Monday, December 8, 2014

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig...

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...