost all of the Oonai worship the Dark Five.

    Major Settlements: Orlyndol has 16 cities, but only three really matter to most people.
    • Tzu, Outsider (Metropolis, 27,500): The only face of Orlyndol that most outsiders see, Tzu is a great vision to be confronted with. Set into a large sweeping bay on the western coast of Orlyndol that sits in a protected cove, surrounded by high mountains and lush jungle, Tzu is a pleasantly warm temperature all-year round, is beautiful and well maintained, has some of the best seafood in the entire world, has almost two miles of beaches for visitor use, and is generally a lovely place to come and visit. Tzu's marketplace is renown for its both its selection and its fairness of price. The laws in Tzu are light but fair, mostly focused on preventing severe amounts of violence or unruly behavior. Tzu has light entry laws and easy access for outsiders, and is the largest vacation spot in the world.
    • Tzu, Illithid (Metropolis, 130,600): Contrasted to the outsider city, the illithid city-state of Tzu is barely there. The illithid Tzu is a quiet and unassuming place, the smallest of the spire-cities, and the least politically relevant of the cities. Tzu produces little of unique note, has little political impact, and in fact does almost nothing on the political stage. So, the question becomes, why is Tzu of note? Tzu is the headquarters of the Oonai *and* the Drinji Bara, making Tzu a hotbed for all sorts of political aftermath and turmoil. Because of this, Tzu has a much lower population than most of the other spire cities, and in fact has entire floors that aren't occupied. There are rumors that Tzu will depopulate itself and have to be abandoned in the next five to ten years, an event that hasn't happened in over 2000 years.
    • Beacon of Understanding (Metropolis, 205,450): The capitol of Orlyndol, the true name of this spire city can't be directly translated into Common, but the closest name is Beacon of Understanding. Beacon is one of the largest spire-cities, and has the largest and most ancient elder brains, in fact, so old that Beacon's elder brain remembers the founding of the other 15 city states, the erection of the spires for the first time, and the founding of every other nation on the planet except for Tharkrixghantix. Beacon is the oldest non-draconic city in the world. It's said that the illithids of Beacon have access to memories that only the dragons remember, and that the secrets Beacon's walls hold could reshape the world.


    Adventuring in Orlyndol: Adventuring in Orlyndol is difficult. Few individuals are permitted legal entry into Orlyndol itself, meaning that if anyone wants to acquire the secrets or goods of Orlyndol without getting them legally in Tzu or elsewise, they're forced to use subterfuge and stealth to sneak into a spire-city (a difficult proposition at best) and take what they wish. In contrast to the above, Orlyndol serves as a great patron of adventurers and as an excellent enemy for other states, who often hire adventurers to take down illithid agents or members of the Oonai. Orlyndol would also make a great setting for political wars between city-states, much like how Intolar is a good setting for internal conflicts.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2011-04-21 at 11:23 PM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    The Isolation of Tharkrixghantix and the City of Northwind

    Population: Northwind and surrounds, 520,200 (trepek 57%, pale elves 13%, humans 12%, goblinoids 8%, illithids 5%, orogs 4%, dragons <1%); Tharkrixghantix's population is unknown, but is in excess of 100,000.
    Government: City-state (Northwind); Loose unity of aeries (Tharkrixghantix)
    Capital City: Northwind (Northwind); Unknown (Tharkrixghantix)
    Religion: Any
    Imports: Anything outsiders need to survive, building materials, food, people, etc
    Exports: Trepek, blueice, freezesteel
    Alignment: Any
    Language: Trepek, Draconic (Hidden Language), Common

    Named for the omnipresent frigid northerly wind that blows from over the Icepeak Mountains, Northwind is both the continent at the top of Zaaman-Rul and is the trepek city on the western edge of the continent. Northwind is a continent that seems to hate life, in many ways the obverse of Xortal. Where Xortal teems with life, all of which hates anything not from the jungles, Northwind is barren of all forms of life and batters at anything that dares to settle on its shores. Still, the trepek have managed to forge a city for themselves and outsiders who wish to visit. Above everything, behind the Icepeaks, sits the isolationist draconic nation of Tharkrixghantix.

    The most notable feature of Northwind is the weather, the bitter, biting, horrid cold that colors everything about Northwind. Northwind is so cold that when it was initially discovered by Intolian explorers, their temperature gauges couldn't accurately represent the temperature. The Intolians had to revise their temperature scale to include the level of cold that Northwind holds. Exposure of any kind is fatal in minutes, even just a hand or ear. Even the normally weather-immune trepek suffer and die in the frigid expanses of Northwind. So far, no magic has been discovered to immunize a person, place, or thing to the god awful frigidity. Magic can only delay the inevitable for a short time. However, it can be done, since Tharkrixghantix's inhabitants somehow ignore the weather when they visit the city of Northwind, and it was they who proofed the city to the omnipresent wind. In fact, the wind is so powerful that the very earth itself and the sea surrounding Northwind are as cold as the continent themselves for some distance, making even reaching Northwind a challenge.

    Beyond the weather, Northwind is an empty, bitter place. As an illithid poet once wrote, "Its wind carries the stench of loneliness, the pungent aroma of bitterness. Its is a frozen, brewing hate. Be warned, for the wind that blows from the north is the wind that blows from the beyond, and it is not a kind one."

    Industries: Northwind has two real industries, those of mining and information.

    When the Intolians discovered Northwind, they stumbled across several surface deposits of Northwind's only two unique materials, blueice and freezesteel. Blueice is exactly what it sounds like, ice with a deep blue hue. Blueice is notable for never melting, and retaining the frigid temperatures of Northwind forever. Blueice is a very desired commodity, but is dangerous to acquire, what with being so cold that it drains body heat in but a second. Luckily, it's easy to find, and composes most of the surface ice of Northwind. Care must be taken to acquire it, lest the miners die when picking it up. Freezesteel is even more dangerous to acquire. Despite the name, freezesteel is not steel, but a derivative of iron with a strong blue and black coloration. It is ice cold to the touch, and retains its icy temperature even through forging, making it valued in Xortal as a source of comfort against the oppressive heat there. Freezesteel is absurdly dangerous to acquire though, thanks to the need to mine it from deep in the frigid earth beneath Northwind, where for some reason, the northerly wind still blows.

    The other major industry of Northwind is that of the trepek's and their information mongering. The trepeks, at the behest of their creators in Tharkrixghantix, collect and resell information on anyone and everyone. They play no favorites and make no judgments, never using the information personally, only moving it around. Their reasons why have remained in shadow for quite some time, but it's clear to everyone that the trepek are here to stay, and have created a new balance of power with their secret selling since everyone has to play the game or be left behind. This is the main reason anyone actually comes to Northwind: to speak with a trepek broker.

    Northwind has no native currency, instead accepting anything visitors provide, assuming it has some inherent value (so an Alykandorian zvoiah are not accepted, since it's just a pinecone, but a Khavghotani droque would, since it's a diamond).

    Life and Society: To say there is a society in Northwind would be lying. There's a loose association of individuals, all fighting to stay alive in the face of the armageddon promised by the whispers on the wind. The only true society in Northwind is in Tharkrixghantix, detailed below. Still, the city of Northwind does have its little quirks which make it unique.

    Northwind is a city where there are clear and understood castes. The dragons, such as they are, are on top. If a dragon gives an order, it is to be obeyed without question or hesitation, regardless of who you are, and the dragon has full rights to do whatever they wish to any who disobey. Beneath them are the native trepek, who serve as the city administrators, mechanics, and have true property rights. Finally, everyone else's rights are spelled out, mostly as the rights against being killed, being stolen from, and being permitted to seek an audience with a broker or a dragon (if on very serious international business). This is just the legalities of it, of course. In practice, Northwind operates on a "we're all in the same big boat here, let's play nice" principle, save when a dragon gives an order to someone, which is when the legalities of the city become clear.

    Government and Politics: Northwind is nominally ruled by a single individual, the dragon known as the Keeper of the Citadel. Why it holds this title, and what the title even refers to is unknown. The Keeper is the most visible dragon in the world, and the functional diplomatic link between Zaaman-Rul and Tharkrixghantix. However, the Keeper rarely entertains guests, and keeps its own counsel, so in practice the city is run by a council of five trepek called the Administrators. The Administrators, whose identities are kept private, dictate the repair cycles of the city and tend to arbitrate in legal disputes should any arise. Beyond that, they serve little role, as Northwind is fairly self-governing. To dock and enter the city requires a simple fee, one for docking and one for entrance, neither of which is very high. To do business in Northwind carries a minor tax, a mere 2% of the transaction, paid to a trepek clerk in the business district. Beyond these simple duties, the city is government light, and the inhabitants just do as they will.

    Power Groups: Northwind, as a mostly transient city, doesn't have too many power groups. There's a few though, almost entirely trepek in nature.
    • The Keeper of the Citadel: As the only real draconic being that has a permanent residence outside of Tharkrixghantix, the Keeper is a force to be reckoned with. It is a being of incalculable power and knowledge, believed to be capable of directly challenging any living creature on the planet other than its own kin and winning handily. However, the Keeper keeps to itself, remaining aloof from the petty conflicts of lesser beings, instead occupying its time with simple observation of the world around it. When the Keeper does decide to intervene in the world of mortals, all hell breaks loose though, for the Keeper is an obscenely powerful force, one no bonds can hold nor being can stop. Happily, the Keeper rarely decides to move personally, instead relying on a network of trepek and other agents to work its will in the lesser realms.
    • The Administrators: While not a power group in that they have dark designs upon others, the Northwind Administrators do hold quite a bit of power over the city and its dealings, though they rarely choose to exercise it. Among the powers they hold are the ability to ban all travel to and from Northwind, the governance of the entire continent (given to the trepek by the Shadowstar Treaty of 3,001 OM), and the ability to imprison visitors to the city at will. They rarely exercise these executive powers, and can be overridden by the Keeper, but they do wield enormous potential powers in emergencies. The Administrators occasionally have the need to use more surreptitious means of enforcement and acquisition, and for that they turn to a small group of mercenaries they keep on hand for such duties.
    • The Speakers for the Ancient Winters: This semi-secret society of arguably insane magicians are a group that somehow have tapped into the essence of Northwind's characteristic weather and are now immune to it. They live as hermits in the snow and ice, far from the city of Northwind, practicing their own unique brand of winterized magic and exploring the depths of their bond with the cold. They occasionally send out a member or two to recruit new blood into the society, but that is a fairly rare occasion. They tend to fear and hate heat, and the field surrounding the city of Northwind is anathema to the Speakers. They don't move against the city for fear of Tharkrixghantix, in whose shadow they reside. Should the situation with the draconic state change suddenly, the Speakers may become more active in their dislike of the city of Northwind, but for now the Speakers remain a dangerously obsessive and bizarrely gifted group on the outskirts of Northwind society.
    • The Xzktiad Zxtdatk (translated: The Draconic Separatists): This underground trepek movement believes that the trepek have their own destiny to walk, and that the trepek can no longer serve the draconic will of Tharkrixghantix. This view is not a widely held one, and is persecuted without mercy or pity by agents of the Keeper. Still, the Xzktiad Zxtdatk fight onwards, seeking to free their people from the tyranny and control of the dragons. Of course, it's worth noting that said "tyranny and control" is about as tyrannical as a planter's control over the flowers he plants. Sure, he technically controls their lives, but he rarely interferes and in fact wants the best for them. Still, the separatists believe the dragons are impeding their progress as a species, for right or wrong.


    Religion: Gods in Northwind are rare, but where worship does exist, it's likely to be any deity that one could care to name. The interesting bit is when it comes to the trepek and divinities. A common misconception is that the trepek have no gods, or perhaps worship their draconic creators. This couldn't be further from the truth. Indeed, the trepek have a deity. They call this god The One Above Five, or 1/5 for short. The deity is so new that its existence is barely even known outside of Northwind. The trepek as a people seem to share a subconscious hive mind of sorts, because knowledge of 1/5 swept over every trepek in the world simultaneously not long after Northwind's founding. As has been gleaned from the few trepek willing to talk about 1/5, it seems that the god spontaneously achieved divinity around the time that the trepek were created, supposedly as a mistake in the creation forges of their birth. However, as per the Laws of Divinity, since he was bereft of worshippers he slipped into an almost instantaneous coma and only had time to conjure a single document of his existence. This document, the mythical Prime Schematic, supposedly contains the instructions for his creation, and that any trepek who acquired this document could, given access to a creation forge, create another divinity. The existence of 1/5 became known to the trepek when they first asked the dragons of their birth. One of the dragons in attendance mentioned "the self-appointed failure" which prompted questioning from the trepek, and so 1/5's existence became known. As a few trepek began their worship, they were granted a vision of the god, that of a gigantic golden trepek, spinning like a galaxy in an empty void, and heard the god's voice in their minds telling them of his name and their message: to bring the word of 1/5 to the trepek people and to pursue their technological perfection through trepek components. Priests of The One Above Five paint themselves gold to match the god's image, and have a strong affectation for creating and using massive numbers of components. 1/5 does not accept non-trepek as worshippers, for any reason. His symbol is a golden trepek eye, and his favored weapon is the armblade (from here, in the Components list).

    Major Settlements: There is only one true major settlement in Northwind, the self-named city (Metropolis, 58,900). The city has a ramshackle appearance, but that's quickly dispelled upon entering the main game, when visitors realize that the city is being reconstructed over and over again as the wind erodes the stones and ice that compose the towers of the city. As fits their roles as the ultimate in tool users, trepek repair crews scramble over Northwind's spires and walls every hour of every day, keeping the city from falling into ruin, and taking turns so as to avoid casualties from the weather (since the field that protects Northwind has an altitude limit, tower repairs are highly dangerous). Since there is not wood or metal to speak of in Northwind (beyond freezesteel, not the best building material ever, for clear reasons), the city is composed of quarried stone and ice from the countryside and hastily erected into a set of towers and a wall which marks the edge of the protective field laid down by the dragons to prevent their guests from dying of exposure. Inside the city's walls, there are few laws, but what laws do exist are rigorously enforced by the trepek natives, mostly laws against certain serious crimes (killing, theft, and magical disruption), though a series of laws does exist that detail the social structure in the city. Northwind is a place of sanctuary, and so has little actual crime of any kind. Most people that come to Northwind come for business with the trepek, and so tend to keep to themselves.

    While there is no other major city, there are a few minor settlements, more like villages than anything else, havens for the Speakers for the Ancient Winters. These little camps are incredibly dangerous for outsiders, but if an outsider comes in peace and proves able to endure the cold, the Speakers rarely turn them away. Still, visiting is not recommended.

    Finally, there are rumors of a branch of the Intolian Underground called the Frozen Throne that has set up shop somewhere on the Northwind coast. While little proof of the rumor exists, supposedly this Underground branch rivals New Intolar in Khavghotan for size and market. How such a city would exist in the permafrost of Northwind is unknown.

    Adventuring in the North: While most adventurers give Northwind a wide berth, due to the weather, the enterprising and creative individual can find much there of note. The city of Northwind has opportunities for business and for some political intrigue, since many important politicians come through the city. The Speakers have some unique magical objects and materials that an adventurous individual might be able to pry away from them by blade or trade.

    The biggest reason for adventurers to visit Northwind is a rumor, whispered in back rooms over ales, a phantom that draws wild-eyed treasure seekers to many an icy tomb. It is said that Northwind was once inhabited by a powerful and ancient race of semi-human snake-like creatures, and that the ruins of their cities rest undisturbed beneath the snow and ice, rich with old and potent magic and strange but valuable coins. Of course, as anyone will tell you, that's nonsense. Still, it doesn't stop a steady, if small, stream of adventurers from seeking their fortunes amidst the blizzards. Few return.

    Tharkrixghantix: The true mystery of the North, the presence of the nigh-deific draconic state looms over Northwind like a slumbering bear. No outsider has ever been permitted inside their walls, the Crown of the World Mountains, and none of their citizens ever leave the country, save for the enigmatic Keeper. Numerous conspiracies swirl about what lies beyond the walls of Tharkrixghantix, but nobody really knows for sure. Some think the nation is a tropical paradise, others think it's a gateway to the realms beyond, and still others claim the headwinds of the Spirit Wind are there. Whatever the truth, what is known is that the dragons are advanced in magic and technology to a degree incomprehensible to the common man or even the learned one. The walls of the North hide secrets unknowable and inconceivable to the lesser races, and it's clear the dragons want it that way. Recently however, an illithid analyst who was going over the Shadowstar Treaty for a personal project discovered a very minor clause in the Treaty stating that the rulers of Tharkrixghantix reserve the right to seize control of all world governments and direct them in a time of global warfare. So far, this analyst has kept his findings quiet, to prevent panic, but the implications of this clause are terrifying.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2011-03-15 at 10:34 PM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    The Mystery of Xortal

    Population: Uncountable millions (tasloi 96%, yuan-ti 1%, troglodytes 1%, lizardmen 1%); 150,819 (humans 30%, pale elves 30%, illithids 21%, goblins 15%, trepek 3%)
    Government: Tribal Anarchy; Varies by Race
    Capital City: No true capital city.
    Religion: The Green One; By Race
    Imports: Food, fresh water, metal goods, weaponry, mercenaries
    Exports: Wood, spices, plants, animals, exotic artifacts
    Alignment: Any.
    Language: Tasloi, Intolian, Common, Qualith, Arcanic, Khavghotani, Trepek

    Xortal. The name conjures an exotic, faraway, surreal image for most people, but Xortal is real, all-too real for those stationed there. The continent seems to extend forever, endless jungles inhabited with every scary thing on the face of the planet. To quote a famous Intolian Commander, "Every living thing on Xortal wants to kill you and eat you for its sweets." The entire continent is violently antagonistic towards any foreigner, and seems to work with a concerted effort to kill any foreign soul on its shores.

    Xortal's jungles hold species of plants and animals not seen anywhere else on the planet, as well as seemingly endless wood reserves and the occasional ancient ruin from an unknown race of sentient plants who somehow carved the jungle itself to shape their cities. These ruins are now overrun by tasloi tribes, who regard them as sacred sites and slaughter any foreigner discovered desecrating one of them with their presence. Unknown to outsiders, Xortal's jungles are but the defense mechanism for a greater creature slumbering beneath the earth, deep in the jungles. The nature and powers of this creature are a mystery, even to those few maddened sages that suspect such a thing. If colonization continues though, this presence may awaken, and if it does, the consequences for the fools that provoked it will be dire.

    Despite the difficulties with the natives and the environment, Xortal's untapped natural wealth has Orlyndol, Intolar, and Alykandor scrambling to claim it, and an endless war of contention is being fought over the right to colonize the continent and exploit the natural resources thereof. Xortal is ground zero for those adventurers brave enough and tough enough to step up to the challenge.

    Industries: What civilization calls "industry" has no place in Xortal. The only industry is survival, the only goal is to be the last guy standing. While the erudite of the civilized nations might say that Xortal has fueled a new and growing lumber industry, anyone who's been will rapidly dispel that notion. Xortal is a hell hole, inhabited by horrific monsters and terrifying, barbaric, green-skinned beasts that swing from the trees as easy as a man walks across a flat surface.

    The reason for the colonization of Xortal is the vast and untapped natural resources it holds. Underneath the carpet of greenery lies mineral wealth undreamed of, ancient ruins of civilizations who held incalculable power, and a sheer land area the size of Intolar. Whatever nation holds and exploits these resources stands to gain a fantastic position in global politics, and so the fight over the Death Lands (as the poor saps who get stationed there call it) continues to rage.

    Life and Society: Xortal life depends on who you are. If you're a tasloi, life is glorious. The whole continent is your domain, the trees themselves grant you your food and water, and the animals are your allies and confidants. If you're anyone else, it's horrible. The weather is atrocious, the humidity is absurd, the jungle razes your structures as fast as you can raise them, and the wildlife (especially those green-skinned savages) are out to get you in any way they can.

    Interlopers to Xortal, Intolian, Khavghotani, Orlyndolian, and Alykandorian alike, all suffer the same general issues. They are forced to be self-reliant, a tough prospect when just holding a beachhead on the continent is a chore in and of itself. The Alykandorians and Orlyndolians seem to be having the best luck thus far through the use of constructs to do most of the grunt work for them. However, for those few settlements that are established, the continent is fertile beyond reason, the soil running deep and able to grow anything planted in it, and rapidly. Xortal has no seasons (even the other continents have some variance in weather over a solar period, but not here), just an eternal growth period. Anything planted does seem to grow into the jungle though, and eventually begins to show the same anti-interloper signs that the native flora indicates. For that reason, planting and replanting is rapid, to prevent such from occurring.

    The tasloi, on the other hand, are treated as natives by the land, and so regard Xortal as a paradise beyond comprehension, and the land seems to agree with them, providing the tasloi with easy access to food, water, shelter, and rarely bothering them with predation, only attacking when they grow over-comfortable. Because of this, the tasloi live simply and in accordance to what the land needs, defending it when necessary and encouraging it when it is weak or wounded. For this reason have the tasloi come back into contact with the world they left so many thousands of years ago, having been mobilized by the super-organism that is Xortal for self-defense. While the tasloi are independently intelligent, they also are part of the organism that is Xortal, and so tend to function in accordance with its wishes. Those tasloi that do not do so find themselves shut out from the land, forced to live like a wild animal. These so-called rogue tasloi have formed their own clan. This clan of outcasts has yet to reveal itself to the interlopers, preferring instead to observe quietly as the situation develops.

    Government and Politics: The politics of Xortal are... fuzzy. Most of the time, the political games are played in the home nations of the settlers, but between those few settlements that are established on the continent, there is a delicate balance of power. Of the five outsider settlements, four have combined to form an uneasy truce for mutual survival and political convenience. The fifth, an Underground cell, remains hidden and separate from the political waters, and will be discussed below.

    Even though the Mutual Defense Treaty (the MDT) is in place, the settlements rarely call upon it, using it more as a weapon against aggression by any of the other settlements. For instance, though the Intolians would like nothing more than to wipe the Khavghotani settlement, Jkath'ri, off the face of Xortal, the MDT serves as a threat of the other two groups, which may simply eradicate the Intolians in return. And so the balance of power goes with the settlements.

    The tasloi, on the other hand, have a somewhat tribal culture, but also ascribe to the concept of large group authorities. There are thousands of tasloi tribes scattered throughout Xortal, most of them deep in the jungle where no outsider has even gone, but there is also a centralized government composed of one elder from every tribe (even the outcasts are permitted a voice in this government). This central governing council selects a single member as the head of the council, and thus the head of the tasloi as a race. This council exists as its own tribe of sorts, and makes large-scale decisions for the tribes. If a pair of tribes have a land dispute or a war, the council steps in to arbitrate if requested or needed. When the outsiders landed on Xortal, the border tribes requested aid immediately, and the council mobilized 5% of the tribes to help the situation. At the time, that was in the area of 150,000 tasloi warriors, not counting the non-combatants (elders and children). Now, almost 8% of the tasloi tribes are active in the area around the settlements, serving to prevent access deeper into Xortal, both at the jungle's request and the council's. This council is the only body on the planet that is aware of the jungle's true nature and of the existence of the creature beneath the surface. The tasloi call this being The Green One and worship it as a god, calling the jungle the Body of the Green One. Should the outsider menace ever pierce the jungle far enough, the tasloi will mobilize every tribe and fight to the last in order to defend their god's body.

    Power Groups: There's a few, but mostly the power groups from elsewhere in the world work in Xortal through agents. Still, Xortal has a couple of unique groups of note.
    • Professor Daruth Xavix: Also discussed above in the Alykandorian Power Groups, Xavix deserves another note here. He is, so far, the only individual to actually establish a permanent residence in Xortal. He achieved his feat through careful application of invisibility and nondetection effects on a small tower he built in the deep jungle. He keeps the area around the tower cleared of tasloi, thanks to some very expensive and difficult to acquire magical disguise fields that trick everything into treating the tower like it's always been there. In this tower, Xavix lives quietly, researching the effects of technology on the body and attempting to find the perfect synthesis of flesh and machinery. Should an outsider stumble across him, he has no concerns about trapping and killing them if they cannot be "persuaded" to forget they encountered him.
    • The Tasloi: The tasloi, being the natives of the continent and the right hand of the jungle, are the big boys on the block, and tend to treat everyone else appropriately (ie. as little more than animals). Given that the Tasloi number in the tens of millions (easily), they could wipe everything off the face of Xortal, and probably successfully invade Alykandor or Khavhgotan if they were so determined, but thus far, the sentience of the greens has kept them leashed. Why and to what purpose is unclear, but the tasloi's religious fervor has prevented them from acting independently. Should that change, the delicate situation in Xortal could turn pear-shaped rapidly.
    • The Serpentes: Little does anyone know, but the progenitor race known as the Serpentes are not gone. Deep in the jungles, near the mountains that mark the terminator line between Xortal and the Edge, lies a solitary citadel carved from a piece of obsidian the size of a mountain. Inside this citadel live all that remains of the once proud serpentes, a handful of near-immortal beings that refused to sacrifice their lives to the webwork that keeps Zaaman-Rul alive, instead choosing to remain behind and dedicate their lives to maintaining the network, giving the dragons some latitude to contain the shadow magic leaking from Z-R's core. They take turns being awake, with only one of their kind active at any time, and so they prolong their lives, delaying death, dedicated to maintaining the planet. Still, the millennia have not been kind to these long-forgotten guardians, and the serpentes have created and unleashed numerous lesser races in their boredom and spite at being forgotten by the above world. Among the most prodigious of their children are the troglodytes and trens, which roam the Lattice, and the yuan-ti, who were created in the image of their creators and tasked with bringing the word of life to the lesser beings of the world. Today, the semi-aquatic yuan-ti roam the waterways of Xortal and the greater oceans, seeking mortals to "educate" (here meaning torture and kill, that they may "join the web of life". The rediscovery of this citadel, and its ancient inhabitants, would revolutionize the world.


    Religion: In Xortal, religion is of the "OHGODIWANTTOLIVE" variety, with most interlopers praying to whomever listens, meaning their gods. The tasloi, on the other hand, offer prayer to The Green One, which is mute on the subject. Still, tasloi priests gain power from somewhere, since they do possess quite formidable divine power. Whether this is The Green One responding to their calls for aid or another god masquerading as The Green One has yet to be seen.

    Tasloi worship, if you can call it that, is simple. They live, and in so doing, worship their god. The tasloi believe that the sheer act of living with the forests is worship enough, and so they don't have any complex ceremonies or elaborate rituals, instead offering prayer to The Green One throughout their daily lives. Compared to the often labyrinthine practices of outsider deities, the tasloi are refreshingly direct in this respect.

    The Green One's favored weapon is the claw (or claw bracer for those without claws) and "priests" of The Green One wear green and brown garments, the better to blend into the beloved forests. The spirit grants the Plant, Animal, Tasloi, and Renewal domains.

    Major Settlements: Xortal has a decent number of settlements, but they're not all accessible to travelers. Those of greatest relevance are below.
    • Tasloi Capital, Metropolis (Varies from under 2,000 to over 2,000,000): The name of the tasloi capital is untranslatable to Common, and is just called the tasloi capital city. It's actually a meeting ground for the tasloi governing council and for all the tribes, should they all have the need to meet for some reason. The "city" itself is a massive ruined megalopolis from the ancient plant race that once inhabited the jungles, and sprawls over several square miles of jungle, though only a practiced and knowledgeable guide would be able to see where it begins and the forest truly ends. The area is nominally inhabited by a single tasloi tribe, the council tribe, but in times of crisis can hold the entire tasloi population for short periods. The city is deep in the jungle, and has never been seen or even theorized to exist by outsiders.
    • Southern Intolar, Small Town (1,540): This Underground cell is a hidden city, drilled into the bedrock of Xortal on the western side of the continent, right on the sea. The cell is tough to reach, as the currents are dangerous in that area, and its existence is a well-hidden secret. The cell's goals are to subvert and destroy the other four outsider cities on Xortal, claiming the continent for the Underground and using Xortal as a base of operations to destroy Intolar. So far, the agents have been stymied by the fact that Xortal is so violently opposed to being controlled. They are currently seeking to make diplomatic contact with the tasloi. They have not succeeded yet.
    • Gashtek City, Small Town (2,180): The illithid splinter group called the Gashtek have their largest cell situated in Xortal. The Gashtek spire is small and well-concealed in the forest, far on the eastern edge of the continent. The Gashtek, refusing elder brains, run the spire through good-old fashioned muscle and magic. Gashtek City is small, and the spire is short (only 6 stories, with another 4 underground), but the illithids are proud. They're also fairly xenophobic, believing that anyone who spots them is going to report their presence to Orlyndol, which would then come down on the cell with furious anger, so Gashtek City does not welcome company. Still, it's possible to enter the city if it can be proved you're not an Orlyndolian agent.
    • The Mutual Defense Member Cities, range from Large Towns to Small Cities: The four MDT member cities, one from each of Intolar, Khavhgotan, Orlyndol, and Alykandor, are situated rather near one another along the central coastal region of Xortal. Keltoth, the Khavghotani town, is the westernmost, followed by illithid Zurthu, Intolar's satellite Emperor's Glory, and the elven Ssthular. Together, these four cities are the outsider presence in Xortal. None is very large, and all of them are heavily contested with the land itself. Still, they're a good jumping off point for adventurers coming to Xortal to do some exploration, assuming said adventurers bother to go to the right town. The inhabitants of the MDT cities are picky about who they let into the cities, only permitting those willing to fight in defense of the town and who are of the proper race. Of course, in a crisis situation, all of that flies out the window and anyone willing to heft a blade is welcome.
    • The Serpentes Citadel and Surrounds, Large City (14,750): Deep in the jungles of Xortal, at the base of the mountains at the terminator line, lies the last stronghold of the Serpentes. Surrounding the sealed and ancient castle is a city of their children, the yuan-ti, troglodytes, and lizardmen. This "city" is more of a collection of tribes that group together out of reasons they don't understand, a compulsion to coexist near the silent structure. Luckily for them, the citadel is built on the top of the Xortal River's headwaters, and so their city is built around the river itself, which is a great boon for the amphibious reptilians. From here, they plague the tasloi, the outsiders, and the oceans of the world alike, killing and stealing as they like. These fiends have even branched out into other races (the sahuagin of the open oceans are related to the yuan-ti, though no one is quite clear as to how). If travelers can somehow make peaceful contact with the Serpentes' children though, it's believed that great riches can be acquired from them, though how to do that is a good question.


    Adventuring in Xortal: Adventurers flock to Xortal, and are right to do so. For the mild-mannered, simply defending the MDT cities is a good, if dangerous, way to earn a good living, since the MDT cities pay well for the assistance. For the slightly more risky adventurer, there are the expeditions into the heart of Xortal, either for loot, for knowledge, or for contact with the locals to make contact and possibly peace. In most cases, those expeditions never return, but on rare occasion they do, and those that do return are enriched by their finds or by the people that funded the expedition.

    Xortal is a realm of mystery, with the nature of the realm being unknown. Outsiders can find hundreds of opportunities to explore the continent, and to make their fortunes, if they but take a moment to look.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2011-03-15 at 10:35 PM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    The Unhealed Wound, the Edge

    Population: Races and numbers are unknown, but it is known that at least 13 qualnargan exist, with at least several more being presumed to exist as well.
    Government: Oligarchy
    Capital City: <Name unpronounceable>, roughly translates to Mortal Death Within These Walls (Metropolis, exact size unknown)
    Religion: The Dark Five
    Imports: Nothing
    Exports: Nothing
    Alignment: CE, NE, CN
    Language: Qualnargan

    A realm that the learned believe is too lethal to survive and the common folk don't believe exists at all, the Edge is the dark side of Zaaman-Rul. It is what lies on the other side of the terminator line, facing away from the sun, where the Catastrophe was centered. The Edge has no atmosphere, has no native life, has little gravity, and has no way for normal folk to live and breathe. Such is the domain of the inhuman qualnargan, life unlike any that has come before, and wagers of the unceasing war for control of the shadow magic at the heart of the planet.

    The Edge is a shattered, blasted landscape rife with floating rocks drifting in the void, barely clinging to the gravity field of Zaaman-Rul. If viewed from orbit, the Edge appears like a gigantic crater the width of the planet, and along the inner most ring, it glows a dull red where molten lava from the core of the planet flows out into the Edge proper. This lava, which should turn to rock immediately due to the space that surrounds it, is kept flowing and molten by an unintended side effect of the serpentes web that sustains Zaaman-Rul, and it is here that the qualnargan have built their citadels and breed their warriors, awaiting the day when they can wage their war once more. At the northern most tip of the planet lies a brilliant blue dot, Tharkrixghantix's containment field over the leaking shadow magic, and the subject of the qualnargan's incessant war against the dragons.

    The Edge, death incarnate, the symbol of wounds long past but yet to heal, and the stomping grounds of beings that live on their own terms, not life's. The Edge is a nightmare, terrifying to any who know of it, the omnipresent specter hanging over the lit worlds on the other side of the planet. Those who dwell there exist beyond time and defy description. Mortals fear the Edge, and are right to do so.

    Industries: The Edge has no real industry. The qualnargan use magic to create what goods they need, use the heat from the lava to power their great and terrible works, and use the vast coldness of space as their protection. Their servants have no need of air, food, water, nor anything else, and so the qualnargan make nothing for them.

    Life and Society: Life on the Edge is... problematic. If you need air, there is no life there. If you don't, well, you still aren't guaranteed to do well there, since the rampant shadow magic echoing across the landscape erodes all but the qualnargan and their servants which seem to be immune. Golems and undead can't even seem to endure without extreme effort on the Edge, since the shadow storms seem to seek those weak to them, inflicting their deleterious effects on those unfortunate souls.

    To the qualnargan, the Edge is a perfect locale to live: close to the shadows that power them, far from anyone who would bother them, and naturally hazardous to traverse in any case. They forge their war on the Edge and prepare for that dark day when the Shadowstar Wars resume. Until then, they live and fight and scheme in the bitter black, living their bizarre and unknowable lives.

    Government and Politics: The Edge doesn't have a government as mortals understand it, but the qualnargan do "rule" the hemisphere, on the basis of there being nothing else around. The qualnargan "government" is technically an oligarchy, but it's such a fractured and divisive one that it may as well not count. The qualnargan each have their own domains and only consult with one another for warfare or if they need the services of one another for some reason. Most of the time, they simply pursue their own projects and leave each other well enough alone.

    Power Groups: There are no power groups in the Edge besides the qualnargan, so there's nothing to be said about it.

    Qualnargan: The qualnargan themselves are the great enigma of the Edge, their nature and origin obscured by time, myth, and purposeful misdirection. The qualnargan are ancient, originally were a joint expedition of serpentes, avian, aquian, and draconic explorers of the Lattice well before the emergence of the dwarves or the true elves. They journeyed down, down, down into the endless tunnels and never-ending black of the Deep Lattice, and eventually they performed a feat no other had previously achieved, nor has been equaled since. They discovered a path into an inner chamber of the planet, where the physical form of the shadow magic that infuses Zaaman-Rul lived, the creature called Nidhoggir, the Death Beast. Before the world spirit, the explorers were as grains of wheat on the wind. They no longer were alive nor undead, beyond life and time, fitting into the crevasse between reality and unreality. The explorers ceased to exist as the universe understands existence and became what are now called the qualnargan, creatures that exist beyond reality's laws. The qualnargan are not subject to aging because they don't exist inside of time. They don't breathe, eat, or sleep because only living beings need such things.

    The qualnargan are true immortals, unlike the dragons or even the Fathers, which are "soft" immortals, beings that age so slowly they may as well not, but in fact do. The qualnargan, on the other hand, are immortal in every sense of the term, even able to regenerate from a violent death. If the qualnargan can be killed, it is likely only by a creature as powerful as themselves.

    Most of the original explorers didn't survive the transformation into their new forms, and those that did bore no resemblance to their prior forms. Now, the qualnargan number around 15, since 5 of their number ascended during the Shadowstar Wars as the deific entity called the Dark Five.

    Religion: The religion of the Edge is that of the Dark Five, the ascended qualnargan pentad that now exists as a single divinity. The Dark Five ascended in a bizarre incident involving the Emperor of Intolar that deserves its own story, which won't be recounted here. Suffice to say that five qualnargan ended up stealing a portion of divinity, something once thought impossible, and splitting it between themselves as a unified sentience. Together, the Five consist of the qualnargan named Daggoth, Zasz, Nargil, Araq, and Kagg.

    Daggoth was a monstrous thing in this reality, a blubbering mass of flesh. Now, he takes the form of a simple human male, dressed in plain black robes. His is domain over qualnargan themselves, for it was he that the others recognized as the first among them.

    Zasz's qualnargan form is unknown, never seen, but now he takes crimson and black vestments, spikes and spines piercing the clothes that cover his grotesque form. His is domain over tyranny, for it was Zasz that first created new life to serve the qualnargan, and he ruled them with an iron fist.

    Nargil's form was humanoid, but with too many limbs and teeth, claws of fire and steel. Now, he looks as he once did, but covers much of his body in plates of black metal and brilliant blue flames. Nargil has dominion over mayhem, for it was he that first made true use of bloody violence as an artistic medium.

    None of Araq's forms have been seen by anyone who cares to mention them, and so his form is unknown. His is domain over darkness, fitting for an individual who hasn't been seen.

    The fifth of the Dark Five is Kagg, who takes the form he once held as a qualnargan, that of a pillar of pure black light, full of malice and unspeakable hatred, from which tendrils of fury whip out at anything nearby. His is domain over divine ascendence, for stories say it was his brilliant mind that discerned the method of the Dark Five's ascendence.

    To worship the Dark Five is to blaspheme against all life, for their rites are unspeakably horrifying to mortal-kind, and yet, some twisted souls seek succor with the qualnargan godlings. The favored weapon of the Dark Five varies by member (granting clerics five different choices of favored weapon):
    Daggoth: Chakram
    Zasz: Whip-dagger
    Nargil: Claws (or claw bracer for creatures without claws)
    Araq: Double Dagger
    Kagg: Quarterstaff

    Clerics of the Dark Five dress as per any of the five godlings (though few clerics claim to dress as Araq, since his affected dress is a mystery).

    Major Settlements: There are no settlements on the Edge that can be reached by a non-qualnargan.

    Adventuring on the Edge: To adventure on the Edge, several things are needed. First, a method of breathing must be found. Second, a way to be self-sustaining is needed. Third, a method of evading the shadow storms that sweep the landscape has to be had. If this can be done, it's possible that a vast amount of treasure from the era of the Cataclysm remains in the ruins of the avian and aquian civilizations, not to mention what could potentially be extracted from the qualnargan citadels. Still, the inherent dangers of the Edge are immense, making it a risk/reward calculation.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2011-01-18 at 12:08 AM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    The Untamed Wilds Beneath, the Lattice

    Population: Uncountable billions of monsters and animals; ~8,000,000 (dwarves 99%), ~6,000,000 (true elves 99%)
    Government: None; confederation (dwaves); tribal federation (true elves)
    Capital City: None; Douss (dwarves); R'lin K'ren A'a (true elves)
    Religion: The Dulrotha (dwarven pantheon); the Dark Prince (true elves)
    Imports: Wood, exotic foods, spices, mercenaries, adventurers
    Exports: Raw ores, gems, worked metal, spices, foods
    Alignment: TN, LN, NE
    Language: Dwarven, High Elven, Common

    Unbeknownst to most, Zaaman-Rul is not solid. Other planets are fairly compact and solid through their crust and mantle, but not Zaaman-Rul. For some unclear reason, the crust of Zaaman-Rul is riddled with caverns and tunnels for miles down, even into the mantle of the planet, which somehow flows around the tunnel system. This latticework of tunnels and caverns has developed an ecosystem all its own, one that has spawned several sentient races and thousands of creatures and plants, all found exclusively under the surface. It's believed that the Cataclysm had something to do with the Lattice coming to be, but such is just scholarly curiosity. The Lattice is a realm of mystery and wonder, home to a pair of unique cultures with long histories.

    Industries: In the Lattice, normal industry doesn't really apply. Instead, the local races use stone and the plants and animals that flourish in the Lattice in new and unique ways. The dwarves in specific are famous for their creative use of stone as weaponry, armor, fortifications, and in many other applications (dwarves use stone as both hammer and anvil, for instance, and have learned how to smith in stone; dwarven stone crafts are miraculous). Curiously, the dwarves don't use metal for much, mostly using rare metals as decorations and the few magical metals they find (such as hizagkuur or darksteel) for magical items.

    The true elves, by contrast, use the living parts of the Lattice to their advantage, growing the things they need from the plants and roots that permeate the Lattice. The true elves use the environment to their advantage, and as they are a mostly nomadic people, make very little of permanence, and so their "industry" such as it is, reflects this nomadic lifestyle they hold.

    Life and Society: The societies in the yawning gulf below are diverse. There are three of note, the dwarves, the true elves, and the kobolds, who are discussed in the Khavghotani section above.

    Dwarves have a very communal culture. Each dwarf has a limited telepathic ability and can "link" with other dwarves to form a unified hive mind in their cities, called "hivecities" by outsiders. In fact, as dwarven cities age, the presence of so many dwarves all tied into a single mental network gives rise to the city as an entity itself, spontaneously birthing from the void. Because of this strange side effect of the racial mentalist skill, hivecities are strange places to visit, and are practically living beings in and of themselves. The oldest of the dwarven hivecities have suffused the stone they're made of with psychic energy and the central mind of the city can control the earth itself in defense or for menial tasks. Dwarves, understanding that little is permanent in the dangerous Wilds Beneath, scribe their memories and accomplishments into the stones of their homes and cities, giving each hivecity an artistic look and giving the city mind a "memory" of sorts. Ancient dwarven ruins have been identified thanks to this practice, and all dwarves record their memories from time to time in some permanent form, for protection and for induction into the city mind.

    In a dwarven city, there is no privacy, since all dwarves know everything happening to all other dwarves through the hive mind, and dwarves outside of their cities have little understanding of the concept. Outsiders are disliked by dwarves, even in the cities, since outsiders can't be seen by the dwarven hive mind, making them a dangerous element and causing most outsiders to be unwelcome in dwarven cities.

    Contrasted against the dwarven community is the true elven society, a loose collection of tribes that travel through the endless bioluminescent caverns and cross the starry seas in the deep places of the earth. The true elves call themselves quat kolat, or nature's children. They exist in a state of oneness with the bones of the earth, and unlike the rigid and stiff society of the dwarves, where everyone knows everyone else and everything has its proper place, the quat kolat are highly personal, with each individual contributing to the clan according to his ability, but in whatever way he can best aid the clan.

    As befits their nature, the true elves are nomads in the purest sense, with almost permanent settlements, and only one meeting place of permanence, the ruined city of R'lin K'ren A'a. This city, aged beyond reckoning, is of unknown origin, but the elves use it as the center of their civilization. Most of true elven society though revolves around their nomadic nature. The elves, unlike the dwarves, view themselves as members of the Lattice instead of apart from the Lattice, and act accordingly. They don't even carry shelters, instead resting beneath, inside, and on the moving stones and massive roots that weave through the Lattice.

    Ecology: The Lattice deserves special note from its curious ecology. The Lattice is divided into three real regions. The first, and most well understood, is the Upper Lattice, a realm about two miles deep made of stone and rock. It's pretty ordinary, and this is where the vast mineral wealth of Khavghotan is held and where the kobolds carve their warrens and the dwarves their hivecities.

    The second region is the Middle Lattice, which is the realm of fantastic and wild wildlife and where the true elves live. This region of the Lattice is poorly understood by surface dwellers, when they know about it at all, and runs from 2 to 20 miles deep.

    The third, and final, region is the Deep Lattice. This is a realm of inky blackness that delves from 20 miles on down. The reaches of the Deep Lattice run all the way through the dead core of Zaaman-Rul and eventually bleeds out into the Edge. No society lives in the Deep Lattice that is known to anyone. It's theorized that it would be possible to reach the Edge from the Deep Lattice, but no one has ever achieved in such a task.

    Government and Politics:

    Power Groups:

    Religion:

    Major Settlements:

    Adventuring in the Lattice:
    Last edited by arguskos; 2011-04-28 at 12:31 PM.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: [3.5] Am I about to murder my PCs again?

    Miscellaneous Whatnots That Don't Fit Elsewhere


    The Nature of Divinity in Zaaman-Rul:
    Spoiler
    Show

    Unlike other worlds, in Zaaman-Rul divinity has very defined rules. These rules are on the mechanical level more than the fluff level, since no inhabitant of Z-R knows about these rules (that is in fact one of the rules, see below). They are ordered in descending order of importance.

    Note: A Divinity is defined as a being with divine rank. This means that quasi-deities (DR 0) must obey the Rules of Divinity.

    Should a Divinity break a Rule of Divinity, they are stripped of their divine rank, and exiled into the Outer Planes to seek their fortune as a mortal. This is done by the force that upholds the Rules of Divinity, a nameless force that even the Divinities know nothing of.

    Rules of Divinity
    1. No Divinity may impart unto a mortal the Rules of Divinity.
    2. No Divinity may enter the Prime Material Plane under any circumstances, not even to save themselves from some external threat.
    3. A Divinity may only have a single avatar active at a time. This avatar may only enter the Prime Material in spans of five minutes at a time, only once every 1,000 years, and that only in case of an extreme emergency.
    4. A Divinity must be known to mortals and worshipped as a Divinity in order to be a Divinity.
    5. A Divinity must have dominion over a certain aspect of reality to be a Divinity.
    6. A Divinity may war against opposing Divinities with similar aspects of reality. It may not war against unrelated Divinities.
    7. No Divinity may directly interfere in mortal affairs without good reason and the approval of every one of its peers.
    8. No Divinity may directly impart unto mortals the secrets of ascension nor the creation of artifacts or space flight.
    9. No Divinity may cause the destruction of an Outer Plane.
    10. A Divinity may be removed from Divinity by a council of all of its peers who are in at least 9/10ths agreement as to the judgment.
    11. No creature may be a Divinity more than twice.



    List of Known Divinities:
    Spoiler
    Show

    Human Gods:
    A pantheon of ten gods, the Nine-Faced Lords are a group of divine siblings ruled by their omniscient parent, Ean.

    -Ean, the Father (Greater Deity, TN): The first of all the human gods, and the incarnation of humanity in general, Ean is a distant and aloof lord, focused on the plight of his chosen people above all else. Ean does grant spells, and may be worshipped, but he takes less of a hand in mortal affairs than his children (who take little themselves and communicate through dreams and portents alone).
    -Appearance: Ean rarely appears to mortals, but when he deigns to do so, he takes the form of a wizened old man carrying an hourglass with blue and white sands.
    -Portfolio: time, space, fate, destiny, parenthood, humanity
    -Worshippers: mercenaries, the dispossessed, truth seekers, fatespinners
    -Granted Domains: Fate, Time, Family, Balance

    -Donblas, the Justice Maker (Intermediate Deity, LN): The eldest of Ean’s children, Donblas is a harsh taskmaster, but is ultimately fair in his judgment. He is the god of justice and revenge, the lord of just rewards and harsh service. Donblas does not forgive or forget, no matter if the slight was real or perceived.
    -Appearance: Donblas always has the appearance of a soldier, garbed in shining silver plate from head to toe, carrying an axe in his right hand, and bearing a shield on his left.
    -Portfolio: justice, revenge, service, law, soldiers
    -Worshippers: paladins, blackguards, judges, barristers, soldiers
    -Granted Domains: Law, Retribution, Strength, War

    -Pyaray, the Octopus (Int. Deity, NE): Second to Donblas is Pyaray, also called the Octopus, named so for his favored creatures. Pyaray is the lord of the dead and the dying, a master of the cold, emotionless storms that his eight-armed spawn weather without fail, and that claim countless mortal lives. He is a dispassionate murderer, who kills without remorse or emotion.
    -Appearance: Pyaray, true to his sobriquet, takes the form of a gigantic octopus, bearing a blade in each tentacle.
    -Portfolio: death, dying, storms, murder, cephalopods
    -Worshippers: krakens and cephalopods, assassins, sailors, morticians
    -Granted Domains: Ocean, Death, Storm, Evil

    -Xiombarg, the Devourer (Int. Deity, CE): Pyaray’s divine brother, Xiombarg embodies wrath and madness. He is a lord of slaughter, who kills because he knows nothing else. He is a selfish and petty god who thinks of nothing more than himself, and what he wants. Xiombarg thrives on the adulation of mortals, and revels in their screams and suffering. He can be considered the emotion to Pyaray’s logic.
    -Appearance: Xiombarg, in all of recorded history, has appeared to mortals only once. On that occasion, he appeared in the form of a four-armed bipedal insect-man, with claws of fire and fangs of steel.
    -Portfolio: slaughter, mayhem, chaos, anarchy, insanity
    -Worshippers: barbarians, jealous lovers, anyone who has been wronged by another and seeks vengeance
    -Granted Domains: Wrath, War, Madness, Slaughter

    -Slortar the White (Int. Deity, NG): One of the other pair of twins, Slortar is Pyaray’s shadow. He loves life, and protects it as best he can. Slortar has a mastery over life and positive energy, and like his twin Jhaelen, has a lust for life that lends him a fire unseen in Pyaray and Xiombarg.
    -Appearance: Slortar most frequently appears as a tall, white bearded human male, with eyes of gold fire.
    -Portfolio: health, love, life, positive energy, martyrdom, the sun
    -Worshippers: martyrs, healers
    -Granted Domains: Healing, Good, Purification, Sun

    -Jhaelen, the Scarlet Prince (Int. Deity, CG): Brother to Slortar, Jhaelen is less focused on life itself, and rather looks at living life, not protecting and worshipping the sources of it. He is called the Scarlet Prince for his favorite drink, strong red wine. He is also the patron of psionics and nobles, two groups of humanity that focus on different aspects of living life to its fullest.
    -Appearance: Jhaelen appears as a tall, well-dressed human male. He carries a glass of wine that never empties, and a slim rapier at his waist. His moniker comes from his scarlet cape, always blowing as though in a light breeze.
    -Portfolio: Revelry, wine, nobility, chance, psionics
    -Worshippers: nobility, gamblers, barkeeps, psions
    -Granted Domains: Nobility, Chaos, Mentalism, Mind

    -Arioch, the Shadow (Lesser Deity, LE): Duke Arioch is the patron of dark and foul magics. The greatest of the lesser human gods, Arioch claims mastery over dark magic, shadows, and the night, leading to a lesser extent his mastery over things their owners would rather wish not known. He is a cold and emotionless deity who has little remorse for the lives destroyed by his black arts and rumor mongering, and who desires nothing more than the divine secret.
    -Appearance: True to his sobriquet, Arioch appears in the form of a great shadow, shapeless, save for two malign red eyes.
    -Portfolio: magic (for evil uses), shadows, thievery, secrets, deceit
    -Worshippers: thieves, evil wizards and sorcerers, loremasters
    -Granted Domains: Magic, Darkness, Oracle, Knowledge

    -Hawkmoon, the Master (Lesser Deity, LG): Taking his nickname from his mastery of both spell and blade, Hawkmoon is a strict god who demands perfection from his followers. He holds honor in great regard, and respects those that follow a code strictly.
    -Appearance: Hawkmoon appears in many forms, second only to Elwher. His favored form is that of an athletic, dark-skinned man, adroitly dueling with longsword and spell.
    -Portfolio: mastery-at-arms, magic (in general), honor, lore
    -Worshippers: wizards and sorcerers, loremasters, soldiers, paladins
    -Granted Domains: Magic, Spell, Competition, Pact

    -Scyllua, the Earth (Lesser Deity, LN): Of the lesser four gods, Scyllua is the least understood, almost as mysterious as Father Ean. She is a god of the wild places and the primal forces of the world. Scyllua has a minuscule following, smaller than Xiombarg’s almost.
    -Appearance: Scyllua has never manifested, so her form is unknown. Her faithful have called her the Green Mother however, so perhaps this is a clue as to her form.
    -Portfolio: nature, fire, air, earth, water
    -Worshippers: druids
    -Granted Domains: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Animal, Plant

    -Elwher, the Walker (Lesser Deity, CN): One of the most capricious of the gods, Elwher goes ere his feet take him. It is said that he walks the earth at all times, and that one must be kind to travelers, for it may be the god. His mood shifts with the wind, as does his direction, making Elwher mercurial and random in nature, fitting his role as lord of luck.
    -Appearance: Elwher does not have a single form, much like Hawkmoon. His favored form is that of an old man, dressed in robes.
    -Portfolio: travel, bards, knowledge, luck, trickery
    -Worshippers: bards, travelers, rogues, gamblers
    -Granted Domains: Travel, Trickery, Luck, Illusion


    Non-Human Gods:
    These are gods that are not a member of the Nine-Faced Lords.

    -Arthindol, the Terraseer (TN): Arthindol, the Seer to the Illithids, was originally a serpentes who discovered a dying god during the global wars of his time and was granted that god’s divine spark. He began to manipulate events towards a state of total peace and harmony between all races. So far, he has a long way to go.
    -Appearance: The Terraseer appears as a great, rainbow colored dragon-like creature, 40 feet wide, and 75 feet long. He also takes the form of a wizened humanoid male, dressed in rainbow colored robes, and carrying a book.
    -Portfolio: Knowledge, magic, balance
    -Worshippers: illithid sages, those who seek understanding, diplomats
    -Granted Domains: Magic, Spell, Knowledge, Balance

    -Vghotan (CN): Vghotan is the warrior god of the goblinoids. He advocates that the goblinoids are made stronger by their constant infighting, since only the strong survive. He preaches no mercy to fallen foes nor to strong allies, for mercy has no place in nature, and he who rules nature rules the world.
    -Appearance: Vghotan appears as a goblin warrior, clad in full plate, and clutching a massive blade in his hand. His skin is bloodied from battle, and his armor spikes are dirtied with the heads of his foes.
    -Portfolio: War, battle, strength, might-makes-right, goblinoids
    -Worshippers: Goblinoids of all subraces
    -Granted Domains: War, Death, Strength, Chaos

    -Illiseme (LN): The original god of the Illithids (before Arthindol appeared), Illiseme is a god of flight and psionics. Her doctrine says that respect for the living world is paramount, especially the flying things of the world. She and Arthindol often work together in guiding their favorite children.
    -Appearance: Illiseme appears as an illithid with brilliant green skin, flaming red eyes, and a pair of white-feathered wings. She is often floating, and many books and psicrystals orbit her as she moves.
    -Portfolio: Illithids, psionics, the sky, flight
    -Worshippers: Illithids, sentient winged creatures, psions
    -Granted Domains: Illithid, Air, Mind

    -The Dark Five (any E): The Dark Five are a group of qualnargan that have attained some sort of near god-hood, close enough to grant spells and powers. The Dark Five are Daggoth, Zasz, Nargil, Araq, and Kagg. Together they possess enough power and divine spark to serve as one faith.
    -Appearance: Fitting their role as a group of gods, and not just one god, the Sons have five appearances. Daggoth dresses in all black robes and cloaks. Zasz affects red and black dress with lots of spikes. Nargil prefers plate mail to clothes, and colors it with his foes’ blood. Araq has never been seen, so his appearance isn’t known. Finally, Kagg likes orange tunics and blue cloaks, along with his favored weapon, the quarterstaff.
    -Portfolio: Darkness, qualnargan, tyranny, mayhem, ascendancy
    -Worshippers: qualnargan, tyrants, thieves, divine aspirants
    -Granted Domains: Darkness, Tyranny, Qualnargan, Chaos


    Racial Statistics for Each True Race:
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    First, so people don't get uppity with me, "true race" means "player race" in this context. In the world context, it means a race that is recognized by the national powers to be a legitimate and true-breeding people.

    Second, the races! There is no fluff here, gonna be plenty of that in the above posts.

    Human:
    -+2 to any one stat, -2 to any one stat. Humans are versatile.
    -Medium size.
    -Humans gain one bonus feat at 1st level.
    -Humans gain the Skill Focus feat at 1st level for any skill they wish. This skill is forever considered a class skill. From birth all humans are trained by the Empire to perform some task, and so they are naturally good at that task.
    -Humans gain a +1 racial bonus on attacks against creatures with the goblinoid subtype. Due to the ancient blood feuds between Intolar and Khavghotan, humans are skilled at fighting goblinoids.
    -LA +0

    Surface "Pale" Elves
    -+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Wis, -2 Con. The pale elves are brilliant and nimble, due to their work with technological devices, but they lack caution and are not very durable.
    -Medium size.
    -Pale elves gain Skill Focus (any one Craft skill) at first level. Surface elves value the act of creation.
    -Pale elves gain Exotic Weapon Proficiency (steamblades) or (steambows). Elven society places a great deal of heft on being trained with their signature weapons.
    -Pale elves start the game with either a steamblade or a steambow (same as they chose the feat for).
    -LA: +0

    Pale Elf Note:
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    Pale elves gain a free weapon at level one. There are culture reasons for this. The weapon details are complex, but they're 2d6, 19-20/x2 weapons with the ability to burn actions to increase damage and/or attack. I don't feel this is OP currently, but since the weapon isn't up yet, I can't judge it atm. I'll post the weaponry sooner than later, so people can crunch it out and see if it's broken or not.


    True Elves:
    -+2 Con, +2 Wis, -2 Int, -2 Cha. The true elves are tough and sharp, due to living in their harsh underground environments, but they lack higher education and many of the social graces of the surface races.
    -Medium size.
    -True elves gain Darkvision 60 ft.
    -True elves gain a +2 racial bonus to Stealthy checks. Long centuries living underground in the dark and still environment of their birth have taught true elves to move quietly, lest foes arrive.
    -True elves gain a +1 racial bonus to their caster level when casting spells that involve vegetation or animals. The true elves are excellent at promoting growth of food crops and animals.
    -True elves are automatically proficient with the claw bracer and the chakram. These weapons are useful in the tight quarters of their underground environments.
    -LA: +0

    True Elf Note:
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    I use Pathfinder skills, thus the Stealthy thing.


    Dwarves:
    -+2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Int, -2 Cha. Dwarves are strong and tough, perfectly suited to the caves they inhabit, but due to their hive mind link, they are insular and crass.
    -Medium size. Though called “dwarves”, they are not dwarfs. The name stems from a human insult, not stature, though they tend towards the short end of the spectrum.
    -Hive Mind: Dwarves possess the ability to create and share in a hive-mind. While in a dwarven hivecity, all dwarves gain a number of benefits. They automatically sense the location and surface thoughts of all dwarves within 100 feet. They may communicate telepathically with dwarves within 50 feet of themselves. Lastly, the dwarves gain a +4 bonus to Int-based skill checks. While outside of a hivecity, a dwarf can build a weaker hivemind between itself and up to 10 others individuals so long as none of them have traveled further than a mile away from any others for at least one consecutive week. In such a hivemind, all members can sense the location and surface thoughts of each other within 50 feet, can communicate telepathically within 25 feet, and gain a +2 bonus on Int-based skill checks. These bonuses remain until at least one member of the hivemind dies or travels at least one mild away from another member.
    -Dwarves gain a +2 racial bonus on Strength checks. Dwarves are stocky and can bring quite a lot of strength to bear.
    -Tunnel Fighting: You take no penalty to AC or attack rolls while squeezing into or through a tight place. When fighting in a 5-foot square that is next to at least two walls (ceilings do not count) dwarves gain a +1 bonus to attacks and AC. They are trained to fight in cramped quarters.
    -Weapon Familiarity: Dwarves treat all weapons with “dwarven” in the name as martial weapons.
    -Dwarves have Darkvision 60 ft.
    -LA: +0

    Orogs:
    -+2 Str, +2 Cha, -2 Dex, -2 Int. Orogs are strong and very charismatic, but they are not very flexible nor bright.
    -Medium size.
    -Orogs gain +2 on all Charisma-based skill checks. Orogs are excellent talkers, despite their appearance.
    -Orogs are naturally ferocious, and as such do not lose consciousness when they are reduced to below zero hp. Instead, they remain active with no penalties until reduced to enough hp to be killed. If a spell or effect would render an orog disabled, they simply ignore it.
    -Orogs automatically fail saving throws against qualnargan spells, spell-like abilities, powers, mysteries, vestige powers, and everything similar. As orogs were slaves for thousands of years, they still retain their vulnerabilities.
    -Orogs are automatically proficient with the net and the bastard sword, having been drilled for years to learn them, they teach the skills to their children.
    -LA +0

    Trepek:
    -+2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Wis, -4 Cha; Trepek are agile and tough, thanks to their unusual construction. However, they are shut-ins with no knowledge of the outside world, and the way they perceive things turns off other creatures.
    -Trepek have the Construct [living] type. They are made from semi-organic metallic components.
    -Trepek have a move speed of 30 ft, along with a Climb speed of 10 ft.
    -A trepek gains Multi-Weapon Fighting as a bonus feat. They may fight with up to three limbs at once in normal circumstances, more if they are somehow prevented from collapsing.
    -Trepek gain a +2 racial bonus on Craft (any two) checks. They were created to be builders and workers, and their skill shows.
    -Trepek have a racial +8 bonus on Climb checks, and can take 10 even when rushed or threatened.
    -Trepek also gain a +4 racial bonus on Search checks and +2 racial bonus on Spot checks. They have impressive visual acuity, as any true craftsman should.
    -Adaptability: Trepek always have the right tool for the job, whether that job is laying bricks, washing dishes, or slaying goblins. A trepek may create, as per minor creation, a tool or non-magical simple weapon of their choice. This object lasts exactly as long as the task it is needed for lasts. For example, if a trepek is presented with a pile of dishes, and told to clean them, it may create a sponge and a bucket full of warm soapy water with which to clean said dishes. Once the dishes are clean, the bucket, water, and sponge all vanish. This ability may be used at will, and can not be used to create poisons, alchemical items, or magical objects.
    -Groupthink: Trepek, being the ultimate tool users, may use one another as a tool. As a full-round action, a trepek may link with up to five other silentium for the purpose of completing a large-scale non-combat task, such as constructing a building, or digging a mine shaft. For each trepek in the link, each trepek participating in the task gains a +2 bonus to the check. For example, 5 trepek link together to dig a trench. They each gain a +8 to their Craft checks to dig the trench (+2 for each other trepek).
    -Equipment Restrictions: Due to the unusual construction of their bodies, trepek have severe restrictions on what items they may use. They may only wear rings and belts. They may wear a single belt, strapped across their torso, and they may wear up to 5 rings on their tendrils (one each). They may use any item they can hold in one or two tendrils, such as weapons, shields, wands, staves, and rods. They may not use potions, wear armor, use most wondrous items, and so on.
    -LA +0.

    Illithids:
    -+4 Int, -2 Con, -2 Dex. Illithids are utterly brilliant, but frail and clumsy.
    -Medium size.
    -Illithids have telepathy out to 100 ft. They also gain the benefit of the Mindsight feat, but only for other illithids, and they may telepathically speak with any illithid found in this fashion, regardless if they can see one another or not.
    -Illithids have four natural tentacle attacks. Each deals 1d4+1/2 Str modifier bludgeoning damage.
    -Illithids can daze an opponent with a successful grapple check with their tentacles. On a successful grapple check, the opponent must make a Will save (DC=10+1/2 illithid's hit dice+Int mod) or be dazed for 1 round. The illithid can only use this power once every 1d4 rounds.
    -Illithids gain 2 power points at 1st level. They gain no powers known however, so they must take levels in a psionic class to gain powers.
    -LA +0

    Goblins:
    -+6 Dex, -2 Str, -2 Con, -2 Cha, -2 Int. Goblins are absurdly agile, but lack in almost every other area.
    -Small size.
    -Goblins are Humanoids with the (Goblinoid) subtype.
    -Goblins have a base land speed of 40 ft and a Climb speed of 10 ft. Goblins have learned to move fast and scale rocks and walls with speed to evade their larger cousins.
    -Goblins gain a +1 racial bonus on attacks against humans. Due to the ancient blood feuds between Intolar and Khavghotan, goblins are skilled at fighting humans.
    -Goblins gain the supernatural ability to cast a true strike spell when attacking a flat-footed opponent once per day as an immediate action. Goblins are the epitome of dirty fighting.
    -Goblins have Darkvision 60ft.
    -LA +0

    Hobgoblin:
    -+2 Str, +2 Int, -4 Wis. Hobgoblins are strong and smart, but are not very clever creatures.
    -Medium size.
    -Hobgoblins are Humanoids with the (Goblinoid) subtype.
    -Hobgoblins are automatically proficient with the halberd and the spear. These weapons are used heavily in the fortress cities of their birth, and hobgoblins use them ceaselessly from adolescence onwards.
    -Demoralizing Yell (Ex): Hobgoblins may shout once/encounter in their native tongue. This yell causes all non-goblinoids who hear it to become shaken for 1 round/hit die of the hobgoblin that used it, with a Fort save (DC 10+1/2 HD of the user+the user's Cha mod) to negate. A creature can only be affected by Demoralizing Yell once per day, make or fail the save.
    -Paranoia: The crushing paranoia and brutal environment of the hobgoblin cities has bred a lack of social skills into hobgoblin stock. Hobgoblins suffer a -4 racial bonus to Diplomacy, Sense Motive, and Bluff checks
    -LA +0

    Ogre:
    -+2 Str, +2 Con, +2 Wis, -4 Dex, -4 Cha. Ogres are strong, tough, and wise, but very clumsy and very abrasive and harsh.
    -Medium size.
    -Ogres have a base land speed of 20 ft.
    -Ogres are Monstrous Humanoids with the (Goblinoid) subtype.
    -Powerful Build: The physical stature of an ogre lets him function in many ways as if he were one size category larger. Whenever an ogre is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as during grapple checks, bull rush attempts, and trip attempts), the ogre is treated as one size larger if doing so is advantageous to him. An ogre is also considered to be one size larger when determining whether a creature’s special attacks based on size (such as improved grab or swallow whole) can affect him. An ogre can use weapons designed for a creature one size larger without penalty. However, his space and reach remain those of a creature of his actual size. The benefits of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject’s size category.
    -Extended Magics (Su): Whenever an ogre is targeted by a spell that increases their Str, Dex, Con, or AC by any amount, the duration of the spell doubles. If the spell effects multiple creatures, this increased duration only applies to the ogres. Ogres are mauling brutes on the battlefield; they are normally forced to participate in long battles as shock troopers. As such, if beneficial magic failed, ogres would lose most of their protection and resilience against enemy attacks. Ogres, over long periods of time, have adapted their bodies to absorb and retain magic longer than other creatures. However, as their bodies are keen to absorb and retain magic, they suffer a -2 penalty to all saving throws against spells and spell-like effects as their bodies subconsciously attempt to absorb even harmful effects.
    -LA +0

    Kobold:
    -+2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, -6 Cha
    -Small size.
    -Kobolds are Monstrous Humanoids with the (Goblinoid) subtype.
    -Spell Affinity: Kobolds are masters of both death and fire magic, and as such gain a +1 racial caster level bonus on all necromancy and fire spells
    -Kobolds gain the ability to cast create darkflame once per day. (See the Magic of Khavghotan section above for details).
    -Kobolds gain a +4 racial bonus to Stealthy and Survival checks. Living in cramped underground warrens has forced them to learn to adapt to anything.
    -Xenophobia: Kobolds suffer from severe xenophobia, and so gain a -10 racial bonus to Diplomacy checks.
    -Kobolds have Darkvision 60 ft.
    -LA +0

    To-Come:
    -Tasloi, Varags, and probably Gnolls. I'm unsure if I want to bring Ibixians to the LA +0 party, but if desired, I'll come up with something. Finally, I want thoughts about something else unique to give Ogres. They're... bland atm, something I hate.


    Regions:
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    Introduced in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting was the concept of the Region and Regional Feats. In Zaaman-Rul, I've adapted that concept and fiddled with it somewhat. Each character (NPCs included) gains a bonus feat at first level that must be used on a regional feat, each of which does a few things. First, it indicates the area your character is from, so sometimes a major city or region of a nation. Second, it indicates what languages you have by default. Third, it gives you certain bonus gear. Fourth, it indicates what your favored class, if any, is. Finally, each regional feat has a unique and flavorful bonus attached to it. Some regional feats are racially specific, others are not. Some regional feats have prerequisites, most don't though. Save for a rare few (Outcast, Adventurer), all regional feats must be taken at level 1 and cannot be taken thereafter. Check the "Feats of <Place>" sections above to see regional feats. Outcast and Adventurer will be... somewhere. XD


    Languages:
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    There are a multitude of languages in Zaaman-Rul, each of which has its own special place and unique nature. Here are described every known and recorded language, along with a simple phrase in it that illustrates the nature of the tongue.

    • Common: Just what it says, the "lingua franca" as we might say. Common is not a complete language though and cannot be used to communicate deep and complex scenarios and concepts. Common is mostly used for inter-species trading, and is regarded as poor form to use in communiques between experts, friends, or scientists. Example: "How much does the sword cost?"
    • Intolian: The language of Intolar, and that of humanity. Intolian is a harsh sounding language that has around a dozen slurs for every non-human species known. Intolian is characterized by short, choppy wording with lots of hard k, x, and t sounds. Example: "Chek toh ketx." This is a slur against ogres ("ketx" is ogre).
    • Qualith: The language of the illithids of Orlyndol, Qualith is a precise and sharply defined language, with dozens upon dozens of terms for art, science, and creative works. Qualith has no spoken form that can be recognized, instead being a purely written language, used for record keeping. Qualith also has translation issues, since it's a mental language. Qualith has a strong emotional and connotational nature, and so can't be directly translated, as the emotions and connotations of the words are lost in the translation.
    • Low Elven: Despite the name, Low Elven is the tongue of the pale elves of Alykandor, and is so named due to the schism of the elves in ancient times, with Low Elven being the language spoken by the losing side in that war. Low Elven is a flowing and fluid language, with many loanwords from other tongues. Example: "Shoak thulas ssa'ma." This translates to "The boiler is leaking."
    • High Elven: Only spoken by the true elves of the cavernous realms beneath the earth, High Elven is an uncommon, at best, language. Still, with the true elven return to interaction with the pale elves, and so the rest of the world, High Elven is spreading across the world. High Elven is similar to Low Elven in that it's a very fluid-sounding language, but unlike Low, it has no loanwords or influence by other languages, making it perhaps among the purest languages known. Example: "Juth s'thesa n'cual." This translates to "It is very bright."
    • Dwarven: A foreign language to many in more than one sense, Dwarven shares more with Qualith than with any other tongue, in that it is mostly telepathic in nature. However, unlike Qualith, it has a written component as well. Dwarven is incomplete without the written component, and cannot be used for complete communication without something to write on. Dwarven runes (the written component), called Dethek, communicates only in hard data, such as numbers, facts, denotes the punctuation and spacing of the communication, and other such hard and fast facts. Dwarven's telepathic component communicates all the abstract and intangible information, such as emotion, thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. Because of this, translation of Dwarven is difficult, though not entirely impossible, since a rune set does exist, unlike Qualith, which is functionally impossible to translate.
    • Khavghotani: Khavghotani is a complicated language. There are at least 8 known dialects of Khavghotani, each one originating with a specific subrace of goblinoid. It is known that the goblins claim their language is High Goblin, the semi-mythical language of the first goblin nation thousands of years ago. However, the actual source is unclear. Each dialect of Khavghotani shares a root language that is now lost (believed by linguists to be the true High Goblin of that ancient kingdom), and is mostly similar. The largest differences are in pronunciation and in lexicon (for example, Goblin Khavghotani has no word for love, but 33 words for murder, whereas Motramr Khavghotani has two words for love and only four for murder). Example (in Common Khavghotani, the internal trade language and the language referred to in other nations as "Khavghotani"): "Q'plah! Juu do'gaH!" This translates to "Victory! Death and glory!" This is a common battlecry.
    • Tasloi: To-Come
    • Arcanic: To-Come
    • Draconic: To-Come
    • Trepek: To-Come


    Language Acquisition comes in Three Tiers:
    Tier 1: Languages from your home region. Additionally, common is always a Tier 1 language. Tier 1 languages rarely have to be purchased, since you almost always start with the only Tier 1 language around. Tier 1 languages cost 1 skill point to learn. Example: a character who takes the Chontian regional feat begins with Intolian and Common, which are her Tier 1 languages. If she instead took the Intolian regional feat, she would be required to purchase Common if she wanted to speak it.

    Tier 2: Any languages in the "Language" line of the nation the character's regional feat is from that the character does not already possess and is not a hidden language. Tier 2 languages cost 2 skill points to learn.

    Tier 3: Any other language that is not listed as a hidden language. Tier 3 languages cost 3 skill points to learn.

    Hidden: A hidden language can only be learned through a character's regional feat, or by spending 6 skill points. Arcanic and Druidic are examples of hidden languages.


    Included Classes in Zaaman-Rul:
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    Class Inclusion List:
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    • Barbarian (PF version)
    • Fighter (PF version+a few tweaks of my own)
    • Monk (probably a fixed one)
    • Wizard (PF version with a few nerfs)
    • Sorcerer (PF version)
    • Cleric (PF version)
    • Bard (PF version)
    • Rogue (PF version)
    • Ranger (PF version)
    • Binder
    • Shadowcaster (w/ Mouseferatu's fixes firmly in place)
    • Beguiler
    • Duskblade
    • Knight
    • Hexblade
    • Swashbuckler (will be included in one form or another; this may become part of Monk, actually)
    • Ninja
    • Favored Soul
    • Warlock
    • Warmage (will be buffed somewhat)
    • Scout
    • Rearranger (pending an update to kill those dead levels or at least reduce them somewhat)
    • Corruptor (ignore what Temotei called it, I call it the corruptor; Temotei's approval for inclusion)
    • Magitech Templar, Mark VIII (this class is in, but I'm not quite sure how yet, I do want to use it though;permission from Person_Man for inclusion)


    To Be Created:
    • The Savant (Illithid)
    • The Techmage (Pale Elven)
    • The Zealot (Human)
    • The Warlord (Orog)
    • The Shaman (Khavhgotani)
    • The Shadow
    • The Juggernaut



    The "Maybe"s"
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    • Psion/Psychic Warrior (not sure on the necessity of psionics atm)
    • Artificer (contingent on how the Techmage turns out)
    • Jester (overlap with Bard is concerning)
    • Death Master/Dread Necromancer (one is getting in, the other is getting tossed, which is which? I have no idea yet)
    • Druid (still chewing on this one, leaning towards in, haven't decided yet)
    • Spellthief (frankly, I dislike this class, but that's not why it's here; it's here because I see no need to include it, no one ever uses it, no one except for Fax Celestis seems to even LIKE it, and it's 1 unique mechanic could better go elsewhere; may be rolled into the Shadow class)
    • Extinguisher (this may make it, depending on where the Shadow goes; may be rolled into the Shadow)



    The "Not Appearing in This Film"s:
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    • The ToB classes.
    • Sha'ir
    • Savant (Dragon Compendium)
    • Dragonfire Adept
    • Dragon Shaman
    • Paladin
    • Wilder
    • Soulknife
    • Erudite
    • Truenamer
    • Battle Dancer
    • Mountebank
    • Samurai (either one)
    • Wu Jen
    • Shugenja
    • Spirit Shaman
    • Marshal (turned into Warlord)
    • Healer
    • Factotum (possible move to Maybe)
    • Archivist (prayerbook is going to be an ACF for clerics; Dark Knowledge will go somewhere, not sure where yet)
    • Lurk
    • Divine Mind
    • Ardent



    The NPC Classes:
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    • Adept
    • Aristocrat
    • Warrior
    • Commoner
    • Expert
    • Apprentice (Adept but arcane, has a minor ability or two, will be forthcoming in later updates, probably).




    Naming Conventions:
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    Intolian
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    An Intolian has three names, the face name used with others, the family name used with family and friends, and the faith name used with clergy and the divine. Face names are their most commonly understood and heard names and tend to be short monosyllabic names. Family names are typically hyphenated, each individual portion is similar to face names. It is worth noting that family names are often, but not always, an amalgam of an individual's parents names (ie. Qwib Jol-Gah is the child of Jol and Gah). Finally, the faith name is a name kept private between the individual and their clergyman, and is used in confession and other matters of faith. Faith names are often long compared to face and family names.

    Sample face names: Qwib, Jut, Tak, Barc, Oli, Mort
    Sample family names: Jol-Gah, Neh-Bav, Sat-Xum
    Sample faith names: Jumlith, Raghof, Visurgk
    Sample full name: Tay Gih-Pur Wednaih


    Khavghotani
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    Most Khavghotani have a single name they go by and then a clan or tribe designation. Their names, like their language, are guttural and harsh. Clan names are descriptions of the clan, thematic markers that describe the nature of the clan.

    Sample names: Grakk, Kerrn, Rrarg, Verrz, Torlg, Tazok
    Sample clan names: Bloodspill, Render, Harvester, Gutter, Fireholder, Steelspitter
    Sample full name: Jerr Burnsword


    Orlyndol
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    The illithids, not using spoken language, do not have names as other races understand the concept. Instead, illithids identify themselves via a succession of rapid-fire telepathic images that include their birth city, occupation, notable achievements, friendships, mentor/apprenticeships, and other such indications of character. Since such a barrage of images is nigh-impossible for non-illithids to interpret, much less respond to, illithids generally adopt a designation to go by that others can understand, much like a name. However, these illithid designations are not considered names among the illithids themselves and hold no emotional or sentimental value. Many times, an illithid wishing to change their image among non-illithids will change their designation at a whim, indicating a change in personality or nature.

    Sample designations: Qootil, Zxart, Kzeel, Vtaran, Ssvaki, Juquott


    Alykandor
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    The elves are much more poetic than other races when it comes to their name, showcasing their racial bias towards artistic expression. Alykandorian naming conventions include an individual's given name (first name and family name) and at the age of adulthood the personal name is selected. The first name is the name used to identify a specific individual, as the family name is shared among the family. The personal name is chosen by the individual and is highly personal. In Alykandorian culture, sharing the personal name is a sign of great trust and respect. Personal names are as varied as the weather, and cannot be generalized in any way.

    Sample first names: Seltor, Liliet, Felcar, Muykan, Poissir, Culu, Harssih
    Sample family names: Weaill, Jaeiu, Hazieu, Koaef, Malion
    Sample full name: Jefaf Gultian Moonflower


    Trepek
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    Trepek, much like illithids, don't see the utility of names in their own culture. All trepek are provided with a serial number upon creation and as their language is numerically based it works easily to simply provide the serial number as identification. However, other species have proven to have difficulty remembering 8-digit serial numbers, and so trepek often choose a mathematical designation of some variety. The exact designation is up to the trepek in question, but is usually something simple, often a play upon the trepek's serial number. For example, a trepek with serial number 94827440 might choose 4x3 as his general designation.

    Sample designations: 12/4, 8x6, 3^3, 9-1, 2√4
    There is a single unbroken rule of trepek designations worth noting. Trepek never choose a designation involving the number 0 or the ∞ symbol, believing that such designations are reserved for the divine entity 1/5 (despite that entity lacking either a 0 or ∞ in its designation).


    True Elves:
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    True elven names are complex both to write and to speak. The true elves believe that a person's entire life should be encapsulated in their name, and so their names are absurdly lengthy and detailed. In a sense, this is very similar to what the illithids do among themselves, but the true elves add a sense of mysticism and ritual to the giving of a name. In fact, the exchange of names between two individuals is a detailed ritual accounting that can take hours, depending on the age and accomplishments of the individuals in question.

    However, that's not very practical for every day use, so the true elves tend to select a single section of their total name to use as their daily identifier. For example, an youth's true name may be Kar'Jay'Moulai'Brravk'Cxeta'Pelios, but since saying that is complicated and lengthy, they may go by a single section, perhaps Cxeta or Brravk.

    Sample true elven names are impossible to provide, simply due to the vast variance of sections of the name. Many true elves use foreign words in their true name to denote time spent with other races and even include other individual's names. On rare occasion, a true elf may add the true name of a fallen lover or child to their name, to honor their memory and carry it with them. Each individual's true name tells their life story, and is as unique and personalized as the one who carries it.


    Dwarven:
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    Dwarven language actually lends itself well to names. Dethek, the dwarven runic set, accepts individual runes with ease, meaning all dwarves have a single rune that represents them, much like a signature. The exact meanings of the dwarven runes are not really translatable, but often include a name to be addressed by and indicate something the individual is known for, such as their temper, a famous accomplishment, a well-known family or hive, or some such identifier.

    Sample names: Duloss, Ruutham, Raamog, Wetet, Iiapa, Veetor
    Sample identifiers: Flamemind, Bellyup, Hardhand, Elfscourge, Stoutshield

    Last edited by arguskos; 2012-02-07 at 04:17 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Wow. Knowing the history is nice.

    It'll be cool to see how our idea-throwing influenced the Intolians and Khagvotan.

    Not much else to say for now, other than that I appear to have had several very similar ideas while crafting the first bits of my own setting. It'll be interesting to see how the two are alike later.

    EDIT: A question. If access to the other planes is impossible, then where do souls go? Do they exist normally in ZR? Do souls just sort of wander the Material Plane when they die?
    Last edited by PersonMan; 2010-10-16 at 04:08 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    Wow. Knowing the history is nice.
    That's a crazy abbreviated history. I had the whole thing worked out once on paper. Was like 50 pages long. Lost it to my last comp self-detonation.

    It'll be cool to see how our idea-throwing influenced the Intolians and Khagvotan.
    Somewhat, but not too much. Other factors played on them more (in Intolar's case, the Imperium from Warhammer 40k and the Terran Dominion from Starcraft; in Khavghotan's case, that's hard to pin down, probably the orcish hordes from the Forgotten Realms, and the fall of Myth Drannor)

    Not much else to say for now, other than that I appear to have had several very similar ideas while crafting the first bits of my own setting. It'll be interesting to see how the two are alike later.
    Well, great minds think alike!

    EDIT: A question. If access to the other planes is impossible, then where do souls go? Do they exist normally in ZR? Do souls just sort of wander the Material Plane when they die?
    Answered that in the first post, which will contain the cosmology, the world map, the basic overview, the solar system, and perhaps a few other tidbits of lolery.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2010-10-16 at 04:50 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    When you say 5 people ascended to godhood, what exactly does godhood imply in this story? Nigh unstoppable beings? Creatures that can grant powers to others but are fundamentally denied the material plane?

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    That's a crazy abbreviated history. I had the whole thing worked out once on paper. Was like 50 pages long. Lost it to my last comp self-detonation.
    Yeesh. Similar happened to me, but not as extreme.
    Somewhat, but not too much. Other factors played on them more (in Intolar's case, the Imperium from Warhammer 40k and the Terran Dominion from Starcraft; in Khavghotan's case, that's hard to pin down, probably the orcish hordes from the Forgotten Realms, and the fall of Myth Drannor)
    Eh. Still, it'll be interesting.
    Well, great minds think alike!
    I agree.

    Answered that in the first post, which will contain the cosmology, the world map, the basic overview, the solar system, and perhaps a few other tidbits of lolery.
    Good. I eagerly await more updates.
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    When you say 5 people ascended to godhood, what exactly does godhood imply in this story? Nigh unstoppable beings? Creatures that can grant powers to others but are fundamentally denied the material plane?
    Divinity. They are gods, in the D&D understanding of gods. The Dark Five (Daggoth, Zasz, Nargil, Araq, and Kagg) were Qualnargan that are now divine entities. They grant spells, they have a divine realm, they have divine rank, etc. They also cannot exist on the Prime Material, for that is a caveat of godhood in this world, that divine beings are denied the Material Plane as a facet of their being.

    EDIT: Ok, I'll include a note in Post 8 about the nature of divinity in Z-R. Also, expect updates in Intolar today and the basic information for nearly every nation today as well. Or, that's the plan.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2010-10-16 at 04:57 PM.

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    wink Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    That's a good looking map, Argus? Where'd you get it?

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Hmmm. When you say the connections were precarious in the Zar System do you mean that they aren't elsewhere? Or is the Zar system the entire Material Plane?
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    That's a good looking map, Argus? Where'd you get it?
    AWWSNAPS. Totally forgot to credit you dude! Thanks for the smack across the gob about that one! Sorry man. Fixed that up and all that.

    Quote Originally Posted by PersonMan View Post
    Hmmm. When you say the connections were precarious in the Zar System do you mean that they aren't elsewhere? Or is the Zar system the entire Material Plane?
    Bingo.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2010-10-16 at 05:06 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    AWWSNAPS. Totally forgot to credit you dude! Thanks for the smack across the gob about that one! Sorry man.


    Bingo.
    At least you credited him in the other thread. Fifty percent is still failing, though, I guess.

    Also, I just got an idea not even related to any concept in this setting from reading your post before this one.
    Homebrew
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by Temotei View Post
    At least you credited him in the other thread. Fifty percent is still failing, though, I guess.
    Yeaaaaaah, I fail sometimes.

    Also, I just got an idea not even related to any concept in this setting from reading your post before this one.
    Hit me. I'm curious. If it is the implication of other star systems, well, I beat you to it. I just haven't begun to mention them yet, nor did I mention that Golenih is not native to the Zar System, having been brought there by the Fathers from their home system millennia ago.

    Also, the Rules of Divinity are posted.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2010-10-16 at 05:08 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    A list of the deities would be nice, too...
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by DMofDarkness View Post
    A list of the deities would be nice, too...
    Ohgoddammit, I forgot that didn't I? Well, I'll get that up too. Note that the list won't be complete nor all that extensive. The names are also mostly cribbed from elsewhere (props if you figure out wherefrom ).

    EDIT: 'sdone. I don't have the Dark Prince in there, nor the pale elven deity or the dwarven deity. I haven't even decided if the orogs or trepek HAVE a god, but if they do, I'll add them as appropriate.

    EDIT: Some of Intolar is done. Looooots more to go though.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2010-10-16 at 05:59 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    AWWSNAPS. Totally forgot to credit you dude! Thanks for the smack across the gob about that one! Sorry man.
    S'cool, bro. We're all good here. I'm always glad to be of service.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rules of Divinity
    No creature may be a Divinity more than twice.
    What does this exactly mean? More than twice? Does that mean that a Divinity can lose their status, get it back as a second chance, & then lose it again? But that time, it's for real?

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    S'cool, bro. We're all good here. I'm always glad to be of service.
    Coolio. Sorry again that I forgot it.

    What does this exactly mean? More than twice? Does that mean that a Divinity can lose their status, get it back as a second chance, & then lose it again? But that time, it's for real?
    Actually, yes, precisely. You'll note how a Divinity can have their status revoked by the others? Should they achieve it again (entirely possible), that's their last chance. If they lose it twice, it's over and they are mortal permanently. It's a kind of "well, you made us revoke it twice, so you're banned from the club for good" sorta thing.
    Last edited by arguskos; 2010-10-16 at 06:22 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Brilliant history! I will be watching it closely since it has a strong element of shadow magic.

    However i didn't quite understood Zaaman-Rul's connection with the Plane of Shadows. It is accessible only from the core of the planet or everywhere on it (with the right magic)? Can it be used as a conduit for fast travel (via shadow walk for example)? Can someone teleport to or from it? What are the consequences of using shadow magic, and who uses it nowadays? And most importantly what lives there (or is speculated to live there )?

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Shouldn't one of the nine human deities be TN? I think the Earth Mother looks pretty TN to me.

    Anyway: This is pretty awesome so far. Can't wait to see more.

    What kind of classes are available in this world, in a general sense? I'm already thinking of character concepts.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by peacenlove View Post
    Brilliant history! I will be watching it closely since it has a strong element of shadow magic.
    Excellent!

    However i didn't quite understood Zaaman-Rul's connection with the Plane of Shadows. It is accessible only from the core of the planet or everywhere on it (with the right magic)? Can it be used as a conduit for fast travel (via shadow walk for example)? Can someone teleport to or from it? What are the consequences of using shadow magic, and who uses it nowadays? And most importantly what lives there (or is speculated to live there )?
    The core of the planet is composed of equal parts molten rock and shadow magic. The heavy concentration of shadow magic permitted a clever deity in ages past to rip open a planar nexus between that location on Z-R and the Plane of Shadow. Think manifest zones from Eberron. It cannot really do anything special, unless you get there, which is so hard it's functionally impossible.

    As for shadow magic... hold your horses. I need to get all the fluff down before I start crunching! Same with what lives there. Gotta get to the Edge before you find that out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milskidasith View Post
    Shouldn't one of the nine human deities be TN? I think the Earth Mother looks pretty TN to me.
    1. There are actually ten of them.

    2. Ean is TN. If you mean why is one of his children not TN, well, that's because he didn't balance it out perfectly, which tells you something about the gods, namely, they aren't perfect.

    Anyway: This is pretty awesome so far. Can't wait to see more.
    Awesome! Glad you're interested and excited.

    What kind of classes are available in this world, in a general sense? I'm already thinking of character concepts.
    Settle down there, Mils! I haven't gotten to the Player's Guide yet! Let me draw up the unique new racial base classes before we talk about characters!

    The only thing I can say with certainty right now is that I as a DM do not permit ToB. I won't debate this for any reason. I have my reasons, they don't involve the fluff at all (fluff is mutable, hurrdurrdurr), and don't want to spark a debate, so please, to anyone who gets their hackles up at that, just take a deep breath. Currently, I think almost everything else is go, though Incarnum likely won't be showing up (unfamiliarity with the system notwithstanding, it just doesn't have a place right now).
    Last edited by arguskos; 2010-10-16 at 10:48 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Huh... well, I think the illithids will be an interesting race. In the other thread, you mentioned them being a player race. Just curious, will they be LA +0, or what?
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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    Quote Originally Posted by DMofDarkness View Post
    Huh... well, I think the illithids will be an interesting race. In the other thread, you mentioned them being a player race. Just curious, will they be LA +0, or what?
    All players races are LA +0. That is intentional, as I want everyone to be playable from the get-go. I don't like LA as a design mechanic, and don't want to include it if I can avoid it (which I can).

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    Default Re: [3.5, Campaign Setting] Zaaman-Rul, the Dying World

    I don't suppose you could give us an abbreviated guide of who lives where so we don't have to scan every inch of the thread for it, can ye?

    As far as classes, I predict that there are absolutely zero monks in this setting, what with outsiders not being allowed to exist on the planet and all.
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