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Codex Albana: A Fantasy Setting/Hack Using CoC 7e Rules


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14 hours ago, Andrew Collas Presents... said:

2] The map is made in Photoshop (the topo world one) using real world map pieces that I then "hammered" together lol. The b&w Albana map was done in photoshop as well, using icons and paint brushes.

When you say hammered together, not fully following tbh. Can you explain?

If you are going for a Conan vibe, I thoroughly suggest you check out Beasts and Barbarians which is Savage Worlds - it is like the best one I have seen to date. As it has a lot of interesting lore which you may like. It also has mystics with Savage World powers, but it is truly excellent.

I mean things like the Vorlons, Shadows, and the Demons (Asmodeus whatever he was?) in Babylon 5 would all be perfectly at home in a Conan esque story.

There is also Atlantis the Second Age, another brilliant S&S with monsters in, done by the very talented Jerry Grayson (who is also currently working on the prequel Atlantis the First Age).

In both cases anyone using magic has to pay some kind of cost.

If you wanted other magic systems, there is Mysticism in Mythras, or Runequest 1 (Glorantha the Second Age - page 9) has a better version as it describes what it is far more eloquently.

 

 

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1 hour ago, RogerDee said:

When you say hammered together, not fully following tbh. Can you explain?

I guess "cobbled" together would be a better way of saying it? Assembled? Frankenformed? Essentially taking real maps and cutting, pasting, flipping, blending, clone stamping, etc...

1 hour ago, RogerDee said:

If you are going for a Conan vibe, I thoroughly suggest you check out Beasts and Barbarians which is Savage Worlds - it is like the best one I have seen to date. As it has a lot of interesting lore which you may like. It also has mystics with Savage World powers, but it is truly excellent.

I have this, there is a lot of good, and not so good, in it. It definitely shows it's Italian origins in some of the ideas, which reminds me of the old 80's sword & sorcery films from that country. :)

1 hour ago, RogerDee said:

I mean things like the Vorlons, Shadows, and the Demons (Asmodeus whatever he was?) in Babylon 5 would all be perfectly at home in a Conan esque story.

Well that takes me back to the 90's :D 

1 hour ago, RogerDee said:

There is also Atlantis the Second Age, another brilliant S&S with monsters in, done by the very talented Jerry Grayson (who is also currently working on the prequel Atlantis the First Age).

Isn't that just his update to the old Bard Press stuff from the late 70's? Anyways I have all versions, Bard Press, Omni Press, and his 2e version.

1 hour ago, RogerDee said:

If you wanted other magic systems, there is Mysticism in Mythras, or Runequest 1 (Glorantha the Second Age - page 9) has a better version as it describes what it is far more eloquently.

Glorantha is the antithesis of what I am going for, so can you describe Mysticism for me a bit please?

Cheers!

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2 hours ago, Andrew Collas Presents... said:

I have this, there is a lot of good, and not so good, in it. It definitely shows it's Italian origins in some of the ideas, which reminds me of the old 80's sword & sorcery films from that country. :)

There is some stuff that I flat do not like. So in my Conan-esque B&B type setting I have the stuff I like, and discarded the rest, and brought in some stuff from elsewher that i do like. 

2 hours ago, Andrew Collas Presents... said:

Well that takes me back to the 90's

Babylon 5 has essentially the kind of lore, and monsters for a perfect Conan type setting; aliens from space, the most powerful are incorporeal, others are corporeal. A few (Thirdspace) could be from different dimensions. At least it works for me, may not be others.

2 hours ago, Andrew Collas Presents... said:

Isn't that just his update to the old Bard Press stuff from the late 70's? Anyways I have all versions, Bard Press, Omni Press, and his 2e version.

Not sure about that to be honest. But there is also Godsend Agenda, with a bunch of shape changing aliens posing as gods which could also easily fit into a Conan type setting too. I know it is in Mythic D6, normal D6 Powers, D20, and Mutants and Masterminds. i love both of the settings to be honest, but also looking forward to Orun if it comes out this year...

2 hours ago, Andrew Collas Presents... said:

Glorantha is the antithesis of what I am going for, so can you describe Mysticism for me a bit please?

Here is an excerpt:

"Mystic magic draws power into the world by establishing a connection of inexpressible awareness between individual and cosmos. Although it can wreathe a martial artist’s fist in devouring fi re or guide an arrow to an impossible target, true masters of mysticism claim that these worldly effects are a by-product, or stepping stone, to the true goal of personal transformation. Worse, they may be a trap, a test to see who is truly capable of separating himself from material distractions. That said, many mystics are perfectly content to stop at the fi ery fi sts and inerrant arrows. Mystic techniques have been established by great yogis or seers of the past but they are cryptic and puzzling. The practitioner must use them as tools in an individualised inner quest, to fi nd the truth hidden between the lines."

So divorce this from the setting and you have a great type of power, especially if you were to include some of the Spirit powers from the recent Runequest stuff (I am not keen on RQ as a setting to be honest either), but you get some of the stuff and you're cooking on gas. One power leap lets you jump six metres - very jedi-like, if you want that kind of thing.

Or just re-write, and re-task some of the old Heroic abilities, and combine with various spells.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think you are going to a more powerful level than I want to in this world. Ultimately one of the reasons I am moving from D&D to BRP is that I prefer a grittier less over-the-top thing. Which is why limited magic as well. Still all interesting things to look at and mine for inspirations :) 

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35 minutes ago, Andrew Collas Presents... said:

I think you are going to a more powerful level than I want to in this world. Ultimately one of the reasons I am moving from D&D to BRP is that I prefer a grittier less over-the-top thing. Which is why limited magic as well. Still all interesting things to look at and mine for inspirations :) 

In my dark fantasy magic too limited, along the lines of B&B, but it is not that gritty and essentially geared towards the players being heroes.

If it helps I sort of have a world template-

Ages: Which is it now, how long were others before it

Kingdoms: 

Metaphysics

Objects

Species

Flora & Fuana

Locations

Organisations

 

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Nations of Albana

Ayre (Eye-err) – Steeped in ancient traditions and “old ways”, Ayre is a forest covered hilly terrain that often experiences strong mists and fog. The large central forest is known as the Misty Woods from which spills the Mysteweir (pronounced misty weir) river. Efrani and Albarish mix perfectly here to create a very unique culture where legends of fae inhabiting these lands abound. Most make their living as foresters, miners, and along the coast fishermen. The king of Ayre is considered to be a good if somewhat lenient man. The law is maintained by the mayors who control the four cantons of Ayre. The flag of Ayre bears a Unicorn just to bring the magical fancy of the Ayrish to a head. With the Ostraadi occupying Urydae to the north, there is a subtle fear of invasion. Also Ospley, one of the four cantons, has already all but fallen to Beastmen invaders out of the mountains.

Brucca (bru-KA) – Home to beastmen, cannibals, demon worshipers, and worse, it is surprising that Brucca does have a kingdom within their borders, but not one that is Albaresh, but instead a darker Aglesh kingdom that holds onto the “old ways” of dark magic. It is said that monsters and demons roam these harsh mountainous lands, raiding down into Drale and Eskaine. There is a dormant volcano in the middle of this land, a caldera where the Witch Queen of Brucca makes her home in the city of Zuldir. It is believed by Arastians that agents of the Adversary reside and gather strength in Brucca. The Grey Faith has remained quiet on the subject.

Caleth (kah-lith) – Mostly rural and mostly flat, the small communities hug closely to the waterways that keep these vast fields fertile but avoid the coast where endless salt marshes and swamplands give home to fell creatures, excepting the king’s city. Isly is a beautiful gem of a port and home to the defining Treaty of Isly that ended the Succesion War and defined the identity of the Albaresh. The pragmatic Calethi people are considered rather “simple” by the rest of the Albaresh kingdoms and often are often used in jokes about intelligence or lack thereof. Still they can field an impressively strong militia when the time is needed and the Beastmen tribes only raid in trying times, out of a healthy fear/respect of how fiercely the Calethi defend their homes. They have the most positive relationships with Rovers, who often winter in Caleth.

Davon (Dav-on) – The most chivalric of all the Albaresh nations, they are the only surviving territory of the old Eskainey High Kingdom that recognizes that lineage of crown. They fought for the Baron Davon during the Succession Wars, protecting the Salt Road and preventing any standing armies from entering their lands to seize the northern mines.  The Davonic Knights Council has made it the primary task of all Knight Chapters to provide safety to those who are traveling the Salt Road. Escorting the tradesmen, merchants, and farmers, etc... These companies sometimes travel even as far as Pelabria in their contracts.  Each landed Davonic lord is responsible for maintaining at least one roadhouse for merchants in their lands.  These roadhouses are tremendously profitable and as such dot the Salt Road no more than a day’s travel apart. The King of Davon, whose line was declared as continuation of the Eskaine royal line after the death of the last Eskainey King, is a good king but has no heir. This makes many of his vassal lords think of Eskaine and its fate nervously. Some lords are already choosing sides in the predicted coming succession war. Every year at the site of the Three Sisters, Davon hosts a massive tourney/fair that runs all summer and brings merchants, knights, mercenaries, Rovers, and even Efrani from all over the island to trade, barter, celebrate, etc… Known as the Battlefield Tourney, as it was the place where the High King of Eskaine and his sons fell three centuries ago, many realize this as how the King of Davon has kept more ambitious lords in check. The King has also recognized the military dangers of the armoured Ostraadi, and begun development of heavy armoured cavalry units as a defensive measure.

Drale (dR-ail) – Former Efrani homelands, Drake is also home of the oldest standing stones on Albana raised by the very first Efrani Clans. Ages past they tell the stories of the Ülsigjar (Sons of Ular) who invaded from Kelosh, giants who took Efrani wives. Whether this is true or not, the Dralish are a distinct people, being taller, paler, and with more colourful hair and eyes than the other Efrani. They also maintain a strong warrior culture that has only gotten more martial due to the seasonal raids from Dáinn by the  Rhosmanni (rowing men). It is not uncommon for a Dralishman to be over six and a half feet in height, with their women easily reaching six feet on average. The Jarldom of Drale has signed the Treaty of Isly, but does not consider itself an Aglesh kingdom.

Eskaine (eSS-cane) – Eskaine was THE first and High Kingdom on Albana after the departure of the Theopolitan Empire.  For two centuries it dominated trade, culture, and law on Albana.  It came to define not only the Albarish language, but the identity of the Albarish people. They were responsible for building the Salt Roads (in the Theopolitan style of course) connecting the varied ports and cities of Albana, and major boon to the development of the island. Even the Urydae were civilized by the efforts of the High King, proving that Efrani and Albarish cultures could be compatible. The last High King, Afellack and his sons Brenflak and Durrein, died at the Battle of the Three Sisters just over three-hundred years ago. Infighting for succession reduced the lords of Eskaine to near savagery, with them becoming warlords ruling the wild lands and presenting a constant danger to those on the Old Salt Road passes through the mountains. Today no trade flows up the Old Salt Road past King’s Gate, and Eskaine has become home to the most dangerously wild Efrani Clans as well as scores of Beastman Tribes. Rumours abound that there are also terrible horrors waiting to devour any who would dare cross into this now wild land.

Étaíne (Eh-tay-ne) – This land has become a mix of almost everyone who has ever ventured to Albana in their migrations and invasions. Over the centuries Étaíne has received waves of settlers time and time again, with the previous settlers blending into the local culture and awaiting the next wave of arrivals. As such the Étaíni are a mix of Efrani, Aglesh, Baruzen, and even Dáinnsk blood, with the Efrani culture being the strongest influence on their society. The land of Étaíne is wild and rough, but a homesteader's dream. Plenty of logging, farming, mining, hunting and trapping await. But the most common job in Étaíne is fishing. With the very cold waters of Blackfish Bay being home to vast schools of its particular namesake. These large fish provide food, their oil having a variety of medicinal uses, and their black furred skins make extremely water resistant clothing, including boots, gloves, cloaks, and hats. So common is blackfish fur clothing and food in the diet of the Étaíni, other Albaresh refer to the people of this nation insultingly as “black fish”. While a member of the Treaty of Isly, recently the King of Étaíne has fallen under the sway of the Sea Kings of Dáinn, leading many to predict aggression towards Davon to the south. 

Guilea (Gill-ee-ah) – One of the most cultured, civilized, and advanced “kingdoms” of Albana, Guilea is neither ruled by a king nor Albaresh in culture. Home of the Guilean Codex, a book of science and knowledge, the Guileans are masters of both arcane and esoteric arts. There are two peoples who make up the population of Guilea. The first are the Zazamanc, or Zamani, who are a beautifully dark-skinned people descended from the freed Azusan slaves and the local Éfrani clans. The Mystics of Guilea, the descendants of the original Tsuni, are nothing like the Zamani, the Albaresh, or even their own ancestors. Having dark hair and eyes, and gaunt almost alabaster skin, their years of isolation on their island has changed them forever. The currents near their island keep them in quite a comfortable climate all year long, but many feel that magic and strange science are used by the Mystics of Guilea to make it so. This mysterious island is barred to all but the Mystics and select trusted Zamani, though an atoll, connected by an impressive bridge, houses the port city of Myarmar that allows foreigners to dock for purposes of trade and supplies.

Ishmír (ISH-meer) – Originally known as Thalatia, the Kingdom now known as Ishmír was the last holdout of the Theopolitan Empire on Albana. Never ruled by a King, they were instead ruled by a Senate and called themselves a Republic. The vast majority of their peoples were Theopolitans who never left the island after making it their home, and their capital of Thalisport (now Ishmína, or Port of God) still has much Theopoloitan architecture and style. When the Crimson Empire went to war with the Brytonian Empire, a Beshite admiral sailed with a mighty armada to land his forces in Free Cities of Castepoli on the Cascazura peninsula. Instead a storm blew him north, past the Tsuni Islands and into safe harbour at Thalisport. When the senators were told that a Beshite fleet with at least 20,000 soldiers on hundreds of ships were in port, they immediately surrendered to the “invaders”. At first Ishmír, which means Land of God in the Beshite language, was a Sultanate of the Crimson Empire, but after the defeat of the Black Church, it became its own Kingdom and part of the Treaty of Isly. the Beshites mixed with the local Theopolitans, and have created an almost unique people in the Ishmíri, who swarthy skin, sharp features, and black hair cuts a handsome visage for both their men and women. Culturally they are a meeting of Theopolitant, Beshite, and even Albaresh influences, with a tremendous public education system, a working mail, and libraries in every town over 1000 people, thanks to one of the past Ishmíri queens. It is the only place on the Pendric Isles where Zahirism is practiced, but often druids of the Grey Faith can be seen meeting and conversing with the clerics of the temples in Ishmína.

Oscait (oss-KAYE) – Descended from merchant clans who originated from Othais on the Continent, their Othasian name is Oscait, but it has been Albarized into Oskey over the years by the locals. The Oscaisians are a mid of Othasian and Albaresh stock, but they favour their shorter Continental cousins. They control the kingdom of Pelabria through their banks and merchant houses, despite recognizing that Pelabria is an independent nation. It is believed that Oscaisian bankers were the ones who conceived and backed the Pelabrian Rebellion all those years ago. They are some of the best merchants around and are known to have strong ties to Oscait on the Continent. They are the richest kingdom of Albana, bar none, and it is common parlance to say that everyone owes the Oskaisians... one way or another.

Ostraad (Oss-TRA-dd) – Dogmatically Arastian, the Ostraad have imported a rather militant form of the Austorian faith to Albana. Originally from the Continent, they were driven out of their homelands in Austoria after a failed theocratic coup. They landed at the Aerac Islands, off the west coast of Albana and immediately drove out the Efrani clans that lived there, taking their lands for themselves. Later, when they craved the fertile and rich lands of Urydae, the Ostraadi demanded they convert to their faith.  When the Urydae refused, a holy war/crusade was declared and the Ostraadi won easily, gaining control of their resource rich valley. The Ostraadi faith is finding footholds on Albana, which has led to Ostraadi pilgrims being seen at the Battlefield Fair in recent years. They have no King or royal family, but instead are governed by the Holy Order of the Knights Of Arast. These militant knights, who call themselves Templars, wear a heavy metal plate armour that has never been seen on the shores of Albana before. On top of crusading, they have a penchant for crucifixion, which they see as the only way to salvation for heretics who do not convert. While not a member of the Treaty of Isly, they have recently begun petitioning for it, finding a surprise ally in the Queen of Pelabria, though most believe she is acting on the orders of Oscait.

Pelabria (peh-LAB-ree-ah) – Once one of the richest provinces of the High Kingdom of Eskaine, the Pelabrians somehow got the idea that they should be their own kingdom. As such they decided to have a war for independence that dragged the entire island into what remains the bloodiest war ever fought, with nearly an entire generation wiped out in battles. Backed by exorbitant loans from the Oscaitian banks, they were able to field an army of Continental mercenaries that not only won their bid for sovereignty, but claimed the last High King of Eskaine and his sons. In time, the young kingdom came to the  realization that they couldn't repay the banks of Oscait and essentially were economically annexed by said banks for debts.  While still an independent nation for all intents and purposes, their Queen’s council reports to representatives of the biggest banks and merchant houses in Oscait before implementing policy. Recently the Queen has shown favour to the Ostraadi, even allowing them to establish a Chapel House in her capital of Queen’s Port. Many suspect a religious conversion in coming. Pelabrians are, much like the Davonics, what Continentals picture when they imagine Albaresh people. Above average height, milk-fair skinned, wavvy hair ranging from chestnut to flax, and eyes of earthy tones of browns, hazels, and greens.

Urydae (Yuri-day) – The first and last official Kingdom of Efrani to follow Albaresh feudalism, the Urydae were becoming considered a strong ally in taming the Efrani Clans.  Then the Ostraadi came and conquered their cousins, the Denni.  Later, while confident they could hold their rich lands, they refused to convert to Arastianity and this would lead to their complete and total conquest by the Ostraadi.  Now a subject land, the Urydae are no better than slaves working the fields, forests, and mines of their rich homelands for the benefit of their Ostraadi overlords. Urydaens are classic Efrani in appearance, of good stature, tanned skin, eyes of blues and greens, with hair ranging from brown, to auburn, to strawberry blonde. A handsome people, the Ostraadi, who practice slavery, have discovered that the Efrani are in high demand with the Slavers of Azusa, who’s black ships have been seen to weigh anchor in Carynx from time-to-time.

Edited by Andrew Collas Presents...
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52 minutes ago, Andrew Collas Presents... said:

I meant to ask, what does this mean? Heroic abilities? Tell me more if you would be so kind sir :) 

"These are fuelled by the same reserves that power magic, and using them involves delving into one’s own character, channelling the intangible forces that fire deeds of heroism. For instance, a Player Character wishing to learn Slaying Touch must fi nd a master of the martial arts and persuade them that he is worthy to learn this deep secret."

These are geared for non-powered templates to enhance them to be far above normal.

In essence these are powered by innate magic, such as Slaying Touch, Wall Running, Tireless that kind of thing. Each one had a point cost (hero points), and a pre-requisite in stats or skill percentages. in essence they were a way to make your character really shine, to make them heroic, and a definitive cut above the rest. Trouble is a character might only have one or two, while a mage might have dozen or more spells. My solution was to create a lot more of them, and allow players to have more, which was easily done by drawing on Pathfinder, and DnD class abilities.

Those class abilities that drew upon another another power like a Paladin's, or Holy Warrior or Cleric, were still Gifts, as opposed to Heroic abilities.

So if I wanted someone with mysticism to essentially be a jedi-like character, that was fine. But if someone wanted to be a Barbarian beserker with uncanny stamina, strength boosts, able to dodge blows like they were made by addled children, then that was good too. But mages also had access to their own magic-based heroic abilities, such as having magic saturated blood, and thus have extra MP that was okay too.

It allows a fully balanced party that way, such that the warriors in the group could chop down dozens, and players could have a bloody (pun intended) good time, while the wizard fire balled the crap out of any artillery. Doing it this way players could literally be Aragorn, or Gandalf, or someone from Crouching Tiger, or Into the Badlands, or Kill Bill. Sure power levels go up, but it does not need to remove the gritty nature.

In fact, limbs of the bad guys could go every which way.

 

 

 

 

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So I've removed the rules hack I was looking at, as it wasn't able to be hidden and was just too big to keep on screen with out the spoiler function working anymore.

Also I will be changing it and continuing my hunt for a Corruption mechanic that is workable for me.

Stay tuned for that stuff to come.

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A little primer I've thrown together for my players and happily share with you here. It is a bit more narrative than the other stuff, but ties into it the timeline, the questions about the setting, and the mini gazetteer. I've done my best to proof-read for mistakes in both the grammar/spelling and the previous in world information.

 

Albana Primer

Albana, originally known as Érend by the Éfrani tribes that call it their home, is the largest of the Pendric isles. It is neighboured to the north by Dáinn, home of the Sea Kings and their Rhosmanni raiders, to the west by varied nations and peoples of Aegos (commonly referred to as the Continent), to the south by the Tsuni Islands, the Beshite Peninsula, and further south the steaming jungles of Azusa. To the east, across the Attilasian Sea lie the Lost Lands, and further still the Dreaming East.

Over the eons the islands have been settled or colonized by various cultures, which in turn has led to a blending of said cultures to create the modern Albaresh (not to be confused with their language Albarish), though most on the Continent call them the Albani.

Originally the islands were inhabited by the Old People, an ancient and mysterious race lost in time and antiquity. Their mark has been left on the islands though, which are scattered with statues, ruins of circular temples, and the largest of their wonders the Three Sisters. Carved out of a giant stone standing nearly one hundred feet high, and which Imperial scholars believe was brought to its current location by the Old People, it depicts, back-to-back like a pillar, three women. A maiden of youth, a woman of adulthood, and a mature crone of age.

Later came the Beastmen, who would seemingly wipeout the Old People. Some old Imperial scholars believed these savages migrated in dugout trees from the lands of Kelosh to the Northeast, fleeing some great danger or catastrophe. While it has never been proven, it remains a popular theory amongst the learned. To this day these Beastmen tribes still live in the wild and dangerous parts of Albana, where they have constant conflict with the Éfrani as well as the various Albani cultures.

Eventually the Attillasians came when their homelands across the ocean to the east, beyond the Lost Lands even, suffered some great tragedy. They settled throughout Érend and Daínn, driving the Beastmen into the wilds as they set about building civilization. It is not known how many centuries they did this, but as Attillasian ruins can be found all over the Pendric Isles, it must have been for many centuries. Eventually, and why is unknown, their culture collapsed into barbarity and these Attillasians would evolve into the Éfrani Clans we know today.

The principal exception to this is the Sea Kings of Dáinn, who claim to be also Atillasians. Old Imperial scholars refuted this claim, citing that while physically they resembled the Atilasians (tall, fair haired, blue eyed), their culture, language, and style were nothing like the Atillasians. That said, there has never been a good explanation of where they did come from, and why they resemble the Atillasian stock.

The next to migrate to the Pendric Isles were the expeditions of the Theopolitan Empire, who attempted to establish themselves as the rulers of the Pendric isles, but were never able to control more than the southern coast, and then at great cost due to constant conflict with Éfrani and Beastmen, the latter of whom they armed and trained to use against the former. In the end after over two centuries of bloodshed, the Theopolitan's abandoned their colonial efforts when their empire collapsed on the Continent. In modern day Ishmína you can still see Theopolitan architecture and colonnades made from actual materials imported from the Theopolitan Empire.

As the Éfrani began to repopulate and spread again over the island, a new people arrived. The Aglesh were refugees from the Agelval valley in what is now Austoria, who were fleeing persecution and ultimately genocide at the swords of the primitive Artaxi horse tribes who were spreading to every corner of Padonia (the region Austoria now rules). The first wave of Aglesh refugees arriving on the island did not war with the Éfrani, but instead attempted to blend into their society. This allowed early Aglesh Albani to learn a lot from the locals, unfortunately subsequent waves of Agelsh transformed from refugees to invaders and once again the Éfrani were driven into the wilds, where they warred with the Beastmen.

Over the next century and a half the Aglesh were able to forge brutal kingdoms, despite constant warring with the Éfrani and the Beastmen. The royal families of these Aglesh kingdoms were corrupt and devoid of compassion. Commoners were taxed miserably, exploited, and conscripted into wars of conquest against the Éfrani, Beastmen, other Aglesh kingdoms, and the Last Legion holding out in Thalatia (what is now Ishmír), having never bowed to the Aglesh kings. Life was brutal and short in this time, with few males seeing past the age of 30.

In the north, in what is now Drale, local Éfrani tribes were dominated by the invasion of the Ülsigjar from Kelosh. These (supposed) giants had spread south into the Dáinnsk islands and then on to Albana. They merged with the local Éfrani and eventually created what today are known as Dralesmen, tall, pale, strong, and hardy people who to this day have never been conquered by the various rulers of the island.

The Aglesh kingdoms, having fought each other to near exhaustion were unified under a High King by the name of Eskwuld, who would give his name to his kingdom Eskaine. Remembered as a just and good king, Eskwuld would only rule for a decade before his second son, Athruld, would assassinate him and his eldest to claim the throne for himself. Athruld was a despotic ruler, the opposite in every way of his father, and slowly, using fear and tyranny he would bring the Aglesh lords to heal, swiftly and mercilessly crushing any sign of rebellion, even doing the one thing his father could not, crush the Last Legion and bring Thalatia under his rule.

There was only one kingdom that remained outside the High King’s grasp and that was Brucca. The King of Brucca, whose name is lost to history, was believed to be a worshipper of demons and wielder of black magics. His army was made up of the worst of the Aglesh, it is said all outlaws eventually found their way to his city of Zuldir, and tamed and trained Beastmen. It is known that he sent envoys and advisors to High King Athruld, and it is suggested that it was black magic that granted victory over the Last Legion.

On the Continent, the burgeoning Pellathean League was conflicting with the newly aligned Kingdoms of Othais for silver mines they both coveted. The Pellatheans decided, as they were not warriors themselves, to hire mercenary clans from the Baruze Highlands to fight the Othasians for them and send them north well equipped and armed to harass Othasian merchant caravans. The Othasians were having none of it and met with the clan heads and struck a deal. Using Othasian merchant galleys, they would transport the clans to Albana, which they would conquer on Othais's behalf, setting up lucrative trade deals with their existing colony of Oscait. It is said that silver speaks louder than prose and at this time it was proven true. The Baruze Mercenary Clans arrived on the main island at what is now Pelabria prepared to spill blood and pillage and burn, but instead were welcomed with open arms by Aglesh nobles and generals who sought to end the despotic rule of the Aglesh High King. Shocked at the reaction, the Baruze suspected treachery, but after being reassured by Othasian agents in Oscait, they joined the cause. It would be a lie to suggest the Baruze conquest of Albana was bloodless, but it would also be in error to suggest it was great savage war either. More than not, when the Baruzen army would arrive to do battle with whatever noble or lords assembled forces, those forces would slaughter their royal observers and join with the invaders. By the time the castle of the High King was reached, even the resurfaced Last Legion had arrived to join their banners to the now liberating army.

The result of this was the creation of the Albarish people and language, which in turn would give the island the name Albana, or "Island of the Albaresh". A new High King was crowned, Eöwad the First, and took for his seat of power Ahtruld’s very throne at Screfe. The kingdom under High King Eöwad would prove to be a very strong and resilient entity, slowly unifying or gaining deference from all corners of their island, opening trade with the continent via Oscait, and even limited trade with the Sea Kings to the north. During this time the Éfrani were mostly given plenty of space, and even the Urydae tribe became the first Éfrani kingdom under the High King.

Near to this time, a group of Tsuni mystics and their Azusan slaves would arrive on the smaller island of Guilea and found their city of Myarmar, a place to this day renowned for magic and mystery. The mystics did eventually free their slaves, who in turn mixed with the Éfrani in the area, mashing their languages together and creating a people called the Zazamanc (or Zamani in the common vernacular) and eventually become part of the Albana High Kingdom. To this day their colourful costumes and deep brown skin demarks them clearly in any part of Albana. The descendants of the original Tsuni mystics did not mix with the locals and they have become pale and gaunt, adding to their mysterious nature. As such when Albani refer to the Guileans, they mean the Zamani people of the port city of Myarmar, and not the Mystics of Guilea, whom they believe are best left unmentioned.

The in what history considers the Theopolitan Empire reborn, the Brytonian Empire were not ones to forget Albana in their drive to rebuild the old empire. Eventually their forces found their way to the island's shores. The High King of Eskaine fought back against the Brytonian invaders, assembling a massive force made up of Dralish Berserks, Rhosmanni dragonships, Éfrani archers, Guilean spearmen, the Last Legion, Davonic horsemen, and thousands of Footmen from all corners of the Albana. The invaders were not prepared for such an assemblage of forces, and with most of their forces tied up in their Continental ambitions, they sued for peace, leaving an embassy in Oscait.

Roughly three centuries ago the Pelabrian Rebellion took place and plunged the island into civil war. Sides were drawn up and battles were fought. Countless thousands of lives were lost, and an entire generation was decimated. The final battle took place at the Three Sisters fields. At that battle the rebellion was squashed, but the High King and his sons were all killed as well. This plunged Albana into the Succession Wars that slowly saw kingdom after kingdom withdraw and leave the fighting eventually to the nobles of Eskaine. With their war contained and no other kingdom willing to aid them, Eskaine was lost and to this day is a wild land of unknown settlements, savage tribes, and countless warlords. Eventually, with Eskaine lost to them all, the remaining Aglesh kingdoms met at Isly in Caleth and signed the Treaty of Isly, also known as the Pendric Reformation. This document would create a set of legal rules for all the nations of Albana, define the Pendric Relams, and establish Albarish as the official language of the islands.

Around this time the first Arastian missionaries arrived on Albana. First in Oscait, where the heavily Othasian influenced culture was already mostly converted, and then stepping out onto the main island. Try as they might to spread their faith, they met not resistance, but that very Albani way of absorption. While Oscait is fully Othasian Catholic, the Arastian teachings were added to the already multifaceted beliefs of the Albaresh and the resulting formation of the Grey Faith. The Druids of the Grey Faith mix the old ways and the new, choosing to accept the end of things like human sacrifice, but rejecting things like the subjugation of female power. So much so that unlike the Pope on the Continent, a man, the Grey Faith is led by an Abbess who resides at the Grey Abbey in Pelabria. While this has never led to religious war on Albana, the Treaty of Isly was amended to specifically forbid a “State Religion”, providing freedom of worship to all peoples of the Pendric Realms. Most would say this was nothing more than an act of show, as the people of the islands already practiced as they pleased.

When a storm blew Admiral Tanir el Kadhi, serving the Crimson Empire, and his Beshite fleet off course as they were heading to battle somewhere along the coast of the Continent against the Brytonian Empire, they eventually found themselves arriving at Thalisport with hundreds of ships and thousands of men. He was surprised when it took over an hour for people from the city to arrive, and those people were the ruling council of the Thalatian Senate. Expecting to negotiate price for repairs and supplies, and get an idea of where they were, Tanir was surprised when Thalatian Senators immediately surrendered and threw themselves on the Admiral's mercy. Beshite culture is one that believes in never passing up an opportunity, so after a quick discussion with his officers, he accepted the surrender of the city and asked to what kingdom they were pledged. The Senators, fearing a trick and being a free city responded "Your's my Liege." That is the short version of how two hundred years ago the then Sultanate, and eventual Kingdom of Ishír, and city of Ishmína came to be. Ishmír means "Land of God" in Beshite, and Ishmía means “God’s Harbour”. This shows the Zahiric origins of Admiral Tanir, and every king of Ishmír since has been named Tanir, the current being Tanir IX.

It wasn't long after the establishment of Ishmír that Albana became embroiled in a war on the Continent, but this one against a force most vile, the Black Emperor. The Brytonian Empire had grown large and fat but was run with an iron grip by the Church, the Emperor, and various Aegosian Kings. Then at a moment of their highest power, they revealed that they were actually the Black Church of Typhet (also known as the Adversary, the Devil, and the King of Hell). According to their Worm Priests, their Black Bible had prophesized that Emperor Slazjek was the Black Emperor, who was to rule the world. These Worm Priests, who legends say could raise the dead to serve them, had infiltrated almost all of the Arastian Churches around Aegos, but had not in Oscait, which in turn denied them a foothold in Albana. Perhaps it was an oversight on their part, or maybe like most Continentals they felt the Pendric Realms were little more than jumped-up barbarians, whatever the reason it would prove to be their undoing.

With the Crimson Empire unwilling to battle the new Black Empire, Sultan Tanir III petitioned for an assembly of the Pendric Council in Isly. There he spoke passionately to the Kings and was able to do something not seen in centuries. He rallied the island of Albana, assembling a mighty army the likes of which had not been seen since attempted invasion by the Brytonians centuries earlier. With the assistance of the Rhosimanni dragonships, they made for the Continent. While the details are laid out in other places, the army was successful and even managed to hold the Crimson Empire at bay when they finally decided to enter the fray and then seek to invade northern Aegos. It was also revealed that the deal Tanir III had struck with the Pendric Council was the declare Ishmír a kingdom and sign their treaty. All the Kings of Albana saw Tanir III as a viable High King, but it was not to be. Black Church agents, who had hidden in the army struck and assassinated Tanir III in his tent, leaving his twelve-year-old son to ascend to the Ishmír throne as Tanir IV.

It is believed that Tanir III's success and story lead directly to the creation of the Pendric Cycles, a popular form of fiction though some claim they are prophecy. Some claim them to be the last words of Tanir III no less, but essentially, they all carry the tale; when the High King returns and unties Albana, God himself will deliver unto him the Throne of The World and peace will reign until the end of days. Over the years the Pendric Cycles have varied in scope, and breadth, but they central core is always there. The same message of a United Kingdom of Albana (Pendria in some versions), of the Holy Blessings, and of peace. Every child knows the stories, no one except the most hopeless of romantics or children believe them to be true. They have become quite popular as a form of theatre and adventure fiction on the Continent but are grossly misrepresented there.

After the defeat of the Black Church, but with no central government to run them, Albana entered a dark age that was helped along by the Red Death, a brutal plague, that swept across Aegos, killing nearly one in three of all people infected over the course of a half century. Albana was spared this plague merely by a trick of location, and by the Sea Kings of Daínn sailing the Othasian Sea and sinking all ships coming from the Continent. For the better part of half a century Albana had been cut off from the world.

Recently things have started to change. The Oscait Merchant Houses and Banks have begun trade missions to the Continent, mostly with their allies in Othais, but slowly they are reaching out more and more and stranger and more exotic items are starting to reach the coastal markets of Pelabria.

On a darker note, the Ostraadi, a fanatical order of Arastians from Austoria have created a new Kingdom in the Aeracs (small islands on the western coast) and even invaded and conquered the only Éfrani kingdom of Albana, Urydae, enslaving them. They have been successful primarily due to their armour, which is composed of plates of steel that encase their knights completely. Rumour has it that the Davonic Knights are adapting it themselves for the mounted cavalry, which might provide a counter to any further Ostraadi ambitions on the island, though the age of the Davonic King Harrik and his lack of heirs causes everyone worry and fear of a Succession War in Davon. The Queen of Pelabria has been making noise about expanding her reach seeing Davon as weaker, but all know she is a puppet of the Oscaisian Guilds and won't make a move without their approval. That said she did welcome an Ostraadi delegation to her capitol, even gifting them an armoury to use as a residence. Many suspect a religious conversion awaits her.

Surely as night turns into day, spring is here, and all eyes turn towards the annual Three Sisters Battlefield festival. Slowly carts from all over Albana are making their way along salt roads, wood cutters trails, and even old highways, all with the same destination in mind, and the same goal, riches and fortune. Knights, warriors, and others prepare to take part in the games that will last all summer and end with the "King and Queen of the Games" being crowned at the end of summer, and hopefully another year without open war on the island of Albana will pass.

Still reports of aggressive movements by Beastmen tribes, roaring furnaces in the darkest parts of Brucca, and strangers arriving at various ports make many think the omens are poor and darker times lay ahead for the isle. Others say that listening to fish mongers and old wives is a fool's errand and if there be strange folks about, that's just a sign that Albana is about to rejoin the Known World, this time as a strong force to be recognized.

Which group is right, the soothsayers, priests, and witches cannot say. Thought they all remember the ancient curse delivered to the Theopolitan Emperor more than a thousand years ago by ambassadors from the Celestial Empire, may you live in interesting times.

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  • 4 months later...
Posted (edited)

Long time no see.

So this campaign is picking up finally, with players in the pre-production phase.

I had this climatology map document commissioned (it's a Google slide-show) and it does a wonderful job of breaking down the weather and biomes of the Known World map.

More to come!

Edited by Zenith Comics Presents...

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Hi Zenith,

On the corruption mechanic there used to be a MRQ product by Otherworld Creations called Taint and Sanity - having just checked on DTRPG and Lulu it looks athough it's no longer available/out of print. But if you get a chance to look at a copy it might cover the ground.

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12 minutes ago, Agentorange said:

Hi Zenith,

On the corruption mechanic there used to be a MRQ product by Otherworld Creations called Taint and Sanity - having just checked on DTRPG and Lulu it looks athough it's no longer available/out of print. But if you get a chance to look at a copy it might cover the ground.

Interesting item. Apparently nigh impossible to find 😞

I'll keep looking 🙂 

Thanks for sharing 🙂 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I have a question for you all, and your opinions are welcome.

Some of my player's are balking at a human's only setting. They aren't looking for dragoborn, but they want dwarves, and orcs, and elves, and hobbits etc...

I am not sure I really want to add these peoples to the world, and if I was going to I would want to expand that out to include other "non-human" races from beyond northern Europe, if that makes sense. You know instead of having elves all over the place, they would be isolated to the nordic realms, hobbits to the island of Albana (England stand-in), etc...

So I ask you, if you were creating this world, what would you do?

Cheers!

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1 hour ago, Zenith Comics Presents... said:

So I have a question for you all, and your opinions are welcome.

Some of my player's are balking at a human's only setting. They aren't looking for dragoborn, but they want dwarves, and orcs, and elves, and hobbits etc...

I am not sure I really want to add these peoples to the world, and if I was going to I would want to expand that out to include other "non-human" races from beyond northern Europe, if that makes sense. You know instead of having elves all over the place, they would be isolated to the nordic realms, hobbits to the island of Albana (England stand-in), etc...

So I ask you, if you were creating this world, what would you do?

When I created my RQ3-Vikings themed fantasy world, I had limited geographic spread of most of these non-humans. Elves of various stages between physical beings and starlight spirits, or a dryad-like species not called elves but using the Gloranthan definition of aldryami, were limited to two northerly regions. Hobbits and ducks were absent. Chaos-warped iron-using elves aka orcs were the horse-riding warlords of a piece of vast steppe around a chaos impact. RQ ogres (looking human, but slightly larger and stronger, evil sorcerers requiring a diet of sapient species) were limited to an archipelago near one of the elf populations (ancient foes), giants in the distant north, serpent-folk in one of the jungles semi-mortal descendants of various jinn-like entities in a southeastern desert (effectively non-European elves with totally different magical background than the others, no biological relation either), insect-like people on a metal-poor peninsula in the far southwest, dragonewts with allied/subject humans in two places in the farther west, RQ trolls in a few middling mountain ranges, dwarves in others, with contested points of contact. The nonhumans and the humanoids (dwarves, ogres, giants all different races of homo, elves explicitely not) and the humans all had migration histories from the cataclysmic war 10k years back and other major events just 5k, 2k and 1k years back, like a major glaciation happening after the first great war and then slowly going away. Smaller populations of beast walkers, chaos mutations limited to a few impact sites of the 5ky cycle, etc. Chaos as a cancerous mutagen rather than annihilation, unnatural and unpleasant anyway.

I did loan from the general layout of Viking Europe and the Mediterranean, but then flipped east and west, divided the continent by a high mountain range running from (slightly northerly) east to (slightly southerly) west, two interior seas in the center separated only by that range and connected by magically powered canals through higher mountain valleys, and then I stole from a small number of non-Viking inspirations. Including Glorantha, and Jules Vernes' Journey to the Center of Earth, with the trolls one native species that made it to the surface. A lot less thought on underwater populations, much more on shadow realms connecting to certain places, all on a planet. A few hundred pages of notes, maps, and how to break earth analogues and other loans, enough info for one of my players to use the setting for his own games as GM, but nowhere near non-fan publication.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 6/8/2021 at 5:38 PM, Agentorange said:

Hi Zenith,

On the corruption mechanic there used to be a MRQ product by Otherworld Creations called Taint and Sanity - having just checked on DTRPG and Lulu it looks athough it's no longer available/out of print. But if you get a chance to look at a copy it might cover the ground.

Sadly this item is a no-find it appears. Not for sale anywhere. Does anyone know the author and maybe he would be willing to do a direct purchase? Everything I read about it says this is amazing stuff 😞 

Thanks in advance for any and all help on this one.

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9 hours ago, Zenith Comics Presents... said:

Sadly this item is a no-find it appears. Not for sale anywhere. Does anyone know the author and maybe he would be willing to do a direct purchase? Everything I read about it says this is amazing stuff 😞 

Thanks in advance for any and all help on this one.

I think these (or something similar) made it into Mythras Imperative, or the Mythras Companion.

SDLeary

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

So slight change in playing plan. Instead of starting on and telling the story of Albana, the players are instead playing a family in the New World.

Here is the Known World. The continent of Aegos (to the left of Albana) is called simply the Continent. Across the sea, where we find Gilboah, Ancient Vothia, etc... is called the New World, despite it being home to countless "barbarian" tribes and the remnants of the long lost Vothic empire. Beyond the continental divide mountains there, we come to the Dreaming East, home to the lotus filled lands of Pashmir and the mysterious Celestial Empire. What lies beyond that is unknown. So, essentially the New World is really only "new" in that Continental agents have been exploring and colonizing it for the past century and a half.

Attached are two images that show the distance between Albana and the New World colony and the area that will be explored in this 'story'.

Finally, here is the local area map I made of the Duchy of Andler and their enemies the Barony of Levonhardt.

We are using Cthulhu Dark Ages (3e) for this campaign, and while not using Cthulhu Mythos, I will be using "dark otherworldly horror" elements inspired by therein. 🙂

More to come 🙂 

Oh and the name of the campaign is; Blackfire - a Jagged Peace

If folks want to know the backstory I am happy to provide it, as well as information on the primary PCs and NPCs.

BE HEROIC!

blackfire.PNG

blackfire1.PNG

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