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Backford Aeolian Campaign


Erol of Backford

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For a game, I would assume the 1597 murders took the Sartar Royal House by surprise, so I would assume, as above, that either Nochet, Karse or in transit between Sartar and one of those cities.

However in 1606 I would say the survivors already knew they were hunted, so I would consider they are hiding or taking refuge in other locations, maybe among the Heortlings, or possibly protected by Belintar himself, so there could be a murder even in the City of Wonders. 

That could also open opportunities for PC interference.

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Evidently the Special Humakt Skill Sense Assassin (00%) doesn't really work very well? This perception skill can only be gained by a Humakti gift. Success allows the user to sense that a nearby person (within 50m) intends to assassinate someone the Humakti is currently attached to, whether a family member, part of a temporary adventuring party, or a permanent fealty relationship, or even the Humakti himself. This sense does not tell the Humakti who the intended victim is, but does point out the assassin.

Additionally why would none of them have been resurrected?

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The best way to solve this is actually play the inverse. Players as Lunar assassins that need to overcome the humakti bodyguards and make sure the target cannot be ressurrected.

A typical way in our games is to take the head with you. You can also trap the spirit, so it is not available for resurrection. As for the humakti, play against the limits. 50 meters is not much against Rune Magic, and certainly is not enough against sorcery. Or kill the humakti first, and then you have all the time to kill the target. 

That also can make exciting scenarios, such as a race against time to recover the head so it can be resurrected, or to free a trapped soul. If you are ambitious you can even arrange a rescue from a Lunar hell. 

 

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9 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Does anyone have a source for Heortland Aeolian heraldry?

As the Aeolians recognize the Orlanthi gods, I'd expect all symbols to be oriented towards standard Orlanthi imagery.  (I wouldn't use the term heraldry given its medieval assocations, but YGWV.)

Also bear in mind that there aren't that many noble families/lineages (the total number of Esvulari is only 75k, and only a fraction are noble).

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On 6/5/2022 at 11:10 PM, JRE said:

A typical way in our games is to take the head with you.

Depending on who the head belonged to, it has the bonus of drawing suspicion on Thanatar cultists. Who are a handy way to complicate resurection too - without the head AND the sprit, there's not much you can do for the victim...

That could be a neat side business for a thanatar temple - maybe even a cover, passing htemselves of as a 'normal' assassin cult and making themselves usfeull in the local mover and shaker's feuds to gain influence and protection.

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1 hour ago, Manunancy said:

Depending on who the head belonged to, it has the bonus of drawing suspicion on Thanatar cultists. Who are a handy way to complicate resurection too - without the head AND the sprit, there's not much you can do for the victim...

That could be a neat side business for a thanatar temple - maybe even a cover, passing htemselves of as a 'normal' assassin cult and making themselves usfeull in the local mover and shaker's feuds to gain influence and protection.

A head on a lance is mostly free from Thanatari suspicions... Unless there are "basket lances" which have a holding area for a garrotted head looking like it was pierced.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

Where would there be a Storm Bull Temples in the Heortlands? Hoping for a temple not just a shrine. Would it be in Bullford, where else might there be one? Any ideas what it would look like? How many Khans would there be or would they not call them that in the Heortlands?

The most sacred temples are on Stormwalk Mountain, of course.  One at the bottom, one at the top.  These look like shrines, but function as temples - after all Storm Bull lives on top of the mountain!  These are places of pilgrimage of course, so always will be bands of Storm Bulls coming to visit.

The largest temple is at Bullflood.  It is led by one of the great Storm Khans.  There are always Storm Bull warbands led by their specific khans (who defer to the great Storm Khan) camped out there (except in the period when King Rikard drove them out and attempted to suppress Storm Bull worship).  It's a great open-air temple - the Storm Khan always positions himself so worshipers see Stormwalk Mountain (and Storm Bull atop it) behind him. A block of stone from the head of Rock Lord the Mountain God serves as the altar. Outside the temple is a wall of bull skulls leading towards the town and the ford. Pilgrims bring the bleached skulls of favored bulls as offerings.

There is an important temple at Durengard atop the Knob on Temple Hill.  It looks directly east to Stormwalk Mountain.  

The clans around the Footprint have shrines to the Storm Bull.

And there's an important shrine at Whitewall, though rarely enough worshipers to serve as a temple.

 

 

 

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Stone Wood Question: So the PC's escort Findilas Beastwise into the westernmost area of Stone Wood searching for small fossils to study and release (seems there is is opposition to taking anything from there for far it will offset the equilibrium). There were noted to be small animals, rabbits, squirrels, etc. in there. What turns things to living stone? Is this still happening and could there by chance be say a humanoid creature also turned to stone over time? If so could this happen to say a Scorpionman? I have ideas similar to Stone Crab Island way up north in the River of the Damned but on a less dangerous level to begin with... Any ideas on this are appreciated. Stone armor at 24 points would be interesting to say the least.

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4 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Stone Wood Question:  What turns things to living stone?

The original cloud of ash, brimstone etc. blown here by a Storm God to keep the oozng Chaos in check.

A pyroclastic cloud, by another name, with slightly different outcome.

 

4 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Is this still happening and could there by chance be say a humanoid creature also turned to stone over time?

Only if you happen to stumble into the Godtime event or an echo thereof.

 

4 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

If so could this happen to say a Scorpionman?

You could engineer such a thing. Or your player characters might. Some Lodril magic might help.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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5 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Stone Wood Question: So the PC's escort Findilas Beastwise into the westernmost area of Stone Wood searching for small fossils to study and release (seems there is is opposition to taking anything from there for far it will offset the equilibrium). There were noted to be small animals, rabbits, squirrels, etc. in there. What turns things to living stone? Is this still happening and could there by chance be say a humanoid creature also turned to stone over time? If so could this happen to say a Scorpionman? I have ideas similar to Stone Crab Island way up north in the River of the Damned but on a less dangerous level to begin with... Any ideas on this are appreciated. Stone armor at 24 points would be interesting to say the least.

Something important you have to ask is: Why the Stone Wood exists?  It not only sits at the end of a Chaos Nest, but has been there since well before the Dawn, and still exists in form and shape.

I think think the answer has to be that it is not only a center of Stasis/Order, but exists in a manner that literally transforms and "orders" Chaos.  And by "orders", I mean that it forces Chaos into forms that destroy the Chaos and turn Chaos into the ongoing power that keeps Chaos at bay.

1 hour ago, Joerg said:

The original cloud of ash, brimstone etc. blown here by a Storm God to keep the oozng Chaos in check.

This is a key part of how the Stone Woods stops Chaos.  The ash clouds are still there, still swirling around, and still able to affect Chaos.  It's like putting salt onto a slug or worm, it "dries out" the Chaos, stopping movement, stopping mutation, and transforming anything of chaos into Stone, and then the stone crumbles away back into ash again to continue the cycle.

This has the greatest effect on anything like gorp or the like, but anything that has a Chaos rune or chaotic features is likely affected.

However, that by itself would not be sufficient IMO.  

When the ash cloud hit and transformed the Stone Wood, it transformed the denizens of the area into living creatures of stone.  Imbued with the powers of Stasis, these denizens continue their fight against Chaos (and really against anything else that enters and potentially endangers the region).  

You might have dryads transformed into gorgon-like beings who can turn creatures into stone with their gaze.  Creatures whose bite or talons inject a paralytic poison.  Denizens who can "plant" you into the stony ground.  Etc.  

I also believe Time works differently, slower, within the Stone Woods.  While you may think you've only had an hour's passage through a portion of the Stone Woods, in reality it took you a week, or a season.  And if viewed from the outside, you are barely seen to be moving.

If you enter with the intent to remove something (interesting fossils, gem-like "fruit" from the stone trees), then odds are high the denizens act against you.

 

 

 

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Study only, catch (if you say picking up a rock is catching as its moving indiscernibly slow) and release after studying and not removing. No "Detect Enemies" registering on those doing the studying... thank you both.

Maybe only at the east end of Stone Wood would anything Chaotic be transforming where the PC's stumble upon it in progress with any encounter/combat ending as the creature turns to stone and crumbles away back into ash again to continue the cycle. Possibly a group of very dimwitted creatures attempt a breakout or sorts through the Stone Wood and are subsequently transformed... will have to work on the timing/speed of said transformation. Maybe its more of a fuzzy line per say where Stone Wood ends and the Foul Blood Forest begins.

I can make that work. Maybe there is a way to use Lodril magic to expedite, good stuff!

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23 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

No "Detect Enemies" registering on those doing the studying... thank you both.

Those with very high Movement or Disorder Runes might be somewhat suspect though (and also find their magic/inspiration based on those Runes does not work as well in the Stone Woods).

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Posted (edited)

So how would one hero quest to attain similar powers to help fight chaos? Is there a hero quest path in Stone Wood? This would be fun or so I imagine. Take that power or a derivative of it with you into Snake Pipe Hollow with the Temple of the Wooden Sword?

(Does Londra go with Leika into Snake Pipe Hollow? I had to ask as I don't see it actually spelled out?)

A PC that could have pyroclastic cloud breath to fight chaos, that would be something to write home about?!

An Agmori with some Lowfire power mixed with Orlanth winds, eats some ceremoniously prepared charcoal and voila... instant chaos suppression.

Edited by Erol of Backford
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19 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

So how would one hero quest to attain similar powers to help fight chaos? Is there a hero quest path in Stone Wood? This would be fun or so I imagine. Take that power or a derivative of it with you into Snake Pipe Hollow with the Temple of the Wooden Sword?

You'd need to quest to the point in the Godtime where the Stone Wood is formed, and that is unlikely to be a known heroquest.  The most likely result is that you come out as one of the petrified denizens of the Stone Wood.  Removing the power from the Stone Wood likely weakens the Stone Wood as a defense against Chaos. 

However, this seems like a good heroquest conundrum if you do quest there:  you gain a power to use Stasis to defend against Chaos, but the denizens appeal to you for your aid to stem the flow of Chaos from the Footprint; if you aid them, then the power of the Stone Wood grows, but you can't take the power with you; if you refuse to aid them and take the power with you, then the power of the Foulblood Forest grows and the Stone Wood weakens, though you may be able to use the power elsewhere.

Another potential challenge is that the myth of Snakepipe Hollow has a very different focal point - e.g. Maran Gor shaking down the region to trap the Chaos army.  If you bring the power of Lodril's Ash there, does it have any or sufficient effect?

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I thought hero quests didn't actually change the past but rather allowed something taken on it to pick up something symbolic of the action or item.

You wouldn't come back with Orlanth's whatever but some power derivative of it, doesn't weaken Orlanth? (I have never done a hero quest so I don't know but I thought it would be really interesting to obtain some anti-chaos power but not  cause degradation of the Stone Wood...

I'll need to read up! Thanks again Jaja.

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7 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

I thought hero quests didn't actually change the past but rather allowed something taken on it to pick up something symbolic of the action or item.

Heroquests won't change the past, but they can change the structure of the myth which defines the present.

Potentially, you could gain: 1) something that enhances yourself; 2) something that benefits your community.  Taking option 1 might prove to be detrimental to your community though.

7 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

You wouldn't come back with Orlanth's whatever but some power derivative of it, doesn't weaken Orlanth?

In many heroquests you follow the path of (i.e. "become") your god.  If you follow Orlanth's path to overcome Lightning Boy, just as Orlanth gained the Lightning Spear, so you can gain the Lightning Spear.  In this case you are a reflection of your god, and it does not diminish Orlanth because, in essence, you are Orlanth.

Now with the Stone Wood, you might follow Orlanth's path there too.  What he did was to blow the Ash of Lodril upon the Footprint, helping to create the Stone Wood and to stop Chaos.  That's in Orlanth's nature to blow things (and you wouldn't diminish Orlanth by gaining that).  So you might return with the power to Blow Clouds at Foes.  If you were then in the Stone Wood, that power would be useful.  If you're in Snakepipe Hollow, though, you don't necessarily have any ash clouds at hand to blow upon them.

Instead, though, you want to gain a power to petrify Chaos.  For that, you have to become like one of the denizens of the Stone Wood, or find a way to seize it for your own.  The denizens embraced the powers of Stasis - through some combination of Lodril's eruptive fire and rain of ash (think Pompeiian figures here) - and lived.  Clearly, there is an ordeal to undergo as part of this heroquest.  If you succeed, then yes you could return with a power to petrify Chaos - but likely at the cost of your powers of Movement.  

But let's say you instead enter the quest in a way that you don't get petrified, but instead seize a branch of a stone tree and return with a Spear of Petrification.  Instead of enhancing the community of the Stone Wood, you've weakened it because you decided to take and use it for yourself (and take it elsewhere).  There will be an implication as a result to the health of the Stone Wood.  

Maybe the Lunars, or Gagix, have actually been able to achieve something on this order, and that's one factor in the rising powers of Gagix...

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On 4/14/2021 at 6:01 PM, Erol of Backford said:

I...... How do I better tie Backford to Sundome and Central Sartar? I am thinking for the campaign that Backford would not be a rocky crossing with the Syphon running to it but rather a smaller port with a actual wharf built at the ford with a bridge like the Roman Bridge of Córdoba ....

 

I don't see anything in the background that suggests Backford is a port.  Karse seems to be the closest significant port.  Perhaps the Syphon delta is shallow, so ships can't get upstream.... and the Ford suggests the Syphon is not navigable.  

The Lunars besiege Karse because it is a port so a strategic objective.  Not so with Backford.  Of course there are advantages to not being besieged and assaulted, Backford should be less damaged by the Lunar invasion.

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Trade center yes, not really a port besides possibly fishermen's crafts. We did discuss this in detail a while back with a potential for a tow path to be added to get larger craft back to the bay but that is something to develop down the line...

The Syphon being only a ford at Backford has troubled me as the fish road runs through there.

It'd be really cool to see a cross section of the fish road as it passes through Backford... that is unless beings/items in the fish road are somehow ethereal or something and couldn't really be interacted with? Maybe like spectral dragonewts that 99% cannot be when seen?

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2 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

.......

The Syphon being only a ford at Backford has troubled me as the fish road runs through there.

It'd be really cool to see a cross section of the fish road as it passes through Backford... that is unless beings/items in the fish road are somehow ethereal or something and couldn't really be interacted with? Maybe like spectral dragonewts that 99% cannot be when seen?

As i understand it that is usual for magic roads. 

It's magic!

 

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So simple enough people crossing the ford actually pass through the specters in the fish roads and are able to see them.

Curious if the converse is true. Are you able to see out of the fish road?

Also if you decide to step/swim out of the fish road at the Backford ford into a person or entity not in the fish road do you or they get hurt?

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6 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

I don't see anything in the background that suggests Backford is a port.  Karse seems to be the closest significant port.  Perhaps the Syphon delta is shallow, so ships can't get upstream.... and the Ford suggests the Syphon is not navigable. 

IMO, the Syphon is only navigable via the Fish Road - otherwise the mouth particularly is subject to strong tidal eddies and situated with dangerous rocks that make passage by large boats impossible.

The key ports for Heortland are: Karse and Leskos/Durengard.

3 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

The Syphon being only a ford at Backford has troubled me as the fish road runs through there.

What I've mapped here is a fordable ledge with the river shrine just below the ledge.  The Fish Road runs largely along the southern bank.  

Think of the waterflow of the Syphon as a series of spirals or loops as it flows uphill.  During high tide the Syphon readily climbs up the ledge and continues its flow towards the Footprint and the ford is largely impassable.  During low tide, the ledge is readily traversed by animals and wagons.  

Think of the Fish Road as a gyring tube of mixed air and water that has its own current.  During high tide that tube is largely underwater up to the river shrine and then partially exposed beyond the ledge to the Footprint.  During low tide the tube seems to rise partially above the water, particularly at the ledge and beyond.  It's wide enough for a boat or wagon to pass along - but I envision merfolk coming up in shell chariots pulled by large seahorses, or humans using small boats pushed by undines, as the primary vehicles for passage along the Fish Road (and of course magical processions).

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1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

So simple enough people crossing the ford actually pass through the specters in the fish roads and are able to see them.

Curious if the converse is true. Are you able to see out of the fish road?

Also if you decide to step/swim out of the fish road at the Backford ford into a person or entity not in the fish road do you or they get hurt?

They are not "specters" in the Fish Road - they are merfolk, humans, fish, etc. (i.e. living creatures) - so yes you can see them, and they can see you.

The Fish Road is a merger of air and water - in Belintar's Golden Age, these two elements are at peace and in harmony.  Since air and water are largely clear, yes, you can see in or out.

The danger in stepping out is the speed of the current, and that is dangerous anywhere there is not a shrine.  And that's why I believe the river shrine is below the ford, and that it naturally slows travelers so they can readily depart.  (Picture pulling into a subway station.)  The Fish Road beyond the shrine requires following the flow up the ledge (might be something like being pulled up a ways on a roller coaster) and then proceeding up to the Footprint.  

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On 6/22/2022 at 4:16 PM, Squaredeal Sten said:

I don't see anything in the background that suggests Backford is a port.  Karse seems to be the closest significant port.  Perhaps the Syphon delta is shallow, so ships can't get upstream.... and the Ford suggests the Syphon is not navigable.  

Backford is a roadside terminus of a Fish Road, allowing travellers to come fully submerged from below the Mirrosea Bay all the way to the ford, and beyond to the Footprint. That does imply sufficiently deep water for riverine boats, although you would have to manage the whitewater-equivalent of a body of water bulging up from the ground, with internal currents and inversions. Heroic boating skills might provide these, and Waertagi ancestral magics ought to work, too. Nogatending or similar weeder magics might work, too, as they do for the Durulz riding up the whitewaters of the re-directed Creekstream River in similar reed crafts.

 

On 6/22/2022 at 4:16 PM, Squaredeal Sten said:

The Lunars besiege Karse because it is a port so a strategic objective.  Not so with Backford.  Of course there are advantages to not being besieged and assaulted, Backford should be less damaged by the Lunar invasion.

Backford controls the only good crossing(s) of the Syphon River, making it of great strategic importance for the overland traffic into Malkonwal. However, Malkonwal was yielded to Fazzur after his victory over Rikard in the field, including its cities. That includes rather durable fortified cities like Durengard or Mt Passant.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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