Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Xiras: A City in Stygia

Last week, I tossed up a quick post showing off the city map for Kharazim that I hand drew. As first efforts go, it wasn't too bad, especially considering my distinct lack of artistic talent. One of my friends made the comment that it was pretty close to a publishable piece (that is to say, when looking at it, you could almost think it would fit in the back of a published RPG book -- high praise from someone not known for offering empty compliments).

This week, I have another hand drawn city map, this time the Stygian city of Xiras, former capital of the old Stygian Empire. Chief religious center for the Stygian Immortal cult of Mazda, Xiras is a sprawling city of canals, hanging gardens, and nefarious merchant princes squabbling over the remains of a dead empire. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kharazim, A City of Stygia

I'll do a more sustained write up Kharazim, a Stygian city known for its agricultural bounty, lacquered pottery, and cult of the Stygian Immortal Zamarmatay, some other time. Right now, I simply want to post the map, which I have just finished.

It's my first attempt at doing an urban map in a style ala Dyson of Dyson's Dodecahedron (you can find more of his urban maps here). I think it turned out all right, considering I'm not an artist at all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ruins of Vanor Play Report Calendar, Year I

This Friday (Oct 17) will mark the thirteenth session of my Ruins of Vanor ACKS campaign. This represents one year in game time for the player characters, one year since the Diggers College decided to make a push to reclaim the ruined neighborhood Regio of Overlook for the people still living in the ruined city. As befits my particular historian madness, I have kept records of their exploits, albeit in a shorthand form. This record corresponds to the in-game Decimemoria decennial calendar created by the Church of the Unconquered Sun to measure time in forty-two year, 129 month increments (with 28 days per month plus forty-three festival weeks -- like I said, madness). Partly for their benefit and partly for anyone curious how the ruincrawl has been going, I'm sharing the current calender and my notes here. I also plan to post the weekly calls that the players receive, which take the form of a report to the Diggers Council (i.e., them). When I do, I'll link them in the proper spots below.


Ruins of Vanor Campaign Session Log

(In the dating scheme XX.YY.ZZ, "XX" stands for the celestial year, "YY" represents the numerical month, and "ZZ" represents the day. Festival weeks are denoted by "YYF," so for example, the thirty-third festival week would appear as "33F." The campaign started with a Diggers Council meeting on 42.51.23, only a few days before Spring.)

Temple of Sol Invictus, in the
Overlook Regio of Vanor
Year 1, Session 1 -- Jan 31, 2014 

1st Delve to Temple of Sol Invictus, 1 Day (42.51.24)

  • 10 hrs round trip, 40 minutes in the dungeon
  • Green slime in the portico, Sol Invictus statue trap, return home for healing

Rest, 7 Days (42.51.25-28 + 42.17F.1-3)

  • Start of the Agonalia (17th Festival), an old pagan celebration about slaughtering goats appropriated by the Church

2nd Delve to Temple of Sol Invictus, 1 Day (42.17F.4)

Quies Quietis (Old Vanoran for "Resting Time"), 28 Days (42.17F.5-7 + 42.52.1-25)

Year 1, Session 2 -- Feb 7, 2014 

3rd Delve to Temple of Sol Invictus, 1 Day (42.52.26)

  • 40 min round trip, no dungeon time
  • Ambushed by skeletons on the Via Fornicata, returned home for healing

Rest, 2 Days (42.52.27-28)

4th Delve to Temple of Sol Invictus, 2 Days (42.53.1-2)

  • Day #1: 11 hrs, 5.75 hrs in dungeon
    • Stirges, giant flies, pit trap with cursed ring at the bottom
  • 8 hrs overnight rest
  • Day #2: 4 hrs return

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.53.3-28 + 42.54.1-2)

Angel statues in the
Solian Temple
Year 1, Session 3 -- Feb 28, 2014 

5th Delve to Temple of Sol Invictus, 1 Day (42.54.3)

  • 6 hrs round trip, 4 hrs in dungeon
  • Zuan the Jubilant, delver for hire, found bleeding on the steps to the lower levels, magic mushrooms in crypts, statues shooting flame, skeletons and explodo (someone blew up a whole room and corridor) 

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.54.4-28 + 42.18F.1-4)

  • Start of the Festival of Fors Fortuna (18th Festival), a pre-Solian luck cult still worshiped in the city and tolerated by the Church


Year 1, Session 4 -- March 7, 2014 

6th Delve to Temple of Sol Invictus, 2 Days (42.18F.5-6)

  • Day #1: 11 hrs, 8 hrs in dungeon
    • Gargoyles on stairs fucked them up, the Sun Gallery, black centipedes, the Night Gallery, looted crypts, Old Man Sun Oak
  • 8 hrs overnight rest
  • Day #2: 6 hrs, 3 hrs in dungeon

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.18F.7 + 42.55.1-27)

Year 1, Session 5 -- April 4, 2014 

Crypt Delve in the Via Fornicata, 1 Day (42.55.28)

  • 9 hrs round trip, 4 hrs in crypt
  • Fighting an iron statue sucks arse, don't talk to the floating talking head, found the treasure hoard

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.56.1-28)

Year 1, Session 6 -- April 11, 2014 

Crypt Delve along the Via Pinciana, 1 Day - (42.57.1)

  • 9 hrs round trip, 3 hrs in crypt
  • Wild dogs, gas trap, another magical fountain (what is it with Vanorans and fountains?), zombies, got out with some loot

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.57.2-28 + 42.19F.1)

  • Start of the Ludi Vanori (19th Festival), a week-long series of gladiator games not sanctioned by the Church, but nobody gives a shit about that


Year 1, Session 7 -- May 9, 2014 

Struggle against Growling Gorgons gang in Caprian Marsh, 3 Days - (42.19F.2-4)

  • Marsh Delve on Days 2-3: 11 hrs round trip
  • Crab spiders, raider patrols, large crocodiles, cat burglar camp is pretty friendly, Boss Fight w/ Growling Gorgons

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.19F.5-7 + 42.58.1-25)

Player Map of the Gardens of Sallust
(Photoshopped from a map of Powerscourt
House & Gardens in Dublin, Ireland)
Year 1, Session 8

Delve into the Gardens of Sallust, 2 Days - (42.58.26-27)

  • Day #1: 9 hrs, 3 hrs in gardens
    • Ruined basilica, a lot of statue gardens, digging for treasure is slow but bears fruit
  • 8 hrs overnight rest
  • Day #2: 7 hrs, 3 hrs in gardens
    • Talked to a resident dryad, fought and killed the harpies

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.58.28 - 42.59.1-27)

Deep Oak Chaotic Altar
Year 1, Session 9

Delve into the Maw beneath the Temple of Sol Invictus (aka the Deep Oak Temple), 1 Day - (42.59.28)

  • Time in Dungeon: 8 hrs round trip
  • Arborean satyr zombies, don't fuck w/ deep dragons, magic mushrooms drive a dude insane, shadows come alive

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.60.1-28)

The Ivarian Tower
Year 1, Session 10

Delve into the Gardens of Sallust, 1 Day - (42.20F.1)
  • Start of the Amburbium (20th Festival), a ritual circuit of the city, now only through the settled parts
  • Time in Dungeon: 6 hrs in gardens
  • Exploring the Ivarian Tower, found a Stygian Mithraeum, Vanoran pet cemeteries are weird 
Delve into the Delubrian Fountains, 1 Day - (42.20F.2)

  • Time in Dungeon: 30 minutes
  • Someone beat them to the giant bug lair

Delve into the Gardens of Lucullus, 1 Day - (42.20F.3)

  • Time in Dungeon: 1 hr
  • Faun patrols at the front, rolling log trap, much blood was spilled, party retreated

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.20F.4-7 - 42.61.1-24)

Tomb of Numa Victarius, 2nd Emperor
of Vanor, atop the Quirinal Hill
Year 1, Session 11

Waiting to Recruit a New Reclamation Team, 17 Days (42.61.25-28 - 42.62.1-13)

Delve to Sol Invictus Temple and Domus Argentariorum, 2 Days (42.62.14-15)

  • Day #1: 8 hrs travel, 1 hr in Temple to secure, dire wolves at Domus Argentariorum are brought under Howler's control (a new Wolf Pack!)
  • 8 hrs overnight rest
  • Day #2: 5 hrs Travel Time back to Sol Invictus Temple

Delve to Gardens of Sallust, 1 Day (42.62.16)

  • Travel Time: 8 hrs, pretty sedate
  • 8 hrs overnight rest

Delve into Alta Semita Regio, 1 Day (42.62.17)

  • Time on Delve: 8 hrs, 30 min wyvern fight, 7.5 hrs into Alta Semita and back
  • Wyvern fight was tough, a kalingoi palace on the Quirinal Hill, an ancient dragon sunning himself on the Tomb of Numa Victarius, 2nd Emperor of Vanor (Grimslaughr was the name), land sharks, gorgons from the Fens turning peeps to stone

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.62.18-28 - 42.63.1-17)

Year 1, Session 12

Delve Along the Pincian Hill, 3 Days (42.63.18-20)

  • Day #1: 8 hrs travel past Domus Caledoniae (HQ of the Wild Bacchanal) and into the Gardens of Lucullus, trapped in Greenshade's Magic School while there
  • 8 hrs overnight rest
  • Day #2: 6 hrs, 10 min trapped in Magic School - poison spiders, magical traps, floating hats hall, Hyperborean armor encased in crystal
  • Day #3: 5 hrs travel, return to Sol Invictus Temple

Quies Quietis, 28 Days (42.63.21-28 + 42.21F.1-7 + 42.64.1-13)

  • Start of the Rustic Wailing (21st Festival), a spring celebration involving the slaughtering of sheep

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cultures of Hrimgate: Vanoran

Vanoran (Civilized Culture)

Standard Skills
Conceal, Deceit, Drive, Influence, Insight, Local, Willpower

Combat Style: Citizen Legionary
[Cultural Style] Vanoran citizen legionnaires wield the shortsword and scutum. They carry a dagger at their side, and fight also with shortspears and javelins. They too have archers trained in the short bow.

Formation Fighting (Benefit)
Permits a group of three or more warriors to draw into close formation, placing more open or disordered opponents at a disadvantage (provided the ‘unit’ cannot be outflanked) and thus reducing each foe’s Action Points by one if they engage.

Professional Skills
Bureaucracy, Commerce, Craft (any), Courtesy, Engineering, Languages (any), Lore (any), Oratory

Once citizens of a continent-spanning empire of old, today Vanorans populate many scattered lands throughout central Borea. Some have blended with other local peoples and become indistinguishable from the rest, while others have clung to their longstanding culture and heritage, confident old Vanor will rise once again from ruin to stand astride Borea.

Hardy and industrious, glory-seeking and arrogant, Vanorans have found it difficult to accept their current place in Hrimgate. Those who have moved on, as in Asturias and Andrassos, have embraced new covenants and creeds, new traditions and superstitions. But for many throughout the Riverlands, Transtygia, and the Southern Reach, the older ways remain strong. And deep within mist-shrouded Arborea, tens of thousands still live amid the ruins of Vanor itself.

The dreams of empire die hard.