Friday, January 28, 2011

Ten Things About Lykaedia and The Anvil

Questions and Answers about the Anvil in the World of Averlorn campaign setting 

1) Why is it called The Anvil? Such is the prowess of its warrior tradition, that the realm of Lykaedia was, allegorically at least, considered a "land where both spears and the men who wield them, were forged by the Gods rather than born of women like lesser men." They are an arrogant and proud people, and the region is still known as The Anvil of the Gods. In the ancient past, 3 massive statues of the Forger at his anvil were built to mark the approach to the heights of Lykaedia. They remain to this day and though time has worn at them, they are still awe-inspiring structures to behold.
secrets: In many ways, The Anvil's power and prestige has came and passed. The invention of the Dragonship meant that an enemy could deploy and supply an expeditionary force that could by dint of numbers, crumble the mighty hoplite formations.

2) Why the spear and short sword? Because they are brutally efficient and have always worked in the past. Cultures do not have the benefit of a rulebook sitting in front of them and so, they use the most efficient weapon as determined by experience. In supported combat, where the press of the enemy creates very tight spaces, a larger sword is at a disadvantage. The spear remains one of the most flexible melee weapons of the age and is never thrown by a Lykos (man of the Lykaedia). In fact, throwing or shooting anything at an opponent seems unmanly and is frowned upon by those who rigidly stick to the Lykaedian doctrine.
secrets: The heavy shield that every Lykaedian warrior carries cannot be overstated in terms of its value and is a big factor in their infantry's success on the battlefield. These things are heavy, stand up to considerable abuse and the shield and its doctrine are taught from a very young age.

3) Who left all these ruined towers and sites? Being less civilized than the Pangaeus and possessing more quality land, the Anvil has always been a spot where high level adventurers and other lord-lings stake a claim. These locations often thrive and evolve into a thorpe and someday, perhaps a village. More often than not though, the new Lord dies without an heir, disappears, or the heir squanders his birthright and the place soon falls into ruin.
secrets: There are ruins all along the King's Road (the North/South road that runs from Grand Oryx all the way to the southern tip of the Trench), many of which have never been looted or have been "re-purposed" by some new tenant. Certainly in the case of an "abandoned" Wizard's tower, a modicum of research can go a long way toward keeping one alive.

4) What in the 9 Hells are these Reborn things? A very special punishment awaits those who commit grievous crimes such as murder, grand theft, theft from a nobleman and other high crimes. In the past, these miscreants would have simply been tied to a cross along the King's Road, but since the Fraternal Order of Surgeons of Hecate have risen to power in Grand Oryx, a new arrangement has developed. The Ghouls as they are known, are quite famous for healing, but they are even more infamous for certain darker necromantic practices. Through some as yet unknown ritual, they are able to fashion minions of a superior quality, often combining the best portions of their charges, the condemned, to make automatons of superior constructions. Are they zombies? Warforged? Some sort of flesh golems? It's hard to say, but Ghouls often travel with one or two of the plate-wearing monsters as guardians. They are also used in the Grand Oryx navy as foot soldiers. In fact, most Dragonships have a pair of them and a handler, to work around the cooker, in heat that would kill most mortals.
secrets: It is almost a sure bet that the Reborn are undead of some sort, for they detect as "evil" though they are not chaotic. They are powerful, remorseless combatants, best avoided if possible.

5) The Ghouls, the Dominion, the Monastic Order, who are these guys? There are ten guilds in Grand Oryx which have over the years, proven themselves to be committed to the betterment of the Theban way of life and the common good. Thus, they have been given charters granting them considerable political power. They are very competitive with one another and vie for control over the eight boroughs of the great city. Since no guild may control more than one borough and there are only eight available, two guilds are left without a territory and will typically form a loose alliance. These guilds have areas of interests that often overlap with PC interests, and though there presence is somewhat rare in Lykaadia, one can expect to find representatives in the two principle cities - Ptoleph and Medea's gate. These are not guilds that players may join, but rather, organizations with which one might seek quests, employment, trade unique items, etc.
secrets: It is not uncommon for the Great Guilds to compete over all sorts of resources, including up-and-coming adventurers. Independent agents (that is, PCs) should always be wary of becoming two closely associated with any one guild, since a rival may choose to intervene if for no other reason than to advance the cause of his own guild.

6) What exactly is Corbitumite? The blue coal known as Corbitumite and native to the high mountains of the volcanic plateaus of Averlorn is a mineral with value equivalent to that of silver ore. Through a mysterious process known as enriching, corbitumite can be processed into a fuel source of unparalleled utility. It is this substance that provides the massive heat needed to inflate the "bladder" of the dragonships which travel the skies of Averlorn. It is somewhat ironic that the largest corbitumite mines in all of Thebos are actually located near the Lykaedian backwater towns of Limus Town and Zedemis.
secrets: Corbitumite is the engine of progress and the supply or lack thereof holds the potential for great political and economical turmoil. As a result, Limus Town and Zedemis are becoming subtle nests of devious plots and espionage though only to those who go looking for it. Otherwise, these two cities are growing in size and wealth and may one day eclipse both Ptoleph and Medea's Gate.

7) What and where is Grand Oryx? Lying due north of Ptoleph, soot-darkened Grand Oryx, City of the Gods is the Capital of the Theban Republic and the largest city to be found on the volcanic plateau of Thebos. Its inhabitants live under the dour countenance of its colossal image of Hephaestus, the smith god and patron of this the most advanced city in all the lands of Averlorn. This is the Victorian London of the setting. She has public transport, indoor plumbing (especially baths), and several districts of town (the eight boroughs) that have a local flair related to the inhabitants that dwell there. As grand as it sounds, it's actually a nasty place w/ filthy air, massive poverty, and other dystopian elements. A nice place to visit as they say and an even nicer place to have your purse lifted. You will never find a place more inundated with "scum and villainy." The senate is working hard though to clean the place up.

The City of Grand Oryx takes pride in its military prowess and its cavalry are reputed to be the best in the land. They are not truly knights in the European sense though and are more akin to light cavalry armed with spears, shields and excellent short composite bows.
secrets: The real military power of Grand Oryx is her dragonship navy, and the ample number of Reborn supplied as shock troops by the FOoSoH. Even Lykaedian infantry will struggle against those brutes.

8) What exactly is Thebos and what is its relationship with the Cities of Grand Oryx, the Anvil, the Gorgon's Trench and the Pangea? Ancient Thebos is a country in the World of Averlorn that includes the great City State of Grand Oryx and the surrounding areas of Lykaedia (the Anvil), the Gorgon's Trench to the south, and the planes of the Pangaeus to the north of the capital city. The Anvil of the Gods is the highest portion of land that sits upon the plateau of Thebos. Thebos and the lower plateau rises like an island out of the scourge below. In fact, most major kingdoms found in the world of Averlorn sit on top of similar volcanic plateaus that rise above the level of the scourge which surrounds them. The scourge was once a vast inland sea that was turned into a great lifeless and uninhabitable wasteland long ago during the wars between the gods and the titans much to the dismay of Poseidon. This lifeless and barren land consists of vast salt flats that surround the kingdoms and lands of Thebos, Chalcyx, Manthinea, Ertris, and fallen Leutra in the distant Northern Reaches.
secrets: Thebos may pride itself for its republic, but it is in fact, a cruel oligarchy with little concern for its people. The republic exists only to further the machinations of the Great Guilds who exert near complete control over both the Senate and the House of Lords.

9) What are the major cities of the Anvil? Nestled within the mountains and hills of the Anvil lies the Kurous valley whose largest cities are Ptoleph to the south of Grand Oryx and Medea’s Gate even further to the south. These cities are connected by the Grand Oryx Way a.k.a. the King’s Road, the primary trade road that runs from Grand Oryx all the way to Medea’s Gate and even further south to the fringes of the Gorgon's Trench. The City of Ptoleph is nestled among a rough stretch of hills in the northernmost portion of the Kurous Valley. The Kurous river flows through the city in a southeasterly direction to the lower lands below. The city sits astride the intersection of the great river and the Grand Oryx Way making it a prominent center of trade and commerce. The City of Medea’s Gate is a city in the hill region south of Ptoleph which is a little larger than Ptoleph. The city was built next to the Dormant Lady Lake on the east side where the Dock District is located and has more open ground on the north side of town where the Market District is located. The city is a low lying, sprawling affair and the buildings are typically not as tall as the temples. There are numerous monuments in the city’s squares dedicated to its heroes and noble families.
secrets: Some citizens of Ptoleph and Medea's gate yearn for the days of their lost power, glory and influence and many hold radical beliefs of a rebellious political nature that are not popular in the capital city of Grand Oryx.

10) Where and What is The Gorgon’s Trench and who lives there? The Gorgon's Trench is a low area of rough scrubby hills to the south of the settled lands of Thebos. It is called the trench because the hills rise above the many valleys, moors and lowlands created by the two major rivers that flow out of the Anvil and the City of Grand Oryx as the land slopes downwards through the fringes of the scourge and eventually to the sea. It is populated by the men of the trench or trenchmen, a small but hardy breed of humans along with dwarves, some elves and many tribes of humanoids especially orcs and gnolls. The Gorgon's Trench is a territory within the empire of Thebos and is rife with small petty kingdoms, fiefdoms and duchies due to its remote and inhospitable terrain. Some of these petty kingdoms formed alliances long ago with Grand Oryx to combat the Lykos of the Anvil, a mutual enemy. Old hatreds die hard, and there are still bitter feelings between the three regions of Thebos. The men and kingdoms of the trench are fiercely independent and resent outside interference in their domains. They begrudgingly accept the rulership of the kingdom of Thebos and rarely if ever receive the benefits of being a part of the kingdom. Trenchfolk, or the Romarii as they call themselves, are superstitious and worship a dizzying number of Gods. They inherently fear magic and most kingdoms keep close watch on those who can cast spells.
secrets: The Trench is the home to several despotic Wizards who very likely instituted the program of keeping tabs on outside spellcasters. Several of the aforementioned despotic Wizards actively maintain a standing army of orcs and gnolls which helps to explain their large populations in this region.

The above info was co written by Scadgrad (the GM for the campaign) and myself.  For more information on Scadgrad's World of Averlorn including campaign specific house rules and world specific character race and class descriptions go to:

No comments:

Post a Comment