Wednesday, 20 December 2017


No one would have believed in the middle years of the fifth century that our world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their dominion. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space and empire as sources of human danger. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. Yet across the gulf of Tridents, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded the East with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And then in 4447 would come the great disillusionment.

Father Camus, High Priest of Thoth. Ahyf 6/9/4447

(Credit to H.G. Wells)

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Campaign Background

VIRIDISTAN, CITY STATE OF THE WORLD EMPEROR, CITY OF SPICES (Metropolis) Population: 120,000 (30,000 able bodied) Racial Composition: Mixed (human 70%, dwarf 10%, elf 5%, half elf 5%, others [including demons and strange creatures such as evil merefolk] 10%) Alignment: LE Average Citizen: The average citizen of the City of Spices is of mixed blood predominantly subjugated Tharbrian mixed with greatly-diluted Viridian, mer-folk or wild men of the Confederated tribes. Though the seat of an empire, the empire is in decline and the citizens are brutally regulated either by the emperor or the priests of Armadad Bog who enforce the Armadad Law. Especially that only the nobility and priesthood may practice magic.

Ruler. Hautulin Seheitt, World-Emperor and God-Priest of Armadad Bog (LE male Viridian Wiz/Clr). 

Other important figures: 
  • Empress Murielle Eidn, High Priestess of Armadad Bog (LE female Viridian Wiz/Clr). 
  • Shah Pahrrib Fu, ruler of Shardis Province.
  • Shah Satyrbis, ruler of Effernath Province.
  • Shah Kijdawr Aenekosii, ruler of Smyrsis Province.
  • Shah Dyshim Leayh, ruler of Thygamus Province.
  • Shah Abdu Inslar, ruler of Lyoophiath Province.
  • Shah Drong Dirkah, ruler of Gommorath Province. 

Resources: Spices, wine, the greatest market in all the world. 

Allies: Cavemen of the Eleph Territories, numerous tributary villages and lands (though few are true allies).

Enemies: Nearly all the world, including the City State of the Invincible Overlord; the merefolk of Sae Laamer.

 The City State of the World Emperor (CSWE), otherwise known as Viridistan, the City of Spices, the Immortal City, has been ruled for the past 150 years by Hautulin Seheitt, the Green Emperor,, and his wife Murielle Eidn, the last of a once haughty and powerful green-skinned race known as Viridians who claim to be descendants of the gods of the Uttermost War and themselves living gods deserving of worship. The Viridians founded CSWE 4332 years ago (in 101 BCCC), shortly after subjugating large areas held by the Wild Men. The Green Emperor for that is what he is called, due to the cast of his skin is highly lawful and evil, and prone to extensive use of sorcery to maintain the Imperial Domain. While the Emperor has only appeared publicly in the last twenty-five years with his head and face covered by a silver cowl, he has not been seen at a public function for eighteen months. Rumor has it that the Emperor has been gradually losing his once incredible magical powers, and has become uncertain or even afraid. Other rumors claim he is getting senile though none of this can be confirmed.
 The City has had a stormy and checkered history centering around Viridian internal bickering and assassination plots to gain control of the throne. The "hereditary" monarchy has therefore seldom been passed on to son or daughter but due to treachery of one kind or another it has often been usurped by Viceroy, Suzerain and occasionally by a Padishah. This aristocratic race was thus gradually destroyed from within until Seheitt, Eidn and a few cousins were the last left, except possibly for their only son who disappeared 75 years ago and has not been seen since. The city is surrounded by six provinces, all ruled by mortal kings called Padishah. These rulers swear their allegiance to the Green Emperor and the Immortal City when they are picked by the Emperor from the ranks of the highest social classes at special tournaments but actually via political and religious intrigue. All but two of the emperors of the Immortal City have been evil: Reddisorn the Golden, who ruled from 2089 to 2272 BCCC, and Cneninadus the Mycretian, who ruled from 4226 to 4283 BCCC. Cneninadus reign approached the Golden Age of Reddisorn in its encouragement of the arts, education and civil rights but had not the peace and tranquility he sought. It was unheard of for any Viridian to become a follower of the god, Mycr; indeed, most had been Natchai (worhiping the god Natch Ur) or Mer Shunnans (followers of Armadad Bog), religions with alignments far removed from the Mycretian. The Mycretian distaste for human sacrifice, blood-thirsty greed and the powers of the Dark exacerbated the enmity between Cneninadus and the eleven other Viridians and so his reign was marked by bloodshed and attempted assassinations. He was finally murdered by Hautulin Seheitt and eight demons in 4283 BCCC. The Green Emperor, a Mer Shunnan, was a high priest of Armadad Bog at the time he took power. In the Great Slaughter of Pain in 4284, Seheitt decimated the Mycretians and their sympathizers, even making two raids into the caverns of the Holy Cities to kill two of their Prophets. Upon completion of this bloodbath of terror, the Green Emperor was rewarded by Armadad Bog by being ordained as the only Mer Shunnan God-Priest. Armadad Bog took up residence deep under the castle in the natural bay inlet soon after Seheitt had built him a temple near the inner castle curtain. It is still technically illegal to be a Mycretian within the City walls, but within the last twenty years or so, the Green Emperor has not been pressing the hunt, nor charges, as often as before. He has seemed preoccupied. But since he does still occasionally lash out, it is not wise to broadcast the fact of one's being a follower of Mycr. Mycretians have increased rapidly in numbers in those few years, until now they number about ten percent of the City, and for the most part, are well received and liked by most of the City's inhabitants. However, Mycretians have had a direct hand in the increasing tensions that are now racking the Immortal City, especially in their rescuing and spiriting away humans in danger of being sacrificed. Several gods have been angered, and the City and surrounding areas experienced a minor earthquake three months ago. Most of the damage has been repaired. Taxes have been doubled in the last five years in the City State of the World Emperor. The City State of the Invincible Overlord has sent tribute to the Immortal City once a year since the Bloodless Battle of Barrad in 3788. Constant minor testing of the Emperor's strength (at least until recently) had always been met with more than adequate arrows or sorcery. In the last ten years, however, more and more of these "testings" have succeeded, but with no logical pattern to which incidents go unchallenged. And now, the Emperor has again outrageously increased the tribute. Spies between the two cities are thick. World Emperors for centuries have maintained a small wall between the Elsenwood Forest and the Emperor's farm lands, ostensibly to protect crops from marauding animals and to help keep an eye on the pesky wood elves' thieving habits. However, Seheitt, the Green Emperor, has just finished a seven year project to triple the height and strength of the wall, to add a moat, and to double the guard, all for reasons indecipherable to the general populace. Viridistan is ruled by the emperor with a strong hand. A High Council, made up of one viceroy, two Suzerain, and six Padishah, meets twice a year in late spring and fall for official reporting, information sharing, and setting mutually beneficial policies to recommend to the Emperor. It has no vote in the final say. The Emperor loves order and hates disturbances. Chaotic types are looked on with some suspicion, and so must try to keep their unusual behaviors and eccentricities under wraps. Disturbances of the peace involving more than three people (gang fights, drunken brawls, mob action, etc.) are usually put down ruthlessly, with questions asked later. Loose talk about the gods, their worship, alignment, language, and negative comments about the Emperor and his government are not conducted publicly. Common is spoken used in the City almost exclusively now. The exception being the Eleph Quarter, where Elephanian is spoken. Viridian is no longer used much, since there are so few Viridians left. Trade and barter economic systems are still in large scale use, though coined money and industry "traders" have gained much acceptance. Many rare and unusual varieties as well as common varieties of spices are grown here. The Mycretian and other experts' knowledge on the care and marketing of herbs and spices is greatly in demand. The wine industry, too, is substantial as many extensive grape arbors are grown in frequent forest clearings and fields in various places along River Leander. Most of the province capitols produce their own ale and enough to trade besides. Targnol Port and the City State are both on the main trade route and both are major shipping ports. Trade by both land and sea is growing and the wide avenues of trade in the City State bustle with activity throughout the year's nine months of good weather. In the last five years the Emperor has doubled the size of his military troops (again at the expense of the taxpayers) until now he commands the equivalent of about five Vasthosts. Guards and patrols police the City so there is not much reason to keep large numbers of militia in the area. Orcs and goblins and other lesser races are not welcome in the City even though some Mer Shunnans and Natchai are friendly with them.

The Armadad Law.
The Armadad Law maintains order and stability in the World Emperor’s lands through pageantry, and a combination of ecstatic practices and public ceremony. Citizens are expected to cover their bodies, preferably completely, and to wear masks and tokens which denote their class, family, and occupation. The public dress is accompanied by secret signs, gestures, and phrases, which discourage identity theft. Above all, faces must be covered at all times; only the lowest of slaves would suffer the humiliation of baring his entire head.
Armadad Bog and his representative in the mortal world, the Emperor, demand total obedience, and suffering for god and state proves a citizen’s obedience. The wrathful father demands proof that his children deserve his benefice. Self-flagellation, barbed surplices, nettle shirts, and a host of other debasements flense the soul as they assault the flesh. Mortification of the flesh impels the soul toward the embrace of Armadad Bog. The Protectors of the Faith, warrior-priests of Armadad Bog, are ever vigilant for those self-important malcontents who refuse to participate in state religious rites, dabble in forbidden texts, or consort with Mycretians and other counter-religionists.
Viridians have few opportunities to escape this oppressive denial of the flesh. Their baths offer some respite. Shrouded in darkness, each patron dons a hood and removes all other clothing. Bath-slaves, every one eyeless, provide steam, soaking, massage, grooming, and sexual release. Trance halls are the other major venue where the green people find release from the rigid hierarchy and regulation of their daily lives. The halls are dark, lit by erratic cascades of colored light and throbbing with loud music. Potent beverages are provided for a small fee to help relax the patrons, and soon the music draws them to dance. Slaves, usually giants, dance naked except for a hood, their sweat-slicked bodies urging the patrons to follow suit. Clothing is cast aside (what little the patrons did not leave with their slaves outside), and soon the patrons are swept up in the trance, offering up their will and power to Armadad Bog in the ecstasy of the moment. Children are often conceived in the trance hall. Thus, Viridian inheritance is exclusively through the female line.
The empire of Viridistan, though far from its peak, is still a force to be reckoned with. They may never again be allies with the once-vassal state that now styles itself the City State of the Invincible Overlord, but they maintain useful relations with the wizards of Tula and merchant princes of Antil and Tarantis.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Game Notes - Midwall

                                        Farzad far-bin Abtin. Jenaab of Midwall.
                Human (Veridian Noble) Artificer-Wizard and Steward (Jenaab) of Midwall.
Reportedly cunning and cruel Farzad is an excellent administrator who has kept trade flowing despite the troubles in the Elsenwood. He is high in the favour of Shah Satyrbis of Effernath. A High Council member of the Order of the Veridian Eye he's rumoured to have the ear of the Emperor.

A garrison fortress and administrative centre for the Emperor's Great Wall. It also houses the workshops and dungeons of Farzad far-bin Abtin. Currently there are almost 300 troops here including the XXI Light Cavalry 'The Black Dragons' under Galiabrar-Marestung their dashing commander. The taverns and inns are mostly taken up by the military so prices are high. They are (in order of quality) The Emperor's Rest Inn, The Furness & Forge Inn, The Wall Tavern and The Blind Elf. There are a number of lesser guest and flop houses too. Religious life here is sparse a Mer-Shuna Temple and a shrine to Nephtlys. Mycretians are not welcome at all and will likely face a beating and expulsion at best.

The Children of Mycr
MYCR, THE UNKNOWN ONE Alignment: Lawful good Domains: Law, Good, Healing, Protection, Plant Symbol: None Typical Worshippers: Monks, healers, gardeners. Favoured Weapon: Quarterstaff Mycr (Mi-ker), The Unknown One, is lawful good. Mycr is one of the most mysterious deities known in the Wilderlands. He has no known avatar, but exhibits great powers even over other gods. His followers (known as Mycretians) teach that he is the one true god and the others are false demons or apparitions. His followers have a very strict moral and ethical code by which they must live. His worship is centred on the five Holy Cities of the Desert Lands. Mycretians are generally pacifists and will not fight except in defence, and then only with the least force necessary. However the Order of Zealots are exempt from this code and are expected to destroy the enemies and protect the adherents of this expansionist religion. Mycretians are also excellent herbalists, renowned for their skill with and knowledge of many plants and their mystical qualities. Their skill in this regard is often as much in demand as their spirit gifts of healing.

Jerech the Disciple
Jerech of Tel Qa, Human (Smyrian) Cleric of Mycr.
Encountered by the party shortly after their escape. He was leading a band of martyrs across the Emperor's Farm Lands spreading the Gospel. He gave them directions to a tomb, sacred to the Veridians where they may find respite from pursuit.

Harlgrimn the Wildman
Human (Tharbrian,Wild-Man) Barbarian
He was with our heroes when they escaped and killed the slaver, Bahad al Ahmadi. After the fight they parted ways only to meet again later at the Jolly Ent Inn.

Order of the Veridian Eye

Artificers, Order of the Viridian Eye
Magic-user (NPC) members of the Order of the Viridian Eye. Members of the Order are known as Artificers.
  • Artificers Gains 1D6-1 HP/level
  • Cannot use any Armor/Shield, permitted to use dagger, staff, and darts
  • Can cast rituals. (see below chart)
  • At 11th level an Artificer will be asked to lead or establish a workshop-and attract other Artificers who wish to study under him.

Members of the Order of the Viridian Eye are unable to memorize spells. Instead all of their magic is cast through rituals which focus on creating various permanent and temporary magic items. An Artificer carries dozens of charms, amulets, and other device to use if engaged in combat.

Because of the focus on ritual magic, the Order of Viridian Eye is more highly adept at rituals than the other Orders. Because of the demonic heritage of the Viridians it is rumored that some of the most powerful rituals of the Order involve summoning and binding demons to make potent artifacts.

At 1st level the Artificer has completed his initial training and inducted as an Initiate. He is expected to travel and study at different workshops run by Master Artificers. When the Initiate has been judged to have built three worthy magic items, he will be granted the full rank of Artificer. At this time he will typically join one of the Imperial Workshops. By 11th level the Artificer will have risen to become a Master in charge of the workshop or have been granted leave to establish his own. Before the fall of the Viridian Empire the Emperor would appoint a Grand Master Artificer to run the Palace Workshop. Since the collapse there are now a half dozen Grand Masters appointed by the various pretenders.

This is one of the oldest Orders in the Majestic Wilderlands. It was found over four thousand years ago when the Viridians first came to the Wilderlands. It is believed that the majority of the Grandmaster Artificers in the Order are of pure Viridian blood. For its long history the Order was an extension of the will of the Emperors of Viridistan.

The Tomb of Prince Ashan the Immortal
Set in the sandstone vally's west-north-west of Midwall (Hex 3526) this tomb is strictly taboo to all Veridians. The party was directed here by Jerech the Disciple and within found evidence of the works of the Viridian Eye artificers, treasure and an ancient clay prophesy tablet. Exploring further they discovered the secret burial chamber of Ashan, horribly altered by science and magic, his undead spirit lingering still. They defeated the terrible Mummy and made off with his magical spear, Heart Seeker. A further secret passage lead North where they found themselves in the eaves of The Elsenwood looking back on the Emperor's Great Wall.

In the days when the dead stalk the world
When that that was risen has fallen again
Then shall two wolves rise in the East
To do war that will shake the stars
Then Heroes shall come forth from bondage
And all that was hoped for befall.

Hekate and Nightfang
Hekate and her wolf Nightfang saw the party shortly after their exit from Ashan's Tomb. She is an Aelsinar Elf and Ranger of the Elsenwood.

The Elsenwood

The Three Witches of The Marmonmist.
These three old hags are said to trouble the sleep of Hautulin Seheitt.

Splendulin&Efrinodel, Elf Kings of The Elsenwood.
Brother Lords of the Elves, they rule over all of Elsenwood.

The Jolly Ent Inn.
Hekate tells you of this roadside inn famous for it's hospitality. Where the Green Emperor Way meets the eaves of The Elsenwood. "Tell Red I said hello!"

Veronica Scarlett (Red).
Red hales from far off Modron, a follower of Mitra and landlady of the Jolly Ent. She hinted to Earendil that The Lion Lord has friends in high places and that a resistance to the Green Emperor and his tyrannical rule may exist.

Catchpole the Hobbit.
Catchpole is a quietly prosperous Hobbit with fingers in many pies. He met and helped the party shortly after their escape.

Umbar Hogart.
Umbar is a Human (Karak) Merchant living and working in the village of Kahled. The party has been hired to escort him from The Jolly Ent to the Shilly Shallows.

The Village of Kahled.

Arthur, Ice Wizard of Valon.
The party met Arthur on his way to meet the Fair Folk at Shelter Haven. He gifted Xandor spells in return for the groups protection of Umbar Hogart's caravan.

The Barrow of Alkratson the Terrible.
Set in a black barrow over looking the deserted Elven village of Eithel, 5 miles north-west of the Jolly Ent Inn. Alkaia, Earendil, Harlgrimn and Xandor sent Alkratson's shade to Hell and recovered his great treasure.

The town of Y'dell is situated on the eastern bank of the mighty Leander River (Hex2821).It is a collection of ill favoured hovels and run down shacks mainly. Only a few buildings having their first stories built from rough field stone with a timbered upper story. The two Inns here are of the worst kind; dirty and dangerous. The Boatman's Tavern was identified as the base from which pirates and bandits operate, perhaps led by a large half Orc with a squint eye? The other The Waterside, run by Dick Rentch is home to pickpockets and perhaps worse. Our heroes stayed here on their first visit. There is also a Blacksmith and a Herb Seller.