Here is a map of the geography of the Free Lands of Kvin Mondöj. This region of wilderness, savage clans, barbarian tribes, city-states, and petty realms is hemmed in on all sides by the Dread Domains. The scale is 45 miles per hex. Myths, legends, and rumors of the listed regions will follow; as this is a living campaign, further details can't be posted at this time...
A map showing Settlements, Castles & Citadels, Ravaged Ruins, and Lurid Lairs will be posted soon...
Long ago, before the Metal Wars, the Scientists of
the day discovered a way to merge man and machine. Though subsequently used for
many reasons, this science today is mostly used only to create fearless,
strong, lethal warriors. While some of these Iron-Men result from volunteers,
most are created unwillingly, resulting from being kidnapped by the Iron-Men
and Mandroids of still-running Robotic Factories (some are
stationary, others mobile, vast vehicles on great wheels or treads or flying
citadels in the skies). Usually these Iron-Men are from Men of Earth or Gith stock, as
the factories were designed to transform the most common two races into
Iron-Men. Some races cannot be transformed, such as the Men of Wyld or Fey,
whose bodies reject the metal implants (killing them in the process).
Survivors, in any case, are transformed, losing any special
abilities they formerly possessed (psychic powers and mental mutations are
lost; physical mutations are “excised” as non-standard to the required unit).
Their minds are implanted with cybernetic neural implants
that enable their flesh-bodies to communicate with the metal portions of their
bodies. In the process, they gain immunity to all forms of natural, magical, or
psychic fear. They also gain a +2 bonus versus any other effect (magical or
psychic) that tries to affect their mind, especially but not limited to sleep,
charm, and hold spells and psychic effects.
Their eyes are replaced by bionic eyes; these look like
normal eyes for their race, but give the Iron-Man 60’ Infravision (glowing red
when their Infravision is active). Their skull is also reinforced with advanced
metals, giving their head an Armor Class equivalent to a great helm (ACB
The Iron-Men have cybernetic reinforcements inserted into
their musculature and along their skeletal structure; this is for mounting
further attachments onto the Iron-Man. This reinforcement also provides the
Iron-Man with a pool of 25 structure points. When the Iron-Man suffers damage,
he can split it in any way he wishes between his regular hit points and these
structure points (this pool cannot fall to less than 0). Structure points
cannot heal naturally or be healed by magic, only repaired by a
scientist/mechanic or robotic factory.
At 1st level an Iron-Man can choose two of the following
Cybernetic Arm: An Iron-Man with this ability has had one of
his arms replaced by a mechanical equivalent. This adds +1 to his Strength (or
increases his Strength to the lowest point of the next highest category if he
has Exceptional Strength). This ability may be taken twice (once for each limb
Fingerblades: The Iron-Man’s hands are implanted with
retractable razors. He is able to attack twice per round, once with each hand,
doing 1d6 damage (plus Strength bonus) per hand. The Iron-Man can also combine
a single off-hand fingerblade attack with a melee attack, though in this case
both attacks suffer a -2 penalty to hit.
Light Armor: Further reinforcement to chest, arms, and legs
provides the Iron-Man with an ACB -2/+2; if they wear armor of greater
protection than this, the reinforcement provides them with a -1/+1 bonus to
Suturepede: The suturepede is a bio-mechanical centipede-like
creature surgically implanted within the Iron-Man’s body. When he falls to or
below 0 hit points, the suturepede exits through a wound and grafts itself to
the injuries, using its legs as sutures if necessary. This immediately restores
3d8 hit points. The suturepede dies and falls off within 1d4 days of use, and
the character must visit a scientist, mechanic, or mechanized factory to have a
replacement suturepede implanted.
Targeting Reticule: One of the Iron-Man’s bionic eyes has been
upgraded to include an improved targeting lens in a cylindrical black housing.
He now has a +2 bonus to hit with lasers, guns, and other techno-missile
weapons, and detects secret doors on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. Only one eye may be
replaced with a targeting reticule – two reticules would only cause migraine
headaches with no improvement in accuracy.
Iron-Men have the ability to assimilate another cybernetic
upgrade every odd level (3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.) with no danger to their mental
state. While they can take on other upgrades, each upgrade beyond their
allotted safe number has a chance of driving them insane… and afterwards, if
they successfully maintain their sanity, they have a chance to lose it
temporarily when exposed to extreme stress. Upgrades are available through
friendly scientists, mechanics, and robotic factories.
Iron-Men, due to their cybernetic neural implant can never
learn to use spells or psychic powers. Iron-Men are limited to taking the
Fighter, Champion (i.e., Paladin), and Ranger classes. They are unlimited in advancement in
Fighter, limited to 8th level as a Champion, and 7th level as a Ranger. Due to
the programming in their neural implant, they can take proficiency in
techno-weapons at 1st level. If they have access to a friendly or allied robotic
factory, they can switch out any of their weapon proficiencies through
The neural implant also enables robotic factories as well
as scientists and even some mechanics to take over the mind of the Iron-Man.
The Iron-Man’s bonus to save does not apply to this kind of super-science based
mind control… a reason why even allies of the Iron-Men never quite fully trust
Also, though the race is titled "Iron-Men," there are also "Iron-Women." And on that note, if anyone knows of any good sources for pictures of female cyborgs that are not essentially excuses for soft-core porn, please let me know!
Millennia ago – no one is quite sure how long ago, though
most believe it was some 20,000 years ago – five worlds merged into one in a
massive techno-magical apocalypse. Separated originally in time and space,
these five worlds – in fact, their entire solar systems – phased together. In
the case of the five worlds, they all merged into one, during a terrible,
catastrophic event, the Grand Conjunction.
Continents shattered; mountains buckled and fell; oceans
were cast up into mountains and wastes; forests burned. Entire ecosystems died,
and whole sections of each of the five planets were lost. In the end, where
once five separate and distinct planets once existed, a single planet came into
being. It is a hodge-podge of the geography, biota, and cultures of the five
constituent planets. Most civilizations of the native races collapsed; in most
cases, the survivors were reduced to stone-age savagery, if they did not fall
all the way back to the state of beasts.
The five worlds were:
Earth: The home of Man, the Earth that was merged with the
other five worlds was not one Earth, but many, cobbled together from many eras
of its past. From the age of the dinosaurs to the “modern” era, and from the
era of the far-future city-continents of super-science to the Last Age of Man,
Zothique, and all the eras in between, the Men of Earth and its infinite
varieties of cultures, species, and technologies were suddenly found
side-by-side, merged with the detritus of four other worlds.
Faerie: The Otherworldly home of the Fairies, Elves,
Dwarves, Hobbits, Dragons, Goblins, and like creatures of myth and legend, much
of the once-hidden and mystical, magical realm of Faerie was revealed and laid
open upon the forests and fields of the new world. Though hardly the fancy-free
land that fables had once made of it, its Seelie peoples, once happy and
bucolic, were reduced to madness and savagery, and the darker Unseelie folk turned
dreadful and unpleasant indeed.
Hell: An inside-out world in space-time unlike most others,
even Faerie, the home world of Satan and his fallen angels, devils, and demons
was the least damaged in the Grand Conjunction, for as prior, it remained on
the inside of the world – the Hells, as once envisioned in medieval ideals,
were now found at the center of the earth. In between the Hells and the World
Above, the Underworld was spawned, a mix of the other four worlds with a great
heaping-helping of Hell…
Qualq: An utterly alien world to Men, Faeries, Demons, and
Wyld, the best description of Qualq is that it is some bastard child born of
the fevered nightmares of H.R. Giger and H.P. Lovecraft. A world of psychic
powers and super-science, its denizens included the mind flayers and their
abhuman slave race, the Gith. Though segments of Qualq are found upon the World
Above, most are found in the Underworld or upon the Sky Islands, where the
inimical biota of that realm can survive in isolation (elsewhere, when encountered
and if at all possible, it is hunted to extinction). The Gith, however,
survived and expanded throughout the World Above, where they eventually became
the second-most populous race after the Men of Earth.
Wyld: The world of Wyld was much like Earth and Faerie,
though of unbound natural growth and atavistic primitivism. Civilization rarely
rose above the stone age, and never above the bronze age. Men of Wyld are much
like the Men of Earth, though built of massive skeletal and muscular structure;
their culture is that of the eternal barbarian and atavistic savage. Men of
Wyld are divided into many varieties, including Bear-Men, Brute-Men,
Horned-Men, Wolf-Men, and others. Animals native to Wyld were of such sorts
that made the megafauna of Earth seem small by comparison.
The many races and species of the five worlds migrated,
mixed, assimilated, fought, allied, and over time, rose again from savage
barbarism to civilized heights and decadent depths. In the ages since, many
civilizations have risen and fallen. Most of these are lost in the mists of
time, especially those prior to the last thousand years. More than two thousand
years ago, a combination of alliances brought together the forces of Hell with
several Alien factions of Qualq to form the Dread Dominion. No one is certain
how long the Dread Dominion lasted, but more than two thousand years ago the
enslaved Men and Gith began the Metal Wars, a thousand-year rebellion. During
this time they summoned the Heroes of Ancient Earth, and the Metal Gods were
The long and terrible Metal Wars ended with the
manifestation of the Megadeth, the Apocalypse Beast. Between the final battles
of the Metal Wars and the advent of the Megadeth, barely one in a thousand
sentient beings survived. Civilization collapsed, most records prior to the era
were destroyed, and the world was once again reduced ruined barbarism.
At the opening of the second millennium since the end of the Metal Wars and the advent of the Megadeth,
civilization is tenuous at best. Most Men and Gith live in Medieval-like
squalor at best; folk of towns and the rare cities usually fare better, some
even maintaining a relatively high level of technology, carefully shepherded
since the end of the Metal Wars. Still suffering from that era, most realms are
small, tribal affairs, city states, or feudal domains the size of a county or
shire. Every generation or two, a warlord gets it in his head to build an
empire, and war ravages the countryside, already hard-pressed by monsters,
mutants, and abhumans on every side. If the ramshackle empire does not fall
with the conqueror’s death, it rarely survives that of his son, and never that
of his grandson.
Most armies are made of shanghaied peasant mobs, led by the
warlord and his band of knights or bully-boys. The mob is armed with farming
implements or whatever they can find at hand, while the warlord and his retinue
might wield anything from sword and lance suited in plate mail and riding
destriers to laser rifle and grenade launcher suited in ancient battle-armor on
the back of a grav-wagon. Tipping the balance of every battle are the
adventurers and mercenaries, a mixed lot of madmen and would-be warlords
themselves, rife with magic, psychic powers, demonic sorcery, and alien
These adventurers wrest their arcane power and super-science
artifacts from the ruins of the ancient world that strew the surface wherever
one stumbles outside the wood-palisaded village or stone-walled town. Every
farmer turns over some ancient ruined thing while sowing his spring seeds; only
the mad or power-hungry actually go into the depths of the ruined cities and
monster-haunted citadels seeking after working items of power and lost caches
of riches and wealth…
Though there are many gods, demigods, and demons in Kvin
Mondöj, there are three major religions that are widespread across most of the
land – the Church of Satan, the Temple of Judas the Redeemer, and the Temple of
the Metal Gods. The Church of Satan (mostly Lawful Evil) is a hierarchical
theocratic pseudo-empire dedicated to the Prince of Darkness and his chief
lieutenants. They are served by the Knights in Satan’s Service and the
Inquisition. The Temple of Judas the Redeemer (mostly Chaotic Good) is
dedicated the to most successful of the Metal Gods, Judas the Redeemer, who
took up the lead in the struggle against the Church of Satan following the end
of the Metal Wars. The third major faith, the Temple of the Metal Gods (mostly
Chaotic Neutral), is dedicated to the Ancient Heroes of Earth who returned from
Beyond and helped bring an end to the Dread Dominion. Led by Ozzymandius the
God-Father, the Temple is dedicated to freedom and individuality and the
overthrow of tyranny and order.
So that hiatus ended up being rather longer than expected.
My wife is doing very well. Her operation was a great success, and her recovery has been, so I understand, textbook quality. Things are definitely going well there (knock wood), and she can walk quite well without brace or cane, though it will be some months yet before she is able to rebuild her stamina and be back to her old, spry self.
This freeing up of time means I'll be getting back to writing and gaming again; combined with my upcoming change to a regular schedule at work, freeing up my weekends, I expect to do a LOT more gaming.
Right now, I have three campaigns in the works. One is already underway, and we had our first session yesterday. The other two are in development, and as usual, it is much like herding cats, trying to coordinate schedules and make sure everyone is on the same page.
The first campaign, Adventures in Erathia, is a Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign, using the whole kit-n-kaboodle (PHB, MM, DMG) with experienced gamers. The world is Ekosia, unabashedly and simply a parallel Earth, in the early Colonial Age. Most of the world is off-screen, so to speak, merely broad strokes to give players ideas of where their characters might be from and what the might culturally resemble...
Lost Arkhosia was the original home to the Dragonborn and the Red Men of Greco-Roman culture. As the name suggests, it is Lost, much like Atlantis or Numenor, though the Dragonborn and the Red Men settled far and wide ere their empire and island-continent home were lost several ages ago.
Mendrel is the analogue for Europe, original home of the Halflings and the Green Men of Celtic/Slavic culture. Being centrally located, it was invaded by peoples of four other continents, and today is a mix of races, cultures, and kingdoms. The two most prominent are Razaine, a Moorish Spain analogue, and Karnusia, a sort of Scots-French Sun King realm, both of which are heavily involved in the new colonial race.
Whalm is an analogue for Scandinavia, the British Isles, Iceland, and Greenland, original home of the Elves and the Blue Men of Germanic cultures. While their viking-style age is long passed, much of the region is still quite barbaric. Amongst the many lands the Whalmish settled during their migration era was Erathia, the first easterners to find and settle that land since the fall of Lost Arkhosia. There they founded the Wizard-Kingdom of Skreln, whose savage descendants today, the Skrellinkar, are a mix of the native Erathians and the Whalmish (think Elmore-style barbarians with bluish skin). Brunh is the analogue of England, and hase a few colonies, most notably Hawkmoor in Erathia, though Hawkmoor has declared its independence since the rise of the Temple of Hecate to power with the advent of the current warlock-ridden dynasty.
Utlun is an analogue for Africa, original home of the Dwarves and the Black Men of African cultures. During the early ages the Empire if Khem spanned several continents, and has had its ups and downs over the millennia. Today it is strong again, and has some colonies, like Razaine, Karnusia, and Brunh, though the colonies it held in northern Erathia were conquered by Razaine several decades ago and subsumed into the local Crown Colonies. The Church of the Risen Sun, dedicated to Re-Horakhty, Osiris, and Isis (and to a lesser extent, the entire goodly portion of the pantheon) is still a major faction in the Razaish-held colonies.
Quorn is an analogue for Asia, original home of the Gnomes (and many other various races) and the Yellow Men of various Asian cultures. Not a big player in the colonial drive in eastern Erathia, if the players eventually make a cross-continental trip, they will run into the Quorn equivalent of Fusang on the western coast...
Erathia is an analogue for North America, original home of the Tieflings and the White Men of various Native Nations cultures. Here of old was the great empire of Bael Turath, whose wars precipitated the fall of Lost Arkhosia, the decline of Elder Khem, and the end of the First Age. Bael Turath still exists, at the heart of the continent, but is much reduced in power. Petty and often barbarous splinter states exist on the periphery, with the cracks in between filled by savage tribes of humans and other, unusual races... now including the colonial settlements of the Mendrels, Whalmish, Utlun, and Quorn.
The campaign is set in one of the regions currently dominated by the colonial powers, along the Sapphire Sea and the Rubine Gulf. The Rubine Gulf was once a vast, rich plain, the heartland of the Empire of Nothos, the Demon-Son of Dionysius. Here his people, the Tavrosh, were born of Arkhosian and Erathian humans and the bloodlines of minotaurs, satyrs, sileni, dryads, and nymphs. When his empire fell, the land quaked and shattered, and in came the waters of the Sapphire Sea to form the Rubine Gulf. The Tavrosh still live along the shores and in the hills and mountains. After the fall they were conquered by a then resurgent Bael Turath, which subsequently again fell into decadence and left them to their own devices. In the north, the Skrellinkar barbarians, descended from the peoples of the Wizard-Kingdom of Skreln, eke out their own savage existence. Then unto these shores came the colonial powers, first Khem, then Razaine, Brunh, Karnusia, and the various Whalmish states. Today the colonies struggle against and amongst each other for wealth and power even as they send explorers into the ancient ruins and virgin wilds.
Recently, the Crown Colony of Kar Haddan declared its independence from Razaine, mostly over religious differences, the locals favoring the Church of the Risen Son while the Imperial House currently sponsors the Red Temple of War dedicated to the Arkhosian deity Ares. The other Crown Colonies gird for war, even as the Tielfing successor state of Bael Norradh stirs in the west, the Skrellinkars howl at the borders in the north against the northern colonies, and Hawkmoor, too, is caught in between a rock and a hard place, being infiltrated by warlock-assassins from the old motherland of Brunh...
The other campaigns currently in the works are:
Adventures in the Elder Isles: A Basic 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign set in the Elder Isles of Jack Vance's Lyonesse (itself being set in the world of Aerth from Gary Gygax's Dangerous Journeys: Mythus setting). This one is for folks new to tabletop games.
Adventures in Kvin Mondöj: An AD&D 1E/Advanced Labyrinth Lord campaign set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world inspired by Heavy Metal album covers. Think the Heavy Metal movie (Taarna segments), combined with Ralph Bakshi's Wizards, and Thundarr the Barbarian, and you get a general idea of where I'm going with this one. Designed for a group of folks who haven't played since 1st Edition...
Friends, as some of you know, my wife Jodi has, for most of the last three years, suffered from a ruptured ACL. Tomorrow, she is finally going to get the ACL reconstructive surgery she's needed to get back into shape... late always being better than never. While it is a simple outpatient procedure, any and all thoughts, prayers, and good vibes would be most welcome.
So for the next several weeks at least, possibly two or more months, we will be concentrating on her recovery. If I am slow in responding to e-mails and posts, this is why; also, we won't be working on anything for JMG during this time, and I won't be doing much blogging or any gaming, either. We're not avoiding anyone, we are just busy, between my job and her therapy. We'll be back with bells on once she's up and kicking... hopefully much sooner than later!