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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Planet Kaendor (Sorcerers, Ruins, and Dinosaurs)

    Any time I finish a campaign and start thinking about a new one, I keep going back to my setting and sort through all its many building blocks to see which ones I want to keep using and which ones don't seem to be useful or interesting anymore. Each resulting version looks very similar to previous ones, but also does its own things in different ways. A bit like the new versions of Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica, or the many different worlds of Final Fantasy that still all have chokobos, gil, potions, and airships.

    The campaign I ran through spring and summer was in D&D 5th edition, and while we had huge fun with the campaign, I very much did not enjoy how the system steers gameplay, and how classes and spells influence worldbuilding. And those things were not specific to 5th edition, but traits of D&D in general. So for the next campaign, I am setting up the world specifically for Barbarians of Lemuria, with an attempt to keep it mostly free of D&D elements. Guess what, it's already revised.

    How Barbarians of Lemuria impacts setting.
    Barbarians of Lemuria had fout attributes: Might, Agility, Mind, and Appeal.
    Characters have four combat abilities: Melee, Ranged, Defense, and Initiative.
    Instead of skills that apply to specific actions, characters have careers, which can be things like Soldier, Alchemist, Farmer, Sage, or Beggar. Whenever a character does something that requires a roll and is not combat, you add the rank from whatever career would have training and experience with the kind of task at hand.

    Characters with ranks in Alchemist can create potions, bombs, and simple enchanted items.
    Characters with ranks in Priest can give blessings or curses that improve or impair certain roles for a while.
    Only characters with ranks in Sorcerer can cast spells. Characters with ranks in Priest can also have ranks in Sorcerer, but their spells are still sorcery and don't come from gods. Magic spells can never heal wounds. (Though alchemical potions can.)

    Sorcerers start with 10 to 15 points of Spellpower. There are four times of spells:
    Cantrips can do minor magical effects that cost 1 or 2 SP that are recovered twice per day.
    First Magnitude spells are most basic spells that allow sorcerers to do things that someone with specific training and tools could also do. They cost 2 to 5 SP, of which up to 4 are recovered once per day. (Casting two spells today probably means you can cast one fewer spell tomorrow.)
    Second Magnitude spells do things that can not be done without magic. They cost 6 to 10 SP, of which 4 are recovered once per month. Casting such a spell leaves a serious dent in the sorcerer's power for a long time.
    Third Magnitude spells are major miracles that cost 11 to 15 SP that are either permanently lost, or recovered at the price of equal atteibute points. Casting such a spell as a PC can easily eat up all the advancement from 10 adventures or more. They are meant as the main plan for villains or final sacrifices for PCs.
    In practice, player sorcerers will mostly cast spells that can emulate the abilities ot an expert, and maybe two or three more powerful spells per adventure.
    Barbarians of Lemuria has no fixed spell list, but my personal restrictions are "no teleportation, no time-manipulation, no force barriers, no matter creation".

    Characters lose all their treasure between adventures, and equipment is considered replaceable and easily destroyed or lost. Accordingly, the game does not track money or the value of items. (But treasure can be used to make bribes and get allies and friends before the start of the next adventure.)

    The General Concept
    This time I want to take the setting stronger and more explicitly into the realm of Pulp Fantasy, with inspiration both from classic and retro-revival works. Obviously there is Conan and Elric (though keeping to Sword & Sorcery conventions is not a priority this time), and Hyperborea and Zothique by Clark Ashton Smith. I also want to embrace my fanboying for Morrowind and various Dune adaptations, as well as my apprecitation for the old videogame Albion.

    Kaendor is a planet inspired by the continent Pangea during the Permian period, which preceded the dinosaurs. It's a world of jungles and swamps (though deserts also existed away from the coasts), and during this time there have been a lot of large and highly evolved animals that most people have never even seen pictures of. (Because dinosaurs get all the fame.) This makes them a great pool of creatures that look both alien and strange, but also very realistic.
    There are very few mammals, which are mostly limited to kinds of deer, goats, weasels, and some rodents. No typical Eurasian large animals like horses, cattle, bears, dogs, or pigs. Instead there are a lot of large reptiles and big insects.

    The sky of Kaendor is lit by a slightly dim orange sun (a type of star that provides stable warmth and light for an incredibly long time) and dominated by a small blue gas planet that is about as large as an outstreched hand, and a regular solid white moon. There are also strong polar lights that often can be seen quite far south.

    There is only one species of mortal humanoids, but their stature and appearance differs quite strongly between different populations, though nothing too inhuman. (Some have almost white hair and others quite reddish skin, and some all build like weight lifters.) The exception is one snall people that is said to have spirit ancestors, which gives them blue-gray skin and lets them dive for over 15 minutes. Otherwise they are still just like humans.
    The technological level of all societies is based on the Bronze Age, which some living in very sophisticated city states with organized administration and others as barbarians in the wilderness, having only a few bronze knives and arrow heads.Cultural influences are taken mostly from ancient peoples around the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, but there is no attempt to be authentic to any of them in any way. It's mostly to get architecture, clothing, technology, weapons, and armor that feel like they could realistically appear in the same place.

    The main defining feature of the planet is that climate tends to be very unstable, and environmental conditions change significantly over the coure of a few centuries in most places. Plant species are adapted to quickly colonize areas that become suited for them at the same time as older plants are starting to have a harder time, and animal populations gradually migrate with the shifting environments, so it is quite rare for any place to turn into barren wastes. Barbarian tribes also move to new hunting grounds all the time, just like the animals.
    City states don't have this ability and rely greatly on farming. When the environment changes and becomes too dry, too wet, too warm, or too cold for their crops, the cities quickly decline and become abandoned as the people search for other places that have newly become suitable for farming. This pattern has been going for a very long time, and most areas in the known world have been inhabited by a civilization at least once. Civilizations rarely survive as one when they move, which is the reason why all city states are relatively small. Even if there were enough farmland in one spot to support a larger population, there often just isn't enough time for a city to grow really big. And since the patches of farmable land are always scattered widely over a huge area, there's never been any real empires either.

    Local rulers are always concerned with two things: How long their current city will continue to be able to support itself, and where they can move their court when it no longer does. While there are always new places that become suitable for agriculture, most are fairly small and in hard to reach places. That's good enough for small farming villages, but places that are suitable for a real city are always very scarce. Disasters that force a city to be abandoned can happen very quickly, and establishing a new colony always takes a very long time. So rulers of older cities are always eager to learn about new places that might become suitable for settling so they can try to control them before someone else gets to them. City states directly attacking other city states is almost unheard of, as the distances are usually too great and armies don't have technologies to assault fortified walls. But small wars between rival colonies competing for control over newly discovered hospitable islands or valleys are quite common.
    It's not unusual for newly opened areas to have been completely deserted by any people for many centuries or even millennia. Often city states are abandoned in a great hurry in the face of natural or magical disasters that make it too dangerous for people to return for valuables that were left behind later. When news speead that explorers found a new area that is safe for mortals and has signs of forgotten ruins, it always draws adventurers from far and wide, hoping to be the first ones to find an old palace that has not been scavaeged since its original abandonment.

    Adventures
    Currently there are seven city states on the western coast. Not even one lifetime ago there used to be eight, but once was recently destroyed in a magical disaster that turned the whole surrounding region into a dead wasteland over night.
    There are also five loose confederations of barbarian tribes that have banded together to trade peacefully among each other and to keep foreign settlers out of their territories. Just like the city states on the coast, the tribes deeper in the wilderness know that they have to move to new villages periodically. If ousiders start settling un currently uninhabited areas, there might be none left when they need them. Which is something that settlers fleeing from starvation have little understanding for.
    Effectively there are 12 factions that are basically very small states consisting of tens to a few hundred of thousand people. They each have their own cultures, resources, alliances and rivalries, priorities, and rulers. For some of these I already have pretty good outlines, while for others I have two words and a question mark. The idea is that these factions are each weary about threats to their resources and eager to get their hands on anything of value that might lie hidden in newly rediscovered ruins. At the center of the campaign are these ruins where the players can search for anything that might be of value, either to the higgest bidder or the ruler they serve. Sometimes they might be the only ones knowing about a ruin, while at other times it can be a race to get the good stuff before someone else does, or someone might have already gotten there before them. Far away from any civilization with no wittnesses, there are no real rules, and again, competitors can be both fortune seekers or servants of one of the other factions. Treasure hunters are (usually) not bandits, though, and seeking violent confrintations with competitors might not always be the best course to success.

    Adventure also does not have to be limited to exploring ruins. The factions also have their agents in each other's territories to steal particularly valuable discoveries recovered from ruins, or to sabotage attempts to establish new colonies.
    And there is also always a threat from sorcerers who believe they can use unnatural magic to extend the life of a doomed city beyond it's natural limit. Attempts to manipulate the climate and change the environment against the inscrutiable plans of the nature gods alwsys seems to end in the most devastating disasters. Such magical catastrophies also can lead to dead cities that are extremely lethal to scavengers, which in turn means that most of their treasures and knowledge that wasn't immediately destroyed is still there.
    Last edited by Yora; 2020-11-13 at 05:33 AM.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Barbarians of Kaendor (Sorcerers, Ruins, and Dinosaurs)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Kaendor is a planet inspired by the continent Pangea during the Permian period, which preceded the dinosaurs. It's a world of jungles and swamps (though deserts also existed away from the coasts), and during this time there have been a lot of large and highly evolved animals that most people have never even seen pictures of. (Because dinosaurs get all the fame.) This makes them a great pool of creatures that look both alien and strange, but also very realistic.
    There are very few mammals, which are mostly limited to kinds of deer, goats, weasels, and some rodents. No typical Eurasian large animals like horses, cattle, bears, dogs, or pigs. Instead there are a lot of large reptiles and big insects.
    Evidence actually suggests that the Permian period was quite dry, with high seasonality and possibly a mega-monsoon cycle. While extensive forests were found in some areas, they were dominated by Gymnosperms, which emerged during the period as the dominant form of macroscale plant life. These included a number of varieties no longer extant or barely extant today, like Gingkos. Flowering plants would not evolve for another hundred million years.

    The dominant megafauna of the Permian period was actually predominantly early Synapsid groups, mostly Pelycosaurs and Therapsids, which are closer to mammals than reptiles (You and I are Synapsids). Many Late Permian animals, like the predatory Gorgonopsids, would have looked more like hairless mammals than anything else. Certainly they would not appear similar to reptiles. Artistic renderings of many Permian herbivores, especially Dcynodonts, make them look like funny-headed hippos.

    If you want a world dominated by 'reptiles' - by which most people mean a combination of Archosauria and Lepidosauria - that are not dinosaurs, you actually want the Early to Mid Triassic period. Dinosaurs don't really get into the game until the Late Triassic.

    The technological level of all societies is based on the Bronze Age, which some living in very sophisticated city states with organized administration and others as barbarians in the wilderness, having only a few bronze knives and arrow heads.Cultural influences are taken mostly from ancient peoples around the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, but there is no attempt to be authentic to any of them in any way. It's mostly to get architecture, clothing, technology, weapons, and armor that feel like they could realistically appear in the same place.
    If your world is based on the Permian period none of the traditional domestic plants or animals exist. What do these people farm in the absence of flowering plants? Have they domesticated any of the exotic local fauna? Many of the Bronze Age cultures in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea environs, mostly Indo-Iranian peoples of various kinds, where heavily dependent upon either nomadic herding (ex. Scythians) or settled agriculture supplemented by stockbreeding (ex. Achaemenid Empire), and would look very, very different in the absence of those options. Also, it seems an odd choice to utilize the cultural influence of peoples living in a mostly semi-arid environment for one that is supposedly comprised of jungles.

    The main defining feature of the planet is that climate tends to be very unstable, and environmental conditions change significantly over the coure of a few centuries in most places. Plant species are adapted to quickly colonize areas that become suited for them at the same time as older plants are starting to have a harder time, and animal populations gradually migrate with the shifting environments, so it is quite rare for any place to turn into barren wastes. Barbarian tribes also move to new hunting grounds all the time, just like the animals.
    Depending on how you're defining 'significant' climate change on a multiple-century time scale is actually quite typical of Earth. Not temperatures so much as precipitation and aridity patterns. The major Bronze Age Central Asian cultures relocated regularly on precisely this time scale, both nomads and settled peoples, and centers of power in larger states and empires even in somewhat more stable regions like China or the Roman Empire also periodically relocated. Western Europe is unusually stable in a climatic sense over the long term due to the influence of the Gulf Stream the rest of the planet has lost empires all over the place because its not.

    City states don't have this ability and rely greatly on farming. When the environment changes and becomes too dry, too wet, too warm, or too cold for their crops, the cities quickly decline and become abandoned as the people search for other places that have newly become suitable for farming. This pattern has been going for a very long time, and most areas in the known world have been inhabited by a civilization at least once. Civilizations rarely survive as one when they move, which is the reason why all city states are relatively small. Even if there were enough farmland in one spot to support a larger population, there often just isn't enough time for a city to grow really big. And since the patches of farmable land are always scattered widely over a huge area, there's never been any real empires either.
    I really don't see how widespread and patchy farmland distribution really prevents empire formation. The aforementioned Achaemenid Empire controlle a vast area of mostly patchy farmland and a few widely scattered fertile river valleys using only Bronze Age technology. This was over relatively open terrain, admittedly, and it would be harder to do if you had to clear forest or jungle, but areas containing forest or jungle are usually amendable to secondary use after being cleared (even rainforest tends to work as rangeland after you chop it down, regrettably).

    Local rulers are always concerned with two things: How long their current city will continue to be able to support itself, and where they can move their court when it no longer does. While there are always new places that become suitable for agriculture, most are fairly small and in hard to reach places. That's good enough for small farming villages, but places that are suitable for a real city are always very scarce. Disasters that force a city to be abandoned can happen very quickly, and establishing a new colony always takes a very long time. So rulers of older cities are always eager to learn about new places that might become suitable for settling so they can try to control them before someone else gets to them. City states directly attacking other city states is almost unheard of, as the distances are usually too great and armies don't have technologies to assault fortified walls. But small wars between rival colonies competing for control over newly discovered hospitable islands or valleys are quite common.
    Several centuries is actually a long time, in terms of the lives of pre-industrial states and cultures. Even today, in a period of relative stability, there are very few states that are more than a few hundred years old. The United States is actually one of the oldest countries on Earth, since it still operates under the Constitution as established in 1789 only a handful of very small states, like Iceland and Oman, can claim to be older. if a country goes from founding to collapse in 200 years, that's actually pretty normal. That's 8-10 human generations after all.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    sigh Re: Barbarians of Kaendor (Sorcerers, Ruins, and Dinosaurs)

    Well, actually...
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Barbarians of Kaendor (Sorcerers, Ruins, and Dinosaurs)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Well, actually...
    Well, actually to me, the setting reads as eminently gameable. Unfortunately, like most of the time, I don't have any real constructive criticism to offer.

    As an aside, I've had a small, persistent feeling for years that a setting with just megafauna for the fauna would be a lot of fun. And it would be even more fun using non-dinosaur megafauna instead of the usual dinosaurs one encounters in RPGs.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Wise Ones of Kaendor (Sorcerers, Ruins, and Dinosaurs)

    Oh, it's already been a week. I was busy with learning new game stuff I can incorporate (and playing Tibirian Sun, but that's unrelated).

    All the way back since I learned about Apocalypse World, I had been thinking that I would love to get a game that combines its action resolution mechanics with the character abilities of Barbarians of Lemuria. That would be just the kind of game I'd want for this setting. And it turns out, there is!

    Forged in Darkness
    Forged in the Dark is a variant of Powered by the Apocalypse game that's originally from the Blades in the Dark game. It's pretty popular and well regarded for a not-D&D game these days, but being a dark fantasy, steampunk, gang war game (basically Thief, Dishonored, and Lies of Locke Lamora), I didn't really give it a second look. But as it turns out, the mechanics for running and growing a crime empire sit on top of a really neat little core system that probably could even stand on its own, but you can also easily add new mechanics for tracking party progress in other genres.

    Characters are customized by their ranks in twelve abilities, quite similar to careers in Barbarians of Lemuria, and special abilities that players select freely from a list. (Different character archetypes come with different recommended special abilities, but that doesn't have to be fixed.) Almost everything a PC does is done with an action roll in one of these twelve basic abilities.
    Unlike BoL, FitD does not have attributes that are added to the action rolls, and it also does not have anything like the four combat abilities that are separate from the careers. In FitD, there is only the singe Skirmish ability that covers any aspects of combat, and it's completely equal to the other eleven abilities. Which I think is a huge plus for campaigns that are not primarily about fighting with some other stuff happening around it. If you have to fight, there's an ability that works just like all the other abilities, ready to be used at any time. You can have characters who never gain any ranks in fighting and they are not missing out on a major part of the game.

    The Wise Ones of Kaendor
    Inspired by the character templates from BitD, and liking the idea of Investigators in Call of Cthulhu, I put together these eight character types that I think would make great player characters to go on adventures of exploring and taming the supernatural secrets lurking in the wilderness.
    The character type automatically assigns 3 ranks to two abilities, but players get to assign four more points at character creation. (No ability can start higher than 2.)

    Guard: This character is (the only one) trained in fighting as a defender of the village or city. A guard starts with a rating of 2 in Skirmish (fighting) and 1 in Command (making people follow orders).
    Squirrel: This character is a natural and curious explorer with great skill and practice of moving through the wilds like a beast. A squirrel start with a rating of at least 2 in Finesse (climbing, jumping, dexterity) and 1 on Prowl (stealth).
    Trapper: This character is a hunter who has spend a lot of time in the wilderness and seen many strange things moving between the trees and below the water. A trapper starts with a rating of 2 in Hunt and a rating of 1 in Survey (investigate a location, spot dangers, ...).
    Elder: This character is well known among the people of the village or city and highly respected as a leader, regardless of actual age. An elder starta with a rating of 2 in Sway (persuasion) and 1 in Consort (listen around and chat to gain ingormation and favors).
    Magistrate: This character is officially recognized as an investigator of crimes and mediator of disputes, which often can have supernatural involvement. A magistrate starts with a rating of 2 in Survey and 1 in Sway.
    Adept: This character is learned in fields of magic and spirits and can be a shaman, priest, stargazer, or similar character. An adept starts with a rating of 2 in Attune (magic) and 1 in Study.
    Alchemist: This character is skilled in the handling of strange and often dangerous substances for a wide rang of purposes. An alchemist starts with a ratinf of 2 in Tinkering (making and using devices, healing) and 1 in wreck (breaking and disabling things).
    Herbalist: This character is skilled in the arts of healing and finding the cause of unusual maladies. A herbalist starts with a rating of 2 in Study and 1 in Tinker.

    Of course, all characters can advance their ratings in any ability up to 4 or also leave them at their starting value. These are really mostly suggestions to start a character, not paths that determine the future advancement of a PC.

    All these characters are people who know things and have seen many things. Even PCs who start as a guard, squirrel, or trapper are indivduals who have a greater interest in supernatural things than ordinary people, and the courage to seek them out. Guards and trappers might be concerned by what they see from time to time beyond the edges of the village, and are eager to lend their skills to the scholars that venture out to investigate them. Squirrels are just curious by nature and gladly tag along when people from their village set out to places both mystical and strange.

    The Halls of the Wise
    Something that I always really quite liked about the Witcher series is this sprawling sub-culture of scientists and ocultists that exista throughout the Northern Kingdoms and the Empire. Among sorcerers, alchemists, sages, herbalists, surgeons, and witchers, seemingly everyone knows everyone, or at least heard of everyone who have some accomplishments under their belts. Now this isn't really something that needs mechanics, but the gang war system from Blades in the Dark really makes me curious about what could be done in that regard.
    This is really extremely vague yet, but I am thinking of a system where all Wise Ones have a Reputation score. BitD has different ranks for Reputation among the criminal underworld and Heat among the law enforcement, and there are several ways to both increase and decrease Reputation and Heat. I am thinking about having a simple Reputation tracker but also taking cues from the mechanics to manage Heat. The idea is that charactets delve into some supernatural place and when they return they make both a profit from artifacts and records they can sell, and share stories of what they learned and experienced to get street cred. Reputation causes NPC sages and sorcerers to take the characters more seriously, but that might not always be a desirable thing for all characters. Some PCs might prefer to keep a low profile and let their friends reap all the glory.
    After each adventure, characters in FitD get a downtime period in which they can do stuff to recover from injuries, work on acquiring new resources, or manage their reputation and heat. I think something similar could work well for this campaign, with characters having options to meet or correspond with other scholars, or to spread the word about their last adventures to increase their fame. Which can then lead to developments that impact future adventures by making allies or attracting rivals. Who migt try to claim a discovery before the players get arond to investigate, or send goons to wait for them. I have not really started working on this system, but I think it could be a fun FitD hack.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

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    Default Re: Planet Kaendor (Sorcerers, Ruins, and Dinosaurs)

    Beasts of Kaendor

    The Forged in the Dark system doesn't really have stats for NPCs and monsters, but the effectiveness of players' actions can depend on the relative power level of opponents. Two typical numbers are quality and scale. For the purpose of combat, quality is a decent indicator of the severity of injuries caused by their attacks. Scale indicates the overall mass of a group of NPCs or a creature and makes a good guideline for how much damage attacks against them by the PCs might be.

    Arag



    (quality 1, scale 2)

    This common predator is found throughout the known forests and mountains. Itís about the size of a very large dog, with a big head that resembles both a lion and a fish. The hide of an arag resembles a snake with a gray-brown coloration that sometimes has greenish streaks that help it blend in with the environment. Arags hunt in small packs that generally stay away from settlements, but can be very dangerous when they attack small groups of travelers in the wilderness.

    Burak



    (quality 3, size 6)

    The burak is a giant behemoth that has some resemblance to a rhinoceros, a horse, and a giraffe that towers about anything else moving through the forests. Because of their massive size buraks have very few predators and generally ignore other creatures unless they are guarding a nest or recently hatched young. While nesting, pairs of buraks while share the guarding of the nest while the other goes off to forage for food. Once the young are hatched, families rejoin small groups of up to a dozen adults. While some buraks have been captured alive and tamed to some degree, nobody has ever had any success with training one.

    Droha



    (quality 2, size 3)

    Drohas are large four legged reptiles that somewhat resemble very big and heavily build camels. They are primarily found in the south, where they can often roam in large herds across the open swamps and heaths, but can also be found in smaller numbers all the way up to the shores of the Misty Sea. Drohas are relatively easy to capture and train, and are one of the most common pack animals both among the city states and wilder tribes. They are not particularly fast compared to other mounts, but can carry huge loads over long distances.

    Gira



    (quality 2, scale 4)

    This huge animal resembles antelopes, giraffes, and horses and is the largest mammal to be found anywhere in the forests of Kaendor. While larger and stronger than drohas, giras are more difficult to train and not very popular as either mounts or pack animals.

    Gren



    (quality 1, size 1)

    Gren are large, four legged arthropods that resemble crabs and spiders. They primarily live in large burrows under the forest floor, but sometimes also make their nests in caves higher up in the mountains. Grena can grow as high as a manís waist and often hunt in groups to take on prey significantly larger than themselves. A grenís bite can kill either by blood loss or poison.

    Heor



    (quality 1, size 2)

    The heor is a powerfully build deer found throughout the northern forest and roaming the heaths of Venlat. Like all deer, a heor can be quite skittish, but itís large enough to carry a rider even across difficult frozen ground. Domesticated heors are calmer than those found in the wild, and have been bred with shorter antlers to decrease the risk for riders, but they are still not easy animals to train and control. This makes them somewhat rare as mount, but they are highly prized for messengers and scouts.

    Huliar



    (quality 3, size 2)

    This large feathered reptile is found in many parts of the Mountains of the Moon and the Mountains of the Sun. The huliar is a dangerous predator that makes its home far from civilization, but its size and intelligence makes it an exceptionally valuable mount, as well as an exceedingly rare one. Huliarís can have a wide range of coloration, which come in various patterns of orange, yellow, red, black, and gray feathers.

    Kerik



    (quality 1, size 2)

    Keriks are giant centipedes that grow up to three yards in length and are found throughout all forest, as well as many mountain ranges and islands. They are ambush predators that mostly feed on small animals, and their large size is mostly for defense. But they can be very aggressive when threatened by other creatures that are getting too close for them and have a very painful poisonous bite. Fortunately, keriks are not particularly fast runners and rarely pursue fleeing enemies for more than a few paces.

    Kina



    (quality 1, scale 1)

    Kinas are large flying reptiles similar in size to big eagles. They primarily feed on fish and are common sights along all the coasts, but also frequently found living near major rivers and great lakes. While they usually donít hunt people, they can be quite aggressive fighting off intruders getting close to their nesting sites, which are often found on steep cliffs or atop rocky hills.

    Kesk



    (quality 0, scale 0)

    Kesks are large flying insects similar to bees that grow as big as a medium sized bird. Like bees or ants, kesks live in large swarms that build extensive hives, which are often found in caves that are surrounded by dense forests, but might also dig into the sides of earthy hills. Kesks store large amounts of honey in their hives that is a valuable resource for nearby villages. Kesk keepers use smoke from various plants to pacify the swarm to allow them to harvest the honey, but have to take extreme care to not get too close to any larvas, which will result in a violet attack. Kesk keepers also usually wear suits of heavy leather, as a sting from a kesk can be very painful, and multiple stings quickly lead to death. Kesks hives that are located in caves large enough to be passable by people often make up a large part of the economy of villages that control access to them.

    Krat



    (quality 3, scale 5)

    The krat is a very large and heavy reptile found in some of the more open forests of the south. Their size is similar to an elephant but with shorter legs and a long tail, and they have to very large and thick horns on their heads like a bull. While krats are extremely strong, they are not very fast, slow to train, and require great care and attention from handlers, which makes them rare as pack animals, but highly valued by those able to keep and maintain them. Wild krats can be quite mean creatures and only a small number of them is suitable for training.

    Liak



    (quality 0, scale 0)

    Liaks are small mammals resembling deer or antelopes. They are found in forests and mountains everywhere and commonly hunted for food, but rarely kept as lifestock, as they have a tendency to constantly escape from enclosures.

    Mora



    (quality 4, scale 4)

    The mora is a huge otter-like creature that can be found in many of the worldís major rivers. It can grow as long as four or five men and preys on large fish, crocodiles, snakes, and almost anything else that comes close to the water to drink. Fortunately, moras are mostly solitary creatures with large territories, and they donít usually attack larger boats, so they are not seen very often. But moras that start preying on people often become very serious problem and are very difficult and dangerous to hunt and slay.

    Mutak



    (quality 1, size 1)

    The mutak is a large insectoid predator with a body that can grow as long as a big manís lower arm. While they mostly hunt animals smaller than themselves, their poisonous sting is quite deadly to creatures considerably larger and they can be a real threat to people. Mutaks are solitary creatures and not territorial, but itís not unusual to see up to a dozen hunt in the same place.

    Neska



    (quality 2, size 2)

    Neskas are large two-legged and feathered reptiles with beak-like maws that inhabit many of the forests and islands of Kaendor. A neska typically grows as tall as a large man, but large males can grow several heads taller than that. Neskas are predators who hunt various small forest animals, but when provoked they fight back viciously and their bite can easily kill a man.

    Oget



    (quality 1, size 1)

    Ogets are common farm animals that are found in villages and town throughout all of Kaendor. They resemble wild goats or sheep, but many breeds grow as big as a donkey and can be trained as mounts, though they are more commonly used as pack animals. Most breeds are smaller and are kept for both milk as well as meat and leather. While they are found in many coastal settlements, ogets are particularly important in villages in the mountains, where they are often the main source of food for people, as they can graze on hardy grasses and shrubs where few crops can be grown.

    Saruma



    (quality 3, scale 3)

    The saruma is one of the biggest and most feared predators hunting in the jungles of Kaendor. This giant lizard can grow to a height at the shoulders as tall man and can take down most animals smaller than a burak. Not being an efficient runner, a saruma usually attacks from ambush in an attempt to land a fatal bite wound and then follow the blood trail of wounded prey. While a saruma is not particularly fast, it will often follow prey for hours or even days.

    Straig



    (quality 5, scale 4)

    A straig is a giant winged reptile found in the mountains of Kaendor. It mostly hunts large herbivores like drohas and krats and is the only predator large enough to bring down a burak. It has a very long serpentine body and its short snout is filled with poisonous teeth that paralyze creatures of any size within minutes. As they usually hunt large animals, the bite of a straig is almost always lethal to even the largest and healthiest people.

    Sural



    (quality 2, scale 2)

    Surals are large aquatic animals similar to fish or eels that have some resemblance to snakes. Surals are found mostly in swamps and slow flowing rivers where they have few natural enemies other than mora. Surals mostly feed on small aquatic animals but will readily attack larger creatures that are going into the water and can easily kill hunters or fishermen. If a sural canít kill large prey quickly with its bite, it will try to kill it by drowning.

    Tareg



    (quality 2, scale 2)

    Taregs are large arthropods that have some resemblance to a spider, crab, and preying mantis and often grow to sizes bigger than a large stag. Taregs are semi-aquatic creatures that are usually found on rocky stretches of coasts and reefs where they hunt for smaller animals, but readily attack anything that presents itself as potential food. While no more or less dangerous than other predators of its size on an open beach, they spend most of their time crawling on jagged rocks where other large creatures have a very hard time to run away or fight effectively.

    Tasdar



    (quality 2, scale 3)

    Tasdar are large reptiles similar to a long-legged crocodile with some resemblance to tigers. They are found in many of the warmer forests and mountains and known as feared predators. While considerably smaller than the much larger sarumas, tasdards often hunt in small packs of four to six animals and pose a much greater threat to hunters or even bands of warriors than arags.

    Taun



    (quality 1, scale 1)

    Tauns are small and stocky reptilian animals with beak-like snouts and strong claws that are found throughout all the forests of Kaendor where they feed on roots, mushrooms, and young plants. They are one of the main prey animals for arags and tasdars and one of the most widely kept farm animals after ogets. While their teeth can cause very severe injuries, tauns are usually very agreeable animals when they are kept well fed and content. They are kept primarily for their meat but taun hides also make a good leather that is considerably tougher than that of ogets.

    Toba



    (quality 2, scale 3)

    The toba is a giant snake that is found almost everywhere in Kaendor except for the most northern lands. They come in a wide range of colorations that are usually green or brown, and as they age they can grow to enormous sizes. Unlike other large snakes, the bite of the toba is poisonous and it will attack even other large predators.

    Uba



    (quality 2, scale 3)

    While ubas are not predators, they are very ill tempered and highly territorial, and even though they are smaller than krats, they are much more dangerous. Ubas are semi-aquatic animals and spend much of their lives in lakes and large rivers where they feed on aquatic plants. An uba resembles both a rhino and a hippo with two thich horns on its forehead that it uses both for stabbing and bludgeoning anything that provokes its anger.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

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