Saturday 15 October 2022

Fortnightly Fiends: The Mither

Out in the wild grasslands of the Fourwind Bleak, where the foul winds blow from the ruins of Aria, on the magequake-scarred veldts of Old Hyarenia, and across the wide plains flanking the alchemy-poisoned waters of the River Trebb, and in other grassy places where uncontrolled or corrupted magic has caused serious damage, there can be found the Mither. This - generally timid - small herbivore, which resembles an armadillo, but with lank ratty fur tufting up from between its little plates of armour, is a byproduct of such magical mishap. At about one foot in length, the Mither would normally be regarded as merely a nuisance, but it has several effects that make it somewhat more vexatious, especially for those who wield magic power. Their bite carries an unpleasant disease that is particularly debilitating for spell casters, forcing them to exert themselves to an unusual extent when looking to cast spells. In addition, Mithers are hard to affect through magical power, and their armour is difficult for many weapons to pierce.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Kambyra: The Interior

"At last! At very long last! In Dylaro we find the true fruiting and glorious justification of the Imperial mission. Here, one may sit in the cool shade of graceful colonnades  and sup happily on sweet peaches, coated with creamy honey, cooked in a brandy that surely even the Emperor would envy. And in the evenings, the opera! One is made aware of the improvement Imperial rule has brought everywhere, once past the cheerful crudities of the Antiso region. Plantations sprawl like well-made rugs over the opulent green hills, with the Anumi toiling in the fields and the laughter of the ladies taking high tea makes pleasant music for a weary traveller. Here, if nowhere else in Kambyra, has the Empire fulfilled its promise and expressed its mighty and elevated nature." 

An excerpt from the Earl of Zastenuto’s “The Empire Abroad: An Exile’s Travels Throughout The Colonies”

"Everything one travels to the colonies hoping to leave behind: bigots gorging honeyed peaches in brandy, arrogant fools with no manhood warbling effete arias for other arrogant fools, ladies laughing vapidly over their whip-won tea, the Anumi toiling in the fields, their daily renewed stripes gathering flies in the unrelenting sun, the bones of elf and fey and indigene moldering beneath the velvet hills. And the laughing, the high pitched tittering that never ceases. A trained ear will find no mirth or conviction in it, for it is no more than a frenzied drawing of curtains across a broken window, revealing the fear of insignificance and sense of inadequacy it strives to hide." 

Calvid Rhoak, the Wandering Scrimshander

The Kambyran heartland abides in the dreams of the Empire's poor as a kind of perfected colonial endeavour, where the hardworking can become wealthy, thanks to some of the most abundant lands found on Verkhun and a mellow climate, warm and well-watered, but, in truth, there is no easy prosperity to be found. Most land is locked away in perpetual leases from the Emperor to the local nobility, and with their vast number of Anumi and indigenous Kambyran slaves, these parasitic plantation owners can out-compete in scale and price any smallholder. Sooner or later, the aristocrats drive any competition to the wall - quite literally, as a smallholder who can not pay for their lease is not only stripped of the lease, but all of their goods and chattels, such as they are, and sent to 'the Wall', the palisade of rough-hewn logs that divides the Interior Shires from the western parts of the colony, where they are sent out and forbidden to return for a year and a day. Should they seek to return after their period of debtor's exile, they must pay a large fine to do so. Those that manage to return often end up as tavern-keepers, servants, costermongers or petty-thieves in Dylaro, the colony's official capital.

This small city, prettily situated on Lake Merryndin, nestled at the foot of the greatest heights of the mighty southern mountains gives a dramatic display of all that is admirable and awful in the Empire's high culture. The architecture is universally magnificent: there are no shanties, no run-down poor districts. Even the poorest folk live in seemingly well-appointed tenements. The divergence between appearance and reality is vast, however. The tenements are all fa├žade, for the tiny rooms where the poor dwell are dark, damp and bereft of any pleasurable appurtenances.

Dylaro is, in fact, not a rich town: the region's wealth is concentrated in the magnificent villas of the aristocracy, and the folk who dwell therein are well-served by itinerant traders, entertainers, courtesans, physicians and their own chaplains - the marvellous Basilica of the Blessed Throne in Dylaro is seldom full. Aristocratic society in the Interior Shires mirrors that of the Empire itself, without the gravitational urge towards the Imperial Court. In an endless round of balls, feasts, tourneys, hunts and assorted "merriments", the nobility, high and low, circulate from one villa to the next, pursuing their political and financial maneuvers and their interminable, multiple and largely superficial romantic endeavours.  

Wolves of War: The Ulfarga for Blood & Treasure (& RMFRP)

  Ulfarga (Lupine Beastkin) Wild-hearted but honourable wolf-like humanoids, Ulfarga represent one of the largest populations of any Beastki...