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- Jan 2019
Askavos: The Kingdoms of the Scale
I'm thinking about developing a new campaign world that was inspired by a post on the Piazza message boards about alternative Mystaras. This was the original post:
The Scaly Kingdoms
The Carnifex Empire fails to fall on schedule and its reptilian sorcerers overwhelm the fledgling human kingdoms of Thonia and Blackmoor, establishing themselves as the peerless masters of the world. Even a great fiery cataclysm caused by Carnifex sorcerer-technologists attempting to retro-engineer a crashed starship's drive fails to unthrone the reptiles as the dominant life form on the world of Mystara.
Thousands of years later, the Known World is still ruled by the scaled ones. On the eastern coast, an emirate of dry-skinned lizard men continues the ancient traditions of the Carnifex, while to the south the vital, aggressive Thysscythic Imperium casts slaves to battle to the death in its arenas and maneuvers toward war with an empire of upstart humans, the Alphatians, who have managed to establish a small empire in the isles of the east despite competition from the Thothian lizardfolk and their spidery pharoahs on the Isle of Dawn. The Thysscythians dominate the Grand Duchy of Karrassthos, whose slimy-skinned natives resist the imperials even as some of them revere Grand Duke Sstaaven Karrassthos as the reincarnation of a legendary Carnifex ruler who defended them against mammalian beast-folk in ancient times and promised he would return in their hour of greatest need.
North of Karrassthos the merchant-lords of Darossthin contend over gold, silk, spices, narcotics, eggs, carrion, and slaves. Their republic completely surrounds an enchanted forest created by the magic of a race of mantis-like insectoids whose enchanted moths weave them cities of silk in the canopies of the trees. To the west, the spirit of a Carnifex master inhabits the body of a reptilian lord in the foreboding desert of Haaal, mustering the desert nomads for an attack on the riches of the east. Wizards of a variety of reptilian, insectoid, amphibious, and even mammalian races (including some Alphatian descendants) contend in the Principalities of Morrgharth, a mountainous realm of exotic magic built around a mysterious source of radiation. Nearby, in the Steppes of Essthengar, nomadic lizardmen ride swift-legged birds across the spirit-haunted plains.
In the Broken Lands dwell twisted horrors, creatures who are seemingly hybrids of many reptilian and insectoid species. Their king, Sssthar, has forged a semblance of order among the croaking, weeping, rasping hordes, and they may soon prove a major threat to the surrounding lands.
Besides lizardfolk of various kinds, cay-men, gatormen, tuataramen, chameleonmen, yuan-ti, iguanamen, frost and flame salamanders, geckomen, froglins, komododragonmen, and various avian creatures are all found within the Known World and its surrounding lands, replacing the mammalian creatures known on Mystara Prime. Cay-men dominate the Shirelands, while the Rock Lizard People rule the mountains between Darossthin and the Ice Lizard People of the Northern Reaches.
Rules of the World
While the Scaly Kingdoms may seem to just be a clone of Mystara Prime with humans changed to lizardmen, there are actually many differences. It's more racially diverse than Mystara Prime, with humanoid versions of most reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, and insects represented somewhere on the planet. It's morally darker than Mystara Prime, as the cold-blooded reptile people are unable to muster the compassion of mammals. Slavery is commonplace in every nation, and no one thinks anything is wrong with consuming sentient species for food. While Alphatia exists, this is not a world for mammals, and it is therefore smaller, weaker, and even more decadent than its equivalent on Mystara Prime. In order to compete with reptiles, the Alphatians have adopted many of their mores and values; they dress in scaled clothing and use their magic to create deplorable drugs to sell to wealthy reptiles as they laze about in the sun. Even in their own lands they are forced to grant nobility to magically talented reptiles, avians, and amphibians, who hold seats in their council and have even occasionally ruled as emperors and empresses in past dynasties (though their current empress, Eriadna, is human). The Alphatians of the Scaly Kingdoms routinely practice cannibalism on their muggle slaves and, despite their magic, are viewed with contempt by all other nations as presumptuous members of a race on par with hated disease-carrying and egg-devouring rats and mice. Some of the Alphatian descendants in Morrgharth are infected with a form of lycanthropy that allows them to shapeshift to reptilian form, and the initiates of the Order of the Dragon, able to shapeshift into draconic shape, are supreme among mammals. Vampires and liches, in comparison, are of only lowly status there.
Here are the ideas I have worked out so far:
Civilization began with the mighty Carnifex Empire, which dabbled extensively in blight magic and drenched their great pyramids with the blood of myriad sacrifices various abominable otherwordly patrons, including the Great Old Ones and the Infernals (of the Iron Kingdoms variety).
After an age of unsurpassed dominance, the carnifex were destroyed in an event known as the Great Fire. The exact nature of this cataclysm is unknown, but it has left its marks across the face of Askavos in the forms of gigantic impact zones and strange whirl wind formations, as if the land itself were twisted by the force of the disaster. The dreadful remnants of the carnifex civilization can still be seen across the face of Askavos, such as in monumental tombs and the Obsidian Gates by which the ancient carnifex used to travel across their vast domains.
The fall of the carnifex empire, which was in fact split among itself between at least two prominent factions, one on the northern continent of Brasthilass, and the other on the southern continent of Kativosh, permitted the ascent of other reptilian powers, former vassals or rivals of the carnifex, such as the xulgath/troglodytes of Xulguthor and the incipient Chromatic Council of the Thysscythic Imperium.
However, recent omens, including a reign of meteors, suggest that the prophesied return of the carnifex may be at hand... undead masters call upon their dreadful powers and blight the land, promising to give all of its inhabitant's souls over to their malign patrons...
The humanoid races on the Continent of Brasthilass are the remnants of several kingdoms that coexisted with the Carnifex Empire, but were all destroyed.
Some part of humanity escaped to a red planet known as Zuglath. Their civilization prospered and achieved a space age level of technology. These survivors occasionally attempt to aid their imperiled kin on Askavos, though their are wary of too direct of aid, since the serpent peoples have long suspected something amiss in the seeming implacability of the sundry Würm tribes of remnant humans, and would certainly attempt to invade Zuglath were they certain of their existence.
The elven civilization was overrun by thri-kreen and other insectile forces, and the vast majority of modern elves are savage or wild elves who employ their powerful bond with the forces of nature, including the great wolves and treants, to protect themselves from scaled civilization.
The majority of dwarves are derro and duegar, as well as several additional, less known subraces. The albino and gray dwarves were created by the magical and climatalogical catastrophe that ended the reign of the carnifex. Their primary point of contact with the surface world is the Great Crater, located near the center of Brasthilass.
The halflings are equivalent to rhulisti of Dark Sun. They used to inhabit the southern shore of Brasthilass, but emigrated under pressure from various scaly races to the Karranandan Isles in the Sea of Phantoms. This community split when a portion turned to the dark arts of nature-bending, and fled for the remote reaches of the Amandanese Islands within the furthest reaches of the Sea of Phantoms. Both have since grown to a large population that is intermittently poached by the slavers from the Sea Barons of Occaela, other maritime powers of the Sea of Phantoms, and the remaining slaver nations of the Golden Circlet.
The gnomes are the devil-worshiping 'red-caps' of Midgard, a race of devil-binders who traffic with the dark forces of Hell to protect them from the various scaly races. Their population is concentrated behind the protective hexes of the Crimson Vale, where they dwell in occult splendor in the nine dark cities of Azmudean, Cheshamosh, Cherngnaborg, Gulguggon, Dissaspitar, Vanaverus, Malabranche, Bolgeorgauth, and Goroggonis.
Any crazy ideas for areas/kingdoms?
Here are my current plans:
Continent of Brasthilass
The Empire of Thysscythia is dominated by chromatic dragons, and ruled by the Chromatic Council, and their kin, and the primary population is made up of kobolds. One of their main foes are the Yuan-Ti of the island nation of Xaphoon in the Sea of Phantoms.
The Grand Duchy of Karrassthos occupied the eastern half of the former troglodyte realm of Xulgothar, which was conquered by lizardman knights riding dinosaurs. The western half of Xulgothar is dominated by one of the large helix formations with which that the Great Fire marked the world.
The Sea of Phantoms to the South of Brassthilas includes the Sinking Land, a territory that appears to have been destabilized by the Great Fire. It was once the preserve of a remarkable civilization.
The southern portion of the Brasthilass Continent is termed the Golden Circlet, or the Brass Crown. It is a collection of slaver states that form a ring of islands and coastal realms that stretch from the southern realm of Yuqhuacan, to the Cannibal Coast. They surround the Isle of Preleban, the center of the slave trade. These nations are distinguished from the northern reptilian states, that primarily keep humanoids as pets and cattle, but not as the mainstay of their labor force.
I'm planning on using all the gods and demon lords associated with any of these races from various DnD and Pathfinder sources for the gods of this world. There will also be large cults dedicated to the Great Old Ones/Outer beings, and important societies of alienists/far realms associated summoners. The kobolds will also have a not insignificant number of dragon cults dedicated to epic wyrms.
Continent of Kativosh
South of Brasthilass is the realm of Kativosh, which is dominated by pseudonatural creatures, abominations, the wasted remnants of one branch of the carnifex civilization, and has the highest concentration of strange land forms as a result of the Great Fire. The strange helix formations which are observed in some regions of the Golden Circlet nations, distort at least half of the land, and the center of the continent is ripped open in an enormous gash which extends into the Orv vaults and the Hollow World.
The northern coast is dominated by several nations of the Golden Circlet alliance. The interior is taken up by Yuan-ti and Sarrukh kingdoms, many of which venerate the Slaad lords. Large nomadic societies of jungle orcs, trolls, ogres, and minotaurs dominate the southern half of the continent.
Continent of Sarapedon
To the east of Brasthilas, across the Ocean of Dusk, lies the lands of the Mageocracy of Thammuz. This isolated human power is famed for their bound maelephant servitors, including the gigantic oliphaunts that protect the land from draconic invasion. The realm resembles the height of ancient Thassilon, with a number of runelords dominating different provinces.
Hidden within the realm of Thammuz is the secret society of the Dragonslayers, who work tirelessly to overthrow the Empire of Thysscythia.
Continent of Acerackis
This arctic continent is dominated by several polar races, including the dire polar bears, walrus men, and foxlike lupins. A breed of arctic lizard men and white dragons war ceaselessly with these other races.
Last edited by Marcarius5555; 2020-10-08 at 10:14 AM.
- Join Date
- Jan 2019
Re: Askavos: The Kingdoms of the Scale
The Great Fire, the Borders, the Flamewalkers
The Great Fire was invoked by the draconic enemies of the Carnifex, and resulted in the dissolution of their once preeminent civilization. It left many marks upon the world, the most prominent of which are the barriers which separate the various regions of the Askavos continent.
In fact, it is not certain that the Great Fire did not result in a more thoroughgoing dimensional un-mooring of the Thysscythic Imperium and its surrounding regions. It is possible that the fiery barriers which divide now divide the major regions of the continent represent a partial absorption of the continent's territories by the elemental strongholds of fire, flame, and related para- and quasi- elements and so-called pseudo elements.
The division of Askavos' preeminent territories by these barriers of un-extinguishable flame requires the intervention of a special caste of guides to successfully ford -- a sodality known as the Flamewalkers.
Last edited by Marcarius5555; 2021-02-21 at 03:57 PM.
- Join Date
- Jan 2019
Re: Askavos: The Kingdoms of the Scale
The Mysteries of the Carnifex Empire
Last edited by Marcarius5555; 2021-02-21 at 05:05 PM.