Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Barrier Lands - old RQ game world


A few Gloranthan ideas crept in

Barrier Lands from my 90s RQ

“I am a settler of the nation of (X) in the famous Barrier Lands”

Description: The Barrier lands are one of the most diversely peopled regions of the Azanian continent. At the cross roads of many important civilizations it has always been an important centre of trade, learning and strategic power.

The land is surrounded by mountains, which are in turn surrounded by primal forests. To the north in the barren lands lies a single pass to the great plains of the north. New nomad peoples have always come through here, some have been raiders and others have settled down permanently. The major river of Hestor runs through the land dividing it into two. The lower Hestor has wide flood plains and swamps surrounding it while the northern part has huge cliffs on either side. The coast has several excellent natural coves and harbours which have always brought excellent sea trade. Several great forests divide the land further.

The land is geographically divided by many natural features which has created many tiny kingdoms. Each has its distinct history, people and dialects. Many patches of impassable wilderness have attracted wild rumours and horror stories as to what strange beings and haunted ruins lay hidden within them. Many signs of ancient battles, some between the gods and of long vanished races can be found in these secret places.
Inhabitants: The population table shows the relative populations of the intelligent inhabitants of the Barrier Lands. Many non-human populations have thrived here due to the many passages to otherworlds which lay hidden in the wilderness regions.

Culture: Four main human types live in this region, having come in multiple waves over the aeons. They are usually classified as the Solars, Lunars, Storm and Earth peoples. Heretics and exotic peoples are common here, particularly sorcerers. Many other small enclaves foreign  peoples exist, especially in Takarsis city. Successive peoples have come with varied technology and living practices. Hunters and gatherers, nomad herder’s, barbarians and civilized peoples exist sometimes side by side. The decadent and sorcerous race, the Rowanac dwelt here in ancient times bringing slaves from across the four corners of the world to their city state of Takarsis. Having been slaves in the dawn of history, Takarsians now are becoming an empire drawing on many ancient magical and holy traditions.

Languages: Each major human group is united by one of the four main holy tongues (Sky speech, Fire speech, Sea speech, Earth speech). National tongues are local corrupted dialects of the above. Trade language developed from the language used by Rowanac slaves across the world and  is a debased form of that tongue. Rowanac is commonly used by sorcerers. Lamnutainian is used by the civil service. Chaos speech is used by the slaves and spawn of the bad gods who often dwell in secret among the lawful and good.

Government: A new empire has united the feuding lords of the Barrier lands, founded by King Karnagus seventy five years ago. His grandson Emperor Ortagus rules now with advisers of many creeds and people. He has written a constitution, created a new model army, and founded a school for civil servants.

He has a passion for building, hunting, philosophy and poetry.

Military: Each land has its own armed forces to deal with the common raids, civil wars, rebellions and feuds which trouble the region. The emperor commands thirty legions and uses his economic power to keep the peace. Most settlements are armed camps and forts cover the whole region, remnants of the countless wars of the past. The Emperors Expansion in all directions has made the empire into a colonial power. The legions are mostly elite heavy infantry with engineers and cavalry. Other local troops and other exotic armies from the provinces and conquered kingdoms often double them in battle.

Religion: Each of the pantheons has its own pantheon which serve their own lifestyle the best. Most communities have up to three temples, one to the local patron god, one to the national patron god and one to the lords patron god. Many worship spirits of ancestors, plants, animals, springs, mountains and other natural beings. Many creeds of sorcerers also exis, the relative tolerance of them (at least in civilised parts) has encouraged this. Some sorcerers are mechanists, philosophers, mystics and even monotheists or humanists. Many dire cults also thrive, particularly in places oppressed by conquest or hardship.

Population of The Barrier Lands

Takarsia  Civilized Various Divine and Sorcery                                     65,000
Terrunda Civilized Sorcery and Divine Storm                                        36,000
Boldward Barbarian Storm Divine and Shamanism                               85,000
Highwood Nomad Earth Divine and Shamanism                                   26,000
Wormsgate Barbarian Earth Divine and Shamanism                              112,000
Skyford Barbarian Solar Divine                                                              78,000
 Helvia Civilised Earth Divine and Sorcery                                            20,000
 Morvia Barbarian Lunar Divine and Shamanism                                  16,000
 Calmoria Civilized Earth Divine and Sorcery                                        53,000
 Samaria  Nomad Solar Divine and Shamanism                                      39,000
 Dakaria Nomad Lunar Divine and Shamanism                                       44,000
 Iron Bridge Barbarian Storm Divine and Shamanism                             32,000
 Dragonfall Nomad Storm Divine and Shamanism                                   18,000
 Marrus Civilised  Lunar Divine and Sorcery                                            53,000
 Hestoran  Barbarian Lunar Divine and Shamanism                                  14,000
 Bogripe Barbarian Earth Divine and Shamanism                                      84,000
 Vingeld Civilised  Solar Divine and Sorcery                                             41,000
 Sungeld Barbarian Solar Divine and Shamanism                                      36,000
 Fellcoast Barbarian Lunar Divine and Shamanism                                    32,000
 Entaran Civilised Storm Divine and Sorcery                                              86,000

                            
    The Barrier Lands Regional Activity Tables
     Determine Weekly Per City

 Common Events
    * Pirates, raiders or bandits plague the area, making travel a hazard and looting villages
    * Religious missionaries, prophets or hermits preach in the market place to all
    * Soldiers arrive to recruit for a war, stamp out local unrest or for a weeks leave
    * Monsters sighted, travellers wary, horror stories abound, mostly gossip only
   
Uncommon Events
    * Local contest celebrated such as jousting, horse race, wrestling, combat or magic
    * Priests of local cults quarrel over petty religious dispute, violence and mob unrest
    * Local Government forms work gangs, seizes weapons or drafts warriors into army
    * Miracle event such as healing spring, magic fruit, spirit distributes gifts, saint appears
   
Rare Events
    * Monsters rampage, all hands needed to slay, people killed and villages destroyed
    * God seen in local area, clergy declare holy day, the disrespectful are mobbed
    * Magic-Thieves loot local sacred places, all armed foreigners detained by locals
    * Stranger distributes curses and blessings to all who they meet
   
People of Note
King Tantilus Earth-Dragon the Third: He is a direct descendant of Fredrikos of Kainos, a shepherd, decended from a local earth goddess of that distant land. He gained the curse of dragonblood, established a fued with the river serpants and vanished heroquesting. The sons of this clan become sorcerers and the daughters become priestesses. The current King is very active and ambitious but plagued by internal factions in his clan.

Errakas, King of Terunda: He has taken the feudal code of Mantifex and corrupted it into a tyranny where the serfs are systematically Tapped and worked to death in the service of the sorcerer knights who rule. He is warlike and aggressive, using brilliant tactics to earn the reputation as The Barrier Lands greatest war master. As his power grows so do his enemies.

Daragor, Khan of Dakaria: Revered as a god by his people he has single handedly killed the dragon of the Black-Bogs. He bears a strong grudge against Terunda and plans of revenge against that land. He is generous, wise and is the embodiment of the ways of his peoples godlike first ancestors. He has incarnated the ancestral founder and Demi God of the Blue Horse people against enemies before.

History

The first peoples of The Barrier Lands were conquered by the Rowanac over three thousand years ago, bringing metal usage, sorcery and many slaves to the city they built known as Takarsis. Almost four hundred years later the slave rebellion threw off their yoke and the first high king of the Barrier Lands, Mantani Tintangel brought unity to to the many peoples who now settled across the land. This golden age of freedom ended nine hundred years later when nomad hordes easily crushed the decadent flower of civilization. This is the date the Takarsian calender begins.

 In 412 the first Lamnutainian empire conquered much of the west, until three hundred years later the Denmyrian sea folk, many nomad and barbarian hordes and other foreign peoples destroyed that empire. The final straw was when the costly conquest of Tertizan was destroyed by a Broo Horde. For the next two hundred years darkness and ignorance plagued the Barrier Lands. In the year 1012, the Takarsian lords began to re-settle the wilderness which had been made  during the centuries of darkness. In 1419 a dynasty of sorcerer lords ruled and made many conquests over the scattered barbarians in the wilderness. Then in 1576 another nomad horde captured the city but enslaved the sorcerers and rapidly adopted their civilised ways. In 1616  the New Lamnutanian Empire came and conquered the Barrier lands. They constantly warred against the Denmyrian kingdoms destroying the Lomordian kingdoms in between them. 
          
This stalemate destroyed both empires over the next twenty years. The Lamnutainian withdrawal created the many kingdoms that are found today in 1721. Nomads threatened many after that but finaly the present kings grand father founded the empire and held them back. His father gained the obedience of all the vassal kings and initiated new roads, forts and wall building efforts. Now the new king is hoping to rule all the world he can grasp.

Places of Interest

The Stone City: A pre-Rowanac ancient haunted city, half frozen in a glacier in the Six Guardian mountains. Ancient monsters and ghosts lurk here to prey on the fools who come here. Despite there the absence of metal usage the level of civilisation and magic seems very advanced.

The Elder Bogs: At the heart of this swamp is the remnants of an ancient Rownac attempt to conquer other worlds beyond this one through magical gateways. It is filled with many ancient monsters and even a dragon. Many who enter return decades later when only days past for them. Survivors who have returned after ten to a hundred hears report a ring walled city with many great temples and a steel pyramid lay at the centre. Ancient monsters of the past dwell here, including a dragon, many thunder lizards and demons. Many primitive humans and Elder races lay within.

Ironforge: Built by a dwarf saint then lost to demons. Open handed Dwarves led by the saints son killed a dragon to reclaim it and settled in. They wield a myterious weapon called a cannon to dominate the river for the Earthdragon Kings. 

The Hellwood Forest: In the centre lies a cursed ancient castle, once guarded by creatures of chaos who served the demon who dwelled within. Now a small settlement of farmers and chaos crusaders live here. Monsters occasionally rampage from here which attracts chaos hating Elder races. Apparently many lost ruins can be found, from the many kingdoms which now buried in the past. Fires blazing and sounds of battle may be often reported from locals who live at the border.

The Elderwood: An ancient primal forest filled with Elder races, Broo, Were-Wolves and Giants. Inside the woods are bigger than the outside, any many hidden lands may be found there. The reputation of these woods has reached all known lands, as they in total length span many regions. All on its borders live in fear from the haunted dreams it brings.

Wormwood: A thick and young Forrest were the primitive snake people dwell. They use deadly poison and strike invisibly at their foes. The forest is also home a great Dragon who fathers the dozens of worms which come from this wood each year. Snakes, reptiles, Slarges, thunder lizards and even a Dragon Newt city ruins may be found inside.

Greenwood: Particularly vigorous plant life in these parts and the woods are at all times of the year green. Elves and many magic plant spirits dwell in these woods. Mortals disappear on the borders often.

Youngwood: A wild forest which appeared only a hundred and fifty years ago. The ghosts of the Lomorian people have become more confused with those of plant spirits and elves. New primitives and Earth nomads often travel through here from distant lands. Many settle in high Wood.

Takarsia: Trade city, built by the Rowanac over three thousand years ago. A shambling mass of decrepit half empty buildings filled with beggars and thieves. Once a thriving trade metropolis famous for its religious freedom and tolerance of sorcerers. It was a wonder of both the ancient world and the Rowanac empire. It has the densest population of the region but has still its potential and buildings. Greater temples to all cults can be found as well as visiting shamans, sorcery schools in abundance and several local cults (The city founder, a thieves clan cult called the brotherhood, the hero who led the Slave Rebellion against the Rowanac). The headlands are filled with graves, caves, rubbish heaps, sewer pipes and mine tunnels where many bad things happen.

The Hell Canyons: A Huge Rift in the earth filled with depraved chaos monsters. The remains of an ancient battle between the gods, where Karagar the father of monsters was first dismembered, then buried in a crack the gods made. His buried body parts made the many Broo, Ogres, Scorpion men and Giants which stalk the land. Evil temples are carved within the hundreds of miles of tunnels within the cliffs. A polluted lake of acid and a poison stream are said to lay in the middle.

Serpent Isle: An Island of fierce Amazons who sometimes raid the mainland seeking male slaves and liberating women. They are very civilized and are known to ride unicorns into battle. They are often visited by the gods who may live among them at times and father many children. They even ignored the Rowanac.

Dragon Isle: A wild Island where a huge dragon dwells. He sometimes sinks passing ships. A Lost tribe of head hunting savages dwells here also. The dragon is said to have stolen several pirate hordes as well as that of the ancient alchemist king who once ruled this island. Many say this is a warning to all who horde wealth in the barrier lands.

Skull Isle: A rocky Island where Vikings and pirates often lair when unwelcome on the mainland. It is a rocky and barren volcanic mass filled with tunnels. Dangerous reefs and sea monsters allow only the most regular or heroic sailors.

Lomoria Isle: Last refuge of the ancient Lomorians who once lived next to The Barrier Lands. They are civilised users of Earth Magic and Sorcery. They trade with the mainland but do not welcome foreigners. Many smaller islands share this culture around them. The island is filled by forest.

Denmyria Isle: An outpost of the infamous Denmyrian Pirates who terrorize all the seas. They practice sorcery and worship the gods of the sea. They have made sea travel very deadly in the region along with the sea serpent increases in recent years.

Terunda: A dark and gloomy land of skinny serfs and animals, ruled by tyrant wizard-knights. Tapping is rumoured to be used frequently by these warlike people. War is the main industry.

Boldward: A wild coast populated by barbarian chiefdoms. Whale and seal hunting is supplemented by feeble agriculture and raiding foreign lands. Clan feuds are common.

Highwood: A forest shrouded land of peaceful farmers. Many haunted woodlands keep this land sparsley settled and exellent for hunting.

Wormsgate: A rich land haunted by greedy worms. The people are prosperous and hardy, well known for their jolly ways. Many peasants from other lands flee to this land to escape oppression. The church bless the crops of all while the warriors cults fight the yearly worm migrations from the forest.

Skyford: A hard land of solar templars, with mighty walled towns and cities. They are known to be strict and rigid, with strong traditions and often harsh customs. Centuries of being on the front line of nomad and chaos hordes have made them very martial and strict. Many tribes of who herd horses and cattle dwell here. Barbarians here use wheeled wagons and chariots for war and trade.

Helvia: A blessed city and estate of great charm and wealth. Famous for it’s rich art and culture, the land maintains a high standard of living. They often war with wicked Morvia.

Morvia: A dark and squalid city land of cruelty, cut-throats and assassins. Morvia is filled with vice and depraved sports. Many minions of chaos roam here unnoticed by the common folk.

Calmoria: A blessed mountain land with pleasant lakes and mountain borders. The isolated people are suspicious of strangers from other barrier lands. They do however contribute many knights to the regular chaos crusades in the Hellwood or Hell canyons.

Dakaria: A dull chilly plain where nomads dwell. They herd reindeer, goats, horses and bison. They have quickly adopted the use of boats and barges to send their beasts to market. They are the most recent arrival to the barrier lands.

Iron Bridge: A fortress enclave of mercenaries and monster hunters. Huge weapon smithing halls employ hundreds. A giant built bridge crosses the mighty river Hestor here, defended by terrible siege weapons.

Dragonfall: A pleasant riverside city, near the famous waterfalls which spill into the river canyons. Often a favourite hiding place for scoundrels, smugglers plundering neighbours creates many blood feuds.. 

Marrus: A river city of rich with rich swamps and flood lands. Once plagued by evil rulers, now it is a thriving trade city instead of the sizable kingdom it was.

Hestor: The holy river which divides the land. This difficult to ford river has kept the region divided and caused the fall of many empires. It has its own local river god and is infested by mighty river serpents of greater cunning, strength and impenetrable scales. These serpents allow no descendant of clan Earth-Dragon to cross. Takarsia, Ironforge, and Ironbridge are the only permanent bridges over the river, elsewhere ferries are used. The river is rich in fish and trade. The many swamps around it are filled with river folk and swamp pygmies.

Hestoran: A religious center for the Lunar peoples. The river god Hestor has a great temple here where he personally appears each high holy day to give his blessings.

Bogripe: A huge swampy land with many hidden settlements and even wild swamp people. Many stilt villages and floating houses can be found on the rivers edge, while farmers use the flood plains for their rich crops. Many monsters, savages and bandits raid locals and visitors yearly.

Vingeld: A rich wine making district of gold mines and holiday villas. The cheery solar people here are famed for their good humour and excellent drink. Some nobles regard themselves as Lamnutain rather than Barrier land folk, even calling themselves Governor. 

Sungeld: A central Solar holy place where pilgrims go. Aggressive and conservative barbarians populate this land, often harshly using what they call holy law to harass visitors with different beliefs. They use gold only for trade devalue other currencies. Best avoided during holy season.

Fellcoast: A rugged coast of fishing folk who worship the sea god.

Entaria: A civilised but cruel land partly bordering The Barrier Lands.

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