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Balazar in the Fourth Wane


jeffjerwin

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So my daughter and I have moved on from the Empire in our quest to defeat the terrible Sheng. We will be arriving in Balazar soon... in the year 4/41 (1450). I have a few sparse notes on the area and I wonder if anyone else has some suggestions... 

Imther. Ruled by a client king of the Lunars from Hilltown, end of the Daughter’s Road.
Who is the king of Imther? He is probably an ally of the Lunar rump state of Sylila.
Two years ago Orios of Tarsh was slain in Tork after being led astray. He had sacked southern Imther en route…

Soldiers’ Ferry – either a ruin or non-existent – on the path of the Opili Horde in 1375 – the same year that the cities on the north side of the Elf Sea (Garsting) were destroyed.
In c.1220 the area was ruled by Imther.

The Sun Dome in the Laramite Hills (Imther) is probably active.

Elkoi – culturally influenced by Northern Tarsh (alias Holay) and by Imther. Tarshite exiles here.

Trilus – ruled by the Gadaringers, who held the citadel for 200 years before c.1600 – i.e., from c.1400.

Dykene; in ruins since 1280.

Tarsh is in the throes of Civil War. The most powerful man in Holay is currently Jornkalor of Talfort (a Sylilan/Lunar ally). In 1450 Tarkalor the Huge ravages Holay and besieges Talfort.

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12 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Imther. Ruled by a client king of the Lunars from Hilltown, end of the Daughter’s Road.
Who is the king of Imther? He is probably an ally of the Lunar rump state of Sylila.

Here's my notes on that period in Imther and the tribal lands around. And, yes, they are allies of the Sylilans coordinating activities along the Daughter's Road.

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image.png.85837bb6c933e4fc2c94952f9a8d624b.png

 

Edited by jajagappa
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11 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

The Sun Dome in the Laramite Hills (Imther) is probably active.

Yes, as they are at the center of the Laramite tribe. Likely a time of testing for them, though, with horse nomads destroying crops and orchards.

Btw, this Sun Dome likes to claim they are the oldest/original Sun Dome dating from the First Age.  It's known as the Temple of Kareiston after a first age hero, though likely actually founded in the Second Age.

GoG p. 337. This Sun Dome Temple was founded in the Second Age by its eponymous Hero who defeated the evil queen of the Red Wyrm River. It is the center of the Laramite tribe.

It is said to be the most ancient of the Sun Dome Temples, and it became place of retreat and refuge in the last days of the Bright Empire.  This temple has long been considered a Sanctuary--a tradition continued by throughout its history, and passed on to other nearby temples.

Edited by jajagappa
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You might also take advantage of either the ruins of Nodnor or the Plain of Stones.

GoG p.335 Nodnor (ruin): These Second Age ruins are haunted by draconic ghosts.

Plain of Stones: An ancient people once lived here in the God Time but they and their army were turned into the standing stones that litter this plain.

The Plain of Stones is the remnant of a Dawn Age earth culture called the Balurings or Balurgans. They worshipped a chthonic earth goddess called Balur, Balurga, or Balur Gor. 

GtG p711 Tor Balur (The Plain of Stones), this hill fort built around an underground temple was one of the Balurgan villages. They practiced sacred horticulture and worshiped a local earth goddess called Balurga and her husband/son Verhil with rituals that included human sacrifice.

Plain of Stones: In eastern Imther lies a land of ancient barrows and tombs.  Once, great earth temples stood here, too.  Now brave adventurers and heroes come to seize the treasures of the past, if they can dare the ghosts and wraiths that wait in the shadows.

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Although the following is set in 7/46, it might covers a Lunar survey east from Hortugarth and might provide other ideas.

To:  Iridascius, Aide to Quinscion, His Most Excellent General of Procurement and Disbursement, Mirin’s Cross

Fr: Galacrustus, Geographer, Sage of Irripi Ontor, Imperial Survey Office, Hilltown

Dated: Crescent-Come, Stasis, Dark, 7/46

The bad weather continues to make the roads, aside from Hwarin’s Singing Trail, all but impassable; and merchants venturing along the latter report attacks by particularly hostile spirits of darkness.  With such news from the roads, it was difficult to even find a carrier for this report and impossible to find any caravan venturing out!  So I remain here at Hwarin’s temple where her most reverend priestess, Rasefala, has seen fit to open the temple archives to me.  I had not realized the Jannisor collection was so extensive!  Did you realize that despite so many stories of this great hero, that it’s impossible to discern amongst which tribe or clan he was actually born?

With this note you will find my survey of the eastern wilds, or as much as I could actually obtain given the hostility shown to all strangers!  Thankfully, the merchant Appchus, a garrulous old trader who claimed Jillaro as his place of birth and bemoaned the current state of Imther, accompanied me for much of the journey.  He is certainly well-versed and knows all the greetings of Alakarma, Khelmal, and Orlanth, and many of the knots of Gordaval; necessary he claimed if we wished to keep the clansmen peaceable.  And, yes, the region is still under the stormy grip of Orlanth, though the clans seem to spend all their time squabbling with each other – as I heard from many of them: “no one can make me do anything!”

Yours, Galacrustus.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eastern Wilds Clans

Size: possibly 10,000

Clans: 13

Holy Sites: Old Oak, Skald’s Rock, Selkow’s First Tor, Wind Ridge Tor

Beyond the Daltach lands stretches vast forest clear to the Elf Sea.  It is a harsh, rugged, and broken land with wild untamed rivers, fields of tumbled stones said to be the broken limbs of ancient giants, and sharp rocky ridgelines.  The clans here favor Orlanth, the Lady of the Wild, and their unruly children and kin.  Once a great hero named Selkow formed a tribe here, and one clan still claims his name and his hills for their own, but the tribe is long gone and the current clans have formed from the dregs and refugees of other lands who fled here over the last wanes.  They live by the barbarous Orlanthi mottoes:  “No one can make me do anything” and “Violence is always an option”; and their blood feuds carry on from generation to generation.

 

Clans of the Eastern Wilds

Amber Fort: "The Amber Clan", "The New Clan", "The Sea Clan",

Chief:  Bulverius Ambereye

The Etyries merchant Bulverius sought for many years to gain a great trade venture.  After many ill-conceived schemes he finally convinced the Lunar Provincial Administration to grant him land upon the Elf Sea at the mouth of the Gap River at the close of the Civil War in Imther.  He brought with him Lunar army veterans looking for plots of land, disgruntled refugees from the Civil War lurking in both Imther and Vanch, and an assortment of craftsmen, workers, and slaves culled from Saird.  A great cache of amber has brought quick success to this wilderness outpost, as well as the envy and dislike of nearby Imtherian clans and Votanki tribesmen.  The inhabitants have embarked upon a ritual to establish a wyter and form a new clan. 

Estval: "The White Owl Clan"

Chief:  Worlath Wise Eyes

A favorite daimon of this region is the Homeward Owl, sent by Rigsdal Arahar in the Great Darkness to help men find their way home.  The Estval clan particularly favors the White Owl, first offspring of this daimon, and they are noted for the white feathers they decorate their caps and cloaks with.  The clan holds the southern flank of Selkow’s Hills down to the Gap River and their fishers and hunters are renowned for their skill in defeating the great sea monsters that periodically swim upriver.

The Homeward Owl

In the Great Darkness, with the Lightbringers gone, there were many lost and broken spirits starving in the shadowed lands.  The Lady of the Wild was amongst them, beset by dire foes, too many to defeat alone.  Even Lagavar the Last Light could no longer find the true path.  And Khelmal was pursued wherever he went by the forces of the Emperor of the Night.  Rigsdal Arahar looked down from his watch post and saw these folk and knew they could not survive alone.  He sent down the Homeward Owl to guide them and find a new home together.  The Owl did so, helping each to find the hidden trails through ashen fields and shattered lands.  When they came together at the last sacred sites, each called alone at first, but they found each other and together they won a great victory driving back the Emperor of the Night.  Wood-carved images show Homeward Owl circling in the sky to lead the hunters home.

Forfang: "The Dark Wind clan"

Chief:  Rengard Fang-tooth

The Forfang are an unruly and often belligerent clan, generally hostile to intruders or refugees (and known for way-laying or robbing travellers on the Gaptooth trail to Gapguard).  They are generally allies of the more powerful Apsul clan, though they take advantage of any weakness there as well.  For long they've been the bane of the Nosimar, Senver, Zith, and Skal clans, but the recent arrival of the Humakti duck, Phwait Scarbill, has changed the balance of power in the lands between the rivers, forcing the Forfang back westward.

The Story of Forfang

Forfang and Haylfang  were brothers.  They were always rivals, Haylfang the elder, Forfang the younger.  Haylfang was always blessed with good looks and prowess, whether hunting, swimming, or listening to the winds.  Forfang was brooding, envious, and restless like the winds.  They went to Wind Ridge Tor for their initiation.  Haylfang met his ancestors and recited his lineage to them. They welcomed him and asked him to carry on their traditions.  Forfang took the wrong turn at the Old Tree when he was tricked by the Ancient Crow.  He met the outlaw winds and recited his lineage to them.  They welcomed him but said he must first prove himself.

Forfang was taken by the outlaws and dropped into the Dark Well, and sealed in with rocks.  They were sure he would be lost in the Dark, an element that had no connection to air.  But Forfang was restless and stirred the Dark until it found cracks and seeped out amidst the rocks - Forfang followed the Darkness, facing the great fears and fashioning it into secret weapons, and escaped the Well.  He returned to the outlaw camp and slew them all.  Having faced the Dark, he stood when confronted by the angry ghosts, and blew them away with the Dark Wind.  Forfang followed the Dark Wind's trail until he was lost.  Though no one called his name, he kept moving in restlessness until he found the Shadow of the Star Heart hidden in a forgotten jar.  He encountered the hand of the Devil.  He fought, but was too weak to summon his winds and was pulled towards the Void.  When all hope was gone, he heard the baying of the Lost Pack.  The Lost Pack came and gathered him up and brought him back into the Great Net.

When Forfang came down from Wind Ridge Tor, he demanded a place for himself though no one in the clan claimed him, and he was refused where Haylfang was honored.  So he departed and gathered others touched by the Dark Wind and the Shadow Heart.  And when he had gathered enough folk to him, he returned to Wind Ridge Tor and demanded his place and his treasures.  Again he was refused where Haylfang was honored.  So he took his place and his treasures by force, for violence was always an option, challenging and killing Haylfang in a proper duel, then holding the Tor as his own.

Haylfang: "The Dawn Clan", "The Bearwalker Clan"

Chief:  Old Vangorl Velorlanthsson

Haylfang Vangonsson brought the Secret of the Bear, the Heart of Zardur, and the Horn of Last Mead to the Three Rivers land.  Haylfang sought Velhara and gave her the Five Great Trophies to claim the place of his clan in the rugged wilds.  His son, Umbarth, proved he was of the Bear when he slew the Moon Sakkar and took the great fangs for his own and placed them in the Great Hall.  His grandson, Grorth, proved he was of the Bear when he ripped apart the Tentacled Salmon that could swim on land and run in the water, and reclaimed the Gap Ferry.  His great-grandson, Torsoth the Grim, gained the Coonskin Cap and the Tooth of Wisdom and courted Orsahla of the Wild.  With her aid, the clan fought the demon steeds and the Fire hordes who sought to burn down the wild lands and slay all the beasts, whether divine or spirit or essence.  The great Bearwalkers are still feared by all the clans of the wild.

Heltver: "The Freeman’s Clan"

Chief:  Ordol the Proud

This refugees' clan has long been a hunting and gathering clan open to new arrivals since it was first founded by an Alakarma merchant.  They gain much from trade along the Long East Trail going in both directions, offering good shelter to the wagoneers at Running Deer Stead, the clan seat, and Holststead at Slick Rock Ford.  They feud periodically with the Zith and the Londval, and now with Holayans trying to control the wagon trade, but have often supported the Senver in their struggles with the Forfang. 

Ingerin: "The Longbeard Clan", “The Robbers”

Chief:  Ashagorl Forkbeard

Ingerin was the last direct descendant of King Imther and Queen Aidea, but forced from the land by Torphaar the Grey.  Ingerin became a chief of bandits, though he was the heir of Kings.  His clan had no lands, no herds and no steads to call their own, as they were forced from their lands by deceits and deceptions.  They are called the Longbeards as Ingerin swore never to bind a wind or cut a beard.  Despite being outlaws, Ingerin and his companions carried and concealed the Rock of First Law and that remains the clan's First Sacred Treasure.  When the Last Frenzy was exhausted, the Last Foe was burned, and the Last Fire had died out, Ingerin found the Amber-clad Finger (said to be a Finger of ancient Umath), the clan’s Second Sacred Treasure.  Finally, Ingerin settled his clan beyond the Hidden Spring River, a land contested by the hunters of Garsting, and revealed the Torc of Imthus, the clan’s Third Sacred Treasure.  The Ingerin are particularly insular, disliking and feuding with nearby clans, and known for robbing or killing refugees who reach them.

Krayator: "The Guardian Clan", “The Mad Clan”

Chief:  Hurbaymal Laughing-breath

Once this clan lived in the rolling Northern Plains called Tork.  But many fell when the Mad Sultan came, and those who survived transformed themselves into dedicated followers of Jannisor.  The men of the clan followed Jannisor against the Lunar Empire, serving at his great battles at Einar’s Farm and Vashpolis.  They even followed him to the Crater, where they fell to a man.  The women dreamed that night of blood washing across the land as a great Red Tide, to be followed by a horde of chaos.  They took the True Torch of Khelmal and crossed the mountains with their sons and old men to become the Guardians of the Eastern Stone, ever watching the border with Tork, the last light against the coming Darkness. 

Londval: "The Thrall Clan", “The Shepherd’s Clan”

Chief:  Durvalanth the Keeper

The Londval are the first clan on the Long East Trail, and make first claim on refugees heading east.  Large households are sent east often to be preyed upon by bandits and other clans, but small families are regularly turned into clan thralls unless they are under the protection of Issaries, Alakarma, or mighty Orlanth himself.

Nosimar: "The Cold Wind Clan", “The Claws of Winter Clan”

Chief:  Brindarig Catseye

When King Lomorth Thunderfist fell in the Challenge of the Seven Thunders, his ally Nosimar Fourscar led his bloodline, his alynxes, and his herds east into the wilds.  He fought three challenges, threw down the Rams Head, and found the trail to the Cold Wind Woods.  His descendants have carved out a harsh land below the mountains, often feuding with the Apsuls to the north and the powerful Polan clan to the west, but the Nosimars remain wily, cunning, and deadly to their foes.

Selkow: "The Great Hunter’s Clan", “The Hound Clan”

Chief:  Seltarik Keenscent

These superstitious traditionalists do not build temples to Orlanth but worship him atop hilltops and other places associated with the god (lightning struck trees and hills, storm ravaged woods, and blow downs).  The Selkow follow the homeless and wandering storm god across the hills of their ancestor Selkow, who once ruled a tribe, but now just cling to his old hunting ways.  The clan is noted for their great faith in Gordaval the Hunter, son of Orlanth and the Lady of the Wild; the quality of the Fine-Toothed Hounds they raise; and their skill with knots.

The Knots of Gordaval

The Master Hunters of Gordaval know the secrets of powerful, magical knots.  The better known knots include:

·         The Blood Nip:  this knot automatically stops the bleeding from any wound it is placed around.

·         The Flail Knot:  this knot is placed upon a short piece of rope twined around three other ropes and transforms the joined ropes into a magic flail which can strip away magical armor.

·         The Spirit Cord:  a knot made of wiregrass, milkweed, and the silk of the Four-eyed Moth.  When properly released, it can bind any spirit, great or small, including the fiery Oakfed spirit and the swirling Kolating spirit.

·         The Stasis Hitch:  this knot is placed around a rock or tree.  It will not slide or release from that rock or tree except by a voice command known only to the knot maker.

·         The Way Knot:  another knot that is placed upon trees and other markers.  When certain words are continuously chanted, the knots glow faintly and guide pathfinders towards the next Way Knot.

Senver: "The Red Stag Clan", “The Dark Lady’s Clan”

Chief:  Rana Darkheart

As a girl, Rana pursued the white boar into the heart of the Dark Lady’s Woods.  She overcame the fears and terrors of the place to master the Blood-borne Knife, the Touch of Fear, and the Evil Eye.  As an adult, she used her mastery to become chieftain of her clan and strike fear in the hearts of clans around.  All who pass on the Long East Trail must pay her tolls.  Her rangers regularly raid her neighbors, the Heltvers, who share an old blood lineage from the days when folk fled the Conquering Daughter and the horsemen.  But the two clans each claim the other first broke an old hospitality and guestright leading to the current bad blood.

Skal: "The Rain Clan", “The Toad Clan”

Chief:  Asmeloth the Rainman

The Skal split from the powerful Apsul clan two generations ago during a great feud.  But their lands are particularly rugged and harsh, often overrun by plagues of cliff toads, and constant raids by the Forfang particularly, but also the Krayator, Selkow, and Estval, have left the Skal weakened and dependent on the Apsul clan again.  Unless a great chief emerges, most expect that Meagus Apsul will absorb the Skal back into the Apsul clan, possibly as clients, but more likely as thralls to punish them for their original break.

Zith: "The Gaffhook Clan", “The Clan of Two Rivers”

Chief:  Pelanth Youngwind

This is a wild clan that fishes extensively in the Gap and Long Vale Rivers.  Their young chieftain, barely a man, is supported by his new champion, the notorious Humakti duck, Phwait Scarbill (or Splitbill). Phwait is wanted in Sartar for slaying a Lunar patrol during a duck hunt, but fled north against all expectations, skirting the edge of Snakepipe Hollow, crossing Holay by night, driving off hostile dogs and hungry trolls, and finally reaaching the Zith lands.  Phwait proved himself and kept the clan and chief alive by challenging and slaying the Forfang champion to regain one of the sacred regalia of the clan, previously stolen by Forfang bandits.

Soldier’s Ferry

Commander: Sir Petrusius

Once the easternmost fort of the King of Imther, the Ferry has been nominally under control of the Queen of Holay since 1612 when she sent the Native Holay Foot down the Water Dog River to seize it.  Situated near the confluence of the Gap River (called the West River by Votanki) with several minor tributaries, Soldier’s Ferry offers one of the few trading sites the Balazaring tribesmen will approach.  Trade in rare pelts in exchange for metal goods is most common.    Petrusius, the commander, is appointed by the Lunar Provincial Overseer in Mirin’s Cross, has been here many years now and has no particular desire for relocation elsewhere.  His job is mainly to ensure the arrival and departure of the supply caravans to Elkoi, though the advent of the Amber Fort venture has stirred up bickering, dissent, and raids by the neighboring clans, complicating his life of late.

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Jajagappa, who is the Ever Radiant Winter Queen? I take it she is an avatar of Inora at the Hill of Gold...

A meeting with Yamsivas would make sense for my story, or perhaps one of his followers.

However, as the main PC is an avatar of the Great Sister, there would be some gender-based conflict. Also, no doubt, the presence of a fox in her party. Though Inora above does like foxes.

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5 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

who is the Ever Radiant Winter Queen? I take it she is an avatar of Inora at the Hill of Gold...

Yes. The following is a bit from my Annals of the Kings of Vanch:

Yamsivas Everbright was the Lawspeaker of Bikhy when Orios of Tarsh raided far and wide.  Cast out from Bikhy by the haughty storm lord, Yamsivas was ambushed by the Black Moon Lord and later held a captive by Risaria Whitemantle.  Yet Yamsivas was great in his faith and came down from the Hill of Gold amidst a burst of radiant sunlight though none saw from whence he came.  He defeated Rourga Firemane in a duel of Truth, Flame, and Light and revealed the Orb of Authority to unify the tribes of Vanch and rise as the first True King in more than three generations.  His deeds were many:  restoring the Torc of Command in the Palace of Bikhy; banishing the Ghost Steeds, the Burning Wights, and the Blue Draugr from the Pond Land; and weaving the Crown of Thorns to seal his victory over the dark.

I don't think I've written any further on that, so my underlying assumption is that Risaria Whitemantle was a tribal queen ruling in the lands south of the Hill of Gold (the Pond Lands for their flat, marshy expanse, though also called the Crow Lands).  Devoted to Inora, probably worshipped Valind as well.

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As the Sun Domers are very conservative, this potentially non-canonical information may or may not be relevant...

Kareiston’s Templars

Type

Heavy Infantry

Armor

Bronze

Weapons

Sarissa, small phalangite shield, short sword

Morale

Regular

4

Patron Deity

Yelmalio/Khelmal

Magic Factor

Medium

5

Missile Factor

0

Melee Factor

5

Kareiston’s Temple is the center of the Laramite tribe and benefits from the kingdom’s trade with the dwarves, meaning that the Imtherites are rich in bronze.

Their helmet decorations are dyed yellow or orange.

 

 I have also assumed that they are supported by horse archers & archers in chariots...

Edited by M Helsdon
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