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SWORDS OF CYDORIA - A Setting and Adventure for Basic Roleplaying


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swords-of-cydoria.jpgSwords of Cydoria takes place on the continent of Markania on the mysterious world known as Uruta. Uruta is a savage barbaric world of flashing swords, mutant beasts, daring heroes, diabolical cults, ancient ruins, mysterious forces, and powerful artifacts. Against this backdrop of swords and sorcery is told a story of contact with alien worlds, the introduction of sciece-fiction technology, and the struggle for freedom against oppression.

Swords of Cydoria offers many opportunities for intrigue and adventure. Using the rules presented for this setting, players may create brooding barbarians, dashing adventurers, desperate freedom fighters, cunning aero-ship pilots, and much more.

The continent of Markania is a land of extremes, with frigid tundra covering the northern third, poisonous jungles and swamps blanketing the southern third. The middle is characterized by regions of exploding volcanoes, baking deserts, vast plains, inland gulfs, towering peaks, floating mountains, and dense forests. The deserts are home to ravenous sand squid and giant wasps. Dragonflies the size of horses dart over the dark jungles of deadly plants and poisonous miasma. Massive four-armed mutant apes occupy cliff-side caves overlooking a fetid swamp. Monstrous saurians haunt the ancient ruins of lost cities deep in the vinechoked forests.

Civilization is centered in the city-states of Cydoria, most of which are ruled by the Vrildarian Empire. The Empire conquered the city-states twelve years ago using advanced technology supplied by the Rhakadian League, aliens from the planet Malus.

During the War of Unification, the Empire was opposed by the Coalition of Timan, an alliance equipped with advanced technology of their own supplied by the Phanosian Alliance, enemies of the Rhakadians. The Coalition was eventually abandoned by their Phanosian allies and ultimately lost the war. Afterwards, the cities of the Coalition were occupied and its population enslaved. Many Coalition prisoners were shipped to prison camps in the deserts of Arus.

Life for the civilized people of Cydoria is roughly equivalent to that of ancient Rome or China, with areas of relative technical sophistication in cities such as Norukar. Barbarians, of course, live a much more primitive existence. People wield swords and wear armor of leather and steel. They tame strange animals as mounts and food. In recent years, contact with aliens has introduced sorcerous wonders such as electric lights and motors, broadcast power, energy weapons, and motorized vehicles.

The Vrildarian Empire maintains power over the empire through its monopoly on access to alien technology. Such wonders are available only to a select few members of the nobility and the punishment for unauthorized use of technology is severe. The sentence for carrying or using a laser pistol, for example, is the amputation of a hand. Despite this, smugglers from other worlds are able to slip past the Rhakadian orbital blockade and gain entry through the Oudh, the magical force field that protects Uruta from alien invasion, to sell their wares on the black market.

The invention of the aero-ship, flying vehicles powered by propeller-driven engines, has opened up the Markanian interior for colonization and settlement. Cydorian pioneers and refugees from the War of Unification have streamed west to establish a new life on the frontier.

Into this land stride mighty adventurers, be they resolute soldiers of the Demetrian resistance, cunning members of the crew of the Tonbo, crafty artifact hunters exploring an ancient ruin, mystical warriors of the Adhara, deadly assassins of the Katari, devious rogues of the Hidden Hand, notorious sky-pirates of the Dazumi, or simple townsfolk on the Markanian frontier. They fight for freedom, riches, and fame against the tyranny of those who would oppress them.

By Christian Conkle. 208 pages. Published by Chaosium August 2012.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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The video was one of the author's inspirations. ;)

It's true, althought I downlplayed the "cheesy european late-seventies sci-fi Star Wars rip-off" angle earlier iterations of the game had. When I first created it, it was sort of "Star Crash" or "Turkish Star Wars" the RPG. In fact, the very first time I ran this setting was using Dragonstar d20 and the PCs were recruited to defend a small rural town of Mexican farmers from a ravenous pack of ork bandits called "the Borays" who were led by a robot gunslinger named "Red Eye". They had to assemble defenses for the town A-Team style. That version was very very intentionally Knights of Cydonia.

This new version is more its own thing. I removed the cheese and bad seventies special effects and made it much more internally consistent, logical, and less silly. Although the secret agents from the planet Phanos still wear white uniforms that look suspiciously like those worn by the Earth Directorate of Buck Rogers (and the female character from Knights of Cydonia).

__________________

Christian Conkle

Blogs: Geek Rampage! - Swords of Cydoria - Exiled in Eris

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"I removed the cheese and bad seventies special effects"

Awww, I like cheese ... and snappy white jumpsuits.

Ever notice that no matter how many fights Buck and Wilma got into, their white jumpsuits never got mussed? Must have been one of those futuristic miracle fabrics. ;)

I was watching Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (aka "Turkish Star Wars") again this weekend and I felt a pang of regret that I removed the cheese.

__________________

Christian Conkle

Blogs: Geek Rampage! - Swords of Cydoria - Exiled in Eris

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Really? I mean ..."Kunt Film"...?!

When I stop laughing I might actually watch that!

According to Wikipedia and Google Translate, it translates as "The Man Who Saved the World".

I like using Turkish to come up with names for stuff in my games. It just sounds so fantastic and exotic. In Lightspeed, there was an ice planet where everything was named in Turkish. It made the planet feel so real and all the names sounded like names from Dune, which was the point.

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Christian Conkle

Blogs: Geek Rampage! - Swords of Cydoria - Exiled in Eris

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Got the PDF, which is great if pricey. Was going to order the book too, but the cheapest postage option they provided to the UK was $41 (which would've brought the cost up to a sliver over $70)! Suffice to say, I don't think they want int'l customers at Chaosium. I'm not sure how anyone can justify a postage price of $41 P&P for a single rpg book to be sent to the UK, especially when that's their least expensive option.

Creator of Radioactive Ape Designs, award-nominated publisher of Atomic Highway and other fine RPG publications!

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The problem with international postage from the US is that, like here in the UK, the USPS has greatly increased postal charges and reduced service types. I don't think there is a printed paper rate any longer for example, and no surface rate either.

E.G. USPS Int'l flat rate boxes (13-5/8" x 11-7/8" x 3-3/8" or 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2", up to 20lbs) USD74.95

USPS Int'l flat rate letter sized envelope (15" x 9-1/2", up to 20lbs) USD 38.00

These prices are straight off the USPS web site.

From the UK to the US global value packet up to 1kg, 5-9 days delivery, not tracked UKP29.20, increasing the weight to 5kg max pushes the price to UKP67.90

The best bet for minimising shipping costs is a local POD option from the publisher so that you can order from the US and have it printed in and shipped from the UK.

Unfortunately most RPG publishers being one man and a dog are not geared up for delivering product like this.

Luckily the current trend to make material produced for ebook readers allows for electronic delivery to relatively low-cost devices.

Possibly the sign of a wealthy person is likely to become their library of hard copy books as it was in the eighteenth century.

Nigel

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The problem with international postage from the US is that, like here in the UK, the USPS has greatly increased postal charges and reduced service types. I don't think there is a printed paper rate any longer for example, and no surface rate either.

And yet I manage to order books of the same size and weight from the US all the time for prices considerably lower than $41. Sorry, as much as prices have gone up globally, a 1.1lb. book does not have to cost $41 to ship from the US as the *cheapest option.* You must've only looked at some of the options. I just used the USPS calculator myself:

1.09 lb. book, plus let's say a generous amount of extra padding and a box to take it to 1.4 lb. To the UK, it costs:

$14.74 1st Class Int'l Parcel (so if we add say $5 for a box and padding, it's around $20). That's nowhere near $41 (in fact, it's under half the cost).

1st Class Int'l is not a slow or unreliable option either, and it's the most-used option I've had in terms of books from the US being sent to me. In fact, let me just grab the box my copy of RQ6 came in. Ah, 1st Class Int'l. Sent on the 2nd, arrived on the 8th. All of six days to reach me. Oh, and RQ6 also weighs nearly 1.1 lb. (and it's 456 pages, which is twice as thick as the Chaosium monograph!), plus it came in a sturdy card box full of packing, which brought the weight up to 1.4 lb.

Sorry, mate, I deal with parcels to and from the US all the time, and as a small press RPG publisher myself (one even smaller than Chaosium), I also know all about the difficulties faced by rpg publishers and how the current pdf and POD market is going. When I tell you $41 is too much for the cheapest option, it's not because I'm some clueless, inexperienced noob who needs to be told "how things are". Here's the problem: Chaosium only offer Priority mail options for int'l customers, and they are a serious step-up price-wise from 1st class int'l. A step that really isn't necessary and only discourages international customers.

Colin

Edited by Colin Chapman

Creator of Radioactive Ape Designs, award-nominated publisher of Atomic Highway and other fine RPG publications!

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Colin, I was using the UPS International Priority flat rate boxes as an example the price of which is included in the shipping price. I didn't bother to check out lower cost options as mostly those involve someone actually going to the post office and standing in line. That choice in itself may preclude Chaosium from using that option.

It might be that their current staffing level might not allow them to make the optimum choice in shipping when many of their overseas customers probably either get the hard copy books locally or buy the PDF. And Chaosium PDF prices are another sore point that they have only recently decided to address.

Sorry if I came across as treating you poorly but I see a lot of comments about the relative costs of RPG material here compared to the US and having lived there for some time do have an handle on things that I try to get across to explain why things are the way they are.

Nigel

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Crafty Games, Fantasy Flight Games, Goodman Games, Moon Design, Paizo, that's just five RPG companies off the top-of-my-head that offer 1st Class International postage as an option for their business. Companies bigger, the same size, and smaller than Chaosium. It becomes increasingly difficult to cite staffing level as the reason given the wide variety of companies that do offer the option. I'm not saying it couldn't be a contributing factor, but if other companies manage it, or manage workarounds, there's every chance Chaosium might be able to do so too.

Edit: Actually, I need to stop discussing this now as it's getting wildly off-topic and the thread is and should be about Chris' excellent monograph. Sorry Chris, I'll shut up now. :)

Edited by Colin Chapman

Creator of Radioactive Ape Designs, award-nominated publisher of Atomic Highway and other fine RPG publications!

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So, has anyone else picked up the pdf? I love it, though having been on the dev forum for it, I had a solid idea of what to expect anyway. Still, having the whole thing in front of me is a joy, and my hat is off to Chris for producing a setting that oozes adventure potential and that strikes so many chords with me. I remember being delighted by Chris' redesign of the Deru and they still stand out for me as one of the strongest non-human races visually and conceptually. I really cannot stress highly enough that this is not your run-of-the-mill monograph; it's a hefty tome (over 200 pages), well-written, imaginative, heavily illustrated, and thorough.

cheers!

Colin

Creator of Radioactive Ape Designs, award-nominated publisher of Atomic Highway and other fine RPG publications!

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So, has anyone else picked up the pdf? I love it, though having been on the dev forum for it, I had a solid idea of what to expect anyway. Still, having the whole thing in front of me is a joy, and my hat is off to Chris for producing a setting that oozes adventure potential and that strikes so many chords with me. I remember being delighted by Chris' redesign of the Deru and they still stand out for me as one of the strongest non-human races visually and conceptually. I really cannot stress highly enough that this is not your run-of-the-mill monograph; it's a hefty tome (over 200 pages), well-written, imaginative, heavily illustrated, and thorough.

cheers!

Colin

Thanks Colin. Your opinion matters a lot to me because I love Atomic Highway. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts, and the thoughts of anyone else, positive or negative.

The Deru are also the favorite non-human race of one of my friends. He roleplays an amazing laconic Deru, just holding on to a ceiling and hanging there. A human walks in and asks "Hey! What are you doing up there?" The Deru considers the answer for like ten seconds before replying, simply, "...hanging."

__________________

Christian Conkle

Blogs: Geek Rampage! - Swords of Cydoria - Exiled in Eris

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Was going to order the book too, but the cheapest postage option they provided to the UK was $41 (which would've brought the cost up to a sliver over $70)!

Damn, it looks like they had to cancel their slow shipment rate. It was a time when an order of $120 or was free (not that that helps much if you're only looking to pick up one book).

70/420

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